Rural round-up

November 10, 2016

Significant Concerns Raised by Feds’ Healthy Rivers Project:

Discussions held with Waikato Federated Farmers members have revealed significant concerns about the impact of the Waikato Regional Council’s proposed ‘Plan Change One’.

Federated Farmers hosted a meeting for the release of the report on its Farm Plan Project, which aimed to test drive the Farm Environment Plan part the proposed ‘Healthy Rivers’ Plan.

The Farm Plan Project used 13 Waikato (mainly drystock) farms as case studies to implement the ‘Farm Environment Plans’ which will be required by the new council Plan.

Fonterra also ran a parallel process which are in the report to look at the effects on 11 Fonterra dairy farms. . . 

Fishing industry’s elder statesman had salt in his blood – Mike Watson:

OBITUARY: Commercial fishing’s elder statesman, Edward ‘Ted’ Laurence Collins, would be remembered as much for his generosity and support of the fishing industry as his broad physique honed from breaking underwater swimming records as a school boy in Marlborough.

Born in Blenheim, Collins lived all his life in Marlborough, settling in Spring Creek with his wife, Gwen, and daughters Jan and Sue, and son Peter.

He began work as a farmer but soon followed his passion to become a commercial fisherman and fishery advocate during a period of great change in the industry which included the introduction of the quota management system, and the establishment of the exclusive economic zone. . . 

Pastures most valuable crops – Richard Rennie:

Ryegrass and clover reign supreme on the charts as New Zealand’s most valuable crops.  

They came out on top in a Ministry for Primary Industries report that took stock of the country’s top 65 crops by value to the economy.  

The report compiled by the Institute for Economic Research was the first time an attempt had been made to quantify the entire range of grasses and horticultural and tree crops cultivated for commercial purposes.  The authors noted previous efforts had viewed the value of crops individually and had examined only the exported value of specific crops. . . 

A world full of cameras seems to target farmers – James Stewart:

 Life in the 21st century means we are all on show. 

Our world is now full of cameras.  From closed circuit television (CCTV) to smart phones, the new age means that instantly our actions can be streamed to the world to view. 

In seconds you can go from zero to hero.  Or for our local All Black legend Aaron Smith, all it takes is 10 minutes of lurking outside public toilets, and you are temporarily a national disgrace.

In my own backyard, the recent footage by Farmwatch has hit home how much of a target us farmers have become.  We are under scrutiny and to be honest, I’m going to have to hold back on a few four letter profanities about how this really makes me feel. . . 

A2 Milk reports first quarter revenue of $112.5 mln, shares rise 4%  –  Edwin Mitson:

(BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk, which markets milk based on the supposed health benefits of the A2 milk protein, says first quarter sales met expectations with sales driven by growth in infant formula and milk. The shares rose 4 percent on the update.

The Auckland-based, Sydney-headquartered company reported revenue of $112.5 million in the three months ended Sept. 30 in a presentation by chief executive Geoffrey Babidge to a UBS conference in Sydney. Sales of fresh milk in Australia and New Zealand were up 7 percent from a year earlier.

Babidge also said there had been “continued and consistent growth” in consumer demand for its A2 Platinum infant formula, despite research reports suggesting demand would be volatile. . . 

$75,000 Awarded to Conservation Innovators:

Using drone trackers for wildlife research, monitoring health of waterways and developing an app to help Kauri conservation – these are the winning ideas of WWF’s 2016 Conservation Innovation Awards, announced today.

The Kiwi innovators behind these ideas will each be awarded a $25,000 grant to recognise their contribution to innovation in conservation. The three winners will be congratulated at an event in Wellington tonight, MCed by journalist and public speaker, Rod Oram, and with Hon Steven Joyce, Minister of Science and Innovation, as the keynote speaker.

The winning ideas are:

DroneCounts
DroneCounts wants to take wildlife tracking to the next level, with a model that can pick up several signals and map wildlife in an area. . . 

Lazy Scumbags Prey on Young Couple – Rick Powdrell:

Once again stock theft is in the news. Some scumbags too lazy to rear their own calves wait for an enterprising couple to do the hard yards, then steal 55 of their animals.

This young Canterbury couple are working multiple jobs as well as rearing calves to get ahead in life. Rearing calves alone is a time-consuming job, with morning and evening feeding, individual animal attention required to ensure good animal health, plus the necessary cleaning to maintain a healthy environment.

This couple have clear goals on what their future holds and one just around the corner, their marriage, has now been pushed out into the future.

This theft highlights many of the factors being promoted around New Zealand at the combined FMG / NZ Police / Federated Farmers Rural Crime Prevention Workshops. . . 

Honey wars: crime and killings in New Zealand’s manuka honey industry –  Eleanor Ainge Roy:

It was the day the bees died – tens of thousands of them in 300 hives, mysteriously killed.

“The massacre”, as it is being called, happened in the otherwise idyllic landscape of Doubtless Bay in New Zealand’s far north.

And for David Yanke and Rachel Kearney, co-owners of Daykel Apiaries, the cause of death was obvious: malicious poisoning.

“It is a nightmare, I don’t feel safe any more,” says Kearney as she sits at her kitchen table on her family’s farm, 40km east of the Northland hub of Kaitaia. “I feel violated. It has almost turned into a PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] experience for me.” . . 

Scheme spurs massive re-think :

Four years ago, when David Kidd took over the management of 555ha of leased bare land overlooking the Kaipara Harbour, he knew he had work to do.

He and his employer, McEwan-Kidd partnership, began an intensive development programme which included subdivision, installing a water system and carrying out fertiliser and pasture renewal programmes.

They also set up a cattle-only stock policy on the flat to rolling land, running Angus breeding cows, beef bulls, trading heifers and steers – amounting to 5000-6000 stock units. . . 

Mid-season pulse check:

Owl Farm’s final Farm Focus Day of 2016 takes place on 16 November. “As usual we have a great calibre of speakers on hand to share progress to date, and to look towards the future,” says Farm Demonstration Manager Doug Dibley.

“Although it’s been a pretty wet and bleak start to the dairy season with the continuous rain we’ve received, there has been a silver lining seen through the slow recovery of the global markets. This renewed confidence has seen Fonterra twice increase their forecast farm gate milk price. We have Matt Bolger of Fonterra coming to share with us where they see things heading in the next 12 to 18 months and what we can expect as a result.” . . 


Rural round-up

October 6, 2016

Industry condemns skipper’s actions:

Seafood New Zealand supports the prosecution of a commercial fishing boat skipper over the death of albatross at sea.

“Industry is very disappointed in this skipper’s actions that were totally out of line. We support the Ministry for Primary Industries in the action they have taken against him,” says Chief Executive Tim Pankhurst.

“There is no excuse for his behaviour. He was required to use a tori line, a device using streamers to scare off birds. . . 

Dairy price effect still hurting NZ SMEs:

The dairy downturn is still having an impact on small to medium enterprises in many parts of the country, although there are definite green shoots in the economy according to the latest MYOB Colmar Brunton Business Monitor Survey.

More than one third (34 per cent) of all agribusinesses have been affected by low dairy prices in the past six months, with 12 per cent saying the impact is ‘very negative’.

For the many businesses connected to the agricultural economy, that remains a problem. Compared to a national average of 39 per cent, just 25 per cent of rural SMEs saw their revenues improve in the last 12 months, according to the latest Business Monitor, and 24 per cent reported a decline in income over the period. . . 

New Zealand farming leaders check in on Brexit:

Britain’s arrangements for leaving the European Union (EU) by the summer of 2019 and progress towards an EU-NZ Free Trade Agreement, will be on the agenda when Beef + Lamb New Zealand meets British and EU farming representatives during a northern hemisphere visit.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman, James Parsons and Southern South Island farmer director Andrew Morrison are in Britain, France, Ireland and Belgium this week to meet with New Zealand’s farming counterparts, to discuss areas of common interest including lamb consumption and maintaining year-round supply for European consumers. . . 

$3m in new projects for High-Value Nutrition:

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today announced the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge is investing $3 million in its Consumer Insights and Science of Food research programmes.

“The research into high-value nutrition is hugely important in moving our food production from volume to value”, Mr Joyce says.  “These projects will help product development that brings maximum returns for New Zealand food exporters.”

The Consumer Insights research programme is focused on understanding consumers’ beliefs, perceptions, attitudes and behaviours.

“Up to $1.5 million has been allocated to research the science of consumers, with a focus on health and wellness needs of Asian consumers. It will research what is needed to establish a habitual consumption of high-value nutritional foods, which is vital in ensuring investment is directed in areas that will resonate most with consumers. . . 

Ancient sheep breed alive and well in Wimbledon – Christine McKay:

Jacob sheep are an ancient breed with their story appearing in the book of Genesis in the Bible.

For Wimbledon farmer, Brian Hales, the story of the Jacob sheep is something special.
“Their story and how they came to be in New Zealand, is truly magnificent,” he said.

Jacobs are brown sheep with white spots or white sheep with brown spots. Their breed, Manx Loughtun, is unique for having one, two or three sets of horns. . . 

New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards offer benefits to farm owners and employers:

Excitement is building as the date for entries to open for the 2017 The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards entries nears. Entries for the 2017 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards will be accepted online at dairyindustryawards.co.nz from October 20 and will close on November 30, with Early Bird entries closing at midnight on November 9.

The Awards encourage best practice and the sharing of excellence and also identify and promote the dairy industry’s future leaders. They enable people to progress through the awards as a person progresses through the dairy industry – from farm worker to herd manager, farm manager and contract milker to share milker.

The Awards are supported by DairyNZ, De Laval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra Farm Source, Honda Motorcycles NZ, LIC, Meridan Energy, Ravensdown, Westpac and industry partner Primary ITO. . . 

Sanford gets Marlborough innovation award – Tracey Neal:

Sanford fishing company’s Marlborough operation has received a civic award more than a year after major job losses at the company.

Its Havelock processing facility is one of the largest in New Zealand, employing 300 people and contributing around $15 million annually to the local economy in salary and wages.

The company’s mussel processing operation in Havelock was yesterday given the Marlborough Award, last presented in 2006, which recognises significant contribution to the district through innovation. . . 

Fonterra Moves to Reduce Sugar Content in Kids’ Yoghurt – Anchor Uno:

Fonterra’s Anchor Uno now contains the lowest levels of sugar (per 100 grams) in any kids’ yoghurt brand in New Zealand, with 40 per cent less sugar than the original Uno formulation.

Good nutrition is important for growing children as they are developing nutritional habits that can continue throughout their lives. The Anchor team recognise this and has come up with a way to provide a healthier alternative that kids still enjoy.

Anchor Cultured Brand Manager Nicola Carroll says Anchor is committed to continuously improving its product portfolio to reduce the use of added sugars without compromising the quality, taste and texture of the product. . . 

A day down on the farm: Owl Farm’s first Annual Public Open Day:

Owl Farm in Cambridge is opening its gates to urban communities for its inaugural Open Day on Saturday 15 October, 11am until 4pm.

The theme, ‘From our grass to your glass, how your milk is made’, aims to close the gap between town and country by giving the communities in which Owl Farm operates an up-close experience of a working dairy farm.

“It’s vitally important that the dairy industry engage and demonstrate what dairy is all about, and where our milk comes from,” says Demonstration Manager Doug Dibley. “The event will be a fantastic opportunity for a fun and educational day on the farm for the whole family”. . . 

Auditing Stock – A crucial component to mitigating stock losses:

The recent theft of 500 dairy cows has been another harsh wake up call for the industry as farmers consider if they are taking the right precautions in protecting their second largest asset. Michael Lee, an agribusiness audit specialist at Crowe Horwath, advises how the introduction of simple systems can mitigate potential theft.

The Federated Farmers’ dairy industry chairperson, Andrew Hoggard points out if a bank was robbed there would be uproar, but police don’t tend to see stock as cold, hard cash.

Lee agrees saying, “Stock theft is extremely important for farmers as not only do they lose their capital when stock is stolen, which for a dairy cow can be up to $2,000, they also suffer the loss of revenue from that stock.” . . 

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