Rural round-up

April 4, 2013

Farmers need to agree what they want – Allan Barber:

The recent meeting in Gore, organised by the Meat Industry Excellence Committee and attended by about 1000 farmers, gave an overwhelming mandate for change to the present condition of the meat industry.

Key aspects of the Excellence Committee’s plan are one company controlling 80% of processing and marketing, a change in farmer supply culture, procurement equality and transparency, farmers to fund the restructure with assistance from the banks, and government backing.

This wish list may sound completely logical and comparatively simple, but it contains a number of assumptions, all of them very hard to achieve and some pretty unrealistic. In the first flush of optimism after the meeting Gerry Eckhoff suggested the new structure could be in place by the start of next season in October. That is patently ridiculous because a wish list doesn’t equate to a workable strategy and business plan. . .

Drought saves gold kiwifruit harvest in north:

The drought that has plagued Northland this summer has brought an unexpected reprieve for kiwifruit growers battling the PSA virus.

The dry weather has stopped the spread of the disease and, against all expectation, Northland’s gold kiwifruit harvest is shaping up to be a good one.

Fruitgrowers Federation Northland director Rick Curtis says growers feared the worst when the virulent strain of PSA was reported in several orchards in and around Kerikeri last spring. . .

Federated Farmers promotes Commerce Commission swaps investigation:

Having written to the Commerce Commission last November, Federated Farmers welcomes the Commerce Commission’s update on its investigation into the promotion and sale of interest rate swaps marketed by various banks.

“If farmers have concerns about the mis-selling of swaps then now is the time to raise them with the Commerce Commission,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“Having broken the $50 billion barrier the rural debt market is large and some of the debt instruments are complicated. There has also been a lot of discussion about swaps so the Commerce Commission is best placed to properly investigate them.

“The Commission is rightly looking at swaps from the perspective of the Fair Trading Act 1986. This includes misleading and deceptive conduct in trade such as false and misleading representations. . .

Forest owners vote yes:

The Forest Voice referendum will deliver a clear yes vote in favour of a commodity levy when final results are released in a few days.

The levy, which will be used to fund activities that benefit all forest owners, was the subject of a referendum that ran from 1-29 March. . .

Campaign for Wool — Wool House in Design Spotlight:

International enthusiasm and accolades endorsed wool in London recently at a Campaign for Wool showcase, Wool House.

Over 15,000 people visted Wool House, a two-week event hosted in Somerset House Wool House presented wool as a modern, versatile, lifestyle fibre. It featured a showcase of interiors, fashion and the world of artisan and craft making, along with a hi-tech educational suite.

Wool House invited leading interior designers to offer their vision and seven individual rooms to show how the design community uses wool extensively within their work. Exclusive room sets from designers Donna Wilson, Ashley Hicks, Josephine Ryan, Anne Kyyro Quinn, Mary Fox Linton of Fox Linton Associates and Kit Kemp featured alongside a wool art installation commissioned by the Campaign from Dutch tapestry artist Claudy Jongstra. . .

Coopers Creek Vineyard joins the fight to save our kauri forests:

The Kauri Dieback (KDB) Programme has formed a marketing alliance with New Zealand vineyard Coopers Creek, in an effort to slow the spread of kauri dieback disease.

Relationship Manager for the KDB Programme, Ian Mitchell says, “We are really excited and pleased to welcome Coopers Creek into the ‘save our kauri forests whānau’. Kauri dieback is a devastating disease. Hundreds of our majestic kauri trees have died and we need all the help we can get to prevent it spreading.

Coopers Creek winery is close to Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges where many patches of the forest have been decimated. “We’re acutely aware of the kauri dieback problem”, says Coopers Creek General Manager, David Nicholas. . .

Global Glassware Masters to Create Wine Glass for Central Otago Pinot Noir:

The Austrian director of the esteemed Riedel Glass Company, Georg J. Riedel has travelled to Queenstown to develop a specialty wine glass for Central Otago Pinot Noir in consultation with a group of New Zealand’s leading wine experts.

More than 20 wine producers and writers, including Master of Wine Bob Campbell, took part in a blind glassware taste test with Georg at Jacks Point, Queenstown on Tuesday 19 March to help Riedel create the perfect glass shape for Central Otago Pinot Noir.

Georg is a 10th generation member of the Riedel dynasty, which is renowned for producing high-quality, wine-friendly stemware which delivers the bouquet, taste, balance and finish of a wine to the senses. . .


Rural round-up

November 30, 2012

On the hoof – Sally  Rae:

The West Coast, where tradition and time appear to stand still, folk heroes are born, and the compelling scenery in all directions is as attention-grabbing as the sandflies, and where the annual Haast cattle sale is a firm fixture on the farming calendar. Agribusiness reporter Sally Rae and illustrations editor Stephen Jaquiery went along for a look.

Looking to the future, John (J. J.) Nolan believes eventually there might not be a cattle sale at the Turnbull saleyards at Haast.

With the advent of modern technology, he reckons 1000 head of cattle could potentially be sold one day in a video sale, in the pub, over a cold beer. But he hopes that he never sees that happen.

For the Nolan family – household names in Westland since first arriving at Jackson Bay in 1885 – have been taking their cattle to sales for generations. . .

Stud proves a winner – Sally Rae:

Stud breeding is in Wayne Williams’ blood.

Mr Williams and his wife Maggie own Glacier Horned Herefords at Fox Glacier, continuing a tradition that started back in the 1940s when his grandfather established a Hereford stud, then named Bluedale stud.

Slideshow: Haast cattle sale

After he moved to Canterbury and took some of the cattle with him, Mr Williams’ father took over the farm and the stud name was changed to Glacier Horned Herefords.

Sustainability efforts awarded:

Taranaki laundry and dry cleaning operation La Nuova Apparelmaster and Wairarapa farming business Aohanga are among those honoured in the 2012 Sustainable 60 awards, announced in Auckland this evening.

The Sustainable 60 awards recognise firms which incorporate sustainable practices into the operation and management of their businesses. . .

Sheep, beef and forestry agribusiness Aohanga takes out the award for Strategy and Governance.

It is a Maori incorporation with a firm focus on the future. The hapu has continuously held its land in the Northern Wairarapa since pre-European times, and has written a 100-year business plan taking it to 2100. . .

Rabobank 2013 Commodities Outlook: Agri markets to remain volatile as fundamentals ‘rebalance on a tightrope’:

Volatility in agri commodity prices looks set to continue into 2013, according to a report from Rabobank’s Agri Commodity Markets Research department. This will be particularly true for grain and oilseeds markets, with a supply squeeze in the first six months expected to push prices higher, before an expected production rebound leads to a weakening in prices in the second half of the year. The report says soymeal is the commodity likely to show the largest price decline by the end of 2013. In contrast, Rabobank analysts expect palm oil to be the strongest performer, as Chinese imports and biofuel demand drive prices higher after the sell-off in 2012. The soft commodity markets should continue in the same vein as this year, with prices expected to be relatively range bound.. . . 

BEEFLAMBNZ.COM Wins Prestigious Website Award:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand scooped the hotly contested prize for best private sector website at this year’s WriteMark New Zealand Plain English Awards.

The annual awards honour the organisations and people who are trying to make the world a better place by banishing jargon and gobbledygook.

The judges said: “This is certainly the best entry in the category. Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s farmer website shows a strong commitment to plain English. The purpose is really clear and the pages show plain language, active verbs, and short sentences. Useful summaries and clear navigation help site visitors quickly find what they need.” . .

Fonterra Australia-NZ boss leaves after regional rejig – Paul McBeth

Fonterra Cooperative Group’s Australia New Zealand managing director John Doumani will leave the dairy exporter after the company rejigged its regional boundaries.

The cooperative, fresh from raising $525 million through its shareholders’ fund to reduce shareholder redemption risk, has reorganised its consumer businesses to combine Australia and New Zealand with the ASEAN/Middle East/North Africa unit, it said in a statement. Sydney-based Doumani signalled he will leave the dairy exporter in March next year due to the restructuring, it said. . .

Dairying women prepare to challenge their boundaries at annual conference:

Hundreds of women who work in the dairy industry will be tackling some of the big issues that affect today’s farmers including the rural/urban divide, environmental constraints and developing future leaders, when they get together at the Dairy Women Network’s annual conference in March 2013.

The line-up of high calibre keynote speakers includes Olympic rowing gold medal winner Mahe Drysdale.

The two-day conference at Nelson’s Rutherford Hotel, starting on 20 March 2013, is themed ‘Taking down the boundary fences’. . .

Chairman of Central Plains Water steps down

Pat Morrison, chairman of Central Plains Water Ltd since 2003, has retired from the position but will remain on the board as a director.

An integral part the project since its inception in 2000, he believes the time is now right to hand over the reins.

“Having been involved right through the resource consenting phase, and with the scheme now moving into the design and construction stage, it is an appropriate time to hand over the role to CPWL Director and newly appointed Acting Chairman, Doug Catherwood who has been deputy chairman. . .

Three Months, Three Trophies, One Wine:

Coopers Creek’s Select Vineyards Albariño 2012 has won its third Trophy in three months.

It’s been dubbed “The Wine of the Summer”.

Back in late August at the New Zealand wine industry’s Bragato Conference, Coopers Creek Select Vineyards Gisborne Albariño 2012 was awarded its first Trophy. This was a surprising and impressive result for a young wine, new to this country and only in its second vintage. Just over a month later, in early October, the “Bell-Ringer” as it’s affectionately known, secured its second Trophy at the International Aromatic Wine Competition. Then last weekend at the celebration dinner for the country’s most prestigious competition, the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, the news of a third Trophy for the Albariño! . .


Rural round-up

August 25, 2012

Wet winter helping to spread killer kiwifruit infection – Jamie Morton:

The wettest winter some kiwifruit growers have seen is hampering efforts to stop Psa-V, at a time when the vine-killing disease is attacking New Zealand’s most popular variety.

The disease, which has ravaged gold kiwifruit orchards throughout the country since its discovery in Te Puke two years ago, is now being seen in a spate of serious cases among the green variety that makes up the bulk of the industry.

More than 60 orchards have notified industry group Kiwifruit Vine Health of possible Psa-V, and it is feared the disease could eventually reach up to half of New Zealand’s green kiwifruit growers. . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand working for farmers to get more Americans eating lamb

Two Beef + Lamb New Zealand farmer directors are meeting with the project partners involved with the Tri-Lamb Group which has a goal to get more Americans eating lamb.

Central South Island Director, Anne Munro and Southern South Island Director, Leon Black are in Idaho, representing New Zealand sheep farmers alongside their fellow Tri- Lamb Group representatives from Australia and the United States.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO, Dr Scott Champion said the collaborative promotion by the three sheep producing nations is built around the understanding that the profitability and sustainability of the lamb market in the US is important for farmers in all three countries. . .

Unlike humans, fat bees are healthy bees:

Federated Farmers is highlighting how everyone can make a difference to whether bees are healthily ‘fat’ or sickly skinny.

“Just like with all livestock, the health of bees reflects the protein and energy sources available to them,” says John Hartnell, Federated Farmers Bees spokesperson and an exporter of bee products.

“Good protein and nectar produces fat bees and in nature, fat bees are healthy bees. Federated Farmers I guess is standing up for the right of bees to become fat.

“We are keen to work with anyone and everyone to provide positive environments for the honeybee to flourish. 

“After several years’ work, Federated Farmers Trees for Bees now has ten regional planting guides available for anyone to create a bee friendly space.  While they are available from a number of websites, all you have to do is type “trees for bees” into Google. . .

Varroa is not the only threat to our honey bees – Bruce Wills:

In 2000, the sum of all fears for New Zealand’s beekeepers took place when the Varroa Destructor Mite was confirmed in Auckland.

A mere six years later, Varroa had jumped the Cook Strait to reach Nelson and progressively, over the past six years, has spread south.

This year it reached as south as you can travel in mainland New Zealand; Bluff. If it wasn’t for human intervention, the economic and agronomic effects of Varroa would be like Foot & Mouth disease.

Our economy and farming system depends on honeybees and a pollination workforce involving some 430,000 hives.

While people may judge the bee industry by the honey they purchase at a farmer’s market or the supermarket, that is a drop in the bucket.

The real value of honeybees is as pollinators par-excellence. . .

Varroa spreads but the battle for bees goes on:

By reaching Bluff in the 12 years since the Varroa Mite was first confirmed in Auckland, one of the world’s worst bee threats is close to completing its colonisation of New Zealand.

“Has Varrora had an impact on New Zealand? Absolutely,” confirms John Hartnell, Federated Farmers Bees chairperson and a major exporter of bee products.

“If it wasn’t for human intervention, the economic and agronomic effects of Varroa would be like Foot & Mouth disease. Our economy and farming system depends on honeybees and a pollination workforce involving some 430,000 hives. . . .

“That should give pause for thought as we celebrate the Honey Bee this week and the massive contribution this mighty insect makes to us all. The value of pollination alone is conservatively estimated at $5 billion each year.

Forest industry transforming itself

The forest and wood processing industries are moving quickly on a strategy to transform the sector.

The Wood Council (Woodco) has just given the go-ahead to a $400,000 research-based initiative which aims to get the highest value out of every cubic metre of timber harvested. Known as Woodscape, it is modelled on a major study carried out for the Canadian forest products industry in 2009.

“In the next decade we will see an increase in the harvest. We are determined to extract the best value we can from this resource and reinvigorate our sector,” says Woodco chair Doug Ducker. . .

PGG Wrightson reports $55m turnaround in bottom line profits

Rural services leader PGG Wrightson Limited (NZX: PGW) has announced an improved operating performance with earnings before interest, tax and depreciation (EBITDA) for the year ended 30 June 2012 at $55.2m compared to $49.4m in the year ended June 2011.

Operating revenue was up 7.2% at $1,336.8m compared with $1,247.2m for 2011, while net profit after tax (NPAT) was at $24.5m, a $55.2m turnaround from the 2011 loss of $30.7m. A substantial turnaround in net operating cash flow to $58.6m (2011: $4.9m) reflected a strong focus on working capital and particularly debtor management, while enabling the company to reduce bank debt. Net interest costs were reduced to $13.8m from $28.1m for the prior period . .

New Zealand’s first Albariño wine awarded a Trophy on debut:

In 2011 one barrel of New Zealand’s first Albariño wine was made by Coopers Creek Vineyard and praised by wine critics. The second vintage has just been released and in its very first outing has been awarded a Trophy at the prestigious Bragato Wine Awards, held during the wine industry’s annual conference. The Select Vineyards Gisborne Albariño 2012 is available in restaurants and fine wine stores nationally. . .


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