Rural round-up

January 13, 2020

OZ farmers suffer heavy losses – NFF – Sudesh Kissun:

Australian farmers have lost significant livestock in bushfires raging across the country, says National Farmers’ Federation President Fiona Simson. 

Simson says many farmers had lost homes, livestock and infrastructure.

“While we don’t know exact numbers yet, there has been a significant loss of livestock in parts of the country, most recently in areas such as northern Victoria and the south coast of NSW,” she says. . . 

‘Sheer weight’ of multiple issues taking toll on farmers – Sally Rae:

The ‘‘sheer weight’’ of issues facing farmers in Otago and Southland is taking a serious toll on their mental health and wellbeing, a Beef + Lamb New Zealand Economic Service report says.

The annual lamb crop report, released this week, said morale among sheep and beef farmers in the two regions was low.

The implications for farming practices and effects on profitability of government policies announced affecting the sector were unclear but likely to be far reaching.

While policies covering freshwater and greenhouse gas emissions were prominent, the likes of Mycoplasma bovis, reform of the National Animal Identification and Tracing scheme, tightening of bank lending arrangements, the One Billion Trees programme, winter grazing practices, biodiversity, urban perception of farming, and how to manage succession were also having notable impacts. . . 

New boss sees pastoral potential – Richard Rennie:

The vast grassland expanses of South America offer some exciting opportunities for Gallagher’s new general manager Darrell Jones.

Jones is a couple of months into his new role but almost 20 years into working for the agri-tech company. 

Formerly the company’s national sales manager he is excited by what his recent business excursion to South America revealed.

“We have had a presence in South America for some time but everything sold over there is basically from behind the counter. 

“We want to really work on what our point of difference is for electric fence systems there and a big part of that is farmer education.  . .

Farmlands moves focus forward – Neal Wallace:

New Farmlands chairman Rob Hewett wants the farm supplies retailer to shift its focus to meeting the anticipated needs of farmers five years in the future.

Given the requirement for farmers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address freshwater quality Farmlands needs to help its 70,000 shareholder-owners make those adjustments and that means supplying advice, services and technology they will need in the future.

“Farmers want a road map and hope and we are moving the company from being very good at providing something farmers needed five years ago to provide things we anticipate farmers will need five years from now.” . . 

Mechanisation new for the US – Tessa Nicholson:

The impetus behind developing the Klima stripper back in 2007 was a continual lack of labour during the pruning season.

Growers and companies all over the country were facing shortages and every year there was the underlying fear that pruning would not be completed in time for bud burst.

The Klima quickly caught the attention of grape growers in both New Zealand and Australia, but breaking into the US has until recently been a difficult one, says Klima founder Marcus Wickham. . . 

Australian celebrity chef samples both sides of the dining experience at Walter Peak High Country Farm:

Visiting Australian celebrity chef Justin North enjoyed a chance to sample the gourmet BBQ lunch menu before heading to the kitchen to work with Executive Chef Mauro Battaglia at Walter Peak High Country Farm in Queenstown on Tuesday 7 January.

North says the first impression when walking through the doors into the Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant is the absolutely beautiful aroma.

“Credit to Executive Chef Mauro Battaglia and his whole team as it’s clear that a lot of love, care and thought goes into the food. You can see there is such a lovely culture within the kitchen team, and everyone is so passionate about what they are doing. You can tell it’s more than just a job to everyone.” . . 

 

The insidious flaw in the “Less Meat” argument — we need soil, not soy – Seth Itzkan:

The insidious flaw with the “less meat” argument is that it implies that meat is bad (when, of course, it isn’t) while looking the other way as it advances soil-depleting, GMO soy, faux meat products at the expense of nutritionally superior, regenerative beef and dairy alternatives that are essential for enhancing soil carbon, reviving pasture ecosystems, and just now gaining a foothold in supermarkets.

What Burger King and other franchises should do instead of carrying Impossible Foods paddies, is to insist that each region source at least 10% of their meats locally and via ecologically restorative production. That would jumpstart the food revolution genuinely poised to deliver a safe climate. . .

 


Rural roundup

February 17, 2019

Hungry cities eat land :

As well as being urged to produce more from less while satisfying environmental critics farmers are also being squeezed by pressure for more land for housing and forestry. This week Farmers Weekly journalists Richard Rennie and Neal Wallace begin taking an in-depth look at how much land has been lost and how much more could still be lost as a billion trees are planted to create a low-carbon economy while another 100,000 homes are built.

As the Government grapples with building another 100,000 homes just to meet shortages, planners and producers are nervously watching continued population growth, much which will be in the country’s key farm produce regions.

Until 2016 New Zealand was losing just over 100,000 hectares a year of growing land, whether to urban development or the proliferation of lifestyle blocks increasing by 5800 a year. . .

Take 5 with Rob Barry  – Tristan Burn:

After an epic adventure around the world, Rob Barry returned to the Central Hawkes Bay four years ago and settled his new family. He is currently working as a Managers Assistant on a 1220 cow dairy farm.

The farm is part of BEL Group, a Family Corporate farming business Rob’s parents built up over the last 30 years. They have nine Dairy farms milking 9500 cows in total and seven dairy support farms (three owned, four leased). Since calving Rob has been block managing Ellingham and 400 cows.

1. In 5-10 words what is your farming philosophy?

Leave it better than you found it – Scouts motto. . .

Seasonal labour shortage in Hawkes Bay declared :

The Ministry of Social Development has declared a seasonal labour shortage across Hawke’s Bay.

Declaring a seasonal labour shortage allows visitor visa holders to apply for a variation of conditions, which will enable them to work on orchards and vineyards in the Hawke’s Bay.

The shortage is for a six-week period between 25 February and 5 April 2019, in response to discussions with pipfruit leaders, industry experts, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. . .

WorkSafe joins Young Farmer of the Year competition:

WorkSafe New Zealand has today announced a partnership with the FMG Young Farmer of the Year competition.

WorkSafe Chief Executive Nicole Rosie says the partnership will connect New Zealand’s future farming leaders with health and safety in an engaging setting, build rapport with rural communities and help create generational change. . .

Pāmu announces increased profit for half year:

Landcorp Farming Limited (known as Pāmu) has declared a net profit after tax of $29 million for the half year ended 31 December 2018. This compares to $21 million for the half year ended 31 December 2017.

Chief Executive Steven Carden said that the increased half year profit was a pleasing result, reflecting good weather conditions and good trade terms for the company’s main products.

“On an EBITDAR (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and revaluations) basis, which we use as a key measure of performance, the half year represented a loss of $3 million compared to a loss of $6 million in the prior period. The loss is largely due to the seasonality of Pāmu’s operations since the bulk of livestock revenue is earned in the second half of the year.” . .

Federated Farmers and Gallagher forge new business relationship :

Long-standing contributor to New Zealand agriculture Gallagher Ltd and Federated Farmers are joining forces to form a new business partnership.

Feds recognises Gallagher as a leader in its field, having more than 80 years’ experience as a leading technology company in the animal management, security and fuel systems industries. . .

Tropical fruit options bring exciting opportunities :

Bananas, so often associated with warm tropical climates on the equator may prove to be another cropping opportunity for enterprising horticulturalists from Northland to Gisborne.

New Zealanders have an appetite for the yellow fruit, chomping through a whopping 18kg per capita a year, about $140 million worth that puts this country at top of the global list for banana consumption. . . .


Rural round-up

April 14, 2013

Zanda Award of agricultural leadership:

The Platinum Primary Producers Group (PPP) announced at its Brisbane conference they will establish an annual award in memory of Australian cattle icon Zanda McDonald.

McDonald was a founding member of the PPP Group, a forum where top agricultural leaders in dairy, sheep and beef industries from across Australasia unite to speak candidly about what is happening in agriculture.

PPP Group chairman and Wairarapa farmer Shane McManaway who established the PPP Group dedicated the conference to McDonald.

He said the Zanda McDonald Award for Excellence in Agriculture will select a winner from Australasia based on the qualities that McDonald possessed – leadership, courage, innovation, inspiration, and dedication and commitment to the agriculture industry. . .

Agriculture drives labour productivity since 2008 recession:

During 2008–11, labour productivity in the agriculture industry increased 3.4 percent a year, Statistics New Zealand said today. Agriculture was the main contributor to labour productivity in the measured sector, which increased 0.5 percent.

“Agriculture output has increased across the 2008 to 2011 period, showing a recovery from the severe drought of 2008,” national accounts manager Rachael Milicich said. “Throughout this period, labour inputs have shown little change, resulting in rising labour productivity for the industry.”

Other industries that made a significant contribution to labour productivity were finance and insurance services, up 2.7 percent, and information media and telecommunications, up 4.3 percent. . .

New appointment to NZ Meat Board:

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has today announced the appointment of international trade specialist George Rutherford to the New Zealand Meat Board.

The 10-member Meat Board is a statutory body which works to get the best possible ongoing returns from New Zealand’s quota markets.

“Mr Rutherford has dedicated most of his 37-year career to furthering New Zealand’s agricultural trade interests. He has served extensively with the Ministry for Primary Industries and its predecessors.

“Mr Rutherford is a former lead negotiator for New Zealand at the World Trade Organisation, and has played a significant role in trade negotiations with China and the Asia Pacific Region. He has particular expertise on European Union issues, and in the resolution of trade disputes. . .

Co-op or company – dairy firms cover the range – Jamie Gray:

Fonterra’s not-so-little brother, Westland Milk, has no plans to substantially alter the co-operative model under which it operates, and it appears its farmer members like it that way.

Westland, one of New Zealand’s top 100 businesses with turnover of more than $530 million, processes about 4 per cent of the country’s dairy supply.

Since the advent of Trading Among Farmers (TAF), there’s been a trickle of Fonterra farmers – mostly from Canterbury – coming over to Westland. . .

Innovator plugs agri-tech careers – Ben Chapman-Smith:

Young people need to start considering New Zealand’s thriving but often overlooked agricultural technology sector as a viable, well-paid career option, says Waikato-based innovator Gallagher.

The animal management company has long been one of New Zealand’s most well-known brands among farmers and has ranked in the top 10 of the TIN100 survey of New Zealand’s leading technology companies for the past three years.

Currently celebrating its 75th year, the firm’s electric fence, animal weighing, and electronic identification systems can be found on farms all over the world.

Yet many Kiwis failed to recognise the importance of agri-tech to the national economy, both as a creator of jobs and an improver of farm efficiency, said Matt Macfie, international business development manager. . .

Big dry shows risk of investing in agriculture – Iona McCarthy:

Capital growth has always been an important factor in successful dairy farm investment, but it would be unwise for investors to assume land prices always go up.

The drought ravaging many parts of the country is just one example of the business risks farmers need to consider when buying dairy land.

Accounting for such risks is essential and purchase decisions should really be made on the ability of the farm to generate an income stream, rather than a reliance on future capital growth. . .

 


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