Rural round-up

April 4, 2014

Fonterra Australia and Woolworths announce proposed new 10 year milk partnership for Victoria:

Fonterra Australia and Woolworths today announced that Fonterra Australia has been selected as the preferred supplier to process Woolworths Own Brand milk in Victoria for the next 10 years in a deal that is great for customers and farmers. The proposed long-term arrangement will give farmers certainty that will allow them to invest in their businesses with the confidence that they have a guaranteed buyer for their milk. Woolworths existing contracts were for a period of one year.

It also means that all Woolworths Own Brand milk sold in Victoria will be made and processed in Victoria, supporting local farmers and jobs in regional communities. . .

Farmers told to talk through differences – :

Environment Canterbury boss Dame Margaret Bazley says she is committed to working with farmers to resolve issues with the recently notified Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan.

“I think if you don’t get any other message from me, just know that we at ECan are absolutely committed to working with you to get a solution to these things,” she told high country farmers at a Federated Farmers field day in the Mackenzie Country.

She said the Government’s national policy statement for freshwater required all regional councils to set water quality limits and to have a process and timeframe to achieve that. . . .

Simpler Compliance needed – James Houghton:

Last week I was in the midst of New Zealand’s High Country, watching my son row in the Maadi Cup Regatta. As a Waikato dairy farmer in the midst of a drought, I drew some surprising parallels from the iconic landscape to Waikato’s usually lush pastures back home.

Driving through the vast barren landscape, with sleet coming at us horizontally, you cannot avoid the conclusion that the High Country farmers here in the South Island must be made of some hard stuff.  To farm down here is certainly not for the faint hearted, and requires big thinkers who can innovate the land into a viable business. Through the Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998, High Country farmers have effectively lost the grazing rights to the top 60 percent of the Crown’s land to conservation, so the need for water has become a much more pressing issue. They need water to negotiate their farm through the loss in feed, another similarity we are also experiencing in the Waikato right now with our second drought in two years. . .

High Court rejects kiwifruit growers’ claim – Niko Kloeten:

Disgruntled kiwifruit growers have taken the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) to court over the performance of a German company that owns Turners & Growers.

But a High Court judge has rejected their challenge to the OIO’s view that German company BayWa, which now owns 73 per cent of listed fruit and vegetable marketer Turners & Growers, had fulfilled its consent conditions.

The OIO, which is an arm of Land Information New Zealand, approved BayWa’s takeover of Turners & Growers in 2012. . .

Change aplenty on FarmIQ demonstration farm:

BEEF COWS are out, dairy grazers in and ewe condition a priority on the first FarmIQ demonstration farm to hold a field day this autumn.

“Historically a lot of emphasis went on fattening lambs,” Duncan Mackintosh of White Rock Mains told a field day audience of about 30 farmers and industry representatives late last month.

With hindsight, some of that was at the expense of ewe condition. Now, they routinely condition score the flock when yarded for other operations. . .

Body language can cause confusion – Anna Holland:

THERE SEEMS to be some confusion out there reading dog body language. 

 A couple of people who had watched a DVD about dog training remarked to me that the dogs looked scared of the trainer. I hadn’t seen it so couldn’t comment however I have since seen the DVD and I don’t think the dogs are scared.

Also, at my training days, I have had people remark that the dogs I am demonstrating with have their tails between their legs. It seems to concern the person more than the dog. Why?


Rural round-up

August 30, 2013

Land use pressure for farmers – Tony Benny:

Farmer predicts proposed new land use rules will jam the brakes on agricultural development in Canterbury.

Federated Farmers’ South Island Grain and Seed vice-chairman David Clark claims that the proposals for rules limiting changes of land use recommended for inclusion in the proposed Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan will put more pressure on arable farmers and stop further expansion of dairy farming.

“The proposals that have been put forward would make it extremely hard to change land use with any degree of intensification.

“The big issue and the big concern is around nutrient management rules that are coming in, that would severely constrict land use modification.” . .

Key holds fire on botulism blame – Hannah Lynch:

Prime Minister John Key is refusing to point the finger of blame at who is responsible for the Fonterra botulism fiasco until all inquires in to what turned out to be a false alarm are completed.

In a shock announcement yesterday, the Primary Industries Ministry said there was no contamination linked to botulism in Fonterra whey protein product at the centre of an international food safety alert. 

The ministry’s independent testing contradicted the results of tests done by Fonterra or on its behalf by state owned AgResearch. 

The alert earlier this month caused product recalls, a trade backlash and tarnished New Zealand’s “clean green” brand. . .

Deer farmers urged to fight for Invermay – Annette Scott:

The Invermay deer programme has led the development of the New Zealand deer industry for the past 35 years and is recognised as world leading, former Invermay Agricultural Centre director Dr Jock Allison says.

Allison opposes AgResearch’s proposal to focus South Island agricultural research on a single hub in Lincoln, describing it as schizophrenic behaviour.   

In a letter to deer farmers Allison, Dr Ken Drew, a leader of Invermay deer research for 25 years, and Otago University Professor Frank Griffin urged the industry to voice its concern.

“It is our view that only through concerted industry efforts will the deer research programme be retained at Invermay,” Allison said. . .

European manufacturer commits to New Zealand:

The current strength and strong outlook for the future of New Zealand agriculture has led Europe’s major tractor manufacturer, SAME Deutz-Fahr, to commit itself to our market.

The Vice Chairman of the company, Francesco Carozza, (pictured) who was in New Zealand recently, says the future of world agriculture is very strong, and New Zealand is well positioned to capitalise on that potential.

“Globally speaking, food demand is going to double over the next 40 years, so the market is going to increase big time – and so are the opportunities for New Zealand agriculture,” he says. . .

Primary Industry Training Organisation cements first successful year with fresh new brand:

On 1 October 2012, Agriculture ITO and Horticulture ITO merged to form the Primary Industry Training Organisation (Primary ITO). Primary ITO is also responsible for Water Industry Training, Equine Industry Training and NZ Sports Turf ITO, making it one of the largest ITOs in New Zealand.

“Agriculture ITO and Horticulture ITO made the proactive move to join together because we shared a natural affinity and a common vision. We recognised that we could deliver better outcomes for our industries by having an organisation with a larger critical mass and shared resources,” says Primary ITO Chief Executive Kevin Bryant.

Since the launch of Primary ITO, the organisation has continued to operate under the five existing brands. . .

Conservation and management of NZ whitebait speciesJane Goodman:

New Zealand’s whitebait fishery consists of the young of five migratory galaxiid species – inanga (Galaxias maculatus), koaro (Galaxias brevipinnis), banded kokopu (Galaxias fasciatus), giant kokopu (Galaxias argenteus) and shortjaw kokopu (Galaxias postvectis). Smelt (Retropinna retropinna) are also present in catches from some rivers along with the young of other fish species such as eels and bullies. (See Amber McEwan’s earlier blog.)

Four of the five galaxiid whitebait species (inanga, koaro, giant kokopu and shortjaw kokopu are ranked in the New Zealand Threat Classification System (Townsend et al. 2008) as ‘at risk – declining’; banded kokopu are listed as not threatened (Allibone et al. 2010).

A2 shares record-high as investors buy into growth story:

(BusinessDesk) – A2 Corp shares touched a record high 77 cents in trading today after the company boosted sales 51 percent and improved its underlying earnings.

The Sydney-based company, which markets milk products with a protein variant claimed to have health benefits, lifted sales to $94.3 million in the 12 months ended June 30 from $62.5 million, and more than doubled operating earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation to $10.6 million.

Net profit slipped 6.5 percent to $4.12 million, as the company wore losses associated with setting up its British joint venture and year earlier gains from a tax asset and legal settlement rolled off. . .


Rural round-up

May 23, 2013

Fears over future water policies:

Get involved or risk losing out.

That was the message to farmers from industry leaders, who say they fear that apathy could lead to Canterbury’s future water policies being unfriendly to farmers.

This was because of low attendance rates at zone committee meetings and at Environment Canterbury’s Land and Water Regional Plan hearings.

These leaders were attending a forum on water management that took place at South Canterbury Federated Farmers annual meeting.

Former Opuha Water chief executive Peter Scott urged farmers to ”get into the game”. . .

TPP Has the Potential to Revitalise Japan’s Agriculture Sector:

Research released by the New Zealand Asia Institute today has found that Japan joining the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) could potentially trigger a revitalisation of its agriculture sector.

The independent research, funded by Fonterra, was conducted by Professors Hugh Whittaker and Rob Scollay from The University of Auckland. They investigated the potential implications of the TPP on the Japanese agricultural sector, which is a proposed free trade agreement under negotiation between 12 countries including New Zealand and also Japan, who only joined earlier this year. . .

Lupins help farm to victory – Gerald Piddock:

The use of lupins as a forage crop has helped a Mackenzie farmer win the fine wools section of the 2013 New Zealand Ewe Hogget Competition.

Sawdon Station co-owner Gavin (Snow) Loxton said winning the section came as a complete surprise after he entered the competition for the first time.

The Ewe Hogget Competition aims to find the country’s top hogget flock. Breed section finalists were announced earlier this week with the supreme champion announced on May 29.

His merino hoggets were in excellent condition when the judges visited his farm, which was due to his use of lupins as a forage crop. . .

Absolute ripper” 2013 wine vintage for Hawke’s Bay:

It’s confirmed! The excitement expressed as grapes of every variety were harvested throughout Hawke’s Bay last month, has burst into euphoria; pressed grapes now safely in barrels and casks are being touted as exceptional and 2013 as the ‘vintage of the century’ for Hawke’s Bay.

An informal survey of winemakers from Central Hawke’s Bay to Esk Valley, from the coast to the (almost) the ranges is unanimous. The flavours and colour of this season’s pressed grapes, both white and red, could not be better.

“It’s as exciting as everyone says,” was the verdict from Rod McDonald of Rod McDonald Wines, while Sacred Hill’s Tony Bish is particularly bullish and believes this year’s grapes will make the “greatest wine Hawke’s Bay has seen”. . .

Shorn merino sheep inspire wine brand:

The New Zealand branch of branding consultancy Interbrand has won its company’s global award for its Naked Sheep Wine design.

Its entry won the Global 2013 Interbrand Best Work Award for Craft, Packaging.

Interbrand NZ was tasked by boutique wine grower Ben Aubrey to develop a brand and packaging that reflected the heritage of the South Island Cairn Station vineyard on one of New Zealand’s oldest merino sheep stations. . .


Rules without tools

September 17, 2012

The need for standards to ensure we have clean water for consumption and recreation is unquestioned.

How to keep it clean and improve sub-standard waterways is less straightforward.

The proposed Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan would have a radical impact on land use.

“A radical feature of Canterbury’s Proposed Land and Water Regional Plan is consent to farm under nutrient discharge rules,” says Chris Allen, Federated Farmers Mid-Canterbury Provincial President.

“The big problem for any farmer, forester, wine maker or market gardener, revolves around incredibly tight tolerances for land use change.  Most farmers, like me, will not have nitrogen leaching conditions on a water consent because sheep farmers tend to be dryland ones.

“The practical impact means a good lambing may increase stock by just a few animals.  When running this through a nutrient management tool called Overseer, it may tell me my nitrogen loss has increased 10 percent.  That triggers an uncertain resource consent process.

“As large parts of Canterbury are defined as ‘red zones,’ we know the proposed default decision on land use change will be to decline.

“So that leaves me with two stark choices that sicken me as a farmer.  Either we carry less stock, underperforming productively and commercially, or some may be forced to dispose of lambs to remain compliant.

“That’s not farming.  It is dumbly following numbers punched out by an imprecise tool. . .

Submitters on the Otago Regional Council’s proposed plan are equally concerned about its impact.

A group of farmers says the council is acting against its own and national standards and farmers have expressed concerns about the rules.

Further north Horizon’s One Plan will see all but extensive hill country farmers having to seek consent to farm.

There is real concern about the impact these plans will have on people’s ability to farm. One of the reasons for this is that the councils appear to be imposing rules when there are not practical tools to measure water quality in a way that would enable landowners to comply.

Drinking the water every day gives us a very real interest in its quality and only environmental Luddites argue with the intention to maintain clean water and where necessary improve it. But there are real fears that the plans are being over-zealous and that the quest for pure water will threaten the viability of farming.

Those voicing concern aren’t asking to for economic concerns to trump environmental ones. They are asking for a better balance between the two and for rules which will work in practice and take account of the tools available for compliance.


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