Rural round-up

27/03/2013

Strong half year result a well-needed boost for Farmers: Brown:

A strong half year result which culminated in an increase in the Milk Price, a raise in the advance rate paid to Farmers and an interim dividend of 16cents has provided some much needed relief for Fonterra Farmers said Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown.

Mr Brown: “The Council has made the Board very aware of the hardships being faced by a lot Farmers in the Shareholder base and we are pleased they have demonstrated some flexibility in the form of an increased advance rate, to help relieve some of the financial pressure on-farm.

“It’s been a strong half year performance and we understand the challenges ahead.

“Particular acknowledgement should be made of the New Zealand Milk Products team who have delivered a really impressive result exactly when it was required.” . . .

RDR looks at water storage – Alan Williams:

Rangitata Diversion Race (RDR) managers are considering a centralised water storage scheme as its farmers ride out a second spell of water restrictions.

RDR, in the upland plains of Mid Canterbury, had to restrict water use in early March, much later than in some previous dry years, when cut-backs kicked in as early as December. . .

Evolution of water governance models in NZ – Bryan Jenkins:

In her work that won her the 2009 Nobel Prize in economics, Elinor Ostrom identified three types of governance models for common pool resources like water. One is the “Leviathan model” where there is direct government provision of services with integration of policy making and operational functions. The second is the “privatisation model” where there is private sector provision of services with government role as regulator. The third is the self-governing community model where there is community determination of resource management requirements.

We have seen the evolution of these different models in western countries. After WW2, the welfare state was the dominant approach of government. In relation to water management in NZ, the Ministry of Works had the prime responsibility for water management – a classic example of a Leviathan governance model. In the 1980s there was a shift to the neoliberal concept of the private sector being responsible for service provision and that the government’s role was that of regulator. . .

Returns From Beetle Battle Show Importance Of Pest Management:

Success in tackling a destructive beetle on the West Coast has underlined the importance of having integrated pest management plans on farms.

Richard Townsend, Research Associate at AgResearch at Lincoln, said that the work in battling the manuka beetle has seen a reduction of pesticide costs as a proportion of milk solid revenues from 23% to 7% a year.

Return on investment over the three-year project has been $10 for every dollar invested. . .

Progressive Arable Farmers Take out Top Award in Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

An intensive arable operation that utilises technology to maximise production in a sustainable manner has won the Supreme title in the 2013 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Methven farmers Craige and Roz Mackenzie of Greenvale Pastures Ltd received the award at a Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on March 21.

BFEA judges described the Mackenzies as top producers who offer “high levels of innovation and leadership in the arable industry”.

They said the progressive couple has taken technology to the next step on their irrigated farm “using every available tool to improve their production and cost efficiency”. . .

Ballance announces new Chairman:

Waikato farmer and businessman David Peacocke has been elected as Chairman designate of Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited, set to replace David Graham who will retire from the board in September after 10 years as Chairman.

Mr Peacocke, who joined the board in 2005, was elected to the new position by fellow directors at the company board meeting in late February. He and his family are based in Raglan on their beef property and he has interests in several large family farming operations.

The Peacocke family farmed cattle up until about 20 years ago when they transitioned to a mixed operation which now includes dry stock, dairy and cropping in both the Waikato and Canterbury regions. The family are long-standing customers and shareholders of Ballance and its predecessors, and Mr Peacocke’s father Frank also served as a director on the Bay of Plenty Fertiliser Co-operative then Ballance board from 1991 to 2005. . .

New Zealand salmon producer attains global certification:

Attaining an internationally accepted aquaculture sustainability certification confirms NZ King Salmon’s world-class environmental standards the company says.

The South Island-based business has been confirmed as a sustainable salmon producer through achieving the Global Aquaculture Alliances Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification.

The certification covers NZ King Salmon’s entire current operations – five sites and three production facilities in Marlborough and Nelson. The company’s new sites awarded following the recent Environmental Protection Authority hearings will be audited as they come on stream. . .


Environmental role models needed for ag

24/07/2012

New Zealanders need to hear more about the great progress farmers are making to lift their environmental performance says Ballance Agri-Nutrients Chairman David Graham.

“Farmers, their co-ops and their industry bodies all agree there is a need to protect and improve New Zealand’s water quality.  We have made good progress and we will make more.

“That’s a strong message we need to take to the rest of New Zealand. They don’t hear enough about the great work being done by  our farmers.  Nor do many of them realise how much of our economy depends on six inches of topsoil and how important it is to ensure that soil is productive.”

He said initiatives like the Ballance Farm Environmental Awards were important in showcasing and celebrating agriculture’s great role models and demonstrated to New Zealanders that farmers are committed to sustainable farming. He singled out this year’s national winners, Blair and Jane Smith, as an example of best practice at work.

The fact is, most farmers have always been committed to looking after the land and preserving it for generations to come – it’s just what we do.  Farming sustainably is good common sense and makes good economic sense too.”

Mr Graham said that in order to give communities confidence that farming can and will change, role models like the Smiths were important.

“The Smiths represent a new generation of farmers who understand and are clearly demonstrating that reducing waste and improving efficiency is as good for the environment as it is for the bottom line.”

The Smiths run Newhaven Farms Ltd – a North Otago sheep, beef, forestry and dairy support operation that spans three family-owned properties totalling 1528 ha, and were chosen from nine regional winners. He said despite identifying many talented farmers and role models through the Ballance Farm Environment Awards over the years, it can’t all be left up to them. “While the timeframes to introduce agriculture into the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme appear to have eased off, we cannot rest on our laurels.  The extra time will allow the sector to develop effective, proven mitigation practices.”

Ballance is making a contribution to the cause through their $32 million Clearview Innovations research programme, which is part funded by the Government’s Primary Growth Partnership.

The seven year programme targets all the major challenges facing farming today; nutrient efficiency, water quality and  farm productivity  and is focussed on farming profitably with a lighter environmental footprint.

The Balance Farm Environment Awards showcase the best of farming.

All the entrants are role models for the industry.

This is important not just for other farmers but for the public which is too often shown only the minority of farmers who don’t regard themselves as stewards of their land and the wider environment.

Farmers we spoke to in England and Europe last month spoke admiringly of New Zealand farming practices.

There is no room for complacency and there is still a small minority of farmers who either don’t know or don’t care about the importance of sustainable farming practices.

But that is all the more reason to celebrate the majority and industry leaders like the Environment Award winners.

 


Rural round-up

05/07/2011

Young Farmer contest #5 Will Grayling – RivettingKate Taylor:

Photos make the world go around…. here’s a selection of photos of Will in action at the 2011 National Bank Young Farmer Contest in Masterton over the past week – Wednesday’s welcome at the Masterton Town Hall where Will’s likeness to Prince Harry was first mentioned; Thursday’s technical day at the historic Brancepeth homestead and the speech back at the Solway Copthorne; Friday’s practical challenges, head to head (s) and agrisports at the Solway Showgrounds and finally the evening show at the new Wairarapa College auditorium. . .

Politicos turn to the land – Sally Rae:

Everyone, it seems, is the farmer’s friend – after all, it is election year.

Act New Zealand leader Don Brash probably summed it up best at Federated Farmers national conference in Rotorua when he said those attending would be “enduring a procession of politicians”. . .

Fonterra to pour $250m into Darfield – Tim Cronshaw:

Dairy giant Fonterra wants to pour another $250 million into trebling milk production at its Darfield site with a new dryer vying to be the largest in New Zealand.

The co-operative entered talks about stage two of the project with neighbours at a community meeting yesterday and is about to begin the consent process. The plan is to have the second dryer built by 2015 as the $200m site, still being constructed, is expected to be at full capacity by then.

 German investors pay $33m for farm – Collette Devlin:

A German investment management company is now possibly the largest player in rural land in Southland after it spent $33million to buy a dairy farm at Dipton.

Aquila AgrarINVEST Investitions Gmbh was granted approval under the Overseas Investment Act to secure the acquisition of rights or interests in up to 100 per cent of the units of Glencairn Ltd Partnership, which owns or controls a freehold interest in 1401ha of an existing dairy farm. . .

Following role models could double NZ food production:

Following role models could double NZ food production

New Zealand could produce enough food to feed around 40 million people if every farm performed at the same level as the most profitable, said Ballance Agri-Nutrients Chairman, David Graham.

He was speaking at the Ballance Farm Environment Awards annual showcase held in the Hawke’s Bay on 25 June.

“New Zealand currently produces enough food to feed approximately 20 million people. We know our most profitable farms achieve an economic farming surplus of $3,500 per hectare, yet the average farm achieves just over $2,000 and about half of all farms are operating below this.

“To double the amount of people we can feed we must lift our production by working on assisting the bottom half of this bell curve to lift its game.” . . .

My word, look – speculation works – Tim Worstall:

This followed a report on Thursday that showed US farmers had planted more corn than analysts had expected and that stocks of the grain were higher than forecast across the US.

Corn futures fell more than 6pc on Friday, bringing the fall since a US report was issued to about 10pc. . .

The Great corn con – Steven Rattner:

FEELING the need for an example of government policy run amok? Look no further than the box of cornflakes on your kitchen shelf. In its myriad corn-related interventions, Washington has managed simultaneously to help drive up food prices and add tens of billions of dollars to the deficit, while arguably increasing energy use and harming the environment.

Even in a crowd of rising food and commodity costs, corn stands out, its price having doubled in less than a year to a record $7.87 per bushel in early June. Booming global demand has overtaken stagnant supply. . .

Hat tip:  Anti-Dismal


Up, up, up for fert price

02/08/2008

The price of superphosphate  is likely to increase to $700 a tonne according to Ballance Agrinutrients chair David Graham.

That would be a 218% increase in 18 months and a 49% rise since June.

A year ago, superphosphate was selling for about $220 a tonne, but Mr Graham said $700 a tonne was not unrealistic given soaring international prices.

Fertiliser is the biggest item on most farm budgets. The price is already putting a dent in the high dairy payout, it will be even worse for sheep and beef farmers even with the improved prices.

And those who think a drop in the value of the dollar is good for primary producers might want to consider the impact on the price of fertiliser.

 


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