Rural round-up

August 11, 2018

Our farmed meat is a green food – Neal Wallace:

Exporters are not shy in promoting New Zealand red meat as grass-fed and free-range but recent studies by Oxford and Otago Universities have lumped our system in with feedlots to claim the industry is environmentally degrading and unsustainable. Neal Wallace investigates the true environmental impact of grass-fed beef.

Work to differentiate the environmental footprint of New Zealand’s pasture-based red meat sector from feedlot systems that have a far greater impact has begun.

Beef + Lamb NZ chief insight officer Jeremy Baker said NZ grass-fed, free-range beef has been included in international studies that claim beef production is a major contributor to climate change. . . 

Fonterra fund units drop to 3-year low as investors grow dark on capital structure – Paul McBeth:

Aug. 10 (BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund units, which gives outside investors exposure to Fonterra Cooperative Group, fell to a three-year low after the latest dividend downgrade added to scepticism about the efficacy of the cooperative’s structure.

The units dropped 2.7 percent to $4.97, adding to a 20 percent slide so far this year, and fell as low as $4.95, a level not seen since September 2015 when Fonterra was hit by a slump in global dairy prices and offered interest-free loans to its farmer shareholders to tide . . 

Fonterra announcement disappointing, definitive plan of action required:

Duncan Coull, Chairman of the Fonterra Shareholders’ Council, has expressed his absolute disappointment with today’s Board decision to reduce the 2017/18 forecast Farmgate Milk Price by five cents to $6.70 per kg/MS in order to support the balance sheet, and the decision to retain more of the Co-op’s earnings which will likely see no further dividend payment to Shareholders over the 10 cents distributed earlier in the year.

Mr Coull: “I can understand the Board’s rationale and that it is prudent to protect the balance sheet, but the fact that we find ourselves in this situation is unacceptable. . .

Fonterra’s credit rating safe but Shareholders’ Council labels payout cut ‘unacceptable‘ – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – S&P Global Ratings said there is no immediate impact on its rating on Fonterra Cooperative Group from the group’s lower farmgate milk price and dividend guidance for the year ended July 31, issued this morning.

However, the Fonterra Shareholders’ Council expressed deep disappointment, saying “the fact that we find ourselves in this situation is unacceptable” and took the unusual step of questioning the cooperative’s value creation record at a time when a new chief executive is being sought and the chairmanship has unexpectedly changed. . . 

Three Rivers catchment group catch up in Southland – Nicole Sharp:

Southland farmers are leading the way in environmental practices and 17 catchment groups are now established in the region. With six more in the wings, and half the region covered, reporter Nicole Sharp looks into some of the achievements to date.

When a group of farmers put their minds to it, anything is possible.

That is how the catchment group idea started in 2013, when some farmers in the Balfour area formed a group. . . 

Canterbury woman Ash-Leigh Campbell elected new chair of NZ Young Farmers Board:

A woman is at the helm of the NZ Young Farmers Board for the first time in 12 years.

Ash-Leigh Campbell was elected chair of the eight-member board yesterday, replacing Jason Te Brake.

The 27-year-old is a technical farm manager with Ngāi Tahu and helps oversee the management of eight dairy farms.

“I feel extremely privileged to be elected chair. I’m really looking forward to the role,” said Ash-Leigh. . .

Cereal yields down but growers remain positive:

Total hectares sown in wheat and barley this season is predicted to decrease by around 8%, but growers are positive about future prospects, Federated Farmers Arable Chairperson Karen Williams says.

Results from the Arable Industry Marketing Initiative (AIMI) July 1 Cereal Survey are out and confirm average yields are down compared to last season. Milling and feed wheat yields were down 12%, malting barley down 9%, feed barley down 10%, milling oats down 17% and feed oats down 6%.

“This is no surprise and reflects variable growing conditions (hot, dry, wet, cold) throughout the key crop establishment periods in late spring and early summer,” Karen says. . . 

Major international agritech announcement expected for NZ

In less than a fortnight, more than 30 New Zealand agritech leaders will make history in Silicon Valley.

They will be part of the international 2018 Silicon Valley agritech immersion programme and Conference, involving Silicon Valley Forum, Tauranga’s Wharf42, Agritech New Zealand, Callaghan Innovation, and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

Agritech New Zealand executive director Peter Wren-Hilton says the four-year-old Silicon Valley agritech connection will have a significant and long-term impact on New Zealand’s emerging agritech sector. . . 

Kerrygold butter is being taken to court over ‘false’ grass-fed cows claim – Katie Grant:

Customer can’t believe it’s not butter made from exclusively grass-fed cows

The company behind Kerrygold butter is facing legal action for advertising its products as being made from the milk of grass-fed cows.

A US customer has taken umbrage with the butter maker, hitting it with a class action lawsuit claiming that Kerrygold has “misled” consumers, leaving them “unable to exercise their right to choose grass-fed products”.

Kerrygold cow diet Kerrygold cows are fed grass, but not exclusively – they also eat various grains such as soy and corn at certain times of the year, according to Dyami Myers-Taylor, the customer in question. . .


Rural round-up

March 30, 2018

P****d off Feds want straight thinking – Pam Tipa:

When people say New Zealand should be a leader in agricultural climate change technology and systems, Feds climate change spokesman Andrew Hoggard says he gets “pissed off”.

“We are already a leader, if you look at carbon footprint per km of land or per kilo of milk solids or whatever,” he told Dairy News.

“Most things we produce we are already producing at world’s best or we are setting the target for world’s best. I don’t know how much more of a leader you can be. . .

Methane not a villain:

Many people do not grasp that methane is a short-lived gas that recycles, says Feds climate change spokesman Andrew Hoggard.

This statement in the PCE report is important, he says: “Given its shorter lifetime, emitting methane will not [cause] the same irreversible inter-generational warming that carbon dioxide or the release of nitrous oxide have.”

“It was good to hear that being mentioned,” says Hoggard. . .

Pampered pets push venison prices:

A growing appetite for venison from a booming global pet food market has helped drive autumn venison schedules to record highs.

While schedule prices normally peak in spring, pampered pets have continued to push prices upward to an autumn peak of $11/kg.

Deer Industry New Zealand chief executive Dan Coup said the popularity of venison as a pet food component is driven by a worldwide shift in attitudes towards companion animals from owners who want the best for their pets.

That includes an increasing interest in feeding them natural paleo-type diets. . . 

‘Fitbit for cows’ set to revolutionise beef industry from paddock to plate – Tom major:

An electronic tracking ear tag being developed for cattle could forever change the way graziers manage both livestock and farmland.

Researchers from James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville are collaborating with the Queensland Department of Science, the CSIRO and commercial partner Ceres Tag to adapt GPS technology for small, affordable livestock ear tags.

Computational chemistry expert, Ian Atkinson said the project would ultimately enable more accurate assessment of livestock condition. . . 

What if Africa’s farmers had access to needed seed technology? – Gilbert Arap Bor:

We’ve been told by trusted media and researchers that Kenya is on the brink of accepting biotechnology in agriculture.  I’ve said it myself. And now, President Kenyatta appears to be saying the same.  Business Daily recently reported “President Uhuru Kenyatta is betting on mass production of genetically modified cotton to create 50,000 jobs.”  

Another recent report, this one by the Africa Center for Biosciences International (CABI) affirms that “agriculture is essential for sub-Saharan Africa’s economic growth and yet average crop yields in Africa are among the lowest in the world.  Over 80% rely on it but many face challenges in growing sufficient good quality produce”.

True, farmers know that some years are good and some years are bad. . . 

Morrisons promises all lamb sold over Easter will be British – Katie Grant:

Morrisons has pledged that all of the lamb it sells this Easter will be British. The supermarket said it had taken the decision not to offer lamb sourced from New Zealand or Australia over Easter after “listening to customers”.

Supporting British farmers

Over two thirds (68 per cent) of shoppers said they wanted to support British farmers, according to the results of a YouGov poll commissioned by Morrisons last year. . .


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