Rural round-up

November 9, 2018

Fonterra board gets controversial voice back – Sally Rae:

Fairlie farmer Leonie Guiney has returned to the Fonterra board, vowing to solve the co-operative’s ”reputational issues”.

Shareholders voted to elect Mrs Guiney and Zespri chairman Peter McBride to the board and they will take office at the close of today’s annual meeting at Fonterra’s Lichfield plant in the Waikato.

Sitting director Ashley Waugh, Maori Television chairman Jamie Tuuta, and John Nicholls were unsuccessful.

Mrs Guiney, who farms near Fairlie and is director of four dairy farming companies, served on the board from 2014 until last year. . . 

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council report questions value-add strategy – Gerard Hutching:

Fonterra has failed to deliver “meaningful returns” on shareholders’ capital since inception in 2001, a new Shareholders Council report says, which questions the value-add strategy.

The much vaunted value-add business has returned only 0.2 per cent a year more than ingredients or commodities, “significantly below the 1.3 per cent a year premium needed to justify the increased risk”.

“This is important because the value-add business units are now using an increasing share of Fonterra’s capital. For the first five years since inception – 2002-06 – the value-add business accounted for 36 per cent of Fonterra’s capital. This has increased to 50 per cent of Fonterra’s capital over the last five years.” . . 

Reducing sediment loss explored at field days – Ella Stokes:

Sediment mitigation was a hot topic at the field days hosted by the Pomahaka Water Care Group last week.

The farmer-led group has an overall target of improving water health – first on farm and also in the Pomahaka River.

Last week, there were three field days held in the West Otago area to explore solutions to reduce sediment loss, which is a major issue in the area.

Landcare Research environmental scientist and Pomahaka Water Care Group (PWCG) co-ordinator Craig Simpson said they had up to 70 people at one of the events. . . 

Youngsters keep old-timers happy – Neal Wallace:

Transforming a run-down farm into a high performance stock unit was satisfying for Ron Davis and Roger Chittock but their greatest pleasure came from seeing youngsters trained on it go on to successful farming careers.

Chittock has spent 37 years and Davis 29 years on the management board of the Salvation Army’s Jeff Farm, a 2630ha sheep, beef and deer property between Clinton and Gore in eastern Southland.

But overseeing the development of the 30,000 stock units farm was only part of their enjoyment.

Jeff Farm’s primary role is to train youth for agricultural careers and the two retiring board members say seeing young people grow and move into industry jobs was immensely satisfying. . . 

Goats ready to earn their keep – Neal Wallace:

Three years ago David Shaw questioned why he was still farming Cashmere goats.

This month garments made from fibre harvested from goats on his south Otago farm will be on sale in a new Untouched World retail store opening in Wanaka.

Potentially, the resurrected cashmere market could take several tonnes of fibre and he believes having about 25,000 Cashmere goats is achievable.

He has 1000 goats on his farm and has readily identified 5000 on other farms that could be crossed with Cashmere bucks. . . 

The apparel industry has rediscovered the wool from corriedale sheep – Heather Chalmers:

Demand from sportswear and fashion companies is sending the price of a previously written-off type of wool to record levels.

This has led the dual-purpose corriedale sheep breed to make a comeback, after many farmers chose to shift to more meat breeds.    

Corriedale wool is in the mid-micron range, coarser than most merino fibre, but far finer than crossbred wool that comprises most of the New Zealand clip. . . 

Five new Nuffield scholars named :

Five Nuffield scholarships have been awarded for 2019. They have gone to two dairy farmers, a sheep and beef farmer, an arable farmer and an analyst.

Ben Hancock was raised on his family’s Wairarapa hill country sheep and beef cattle farm. He now works in Wellington for Beef + Lamb New Zealand as a senior analyst, still near the farm he often returns to.

After working in research and conservation roles in NZ, the United States and Panama Hancock did a doctorate investigating ecosystem services. . . 

 


Rural round-up

May 26, 2015

Arable farmers voice safety concerns – Jemma Brackebush:

Arable farmers concerned with how changes to the Health and Safety Act may affect them are meeting WorkSafe representatives in Southland this week.

The Foundation for Arable Research’s group, Women in Arable, have organised sessions after farmers voiced uncertainty about the changes that are due to come into force later this year.

Spokesperson Anna Heslop said one session had already been held in Ashburton, where they found many people were sceptical of the new rules. . .

Fonterra unit investors kick unit values after interim result – Tim Fulton:

Investors are punishing Fonterra for a disappointing balance sheet and dividend payments to farmers, a Canterbury-based share advisor says.

The value of Fonterra’s listed investment units has dropped up to 20 per cent since the co-op’s interim result two months ago.

The sharemarket “wasn’t too happy” with Fonterra’s interim financial result on March 25 and the feeling had contributed to the unit price in the Fonterra Shareholders Fund falling from about $6 per unit to $4.80, Hamilton Hindin Green authorised advisor Grant Davies said. . .

Westland’s Farm Excellence roll-out close to 100%:

The first stage of the roll-out of Westland Milk Products’ new Farm Excellence (FarmEx) programme has almost been completed, with 97 percent of farms having had their first FarmEx assessment.

Launched in 2014, FarmEx works on the basic philosophy that what happens behind the farm gate impacts on Westland’s ability to sell in a highly competitive marketplace. The programme sets high quality production, environmental, animal welfare and sustainability standards for Westland’s shareholder suppliers.

The move has been welcomed by the Department of Conservation on the West Coast because of the positive environmental spin-offs that the programme entails. . .

Awards experience gave confidence – Sally Rae:

Dave and Janene Divers first entered the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards four years ago.

At that time, they were newcomers to running Table Hill, a 1650ha family owned property 5km inland from Milton.

While they did not get past the first round of judging, they enjoyed the process and gained a professional look at their business, along with confirmation that their vision was ”on the right track”, Mrs Divers said.

It gave them the confidence to move forward with their ideas and goals and they decided to enter again when they had a chance of injecting ”a bit of their personalities” into the business and achieving some of their goals. . .

Delmont Angus bull fetches top price of $15,000

A top price of $15,000 was achieved at the 15th Delmont Angus bull sale held recently on farm at Kuriwao.

John and Tracey Cochrane sold 25 bulls for an average price of $6388, with a top price of $15,000, to Jeff Farm at Kaiwera.

Bev and Malcolm Helm, from Rough Ridge Shorthorns, at Gimmerburn, sold eight bulls for an average of $5000 and a top price of $9000, to Rob and Sally Peter, from Cape Campbell, Marlborough. . .

No farm ‘fire-sale’ scenario from lower milk payouts says real estate industry leader:

Lower dairying payouts will lead to a tightening of the proverbial belt around many Canterbury farm budgets – but not a rush to the mass selling of productive units, according to the head of a leading real estate agency in the region.

Bayleys Canterbury director Bill Whalan said the full impact of the latest lowered Fonterra payout forecast would depend on how long prices remained depressed – but any talk of ‘fire sale pricing’ was wide of the mark.

“A vast majority of Canterbury dairy farmers are in a position to deal with this season’s low payout – and therefore a rush of distressed farm sales is not anticipated,” Mr Whalan said. . .


Rural round-up

November 8, 2013

‘Farmers understand need to improve water quality’:

PRIMARY INDUSTRIES Minister Nathan Guy believes most farmers are environmentalists and understand the need to improve our water quality.

Speaking at the launch of freshwater proposals yesterday, he said farmers want to leave the environment in a better state than they found they found it.

“Farmers recognise the importance of our freshwater resource and understand there will be costs; and they have shown they want to work constructively,” he says. . .

China helps lifts co-op’s returns:

Meat co-op Alliance Group has reported a net profit before restructuring costs and tax of $10.9 million for the year ending 30 September 2013. The co-op’s turnover for the year topped $1.4 billion

After providing for restructuring costs of $2.5 million and tax of $2.8 million, the company recorded a net profit after tax of $5.6 million.

The company’s balance sheet is also strengthening with an equity ratio of 61% and an operating cash flow surplus of $89 million.

In announcing the result, Alliance Group chairman, Murray Taggart, said the return to profitability was a positive result, albeit at an unsatisfactory level, and follows a year with widespread drought conditions and lingering economic weakness in key export markets. . .

Wild pigs a potential TB risk in Waikato:

Reports of wild pigs being illegally released and the risky disposal of their remains has prompted a Waikato farmer to speak out about the bovine tuberculosis (TB) threat it potentially poses to domestic cattle and deer.

Pigs can carry TB and spread the disease when infected carcasses are scavenged by wild animals, mainly possums and ferrets. Bovine TB-infected possums are responsible for the majority of new herd infections in TB risk areas.

Local farmer and Waikato TBfree Committee Chairman John Bubb expressed concern over the reported practices on behalf of herdowners in the region.

“People need to consider the possible consequences of dumping wild pig remains that could be infected with TB,” said Mr Bubb. . .

Public perception vital in a crisis – Hugh Stringleman:

Rescuing Fonterra’s reputation after its botulism scare is problematic, crisis communications researcher and adviser Professor William Hallman says.

“The first thing they taught me as a psychologist is that perception is reality,” Hallman said.

“The fact that it was a false alarm is important, but reputation isn’t entirely based on facts.”

Hallman is head of the Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers, the New Jersey state university.

He was contracted to provide information to the Fonterra independent inquiry into the whey protein concentrate recall on best practise in crisis communications, his principal area of expertise. . .

Southern land producing quality wool – Alan Williams:

Good, clean Southland pasture through spring and early summer helps Jeff Farm produce lambs’ wool to the standard required by United Kingdom fabric manufacturer Camira.

“We put the wool in from 10,000-12,000 lambs and most of it gets accepted,” farm manager John Chittock said.

The wool has to have 0% vegetable matter (VM) and be pesticide-free to meet Camira’s exacting standards under the Wools of New Zealand (WNZ) contract.

“At this time of year we don’t have any problem with the VM. The country here is pretty clean and we don’t have to do anything special with them,” Chittock said.

Mixed response to buffer zone compromise – Richard Rennie:

Western Bay of Plenty landowners have gained a compromise on proposed buffer zones sought by Transpower around electricity lines on their land.

The State-owned enterprise had wanted zones on existing lines inluded in a district plan change, which put it offside with horticulturalists, farmers, and even Western Bay of Plenty District Council.

The dispute was destined to be heard in the Environment Court after Transpower appealed the council decision to follow the recommendation of a commissioner, which was to note the buffer areas in planning documents.

Federated Farmers has arrived at a compromise on the changes being sought by Transpower, with the proposed buffer zones significantly reduced. . .

Great Start for 2014 Dairy Awards:

Nearly 100 people have entered the 2014 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards since entries opened a week ago, up 10 on the same time last year.

“The signs are promising that the 2014 awards are going to be a boomer,” national convenor Chris Keeping says.

“What is really satisfying is the number of people who are entering for a second or successive time. We work really hard to make sure all entrants – not just the winners – gain real value and benefits from their experience and so it is heartening to see that about half the entries so far are from those that have entered in the past.” . . .

#gigatownoamaru has had a great start too.

 


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