Rural round-up

24/05/2014

NZ’s rural businesses struggle to attract equity capital to develop – Graham Turley:

Agri-business is New Zealand’s most productive and successful business sector yet it struggles to attract investor capital.

It seem counter-intuitive, particularly with all the talk of food bowls for Asia, that a sector which represents more than 25 per cent of New Zealand’s economy is widely perceived as difficult and inaccessible for investment – whether those investors are retail, large fund managers or overseas looking to invest in New Zealand’s agricultural success story.

Few successful agriculture-based businesses are listed on the NZX, especially when you consider how significant a contributor agriculture is to the economy. . .

Mackenzie Country farmer wins top deer award:

Paddy Boyd, manager of Haldon Station in the Mackenzie Country, is the winner of the 2014 Deer Industry Award.

The announcement of the award at the annual Deer Conference in Methven on Wednesday was followed by a sustained standing innovation for a farmer who has been a behind-the-scenes industry leader from the 1970s to the present day.

The award citation listed Paddy’s involvement in numerous industry groups including quality assurance, the Cervena strategy, velveting standards, Tb eradication, genetic improvement and environmental standards. . .

Kiwi team and supporters in charge in Ireland:

Six New Zealand shearers, including World Championships representatives Rowland Smith and John Kirkpatrick, have made it to the semi-finals of the Irish All-Nations Open championships semi-final in Gorey, Ireland.

Smith headed the 18 qualifiers after 70 shearers took part in the open-entry heats on the first day of the 16th Golden Shears World Championships, while Kirkpatrick qualified in third place.

They were separated by Scottish World championships contender Hamish Mitchell, whose teammate and defending World champion Gavin Mutch was a surprise elimination. The All-Nations has no bearing on the World Championship, for which the first round will be held tonight (Friday NZT).

The other New Zealanders still in All-Nations contention are five-times World champion David Fagan and son Jack, and Smith’s brothers, Matt and Doug. . . .

Passenger to be investigated for carrying plants:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is investigating an air passenger it nabbed carrying two concealed plants in her shirt.

Watchman, one of MPI’s most experienced detector dogs, sniffed out the plants on the passenger arriving from China at Auckland airport yesterday afternoon.

The woman had rooted cuttings in a plastic bag hidden in her shirt sleeve and under a coat.

“It appears the cuttings were to be planted and that this was a deliberate attempt to smuggle risk items into New Zealand,” says Craig Hughes, MPI’s Manager, North, Passenger and Mail. . .

Delegat’s says 2014 harvest supports sales growth projections – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Delegat’s Group, the winemaker which last year bought Australia’s Barossa Valley Estate, said its just completed 2014 harvest will allow it to achieve its forecast future sales growth.

The Auckland-based winemaker expects to increase wine sale volumes by 2 percent to 1.985 million cases in the year ending June 30, accelerating to an 8.8 percent pace in 2015 and 8.9 percent in 2016, according to projections detailed in its 2013 annual report. The 2014 harvest amounted to 35,127 tonnes, as its New Zealand vintage increased 18 percent to 34,123 tonnes. Its Australian harvest, the first vintage since acquisition of Barossa in June last year, amounted to 1,004 tonnes, the company said today.

“The 2014 vintage has delivered excellent quality in all regions,” managing director Graeme Lord said. “The group has appropriate inventories to achieve future sales growth in line with guidance provided in the 2013 annual report.” . . .

Researchers start a wine revolution:

The global wine industry may be on the cusp of a revolution, thanks to pioneering genetic research conducted by scientists at Lincoln University and Plant & Food Research that not only has ramifications for controlling disease and increasing productivity, but will quite likely mean completely new varieties of grapes and styles of wine.

The research project initially commenced to fill a knowledge gap in the identification and function of the genes that underpin the key characteristics of grapevines. The goal was to bed down a research framework, such as those used by researchers with other plant species, to establish a knowledge base for the study of gene behaviour and the critical processes of grape production.

As the research developed, however, new opportunities became apparent, and a greater emphasis was placed on investigating the potential for manufacturing and encouraging the expression of genetic elements within grapevines which may, in turn, come with commercial benefits. . .

Premium Amisfield Wines to Be Showcased At International Event in Venice, Italy:

Celebrated New Zealand wine producer Amisfield will showcase a premium selection of its wines to a select international audience at the prestigious 14th Venice Architecture Biennale.

The specialist producer of multi-award-winning Pinot Noir and aromatic white wines will be the exclusive wine sponsor and supplier to the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) exhibition at the Biennale from June 5 to November 23.

Amisfield wines, sourced from fruit grown on its estate vineyard beneath the Pisa Mountain range in the renowned Central Otago region, will be served during the official opening events and associated events for the duration of the Biennale at the New Zealand exhibition, to be staged in the Palazzo Pisani Santa Marina. . .

Comvita annual profit rises 3.3% as honey price squeezes margin, sees more growth in 2015 – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Comvita, which produces health products from manuka honey and olive leaves, lifted annual profit 3.3 percent as the rising cost of honey squeezed margins, and said revenue and earnings would grow in 2015.

Net profit rose to $7.6 million, or 24.37 cents per share, in the 12 months ended March 31 from $7.4 million, or 24.52 cents a year earlier, the Te Puke-based company said in a statement. That’s slightly ahead of the $7.5 million profit Comvita signalled earlier this month. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 11 percent to $16.4 million and revenue gained by the same amount to $115.3 million.

“Margins were impacted by the very strong New Zealand dollar and from further sharp rises in the cost of Manuka honey,” the company said. “Because of contractual commitments on pricing in the fast growing China market these costs couldn’t be recovered within the annual time frame.” . . .

New president for Federated Farmers Waikato:

Federated Farmers is thrilled to welcome our new Waikato provincial president, Chris Lewis, who is replacing James Houghton following their provincial AGM.

“Chris has been a part of Federated Farmers for nine years and is well versed on the issues surrounding the Waikato region as well as the dairy industry at a national level,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers National President.

“I would like to thank outgoing provincial president, James Houghton for his service to the province and Federated Farmers and congratulate him on his role on the Waikato Waipa Stakeholders Group, in continuing the collective conversation around water quality in Waikato.

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

Shocking Sharemilker compliance revealed:

With just over a week until it closes, Federated Farmers is blowing the whistle on the four-fifths of Sharemilkers who are yet to vote in the 2014 DairyNZ Levy referendum.

“The last time I checked only 20 percent of sharemilkers had voted and that’s a shocker turn out,” says Neil Filer, Federated Farmers Sharemilkers section chairperson.

“It’s like seeing only 100 people physically in Eden Park for the upcoming England test.

“I need to send a rocket to our guys to pull finger and vote. We’re the ones that get the most from the levy as it sets up the best possible industry for us. . . .


Honest conversation needed on waterways

15/05/2014

Federated Farmers’ Waikato provincial president has responded to a response from Fish & Game NZ to his column on water issues:

Whilst I appreciate Fish and Game taking the time to respond to my article last week, they did not quite get the gist of what I was saying. They have ducked the issue of their lack of accountability and pulled a side angle out of thin air.

I am unsure where they read that I don’t support their investment in wetlands, I just don’t support them touting they’re doing it for environmental reasons when they are clearly in it for the sport. I would rather they spent 100 percent of their budget on wetlands rather than 20 percent, but just don’t pretend you are doing it for the environment. Fish and Game’s wetlands are for breeding game and supporting the population of introduced pests, however I am grateful for the natives that benefit from them.

The fundamental point I made in my article, which has also been misread, is that farmers need to buy licenses from Fish and Game to hunt ducks. Mr. Wilson may need to swot up himself on the nature of duck shooting as a sport and what the season is all about. Whilst he rightly pointed out that you don’t need to have a license if you are hunting on your own farm, he neglected to address the social aspect of hunting where you hunt on friend’s farms, and where Fish and Game makes their fortune. Opening weekend in particular is the height of social events for most farmers. As much as duck shooting is about getting rid of pests it is also about hunting with friends and without their license you would be fined or you could always resort to shooting together over Skype.

So yes we farmers are significant financiers of Fish and Game who, without a mandate, spend our license fees pushing their agenda in court.

One thing I do agree with Mr. Wilson on is that Lake Waikare needs some serious work. The farming community has spent approximately $3 billion on enhancing our environmental performance, but we are well aware there is plenty more to be done. Farmers and regional councils are working well together to rectify water quality issues and will continue to do so. Fish and Game conveniently overlooks the impact Koi Carp is having on Lake Waikare, let alone water fowl, and forgets to mention that Hamilton Lake is one of the worst water quality issues in Waikato with no farmland or stock near it.

This is a prime example of a double standard, where Hamilton Lakes’ deteoriating water quality has had no livestock near it for 50 years, yet hundreds of water fowl and is one of the unhealthiest waterways in the region. There is no shortage of information on where farming has to improve its impact on water quality, and we are, so pointing this out the obvious at this point is just plain petty.

What is left unsaid, or avoided, is why there is deteoriating water quality in rivers and lakes that have no farmland or stock around them. I would invite Fish and Game or anyone to answer that and tell me what investment or planning is happening to rectify those waterways.

Mr. Wilson, we would all do well to consider the water quality in the Waikato. The conversation here should be honest though. Between an organisation that breeds/protects water fowl and the primary industry, we all have our part to play. Let’s be honest in this and what part we are playing.

In the meantime, if the Government won’t make Fish and Game a voluntary subscription organisation, Fish and Game should try and acknowledge all its members in the work it does and part of that is engaging with them in a positive manner. We would welcome Fish and Game to our AGM next Tuesday, on 20 May, at the Hamilton Airport.

Houghton’s original column is here.

My post on it is here and I gave Ben Wilson, Chief Executive Fish & Game Auckland/Waikato Region the right of reply to it here.


Right of reply

12/05/2014

Fish and Game asked for right of reply to this post on farmers’ providing ammo for opponents.

I am happy to do so, here it is unedited:

James Houghton of Federated Farmers asks why farmers should buy licences to hunt ducks.  The simple answer is that under the law, the vast majority of farmers don’t need a game licence to hunt on their own land – a truth conveniently overlooked by Mr Houghton.

He also criticises Fish & Game very unfairly over our efforts to create new wetlands or enhance existing ones. We make no apologies for this; Auckland/Waikato Fish & Game owns over 1650 hectares of wetland in the Waikato, purchased using licence income. We currently have 19 wetland restoration or construction projects underway in the Waikato, the majority on private land, working with landowners. We also advocate actively and strongly for wetlands through the RMA process and will continue to do so.

Wetlands are important for waterfowl, both native and introduced. They are also critical habitats for several native fish species.  But surely as an advocate for the farming community, Houghton must be well aware of the role that wetlands play in enhancing water quality?

Instead of attacking the messenger, Houghton should be asking himself why water quality in the Waikato is still declining, and why the largest lake in the lower Waikato, Lake Waikare, is bright red from algal blooms.

After giving this some thought, he would do well to consider (as more thoughtful and forward looking members of the farming community already have), whether creating wetlands is one of the best solutions.

Ben Wilson

Chief Executive Fish & Game Auckland/Waikato Region

Paranormal pointed out, in a comment on the original post, as the letter above does, that farmers don’t need licences to shoot ducks on their own land.

That, is correct but not all farms have waterways and ponds, a lot of farmers shoot on other peoples’ land.

 


Licence fees ammo for farmers’ critic

07/05/2014

Farmers who hunt are helping Fish and Game NZ take pot shots at them, Federated Farmers’ Waikato provincial president James Houghton says.

Fish and Game will be laughing their way to the bank after Duck Shooting season kicked off on Saturday. With a compulsory subscription system, opening weekend for Duck Shooting season sees hundreds of licenses being brought from the organisation.

What irks me is that it is guaranteed revenue for Fish and Game with no need to service those who fund them. I am not against people paying for licenses but it is the way Fish and Game then uses the money that I find so unpalatable.

Most of Fish and Game’s subscribers are the very farmers that they spend the majority of their time submitting against and taking to court, trying to protect their hunting business. You can see the irony in an organisation that is focused on killing as a sport publicly banging their chests about the environment, then using the revenue they‘ve collected off farmers to frame an expensive argument, which protects their legislative gravy train rather than environment. . .

I am all for licenses to own and use a gun (gun license) as well as responsible hunting laws, but this system is not for the hunter this is all about revenue for Fish and Game, personally I would rather pay a Government organisation double what I pay Fish and Game than continue to fund their attack on farmers .

There is a bit of confusion here with the public perception that Fish and Game are an environmental organisation. Don’t be fooled – the wetlands they create are merely so they can breed more pests for us to pay them to shoot. I would say they are a self serving business rather than environmental stewards. There really is no difference between that and a hunting park – the animals are protected so they can build up a population large enough to be hunted at certain times of the year.  The ridiculous thing is that this doesn’t need to be legislated, farmers do this already, and with a clear enthusiasm for the sport it wouldn’t be hard to rustle up sponsorship to do exactly what Fish and Game do without the farce of pretending to care about the environment. If there was nothing to hunt there would still be an environment, but no Fish and Game.

In the Waikato, to help increase duck numbers, Fish and Game are shortening the duck shooting season. This to me shows their true colours – that they are not environmental stewards they are purely a hunting business. From my perspective the lack of ducks is a good thing for water quality going forward – do we really need more ducks?

Tests on water above and below farms with ponds often show it’s ducks and other water fowl which foul the water, not animals or farming practices.

With no accountability to those who pay their salaries, it is with a sour taste in my mouth that I will be duck shooting this season. Solution – I encourage the Government to either, create a voluntary subscription system ensuring our money is spent wisely, and that Fish and Game has a true mandate that represents its members, or alternatively remove them completely, stick to the hunting laws that already exist.

Fish and Game has damaged relationships with farmers over its actions subverting property rights on issues such as public access to private land and  tenure review.

It’s a sore point that farmers and their friends who buy licences to shoot pests subsidise court action and other campaigns against them.

They’re paying for the ammo their critics fire at them.


Rural round-up

17/04/2014

IPCC Mitigation Report redefines agriculture as ‘green tech’:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Mitigation Report places New Zealand in a very good position so long as the policy nexus supports the carbon efficient production of food.

“The IPCC’s Mitigation Report projects that emissions from Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use could, by 2050, be half of what they were in 2010,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President.

“In the IPCC’s Mitigation Report summary for policymakers, agriculture is seen as being positive because it “plays a central role for food security and sustainable development”.

“We think the IPCC has come a very long way from 2007. There is an increasing alignment between climate change and food insecurity, arguably, the two biggest challenges our species will face this century. . .

Tukituki decision a win for water quality and farming:

The draft decision by the Board of Inquiry (BOI) on the Tukituki Catchment proposal represents a significant win for freshwater management and the urgency of a transition to environmentally sustainable agriculture in New Zealand, says Fish & Game NZ.

Fish & Game lead the evidence presented against the most contentious issue in front of the BOI which was Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s proposed “single nutrient management” approach – this focussed only on the management of phosphorous and set instream nitrogen limits at toxic levels. . .

Kiwi on the farm:

The sight of kiwi scratching the grass on Richard Gardner’s farm near Kaipara is now a common sight, thanks to his family’s dedication to a restoration project in the area.

Richard Gardner says they’ve been controlling pests in a fenced-off area of bush on his land and last year decided to introduce kiwi back into the area for the first time in 50 years.

He says his sister, Gill Adshead, and her husband, Kevin, were initially behind the restoration of 400 hectares of native bush, which is now home to kiwi. . .

Barns could give us the best of both worlds – James Houghton:

In a recent column by Sir David Skegg, he says we need to stop pretending that we can have our cake and eat it too. Whilst right now that may not be the case it is definitely a possibility.

Right now we are working to get the balance right between the environment and economy. Yes there is intensification and with that comes responsibility. Farmers are upgrading their infrastructure to keep within the acceptable limits, which involves nutrient budgets, cattle housing, new technology, and overseer programs. Overall New Zealand dairy farmers are investing a conservative $3 billion into improving their environmental impact, which is nothing to snort at. For each individual dairy farmer that equates to about a $250,000 investment, you can say we are taking every practical step to improve our environment.

It is all well and good to say we need a balance between meeting the Government’s target of doubling our exports by 2025 and maintaining and improving our water quality – everyone will agree with you here, but who sets that balance? It comes down to where your priorities lie, and everyone’s priorities are different. . .

Whitebait partners look for solutions:

Waikato-Tainui, local marae, councils and agencies are working together to better manage whitebait fisheries at Port Waikato following the compilation of a new report.

The report is the result of an initial scoping project to better understand the complex and inter-related resource management issues around whitebaiting in the lower Waikato River. The area has traditionally been a plentiful source of whitebait but over the years more and more people are seeking to gather the delicacy there.

With more people comes increased pressures for space to build stands, an increase in the number and size of baches and associated pressures such as sewage management, and a growing amount of whitebait being taken.  . .

Alps trail activity booms – Rebecca Fox:

In its first ”official” season, activity on the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail is much higher than the forecast.

Tourism Waitaki general manager Jason Gaskill said monthly trail counter readings from September 2013 to February this year show 3604 cyclists used the Lake Ohau Lodge section of the trail, 4815 cycled the Lake Pukaki section and 3646 passed the Ohau Weir section.

”The numbers are fantastic … they are higher than what was forecast,” Mr Gaskill said.

”In a lot of ways, it’d be hard to imagine how things could have gone a lot better [this season].” . . .

Feed statistics reflect the growth of New Zealand dairy production:

Annual Feed Production Statistics compiled by the New Zealand Feed Manufacturers Association (NZFMA) for the year 2013 reflect the changing face of feed production. Based on figures supplied by NZFMA member companies nationwide, the NZFMA annual statistics report the total tonnages of manufactured animal feed and the tonnages of raw materials used in the production of compound feed in New Zealand. (Compound feed is heat-treated feed produced in a feed mill in pellet or mashed form.)

In 2013, compound feed production increased by 2.8% to 991,027 tonnes and raw material usage rose by 4.1% to 983,440 tonnes. The four main grains used were wheat (58.8%), barley (17.4%), sorghum (12.2%) and maize (10.3%). The majority of compound feed was produced in the North Island (65.3%). 86% of compound feed is currently produced in bulk form and 14% is bagged. . .


Rural round-up

13/04/2014

Drought great time to show some compassion – James Houghton:

Another week and no drought declaration yet it is the second driest year on record in Waikato, and my has it revealed some peoples true colours! Default settings with graziers contracts are being ignored, and cooperatives are pretending there is no drought.

Farmers and graziers need to be working together through times like this. Not allowing for the affects of the drought to be considered and holding graziers to their contracts, can see them loosing money on a daily basis, trying to feed your stock. To expect a grazier to lose money to look after your stock shows no sense of community, which is what gets us through these adverse weather conditions, and could ostracise you in the long run. People do not forget unkindness. It goes both ways – if you are not showing flexibility on your grazing contracts, it could have a detrimental affect for you next time there is a drought, graziers could start charging you 10 to 50 percent more next time round.  It pays to compare that to the money you are saving in the short term, and whether it is really worth it. . .

Changing beef outlook – Allan Barber:

There have been some interesting beef market developments in recent days.

 Of immediate interest is the news of a forecast excess of US exports over production in the second half of the year as against a relatively small increase in production, reported in the USDA livestock supply and demand report which was released yesterday.

 This leads to a prediction of firmer prices for lean beef, although this will coincide with the seasonal downturn in New Zealand production. Australia is expected to be in a good position to take advantage of this situation.

 The other item of interest is the bi-lateral trade agreement between Japan and Australia which will reduce the tariff on frozen beef from 38.5% to 19.5% over 18 years and on fresh beef to 23.5% over 15 years. . .

Dairy Pawn – Milk Maid Marian:

These days, I feel a little like a chess piece; more pawn than queen.

The Australian federal government has rushed into a free trade agreement with Japan that does next-to-nothing to help Aussie dairy break through tariff barriers, even though Japan is hardly known for a growing dairy industry of its own that deserves protection. I don’t know why we were overlooked but a Sydney Morning Herald story quotes Warren Truss as citing “compromises”.

It’s been an interesting few days for dairy. Coincidentally, the ACCC forced supermarket superpower, Coles, to confess that it was lying when it claimed the $1 milk had not hurt dairy farmers. . .

Farmers back major Local Government NZ funding review:

Federated Farmers is fully behind a fundamental review by Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) into the way local government and local roads are funded.

“LGNZ deserves praise for tackling a ticking time bomb made up of demographics and an ever narrowing funding base for council services and our local roads,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Local Government spokesperson.

“This affects everyone but it is especially pronounced in our rural districts.

“Federated Farmers is very keen to participate in this review because for years, we have lobbied for alternative funding options over the antiquated narrow property value basis, we use for rating.

“LGNZ’s review is the biggest advance since the 2007 Local Government Rates Inquiry, which emerged from public unease over the rates burden. . .

Meat and fibre’s going green – Jeanette Maxwell :

I have been told by a staff member that a major retirement village operator has specified only nylon carpet for its villages. I don’t want to reveal the name just yet as we will be contacting them, let alone the Campaign for Wool, but it dumbfounds me. 

If it is what I suspect, a spurious concern over linting, then that’s a specification issue.  It seems very strange to deny people the choice of healthy natural fibres especially in a retirement village because natural wool is good for you.

A big benefit of wool is outstanding flame resistance.  Having a high moisture and protein content it tends to extinguish flames and does not melt or drip either like synthetics.  Wool also stabilises relative humidity by absorbing or releasing moisture during periods of high or low atmospheric humidity. That’s a benefit from evolution.

If wool is maintained then it will absorb and neutralise airborne particles and fumes such as formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxides.  Wool is also resistant to static build up and being naturally curly, bounces back into shape after being crushed.   . . .

Awards spur on young dairy trainee  – Gerald Piddock:

Entering the Dairy Industry Awards has helped motivate Nathan Hubbard to focus on how he can improve his performance and progress his dairying career.

The 26-year-old, who was recently named Waikato Dairy Trainee of the Year for 2014 said he entered the competition to show future employers his dedication to the industry.

“I want to challenge my knowledge against others at the same level that are motivated and thriving to succeed like I am.”

It was the second time he had entered the awards. After not making the top six on the first occasion, Hubbard said he was determined to do better this year. . .

‘Expensive brand beats expensive land’ – Tim Cronsahw:

Dairy farmers need to demand that dairy giant Fonterra invests heavily in brand development if increasing costs are to be offset by high-priced milk products, says a food marketing expert.

Global food and drink industry international speaker Professor David Hughes said New Zealand’s dairy companies had to spend more on developing patented clever dairy brands as domestic milk growth could not continue at its same rate forever.

“If you want to see Fonterra and smaller companies have higher valued products, they have to spend more on branding and research and development, and to do that has to be through brave farmer leadership saying hold on to more [revenue] and invest it on our behalf for our longer term, and don’t send it back to the farm and there would lots of farmers who don’t agree with that,” said Hughes who spoke at the Zoetis Dairy Summit in Christchurch this week. . .

Millar, Clark lead charge for dog trialling glory – Tim Cronshaw:

Every dog has its day, but only a select few will make the final cut at the Tux New Zealand and South Island Sheep Dog Trial Championship trials at Waihi Station near Geraldine next month.

As many as 300 competitors and their canine partners will line up for each of the four main national events in the main feature of the dog trialling calendar. The heading events are the long head and short head and yard and the huntaway events are the zigzag hunt and the straight hunt.

In good form is Stu Millar from Peak Hill Station who, with dog Rose, is the defending champion of the national short head and yard event in Taupo last year.

Canterbury Sheep Dog Trial Association promotions officer Sally Mallinson said the club trials had yet to be completed, but several Canterbury competitors and their dogs were standing out as possible contenders at the South Island and national events. . .

 


Rural round-up

04/04/2014

Fonterra Australia and Woolworths announce proposed new 10 year milk partnership for Victoria:

Fonterra Australia and Woolworths today announced that Fonterra Australia has been selected as the preferred supplier to process Woolworths Own Brand milk in Victoria for the next 10 years in a deal that is great for customers and farmers. The proposed long-term arrangement will give farmers certainty that will allow them to invest in their businesses with the confidence that they have a guaranteed buyer for their milk. Woolworths existing contracts were for a period of one year.

It also means that all Woolworths Own Brand milk sold in Victoria will be made and processed in Victoria, supporting local farmers and jobs in regional communities. . .

Farmers told to talk through differences – :

Environment Canterbury boss Dame Margaret Bazley says she is committed to working with farmers to resolve issues with the recently notified Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan.

“I think if you don’t get any other message from me, just know that we at ECan are absolutely committed to working with you to get a solution to these things,” she told high country farmers at a Federated Farmers field day in the Mackenzie Country.

She said the Government’s national policy statement for freshwater required all regional councils to set water quality limits and to have a process and timeframe to achieve that. . . .

Simpler Compliance needed – James Houghton:

Last week I was in the midst of New Zealand’s High Country, watching my son row in the Maadi Cup Regatta. As a Waikato dairy farmer in the midst of a drought, I drew some surprising parallels from the iconic landscape to Waikato’s usually lush pastures back home.

Driving through the vast barren landscape, with sleet coming at us horizontally, you cannot avoid the conclusion that the High Country farmers here in the South Island must be made of some hard stuff.  To farm down here is certainly not for the faint hearted, and requires big thinkers who can innovate the land into a viable business. Through the Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998, High Country farmers have effectively lost the grazing rights to the top 60 percent of the Crown’s land to conservation, so the need for water has become a much more pressing issue. They need water to negotiate their farm through the loss in feed, another similarity we are also experiencing in the Waikato right now with our second drought in two years. . .

High Court rejects kiwifruit growers’ claim – Niko Kloeten:

Disgruntled kiwifruit growers have taken the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) to court over the performance of a German company that owns Turners & Growers.

But a High Court judge has rejected their challenge to the OIO’s view that German company BayWa, which now owns 73 per cent of listed fruit and vegetable marketer Turners & Growers, had fulfilled its consent conditions.

The OIO, which is an arm of Land Information New Zealand, approved BayWa’s takeover of Turners & Growers in 2012. . .

Change aplenty on FarmIQ demonstration farm:

BEEF COWS are out, dairy grazers in and ewe condition a priority on the first FarmIQ demonstration farm to hold a field day this autumn.

“Historically a lot of emphasis went on fattening lambs,” Duncan Mackintosh of White Rock Mains told a field day audience of about 30 farmers and industry representatives late last month.

With hindsight, some of that was at the expense of ewe condition. Now, they routinely condition score the flock when yarded for other operations. . .

Body language can cause confusion – Anna Holland:

THERE SEEMS to be some confusion out there reading dog body language. 

 A couple of people who had watched a DVD about dog training remarked to me that the dogs looked scared of the trainer. I hadn’t seen it so couldn’t comment however I have since seen the DVD and I don’t think the dogs are scared.

Also, at my training days, I have had people remark that the dogs I am demonstrating with have their tails between their legs. It seems to concern the person more than the dog. Why?


Rural round-up

28/03/2014

Dairy factories spending up – Alan Wood & Cecile Meier:

South Island dairy processors are upsizing with nearly $135 million of extra factory investment to chase a growing milk powder export market.

Synlait Milk yesterday committed an extra $32m to help expand milk drying capacity at its Dunsandel plant.

Competitor Westland Milk Products said it would invest $102m on a new nutritionals-infant formula dryer in Hokitika.

Both companies have undergone rapid growth, though yesterday NZX-listed Synlait Milk said issues remained with the Chinese infant formula market. . . .

Westland dairy expansion welcomed by most – Cecile Meier:

Despite a few reservations, Hokitika’s community supports Westland Milk Products’ plans to expand its dairy factory with a $102 million new nutritional milk dryer.

The Westland District Council held a hearing this week on the company’s resource consent application to build the new spray dryer.

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said the move would bring excellent employment prospects for the region.

Hundreds of farmer suppliers to Westland Milk would also benefit from the added value the new facility could bring to their milk.

“Dairy farming is going from strength to strength. It’s a very good move for the West Coast.” . . .

 

Big dry is being monitored closely – James Houghton:

Many of you are wondering why the Government has not declared a drought in Waikato and Northland areas.  Whilst, they do not actually declare a drought as such, when appropriate, the Government can declare the impact of a drought as an adverse event under its Primary Sector Recovery Policy, and provide recovery assistance. For this to happen, basically you and the community have got to not be coping. The declaration of an adverse event is not about the event itself, but rather the impact of the event.

It is important for you as a community to understand this and take stock of how bad the situation really is, and what value a declaration will actually bring. There would not be a lot of financial support for those struggling unless they are at the point where they are struggling to or can’t meet their living costs. The declaration would provide some funding for the Rural Support Trusts; however, on this particular occasion they have made themselves available for contact regardless.

I can assure you the Ministry for Primary Industries has been monitoring the conditions over the last few months by keeping close contact with Federated Farmers and other stakeholders to understand if farmers are coping. They are not in any doubt that a drought does exist, and they are monitoring the situation closely. . . .

Rare native fish found on farm:

A farm restoration project has led to a fishy discovery for Rory Foley.

Foley has a deer farm in the Hook catchment, near Waimate in South Canterbury.

He has spent the past few years improving parts of the catchment that were previously degraded.

However, the efforts have also led to an unlikely spin-off effect, which was only discovered in the past couple of months: the area is now home to rare mudfish. . .

 Synlait Milk shares punished for over-optimistic forecasts, Chinese regulatory speed bumps – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – Investors punished Synlait Milk shares after the dairy processor was forced to wind back the bullish profit forecast it gave in January because of disruptions from increased Chinese regulations on infant formula and unfavourable foreign exchange movements.

The stock dropped 7.3 percent to a three-week low of $3.70, trimming their gains from last year’s initial public offering to 68 percent. The full-year profit forecast was cut to a range of $25 million to $30 million, down from the $30 million-to-$35 million estimate given in January, Synlait said today.

“In January we under-estimated the full impact,” managing director John Penno told BusinessDesk. “The Chinese regulations had been signalled for some time but what’s become apparent since December is how fast they are going to move.” . . .

Farm Days’ a marketing and educational success:

Federated Farmers Farm Days are a huge success in education and tourism. The Federation’s Bay of Plenty province saw 980 people come through the farm gate on Sunday to see what farming is all about.

“Our Farm Day is a great way for everyone to get involved in the region’s rural community. This year was a particular success with 60 percent of the visitors having either never been on farm or to a Farm Day before,” said Rick Powdrell, Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty provincial president.

“It is an opportunity to get urban people out, especially the children, to learn where their food comes from. Regardless of what age the visitors were they said they all learnt something. . .

Iconic North Island farm sells:

One of the most highly valued sheep and beef properties in New Zealand has been sold. The 4,839 hectare Mangaohane Station located just off the Taihape to Napier Highway between the Rangitikei River and the Ruahine Forest Park.

It has been sold by the family of previous owner, the late Jim Bull. Jim was known as ‘The Potato King”, and bought Mangaohane at auction in 1973 for what was then a record price.

During the last 40 years, the property has been dramatically transformed – with 1500 hectares of scrub cleared, and a further 1200 hectares of tussock developed into top quality high producing pasture. . . .

 


Rural round-up

22/03/2014

Chinese trade target sky-high – Hugh Stringleman:

Prime Minister John Key and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to aim for $30 billion of bi-lateral trade between New Zealand and China by 2020.

That would be an increase of 65% over the total of two-way trade last year, when NZ sold China almost $10b of exports, mostly from the primary sector, and imported $8.2b.

In a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing they also agreed to modernise the free-trade agreement between the two countries.

“We have great confidence that the coming years will see trade between us increase at a very fast pace,” Key said. . .

No time to penny-pinch on TB – James Houghton:

Looking at the week that was, we have seen Fish & Game come out with a survey full of leading questions, three of our top agricultural science centers lose Government funding, and the Ministry for Primary Industries taking Fonterra to court. One might take that as a bad week, but this is a standard one for agriculture.

What is important to note is that we deal with a lot of negativity on a day-to-day basis and part of that is because we hold ourselves to a very high standard. However, looking at an average week you can get drowned in the negativity and lose sight of the bigger picture. All these things that are happening around us can seem like a blur of madness, some are but some things are for the big picture, for our children, and theirs.

Locally, we are dealing with the Waikato regional draft Annual Plan, which the council are looking to withdraw their direct funding from the national strategy of pest eradication. The National Pest Strategy, funded by the Animal Health Board, has been focusing on high-risk areas, such as Waikato, to rid the country of TB. The work is achieved by eradicating possums, with TB, from the province, and is spear headed by TB Free New Zealand and OSPRI. . .

The nitty gritty of the nitrate debate –   Lynda Murchison:

We are a part of the water quality discussion in some shape or form, and we get our information from many sources.  A major focus has been on nitrogen losses from farming. If nitrogen is one of the key ingredients in this national conversation, it ought to be explained beyond the notion that it is all about cows in streams.  The science can be complex and the explanations mind-boggling; here’s my simple geographer-farmer take on it.

Why should we care how nitrogen loss is managed? Farmers care because their future flexibility and thus viability is at stake, and like most New Zealanders they want a sustainable future that allows for agricultural growth whilst enjoying healthy waterways. The rest of the population should care because the flexibility and productivity of farming, our ability to feed the world, is what makes New Zealand tick.

Recently, the Ministry for Primary Industries revised their projections for earnings in the primary sector for the 2013-14 year, up another $4.9 billion to $36.5 billion. From that, the direct economic contribution farmers make to the Christchurch economy is estimated at $750 million per year, an impressive feat. One can only assume that contribution is even more significant in smaller provincial cities and towns. . .

Let’s Broadcast Rural New Zealand – Jamie Mackay:

It was the only option available but watching the excellent on-line live stream of the Golden Shears Open final was yet another salutary reminder of how  mainstream media in this country, most notably television, pays lip service to farming and rural New Zealand in general.

Country Calendar is an institution on New Zealand television, only bettered by Coronation Street for longevity. Heck, its most loved voice Frank Torley would probably give Ken Barlow a run for his money for length of tenure on the telly.  

I don’t wish to sound dismissive about the iconic Country Calendar because it is a rural flagship and rates well in its 7pm Saturday spot.  However, I would argue it’s a show designed more for townies than rural folk, as can be attested by the prevalence of quirky lifestyle stories it features.

But what Country Calendar does prove is there’s an appetite out there for television featuring rural New Zealand.  However, this message is not getting through the solid craniums (euphemism for thick skulls) of television programmers. . .

Homewood Run – Lashings of meat right way to eat -Alan Emmerson:

Those who have read my columns will know my philosophy of not getting to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian.

I can remember, as a relatively young journalist, of the panic over saturated fat, the health risks associated with eating meat and dairy products.

Back then the doomsayers were trying to convert the world to mung beans and the like, for the good of their health of course.

Fortunately few listened and we continued eating meat, butter, and cheese.

Now, according to an article in the New York Times, the myths have been dispelled. . .

The Peterson Farm Bros’ Beef with Chipotle (Part 1)  – Greg Peterson:

Many have probably seen or heard about Chipotle’s commercial, “The Scarecrow” and their recent video series, “Farmed and Dangerous.” Chipotle claims these spots are shedding light on the “inhumane” and “unsustainable” nature of “industrial farming.” They try to use the videos to inform people of the perceived problems with the current food system, such as the difference between meat that is ethically raised and meat that isn’t. Their approach seems genuine and sincere at first and is attracting a lot of attention from consumers. I’m certain that Chipotle is doing a lot of positive things with their “food with integrity” approach and to be clear, I do agree with the general ideals Chipotle claims they are supporting:

  • The consumer does deserve healthy meat from humanely raised animals
  • The family farmer is who should be raising their food
  • Ethical behavior should be of greater concern than profit.

What I don’t agree with is Chipotle’s definitions of family farmers, humanely raised animals, and ethical behavior. . .


Rural Round-up

09/03/2014

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

26/02/2014

Govt invests $540,000 in Lake Horowhenua clean-up:

Environment Minister Amy Adams has today announced the Government will invest $540,000 towards cleaning up Lake Horowhenua.

Combined with funding from Horizon’s Regional Council and Horowhenua District Council, as well as in-kind contributions from Dairy NZ and the Tararua Growers’ Association, the total funding for the project will be $1.27 million.

The project will improve the water quality through sediment and nutrient management on the lake and its tributaries, improving water quality for recreation and wild life.

The project includes stream fencing, planting, building a wetland, harvesting lake weeds, and developing farm plans. . .

Irrigation supplies shut-down begins:

Irrigation water supplies to some parts of Marlborough are being shut down as the continuing hot, dry weather takes its toll on river levels.

The Marlborough District Council is advising property owners that water for irrigation is being shut off to about 5000 hectares of farmland and vineyards along the Wairau River.

Further Wairau consents, including all those from the Southern Valleys Irrigation Scheme, were expected to be cut off by today.

Waihopai consents will be suspended in the next day or two.

The shutdown is necessary slightly earlier than last year because there has been no real rain since Christmas. . .

 

Safety group astonished as farmers flout helmet law – Sue O’Dowd:

Worksafe New Zealand has savaged organisers of a farmers’ day out for failing to require helmets on quad bikes in Taranaki hill country.

About 200 people visited Aotuhia Station when Beef + Lamb New Zealand – the farmer-owned industry organisation representing New Zealand’s sheep and beef farmers – hosted what it called a Big Day Out last week.

Only about five people on a cavalcade of bikes touring the 2240ha Aotuhia Station, 65km east of Stratford, wore helmets, and many riders carried passengers.

Worksafe New Zealand would have issued enforcement notices to the organisers, those not wearing helmets and those carrying passengers if it had been there, quad bike national programme manager Francois Barton said yesterday. . . .

Eyes wide open – James Houghton:

Employment relationships are a key factor in setting a positive working environment and ensuring your farm is productive. The general work relationships in rural New Zealand have been traditionally informal. This has had to change with stronger workplace protection for employees.  It means the farm employer has had to learn new skills, involving contractual agreements and human resources.

When it comes to dairy agreements with sharemilkers, who are arguably what makes New Zealand dairying so successful; there have been breakdowns between some employers and their sharemilker.  Sharemilking is a hybrid between self-employment and employment but that hasn’t stopped some harsh treatments of sharemilkers. Such as an employer not honouring either a handshake agreement or misusing clauses in their agreement, which causes sheer misery for the sharemilker involved.

Over the past year, Federated Farmers has been revising the industry standard Herd Owing Sharemilking Agreement, looking to remove outdated clauses and with it, issues within the industry like harsh treatment, which may deter new entrants. . .

Strong growth and profitability increases from PGG Wrightson:

PGG Wrightson Ltd* (PGW) has announced a strong half-year performance under its new Chief Executive.

For the six-months ended 31 December 2013, PGW achieved operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Operating EBITDA)** of $22.3 million, up from $18.0 million for the corresponding period last year.

Mark Dewdney, who took up the role of PGW Chief Executive on 1 July 2013, called it a strong result with increases recorded across most areas of the business. . .

New Zealand Drives Global Pet Addiction:

Imagine a Singaporean company making premium pet food from possums in the Bay of Plenty and exporting successfully for eight years. That’s what Jerel Kwek of Addiction Foods has accomplished, along with a vision to improve pet nutrition globally.

While cats and dogs around the world have fallen for Addiction, it’s only now with a recent plant upgrade in Te Puke that Kwek can make his natural NZ pet food available in the NZ market.

Addiction use a selection of premium proteins and game meats, including New Zealand possum to produce a range of dry and raw dehydrated natural foods designed to prevent allergies and promote long-term health in cats and dogs. . .

Loan package to grow pasture productivity:

New Zealand’s largest rural lender today launched a lending package for farmers wanting toboost farm productivity by improving pasture and forage growth.

ANZ Bank’s Pasture Productivity Loan offers an interest rate of 4%* p.a with a maximumloan amount of $100,000. The maximum loan term is five years, principal reducing, andthere are no establishment fees.

“Renewing pasture and forage is one of the key things red meat farmers can do to improveproductivity and profit,” said Graham Turley, ANZ Managing Director Commercial & Agri. . .


Rural round-up

11/02/2014

Australian milk war becomes the NZ product war:

Federated Farmers of New Zealand believes Australian consumers will ultimately decide it’s not fair dinkum to remove New Zealand products from the shelves of Coles and Woolworth supermarkets in Australia.

“It seems like the Australian milk wars, which so badly affected the viability of many Australian dairy farmers, is fast becoming the New Zealand product war,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President and its trade spokesperson.

“My take on this is that Australian consumers will see a lessening of choice and quality as being not fair dinkum.

“Australia is New Zealand’s second largest export market behind China so what goes on there does matter.

“This seems less a reaction to consumer demand and more a new chapter in Australia’s supermarket war.  Coles and Woolworths are cynically trying to proclaim themselves truer than blue Aussie companies. . .

 

A tale of two spills – Willy Leferink:

What would you say if a dairy farmer took full responsibility for the actions of his relief milker and copped a $45,000 fine in the process?  All the while, human and industrial effluent leaks almost daily into our major rivers and harbours with very little mention. 

Wairarapa dairy farmer Selwyn Donald accepted that as the farm owner, the buck stopped with him. There’s something wrong with a picture where a farmer or business gets pinged but council sewerage spills are either covered by “emergency discharge consents” or a slap by the wettest of wet bus tickets.

Last July, Hamilton City Council was “sentenced” after it released about the same volume of human effluent into the Waikato River as happened on Mr Donald’s farm.  Did Hamilton cop the $600,000 fine the media talked about?  Did the guy at Hamilton responsible get charged just like Mr Donald did?  No way.  That was all traded down to stream restoration, planting and fencing near to where the council spill took place.  Restorative justice.  The guy fingered saw all charges “dropped” against him because Hamilton pleaded guilty. . .

Vehicle tracking programme taking off – Sally Rae:

It was while driving a tractor in Australia that Andrew Humphries came up with the idea of a software system to track farm vehicles.

After growing up on a sheep and beef farm near Gore, he headed to the University of Canterbury where he spent a year studying computer engineering.

He then returned to the farm for four years, flying to Western Australia each year to drive seeding rigs during the April-June seeding season. . .

We don’t’ like seeing animals suffer – James Houghton:

In light of the recent story around the footage of a farmer in Chile euthanizing some calves, there has been a lot of uproar and emotion. To me it is understandable because I know just how awful it feels to have to euthanise an animal and how bad things look with limited information.

It is no fun shooting an animal, and anyone who has done it can tell you that it is not an easy job either in the practical or emotional sense. But if you are to work with animals you need to have the strength to take responsibility for that animal and be there for them when they need you. Recently, I found a cow in the paddock with a broken leg and I had to put her down. It was horrible, but what would have been worse is if I had left her and waited for a vet to come, which could have been the following day. On some properties the farmer can be over an hour’s round trip from parts of the farm. So when you encounter an animal in pain and distress, such as a botched attempt at poaching, then you need to have a means to end their suffering. Banning emergency measures would be wrong but neither should it be the first measure.

We have rules and guidelines around what we can and cannot do, for this very reason, so that farmers do not have to let an animal suffer. These rules have to be realistic and practical otherwise farmers won’t be able to do what is right and help put the animal out of its misery. . .

NZITO and Primary ITO join forces:

On Saturday, 1 February 2014 the New Zealand Industry Training Organisation (NZITO), the industry training provider for the meat processing, dairy manufacturing and seafood sectors, officially merged with the Primary Industry Training Organisation (Primary ITO) as the Government’s strategy to amalgamate ITOs continues. Primary ITO provides industry training across the agriculture, horticulture, equine, water and sports turf industries.

The two organisations share a natural synergy and the move will help to strengthen and enhance the links between the producer and processor sectors. The merger also means Primary ITO is now officially the largest ITO in the country.

As well as training the workforce involved in the production and processing elements of the food chain, Primary ITO also provides qualifications for people working in the service sectors connected to the primary industry. While these sectors are not export focused, they still have an important role to play.

NZITO Chairman, Graeme Sutton, says “we’ve created an organisation that offers the complete primary industry training package. There’s enormous capacity for training and education to raise global and national awareness of New Zealand’s primary industry.” . . .

And a media release:

Ambitious young Māori dairy farmers urged to enter Ahuwhenua competition:

This is the final call for all candidates to submit their entries for this year’s Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer of the Year competition. Entries close on Friday 14 February 2014.

Sponsored by Primary ITO, Te Tumu Paeroa and Allflex, the competition alternates between dairy and sheep and beef farming and will for the second time recognise the skill and proficiency of young Māori employed in the dairy farming sector.  It is free to enter and open to those aged 16-25 who are currently enrolled in or have completed a National Certificate in Agriculture Level 3 or higher in the last year.

“The judges will be looking for ambitious young Māori with initiative and industry knowledge,” says Fred Hardy, General Manager of Strategic Business Development at Primary ITO. 

Fred, who acts in an advisory capacity, says those who enter the competition will be rewarded with ample opportunities to build their profile within the industry.

“The competition gives you access to a network of industry professionals and expert feedback, so it is necessary for entrants to have clear goals in mind.” He continues, “It’s also important that they demonstrate a commitment to Māoritanga.”

The finalists will be announced in April and are invited to attend the Ahuwhenua awards ceremony in Tauranga in June, where the winner will be announced and awarded a cash sum of $3000. 1st and 2nd runners up will each receive $1000.

Previous winners, dairy farmer Tangaroa Walker and sheep and beef farmer Jordan Smith, have both embarked on successful farming careers and look back at the competition as a key stepping stone in their journey to success.

For detailed information about the Young Māori Farmer of the Year competition click here.

Entry form here.


Rural round-up

31/01/2014

Auckland siphoning Waikato’s future:

Federated Farmers is concerned that the Auckland Watercare firm’s application to take water from the Waikato will see lost opportunities for economic growth in the Waikato.

“This part of the Waikato River is already nearly full allocated with water takes, at 10 percent of its one in 5 year low flow (Q5), so if this application is approved, Waikato ratepayers lose out,” says James Houghton, Federated Farmers provincial president for Waikato.

“Watercare are asking for a further 200,000 cubic meters a day on top of the 150,000 they already take, to supply a city that doesn’t pay rates in the Waikato. Our council needs to be thinking about the long game here and what benefits there are in giving away Waikato’s resources, which are needed to maintain and build Waikato’s economy. If this consent proceeds under the current rules it is going to strangulate Waikato’s ability to grow. . .

Grassland science leader rewarded – Annette Scott:

More intensive farming has increased demand for greater pasture performance in New Zealand but Professor Syd Easton is confident there is technology and expertise to keep farmers well served. He talked to Annette Scott.

Emeritus Professor Syd Easton has been awarded the Ray Brougham Trophy for his significant contribution to grassland farming.

The AgResearch Grasslands, Palmerston North-based scientist is the third AgResearch scientist to win the prestigious pastoral science award. . . .

Bottom lines of animal welfare James Houghton:

A key component of farming is animal welfare and what influences that is culture and legislation. What we see in every industry is a bottom and top percent that stand out from the rest.

As is common in business and society, we focus on the bottom percent because they are the ones that need to change. In agriculture, the majority are doing a fine job of farming but there is still room for them to improve – looking to our top percent who are the game changers and leaders of the industry. However, our bottom dwellers are letting the industry down, and it is time for them to shape up or get out. We don’t want you if you can’t manage the basic requirement of treating your stock with respect and care. Likewise, this goes for those who disrespect and neglect the environment.

Animal welfare cases are never cut and dry, we need clear-cut standards and a fair and balanced approach to employment law cases, if we want to make those who are letting the industry down to be accountable. The Federation is proactive in educating its members about best practice and how to meet animal welfare requirements. We work well with key stakeholders on this issue, such as WSPA, The New Zealand Veterinary Association and DairyNZ, because we all have a vested interest in the welfare of animals. . .

Farmers back the battle for birds:

Federated Farmers is backing the Department of Conservation’s ‘Battle for Birds’ by extending the use of Sodium fluoroacetate (1080) to 500,000 hectares of the DoC estate, ahead of an anticipated explosion in mice, rat and mustelids due to the 2014 mast season.

“With one million tonne of seed due to fall in the 2014 mast season we are almost certain to see an explosion in rodent numbers and with them, their major predators,” says Anders Crofoot, Federated Farmers Game & Pest spokesperson.

“Once this easy food supply ends in the spring, this plague of pests will turn on our native fauna as an easy meal. 

“When we have a tool that works, like Sodium fluoroacetate, then we must use it to keep these pest populations in check. . .

Lifestyle sells rural work – Stephen Bell:

Rural employers need to provide a good lifestyle and demonstrate a path exists for career advancement to attract young people to the countryside, Victoria University researcher Dr Michael Sloan has found.

Sloan surveyed 24,000 people as part of his thesis and found people moving from urban areas to the country had less social life satisfaction after the move but had greater outdoor satisfaction with the man-made and natural environments.

He spent three years comparing people’s expectations of moving to urban and rural areas with the reality after the move. . .

Farmers to put reputation at steak:

Nationwide, farmers are preparing their entries for the annual Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin Competition.

The event, entering its twelfth year, recognises New Zealand’s most tender and tasty steak, an award taken seriously by industry professionals.   

Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO, Dr Scott Champion, says the competition is an opportunity to showcase the dedication and skill so evident in New Zealand beef farming.

“The quality of New Zealand beef is a product of the hard-work and dedication of our farmers and this event rewards these efforts, making it a competitive and highly regarded award,” says Champion. . .


Rural round-up

16/01/2014

If it’s hotter or cooler we need to store water – Bruce Wills:

Since it’s healthy to push yourself each New Year I like to start with a brand new experience.  For me, that was filing a farming music video for Young Country magazine.  A video set to music may be a unique way to tell my story to younger farmers but it was fun doing it at a busy time on-farm.  Admittedly, I do not think NZ on Air funding will be in the mail.

This year means I am in my final seven months as the President of Federated Farmers and I genuinely hope this column will continue with my successor.  That person will be elected in early July, after Federated Farmers provinces and industry groups assemble in Palmerston North for our National Conference. 

Looking back, 2011 seems a world away when I undertook my first political interview on TV One’s Q+A.  It was with Massey University’s Dr Mike Joy and was hosted by the late Sir Paul Holmes. The subject was water quality and our dairy industry and in the minds of some people that has not changed.  The perception of what we do is yet to catch up to the realities of modern farming. 

When you’ve got older farmers, the sort that the Topp Twins satirise so well, actively swapping notes on riparian plantings then you know there’s been a shift in culture. . .

Water storage becomes vital in changing climate – James Houghton:

Now most of you will be back from a well-rested break, having indulged yourselves silly and feeling a little guilty perhaps? Well just thought you might like to know, like most farmers, I have been kept busy as farming is a 365-day-a-year job. Thankfully, summer has been kind to us so far and the ever-increasing threat of drought has been kept at bay.

Looking to the year ahead, I am hoping we will see an improvement in people and organisations being accountable for their actions and learning from their mistakes. Last year, we saw some disappointing performances in the biosecurity area and animal welfare. We also seem to be struggling with the ever-increasing reality that we need a reliable source of water to maintain a sustainable primary industry and our economic independence. When corporates make a mistake, they need to do what is right and not solely focus on the dollar.

My hope is that we learn from past experiences and make changes for the better. If we don’t, how are we meant to protect ourselves from risk or make progress and develop ourselves? The climate and water debates paint this picture well, time and time again. . .

‘Milk price outlook, the unforeseen risk of the US’ – Lisa Deeney:

“The huge increase in supplies of natural gas and oil in the US and Canada will probably pose a strong risk to future Irish milk price by enabling US milk producers to be competitive at lower prices than before.”

This is according to Cork-based dairy farmer and businessman Mike Murphy, who has interests in America, New Zealand and Chile, and an organiser of Positive Farmers’ dairy conference taking place in Clonmel, Tipperary today.

“Be aware to this risk. Farmers who borrow heavily based on current milk price may be in for a very rough time. Be a little conservative on milk price forecasts,” he cautioned to the packed attendance of more than 475 people. . .

Fonterra cream E.coli recall proves safety system ‘works’: Federated Farmers – Mark Astley

Fonterra’s decision to recall 8,700 bottles of potentially E.coli-contaminated fresh cream proves only that the cooperative’s “quality assurance system works,” New Zealand dairy farmer representative, Federated Farmers, has claimed. . .

Brown fat measurement could offer key to improving lamb survival:

Not all fats are created equal, and work by AgResearch is looking into how this knowledge can help reduce lamb deaths.

In good conditions mortality of twins and triplets is below 10% and 20% respectively, but in poor weather conditions it can be much more. Many of these deaths occur in the first three days of life, often because the lamb is unable to generate enough body heat to keep warm during periods of extreme weather.

Immediately after birth and until they get a feed, lambs have only one main way to regulate and maintain their body temperature: burn ‘brown fat’ to generate heat. . .

Irrigation scheme gets chief -Marta Steeman:

The company developing the $400 million Hurunui irrigation scheme has appointed a permanent chief executive to steer the company through the nitty gritty of design and development.

Hurunui Water Project Limited announced this week Alex Adams would take the helm on March 10.

The appointment follows the company being awarded its most critical consent – permission to take water from the Waitohi River – in August last year.

Hurunui Water Project proposes to develop four water storage dams on the Waitohi River to irrigate just under 60,000 hectares. . .

WCB slams MG’s ‘super co-op’ plan – Jared Lynch:

WARRNAMBOOL Cheese and Butter (WCB) has attacked Murray Goulburn’s takeover bid, saying any further consolidation of Australia’s dairy industry will hurt exports.

Murray Goulburn, Australia’s biggest dairy company, has argued that if it acquired WCB it would create a ”super co-operative”, giving Australia the scale necessary to compete globally.

But in a submission to the Australian Competition Tribunal (ACT), WCB dismissed that claim.

”There is a risk that further ­consolidation of Australian dairy exporting companies could have a negative effect on Australian dairy exports,” WCB said. . . .

LePage signs bill to label genetically modified food – Steve Mistler:

Gov. Paul LePage has signed a bill that would require food producers to label foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. The law makes Maine the second state in the country to pass such a measure. However, other states must adopt similar legislation before Maine’s labeling provision goes into effect.

The governor promised last year to sign the bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Lance Harvell, R-Farmington. His signature is symbolic because legislative rules don’t allow the law to go into effect until the Legislature adjourns later this year. However, supporters of the bill hailed the law’s eventual passage as a victory for advocates of laws mandating the labeling of genetically modified foods. Such proposals have been introduced in nearly 30 states as part of a national effort to compel Congress to enact a comprehensive labeling law. . .


Rural round-up

11/12/2013

New Zealand meat industry calls for speedy conclusion to Korea FTA:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) are calling for a speedy conclusion to New Zealand’s free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with Korea.

Concluding negotiations quickly is vital. Korea finalised FTA negotiations with Australia last week, and, on top of the Korea-US FTA that was signed in 2012, this has the potential to place New Zealand exporters at a significant disadvantage in the near future, the two organisations say.

Korea imposes 40% tariffs on beef imports, which cost New Zealand producers around $48 million in 2012. Korean tariffs on other products like prepared meats can be as high as 72%. . .

Federated Farmers on ECan’s Land & Water Regional Plan

Federated Farmers knows farming practices need to evolve in order to minimise Nitrogen loss from Canterbury farms.

“The Land and Water Regional Plan has to comply with the National Policy Statement (NPS) on freshwater which introduces limits and national bottom lines,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Environment spokesperson.

“Meeting compulsory national bottom lines for nitrates on much of the Canterbury plains, is going to be very difficult without a major shift in how we farm, especially on the lighter soils.

“Right now, Federated Farmers is working as part of a wider partnership with all others in the primary industries to represent a common position to Environment Canterbury (ECan). . .

Council win saves time and money:

Federated Farmers Manawatu-Rangitkei is thrilled by the recent wins in the Horowhenua District Plan.

“We have had two significant wins from the Horowhenua Council hearings, which means we will not need to appeal in the Environment Court,” says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Manawatu Rangitkei provincial president.

“It is a testament to the great working relationship we have with the council, and the great work of our Policy Advisor, that we were able to get some practical and workable decisions made around ‘Housing’ and ‘Hazardous Substances’. . . .

Farming builds communities in adverse times – James Houghton:

Last week, Federated Farmers Waikato held a fundraising function to raise money for the Rural Support Trust. It is not so long ago that the Trust was stepping in to aid farmers through the drought and working with Federated Farmers on our rural mental health campaign, ‘When Life’s a Bitch’. It is important that we give back to organisations like this who are the ones we call on in our time of need.

The function was not only about raising money for the organisation but it was a chance for the community to get together and focus on building relationships. The Chairwoman of the Regional Council, Paula Southgate, attended the dinner along with other rural community stakeholders, and overall the night was a success, raising $3500 for the Trust. Federated Farmers Waikato donated $3000 for the Trust to direct towards rural mental health initiatives, which is an area that requires a significant amount of resources. . .

Farm package targets sustainability, growth:

New Zealand’s largest rural lender today launched a lending package for farmers wanting to invest in improving the environmental sustainability and productivity of their farms.

ANZ Bank’s Farm Development Package includes a low-interest loan of 4% p.a. for fulfilling compliance on effluent management, water quality management and water and energy conservation.

“Fast-growing markets in Asia are producing enormous opportunities for New Zealand farmers. But increasing agriculture production is creating complex challenges on how to manage environmental stresses – in particular the impact of dairy farming on water quality,” said Graham Turley, ANZ Managing Director Commercial & Agri. . .


Rural round-up

08/10/2013

On Farm Productivity Is Good, But The Big Money Is Made From Off Farm Productivity – Milking on the Moove:

There’s a lot of talk about productivity in New Zealand these days.

But are we focusing on the right areas?

The government has set a target of doubling the primary sectors export earnings from $32 Billion to $64 Billion by 2025.

Nobody doubts that this is a difficult ask.

New Zealand’s primary sector has a strong record of productivity gains.

The sheep industry alone has increase productivity (expressed as meat sold /ewe) by 80% over the last 25 years.

That’s 2.5% productivity gain every year. Any business analyst will agree that that is impressive.

But are sheep farmers any better off?

Despite 20 years of productivity gains sheep farmers recently experienced their lowest level of profitability, according to Beef & Lamb NZ data. . .

Setting a pathway to a sustainable future – James Houghton:

The judges ruling on the One Plan has got everyone claiming a win, which is an unexpected result coming from two sides who have always been quite opposing in their views. What a fantastic result Honorary Justice Stephen Kòs has managed to keep both sides happy! For us it has allowed us, in conjunction with the regional council, to come up with a workable solution to the One Plan.

I was sitting next to a Fish & Game representative last Tuesday and I said that the primary industries are committed to putting money into getting good science around achieving the goals of healthy rivers and work forward for sensible solutions. I don’t know where he has been hiding for the past few years because he was quite surprised.

The plan as it now sits means everything is about making the pathway to improvements on farm achievable, and that’s all we ever wanted. It is all part of managing risk and making the most of the resources we have. But at the same time other stakeholders like Fish & Game and Forest & Bird need to have realistic expectations of what can be achieved through good management practice on farm. This all comes down to setting the values through open and honest consultation and this is why we are setting up the Stakeholders Group, who will represent the community in Waikato and identify where the issues are, as well as the Technical Alliance Group (TAG) who will come up with the solutions. . .

Raetihi farmers frustrated but coping:

Farmers reliant upon Raetihi’s water supply are as frustrated as the urban residents are but remain hopeful alternative water supplies maybe secured by the end of this week.

“With livestock understandingly refusing to drink from contaminated troughs, it has been a difficult week for the affected farms and especially those who draw water from Raetihi’s water supply,” says Lyn Neeson, Federated Farmers Ruapehu provincial president.

“What we need now is some heavy rain and it looks like some is on the cards for mid-week.

“Farmers are coping quite well by moving stock to alternative sources either on or off-farm. This includes on-farm water supplies like dams through to sending stock off-farm. . .

Colombian Farmers Get First-Hand Look at NZ Agri Expertise:

The New Zealand Agribusiness Centre, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), the Ministry for Primary Industries, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade this week welcome the largest Colombian delegation to ever visit New Zealand.

Some 170 Colombian farmers are spending a week in New Zealand to get first-hand insights into New Zealand’s pastoral farming systems and agritechnology. The visit includes an exhibition and seminar with major players in New Zealand’s agriculture sector at Mystery Creek Event Centre (home of Fieldays); fieldtrips to dairy, beef and sheep farms; and a visit to Landcorp’s pastoral farm development blocks near Taupo.

Led by Fedegan, the Colombian Federation of Ranchers, the delegation to New Zealand follows Prime Minister John Key’s official visit to Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and Brazil earlier this year as part of the Government’s increased focus on strengthening bilateral relations and capitalising on trade opportunities with Latin America nations. . .

NZ study tour on offer for international farmers:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has today announced a new programme for overseas farmers to spend time in New Zealand on an agri-tech study tour.

“Four places a year will be available for farmers to spend up to three weeks here, looking at improved agricultural productivity and reducing on-farm methane emissions,” says Mr Guy.

“This programme will be fully funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries and will help promote New Zealand’s agribusiness expertise overseas.

“My recent trip to South America has reinforced to me just how well respected New Zealand is overseas for the success of our agricultural sector. . .

Federated Farmers aids New Zealand’s agricultural diplomacy:

Federated Farmers has successfully tabled a paper at the World Farmers Organisation that could greatly contribute to New Zealand’s global agricultural diplomacy.

“I am pleased to say New Zealand’s proposal to invite farming organisations has been warmly received by the World Farmers Organisation and will further our country’s global outreach and engagement,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“The World Farmers Organisation is currently writing to our Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to agree a programme for farmers from developed or developing countries to travel to New Zealand for an agri-tech study tour.

“We envisage each visit will be coordinated by MPI but will involve industry good bodies, research institutions and ourselves. It will enable visiting farmers to spend two to three weeks working alongside our farming community and agricultural science sectors. . .

NZCTA urges positive action in light of botulism scare:

The New Zealand China Trade Association (NZCTA) is urging industry and Government to work together to learn serious lessons from the Fonterra botulism scare. Official reviews have yet to be published, but the NZCTA is encouraging its members to continue to monitor the situation with respect to the China market.

“There is no doubt that the incident has damaged New Zealand’s image as a source of safe, high quality food products and the implications of this have been felt in terms of earnings for a number of our members, and this is unlikely to be fully resolved until New Zealand can prove that it has adequate systems in place to safeguard the industry and export markets” says Association Chairman Tim White. . .

City-fringe farm with a history of dairy and cattle grazing goes on the market for sale:

A dairy support farm described as being ‘as close to the city as you can get without being a lifestyle block’ has been placed on the market for sale.

The 185 hectare unit near the township of Waiuku in the Counties region of Auckland is a sheep farm which has been converted into a cattle and finishing block capable of running up to 650 head of cattle.

The farm is divided into some 40 paddocks and raced for efficient stock movement and separation. This year the farm has stocked 100 dairy heifer yearlings, 150 dairy heifer calves, 200 beef yearlings and 200 beef calves. . .


Rural round-up

14/07/2013

Global forces need smart response – Sally Brooker:

New Zealand dairy farmers and milk processors need robust business structures to withstand market movements, Hayley Moynihan says.

Delivering a keynote address at the South Island Dairy Event in Lincoln on June 24, the Rabobank food and agribusiness research and advisory senior dairy analyst said milk price volatility was not going away. We needed to aspire to where there was opportunity to enter more lucrative markets.

Rising consumer expectations were presenting a continuing challenge, Ms Moynihan said.  . . .

Waikato farmers set the record for Agrecovery:

Federated Farmers is applauding the way Waikato farmers have embraced Agrecovery rural recycling. A record six tonne of hazardous horticultural, agricultural and veterinary chemicals was collected during the Waikato regional collection, finishing last week.

“Farmers are choosing to dispose of their chemical waste responsibly due to the convenience of the service,” says James Houghton, Federated Farmers’ Waikato provincial president.

“It is great to see increasing numbers of farmers using Agrecovery. It is another example of farmers changing their behaviour and working for the good of the environment without the need for legislation. . .

Warm, wet weather inhibits rabbits – Ruth Grundy:

Wet and warm springs and summers are keeping rabbit numbers down across Canterbury.

Environment Canterbury biosecurity team leader Brent Glentworth said for the past two seasons warm, wet weather during the first rabbit breeding cycle had been largely responsible for keeping the population in check.

Young rabbits had a low survival rate in those conditions because they succumbed to pneumonia or coccidiosis – a liver disease ”very prevalent” in warm, wet weather, Mr Glentworth said. . .

Mounting cost to irrigation schemes – Ruth Grndy:

Irrigation companies in the Waitaki river catchment are facing significant clean up bills after last month’s flooding damaged irrigation schemes.

Waitaki residents say the rain and flooding from the storm which lashed the country was the worst seen in decades.

The Danseys Pass bridge was destroyed after about 160mm of rain fell in the space of three days.

Maerewhenua District Water Resource Company chairman Kelvin Weir said the scheme had been ”very lucky” and ”survived pretty well” considering the amount of rain and high river flow. . . .

Irrigation extending potato, onion output – Ruth Grundy:

Easier access to water in Canterbury is not only fuelling dairying production but also a significant growth in the production of potatoes and onions.

The 2012 agricultural production census, conducted by the Department of Statistics, shows the Canterbury potato harvest accounted for half the national harvested area in June 2012.

And, the land put into onions increased from 690ha in June 2007 to 1040ha in June 2012 – about a 50% increase. . .

New ASB sponsorship will improve financial literacy of dairying women:

ASB has confirmed it is a new gold sponsor of the Dairy Women’s Network (DWN). The partnership, which took effect on 1 July, will boost the work already being done by the DWN to improve the financial literacy skills of the country’s dairy farming women.

DairyNZ modelling shows there is an opportunity to improve the industry’s profitability by more than $1B per year, or approximately $1000 per hectare, by improving financial literacy and management capabilities.

The industry body has also identified there is a significant range in profitability between dairy farmers, with a contributing factor being management capability. . .


Rural round-up

09/07/2013

Call to take multi-party approach – Sally Rae:

The state of the red-meat industry was, not surprisingly, a major topic of conversation at Federated Farmers national conference in Ashburton last week.

A session entitled ”Culture Change: The New Beginning In The Meat Industry” was a focus of the meat and fibre meeting, as agribusiness reporter Sally Rae reports.

Former PPCS chairman Reese Hart believes a merger between the co-operative (now Silver Fern Farms) and Alliance Group is not a priority.

”I simply think there are more important things to be done. I think the merger will happen some day but probably not for the reasons we wanted it to happen five years ago,” Mr Hart told Federated Farmers meat and fibre meeting in Ashburton last week. . .

Beef prices expected to firm

New Zealand beef prices are expected to firm over the next quarter, partly in response to tighter supplies resulting from the drought, but also to forecasts of a wet winter encouraging producers to retain stock, Rabobank said.

The specialised agribusiness lender said seasonal pressures still exist, but have since improved from the poor conditions in the first quarter.

Most regions received some good rainfall, with temperatures still warmer than average, which has enabled some good pasture growth, the bank said. . .

Debacle carries big implications for farmers – James Houghton:

While Christchurch was taking in the revelations about its council’s chief executive, former Hamilton City Council CEO Tony Marryatt, farmers were discussing the big issues facing agriculture at Federated Farmers’ national conference in Ashburton.

Fittingly, these discussions included a plenary session featuring Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend, Selwyn District Mayor Kelvin Coe and Ashburton District Mayor Angus McKay, looking at local government and its implications for some of its biggest contributors, the rural sector.

Christchurch City Council has hit some serious credibility issues, with International Accreditation New Zealand withdrawing its ability to issue building consents. It is clear council staff were not meeting the required building code standards. It is also clear they were not meeting the required standards of professionalism needed. . .

Soil health key component of farm economics – Gerald Piddock:

Future farm systems can achieve environmental and economic sustainability, but there are no quick-fix solutions for reaching that goal, a DairyNZ scientist says.

Getting there would require a balance between environmental and production- driven goals, DairyNZ senior scientist Pierre Beukes told scientists and farmers at the New Zealand Society of Animal Production Conference in Hamilton.

Farmers would have to build strong system fundamentals based around soil health, nutrients and cows to withstand the future challenge of farming within limits. . .

Healthy pipfruit profits expected – Peter Watson:

The Nelson economy is in for a much-needed boost with the pipfruit season shaping up as the best in five years.

After losing money in three of the last four years, growers expect to bank a modest to healthy profit this year on the back of record prices for many varieties in Europe and Britain and steady growth in Asia.

They have been aided by a shortage of fruit in key markets and a weakening kiwi.. .

New Zealand shearing team has first win:

New Zealand’s shearing test team has tasted success for the first time on its Northern Hemisphere test tour, levelling the eight-match series at one-a-piece.

Golden Shears champion Rowland Smith, from Hastings, and Rakaia’s Tony Coster combined to beat an English test pairing by three points at the Lakelands Shears in Cumbria. . .

Hawkes Bay Winery scoops four medals at San Francisco International Wine Competition:

Hawkes Bay boutique winery Mangapapa Estates has scooped four medals at the prestigious San Francisco International Wine Competition with its Chateau Waimarama branded wines.

More than 4,500 wines were judged at this year’s competition and out of the four wines entered, all Chateau Waimarama wines attained medals, a Gold Medal, two Silvers and one Bronze.

The Gold Medal was for Chateau Waimarama’s 2009 Hawkes Bay Cabernet Sauvignon. . .


Rural round-up

29/05/2013

Farms’ history recognised – Helena de Reus:

Long-term farmers were praised for their resilience and hard work, at the New Zealand Century Farm and Station Awards in Lawrence on Saturday.

Guest speaker Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said his dairy farm at Levin had been in the family for 80 years, and he hoped to return to Lawrence in 20 years to receive a century farm award.

”Our country isn’t that old, and history is important. Tonight is an opportunity to look back at our pioneer farmers.”

The resilience of farming communities and family was on display at the awards, he said. . .

Federated Farmers’ youngest provincial president elected this year:

Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay has elected 36-year old Will Foley as its new Hawke’s Bay provincial president, replacing Bruce Wills, who will now focus on his role as National President. Will Foley is the youngest provincial president elected in Federated Farmers’ class of 2013.

“I must pay tribute to Bruce Wills, who has positively led Federated Farmers in the Hawke’s Bay,” says Will Foley, Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay provincial president.

“I guess my election means Bruce will be able to focus on his national role. After being elected Bruce quipped about me, “he is about half my age and with a lot more hair”.

“As a sheep and beef farmer in Waipukurau, you can say I have a strong interest in water given the effect of the current drought has had upon us. . .

It’s time to move – James Houghton:

They say moving house is one of life’s most stressful events, but for sharemilkers it can be an annual occurrence. Not only do they pack up their homes; they move hundreds of animals and farm equipment.

May 31 and/or June 1 are often called “Gypsy Day”, but actually, it is a chaotic week as moving sharemilkers get everything ready to go to a new farm, which could be down the road or in a different part of the country.

Anyone on the move this weekend needs to keep in mind the need to keep stock off greenfeed before transporting to lessen the chance of spilling effluent on the roads, a potential hazard for other motorists and environmental pollutant. . .

Ballance Agri-Nutrients to sponsor Dairy Women’s Network:

Fertiliser company Ballance Agri-Nutrients has confirmed it will be the new prime sponsor of the Dairy Women’s Network from 1 June 2013. The new partnership will significantly boost the Network’s ability to provide more opportunities for dairy farming women to improve their skills and leadership in the business of dairying.

Ballance general manager agro-science and marketing, Liz Muller, said that in farm ownership and partnerships, women are involved in many of the key business decisions.

“It is often women who take the lead role in areas such as farm finances, staff management, animal welfare, safety and on-farm compliance, yet they are under-represented on farmer co-operative boards of directors and industry agencies. Ballance is taking an active role in helping dairying women develop their leadership skills by supporting organisations such as the Dairy Women’s Network, which is focused on developing female leaders. We want to see more women in influential roles contributing to the success and direction of the industry.” . . .

Launch of Seafood New Zealand at Parliament:

New Zealand’s seafood industry body, Seafood New Zealand, will be officially launched at a function, hosted by the Minister for Primary Industries, at Parliament tonight.

“Seafood New Zealand was set up late last year to be more responsive to market and industry changes, following significant consultation with wider industry,” says Eric Barratt, Chair of Seafood New Zealand.

“Less than ten years ago our main export market was the US. Today the focus is on China and north Asian markets that are growing much faster, with the other markets relatively stable. . . .

Children’s Honey From NZ Becoming a Global Success Story:

New Zealand’s oldest honey brand says parents across the world are recognising the health and quality benefits of feeding New Zealand honey to their children.

According to Airborne Honey, New Zealand’s oldest and most trusted honey brand, and one of the country’s largest honey exporters, children’s honey products are becoming increasingly popular both in New Zealand and further afield.

John Smart, Airborne Honey Sales and Marketing Manager, explains that this is largely due to improved education around the health benefits of honey, as well as international confidence in the safety and quality of honey produced in New Zealand. . .


Rural round-up

27/05/2013

Go farming, young Kiwis – Bruce Wills:

What is your perception of a farm worker? The response from those who do not know much about farming is possibly that they are low-skilled, low-waged and over-worked.

Federated Farmers, with Rabobank, have produced an annual remuneration survey for a number of years with the most recent released last month. The positive thing about social media is that it is easy to catch out those ‘swinging the lead’. The downside is that it anyone with a keyboard can take aim and fire a salvo.

The response to our 2013 survey, aside from one colourful Facebook post, has been that it is on the money, if you excuse a poorly chosen pun.

We are coming out of the shadows on farm worker remuneration to counter the “response” we sometimes get. It also comes after seeing hundreds of Aucklanders queuing for seven jobs at a factory to earn just over $15 an hour. . .

Integration lifts Maori farming:

A STRATEGY shift a few years ago to integrate the dairy and sheep and beef units with a flexible stocking policy provided a step change in performance for large-scale Maori-owned farm business, Te Uranga B2.

Now, its sheep and beef unit is one of three finalists in this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy for excellence in Maori farming.

“The farming philosophy is around maximising pasture production, optimising feed conversion and then maximising productivity,” says Te Uranga B2 chairman Traci Houpapa. . .

Tech summit for primary industries:

For the first time in New Zealand, a mobile communications event is being run specifically for primary industries.

MobileTECH Summit 2013 runs in Wellington on August 7-8. A two-day programme bringing together this country’s leading communications specialists, technology providers and those working in the primary industries, has just been released. Details can be found on the event website, www.mobiletechevents.com. . .

Why export when you can milk it abroad? –  Simon Day:

Hundreds of plump cows line their concrete stalls like rows of dominoes at Fonterra’s Yutian 2 farm, 120 kilometres east of Beijing.

The cows push their heads through the steel bars of their confinements to eat imported alfalfa feed off the floor. Fans line the roof of the long barns, cooling the herd on a hot China day.

There is no grass in sight.

These are Kiwi cows, shipped to China or bred locally from New Zealand genetics. But this looks nothing like New Zealand farming. . .

Too late to avoid ‘dirty dairying’ taint – Aaron Leaman:

The directors of a Mangakino farming company fined $30,000 for breaches of the Resource Management Act have expressed their “shame” at being labelled dirty dairy farmers.

Fernaig Farms Ltd, owner of a 210-hectare block in McDonald Rd, Mangakino, was this week fined $30,037 and ordered to pay $132 costs after pleading guilty to two charges of unlawfully discharging animal effluent to land.

The prosecution, brought by Waikato Regional Council, related to offending on February 23 last year in which effluent was discharged from a holding pond and from an irrigator.

Council staff visited the property after an aerial flyover of dairy farms in the region. . .

Exploring alternatives to quad bikes –  James Houghton:

There has been a huge amount of discussion around quad bikes again, after LandCorp announced they are not using them on their new North Island farms and will be moving away from them on all other operations. Certainly, having 20 accidents involving their staff and quad bikes since December is a sobering statistic. Perhaps for large corporate farmers, with huge numbers of staff to think about, looking at other options is a sensible solution.

Just because LandCorp does something it doesn’t mean all farmers have to follow suit, but it is good to follow the discussion and know what the options are. Many farmers seem to be moving towards the “side by side” or farm utility vehicle options for getting about on their farms because they allow for passengers, carrying loads and do not require a helmet.

Within this category there are again many options. It is about looking at the needs you have on your farm, selecting the best tool for the job and making sure everyone using them is trained to operate that tool safely. . .


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