Rural round-up

November 9, 2018

Fonterra board gets controversial voice back – Sally Rae:

Fairlie farmer Leonie Guiney has returned to the Fonterra board, vowing to solve the co-operative’s ”reputational issues”.

Shareholders voted to elect Mrs Guiney and Zespri chairman Peter McBride to the board and they will take office at the close of today’s annual meeting at Fonterra’s Lichfield plant in the Waikato.

Sitting director Ashley Waugh, Maori Television chairman Jamie Tuuta, and John Nicholls were unsuccessful.

Mrs Guiney, who farms near Fairlie and is director of four dairy farming companies, served on the board from 2014 until last year. . . 

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council report questions value-add strategy – Gerard Hutching:

Fonterra has failed to deliver “meaningful returns” on shareholders’ capital since inception in 2001, a new Shareholders Council report says, which questions the value-add strategy.

The much vaunted value-add business has returned only 0.2 per cent a year more than ingredients or commodities, “significantly below the 1.3 per cent a year premium needed to justify the increased risk”.

“This is important because the value-add business units are now using an increasing share of Fonterra’s capital. For the first five years since inception – 2002-06 – the value-add business accounted for 36 per cent of Fonterra’s capital. This has increased to 50 per cent of Fonterra’s capital over the last five years.” . . 

Reducing sediment loss explored at field days – Ella Stokes:

Sediment mitigation was a hot topic at the field days hosted by the Pomahaka Water Care Group last week.

The farmer-led group has an overall target of improving water health – first on farm and also in the Pomahaka River.

Last week, there were three field days held in the West Otago area to explore solutions to reduce sediment loss, which is a major issue in the area.

Landcare Research environmental scientist and Pomahaka Water Care Group (PWCG) co-ordinator Craig Simpson said they had up to 70 people at one of the events. . . 

Youngsters keep old-timers happy – Neal Wallace:

Transforming a run-down farm into a high performance stock unit was satisfying for Ron Davis and Roger Chittock but their greatest pleasure came from seeing youngsters trained on it go on to successful farming careers.

Chittock has spent 37 years and Davis 29 years on the management board of the Salvation Army’s Jeff Farm, a 2630ha sheep, beef and deer property between Clinton and Gore in eastern Southland.

But overseeing the development of the 30,000 stock units farm was only part of their enjoyment.

Jeff Farm’s primary role is to train youth for agricultural careers and the two retiring board members say seeing young people grow and move into industry jobs was immensely satisfying. . . 

Goats ready to earn their keep – Neal Wallace:

Three years ago David Shaw questioned why he was still farming Cashmere goats.

This month garments made from fibre harvested from goats on his south Otago farm will be on sale in a new Untouched World retail store opening in Wanaka.

Potentially, the resurrected cashmere market could take several tonnes of fibre and he believes having about 25,000 Cashmere goats is achievable.

He has 1000 goats on his farm and has readily identified 5000 on other farms that could be crossed with Cashmere bucks. . . 

The apparel industry has rediscovered the wool from corriedale sheep – Heather Chalmers:

Demand from sportswear and fashion companies is sending the price of a previously written-off type of wool to record levels.

This has led the dual-purpose corriedale sheep breed to make a comeback, after many farmers chose to shift to more meat breeds.    

Corriedale wool is in the mid-micron range, coarser than most merino fibre, but far finer than crossbred wool that comprises most of the New Zealand clip. . . 

Five new Nuffield scholars named :

Five Nuffield scholarships have been awarded for 2019. They have gone to two dairy farmers, a sheep and beef farmer, an arable farmer and an analyst.

Ben Hancock was raised on his family’s Wairarapa hill country sheep and beef cattle farm. He now works in Wellington for Beef + Lamb New Zealand as a senior analyst, still near the farm he often returns to.

After working in research and conservation roles in NZ, the United States and Panama Hancock did a doctorate investigating ecosystem services. . . 

 


Rural round-up

February 14, 2014

Stars align for NZ foresters as ‘wall of wood’ comes on stream, prices reach record highs – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand forest growers, long overshadowed by booming returns from the dairy industry, look set to cash in on record prices for logs as they prepare to harvest trees planted in a flurry of activity two decades ago.

Forestry plantation activity in New Zealand jumped between 1992 and 1998, as a surge in Asian log prices lured investment syndicates to the sector. Radiata pine, which makes up about 90 percent of the nation’s plantations, are typically felled between 26 and 32 years, meaning the “wall of wood” will start being harvested from about 2018, according to government figures.

Rising prices for forestry products, the nation’s third-largest commodity export, have been overshadowed in the past year by a rapid rise in the fortune of dairy products, with overseas sales of milk powder, butter and cheese worth more than three times as much as sales of logs and wood. Still, forestry has been the quiet achiever, with the ASB New Zealand forestry index and the forestry sub-group of the ANZ Commodity Price Index touching record highs in January. . .

Forestry’s Good Returns Attract Investment Interest:

With forest products exports continuing to enjoy a run of high commodity prices there is plenty of attention worldwide on the robust returns delivered from forest resources. So it’s timely that New Zealand and Australia are soon to host a major forest investment and market outlook conference series. The event in it’s third year is popular with forest company CEOs and financial sector leaders for it’s insight.

One of the keynote speakers headlining the FIEA event is Kevin Mason, Managing Director and Senior Analyst of ERA Forest Products Research (www.ERA-Research.com), a Canadian-based independent research firm that covers the global forest products sector.

“We focus first and foremost on understanding the commodity side of the market,” says Mason, “as trends in the underlying commodities far outweigh managerial abilities, or the lack of.” . . .

Bog Roy story one of challenges down through generations – Ruth Grundy:

It is fair to say farming Bog Roy station has put each generation of Anderson family to the test.

It is also true to say their dogged determination to face down the challenges thrown at them is testament to their love and vision for the land.

Dave Anderson is the fourth Anderson generation to take on the high country run. . .

New Horticulture Industry Initiative Helps Combat Labour Shortage:

A new ‘hands on’ initiative, which brings the classroom into the orchard, is helping combat the labour shortage in the horticulture industry.

The Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), Work and Income and local iwi have teamed up with John Bostock, owner of JM Bostock Ltd, to help get people off the unemployment benefit and into permanent employment.

The partners have worked together to establish an EIT level three sustainable fruit production course, which has both theory and practical modules. The theory mirrors the orchard cycle to enhance the student’s learning. In 2014 the programme will start earlier in the year to better coincide with orchard practice. . .

Mutton export values jump:

Mutton exports from New Zealand rose significantly in the first quarter of this season.

Beef and Lamb New Zealand has released statistics for lamb, mutton and beef exports for October, November and December 2013 – the first three months of the 2013-14 meat export season.

While there was little change in the volume and value of beef and veal exports compared with the corresponding period last season, mutton exports were up 16.3% in volume and 22% in total value.

The average return increased by 4.9% to $5200 FOB per tonne, Beef and Lamb said. . .

Proving deer viable satisfying outcome :

Canterbury farmer Sam Zino is well on the way to showing that deer farming is a viable alternative.

The region’s deer focus farm facilitator, Wayne Allan, said Mr Zino had achieved most of his goals and had increased production and profit at a time when the venison price was falling.

Mr Zino and his brother, Mark, were selected as the North Canterbury deer focus farm in 2011 for three years. At the time, Mr Zino said he wanted to demonstrate that deer farming was profitable.

”What Sam has shown is that if you’re smart about it and you take a planned approach then deer farming can be a highly economic land-use option,” Mr Allan said. . .

Land values could have started to enter over heated territory when assessed against historical returns – Jeff Smith:

The dairy land price paid per kg of milk solids has broken through the $40/kg mark and it is being predicted to keep on climbing with land value rising by up to 9% in the coming year.

At an average of $41.50/kg, this is a 12% lift on the post global financial crisis average of $37.

Commentators in the February ANZ Agri Focus say looking back through history, the $40/kg  has been an important psychological level.

It also suggested land values could have started to enter over heated territory when assessed against historical returns. . .

 


Rural round-up

June 7, 2013

Skills with people and equity keys – Sue O’Dowd:

A young Hawera farming couple who have just bought their first dairy farm are proud to have reached their goal, even though neither of them grew up on a farm.

Thirteen years ago Bryce Savage, 30, landed his first job on a Manaia dairy farm. He and wife Amanda, 29, have since followed the tried and true method of variable order sharemilking and 50:50 sharemilking to put them in a position to buy their own farm.

Last week they took ownership of a 74 hectare dairy farm at Pukengahu, near Stratford, buying it from Bryce’s uncle and aunt, Ross and Stephanie Tong, who told them early last season it was for sale. . .

Vineyards to form grape waste company:

Eight Marlborough wine companies are working on finding new uses for the large amounts of grape waste left over after wine making.

Each year the country’s biggest wine region generates about 40,000 tonnes of grape marc, the skins, seeds and other residue left over after grapes are pressed.

With the support of Marlborough District Council, the wineries are proposing to form a company, Grape Marc Ltd.

Spokesman Eric Hughes of Brancott Estate says it will explore more profitable ways of disposing of the grape waste which at the moment, mostly ends up as basic compost or stock feed. . .

Farmers urged to build up humus levels in the soil:

Farmers are being told they can play a vital role in slowing warming of the planet by protecting and building up the humus in their soil.

The head of an Australian-based company that sells biological farming products describes humus as the soil’s glue, and a vital storage system for carbon, minerals and water.

Humus is a layer of organic material in the soil produced by the decay of plant and animal material.

Nutritech Solutions chief executive Graeme Sait says 150 years of intensive, extractive agriculture has led to a loss of two thirds of the world’s humus, and the massive loss of the carbon that humus stores into the atmosphere. . .

100 years of shorthorn cows:

It is 100 years on for the Milking Shorthorn Society and the cows get the thumbs up for their longevity and ease of care from the 50 people at the national conference.

It is being held in Palmerston North after starting with a meeting at the Railway Hotel in Main St in July 1913.

About 40 people went to see David and Johanna Wood’s milking shorthorns at their Hiwinui farm. . .

Lucerne lifts mood and profit – Andrew Swallow:

DRYLAND SHEEP and beef farmers Gundy and Lisa Anderson have a new spring in their step, and it’s largely thanks to one crop: lucerne.

As they earlier this month relayed to a CRT-organised field day on their farm, Bog Roy Station,  Omarama, four or five years ago they “were doing a fair bit of soul searching.”

“We were going backwards, spending a 100 days every winter feeding everything. We were even feeding cows a bit,” Gundy told the crowd.

They were also embroiled in tenure review and “haemorrhaging” money on an irrigation consent renewal, spending too much time in Christchurch lobbying bureaucrats and talking to lawyers. . .

Alliance extends rowing sponsorship:

Alliance Group has joined forces with Rowing NZ in a new sponsorship that will see the Pure South export brand associated with the New Zealand Rowing team in New Zealand and around the world.

The sponsorship builds on Alliance’s involvement at a lower level with rowing in 2012 which included Alliance’s supply of red meat to the New Zealand rowing team as they prepared for the Olympic regatta in England, and an association with Southland rowers Nathan Cohen and Storm Uru. . .

Foresters Head to Taranaki

Forestry professionals will head to the centre of dairy farming country at the end of this month to attend the NZ Institute of Forestry’s annual conference. Entitled “The Place of Forests in Collaborative Land Use Decisions”, the conference will be of interest to a broad cross section of rural land users, regulators and conservationists and is also the time when the forestry profession recognises its achievers including new Fellows, Forester of the Year and various scholarships awarded through the NZ Institute of Forestry Foundation. .

While containing less than 1% of the nation’s productive plantation forest, Taranaki is nevertheless unique in the way land use decision making to balance the multiple use interests of the mountain, the intensive dairying ring plain and the eastern hill country is managed.  . .


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