Rural round-up

03/03/2015

Bluff oyster season ‘looks promising’:

The Bluff oyster season has opened with predictions it will be a good one.

The season for collecting oysters from one of the world’s last remaining wild fisheries opened yesterday and runs until the end of August.

Niwa says the oyster population has declined from last year because of the shellfish disease bonamia – which is harmless to humans. . .

– Keith Woodford:

[This post was first published in the Fairfax NZ Sunday Star Times on 22 February 2015. It is the fourth of a series of five on Fonterra.  The earlier posts were ‘The evolution of Fonterra’, ‘Fonterra’s jouney’, and ‘Fonterra’s global reach’.]

One of the big challenges for Fonterra has been to determine its overall market position. Is it a marketer of commodities? Or is it a marketer of fast moving consumer goods (fmcgs)? Or is it a marketer of specialist ingredients? Can it be all three?

The challenge of trying to be all three is that the appropriate business culture is different for each market positioning. Commodity marketing is all about logistics, efficiency, and financial discipline. Fmcgs are all about entrepreneurship, creation of brands, being fast on one’s feet, and willingness to take risks. Specialised ingredients require a focus on science and technology. . .

Dairy women look to future – Blake Foden:

New Zealand’s leading female dairy farmers will come together in Invercargill next month to discuss strategies and plan for the industry’s future.

The Dairy Women’s Network will hold its annual conference at ILT Stadium Southland on March 18-19, with a series of workshops and guest speakers focused on the theme of “Entering tomorrow’s world”.

Chief executive Zelda de Villiers said in the wake of a difficult season where most farmers were expecting a low payout, early bird registrations had been lower than anticipated.

While money might be tight, the current conditions made it even more important to attend and look to the future, she said. . .

Rabobank Dargaville celebrates opening:

Rabobank’s newest office in New Zealand celebrated its official opening on Thursday 26 February with a special event held at the Dargaville branch to mark the occasion.

Located in the heart of Dargaville, the new Rabobank branch is located at 94 Normanby Street and has been purpose-built to suit the needs of clients and staff frequently accessing the facility.

Rabobank chief executive officer for New Zealand Ben Russell said he was pleased to see the new premises “come to life”.

“We have been developing our plan to open in Dargaville for some time now and it’s great to see the team open the new building for business,” Mr Russell said. . .

Second Grand Finalist Confirmed:

Matt Bell is the second Grand Finalist to be named in the 2015 ANZ Young Farmer Contest.

The twenty-eight year old contract-milker took first place at the Aorangi Regional Final in Oamaru on Saturday 28 February.

Mr Bell went home with a prize pack worth over $10,000 including cash, scholarships and products and services from ANZ, FMG, Lincoln University, Ravensdown, AGMARDT, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone.
Matt placed third in the 2013 Grand Final and is determined to take out top honours in his final bid to become the ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Champion. In his spare time Matt enjoys getting out on his motor-bike, snowboarding and refereeing rugby. . .

Grow your bottom line with new pasture:

 Cost-conscious dairy farmers take heart – even with the lower payout, investing in new pasture remains highly profitable this autumn.

Financial analysis shows spending $1000 on autumn pasture renewal can lead to a gross return of more than $4000 over the next five years, while spending $1000 on palm kernel actually leads to a small loss this season in terms of milksolids.

“Pasture remains the corner stone of feeding cows in the New Zealand dairy industry, and the amount of pasture eaten per ha is widely acknowledged as a key profit indicator,” explains Graham Kerr, pasture systems manager for Agriseeds. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

12/03/2014

Three top dairy farms open to the public: see for yourself:

The public are being invited to see for themselves real dairy farms in action, in this case, finalists for the 2014 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Maori Excellence in Farming Award for Dairy.

“Given what’s been in the media over the past 24-hours, this is frankly the best antidote,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“It is an opportunity to see three top-performing dairy farms in action tomorrow, Friday and next Wednesday.

“This is also a chance to talk to the trustees, the farm managers and the organisers of this fantastic competition.  Above all, it’s a genuine opportunity to use your Mark I eyeball and see for yourself what a modern dairy farm is and perhaps, what it isn’t. . .

Fine over quad bike death:

Share-milking company Holden Farms Limited has been fined $28,125 and ordered to pay reparations of $75,000 after a farm hand died last year when the quad bike he was riding rolled on top of him.

Holden Farms pleaded guilty in the Tokoroa District Court to one charge under the Health and Safety in Employment Act of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of Gary Tantrum.

Mr Tantrum died one year ago tomorrow while he was mustering cattle on a farm at Mangakino in Waikato. His quad bike rolled while he was riding up a steep slope. It fell on top of him, crushing him causing fatal injuries. . .

Rural contractors need to bone up on employment obligations:

Agricultural contractors need to ensure they are on top of their all employment and health and safety obligations, according to Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ)

“Our industry is working hard to encourage and attract good people into the sector,” says RCNZ chief executive Roger Parton. “It is all very well having a top-of-the-line tractor, but it is not much use if there is nobody to drive it!”
He says one way of ensuring that both employers and employees have a clear understanding of their responsibilities and obligations is to have written employment agreements in place.

“It is actually a requirement of employment law to have EAs and these should be signed before any work begins.” . . .

Life after Cloudy Bay: New Kiwi classics (and barely a single Sauvignon Blanc among them) – Olly Smith:

I’m just back from the vineyards of New Zealand.

You don’t need me to tell you about Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, which has hordes of fans.

You’ll know Cloudy Bay, but try Greywacke (pronounced Greywacky) by Kevin Judd, winemaker at Cloudy Bay for two decades. Outstanding.

And breaking out from Sauvignon Blanc, how about the spine-tingling Paddler Grüner Veltliner, Kumeu  River Chardonnay, Vinoptima’s exotic Gewürztraminer, or the world-class reds of Craggy Range in Martinborough?

Otago in South Island is showing glimpses of world-class Pinot Noir. . .

Cloudy Bay vineyard leads oyster season globally:

This year, two of New Zealand’s finest local luxuries Cloudy Bay Pelorus and freshly shucked oysters will be served together as a first of the season food and wine pairing. From 10 March, 19 of New Zealand’s top restaurants will be taking part in the launch of Cloudy Bay Pelorus & Oysters. The delicious crisp palate and creamy complexity of Cloudy Bay Pelorus is the perfect wine match for the taste of freshly shucked Bluff oysters.

Joining New Zealand, top restaurants in Australia including Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne will also take part in this new Cloudy Bay culinary experience. Diners will be able to indulge in perfectly chilled Cloudy Bay Pelorus, served by the glass or bottle with freshly shucked bluff oysters served over ice in a custom made Cloudy Bay wooden crate. . .


Rural round-up

04/03/2014

India world’s largest beef exporter – Allan Barber:

For a country where the cow is sacred to adherents of the majority Hindu religion, it seems surprising that India has overtaken Brazil as the largest exporter of beef in the world. A recent article in the New Indian Express reports that a prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, recently referred to the ‘pink revolution’ as the only revolution happening in India, signifying the growing importance of the country’s meat industry.

It was intended primarily as a dig at the inactivity of India’s ruling United Progressive Alliance party which has been in power since 2004. But it underlines the point that beef exports have grown by 50% in the past five years to 1.89 million tonnes with main markets being USA, Europe, the Gulf States and South East Asia.

Poultry exports have also grown substantially, reaching 3.5 million tonnes in the latest year for which figures are available, which puts it after USA and Brazil as the world’s third largest exporter. . .

China’s meat imports surge, while live cattle trade slows – Allan Barber:

An article in Global Meat News.com highlights significant changes in China’s live animal and meat trade with the rest of the world.

China’s imports of live cattle dropped back in 2013, although there was a surge in cattle for beef breeding and finishing. According to China Customs data, China imported 102,245 cattle (cows, bulls and weaners) in 2013 which was down 26,000 on the previous year, but the figures included 9,370 Angus cattle from Australia and New Zealand destined for the beef sector. A batch of 3,000 Angus, classed as ‘beef cattle’, were imported from Australia in November alone.

A listing of major feed lots, published by China’s agricultural ministry, shows the bulk of China’s cattle feed lots are concentrated in Hebei, Liaoning and Shandong provinces. Yet cows and cattle are also being farmed in increasing numbers in the less populous northwesterly regions of Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Gansu and Xinjiang – all of which also have large Muslim populations and a traditional demand for halal-compliant beef products. . .

Bluff oysters are back – Michael Daly:

Succulent Bluff oysters are starting to appear on shop shelves after the season opened at midnight today, but the delicacies are not expected to be widely available in most supermarkets until early next week.

“There will be a little bit getting around the country today,” Bluff Oyster Management Company spokesman and Barnes Oysters manager Graeme Wright said.

Some of the 11 boats in the fleet had gone out last night to be ready to start harvesting as soon as the season opened, and the first boat had been back in port before 8am. . .

Dairy dominates rise in export volumes:

In the December 2013 quarter, seasonally adjusted dairy export values rose 27 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today. Dairy volumes, after adjusting for seasonal effects, rose 23 percent while actual prices fell 1.1 percent.

Total export volumes rose 9.7 percent in the December 2013 quarter while total export prices fell 0.5 percent. Both movements were strongly influenced by dairy, which accounted for 39 percent of the value of goods exported in the December quarter – twice as much as meat and forestry combined.

“Export volumes are at their highest level since the series began in 1990, reflecting higher dairy volumes in the December quarter, after adjusting for seasonal effects,” prices manager Chris Pike said. “Dairy export prices fell slightly, reflecting a stronger New Zealand dollar.” . . .

DairyNZ’s research head retires:

DairyNZ chief scientist Dr Eric Hillerton has announced he will leave his post at the industry body later this year, having decided to semi-retire.

Dr Hillerton says one of the most rewarding parts of being a scientist with DairyNZ is the direct involvement with dairy farmers, understanding the real problems on farms and helping develop solutions and new technologies.

“Much of the value of that science lies in taking research and knowledge directly to farmers, and testing how to apply and transfer innovative technologies and solutions,” says Dr Hillerton. . .

Two New Zealand multinationals partner for Fieldays Premier Feature:

NZ National Fieldays Society is pleased to announce Fieldays 2014 Joint Premier Feature Partners: PGG Wrightson Ltd and Xero Ltd.

Fieldays, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest Agribusiness Expo, will be held 11 to 14 June at Mystery Creek Events Centre, Hamilton. Each year the Fieldays Premier Feature theme provides a compelling showcase for what’s happening throughout New Zealand’s agricultural industry; promotes adoption of current knowledge and technologies; and offers solutions for upcoming challenges.

The Fieldays 2014 Premier Feature theme, Managing Resources for a Competitive Advantage, will highlight areas in which New Zealand’s agricultural sector can optimise, maximise and develop systems and processes to help manage resources effectively and maintain our place among the world’s best. . .


Rural round-up

20/04/2013

World record for Canterbury merino farmer – Tim Cronshaw:

Canterbury merino farmer Anna Emmerson has beaten the Australians at their own game by winning the Loro Piana Challenge Cup in Hong Kong with a world record bale of the finest merino wool.

She broke her own record of 10.9 microns set in 2010 with an ultra-fine bale in the competition held in Paris.

In the past, winning bales have made around $200,000, paid by the family owned clothing and fabric maker Loro Piana, led by Italian brothers Pier Luigi Loro Piana and Sergio Loro Piana.

The business does not disclose the amount paid other than that a premium was offered above its market value if it breaks a record. . .

First Australian for Kellogg leaders’ programme:

Lincoln University’s Kellogg Rural Leaders Programme has extended its welcome, with the course accepting its first Australian participant this year.

 The programme has welcomed Mary Johnson as the first Australian to join the course and also the youngest applicant in its 34-year history.

“I found out about the programme through my line of work at Cattle Council Australia and then through the Australian Beef Industry Foundation,” says Johnson.
“I did some of my own research and found that the Kellogg programme is all over the world, so I jumped at the opportunity.” . .

Partnership offers promise of profit – Tim Cronshaw:

Meat companies cannot afford to suffer more financial losses after losing $200 million last season, and farmers must commit stock to one company to ensure a healthy red- meat industry, says Lincoln University agribusiness professor Keith Woodford.

He told 600 farmers at a Christchurch meeting of the new Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) group on Wednesday that they had to work in partnership with the rest of the industry, because the combative approach was not working.

A sustainable industry, in which everyone made money, was the end game, he said. This would be challenging and require some restructuring. . .

Australians push for Korean FTA:

AUSTRALIAN BEEF farmers are pushing the Gillard Government to restart free trade agreement talks with South Korea. Industry leaders visited Seoul this month seeking to resume talks with the South Koreans.

The National Farmers Union says Australian beef producers stand to miss out on A$1.4 billion in exports to Korea unless a FTA is in place soon. It says the threat to other exports like wheat (A$350 million) and dairy (A$100 million) is also high.

FTA talks between Australia and South Korea stalled after the Australian cabinet banned even starting talks which require settling any type of investor-state dispute (allowing companies unhappy with their treatment in another country to seek arbitration in an agreed third jurisdiction). . .

Farmer protests fail to sway government

Protest meetings in Victoria and South Australia, further planned demonstrations and a direct meeting have all left Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig unmoved.

Farmer Power representatives met with Minister Ludwig last month at a meeting hosted by the Victorian Farmers Federation. The United Dairy Farmers of Victoria also attended.

The group asked for cash assistance to help farmers address cash flow problems. . .

Southern Clams Plans to Diversify with Bluff Oysters in Otago Harbour:

Within twelve months, Dunedin restaurants, could be serving live oysters on the shell straight from Otago Harbour. The plan is the brainchild of Southern Clams who have identified a unique opportunity to diversify their shellfish operations by utilising the certified growing waters of Otago Harbour.

In a consent application to the Otago Regional Council, tabled today, Southern Clams is proposing to take two year old oysters, which have been farmed by New Zealand’s Bluff Oyster Company (NZBO) in Bluff Harbour, and re-lay them in Otago Harbour for up to four weeks, until they meet statutory regulations for commercial harvest. . .


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