Rural round-up

June 24, 2012

Southland dairy farmers face rates hike:

Southland Regional Council is proposing to increase the rates burden on dairy farmers in its draft long-term plan.

But there will be some easing of that next year, if the plan’s confirmed.

The council considered submissions on the draft plan, last week, with many commenting on the proposal to increase the Dairy Differential Rate to $767,000, almost double the current dairy rate of about $390,000.

The council says that’s to cover the cost of increased environmental monitoring and resource planning required in the next 18 to 24 months because of the growth in dairying in Southland.

Dairy farmers complained that good farmers would be unfairly hit with the cost of enforcing compliance on a few poor performers. . .

Dairy puzzle – Offsetting Behaviour:

Dairy products are cheaper in New Zealand than in Canada, where the dairy cartel keeps prices high.

But the Dairy Farmers of Canada VP Ron Versteeg points me to an interesting puzzle: FAO stats showing NZ consumption of some dairy products is lower than that in Canada.

Here’s an FAO table showing NZ and Canadian consumption. Or, at least, I’d expect that this has to be per capita consumption rather than production given that total NZ production is higher than total Canadian given relative herd sizes. . .

 
Synlait Milk, the processor that turned to a Chinese investor after failing to attract local equity capital, narrowed its annual loss last year, even though surging raw milk prices eroded its gross margin.
 
The Canterbury-based company made a net loss of $3.1 million in the 12 months ended July 31 last year, smaller than the loss of $11.7 million a year earlier, according to financial statements lodged with the Companies Office.
 
The milk processor lifted revenue 28% to $298.9 million, though its gross profit shrank 11% to $21.1 million in a year when international milk prices reached record highs. . .

Federated Farmers’ Anders Crofoot to chair AHB and NAIT Stakeholder Council:

Federated Farmers National Board member, Anders Crofoot, has been appointed to chair the Stakeholder Council that will oversee the merger process between the Animal Health Board (AHB) and the National Animal Identification & Tracing (NAIT) scheme.

“I am deeply humbled to chair what will be a significant development in New Zealand agriculture,” says Anders Crofoot, Federated Farmers Board spokesperson on national identification & tracing.

“The Stakeholder Council is made up of representatives from industry as well as local and central government. The council includes Beef + Lamb NZ, the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand, DairyNZ, Deer Industry New Zealand, Meat Industry Association, New Zealand Deer Farmers Association, NZ Stock & Station Agents’ Association, Local Government New Zealand, Ministry for Primary Industries and of course, Federated Farmers. . .

Rustlers cost farmers thousands:

Farmers say they are losing thousands of dollars of stock a year at the hands of rustlers, and not enough is being done to stop them.

Warning: Video contains footage some viewers may find disturbing.

They want police to have a greater rural presence, but police say before that can happen farmers need to start reporting the crimes.

“Eleven of them were taken, and the twelfth one had its legs crossed and tied with silver duct tape, and fell on the ground – and that’s how we found that we had had them stolen,” says farm owner Beverly Duffy, describing the latest spate of killings her farm has been hit by. Three months ago the same farm lost a dozen sheep – more than $2,000 overnight. . . . 

New Zealand grass-fed beef on the menu for chefs in Japan and Korea:

Award winning Christchurch chef Darren Wright has been in Korea and Japan promoting New Zealand grass-fed beef to a lineup of influential chefs and media.

 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Market Manager Japan/Korea, John Hundleby says Chef Wright cooked a range of beef dishes at a number of events. His offerings included beef ravioli made from short-ribs, beef tortellini and tenderloin steaks.

 “Since Korean and Japanese people are far more familiar with the cooking qualities of grain-fed beef which is more common in the two markets, a highlight at these events is always the demonstration of how to cook a good grass-fed beef steak.” . . .


Rural round-up

September 18, 2011

Complete control of supply chain impossible – Allan Barber:

Nuffield Scholar and recently elected Meat and Wool Director, James Parsons, has been promoting the need for an integrated supply chain from farmer to consumer, if farmers are to reap the rewards of their endeavours. His solution for New Zealand to get out of the commodity trap – which means farmers are far removed from the consumer and last in line to receive a share of the returns – is to redesign the supply chain . . .

 In reponse to that he also writes Supply chain debate :

Trudi Baird from Southland has written a very full response to my recent column in Farmers Weekly about the difficulty of controlling the supply chain and I have published her comments in full because I am very impressed by her arguments and the thoroughness of her analysis . . .

New Zealand to host ag-biotech international conference :

The Government is investing $100,000 to bring international agricultural biotechnology experts to New Zealand next year, Minister of Science and Innovation Wayne Mapp announced today.

New Zealand was announced as the host for the 2012 Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference at the closing of the 2011 conference in South Africa.

“This prestigious conference will bring hundreds of international delegates to New Zealand,” said Dr Mapp. “It is a chance to showcase New Zealand and Australian biotech capability.” . . .

North Otago couples’ little piggies got to market – Sally Rae:

North Otago pig farmers Gus and Sue Morton are not only bringing home the bacon – they are selling it direct to the public.   

Mr and Mrs Morton, who market their produce through the Waitaki Bacon and Ham label – focusing on a “farm gate to plate” experience for the consumer, have added a retail shop      to their business.   

A top dogs’ tale – Debbie Gregory:

EFFORTS to make the Whatatutu Sheep Dog Trial Club’s annual dog sale one of the best in the country are paying dividends with the good reputation of the East Coast dogs leading the way.

A top price of $5000 was paid for a three-year-old huntaway bitch offered by Graeme Cook and the top price in the heading dogs was $4600 among 40 dogs offered for sale at the club’s second annual sale during the weekend.

Among the dogs sold were two bought to become celebrities overseas. . .

Farmers urged to clean up act – Gerald Piddock:

Synlait boss John Penno is urging the dairy industry to do more to influence
farmers to improve their environmental record.

The industry’s dairy companies should play a major role in this by ensuring
their farmers produced their milk at a high environmental standard, he told
farmers and environmentalists at the Lower Waitaki River Management Society’s
annual meeting in Glenavy . . .

Good reason for optimism in dairying – Gerald Piddock:

Dairy farmers are going into the new season with a high level of optimism.
This is due to the extremely mild winter and the unchanged opening forecast
payout from Fonterra.

Good autumn growing conditions meant most dairy farms went into the winter
with good pasture covers and cows in good condition.

Covers at the start of calving in August around South Canterbury were high
and some farmers had to bring their cows back earlier from winter grazing to
keep pasture levels under control, Federated Farmers South Canterbury dairy
chairman Ryan O’Sullivan said.

Preparing ewes for triplets now the aim – Gerald Piddock:

Forty years ago a major topic of discussion among sheep farmers in New Zealand was would they be able to manage ewes with twins.

Fast forward to today and a similar debate is occurring over how farmers should be managing triplets, AgResearch scientist Tom Fraser says.

“I think we do have to come to grips with it and I’m not sure what the answer
is,” Mr Fraser told farmers at a Beef+Lamb field day held near Mt Somers.

Grass-fed beef a hit at major Tokyo festival:

Over three quarters of a million Japanese people attended the Super Yosakoi food, music and dance festival in Tokyo recently and many got a taste of New Zealand grass-fed beef. By the end of the festival, 400 kilograms of the beef had been barbecued and eaten.

Introducing Japanese consumers to New Zealand grass-fed beef was the point of Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) food stand at the festival and those who tasted the beef loved it, B+LNZ Market Manager Japan, John Hundleby said.

A fistful of whiter than white wool – Jon Morgan:

Alan Johanson stretches down the side of the romney ram his heading dog Ozzie
has baled up for him and clutches a fistful of fleece.

“Feel that,” he offers. “You can squeeze it as hard as you can but you can’t move it. It won’t compress any further. It stays one big thick handful.”

He’s right. A grab of the greasy wool confirms this. It is a solid, unmoving mass . . .

Science still the key to our future – Jon Morgan:

Scientists by nature are cautious. The thoroughness of their methods teaches them that. Even when they arrive at a tried, tested and peer-reviewed result they are reluctant to speak in absolutes.

The word “breakthrough” is anathema to them. They would rather run naked across a Rugby World Cup pitch than use it.

So it was with some surprise that I saw “breakthrough” in the tag line of an email from the Crown science institute, AgResearch . . .


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