Rural round-up

January 4, 2018

Wanaka fire will take days to put out – Sam Nugent:

Wanaka residents woke to see the fire on Roys Peak had reignited on two separate fronts overnight.

Since first light eight helicopters with monsoon buckets have been attacking the fire.

Fire crews from Wanaka, Hawea, Luggate, Dunstan and Arrowtown have been working overnight to protect homes on the outskirts of Wanaka from a blaze which authorities say could take at least two days to put out.

Around 3am, after the fire flared up again late yesterday evening, crews and police were preparing to evacuate about 30 homes as well as the occupants of the Wanaka Kiwi Holiday Park as a precaution due to a wind shift.

However, conditions had changed again and as at 4.30am the fire was not currently burning towards houses. . . 

Fed Farmers urge govt to reconsider irrigation loans – Conan Young:

The new government is being urged not to follow through on its promise to cancel any new loans to irrigation schemes.

Its predecessor pledged $400 million from the sale of state assets towards helping schemes get off the ground as a way to boost economic growth, but all of that was about to end.

Picking up on discontent among voters over declining water quality, Labour campaigned on a water levy on farmers using irrigation and promised to wind up Crown Irrigation Investments, the company that was formed to provide bridging finance to irrigation schemes. . .

Fonterra lowers NZ milk collection forecast for this season on dry weather – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group expects to collect 3 percent less milk from its New Zealand suppliers this season than it did in the prior season as dry weather stunts grass growth and lowers milk production.

Auckland-based Fonterra revised its forecast for its New Zealand milk collection for the current 2017/18 season to 1,480 million kilograms of milk solids, down 3 percent from the 1,525 million kgMS it collected in the 2016/17 season, it said. In December it had forecast milk collection would be in line with the previous season. . . 

Rabobank Analysis – GDT Event 203:

Commentary
A mixed result in the commodity bag overnight; but generally a positive auction for New Zealand farmers with the average price index at the GDT auction for up 2.2%. Importantly, the WMP index was up 4.2% taking it to its highest level since October 2017. A total 25,400t of product was sold.

As many of you would be aware, Fonterra has revised its milk intake for the 2017/18 season twice in the past few weeks. Right now Fonterra are predicting milk intake of 1,480 million kgMS – which is down 4% on the 2016/2017 season. The risk of drought flagged in the latest GDQ has clearly come into play. . . 

The hidden powers of a sheep – Judith D. Schwartz:

While the fashion industry continues to produce more and more clothes made from synthetics, we’ve ignored the wonders of wool. Not only is wool unusually cozy and durable, but its creators (the sheep) can also help regenerate the world’s drying, fire-prone landscapes. The good news: a wool revival seems to be underway.

In the early nineteenth century, 70 percent of the forests in my home state of Vermont were cleared, primarily for sheep farming. Vermont’s “merino mania” had begun just a few years earlier, in 1809, when William Jarvis, U.S. Consul to Portugal under Thomas Jefferson, took advantage of Spain’s turmoil under Napoleon’s invasion to import 200 of Spain’s prized Royal Escorial flock. It turned out that our rocky soil and hilly terrain suited sheep farming just fine; Jarvis soon smuggled in more and more Spanish sheep, and, for a time, Vermont became the center of the American wool trade.

At its peak, in 1840, the industry supported more than 100,000 sheep in the town of Bennington, where I live. Our own property was reportedly once a sheep farm. We still have sections of stone wall that marked the pasture boundary. Today there’s barely a handful of small sheep farms left in the county. So, too, with the wool industry at large. Across the country, wool mills—once an American mainstay—have all but disappeared. . . 

Dairies are awash in organic milk as consumers flock to alternatives – Heather Haddon & Benjamin Parkin:

Organic milk sales have cooled as the very shoppers who drove demand for the specialty product not long ago move on to newer alternatives, leaving dairy sellers and producers grappling with oversupply.

A yearslong surge in demand prompted food companies and dairy farmers to invest in organic production, which requires eschewing pesticides and antibiotics and allowing cows to graze freely. Now organic milk supplies have ballooned just as demand has stalled. Many shoppers have moved on to substitutes such as almond “milk” . . .


Rural round-up

December 2, 2017

Depression and anxiety a sickness not a weakness – Marc Gascoigne:

I don’t know anyone in my circle of friends and family who has been killed in a car accident. Or on a quad bike, or by drowning, or in a work accident, or any other sudden accidental death.

Except for suicide. In the last few years I have lost three close friends or family to suicide, the latest being my nephew on January 10.

Almost everyone I have talked to since then has said the same thing to me. . . 

Milking marvels: sheep one side of the shed, cows the other – Kate Taylor:

Belief in how they do things and the values their family hold are the prime drivers behind Sentry Hill Organics. Kate Taylor visited Tom and PJ White to find out more about how they do things their way.

There’s a lot of laughter at the White family home in Ashley Clinton – much of it aimed at themselves.

“We just do things differently,” Phillippa White says, who is known locally as PJ.

“Yep, we’re definitely not followers,” adds her husband Tom.

“We’re not leaders either though,” interrupts PJ, with a shake of her head. . .

Final plea for water intake – Annette Scott:

The final plea is out to farmers and investors to ensure a South Canterbury irrigation project can proceed.

Without the minimum uptake the proposers of the $110 million Hunter Downs irrigation scheme have indicated they would be forced to pull the plug.

The project, which had been 12 years in the making, was 10% short of the minimum uptake needed to proceed.

“We are making a final appeal to farmers and other key stakeholders to invest in this project,” Hunter Downs Water chairman Andrew Fraser said. . .

Dairy auction prices expected to lift on looming threat of drought – Tina Morrison:

(Business Desk) Prices on the GlobalDairyTrade auction may lift next week, snapping four consecutive declines, as the increased threat of drought in New Zealand weighs on expectations for Fonterra Cooperative Group’s milk production.

The NZX whole milk powder futures contracts for December last traded at US$2,840 a tonne, 3.7 per cent ahead of the equivalent contract at the last GlobalDairyTrade auction on November 21, signalling traders expect the price to rise at the next GDT auction overnight on December 5.

Longer-dated whole milk powder futures contracts are also signalling an increase, as are futures contracts for skim milk powder, while futures for butter and anhydrous milk fat point to declines. . .

Auckland’s future: vertical farming? – Adriana Weber:

Farming in high-rise buildings, warehouses or shipping containers could benefit a rapidly expanding Auckland, an expert in sustainability says.

Some farmers and industry groups, including Horticulture New Zealand, are worried productive land is increasingly being swallowed up by growing towns and cities.

The problem is especially evident in Auckland, the country’s fastest growing region, and in its southern vegetable growing towns like Pukekohe.

New York-based sustainability strategist Henry Gordon-Smith said Auckland should look into merging city and farm. . . 


Rural round-up

November 27, 2017

More business courses for rural women planned:

Business development programmes for women involved in sheep and beef farming are expanding to new locations next year.
The Agri-Women’s Development Trust runs the programmes with funding from the Red Meat Profit Partnership with the aim of lifting the sector’s performance and profitability.

Oamaru and Fairlie will be the first of 32 rural centres to host the programmes in early February.

They comprise ”Understanding Your Farm Business”, which has had 780 graduates since it began in 2014, and ”Wahine Maia Wahine Whenua” for women who are trustees, managers or partners in Maori sheep and beef farming businesses. . .

Cool winter boosts currants – Alexia Johnston:

A cold, wet winter is paying off for at least one South Canterbury berry grower.

ViBERi owner manager Tony Howey said the chill of last winter had provided a welcome boost to his crops of blackcurrants and redcurrants.

Moisture in the cooler months had also helped, he said.

”It was really good for the berries … and for some cereal crops as well.”

Cool temperatures in October, with some mornings near-freezing, were almost too cold, but the crops survived well. . . 

Demand for mini apples drives orchard investment:

Feilding rural investment company, MyFarm is chasing $13 million for the lease and development of four apple orchards in Hawke’s Bay.

The investment group will grow the niche export apple brand Rockit, which is a mini-apple under licence by Rockit Global.

One of the Rockit Global’s challenges has been growing enough apples to meet global demand despite production lifting 40 per cent on last year. . .

Lower Fonterra milk price seems likely – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra might reduce its farmgate milk price forecast by 25c to 50c/kg as early as this week after the fourth consecutive fall in world dairy prices on the fortnightly Global Dairy Trade auction platform.

Global prices fell 10% over the past two months since Fonterra reaffirmed its $6.75/kg forecast at the time of its annual results presentation.

After the latest 3.4% GDT index fall market analysts have found some unanimity with forecasts of $6.25-$6.50, along with predictions Fonterra would have to downgrade sooner rather than later. . .

Van der Poel elected new DairyNZ chair:

Waikato dairy farmer Jim van der Poel has been elected the new chairman of industry good body, DairyNZ. He replaces Michael Spaans, who passed away earlier this week.

Jim says Michael was a skilled, dedicated and passionate chair for DairyNZ and he plans to continue the vision established for DairyNZ and dairy farmers.

“While I step into this position under sad circumstances, as a board we will continue Michael’s good work – his influence will continue as we develop plans for the future of our industry.” . . 


Rural round-up

October 8, 2017

Story of Hakataramea farrmer and his sausage dog subject of new children’s book – Jody O’Callaghan:

The instant bond between a South Canterbury farmer and his vertically-challenged sausage dog is the stuff legends are made of.

An unlikely friendship formed the day miniature dachshund Poppy was handed to Hakataramea farmer James Hayman. It has become the subject of children’s book Bob n Pops, their nicknames.

Author Harriet Bremner, Hayman’s partner, has released the book nine months after the 27-year-old was killed in a farm accident in January. . . 

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Irish love their farmers why don’t kiwis? – Peter Burke:

During the election campaign NZ farmers – and the rural community in general – came under attack from politicians and the public, and felt they were being demonised.

This is in sharp contrast to what’s happening 20,000km away in Ireland, where the people are proud of what their farmers do. Peter Burke reports.

In Ireland the public are proud of what their farmers are doing, says Padraig Brennan, director of markets for Origin Green. . . 

Run by Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board), Origin Green is a highly successful quality assurance programme that most of Ireland’s dairy farmers have signed up to; o have the nation’s major food and drink manufacturers, some beef farmers and even major retail outlets such as McDonalds restaurant chain. . .

Poo is powering a Southland dairy shed – Sonita Chandar:

Poos and wees are heating and lighting up a cowshed in Southland.

In what could only be described as an environmental game-changer, Glenarlea Farm, one of Fortuna Group’s farms in Southland, is converting effluent methane into electricity.

Dairy Green agricultural and engineering consultant John Scandrett says the new system has been 13 years in the making and is now generating enough electricity to power the cowshed and heat the shed hot water. . . 

Reducing nutrient losses wins dairy science award:

Investing in cutting edge science paid off for the Pastoral 21 (P21) research team from DairyNZ and AgResearch at the 2017 Kudos Science Excellence Awards.

The P21 team won the Agricultural Science Award for the research, being applied on commercial farms across the country, that has helped increase productivity while lowering the environmental footprint through the reduction of nutrient losses.

The research has led to 30-40 percent reductions in nitrate losses on farm.

Small changes have led to big environmental gains, says DairyNZ principle scientist Dr David Chapman. . . 

Polish Dairy to join Fonterra’s Global Dairy Trade platform from Nov 21 – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Polish Dairy, the fifth largest producer of milk in the European Union, will join Fonterra Cooperative Group’s Global Dairy Trade platform from Nov 21, initially offering skim milk powder, whole milk powder, butter and lactose on the platform.

“Central Europe has become an increasingly important dairy region. The addition of a seller from Poland is evidence of the emerging strength of that nation’s dairy sector, and will be welcomed by our network of over 500 registered GDT Events buyers,” said Eric Hansen, director of Global Dairy Trade in a press release. The platform, which has moved more than US$20 billion in dairy products since it launched in 2008, is looking to broaden its offering to meet customer needs. . . 


Rural round-up

September 29, 2017

NZ beef prices drop marginally lower with further downward pressure expected – industry report:

A strong New Zealand dollar and declining US imported beef prices have seen New Zealand beef prices drop marginally lower over the past quarter. And further downward pressure on beef prices is expected as the year progresses, with increased Japanese tariffs on frozen beef imports creating additional headwinds for Kiwi exporters, according to Rabobank’s latest Beef Quarterly report. . .

Synlait Receives CFDA Registration of the A2 Milk Company’s Infant Formula:

Synlait has received registration which will allow exports of The a2 Milk Company Limited’s China label infant formula to China to continue.

All manufacturers of infant formula are required to register brands and recipes with the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) in order to import products into China, through traditional import channels, from 1 January 2018. . .

GlobalDairyTrade beefs up offering with multi-seller pools of US lactose products – Rebecca Howard

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group’s GlobalDairyTrade platform, which has moved more than US$20 billion in dairy products since it launched in 2008, is looking to broaden its offering to meet customer needs.

“We are continually innovating and always looking for these expansion ideas,” Eric Hansen, director of GlobalDairyTrade, told BusinessDesk. . .

Science And Innovation Key to Farming’s Future, Says Dairynz Candidate:

Sustainability and scientific innovation is high on the agenda of Waikato dairy farmer Grant Coombes.

As a candidate for the DairyNZ Board of Directors, Coombes says it’s time for farmers to embrace new technology and innovation as a way forward, to tackle issues such as environmental sustainability. . .

App to Combat Kauri Dieback Disease – an Environmental Game-changer:

There is a game-changing tool on the way in the war against kauri dieback disease which is having a devastating effect on New Zealand’s native forests.

Thanks to the 2016 WWF-New Zealand Conservation Innovation Awards, sustainable land management group Groundtruth is developing a Stop Kauri Dieback app that will support community engagement and management of kauri dieback. The fungus-like disease with no known cure is killing kauri forests in Northland, and kauri could become extinct in some locations without urgent action. . .

Growers of NZ goes live on Instagram:

Global interest in the story behind healthy, fresh food has inspired Horticulture New Zealand to start an Instagram page where people can better get to know the fruit and vegetable growers of New Zealand, Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says.

Growers of New Zealand (@growersofnz) went live yesterday and already has sparked interest from New Zealand and around the world. Each week a grower will be profiled at work, and the seasonal crop they have been working with will be highlighted in a recipe. . .

Hangawera Station Hereford bull sale ready for auction:

Tainui Group Holding’s annual Hangawera Station Hereford sale is set to go with over 180 pure-bred, vaccinated and tested bulls being auctioned on Monday 2nd October.

TGH’s Primary Industries Manager Mark Jackways says they expect a solid auction turnout, much like previous years, given strong market demand for quality bulls, as dairy herds re-stock after a tight couple of years. . .


Rural round-up

September 9, 2017

Alliance Group beefing up facilities to meet demand for blood products –  Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Alliance Group will invest $1.7 million in two plants in order to meet growing demand for New Zealand-sourced blood products.

In Pukeuri in Oamaru it will build a new facility created to help boost the recovery of blood-based products for sale to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries, the cooperative said in a statement. The meat processor will also improve the recovery of offal and upgrade the pet food area, it said. . . 

Kelso farmers raising bobby calves for beef – Nicole Sharp:

Kelso dairy farmers Ken and Bruce Eade have been rearing their bobby calves for the beef industry for the past three years.

The father-and-son duo farm 270ha with their wives, Nancy and Tanya, in West Otago and after they bought their heifer block, down from the main farm, they decided it made economic sense to hang on to the bobby calves, they said.

Bobby calves being kept back for beef

”We thought we might as well run some bull-beef there too,” Bruce said. . . 

New environmental focus for irrigation funding:

A change to the constitution of Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (CIIL) will allow it to fund water storage projects with direct environmental and economic benefits, rather than on the basis of purely economic grounds, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

“This is an important change to CIIL’s mandate which recognises and reinforces how important water storage and distribution projects are to the environment,” says Mr Guy.

“The current rules limit CIIL’s purpose to considering the long-term economic benefits from projects that it invests in, but it makes sense to broaden the scope given the wider benefits of these projects. It will now be able to provide concessionary loans to local authorities for projects that directly lead to environmental benefits.”

The change was originally requested by CIIL and has now been formally approved by Cabinet. . . 

Irrigation changes needed to deliver prosperous and resilient rural areas:

“The change to the constitution of Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (CIIL) to allow it to fund water storage projects that directly lead to environmental benefits is a very positive step and should be extended to recognise resilience and social benefits as well,” says Infrastructure New Zealand’s Chief Executive Stephen Selwood.

“To date, existing rules guiding the government’s irrigation investment arm have placed a too narrow focus on direct economic benefits.

“This has resulted in disproportionate emphasis on maximising land use productivity and insufficient recognition of wider economic, social and environmental benefits. . . 

Agrichemical recovery scheme gains extended Government recognition:

A nationwide programme to recycle agricultural plastics and dispose of agrichemicals has had its status as a ‘product stewardship scheme’ extended by the Government, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today

Mr Simpson met with representatives of Agrecovery to formally reaccredit them for another seven years as a product stewardship scheme under the Waste Minimisation Act.

Agrecovery collects unwanted chemical drums and containers from agricultural brand owners throughout New Zealand. The scheme is widely supported by farmers, growers, local government and agrichemical and dairy hygiene companies. . . 

Bright Future for Sustainable Forestry in NZ

A young New Zealander Alfred Duval has been launched onto the world stage. Celebrated for his outstanding achievements as an emerging leader in sustainable forestry.

Duval was awarded the inaugural Prince of Wales Award for Sustainable Forestry in Rotorua on Tuesday 5th September at the NZ Institute of Forestry’s annual awards ceremony.

The new prize was set up earlier this year, to reward and encourage a young New Zealand forestry professional working in the vital area of sustainable forest management. Similar initiatives have been established in Australia and Canada. . . 

Fonterra’s GlobalDairyTrade investigates European tie-up – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group’s online auction platform GlobalDairyTrade is looking at a tie-up with the European Energy Exchange to extend the dairy offering available in the region.

The two operators have signed a letter of intent to investigate whether they should set up a joint venture establishing and operating an auction mechanism for dairy products originating in Europe, they said in a statement. The companies will talk to buyers and sellers about joint price discovery through an auction designed for Europe. . . 


Rural round-up

September 7, 2017

The leap from farming to cheese:

The Berry family’s journey from farming to specialty cheese began in 1987.

Such a leap was triggered by a huge upheaval in our rural communities. In 1984 all farming subsidies were removed, product prices halved and interest rates ballooned to 23-24%.

When Rob Muldoon was voted out Roger Douglas and Labour inherited a broken economy. ‘Rogernomics’ and the ‘free economy’ were born, which crippled our rural communities resulting in many farmers leaving the land and numerous farmer suicides.

In our case, North Otago had the added challenge of crippling droughts. We had a pretty large farming operation, which included a high country run and two down land properties. I decided the former could stay as it was, while the down country farms would be used for cropping and stock trading. . . 

A very good move – Pam Tipa:

Any initiative that helps train health professionals ready and willing to work in rural communities is good, says Michelle Thompson, chief executive of Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ).

The Government announced last week a plan to establish a school of rural medicine within the next three years to train doctors for rural and regional areas.

Two proposals are now before the Government: one from the University of Waikato and the Waikato DHB, the other a joint proposal by the Otago and Auckland medical schools. . .

Rural-community-fights-for-cell-phone-and-internet-connection – Kate Taylor:

As the traveller turns off State Highway 2 at Oringi, south of Dannevirke, the cellphone coverage hovers around three or four bars. Further down the road they start to disappear and have gone completely 10 minutes later when the Manawatu River bridge is crossed and the road winds towards Kumeroa.

This isn’t unusual for thousands of rural roads around the country. Farmers all over New Zealand put up with landlines reminiscent of the 1980s and satellite broadband costing a small fortune. . .

Becoming Kiwi: A Filipino with a passion for farming – Deena Coster:

For Joseph Domingo, Taranaki has given him the chance to live his dream.

Born and raised in the Philippines, Domingo made the difficult decision to leave his homeland shortly after he completed his tertiary education in animal science.

It was a choice driven by economics and a desire for seek out new opportunities.  

Domingo said competition for jobs in the Philippines is fierce and a university education doesn’t guarantee work in a country with a population of 103 million people. Only about 60 per cent of tertiary educated people get work there, he said.

“The best opportunity for me and my family was to move overseas.” . . 

‘Justifiable milk price increase must be passed back to farmers’ – Sylvester Phelan:

Yesterday’s GDT (Global Dairy Trade) auction has again demonstrated the continuing strength of butterfat prices, with the butter price up 3.8% and AMF (Anhydrous Milk Fat) up 3.6%, according to the IFA’s (Irish Farmers’ Association’s) National Dairy Committee Chairman, Sean O’Leary.

Taken together with continued strong European market return trends, it is clear that a price increase on August milk of at least 1c/L is fully justified, the chairman stated. . . 

Nursery’s charitable trust thrilled with Ballance Farm Environment Awards involvement

Just to be a finalist was an absolute thrill for Gary and Adrienne Dalton and the Te Whangai Trust in this year’s Auckland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Winning the region’s Hill Laboratories Harvest Award made it even sweeter, Gary says. . .

Why my husband is head of the family – Louise Giltrap:

After being called sexist, Louise Giltrap feels the need to explain what she really feels about her husband’s place in the family.

 My last column about how women cope with stress struck a chord with a lot of people. Rural women out on the farm everyday especially identified with it.

Men read it and said it was like having a penny drop for them. Their wives had been telling them, but all of a sudden it made sense.

The bit some people got up in my grille about was what I said to the men out there, “You are the heads of our families.”

That’s just my opinion. Even though I’m headstrong and opinionated and have my roles within our agribusiness, Geoff is the head of our family. . . 


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