Rural round-up

May 3, 2013

Challenge goal to boost NZ export earnings – Hugh Stringleman:

Four of the government’s selected 10 National Science Challenges are connected with the primary sector and have potential to boost export earnings, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce says.

However, the need to expand export earnings to the government’s target of 40% of GDP by 2025 was not a specific criterion for selection of the challenges.

Prime Minister John Key’s chief science adviser, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, drew attention to challenge four, called high-value nutrition – developing high-value foods with validated health benefits – as an obvious area where commodities would be enhanced to earn much more. . .

Why only a small number of people will consider working on a dairy farm – Milking on the Moove:

There are 60 new dairy conversions going into Canterbury this year. In This video I discuss how this equates to an extra 250 dairy staff been required, and why most “townies” won’t even consider a job on a dairy farm.

I’m surprised by the extra staff required, but the numbers seem to be logical. . .

60 new dairy conversions in Canterbury for 2013 season

Hey, well I want to talk about dairy farm employment issues. So staffing, of all the issues that the dairy industry face, finding people to milk the cows is the biggest issue. So I was talking to a cow shed manufacturer. He said there’s 60 dairy conversions going into Canterbury this year; and those are new dairy conversions.

60 conversions x 750 cows (cant avg) = 45,000 extra cows into Canterbury 2013

Now the average herd size in Canterbury is 750 cows, so 60 times 750 equals 45,000 extra cows coming into Canterbury this year alone. That’s not including Southland or the rest of the South Island; 45, 000 new cows into Canterbury. . .</>

No PKE from dodgy mills says MPI:

Malaysian officials have confirmed no palm kernel expeller (PKE) has been exported to New Zealand from the processing mill that Federated Farmers has reported concerns about.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is taking the concerns about post-production handling of PKE very seriously, says director plants, food and environment Peter Thomson.

“There are stringent safeguards in place that ensure PKE is safe for use, and MPI is requiring full assurance that these safeguards have not been breached,” Thomson says. . .

O’Connor leaves DINZ in good heart – Annette Scott:

If Mark O’Connor has done something right in his 13 years as chief executive of Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ), it has been employing good people.

He will officially leave his position after the industry’s annual conference later this month and he makes no secret he will miss the people.

“It is a wonderful industry in terms of people – they are a unique bunch. I will certainly miss them. It has been nothing but a joy,” O’Connor said. . .

Irrigator ruts causing accidents:

Centre-pivot irrigator ruts are contributing to the high accident rate amongst groundspreaders.</>

The New Zealand Groundspread Fertilisers’ Association, (NZGFA) would like to see a reduction in recent accident rates amongst groundspreaders.

NZGFA president Stuart Barwood says “we are aiming to make farmers aware of the dangers to groundspread fertiliser drivers and trucks. Centrepivot ruts are a major accident waiting to happen. . .

National Science Challenges are the new black:

Federated Farmers is delighted that New Zealand’s primary industries are well represented in New Zealand’s fiscally upsized National Science Challenges, announced yesterday by Prime Minister John Key and the Minister for Science and Innovation, the Hon Steven Joyce.

“This is significant because we hear talk of creating a technological future and the National Science Challenges are about inspiring this to happen,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President.

“Significantly, the Government has increased its funding by $73.5 million taking the investment to $133.5 million. In an age of constrained spending this deserves praise for its foresight.

“When taken in conjunction with AgResearch’s major investment announcement earlier this week, the National Science Challenges are another tool to break down institutional barriers and foster scientific collaboration and endeavour. . .

Photo: Dam fecking right!


Rural round-up

July 17, 2012

Philanthropist meat industry pioneer dies:

Hawke’s Bay businessman and philanthropist Graeme Lowe has died after a 15-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. 

    His family said he died peacefully at his Havelock North home yesterday, surrounded by close family members, including wife Jenny, son Andy, and daughters Sarah Whyte and Kate Stace. 

    Andy Lowe said his 77-year-old father had lived his life to the full. 

    “We have lost a great husband, father, mentor and friend,” the son said. “He has touched the lives of so many, from all walks of life.” 

    A pioneer of the modern meat industry, Mr Lowe led Lowe Corporation from its inception in 1964. . .

PGP delivers on Government growth plan:

Primary Industries Minister David Carter has welcomed today’s announcement of a major investment partnership for New Zealand’s export beef sector.

The Government’s Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) is to fund half of a $23.7 million programme led by Brownrigg Agriculture and Firstlight Foods to produce high-value marbled beef for premium markets.

“The Government’s total investment so far of more than quarter of a billion dollars in PGP programmes demonstrates its firm commitment to boosting economic growth through primary sector research and innovation,” says Mr Carter. . .

Tapping into the halal economy – Richard Meadows:

The Muslim slaughtermen turns the stunned sheep to face Mecca, offering a prayer to Allah as he slits its throat and leaves the carcass to bleed out. 

    This bloody image is the face of halal in New Zealand, but business leaders will have to move past it if they want a piece of the largely untapped $2.3 trillion halal economy globally. 

    “Halal is not about ritual slaughtering of animals,” said Jamil Bidin, chief executive of Malaysia’s Halal Industry Development Corporation. . .

German Festival-Goers Flock to Eat New Zealand Lamb and Venison:

New Zealand lamb and venison were in such hot demand at Northern Europe’s biggest summer festival, the organisers had to get in extra chefs to satisfy the hungry queues.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Deer Industry New Zealand were invited to take part in this year’s Kieler Woche celebrations – the first time in the festival’s 130-year history New Zealand has been represented at the international market.

The market in Kiel’s picturesque main square is at the hub of more than 2,000 sports and cultural events which attract around three million visitors annually to a city with a population not much bigger than Hamilton’s. . .

Lifestylers to set rural rates – Alan Emerson:

I didn’t realise that New Zealand had a National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis but we do.

It is part of the University of Waikato in Hamilton. Its Professor of Population Economics is Dr Jacques Poot who has an impressive list of qualifications and is extremely approachable.

He gave a talk at the recent Fieldays at Mystery Creek and the news is largely bad for the rural sector and the family farm. I was surprised the talk didn’t receive more media coverage than it did.

Basically over the next 20 years the rural population will shrink and get older. . .

Move to NZ life-changing – Sally Rae:

Animal scientist Bruno Santos has no regrets about a    life-changing decision to move from Brazil to Dunedin.   

 Mr Santos, who moved to the city in February to work for  consultancy and new venture development company, AbacusBio,      was joined by his wife, Renata, and their two young childre last month.

He is no stranger to AbacusBio, having collaborated with the  company on business development and technical projects in Brazil. . .

New Zealand wine – a glass half-full:

A weather-affected 2012 New Zealand wine harvest has reduced bulging stocks and driven a small but significant lift in Marlborough sauvignon blanc (MSB) grape prices. This is leading many in the industry to once again “view the proverbial glass as half full rather than half empty” when it comes to New Zealand wine, according to a new industry report. In its Wine Quarterly Q2: New Zealand wine – a glass half full, agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank says an unseasonably cool and in some parts rain-affected 2012 New Zealand wine harvest of 269,000 tonnes (down 18 per cent on 2011) has reduced the high stock levels that had fuelled a surge in bulk wine exports and private label brands in recent years. . .


Rural round-up

July 11, 2012

Milk protein product to fight bad breath in China – Andrea Fox:

Hamilton biotechnology company Quantec has signed a deal that could open up a $2 million-a-year oral and throat-care market in China for its patented milk protein ingredient. 

    Quantec managing director Rod Claycomb  said Auckland-based NZ New Paradise had bought exclusive rights to the milk protein ingredient, patented as IDP, for use in oral-care and throat-care confectionery products made in New Zealand and exported to China. 

    NZ New Paradise’s first IDP-based product would be a mint to fight bad breath, launched under its Purel brand, he said. . .

Pipfruit industry has high hopes for moth-killing wasp – Peter Watson:

Pipfruit NZ is celebrating getting the go-ahead to release a small parasitoid wasp that it is confident will be effective in controlling codling moth, one of the most serious apple pests and a major threat to export markets. 

    The Environmental Protection Authority late last month approved Pipfruit NZ’s application to use the wasp, mastrus ridens, as a biological control for codling moth. 

    Pipfruit NZ chairman Ian Palmer said it was an exciting development. “Anything where we can have a natural and environmentally sound way of managing our pests has got to be good.” . . .

On a dairyfarm milk income minuse costs =$whatever is unacceptable – Pasture to Profit:

Too few dairy farmers budget and when the milk price is volatile (as it is now) it’s really important. If you don’t you might lose more than just your shirt. You can not & must not be financially dependent on the milk price.

Too many simply accept Milk Income Minus Costs = $ Whatever. Why? Why would you accept $Whatever? Dairy farmers need to concentrate on those factors that you do have control over within your farm gate. I would hope that in control pasture based dairy farmers aren’t too concerned about the milk price. After all you as an individual have little or no influence or control over milk price. What you do control is on farm spending & the efficiency of resource management & decisions related to spending. . .

Farming programme ‘brilliant’ – Sally Rae:

Owaka herd manager Shane Bichan is a firm believer in the    need to keep challenging yourself.    

Mr Bichan (28) started training with Agriculture ITO after returning to dairy farming.   

His eyes have since been opened to the opportunities in the agriculture industry after attending AgITO’s South Island Farming to Succeed programme sponsored by FIL New Zealand. . .

Yield grading system being used for venison – Sally Rae:

Meat-processing company Alliance Group is extending its    yield-grading system to include venison.   

The company has been involved with a deer progeny test, an      initiative for the deer industry, which was launched last      year and is based at Invermay in Mosgiel, and Whiterock  Station in the Rangitata Gorge. . .

Venison avoids buffeting – Tim Cronwshaw:

Deer farmers, who are savouring stable venison prices as other farming commodities drop, are looking for the economies of northern Europe to remain strong at the height of the export season. 

    Now is the time of year exporters are finalising their chilled contracts for the European game season, ranging from this month to Christmas depending on when venison is traditionally consumed in each country . 

    Last year, venison made high prices but Deer Industry New Zealand (Dinz) is unsure if the same level will be reached for the 2012-13 season. . .

More profit less gas:

The recent Government announcement of a deferment for agriculture entering the ETS will not only ease farming pocketbooks, but will also provide more time for research into ways to reduce just how much methane and nitrous oxide our ruminant export earners produce individually.

And while some publicly funded research has been looking at methods to change how the rumen works in the animal, some private research has focused on the pasture that goes in, and not just the gases coming out.

Indigo Ltd, who has produced Agrizest for orchardists since 2005, has turned its focus to pasture, and recently launched Biozest, a patented New Zealand spray for pasture which is already certified as an organic agricultural compound. . .


No free ride for farming

July 5, 2012

Federated Farmers has put the record straight about the”free ride”   which the opposition think farming is getting through delaying the admission of agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme and the way it is being reported:

Some media are reporting the latest revision to the ETS as ‘the Government excluding farmers from the Emissions Trading Scheme until 2015’.  This is factually incorrect.  

It is vital for accuracy to refer to the 2015 delay as applying to biological emissions only (methane and Nitrous Oxide from livestock and soils).

All New Zealand farms and orchards have been in the ETS since 1 July 2010.

We wish to counter a belief among some media that farmers do not pay the ETS on farm inputs or that farmers somehow receive a rebate.  Both these assumptions are incorrect.

Like all New Zealand businesses, farms pay the ETS on fuel and electricity they directly consume.  They also pay it indirectly through the supply chain on things as diverse as processing costs, animal remedies, wire netting, fencing, feed and fertiliser. Indirectly, it also affects the cost of professional services farmers consume too. 

There are few exemptions to the ETS and apply mostly to international air travel and international bunker fuels to and from New Zealand.

The cost of the ETS on dairy, horticulture, sheep, beef and deer: The cost impact of the ETS on dairy, horticulture, sheep, beef and deer farmers is conservatively estimated to be a minimum of $106 million per annum:  Fonterra Cooperative Group estimates its individual dairy farmer suppliers directly pay $3,700 a year in carbon costs for fuel, energy and their share of the carbon costs being paid by Fonterra for processing emissions (approximately $38.8 million per annum).   Beef+Lamb NZ, Meat Industry Association & Deer Industry New Zealand calculated the individual cost on sheep, beef and deer farms of the ETS, to be $2,000 per annum (approximately $27.8 million per annum)  HortNZ, in its 2011 submission, highlighted smaller greenhouse glass operators facing additional ETS related costs of $30,000 per annum.  In 2008, it estimatedthe ETS would add industry costs in excess of $40 million.

These compare to typical households paying additional ETS related costs of around $133 per annum.  It should be noted that many farms and orchards are households too.

Farmers are paying for research which is likely to lead to practical ways to reduce biological emissions.

But in the meantime there is no point imposing extra costs on food production with absolutely no benefit for the environment.


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