Rural round up

December 31, 2012

What farmers face in 2013  – Caleb Allison:

Farmers face their most volatile year in recent memory as New Zealand’s agriculture sector remains at the mercy of world markets, according to industry commentators.

While every year comes with a certain level of uncertainty for the farming community, Waikato University’s head of agribusiness, Professor Jacqueline Rowarth told NBR ONLINE it is of particular concern this year.

“Many farmers are already running at a very slim margin. . .

Happy helping Kiwi kids – Hugh Stringleman:

Delivering milk to 56 Northland schools is very rewarding, say Luke and Corrine McDonald, Fonterra Brands franchisees based in Whangarei.

Twice a week they have two of their four trucks on the roads around their large delivery area, delivering the 250ml UHT cartons and picking up the empties for recycling.

Northland was the provincial pilot for the Fonterra Milk for Schools programme, launched at Manaia View School, Whangarei, last March. . .

Paying it forward at Little Acres – Tim Fulton:

Animal care centre run “in the spirit of koha” is getting a make-over, propelled by the kind of generosity that got it started.

Jacqui Emmett and her husband Barry operate the non-profit Little Acres in western Waikato, helping prepare surplus livestock for new homes.

The Te Akau couple charge nothing for taking in animals, despite feed costing them up to $350 a week.

In fact, if money gets tight the humans are the last to be fed. . .

Debt mediation law would rein-in banks: Walker – Jamie Ball:

A farm debt mediation law would reduce the tendency for banks to engage in “reckless” lending practices similar to the mass marketing of complex interest rate swaps to farmers, according to campaigner Janette Walker.

“It will also introduce a level of fairness that will rebalance the power structure, which is presently poorly balanced in the bank’s favour.

“It’s about setting up a more transparent process. The banks have responsibilities and so do the farmers. It also stops the banks doing their snatch and grab,” the farmer’s advocate said. . .

Porina biocontrol promise :

IMAGINE LOOKING across the farm and being pleased to see hundreds of creatures vomiting and dying of dehydration.Sounds surreal, but it’s becoming reality thanks to smart scientists working on porina caterpillar control.

Mark Hurst, AgResearch Lincoln, and his Invermay colleague Colin Ferguson, have, for several years, been working with bacteria Yersina entomophaga MH96, a bug Hurst discovered in native grass grubs in 1996. It’s since been found to be deadly to porina and other insect pests such as bronze beetle and diamond back moth. . .

Bayer and Motutapu Restoration Trust announce forest planting partnership

The Motutapu Restoration Trust has today announced a partnership with Bayer, which is contributing $25,000 for forest restoration to celebrate the company’s 150th birthday in 2013.

In addition to donating to the Trust to support the planting of a block of forest, Bayer will offer its staff an annual opportunity to volunteer on the island to help with planting and weeding.

“In 2013, Bayer celebrates its 150th birthday and we will be marking that in various ways around the world,” Bayer New Zealand Ltd Managing Director Patricia Castle said today. “Helping create a home for kiwi and takahe is something our team in New Zealand would love to support so we’ve chosen to take responsibility for funding the planting and maintenance of two hectares of forest on Motutapu as our birthday gift to New Zealand. . .

TV3 has a video of: Mustering sheep with a remote control quadcopeter.

And NZ Farmers Weekly has a selection of photos of 2012.


Rural round-up

November 29, 2012

Kiwi’s China dairy project receives first cows: Caleb Allison:

A Chinese dairy farm spearheaded by Kiwi dairy entrepreneur Howard Moore has received its first 3000 heifers from Australia.

Mr Moore – formerly technical manager at the Dairy Board and Kiwi Dairies – is the managing director of Taranaki Dairy Technologies, which is headquartered in Shanghai after he set it up two years ago. . .

Nearly 2 Million More Lambs But Third Smallest Lamb Crop:

An estimated 26.9 million lambs were tailed this spring – 1.9 million more than last year, according to Lamb Crop 2012, the latest report from Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Economic Service.

Even then, this will be the third smallest lamb crop since the early 1950s. Only the previous two years were lower.

This year’s increase was due to slightly more ewes mated (+0.6%) and the sheep being in good condition thanks to favourable feed conditions before mating. There was also an increase in the number of lambs born from hoggets, according to B+LNZ Economic Service Executive Director, Rob Davison. . .

The Hobbit can help New Zealand farming:

Federated Farmers is hopeful increased lamb production over 2012/13 may offset softer international prices and the high New Zealand dollar. It is also hopeful The Hobbit may also spur overseas demand for all things kiwi including wool.

“The 2012/13 Lamb Crop may be the third smallest since the 1950’s, but being up by 1.9 million on last season is a positive,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“While we currently need grass growth in some key areas, I am hopeful the increase in production may go some way to offset softer prices and that high Kiwi dollar. . .

Warning after livestock agent illegally tags cattle at saleyard:

 The conviction of a senior livestock agent in Blenheim serves as a warning that the illegal tagging of cattle will not be tolerated, says the Animal Health Board (AHB).

Richard John May, 66, and from Seddon, admitted two breaches of the Biosecurity Act after he “helped out a mate” by attaching three tags to a friend’s animals at the Blenheim public saleyard. The tags he used belonged to other farmers.

However, following a report from the on-site movement control and identification officer, the AHB’s own investigation led to May being prosecuted for the incident which took place in October last year. . . .

Wine industry profitability continues to show improvements in 2012:

Seventh annual financial benchmarking survey confirms gradual turnaround, but industry still has a long way to go

All but the largest New Zealand wineries have improved their profitability during the past financial year compared with results in 2011, according to a new survey.

Vintage 2012, the seventh annual financial benchmarking survey for the New Zealand wine industry, was released today by Deloitte and New Zealand Winegrowers. It tracks the results of survey respondents accounting for a third of the industry’s export sales revenue for the 2012 financial year. . .

Global Timber and Wood Products Market Update:

– a news brief from Wood Resources International LLC

Wood costs for pulp mills and sawmills in Brazil have fallen the past year and are currently among the lowest in the world, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly

Pulp mills and sawmills in Brazil became more competitive in 2012, because the costs for the wood raw-material, which accounts for about 70 percent of the production costs, have declined by over 20 percent since 2011, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. . .

ANZ helps forge strong agriculture links between India and New Zealand:

NZ National Fieldays Society today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Confederation of Indian Industry – the industry organisation behind AGRO TECH, India’s largest agricultural technology trade event.

The Memorandum, which was brokered by ANZ, will provide the opportunity for collaboration between the two organisations – and their members – as they promote their international trade activities.

Jon Calder, CEO of NZ National Fieldays Society, and Sunil Kaushal, ANZ Head of India Relations, are in India as part of a business mission led by Minister for Primary Industries, Hon David Carter. The purpose of the mission is to forge closer economic relationships through the primary sector. . .

Why we need free trade – Gravedodger:

Stuff reports that 5400 horticultural producers are losing around 23 million dollars from tariffs being imposed as a precondition to foreign markets. . .

And a new use for milk which makes me wonder about the benefits of higher education:


Rural round-up

July 3, 2012

Agribusiness Man of the Year shares secrets of his business success – Caleb Allison:

Craig Hickson had no idea he would win agribusiness person of the year at the Federated Farmers awards in Auckland this week.

The Hawke’s Bay sheep farmer wasn’t there to receive the award as he is in Australia attending a lamb industry conference, but he told NBR ONLINE winning is a pleasant surprise nonetheless.

Modestly, he says he doesn’t know why he won, but says innovation has long been a focus of his company, Progressive Meats, which he started with his wife in 1981.  . .

Outlook is green for primary industries – Burce Wills:

Today, I am going to take a look at where we might be in the year 2020 and touch on some challenges ahead. 

A lot can change in eight years but much can also stay the same. 

In 2004, eight years ago, the Iraq war was one year old and Afghanistan was in turmoil.  Despite this petrol was under $1.10 a litre.  Meanwhile exporters faced a Kiwi dollar that was US$0.67 in January but ended 2004 at $US.71.  Some things never change.

For the year ending June 2004, our agricultural, horticultural and forestry exports came to around $18.5 billion.  In the year to March 2012, exports for the primary industries came to almost $32 billion. . .

That is a remarkable increase of almost 73 percent. 

Environmentally good practice wins – Sally Rae:

Blair and Jane Smith might have won the 2012 national Ballance Farm Environment Awards – but they reckon their    farming journey is just beginning.   

The North Otago couple were awarded the Gordon Stephenson Trophy during a function at Parliament Buildings that celebrated people farming in a manner that was environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. . .

Dairying needs to connect – Sally Rae:

Public perceptions of dairy farmers are probably better than farmers might think, but there is still room for improvement, DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle says.   

A panel discussion, entitled Perception is Your Reality, was  held as part of the South Island Dairy Event in Dunedin.   

Public perceptions were important and DairyNZ surveyed the      New Zealand public twice a year and also held focus groups in the main urban centres. There was still “a fair amount of support out there for us”, Dr Mackle said.   

But farmers must “get things right” on the farm. . .

Horsing around serious pastime – Sally Rae:

Ask Tara McConnell how she fits everything into her day    and the answer is simple – with a head-light.   

Miss McConnell (24), of Flag Swamp, works as a shed-hand for      a shearing gang four days a week, but the rest of her time is      consumed with horses. . .

Key Opens New Zealand’s Advanced New Infant Dairy Formula Facility to Supply Global Demand:

After over 12 months preparation, New Zealand’s most advanced pharmaceutical grade infant dairy formula production facility opens to supply soaring demand overseas. .

The new facility was officially open by Prime Minister John Key on Friday 29th July 2012 and addresses a rapid increase in global demand and a shortage of high quality wet dairy infant formula products. By the end of 2012 it expects to annually produce over 20 million cans of infant formula for the export market.

Building a facility that provides pharmaceutical standard dairy formulas on a scale large enough to meet international demand was not easy.  It required over a year’s planning and a large investment in infrastructure, experience and technology. GMP pharmaceuticals already New Zealand largest pharmaceutical manufacturing and testing facility specializing in health supplements, was in a good position to meet the significant logistical requirements. . .

Harvest disaster hits wine price – Greg Ninness:

The days of quality Marlborough sauvignon blanc being available for less than $10 a bottle are ending as this year’s disastrous grape harvest starts to push wine prices higher. 

This year’s sauvignon blanc harvest was down 19 per cent on last year’s, and total production of all varieties in Marlborough, the country’s main wine region, was down 23 per cent. 

There are signs that this year’s much smaller vintage is already starting to lift wine export prices from recent lows. . .

Court slams Te Awamutu farm for illegal effluent discharge– Aaron Leaman:

A Te Awamutu farming company has with been hit with almost $32,000 in fines for dirty dairying after a helicopter monitoring flyover raised red flags with their operation. 

    Wyebrook Farms Ltd, owner of a farm in Candy Rd, west of Te Awamutu, has been fined $31,875 and ordered to pay $491 costs following a hearing in the Hamilton District Court. The company pleaded guilty to two Resource Management Act charges. . .

Fourth time lucky for Central Otago viticulture competition winner:

Central Otago viticulturist David Salmon took the honours at the regional Markhams Young Viticulturist of the Year competition on Friday (29 June).  This was Mr Salmon’s fourth attempt at the title, finishing runner-up last year, and was “over the moon” to win the competition.

“It has been an ambition of mine for a long time,” says Mr Salmon (30).  “This was my last attempt as I’ll be too old for the competition next year.  I’ve fought hard for this and it’s been my dream to represent Central Otago at the nationals,” he says.

Mr Salmon, who works at Kawarau Estate, Cromwell, took out the award against seven other local wine industry hopefuls, competing in a range of activities including wine taste-testing, pruning, hanging gates, fixing irrigation, testing their machinery handling abilities and finally delivering a speech on a given topic.

Michelle Dacombe from Felton Road Wines came second, improving on her third placing last year, and third place went to Jake Tipler from Peregrine Wines.  This was Mr Tipler’s first entry into the competition. . .

Pesticide programme pays off:

A research project to reduce the use of chemical pesticides on apple orchards has had a huge pay-off for the pipfruit industry.

Analysis by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research has shown that the Apple Futures programme has been worth up to $113 million in export earnings in the past four years, for a research cost of just over $3 million. . .

The March edition of Countrywide is online here.

Aussie farm blogs many styles, many perspectives – Talking Fairleigh links to 50 farm blogs.


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