Rural round-up

September 18, 2015

Why the government has finally stopped a Chinese farm purchase – Politik:

The offer by a Chinese company to buy Lochinver station was turned down by the Government largely because the potential buyer was not proposing to invest much more money on the station.

Government sources have told POLITIK that the buyer, Shanghai Pengxin subsidiary, Pure 100 Farm, was proposing to spend only another $3 million extra on the station.

“What’s that – two and half Auckland houses?” said the source. . . 

Lochinver decision was a slow process:

The Overseas Investment Office could be in for an overhaul after concerns about the time taken to make a decision over Lochinver Station.

Shanghai Pengxin had agreed to buy the country’s biggest dairy farm for $88 million but ministers said there weren’t enough benefits for the country.

It took 14 months before the deal was finally blocked, and the owners are angry at the delays.

The Prime Minister admits it is a slow process which needs to change. . .

Federated Farmers welcomes government decision on Lochinver sale:

While Federated Farmers supports positive overseas investment into New Zealand’s farming system, it has welcomed today’s announcement by the Government that it has declined the sale of Lochinver Station to Shanghai Pengxin Group Co. Limited.

“New Zealand absolutely needs foreign investment, but there has to be clearly demonstrated benefit to the local and national economy. This was not proven here and we believe the Lochinver decision reinforces the importance of changes made to the Overseas Investment Office rules over recent years,” says Dr William Rolleston, President of Federated Farmers. . . 

Putting a dollar value on using good beef genetics:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Genetics is launching a new progeny test to put a dollar value on the extra profit that can be added to the dairy-beef supply chain by using good beef genetics.

At its core, the four-year test will calculate the additional value that can be added by using high-genetic-merit beef bulls, versus the unrecorded bulls traditionally used as “follow-on bulls” in most New Zealand dairy systems. What are the financial advantages for the dairy farmer, calf rearer and beef finisher?

Limestone Downs near Port Waikato is a high-profile trust-owned property, covering 3,200ha and wintering about 27,000 stock units. It has a long-standing relationship with Massey University and is often used to trial research projects in a commercial setting. The operation converted 350ha to a dairy milking platform two years ago and runs 610 Friesian cows and 190 heifers.

Ewe won’t believe the number of lambs –  Cameron Massey:

A first time mum in Thames doesn’t do it by halves – giving birth to quintuplet lambs.

Thames resident and ex-sheep farmer Weston Finlay keeps sheep on his property to keep the lawns in check and when he was offered a second ewe to accompany his first he couldn’t see any problem.

Only the new sheep was not a ewe at all. . .

Dos and Don’ts of bringing up a pet lamb: – Peter Fowler:

It’s that time of year again: schools around the country are holding pet days, and pet lambs proving a popular option. 

But bringing up a pet lamb can be fraught with difficulty. Rural News went to Elsthorpe Primary School in central Hawke’s Bay to find out from one of the winners of the pet lamb competition what it takes to bring up a champion lamb.

Phoebe, who has been a winner in the competition for four years in a row, said the first consideration was having enough space for the lamb.

Economic growth boosted by services and primary industries

Growth in services and primary industries supported a 0.4 percent increase in GDP in the June 2015 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today.

Agricultural production increased 3 percent in the June 2015 quarter, due to increased meat and dairy farming.

“Despite falling milk prices, we’re seeing growth in dairy production,” national accounts manager Gary Dunnet said. “But over the year, agriculture is up only a little, due to dry conditions last summer.” . . 

Hunt for great dairy pastures is on again:

The hunt is on for great dairy pastures in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty.

Entries are now open for the Pasture Renewal Persistence Competition run by the DairyNZ-led Pasture Improvement Leadership Group.
Competition organiser and DairyNZ developer Sally Peel says pasture renewal is one of the first steps to achieving high performing pastures. Improving poor yielding paddocks through good renewal practices can achieve substantial increase in pasture tonnage.

The competition has been running for five years with winners from all across the two regions.
Robert Garshaw of Waiuku won the 2014 best first year pasture. “Decisions such as cultivar and endophyte choice do matter. It’s really important to figure out what works well out of your farm and make the most of the establishment period,” says Robert. . . 

 


National’s plan’s working for NZ

December 19, 2014

Primary industries made the biggest contribution to the  1% increase in the September quarter:

Gross domestic product (GDP) was up 1.0 percent in the September 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. The growth was driven by primary industries, which increased 5.8 percent

“This is some of the strongest growth in primary industries for 15 years,” national accounts manager Gary Dunnet said. “Milk production had a good start to the season, while oil exploration, and oil and gas extraction also grew.”

The key drivers in the September 2014 quarter were agriculture (up 4.7 percent), and mining (up 8.0 percent). In contrast, forestry and logging was down 4.0 percent.

Manufacturing activity also grew (2.0 percent), led by increases in metal product manufacturing (up 4.9 percent), and machinery and equipment manufacturing (up 3.7 percent).

“Service industries were mixed this quarter, with rises in telecommunications and retail being offset by falls in transport and business services,” Mr Dunnet said.

GDP growth for the year ended September 2014 was 2.9 percent. . .

 Annual growth of nearly 3% is better than most other countries:

New Zealand’s economy remains one of the fastest growing in the developed world, confirming that the Government’s economic programme is taking New Zealand in the right direction, Finance Minister Bill English says.

Statistics New Zealand today reported gross domestic product expanded by 1.0 per cent in the September quarter. This took annual growth – from the September quarter 2013 to the September quarter 2014 – to a revised 3.2 per cent. This is the same as annual growth to June 2014, and equals the highest annual growth rate since September 2007. Average annual growth was 2.9 per cent.

“We are in the unusual but encouraging situation where we have solid economic growth, more employment and higher wages, but few pressures on inflation,” Mr English says. “This suggests New Zealand’s economic growth potential before inflation sets in – essentially the speed limit of the economy – is higher than expected previously.

“Although lower inflation, and the consequent lower tax revenue, is making it more challenging for the Government to return to surplus this year, it is good for businesses and families who are facing lower price increases than would normally be expected at this point in the economic cycle.

“Strong economic growth benefits all New Zealanders. Around 72,000 jobs have been created in the past year, and the average full-time wage is forecast to rise by $8,000 to around $64,000 by mid-2019. But long-term improvement in New Zealanders’ fortunes will occur only if we stick with our successful economic programme,” Mr English says.

Growth in the latest quarter was driven by agriculture (up 4.7 per cent), mining (8 per cent) and manufacturing (2 per cent).

New Zealand’s 3.2 per cent GDP growth in the year to September compares with 2.7 per cent in Australia, 3.0 per cent in the United Kingdom, 2.4 per cent in the United States, 2.6 per cent in Canada, 1.2 per cent Germany, and a 1.2 per cent decline in Japan. Average growth across the OECD was 1.7 per cent.

 Critics of the government keep saying it doesn’t have a plan.

It does and it’s working help the economy, employment and wages grow while keeping inflation in check.

Strong growth equals more jobs and higher incomes. Our plan is #Working4NZ. ntnl.org.nz/1zwlTcK


Meanwhile what matters more

June 19, 2014

Political sideshows might excite political tragics.

But what matters far more are what affects people directly.

One of the biggest of those is the economy and there’s good news on that front today:

Strong growth in construction led to a 1.0 percent rise in gross domestic product (GDP) in the March 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today.

Construction activity grew 12.5 percent, due to large rises in residential and non-residential building. Growth in construction activity was strong in Canterbury and in the rest of the country.

“Construction was responsible for two-thirds of GDP growth this quarter,” national accounts manager Gary Dunnet said. “This is the largest increase in construction in 14 years.”

This is the third consecutive quarter in which GDP has grown by 1.0 percent or more. GDP growth for the year ended March 2014 was 3.3 percent.

The expenditure measure of GDP rose 1.3 percent in the March 2014 quarter. Growth in construction activity was reflected in a 2.1 percent rise in investment. Rises in residential and non-residential building were partly offset by falls in plant, machinery, and equipment and intangible assets.

Spending by New Zealand households was flat, while spending by tourists increased 7.7 percent. Higher tourist spending also drove an increase in exports of travel services, which contributed to a 3.1 percent rise in exports.

The size of the economy (in current prices) was $227 billion for the year ended March 2014.

The third consecutive quarter in which GDP has grown by at least 1% and annual growth of 3.3% – that is a remarkable turnaround in the wake of the GFC.

While earthquake recovery work is helping, growth in construction is not confined to Canterbury.

This reflects the good work led by the government, but Finance Minister Bill English says there is still a big challenge:

. . . “This is the latest in a run of encouraging economic indicators,” Mr English says. “Our challenge is to ensure this growth continues over the long term, because that’s the best way to deliver more jobs and higher incomes for New Zealanders.”

“Business and consumer confidence remains high, manufacturing activity has been expanding for almost a year and a half and the current account deficit is less than half of what it was five or six years ago.

“However, we still have plenty of work ahead of us to ensure these positive indicators continue to translate into real opportunities and progress for New Zealanders and their families.”

The solid growth was widespread across the economy in the March quarter. Construction made the largest contribution, with mining, agriculture, retail trade and accommodation also making positive contributions.

“This confirms businesses are investing for the long-term to support productivity and higher wages,” Mr English says. . .

“We are making good progress but our long-term challenge is to make the enduring structural changes needed for New Zealand to reach its economic potential,” Mr English says.

That will require more of the policies that are working now and none of the anti-growth, higher-tax, higher spending policies the left want to inflict on us.


More milk, less lamb

May 14, 2010

Dairy cattle numbers continued to increase and  the lamb population fell in the year to June 2009 Statistics New Zealand’s Agriculture Production Survey.

The South Island dairy herd grew by 13 % to 2.1 million. Canterbury had the most cows with a 10% increase to reach a herd size of 918,000. In Southland, numbers grew 19 percent to reach 589,000.

National dairy herd numbers reached a record high of 5.9 million at 30 June 2009, up 282,000 since 2008. The size of the North Island herd remained stable at 3.8 million.

Factors contributing to the South Island growth include continued dairy conversions, a smaller number of dairy cows and heifers going to the beef herd, more older cows remaining in milking herds, and the sourcing of dairy heifers from the North Island.

“In 2009, South Island dairy cattle numbers were almost seven times larger than 20 years ago when there were 312,000 dairy cattle,” said agricultural statistics manager Gary Dunnet. “North Island numbers increased from 3.0 million to 3.8 million over the same period.”

While dairy herds increased in number and size, the sheep population fell to 32.4 million, deer numbers were down to 1.1 million, and beef numbers remained stable at 4.1 million.

An email to shareholders from Fonterra chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden today reported the European Union butter marked prices have jumped to more than EU3200 per tonne. Prices are now near the peak levels of 2007/08 and demand is remaining steady.

That news may tempt more people to convert to dairying. However, lamb prices are holding up too which will give some encouragement to farmers who by choice or necessity are sticking with sheep.

We’re doing out bit to reverse falling sheep numbers – we put 15,000 ewes to the ram this autumn and will be lambing again in spring for the first time in more than 12 years.


8 sheep and a cow each

February 10, 2010

The sheep population has dropped and the  dairy cow population has climbed according to Statistics NZ’s latest animal production survey.

Total dairy cattle numbers hit a record high of 5.8 million in 2009, 4 percent higher than in 2008. Since 1979, numbers in the overall dairy herd have doubled according to the annual survey, which collects information on livestock and arable farming, horticulture, forestry, and selected farming practices, including fertiliser and cultivation.

At 4.6 million, the 2009 milking herd, identified as cows and heifers in milk or in calf, was 250,000 larger than in 2008. This expansion was due to both dairy conversions and growth in the number of milking cows in existing herds. “Increased numbers in the milking herd have resulted in there being one milking cow for every New Zealander”, said agriculture statistics manager Gary Dunnet.

The increase in dairy cows was one of the reasons the sheep population dropped –  down 5 percent on 2008 to 32.4 million in 2009. that’s below the peak of 70 million reached in 1982.

The beef cattle population at 4.1 million was similar to the previous year and the 1.2 million deer was 6% fewer.

If you divide the human population by that of farm animals we’d all have just under 8 sheep, a dairy cow, a beef cattle beast and 1/4 of a deer each.

It’s only a couple of decades ago that a design-a-tee-shirt- contest was won by one with the slogan: NZ, we’re “ewenique”, 60 million sheep can’t be wrong.

But New Zealand’s not the only country with a declining number of sheep. In Australia drought and conversion to cropping have led to a big drop in the ovine population. It was about 120 million in 1997, now it’s around 70 million.


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