Rural round-up

June 2, 2012

Munro puts lid on thankless task to disestablish Wool Board – Jonathan Underhill:

May 29 (BusinessDesk) – Wool Board Disestablishment Co has made its final report, having met its 2003 target for distributions in a decade-long process that left chairman Bruce Munro vowing never again to be involved in such a thankless, poorly paid task.

The directors of DisCo will resign and unrestricted access to the shell will be transferred to NZAX-listed Wool Equities, the company established to preserve and use some $300 million of tax losses for the benefit of growers. . .

Annual challenge for South Island Farmers ‘Good for Business’

Farmers who have won the annual Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year Award say winning the competition is good for business.

The prestigious annual award is open for entries for 2012 and previous winners say that entering brings more than prestige and prize money – it makes a difference for their farm’s bottom line too.

The aim of the Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition is to reward farmers whose work showcases the best of what can be achieved in farming. It is more than being a ‘good farmer’, it means operating in a way that shows leadership, innovation, efficiency and sustainability. . .

Fertiliser Quality Council Pleased With Podcast Response :

The Fertiliser Quality Council (FQC) is really pleased with the response to the webcast launching the program New Zealand Needs Fertiliser and Plants Need Food. It is a short, sharp educational program aimed at correcting the myths over fertiliser use.

FQC chair Neil Barton said that the immediate response of 361 full views, plus a few on Facebook, was great news for the fertiliser industry. In addition the vast majority watched the program right through.

“For too long we have had the self-styled environmental disciples perpetuating myths about fertiliser and its use,” Neil Barton said. “We now have a science-based program refuting that. The fact that almost 400 New Zealanders decided to watch the launch of the program, including a motivational address by Prof Rowarth from the University of Waikato Business School, is most heartening. . .

New board member elected to NZYF Board at Conference Week

Young Farmers from all over New Zealand spent a week in Dunedin last week for the TBfree New Zealand Young Farmers National Conference. Conference delegates went on a bus trip, took part in workshops, supported their favourite Contestant in The National Bank Young Farmer Contest and the also attended the 2012 Annual General Meeting.

 The AGM was held at Dunedin’s College of Education and two board members were elected – both roles were for two year terms. Twenty five year old Dunsandel dairy farmer Cole Groves was re-elected after sitting on the board for the past year. Twenty eight year old dairy farmer Cam Lewis from the Opiki Club was also elected. Previously Mr Lewis has worked as a rural banker and completed the Kellogg Rural Leaders Programme in 2009 as the youngest participant ever.

Mr Lewis will join Mr Groves and the two other elected members on the board: 31 year old Chairman and potato grower Paul Olsen who is from the Opiki Club and 30 year old sheep and beef farmer, Vice-chairperson Vanessa Hore from the Upper Manuherikia Club. Several other board members make up the NZYF board: Contest Chairman Bevan Proffit, Co-opted Board Member Sarah von Dadleszen, Strategic Partner James Christie, Strategic Partner Barbara Kuriger and NZYF CEO Richard Fitzgerald. . .

Fund makes outdoor access easier

Twenty-two projects designed to improve access to the outdoors will receive funding through the New Zealand Walking Access Commission’s Enhanced Access Fund.

Fifty organisations applied for a portion of the $230,000 made available in this year’s funding round. The contestable fund contributes to the Commission’s goal of free, certain, enduring and practical walking access to the outdoors.

Commission Chief Executive Mark Neeson said 2012 grant recipients came from all over New Zealand, from the Brynderwyn Ranges in Northland to Mataura in Southland. Projects that will receive funding range from new tracks and boardwalks to bridges and signage that makes existing access easier to find. . .


Rural round-up

October 15, 2011

Sights on NZ as dairy nutrition leader – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra can make New Zealand the “dairy nutrition capital of the world”, according to new chief executive Theo Spierings, when speaking just three days into his new job. Spierings was not talking milk volumes at his first news conference, but nutrition knowledge, research, university interactions and product innovation.

“We need to have an ambition to be ahead of the game in dairy nutrition, all of the time,” Spierings said, with typical Dutch determination.

Algae turns greedy for phospohorus from effluent:

MASSEY SCIENTISTS have been granted $745,000 over three years to develop technology of potentially huge benefit to dairying – the removal and recycling of phosphorous from effluent.  

Professor Andy Shilton, School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, and his team have the grant from the Marsden Fund managed by the Royal Society. The fund is designed to allow researchers to do ‘blue sky’, innovative, long term science in particular areas . . .

New look for MAF:

A unified and redesigned MAF will be strongly placed to support the success of New Zealand’s primary sectors, says MAF Director-General Wayne McNee.  

MAF today confirmed the detailed design of the new Ministry following the merger of MAF with the Ministry of Fisheries.

“The new Ministry will be the ‘gateway to government’ for the primary sector, with a clear vision of ‘Growing and Protecting New Zealand’,” McNee says . . .

Board bid brings skills set together – Sally Rae:

John Key inadvertently played a fairly major role in determining Grant Cochrane’s future.   

Although not from a farming family, Mr Cochrane always had an affinity with the land and, from a very early age, had a passion to go farming.   

In 1987, he saw a television programme that featured currency trading and Mr Key – long before the future prime minister had political aspirations – and decided currency trading      would be the quickest route to farm ownership . . .  

Competition hones eye for stock, way with words – Sally Rae:

For young South Canterbury farmer Thomas Gardner,  stock-judging competitions combine valuable public speaking skills with being able to handle stock.   

Mr Gardner (20) was among 13 young people who took part in a      recent junior stock-judging competition in Waimate. . .   

Believe it or not it’s a geep (or a shoat) – Sally Rae:

When Taieri farmer Graeme Wallace brought a mob of ewes    and lambs in for tailing this week, he thought the wool was    being pulled over his eyes.   

      “I thought, ‘What the hell is this? Is it a goat or is it a      lamb? … No, it’s a 50-50’.”   . . .

Zespri says kiwifruit industry will learn to live alonside PSA:

The kiwifruit marketer Zespri says the industry will learn to live alongside PSA.

PSA Innovation’s general manager David Tanner told a kiwifruit conference in Tauranga on Thursday that a programme to produce a new variety of the fruit, which is tolerant or resistant to PSA, has been stepped up.

He says in the short-term, the use of chemicals to protect the vines are buying the industry time . . .

B+LNZ schoalrship takes young Marton farmer to Mexico:

Marton farmer, Richard Morrison, has been awarded the Beef + Lamb New Zealand agricultural scholarship that will take him to the Five Nations Beef Alliance and Young Ranchers Programme being held in Mexico later this month.

Richard (32), was selected from a strong line-up of candidates vying for the chance to represent and promote New Zealand beef, as well as helping to foster international relations within the beef industry.

Rural sales volumes continue rising steadily:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 93 more sales (+56.7%) for the three months ended September 2011 than for the three months ended September 2010.  Overall, there were 257 farm sales in the three months to end of September 2011 compared with 164 sales in the three months to September 2010.  The number of sales fell by eight (-3.0%) in the three months to September 2011 compared to the three months ended August 2011.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to September 2011 was $17,694 compared to $15,148 in the three months to August 2011 and $17,447 for the three months to September 2010. 

Farenheit 212 turns up heat for NZ wool – Peter Kerr:

The guys who presented some new wool innovation ideas last week in Christchurch and Auckland are an interesting bunch, with an extremely interesting business model. (More, generally, about some of these wool ideas in another blog – all participants have signed a non-disclosure-agreement).

Fahrenheit 212, formed by New Zealander Geoff Vuleta five years ago in New York, is the only company of its kind in the world he reckons. Sure, there’s many product development firms, coming up with new ideas for corporate clients . . .

Farms are getting bigger across Europe Paul at Business Blog:

The number of agricultural holdings across Europe fell by one fifth between 2003 and 2010, as the average size continued to increase, European Commission figures have revealed.

In 2010 there were just over 12m agricultural holdings in the EU-27, and a farmed area of 170m ha. While the number of holdings was down 20% on 2003, the area was just 2% lower, meaning the average size increased from 12ha to 14ha. . .

Farmers stressed by environmental rules:

A study into the health of dairy farmers shows environmental rules from regional councils, including those on water management, are a common cause of stress.

In the first year of a seven-year programme, AgResearch interviewed 500 dairy farmers to identify their main health issues.

It found 17% had experienced depression or anxiety and half did not seek help when they needed it.

IrrigationNZ rewards initiative:

Innovation, discovery and achievement making a positive contribution to irrigation and efficient water management are set to be rewarded by the industry’s national body.

Irrigation New Zealand, in association with Aqualinc, will open nominations this month for the second biennial “Innovation in Irrigation’award.

The award is an opportunity for the industry to showcase innovation, and IrrigationNZ’s way to recognise new invention, ideas, systems, or gadgets that are constantly coming out of the irrigation sector.  The award celebrates, encourages and promotes innovation and the benefit and impact irrigation provides to communities right throughout New Zealand . . .

Basking in the rising sun: unlocking our primary potential – William Rolleston:

It is my pleasure to speak to you on research priorities for agriculture and horticulture.

Before I begin to outline some thoughts that will be challenging at times, I first wish to make comment to you on the research priorities according to New Zealander of the year, Sir Paul Callaghan.  I quote:

We are brilliantly successful at dairying, but sadly we cannot scale up this industry because of the risk of further environmental damage.”

What’s more, apparently, “our dairy industry exports milk powder, rather than developing new products. Our forestry industries send raw logs offshore and despite the past capacity to invest in processing, have shown no inclination to do so”

So there you have it.

We can all pack our bags, go back to our offices, send dismissal notices to our staff and report to Ministers, the scientific community and the public, that biologically, we are as good as we can ever possibly be . . .

Farm manager winner takes next step:

The 2011 New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year, Jason Halford, is now the proud owner of his own herd, sharemilking 280 cows at Opiki, Horowhenua.

“I was ready for the next step and I think sharemilking is a great sector to be in and owning cows is a big positive.”

Mr Halford is co-ordinating the 2012 dairy trainee of the year contest for the Manawatu Rangitikei Horowhenua regional competition, one of 12 regional competitions held nationwide by the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards . . .

Shaping the dairy cow of the future:

Dairy farmers get a chance to shape the cow of the future at a national road show over the next month.

The 20 events from Kaitaia to Invercargill are for farmers to give feedback on the National Breeding Objective.

The dairy cow is the engine of the New Zealand dairy industry, with 4.4 million cows producing more than 1.4 billion kilograms of milksolids every year. The National Breeding Objective is to identify animals whose progeny will be the most efficient converters of feed into farmer profit, otherwise known as Breeding Worth (BW). . .

Fertiliser industry environmental initiatives:

The Fertiliser Quality Council (FQC) is pleased that the fertiliser industry is investing considerable amounts on research to lower our environmental footprint. It will be great for farmers and the environment.

The FQC congratulates Ballance Agri-Nutrients and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s Primary Growth Partnership for committing $32 million to support the research.

“At a time when margins are suffering, anything that will reduce a farmer’s inputs has to be good,” FQC chair, Neil Barton said. “In addition anything that we can do to preserve the environment is vital . . .


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