Rural round-up

May 6, 2014

Growing US dairy industry shouldn’t be ignored:

Dairy farmers are being urged not to ignore the growing United States dairy industry as it starts to muscle in on this country’s traditional export markets.

The US is now New Zealand’s second biggest dairy competitor.

David McCall from DairyNZ says large-scale farms with feedlots of up to 30,000 cows makes for a much cheaper operation.

He says that, until recently, most American dairy products were consumed domestically, but that’s now changing.

“They’ve made some changes to set up their dairies and some of their processing factories directly to produce export product, is one thing that they’re doing. And they’re producing the sort of products now that Chinese and other markets are demanding. . .

Forest owners seek safety solutions:

Forest owners and contractors say they aren’t sitting on their hands while an independent review panel carries out its investigation into the high death and injury toll from forestry accidents.

They have responded to strong Council of Trade Union criticism of safety standards by urging the umbrella group to take any evidence backing its concerns to the review panel.

Forest Owners Association president Paul Nicholls says the panel will need input from everyone in the forestry sector to come up with practical solutions to improve work safety.

He says steps to reduce the accident rate had started years before the review was launched in March and those are continuing while the review panel and the Coroners Court carry out their investigations. . .

 NZ to join foot & mouth exercise in Nepal:

A New Zealand team of vets and industry representatives will go to Nepal later this year to get first hand experience of dealing with foot and mouth disease.

It’s part of a new agreement between New Zealand and Australia to work together more closely on measures to combat this livestock disease.

Primary industries minister, Nathan Guy said a team of about 10 New Zealanders will be join an Australian foot and mouth training programme in Nepal, which is one of the countries battling the disease.

“It makes sense for us to be working closely with Australia because they know as a pastoral based economy that it would cause a huge amount of damage to the Australian economy if they ever got FMD and the same here in New Zealand. . .

Horticulture now 8% of New Zealand’s exports:

.Horticultural products now account for 8% of New Zealand’s total merchandise exports, according to the latest edition of the industry publication Fresh Facts.

In the year to 30 June 2013, the horticulture industry generated more than $3.6 billion in export revenue, with the major products being wine ($1.2 billion) and kiwifruit ($934 million). The biggest gains were seen in onion exports, which increased by 47% over 2012 values to a total $90 million, and apple exports, which increased by 40% to $475 million.

Total produce from the horticultural industry was valued at $6.7 billion, including $770 million of domestic spend on New Zealand grown fruit and $1.09 billion on vegetables.

“The success of New Zealand’s horticultural exports has been founded on a keen understanding of market needs and a passion for delivering high quality product that commands a healthy premium,” says Plant & Food Research CEO Peter Landon-Lane. . .

China temporarily bans British cheese imports:

China has temporarily banned imports of British cheese after the country’s food inspectors complained about hygiene standards at an unnamed UK dairy.

The Chinese officials were reportedly dissatisfied with its maintenance and storage, raw milk transport temperatures and air sanitisation.

However, the dairy they visited does not export its produce to China.

UK farming minister George Eustice has called for restrictions to be lifted “as soon as possible”.

“British cheese is the best in the world and produced to the highest safety and quality standards, so it is disappointing that China have put a temporary block on cheese imports,” he said. . .

Farm Environment Trust Assembles Top Panel for National Winner Judging:

The New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust has welcomed two new judges to the panel responsible for choosing the National Winner of the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Comprising six people with a broad range of skills and experience, the National Winner judging panel will select the next holder of the Gordon Stephenson Trophy from the ten regional Supreme winners of the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA). The winner will be announced at a National Sustainability Showcase in Christchurch on June 26.

The 2014 National Winner judging panel is chaired by Simon Saunders, deputy chair of the NZFE Trust, and includes Jamie Strang, BFEA National Judging Coordinator, Warwick Catto, Head of Research and Environment, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, and Paul Lamont, Regional Manager, Rabobank. Newcomers Charmaine O’Shea and Bruce Wills have joined the panel this year. . .

Snow Sports NZ and Cardrona Alpine Resort Sign Partnership Agreement:

Snow Sports New Zealand and Cardrona Alpine Resort Limited have signed a Partnership Agreement which will see Cardrona become the official resort partner of Snow Sports NZ, the naming rights sponsor of the New Zealand Park and Pipe Team and the naming rights sponsor of the NZ Freeski & Snowboard Junior National Championships.

Cardrona Alpine Resort and Snow Sports NZ have a positive long-standing partnership and the national freeski and snowboard team do all of their halfpipe and slopestyle training at the resort throughout the southern hemisphere winter. Cardrona also hosts key events such as the NZ Freeski Open, NZ Winter Games and an international spring training camp after the resort closes to the public.

The purpose of the formal agreement is to recognise the growing importance of the partnership and cement the relationship. A four year term has been agreed, subject to satisfactory annual review, during which time Cardrona will be recognised as the official resort partner of the NZ Park and Pipe Team and the team will be called the Cardrona NZ Park and Pipe Team. . .

Sanford agrees to buy assets of Greenshell NZ, Greenshell Investments from receivers:

(BusinessDesk) – Sanford, the listed fishing company, agreed to buy the assets of Greenshell NZ Limited and Greenshell Investments from the receivers of the mussel farming and processing group.

No price was disclosed in a statement from Sanford. Chief executive Volker Kuntzsch said the assets “were a strategic fit for Sanford’s aquaculture business as they allow for improved supplies from a wider geography.”

Receivers Brendon Gibson and Grant Graham of KordaMentha were appointed last November by Rabobank after depressed prices for the shellfish over a number of years culminated in a “significant” operating loss in 2012. . .

 


Aust-NZ strengthen FMD defence

May 4, 2013

A new action plan between Australia and New Zealand will strengthen defences against Foot and Mouth Disease.

Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, and New Zealand’s Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy, have announced the two countries will work more closely together focusing combined defences against the threat of FMD.

“FMD poses one of the single greatest threats to livestock industries and rural communities in New Zealand and Australia. We’ve estimated that a large outbreak would cost Australia $AUD 16 billion to control,” Minister Ludwig said.

“Australia has successfully kept FMD out of the country for more than 130 years.

“Our countries have committed to work together to develop a trans-Tasman FMD Action Plan to improve preparedness.

“Collaborative government action will help ensure we are both adequately prepared for this disease.”

Minister Guy said both countries were extremely aware of the importance of preparing for the threat, given the importance of the agricultural sector to both economies.
“This work will build on the strong relationship we already have through years of working together on animal health and biosecurity issues,” Minister Guy said.

“It reflects an on-going commitment to improving our knowledge and preparedness.”

Key activities under the joint plan include:

• sharing intelligence on emerging animal health risks facing our region

• developing and improving training activities and FMD detection capabilities, including training in exotic animal disease recognition and participating in joint exercises

• sharing and comparing economic and disease models of FMD to inform management strategies

• collaborating on policy development, approaches and operational plans for vaccination and carcass disposal

• participating in simulation exercises to explore how we could support response efforts in the event of an incursion.

“While both countries will work towards a coordinated Action Plan, the best strategy is to not let FMD ever get into either country in the first place,” Minister Guy said.

“Prevention remains the first priority for both countries through our world class biosecurity systems. New Zealand is fortunate to have never had an outbreak but we must always be prepared.”

Minister Ludwig agreed saying early detection was essential to reduce the potential impact of this disease.

“FMD has been able to establish and spread in a wide range of environmental and production systems around the world so vigilance and preparedness are essential safeguards to protecting Australia and New Zealand’s valuable primary industries, Minister Ludwig said.”

Australia and New Zealand have the strictest border controls I’ve ever struck.

The importance of agriculture and horticulture to both our economies provide a very good reason for that.

As island nations it’s easier for us to keep disease out than it is for countries which border others but there is absolutely no room for complacency.

Combining forces against FMD will strengthen defences in both countries.


Danger in branding their meat like ours

August 16, 2008

Alliance Group might buy lamb from South America to fill orders it can’t meet from New Zealand.

Chief executive Grant Cuff said with sheep numbers declining around the world, the Invercargill co-operative was looking at supplying North American and European markets with South American lamb.

Alliance considered a similar possibility about a decade ago, but Cuff said the situation had changed.

At the time South American lambs were lighter in weight, there were insufficient numbers and issues with disease and traceability.

South American farmers had improved the quality of lambs and addressed the disease and animal traceability issues which, together with falling sheep numbers, had encouraged Alliance to revisit the idea.

“New Zealand has looked at it before. It is all a matter of timing and priorities and we think the moment is right to have another look.”

Cuff said Alliance was still to decide if the lamb would be sold under its own brands, but initially that was unlikely.

 

 

Guaranteeing continuous supply may be necessary to satisfy export markets and if that can’t be done with our own lamb, meat companies will have to look elsewhere.

I have no concern about the quality of meat from South America. I’ve enjoyed several meals of lamb in Argentina and the meat was at least equal to the best I have eaten here, although that was due in part to the way it was cooked – on an asado .

However, there is a danger in branding their meat like ours because foot and mouth disease is a recurring problem in South America.

Keeping separate brands will ensure there is no risk to our exports by association with theirs if or when there is another outbreak of the disease there.


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