Rural round-up

October 2, 2015

Chinese deal vital, SFF says – Sally Rae:

Silver Fern Farms could be facing insolvency if shareholders do not approve a 50:50 joint venture with Chinese company Shanghai Maling.

Voting has opened on the proposal before a meeting of shareholders at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium on October 16.

Shanghai Maling, a subsidiary of state owned food giant Bright Food Group, is proposing to take a 50% stake in Silver Fern Farms, in return for an investment of $261million. . . 

Hold off on Silver Fern vote, farmers urged –  Sally Rae:

Farmers are being urged to hold off voting on the Silver Fern Farms joint venture deal with Shanghai Maling, with hints that ”concrete” alternatives will emerge.

Voting is under way and closes at 10.30am on October 14, before a special meeting in Dunedin on October 16, where two resolutions will be voted on.

As well as the Shanghai Maling proposal, the meeting will also consider the shareholder resolution, promoted by Heriot farmer Allan Richardson and John Cochrane, from Clinton, seeking full analysis of the benefits and risks of a merger with Alliance Group. That resolution was not supported by Silver Fern Farms’ board. . . 

Bright lets sparks fly – Alan Williams:

Bright Dairy group is an excellent strategic investor in Synlait Milk, the latter’s chairman Graeme Milne says.

“It’s more than just money they bring.

“They’ve got the knowledge and capability to help us make good decisions.”

Shanghai Maling, the proposed new investor for Silver Fern Farms, is part of the wider Bright Dairy-Bright Foods group. . . 

Super-drone sprayer comes with risks -Robin Martin:

The first unmanned helicopter certified to spray chemicals in New Zealand could ultimately save back-country farmers thousands of dollars but it comes with a hefty price tag – and a safety warning. 

The Yamaha RMAX is a beast by drone standards, powered by a 260cc engine and weighing in at close to 100 kilograms.

Yamaha business development manager Geoff Lamb and his team put the chopper through its paces for a gathering of curious farmers, spraying contractors and radio-controlled aircraft enthusiasts at a Lepperton farm in Taranaki this week. . . 

Fonterra boss offers $4m salary freeze:

The chief executive of Fonterra has asked for his multi-million dollar salary to be frozen this year as the co-operative goes through major cost cuts and slashes hundreds of jobs.

Theo Spierings requested the freeze on his base salary on the same day Fonterra announced it was slashing hundreds more jobs as part of a business shake-up, taking total layoffs to 750.

That came just days before the company released its annual result.

A spokesman said Mr Spierings went to a meeting of Fonterra’s people, culture and safety committee on 21 September and requested that his base salary of about $4 million for the 2015/16 year be frozen. . . 

Nutrient loss under the spotlight:

New Zealand’s shift from a pasture-based model to high feed-input dairy farms will come under the microscope in a joint research project involving Ballance Agri-Nutrients, AgResearch, DairyNZ and Tatua, in partnership with the Government’s Sustainable Farming Fund initiative.

The two year project, led by AgResearch’s Dr Stewart Ledgard, will use case study farms varying in intensity of feed use to examine effects of their system changes over the last decade on emissions, production and profit as well as testing options for improving their sustainability.

“Locally there is strong interest in understanding implications for water quality of dairy intensification through increased use of supplementary feeds and how effects can be minimised, while internationally there is a desire for food products to be produced with efficient use of resources and reduced wider environmental impacts”, says Dr Stewart Ledgard. . . 

Aussies nab heaviest fleece record:

Well it’s official New Zealand has been fleeced by the Australians ..who now hold the world record for the heaviest fleece shorn off a merino.

The Australians were quick to yell they had found a wild merino near Canberra in early September with a fleece which weighed in at 40 kilograms.

Otago’s ‘Shrek the sheep’ held the record up until last year when another wild merino – dubbed Big Ben – was found in the Mackenzie Country with a fleece weighing 28.9 kgs. . . 

Steady wool market:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s C.E.O, Mr John Dawson reports that the more restricted wool type offering in the North Island sale of 6,165 bales saw a 97 percent clearance and a generally steady market.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies firmed 1.66 percent compared to the last sale on 24th September only impacting on the finer end of the offering.

Mr Dawson advises that the stronger New Zealand dollar and limited interest in the Fine Crossbred longer wools saw prices ease 2 to 4 percent with shorter types better supported with pries 1 to 3.5 percent softer in local terms. . . 


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. . .


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