Rural round-up

December 24, 2014

The winding path for agri-food – Keith Woodford:

With another year winding down, it is time to reflect on how well the agri-food industries have been travelling, and to look forward to what the next twelve months might bring.

2014 will be the remembered as the year that the dairy industry started on the super highway but then hit a pot hole. Many in the industry expected a slow-down, but most have been surprised by the depth of the hole. It is also the year when the dairy industry began to recognise the full extent of the nitrogen leaching challenge.

For beef, 2014 was the best farming year there has ever been, and for sheep farmers it was also a positive year. The kiwifruit recovery gained momentum, and the wine industry moved forward. These outcomes have all occurred despite an exchange rate that for much of the year was at record highs. . . .

Landcorp seeks to fatten sheep returns through wool deal, milk – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) Landcorp, New Zealand’s largest corporate farmer, is moving on two fronts to expand the money it makes from sheep, signing a three-year contract with NZ Merino to manage its entire wool clip and planning a trial of milking some of the flock.

The state-owned enterprise indicated last July it was taking a serious look at milking sheep as a way of getting a third income, along with meat and wool, from its flock.

Chief executive Steve Carden said while milking sheep is common offshore, most of it is consumed domestically and there is no real international player. Landcorp has been investigating establishing a premium, niche sheep milk brand from the 370,000 ewes it farms. . .

Venison companies working together:

The venison exporter and processor, Duncan and Co is hoping it will soon join other companies whose plants have been certified to supply venison to China.

This year seven venison processing plants received approval to export to China, which was a new market for New Zealand farmed deer meat.

Duncan and Co’s general marketing manager Glenn Tyrrell said it was hoping its plants would also be cleared for China in the new year.

And it was working with four other companies on a joint marketing project. . .

Avocado industry waits for China clearance:

The New Zealand avocado industry is waiting for clearance to export to China, as it expands its trade into Asian markets.

The Ministry for Primary Industries was negotiating an access agreement for China and avocados are at the top of its priority list for horticultural products.

Chief executive of New Zealand Avocado Jen Scoular said only Chile and Mexico had access to China for the fruit.

But she said avocado industry representatives attended a fruit and vegetable fair in Beijing last month, where Chinese officials indicated they saw no technical reasons why New Zealand should not be granted access as well. . .

Gibbston Valley Winery launches full-service bike centre to cater for growing demand:

Award-winning Gibbston Valley Winery is adding to the experiences that locals and visitors can enjoy at the winery with the opening of a new on-site bike centre.

Gibbston Valley Winery CEO Greg Hunt said the centre was the next stage in the company’s continued expansion, enabling them to cater to the growing demand for cycling facilities in the region and grow its biking product while also showcasing award-winning wine and food.

“Located across from the beautiful Kawarau River and next to Rabbit Ridge Bike Resort, our new biking centre gives people convenient access to some of the top biking trails in Queenstown and a premium Central Otago wine and food experience,” said Mr Hunt. . .

Silver Fern Farms Confirms Audited Result:

Silver Fern Farms has bounced back to profit and reduced debt for the 2014 year.

The co-operative is reporting a net profit before tax for the year of $1.8 million, a $38.3 million improvement on the 2013 season. Over the same period the company paid down $99 million in debt as part of a plan to reduce the cost of debt servicing to the company.

Chairman Rob Hewett says Silver Fern Farms’ shareholders will be heartened to see audited confirmation of the turnaround in profitability. . . 

Sealord nets a profit and pays dividend:

Sealord Group Ltd has reported a net profit after tax of NZD$25.4 million for its financial year ending 30th September 2014.

The result marks a return to profit for the Group following the exit from its Argentine fishing investment the previous year.

The result has enabled Sealord to declare a dividend of NZD $10.5 million to its shareholders.

Company revenues of NZD $448 million were slightly lower on the previous year due to unfavourable foreign exchange movements.

According to Chairman Matanuku Mahuika, the result represents a significant turnaround from the previous year. . .


Rural round-up

December 23, 2012

DairyNZ Chairman to speak at Oxford Farming Conference:

New Zealand dairy farming will be front and centre at a prestigious farming conference being held in Oxford in England from January 2-4, 2013.

DairyNZ Chairman John Luxton has been invited to give his personal perspective on the New Zealand dairy farming experience at the Oxford Farming Conference examining the role of farming within British society.

Mr Luxton is one of a number of speakers lined up to present on a range of topics, including a seminal piece of work which quantifies the non-direct contributions farming makes to British society in a financial context and an Oxford Union Debate on economies of scale in agriculture. . .

Boilogicals showing worth trust member says – Tim Fulton:

The Rotorua Lakes and Lands Trust, a joint venture between Te Arawa Federation of Maori Authorities and Pakeha farmers, has spent at least a decade studying nutrient management around the Central Plateau and is convinced that biological systems are a worthwhile tool against nutrient leaching.

Now all the trust wishes for is greater funding and sustained expertise to win more people over.

Farmers who have turned to biological systems are often anxious about the increased use of synthetic fertilisers that has caused economic and environmental concerns. Fertiliser costs and problems with water quality typically shape as the major problems. . .

Rural women at heart of regional support:

New Zealanders have big hearts.  A new report on philanthropy shows New Zealanders gave about $2.67 billion to charitable and community causes during 2011, a level of generosity that was boosted by sympathy for people affected by the Christchurch earthquakes.

Rural Women were at the forefront of that generosity. The “big ticket item” supporting Cantabrians has been the Aftersocks™ campaign. Rural Women sold 19,000 pairs, raising more than $130,000 for the Christchurch Mayoral Fund.

While the funky black and red striped socks featuring the February 22 seismic shake grabbed headlines and orders from around the world, behind the scenes Rural Women members were quietly getting on with a host of other projects that helped make their communities a better place to live, or gave some deserving cause a boost. . .

Favourable season boosts September quarter primary exports:

Higher volumes of exports resulting from last year’s favourable production season have boosted primary sector revenue this past quarter.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today released its report of production and trade statistics for the September 2012 quarter.

Primary sector export revenue at $7.12 billion for the quarter was up 4.7 percent on the previous September quarter, and at $32.43 billion for the year to September was up 0.5 percent on the previous year. . .

PGW to set up showcase in China – Alan Wood:

PGG Wrightson is developing an agricultural showcase with majority shareholder Agria in a “hi-tech” industrial park in western China.

The agricultural showcase would serve as a strategic platform for the firms to expand agri-tech business and broader collaboration between China and New Zealand, the companies said.

New Zealand’s experience in the field of animal husbandry, agricultural co-operative societies and information systems would be applied in the showcase.

PGG Wrightson and Agria said they had signed a memorandum of understanding with a Chinese administrative authority for the Yangling Agricultural High-Tech Industries Demonstration Zone. . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand election in Western North Island:

Two nominations have been received for the Farmer Director position in Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Western North Island electorate.

They are Kirsten Bryant (incumbent) of Fordell and John McCarthy of Ohakune.

Farmers in this electorate must be on the Beef + Lamb New Zealand electoral roll by 5 pm on Wednesday 23 January 2013 to be eligible to vote. They must also have owned (on 30 June 2012) at least 250 sheep, or 50 beef cattle or 100 dairy cattle. . .

New plates and tastes at Gibbston Valley Winery’s Vintner’s Kitchen

Renowned Central Otago winery Gibbston Valley Winery is launching a Vintner’s Kitchen experience from today (Friday December 21), offering visitors a ‘taste’ of the multi-award-winning experience.

Gibbston Valley Winery CEO Greg Hunt said the new Vintner’s Kitchen tasting and café area was designed to provide a casual, friendly and welcoming space for visitors at any time of the day.

“It’s aimed at those who might not have the time to stay for lunch, want to combine wine tasting with a small plate of matching food, or are simply looking for a coffee or a cold drink,” he said. . .

New Appointment to AGMARDT General Manager Position

AGMARDT has secured the services of a well-respected and knowledgeable agricultural businessman. The Chairman of the AGMARDT Board of Trustees, Jeff Grant, is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Malcolm Nitschke to the position of General Manager.

Mr Nitschke comes from a strong background in the agricultural sector and brings with him a vast wealth of knowledge gained during his extensive time as an Agri Banker, and latterly as Head of Lending Services Agri, at ANZ and formerly National Bank, as well as owning his own farm at Marton. . .


Rural round-up

September 10, 2012

Efficient Water Use Recognised in Ballance Farm Environment Awards -Kai Tegels and John Evans:

An efficient irrigation system drives crop production on John Evan’s award-winning Canterbury farm.

A leading arable farmer in the region, John runs an intensive 245ha (effective) property in the Dorie district.

‘Tregynon Farm’ finishes stock and grows a range of crops, specialising in seed production.

John says water is the life-blood of the farm, and his ability to manage water efficiently was recognised when he won the WaterForce Integrated Management Award in the 2012 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA). . .

Sharemilking and the progression to farm ownership – Milking on the Moove:

Federated Farmers has a report on their website called Ensuring a viable progression path in the dairy industry”.
 
It raises some interesting observations.

35% of farms are managed by sharemilkers (2009/10), 20% by Herd Owning Sharemilkers (HOSM). Although there has been only a minor reduction in the percentage of dairy farms managed by sharemilkers, there is a more noticeable trend in the declining number of HOSM, particularly in the South Island.

It’s important to know the difference between a herd owning sharemilker and a contract milker/variable order sharemilker. Obviously a herd owning sharemilker owns the herd and they receive 50% of the milk cheque. They are responsible for most costs except capital fertilizer and R&M on the farm & infrastructure. . .

Federated Farmers assists Ministry in animal welfare case

Under its Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Federated Farmers is supporting the Ministry in a major animal welfare case involving dairy cattle on the West Coast.

“Federated Farmers is assisting the MPI, but as this is a live investigation I need to choose my words carefully,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers West Coast provincial president and a dairy farmer herself.

“In animal welfare cases involving farm animals, Federated Farmers provides expert farmers and resources to complement the Ministry’s professional team.  Our sole combined aim is always the welfare of affected stock. . .

Meat inspection no longer exclusively supplied by AsureQuality – Allan Barber:

Last Tuesday AFFCO’s Imlay plant in Whanganui was the first to be allowed to introduce meat inspection by its own employees. Till then this function has been performed exclusively by government employed meat inspectors, originally employed by MAF, subsequently by the SOE AsureQuality.

The proposal to allow meat companies to have a hand in meat inspection finally saw light of day about two years ago, although the companies have been dissatisfied with the government monopoly for many years. I can remember the issue raising its head in the early 1990s when the meat inspectors went on strike because of pay and conditions. . .

Wool Services FY profit falls 66% on drop in wool prices – Hannah Lynch:

New Zealand Wool Services International, the wool scouring and exporting business whose majority shareholding is up for grabs, posted a 66 percent drop in full-year profit as wool prices tumbled.

Profit was $2.2 million in the 12 months ended June 30, from a record $6.6 million a year earlier, when wool prices surged in the face of global demand and a supply shortage. Sales rose 0.9 percent to $202 million. . .

New Zealand Beef Wows Tokyo Festival-Goers

Grass-fed New Zealand beef struck a chord with the crowds at one of Japan’s largest dance and music festivals, Super Yosakoi, held in Tokyo on the weekend of 25 and 26 August.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand was at the festival for the second year in a row, as part of its programme of activities to boost a taste for grass-fed New Zealand beef among Japanese consumers.

Organisers estimate that around 800,000 visitors took part in this year’s festival. Over the course of the two days, nearly 700 kilograms of grass-fed beef was served off the B+LNZ stand, which equated to more than 4,000 servings. To enable people to appreciate its true flavour, the beef was cooked simply in oil and seasoned only with salt and pepper. . .

Big Station’s Cropping Plan Impresses Ballance Farm Environmental Award Judges Adam Waite and Ross Shepherd:

A meticulously planned cropping programme is crucial to the success of Landcorp’s Rangitaiki Station on the Napier-Taupo highway.

Totalling almost 9,700ha, the Central Plateau sheep, beef, deer, dairy grazing and forestry farm grows significant areas of crop to lift livestock production in challenging climatic conditions.

Crops grown this year include over 600ha of swedes, kale and fodder beet for winter feeding. A combination of pasja and cordura ryegrass is sown for summer lamb finishing, and the station harvests 700ha of pasture silage and 30ha of lucerne annually. . .

Stars shine at rare vintage wine tasting event

Gibbston Valley Winery opened the vaults to some of Central Otago’s oldest and rarest wines at an exclusive ‘vertical tasting’ event to coincide with 25th anniversary celebrations on Saturday (September 1).

The Gibbston Valley Pinot Noir Grand Vertical Tasting took wine enthusiasts on a journey through four generations of the award-winning winery’s finest Pinot Noirs showcasing the development of the wine from 1990 to 2011.

Held at Queenstown Resort College, the exclusive event was open to Gibbston Valley Wine Club members and was hosted by legendary wine vignerons Alan Brady and Grant Taylor and current Gibbston Valley winemaker Christopher Keys. . .


Rural round-up

August 19, 2012

First product off the line at Fonterra Darfield:

The first bags of whole milk powder have rolled off the production line at Fonterra’s new $200 million manufacturing site near Darfield in Canterbury and are bound for South East Asia, China and the Middle East.

Brent Taylor, our Director of Operations – NZ Milk, says it was smooth running for the new plant, which produced 40 metric tonnes of product in its first full day of operations.

“It has taken less than two years to bring the project together and it is a significant achievement for us and good news for Canterbury and the wider Christchurch rebuild, he says. . .

Tree Harvesting Invention Named New Zealand Winner of the James Dyson Award :

A tree harvesting device has won the New Zealand leg of the twelfth annual James Dyson Award, a product design competition.

Current harvesting methods require return visits to a forest, causing soil erosion and damage to surrounding trees. Nick Ross, an industrial design graduate from Massey University, has devised a solution that cuts trees right from ground level, and feeds them straight into the machine. An extraction process is then engaged to return needles back to the soil for nutrients, while the branches gathered in a separate container can be re-used as an alternative energy fuel. . .

Meanwhile in the asylum – Offsetting Behaviour:

I like to think of New Zealand as being the Outside of the Asylum.

Outside of the Asylum, farmers are free to sell their produce.

Today’s news from inside the asylum: hosting a 10 year old’s birthday party and selling a bit of farm produce at the event
hosted on your farm gets you thousands of dollars in fines
. . .

Gibbston Valley Winery celebrates two special ‘birthdays’

A Central Otago winery celebrating its 25th commercial grape harvest with a black tie dinner next month will also mark a milestone of a different kind.

The Gibbston Valley Winery anniversary dinner event on September 1 will kick start the award-winning winery’s support of national charity Cure Kids, with all proceeds from the night’s auctions going to the charity.

In keeping with that support, the dinner will also celebrate the remarkable story of Cure Kids ambassador and Queenstown resident Sophie Newbold, who celebrates her 18th birthday on September 14. . .

Boot camp to inspire development of New Zealand Inc – Allan Barber:

This week a high powered Boot Camp, attended by a group of key New Zealand agribusiness executives, will take place at Stanford University, California, with facilitation by Professor of Marketing Baba Shiv whose research expertise is in neuroeconomics.

The Boot Camp is the brainchild of Keith Cooper from Silver Fern Farms and John Brakenridge, Chief Executive of NZ Merino, who visited Stanford to discover new ideas on how to market Silere lamb from the two companies’ JV established last year with assistance from the Primary Growth Partnership fund. . .


GIbbston Valley’s 25th harvest

July 20, 2012

Gibbston Valley Winery is celebrating its 25th commercial grape harvest with an anniversary dinner:

As part of the celebration and the company’s ongoing commitment to its local community, Gibbston Valley Winery is proud to announce that national charity Cure Kids will be the beneficiary of the night. . . 

Guest speakers on the night will include founding Gibbston Valley winemaker Alan Brady and current Gibbston Valley winemaker Christopher Keys, both of whom will sign the bottles going up for auction, making them real collectors’ items.

Mr Brady was first to plant and commercially produce wines in Gibbston Valley, harvesting pinot noir, pinot gris and a ‘dry white’ blend in 1987, while Mr Keys has been at the winemaking helm for the last six years.

Gibbston Valley Winery was one of the early pioneers of what became the ‘pinot noir phenomenon’, a wine that’s now the second-largest variety in New Zealand to sauvignon blanc.

Twenty-five years later, a dream run of weather producing high quality fruit has the winery predicting an outstanding 2012 vintage. . .

Over the years, Gibbston Valley Winery has won more than 300 national and international awards, helping put the Central Otago wine region on the map.

Thanks to the pioneering spirit of those such as Gibbston Valley Winery founder Alan Brady, the Central Otago region now has approximately 2000 hectares of vines and over 100 producers, and this year’s total harvest is expected to be about 7000 tonnes. . .

Alan Brady was one of Central’s wine pioneers and Gibbston Valley has led the way in combining fine wine and fresh food.

We’ve stopped for lunch at Gibbston several times on our way to or from Queenstown and usually pop in for a visit when we’re hosting friends from overseas.

Every meal has been delicious, complemented by the wine and the service which is always relaxed and professional,even when the restaurant is very busy as it often is.


Creedence Clearwater Revisited

March 7, 2011

If you wanted perfect acoustics and a top quality musical experience you wouldn’t bother with a concert in a paddock.

But if your aim was to have fun with friends and enjoy some of the music which provided the background to your youth, then the Gibbston Valley was fine.

We were among the 15,000 people who spent Saturday afternoon at Gibbston Valley Winery listening to Dr Hook and Creedence Clearwater Revisited.

The sun shone, the musicians sang the songs we knew and the audience sang along with them.

Age hasn’t improved the voices of the stars but they still had enthusiasm and the ability to get us on our feet. Given the average age was well over 50 and New Zealanders aren’t particularly keen on dancing in daylight, was no mean feat.


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