Rural round-up

January 30, 2017

Farmers speak up for industry during a hostile year – Gerald Piddock:

Being named as one of Waikato’s top environmental farmers has given a platform for John Hayward and Susan O’Regan to show that agriculture is not the villain it is made out to be.

Nearly a year after being named supreme winners of the Waikato Farm Environment Awards, the couple’s farm has hosted countless individuals and groups, ranging from the former United States ambassador Mark Gilbert to cabinet ministers, MPs and school children.

O’Regan said they had tried to do their best to improve people’s understanding and perspective of dairying in what had been a pretty hostile year. . . 

Dairy strategy about more than just producing extra milk – Andrew Hoggard:

All manner of self-appointed experts have recently been making claims around the dairy industry’s strategy, and how we associate with others.

About the only thing they got right is that we actually do have a strategy. Its official title is The Strategy for Sustainable Dairy Farming. Its purpose is firstly to inform DairyNZ’s funding priorities, but also to co-ordinate industry action on the various strategy objectives.

The strategy is focused primarily around on-farm, but also covers domestic issues that will take into account the processors. So it’s not about telling the various processors which markets to operate in, and what products to sell. . . 

Shearing champs labour of love falling into place – Sally Rae:

“Imagine the biggest roller coaster in the world and being on it.”

That is how World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships organising committee chairman Tom Wilson describes preparing for the event in Invercargill next week.‘‘Some things have happened easily and the next minute you’ve got to really dig in with something a bit more challenging. ‘‘It is a bit of a labour of love but you work through it. Everything’s falling into place,’’ he said.

Mr Wilson, shearing great Sir David Fagan and Gavin Rowland, from Shearing Sports New Zealand, made the bid at the previous world championships in 2014 to hold the 2017 event in New Zealand. The bid was successful and planning began in earnest for the championships which will be held at the ILT Stadium Southland on February 8-11. The championships have a 40-year history, dating back to when they were first held at Bath and West in England in 1977.Mr Wilson’s involvement stretches nearly as far, contesting his first world championships in Masterton in 1980. . . 

Finalist looks forward to tough competition – Sally Rae:

Alan Harvey is looking forward to next month’s Otago-Southland regional final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

He is one of eight regional finalists who will compete in the event in Roxburgh on February 18. The winner will go on to the grand final in the Manawatu in July.

Organisers have touted it as shaping up to be the toughest competition of the seven regional finals nationwide. Mr Harvey (25) was fourth in the Tasman regional final last year. Brought up on a sheep and beef farm in North Otago, he joined the Five Forks Young Farmers Club when he was 15 and was involved in setting up a club at Waitaki Boys’ High School.

Summer heats up for Hawkes Bay farmers – Alexa Cook:

Farmers in Hawke’s Bay are selling stock because they don’t have enough food or water for them, livestock agent John Kingston says.

Mr Kingston, who works for Carrfields, said although the region had had a good spring, weeks of wind had dried out the land.

“We normally have a dry season here but it’s getting beyond a joke now.

“Stock water is the biggest issue. Some people have had to buy water for houses. The feed is absolutely swept around most of Hawkes Bay.”

Dry weather spells trouble for Northland farmers – Sarah Robson:

Extra blankets and raincoats haven’t been far from reach in many parts of the country this summer, but farmers in Northland are worried they’re in for another prolonged dry spell.

Federated Farmers Northland president John Blackwell said while there was a welcome burst of rain last week, strong winds have whisked most of the moisture away from the soil.

Dairy farmers were trying to source extra feed and looking at culling their herds. A lot of sheep and beef farmers had already de-stocked, while a wet October meant many crops had failed. . .

Image may contain: outdoor


Rural round-up

April 28, 2016

Farming salaries holding firm despite tough conditions:

Dry stock farmers’ salaries have seen strong growth in the last year, according to Federated Farmers and Rabobank’s 2015/2016 employee remuneration report.

Despite tough times and low inflation, most sheep, beef and grain farmers have been able to provide higher average salaries on a year ago – illustrating real income increases for many farm workers at all levels of experience and responsibility.

Salaries in the dairy industry have remained stable, but for the first time there has been a very small decrease in the value of extras farmers provide their staff, such as firewood and internet access, pushing the total value of their package (TPV) down. . .

Farm Environment Competition Produces Great Crop Of Supreme Winners

Left to Right: Roger Landers and Matt Kelbrick (Taranaki), Graham and Marian Hirst (East Coast), Shane Gibbons and Bridget Speight (Southland), Joe and Suz Wyborn (Canterbury), Richard and Dianne Kidd (Auckland), Daniel and Reidun Nicholson (Greater Wellington), John Hayward and Susan O’Regan, (Waikato), Brendon and Paula Cross (Otago), David and Adrienne Hopkins & Ben and Belinda Price (Horizons), Dennis and Rachelle O’Callaghan (Northland), Leighton Oats and Matt Nelson (Bay of Plenty).The 2016 Ballance Farm Environment Awards have delivered an outstanding line-up of Supreme winners from the eleven regions participating in the prestigious competition.

Auckland is the latest region to join the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, with Helensville sheep, beef and forestry farmers Richard and Dianne Kidd claiming the region’s first Supreme title. Fellow sheep and beef farmers Dennis and Rachelle O’Callaghan, Taipa, were Supreme winners in Northland, with large scale kiwifruit operation BAYGOLD Ltd, Paengaroa, winning in the Bay of Plenty. . .

Federated Farmers thrilled Ruataniwha scheme now in position to proceed:

Federated Farmers is thrilled the Ruataniwha Water Storage scheme in Hawkes Bay has made another significant step towards hitting the go button, after it was confirmed sufficient water sign-up will make the scheme cash positive.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) announced yesterday it has 196 Signed Water User Agreements, the numbers needed for the project to proceed.

Federated Farmers Hawkes Bay Provincial President Will Foley says the dam will preserve the inter-generational nature of family farming in the Hawkes Bay. . . 

Dog stays with dead farmer:

The body of an 87-year-old farmer who went missing in rugged Far North bush was found after searchers spotted a dog which had stayed near his side all night.

The man was last seen about 1pm on Monday when he left home on his quad bike to check farm equipment on his Topps Access Rd property, just south of Kaeo.

Family, friends and neighbours began a search when neither he nor the dog returned. They called police when there was still no sign of the pair by 8pm.

The cattle dog, which was described as small and normally timid, was understood to belong to the man’s daughter but followed him everywhere he went. . . 

Love of farming is in the DNA – Kate Taylor:

University student Olivia Ellis works every time she goes home for a visit. She wouldn’t have it any other way.

Home is a 320-hectare farm, Papawai, on State Highway 50 between Onga Onga and Tikokino in Central Hawke’s Bay… home also to parents Richard and Helen Ellis.

They’ve been there since 1995 when Olivia was a toddler, along with big brothers William, who after qualifying as a builder is now shepherding near Timaru, and the late George, who worked for WaterForce in Ashburton before a truck crash in 2014. . . 

GlobalDairyTrade moves to 24/7 online trading:

The global dairy trading platform owned by Fonterra is to expand further into online trading.

GlobalDairyTrade (GDT), though owned by Fonterra, acts independently as one of the world’s leading dairy trading platforms.

As well as its fortnightly auction, the company offer a new way for customers to trade in the 66-billion litre international dairy market. . . 

Dairy co-op Murray Goulburn cuts milk prices, MD Gary Helou departs – Nikolai Beilharz:

Australia’s largest dairy processor Murray Goulburn has announced it will cut its milk price for suppliers, with managing director Gary Helou also announcing his departure.

The dairy co-op says it is no longer feasible to pay $5.60 per kilogram of milk solids, and now expects to pay between $4.75-5 per kilogram, a drop of around 10 per cent.

MG says it will introduce milk support payment programs to give suppliers an equivalent milk price of $5.47 per kilogram. . .

What farmers in other countries get paid for milk – Charlie Taverner:

The dairy crisis is hurting farmers across the world, as production far outstrips any rising demand.

Farmers Weekly looks at the farmgate prices and milk production levels around the world and considers how milk producers are coping in different countries.

See a snapshot of farmgate prices in the graphic and read the detail for each country below.

See also: How UK dairy producers can compete globally

UK

The UK’s strength is a big liquid market — but that means dairy farmers are divided.

The average milk price of 23.13p/litre in January hides a great split. . . .

Soils big win buried in the science – Mike Foley:

AUSTRALIA’S approach to soil must dig deeper if our agriculture sector is to keep pace with its competitors.

Government policy has for too long taken a narrow focus on soil, prioritising funding for research aimed at enhancing environmental outcomes, as opposed to research that delivers productivity gains.

That’s according to soil researcher Andrea Koch, formerly of the United States Study Centre’s soil carbon initiative. . . 

 


Rural round-up

April 8, 2016

Two new irrigation champions recognised:

Two New Zealand irrigation champions have been recognised with the awarding of the Ron Cocks Memorial Award to South Canterbury’s Robin Murphy and Central Otago’s Tony Banks.

Both men’s achievements were celebrated at IrrigationNZ’s biennial conference dinner last night in Oamaru. The event has drawn more than 400 people to the Waitaki District this week to tour local irrigation infrastructure, listen to global guest speakers address irrigation issues, attend technical workshops and view an industry expo with 52 exhibitors.

The former chairman of the Earnscleugh Irrigation Company, Tony Banks, was described as an outstanding leader in delivering the benefits of water to Central Otago. Tony has given 31 years of service to the scheme; more than half his working life and all in a voluntary capacity. . . 

Power to the people – Anee Hardie:

The power bill is a big expense for many farms. Anne Hardie talked to Franz Josef farmer Graeme Berry about using local resources to reduce that bill to zero.  

Water is an abundant resource around Graham Berry’s Franz Josef dairy farm, which prompted him to build a small hydro power scheme that now supplies all his electricity with enough extra to sell into the national grid and pay its cost.  

It was a lengthy exercise that took years to acquire the necessary consents and ended up costing nearly half a million dollars, but that extra power sold into the national grid pays the interest while the farm and dairy now pay zilch for electricity. . .

Carrfields wins Innovation Award for irrigator stabiliser:

Ashburton’s Carrfields Irrigation company has won 2016’s IrrigationNZ Innovation Award in association with Aqualinc for its innovative irrigator stabiliser.

The award was presented last night at the industry body’s national conference which has attracted more than 400 people to Waitaki District this week.

The HydroFix Irrigator Stabiliser System consists of a series of inflatable water tanks connected to a pulley and counterweight systems along the length of an irrigator. . . 

South America set to dominate beef trade – Allan Barrber:

Rabobank’s quarterly report on the global beef market maintains South American beef producers, particularly Brazil, will be the major influence on the beef trade in 2016.

The most notable features are expected to be an increase in China’s official imports which rose sharply by 60% last year, a decline in US imports and lower than usual Australian beef production. New Zealand’s cattle kill is forecast to be earlier and lower than 2015 because of the earlier dairy cull. Although the American beef kill is still at 20 year lows, high stocks of frozen product will continue to put a dampener on both prices and import volumes. . . 

Isolated negligence of one farmer does not reflect Colony farming practice:

Allegations by SAFE that Colony farming causes increased mortality and poor welfare among layer hens is being strongly rejected by the Egg Industry.

The Egg Producer Federation (EPF) has been working with the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) to investigate claimsmade by SAFE about one of its member farms.

SAFE broke into a member farm to obtain footage that the Industry said is an unacceptable, but isolated discovery.

“The welfare of the birds is our first priority, so this footage is most definitely disturbing. Investigations have shown this is the negligence of one farm, in an isolated incident that shows poor practice around cage checking and clearing. . . 

Judge Valley Dairies Judged Supreme Winner In 2016 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Puahue dairy farmers John Hayward and Susan O’Regan are Supreme winners of the 2016 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

At a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on April 7 (2016), the couple also collected the LIC Dairy Farm Award, WaterForce Integrated Management Award, Waikato Regional Council Water Protection Award and the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award.

Based on 245ha of flat to steep contour east of Te Awamutu, their operation, Judge Valley Dairies Ltd, was described by BFEA judges “as a highly productive farm that works well in a challenging landscape while balancing environmental care”. . . 

IrrigationNZ and Feds ask for scientific integrity:

IrrigationNZ and Federated Farmers say greater scrutiny of claims irrigation causes increased ‘rumbly-gut’ is needed, as recent assertions by Alison Dewes are not scientifically sound.

The industry bodies have joined forces to ask for improved scientific integrity when making claims in the media as “the validity of the argument around increased pathogen losses resulting from irrigation or water storage are not sound,” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

“Our understanding is pathogen contamination of a water supply generally occurs through a direct pathway – a point source contamination. Neither irrigation nor water storage create pathogen issues, except through natural means, the increased birdlife around a water storage lake for example. The main causes of pathogen contamination are poor water treatment from domestic discharges or inadequately protected well- heads. ” says Mr Curtis. . .

International Agri-Group Digs Deep for Farm Community • Raising Over $40,000 for Rural School:

A $5,000 donation for catering and serving lunch for 130 of Australasia’s leading agribusiness professionals turned into an impromptu fundraising event recently – with a rural school of 36 students receiving over $40,000.

As part of its annual conference in Wellington, the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group visited a sheep farm and a dairy operation in the Wairarapa. The school children welcomed the delegation with a Kapa Haka followed by the serving of fresh, local produce including paua fritters, whitebait and crayfish for lunch. . . 

Ideal conditions for sowing:

If you haven’t sown your new pastures yet, there’s no better time than now to get seed into the ground.

Soil temperatures in many parts of the North Island and upper South Island are still mild – over 15 degrees C which is ideal for establishing most pasture species.

Perennial ryegrass or any short term ryegrass can be sown through to about Anzac Day, so that gives you plenty of options.

Early April is however too late for sowing pasture brome or fescue, because these species are sensitive to low soil temperatures. . . 

Report Shows Strong Future for Organic Products:

There’s good news for New Zealand’s organic fruit and vegetable growers in the report released today showing Kiwis are buying more organic product from their local supermarket.

The Organics Aotearoa Organic Market Report 2016 shows continuing growth in markets for organic fresh fruit and vegetables, particularly in supermarkets, up 127% in four years.

“What is good about that figure for horticulture is it shows shoppers are thinking more about what they put in their shopping trollies.

“That’s a good trend for all the producers serving the New Zealand domestic market,” HortNZ chief executive Mike Chapman says.. . 

Weaker Dollar Moves Wool Up:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s C.E.O, Mr John Dawson reports that the slightly weaker New Zealand dollar compared to last weeks’ sale helped lift local prices, aided by strong support for a more stylish South Island selection suitable for greasy wool orders.

Of the 9,400 bales on offer, 91.6 percent sold.

The weighted currency indicator was down 1.12 percent week on week.

Compared to the last time comparable wools were sold on 23rd March in the South Island Fine Crossbred Full Fleece and Shears were firm to 1.7 percent dearer. . . 

 

 

Farmers Are Awesome's photo.

Let’s also pay tribute to those farmers’ husbands/partners who work as hard or harder than their farmers.


Rural round-up

September 12, 2015

Meat returns to rise over next year – Alan Royal:

A lower New Zealand currency will do much of the running for sheep meat and beef returns to farmers over the next year.

Beef + Lamb NZ expected slight increases in product values but they were likely to be outweighed by lower volumes, especially for lamb.

B+LNZ forecast an average lamb price of $5.47/kg for the export year ending September 30, 2016, a 4% lift on the provisional figure for the year finishing in a couple of weeks. . .

Few animal welfare issues in dry North Canterbury:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has complimented farmers on how they have managed animal welfare through the prolonged North Canterbury drought.

Canterbury-based MPI Animal Welfare Manager Peter Hyde says there have had been very few animal welfare issues to deal with in North Canterbury.

“Sheep are a bit lighter than ideal but not to the extent where they are below the minimum standard that breaches of the Animal Welfare Act.”

Mr Hyde says farmers have adopted different management strategies to maintain the condition of their animals. . . 

Finalists in the NZ Innovators Awards:

Finalists in the New Zealand Innovators Awards 2015 demonstrate that Kiwi innovation is thriving, with a 24 per cent increase in entries that are of world class standard.

Announced today are the finalists who represent game changing innovation from every corner of the country, with new products and services from a broad range of industries and business disciplines. Included in the finalists are an exciting range of entries, from electric farm bikes, dairy free cheese, anti-cancer treatments and free school lunches. Spoilt for choice with this year’s entries – these are ordinary Kiwi’s doing extra-ordinary things.

New Zealand Innovation Council CEO Louise Webster says the 2015 entrants give a real sense that Kiwi innovation is moving into the main stream, demonstrating world leading approaches to innovation with many businesses going global from day one. . . 

Wool Jumps:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s Marketing Executive, Mr Malcolm Ching reports that a weakening New Zealand dollar and steady off-shore buying interest saw all wool types improve for the South Island offering of 9,300 bales with 87 percent selling.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currency came down 1.29 percent compared to the last sale on 3rd September.

Mr Ching advises that compared to the last time sold on 27th August, Merino Fleece 21.5 micron and finer were 5 to 10 percent dearer with 22 to 23.5 microns 1 to 2 percent firmer. . . 

Ballance Farm Environment Awards Showcase Sustainable Farming Success:

Entering the Ballance Farm Environment Awards is a great way for farmers to show they care about the environment, say Waikato dairy farmers Susan O’Regan and John Hayward.

The couple entered the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards for the first time last year and were thrilled to win two category awards, including the LIC Dairy Farm Award.

“Waikato Regional Council has been working with us on a planting programme on the farm for several years and they encouraged us to enter,” Susan says.

“We went in to the competition pretty cold and didn’t really know what to expect. We didn’t do any window dressing on the farm and we were fairly relaxed when the judges showed up and started asking us questions.” . . .

PGP delivering much needed support to rural communities:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says a further 400 rural professionals will be trained in 20 workshops delivered over the next month to support farming families and rural communities.

“These workshops are about creating a culture of mental health awareness and training within service organisations, a key outcome from ‘Transforming the Dairy Value Chain’, a Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme between the Ministry for Primary Industries, DairyNZ and Fonterra.

“This adds to the more than 400 rural professionals already trained in mental health awareness by the programme.

“While the economic benefits of PGP are well known as the Government’s flagship research and development programme for the primary sector, it’s great to see it is also supporting the wellbeing of dairy farmers in what is a difficult year for some. . . 

$345,000 for wilding conifers in War on Weeds:

Five groups tackling the major problem of wilding conifers have received $345,000 from the Community Conservation Partnerships Fund as part of the War on Weeds, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.

“Wilding conifers cover more than 1.7 million hectares of land, and are advancing at an estimated rate of 5 per cent a year,” Ms Barry says.

“They alter entire landscapes and are notoriously difficult to clear once established, representing a major threat to our unique New Zealand ecosystems, land and farms.” . . .

Sharp Blacks ‘meat’ victory for third time:

New Zealand’s national butchery team the Pure South Sharp Blacks have carved their way to victory for the third time, during last night’s Tri-Nations Butchers’ Challenge.

The team of butchers have been reigning champions for three years now, and last night they once again showed their world-class form at Auckland’s Shed 10.

Going up against the best-of-the-best from Australia and England, the Sharp Blacks endured three hours of intense competition, turning a side of beef, pork and whole lamb into art based on a Kiwiana theme. . . 

PEP agrees to buy Manuka Honey for undisclosed sum – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – Pacific Equity Partners, the biggest private equity firm in Australia and New Zealand, has agreed to buy Manuka Health, the functional food and dietary supplement company, for an undisclosed amount, subject to Overseas Investment Office approval.

The Te Awamutu-based honey firm currently has 37 shareholders, according to records on the Companies Office, with Watermann Capital a cornerstone owner. Founder Kerry Paul owns 7.3 percent, while Milford Asset Management owns 6.3 percent. The New Zealand Herald has reported the purchase price was $110 million.

Manuka Health was founded in 2006 and exports 90-plus products based on propolis, royal jelly, bee pollen, and manuka honey to 45 countries. It has annual turnover of more than $50 million. . . 

More biosecurity detector dog power for Christchurch:

Two new biosecurity detector dog teams have started at Christchurch airport to sniff out risk goods carried by international travellers, says the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

Anna Howie and Alice McKay started work on Monday. They finished their detector dog handler training in Auckland last week, along with 9 other new MPI handlers who have since started at Auckland and Wellington.

Anna will work detector dog Frank (labrador), originally sourced from an Australian customs breeding programme. Alice will work with Pip, a brand new labrador detector dog purchased from a private home in Hastings. . . 

Dairy goat industry gets $3.6 million research boost:

A research grant of $3.63 million from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment is set to boost dairy goat productivity in the near future.

The three year study is led by Professor Russell Snell and Associate Professor Klaus Lehnert from the Faculty of Science at the University of Auckland.

The research is aimed at accelerating sustainable productivity gain within the Dairy Goat Co-Operative (NZ) Ltd (DGC) with the primary product target of high value infant formula. . . 

Cadrona Extend Opening Hours & On Track to Break Snowfall Record:

Cardrona is set to have the best season it’s had in 20 years – just 15cm off beating its own record of 333cm total snowfall in a season. The resort is experiencing one of the best seasons in regards to snowfall and snow conditions that it has seen in the past two decades, and with the longest season in the South Island, there are still 4 weeks to break the record.

Spring has officially kicked off with a few early September snowfalls gifting Cardrona guests ideal snow conditions to start the spring season. Currently even Cardrona’s lowest lift, the Valley View Quad, still boasts superb conditions both off and on-piste. . . 


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