Rural round-up

January 30, 2015

Fonterra Milk Volume Forecast Reduced:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited has reduced its milk volume forecast for the 2014-15 season to 1,532 million kgMS, reflecting the impact of dry weather on production in recent weeks.

The new forecast is 3.3 per cent lower than the 1,584 million kgMS collected last season. The previous milk volume forecast, made in December last year, was 1,584 million kgMS.

Group Director Co-operative Affairs Miles Hurrell said daily milk production was now 6.1 per cent lower than at the same time last season, as farmers appear to be using more traditional practices to manage their farm businesses with the low payout forecast. . .

 

Dollar Drop Helps Push up Wool:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s Marketing Executive, Mr Paul Steel reports that the rapidly weakening New Zealand dollar against the US and GBP aided by recent active customer buying activity saw the local prices lift in all areas.

Of the 21,600 bales on offer, 93.7 percent sold with mainly some Merino’s being held back.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies was down 2.28 percent accounting for most of the price gain in the carpet wool sector with sales/supply pressure pushing Lambs wool and Fine Crossbred’s higher. . .

 

Americans the biggest buyers of New Zealand land since 2010, Linz data shows – :

(BusinessDesk) – Americans have been the biggest buyers of New Zealand land in the past five years although the Chinese topped the list in 2014 alone.

Figures released by Land Information New Zealand of approved investments since 2010 shows a breakdown of buyers by country and by industry. The figures come amid renewed concern over foreign buyers contributing to rising house prices, particularly in Auckland, and of increasing amounts of farmland heading into offshore hands.

Of the 646,190 hectares sold during the five years, Americans bought the most at 168,154 hectares. UK residents, who headed the list in 2010, came in second over the five-year period buying a total 66,932 hectares, followed by Israel on 52,325 hectares and Switzerland on 36,965.Chinese buyers came in fifth at 34,908 hectares, although they headed the list with 10,989 hectares bought in 2014, a big jump from just 53 hectares in 2010, and attracted the most criticism. . .

$5m to expand Food Innovation Network:

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today announced that Callaghan Innovation will invest almost $5 million over five years in a project that will expand New Zealand’s Food Innovation Network.

FoodSouth, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC), will use the funding to build a food innovation centre and pilot production plant at Lincoln University to support South Island food and beverages businesses.

“The FoodSouth facility will provide South Island-based food and beverage companies with a one-stop-shop range of product development services, expertise, and equipment to help accelerate the development of innovative high-value products,” says Mr Joyce. . .

Two new PGPs approved:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed approval for two exciting new programmes to join the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Primary Growth Partnership (PGP).

The first, ‘Passion2Profit’, aims to develop new markets for chilled venison and to help deer farmers to become more productive and profitable.

A total investment of $16 million has been secured for this project, with MPI contributing almost $7.4 million and the balance coming from Deer Industry New Zealand and its partners.

The other, ‘Targeting New Wealth with High Health’ looks to reach existing and emerging markets with a new class of premium lamb products with improved health qualities – including lower levels of saturated fat and higher levels of polyunsaturated fat and healthy omega-3 oils.

This is a seven year $25 million programme, with half the funding contributed by MPI. . .

New PGP programme to turn passion into profit:

Deer Industry New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) have today announced they will partner in a new Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme called Passion2Profit.

The $16 million, seven-year programme is intended to be a game-changer in the production and marketing of venison. It’s expected to deliver $56 million in extra revenues a year from the end of the programme, and reverse the ongoing decline in the size of the national deer herd.

A total investment of $16 million has been committed to Passion2Profit, with a $7.4 million contribution from the PGP over the life of the programme, and the balance coming from Deer Industry New Zealand and its commercial partners. . .

 

MBIE takes enforcement action against Opotiki kiwifruit industry employers:

Enforcement action has been taken against eight employers in the Kiwifruit sector in the Opotiki area of the Bay of Plenty following an operation carried out last year by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The Ministry’s Labour Inspectorate and Immigration New Zealand, together with Inland Revenue visited 29 businesses including orchards, pack houses and administrative offices to check their compliance with employment, immigration and tax laws. . .

 

Dairy conversions – getting it right from the start:

Farmers contemplating a land use conversion to dairying can get a new online environmental ‘how to’ planning guide to help ensure any new farm meets the industry’s standards.

Responsible dairy conversions outlines farmer environmental responsibilities during the conversion process. It has been produced by industry body DairyNZ to help farmers understand what the requirements are for new dairy farms and what is expected under the industry’s commitments in the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord.

“It is important to get the conversion process right from the start. Detailed planning will pay off,” says Dairy NZ’s environment manager Dr Mike Scarsbrook. “I recommend a three-step planning process for farmers. Take advice, talk to your regional council and talk to your prospective dairy company. These actions will stand you in good stead for the future,” he says. . . .

 Longer skiing season at Cardrona:

With winter approaching, Cardrona Alpine Resort have decided to lengthen their winter season and have invested heavily into improving the quality and number of groomed trails for all types of skiers and snowboarders.

Cardrona have extended their season by two weeks which gives the ski area the longest scheduled winter season in the South Island. Cardrona’s 2015 Opening Day will now be on June 13 and the final day of the season is scheduled for October 11. Dates are weather dependent and the first week of the season will see limited beginner’s terrain on offer with additional terrain opening as snowfall allows. . .

 

 

 


Rural round-up

January 17, 2015

Fire risk in mowing roadside vegetation:

Federated Farmers is warning farmers and the rural community of the risk in mowing roadside vegetation in the extreme dry conditions.

“The fire environment has reached the point where it has become extremely dangerous and high risk to use a mechanical mower to top paddocks and mow road sides,” says Anders Crofoot, Federated Farmers Rural Fire Spokesperson.

“In the past 14 days Wairarapa Rural Fire District has attended 6 vegetation fires caused by the mowing of the road side or the topping of paddocks. Consequently Wairarapa Rural Fire and the Federation strongly recommend any mowing activity is postponed until weather conditions allow and the fire risk is lower.” . . .

Kiwifruit bonanza with soaring volumes – Carmen Hall:

Gold kiwifruit volumes are expected to increase by 70 per cent this year – sparking an employment drive across the industry.

The increase in volumes is also expected to pump millions of dollars into the local economy.

Zespri chief operating officer Simon Limmer said in 2013/14, 18 million trays were produced and that was predicted to rise “to upward of 30 million trays” and could reach 60 million trays by 2017.

“We have got three years of very steep volume growth, potentially up to 50 to 60 million trays. We were at 30 million trays in 2011 which was the pre-Psa impact and dropped back to 11 million trays in 2012/13 so we are now on the recovery.” . . .

NZ tractor sales rise to four decade high in 2014 on buoyant rural economy – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand tractor sales rose to their highest in almost four decades last year, reflecting a buoyant rural economy as farmers benefited from strong prices and good growing conditions.

New tractor registrations surged to 3,038 in calendar 2014, up 4.7 percent on 2013 and at the highest level since 3,129 in 1976, according to New Zealand Transport Agency data. Spending on farm buildings also rose, with the value of consents up 24 percent in the year though November to a six-year high of $322 million, according to Statistics New Zealand data.

Farmers stepped up their spending on big-ticket items like tractors and buildings last year, reflecting low interest rates, record prices and good growing conditions in the 2013/14 farming season. Spending is likely to fall this year as farmers face higher interest rates, lower prices and with drought conditions spreading through the East Coast. . .

 $5.75m debt; orchard sold – Lynda van Kempen:

One of the largest stonefruit operations in the country, Summerfruit Orchards Ltd, which owes $5.75 million, has been sold to a New Zealand buyer.

The company went into receivership in September, owing among its debts just over $4 million to SBS Bank.

The first report by receivers Colin Gower, of Christchurch, and Tim Ward, of Invercargill, has revealed the main creditors after the collapse of the company. . .

 

Workshops turn nitrogen reports into practical actions:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients has joined forces with the Dairy Women’s Network, DairyNZ, Fonterra, Miraka, Synlait and Tatua to help farmers come to grips with their farm nitrogen reports and how to use them to support N-loss improvements.

Ian Tarbotton, of Ballance’s Science Extension Team, says a roadshow in both the North and South Islands through February and March will help farmers turn reports into action.

“We want to take the mystery out of farm nitrogen reports, show what factors influence the numbers in reports, and leave farmers with some really practical ways to change their numbers for the better.” . . .

Awards Continues to Attract New Entrants

The 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards has continued to attract large numbers of first time entrants to the awards programme, which aims to help people progress their career in the dairy industry.

National Convenor Chris Keeping says an analysis of the 532 entries received in the awards competitions – including the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year – shows 338 are entering one of the contests for the first time. . . .

 

 

 


Rural round-up

June 15, 2014

Breeder takes on challenge - Tony Benny:

When Gerald Hargreaves took over the family farm from his father in the 1970s, he wasn’t very interested in the Angus stud his father had established in 1954. But a comment reported back to him by a friend fired him up.

“My father gave me some cows and I wasn’t really interested in the stud to be honest and I sold them, but thought I’d better not sell my father’s,” Hargreaves says.

“One of the opposition breeders said, ‘He probably doesn’t know what he’s doing, he should have sold the lot’. I said, ‘stuff you’ – it took someone to challenge me.” . . .

Kiwifruit growers upbeat at Fieldays:

Kiwifruit marketer Zespri has noticed a remarkable turnaround in the mood among growers coming to the national agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek this year.

Zespri grower and government relations manager Simon Limmer said a lot of kiwifruit growers were calling into its site, and the contrast with the past few years as they battled the PSA bacteria scourge could not be more striking.

“The mood is very positive, very optimistic, and on the back of three years of real uncertainty and a certain sense of desperation as to where this industry was heading – it’s a really good place to be,” Mr Limmer said.

“Growers are feeling positive the PSA situation looks to be manageable, we’re seeing volumes of gold kiwifruit recovering heading into the market – market returns are up across all varieties. . .

New graduates strengthen biosecurity frontline:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says 29 new biosecurity graduates will further strengthen New Zealand’s biosecurity system, and help safeguard our primary industries from pests and diseases.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today welcomed 24 new quarantine inspectors and five new dog handlers at a ceremony in Auckland.

The new quarantine inspectors will be based at Auckland (15), Wellington (3) and Christchurch (6). Five new biosecurity detector dog teams will be split between Auckland (4) and Christchurch (1). . .

Forestry company fined after worker hit by log

Forestry company HarvestPro has been fined $80,000 and ordered to pay reparations of $40,000 after one of its workers was hit by a log weighing more than a tonne.

Tau Henare was working on a logging operation at Whakaangiangi on the East Coast when the incident occurred in September 2012. His job was to attach strops to fallen logs, which were then dragged up a hillside to be prepared for transport away from the forest.

Mr Henare was hit by a log that had come lose from the jaws of a loader on a landing above and slid down a steep hillside. He suffered fractures to his arm and leg that have required multiple surgeries and left him unable to work. . .

How to calculate the maximum number of hours an employee can work during calving and mating –  John Brosnan:

Over the last year or so there has been a lot of discussion in the media around farm practices in relation to keeping wage records, hours worked on farms and in particular employees not earning minimum wage within their pay period.

This was not helped by rumours that MBIE (the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment) were going to treat an accommodation allowance as a part of salary/wages differently from how IRD have traditionally viewed it. . . .

Goodman Fielder plans $27M upgrade of Christchurch milk factory to meet Asian demand - Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Goodman Fielder, the Australian food ingredients maker, will spend $27 million to expand its Christchurch ultra heat treated milk plant, giving it additional capacity to meet increased demand for its Meadow Fresh brand in Asia.

Work to extend the existing UHT building and install a new pasteurising, sterilising and palletising line as well as a new 250ml high-speed filler is expected to be completed by October 2015 and will boost production at the site by 50 percent, enabling it to process an extra 32 million litres a year, Sydney-based Goodman Fielder said in a statement. . .

Fun side of farming:

In just a few short weeks rural youth will be out in full force trying to prove they’ve got what it takes to be the 2014 AgriKidsNZ and TeenAg Champions.

Close to seven hundred primary and secondary aged students battled it out in the seven Regional Finals across the country earlier this year. The top three teams from each region progressed through to the Grand Finals, set to be held alongside the ANZ Young Farmer Contest in Christchurch, 3-5 July.

“These students have been preparing for months,” said Josie Hampton AgriKidsNZ & TeenAg Project Leader. “They pour everything they’ve got into this competition and it’s quite an honour for them to represent their schools at Grand Final.” . . .

Wool.i.am the star of new campaign for Cavalier Bremworth:

Long established New Zealand carpet maker Cavalier Bremworth has launched a quirky new ad campaign which focuses on its unique ability to manage the quality of its wool carpet from the farm right to the floor. It’s also a celebration of having Kiwis on the job every step of the way.

View here at: http://goo.gl/FNqV97

The hero of the campaign continues to be its animated sheep (Wool-i.am) who takes a journey with the wool from the farm to its tufting plant in Auckland. Cavalier Bremworth, as part of parent company Cavalier Corporation, is the only carpet maker that owns and controls the whole process for wool carpet production – it owns a wool buying business, a half share in the country’s biggest wool scours in Canterbury and Hawke’s Bay, and then its own dyeing and spinning plants in Napier, Wanganui and Christchurch. . .

 


Rural round-up

June 7, 2014

Use of blunt force on calves banned:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has confirmed the use of blunt force to euthanise calves will now be ruled out, except in unforeseen emergency cases.

“In February this year I asked the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) for advice on euthanising calves on farms by manual blunt force,” says Mr Guy.

“NAWAC received 357 submissions during consultation and a large proportion supported the proposed changes to the code. . .

  Minister launches primary industries capability report:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today launched The Future capability needs for the primary industries in New Zealand – a report that forecasts the future workforce needs of the primary sector.

“The report highlights that employment in the primary industries is expected to increase by 50,000 by 2025 to reach the Government’s goal of an export double. Over half of these workers will need a Tertiary or Level 4 Qualification,” says Mr Guy.

“New Zealand has a proud tradition in the primary industries – it’s an innovative sector that requires our best and brightest across a range of skills. As international markets become more sophisticated and competitive, it is crucial New Zealand’s primary industries keep pace. . .

  Sharemilkers and dairy farmers respond to vote call:

After being sent a rocket just over a week before DairyNZ’s 2014 levy referendum vote closed, sharemilkers and dairy farmers have responded with the strongest turnout since 2002.

“What an amazing turnaround from apathy to action,” says Neil Filer, Federated Farmers Sharemilkers section chairperson.

“From just over 20 percent sharemilker turnout with a week to go we’ve ended up with a shareholder turnout, 13 percent up on the 2008 result. . . .

US dairy takes aim at Fonterra:

A group of dairy companies in the United States has written to the country’s trade representatives urging them to tackle what it says is Fonterra’s unfair advantage during the Trans Pacific Partnership trade negotiations.

Companies aligned with the National Milk Producers Federation and the US Dairy Export Council wrote that the serious non-tariff policies of the New Zealand government have unfairly and uniquely given advantage to Fonterra.

They say these policies have allowed Fonterra to become the largest dairy exporting company in the world. . .

Warning about wild kiwifruit vines:

Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Kiwifruit Vine Health are urging kiwifruit orchardists and farmers to be careful about what they do with reject kiwifruit, as the picking season comes to a close.

They are also encouraging everyone to keep an eye out for wild kiwifruit vines and report sightings to the council.

The council said birds feed on kiwifruit that was left out on vines, in reject bins or dumped in paddocks for stock feed. Seeds dropped by the birds grow into wild kiwifruit vines in native bush and forestry blocks. . .

Why haven’t chickens died out yet?

A new UK government-funded project aims to unravel the history of bird domestication.

The ‘Chicken Coop’ experiment will examine human history from the perspective of our feathery friends.

It plans to find out everything from their dietary habits to why they haven’t been wiped out by disease caused by inbreeding. . . .


Rural round-up

May 26, 2014

Golden times return for kiwifruit trade – Jamie Gray:

Just as the last rites were about to be administered to the New Zealand kiwifruit industry, a new disease-resistant variety has restored grower confidence to where it was just before the devastating Psa virus swept through Bay of Plenty orchards late in 2010.

Orchard prices have rebounded, investment has started again and fruit prices are better than for more than 10 years, giving growers reason to be more optimistic, industry representatives say.

Psa has already had a big impact on kiwifruit “gold” volumes, which fell by 55 per cent in 2013/14 compared with the previous season and to the lowest ever, but higher prices overall have helped to boost returns. Zespri estimates that this season will yield 17 million trays of Gold, up from 11 million trays in the previous season — thanks mostly to the fact that the new variety, called Gold3, is Psa-tolerant compared with its highly susceptible predecessor, Hort16A. . .

Open day showcase for award winner – Sally Rae:

”Capturing sunlight in a form you can eat.”

That is how Wayne McIntosh describes the fruit produced on his family’s award-winning orchard at Earnscleugh, near Alexandra.

Mr McIntosh, who has been managing the orchard for 10 years, was the supreme winner of this year’s Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards and hosted a field day on the property on Wednesday.

The 64ha property has about 34,000 trees producing cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, apples and a range of trial fruits. . .

Dairy boss picks industry evolution – Jamie Gray:

The acquisition by French food giant Danone of two New Zealand dairy companies last month signals a new phase in the evolution of the local dairy industry – one in which manufacturers will get closer to their brands, says Synlait Milk managing director John Penno.

Danone last month said it had entered an agreement to buy processing firms Sutton Group and Gardians.

The announcement came as the dairy industry negotiated its way through new Chinese infant formula regulations.

Auckland company Sutton is best known for contract manufacturing of infant formula; Gardians has a milk powder spray drying plant in Otago. . . .

Pastoral lifestyles on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau - Keith Woodford:

This week I am writing from the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau in Western China, at 3600 metres above sea level. The Plateau is part of China’s pastoral zone where lifestyles are based on sheep and yak farming systems. I am here with three New Zealand colleagues from Lincoln University and AgResearch. Jim Moir is our soils specialist, Phil Rolston is our agronomy specialist, and Sharon (Xiaomeng) Lucock is our science and general translator who also helps co-ordinate the program. We are working with colleagues from Qinghai University, and also working with a commercial partner who processes yak milk into yoghurt which sells as far afield as Beijing and Shanghai.

The zone that we are working in is part of the Sanjiangyuan (Source of Three Rivers) Ecological Zone with an area 25% larger than all of New Zealand. The winter lasts for more than six months and the growing season is limited to late May through to the end of September. . . .

Theme recognises Fieldays’ future success - Tony Benny:

The theme for the National Fieldays premier feature this year recognises that the future success of New Zealand agriculture rests on effective use of all resources, says Fieldays chief executive Jon Calder.

Called Managing resources for a competitive advantage, the theme recognises that resources can be human, capital, natural, assets or livestock.

“There’s really a two-fold view. One is that we have got strength and capability in the way we manage our resources and the other is looking at what the future holds in terms of new innovations, new technology and new ways of managing resources,” he says.  . .

Volunteers key to Fieldays success – Sonita Chandar:

While visitors to the NZ National Agricultural Fieldays check out the latest products and innovations from the rural sector, a dedicated team of staff and volunteers work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure all is running smoothly. 

“We have a team of around 36 fulltime staff five of who work solely on Fieldays and more than 120 volunteers,” said Mystery Creek membership administrator Sierra Jenkins.

“Every single one of the volunteers is invaluable and without them the event wouldn’t be the success it is.” 

Volunteers are split into four teams covering all aspects of Fieldays. Around 30 people work in the guest services area overseen by Shirley Murphy. . .

Happy Beef month! We keep one of our steers every so often to use as meat for our family to eat..... it lasts us forever! #EATBEEF Some have pointed out some flaws in this picture and we apologize for that! (It's not ours) But the message to take away is that one steer feeds a lot of people!! (Picture via Kansas Department of Agriculture)


Rural round-up

May 22, 2014

Dambusters must not damn Hawke’s Bay’s future:

The draft report from the Tukituki Board of Inquiry is a poor outcome for the entire Hawke’s Bay community, not just farmers.

“The recent Board of Inquiry draft report won’t be a good outcome for Hawke’s Bay if it ends up blocking the single largest environmental and economic opportunity we’ve got from progressing,” says Will Foley, Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay provincial president.

“We mustn’t kid ourselves that Ngai Tahu’s polite wording in its withdrawal, simply reflects the kicking Ruataniwha got in the draft decision. 

“They are a big loss but Ngai Tahu is also one very smart farmer.  If it can see the scheme is a financial goer then I am certain they’ll be back, as will other investors. . .

Recovery from Psa and record returns drive rebound of orchard values:

New Zealand kiwifruit growers have received the highest-ever average per-hectare return for supplying Zespri Green Kiwifruit, Zespri’s 2013/14 annual results show.

While the return to the individual grower is influenced by factors such as orchard yield, costs and fruit characteristics, the average $42,659 per-hectare Green return underlined confidence in the industry’s future, Zespri chairman Peter McBride said.

“After the impact of Psa over the past three years, there is a real sense of optimism in the industry now. Orchard prices have rebounded, investment has started again and the future looks bright,” Mr McBride said. . . .

Federated Farmers backs wool levy vote:

Federated Farmers welcomes the opportunity wool growers will have to vote on whether to reinstate a levy on wool.  It urges its members to engage in the process to come, to talk with the Wool Levy Group we’ll help to set up meetings with and above all, to vote.

“Wool has been the quiet export achiever worth $700 million to New Zealand in 2013,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“At that level, it easily eclipsed the exports of personal, cultural, and recreational services, which, by the way, includes motion pictures.

“We are here now because the pan sector Wool Levy Group has learned from history. It is defining what the levy will fund and do but boy, do we need to crack some industry good issues that are holding wool back. . .

$33,000 sale ‘amazing highlight’ for family – Sally Rae:

Selling a bull for $33,000 at the national Hereford sale at AgInnovation was an ”amazing highlight” for the Paterson family from Greenvale, near Gore.

Waikaka Skytower 1289 was bought by Peter Reeves, from Mokairau Station at Gisborne – the third-highest-priced Hereford bull at the sale.

The Paterson family, from Waikaka Station, have been breeding Herefords since 1954 and it was the highest price they have achieved. . .

Student ‘gets his name out there’ – Sally Rae:

It may have been his debut at the Hereford national show and sale – but young Middlemarch breeder Will Gibson made his mark.

His bull Foulden Hill McCoy was third in the Honda Motorcycles Impact Sires led class and went on to sell for $9000 to Nelson Hereford stud Lake Station.

Mr Gibson (20), a third-year student at Lincoln University studying agricultural commerce, also received the Hereford herdsman award. . . .

The simple answer to MPI milk chilling regulations:

There are very few dairy farmers who will not be affected by the new MPI milk chilling regulations. An innovation first revealed at Central Districts Field Days promises to be the simple solution, with some added advantages. And it’s already creating a flurry of interest in the industry.

Matt Parkinson and Dale Stone are already well known in the dairy and refrigeration industries and Snapchill is their answer to the issues that the MPI’s regulations will create.

Snapchill is a milk chilling solution aimed at the 75% of New Zealand farmers who have herds if between 300 and 600 cows. The unit can typically be fitted in a day or two and does not require a power upgrade to the farm supply. It sits between farmers’ existing pre-chillers and the bulk milk vat and works by creating ice during off-peak times when power is cheaper. As it does so, it recovers heat – enough to make a tank full of water at around 82° for the plant wash. . . .


Rural round-up

May 14, 2014

Fonterra says price gap between milk powder vs casein and cheese is easing:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group, which posted a 53 percent drop in first-half profit as gains in prices of milk powder ran ahead of products such as casein and cheese, says the gap is becoming less pronounced – a sign that pressure on margins may ease.

Prices of reference commodity prices used to calculate the farmgate milk price– whole and skim milk powder, butter milk powder, butter and anhydrous milk fat – rose 44 percent to $5,981 a tonne in the third quarter while non-reference product prices, cheese and casein, rose 22 percent to $7,499 a tonne.

That’s a smaller gap than in the first quarter, when prices gained 62 percent and 22 percent respectively, the Auckland-based company said in its latest global dairy update.

Last November, Fonterra took a $157 million provision against inventory of specialised ingredients and branded consumer products produced by its NZ Milk Products division because rising input costs squeezed margins. In March this year, it posted a slump in first-half earnings as gross margin shrank to 12.5 percent from 18.6 percent. . . .

Zespri’s regular claim has scientific backing – Richard Rennie:

Zespri can stand by the claim its green kiwifruit variety helps keep humans regular, at least on the inside.

The kiwifruit marketer has added a health angle to its marketing, saying its green kiwifruit contribute to regular bowel function.

While health claims can be made at different levels, Zespri’s is backed by 10 years of clinical trial data and literature reviews by independent scientists.

Zespri is seeking recognition from Food Standards Australia-New Zealand on the benefits of green kiwifruit for healthy bowel function.

Zespri global marketing manager Veronique Parmentier said the claim was the first lodged in the world for fresh fruit. . .

New security check list for rural communities:

The Police have released a checklist to help rural New Zealanders consider the security of their farm or property.

The checklist poses questions about a range of security measures and environmental factors concerning properties, and provides the respondent with a security score at the end.

Inspector Glyn Rowland, of the NZ Police National Prevention Centre, said although there is less recorded crime in rural areas, crime does happen. . .

The check list is here.

AgInnovation events in full swing at Feilding:

It’s all go at Manfeild Park in Feilding, where Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s annual AgInnovation event is in full swing.

The four day programme pulls together what used to be a range of separate activities, culminating in the bull beef sales on Wednesday.

Beef genetics and breeding were the initial focus of the AgInnovation conference which opened on Sunday.

But more than 40 speakers will be covering sheep as well as beef issues over the two days. . .

Certification of nutrient management advisers – the icing on the cake:

 The Nutrient Management Adviser Certification process has now been available for six months and has achieved an impressive level of uptake. To date there are more than 40 certified advisers in the field, with another 60 currently in application phase.

Jason Griffin, Ballance Agri-Nutrients key and corporate accounts manager for the lower North Island, described the certification programme as “the icing on the cake” which brings together years of training and experience in nutrient management. He is grateful that the certification programme is available to formalise the level of knowledge and skills involved in effective nutrient management, and to ensure farmers are receiving advice from qualified people.

Likewise, Sue Quilter, Ravensdown key account manager for the East Coast of the North Island said “after 16 years in the field I found the certification process a valuable experience”. . . .

Jacobs Highlights Irrigation Lessons Learned at 2014 Irrigation New Zealand Conference and Expo

Representatives from Jacobs* attended the 2014 Irrigation New Zealand Conference and Expo recently held in Hawkes Bay, presenting a paper focused on lessons learned from irrigation modernisation projects undertaken in the Australian state of Victoria.

The presentation described work Jacobs is doing on the Goulburn-Murray Water Connections Project (GMWCP) in northern Victoria. The objective of the A$2 billion project is to improve the irrigation delivery efficiency and achieve water savings by rationalising and modernising out-dated irrigation systems.

The GMWCP to date has focused upon:
• automation and upgrading of regulating structures in channels
• remodelling and lining of the delivery channels
• construction of pipelines to replace small spur channels or facilitate rationalisation of spur channel systems, and
• automation and accuracy upgrades for metered outlets to farms . .


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