Rural round-up

October 5, 2013

Mild confidence boost in NZ beef sector – Rabobank:

Much improved climatic conditions throughout the winter and a favourable weather outlook for spring have certainly boosted confidence across the New Zealand beef industry, particularly after the challenging drought conditions of summer and autumn, according to agribusiness specialist, Rabobank.

Rabobank’s Beef Quarterly report says that, in line with the seasonal low point in beef supply – which occurs towards the end of winter and into spring – farmgate prices have improved, while average export returns have also seen some encouraging upwards movement.

Rabobank animal proteins analyst Matthew Costello says the decline in the New Zealand dollar against the US dollar, which has eased around seven per cent between April and the end of August, was also helpful in boosting confidence in the Kiwi beef sector. Unfortunately, the currency has since rebounded to the highest level since May, putting downward pressure on schedules and challenging New Zealand’s price competitiveness in the export markets. . .

Farmers with the real smarts:

The Dalrymple brothers, Hew and Roger, farming just out of Bulls, have a second pair of eyes looking over their property.  Actually the word is ‘i’ – as in smartphone technology. Peter Burke reports on the technology in use and the savings that result.

FOR SIX generations the Dalrymple families have farmed in Manawatu and slowly built their land base. 

The current 2200ha freehold plus 200ha leased property is diverse – forestry, cropping, horticulture, sheep and beef trading and some specialised stock business, mainly managing dairy heifers prior to export to China and elsewhere.

Roger runs the sheep and beef, Hew looks after cropping.  This year they’ll plant at least 450ha in maize, 30ha in potatoes, 10ha in onions, 40ha in squash, 120ha in barley and 14ha in wheat. 

Lamb trading numbers vary each year, usually about 25,000, plus up to 10,500 cattle and about the same in dairy heifers. They also contract-finish, making it a big, complex operation. . .

Fonterra Appoints New Managing Director of Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA):

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited announced today the appointment of Pascal De Petrini as Managing Director of its Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (APMEA) business unit.

The APMEA business unit comprises all of Fonterra’s consumer operations across Australia, New Zealand, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Mr De Petrini will join Fonterra at the beginning of November and takes over from Johan Priem who has been Acting Managing Director APMEA since May.

Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings said, “Pascal is a strong, strategic people leader with a proven track record in delivering significant growth as well as turnarounds in Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) businesses. He has more than 25 years’ experience across the markets of APMEA and in senior leadership roles at Danone which will greatly benefit our consumer, nutritional and foodservice growth in Asia. I am delighted that we have someone of Pascal’s strengths and experience joining Fonterra. . .

Canterbury irrigation firm plans storage ponds:

A Canterbury irrigation scheme that has been taking water from the Waimakariri River for 15 years wants to build a large storage pond so it can continue to operate when water restrictions are in force.

Waimakariri Irrigation Limited is a run-of-river scheme that supplies water to about 200 properties, ranging from dairy farms to lifestyle blocks, covering 18,000 hectares on the northern side of the river.

It is seeking a land use consent to build a double pond combination on a site it owns near Oxford.

Manager Brent Walton says the ponds will allow users to continue irrigating during dry periods when the river level is low and there are restrictions on taking the water. . .

Never too old for new ideas

ADVERSITY MAKES you struggle, so think and look for answers, say horticulture industry pioneers and innovators Fay and Joe Gock.

The pair, both in their 80s, have for 60 years wheeled out good ideas: they were the first in the world to put stickers on fruit, they’ve grown seedless watermelon, and they pioneered using chilled polystyrene boxes to export broccoli.

They were winners this year of the horticulture industry’s highest honour, the Bledisloe Cup. And they won an award from the Dominion Federation of NZ Chinese Commercial Growers “in recognition of your lifetime of innovation and contribution to the horticulture industry”. . .

US Government shutdown warning to our farmers:

The budgetary deadlock, which has sections of the United States Government shutting down, should serve as a warning to New Zealand farmers to run conservative farm budgets.

“Following record milk price forecasts and increases in the ANZ Commodity Index across the primary industries, farmers may be very bullish about the current 2013/14 season,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President.

“The optimism is most welcome since the ANZ Commodity Index has hit its third highest level. Meat and Fibre farmers will be relieved to see the international price of wool, our green and renewable fibre, increase 13 percent in a month. Yet it is right across the primary board, from red meat to apples and logs, we just seem to be in an export sweet spot.

“Some may be tempted to anticipate outstanding forecasts for this season by taking on debt. . .

Entries open for New Zealand’s Prestigious Royal Show:

The Royal A and P Show New Zealand promises to be an affair for the whole family featuring entertainment, sideshows and livestock exhibits from some of New Zealand’s elite farmers.

The countdown has begun and entries are now open as Feilding and the wider Manawatu gear up to host the most prestigious A and P show on the calendar – the Royal A and P Show New Zealand.

Entries are now being taken for this spectacular event across all livestock sections ranging from Alpacas to equestrian classes to beef and dairy cattle, pigs and everything in between. . .


One Plan costs up to 43%

November 18, 2012

Horizon’s One Plan could cost up to 43% of farm profitability.

Farmers are aghast an independent analysis commissioned by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), for a Land & Water Forum (LawF) working group, has revealed the shocking impact of the Horizons One Plan upon agriculture.

“The elected council of Horizons resembles a shiver looking for a spine to run up,” says Hew Dalrymple, Federated Farmers Grain & Seed vice-chairperson and an environmental award winning farmer.

“Upwards of $15 million of ratepayers money has been spent on a plan that will make farming here damned difficult.

“Thanks to Landcare Research’s research, we now have a good handle on the One Plan as it stands following the Environment Court decision. It scarily confirms the impact upon farm profitability will be at the upper end of 22 to 43 percent.

“If you are a member of the public, take up to 43 percent off your post-tax income and you’ll understand why we are angry. That grows when one of our policy staff members described even this high level of impact as potentially ‘optimistic’.

“In spite of this Landcare Research report, the council is acting like someone who has been told they have a terminal disease. It is in denial. How many times and how many ways do they have to be told the current plan version is a dog before the penny drops?

“Instead of being an officer’s mouthpiece, the elected council needs to ‘grow some’ and take charge. Councillors appear to have little understanding of which version of the One Plan they are talking about, let alone its effect upon agriculture. They appear to treat what council officers tell them as gospel.

“The council must listen to proper research that comes directly out of the work done for LawF. Given LawF got a positive reception by almost all parties, is Horizons really thumbing its nose at it now?” Mr Dalrymple asked.

Federated Farmers Manawatu-Rangitikei provincial president, Andrew Hoggard, shared Mr Dalrymple’s concern over the Plan’s social and economic effects.

“Our concerns only increase when you read the Council Chairman confusing the outcomes of the Decisions Version with what came out of the Environment Court. If the impact was really one percent, do you think our dander would be so up, now?” Mr Hoggard added.

“From Landcare Research’s work for LawF, it is clear the council did not provide the Environment Court a full appreciation of just how deep One Plan cuts. Instead, all it got was a flimsy analysis from the Horizons Regional Council.

“We have seen an Official Information Act answer staking out One Plan’s impact. When you get Wellington bureaucrats describing the social and economic effects as ‘significant’, the word concerned puts it mildly.

“What is gutting is that Federated Farmers was fairly happy with Decisions Version of the One Plan. This was decided by the council’s Independent Hearing Commissioners and we spent some two years preparing for and being in front of the Commissioners.

“What they came up with we could have lived with.

“This work by Landcare Research provides a circuit-breaker for the council and it would be unwise of them to ignore it.

“I fully back the Minister when he says Horizons call for calm is dumb.

“This belief we should just hold our tongues and wait and see how many farmers go broke, farm staff get laid off, or rural service businesses downsize impacting rural towns, is beyond dumb,”Mr Hoggard concluded.

A mini-case study: Mike and Tracey Collis’ Organic farm in Tararua:
This farming couple stated to look at the options for whole farm management in 2008, following the notification of the One Plan. At that time, Organic diary farming ticked all the boxes, economically and environmentally. Now fully organically certified, this same farm run by an award winning farming couple can no longer comply with the year one nutrient loss targets and faces an uncertain future. The current farming system incorporates all nutrient management mitigation options available. To reduce nutrient loss to comply with the year one targets in the One Plan will result in a significant loss of farm profitability and equity which jeopardises the survival of the business. If farmers and farming systems of this calibre cannot comply with the One Plan we must fundamentally question its appropriateness.

The Otago Regional Council’s water plan has caused a similar level of concern and not just from farmers.

In Cleaner water but how? Rebecca Fox gives a very good coverage of the range of views on expressed during a month of consultation over how to achieve clean water.


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