Rural round-up

April 5, 2017

Kiwi lamb supply helps UK farmers – Colin Ley:

A significant drop in New Zealand lamb exports to the United Kingdom this year has been noted by Scottish farm economist Stuart Ashworth as a key factor in a recent improvement in lamb values on the British market.  

“NZ data suggests that their lamb kill in the run-up to the key Easter period has been lower than last year and exports to the UK and Europe have been running significantly below last year’s levels,” Ashworth said during a press briefing in Edinburgh that focused on how Scotland’s livestock farmers might fare over the next two years of Brexit negotiations.  

While he believed it would be “pretty much business as usual” for the UK’s overseas meat trade in general, he agreed British sheep prices, since the turn of the year, had been at their lowest level for four years. . . 

Impressive line-up for Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year 2017:

Three of New Zealand’s emerging dairy industry leaders are finalists in the sixth annual Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year.

They are Claire Nicholson from Bay of Plenty, Jessie Chan-Dorman from Canterbury and Jolene Germann from Southland.

Claire Nicholson (Ngāti Ruanui) is a Director of Paraninihi Ki Waitotara (PKW) and Chief Executive of Sirona Animal Health, Jessie Chan-Dorman is a Fonterra Shareholders Councillor and a Director of the Ashburton Trading Society, and Jolene Germann is an Agribusiness Consultants dairy consultant and Chair of Rural Business Network Southland.

One of them will receive the coveted Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year title at an awards evening during the annual Dairy Women’s Network conference, this year held in Queenstown, 11-12 May. . . .

Poaching reward no April Fools’ joke – Grant Shimmin:

A Timaru businessman who last week offered a substantial reward in connection with the alleged poaching of rare white tahr has stressed it was not an April Fool’s gag.

Neville Cunningham announced on Friday he was putting up a reward of $25,000 for information leading to a successful prosecution for the poaching of animals on a leased conservation block in the Mackenzie Basin. He asked people with information to contact him directly.

He and business partner Ray Harrington are trying to obtain resource consent for a conservation attraction, where visitors will be able to photograph New Zealand game animals, on the 100-hectare Twizel block. . . 

Pieces of Clydesdale history go under auction hammer in Pirongia – Cailtin Morrby:

It will be an emotional moment for Nick and Jill van der Sande when the auction hammer falls on their original DB Clydesdale wagon.

A selection of heavy and light horse wagons, carriages and gigs will be up for auction at Pirongia Clydesdales at 10.30am on Saturday.

The van der Sande family has owned the Waikato attraction since 1999 and are ready to take a step back. . . 

Dozens of Wisconsin farmers lose their milk contracts – Anna-Lisa Laca:

Imagine walking to the mailbox on a Monday only to find a note from your processor that in one month they will no longer be picking up your milk. That’s what happened to several Grasslands producers in Southern Wisconsin this week.

Grasslands handles the majority of cream sold in Wisconsin. The generic, unsigned letter producers received cited issues selling product to Canada as the reason for their decision to cut ties with some of their producer suppliers, but some producers aren’t buying it. For the approximately 75 producers reportedly being dropped, distance from the milk plant appears to be a factor in determining to kill their contracts.

At press time, Grasslands had not responded to a request for comments. . . 

Primary sector exports continue to grow:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is welcoming new figures forecasting that primary sector exports will reach $37.5 billion for the year ending June 2017, up $0.8 billion from the previous December forecast.

“This is the first time the Ministry for Primary Industries has produced a quarterly update of its Situation Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI) which will give us a more accurate picture during the year,” says Mr Guy.

“Next year overall primary sector exports are expected to grow by 9.7% to $41 billion. It shows we have a strong and diversified primary sector with sectors like forestry and horticulture continuing to do well. It’s also pleasing to see dairy on the rebound after a tough few seasons. . . 

A Man for All Seasons:

Allan Fong, the Pukekohoe market gardener and face of The Fresh Grower, who’s introduced New Zealanders to an exciting menu of versatile and flavourful vegetables, has been recognised as an outstanding leader and innovator winning a prestigious Australasian agribusiness award for all-round excellence.

“Our seasonal selections reinvent familiar veges but with a fresh take and grown to fit the current generation’s values, lifestyles and tastes for natural, convenient, whole foods that are safe and delicious to eat,” says Allan, who runs The Fresh Grower with brother Colin. “We take what are niche or exotic products like baby cos and fancy lettuces or slender broccoli stems and make them readily accessible, mainstream lines that add variety and versatility to every day meals.” . . 

 

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If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying until you’re really screwed.

Dairy farm with options placed on the market for sale:

An easy-to-manage dairy farm near the Waikato township of Pipiroa has been placed on the market for sale.

The 59 hectare flat and fertile property is made up of 14 individual land titles of varying sizes. The farm milks 144 fresian and fresian-cross cows – producing 52,101 kilograms of milk solids last season with a contract to Open Country Dairy – and is located at 1460 State highway 25, Pipiroa beside the banks of the Piako River.

The property’s 47 paddocks are separated with a mix of one and two-wire electric fencing – with a loop race ensuring ease of both stock and farm machinery movement across the land. The farm water source is from a quality council-supplied water line. Bought-in feed has been up to 150 bales of silage over the past two summers to supplement the chicory grown on-site. . . 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand resolutions pass:

Farmers have supported the three resolutions made at the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Annual Meeting on 30 March 2017.

They related to changes to the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Constitution, changing the directors’ fees pool and appointing an auditor.

The official results from Electionz.com who conducted the vote on behalf of Beef + Lamb New Zealand are:- . . 

Vodafone, Spark and 2degrees submit joint proposal to enhance broadband and mobile services for rural communities:

Vodafone, Spark and 2degrees today announced a joint proposal to improve rural broadband and mobile infrastructure. The three telecommunications providers have made a submission to the Government for the delivery of high speed broadband and mobile infrastructure using the Rural Broadband Initiative Extension (RBI2) and Mobile Black Spot Fund.

If successful, the bid would see Vodafone, Spark and 2degrees invest hundreds of millions of dollars over the life of the project, including a capital contribution of $75m to establish the infrastructure. The investment package also includes the contribution of spectrum, ongoing operating expenditure and other resources required to deliver and run this significant infrastructure deployment programme. This more than matches the Government’s own contribution of $150m, via the Telecommunications Development Levy (TDL). . . 


Rural round-up

March 6, 2014

MIE seek funds from Beef + Lamb – Allan Barber:

MIE Chairman John McCarthy put out a press release on Tuesday pressing Beef + Lamb NZ to put its weight behind the remit to the AGM in March which asks “that Beef + Lamb New Zealand provide funding support to the Meat Industry Excellence Group to secure red meat sector reform.”

This maintains the pressure of a campaign waged by MIE for some months now, but I get the impression the sector reform group is no closer to stating how it intends to achieve the reform it wants. The press release says an estimated $200,000 is needed next year to “meet expenses for travel, meetings and other activities associated with driving the reform process.”

The stated justification is B+LNZ has no mandate beyond the farm gate, whereas MIE has ‘runs on the board’ with the successful election of directors to the boards of Alliance and Silver Fern Farms. MIE’s focus is now on processing and marketing issues in the sector.  . .

Sheep farmers pushing for retention of Invermay – Allan Barber:

A group of southern sheep breeders and sheep and deer farmers is strongly lobbying the government to attend a meeting in Gore to be held next Wednesday 12th March. The meeting, to be chaired by past chairman of Beef + Lamb NZ Jeff Grant, will be the first time AgResearch has fronted up to breeders and farmers to talk to them about the planned transfer of research scientists from Invermay to Lincoln.

The purpose of the meeting with AgResearch Board and Management is to hear them outline the proposed shift to Lincoln and the residual science to be retained at Invermay, and for AgResearch to hear the views of their stakeholders. . .

Brown fat ‘key’ to lamb survival:

AgResearch scientists are investigating a special type of fat that new-born lambs use to generate heat and which has a bearing on survival rates.

A research physiologist at the Grasslands campus in Palmerston North, Sue McCoard, says they’ve found that giving nutritional supplements to ewes during pregnancy can boost the amount of brown fat in lambs.

She says that could hold the key to whether lambs, especially twins or triplets, survive cold weather. . .

Waikato farmers desperate for rain

Waikato farmers are praying for rain amid fears of another drought.

Some rivers and streams are running at near record lows for this time of the year and soil is drying out.

Waikato Regional Council’s Chris McLay says the problem is widespread. . . .

Ballance invests in future science talent:

Five university students studying towards a degree in New Zealand’s vibrant primary industry have been awarded Ballance Agri-Nutrients scholarships.

Each scholarship is worth $4000 a year and can be held for a maximum of three years. Scholarships are open to family members of Ballance shareholders or shareholders of an entity (and beneficiaries of that shareholding) with shares in Ballance, as well as family members of company employees.

Warwick Catto, Research and Development Manager at Ballance Agri-Nutrients, says the calibre of this year’s applicants were again of a very high standard and shows that the industry’s future is in safe hands. . .

Farmers Mill Leading the Way With 100% NZ Flour and Innovative Baking Supplies:

A state-of-the-art, brand new mill is the reason Farmers Mill Flour is providing bakers throughout the country with uniquely customised, fully traceable flour and baking supplies.

Farmers Mill, based in Timaru, boasts new milling equipment which has been designed to mill New Zealand wheat to an exceptionally high standard and produces premium biscuit, all-purpose baking, cake, pastry and bread flours to unique, high end specifications.

Since its opening in June last year, the business has grown substantially to become a leading producer for the New Zealand baking industry supplying to iconic brands such as Griffins Foods, Couplands Bakeries, French Bakery and Baker Boys. Examples of key retail outlets using Farmers Mill flour for artisan breads and pastry based products include Little and Friday in Auckland and Rangiora Bakery in Canterbury. . . .

Local Baby Formula Maker NuZtri joins Infant Nutrition Council:

Locally owned Best Health Products Limited producers of NuZtri Premium Formula and fortified Milk Powder products announced today it has been accepted into the Infant Nutrition Council of Australia and New Zealand (INC). On the 20th February this year, Jan Carey, CEO of the Infant Nutrition Council visited the Best Health Limited’s Head Office and RMP facility (Risk Management Program) in Christchurch to view the operation and sign the agreement.

“After successfully completing INC’s assessment we are truly delighted to be approved as an associated member of this prestigious Infant Nutrition Organisation”, said Craig Calder General Manager of NuZtri. . .

 


Rural round-up

August 25, 2013

Rabo back US dairy as Fonterra reveals milk hitch – Agrimoney:

Rabobank highlighted the potential for the US to grow dairy exports as New Zealand-based Fonterra. investigating the botulism scare which prompted product recalls, revealed a milk powder withdrawal.

Tim Hunt, US-based global dairy strategist at Rabobank, said that the US “could emerge as a significant competitor” in dairy exports, thanks to a slowdown in domestic demand at a time of elevated international prices.

Already prices of some US dairy exports are showing significant growth, with milk powder exports rising from some 300,000 tonnes in 2007 to 500,000 tonnes last year, and cheese shipments rising from 100,000 to 250,000 tonnes over the same period. . .

Kiwi-run Chinese dairy farm far cry from home

As Fonterra works to rebuild its reputation in China, it will face competition from other dairy companies trying to grow their share of the market.

One is popular brand Wondermilk, which is produced by a Taiwanese-American company, but the farm manager is a Kiwi.

An hour’s drive northeast of Beijing, past scenes of dramatic urban development, is a small piece of modern agricultural China. And New Zealander Berwick Settle leads us to “Red Star”, the newest of three facilities he manages for Hua Xia Dairy Farm. . .

Restructure losses may be huge – Annette Scott:

The loss of experience and knowledge to the agricultural industry could be huge under the proposed AgResearch restructure, agribusiness professor Jacqueline Rowarth says.

AgResearch announced this month 180 jobs at Ruakura and 85 from AgResearch’s Invermay site near Dunedin would be lost to its Lincoln campus in a $100 million proposal to create large campuses at Grasslands, in Palmerston North, and at Lincoln.

“History tells us globally that only 10% (of scientists) will go (to the new site) and that’s a huge loss of capability,” Rowarth said.

“When Wallaceville in Upper Hutt and Hurley Pasture Research Centre in the UK closed, 90% of people, for a variety of reasons, did not relocate. . .

Biofuels plants key to UK wheat price outlook – Agrimoney:

Success in efforts to bring two major biofuel plants onstream may have an undue impact on UK wheat values, in determining the level of supplies needed to be priced to compete on export markets.

Wheat futures for November touched £151.00 a tonne in London last week, the lowest for a spot contract in 19 months, in a slump attributed to growing harvest hopes leaving the country with hefty supplies to sell abroad.

Harvest estimates, some of which fell below 11.5m tonnes after a cold spring followed an unusually wet autumn and winter, have risen substantially after early harvest results showed far better yields than had been expected. . .

Forests to help create fresh air:

A Hawke’s Bay couple have just launched a Fresh Air Forests service to let people like travellers, businesses and landowners measure and counteract the effects of transport, travel and accommodation.

People taking part buy trees to create native forests.

Fresh Air Forests has growing sites at Lake Waikopiro and on Mount Kahuranaki on retired and protected land in Hawke’s Bay for generations ahead to enjoy.

“We are serious about making a difference, now and in the future so the idea of pledging trees to create a native forest made a lot of sense,” director Colin Pirie, who runs the venture with wife Wendy, said. . .

Their website is www.freshairforests.co.nz.

Farm tree planting together is fun – Pasture to Profit:
Planting farm trees is best when you plant with community friends. I had a great day tree planting in a wetland area on farm with 30 new friends. It was really fun! So much fun that I will continue to invite the community rather than using contractors.
 
The environment and protecting the quality of our rivers & streams is a community responsibility. Farms need to engage their local communities in helping to plant trees,  Trees that are aesthetically beautiful, trees that are ECO-Sourced, trees for bees, trees that reduce N leaching. . .

Rural round-up

August 17, 2013

Chinese Kiwis defend NZ brand:

An analysis of social media in New Zealand and China has found an emerging group of Chinese residents in New Zealand and others with close ties to China, vigorously defending New Zealand’s brand in the wake of Fonterra’s whey protein contamination crisis.

The analysis was carried out by Dr Hongzhi Gao, a senior lecturer at Victoria Business School and senior research fellow of the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre; Vallen Han, Asia marketing director of New Zealand Post; and Simon Young, chief executive of syENGAGE, a social media consulting firm. . .

Two Fonterra managers sent on leave in botulism probe:

Fonterra has placed two of its senior managers on leave as it continues its internal investigation into the whey protein botulism scare.

Fonterra chief executive officer Theo Spierings says the company is moving quickly and establishing key facts and as they emerge they are taking appropriate action.

He says placing two people on leave does not pre-empt the findings of the review and they will continue to be involved in the ongoing investigation.

The review will be finished by the end of the month. . .

Beware sleeping US dairy giant – expert – Hugh Stringleman:

The giant United States dairy industry is re-gearing for exporting and may rival soon the influence of New Zealand in world dairy trade.

Rabobank International global strategist dairy Tim Hunt gave that message to dairy audiences throughout NZ last week.

An Australian economist, Hunt is based in New York and has a special interest in the contrasts between Oceania and North American dairying.

His prepared notes were called “Arise the Hunter, the reorientation of the US dairy industry and implications for NZ”. . .

Economy-wide lessons as white gold loses its shine – Eye 2 the Long Run:

It is critical to understand that the issues for the NZ economy arising from the current Fonterra debacle  (as opposed to dairy farmers and Fonterra directors and managers) is assuredly not a “public relations” issue or one of “reputational management”. The best PR firm in the world cannot resolve such issues through spin – nor should it try.

Calling for better “PR” is simply a form of denial.

Key problems from an economy wide perspective are:

1. Nowhere else to turn

The choice for producers has been narrowed by statute to Fonterra for some 90% of the market. There is virtually no diversity, depth or spread of processing in the industry. The statute prevents it. Dissatisfied producers have nowhere else to turn. All eggs in one basket – then we drop the basket. . . .

Lustrous lambs wanted:

The hunt is on for lambs with unusually lustrous fleece. Crown Research Institute Agresearch says if you have any such lambs this spring, it wants to hear from you.

“We particularly want to understand what proteins or cellular structure may be special to their wool, and then whether these are the same as those in the lustre breeds,” says David Scobie, who is leading the lamb quest.

“Studying a naturally occurring mutation with such a dramatic effect on fibre characteristics provides a unique opportunity to understand the genetic and physiological mechanisms affecting fibre quality.” . . .

AgResearch overhaul tipped to boost research – Annette Scott:

A proposal to overhaul AgResearch’s campus and farm infrastructure will create a vital agricultural research institute for the next 50 years, AgResearch chief executive Tom Richardson says.

The restructuring proposal involves axing 180 jobs at Ruakura, near Hamilton, and 85 jobs from the Invermay site near Dunedin.

The $100 million proposal would result in large campuses at Grasslands in Palmerston North and at Lincoln in Canterbury.

A final decision is expected next month following a four-week consultation period. . .

Federations’ ‘www.ruraljobs.co.nz’ a success:

Federated Farmers is thrilled its ‘Rural Jobs’ service has hit 115 job advertisements since the beginning of the year, promising a bright future for agricultural careers.

“www.ruraljobs.co.nz is a fantastic service and it is picking up traction as one of the leading rural job advertisers,” says Conor English, Federated Farmers Chief Executive.

“Great staff are critical to any farming operation. Federated Farmers wants to ensure that our youth realise these opportunities are available to them and that employers have all the right documentation to know what the legal requirements are.

“Our www.ruraljobs.co.nz is not only the place to go to match people with jobs, but also where you can get up to date employment contracts reflecting the latest law changes, information on nationwide wages and salary packages, immigration ACC and OSH requirements and free legal advice for our members. It is a great one stop shop, tailored for the farming sector” . . .


Science best counter to psuedo-science

September 5, 2011

Consulting soil scientist Doug Edmeades has been a long-time critic of unscientific practices among which he includes homeopathy and organics.

In a paper published in 2010 he said:

A recent major review of the scientific literature, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2009, includes results from 162 studies and concludes: “…… there is no evidence of a difference in the nutrient quality between organic and conventional foodstuff.” . . .

 . . . “We are not talking about the results of one experiment, we are talking about hundreds of studies and it is not the conclusion of one person or team – different groups of researchers have reached the same conclusion”.  

 “The significance of these conclusions should be far reaching” said Dr Edmeades, “because they undermine the primary purpose of the Organic Movement which has claimed for years that organically grown food is better than conventionally produced food.”

Now, in a paper to a Grasslands conference he says it’s time for evidence-based science to reclaim the moral high ground:

He says science policy makers need to exclude pseudo science if agricultural science is to be part of the solution to producing more food to for a rapidly increasing world populatrion.

”Unfortunately in this age of new age thinking, there’s a plethora of such claims,” he said. . .

He says organic farming produces at best only about 68% of the yields of conventional farming and there’s no evidence that it’s better for the environment, or that organic food is healthier.

”The organic movement is based on a falsity,” he said. ”It doesn’t have any magical properties.”

The best counter to pseudo-science is science but it costs money and takes time.

That has left a vacuum which has been filled with claims based on non-scientific claims and practices.


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