Rural round-up

April 12, 2017

NZ lamb shortage drives up prices :

A drop in slaughter rates in New Zealand, the world’s largest exporter of lamb meat, has pushed up prices to multi-year highs in export markets.

Benchmark frozen lamb prices for legs, french racks, forequarters and flaps all lifted in March, according to AgriHQ’s latest monthly sheep & beef report.

Demand for lamb in overseas markets is coming at a time when supplies are lower than normal in New Zealand as good grass growth prompts farmers to retain their stock for longer to increase their weights.The latest lamb slaughter data for New Zealand shows the lamb kill in the fortnight to March 11 was 11 per cent below the same period a year earlier and 18 percent weaker than the five-year average, AgriHQ said. . . 

Synlait transforms from bulk powders to infant formula – Keith Woodford:

Synlait is currently undergoing a strategic restructure from a producer of bulk milk powders to a producer of consumer-packaged infant formula. These investments will make Synlait the dominant New Zealand producer of infant formula.

So far, Synlait are still in the early stages of the transformation, but with a current construction contract with Tetra Pak to double their wet-kitchen capacity to 80,000 tonnes per annum, plus a foreshadowed announcement about doubling canning capacity to 60,000 tonnes, it is ‘all systems go’.

It is only a few months since Synlait was focusing in their public communications on building a fourth dryer on a new yet to be found site. . . 

NZ cow prices rise to record on tepid start to slaughter season – Tina Morrison

New Zealand’s cow slaughter season has got off to its slowest start in five years, pushing prices for stock to record highs for this time of year.

Just 41,789 cows were slaughtered in the fortnight to March 11, the lowest level for this period since 2012, according to AgriHQ. That pushed up the price meat processors paid for stock to record levels for this time of year, with the North Island price last week reaching $4.50 per kilogram, and the South Island price hitting $4.20/kg, AgriHQ said. . . 

Scottish farmer Euan McLeod crosses the world to chase a dream – Andrea Fox:

Thanks to New Zealand’s much-envied farming career pathway, a young Scot is realising his dream, writes Andrea Fox.

When young Euan McLeod was bitten by the farming bug back home in Scotland he became a bricklayer.

Getting a trade seemed the only option to a teenager who jumped at chances to work weekends and school holidays on a farm but without family farm roots couldn’t see how to get ahead, recalls McLeod, Waikato 2017 dairy manager of the year. . .

North Canterbury farmers make the best of life after earthquake – Tracy Neal:

North Canterbury farmers Bob and Vicki Todhunter lost their 1902 villa in November’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake when a fault ruptured beneath it.

It was the centrepiece of the 1100-hectare farm Ngaio Downs, near Clarence, which is also now part of an altered landscape.

They are among the hundreds waiting on insurance assessments and pay-outs, but they have moved ahead under their own steam. They are now living in their shearing quarters, converted into a stylish home, landscaped with the boulders that smashed down the hills behind them. . . 

Vet practice redevelops site -Sally Rae:

When Clutha Vets senior vet John Smart joined Clutha Vets as a young graduate back in 1976, it was a very different place to what it is now.

The business employed two vets in Balclutha and one in Milton, with a total of three other staff.

Forty-one years later, Mr Smart is still there but staff numbers have grown to 20 vets and a total staff of between 45 and 50.

This month, Clutha Vets will celebrate a recent $3million redevelopment of its Wilson Rd premises in Balclutha.

The official opening is on April 20.

The last upgrade was in 1994-95. At one stage during the most recent rebuild, Mr Smart worked out only one more staff member was needed for it to have tripled in size since that last redevelopment. Obviously, the building had been ”bursting at the seams” while, cosmetically, it was also looking a little tired, he said. . . 

Is Mike Joy a biased scientist? – Doug Edmeades:

It might have made good TV but it was, from my perspective at least, bad science. I’m referring to those pictures of Dr Mike Joy, a fresh water ecologist from Massey University, standing in the dry bed of Selwyn River lamenting about the poor state of New Zealand’s rivers.

Those pictures and his words perpetuate what appears to be his considered opinion that, when it comes to water quantity and quality, all roads lead to any combination of nitrogen, dairying and irrigation – intensification of dairying full stop.

From my reading and understanding of the science of water quality, noting that this is not my specialty, it seems to me that Dr Joy’s opinions on this subject are biased. I know some water quality experts who agree with this assessment. . . 

Orange roughy’s redemption celebrated at book launch:

The remarkable turnaround of New Zealand’s orange roughy fishery, long-hailed as an example of over-fishing, has been detailed in a book to be launched tonight in Wellington.

The book Roughy on the Rise was written by Tim Pankhurst, former editor of the Dominion Post and now Chief Executive of the fishing industry’s peak body, Seafood New Zealand.

It tells the story of the decline of the stocks by over fishing in the 1980s to the fisheries management that, last year, saw the fishery gain the global gold standard of sustainability by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). . . 


Rural round-up

May 29, 2013

Farms’ history recognised – Helena de Reus:

Long-term farmers were praised for their resilience and hard work, at the New Zealand Century Farm and Station Awards in Lawrence on Saturday.

Guest speaker Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said his dairy farm at Levin had been in the family for 80 years, and he hoped to return to Lawrence in 20 years to receive a century farm award.

”Our country isn’t that old, and history is important. Tonight is an opportunity to look back at our pioneer farmers.”

The resilience of farming communities and family was on display at the awards, he said. . .

Federated Farmers’ youngest provincial president elected this year:

Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay has elected 36-year old Will Foley as its new Hawke’s Bay provincial president, replacing Bruce Wills, who will now focus on his role as National President. Will Foley is the youngest provincial president elected in Federated Farmers’ class of 2013.

“I must pay tribute to Bruce Wills, who has positively led Federated Farmers in the Hawke’s Bay,” says Will Foley, Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay provincial president.

“I guess my election means Bruce will be able to focus on his national role. After being elected Bruce quipped about me, “he is about half my age and with a lot more hair”.

“As a sheep and beef farmer in Waipukurau, you can say I have a strong interest in water given the effect of the current drought has had upon us. . .

It’s time to move – James Houghton:

They say moving house is one of life’s most stressful events, but for sharemilkers it can be an annual occurrence. Not only do they pack up their homes; they move hundreds of animals and farm equipment.

May 31 and/or June 1 are often called “Gypsy Day”, but actually, it is a chaotic week as moving sharemilkers get everything ready to go to a new farm, which could be down the road or in a different part of the country.

Anyone on the move this weekend needs to keep in mind the need to keep stock off greenfeed before transporting to lessen the chance of spilling effluent on the roads, a potential hazard for other motorists and environmental pollutant. . .

Ballance Agri-Nutrients to sponsor Dairy Women’s Network:

Fertiliser company Ballance Agri-Nutrients has confirmed it will be the new prime sponsor of the Dairy Women’s Network from 1 June 2013. The new partnership will significantly boost the Network’s ability to provide more opportunities for dairy farming women to improve their skills and leadership in the business of dairying.

Ballance general manager agro-science and marketing, Liz Muller, said that in farm ownership and partnerships, women are involved in many of the key business decisions.

“It is often women who take the lead role in areas such as farm finances, staff management, animal welfare, safety and on-farm compliance, yet they are under-represented on farmer co-operative boards of directors and industry agencies. Ballance is taking an active role in helping dairying women develop their leadership skills by supporting organisations such as the Dairy Women’s Network, which is focused on developing female leaders. We want to see more women in influential roles contributing to the success and direction of the industry.” . . .

Launch of Seafood New Zealand at Parliament:

New Zealand’s seafood industry body, Seafood New Zealand, will be officially launched at a function, hosted by the Minister for Primary Industries, at Parliament tonight.

“Seafood New Zealand was set up late last year to be more responsive to market and industry changes, following significant consultation with wider industry,” says Eric Barratt, Chair of Seafood New Zealand.

“Less than ten years ago our main export market was the US. Today the focus is on China and north Asian markets that are growing much faster, with the other markets relatively stable. . . .

Children’s Honey From NZ Becoming a Global Success Story:

New Zealand’s oldest honey brand says parents across the world are recognising the health and quality benefits of feeding New Zealand honey to their children.

According to Airborne Honey, New Zealand’s oldest and most trusted honey brand, and one of the country’s largest honey exporters, children’s honey products are becoming increasingly popular both in New Zealand and further afield.

John Smart, Airborne Honey Sales and Marketing Manager, explains that this is largely due to improved education around the health benefits of honey, as well as international confidence in the safety and quality of honey produced in New Zealand. . .


Rural round-up

April 22, 2013

More North Island areas move out of drought:

Weekend rain has brought further relief to farmers in drought areas.

While some say it’s been enough to break the back of the drought for them, others say they are not out of trouble yet and follow up rain over the next few weeks will be critical.

Most of Bay of Plenty had moved out of drought last week before the latest rain which caused flooding in a number of areas.

Waikato and most of Taranaki have also had good falls. . .

Papakaio  sharemilker  pair winners – Sally Rae:

Farming and family go together for Morgan and Hayley Easton.

Mr and Mrs Easton, who are 50% sharemilkers at Papakaio, on the lower Waitaki Plains, were recently named the 2013 Canterbury-North Otago Sharemilker-Equity Farmers of the Year.

The couple have spent the past five years developing the 365ha property, owned by Mr Easton’s parents David and Clare, and have increased cow numbers from 450 to 1350. . .

Vet believes NZ sheep farmers deserve recognition for gains – Sally Rae:

South Otago vet John Smart reckons New Zealand sheep farmers have not had enough recognition for improvements made over the years.

Now in his 37th year in the veterinary profession, he said there had been ”quite massive gains”.

He believed New Zealand did it as well as, if not better, than most other countries.

He recalled the days when farmers were producing 13kg lambs and struggling to achieve a 100% lambing. There had been vast improvements since then. . .

Research bias has no sense – Jenny Taylor:

Anyone could be forgiven for thinking the only breed of dairy cattle being farmed in New Zealand is holstein-friesian.

A DairyNZ trial looking for the cows that convert their feed into milk most efficiently involves only holstein-friesian cows.

Can someone forward the memo which explains the mass withdrawal of other breeds?

The national dairy statistics for the 2011/12 season show jerseys make up 12.2 per cent, ayrshires 0.7 per cent and other breeds (which include brown swiss, milking shorthorn, guernsey) 8.1 per cent of the national population. Crossbred animals are 40.8 per cent which leaves holstein-friesian at 38.2 per cent. . .

Helping to ease country stress levels:

When the Scott Guy murder trial unfolded, Invercargill social worker Gavin Booth felt he had to do something to help farming families work through their problems.

Ewen Macdonald was found not guilty of killing his brother-in-law, 31-year-old Guy, outside his Feilding property in 2010, over tensions about the future of the family farm.

Farm progression and succession planning were a common trigger of stress and anxiety among farmers, particularly in the face of land use change towards dairying, Booth said.

“That’s huge. And it can break up families. It started me thinking I have to do something.”

Farmers are not only faced with changing land use but higher debt ratios, a drop in lamb prices, more complex farming systems, and weather-related issues. . .

 


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