Rural round-up

June 3, 2013

Milking our cows in China – Sally Rae:

Dairy giant Fonterra has the ambitious target of producing up to one billion litres of milk from 30 farms in China by 2020, to cater for the massive burgeoning demand by Chinese for dairy products. Agribusiness reporter Sally Rae tours one of the Fonterra farms, near Beijing.

Visit Yutian 2 farm, a 90-minute drive east of Beijing, and, not surprisingly, you discover a slick, high-tech farming operation.

As Fonterra China Farms general manager Nicola Morris sums up, it is about taking the best of Kiwi ingenuity and farming systems, melding it with the best of American and European confinement systems – and doing it in China.

There are 3200 milking cows and 2700 young stock on the property, which is a housed operation involving high-tech, intensive dairy farming systems and three-times-a-day milking. . .

Agreement reached for China meat exports to restart:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced that an agreement has been reached in Beijing last night to ensure that New Zealand meat exports to China can resume on a normal basis, starting later today.

“The resolution is comprehensive and will allow normal trade to resume using NZFSA certification, including for product currently in storage, or en route to China,” says Mr Guy.

“This is an important step in resuming trade, now that containers are moving off the wharves and the backlog is clearing.

“It has also been agreed that New Zealand and Chinese officials will work together over the next month on new meat certificates which will allow reliable future access for New Zealand meat into China. . .

 

NZ business confidence gains as farmers shake off the drought blues:

New Zealand business confidence rose for the first time in three months, helped by a rebound in sentiment in the agricultural sector and increasing optimism from construction firms.

A net 42 percent of firms expect general business conditions to improve in the year ahead, according to the ANZ Business Outlook, up from 32 percent in the April survey. Firms seeing a pickup in their own business activity in the year ahead improved to 34 percent from 30.3 percent.

Sentiment in agriculture bounced back ahead of Fonterra’s announcement of a steeper-than-expected hike to its forecast 2014 payout to farmers and comes in a month when the trade-weighted index fell about 3.5 percent, extending its slide from a record high in April, and drought earlier in the year broke. . .

High Value Avocado Powder Exports Grow At Waikato Innovation Park:

The Waikato Innovation Park’s product development spray dryer is going green – avocado green, to be exact.

The country’s only open access product development spray dryer is helping Bay of Plenty company, Avocado Oil New Zealand, dry avocado pulp into a high value powder for use in cosmetic, nutriceutical and food products.

The dryer – known as FoodWaikato – is part of the New Zealand Food Innovation Network, a national network of science and technology resources that supports growth and development of New Zealand food and beverage businesses. . .

Ballance reduces prices for farmers:

Leading farm nutrient supplier Ballance Agri-Nutrients is reducing prices on most major fertiliser products across the board, passing on purchasing savings to customers.

Ballance Chief Executive Larry Bilodeau says prices on most of the co-operative’s core plant nutrients will be reduced by between $10 and $80 per tonne from June 4.

“During the past year we have kept prices very competitive when global prices were increasing. Now we have seen a steady pattern of price declines globally, so we are taking the lead to pass these better prices on to our shareholders and customers. . .

Food Co-operatives in New Zealand on the rise:

The increase in food co-operatives in New Zealand is enabling communities to take back control of their food supply, improve relationships between community members and achieve better health outcomes,” says Debbie Swanwick, spokesperson, Soil & Health – Organic NZ.

Food co-operatives provide better quality food, mostly organic, at a cheaper price.

“Stories of the average New Zealander’s desire to remove contaminants in their food (GE, pesticides and additives) by establishing an organic food co-operative in their region will feed the next generation well. New Zealanders seem to have picked up on this worldwide trend at a great rate,” says Swanwick. . .

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor Tree Planting with the Family Farm:

The management team from the James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor have planted over 270 trees in support of regenerative agriculture in New Zealand.

With help from The Family Farm, nine management staff from the hotel journeyed to Mangarara Station in Hawkes Bay and took part in planting native trees on the farmland. Mangarara Station has been a sheep farm for more than 150 years. Through sponsorship from the Air New Zealand Environment Trust, Mangarara Station has undertaken an extensive programme of regenerative planting to help restore the land. The first planting of eco-sourced tree stock took place in 2008 and has now become an annual event. These plantings form the conservation estate which has been created by the owners of Mangarara as a gift to the nation. Mangarara Station was the first project to be supported by the Air New Zealand Environment Trust. . .

The answer lies in the soil (you have to have a sense of hummus) – Hot Topic:

Something a little different: soil expert Graham Sait talks about the importance of soil humus and its potential as a way to mitigate climate change at the recent TEDx in Noosa, Queensland. I’m not going to vouch for all his numbers, but as he devotes time to mycorrhizae he’s OK with this truffle grower…

Big Move for 2014 NZB South Island Sale:

New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2014 South Island Sale is set to make a bold move from its traditional August timeslot and be brought forward to April of next year.

The move to earlier in the year will mean that the 2014 Sale will relinquish its identity as a unique sale of untried two-year-olds and will instead form part of the 2014 National Yearling Sales Series as the new ‘South Island Session’.

As such, yearlings offered through the Sale will have the added benefit of now being eligible for the Karaka Million Series featuring the $1 million Karaka Million (Res.L) for two-year-olds and the $100,000 Karaka 3YO Mile (Res.L) for three-year-olds. . .


Rural round-up

November 22, 2012

Record Results at Karaka’s 2012 Ready to Run:

The second-highest price ever posted at the NZB Ready to Run Sale underscored two very successful days trade at Karaka, with the two-day Sale concluding with a new record turnover, average and median.

With the second day of selling continuing even stronger than Day 1, after two days 245 of the 407 entries have sold for $17,852,000, over $1.5m and 10% ahead of the previous record turnover of $16,216,500 posted at last year’s Sale (with 354 catalogued and 228 sold).

But with enormous depth to the buying bench, the new record median was a highlight for vendors, at $48,000 it is nearly 7% higher than the previous record of $45,000 set last year. . .

Young Auctioneer title:

The 2012 Heartland Young Auctioneers Competition, held at the Canterbury A&P Show, was won by Glenn Peddie of Peter Walsh & Associates, with Ryan Andrew of PGG Wrightson finishing in second place. Seven auctioneers from the South Island competed in the inaugural competition.

Peddie was brought up on a farm in Wakari and attended the local Hawarden Area School. His first job was as a casual musterer around North Canterbury and Omarama. He started his career in the livestock industry as a livestock clerk in Christchurch, before becoming a stock agent servicing lifestyle farmers in the area. . .

Food fit for royalty:

“We advocate for New Zealanders to have access to food fit for royalty,” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokesperson for Soil & Health, Organic NZ. Her comments follow the departure of HRH Prince Charles and Camilla last week from New Zealand.

Britain’s best known organic farmer, HRH Prince Charles has long been an advocate of the sector. In 1992 he incorporated his ideologies into his business portfolio, founding Duchy originals from Waitrose, which provides natural, high-quality organic and premium products, while helping to protect and sustain the countryside and wildlife. . .

Comvita first-half earning fall 7.4% amid short supply of Manuka honey:

Comvita, which sells products based on the health and medical benefits of honey, posted a 7.4 percent decline in first-half profit , saying a shortage of Manuka honey after an inclement 2012 summer constrained sales growth and margins.

Profit fell to $2.39 million, or 7.95 cents a share, in the six months ended Sept. 30, from $2.58 million, or 8.92 cents a year earlier, the Te Puke-based company said in a statement. Sales climbed to $45.4 million from $41.8 million. . .

Potatoes NZ appoints new chief executive:

New Zealand has appointed Champak Mehta as its new Chief Executive.

Champak will lead the industry body for potato growers, producers and processors, as it embarks on its goal of doubling the size and value of the market by 2020. He brings a deep understanding of how to build value-add propositions, and business development into emerging markets.

Born and bred in Taranaki, Champak has been a physiology lecturer at CIT and a Captain in the Regular Force of the New Zealand Army. He completed his MBA at Otago in 2002 and joined Fonterra in early 2003, holding a variety of strategy, business development and management roles in New Zealand, the United States and Singapore until July 2011. . .

Beekeeping for 3000 years – Raymond Huber:

Hand-made beehives date back 3000 years (to Israel) and early hives were made of clay or straw. Bees and humans helped each other expand into new lands as settlers transported the bees with them for crop pollination. For centuries beekeepers melted the wax comb to get the honey out, forcing the poor bees to rebuild it every time. Then in 1851 pastor Lorenzo Langstroth designed a hive like a filing cabinet that could be used over and over. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

July 20, 2012

Westland Milk Products Celebrates 75 years:

New Zealand’s second biggest dairy cooperative, Westland Milk Products, this week celebrates 75 years of being an indomitable ‘David’ in the ‘Goliath’ that is New Zealand’s dairy industry.

The Hokitika-based company, which also has an office and plant in Rolleston, will not only be looking to its colourful past this week, but also celebrating its future as a highly successful independent, award-winning dairy co-operative.

Dairy farming has been present on the West Coast for almost 150 years with the Hokitika Dairy Company formed in 1868. Other, often quite localised, dairy co-operatives followed. Westland Cool Storage and Dairy Company Ltd, Kokatahi Co-operative and Waitaha Co-operative formed the nucleus of the Westland Co-operative Dairy Company in 1937. Other Coast dairy companies folded or joined over the ensuing years, the latest being Karamea which joined the Westland Co-operative in 1987. . .

NZ just 11th on global food security index:

New Zealand sits at just 11th on the Global Food Security Index, dragged down by ranking 18th for quality and safety – and 16th for affordability.

However, it is seventh on the third criteria, availability.

The index found that the US, Denmark, Norway and France led the world in food security, thanks to ample supplies, high incomes, low costs for food relative to other expenditure and significant research and development concentrated on food production . .

Farm succession start the crucial conversation – Pasture to Profit:

The OneFarm (www.onefarm.ac.nz) Farm Succession Summit brought 80 NZ & International rural professionals together who all work with farmers on Farm Succession.

 It’s very important that these Farm Family Facilitators, Accountants, Consultants & Solicitors specializing in Farm Succession all work as a team rather than in isolation. 
ANZ Bank data suggests that most farmers believe it is a very important issue to be discussed, planned & implemented yet fewer than 10% have a Farm Succession Plan. . .

CRT reaches new heights:

New Zealand farmer-owned co-operative CRT has posted its best ever annual result, setting new heights in both turnover and operating profits in 2012.

Revenue growth of $200 million, (18%), was achieved to create a new record of $1.292 billion, while operating profit grew 55% to $13.149 million.

Chairman Don McFarlane announced that a record bonus rebate of $9.75 million would be distributed to shareholders. This was the biggest bonus distribution CRT had made in its 49 year history, and was consistent with recent years in representing 75% of the annual operating surplus. . .

Growing Green – Transformation of farming, forestry and fishing:

This not-to-be-missed event will explore whether the primary production sector needs to lift its game to maximize productivity and minimize its footprint.

Register now to secure your place!

One of our international speakers, Paul Gilding, will be introduced by Bruce Donnison, Group General Manager Global Sustainability at Fonterra Co-operative Group.

Paul will address the topic Feeding the world and saving the planet: can we do both? . . .

Potatoes NZ farewell key industry leader:

This week Potatoes New Zealand business manager Ron Gall announced his resignation after 22 years working with the industry representative.

His resignation from Potatoes New Zealand and Horticulture New Zealand will come into effect from 21 December 2012 and concludes one of the most distinguished industry careers undertaken by a horticulture business manager. . .

New Spokesperson for Soil & Health Association – Organic NZ:

The Soil & Health Association – Organic NZ have announced the appointment of Debbie Swanwick as their new spokesperson.

The Association has been in operation for seventy years advocating “Healthy Soil – Healthy Food – Healthy People” to create an organic New Zealand. It is the largest membership organisation supporting organic food and farming in New Zealand. . .

Quad sales continue to grow:

Figures just released by the Motor Industry Association show that quad bike sales for the first half of 2012 were up nearly 20% on the same period last year.

“These numbers confirm continuing strength in the agricultural sector”, said Mr Clive Hellyar, Manager of the Motor Cycle Division of the Motor Industry Association. “This is also evident in the two wheeled off road sector where the reduction in sales compared with 2011 is principally recreational off road bikes while two wheeled farm bikes sales are continuing at much the same level as 2011. Some of the growth in quad sales can also be attributed to an increase in the number of side by side quad vehicles which are used mainly in agriculture.” . . .


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