Rural round-up

28/07/2022

Devil in the detail of EU deal – Nigel Stirling:

Free trade agreement’s finer points are still being worked out – and not all of them are going NZ’s way, says Beef+Lamb policy tsar.

Meat exporters are already facing a reduction in their new access to the European Union market, just weeks after New Zealand apparently concluded a free trade agreement with the bloc.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern travelled to Brussels in Belgium last month to clinch the deal with the EU after four years of negotiations.

But Beef+Lamb NZ’s general manager for policy and advocacy Dave Harrison said negotiations between the EU and NZ had not stopped with the PM’s announcement. . . 

Right time and right place(ment) – Leo Argent:

With labour shortages a grim reality for many farmers across the country – and no end in sight – recruitment agencies have seen demand increase drastically.

With offices in Timaru and Ashburton, overseeing areas ranging from Darfield to Invercargill, Wendy Robertson has run Personnel Placements (PPL) for 22 years, Gaye Scott oversees PPL’s agricultural team, which is involved in jobs ranging from dairy to meat to horticulture.

As a recruitment agency, PPL puts candidates on a database who can then be sent out for clients for work. Along with part-time and full-time jobs, agencies also cover permanent and temporary employment placement, saving clients the time and cost involved in interviewing prospective employees.

Robertson told Rural News that agriculture is an important part of her business’ success and that a large part of the agriculture team’s work is in seasonal jobs. . .

 

 

New Tech promises to make shearing sheep less of a drag – Tim Lee:

Australia’s shearer workforce has dwindled from about 15,000 when wool prices were booming in the 1980s to about 2800.

The pandemic has further reduced the small pool of skilled labour and woolgrowers who are struggling to get their sheep shorn.

Australian Wool Innovation chairman Jock Laurie said Covid had made the problem worse.

“The border closures have stopped people moving across borders and stopped the New Zealanders coming in,” Laurie said. . . 

Fonterra welcomes Milk-E New Zealand’s first electric milk tanker :

New Zealand’s first electric milk tanker, Milk-E, has been officially launched by the Minister for Energy and Resources, Hon. Dr Megan Woods, in Morrinsville.

Local Government, Iwi, Industry and Fonterra employees were also present to recognise the significant milestone in the decarbonisation of New Zealand’s heavy transport, while also recognising the team behind the build.

Named by Fonterra farmer Stephen Todd from Murchison, Milk-E is part of Fonterra’s fleet decarbonisation work, which is one of a number of programmes that’s helping the Co-op towards becoming a leader in sustainability.

“Right across the Co-op our teams are constantly looking at how we can decrease our emissions – from on farm, to at our sites and throughout our transport network,” said Chief Operating Officer, Fraser Whineray. . . 

Baseline set for subsurface irrigation trial :

While Cust dairy grazers Gary and Penny Robinson are disappointed not to have collected the data they were hoping for from their subsurface drip irrigation trial due to a wet summer, the couple have established a baseline for the next irrigation season which they hope will follow a more normal weather pattern to enable data collection.

Gary and Penny are participating in a farming innovation project, which examines how the next generation of farmers are using innovation to improve their farming practices. Waimakariri Landcare Trust (WLT) and Waimakariri Irrigation Limited (WIL) have partnered with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for the project, with support from MPI’s Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund along with Environment Canterbury, Ballance, and DairyNZ.

The subsurface drip irrigation system on their two-hectare test block in Cust consists of a network of valves, driplines, pipes, and emitters that are installed in tape below the surface of the soil. The evenly spaced emitters slowly release water directly to the root zone of plants which differs from traditional irrigation systems that apply water to the surface of the soil. . .

The Walking Access Commission changes its name:

Trails aren’t just for walkers, they’re for all of us – and so is Herenga ā Nuku Aotearoa, the Outdoor Access Commission, formerly the Walking Access Commission.

Our new name recognises more than the breadth of trail users, which range from people in tramping boots to fishing waders, sitting astride a horse or a bike, shouldering a rifle or pushing a stroller. Herenga ā Nuku refers to the rich connections we find on the trail – with the whenua and its stories, with ourselves and with each other.

Herenga is a bond, obligation or tie. Nuku refers to Papatūānuku, the earth mother. She is the land in all her beauty, power, strength and inspiration. She sustains us.

Herenga ā Nuku Aotearoa – connecting people, connecting places. . .


Rural round-up

20/07/2022

Former Ministers critical of PM’s comments – Nigel Stirling:

More voices have joined the chorus of condemnation aimed at the Prime Minister for comments they feel hurt New Zealand’s chances of getting a meaningful deal with the European Union.

Two former trade ministers have joined the dairy industry in condemning comments made by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a critical point in trade talks with the European Union.

The Dairy Companies Association believes Ardern scuppered the industry’s last chance of a commercially meaningful outcome from the talks by revealing a weakening in New Zealand’s negotiating position.

Before flying to Brussels for the final few days of the talks last month Ardern told media that NZ was ready to accept an improvement on the “status quo” market access NZ exporters already had in the EU. . .

NZ’s European Union free trade agreement – was a better deal left on the table? – Jane Clifton:

Our recently signed free-trade deal with the European Union has upset the dairy and beef sectors. Was a better deal left on the table?

As a country, we’ve just flunked that test psychologists set for small children, offering them one marshmallow now, or two if they wait five minutes.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern decided delayed gratification wasn’t the right strategy for the much-anticipated European Union free-trade agreement (FTA) and returned from her travels with just the one marshmallow.

After a couple of days’ hearty talk about how marvellous the deal was, Trade Minister Damien O’Connor conceded, “It’s probably fair to say that no one likes it, so we probably have it about right.” . . .

Farmers farm because it’s a way of life, they’re not asking for sympathy – Kerre Woodham:

I wanted to have a look at our farming sector this morning, because I think the grumpiness from a number of farmers over a Country Calendar show featuring Lake Hawea station probably gave us a heads up on where farmers’ confidence is at.

And it’s low, very, very low. According to a Rabobank quarterly rural confidence survey, it’s the lowest since the pandemic began. Back in March, farmers’ confidence was the lowest it had been since Federated Farmers began a twice a year survey in 2009. 

When you think about the reality of farming for most Kiwis, I guess you can understand and empathise with their frustration. It’s a cold, wet, miserable job in winter and a hot, dry dusty one in summer. Most farmers can’t delegate their farm chores, no matter if they’ve got the flu or if they’re feeling under the weather with a head cold, or if they’ve got Covid, they have to drag themselves up or call in favours from neighbours, which they will then repay. . . 

Council candidates deserve searching questions Feds says :

With sweeping changes facing local government, and the very existence of some councils under threat, Federated Farmers is urging rural New Zealanders to step up their interest in the election campaign this year.

“The Three Waters juggernaut is gathering steam despite a great deal of opposition,” Feds President Andrew Hoggard said. “Unchanged, it will put control of critical infrastructure in the hands of unelected and hard to hold to account entities, likely headquartered far away from rural New Zealand.”

This, plus moves for district planning functions to be regionalised, will leave some provincial councils with little left to do, “and thus ripe for forced amalgamations, given the review of the future of local government doesn’t wind up until next year,” Andrew said.

Local body elections happen again in September/October and Federated Farmers has just released its 2022 Local Elections Platform. It’s on the Federated Farmers’ website and sets out the federation’s position on the major issues swirling around local government, with questions and advice for voters and candidates. . . 

Food charity run by farmers says demand increasing nationwide

A food charity set up during the first wave of Covid-19 says two years on demand is outstripping what they can supply.

The Meat the Need charity takes donated livestock from farmers and processes it into premium mince, which is then donated to food banks nationwide.

Since it was founded in early 2020, the charity said it had supplied meat for more than 760,000 meals across the country.

Golden Bay dairy farmer Wayne Langford co-founded Meat the Need with Motueka Valley-based sharemilker Siobhan O’Malley. . .

Chance, choice and the avocado: the strange evolutionary and creative history of earth’s most nutritious fruit – Maria Popova:

In the last week of April in 1685, in the middle of a raging naval war, the English explorer and naturalist William Dampier arrived on a small island in the Bay of Panama carpeted with claylike yellow soil. Dampier — the first person to circumnavigate the globe thrice, inspiring others as different as Cook and Darwin — made careful note of local tree species everywhere he traveled, but none fascinated him more than what he encountered for the first time on this tiny island.

Dampier described the black bark and smooth oval leaves of the tall “Avogato Pear-tree,” then paused at its unusual fruit — “as big as a large Lemon,” green until ripe and then “a little yellowish,” with green flesh “as soft as Butter” and no distinct flavor of its own, enveloping “a stone as big as a Horse-Plumb.” He described how the fruit are eaten — two or three days after picking, with the rind peeled — and their most common local preparation: with a pinch of salt and a roasted plantain, so that “a Man that’s hungry, may make a good meal of it”; there was also uncommonly delectable sweet variation: “mixt with Sugar and Lime-juice, and beaten together in a Plate.” And then he added:

It is reported that this Fruit provokes to Lust, and therefore is said to be much esteemed by the Spaniards. . . 

 

 


Rural round-up

14/07/2022

PM misleading in EU trade deal claims :

This morning, the Prime Minister said that the Free Trade Agreement we signed with the European Union was “arguably one of the best dairy deals that anyone has had with the EU”. This isn’t arguable; it’s just false, National’s Trade & Export Growth spokesperson Todd McClay says.

“Not only is this incorrect, but this deal isn’t close to the best. The UK has complete tariff elimination on dairy and meat, Canada has complete tariff elimination and can still use the name Feta, and the Mercosur trade agreement has better combined outcomes for dairy and meat than New Zealand.

“This comes after revelations that the Government had told negotiators weeks before the agreement was signed to stop pushing for commercially meaningful access for dairy and meat, and to simply do better than the status quo.

“This is incredibly infuriating and shows that the Prime Minister went to Europe to sign a deal irrespective of the outcome for dairy and meat. The EU knew this and offered us very little in return. . . 

Feds urges extreme vigilance on FMD:

As Biosecurity New Zealand continues to closely monitor the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in Indonesia, Federated Farmers is urging holiday makers to also be extremely vigilant.

“Travel restrictions have eased and many families are keen to escape our winter for some sun overseas. But if FMD reached our shores it would be devastating for agriculture and our economy,” Federated Farmers vice-president and biosecurity spokesperson Wayne Langford says.

“The FMD virus can live on footwear for 48 hours. Before returning to New Zealand please, please clean your shoes and jandals, or better still, buy cheap footwear while on holiday and dispose of them before you leave, and abide by the one week stand-down before visiting a farm here.”

Indonesia reported two outbreaks of FMD to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on May 9th, after being free from it for 30 years. . . 

Farmers asked to go back to school :

Farmers across the country are being asked to go back to school as a part of a new educational programme for children called Farmer Time.

The initiative, which originates from the UK, links farmers with primary and intermediate school children through virtual classroom sessions using video call technology.

Students regularly chat live with their matched farmer, gaining an understanding of farming across the seasons and providing real-world examples of what they’re learning during the school year.

Kit Arkwright, CEO of Beef + Lamb Inc, which is driving the initiative, is keen to see food producers from all sectors get involved. . . .

South Canterbury dairy farms sell for more than $70 million :

Two South Canterbury dairy farms as part of a portfolio have been sold for more than $70 million in one of the country’s largest ever rural transactions.

The portfolio, Ellis Lea, was made up of two large dairy farms – Grandview Farm, which covers 420ha and Lamorna, which covers 524ha – as well as Collett Farm, a support block covering 249ha.

It was purchased by an unnamed New Zealand-based investor.

Colliers rural advisor George Morris, who negotiated the sale alongside Mark Parry, said such was the scale of the portfolio, it was unlikely a local buyer would purchase it. . . 

Dairy Companies Association to welcome new chair :

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) is set to welcome Matt Bolger as its new Independent Chair upon the retirement of Malcolm Bailey from the role on 16 August 2022.

DCANZ provides an important mechanism for dairy manufacturing and exporting companies to work together and speak with one voice on pre-competitive matters of importance to the New Zealand dairy industry. The DCANZ Executive Committee, comprising CEO’s and senior executives of the Associations’ 13 member companies, is pleased to have Matt coming on board.

Matt will bring an important independent perspective and deep knowledge of the New Zealand and global dairy industry to the role. He is the current Pro Vice Chancellor of the Waikato Management School at the University of Waikato and held a variety of New Zealand and internationally based roles with Fonterra Co-operative Group between 2002-2020.

In welcoming Matt to this role in August, DCANZ will farewell Malcolm Bailey who has Chaired the Association since 2008. . . .

Giesen Wines win big at 2022 International Wine Challenge:

Giesen has been awarded the Champion Trophy for Champion Organic Wine at the International Wine Challenge. The 2019 Clayvin Single Vineyard Syrah is from the renowned Clayvin Vineyard in Southern Valleys, Marlborough, a vineyard that has historically set the standard for premium wines from the region.

The recent trophy win adds to the haul for this spectacular wine. It has already won the Marlborough Syrah Trophy and 1 x gold medal, with 96 points awarded at the 2022 International Wine Challenge. Across a global field, there were only 22 Champion Wine Trophies awarded.

Described by the judges as “Fragrant, lifted aromas of spice, violets, plump ripe blackberries and black pepper. The palate is elegant and quite rich with fine tannins, polished damson fruit and black cherries with a suggestion of bacon on the finish.”

Giesen Group Chief Winemaker, Duncan Shouler said, “we’re delighted to have won this prestigious international award for our Clayvin Organic Syrah. The Clayvin vineyard is an important part of our company DNA and enables us to create some very special organic wines, which will continue to evolve over the next decade.” . . .

 


Rural round-up

05/07/2022

Feds slam miserly EU meat and dairy quotas :

The trade deal with the EU is a slap in the face for New Zealand farmers, Federated Farmers says.

“That the Europeans’ protectionist mindset on livestock products remains entrenched is sadly not a surprise but the very small quotas agreed are considerably worse than we expected,” Feds President and trade spokesperson Andrew Hoggard said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently stated that she will come home from the EU without a deal if there isn’t a good one on the table. This is what she should have done.

The beef quota for New Zealand is 10,000 tonnes, just 0.1% of the 6.5m tonnes of beef Europeans consume each year. The EU has a cheese market of 9.5 million tonnes. After seven years New Zealand exporters will have access to just 0.14% of this market. . . 

Lake Hawea farmer hits back at critics :

A Lake Hawea farmer has hit back at critics accusing his practices of being woke nonsense at Australasia’s first certified carbon zero farm, saying no sector advances “without the trial of new and ideally better ways”.

Last Sunday’s episode of Hyundai Country Calendar profiled Lake Hawea Station, near Wanaka, and owners Kiwi entrepreneurs and 42 Below vodka company founders Geoff and Justine Ross.

It quickly attracted an intense online backlash from those purporting to be from parts of the farming sector, leading to the TVNZ show replying to the criticism on its Facebook page.

With the goal of becoming 10 times climate positive, the couple also introduced alternative techniques to the woolshed to improve animal welfare, including switching music from AC/DC’s Thunderstruck to Vivaldi. . .

Waikato creating a buzz on international stage as Raglan couple win silver at London honey awards – Danielle Zollickhofer:

Raglan honey business Hunt and Gather Bee Co is creating an international buzz as its Kānuka honey won a silver medal at the London International Honey Awards.

Together with Te Aroha-based company Ora Foods whose Raw Manuka Honey (UMF 25+) won gold, Hunt and Gather Bee Co is the only Waikato brand that was recognised in the awards out of 17 New Zealand winners.

Hunt and Gather Bee Co’s honey has already won some national awards, including the Outstanding Food Producer Awards, but getting international recognition was unexpected for founders Hannah and Rory O’Brien. . . .

Relief as just one cheese has to be renamed in EU trade deal – Rebecca Ryan:

When you say cheese your feta had better be Greek.

As part of the free-trade agreement signed between New Zealand and the European Union yesterday, new geographic indications that protect the names of products that originate from specific areas will be introduced, preventing cheeses produced in New Zealand from being branded as “feta”, beloved to Greece, in nine years’ time.

However, the industry has not been as fettered by the deal as had been initially feared.

Whitestone Cheese managing director Simon Berry said it was a relief that only feta would need to be rebranded for now. . .

Plant-based testosterone in pine pollen offers high value opportunity :

Pine pollen containing a rare natural source of plant-based testosterone could prove a goldmine for New Zealand’s forestry sector.

Pine Pollen New Zealand Limited, trading under the name Bio Gold, has received $288,500 in Government funding through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures) to lay the foundations for a pine pollen industry in New Zealand.

“Pine pollen has been consumed for health and wellbeing in China, South Korea and Japan for more than 3000 years,” says Bio Gold founder Carl Meyer.

“It’s been found to contain a naturally occurring testosterone, and lately there’s been a new wave of interest from the natural health industry in the United States and Canada.” . .

 

Fonterra, NZX and EEX confirm GDT strategic partnership:

Fonterra today confirms the finalisation of the strategic partnership with New Zealand’s Exchange (NZX) and the European Energy Exchange (EEX) to each take ownership stakes in Global Dairy Trade (GDT) alongside the Co-op.

As announced in February 2022, the partnership was subject to the approval of Boards, clearance from relevant competition law authorities, and finalisation of transaction documentation. With those approvals now received, Fonterra, NZX and EEX each hold an equal one-third (33.33%) shareholding in the global dairy auction platform GDT as of 30 June 2022.

CFO Marc Rivers says the confirmation of the strategic partnership is an important milestone for Fonterra and global dairy participants.

“The move to a broader ownership structure marks the next step in the evolution of GDT – giving it a presence in prominent international dairy producing regions, with greater participation expected at GDT events. . .


Brexit benefits NZ

22/10/2021

Whether or not Brexit is good for the UK is still moot, but it has led to a free trade agreement with New Zealand which is good for New Zealand.

Trade negotiator Charles Finny writes :

. . . If you had told me 10 years ago that New Zealand would on 21 October 2021 announce agreement in principle on a comprehensive high quality free trade agreement with the UK, and that agreement, over time, would lead to full free trade in beef, lamb and dairy products, I would have asked what you had been smoking or drinking.  . .

We have to wait 15 years for some of the more sensitive agriculture products to reach full free trade but that will be worth the wait. Beef, lamb and dairy products will enjoy progressively larger duty free access to the UK from year one. Ninety-seven percent of New Zealand’s existing exports go duty free on entry into force. . . 

All up, the Government is claiming that the agreement will boost New Zealand’s GDP by $1 billion. I am sceptical of such claims – usually high quality agreements such as this deliver far greater impacts than it is possible to model. . . 

The UK’s entry to the European Union in 1973 had a serious impact on our trade.

It wasn’t all bad though, it forced us to diversify our markets which is sensible. However, in recent years we have become very, many would say overly, reliant on China.

The deal announced yesterday allows us much better access to the UK than we’ve had for decades which will be good for consumers and exporters on both sides of the agreement.

Their farmers will be worried but they have five years until cheese and butter are fully liberalised and 15 years until beef and sheep meat are fully liberalised.

Those who are fearful could learn from what happened here when we were forced to face the real and unprotected world of trade in the 1980s.

Instead of producing what the government subsidised  us to produce, we had to provide what markets wanted.  Farmers, and the wider economy, are stronger and more sustainable as a result of that.

This deal is a welcome reversal of the protectionism that has increased since Covid-19 spread and a reminder that the only really fair trade is free trade.


Can NZ learn from EU mistake?

19/02/2021

There’s a lesson for New Zealand here:

Europe’s refusal to permit its farmers to cultivate genetically engineered (GE) crops led to the avoidable emission of millions of tonnes of climate-damaging carbon dioxide, a new scientific analysis reveals.

The opportunity cost of the EU’s refusal to allow cultivation of GE varieties of key crops currently totals 33 million tonnes of CO2 per year, the experts say.

This is equivalent to 7.5 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the entire European agricultural sector, or roughly what might be emitted each year by 10-20 coal-fired power stations.

Given that farmers in North and South America adopted GE crops from the late 1990s onward, this analysis implies that over subsequent decades the additional carbon emitted due to the EU’s opposition to genetic engineering will likely be in the hundreds of millions of tonnes.

The findings result from from the fact that GE versions of major crops produce a higher yield because they can better resist damage from insects and competition from weeds.

With Europe’s farmers condemned to lower total agricultural yields because of GE crop non-adoption, more farmland globally has to be kept in production or plowed up which otherwise might be available for forests to sequester carbon in trees and soil. . .

Can our government learn from the EU’s mistake?

If they want us to accept the science on climate change it must base policy on countering it on science and allow us to use tools which science has proved are both safe and effective.


Rural round-up

24/01/2021

Patented milk-derived ingredient effective against influenza

Research commissioned by New Zealand company Quantec, and completed by an independent US laboratory, has found that its patented milk-derived ingredient IDP (Immune Defense Proteins) is effective against influenza virus species.

At a time when there is an intense global focus on viruses, Quantec commissioned the independent in vitro study to see if IDP had antiviral activity, and if so whether its formulation, which contains more than 50 bioactive proteins, provides greater antiviral activity than a singular protein.

The antiviral activity of IDP was tested against two viral species, influenza A H1N1/Puerto Rico/8/34 and herpes simplex HSV-1 MacIntyre, and compared against purified (95 per cent) lactoferrin. Lactoferrin has been shown in numerous studies to have antiviral activity.

Influenza A is a virus commonly implicated with flu occurrences, and herpes simplex is implicated in the causation of cold sores. .  .

‘Plagued by pests’: Daytime ferret sightings, rabbits galore in Hawke’s Bay – Louise Gould:

Daytime stoat sightings and a “plague” of rabbits have Hawke’s Bay residents concerned for wildlife in the region.

Simone Jones lives on a lifestyle block near Havelock North and said she’s noticed a huge increase in wild cats, stoats, ferrets and rabbits in the past year.

“On the 30-minute drive to town I normally see half a dozen ferrets or stoats a week,” she said, “and, at our property alone, dozens of rabbits each morning.”

Jones said the wild cats roaming her and neighbouring properties have been eating quails – even trapping doesn’t seem to curb the problem. . . 

Manapouri couple prepare to export alpacas to Europe– Jamie Searle:

Ray Haanen is hoping 2021 will be a better year with plans to export alpacas, for the first time, to lucrative European markets.

Haanen was one of many Kiwis laid off during the national lockdown in 2020. He lost his health and safety role with tourism company Real Journeys, after working for them for 16 years.

“I went back to working on the [family] farm,” he said.

Haanen and his wife, Jessie, own 70 alpacas and after he was made redundant, they decided to breed elite alpacas for overseas markets. . .

Cutest sheep breed to star at show – Shawn McAvenue

The world’s cutest sheep or a face only a mother could love?

You can decide at the Otago Taieri A&P Show, in Mosgiel, on Saturday.

Woodland Farm owner Nikita Woodhead, of Mosgiel, said Valais blacknose were widely considered to be the cutest sheep breed in the world.

“When they are lambs and have a full fleece they look like big fluffy teddy bears, with a cute little face and horns poking out the sides.” . . 

Regional council releases Japanese butterfly in Taranaki to control weeds:

A Japanese butterfly species has been released in Taranaki, but don’t be fooled by its good looks – it has a very important job to do.

Taranaki Regional Council environment officers released about 100 honshu white admiral (Limenitis glorifica) pupae at Oākura and another 100 at Kakaramea in late December to control Japanese honeysuckle, an invasive weed that smothers and strangles New Zealand’s native bush.

Most of the pupae had successfully hatched by the time the officers returned a week later.

TRC environment services manager Steve Ellis said the honshu white admiral is one of several biocontrol agents the regional council had released to control weeds. . . 

Brexit: lamb exporter to EU: ‘making virtually nothing’ – Sarah Dickins:

One of Wales’ largest lamb exporters says the extra cost and paperwork of selling meat into the EU means it is making “virtually nothing”.

Meat processing plant Randall Parker Foods in Llanidloes, Powys, warned it may lose a third of its 150 workers unless new border controls change.

The company processes one million lambs a year, half of which are exported to the European Union.

The UK government said they are working to help exporters with the new rules. . .

 


Sir Humphrey foreshadows Brexit

27/12/2020

Boris Johnson has secured a free trade deal with the EU, apropos of which this from Sir Humphrey:


New PM, same problem

24/07/2019

The UK has a new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, but he faces the same problem his predecessor Theresa May did – Brexit.

 

Johnson might think he can get a better deal than May but the European Union can’t make it easy for the UK to leave in case it encourages other countries to follow.

We were in England three weeks ago and no-one we met were hopeful about the outcome of negotiations.

One businessman pointed out one of the challenges if there’s a hard Brexit, will be getting fresh food.

The UK doesn’t have a lot of cool-storage for fresh produce because much of its fruit and vegetables is delivered every day from Europe.

We also spoke to someone who has been trying to negotiate a post-Brexit trade deal for New Zealand. His view on the UK’s situation was blunt: it’s a mess.

One of the lessons of this is the stupidity of a referendum when people don’t understand the issues and don’t know the implications of what they’re voting for.

 

 


Rural round-up

31/01/2019

Brain tumour felled Fonterra’s last hands on chairman – Fran O’Sullivan:

John Wilson who died on Monday at just 54 years of age was possibly the last Fonterra chairman to take a hands on approach to governing New Zealand’s largest company.

It was inevitable that Wilson would play a strong and sometimes quite political role in public life in New Zealand – the upshot of Fonterra’s dominance of the dairy industry – at times locked into confrontational situations with equally strong-minded politicians on both sides of the House.

Wilson was passionately devoted to Fonterra; strong-willed, direct, not afraid of anyone – yet also imbued with sufficient charm, persuasiveness and an ability to ride through the hard-knuckled politics of the NZ dairy industry to survive many a battle until his last year as chair. . . 

‘Outrageous’: EU votes to reduce NZ export rights – Pattrick Smellie:

The European Union’s parliament has taken a decisive step towards unilaterally reducing New Zealand’s rights to export specified quantities of tariff-free sheepmeat, beef and dairy products to the trading bloc if and when Brexit occurs.

The move has been slammed as “outrageous” by former trade negotiator Charles Finny in a Tweet and “disappointing” by the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the proposed moves risk compounding “growing international economic uncertainty and rising trade tensions”. . . 

Expert evidence rejects water conservation order bid :

Evidence from nine experts supports Horticulture New Zealand’s evidence that a water conservation order (WCO) is not the way to ensure healthy Hawke’s Bay rivers, Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says.

Horticulture New Zealand opposes the application for the WCO in the Lower Ngaruroro River and the Clive River.

“This impacts our economy and our food supply and a WCO is a blunt instrument that has been surpassed with better national and regional planning tools,” Mr Chapman says. . . 

Guy Trafford analyses the sheep meat market showing the changes to where our product goes, and where our rivals are focusing – Guy Trafford:

With the uncertainty around Brexit and what the balance of future access to both the EU and the UK for sheep meat maybe it could be timely to have a look at the drivers of international sheep meat trade.

Australia and New Zealand account for approximately 90% of international trade and both have declining flock numbers. Since 1990 Australia have dropped from 180 mln down to 65 mln and New Zealand from 58 mln to around 28 mln today. It has only been the increased productivity of both flocks, in regard to meat production, that has kept the industry viable with the critical mass required to remain competitive. . . 

Synlait follows Fonterra with lower forecast farmgate payout – Paul McBeth:

 (BusinessDesk) – Synlait Milk has cut its forecast payout to farmers for the current season, following Fonterra’s lead, as weaker global demand and strong domestic production weighs on international prices.

The Rakaia-based milk producer expects to pay $6.25 per kilogram of milk solids for the 2019 season, down from its previous forecast of $6.75/kgMS. That projection will depend on commodity prices recovering for the rest of the season, something Synlait said it considers realistic. . . 

Scott Tech, Mt Cook Alpine Salmon in automated pin boning project – Jenny Ruth:

(BusinessDesk) – Scott Technology and Mt Cook Alpine Salmon have teamed up to automate the removal of pin bones from King salmon with backing of more than $500,000 from Seafood Innovations.

Brent Keelty, Mt Cook’s processing operations manager, says the only way currently of de-boning King salmon is by hand. . . 

World first IoT farming tech trial  NZ

A pioneering arable farming tech trial is expected to make a quantum leap to help boost New Zealand’s primary export revenue.

New Zealand has a low understanding of how the internet of things (IoT) can assist with farm management and sustainability and adoption of precision agriculture techniques also remains low.

New Zealand’s primary industry export revenue is forecast to reach $43.8 billion for the year to June 2019, an increase of 2.5 percent from 2018. . .

TracMap Data Now Available in FarmIQ:

Integrating two of the country’s leading farm software systems means farmers can now have TracMap Proof of Application data seamlessly passed to their FarmIQ account, ensuring records are updated quickly and accurately for compliance and management needs.

“This is an important development for FarmIQ’s customers. Many farmers have been asking us for Tracmap’s Proof of Application and Proof of Placement data for some time,” said FarmIQ chief executive Darryn Pegram. . . 

Should primary producers do more to protect their data?:

While farmers and horticulturalists continue to integrate new digital technologies into their businesses, this data reliance does bring with it new vulnerabilities and risks. The next generation of producers are doing away with basic spreadsheets and building their businesses using a real-time data streams and cloud-based platforms for analysis and storage.

In the past, a simple computer backup was, in many cases, all that was needed. It has now been replaced by a complex web of data-points, data validation, storage, security access and data control. . . 

New funding for 31 community-led projects:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has today announced funding of $9.8 million for 31 new Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) projects.

The SFF provides funding for projects led by farmers, growers, and foresters aimed at building economic, environmental and social sustainability in the primary sector. It has recently been replaced by MPI’s new Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) programme. The 31 projects were in the pipeline prior to its launch in October 2018.

“SFF has been instrumental in kicking off both small and large innovative, community-led projects, and laying the groundwork for SFF Futures,” says Steve Penno, Director of Investment Programmes.

“The new 31 projects cover areas from apiculture and dairy to soil management and horticulture, and are great examples of innovative thinking. . . 

Farmers furious at inclusion on Aussie Farms’ map – Alastair Dowie:

‘Ill-informed’ and ‘disgraceful’ are just some of the words Victorian farmers have used upon finding their details on the controversial Aussie Farms map.

Made public last week, the map identifies a large number of rural and farming enterprises, as well as some saleyards, abattoirs and intensive production operations, across Australia.

Many farmers are furious that their personal information has been displayed on the map without their permission. . . .

 


EU should butt out of milk market

20/12/2017

The GlobalDairyTrade price index dropped 3.9% this morning.

The simple explanation is that supply is greater than demand.

The inbalance is aggravated by the EU putting 22,500t of skimmed milk powder from public intervention stocks on the market.

That’s the milk powder that the EU stockpiled when the global price for dairy products plummeted a few seasons ago.

Whether it’s coincidence that the price has dropped as the market is flooded with this extra milk powder, or whether it’s the cause, it would be much better if the EU kept out of the market.

Interfering when the price drops shields farmers from the price signals which would lead them to reduce costs which in turn would lead to producing less milk.

That prolongs downturns and risks another when the milk powder is eventually put on the market.

Farmers and consumers would all benefit if the EU butted out of the milk market and let production adjust to price signals.

 

 


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