Rural round-up

October 2, 2015

Chinese deal vital, SFF says – Sally Rae:

Silver Fern Farms could be facing insolvency if shareholders do not approve a 50:50 joint venture with Chinese company Shanghai Maling.

Voting has opened on the proposal before a meeting of shareholders at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium on October 16.

Shanghai Maling, a subsidiary of state owned food giant Bright Food Group, is proposing to take a 50% stake in Silver Fern Farms, in return for an investment of $261million. . . 

Hold off on Silver Fern vote, farmers urged –  Sally Rae:

Farmers are being urged to hold off voting on the Silver Fern Farms joint venture deal with Shanghai Maling, with hints that ”concrete” alternatives will emerge.

Voting is under way and closes at 10.30am on October 14, before a special meeting in Dunedin on October 16, where two resolutions will be voted on.

As well as the Shanghai Maling proposal, the meeting will also consider the shareholder resolution, promoted by Heriot farmer Allan Richardson and John Cochrane, from Clinton, seeking full analysis of the benefits and risks of a merger with Alliance Group. That resolution was not supported by Silver Fern Farms’ board. . . 

Bright lets sparks fly – Alan Williams:

Bright Dairy group is an excellent strategic investor in Synlait Milk, the latter’s chairman Graeme Milne says.

“It’s more than just money they bring.

“They’ve got the knowledge and capability to help us make good decisions.”

Shanghai Maling, the proposed new investor for Silver Fern Farms, is part of the wider Bright Dairy-Bright Foods group. . . 

Super-drone sprayer comes with risks -Robin Martin:

The first unmanned helicopter certified to spray chemicals in New Zealand could ultimately save back-country farmers thousands of dollars but it comes with a hefty price tag – and a safety warning. 

The Yamaha RMAX is a beast by drone standards, powered by a 260cc engine and weighing in at close to 100 kilograms.

Yamaha business development manager Geoff Lamb and his team put the chopper through its paces for a gathering of curious farmers, spraying contractors and radio-controlled aircraft enthusiasts at a Lepperton farm in Taranaki this week. . . 

Fonterra boss offers $4m salary freeze:

The chief executive of Fonterra has asked for his multi-million dollar salary to be frozen this year as the co-operative goes through major cost cuts and slashes hundreds of jobs.

Theo Spierings requested the freeze on his base salary on the same day Fonterra announced it was slashing hundreds more jobs as part of a business shake-up, taking total layoffs to 750.

That came just days before the company released its annual result.

A spokesman said Mr Spierings went to a meeting of Fonterra’s people, culture and safety committee on 21 September and requested that his base salary of about $4 million for the 2015/16 year be frozen. . . 

Nutrient loss under the spotlight:

New Zealand’s shift from a pasture-based model to high feed-input dairy farms will come under the microscope in a joint research project involving Ballance Agri-Nutrients, AgResearch, DairyNZ and Tatua, in partnership with the Government’s Sustainable Farming Fund initiative.

The two year project, led by AgResearch’s Dr Stewart Ledgard, will use case study farms varying in intensity of feed use to examine effects of their system changes over the last decade on emissions, production and profit as well as testing options for improving their sustainability.

“Locally there is strong interest in understanding implications for water quality of dairy intensification through increased use of supplementary feeds and how effects can be minimised, while internationally there is a desire for food products to be produced with efficient use of resources and reduced wider environmental impacts”, says Dr Stewart Ledgard. . . 

Aussies nab heaviest fleece record:

Well it’s official New Zealand has been fleeced by the Australians ..who now hold the world record for the heaviest fleece shorn off a merino.

The Australians were quick to yell they had found a wild merino near Canberra in early September with a fleece which weighed in at 40 kilograms.

Otago’s ‘Shrek the sheep’ held the record up until last year when another wild merino – dubbed Big Ben – was found in the Mackenzie Country with a fleece weighing 28.9 kgs. . . 

Steady wool market:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s C.E.O, Mr John Dawson reports that the more restricted wool type offering in the North Island sale of 6,165 bales saw a 97 percent clearance and a generally steady market.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies firmed 1.66 percent compared to the last sale on 24th September only impacting on the finer end of the offering.

Mr Dawson advises that the stronger New Zealand dollar and limited interest in the Fine Crossbred longer wools saw prices ease 2 to 4 percent with shorter types better supported with pries 1 to 3.5 percent softer in local terms. . . 


Rural round-up

September 22, 2015

Oceania Dairy Guarantees Minimum Payout:

Oceania Dairy has delivered good news to its supply farmers with a guaranteed minimum milk payout of $4.50 per kilogram of milk solids for the 2015/16 dairy season.

As the New Zealand dairy sector reels from continued turbulence in global dairy markets Oceania has sought to support its local supply farmers and their communities with the guarantee.

“With Fonterra reducing its forecast payout for the season to $3.85, we wanted to send an important signal of support and partnership to our supply farmers,” said Roger Usmar, General Manager, Oceania Dairy Limited.

“Backed by our owner, Yili, Oceania Dairy has looked at how we can practically support our suppliers at a difficult time for the sector. . . 

Dairy prices a ‘hot topic’ at world summit – Jemma Brackebush:

Farming leaders from around the globe are gathering in Europe this week for the World Dairy Summit.

The week-long summit gets under way today in the Baltic State of Lithuania.

Federated Farmers dairy chairperson Andrew Hoggard is attending and said the main focus would be on science, the environment, animal welfare and international trade.

A hot topic will be how farmers around the world react to low dairy prices, he said. . . 

Factory expands in ‘leap year’ – Allison Beckham:

The addition of three further milk processing plants to Fonterra’s Edendale factory – already the largest in the world by volume – means Fonterra can make a wider range of products and respond more quickly to demand, managing director of global operations Robert Spurway says.

The company has almost completed a $157 million expansion. A new 2900sq m building houses three processing plants – a milk protein concentrate (MPC) plant to separate protein from skim milk and turn it into protein powder, a reverse osmosis plant to increase the capacity of an existing drier by about 300,000 litres a day, and an anhydrous milk fat plant capable of processing 550,000 litres of cream daily. . . 

Synlait annual profit slumps 46% as lactoferrin sales struggle, forecast payout cut – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Synlait Milk, which counts China’s Bright Dairy & Food as its biggest shareholder, posted a 46 percent drop in annual profit as lactoferrin sales missed expectations and it kept milk payments high enough to ensure supply. Synlait cut its payout forecast for the current season.

Net profit dropped to $10.6 million, or 7.21 cents per share, in the 12 months ended July 31, from $19.6 million, or 13.4 cents a year earlier, the Rakaia-based milk processor said in a statement. That was just within the $10 million-to-$15 million forecast Synlait gave when reporting its first-half results in March. Revenue fell 25 percent to $448.1 million, and the bottom line was also weighed on by a $1.6 million unrealised loss on foreign exchange.

Synlait is “in a global operating environment where milk prices have fallen to unsustainably low levels and this is reflected in our FY15 revenue,” chairman Graeme Milne said. “Our suppliers are an important part of our business and we’ve prioritised paying them higher advances and final payments for their milk, relative to our earnings, in what has turned out to be the first of probably two very challenging years on farm.” . . .

 .s on for New Zealand’s next generation of agri-leaders:

• Applications for the 2016 Zanda McDonald Award now open

Agriculture’s young leaders in New Zealand are being urged to step forward and apply for the 2016 Zanda McDonald Award.

Open to agri-business professionals with natural leadership skills from across New Zealand and Australia, the award comes with a $30,000 prize package comprising; an overseas mentoring trip, a place on Rabobank’s Farm Manager’s Programme and $1,000 cash.

Applicants aged 35 or younger and currently in paid employment in agriculture have until Friday 30th October 2015 to submit their entries. . . 

B+LNZ CHIEF EXECUTIVE SIGNALS MARCH 2016 DEPARTURE:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman, James Parsons has today announced the resignation of the organisation’s chief executive, Dr Scott Champion. Dr Champion will leave the industry body, and also his role as chief executive of the New Zealand Meat Board, at the end of March 2016, after 10 years with the organisations.

Dr Champion commenced with then Meat & Wool New Zealand, as General Manager Market Access and Market Development in March 2006. He then stepped up to the CEO roles in late September 2008.

Most recently, Dr Champion has successfully led Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) through the 2015 Sheepmeat and Beef Levy Referendum which secured over 84 per cent support for the organisation to continue working on behalf of farmers. . . 

First-Time Entrants Enjoy Farm Environment Competition:

It took West Otago farmers Richard and Kerry France about eight years to enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) but they finally gave it a go last year.

Richard says the experience was well worthwhile and his recommendation to other first-time entrants is to not leave it as long as they did.

“It’s a very well-run competition and it makes you take a ‘big picture’ look at the sustainability of your operation,” he says.

“We put up our hand this year because we felt our farm was ready, but my advice to other farmers would be to get in as soon as you can because that way you will get the benefits earlier.” . . .

Red Meat Profit Partnership and New Zealand Young Farmers partner for education programme:

The Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) has teamed up with New Zealand Young Farmers to promote the value of Education in Agriculture. This new programme offers teachers and students the chance to engage with the Primary Sector to highlight the opportunities within New Zealand’s largest export led industry. This journey is to be “triggered off” with a launch event in Christchurch on September 22.

This programme will offer teachers and students the chance to engage with the Primary Sector to show the vast learning and career opportunities within the industry. Much more than “on-farm” careers this programme encompasses the full value chain – the science, innovation, marketing as well as the global consumer. . . 

Fonterra Shares Further Results of Its Business Review:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today provided a further update on its business review.

Fonterra Chief Executive Theo Spierings said the purpose of the review was to ensure that Fonterra remains well positioned to compete in a rapidly changing global dairy market.

One-off savings generated by changes the Co-operative is making during the business review, such as improving working capital, have already enabled the Co-operative to support our farmers during challenging market conditions. . . 

Zespri shares innovation in inaugural Symposium

Zespri invests over $15 million in kiwifruit innovation science each year and the inaugural Kiwifruit Innovation Symposium on 29 October in Mt Maunganui gives people a chance to see the latest developments for themselves.

Zespri General Manager Marketing and Innovation Carol Ward explains innovation is huge part of the industry with significant investment from Zespri, along with the NZ government and industry. Zespri wants to share this work with its community and hear their ideas about where innovation could go in the future.

“We want to show our growers and industry what’s coming up and the future challenges we’re tackling. The focus for the past few years has been on developing tools and techniques to grow profitably with Psa – now we’re turning our focus back to other areas again and we want to bring industry along with us. . . 

Keeping on top of worms – Mark Ross

Managing internal parasites (worms) is one of the biggest challenges that farmers face in producing healthy stock.

According to research, there is widespread resistance to several drench families in sheep, cattle, deer, and goats on New Zealand farms. This is estimated to cost farmers in excess of $20 million per annum.

Resistance can develop to any drench. So every farmer needs a plan to manage the risk of worm resistance on their farm. Animal welfare and productivity in the future will rely on farm plans that are developed today to control the emergence of drench resistance on farms. . . 


Rural round-up

January 28, 2014

Synlait hikes annual profit forecast on value-add earnings growth, unsure on Chinese sales target – Paul McBeth:

Jan. 28 (BusinessDesk) – Synlait Milk, the milk processor which counts China’s Bright Dairy Food as a cornerstone shareholder, will beat its annual profit forecast by as much as 77 percent on earnings growth, though might miss its sales target for infant formula into China due to stricter regulations.

The Rangiora-based company anticipates net profit of between $30 million and $35 million in the year ending July 31, up from the $19.67 million forecast in the company’s prospectus when it listed in July, it said in a statement.

Synlait lifted its forecast milk payout to between $8.30 per kilogram of milk solids and $8.40/kgMS from $8/kgMS previously as global dairy prices climbed, but is reaping earnings growth from its value-add products and a favourable product mix, chairman Graeme Milne said. . .

Sheep farming area now a dairy melting pot – Mike Crean:

The old mail box has the name Inniskillen stencilled on the front. Beside it are nine small, modern mail boxes. To Dick Davison, they illustrate the greatest social change in the history of North Canterbury’s Amuri Basin.

It is the change from an aristocracy of established sheep farming families to a multi-cultural society of dairy farmers, managers, labourers and sharemilkers. The change is greater even than the transformation caused by breaking up the large estates a century ago, Davison says.

He and wife Liz bought his family’s farm, Blakiston, across the road from Inniskillen, in 1976. Recently they sold most of it, retaining an elevated block where they have built their dream house. . .

Honey price tipped to rise:

Beekeepers are struggling through one of their most challenging seasons, with cool temperatures and wind significantly slowing honey production.

National Bee Keepers Association president Ricki Leahy said the weather so far this summer had been exactly what the bees did not thrive in.

“We have hives down the West Coast and it has certainly been a miserable summer down there, really,” Mr Leahy said.

“The main problem we have with unsettled weather is the bees need to build up a momentum to get a good honey flow going.

“You also need that constant heat to get the nectar in the flowers … so everything depends on a nice, long stretch of fine weather.” . . .

Little risk in biocontrol insects:

An international study into the use of introduced insects to control weeds has found little evidence of them going wrong.

Dr Max Suckling of Plant & Food Research said there had been concerns about introducing non-native insects as weed biocontrols because of the risk of them attacking non-targetted plants.

But Dr Suckling said their worldwide survey of more than 500 insect biocontrol cases, dating back more than 150 years, had found few examples of them causing serious damage to other plants. . .

China pays up big for Australian cattle – Warwick Long:

Australian dairy and even beef farmers are making the most of Chinese demand for live cattle.

China’s dairy industry killed two million cows last year as smaller subsistence farmers left in droves on the back of high meat prices.

The price of an Australian six-month-old dairy heifer for live export has risen by over $400 in just a couple of months.

Independent livestock agent Darren Askew says farmers are now earning over $1,350 per animal.

The trade of dairy cattle to China is a volatile market, which has been this high before and then crashed. . .

What inspires a young man to become a dairy farmer – Milk Maid Marian:

We received an unusual phone call the other week. A vet student with no family connections to dairy, Andrew Dallimore rang out of the blue saying he was keen to become a dairy farmer and wondered if he could ask us a few questions.

Well, what a series of questions! What were the challenges we faced becoming dairy farmers, why did we choose it, the ups and downs, where we look for knowledge and what are the pros and cons of raising children on a farm? At least, these are the ones I remember. And he took notes.

It felt like being at confessional, somehow. You have to be totally honest with someone so earnestly and diligently researching his future. Wayne and I were both immensely impressed, then gobsmacked when he offered to do a few hours work on the farm with the payment of just our thoughts and a banana! . . .


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