Rural round-up

April 21, 2016

Farmers’ urged to make their voices heard at local elections:

With local authority elections less than six months away, Federated Farmers is urging farmers to get engaged and involved.

Federated Farmers spokesperson on local government, Katie Milne, says local government elections is vitally important for farming on many levels, and is encouraging farmers to make their voices heard.

“It is absolutely crucial that farmers get involved in holding their councils to account. This includes being engaged on the issues and when the time comes make an informed vote.

“It’s also important that we get good candidates, including farmers and other business-minded people, to stand for election,” she says. . . 

New UHT milk plant for Canterbury:

The official opening of Westland Milk Products’ new UHT plant in Rolleston is a significant boost for the Canterbury dairy industry and is a sign of the continuing shift to value-added products, says Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew. 

“It is important to celebrate good news stories such as this new UHT facility, which combined with the strong medium to long-term outlook for the sector, gives dairy farmers confidence that the period of low prices they are currently experiencing is only temporary,” Mrs Goodhew says.

The new plant can process 14,000 litres of milk per hour and has been constructed by Westland Milk Products, New Zealand’s second biggest dairy cooperative and third biggest dairy company overall. . . 

A2 Milk’s push into China bolstered by results of human clinical trial in that country – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Specialty milk marketer A2 Milk has bolstered its push to sell more products in China through a recently completed human clinical trial comparing the gastrointestinal and cognitive effects of consuming milk containing the A1 beta casein with that of the A2 variant on people with self-reported lactose intolerance.

The results of the Chinese study were published this month in the Nutrition Journal and are due to be released at a Beijing press conference late tomorrow by the company.

It’s part of a bid by A2 to get more credible scientific validation of its marketing claims, that have been in contention since the late 1990s, that its products might be better for people intolerant to standard cow milk. . . 

Protect our most precious and vulnerable waterways first, says Environment Commissioner:

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has welcomed the Government’s latest discussion document on water quality, but has called for councils to give priority to the most precious and vulnerable rivers and lakes.

“Water quality has been declining for years and significant improvements will take time,” says Dr Wright. “Not everything can be done quickly, so regional councils must focus on immediate problems and pressure points.”

Dr Wright today released her advice to Parliament in response to the ‘Next steps for fresh water’ consultation document.

In her submission, Dr Wright states that the Government has made significant progress and has called for councils and communities to follow through and make the policy work. . . 

Farming 9 til 5: The farmers putting people before production – Jendy Harper:

On one farm near Waimate, the mantra “people before production” underpins employment decisions.

On Cara Gregan’s farm, workers must pass what she calls the “gumboot test”. 

Cara says she asks herself whether if her children or husband were wearing the gumboots, how she would feel about their conditions of work.

“I’ve got teenaged children, and I wouldn’t be prepared for them to work 12-14 hour days.” . . 

PGG Wrightson seed site hit by Uruguay flooding – Edwin Mitson:

(BusinessDesk) – Agricultural products and services company PGG Wrightson has warned investors that its seed cleaning site in Uruguay has fallen victim to that country’s widespread flooding.

The company told shareholders in February that its South American business was expected to perform better between January and June. In a statement to the NZX today, chief executive Mark Dewdney said that was no longer anticipated.

“The strength of beef prices gave us reason to believe we would see a recovery in our Uruguayan business at the full year, he said. “While it remains too soon to quantify the full impact of the current flooding, we are now not expecting to see that full recovery in the current financial year”. . . 

Tonnellerie de Mercurey NZ Young Winemaker 2016:

Blending knowledge, skill and passion for New Zealand’s premium winemaking future

Entries are now open for 2016. Who will take out the title this year?

This exciting competition for NZ winemakers under 30 years old was held for the first time last year and proved to be a challenging yet fun and very rewarding competition. Contestants felt it increased their winemaking skills, knowledge and confidence as well as building important contacts for their future careers. . . 

Greg Mccracken New Shareholders’ Councillor for Southern Northland:

Today, following the close of voting in the Shareholders’ Council by-election in Southern Northland, Greg McCracken was announced as the successful candidate.

Mr McCracken, who has been farming in the Northland region for more than 30 years and currently farms at Wellsford, will take up his new role effective immediately. . . 


Rural round-up

February 11, 2016

Mixed outlook for New Zealand agriculture in 2016 – industry report:

New Zealand’s agricultural sector is looking at mixed prospects in 2016, with dairy facing another difficult year but most other sectors expected to perform well, according to a new industry report.

In its Agribusiness Outlook 2016, global agricultural specialist Rabobank says dairy prices continue to be weighed down by strong supply growth, particularly out of Europe after the recent removal of quotas.

Releasing the report, Rabobank general manager Country Banking New Zealand Hayley Moynihan said the recovery in dairy prices now risks arriving too late to enable a confident start to the 2016/17 season. . .

Marlborough farmers battle two-year drought

Farmers in Marlborough are making the best of some of the toughest climatic conditions in a long time, Beef and Lamb New Zealand says.

The industry body’s northern South Island extension manager, Sarah O’Connell, said recent rain had lifted spirits in the region but had not broken the two-year drought.

The past two seasons were some of the hardest farmers have had, Ms O’Connell said. . .

Alliance plans to start docking farmer payments for shares to bolster balance sheet – By Tina Morrison

(BusinessDesk) – Alliance Group, New Zealand’s second-largest meat cooperative, plans to start withholding some stock payments to its farmers from next week to bolster its balance sheet and force suppliers to meet their share requirements.

From Feb. 15, Alliance will withhold 50 cents per head for lamb, sheep and calves; $2 per head for deer; and $6 per head for cattle, it said in a letter to shareholders. The payments will go towards additional shares in the cooperative and will only apply to farmers who have fewer shares than required, it said.

Alliance is moving to entrench its cooperative status as its larger rival Silver Fern Farms waters down its cooperative by tapping Chinese investor Shanghai Maling Aquarius for capital to repay debt, upgrade plants and invest for growth. . . 

New PGP programme to boost wool industry:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed a new Primary Growth Partnership programme aimed at lifting the profitability and sustainability of New Zealand strong wool.

‘Wool Unleashed’, or W3, is a new seven-year $22.1 million Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme between the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and The New Zealand Merino Company.

The programme is expected to contribute an estimated $335 million towards New Zealand’s economy by 2025. . . 

New Primary Growth Partnership programme sets sights on strong wool:

A new collaboration between The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), announced today, aims to deliver premiums for New Zealand’s strong wool sector—a partnership that could see an additional $335 million contribution towards New Zealand’s economy by 2025.

“‘Wool Unleashed’, or W3, is a new 7-year, $22.1 million Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme led by NZM that will derive greater value from New Zealand’s strong wool,” says Justine Gilliland, Director Investment Programmes at the Ministry for Primary Industries. . . 

World’s best Pinot Noir winner found passion by chance – Jendy Harper:

Imagine arriving in a foreign country at the age of 13, unaccompanied, knowing no one and not being able to speak the language.

This was Jing Song’s experience when she came from China to Christchurch 16 years ago.

At her family’s advice and expectation, she became an accountant but no one guessed she would find her true passion in a Central Otago paddock.

Fast forward 16 years and Ms Song collected the trophy for the best Pinot Noir in the world at the IWSC competition in London last year. . .

NZ beef exports to Taiwan rise to a record, propelling it to 3rd largest market – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand beef exports to Taiwan rose to a record in 2015, propelling it to the country’s third-largest beef market behind the US and China.

In 2015, New Zealand’s beef exports to Taiwan jumped 36 percent to $188.6 million, while the volume increased 20 percent to 23,442 tonnes, according to Statistics New Zealand data compiled by the Meat Industry Association. That pushed it above Japan in value and ahead of Japan and Korea in volume to become the country’s third-largest beef market.

Taiwan also takes higher-value meat, with an average value last year of US$5.68 per kilogram, compared with US$5.08/kg for the US, and US$4.94/kg for China, according to AgriHQ data. . . 

NZ small dairy farmers content with their lot:

New Lincoln University research has found many small dairy farmers are content with the size of their operation, despite the constant calls for economic growth.

Dr Victoria Westbrooke and Dr Peter Nuthall, from the Faculty of Agribusiness and Commerce, surveyed 330 randomly selected farmers running small dairy farms for the small farmers’ organisation (SMASH). The project was funded by  via OneFarm.

“It was clear from this research, and similar previous work, that the farmers were content to simply carry on working their current farm,” Dr Westbrooke says. . . 

LIC posts half year result:

Livestock Improvement Corporation (NZX: LIC) has announced its half-year result for the six months ended 30 November 2015.

LIC total revenue for the six month period was $145 million, 9 per cent down on the same period last year. Net profit after tax (NPAT) was $15.9 million, down 46 per cent from the previous year.

LIC signalled reduced earnings in October (NZX, 20 October 2015), as a result of the lower forecast milk payout and reduced spending on-farm.

It is now expected that the year-end result will be closer to a break-even position, chairman Murray King said. . .

Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Awards 2015 winners announced:

Auckland’s Botswana Butchery has taken out the title of Premier Master of Fine Cuisine at the Silver Fern Farms Premier Selection Awards, held in Auckland last night.

The popular restaurant also won awards for Best Beef Dish and Best Metropolitan Restaurant.

Executive Chef Stuart Rogan, who manages Botswana Butchery in Auckland and Queenstown as well as Auckland’s Harbourside Ocean Bar and Grill, impressed judges with his dish: Silver Fern Farms Reserve beef eye fillet, braised short rib with parsley, mustard and horseradish crust, carrot puree, asparagus, whipped garlic and cep jus. Head judge Kerry Tyack described Rogan’s dish as ‘consistent and faultless’. . . 


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