Rural round-up

December 13, 2016

Shearer drug-testing mooted – Alexa Cook:

The New Zealand Shearing Contractors Association says there is a problem with drugs in the industry, but it is hard to measure because testing is not widespread.

The association’s president, Jamie McConachie, said alcohol was a well-documented issue with shearing gangs, however the scale of drug use was less clear because it was harder for people to talk about and measure.

The Australian shearing industry has recently formed a group to try and tackle methamphetamine abuse.

Mr McConachie said New Zealand had similar problems, but he did not think it was as bad as Australia. . . 

Film keeps young plants warm, moist – Sally Rae:

Brian Michelle’s maize crop alongside the Outram-Mosgiel Rd is attracting a fair bit of attention.

That is because it has been planted using a biodegradable film that creates a greenhouse effect for the young plants.

The Samco system, owned by Pioneer, had been in New Zealand for a few years. Mr Michelle was the only farmer to use it on the Taieri this year although the system was increasingly being talked about, Farmlands technical field officer Kieran Fowler said.

In a single pass, the Samco  planting machine planted the maize seed, applied a pre-emergent herbicide and laid the biodegradable film. . . 

MPI produces super biosecurity dogs:

The Ministry for Primary Industries hopes a new breed of detector dog will produce its best biosecurity sniffers ever.

MPI detector beagle Clara gave birth to three male and three female puppies on 24 November. The sire was Morley, a harrier hound. Both dogs work for MPI at airports and ports to sniff out food and plant materials that pose biosecurity risk to New Zealand.

“It’s the first time anyone in the world has crossed a beagle and a harrier for detection work and we have very high expectations for this super-breed,” says MPI Detection Technology Manager Brett Hickman. . . 

Case studies of top performing dairy farms released:

New case studies on top performing dairy farms will help other farmers drive their economic and environmental performance, says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

The studies are part of the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Farm Systems Change programme, which is looking at ways to help farmers boost performance by learning from the strongest performers.

“Last year the Government allocated $800,000 towards this project which is focused on understanding the drivers of farm performance and sharing that knowledge with others. . . 

Fonterra chairman urges new PM to continue push for trade deals –  Fiona Rotherham

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra chairman John Wilson has told investors in the cooperative’s unit fund that it’s critical the government continues driving regional and multi-lateral trade agreements.

At the annual meeting of the Fonterra Shareholders Fund, Wilson said he had gone on a number of trade missions with former Prime Minister John Key, who he said was a strong supporter and advocate of the New Zealand dairy industry.

“With his departure, it is critical that we continue to work closely with government to ensure trade strategy adapts to the changing global environment that has certainly seen significant political change during 2016,” he said. . . 

Feds Challenge Bill English’s Team to Continue Good Work:

 

Federated Farmers congratulates outgoing Prime Minister John Key after eight years leading the country, and looks forward to working with Bill English in the top job.

“John Key has been an outstanding Prime Minister and ambassador for our country.

“During his time in office he has overseen some profound challenges and changes,” Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston says. . . .

Tatua Appoints New CEO:

On Thursday 8 December 2016, the same day as its Annual General Meeting, The Tatua Co-operative Dairy Company Ltd announced the appointment of Brendhan Greaney to the position of Tatua Chief Executive Officer.

Chairman Stephen Allen who spoke to both Shareholders and Staff said, “after a professional, rigorous yet sensitive process, supported by executive search firm, Hobson Leavy, we are absolutely delighted to announce the appointment of one of our own people, Brendhan Greaney. Brendhan’s appointment is with immediate effect with the simultaneous retirement of previous and highly respected Chief Executive Officer, Paul McGilvary”. . . 

Atkins Ranch gains full non-GMO accreditation in US:

New Zealand’s Atkins Ranch is the first lamb exporter in the world to gain full non-GMO accreditation in America through the non-GMO project.

“It is something we’ve been working towards since the start of this year,” says New Zealand supply chain manager Pat Maher. “As of this week 100 per cent of our product is 100 per cent non-GMO project verified.”

Non-GMO project is an American-based organisation that provides third-party verification for non-GMO food and products. . . 


Rural round-up

October 28, 2016

Capturing excess water a no-brainer – Steve Wyn-Harris:

One of the current Hawke’s Bay regional councillors who has strongly opposed the Ruataniwha Dam and, party to many comments regarding farming, has as his guiding thought when considering council matters: ‘wisdom is old men planting trees under whose shade they will never sit’.

I like it very much and although not claiming to be wise I have planted some 50,000 trees on my own property and continue to plant as I near 60 so certainly won’t be sitting under the shade of these latter trees.

My own guiding principal throughout my farming career has been ‘live life as though you may die tomorrow but farm as though you may live forever’. . .

Southland woman published book on being a woman in a man’s world in the rural sector –  Briar Babington:

Women in the workplace have come a long way in the past 50 years, but it’s those experience that are the framework for one Southland woman’s latest book.

Dawn Andrews was born and bred in Gore and has put her life experience to pen and paper and published a book outlining the challenges of being a working woman in the rural sector.

“It’s a book that I’ve thought about writing for a long, long time,” she said.

The book is an autobiography of sorts, spurred on my Andrews’ passion to make sure history was being well documented, providing something for the future generations to look back on. . .

5000 lambs  ‘click the ticket’ in US supermarkets – Kate Taylor:

A Hawke’s Bay sheep farm is the first in the world to be certified for its pasture-only system. Kate Taylor reports on what makes this Central Hawke’s Bay station stand out from the rest.

Visitors to Mark Warren’s hill country farm get to witness at first-hand the skills of an expert four-wheel driver. A spectacular view from the top of Waipari Station is their reward for taking what seems to be a direct line up to the sky.

Perceived danger aside, Warren is skilled and confident on the side of a hill and doesn’t stop talking about the great advantages New Zealand farming has to offer.

Warren and his partner Julie Holden live on the 1300ha station (1000ha effective) in the Omakere district in coastal Central Hawke’s Bay that is managed for them by Nigel Hanan. . .

Taranaki road transport boss says bobby calf video is positive – Sue O’Dowd:

A video purporting to show poor handling of bobby calves being loaded on to stock trucks has been rubbished by Taranaki road transport boss Tom Cloke. 

Cloke said the footage released by Farmwatch this week failed to show the truck crates contained rubber mats to cushion the calves’ landing when they were rolled aboard. 

He wants the public to realise the bobby calves weren’t being rolled onto a hard grating. . . 

Fonterra assesses impact of big drop in milk production on future sales – Fiona Rotherham

 (BusinessDesk)Fonterra Cooperative Group is assessing the impact of a big drop in milk production this month on its contract book and future production plans.

In its latest global dairy update, the world’s biggest dairy exporter said daily milk volumes across the central and upper North Island were down significantly in the early part of October due to the impact of wetter than normal spring weather and this has continued, particularly in the key dairying region of Waikato where daily milk volumes are down around 14 percent compared to last year.

Given that milk collections are now at the peak of the season, they are not expected to recover and will flow into the balance of the season, it said. . . 

Differences between Australian and NZ meat industries – Allan Barber:

Information obtained from Sydney based consultancy agInfo shows a very high degree of procurement competition for domestic market supply, especially for beef; this situation has been driven by a tightening of livestock supply combined with aggressive pursuit of retail market share by Woolworths.

It illustrates how the dynamics of the Australian market differ from here, although the structure is quite similar: retail butcheries competing with two major supermarket chains and a larger proportion of stock destined for export. But the Australian domestic market represents more than 30% of total livestock production compared with only 10-15% in New Zealand where mid-winter is the only time of year when domestic production exerts greater influence.

Australian beef producers are receiving what appears to be an unsustainable price at the moment, measured at 69% of the retail price which compares with 56% in October 2015, 44% in 2014 and 36% in 2013. . . 

Farmers need to be vigilant around fixed rate mortgages:

Market commentators are indicating with 80% certainty the Reserve Bank of New Zealand will lower the official cash rate by 25 basis points next month and then it will begin to stabilise. This is leading many rural borrowers to consider if now is the time to be looking at fixing rates. Head of Corporate Agribusiness at Crowe Horwath, Hayden Dillon, cautions that with markets still showing volatility, making hedging decisions simply by following economists’ advice can be fraught with danger.

“Even with another cut appearing to be imminent, the market appears to have little appetite for more, and inevitably talk will begin around when they may start to go up. Many rural borrowers are now looking at an interest rate curve that is still relatively flat, and thinking now could be the time to take some cover. But there are variables that you need to be aware of before you start to consider your options,” warns Dillon. . . 

Young Viticulturist of the Year drives off in brand new Hyundai Santa Fe:

Cameron Price the winner of the Young Viticulturist of the Year competition 2016 is thrilled to receive a Hyundai Santa Fe as part of his prize package. He will have full use of the vehicle for a whole year. It is appropriately “grenache” coloured – one of the more unusual red grape varieties that Price nurtures on the Villa Maria vineyards where he works.

The vehicle was presented to him at the Bayswater Hyundai Dealership. Hyundai have been sponsoring the Young Vit competition for the last three years and in that time the prestigious Bayer Young Viticulturist title has been taken out by a Hawke’s Bay finalist, a genuine hat-trick for the region. Paul Robinson also from Villa Maria won the competition in 2014 and Caleb Dennis from Craggy Range took it out in 2015. It is becoming a familiar sight therefore to see a Young Vit branded Hyundai Santa Fe cruising around The Bay. . . 


Rural round-up

September 23, 2016

Farmers must ‘lock in the gains’ as milk price lifts:

DairyNZ is encouraging farmers to lock in the gains achieved in the past two seasons, as a pasture-first farm system will continue to provide payback as the milk price rises.

Chief executive Tim Mackle says the increase to $5.25 per kg MS for the forecast 2016/17 Fonterra Farmgate milk price is terrific news for dairy farmers.

“This brings many farm businesses to around the 2016/17 break-even milk price of $5.05 per kg MS, once retrospective payments and dividends are taken into account. This means fewer farmers will need to borrow extra funds this season,” says Tim.

“Retrospective payments for next year have also been boosted by 20-25 cents in this announcement, to over $1 per kg MS. . . 

New funding for Mayfield Hinds irrigation scheme:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed $345,000 in new funding to investigate expansion of the Mayfield Hinds irrigation scheme in mid-Canterbury.

The funding comes from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF)and will look at the feasibility of increasing the irrigated area of the current scheme by 4,500 hectare through piped extensions.

“Storing alpine water to use in dry times is crucial for rural communities to thrive, especially as the climate becomes more variable,” says Mr Guy.

“Well planned and managed irrigation schemes are good for rural economies and the environment. . . 

Fonterra says China well-poised for growth, regulatory changes will see 1800 brands disappear – Fiona Rotherham

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group chief executive Theo Spierings says legislation will mean drastic changes in the Chinese infant formula market with the removal of between 1800 and 2000 brands in the next 15 to 18 months.

Regulatory changes require each entity to have only three brands and three different recipes of infant formula in a bid to crack down on the grey market and allay consumers’ food safety concerns by reducing fake formula.

Spierings said Fonterra was well-positioned in every segment in China where it is already the global market leader for ingredients such as whole milk powder but a lot of things have changed in the past few years including a shift to sales from mother and baby shops to e-commerce. . . 

NZX milk futures fall from record after GDT, still above Fonterra payout forecast – Tina Morrison

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand milk price futures have fallen in the wake of the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, having reached a record in the run-up to this week’s sale, but remain above the payout level forecast by most of the country’s milk processors.

The NZX milk futures contract for the 2016/17 season hit a record $5.65 per kilogram of milk solids ahead of the GDT overnight on Tuesday, and recently traded at $5.50/kgMS. That’s still above the base milk price forecast by the country’s major milk processors, with Fonterra Cooperative Group this week updating its forecast to $5.25/kgMS, while Synlait Milk’s is at $5/kgMS, Westland Milk Products at $4.75-to-$5.15/kgMS, Miraka at $4.55-to-$4.80/kgMS, and Open Country Dairy at $4.60-to-$4.90/kgMS. Tatua sits above the futures with a current forecast of $5.50-to-$6/kgMS while Oceania Dairy didn’t immediately respond to a request for its forecast. . . 

NZ Merino and Silver Fern Farms set out new path for Silere:

The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) and Silver Fern Farms have reached agreement for NZM to take 100 per cent ownership of Alpine Origin Merino Limited, previously owned jointly.

Alpine Origin Merino Limited was established 5 years ago as a joint venture between NZM and Silver Fern Farms to own the SILERE alpine origin merino brand and to fund the development and marketing of the SILERE merino meat range. Under the agreement NZM becomes the sole shareholder in Alpine Origin Merino Limited.

NZM Chief Executive John Brakenridge stated that “when we set out we needed to prove merino meat could be differentiated as a luxury eating experience and value created in market could be delivered to grower suppliers. . . 

Kiwi moves to Pitt island, with no electricity or phones, for love – Ryan Bridge:

There’s no love without sacrifice, right? How far would you be willing to go to make it work?

Story met Amy Podjursky during our flight to the Chatham Islands, and discovered she was moving hundreds of kilometres to a remote island in the name of love.

There’s no electricity or cellphones on Pitt Island – and there’s only around 50 people who actually live there. It’s quite uninhabited and it’s the eastern-most point of New Zealand. . . 

 

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Not all superheroes wear capes. Some wear boots and know how to use a crock pot – PinkTractor.com


Rural round-up

September 16, 2016

Plant & Food $8.5 million research grant includes GM techniques used ‘in lab’ only – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – An $8.5 million research grant awarded to crown research institute Plant & Food this week for new breeding technologies for high value plant industries includes gene editing which is considered in New Zealand to be part of genetic modification.

The grant was part of the total investment announced this week of more than $209 million over the next five years in new scientific research projects through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) 2016 Endeavour Fund.

Plant & Food chief executive Peter Landon-Lane told the NZBio conference today that one of the new breeding technologies is CRISPR gene editing, which gives biologists the ability to target and study particular DNA sequences in the expanse of a genome and then edit them. . . 

First milk flows through Fonterra’s newest milk powder plant at Lichfield:

The first litres of Waikato-farmed milk are flowing through Fonterra’s newest high-efficiency milk powder plant, as the world’s joint-largest dryer comes online in the South Waikato.

The new 30 metric tonne an hour dryer at the Co-operative’s Lichfield site will be capable of processing an additional 4.4 million litres of milk each day – equivalent to almost two Olympic swimming pools – into high quality milk powder for global markets.
 
Large scale dryers such as this play a key role in driving value for the business, says Fonterra’s Chief Operating Officer Robert Spurway. . . 

Ballance Farm Environment Awards Confirm Viticulture Business On Right Track:

Pictured: Allan Johnson, Pip Goodwin and Blair Savage

Entering the Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards was a valuable exercise for South Wairarapa viticulture business, Palliser Estate Wines of Martinborough Ltd.

Chief executive officer Pip Goodwin says the operation aims to be a leader in the production of high quality wine using the most sustainable methods possible.

“The Ballance Farm Environment Awards gave us a chance to be judged by our peers and find out what we could do to improve in future.”

Solving sticky problem earns big bio kudos:

Scientists at Scion have solved a growing environmental problem for wood panel manufacturers.

Warren Grigsby and his team have developed the world’s first wood panel resins (glue) using biobased ingredients.

That solution has earned the team the “Biotechnology of the Year” award at NZBIO’s annual conference in Auckland.

When Scion, the Crown Research Institute that specialises in science around forestry, wood products and bio materials, learned the level of formaldehyde emissions from wood panels were being regulated lower in countries like Japan, the United States and in the European Union, with New Zealand following suit, it looked to biotechnology to find ways of reducing the emissions. . . 

What farmers wish you knew about farmers – PinkTractor.com

From ‘farming is easy’ to ‘farmers are rich,’ there are a million things consumers think they know about farmers. We asked our amazing farm community what the one thing they wish people knew about farmers. These are the responses.

Farmers are smart! They have to be everything – plumbers, carpenters, mechanics, scientists, vets and more. Every day!

Farming is a lifestyle, not a job. It’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Every day of the year. It’s almost impossible to take a vacation, especially if you have animals.

Some farmers have to have jobs off the farm to make ends meet, but they still wouldn’t trade it for anything. . . 

McFall Fuel and VicForests show safety leadership as Conference Partners:

Industry safety champions in both New Zealand and Australia have come forward to show their safety leadership by becoming Principal Partners to the 3rd FIEA Forest Industry Safety Summit conference series – scheduled for March 2017 in Rotorua and Melbourne.

“The leaders of both McFall Fuel in New Zealand and VicForests in Australia see their teams as early adopters of positive safety practices. So they’re keen to show leadership for others in the forest industries by being proactive in safety,” says event director John Stulen from FIEA.

McFall Fuel CEO, Sheryl Dawson actively promotes safety in every aspect of their company’s operations. McFall Fuel’s strong family values of zero harm, respect, trust, integrity, teamwork and a strong work ethic are reflected in every facet of the work carried out. . . 

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Whoever said ‘everything happens for a reason’ has never had a cow step on her foot. – Pink Tractor


Rural round-up

May 18, 2016

NZ primary sector needs story to sell globally, trade envoy Petersen says – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand needs to develop a new primary sector story to help sell its products to the world, says Mike Petersen, New Zealand’s special agricultural trade envoy.

Speaking at today’s Dairy NZ Farmer Forum at Mystery Creek, Petersen said he has been “banging on” about this idea for some years without getting much traction.

“We need a coherent New Zealand story and we need it desperately to take out into the world,” he said. “We are behind the game at pulling this together to make the most of our opportunities.” . . .

Monsanto’s pesticide ‘unlikely to cause cancer’ :

The weed-killing pesticide glyphosate, made by Monsanto and widely used in agriculture and by gardeners, probably does not cause cancer, according to a new safety review by United Nations health, agriculture and food experts.

In a statement likely to intensify a row over its potential health impact, experts from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) said glyphosate is “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans” exposed to it through food.

It is mostly used on crops.

Having reviewed the scientific evidence, the joint WHO/FAO committee also said glyphosate is unlikely to be genotoxic in humans. . . .

Why Many Midwestern Farmers Are Pro-TPP – Kristofor Husted:

Turn on the TV and you can barely escape the acronym TPP.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a free trade deal between the U.S. and 11 other countries that’s currently being negotiated. Presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle are deriding the TPP, saying it’s a bum deal that will hurt the U.S. economy and especially low-wage workers.

But if you venture into the Midwest and ask a farmer about the TPP, you’re likely to get a different answer.

“This pending TPP trade negotiation, to me, is hugely important for agricultural commodities, but specifically for beef,” says Mike John, a cattle rancher in Huntsville, Mo. He’s one of many Midwest farmers and ranchers who are bucking the political trend to dog the TPP. . .  (Hat tip: Kiwiblog)

Māori land report shows potential in Northland:

Māori land owners in Northland have promising options for developing their land, according to a report commissioned by the Ministry for Primary Industries, Te Rūnanga-Ā-Iwi-O-Ngāpuhi and the Far North District Council.

“The report shows that in a 50km radius around Kaikohe there are nearly 4000 small parcels of unproductive land that have the potential to be developed for uses like horticulture and agriculture,” says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

The report highlights two case studies focusing on horticulture and pastoral land use scenarios that show the potential for many parts of Northland. . . 

Summit to Consider Farming Within Environmental Limits:

The 2016 New Zealand Primary Industry Summit will once again provide farm and business leaders with the opportunity to consider sustainability and environmental issues.

This years programme includes sessions that will tackle the hottest topics in the industry including the TPPA, sustainability, smart branding and marketing, and foreign investment. A highlight for those interested in sustainability will be a session delivered on day two by Fish & Game New Zealand’s Environmental Manager Corina Jordan entitled ‘Farming within environmental limits.’ . . 

Fonterra NZ, Australia milk collection drops in season to date – Tina Morrison

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group says milk collection is down in New Zealand and Australia, its two largest markets, in the first 11 months of the season during a period of weak dairy prices.

Milk collection across New Zealand fell 3.3 percent to 1.499 billion kilograms of milk solids in the season from June 1, 2015, through April 30, 2016, with all of the decline coming in the North Island while good weather conditions kept South Island production unchanged, Auckland-based Fonterra said in its Global Dairy Update. The 2015/16 season forecast has been revised to 1.558 billion kgMS, down 3 percent on the previous season, its said. . . 

Fonterra Confirms Early Final Dividend Payment:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today confirmed it will pay part of its forecast final dividend earlier, to support farmers during a time of extremely tight on-farm cash flows.

Chairman John Wilson said a solid performance during the nine months to 30 April in the current financial year enables the Co-operative to declare the 10 cents per share dividend today. Payment will be made on 7 June, bringing dividend payments so far this year to 30 cents per share.

“While the milk supply and demand imbalance continues to impact global milk prices and our forecast Farmgate Milk Price, the business is delivering on strategy and has maintained the good performance levels seen in the first six months of the financial year. . . 

Drop in number of farms on the market:

Farm sale prices held steady in April, but the number of farms on the market is falling, says the Real Estate Institute.

New data showed there were 16 percent fewer sales for the three months ended April this year, than for the same three months last year.

But the median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to April was $30,000, up nearly 5 percent on the same period last year. . . 

 

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Hat tip: Utopia

 


Rural round-up

May 11, 2016

Dairy cattle number falls for first time since 2005:

The number of dairy cattle in New Zealand fell to 6.5 million in 2015, Statistics New Zealand said today. This is the first decline after nine years of consecutive increases.

”The dairy cattle number is now similar to the level back in 2013,” business indicators senior manager Neil Kelly said. “This reduction was caused by an increase in the number of cows slaughtered and was against a backdrop of declining milk solid payouts.”

The 2015 Agricultural Production Survey final result shows that, for the year ending June 2015, there were 213,000 fewer dairy cattle. This follows a record high of 6.7 million dairy cattle in 2014. In the Waikato region, a traditional dairy farming area, there were 153,000 fewer dairy cattle than in 2014. . . 

Australian dairy farmers call for independent govt review after Fonterra slashed farmgate prices – Fiona Rotherham:

A group of Australian dairy farmers is planning a rally this week and more to follow in a push for the federal government to urgently establish an independent review of the country’s dairy industry after farmgate milk prices were slashed by Fonterra Cooperative Group and other processors.

The group, Dairy Power, said the “unacceptable retrospective reduction in milk price”, which affects 75 percent of farms in Victoria, threatens to push farmers off the land or further cull their herds.

“Dairy farmers are not going to survive if they’re losing money,” said group president Chris Gleeson. “The average farmer is forecast to lose A$15,000 this season and more next season. Without immediate action, the industry will continue its downward spiral.” . . 

The money’s in the honey:

The money’s in the honey

A dawning realisation that unused blocks of manuka covered land could be an untapped source of sustainable income is attracting a steadily increasing number of students of all ages in Northland to train in apiculture.

Manuka honey, or liquid gold as it’s fast becoming known, is a growing industry, with enrolments in the Kaitaia based Lincoln University Certificate in Apiculture up from eight students in 2015 to 22 in 2016. The course has support from local iwi, and is run in partnership with Te Runanga o Te Rarawa School of Honey Gatherers. . . 

Speech to the B3 biosecurity conference:

As you know, I’ve always said that biosecurity is my number one priority as Minister.

That’s because it underpins all of our other goals. We want to double the value of our primary sector exports by 2025, but we can’t do that unless we protect ourselves from pests and diseases.

Today I want to give a bit of context on what we’ve achieved over the last few years, the challenges ahead of us, and the importance of all sectors working together.

What we’ve done in recent years

In Budget 2015 I was proud to announce $27 million in new funding for biosecurity. As a result of that, MPI has employed 90 new front line biosecurity staff and introduced 24 new biosecurity detector dog teams. . .

Ministers announces Green Ribbon finalists:

Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry today announced the 2016 Green Ribbon Awards finalists to celebrate exceptional environmental achievements by New Zealanders.

“We are delighted to recognise these community groups, scientists, schools, councils and businesses for their innovation and achievements in the 26th annual Green Ribbon Awards,” Dr Smith says.

“This year we received a very commendable 106 nominations across the ten categories, with some projects making a positive difference over many years.

“Environmental initiatives include protecting our precious biodiversity, reducing carbon emissions, minimising waste, reducing water pollution, educating and inspiring leadership and implementing more sustainable business practice.” . . 

Gift to help grow seed industry:

A former Lincoln University student who went on to carve out an illustrious career in the seed industry has provided a significant boost to seed science education in New Zealand.

Selwyn and Mary Manning signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Lincoln University Foundation last Friday to mark the creation of the Manning Seed Awards, which are dedicated to furthering education in seed science and seed technology for the benefit of New Zealand. 
“The seed industry is sometimes overlooked for funding, as a lot of people don’t realise how significant it is,” Mr Manning said at the MOU signing event.
 
“These awards are our way of giving back to a vital sector of New Zealand’s agricultural industry, which has given our family so much for so many years.” . . 

Zooming in on heat for herring bones:

Farmers who milk in herringbones now have an easy to use and high tech solution to accurately identify which of their cows are on heat.

The innovative system has been developed in New Zealand by farmer owned co-operative LIC, and is now commercially available in this country and overseas. It uses exclusive camera technology to automatically identify heat events, saving farmers time and money.

The technology was developed to meet farmer demand for a herringbone heat detection solution, LIC Automation Chief Executive Paul Whiston said. Protrack EZ Heat for rotaries had been available for four years and a large number of farmers had asked for a herringbone solution. . . 

Shearer, farmer and former soldier wins premier book award – Beattie’s Book Blog:

Stephen Daisley has won New Zealand’s richest writing prize, the inaugural $50,000 Acorn Foundation Literary Award, for his novel Coming Rain, announced this evening at the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards..

Daisley (60), who was born and raised in the Raetihi Hotel, which his parents owned, is a former soldier in the NZ Army. He was 56 years old when his first book, Traitor, was published to wide literary acclaim in Australia, winning a Prime Minister’s Award for Literature. Daisley now lives in Western Australia, where he is a farmer and shearer. . . 

Staying fit on the farm!  5 keys to finding time to workout – Uptown Farms:

Over the last few years I’ve had the privilege of speaking to women from all aspects of our industry. One question keeps coming up.

Other farm moms always ask, “How do you have time to stay in shape?”

Every time it’s asked, I have a lousy answer. I just smile and shrug, or reply “I don’t know!”

For moms on the farm, life is so different. Our mornings already start earlier than most with morning chores. For moms
who farm full time, there isn’t a break between sun up and sun down. Many of us leave the farm for a career during the day, only to return to more chores in the evening. We often eat meals on the go, in the tractor or in the barn. . . 

 

 

 


Rural round-up

May 3, 2016

Rattling Fonterra’s governance is not enough – Keith Woodford:

Late last year, Fonterra’s farmers rattled the cage by voting for a change in governance rules. However, the voting majority was insufficient to change the rules. Fonterra’s Board has now responded with its own proposals for new governance structures.

To me, the new proposals look like a continuing meander towards corporatisation, without recognition of the special features of a huge co-operative conglomerate like Fonterra.

The proposal last year, led by former Fonterra directors Greg Gent and Colin Armer, was to reduce the number of directors. But would a smaller number of directors really make a difference? And what would it do in terms of further disconnecting the Board from the grassroots? . . 

Rabobank Agribusiness Monthly (NZ) – April 2016:

The Agribusiness Monthly provides timely information and analysis on agricultural conditions, commodity price updates and commentary on the latest sectoral trends and developments.

Key Highlights:

• Dairy – Global commodity prices continue to stumble along a market floor largely determined by the level of EU intervention support—and the ceiling for this support has just been approved higher. . . 

Time to plan ahead for droughts – Dan Satherley:

Improving water storage will be key to getting farmers through future droughts, according to one agribusiness expert.

Failing that, it might be time for beef, sheep and dairy to rethink their business model.

North Canterbury is into its second year of drought, with rainfall over the past few months only a third what it normally is. . . 

Kiwi-Owned Organic Rice Company Number One in South America:

Organic Latin America, an organic rice processing and distribution company in South America owned by kiwi company Ceres Organics and international partners, has risen to be the largest organic rice exporter out of South America in just five years.

Organic Latin America was founded five years ago by Ceres Organics and Thai, Danish, and Argentinian companies in order to provide South American organic rice growers with access to international markets.

Organic Latin America worked with growers in the Northern parts of Argentina and in Southern Brazil to help them improve processing systems and supply markets all over the world. . .

Fonterra says season-to-date milk collection down 3% in NZ, down 1% in Australia – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group says milk collection is down in both New Zealand and Australia in the first 10 months of the season, reflecting destocking in its home market in the face of low milk prices and unfavourable weather across the Tasman.

Milk collection across New Zealand fell 3 percent to 1.39 billion kilograms of milk solids in the 10 months ended March 31, with all of the decline coming in the North Island and no change in the south. . . 

New PGP Investment Advisory Panel Chair announced:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed John Parker as the new Chair of the Primary Growth Partnership’s independent Investment Advisory Panel (IAP).

Mr Parker is a primary industry and governance specialist, and assumes his role as IAP Chair from 1 May 2016.  He replaces Joanna Perry whose tenure as Chair finishes on 30 April after nearly seven years on the IAP, including almost three as its Chair.

“IAP members use their expertise and judgement to advise on decisions about the investment of PGP funds, and to help ensure these investments achieve the aims of economic growth and sustainability,” says Mr Guy.

“Mr Parker has extensive experience in both governance and in the primary industries and he understands what is required to grow value in the sector. . . 

Northland Farmer gets top foodies on side:

A local specialist pork and beef producer has won a nationwide competition to have some of the country’s top experts help promote the business.

Amanda Hellier and her husband Wayne farm in Motutangi under the name Farm Gate Produce. They have been named as one of four winners of the Sustainable Business Network’s Good Food Boost competition. The family business produces Free Range pork cuts, sausages, salami and Chorizo and supplies it ‘from gate to plate’. . . 

Considering more days in milk?:

After a tough season many dairy farmers may be considering extending the milking period of their cows to create more cashflow.

For farmers in a position to do so, keeping cows in milk for an extended period can make strong commercial sense. A dry cow by contrast still incurs feed and grazing costs but without a corresponding milk income.

SealesWinslow Consultant Animal Nutrition Specialist, Paul Sharp, says that farmers weighing the costs and benefits of extending the milking period have several things to consider.  . . .

Waikato forum to unlock secrets to $3/kg MS farm systems:

Dairy farmer Gary Rowlands says running his farm at a cost of under $3/kg milksolids (MS) is thanks to a simple system.

Gary and wife Debra’s farm is among the 10-15 percent of New Zealand farmers who operate below $3/kg MS FWE (farm working expenses).

The Rowlands put their $2.21/kg MS FWE system down to simple farming – including an all-grass focus, basic machinery, doing their fertiliser application/silage/topping themselves and looking after their cows well.

“It’s a simple system. We just do the basics well and don’t spend if we don’t have to,” says Gary. “Every aspect comes into it.” . . 

Federated Farmers welcomes New Zealand Fire Services merger:

Federated Farmers welcomes the Government’s announcement today that funding of $303 million will be used over four years to combine rural and urban fire services.

Federated Farmers rural fire spokesperson Anders Crofoot says the creation of the new organisation – Fire and Emergency New Zealand – will mean a more efficient delivery and a better service provided by one organisation. It also recognises the services other than fire which rural fire has often provided for many years, even though it was unfunded and outside their mandate.

“The government is showing a strong commitment to transition and we welcome the additional money to build capabilities in rural fire and supporting our rural volunteers,” he said. . . 

Westpac NZ seeks more agriculture market share despite dairy downturn – By Fiona Rotherham:

 (BusinessDesk) – Westpac New Zealand says it wants to lift its market share of agricultural lending over time to 20 percent from the current 12.6 percent.

The Australian-owned bank today reported a steady performance in its New Zealand unit with cash earnings of $445 million for the six months ending Mar. 31, up 2 percent on a year ago.

Overall lending rose 8 percent with a 9 percent lift in business lending to $26.6 billion. Its agricultural portfolio totals $8.1 billion, up from $7.3 billion a year ago with dairy accounting for more than two-thirds of that. Its market share in agricultural lending rose from 12.3 percent in the previous half to 12.6 percent, which chief financial officer Jason Clifton said went mainly to existing rather than new dairy operations. . . 

Water Accord demonstrates the importance of using qualified advisers:

The release of the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord this week highlights the important role of talented people in delivering improvements in the environmental performance of dairy farming.

The report notes that the training and certification of nutrient management advisers hit a major milestone in the 2014/15 year with a total of 100 rural professionals completing the requirements for and achieving certification in the Nutrient Management Adviser Certification Programme (NMACP). This was accomplished with the ongoing support and commitment of the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand and its member companies, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Ltd and Ravensdown Ltd. One of the Accord targets was that 50% of Fertiliser Association member company advisers would be certified by 31 May 2014, which was comfortably achieved. . . 

Contractors must do their bit:

Agricultural contractors around the country must play their part in helping to prevent the spread of the invasive weed velvetleaf, says Rural Contractors NZ (RCNZ) president Steve Levet.

Mr Levet is reminding contractors about the importance of biosecurity and machinery hygiene practices on, and between farms, in controlling the spread velvetleaf and says rural contractors have an important role to play in this.

“Contractors need to be conscious of the potential of spreading velvetleaf when moving between properties, or between areas of the same property, and to take responsibility in managing these risks,” he says. . . 

Wool Industry Reacts to New Health and Safety Regulations:

The National Council of New Zealand Wool Interests Inc comprises associations and organisations involved in the domestic and international trading of greasy and scoured wool. The Council acts as the New Zealand member of the International Wool Textile Organisation, which represents the interests of the wool textile trade at the global level.

The National Council and its members are committed to providing a safe working environment throughout the wool industry. Increasing concerns relating to bales weighing over 200kg (which are estimated to cover approximately 6% of the national clip) have prompted the Council to address the issue. Bales weighing in excess of 200kg can contribute to workplace accidents and throughout the industry provide a significant problem during dumping and shipping. These bales have been assessed as hazards during transport and handling, with changes deemed necessary to comply with tougher Occupational Health and Safety laws being introduced in New Zealand. . . 


Rural round-up

April 21, 2016

Farmers’ urged to make their voices heard at local elections:

With local authority elections less than six months away, Federated Farmers is urging farmers to get engaged and involved.

Federated Farmers spokesperson on local government, Katie Milne, says local government elections is vitally important for farming on many levels, and is encouraging farmers to make their voices heard.

“It is absolutely crucial that farmers get involved in holding their councils to account. This includes being engaged on the issues and when the time comes make an informed vote.

“It’s also important that we get good candidates, including farmers and other business-minded people, to stand for election,” she says. . . 

New UHT milk plant for Canterbury:

The official opening of Westland Milk Products’ new UHT plant in Rolleston is a significant boost for the Canterbury dairy industry and is a sign of the continuing shift to value-added products, says Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew. 

“It is important to celebrate good news stories such as this new UHT facility, which combined with the strong medium to long-term outlook for the sector, gives dairy farmers confidence that the period of low prices they are currently experiencing is only temporary,” Mrs Goodhew says.

The new plant can process 14,000 litres of milk per hour and has been constructed by Westland Milk Products, New Zealand’s second biggest dairy cooperative and third biggest dairy company overall. . . 

A2 Milk’s push into China bolstered by results of human clinical trial in that country – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Specialty milk marketer A2 Milk has bolstered its push to sell more products in China through a recently completed human clinical trial comparing the gastrointestinal and cognitive effects of consuming milk containing the A1 beta casein with that of the A2 variant on people with self-reported lactose intolerance.

The results of the Chinese study were published this month in the Nutrition Journal and are due to be released at a Beijing press conference late tomorrow by the company.

It’s part of a bid by A2 to get more credible scientific validation of its marketing claims, that have been in contention since the late 1990s, that its products might be better for people intolerant to standard cow milk. . . 

Protect our most precious and vulnerable waterways first, says Environment Commissioner:

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has welcomed the Government’s latest discussion document on water quality, but has called for councils to give priority to the most precious and vulnerable rivers and lakes.

“Water quality has been declining for years and significant improvements will take time,” says Dr Wright. “Not everything can be done quickly, so regional councils must focus on immediate problems and pressure points.”

Dr Wright today released her advice to Parliament in response to the ‘Next steps for fresh water’ consultation document.

In her submission, Dr Wright states that the Government has made significant progress and has called for councils and communities to follow through and make the policy work. . . 

Farming 9 til 5: The farmers putting people before production – Jendy Harper:

On one farm near Waimate, the mantra “people before production” underpins employment decisions.

On Cara Gregan’s farm, workers must pass what she calls the “gumboot test”. 

Cara says she asks herself whether if her children or husband were wearing the gumboots, how she would feel about their conditions of work.

“I’ve got teenaged children, and I wouldn’t be prepared for them to work 12-14 hour days.” . . 

PGG Wrightson seed site hit by Uruguay flooding – Edwin Mitson:

(BusinessDesk) – Agricultural products and services company PGG Wrightson has warned investors that its seed cleaning site in Uruguay has fallen victim to that country’s widespread flooding.

The company told shareholders in February that its South American business was expected to perform better between January and June. In a statement to the NZX today, chief executive Mark Dewdney said that was no longer anticipated.

“The strength of beef prices gave us reason to believe we would see a recovery in our Uruguayan business at the full year, he said. “While it remains too soon to quantify the full impact of the current flooding, we are now not expecting to see that full recovery in the current financial year”. . . 

Tonnellerie de Mercurey NZ Young Winemaker 2016:

Blending knowledge, skill and passion for New Zealand’s premium winemaking future

Entries are now open for 2016. Who will take out the title this year?

This exciting competition for NZ winemakers under 30 years old was held for the first time last year and proved to be a challenging yet fun and very rewarding competition. Contestants felt it increased their winemaking skills, knowledge and confidence as well as building important contacts for their future careers. . . 

Greg Mccracken New Shareholders’ Councillor for Southern Northland:

Today, following the close of voting in the Shareholders’ Council by-election in Southern Northland, Greg McCracken was announced as the successful candidate.

Mr McCracken, who has been farming in the Northland region for more than 30 years and currently farms at Wellsford, will take up his new role effective immediately. . . 


Rural round-up

April 14, 2016

Water gives life to NZ’s economy – Anrew Curtis:

Much media debate has arisen recently on whether new irrigation schemes are necessary in the wake of the dairy downturn.  

What the dairy industry doesn’t need at the moment is to be kicked when it’s down; the debate has brought to light a need for IrrigationNZ to better foster relationships and promote understanding of modern irrigation across the board.  

Let’s start with the facts: in NZ water is plentiful. We average 145 million litres per person in NZ compared with 82 in Canada, 22 in Australia, nine in the US, two in China and two in the UK. We are water rich but are yet to make the most of this potential. . . 

Farmers agree kiwi farm labourers  ‘hopeless‘ – Alexa Cook:

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English is “on the money” saying many young New Zealanders in farm work are “pretty damned hopeless”, a South Island farming leader says.

Mr English made the comments at a Federated Farmers meeting last week, saying many people seeking jobs through the Ministry of Social Development did not show up or stay with the job.  

Otago Young Farmers Club vice-chair Mike Marshall milks 500 cows, and said he was employing people from Scotland because New Zealanders were not good workers. . .  

Fonterra’s first governance review suggests cutting board members by two, single election process for directors – Fiona Rotherham:

 (BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group is proposing cutting its board numbers by two to 11 and having a single process for electing farmer appointed and independent directors as part of the first governance overhaul since it was established 15 years ago.

A booklet on the first draft proposal from the long-awaited review of the farmer-owned dairy cooperative is being sent out to farmers today and a final recommendation is to go to shareholder vote in late May or early June after feedback. . . 

National regulations proposed for pest control:

Regulations are being proposed under the Resource Management Act (RMA) to provide for a nationally consistent approach to pest control, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today in releasing a consultation paper standardising the regulatory regime for pest control at the New Zealand PIanning Institute conference.

“These proposed RMA regulations are a response to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s report recommending that I instigate a more standardised approach to pest control. Rather than each regional council having different pest control rules, the standard controls set by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) would apply. . . 

Kiwifruit found to regulate blood sugar – Lucy Warhurst:

A new study has found there could be more health benefits to eating kiwifruit than we first thought.

It’s known for being high in fibre and vitamin C, but it’s also now been found to significantly slow and reduce the uptake of sugars into the bloodstream.

Zespri’s Innovation Leader for Health and Nutrition, Dr Juliet Ansell, says people who ate kiwifruit with their breakfast saw more regulated blood sugar levels.

“You actually really reduce that blood sugar peak in your blood stream. It’s a much slower, longer tail off, so much more regulated blood glucose control.” . . . 

Global megatrends expert says New Zealand on trend with food-for-health:

New Zealand should apply its tourism’s “100% Pure” campaign to the agricultural industry, utilise its “clean-green” image, extend it to “clean-green-healthy” and back it with science to add a premium to its exports, according to Dr Stefan Hajkowicz, an international expert in strategy and foresight.

Dr Hajkowicz, author of the recently published book “Global Megatrends – Seven Patterns of Change Shaping our Future” is in New Zealand to address the 2016 High-Value Nutrition Science Symposium -Foods of the Future, Transforming New Zealand into a Silicon Valley of Foods for Health-. . . 

Feedback sought on proposed animal welfare regulations:

The Government is seeking feedback on proposed regulations to further strengthen our animal welfare system.

“Last year the Government amended the Animal Welfare Act to improve the enforceability, clarity and transparency of the animal welfare system,” says Mr Guy.

“We are now seeking the public’s views on proposed regulations that have been developed in consultation with the independent National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC),” says Mr Guy.
These proposed regulations will set enforceable rules based on best practice and modern science.

“Our animal welfare system is considered one of the best in the world. The proposed regulations will further strengthen our reputation as a country that cares for animals,” says Mr Guy. . . .

IrrigationNZ confident Ruataniwha will proceed:

IrrigationNZ today said it was confident that Ruataniwha would go ahead and disputed claims aired on RadioNZ that costs for the project have risen by 50 percent.

“What isn’t clear in this reporting is there are two distinct parts to this project. One is the cost of building the dam and the infrastructure of piping water to the farm gate, the other is the cost of developing on-farm irrigation systems,” said IrrigationNZ chairwoman Nicky Hyslop.

“A year on yes, there is an increase to building the dam – $275 to $330 million, and the reality is, the more time that goes by the more it will cost. There will never be a cheaper time to build than today. . . 

Deputy PM to headline DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum event:

Deputy Prime Minister Hon Bill English and Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings are among a line-up of leading speakers presenting to dairy farmers at the DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum, May 17-18, in Hamilton.

The biennial event will give dairy farmers insight into how to adapt their businesses in the current challenging times and how the global environment will shape the future of New Zealand milk production.

“The Farmers’ Forum is about helping farmers understand what is driving the current financial climate and what they can do to help manage it,” says DairyNZ strategy and investment leader for sustainability, Rick Pridmore. . . .

Farmers Gather for First Field Day at Sea:

Farmers took to the water recently to learn about the entrepreneurial drive of Clearwater Mussels director John Young and how his principles can equally apply to land-based farming.

As aquaculture entrepreneurs, Clearwater Mussels was joint winner of the 2015 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year Competition (with Omarama Station), it was the first ever winner’s field day held at sea.

Three boatloads of field day attendees (approx. 200 people) left Havelock Marina and motored into the Kekeperu Sound to see greenshell mussel harvesters and seeders at work, and learn about what a marine farming business did to make it a competition winner. . . 

Final FMG Young Farmer of the Year to be found in Ashburton:

The last of the seven Grand Finalists will be determined this weekend in Ashburton at the Aorangi FMG Young Farmer of the Year Regional Final.

“This contest season has been very successful and impressive to date, the calibre of contestants is high and each Regional Final has been fiercely competed for” says Terry Copeland, Chief Executive of New Zealand Young Farmers – organisers of the event.

The eight finalists are contending for a spot at the Grand Final in Timaru 7 – 9 July and their share of an impressive prize pack worth over $285,000 in products, services and scholarships from FMG, Massey University, Silver Fern Farms, AGMARDT, Ravensdown, Meridian Energy, Honda, STHIL and Vodafone. . . 

NZ Farming's photo.

Farming is the art of losing money while working 400 hours a month to feed people who think you’re trying to kill them. – NZ Farming.


Rural round-up

April 5, 2016

Smith takes out NZ top shearing title:

Shearer Rowland Smith won top honours at the New Zealand Open Championship final in Te Kuiti over the weekend.

Mr Smith won by just 0.411 points, John Kirkpatrick came second and Gavin Mutch was third.

Joel Henare won the open woolhandling final, a month after scoring his fourth consecutive Golden Shears Open title.

Doug Laing from Shearing Sports New Zealand said it was a typically exciting final. . . 

IrrigationNZ congratulates Waihao Downs Irrigation:

The opening of Waihao Downs Irrigation Scheme reinforces that irrigation will continue to be a vital ingredient for the health of rural New Zealand, regardless of the fortunes of the dairy industry, says IrrigationNZ.

The $32million Waihao Downs project will be officially opened today  by IrrigationNZ Chairwoman Nicky Hyslop, coinciding with the first day of the industry body’s bi-ennial conference.

More than 400 people will converge on Waitaki District this week to view irrigation infrastructure, hear guest speakers from around the world speak on irrigation issues and attend technical workshops. The conference opens with a Farmer’s Trade Afternoon on Tuesday (3.30pm-5.30pm) where 52 exhibitors will showcase irrigation technology, services and products to farmers and the general public. . . 

IrrigationNZ and Feds ask for scientific integrity:

IrrigationNZ and Federated Farmers say greater scrutiny of claims irrigation causes increased ‘rumbly-gut’ is needed, as recent assertions by Alison Dewes are not scientifically sound.

The industry bodies have joined forces to ask for improved scientific integrity when making claims in the media as “the validity of the argument around increased pathogen losses resulting from irrigation or water storage are not sound,” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

“Our understanding is pathogen contamination of a water supply generally occurs through a direct pathway – a point source contamination. Neither irrigation nor water storage create pathogen issues, except through natural means, the increased birdlife around a water storage lake for example. The main causes of pathogen contamination are poor water treatment from domestic discharges or inadequately protected well-heads. ” says Mr Curtis. . . 

Success Helps Southland/Otago Dairy Awards Winners Keep Goals on Track:

The major winners in the 2016 Southland/Otago Dairy Industry Awards, have adapted their business to remain on track to achieve their farming goals.

The couple were announced winners of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year competition at the Southland/Otago Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner held at the MLT Events Centre in Gore last night. The other big winners were Wayne Ashmore, who became the 2016 Southland/Otago Dairy Manager of the Year, and Chloe Mackle, the 2016 Southland/Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year. . . 

Conditions now right for recovery in global dairy prices, ASB economist Penny says – Fiona Rotherham

(BusinessDesk) – Global dairy prices will recover this year as growth in European production has now slowed, says ASB rural economist Nathan Penny.

His comments follow a Fitch Ratings report last week that forecast the modest supply response so far to low global dairy prices would prolong a recovery in prices beyond 2016.

Last month, when announcing Fonterra Cooperative Group’s half-year results, chairman John Wilson said the company and most of its global dairy peers were struggling to make predictions on the direction of global dairy prices but the imbalance in supply and demand could correct itself in the next six months. . . 

Changes to maximum allowable weight of greasy wool bales in industry code of practice:

The National Council of New Zealand Wool Interests Inc comprises associations and organisations involved in the domestic and international trading of greasy and scoured wool. The Council acts as the New Zealand member of the International Wool Textile Organisation, which represents the interests of the wool textile trade at the global level.

The National Council and its members are committed to providing a safe working environment throughout the wool industry. Increasing concerns relating to bales weighing over 200kg (which are estimated to cover approximately 6% of the national clip) have prompted the Council to address the issue. . . 

Farmers Are Awesome's photo.


Rural round-up

April 3, 2016

Study shows agri-foods big benefit to economy:

A new study has found the New Zealand agri-food sector contributes around one fifth of the country’s GDP.

The study by the Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit at Lincoln University aimed to measure the sector’s economic impact and to analyse how the sector could continue to grow to support the well-being of New Zealanders.

One of the authors, Professor Caroline Saunders said the study had exploded a myth about agriculture’s contribution to the economy. . .

Rural women juggle work and home – Kate Taylor:

The first meeting of the day for three Hawke’s Bay agri-business women is with each other as they wait for the school bus. It must count as a business meeting… they share each other’s business cards.

There’s a twinkle in the eyes of Ravensdown agri-manager Caroline Kirk, Kells Wool buyer Maureen Chaffey and Lean Meats/Atkins Ranch livestock manager Karen Atkins as they joke about multitasking.

But there’s no joking when they talk about the support of their parents or in-laws and their other half to do what they do.

The trio live down a five kilometre no-exit road in the farming district of Raukawa, south west of Hastings.  Every morning at 7.45am they drive to the school bus corner then drive out to work. They laugh about covering all the bases with farmers with their fertiliser, wool and meat. . . 

Hurunui Water Project gets $520,000 boost:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed new funding of $520,000 for the Hurunui Water Project centred around Hawarden in North Canterbury.

“A reliable source of water in this very dry part of the country has major potential to increase production, grow exports and create jobs,” says Mr Guy.

The funding comes from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Irrigation Acceleration Fund and will help refine the scheme layout and scope the comprehensive work programme. This will help them deliver on Stage 1 in which 10,000-15,000 hectares will be irrigated.

“Once complete the full scheme has the potential to irrigate 35,000 hectares of land. Around 70% of that land will be used for sheep and beef production, with the other 30% being for arable, dairy and other uses.” . . 

Fitch sees milk price recovery beyond 2016 – Fiona Rotherham:

Credit rating agency Fitch Ratings said continued growth in European milk production to ramp up exports will further delay a recovery in global milk prices until beyond the end of this year.

The supply growth has been compounded by weak demand, mainly due to subdued Chinese demand and a Russian embargo on major Western dairy exporters.

Average prices on the GlobalDairyTrade auction fell by around 38 percent in 2014/15 and around 20 percent in the 2015/16 season to mid-March. . . 

Top Dairy Operation Wins Supreme Title In 2016 Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

A well-managed dairy and forestry farm owned by Parininihi ki Waitotara (PKW) is the Supreme winner of the 2016 Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The award was presented to PKW Farms LP, farm manager Matt Kelbrick and farm supervisor Roger Landers at a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on March 31 (2016). The team behind PKW’s No.2 Farm in the Ohangai district also collected the Massey University Innovation Award and the WaterForce Integrated Management Award.

PKW is a Taranaki-based Maori Incorporation that owns 20,000ha of dairy land and a range of other business interests, including crayfishing, forestry and commercial property. . . 

Fish and seafood trade could double under TPP:

The benefits to New Zealand’s fishing and seafood industry will be very significant once all tariffs are eliminated under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Trade Minister Todd McClay told a Nelson Chamber of Commerce audience that the region, the home of Australasia’s largest fishing port, that he believes the agreement will enable the industry to double its exports to one billion dollars.

“Last year, we exported $581 million in fish and seafood into TPP countries. . .

Farmers Are Awesome's photo.


Rural round-up

January 26, 2016

Westland Milk’s man-on-the-ground in China says the anxiety over China has been exaggerated – especially as it relates to their dairy appetite – Gregg Wafelbakker:

In recent weeks there has been a lot of negative media about economic conditions in China.

In particular the slowing growth, a volatile share market and a decrease in dairy imports.

The potential impact of much of this has been exaggerated. Given the value of China to Westland, indeed the whole of the New Zealand dairy industry,  it is important that we understand what is happening. . . 

Volume,not value, gets record red meat returns – Sally Rae:

Total red meat export revenue might have reached a record high in the first quarter of the 2015-16 meat export season, but average per-tonne values were down.

More shipments were responsible for the increased revenue in beef and veal, lamb and mutton, analysis by Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Economic Service showed.

Beef and veal exports generated $682 million in the first quarter, up 14% compared with the same period last season. . . 

Comvita’s share price soars as more honey equals more money – Fiona Rotherham:

BusinessDesk) – Comvita, the manuka honey and health products maker, is riding the crest of a consumer push for health and wellness products with its share price having risen 124 percent in the past year.

The Te Puke-based company attributes the soaring share price to its improved financial performance and a big surge in demand for manuka honey products. Australia’s Capilano Honey and vitamin and health supplement company Blackmores have also seen their share prices go through the roof in the past year – 151 percent and 424 percent respectively, on the back of rising sales in China in particular.

Comvita now derives half of its revenue from China for its overall range, which includes products from manuka honey, olive leaf, and fish oil. . .

Economic terrorism, count the cost and weep – Gravedodger:

Lake Sumner.

Not many of us have been there, possibly most would not even know where it is.

Plenty of us have an image that fresh water in this bountiful country is under serious threat due to the massive growth in irrigation.

The East coast of the South Island has gazillions of acres of flat to rolling arable land that has for ever suffered summer dry that inhibits productive activity. . . 

Ashburton Zone Water Management Committee focuses on proposed land-use rules:

The Ashburton Water Management Zone Committee will meet for the first time this year on Tuesday 26 January to discuss how new land-use rules will affect local land-users.

The committee will receive a report from Environment Canterbury on the Nutrient Management and Waitaki Plan Change to the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan (LWRP).

The proposed Plan Change includes new region-wide nutrient management rules relating to land used for farming, and the zone committee will consider how it affects land-users in the Ashburton zone.

It requires land-users to implement Good Management Practices, and farming activities requiring resource consent will need Farm Environment Plans. The Plan Change also addresses phosphorus management and is expected to be notified for public consultation in February. . . 

A new food resolution for 2016:  Support family farmers! – Uptown Farms:

Statistics show that over 30% of all new year’s resolutions have to do with food – most often, eating less of it. Stats also indicate that by this time of year 1 out of 3 have already given up on those resolutions

So let me challenge you to a new kind of food resolution for 2016. Instead of just worrying about how much of it and what types of it you consume, I challenge you to also start caring about the people who are raising it – the family farmers. Below is a list of things you can do to support family farmers!

1. Stop determining the quality of farmer by the size of the farm! . . .

What farmers wish you knew about farmers – Pink Tractor:

From ‘farming is easy’ to ‘farmers are rich,’ there are a million things consumers think they know about farmers. We asked our amazing farm community what the one thing they wish people knew about farmers. These are the responses.

Farmers are smart! They have to be everything – plumbers, carpenters, mechanics, scientists, vets and more. Every day!

Farming is a lifestyle, not a job. It’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Every day of the year. It’s almost impossible to take a vacation, especially if you have animals. . .


Rural round-up

January 15, 2016

The year ahead for agri-food – Keith Woodford:

The year ahead is going to be challenging for many of New Zealand’s farmers. There are no quick solutions for either dairy or sheep. Amongst the bigger industries, only kiwifruit and beef have a positive outlook. The wine industry could go in either direction this year. Among the smaller industries, manuka honey could be the one to watch.

Dairy
The year has started badly for dairy, with whole milk powder down 4.4% at the early January auction. For me, this number came almost as a relief. It could have been a lot worse. . . 

More cows stolen in Mid-Canterbury – Audrey Malone:

More than 100 dairy cattle disappeared without a trace from three Mid Canterbury farms during December.

A farm in Alford Forrest has lost 52 Friesian bull calves, while a farm south of Hinds lost 17 grown dairy cows.

It followed news that 36 cows disappeared from Mayfield farm over a two week period in December.

The farm owners are puzzled 

Jill Quigley, who owns the Mayfield farm with husband David, said rural Mid Canterbury was not a good place anymore.

“It just looks a little suspicious,” she said. . . 

New A2O section opened

A group of 40 people celebrated another milestone in The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail in Duntroon yesterday afternoon.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher officially opened the 28km section from Kurow to Duntroon – now totally off-road – in a short ceremony in the Waitaki Valley town. Mr Kircher said the trail would be a boon for the town’s economy, but also allowed locals to show ‘‘how proud people are of their community”. . . 

Hat tip: Utopia

High country meets town in rural games – Jill Galloway:

How far can you throw and catch a raw egg, throw a gumboot or spit a cherry stone? For that matter, how fast can you put up a fence or shear a sheep?

These skills will be tested when country comes to town in the New Zealand Rural Games at Queenstown next month.

Games founder Steve Hollander was in Palmerston North on his way to help run the events.

He said rural people from this area would take part in shearing and fencing.

Hollander said the games were about entertaining people, and no event was more than two hours long. He expected 8000 people over the two day event.  . . 

Lewis Road Creamery eyes China as potential export market – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Lewis Road Creamery, the premium dairy brand company, will make a final decision this year whether to export, most likely fresh organic milk into China’s Shanghai. It’s also planning to release a number of product extensions and has already moved beyond dairy products into baked goods.

The Auckland-based brand saw 340 percent growth in retail sales to $40 million of its butter, cream, organic milk, and flavoured milk products during 2015, the year of what founder Peter Cullinane calls “the chocolate milk frenzy”.

His big decisions this year include whether to get serious about exporting and how far to extend the product range beyond dairy. For the past couple of months it has been trialling sales of Lewis Road Bakery premium kibbled grain bread in 12 Auckland retail outlets. . . 

Activity Steps up in 2016 Dairy Awards:

Those entrants who used their summer holiday to prepare for the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards could have an advantage, as activity gears up in this year’s competitions.

The awards, which oversee the Share Farmer of the Year, Dairy Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions, received 452 entries prior to Christmas.

General Manager Chris Keeping says information events for entrants and sponsors are being held in some of the awards’ 11 regions over the next couple of weeks. . .

Wool Steady

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s C.E.O, Mr John Dawson reports that this week’s auctions held in both centres saw slightly different price movements between them, however overall the local market remained firm.

Of the 16,500 bales on offer, 95.6 percent sold. . . .

NZ Tractor Trek:

A cavalcade of Vintage Tractors, Jeeps and Trucks trekking 2600km from Bluff to Cape Reinga over 26 days.

Raising funds for hospices throughout New Zealand. . .

 


Rural round-up

November 26, 2015

Farmers on knife-edge as land dries out:

Evidence of a dry El Nino summer is beginning to be seen in Canterbury, and has farmers worried.

Federated Farmers president William Rolleston said the region is not seeing a lot of rain and the nor’west winds are already drying things out.

Fire restrictions have been put in place for the rural district of Selwyn, as have restrictions on taking water from the Opuha dam. . . 

Opuha Dam at 80% capacity:

Early irrigation restrictions have helped South Canterbury’s Opuha Dam reach 80 percent of its capacity.

But with little rain expected in the coming months, farmers are being warned this summer could be harder than last.

The irrigation water supply from the dam was turned off for the first time in its 17 years of operation last February as a result of the drought. . . 

North Canterbury irrigaition proposal rejected:

Independent Hearing Commissioners appointed by Environment Canterbury have rejected a proposal to take water from a North Canterbury stream for irrigation and power generation.

The Kakapo Brook runs through Glynn Wye Station and co-applicants Rooney Group – owner of the station – and Mainpower proposed taking up to 1600 litres per second, to fill two large storage dams on the farm totaling 1 million cubic metres.

The water would be used for irrigating 500 hectares of the high country property and providing hydropower generation. . . .

Fonterra says 2016 forecast payout tied to dairy prices rising next year – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group has affirmed guidance for the 2016 milk payout to farmers, although chairman John Wilson said it was dependent on global dairy prices rising in the first half of next year from current unsustainable levels.

The world’s largest dairy exporter has forecast a farmgate milk price of $4.60 per kilogram of milk solids and a cash dividend of 35-to-40 cents per share for a total payout of $4.95/kgMS to $5/kgMS. . . .

Fonterra targets doubling of China revenue within five years, Spierings says – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s largest dairy exporter, has set a target of becoming the number one dairy player in China and doubling its business in the country to $10 billion within the next five years.

Speaking at the cooperative’s annual meeting in Waitoa today, chief executive Theo Spierings said the new plan meant China could become 25 percent to 30 percent of total revenue.

When asked whether that would expose the cooperative to too much risk in one country, Spierings said China’s provinces could almost be regarded as countries in their own right. . . 

Results of shareholder voting at Fonterra AGM:

Fonterra shareholders have voted to pass seven of the eleven resolutions at this year’s Annual Meeting.

Resolutions eight, nine, ten and eleven, which were special resolutions put forward by Fonterra shareholders, were not passed. The Board and Shareholders’ Council had earlier recommended that shareholders vote against these resolutions.

The results of the resolutions are:

Resolution result / % in favour

Resolution 1: Approval of remuneration of Directors / 85.32%

Resolution 2: Approval of remuneration of Shareholders’ Council / 83.36% . . .

New technologies a paradigm shift for strong wool:

In a move to improve the returns of New Zealand strong wool growers, Wools of New Zealand (WNZ) has entered into a commercial agreement with to acquire the exclusive global rights to an innovative scour and dying process providing new opportunities for New Zealand strong wool previously only the domain of man-made synthetic fibres.

The two innovative technologies will considerably improve the ‘white and bright’ properties of strong wool, along with colour fastness enhancements that will provide a “paradigm shift” in the demand for end products using strong wool. . . .

Texel Poll Dorset Cross wins Mint Lamb Competition:

Hawarden farmer, and long-time corriedale exhibitor, Andrew Sidey took out the 2015 Mint Lamb Competition at the Canterbury A&P Show on November 11. His texel/poll dorset lamb was judged as the country’s best from paddock to plate.

This year the competition had an overhaul with the overall winner being decided on a combination of yield, tender test and taste results as opposed to just taste alone.

Mr Sidey drafted the lamb himself, and after entering for the past four years, believes that experience helped him take out the win. . . 

2016 Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards / Ambassador Chefs to be Announced:

Mark your calendars: The 2016 Beef and Lamb Excellence Award holders will be announced on Tuesday 1 December, alongside five new Beef and Lamb Ambassador Chefs.

The announcement will take place as part of an exclusive 5 course degustation dinner, specially prepared by the five new Ambassador Chefs, on Tuesday December 1 at The James in Auckland.

The 2016 announcement is a special occasion as it marks the 20th anniversary of the Excellence Awards, establishing them as the longest running culinary awards in New Zealand. . . .

Week to Go Til Dairy Awards Entries Close:

There is [less than]a week to go until entries close in the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, including the Share Farmer of the Year, Dairy Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions.

Entries are being accepted online at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz and close at midnight on November 30.

General Manager Chris Keeping says there have been 360 entries received to date, including 358 who entered in time to be eligible for the Early Bird Entry Prize Draw of $12,000 in travel vouchers and spending money*. . . 


Rural round-up

November 19, 2015

Feds president leads by example – Amanda Vaisigano:

Bronwyn Muir’s measurement of success is that her influence moves the farming industry towards a more collaborative, sustainable, profitable, and optimistic future.

The Taranaki Provincial President, dairy farmer and Director of OnFarmSafety New Zealand has spent a lifetime in farming and is passionate about supporting the rural industry.

The success of her business OnFarmSafety NZ has seen her win and be nominated for a number of awards, including most recently at the 2015 Taranaki Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards. . .

Estimates for Fonterra’s farmer payout tumble amid weak dairy prices – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Forecasts for Fonterra Cooperative Group’s payout to New Zealand farmers this season have tumbled below the company’s estimate following the third consecutive decline in prices on the GlobalDairyTrade platform.

Four of six analysts surveyed by BusinessDesk pulled back their estimates for the payout today, after whole milk powder prices declined 11 percent at last night’s GDT auction, taking the total decline over the past three sessions to 22 percent. Estimates for the payout now range between $4.25-$4.60 per kilogram of milk solids, pulling the top end of the range down from $5.30/kgMS. Fonterra is set to review its current forecast of $4.60/kgMS in early December. . . 

Freedom Foods sells remaining stake in milk marketer a2 Milk for A$64 mln – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk Co’s cornerstone shareholder, Freedom Foods Group, has sold its remaining 10.4 percent stake in the milk marketing company for A$64 million, taking advantage of a surge in the share price.

Sydney-based Freedom Foods sold its remaining shares for 85 Australian cents apiece and will reinvest the proceeds in other investments including a buy-out of oat-based cereal and snack manufacturer Popina and construction of a new UHT processing facility. . . 

How now, New Zealand cow?:

New Zealand’s five million milking cows are doing a great job of efficiently producing milk, according to the latest 2014-15 dairy statistics  released today.

New Zealand cows are producing more milk with more milksolids than 10 years ago.

A cow’s annual average production contained 377 kilograms of milksolids (8.9%) in 2014-15, which is what New Zealand’s dairy farmers are paid for, compared to 308 kilograms (8.6%) in 2004-05.

Cows from North Canterbury are the highest producers. On average each produced 4,706 litres of milk in 2014-15 with 416 kilograms of milksolids. . .

Forestry crown research institute Scion first to apply for drone beyond-line-of-sight flying – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Scion, the forestry crown research institute, will become the first organisation in New Zealand to fly drones beyond line of sight when it seeks approval under new Civil Aviation Authority rules to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for forest monitoring.

Scion has been conducting publicly and privately funded trials of UAVs for the past three months, including flying along the edge of forests to evaluate tree harvesting and using a UAV with interchangeable remote sensing technology to transmit information on tree health and pests in North and South Island forests.

A Callaghan Innovation-commissioned report last year estimated flying drones out of the operator’s line of sight could provide economic gains of up to $190 million annually to New Zealand’s farming, forestry and energy sectors. More than 440 commercial UAV users are registered on New Zealand’s Airshare website while the consumer drone market is booming.  . .

Strengthening Spring Rural Market:

Summary

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 12 more farm sales (+3.5%) for the three months ended October 2015 than for the three months ended October 2014. Overall, there were 358 farm sales in the three months ended October 2015, compared to 337 farm sales for the three months ended September 2015 (+6.2%), and 346 farm sales for the three months ended October 2014. 1,731 farms were sold in the year to October 2015, 9.9% fewer than were sold in the year to October 2014.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to October 2015 was $27,579 compared to $27,547 recorded for three months ended October 2014 (+0.1%). The median price per hectare rose 6.0% compared to September. . . 

Potatoes New Zealand Inc. appoints new Chief Executive Officer:

Potatoes New Zealand has appointed Chris Claridge as its new Chief Executive Officer.

Potatoes New Zealand Inc. Chairman Stuart Wright said he was delighted to welcome Mr Claridge to the organisation, which has a target of doubling New Zealand fresh and processed potato exports by 2025.

“Chris brings a wealth of horticultural, business, leadership and marketing experience to the role,” said Mr Wright. “That will prove invaluable in building on the very good work that has already been done towards achieving our goals of boosting productivity in the sector for the benefit of growers and the New Zealand economy.” . . 


Rural round-up

November 17, 2015

Farm shows profit possible – Sally Rae:

”Do the maths. Invest in the future.”

That’s the simple message from Richard Subtil, who is unashamedly proud to be a sheep and beef farmer.

Mr Subtil and his wife Annabelle, who farm Omarama Station, were the supreme winners in this year’s Canterbury Ballance farm environment awards.

A field day was held recently at their 12,000ha Upper Waitaki property, which has been in Mrs Subtil’s family since 1919.

The impressive operation includes merino sheep and beef cattle, an extensive irrigation development, a hydroelectricity plant and a homestay.

James Hoban, one of the judges for the awards, described it as a ”very hard business to fault”. On the economic side, the Subtils were industry-leading, profitable high country farmers. . .  

Refining essence of NZ forests – Sally Rae:

When Paul Greaves suffered a brain stem stroke back in 2012, it forced some major changes in his life.

Not only did he have to learn to walk again but, after more than four decades working in the forestry industry, he found he could no longer handle the high pressure of his job.

But a passion for the industry remained and, when he met Michael Sly, now a director of Wilding and Co, and Mathurin Molgat, and they talked about wanting to turn Douglas fir into essential oil, his interest was aroused. . . 

Fonterra farmers sheer earnings upgrade – Fiona Rotherham:

Dairy farmers say Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s largest dairy exporter, is finally starting to deliver better business returns which are meant to counter low farmgate payouts when global dairy prices are low.

The Auckland-based cooperative raised its forecast available payout range for this season by 5 cents as it cuts costs and boosts margins to record levels, even as milk volumes in New Zealand decline by 5 percent.

Fonterra has indicated the forecast dividend may be in the 35-to-40 cents per share range up from 25 cents last year, which disappointed many farmers who expected to gain more from the value- added side of the business when dairy input prices were down. The revision would mean a likely total payout to farmers of $4.95 to $5 per kilogram of milk solids after retentions, compared to $4.65 last season. . .

Businesses sweet and sour on food safety rules:

– Compliance with regulations rated top challenge and key opportunity, ANZ survey finds –

Food safety regulations are the biggest challenge but also a major source of competitive advantage for New Zealand’s food and beverage firms, according to research from ANZ.

The annual ANZ Privately Owned Business Barometer survey included 178 food and drinks firms and found an industry that was upbeat about the future, hungry for growth, showing the way in mobile technology and social media use, and collaborating to open export opportunities.

The survey also flagged a number of growth challenges, including securing shelf space for products and managing constraints on capacity, such as time, people, plant and funding. . . 

Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year wins Young Horticulturist of the Year:

Congratulations to Caleb Dennis, Young Horticulturist of the Year 2015. He represented the Viticultural sector in this tough and prestigious competition.

Young Horticulturist of the Year was held over 11th and 12th November, where Caleb competed against 5 other finalists from various horticultural sectors including Landscaping, Nursery & Garden, Amenity Horticulture and Vegetable, Fruit & Flower Growing.

The competition kicked off with the contestants submitting Business Plans for a new product they would like to develop and launch. Caleb’s plan to launch a wine cellaring app was very well received and will hopefully eventuate into reality in the not too distant future. This first day also included an interview and a budgeting exam. . .  . . 

Piece of NZ dairy history for sale:

CRV Ambreed’s move to a purpose-built production, distribution and logistics centre on the outskirts of Cambridge marked an exciting new era for the company, and now their old 13.7-hectare bull farm is for sale.

More than 3000 bulls have been housed at the farm on the outskirts of Hamilton since it was established in 1969. At the company’s peak production, more than 200 bulls were housed on-site at any one time.

In December 2014, CRV Ambreed opened its new export-approved CRV Bellevue Production and Logistics Centre, on the outskirts of Cambridge, just a few kilometres away from its old facility. . .

 


Rural round up

September 25, 2015

AgResearch confirms 83 lay-offs, hires 27 for new roles – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – AgResearch has confirmed speculation it is axing jobs, announcing plans to lay off 83 scientists and technicians because of declining investment in some areas of research and development, while hiring 27 for new roles.

AgResearch chair Sam Robinson said the Waikato-based crown research institute had to balance shifts in its sector’s research needs, and therefore revenue, with the need to respond to emerging science opportunities to maximise the impact for New Zealand’s pastoral sector.

“Declining R&D investment in some areas means that we are currently facing a significant and ongoing funding challenge in those areas,” he said. “While both private sector and government revenue is increasing in other areas, our net science revenue is forecast to be $5.3 million less for FY16 compared to FY15,” he said. . . 

Federated Farmers disappointed with AgResearch redundancies:

Further job cuts at AgResearch back up Federated Farmers concern that science capability in agriculture continues to be eroded through inadequate funding and a lack of strategic planning.

“Agriculture science is a long term investment which is difficult for governments on a short term three year election cycle, but we owe it to our future farmers, and all New Zealanders, to make the investments now, develop our capability and build the basic sciences which provide the necessary grunt to ensure commercialisation of innovation is optimised,” says Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston.

“We appreciate that AgResearch needs to ensure its capacity aligns with the work it has ahead of it, but the continual downsizing at AgResearch is a symptom of this bigger problem.” . . 

Napier road washout cancels wedding, isolates farmers – Simon Wong:

A wedding at a remote venue near Napier has been forced to cancel after heavy rain washed out the only road to the site.

McVicar Rd, which runs along the Mohaka River in Te Haroto, has cut off the 10 permanent residents including farmer and Sensible Sentencing Trust founder Garth McVicar.

The only road to his farm and the neighbouring Mountain Valley Adventure Lodge, where the wedding was to be held this weekend, has been completely washed out. . . 

Are microbes the key to geographical differences in wine?:

A new study of six of New Zealand’s major wine-growing regions has found that differences in flavour and aroma of wine from different areas may depend more on microbes than was previously thought.

Classically the reason that wine, and other agricultural crops such as coffee, from different places tastes and smells different was thought to be due to a range of environmental reasons such as climate and soil minerals. The idea that organisms such as microbes played a role in this was not appreciated until very recently.

Previous work by Associate Professor Mat Goddard and Research Fellow Sarah Knight from the School of Biological Sciences published in Nature’s microbial ecology journal ISME demonstrated that different regions of New Zealand have different types of the main yeasts (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) that ferment juice into wine. . . 

Positive Psa-V result on Whangarei kiwifruit orchard:

Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) has received a Psa-V positive test result on Hort16A and male vines on a kiwifruit orchard in Whangarei. This is the first confirmed case of Psa-V on an orchard in the Whangarei region.

All growers in the region have been advised of the situation by KVH, including best-practice advice going forward. KVH will hold a meeting for Whangarei growers next week and will be carrying out extensive monitoring in the region over the weekend.

There are a total of 49 orchards in the Whangarei region comprising of approximately 144 canopy hectares.

KVH Chief Executive, Barry O’Neil, said this new find in Whangarei is very disappointing and will be particularly hard for local growers and the regional committee. . . 

Minister welcomes passage of Korea FTA Bill:

Trade Minister Tim Groser has welcomed the passing of the Tariff (Free Trade Agreement between New Zealand and the Republic of Korea) Amendment Bill in Parliament today.

“Under this FTA, approximately 98 percent of tariffs on New Zealand’s current exports to Korea will be progressively eliminated,” says Mr Groser.

“This FTA will play an important role in strengthening the relationship between New Zealand and Korea. It delivers significant benefits across a range of areas including goods, services, and investment by breaking down trade barriers, facilitating the movement of goods and services, and establishing a framework for resolving any trade-related issues in the future. . . 

Zespri looks forward to sales growth in South Korea following passage of Tariff Amendment Bill:

Zespri welcomes the passage of the Tariff Amendment Bill through parliament yesterday, which is a significant step towards the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with South Korea. The agreement will provide significant benefit for the New Zealand kiwifruit industry.

Ratification of the FTA this year would mean a 33% reduction in tariffs on exports of New Zealand kiwifruit to South Korea for next year’s kiwifruit season. During 2014, Zespri growers paid approximately $22 million in tariffs, with the rate set at 45 percent. The tariff for kiwifruit will reduce to zero over the next five years. . . 

Tariff Amendment Bill a Significant Win for Kiwifruit Growers:

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. (NZKGI) welcomes yesterday’s passing of the Tariff Amendment Bill in parliament – a positive step toward a Free Trade Agreement with South Korea.

NZKGI president Neil Trebilco said cutting the tariff is a big win for kiwifruit growers.

“The agreement will eliminate a 45 per cent tariff on New Zealand kiwifruit over five years, creating significant savings for growers.”

“The agreement will also bring about parity with Chilean competitors who have been on a zero tariff since concluding their own Free Trade Agreement in 2004.” . . 

Fastline's photo.
Not just during harvest and not just farmers – many who service and supply farmers and work in businesses which turn what comes off the paddock in to what’s put on the plate, also work long and irregular hours. And of course, lots of other people work long and irregular hours in lots of other jobs.


Rural round-up

September 20, 2015

Shifting the Kiwi ‘can-do attitude’ to ‘can-do safely’:

Dairy Women’s Network is shifting its members’ Kiwi can-do attitude to a ‘can-do safely’ attitude with its new Dairy Modules titled ‘Step up to Safety’ being offered from late October.

The Step up to Safety workshops are run by DWN members who are experienced in the field of Health and Safety and are supported by expert organisations Worksafe NZ and Hazardco.

“The most important thing participants will get out of these free workshops is a 90-day Health and Safety action plan. They will leave having made a start with their Health and Safety system or some actions identified to progress to next steps,” said project manager and Farmer Wellness specialist Lynda Clark.

She said the challenge is that some farmers may have fallen into complacency and think they have been let off the hook following the Government’s recent Health and Safety legislation announcements. . . 

Remote-controlled tree-felling reduces hazards – Annabelle Tukia:

New Zealand’s first remote-control forest-harvesting machine is being put to work in Nelson.

It’s hoped the technology will reduce the safety hazards associated with the forestry industry.

Tony Irvine is still getting to grips with his new machine. He’s normally in the cab of a 40-tonne self-leveller cutting down trees on the steep slope, but this week he’s started trialling a remote-control operation.

“It’s a lot better in this machine,” says Mr Irvine. “You feel a lot safer.” . . 

Mya leads city kids to animals

While the girl has been taken out of the country, at least for part of the day, the country remains firmly with Mya Taft because she brings a piece of it to her city classmates.

The schoolgirl from Ngakuru near Rotorua was well into her first school year at St Mary’s Catholic School in Rotorua as a year 6 student when she realised how much she would miss Ag Day, such a big part of the calendar at her previous school, Ngakuru Primary.

Mad keen on animals, a devoted calf-rearer and future vet, Mya decided to take matters into her own hands and arrange an Ag Day for her city classmates. . . 

Fonterra director John Monaghan pans dairy doomsayers, defends cooperative’s debt level – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group director John Monaghan said critics who claim dairy is doomed, and the economy with it, show a lack of understanding of the market and the structure of the dairy company.

Monaghan told the New Zealand Shareholders Association conference at the weekend that the news was full of gloomy predictions with falling global dairy prices that not only was it the end of the golden weather for dairy farmers, but also the end of the industry.

“Farmers are worried, anyone would be when their incomes are halved in the course of a year,” he said. “The US, Europe and Australia will have to consolidate and learn to live without subsidies but we’ve already done the hard yards and the cooperative is in the best position to weather the storm and come out the other side. Dairy is not doomed or dead.” . . 

Early days but PGP trial farm excited by potential:

The opportunity to precisely manage a fertiliser analysis and application programme, on highly variable hill country, has East Otago farmer Rob Lawson excited.

The trial is a part of Ravensdown’s Pioneering to Precision Primary Growth Partnership programme in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries and supported by Massey University and AgResearch.

Rob, who farms with his brother Willie, father Jim and their families on their steep-to-rolling hill country, is also looking forward to the reduced workload that the programme is expected to make possible. They run about 10,000 stock units on a ratio of about 70% sheep and the remainder cattle on their 2,330 ha property just south of Waikouaiti.

The programme aims to improve the use, and application, of fertiliser, and Rob has welcomed the opportunity for his farm to be a part of it. . . 

Sprout looks for help to grow:

National agritech business accelerator Sprout is looking for a startup with the potential to be New Zealand’s next global agritech superstar.

Sprout is searching the country for eight budding entrepreneurs with new agritech businesses for a new development programme.

Sprout Programme Manager James Bell-Booth said the chosen eight would receive a cash injection of $20,000 and be mentored by world-class business and technical experts.

“One of the things we are looking to equip is the next generation of agri-entrepreneurs,” he said. . . 

Unmanned Helicopters to Revolutionise Agricultural Industry:

Yamaha Sky Division New Zealand represents the future of the agricultural industry. The introduction of the Yamaha RMAX unmanned helicopters will enable property owners, licenced operators and contractors to maintain the land and crops remotely, from the air, and without the hassles that come with more traditional farming methods.

Weighing in at 99kg and at a total length of 3.63m and a height of 1.08m, each helicopter has a load capacity of 28kgs and runs on a 2 stroke, horizontally opposed 2-cylinder engine. The newest member of the Yamaha Sky Division is the ultimate piece of farm machinery for the 21st century.

The versatility of this new technology means that operators can spray weeds, crops, or spread seed in a more cost effective and accurate manner. . . 

Corrections recognises the support of Wairarapa REAP:

Wairarapa REAP (Rural Education Activities Programme) was this week recognised for its partnership with Corrections in helping community-based offenders increase their literacy levels and employment and education prospects.

Corrections Deputy Chief Executive Christine Stevenson presented Wairarapa REAP Director Peter McNeur with a community work partnership award at Masterton Community Corrections on Tuesday.

Corrections Service Manager Mel Morris said the award recognises the contribution Wairarapa REAP has made to community-based offenders’ lives.

“Corrections values the commitment of our community work partners like Wairarapa REAP that allows offenders to learn new skills and behaviours, and provide role models that make a positive difference to others.

“Wairarapa REAP has done a tremendous job in providing offenders with the tools that could turn their lives around,” she said. . . 

Why Getting Nepal the Right Seeds After the Earthquakes Matters – Kelsey Nowakowski:

When two major earthquakes hit Nepal this past spring, it devastated the country’s agricultural sector. Cultivated terraces were washed away by landslides and covered in rubble. But farmers lost more than just their crops, cattle, and homes (see Nepal Earthquake Strikes One of Earth’s Most Quake-Prone Areas). Gone, too, were the seeds they had uniquely adapted to their land over the course of decades.

Farming communities in central Nepal’s mountainous region were some of the hardest hit areas in the country. Seeds, tools, food stocks, and buildings were destroyed. In the six most-affected districts, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that about 60 percent of food and seed stocks were destroyed in farming households. . . 

 


Rural round-up

September 13, 2015

Winter won’t go – Neal Wallace:

An exceptionally cold winter and start to spring has created the most difficult farming conditions south Otago farmer Peter McNab has seen in 23 years.

There appears little respite.

Feed is short throughout much of Otago, Southland and on the West Coast with persistent rain, prompting the Ministry for Primary Industries to raise concerns West Coast livestock were struggling and to urge farmers to respond early. . . 

Taranaki farming flood victims still battling – Sue O’Dowd:

With their farm in ruins around them and unknown stock losses in the aftermath of the June flood, a Tututawa couple are focusing on the small things.

Sheep and beef farmers John and Philippa McBride have owned their 500-hectare property east of Stratford for for 38 years. 

With large stands of native trees, the farm has an effective area of 300ha of steep country and parcels of flats along the Mangaehu River. . . 

Fonterra, dairy farm debt a major concern for NZ economy, NZSA told – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – The high level of debt carried by Fonterra Cooperative Group and dairy farms is a major concern for the New Zealand economy, said speakers at the annual Shareholders Association conference.

Paul Glass, director of Devon Funds Management, told the NZSA conference in Hamilton today that Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy exporter, had $7 billion of debt and less than $1 billion of earnings.

“Most banks will only lend three to four times earnings. Fonterra is very heavily indebted,” he said. . .

Farmers Encouraged To Enter Auckland Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Entries have opened for the 2016 Auckland Ballance Farm Environment Awards and organisers have high hopes the region’s first year in the prestigious competition will be a huge success.

Mark Ball, newly appointed chairman of the Auckland Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA), says all farmers, including orchardists, vegetable growers and viticulturists, are eligible to enter.

He says the competition enables entrants to benchmark themselves against their peers and receive valuable advice from expert judges on how to improve the sustainability of their operations. . . 

Eight new biosecurity detector dog teams for Auckland:

An energetic chocolate-brown pointer called Daisy is among eight new detector dog teams that have started at Auckland this week to sniff out biosecurity items carried by international travellers.

The new teams (handler and dog) finished their biosecurity detector dog training last week, along with three other new teams that have since started at Auckland and Wellington.

“The additional teams will provide extra detector dog power as we gear up for a busy summer – both in terms of passenger numbers and the heightened risk of fruit fly, due to outbreaks in Australia and other parts of the Pacific,” says Steve Gilbert, the Ministry for Primary Industry’s Border Clearance Services Director. . . 

Super biosecurity sniffer starts at Wellington:

A super-sniffing biosecurity detector dog started work at Wellington airport this week, says the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

Meg, a beagle-labrador cross, and her handler Meggyn Bamford started in Wellington on Monday. They finished their training last week, along with 10 other biosecurity teams who have since started in Auckland and Christchurch.

The new team brings the number of detector dog teams patrolling the city’s international airport and port up to three. . . 

Show me the money – calculating $$ return on summer crops:

If it’s a choice between doing nothing with a poor paddock this spring, or sowing it in chicory or turnips, you’re better off cropping it.

With much higher DM yield and feed quality over summer, the crops can generate surprisingly good net returns compared with run out pasture.

A new summer crop calculator based on the $3.85/kg MS payout allows dairy farmers to work out their own return on investment from sowing chicory or turnips this season.

And provided they take steps to ensure a good crop, the bottom line still stacks up very well, according to the company behind the calculator. . . 

Countdown’s Champion Apprentice Butcher of the Year:

Countdown’s apprentice butcher, Hohepa Smith, has been named Competenz Butcher Apprentice of the Year at Auckland’s Shed 10.

The Awards, which have been held for the past 20 years, are run by Retail Meat New Zealand to find the most skilled butchers in the country.

Along with the champion title, Smith has won a $10,000 scholarship to be part of an international study tour of his choice, where he will add to his winning knife skills from world leading experts.

Hohepa Smith is thrilled with the result of his performance yesterday. . . 


Rural round-up

September 2, 2015

Tap turned on at Hororata irrigation scheme – Annabelle Tukia:

The tap has officially been turned on for one of the country’s largest irrigation projects.

The Central Plains water scheme will irrigate more than 20,000 hectares of Canterbury farmland.

One Hororata farmer says the massive scheme, which runs off the Rakaia River, will enable him and his neighbours to completely transform their operations.

Rodney Booth has waited a long time to turn the irrigators on at his Hororata farm. . . 

Dairy and travel still our largest export earners:

New Zealand earned $2.3 billion more from exports than we spent on imports during the year ended June 2015, Statistics New Zealand said today.

In the year to June 2015, total exports of goods and services were $67.5 billion, while total imports were $65.1 billion.

Dairy remains New Zealand’s largest export commodity, earning $12.0 billion in the June 2015 year. However, this was down from $15.8 billion in the June 2014 year. Spending by international visitors to New Zealand (travel exports) increased $2.4 billion, reaching $11.7 billion in the June 2015 year.

“Dairy and travel are New Zealand’s biggest export earners,” international statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said. “A fall in dairy exports to China, combined with the increase in expenditure by overseas visitors to New Zealand, has narrowed the gap between the two.” . . 

App helps keep hives humming – Sally Rae:

Brice Horner gets a buzz about educating others about beekeeping.

Now the Dunedin police officer has developed a phone app that helps beekeepers identify whether they have the destructive bacterial disease American foulbrood (AFB) in their hives.

AFB kills bee larvae and infected hives have to be destroyed by burning, as the disease is very difficult to combat. After destroying the bee larvae, spores could survive outside a bee colony for more than 35 years.

It is a serious issue, and beekeepers are legally required to advise the AFB Management Agency within seven days of noticing an outbreak and to destroy the disease by burning within the same period. . . 

Kiwi dairy farmers feeling the pinch are right – their payout is the world’s lowest – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand dairy farmers bracing for the lowest payout in a decade probably won’t welcome the latest analysis of global trends in the industry – their counterparts in every other dairy-producing country are being paid more.

An expected uplift in dairy prices in the overnight GlobalDairyTrade auction won’t change the fact Kiwi dairy farmers are the lowliest paid. AgriHQ analysed milk prices from around the world converted to NZ$/kilogram of milk solids to allow valid comparisons, although some dairy farmers incomes in other countries are boosted by subsidies and support schemes.

Fonterra’s forecast farmgate milk price, which is the price setter in the New Zealand dairy industry, is $3.85/kgMS for the current season, the lowest in a decade. That compares to China at the other end of the scale at $11/kgMS, the United States at $8.15/kgMS, Argentina at $7.57/kgMS, and the UK at $6.95/kgMS. Of the countries analysed, Ireland’s payout of $6.10/kgMS was the closest to New Zealand’s. . . 

OceanaGold raises 2015 production estimate to reflect Waihi acquisition – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – OceanaGold Corp expects 2015 production to increase while costs fall after the gold miner takes control of Waihi Gold Mine later this year.

The acquisition of the Waihi mine from Newmont Mining Corp is awaiting approval from the Overseas Investment Office this month, and once completed, OceanaGold expects to assume the economic benefits and costs associated with Waihi from July 1, the Melbourne-based miner said in a statement. The company increased its 2015 production estimates, and reduced its costs forecast to reflect lower copper and diesel prices and a weaker New Zealand dollar, it said. . . 

Sanford quits Pacific tuna business, lines up buyers for vessels – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Sanford, New Zealand’s largest listed fishing group, will quit its underperforming Pacific tuna business and put the unit’s fleet up for sale.

The Auckland-based company sold its San Nanumea vessel and is in talks with a potential buyer of San Nikunau, its other Pacific tuna ship, after reviewing the viability of the business, Sanford said in a statement. On April 9, it entered into a conditional agreement to sell both international purse seiner vessels, according to Sanford’s interim report released in June. . . 

Rural Equities posts 27% decline in annual earnings after milk prices slumped – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Rural Equities, the farming group majority-owned by the Cushing family, posted a 27 percent decline in annual earnings as milk prices plummeted.

The Hastings-based company said operating earnings before interest and tax fell to $4.67 million in the year ended June 30, from $6.43 million a year earlier as Fonterra Cooperative Group slashed its milk price payout to $4.40 per kilogram of milk solids from $8.40/kgMS the previous year. While that impacted its seven dairy farms, the company said its Waikato Puketotara sheep and beef property had a record year and it had steady income from leasing 15 of its 25 farms.

“Operating earnings were satisfactory given the substantial reduction in milk price,” said executive chairman David Cushing. “The company’s portfolio, with a mixture of directly operated and leased farms and diversity by property type and geography, helped provide balance.” . . 

Government grant for East Coast stream restoration:

An $89,700 grant from the Community Environment Fund for the restoration of the Whangawehi stream on the Mahia Peninsula was announced today by Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith during a visit to the catchment. 

“New Zealand has a major challenge to improve the management of our waterways, which has to be achieved stream by stream, river by river and lake by lake. The key to the success of these restoration programmes is getting all parties – landowners, iwi and hapū, district and regional councils as well as the Government – working together. This has been achieved on this project and that is why the Government is providing funding support,” Dr Smith says.  . . 

Fonterra Farmers Can Now Apply for Co-Operative Support:

Fonterra farmers can now apply for Fonterra Co-operative Support, a loan to help them deal with the current challenging conditions.

Chairman John Wilson said Fonterra is well placed to help its farmers because of the Co-operative’s underlying strength.

“Being able to help our farmers is all about standing together as a Co-operative and using our collective strength to get through these tough times,” said Mr Wilson. “We have had a lot of interest from farmers who appreciate what the Co-operative is trying to do for them to assist them with their farming businesses in a tough financial climate, and we are anticipating a large number of applications.” . . .

 


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