Rural round-up

18/09/2013

Indonesia relaxes beef import rules:

Beef exports to Indonesia should take off again shortly, according to the Meat Industry Association.

The Indonesian Government has signalled it is willing to lower its trade barriers and allow in more beef imports to ease soaring domestic beef prices in the country caused by the lack of supply.

Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie says the import quota system had resulted in a massive reduction in the amount of beef New Zealand was sending to Indonesia over the last three years.

Beef volumes had dropped to about 20% of 2010 levels, he says, with a lost value of about $150 million a year. . .

Vital talks for sheep, beef sector – Mike Petersen:

Over the past two weeks farmer representatives from the world’s major sheep-meat and beef-producing countries have had their annual catch-ups as Australia hosted the Tri-Lamb Group and the Five Nations Beef Alliance meetings.

Between them these two groups are responsible for almost two-thirds of the world’s sheep-meat exports and about half the world’s beef exports.

New Zealand is a founding member of the two groups through the organisation owned and run by farmers – Beef + Lamb NZ. The reason, of course, is that for NZ sheep and beef farmers, trade is our lifeblood. . .

Taxpayers turn US farmers into fat cats with subsidies – David J. Lynch & Alan Bjerga:

A Depression-era program intended to save American farmers from ruin has grown into a 21st-century crutch enabling affluent growers and financial institutions to thrive at taxpayer expense.

Federal crop insurance encourages farmers to gamble on risky plantings in a program that has been marred by fraud and that illustrates why government spending is so difficult to control.

And the cost is increasing. The U.S. Department of Agriculture last year spent about $14 billion insuring farmers against the loss of crop or income, almost seven times more than in fiscal 2000, according to the Congressional Research Service. . . . (Hat tip Whaleoil).

Wine born of ‘special piece of dirt’ – Timothy Brown:

Central Otago winery Akarua won the champion wine of show award at the Romeo Bragato Wine Awards in Blenheim last month. Reporter Timothy Brown met winemaker Matt Connell and vineyard manager Mark Naismith to see what is special about Akarua’s wine.

Hidden in the rolling hills of Bannockburn, off the twisting tarseal of Cairnmuir Rd, lies the Akarua vineyard.

A 50ha expanse of north-facing hillside and terraces is planted with pinot noir, pinot gris and chardonnay grapes.

Or as winemaker Matt Connell puts it – ”a very special piece of dirt”. . . .

SealesWinslow feed mill in production:

SealesWinslow’s upgraded Wanganui stock feed mill is up and running following a multi-million redevelopment.

The animal nutrition producer has celebrated the new site with a quick sales win, supplying 1350 tonne feed to keep dairy cows in peak condition en route by boat to China.

SealesWinslow General Manager, Graeme Smith, says the site puts the company in the box seat to better serve its existing customer base of dairy, sheep and beef farmers in the Taranaki, and a rapidly expanding new customer group from the Wanganui, Manawatu, East Coast and Wairarapa regions. . .

Best new honey bee links – Raymond Huber:

1. The bee and its place in history: article by Claire Preston, author of new book, Bee.

The bee is the only creature on the planet that is a true creative artisan. It gathers materials and transforms them to make not only architecture but food.– Claire Preston

2. The Trouble With Beekeeping in the Anthropocene: summary of Time Magazine’s feature on bees.

We are a species that increasingly has omnipotence without omniscience. – Bryan Walsh . .

Two new awards launched at the third annual Marlborough Wine Show :

Continuing to showcase the next level of the Marlborough story, the Marlborough Wine Show has launched two new awards.

In an effort to reward producers who consistently produce outstanding wines, the Marlborough Museum Legacy Award will be awarded to a wine company for three outstanding vintages of one wine within a ten year period.

The second new award, the Award for Vineyard Excellence has been developed to acknowledge the vineyard team from grower and viticulturist to all others involved and will awarded to the highest scoring single vineyard wine. . .


Rural round-up

13/07/2013

Rule Change Great News For Pastoral Farmers:

New Zealand farmers will gain faster access to innovative new pastures thanks to new clearance procedures announced this week by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Plant breeders have welcomed the move, which they say will make it much easier to tap into the country’s biggest collection of pasture genetics, the Margot Forde Germplasm Centre at Palmerston North.

Comprising tens of thousands of seed samples, the centre holds more than 2000 different species of forage grasses, herbs and legumes from throughout the world. . .

Move planned to end China meat hold-ups – Alan Williams:

Clear protocols will be put in place and communication improved to try to stop a repeat of two regulatory incidents that have held up New Zealand meat on Chinese wharves, Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye says.

The Government was putting systems in place to make sure this country could react nimbly and quickly to problems holding up food exports into complex markets, she said.

NZ was exporting large and increasing amounts of food into markets that operated differently to ours and there would never be a system where things couldn’t go wrong, she said. . . .

Game-changing company ready for kiwi blood – Stephen Bell:

American blood serum processing giant Proliant Health and Biologicals’ $24 million Feilding plant will attract a procession of the world’s top firms to New Zealand and will have access to some of the world’s biggest markets that won’t accept products from the United States.

Proliant president and chief executive Stephen Welch and chief operating officer Randal Fitzgerald told a public meeting at the Feilding Rotary Club the firm had bought 4ha in the town to allow for expansion.

It already had Government permission to import bovine blood from Australia to meet expected growth in demand, though NZ could supply more than enough blood for double the initial 6000 m2 plant it was opening, they said. . . .

New Zealand’s horticulture industry set to grow:

One of New Zealand’s horticultural heavyweights has set its long-term sights on growing the industry into a multibillion-dollar business.

United Fresh New Zealand Incorporated is celebrating 22 years in the industry. It is now the country’s only pan-produce organisation – with 84 members from across the fresh produce value chain.

United Fresh president, David Smith, says horticulture, which is currently a $3.5 billion industry, is an important export earner for the country. And turning it into a $10 billion industry by 2020 needs vision, co-operation and collaboration.” . . .

Latest honey bee research – Raymond Huber:

  • Beebuzz: Flowers have small electric fields that bees can detect and use to distinguish the flowers with the best nectar.
  • Beespresso: Several types of flower have traces of caffeine in their nectar which bees are more attracted to than flowers without. . . 

Stonecroft Purchases Vineyard in Prime Hawke’s Bay Location:

Boutique winery Stonecroft has purchased a new vineyard in the renowned Gimblet Gravels Growing District in Hawke’s Bay.

The acquisition of this vineyard compliments Stonecroft’s existing holdings in the region. It is conveniently located between Stonecroft’s other two vineyards, on the corner of Mere Road and State Highway 50. The vineyard was previously owned by the Mills Reef Trust. . .


Rural round-up

03/07/2013

Bacteria detector set to scale up for food industry – Peter Kerr at sticK:

I’m always a bit of a sucker for innovations and improvements that add value to our biological industries.

After all, as a country we’d be fools not to play to our major strength in producing food and fibre.

An innovation’s appeal is also greatly increased when it solves a problem – and in this particular case it is instantly identifying the presence of bacteria in food products.

It’s one reason I’m keen on seeing Veritide’s real-time, non-contact bacterial scanner gain more traction. (Note: Veritide’s in the process of updating its website following its pivot to concentrate on the food industry). . .

Synlait well structured for a successful future – Allan Barber:

Synlait Milk’s $120 million capital raising will enable the company to restructure debt and invest in several new initiatives, including a lactoferrin plant, a third dryer, a butter plant, testing laboratory and dry store. The share offer is made up of $75 million of new capital and $45 million sell down by some of the exiting shareholders.

All the signs point to this capital raising being a success, unlike the attempt to raise $150 million in 2009 which was shunned by New Zealand investors. . .

Fonterra to Invest $27 Million in New Dry Store at Te Rapa:

Fonterra has announced a $27 million investment in a dry store distribution centre at its Te Rapa site that will strengthen its Waikato operations and allow the Co-operative to deliver product more efficiently to its customers.

Fonterra’s Director Logistics Network, Mark Leslie, says the dry store will provide the Co-operative annual benefits of nearly $5m through reduced operating costs.

“Our seasonal production means that we store product until we receive orders. The new dry store will enable us to store product at the site of manufacture right through the peak of the season and to more efficiently manage the flow of goods through to our customers by better utilising the rail infrastructure out of our Crawford St distribution centre,” says Mr Leslie. . .

Reassessment of organophosphates and carbamates:

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is being congratulated by Federated Farmers for the difficult decisions it has made around the use of organophosphates and carbamates (OPC’s).

 “Extending the use of Diazinon through to 2028 was the right thing to do because farmers have little or no alternatives at this time,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President.

 “Home gardeners and farmers both know that diazinon is the most effective agrichemical we currently have to treat grass grub and porina. An issue may arise if by the end of the next 15-years we fail to have approved replacements in the toolbox. . .

New Crown Irrigation Chair welcomes opportunity:

The chair of the newly appointed Crown Irrigation Investments board, Alison Paterson, is welcoming the opportunity to help develop large-scale irrigation infrastructure.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has this morning announced the establishment of the new company and the appointment of all members of the Establishment Board to the board of the new company. . . .

Crown irrigation investment company needs to act:

IrrigationNZ has congratulated the Government on the establishment of the new Crown company ‘Irrigation Investments Ltd’ – but signals action is needed quickly before opportunities are lost.

The $80million investment company was announced this week as a “bridging investor” to help irrigation projects that may not otherwise get off the ground. . .

OSPRI New Zealand looking to add value to the primary sector:

This week sees a new arrival in the primary sector with the launch of OSPRI New Zealand.

Formed on 1 July, following the merger of the Animal Health Board and NAIT, the national animal identification and tracing scheme, OSPRI has been set up to bring together existing expertise and, as its name implies, to provide creative operational solutions.

“We are excited by the prospect of developing some creative operational solutions for the sector,” said OSPRI Chief Executive William McCook. . .

New President for Veterinary Association:

 Dr Steve Merchant is the new President of the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA). His first official public engagement is welcoming delegates at the opening plenary of the NZVA’s annual conference in Palmerston North this week (3 and 4 July).

He is a founding director of the Pet Doctors Group. Established in 2005, this is an expanding network of clinics made up of like-minded veterinarians who share resources and take a team-based approach to animal care. . .

New Avocado Exporter Lifts Earnings Forecast

Newly formed avocado exporter AVOCO has raised its forecast for this season’s earnings in Australia and now expects to hit the $50 million mark by the end of the harvest, which starts in late August.

Alistair Young, a director of AVOCO, says latest analysis of the potential harvest suggests there will be a better yield than usual, without it being a brilliant harvest. Formed recently by the two largest avocado exporters, AVOCO represents about 75% of all the growers in New Zealand and holds a similar-sized chunk of sales into the Australian market. . .

Praise Bee – industrious insects get the stamp of approval:

They’ve been celebrated in verse (by the likes of Emily Dickinson[1], William Blake[2] and Kahlil Gibran[3]) – in song (by the likes of Gloria Gaynor[4], Blake Shelton[5] and Owl City[6]) – and in popular culture (with spelling bees, ‘Buzzy Bees’ and Wellington’s own ‘Beehive’). But the humble bee stands poised to get a new tribute this week, with the release of a special set of postage stamps.

The Honey Bees stamp issue celebrates the industrious insects on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the National Beekeepers’ Association of New Zealand.

Honey bees, which are of European origin, have played a key role in New Zealand horticulture for over 150 years – pollinating essential crops and producing up to 12,000 tonnes of honey per annum, with as much as half of that being exported. . .


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