Rural round-up

May 18, 2015

Desire signalled to rebuild farmer trust – John Gibbs:

The Otago Regional Council is keen to repair the damaged trust between some of the region’s farmers and the council after concerns about rising charges and communication issues were highlighted this week.

That message came through clearly yesterday as an ORC hearing panel began discussing the ORC’s proposed long-term plan, and in submissions made on the plan at public hearings earlier this week.

The panel yesterday completed nearly a week of hearings involving submissions on the ORC’s proposed 2015-25 long-term plan, including Dunedin hearings on Wednesday and Thursday. . .

Benefits from Chinese investment extend beyond the farm gate to NZ Inc.:

The benefits of Chinese investment extend beyond the farm gate and into the New Zealand economy according to the CEO of Pengxin International, Gary Romano.

Romano made these comments when Shanghai Pengxin subsidiary, Milk New Zealand Holdings, was named the supreme winner at the 2015 HSBC NZCTA New Zealand China Business Awards. The company also took out the DLA Piper category ward for Inward or Outward Investment with China.

The awards follow success earlier this year when Milk New Zealand Holdings won the Emerging Business Award and then the overall Supreme Business Award at the BNZ New Zealand Chinese Business Awards. . .

Texel coming of age – Sally Rae:

Geoff Howie was one of the original breeders who invested in Texel sheep when they were released from quarantine in 1990.

The South Otago farmer always liked to look at something new that had a promising future and he had also been ”right into meat and something outside the square”.

”Texels took my eye right from the start,” he said. The Texel originated on the island of Texel to the north of Holland in the North Sea. The sheep imported into New Zealand were sourced from Denmark and Finland. . .

Greenfeeds contest highly successful – David Bruce:

More than $30,000 will go to two beneficiaries from North Otago’s first farming greenfeeds competition, aimed at finding the best winter crop.

The competition was organised by the Waianakarua and Waiareka Valley Lions Clubs.

The overall winners, Matt and Julie Ross, of Kokoamo Farms in the Waitaki Valley, were announced on Friday at a dinner, auction and award presentations attended by more than 250 people. . .

Exclusive contract ‘crucial’ for Otago fine wool grower–  Rob Tipa:

An exclusive contract to supply a leading Japanese fine wool suit manufacturer with ultra-fine merino wool has proven to be a crucial business move for Maniototo fine wool grower Tony Clarke, of Closeburn Station.

Konaka Co is one of the top three suit manufacturers in Japan, it is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and has more than 450 retail stores.

Closeburn Station hosted a visit by 21 of the company’s top executives and sales people last week during a five-day tour of New Zealand to acquaint them with the exclusive source of fine wool used to make top-of-the-line fashion suits they sell. . .

500,000 shades of grey beef trade – Andrew Marshal:

CHINA’S much talked about and unofficial beef ‘grey trade’, accounting for between 500,000 tonnes and 750,000t of the nation’s annual imports, is unlikely to fade away any time soon says ANZ’s global agribusiness research head Michael Whitehead.

Despite Chinese government efforts to clamp down on back door red meat and seafood imports which avoid tariffs and government biosecurity scrutiny, he doubted the social upheaval caused by any serious restrictions would be worth the gains they achieved.

Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong and Bangladesh were expected to continue supplying China’s grey trade with beef – largely from Brazil, India and the US – despite Chinese authorities still campaigning against the trade. . .


Chinese-NZ partnership wins

May 9, 2015

The company which bought the former Crafar farms has won an award for turning the business around using New Zealand management, labour and skills.

Milk New Zealand, owned by Shanghai Pengxin, was last night named supreme winner at the 2015 HSBC New Zealand China Trade Association Business Awards in Auckland.

Shanghai Pengxin bought Crafar Farms in 2012 for more than $200 million.

Gary Romano, chief executive of Pengxin International, said the award was recognition for how they had run the farms.

Shanghai Pengxin’s purchase of the farms was controversial – but Mr Romano believed it had been good for New Zealand.

“Look, as a New Zealander, I did think to myself, am I doing something that’s good for New Zealand as well as my company?

“After speaking to a number of economists and thinking clearly through this I’ve come to the view that there is absolutely no downside to foreign investment.

“I think some of the things that the Overseas Investment Office does are very correct.

“So, things like making sure there’s been no money laundering, the right amount of taxes have been paid, people of good character, and that we’ve paid a fair price for the assets in a contestable process – all those things are very, very useful for New Zealand.”

He said once those tests had been passed, such investment provided oxygen for the economy. . .

The combination of foreign investment and local skills has been a winning one which shows the benefits that can result from allowing overseas ownership of some land.


Rural round-up

March 27, 2014

Guy prepared to help, but unwilling to interfere – Allan Barber:

Nathan Guy gave a very positive speech to Beef + Lamb NZ’s AGM on Saturday which covered three major points: what the government is doing for farmers, his vision for the red meat sector and thoughts on the discussions about industry structure.

Obviously, given MPI’s bullish view of agricultural exports, the Minister was extremely positive about economic performance. However he was at pains to point out the government’s role as an enabler, citing his focus on biosecurity resources, trade negotiations for market access, and investment in research.

He began by referring to his intention to strengthen resources at the border and to establish Government Industry Agreements (GIA) with various sectors which will ultimately involve the private sector in sharing the costs of biosecurity; different sectors are at various stages of negotiation on this issue. . . .

Project explores the potential of EID:

Warren Ayers farms 890ha of rolling country near Wyndham. The property runs 600 Perendale stud ewes and another 5,700 commercial ewes.

Lambing averages 135 per cent and lambs are finished to 17kg. Two-year-old replacement heifers are bought in annually for the 120-head Angus cow herd. Every year, all but the lightest 10 calves are sold at weaning. The policy is simple to manage and keeps the genetics of the herd diversified sufficiently that the same bull can be used for several years. For the past five years, the property has also wintered 650 dairy cows.

Warren has EID tagged his stud animals since 2006 and the commercial two-tooths have been tagged since 2009. . .

Fonterra begins construction on new IDR357 billion plant in Indonesia:

Fonterra today commenced construction on its first blending and packing plant in Indonesia, which will support the growth of its market leading consumer brands Anlene, Anmum and Anchor Boneeto.

Located in West Java, the plant is Fonterra’s first manufacturing facility in the country and its largest investment in a new manufacturing facility in ASEAN in the last 10 years.

Director General of Agro Industry at the Ministry of Industry, Panggah Susanto, joined Fonterra at an event in Jakarta to mark the official start of construction today.

Pascal De Petrini, Managing Director of Fonterra Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (APMEA), said that Fonterra Brands Manufacturing Indonesia Cikarang Plant will allow Fonterra to meet the ever-growing demand for dairy nutrition in Indonesia. . .

Dry conditions in Northland and Waikato remain a big concern:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says dry conditions in parts of Waikato and Northland remain a serious concern.

“Local authorities in Northland have announced the western parts of their region are in drought. This reflects the tough few months they’ve had as pasture has browned off.

“Cyclone Lusi has helped green tinges appear in some places, but the rainfall was erratic and insufficient. Western Northland and large parts of the Waikato remain very dry.

“The Ministry for Primary Industries is keeping a close eye on conditions here and elsewhere. I’ve seen for myself how dry things are on two trips to the Waikato in the last two weeks. . .

West Coast Northland drought declaration a relief:

The adverse event declaration covering drought in Northland’s West Coast the declaration will not provide a lot of direct financial assistance but will provide huge psychological relief.

“New Zealanders will get an inkling of what the guys on Northland’s West Coast have been going through. Not just since November, but since 2012 and even before that,” says Roger Ludbrook, Federated Farmers Northland provincial president.

“The big thing a declaration triggers is the Northland Rural Support Trust, so any farmer can approach the RST for free advice on farm management, or just someone to have a decent chinwag with.

“Beyond this, it doesn’t mean much financially unless the absolute worst happens. There is a safety net, but it is exactly the same as for any other New Zealander and carries the same eligibility rules.

“Then there is Inland Revenue and to be fair to them they aren’t unapproachable. . .

Drought-affected farmers encouraged to talk to their banks

Drought-affected farmers should talk to their banks said the New Zealand Bankers’ Association in response to increasingly dry conditions in parts of Northland and Waikato.

“We encourage any farmers facing hardship as a result of the lack of rain to contact their bank to discuss options for assistance and how they can work through these challenging conditions,” said New Zealand Bankers’ Association chief executive Kirk Hope. . . .

Fonterra profit down but revenue on track to break $20 billion:

Fonterra Cooperative Group’s half year results means it could be back on track to break the $20 billion revenue barrier; corporate New Zealand’s ‘four minute mile.’

“I think the fall in operating profit will grab attention instead of where it ought to be focussed, on revenue,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“This is real money coming into the New Zealand economy.  I mean revenue for the half-year is up 21 percent to $11.3 billion.  While we’ve got close to the $20 billion barrier in the past, this time, we’ve got a real chance of breaking it.

“That said, the declared drought in Northland along with drought-like conditions in the upper North Island could act like a brake.  We’ve also seen GlobalDairyTrade retreat in recent trading events due in part to increased volume. . .

Pengxin picks up former Fonterra executive Romanos for NZ Milk role, report says:

(BusinessDesk) – Shanghai Pengxin has hired Gary Romano, who resigned from Fonterra Cooperative Group last year during the botulism scare, to oversee the Chinese company’s overseas operations including its New Zealand farms, the NZ Herald reports.

Romano’s Linked In profile says he is “currently on the beach before becoming active again in 2014.” He resigned as head of NZ Milk Products at Fonterra last August as the company embarked on a global recall of whey protein concentrate. The bacterium was eventually shown to be harmless.

He will become chief executive of NZ Milk Management and a director of Pengxin’s two farm groups in the North Island and South Island, according to the Herald. Terry Lee, managing director of Pengxin’s Milk New Zealand unit, didn’t immediately return calls. . .

Samoa sheep farming increasing:

Sheep farming in Samoa is growing through a programme funded by the World Bank.

Under the Samoa Agriculture Competitiveness Enhancement Project, the World Bank is helping develop livestock, fruits and vegetable farming.

Sheep were introduced in Samoa in 2004, with the flock now grown to 700. . .

Macca’s hits milestone of three million kilos of Angus

AngusPure recognises programme as instrumental to success of Angus demand

McDonald’s New Zealand today announced it has sold a whopping three million kilograms of New Zealand Angus beef since 2009. With today’s launch of the promotional Angus the Great burger, the company expects to continue its contribution to the success of local Angus beef sales

This milestone is acknowledged by AngusPure’s chairman Tim Brittain, who says the ‘McAngus’ programme has been instrumental in helping grow the demand for Angus cattle, and that Kiwi farmers have been well rewarded since the original launch of the Angus burger range in 2009. . .


Rural round-up

August 22, 2013

Age crisis dawns as sunset years sets on workers – Hugh Stringleman:

KPMG has delved into the perplexing reasons why young people don’t take careers in agriculture more seriously in a country which relies upon the primary sector. Hugh Stringleman has read its latest Agribusiness Agenda report.

The capability of the people who work the land has made New Zealand what it is today.

While competitors can replicate equipment and processes, it is not easy to replicate the insight and relationships that people have developed over decades, according to the latest KPMG agribusiness report.

But the ages of existing farmers, orchardists and scientists continue to rise and the entire primary sector faces manpower shortages now and in the future. . .

Balance sheets under stress from lower livestock numbers – Allan Barber:

After the discussions between meat companies, lobbying by MIE, conferences and strategy debates, right now an eerie calm has settled over the meat industry. This is partly due to the mid winter slowdown in processing activity with only bobby calves to get excited about

At this time of year companies are doing their best to minimise any losses in the last quarter. There is no doubt the final results will be a lot better than last year, but they have to be, because the large companies could not sustain another big hit to their balance sheets.

Combined current and non-current debt between Silver Fern Farms, Alliance and ANZCO of $710 million at 30 September 2012 to fund losses and inventories means a substantial improvement this season is absolutely essential. The noises from the processors suggest moderate profits at best, mainly because of a sell down of inventory leading to reduced current debt and better control of procurement, offset by lower margins. . .

Spierings leads charge of change – Fran O’Sullivan:

Fonterra boss Theo Spierings has consolidated his powerbase at the dairy co-operative with chairman John Wilson’s emailed statement to shareholders that the board has confidence in the way the chief executive is handling the tainted whey protein affair.

The brutal truth is that long-time senior executive Gary Romano – who ran the New Zealand operation – had already offered himself up as the sacrificial lamb.

Romano’s resignation came before the various inquiry teams had even started delving into who to blame for the late discovery of “clostridium” in a batch of whey protein which had been made into infant formula and other products.

Since then two other executives have been put on leave – a clear indication that Fonterra already has a good idea where the buck will stop on this fiasco. . .

Auctioneers competition returns:

Following a successful inaugural event, the Heartland Bank Young Auctioneers Competition will return to the Canterbury A&P Show in 2013. 

The competition aims to showcase and develop young livestock auctioneers and improve the standard of auctioneering across the board. 

During the judging, which includes a test of auction rules and a mock auction, each entrant will be required to sell three lots of heifers/bulls. . .

Eastern Southland Dairy Conversion Benefits from Farm Environment Competition:

Entering the Ballance Farm Environment Awards helped a fledgling Southland dairy operation measure its progress as a successful and sustainable farming business.

South Coast Dairy Ltd, an equity partnership between five families, owns 202ha between Curio Bay and the Haldane Estuary in Eastern Southland. The former sheep and beef farm was converted four years ago and now milks 385 cows on a 135ha milking platform.

Mindful of the farm’s location in a sensitive coastal area, the owners have made a big effort to mitigate the environmental impacts of dairying, with extensive riparian fencing and planting work conducted following consultation with the Department of Conservation, Environment Southland, Landcare Trust and Fish and Game. . .

Brancott Vineyard celebrates its 40th anniversary:

As the pioneers of the Marlborough wine region and its signature varietals, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, Brancott Estate is excited to celebrate 40 years since the first planting of vines at Brancott Vineyard, home of world-renowned Brancott Estate wines.

On 24 August 1973, in front of a crowd of local media, politicians and business leaders, the Marlborough wine industry was born. At the time, the founder of what is now Brancott Estate, Frank Yukich made the statement that “wines from here will become world-famous” – and indeed they have, receiving many prestigious awards and accolades around the world. . .


Rural round-up

August 18, 2013

Lamb prices down but prospects positive – Tim Cronshaw:

Average lamb prices look as though they will be down 25 per cent nationally at $84 to $85 a lamb for the 2012-13 season ending next month.

Softer overseas markets in the northern hemisphere and smaller lamb weights from the drought drove prices down from $113.60 the previous season.

While it’s early days yet the Economic Service at Beef + Lamb New Zealand expects prices will be somewhere between $90 to $100 for the coming 2013-14 season. That will depend heavily on the state of the dollar with the latest analysis for it to weaken slightly. . .

Fonterra trialling RTVs as quad bike replacement – Sue O’Dowd:

FONTERRA’S year-long trial of rough terrain vehicles to replace quad bikes on its farms looks promising as it draws to a close.

Two vehicles are being tested at the 225ha Whareroa Research Farm near Hawera, where 640 cows are being milked this year.

The company is testing five RTVs on drystock farms in the South Island and four on dairy farms.

The trial, which began before the Government Taskforce on Health and Safety completed its report in April this year, will conclude in December. By then, it will have covered the entire farm season. . .

Dam ‘scary challenge’ to nature – Tony Benny:

Opponents of the planned 8.2 million cubic metre storage dam for the Waimakariri irrigation scheme have vowed to fight the proposal, saying it will put lives at risk if breached in a earthquake.

About 70 people attended a meeting in West Eyreton Hall last week to hear from the Eyre Community Environmental Safety Society (ECESS), the group set up to oppose the dam.

“ECESS believes WIL’s [Waimakariri Irrigation Ltd] solution of a 13-metre-high one kilometre square dam in a seismically active climate is wilfully placing lives at risk to keep shareholder company costs down,” said society chairperson Catherine Ballinger. . .

Why it’s time to get off the grass:

New Zealand can climb its way back up the international wealth tables, argue two scientists in a book* launched last night. But we won’t do it if we continue to rely so heavily on agriculture.

*From Get Off the Grass: Kickstarting New Zealand’s Innovation Economy, by Shaun Hendy and Paul Callaghan (Auckland University Press, $34.99)

Prosperity describes a state of flourishing or thriving. In New Zealand there is a sense that we have flourished less than we might, and especially less than many other countries we like to compare ourselves with. Through insufficient resources, our health system is unable to provide the treatments that are available for free in countries such as Australia or Canada. Our infrastructure is decrepit, our roads are poor, our passenger train systems are an embarrassment to us, and many of our houses are inadequate or, even when new, badly built. Our native forests are in decline because we cannot afford to address pest control in a comprehensive manner. . .

Spierings’ profile unstained by taint scare – Andrea Fox:

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings’ job looks increasingly safe after the botulism contamination scare, with chairman John Wilson repeating the board’s support for the Dutchman’s handling of the incident.

In a letter to Fonterra’s 10,500 farmer-shareholders Wilson said he wanted to “reiterate” the board’s confidence in Spierings’ handling of the scare and the actions that have followed.

Wilson said he expected the board’s inquiry into the scare to be finished in six weeks.

The scare sparked panic in Asian and China consumer markets, and big recalls of baby formula made by one of Fonterra’s biggest customers, Danone. . .

Farmers sorry to see Romano go – Hugh Stringleman:

Farmers were quick to express sympathy for Gary Romano, who resigned last week as head of Fonterra processing after the botulism scare that happened on his watch.

Romano apparently felt responsible and resigned before results are known from four inquiries into the Hautapu plant dirty pipe and its aftermath.

“I presume he didn’t feel comfortable, felt his time was up and left on his own terms,” Federated Farmers dairy chairman Willy Leferink said.

“He was well liked and farmers will be very sorry to see him go.” . . .

The difference between a career and a job – Art 4 Agriculture:

Today’s guest blog comes from Cotton Young Farming Champion Liz Lobsey. You can read all about Liz here

Liz is an agronomist aka Plant Doctor and she loves her “career” and she loves to tell people why

This is what Liz has to say ………………….

I have recently had the pleasure of visiting 4 schools involved in the Archibull Prize for the Art4Agriculture program and I can honestly say that they all have been a different learning experience.

In the past week I can honestly say that I have spoken to children in kindergarten in Sydney who believe that all farmers have animals to children in cotton growing regions who weren’t quite sure what a cotton plant was. . .


Rural round-up

August 15, 2013

What Fonterra critics can learn from Sir Henry – Willy Leferink:

In the space of a few days farmers went from the heights of Mt Everest to the bottom of the Marianna Trench. That is what it seemed lurching from the fantastic payout forecast into Fonterra’s product recall.

We now know that a product, worth a few hundred thousand dollars, will likely end up costing Fonterra tens of millions. That is what CEO Theo Spierings told TVNZ’s Q+A on Sunday and will likely be customer claims relating to the recall. Fonterra’s recall was a shock and we absolutely must do the right thing by our customers and consumers. That is not in question. But if you were a consumer abroad and went off the New Zealand media coverage, you would have thought that Fonterra was some corporate version of Sweeney Todd.

In my years of farming, I have come to learn that things are never as good or as bad as they first seem, they are just what they are.

I do not think that Fonterra has done everything right but there’s a huge ‘damned if you do, dammed if you don’t’ reality when facing some feral media. Especially when the most feral are those in our own backyard. As the days went on the initial fever pitch whipped up was slowly replaced with a growing sense of perspective; testing had led to a precautionary recall. . . .

We must prove to customers that our high standards are more than words. Critical self-examination and then action, will go a long, long way – Bruce Wills:

. . . Last Thursday there was celebration that the 2013/14 forecast payout would clear overdrafts built up over the drought.

Then came news Clostridium botulinum had been found in the whey protein concentrate, WPC80.

I sense we may just be getting through the worst of this initial crisis.

Yet one unsanitary pipe at Fonterra’s Hautapu factory must not be allowed to define 120-year’s worth of hard work. . . .

Fonterra food scare claims scalp of NZ Milk Gary Romano:

Fonterra Cooperative Group’s tainted food scare has claimed its first scalp with the resignation of NZ Milk Products managing director Gary Romano.

Romano, who initially fronted for Fonterra to New Zealand media while chief executive Theo Spierings went to China, has resigned effective immediately, the dairy company said in a statement. Spierings will personally assume interim responsibility for the daily operations of NZ Milk, which collects milk from New Zealand farmers and manufacturers it into dairy products ready for export.

Romano’s focus was “to drive profitability through a customer-centric approach to business that delivers world-class standards in productivity, quality, safety and service,” Fonterra said on its website . . .

Fisherman’s new net may save young fish – Michael Morrah:

A commercial fisherman in Napier has taken the unusual step of speaking out about wasteful practices in the industry. Rick Burch says he’s sick of needlessly killing juvenile fish, and has developed a type of net he thinks can help.

Mr Burch is the first to admit that he’s seen a lot of waste since first taking to the water in the 1960s.

“You step back and say, ‘Do I really need to continue killing everything in the ocean?'”

But he says making just small alterations to the standard pattern of a fishing net would save fuel and help release young round fish like gurnard. . .

Mild Winter Leads To Early Spring:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 82 more farm sales (+23.0%) for the three months ended July 2013 than for the three months ended July 2012. Overall, there were 438 farm sales in the three months to end of July 2013, compared to 474 farm sales for the three months ended June 2013 (-7.6%). 1,536 farms were sold in the year to July 2013, 6.7% more than were sold in the year to July 2012.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to July 2013 was $20,667; a 15.1% increase on the $17,955 recorded for three months ended July 2012. The median price per hectare rose 4.8% compared to June. . .

Introducing The Collective’s Limited Edition Kiwi Gourmet Probiotic Yoghurt:

Kiwifruit, fresh and furry, this vibrant wee fruit is irrevocably Kiwi, to the core. And now, partnered with its best-ever comrade – The Collective’s signature gourmet yoghurt, the ever-vibrant kiwi begs the question; who needs wings when you’ve got ridiculously tasty New Zealand dairy?

Never being ones to disappoint we can tell you that the first taste of The Collective’s Kiwi will have your taste-buds tingling for more… a huge dash of national pride and a pairing of delicious dairy and kiwifruit, this gourmet treat might as well be called New Zealand in a tub… no bull! . . .


Fonterra issues food safety alert

August 3, 2013

Fonterra has issued a food safety alert after tests indicated the potential presence of a strain of Clostridium (Clostridium Botulinum) in a sample, which can cause botulism. 

Fonterra today advised eight of its customers of a quality issue involving three batches of a particular type of whey protein concentrate (WPC80) produced at a single New Zealand manufacturing site in May 2012.

As a result, these customers are urgently investigating whether any of the affected product, which contains a strain of Clostridium, is in their supply chains. If need be, they will initiate consumer product recalls.

There have been no reports of any illness linked to consumption of the affected whey protein. Dairy products such as fresh milk, yoghurt, cheese, spreads and UHT milk products are not affected.

Fonterra Chief Executive Theo Spierings today said: “Food safety is Fonterra’s number one priority. We take matters of public health extremely seriously and we are doing everything we can to assist our customers in ensuring any product containing this ingredient is removed from the marketplace and that the public is made aware.

“We are acting quickly. Our focus is to get information out about potentially affected product as fast as possible so that it can be taken off supermarket shelves and, where it has already been purchased, can be returned,” Mr Spierings said.

“We are working closely with New Zealand’s regulatory authority – the Ministry for Primary Industries – to keep New Zealand and offshore regulators informed.”

Fonterra initially identified a potential quality issue in March this year, when a product tested positive for Clostridium. There are hundreds of different strains of Clostridium, the majority of which are harmless. 

Product samples were put through intensive testing over the following months.  On Wednesday 31 July 2013, tests indicated the potential presence of a strain of Clostridium (Clostridium Botulinum) in a sample, which can cause botulism. 

The particular whey protein concentrate concerned (WPC80) is used by Fonterra’s customers in a range of products including infant formula, growing up milk powder and sports drinks, said Gary Romano, Managing Director NZ Milk Products.

“For this reason, we immediately contacted our customers and the appropriate authorities, so that any potentially affected product could be removed from the marketplace.

“We are working with our customers and will provide more information and updates as they become available,” Mr Romano said.
Any consumer product recalls that may need to take place will be initiated by the respective food companies.

Given the potential seriousness of this an immediate recall of the small amount of products which could be affected would be sensible.

Fonterra products are trusted.

That trust is built on a reputation for high standards,  and a swift and open response to any food safety issues.

 


Rural round-up

August 22, 2012

Award for Omakau farmer :

Omakau farmer Jan Manson has been awarded the 2012 Rabobank business development award for her project to reposition her farming operation for future expansion.   

Mrs Manson received the award at the executive developmen programme graduation dinner, which celebrated the latest business management thinking in agriculture. . .

Sheep, beef sectors look at training – Sally Rae:

A steering group is investigating the possibility of    copying in the South Island the residential training farm model, following concerns about the low level of skilled, work-ready employees in the sheep and beef sector.   

Sarah Barr, of Kyeburn, is co-ordinating a feasibility      project, on behalf of the Central South Island Residential  Training Farm steering group, including conducting a survey  to ascertain if there is an issue and, if so, how it can best  be addressed. . .

Fonterra wraps up record End-Of-Season export quarter:

Fonterra’s record end-of-season quarter has been the Co-operative’s biggest ever May, June and July – with 620,000 metric tonnes of dairy products loaded on ships for export to over 100 markets around the world.

Fonterra NZ Milk Products Managing Director Gary Romano says the Co-operative has shipped 36 per cent more than the same period last year.

“The record milk production in the 2011/12 season has meant Fonterra has exported more product at the end-of-season than ever before. Our teams have done a great job collecting the milk, processing it, packing it, storing it, selling it and shipping it.

“If we were to lay the containers we have shipped this year end-to-end they would stretch from the top of the Bombay hills to Christchurch – which is around 1000 kilometres,” he says. . .

Financial treat for rural schools – Rebecca Ryan:

Five Forks Primary and Omarama School received a financial surprise, thanks to their local farmers.

More than 200 rural schools throughout New Zealand received much-needed money for resources such as books and sports equipment.

Five Forks Primary and Omarama School received some of the more than $4300 distributed to schools from the Hatuma Growing Minds Fund.

Hatuma marketing and sales Aaron Topp said the fund was well received by rural schools.

More than $15,000 has been distributed to rural schools in the past three years. . .

US boot camp tune-up:

A WEEK of high-powered brainstorming was expected to heighten ideas of collaboration among 25 of New Zealand’s leading chief executives from the primary sector. With them was Primary Industry Minister David Carter.  

This august group has been tucked away at a ‘boot camp’ at Stanford University, near San Francisco. They represent the dairy, meat, seafood, horticulture and viticulture sectors.

No ‘industry good’ organisations are there but it does include the chief executives of MPI and NZ Trade and Enterprise. . .

Buffalo and rhino make big money:

MAKING SURE none of the rhinoceros herd is poached during the night isn’t something New Zealand farmers have to worry about but it is typical for an increasing number of South African farmers diversifying into the lucrative game breeding industry.  

After several years of rapid growth, there are now estimated to be more than 10,000 commercial game ranches in South Africa breeding rare species for hunting, meat and conservation purposes.

Kirstie Macmillan of Farm To Farm Tours recently returned from escorting a group of New Zealand farmers through South Africa, Victoria Falls and Botswana. . .

Australia and New Zealand Arrangement to combat illegal logging:

Australia and New Zealand have today strengthened their long standing cooperation on forestry issues by signing the Arrangement on Combating Illegal Logging and Promoting Sustainable Forest Management. The signed Arrangement illustrates a shared commitment to working together to address illegal logging and promote sustainable forest management.

Australia’s Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, and New Zealand Associate Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, signed the Arrangement during forestry talks which included discussions relating to the progress of Australia’s Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill 2011. . .

Wise Nutrient Use Rewarded In Ballance Farm Environment Awards

Former fertiliser consultant Jim Galloway takes a scientific approach to the application of nutrients on his Nireaha dairy farm, west of Eketahuna.

Jim and his wife Lynette bought the farm in 2006 and are milking about 170 cows this season on a milking platform of 70ha (effective). The Galloways also own a nearby run-off, supplementing milk income by rearing extra dairy replacements and farming carryover cows.

Jim and Lynette are both Massey University graduates and Jim worked as a fertiliser consultant for nine years before going farming. This experience in the fertiliser industry is valuable when deciding the farm’s fertiliser policy. . .

Zespri keeping tabs on vine bacterial infection of gold varieties:

 Zespri International, which controls exports of the nation’s kiwifruit, is keeping tabs on the spread of vine bacteria disease Psa-V which is showing signs of infection in new gold varieties.

Listed kiwifruit packer and grower Satara Co-operative Group has warned its shareholders of the potential adverse impact Psa-V could have on its business. Pseudomonas syringae PV actinidiae is again showing clear evidence in orchard vines, Satara managing director Tom Wilson said in a statement to NZX. . .

Grape growers are on target for improved profitability

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has today released an analysis of viticulture production and profitability as part of its annual Farm Monitoring Report series. The report is based on models of a Marlborough and a Hawke’s Bay vineyard and an overview of the financial performance of typical vineyards, based on information gathered from a sample of growers and industry stakeholders.

Grape growers experienced significant erosion in profit last season, with unfavourable weather in both Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay leading to a 20 percent drop in average yields. . .

NZX confirms slump in 1H profit; Agri information stands out as bright spot:

New Zealand’s stock market operator, posted a 28 percent drop in first-half profit as revenue growth stalled and expenses rose, squeezing its earnings margin.

Profit was $3.25 million in the six months ended June 30, from $4.5 million a year earlier, the Wellington-based company said in a statement. Operating revenue rose 1 percent to $26.5 million.

The first-half results confirm NZX’s Agri information unit as the biggest source of revenue, growing 8 percent to $6.2 million in the latest period, driven by growth in subscriptions, while advertising revenue was little changed at $3.76 million. The company expects subscription growth to continue in the second half, when it typically enjoys the benefit of a seasonal pickup. . .

Long-term investment in NZ kiwiberry industry:

Freshmax NZ Ltd is the holder of the exclusive New Zealand master kiwiberry license, granted by Plant & Food Research (PFR) to commercialise four of their proprietary kiwiberry varieties. This month, Freshmax welcomes the decision by select growers to advance these varieties into commercial production in New Zealand.

Over the last few years global demand for kiwiberry has continued to rise on the back of a sustained increase in market share for berryfruit. Freshmax has recognized this exciting opportunity for New Zealand growers to benefit from increasing demand, through investment in kiwiberry production. . .

Skip the sheep can shake a leg again – Sally Rae:

First Tarras had Shrek – and now Tapui has Skip.   

And if Skip the Romney ewe was a cat, she would probably be down to about seven lives.   

Farmer John Dodd did not think the little triplet, born on a  cold and frosty night in rural North Otago, would survive its first night if left outside and took her home. . .


December record for Fonterra exports

January 19, 2012

Fonterra set a new record for its exports last month:

Fonterra has broken its record for the highest export month with 246,000 tonnes of dairy products loaded on ships during December boosting New Zealand’s economy by $1.3 billion for the month.

In March 2011 Fonterra shipped 229,000 tonnes of product, but continued growth in global demand for dairy products combined with record milk production early on in the current dairy season has led to another spike.

In December, Fonterra closed the door on an export container every 2.7 minutes — 546 containers a day. Fonterra’s exports account for more than a quarter of all NZ exports.

Fonterra Trade & Operations Managing Director Gary Romano said a good autumn and a mild winter created optimal grass growing conditions ahead of the 2011/12 dairy season.

“This helped create a wave of milk up about 10 per cent on a daily basis during the peak flow in late September through to November.

“While conditions were good overall, farmers did face extreme challenges including a near nationwide dumping of spring snow and flooding in some regions.

“Our farmers have coped tremendously, not just with bad weather but also the record milk flow which peaked at more than 80 million litres a day,” he said.

“Our teams have gone the extra mile to manage the huge amount of milk this season and get value out of every drop of milk. From the moment we collect the milk, process it, pack it, store it, ship it — our people have put in a huge effort, they haven’t stopped.”

Demand for high quality dairy products is still looking strong with South East Asia, China, the Middle East and North Africa driving the growth in exports.

“Dairy is becoming increasingly important in these markets as people grow wealthier and want access to more nutritious foods,” Mr Romano said.

This is good for the company, its shareholder producers and the country.

It’s also a good sign for global development that more people are growing wealthier and it is a tribute to successive governments and businesses that more of what we produce is going to non-traditional markets.


Rural round-up

June 5, 2011

Dairy farmers can produce a green dairy industry – Pasture to Profit writes:

The Dairy Industry has the potential to produce its own electricity & be clear of the National Grid. What a PR victory that will be for the first UK dairy company & their suppliers. What a wonderful image that will be for milk, cheese & butter! Every dairy farmer must get involved to “kick this goal” for the dairy industry. We have a fantastic opportunity right now with interest free loans & massive incentives . . .

Volunteer will help in Samoa – David Bruce reports:

From farming crocodiles to helping improve small agricultural businesses, Bill and Shirley Kingan have had a wide variety of experiences under Volunteer Service Abroad.

Mr and Mrs Kingan leased out their Enfield farm, then joined the New Zealand organisation which, since 1962, has been sending volunteers overseas to help other countries and communities improve their lives. . .

Integrity, beauty and strength – Sally Rae writes:

There’s something special about a Clydesdale horse. Clydesdale Horse Society of New Zealand president Bill Affleck believes the allure stems from what the gentle giants have achieved in the farming world.

Coupled with a very placid nature, “there’s something there that’s very appealing”. . .

Future’s glowing –  Sally Rae again:

If you had told former Stewart Island fisherman Dil Belworthy that he would end up owning a chain of clothing stores, he would have said being abducted by aliens was more likely.

Mr Belworthy is not kidding when he says the path he and his wife, Catherine, have taken to owning five Glowing Sky Merino stores, as well as a manufacturing facility, is “quite bizarre”. . .

Who will Fonterra’s new boss be?  – Andrea Fox asks:

With the clock ticking down to the announcement of Fonterra’s new chief executive, ex-General Motors financial chief Chris Liddell and Air New Zealand’s Rob Fyfe have been ruled out of contention, with the money on an internal appointment.

Sources said number two at the dairy giant, trade and operations managing director Gary Romano, is strongly favoured to succeed Canadian Andrew Ferrier, who will leave in the second half of this year. . .

A dairy farm to impress the world – Jon Morgan writes:

Rick Morrison and Sharleen Hutching are a quiet, unassuming couple who prefer to let their actions speak louder than words.

When the judges in the Horizons region of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards gave them warning of a visit to their 200-cow dairy farm near Eketahuna, they didn’t change a thing. “It was, ‘Oh yeah, whatever’,” Mr Morrison says. “We just carried on as normal, no need to rush around tidying things up.” . . .

Firms plan $3.7m Gore investment

Two Southland-based farm-machinery firms plan to make $3.7million investments in Gore.

Advance Agricentre and Southland Farm Machinery agree their investments are a vote of confidence in the district’s economy. . .

Robots to takeover meat works:

After 20 months’ intensive research and development, the Ovine Automation Consortium is ready to go to market with two robots that signal the start of a new era in automated sheepmeat processing.

Funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation and nine industry members, with the support of two research organisations, the research consortium aims to enhance sheep processing productivity and quality through the use of automation. . .

Wine the organic puzzle –  Rebecca Gibb writes:

Patting cows and admiring piles of dung was not what I had envisaged when leaving Auckland behind for rural Marborough.

I thought I was there to tour organic vineyards for the vital purpose of tasting wines, but instead found myself transported to the set of The Good Life. Had I mistakenly been picked up by Richard Briars and Felicity Kendal at Blenheim airport, or are cows, sheep, and a gaggle of geese really what organic wine is all about? . . .

Beekeeping in a nutshell – Raymond Huber posts:

It’s Bee Week, celebrating our partnership with honey bees. Hand-made beehives date back 3000 years (in Israel) and early hives were made of clay or straw. Bees and humans helped each other expand into new lands: as settlers took the bees with them for crop pollination. For centuries beekeepers melted the comb to get the honey out, forcing bees to rebuild it. Then in 1851 pastor Lorenzo Langstroth designed a hive like a filing cabinet that could be used over and over. . .

Talk about succession – Gerald Piddock writes:

One of the deer industry’s next generation is urging farmers to talk more openly about the issues around succession.

The average age of the New Zealand farmer was over 50. At that stage many would soon be wanting to exit the industry, Hamish Fraser told farmers at the Deer Industry Conference in Timaru.

“Getting succession right will be key to allowing this to happen,” he said. . .


March record month for dairy exports

April 28, 2011

There isn’t a lot of good news on the economic front at the moment and most of the bright spots come from primary industries, notably dairy:

Fonterra has recorded its highest ever month for exports with 229,000 tonnes of its dairy products leaving New Zealand shores in March.

Gary Romano, Managing Director of Fonterra Trade & Operations, said the record shipments are the result of continued growth in global demand for high quality dairy products from New Zealand.

“Our supply chain team were effectively closing the door on an export container every 2.6 minutes. That’s equivalent to 560 containers a day.”

“As a result of this effort we expect the record month will inject around $1.2 billion into the New Zealand economy,” he said.

The outlook is for continued high demand and the challenge is to keep up with it.

Increased domestic production will be satisify some of the demand but we can’t do it all here.

Joint ventures and the development of dairy farms in other countries will also be needed if dairy produce is to keep increasing its much-needed contribution to export income.


Milk price up 23% – updated

April 7, 2010

The average price for whole milk powder  increased 21% and the price across whole milk, skim milk and Anhydrous Milk Fat rose by about 23% in this morning’s globalDairy trade auction.

In an email to shareholders, Fonterra chair Henry Van der Heyden attributed the price increase to  tightening supply because of  drier conditions and the season coming towards a close in New Zealand and Australia.

Fonterra has taken an option on some land in Central Canterbury as the site of a possible new processing operation.

Fonterra trade and operations manager Gary Romano said Fonterra was looking to secure enough land to expand the site, from an initial processing plant with the capacity to process 2.2 million litres of milk a day to a site capable of processing 10 million litres a day “at some point”.

“Canterbury is the fastest-growing dairying region in New Zealand. It is now producing about 15 per cent of the country’s milk for export and growing at a rate of more than 5 per cent annually,” he said.

The 50 new permanent jobs the development will create will be a significant boost for the economy of Darfiled, a very small rural town. 

The proposal is also a vote of confidence in the future of dairying.

UPDATE: The right hand end of the cut and paste copy of the graph above which shows the encouraging increase in price over time has been cut off.

This might be better:

You can see the original here.

UPDATE 2: interest.co.nz posts on the increase, notes it’s only 10% below the peak and could mean a better payout next season.


Fonterra to build on F&P site

November 18, 2008

Fonterra’s plan  to build a new hub on the former Fisehr and Paykal site at Mosgiel will create more jobs and reduce truck movements.

Fonterra says it plans to build a new 45,000 tonne drystore and a 17,000 tonne coolstore on the former 16.45ha Fisher and Paykel site at Mosgiel.

“This will mean significantly fewer truck movements on roads between the site, Port Otago and Southland,” said Fonterra’s director of group manufacturing and supply chain Gary Romano said.

“It will also achieve a further reduction in the carbon footprint of our transportation operations.”

. . . Mr Romano said the new Mosgiel site gave Fonterra a greater opportunity to use rail.

“For Fonterra, the development will mean a much simpler supply chain network in the South Island,” he said. “It will consolidate the company’s cool store operations in Dunedin – currently spread across a number of sites in the region. “It will also meet the additional storage requirements stemming from the construction of a fourth powder plant at the company’s Edendale site”.

There would be benefit for customers through improved service from a more efficient network. . .

Construction of the new store will start in July 2009, in addition to the building work, the operation will create more than 30 new jobs.


Anlene clean – Fonterra

October 31, 2008

Fonterra says independent tests  on its Anlene milk powder have found no traces of melamine.

Results today from the Health Sciences Authority in Singapore on samples from Bangladesh have come back negative,” said Fonterra’s director of group manufacturing, Gary Romano.

“There is no basis in fact for any speculation that Fonterra product sold under the Anlene brand is anything but the highest quality,” he said.

“We fully expect this to be confirmed by the Bangladesh government tests on our product which are expected to be released in the next few days.”

The Bangladesh Government is re-testing all major dairy brands in its market, after saying that a mix of negative and positive results from different laboratories on the same batches of infant formula had caused confusion.


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