Rural round-up

30/08/2013

Land use pressure for farmers – Tony Benny:

Farmer predicts proposed new land use rules will jam the brakes on agricultural development in Canterbury.

Federated Farmers’ South Island Grain and Seed vice-chairman David Clark claims that the proposals for rules limiting changes of land use recommended for inclusion in the proposed Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan will put more pressure on arable farmers and stop further expansion of dairy farming.

“The proposals that have been put forward would make it extremely hard to change land use with any degree of intensification.

“The big issue and the big concern is around nutrient management rules that are coming in, that would severely constrict land use modification.” . .

Key holds fire on botulism blame – Hannah Lynch:

Prime Minister John Key is refusing to point the finger of blame at who is responsible for the Fonterra botulism fiasco until all inquires in to what turned out to be a false alarm are completed.

In a shock announcement yesterday, the Primary Industries Ministry said there was no contamination linked to botulism in Fonterra whey protein product at the centre of an international food safety alert. 

The ministry’s independent testing contradicted the results of tests done by Fonterra or on its behalf by state owned AgResearch. 

The alert earlier this month caused product recalls, a trade backlash and tarnished New Zealand’s “clean green” brand. . .

Deer farmers urged to fight for Invermay – Annette Scott:

The Invermay deer programme has led the development of the New Zealand deer industry for the past 35 years and is recognised as world leading, former Invermay Agricultural Centre director Dr Jock Allison says.

Allison opposes AgResearch’s proposal to focus South Island agricultural research on a single hub in Lincoln, describing it as schizophrenic behaviour.   

In a letter to deer farmers Allison, Dr Ken Drew, a leader of Invermay deer research for 25 years, and Otago University Professor Frank Griffin urged the industry to voice its concern.

“It is our view that only through concerted industry efforts will the deer research programme be retained at Invermay,” Allison said. . .

European manufacturer commits to New Zealand:

The current strength and strong outlook for the future of New Zealand agriculture has led Europe’s major tractor manufacturer, SAME Deutz-Fahr, to commit itself to our market.

The Vice Chairman of the company, Francesco Carozza, (pictured) who was in New Zealand recently, says the future of world agriculture is very strong, and New Zealand is well positioned to capitalise on that potential.

“Globally speaking, food demand is going to double over the next 40 years, so the market is going to increase big time – and so are the opportunities for New Zealand agriculture,” he says. . .

Primary Industry Training Organisation cements first successful year with fresh new brand:

On 1 October 2012, Agriculture ITO and Horticulture ITO merged to form the Primary Industry Training Organisation (Primary ITO). Primary ITO is also responsible for Water Industry Training, Equine Industry Training and NZ Sports Turf ITO, making it one of the largest ITOs in New Zealand.

“Agriculture ITO and Horticulture ITO made the proactive move to join together because we shared a natural affinity and a common vision. We recognised that we could deliver better outcomes for our industries by having an organisation with a larger critical mass and shared resources,” says Primary ITO Chief Executive Kevin Bryant.

Since the launch of Primary ITO, the organisation has continued to operate under the five existing brands. . .

Conservation and management of NZ whitebait speciesJane Goodman:

New Zealand’s whitebait fishery consists of the young of five migratory galaxiid species – inanga (Galaxias maculatus), koaro (Galaxias brevipinnis), banded kokopu (Galaxias fasciatus), giant kokopu (Galaxias argenteus) and shortjaw kokopu (Galaxias postvectis). Smelt (Retropinna retropinna) are also present in catches from some rivers along with the young of other fish species such as eels and bullies. (See Amber McEwan’s earlier blog.)

Four of the five galaxiid whitebait species (inanga, koaro, giant kokopu and shortjaw kokopu are ranked in the New Zealand Threat Classification System (Townsend et al. 2008) as ‘at risk – declining’; banded kokopu are listed as not threatened (Allibone et al. 2010).

A2 shares record-high as investors buy into growth story:

(BusinessDesk) – A2 Corp shares touched a record high 77 cents in trading today after the company boosted sales 51 percent and improved its underlying earnings.

The Sydney-based company, which markets milk products with a protein variant claimed to have health benefits, lifted sales to $94.3 million in the 12 months ended June 30 from $62.5 million, and more than doubled operating earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation to $10.6 million.

Net profit slipped 6.5 percent to $4.12 million, as the company wore losses associated with setting up its British joint venture and year earlier gains from a tax asset and legal settlement rolled off. . .


Rural round-up

05/02/2013

ECann Rakaia River recommendation accepted:

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says the Government has accepted Environment Canterbury’s recommendation to change the water conservation order that covers the Rakaia River.

The change will allow TrustPower to release water from Lake Coleridge for irrigation when the river is low, increasing the reliability of the water supply.

“Environment Canterbury’s report and recommendation is a good example of both environmental considerations and the needs of the farming community being taken into account,” Mr Brownlee says. . .

Why wash clean linen in public – Alan Emerson:

Farming is certainly in the mainstream media. 

Most outlets are covering the DCD saga and they weren’t helped by some woolly statements from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Fonterra.

I thought the two fertiliser co-operatives, Ballance and Ravensdown, handled the issue well, with their media releases being factual and unemotive. Both withdrew their DCD product and that, in my opinion, should have been the end of the story.

The issue is simple – DCD is safe. It has been around since the 1920s and used in its current form since 1981 and that is the problem.

Because it isn’t a new product but an adaption of an existing chemical, it is not classified under the international Codex Alimentarium. For that reason there is no minimum or maximum allowable level.

The problem is technical and procedural – it is not a chemical or health issue. Googling DCD you can identify all the many countries using it. You can also read glowing references about the product’s ability to increase yields in tomatoes, wheat, barley, rice and grass. . .

Lessons learned on managing perception – Alan Williams:

THE DCD issue has thrown up some lessons on how to manage market perceptions when the debate gets away from the science, Ministry for Primary Industries deputy director general (Standards) Carol Barnao says.

MPI’s risk assessment team discovered quickly there were no food safety concerns from traces of DCD found in whole milk powder, but the time taken for action was seen by some people as too slow and the presence of an unexpected compound was linked with tainted food in some markets.

More than three months passed between Fonterra’s product testing and the withdrawal from the market of the fertilisers containing DCD.

If there had been food safety concerns action would have happened much sooner, Barnao said.

Working groups were set up as soon as MPI was alerted in early November but it took time to complete the testing methodology and the why, when, and how of what happened, she said. . .

Happy to break new ground – Hannah Lynch:

Primary industries might be getting a new minister, but it’s in the associate role where a woman will be getting to make a mark for the first time. Hannah Lynch reports from Parliament.

The first woman appointed to a ministerial role in agriculture is not afraid of bringing a touch of femininity to the job, revealing she wears high-heeled boots on the family farm. 

Jo Goodhew has just been made Associate Primary Industries Minister in a Cabinet reshuffle that elevated the previous associate, Nathan Guy, into the main role.

“It is exciting but it is part of the general trend we are seeing where women who have the right skills are doing anything,” Goodhew said. 

“Women are going into roles that were previously held by men but now it’s just recognition that if you have got the skills it doesn’t matter what gender you are.”  . . .

MyFarm expanding to sheep and beef farms – Hugh Stringleman:

MyFarm intends to use its farm ownership syndication model for sheep and beef farms as well as dairy farms.

It put together one sheep and beef farm syndicate in 2010, for Kaiangaroa farm east of Taihape, and during this year will offer several more.

MyFarm director Andrew Watters would not specify the locations but gave parameters for the suitable properties and regions.

They would be mainly sheep-breeding and lamb-finishing properties, with beef cattle only additional. . .

Farmers Preparing to Steak Their Claim :

Farmers across the country are selecting their entries for the 2013 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin.

The competition to find the country’s most tender and tasty steak is entering its 11th year and is keenly contested nationwide.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO, Dr Scott Champion, says the competition is taken very seriously and winning has become a badge of honour.

“The Steak of Origin rewards farmers for their efforts and showcases the skill in the New Zealand beef farming industry,” says Champion. . .

Freshman Sire Highlights Final Day of Karaka 2013:

New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2013 National Yearling Sales Series has drawn to a close today at Karaka with the final 212 yearlings of the Festival Sale concluding a bumper seven days of selling that has seen a total of 1021 lots traded for $72,387,700.

For the third day in a row Westbury Stud’s first season sire Swiss Ace (Secret Savings) provided the top price of the day, this time it was the colt at Lot 1353 from the four-time winning Stravinsky mare Poetic Music bought by Rogerson Bloodstock for $95,000.
1353 web
Top lot of the day the Swiss Ace colt (Lot 1353) purchased by Rogerson Bloodstock for $95,000

“He was the nicest horse here today and he proved that because he was the top lot of the day.

http://www.fwplus.co.nz/article/alternative-view-why-wash-clean-linen-in-public?p=6


Rural round-up

16/01/2013

Kiwi xenophobia one to watch says think tank – Hannah Lynch:

Growing xenophobia in New Zealand, as it wrestles with Chinese investment, will be one of the Pacific’s top talking points in 2013, according to a Washington think tank.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies advise observers to keep an eye on the ongoing debate about foreign investment in New Zealand, especially from China.

Under the headline “New Zealand’s comfort with Chinese investment”, the centre has chosen the issue as one of six in the Pacific region particularly worth watching. . .

Declining attendance causing concern:

The New Zealand Large Herds Association (NZLHA) executive committee will not be holding an annual conference this year.

The committee decided to cancel the conference because of the continuing decline in attendance over recent years.

“The last three years have seen a decline in numbers of delegates attending. This has had an impact on how we foresee our conference in the future, for not only the farmer but our sponsors,” association chairman Bryan Beeston said. . .

American sheep farmers suffering even more than New Zealand – Allan Barber:

An article headlined ‘Drought, high feed costs hurt sheep ranchers,’ appeared last Friday in the Northern Colorado Business Report. It makes the problems being experienced currently by New Zealand sheep farmers look comparatively pretty small.

This isn’t meant to denigrate the difficulties here, but it puts things in context. One rancher has cut his 2000 head flock by a third and is losing US$80 on every lamb he sells. According to the article, drought, consolidation of the sheep-packing business, increased feed costs and plummeting lamb prices have created hardship among sheep ranchers across Northern Colorado. The situation has deteriorated so much for ranchers that the federal government is investigating whether meat packers have played a role in the market’s collapse. . .

Second year of graduates:

The Agri-Women’s Development Trust (AWDT) is celebrating a second successful year with 14 graduates from its 2012 Escalator agricultural leadership programme.

The 10-month programme aims to create prospective future leaders with the skills and capability to govern and lead agricultural organisations and communities.

Federated Farmers Ruapehu provincial president and 2012 Escalator graduate Lyn Neeson said it gave her more awareness of what she can accomplish for agriculture. . .

Getting more from collaboration:

Federated Farmers is expanding its highly successful Leadership Development Programme for members and others in primary industries.

Many agricultural sector leaders have been through the Federation’s stage one and two Leadership Courses. These give individuals vital skills to work in teams and understand the technical, emotive, cultural and political aspects of issues.

The level one Getting Your Feet Wet and level two Shining Under the Spotlight courses give participants the techniques and methods to analyse and bring together a compelling case to present their desired outcomes. . .

FAR focus on the future of farming – Howard Keene:

The annual Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) Crops Expo at its Chertsey site in Mid Canterbury has grown over the years from humble beginnings to become a major event on the agricultural calendar attracting hundreds of grower and industry people.

This year was the second time the event has been held in its expanded format. It’s now an all-day event with agronomy and machinery companies adding their own trials and demonstrations to those of FAR. . .

2012 a watershed year for pork industry:

New Zealand Pork has today released its 2012 annual report, which labels last year a turning point for the industry. 

“Although the last financial year has not been without challenges, I believe it has also been something of a watershed for our industry,” NZPork chairman Ian Carter said.

In 2012 the New Zealand Pork Industry Board made a net surplus of $505,165, which included a gain in sale of PIB Breeding Limited of $423,223. . .


Rural round-up

10/09/2012

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

13/06/2012

Sustainability Helpful in mix no matter what style – Sally Rae:

Good farming in New Zealand should be celebrated – no matter what approach a farmer takes.

That is the message from Prof Henrik Moller from the Centre for Sustainability: Agriculture, Food, Energy, Environment at the University of Otago.

Prof Moller is part of the Agricultural Research Group on Sustainability (Argos), a joint venture between the AgriBusiness Group, Lincoln University and the University of Otago. . .

Hazelnuts’ potential discussed – Sally Rae:

Hazelnut growing could deliver returns exceeding those from dairy farming if growers could achieve the yields and orchard management cost efficiencies achieved in Chile, Oregon and Italy.

That is the message from Hazelnut Growers Association of New Zealand (HGANZ) chairman Murray Redpath, who was in Central Otago recently for the organisation’s annual meeting. . .

Meat season hits the wall – Allan Barber:

Settlement of the industrial dispute at AFFCO barely came in time to beat the passing of the season’s processing peak. Contrary to expectations that the supply of cattle, particularly cull dairy cows, would last until the end of June at least, the flow has virtually dried up.

After 34 weeks of the meat year which runs from 1 October to 30 September, slaughter volumes for all species are below both last season and the five year average.

While there are variations between islands and species, the only stock types which have a chance of exceeding last year’s national total are lamb and prime steer. If this occurs it will only be by the slimmest of margins.

Award winning young farmer hopes to inspire:

A  22-year-old self-employed dairy farmer hopes his success through winning a new Maori farming award will inspire other young, troubled Maori to follow their dreams.

Tangaroa Walker, who has strong cultural links in Tauranga district (Ngati Ranginui/ Ngati Pukenga/ Pirirakau), won the Ahuwhenua Young Maori Trainee/Cadet award recently.
The award was created to encourage young Maori workers between 16 and 25 to move into leadership roles. . .
 
Italian tomato dumping has small impact on NZ market – Hannah Lynch:

June 11 (BusinessDesk) – The dumping of Italian processed tomatoes onto the New Zealand market has been found to have little impact, according to a Ministry of Economic Development report.

Heinz Watties Limited, which sells canned tomatoes under the Watties and Oak brands, made a complaint about dumping of Italian tomatoes with the ministry in July 2011. The report, “Dumping Investigation, Preserved Tomatoes Investigation” found that one, a producer called Conserve Italia Agricultural Cooperative Society, had dumped the products.

“There is evidence of an increase in the volume of dumped imports in absolute terms and in relation to production in New Zealand,” the report said. “There is evidence of only a slight increase in dumped import volumes relative to consumption in New Zealand.” . . .

Orchard joins FON programme:

A SECOND focus orchard has been established in Gisborne as part of the Zespri Focus Orchard Network (FON) programme.

Designed to bring growers the latest research information, the programme involves monitoring growing conditions in Gisborne and will help demonstrate how to produce the new varieties of kiwifruit.

Management of both orchards is geared toward improving productivity and a new financial system on the orchard will provide an analysis of orchard management decisions, says Zespri’s communication spokesperson, Rachel Lynch.

Search for ideal clover – Jill Galloway:

 

A plant breeder says finding the parent clovers of New Zealand’s white clover could lead to an to agricultural plant better adapted for farming.

 

AgResearch Grasslands Palmerston North clover specialist Warren Williams said it may enable them to better breed a drought-tolerant, low fertility and low temperature-growing white clover.

 

New Zealand white clover was a mainstay of agriculture and was worth more than $2 billion to farming each year, Dr Williams said.

 

“That was years ago, probably, with dairying expansion, it is close to $3b each year now.” . . . 


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