Rural round-up

August 13, 2015

Strong outlook for primary sectors – Nathan Guy:

There’s been much talk about the dairy sector in recent days.

Last week, our largest dairy company Fonterra announced a new reduced forecast payout for farmers. This isn’t particularly surprising as it reflects the ongoing volatility in the international dairy price, but clearly it will have a significant impact on the dairy industry.

Times will be a bit tougher for dairy farmers over the next few months and it will have a flow-on impact in regional communities.

However, this volatility in dairy prices is expected to be short-term. The medium to long-term outlook for our dairy sector, and indeed all primary sectors, is very positive, and expected to grow by 17 per cent to more than $41 billion over the next four years. . .

 

Farmers to get higher wool price:

Marketing and sales company Wools of New Zealand has bumped up the price it’s offering farmers for lambs wool.

It will pay farmers a contract price of $7.50 per kilo for 28 micron to 31.5 micron lamb’s wool produced this season.

That is a 15 cent per kilo increase on the price it was offering at the beginning of July, which the farmer-owned company said reflected positive movements in the exchange rate, with a falling New Zealand dollar increasing export returns. . .

Hefty prices predicted for NZ beef:

 The Meat Industry Association says prices for New Zealand beef will be kept high, fuelled by Asia’s strong demand for protein.

Chief executive Tim Ritchie said although the United States, the country’s biggest beef market, was rebuilding its cattle herd numbers after drought, it too remained a very firm market and he expected it to stay that way for some time.

Mr Ritchie said the outlook for the country’s beef prices and exports was very positive, as many Asian countries were urging their people to eat more protein. . .

Milk payout cut undoes three years hard work – Sue O’Dowd:

Having to borrow back hundreds of thousands of dollars paid off their loan in the last 2½ years is leaving a Hawera couple bitterly disappointed.

Amanda and Bryce Savage, 50:50 sharemilkers on a 134ha farm for Maori incorporation Parininihi ki Waitotara, raised a loan to buy their first farm, a 74ha property near Stratford, in 2013.

Fonterra’s revised dairy payout of $3.85 kilogram milksolids (kg MS), down from $5.25, means they feel they’re going backwards because they’ll have to borrow back all the money they’ve repaid off that loan. . .

First Threatened Species Ambassador appointed:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has today announced New Zealand’s first Threatened Species Ambassador is Nicola Toki.

The Ambassador will be a high-profile role within the Department of Conservation for all of the country’s threatened species, working to build partnerships and encourage New Zealanders to become involved in conservation efforts.

“As a nation, we face a major battle to save our threatened species. Our unique native wildlife is besieged by introduced pests and other threats,” Ms Barry says. . .

Bluegreen programme of improved environmental management outlined:

A programme of stronger national direction and guidance on key environmental issues was announced today by Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith at the Environmental Defence Society’s conference in Auckland.

“A key problem with the Resource Management Act is that there has been too little central government direction on major issues. We are stepping up our programme of National Policy Statements, National Environmental Standards and national guidance to get better environmental results at less cost,” Dr Smith says.

Dr Smith today released the Ministries for the Environment and Primary Industries’ new guide on implementing the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. . .

Half Share for Sale in Large New Zealand Pastoral Farming Portfolio:

Half the shares in a large pastoral farming operation, New Zealand Pastures Ltd (NZP), are being offered for sale.

NZP is a private company that owns seven properties in Otago and Canterbury with a combined value over $100 million. Its portfolio comprises two partially irrigated and five dryland farms, ranging in size between 958ha and 7,533ha that have been predominantly managed as lamb and beef grazing and finishing units. Combined land area is 23,500ha with an assessed carrying capacity around 140,000 stock units. . .

BioGro Introduces New Organic Service:

BioGro Ltd, New Zealand’s leading organic certifier, has introduced a new Initial Contact Meeting service to help make it easier for anyone looking to ‘go organic.’

The Initial Contact Meetings are designed to inform and assist producers interested in organic production and certification.

Since the programme launched in November 2014, the meetings have proven popular with over 20 farmers and producers across New Zealand taking part so far. . .


Rural round-up

December 17, 2014

WMP recovery predicted – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra’s third substantial milk price forecast reduction this season will bite dairy farmers in January and sentence them to a bleak winter next year.

Fonterra has inevitably followed the international dairy price slump by revising its milk price forecast downwards by 60c to $4.70/kg milksolids (MS).

The $6 billion turnaround from last season to this one will also hit rural servicing businesses as dairy farmers cut spending to essential inputs. . .

Wear helmets on quad bikes – they’re part of the job:

A farming couple from Canvastown near Blenheim have been fined $20,000 each for offences involving the use of quad bikes on the farm where they have a share-milking partnership.

There were multiple sightings, dating back to 2012, of Phillip Andrew Jones and Maria Anna Carlson riding quads without helmets and in some cases Ms Carlson had small children with her on the quad.

Ms Carlson was witnessed twice riding her quad without a helmet after a prohibition notice had been issued and the second time she had two young children with her on the bike. . .

Generating wealth from dairy – Keith Woodford:

The current dairy downturn is inevitably turning attention to the wisdom of having so many eggs in the same basket. When times look rough, it can be helpful to look back and remind ourselves of the journey we have travelled to get where we are.

The driving forces that have led to the present have had very little to do with industry policy. Rather, the outcomes we are now experiencing are the consequence of thousands of individual farmers and rural investors deciding that dairy was where the profits lay. And to a large extent they got it right.

Taxation policy is the one key area where governments have influenced investor behaviour. The longstanding taxation policy of all governments has been to not tax capital gain. . .

A passion for prestige farming – Sue O’Dowd:

Enthusiastic Wairarapa farmers Matt and Lynley Wyeth are putting the beef and sheep industry in the spotlight.

The couple were keynote speakers at last week’s inaugural Taranaki Big Dine In for Taranaki sheep and beef farmers at Stratford.

The 2014 Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Award winners say they love sheep and beef farming and they’d like to see its success celebrated.

“It’s our turn to shine,” Matt Wyeth said. “We want to thrive, not just survive. . .

5 ways to avoid a bad fencing job – Nadene Hall:

There’s one really easy way to know if a fence is well built: a good fence is one you don’t notice. That’s the golden rule of experienced contractor Simon Fuller, the President of the Fencing Contractors Association of NZ (FCANZ). 

“It blends in, there’s no sudden rises, humps and hollows, it’s a flowing fence, especially on a lifestyle block, unless you’re wanting to make a statement in an entranceway. 

“For me, as a contractor, I notice poor fences before I notice good fences because a good fence is there and it’s not offensive to the eye, where a poorly constructed fence… as a rule, fences that are poorly constructed, you will keep on finding things wrong with them, there will be numerous things wrong with them, not just one.”  . . .

Dairy cattle total rises to 6.7 million:

The number of dairy cattle in New Zealand continued to rise, to reach 6.7 million at the end of June, Statistics New Zealand said today.

“Generally good pastoral conditions since the previous June contributed to the increase,” agriculture manager Neil Kelly said.

In the same one-year period, sheep, beef, and deer numbers fell. The number of sheep declined by 1.2 million, to 29.6 million as at June 2014.

These provisional figures are from the 2014 Agricultural Production Survey, which Statistics NZ conducted in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries. . .

Hawke’s Bay economy gets major boost from fruit innovation:

Havelock North Fruit Company has announced new investment and a major facility expansion and to meet global demand for its award winning Rockit apple brand.

Havelock North Fruit Company (HNFC) managing director Phil Alison today announced a new major facility in Havelock North, set to open in March 2015 as well as further investment into growing and globally supplying the miniature apple.

Already over $14 million has been invested in the production and marketing of Rockit, with a further $10m projected in the next three years. . .

CRV Ambreed celebrates 45 years of business:

It’s a momentous year for CRV Ambreed, who this-year celebrates its 45th year in business.

The company, now part of the world’s third largest artificial breeding company, has come a long way in the last 45 years.

It was set up by a small group of farmers in 1969 under the company name American Breeders Service. The founders began operating in a facility on the outskirts of Hamilton in 1970, with a core business of dairy semen production for the New Zealand market.

Managing Director Angus Haslett said the company has had ‘a couple of changes’ since then, the most recent and significant when it was purchased by a large 30,000-farm Dutch cooperative CRV Delta in 2003 to become CRV Ambreed. . .

 

BioGro New Zealand Names New CEO:

BioGro New Zealand is pleased to announce that Donald Nordeng has been appointed the new Chief Executive of BioGro.

He will be taking over the role from Dr Michelle Glogau who stepped down in early September.

Donald is an accomplished director with extensive experience in leading, building and growing companies in the organic certification industry.

Donald is well-recognised in the international organics sector and will bring global networks and perspectives to his new position. . .

 


Rural round-up

April 16, 2013

Genuine NZ infant formula labelling critical issue for New Zealand:

The New Zealand Infant Formula Exporters Association (NZIFEA) is attending the Mother and Baby Expo in Beijing in April to demonstrate measures to protect brand New Zealand from false labelling of product on sale overseas.

The Chairman of the NZIFEA, Michael Barnett, says guaranteeing New Zealand quality is essential, “the Chinese and other international countries need to know the New Zealand labelled infant formula product is genuine and is backed by our quality and regulations. The health consequences and the damage to New Zealand from not having accredited brands and genuine labelling could be severe. The infant formula industry is worth millions and the impact of harmful fake New Zealand dairy product anywhere would be devastating,” said Michael Barnett. . .

Tarras Water Project one step closer:

The developers of the Tarras water project have come a step closer to giving the scheme the ‘green light’ following a hugely supportive shareholders’ meeting.

The six resolutions that will enable Tarras Water Limited to issue its upcoming prospectus were voted on and overwhelmingly approved by 95% of shareholders and proxies attending the Special General Meeting on Friday evening at the Tarras Community Hall.

The company now intends to issue a prospectus within the next week.

Tarras Water Ltd chairman Peter Jolly said it was “an absolute thrill” to have such a strong endorsement from shareholders, who were now looking forward to a positive future for their community. . .

Cut in costs more time – Jill Galloway:

Once-a-day-milking is a viable option that more dairy farmers should consider, says a Massey University emeritus professor.

Colin Holmes says it cuts milking costs and allows more farm and family time.

“The majority [of farmers] won’t do it. They feel that performance will suffer and, as a result, profitability.”

He says some farmers have a lot of debt and even a small loss of milk production might make it unmanageable.

Holmes was a guest speaker at a once-a-day milking seminar at Christine Finnigan’s Glen Oroua farm. . .

Beekeeper expects overseas disorder to come to NZ:

Beekeepers are being asked to watch out for any unusual bee activity or pest outbreaks in New Zealand, amid concerns over a disorder that is devastating bee populations in the northern hemisphere.

Plant and Food Research says the symptoms of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) are similar to those suffered during one of the current threats to New Zealand bee populations, the varroa mite. . .

Fonterra Looks To Strengthen Its Organics Business

Fonterra is renewing contracts for some of its organic dairy farmers in the middle and lower North Island, following a turnaround in its niche organics business.

Managing Director Fonterra Nutrition, Sarah Kennedy, said the Co-operative has worked hard over the past 18 months to return its organics business to profitability.

“18 months ago we were losing money so we restructured the business to focus on markets in Asia, while also reducing our costs to ensure ongoing profitability.

“We reduced transport costs by concentrating organic milk supply in the central and lower North Island. . .

QTech technology helps irrigators comply with tightening water regulations:

 Telemetry and water management specialist, QTech Data Systems, has created and launched a sophisticated Aqua Flow Management System (AFM) that enables water consent holders to remotely monitor, better manage and report their water usage data directly to their regional council.

Under New Zealand’s National Regulations of Water Use Measurement and Reporting, all 20,000 water consent holders in New Zealand must install both a water measuring and data reporting system*. And by law the onus is on every one of them to provide their water usage data to their regional council in the required format. If they fail to comply with these measures councils will either charge to collect the data in person, or present the consent holder with an abatement order. . . 

Contaminated input suspended by organic certifier:

 

Citrox BioAlexin was suspended as an approved input for organic production by organic certifier BioGro three weeks ago when some batches were found to be contaminated with low levels of didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride (DDAC). While some countries allow DDAC below minimum residue levels, and it is not considered a risk to human health, BioGro’s organic standards do not allow it.

A small number of organic kiwifruit growers had been using Citrox BioAlexin as an elicitor to help vines cope with the bacterial disease Psa-V. . .

 

NZFarmer launch creates integrated home for farming news:

Following the integration of Rural Press into Fairfax Media New Zealand, digital rural content has been rebranded NZFarmer, with the launch today of a powerful digital farming destination www.nzfarmer.co.nz (housed within Stuff.co.nz) and the new look farming sections in all regional Fairfax newspapers.

This digital home complements the already extensive rural publishing of Fairfax Media in New Zealand, which reaches 88.8% of the farming community via specialist publications and farming sections within our daily newspapers. The team of 20 rural editorial specialists will work together to create content for all publications, under the direction of Tim Cronshaw, Head of Rural Content.

The new structure offers advertisers a highly integrated solution for multimedia campaigns targeting Fairfax Media’s farming audience. Advertisers will also be able to target specific farming sectors thanks to dedicated coverage of key farming sectors and issues. . .


Rural round-up

March 12, 2013

2013 Glammies victor crowned:

Beating out over 180 entrants, Mangapoike Ltd, represented by Pat Sheriff from Gisborne, has been crowned the 2013 Glammies Grand Champion.

Their Composite lamb, processed at Silver Ferns Farm Takapau, took out the title at the final taste test, after being tasted next to 20 other finalists. 

The final was judged by Iron Maidens, Sarah Walker and Sophie Pascoe, food writer Lauraine Jacobs, Beef + Lamb ambassador chef Darren Wright and head judge and chef, Graham Hawkes. 

Hawkes noted the high level of quality this year, saying it was a step up from last year’s competition. . .

Drought conditions perfect for grape growers:

Grape growers say the hot, dry weather which is wreaking havoc for farmers could produce one of their highest quality yields in years.

Gisborne grower John Clarke who is also New Zealand Winegrowers deputy chair said Gisborne’s growers have been enjoying the highly favourable conditions.

Mr Clarke said the weather means there is no disease pressure and grapes which have been harvested in Gisborne in the last couple of weeks are displaying excellent flavours.

He said the weather conditions around the country have been favourable for wine and growers have their fingers crossed the vintage this year will be fantastic. . .

DOC, Green Taliban, everyone take note. Cows are good for the climate [must watch] – Whaleoil:

Antony Watts at Watts up with That? says

Imagine, shooting 40,000 elephants to prevent the land in Africa from going to desert because scientists thought the land couldn’t sustain them, only to find the effort was for naught and the idea as to why was totally wrong. That alone was a real eye opener. Every once in awhile, an idea comes along that makes you ask, “gee why hasn’t anybody seen this before?”. This one of those times. This video below is something I almost didn’t watch, because my concerns were triggered by a few key words in the beginning. … I want every one of you, no matter what side of the climate debate you live in, to watch this and experience that light bulb moment as I did. The key here is to understand that desertification is one of the real climate changes we are witnessing as opposed to some the predicted ones we often fight over.

I like to add my recommendation that this is a Must See video, no matter what you think about Climate Change currently. . .

Now that is interesting – Gravedodger:

Several blogs are embedding a video featuring a 23 min lecture part, of an hour full length effort on combating desertification by Allan Savory who in the early years of his study advocated culling elephant herds to combat desertification on the vulnerable fringes of the deserts of Africa.
He has now worked out what many graziers have known for years but has remained hidden due to an unpopular perception stance in great debates on denuding of soils contributing to degredation.

Most farmers I have encountered in over 60 years of life are basically environmentalists if only because they understand a poorly maintained machine will eventually fail often with devastating outcomes. Yes there are some tossers in farming, there is at least one in every bus. . .

BOP Dairy Awards Winners Progress:

Winning the 2013 Bay of Plenty Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year title has proved a natural progression for Russell and Nadine Meade.

The couple won the2010 Bay of Plenty Farm Manager of the Year title and set about developing innovative and flexible investment opportunities to achieve farm business ownership.

Now 50% sharemilking 220 cows for Barbara Sullivan at Whakatane, the couple took home cash and prizes in winning the top prize worth $16,600 at the awards dinner held at the Awakeri Events Centre last night. . .

Organic certifier points to producers and consumers for double digit growth:

The latest organic market report launched on Wednesday (6th March) at Parliament confirms double digit growth of organics in New Zealand over the past 3 years and comes as great news for organic certifier BioGro, its certified producers and consumers.

The organic sector has grown 25 per cent in the past three years – from $275 million in 2009 to $350 million in 2012. The export and domestic market for New Zealand organic products has grown on average 8 per cent a year at a time of global recession.

BioGro’s CEO Dr Michelle Glogau says the report, funded by the organic sector umbrella group Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ) is a really positive sign of the increased demand for organics amongst consumers. ‘It supports the trends we are seeing with dramatic growth in certified wine and extension into health & body care products’. . .


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