Rural round-up

06/05/2014

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. . .

 


Wide approval for workplace safety reform

08/08/2013

Labour Minister Simon Bridges has announced the most significant reform of New Zealand’s workplace health and safety system in 20 years.

“The Working Safer package represents a major step change in New Zealand’s approach to meet our target of reducing the workplace injury and death toll by 25 percent by 2020,” says Mr Bridges.

“The reforms recalibrate our approach so we are working smarter, targeting risk and working together to improve performance in workplace health and safety.

“This is the legacy we owe to the Pike River families, the families of the 75 people who are killed each year in New Zealand workplaces, and the estimated 600 to 900 who die annually from the long-term effects of occupational disease.”

Mr Bridges says Working Safer addresses the recommendations of the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety which provided Government with a solid foundation to work from.

“We will improve the legislation and back it up with clear guidelines and enforcement, and investment in a strong new regulator WorkSafe New Zealand.

“But achieving the target is not something we can do alone. It also requires leadership and action from business and workers, working with government, sharing the responsibility and driving the solutions on the ground.

“Good health and safety makes good business sense.  It is an investment in improved productivity, staff engagement and in an organisation’s reputation in the community,” Mr Bridges says.

The rabid anti-business sector doesn’t get this.

Safe businesses are better businesses for people, productivity and profits.

Included in the reform package are:

  • an overhaul of the law, supported by clear, consistent guidelines and information for business on their requirements
  • more funding for WorkSafe New Zealand to strengthen enforcement and education and implement the changes
  • a focus on high risk areas
  • stronger focus on occupational harm and hazardous substances
  • better coordination between government agencies
  • improved worker participation
  • stronger penalties, enforcement tools and court powers.

More details on the package here.

BusinessNZ welcomes the changes:

BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly said it was a significant step in the right direction.

“Moving to a principles-based regime in which health and safety responses are tailored to the business rather than the current one-size-fits-all approach will be a real help to many businesses, as will a simpler approach to levy setting and other costs.

“We are also pleased to see a heavy emphasis on clarifying responsibilities and on providing information and guidance to businesses and their employees.” 

Mr O’Reilly urged that care be taken in finalising the law to avoid unintended consequences. . .

ACC is supportive:

ACC’s Chief Executive, Scott Pickering, says ACC is looking forward to working closely with the new Crown agent ‘WorkSafe New Zealand’. The agency forms the cornerstone of the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Independent Taskforce on Health and Safety.

“WorkSafe New Zealand will bring a new, sharper focus to the importance of workplace safety, and ACC will provide all the support we can to ensure more Kiwis go home safe and sound at the end of their working day.”

Mr Pickering says he’s very mindful of the important role ACC plays in injury prevention, but he also looks forward to seeing what can be achieved with a more collaborative approach.

“There’s a growing awareness that New Zealand’s high work-related injury rates require united action, with Government agencies, businesses and workers all working together towards the same goal. . .

Forest Owners Association supports the reforms:

“The government has a vital role to play in improving safety in the workplace,” says president Bill McCallum. “It has the power to pull a range of levers that will influence attitudes, understandings and behaviours of all involved.”

He says lax attitudes to safety are prevalent in New Zealand and even with the best will in the world, it is a battle to get safety to be seen as the number one priority by every individual in the workplace.

“What we desperately need is a change in culture at all levels of our society, so that unsafe work practices are rejected as being socially unacceptable. We have seen huge changes in social attitudes to drink driving and tobacco smoking, thanks largely to government support for campaigns addressing those issues.

“We now need the same focus brought to bear on cultural attitudes that portray risk-taking as being acceptable.

“The real game changer will be when we get acceptance from everyone involved – from the boardroom through to the worker in the forest – that we have a collective and personal responsibility for health and safety. This is a responsibility to and by the worker, as well as to their workmates, their families and the businesses they work for.”

The package has also been welcomed by the CTU:

Helen Kelly, CTU President said “the announcements today acknowledge that our health and safety system is in need of an overhaul, and we welcome the direction taken by the Government with these proposed changes.”

“Moves to strengthen worker participation at the workplace are particularly positive and will help keep Kiwi workers safer at work. The inclusion of a general duty to involve and consult with workers on health and safety matters, and strengthen the role of H&S representatives will give workers a voice in how health and safety is handled in their workplace”.

Her only complaint is no worker representative on the Worksafe New Zealand Board.

Even the  the Public Service Association: welcomes the reforms, though it too complains that there’s no representative for workers on the Worksafe board.

Work safety is the responsibility of employers and employees, wide support for the reforms from representatives of both is a good start.


Rural round-up

15/02/2013

Rabobank Agribusiness Monthly February 2013:

The report covers all the major agricultural sectors that are important to New Zealand and Australia as well as covering off the latest economic, retail and currency developments.

Key highlights:

• The early stages of 2013 have brought some weather extremes across New Zealand and Australia. The latest outlook paints more of a normal picture for upcoming autumn seasonal conditions.
• Dairy commodity prices continue to trend higher with fundamentals slowly coming back into better balance. Markets are closely watching the dry weather in New Zealand’s North Island, which is taking its toll on milk flows.
• Effective February 1, Japanese beef import protocols will allow US beef exporters to source cattle up to the age of 30 months (previously 20 months) for export into the Japanese market.
• Record low US corn and soybean stocks continue to drive global grain markets. Australian prices continue to hold at historically strong basis levels.

The full report is here.

Eco-Warrior To Speak At Dairy Women’s Conference:

Three-time Ballance Farm Environment Award winner Dan Steele is on a mission to make New Zealand a better place for the future. In March he’s fronting up to hundreds of dairying women at their annual conference in Nelson to explain why he believes farmers and conservationists need to work together to ensure we have productive and sustainable farms to live and work on in the future.

Dan is a typical kiwi bloke. He’s a bushman, hunter, traveller, farmer, conservationist and business man. He’s been on his OE. He’s also used kiwi ingenuity to think outside the square and create an award-winning eco-tourism business – Blue Duck Station.

Blue Duck is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground located on the banks of the Whanganui and Retaruke rivers in the Ruapehu district. The Station is surrounded by Whanganui National park. . .

All forests to be monitored for foreign bugs:

All forest plantations will be brought into a nationwide forest health surveillance scheme if next month’s referendum of forest growers is successful.

“A yes vote in the referendum will see a small compulsory levy applied to harvested logs. Broadening the reach of the surveillance scheme will be one of the big benefits,” says Paul Nicholls, a Forest Growers Levy Trust board member.

“Forests owned by members of the Forest Owners Association have been monitored for exotic pests and diseases for more than 50 years. But new bugs don’t discriminate. We need to be monitoring forests on the basis of a scientific assessment of risk, not because they are owned by a member of an industry association.” . .

Iwi owned oyster business cements partnership with Cawthron Institute:

Iwi owned seafood company Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd this week signed an agreement with Cawthron Institute in respect to their Pacific oyster hatchery and oyster nursery based at Glenduan, north of Nelson. Under the agreement Aotearoa Fisheries will take over the Pacific oyster Nursery and Spat growing operations. Three of Cawthron Institute’s staff involved in the Nursery and growing operations will be seconded to Aotearoa Fisheries. Cawthron Institute will continue to spawn and produce Pacific oyster larvae at the site.

Aotearoa Fisheries is one of New Zealand’s largest fishing and seafood businesses and is the largest Pacific oyster company in New Zealand, trading as Kia Ora Seafoods and Pacific Marine Farms. This deal follows on from Aotearoa Fisheries acquisition of Sanford NZ Limited’s North Island Pacific oyster farms last year. . .

LIC lifts first-half profit 7.3 percent as dairy farmers ramp up investment:

Livestock Improvement Corp, which compensated some farmers for selling bull semen that caused ‘hairy calf’ mutations, increased first-half profit 7.3 percent as dairy farmers raised their herd investment, even as farmgate prices fell.

Net profit rose to $30 million, or $1.017 a share, in the six months ended Nov. 30, from $28 million, or 94.7 cents, a year earlier, the Hamilton-based company said in a statement. Sales rose 9.6 percent to $131.5 million, though LIC typically gets most of its revenue in the first half of the financial year and doesn’t recognise costs until the second half. . .

Lempriere reaches 90% of Wool Services International, hitting mop-up target:

Australian wool merchant Lempriere has reached the 90 percent target of Wool Services International, allowing it to mop-up the remaining shares.

The Melbourne-based company reached 90.9 percent of acceptances yesterday, according to a substantial security holder notice, meeting its minimum acceptance and letting it compulsorily acquire the remaining shares in the company.

Lempriere launched the takeover last year, offering 45 cents a share, valuing WSI at $31 million, a 22 percent premium to the trading price before the offer emerged. The shares last traded in January at 42 cents. . .

Survey reveals Scottish farming’s 2013 challenges – Gemma Mackenzie:

Confidence in Scottish agriculture remains high, despite falling profitability, harsh weather and poor lamb prices.

According to the Bank of Scotland’s annual agricultural report, only 11% of 474 respondents said they thought the industry was prosperous in 2012 – a drop of eight percentage points compared to the previous year.

Although only 59% expected to be profitable this year, 28% of farmers were optimistic about the future of the industry; the second highest level since the survey began 17 years ago.

KEY FINDINGS

• 85% of farmers were profitable in the last financial year – two percentage points lower than previous year
• Only 59% expected to be profitable in 2013 . . .

NFU Scotland calls for daiy contingency plan – Gemma Mackenzie:

NFU Scotland has called on the UK government to prepare a contingency plan for the dairy industry as the voluntary code of practice has not been as effective as hoped.

At a meeting with farm minister David Heath last week, president Nigel Miller said the voluntary dairy code of practice had not worked as well as it should have, and it was time to develop a plan B.

“NFUS is pushing for the UK goverment to explore a contingency plan, including legislation, in case the code fails to achieve its intentions. NFUS maintains that the best way of strengthening and developing the dairy market at home and abroad is to increase trust in the supply chain,” said Mr Miller. . .

 And from Facebook:

Hope this helps...


%d bloggers like this: