Rural round-up

December 24, 2013

Proactive approach prevents dog fight – Sheryl Brown:

As a battle about water quality rages between farmers and regional councils throughout New Zealand, a group of farmers in the Lake Rerewhakaaitu catchment have drawn nationwide attention through a proactive approach.

Nestled under Mount Tarawera, Lake Rerewhakaaitu is the southernmost of the 12 Rotorua lakes and is surrounded predominantly by dairy farms.

In 2001 a report by Bay of Plenty Regional Council showed nutrient levels in streams flowing into the lake were increasing.

The report suggested tightening dairy disposal consent conditions and setting a ceiling level of nitrogen fertiliser application. . .

Talley’s to lift Open Country stake to as much as 70.5%:

(BusinessDesk) – Talley’s Group, the privately-held maker of foods ranging from frozen fish to ice cream, agreed to buy up to 14.99 percent of Open Country Dairy from Singapore’s Olam International for as much as $46.5 million.

The deal would lift Talley’s holding of the dairy company to as much as 70.5 percent from 55.5 percent, increasing its control of a business that returned to profit in 2012 while tapping shareholders for funds to repay debt. The sale price is close to the current carrying value of the investment in Olam’s accounts, it said.

Olam’s stake would reduce to as low as 10 percent, leaving it as the second-largest shareholder just ahead of Dairy Investment Fund on 9.99 percent. Talley’s is required to make a partial takeover offer under the terms of the Takeovers Code and its transaction with Olam will be a combination of direct sale of shares and acceptance of the offer, Olam said. . .

Santa delivers farmers the perfect weather present:

While holidaymakers may not be relishing widespread rain over Christmas, it will certainly bring a smile to many farmers one-third of the way into summer.

“The guy in the big red suit is delivering farmers the best present; widespread rain,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Adverse Events Spokesperson.

“Farmers won’t have an excuse to get out on-farm but will instead have to get stuck into wrapping last minute presents. Aside from essential jobs on-farm, a few day’s weather enforced relaxation with family is the best way to recharge the batteries. . .

Scholar slams stubble burning as bad for soil – Tim Cronshaw:

A Nuffield scholar visiting Canterbury, who would never burn crop stubble on his farm, has criticised the worldwide practice.

Arable farmer Tom Sewell, who grows crops on a 400-hectare farm in southeast England, was one of two scholarship holders studying the long-term benefits of no-tillage in New Zealand.

He left for Australia a week ago convinced farmers could avoid stubble burning, banned in his home country.

“There are loads of problems with it. In the UK it would be a [non-runner] in public relations and would be a shot in the foot. The public perception is it’s bad for the environment, creating carbon dioxide and it’s burning a valuable carbon source for the soil and losing organic carbon.” . .

30 animals on offer at NZ’s first annual game sale

The efforts of South Canterbury man Neville Cunningham, to have game animals such as red deer and white tahr recognised as being of value rather than simply termed a pest to be eradicated, came to fruition yesterday when he staged New Zealand’s first annual game animal sale.

The sale, held at his Timaru property, offered 30 animals by tender including a black tahr and a white tahr, chamois, trophy elk bulls, trophy red stags, a highland bull, two bison and arapawa rams.

All the animals have been bred by Mr Cunningham at one of his two properties, at Timaru or Aoraki/Mt Cook and some, such as the white tahr, have come from animals originally recovered from the bush, but now part of a managed breeding programme. . .

Two new farmer directors elected to Beef + Lamb New Zealand Board:

Two new farmer directors will join the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Board after the annual meeting in Feilding on 14 March 2014.

They are Waikaka Valley farmer, Andrew Morrison who will represent the Southern South Island electorate and Wairarapa farmer, George Tatham who will represent the Eastern North Island electorate.

They were both elected unopposed.

They replace Beef + Lamb New Zealand directors who had not sought re-election. . .

Bumper crop boosts NZ apple and pear exports:

The largest crop in nearly 10 years has allowed apple and pear growers to crack the $500 million mark for exports.

The pipfruit industry believes the result has placed it on track to reach its export target of $1 billion by 2022.

Pipfruit New Zealand Incorporated (PNZI) chief executive Alan Pollard said the economic impact of apple and pear exports on regions was “extraordinary”.

“North Island centres such as Hawke’s Bay received $350m in export receipts, up $100m on 2012, and South Island centres such as Nelson have received $150m, $50m more than 2012,” he said. . .

The master has not finished just yet – Hugh Stringleman:

The world’s greatest competition shearer believes he has at least one more successful year left in him.

Five-time world champion David Fagan, 52, wants to add to his tallies of 16 titles each at the Golden Shears and New Zealand Shearing Championships.

At the Te Kuiti-based NZ championships David has reached the open final 28 out of 29 times, and the 30th edition in March will provide the best-possible stage for his last hurrah. . .

How do politicians manage to believe such things? – Tim Worstall:

I’m slightly boggled by this statement:

Tim Farron, South Lakes MP and chair of the all-party parliamentary hill farming group, said: “We need to do all we can to support our farming industry, particularly in the uplands where life can be a real struggle. This support and funding could make a massive difference to upland farmers throughout Cumbria and help show the next generation that there is a real future in a career in farming.”

It appears to me to be an example of cognitive dissonance. For we’re also being told this about that same occupation: . .

Vineyards on sustainable, diverse path:

A rapid rise in exports fuelled New Zealand wine industry growth in the 1990s and the industry recognised it needed a proactive approach to sustainable production.

Considerable research led to a holistic programme that eventually became known as Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand.

All but 6% of NZ’s producing vineyard area is certified under the Sustainable Winegrowing NZ approach, with a further 3-5% of operating under certified organic programmes.

Members are committed to protecting the unique places that make the country’s famous wines by reducing the use of chemicals, energy, water, and packaging and wherever possible reusing and recycling material and waste. . .


Rural roundup

December 14, 2013

Storm-hit farmers feel heat – Annette Scott:

Repairs to wind-battered irrigation systems are progressing but for many Canterbury farmers being back on tap will come too late.

Delayed irrigation has reached crisis point and the economic consequences could rival last year’s drought.

The picture is grim for farmers whose irrigators require complicated rebuilds.

Cropping farmers in particular are counting lost dollars by the day because crops desperately need water. . .

Cottingley and Bradford wool firm spins a successful yarn – Chris Holland:

It used to be said that for woolmen ‘every silver lining has a cloud’ but that’s certainly doesn’t apply to Martin Curtis and his team at Curtis Wools Direct, the Cottingley-based wool merchants he runs with his brother Simon and which owns Howarth Scouring and Combing in Bradford.

Wool may be as old as the hills – and the scale of the processing that produced much of Bradford’s wealth is miniscule compared with the industry’s heyday – but optimism and evangelism about the qualities of this natural fibre and its commercial future dominate their thinking. . .

Raw milk all the rage – Laird Harper:

A milk revolution is bubbling up in Taranaki.

Touted as being a “powerhouse food”, raw cow’s milk keeps many vitamins, enzymes and probiotics often considered lost in the processing plant.

But it’s not a concept lost on Dolly’s Milk owners Peter and Margaret Dalziel, and Cindy and Kevin Death.

Hunting for something new, the group stumbled across the idea while flicking through a magazine.

And as they researched the rules and ways to safely distribute the product, they knew they had to get out in front of this fledgling industry. . . .

Raw milk option expands into South Canterbury – Jacqui Webby:

South Canterbury consumers looking for a choice in the type of milk they use will soon have another option.

Early next year, Timaru dairy farmers Stu and Andrea Weir, and son Mitch, will open a raw-milk outlet at their property in Fairview Rd.

The couple, who milk a herd of about 200 mainly friesian cows, have long been interested in the concept of fresh raw milk and were quick to initiate franchise discussions to open a Timaru outlet with Nelson-based Village Milk. . . .

Bumper Fonterra pay-out boosts farm values at auctions:

Fonterra’s bumper payout for dairy milk solids has underpinned the multi-million dollar sale of two large scale dairy conversion farms in Northern Hawke’s Bay.

The two farms sold for a combined value of more than $12.5million after some hectic bidding in the auction room of Bayleys Napier last week – with multiple parties bidding on each of the properties. Some 58 farmers, stock managers, accountants and rural banking specialists from across the Hawke’s Bay were in the auction room to watch proceedings.

Bidding on the 351 hectare Ben Alpin farm opened at $3.9million. After 16 bids from four potential buyers, the property sold under the hammer for $5.020million. . .

Synlait Milk expects to outperform financial targets:

Synlait Milk expects to outperform financial targets on the basis of a favourable product mix.

Current international dairy commodity price differentials are larger than usual, and continue to favour Synlait’s milk powder and AMF dominant product mix. The company expects that ongoing demand, particularly from China, will mean that this will be maintained for much of the current season.

While it is still early in the season, recent announcements also make it clear that the current season’s milk price is likely to be less than the company was expecting.

John Penno said that Synlait’s policy is to pay our contract suppliers a fair market price.  . .

Strong finish for Young Farmer at Rural Ambassador competition:

New Zealand Young Farmers Vice-Chairman Cam Lewis finished runner up at the recent trans-Tasman Rural Ambassador competition in Feilding, 6-8 December.

The top honour and a $5000 travel grant were awarded to Prue Capp, an equine dentist from New South Wales, and in third place was Samantha Neumann from South Australia.

Mr Lewis, a dairy farmer from Levin, keeps the kiwi success in this competition going strong. The 2012 winner was another Young Farmer member and 2013 ANZ Young Farmer Contest Champion, Tim Van de Molen.

Mr Lewis won the Royal Agricultural Society’s Rural Young Achiever Award at the RAS Conference in Christchurch earlier this year and was the only representation from New Zealand in the Rural Ambassador competition. The other six competitors were the top Australian state finalists. . .

And from the Farming Show:

 The Farming Show's photo.

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