Rural round-up

October 15, 2018

Big changes coming – Neal Wallace:

Farming will change fundamentally if new freshwater quality management rules restricting intensive winter grazing and fertiliser use are introduced.

The Government last week released Essential Freshwater: Healthy water, fairly allocated, a report on how to improve freshwater quality within five years.

While it lacked detail the Government singled out winter grazing, hill country cropping, feedlots and nutrient use as causes of degraded water quality that will be a focus. . .

No rural-urban divide found here – Neal Wallace:

Anna Jones never forgot her rural roots when a career in journalism took her to live in some of England’s largest cities. Having experienced life on both sides of the fence she realised she had to do something about the role of the media in the urban-rural disconnect. She told Neal Wallace there are faults on both sides.

ANNA Jones concedes alcohol was involved in a game she created called Farmer Jargon Bingo, played with friends one evening in the English city of Bristol.

A simple concept, it required her urban friends to provide their definition of commonly used farming terms which the farmer’s daughter, journalist and Nuffield scholar duly recorded. . .

 

Move around world never regretted – Sally Rae:

Harry might have met Sally but when Rory met Frank, it was to lead to a move to the other side of the world.

Irish-born Dr Rory O’Brien is research manager at DRL Ltd, based at Invermay’s Agricultural Research Centre. Originally known as Deer Research Laboratory, it was established by Prof Frank Griffin in 1985 within the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Otago.

It has worked closely with veterinarians and farmers for more than 30 years to develop and make available custom-diagnostic services. . . 

Moo beat music for process manager – Sally Rae:

Working in a shiny new $240 million nutritional formula plant is a far cry from a dream of being a musician.

But Nathan McRae, process manager at Mataura Valley Milk on the outskirts of Gore, has no regrets about eventually choosing a career in the dairy industry.

His interest was sparked in Europe during a year-long OE with his wife. He decided he wanted to take the opportunity the industry offered and pursued that interest when he returned to the South.

Gore-born-and-bred, Mr McRae has lived in the Eastern Southland town all his life, with the exception of his OE. . .

Commission releases draft report on Fonterra’s 2018/19 Milk Price Manual:

The Commerce Commission today released its draft report on its annual review of Fonterra’s Milk Price Manual for the 2018/19 dairy season.

Commission Deputy Chair Sue Begg said Fonterra’s 2018/19 Manual remains largely consistent with the purpose of the milk price monitoring regime under the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act.

The Commission has no concerns with Fonterra’s amendments to the Manual this year. However, the treatment of farmer support and the capacity of standard plants remain aspects of the manual that would benefit from revisions to improve consistency with the purpose of the regime and clarity, respectively. . . 

Hill country landscapes focus of five-year project:

Hill country landscapes are the subject of a comprehensive research project which focuses on growing diverse pastures to sustainably lift productivity and profitability, and benefit rural communities.

The five-year project, which is a collaboration between Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ), the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment, PGG Wrightson, Seed Force and the Federation for Maori Authorities, will be looking at legumes and forage options for hill country, matching land use with land use capability, developing pasture management guidelines and building strong rural communities.

B+LNZ ‘s Research Manager Tanya Robinson says field work, led by Professor Derrick Moot from Lincoln University, has already started with plot trials evaluating a number of legumes and forages. . .

A sheep that stole the A and P show:

An enterprising sheep stole some of the limelight at the Ellesmere A and P Show on Saturday, gatecrashing a ribbon ceremony and masquerading as an alpaca after escaping from a pen at the shearing shed.

The cunning plan came unstuck when there weren’t enough ribbons to go around, leaving the opportunist ovine without so much as a stitch of silk to wear, with barely anywhere to hide and looking decidedly sheepish as it stood beside the beribboned alpaca section winners with their owners in the main oval. . . 

Low emission cows: farming responds to climate warning – Jonathan Watts:

From low-emission cows to robotic soil management, the farming industry will have to explore new approaches in the wake of a UN warning that the world needs to cut meat consumption or face worsening climate chaos.

That was the message from Guy Smith, vice-president of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), this week as policymakers began to discuss how Britain can address the challenges posed by the recent global warming report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Farming and land use are set to move to a more central position in the climate debate in the wake of that report, which urged countries to widen their emissions-cutting efforts beyond the energy industry to agriculture and transport. . .

 


Rural round-up

June 9, 2018

Clear-cut forestry might make a profit, but local communities pay the price – David Hall:

It’s one thing to plant a billion trees; it’s quite another do it well.

Recent floods in Tasman, and now the East Cape, signal what’s at stake. Witness the logs piled up against Mangatokerau Bridge in Tolaga Bay. Or the hillsides scoured with slips in Golden Bay, left vulnerable to erosion by clear-felled forest lands. With extreme weather events expected to increase due to climate change, it is critical that we don’t plant one billion of the wrong trees in the wrong place with the wrong management system.

Our future forests need to be financially viable, environmentally sustainable, and resilient. Crucially, we also need forests that people want to live with, to be nurtured and protected in future decades. . .

Source unclear but charges likely:

It is becoming increasingly evident pinpointing an exact path for the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis into New Zealand might never happen though charges for Biosecurity Act breaches are pending.

The Primary Industries Ministry has not said how it thinks the organism entered the country.

While speculation is rife that European-sourced semen is the most likely suspect, Biosecurity NZ head Roger Smith said investigations do not support that.

The M bovis strain has been confirmed as of European descent but is also occasionally found in America. . . 

FROM THE RIDGE: Showing resolve and compassion– Steve Wyn-Harris:

As we all know, the Government has made the big call to have a go at eradicating Mycoplasma bovis from the country.

It is supported by our own industry bodies.

They were damned if they tried and damned if they didn’t but have shown faith in the scientists and experts and believe there is a reasonable chance of achieving the goal.

Leadership can be a difficult place at times like this and I respect the resolve, compassion and decision-making Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor have shown over this very difficult matter.

I’ve had several conversations with farmers from South Canterbury who have been dealing with the consequences of this disease. . . 

A smorgasbord of agricultural issues – Keith Woodford:

[For the last three years I have been writing fortnightly columns for NZFarmer, which is delivered free to all New Zealand farmers. However the agricultural press in New Zealand is undergoing major change. One part of that change is that Stuff (formerly Fairfax) is now moving towards a digital focus and will cease to publish the weekly NZFarmer. This was my farewell column  to NZFarmer.]

With the impending demise of NZ Farmer, this will be my last article published here. So, I had to give a lot of thought as to what I wanted to say.

Right now, we are surrounded by forces for change. There are so many topics that could be covered. So, I have decided to provide a smorgasbord of key issues.

Mycoplasma bovis
It would be impossible to walk away without saying something about Mycoplasma bovis.  This disease, and the way we have chosen to respond to it, will change many aspects of dairying going forward. My personal perspective is that we might struggle to eradicate the disease, but if we do fail, we will still succeed in managing the disease. There are many worse diseases. . . 

Significantly more Māori farms are grassland, stats show :

Four times as much Māori-owned farmland is grassland, compared to the rest of New Zealand farms, statistics show. 

By June last year, an average of 590 hectares of Māori farmland was grassland, compared to an average 147ha of other farms. 

The Statistics New Zealand figures showed more than eight times more Māori-owned land was covered in plantation crops. . . 

Sanford appoints Fonterra executive Katherine Turner as new CFO – Tina Morrison:

 (BusinessDesk) – Sanford has appointed Katherine Turner as the new chief financial officer of New Zealand’s largest listed seafood company.

Turner has worked for 25 years in various finance roles, almost 12 years of which were with the country’s largest company, Fonterra Cooperative Group, where she was most recently commercial director for Fonterra Brands, New Zealand’s biggest fast-moving consumer goods business responsible for brands such as Anchor, Mainland, Fresh’n Fruity and Tip Top. Prior to Fonterra, Turner had nine years in finance roles with French dairy company Danone in New Zealand and France. . . 

Fit for calving – Farmstrong:

Canterbury dairy farm contractor Nicole Jackson is on a mission to reduce the number of injuries to female calf rearers during the physically demanding calving season.

She’s created a six-week online conditioning and strengthening initiative for women to prepare their bodies for the physically gruelling calving season, which is currently under way in many parts of the country.

“There’s a lot of information out there about things like getting meals and the kids ready for calving season but not a lot about getting your body ready,” says Nicole, a mother of two young boys. . . 

New Zealand scientists are breeding sheep to fart and burp less – Jon Daly:

New Zealand researchers are curbing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions one sheep fart at a time.

Scientists at Invermay Agricultural Centre in Mosgiel, about 360km south-west of Christchurch, have bred climate-friendly sheep that produce 10 per cent less methane than their gassy counterparts.

Livestock emissions are the biggest contributor to New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions and make up about 10 per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse emissions. . .

 


Rural round-up

September 1, 2017

Low methane producing sheep could be way forward for NZ – Brittany Pickett:

Sheep giving off lower methane emissions are being bred by scientists now looking to see if they can produce leaner meat and more lambs.

Methane from livestock is responsible for 33 per cent of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions. As part of international agreements, New Zealand is committed to cutting these emissions.

“New Zealand has the issue that they can’t do this by cutting urban emissions or planting trees,” AgResearch senior scientist Suzanne Rowe said.

Scientists at Invermay have been involved in a five year programme to measure whether breeding sheep for low methane is likely to affect reproduction, productivity and health. . .

Dairy farmers discovers the secret of a happy workforce – Esther Taunton:

Faced with a line-up of ‘zombies’ of his own making, dairy farmer Stuart Taylor knew something had to change.

“I looked at these beautiful young people who I’d promised a life and a career and I’d turned them into zombies,” he said.

“I’d made them work from 3am to 6pm and they were broken, the way we were doing things was broken.”

Speaking at DairyNZ’s Taranaki Rural Professional’s Conference in Inglewood, Taylor said the realisation that things weren’t working was the start of a culture change on his Rangitikei farm. . .

Labour manipulating farmers brilliantly over proposed water tax – Gerald Piddock:

Farmers have played right into Labour’s hands with their outcry over their water tax policy.

Last month has seen floods of claims, counter claims, accusations, conflated figures of its impact and downright hysteria in some quarters of the rural sector.

Thankfully, the vast majority of dairy farms in Waikato are dryland apart from a handful that irrigate in South Waikato, so it will have a minor effect on farmers in this region.

A cynical person would see the tax as a simple, clever vote grab of the urban sector by the Labour Party. . .

MPI sniffer dog joins stink bug fight:

A bug-sniffing detector dog introduced by the Ministry for Primary Industries will help stop the potentially devastating brown marmorated stink bug from making a home in New Zealand.

An MPI labrador (named Georgie) demonstrated her sniffing skills on stage today by locating dead stink bugs hidden in a harvesting machine at the New Zealand Winegrowers conference in Blenheim.

MPI will have two trained dogs ready to sniff out stink bugs this summer, including a specialist dog to assist with detecting the pest in the event of an incursion, says MPI Border Clearance Director Steve Gilbert. . .  

Read the rest of this entry »


Rural round-up

March 28, 2016

Onus put on everyone to keep safe on farms – WorkSafe – Brittany Pickett:

The responsibility of farmers to ensure safety on farms remains mostly unaltered with the new health and safety legislation, says WorkSafe NZ chief executive Gordon MacDonald.

The Health and Safety at Work Act comes into effect on April 4.

The new act puts the responsibility onto almost everyone on a farm to ensure the health and safety of themselves and the people around them.

They must be accountable and identify hazards and risks, taking steps to prevent them from happening, and hold regular training and reviews of incidents with frequent health and safety audits. . . 

Resources to back up health and safety laws – Sally Rae:

Helping people through the “demystification” of health and safety is not about having endless ring binders on the shelf gathering dust, WorkSafe chief executive Gordon MacDonald says.

Instead, there are great resources available and implementation of the new Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) next week was an opportunity for people to review what their own approach was to health and safety.

For the farming community, it was not a question of “eliminating risks from life or getting obsessed by paper cuts”; it was about stuff that caused life-changing and life-ending injuries to people, Mr MacDonald said. . . 

‘A cool bit of science’ – Sally Rae:

AgResearch scientist Sara Edwards is on a quest to help find out why the reproductive performance of hoggets is so poor.

Dr Edwards is reproduction team leader, based at Invermay, where a hogget trial has been conducted over two years at the research centre’s farm, near Mosgiel.

Much work had been done to try to improve the efficiency of hogget lambing using management practices.

Hoggets produce about half the lambs mature ewes do but the underlying question remained as to what was going wrong, Dr Edwards said. . . 

Life on the ridge of sighs – Kate Taylor:

Adrian Arnold glances at the sky and wonders out loud if the flurry of raindrops will come to anything.

Even the slightest hint of rain is enough to send a farmer scurrying back to the woolshed in the middle of shearing to make sure he has enough sheep under cover – in this case, the remainder of 600 two-tooth ewes due for a campylobacter vaccine after shearing.

Adrian grew up at Kaiwaka, north-east of Napier, and has been farming the family’s 425ha property with wife Kim since 1987. . .

Understanding European dairy – Keith Woodford:

In working out the long term positioning for the New Zealand dairy industry, we have to ask ourselves four big questions:
• What will happen in China?
• What will happen to oil prices?
• What will happen in America?
• What will happen in Europe?
In this article I will focus on Europe.

The need to shed some myths
To understand the fundamental changes that are occurring in European dairy, we need to first shed some myths. Dominant among these myths is that the European industry only survives because of subsidies. . . 

Annual Otago shoot culls 10,000 rabbits:

There are 10,011 fewer pest rabbits on Central Otago farms thanks to the annual Great Easter Bunny Hunt.

The 328 hunters who took part in the annual event assembled in Pioneer Park in Alexandra at midday today for the count and prizegiving and a team called Down South took top honours for a second consecutive year with a kill of 889 rabbits.

Team leader Brett Middleton from Winton says the team has been competing for six years and in four of them it has been in the top five. . . 

Farmers Are Awesome's photo.


Rural round-up

July 9, 2014

Thoughts from the UK – Alan Barber:

While in the UK briefly last week I spent a couple of nights with an old university friend who actually got a First in Agriculture at Cambridge which was the best degree achieved by any of my friends or, not surprisingly, me. He farms near the M4 in Berkshire less than 100 kilometres from London.

As usual when I see him, we were chatting about the state of agriculture in our respective countries. He asked me whether I needed a ‘pommie farmer whinge’ to provide some material for a column, so not unnaturally I told him to go ahead. His first complaint was about the amount of New Zealand lamb competing with British lamb in the supermarkets. I suggested the view back home was the natural seasonal fit of New Zealand product didn’t really cut across, but rather complemented, the seasonal availability of British lamb. . .

Professional Foresters Award Their Achievers:

Leaders in the forestry industry were recognised at the New Zealand Institute of Forestry’s annual awards dinner held in Napier last night.

Forester of the Year was awarded to Paul Nicholls, managing director of Rayonier NZ,for outstanding service to the forestry industry.

The award is one of the highest accolades in the industry, recognising contribution, leadership, excellence and integrity. . . .

 Agrarian socialism’s sticky end? – David Leyonhjelm :

THE sugar industry is notorious for attaching itself to the public teat. Concentrated in several marginal seats along the Queensland coast, it has a long history of extracting taxpayer subsidies when prices are down, coercing governments into mandatory use of ethanol in fuel, and blocking imports of both sugar and ethanol.

Most famously, a decade ago it received hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to help it restructure in the face of low prices. Prices bounced back soon after the scheme commenced and, apart from the impact of abolition of the single desk in 2006, not a lot of restructuring occurred. They kept the money though.

A major controversy has now erupted as a result of the decision by the sugar processing company Wilmar to sell all its sugar direct to international customers rather than via the grower-owned marketing organisation, Queensland Sugar Limited (QSL), beginning in 2017. This has prompted another processor, Thai-owned MSF Sugar, to suggest it may follow suit. True to form, there are numerous calls for regulators and governments to intervene. A horde of politicians, including the Queensland Minister for Agriculture, is taking a close interest. . . .

 Environmental support for sheep and beef farmers:

Sheep and beef farmers will have a stronger voice in the regions on environmental issues, through an agreement between Federated Farmers and Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand has added a regional policy capacity to its national and international policy activities directed at sustainability, through a contract with Federated Farmers to use its regional policy network.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive, Dr Scott Champion said: “Federated Farmers has an excellent regional network. Rather than duplicate that, we’ve reached an agreement to use its resources on regional environmental issues.

“We think this is the most efficient way of using sheep and beef farmers’ money to strengthen our voice in this important area.” . .

Genetics used to combat facial eczema:

Dairy farmers battling the devastating livestock disease facial eczema are getting help from scientists and a cattle breeding company.

Facial eczema is a fungal disease spread from spores in pasture. It can kill livestock and is estimated to cost dairy farmers about $160 million a year in lost milk production.

AgResearch and CRV Ambreed, with the backing of DairyNZ, are taking a genetics approach by breeding dairy cattle that are more resistant to the disease. . .

Clue to late puberty in sheep discovered by AgResearch:

A needle-in-a-haystack search for the genetic cause of delayed puberty in a flock of Romney ewes has paid off for a team of AgResearch scientists.

Understanding what regulates the arrival of puberty is important for livestock breeding as well as human health.

Researchers in AgResearch’s Animal Reproduction team at Invermay had noticed that late puberty was a family trait in their research flock. This caused the late developers to miss out on lambing during what could be their first breeding season. They had previously demonstrated that late developers also produce fewer lambs during their lifespans. . .

Rural talent on display in Lincoln:

Every year New Zealand Young Farmers (NZYF) members from across the country come together to catch up, cheer on their Grand Finalist at the ANZ Young Farmer Contest, compete in the clay target shooting, fencing and stock judging national finals and attend the Annual General Meeting.

The top scoring competitors from the regional levels represented their regions as they battled it out for top place at the finals in Lincoln University, Friday 4 July.

The winner of the Gun City Clay Target Shooting Final was Waikato/Bay of Plenty’s Jeffrey Benson of the Hamilton City Young Farmers Club followed by Isaac Billington of the South Waikato Club and in third place was Otago/Southland representative, Brendon Clark of the Tokomairiro Club. . .


Rural round-up

May 30, 2014

AgResearch makes changes to Invermay plans –  Vaughan Elder:

AgResearch has made some changes to its plan to slash jobs at Invermay, but the majority of staff will still be moving north to Lincoln.

Invermay staff, along with those affected by planned restructuring at AgResearch’s other campuses, learnt their fate today, with the organisation making a final announcement – as signalled in today’s Otago Daily Times.

There were some changes made to its plans for the Invermay campus, with three deer researchers no longer relocating to Lincoln and the creation of two new science roles. . .

Give AgResearch a chance:

Federated Farmers understands that with any major decision there will be concern, however, it is asking people to look at the best strategic outcome for New Zealand agricultural science.  Above all, to give AgResearch the chance to reform itself as a 21st Century Crown Research Institute.

“I think farmers should welcome the way AgResearch has listened to reason because Invermay’s future has been enhanced over the original proposals,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Food Production Sciences spokesperson.

“There have been some regional gains for those in the south and north, with the Invermay and Ballantrae hill country farms being kept for sheep, beef and deer research.  Invermay will clearly become the centre for deer research.

“We must remember that this restructure is not this year, next year or even the year after.  We are talking 2017 and while one out of every four scientific or technician roles will be asked to relocate, that means 75 percent will not. . . .

DINZ welcomes finalisation of AgResearch’s Future Footprint:

Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) has welcomed announcements, made today by AgResearch, finalising the shape of its ‘Future Footprint’ restructuring.

DINZ Deputy Chair, Jerry Bell, said that it is important that the plan is now finalised, giving certainty to the staff who will be affected, and DINZ was satisfied that the final changes to ‘Future Footprint’ were significant and a good outcome for both Invermay and the deer industry.

“While we accepted the strategic rationale for Future Footprint, we have been concerned throughout that such strategic change can be very disruptive and can contribute to a loss of important people. In that context, it’s great to draw a line under the process.” . .

Consultation on the sale of raw milk to consumers:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is asking for public feedback on options for the sale of raw milk to consumers.

MPI’s deputy director general Deborah Roche says any changes would need to balance people’s desire to buy and drink raw milk with the requirement that food safety risks are properly dealt with.

“It’s clear that there is still a demand for raw milk and that more and different options for its sale need to be considered. It’s important people have the opportunity to comment on this matter so that MPI can consider all viewpoints before making any recommendations for change. I would encourage anyone that has an interest in raw milk sales to consumers to have their say,” Ms Roche says. . .

New president for Federated Farmers Marlborough:

Federated Farmers would like to welcome our new Marlborough provincial president, Greg Harris, who is replacing Gary Barnett, following their Annual General Meeting.

“Greg has been a part of Federated Farmers for 20 years and is well versed on the issues surrounding the Marlborough region, having stepped up from the provinces’ Meat & Fibre Chairperson role,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers National President.

“I would like to thank outgoing provincial president, Gary Barnett for his service to the province and Federated Farmers; he has been an integral part of the Federation.

“We are in a year of change within the Federation, with leadership changes throughout the organisation both nationally and provincially, Greg is an incredibly passionate advocate for the farming community and I know he will do a fantastic job,” said Mr Wills. . .

Rabobank recruits new animal proteins analyst:

Rabobank welcomes new-comer Angus Gidley-Baird, appointed as a senior animal proteins analyst to cover the sheep and beef sectors, joining the bank’s Australia & New Zealand Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory division.

General manager of Rabobank’s Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory Luke
Chandler said Angus’ appointment brought to the team a great depth of agricultural knowledge, as well as mainstream political and economic policy awareness.

“Angus’ entire career has been spent in agribusiness and throughout this time, he has gained a very strong foundation in the sorts of issues impacting farmers and industry stakeholders all the way through the supply chain,” Mr Chandler said. . .

Orange roughy ecolabel to assist exports:

Sealord has welcomed the next step in the journey to have New Zealand orange roughy globally recognised as a sustainable seafood choice.

Three of the main orange roughy fisheries have been submitted for assessment by the Marine Stewardship Council to verify if they can carry the world’s best known marine ecolabel.

New Zealand’s quota management system has allowed industry and government to work together to achieve this and Sealord Fishing General Manager, Doug Paulin, says that MSC certification will provide an additional assurance to customers.
“Globally, New Zealand seafood has a great reputation and Sealord customers will be supportive of this new measure to show retailers and customers alike orange roughy is a sustainable choice,” said Paulin. . .

Boutique Wine Festival Brings the Best of New Zealand to Auckland:

After a successful launch in 2013, the second annual New Zealand Boutique Wine Festival is set to return to Auckland’s Imperial Building on Sunday 15 June 2014.

This year’s festival will see 21 boutique vineyards from around New Zealand showcasing more than 200 wines across a huge range of varietals, creating a one-of-a-kind cellar door experience.

Throughout the day, event attendees will be able to explore wines from different regions, enjoy fantastic food and wine pairings, great live music, and participate in blind tasting seminars throughout the day. . .


Rural round-up

May 7, 2014

Farmers ‘need to meet minimum standards’:

Farm employment issues will be high on the agenda at Dairy New Zealand’s farmers forum in Waikato on Wednesday and Thursday.

Dairy NZ is responding to farmers’ requests to provide some practical guidance following a recent survey by labour inspectors found most of the farms checked were breaking employment rules. Most of the breaches related to record-keeping.

The organisation, along with Federated Farmers, is seeking changes to the minimum wage order so farmers can average out their employee’s pay over a fortnight rather than a week. . .

Rural lending growth may slow after dairy-fuelled expansion – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s rural lending, which more than doubled to an all-time high of $50.6 billion in the past decade on dairy farm expansion, may slow as farmers use record milk payouts to reduce debt, spurred on by rising interest rates.

In the past 10 years to June 30, 2013, agricultural debt has risen mostly due to the dairy sector where lending has almost tripled to $32.4 billion. The surge in lending to the dairy industry far exceeds the $1.4 billion debt owed by sheep farmers and $1.2 billion accrued by beef cattle farmers, according to Reserve Bank figures.

Dairy sector lending has soared as farmers have invested in converting land to dairy farming to take advantage of high milk prices and the associated strong growth in farm land prices, the central bank said in its last Financial Stability report in November. Indebted dairy farmers will be weighing up using high dairy payouts to pay down debt or increase farm investment in anticipation of a positive outlook, it said. Since then, the bank has begun to raise interest rates, hiking the benchmark twice in as many months, and milk prices have weakened in response to increased production. . .

Passionate about the Perendale – Sally Rae:

Ask Duncan Smith why he has stuck with the Perendale breed and the answer is succinct.

”They are just so tough and they just don’t die,” Mr Smith, who farms Islay Downs, on the Pigroot, said.

Mr Smith and his wife Claire are among the four entrants in the Sir Geoffrey Peren Cup competition, judged on farm last month and held in conjunction with Perendale New Zealand’s national conference in Otago this week.

The winner will be announced during the conference. It was Mr Smith’s late father, Ross, who took up the Perendale breed in the late 1970s. He was a ”very staunch Perendale man”. . .

Breed event in Otago – Sally Rae:

More than 60 registrations from throughout New Zealand have been received for Perendale New Zealand’s national conference in Otago this week.

Planning for the annual event, which alternates between the North and South islands, began nearly a year ago. The conference begins on Thursday with registrations and a dinner.

On Friday, there is a bus tour to South Otago, visiting the Mitchell family’s Hillcrest stud at Clinton, and the Gardner family’s stud near Balclutha. There will also be a visit to AgResearch’s Invermay research centre, and to the Elders woolstore to view a wool competition. . . .

 

NAIT helping graziers keep up to date:

Farmers grazing stock this season can keep track of their animals by ensuring their NAIT records are up to date.

“It’s important to record all off-farm movements of stock to grazing blocks and confirm with NAIT when the animals arrive back on your property,” said Dr Stu Hutchings, OSPRI New Zealand Group Manager, Programme Design and Farm Operations.

“NAIT tags provide a unique identification number for each animal, which can help farmers verify that the same animals they sent for grazing are the ones they are getting back.” . .  .

Small-scale pest control still helps:

A study of rat poisoning in small forest blocks has shown that pest control on a small-scale can still provide a huge boost to native bird populations.

The six year study was carried out by Massey University researchers who analysed the effects of rat control in 19 blocks near Bennydale in the King Country.

It showed that small-scale control increased the number of North Island robins by 50 percent on average each year and also helped other species favoured by rats . . .

Federated Farmers initiative makes employing easy:

Federated Farmers has developed a New Employers Pack to help first time employers meet their employment obligations and develop better working relationships on farm.

“We want all employers to be able to put their best foot forward and this pack allows them to do that,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Employment Spokesperson.

“The New Employers Pack is in response to an overwhelming demand for it from our members. In a member survey 97 percent wanted an employment pack produced. So Federated Farmers has created one, which helps farmers get it right from the very start, and that ticks all the boxes.

“As a farmer myself, I know farmers would prefer to know they are doing it right and understand what is required of them. This pack is designed for all farm types so I know all farmers will jump at this innovative employment pack. . . .

Rural Equities lifts stake in Tandou to 21% after rights issue:

Rural Equities, the farming group controlled by the Cushing family, has lifted its stake in Tandou after taking up its entitlement in the ASX-listed agribusiness’s three-for-eight rights offer.

Entities associated with Rural Equities now hold 21 percent, up from the 17.7 percent owned in August. Tandou’s offer at 47 Australian cents a share closed on April 28. Shareholders subscribed for about A$13.5 million of the A$25.2 million sought. Underwriter Petra Capital made up the shortfall of about A$11.7 million, placing the stock with institutions and professional investors.

Tandou shares last traded at 46.5 Australian cents on the ASX and have gained about 12 percent in the past year. They are rated a ‘strong buy’ based on two analysts polled by Reuters. . . .

Zabeel Mares Highlight NZB Broodmare Sale:

A prime opportunity for new players to enter the breeding game and for existing breeders to expand their portfolio is presented by New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Broodmare Sale, next week (13 May) at Karaka.

There are 209 broodmares catalogued for sale by leading damsires from New Zealand, Australia and further afield, in foal to proven and exciting young sires.

One of the highlights of the Sale will be the 12 broodmare entries by legendary sire Zabeel. The recently retired Cambridge Stud stallion is the damsire of 24 individual Group 1 winners including Dundeel (High Chaparral), Atlantic Jewel (Fastnet Rock),Silent Achiever (O’Reilly), Go Indy Go(Bernardini) and O’Marilyn (O’Reilly) this season. . . .


Rural round-up

April 28, 2014

Onwards and upwards for millers – Sally Rae:

When Griffins Foods signed a contract to source flour from South Canterbury-based Farmers Mill, it was a leap of faith in a group of arable farmers.

At that stage, Farmers Mill did not have a mill, let alone the ability to supply a sample. Nor was there a track record in flour production.

”It’s a great story in the sense that Griffins bought into the idea without a mill and no product,” Farmers Mill chairman and South Canterbury farmer Murray Turley reflected.

He attributed the biscuit and snack food company’s confidence in the yet-to-be opened mill to the security of the raw material and knowing the source of it. . .

Recovery but still fragile:

RECENT RAIN IN Waikato and South Auckland has set farmers on the road to recovery from the drought but the situation remains fragile for some, a meeting of farming leaders and central and local Government officials has heard.

The teleconference attended by Federated Farmers, DairyNZ and other farming groups, the Rural Support Trust, the Ministry for Primary Industries and Waikato Regional Council was told there had been good rain in the two regions over the past week.

There was general agreement that the drought had been “broken” by the rain but rainfall totals still weren’t that much in some places, some pasture was still brown and that more rain was needed over coming weeks to ensure that recovery continued. . .

Fish & Game calls for public enquiry into the future of farming:

Fish & Game NZ is calling for a public enquiry “to examine the future of agriculture in New Zealand”.

Fish & Game chief executive Bryce Johnson suggested the move in a presentation to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee today where he was invited to discuss the future of farming following the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s recent critical report on land use and nutrient pollution in waterways.

In his submission Mr Johnson explained the impact intensive agriculture is having on waterways.

“Two recent public polls confirm the wider public is clearly engaged in the issue now – and the overwhelming majority want the dairy sector to adopt a different way of operating in the future,” he says. . .

Dark horse takes the win in Aorangi:

James Davidson is the last Grand Finalist to be named in the ANZ Young Farmer Contest after earning top spot at the Aorangi Regional Final Monday 21 April in Fairlie.

Crowds packed the Mackenzie Showgrounds as the eight Young Farmers demonstrated their skills, strength and stamina in the practical challenges including constructing drafting gates, digger operation and carving a wood sculpture using a chainsaw. Later in the evening the Mackenzie Community Centre was abuzz for the evening show and quiz round.

It was Mr Davidson’s first attempt at the regional level and admitted he was quite shocked after winning what he says was a rather difficult competition. . .

Rural broadband initiative milestone –  Leeana Tamati :

The sight of Netta Wilton sitting in the middle of a paddock with a laptop would probably seem odd to passersby, but it was a common scene last year.

Mrs Wilton, who lives in Scotts Gap with her husband Karl and three children, had such slow broadband

she would need to sit in a paddock to get any kind of reliable speed to do her online banking.

Mrs Wilton and her household can now successfully watch videos, play games and do the banking online, thanks to the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI).

The RBI is a partnership between Vodafone and the government aiming to upgrade 387 existing cell towers and build 154 new towers around the country in a bid to give rural residents access to fast broadband. . .

Faster scanner at Invermay :

A new CT scanner at Invermay will provide South Island sheep and deer farmers with faster and more accurate carcass measurements.

The scanner, which uses X-ray technology to create cross-sectional pictures of the body, has been provided by Innervision, a joint venture between Landcorp Farming Ltd and AgResearch.

It replaces an older scanner that has been in operation for 18 years. . . .

 

Get a taste for training:

Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre is holding a four day Taster course on the Wairarapa campus 28 April – 1 May.

The Taster programme is an opportunity for anyone thinking about getting involved in agricultural training to have a ‘taste’ of what Taratahi training and campus life is all about.   

Taster students will stay at the Wairarapa campus for four nights in student accommodation and enjoy three hearty meals a day.  The days are jam-packed with modules on quad bikes, chainsaws, fencing, stock movement and lots more.

During the four days Taster students will also discover all the study options available at Taratahi and most taster students get an idea early on if they are interested in specialising in sheep or dairy. . . .


Rural Round-up

March 9, 2014

Agriculture sector asked for input on health and safety:

WorkSafe New Zealand has released a suite of draft health and safety guidelines for those working in the agriculture industry for public consultation.

WorkSafe NZ’s National Programmes Manager, Francois Barton said that the draft guidelines are based on accepted best practice and have been developed in partnership with industry bodies and subject experts to ensure they meet the needs of New Zealand farmers.

“Good guidance is critical for farmers to know what safe work looks like, and these guidelines will play an important role in helping farm owners and managers understand and comply with their obligations and duties,” Mr Barton said.

“This is a really important opportunity for those most affected to have their say about agricultural health and safety. These are the people closest to the dangers and their views are very important. . .

West Coast cutting rights sold:

Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew has today announced the sale of 22,800 hectares of Crown forest cutting rights on the West Coast to Ngāi Tahu Forest Estates Ltd (NTFE).

“The Crown’s forests are being sold to NTFE under a first right of refusal dating back to Ngāi Tahu’s 1997 Treaty Settlement,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“The land the forests are on was previously purchased by Ngāi Tahu as part of their Treaty Settlement.

“Since 1990, government policy has been to exit from commercial forestry on commercial terms. The sale of forests to Ngāi Tahu is consistent with this policy.” . . .

Invermay vital for the sheep industry:

The Southern Texel Breeders Association has called on the AgResearch Board and management to attend a meeting to explain what science will be left at the Invermay campus following the proposed restructure to Lincoln.

Tom Richardson (CEO of AgResearch) and Sam Robinson (Chair) will be attending the public meeting to be held at the Heartland Hotel in Gore at 1.30pm on Wednesday 12th March.

The association says that the retention of Invermay fits with Government strategy in all aspects of regional development, economic growth and knowledge transfer. . .

Upper North Island dryness a concern:

Federated Farmers is increasingly anxious over soil moisture deficits in Waikato, south Auckland and the West Coast of Northland.  In some areas, the effects are worse than last year’s record-breaking drought.

“We are keeping a very close eye on the next few weeks,” says James Houghton, Federated Farmers Waikato provincial president.

“We’re hoping to get some rain relief but the MetService’s Monthly Outlook doesn’t give me much hope.

“Farmers know summer means sunshine, heat and a lack of rain.  We can cope with that, but what we can’t cope with is when autumn fails to deliver its essential dose of rain. . .

Four pillars of wisdom – a farm accountant’s take– Pita Alexander:

Pita Alexander is a specialist farm accountant at Alexander’s Chartered Accountant in Christchurch. He shares his thoughts with NBR ONLINE on how the agricultural commodity cycle, capital gains tax, escalating volatility and New Zealand’s debt quagmire may affect the economy in the coming years.

12.15 on the clock of the agricultural commodity cycle

“I find that five to seven years is the average cycle over the last 40 years. It just cycles. It’s nobody’s fault. I will be very surprised if those cycles change much. Maybe they will get a bit shorter, such as four to six year, but who knows.”

“Thinking of it as an economic clock, I would suspect right now we are about 12.15 o’clock. It’s a matter of opinion, of course but we are close to the top.

“Within three years, for various reasons, things will turn on us and we need to be ready for it. We need to make money when things are going up on this side of the cycle but we need to make sure we are building our reserves. . .

Barrys Bay Cheese wins New Zealand’s supreme award:

Storms may have lashed Banks Peninsula over the last week with power blackouts common, but the spotlight was on Barrys Bay Cheese as it took out 11 medals including six golds and the coveted Countdown Champion of Champions Award at the New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards.

The hand-crafted Aged Gouda was described by judges as boasting tropical fruit flavours and was a favourite with the entire panel. Barrys Bay also won golds for its Maasdam, Peppered Havarti, Gouda, Aged Gouda, Gruyere and Nettle Gouda.

The judging panel was made up of 28 of the country’s most experienced cheese connoisseurs and included over 430 New Zealand specialty cheeses. Judge Smith rated New Zealand cheese as “ranking with the best in the world, with certain styles indisputably world class.” . . .


Rural round-up

March 6, 2014

MIE seek funds from Beef + Lamb – Allan Barber:

MIE Chairman John McCarthy put out a press release on Tuesday pressing Beef + Lamb NZ to put its weight behind the remit to the AGM in March which asks “that Beef + Lamb New Zealand provide funding support to the Meat Industry Excellence Group to secure red meat sector reform.”

This maintains the pressure of a campaign waged by MIE for some months now, but I get the impression the sector reform group is no closer to stating how it intends to achieve the reform it wants. The press release says an estimated $200,000 is needed next year to “meet expenses for travel, meetings and other activities associated with driving the reform process.”

The stated justification is B+LNZ has no mandate beyond the farm gate, whereas MIE has ‘runs on the board’ with the successful election of directors to the boards of Alliance and Silver Fern Farms. MIE’s focus is now on processing and marketing issues in the sector.  . .

Sheep farmers pushing for retention of Invermay – Allan Barber:

A group of southern sheep breeders and sheep and deer farmers is strongly lobbying the government to attend a meeting in Gore to be held next Wednesday 12th March. The meeting, to be chaired by past chairman of Beef + Lamb NZ Jeff Grant, will be the first time AgResearch has fronted up to breeders and farmers to talk to them about the planned transfer of research scientists from Invermay to Lincoln.

The purpose of the meeting with AgResearch Board and Management is to hear them outline the proposed shift to Lincoln and the residual science to be retained at Invermay, and for AgResearch to hear the views of their stakeholders. . .

Brown fat ‘key’ to lamb survival:

AgResearch scientists are investigating a special type of fat that new-born lambs use to generate heat and which has a bearing on survival rates.

A research physiologist at the Grasslands campus in Palmerston North, Sue McCoard, says they’ve found that giving nutritional supplements to ewes during pregnancy can boost the amount of brown fat in lambs.

She says that could hold the key to whether lambs, especially twins or triplets, survive cold weather. . .

Waikato farmers desperate for rain

Waikato farmers are praying for rain amid fears of another drought.

Some rivers and streams are running at near record lows for this time of the year and soil is drying out.

Waikato Regional Council’s Chris McLay says the problem is widespread. . . .

Ballance invests in future science talent:

Five university students studying towards a degree in New Zealand’s vibrant primary industry have been awarded Ballance Agri-Nutrients scholarships.

Each scholarship is worth $4000 a year and can be held for a maximum of three years. Scholarships are open to family members of Ballance shareholders or shareholders of an entity (and beneficiaries of that shareholding) with shares in Ballance, as well as family members of company employees.

Warwick Catto, Research and Development Manager at Ballance Agri-Nutrients, says the calibre of this year’s applicants were again of a very high standard and shows that the industry’s future is in safe hands. . .

Farmers Mill Leading the Way With 100% NZ Flour and Innovative Baking Supplies:

A state-of-the-art, brand new mill is the reason Farmers Mill Flour is providing bakers throughout the country with uniquely customised, fully traceable flour and baking supplies.

Farmers Mill, based in Timaru, boasts new milling equipment which has been designed to mill New Zealand wheat to an exceptionally high standard and produces premium biscuit, all-purpose baking, cake, pastry and bread flours to unique, high end specifications.

Since its opening in June last year, the business has grown substantially to become a leading producer for the New Zealand baking industry supplying to iconic brands such as Griffins Foods, Couplands Bakeries, French Bakery and Baker Boys. Examples of key retail outlets using Farmers Mill flour for artisan breads and pastry based products include Little and Friday in Auckland and Rangiora Bakery in Canterbury. . . .

Local Baby Formula Maker NuZtri joins Infant Nutrition Council:

Locally owned Best Health Products Limited producers of NuZtri Premium Formula and fortified Milk Powder products announced today it has been accepted into the Infant Nutrition Council of Australia and New Zealand (INC). On the 20th February this year, Jan Carey, CEO of the Infant Nutrition Council visited the Best Health Limited’s Head Office and RMP facility (Risk Management Program) in Christchurch to view the operation and sign the agreement.

“After successfully completing INC’s assessment we are truly delighted to be approved as an associated member of this prestigious Infant Nutrition Organisation”, said Craig Calder General Manager of NuZtri. . .

 


Rural round-up

March 3, 2014

Golden end to a golden event:

A packed stadium of thrilled spectators were kept on the edge of their seats watching the cream rise to the surface as shearing’s elite battled it out for the prized Golden Shears open crown.
The 54th“Goldies” ended on supreme high after three days of hard slog and sweat, as some of the world’s most skilful shearers and woolhandlers performed out of their skins to make world championship teams, and to take the coverted crowns.
It was high tension in the 20-sheep final, with the top guns of the shearing shearing their flock at a frenetic pace. Four-time shears champ Johnny Kirkpatrick was a sheep behind defending champion Rowland Smith well after the half way mark but it in an absolute humdinger race to the finish, Kirkpatrick’s handpiece just flew as he went a sheep ahead and finished first on the clock.
But there can be only one winner of the ultimate shearing prize and it was the current champ Smith who clinched the open shearing championship for second time in a row.
The win books him one of two spots in the kiwi teamfor the the World champs in Ireland in May. The second spot will be decided at the New Zealand shearing champs in Te Kuiti atthe end of this month. . .

How precision farming is changing UK agriculture – Caroline Stocks:

Just a few decades ago, the idea of robots on farms and tractors that drove themselves would have been the stuff of agricultural science fiction.

But now more than half of the UK’s farmland is reportedly farmed using precision technology in some form, and that figure is expected to rise dramatically during the next few years.

For precision farming consultant Ian Beecher-Jones, precision technology is not a new concept. . .

Joint venture excites Charolais breeder – Sally Rae:

Drew Dundass reckons the Charolais breed of cattle is a ”beautiful animal”.

Mr Dundass, who jokes that he married into the breed, and his wife Carolyn (nee Aitken), manage Glen Ayr, a 1577ha property in the Paerau Valley, home to the Taiaroa Charolais stud.

Glen Ayr Ltd comprises two properties – Glen Ayr, and Glenfield, a 600ha finishing property on the Maniototo Plain which has a 343ha run block in the White Sow Valley, managed by Mrs Dundass’ sister, Dawn Sangster, and her husband David. . .

Invermay’s key role emphasised –  Sally Rae:

Deer farmers attending a recent field day at Invermay were urged to recognise they were ”at the Mecca” for deer biological research.

The AgResearch campus was looked on as the ”fountain of all knowledge” and farmers should realise that and the prospect it might not continue, Prof Frank Griffin, of the University of Otago, said.

Prof Griffin, who has collaborated with researchers at Invermay for three decades on solving animal health problems in the deer industry, has previously expressed major concerns about AgResearch’s decision to cut jobs from Invermay. . .

Katikati Couple Claim Top Title in BoP Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

A focus on protecting marginal areas of their farm while lifting productivity of grazeable land helped Katikati farmers Rick Burke and Jan Loney take out the Supreme title in the 2014 Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Rick and Jan, who farm 350ha Pukekauri Farms in the foothills of the Kaimai Ranges, also picked up a string of category awards at a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on February 28.

BFEA judges praised the couple’s teamwork and excellent people skills, noting the outstanding plantings on riparian areas and marginal land that “look stunning and greatly enhance biodiversity”. . .

North Island iwi join forces to buy into Kaingaroa Timberlands:

Six central North Island iwi have joined forces to buy a 2.5% stake in New Zealand’s largest forestry business, Kaingaroa Timberlands. The investment is one of the biggest ever involving an iwi collective.

The six iwi representative organisations, Ngati Rangitihi, Ngati Whakaue Assets and Te Arawa River Iwi Limited Partnership, Ngati Whare, Raukawa, Te Arawa Group Holdings Limited and Tuwharetoa, have formed Kakano Investment Limited Partnership (Kakano) and purchased the stake from the New Zealand Superannuation Fund (NZ Super Fund) for an undisclosed price.

Raukawa chairperson Vanessa Eparaima has been appointed chairperson of Kakano. Ms Eparaima said the investment was a major strategic and commercial step forward for iwi, and a win-win that ensured iwi were involved in the forestry business itself as well as being the land owner. . .

Seafood industry supports permits for shark tourism:

The seafood industry welcomes the announcement by Conservation Minister Nick Smith on permits for shark cage tourism operators.

Commercial paua divers and other marine users are concerned that the burgeoning
shark cage tourism industry around Foveaux Strait may change the behaviour of great white sharks and increase the risk of shark attack.

The paua industry has, for many years, been urging government agencies and
responsible Ministers to work together to ensure that shark cage diving is safe for tourists, sharks, and other marine users. . . .


B+LNZ funding at risk in AgResearch changes

November 12, 2013

Most of the publicity and lobbying over AgResearch’s proposal to move most of its staff from Invermay to Lincoln has been directed at the government because it’s a crown entity.

However, it has an independent board and around half its funding comes from the industry and one of those funders is now raising concerns:

If there are not the skills to conduct key research AgResearch may lose beef and lamb industry funding, Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman Mike Peterson says.

B+LNZ had been up front all the way over proposals to downsize AgResearch’s Invermay campus near Dunedin under the Crown research institute’s Future Footprint (FFP) plan, Petersen said.

However, the reality was if the skills were lacking there would be nothing to fund and that would put future research funding at risk.

“It’s the reality. If there are no researchers to do the work we need done then there will be nothing to fund (at AgResearch),” Petersen said. . .

Most staff at Invermay aren’t just saying they don’t want to move to Lincoln, they’re saying they won’t move.

B+LNZ spent $5 million annually funding research at AgResearch and that was boosted a further $20m by partnership funding, including the Government.

“We (B+LNZ) generate $25m worth of research activity each year,” Petersen said.

To continue to do that, access to key skills remained crucial.

“But we are not going to use that as a stick on AgResearch over where and how it locates staff.

“But if we can’t get access to key capability then one option is the funding will not be available.”

Losing key staff would have a huge impact on AgResearch capability.

. . . He acknowledged there was pressure from southern farmers for B+LNZ to oppose AgResearch’s FFP.

“I am aware that there are farmers, particularly down south, that think we should be up in arms but at the end of the day this is an AgResearch board decision and we have been given the assurances we have been looking for at this stage,” he said.

Farmer concerns were being taken seriously and B+LNZ would look into remits issued by the Southern South Island and Central South Island sheep councils opposing the shift of staff from Invermay to Lincoln.

Where the scientists were located was not necessarily the issue for B+LNZ, Petersen said.

“Our issue is will the (key skilled) scientists in fact be there to do our research?

“It could be that scientists decide not to move and then AgResearch might then decide to retain them at Invermay. Invermay, or Lincoln, is not the big deal for us – it’s the access to the capability.”

The  concern for B+LNZ isn’t about the location, it’s about capability and there are serious questions about whether AgResearch would retain that if AgResearch goes ahead with its plan to gut Invermay.


Rural round-up

September 29, 2013

Renewed attack on AgResearch move – Annette Scott:

A move by AgResearch to push on with its restructuring plans has been labelled short-sighted and flawed by southern leaders, with jobs set to go in their regions.

The Crown research institute (CRI) proposed in July the relocation of hundreds of science and support roles from its centres at Ruakura, near Hamilton, and Invermay, near Dunedin, to bigger research hubs in Palmerston North and Lincoln.

This was in line with a planned $100 million investment in its campus infrastructure. . .

Relief over Invermay assurances support, uni link to be retained – Sally Rae:

Federated Farmers Otago president Stephen Korteweg says he is heartened by an assurance that dry stock farm system capability to support deer, sheep and beef farming will be retained at Invermay, and that AgResearch’s linkage with the University of Otago’s genetics team will be maintained.

In a statement this week, after AgResearch’s announcement it still intended to slash jobs at Invermay, Federated Farmers national vice-president William Rolleston said the rural lobby organisation supported the reconfiguration of AgResearch because of the need for ”modern progressive agricultural research centres of excellence”. . .

Purchaser found for Australian Business – Annette Scott:

Ravensdown has signed a conditional sale and purchase agreement for its failed Western Australia business.

The co-operative announced last week it was selling to Louis Dreyfus Group, which has been involved in the Australian market for many years.

Detail of the agreement is yet to be finalised.

Louis Dreyfus is a French company involved globally in agriculture, oil, energy and commodities, global processing, trading and merchandising, as well as international shipping. . .

“First Steps” – the best gift I’ve ever given myself – Eloise Neely:

I attended the Agri-Women’s Development Trust course in Whangarei with two goals, to make new friends and connections and seek guidance to reinvent myself after 20 years farming in the South Island.

First Steps is exactly what the name suggests, a group of rural women meeting to examine their feelings, values and visions to discover the first steps of the rest of their lives.

Who is a First Steps woman? She may be a farmer by choice or an “accidental” farmer, single or partnered and age is not a factor. A First Steps woman may be a rural professional or anyone with a connection to the land. She is often the unseen farming partner quietly raising the next generation and keeping small communities together. . .

Deer industry tipped to become ‘red hot‘ –

The deer industry will be ”red hot” next year, Stanfield’s European Red Deer Stud owner and ”Motivate” group chairman Clive Jermy, of Darfield, says.

Mr Jermy, Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) production manager Tony Pearse and New Zealand Deer Farmers Association (NZDFA) chairman Kris Orange , of Geraldine, are members of Motivate, a group putting together recommendations to encourage more people to enter the industry or to remain in it, to improve training and availability and to raise the industry’s profile.

Mr Jermy said the deer industry was an exciting one to be in. . .

Cow drowns in effluent on hellish road trip:

Two South Westland dairy farmers, a stock agent, a trucking company and two of its middle management have been prosecuted over a road trip suffered by 25 cows on the way to the slaughterhouse.

It is the first prosecution by the Ministry for Primary Industries under the Animal Welfare Transport Code.

At the heart of the case, which was part heard in the Greymouth District Court yesterday, was a cattle shipment from Whataroa and Hari Hari to the Silver Fern Farms meatworks in Hokitika on October 25 last year, which was then diverted to a freezing works at Belfast, in Christchurch. . .

Innovative wastewater system for wheatbelt:

Western Australia Water Minister Terry Redman has announced work had begun to connect Hyden residents to an innovative wastewater scheme, the first of its kind in WA.

The $3.6 million trial was supported by 90 per cent of the town during a community poll in 2011 and is part of the State Government’s infill sewerage program.

“Hyden’s STED system will take wastewater that has already been treated in household septic tanks through a pipeline system and to a disposal pond located outside of town,” Mr Redman said. . .


Rural round-up

September 20, 2013

Beef + Lamb New Zealand appoints Chair-Elect:

Northland farmer and Northern North Island Director for Beef + Lamb New Zealand, James Parsons was appointed Chair-Elect for Beef + Lamb New Zealand at the organisation’s board meeting today.

The position of Chair–Elect has been made to allow an orderly transition of leadership for Beef + Lamb New Zealand, following the announcement from current Chairman, Mike Petersen that he will not seek re-election when his term ends in March 2014.

“This appointment is a very important part of the governance process,” Petersen said.

“Beef + Lamb New Zealand puts strong emphasis on the development of all directors, and there has been a real focus on growing the leadership ability of the board for the benefit of the wider sector. . .

Wattie’s Starts Precision – Planting This Season’s Beetroot:

– Day One of 20 weeks of planting

– Resurgence of consumer interest in beetroot

Wattie’s has started precision-planting this season’s beetroot crop, and will continue over the next 20 weeks until a total of 350 hectares have been planted.

The first seed has been planted in the Paki Paki area of Hawke’s Bay for what will be a 20,000 tonne crop, Wattie’s second biggest annual crop behind tomatoes.

Harvesting of the first baby beets is scheduled for the second week in December. . .

Irrigators urged to check for lightning strike damage:

IrrigationNZ says farmers should exercise caution when starting irrigation systems – even if storm damage isn’t obvious – as lightening strike has emerged as a secondary cause of problems following last week’s storm.

“Just because your centre pivot didn’t blow over in the wind doesn’t mean your system is ok. We are now hearing reports of irrigation control systems fried by lightning strike, especially along the Canterbury foothills. Farmers need to check their infrastructure carefully before the season begins. Don’t start your irrigator before you’ve undertaken the appropriate safety checks,” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

“Irrigation system pre-season checks will be even more important this year as parts and labour will be in short supply due to the storm. Irrigators can not afford for their irrigator to break down due to negligence as it will result in downtime. Basic checks like ensuring the pivot tracks are free from obstructions, tyre pressures are correct and so forth are a no-brainer,” says Mr Curtis. . .

Invermay Delegation Meeting Minister of Economic Development:

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull is leading a delegation to meet with Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce to discuss alternatives to the proposed downsizing of Invermay in Wellington at 5pm today.

The group includes Environment Southland chair Ali Timms, former Dunedin MPs Katherine Rich and Pete Hodgson, Otago Regional Council chair Stephen Woodhead and its CEO Peter Bodeker.

Dave Cull says any reduction in roles at Invermay will have a serious economic and strategic impact.

“From Dunedin’s perspective, there is potential for smart businesses and jobs to come out of there. From a regional point of view, the expertise at Invermay is crucial to ensure the continuation of leading environmental research related to farming and other industries which contribute significantly to the Otago and Southland economies. We believe the proposal would also have serious economic implications at a national level.” . . .

Double Gold for Rapaura Springs 2013 Sauvignon Blanc:

Rapaura Springs is continuing to strike gold with its Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, with a double win at the New Zealand International Wine Show 2013.

The Rapaura Springs 2013 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Rapaura Springs 2013 Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc both won gold medals at the country’s largest wine competition.

Owner Brendan Neylon said Sauvignon Blanc was Marlborough’s flagship wine, and it was imperative that the region worked hard to continue to produce the world’s best. . .

Rockburn Wines Win At the Biggest and Most Prestigious Wine and Spirits Competition In China:

Rockburn Wines has been awarded a prestigious Double Gold medal in the 2013 China Wine and Spirits Awards for their 2009 Rockburn Chardonnay, while the 2011 Pinot Noir took out its own Gold award.

The Central Otago winery has a history of winning gold medals, particularly for its Pinot Noir, and this month alone has also collected a Gold Medal at the Bragato Wines Awards for their 2012 Pinot Noir and a Gold Medal at the New Zealand International Wine Show for their 2012 Tigermoth Riesling. . .

Marisco Vineyards wins NZ Wine Producer of the Year in China:

Marisco Vineyards has been awarded the Trophy for New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year at the China Wine and Spirits Awards. The company’s wines also won four double-gold, six gold and two silver medals in the prestigious annual competition, continuing their golden run in the rapidly growing Chinese wine market.

Chief Winemaker and Proprietor Brent Marris says the trophy and medal haul will consolidate The King’s Series and The Ned’s position as market leading New Zealand wine brands in China.

“The Chinese market is very complex. One of the challenges is that it is culturally a very status driven market so old world wines have tended to dominate. But awards like this endow enormous status on our brands, new world wines generally, and New Zealand wines specifically, and this win will build our brand profile, and help increase distribution and cement our foothold in the Chinese market,” Marris says. . .

Organics: The Future of New Zealand Wine?

Major three-year project aims to see a fifth of all Kiwi vineyards certified organic by 2020.

The oldest winery in the country, Mission Estate, is also one of the most technologically advanced and sustainable. Now, in a move that could have implications for the New Zealand wine industry as a whole, Mission Estate is into its final year of a major study on organic grape-growing – a trial that may potentially see this influential winery make a significant commitment to increasing its organics production.

The Organic Focus Vineyard Project is New Zealand’s first public trial of organic grapes grown side by side with conventional grapes. The pioneering participants are Gibbston Valley in Central Otago, Wither Hills in Marlborough, and Mission Estate in Hawke’s Bay, where the project was piloted during the 2010-11 season. Mission viticulturist Caine Thompson is monitoring 16 hectares of Gimblett Gravels vines, with half being grown in the conventional manner and half under strict organic controls. . .


Rural round-up

September 12, 2013

Sheep farmers’ support essential for Invermay – Simon Hartley:

Southern sheep farmers are being urged to get vocal in efforts to have AgResearch drop its proposal to gut Invermay of more than 70% of its staff, and move elsewhere.

With southern lambing fully under way and the decision on Invermay’s future looming, there appears to be an air of complacency about some farmers. . .

Speed limit signs on school buses in trial:

Mid Canterbury motorists will have no excuse for speeding past school buses stopped to pick up or set down pupils.

Special illuminated flashing lights have been fitted to the front and back of 30 buses operating in the Ashburton district as part of a national trial.

The signs carry the 20kmh symbol – the legal speed for passing a stationary school bus picking up or dropping off children. . .

Funding helps farmers – Carmen Hall:

The Government is investing heavily in the red meat and wool sectors to try to make it a $14 billion industry by 2020.

It’s rolled out funding for a Primary Growth Partnership scheme that encourages major players to team up, share knowledge and build a more profitable future.

The latest organisation to join is Beef + Lamb New Zealand, which partners Alliance Group, ANZCO Foods, Blue Sky Meats, Greenlea, Progressive Meats, Silver Fern Farms, ANZ, Rabobank and Deloitte. . .

Farmlands rolling out single brand – Tim Fulton:

The Farmlands Co-operative Society hopes to have a single Farmlands brand across the country by this time next year.

A change from CRT Fuel to Farmlands Fuel brand is the latest sign of the merger of the namesake co-operatives taking shape.

The Farmlands label will apply soon to the company’s 80 branches as the new focal point for its 54,000 shareholders and 1000 staff.

The Farmlands name has already appeared at some of the old CRT offices and the new image for the fuel business is part of the trend, but southern field vehicles are still tagged CRT. . .

Bad fences cause trouble – Leandra Fitzgibbon:

In rural New Zealand, wandering stock are a serious public safety risk. They can also cause costly damage to other people’s property.

Farmers have a duty to ensure their farms are adequately fenced to contain their livestock and they’re liable for any damage their wandering stock cause.

An adequate fence means a fence that, as to its nature, condition and state of repair, is reasonably satisfactory for the purpose that it serves or is intended to serve, says the Fencing Act 1978. . .

Fox nails top title:

GISBORNE’S Matt Fox is New Zealand’s Young Viticulturist of the Year 2013.

The 25-year-old decided to have a second try at the title this year after coming close in 2010, and this time won it at the Romeo Bragato Wine awards in Marlborough. Matthew Duggan from Marlborough came second.

Mr Fox will go on to compete in the grand final of the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition being held on November 13 and 14.

He made it to the final after winning the regional final in Hawke’s Bay earlier in August. . .

Lactose hotspots (Hat tip Whaleoil):

lactase_hotspots


Rural round-up

September 9, 2013

Higher returns for lamb exports expected in coming year:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand is expecting higher returns for lamb exports in the coming year to offset a drop in lamb numbers.

From its annual stock number survey, Beef + Lamb NZ has calculated that 2 million fewer lambs will be born this spring, due to the summer drought reducing ewe numbers and lambing percentages in the North island.

It is forecasting an 8.5% drop in the export lamb slaughter from 2013-14.

However, its chief economist Andrew Burtt says improved marketing conditions will outweigh that by lifting the average value of lamb exports by 10%. . .

NZ Merino Co in finalists’ cut :

The New Zealand Merino Company and its chief executive John Brakenridge have been named as finalists in the 2013 New Zealand International Business Awards.

The awards are run by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the winners will be announced at a function in Auckland on September 26.

The New Zealand Merino Company is a finalist in the most innovative business model in international business category, while Mr Brakenridge is a finalist in the outstanding contribution to international business section.

Under his leadership, the company implemented a strategy to lift New Zealand merino out of the commodity basket. . .

PGG Wrightson disappointed it put farming sector at risk:

PGG Wrightson says it is terribly disappointed it has put the arable farming sector at risk.

It has acknowledged it breached biosecurity regulations by transporting a delivery of contaminated imported red fescue seeds in an unapproved manner, which led to black grass seeds spilling off its truck throughout mid Canterbury.

Black grass is highly invasive, often herbicide-resistant and significantly reduces the yields of wheat, barley, rapeseed and other crops.

PGG Wrightson seed general manager John McKenzie says the company sincerely regrets the breakdown in procedures at its end that led to the incursion and it will do what it can to make things right. . .

‘Terrific’ response from deer farmers over Invermay – Sally Rae:

Former Invermay director Jock Allison says there has been a ”terrific” response from deer farmers after a call for them to support the retention of Invermay’s deer research programme.

A letter was sent to farmers from Dr Allison, former deer programme leader Dr Ken Drew and Prof Frank Griffin from the University of Otago, asking farmers to indicate whether they preferred the programme to be located at Invermay or Lincoln, and to express their opinions to politicians.

AgResearch is proposing to centralise its operations in Lincoln and Palmerston North, jobs at Invermay dropping from 115 to 30 and 180 jobs going from Ruakura, near Hamilton. . .

Stratford farmer underpaid worker in dry season – Lyn Humphreys:

A message has gone out to farmers that they cannot underpay workers by paying them less in the dry season.

In a test case which has put the dairy sector’s wages under the microscope, a Stratford farmer has been ordered to pay his worker more than $6000 in backpay.

The case follows a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Labour Inspectorate investigation of the dairy sector, focusing on employers maintaining accurate time and wage records. . .

Zealong Tea:  we’re still here – Andrea Fox:

Waikato green tea exporter Zealong Tea says rumours of its demise have been greatly exaggerated as it is swamped with calls from concerned supporters and tea house cancellations after selling part of its tea estate.

Zealong this week said it had sold its original Borman Rd tea farm on the edge of Hamilton’s northern suburbs to a residential property developer rather than face its Rototuna neighbours’ wrath if it has to use helicopters to combat frost damage during harvest next month.

Bulldozers will move onto the 11ha Borman Rd tea farm in November and the company said it would now focus on developing its big Gordonton plantation and tourism site. . .


Rural round-up

August 30, 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. . .


What went wrong at AgResearch?

August 29, 2013

AgResearch isn’t very popular in the south following the announcement of its proposal to relocate most of its activities from Invermay to Lincoln.

It won’t be very popular with Fonterra, MPI, government or anyone else caught up with the fallout from the botulism scare now it’s been found it was responsible for the test which showed the possible botulism contamination in a batch of Fonterra’s whey protein concentrate.

Subsequent tests – all 195 of them – have contradicted that and shown that the WPC was safe.

AgResearch has issued a media release saying:

A spokesperson for AgResearch said: “We have today received correspondence from Fonterra in relation to testing carried out by AgResearch for Fonterra.

“Under the terms of our contract with Fonterra, we are bound by a confidentiality agreement and cannot discuss specific details.

“However, we have reviewed our work and we are confident in the work that our experts carried out and reported to Fonterra.

“Both the Government and Fonterra are conducting investigations into the issues and we are involved in these inquiries.

“We have also sought to discuss the concerns raised today directly with Fonterra and we are engaged with MPI regarding these developments.”

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings said while there is a sense of shared relief that the product was not contaminated, Fonterra had done the right thing by initiating a precautionary recall.

“Food safety remains our number one priority.

“The original results from AgResearch indicated the presence of toxin-producing Clostridium botulinum in the affected whey protein concentrate and we could therefore not take any chances,” he said.

Fonterra originally commissioned independent testing from Crown Research Institute, AgResearch, as one of only two research facilities in New Zealand capable of carrying out testing for Clostridium botulinum.

“On the basis of the results we received from the AgResearch tests, we had no choice but to alert regulators, and announce a global precautionary recall with our customers.

“We have just learned of the further and definitive test results. While we share a sense of relief about them, this in no way lessens our commitment to undertaking a thorough review into what happened, and to learn from this experience.”

Mr Spierings acknowledged there had been confusion and anxiety arising from the complexity of the precautionary recall and apologised for it.

“The past few weeks have been very difficult for parents in a number of countries, as well as for our customers, our farmers, and our staff.
“For me, as Fonterra’s CEO and as a father of three children, I truly believe that in initiating the recall, we took the right decision and did the right thing at the most critical moment. Given the same circumstances, and with food safety always front of mind, I would do the same again.

“Food safety and quality must always remain our top priority. I have created a new role of Group Director, Food Safety and Quality that reports directly to me.  Fonterra already has world-class food safety systems, and we’ll make sure that our dedication to food safety is further embedded in everything we do.

“The news today does not affect the various reviews and inquiries underway. We are committed to learning from, and sharing, any findings about how we can improve. We will do this in an open and transparent way,” Mr Spierings said.

There will be lessons for AgResearch too.


Rural round-up

August 25, 2013

Rabo back US dairy as Fonterra reveals milk hitch – Agrimoney:

Rabobank highlighted the potential for the US to grow dairy exports as New Zealand-based Fonterra. investigating the botulism scare which prompted product recalls, revealed a milk powder withdrawal.

Tim Hunt, US-based global dairy strategist at Rabobank, said that the US “could emerge as a significant competitor” in dairy exports, thanks to a slowdown in domestic demand at a time of elevated international prices.

Already prices of some US dairy exports are showing significant growth, with milk powder exports rising from some 300,000 tonnes in 2007 to 500,000 tonnes last year, and cheese shipments rising from 100,000 to 250,000 tonnes over the same period. . .

Kiwi-run Chinese dairy farm far cry from home

As Fonterra works to rebuild its reputation in China, it will face competition from other dairy companies trying to grow their share of the market.

One is popular brand Wondermilk, which is produced by a Taiwanese-American company, but the farm manager is a Kiwi.

An hour’s drive northeast of Beijing, past scenes of dramatic urban development, is a small piece of modern agricultural China. And New Zealander Berwick Settle leads us to “Red Star”, the newest of three facilities he manages for Hua Xia Dairy Farm. . .

Restructure losses may be huge – Annette Scott:

The loss of experience and knowledge to the agricultural industry could be huge under the proposed AgResearch restructure, agribusiness professor Jacqueline Rowarth says.

AgResearch announced this month 180 jobs at Ruakura and 85 from AgResearch’s Invermay site near Dunedin would be lost to its Lincoln campus in a $100 million proposal to create large campuses at Grasslands, in Palmerston North, and at Lincoln.

“History tells us globally that only 10% (of scientists) will go (to the new site) and that’s a huge loss of capability,” Rowarth said.

“When Wallaceville in Upper Hutt and Hurley Pasture Research Centre in the UK closed, 90% of people, for a variety of reasons, did not relocate. . .

Biofuels plants key to UK wheat price outlook – Agrimoney:

Success in efforts to bring two major biofuel plants onstream may have an undue impact on UK wheat values, in determining the level of supplies needed to be priced to compete on export markets.

Wheat futures for November touched £151.00 a tonne in London last week, the lowest for a spot contract in 19 months, in a slump attributed to growing harvest hopes leaving the country with hefty supplies to sell abroad.

Harvest estimates, some of which fell below 11.5m tonnes after a cold spring followed an unusually wet autumn and winter, have risen substantially after early harvest results showed far better yields than had been expected. . .

Forests to help create fresh air:

A Hawke’s Bay couple have just launched a Fresh Air Forests service to let people like travellers, businesses and landowners measure and counteract the effects of transport, travel and accommodation.

People taking part buy trees to create native forests.

Fresh Air Forests has growing sites at Lake Waikopiro and on Mount Kahuranaki on retired and protected land in Hawke’s Bay for generations ahead to enjoy.

“We are serious about making a difference, now and in the future so the idea of pledging trees to create a native forest made a lot of sense,” director Colin Pirie, who runs the venture with wife Wendy, said. . .

Their website is www.freshairforests.co.nz.

Farm tree planting together is fun – Pasture to Profit:
Planting farm trees is best when you plant with community friends. I had a great day tree planting in a wetland area on farm with 30 new friends. It was really fun! So much fun that I will continue to invite the community rather than using contractors.
 
The environment and protecting the quality of our rivers & streams is a community responsibility. Farms need to engage their local communities in helping to plant trees,  Trees that are aesthetically beautiful, trees that are ECO-Sourced, trees for bees, trees that reduce N leaching. . .

Rural round-up

August 17, 2013

Chinese Kiwis defend NZ brand:

An analysis of social media in New Zealand and China has found an emerging group of Chinese residents in New Zealand and others with close ties to China, vigorously defending New Zealand’s brand in the wake of Fonterra’s whey protein contamination crisis.

The analysis was carried out by Dr Hongzhi Gao, a senior lecturer at Victoria Business School and senior research fellow of the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre; Vallen Han, Asia marketing director of New Zealand Post; and Simon Young, chief executive of syENGAGE, a social media consulting firm. . .

Two Fonterra managers sent on leave in botulism probe:

Fonterra has placed two of its senior managers on leave as it continues its internal investigation into the whey protein botulism scare.

Fonterra chief executive officer Theo Spierings says the company is moving quickly and establishing key facts and as they emerge they are taking appropriate action.

He says placing two people on leave does not pre-empt the findings of the review and they will continue to be involved in the ongoing investigation.

The review will be finished by the end of the month. . .

Beware sleeping US dairy giant – expert – Hugh Stringleman:

The giant United States dairy industry is re-gearing for exporting and may rival soon the influence of New Zealand in world dairy trade.

Rabobank International global strategist dairy Tim Hunt gave that message to dairy audiences throughout NZ last week.

An Australian economist, Hunt is based in New York and has a special interest in the contrasts between Oceania and North American dairying.

His prepared notes were called “Arise the Hunter, the reorientation of the US dairy industry and implications for NZ”. . .

Economy-wide lessons as white gold loses its shine – Eye 2 the Long Run:

It is critical to understand that the issues for the NZ economy arising from the current Fonterra debacle  (as opposed to dairy farmers and Fonterra directors and managers) is assuredly not a “public relations” issue or one of “reputational management”. The best PR firm in the world cannot resolve such issues through spin – nor should it try.

Calling for better “PR” is simply a form of denial.

Key problems from an economy wide perspective are:

1. Nowhere else to turn

The choice for producers has been narrowed by statute to Fonterra for some 90% of the market. There is virtually no diversity, depth or spread of processing in the industry. The statute prevents it. Dissatisfied producers have nowhere else to turn. All eggs in one basket – then we drop the basket. . . .

Lustrous lambs wanted:

The hunt is on for lambs with unusually lustrous fleece. Crown Research Institute Agresearch says if you have any such lambs this spring, it wants to hear from you.

“We particularly want to understand what proteins or cellular structure may be special to their wool, and then whether these are the same as those in the lustre breeds,” says David Scobie, who is leading the lamb quest.

“Studying a naturally occurring mutation with such a dramatic effect on fibre characteristics provides a unique opportunity to understand the genetic and physiological mechanisms affecting fibre quality.” . . .

AgResearch overhaul tipped to boost research – Annette Scott:

A proposal to overhaul AgResearch’s campus and farm infrastructure will create a vital agricultural research institute for the next 50 years, AgResearch chief executive Tom Richardson says.

The restructuring proposal involves axing 180 jobs at Ruakura, near Hamilton, and 85 jobs from the Invermay site near Dunedin.

The $100 million proposal would result in large campuses at Grasslands in Palmerston North and at Lincoln in Canterbury.

A final decision is expected next month following a four-week consultation period. . .

Federations’ ‘www.ruraljobs.co.nz’ a success:

Federated Farmers is thrilled its ‘Rural Jobs’ service has hit 115 job advertisements since the beginning of the year, promising a bright future for agricultural careers.

“www.ruraljobs.co.nz is a fantastic service and it is picking up traction as one of the leading rural job advertisers,” says Conor English, Federated Farmers Chief Executive.

“Great staff are critical to any farming operation. Federated Farmers wants to ensure that our youth realise these opportunities are available to them and that employers have all the right documentation to know what the legal requirements are.

“Our www.ruraljobs.co.nz is not only the place to go to match people with jobs, but also where you can get up to date employment contracts reflecting the latest law changes, information on nationwide wages and salary packages, immigration ACC and OSH requirements and free legal advice for our members. It is a great one stop shop, tailored for the farming sector” . . .


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