Rural round-up

November 20, 2014

Further GDT drop leaves farmers uncertain:

Another drop in the GlobalDairyTrade of 3.1 percent will be a huge disappointment to New Zealand’s dairy farmers.

“It goes without saying that the lowest auction price in five years is going to be a blow to the industry,” says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Dairy Chair.

“Dairy farmers were hoping to see a lift or at least a plateau to realise Fonterra’s $5.30 forecast in December. So this further drop increases the uncertainty of how realistic that goal is. . .

 

New devices target specific pests:

New advanced pest control using devices to target specific species is being hailed as the latest tools in controlling them on farms and diseases such as tuberculosis.

Researchers are meeting at Massey University at the New Zealand Ecological Society Conference.

James Ross, a senior lecturer in wildlife management at Lincoln, said advanced multi-delivery traps called spitfire were capable of killing up to 100 animals before needing to be restocked with poison.

He said they were a major breakthrough in the control and eradication of pests including stoats and possums. . .

Federated Farmers and Forest & Bird welcome Predator Free NZ project:

Federated Farmers and the conservation organisation Forest & Bird are welcoming the Predator Free New Zealand initiative as an ambitious but achievable project that will have real benefits for conservation and the economy.

The Predator Free New Zealand Trust was launched today at the “A Place to Live,” conference in Whanganui.

Federated Farmers and Forest & Bird are actively supporting the Predator Free mission – of clearing New Zealand of all rats, stoats, ferrets, possums, and feral cats. Both organisations have many members who are already actively controlling introduced predators. . .

Sanford lifts profit despite ‘challenging year’ – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – Sanford, New Zealand’s largest listed fishing group, lifted annual profit 10 percent as gains in its deepwater fishing and aquaculture operations offset falling skipjack tuna prices.

Tax-paid profit before minority interests rose to $22.4 million in the year ended Sept. 30, from $20.4 million a year earlier, the Auckland-based fisher said in a statement. Sales fell 2.2 percent to $452.4 million, reflecting “highly variable operational performance across the business”, which saw the Australian arm continue to trade unprofitably.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell by 5 percent to $46.7 million in the first year under new leadership since the departure of veteran former chief executive Eric Barratt. . .

 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Director Elections:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ltd is calling for nominations to stand for two farmer-elected director positions on its board.

They are for the Northern North Island and Northern South Island electorates.

Nominations need to be made to the Beef + Lamb New Zealand returning officer, Warwick Lampp by 5pm on Friday 19 December. Farmers can call him on 0508 666 447 to get information on how to make a nomination. . .

 

Young Friesian follows in father’s fertile footsteps:

Herd improvement company CRV Ambreed has cause to celebrate this month as its top performing bull, Aljo TEF Maelstrom, continues to prove his strong genetic value.

Maelstrom has broken the 300 mark on both Breeding Worth (BW) and New Zealand Merit Index (NZMI) indexes; a first for any CRV Ambreed bull since the company was established 45 years ago.

CRV Ambreed’s managing director Angus Haslett explained the indexes. . .

 


Precision Seafood Harvesting unveiled

October 2, 2013

New Zealand technology is set to revolutionise the international fishing industry.

Imagine if every fish landed on a trawler was alive, in perfect condition and small fish, sharks and other species could be safely released underwater before a catch was lifted on-board.

The first underwater images ever released of revolutionary New Zealand fishing technology show how a partnership between New Zealand scientists and three Kiwi fishing companies will radically change the global fishing industry and make that a reality for wildfish harvesting.

The technology known as ‘Precision Seafood Harvesting’ does away with traditional trawl nets and, instead, sees fish contained and swimming comfortably underwater inside a large flexible PVC liner where they can be sorted for the correct size and species before being brought on-board the fishing vessel.

The break-through design of the harvesting system allows fishing vessels to target specific species and fish size and greatly increases protection for small fish that can swim free through ‘escape portals’ and non-target fish (by-catch), which are released unharmed.

 New Zealand Snapper in PSH Technology

Once on the deck, the fish are still swimming inside the liner, in perfect condition, meaning fresher, more sustainable fish for consumers and higher value products for fishing companies using the technology.

Precision Seafood Harvesting is the commercialisation phase of nearly ten years of New Zealand research. Fishing companies Aotearoa Fisheries, Sanford and Sealord are investing $26 million into the project under a Primary Growth Partnership with the New Zealand Government, which is matching the industry investment. Scientists at Plant & Food Research are partnering with the fishing companies to develop and trial the technology on commercial fishing vessels.

Sanford CEO and Chairman of Seafood New Zealand, Eric Barratt, who unveiled the new technology for the first time to the New Zealand fishing industry at its annual conference in Auckland today, says the Precision Seafood Harvesting programme was set up in April 2012 and will run for six years to commercialise new technology in the New Zealand fishing industry.

“This is the biggest step forward for commercial fishing in 150 years. What we’ve developed in New Zealand has huge benefits for fish stocks, the environment, consumers and New Zealand’s seafood industry. In the process we’re set to change the global fishing industry for the better.”

Alistair Jerrett, from Plant and Food Research says the new way of harvesting wildfish is a close collaboration between his team and the New Zealand seafood industry ‘who want to do things better’. “This is New Zealand science in action and the industry partners deserve a pat on the back for bringing fishing into the 21st century.”

Jerrett’s team built their own underwater cameras to see into traditional trawl nets. He says the ‘aha moment’ was asking: “Why do we have to strain these fish out, why do we have to exhaust them, why do we have to damage them during harvest – the new system changes all of that.

“One of the objectives is to make sure that any animal that reaches the surface, if we can’t select it out underwater, is delivered back to the sea unharmed.” He says this is true for bigger animals as well, like rays, sharks or any animal that is inadvertently captured.

“In terms of selectivity we design everything to make sure unwanted animals are discharged as fast as possible at depth – we don’t want them to even see the light of day.”

“When you realise you can design a highly selective harvest, you are winning in many different ways. You’re winning in unexplored properties, values we haven’t realised, and you’re producing a humane harvesting system.”

The head of Aotearoa Fisheries, Carl Carrington says it’s good news for sustainability by improving New Zealand’s credentials and “enhances our access to sustainability-conscious consumers, improves product taste and quality, and is good for value growth”.

That’s echoed by Sealord CEO, Graham Stuart who believes Precision Harvesting is an opportunity for New Zealand to ‘lead the world with another great kiwi innovation’. “Seeing Hoki landed from a depth of 300 meters, alive and in fantastic condition is remarkable and will totally change how our fish are brought to market.”

Sanford, Sealord and Aotearoa have been actively trialing the new technology on their fishing vessels for the past six months. Vessel Manager at Aotearoa Fisheries, Nathan Reid says fisherman onboard their vessels are excited about the condition of the fish when they are landed. “Replacing old trawl technology is really important for the industry. We’re going to see better stock recruitment and better stock in the water – it’s better for everyone.”

Sealord too is seeing the positive impact of the technology on its crews. Bill Healey is the Vessel Manager for Sealord. He says crews were sceptical at first, but that’s all changed. “When we talk to them now, when we see their reactions to the fish coming up, we know we’re onto something. I know we’re doing something unique and great when I look at the crews”.

Greg Johansson from Sanford says the new harvesting technology is just the start. “This will lead on to changes in vessel designs and layouts, the way we handle fish and get it to consumers. The opportunities are endless.”

“The customers should really enjoy the story of how this fish was caught, the sustainability, the environmental impact of this technology versus other forms of harvesting.

“This will increase the value of all New Zealand seafood products when the global markets see that we’re taking a big step forward by using a more environmentally-friendly way of harvesting fish.”

Recreational fisher and host of the popular “Gone Fishin” television show, Graeme Sinclair has seen the technology in action and says it’s ‘the future of commercial fishing.’ Sinclair says there’s a tendency with recreational anglers to assume that the commercial industry is not doing anything about problems such as dumping and mortality.

“I’ve seen some innovations and some clever buggers in my time, and I think this is revolutionary: it’s Kiwi, it’s clearly innovative, and what it does for mortality and for targeting specific species is incredibly exciting. It alleviates a whole lot of issues all in one hit.”

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the technology, which was developed through the Government’s Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) scheme.

“The Precision Seafood Harvesting project is developing new net technology which is world-leading. It has the potential for huge economic and environmental benefits. . . .

“New high-tech equipment is being developed, with the aim of allowing fish to be sorted by size and species before even leaving the water.

“This will allow smaller and non-targeted fish to escape, reducing wastage and by-catch. At the same time it allows fish to be landed healthier and in better condition, which will improve their value.

“Being able to target specific fish has the potential to revolutionise commercial fishing,” says Mr Guy.

This is an amazing development which will change the seafood industry internationally, make commercial fishing much more sustainable and provide a significant economic boost for New Zealand.


Rural round-up

May 29, 2013

Farms’ history recognised – Helena de Reus:

Long-term farmers were praised for their resilience and hard work, at the New Zealand Century Farm and Station Awards in Lawrence on Saturday.

Guest speaker Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said his dairy farm at Levin had been in the family for 80 years, and he hoped to return to Lawrence in 20 years to receive a century farm award.

”Our country isn’t that old, and history is important. Tonight is an opportunity to look back at our pioneer farmers.”

The resilience of farming communities and family was on display at the awards, he said. . .

Federated Farmers’ youngest provincial president elected this year:

Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay has elected 36-year old Will Foley as its new Hawke’s Bay provincial president, replacing Bruce Wills, who will now focus on his role as National President. Will Foley is the youngest provincial president elected in Federated Farmers’ class of 2013.

“I must pay tribute to Bruce Wills, who has positively led Federated Farmers in the Hawke’s Bay,” says Will Foley, Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay provincial president.

“I guess my election means Bruce will be able to focus on his national role. After being elected Bruce quipped about me, “he is about half my age and with a lot more hair”.

“As a sheep and beef farmer in Waipukurau, you can say I have a strong interest in water given the effect of the current drought has had upon us. . .

It’s time to move – James Houghton:

They say moving house is one of life’s most stressful events, but for sharemilkers it can be an annual occurrence. Not only do they pack up their homes; they move hundreds of animals and farm equipment.

May 31 and/or June 1 are often called “Gypsy Day”, but actually, it is a chaotic week as moving sharemilkers get everything ready to go to a new farm, which could be down the road or in a different part of the country.

Anyone on the move this weekend needs to keep in mind the need to keep stock off greenfeed before transporting to lessen the chance of spilling effluent on the roads, a potential hazard for other motorists and environmental pollutant. . .

Ballance Agri-Nutrients to sponsor Dairy Women’s Network:

Fertiliser company Ballance Agri-Nutrients has confirmed it will be the new prime sponsor of the Dairy Women’s Network from 1 June 2013. The new partnership will significantly boost the Network’s ability to provide more opportunities for dairy farming women to improve their skills and leadership in the business of dairying.

Ballance general manager agro-science and marketing, Liz Muller, said that in farm ownership and partnerships, women are involved in many of the key business decisions.

“It is often women who take the lead role in areas such as farm finances, staff management, animal welfare, safety and on-farm compliance, yet they are under-represented on farmer co-operative boards of directors and industry agencies. Ballance is taking an active role in helping dairying women develop their leadership skills by supporting organisations such as the Dairy Women’s Network, which is focused on developing female leaders. We want to see more women in influential roles contributing to the success and direction of the industry.” . . .

Launch of Seafood New Zealand at Parliament:

New Zealand’s seafood industry body, Seafood New Zealand, will be officially launched at a function, hosted by the Minister for Primary Industries, at Parliament tonight.

“Seafood New Zealand was set up late last year to be more responsive to market and industry changes, following significant consultation with wider industry,” says Eric Barratt, Chair of Seafood New Zealand.

“Less than ten years ago our main export market was the US. Today the focus is on China and north Asian markets that are growing much faster, with the other markets relatively stable. . . .

Children’s Honey From NZ Becoming a Global Success Story:

New Zealand’s oldest honey brand says parents across the world are recognising the health and quality benefits of feeding New Zealand honey to their children.

According to Airborne Honey, New Zealand’s oldest and most trusted honey brand, and one of the country’s largest honey exporters, children’s honey products are becoming increasingly popular both in New Zealand and further afield.

John Smart, Airborne Honey Sales and Marketing Manager, explains that this is largely due to improved education around the health benefits of honey, as well as international confidence in the safety and quality of honey produced in New Zealand. . .


Rural round-up

January 18, 2013

Groser welcomes new OECD-WTO report on international trade:

Trade Minister Tim Groser has welcomed the OECD-WTO’s estimates of “Trade in Value-Added” at the launch of the new database in Paris.

“This new data estimates trade in value-added terms, which helps convey the interdependencies of global value chains and reveal who ultimately benefits from trade,” Mr Groser says.

“Engaging internationally is crucial to all countries’ future prosperity. New Zealand is especially well connected to global value chains in the agriculture and food sectors.”

According to OECD estimates, 81 percent of New Zealand exports’ value is created domestically. This is higher than the OECD average of 72 percent, reflecting both our geographic distance and the importance of agricultural products to our exports. . .

Fonterra trading scheme adds new dynamic for farms

The introduction of Fonterra’s Trading Among Farmers (TAF) share trading scheme has added a new dynamic to the market for dairy farms, and has potential to put downward pressure on farm values, Real Estate Institute of NZ rural market spokesman Brian Peacocke said.

The introduction TAF last November has been a spectacular success and probably far greater than Fonterra could ever have have anticipated, according to market participants.

The units, which do not carry voting rights and which can be owned by the public, last traded at $7.45 – a 35.5 per cent premium their $5.50 issue price. The success of the units has rubbed off on the value of Fonterra shares, which can only be traded by farmers. The shares last traded at $7.42 compared with a pre-TAF “fair value” share price – set by Fonterra – of $4.52. . .

Depression in rural communities a concern:

With a disproportionate number of suicides in the rural sector, Federated Farmers is calling for a proactive approach to solve the problem.

Hawke’s Bay farmer and the province’s Dairy Chairperson, David Hunt, has experienced depression first hand. He knows just how frightening and lonely it can be. Here is his story:

“A farmer suicide recently compelled me to come forward, as I have great respect for what John Kirwan has done for mental health and I wanted to share my experience to help farmers. What helped me accept my depression were the people opening up to me about theirs. There is no shame in it, depression is a hereditary illness that causes a chemical imbalance in your brain, there’s no choosing what illness you get,” he says. . .

Education will help quad bike safety – Jeanette Maxwell:

Quad bikes have been in the news following two deaths and several injuries over the Christmas and New Year period.

Most incomprehensible was the incident in which 6-year-old Ashlee Shorrock suffered serious injuries after being flung from a quad bike that veered off a Hawke’s Bay road late at night. What were she and the four adults also injured in the crash doing on the bike in the first place?

However, while it may not seem like it from the intense media coverage, quad bike deaths and serious injuries remain relatively rare despite the 100,000 machines in New Zealand.

While quad bikes are dangerous if mishandled and the farm toll is serious and must come down, we fear that politicians will respond to the media coverage by jumping at ”solutions’ . . .

Chance to win a free paddock and boost productivity:

Federated Farmers hopes all farmers will enter the Pasture Renewal Charitable Trust’s (PRCT) ‘Win a Free Paddock’ competition which begins on 20 January and runs through to 28 February.

All farmers are eligible to enter for three chances to win $8000 worth of products and technical advice used in the pasture renewal process.

“Federated Farmers is proud to support PRCT’s work in this area because pasture renewal is a core farming activity improve pasture quality, which in turn brings greater productivity, increased returns, improved animal health and more farm management options,” Federated Farmers board member and New Zealand Grassland Association executive member Anders Crofoot says. . .

Seafood New Zealand Chief Executive announced:

The chair of Seafood New Zealand, Eric Barratt, today announced that Tim Pankhurst has been appointed chief executive of Seafood New Zealand effective from April 2013.

Mr Pankhurst is currently the general manager of the Communications and Media Industry Training Organisation (CMITO) and Print NZ, as well as having an advisory editorial role with the Newspaper Publishers’ Association (NPA). He was previously chief executive of NPA and is a former daily newspaper editor of The Dominion Post, The Evening Post, Waikato Times and The Press. . .

Husqvarna joins the Sponsor Family of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest:

New Zealand Young Farmers are proud to announce Husqvarna NZ have partnered with the ANZ Young Farmer Contest as prize sponsors of New Zealand’s Ultimate Rural Challenge.

Husqvarna is a leading manufacturer of outdoor power equipment, designed to work in the toughest of conditions. One of the oldest industrial companies in the world with more than 300 years of history and experience, the Husqvarna Group today is the global leader in outdoor power products for forestry, lawn and garden care. . .


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