Rural round-up

December 21, 2016

Blister protection product designed by Tekapo 21-year-old takes off – Esther Ashby-Conventry:

Fed up with watching his blistered clients being airlifted half way through their once-in-lifetime trip, a 21-year-old former mountain guide has developed a protective product made from merino wool.

Lucas Smith, of Tekapo, has just signed a national distribution deal with retail giant Torpedo 7, and headed overseas this week to work on the development of a new product.

Smith grew up in Timaru and went to Waihi School in Winchester before boarding at Christ’s College in Christchurch for his high school years. He dropped out of Victoria University half way through studying for a degree in anthropology and political science in 2014 to try software application.

Working as a tramping guide for visitors on the Routebourn and Milford tracks for the next two years was the catalyst for Smith to re-interprete an old technique for blister protection using the hyperfine wool of merino sheep and his life went in a totally different direction. . . .

Agriculture’s rebirth as the next sunrise industry – Steve Carden:

At the start of this month, a story ran that worried that New Zealand was on the road to becoming the “Detroit of agriculture”.

It was a provocative headline to a piece outlining the technologies that are disrupting and going to further challenge farming. The author was right. Some of these innovations are quite remarkable, and signal a shift in how food can be produced, as the world grapples with needing more food for more people with an already stressed environment.

But the irony of comparing Detroit with NZ agriculture is quite delicious. Because out of the fossils of Detroit’s waning car industry is the rebirth of the city based on urban farming. From the derelict unused buildings and empty lots are springing up a host of vertical farming companies and urban farming co-operatives. Detroit is emerging as a leader in urban farming. Detroit is being reborn, and the seeds of that rebirth are literal ones. . . 

Rampant rates a sore point with farmers:

Farmers are questioning the priorities and fiscal discipline of New Zealand’s councils as rates takes continue to outstrip cost indexes.

Analysis by Federated Farmers shows the consumers’ price index (CPI) went up 21% between 2006-2016. Local authorities have argued the Local Authority Cost Index prepared by consultants BERL is a fairer measure of cost pressures on local government, and that went up 33% during the past decade.

Both measures are dwarfed by the average 77 percent hike in rates by our 13 city, 54 district and 11 regional councils. New Zealand’s population went up by about 12% in the same period, with consequent growth in the rating base, but Local Government NZ had no figures on how much. . . 

Primary sector outlook stable says MPI – Nick Clark:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has released its latest Situation & Outlook for the Primary Industries. 

It considers the outlook across the primary sector to be stable for the current year, as the dairy industry begins to rebound from 2016’s low and growth continues for the horticulture and forestry sectors. However, this is offset by a forecast 10.8 percent decline in meat and wool exports.

Total export revenue is forecast to be $36.7 billion for the year to June 2017, down $0.3 billion from the previous year.

Looking ahead, MPI is forecasting export growth of 5.4 percent per year from 2016 to 2021, when it expects primary sector exports to be $47.9 billion.  Much of the growth will be for dairy products, expected to rise by $7.3 billion (or 55.4 percent) to reach $20.7 billion.  Forestry, horticulture and seafood are all expected to continue posting steady growth over the next five years. . . 

World dairy prices trimmed at GlobalDairyTrade auction – Gerard Hutching:

As the futures market predicted earlier this week, world dairy prices have flat lined following the overnight global dairy auction. 

Nevertheless, after a year when prices for whole milk powder (WMP) soared from US$1952 in January to US$3568 last night, farmers will be able to pop the champagne corks this Christmas – or at the least methode champenoise. 

Federated Farmers dairy spokesman Andrew Hoggard said he had a bottle stored away which he would pull out on Christmas morning.  . . 

No end is sight with compliance demands – Lyn Webster:

Having been a dairy farmer for a long number of years, I have to say I regularly feel put upon by the pressing and never ending demands for compliance in my day-to-day activities.

It is like people or agencies are constantly monitoring my activities, poised to criticise or fine me at my every move. The constant pressure of this actually makes me feel physically ill, despite the fact that I have not actually committed any wrongdoing to date.

Here are two annoying incidents that have happened and expose the confusion and rigmarole surrounding all the red tape that wastes the time and energy I should be expending on my business. . . 

Milk bubbling, beef off the boil – Steve Wyn-Harris:

Another year draws to a close.

We have a New Prime Minister, Bill English, but I feel just the same. Maybe when Bill has a change in the Cabinet next week things may feel different.

These are tough times for those in North Canterbury and the Kaikoura Coast. Keep your chins up as best you can.

At last, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel for the unfortunate dairy sector of the last couple of years and now the prospect of at least breaking even for many and a nice little profit for those savvy folks with low-cost production and little debt, which are mostly the mum and dad operations. . . 

Meat exports continue to fall:

Beef and lamb exports fell in November, as the amount of meat sold dropped heavily compared with last year’s record season, Statistics New Zealand said today.

Meat and edible offal exports fell $158 million (31 percent) from November 2015, contributing to a $219 million (5.4 percent) fall in overall exports.

Beef exports fell 41 percent in value and 31 percent in quantity, and lamb exports fell 27 percent in value and 23 percent in quantity.

“Beef exports to the United States, our top beef export destination, fell by around half when compared to November last year” senior manager Jason Attewell said. “When compared to the same month of the previous year, the value of beef exports to the US have fallen in nearly every month since October 2015, only rising once in April 2016.” . . 

New Zealand Set to Dazzle the World with a New Apple Variety:

New Zealand is set to dazzle the world with a new apple variety which has been launched today by Fruitcraft, after being licensed the worldwide rights by Prevar Ltd.

The apple variety PremA129, which will be marketed and known as Dazzle®, is expected to be one of the biggest apple variety launches since Royal Gala decades ago. All New Zealand apple growers will be able to grow Dazzle, and all fruit exporters will be able to sell it.

Dazzle is a large, red, sweet apple which has taken 20 years to develop by Plant & Food Research (PFR) at their research station in Havelock North. . . 

Multiple prosecutions likely after MPI makes series of large-scale paua busts:

Ministry for Primary Industries fishery officers have returned almost 600 undersized paua to the sea near Napier after several large-scale paua busts that occurred over one day.

Team Manager Eastern & Lower North Island, Mike Green, says a routine day last Friday turned into one of a steady stream of discoveries of people taking excess paua as well as undersized paua at Tangoio Beach.

“Officers were involved in at least five incidents over a matter of a few hours where people were caught with very large amounts of paua, most of which didn’t meet the minimum size requirements,” says Mr Green. . . 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Farmer Directors elected unopposed:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Farmer Directors George Tatham (Eastern North Island) and Andrew Morrison (Southern South Island) have been elected unopposed to the Board of Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

In line with the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Constitution, Tatham and Morrison were to retire by rotation at next year’s annual meeting.

Electionz.com who conducted the election for Beef + Lamb New Zealand said both directors had signalled their intention to seek re-election and had been returned unopposed. . . 


Rural round-up

March 31, 2014

Drought relief some way off – Mike Dinsdale:

Northland’s drought-stricken farmers can’t expect any rain relief over the next two weeks as an urgent call goes out for help with grazing and supplementary feed.

This week most of Northland’s west coast, from Cape Reinga to Pouto Pt, has been classified a localised drought area under government regulations for a small-scale adverse climatic event, covering an estimated 400 dairy farms and 700 sheep and beef units.

It’s the third drought in four years in the area and there’s little chance of any significant rain to end the drought for at least the next two weeks. . . .

 ‘Green’ dairy farming proves profitable – Tina Law:

Mark and Devon Slee are proving dairy farmers can remain profitable while adopting techniques to care for the environment.

The South Canterbury couple, who have 2640 cows on 1014 hectares at Ealing, south of Ashburton, won the supreme award at the Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards, announced last week.

Mark Slee said it was great to win the award, and he and Devon were keen to highlight the good environmental practices they had adopted.

“There is a lot of concern about the expansion of dairying, and we just wanted to be out there saying ‘this is what we are doing with our property’.

“It’s worthy of mention,” Slee said. . .

Farmer’s win more significant after near death – Diane Bishop:

Four months after suffering a near-fatal cardiac arrest, Kaiwera farmer John Chittock is at the top of his game.

The 55-year-old won three of the four events at the Mossburn sheep dog trials this month – the short head and yard, the straight hunt and the zig-zag hunt with Blue, Pod and Angus, respectively.

Chittock said he had won two hunt events at a district competition before, but this was the first time he had won three events in almost 40 years of dog trialling.

“I took it with a grain of salt.

“It wasn’t until people started congratulating me that I thought it was pretty special,” he said. . .

Picking up the pace – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra’s confirmation last week of a record milk payout forecast came with a commitment to stay on course, but pick up the pace.

The forecast cash payout of $8.75 a kilogram of milksolids is 42% more than last season and the first-half revenue of $11.3 billion was up 21%.

Full-year milk production in New Zealand is expected to grow 7% and that means farms will receive nearly $14b this year, at least half of which will be spent in the regions.

However, normalised earnings and net profit in the first half of the financial year were only half those of the previous corresponding period because high commodity prices have slashed margins on value-added products. . . .

Powell wins Shepherd of the Year competition:

The 2014 Shepherd of the Year was awarded to Jason Powell on March 27 after a successful tour of the farm he works on, while answering questions from the two judges Shayne Rankin and George Tatham about his role.

He won $4500 in cash and prizes and the two merit placegetters, Jakeb Herron and Cameron Dallas, both won a Lister handpiece.

The inaugural competition was part of the Wairarapa Farm Business of the Year competition.

The Farm Business of the Year winners were Don McCreary and Anna Johnston and a field day was held on their farm in Hinakura in the Martinborough area.

Of the seven finalists in the Taratahi Shepherd of the Year competition, three were ex-Taratahi students, including Powell.  . .


Rural round-up

December 24, 2013

Proactive approach prevents dog fight – Sheryl Brown:

As a battle about water quality rages between farmers and regional councils throughout New Zealand, a group of farmers in the Lake Rerewhakaaitu catchment have drawn nationwide attention through a proactive approach.

Nestled under Mount Tarawera, Lake Rerewhakaaitu is the southernmost of the 12 Rotorua lakes and is surrounded predominantly by dairy farms.

In 2001 a report by Bay of Plenty Regional Council showed nutrient levels in streams flowing into the lake were increasing.

The report suggested tightening dairy disposal consent conditions and setting a ceiling level of nitrogen fertiliser application. . .

Talley’s to lift Open Country stake to as much as 70.5%:

(BusinessDesk) – Talley’s Group, the privately-held maker of foods ranging from frozen fish to ice cream, agreed to buy up to 14.99 percent of Open Country Dairy from Singapore’s Olam International for as much as $46.5 million.

The deal would lift Talley’s holding of the dairy company to as much as 70.5 percent from 55.5 percent, increasing its control of a business that returned to profit in 2012 while tapping shareholders for funds to repay debt. The sale price is close to the current carrying value of the investment in Olam’s accounts, it said.

Olam’s stake would reduce to as low as 10 percent, leaving it as the second-largest shareholder just ahead of Dairy Investment Fund on 9.99 percent. Talley’s is required to make a partial takeover offer under the terms of the Takeovers Code and its transaction with Olam will be a combination of direct sale of shares and acceptance of the offer, Olam said. . .

Santa delivers farmers the perfect weather present:

While holidaymakers may not be relishing widespread rain over Christmas, it will certainly bring a smile to many farmers one-third of the way into summer.

“The guy in the big red suit is delivering farmers the best present; widespread rain,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Adverse Events Spokesperson.

“Farmers won’t have an excuse to get out on-farm but will instead have to get stuck into wrapping last minute presents. Aside from essential jobs on-farm, a few day’s weather enforced relaxation with family is the best way to recharge the batteries. . .

Scholar slams stubble burning as bad for soil – Tim Cronshaw:

A Nuffield scholar visiting Canterbury, who would never burn crop stubble on his farm, has criticised the worldwide practice.

Arable farmer Tom Sewell, who grows crops on a 400-hectare farm in southeast England, was one of two scholarship holders studying the long-term benefits of no-tillage in New Zealand.

He left for Australia a week ago convinced farmers could avoid stubble burning, banned in his home country.

“There are loads of problems with it. In the UK it would be a [non-runner] in public relations and would be a shot in the foot. The public perception is it’s bad for the environment, creating carbon dioxide and it’s burning a valuable carbon source for the soil and losing organic carbon.” . .

30 animals on offer at NZ’s first annual game sale

The efforts of South Canterbury man Neville Cunningham, to have game animals such as red deer and white tahr recognised as being of value rather than simply termed a pest to be eradicated, came to fruition yesterday when he staged New Zealand’s first annual game animal sale.

The sale, held at his Timaru property, offered 30 animals by tender including a black tahr and a white tahr, chamois, trophy elk bulls, trophy red stags, a highland bull, two bison and arapawa rams.

All the animals have been bred by Mr Cunningham at one of his two properties, at Timaru or Aoraki/Mt Cook and some, such as the white tahr, have come from animals originally recovered from the bush, but now part of a managed breeding programme. . .

Two new farmer directors elected to Beef + Lamb New Zealand Board:

Two new farmer directors will join the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Board after the annual meeting in Feilding on 14 March 2014.

They are Waikaka Valley farmer, Andrew Morrison who will represent the Southern South Island electorate and Wairarapa farmer, George Tatham who will represent the Eastern North Island electorate.

They were both elected unopposed.

They replace Beef + Lamb New Zealand directors who had not sought re-election. . .

Bumper crop boosts NZ apple and pear exports:

The largest crop in nearly 10 years has allowed apple and pear growers to crack the $500 million mark for exports.

The pipfruit industry believes the result has placed it on track to reach its export target of $1 billion by 2022.

Pipfruit New Zealand Incorporated (PNZI) chief executive Alan Pollard said the economic impact of apple and pear exports on regions was “extraordinary”.

“North Island centres such as Hawke’s Bay received $350m in export receipts, up $100m on 2012, and South Island centres such as Nelson have received $150m, $50m more than 2012,” he said. . .

The master has not finished just yet – Hugh Stringleman:

The world’s greatest competition shearer believes he has at least one more successful year left in him.

Five-time world champion David Fagan, 52, wants to add to his tallies of 16 titles each at the Golden Shears and New Zealand Shearing Championships.

At the Te Kuiti-based NZ championships David has reached the open final 28 out of 29 times, and the 30th edition in March will provide the best-possible stage for his last hurrah. . .

How do politicians manage to believe such things? – Tim Worstall:

I’m slightly boggled by this statement:

Tim Farron, South Lakes MP and chair of the all-party parliamentary hill farming group, said: “We need to do all we can to support our farming industry, particularly in the uplands where life can be a real struggle. This support and funding could make a massive difference to upland farmers throughout Cumbria and help show the next generation that there is a real future in a career in farming.”

It appears to me to be an example of cognitive dissonance. For we’re also being told this about that same occupation: . .

Vineyards on sustainable, diverse path:

A rapid rise in exports fuelled New Zealand wine industry growth in the 1990s and the industry recognised it needed a proactive approach to sustainable production.

Considerable research led to a holistic programme that eventually became known as Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand.

All but 6% of NZ’s producing vineyard area is certified under the Sustainable Winegrowing NZ approach, with a further 3-5% of operating under certified organic programmes.

Members are committed to protecting the unique places that make the country’s famous wines by reducing the use of chemicals, energy, water, and packaging and wherever possible reusing and recycling material and waste. . .


Rural round-up

August 16, 2013

$65 million early windfall for Ballance farmers:

More than 18,000 New Zealand farmers are in for some good news this week, as Ballance Agri-Nutrients delivers support for cashflows at the start of the spring season with an early record rebate payment.

Ballance’s record rebate and dividend will start arriving in shareholders’ letterboxes this week as the co-operative pays out $65 million to shareholders six weeks ahead of schedule.

The co-operative announced a rebate and dividend averaging $65 a tonne last month and advised shareholders it would pay out earlier than usual to help shareholders with early season cashflows.

The rebate averaging $60.83 per tonne and a fully imputed dividend of 10 cents per share represents an average $6,500 return to a fully paid shareholder. It follows the record trading result of $92.6 million delivered by the co-operative. . .

Farmer development programme benefits sector:

Following a successful pilot during 2012, Beef + Lamb New Zealand is now rolling out a development programme for farmers on B+LNZ farmer councils and those involved in project farms.

Facilitated by the Agri-Women’s Development Trust (AWDT), the programme covers three broad topics: governance, communications and decision-making, and leadership. Each topic is covered in a two-day module in Wellington.

Wairarapa farmer George Tatham was one of 12 farmers from across New Zealand involved in the pilot. George, who has since become chair of the Eastern North Island farmer council, says the skills he picked up over the three modules have benefited his farm business, as well as his council work. . . .

Changes expected to have major impact on dairy farmers – Crowe Horwath,

The Inland Revenue Department (“IRD”) has announced that fundamental changes are going to be made to the National Standard Cost (NSC) valuation methodology for dairy cattle that will increase livestock values commencing from the 2014 income year.

While there are a variety of livestock valuation methods available to farmers, the valuation methods most commonly used are NSC and the Herd Scheme. As a result, the changes will have a wide ranging impact on dairy farmers.

You might be thinking, well why do I care about a change in valuation methodology? The reason why this change is important for dairy farmers using the NSC valuation method is that any increases in value arising under the NSC valuation method are taxable income to the farmer. This will see an increase in taxable income for all dairy farmers using the NSC valuation method. . .

Top ram producers recognised:

New Zealand’s top ram producers were toasted on Wednesday night at the Sheep Industry Awards in Invercargill.

About 300 farmers and industry people attended the awards run by Beef + Lamb.

George and Kathryn Smith from Tamlet stud, near Wyndham, won the Alliance Group Terminal Sire gold award.

They run 300 recorded Texel ewes, 500 recorded Coopworth and 500 Romney ewes.

The Blackdale Sheep Industry Supplier of the Year Award went to Hugh and Judy Akers of Broadlands Station, who supply ANZCO. . .

Grass alone won’t grow the economy:

The fruits of a literary collaboration on innovation between the late Sir Paul Callaghan and award-winning science communicator Professor Shaun Hendy will be unveiled at Victoria University tonight.

The two physicists are authors of Get off the Grass, which will be launched in Wellington tonight (Thursday 15 August) and follows on from Sir Paul’s earlier book, Wool to Weta, which was published in 2009.

Get off the Grass argues that innovation in high-tech niches is the key to increasing New Zealand’s prosperity and that New Zealand needs to export knowledge rather than nature. . .

Entries open for international wine competition:

Entries are now open for the 2013 Avenues International Aromatic Wine Competition. Hosted by the Canterbury A&P Association in conjunction with the Canterbury A&P Show, the competition has been running for eleven years and is supported by competition naming rights partner Avenues – the magazine Christchurch lives by.

“Avenues is delighted to again be a sponsor of the International Aromatic Wine Competition. Nearly three-quarters of Avenues readers enjoy wine as part of their lifestyle, so it is fitting for us to support an event that toasts the best aromatic wines and their producers,” says Avenues Sales Manager Craig du Plooy. . .

Johanneshof Cellars Top Honours and Three Trophies at Spiegelau International Wine Competition:

Four medals, 3 trophies including joint ‘Producer of the Show’; not a bad effort for only entering five wines. Johanneshof Cellars, a small boutique winery in Marlborough, New Zealand, has taken top honours in the 2013 Spiegelau International Wine Competition.

Not only did the winery’s haul of accolades capture a cross section of their handcrafted wines including sparkling and dessert wines, but the two Gold medal winning wines went on to receive the Trophy for Champion Wine in both categories. The rare success of winning two trophies in one Show culminated at the end of the evening in Johanneshof Cellars being awarded the joint Trophy for ‘Champion Producer of the Show’. . .


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