Rural round-up

May 8, 2020

Concern farmers’ wellbeing affected: –  David Hill:

North Canterbury Rural Support Trust chairman Andy Munro is concerned for the wellbeing of farmers as they negotiate the ongoing effects of a dry season and the Covid-19 lockdown.

He said last month’s rain was “a great morale booster” for farmers in the drought-affected area in North Canterbury.

“Since that rain four weeks ago, things went pretty quiet. But it’s just a pity we haven’t had a follow-up rain and we really need a good warm follow-up rain, particularly for the farmers from Waipara north to get some growth before winter.

“It’s starting to get dry and cold in that northern part, but other than that it’s business as usual. . . 

Farmers need to be heard not patronised:

The Government’s drought recovery advice fund announced today is merely a drop in the bucket for supporting farmers affected by drought, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Todd Muller says.

“The fund is specifically for providing affected farmers with recovery and planning advice, but does not contribute to farmers’ rising feed costs or general business costs.

“Most farmers already know what is needed to help their business recover and it is insulting for the Government to tell them they simply need to seek more advice to get through the drought. . . 

Rural GPs not just another business – Peter Burke:

Rural General Practice Network chair Dr Fiona Bolden is disappointed that the Government is treating rural general practices the same as any other business in the community.

Bolden told Rural News that rural GPs were expecting to get two payments from the Government to assist them financially.

However, she says while they had received the first payment, Cabinet vetoed the second payment – just days before it was expected to be paid.  . .

Differing responses to wage subsidy scheme – Allan Barber:

The country’s meat processors have followed two distinctly different paths in response to the government’s wage subsidy scheme which is available to all businesses for 12 weeks, providing they can substantiate a 30% drop in revenue during the period. Silver Fern Farms, Alliance, ANZCO, Taylor Preston and Blue Sky Meats have all claimed the subsidy to varying extents, whereas AFFCO, Greenlea and Wilson Hellaby have decided it is not justified or necessary, at least partly on ethical grounds.

The contrast in approach has already been commented on by independent economist, Cameron Bagrie, who has slammed the two largest claimants, SFF which has claimed $43 million and Alliance $34 million, for taking advantage of taxpayer funding when they are classified as an essential business, operating in lockdown. Equally Bagrie complimented those companies not making a claim because they were getting on with business as usual. Speaking to The Country’s Jamie Mackay, he said “the wage subsidy is out there to support businesses that are getting clobbered, that are effectively in lockdown.”

I am not convinced this interpretation is either totally fair or even correct. Both SFF’s Simon Limmer and Alliance’s CEO David Surveyor are clear the wage subsidy is not a company entitlement, but is paid directly to various categories of employees: firstly it maintains standard wage rates at normal processing speeds despite the 30-50% reduction to meet distance requirements, it retains those who would have to have been terminated seasonally, and it is used to pay those who cannot work e.g. because of age,  compromised immunity or family circumstances. . .

Community to the rescue for harvest – Toni Williams:

CharRees Vineyard owners Charlie and Esma Hill put a call out on social media for help to harvest during lockdown.

They were so overwhelmed by community response, including some from Christchurch, they had to turn people away.

The lockdown harvest, approved by Ministry for Primary Industries as essential for food and beverage production, attracted about 20 people from Ashburton and Methven — many who had never harvested grapes before — to put their hands up to help.

The pickers worked alongside family members of the couple and vineyard workers to pick the first of three annual grape harvests. . . 

Red meat exports top $1 billion in March 2020, a first for monthly exports:

The monthly value of New Zealand red meat and co-product exports topped $1 billion for the first time, according to an analysis by the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

Total exports reached $1.1 billion in March 2020, an increase of 12 per cent on March 2019.

While overall exports to China for the month of March were down by nine per cent compared to last March as a result of COVID-19, exports to all other major markets increased, demonstrating the agility and resilience of the New Zealand red meat sector. . . 

Time to take ag reform out of the “too hard basket” – Fiona Simson:

Regional Australia is well placed to be the engine that powers Australia’s COVID-19 recovery. The bush has done this before, with strong exports helping keep recession at bay during the Global Financial Crisis.

And, after a challenging period of drought, bushfires and floods, widespread rainfall has seen the fortunes of farmers begin to improve. Agriculture is ready and raring to grow.

As we dare to cast an eye to the world post-COVID-19, now is the opportune time to consider the changes agriculture and regional Australia needs to best contribute to the recovery task. . . 


Rural round-up

April 12, 2020

Back to the land after lockdown – David Slack:

With agriculture once again New Zealand’s main export earner, are farmers feeling needed again, and what are their prospects once the lockdown eases? David Slack reports from the farm gate.

There’s a photo of my grandmother and her sisters taken by their father in the late days of the First World War. It’s not the usual sort of photo of the time. They’re alive, it’s vivid. They’re up high in the Rangitikei backblocks. There are cows to be milked, they’re carrying cream cans. They look cheerful, they’re doing work that matters.

There were 16 of them in that family. Some of them went on to raise farmers, some raised city folk. My dad raised us to understand there was no future in farming. We didn’t doubt him, and we made our lives in town. . .

Primary interest: Time to cut the cord and let agriculture thrive – Steve Elers:

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis said last year that tourism was New Zealand’s “largest export earner”, contributing $39 billion to the economy each year and directly employing more than 200,000 people.

Obviously, Covid-19 has upended the tourism sector, so Davis was left with no choice but to announce earlier this week that he has tasked Tourism New Zealand to lead a programme that includes the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Department of Conservation, and industry parties to “reimagine the way we govern tourism, how we market domestically and internationally, who we market to, and how we manage visitors when they arrive on our shores”. 

Another major sector upended because of Covid-19 is international education. According to the Tertiary Education Commission, international education “contributes $5.1b to the economy and is the country’s fourth largest export earner” – it also supports about 50,000 jobs. . .

Image sells our meat – Neal Wallace:

China is re-emerging as a significant buyer of New Zealand beef as its families continue to use home cooking skills learned when the country was shut down to control covid-19.

Many restaurants in China are yet to fully reopen and NZ beef appears to be an early beneficiary of growing Chinese retail demand as consumers look for meat from a country with a trusted food production system and a clean and green reputation.

But commentators warn we shouldn’t take this interest for granted, especially when other markets weaken as Governments try to contain the virus. . .

No letup for some works – Neal Wallace:

Most of the country’s largest meat companies will continue to process livestock over at least part of Easter to try to ease a developing backlog.

Selected plants run by Silver Fern Farms, Anzco and Affco will process over the long weekend to clear a developing backlog of stock, which, in some cases, has reached six weeks.

Southland’s Blue Sky Meats has started processing seven days a week and plans to work Easter and Anzac Day. 

Anzco chief executive Peter Conley said it will operate its beef plants on three of the four days over Easter. . . 

 

Coronavirus: Working and living in dairy farm bubble during Covid-19 – Lawrence Gullery:

Ben Moore counts himself lucky to be working on the land during the coronavirus outbreak.

He feels fortunate to still be earning an income, to pay the bills and provide for his family on their dairy farm in the Waikato.

“My heart goes out to those who can’t work,” Moore said. “We can still work, still pay the mortgage but I know there are many people out there who can’t.” 

Stuff is celebrating the coronavirus champions – including essential services workers like Moore and community volunteers – who are keeping New Zealand going though the lockdown. . . 

Prime cuts of beef are going to waste as well: After the scandal of £220,000 of milk being dumped every day during the coronavirus lockdown, GUY ADAMS investigates how the meat industry is coping – Guy Adams:

A couple of weeks ago, as panic-stricken shoppers descended on the nation’s supermarkets, Sainsbury’s and Asda quietly introduced a new product to their meat aisles.

Labelled ‘NO FUSS lean Polish beef mince’ and retailing for the bargain price of £2.95 a pound, it helped fill the empty shelves that had until very recently held Union Flag-stamped packets of best British beef.

Farmers, when they spotted it, hit the roof, accusing the rapacious retailers of flooding the market with cheap imports. . . 

 


Rural round-up

July 8, 2019

Katie Milne addresses national conference:

Kiwis can be proud of the rural women and men who produce the top quality food that arrives daily in supermarkets, and the extra which is shipped offshore as exports that help fuel our economy.  Over 65% of our exports come from agricultural food production and we produce it with a lower carbon footprint than any other country in the world.  

Biosecurity threats, geopolitics, alternative proteins, robotics, disruptors, food and environment sustainability…there’s no shortage of challenges and change confronting us. 

But you should also know – especially if you’ve been fortunate enough to catch some of the keynote addresses and panel discussions of the inaugural Primary Industries Summit that Federated Farmers organised and has hosted Monday and Tuesday – that New Zealand also has a wealth of ideas, talent and drive to deal with these big issues coming at us. . .

Tougher bank capital rules could slice 10% from dairy profits – Rabo NZ – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Stricter bank capital requirements would severely dent dairy farm profits if the Reserve Bank goes ahead as planned, warn dairy interests in submissions on the contentious proposals.

“Our initial estimates are that the proposals could – at least in the short term – result in approximately a 10 percent decrease in profit for the agriculture sector,” Rabobank New Zealand said in its submission. . .

Trees replace top cattle – Annette Scott:

As far north as sale yards get in New Zealand the Broadwood selling centre in Northland hosted one of the country’s more notable capital stock clearing sales last week.

On behalf of Mark and Michelle Hammond of Herekino, Carrfields Livestock held the sale of a Hereford beef herd that put 50 years of top-quality genetics under the hammer, the animals’ grazing land destined for pine trees. . .

Ruapehu rural reading scheme spells out a winning idea  –  Katie Doyle:

A pair of librarians from the central North Island town of Taumarunui are bringing a love of reading to rural school children.

Fiona Thomas and Libby Ogle have started their very own mobile library – each month ferrying a load of books to two isolated primary schools in the Ruapehu District.

The idea came to life eighteen months ago when Mrs Thomas realised some kids in the region couldn’t access the library because they lived too away. . .

Blue Sky reports best result in 8 years – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Southland meat processor and marketer Blue Sky Meats says the year to March was its best result in eight years as a strategic plan bore fruit.

The company, which is due to release its annual report shortly, said the March financial year ended with revenue up by 34 percent to a record $140 million. Pre-tax profit was up 36 percent at $5 million. . .

Overseas investors fined almost $3 million for illegal purchase of Auckland properties:

The High Court yesterday ordered the overseas owners of two rural properties at Warkworth, north of Auckland, to pay $2.95 million to the Crown after an Overseas Investment Office (OIO) investigation found they were bought without consent. The properties were bought in 2012 and 2014.

The court ordered the owners to sell the properties and pay penalties, costs and the gain made on the investment.

The overseas owners – Chinese businessmen Zhongliang Hong and Xueli Ke, and IRL Investment Limited and Grand Energetic Company Limited – should have applied to the OIO for consent to buy both properties because they are rural land of more than five hectares. . .

Latest technology to be demonstrated at the Horticulture Conference 2019:

Technology that will help fruit and vegetable growers now and in the future will be demonstrated at Our Food Future, the Horticulture Conference 2019 between 31 July and 2 August at Mystery Creek, Hamilton.   

‘We’ve gone all out to ensure that this year’s conference features demonstrations of technology that can help growers tackle some of the challenges that they face,’ says Horticulture New Zealand Chief Executive, Mike Chapman. 

‘From biological control products for crop protection to robots for asparagus harvesting and greenhouse spraying, they will all be demonstrated during the morning of second day of the conference.  . .

Ben Richards becomes Bayer Marlborough Young Viticulturist of Year 2019:

Ben Richards from Indevinbecame the Bayer MarlboroughYoung Viticulturist of the Year 2019 on 4 July following the competition held at Constellation’s Drylands Vineyard.

Congratulations also to Jaimee Whitehead from Constellation for coming second and Dan Warman also from Constellation for coming third. . 


Rural round-up

July 13, 2018

Blue Sky Meats may adopt small-is-beautiful branding as point of difference to big-budgeted rivals, CEO says – Jonathan Underhill

(BusinessDesk) – Blue Sky Meats, which sells chilled and frozen meats under two B2B brands, is on track to roll-out direct to consumer products in 2019 and is market-testing a strategy that may try to make a virtue out of being a minnow.

Sales rose 7 percent to $104.5 million in the year ended March 31 while expenses were little changed at $100.8 million, resulting in pre-tax earnings of $3.7 million from a loss of $2.6 million a year earlier, according to its annual report released at the weekend. . .

NZ Institute of Forestry proposes new national forest policy – Margreet Dietz:

(BusinessDesk) – The New Zealand Institute of Forestry proposed the introduction of a new national policy for the industry at the sector’s annual conference in an effort to help the government “develop sound long-term strategies for forestry development.”

David Evison, president of the NZ Institute of Forestry, presented the document, titled Forest Policy for New Zealand, to Forestry Minister Shane Jones, who formally opened the conference today, the group said in a statement. . .

Maize sector buoyant after strong growing season:

Levels of confidence are returning to New Zealand’s maize sector, with a healthy rise in average yields and prices remaining firm at around $400/tonne.

Reuben Carter, Federated Farmers Arable Industry Group Vice-Chairperson (Maize/Forage), said most growers enjoyed excellent growing weather and harvest conditions in 2018 and this is reflected in the latest AIMI survey. Data from 77 survey farms, scaled up for a national picture, show an average maize grain yield of 12.8 t/ha, compared to 10 t/ha in 2017, and 20.6t maize silage dry matter/ha (18.5t in 2017). . .

Nominations open for 2018 agribusiness leadership awards:

Nominations have opened for this year’s Rabobank Leadership Awards, recognising outstanding individual achievement in, and contribution to, New Zealand and Australia’s food, beverage and agribusiness industries. . .

Workplace safety gets top billing in forest workplaces:

In August a major national forest safety conference – Forest Safety & Technology 2018 – will show how well forest workers have embraced new techniques for integrated workplace safety. (https://forestsafety.events)

“The engagement with loggers and tree-planters by Fiona Ewing’s team at the Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC) has been outstanding,” says Forest Industry Engineering Association spokesman, Gordon Thomson. “In planning our case studies for this year’s conference, we found plenty of examples of people taking the things that FISC have been promoting and putting them into practice,” he adds. . .

Hawke’s Bay to host 2019 FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final:

Hawke’s Bay is set to host the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final for the first time in 16 years.

It’s been confirmed Hastings and Napier will play host to the national final of the iconic contest in July 2019.

The announcement was made at this year’s grand final in Invercargill on Saturday night. . .

Seeka markets Northland horticultural orchards:

 Seeka Limited has released its information memorandum to market nine horticultural properties in Northland. The properties are proposed to be sold by tender with orchard management and postharvest supply contracts back to Seeka. The land holdings include the six properties recently purchased by Seeka from Turners and Growers Horticulture Limited and in total covered 288 title hectares. Varieties grown on the properties include kiwifruit [Zespri SunGold, ENZAGold, EnzaRed and Hayward] along with avocados and lemons. There is significant bareland suitable for horticulture development. . .

Turkey: overview of the world’s seventh-largest agricultural producer:

Agriculture comprises around 23% of the Turkish economy. Approximately 3.5 million farmers look after 20 million ha of productive land. Average farm size is around 60 decare [a unit of surface measure equal to 10 acres, or 1000 square meters: equivalent to 0.2471 acre]

Agriculture comprises around 23% of the Turkish economy. Approximately 3.5 million farmers look after 20 million ha of productive land. Average farm size is around 60 decare [a unit of surface measure equal to 10 acres, or 1000 square meters: equivalent to 0.2471 acre]

Wheat is the most widely grown commodity, but milk is the most valuable. “If your most valuable product is wheat, that’s a sign that you’re an ‘old’ agricultural country,” says İsmail Ugural, an agricultural media commentator. “The country has entered a more modern phase now.” . .


Rural round-up

July 11, 2018

Prized stock castration frustrates farmer – Andrew Ashton:

After waking up to find someone had castrated two of his bulls, a Hawke’s Bay farmer expected the police to arrest and charge the culprit. Instead he says he was advised to sell up and move.

Pongaroa farmer David Vitsky said the incident was the latest in a litany of stock rustling and rural crime stretching back several years.

But Hawke’s Bay police say they are unable to gather firm evidence to charge anyone.

“We’ve been plagued by a continuous raid of stock rustling, thefts and the police fail to get prosecutions,” Vitsky told Hawke’s Bay Today. . . 

Pagan’s shear determination on screen – Sally Rae:

She might be the South’s latest film star but Pagan Karauria is no prima donna actress.

Left in charge of  father Dion Morrell’s shearing business while he is in Japan for several weeks, the Alexandra woman  has been up every morning between 4.15am and 4.30am.

Her day is full as her mobile phone rings constantly and she ensures the smooth running of seven gangs. But, as she puts it, “I’m just cruising along doing what I love.”

Mrs Karauria’s passion for the shearing industry is undeniable –  she is both a shearer and  woolhandler and had the remarkable distinction of competing in both disciplines in the All Nations competition at last year’s World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Invercargill. . .

PGG Wrightson says “no comment” on report of possible $600M buyout – Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – PGG Wrightson says it has no comment on Australian media reporting that ASX-listed agribusiness company Elders is looking to buy it for $600 million.

A column in The Australian says Elders may seek to raise A$300 million via a rights issue to help fund the purchase, with the remainder funded via debt. The PGG Wrightson board “met on Friday to discuss the sale of the business and speculation is building that Elders has already been told that it is the preferred bidder”, The Australian reported. . .

Decision made on fate of defunct Gore meat plant – Sally Rae:

Blue Sky Meats has decided to sell its Gore plant which has been non-operational since late 2016.

Last year, the company announced it was reviewing its options for the unprofitable plant. Options ranged from reinstatement of full operations to an asset sale.

When the plant was temporarily closed, Gore staff were offered secondment to the company’s Morton Mains plant.

In a statement, the company said the decision was not made lightly but the board felt it was the best course of action for the company’s ongoing financial performance.

Blue Sky Meats has released details of its annual report for the 2018 financial year which showed a much improved result with a net profit before tax of $3.7million, compared to a $2.5 million loss the previous year. . .

The science behind the Impossible Burger – Siouxsie Wiles:

Air New Zealand has just announced The Impossible Burger is now available to a minuscule number of their customers, a move described as an “existential threat” by New Zealand First’s Mark Patterson. So what is all the fuss is about?

This week, Air New Zealand announced that Business Premier “foodies” on their Los Angeles to Auckland flights would be able to try out the “plant-based goodness” that is the Impossible Burger. Lamb + Beef New Zealand, which represents sheep and beef farmers, is clearly peeved that our national carrier wouldn’t rather showcase some great Kiwi “grass-fed, free range, GMO free, naturally raised” beef and lamb instead. Mark Patterson, New Zealand First’s spokesperson for Primary Industries even went as far as to put out a press release calling the announcement an “existential threat to New Zealand’s second-biggest export earner”. Meanwhile, vegetarians on social media are left a bit puzzled as to why Patterson is so against them having a special vegetarian option for dinner. My guess is it’s because the Impossible Burger is no ordinary veggie burger. . . 

Sheepdog trialists gather for annual battle of wits against woolly opponents in Hāwera – Catherine Groenestein:

“Wallago, Dick! Wallago, Dick!”

Dick the sheepdog’s muzzle is greying but his eyes are still fixed on the sheep. He trots with purpose, rather than running flat out like his apprentice, a youngster called Jay.

After a lifetime of farm work and winning many trials, Dick, who’s 14,  can almost work the sheep around the obstacles on a course by himself. . . 

Whopping truffle from Waipara farm sets NZ record – Gerard Hutching:

Waipara’s Jax Lee has unearthed a New Zealand record of 1.36 kilograms for a black truffle, worth thousands of dollars when she exports it.

Truffle expert Dr Ian Hall said a similar sized black (or Perigord) truffle had been dug up in Gisborne in the 1990s, “but I’m sure Jax’s would be a New Zealand record.”

Truffles may not be quite black gold, but they are considered the world’s most expensive food. The equivalent weight in gold of Lee’s example is 43 ounces, worth $54,000. . . 

A tale of two expos – Post Veganism:

A couple years ago, I attended the Natural Food Expo West for the first time. The section of the main exhibit hall that I first wandered into was row after row of nutraceutical suppliers. These suppliers, including many from China, provided many of the vitamins, minerals, herbs used to supplement and fortify many of the “natural” and “healthy” foods and drinks I’d later see a plethora of elsewhere at this expo. What was less ubiquitous was real whole food, that is food that was minimally processed, well grown or raised  and that didn’t need to be fortified or supplemented to be nutrient dense.

So this past April, I returned to Anaheim once again to attend the Natural Food Expo West held at the convention center. This year the event was larger than ever, and I only had portions of two days so couldn’t cover the entire hall. Maybe I just missed it, but all the nutraceutical suppliers seemed to be organized more around the periphery rather than taking so much area on the floor this time. Though there still was plenty of “natural” and ‘healthy” junk food fortified with vitamins, minerals, herbs and- the new rage- probiotics. However, much to my surprise, there was a larger presence of real food with more fermented foods, minimally processed seaweed items, and vinegar as well as plenty of bone broth, jerkies and other grass finished meats . . 


Rural round-up

August 7, 2017

Community mourns farmer of the year – Ruby Harfield:

Farming and rugby communities are in shock after the sudden death of Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year Paul “Butch” Renton.

Mr Renton, who with wife of 27 years Marie accepted the 2017 Farmer of the Year title at the Hawke’s Bay Primary Sector Awards just four months ago, was found dead on Wednesday morning at Glenmore Station, the Mangatahi property west of Hastings on which he grew up. 

Police have said no foul play was involved and the matter has been referred to the coroner. . . 

The great food disruption: part 1 – Rosie Bosworth:

Milk without the cow, meatless burgers that bleed, chicken and shrimp made from plant matter, and now foie gras without a force-fed goose in sight. A new food revolution enabled by science and biotech is brewing and, if it succeeds, animals will have little to do with the future of food. For some, that future looks rosy, but, as Dr. Rosie Bosworth writes in part one of a series, the implications for New Zealand’s agricultural sector could be less than palatable. 

We humans love to romanticise things – and we particularly like to romanticise our food. When you think about that juicy burger at lunch, last night’s curry or this morning’s breakfast berry smoothie, it’s all too easy for us to imagine a happy cow called Daisy who spends her days roaming across lush rolling hills with her young nearby, leaping lambs, happy hens frolicking in the fields, and trusting, caring farmers, who lovingly ply their trade the old-fashioned way – tractor, straw hat and pitch fork in hand. . . 

Avocado thieves selling stolen fruit on black market:

Police have found small business owners in Bay of Plenty are purchasing stolen avocados, following a spate of orchard thefts in the region.

Police received nine reports of thefts in Western Bay of Plenty since May, and said there had been a number of avocado thefts in Tauranga to Katikati in the last month.

They had found that a number of retailers were accepting the stolen avocados to sell in-store. They urged store owners to support orchardists by only purchasing produce  from legitimate growers. . .

Blue Sky Meats posts $1.9M loss, signals review of unprofitable Gore beef plant –  Tina Morrison

 (BusinessDesk) – Blue Sky Meats, the Invercargill-based meat processor, posted a loss for the second year in a row and said the future of its unprofitable beef plant in Gore is under review.

The company reported a loss of $1.91 million, or 16.54 cents per share, in the 12 months ended March 31, from a loss of $1.96 million, or 16.98 cents, a year earlier, according to its annual report. Revenue slid 17 percent to $97.9 million. It won’t pay a dividend. . . 

Carbon budgets would provide ‘certainty’ for dairy sector:

DairyNZ has welcomed the release today of a report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, which recommends New Zealand approach climate change in a similar manner to the United Kingdom.

Dr Jan Wright recommends Government set up an independent Climate Change Commission to propose carbon budgets as stepping stones towards meeting greenhouse gas targets, which would provide certainty and transparency about how New Zealand climate change targets will be met..  .. . 

Australia gets closer to objective carcase measurement – Alan Barber:

In March I wrote about Meat and Livestock Australia’s (MLA) plan to seek A$150 million from the Australian government to assist with the introduction of Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) objective carcase measurement (OCM) technology to all Australian meat plants. At that time neither the Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) nor the Australian Meat Processor Corporation (AMPC) were completely persuaded of the logic of committing the industry to such a large investment without further analysis and a robust business case.

The resulting review, performed by EY, has recommended that Australian meat processors and producers should go ahead with OCM projects in spite of a lack of consensus throughout the sector. The main finding confirms earlier studies which indicate significant benefits for both parts of the industry, if the technology is adopted. The review recommends AMPC and MLA to work together to achieve alignment between the two sectors which haven’t always agreed with each other. . . 

Farmers lift the lid on repro results:

It’s no secret that many New Zealand dairy farmers are struggling with herd reproduction and this is hurting their profitability. Yet there are some farmers out there achieving above-average repro results. What are they doing right?

Blake Korteweg: 78 percent six-week in-calf rate

Farm Facts
Location: Hedgehope, Southland

Farm size: 175ha (effective)
Herd size: 500 cows
Production: 203,000kg MS

When 50:50 sharemilker Blake Korteweg took over management of the family farm in South Otago from his father, the six-week in-calf rate was only 60 percent. Under his management, that’s climbed to 78 percent. The first change he made was to get mating down from 15 weeks to 11 weeks. . . 

Opening Agcarm conference – David Bennett:

 . .  Agricultural compounds and veterinary medicines, or ACVM, play an important role. Their use is essential to address animal welfare and to produce safe and suitable food we can sell with confidence in New Zealand and overseas.

Farmers and food producers around New Zealand depend on them to:
• improve the quantity and quality of their produce;
• keep people, animals and crops healthy; and
• reduce the spread of diseases, weeds, parasites and other pests. . . 

Planning is Key to Success in New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards:

The runners-up of the 2017 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year Award believe the earlier potential entrants begin preparing for the awards, the better, and they should be starting now.

Entries for the 2018 New Zealand Dairy Awards open in October, and Carlos and Bernice Delos Santos say gathering information and records takes time, and now is a good time to start this if they haven’t already. . . 

Image may contain: text

Barbed wire, ruining farmers’ jeans since 1867.


Rural round-up

April 18, 2017

Mentoring part of the prize – Sally Rae:

Papakaio dairy farmer Morgan Easton says he is ”humbled” to win the 2017 Zanda McDonald Award.

The Australasian agribusiness award was launched by the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group in
2014.

It was in memory of Australian beef industry leader and PPP foundation member Zanda McDonald, who died aged 41 after an accident at his Queensland property in 2013.

Mr Easton, along with Invercargill-based dairy consultant Jolene Germann and Waiau farmer Henry Pinckney, was initially shortlisted for the award, along with Australians Anna Speer, Will Creek and Airlie Trescowthick. . . 

It’s not just farmers – Neal Wallace:

The country’s senior scientist has called for a more mature conversation on solving water quality issues and an end to the polarised positions that have characterised the debate so far.

Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, the Prime Minister’s chief science adviser, said to have the pristine environment we all desired would not be achieved without having a conversation “where people are not threatened but will come together and discuss solutions”.

“Where we have gone is groups with extreme positions and people are not listening to each other.”

Farm’s efficiency gain, emissions fall impresses – Sally Brooker:

A South Canterbury farm has proved environmental gains can be made while production improves, scientists say.

Beef and Lamb New Zealand director Bill Wright and his wife, Shirley, have been farming a sheep and cattle property at Cannington since 1991. Their records have allowed scientists to study the profile of greenhouse gases while the farm evolved.

The the last two years’ data also gave insights into nitrogen-leaching.

“Farmers are conscious of their collective responsibilities to restore water quality and minimise their environmental footprint,” Mr Wright said.

“But this is material we are now only learning how to manage in a way that not only protects the environment but provides opportunities to be more productive with less impact.” . . 

Blue Sky left searching for positives after Binxi offer lapses – Allan Barber:

Invercargill based meat processor Blue Sky Meats is trying to put a positive spin on its prospects after being advised by Chinese cattle and meat company subsidiary NZ Binxi Oamaru that its takeover offer would not proceed. The main reason for the decision was failure to receive OIO approval by the 20th March deadline, but Binxi also cited a material adverse change in this season’s performance. As a result Blue Sky has advised shareholders they will continue to own their shares, 96% having already accepted the offer.

The offer for 100% ownership at $2.20 per share placed a value of $25.4 million on Blue Sky compared with a current valuation of just under $15 million based on the last trading price of $1.30. Chairman Scott O’Donnell made the point adverse seasonal conditions are part and parcel of agricultural businesses, while NZ Binxi has asked the OIO to continue to process its application in spite of its withdrawal. It also signalled its possible willingness to reconsider if the OIO were to come through with a positive response. . . 

UK will offer good trade deal :

New Zealand’s farmers and exporters will get a favourable post-Brexit trade pact with the United Kingdom but find a new European Union trade agreement much harder, Lord Sam Vestey believes.

The British peer and former owner of NZ meat processing plants under the name of Weddell until the 1990s was speaking at the opening of the Royal Easter Show in Auckland.

He was chairman of the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth and a regular visitor to major shows in NZ. . . 

Southland dairy consultant in the running for Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year:

A Southland woman who only milked her first cow seven years ago is one of three finalists in the 2017 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year awards.

Jolene Germann grew up on a Waikato sheep and beef farm and had no dairy experience until meeting her husband, Hadleigh, seven years ago. Now, she’s a busy dairy consultant with a full book and is an equity partner and sharemilker on a 200ha, 570 cow dairy farm in Aparima, Southland.

Germann’s husband nominated her for the Dairy Woman of the Year award and says her commitment to environmental sustainability and empathetic leadership style are her stand-out qualities. . . 

Dear Lady at the Bank – Ruby Uhart:

Last fall I went into the bank to deposit checks after we’d sold our calves.  The lady at the front desk wasn’t familiar with the company who had written the check.  I explained to her who they were and that we had sold two loads of calves.

She replied “wow.  I’m in the wrong business.”

At the time, it caught me off guard that she would say something like that and all I could do was chuckle a little and say “no.  You’re not.”

 I’ve been thinking about her all winter and different moments in particular made me wish I had said something to her other than what I replied in my dimwitted moment.  As with all of my best comebacks, they hit my brain later and are told with the story as “what I should have said was…”

So here goes.  Here’s my shoulda, coulda, woulda said….


Rural round-up

January 27, 2017

Trade is the life blood of the New Zealand sheep and beef sector:

While disappointed by the US decision to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), the New Zealand sheep and beef sector remains strongly supportive of the Agreement and its aims, its representative organisations, the New Zealand Meat Industry Association (MIA) and Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) say.

Multilateral trade liberalisation creates a stable and level playing field on which to compete and it’s hugely important to the growth and future prosperity of the sheep and beef sector and New Zealand as a whole, the two organisations say.

“We estimated that a 12 nation TPP would have delivered around $72 million in tariff savings a year for the red meat sector alone – not to mention that volume growth in high-value markets that would flow from tariff reduction. The US withdrawing from the TPP is a real setback to our capitalising on these opportunities – and it’s a loss for consumers in the TPP nations,” MIA Chief Executive Tim Ritchie said. . . 

Three astronauts land in Manawatu – Mark Daniel,

Brian and Margaret Schnell bought their Bunnythorpe, Manawatu dairy farm in 1984, and were joined by their daughter Amy and husband Greg Gemmell, who became sharemilkers in 2003.

Fast forward to 2016, when they decided to replace a tired 24-aside herringbone set-up with three Lely Astronaut robots, meaning labour requirements dropped from 1.5 to 0.5 units, and a change from being milkers to supervisors.

The Schnell and Gemmell Partnership farms 240 Friesians, split 75:25 between spring and autumn calvers, now producing about 390kgMS/cow on an all grass system, and expected to rise to 450- 500kgMS/cow within three years. . . 

Champion schooled in some hard sheds – Sally Rae:

As a youngster growing up in Gisborne, champion woolhandler Joel Henare struggled with mainstream schooling.

He left school when he was about 11 and continued his studies through correspondence. 

Sometimes he accompanied his mother, who worked as a shedhand, and would “help out a bit and play around” in the woolsheds. . . 

Bee keepers say honey season ‘worst in 20 years’ :

Some frustrated beekeepers have now declared our dismal summer the worst in two decades for honey-making – but it’s still too early to say whether consumers will also feel a sting.
Apiculture New Zealand chief executive Karin Kos said the consistent message from beekeepers across the country was this had been a particularly bad season for yields, as poor weather kept bees from collecting nectar.

“We’ve had unseasonable weather conditions, and less predictable and shorter flowering seasons, and that is absolutely affecting honey production this year.”

No Increase in Bid for Blue Sky Meats:

NZ Binxi has received a good volume of acceptances for its offer for Blue Sky Meats (BSM) to date but would need to see acceptances continuing to flow if the offer is to succeed. All acceptances must be received by BSM shareholders by 18 February 2017.

The directors of NZ Binxi consider the cash offer of $2.20 per BSM share correct and full value for the BSM company, as it is at the top end of the value scale and is supported by the Target Company Statement. We have fully considered all aspects of the business, the competitive environment, historical and current financial results, overseas market conditions and future capital required to operate the improved business performance. . . 

The public is finally coming round to GM crops – Tom Bawden:

The public has become much more welcoming towards genetically-modified crops in the past few years, preparing the ground for them to be introduced to the UK, a leading expert has predicted.

Professor Christine Raines is in charge of a major GM project that could herald the beginning of a new era in an area that detractors say has seen disappointing progress in the past three decades.

The project, which the government will decide whether to approve next March, would involve trialling a new type of GM wheat – the first time a crop has been engineered to produce a higher yield.


Rural round-up

December 9, 2016

Farmers urged to report all crime:

 

A Federated Farmers survey shows the rural sector is plagued by thieves, rustlers and poachers but not enough farmers are reporting their losses.

Farmers need to get smarter about security, and work more closely with police to deter and catch offenders, Federated Farmers rural crime portfolio leader Rick Powdrell says.

More than 1,000 farmers from all over New Zealand responded to the on-line survey, with 26 per cent saying stock had been stolen from them in the last five years. More than 3% had been hit by stock thieves five times or more since 2011. . . 

Police investigating theft of 70 hay bales from farm near Wanaka – Rhys Chamberlain:

Otago Lakes Central police are on the hunt for thieves who made off with 70 bales of hay worth about $350 in total.

A police media spokeswoman said the theft occurred on the corner of Partridge Rd and St Ninians Way near Hawea Flat between 8pm Sunday and 7am on Monday.

There was no indication of the method used to take the bales and there appeared to be no witnesses, she said.

“The victim has no idea how they [hay bales] were taken.” . . 

Blue Sky Meats urges shareholders to wait for more information on Binxi takeover – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Blue Sky Meats has recommended shareholders wait for more information from the board on the future prospects of the meat processor before deciding on a takeover offer from China-based Heilongjiang Binxi Cattle Industry Co, which is at the top of an independent valuation range.

NZ Binxi (Oamaru) Foods, a subsidiary of the Chinese company referred to as Binxi Cattle Group, is offering $2.20 per share for the 86.5 percent of Blue Sky that it doesn’t already own. Independent adviser Campbell MacPherson values Blue Sky’s shares between $1.93 and $2.21 apiece, according to a report sent to shareholders yesterday. . . 

The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust is seeking a tenant for its dairy farm:

The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust seeks a tenant for the 80 hectare dairying operation in McLeans Island Road, Harewood – directly opposite Harewood Golf Course. The lease marketing campaign is being undertaken by Bayleys Canterbury, with tenders closing on December 14.

The dairy operation is part of the revenue activities of the Trust, which administers an expansive 1100 hectare flora and fauna sanctuary adjacent to Christchurch International Airport.

The Trust is a well renown not-for-profit wildlife organisation and is currently the only facility in the world breeding orange-fronted parakeets in captivity, and the only facility outside of the Department of Conservation to breed the rare black stilt and New Zealand shore plover bird species. It runs one of New Zealand’s most expert incubation and hatchery for rare breed chicks. . . 

  Anchor launches new range of premium products in China:

At its Annual General Meeting today Fonterra announced the launch of a new range of premium Anchor products in China, in response to the ongoing growth in demand for safe, high-quality dairy nutrition.

The new ‘Upline’ range features two new UHT milk products. LiveUp is a high-protein milk with 50 per cent more protein than standard UHT (at 5.7 grams of protein per 100ml), while NaturalUp is made from certified fresh organic New Zealand milk that meets Chinese and New Zealand organic standards.

Fonterra Greater China President, Christina Zhu, said the new products . . 

Mixed results for wool:

New Zealand Wool Services International Ltd’s CEO Mr John Dawson reports that the North Island auction comprising 9400 bales, which was 2000 bales above anticipated roster, saw a 93 percent clearance with a continuation of targeted buying. With price levels at lowest levels for several seasons, buying activity from some sectors has been stimulated for specific types, resulting in price lifts for target wools, however there were further reductions for out of favour types.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies was 1.03 percent up on last week, having minimal impact locally.

Mr Dawson advises compared to last North Island selection on 1st December; . . 

British wool a thriving industry thanks to running the last marketing board in the country Julia Bradshaw:

Every sheep is different, so every fleece is different, you open one up and never know what you’re going to get,” says Ian Brooksbank, a senior head grader for the British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB) – the country’s last surviving agricultural commodities co-operative.

Brooksbank works at its North of England depot, a massive warehouse on the outskirts of Bradford, next to the headquarters of the marketing board. There, he and a team of workers grade and package fleeces from the surrounding counties. Grading takes huge skill, and Brooksbank has years of experience. “I started here in 1990 when I was 16, just pushing the skeps,” he says as he touches the fleece in front of him, pulling out and inspecting the fibres to see how strong and uniform they are.


Rural round-up

November 14, 2016

Alliance in good shape – Allan Barber:

Alliance has produced a solid result for the year ended 30 September with a pre-tax profit of $10.1 million compared with $7.9 million for the previous year achieved on 9% lower revenue of $1.366 billion. Of greater significance to farmers is the decision to distribute $9.8 million to shareholders, while the company’s equity position has improved from 58% of assets to 72%. Debt reduced from $129 million to $41 million with no seasonal debt at year end.

Alliance’s transformation programme has achieved improvements of $56 million compared with budgeted savings of $34 million and, according to chairman Murray Taggart, the company is only part of the way through the programme. In spite of the market challenges arising from global uncertainties like Brexit and the US presidential election result, Taggart told me he is feeling more optimistic than at any time since joining the Alliance board. . . 

Meat, wool lack NZ brand: report – Sally Rae:

One of the biggest weaknesses — and thus opportunities — for the meat and wool sector is the lack of a coherent New Zealand “brand” internationally.

That is a key point raised in Westpac’s latest Industry Insights report covering New Zealand’s largest primary industry.

Farmers, meat and wool processors, farm advisers and farm support business were among those canvassed for their views on the biggest risks and challenges for the sector. . . 

Stratford deposes world champ shearer Smith –

Reigning world champion Rowland Smith has been deposed by Southland shearer Nathan Stratford who will now represent New Zealand at the world championships in his home town.

The gruelling 10-month selection process ended in dramatic fashion at the Canterbury A&P show with Stratford causing the second boil-over in a many days after Mary-Anne Baty bolted into the wool-handling team with fellow Gisborne handler Joel Henare.

Stratford will team up with 2014 world champion John Kirkpatrick of Napier in the machine shearing team. . . 

Baty bolts into NZ woolhandling team:

A bolter. It’s an oft-used term in the sporting world, and it sits comfortably with Gisborne’s Mary-Anne Baty.

On Thursday Baty completed a remarkable three weeks by being named alongside Joel Henare in the CP Wool Shearing Sports New Zealand woolhandling team to compete at the 2017 world shearing and woolhandling championships in Invercargill in February.

Baty had to rely on a strong finish in the final qualifier of the six-event, year-long series in Hastings in October to sneak into the six-person selection final on a countback. She then made the most of her opportunity to qualify third from the semi-finals and take second place behind Henare to earn New Zealand selection. But it could have been a very different story. . . 

Binxi not only Blue Sky suitor – Neal Wallace:

A takeover offer by Chinese-backed NZ Binxi (Oamaru) Foods is not the only offer being considered by Southland processor Blue Sky Meats.

The company earlier this year employed Auckland consultants BDO to provide business options for Blue Sky and the $2.20 a share offer from NZ Binxi was the “first out of the blocks”, chairman Scott O’Donnell said.  

“They are not the only party talking to us.”  

The offer valued the company at $25.3 million, a significant premium on its market capitalisation value of $15m.   O’Donnell said the process of formally documenting the takeover offer, board consideration of its merits and finally making a recommendation to shareholders could take four to six weeks. . . 

Apple connoisseur to the core – Gerard Hutching:

Tony Fissette knows his apples. Hailing from Belgium’s growing heartland, he has been involved in the fresh produce business most of his working life.

As far as he is concerned, the jazz and envy apples he markets from his office near Brussels for T&G Global (the former Turners & Growers) are “the best apples I’ve ever eaten”.

European consumers agree. For the industry standard 18kg carton of jazz sold to supermarkets, growers receive an $8 premium over the old standby braeburn and royal gala varieties. . . 

Seafood New Zealand welcomes improvements to the management of our fisheries:

Seafood New Zealand welcomes the opportunity to review and refine fisheries management in New Zealand.

The Government proposes three strategic and two regulatory changes that focus on improving information gathering and management, and on ways to further minimise the industry’s environmental footprint, in the Future of our Fisheries report released by the Ministry for Primary Industries today.

“The report brings a renewed focus, for all those who love kaimoana, to work together to further improve New Zealand’s fisheries,” Seafood New Zealand Chairman George Clement said. . . 

Image may contain: one or more people, text and outdoor

I think that if you were raised on a farm, you were born with dirt in your shoes, and once you get dirt in your shoes, you can’t ever get it out.

 


Rural round-up

November 9, 2016

MIE tried hard but couldn’t make a difference – Allan Barber:

MIE’s decision to disband after three years trying to persuade the red meat sector it was going to hell in a handcart has come as no surprise. But the organisation’s founders and directors are not unnaturally disappointed at their inability to gain support for their plan to solve the endemic problems of the industry.

MIE’s chairman Dave McGaveston has blamed everybody for MIE’s failure, including the government, directors of Silver Fern Farms and Alliance (especially the MIE candidates who were appointed to their boards), the rural media, Federated Farmers and Beef + Lamb NZ. The last named organisation actually provided nearly $300,000 of financial support for farmer awareness meetings, business plan preparation and production of the Pathways to Sustainability report. But it incurred MIE’s displeasure when it refused to provide further funding for a roadshow to drum up support for the group’s plans, correctly recognising this was beyond its remit. . . 

China’s Binxi Cattle to mount $25.3 million takeover for Blue Sky Meats –  Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – China-based Heilongjiang Binxi Cattle Industry Co intends to make a $25.3 million takeover offer for Blue Sky Meats, the Southland-based meat processor whose shares trade on the Unlisted platform.

NZ Binxi (Oamaru) Foods, a subsidiary of the Chinese company, will offer $2.20 per share for up to 100 percent of the shares, Blue Sky said in a statement to Unlisted. The formal takeover offer has not yet been made but is due within 30 days of the notification of intention. . . 

Lamb flap prices jump to 18-month high on Chinese New Year demand – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Lamb flap prices jumped to their highest level in a year and a half, driven by increased demand from China where buyers are stocking up for New Year celebrations.

The price for lamb flaps rose to US$4.70 per kilogram in October, up from US$4.50/kg in September and US$3.80/kg for the same period a year earlier, according to AgriHQ’s latest monthly sheep & beef report. That’s the highest level recorded by AgriHQ’s since April 2015. . . 

Sydney shows off ag’s opportunities:

GROWING confidence in global agricultural is putting fizz back into the farm sector, and Rabobank’s innovation summit in Sydney today is yet another example of the investment communities’ interest.

Focused on food trends and new business development, 1000 local and international farmers are mingling with ag start up companies, investors and industry leaders on Cockatoo Island, formerly a convict prison barracks, Navy dockyard and now a UNESCO world heritage site. . . 

 

New programme tackling disruptive innovations for primary industries:

Five years ago, a small team of tech enthusiasts laid the groundwork for a new primary industry event for Australasia, MobileTECH. The objective was to bring together and showcase mobile innovations designed to increase productivity within the sector.

In a sector where meetings, conferences, expos or field days run every other week, it was always important that this event had to have a clear purpose. Those involved were excited about the growth in mobile technologies for the rural sector and in the rapid developments in cloud computing, wireless sensors, big data, satellite imagery and others.

In its design, it needed to be an independent programme about the technology and what it can do; not about politics, markets or the business buzzwords of the day. . .

Vegetable industry joins GIA partnership:

The vegetable industry has become the twelfth industry partner to join the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) biosecurity partnership, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

“It’s great to have Vegetables New Zealand Incorporated signed up and working with the Ministry for Primary Industries and other industry partners,” says Mr Guy.

“It means we can work together on managing and responding to the most important biosecurity risks. . . 

Fresh vegetable industry signs biosecurity agreement:

Vegetables New Zealand Incorporated today signed an agreement with Government to better protect the fresh vegetable growers it represents in managing biosecurity procedures.

Vegetables NZ Inc is the governing body representing 900 commercial growers who produce more than 50 crops, with a farm gate value of over $390 million per annum, to supply the increasing demands of sophisticated customers both in New Zealand and in our export markets.

The Deed of the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) for Biosecurity Readiness and Response was signed by representatives from Vegetables NZ Inc and government at Parliament, with Martyn Dunne, chief executive of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew in attendance. Vegetables NZ Inc joins 12 other primary sector industry groups that have joined with the government in the GIA partnership. . . 

Are dairy fats beneficial for good health?

For decades, experts advised people to reduce their fat intake, however they now agree that fats are actually beneficial for people’s health, and dairy fats have an important role to play.

Fonterra Senior Research Scientist and Nutritionist, Dr Elisabeth Weichselbaum, explained that the idea that fat makes you fat was flawed. Research today shows that, people who eliminated fats from their diet often replaced them with refined carbohydrates, which in turn is thought to have contributed to the double burden of obesity and diabetes.

“Fat not only provides a valuable source of energy, but also delivers key building blocks for the body and essential, fat-soluble vitamins. Dairy, which is a natural source of fat, plays a key part in this because it is packed full of nutrients. . . 


Rural round-up

December 4, 2014

Another industry signs up for biosecurity partnership:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed Pipfruit New Zealand onboard as the third industry to join the Government’s biosecurity partnership.

The Deed of the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) for Biosecurity Readiness and Response was signed by Pipfruit New Zealand today.

“This means that apple and pear growers and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) can work closely together and make joint decisions on readiness and response to manage mutual high priority biosecurity pests,” says Mr Guy. . .

More support for Otago farmers to improve water quality:

Dairy farmers in Otago are receiving more support to meet upcoming water quality rules through a series of DairyNZ ‘EnviroReady’ field days being held with the support of Federated Farmers and Beef + Lamb.

More than 200 farmers and rural professionals attended four recent field days in both north and south Otago, with the last one being held this week at Elderslie, near Oamaru.

DairyNZ’s sustainability team manager Theresa Wilson says the farmers were given an understanding of new regional environmental rules and regulations presented by Federated Farmers’ policy staff. . .

ANZ to pay $19 million in interest rate swaps case:

The Commerce Commission has reached a $19 million settlement with ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited (ANZ) in relation to the marketing, promotion and sale of interest rate swaps to rural customers between 2005 and 2009.

The settlement will see ANZ establish a payment fund of $18.5 million, to be used to make payments to eligible customers (those who registered their complaints with the Commission). The Commission will also receive $500,000 towards its investigation costs, and some monies from the payment fund are able to be distributed to charitable organisations for the assistance of the rural community. . .

Federated Farmers call Commerce Commission ANZ settlement ‘fair and equitable’:

Federated Farmers have described the Commerce Commission settlement with the ANZ Bank over interest rate swaps as ‘a fair and equitable outcome’ for rural customers.

Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston says the agreement that the ANZ will pay compensatory payments to customers, who believe they were misled by their interest rate swap contacts, is the best outcome which could be expected.

“While some farmers found interest rate swaps a useful instrument, others felt they were not adequately informed of the risks should the market run against them. The Global Financial Crisis created those unexpected and unfavourable conditions. Federated Farmers wrote to the Commerce Commission asking it to investigate and the outcome today vindicates our stance,” Dr Rolleston says. . .

Rural areas need law reform – Hugh Stringleman:

Regional economies are declining when a means of revitalisation is within reach according to a new study of the potential for mining.

The New Zealand Initiative think tank has published the Poverty of Wealth, subtitled why minerals need to be part of the rural economy.

It sought to answer the conundrum of why resource-rich regions were not tapping into the wealth beneath their feet. . .

Weevil-killing wasp in demand:

Farmers in Southland have been queuing up for supplies of a small parasitic wasp used to fight a serious pest.

Scientists have warned that farms in region could be hit hard by the clover root weevil again this summer – one of the worst pasture pests that attacks and destroys clover.

AgResearch scientist Colin Ferguson said more than 200 farmers had attended workshops in Southland to find out more about the pest and where and how to release the wasps. . .

 20K signs without delay  call:

Rural Women New Zealand says this week’s accident in Canterbury, when a teen was hit crossing the road after getting off a school bus, may have been avoided if the bus had been fitted with flashing 20K signs.

Rural Women New Zealand took part in a trial of new LED signs in Ashburton last year, which included a public education and police enforcement campaign. The trial proved very successful in slowing drivers and Rural Women New Zealand hopes that the signs will be approved for general use on school buses in 2015. . .

Blue Sky Meats acquires Clover Export, adding beef, venison processing – Jonathan Underhill:

 (BusinessDesk) – Blue Sky Meats, whose shares trade on the Unlisted platform, has agreed to acquire Gore-based Clover Export, adding processing capacity in beef and venison to the range of services it can offer to sheep and bobby calf customers, while attracting new suppliers.

No price was disclosed for the transaction. Chairman Graham Cooney said Clover is about 10-15 percent of the size of Blue Sky in terms of turnover. Blue Sky’s revenue was $95.3 million in its 2014 year. More details may be given in the company’s annual report after its March 31, 2015, balance date.

Clover’s owners include European shareholders and, as part of the deal, Blue Sky has agreed to continue with Clover’s horse meat processing on a toll basis for sale into the European market. Horse meat will be a small ongoing business, amounting to about “a day a month,” Cooney said. . .

Another Success for NZ Farming:

CarboPhos®, a phosphate based fertiliser developed after conducting pot, plot and field trials and construction of a pilot plant in Nelson NZ, has been granted a patent in both New Zealand and Australia.Independently monitored trials have shown it can be applied at half the rate of the NZ mainstream phosphate product, saving time and costs for farmers. Sales continue to grow in New Zealand as farmers begin to understand the need for slower release, soil and biology friendly nutrients, compared with the mainstream fertiliser.

Chris Copplestone, Managing Director of The Growing Group commented “We are extremely proud of being able to offer a solution to farmers who understand the need for traditional nutrients, delivered in a granular form free of the traditional sulphuric acid base”. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

August 21, 2014

Increases for fish stocks show success of QMS:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced increases to catch limits for a range of New Zealand fisheries today, thanks to healthy stock levels.

“This shows the success of our world-leading Quota Management System (QMS). It is flexible and driven by science, which means that we can increase take as stock levels improve,” Mr Guy says.

Healthy stocks have led to increased Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limits for:

• Hoki 1 (10,100 extra tonnes across New Zealand)
• Orange Roughy 7A (1155 extra tonnes on the upper West Coast)
• Orange Roughy 3B (525 extra tonnes around the lower South Island) . . .

Just what the doctor ordered, no way or only a matter of time? – Allan Barber:

There are three possible responses to the prospect of an overseas, probably Chinese, investor buying seriously into the New Zealand meat industry: bring it on, not on your life or it’s inevitable.

So far Chinese interests have recently bought a minority stake in Blue Sky Meats and an application to buy Prime Range Meats is with the Overseas Investment Office; ANZCO is just under 75% Japanese owned with New Zealand management and staff holding the balance. ANZCO’s ownership structure has remained like this for over 25 years bringing positive benefits to the company, its suppliers and New Zealand as a whole. . . .

Back to the future? – Andrew Hoggard:

I am going to propose something provocative.  The big long term issue for us isn’t going to be water but will be employment and occupational health and safety. 

While the mention of water and farming gets some people worked up, the truth will eventually break through the spin and I think we are just starting to see this.  When it comes to employment matters though, our industries have been named by the government’s Worksafe NZ as the most dangerous.  Another part of government says a big minority of employers aren’t meeting basic employment law obligations.

If that’s not enough, we’re fully in the crosshairs of the Council of Trade Unions too. . .

It’s a super trim season yes, but milk and disaster, no – Chris Lewis:

Do you know that in the first half of 2014, the amount of global tradable milk grew by an amazing seven billion litres.  That’s enough milk to fill 2,800 extra Olympic sized swimming pools and it was available for export.  It goes to explain why Fonterra cut this season’s forecast payout by a $1 per kilogram of milksolids (kg/MS).

It would be nice if our politicians realised that farmers have good and bad seasons but they don’t.  All the spending promises seem to assume we’re constantly swimming in greenbacks.  We aren’t.  It is also why anyone, whether a Kiwi or a foreigner, who looks at a farm like a get rich quick property scheme will likely end up come a cropper. 

A farm is your business and your home.  This is why farmers are passionate about what we do and that makes us go the extra mile.  It is why I take exception to the line ‘milk and disaster’ being applied to dairy.  It is super trim season yes, but milk and disaster, no. It is great to see the latest GlobalDairyTrade average still in the US$3,000 a metric ton range but that slight 0.6 percent fall means we are on exactly US$3,000. . .

 High pin bones too prevalent in NZ – Yvonne O’Hara:

New Zealand has a rump angle problem, says Holstein Friesian classifier Denis Aitken.

As well as being a dairy farmer who is trying to retire, Mr Aitken, of Maungatua, is a member of the World Holstein Friesian Federation Type Harmonisation working group. He spent some time in Denmark attending its two-yearly meeting in May.

The working group was seeking to standardise or ”harmonise” 18 different physical traits in Holstein Friesians by classifying or precisely defining the ideal of each of those traits and promoting the evaluation system. . . .

Young Agricultural Professionals Are Driving Agricultural Development – Food Tank:

Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) is a global network of young agriculture and development professionals who are coming together to create innovative and sustainable agricultural development. YPARD enables its young members to share knowledge and information, participate in meetings and debates, promote agriculture among young people, and organize workshops.

Food Tank interviewed Rebeca Souza, a YPARD representative in Brazil, to discover what YPARD members have been accomplishing.

Food Tank (FT): How did you become a representative for YPARD?

Rebeca Souza (RS): Last year, I was doing an internship at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Three other interns and I decided to organize an event calling on young professionals to share innovative ideas to overcome world hunger and malnutrition. YPARD was one of our partners, and Courtney Paisley, the director, was attending our event. I came to her asking if I could be a country representative in Brazil since no one was appointed to this position yet. She said yes! . . .

 


Rural round-up

June 30, 2014

Rustling needs to be a specific offence:

Federated Farmers is asking political parties to develop policies to tackle the scourge of stock theft better known as rustling.

“We know stock theft or rustling has been estimated to cost the farming community some $120 million each year,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers rural security spokesperson.

“In recent weeks we’ve seen a lifestyler raided for breeding ewes in Waikato and over 200 sheep despicably shot in Otago.

“We’ve got to ask if the penalties imposed are serious enough to be a deterrent for either rustling or poaching. Based on our experience to date they are not. . .

Behaviour is the root cause of meat industry’s problems – Allan Barber:

I am not completely sure why we spend so much time and effort complaining about the meat industry or which problems we are trying to solve. However in the interests of encouraging progress and stimulating debate, I will try to define the problem: this appears to be that the meat processing and export sector is not profitable enough, whether in absolute terms or in comparison to dairy. Both may be true.

It is worth stating the unique challenges of the red meat sector up front. First, there is a market at both ends of the chain, procurement and sale of the products; second, New Zealand exports a higher percentage of its production than any other country which must travel further to reach its markets, not all of them equally buoyant; third, sheep and beef must be disassembled into multiple cuts of meat as well as many co-products, all of which are sold into a wide range of markets for variable returns; fourth the climate dictates when the grass will grow and livestock will be ready for slaughter; and last, but not least, the producer can choose when and where to send the livestock for slaughter except in a drought. . .

The recipe for future success:

Blue Sky Meats and its suppliers will be relieved the company is back in black after two challenging years.

The return to profitability – a $1.946 million after-tax profit for the year to March – came on the back of the only two losses in the Southland-based company’s 28-year history.

It has been a much better year for meat companies. Along with Blue Sky – and Lean Meats – the two big co-operatives, Alliance Group and Silver Fern Farms, who both report late in the year, have signalled profitable years. . .

Dairy recovery anticipated – by Christmas – Sally Rae:

Dairy commodity prices are predicted to stay in a trough period for another three to six months.

Speaking at the recent South Island Dairy Event in Invercargill, Rabobank’s director of dairy research for New Zealand and Asia, Hayley Moynihan, said it could be Christmas before there was a more sustained recovery in commodity prices.

It would be a ”reasonably prolonged” trough, as inventories were worked through and an additional seven billion litres of milk available on the world market in the first half of 2014 took time to ”find a home”. . .

Focus on consumers behind Pasture to Plate success – Sally Rae:

King Country farmer William Oliver’s belief in the consumer stemmed from his time studying at the University of Otago.

Mr Oliver and his wife Karen were the overall winners of the Silver Fern Farms’ Pasture to Plate Award.

Silver Fern Farms chairman Rob Hewett said the couple impressed the judges with their focus on the consumer. . . .

Simpler pesticide rules on the way:

The Environmental Protection Authority is aiming to simplify the rules covering pesticides and other hazardous substances.

The authority is marking its third anniversary as the country’s environmental regulator after being created from three agencies – the Environmental Risk Management Authority, the Ministry for the Environment and the Economic Development Ministry.

EPA chief executive Rob Forlong said one of its big achievements has been a wide ranging review of organophosphate chemicals, which resulted in controls on some pesticides being tightened and others phased out. . .

Final countdown for Ultimate Rural Challenge:

The showcase event of the rural calendar is only three days away!

The 2014 ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Final begins this Thursday 3 July, 4.30pm with the Official Opening at Lincoln University Library. Here, the top seven contestants will be introduced to the public and compete in their first head-to-head challenge.

The competition over the following two days is a testament to the sophistication of modern farming and level of skill and knowledge required to be successful in the field. The top seven young farmers have made it through to the Grand Final by competing in their local district competition and taking first place in their Regional Finals.  . .

Successful annual conference for Rural Contractors NZ:

More than 100 agricultural contractors from all over the country met in New Plymouth, last week, for Rural Contractors New Zealand’s (RCNZ) annual conference.

Rural Contractors New Zealand is the only national association for rural contractors in New Zealand.

Last week’s conference saw Wellsford-based Steve Levet re-elected as president of RCNZ, with Southland’s David Kean re-elected vice-president. . .

 


Rural round-up

June 25, 2014

Neighbours to sheep shooting worried:

Neighbours of a North Otago farm where nearly 200 sheep have been shot say they also fear what will happen next.

Police are investigating the unexplained slaughter in Ngapara, 30km inland from Oamaru at the weekend. Peter Stackhouse discovered the dead sheep, and others wandering injured, at sites about 1km inside his farm over two successive nights.

On Saturday morning, he found 110 sheep that had been killed and though he shifted the flock, another 80 hoggets were killed on Saturday night.

Mr Stackhouse said the the killing of his stock was a great shock and he was not sleeping well, worrying about what will happen next. Although the sheep were shot, he had not found any spent cartridges or bullets. . .

Lincoln and Canterbury – is a merger the solution? – Keith Woodford:

Last week I wrote how Lincoln University is facing hard times, and is shedding lecturing staff in core areas of land-based education. I suggested one solution could be for Lincoln to become much more focused on its true areas of specialisation and to greatly reduce the managerial and marketing spend which has recently ballooned. The other alternative is to link with Canterbury University.

Unfortunately, the first alternative is unlikely to occur. It would require the senior management team to reverse key policies with which they are collectively associated.

So the other alternative of joining with Canterbury University now needs careful scrutiny. The Tertiary Education Commission stated earlier this year that in its opinion New Zealand had too many Universities, and if that really is the case then Lincoln surely has to be first cab off the rank. Also, Lincoln’s Vice Chancellor (VC) himself said some two years back that, if his proposed growth strategy failed, then the alternative would be to join “the fine university down the road”. . .

Sex and inbreeding (in bees) – Peter K Dearden:

Tomorrow I am speaking at the National Bee Keepers Association conference in Whanganui and thought I might write a bit about what we have been doing to help me get things clear.

Much of my research work is on bees; trying to learn how they work, trying to find new ways to protect them and, occasionally doing research to help the beekeeping industry.

Beekeeping is a reasonably large business in New Zealand, making over $100 Million per annum in bee-related exports. More importantly, it is estimated that Bees bring $5.1 Billion each year to the New Zealand economy through pollination. Bees are a vital part of our primary production sector and we need to care about them. . .

Alliance venison plants cleared for China:

The Alliance meat group has had a breakthrough in getting both of its venison processing plants certified to supply the China market, that doubles the number of listed New Zealand venison plans to four.

New Zealand has had a long established trade in deer velvet or antler to China and some other deer products.

But venison is relatively new to that market. . .

Return to profit: Blue Sky smiling – Sally Rae:

Blue Sky Meats’ return to profitability spells an end to about two and-a-half years of turmoil in the international sheep meat industry, chairman Graham Cooney says.

Directors were ”quite rightly proud” of how the Southland-based company had not only survived but moved forward in a time when the sheep meat processing and exporting industry had reputedly lost $200 million, he said.

The company has recorded a $1.946 million after-tax profit for the year to March. . . .

South Canterbury ag-student is finalist in Green Agriculture Innovation Award:

Twenty-year old University student Genevieve Steven, of Timaru, is the winner of the Viafos Youth Award, putting her in the running against nine other finalists as the supreme award winner of the inaugural Green Agriculture Innovation Awards (GAIA) in New Zealand.

The youngest contender for the award, Ms Steven is in her second year at Lincoln University on a DairyNZ scholarship studying biochemistry, animal sciences, plant sciences, soil science and management papers.

Her ultimate goal is a move into biological farming. “I would like to be an educator and advisor to farmers already using the principles of biological farming, but also take the concept of ‘biological farming’ to those who don’t know much about it. I enjoy the challenge of changing people’s perceptions.” . . .

Grower lauds sugar beet ‘wonder fuel’ – Diane Bishop:

Sugar beet is the new wonder fuel, according to Southern Cross Produce owner Matthew Malcolm who has started growing and harvesting sugar beet for the dairy market.

“I can see a real future for it.

“With a lot more wintering sheds going up there will be a bigger demand to take the crop to the cows,” he said.

Malcolm, who has grown 10 hectares of the crop on his Woodlands property in Southland, was keen to try sugar beet which has a higher sugar content than fodder beet. . .

2014 Young Viticulturist of the Year set to be the biggest and best yet:

With just two weeks to go until the first regional rounds of Young Viticulturist of The Year 2014, this year’s competition is shaping up to be the biggest and best yet! Now in its ninth year Young Viticulturist of The Year will host a fourth regional competition for the first time with Wairarapa Winegrowers, joining Hawkes Bay, Marlborough and Central Otago.

Competition organiser, Emma Taylor said “Since the success of Braden Crosby from Borthwick Estate who was the 2012 national champion, it seems that many viticulturists in the Wairarapa region have been inspired by him and there is now enough interest for Wairarapa to hold their own round of the competition.” Braden Crosby will use his experience as a past competitor to shape the competition which will be held at Te Kairanga Winery on the 30th July alongside the regional Silver Secateurs competition. . .

 


Rural round-up

June 21, 2014

Irrigation change ‘win-win outcome’ – David Bruce:

Farmers have spent ”tens of thousands of dollars” and considerable time on a plan to cut the irrigation take from the Maerewhenua River, an Environment Canterbury hearing was told in Oamaru yesterday.

Drawn up between the community and Environment Canterbury (ECan), it involves some farmers shifting irrigation takes to the Waitaki River to leave more water in the Maerewhenua, one of New Zealand’s outstanding small river fisheries.

ECan has instigated a plan change to the Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation Regional Plan, prepared in 2005, to reduce water allowed for irrigation from the Maerewhenua River and some other provisions. . . .

Blue Sky Meats returns to profit – Alan Williams:

Southern lamb processor Blue Sky Meats is back in profit, emerging from what chairman Graham Cooney said was the most difficult trading in its history.

The after-tax profit for the year ended March 31 was $1.94 million, compared to a loss of $3.87m a year earlier. 

Revenue was down 2% to $95.3m, with costs 10% lower at $92.6m. This was as a result of paying livestock suppliers prices which reflected the market, unlike a year earlier, Cooney said. . . .

Levy about ‘putting heat’ into industry:

The proposed levy referendum is about ”putting heat back into the industry”, Wool Levy Group chairwoman Sandra Faulkner says.

Sheep farmers will have the opportunity to vote on whether to reintroduce a wool levy in October.

Until then, Mrs Faulkner, a sheep farmer from Muriwai, and her team will be speaking to groups at events across the country about the referendum process and the importance of voting.

She called her team ”fantastic” and said it had pan-sector representation. . . .

Elders New Zealand sells to Carr Group:

South Island based Carr Group have acquired Elders Rural Services New Zealand (Elders) for an undisclosed amount from Elders Australia Limited and New Zealand based Sredle Rural Services.

Carr Group Managing Director, Craig Carr said the opportunity to return Elders to Kiwi ownership was exciting for both companies. “Bringing together two strong agri-businesses under one New Zealand entity will not only expand our footprint within New Zealand but also across the global marketplace where we currently operate and export to more than 40 countries. Supported by a team of over 400 staff in New Zealand, Australia, India, Africa and the Middle East, this acquisition will take combined group annual revenues to in excess of NZD300 million”.

Starting from humble beginnings 40 years ago in Ashburton, founders Greg and Glenys Carr are still active in the business along with their three sons and daughter. . .

Deer profit initiative wins government support:

The government is supporting a major initiative to increase deer farm profitability.

The Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) is contributing up to $225,000 over the next three years to Advance Parties, a half million dollar project designed to lift deer farming profits. The balance of funding comes from Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ).

DINZ chief executive officer Dan Coup said he was grateful for the support provided by the fund, which has appreciated the novelty and the merit of the Advance Parties concept.

“We see that as a strong endorsement for our overall deer farming profitability strategy – Passion2Profit.” . .

Farmax to be first company to adopt Farm Data Code of Practice

Leading farm management software provider Farmax is the first company in New Zealand to begin the Farm Data Code of Practice accreditation process.

Launched on 10 June, the Farm Data Code of Practice outlines steps organisations must take to safeguard farmers’ data and ensure information is stored and shared in the most secure way possible.

By adopting and implementing the Farm Data Code of Practice, Farmax general manager Gavin McEwen said the company will assure farming clients that their data is managed in a responsible way.

“Compliance with the Code of Practice will show that we are committed to furthering the use of information technology-based solutions in the industry. We believe the guidelines set out within the Code of Practice will eventually lead to greater confidence from farmers in how Farmax handles their data,” said Mr McEwen. . . .

Abodo Wood’s Innovative Wood Products Scoop Green Ribbon Awards 2014:

New Zealand natural wood specialist Abodo Wood scooped the Green Economy Award at this year’s Green Ribbon Awards, on June 16.

Abodo’s range of preservative-free, locally grown cladding products were noted as influential in a drive towards sustainable, cradle-to-cradle building materials.

Of particular note was Abodo Wood’s Elements Vulcan+ and Elements Tundra timber weatherboards, both of which are locally grown, FSC certified and free from chemical preservatives. . .

Cow Stuck On Roof In Swiss Alps, Terrible Puns Ensue – Chris York:

You cud not make it up!

The steaks could not have been higher when a lonely and presumably Friesian bovine moo-ved itself onto… oh you get the picture.

It’s a cow stuck on a roof. . .


Rural round-up

April 9, 2014

North Island drought ‘worse than last year’:

Drought conditions are “worse than last year”, according to some North Island farmers.

Farmers across the North Island are desperate for rain after months of dry, windy weather, despite the Government saying the problem isn’t widespread enough for a drought to be declared, says forecaster WeatherWatch.

Some have had very little rain since the end of last year.

King Country farmer Dick Lancaster says conditions near Taumarunui are worse than last year’s drought.

“Natural stock water has dried up and northern-facing hills are becoming dusty and lifeless.” . . .

Blue Sky Meats strengthens Chinese ties after exporter pays premium for 11% of company  – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – Blue Sky Meats has strengthened ties with China, its largest market by volume and value, after two Auckland-based businessmen paid a premium for 11 percent of the unprofitable meat processor.

Cook Huang and Qiang Zheng acquired the Blue Sky holding from Danish casings company DAT-Schaub Group for $2.33 million, or $1.80 a share in an off market share transfer, according to a Blue Sky statement to the Unlisted platform. Their investment vehicle, Blue Star Corp, is now the third-largest shareholder of Blue Sky. Its shares last traded at $1.10.

Huang exports New Zealand red meat, spring water, juice and chocolate to China through a separate company he set up in September, Everlast International, and with his business partner Zheng, he had been looking for a suitable investment.

Blue Sky had a good management team and produced quality meat and “we want to share” in its growth, he said. He expects it to make “good profits” in 2014. Huang also operates an immigration consultancy in Auckland called Everlast Consultancy. . .

Consent for new dryer welcomed:

Westland Milk Products welcomes the approval of its land-use consent application to the Westland District Council for a new dairy nutritionals dryer on its Hokitika site.

Subject to there being no appeals over the next 15 working days, Westland expects work on the $102 million project to commence almost immediately.

General Manager Operations Bernard May says Westland is pleased that the conditions imposed by the commissioner who heard the application are within the scope expected by Westland and, indeed, several are conditions the company itself suggested as part of its efforts to work with potential objectors to address their concerns. . .

Fonterra appoints interim MD International Farming Ventures:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited announced today the interim appointment of Henk Bles to the newly-created role of Managing Director International Farming Ventures.

Mr Bles has held leadership roles in the international dairy farming industry for more than 30 years, in dairy cattle, genetics and dairy development.

Henk is also a proven entrepreneur, who has established his own businesses: Bles Dairies Livestock BV; Bles Dairies Genetics / Eurostar Genes; and dairy development company The Friesian.  He also holds an advisory position with Semex Global and is a board member for the Dutch Cattle Association. . .

Farm company fined over tractor death:

Waikato company, Sundale Farms Limited, has been fined $25,400 over the death of a worker killed by a runaway remote controlled tractor.

Gursharan Singh was on his second day on the job harvesting broccoli in March last year when he was pulled under the wheels of a tractor at Sundale Farm’s Pukekawa farm.

Mr Singh was attempting to reach the tractor’s controls after it had accelerated unexpectedly from its normal speed of 0.3 kilometres an hour to 6.7 kilometres an hour. He was caught by the left hand rear wheel of the tractor and pulled to the ground and run over.

The tractor, which was towing a trailer for the loading of broccoli, was operated via a remote control system so that a driver was not required to sit at the controls. . .

NZ dairy awards finalists confirmed:

The search for the best in New Zealand’s dairy industry has been narrowed down to 33 finalists across three categories.

National awards convener Chris Keeping said many finalists were relatively new to the industry, having changed careers, and were tapping into the resources and knowledge available to boost their farm businesses and make rapid progress in the industry.

“Entering the dairy industry awards is one way they have identified they can improve their knowledge and skills, meet rural professionals and other like-minded farmers, lift their confidence, have some fun and enhance their reputation,” she said.

Award categories are sharemilker-equity farmer of the year, farm manager and dairy trainee.     . .

Generosity impresses dairy industry trainee:

The willingness of farmers to share their knowledge is one of the reasons a young Taranaki award-winner loves the dairy industry.

Ben Frost, who won the 2014 Taranaki Dairy Trainee of the Year title, works on the 130ha Upper Glenn Rd farm of James Murphy, near Kapuni.

Murphy, who won the 2007 Taranaki Sharemilker of the Year title with sister and brother-in-law Catherine and Chris Cook, said he was proud of Frost’s achievements and believed the 21-year-old’s attitude and willingness to learn gave him a big future in the dairy industry.

Frost, who loves farming and being in the outdoors, is progressing to a farm manager’s position in June on Murphy’s 450-cow split calving farm where he is currently second in charge and in the midst of calving 200 cows. . .

Ambitious new PGP programme for avocado industry:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is welcoming an ambitious new Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme for the avocado industry, which aims to triple productivity and quadruple returns by 2023.

‘Go Global’ is an $8.56 million programme, with $4.28 million coming from the Government via PGP funding. It will be a five year partnership between the Avocado Industry Council and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

“This is the first PGP programme involving the horticultural industry and will help the industry work together to capitalise on the growing demand here and overseas.

“Australia is currently the biggest market for New Zealand avocado, but this project will help expansion into Asian countries where there is major potential. . .

New Zealand Avocados set to “Go Global” with New Government Partnership:

The Avocado Industry Council announced today it will partner with the Ministry for Primary Industries in a new Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme called Go Global— a five year programme to increase the productivity and capability within the avocado industry to deliver significant additional returns for New Zealand.

Jen Scoular, Chief Executive Officer of Avocado Industry Council, says it is a landmark development for the avocado industry that will increase sales to more than a quarter of a billion dollars by 2023.

“This PGP programme will create significant value across the industry, helping position New Zealand’s avocado industry to capitalise on the growing demand domestically and in Asia, for premium, safe, and healthy produce. Part of this will involve developing a New Zealand avocado story to highlight the health and versatility of our avocados,” says Scoular. . .

 


Rural round-up

December 20, 2013

Red meat is worth 35 annual Avatars and could be much more:

Federated Farmers has started consultation among its membership covering reform of New Zealand’s $6 billion Red Meat industry.  The red-meat industry is currently worth around 35 annual Avatar movies to the New Zealand economy.

“Given Avatar Director James Cameron is also a Wairarapa farmer, reform of New Zealand’s red meat industry represents our economic blockbuster if we can pull it off,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre spokesperson.

“From the number of calls I have already received, I know both the media and our meat processors are very keen to see a copy of our paper. . .

Feds’ members only meat report:

FEDERATED FARMERS has put “three broad options” to its members on meat industry reform in a paper to be publicly released in the New Year.

Meat & Fibre section national chair Jeanette Maxwell says the solutions within the options are “more like a pick a mix” and suggests the processor focussed option will generate much discussion.
“There is a push by some in the industry to merge the cooperatives, something that’s much easier said than done. If the thinking is ‘just copy Fonterra’ then it will not succeed. To work, any merger needs a reassessment of the entire industry but especially its capital structures.” . . .

Alliance group’s Blue Sky Meat takeover talks fail – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) Meat co-operative Alliance Group’s talks about a potential takeover of rival South Island processor Blue Sky Meats have ended when Blue Sky withdrew after a failure to agree on key terms.

Blue Sky withdrew from the “respectful and amicable” talks early this month after being approached by Alliance a couple of months ago, Blue Sky chairman Graham Cooney said.

Both processing companies were based in Invercargill.

The farmer-led Meat Industry Excellence group had this year been pushing for closer integration of meat companies in an attempt to improve efficiency and boost profits.  . .

Farmers’ dairying halt boosts river

Dairy farmers are adapting to the massive pressures of farming under the close scrutiny of the public eye, but one farmer on the outskirts of Palmerston township in East Otago has more at stake than most.

For a start, Alan and Iain Ford’s 100ha Glenlurgan dairy farm on fertile river terraces is neatly split in two by the Shag River.

To complicate matters further, the townships of Palmerston, Dunback and Goodwood all draw their water from a pumping station intake at the lower end of the farm. . .

A timely reminder:

Fonterra dropped a bombshell last week when it announced its latest consideration on its farmgate milk price.

For farmer shareholders in New Zealand’s largest company, it had been shaping up to be a particularly merry Christmas, with economists suggesting the milk price could be lifted as much as 40c.

Elevated prices, which have defied predictions and remained at very high levels – the GlobalDairyTrade price index was just 7% below its April high and about 50% higher than a year ago – raised expectations for the forecast to rise. . .

Christmas comes early for Westland dairy farmers:

Federated Farmers is thrilled about the latest announcement from Westland Milk Products regarding their milk pay-out forecast of $8.30 per kilogram of milk solids.

“Dairy farmers have had Christmas early this year with this pay-out announcement,” says Richard Reynolds, Federated Farmers West Coast Dairy chair.

“This is a huge difference from last years pay-out and I know a lot of dairy farmers on the West Coast will be ecstatic at this announcement. . .

Taranaki provincial president hands over the reins:

Federated Farmers is saddened to lose its Taranaki provincial president, Harvey Leach, following his resignation this week.

“Harvey has been a huge influence and a game changer in the Taranaki region, and we will all be sad to see him go,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“The role of provincial president is voluntary and takes a lot of time and dedication.Our provincial presidents do a lot of great work that does not get a lot of coverage, but Harvey has always been one of life’s true gentlemen. He will be missed but he leaves his province in great shape. . .

Bloodstock – setting up to succeed:

The New Zealand’s bloodstock sector is more than just an agribusiness niche and is attracting renewed interest from investors, says Geoff Roan, Senior Manager, Bloodstock, for Crowe Horwath.

While sometimes seen as a high risk investment, if structured correctly and professionally managed as a business, the bloodstock sector can be both profitable and fun, says Mr Roan.

The bloodstock sector was valued at $1.6 bn in NZ by New Zealand Racing Board in 2010, which compares favourably with viticulture ($1.5 bn) and aquaculture ($1.7 bn).

Contribution to GDP $1.64 billion $1.5 billion $1.7 billion Direct employment impact FTE $8,877 $5,940 $10,520 Total employment impact FTE $17,000 $16,500 $26,600 . . .

2013 Waipara Hills Sauvignon Blanc textural and bursting with flavour:

Waipara Hills release their 2013 Waipara Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, just in time for what is predicted to be a hot summer. The new release Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect partner on a balmy summer evening, with its fresh flavours of guava, melon, nettles and flint that flow from the nose into the mouth.

Waipara Hills Winemaker, Simon McGeorge, is really looking forward to showing off the 2013 Waipara Hills Sauvignon Blanc in the coming year. “I love the rich burst of fruit on the first sip, but it’s the texture and structure that I think are exciting. A grapefruit pith character, along with a nice rich mid-palate, gives this wine vibrancy and complexity which I believe will really have broad appeal.” Simon said. . .


Rural round-up

July 19, 2013

Whole milk prices bode well for profits – Jamie Gray:

Dairy farmers could be looking at another record year for profit in 2013-14 after a 4.9 per cent rise in GlobalDairyTrade prices was recorded at the overnight auction, banks said.

Prices for whole milk powder – the most important line for New Zealand producers – were up 7.7 per cent from the the last auction at US$5058 a tonne.

ANZ Bank said prices gained as buyers scrambled to refill their inventory after last summer’s drought and a seasonal low in New Zealand supply, which would put upward pressure on Fonterra’s $7 per kg of milksolids milk price payout forecast for this season. . .

$3.8m after tax loss for Blue Sky  – Sally Rae:

Blue Sky Meats chairman Graham Cooney, whose company has recorded a $3.8 million after-tax loss for the year ending March, says the solutions to the red meat industry model problems are in New Zealand, not in the marketplace.

The result compared with a $449,149 loss last year and a $3.6 million profit the previous year. . .

German vet enjoys shearing experience – Sally Rae:

Cordula Ihring is one determined woman.

The qualified German vet has traded a stethoscope for a shearing hand-piece as she works for a Kurow-based shearing gang.

During the morning smoko break at Peter and Pauline Dodd’s Tapui farm, in North Otago, recently, Ms Ihring (28), known as Cordy, spoke of her passion for shearing. . .

Looking ahead with AbacusBio – Sally Rae:

Since joining AbacusBio on an internship at the end of her university studies, Grace Johnstone admits she ”hasn’t really looked back”.

After spending time last year travelling and working overseas, Ms Johnstone (24) returned to the consultancy and new venture development company this year as an associate consultant.

Brought up on a sheep and beef farm near Outram, the former Columba College head prefect graduated from the University of Otago in 2011 with a double bachelor’s degree in science, majoring in genetics, and law. . . .

A heavy load to carry for native kōura: Amber Mcewan:

This winter, in a cold, clear stream near you, a certain freshwater crustacean has a heavy load to carry. The female New Zealand freshwater crayfish, or kōura, spends the winter months carrying large eggs (up to 200 of them!) attached to the underside of her abdomen. The eggs hatch after 3 or 4 months, but motherhood doesn’t end there for the female kōura – the tiny babies (miniature replicas of their parents) hang on to their mother and she carries them everywhere she goes until they are around 4 mm long, at which point they let go of mum and head off to seek their aquatic fortunes. . . .

Higher truffle production predicted in WA:

Truffle growers in Western Australia are on track to harvest record yields this season.

It is only halfway through their harvesting season but producers are predicting an increase of 30% on last year.

Manjimup Wine and Truffle Co chief executive Gavin Booth expects to produce more than four tonnes of the fungus.

“We’ve got about 1.8 tonnes of saleable truffle,” he said. “I anticipate that to double, so we should get around 4.4 tonne.” . . .


Rural round-up

July 15, 2012

New NZ Infant formula using NZ food safety for Kiwi babies, to market in China:

New Zealand’s strong food safety and consumer demand for quality is the starting point for a new venture – selling New Zealand infant formula, developed for Kiwi babies, into the Chinese market.

In July Carrickmore Infant Formula is being launched in both New Zealand and China. This launch will highlight both New Zealand’s strict food safety laws and clean green reputation.

Carrickmore Nutrition Managing Director, Chris Claridge, said “There are Chinese-owned and a few New Zealand owned milk powder companies selling NZ originated Infant formulas however, the fact we’re selling formula made from fresh New Zealand milk to our children as well as those in the rest of the world, shows the confidence we have in our product.  . .

Blue Sky posts loss as export prices dive:

Blue Sky Meats, the Invercargill-based meat processor, has posted a full-year loss after export prices plummeted in the second half, squeezing margins for companies who started the season with “unrealistic” opening schedules for lamb.

The net loss was $449,149 in the 12 months ended March 31, from a profit of about $3.69 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement.

Sales rose about 13 per cent to $114.2m while expenses climbed 22 per cent to $114.8m.

“International market prices for almost all items that the company sells reduced at an alarming rate from November to March, against a background of EU financial challenges,” chairman Graham Cooney said. . .

Predicting river flows in ungauged river catchments,from New Zealand to the world– Waiology:

Our knowledge of the water cycle is imperfect – for example we don’t have data for all rivers across the landscape, and yet so often we want river flow information for resource and hazard management purposes. In the absence of direct data, then, we turn to models and seek to make hydrological predictions in these ungauged river basins.

Predictions in Ungauged Basins (PUB) is an IAHS initiative operating throughout the decade of 2003-2012, established with the primary aim of reducing uncertainty in hydrological predictions. It is a ‘grass-roots’ science movement intended to engage the interest of hydrologists around the world, and has grown to encompass an enormous variety of approaches and settings. . .

New Zealand gingerly navigates a global dairy crisis:

This year is shaping up as a bumpy one for the international dairy industry, with the worst U.S. drought since Ronald Reagan was president and thousands of European dairy farmers taking to the streets in protest.

“We seem to be staring down the barrel of a global dairy crisis, which could benefit New Zealand’s dairy farmers,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers dairy chairperson.

“An act of nature in the United States and subsidies elsewhere are putting dairy farmers under the most unimaginable pressure. WeatherWatch’s Philip Duncan says half of the continental United States is now in drought. . .

Peel Forest Estate buys Winderemere Stud:

Peel Forest Estate, based in South Canterbury, has announced today that it has purchased the Pure Warnham and Warnham-Woburn breeding herd along with selected sires, semen, embryos and the Windermere name from the award winning Windermere Red Deer Stud near Hamilton.

Windermere stud has been specialising in breeding for superior velvet genetics for nearly twenty five years providing outstanding sires to the deer industry with a high degree of consistency and reliability. . .

Vidal Estate Winery wins Beef & Lamb Excellence People’s Choice Award:

The people have chosen – Vidal Estate Winery in Hastings has been named winner of the Hawkes Bay People’s Choice Award, recognising its excellence in beef and lamb cuisine.

Over 500 diners in Hawkes Bay have spent the past month scoring their beef or lamb dishes in their favourite Beef & Lamb Excellence Award restaurant in the region, with Vidal Estate Winery taking out top honours. . .

Rural sales ease as winter begins:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 13 more farm sales (+3.3%) for the three months ended June 2012 than for the three months ended June 2011. Overall, there were 406 farm sales in the three months to end of June 2012, compared with 467 farm sales in the three months to May 2012, an decrease of 61 sales (-13.1%). On a seasonally adjusted basis, after accounting for normal seasonal fluctuations, the number of sales fell by 6.8%.

1,413 farms were sold in the year to June 2012, 47.2% more than were sold in the year to June 2011.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to June 2012 was $17,565; a 12.8% increase on the $15,568 recorded for three months ended June 2011, and an increase of 3.1% on the $17,031 recorded for the three months to May 2012. . .

NZIF Forester of the Year:

The New Zealand Institute of Forestry Forester of the Year Award for 2012 was presented to Mr Brett Gilmore, a Registered Forester from Napier at the Institute’s annual conference in Christchurch last week.

Announcing the recipient of this prestigious award, President of the Institute, Dr Andrew McEwen, noted that the award recognises leadership, excellence and personal integrity. Consideration is given to the nominee’s contribution to New Zealand’s economic, social and environmental development, the use of innovation and new technologies or the creation of a new product or business of significance to forestry. Further consideration is given to professional and academic achievements, broad community involvement, cultural and other achievements. . .


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