Rural round-up

29/01/2014

Cattle top NZ’s most dangerous farm animal list – Chris Hyde:

Cattle are New Zealand’s most dangerous farm animals according to ACC.

Figures obtained by Fairfax Media under the Official Information Act show that in 2013 there were 2262 cattle-related injuries requiring ACC funding.

Sheep were in second, inflicting 1612 injuries, while the horse also had a hoof in the payout of 1285 claims.

Cattle were not, however, the most dangerous farm animal in all areas of the country.

For example, in the Manawatu district, Manawatu District farmers in particular flocked to ACC in 2013, claiming 43 sheep-related injuries in the calendar year, a number that earned the sheep the title of Manawatu’s most dangerous farm animal – beating out cattle on 40. . .

End of an era as breeders downsize and head to town – Jill Galloway:

Steph Holloway and Hamish Hawker are getting out of their breeding farm at Hunterville, after a long family association with the property.

Five generations of Holloway’s family, including her, have worked on the hill country farm.

She said she and Hawker sold 600 two-tooth ewes at last week’s Feilding ewe fair. A further 1300 mixed-age ewes were sold at the sale on Friday.

Holloway said that while they could stay on the farm until May, they were already looking for a smaller finishing farm closer to town.

“Our breeding unit was 800 acres [324 hectares], and it was 50 minutes to Feilding, where I work. We want 200 acres [80ha], and it will mean a day or two a week on the farm.” . . .

Synlait ups the milk price ante:

Canterbury milk processor Synlait has fired the dairy equivalent of a full broadside by upping its forecast milk price for 2013/14 to a range of $8.30 to $8.40 per kilogram of milk solids (kg/MS).

“Before Christmas, the coop Westland Milk Products lifted its in-season forecast to $7.90-$8.30 kg/MS. Now we see Synlait joining the fray to be in the same ballpark as Fonterra,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“Of course, Open Country operates a continuous payout while we know Miraka will be highly competitive as will be that darling of value-add, Tatua.

“For farmers, this level of farm gate competition is positive with other processors getting closer to joining the market. . .

Decline in dairy cow fertility may have halted:

New dairy industry data indicates a long-term decline in dairy cow fertility may have been halted.

It’s an issue that’s been challenging dairy scientists and farmers in New Zealand and overseas, because cow fertility is fundamental to dairy farm productivity and profitability.

Dairy New Zealand strategy and investment leader Bruce Thorrold says the lower fertility was linked to the import of American Holstein cows into the country in the late 1990s. . .

“Importantly, we are getting advance rates that will help cashflow following the train wreck drought hit season that was 2012/13. . . .

What it takes to compete in the global dairy industry – Dr Jon Hauser,

The dairy industry is a hot topic in Australia at the moment. Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, a prized dairy asset in southwest Victoria, is up for grabs. There is currently a 3 way bidding war between local publicly listed dairy company Bega, farmer co-operative Murray Goulburn, and the Canadian dairy giant Saputo.

This week United Dairyfarmers Victoria organised a meeting of farmers in Warrnambool. The UDV is a farmer representative group charged with lobbying government and industry on behalf of Victorian dairy farmers. They invited me to talk about the global dairy market – what it takes to compete, and what industry capital and marketing structures are best suited to serving farmer interests. This article reproduces the main content of the presentation. . .

Going the distance to get to school – Shane Gilchrist:

As another school year looms so, too, does the weekday routine of actually getting children to class. For some, that means going the distance, as Shane Gilchrist discovers.

Off to school on a sunny morning into the farm truck and heading to the boat. Open the gate, out of the truck and into the boat. Lifejackets on and we are heading to Camp Creek. That is where we meet the school bus to get to school …

”If it is a smooth lake we play and you can move or guess what we are going to do for the day. But on a rough lake we have to sit in our seats for the whole way. When we get there I race to the bus. I get on and one of my friends said, `You are early – it was only 8.20 when you should be there at 8.30′. But it doesn’t really matter …”

Eight-year-old Alice Wallis’ story might be relatively short, but her weekday journey is a wee bit longer than that typically taken by the many thousands of New Zealand children who return to school next week.

Even though Makarora School can be seen from Minaret Station, on the western shore of Lake Wanaka, it still takes 45 minutes to make the one-way trip by (as Alice has explained) farm truck, boat then bus. . .


Rural round-up

14/11/2013

End in sight for TPP talks – Nigel Stirling:

Trade Minister Tim Groser says negotiators are on track for an end-of-year deadline to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks but whether it is met will depend on the leaders of the countries involved.

At last month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Bali TPP leaders, including New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key, exhorted negotiators from the dozen Pacific Rim countries involved to step up efforts for the deal to scrap trade and investment barriers.

Groser said NZ’s chief negotiator David Walker had been involved in an intense round of meetings since the Bali talks. . .

Record price in N Canty:

An irrigated 129ha North Canterbury farm has sold at auction for $6.7 million, or $52,300 a hectare, a record price for a North Canterbury dairy farm.

PGG Wrightson Christchurch agent Peter Crean said Gairloch, sold by his colleague Athol Earl, was converted to dairy in 1995 and has milked about 450 cows, with production peaking at 188,000kg milksolids last season.

“We have a strong board of motivated buyers at present with few local dairy properties of this calibre available, so it was no surprise that the sale achieved such a positive result,” Crean said.

Five bidders took part in the auction and the room was full of others including bankers, farm valuers and neighbours, he said. . .

Minister pays tribute to drought heroes:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has paid tribute to Rural Support Trust members at a function in Parliament tonight, thanking them for their work during the drought earlier this year.

“This was the worst drought in 70 years and a very tough time for many rural communities.

“Rural Support Trusts worked tirelessly to lift farmer and community morale. I want to salute them for the work they did in sitting around the kitchen table with so many farmers, supporting them to find a way through.

“They opened doors to vital support service and helped people to make better decisions for themselves, their families and their livelihoods.

“Many farmers are staunch and reluctant to ask for help. Their farms can be geographically isolated, and the stress can affect the whole family. . .

Speech to the Global Food Safety Forum – Nathan Guy:

. . .I’m very pleased that the Global Food Safety Forum has chosen New Zealand as the location for its first such event outside China.  New Zealand is a fitting choice, given the strength of the relationship between our countries, the importance of China as a growing market for New Zealand’s high-quality food exports, and our well-deserved reputation for having a world-class food safety system.   

Today I want to emphasise the critical importance of food safety – for the environment that supports us all, the health of consumers, and the strength of our economy. In particular, I want to emphasise how critical it is that we all play our part in that system.

New Zealand is in the business of food. We produce, process, retail, import and export food. Agriculture, fisheries and forestry, are central to our economic wellbeing, contributing 12.7% of GDPand representingover 11.8% of employment.

Food exports account for 54 per cent of New Zealand’s total export value and our food and beverage exports go to around 200 markets. . . .

New Zealand’s fisheries performing well:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has now released its 2013 summaries of the Status of New Zealand’s Fisheries which confirms most New Zealand fisheries are performing well.

Highlights from the 2013 review show that:

Both stocks of hoki have now increased for seven consecutive years and both are now well within or above their management targets. As a result it has been possible to increase the quota from 90,000 tonnes to 150,000 metric tonnes

The recent discovery of a new aggregation of Chatham Rise orange roughy has led to a favourable revision of the status of this stock. . .

What it takes to compete in the global dairy industry- Dr Jon Hauser:

The dairy industry is a hot topic in Australia at the moment. Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, a prized dairy asset in southwest Victoria, is up for grabs. There is currently a 3 way bidding war between local publicly listed dairy company Bega, farmer co-operative Murray Goulburn, and the Canadian dairy giant Saputo.

This week United Dairyfarmers Victoria organised a meeting of farmers in Warrnambool. The UDV is a farmer representative group charged with lobbying government and industry on behalf of Victorian dairy farmers. They invited me to talk about the global dairy market – what it takes to compete, and what industry capital and marketing structures are best suited to serving farmer interests. This article reproduces the main content of the presentation. . . .

New CEO for Dairy Women:

The Dairy Women’s Network Trust Board has appointed Zelda de Villiers as its new chief executive.

De Villiers, managing director of DeLaval New Zealand, has more than 20 years’ experience in the international agricultural industry.

She has also worked for DeLaval International in Sweden and NZ, where she has been based since 2009.

Before joining DeLaval, she spent the first 10 years of her career in the agricultural finance and rural banking sector in South Africa. . .

Farm Open Day showcases transformation of sunshine into food:

One of Canterbury’s most productive and most visited farms will open its gates to the public of Christchurch on Saturday 23 November 2013, with its inaugural Farm Open Day.

The Farm Open Day to be held at the Lincoln University Dairy Farm (LUDF) from 1.30pm to 4.30pm will enable visitors to find out how grass becomes milk, milk gets to the supermarket and all the bits in between.

“Farming is the amazing transformation of sunshine, nutrients and water into food (and fibre)” says Dr Andrew West , Vice-Chancellor of Lincoln University and Chairman of SIDDC (South Island Dairy Development Centre). “The Farm Open Day will showcase that transformation from sunshine, nutrients and water through plants, into animals and into our kitchens, dining rooms and cafés.” . . .

Getting school students to cherish our water:

With the summer break just around the corner, us Kiwis will be heading to the beaches, rivers and streams to relax, swim and have some fun. But all that depends on the quality of the water. Lincoln University’s extension programme, Waterwatch, is an interactive programme that involves school students monitoring the ‘health’ of their local rivers or streams.

According to the 6th biennial survey Peoples’ Perceptions of the State of the New Zealand Environment released in 2011, the most important environmental issue facing New Zealand is ‘water pollution and/or water’. So freshwater is an area of particular concern to New Zealanders.

Thanks to the support of The Canterbury Community Trust, Waterwatch is able to provide a fun, flexible and accessible programme of hands-on activities that encourage the sustainable management of, and responsibility for, our waterways. . .


Rural round-up

06/11/2013

Fonterra 2.0 – Willy Leferink:

There has been more than a little soul searching by Fonterra’s Board. For all the bad press it gets slammed with locally, I can say from the World Dairy Summit in Japan that Fonterra is not just respected; it is admired by many and even feared by some across the world.

With its independent report on the non-botulism scare, Fonterra’s Board dropped a very big hint that things are going to be different going forward in deeds more than words. Given former act leader Rodney Hide admitted in print this year that “politicians leak all the time,” it must have come as a shock to the media that such a critical and sensitive report was kept tight right up until 2pm last Wednesday.

I didn’t have an advance copy just a general heads up so I raced to the internet at the same time as everybody else. There was no leak and nor was it timed to clash with some other event; Honesty 1 v. Spin Doctors 0. Even the media conference was webcast live for anyone to watch anywhere on earth. I don’t want to sound like a commercial here, but wait, there’s more. Critical parts of the report were translated into key languages so I guess Fonterra’s Board did not want there to be any ambiguity.

Yet the words of Jack Hodder, who chaired Fonterra’s independent board inquiry, sticks in my mind – the biggest thing that needs to change within Fonterra is cultural. . .

 Farmers urged to vote in historic meat co-op elections:

Given strong moves to restructure New Zealand’s red meat sector, Federated Farmers is describing the director elections for Silver Fern Farms and Alliance Group as historic.

“If you want empowerment in your farming business then as shareholders you need to vote,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre Chairperson, newly returned from a World Farmers’ Organisation event in Zambia.

“Set against a backdrop of what could be up to three million fewer lambs and declining stock numbers, future generations of farmers will ask current shareholders how they voted. . . .

New sentencing options for polluters not needed, says minister:

The Government has rejected a suggestion that more flexible sentencing options for judges are needed to help the fight against agricultural polluters

In a speech to the Environmental Compliance Conference this week, Environment Court judge Craig Thompson says more imaginative sentencing options could lead to better outcomes for both the environment and farmers.

Judge Thompson suggests that judges should have the power to shut down the worst offenders altogether.

He says those farmers or farm companies place a huge burden on the enforcement and prosecution resources of councils that are unfortunate enough to have them as ratepayers. . .

Fonterra and Tatua paths might cross in Australian tangle:

Cross-ownership and joint ventures could see two New Zealand rivals working together depending on the outcome of wrangling for ownership of an Australian dairy company.

Dairy companies throughout the world often own a stake in competitors or operate joint ventures, an Australian analyst Jon Hauser of XCheque says.

“There’s a whole range of commercial joint ventures and ownership structures between private companies and private companies, and private companies and co-operatives,” Hauser said. . .

Fleeced: 160 sheep stolen from field near village of Wool – Adam Withnall:

Dorset police are appealing for witnesses after 160 sheep were stolen from a field near the village of Wool.

The rustlers are thought to have had to use a large lorry to move the animals, which were all marked and electronically tagged.

Police said the incident took place between 8am on Saturday 2 November and 2.30pm on Monday, at the field which lies next to the A352 between Wool and the nearby village of East Stoke. . .

 

Gigatown competiton could benefit a rural town:

Farmers see the benefits for their rural town if it were to win Chorus’s year-long competition to bring the fastest broadband speed to one New Zealand town

FWPlus followers tweeted that it could have both indirect and direct benefits for farmers.

“Fantastic urban internet will help rural communities indirectly by helping their towns thrive,” @AaronJMeikle tweeted

The one-gigabit per second broadband speeds – up to 100 times faster than most cities around the globe – would act as a magnet and attract businesses to relocate to that town, he tweeted.

Another direct benefit, he tweeted, was that it would provide services that fitted farmers’ time constraints.

This is why I’m supporting #gigatownoamaru


Rural round-up

08/10/2012

Season just ended could produce messy results – Allan Barber:

The two largest processors and exporters, Silver Fern Farms and Alliance, have captured the headlines in the last couple of weeks.

Hot on the heels of its announced intention to close its sheepmeat chain at Mataura, Alliance has come out with an offer to suppliers of $20 in November per lamb contracted before the end of October.

From the other cooperative camp Keith Cooper, CEO of SFF, last week sent an email out to suppliers which highlighted the disappointing financial result for the year ended 30 September because of the exchange rate and declining sheepmeat values in January and February not being reflected in procurement prices . . .

Australian shearer cleans up on Saturday, back on job today – Lynda van Kempen:

It will be business as usual today for triple New Zealand Merino Shearing champion Damien Boyle, who will be back in the shed, but this time no trophies are at stake.

The Western Australian farmer won his third successive open title on Saturday night, at the 51st fine wool shearing championship, staged over two days, in Alexandra.

Boyle and his family have been long-time supporters of the event, competing for the past 15 years. . .

Best laid plans turn into new ambitions – Sally Rae:

Ever since she could remember, Carolyn Beaver wanted to be a veterinarian.

With a passion for animals and anything medical, it seemed a natural choice for the young woman from Whangarei.

She graduated from Massey University as a veterinary surgeon in 1999 and spent three years working as a mixed-animal practitioner in Whangarei, while also doing volunteer ambulance work for St John. . .

US milk production picks up – Dr Jon Hauser:

Last week we, along with others in the dairy press, reported the news from the USDA that US August milk production had declined for the first time in 31 months (“US milk production in YOY negative,” Xcheque.com, 21 September 2012).

According to the USDA August production was down 0.2 per cent relative to August last year. Using year-on-year analysis the US milk production only began falling in August, leaving the question open as to whether it will keep going down or if it has reached a floor. Rising feed prices brought about by the US drought definitely point to an ongoing decline.

However, as we’re fond of saying here at Xcheque, year-on-year comparisons can be misleading! . . .

ECan decision facilitates plains irrigation – Marta Steeman:

A landmark decision by Environment Canterbury paves the way for the controversial Central Plains Water scheme in Canterbury.

Environment Canterbury is recommending to the government changes to the National Water Conservation Order for the Rakaia River which will help introduce more irrigation on the Canterbury Plains.

ECan said on Thursday it had adopted the report and recommendations of independent hearing commissioners who heard electricity firm TrustPower’s application for the changes. . .

Lamb prices hurting Americans – Gerald Piddock:

New Zealand farmers are not the only lamb producers facing tough times.

North American sheep farmers have had a 40 per cent drop in lamb prices with values now sitting where they were a decade ago, Beef+Lamb North American representative Andrew Burt said.

Mr Burt is back in New Zealand having recently taken up the role of Beef+Lamb’s chief economist.

US lamb producers were forecasting an over-supply of lamb for this coming season he said. . .

Improving water quality in Lake Rotorua and good fish stocks int he Manawatu Rvier show that benefits are building from community water quality gains – Bruce Wills:

According to Fish & Game’s Wellington Manager, Phil Teal, employers should have been on sickie patrol from Monday, since that signalled the start of the 2012/13 sports fishing season.

What is more, according to Fish & Game, rivers such as the Waikanae, Otaki, Hutt, Ruamahanga, Manawatu and Rangitikei will be running clear and apparently this is ideal for trout fishing.

If trout is the canary of our waterways – though I would prefer native fish instead – then Fish & Game’s “recent monitoring has also shown good numbers of trout in the rivers, so prospects are looking good…Wellington, Wairarapa, the Kapiti Coast and Manawatu have world-class trout fishing opportunities right on the doorstep – these regions have a growing reputation for quality river fishing”. . . 


Family ownership of more value

07/10/2012

In a discussion on whether size matters for farms, Dr Jon Hauser  says:

. . . Family ownership and stewardship of the land has more value to our community and the long term health of the nation than is evident in the milk price and farm economics. Individual owners, and especially families, will invest for the long term and do more than just turn over the dollars. . .

A Rabobank survey in Australia found that $10 – $13 million dollar farms tended to be the most profitable. I’d be surprised if this wasn’t also the case here.

These are usually larger family owned businesses. They have economies of scale that smaller ones lack and don’t have problems of governance and management which often dog corporate farms.

However, while profitability is essential for the long-term health of any business, money isn’t all that matters.

From my observation family owned and run farms are more likely to take a longer term view and seek to balance economic, environmental and social factors in their businesses.

That’s good for the businesses, their communities and the country.


Rural round-up

15/09/2012

NZ being denied role as leader in biotechnology: Rolleston – Gerald Piddock:

Timid political will is stopping New Zealand from becoming a global leader in biotechnology, according to farming leader-scientist Dr Williams Rolleston. 

    As scientists worked to feed billions more humans opportunities existed for the country to show leadership in biotechnology without causing environmental degradation. 

“By any measure New Zealand ought to be a leader. No, it should be the leader. The fact we are not comes back to a timid political will,” he told an international conference on agricultural biotechnology in Rotorua. . .

Savings vet’s carrot for pig vaccination – Shawn McAvinue:

A Southland vet wants to spread the cost of vaccinating pigs to stop the spread of a deadly disease in humans. 

    Vet South Gore veterinarian Anne Gelling said all the pigs in Southland should be vaccinated to protect humans from leptospirosis. 

    Leptospirosis spread when pigs’ urine came in contact with human skin, eyes or mucous membranes, Dr Gelling said. 

    People become ill after about three to 14 days later. . .

Time now right for farmers, processors to talk – Rob Tipa:

Southland farming leader Andrew Morrison believes the time is right for farmers to talk with their meat companies about Red Meat Sector Strategy initiatives and what appetite both parties have to make changes to future-proof their industry. 

Mr Morrison, who is Southland Federated Farmers’ meat and wool section chairman, said southern sheep farmers and meat companies had experienced two very tough seasons in a row. 

In September 2010, spring snowstorms caused heavy lamb losses in Southland, the Catlins and South Otago and last spring was wet and just as challenging with similar lambing percentages to the previous year of the storm. . .

Dairy union talks action over layoffs – Al Williams:

The New Zealand Dairy Workers Union is considering legal action against Fonterra after eight staff members at the Waimate milk processing plant were given marching orders on Monday. 

    It follows Fonterra’s acquisition of the former New Zealand Dairies operation last week. 

    New Zealand Dairies was placed in receivership in May owing a substantial amount to its supplier farmers. 

    New Zealand Dairy Workers Union southern organiser Murray Kerse said the union was looking at a case for discrimination. . .

Disasters on farms ‘different‘ – Jill Galloway:

Farmers have a different view when it comes to natural disasters, said chairwoman of the Rural Family Support Trust Margaret Millard. 

    She said that in times of floods or earthquakes, farmers were concerned about their family and staff, but also about their stock. 

    “If it floods, they want to shift stock to higher ground before they leave. 

    “Farmers often take a broader view, urban dwellers often take a very people perspective,” Millard said. 

    Rural support trusts are giving their backing to the upcoming Civil Defence “Shakeout” earthquake drill at 9.26am on September 26. . .

Biofuels NZ not ‘mismanaged’ – Gerald Piddock:

The global economic downturn and poor decisions around land use fuelled by the desire to expand quickly led to the failure of profitability for Biodiesel New Zealand, a former senior employee says.

David Geary, who worked as national field operations manager for Biodiesel New Zealand from 2007-2010, said the economic environment meant it was not the ideal time to be starting a biofuel business.

‘‘I think the economics of the fuel industry and the economic downturn worldwide had quite a major impact for a fledgling start-up business.’’  

However he said he was confident the biofuel industry in New Zealand would survive. . .

In search of Australia’s dairy sweetspot – Dr Jon Hauser & Neil Lane:

In the previous two articles I have written about the value of flat milk supply to processors and “the market”. The articles also showed how milk pricing mechanisms have been used to pull southeast Australian milk towards a flatter milk supply curve. In this third article of the series I’ll take a look at the topic from the farmer’s perspective – what are the cost / benefit implications for a farmer who chooses to flatten their milk supply.

To write this article I have enlisted the support of Neil Lane – a dairy farmer consultant and member of the Intelact farm advisory group (www.intelact.com). Neil’s clients include some of the more profitable and successful farmers in southeast Australia and he is well respected for his theoretical and practical understanding of dairy farm economics and management. . .


Rural round-up

15/08/2012

Australian dairy farmers follow the money – Dr Jon Hauser:

Ten years ago there was a general belief in the industry that dairy farmers would respond to low prices and low profitability by producing more milk. This is a sort of perverse defiance of the laws of supply and demand where the reverse is supposed to happen. The reality of this adage is that some farmers produced more milk, and others sold out or shut down the dairy. During the 1990’s the net effect of this was industry growth. Since 2002 the trend in Australia has been the other way – an ongoing decline in milk supply. This article is not however about the causes of declining production. It is about how to encourage milk supply and, despite the evidence to the contrary, that is exactly what has happened during the autumn and winter periods of production in the southeast. . .

Forestry harvesting machine wins national innovation award:

A non-scientist has won a major forestry research award for his key role in developing a new harvesting machine designed to be safer and more productive on steep slopes.

Kerry Hill, Managing Director of Trinder Engineering Ltd, of Nelson, is one of five winners of the second annual Future Forests Research Awards, presented at a function in Rotorua on Tuesday 14 August.

Mr Hill was one of four nominees for the award for innovation that adds value to the forestry sector. The three judges cited Trinder Engineering’s joint development with Kelly Logging Ltd over the past three years of a winch-assisted steep slope feller-buncher machine. Innovations include a front mounted winch, rear mounted blade and integrated hydraulic control systems. . .

Farm Transactions Slow As Seasonal Workloads Take Priority:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 55 more farm sales (+18.3%) for the three months ended July 2012 than for the three months ended July 2011.  Overall, there were 356 farm sales in the three months to end of July 2012, compared with 406 farm sales in the three months to June 2012, a decrease of 50 sales (-12.3%).  On a seasonally adjusted basis, after accounting for normal seasonal fluctuations, the number of sales rose by 0.7%, compared to the three months to June.

1,439 farms were sold in the year to July 2012, 50.4% more than were sold in the year to July 2011.  The number of farms sold on an annual basis is now the highest since April 2009.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to July 2012 was $17,955; a 22.6% increase on the $14,649 recorded for three months ended July 2011, and an increase of 2.2% on the $17,565 recorded for the three months to June 2012. . .

The Shed At Northburn Station Appoints Experienced Wine Professional As General Manager:

Northburn Station’s The Shed has appointed wine and hospitality expert Paul Tudgay as General Manager underlining the company’s commitment to enhancing the events and conference and incentive sector of its operations, focusing around its purpose-built facility, The Shed Restaurant, Cellar Door and function venue.

Tudgay (40) is a professional sommelier, trained in the UK, and for the past five years has had a high profile as a Queenstown Resort College wine educator and more latterly as its Hospitality and Business manager. He is also credited with introducing the international Wine and Spirit Education Trust qualification to Queenstown, with more than 80 people qualified to date.

Northburn Station owners Tom and Jan Pinckney  opened The Shed four years ago with Jan taking on the diverse role of  overseeing The Shed including the restaurant, cellar door, functions and the company’s trade wine business. . .

Young Farmer elected to FCANZ Board

New Zealand Young Farmer member Mark Lambert has been elected to the board of the Fencing Contractors Association of New Zealand (FCANZ). FCANZ is an industry organisation that supports and benefits the fencing industry of New Zealand.

The 2012 FCANZ AGM was held at the Waipuna Conference Centre, Auckland on 27, 28 and 29th of July. There were eight nominees for seven spots on the board which went to a vote and Mr Lambert was elected for a one year term.

A group of dedicated fencing contractors launched The Fencing Contractors Association of New Zealand Inc. (FCANZ) in February 2006. . .

New Animal Welfare Regulations Affect Producers & Processors:

New regulations coming into force next year mean that the export meat industry will need to train all staff in animal welfare and quality issues appropriate to their jobs.  Supermarkets in the EC and UK, and their customers, want to be assured that livestock are treated humanely at all stages of processing.

In particular they are concerned that the procedures used in handling animals on farm, during transportation and from reception at meat plants through to stunning and slaughter are painless and cause as little distress as possible, according to Dr Nicola Simmons, General Manager of Carne Technologies Ltd. . .

Winter delivers too much of a good thing:

Prolonged wet weather and surface flooding is causing concern on-farm during a very busy period in the farming calendar, with calving and in some pockets, lambing, underway.

“I know when we hit a long dry spell farmers will look back at the rain longingly. But what many need right now are days or weeks of fine settled weather to dry out,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Adverse Events spokesperson.

“The only way to describe much of rural New Zealand is sodden and there’ll be plenty of people in the towns and cities who’d probably agree. Farmers are hoping for a decent fine spell in order for saturated pasture to recover. . .

Hoping indeed with all fingers and toes crossed. It stopped raining here (North Otago) late this morning, the sun is trying to shine through the clouds and there are streaks of blue sky appearing.


It’s the market that matters

15/07/2012

Quote of the day:

. . . It’s not the market’s job to consume milk as and when the farmer produces it. It’s the farmer’s job to produce milk when the market needs it. . . Dr Jon Hauser

In New Zealand, as in Australia about which Dr Hauser writes, milk supply is mostly seasonal.

That is less of a problem here when most of our milk is turned into milk powder, butter or cheese and exported. In most other countries most milk is consumed domestically in fresh liquid form and demand is relatively constant regardless of any peaks or troughs in production.

But regardless of what happens to the milk, the underlying principle is the same – it is up to producers to meet the market in terms of quantity, quality and price.

This is a concept which European and British farmers who have been protected from the market by subsidies are struggling to grasp:

Up to 2,000 dairy farmers are expected in Westminster today to protest at cuts to the price they’re paid for their milk. Last year, dairy farmers received a little under 29p for every litre they sold: this is set to fall to less than 25p. Since it costs about 30p to produce a litre of milk, the cuts constitute yet another catastrophe for a benighted domestic industry, and may put many thousands of dairy farmers out of business. “There has been an unprecedented outcry of anger and frustration among farmers,” says the National Farmers’ Union. “We are united in our demand for an immediate reversal” of the cuts.

Prices for farmers have stalled over the last 15 years: in 1997 they were receiving 25p for a litre of milk, while feed costs alone have doubled since 2010. Half of Britain’s dairy farmers went out of business between 2000 and 2010. Like the pig farmers who only save themselves from going out of business by growing their own feed, dairy farmers will likely attempt to make up the shortfall by reducing staff, which will of course have corollary impact. . .

Welcome to the real world, where, as Tim Worstall observes supply and demand rule:

. . . We’re in a rigged market because of the EU. That’s one cause.

But far more importantly, we’ve the standard interaction of supply and demand. Dairy farming is becoming more efficient: as farming has been doing since the Neolithic. That rising food production is what has enabled civilisation to develop. More milk is being produced from less land with fewer cows. It really is not a surprise that prices paid to producers are falling in real terms.

The effect of this is to bankrupt some producers and force them out of production. Which is, harsh though it may sound, exactly what needs to happen. Production is becoming more efficient thus we need fewer producers. . .

A Yorkshire farmer we visited last month said that message was the one good thing to come out of the foot and mouth epidemic.

All his cows were killed and before he replaced his herd he went through the figures. He realised that dairying didn’t stack up for him and rather than buying more cows he increased the amount of crop he grows.

The market matters. Rather than wasting their energy on protesting to politicians, farmers should be working out how to meet it.


Rural round-up

20/06/2012

Beefing up the research team at Rabobank:

Rabobank Australia & New Zealand has announced the appointment of Sarah Sivyer as the senior animal proteins analyst in its Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory (FAR) division.

Ms Sivyer will undertake high quality research of the animal proteins sector – beef, sheepmeat and pork– supporting Rabobank’s analysis of key markets in the food and agricultural sectors in the region.

Announcing the new appointment, Rabobank general manager for the bank’s Food and Agribusiness Research & Advisory division Luke Chandler said Sarah would be a valuable asset to the research team given her experience across a range of agricultural industries.

“Not only has Sarah been involved with the hands-on and strategic running of her family cattle property, she has also built a career working with leading global agricultural companies, which gives her an excellent foundation for her role at Rabobank,” Mr Chandler said. . .

Beef + Lamb NZ supports wool innovation:

Funds left over from wool levies collected by Meat & Wool New Zealand – now Beef + Lamb New Zealand -have supported the development of a new fabric that blends waste rice straw and New Zealand strong wool.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Operating Officer, Cros Spooner welcomed the innovation from Wellington company,  The Formary, the same company that transformed Starbucks coffee sacks into upholstery fabric for the coffee chain’s furniture.

“The Formary and Managing Director Bernadette Casey have made some valuable contacts in China which produces about two hundred million tonnes of rice a year. This makes vast amounts of waste rice straw and this latest innovation uses the waste rice straw and blends it with 29 micron wool to make upholstery weight fabric. . .

Milking the carbon question – Dr Jon Hauser:

This month I have been asked to comment on the dreaded carbon tax and associated government policy. It is a massive question and the Australian government is pouring an enormous amount of taxpayer’s time and money into the issue. This article provides a perspective on what is it all about and what it means for Australian dairy farmers.

Why is carbon a problem?

Many would say that the climate change is the underpinning driver for the carbon tax and associated government policy changes. Depending on your viewpoint climate change issue is either (a) a fiction and a conspiracy propagated by scientists and other political and economic opportunists (b) it is real but a natural climate cycle outside our control (c) a man-made phenomenon arising from our consumption and emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses. Irrespective of your personal view, governments around the world are taking option (c) very seriously. At an international level co-operation and direct action to reduce CO2 and the associated climate effect remains patchy. There is none-the-less a consensus that something should be done to reduce the rate of increase of greenhouse gas emissions and work towards a net reduction. . .

Top price for Gimmerburn bull – Sally Rae:

Maniototo stud cattle breeder Bev Helm was thrilled to    achieve the top price at the South Island Shorthorn sale in Temuka.   

 Rough Ridge Primo 1004 sold for $10,200 to Bill Callwood, of      Northland. It was also the top-priced Shorthorn bull in New  Zealand this year.   

 Mrs Helm, who farms at Gimmerburn with her husband Malcolm      and their three children, was “absolutely stoked” with the result. . .

Sainsbury cadets visits Alliance :

Representatives from one of the UK’s major supermarkets have gone behind the scenes at Alliance Group.   

      Two cadets from Sainsbury’s have been visiting the meat  company to gain an insight into the industry including meat processing, research and development and livestock procurement.   

  Lisa Quinn, of Ireland, and Mark Chaddock, of Manchester, were in New Zealand as part of the supermarket’s six-week Taste the World programme, in which students worked with Sainsbury’s suppliers and partners around the world. . .

Grass growth key to farm improvement – Sally Rae:

It is all about grass. Forget the stock, or even yourself –      Farmax Ltd general manager Gavin McEwen reckons the biggest asset a farmer has on their farm is the ability to grow      grass.   

 Farmax, which is 50% owned by AgResearch, specialises in decision support systems for pastoral farming enterprises.   

 Mr McEwen gave an address entitled “Converting Pasture Into Profit” during the recent PGG Wrightson seminar series at  Waimate.   

  New Zealand was very good at producing protein, particularly safe, reliable high quality animal protein, he said. . .

RX Plastics launches major product innovation at Fieldays:

This year’s Mystery Creek Fieldays was the platform for New Zealand pipe and irrigation specialists RX Plastics to launch their biggest range of pipe fittings yet for the farm irrigation market.

The result of a year’s worth of research and development time, prototyping and tooling up, the injection moulded range is glass reinforced nylon, and will firmly cement the company’s position as New Zealand’s premier fittings manufacturer and distributor.

According to industrial designer and project engineer, Chris Clay, this is the first time in the company’s history that such a major product development process has been undertaken. . .


Rural round-up

07/05/2012

Slow down speed bumps ahead! – Dr Jon Hauser:

There’s an old joke that if you ask three economists a question you’ll get four different answers. Despite this, the one thing everyone agrees on is that global milk production over the last year has been going up, up, and up! The million dollar question, and the one that has been causing the dismal science’s split professional personalities, is: ‘will global demand keep pace?’.

The final numbers are in for 2011, so this week we’ve decided to throw our analysis into the ring . . .

“Kaitiakitanga”  nurturing our natural resources and people for a prosperous future – Pasture to Profit:

Kaitiakitanga” in Maori means to nurture our natural resources & people for a prosperous future.

This is one of 5 Farm Business Management values set out by Tauhara Moana Trust, one of three finalists in theBNZ Ahuwhenua Maori Excellence in Dairy Farming Award 2012. Maori Trusts have different business objectives to most other NZ dairy farmers.  . .

Why does wool polarise farmers? – Alan Ememrson:

Derek Daniell’s remit to the Beef + Lamb New Zealand annual meeting regarding a wool levy achieved, if nothing else, a positive plethora of emails to my inbox.

It was an innocent enough remit calling for an “evaluation of the result of the discontinuation of the wool levy and investigation whether a future collective investment would add value for wool growers”.

The problem is, as it seems with all things wool, people are either firmly on one side of the fence or the other.

For the record Derek is a good bloke and a highly successful farmer. His remit is well worded. How it is handled from here by B+LNZ will determine if it is successful. . .

Lincoln honours palm oil alumnus – Tim Fulton:

An executive in the global palm oil industry has been awarded Lincoln’s international medal, backed by an assurance from the university that his company is the “socially responsible standout” in the industry.

Just over 40 years after leaving Lincoln College with a diploma in Valuation and Farm Management, John Clendon was recognised last Friday for his involvement with coconut, cocoa and oil palm production in the south-west Pacific and Asia.

Clendon is managing director of Univanich, a Thai company which Lincoln credits as “the world’s leader in the production of sustainable palm oil”. . .

Tight unit wins Farmer of Year award – Sally Rae:

It was cattle that brought the 2012 OtagoSharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year winners James and Helen Hartshorne together.   

 Mr Hartshorne, originally from Shrewsbury in Shropshire, was showing Holstein-Friesians at the Royal Welsh Show in 1999,      while his future bride, from Wales, was exhibiting Guernseys .. .

Farm managers of  year love their job – Sally Rae:

Gareth Dawson always knew he was going to pursue an    outdoors career.   

He did not want to be “stuck indoors” and chose dairy farming, after helping a friend herd testing one day “and      just never left” the industry.   

Mr Dawson and his wife Angela, who now manage a 560 cow 186ha property at Clinton, won the 2012 Otago Farm Manager of the Year title.   . .

Rabobank builds rural business:

Rabobank New Zealand Ltd (RNZL) continued to build its rural banking business in 2011, recording net lending growth of $724 million, despite a contraction in the total rural debt market over the same period.  

Rabobank New Zealand CEO Ben Russell said the bank’s rural portfolio growth during 2011 was a positive result which primarily reflected refinance activity rather than organic growth of existing customers. . .

Kiwi avocado comapny wants slice of food service market:

A New Zealand owned avocado company has targeted the billion dollar food service market, with a goal to switch consumers from imported to locally grown produce.

Fressure Foods, a mainly grower-owned organisation, is encouraging Kiwi food trade companies to source locally produced avocados wherever possible to support local farmers and meet with growing consumer demand.

Currently the imported avocado industry in New Zealand is valued at around $1 million and around 200 tonnes of the fruit are brought into the country each year.

The February issue of Country-Wide is on-line here.


Rural round-up

26/04/2012

Push to reduce workplace injuries on farms:

Farm workers have spoken of their horrendous accidents at the      launch of an initiative to reduce the “unacceptable” number      of workplace injuries on New Zealand farms.   

 Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson released the Agriculture      Sector Action Plan at Parliament today.   

 The plan targets four areas that account for half of all      injuries and deaths in the agriculture sector – use of      agriculture machinery, mental health and wellbeing of      workers, slips and falls, and animal handling. . .

Lawrence farmer top farm-forester – Sally Rae:

When Dennis Larsen bought his Lawrence farm in 1980,    there were no trees – just “a bit of scrub”.   

More than 30 years later, the 611ha sheep and beef property boasts 92ha of forestry .  . .

Farm-foresters called heroes – Sally Rae:

“You’re my heroes.” That is what Prof Henrik Moller, from the      Centre for Sustainability: Agriculture, Food, Energy,      Environment (CSAFE) at the University of Otago told those      attending the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association’s recent      conference.   

The 56th annual conference, which was hosted by the South and      Mid Otago branches, was based at Telford, Balclutha.   

With the theme Taking Care of Our Water, it included field      trips to Mid Otago, Lawrence and South Otago.

A once a day milking system needs a different mind-set? – Pasture to Profit:

I wonder if OAD (Once a Day) Milking farmers should be farming like TAD farmers (Twice a Day Milking)?  After all they are completely different farming systems. Or are they really different?

This is potentially a very interesting debate. Should all pasture based farmers farm in the same way or are the systems sufficiently different that they should develop different methods & different objectives? Organic dairy farms have developed different systems & objectives from conventional farms. So should OAD farmers farm as TAD farmers or develop a completely different system? It’s early days so let’s debate the issue. . .
Canadian dairy regulation – a model for Australia? – Dr Jon Hauser:
In the last commentary I discussed the issue of global food security. The view expressed was that this is a legitimate concern of many sovereign nations. In many (but not all) cases, dairy industry regulatory systems have been put in place to address this concern – to ensure that there is a viable agricultural industry with sufficient capacity to meet the population’s needs, and to guard against the strategic risks of droughts, floods, pestilence, trade and physical wars.

The Dairy Industry Restructure Package is now a thing of the past and Australia has almost completely dismantled government regulation and support for the dairy industry. Since this happened: milk production has contracted by 20%; private processors have gained control of the industry; factories are closing; family farms are disappearing; regulations are more complex; cost and quality improvement is essential. 

Was deregulation a good thing for Australia? To provide a point of comparison I thought it might be interesting to look at Canada where, despite raging debate, pressure to deregulate has been vehemently and successfully resisted by the dairy industry. . .

Action plan to reduce farm injuries announced:

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson has launched a new action plan to bring down the “unacceptable” number of workplace injuries in the agriculture sector.

The Agriculture Sector Action Plan targets four priority areas that account for at least half of all injuries and deaths in the sector, including:

• use of agricultural vehicles and machinery • the physical and mental health/wellbeing of agricultural workers • slips, trips and falls, and • animal handling.

Agriculture has one of the highest rates of workplace injury, disease and fatalities each year – double the average rate across all sectors. Provisional figures show that 15 agricultural workers were killed last year alone. . .

Winter blocks can be at more risk of nitrate leaching:
Winter blocks can be at more risk of nitrate leaching

Greg Costello of Ravensdown looks at practical steps to reduce nitrate leaching

It’s a familiar picture of winter grazing. Groups of cows feeding on narrow ‘breaks’ of winter forage crops. What’s not so obvious is the potential for nitrogen (N) losses from these activities. Wet, cold soils, pugging and winter rain increases the risk of nitrate leaching and emissions of nitrate oxide from the multitude of urine patches deposited. . .


Rural round-up

27/03/2012

Fertiliser Use Increases As Farmers Reinvest In The Land:

Total fertiliser use on New Zealand farms increased for the first time in three years in the 2010/11 fertiliser year, reaching just over 3 million tonnes.

This is a significant increase in fertiliser use compared to the previous year, which was 2.3 million tonnes, but is below the peak use of 3.3 million tonnes recorded in 2004/05 and close to total fertiliser use in 2007/08 of 3.1 million tonnes.

The fertiliser use data are reported in the March edition of Fertiliser Matters, published by Fert Research. . .

New Zealand…A Place Where Talent Wants To Live & Proudly Farm –  Pasture to Profit:

“New Zealand…A Place Where Talent Wants To Live” this was the NZ strategic vision that Sir Paul Callaghan(New Zealander of the year 2011 & ex Massey University Scientist) spoke so passionately about before his death last week. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhCAyIllnXY&feature=related  Sir Paul Callaghan was a world class scientist, leader & a passionate advocate for a better more prosperous New Zealand. . .

Are You Using Farm Business Management “Apps” on Your Farm? – Pasture to Profit:

The Centre of Excellence in Farm Business Management is a joint virtual centre of the Farm Management Departments at both Massey & Lincoln Universities in New Zealand. The Centre is conducting a number of research projects in Farm Business Management. One of those projects is investigating what Apps (Applications) are available for IPhones/IPads & Android mobile phones.  . .

If You Don’t Measure You Can’t Control…Basic Pasture Management! – Pasture to Profit:

What’s going on? Have New Zealand dairy farmers taken their eye off the ball…..or even worse “lost the plot”? What has happened to their famous pasture grazing skills?

 Throughout the low cost pasture dairying world NZ farmers have a reputation of being expert grazing managers & very efficient users of low cost pasture. Is this still true? From my observations I’d say it’s no longer the case that NZ farmers are the best in the world.  . .

We All Cast Our Shadow on The Environment..NZ Landcare Trust Conference – Pature to Profit:

  “We are born into the shadow of our parents & eventually we create our own shadow”. Powerful story telling from George Matthews (a NZ Landcare Trustee) opened the NZ Landcare Trust Conference in Hamilton NZ.

Although his Maori proverb has to do with life itself….we all do cast our shadow on the environment in which we live & farm. Our Earth’s environment is in trouble. It was Albert Einstein who said that …” Insanity: was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”      . . .

The changing face of the global dairy industry – Dr Jon Hauser:

Australia – A switch from cooperatives to private processors

The Australian dairy industry has undergone vast changes over the last ten years. The biggest shift is in the composition of ownership of the industry; Bonlac, Bega, Tatura, Warnambool Cheese, Dairy Farmers, Challenge Dairy … almost all the major milk processors except Murray Goulburn have gone from being cooperatives to private processors.

In just over a decade 65 per cent of Australian milk, from all states, has been lost to the farmer co-operative sector. This is a monumental change in the culture and direction of the industry. . .

Meat and dairy prices off their peak for now  but outlook positive – Allan Barber:

The recent fall in Fonterra’s GlobalDairyTrade on line auction for the fifth time in six months means global dairy prices have fallen by 9% since last May and by 24% over the season when adjusted for the value of theNew Zealanddollar. The dollar has only just come off historical highs against both the UKpound and the euro, so the combined effect on our dairy, beef and lamb exports has been disappointing to say the least.

But the outlook in the medium term is still good, provided our exports are not derailed by one or more of the dire forecasts of Greek debt default, general lack of buoyancy inUKand Europe, and the lower growth forecast in China. . .

AFFCO able to operate despite lock-out – Allan Barber:

Interested observers of the argument between AFFCO and its unionised meat workers may be confused by a state of affairs which results in a portion of the workforce being locked out, another percentage going on strike in support of their colleagues, and the rest of the workforce being able to keep production going. Read the rest of this entry »


Rural round-up

24/12/2011

Milk of corporate kindness:

You can’t twirl a milk moustache.

Though there’s no shortage of people ready to portray Fonterra as a giant corporate villain, it deserves better than that.

The company’s trialling of free milk to schools is no less welcome for being commercially smart.

Any focus on the upside for the dairy giant, while reasonable and relevant, needs to be measured against the potential for improved health for a great many children in schools throughout the country . . .

Born with grease under finger nails – Sally Rae:

Mervyn Horrell admits he likes an “older type” of tractor.   

      “If anything goes wrong I don’t have to ring up an electrician or computer expert. I can fix it with two      crescents and a hammer.”    

And if he could not fix it, then he could always “just go up to the shed and start another one”.   

For when it comes to tractors, the Southland farmer has a  plentiful supply – 74 “runners” and another 10 projects waiting.   

 The beautifully-restored tractors are housed on the sheep and  cropping farm near Winton which Mr Horrell (71) farms in  partnership with his son Bryce .  . . 

Meat companies likely tos ustain profitability – Allan Barber:

It’s becoming harder to track meat industry performance with only two companies, Silver Fern Farms andAlliance, reporting annually within two months of the season’s end. ANZCO will continue to report to the Registrar of Companies at the end of March, while AFFCO is no longer required to publish its result. Therefore performance comparison is a matter of studying the available annual reports and gleaning scraps of information from farmer meetings and the grapevine. . .

Dairy Statistics released for 2010/11:

New Zealand’s dairy cow population is increasing at a greater rate than its resident human population, according to the New Zealand Dairy statistics for 2010/11.

Released today by LIC and DairyNZ, the document is made up of statistics sourced from the LIC National Database, dairy companies, Animal Evaluation database, Animal Health Board Annual Report, Quotable Value New Zealand Rural Property Sales Statistics and Statistics New Zealand.

In 2010/2011 the total number of NZ dairy cow increased by 132,000 to just over 4.5 million cows (4,528,736), an increase of 3 per cent over the previous 09/10 season – whereas the resident human population (at March 31, 2011) increased by an estimated 0.9 per cent to 4,403,000.

Along with the growth in cow numbers it was also a record year for the average production per cow in the country – up 5 per cent – to an average of 334 kg milksolids (comprising 190 kg milkfat and 144 kg protein) per cow . . .

Chris Auld gets shrill – Offsetting Behaviour:

Yesterday Federal Agricultural Minister Gerry Ritz uttered insane lies about dairy supply management:
I would make the argument that I don’t see those inflated prices, certainly, depending on where you buy,” Ritz told a joint news conference with Alberta Agriculture Minister Evan Berger and Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud.
I received a flyer in my mailbox last night when I got back to my apartment and I opened it up and it’s from Canadian Tire. They’ve got four litres of milk for $4.19. That’s completely comparable to the American price that we’re always being beat up over.
Canadian Tire Econometrics aside, consumers are of course harmed by high prices driven by quantity restrictions. Click here to see a graph showing how much higher our prices are than the EU, US, or New Zealand (all of which also have some sort of supply management, Canada’s is just more severe).

I’m a bit puzzled though by Auld’s claim that New Zealand has supply management. . .

Draft plan aims to reduce high work toll in agriculture:

Improving health and safety in the agriculture industry – a sector with one of the highest death and injury tolls – is the focus of a new Action Plan released for consultation today.

The draft Agriculture Sector Action Plan is part of the Government’s National Action Agenda to reduce the work toll in the five sectors where the most harm is occurring; construction, forestry, agriculture, manufacturing and fishing. . .

A meeting of science and experience – Jon Morgan:

Rambunctious is the best name for this ram. He’s a big bruiser, used to getting his own way, and he doesn’t like being manhandled.

He struggles out of Peter Tod’s grip and makes a break for freedom. But the Otane farmer’s determination is stronger and the ram is wrestled into submission for a photograph.

He is picked out from a small mob as the most photogenic because of his open face, long back, well-shaped legs, sound feet, and meaty hindquarters. . .

Water footprints what do they mean for us in New Zealand? – Dr Sarah McLaren:

  • Have you heard that the water footprint of 1 kg beef is 15,500 litres, and of 1 kg cheese is 5,000 litres? Did you know that Unilever has set itself a target of halving consumer use of water associated with its products by 2020?
  • Or that Walmart is in the process of asking all its 10,000 suppliers to provide information on total water use in their facilities, and their water use reduction targets?

These activities all reflect an increasing concern about the limited availability of freshwater for use in economic activities. . .

Dairy keeps title as 2011 commodity king – Jamie Gray:

The dairy industry has been a star performer for decades, but the time has come for others in the New Zealand family of commodities to share the limelight. APNZ business reporter Jamie Gray looks at some of the primary industries that didn’t make the headlines.

It’s been another great year for dairy, but several other commodities aren’t doing so badly either.

To have New Zealand’s commodities prices moving in the same direction is rare, but sheep meat, beef, wool and log prices have all done well over 2011. . .

But wait there’s more – milk production in Argentina – Dr Jon Hauser:

Argentina is the quiet achiever in global dairy industry trade.  They keep ticking along at a growth rate of about 2.5 – 3.0% and every now and then they put in a spurt. This year they are having a real crack. The chart below shows the monthly milk production for the past 7 years and our seasonally adjusted plot. The seasonal adjustment shows the extent to which milk production is ahead of or behind the long term trend line.  The percentage growth is calculated relative to this long term trend. It is not biased by unusually high or low milk production in the year prior. . .

NZ potato exports break through $100m:

New Zealand potato exports reached a record high in the past year as more than $100 million worth of produce left New Zealand shores.

Over 93,000 metric tonnes of potatoes, including 30,000 tonnes of fresh potatoes and 62,000 tonnes in frozen products, were sold overseas in the year to 30 June 2011.

In the previous 12-month period to the end of June 2010, $92 million of potatoes were exported. . .

A conference by farmers for farmers:

Dairy farmers from across the country are invited to participate in the NZ Dairy Business Conference, the 43rd annual event hosted by the New Zealand Large Herds Association and Altum.

Phil Butler, chairman of the Palmerston North team organising the event says it’s the program designed by farmers, for farmers that makes this event stand out.

“We address the topics that come up outside of the formal discussion groups, around the opportunities for progression and improvement, rather than the mechanics of cows and grass.  As the country’s biggest export earner, the dairy industry is vital to the New Zealand economy.  As participants in the industry, we need to ensure we are up with the play with research, technology and global trends, to help drive continued progress and improvement” says Phil. . .


Rural round-up

09/11/2011

NZ”s grass-fed livestock a missed marketing opportunity:

Leading British ruminant nutritionist Dr Cliff Lister says that “you are what you eat” is as true for livestock as it as for humans.

For New Zealand’s sheep, beef and dairy industries, he says that translates to meat and milk with a higher omega-3 content, thanks to a grass-based diet, and a “missed marketing opportunity.”

“Grass-based diets encourage lean muscle development rather than fat, meaning that grass-fed beef and lamb is typically leaner than meat produced from silage or grain-fed stock and contains a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids.”

Lincoln Universtiy Foundation Sth Island farmer of the Year:

Innovative South Canterbury farmers win the 2011 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition

Last night Ray and Adrianne Bowan of South Canterbury won the Lincoln University Foundation’s showcase event – the South Island Farmer of the Year.

“We are incredibly humbled and overwhelmed by the win, especially as all the finalists were of high calibre. It is quite a surprise,” says Mr Bowan.

Lincoln University Foundation chairman Neil Taylor congratulated the Bowans. “Their commitment to innovation is ongoing –year after year. They are exceptional managers and are environmentally aware, as are all of the finalists.” . . .

Nuffield farming scholarship winners named:

Three farmers who are all involved in highly diversified operations have won this year’s Nuffield Farming Scholarships.

Sandra Faulkner from Gisborne . . . Richard Fitzgerald from Methven . . . Michael Tayler from Temuka . . .

Kiwifruit vine disease clouds export outlook –  Doug Steele:

The ongoing European debt saga continues to dominate financial market headlines and movements. Uncertainty is high.

For New Zealand agriculture, any impact will partly depend on how the European issues affect growth in China, Asia, and wider emerging markets as important factors in determining what price we can achieve for our exports.

While prices are obviously very important, so too is how much produce we have to sell. . .

Indian milk production – multiply three times ten – Dr Jon Hauser:

I am ever on the lookout for a good discussion topic on the global dairy industry, especially when it involves the fundamental numbers like milk production and price. I therefore couldn’t resist the temptation to delve into the Indian dairy industry when the following article appeared on the news services: India, the milk bowl of the world, Rahul Akkara, fnbnews.com, October 31, 2011.

Mr Akkara provides a glowing account of the indian dairy industry and its growth opportunities. The headline and sentence that particularly caught my eye was this:

Triple production

In the next 10 years, India’s dairy sector is expected to triple its production in view of expanding potential for export to Europe and the West.” . . .

Grass fed Rose Veau what an exciting meat experience – Pasture to Profit:

This week I was fortunate this week to be present at the launch of this exciting new beef product which can be a byproduct from the pasture based dairy farms in theUK. Many influential people who would have been keen to be present sadly were not able to attend this low key launch.

Grassfed Rose Veau (pronounced Vo) is an opportunity for every pasture based dairy farmer in the UK. No farmer likes to dispose of male calves at birth. What a shameful waste of protein the world simply can not tolerate. In the UK we have a fantastic opportunity to take these animals thru to 7-8 months & produce a wonderful “low fat, high Omega 3” high quality meat . . .
 
Oh Joy – Tim Worstall:
Honey is a miraculous food. Properly stored, it can last for ever. Jars of the stuff, thousands of years old and still edible, have been found in the tombs of the Pharoahs and in the detritus of the Roman Empire. And one thing that honey has always contained is pollen, because foraging bees bring it back to the hive. It has never crossed the mind of beekeepers to list pollen as an ingredient in honey because, as one apiarist pointed out, it is “like saying peanuts contain nuts”.  . .
 

Rural round-up

03/04/2011

Current season better than last – Allan Barber blogs:

After what all processors termed a challenging season last year, the mood this season is decidedly more buoyant after a solid first four months when dry weather throughout the country produced good stock flows. Regular rain since early February in the main farming regions has slowed things down a bit, but the onset of autumn and the dairy cow cull will ensure reasonably consistent livestock availability without any likelihood of a seasonal peak.

Showing ’em how – Martin van Beynen reckoned mustering was easy:

I am often asked for advice – as in “How would you like your face smashed in?” – so it was no surprise when Steve Palmer and Kara Lynn sought my help for the autumn muster on their high- country station, Tinline Downs, near Waiau in North Canterbury.

Steve and Kara had heard about my mustering expertise via an article in this newspaper about Lakes Station near Lake Sumner.

In the course of investigating a controversial gate on a paper road, a photographer and I found ourselves in the middle of a muster run by the legendary Ted Phipps, who owns the Lakes Station with Chief Justice Sian Elias.

One of Phipps’ farmhands, a raw young lad, took exception to the position of our vehicle, blaming it for the way some of the sheep were returning through a gate.

This was nonsense, of course, and I attempted to explain that the problem might, in fact, be a lack of dogs or men behind the sadly disjointed mob coming up the road. 

This advice came from the benefit of many years mustering our eight chooks and the flock of sheep – so vast that we knew the name of each individual – on my parents’ 10-acre block.

The advice was taken very much in the spirit in which it was intended, and some very rude language ensued.

Then Phipps arrived, and some more rude language followed, in which the word “townie” was used in a less than favourable way. . .  

The original story which prompted the invitation to muster is here.

NZ wool carpets and rugs launched in US:

New Zealand rugs and carpets using strong wool drawn from Wool Equities Ltd and New Zealand Romney suppliers will be unveiled in prestigious US stores on Friday.

The Just Shorn collection will be launched surrounded by in store displays including wool bales, woolshed doors and videos of New Zealand farmers telling their stories about working with sheep and wool. About 30 rug stores and 85 carpet stores in the luxury IDG chain (part of CCA Global) will feature the collection. . .

Steve and Jane win first East Coast environment award – rivettingKate Taylor posts on the Wyn-Harris’s win:

Congratulations to Steve and Jane Wyn-Harris – the inaugural winners of the East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

You know, I’m actually looking forward to not typing that ECBFEA phrase for a while! . .

US milk production – shouting down the suply chain – Dr Jon Hauser at X-Cheque blog writes:

If you are into numbers, the trends in demand and supply are a fascinating topic and especially when you apply the concept to the dairy industry. The theory is simple – an increase in demand allows prices to rise, encouraging supply growth. As stocks and supply increase to the point of excess prices fall resulting in a contraction of supply and reset of the supply demand balance. The reality is a long way from simple and that has certainly proved to be the case in our research on the US dairy market. . .

Better communicaton = better in-calf rates – Pasture to Profit writes:

I’ve just seen a simple idea to improve communication between staff on a pasture based spring calving dairyfarm in Dorset, UK. This came to light at the “Realfarmer” discussion group…..a group for Herdsmen & Herd Managers/farm staff on pasture based dairy farms. “Tail Tape Id”…. yes that’s right “Tail Tape Id”! . . .

This is one for the X-files – Anti Dismal writes:

There have been some seriously weird things said about the price of milk recently but this comment in an article from stuff.co.nz has to be the strangest yet:

Dairy market heavyweight Fonterra is artificially inflating the price of milk in New Zealand in a deliberate campaign to lessen competition, says an official complaint to the Commerce Commission.

Now I can not for the life of me see how inflating the price of milk can lesson competition.

We wrote about the milk price investigation here, all very exciting.

However, a new article on the stuff site started with this:

Dairy market heavyweight Fonterra is artificially inflating the price of milk in New Zealand in a deliberate campaign to lessen competition

What?  This is beyond my understanding – I need someone to get in here and explain to me how increasing the wholesale price of milk will lead to a reduction in competitive pressures.

There have been some seriously weird things said about the price of milk recently but this comment in an article from stuff.co.nz has to be the strangest yet:

Dairy market heavyweight Fonterra is artificially inflating the price of milk in New Zealand in a deliberate campaign to lessen competition, says an official complaint to the Commerce Commission.

Now I can not for the life of me see how inflating the price of milk can lesson competition. . .

The Visible Hand in Economics has similar thoughts in a couple more points on milk:

We wrote about the milk price investigation here, all very exciting.

However, a new article on the stuff site started with this:

Dairy market heavyweight Fonterra is artificially inflating the price of milk in New Zealand in a deliberate campaign to lessen competition

What?  This is beyond my understanding – I need someone to get in here and explain to me how increasing the wholesale price of milk will lead to a reduction in competitive pressures. . .

GE – 10,000 years in the making – Jon Morgan writes:

Pamela Ronald is trying to talk around a mouthful of kiwifruit, yoghurt and muesli. She’s eating breakfast at the Intercontinental in Wellington and it’s the only spare time she has in a busy round of media interviews and public meetings before flying to Auckland for a conference.

Between bites she talks about food.

“I’ve just spend a few days with friends in the Bay of Islands. They fed me really well and everything I ate, except the fish, was genetically altered.”

No, it wasn’t a meal of secretly imported food from a country that allows genetic modification. It was food bought in the local supermarket.

“Everything we eat that is farmed is genetically altered,” she explains.

“It is just the result of a long line of 10,000 years of gene manipulation.”

She should know. She is professor of plant pathology at University of California’s Davis research campus. With husband Raoul Adamchak, she has written Tomorrow’s Table on the worlds-colliding idea of integrating genetic engineering with organic farming. . .

Shearing captial’s title takes a serious hit:

Te Kuiti’s quarter-century boast to being the shearing capital of the world took a hit when young Hawke’s Bay-based Far North gun Rowland Smith won the New Zealand Open final in the town’s Cultural Centre last night, without a single local hope in the final field.

For the first time since the event was revived in 1985, there were no Te Kuiti or other King Country shearers in the big final. It is thought also to have been the only time the field did not include Te Kuiti icon David Fagan, who was eliminated in the afternoon’s semi-finals.

Stirring anthem written for vegetables #997 at Will Type for Food:

We are the turnips my friend
We’ll keep on growin’ till the end . . .

(This could be a winner in Southland during Swede season).


Rural round-up

06/03/2011

Global milk production 7 – climate 1: Dr Jon Hauser  at Xheque blog writes:

Here at Xcheque we have for some time been warning about the pace of growth in global milk production. Year on year Production from the major global exporters increased by more than 4 billion litres in the 7 month period from May to November 2010 (EU27, US, NZ, AUS, ARG). 

To put 2010 milk production growth in perspective, average annual milk production growth from 2006 to 2009 was 1.8 billion litres. During the runup of global commodity prices in 2007 the total increase for the year was 3 billion litres. Dairy commodity prices fell steadily from the peak in September / October 2007 and then, with the onset of the global financial crisis, collapsed dramatically in the second half of 2008. . .

Industrial agreements should reflect modern work practice – Allan Barber at Barber’s Meaty Issues writes:

In spite of the enormous improvements from the bad old days, starting with the Employment Contracts Act’s (ECA) introduction in the early 1990s, there remain anomalies in the meat industry’s agreements which hinder the achievement of greater efficiency. The main challenges for meat processors stem from the combined impact of traditional worker agreements, employment law, processing complexity and reduced livestock volumes on an increasingly seasonal industry. . .

Allan also writes that the sector strategy is vulnerable to grass growth:

At the end of the sector strategy’s first stage there will be a plan which draws on the interviews with farmers, processors and stock agents, analysis of a huge amount of data, and input from the consultation meetings held round the country. I’m assured, and have no reason to doubt, there has been a robust consultation process across the industry and the meat processors are cooperating fully, because they are serious about showing leadership in the market.

Of course it’s easy to avoid cutting each other’s throat in the market place when there’s keen demand for every kilo of product on offer; in fact the only danger is under achieving on price, because it will probably be higher tomorrow than the contract concluded today.

What is a GB Olympic oarsman doing sharemilking in New Zealand? Pasture to Profit writes:

Richard & Louise Hamilton are highly successful sharemilkers in the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand. However Richard was in the 1996 Great Britain Rowing team at the Atlanta Olympics. This 6.5ft giant of a man was in the GB Rowing Men’s Eight. http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/athletes/ha/richard-hamilton-2.html

So why is this English Olympian milking cows in New Zealand?…did he ever imagine he would be milking cows in NZ?….

Plagued by Politics –  the Economist  writes:

“THIS is the craziest thing we’re doing,” says Peter Brabeck, the chairman of Nestlé. He is talking about government biofuels targets which require a certain proportion of national energy needs to be met from renewable fuels, most of them biofuels (ie, ethyl alcohol made from crops, usually maize or sugar).

The targets are ambitious. Brazil, Japan, Indonesia and the European Union all say biofuels must supply 10% of energy demand for transport by 2020. China’s target for that date is 5%. America aspires to meet 30% of such needs from biofuels by 2030.

(Hat tip Biofules and Food at Anti Dismal.

Why we don’t actually want to be self-sufficient in food – Tim Worstall writes:

The attractive-looking vegetable, which has become a staple in many chattering class households, has suffered due to the long, wet and cold winter.

Britain’s biggest farmer of the vegetable said “100 per cent” of her winter crop had been wiped out and that there would be a severe shortage in supermarkets over the next few weeks, traditionally the peak season.

OK, purple sprouting broccoli is hardly an essential part of anyone’s diet. But…

(Hat Tip: What I’m Reading at  Quote Unquote)


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