Rural round-up

August 21, 2015

Reducing waste to feed the world:

A 2013 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) agreement to reduce food waste by 10 percent across the region is picking up pace as researchers and technical team members work towards their 2017 goal of developing effective strategies and actions to address urgent global food waste issues.

A third of the edible parts of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. That translates into about 1.3 billion ton per year. Lincoln University Associate Professor James Morton says reducing food waste is the logical first step in meeting the needs of a growing world population, which is predicted to reach nine billion by 2050. He recently attended the second of three APEC ‘Multi-Year Project’ meetings focused on addressing global food waste, where he spoke around the need to measure and reduce wastage in the livestock chain. . . 

Democracy, apathy or revolution – Allan Barber:

MIE has to be given credit for its persistence with its campaign to persuade Silver Fern Farms and Alliance to look seriously at the benefits of merging as opposed to continuing to beat their respective heads against the brick wall of competition. But the outcome depends on several planets aligning at the same time.

The present state of flux exists because of the uncertainty surrounding the results of SFF’s capital raising exercise, still to be announced at the time of writing, the outcome of two special general meetings called by a minimum of 5% of the shareholders in the cooperatives, and last but not least, the attitude of the majority of those shareholders.

The latest step in this process is the concept of Newco – the Visionary Meat Cooperative which expands on the Big Red proposal contained originally in MIE’s Pathways to Long-term Sustainability report launched in April. There is more detailed financial analysis in the latest concept plan which implies a net profit of $92.4 million in the fourth year after merger compared with a combined profit of $6.7 million if the companies remain separate. . . 

Revolutionary new trawling method improves quality of catch:

A revolutionary new sustainable trawling method is showing great potential for increasing the value of New Zealand’s fisheries by more than $43 million per year by 2025, industry leaders heard in Wellington today.

The Precision Seafood Harvesting (PSH) technology known as a Modular Harvest System (MHS) is a potential replacement for traditional fishing methods. Using a large flexible PVC liner with specifically sized holes along its length, it allows undersized fish to escape before being brought on board a fishing vessel. In addition, the fish that are brought on board stay in good condition because they are still swimming in the liner when they’re on the deck, resulting in less stress and reduced likelihood of injury. . . 

Seizing the global opportunities for New Zealand seafood:

The growing global demand for environmentally sustainable, natural, healthy food offers great opportunities for the New Zealand seafood industry, Seafood New Zealand Chairman George Clement says.

Speaking at the New Zealand Seafood Industry Conference in Wellington today, Mr Clement referred to the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) prediction that global food production will need to increase by 40 per cent by 2030 and seventy per cent by 2050.

Growth in global seafood production (3.2 per cent annually) continues to outpace population growth (1.6 per cent annually), he said. . . 

New Zealand fish stocks performing well:

New Zealand’s fisheries are performing well overall, Dr Pamela Mace, the Principal Advisor Fisheries Science, with the Ministry for Primary Industries said today.

She was providing an update on the status of New Zealand’s marine fisheries at the New Zealand Seafood Industry conference.

“New Zealand’s fisheries are performing extremely well overall, at least as good as or beyond the standard of the best in the world,” she said. . . 

New Role Encourages Home Grown Talent:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Genetics has appointed Dr Phillip Wilcox as its inaugural senior lecturer in quantitative genetics* at the University of Otago.

Dr Wilcox has a background in molecular and quantitative genetics and comes from the forestry-focused Crown Research Institute, Scion, where he was a senior scientist. He was also a part-time senior research fellow with the University of Otago’s Department of Biochemistry, working in the field of human genetics. . . 

Seeka Kiwifruit Industries Six Months to 30 June 2015 [Unaudited]:

Directors and management are pleased to present Seeka’s financial results for the six months to 30 June 2015. It was a challenging six months for the Company with a fire significantly damaging Seeka’s Oakside post-harvest facility just prior to harvest, then having to focus on managing a record 27.7m trays of kiwifruit; the first major lift in production since 2011’s previous high of 27.1m trays.

Profits are up. Profit before tax this half year is ahead of the previous corresponding period (pcp) by $2.87m [+115%] at $5.36m, reflecting record kiwifruit volumes handled by post-harvest along with good earnings achieved by the orchard division. The half year results include an allowance for the full second year cost of the three-year grower share scheme totalling $2.55m. . . .

Ballance Farm Environment Awards good for farmers and good for the industry, say Horizons entrants:

Halcombe dairy farmers George and Ellen Bartlett entered the 2015 Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) because they wanted to support their industry and learn more about sustainability.

Winning three category awards in their first time in the competition was a bonus for the Bartletts, who run a 950-cow operation on 526ha north of Feilding.

“We certainly didn’t expect to win anything,” says Ellen, “we entered because we wanted to find out what we were doing right and what things we could improve on in future. We also felt it was important to support the awards because they do such a great job of showcasing the good work being done by farmers.” . . 

Share Farmer Contest Heralds New Era:

The 2016 Share Farmer of the Year competition has big boots to fill – taking over from the highly regarded sharemilker competition.

New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Executive Chair Gavin Roden says the Share Farmer of the Year is a hybrid of the sharemilker competition, with changes that better position it within the dairy industry’s evolving farm ownership and employment structures.

“We think the changes will make the contest better and enable more people to enter and gain the benefits from entering. . . 

Wanaka lake weed reduced by two thirds:

Lake Wanaka is healthier than it has been in decades, thanks to weed control work led by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), Minister for Land Information Louise Upston said today.

“In 2005, LINZ and a number of other agencies developed a 10-year strategy to deal with lagarosiphon. A decade on, two-thirds of the lake is clear of the aquatic weed, and LINZ is ready to begin the next phase of control work.

“These results show how LINZ’s collaboration with others is helping protect New Zealand’s iconic landscapes and waterways,” Ms Upston said. . . 


Rural round-up

June 15, 2013

Field Days opinion poll reveals effects of the drought is seen as biggest challenge for agricultural industry:

An opinion poll of visitors to the annual Agricultural Field Days 2013 shows that 54% of respondents believe the effects of the nationwide drought are the biggest challenge facing New Zealand’s agricultural industry this year.

The Aggreko Thought Generator poll was conducted during the first three days of Field Days event. Visitors completed an iPad questionnaire hosted by Aggreko, the world leader in the supply of temporary power and temperature control solutions. The poll aimed to gauge industry sentiment around a number of topical issues. . .

Key notes: supporting rural communities:

New Zealand’s primary industries have been in the spotlight this week, with the annual Fieldays taking place at Mystery Creek near Hamilton.  I’m enjoying talking to farmers, exhibitors, and members of the public at the event today.

Fieldays is an opportunity for us to reflect on the importance of our rural communities.  Agriculture and the wider primary sector are the backbone of New Zealand’s economy.  When it succeeds, New Zealand succeeds.

National’s economic plan has real benefits for the primary sector. When we cut the company tax rate to 28 cents in the dollar in 2010, we knew this would make life easier for New Zealand businesses, including farmers. And it has. . . .

Bloody Friday – Offsetting Behaviour:

Saturday mornings, I cook pancakes. While cooking pancakes, I listen to Duncan Smith and Susan Murray’s Country Life programme on Radio New Zealand (as do all good Kiwis). It’s often a wonderful celebration of rural entrepreneurship.

I had never heard of Bloody Friday. And so I last week learned something new.

Friday, 9 June, 1978: 300 farmers released 1300 ewes onto the streets of Invercargill, herded them through the streets, then slaughtered them right there to the surprise of onlookers.

The Meatworkers’ Union had made it impossible for the farmers to get their stock to slaughter. Sheep were starving in the paddocks because the feed had run out; the farmers had planned on getting their stock to market rather earlier. . .

Bloody Friday farmers praised for bravery -Terri Russell:

 Hundreds of Southland farmers involved in the 1978 “Bloody Friday” protest were praised for their bravery at the weekend.

About 200 people gathered at the Invercargill Workingmen’s Club for the 35th anniversary of the protest, when farmers ran 1300 ewes down Dee St before slaughtering them on a Victoria Ave section.

Farmers were frustrated by industrial chaos across the meat industry, exacerbated by the worst drought much of the province had seen since 1956.

Protest leader Syd Slee said there were about 200 people at the reunion and half were involved in the protest. “We’re very proud looking back on the protest,” he said. . . .

New Leadership for Young Farmers:

Cole Groves has been voted the new Chairman for New Zealand Young Farmers. Mr Groves takes the helm after Paul Olsen who stepped down from his two-year term.

“It’s a fantastic group of people”, Mr Groves said. “It’s a big honour”.

Mr Groves previously served on the board as an elected member for two years, and he views his new appointment as an opportunity to give back to an organisation that has given him plenty.

“I’ve gotten so much out of my involvement with Young Farmers; from self-development to growing my business contacts”, commented Mr Groves. . .

Wools of NZ appoints new CEO:

Wools of New Zealand Limited is pleased to announce the appointment of Ross Townshend as its new Chief Executive Officer. The appointment follows the successful capitalisation of Wools of New Zealand completed in March of this year and is in line with the company’s strategy of putting the necessary people and processes in place to effectively run a 100% grower-owned sales and marketing company.

Mark Shadbolt, Chairman of Wools of New Zealand, said that after a rigorous selection process spanning several months the Board was delighted that Townshend, a Waikato sheep farmer and a shareholder of Wools of New Zealand, had accepted the role. . . .

Bioenergy association  statement – Woodscape:

Bioenergy Association is encouraged by the wood processing sector identification of the value of business opportunities from biofuels.

Recent research undertaken for the forestry and wood processing sector has identified that some emerging biofuel technologies can provide attractive additional revenue streams for existing businesses.

Speaking today, Mr Brian Cox, Executive Officer of the Bioenergy Association of New Zealand (BANZ) said that “BANZ welcomes the release of the Woodco research project (WoodScape) which evaluates a number of possible investment opportunities for the wood processing sector. The report shows that the emerging technologies for producing transport biofuels can be financially attractive as new enterprises. However these would be even more attractive as bolt-ons to existing business which already have the infrastructure and technical capabilities to extend into these new products.” . . .

Industry Happy to Talk About Sharing the Otago-Southland Paua Fishery:

The Otago Southland paua industry says it wants to make the most of the next few months to try to reach agreement with recreational and customary paua divers over shared access for areas of the coastline.

The Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, has announced that consultation on commercial access would continue for areas that previously had been closed because of a health risk. . .

Release of new fish stock assessment:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has released the latest comprehensive scientific assessment of the status of New Zealand’s fisheries.

“The 2013 plenary report provides us with valuable, peer-reviewed scientific information on the status of our fish stocks and fisheries” says Dr Pamela Mace, Principal Advisor Fisheries Science for MPI.

“Many of the assessments indicate there is scope for increases in current catch limits. Hoki is the “star” performer. A few short years ago, there was concern that the western stock had become depleted. Science has driven strong and decisive management action and ensured the full restoration of hoki New Zealand-wide, even surpassing management benchmarks.” . . .


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