Rural round-up

07/05/2012

Slow down speed bumps ahead! – Dr Jon Hauser:

There’s an old joke that if you ask three economists a question you’ll get four different answers. Despite this, the one thing everyone agrees on is that global milk production over the last year has been going up, up, and up! The million dollar question, and the one that has been causing the dismal science’s split professional personalities, is: ‘will global demand keep pace?’.

The final numbers are in for 2011, so this week we’ve decided to throw our analysis into the ring . . .

“Kaitiakitanga”  nurturing our natural resources and people for a prosperous future – Pasture to Profit:

Kaitiakitanga” in Maori means to nurture our natural resources & people for a prosperous future.

This is one of 5 Farm Business Management values set out by Tauhara Moana Trust, one of three finalists in theBNZ Ahuwhenua Maori Excellence in Dairy Farming Award 2012. Maori Trusts have different business objectives to most other NZ dairy farmers.  . .

Why does wool polarise farmers? – Alan Ememrson:

Derek Daniell’s remit to the Beef + Lamb New Zealand annual meeting regarding a wool levy achieved, if nothing else, a positive plethora of emails to my inbox.

It was an innocent enough remit calling for an “evaluation of the result of the discontinuation of the wool levy and investigation whether a future collective investment would add value for wool growers”.

The problem is, as it seems with all things wool, people are either firmly on one side of the fence or the other.

For the record Derek is a good bloke and a highly successful farmer. His remit is well worded. How it is handled from here by B+LNZ will determine if it is successful. . .

Lincoln honours palm oil alumnus – Tim Fulton:

An executive in the global palm oil industry has been awarded Lincoln’s international medal, backed by an assurance from the university that his company is the “socially responsible standout” in the industry.

Just over 40 years after leaving Lincoln College with a diploma in Valuation and Farm Management, John Clendon was recognised last Friday for his involvement with coconut, cocoa and oil palm production in the south-west Pacific and Asia.

Clendon is managing director of Univanich, a Thai company which Lincoln credits as “the world’s leader in the production of sustainable palm oil”. . .

Tight unit wins Farmer of Year award – Sally Rae:

It was cattle that brought the 2012 OtagoSharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year winners James and Helen Hartshorne together.   

 Mr Hartshorne, originally from Shrewsbury in Shropshire, was showing Holstein-Friesians at the Royal Welsh Show in 1999,      while his future bride, from Wales, was exhibiting Guernseys .. .

Farm managers of  year love their job – Sally Rae:

Gareth Dawson always knew he was going to pursue an    outdoors career.   

He did not want to be “stuck indoors” and chose dairy farming, after helping a friend herd testing one day “and      just never left” the industry.   

Mr Dawson and his wife Angela, who now manage a 560 cow 186ha property at Clinton, won the 2012 Otago Farm Manager of the Year title.   . .

Rabobank builds rural business:

Rabobank New Zealand Ltd (RNZL) continued to build its rural banking business in 2011, recording net lending growth of $724 million, despite a contraction in the total rural debt market over the same period.  

Rabobank New Zealand CEO Ben Russell said the bank’s rural portfolio growth during 2011 was a positive result which primarily reflected refinance activity rather than organic growth of existing customers. . .

Kiwi avocado comapny wants slice of food service market:

A New Zealand owned avocado company has targeted the billion dollar food service market, with a goal to switch consumers from imported to locally grown produce.

Fressure Foods, a mainly grower-owned organisation, is encouraging Kiwi food trade companies to source locally produced avocados wherever possible to support local farmers and meet with growing consumer demand.

Currently the imported avocado industry in New Zealand is valued at around $1 million and around 200 tonnes of the fruit are brought into the country each year.

The February issue of Country-Wide is on-line here.


Rural round-up

02/04/2012

What is gunna happen – Gravedodger:

In the last month I have been fortunate to access a couple of reasonably inaccessible bits of the SI High Country, The Middle Clarence Valley and last weekend country around the Pahau and Dove Rivers in Nth Canterbury.

The two areas have been or are involved in “Tenure Review”, or as one wag described it Ten Year Review. A process where the Crown negotiates the retirement of some of the land in the CRL, Crown Renewable Lease, and the Leaseholder gains a Freehold Title to some of the more productive areas. One thing that becomes apparent is the retired land is exposed to major problems from weed and animal pests as the control of them exceeds DOC’s abilities and resources and the land that is retained for pastoral use is still being managed and will be kept relatively clear of gorse, broom, blackberry, briar and animals such as possums, ferrets, pigs, rabbits and deer. . .

(He’s got some stunning photos which you’ll see if you click the link above).

Leaving the farm – Offsetting Behaviour:

Bill Kaye-Blake says there’s not much that can be doneabout long-term trends towards rural depopulation. And he puts rural New Zealand especially on the wrong side of broader trends:

Technology isn’t going to be the saviour of rural New Zealand. We’ve been hearing for years that new communications technologies (will) allow us all to work from home, the cafe, and the beach. We do that to some extent. A few people do build business empires on the back of broadband. But we also spend lots of time in our offices, seeing and talking with our co-workers. One of the interesting economic geography arguments I’ve seen is that technology is making face-time more valuable. As a result, work that requires us to spend time with each other is becoming more highly paid, and work that can be made routine and parceled out in bits and bytes is becoming less valuable. New Zealand is on the wrong side of that trend, and rural areas even more so.

Let’s take the agglomeration economic geography arguments as starting point. Tech is more a complement to big cities than they are a substitute for face to face interactions. Who gets the strongest benefit from this in a world that’s mostly free-trading? Big global cities, not Auckland. Our small size makes us, over time, less competitive in sectors that compete with international big-city industries; our comparative advantage then pushes farther towards agricultural production. . .

If dairy farmers want to farm in the black they need to be green – Passture to Profit:

The NZ dairy industry is in a very interesting place right now. On one hand they generate serious export dollars; their contribution to the national income is undeniable. The wealth generated by dairy products means that most New Zealanders enjoy a good standard of living. On the other hand they are viewed by increasing numbers of thinking New Zealanders as exploiting our natural resources to the detriment of the environment. Sir Paul Callaghan spoke at the “StrategyNZ: Mapping our Future conference” in March 2011, pointing the finger at dairy farmers but also illustrating the economic reality.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhCAyIllnXY&feature=related

Dairy farmers have a real challenge: – to produce milk but to reduce the impact on the environment. . .

New Zealand a place where talent wants to live and proudly farm – Pasture to Profit:

“New Zealand…A Place Where Talent Wants To Live” this was the NZ strategic vision that Sir Paul Callaghan(New Zealander of the year 2011 & ex Massey University Scientist) spoke so passionately about before his death last week. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhCAyIllnXY&feature=related  Sir Paul Callaghan was a world class scientist, leader & a passionate advocate for a better more prosperous New Zealand. He was a great orator & he had a vision of a “knowledge driven economy” based on excellence & research & development . . .

Schedule setting process as much art as science – Allan Barber:

The weekly schedule setting process is a hallowed meat industry tradition which determines what farmers will receive for their livestock during the week beginning with the Sunday evening phone calls from buyers.

The process itself remains almost a total mystery to those on the receiving end, but it delivers certainty of livestock value in any given week. It enables a farmer to decide if it’s time to sell or worth hanging on another week or two, provided there’s enough feed and value to be gained from holding on.

The lead up to the weekly schedule is a fairly complex set of inputs to arrive at an assessment of what each species and grade are actually worth to a meat processor and exporter at the moment of purchase. That is the first slightly unusual thing to observe about the process: the procurement price does not equate to the final selling price, which will only be known at a whole variety of different times in the future when the various cuts and components of the livestock have been sold. . .

Dairy restructuring Ammendment Bill attracts differing views – Allan Barber:

Fonterra chairman, Henry van der Heyden, says that monitoring the milk price is not necessary, but “we can live with it”, particularly with Commerce Commission oversight, while Simon Couper, Fonterra Shareholders’ Council chair, believes it to be draconian with the potential over time “to destroyNew Zealand’s biggest, most successful and most important export industry.”

Federated Farmers’ dairy section head, Willy Leferink, inclines more to Couper’s view than van der Heyden’s, stating that Feds look forward to submitting on the bill at the Select Committee stage, because “If the policy settings for milk pricing at the farm gate become arbitrary, then it’ll not only shoot our largest export industry in the foot, it will directly affect the price consumers pay for their milk,” he warned. . .

Otago dairy award judges give winning advice:

Entering the Otago Dairy Industry Awards three times has set James and Helen Hartshorne on a pathway to success – with the couple claiming the region’s top prize, the 2012 Otago Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year.

“The judging feedback showed us that although we were competent at running the practical side of our farm, we would gain huge benefit from a better understanding of and an ability to analyse the financial and business side of our operation,” the Hartshornes said.

“And as a result of contacts made through our judging panels we secured our first 50:50 sharemilking job.”

The couple won $16,600 in cash and prizes at last night’s awards held at Balclutha Memorial Hall. The 2012 Otago Farm Managers of the Year, Gareth and Angela Dawson, and 2012 Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year, Richard Lang, were also announced. . .

Southland dairy winners share strengths:

The big winners at the 2012 Southland Dairy Industry Awards are newcomers to the province, who share common interests and business strengths.

Winton 50% sharemilkers Billy and Sharn Roskam won the Southland Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year title and Edendale contract milkers Hannes and Lyzanne du Plessis won the Southland Farm Manager of the Year contest.

The 2012 Southland Dairy Industry Awards were held last night at Ascot Park Hotel in Invercargill. The other major winner was Robert Ankerson who won the 2012 Southland Dairy Trainee of the Year title.

Both the Roskams and du Plessis’came to Southland to further their dairy farming careers, and say their teamwork is a key to their farm business success. . .

Small farmers fear squeeze by corporate owners:

Some farmers fear they are being squeezed out of the property market by corporate owners with better buying power.

As dairy farms become larger and more expensive, corporate ownership is becoming more prevalent.

Federated Farmers dairy chairperson Willy Leferink says corporate owners tend to own more than one farm and can use their buying power to negotiate hefty discounts. . .


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