Rural round-up

January 21, 2020

Meat prices squeeze domestic suppliers – Neal Wallace:

A correction in global meat prices has prompted Alliance to scale back its minimum price contracts while sustained high values have forced the closure of a Dunedin meat small goods manufacturer.

Lamb volumes accepted for Alliance’s minimum price contracts have been scaled back because they were oversubscribed and international meat prices have eased, livestock and shareholder services manager Danny Hailes says.

Global demand for protein, primarily driven by China, which has lost half its pig population to African swine fever, is pushing up prices but there was a significant correction over Christmas.

Alliance’s minimum price lamb contract is set at $8.10/kg. Last week the South Island schedule was about $7.70/kg, AgriHQ analysts said. . . 

Happy to be involved with marketing bid – Sally Rae:

When it comes to the future of farming, Omarama farmer Trent Spittle believes it will be the end users of products who will decide what happens on farm.

So when approached by outdoor equipment and clothing retailer Kathmandu to be involved with a marketing campaign for its new merino range, showing the entire process from on the farm through to garment manufacturing, he was happy to oblige.

Mr Spittle manages Quailburn Downs, a 2600ha sheep and beef property near Omarama’s Clay Cliffs landmark. . .

Group aims to boost sheep milk – Annette Scott:

Most people in the South Island associate the iconic high country sheep with meat and wool but that is changing as enterprising pioneers establish sheep-milking operations. Founding member of the Canterbury Dairy Sheep Association David Waghorn talked to Annette Scott.     

Sheep milker David Waghorn is confident the Canterbury Dairy Sheep Association will drive opportunities for local sheep milking farmers.

Canterbury has fallen behind the North Island in developing a sheep dairy industry, missing out on investment in infrastructure and research funding, he says.

The association, set up in September, is charged with changing that. .. 

The case for protective planting :

 Catastrophic Australian bushfires are hardly the result of a single cause.

Those who argue this shouldn’t be seen as an up-close-and-personal face of climate change are delusional. Scientific predictions that the climatic fixings for more extreme bushfires – more intense drought, higher temperatures, stronger winds – have shown up as predicted and on cue.

That said, those who point instead to political issues bedevilling the management of the risk are hardly raising a red herring.

The incoherence of the decision making between federal, state and shire authorities has been horridly exposed in terms of the allocation, and marshalling, of resources. . . 

Family and successful farming career built in Gore – Sally Rae:

“Like all good stories, it began with a boy.”

When Jess Moore moved from Melbourne to Gore, she had no knowledge of farming, nor did she even know where the town was. Fast forward a decade or so and she is proud to be a Southland dairy farmer.

After almost nine years of marriage and three children, Mrs Moore and her husband Don have now bought their own farm northeast of Gore, having made progress through the industry.

Mrs Moore particularly loved how willing people in the industry were to share their knowledge and experiences.

They were a young couple, not from a farming background, and had taken all opportunities available and immersed themselves “in as much dairy as we could”. . . 

Freshwater management unit for Hokitika – Lois Williams:

People who care about their local rivers and the way the water is used might want to show up for meetings in Hokitika and Harihari this week.

The West Coast Regional Council is about to launch the Hokitika Freshwater Management Unit (FMU) and it needs volunteers from all sectors of the community to be on it.

The Hokitika FMU is the third to be set up on the coast, after the establishment of Grey/Mawhera and Karamea groups, and it takes in the area from the Taramakau River to the Waiau (Franz Josef).

FMU’s are part of the government’s strategy to stop the degradation of rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands around the country. . . 


Horrified finding she had to work on Christmas Day

January 15, 2020

Dairy Women’s Network’s latest Our People, Their Stories:

New to dairy farming Jess Moore was horrified when she found out she had to work on Christmas day.

“I knew nothing about dairy farming,” Jess says. “I didn’t know you milked cow’s twice a day and I only figured out you had to milk them on Christmas day in December so had to call mum and tell her we wouldn’t be home for Christmas.”

Now well entrenched and happy in the dairy industry Jess, her husband Don and their young family of two boys Harry and Lachie and daughter Violet feature as the fourth episode of the Dairy Women’s Network visual story telling project, OUR PEOPLE. THEIR STORIES.

After leaving school Don worked as a deep sea fisherman off the coast of Nelson and Jess worked in a Pharmacy until Jess said she wanted to see more of her ‘imaginary boyfriend.’ . .

 


Rural round-up

September 28, 2019

Sustainability sparks new role :

A 4400ha central Hawkes Bay dairy farming operation is taking sustainability so seriously it has created a senior role specifically to oversee its environmental planning.

The Waipukurau-based BEL Group operates nine dairy farms, milks 9440 cows and employs 70 fulltime staff and has appointed Robert Barry in a new position as its sustainability lead.

Barry’s brief is to look after 16 farm environmental plans and nine dairy effluent consents to work towards a more sustainable future. . . 

Alliance is aiming for the top – Alan Williams:

Alliance has signalled a more aggressive stance on moving up the value chain and a nationwide footprint, including possible North Island expansion.

The Southland-based, farmer-owned co-operative is now targeting a top one or two market share across all its processing species of lamb, beef and venison, chief executive David Surveyor says.

The caveat is that North Island expansion will be attempted only if it will add value to all existing shareholders, Surveyor told about 50 shareholder-suppliers at Rotherham in North Canterbury at the group’s first new season roadshow.

Alliance is the biggest lamb processor and strong in venison but is only fifth or sixth biggest in beef processing and will need a major North Island presence, from one beef plant now in Levin, to be a top-two operator.  . . 

Farm has traffic lights for pooh :

Otago dairy farmers Duncan and Anne-Marie Wells have traffic lights on their farm.

It’s nothing to do with congestion – at least not of the car variety. The Wells’ traffic lights are designed to deal with one of the biggest challenges facing many dairy farmers: effluent.

In the ongoing effort to improve water quality up and down the country, efficient effluent systems are needed to manage the risk of effluent reaching waterways. . . 

Farmers give thumbs up:

Fonterra’s new strategy and honesty are a hit with its dairy farmers despite the massive balance sheet losses and the lack of a dividend for the past 18 months.

Farmers and marketers have welcomed the scaled back and more realistic strategy with triple-bottom line reporting targets, chief among them sustainable earnings and a good return on capital.

Golden Bay Fonterra supplier and Federated Farmers national dairy vice-chairman Wayne Langford echoed many shareholders’ support for their co-operative’s plans to down-size and refocus on New Zealand milk supply while still smarting over the massive losses.

Southland farmer Don Moore, of McNab, had some unease about the ambition of the previous strategy but is more comfortable with the new version and its more modest goals. . . 

Fonterra strategy positive but light on detail – Jarden :

Dairy giant Fonterra Cooperative Group’s intent and direction is good but lacking in detail, says Jarden research analyst Arie Dekker.

Fonterra yesterday unveiled a new strategy that puts greater emphasis on extracting value rather than pursuing volume. Key elements include bringing the focus squarely back to New Zealand and a pull-back from its consumer brands.

“We are disappointed by the lack of detail accompanying Fonterra’s strategic reveal,” Dekker said in a note to clients . . 

 

Farmers make the case for pasture-raised animals with Pro-Pasture Fridays campaign :

When you think of a farm, do you imagine cattle grazing on rich, green pasture grass and chickens pecking around in the dirt, looking for bugs? Do you envision lambs bounding around on legs like springs and pigs rooting through the soil and rolling in cool, delicious mud?

The reality is that scenes like this are rare exceptions, not the norm. Animals are typically raised in crowded conditions in closed-in barns called CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations). They’re fed a diet of “mash — a blend of cereal grains that can include corn, barley, sorghum or wheat,” according to

by Oregon writer Lynne Curry. Because of the crowded conditions in the CAFOs and the need to maximize growth, Curry writes that cattle “receive daily doses of additives that improve digestion and are injected with slow-release pellets of synthetic estrogen that can add up to 40 extra pounds.” . . 


Rural round-up

May 26, 2013

Award success a family affair – Gerald Piddock:

Farming, community, family, innovation and the desire to never stop learning has seen two North Otago farming families forge a successful business partnership.

The Mitchell and Webster families operate an intensive cropping operation and wholesale business producing bird and small animal feed.

Its home base is the Mitchell family’s Rosedale farm at Weston.

Their exceptional crop management and focus on long term sustainability helped them win the supreme award at this year’s Otago Farm Environment Awards.

The families entered the awards to help them learn more about their business, Mitchell Webster Group partner Jock Webster said. . .

Variable conditions a challenge – Gerald Piddock:

Variable growing conditions caused by fickle weather was the biggest challenge this season for the Lincoln University dairy farm.

It caused the dry matter produced on the 186ha farm to swing around violently throughout the season.

“It’s been more variable than most years and I would say that’s a result of those really variable growing conditions. We have seen hot and cold temperatures that have driven more variation in pasture,” DairyNZ’s Steve Lee said. . .

About face on dung beetle assessment – Richard Rennie:

One of the country’s most senior health officials has given the thumbs up to a review on the public health risk of dung beetle release.

Auckland medical officer of health Dr Denise Barnfather expressed her concerns earlier this year over the lack of risk assessment before beetle importation.

Approval for field trials on the beetle has been granted by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and these are under way in Northland. The next step is field release.

But Barnfather said this week the Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) applauded the Ministry of Health (MoH) decision to assess the potential public health risk the beetles posed before release occurred. . .

Ten-year plan to beef up venison returns  – Jon Morgan:

A plan to lift venison returns by feeding deer better, improving their health and breeding, and by finding high-paying markets for the tastiest cuts, has been put to deer farmers.

The aim is to add $2 a kilogram to the value of a processed deer over the next 10 years, the deer industry conference in Wellington heard. At current prices, that would take the value of a 60kg stag from $540 to $660 at the season’s peak.

Deer Industry NZ chairman Andy Macfarlane said deer profitability was well ahead of lamb and beef on the same land.

“But are we satisfied with that? The answer is: no.”

The industry was launching “Passion to Profit” – its plan to increase returns – “to put deer farming back into the imagination of farmers”. That would be led by a renewed push in the core German market and a campaign to sell high-quality cuts under the Cervena brand to top-end European restaurants. . .

Butcher wins RWNZ award – Rosie Manins:

Almost four decades of hard slog is paying off for Lawrence butcher Jan Harper.

She is one of four category winners in this year’s Enterprising Rural Women Awards, announced at the Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) national conference in Christchurch on Thursday night.

Ms Harper (57) has worked in the meat industry since leaving school and opened Bluespur Butchery and Deli in Lawrence’s main street in 2009. . .

Sharemilkers second in national competition

Papakaio sharemilkers Morgan and Hayley Easton have placed second in the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Sharemilker-Equity Farmer of the Year competition.

The award, announced at an event in Wellington last night, was won by Southland representatives Don and Jess Moore.

The 2013 New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year title went to Richard Pearse, of Ashburton, and James Warren, of Winton, was named New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year. . .

Dairy farm profit down but still high – Andrea Fox:

Higher operating expenses per hectare in an otherwise-spectacular 2011-2012 dairy season resulted in farmer owner-operator profit sliding by $186 a hectare, a new DairyNZ report says.

But the 2011-2012 DairyNZ Economic Survey said operating profit which declined by 6.6 per cent to $2624 per hectare was a “still a high level”.

DairyNZ said the season was characterised by an excellent summer and autumn resulting in record milk production for all regions.

But offsetting the 9.2 per cent increase in milksolids per hectare was a matching decline in milk prices, leaving gross farm revenue per hectare almost unchanged. . . .


Rural round-up

April 13, 2013

Sheep and beef farming leaders focus on environment:

Twenty-five sheep and beef farming leaders from across New Zealand will attend the first Beef and Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Environmental Leadership Forum in Wellington next week.

The Forum is being funded by B+LNZ and delivered by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust. It is based on a successful programme – also run by the Trust, in partnership with DairyNZ – for dairy farming leaders.

B+LNZ Chief Executive Officer, Dr Scott Champion says the forum is designed to equip the farmers with some of the skills they need to engage effectively with regional councils and take on leadership roles within their communities. . .

Experts gather to address issues for bees, trees and farming in New Zealand:

An inaugural conference involving some of New Zealand’s top agricultural and environmental experts is being held in Gisborne this month to address the apparent decline of nutritional forage for bees in this country.

Nutritional stress is considered to be one of the main factors behind large-scale bee losses as reported overseas. The Trees for Bees research project aims to help avoid this happening in New Zealand.

The ‘Trees for Bees’ conference is being held at Eastwoodhill Arboretum and has been organised by the Eastwoodhill Trust and the East Coast Farm Forestry Association with help from the National Beekeepers Association. It will be held on April 26th and 27th at Eastwoodhill arboretum and at two field day sites. . .

Energetic Dairy Pioneers Win Supreme in Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Dairy conversion pioneers Abe and Anita de Wolde have been named Supreme winners of the 2013 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Ballance Farm Environment Award (BFEA) judges were “impressed and inspired” by the couple’s 2800-cow business ‘Woldwide Farming Group’, praising their “boundless energy towards finding a better way and doing the right thing”.

While the de Woldes are heavily focussed on their production goals of 650kg/MS per cow and 2000kg/MS per ha, judges said they are just as committed to reducing their environmental footprint.

At a BFEA ceremony on April 10 the de Woldes also collected the Ballance Agri-Nutrients – Nutrient Management Award, the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award, the Massey University Discovery Award, the LIC Dairy Farm Award and the Meridian Energy Excellence Award. . .

Second Triumph for Southland Dairy Awards Winners:

The goals of the 2013 Southland Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Don and Jess Moore, are to optimise production and maximise profit to reach farm ownership and enjoy a balanced lifestyle.

The Moores, who won $18,400 in prizes, aim to achieve this by growing their business using sustainable farming and human resource practices.

The other big winners at the 2013 Southland Dairy Industry Awards held at the Invercargill Workingmen’s Club last night were Daniel and Emma Todd, the region’s 2013 Farm Managers of the Year, and James Warren, the Southland Dairy Trainee of the Year. . .

Coast Dairy Awards Winners Do It Again:

It is the second time the 2013 West Coast/Top of the South Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Peter and Helen McLaren, have won one of the region’s top farming awards.

In 2008 the couple claimed the region’s Farm Manager of the Year title. Last night they went one better to win $19,000 in cash and prizes. “Entering the awards in 2008 gave us a lot of confidence in knowing that our farm systems are working and it also enabled us to pursue further opportunities and go 50:50 sharemilking,” the McLarens said.

The other major winners at the region’s Dairy Industry Awards dinner at Shantytown, Greymouth, were Blue Benseman, the Farm Manager of the Year, and Sam Riley, the Dairy Trainee of the Year. . .

3 Dairy Awards Entrants Win Bikes:

Three entrants in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards have won farm bikes worth $4000, just for entering.

All those that entered the awards before December 1 last year and progressed through the judging process were eligible for the Early Bird Prize Draw to win one of three Honda XR125 Duster farm bikes valued at $4000.

The draw took place on Friday and one bike was drawn from early entrants in each contest – the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year.. . 

Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (already) tackling issue of false organic claims:

“The steady 8% per annum growth in the organic sector over the past three years* has been great for existing organic customers”, says Brendan Hoare, Chair of Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ).

“People want what we provide and consumers who are already in the market for safer, healthier, more environmentally-friendly food now have a greater range of choices at a better range of prices.”

“However”, said Mr Hoare, “the move from being a niche market into the mainstream is raising issues around how truthful some of the claims of being organic really are.” . . .

Te Motu Vineyard back under founding family’s control:

Waiheke Island’s iconic vineyard, TeMotu, is back under management of the Dunleavy family who developed it in 1988, but sold to Richina Pacific two years ago. A group including the Poland family and others with strong connections to Waiheke, along with Sam Harrop MW and Paul Dunleavy, TeMotu’s former managing director, have just settled the purchase to buy the original vineyard in Onetangi Valley back from Richina Pacific.

Paul Dunleavy, who resumes the role of managing director, says “This is a hugely significant acquisition. We have a great team of investors who are committed to maximizing the potential from this exceptional, world-class vineyard site.” . . .


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