Rural round-up

28/08/2020

Wool boom from footrot research – Sally Rae:

The development of a commercialised breeding value for footrot resistance represents a “huge opportunity” for the expansion of fine wool sheep production, the New Zealand Merino Company says.

While “not a silver bullet” against the disease which results in lameness and loss of production, it would allow growers to make genetic gains and establish flocks that were footrot resistant, NZM chief executive John Brakenridge said.

Growers would save money from reduced treatment costs and chemical inputs, would not be hit with lower production, all while improving animal welfare.

It was the result of work by the New Zealand Sheep Transformation Project, co-funded by NZM and the Ministry for Primary Industries with a contribution from Merino Inc, to look at ways to contribute to a more productive, profitable and high animal welfare future for fine wool. . . 

From Devine intervention to total faith, highland calf birth adds new blood to line – Laurel Ketel:

Two years ago, Devine, a highland cow living at Plum Tree farm in Glenhope, couldn’t walk.

She had fallen down a bank and with her leg caught in wire fencing, the circulation to her foot was cut off causing severe damage. The rehabilitation costs were huge but owners Lisa and Mal Grennell were determined she wouldn’t be put down.

They worked around the clock for weeks, hoisting her every few hours and after four weeks she was finally able to walk unaided but it took a further six months for her to recover fully.

Last week Devine gave birth to a healthy calf and with the birth came not only new life but the introduction of a new bloodline into New Zealand highland cattle. . . 

Beef + Lamb NZ joins call for new national nutrition surveys:

As World Iron Awareness Week kicks off today, Beef + Lamb New Zealand are joining the growing number of calls for the government to conduct new national nutrition surveys, with the most recent in 2008 for adults, and 2002 for children. 

Iron deficiency is the world’s most prevalent nutrient deficiency with two billion sufferers globally. It greatly impacts young children and women, with symptoms often being mistaken for the impacts of a busy life (tiredness, feeling grumpy, lack of focus). This hidden hunger is impacting a growing number of Kiwis, but the true scale is virtually impossible to quantify.  

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Head of Nutrition Fiona Windle points out that such a large data gap leaves a lot to be desired when trying to tackle the impacts of low iron levels among other nutrient deficiencies.  . .  

Prospectors out in force as gold prices reach fever pitch – Tracy Neal:

Since retiring last year as the Grey District’s long-serving mayor, Tony Kokshoorn says he has been good as gold – he just wishes he had joined the recent rush on prospecting for it.

“I generally nowadays invest in sharemarkets and that type of thing, but I wish now I’d taken up the gold-panning and gone out there because it’s a far better payer at the moment, with the gold price going through the roof and the share price of most companies really in the doldrums.”

Record high gold prices have prompted hobby prospectors to dust off spades and pans and head to South Island rivers in the hope of striking it lucky.

The precious metal recently hit $NZ3000 an ounce, as global investors looked to safer bets in shaky economic times. . . 

Comvita posts reduced annual loss :

The honey manufacturer and exporter Comvita has posted a reduced annual loss as it restructures and looks to capitalise on a lift in sales.

The company’s loss for the year ended June was $9.7 million, most of it caused by restructuring costs, compared with a loss of $27.7m a year ago, which had writedowns in asset values.

However, a second half year revival, as Comvita moved to slim and simplify its business and increase margins, resulted in a profit but not enough to overturn a first half loss. . . 

Validation of agriculture as an essential and sustainable industry – Roberto A. Peiretti:

Did you know that our most basic foods could be totally consumed around the world in just a few months?

This is why governments everywhere have labeled agriculture an “essential” activity during the Covid-19 crisis.

It was gratifying to see this appreciation during the social and economic lockdowns because farmers are often overlooked or even abused.

I hope the awareness of what farmers do continues after we recover from the pandemic.

Over the last several months, we’ve learned to live without a lot of the things that we once took for granted, such as sports, dining in restaurants, and going to church. The rules have varied from country to country, but we’ve all learned to cope with new restrictions so that we can prevent the transmission of a dangerous disease. . . 


Rural round-up

11/08/2020

Dry July puts Marlborough farmers at risk of spring drought – Sophie Trigger:

Marlborough farmers are relying on “significant” spring rain to avoid drought, figures show.

Last month’s weather data from the Marlborough Research Centre showed the region had recorded just 26 per cent of the long term July average, with 16.8mm.

Total rainfall in from January to July had been 220.2mm, or 59 per cent of the long term average. This made 2020 the fifth driest year on record so far, in the 91 years of data available. . . 

Carpet company links with NZ Merino:

Cavalier Bremworth has entered into a partnership with the New Zealand Merino Company to launch long-term forward contracts with its ZQ wool certification grower community.

In a statement, it said the partnership would deliver $5million value direct to New Zealand strong-wool growers over the next three years as Cavalier Bremworth moved away from synthetic products in favour of wool and natural fibres.

“Partnerships like this are so important for New Zealand’s economic recovery, adding value in generating local employment with transparency and gives confidence and reward to the growth of the New Zealand strong wool sector.

“It’s great to see local brands like Cavalier shifting the dial and walking the talk in helping counter climate change and carbon emissions with more regenerative fibres,” NZM chief executive John Brakenridge said. . . 

Muster’ brings in the younger generation – Sally Rae:

Georgia Urquhart had a couple of sleepless nights prior to the Nextgen Muster.

Miss Urquhart (24) was a driving force behind the initiative which aimed to get more young people involved in — and learning about — the merino industry.

Initially, she feared no-one would turn up or there might only be five, so she was thrilled when 68 attended the first day at Benmore Station, near Omarama, and about 40 the second at Simons Hill Station, in the Mackenzie district — “way more” than she expected.

Miss Urquhart grew up on Grays Hills Station in the Mackenzie, which includes a merino stud that she has become increasingly involved with over the last several years. . . 

New Zealand’s lesser known honeys to get a boost in international markets:

New Zealand’s apiculture industry has embarked on a collective story-telling drive to educate ‘conscious foodie’ consumers offshore about its diverse range of native honey varieties.

Apiculture New Zealand has joined forces with New Zealand Story to create a suite of compelling promotional material about lesser known honey varieties.

Karin Kos, Chief Executive of Apiculture New Zealand says although mānuka honey continues to yield strong export prices and has provided a ‘halo effect’ for other New Zealand honeys, the shrinking margins for non-mānuka styles mean producers are now competing in a commoditised market. . . 

Permission granted for new potato protector:

A new herbicide that controls potato weeds, like black nightshade, has been approved for use in New Zealand, subject to conditions.

Boxer Gold contains the active ingredient prosulfocarb, which is new to New Zealand, but already approved in the European Union, Australia, and Japan.

Benefits identified in the application process for this product include reduced resistance in weeds, leading to bigger potato crops, and more product choice for farmers. . . 

AACo rolls out the Wagyu flavour wheel :

THE unique flavour, texture and aroma of Australia’s famous Wagyu beef can now be marketed using a world-first flavour profile.

Developed by The University of Queensland in partnership with the Australian Agricultural Company, the new flavour wheel is designed to provide product descriptors and to differentiate the different Wagyu cuts and marbling grades.

Sensory and flavour expert Dr Heather Smyth said flavour wheels were commonly used by the wine, seafood, coffee, beer and cocoa industries to describe flavour and sensory properties . . 


Rural round-up

01/01/2020

South Waikato dairy farmer recognised in New Year honours – Gerald Piddock:

Championing the rights of sharemilkers has seen Tony Wilding recognised in the New Years honours list.

The dairy farmer, who farms at Okoroire in South Waikato, was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his work in the dairy industry and the community.

He said his initial reaction when he found out was disbelief. Once it sunk in, he began to realise how special it was.

“I”m pretty delighted and particularly my family who have seen me doing such a lot of stuff that was unpaid for in a lot of areas.” . .

Prices strong, farmers low – report – David Anderson:

Despite generally strong commodity prices, farmer confidence remains at near record lows, according to the latest Agri Focus report from ANZ Bank.

“Confidence at the farm level remains subdued despite returns being near record levels,” the bank’s December 2019 report says.

“Farmers remain concerned as to how future environmental legislation will impact the profitability of their business.”

It adds that dairy land values are also under pressure for the same reason.  . .

LAND CHAMPION: Wool fashions farming’s future– Hugh Stringleman:

New Zealand Merino chief executive John Brakenridge has seen the future of the primary sector and pioneered many of its elements well in advance of most farmers, their processors and exporters.

Few people in NZ can claim the transformation of a primary industry through their life’s work and fewer still have taken the principles uncovered beyond their home industry for the betterment of the sector.

All that has been done by Brakenridge’s ideas, enthusiasm, business relationships and persistence.

The forging of long-term supply contracts between wool growers and apparel brands like . . 

Going green makes money – Jenny Ling:

A Northland farming family is adding value and creating extra income by supplying milk in glass bottles direct to customers. Jenny Ling reports.

Far North sharemilkers Gav Hogarth and Jody Hansen knew they needed a plan B when Fonterra announced a forecast milk payout with a three in front of it.

The couple had been milking their herd of pedigree Jerseys on a conventional, twice-daily milking system for five years at their Kawakawa farm when the dairy co-operative dropped the milk payout from $4.15 a kilogram of milksolids to $3.90 in early 2016. 

“At $3 you’re not making any money and farming is not sustainable at that level,” Gav says.

“The options were either I went back to work or we would have to borrow money to feed the cows,” Jody says. . . 

Contract milking offers opportunities – Pam Tipa:

Contract milking is a good introduction to self-employment, says Northland AgFirst consultant Kim Robinson.

Her advice to young people wanting to go 50/50 sharemilking is, to do one year of contracting milking first.

“Contract milking teaches people how to become self-employed, to run their own businesses . .

Global wardrobe study:

Our wardrobes are growing, which comes as no surprise given fibre production for clothing and the amount of clothes produced, is on the rise. But, like most things in life, we have options. Consumers have the power to choose what they wear and this choice can ultimately have a huge impact on what designers, brands and retailers produce.

For many, it may come as a surprise that our love for clothing is putting a strain on the environment. And with phrases such as “climate crisis” becoming the new normal, it’s time for individuals to pay attention to everyday habits. One small action, as insignificant as it may seem, can cumulatively have enormous impact. From wearing our clothes for longer, doing laundry less frequently, or paying attention to what our clothes are actually made of, consumers have the power to make a difference and influence brands’ business decisions.

This report examines consumer wardrobe and laundry behaviours, offering solutions to help reduce our impact on the environment every day. . . 

 


Rural round-up

11/06/2019

An open letter to the Minister of Regional Development Shane Jones – Richard Alspach:

Dear Mr Jones;

Your plan to plant billions of trees has certainly raised a lot of interest, and not a little concern. I read today of a new lobby group, calling itself 50 shades of Green, which has as its motivation a growing concern about the continued viability of rural communities.

Here in Kaipara we’ve seen it all before. Back in the early eighties the then Government (Prime Minister at the time Rob Muldoon) of the day gave consent for a joint venture to be formed between Shell Oil, an overseas company, and New Zealand Forest Products, at that time New Zealand Owned. The joint venture was called Mangakahia Forests, and its stated intention was to establish a forest of 25,000 hectares, largely in the North of the old Hobson County, since 1989 a part of Kaipara District.

They managed to secure 22,000 hectares. In doing so they displaced a quarter of a million stock units, and brought up 83 separate farms. In a very short time it caused a transformation of the District and its economy. There used to be three top dressing aircraft based in Dargaville, almost overnight it dropped to one. There used to be regular ewe fairs, within two years there were none, the number of shearers dropped off; some country schools closed and others were seriously down sized. The loss of that number of Stock units so quickly was a causal factor in the downsizing of the Moerewa Freezing works. The rate take from that 22,000 hectares dropped significantly, once the land became rateable as exotic forestry. . . 

Austrian aristocrat buys second farm to convert to forest – Gerard Hutching:

Austrian aristocrat Countess Veronika Leeb-Goess-Saurau has snapped up a sheep and beef farm in Wairarapa, to add to the northern Hawke’s Bay property she bought two years ago.

The latest buy is the 1727 hectare Hadleigh farm near Masterton owned by Nelson-based American businessman Tom Sturgess, for which she has paid $13.4 million.

The sale comes amid concerns that a rash of farms is being sold and converted for forestry in areas like the East Coast and Wairarapa, with a resulting loss of jobs and services. . . . 

A sustainable food production silver bullet under our noses – Dr John Baker:

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sees New Zealand becoming a sustainable food producing nation in a big way. It’s part of the Government’s wellbeing policy.

I applaud that. Yet she’s ignoring the way to achieve it.

One of the silver bullets to sustainable food production is under our noses and will achieve wellbeing, not just in New Zealand, but the world.

The Government continues to overlook a technology, developed here, that addresses climate change by returning carbon to the soil instead of releasing it into the atmosphere. That’s fundamental. . .  . . 

Room to move on mohair – Carl King:

Weaving quality mohair is keeping the door open for angora farmers to get even higher returns, writes Federated Farmers – Mohair New Zealand chairman Carl King.

New Zealand mohair is experiencing a lift in fleece prices.

The main two drivers behind the boost are that overseas demand outstrips supply and Australia and South African angora goats are facing severe drought conditions.

Top quality angora fleeces are on average being sold at $40 a kilo plus. . . 

Wool bonanza – Annette Scott:

Increased international demand for fine wool is putting Kiwi wool within reach of becoming a $2 billion industry.

New Zealand Merino Company chief executive John Brakenridge said if half NZ’s crossbred wool clip shifts into higher-value fine wool contracts the economic upside will be as high as $2b.

Increased international demand for fine wool could spell profit for sheep farmers with wool giving kiwifruit and wine a real run for their money in terms of exports, he said. . .

Adding value to the farm business through health and safety:

FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand finalist James Robertson gained first-hand experience of the impact an injury can have on a farm business when his father suffered an accident.

“He was kicked by a cow and broke his thumb,” says James, who grew up on his family’s dairy farm near Mystery Creek.

“I think I’d been a bit oblivious to health and safety as a young person but I really saw the implications an injury has on the business. He wasn’t able to work in the cattle shed for a few weeks. Having a key person not able to do that put a lot of pressure on everyone else.” . . 


Rural round-up

10/06/2019

Tell your story don’t dump data – Annette Scott:

Farm environment plans, while not yet mandatory, offer a unique opportunity for the high country, AgFirst environmental consultant Erica van Reenen says.

Talking to the high country farmers’ conference in Blenheim van Reenen acknowledged they are challenged with climate and market vulnerability.

They are also challenged to get up with the game and communicate in the same space as their urban counterparts.

That means telling their farming stories where urban people tell their stories – in social media circles.   . . 

Adrian and Pauline Ball of Dennley Farms from Waikato Announced as new National Ambassadors for Sustainable Farming and Growing:

Adrian and Pauline Ball, owners and operators of Dennley Farms Ltd, are the new National Ambassadors for Sustainable Farming and Growing and the recipients of the Gordon Stephenson Trophy.

The announcement was made at tonight’s Ballance Farm Environment Awards National Sustainability Showcase at Claudelands in Hamilton. The Ballance Farm Environment Awards celebrate and promote sustainable farming and growing practices.

Dennley Farms’ strong environmental, social and economic sustainability was a stand-out for the National Judging Panel. The business’ tagline is ‘creating value inside the farm gate,’ and the farm team is active in the creation of meaningful industry change and driven to improve consumer perception of the sector. . .

Grass-fed message won’t sell NZ products but health benefits could – Esther Taunton:

New Zealand’s “clean, green, grass-fed” message isn’t unique and exporters should instead focus on the nutritional benefits of their food products, Andy Elliot says.

Elliot spent much of last year studying the business models of New Zealand producers and exporters as part of the Nuffield agricultural scholarship programme.

He says that in order to get more value from existing production, the country needs to find a way to stand out in the increasingly competitive global market. . . 

Wool bonanza – Annette Scott:

Increased international demand for fine wool is putting Kiwi wool within reach of becoming a $2 billion industry.

New Zealand Merino Company chief executive John Brakenridge said if half NZ’s crossbred wool clip shifts into higher-value fine wool contracts the economic upside will be as high as $2b.

Increased international demand for fine wool could spell profit for sheep farmers with wool giving kiwifruit and wine a real run for their money in terms of exports, he said.

There is a future in wool for farmers and for NZ, he said.

“Which is great news for fine wool producers and farmers considering transitioning into it.” . . 

NZ grower the first to use compostable stickers on its apples :

A Hawke’s Bay apple grower says it is the first in the Southern Hemisphere to use compostable stickers on its apples.

The organic apple grower, Bostock New Zealand, planned to roll out more compostable stickers next year after a successful trial.

The new sticker meets regulations for direct food contact and breaks down when put in an industrial compost, according to the company’s organic supply manager Heidi Stiefel.

Ms Stiefel said they supplied apples labelled with those stickers to a European customer and some New Zealand supermarkets this year. . . 

Carbon neutral livestock production — consumers want it and farmers say it is achievable – Angus Verley, Aneeta Bhole, Tyne Logan and Lydia Burton:

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) believes a zero carbon footprint nationally — considered by some the holy grail for the red meat industry — is possible by 2030.

It is a target that has the backing of some of the industry’s leading farmers, and the demand for projects is on the rise.

Climate Friendly, a carbon farming project developer, said the policy was a “hotbed of action”. . . 


Rural round-up

26/10/2016

Dairy farmers ‘treat those calves like their babies’ – Alexa Cook:

Farmers have hit back at claims of widespread mistreatment of bobby calves, after a video emerged of calves being thrown onto the back of trucks.

The hidden-camera footage, obtained by activist group Farmwatch, also showed calves being dragged along the ground.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has condemned the treatment, and started a full investigation.

But many farmers and farm workers say what was shown on the video did not reflect the reality of the industry. . .

Cruel practices condemned by DairyNZ chief:

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says cruel and illegal practices are not in any way condoned or accepted by the industry as part of dairy farming.

“The vast majority of farmers care about their animals and we are committed to farming to very high standards.

“DairyNZ works closely with the wider industry in the management of bobby calves, including the transport sector, meat processors and dairy companies, as well as Federated Farmers and MPI.” . . 

Merino to make stars of growers – Sally Rae:

“You are going to be the rock stars for the future consumers,” New Zealand Merino chief executive John Brakenridge told about 100 merino growers in Omarama yesterday.

Speaking before the company’s annual meeting in the township, Mr Brakenridge said new brands were emerging where consumers could get to know the producer.

He had just returned from the United States, where he met former All White Tim Brown, the co-founder of shoe company Allbirds which has produced a shoe made from New Zealand merino. . . 

Loie and Tony Penwarden are ending their Trewithen Farms sharemilking contract – Sue O’Dowd:

An award-winning Taranaki dairy farm will enter a new era next season as family beckons for its long-serving sharemilkers.

The couple, who have been herd-owning sharemilkers on Faull Farms’ Trewithen Farm at Tikorangi since 2004, are retiring at the end of the 2016-17 season. 

The partnership between Faull Farms and the Penwardens won the inaugural Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards (TBFEA) in 2014. . . 

Tokanui shepherd perfect woman – Tim Miller:

After two days of fierce competition, which included cooking a steak and flying a helicopter, the perfect woman for 2016 has been found.

The Perfect Woman competition returned to Wanaka at the weekend, after a year off in 2015, and 16 contestants took part.

Shepherd Rachel Rule (22), from Tokanui, took the title and  $1000 in prize money.

Miss Rule did not expect to win. She said the best part of the weekend was meeting the other competitors.

“It was a fantastic weekend with just a great bunch of girls and the things we got to do, like flying a helicopter, were really amazing.” . . 

Lives given purpose by the ‘legends’ who helped – Marc Gascoigne:

It’s been a stressful spring for farmers in the Waikato with constant rain causing all sorts of problems, but those stresses were put into perspective in a big way for me last week when I attended two funerals.

When people say life is short they’re usually talking about living until you’re in your eighties, so when you are at a two-year-old child’s memorial service, it’s just not right on any level.

Mason was just two when he came to stay at our farm a few weeks ago with his mum and dad and five-year-old brother Weslley. . . 

Rubbish boosts tasty delicacy – Alan Williams:

Saffron growers and wine-makers are among the businesses swearing by the benefits of organic compost made from Christchurch city’s green waste.  

Te Anau saffron growers Steve and Jo Daley were even prepared to pay up to $2500 a load to get compost trucked the 650km from the Living Earth processing plant at Bromley.  

The Living Earth market was 95% rural based, included pastoral and cropping farmers and the rural sales were 85% repeat business, the company’s rural and urban sales manager Graeme Wright said.  

The Daleys were determined to be organic growers and the cost was worth it for them, with the consistency of the compost and its ability to hold its properties through a hot, dry summer. . . 

Plant-based alternative milk consumption growing in Australia as dairy industry holds firm – Marty McCarthy:

Dairy milk has been flying off the supermarket shelves as consumers continue to sympathise with Australia’s dairy farmers, following the Murray Goulburn crisis.

But so-called “alternative milks” are rising in popularity, and new research shows consumers are increasingly lapping them up.

Supermarkets now stock a range of plant-based milks, including soy, almond, coconut, hazelnut, rice, oat and more recently, macadamia milk.

“While the incidences of lactose intolerance have been increasing there have also been food trends that recommend avoiding cow’s milk,” IBISWorld analyst Lauren Magner said. . . 

Rabobank Global Wine Quarterly Q4 2016: Red Dawn? Behind the Rise in Australian Wine Grape Prices:

Australia takes the pulse of wine grape markets, while the Northern Hemisphere harvest appears set to fall on the short side, and China headlines developments in global wine trade, according to Rabobank’s Global Wine Quarterly for Q4 2016.

The Australian wine grape industry has experienced a ‘red dawn’, with prices rising from their 2011 lows, particularly for red wine grape varieties sourced from more premium growing regions. Rabobank senior analyst Marc Soccio says: “Life has returned to Australian wine grape prices, with China driving much of the recovery in market conditions.”

Highlighting the key role of the China/Hong Kong market in Australia’s wine grape price recovery, the performance of the Chinese market remains a key barometer of future red wine grape market condition. The premiumisation trend in other major markets is also a factor, namely in Australia’s domestic market, as well as in the US and Canada. . . 

Nominations Have Closed for the 2016 Fonterra Elections:

Nominations for the Fonterra Board of Directors’ Independent Nomination Process candidates and the Shareholders’ Council, Directors’ Remuneration Committee, and Fonterra Farmer Custodian Trustee elections closed at 12 noon today.

The candidates successfully nominated following the Independent Nomination Process will be announced on Friday 4 November, 2016. The full list of candidates, including Self-Nominated candidates for the Fonterra Board of Directors’ Election will be announced by Wednesday, 16 November 2016. . . 

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Do not cross this pasture unless you can do it in 9 seconds, because the bull can do it in 10.

 


Rural round-up

22/08/2016

 

Employment breaches ‘wake-up call’ for Marlborough wine industry – Oliver Lewis:

Widespread employment breaches have been unearthed by an investigation into labour contractors servicing the Marlborough wine industry.

Several labour contractors, who supply wine companies with workers, were found to have breached employment standards by failing to pay their workers minimum wage, holiday pay, or keep proper employment records.

The joint investigation, carried out by the Labour Inspectorate, Immigration New Zealand and Inland Revenue, involved random visits to 10 independent labour contractors around the region. . . 

Old school thinking stunts export gains – Andrea Fox:

New Zealand is stuck in the past figuring how to produce even more low-cost export commodities while the marketing of fine products it already has is “woeful”, says New Zealand Merino boss John Brakenridge.

“We sell commodities at an export value of around $37 billion that reach consumers globally at a value of over $200 billion,” says the chief executive credited with driving merino’s monumental shift from a nearly 100 per cent commodity sold at auction to 70 per cent grown under lucrative contracts to elite wool product makers.

Brakenridge’s call for New Zealand to dramatically lift its marketing and branding game follows another gathering at Stanford University, in the heart of Silicon Valley, of New Zealand’s primary sector “bootcamp”, the Te Hono Movement.  Te Hono, founded in 2012 by Brakenridge, says it has so far united 178 chief executives and leaders representing 80 per cent of the primary sector, in a goal to collaborate to transform New Zealand’s approach to doing business globally. It was Te Hono’s fifth workshop at Stanford, where participants work with professors at the world-leading research and new technology university and Silicon Valley business innovators.  . . 

Cashflow boost for Fonterra farmers – Dene Mackenzie:

Fonterra farmers have received a cashflow boost with confirmation of a further 10c per share payment of the co-operative’s 2015-16 40c forecast dividend.

The co-operative had already brought forward an earlier dividend payment during the last financial year.

Its intention was always to declare a further dividend in August, subject to financial performance supporting the forecast earnings per share range of 45c to 55c, chairman John Wilson said in a statement. . . 

North Otago surprised by early, strong arrivals :

Calves have arrived “early and strong” on North Otago dairy farms, Lyndon Strang says.

The Federated Farmers North Otago dairy section chairman said most farmers had started calving about five days ahead of schedule.

“That’s pretty much across the board.”

He could not determine the cause, but said it was going well and there was “plenty of feed available”. . . 

Proud Marlborough beekeeping firm faces challenges as century celebrated – Mike Watson:

Beekeepers are like any other farmers except they don’t have fences for keeping the stock in, says a Marlborough beekeeper celebrating 100 years of commercial honey making.

“At the end of the day, like any farmer, we need healthy stock to control pests and diseases,” said J Bush and Sons managing director Murray Bush.

“We do selective breeding programmes like the sheep and beef guys and we have similar concerns as they do. . .

Ethanol: bad for cars, bad for consumers, bad for the economy and really, really bad for the environment – Mark J, Perry:

An excerpt appears below from my op-ed in yesterday’s US News and World Report “Unwind the Ethanol Mandate” about one of the biggest political boondoggles in history – ethanol and the ethanol mandate. Back in 2007 when political cheerleaders like Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa (the “king of ethanol hype”) were promoting ethanol with fantastic claims like “Everything about ethanol is good, good, good,” Rolling Stone magazine responded with the best sentence on ethanol I’ve ever read: “This is not just hype — it’s dangerous, delusional bullshit.” And what’s notgood at all about demon ethanol (Paul Krugman’s phrase) are the serious negative effects it’s having on the environment: . . 


Rural round-up

15/10/2013

NZM’s innovation an award winner – Sally Rae:

Talk to New Zealand Merino Co chief executive John Brakenridge and there’s one word that keeps cropping up in conversation – innovation.

And it is that innovation that has seen both the company and Mr Brakenridge recognised at the New Zealand International Business Awards.

NZM won the AUT Business School award for most innovative business model in international business, while Mr Brakenridge was named KPMG leader for outstanding contribution to international business. . .

Learning from NZ farmers – Sally Rae:

Uruguayan farmers Francisco Arrosa and Jimena Popelka are looking forward to learning first-hand what their New Zealand counterparts do in a country they describe as a ”mecca of farming”.

Mr Arrosa and Ms Popelka are in New Zealand for this week’s Rotorua-based PGG Wrightson World Angus Forum.

The international four-yearly forum, which was last hosted in New Zealand more than 30 years ago, is also celebrating the 150th anniversary of the introduction of the breed to New Zealand. . . .

Dog club, district documented – Sally Rae:

A new book marking 100 years of the Waimate Sheep Dog Trial Club is ”more than just a story about a club”.

A Noble Pursuit, by Waimate author and historian John Foley, in collaboration with Judith Hayward, of Timaru, not only tells the story of the club since its establishment in 1912 but also that of the Waimate district.

In launching the book in Waimate last week, Federated Farmers vice-president William Rolleston said it was a reminder of ”enormous” changes in technology. . .

Biggest geranium, fuschia nursery in country – Yvonne O’Hara:

arry Hayes grows colour.

He owns Hayes Wholesale Nurseries and is one of the biggest wholesale growers and suppliers of petunias, Pac geraniums, fuchsias and Pac perlagoniums in New Zealand, and sells to local garden centres as well as national chains throughout the country.

The Makarewa-based nurseryman first became interested in the business when he worked for his parents who owned a garden centre. . .


Rural round-up

30/05/2013

Dairy development helping environment – Gerald Piddock:

A controversial dairying development near Omarama is leading the way with its environmental practices.

It is still early days but the structure, fertility, health and depth of Little Ben dairy farm’s soil has significantly improved over the past three years.

Farmers saw the progress the farm had made at a field day last week.

The 470ha farm operates as a partnership between Richard Gloag and Merv McCabe. . . .

PGG Wrightson managing director to step down in August – Tina Morrison:

PGG Wrightson managing director George Gould will step down from New Zealand’s biggest rural technology and services firm after helping refocus the company.

Mr Gould previously headed Pyne Gould Guinness and was appointed to the top job at the larger company in February 2011 to help stabilise it as it exited non-core activities.

He will leave on August 31, the Christchurch-based company says in a statement today. . .

Merino man shakes up primary industries

In 1995, John Brakenridge had an acute case of ‘new guy’. 

He’d been hired by the board of Canterbury-based wool marketer New Zealand Merino to breathe fresh air into a stale sector.

But the high country heartlanders were wary.

‘Which part of the South Island are you from?’ they asked the bloke who grew up in Auckland. ‘You look a bit young, don’t you?’ they said to the 34-year-old. ‘How long have you been in the wool industry?’ It was his first day.

Although he had a track record in the primary sector, serving as marketing manager for produce company Cedenco Foods in the late 1980s and partnering with the New Zealand Dairy Board in the Middle East, he was unmistakably a wool industry outsider.  . .

So close on second go – Jill Galloway:

Cam Brown says he will always be known as the guy who was second in the grand final of the Young Farmer Contest.

He was one of seven regional winners who won a place in the final. He was the winner of the Manawatu-Taranaki final.

Brown is competitive. He likes to do everything correctly and win.

“I lost by five points. I thought afterwards about places I could have made up those points. But I knew I’d given it my best shot in the contest.” . . .

Westland Milk Products Predicts Lifts Payout Prediction for 2013-14:

Westland Milk Products has announced a pay-out prediction for the 2013-14 season of $6.60 to $7 per kilo of milk solids (kgMS), an increase of 60 to 70 cents on the current season, with an opening advance (payable 20 September) of $4.80 per kgMS for all milk collected from 1 August 2013.

The Hokitika-based dairy cooperative also confirmed the forecast pay-out for this season of $6 to $6.30 per kgMS excluding retentions. The advance rate payable 20 June 2013 has been approved at $5.20 per kgMS.

Chief Executive Rod Quin says the forward view for the dairy market is relatively strong, even with the recent decline from the highs of six weeks ago. The strong outlook is being driven by ongoing firm demand and the expected shortfall of milk supply from key exporting markets. . .

Dairy farmers welcome some good news at last:

After a harsh drought and massive feed costs, dairy farmers needed good news and Fonterra Cooperative Group may have just delivered it.

“The forecast farmgate milk price of $7 per kilogram of milksolids (kg/MS) for 2013/14 is going to get a lot of attention,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson.

“Boy oh boy did we need some morale raising good news. In plain-English, it means that farmers could get about 0.58 cents per litre for milk they will produce between June and May 2014.

“While a $7 kg/MS milkprice forecast sounds amazing, the public deserve to know this is forecast revenue and revenue is not profit. To get to profit, you need to take off the farm’s working expenses, tax obligations and pay back the bank manager; a big expense being right there. . .

Aggressive forecast Farmgate Milk Price, advance welcomed by Farmers:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown, said it was encouraging for Farmers to see Fonterra take an aggressive stance in its Milk Price forecasting for next season.

The Fonterra Board of Directors today announced an opening Farmgate Milk Price forecast of $7.00 per kg/MS for the 2013/14 season, including a $5.00 advance.

Ian Brown: “This is great news for our Farmer Shareholders and reinforces the good position our Co-operative is in.

“Having a strong forecast Milk Price and advance puts Farmers in a healthier position and provides them greater flexibility in running their farms. . .

Great food starts with great soil:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients is showcasing the connection between great soil and premium produce, with quality producers of beef, vegetables, apples and wine featuring at their Fieldays site this year.

Ballance General Manager Sales, Andrew Reid, explains that soil is an integral part of the success of our farmers.

“In fact the whole New Zealand economy starts with those three inches of topsoil which support our rural production sector,” says Mr Reid.

Mr Reid says that premium producers have one thing in common – respect for the soil and the ability to work with it. . . .


Rural round-up

16/03/2013

‘An industry in transition’ – US beef challenges present opportunities for NZ producers:

The United States’ beef cattle industry is undergoing a major transition, with a significant contraction of its domestic herd diminishing available beef supply locally and offshore. This presents opportunities for New Zealand producers to cash in on increased market share, according to a visiting US meat industry expert.

Rabobank’s Texas-based vice president for animal proteins, Don Close says the reduction in the US herd is “unprecedented”, with current on-feed numbers at six per cent lower than 12 months ago, and set to continue to decrease into the 2013 Northern Hemisphere summer period.

“Right now, with a significant period of drought, the ongoing tightening of our cattle herd is really becoming increasingly evident,” Mr Close said. . .

Controversy over CAP capping and coupling plans – Paul Spackman:

Farming unions and environmental groups have given a very mixed response to yesterday’s crucial vote by MEP’s on the future of the CAP.

Elements that could cut red tape for farmers, ease the burden of inspections and allow for more proportionate penalties were generally welcomed.

However, other proposals were criticised by some for potentially distorting the market and discriminating against larger UK farms. . .

Rural media research reveals the changing face of farming:

The old image of farmers being dyed in the wool consumers of traditional media, late adopters of digital technology and low users of social media has been completely blown apart by a major piece of research commissioned by Waikato/Bay of Plenty based agency, King St.

The research involved 759 farmers – 314 dairy and 346 dry stock – participating in a 15-minute phone survey conducted by independent research firm, Versus Research, on behalf of King St and some of the agency’s rural clients.

The comprehensive study provides a full picture of farmers’ media habits. “It’s the largest study of its kind to be conducted and provides some extremely valuable information, along with some fresh insights”, says King St CEO, Chris Williams.

“If you think farmers are behind the times as an audience, you need to think again. Radio, TV and print are still going strong but it’s in digital media where we saw some big moves, particularly with the under 40s,” says Williams. “And rather than being behind, they are ahead in some instances.” . . .

Roadshow spreads word on lifting returns – Tim Cronshaw:

Sheep farming can once again be a mainstay of the New Zealand economy, says a top merino leader.

New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) chief executive John Brakenridge said sheep farming had anchored much of the New Zealand economy throughout the 1900s and had been overtaken by the dairy industry as it adapted to capture market opportunities.

For sheep farming to return to its previous position farmers had to be far more involved with global markets and accept scientific developments such as genomics research so that sheep could be adapted to meet market opportunities, he said. . .

Monitor puts squeeze on farm fuel thieves – Tim Cronshaw:

Stealing fuel from farm tanks will be made much harder for thieves with a smart new device.

The release of the remotely transmitted levno technology coincides with reports from the Federated Farmers of increased thefts of fuel, equipment and livestock. In the last few weeks diesel has been drained from diggers in Nelson and from fuel tanks in Upper Takaka and Motueka.

The theft of diesel and petrol is likely to be a bigger problem than realised with a farming enterprise estimating as much as 20 per cent of their fuel goes missing. . .

Myanmar President Welcomed by Fonterra:

Today, on his first visit to New Zealand, Myanmar President Thein Sein met with the Fonterra Co-operative Group’s Chairman John Wilson and CEO Theo Spierings at their headquarters in Auckland.

Fonterra, is opening an office later this year in Myanmar, and the meeting aimed to further strengthen the company’s relationship with Myanmar where it has been supplying high quality dairy nutrition for almost 20 years.

Chairman John Wilson said they were pleased to welcome President Sien to New Zealand and provide him with a deeper understanding of their business, and the New Zealand dairy industry. . .

Renowned NZ grape grower Willie Crosse strikes Gold again:

New Zealand Wine Society has been privileged to make wines from Willie Crosse’s pristine fruit since the 2001 vintage when his Riesling won a Gold medal. Eleven vintages on, the magic is stronger than ever.

At the 2013 Easter Show Wine Awards Willie and New Zealand Wine Society did it again, collecting another Gold medal for the Crosse Vineyard Marlborough Riesling 2012.

Willie is thrilled and says, ‘Jo Gear [the winemaker] is shaping quite a record with our riesling. 2012 was a good year on the vineyard, thanks to a very cool summer and a long dry finish through autumn which brought out the flavours and kept the grapes clean. It was a challenging start, but perfect in the end.’ . . .


Rural round-up

23/10/2012

New growing sites may help save kiwifruit – Jamie Morton:

The Psa bacterium is here to stay so growers must manage it, says horticulture expert.

Kiwifruit growing regions outside the Bay of Plenty could soon play bigger parts in a $1 billion-a-year industry battling a bacterial scourge that is here to stay.

Professor Ian Warrington, co-president of the International Horticulture Congress, has suggested ways New Zealand could live with Psa-V, which has now spread as far as Hawkes Bay since its discovery in heartland Te Puke nearly two years ago. . .

Landcorp denies Crafar farms ale meddling – Andrea Fox:

Landcorp chief executive Chris Kelly says he’s getting fed up with suggestions that, as intended Crafar farms manager for Chinese purchaser Shanghai Pengxin, he is frustrating iwi efforts to buy two of the central North Island farms.

The state-owned enterprise boss said he had heard the rumours and they were “simply not correct”.

However he said that as the two farms at Benneydale constituted a significant 25 per cent of the whole 16 farm Crafar estate package, personally, he would be asking Landcorp’s future Chinese partner to consider why it would want to sell them. . .

 

Trial may be of global importance:

The Clutha Agricultural Development Board’s latest project, on the value of probiotics to calves in their first few weeks of life, is believed to be of national and possibly international importance.

The project involved about 300 calves on three farms in the Clutha district.

In New Zealand, only one limited study of the possible weight gain and health benefits to calves has been done previously, and the board was thought to be undertaking a “significant study of national and perhaps international importance”, the board said. . .

Future of sheep farming ‘not flash‘ – Sally Rae:

The potential for New Zealand’s primary sector is significant but the industry must get better at how it takes its products to markets, both individually and collectively, New Zealand Merino Company chief executive John Brakenridge tells Agribusiness reporter Sally Rae.

Imagine New Zealand without sheep and without a sheep industry.

That is a scenario New Zealand Merino Company chief executive John Brakenridge poses.

A scenario that he says is “actually quite on the cards” if the status quo continues. . .

Bettering deer genetics just the job for Sharon – Sally Rae:

Sharon McIntyre reckons her new role as DEERSelect manager is about “a perfect fit” for her skill set.

The Gore-based farm consultant, who has been heavily involved in genetics for 25 years, was enthusiastic about the part-time position.

She has provided technical assistance to Sheep Improvement Ltd (SIL) for five years and it was a “logical step” to be involved with improving deer genetics as well.

DEERSelect runs a system to evaluate the genetic worth of stags which then allows breeders and finishers to select for desirable traits in their deer herds. . .


Rural round-up

19/08/2012

First product off the line at Fonterra Darfield:

The first bags of whole milk powder have rolled off the production line at Fonterra’s new $200 million manufacturing site near Darfield in Canterbury and are bound for South East Asia, China and the Middle East.

Brent Taylor, our Director of Operations – NZ Milk, says it was smooth running for the new plant, which produced 40 metric tonnes of product in its first full day of operations.

“It has taken less than two years to bring the project together and it is a significant achievement for us and good news for Canterbury and the wider Christchurch rebuild, he says. . .

Tree Harvesting Invention Named New Zealand Winner of the James Dyson Award :

A tree harvesting device has won the New Zealand leg of the twelfth annual James Dyson Award, a product design competition.

Current harvesting methods require return visits to a forest, causing soil erosion and damage to surrounding trees. Nick Ross, an industrial design graduate from Massey University, has devised a solution that cuts trees right from ground level, and feeds them straight into the machine. An extraction process is then engaged to return needles back to the soil for nutrients, while the branches gathered in a separate container can be re-used as an alternative energy fuel. . .

Meanwhile in the asylum – Offsetting Behaviour:

I like to think of New Zealand as being the Outside of the Asylum.

Outside of the Asylum, farmers are free to sell their produce.

Today’s news from inside the asylum: hosting a 10 year old’s birthday party and selling a bit of farm produce at the event
hosted on your farm gets you thousands of dollars in fines
. . .

Gibbston Valley Winery celebrates two special ‘birthdays’

A Central Otago winery celebrating its 25th commercial grape harvest with a black tie dinner next month will also mark a milestone of a different kind.

The Gibbston Valley Winery anniversary dinner event on September 1 will kick start the award-winning winery’s support of national charity Cure Kids, with all proceeds from the night’s auctions going to the charity.

In keeping with that support, the dinner will also celebrate the remarkable story of Cure Kids ambassador and Queenstown resident Sophie Newbold, who celebrates her 18th birthday on September 14. . .

Boot camp to inspire development of New Zealand Inc – Allan Barber:

This week a high powered Boot Camp, attended by a group of key New Zealand agribusiness executives, will take place at Stanford University, California, with facilitation by Professor of Marketing Baba Shiv whose research expertise is in neuroeconomics.

The Boot Camp is the brainchild of Keith Cooper from Silver Fern Farms and John Brakenridge, Chief Executive of NZ Merino, who visited Stanford to discover new ideas on how to market Silere lamb from the two companies’ JV established last year with assistance from the Primary Growth Partnership fund. . .


Rural round up

23/10/2010

The subheading on this blog is a rural perspective with a blue tint.

It’s often a lot more blue than rural (though the two aren’t mutually exclusive). I’ve decided to help rebalance that with ocassional posts linking to rural news and views, starting with these:

Sticky milk powder – Marcus Wilson at Sciblogs:

. . .   One of the most enjoyable talks was given by student Timothy Walmsley, concerning a study on the sticking of milk powder in spray dryers. To convert milk into powder form it is sprayed into a dryer; the milk solids remain and fall to the bottom but the water content is removed; the result is something that is easily packaged and transported. . .

Making Milking faster and easier:

DairyNZ has launched a programme for farmers aimed at improving the milk harvesting efficiency on New Zealand dairy farms.

“Milksmart is concerned not only with milking, but with the whole milk harvesting process, from collecting the cows from the paddock and milking, to clean-up and the return of the cows,” says DairyNZ Developer and project leader, Samantha Palmer.

The programme allows a farmer to complete a comprehensive self-assessment of the milk harvesting operation and then compare their performance against other farmers.

“The smallest change in the dairy shed can stack up to important savings in both time and costs over a whole season,” says Samantha.

More on this can be found at Milksmart.

What’s going on at New Zealand’s specialist land based university? – Tony Chaston queries Lincoln’s priorities and future:

High quality agricultural education is  needed to grow the rural economy into the future. In my opinion Lincoln University lost its way over the last 20 years focusing on “buying students” in many areas of education, just to survive, rather than focus on agriculture.

The Rural Recovery Group, set up in after the Canterbury earthquake is finding rural issues are starting to emerge:

Farmers had been downplaying damage, particularly as their counterparts in Southland and the North Island were struggling after recent snowstorms. The Group heard that because of those events, people were holding off on putting claims in. Rural Recovery Group co-ordinator Allan Baird urged them to register damage as soon as possible.

Selwyn District Council Recovery Welfare Manager Diane Chesmar said there had been a small number of Red Cross applications from the Selwyn district and some inquiries about emotional support.

“We understand that in this type of event the bulk of the social needs come three months after the event.”

Zespri lifts forecast payment to growers:

In the latest forecast from kiwifruit marketer ZESPRI, average fruit and service payments for kiwifruit growers are set to increase by $13.7 million or $0.15 per tray on last season.

ZESPRI’s Director of Corporate and Grower Services, Carol Ward, said: “Market returns this season are up on last year and reflect strong consumer demand for ZESPRI Kiwifruit. However we are still facing challenging market conditions as the global economy emerges from the recession, with Japan and East Asia recovering more quickly than Europe and North America.”

2011Nuffield Scholars to investigate Asian markets:

David Campbell is currently Livestock Productivity Manager and Project Leader ‘Special Milks’ for Synlait Farms Limited in Canterbury. . .

Nicola Waugh is another graduate of Massey University. She is currently employed by AgFirst Waikato Ltd as an agricultural consultant. . .

High accolade for high country leader:

John Brakenridge, Chief Executive of The New Zealand Merino Company Limited (NZM) has scooped the coveted ‘outstanding international business leader’ award at the New Zealand International Business Awards. 


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