Rural round-up

August 3, 2016

DairyNZ: break-even cost pared back as farmers lift efficiency:

Industry body DairyNZ says the increased dividend and the maintained $4.25 per kg MS Fonterra Farmgate Milk Price is some good news for farmers with shares.

But another positive is also emerging – New Zealand dairy farmers have sharpened their systems and reduced costs through this sustained low milk price period.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says while the milk price will continue to keep pressure on farmers this season, the industry’s performance in cost-cutting on-farm means break-even costs have been reduced. . . 

TB Differential Levy:

New Zealand’s meat processors have for some years collected a single uniform biosecurity levy on beef and dairy cattle at meat processors to pay for the costs of TB eradication. Following a review undertaken last year, the Government and DairyNZ agreed that dairy farmers shall pay for a greater share of their share contribution to TB eradication via a differential levy paid on dairy cattle at meat processors.

Meat processors opposed this differential levy on dairy cattle at meat processing. Meat processors believe that it is contrary to good public policy for costs to be charged at the point of production where they do not arise – in this case, costs incurred by dairy farmers should have been met by a charge on their dairy production, rather than through a complex system of differentiating dairy and beef cattle at meat processing. . . 

Walker First Woman to Walk Away with Rural Real Estate Award:

Katie Walker accepts her award from Brennon Skipper (CEO of realestate.co.nz).

Taumarunui farmer Katie Walker, is the first woman to receive the coveted REINZ Rural Rising Star of the Year award.

Katie has made her mark, after her first year in the traditionally male dominated rural sector of the real estate industry. She joined the Property Brokers rural team three weeks after her second baby was born. “I had been in rural retail trade for years, left to have a family and wanted to come back to something more flexible,” she said.

“I went for the interview and I knew this was it.”

Independent travellers bring tourism dollar to new regions:

A new report into New Zealand’s tourism sector says travellers are looking to regional New Zealand for a more ‘authentic’ Kiwi experience.

In its latest report on the tourism sector, consumer behaviour analysts Marketview has looked at the spending patterns of tourists around the country, and Managing Director Stephen Bridle says the results mean good news for regional New Zealand.

“Our figures show confident, independent tourists want unique and authentic experiences centred on specific interests. Those here for cycling, golf, fishing and even shopping can find something uniquely Kiwi almost anywhere in the country.” . . 

Wood and carbon values boost forest interest:

Significant rises in New Zealand carbon prices and positive prospects for exported timber may signal a renaissance for forest plantings, with new opportunities for landowners and investors alike in coming years.

Since April the value of carbon prices in New Zealand have almost doubled to $18/tonne after languishing as low as $2.50 a tonne only two years ago.

Meantime log prices have remained relatively firm, sitting $15 a tonne above their five year average with some strong price signals over the past year coming from traditional markets including China and increasing market share to India and South Korea. As of May export values were up 6% in value on a year to year basis. . . 

Agcarm President Mark Christie to the 69th Agcarm Annual Conference:

New Zealand farmers and growers have been exporting food and fibre for over 150 years. Our primary industry export revenue is estimated to reach over $36.7 billion in the year ending June 2016.

Over this time innovation and research based science has allowed New Zealand farmers and growers to become world leaders in productivity and quality – with New Zealand well placed to help feed a growing global population.

These gains are increasingly at risk due to the politicising of science which is leading to its marginalisation. So arguing for sensible science is one of our industries greatest challenges. . . 

Production imminent at NZ’s first commercial scale biodiesel plant:

New Zealand’s first commercial-scale biodiesel plant today received its first delivery of inedible tallow, which enables the beginning of biodiesel production.

Z Energy’s $26 million biodiesel plant at Wiri, Auckland, is now in the commissioning phase and will start to produce high quality, sustainable biodiesel later this month. At the plant’s peak of production it will produce 20 million litres of biodiesel, which will be supplied as a biodiesel / mineral diesel blend to both commercial and retail customers across much of the upper half of the North Island.

Z’s General Manager of Supply and Distribution, David Binnie, said the delivery of tallow was a milestone which has been years in the making. . . 

Ten Year Milestone for Central Otago Wine Industry Ambassador Programme:

Telling the world about Central Otago’s wines and proving to people who sell those wines just how spectacular they are, is the job of Central Otago Pinot Noir Ltd (COPNL).

COPNL’s latest group of brand ambassadors flew out of Queenstown airport at the end of last week, marking the completion of COPNL’s tenth iconic ‘E’Sensual’ event.

E’Sensual has been part of the Central Otago wine industry’s event calendar each year since 2007, and is targeted at international and national wine specialists who enjoy a first-hand taste of what the region’s wine industry has to offer. The 2016 E’Sensual marked the tenth anniversary of the event and celebrated the 150th E’Sensual guest hosted in the region. . . 

PGG Wrightson says annual profit rose about 20%; shares gain –  Paul McBeth

(BusinessDesk) – PGG Wrightson shares gained 4.5 percent after it said full-year profit rose about 20 percent and operating earnings beat guidance, which had already been upgraded on the strength of the horticulture and beef sectors.

The Christchurch-based company today said trading beat expectations “due to a variety of factors” and that operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation exceeded $68 million in the year ended June 30. Wrightson raised its earnings forecast in June, predicting ebitda of between $65 million and $68 million in the year, though down from $69.6 million in 2015. . . 


Rural round-up

July 12, 2016

Taking on the big issues in big country – Kate Taylor:

After driving into the Ormond Valley property of Charlie Reynolds, it’s not surprising that rural roads is an issue he’s hot under the collar about.

Tight gravel roads are everywhere in rural New Zealand and Ngakoroa Road near Gisborne is one of them. In the next few years, Reynolds is going to have to warn all visitors about the forestry harvesting happening at the end of his road.

“It is 300 hectares so we will see 3000 to 4000 logging trucks passing our farm gate before they’re finished… and that’s a small block in comparison to what’s around the rest of the region,” he says. . . 

Will losing guaranteed milk supply stir Goodman Fielder to action? – Keith Woodford:

Since the formation of Fonterra in 2001, Goodman Fielder has always had a guaranteed supply of 250 million litres of Fonterra milk.   MPI Minister Nathan Guy is now proposing that the time has come for Goodman Fielder to fend for itself.

For the last fifteen years, the major milk supply chain in New Zealand has comprised one supplier (Fonterra), two processors (Fonterra and Goodman Fielder) and two supermarket chains (Foodstuffs and Progressive).  It has indeed been a cosy arrangement.

It is this cosy arrangement, combined with a goods and services tax on food of 15% which is either absent or imposed at a lower rate in most countries, that has led to milk in New Zealand supermarkets being more expensive than elsewhere.  The processing and marketing margins are not disclosed, so the relative returns to the processors and supermarkets can only be estimated. But it is a fair bet that both processors and supermarkets do rather nicely. . . 

Tim Mackle is 2016 Landcorp Communicator of the Year:

The chief executive of DairyNZ, Dr Tim Mackle, is the winner of the 2016 Landcorp Agricultural Communicator of the Year. 

The judges noted that in his time as DairyNZ CEO, Tim’s excellence as a communicator has enabled him to provide an extraordinary level of leadership for the dairy sector.  This has been particularly evident over the last 12 months when the industry has faced a difficult period in the media with low milk prices, issues with animal welfare and environmental standards.

“He has spoken out, challenged opinions and most importantly, used his position to educate and change views of the sector. His has been a prevailing voice for his industry and he has regularly featured on television news and in daily regional and national publications.” . . .

Enterprising Rural Women Awards entries open for 2016:

The Enterprising Rural Women Awards (ERWA) offer women who run their own rural businesses the opportunity to showcase their innovative rural enterprise and gain recognition for their success.

Rural Women New Zealand invite entries from businesswomen who have strong entrepreneurial skills, are innovative and embrace new technology, and are active in their rural community.

2016 ERWA categories: . . 

NZ Fur Council Backs Environment Commission recommendation to do more to control possums:

In the state of New Zealand’s environment report released today, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has found that pests are among the high priorities for action.

The report highlights concern that the control of possums and other pests is only happening in one–eighth of the Conservation estate, signifying that our native plants and animals are losing the war against pests.

Neil Mackie, Chair of the New Zealand Fur Council (NZFC) applauds the Commisisoner’s report and says fur recovery is a sustainable approach to winning the war against possums. . . 

Feds honour those who excel in primary sector:

Federated Farmers has unveiled six winners in its inaugural National Conference Awards.

The awards celebrate excellence in agriculture and the contributions made by Federated Farmers’ members to further enhance the primary industry.

Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston said those nominated had gone above the call of duty, putting in significant time and energy to serve and advance the entire primary industry.

Federated Farmers’ Bee Industry Group Chairperson John Hartnell MNZM from Canterbury was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Federated Farmers for his unrivalled commitment to the Federation and the bee industry. . . 

Expert tips help calves get the best start:

Calving season just got a little bit easier thanks to a new series of online videos from SealesWinslow.

The 2 minute clips provide quick and relevant advice from SealesWinslow nutritionist and quality manager, Wendy Morgan, allowing calf rearers to refresh their knowledge and access useful information while on the go.

Wendy says that giving calves the best possible start is vital to setting up dairy cows for a long and productive life.

“It starts with having a good calving plan; ensuring calves get the right nutrition at the right time and making best use of farm facilities to provide the best calf housing. . . 


Rural round-up

July 11, 2016

Sharemilking remains a viable career path – new report:

Sharemilking as a career path is alive and well, according to a report recently released on progression in the dairy industry.

The DairyNZ and Federated Farmers-resourced Dairy Progression Pathways report, undertaken by AgFirst, explores the latest trends and statistics relating to sharemilking and examines the issues created by milk price volatility.

Federated Farmers sharemilker farm owners’ section chairperson Tony Wilding says the report shows opportunities for progression still exist but the career pathways have been changing and will continue to do so. . . 

Feds pleased Ruataniwha gets another green light:

Federated Farmers is pleased to see the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme in Hawke’s Bay has another green light with Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC) confirming its intention to invest in the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.

HBRC today approved its $80million investment with a 7-2 vote, agreeing that all four of the conditions required for investment had been met.

The investment follows more than 190 Signed Water User Agreements in support of the scheme. . . 

Cost cutting blamed for lepto increase – Glenys Christian:

An increase in leptospirosis cases in Northland has been blamed on dairy farmers’ efforts to cut costs in a low-payout year.

While no cases were reported last year, the Medical Officer of Health has reported seven confirmed cases so far this year in the region with another under investigation.

Malcolm Fuller, Federated Farmers’ field officer for Northland, Auckland and Hauraki-Coromandel told the Auckland federation’s executive meeting he had heard of two northern farmers who were not vaccinating their herds this year.

“They can’t afford to get the vet in,” he said. . .

Support To Increase Voluntary Wool Contribution By 0.5c Gains Momentum:

Last month, one of New Zealand’s major wool growers and trustee for the Campaign for Wool (CFW), Renata Apatu of Ngamatea Station, front–footed an increase in contribution to the CFW’s activities by making an immediate commitment to up his contribution to 1c/kg, an increase of 0.5c, and challenging others to do the same.

Wright Wool Ltd, Kells Wool Ltd and Fred Tate Wools Ltd have accepted the challenge, increasing their contribution to 1c/kg also. They are now challenging others to join them, especially the bigger players who could really affect a positive increase.

“Having directly witnessed what the wool industry gets out of the activities of the CFW, an additional 0.5c/kg is one of the best returns on investment I have made,” says Mr Renata Apatu. . . 

Southland backs $250m Hollyford Highway:

The Southland District Council has unanimously backed the proposed Haast-Hollyford Highway going forward for government approval.

The controversial 130km toll road, planned by a private company, would pass through the Fiordland National Park. It is expected to cost $250 million.

The road has the support of all four West Coast councils and many local people, but needed Southland’s backing to proceed.

After a short discussion this afternoon, all councillors voted to support the project going into both the regional and national land transport programmes, to be investigated and assessed further. . . 

Shocks versus structural change is the big dairy question – Keith Woodford:

Right now, the focus of almost every New Zealand dairy farmer is on survival. It is a time when cash is king.

In the short run, it is all about turning cash inputs into milk. There can be no argument that this means using all available grass, but it also means not having hungry cows. Each farmer will find his or her way of achieving this. It may be through decreased stock numbers or it may be through appropriate supplementation to match feed deficits. In times like these, it is more important to travel the chosen path efficiently rather than to jump wildly from one path to the other.

Despite the focus on survival, it is also a good time to be thinking strategically. At the industry level, have we got it right?  In regard to what we are currently experiencing, how much of it is from one-off shocks and how much is due to structural change within global markets. . . 

The launch of The Snow Farmer ignites Cardrona’s spirit of fun – Beattie’s Book Blog:

John and Mary Lee (below right) have been at the heart of life in Cardrona for decades, establishing a world famous ski facility and saving the iconic Cardrona Hotel from dereliction. The importance of community has been integral to the Lees’ vision, their activities and adventures, significantly underpinning the local economy. Small wonder then, that the local community should gather in force to celebrate the launch of The Snow Farmer, penned by Otago Daily Times agribusiness reporter Sally Rae, at two very special events.

The first and official book launch was held at the Cardrona Alpine Resort, which the Lees hosted along with Paper Plus Wanaka. The infectious happiness of the Cardrona staff set the perfect scene, with Sally remarking that “it was like watching the characters in the book come to life.” The Lees neighbour Ed Taylor MC’d, skilfully recounting past incidents and keeping everything humming along nicely. Friend Shaun Gilbertson rather colourfully related past tales and Lyall Cocks spoke on behalf of the local council, praising John’s efforts and foresight. John responded with gratitude to Sally Rae and photographer Stephen Jaquiery for so expertly telling and illustrating his life story. John said that they were wonderful to work with and have put life into the story. He also thanks everyone who gave their time to tell their story and helped to enhance the book. . .

You can listen to Kim Hill’s interview with the Lees here. (Thanks Freddy for pointing me to this).

  Crossroads Wines to move winemaking to Marlborough:

The Crossroads Winery, in Hawke’s Bay, celebrates 25 years of quality winemaking in New Zealand. A large part of Crossroads’ success has come from its boutique, hand-crafted winemaking and small parcel sourcing within the Hawke’s Bay. In 2011, Yealands Family Wines acquired the winery and vineyards and continued to focus on the small lot, hand crafted winemaking strategy as they looked to grow the brand globally.

Yealands Family Wines was established in August of 2008 as the world’s first winery to be carboNZerocertTM since inception. Over the past 8 years, the Yealands Estate Winery has grown and developed into a state of the art winery and vineyard in Marlborough New Zealand, focused on high quality winemaking and site specific sourcing throughout the Seaview Estate Vineyard, and both the Awatere and Wairau Valleys in Marlborough. . . 

Changes to Milk NZ:

Milk New Zealand today announced that Andy Macleod, CEO of the Pengxin New Zealand Farm Group, has resigned with effect from 8 July 2016.

Milk New Zealand oversees the management of 16 farms located in the Central North Island and 13 in the Canterbury region.

Macleod joined Pengxin New Zealand Farm Group in 2013 and Terry Lee, Managing Director of Milk New Zealand, said the company valued and appreciated his contribution to the business and wished him well for the future. . . 


Rural round-up

July 8, 2016

Sheep industry recognises top performance:

The sheep industry celebrated its best and brightest at the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards in Masterton last night.

This is the fifth year the industry’s top performers have gathered to acknowledge outstanding contributors in genetics, science and commercial lamb production.

Amongst the award recipients were Northland sheep breeder Gordon Levet, who was recognised for his long-term work breeding towards worm resistance, while Hawkes Bay farmers James and Jane Hunter won the Blackdale Stud Sheep Industry Supplier of the Year. . . 

Amethyst the foundation jewel of Hereford family – Kate Taylor:

Five generations of one family have sat at the head of NZ Herefords. Kate Taylor went to Akitio, southeast of Dannevirke, to meet the latest one.

Akitio farmer Philip Barnett has followed in the footsteps of his father, grandfather, great grandfather and great, great grandfather to become president of NZ Herefords.

Barnett and wife Lyn own the Kaitoa Hereford Stud, which traces its origins back to the importation of a cow called Amethyst in 1882.

It is a cow family that still remains a linch pin of the stud more than 130 years later, along with the Kaitoa Lady, Princess and Leonora cow families. . .

Bobby calf welfare: everyone has a role to play:

As the dairy industry’s spring calving kicks off, the Bobby Calf Action Group (BCAG) is reminding everyone who handles calves of the important role they have to play.

“The rubber hits the road now, it’s up to everyone across the supply chain to meet the required standards of care for bobby calves this season,” says Ministry for Primary Industries Deputy Director General, Scott Gallacher.

Eight organisations make up the BCAG which was formed at the end of 2015 to accelerate and add to existing measures aimed at ensuring everyone involved with bobby calves applies best practice in their handling and care. . . 

Dairy farms that survive the current downturn will be leaner, more agile and resilient – Rees Logan:

Two difficult seasons of below-average dairy payouts, and a third being forecast, have delivered a big wake-up to the dairy farming industry.

The average payout for the current and last two seasons is approximately $4.55 (including dividend) against DairyNZ’s estimated average breakeven payout required by farmers of $5.25. This means three seasons where most farmers have had to take on additional debt just to survive.

Dairy farmers have been forced to take a ruthless approach to expenditure and to switch their focus from production to profitability in a bid to cut debt. . . 

Irrigation 101 to upskill professionals:

A beginner’s guide to irrigation will be offered in Hawke’s Bay next month for professionals who need to better understand the sector to help their dealings with farmers.

The Irrigation Fundamentals course is a two day workshop offered by IrrigationNZ to introduce non-farmers to the principles of irrigation management. The course, particularly targeted at frontline staff of organisations and businesses that provide services to the irrigation industry, will take place in Hastings on 3rd and 4th August.

Rural advisors, environmental consultants and regional council staff are among those who have attended the course so far in the South Island. . . 

NZ venison prices rise amid tight supply as farmers rebuild herds -By Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand meat processors are having to pay more to secure supply of local venison to service their overseas contracts as farmers retain their breeding hinds to rebuild herds.

Spot prices for a 60-kilogram AP stag have hit $7.85/kg, up from $6.60/kg this time last year and the highest level for this time of year since 2011, according to AgriHQ. Venison production dropped 36 percent in May from the year earlier month, and is down 23 percent in the processing season so far, from Oct.1 through May 31, according to AgriHQ. . . 

Bright fisheries future:

New Zealand fisheries are in good heart, with great potential for the future, Seafood New Zealand Chief Executive Tim Pankhurst said today.

He was speaking at the Marine Societies of New Zealand and Australia conference at Victoria University of Wellington, which has attracted more than 350 marine scientists from both countries.

Pankhurst says the outlook for the New Zealand seafood industry is bright.
“We are not going to run out of fish.”

“We have a seafood sector that is in good heart. Our stocks are sustainable – it’s not just the fishing industry saying that, the science supports it, and the world wants what we produce – and aquaculture is expanding.” . . 

NZ King Salmon reviewing capital options as IPO rumoured – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand King Salmon Investments says it’s reviewing its capital options to support the development of three new farms in the Marlborough Sounds after Australian media reported the company was looking at an initial public offering.

The Nelson-based salmon farmer and processor hired Credit Suisse and First NZ Capital to test investor interest in Australia and New Zealand for a dual-listing on both sides of the Tasman, valuing the company at $200 million, the Australian Financial Review’s Street Talk column reported. . . 

NZ Yarn Appoints New CEO:

Colin McKenzie has been appointed as the new CEO for Christchurch based NZ Yarn Ltd, effective Monday, 4 July.

NZ Yarn manufactures and markets high quality wool spun yarns for the carpet industry worldwide.

McKenzie was most recently CEO and Managing Director of Cavalier Corporation. He has extensive experience in the textile and manufacturing sectors, and for companies servicing local and export markets.

NZ Yarn is 100% New Zealand owned by Carrfields Primary Wool and several independent investors, who bought it from receivers in 2014. . . 

Global Uncertainity Affects Wool Market:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s C.E.O, Mr John Dawson reports that the ongoing fallout from the Brexit result, continued minimal activity from China and a strong New Zealand dollar have compounded to make significant inroads into local wool values.

The weighted currency indicator compared to last sale lifted 0.66 percent, however against the GBP the New Zealand dollar strengthened a further 4.4 percent making a shift of over 13 percent since the Brexit announcement. Market sentiment is bearish as many clients take a cautious approach during this unsettled period. . . 


Rural round-up

July 6, 2016

How many ticks does SFF need? – Neal Wallace:

Silver Fern Farms can rightly ask just how many hoops does it have to jump through before opponents of the proposed transaction with Shanghai Maling accept the legitimacy of last year’s shareholder approval of the deal?  

The Companies Office and Financial Markets Authority – bodies charged with administering business behaviour – have both rejected complaints about SFF’s handling of last October’s shareholder vote, the financial information supplied to its shareholders and to Shanghai Maling.  

But a more important hoop it could be argued SFF has easily traversed is shareholder support. . . 

Highly profitable banks are playing a long-term and responsible game with struggling dairy farmer borrowers – Rees Logan:

In the year to March 2016, lending to the dairy sector increased by 9% to approximately $40 billion.

During that same period, land prices in the dairy sector dropped 16%, according to Real Estate Institute (REINZ) figures. This fall in land prices means the increased lending is effectively funding the losses the banks’ customers are suffering as a result of the low dairy payout.

Key asset values are decreasing (land and livestock) and debt is increasing so owner equity and bank security is quickly eroding. 

DairyNZ figures show approximately 50% of New Zealand’s dairy sector debt is held by the top 20% of its indebted farmers. This is a major concern. . . 

Marlborough farmer ‘wild’ after overnight electric fence theft – Jennifer Eder:

An electric fence has been stolen in Marlborough in an overnight heist, leaving stock on the loose and a farmer out of pocket.

Grovetown farmer George Wadworth found his sheep loose along the road on Sunday morning and discovered about a kilometre of fence had vanished.

“I was pretty wild. My main concern was not really for stock safety but people using the road. It’s quite close to a main highway, and if a sheep hits someone’s windscreen at 100kmh, it’ll kill you.”

Community constable Russ Smith said someone had “gone to quite a bit of trouble” to remove 250 plastic fence standards, or electric fence posts, from the  16-hectare vineyard. . . 

NZ commodity prices rise in June, led by seafood, dairy – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand commodity prices rose for a second month in June, led by more seafood and dairy products, although an appreciating kiwi dollar limited those gains in local currency terms.

The ANZ commodity price index rose 3.7 percent last month, after a 1.1 percent increase in May. On an annual basis, prices were down 5.4 percent. In New Zealand dollar terms the index rose 0.3 percent, adding to a 2.5 percent increase in May, and an annual decline of 5.9 percent. The trade-weighted index rose 4.9 percent in June.

“There was broad-based strength across all the major categories. However, producers won’t be celebrating too loudly,” ANZ Bank New Zealand agri-economist Con Williams said in his report. “In many cases, world prices are still below the same time last year and the NZD rose over the month too.” . . 

New partnership supports takahē recovery

A newly-signed partnership between DOC and Fulton Hogan will help the critically-endangered takahē continue its recovery, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.

Worth $1 million, the partnership was signed at the Burwood Takahē Centre near Te Anau today by DOC director-general Lou Sanson and Fulton Hogan’s director of investments, Bob Fulton.

“The Takahē Recovery Programme has just had its most successful breeding season on record, with 38 chicks fledged,” Ms Barry says.

“Consistently high numbers of chicks are being produced each year, thanks to the hard work of DOC staff, volunteers and our Treaty partner, Ngai Tahu. Fulton Hogan will support the next step in the species’ recovery.” . . .

TB eradication scheme marks milestone:

New Zealand has taken another step towards becoming TB-free with large areas of previously infected land being declared free of the disease.

OSPRI administers the TBfree programme aimed at eradicating bovine tuberculosis from cattle, deer and wildlife.

It has has been progressively achieving this by intensive possum control, then carrying out wildlife surveys to confirm the disease has been eradicated. . . 

Fonterra Lichfield Achieves One Million Building Hours:

Major milestones are being knocked off as construction on one of the world’s largest dryers races towards completion – the result of over one million working hours on the new Fonterra Lichfield milk powder dryer.

For more than 3,000 people representing 300 companies, the finish is now clearly in sight as the September commissioning date for this world-class dryer nears.

South Waikato Operations Manager Sam Mikaere says it takes one look at the numbers behind the build to get an appreciation for its impressive scale.

“This is not just any dryer we’re building. Along with our D2 dryer down at Fonterra Darfield, this will be the biggest milk powder dryer on the planet,” he says. . . 

Record turnout at RCNZ annual conference:

A record turnout of 153 contractors, from all around the country, descended on the Bay of Islands – in late June – for this year’s RCNZ annual conference.

RCNZ national president Steve Levet was delighted with the record conference turnout – held at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort, in Paihia, from June 27-30 – given the current economic climate.

“This is the largest turnout that I can recall and it seems many rural contractors have decided to ignore some of the doom and gloom merchants and are clearly focussed on looking forward to better times.”

Mr Levet says the conference had an exciting agenda of relevant and pertinent issues to the rural contracting sector – along with a number of top-line speakers. This year’s conference theme was: “Your Business from Start to Finish” and it also celebrated the 20 year anniversary of Rural Contractors NZ (RCNZ) as an organisation. . . 

Hawke’s Bay Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker 2016 Announced:

Congratulations to Alex Roper from Mission Estate for winning Hawkes Bay Young Winemaker 2016. The competition took place on 1 July at EIT in Taradale followed by dinner and contestants speeches at Mission Estate. Yvonne Lorkin was the charming and entertaining MC who also ran the wine options section of the evening.

Congratulations also goes to Tom Hindmarsh from Dry River in Martinborough who came second (contestants from around the North Island were eligible to enter) and Brad Frederickson from the Hawke’s Bay Wine Company who came third. . . 


Rural round-up

June 15, 2016

New regulations for bobby calves:

New regulations to strengthen the law around the management and treatment of bobby calves are planned to be in place before the 2016 spring calving season, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

“Most farmers care for their animals and do a good job of looking after them. However it’s important we have clear rules and enforcement in place. Animal welfare is important not just to animals, but to consumers and our export markets,” says Mr Guy.

“The new, strengthened regulations will go to Cabinet for final approval shortly. I want to give farmers, transport operators and processors advance warning of these changes before the start of the calving season.” . . 

New Regulations Part of Wider Initiative to Strengthen Bobby Calf Welfare:

Details announced today for new regulations for the management and treatment of young calves are part of a wider programme of work by farmers, industry and government to strengthen bobby calf welfare.

The eight organisations that formed the Bobby Calf Action Group at the end of 2015 have accelerated and added to existing measures aimed at ensuring everyone involved with bobby calves applies best practice in their handling and care. . . 

Updated tool-kit to help farmers improve health and safety:

An updated tool-kit designed to help farmers better manage risks on their farms will be distributed at National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.

The tool-kit, which provides practical advice and resources to help farmers improve health and safety on their farms, has been developed by Safer Farms, ACC and WorkSafe New Zealand’s health and safety programme designed with farmers and the wider agricultural sector.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Federated Farmers were among the groups which provided input to the tool-kit. Beef + Lamb New Zealand, in addition to working with WorkSafe on the new tool-kit, is working with sheep and beef farmers to help them meet their obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act. Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Executive, Sam McIvor, says that by the end of June, the organisation will have run over 70 health and safety workshops for more than 2,100 attendees around the country. . . 

Nominations & entries open for South Island Farmer of the Year:

Nominations and entries are open for the 2016 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition, and organisers are expecting wide interest.

Foundation Chair Ben Todhunter says, “Last year we had excellent entries which resulted in a tie, with Omarama Station and Clearwater Mussels sharing the honours. This substantially boosted public interest and we had excellent attendance at all of our events. We anticipate this level of interest will continue in 2016.” . . .

Genetic base cow change brings breeding worth back:

The genetic base cow – the genetic reference point for all dairy cattle in New Zealand – will be updated this month when it will become younger, moving from a 2000 to a 2005-born base cow.

New Zealand Animal Evaluation Limited (NZAEL) manager Jeremy Bryant says the genetic base is updated every five years and will be again on June 19, 2016.

Jeremy says the base cow update reflects genetic progress and prevents the gap between today’s animals and the genetic base becoming too large. This keeps the scale of genetic predictions relevant. . . 

Asia-Pacific’s Growing Appetite For NZ Blueberries Produces Record Industry Sales:

Huge demand for New Zealand blueberries is being welcomed by local growers who have exported a record 1.37 million kilograms of fruit this season.

Blueberries New Zealand (BBNZ) today announced over 10 million punnets of berries (worth an estimated $30 million FOB) were shipped to the end of March – a 40 per cent increase on the season before.

“Demand is continuing to grow, especially in Asia-Pacific where a ‘food-as-a-medicine’ culture prevails,” explains Blueberries NZ Chairman Dan Peach. “Asian markets have demonstrated a clear and voracious appetite for blueberries thanks to the wide range of amazing health benefits they offer.” . . 

DairyNZ announces new associate directors:

Two dairy farmers from Canterbury and south Auckland will join the DairyNZ Board of Directors this year.

New associate directors Jessie Chan-Dorman and Stu Muir have been selected to join the DairyNZ board for successive six month terms. Jessie begins this month and Stu from January 2017.

DairyNZ chair Michael Spaans says Jessie and Stu bring great industry experience to the roles, which are about providing experience to future leaders, showing first-hand how a board works and what goes into making key decisions. . . 


Rural round-up

June 2, 2016

Friendly family rivalry at dog trials – Sally Rae:

Technically, Roger and Steph Tweed are rivals on the huntaway courses at the South Island and New Zealand sheep dog trial championships at Omarama.

But Mr Tweed (55) could not be prouder of his daughter as she competes with her dog, Grit, the offspring of his own champion trial dog, Gemma.

“It’s very special,” the Waitahuna farmer said, referring to the fact both he and his daughter had qualified to compete at the championships.

Miss Tweed (24), now a shepherd on a station at Taihape, started dog-trialling when she was still at school. . . 

Internet bargain takes on the best – Sally Rae:

Ben the heading dog was not a bad buy as far as internet purchases go.

The dog, which spent his early months as a pet, was bought by Nastassja Tairua for $300 after she spied him advertised for sale. He was 15 months old and had never seen a sheep. 

Miss Tairua trained the young dog and he proved to be a willing learner. He went on to win the Tux South Island maiden yarding event with her. . . 

Veteran still enjoys dogs’ life – Sally Rae:

Les Roughan has the distinction of being the oldest competitor at this year’s South Island and New Zealand sheepdog trial championships at Omarama.

Last year, the 92-year-old could have claimed another milestone, as one of the more senior Kiwis to undergo open-heart surgery. But he turned it down in favour of a heart valve.

“I wouldn’t have it. They said ‘why?’. I said … it would be six months away from my dogs. When I was fit to go back to them, they wouldn’t know me and I wouldn’t know them. . . 

Man admits abusing Waikato bobby calves:

A man who was captured on video abusing bobby calves in the Waikato has admitted animal cruelty charges.

Noel Piraku Erickson, 38, pleaded guilty to 10 charges of cruelty or ill treatment of an animal in the Huntly District Court on Thursday.

The seasonal worker was charged by the Ministry for Primary Industries after video emerged in November from animal welfare group SAFE which showed showed bobby calves being roughly handled. . . 

DairyNZ CalvingSmart events will set farmers up for a successful calving season:

DairyNZ is running CalvingSmart events in June and July to help farmers approach the calving season with confidence.

The CalvingSmart event is a full day programme for the whole farm team. Farmers can choose from a series of sessions for different experience levels, enabling them to develop practical skills that will help the calving season go well.

For senior management, there is a session on calf care and farmers’ responsibilities under the new draft animal welfare regulations. . . 

Govt approves updated AgResearch Future Footprint Plan:

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce has announced that shareholding ministers have approved AgResearch’s updated Future Footprint Programme (FFP) business case which will reconfigure the Institute’s operations across four sites with an investment of $133 million in buildings and other infrastructure.

“AgResearch has presented a strong business case for change,” Mr Joyce says. “The FFP will modernise its facilities and co-locate research staff doing complementary work at the Palmerston North and Lincoln campuses.

“These campuses will form part of larger innovation hubs with other partners including tertiary institutions, Crown Research Institutes and industry researchers. The hubs will focus on food science in Palmerston North, and land-based sustainable productivity at Lincoln Hub.” . . .

Fonterra Management Appointments:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today announced new appointments for two of its senior leaders.

Mike Cronin, who is currently Group Director Governance and Legal, is stepping into the newly created role of Managing Director Corporate Affairs, effective immediately.

Announcing the appointment today, Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings said Mike’s connection with the business, and its risk and reputation drivers, makes him the natural choice for this role. . . 


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