Rural round-up

April 20, 2017

Good PR is a self-help exercise – Neal Wallace:

A united agricultural sector needs to promote itself by telling positive farming stories, public relations expert Deborah Pead says.

Industries such as dairy were constantly under scrutiny and having to defend themselves when the correct strategy was to get in first and tell the public what they were doing to address those concerns.

“It is hard to argue when you see a river dried up and farmers are flat-out irrigating but what is the solution? What are farmers doing about it?” . . 

High country community divided by fence plan – Conan Young:

Green groups are outraged at a plan to spend ratepayer money on a fence that would allow iconic high country land to be more intensively farmed.

The 6km fence is proposed for Flock Hill Station, which is leased by a US-based company and contains scenery made famous in 2005’s The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe.

Until now, Coast Range Investments has only been allowed to graze it in a low-level way, so as to have a minimal impact on the landscape and its environment. . . 

Water Fools? – Greening of Mackenzie – Kate Gudsell:

It’s the closest thing New Zealand has to a desert. The Mackenzie Basin landscape is not replicated anywhere else in the country, let alone the world, and it is being changed irreversibly.  

Not just the land is being changed, the once-pristine lakes are showing signs of strain too.  

The area has been at the centre of a 10-year court battle after farmers and landowners opposed tougher development rules proposed by the Mackenzie District Council.  . . 

Stable milk price crucial for strong farming season – Sally Rae:

Rabobank is picking a farm- gate milk price around $6.25 for the 2017-18 season, as it says a figure in that area would finally allow dairy farmers to ”emerge from the woods”.

Global dairy prices were now better balanced than at the start of this season.

This was likely to flow through and create largely stable commodity pricing in the new season, a bank report said.

However, despite the improved market balance, the possibility of further lifts to the current season milk price was limited, report author and Rabobank dairy analyst Emma Higgins said.

The price rally experienced since the second half of 2016 had ”some of the gloss” removed, with stronger-than-anticipated New Zealand production impacting on prices.

Job Seekers drawn to plant – Sally Rae:

Hordes of job seekers from Nelson to Dunedin – including a group of Cadbury employees – converged on Fonterra’s Clandeboye site for a recent recruitment day.

A $240 million mozzarella plant development at the South Canterbury site is under way, creating full-time employment for a further 100 people.

There was a “fantastic” response to the recent recruitment day, with between about 1500 and 2000 people attending. That led to about 700-odd applications for the roles, operations manager Steve McKnight said.

The mozzarella plant, the third at Clandeboye, was the single largest food service investment in the history of New Zealand’s dairy industry. . . 

Cervena seeks its place in the sun – Annette Scott:

Marketing Cervena venison as a lighter summer eating option in Germany will be a challenge but it’s a move Deer Industry New Zealand has confidence in, venison marketing manager Marianne Wilson says.

Deer Industry NZ (DINZ) had begun marketing Cervena in Germany during the northern hemisphere summer as part of a market development trial. While relatively small the trial was symbolically important, Wilson said.

Traditionally the deer industry had been heavily reliant on sales of venison to the German game trade which was highly seasonal, with demand and prices peaking in the northern autumn and winter. . . 

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Rural round-up

April 6, 2017

Good trade news for red meat – let’s hope it happens quickly – Allan Barber:

The visit by Chinese Premier Li Kequiang has been very positive in several ways for New Zealand’s trade agreements, except for those people who are anti free trade or closer engagement with China (Winston Peters?). After the excitement about the announcement in April last year during the John Key led trade mission, progress on chilled red meat access to China and an upgraded FTA appeared to have gone onto the back burner, until now.

Progress was always going to be slower than the optimistic predictions, because nothing like this happens quickly without extensive discussions between officials about technical issues and, in the case of chilled meat, rewritten protocols and plant certification. Another issue to resolve was the need for marketing and distribution relationships to be established with particular emphasis on the cool chain. . . 

Dairy farmers committed to lowering environmental impact – Katrina Knowles:

Taranaki dairy farmers have planted native species along 5760 kilometres of waterways on their farms. This is the equivalent to a journey from Cape Reinga to Bluff, and back to the steps of Parliament in Wellington, with a few plants to spare.

Dairy farmers, not just in Taranaki, but also throughout the country, are committed to lowering the environmental impact of dairying, while protecting the valuable contribution they make to the economy.

Dairy farming is a major driver in the New Zealand economy, improving everyone’s lifestyle in this country. This is both directly and indirectly, and in rural and urban communities. . . 

Feedback big part of dairy awards – Sally Rae:

Entering the Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards was not about winning for Clydevale sharemilkers Russell and Tracy Bouma.

Rather, it was an opportunity to get feedback from judges to help them grow their business, Mr Bouma said.

The couple recently won the Sharefarmer of the Year title at the regional awards function in Invercargill, collecting $20,065 in prizes.

They sharemilk 762 cows on Andrew, Owen and Barbara Johnston’s 270ha farm and it was the fourth time they had entered the awards. They have been sharemilking since 2002.

Every time they had entered, they had been able to implement some of the feedback from the judges, Mrs Bouma (37) said. . . 

Protecting vulnerable native species with 1080 gets results:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says successful breeding results for several of our most vulnerable native birds come as a result of using 1080 to kill predators.

“New results from a five-year study of South Island kākā nesting at Lake Paringa in South Westland show 30 times as many kākā chicks were produced and survived in the area after 1080 treatment to control stoats and possums compared to the area where no 1080 was used,” Ms Barry says.

“Put another way – 55% of kākā nests were successful up to a year after 1080 treatment but only 1.75% were successful where the compound was not used. 97% of adult kākā survived in 1080 treated areas.” . . 

Zespri reports strong interest in bidding round for Gold3 licenses – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Zespri International reported strong interest in a bidding round for 400 hectares of new Gold3 or SunGold variety kiwifruit licences and said its shares will resume trading on Friday.

The kiwifruit marketer said it received 938 bids of which 235 were successful, and will reap $98 million of revenue from the allocation, excluding GST. The average size of the successful bids was 1.7 hectares. The SunGold variety has proven popular as it is more resistant to the Pseudomonas syringae pv actinadiae bacteria, better known as PSA, which decimated the industry some six years ago. By the end of June 2012, more than 35 percent of New Zealand kiwifruit orchards were infected. SunGold, first commercialised in 2010, was key to the sector’s recovery. . . 

Ashburton dairy farmer takes the helm at Canterbury A&P:

Dairy farmer Peter Gilbert was elected as President of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association for 2017 at the Annual General Meeting held at Riccarton Park Racecourse on 29 March.

Based in Winchmore, near Ashburton, Mr Gilbert was confirmed as the President of the 155th Canterbury A&P Show in front of outgoing President Warrick James, the General Committee and Association Members.

Mr Gilbert said he was looking forward to his Presidential year after a long association with Canterbury A&P. . . 

Anmum Releases Its First Batch of QR Coded Cans in NZ:

Parents Can Trace Product Journey as Anmum Releases Its First Batch of QR Coded Cans in NZ

Consumers now have their first touch point with Fonterra’s traceability in New Zealand through QR codes on Fonterra’s paediatric range, Anmum.

The QR codes are part of a programme to track and trace ingredients and products electronically throughout Fonterra, from the raw milk source on farm right through to retailers who sell the product to consumers.

Unique for every Anmum can, the QR code connects consumers via a mobile phone app to a webpage with information which verifies the authenticity of the product and its batch number. Consumers can also scan the can at any stage after they have bought it and get up to date status information about their product. . . .

Positive outlook for forestry sector:

Associate Primary Industries Minister Louise Upston has welcomed new forecasts showing forestry export revenue set to rise further over the next two financial years.

The Ministry for Primary Industries’ first quarterly update of its Situation Outlook for Primary Industries shows forestry export revenue is forecast to rise 5.8 per cent to $5.4 billion for the year ending June 2017, and a further 8.8 per cent to $5.9 billion in the year to June 2018.

“Rising log exports are behind this positive forecast, with a strong demand from China due to its expanding housing market. This, combined with low shipping costs, has driven harvesting to record levels,” Ms Upston says. . . 

Rabobank’s dairy analyst Emma Higgins on today’s GDT Event result:

The spread in pricing between fats and proteins are at record levels. AMF lifted 2.5% to USD 5,936/tonne (the highest average price for AMF in GDT history) and although butter lost ground by 1.6%, the average price at USD 4,751 is still the second highest average price in the history of butter offerings on GDT. Given low SMP pricing dynamics, coupled with lower global milk production, low fat stocks are underpinning outstanding fat prices.

Looking at the powder front, WMP prices lifted a modest 2.4% to USD 2,924 /tonne. Some price support has come from lower auction volumes this time around, with 20% less on offer overnight compared to the last auction. While SMP moved a fraction lower (-0.8%) to USD 1,913/tonne, a sizable 50% increase in SMP offer volumes makes the result overnight seem very positive indeed. . .

Farmers to see changes to farmhouse deductibility:

With farmers spending an increasing amount of time in the office, or at the kitchen table as the case is for many farmers across New Zealand, the changes to the deductibility of farmhouse expenses may come as a surprise. “With changes impacting farmers for the 2017/2018 financial year, it is important they take the time to find out how the changes could affect them,” Tony Marshall, Agribusiness Tax Specialist for Crowe Horwath points out.

Since the 1960s the IRD has allowed full-time farmers a deduction of 25% of farmhouse expenses without any evidentiary support. Inland Revenue Group Tax Counsel Graham Tubb says that this has allowed some farmers to claim deductions for private spending. . . 

Anchor Food Professionals Opens Sri Lanka’s First Dairy Innovation Kitchen:

Sri Lanka’s foodies are set to receive a delicious boost to their out-of-home dining experience, with Fonterra’s opening of the country’s first dairy innovation kitchen for the foodservice industry.

With increased urbanisation and more Sri Lankans eating out of home, Colombo, a city with more than two million people, is seeing new international hotel chains, restaurants, bakeries and other food outlets spring up around the city.

To cater to the growing interest in out-of-home dining, Fonterra’s foodservice business, Anchor Food Professionals, has opened an innovation kitchen in the city to trial new dairy products and work with chefs to develop new recipes and flavours that suit the tastes of Sri Lankan consumers. . . 

Carrfields seeds produce second world record grain crop:

 An Ashburton farmer’s record-breaking wheat crop is the second world record grain yield to be produced from Carrfields seeds in two years.

Eric Watson’s February 2017 harvest of 16.8 tonnes a hectare, grown from Carrfields’ winter wheat variety Oakley, has just made the Guinness World Records list for highest wheat yield.

It follows the world record for the highest yielding barley crop, set by Timaru growers Warren and Joy Darling in January 2015. The Darlings broke the previous 25-year-old record with a yield of 13.8 tonnes a hectare from Carrfields’ variety 776.

Carrfields’ Cereal Seed Product Manager, Phil Smith, said he was thrilled to see two world records set in Canterbury in a short space of time. . . 


Rural round-up

January 13, 2017

Global milk production downturn bodes well – Simon Hartley:

The global downturn in milk production bodes well for New Zealand’s dairy farmers for much of 2017 and is increasing the likelihood of a boost in estimated payouts.

Between the key whole milk powder prices rising 45% during the past six months and six of the seven major dairy-producing countries reporting production declines, Rabobank’s dairy quarterly report paints a reasonably positive outlook for 2017.

However, recovery may become the catchphrase of the current season, as opposed to outright profitability, and the US currency may yet have a major impact, and on various markets.

Co-author Rabobank dairy analyst Emma Higgins said the recent rally in global dairy prices heralded further positives as global efforts to increase overall production would take time. . . 

A woman valued and connected within the dairy industry – Anne Boswell:

Anne Boswell talks to an Atiamuri dairy farmer who can’t sit still, busy with family, friends, land and organisations helping farming women succeed.

Connection – to one’s family, friends and like-minded people – is fundamental to personal wellbeing but can be challenging for farmers, says Atiamuri dairy farmer and Dairy Women’s Network trustee Karen Forlong.

“Fundamentally we are hard-wired to need to belong to something, to feel a connection to something over and above ‘I am what I work at’,” she says. 

“Farming’s a business, but it’s so much more than that, and equally, the success of my farm does not define me as a person.” . . 

Ryan looks forward to challenges:

The New Zealand Farm Environment Trust’s new General Manager James Ryan is looking forward to the challenges the new job will bring.

Christchurch-based James Ryan, a former policy manager with DairyNZ, was appointed in October this year.  

He says the Trust will play a crucial role in guiding farmers through an era of increasingly complex sustainability issues. . . 

Fonterra & LIC Set to Release Farm Performance System – Agrigate:

Fonterra and Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) are in the final stages of developing an online tool, Agrigate, designed specifically to help farmers improve their farm performance through the use of their existing data.

Agrigate has been developed by the two farmer-owned co-operatives to make it easier for farmers to:

• access key information about their farming business in one place

• identify areas where they can benchmark their performance on a scale that they have not been able to in the past

• make smarter and faster decisions

• manage their environmental information (e.g. nutrient management) . . 

NZ commodity prices rise for eighth month, buoyed by dairy recovery – Rebecca Howard

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand commodity prices rose in December, the eighth consecutive monthly gain, as dairy prices continued to improve.

The ANZ Commodity Price Index advanced 0.7 percent in December to 277.3 and was up 16.5 percent on an annual basis. In New Zealand dollar terms the index increased 2 percent in the month and rose 9.4 percent on an annual basis as the kiwi eased against the greenback and the British pound.

Dairy was the standout performer as tight global milk supplies and improved Chinese import demand continued to be the main drivers, said ANZ agri economist Con Williams. . . .

Comvita expects to realise $30M from sale of Medihoney, shares in US partner – Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – Comvita, the manuka honey products company, has sold its Medihoney brand to US partner Derma Sciences for about $19 million, and will reap a further $11 million selling Derma shares in a takeover offer of the Nasdaq-listed company.

The gross proceeds of the Medihoney deal will amount to US$13.25 million, with a US$5 million earnout payable on sales milestones being achieved, Comvita said in a statement to the NZX. Comvita also owns 1.1 million shares in Derma Sciences, which announced on Jan. 10 that it will be acquired by Nasdaq-listed Integra LifeSciences for US$7 per share by the end of March. That values Comvita’s stake at about $11 million, it said. . . 

Fonterra extends sway over Aussie dairy industry with Bellamy’s ‘poison pill’ – Brian Robbins:

Fonterra is in the box seat to control the future of Australian company Bellamy’s Organic under an effective “poison pill” arrangement that can be triggered if a shareholder group controls more than 30 per cent of Bellamy’s capital.

The troubled infant formula group outlined details on Wednesday of a new arrangement with Fonterra that allows the New Zealand group to terminate a key supply deal if a shareholder group controls more than 30 per cent of the Tasmanian company’s capital.

The disclosure, along with news of the replacement of Laura McBain, the chief executive of Bellamy’s, by another senior executive, Andrew Cohen, on an interim basis, came as part of a trading update to investors. . . 

Tasmanian dairy company Bellamy’s CEO Laura McBain to leave after price plummet – Caitlin Jarvis:

Launceston-headquartered dairy company Bellamy’s has replaced chief executive Laura McBain.

The embattled baby formula company announced to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) that Andrew Cohen has been appointed acting chief executive.

The announcement was made by the organic dairy company’s chairman Rob Woolley. . . 

Bid to heritage list Brumbies – John Ellicott:

Brumbies may be protected for their cultural heritage value in new legislation being drawn up and already, according to the proponents, met with approval by NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro.

With  the expected release soon of the new Wild Horse Management Plan, lobby groups are fighting to preserve substantial brumby populations in national parks, especially  in Kosciuszko National Park.

The Snowy Mountains Bush Users Group wants to prevent a culling of brumbies, which may form part of the new management plan – with ground shooting touted as the most likely form of control. . . 

North And South Island Wool Auctions Receive Varied Support:

New Zealand Wool Services International ltd’s CEO Mr John Dawson reports that the wool auctions in the North and South Islands this week produced considerable price variations for comparative types with the North Island levels well below the South’s.

Of the 19500 bales on offer, 7804 percent sold with the weighted currency indicator, compared to the last sale on 21st December was 1.62 percent higher, adding more downward pressure on local prices.

Mr Dawson advises that the South Island sale compared to when last sold on 15 December saw; . .. 

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Only a farm kid ‘gets’ this.


Rural round-up

July 14, 2016

Dairy farmers urged to plan for volatility – Sally Rae:

Dairy farmers need to strengthen their business structures by rebuilding equity in the next price upcycle and further develop flexible production systems that can easily reduce costs when prices fall, a new report from Rabobank says.

The severe price downturn marked the third trough in the past decade and the sector must plan for inevitable future volatility, report co-author and dairy analyst Emma Higgins said.

“Tough decisions will need to be made in the next upward cycle. Farmers will need to make a careful and considered decision whether to put some debt to bed or chase a profit margin through increased investment and spending. . . 

Million kg milestone for milk futures:

NZX celebrated a milestone in the development of its New Zealand milk price futures contract on Friday, with more than one million kilograms of milk solids (kg/ms) traded since the product launched at the end of May.

The total number of contracts traded since launch was 184 at close of trading on Friday. Each contract is worth 6000 (kg/ms), totalling 1,104,000 kg/ms.

The 2016/17 contract has traded at an average price of $4.53, while the 2017/18 average contract price was $5.60. . . 

Critical shortage of doctors in NZ small towns:

There’s almost no such thing as a ‘community doctor’ anymore, health expert Professor Ross Lawrenson says.

There’s a critical shortage of doctors in small towns across New Zealand, and Waikato University’s Prof Lawrenson wants medical students sent to rural practices earlier to combat the problem.

“The two medical schools did a survey of medical students who were just qualifying, and only two percent of them wanted to live in a community of less than 10,000 population – there’s a real issue there.”

He says the system is at crisis point, and he believes the way doctors are trained is letting down rural communities. . . 

Meat and dairy exporters secure largest ever container ship for Asia run – Pattrick Smellie

 (BusinessDesk) – The Kotahi joint venture between Fonterra Cooperative Group and Silver Fern Farms is launching a new weekly service to Asian export markets using the largest container ship ever to call at a New Zealand port.

The service will operate through the Port of Tauranga, where a $350 million port expansion and dredging operation will allow visits by a ship capable of carrying more than twice the usual number of containers seen on cargo ships operating through New Zealand.

The new service will see ships with a capacity of 9,500 TEUs – 20-foot container equivalents – calling at Tauranga on their way from the west coast of South America before heading to ports in North Asia. . . 

Rabobank New Zealand announces new CEO:

Rabobank New Zealand has announced the appointment of Daryl Johnson to the position of chief executive officer.

Effective immediately, the appointment sees Mr Johnson take over the role from Crawford Taylor, who has served as CEO in an interim capacity since October 2015.

Announcing the appointment, Rabobank New Zealand Chairman John Palmer said the bank was very pleased to have a highly-experienced banking executive of Mr Johnson’s calibre take the helm of the business as it continues its growth and development in the New Zealand market. . . 

MOU with Foshan City kicks off global Food Integrity Conference:

Chinese representatives visiting from Foshan city will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Asia Pacific Centre for Food Integrity tomorrow morning at the opening of the Food Integrity Conference 2016.

The MOU is an exciting step for the APCFI to work closely with colleagues in China on food safety education in Foshan. Foshan has a population of more than 7.2million and is the third largest city in the Guangdong province.

This agreement is a huge opportunity for the Asia Pacific Centre for Food Integrity, Executive Director and Conference Organiser, Dr Helen Darling. . . 

New salmon farms for Marlborough:

The opening of two new salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds today is a welcome development for New Zealand’s aquaculture industry, Environment Minister and Nelson MP Dr Nick Smith says.

“Salmon is a healthy, sustainable and high-value product and we should be proud that New Zealand is the world’s largest producer of farmed king salmon. New Zealand King Salmon’s Marlborough Sounds operation supports 440 jobs and $115 million in annual export earnings, and comes from just 8 hectares of farms in the 800,000 hectare Sounds. No other primary industry is able to support so many jobs and families from such a small area.”

The two new salmon farms in Pelorus Sound, the Waitata Bay farm and the Kopāua farm in Richmond Bay, add to King Salmon’s operating farms in Queen Charlotte Sound. They will eventually take the company’s production from 6000 to 10,500 tonnes per year, and boost earnings to more than $170 million. . . 

Million dollar mouse pest drops completed:

The ambitious Million Dollar Mouse pest eradication project on remote Antipodes Island in the sub-Antarctic has been completed ahead of schedule, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.

A second helicopter drop of rodent bait across the island was finished yesterday afternoon, following a first phase completed on June 29.

“Despite very unsettled weather conditions, the Million Dollar Mouse team have done an outstanding job of making use of every available weather window to get the bait drop completed,” Ms Barry says.

“This is the most challenging pest eradication ever carried out in New Zealand and is a globally significant conservation achievement, safeguarding a unique, remote and forbidding land and the many extraordinary species living there.” . . 

Lamb flap prices rise to a year high in June; beef, lamb leg stable – Tina Morrison

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand lamb flap prices rose to their highest level in a year, driven by increased demand from China where the meat is used in traditional hotpot dishes.

Lamb flap prices rose to US$4.40 per kilogram in June, up from US$4.05/kg in May and the highest level since the first week of June last year, according to AgriHQ’s latest monthly sheep & beef report.

Chinese demand for lamb flaps has helped turn the offcut into a premium cut and lifted the overall return Kiwi farmers can get from their animals. The meat is processed into a lamb roll and sliced thinly for hotpot, the dominant cooking style for lamb and a staple of the Chinese national diet. . . 

Strong 2016 vintage confirms positive outlook for NZ wine:

As demand for New Zealand wine continues to grow in the key markets of the USA, the United Kingdom and Australia, the industry is rising to the challenge. That’s according to Alistair King, Crowe Horwath’s viticulture specialist, who says the outlook is positive, particularly with a plentiful grape harvest for the 2016 vintage.

“The wine industry is targeting a goal of export earnings of $2-billion by 2020; after a poor vintage in terms of volume for 2015 where just 312,000 tonnes of grapes came in, this year is looking considerably better,” he says. . . 

Mission Estate Selected as One of the World’s Best:

Mission Estate, New Zealand’s oldest winery, has further cemented its place on the global wine map by having its Jewelstone Syrah 2013 selected to appear at WINE Explorers’ Grand Annual Tasting 2016.

WINE Explorers is a unique four-year project to take an inventory of all of the wine producing countries of the world. Now in it’s third year, the unprecedented task has seen the WINE Explorers travel to 92 countries, visiting 250 winegrowing regions, surveying a total of 1500 vineyards and tasting over 15000 wines. . . 


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