Rural round-up

May 23, 2019

We can create a future others will envy – Jacqueline Rowarth:

Jacqueline Rowarth calls on smart-thinking Kiwis to be more innovative – not only to develop New Zealand’s eco-future but also to create an environment and economy in balance.

“New Zealand is the best deliverer of prosperity in the world – the best at turning its resources and the skills of its people into prosperity.” – Legatum Global Prosperity Index, 2016

In 2016 the Legatum Global Prosperity Index ranked New Zealand No 1 of 149 countries with the words: “New Zealand is the best deliverer of prosperity in the world – the best at turning its resources and the skills of its people into prosperity.”

In 2016 we were No 1 in the economic ranks and 13th in the environment. In 2018 we were second overall, 14th in the economy and fourth in environment.

This change in rankings is indicative of the classic ‘environment versus economy’ debate. . .

The science and technology of gene-edited food:

We need to be having conversations about the challenge of feeding the world’s burgeoning population.

Fonterra COO Global Consumer & Foodservice, Judith Swales says that across the world, science and new technologies are being used to delve into the viability and practicality of lab based and gene edited food. Gene-edited oil is being sold commercially for the first time in the United States and the first burger with a lab grown ‘meat’ patty due to go on sale in the UK.

The United Nations has estimated the world population at around 8 billion and expects it to be close to 10 billion by 2050 and more than 11 billion in 2100. Dairy is a great source of nutrition and has a key role in meeting this challenge though its expected complementary sources of protein will be needed. . . 

‘Compelling’ Nicola Blowey scoops four national dairy awards – Gerard Hutching:

Fairlie assistant herd manager Nicola Blowey has an abundance of ambition and confidence.

Recently awarded the prize of 2019 New Zealand dairy trainee of the year, the 25-year-old wants to own her own herd and eventually her own farm.

“I’m working towards my own herd and in future I’d like to have an interest in several dairy farming businesses so I can create progression to help other young people.”

They are the sort of high-reaching goals that resonate with Leonie and Kieran Guiney, owners of the 600-cow, 175 hectare property where Blowey works. . .

National Lamb Day

On February 15 in 1882, William Davidson and Thomas Brydone achieved the remarkable, by launching the first shipment of frozen sheep meat from Port Chalmers in Otago on the Dunedin, bound for London. 

The 5,000 carcasses arrived in London, 98 days later on 24th May, in excellent condition which was no easy feat back in those days and goes without saying not without incident. Prior to this, New Zealand mainly sold wool overseas as no-one believed it possible to have a thriving meat export business. Yet we are now looking at a $8.5 billion sheep and beef export industry.  . .

 

How wool is solving your sustainable fashion dilemma one fibre at a time :

Wool Week is upon us and if you’re not familiar with what that means and why we should be celebrating wool, then listen up.

Merino wool is Australia’s biggest fashion export, which is cause for celebration in itself, but it’s also 100 per cent natural, renewable and biodegradable. This year, Wool Week is backed by David Jones, with Australian model Jessica Gomes fronting the campaign.

Here at Vogue, we’re all about championing sustainable and circular fashion, which is why we’ve pulled together five reasons you should be celebrating wool not only this week, but every week. . . 

 

Matt McRae: Southland/Otago’s Young Farmer of the Year finalist:

Southland sheep and beef farmer Matt McRae is preparing to compete in this year’s FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in Hawke’s Bay. It will be his last shot at taking out the prestigious title.

Matt McRae is one of the driving forces behind a family-owned agribusiness in Southland which is in expansion mode.

The addition of a new 320 hectare lease block in April, has enabled significant growth in sheep and cattle numbers.  . .


Rural round-up

January 21, 2015

Action needed now to minimise drought losses:

Farmers need to act now if they are to cope with the effects of a predicted drought in Canterbury, Lincoln University experts say.

But they also need to be thinking long-term with more dry-spells looking likely.

Chris Logan, Animal Programmes Manager at Lincoln University, says it seems the region may be in for a hard drought of a kind which has not been seen for some decades. . . .

 HSBC says global dairy prices should recover:

HSBC’s economists are expecting global dairy prices will start recovering from current lows, largely because of a sharp run-down in Chinese dairy imports.

Paul Bloxham, HSBC’s chief economist in Sydney, said Chinese imports had dropped to seemingly unsustainably low levels.

He said once China begins buying again, prices should at least partly rebound.

Global Perspective Will Help NZ Agribusiness Grow:

An agribusiness symposium with a global focus will help New Zealand businesses continue to develop their production, marketing and logistics skills to grow sales and exports.

That’s the view of agribusiness consultancy, AbacusBio that is underwriting the second Queenstown Agribusiness Symposium in March 2015.

AbacusBio partner, Anna Campbell says after attending the Harvard Agribusiness Executive Seminar in China a few years ago, the company was inspired to organise a comparable event locally so more New Zealand businesses could benefit from the learnings and networking.

The three–day program is facilitated by the Director of Harvard Business School’s Agribusiness Program, Mary Shelman and Professor of Marketing and Associate Dean at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Ireland, Prof. Damien P. McLoughlin, who bring an international perspective, she says. . .

ANZ announces assistance package for farmers affected by Big Dry:

ANZ today announced an assistance package for farmers affected by extreme dry conditions across much of New Zealand’s east coast.

Many areas, including Canterbury, have experienced “severely dry” conditions over the past two months compared with the long-term average, according to Niwa.

“The Big Dry is affecting areas which haven’t experienced extreme conditions like these for many years, so for a lot of farmers this is new territory,” said Graham Turley, ANZ Bank’s Managing Director Commercial & Agri. . .

 

David Jones explains why the red meat sector growth targets are not likely without major reform, and what should be done in 2015 with a sector ‘unable to help itself:

Currently, over 80% of our agricultural produce is shipped offshore each and every year, and over the next decade the sector has big ambitions to double export earnings to $64 billion.

The Red Meat Sector Strategy (RMSS), launched by the Meat Industry Association of New Zealand in May 2011, hopes to achieve growth in the sector of $3.4 billion NZD by 2025, across all parts of the value chain.

The three key influences focused under RMSS are:

• Improving how and what we sell in overseas markets

• Aligning procurement between farmers and processors .

• Adopting best practice production and processing . . .

Economists to discuss challenges of feeding a growing planet . . .

A world perspective on the short and long run impacts of food price changes on poverty will be up for discussion at a major international economics conference in Rotorua next month.

The World Bank’s, Dr Will Martin, will lead the discussion on food price changes and poverty as part of a session on challenges in the agrifoods sector at the 59th Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society’s (AARES) annual conference being held in Rotorua from February 10 to 13.

Dr Martin is manager for agricultural and rural development in the World Bank’s Research Group and president-elect of the International Association of Agricultural Economists. His recent research has focused primarily on the impacts of changes in food and trade policies and food prices on poverty and food security in developing countries. His research has also examined the impact of major trade policy reforms-including the Uruguay Round; the Doha Development Agenda; and China’s accession to the World Trade Organisation. . .

 Farmers urged to watch for yellow bristle grass:

 Horizons Regional Council is urging farmers to keep an eye out for yellow bristle grass, an invasive summer weed that spreads rapidly through pasture causing a loss in production.

 Horizons environmental programme coordinator plant security Craig Davey says the grass is already affecting farming in Waikato and is easily transferred from roadside infestations, via stock movement and infested hay.

“Like a lot of weeds, yellow bristle grass is quick to colonise bare ground. Hot, dry conditions, poor machinery hygiene practices and spraying to bare earth can all exacerbate its spread,” Davey says. . .


Rural round-up

May 14, 2013

Bee decline worries unjustified says honey producer:

A New Zealand honey producer and exporter says there’s too much unjustified doom and gloom about the health of the world’s bees.

Reports of wide-spread bee losses and colony collapses in Europe, Asia and North America have raised the alarm about the survival of honey bees.

The European Union has recently banned a group of systemic neonicotinoid insecticides.

However, Airborne Honey managing director Peter Bray says global honey statistics show bees are actually doing well.

He says world honey figures show beehive numbers and honey production per hive are up, and world trade is increasing. . .

Taranaki recognised for riparian management:

Taranaki’s flagship riparian management programme, which has “gone the extra mile” in developing relationships with dairy farmers, has been recognised for its outstanding contribution to protecting the environment.

 The Taranaki Regional Council programme is a finalist in two categories of the Ministry for the Environment’s 2013 Green Ribbon Awards: the Caring for Our Water and Public Sector Leadership categories.

Environment Minister Amy Adams announced the finalists in 11 award categories last week. . .

Crusoe wheat variety set to make dough for break makers – David Jones:

When Robinson Crusoe was cast away on his tropical island he would have probably found good use for the breadmaking wheat that is his namesake, to aid his survival until rescue.

The promising eponymous milling variety, named after Daniel Defoe’s hero, could now be delighting growers and breadmakers alike and be the future foundation of the British loaf.

From deserted isle to Kent’s sparsely populated Romney Marsh, one bread wheat grower is planning for the variety to take a big slice of his farm this autumn. . .

Fonterra Tankers Get a School Milk Makeover:

Fonterra Tanker Drivers Mike Courtney, Ian McKavanagh and Jess Drewet with one of the new Fonterra Milk for Schools tankers.

From this week, Fonterra drivers will be hitting the roads in 14 brand new Fonterra Milk for Schools themed tankers.

Fonterra Tanker Driver, Jess Drewet, says the team is excited to get behind the new wheels.

“Not only are these completely new vehicles, they are displaying something of which our team is really proud. When you drive as much as we do, you get quite attached to your tanker, and the team can’t wait to get out on the roads and show the new ones off,” says Mr Drewet. . .

Agriculture extravaganza in Fielding:

Feilding’s Manfeild Park has become a sort of one stop shop for beef and sheep farmers this week.

Three farmer events that have been running for years in Manawatu are being rolled into a single four-day extravaganza.

The Aginnovation programme began on Saturday with Future Beef New Zealand, an event designed to encourage young people into the beef industry. . .

Argentine farmers expected to plant more wheat this coming season

Argentina will plant more wheat this season than last year because of farmer-friendly adjustments to the government’s export policy and the bad luck that growers had last season with alternative crops such as barley, a key grain exchange said.

At a time of rising world food demand, the grain-exporting powerhouse can expect 3.9 million hectares to be sown with wheat in the 2013/14 season, up from 3.6 million planted in 2012/13, the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange said in its first wheat area estimate of the year. Planting starts next month.

“Our survey of growers shows a clear improvement in terms of intention to sow wheat,” the exchange said in a statement. “This improvement is due primarily to the poor experience that growers had with alternative crops (mostly barley) last season.” . . .

The Frankenchicken kerfuffle – Moon over Martinborough:

“I want us to raise chickens for meat,” CJ said. “Like proper farmers.”

“Seriously?” I said. “When you wanted to breed pigs for meat you fell in love with the pigs and ended up screaming, ‘I will never eat their babies!’ Remember?”

 “That was different. That was pigs.”

It turns out CJ had already arranged to pick up five meat birds from our friend Claudia. He was trading them for our olive oil. . .


Farming for cash rather than capital gain

September 14, 2011

The message has got through: farmers can’t rely on capital gains, good cash returns are necessary for reinvestment.

IT HAS been a while coming but farmers are changing their investment behaviour from farming for capital gain to driving cash surpluses for reinvestment into productive assets, says Westpac head of agribusiness David Jones.

“It’s fantastic to see this building across the industry.”

Farming for capital gains might be alright when land value is increasing and incomes are healthy. But for most of the noughties incomes were poor and too many farmers were eating into their equity to stay afloat and had nothing for reinvestment.

“We are starting to see some confidence coming into the market where people are actually looking at improving productivity and reinvesting in their existing operation through retention of profits — bringing in new money (financed or private equity) to drive efficiencies and productivity.

“People don’t have as high a cost to get into an industry as before because capital values have come off land assets.

“While it has hurt some (through reduced equity), financially it is good for the whole agricultural industry, including the support industries.”

“Although we are coming out of a global recession and people will take their time before making decision to spend again.”

He says people are still wondering and waiting to see if there will be any further drop in asset and commodity prices, and in fact if the bottom of the cycle had been reached yet.

“Basically, it will be a willing-buyer, willing-seller scenario that will make that call on asset values and be supported by confidence around access to funding, commodity prices, currency and interest rates.”

“We really are in a bubble at the moment — we have managed through the highs and lows of markets, with volatility in the market still out there. Any investment needs to have an air of caution with it but there are still good opportunities in the market to do business.

Land sales have been slow but I’ll be very surprised if prices go any lower. Buyers have been cautious and banks have tightened lending criteria but confidence is returning. No-one is expecting last season’s high prices again this year, but forecasts are for reasonable returns.

He believed climatic events had as much if not more impact on farmers than an economic cycle.

“Generally, when you go through drought or a flood the implications are such that it takes time to restore the property, pasture and build stock numbers back up. Climatic events also take a great personal toll and this is where we need to provide the greatest level of support to restore personal well being. These events take one to two or even multiple seasons to correct.”

Last September’s snow fall hit southern farmers financially and emotionally. Higher prices last season did a lot to compensate for the dreadful spring losses but it will take another good season or two to make up for the run of bad ones before that.

However, one of the lessons learned from the tough years is the importance of cash returns rather than reliance on capital gains.

Hat Tip: interest.co.nz


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