Rural round-up

April 1, 2014

Venison industry at the crossroads – Keith Woodford:

In recent years the venison industry has gone backwards. Total farmed deer numbers declined from about 1.8 million in 2005 to 1.1 million in 2011. The most recent 2013 annual slaughter statistics show that 53% of slaughtered animals were females. This is a sure sign of ongoing retreat. So what has gone wrong and what can be fixed?

Back in the 1980s, AgResearch data from Invermay Research Station suggested that red deer were more efficient at converting grass to meat than non-deer species. We now know that on an overall farm system basis that notion was wrong.

The female deer reproductive system has been designed by nature to only produce one progeny per year. This productive disadvantage would not matter too much if the price premium was large, and for a long time this was the case. . . .

New conservation fund announced:

A Community Conservation Partnership Fund to support the work of voluntary organisations undertaking natural heritage and recreation projects was launched today by Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith at the opening of the new Hoddy Estuary Park in Nelson.

“Thousands of New Zealanders contribute to conservation by building tracks, controlling pests, planting trees, and restoring native wildlife. This new fund is about the Government providing finance for the plants, traps, poisons, equipment and coordination to support this voluntary work,” Dr Smith says.

The new fund of $26 million over the next four years is to be distributed to community organisations in an annual contestable funding round of between $6 million and $7 million a year. Projects may be funded over multiple years, reflecting the time it takes to complete projects of this sort. . .

Chatham Rock, would-be seabed phosphate miner, files second EEZ marine consent application:

(BusinessDesk) – Chatham Rock Phosphate, which wants to mine phosphate nodules from the seafloor on the Chatham Rise, has submitted a draft marine consent application to the Environmental Protection Authority.

The application is the second to be submitted under new EEZ legislation. TransTasman Resources, which wants to hoover ironsands off the seafloor more than 20 kilometres off the coast from Patea is currently going through the first ever hearings under the new regime.

CRP’s application comes after more than four years’ work and $25 million of investment in environmental impact assessments, market evaluation, and development of relationships with mining partners, most notably Dutch dredging firm Royal Boskalis. . .

Investment over decade shows merit of ewe’s milk – Alison Rudd:

A decade ago, Southland businessman Keith Neylon did not know the first thing about sheep’s milk.

Now his company, Blue River Dairy, milks more than 10,000 ewes daily; runs a factory turning out butter, five cheese varieties, ice cream and milk powder; exports products to seven countries; and has just launched sheep’s milk infant formula on the New Zealand and Chinese markets.

Reporter Allison Rudd spoke to the agricultural innovator.

Keith Neylon nurses a cup of coffee in the cafe and tasting room at the Blue River Dairy factory, formerly the Invercargill town milk supply plant. He’s in the middle of an interview, but he still has his eye on his customers. . .

Pilot training course in deer handling to start :

A training course in how to manage and handle farmed deer has been developed, with a pilot run starting in Southland next month.

For several years, training opportunities had been very limited so a 12-month level 3 training course had been developed to ”fill the gap”, Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) producer manager Tony Pearse said.

A pilot block course is being held at Netherdale deer stud at Balfour on April 9, followed by one in South Canterbury in the spring. After that course ended, there would be courses in the North and South Islands in response to a hopefully increasing demand, Mr Pearse said. . .

Fake products risk NZ honey exports:

A Waikato University scientist says there is a risk that fraudulent products will wreck the international reputation of New Zealand honey exports.

Associate Professor Merilyn Manley-Harris says it is extremely urgent that New Zealand sets up standardised labelling of honey, especially the lucrative manuka variety.

New Zealand produced more than 16,000 tonnes of honey in 2012 and 2013 and in 2012 honey exports were worth $120 million with manuka honey making up about 90 per centof that.

The Ministry of Primary Industries has formed two working groups to come up with a robust labelling guideline for manuka honey – one made up of scientists and one from the industry. . .

 


Rural round-up

June 5, 2013

Hepatitis A outbreak linked to Oregon berry farm – Mary Clare Jalonick:

The Food and Drug Administration is investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A linked to a frozen organic berry mix sold by an Oregon company.

The FDA and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that 30 illnesses are linked to Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend, which contains pomegranate seed mix. Illnesses were reported in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California.

Several of those who fell ill reported buying the berry mix at Costco, according to CDC. A Costco spokesman said Friday that the company has removed the product from stores and is attempting to contact members who purchased the product in recent months. . .

Research shows importance of dairy

New consumer research shows 72% of Asians think dairy is an important part of a balanced diet.

However, the research also shows fewer than half the 9000 people surveyed in nine countries are eating every day.

Fonterra strategy director Maury Leyland said the results clearly demonstrate growing awareness of the importance of dairy nutrition across the region and the opportunity this presents to the New Zealand dairy industry. . .

High quality tipped for bumper olive harvest – Peter Watson:

It’s a nervous time for Nelson olive growers as they try to beat the onset of winter, and the birds, to harvest what is expected to be a record crop.

Ideally, Peter Coubrough wanted to wait a couple of weeks before starting picking on his small grove on the Waimea estuary near Mapua to allow further ripening and get the oil percentage up, but he was unwilling to take that risk and lose a heavy crop.

“The weather hasn’t been as warm and sunny as we would have hoped.

“If we don’t get the fruit off now it will either get frosted or the birds will get it,” he said as the pickers arrived last week to begin work at Frog’s End Estate. . .

Vital investment tool developed for wood processors:

A major study report released by the Wood Council highlights the need for by-products from established industries like sawmilling if New Zealand is to develop profitable businesses based on emerging technologies, like bio-fuels and bio-chemicals.

The WoodScape study is the result of collaboration between the forest and wood products industry, the NZ Ministry for Primary Industries and NZ Trade and Enterprise, which together funded the project.

Crown Research Institute Scion, in partnership with FP Innovations and the Wood Council, evaluated wood processing investment opportunities in a New Zealand setting. . .

Fertiliser company seeking $10m for phosphate project:

Chatham Rock Phosphate is going to the public for the first time to raise up to $10 million, to help fund it through to the start of mining in 2015.

The fertiliser company said the public offer aims to raise $4 million with the ability to accept oversubscriptions of a further $6 million.

The offer will consist of new ordinary shares at an issue price of 35 cents per share with one option attached to every three shares issued. . .

Reaping rewards of hard work – Rebecca Harper:

There seem to have been a rash of farming awards handed out recently – perhaps it’s the season for it.

As a first-time attendee at the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, they were extremely impressive.

The awards, held at the TSB Arena in Wellington, ran like a well-oiled machine. It was a most professional and well-attended black-tie event.

The evening reflected the pride in the dairying industry and the esteem the awards are held in. There was truly the cream of the crop in the room.

And for an industry that pulls in a huge chunk of the country’s wealth, it was great to see its top achievers given the credit they are due, in the capital city. . .

Russell McVeagh and Fonterra scoop up ALB Law Awards:

Fonterra’s Trading Among Farmers transaction, completed in November 2012, was one of the big winners at this year’s ALB Australasian Law Awards. The transaction won New Zealand Deal of the Year and the IPO of the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund won the Equity Deal of the Year Award, an Australasian-wide category. Russell McVeagh acted as the principal legal advisors to Fonterra from the beginning of the transaction in 2010 to its completion.

The firm would like to congratulate the Fonterra legal team, which also won the New Zealand In-house Team of the Year Award in recognition of their outstanding hard work and achievement. . .

New agriculture vehicle regulations:

New rules for agricultural vehicles came into force on June 1 with rural contractors – and farmers –being encouraged to familiarise themselves with these changes.

Rural Contractors New Zealand – the national association and the leading advocate for rural contractors in New Zealand – executive director Roger Parton says the new rules offer agricultural vehicle owners improved compliance and greater operational flexibility. He says Rural Contractors NZ has worked collaboratively with Ministry of Transport, NZTA and NZ Police to develop them.

“These changes are a long time coming and have resulted in rules that are easy to understand, comply with and enforce,” Roger Parton adds. “These changes recognise the unique operating characteristics and environment that agricultural vehicles require to travel on the road.” . . .


Rural round-up

December 19, 2012

We are the picture that a child draws of a farm – SticK:

A child draws a picture of a farm.

The sun is shining, the water is clean, the animals are happy.

A question could be, ‘What is the name of that picture?’

Our farms, done correctly, are that picture. There’s a heck of a lot of science to validate it as well.

But, like the picture, we’ve never given a name to what and how we do things.

Without a name, we’re undifferentiated from factory farming. . .

Chatham rock phosphate use would drastically reduce farm run-off, says CRP

The solution to run-off of phosphate into waterways lies in more use of direct application rock phosphate fertiliser, according to Chatham Rock Phosphate chief executive Chris Castle.

Mr Castle said a range of scientific studies over many years has shown direct application rock phosphate offers strong environmental benefits.

CRP has evaluated some of the studies undertaken which compare the use of rock phosphate and super phosphate on New Zealand and international farmland. . .

Harvard sells down Kaingaroa stake to Canadian Pension fund, NZ Super fund:

Harvard Management Company, which manages Harvard University’s US$30.7 billion endowment fund, has sold down its stake in the central North Island Kaingaroa forest.

Canada’s public sector pension fund picking up the bulk and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund taking a small bite.

Canada’s C$64.5 billion Public Sector Pension Investment Board will take a 30 percent stake in the 178,000 hectare forest, while the NZ Super Fund lifted its share 1.25 percentage points to 41.25 percent. Harvard Management will keep a 28.75 percent stake in the forestry company. . .

Rabobank’s latest Agribusiness Review for Australia and New Zealand.

Prepared by the bank’s Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory division, the report provides monthly commentary on Australian and New Zealand agricultural conditions.

Key highlights:
• In New Zealand, a tornado triggered by a series of intense thunderstorms caused extensive damage to parts of Auckland on December 6. In Australia, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, the first ‘normal’ summer since 2005/06 is expected. Meanwhile, the Murray-Darling Basin Plan passed through parliament in November and is scheduled to begin transitional implementation in 2013.

• Much of the attention in global markets is focussed on the US fiscal cliff. Despite some positive employment data in the US, consumer and business confidence has been dragged lower by uncertainty surrounding the impact of the fiscal cliff. . .

Dairy herd up – an extra 370 bottles of milk each :

The number of dairy cattle in New Zealand continues to surge, and is up by more than a million since 2007, Statistics New Zealand said today. At 6.5 million, there are 1.2 million more dairy cattle in 2012 than in 2007.

“Dairy numbers have been booming in the last five years. The extra production equates to about 370 2-litre bottles of milk a year for everyone in the country,” agriculture statistics manager Hamish Hill said.

These provisional numbers are from the latest five-yearly agricultural production census. . .

Background for newly elected Fonterra Board member Blue Read:

The newly elected Fonterra board member, North Taranaki dairy farmer Blue Read, is a passionate champion for the cooperative business model.

As chairperson of the Cooperative Business New Zealand (CBNZ), Mr Read led New Zealand’s celebration of the UN International Year of Cooperatives. This included a Parliamentary launch, and crowning Ashburton the Cooperative Capital of New Zealand, along with national and international speaking engagements.

CBNZ executive director Ramsey Margolis said there had been a noticeable surge of interest from start-up businesses opting for the cooperative model over the last year. A number of existing businesses were also looking at converting to a cooperative. . .

Shareholders Vote In Favour Of Board Resolutions At Fonterra Annual Meeting

Fonterra shareholders have voted overwhelming in favour of a resolution to lock in protections around the size of the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund and the integrity of the Farmgate Milk Price. . .

Fonterra Protection Voted In

Federated Farmers has welcomed the 89.51 percent vote in favour of constitutional safeguards around Trading Among Farmers (TAF).

“We can finally put the ghost of June’s TAF vote to bed where the concept was backed but not the constitutional safeguards,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson.

“A 89.51 percent vote is nearly as comprehensive as you can possibly get and Fonterra shareholders have shown good judgement. . .

Wools of New Zealand Extends Offer Deadline:

Wools of New Zealand has extended the deadline for its share offer to wool growers to 5:00 pm, 25 February 2013 to ensure growers have been given as much time as possible to consider and connect to the offer. The directors are committed and determined to start.

Mark Shadbolt, chairman of Wools of New Zealand, said the extension had been made to provide every opportunity for growers to take advantage of the offer, which to date had attracted positive support though remained short of the minimum level required of $5 million. The offer aims to raise $10 million from growers to pursue the Wools of New Zealand international marketing and sales strategies. . .


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