Rural round-up

January 28, 2014

Synlait hikes annual profit forecast on value-add earnings growth, unsure on Chinese sales target – Paul McBeth:

Jan. 28 (BusinessDesk) – Synlait Milk, the milk processor which counts China’s Bright Dairy Food as a cornerstone shareholder, will beat its annual profit forecast by as much as 77 percent on earnings growth, though might miss its sales target for infant formula into China due to stricter regulations.

The Rangiora-based company anticipates net profit of between $30 million and $35 million in the year ending July 31, up from the $19.67 million forecast in the company’s prospectus when it listed in July, it said in a statement.

Synlait lifted its forecast milk payout to between $8.30 per kilogram of milk solids and $8.40/kgMS from $8/kgMS previously as global dairy prices climbed, but is reaping earnings growth from its value-add products and a favourable product mix, chairman Graeme Milne said. . .

Sheep farming area now a dairy melting pot – Mike Crean:

The old mail box has the name Inniskillen stencilled on the front. Beside it are nine small, modern mail boxes. To Dick Davison, they illustrate the greatest social change in the history of North Canterbury’s Amuri Basin.

It is the change from an aristocracy of established sheep farming families to a multi-cultural society of dairy farmers, managers, labourers and sharemilkers. The change is greater even than the transformation caused by breaking up the large estates a century ago, Davison says.

He and wife Liz bought his family’s farm, Blakiston, across the road from Inniskillen, in 1976. Recently they sold most of it, retaining an elevated block where they have built their dream house. . .

Honey price tipped to rise:

Beekeepers are struggling through one of their most challenging seasons, with cool temperatures and wind significantly slowing honey production.

National Bee Keepers Association president Ricki Leahy said the weather so far this summer had been exactly what the bees did not thrive in.

“We have hives down the West Coast and it has certainly been a miserable summer down there, really,” Mr Leahy said.

“The main problem we have with unsettled weather is the bees need to build up a momentum to get a good honey flow going.

“You also need that constant heat to get the nectar in the flowers … so everything depends on a nice, long stretch of fine weather.” . . .

Little risk in biocontrol insects:

An international study into the use of introduced insects to control weeds has found little evidence of them going wrong.

Dr Max Suckling of Plant & Food Research said there had been concerns about introducing non-native insects as weed biocontrols because of the risk of them attacking non-targetted plants.

But Dr Suckling said their worldwide survey of more than 500 insect biocontrol cases, dating back more than 150 years, had found few examples of them causing serious damage to other plants. . .

China pays up big for Australian cattle – Warwick Long:

Australian dairy and even beef farmers are making the most of Chinese demand for live cattle.

China’s dairy industry killed two million cows last year as smaller subsistence farmers left in droves on the back of high meat prices.

The price of an Australian six-month-old dairy heifer for live export has risen by over $400 in just a couple of months.

Independent livestock agent Darren Askew says farmers are now earning over $1,350 per animal.

The trade of dairy cattle to China is a volatile market, which has been this high before and then crashed. . .

What inspires a young man to become a dairy farmer – Milk Maid Marian:

We received an unusual phone call the other week. A vet student with no family connections to dairy, Andrew Dallimore rang out of the blue saying he was keen to become a dairy farmer and wondered if he could ask us a few questions.

Well, what a series of questions! What were the challenges we faced becoming dairy farmers, why did we choose it, the ups and downs, where we look for knowledge and what are the pros and cons of raising children on a farm? At least, these are the ones I remember. And he took notes.

It felt like being at confessional, somehow. You have to be totally honest with someone so earnestly and diligently researching his future. Wayne and I were both immensely impressed, then gobsmacked when he offered to do a few hours work on the farm with the payment of just our thoughts and a banana! . . .


Rural round-up

March 24, 2013

Biological control agents vary in results:

A review of the history of the biological control agents introduced to combat weeds in New Zealand has found some have produced incredible results.

Others, however, were next to useless.

Dr Max Suckling is science group leader of biosecurity at Plant and Food Research and his latest work has taken a look at the benefits of biological control introduction in the country.

He says while the success of the different biological controls introduced varies greatly – some have been game changers. . .

Willow and poplar feed stock during drought:

A North Island farm forester is urging drought-afflicted farmers who have run out of feed for their stock to take a leaf out of his book and feed them foliage from trees.

Manawatu Whanganui Regional Council has highlighted the benefits of willows and poplars in particular as a source of nutritious supplementary feed. . .

Seven-Time Entrants Win Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Awards:

Pahiatua farmers Shaun and Kate Mitchell can finally claim the 2013 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year title after entering seven times and placing runners-up last year.

The couple won $16,400 in cash and prizes at the region’s Dairy Industry Awards dinner at Copthorne Solway, in Masterton, last night. The other big winners were Bart and Tineke Gysbertsen, the 2013 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Farm Managers of the Year, and Ken Ahradsen, the Dairy Trainee of the Year.

The Mitchells say they have entered the awards multiple times due to the benefits of the feedback they have received. “It’s helped us to get a better understanding of our business and goals. The awards has also brought us out of our comfort zone and given us an opportunity to meet and interact with like-minded people.” . .

and now it’s the dairy industry awards – RivettingKate Taylor:

Guess where I have been tonight….. Masterton – watching the Hawke’s Bay Wairarapa Dairy Industry Awards (and taking the photos). . .

Contest Makes Dairy Awards Winner Better Farmer:

Entering the 2013 Manawatu/Rangitikei/Horowhenua Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year contest has made its winner, Richard McIntyre, better at what he does.

Mr McIntyre, who won $13,500 in cash and prizes, says he entered the Dairy Industry Awards to have his farm business analysed, with weaknesses highlighted and solutions found. “Essentially, it makes us better at what we do.”

The other big winners were Michael and Raewyn Hills, the 2013 Manawatu/Rangitikei/Horowhenua Farm Managers of the Year and Nic Verhoek, the Dairy Trainee of the Year. All winners are farming at Feilding and were announced at the region’s awards dinner held at Awapuni Racecourse, near Palmerston North, last night . .

“Extreme Barbecue” A Recipe For Market Success:

Combine New Zealand lamb with 40 keen foodies, a celebrity chef, some heavy-duty barbecue equipment, spectacular alpine scenery… and a forecast for snow. What have you got? Winter Grillcamp – a Beef + Lamb New Zealand promotion in Germany.

The event last week launched the farmer organisation’s new season PR programme in Northern Europe. It targeted two key market groups: upwardly mobile young men and women with a keen interest in cooking healthy but delicious food.

“Hosting a barbecue in zero temperatures at the top of Germany’s highest mountain may seem extreme, but we wanted to do something out of the ordinary,” says Nick Beeby, Beef + Lamb New Zealand Market Manager, Emerging Markets. . .

More drought pics – RivettingKate Taylor:

These were taken before we had 57mm of rain on Monday and Tuesday.

Friends up at Te Pohue had only 11mm.

It may have rained but the fat lady has seriously left the stage. . .

2013 a dream vintage so far for Bay wine industry:

The superlatives are coming thick and fast as the Hawke’s Bay wine industry gets underway with the 2013 grape harvest, with many believing this could be the “vintage of the century”.

“It’s a dream vintage,” says Tony Bish, chief winemaker for Sacred Hill and chairman of Gimblett Gravels Winegrower Association. “It’s been an awesome season, one we don’t get often enough. The fruit is early, ripe and clean; everything we would want.”

For Peter Gough, senior winemaker and viticulturist with Ngatarawa the lack of stress has meant there is a buoyancy of spirit across the industry this year. “There is no disease pressure so we aren’t picking because we have to, it’s when we want, based on flavour. It’s a winemaker’s dream.” . . .


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