Rural round-up

December 19, 2013

SFF implements salary freeze – Nigel Stirling:

Silver Fern Farms (SFF) is implementing a salary freeze as part of a range of measures to get the meat processor back to profitability.

The move, revealed at the company’s AGM in Dunedin today, holds all salaried employees’ remuneration at current levels for a period of 12 months.

The company last year paid wages, salaries and benefits of $315.1m, up from $290.2m the previous year.

Chief executive Keith Cooper outlined further steps to turnaround the company’s performance including land disposals and exiting some stock financing arrangements. . .

Farming – change the perception – Will Wilson:

Agriculture must tread carefully in its bid to attract new entrants to ensure it does not undervalue and trivialise the incredible amount of hard work and education required to be success in the industry.

Agriculture is such a catch all term for a huge range of very specialist professions, yet from the outside the perception is the drip fed image of the village idiot on a tractor or the floppy haired Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in his cable knit.

As an industry agriculture continue to pander to this image because it’s media friendly and easier than finding out and explaining the real demands of modern agriculture. . .

Financial report shows agriculture is well on track:

Federated Farmers is pleased to see the Government’s half year Economic and Fiscal Update report showing a faster growing economy, with the agriculture industry being well on its way to doubling its exports by 2025.

“We have long advocated for economic restraint, and it is great to see the $86 million surplus forecast for 2014/15 is up ever so slightly on the surplus forecast in May,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“Agriculture has had a great start, with the tradable sector growing 11.1 percent since 2009 compared with non-tradeables up 6.6 percent, however resource pressures are growing and next year we will likely see a tightening of monetary policy to dampen inflation. Farmers and exporters will need the Government to keep spending and debt under control in order to take the pressure off interest rates and the exchange rate. . .

Commission releases final report on Fonterra’s milk price manual:

Issued 16 December 2013, Release No. 56

The Commerce Commission has today released its final report on its statutory review of Fonterra’s milk price manual. The manual determines how Fonterra calculates the farm gate milk price, which is the price paid by Fonterra to dairy farmers for their raw milk.

This is the first of two statutory reviews that the Commission is required to undertake each milk season under the 2012 amendments to the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 (DIRA).

The Commission has concluded the 2013/14 Milk Price Manual is largely consistent with the purpose of the DIRA milk monitoring regime. . .

MG lifts milk price to $6.25/kg :

MURRAY Goulburn (MG) has announced a third step-up in the farmgate price (excluding the NSW-Sydney region) for the 2013-14 season of $0.18 per kilogram butterfat and $0.38/kg protein.

This step-up takes MG’s weighted-average, available price to $6.25/kg milk solids.

MG has also increased its end of season forecast to a range of $6.30-$6.50/kg milk solids.

“Global demand for dairy foods remains strong and as a result prices for key dairy ingredients, such as whole milk powder, have remained at near record levels for an unprecedented period,” MG managing director Gary Helou, said. . .

Canterbury style zone committee comes to the Wairarapa:

Federated Farmers’ Wairarapa welcomes the formation of the Ruamahanga Whaitua Committee and its commitment to balance environmental and economic values for the Ruamahanga Catchment.

“The Whaitua committee makeup is well balanced to deliver sustainable and workable rules for the Catchment and the Wairarapa,” says Federated Farmers’ Wairarapa provincial president Jamie Falloon.

“We thank the people involved for putting their names forward for what will be a pretty busy two year period.

“It will be a challenging process and will require all parties to be fully involved in discussions to find outcomes that are what the community wants. . .

Workshops help dairy farmers drive better production and profit:

Farm nutrient company SealesWinslow is running a series of seminars and workshops to help dairy farmers achieve higher production, margins and profits.

SealesWinslow’s “Routes to Profitable Milk Production” roadshow, which kicked off in the Waikato in late October, has been rated highly for content and relevance by farmers attending.

Animal nutrition expert for SealesWinslow, James Hague, has been demonstrating how farmers can master the art of balancing the diet to fully feed the herd and benefit from better production from grass, higher production per cow and per hectare, higher margins and more profit. . . .


Rural round-up

March 11, 2013

China consumers to be surveyed on lamb preferences – Sally Rae:

A consumer research programme, to be launched by Alliance Group, will survey Chinese consumers on the taste and quality of New Zealand lamb, in comparison with Chinese and Inner Mongolian lamb.

A Chinese delegation recently visited Alliance Group before the launch of the programme, which is funded by Alliance Group, Beef and Lamb New Zealand and Grand Farm, Alliance Group’s in-market partner. . .

Wool growers’ US visit inspires confidence– Sally Rae:

When Andrew Paterson visited a factory in the United States that turned his fine wool into socks, he came away feeling extremely positive about the future.

Mr Paterson and his wife, Tracy, from Matakanui Station, near Omakau, are among the growers contracted to supply fibre to SmartWool, through the New Zealand Merino Co (NZM).

SmartWool, which has been working in partnership with NZM for 14 years, is an outdoor apparel brand which has direct supply contracts with NZM for ZQ Merino fibre for use in its socks and garments. . .

Jack Russell terriers race for hotly contested title – Lucy Ibbotson:

Regular runs from Alexandra to Clyde – much too fast-paced to be called taking the dog for a walk – paid off for the winner of the hugely popular Jack Russell race during the Upper Clutha A&P Show at the Wanaka Showgrounds on Saturday.

Clad in a neon-bright vest, 4-year-old terrier Kate, of Alexandra, put in an impressive performance to take the hotly contested title, beating about 65 other canine competitors to the finish line.

”She’s a nutcase,” Kate’s owner Hannah Hutton (10) said of her energetic pet, after the race. . .

On a pasture based dairy farm the sky is always blue – Pasture to Profit:
The sky is always blue! This is NOT a reference to the lack of rain in Australia & New Zealand. The dairy industry is a place of optimism and opportunities. In every crisis there is both danger and opportunities. The key is to see the opportunity! Believe me the sky is always blue! Pasture based dairy farming is a place of optimism!

 

Every time I fly the sky is always blue! From the ground it may not seem to be. It’s easy to get pessimistic. Even as the aircraft takes off you are not absolutely sure. But it is always very reassuring to experience that joy of breaking through the clouds. Dark as the clouds might seem. The sky is always blue!  The sky is always blue is a glass half full attitude! . .

Drought costs will be billions – Hugh Stringleman:

Drought declarations have extended across the bulk of the North Island as the government begins to count the cost in billions of dollars to farmers and to the economy.

From their trade mission in Latin America Prime Minister John Key and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the drought was now a wide-scale adverse event with serious economic ramifications.

South Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Rotorua-Taupo and Hawke’s Bay joined Northland under drought declaration last week, with East Cape, Manawatu-Rangitikei, Taranaki and possibly some regions of the South Island expected to follow soon.

The area already declared is wider than in the 2007-08 drought, which was blamed for pushing New Zealand into recession ahead of the Global Financial Crisis.

“So we know it will have an economic impact, it’s just a matter of how much. No one is quite sure,” Guy said. . .

Public invited to ‘Farming in Drought’ Farm Days:

Special ‘Farming in Drought’ Farm Days will be held in Wellington (Sunday 17 March), Rotorua (Sunday 17 March) and Tauranga (Sunday 24 March).  Free and open to the public, they are intended to show how farmers and farms cope with drought.

“Given current drought conditions, we feel the public will want to know more about both how we and our farm animals cope,” says Jamie Falloon, Federated Farmers Wairarapa provincial president, whose province is likely to be declared in drought this week.

“Wellington’s Farm Day runs on Sunday 17 March between 10am and 3pm at the Battle Hill Farm Forest Park in Pauatahanui.  We are bringing in other types of farm animals so it is a great chance to meet farmers and have a family outing close to Wellington. . .

Adverse event drought information:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has added South Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay to Northland as areas affected by a medium scale adverse event (drought). Given conditions as far afield as the South Island’s West Coast, Federated Farmers expects further declarations in the coming week.

What an adverse event declaration means
• Rural Support Trusts (0800 787 254) are local and will coordinate farm advisory and counselling services. This advice is invaluable in aiding business recovery and helping individual families cope with the stresses caused.

• A declaration allows discretion from Inland Revenue on things like Income Equalisation. This allows Inland Revenue to accept later deposits to the income equalisation scheme than is usual, but this needs to be arranged by your farm’s accountant. . .


Rural round-up

October 17, 2012

Meanwhile back at the ranch – Fran O’Sullivan:

Is Fonterra’s Sir Henry van der Heyden staying on past his use-by date as the dairy co-operative’s chairman to protect chairman-elect John Wilson from a boardroom coup?

That question was doing the rounds even before Fonterra confirmed on September 27 that van der Heyden would not step down from the board as expected this December when he hands over the chairmanship to John Wilson at the co-op’s AGM.

Van der Heyden will instead stay on for an unspecified period – expected to be much less than the December 2013 period when his term as an elected board member runs out – to ostensibly “provide continuity around the board table” until after Trading among Farmers (Taf) is up and running. . .

Maintaining lifestyle balance – Sally Rae:

Keri Johnston was about halfway through her final year at St Kevin’s College, in Oamaru, when she decided to pursue an engineering degree.

Ms Johnston had always loved science and mathematics but laughingly recalled how she hated the sight of blood, which ruled out anything in the medical profession.

After hearing a talk from a lecturer from the University of Canterbury School of Engineering, she decided engineering was something she might like to do. . .

Rabobank Australia & NZ country banking head appointed CEO of US Rabo AgriFinance:

Rabobank Australia and New Zealand Group country banking division head Neil Dobbin has been appointed to run Rabobank’s United States agri banking business, Rabo Agri Finance (RAF).

Mr Dobbin – a veteran of 25 years with Rabobank in Australia and New Zealand, the past decade as group executive Country Banking Australia & New Zealand – has taken on the role of chief executive officer for RAF.

Announcing the appointment, Rabobank Group executive board member Berry Marttin said during Mr Dobbin’s stewardship of its Country Banking operations in Australia and New Zealand, Rabobank had grown to become the leading food and agribusiness bank in the region. . .

New voice for local farmers

The new president of Federated Farmers in Wairarapa is aiming to make sure local farmers have their voice heard.

Bideford’s Jamie Falloon was voted in on Tuesday night by the executive committee to replace outgoing president Paul McGill, who is taking up a position at Landcorp in Wellington.

Mr Falloon, 43, lives in Bideford with his wife Georgie and three children Joe, 9, John, 6 and Anabelle, 4. . .

Blue sky thinking from green fingered finalists:

Ideas that cut the cost of heating propagation beds to grow plants and turn frost fans into power generators are just two of the six projects being developed by the finalists for the Agmardt Market Innovation project in the 2012 Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition. Other innovation ideas include collapsible crates for freighting small plants, an instant rollout flower mat, and a design that takes weeding to a new level.

Six finalists from around New Zealand who have won their industry sector competitions are preparing for the intensive two day competition on November 14 and 15 in Auckland.

“The standard this year is amazing; I think the judges will have difficulty selecting the winner,” says Nicola Rochester, Chair of the RNZIH Education Trust, which manages the competition. . .


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