Rural round-up

21/12/2013

Mixed feelings ond airy announcements – James Houghton:

There were several announcements last week in the dairy industry that kept everyone on their toes. There was Fonterra’s announcement that they are keeping the farmgate milkprice at $8.30, the Government’s release from the first round of their inquiry into the botulism scare and more recently Fonterra’s announcement that they are cancelling their colostrum collections.

Farmers will be happy to see the milk price confirmed but since 85 percent of the dividend payout goes to farmer-shareholders, they will have mixed feelings since its 22 cents per share haircut. Management needs to note the concerns we shareholders will have on the value-add, which seems to be struggling right now.  While key markets continue to struggle for growth that is set against a backdrop of improving economic numbers, we farmers seem to be missing out? Whilst I prefer to see the Board under promising and leaving something in the tank, we are still awaiting management to over deliver on the value add. Farmers will need to budget conservatively going into the New Year. Farmers will once again be accessing the benefits of remaining loyal to Fonterra. . .

Squatters invade Waitiki farm after Ruto reveals ministry will buy land – Mathias Ringa:

Thousands of people have invaded two farms in Mombasa after the government announced plans to buy them and settle squatters.

Residents have flocked to the 930-acre Waitiki farm and Kwa Bhulo since Deputy President William Ruto said the government will buy the two farms to settle over 100,000 squatters.

Some of the invaders are building houses and subdividing the properties to plots.

According to Mombasa county commissioner Nelson Marwa, some land dealers were illegally selling off empty spaces at the farm and the 86-acre Kwa Bhulo plot at Bamburi to unsuspecting buyers. . .

VFF urges quad bike safety:

The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) urges farmers to take care of their families and themselves during the upcoming holiday season by taking safety precautions with quad bikes.

Adult-size quad bikes are covered in manufacturer warnings stating children under the age of 16 should never operate the vehicle.

“Quad bikes are a major cause of deaths and injuries to Australian farmers and their children,” VFF Farmsafe Alliance manager Tim McKenzie said. “The trauma associated with a lot of these life-changing injuries is overwhelming. . .

Poppy trials in Vic:

SCIENTIFIC trials of poppies being undertaken across Victoria by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Australia are just one small step in what is a significant process before full-scale commercial production proceeds.

The Victorian trials began in July this year, following approval granted by the Victorian Government.

They involve small plots being growing in different areas of the state. . . .

Every School Should Have a Farm to Feed Its Students – Courtney Leeds:

I have always loved working with my hands. It is only now, after five years of farming that I realize I chose to farm as a way to work with my hands every day.
 
It started in San Francisco, where I worked as an apprentice at Little City Gardens and quickly fell in love with the meditative repetition of working the soil, planting, weeding, repeating. I also fell in love with doing work with a purpose, nourishing others and myself. After eight years in San Francisco, I left to work on rural farms in Oregon and abroad. Those experiences inspired me to make my way as a farmer. After a yearlong apprenticeship at Zenger Farm in Portland, Oregon, I jumped at the chance to start an urban farm with another apprentice, Justin Davidson.  . .

Expressive Reserve Pinot Gris 2013 from Gunn Estate :

Gunn Estate Reserve Pinot Gris has harnessed the best of the outstanding 2013 Marlborough vintage in a wine which is both complex and expressive.

The wine, released this week, is built on the strong winemaking tradition of the Gunn Estate brand, to showcase the essence of Pinot Gris as a varietal and the Marlborough origins of its fruit.

The Gunn Estate Reserve range was launched earlier this year with four wines from the 2012 vintage. They have quickly proved popular among Kiwi wine drinkers while attracting plaudits from many of the country’s wine writers for their quality and value for money. The 2012 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc also won a gold medal at the Spiegelau International Wine Show shortly after its release. . .


Rural round-up

27/04/2013

NZ Super Fund sells forestry blocks to Chines, local investors – Paul McBeth:

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund, which today said the value of its portfolio topped $22 billion, has sold the bulk of 11 forestry blocks in the North Island to China National Forest Products Trading Corp for an undisclosed sum, with the remaining going to local investors.

The Chinese company, a subsidiary of state-owned China Forestry Group Corp, bought the majority of the portfolio, subject to Chinese regulatory approval, after getting the thumbs up from New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office, the super fund said in a statement.

The Cullen Fund, so-called for its architect former Finance Minister Michael Cullen, was looking for a buyer for the blocks last year, when it valued the estates at some $91.1 million as at June 30. General manager investments Matt Whineray said the sale would let the fund focus on other domestic and international investment opportunities. . . 

Pivotal time for central farms – Mark Price:

Dozens of centre-pivot irrigation machines installed in the past couple of years are turning the dry plains of Central Otago into lush meadows. But, as Mark Price reports, this is just the beginning.

One farm on the flat near Tarras installed four irrigation pivots over the summer.

Another, on terraces above Tarras, installed eight or nine.

And, when the Tarras water scheme goes ahead there will be room for another 80 to 90 in that area alone.

In the world of irrigation, pivots are the state-of-the-art way of growing crops to feed dairy cows. . .

Maori land bursting with farm potential -Ben Dalton:

Primary industries generate over 70 per cent of New Zealand’s merchandise exports.

You’d be forgiven then for thinking that every last hectare of rural land is producing at its maximum. But you’d be wrong.

It has been known for some time that a significant proportion of Maori land is not delivering its potential.

A 2011 Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry report estimated that close to one million hectares were under-productive.

Now, a report commissioned by the Ministry of Primary Industries has allowed a glimpse of what’s at stake in bringing this land into full production – for Maori, the primary industries, and the country. . .

Quest for semi-rural playground – Alison Rudd:

The organisation which runs most of Southland’s kindergartens wants to buy a back yard for urban children who have no access to a semi-rural playground.

Kindergarten South wants a 1ha block close to Invercargill with trees, native bush and perhaps a stream. It will be a place where the 3 and 4-year-olds can ”get back to good old-fashioned play”, business development manager Sandra King said.

”It’s somewhere where they can climb trees, dig worms, puddle in water, draw pictures on the ground using sticks, learn to take a bit of a risk.”. . .

Delegat’s buys Australia’s Barossa Valley Estate assets out of receivership for A$24.7M – Paul McBeth:

Delegat’s Group has bought the assets of Australia’s Barossa Valley Estate out of receivership for A$24.7 million, just two months after snapping up the distressed vineyard and winery assets of Matariki Wines and Stony Bay Wines.

The Auckland-based winemaker, whose stable includes the Oyster Bay brand, will acquire a 5,000 tonne winery, a 41 hectare vineyard in the Barossa Valley, grape grower contracts and inventory and brands, it said in a statement. The deal is expected to settle in June, and will be funded through existing bank facilities. . .

Gunn Estate Ups the Ante With Reserve Range:

Hawke’s Bay’s popular Gunn Estate has just launched a range of Reserve wines, adding to the long history of the brand.

The 2012 Reserve range includes Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Merlot/Cabernet varieties, made with grapes from specially selected vineyards in Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough.

Gunn Estate spokesman Denis Gunn says the new range represents the brand’s strong tradition.

“The Gunn Family has worked the land in Hawke’s Bay since 1920 and these wines are about keeping the passion and determination of three generations alive and well,” Mr Gunn says.


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