Rural round-up

September 16, 2015

Deal will change face of industry – Dene Mackenzie:

Silver Fern Farms aims to be debt free with money in the bank by this time next year if a deal to form a 50:50 joint venture with Chinese food giant Shanghai Maling gets shareholder approval.

Silver Fern Farms chairman Rob Hewett remained optimistic yesterday the deal would receive the required 50% shareholder support and the company is offering significant sweeteners to persuade shareholders to vote yes.

The deal would allow Silver Fern Farms to become unleashed, he said.

Mr Hewett’s presentation to a media conference was peppered with phrases such as ”turbo-charged” and ”compelling”. . . 

 

Shock waves from Silver Fern Farms will now pulsate through the industry – Keith Woodford:

Five months ago I wrote that whatever happened at Silver Fern Farms, it would be like an earthquake within the meat industry. Given that Silver Fern Farms is New Zealand’s largest meat company, and with the status quo unsustainable, it could not be any other way.

The offer that has now come forward from Shanghai Maling is remarkable. This offer, once regulatory approvals are received, will change Silver Fern Farms from being large but financially very weak, to being large and financially very strong.

Apart from mid-season working capital, Silver Fern Farms will be debt free and with cash in their war chest to ‘take it’ to their competitors. . . 

Alliance reaches out to Silver Fern suppliers – Dene Mackenzie:

Invercargill meat processor Alliance Group wasted no time yesterday in trying to woo disgruntled Silver Fern Farm suppliers after Silver Fern announced a joint venture with a Chinese company.

Alliance chairman Murray Taggart said it was important for New Zealand farmers to retain ownership of their industry and the best way to achieve that would be to supply Alliance as the only remaining major co-operative.

Alliance also muddied the water somewhat by saying it submitted a bid for Silver Fern before Silver Fern’s capital-raising process got under way as part of ongoing discussions with the Dunedin group. . . 

Beef and Lamb expects farm profits to rise – Dene Mackenzie:

New Zealand ”average” sheep and beef farmers are in for a profit lift and Beef and Lamb chief economist Andrew Burtt calls it positive news at a time when the economy would benefit from increased farm sector spending.

Beef and Lamb predicted the average sheep and beef farm would see its profit before tax lift to $109,000 this season – 9.6% more than last season but 3.1% below the five year average. . . 

Sheep meat marketing needs focus on premium – Simon Hartley:

Softening demand for sheepmeat in China and Europe should be prompting New Zealand to prioritise getting premium chilled lamb cuts in China, and to also look further afield to new Middle Eastern markets.

Softer overseas demand for New Zealand sheepmeat, particularly from China, had curtailed New Zealand sheepmeat producers’ returns in recent months, Rabobank animal protein analyst, Matthew Costello said in his recent report on the New Zealand sheepmeat industry.

While China’s imports had ”exploded on to the New Zealand sheepmeat export scene” in 2013, to become New Zealand’s largest sheepmeat trading partner, its own production had since grown to about eight times that of New Zealand. . . 

Large trade blocs good for NZ exports:

New Zealand’s refreshed priorities for international trade have been welcomed by ExportNZ.

The Government’s Business Growth Agenda on trade has been updated, with a focus on completing the Trans Pacific Partnership, achieving a free trade agreement with the European Union, and engaging more with emerging economies in Latin and South America.

ExportNZ Executive Director Catherine Beard said exporters welcomed the continued emphasis on TPP. . .

Swede test a first for NZ – Hamish Maclean:

The plight of Southern farmers last year has led to a first for New Zealand.

When 200 dairy cows died in Southland and South Otago and many more became ill, the cause – a naturally occurring compound in winter feed, swedes in particular, – could not be tested at any New Zealand commercial laboratories.

Now, commercial glucosinolate testing of plants is available in New Zealand, and that is good news for the dairy industry, Dairy NZ says. . . 

Farm prices hold up; MyFarm eyeing dairy opportunities – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Farm prices are holding up well on a drop in volume over the winter months, according to the latest Real Estate Institute of New Zealand rural farm sales data.

There were only three dairy farm sales recorded in the past month and the median sales price per hectare for dairy farms for the three months ended August fell to $26,906, compared to $35,304 for the three months ended July and $43,125 for the three months ended August 2014.

But the REINZ Dairy Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in farm size and location, rose by 17.3 percent in the three months to August, compared to the three months to July. . . 

Tests before tightening help protect farm fertility:

Soil tests should be the first step for farmers trying to managing budgets while maintaining pasture productivity.

Ballance Science Extension Manager, Ian Tarbotton, says keeping soils fertile is good insurance with pasture an essential feed source, but gut instinct or past experience won’t lead to good decisions on what to spend or save.

“Soil tests will show you what you have to work with and they are the best guide to decisions around a fertiliser budget. The last thing farmers want to do is to compromise future productivity, so understanding what nutrients are available now is the best basis for decisions on fertiliser budgets.” . . 


Rural round-up

January 20, 2015

Review of cost of food safety and biosecurity services:

The Ministry for Primary Industries is looking for feedback on proposed updates to fee rates needed to maintain the safety of New Zealand’s food and protect New Zealand from biosecurity risks.

The proposals update the amount the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) charges industry to provide food safety and biosecurity services.

“Biosecurity and food safety are critical to the operation and viability of New Zealand’s primary industries. Without these systems, New Zealand’s $38.3 billion primary sector exports would never get past importing countries’ borders and New Zealand’s primary industries would be exposed to a much greater risk of potentially devastating pests and diseases,” says Dan Bolger, MPI’s Deputy Director-General, Office of the Director-General. . .

Wine industry strongly opposes MPI cost recovery proposal:

New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) is strongly opposing a proposal from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to recover $2.9 million per year from the wine industry to meet the costs of its wine regulatory programme.

“Wineries currently pay just over $200 million each year in excise to the government” said Steve Green, Chair of New Zealand Winegrowers. “Payments have increased by $70 million, or more than 60%, in the past decade. From our perspective requiring the industry to pay an additional $2.9 million to MPI every year is manifestly unjustifiable”.

The MPI proposal for wine is part of a wider review of the fees MPI charges to primary industries for the services and activities it undertakes as part of New Zealand’s biosecurity and food safety systems. “Other major primary industries are subject to the MPI user-pays regime. However unlike the wine industry, none of those sectors also pay a product specific tax”, said Mr Green. . .

 Best dairy pastures picked

Winners of a competition to identify the Waikato and Bay of Plenty’s best new and renewed dairy pastures will host field days at their properties in late January.

Morrinsville farmer James Booker, and Robert Garshaw from Waiuku, are winners of the Pasture Renewal Persistence Competition run by the DairyNZ-led Pasture Renewal Leadership Group.

Robert Garshaw won best first year pasture, while James Booker won the best pasture of more than three years old. . . .

Full benefits only realised with farmer use:

Product innovation and technology breakthroughs coming out of the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Clearview Innovations Primary Growth Partnership programme are going to deliver some real results for farming, and for New Zealand. However, the full benefits will only be realised when farmers start using them.

Ballance Science Extension Manager Ian Tarbotton says a key part of the co-operative’s $19.5 million programme, co-funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Primary Growth Partnership, is on-farm support to help farmers understand what these innovations can do for them, and how to use them.

“With the first of our products, such as N-Guru, now becoming available for use on-farm, there’s a significant piece of work going on to make it easy for farmers to do just that. . .

Contractors available to help out:

Farmers facing financial stress and mounting pressure on-farm and exacerbated by the increasingly dry weather, should reach out for help as should agricultural contractors, advises Rural Contractors New Zealand.

RCNZ President, Steve Levet says with the on-going dry in many areas around the country – on top of the lower forecast milk price –could see some farmers feeling overwhelmed and under huge pressure.

“However, there are things on farm that have to be done – no matter what – such as supplementary feed and crop harvesting,” Mr Levet explains. “Contractors are professionals and are especially set up to help out when these jobs need to be done on-farm.” . . .

 

Inaugural Hawke’s Bay Wine Celebration is set to shine:

The inaugural Hawke’s Bay Wine Celebration is set to shine, this exciting event Wine Hawke’s Bay are planning to capitalise on the influx of trade and media coming through to attend the Central Otago Pinot Noir Celebration 2015. The Hawke’s Bay Wine Celebration is being held on Monday, 26th January 2015 to capture the international and national wine trade and media’s attention prior to the Central Otago event on 29th January. . .

 

 

 


Rural round-up

January 17, 2015

Fire risk in mowing roadside vegetation:

Federated Farmers is warning farmers and the rural community of the risk in mowing roadside vegetation in the extreme dry conditions.

“The fire environment has reached the point where it has become extremely dangerous and high risk to use a mechanical mower to top paddocks and mow road sides,” says Anders Crofoot, Federated Farmers Rural Fire Spokesperson.

“In the past 14 days Wairarapa Rural Fire District has attended 6 vegetation fires caused by the mowing of the road side or the topping of paddocks. Consequently Wairarapa Rural Fire and the Federation strongly recommend any mowing activity is postponed until weather conditions allow and the fire risk is lower.” . . .

Kiwifruit bonanza with soaring volumes – Carmen Hall:

Gold kiwifruit volumes are expected to increase by 70 per cent this year – sparking an employment drive across the industry.

The increase in volumes is also expected to pump millions of dollars into the local economy.

Zespri chief operating officer Simon Limmer said in 2013/14, 18 million trays were produced and that was predicted to rise “to upward of 30 million trays” and could reach 60 million trays by 2017.

“We have got three years of very steep volume growth, potentially up to 50 to 60 million trays. We were at 30 million trays in 2011 which was the pre-Psa impact and dropped back to 11 million trays in 2012/13 so we are now on the recovery.” . . .

NZ tractor sales rise to four decade high in 2014 on buoyant rural economy – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand tractor sales rose to their highest in almost four decades last year, reflecting a buoyant rural economy as farmers benefited from strong prices and good growing conditions.

New tractor registrations surged to 3,038 in calendar 2014, up 4.7 percent on 2013 and at the highest level since 3,129 in 1976, according to New Zealand Transport Agency data. Spending on farm buildings also rose, with the value of consents up 24 percent in the year though November to a six-year high of $322 million, according to Statistics New Zealand data.

Farmers stepped up their spending on big-ticket items like tractors and buildings last year, reflecting low interest rates, record prices and good growing conditions in the 2013/14 farming season. Spending is likely to fall this year as farmers face higher interest rates, lower prices and with drought conditions spreading through the East Coast. . .

 $5.75m debt; orchard sold – Lynda van Kempen:

One of the largest stonefruit operations in the country, Summerfruit Orchards Ltd, which owes $5.75 million, has been sold to a New Zealand buyer.

The company went into receivership in September, owing among its debts just over $4 million to SBS Bank.

The first report by receivers Colin Gower, of Christchurch, and Tim Ward, of Invercargill, has revealed the main creditors after the collapse of the company. . .

 

Workshops turn nitrogen reports into practical actions:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients has joined forces with the Dairy Women’s Network, DairyNZ, Fonterra, Miraka, Synlait and Tatua to help farmers come to grips with their farm nitrogen reports and how to use them to support N-loss improvements.

Ian Tarbotton, of Ballance’s Science Extension Team, says a roadshow in both the North and South Islands through February and March will help farmers turn reports into action.

“We want to take the mystery out of farm nitrogen reports, show what factors influence the numbers in reports, and leave farmers with some really practical ways to change their numbers for the better.” . . .

Awards Continues to Attract New Entrants

The 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards has continued to attract large numbers of first time entrants to the awards programme, which aims to help people progress their career in the dairy industry.

National Convenor Chris Keeping says an analysis of the 532 entries received in the awards competitions – including the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year – shows 338 are entering one of the contests for the first time. . . .

 

 

 


Rural round-up

October 30, 2014

The rising star of beef – Keith Woodford:

With so much focus on the current dairy downturn, it is easy to miss the rising star of beef. This year beef prices have been hitting record highs, both in US and NZ dollars. Young steers and bulls are fetching anywhere between $1100 and $1600 at slaughter, depending on weight and category.

The key driver has been demand for hamburger beef from the United States. Demand from China has also been increasing.

The New Zealand Meat Industry Association has reported beef exports of 380,000 tonnes earning $2.2 billion dollars for the year ending June 2014. Since 2001, these exports have fluctuated between about 325,000 tonnes and just over 400,000 tonnes with no clear trend. Cull cows from the dairy industry have been contributing an increasing proportion of total production. . .

Launch of renewable energy initiative in Southland:

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges has today welcomed the launch of New Zealand’s first region-wide wood energy heat hub that will help fuel the Southland economy.

Wood Energy South is a joint initiative between the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and Venture Southland that will partner with local businesses, schools and healthcare facilities to help them convert to cleaner, renewable wood burning technology.

“Southland’s strong forestry and wood processing industry creates a rich source of wood fuel for the region. This project will help local businesses realise the renewable energy potential in their own back yard. . . .

Lee Valley Dam must be affordable:

Federated Farmers is urging the Government to support the Tasman District Council’s (TDC) Waimea Dam Project to prevent the critical shortage of water for urban and farming development.

“It’s not a matter of whether the dam goes ahead, it is how it goes ahead,” says Martin O’Connor, Federated Farmers Nelson provincial president.

“We are living in a catch 22, because the build is likely to cost irrigators $520 per hectare and increase rates by 11 cents per cubic metre a year, but our rural and urban communities cannot survive without it. . .

 Testing the mobile cow shed – Milking on the Moove:

It’s been a busy month testing out the mobile cowshed. I took this video about a month ago & I have only now found the time to put it up. I’ve been getting a few requests for a video.

It’s just a quick look at how the system works. I’m still in the testing phase & we are ironing out all the little issues. 

At the moment I’m only milking 8 cows & the neighbours are taking the milk to feed to their calves.
I can’t start selling our milk until I have been approved by the ministry of primary industries. That journey is turning out to be a bit of a drama, but I’ll write about that another day. . . .

Sanford takes on KiwiNet Business Challenge to uncover new processing technologies for mussels:

Sanford Limited is taking on a KiwiNet Business Challenge to uncover novel proposals for high-speed automated technologies that will help it process its current daily rate of 1.5 million mussels. Today, researchers at New Zealand’s public research organisations will be pitching ideas to improve mussel processing in Nelson at the Aquaculture NZ Research Workshop in a bid to win $5,000 of prototype development funding and the opportunity to work with Sanford to develop their solution for commercial application.

Sanford’s Aquaculture Manager Ted Culley says, “Processing as many molluscs as we do presents all sorts of challenges. This a great opportunity for us and others in the aquaculture industry to uncover some novel ideas with commercial potential. While we’re looking for a winning idea, we’re keen to investigate all good ideas, so we may end up with more research projects.” . . .

New fund to assist the growth of New Zealand dairy farming:

Dairy farmers looking to grow their family business will soon have access to a new source of funding, with the launch of an innovative new investment vehicle, the NZ Dairy Farming Trusts.

The Trusts – a joint venture between New Zealand farm investment company MyFarm Limited and German alternative-fund manager Aquila Capital – is seeking to raise up to $100 million from international and domestic wholesale investors. **

The initiative is aimed at providing the New Zealand dairy industry with much needed new capital in order to realise its economic potential. The fund plans to lend money at interest rates tied to milk and land prices, providing dairy farmers with alternative to taking on equity partners. . . .

Ballance moves to science specialisation:

With New Zealand farming systems as diverse as farmers themselves, Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ Science Extension team is making the shift to specialist roles to better support the changing requirements of farmers working with different climates, topography, soil types and farm types.

Science Extension Manager Ian Tarbotton says knowledge about soils, fertiliser, forages and nutrient budgets is fundamental to support farmers in reaching their goals, and the demand for more specialised knowledge is growing rapidly.

“We have two driving factors. First, higher environmental demands mean farmers are now working within tighter controls around nutrient management and protecting water quality. There is no one simple solution for each farm and it is not just a case of managing fertiliser. Feeding regimes, stocking rates, stock movements and soil types all have an influence and they will vary from farm to farm. . .

 

Ballance Ward B Election draws record field:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ call last month for director nominations for its Ward B has yielded 9 candidates hoping to replace Dean Nikora who resigned as a director ahead of taking up an international posting.

Ballance Chairman, David Peacocke, says he is delighted that Ward B shareholders have such a strong field of candidates to choose from and he believes that 9 is a record.

“The strong field indicates that we have shareholders who recognise this is an excellent opportunity to contribute to the governance of our co-operative, which is close to being a $1 billion business in terms of revenue. Having high quality candidates for director vacancies is vital to the success of our co-operative, and the response to our call for nominations has certainly achieved that. We have a very good mix with six men and three women seeking election. . .


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