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.


Fitch tick backs govt programmes

July 9, 2014

The National-led government has received a tick from Fitch for its economic programme:

Credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings’ decision to revise New Zealand’s AA sovereign rating outlook from stable to positive is a vote of confidence in the New Zealand economy and the Government’s programme, Finance Minister Bill English says.

The positive outlook, which was announced overnight, indicates the likely direction of the credit rating over the next year or two, although it is not confirmation that a change will occur.

“As Fitch notes, the Government’s fiscal consolidation and its track to surplus in 2014/15 are strengthening the resilience of New Zealand’s credit profile,” Mr English says.

“Furthermore, it confirms that the Government has a credible plan to increase its fiscal surplus in the years ahead and to reduce net core Crown debt to 20 per cent of GDP by 2020.

“And Fitch comments that New Zealand’s economic policy framework, business environment and standards of governance rank among the world’s strongest from a credit perspective, warranting ‘high grade’ sovereign ratings.”

In its ratings update, Fitch also notes that New Zealand’s main vulnerabilities relate to its high net external debt and dependence on commodity exports.

“The Government remains focused on working with New Zealand households and businesses to lift our economic competitiveness,” Mr English says.

“We have made some good progress in addressing our longstanding vulnerabilities, with both the current account deficit and New Zealand’s net international liabilities substantially lower than they were five years ago.”

Alongside Fitch’s AA rating with a positive outlook, New Zealand is rated Aaa with a stable outlook by Moody’s and AA with a stable outlook by Standard and Poor’s.

This is a vote of confidence in the government’s programme and the direction it is taking New Zealand.

It’s not just academic. The more positive the view of the ratings agencies the lower the risk for lenders and that has an impact on interest rates.

 


Rural round-up

September 3, 2013

Fitch affirms Fonterra AA credit rating:

(BusinessDesk) – Fitch Ratings has affirmed Fonterra Cooperative Group’s credit rating, saying its dominance in export markets and fully-integrated business model underpin the dairy company.

Fonterra’s long and short term default ratings were affirmed at AA- and F1+ with a stable outlook, and ratings on its senior unsecured notes, subordinated notes and commercial paper were also left untouched at AA-, A+ and F1+, Fitch said in a statement. The rating agency cited Fonterra’s ability to sell its entire annual production despite price volatility and its market dominance as key rating drivers.

“Volumes and prices at GlobalDairyTrade auctions which comprise mainly New Zealand products rose over the last month despite the August colostridium botulinum scare,” Fitch said. “Fonterra does not take a material amount of price risk as it is able to pass this risk on to Fonterra’s farmer supplier/shareholder base.” . . .

World’s largest drier kicks into gear at Darfield:

The world’s largest milk powder drier at Fonterra’s Darfield site kicked into gear last week producing its first batches of whole milk powder which will be exported to more than 20 markets worldwide including the Middle East, China and Southeast Asia.

Fonterra’s Director Logistics Network, Robert Spurway, said at the peak of the season, the drier will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will produce more than 700 metric tonnes – the equivalent of 45 shipping containers – each day.

“The demand for dairy nutrition around the world, especially for whole milk powder, is still strong. Drier Two will ensure that Fonterra has the capacity to meet this demand and to process ongoing milk growth in Canterbury, the fastest growing dairy region in New Zealand. . .

There’s more to whitebaiting than catching fish Julia Bradshaw at Waiology:

Unlike the rest of New Zealand, on the West Coast the season for catching whitebait starts on 1 September and the build-up has been noticeable during the last week. Distinctive huts have appeared along the sides of rivers, motor-homes are noticeably more common and there are more strollers than usual along the river-banks. They are keeping an eye out for shoals of whitebait, a sign that the season will be a good one.

Catching whitebait has always been an important part of West Coast life. Tangata whenua had sophisticated and clever ways of catching mata (whitebait), all of which were copied by early Pakeha. Scoop nets, pot nets and trenches (stands) in use today can be easily traced back to the ingenious methods used by Maori. . .

Four vying for DairyNZ directorships

Four candidates are vying for two DairyNZ director positions this year, with the results of the election set to be announced at DairyNZ’s annual meeting in Taranaki on Thursday October 17.

Two directors are retiring by rotation and standing for re-election, along with two other new candidates. 

Candidates for the director positions are: 

  • Alister Body (Ashburton) 
  • Kevin Ferris (Te Awamutu) 
  • Barbara Kuriger (New Plymouth) 
  • Tom Walters (Te Puke) . . .

Port staff taken on inspection duties – Tim Fulton:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) classes the empty shipping containers at Port Chalmers as either Pacific or rest of the world.

The hygiene of the Pacific containers kept everyone on guard but shipments from elsewhere were generally less risky, border clearance regional manager Andrew Simon said.

There would always be times when port workers wanted to inspect a container so it could be moved somewhere else, and it was often then MPI inspectors were busy elsewhere.

“Sometimes the port companies are screaming out for us to come and inspect these things, over weekends and things, and we don’t have staff operating 24/7 at port sides around the country,” Simon said. . .

Akarua Pinot Noir named Champion Wine of Show:

Bannockburn vineyard Akarua has won the Bragato Trophy for Champion Wine of Show and three other trophies at the Romeo Bragato Awards in Blenheim.

Apart from the competition’s top award, Akarua Pinot Noir 2011 also won the Mike Wolter Memorial Trophy Champion Pinot Noir and the Sustainability Trophy.

On top of Akarua’s success with Pinot Noir, a recent addition to their portfolio, Akarua Rosé Brut NV, also won the Sparkling Trophy. . .


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