Rural round-up

29/10/2014

TPP Too Important for Compromised Finish:

The New Zealand dairy industry is urging Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) partners not to compromise on the quality of the deal to get it done quickly.

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) is concerned at reports that the US and Japan may seek to conclude a deal which leaves dairy trade liberalisation out in the cold.

“We urge leaders to stand by their 2011 commitment to a comprehensive deal,” says DCANZ Chairman Malcolm Bailey. “This cannot be achieved without addressing access for dairy, which remains one of the most protected sectors amongst the TPP partner countries.”

The Japanese World Trade Organisation (WTO) bound tariffs for skim milk powder and butter are equal to 217% and 360% respectively. Canada’s dairy market access regime is characterised by small quotas and large out of quota tariffs in the order of 200 – 300%. These conditions often mean trade is prevented. . .

Lisa Owen interviews Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings

Headlines:

Fonterra boss worried about the spread of Ebola in West Africa and potential “big consequences” for the company, saying “it doesn’t feel to me like that it is under control at the moment”

Estimates if Ebola worsens, it could “very quickly” hit 5-6% of Fonterra’s exports, worth $150 million in sales.

Spierings says China as a market is “stable” – volume growth might slow to 4% from 6%

Downplays chance of sealing a Trans-Pacific trade deal – “where the world is right now, we should not be overly optimistic on reaching this… it’s going to be very difficult”.

Can envisage a day when New Zealand reaches ‘peak cow’ – “there could be a point in time that you say no more” – but not for some years. . . .

Massey to host $5m Food Safety Research Centre:

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew today announced that Massey University will host the new Food Safety Science and Research Centre.

The Centre will promote, co-ordinate, and deliver food safety science and research for New Zealand. It was a key recommendation from the Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) Contamination Incident.

“New Zealand’s food exports are dependent on a robust and internationally credible food safety system,” Mr Joyce says. “It is vital therefore that New Zealand is a visible leader in food safety science and research, and remains a producer of trusted, high-quality food products.” . . .

Venison: Breaking with Tradition:

Deer farmers have enjoyed better prices for their venison this October, the time of the year when chilled venison demand peaks in Europe. But the industry’s real focus is on getting chilled season prices all year-round.

Since early October the national average venison schedule for benchmark 60 kg stags has been sitting at around $7.73 a kilo, up from $7.43 last year. Some farmers have been receiving more than $8.00 a kilo.

“This is good news,” says Deer Industry NZ (DINZ) chief executive Dan Coup. “But once the last chilled season shipment to Europe departs our shores in early November, the reality is that venison prices will most likely ease again.” . . .

 

Silver Fern Farms Confirms Positive 2014, Sets 2015 Plan Including Organisational Change And Outlook:

October 28: Silver Fern Farms Chairman Rob Hewett says Silver Fern Farms is on track to deliver a significantly improved profit for the 2014 year following a strategic review of the business and a focus on debt reduction.

“We expect the audited pre-tax earnings for the company will be $5 – 7m for the year just ended to 30 September 2014, which will represent a greater than $40m net profit before tax improvement in performance on 2013. We know many of our farmer shareholders see our profitability as a priority for the company this season, which is what we have delivered,” Mr Hewett says.

Over the same period the company has also paid down $100 million in debt as part of a plan to reduce the cost of debt servicing to the company.

Mr Hewett also announced Chief Executive Keith Cooper was stepping down from the role. . . .

 

Dairy Awards Offers i-Incentive to Enter

Those that enter early in the 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards could win some great Apple Inc prizes, with more than $12,500 of products being given away in an Early Bird Entry Prize Draw.

Entries are now being accepted in the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions.

All entries are accepted online at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz and close on November 30.

National Convenor Chris Keeping says the Early Bird Entry Prize Draw provides a great incentive for those planning to enter the awards to get their entry in early. There are two packages of an iPhone 5S and iPad Air worth $2100 to be won in each of the three competitions, six in total. . . .


Rural round-up

31/05/2014

Lower forecast still good – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra’s confident opening forecast of $7 a kilogram of milksolids for the new season has equal upside and downside in volatile times for world prices and the New Zealand dollar, chairman John Wilson says.

Many uncertainties meant the only thing Fonterra could predict was that the 2014-15 season wouldn’t end on $7, he joked.

“The best way we can serve our farmers in the pre-season is by giving the most accurate forecasts.”

The market realities included considerable volatility in world prices, high NZ dollar exchange rates, and potential for big milk production increases in Europe and the United States, he said.

That said, Fonterra surprised market commentators with its opening price because some were picking $6.50 or less. . .

Wool stands up well when the heat goes on – Alan Williams:

People going to see I’m Loving Wool at Auckland’s Britomart as part of Wool Week were shown how wool can’t be set on fire.

Shearer and showman Billy the Sheep Man – also known as Billy Black – set an oxy-acetylene torch to the fabric to show bystanders its inflammability. 

He also showed how easy it was to set fire to a synthetic fabric.

“The blowtorch was really good,” Primary Wool Co-operative (PWC) chairman Bay de Lautour said. 

“It showed up wool’s fire-resistant qualities and we need to do more on that to show how safe woollen children’s wear is.” . . .

The reasoning behind my micro dairy business – Milking on the Moove:

In the next 2 months, I’ll begin milking a small herd of 15 cows. I’ll sell the milk direct to the public. I’ll milk my herd on leased lifestyle blocks, using my mobile cowshed.

In my last blog post I outlined 5 points that I wanted to achieve with my new business.

  • Create a truly environmentally sustainable dairy business
  • Create farming opportunities for young people that also provided a great lifestyle
  • Keep control of the value chain
  • Offer real unaltered whole milk to the public
  • Concentrate on building a brand rather than owning land

It’s taken a few years of thinking about the issues and I wanted to briefly outline how I have come to settle on my current system. . .

He has a  quick video of the mobile cowshed.

Overseas experience to boost foot and mouth preparedness:

A team of vets and animal industry representatives are heading to Nepal next week for first-hand experience in dealing with foot and mouth disease (FMD), Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.

“This field training is part of a newly signed agreement with Australia to cooperate and work together on preparedness for this disease,” Mr Guy says.

“While both countries are determined that it never enters our borders, we still need to be prepared and work on our readiness and capacity.

“Everyone knows that an outbreak would have major impacts on our valuable livestock industries, disrupting our exports and trading reputation. It would be devastating for farming families, rural businesses and communities. . .

Govt Inquiry into WPC to conclude in November 2014:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye said today that they have received a letter from the Chair of the Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) Contamination Incident, advising that:

“The Inquiry has considered the time that will be needed to report, taking into account the work already undertaken by the Ministry for Primary Industries and Fonterra investigations, the number and nature of the issues arising from the Terms of Reference; the number of participants; volume of material; and the need for fairness to all participants.

Our preliminary advice has been that 6 -9 months would be an appropriate estimate. However, conscious of the need to resolve matters promptly, and in anticipation of full cooperation from all participants, the Inquiry’s present estimate is that it will require until Friday 28 November 2014 (6 months) to present its final report. Participants with whom the Inquiry has consulted have accepted this is a realistic estimate.” . . .

Addressing the big issues at our High Country Conference:

Federated Farmers will be addressing the big issues at their High Country Conference next week in Queenstown.

“We will be talking about what it means to be a ‘Good Neighbour’, and what it means in achieving positive outcomes,” says Chas Todhunter, Federated Farmers High Country Spokesperson.

“We are pleased that we have both sides of the political spectrum speaking, with Eugenie Sage, Green Party spokesperson on the Environment, Conservation, Water and Local Government, and Hon. Jo Goodhew, Associate Primary Industries Minister, both attending. I would expect there will be a lengthy question time from our delegates. . .

New programme set to transform hill country farms:

A new Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme focussed on transforming hill country farms is formally underway, after this week’s contract signing between the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and industry co-investor Ravensdown.

Announced in principle in June last year, the Pioneering to Precision: Application of Fertiliser in Hill Country PGP programme is a seven-year programme that aims to improve hill country sheep and beef farming productivity and protect the environment through more efficient and more precise use of fertiliser. 

By doing this, the programme will improve the profitability of hill country farming and generate earnings of $120 million per annum by 2030 from additional exports of meat and wool. . .

Dairy Awards Help 7000 Entrants:

About 7000 entries have been received in the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, since the New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year competition began 25 years ago.

“It’s a pretty impressive number. When we started to look at the figures and add up those that have entered over the years we were really surprised,” national convenor Chris Keeping says.

“What is also true is that the number of people involved or touched by the awards is many more times that.”

Mrs Keeping says many of the entries received were from couples and they were supported by farm owners, farm staff and families. Sponsors have also played a significant role in the awards programme with sponsor representatives from throughout the country backing the awards and encouraging clients to participate. . .

50 MPI officers swoop on rock lobster black market:

Fifty Ministry for Primary Industry (MPI) compliance officers wrapped up an undercover operation today that targeted recreational fishers catching and selling rock lobster (crayfish) in the South Island.

The operation was focused on activities in the Kaikoura area but also included the Christchurch and Marlborough/Nelson areas.

It is illegal to sell your recreational fishing catch with a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine. . . .


Rural round-up

23/04/2014

Happy Earth Day! If you see a farmer, say thanks for being an environmental steward not just today, but every day!

LIC sets course to $1b horizon:

FARMER CO-OP Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) is revamping its executive team and aiming to raise revenue 500% by 2025.

Directors and farmer shareholders have given chief executive Wayne McNee the go-ahead to trim executive numbers from 11 to 8. The post of chief operating officer is abolished and four new management positions are advertised. Several current executives may settle for non-executive roles or quit.

Staff learned this month of a strategy to earn $1 billion in revenues by 2025; the animal breeding and farm technology service provider earned $200m last year. . . .

Focus shift for Landcorp:

STATE-OWNED FARMER Landcorp is seeking to make subtle but significant changes to its strategic direction.

Outlining the changes to Rural News, chief executive Steven Carden said the SOE wants people to realise there is a direct correlation between a strong Landcorp and a strong New Zealand farming sector.

Directors and staff know about the proposed changes, due for further discussion during another strategy session at a board meeting in a few weeks.

Historically the organisation has been relatively inward looking, he says. Now he’d like to see Landcorp working more collaboratively with other partners and looking well beyond the farmgate and engaging with others. . . .

Why scientific method sorts weak from chaff – Doug Edmeades:

According to my dictionary an anecdote is “a short narrative of an incident of private life”. Anecdotes are frequently used to sell dubious products to unsuspecting farmers. Their use is rife among fertiliser products.

You will all have heard them. “The chap at the end of the road put on some of that stuff – my word his lambs looked good this year”. Or, “This guy sold me some humate, I chucked it on a bad paddock down the back – now there are earthworms everywhere”. And one that has always intrigued me comes from the south, “Joe put some of that seaweed liquid fertiliser on and now hundreds of seagulls follow his plough”.

The seductiveness of anecdotes is that they are derived from observation and only a fool would dare tell a farmer that his observations are BS .. .

Farm Manager Finalists Milking 5000 Cows:

The eleven 2014 New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year finalists are together managing 5200 cows producing more than two million kilograms of milksolids.

“These finalists represent a group of dairy farm employees that work extremely hard and put in long hours to harvest the country’s sought after fresh milk in the most cost effective, sustainable and efficient manner,” National Convenor Chris Keeping says.

“The finalists are also passionate about what they do and are keen to progress their dairy industry career.” . . .

Ten Farming Ambassadors Hailed In 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards have finished another successful year, with Supreme winners from 10 regions recognised for their outstanding contribution to agricultural sustainability.

David Natzke, General Manager of the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, says the 2014 competition drew a “wonderful group of entrants” and the high standard made it a real challenge for judges to pick out the final Supreme winners.

“Attendance at all the regional award ceremonies was well up on previous years. This reflects a great recognition of the awards and how well they are managed and promoted in the regions.”

Taranaki was welcomed into the competition for 2014 and the announcement of the first Taranaki Supreme winner was another highlight, says Mr Natzke. . .

 

Rural Contractors NZ hits the road during May:

Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ) will be updating its members on the latest changes in health and safety, transport and employment laws – as well as other topics – in a series of road shows being held around the country during May.

RCNZ chief executive Roger Parton says rural contractors need to get to grips with proposed changes to health and safety regulations following the recent introduction of the Health & Safety in Employment Reform Bill into Parliament.

“There are some really major changes planned which will most definitely affect rural contractors,” he explains.

“The penalties for getting it wrong, should someone suffer a bad accident at their workplace, are very severe.” . . .

Great turnout for last Regional Final:

Crowds gathered at the Mackenzie Showgrounds in Fairlie Monday 21 April for the final stop of the AgriKidsNZ and TeenAg competition series.

The Aorangi Regional Final saw Hinds Agris, Ella Yeatman, William Ward and Hayden Jefferson from Hinds School take home the top honour for the AgriKidsNZ competition and High Country Hillbillies, Holly Malcolm and Ella Sanderson from St Kevin’s School were first in the TeenAg event.

The competitions test skills, strength and stamina while introducing youth to the fun side of agriculture. Primary and high school students from all walks of life are welcome to join in. . .

Get Your Entries In For NZ’s First Gaia Awards:

Over recent months, the debate on water quality has reached boiling point with reports and commentary from prominent figures such as Dr Jan Wright Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Sir David Skegg President of the Royal Society of New Zealand and Dame Anne Salmond calling for a shift in farming practices.

Fortunately, there are a growing number of producers bucking a trend of declining water quality and profitability through a focus on soil health. The Association of Biological Farmers (ABF) are hosting NZ’s first Green Agriculture Innovation Awards (GAIA) this August in recognition of these timely innovations. Entries for the Awards are closing soon! ABF wants to congratulate and celebrate not only the farmers and growers but also consultants and bio-fertiliser companies that, at a mushrooming pace, are changing the face of food production in New Zealand. . . .


Rural round-up

16/04/2014

“Awareness needed around psychology of hunting accidents”:

Wellington start-up, Hunter Safety Lab says there needs to be greater awareness around the subconscious psychological factors that can cause safety conscious, experienced hunters to mistakenly shoot another hunter.

The comment came in light of the death of a Southland hunter shot by another hunter over the weekend.

It is the hunting season’s second shooting accident to take place in the space of two weeks since it officially kicked off at the beginning of April. . .

No rain reprieve yet for drought-hit farms:

While farming areas in the South Island and the main centres receive rain, very little has fallen in areas affected by the upper North Island’s second consecutive autumnal drought.

“It is clearly a localised drought adverse event covering Waikato and parts of Auckland and Northland,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers adverse events spokesperson.

“I must add that we are also concerned about conditions in Manawatu-Rangitikei too.

“Having been through drought myself last year, I fully understand why farmers up north would dearly like to trade weather with us in the South Island. . . .

Kiwi environmental innovation receives international honours:

Contact Energy’s Wairākei bioreactor – a Kiwi innovation – has been awarded honours at the internationally recognised 2014 IWA Asia Pacific Regional Project Innovation Awards in Singapore. Jointly developed by Contact and Beca, the bioreactor is a unique, world-first solution to improve the quality of water that is discharged from the iconic Wairākei geothermal power station into the Waikato River.

“I’m immensely proud of our bioreactor,” says Contact Energy CEO, Dennis Barnes. “As a world-first it’s great to see this example of Kiwi ingenuity recognised at an international level.”

“To work with Contact Energy from the beginning, developing and testing innovative concepts through to the design and construction of the Wairākei bioreactor has been immensely rewarding for the Beca team”, says Beca CEO, Greg Lowe. “This is another great example of New Zealand talent delivering world class project outcomes.” . . .

Tough Ask to Separate Bright 2014 Sharemilker Finalists:

Choosing a winner in the 2014 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year competition is a tough task for the judges, due to the varying backgrounds and positions of the finalists.

“It is a really interesting competition this year. A number of the finalists are relatively new to the dairy industry, having changed careers, and they also hold a variety of positions which highlights the many ways people can now progress in the industry,” national convenor Chris Keeping says.

“The greatest factor they have in common – apart from being ambitious dairy farmers – is the majority of this year’s finalists have Bachelor degrees. This demonstrates the industry is attracting talented people who are applying skills learned on the job or in other vocations to excel.” . . .

Rollout of faster broadband to remote East Cape schools complete:

All twelve rural schools in remote locations around Gisborne and Wairoa now have faster broadband, as a result of the Government’s broadband initiatives, Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams announced today.

Local communications company Gisborne Net has successfully completed the installation of point-to-point wireless broadband for the 12 schools, under a contract signed with the Government last year.

The 12 Gisborne and Wairoa schools are among 57 across New Zealand which will get faster broadband under the Remote Schools Broadband Initiative, because they are beyond the reach of cost-effective fibre deployment.

The schools will have access to broadband capable of peak speeds of at least 10 megabits per second (about four times faster than previous services). . . .

Sales Volumes Strong, With Prices Holding Steady in March Market:

Summary

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 94 more farm sales (+25.5%) for the three months ended March 2014 than for the three months ended March 2013. Overall, there were 472 farm sales in the three months to end of March 2014, compared to 534 farm sales for the three months ended February 2014 (-11.6%). 1,842 farms were sold in the year to March 2014, 28.5% more than were sold in the year to March 2013.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to March 2014 was $22,342 compared to $22,317 recorded for three months ended March 2013 (+0.1%). The median price per hectare fell 1.3% compared to February.  . . .

State of the art CT scanner to make quick work of animal yield measurements:

Sheep and Deer farmers in the South Island can now benefit from faster and more accurate carcass measurements, thanks to a new CT scanner in Mosgiel. The scanner, which uses X-Ray technology to create cross-sectional pictures of the body, is a valuable tool for determining meat yield in livestock.

The new CT scanner is being provided by INNERVISION, a joint venture between Landcorp Farming Ltd and AgResearch. It replaces an older scanner that had been in operation for eighteen years.

CT scanner scientist Neville Jopson said the new scanner was considerably faster than the old machine, scanning a whole carcass in around two minutes compared to as much as two hours previously. The ‘spiral scanning’ feature takes measurements over the entire carcass rather than single slice views at set points, providing a much better understanding of composition. . . .

Rabobank opens afresh in central Christchurch:

Continued strong growth in New Zealand has seen specialist agribusiness lender Rabobank relocate to state-of-the-art premises in the new ‘Rabobank Building’ in central Christchurch.

The Christchurch branch of the world’s leading specialist agribusiness bank and the third largest lender to rural New Zealand reopened on Monday 14 April at Level 2, 12 Papanui Rabobank northern south island regional manager David Clarke said the new premises catered for expanding staff numbers and would enable the branch to better service rural farmers and agribusinesses in the Canterbury region.

“We’ve almost doubled in staff numbers in the last decade so we’re excited to move to modern, newer premises with improved technology and more space, which will allow us to grow into the future,” he said. . . .

New Zealand’s First Masterclass for Home Winemakers?

Wine enthusiasts, as well as new and seasoned home winemakers, can learn the secrets of the profession from veteran vintner Justin Oliver.

Oliver is from Matakana’s famous Mt Tamahunga Vineyard and has over 20 years industry winemaking experience at wineries throughout New Zealand and in California. He is also Senior Cidermaker at Zeffer Cider and has distilled professionally. Oliver is in the throes of launching his own wine brand, Free Range Wine Co, specialising in premium wine on tap. 

The Syrah grapes that Mt Tamahunga make into $50 a bottle wine can also be pre-purchased from makewine.co.nz to be collected at the masterclass. The supply is very limited this year – and will be sold on a first in first served. Mt Tamahunga vineyard is one of oldest in the area. It was first planted by the Vuletic brothers for the famous Antipodean Farm wine label of the 1980’s. People may remember a 5-litre bottle of this Bordeaux-styled red selling for $5000 at auction. Those were the days! The Syrah vines were planted in 2004 by new owners, for the premium Mt Tamahunga wine label.  . .


Rural round-up

05/02/2014

Addressing severe erosion on the East Coast:

Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew has today announced that public consultation on proposed operational changes to the East Coast Forestry Project (ECFP) is now underway.

“The Gisborne region has a severe erosion problem. A quarter of the land is susceptible to severe erosion, compared with only 8 percent of all land in New Zealand,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“The ECFP funds the treatment of land to prevent soil erosion, through planting trees or indigenous regeneration.”

Since 1992 landowners have used the fund to treat soil erosion on 42,000 hectares. . .

MPI confirm neurological equine herpes – Corazon Miller:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has confirmed the country’s first case of the neurological form of the Equine Herpes Virus.

12 horses have been affected on a single stud farm, six of which have since died or been euthanised.

While the virus itself is common amongst New Zealand horses, MPI spokesman Andrew Coleman says the virus often sits dormant but can manifest into the neurological form when the animal is stressed.

He says stress is a key factor in transforming the common dormant form of the virus into one which attacks the brain. . .

David Ellis, Karaka’s biggest buyer, blames IRD for bleeding bloodstock sales –  Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – David Ellis, the biggest spender at New Zealand’s premiere Karaka horse sales this year, says the tax department is stifling new investment in the bloodstock industry with its interpretation of depreciation rules.

The value of yearling sales at Karaka in South Auckland have fallen in each of the past six years, reaching $69.7 million last month, down from $111.2 million in 2008. That’s below the average $83.9 million in the past seven sales. The number of catalogued horses has fallen 12 percent in that time and actual lots bought are down 18 percent.

Ellis, principle of Waikato-based Te Akau Racing stables, spent $6.8 million on 43 horses at Karaka last month, almost $3 million more than the second-largest buyer. . .

Plantain Proves Popular Alternative to Pasture:

A Hawke’s Bay on-farm trial shows lambs fatten faster on plantain and yield better than lambs grazed on pasture.

Awapai Station, which is a ram breeder for Focus Genetics recently carried out trials and then held an on farm field day for other farmers to find out more about plantain management.

The field day comes as more farmers turn to plantain as a popular, affordable alternative to pasture for fattening lambs and improving the condition of livestock for mating.

Many sheep and beef breeders and traders say plantain helps produce better growth rates.

Awapai farm manager, Shane Tilson says he has planted 80 hectares of mixed clover and tonic plantain in the last four years and is now seeing outstanding results. . .

NZ agribusiness get dedicated crowdfunding platform :

New Zealand agribusinesses looking for investors will be able to turn to crowdfunding once new legislation comes into effect in April.

The agribusiness-focused crowdfunding platform, Snowball Effect, is the first of its kind in New Zealand, and intends to give small to medium sized businesses access through their website to funding from investors looking for equity.

Snowball Effect’s launch coincides with the new regulations and is the brainchild of Fonterra Cooperative Group executives Richard Allen, Simeon Burnett and Francis Reid. They appointed 26-year-old Josh Daniell to be the company’s business development manager to oversee daily operations. . . .

Judges Choose First Regional Dairy Awards Finalists:

The first regional finalists in the 2014 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards should be known, following the start of preliminary judging last week.

National convenor Chris Keeping says the launch of regional preliminary judging signals the start of the process to whittle down the 572 entrants to 33 regional winners and then three national winners.

“It is a long process that involves a lot of planning and preparation by our entrants and considerable time by our teams of voluntary judges,” Mrs Keeping says.

“It is also a very satisfying time, as entrants gain insights and valuable feedback from the judges and judges gain satisfaction in assisting people to progress in their career and in the dairy industry. The judges generally learn a thing or two from the entrants too!” . . .

Three reasons to toast the 2013 vintage:

It is said good things come in threes and the three newly released Sacred Hill Orange Label wines showcase all that was good about the 2013 vintage.

Sacred Hill Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2013, Marlborough Pinot Gris 2013 and Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 are now available and winemaker Tony Bish says they are ready to drink and be enjoyed during the rest of summer and beyond.

“The superb 2013 vintage has been much talked about and will be for some time,” Mr Bish says. “These wines tell more of the story of just how good the fruit from the 2013 harvest was.” . . .

Wool merger exploratory talks:

Exploratory talks are underway on a possible merger between two farmer-owned wool bodies.

They are the Primary Wool Co-operative and the investment company Wool Equities. . . .


Rural round-up

08/11/2013

‘Farmers understand need to improve water quality’:

PRIMARY INDUSTRIES Minister Nathan Guy believes most farmers are environmentalists and understand the need to improve our water quality.

Speaking at the launch of freshwater proposals yesterday, he said farmers want to leave the environment in a better state than they found they found it.

“Farmers recognise the importance of our freshwater resource and understand there will be costs; and they have shown they want to work constructively,” he says. . .

China helps lifts co-op’s returns:

Meat co-op Alliance Group has reported a net profit before restructuring costs and tax of $10.9 million for the year ending 30 September 2013. The co-op’s turnover for the year topped $1.4 billion

After providing for restructuring costs of $2.5 million and tax of $2.8 million, the company recorded a net profit after tax of $5.6 million.

The company’s balance sheet is also strengthening with an equity ratio of 61% and an operating cash flow surplus of $89 million.

In announcing the result, Alliance Group chairman, Murray Taggart, said the return to profitability was a positive result, albeit at an unsatisfactory level, and follows a year with widespread drought conditions and lingering economic weakness in key export markets. . .

Wild pigs a potential TB risk in Waikato:

Reports of wild pigs being illegally released and the risky disposal of their remains has prompted a Waikato farmer to speak out about the bovine tuberculosis (TB) threat it potentially poses to domestic cattle and deer.

Pigs can carry TB and spread the disease when infected carcasses are scavenged by wild animals, mainly possums and ferrets. Bovine TB-infected possums are responsible for the majority of new herd infections in TB risk areas.

Local farmer and Waikato TBfree Committee Chairman John Bubb expressed concern over the reported practices on behalf of herdowners in the region.

“People need to consider the possible consequences of dumping wild pig remains that could be infected with TB,” said Mr Bubb. . .

Public perception vital in a crisis – Hugh Stringleman:

Rescuing Fonterra’s reputation after its botulism scare is problematic, crisis communications researcher and adviser Professor William Hallman says.

“The first thing they taught me as a psychologist is that perception is reality,” Hallman said.

“The fact that it was a false alarm is important, but reputation isn’t entirely based on facts.”

Hallman is head of the Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers, the New Jersey state university.

He was contracted to provide information to the Fonterra independent inquiry into the whey protein concentrate recall on best practise in crisis communications, his principal area of expertise. . .

Southern land producing quality wool – Alan Williams:

Good, clean Southland pasture through spring and early summer helps Jeff Farm produce lambs’ wool to the standard required by United Kingdom fabric manufacturer Camira.

“We put the wool in from 10,000-12,000 lambs and most of it gets accepted,” farm manager John Chittock said.

The wool has to have 0% vegetable matter (VM) and be pesticide-free to meet Camira’s exacting standards under the Wools of New Zealand (WNZ) contract.

“At this time of year we don’t have any problem with the VM. The country here is pretty clean and we don’t have to do anything special with them,” Chittock said.

Mixed response to buffer zone compromise – Richard Rennie:

Western Bay of Plenty landowners have gained a compromise on proposed buffer zones sought by Transpower around electricity lines on their land.

The State-owned enterprise had wanted zones on existing lines inluded in a district plan change, which put it offside with horticulturalists, farmers, and even Western Bay of Plenty District Council.

The dispute was destined to be heard in the Environment Court after Transpower appealed the council decision to follow the recommendation of a commissioner, which was to note the buffer areas in planning documents.

Federated Farmers has arrived at a compromise on the changes being sought by Transpower, with the proposed buffer zones significantly reduced. . .

Great Start for 2014 Dairy Awards:

Nearly 100 people have entered the 2014 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards since entries opened a week ago, up 10 on the same time last year.

“The signs are promising that the 2014 awards are going to be a boomer,” national convenor Chris Keeping says.

“What is really satisfying is the number of people who are entering for a second or successive time. We work really hard to make sure all entrants – not just the winners – gain real value and benefits from their experience and so it is heartening to see that about half the entries so far are from those that have entered in the past.” . . .

#gigatownoamaru has had a great start too.

 


Rural round-up

01/11/2013

Drone helps Southland farmers check on stock – Dave Goosselink:

A Southland farming family have employed a set of digital eyes to help keep track of their stock.

They’re using a remote-controlled drone fitted with cameras to fly over their large farm, counting sheep and looking out for problems.

There are over 4000 sheep and cattle on the Gardyne family’s farm, and it was 13-year-old Mark who suggested turning to technology.

“Dad and I were watching TV and we saw the drones in Afghanistan for the military purposes and we decided how we could use that in agriculture,” says Mark Gardyne. . . .

Allan Barber:

The announcement by Silver Fern Farms of the reopening of its Finegand, Balclutha, casings plant eight years after it closed is an interesting example of history repeating itself. Of particular interest are the reasons behind resuscitating an operation which nobody would ever have foreseen as likely.

The first part of the explanation is both simple and inexplicable: simple because China has stopped accepting any shipments of green runners (sheep and lamb intestines) which were processed into sausage casings, inexplicable because nobody seems to know why. The second component of the explanation is belief by SFF that it can amalgamate substantial volumes of green runners from its South Island plants and add value to them profitably in the new facility. . . .

Progress for irrigation in Otago and Rangitikei:

Federated Farmers congratulates the Government on their commitment to sustainable irrigation in New Zealand.

“The Government’s $850,000 investment into the Central Otago and Rangitkei projects, through their Irrigation Acceleration Fund, will go a long way to improving these provinces economically and socially. It also bodes well for getting it right from the beginning,” says Ian MacKenzie, Federated Farmers Water Spokesperson.

“The potential for these provinces to develop and profit from a more reliable irrigation source is huge – with only two percent of our rainfall used for irrigation right now. It also will play a major part in reaching the goal to double our exports by 2025. . .

Iconic lake benefits from weed control:

Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson says great progress is being made to improve the health of Lake Wanaka through efforts to rid it of a noxious weed.

Lagarosiphon, also known as South African oxygen weed, chokes waterways, smothers native aquatic plant communities and it establishes quickly if left untreated.

Weed control at Lake Wanaka is carried out by a lagarosiphon management committee, led by Land Information New Zealand. . .

Stable wool pricing needed – Wools of New Zealand:

At an estimated average production cost of $4.50/kilo of greasy wool, cross bred wool growers have had only two years of profitable returns over the past decade, continuing a 30-year downward cycle.

Mark Shadbolt, chairman of Wools of New Zealand, says the numbers make for sober reading. “The industry’s primary concern has to be with price volatility. When there’s a price spike manufacturers switch away from wool, eroding demand and fuelling further volatility. Wools of New Zealand have developed a stable pricing model designed to stabilise prices for growers and customers alike, which over time will provide incremental growth in demand and ultimately returns at farm gate.”

Writing in the just released Wools of New Zealand annual report – the first since the company’s successful capital raise was completed in February this year – Mr Shadbolt notes that the company has developed two six month stable price contracts direct with customers. . .

New programme to unlock Northland’s primary industry potential:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has launched a new programme to help unlock the potential for primary industry growth in Northland today.

“This is the start of a wider programme by the Ministry for Primary Industries to work in partnership with regions to help them further develop industries like agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and aquaculture.

“We chose to start with Northland because it has significant potential, with a good climate and a vast tracts of land suitable for further development,” says Mr Guy.

MPI is already working with two Māori-owned farms in Northland. One involves the conversion of 270 hectares of Māori land to a dairy farm. The other involves providing technical support for a 2480 hectare dairy and beef farm to increase productivity, with the support of key partners including Landcorp, Dairy NZ and Te Tumu Paeroa. . .

Special Year as 2014 Dairy Awards Entries Open:

The 2014 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are accepting entries in what is likely to be the most memorable awards competition to date.

National convenor Chris Keeping says the 2014 awards coincide with the 25th anniversary of the New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year competition – the country’s longest running dairy farming contest.

“We are taking some time to celebrate this achievement and are enjoying the trip down memory lane as we see where some of our past winners, entrants, judges and organisers are now. What has become apparent is the long lasting effect and impact their association with the contest has had on them and their dairy farming career.” . . .

Give it up for the dairy industry’s Oscars – Willy Leferink:

What do you call the dairy industry’s Oscars, Emmy’s or the Canon Media Awards all rolled into one? It’s the 2014 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

These awards are much more than a night for farmers to don a tux and hit the big smoke, although Auckland is where the finals are being held in 2014. Next year also happens to be the 25th Anniversary of the Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year competition. For those who don’t know much about sharemilking it is a unique New Zealand pathway into farming. There is lower order sharemilking which is the first rung on the ladder before progressing onto 50/50 sharemilking. There is also equity partnership, where a farmer manages the farm and draws a salary but also has an equity stake in the farm business. All three forms are businesses and mean people with little money but a great work ethic can make a great future for themselves and their family.

In order to recognise the best in our industry is why 25 years ago, Federated Farmers ran the very first Sharemilker of the Year competition in Stratford. . .

Award-Winning Amisfield Wine Company Ownership Returns to Its Roots:

Leading New Zealand businessman John Darby recently announced he has become the sole shareholder of multi award-winning Amisfield Wine Company.

Mr Darby, who was previously a majority shareholder, assumed full ownership following the buyout of other shareholders.

Founded in 1988 and originally known as Lake Hayes Wines, vines were first planted on 110 hectares of vineyards in Gibbston Valley in the early 1990s. . . .

New HALO reds show Hawke’s Bay’s class:

Hawke’s Bay’s classic red wine characteristics shine through in two Sacred Hill HALO premium red wines from the 2012 vintage, released this week.

Named after the distinctive halo in Sacred Hill’s logo, the HALO range has earned a reputation for handcrafted, richly textured wines and the Sacred Hill HALO Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc 2012 and HALO Syrah 2012 continue that tradition.

Chief winemaker Tony Bish says the wines are made from small parcel selections of fruit from Sacred Hill’s best vineyards. . .


Rural round-up

21/08/2013

NZ reputation will bounce back –  Pattrick Smellie:

Honest disclosure of the Fonterra infant milk botulism scare will stand New Zealand’s reputation as a food producer in good stead in the long run, although the country’s reputation for safe food has taken a short term hit, says ANZ Bank’s chief economist for Greater China.

Speaking to BusinessDesk in Hong Kong, Li-Gang Liu described the impact of the incident, and the subsequent discovery of raised nitrate levels in lactoferrin produced by Westland Milk, as “a temporary scare.”

“Most Chinese consumers still trust the goods provided by New Zealand producers,” he said. “I don’t think that has changed fundamentally, especially how this case was handled. . .

NZ scientist wants ploughing outlawed:

A New Zealand soil scientist is campaigning to outlaw the plough and to have a warning on it.

Dr John Baker said ploughing or conventional tillage contributed to global warming, crop failure, soil erosion and eventually famine.

He said the single greatest challenge facing the world was feeding the extra 50 per cent population by the year 2050.

“We can get away with conventional methods in New Zealand because we have rich soil and rotating pasture, but other countries don’t have that luxury. Instead they’re turning their backs on ploughing and adopting no tillage as the only way to feed the population.” . .

Reduced volatility critical for long-term sheepmeat sector viability:

Representatives of the sheepmeat sectors from the United Kingdom, France and New Zealand met last week and have agreed that the volatility of returns is negatively impacting the long term viability of their respective sheepmeat sectors.

They agreed that the roller coaster ride of good years followed by poor years saps the confidence of sheepmeat producers, resulting in a decline in production in most sheep producing countries and a sector that has difficulty attracting and retaining good young people.

A cross-sector group from the UK and France came to New Zealand on a fact-finding mission to better understand the current outlook for New Zealand sheep farmers and to identify and discuss common challenges. They met with representatives from key industry organisations, farming groups and the meat processing and exporting companies. . .

Views differ on effluent threat to marine farms – Peter Watson:

Farmers and the Tasman District Council are confident increased monitoring and a lot of on-farm work have reduced the risk of dairy pollution again threatening marine farms off the Collingwood coast, but marine farmers say more still needs to be done.

In November, 2011 and May last year high E coli readings in marine farms near the mouth of the Aorere River caused alarm within the export industry, sparking fears the spikes may halt harvesting and prompting complaints to the council about outdated dairy practices, weak rules and a lack of oversight.

It sparked tension in Golden Bay as one heavyweight export industry was seen to take on another. . .

Wineries suffer further damage from latest quake:

Marlborough wineries have suffered more losses and damage from Friday’s magnitude 6.6 earthquake than they did from the 21 July event.

Wine Marlborough general manager Marcus Pickens says a number of wineries in the region closed after the big quake struck on Friday afternoon and structural engineers will be assessing the damage during the week.

He says there has probably been some wine loss, although how much is not really known at this stage.

“I think a number of the tanks, the way they behave would have spilt wine out the top … and those wine losses are financial losses as well.”

Mr Pickens says wineries are reporting minimal damage to bottled wine stocks. . .

Dairy Awards Plan 25th Anniversary Celebrations:

The 2014 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the sharemilker competition with a special launch event and celebration ball at its annual awards dinner.

National convenor Chris Keeping says the milestone anniversary creates an opportunity to delve into the sharemilker competition history and to celebrate its success.

“It’s pretty amazing to think that over those years thousands of sharemilkers have participated in the competition, relishing the opportunity to have their business analysed and enhance their progress in the industry while having some fun and meeting lots of people.” . . .


Rural round-up

01/08/2013

Waikato land likely to be better used now:

Lands owned by two Waikato tribes will be better used thanks to an agreement by the iwi and Lincoln University.

Ngati Koroki Kahukura and Ngati Haua have signed a memorandum of understanding with the tertiary educator.

The document outlines an agreement to create an agricultural training centre in Waikato and to explore a new farm certificate course.

Tribal spokesperson Willie Te Aho, who affiliates to both iwi, says the programme is intended for everyone – not just tangata whenua. . .

Bee Aware Month – Love Our Kiwi Bees:

August is Bee Aware Month and the National Beekeepers Association is urging the government to take the threat to bees much more seriously.

Bees account for over 5 billion dollars of New Zealand’s economy through the pollination of crops and honey exports.

But bees are under threat. All wild bees have been wiped out by the varroa mite which is also threatening the rest of our bees.

“The varroa mite is one of the biggest threats facing our Kiwi bees. It has spread throughout the country and we desperately need to contain this dangerous pest,” says NBA CEO Daniel Paul. . .

Wilding pines cleared from shores of Lake Pukaki:

Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson says the battle to preserve New Zealand’s natural heritage has taken a step forward, with 150 hectares of wilding trees cleared at the iconic Lake Pukaki.

Land Information New Zealand has completed an intensive 18 month eradication programme in an area between the western shoreline of the lake and State Highway 80.  It will enable the shoreline to return to its natural state.

“Wilding trees, including conifers such as lodgepole pine (pinus contorta), pose a significant threat to the environment by competing with native flora and fauna for sunlight and water.

“The Government is committed to minimising the impact of these trees by clearing them from Crown land and contributing to community programmes in areas such as Mid Dome, Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu,” Mr Williamson says. . .

Horticulture New Zealand elects new president:

Fruit and berry grower Julian Raine has been elected president of Horticulture New Zealand.

Julian is Nelson based and has 30 years’ experience in the industry. He takes over from Andrew Fenton who has been president since HortNZ’s inception in 2005.

Julian has extensive experience both in growing and wide – ranging roles in industry organisations.

“Julian has been a director of the New Zealand Boysenberry Council and Nelson Seasonal Employers Inc, is chair of the New Zealand Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust and a trustee of the Massey Lincoln Agricultural Industry Trust,” says immediate past president Andrew Fenton. . .

Southland and Otago Dairy Awards Regions Merge:

The 2014 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards will take place in 11 regions, including a merged Southland/Otago region.

National convenor Chris Keeping says organisers made the decision to merge the Southland and Otago regions in late July as it is believed that the merged region will be stronger, creating a better competition for entrants.

“The executive committee has deliberated on the future of the regions for some time, and came to its decision on the basis that it is most important that entrants are guaranteed a competition and the opportunity to compete in the national finals,” national convenor Chris Keeping says. . . .

Taste Farmers’ Markets Award Winners celebrate the real flavours of NZ:

This growing popularity of Farmers’ Markets is something being seen worldwide and for a host of reasons. The awareness of what’s in our food and growing demand for regional, unadulterated produce, climate concerns and the investment into local communities and resources, sustainable agriculture and community hubs are just a few of the influences causing Farmers’ Markets to flourish in New Zealand.

Farmers’ Markets New Zealand (FMNZ) celebrated the real heroes and champions of regional food production at the 2013 Taste Farmers Markets Awards. Localvore Chef Judge Jonny Schwass said “The produce we tasted was fresh, crisp, alive and nourishing. The vegetables, preserves, meats and cheeses are the real produce of Aotearoa” As a Chef and now father, his cooking is about the beauty of well-chosen ingredients and simply prepared food. For Jonny food is the only thing that enlightens all senses. He believes food elevates our mood. It makes us better people. Food is more than energy, food is life. . .

And in celebration of our wine industry:

Looks good!


Rural round-up

25/04/2013

Concerns For Sheep and Beef Farmer Viability Show In
rural Confidence Survey:

Results at a Glance

• Half of sheep and beef farmers are concerned about their business viability

• Dairy farmers are the most optimistic of the sectors, driving some improvement in overall rural confidence

• One in three farmers on the North Island say their farm is severely impacted by drought

Half of New Zealand’s sheep and beef farmers are worried about their ongoing viability as the impact of drought and a sharp fall in lamb prices over the past year take their toll, the latest quarterly Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey has showed. . .

Fonterra Announces Management Changes:

Fonterra Co-operative Limited announced today senior management changes in its Asia Pacific Middle East Africa (APMEA) business unit, including the departure of the existing Managing Director APMEA and the appointment of a new Managing Director for Australia.

Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings said a new leadership team had now been confirmed for APMEA, effective June 1. It included a new Managing Director Australia, Judith Swales, who joins Fonterra after leading Heinz across Australasia and before that the Goodyear Dunlop Business in Australia.

“Judith has considerable experience in delivering business turnarounds across a number of industry sectors, with a great understanding of consumer, customer and operations which will be critical in our Australian business,” said Mr Spierings. . .

Farmers to learn about environmental best practice:

Federated Farmers is proudly promoting regional Field Days for the Ballance Farm Environment Supreme Award Winners. Details of these upcoming Field Days are below.

“What Ballance Farm Environment Supreme Award Winners showcase, is how farmers are responsibly using the environment,” says Bruce Wills Federated Farmers President.

“While they say you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, that saying does not hold with agriculture. Farmers devour information and use field days to learn better ways of doing things.

“In March, I was among 200 farmers at the Smedley Station Field Day in Hawke’s Bay. This gives you an idea as to how popular these Ballance Farm Environment Award Supreme Winner Field Days are. . .

Dairy Awards Drives Progress In Industry:

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards is succeeding in its goal of recognising excellence among farmers as they progress in the dairy industry.
 
Three of the 11 finalists in the 2013 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year competition are past entrants and regional winners in the New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year contest.
 
National convenor Chris Keeping says it is an exciting development in the awards programme, which has run in its current format since 2006 when the sharemilker/equity farmer, farm manager and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions were brought together. . .

New Zealand Seafood Industry Welcomes the National Plan of Action – Seabird:

The New Zealand seafood industry welcomes the new National Plan of Action – Seabirds launched today by the Minister for Primary Industries, the Hon Nathan Guy.

“The Ministry for Primary Industries has involved many groups including industry and environmental NGOs, in developing the National Plan of Action. This collaborative approach has led to common-sense processes that will deliver results,” says Tim Pankhurst, Chief Executive of Seafood New Zealand.

“New Zealand is geographically a global centre for seabirds and the New Zealand industry is committed to maintaining its role as world leader in reducing interactions between seabirds and fishing. . .

Countdown to the Ultimate Rural Challenge:


The Grand Final of the 2013 ANZ Young Farmer Contest is just weeks away and the countdown is on. Tickets are still available for the different events, visit www.youngfarmers.co.nz for more details.

The Grand Final will take place between 16-18 May in Auckland at the Kumeu Showgrounds and SKYCITY, and there is sure to be something entertaining for all ages and interests.

The series of events kick off at 4.00pm, Thursday 16 May, with the Official Opening at Aotea Square. Here, spectators will be entertained with the first Head-to-Head Challenge and introduced to the seven Grand Finalists: Ian Douglas of Northern, Tim Van de Molen of Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Cam Brown of Taranaki/Manawatu, Aaron Passey of East Coast, Reuben Carter of Tasman, Matthew Bell of Aorangi, and Dean Rabbidge of Otago/Southland. . .

Karaka Million Payments Due Tuesday:

Payments for New Zealand Bloodstock’s $1 million Karaka Million– New Zealand’s richest race – are due next Tuesday 30 April.

Horses that were entered by the Entry Deadline of Wednesday 6 March have until 5pm (NZ time) on Tuesday 30 April to pay the Entry Fee of $1,750 + GST per nominated yearling in accordance with the Conditions of Entry.

Please note that any party who has not paid the nomination fee(s) by the deadline will remain liable for the entry fee but their yearling(s) will no longer be eligible for the Karaka Million 2YO or Karaka 3YO Mile. . .


Rural round-up

17/04/2013

Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO smoothing the way for TPP in Mexico:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Dr Scott Champion is in Mexico to talk with Mexican sheep and beef industry interests about the opportunities that will occur when the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is agreed.

Dr Champion is meeting a range of Mexican sheep and beef farmers and representatives from their processing and retail sector to assure them that while he expects that there will be opportunities for New Zealand beef in the Mexican market, the TPP will provide expanded market access for all.

“We want to dispel any myths that New Zealand will swamp the Mexican market with beef. The amount of beef we produce is limited by the land available and production here has been more or less steady over the past 10 years. TPP will not change that,” he said. . .

Finalists Line Up In 2013 Dairy Awards:

The finalists lining up in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are evidence of the huge opportunities and varying pathways available to progress in the dairy industry.

The 34 finalists in the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions are now all known after the completion of 12 regional award programmes last week.

“The finalists have a range of backgrounds and experience in the industry, but are all working hard and achieving great results in their various positions. This is helping them to progress their career and grow their equity to take the next step in the dairy industry,” national convenor Chris Keeping says. . .

Just add water for more food – Jill Galloway:

Availability and access to water resources are the keys to increasing global food production and for New Zealand this means more irrigation is needed, says infrastructure company GHD.

It has appointed Palmerston North-based Robert Sinclair as its food and agriculture business leader, because it sees irrigation as important for promoting growth.

GHD is a global engineering consultancy company with 7000 employees working in the areas of water, energy and resources, environment, property and buildings, transportation and food and agriculture. GHD has 16 staff in its Palmerston North office. . .

Farmer’s gift to land that united family – Jon Morgan:

Tom Hartree is a vigorous 78 and has no intention of being culled for dog tucker anytime soon. But he knows what he wants to happen when his time comes.

He wants his ashes to be mixed with those of his dearly missed wife Dora and scattered in a grove of 45-metres-tall redwoods.

He and Dora planted the redwoods in 1969, in the bottom of a deep gorge carving through Te Motu, one of three farms he and son Greg and his wife Rachael farm at Dartmoor and Patoka in the hills west of Napier. . .

Ngai Tahu sees future in farming – Alan Wood:

South Island iwi Ngai Tahu is partnering with Lincoln University to help get young Maori further involved in dairy and agricultural development in Canterbury.

Today Ngai Tahu Property, Lincoln University and Te Tapuae o Rehua signed a memorandum of understanding on an initiative focused on supporting more local Maori into agriculture.

The memorandum marks the beginning of a project known as “Whenua Kura”, Ngai Tahu says.

The project follows on from dairy development work already started by the tribe. The commercial arm of the iwi, known as Ngai Tahu Holdings Corp, has a number of pilot dairy farms in Canterbury. . .

Big turnout predicted for meat industry meeting

Farmer feedback points to a big turnout of farmers tomorrow for the Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) meeting in Christchurch, says Blair Gallagher, the local organising chairman.

“We even have farmers coming down from the North Island to attend this meeting,” he says.

A committed group of Canterbury farmers has been working hard to ensure the success of this meeting, as their future relies on a nationwide mandate of farmer support so as to move forward as one united farmer group, Gallagher says.

MIE chairman Richard Young will present a five point strategy plan at the meeting, which he believes will give farmers some direction on how to move forward if a NZ wide farmer mandate is achieved. . .

Sheep, beef leaders focus on environment:

Twenty-five sheep and beef farming leaders will attend the first Beef and Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Environmental Leadership Forum in Wellington next week.

 The B+LNZ-funded forum will be delivered by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust. It is based on the trust’s successful programme for dairy farming leaders run in partnership with DairyNZ.

B+LNZ chief executive officer, Dr Scott Champion says it will equip the farmers with some of the skills they need to engage with regional councils and take on leadership roles within their communities. . .


Rural round-up

27/02/2013

Future foods – Robert Hickson:

Will farm livestock become endangered species? Social, economic and environmental drivers are converging to not only look at producing food more efficiently and sustainably, but are also stimulating new ways to produce meat or remove the need for it altogether. Such changes, if successful, could have substantial effects on New Zealand’s agricultural and economic landscapes.

Lab-grown meat has been worked on for a while, and convergence with other technologies is starting. Modern Meadow  is aiming to print meat. In vitro production of meat still has a long way to go, technically, economically and socially. There is scepticism that it will become economically viable and sufficiently scaleable. Or even appeal to consumers. But would it really be that different from currently available mechanically extracted meat products , insects or some of the delights whipped up by molecular gastronomists? . . .

St John says thanks to Federated Farmers:

A $54,000 grant to St John from Federated Farmers will help the organisation continue its important community work.

Federated Farmers made several grants from their Adverse Events Trust in September 2012, and St John was one of the recipients. The money came from individual farmers, meat company workers and meant and wool companies.

Federated Farmers’ representatives Katie Milne (National Board Member) and John Hartnell (Chairman of the Bee Industry Group) visited the St John Regional Operations Centre to see the work of the ambulance communications centre, as well as have a look at a new ambulance. . .

Fonterra Milk for Schools attracts interest from more than half of NZ’s Primary Schools:

Contacting Fonterra has been on the to-do list for many New Zealand primary schools since the 2013 school year kicked off – and more than half of the country’s eligible schools have now expressed interest in Fonterra Milk for Schools.
 
More than 1100 schools, representing about 191,000 kids, have registered their interest in the nationwide programme which will provide free milk to primary-aged children every school day. This is on top of the more than 110 schools already participating in Northland.
 
Fonterra Group General Manager Global Co-operative Social Responsibility Carly Robinson says the number of schools getting in contact has been growing by the day. . .

Dairy expo braodens view of the industry – Sally Rae:

Question – what’s black and white and red all over? Not necessarily a newspaper.

It could be a cow hide tanned by Southland man Adam Cowie, who established his own business about three years ago after working in a tannery for many years.

Mr Cowie, from Animal Skin Tanning Services Ltd, had skins for sale at the Southern Region Dairy Expo at Clydevale last week.

The event, organised by the Clutha Valley Lions Club, attracted a wide variety of exhibitors, selling everything from tractors and trailers to fertiliser and milking systems, pumps and stockfeed. . .

Cultivar information aids autumn pasture decisions:

DairyNZ is encouraging farmers to use the latest Forage Value Index lists to help make decisions on perennial ryegrass cultivars.

The DairyNZ Forage Value Index (FVI) was launched last May as an initiative between DairyNZ and the New Zealand Plant Breeding and Research Association (NZPBRA). The region-specific FVIs utilise seasonal dry matter yields from NZPBRA’s National Forage Variety Trials.

DairyNZ’s Dr Jeremy Bryant says the latest set of FVI lists were released in December. . .

Kirsten Bryant re-elected to Beef + Lamb New Zealand Board:

Kirsten Bryant has been returned as the Western North Island Farmer Director on the Board of Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

The Beef + Lamb New Zealand Returning Officer, Warwick Lampp has reported that Kirsten Bryant received 11,503 votes and John McCarthy received 6,149 votes. . .

First 2013 Dairy Awards Winners:

In less than a week the first regional winners in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards will be announced, opening new opportunities and career prospects.

National convenor Chris Keeping says it is an exciting time when the winners of the 12 regional competitions become known and a new group of passionate and enthusiastic dairy farmers step forward.

“We had more than 550 entries this year, so our judges are working extremely hard to identify those sharemilkers, equity farmers, farm managers, contract milkers and trainees doing the best with the resources and farm they have available to them. The awards are not about being perfect, they are about making progress.” . . .

Dairy farmers have cost effective “friend in N”:

With high demand in dry areas edging up the price of supplementary feed, dairy farmers wanting to maintain production into late autumn have got an increasingly cost effective “friend in N”, says Ballance Science Extension Manager Aaron Stafford.

“As a feed source home grown pasture remains your best bang for buck and with supplementary feed prices now averaging $50 a tonne more, farms that are not battling the dry conditions will find N an even more competitive tool for extending autumn lactation and maintaining herd condition.”

Aaron says products like SustaiN Green, which reduces ammonia volatilisation, offer farmers more flexibility to apply nitrogen when it’s needed most or when it suits them better, even if the weather or soil conditions often experienced during autumn are not optimal. . .


Rural round-up

02/02/2013

Low prices worry sheep farmers – Gerald Piddock:

Sheep prices rather than feed issues is the major cause for concern for South Canterbury sheep farmers midway through the 2012-2013 season.

Feed levels were good because of the periodic rain throughout the summer. While that was a positive, the returns farmers were receiving for their sheep was a big pill that was hard to swallow, South Canterbury Federated Farmers meat and fibre chairman Neil Campbell said.

“At least we’re not having to sell stock on a depressed store market,” he said. . .

Farmers fume at silence on power line route – Chris Gardner:

Waipa Networks is facing a backlash from angry landowners over its refusal to reveal where it plans to build a 110kv power line, which will cross three Waikato districts.

 Ray Milner, chief executive of the Te Awamutu-based network provider, refused to detail exactly where the company wants to erect the $20 million line when he spoke at Otorohanga District Council yesterday despite being told of landowners’ frustrations.

The line will start near Fonterra’s dairy factory on the outskirts of Te Awamutu and end near the Hangatiki intersection near Waitomo village. The distance by road is approximately 40km. . .

Farming lobby group denies organising geese cull – Paul Gorman:

Federated Farmers is distancing itself from last year’s bloody Lake Ellesmere cull in which Canada geese were bludgeoned to death with clubs and baseball bats.

Rotting carcasses were left floating in the lake after the controversial cull, raising fears of waterway pollution.

Federated Farmers high-country regional policy adviser Bob Douglas said this week that the organisation was not planning further culls of the pest bird.

Instead, it was working with people badly affected by the geese on their land to find a better solution. . .

Experts dump on dung beetle – Richard Rennie:

LEADING scientists and health experts believe there are major risks if dung beetles are released in New Zealand.

The beetles are in caged field trials in Northland after approval was granted by the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) for 11 species to be imported.

ERMA has since been disbanded and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has taken over its role.

Championed by Landcare, the beetles are intended to assist rapid breakdown of animal waste, help reduce fly infestations resulting from dung presence, and possibly reduce the need for drench use. . .

Wheels may come off rural delivery – Richard Rennie

THE viability of rural mail contractors will be threatened if NZ Post pushes delivery services to only three times a week.

The state-owned enterprise is seeking to adjust the 1998 deed of understanding it has with the government on delivery conditions for standard letters and postal outlet services.

 NZ Post’s proposal document acknowledges rural New Zealand will be most affected by changes, particularly rural delivery contractors.

 One adjustment option the SOE has is to reduce mail services to three days a week . . .

High Value Harvest Underway:

New Zealand’s annual seed harvest is about to hit overdrive, and if last year’s official trade figures are any indication, there’s a surprising amount of money riding on the next few weeks.

Vegetable and forage seed exports were worth NZ$168million for the year ended 31 December 2012, up from NZ$138million the previous year, reports Statistics New Zealand.

Seed industry leaders have welcomed the result, especially considering the exchange rate, and are now eyeing up ways to grow the trade further while maintaining the rigorous standards that position New Zealand at the top end of a large, competitive global market. . .

Rabobank supports red meat sector collaboration program for greater farmer profitability:

Agricultural banking specialist Rabobank has welcomed the newly-announced red meat sector collaboration between industry and government to enhance the long-term profitability of New Zealand’s beef and lamb industries.

Rabobank New Zealand CEO Ben Russell said the bank was pleased to confirm its support as a participant in the proposed program. Rabobank notes the program is reliant on the forthcoming vote by farmers on Beef and Lamb New Zealand’s contribution. . .

Thorn Park Provides Highlights on Karaka Select Sale Day 2:

The momentum has continued right throughout Day 2 of New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2013 Select Yearling Sale today, with buyers reporting tough competition ringside.

By the close of play, 285 of the 611 Select Sale lots had sold for $12,809,000, with the average currently at $44,944 with the clearance rate strengthening slightly to 70%.

The top price was provided early in the day by Lot 707, the Thorn Park colt from Windsor Park Stud that was purchased for $140,000 by NZB as agent. The second foal of the Montjeu mare Kashira, he is from the family of dual Group 1 winners Military Plume and Monaco Consul.

Thorn Park colt Lot 718 fetched the second top price of the day. . .

Judging Underway in 2013 Dairy Awards:

Judging gets underway this week in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

National convenor Chris Keeping says the judges will begin the process to determine the 2013 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year winners.

All entrants participate in the judging process that will select the 34 regional winners in the 12 regional competitions.

“Entrants had been invited to attend information evenings during the past couple of weeks to give them a bit of an idea of what to expect when judges visit on their farms – in the case of sharemilker/equity farmer and farm manager entrants – and what is expected of them. . .

Self-sufficient dairy farm placed on the market:

A well developed dairy farm on the north-east coast of the South Island has been placed on the market for sale.

The 187 hectare Mahunga Farm, 23 kilometres south of Kaikoura, is being marketed by Bayleys Real Estate as an attractive investment to an entry-level dairy farmer, or a group looking for a low-cost and low-output farm to draw healthy profits from. It is flat and well equipped with quality infrastructure. This farm has a sale price of $4.2million (plus GST if any).

Bayleys Canterbury salesperson Ruth Hodges said the current owners invested in Mahunga Farm with a long-term view – focusing on improving pasture quality and developing the farm into a low-input, profitable operation. . .


Rural round-up

10/01/2013

SC man leader at global grain giant – Gerald Piddock:

Forging a career at a desk of the largest privately owned corporation in the United States instead of behind the farmgate is a choice Maurice Hurst has never lamented.

The South Canterbury-born Lincoln graduate oversees the North American grain and oil seed export division for Cargill Incorporated, a company that reported a $1.17 billion in earnings in the 2012 fiscal year ended May 31, 2012.

It is responsible for 25 per cent of all United States grain exports, employing 150,000 people in 66 countries. It has a presence in New Zealand through its Australian arm. . .

Scheme conserves landowner freedom – Richard Rennie:

Minutes from Tauranga, Te Puna farmer Colin Merrin not only farms on the city’s doorstep but also reclaims flora and fauna, aided by a farmer-friendly conservation scheme.

His 240ha property is perched on high hill country north of Tauranga. Rolling back towards the Kaimai Range, it has been identified as a link in a valuable natural corridor between the Bay of Plenty coast, across the range to the Waihou River catchment in Waikato.

The Forest and Bird Kaimai Connection programme aims to integrate this corridor’s biodiversity protection and enhancement alongside private landowners committed to preserving native bush and wildlife in the area. . .

Sentencing should warn of Gisborne rustlers: 

After Police and farmers worked together to bust a major East Coast stock rustling ring last year, Federated Farmers is warning rustlers to find a different line of work in 2013.

“Late last year, two people were convicted of rustling 160 sheep but realistically, that was possibly the tip of an iceberg,” says Hamish Cave, spokesperson for Federated Farmers Gisborne-Wairoa.

“This ring was busted because farmers saw suspicious activity, took down details and called the Police. . .

Farmers asked to fund wool promotion – Tim Fulton:

Members of the global Campaign for Wool are prodding New Zealand to firm up its contribution, just as talk surfaces again of farmers being asked to directly fund wool promotion. Tim Fulton reports.

New Zealand’s representative for the Campaign for Wool, Stephen Fookes, says some of the partners feel this country isn’t getting the best value from its involvement.

While NZ is doing its bit to create awareness of wool, particularly strong fibre, it is not actually showcasing what it produces, he says. . .

New man heads Ravensdown – Ali Tocker:

Fertiliser company Ravensdown has a new chief executive, former Ngai Tahu Holdings head Greg Campbell.

Chairman of the Australasian farmer-owned co-operative, Bill McLeod, said Campbell brought significant international experience as a chief executive, and company director experience including with PGG Wrightson.

Campbell, who was chief executive at Ngai Tahu, replaces long-serving Ravensdown chief executive Rodney Green. . .

RECORDS TUMBLE IN 2013 DAIRY AWARDS:

The 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards will be the biggest and best yet, with a record 566 entries received, up from the previous best of 525.

“We are just so rapt with the response and at the level of competition that will take place to determine the winners,” national convenor Chris Keeping says.

A total of 144 entries were received in the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year competition, 171 entrants will compete for the New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year title and 251 entries were received in the New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year contest. . .


Rural round-up

04/12/2012

Strong growth and sophistication of the hospitality sector helps Neat Meat transform product offerings with unique pasture-based products, and build exports based on that success –  Andrew Patterson:

Not all meats are created equal, particularly if the Gisborne born Eriksen brothers are involved.

The three siblings Simon, William and Tim along with two other founding shareholders have been slowly redefining the meat category over the past decade with high end product offerings designed to cater to an increasingly sophisticated palate.

Their Neat Meat retail shops along with their Harmony and Angus brands and their Chefs Series range have given customers access to high quality cuts of meat in a variety of forms that were previously only the domain of exporters and high end restaurants. . . .

Dairy export volumes show large increase:

In the September 2012 quarter, seasonally adjusted dairy export volumes rose 32 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today. Milk powder was the largest contributor to this rise.

Dairy products made the largest contribution to a 9.7 percent rise in seasonally adjusted export volumes. Meat export volumes rose 15 percent. Import volumes rose 0.7 percent, led by intermediate and capital goods.

“Dairy export volumes are at record levels, after adjusting for seasonal effects,” prices manager Chris Pike said. “Dairy values remain at high levels, even though export prices have fallen for five consecutive quarters.” . . .

Primary Growth Partnership tops $650M:

Primary Industries Minister David Carter has welcomed the announcement of another successful Primary Growth Partnership bid which lifts the total invested to more than $650 million.

The Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) is to fund half of an $87 million innovation programme proposed by leading meat exporter ANZCO.

“ANZCO’s proposal to generate more value from the beef carcase with its Foodplus programme is bold and innovative. This is exactly what PGP is about – transforming great ideas into tangible R&D programmes focussed on results,” says Mr Carter. . .

Central Otago’s Trophy Triumphs:

2012 will go down as the year Central Otago firmly established its reputation as a producer of fine New Zealand wines, if the recent Trophy count is anything to go by.

Almost every winegrowing district within the Central Otago region has brought home a Trophy in the last six months – from Bendigo, to Alexandra, to Gibbston, to Wanaka, to Bannockburn – confirming every district within the region produces outstanding wines. . .

The Artisan Winegrowers of Central Otago:

In a more that signals the changing and evolving climate of the New Zealand wine industry, six modest growers from Central Otago – the eponymous “Artisans” – have banded together and formed their own group under a unified flag. The Artisan Winegrowers of Central Otago (AWCO) comprise Auburn Wines, Ellero, Georgetown Vineyard, Lindis River, Lowburn Ferry and TOSQ . . .

More than 400 Earlybirds in Dairy Awards

A record 158 entries received last week in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards has pushed the number of entrants eligible for the earlybird entry prize draw to 428.

“It was an amazing week,” National convenor Chris Keeping says. “We had a record 158 entries and on the last day for people to enter and be eligible for the earlybird entry prize draw we had 49 entries alone!”

Mrs Keeping says the number is up from 381 at the same time last year. . .

And for your entertainment (hat tip: Whaleoil) click on the video at GEA Farm Technologies  for jiving cows.


Rural round-up

28/11/2012

Chemical-free biopesticide offers hope for porina control

AgResearch scientists are working on a chemical-free biopesticide that can kill one of New Zealand’s worst pasture pests – the porina caterpillar.

The caterpillar and with another pest, the grass grub, cost farmers an estimated $100 million a year in destroyed pasture and control measures.

The biopesticide is based on a naturally-occurring bacterium, Yersinia entomophaga,discovered during a search for alternatives to health-threatening chemical pesticides which are being phased out. . .

What would responsible pastoralism mean? (A strategic ‘glue’) – Peter Kerr:

My contention is, by branding our method (pasture Harmonies) and taking that through on products to the consumer, NZ Inc would become the global custodians for responsible pastoralism.

What would that mean?

In one word, ‘glue’.

I argue that as nation of rugged individualists, the thing that has been missing for our farmers, our agritech, our marketers and our publics is a common sense of purpose. . .

The dairy cliff in America – an Alice in Wonderland of the planned – Life Behind the Iron Drape:

A journalist from the land of fiat money and central banking sat down this week and, no doubt with a straight face, wrote the following about the American ‘dairy cliff’:
As if the “fiscal cliff” and the long-suffering farm bill weren’t enough, Iowans may soon face a new dilemma — a “dairy cliff.”
If Congress fails to act in the handful of weeks it has left in its lame-duck session before adjourning for Christmas recess, the nation’s dairy programs for farmers will expire Jan. 1.

Dairy Awards at 300 Entries

Just over 300 entries have so far been received in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

National convenor Chris Keeping is pleased with entry numbers and the level of interest in the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions.

“We are past halfway in our entry target this year, which is great. I’m hoping for a rush of entries this week as our earlybird entry prize draw closes off on Friday,” Mrs Keeping says. . .

Clearview chocolates – a little piece of paradise

Combining wine and chocolate may be a combination made in heaven for some, but in reality it’s a sweet collaboration coming out of Te Awanga on Hawke’s Bay’s Cape Coast.

Clearview Estate Winery and local (yet French) chocolatier, Anissa Talbi of La Petite Chocolat have joined forces to create two special dessert wine chocolates, one featuring Sea Red and the other, Late Harvest Chardonnay. . .


Rural round-up

03/11/2012

European farmers surprisingly upbeat – Gerald Piddock:

European farmers are surprisingly upbeat about the future of their industry despite the continent being still very much in a recession, Beef+Lamb chairman Mike Petersen says.

Speaking from Brussels, Mr Petersen said he expected to see “doom and gloom” as a result of the recession.

“I have been pleasantly surprised at the mood of the farming population over here. They are very optimistic about the future and quite optimistic about the coming season.”

Petersen has been in Europe, meeting with counterparts and discussing their expectations for the coming year. He outlined his observations in a Beef+Lamb conference call. . .

Water priorities come up trumps – Jon Morgan:

The elephant in the room analogy is becoming a bit overworked, but I like it. Lately, the elephant has been really showing off. In the debate about freshwater quality the elephant is nitrogen leaching.

It was brought into the room by conservationists a few years back but attempts to prod it into life largely failed. It just sat stinking in the corner.

But a few weeks ago Judge Craig Thompson of the Environment Court climbed aboard and hit it with a big stick.

The elephant reared back on its hind legs and let out an ear-splitting roar, loud enough to be heard in every milking shed and dairy factory throughout the land. . .

NZ Commodity prices rise 1.3% in October, led by wool, cheese:

New Zealand commodity prices rose for the third straight month in October, led by gains in wool and dairy products while aluminium fell.

The ANZ Commodity Price Index rose 1.3 percent last month with 12 commodity prices gaining two declining and three unchanged.

A slightly firmer New Zealand dollar meant the gain in the ANZ NZD Commodity price Index was a slightly lower 1 1 percent. . .

Fonterra’s Trading among farmers launches but I still don’t understand it – Milking on the Moove:

I’ve blogged about TAF before here and here. We now have a bit more information on how it will play out in practice. But to be fair, I still don’t really understand it and this view has been expressed by many observers in the media and the industry. It is not fully understood and some of the reason for this is Fonterra themselves don’t know exactly how the governance will work, as they are still undertaking a review.

My thoughts;

Will farmers sell some of their shares into the fund?
I think they will, there are lots of farmers who have very high debt levels, the drop in the forecast payout is making many farm budgets drop into the red. I think many of these farmers would sell 25% of their shares into the fund and use the proceeds to pay off debt.

The dividend portion of the shares is estimated to return net 4.2%-5%, farmers will be paying 7%-8% interest on their debt, so they make a greater return by reducing their debt.  . .

New director shows youth and wisdom
THE RISING average age of farmers creates succession problems not only for farms and orchards; it is also seen in the boardrooms of primary producer businesses.

That’s why Zespri’s newest director Nathan Flowerday is pleased an Agmardt scheme which helped him get elected to Zespri’s board will be extended to others. 

Flowerday was the successful candidate in 2011 for an associate board trustee position created by Agmardt on its own board to give young farmers or growers governance experience. He believes that experience gave Zespri voters the confidence in him to elect him in July this year to the Zespri board. 

As a result, he and Agmardt are urging other agribusiness organisations to pick up the idea of creating an associate board-membership position, or at least establish observer positions on their boards. . .

Record Early Entries in Dairy Awards

There’s been a record-breaking response to the number of entries received in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, since entries opened just yesterday.

National Convenor Chris Keeping says 33 entries were received online at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz yesterday – the first day people could enter the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions. . .

Babich Wines Look to Expand in Marlborough

The 96 year old New Zealand wine company, Babich Wines Limited, announced today the sale of their 50% share of the Marlborough winemaking facility, Rapaura Vintners Limited to Treasury Wine Estates.

Rapaura Vintners Limited, an integrated winery, packaging and warehouse facility has been invaluable for Babich over the last 12 years as they have continued to grow production and sales of their Marlborough wines.

Babich Wines will now look to build their own state of the art facility in Marlborough – a move that will give the family owned wine company full control over their future winemaking in the region, where over 80% of the company’s production comes from. . .


Rural round-up

05/05/2012

Salmon farm expansion plans:

Nelson leaders predict major growth for region

Nelson businesses, the Seafood processing union and the city’s mayor are firmly behind NZ King Salmon’s expansion plans saying they will result in increased downstream employment at a time when young people are leaving in droves.

Business owners also say the company is a responsible producer of high quality products wanted by the world and it is “not going to bastardise their own environment”.

City Mayor Aldo Miccio says Nelson backs winners and aquaculture is a new and exciting industry the region needs and wants. . .

More university science funding positve for rural sector:

The Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science says the Government’s new focus on science and technology at the tertiary level is long overdue.

The Government is asking universities and polytechnics to increase their enrolments in science, technology, engineering and maths.

It is to increase funding for those subjects in the Budget this month. . .

Good news for high country with Pastoral Lease ammendment:

After a prolonged battle, including the Minaret case in the Land Valuation Court, New Zealand’s High Country farmers welcome the passing of Crown Pastoral Land (Rent for Pastoral Leases) Amendment Act in Parliament, clarifying that pastoral lease farm rents are to be based on pastoral rather than landscape values.

“Federated Farmers asked the government to make the Pastoral Land Act workable and to give certainty around how rents would be calculated. We are grateful they listened,”Federated Farmers High Country chairperson, Graham Reed says.

“This is not a hand out; it simply means rents are set to reflect High Country farming businesses’ real earning capacity. This amendment allows us to live and work without the spectre of unfair rises simply because of our farms’ locations. That was certainly the intention behind the use of the word “pastoral” in the Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998, describing the restricted land use on which valuations should be based. . .

License to operate: A regulatory barrier or market opportunity?

The AGMARDT Agribusiness Breakfast provides an annual forum to discuss issues of national interest to the rural community. This year’s theme is‘License to Operate: a regulatory barrier or market opportunity?’ and includes presentations by Dr Andrew West, Bryce Johnson, Willy Leferink and Graham Stuart.

The AGMARDT Agribusiness Breakfast will be held on Friday the 25th of May on Level 4 of the Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, commencing at 7.30am sharp and will be hosted by AGMARDT’s Chairman Jeff Grant.

“In setting the theme for this year’s AGMARDT Agribusiness Breakfast, we wanted to raise awareness within the farming community of an issue that is going attract increasing attention in the years ahead,”said Mr Grant. . .

Dairy Awards final sells-out:

Nearly 700 people will attend the 2012 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner, where the winners of the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions will be announced.

National convenor Chris Keeping says final judging is underway for the 36 finalists representing 12 regions across the country. The finalists converge on Auckland next week for a series of activities and to participate in the final judging component, an interview.

“It’s a really exciting time for the finalists, especially once the pressure of final judging is off. They really enjoy the opportunity to meet each other and spend time together while doing activities out of their comfort zone. It’ll be a time they cherish for years to come.” . . .


Rural round-up

15/04/2012

Grape expectations 2012 – Sarah Marquet:

Wine is one of Central Otago’s key industries,      pumping millions of dollars into the local economy, and after      fears a significant amount of fruit would be lost to disease,      a great vintage is predicted from this season. Reporter Sarah      Marquet finds out why.

A warm spring, leading to good flowering and fruit followed by a hot summer allowing growers to apply water stress to  their grapes set up a good season for Central Otago wine      makers, and the “spectacular Indian summer” has dried up any botrytis that was threatening crops. . .   

Season in Waitaki Valley ‘shaping up quite well’ – David Bruce:

It has been a challenging season for Waitaki Valley    winegrowers, but the talk is about quality, not quantity, David    Bruce reports.   

Cool and wet weather from late January will have an effect on      the quantity of grapes picked in the Waitaki Valley this      season, but quality of the wine is expected to be high,      Waitaki Valley Wine Growers’ Association chairman Jim Jerram predicts . . .   

Couple win farm awards – Sally Rae:

North Otago couple Blair and Jane Smith have been named    supreme winners of the 2012 Otago Ballance farm environment awards.   

 Mr and Mrs Smith run Newhaven Farms Ltd, a sheep, beef, forestry and dairy support operation that spans three family-owned properties.  . .  

Diversity within Sharemilker finalists:

The finalists in the 2012 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year contest are a mix of experienced and new dairy farmers, and small, medium and large-scale operators. There are some migrants to New Zealand, is one man competing against 11 couples, and one equity farm manager competing against 11 sharemilkers.

National convenor Chris Keeping says the 12 regional New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards competitions always discover some talented and interesting finalists to contest for the national titles.

“This year’s finalists are a high calibre group focused and confident in achieving their goal of owning a stake in the dairy industry. They are young, ambitious and growing their businesses at great rates,” Mrs Keeping says. . .

Great muster for merino stud tour – Sally Rae:

When it comes to the history of sheep studs, it is hard to go      past the Taylor family from Tasmania.   

The Winton merino stud, established in 1835, is the oldest continually running stud still in the same family, in Australia.   

The stud was founded by David Taylor, whose great-great-grandson, John Taylor, was on the Central Otago Stud Merino Breeders tour last week with his wife Vera. It was the first time Mr Taylor had been on the tour and he was impressed. . .

Rangiora unscahed by quakes no more:

The closure of PGG Wrightson’s rural supply store and eviction for Farm to Farm Tours is another knock for Rangiora, a town that once looked to have escaped the worst of the Canterbury earthquakes.

Building inspectors have been at work in a big way here since the twin rattles of December 23 and the delicate frontages of High Street are now shielded by shipping containers and a lattice-work of protective fencing. You can still shop in main-street Rangiora but you have to pick your way through a maze of obstacles to do it.

Retailers have watched anxiously as one building after another is either temporarily or permanently put out of bounds because of earthquake damage. Among them is a rural mainstay, Farm to Farm Tours run by long-time farm management consultant Ross Macmillan. . .

Farmer in swimsuit for competition – Shawn McAvinue:

Southland dairy farmer wearing a slinky swimsuit has fleshed out entries in a competition to encourage low effluent ponds.

No Southland dairy farmers had entered the competition a week before it closed on March 30 but shortly after an article in The Southland Times about the poor turnout farmers with low ponds came forward . . .

Remembering Five Forks school days – Ruth Grundy:

For an Oamaru couple who attended schools in the Five Forks district early last century, life on the farm and growing up in their small close-knit community left a lasting impression.

The Five Forks community will celebrate 100 years of schooling at three schools – Maruakoa, Fuchsia Creek and Five Forks, at Queen’s Birthday weekend.

There are no surviving pupils of Maruakoa School, which opened in 1912 and closed in 1918, but there is a good contingent of seniors who remember their school days at Five Forks and Fuchsia Creek primary schools.

Former Fuchsia Creek School pupil Jim Kingan, 82, said generations of the Kingan family had never moved far from the district and most had continued to farm. . .

Health capsules hve cherry on top claims – Andrea Fox:

Business is a bowl of cherries for two Waikato companies – or potentially, many tonnes of cherries, with their launch of a new natural health treatment for stress and sleep difficulty with globally superior claims.

The companies are a Waikato Innovation Park start-up joint venture called Fruision and established health and natural beauty products retailer Moanui Laboratories.

The story behind the commercialisation of their product is complicated and stretches back a few years, but starts simply enough with central Otago’s Summerfruit Orchards, a grower of fine sweet cherries, which wanted to add value to its fruit destined for the pigs because it was not perfectly shaped, or rain-split, or otherwise flawed. . .

All set for success – Ruth Grundy:

As the countdown begins to the opening tomorrow of New Zealand’s most prestigious pony club event, there are four North Otago women who are hoping they have thought of everything.

Tomorrow marks the start of the four-day 2012 New Zealand Community Trust New Zealand Pony Club Association (NZPCA) Horse Trials Championships. . .

The championships are being hosted by the Ashburton-South Canterbury-North Otago Area Pony Club, at the Oamaru Racecourse.


Dairy Award finalists

06/04/2012

The 36 finalists in the 2012 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards will compete for more than $140,000 in cash and prizes at the national awards.

The national winners will take home some excellent prizes and, while they are pleased to win these, most of our finalists are motivated to enter and do well in the awards to boost their confidence and farm business performance,” national convenor Chris Keeping says.

“A key outcome from participating in the awards is the opportunities presented to progress in the industry. Our entrants are able to take the next step in their career through the feedback they receive from judges, people they meet at the awards dinners, from raising their profile and reputation, and from gaining increased confidence in their ability.”

Mrs Keeping says the final of 12 regional awards contests was held in Southland last weekend to confirm the 12 finalists in each of the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions.

She says many of the finalists will be hosting field days in the next two weeks and preparing for national judges visits. The judges spend two hours on the farm of the sharemilker/equity farmer and farm manager finalists. An interview will be held once the finalists have gathered in Auckland for the awards dinner on May 12, and is the final judging aspect used to determine the winner.

The dairy trainee finalists will go on a study tour containing judging components. The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles NZ, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown and RD1, along with industry partner AgITO.

The 2012 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year finalists:•         Auckland Hauraki –Scott & Alicia Paterson, •         Bay of Plenty –Richard & Amy Fowler •         Canterbury North Otago– Edna & Sarah Hawe •         Central Plateau –John Butterworth •         Hawkes Bay Wairarapa –William & Sally Bosch •         Manawatu Rangitikei Horowhenua – Shaun & Liza Connor •         Northland– Miles Harrison & Lucy Heffernan •         Otago –James & Helen Hartshorne •         Southland – Billy& Sharn Roskam •         Taranaki – Rebecca & James Van Den Brand •         Waikato – Barry & Nicky McTamney •         West Coast Top of The South – Paul& Debra Magner

The 2012 New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year finalists:•         Auckland Hauraki– Paul & Amy Koppens •         Bay of Plenty –Grant Clark •         Canterbury North Otago – Mick O’Connor •         Central Plateau – Ian Nelson •         Hawkes Bay Wairarapa – Dean & Rochelle Jones •         Manawatu Rangitikei Horowhenua– Matt Johnson •         Northland – Steve & Donna Griggs •         Otago – Gareth & Angela Dawson •         Southland – Hannes & Lyzanne du Plessis •         Taranaki – Thomas Higgins •   Waikato – Thomas White •         West Coast Top of The South – James Deans

The 2012 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year finalists: •        Auckland Hauraki – Kylie Dunlop •         Bay of Plenty – Brandon Law •         Canterbury North Otago– Nathan Christian •         Central Plateau –Emily Fiddis •         Hawkes Bay Wairarapa – Dyana Barnes •         Manawatu Rangitikei Horowhenua –Shane True •         Northland – Benson Horsford •         Otago – Richard Lang •       Southland – William Mehrtens •         Taranaki –Mark Duynhoven •         Waikato – Mark Jacobs •West Coast Top of The South – Michael Shearer.

Past entrants say while the kudos of winning and prizes are appreciated, what they learn in the process is also very valuable.


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