Rural round-up

April 20, 2017

Good PR is a self-help exercise – Neal Wallace:

A united agricultural sector needs to promote itself by telling positive farming stories, public relations expert Deborah Pead says.

Industries such as dairy were constantly under scrutiny and having to defend themselves when the correct strategy was to get in first and tell the public what they were doing to address those concerns.

“It is hard to argue when you see a river dried up and farmers are flat-out irrigating but what is the solution? What are farmers doing about it?” . . 

High country community divided by fence plan – Conan Young:

Green groups are outraged at a plan to spend ratepayer money on a fence that would allow iconic high country land to be more intensively farmed.

The 6km fence is proposed for Flock Hill Station, which is leased by a US-based company and contains scenery made famous in 2005’s The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe.

Until now, Coast Range Investments has only been allowed to graze it in a low-level way, so as to have a minimal impact on the landscape and its environment. . . 

Water Fools? – Greening of Mackenzie – Kate Gudsell:

It’s the closest thing New Zealand has to a desert. The Mackenzie Basin landscape is not replicated anywhere else in the country, let alone the world, and it is being changed irreversibly.  

Not just the land is being changed, the once-pristine lakes are showing signs of strain too.  

The area has been at the centre of a 10-year court battle after farmers and landowners opposed tougher development rules proposed by the Mackenzie District Council.  . . 

Stable milk price crucial for strong farming season – Sally Rae:

Rabobank is picking a farm- gate milk price around $6.25 for the 2017-18 season, as it says a figure in that area would finally allow dairy farmers to ”emerge from the woods”.

Global dairy prices were now better balanced than at the start of this season.

This was likely to flow through and create largely stable commodity pricing in the new season, a bank report said.

However, despite the improved market balance, the possibility of further lifts to the current season milk price was limited, report author and Rabobank dairy analyst Emma Higgins said.

The price rally experienced since the second half of 2016 had ”some of the gloss” removed, with stronger-than-anticipated New Zealand production impacting on prices.

Job Seekers drawn to plant – Sally Rae:

Hordes of job seekers from Nelson to Dunedin – including a group of Cadbury employees – converged on Fonterra’s Clandeboye site for a recent recruitment day.

A $240 million mozzarella plant development at the South Canterbury site is under way, creating full-time employment for a further 100 people.

There was a “fantastic” response to the recent recruitment day, with between about 1500 and 2000 people attending. That led to about 700-odd applications for the roles, operations manager Steve McKnight said.

The mozzarella plant, the third at Clandeboye, was the single largest food service investment in the history of New Zealand’s dairy industry. . . 

Cervena seeks its place in the sun – Annette Scott:

Marketing Cervena venison as a lighter summer eating option in Germany will be a challenge but it’s a move Deer Industry New Zealand has confidence in, venison marketing manager Marianne Wilson says.

Deer Industry NZ (DINZ) had begun marketing Cervena in Germany during the northern hemisphere summer as part of a market development trial. While relatively small the trial was symbolically important, Wilson said.

Traditionally the deer industry had been heavily reliant on sales of venison to the German game trade which was highly seasonal, with demand and prices peaking in the northern autumn and winter. . . 

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Rural round-up

December 15, 2016

Massey to go more practical – Peter Burke:

Veterinary and agriculture degree students who start at Massey University from 2019 will find practical aspects of farming and vet work in their courses right from the start.
And the university is moving to a primary concern with agriculture.

Chancellor Chris Kelly told Rural News that practical studies will start in students’ first year of vet and ag degree courses.

The move on the vet degree course responds to the vet industry saying that though new vets are well qualified academically they lack practical skills, especially for rural practice. . . 

Outcry at ‘sexist’ Massey Chancellor 2/5 comment – Jessica Wilson:

Massey University Chancellor Chris Kelly has come under fire over a comment he made about women veterinary graduates.
Kelly said a woman graduate is equivalent to two-fifths of a full-time equivalent vet.

His comment was made in a recent Rural News article.

Kelly says currently the majority of veterinary students and graduates at Massey University are women. He says women make up 75-85% of vet students in first year and more go on to second year than men do. . . 

Uni boss steps down after female vet remarks:

Massey University Chancellor Chris Kelly is stepping down, after earlier apologising for saying one woman veterinary graduate was worth two fifths of a full-time vet.

Mr Kelly made the comment in an interview with Rural News, published last week.

“When I went through vet school, many years ago, it was dominated by men; today it’s dominated by women,” Mr Kelly told the publication. . . 

Fonterra topping global pizza markets with new investment:

Fonterra takes another important step in its value add strategy today, with the announcement of a new mozzarella plant that will meet growing customer demand for its world-renowned cheese. The introduction of the new $240 million plant ¬ doubling the Co-operative’s capacity to produce its revolutionary individually quick frozen (IQF) mozzarella – will make Fonterra Clandeboye the largest producer of natural mozzarella in the Southern Hemisphere.

Robert Spurway, Chief Operating Officer Global Operations, says demand for this mozzarella out of China and wider Asia continues to grow as more consumers seek out natural dairy products. 

Blueberry season tracking well for Waikato growers – Gerald Piddock:

The season’s first picking of blueberries are in supermarket shelves with the bulk of the fruit ready for harvest in time for Christmas.

It should also see prices slowly start to fall as supply matches demand from blueberry lovers around the country.

The only potential issue was the recent patchy rain hitting many Waikato blueberry farms, which has delayed picking, Blueberries New Zealand chairman Dan Peach said.

Tracing wool from origin to end product  – Annabelle Beale:

WITH a corporate career in information technology and supply chain logistics spanning three decades, Andrew Ross’ recent entry into the wool industry was never going to be without digital disruption.

When helping out on his father’s ultrafine wool property in Guyra, Northern NSW, nearly six years ago, a seed of passion was planted for the Merino wool industry which made him dissatisfied with his corporate life.

His simple ambition to establish an Australian grown and made active and outdoor clothing brand started a complex rewriting of how Merino wool will be sourced and traced in years to come.


Rural round-up

May 15, 2015

Is life down on the farm about to change forever? – James Stewart:

Farmers deal with change all the time. We become obsessed with sun, rain and everything in between which is what happens when your whole livelihood depends on the natural elements. This is part of the volatile world we deal with. All you need to do is throw in commodities and exchange rates and it can make for an extremely challenging environment. This is an accepted fact of life for a farmer.

To add to the abyss of unknown, farmers are anxious about what the health and safety reform will bring and the new challenges that lay on the horizon. We all want to come home from work alive. Unfortunately this will not always happen as you just can’t eliminate all of the risk out of farming.

My own personal experience of a fatality on my own farm still haunts me to this day. Going through a police and OSH investigation was nothing compared to the emotion of meeting the parents the following day to try and explain what may have happened. I take every practical step to prevent accidents happening, but the world we live in is not perfect and accidents happen. . .

One in four dairy farmers in negative cashflow this season, Wheeler says – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Another year of sagging dairy prices would be a concern for New Zealand’s economy and especially for the 25 percent of farmers currently carrying debts above 65 percent of the value of their assets and currently trading in negative equity, says Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler.

Expanding at a parliamentary hearing on this morning’s release of the central bank’s six monthly financial stability report, which imposed new macro-prudential restrictions on lending on Auckland housing, Wheeler said “another year of low prices, that would be a worry for the economy, no question, and also that would be a worry for farmers in terms of their debt capacity.” . . .

Step up, Foterra told – Sally Rae:

Fonterra’s strategy needs to start delivering or its market share will shrink further, Federated Farmers Otago dairy chairman Stephen Crawford says.

The results of small Waikato-based dairy co-operative Tatua and West Coast-based Westland Milk Products’ might well ”far exceed” Fonterra, so it might eventually need to front up and stop blaming volatility, which was experienced by all players in the market, Mr Crawford said in his report to Federated Farmers Otago’s annual meeting in Dunedin yesterday. . . 

 

Horowhenua vegetable growers hit by wet weather again – Gerard Hutching:

Vegetable growers in Kapiti and Horowhenua have been hit by wet weather for the second year in a row.

Woodhaven Garden grower John Clarke, based in Levin, said it was shaping up to be as difficult a season as last year, when autumn had been the wettest he had seen in 31 years of growing.

“It’s starting to trend the same way. It has certainly impacted on what we’ve been able to plant. One day recently we had a hit of 125 millimetres [of rain] and the day before 50mm,” Clarke said.

Metservice figures show 157mm has fallen in the Levin region over the past month. It forecasts rain to continue for the next 10 days, with little prospect  of sunshine. . .

Taranaki rural crime issues reach the top – Sue O’Dowd:

Taranaki farmers who highlighted rural crime have been invited to be part of a national committee looking at a rural policing strategy. 

An inaugural meeting in Wellington on Wednesday among representatives of police, Federated Farmers, Ministry for Primary Industries, Neighbourhood Support, Community Patrols and Rural Women NZ aimed to formulate a consistent approach to rural crime prevention throughout the country. 

Co-ordinator of community policing Alasdair Macmillan, of Wellington, has been working for months on increasing the awareness of what he calls “rural crash and crime”. 

“I came across this group in Taranaki,” he said. “These guys are up and running. What have they got? Do we need some tips from them?” . . .

Fonterra expansion take mozzarella to the world:

Work is complete on a new mozzarella plant at Fonterra’s Clandeboye site, doubling production of the world-famous cheese and creating enough mozzarella to top more than 300 million pizzas a year.

Work is complete on a new mozzarella plant at Fonterra’s Clandeboye site, doubling production of the world-famous cheese and creating enough mozzarella to top more than 300 million pizzas a year.

The mozzarella – one of the Co-operative’s most sought after cheeses – is destined for global pizza and pasta restaurant chains across China, Asia and the Middle East. . .

Rural Equities accepts Webster takeover offer for stake in Tandou – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – Rural Equities, the farming group majority-owned by the Cushing family, will sell its 6.4 percent stake in ASX-listed Tandou into a takeover offer from Australian agricultural and water company Webster.

Webster’s shares have jumped 26 percent on the ASX this year and the stock is rated a ‘strong buy’ based on a Reuters survey of analysts.

Webster is Australia’s biggest vertically integrated producers of walnuts, accounting for more than 90 percent of the nation’s export crop. It has been on an acquisition spree, buying water entitlements and more than 45,000 hectares of land known as the Kooba aggregation for A$116 million in December and making an A$124 million offer for Bengerang, a large-scale NSW cotton farmer with its own portfolio of water entitlements. . .

Mainman insecticide application approved:

An Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) decision-making committee has approved with controls an application from ISK New Zealand Limited to manufacture or import the insecticide Mainman, which contains the new pesticide active ingredient flonacamid.

Mainman is intended to be used for the control of aphids and psyllids on potatoes and possibly other specific pests associated with horticultural crops. The application is for Mainman to be used by commercial growers and contractors on vegetable crops. . .

 


Rural round-up

July 14, 2014

Help sought for flooded farms:

Northland Rural Support Trust has put out a call for emergency grazing and feed supplies for farmers whose land is under water after the past week’s storm and prolonged rainfall.

Trust co-ordinator Julie Jonker said the flood prone Hikurangi Swamp area, north of Whangarei, has been one of the worst affected.

“We’ve got up to 30 farms flooded in the Hikurangi Swamp area, we’ve got nine at least flooded further down in Tangiteroria, and even those that aren’t actually flooded are still cut off”, she said. . .

Greens’ water policy unrealistic:

Irrigation New Zealand (INZ) thinks that there is some merit in the Green Party’s environmental policy relating to water announced today, but is concerned about the economic and social impacts of the policy and about how the Green Party will achieve its outcomes.

INZ agrees that dams must not be built on New Zealand’s pristine rivers and where possible new dams should be located off-river. It also agrees that ‘no go’ areas should be identified.

But INZ does not agree that dams and irrigation destroy rivers or add to pollution if they are designed and constructed properly.

“The reality is that New Zealand needs large scale water storage. This is essential for town and city drinking water supplies, as well as to produce fresh food,” says Andrew Curtis, chief executive of INZ.. .

Green’s need to get on the water policy bus:

Instead of attacking policy that will massively improve New Zealand water quality, Federated Farmers says the Green Party would be more credible if it showed a lot more bipartisan leadership in supporting that policy.

“The new National Policy Statement (NPS) of Freshwater, actually requires regional councils to maintain or improve water quality while giving the wider community the choice of how far they want to go in order to improve our lakes and rivers,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Environment spokesperson.

“If the community wants to ensure that certain rivers and lakes are safe for swimming that is supported within the NPS.  But the NPS also requires they be fully informed as to the effect upon jobs, rates and their local economy, when making that choice.

“To leap into swimming as the gold standard for all, without some sort of exceptions regime, will likely cost urban ratepayers massively in the pocket. . .

Fonterra cheese jewel on target – Esther Ashby-Coventry:

The $73 million expansion of the Fonterra mozzarella factory at Clandeboye near Timaru is on track to go online in August 2015.

More than 360 contractors and tradespeople have been working on the project this off-season, with the majority from local companies. Most of the construction materials were bought within New Zealand and the rest manufactured offshore. At any one time there are between 75 and 100 people on the project.

More than 25 new staff members will be required for the factory once it is complete. They are being employed in staggered groups to begin their training. . .

Where is PGG Wrightson heading? –  Keith Woodford:

The last decade has been tumultuous for leading agricultural services company PGG Wrightson. The current company was formed in 2005 with the merger of Pyne Gould Guinness and Wrightson. That merger was led by well-known agribusiness entrepreneur and former Fonterra CEO, Craig Norgate,

Norgate then took PGG Wrightson on a rough ride. It was he who provided the intellectual leadership behind the massive land buying associated with the PGG Wrightson offshoot Farming Systems Uruguay. This subsequently ran into trouble with the coalescence of a major drought and the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. Norgate also led the proposal for PGG Wrightson to purchase a 50% share in Silver Fern Farms for $220 million. That too ran into trouble due to the Global Financial Crisis. . . .

NZ butchers defend tri-nations title

New Zealand’s Sharp Blacks have defended their tri-nations butchers title against Australia and the United Kingdom.

The team of six Kiwis battled the Brits and Aussies over two hours at the Royal Yorkshire Show in Harrogate as they turned a side of beef and a whole lamb into 50 products fit for a top shelf butcher’s display.

New Zealand won the tri-nations on home slabs at Wanaka last year and captain Corey Winder, from Christchurch, says winning gold on the other side of the world has been a career highlight. . . 

Japan deal opens FDI money flow – Tony Boyd:

ONE of the least understood aspects of the Australia-Japan trade agreement signed this week is the profound change it will bring to foreign direct investment (FDI) into Australia.

The agreement lifts the screening threshold at which private Japanese investment in non-sensitive sectors is considered by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) from $248 million to $1 billion.

Japanese takeovers in excess of $250 million have never caused a problem for the FIRB and there have been plenty of those over the past 10 years. Nevertheless, the free trade agreement has reserved policy space to screen proposals for investment in agricultural land and agribusinesses at lower levels than $1 billion. . .

New Zealand bra fence braless again:

A fence with hundreds of bras tied to it in Central Otago is looking a bit bare.

Hundreds of bras were cut from the controversial Cardrona Valley bra fence about four or five days ago, Cardrona Residents and Ratepayers Association chairman Barrie Morgan told NZ Newswire.

The whimsical fence has existed for about 14 years and has become a popular tourist attraction but some locals regard it as an eyesore and traffic hazard.

The council took it down in 2006 but it was revived a short time later. Bras were mysteriously removed in 2013. . .


Where there’s milk . . .

March 28, 2009

The grapevine reckoned that Don Brash and Keith Turner (former National leader and CE of Meridian Energy respectively) had been showing interest in a dairy farm that’s for sale in our neighbourhood.

The farm’s still on the market but Rural News reports  that the two men are directors of New Zealand Milk which is planning to build a factory to produce skim and whole milk powder near Glenavy, just north of the Waitaki river.

If it goes ahead, South Canterbury suppliers will be spoiled for choice. New Zealand Dairies has a factory at Studholme, near Waimate, and Fonterra has a factory at Clandeboye, north of Timaru. 

In spite of the uncertain outlook for commodities in international markets, this indicates that there’s still plenty of people who believe that where there’s milk there’s money to be made.


They bought it we have to use it

October 29, 2008

Labour spent far more than it was worth to buy the railways and now they’re going to make us use them whether or not we want to.

Michael Cullen wants to jointly fund rail access to Fonterra’s Clandeboye milk processing plant even though the company doesn’t want it.

Dr Cullen said the Government is committed to jointly funding rail access to Clandeboye and wants to see the plan brought forward.

“There’s a lot to be said for taking it there.”

Both the economy and the environment would benefit.

Last month Fonterra Clandeboye hub manager Alan Bennett said the site was not looking at rail at all.

Fonterra would have made an informed decision on the best way to transport its produce. If it costs more or is less efficient to do it by rail will Cullen compensate us?

Roarprawn and No Minister  aren’t impressed either.


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