Rural round-up

April 8, 2020

It’s okay to not be okay – Jamie Mackay:

 A recent personal tragedy has made The Country host Jamie Mackay reconsider his stance on mental health.

I’m ashamed to admit it, especially as there is a history of mental illness in my own family, but until relatively recently I was a bit blasé about mental health.

Back when my grandmother was a young mother under considerable stress raising six kids, she had what was at that time called ‘a breakdown’. She was sent off to a mental institution (as they were known then) three hour’s drive away.

We were often packed into the car when my father went to visit her, but we were never able to see her. She lived until I was 16 years of age, but I never met her. As a family we never talked about her, other than to acknowledge that she was institutionalised. . . 

Rural sector vital to recovery, despite confidence dip – David Anderson:

COVID-19 is negatively impacting New Zealand’s rural sector confidence.

The declining confidence comes as the country’s primary industries prepare to shoulder some of the heavy lifting for economic and social recovery, claims specialist rural bank Rabobank.

New Zealand chief executive Todd Charteris says the bank’s latest rural confidence survey shines a light on the psyche of farmers at a critical time for the nation.

“The food and agri sectors will be crucial in helping to rebuild the New Zealand economy and Rabobank continues to have a strong positive long-term view of the sector outlook,” he says.  . .

Fruit, wine industries respond to coronavirus with vintage Kiwi adaptability – Georgia-May Gilbertson:

Kiwis are stepping in to cover a shortage of backpackers and overseas seasonal workers in the fruit and wine industries.  

For the last few years the kiwifruit industry has experienced a labour shortage when it comes to harvest, but New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) president Nikki Johnson says covid-19 has changed that. 

“The way that our labour situation is laid out is that about 50 per cent are New Zealanders,  25 per cent are working holidays visa workers or backpackers, then 20 per cent are RSE (Recognised Seasonal Employer) workers,” Johnson said.  . . 

COVID-19: Growing interest in NZ sheepmeat in China – Peter Burke:

Chinese consumers are increasingly positive about New Zealand-produced beef, lamb and mutton in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a social media analysis by Beef + Lamb New Zealand. 

B+LNZ’s market development team says it is monitoring Chinese consumers’ perceptions of the protein market, the perception of protein origin, and the changes in retail channel choice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The red meat grower organisation has published a report summarizing the latest findings, which can be found here:

Click here to view the full report. . . 

Coronavirus: The harvest bubble ‘flogging the wifi’ as hand picking starts to wrap – Jennifer Eder:

Many seasonal workers in Marlborough’s wine industry are also stuck at home on Coronavirus lockdown as hand harvesting of grapes comes to an end.

All non-essential businesses were to close when the country moved to alert level 4 on March 25, but people working in the grape harvest were categorised an essential service as part of food and beverage production.

Many vineyard workers brought into the country on the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme are approaching the end of their contracts, but cannot fly home during lockdown. . . 

‘Massive disconnect’: Helen Skelton urges public to respect farmers:

Television presenter Helen Skelton has said there is a ‘massive disconnect’ between food producers and the British public.

The BBC presenter, who currently hosts Springtime On The Farm, urged consumers to have greater respect for farmers.

The 36-year-old grew up on a farm herself, and has a ‘huge amount of respect’ for those who produce the nation’s food.

“Now I live on the edge of the city, and there’s a massive disconnect between food producers and the rest of the country,” she said. . . 

 


Rural round-up

March 30, 2019

Farmers share tax reform fears but don’t back beneficiary bashing – Jennifer Eder:

Farmers say they are not worried about becoming the Government’s “ATMs” for beneficiary payments through tax reform, as a regional representative has claimed.

But they are anxious about proposed taxes and suspected Federated Farmers Marlborough president Phillip Neal was speaking out of frustration when he described beneficiaries as “useless”.

Neal made the comments in a newsletter earlier this month, saying a series of taxes proposed last month including a capital gains tax, emissions tax, water tax, and fertiliser tax were unfairly targeting farmers. . . 

Finding the balance between long and short term – Allan Barber:

Every business has to find an appropriate balance between long and short term planning and farming is no exception. But, given farmers are very capable of planning and implementing their annual farm strategy, the long term offers the greater challenge. Forward planning involves a high degree of risk assessment, because decisions must take into account several critical factors over which the farmer has little or no control.

Four obvious areas are government policy, climate effect, changing consumer attitudes and market access. A business can seek advice on all these from industry bodies, consultants, accountants, economists and lawyers, but in the end the buck stops with the farmer who must assess every factor which affects farm policy and performance without any certainty about the decisions being more right than wrong.  . . 

2019 Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Industry Awards winners announced:

The major winner in the 2019 Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Industry Awards aims to look after his people, pasture, cows and environment through sustainable best practices and increase profit through innovative business culture.

Ruwan Wijayasena was announced winner of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year competition at the Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner held at the Wigram Airforce Museum. The other major winners were Matt Redmond, who was named the 2019 Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Manager of the Year, and Nicola Blowey, the 2019 Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year. . . 

Result of QEII National Trust 2019 Director elections:

Members of the QEII National Trust have elected Donna Field and Graham Mourie to serve as Directors on the QEII Board. Both candidates will serve a three-year term, effective immediately.

“We are pleased to welcome Donna Field back to the Board and Graham Mourie as a new director” said James Guild, Chairperson of QEII National Trust.

Donna Field has been re-elected to serve a second term on the Board. Her background includes resource management, director of Cleardale Station, a sheep and beef property in Rakaia Gorge and retiring chair of the Whitcombe Landcare group. . . 

Approval sought for new fungicide:

Public submissions have opened on an application to manufacture a fungicide in New Zealand for use in the control of a disease which affects wheat.

Dow AgroSciences (NZ) Ltd is seeking approval to manufacture GF-3308, for control of speckled leaf blotch (Septoria tritici) and also to suppress brown leaf rust (Puccinia triticina).

The applicant proposes that GF-3308 would be applied by ground-based and aerial broadcast spray methods. . . 

Good time to check plans for winter crops and grazing:

Winter grazing practices have improved over the past few years, but Hawke’s Bay Regional Council will continue to monitor livestock farms and their land use practices this winter.

Poor performers are now more in the minority says the Regional Council’s Central Catchment Manager, Brendan Powell.

“Many people aren’t aware that farmers are already well into their planning and operations ahead of winter, with winter crops in the ground and growing. The approach they take with their grazing management of crops and stock is an important part of good farming practices,” says Mr Powell. . . 


Rural round-up

July 6, 2016

How many ticks does SFF need? – Neal Wallace:

Silver Fern Farms can rightly ask just how many hoops does it have to jump through before opponents of the proposed transaction with Shanghai Maling accept the legitimacy of last year’s shareholder approval of the deal?  

The Companies Office and Financial Markets Authority – bodies charged with administering business behaviour – have both rejected complaints about SFF’s handling of last October’s shareholder vote, the financial information supplied to its shareholders and to Shanghai Maling.  

But a more important hoop it could be argued SFF has easily traversed is shareholder support. . . 

Highly profitable banks are playing a long-term and responsible game with struggling dairy farmer borrowers – Rees Logan:

In the year to March 2016, lending to the dairy sector increased by 9% to approximately $40 billion.

During that same period, land prices in the dairy sector dropped 16%, according to Real Estate Institute (REINZ) figures. This fall in land prices means the increased lending is effectively funding the losses the banks’ customers are suffering as a result of the low dairy payout.

Key asset values are decreasing (land and livestock) and debt is increasing so owner equity and bank security is quickly eroding. 

DairyNZ figures show approximately 50% of New Zealand’s dairy sector debt is held by the top 20% of its indebted farmers. This is a major concern. . . 

Marlborough farmer ‘wild’ after overnight electric fence theft – Jennifer Eder:

An electric fence has been stolen in Marlborough in an overnight heist, leaving stock on the loose and a farmer out of pocket.

Grovetown farmer George Wadworth found his sheep loose along the road on Sunday morning and discovered about a kilometre of fence had vanished.

“I was pretty wild. My main concern was not really for stock safety but people using the road. It’s quite close to a main highway, and if a sheep hits someone’s windscreen at 100kmh, it’ll kill you.”

Community constable Russ Smith said someone had “gone to quite a bit of trouble” to remove 250 plastic fence standards, or electric fence posts, from the  16-hectare vineyard. . . 

NZ commodity prices rise in June, led by seafood, dairy – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand commodity prices rose for a second month in June, led by more seafood and dairy products, although an appreciating kiwi dollar limited those gains in local currency terms.

The ANZ commodity price index rose 3.7 percent last month, after a 1.1 percent increase in May. On an annual basis, prices were down 5.4 percent. In New Zealand dollar terms the index rose 0.3 percent, adding to a 2.5 percent increase in May, and an annual decline of 5.9 percent. The trade-weighted index rose 4.9 percent in June.

“There was broad-based strength across all the major categories. However, producers won’t be celebrating too loudly,” ANZ Bank New Zealand agri-economist Con Williams said in his report. “In many cases, world prices are still below the same time last year and the NZD rose over the month too.” . . 

New partnership supports takahē recovery

A newly-signed partnership between DOC and Fulton Hogan will help the critically-endangered takahē continue its recovery, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.

Worth $1 million, the partnership was signed at the Burwood Takahē Centre near Te Anau today by DOC director-general Lou Sanson and Fulton Hogan’s director of investments, Bob Fulton.

“The Takahē Recovery Programme has just had its most successful breeding season on record, with 38 chicks fledged,” Ms Barry says.

“Consistently high numbers of chicks are being produced each year, thanks to the hard work of DOC staff, volunteers and our Treaty partner, Ngai Tahu. Fulton Hogan will support the next step in the species’ recovery.” . . .

TB eradication scheme marks milestone:

New Zealand has taken another step towards becoming TB-free with large areas of previously infected land being declared free of the disease.

OSPRI administers the TBfree programme aimed at eradicating bovine tuberculosis from cattle, deer and wildlife.

It has has been progressively achieving this by intensive possum control, then carrying out wildlife surveys to confirm the disease has been eradicated. . . 

Fonterra Lichfield Achieves One Million Building Hours:

Major milestones are being knocked off as construction on one of the world’s largest dryers races towards completion – the result of over one million working hours on the new Fonterra Lichfield milk powder dryer.

For more than 3,000 people representing 300 companies, the finish is now clearly in sight as the September commissioning date for this world-class dryer nears.

South Waikato Operations Manager Sam Mikaere says it takes one look at the numbers behind the build to get an appreciation for its impressive scale.

“This is not just any dryer we’re building. Along with our D2 dryer down at Fonterra Darfield, this will be the biggest milk powder dryer on the planet,” he says. . . 

Record turnout at RCNZ annual conference:

A record turnout of 153 contractors, from all around the country, descended on the Bay of Islands – in late June – for this year’s RCNZ annual conference.

RCNZ national president Steve Levet was delighted with the record conference turnout – held at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort, in Paihia, from June 27-30 – given the current economic climate.

“This is the largest turnout that I can recall and it seems many rural contractors have decided to ignore some of the doom and gloom merchants and are clearly focussed on looking forward to better times.”

Mr Levet says the conference had an exciting agenda of relevant and pertinent issues to the rural contracting sector – along with a number of top-line speakers. This year’s conference theme was: “Your Business from Start to Finish” and it also celebrated the 20 year anniversary of Rural Contractors NZ (RCNZ) as an organisation. . . 

Hawke’s Bay Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker 2016 Announced:

Congratulations to Alex Roper from Mission Estate for winning Hawkes Bay Young Winemaker 2016. The competition took place on 1 July at EIT in Taradale followed by dinner and contestants speeches at Mission Estate. Yvonne Lorkin was the charming and entertaining MC who also ran the wine options section of the evening.

Congratulations also goes to Tom Hindmarsh from Dry River in Martinborough who came second (contestants from around the North Island were eligible to enter) and Brad Frederickson from the Hawke’s Bay Wine Company who came third. . . 


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