Rural round-up

March 20, 2017

The drama and politics of water – Andrew Curtis:

Until recently I really had no idea how many freshwater experts live in New Zealand.  

It seems just about everyone has something to say about the supposed declining state of our rivers and who’s to blame for it. Hint: it isn’t anyone who lives in town.  

I don’t have a problem with people expressing their opinion but I do have a problem with people who ignore facts, are agenda-driven, get emotional and dramatic about the natural state of things and refuse to acknowledge science.  

I am, of course, referring to the hysteria around the swimmability of NZ’s waterways. . . 

SSF funding a ‘smart choice’ for future land management:

Federated Farmers says investment in smart irrigation projects announced by the Government is an important step towards optimising future land management practices.

Two projects will benefit from a Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) grant of $590,000.

Federated Farmers leads one of the projects, to study the effect of irrigation on soil water-holding properties, involving a number of key primary sector stakeholders and Environment Canterbury. . . 

Shoe makers visit their wool source – Sally Rae:

When Nanny Glerup Kristensen felted a pair of boots with wool from her own sheep back in 1993, little did she know that it would grow into an export business.

Danish footwear firm Glerups now markets indoor shoes throughout Denmark and in more than 20 countries, selling close to 250,000 pairs a year.

In 2015, Glerups signed a deal with the New Zealand Merino Company and Landcorp for them to supply New Zealand strong wool for its range.

Mrs Glerup Kristensen and her husband Ove have been in New Zealand catching up with NZM staff and visiting Landcorp properties, including Waipori Station on the shores of Lake Mahinerangi. . . 

Sri Lanka a different side of dairying – Sallly Rae:

Dairying in Sri Lanka is a much different scene to the lush pastures of West Otago.

Kelso dairy farmer Marloes Levelink returned this month from a three-week stint in Sri Lanka, as part of a new farmer volunteer scheme to work with  dairy farmers there.

From more than 100 applications from Fonterra shareholders, she was one of four selected to spend time at Fonterra’s demonstration and training farm in Pannala, near Colombo. The experience also involved working with local farmers and Fonterra supplier relationship officers and running workshops.

The farm and scheme were part of Fonterra’s Dairy Development programme. It supported the growth of sustainable dairy industries in key markets where Fonterra operated, including Sri Lanka, Indonesia and China, by sharing expertise and working together with local farmers, governments and industry players. . . 

LINZ Minister: We are closely monitoring foreign land sales:

Minister for Land Information NZ, Mark Mitchell, says the process of foreign owners buying New Zealand land is robust and investors have to show how they can benefit our country.
“I don’t accept that there’s a big buy-up of New Zealand land at all,” the Minister said on Q+A this morning.
He said there had been instances where authorities had taken action against a foreign land owner who had failed to meet their obligations under a sale agreement.
“I can’t give you a ballpark figure. All I can say is that there have been breaches and we have acted on them,” Mr Mitchell said.
“I think that the percentage of land that goes into foreign ownership and attracts foreign investment is actually very small, in terms of you know the productive land that we have in New Zealand.” . . 

Few local objections to shipping water overseas – mayor:

Most Westland residents are happy with a proposed commercial water pipeline, mayor Bruce Smith says.

Representatives of Westland District Council and the company Alpine Pure met in Haast yesterday to discuss land consents required for a water pipeline running from Mount Aspiring National Park to Neils Beach, near Jackson Bay.

The water would then be piped to ships and sold overseas.

Some people were concerned about the lack of public consultation about the plan, but mayor Bruce Smith said that despite national public interest, residents living near the proposed pipeline were not raising any objections. . . 

NZ wool market improves at double auction – Tina Morrison

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s wool market picked up at the latest weekly auctions across the North and South islands yesterday.

Compared with the last double auction a fortnight ago, the average price for 30-micron lamb wool rose 25 cents to $4.25 a kilogram, while the average price for 35-micron crossbred wool increased 20 cents to $4.13/kg, according to AgriHQ. Bucking the trend, fine crossbred wool slipped 9 cents to $4.15/kg.  . . 

 

 

 


Rural round-up

November 3, 2015

Advertising executive’s shock speech tackles farmer depression – Rachel Thomas:

The final speech of the day was supposed to be a light-hearted talk about city boys working in the country.

Instead, advertising executive Matt Shirtcliffe stood up in front of a conference of roughly 120 farming and business folk and told them his wife was dead. 

“Depression took her life.” . . 

The presentation is here.

Kathryn Ryan interviewed Matt Shirtcliffe here.

India farmers’ ‘seeds of suicide’: 200-year old story behind a modern tragedy – Aneela Mirchandani :

In 1998, a farmer in Warangal, India killed himself after a failed crop by drinking pesticide. His body was found hours later lying amidst his one-acre crop, which was overrun by worms. This suicide was one of many that were reported on at the time; the incidence was particularly high among cotton farmers. It set off much hand-wringing in the press: how was India failing its farmers?

The stated cause of this farmer’s suicide was debt, and many anti-GMO activists have linked a spate of similar tragedies to the introduction of GMO cotton — although the genetically engineered crop was not introduced into India until 2002. But if one looks deeper, one can see the real cause: modern crops and a modern economy abutted against a rural population that had changed little since the nineteenth century. . . 

“We farm!”  Wait…  What?  (Our cows explained) – Uptown Girl:

“What do you do?”  Sometimes I identify myself with a lengthy description of my career in Ag finance, but often I just leave it at, “We farm!”
 
I also find myself using “We farm” as an explanation as to why I am alone so often at gatherings.  But the more people I talk to, the more I realize that not everyone knows what I mean when I say, “We farm”.  So I am going to explain exactly what “farming” means to my family.
 
Our farm consists of our cows, our sheep, and our row crops.  I will cover each of these over the next few posts, but will start with our cows.
 
One of my favorite parts of our farm is our cattle herd.  We have what is commonly called a “Cow/Calf operation” – meaning we maintain a group of cows who will raise a baby calf each year, and then sell the baby at weaning time.  . . 

New regulations to protect oceans:

New Government regulations to manage the waste and pollution within New Zealand’s vast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) come into effect today, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says. 

“These new regulations cover discharges of pollutants and waste from offshore installations like oil rigs and ships in the six million square kilometres of ocean in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf. They provide clear rules that protect the ocean environment and are the final stage of implementing the Government’s new environmental law covering the ocean,” Dr Smith says.  . . 

Glerups extends wool contract with NZ Merino through 2017 – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Glerups, the Danish woollen slipper maker, has extended its contract with New Zealand woolgrowers to meet increased demand for its product.

The company inked a 2017 contract through the New Zealand Merino Company for 120 tonnes of wool for about $1.5 million, during a visit to New Zealand this week, and expects to return next year to secure a 2018 contract, said Glerups supply chain manager Jesper Glerup Kristensen, the son of the company founder Nanny Glerup. It also extended its 2016 contract by 20 tonnes to 100 tonnes, up from 80 tonnes this year. . . 

Red Meat Sector welcomes decision to negotiate an EU-NZ Free Trade Agreement:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) are delighted that the European Union and New Zealand are set to progress negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement, as announced by Prime Minister John Key in Brussels.

The European Union (EU) is a very significant export market for New Zealand red meat products, worth nearly NZ$1.9 billion for the year ended December 2014. The EU is New Zealand’s largest market by region for sheepmeat exports, and second-largest for chilled beef and wool exports. . . 

Appointment of Independent Director to Fonterra Board:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited announced today the appointment of a new Independent Director Clinton Dines who will take up the Board position made vacant when Sir Ralph Norris steps down at the Annual Meeting on 25 November.

Chairman John Wilson said world-class governance is one of the Board’s top priorities, and the Co-operative needed directors with a broad range of talent and depth of business experience.

“The Board welcomes Mr Dines, an Australian, who has outstanding business and governance credentials. . . .

Fonterra Welcomes Progress towards NZ EU FTA:

Fonterra has welcomed today’s announcement in Brussels that Prime Minister John Key will begin discussions on a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.

“This is an important first step towards a comprehensive and high-quality free trade agreement with the EU. We have free trade agreements with almost all of our other major trading partners, so this really is the missing piece,” said Miles Hurrell, Group Director of Co-operative Affairs. . . 

Wine Industry welcomes prospect of free trade with the EU:

New Zealand Winegrowers welcomes the announcement of a proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between New Zealand and the EU.

Improved access into the EU would be hugely beneficial to industry growth, commented Philip Gregan, New Zealand Winegrowers CEO. ‘An FTA with the EU would be a great outcome for New Zealand’s wine industry. The EU, as a whole, represents our single largest market, with exports totalling over $460 million and representing in excess of 30% of total wine exports. . . 

 


Rural round-up

May 11, 2015

$48m contract signed to expand NOIC scheme – David Bruce:

A $48 million contract has been signed to extend the North Otago irrigation scheme to another 10,000ha, with work to start this month and water expected to be flowing in September next year.

It is the major cost of the expansion, which is expected to total about $57 million once company and design costs are added.

The North Otago Irrigation Company (NOIC) and McConnell Dowell Constructors Ltd signed the infrastructure contract on Thursday after enough farmers had committed to the scheme in December for the expansion to the Kakanui Valley.  .  .

Government invests in Primary Industry Research Centre:

Federated Farmers is pleased to see two of the country’s top research institutes’ second application for Government funding under the CoREs (Centre of Research Excellence) has been successful.

The two institutes, The Riddet Institute (Massey University) and the Bio-Protection Research Centre (Lincoln University) are crucial to New Zealand’s primary industries and have each made significant advances for New Zealand’s economy, society and the environment thanks to previous Government funding.

“I am thrilled that these highly innovative research centres have made it through the selection process and will now be able to continue their crucial work in sustainable pest management solutions and food science and human health,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers President. . .

Carpet wool comes into fashion:

New Zealand strong wool, renowned for its use in carpets, is set to become world famous for a new use – on people’s feet.

Danish footwear firm Glerups has signed a two-year deal with The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) and New Zealand’s largest farming company, Landcorp to exclusively supply strong wool for its indoor shoe range.

The indoor shoes, renowned for comfort, warmth and durability, are felted in 100% pure natural wool with soft leather soles. They are sold throughout Denmark and in more than 20 countries, including New Zealand (www.glerups.co.nz). . .

Climate Change Conversation welcomed:

Federated Farmers welcomes the Government’s public consultation on climate change, ahead of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, in December.

“We live in a global world, where as much as we are a part of its problems we are a part of its solutions,” says Anders Crofoot, Federated Farmers Climate Change Spokesperson.

“It is important that the public are a part of the discussion in setting New Zealand‘s post 2020 climate change target. A critical element to having that discussion is that everyone understands the issues and trade-offs involved in setting our contribution.”

“New Zealand’s economy is driven by exports with 73 percent of our merchandise exports coming from the primary industries, worth $35.2 billion. UN projections have the global population peaking at 11 billion by 2075 and the FAO estimates that agricultural output must increase by 60 percent by 2050 to meet this growth. While New Zealand cannot feed the world we will play our part. It would be irresponsible of us to squander or underutilise our resources.” . . .

Unlocking secrets behind footrot:

New Zealand’s fine wool sector is a step closer to eradicating footrot thanks to ground-breaking research in sheep genetics.

The FeetFirst project, part of a Primary Growth Partnership between the New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) and the Ministry for Primary Industries, is using genetic testing to identify fine-wool sheep with resistance to footrot.  Researchers are now close to developing a simple test for growers to eliminate footrot using selective breeding. . .

Fund helps township with projects

A Waitaki Valley township is cashing in on its history as tourism grows, particularly because of the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail.

Duntroon is undergoing a transformation to re-create its history, with the help of more than $100,000 so far from the Meridian Energy Waitaki Community Fund.

The Duntroon Development Association is leading the work, based on a community vision conceived about 12 years ago, with several projects, including restoration of Nicol’s Forge and a wetland area.

”It’s fantastic what’s been achieved,” association spokesman Mike Gray said yesterday. . .

Adventure & outdoor conference focusing on the future:

Adventure and outdoor tourism operators will have the opportunity to focus on growing their sector at a one-day conference in July, the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) says.

The Great Adventure 2015, the only conference specifically for New Zealand’s adventure and outdoor tourism sector, will take place in Wellington on 2-3 July 2015. Registrations open today at www.tianz.org.nz/main/The_Great_Adventure_2015

Now in its third year, The Great Adventure will focus on growing a strong and unified sector that succeeds and leads at every level from safety to profitability. . .


Rural round-up

May 3, 2015

Westland Milk building $40m plant in Canterbury –

The West Coast’s dairy co-operative is ramping up its Canterbury presence by building a $40 million plant to make long life milk at Rolleston.

Westland Milk Products has begun building the plant in its first venture into retail-ready liquid milk at the Izone industrial park. The long life product known as UHT milk for its ultra high temperature processing usually has a shelf life of six to nine months and is usually used in hot climates.

Commercial production is scheduled to begin early next year and the plant will be capable of packing more than 50 million litres of UHT milk and cream a year. The product will mainly be sold into China’s UHT market, where returns are high and growth prospects are strong. . .

Farmers borrow $60m for environment projects –  Tim Cronshaw:

Farmers are borrowing big money for environmental projects on their farms with one bank alone lending more than $60 million.

The loans are on top of farmers funding waterway fencing and other projects from farm cashflows and savings.

ASB bank has provided low interest loans for more than 500 farm projects through its Rural Environmental Compliance Loan so farmers can fence, plant trees and put in culverts to keep stock away from streams and do other projects such as meeting their environmental compliance obligations by upgrading or building new effluent ponds.

Farmers have taken out an average loan of $105,000 with the bank. . .

Top Farmers Recognised in This Year’s Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

The 2015 Ballance Farm Environment Awards have produced another exceptional line-up of Supreme winners.

Award ceremonies in the ten regions participating in the annual competition have been completed and Supreme Winners from each region will now contest the highly-prized National Winner title.

Simon Saunders, chairman of the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust (NZFE), says the calibre of entrants in this year’s competition was again very high, making it tough for judges to select the finalists let alone the Supreme Winners. . .

New Zealand Merino and Landcorp fashion new market for ‘carpet’ wool:

New Zealand strong wool, renowned for its use in carpets, is set to become world famous for a new use – on people’s feet.

Danish footwear firm Glerups has signed a two-year deal with The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) and New Zealand’s largest farming company, Landcorp to exclusively supply New Zealand strong wool for its indoor shoe range.

The “addictive” indoor shoes, renowned for comfort, warmth and durability, are felted in 100% pure natural wool with soft leather soles. They are sold throughout Denmark and in more than 20 countries, including New Zealand (www.glerups.co.nz). . .

HortNZ taking water concerns to govt:

The national horticulture industry body is taking its concerns about an Environment Court ruling on water quality to the Government as it can not afford to go through legal channels, it says.

Horticulture New Zealand is concerned about the court’s decision to uphold an appeal from Ngati Kahungunu, in Hawke’s Bay, against proposed changes to water quality provisions in the regional plan there.

HortNZ natural resources manager Chris Keenan said the court’s interpretation effectively meant the quality of every single water body must be managed in a way which ensured it was maintained or enhanced.

However, that was unworkable because it could be used to challenge any land development for any purpose. . .

Meat giant playing catch-up on antibiotics:

Plans by a major meat producer to stop using human antibiotics in its chickens means it will be playing catch-up with New Zealand, this country’s industry says.

US-based multinational Tyson Foods – one of the world’s largest meat producers – has announced it will stop using human antibiotics in its US chicken flocks raised for meat.

The company’s chief executive Donnie Smith said the company wanted to take similar steps overseas and in other farming operations.

“We’ve also started talking to independent farmers who supply us with cattle and hogs and turkeys about working towards reducing the use of human antibiotics on those farms as well.” . . .

Gold Kiwifruit Exports to Australia up; Green Consistent – Industry to launch its first marketing campaign in Australia:

The export of New Zealand kiwifruit to Australia has begun and is showing signs of the recovery of GOLD Kiwifruit from Psa.

A hot, dry New Zealand summer will see increased volumes of GOLD exported to Australia, however the volume of GREEN New Zealand kiwifruit is forecast to be similar or lower than last year. 2014 saw 285,000 cartons of GOLD exported to Australia and just over 1.35 million cartons of GREEN.

Tony Ponder, the chairperson of New Zealand’s Kiwifruit Product Group (KPG), the body representing kiwifruit exporters to Australia, says production from New Zealand continues to increase, in line with world-wide demand for New Zealand kiwifruit which has lifted significantly over the last three years. . .

NZ Marine Industry Training Organisation undergoes name change:

Reflecting the developing nature of the New Zealand marine industry, the New Zealand Marine Industry Training Organisation has changed its trading name to the New Zealand Marine and Composites Industry Training Organisation.

At the New Zealand Marine Industry Association AGM in March, members decided that a change in the industry training organisation’s name was the best way to reflect its diversified purpose, Since 2007, the ITO has trained skilled members not only for the marine sector, but the composites sector also. . .

 


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