Rural round-up

January 31, 2017

 – Allan Barber:

When sheep and beef farmers in New Zealand grumpily ponder their forecast returns for 2016-17, they may be able to take some comfort from the precarious state of farmers in Europe, particularly the UK where they are facing even more uncertainty of income.

Private Eye’s Bio-Waste Spreader column contrasts the rhetoric of the Environment Minister saying farm subsidies must be abolished post Brexit with a report by her own Ministry, Defra, which finds British farmers would be unable to keep going without them. In the 2014/15 year dairy farms were the most profitable averaging GB Pounds 12,700, whereas cropping farms made GBP 100, lowland livestock farms (most like our sheep and beef) lost GBP 10,900 and grain growers did even worse. These profits or losses came before farmers paid themselves any wages or drawings. . . 

Heavy market share losses affect Silver Fern Farms’ financial performance – Allan Barber:

In recent weeks there has been an exchange of views about PPCS’s acrimonious takeover of Richmond in 2003. Keith Cooper, ex CEO of the renamed Silver Fern Farms, emerged from anonymity in Middlemarch to castigate the appointment of Sam Robinson to the board of Silver Fern Farms as the Shanghai Maling representative. He was critical of Richmond’s rejection of the original approach by PPCS to buy the Freesia Investments shares from the Meat Board in the mid-1990s and Robinson’s role as Richmond’s chairman.

Farmer, SFF shareholder and columnist Steve Wyn-Harris took Keith to task on the grounds of selective memory of what actually happened during the bitter but ultimately successful campaign by PPCS to buy Richmond. I must confess my recollection of events, without being in any way personally involved, is closer to Steve’s perspective than Keith’s and I still remember clearly Ron Clarke’s superb last column on the topic just before he died which was an eloquent attack on what he considered PPCS’s underhand approach. At the time Justice William Young referred to the company’s “gross commercial misconduct.” . . 

 

Quake ends dairy farmer’s season – Nigel Malthus:

Don Galletly’s Loch Ness dairy farm on the Emu Plain, near Waiau, remains the only one in North Canterbury unable to milk since the November 14 quake.

While farms either side were back up and operating within a few days, Galletly’s rotary shed is deemed a write-off.

“Three-quarters of the season is down the drain for us,” he told Rural News. . . 

Patriotism means we should eat more lamb – Jamie Mackay:

 . . On the subject of one-man crusades, last week on my radio show I launched my 2017 tilt at a windmill. In fairness, past crusades have had mixed results. While I failed to bring back rucking, I proudly and vicariously claimed some reflected glory when Fonterra, to its eternal credit, brought back milk in schools.

I also like to think I played a small part in the media publicity which aided a much-deserved knighthood for David Fagan. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

So what’s 2017’s on-air crusade? I reckon we should be like the Ockers in the West Island and make it a patriotic pastime to eat lamb on our national day. And if we can’t agree to do that because, let’s face it, we don’t agree on much on Waitangi Day, maybe we could all eat lamb on what I’d like to be our national day, April 25. . . . 

 

Image may contain: one or more people, hat and outdoor

Farming is like any other job. Only you punch in at age 5 and never punch out.


Rural round-up

November 30, 2015

Climate change: Call to recognise farmers’ efforts – Anders Crofoot:

The Paris climate change meeting represents an opportunity for the world to agree the terms for the next global effort to reduce emissions.

Negotiations have continued for a number of years and, with the Kyoto Protocol having effectively lapsed at the end of 2012, farmers are hopeful of an agreement which better recognises the services we provide civil society.

For better or worse, the Kyoto Protocol bundled biological emissions from food production together with fossil fuel emissions from industry, energy and transport. With agricultural emissions representing a relatively minor proportion of national emissions among most countries, the focus naturally remains on other sources. . . 

Season has contrasting impact on Silver Fern Farms and Alliance – Allan Barber:

The two biggest meat processors had contrasting experiences during the 2015 season to judge by their annual results and accompanying comments. There is no doubt Silver Fern Farms found life easier than Alliance, with respect to the year in question. SFF must also have heaved an enormous sigh of relief after its improvement from the previous three years.

The bare facts of the differing results are NPAT of $24.9 million and dramatically reduced debt for SFF and $4.6 million NPAT for Alliance accompanied by a marginal reduction in equity ratio. Alliance’s performance was slightly worse than 2014, disappointing as chairman Murray Taggart agreed, whereas SFF’s result was a massive improvement on the previous year. Neither result represented a satisfactory return on assets, but signs for the future are positive. . . 

Federated Farmers signs Land & Water Forum Report but with conditions attached:

Federated Farmers has today added its name to the signatories of the fourth report of the Land & Water Forum after receiving the conditional support of its National Council.

The National Council, meeting in Wellington over 26 and 27 November, comprises the presidents of Federated Farmers’ 24 provinces, its National Board and representatives of its seven industry groups.

“Federated Farmers has been deeply involved in and committed to the Land & Water Forum since its formation in 2009, playing an active role in the development of this and the previous three forum reports,” says Federated Farmers Water spokesperson Chris Allen. . . 

Farm gate milk price won’t recover until mid-2016 – Westland:

Westland Milk Products believes the farm gate milk price will not recover until the middle of next year because overseas buyers have already reacted to predictions of falling production and drought.

Chief executive Rod Quin said the brief upward spike in prices at the Global Dairy Trade auction six weeks ago was overseas buyers moving to secure supply.

Westland Milk Products, which has about 500 shareholders, held its AGM this week and Mr Quin said the payout forecast remained around $4.90 to the early five dollar mark, which was less than farmers needed to break even.

He said that was unlikely to change because it looked like there would be more pressure on prices in the next couple of months. . . 

Silver Fern Farms paid former CEO Keith Cooper more than $1.8M in 2015 – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Silver Fern Farms, New Zealand’s largest meat processor, paid former chief executive Keith Cooper more than $1.8 million last financial year, reflecting his long service with the company.

Cooper, who joined the cooperative in 1989 and was chief executive for eight years, was paid between $1.84 million and $1.85 million in the company’s 2015 financial year ended Sept. 30, Silver Fern Farms said in its annual report, where it is required to detail the number of employees that it paid $100,000 or more.

“The payments made to him reflect a combination of base salary for a period, a short-term incentive related to the prior year, a retention incentive that related to prior and future years, annual and long-service leave as well as a payment that reflected his significant contribution to the company over the prior 18 years, the most recent eight as chief executive,” the Dunedin-based company said. . . 

 

NZ Farming's photo.

 

 


Rural round-up

December 19, 2013

SFF implements salary freeze – Nigel Stirling:

Silver Fern Farms (SFF) is implementing a salary freeze as part of a range of measures to get the meat processor back to profitability.

The move, revealed at the company’s AGM in Dunedin today, holds all salaried employees’ remuneration at current levels for a period of 12 months.

The company last year paid wages, salaries and benefits of $315.1m, up from $290.2m the previous year.

Chief executive Keith Cooper outlined further steps to turnaround the company’s performance including land disposals and exiting some stock financing arrangements. . .

Farming – change the perception – Will Wilson:

Agriculture must tread carefully in its bid to attract new entrants to ensure it does not undervalue and trivialise the incredible amount of hard work and education required to be success in the industry.

Agriculture is such a catch all term for a huge range of very specialist professions, yet from the outside the perception is the drip fed image of the village idiot on a tractor or the floppy haired Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in his cable knit.

As an industry agriculture continue to pander to this image because it’s media friendly and easier than finding out and explaining the real demands of modern agriculture. . .

Financial report shows agriculture is well on track:

Federated Farmers is pleased to see the Government’s half year Economic and Fiscal Update report showing a faster growing economy, with the agriculture industry being well on its way to doubling its exports by 2025.

“We have long advocated for economic restraint, and it is great to see the $86 million surplus forecast for 2014/15 is up ever so slightly on the surplus forecast in May,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“Agriculture has had a great start, with the tradable sector growing 11.1 percent since 2009 compared with non-tradeables up 6.6 percent, however resource pressures are growing and next year we will likely see a tightening of monetary policy to dampen inflation. Farmers and exporters will need the Government to keep spending and debt under control in order to take the pressure off interest rates and the exchange rate. . .

Commission releases final report on Fonterra’s milk price manual:

Issued 16 December 2013, Release No. 56

The Commerce Commission has today released its final report on its statutory review of Fonterra’s milk price manual. The manual determines how Fonterra calculates the farm gate milk price, which is the price paid by Fonterra to dairy farmers for their raw milk.

This is the first of two statutory reviews that the Commission is required to undertake each milk season under the 2012 amendments to the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 (DIRA).

The Commission has concluded the 2013/14 Milk Price Manual is largely consistent with the purpose of the DIRA milk monitoring regime. . .

MG lifts milk price to $6.25/kg :

MURRAY Goulburn (MG) has announced a third step-up in the farmgate price (excluding the NSW-Sydney region) for the 2013-14 season of $0.18 per kilogram butterfat and $0.38/kg protein.

This step-up takes MG’s weighted-average, available price to $6.25/kg milk solids.

MG has also increased its end of season forecast to a range of $6.30-$6.50/kg milk solids.

“Global demand for dairy foods remains strong and as a result prices for key dairy ingredients, such as whole milk powder, have remained at near record levels for an unprecedented period,” MG managing director Gary Helou, said. . .

Canterbury style zone committee comes to the Wairarapa:

Federated Farmers’ Wairarapa welcomes the formation of the Ruamahanga Whaitua Committee and its commitment to balance environmental and economic values for the Ruamahanga Catchment.

“The Whaitua committee makeup is well balanced to deliver sustainable and workable rules for the Catchment and the Wairarapa,” says Federated Farmers’ Wairarapa provincial president Jamie Falloon.

“We thank the people involved for putting their names forward for what will be a pretty busy two year period.

“It will be a challenging process and will require all parties to be fully involved in discussions to find outcomes that are what the community wants. . .

Workshops help dairy farmers drive better production and profit:

Farm nutrient company SealesWinslow is running a series of seminars and workshops to help dairy farmers achieve higher production, margins and profits.

SealesWinslow’s “Routes to Profitable Milk Production” roadshow, which kicked off in the Waikato in late October, has been rated highly for content and relevance by farmers attending.

Animal nutrition expert for SealesWinslow, James Hague, has been demonstrating how farmers can master the art of balancing the diet to fully feed the herd and benefit from better production from grass, higher production per cow and per hectare, higher margins and more profit. . . .


Jobs go jobs come

October 31, 2013

Jobs go.

It’s hard for everyone involved but for all sorts of reasons businesses change and the number of people they employ does too,

Sometimes it’s because of the introduction of more automation or the introduction of new technology which improves productivity but reduces the need for so many staff.

Sometimes it’s because a business loses customers or fails completely.

Fortunately while jobs go they also come and there’s good news for the Clutha District with 40 new jobs for Finegand from new casings plant.

A new added value casing facility at Silver Fern Farms’ Finegand plant will see 40 new roles created in the Clutha region.

Silver Fern Farms’ Chief Executive Keith Cooper says the million dollar facility will take previously exported part-processed “green lamb runners” through to a processed sausage casing stage for export markets across the world.

“This development will create 40 new full time roles across our Balclutha – Finegand operations. It will create value from a product that will add to the profitability of our sheep meat business in the short-medium term,” Mr Cooper says.

Clutha District Mayor Bryan Cadogan, who previously worked in a casing plant, says the move is good news for Balclutha’s Ready Steady Work programme.

“We have a Mayor’s Taskforce for Jobs initiative for Clutha, which is aiming for zero unemployment for youth in the Clutha District. Silver Fern Farms have been a supporter of this programme from the start. These 40 new roles in our district will be a great help for our ambitions of realising this goal,” Mr Cadogan says.

Green casings will be brought to Finegand from four Silver Fern Farms’ plants across the country, making it one of the larger casing facilities in New Zealand Mr Cooper says.

“The plant will be operational year-round so our customers can have a reliable and high quality source of clean, salted casings.”

Previously the green runners had been exported in part-processed form to China for further processing.

Finegand previously had a casing facility which closed in 2005 due to the then demand for green runners. The new facility has a process which is forecast to use less than half of the water requirements of the previous system.

Forty new jobs is significant for a small town.

It’s good news for the people who will get jobs and the wider district.

This time next year one town or city in New Zealand will get a boost that will lead to more jobs when it becomes Chorus’s #gigatown.

New Zealand’s sharpest town, Oamaru, is doing it’s best to become the Southern Hemisphere’s first #gigatown – #gigatownoamaru.


Rural round-up

April 6, 2013

Gore couple take home Sharemilker of Year title – Terri Russell:

More than 500 people attended the 2013 Southland Dairy Industry Awards in Invercargill last night to celebrate the achievements of standout individuals in Southland’s dairy industry.

Gore sharemilkers Don and Jess Moore, who are in their second season 50 per cent sharemilking 950 cows, were named the Sharemilker-Equity Farmers of the Year.

The couple said that entering into the awards made them look at their business closely – from the day-to-day running to goals for the future.

“We also enjoy the opportunity to network with some of the standout leaders within the dairy industry, as that is what makes this industry so strong,” they said. . .

Government’s irrigation promises offer hope to farmers:

The comments from Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy re-confirming the government’s commitment to supporting large scale irrigation projects are exactly what drought-stricken farmers needed to hear, Federated Farmers national president Bruce Wills says.

“It is great to see Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy publically reiterating the Government’s commitment to investing up to $400 million to encourage third-party capital investment in regional water storage projects to better insure farmers against droughts such as the one currently ravaging the North Island,” Wills says.

“We need these schemes because no matter how many on-farm water dams farmers build, they will never have enough capacity to see us through droughts like this one.

“It is not just farmers who will feel the effects of the prolonged dry season. The entire New Zealand economy is set to take a $2 billion hit, which will affect everyone, from all walks of life, everywhere in the country. . .

Shear speed triumph for Fagan:

Veteran shearer David Fagan threw down the gauntlet to his rivals on the first night of the 29th New Zealand Shearing Championships when he won the competition’s annual Speedshear in Te Kuiti last night.

The 51-year-old Fagan blasted the wool off his final sheep in 22.52 seconds to win the $1000 first prize in front of his home crowd in the Waitomo Cultural and Arts Centre, where he’s been the star of the show since the Championships were first held in Te Kuiti in 1985.

Hastings shearer Dion King, who had headed the 10 qualifiers after the heats, finished second in 23.1sec, while Digger Balme, originally from Tuakau but based in Te Kuiti for many years, was third, in 24.26sec. . .

SFF firms stance against co-op:

Silver Fern Farms chief executive Keith Cooper has further distanced the company from calls to centralise the red meat industry.

A Meat Industry Excellence Group meeting in Gore last month attracted about 1000 farmers wanting changes to the meat industry and many supported reordering the country’s meat companies into one co-operative controlling a majority of product.

The Southland Times reported Silver Fern Farms did not support the idea because it felt it did not necessarily reflect the best interests of its shareholders. . .

Sealord’s results marred by Argentinian impairment as other units prosper – Jonathan Underhill

(BusinessDesk) – Sealord, New Zealand’s second-largest fishing company, reported a full-year profit that was dented by a charge against its Argentinian business, where a soaring peso and rampant inflation are driving up costs.

Profit was $5.2 million in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, from $13.4 million in the corresponding 15 month period, according to the Nelson-based company’s annual report. Sealord’s holding company, Kura, changed its balance sheet in the interim. Sales were $487 million in the latest year.

Sealord, which is jointly owned by Maori tribal interests through Aotearoa Fisheries and Japan’s Nippon Suisan Kaisha, took a $10 million charge against its Yuken business in Argentina in 2012, notes to its accounts show. That business also had an operating loss of $7 million in the period, so effectively $17 million was shaved off Sealord’s results in the latest period. . .

Seize the day – Valerie Davies:

Today was not one of those days, but One of Those Days.  Yesterday, as I watched the tiny, greenery- yallery birds we call silver- eyes in the trees, hunting for insects and the like, I thought how I hadn’t seen the cock pheasant for months. He must have found another home, I thought.

When I awoke this morning I jumped out of bed and looked out of the open window to the sea as usual. There, right below my window, was the pheasant, in the garden bed with the bromeliads. He slowly pecked and ambled his way down through the vegetable beds to the petanque court, and then sauntereded off down the path into the wild patch. A moment earlier or later, and I would have missed him. Do I believe in coincidences, or did the pheasant pick up my wave-length? . . . (you’ll have to click the link above to get to the rural theme and a good read).

Sheep etiquette in New Zealand:

Follow the journey of Luca an Italian tourist exploring Lake Tekapo. In this beautiful alpine village in the heart of the South Island, Luca enjoys the stunning scenery, wonderful attractions and the hospitality of the locals. What he wasn’t prepared for was the uninvited but special friendship he would establish with Lulu…….. confirming for Luca, South Canterbury is a great place to make friends! . . .

And from Facebook:

DV6<


SFF $31.1m loss

November 13, 2012

Silver Fern Farms has reported a net operating loss of $31.1 million from total revenue of $2 billion.

. . .  Chief Executive Keith Cooper commented that Silver Fern Farms operates in an environment where many outcomes are beyond the company’s control but materially impact on the business. 

 “Climatically  we  went  into  the  2011/12  season  with  ideal  pasture  growing  conditions  which  meant  livestock  was  held  on  farm  for  valid  reasons.  This  resulted  in  markets  being  short  of  product  versus historical supply patterns. Off the back of this, we saw global prices for lamb in particular, escalate to  unsustainable levels, which resulted in a sharp fall in demand, and which then led to a significant decline  in value. This market correction was subsequently reflected back to suppliers and, in turn, caused write-downs in inventory valuations throughout the financial year of circa $25.6 million.  Through this period,   Silver Fern Farms had to manage business continuity – supplying to customers and operating processing  assets – which meant we had to compete for livestock at unsustainable prices which further contributed to the problem.  . .

SFF wasn’t alone in facing these problems.

Strong competition for stock was good for farmers in the short term but bad for the companies.


Rural round-up

October 8, 2012

Season just ended could produce messy results – Allan Barber:

The two largest processors and exporters, Silver Fern Farms and Alliance, have captured the headlines in the last couple of weeks.

Hot on the heels of its announced intention to close its sheepmeat chain at Mataura, Alliance has come out with an offer to suppliers of $20 in November per lamb contracted before the end of October.

From the other cooperative camp Keith Cooper, CEO of SFF, last week sent an email out to suppliers which highlighted the disappointing financial result for the year ended 30 September because of the exchange rate and declining sheepmeat values in January and February not being reflected in procurement prices . . .

Australian shearer cleans up on Saturday, back on job today – Lynda van Kempen:

It will be business as usual today for triple New Zealand Merino Shearing champion Damien Boyle, who will be back in the shed, but this time no trophies are at stake.

The Western Australian farmer won his third successive open title on Saturday night, at the 51st fine wool shearing championship, staged over two days, in Alexandra.

Boyle and his family have been long-time supporters of the event, competing for the past 15 years. . .

Best laid plans turn into new ambitions – Sally Rae:

Ever since she could remember, Carolyn Beaver wanted to be a veterinarian.

With a passion for animals and anything medical, it seemed a natural choice for the young woman from Whangarei.

She graduated from Massey University as a veterinary surgeon in 1999 and spent three years working as a mixed-animal practitioner in Whangarei, while also doing volunteer ambulance work for St John. . .

US milk production picks up – Dr Jon Hauser:

Last week we, along with others in the dairy press, reported the news from the USDA that US August milk production had declined for the first time in 31 months (“US milk production in YOY negative,” Xcheque.com, 21 September 2012).

According to the USDA August production was down 0.2 per cent relative to August last year. Using year-on-year analysis the US milk production only began falling in August, leaving the question open as to whether it will keep going down or if it has reached a floor. Rising feed prices brought about by the US drought definitely point to an ongoing decline.

However, as we’re fond of saying here at Xcheque, year-on-year comparisons can be misleading! . . .

ECan decision facilitates plains irrigation – Marta Steeman:

A landmark decision by Environment Canterbury paves the way for the controversial Central Plains Water scheme in Canterbury.

Environment Canterbury is recommending to the government changes to the National Water Conservation Order for the Rakaia River which will help introduce more irrigation on the Canterbury Plains.

ECan said on Thursday it had adopted the report and recommendations of independent hearing commissioners who heard electricity firm TrustPower’s application for the changes. . .

Lamb prices hurting Americans – Gerald Piddock:

New Zealand farmers are not the only lamb producers facing tough times.

North American sheep farmers have had a 40 per cent drop in lamb prices with values now sitting where they were a decade ago, Beef+Lamb North American representative Andrew Burt said.

Mr Burt is back in New Zealand having recently taken up the role of Beef+Lamb’s chief economist.

US lamb producers were forecasting an over-supply of lamb for this coming season he said. . .

Improving water quality in Lake Rotorua and good fish stocks int he Manawatu Rvier show that benefits are building from community water quality gains – Bruce Wills:

According to Fish & Game’s Wellington Manager, Phil Teal, employers should have been on sickie patrol from Monday, since that signalled the start of the 2012/13 sports fishing season.

What is more, according to Fish & Game, rivers such as the Waikanae, Otaki, Hutt, Ruamahanga, Manawatu and Rangitikei will be running clear and apparently this is ideal for trout fishing.

If trout is the canary of our waterways – though I would prefer native fish instead – then Fish & Game’s “recent monitoring has also shown good numbers of trout in the rivers, so prospects are looking good…Wellington, Wairarapa, the Kapiti Coast and Manawatu have world-class trout fishing opportunities right on the doorstep – these regions have a growing reputation for quality river fishing”. . . 


%d bloggers like this: