Rural round-up

April 4, 2014

Fonterra Australia and Woolworths announce proposed new 10 year milk partnership for Victoria:

Fonterra Australia and Woolworths today announced that Fonterra Australia has been selected as the preferred supplier to process Woolworths Own Brand milk in Victoria for the next 10 years in a deal that is great for customers and farmers. The proposed long-term arrangement will give farmers certainty that will allow them to invest in their businesses with the confidence that they have a guaranteed buyer for their milk. Woolworths existing contracts were for a period of one year.

It also means that all Woolworths Own Brand milk sold in Victoria will be made and processed in Victoria, supporting local farmers and jobs in regional communities. . .

Farmers told to talk through differences - :

Environment Canterbury boss Dame Margaret Bazley says she is committed to working with farmers to resolve issues with the recently notified Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan.

“I think if you don’t get any other message from me, just know that we at ECan are absolutely committed to working with you to get a solution to these things,” she told high country farmers at a Federated Farmers field day in the Mackenzie Country.

She said the Government’s national policy statement for freshwater required all regional councils to set water quality limits and to have a process and timeframe to achieve that. . . .

Simpler Compliance needed - James Houghton:

Last week I was in the midst of New Zealand’s High Country, watching my son row in the Maadi Cup Regatta. As a Waikato dairy farmer in the midst of a drought, I drew some surprising parallels from the iconic landscape to Waikato’s usually lush pastures back home.

Driving through the vast barren landscape, with sleet coming at us horizontally, you cannot avoid the conclusion that the High Country farmers here in the South Island must be made of some hard stuff.  To farm down here is certainly not for the faint hearted, and requires big thinkers who can innovate the land into a viable business. Through the Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998, High Country farmers have effectively lost the grazing rights to the top 60 percent of the Crown’s land to conservation, so the need for water has become a much more pressing issue. They need water to negotiate their farm through the loss in feed, another similarity we are also experiencing in the Waikato right now with our second drought in two years. . .

High Court rejects kiwifruit growers’ claim - Niko Kloeten:

Disgruntled kiwifruit growers have taken the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) to court over the performance of a German company that owns Turners & Growers.

But a High Court judge has rejected their challenge to the OIO’s view that German company BayWa, which now owns 73 per cent of listed fruit and vegetable marketer Turners & Growers, had fulfilled its consent conditions.

The OIO, which is an arm of Land Information New Zealand, approved BayWa’s takeover of Turners & Growers in 2012. . .

Change aplenty on FarmIQ demonstration farm:

BEEF COWS are out, dairy grazers in and ewe condition a priority on the first FarmIQ demonstration farm to hold a field day this autumn.

“Historically a lot of emphasis went on fattening lambs,” Duncan Mackintosh of White Rock Mains told a field day audience of about 30 farmers and industry representatives late last month.

With hindsight, some of that was at the expense of ewe condition. Now, they routinely condition score the flock when yarded for other operations. . .

Body language can cause confusion – Anna Holland:

THERE SEEMS to be some confusion out there reading dog body language. 

 A couple of people who had watched a DVD about dog training remarked to me that the dogs looked scared of the trainer. I hadn’t seen it so couldn’t comment however I have since seen the DVD and I don’t think the dogs are scared.

Also, at my training days, I have had people remark that the dogs I am demonstrating with have their tails between their legs. It seems to concern the person more than the dog. Why?


Rural round-up

March 29, 2014

Land leasing lessons – Rebecca Harper:

Getting started farming in your own right can be a challenge and leasing is a great first option. Rebecca Harper investigates how it works and what you need to know about leasing.

David Skiffington has five lease blocks and has developed his own philosophy and system for leasing, building up to a viable farm business for him and his young family.

He got his first lease block in 2008 and is now leasing land from four Maori trusts and one private landowner in Manawatu, with about 100 hectares all up.

David is dead set against paying market price for a block. “I feel like the market rate is often set by the guy next door who has an advantage. Market price is set at a price where not much is economic.” . . .

Dairy prices may dip as record payouts prompt farmers to boost milk production -

(BusinessDesk) – Dairy prices will probably decline over the last few months of the New Zealand season as farmers ramp up milk production to benefit from record payouts.

Prices generally hold up on lower volumes heading into the end of the season in May, however volumes will be higher than normal this year as farmers had favourable growing conditions in the lead-up to the main producing season and bought extra feed to increase milk production in anticipation of higher prices, said ASB Bank rural economist Nathan Penny.

Auckland-based Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, last month raised its payout to farmer suppliers to a record level on the back of strong global demand. New Zealand dairy farmers will probably produce 11 percent more milk this season than last season, which will equate to around a 9 to 10 percent increase in volume for Fonterra, ahead of the dairy group’s forecast for a 7.5 percent increase in volume, ASB says. . .

Bovine Blackmailers and half a kennel - Mad Bush Farm:

The cows know I have a bag of feed just inside the door right now. It’s not theirs to have of course; it belongs to the old man. Sometimes, though, I do give them some of it, even though right now they don’t really need feeding much more than some hay.  Trouble is they’ve cottoned on that I feed the old man twice a day. They have it all figured out, along with how to muck up my recently cleaned windows (forget that now!) . . .

Apples and applesauce - Cabbage Tree Farm:

It’s apple season here on CTF. I am steadily working my way through mountains of apples. OK ‘mountains’ might be a slight exaggeration, but there are certainly quite a few kilos!
Here is a big box of delicious ‘Reinette du Canada’ apples – a French heirloom apple – that I picked yesterday. This variety is great for cooking, but it can also be eaten as a dessert apple. We usually cook it.


Some of these apples get quite big. The biggest one I picked was 500g (18 oz)! . . . 

Good as green for top crop:

A Bay of Plenty kiwifruit orchard has posted a top orchard gate return based on its production of Hayward green in the 2013 season.

Last season it produced an average of 15,109 trays per hectare with size 33 fruit, with an orchard gate return (OGR) in excess of $90,000 compared to the industry average of $43,000. It was the highest OGR recorded for 2013 by the orchard’s management company, Direct Management Services (DMS).

The orchard is owned by the Owen St George Family Trust and managed by Matt Greenbank of DMS. Owen’s daughter, Jackie, also works on the orchard.. . .

Hastings centre stage for next Regional Final:

The East Coast Regional Final of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest is set to be held in Hastings next weekend Saturday 5th April at the Hawke’s Bay A&P Showgrounds.

Eight finalists are contending for a spot at the Grand Final in Christchurch 3-5 July and their share of a $14,000 prize pack including products, services and scholarships from ANZ, Lincoln University, Silver Fern Farms, AGMARDT, Ravensdown, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone.

There is a wide range of competitors for this round of eliminations, with a variety of backgrounds, ages and skill sets. . . .

Value Added Products Get First Taste of Tomato Crop:

Wattie’s value added products are the first to benefit from the company’s 77th annual tomato crop, which is just passed the mid-point of the harvest.

In producing the country largest tomato crop Wattie’s carefully selects tomato varieties to meet and thrive in the Hawke’s Bay climate.

Wattie’s agronomist Jonny La Trobe who is responsible for the tomato crop, says the season is going well, and with half the harvest completed, the fruit quality and yields are good.

“While we may not pip last year’s exceptional volumes, favourable spring weather – which also benefited our peach crop – gave us an excellent start on which to build.” . . .


Rural round-up

January 7, 2014

 Green light for kiwifruit boosts orchard sales – Carmen Hall:

Record forecast prices for green kiwifruit have driven up horticulture property sales in the Western Bay of Plenty.

Tauranga PGG Wrightson Real Estate salesman Stan Robb says confidence in the industry is rebounding.

Values for well-located green kiwifruit orchards increased 30 per cent in the past six months and by 100 per cent since spring last year, he said.

“Even at the present benchmark price of $230,000 per canopy hectare, a 15 per cent return on investment appears achievable with a high-producing green kiwifruit orchard. . .

 It’s summer: Beware cruel stock disease - Carmen Hall:

Facial eczema is not a problem in the Bay of Plenty at the moment but farmers are advised to check stock for any outbreaks over summer.

Bay of Plenty Federated Farmers’ provisional president, Rick Powdrell, says it is a production killer and one of the nastiest diseases stock can get.

From an animal welfare perspective, it’s one of the cruellest stock can suffer from, he says.

Dairy and beef cattle, sheep, deer and goats are susceptible to facial eczema.

It attacks the liver and is picked up by animals ingesting fungal spores from the pasture. . .

Electronic Tongues Measure Grape Ripeness:

Electronic tongues can become an ally of grape growers as they offer detailed information on the degree of grape maturity and this could improve competitiveness. The study has been carried out by researchers at the Universitat Politècnica de València, in collaboration with Valencia winery Torre Oria.

The conclusions of this work have been published in the journal Food Research International.

In the study, researchers applied electronic tongues developed in his lab to measure the maturity of eight different types of grapes (Macabeo, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shyrah, Merlot and Bobal) in several locations of vineyards of Utiel and Requena (Valencia) and observed a good correlation between the response of the tongue and parameters analysed in traditional tests: the acidity of the fruit and its amount of sugar. . . .

Sheep and wool – year in review – Cara Jeffery & Dannika Bonser:

BACKFLIPS and sidesteps were made by the Sheepmeat Council of Australia (SCA) and Wool Producers Australia (WPA) prior to the introduction of the mandatory Sheep Health Statement (SHS) in July.

It was part of the national plan to tackle Ovine Johnes Disease (OJD), with the new document encouraging farmers to take ownership of their individual management plans and create regional biosecurity areas.

Following backlash from the public consultation period in January, the document was simplified and slim-lined, and now features several ‘yes/no’ questions and a comments section for additional information. . . .

Sheep and wool in review part 2 -  Cara Jeffery & Dannika Bonser:

ONE of the most talked about issues in sheep circles this year was the Uardry stud naming rights.

Dubbo Merino breeders Graham and Susan Coddington, purchased the Uardry stud trademark and intellectual property from Tom Brinkworth, who purchased the Uardry property last year, however, Mr Brinkworth failed to transfer the registration of the stud to his name.

This is where the waters get muddied; the Coddington’s were given approval in June from the NSW Stud Merino Breeders’ Association to use the Uardry stud trademark they had purchased.

However, this decision was controversially overturned by Australia Association of Stud Merino Breeders (AASMB) in July. . . .

Sheep and wool in review part 3 – Cara Jeffery & Dannika Bonser:

ITALIAN luxury apparel giant Ermenegildo Zegna marked its 50th anniversary of the Zegna wool trophies in Australia in April.

The Zegna Group headed up by company chairman Count Paolo Zegna flew in more than 200 fashion and lifestyle journalists from the northern hemisphere for the event in an effort to showcase superfine woolgrowing operations to the world.

The contingent visited superfine properties in the New England and capped off their visit with a gala event in Sydney attended by 1000 people.

Count Paolo’s message: “Don’t treat wool as a commodity. Wool is not a commodity, wool is a very precious fibre”. . . .

A record year for lamb export:

LAMB exports reached a record high last year as combined totals climbed 13 per cent on the previous year, according to Meat and Livestock Australia.

Driven by 12 months of elevated lamb turnoff, combined with strong international demand, total Australian lamb exports surpassed 200,000 tonnes in 2013, reaching a record 213,715 tonnes swt.

This total was up 25,097 tonnes (13pc) on the previous record set in 2012, and was topped off by the second largest monthly export volume on record in December, at 20,250 tonnes swt, up 23pc year-on-year.

In 2013, the Middle East was Australia’s largest lamb export market, totalling 59,752 tonnes swt, up 15pc, or 7940 tonnes year-on-year – accounting for 28pc of total Australian lamb exports. . .


Rural round-up

August 28, 2013

Badger cull beings in Somerset in attempt to tackle TB -

A badger cull is under way in England despite protests, the National Farmers’ Union has confirmed.

About 5,000 badgers are expected to be killed in controlled shootings over six weeks in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

Supporters say the cull is necessary to tackle bovine TB, which can be spread from infected badgers, but opponents say it is inhumane and ineffective.

The RSPCA said it was “saddened”, while anti-cull protesters held a vigil as the pilot began, initially in Somerset.

It is understood the cull in Gloucestershire will start later this week. . .

Non-chemical varroa control shows promise:

A bee breeding project that promises another non-chemical option for varroa control is gaining ground.

Nelson company, Rainbow Honey is continuing a programme started by Plant and Food Research to build up populations of honey bees that control the killer parasites in hives by interfering with their breeding cycle.

The bees carry a genetic trait, called the varroa sensitive hygienic or VSH trait.

Project leader Rae Butler says they’ve been building up VSH bee numbers in 80 trial hives to the stage where they’ve been able to reduce the number of chemical treatments needed to keep varroa under control. . .

Native larvae attacks grass grub:

Scientists are investigating a potential new biological control for one of New Zealand’s most voracious pasture pests, the grass grub.

Researchers from the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) made the discovery in Southbridge, Canterbury when they found grass grub pupae being eaten alive by maggots.

They identified the maggots as the larvae of a little known native carnivorous fly. . .

International Standard for Manuka Honey Already Exists Says Airborne Honey:

New Zealand’s oldest honey brand urges producers to stand together and support current international honey guidelines to save industry’s reputation

According to Airborne Honey, New Zealand’s oldest honey brand, embracing the existing CODEX International Standard for Honey would be the most appropriate and immediately effective response to global criticism of Manuka honey and how it is labelled and tested. This call for the industry to stand together comes as New Zealand honey hits the headlines again. Problems have surfaced in the UK about Manuka honey not being true to variety and also in Hong Kong where it has been reported that a large amount of honey is mislabeled as well as being significantly heat damaged. . .

MPI initiative to boost industry partnership a success:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has welcomed two new secondees from industry to its policy branch, after an initial secondment into the standards branch has proven to be a success.

Alistair Mowat from Zespri International Limited and Mark Ward from the Riddit Institute bring industry expertise to the policy group’s strategic team which focuses on long-term decision making and future work programmes. This follows on from an initial secondment in March.

“Having worked with a range of primary sectors at different levels of development enables me to add a unique set of strategic and innovative skills to the team,” says Mr Mowat who is working on the Export Double programme. . .

Increased forecast milk price, a positive for dairy farmers and all of New Zealand: Brown:

All of New Zealand will benefit from today’s announced 30 cent increase in the Forecast Farmgate Milk said Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown.

The Fonterra Board of Directors today announced a revised Farmgate Milk Price forecast of $7.80 per kg/MS for the 2013/14 season, a 30 cent increase, keeping the advance rate at $ 5.50 and the previously estimated dividend at 32 cents per share.

Ian Brown: “This result shows the strength of demand on the international market for dairy products and the benefits will flow through New Zealand from farmers increased ability to spend on the inputs required to operate our dairy farms. . .

Entries open for 2014 Ballance Farm Awards:

Entries are now open for the 2014 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The Awards, which have been running in the region for 11 years, celebrate responsible land stewardship and sustainable farm management practices.

Jocelyn Muller, the Canterbury Regional Coordinator for the Ballance Awards, said the awards continue to go from strength to strength in Canterbury.

“The Awards recognise and celebrate that best practice on-farm management is good for business and good for the environment. . .

Positive start to season for Zespri SunGold:

Zespri’s recently-commercialised gold kiwifruit variety SunGold is enjoying solid sales in 2013 and a great reception from consumers around the world.

Zespri President of Global Sales and Marketing Dan Mathieson gave growers an update from the markets on a recent visit to New Zealand and spoke about the growing level of confidence Zespri’s customers have in SunGold (also known as Gold3 in New Zealand).

“We’ve had an overall positive response to this juicy new variety and its refreshing sweet/sour taste balance in Japan, the rest of Asia, Europe and North America. With an increased volume, we’re now able to transition from Hort16A (Gold) to SunGold in more key markets and sales are going well,” says Dan. . .


Rural round-up

August 11, 2013

Formula firms see orders cancelled – Christopher Adams:

Kiwi baby formula companies are having orders cancelled in China and contract negotiations with Chinese customers terminated as a result of Fonterra’s botulism contamination crisis, says an industry group.

Chris Claridge, chief administration officer of the New Zealand Infant Formula Exporters Association, said $40 million worth of the group’s products were immediately at risk.

“That’s product at the ports, on the ship and being manufactured,” Claridge said. “We’re seeing serious commercial issues arising.”

The association represents around 15 local baby milk exporters, none of whom used the 38 tonnes of potentially contaminated Fonterra whey protein in the making of their products. . .

Fonterra farmers keep the faith:

A week on from the revelation of contaminated Fonterra product, farmers “hang on” with confidence in their dairy co-operative.

As the list of questions about the company’s risk management strategies and public relations nous mounts, suppliers remain in support, but expect answers.

The media hype and sensationalism had likely done greater damage and posed a greater threat to the industry than one contaminated pipe, South Canterbury dairy farmer Ryan O’Sullivan suggested. . .

MPI removes illegal kiwifruit plants:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is today starting to remove and safely dispose of a small backyard kiwifruit orchard in an Auckland suburb that appears to have been grown from seed imported illegally.

MPI Manager Response Katherine Clift says the Ministry has been informed that the seeds were brought into New Zealand with a container of household goods when the owner moved to New Zealand in 1997. They were not declared and subsequently not detected at the border.

Dr Clift says testing of plant material from the property carried out by MPI ruled out the presence of any serious disease-causing viruses, bacteria or fungi, including Psa and MPI assessed the plants presented a low risk to the New Zealand kiwifruit industry.

“In addition, the plants are at a location geographically removed from key kiwifruit growing areas and the owner has stated that no plant material has been moved from the property.” . . .

Otago paramedic wins RWNZ/Acces scholarship:

Annabel Taylor is no stranger to rural medical emergencies and farm accidents, and now she’ll be even better equipped to deal with them, thanks to winning this year’s $3,000 Rural Women NZ/Access Scholarship.

As a St John paramedic based in Taieri, Annabel works for both the Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter and the Dunedin ambulance service, responding to calls for help from the rural community.

The scholarship will help cover Annabel’s expenses as she studies for a year-long Postgraduate Certificate in Speciality Care, Advanced Paramedic Practice at Whitireia Polytechnic in Porirua, near Wellington.  The course includes distance learning and she’ll also be flying to Wellington six times a year for block courses. . .

Family feud nets $1.8m for farmer – Michael Field:

A small-town law firm has been ordered to pay $1.8 million compensation to a Waikato farmer after a family feud over the sale of his property.

Farmer Ross Blackwell, of Arohena, south of Te Awamutu, decided to sell his farm to his neighbour since he didn’t want his brothers to inherit it because of the way they had treated his wife, the High Court heard.

But the deal he made with neighbours Leith and Rosemary Chick meant they could buy the farm at less than half market value.

Blackwell’s brothers took the sale to court, throwing doubts on his intellectual ability after he suffered a brain tumour and strokes, and saying they were stunned the farm was being sold out of the family. . .

The New York analyst, the farm station and the advisory board - David Williams:

Back in the day it was unfashionable.

Anders Crofoot moved his family to New Zealand from New York 15 years ago to farm Castlepoint Station, in the Wairarapa, and immediately created an advisory board.

It’s not that that sort of thing wasn’t being done, he says, more that they were doing it because they wanted to – not because the bank told them to.

As reported in Friday’s National Business Review print edition, the country’s large, complex farms are more frequently appointing boards to oversee their governance as the agricultural sector grapples with high debt and the need for external capital. . .

Famous Five quins one in a million – Alison Harley:

Marlborough’s Waihopai Valley is the location of New Zealand’s spy base, but this week it has gained recognition for a completely different reason.

It has now become home to the “famous five” after a ewe on one station delivered more lambs than anyone expected.

Farmer Kelly Burmaz says it is not the first multiple birth for the mother.

“In the last four years she’s had four lambs each year,” says Mr Burmaz.

“This time she’s poked out five.” . . .

 


Rural round up

August 6, 2013

Westland Milk Products tests clear for clostridium:

Westland Milk Products confirmed today that it has not used any of the whey protein concentrate from Fonterra that has tested positive for clostridium bacteria.

Chief Executive Rod Quin says that Westland’s nutritional formulations use whey protein ingredients purchased from local and international suppliers, but these have not included any affected Fonterra whey protein concentrate.

“We test all the ingredients we buy in and all have returned “not detected” results for clostridium in the last 12 months. Testing of our own products and processes, including whey concentrate, has also returned negative results.” . .

Fork futures - Peter K. Dearden:

It is hard to avoid the news that last night, a beef burger grown in the lab was consumed by a number of people. The idea was that meat, grown in dishes in the lab, could replace meat grown in animals; last night was a demonstration of the principle.

The beef burger in question was grown from muscle stem cells in plastic dishes, the cells collected and squished together to make a meat-like substance. Consumers of the burger made statements such as “lacked flavor” and “needed some fat”, not exactly a glowing endorsement, but perhaps no worse than most folk’s opinion of the ‘mechanically recovered meat’ often lurking in such burgers.

The cost of this burger has been reported as 250,000 Euros ($425,000 NZ dollars), proving conclusively that growing meat in animals is still cheaper and more efficient.  As an aside, most cell culture experiments use animal serum to help grow the cells, meaning this approach is not animal-free. But is this more than just a publicity stunt; are there implications for New Zealand? . . .

Fruit and veg growers recognised for pioneering work:

Mangere fruit and vege growers Fay and Joe Gock have been recognised for their pioneering work, as this year’s winners of the Bledisloe Cup, the industry’s highest honour.

The couple both in their 80s, have come up with numerous innovations in horticulture over six decades of commercial fruit and vegetable growing,

They include being the first first to raise kumara tubers by using under-earth heating in modern hotbeds.

They developed a disease-free kumara strain and with DSIR, a prototype kumara curing shed, reducing crop loss from 50 percent to less than one percent, allowing kumara to be marketed all year round. . .

Former town relocation site placed on the market for sale:

The swathe of bare land once identified as the relocation site for the hydro’ dam township of Twizel has been placed on the market for sale.

The 19.3 hectare site at Lake Pukaki in South Canterbury is the only land within the Mackenzie District Plan with zoning allowing for residential subdivision and commercial business operations.

The land – which overlooks Lake Pukaki and State Highway 8 – is some 14 kilometres north of Twizel, and is being marketed for sale by auction on September 5. . .

Spray season begins for kiwifruit growers:

The spray season for kiwifruit growers is starting, and Bay of Plenty Regional Council is working with the industry to ensure spray drift problems are reduced this year.

Hydrogen Cyanamide, known as Hi-Cane, is sprayed on kiwifruit vines to promote more and larger fruit on the vines, promote bud break, ensure earlier and shorter flowering, and more flowers with fewer double and triple flowers which reduce fruit size.

In recent years the Bay of Plenty Spray Focus Group, which includes representatives of kiwifruit marketers Zespri, NZ Kiwifruit Growers Inc, Kiwifruit Vine Health, the public and Regional Council staff have worked to reduce the effects of sprays on the community, using best practice spraying methods. . .

Southfuels/Northfuels sign three year deal with TeenAg:

New Zealand Young Farmers is pleased to welcome Southfuels/Northfuels as a sponsor of the TeenAg Competition series. Southfuels/Northfuels have signed on for a three year period with the secondary school section within the New Zealand Young Farmers family of brands.

TeenAg aims to introduce and promote a positive picture about agriculture and agricultural careers from an early age. This is achieved via a competition series and a network of High School clubs.

The TeenAg Competition series started in 2011 with resounding success and the programmes popularity continues to rise. The first High School club was established in 2009 and know there are 45 clubs dotted throughout the country. . .

How Farmers Can Reduce Nitrogen Losses and Leaching:

New Zealand’s global image as a clean and green country is continuing to come under fire and with it comes pressure from local governments on the management of our farm lands. Nitrogen fertiliser inputs and how they affect the environment is a very topical story at the moment and with increasing pressures including N based fertiliser restrictions, costs, droughts and production requirements, the farmer has some important decisions to make.

What decision makers on both sides need to agree on is that we need to deliver the highest increase in dry matter and milk production per unit of nitrogen applied the soil. By using a microbial based inoculant like EM we can enhance the nutrient uptake of the pasture thus increasing the growth of dry matter. This enables the farmer to decrease their nitrogen application while maintaining and sometimes exceeding previous pasture levels. . .

And from Grammarly:

This exists. It makes more sense than what the word actually means.


Rural round-up

August 2, 2013

Debt puts pressure on large companies to achieve solution – Allan Barber:

If there was ever a compelling reason for the meat companies to sort out the problems of procurement competition and excess capacity, the debt levels on the balance sheets of the big three at the end of last season provide one.

Between them they stacked up combined current and non-current borrowings of $710 million, 45% of these on Silver Fern Farms’ books, 28% on Alliance’s and 27% on ANZCO’s. No wonder they can’t afford another loss-making year like 2011/12 which makes this year so important for getting back into as healthy a condition as possible.

The forecast livestock volumes, especially sheep and lambs, for the next four years place a great deal of pressure on the companies to find a solution urgently before procurement competition breaks out yet again. MPI’s Situation and Outlook Report which came out in June predicts a gradual recovery in values, but livestock numbers and export tonnages are virtually static or declining, because of the effects of the drought, herd and flock rebuilding and the impact of dairy on land use. . .

Ballance pays record rebate after record performance:

 Ballance Agri-Nutrients shareholders are in line for a record rebate and dividend of $65/tonne, along with a recommended 60 cent increase in the value of their co-operative’s shares to $8.10.

The rebate averaging $60.83 per tonne and a fully imputed dividend of 10 cents per share will be paid out nearly six weeks earlier during mid-August, with Ballance Chairman David Graham saying the payment has been brought forward to reward shareholders and assist them with cash flows at the start of the season.

“The drought may be over but the financial impacts are not, so we are fast-tracking the payment for shareholders in recognition of that so they can gain the full benefits of a good year for their co-operative as quickly as possible.” . . .

AgResearch creating the ‘Silicon Valley of Food’

 With food being to New Zealand what ‘Silicon Valley’ is to the United States’ technology sector, Federated Farmers is backing AgResearch’s strategic move to create two major research campuses supplemented by two smaller ones.

“Federated Farmers is backing AgResearch in what is an important strategic move for it and New Zealand,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President.

“Its masterplan is about supporting primary exports to reach $64 billion by 2025.

“We cannot deny there is a human element to this change and while 40 positions are slated to go, the actual number will be low given this is a four- year transition. That said, it will require a number of staff and their families to consider where their long-term futures lie.

“Federated Farmers is encouraged to see that no staff will be required to relocate until 2016. . .

Reduce nitrate leaching with mobile milking system – Milking on the Moove:

Unconventional ways to reduce nitrate leaching

Part 1 
A few weeks ago I explained how agroforestry is a farming system that is able to reduce nitrate leaching.

Part 2
Today I will talk about how a dairy farming system based around a mobile cowshed is able to reduce the level of nitrate leaching.

A traditional cowshed is in a fixed location. The cows have to be within walking distance of the cowshed because they need to get milked twice a day.

The main cause of nitrate leaching on dairy farms in the cows urine patch.

For this reason, the cows are always grazed on the same block of land surrounding the cowshed. . .

Honouring the unsung young heroes of the Hawke’s Bay wine industry:

Moore Stephens Markhams Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition Friday 2 August 2013.

Hawke’s Bay is internationally renowned for its wine. The local wineries and winemakers are household names, with exceptional reputations in New Zealand and further afield.

Less well known, but just as crucial to the crafting of world-beating wine, are the viticulturists. They are intimately involved in all aspects of vineyard management; their extraordinary knowledge ensuring winemakers have the best possible grapes to work with after each harvest.

The region’s best up-and-coming viticulturists are being honoured on Friday 2 August at the Moore Stephens Markhams Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition. This is being held at Mission Estate – their viticulturist Caine Thompson took out the Hawke’s Bay competition in 2009. He went on to win the national awards, before being named New Zealand Young Horticulturist of the Year. . .

Technology could be future boon for kiwifruit growers:

A new online system is being developed that might one day help kiwifruit growers make decisions on when to spray orchards for pests and diseases. The system is in the early stages of development in a joint project between the University of Waikato and Plant & Food Research (PFR).

The web-based tool is should help reduce time and costs associated with pest monitoring in kiwifruit orchards and spray application.

The current process of physically monitoring pest levels is time consuming, says University of Waikato summer research scholarship student Michael Fowke.

“Spraying is a necessary exercise for growers and a lot of time is spent trying to identify when or whether spraying is needed,” he says. “It will need a lot more testing in the field but potentially this system could cut that time down considerably.” . .

Iwi Suggests To Pull Plug on Dam:

At a Hui an Iwi held at Matahiwi marae last night, Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated was asked by several Heretaunga hapū to oppose the Ruataniwha Dam project on their behalf.

The main reasons given were inadequate consultation, selective information release, and the failure by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to recognize and acknowledge the Tino Rangatiratanga that hapū had exercised over rivers and water bodies from time immemorial. . .

Keen-To-Learn Farmer Turns to Ballance Farm Environment Awards for Information and Inspiration:

Returning to the family farm five years ago was an in-the-deep-end experience for Waikato farmer James Bailey and his wife Ella.

‘Momona’, a 440ha (effective) Tirau sheep and beef farm, had been in the Bailey family for five generations, so James was eager to start off on the right foot. While he was mindful of the work performed by past generations, he was also keen to improve the environmental sustainability of the business.

James, a keen surfer, is co-founder of Sustainable Coastlines – an award-winning registered charity that organises coastal clean-ups, educational programmes and riparian plantings. . .


Rural round-up

June 23, 2013

Agri-tech firm big winner at Auckland Export Awards -

Farm technology company Tru-Test Group took out the top honours at last night’s Auckland Export NZ awards.

The company which manufactures livestock weigh scale indicators and milk meters also won the Westpac Exporter of the Year – total sales over $25 million. . . .

Zespri’s gold dream back – Richard Rennie:

The rebuilding of gold kiwifruit orchards has met with unprecedented demand from growers this season, with allocations 34% ahead of Zespri’s expectations.

Zespri has allocated 1130ha of licences for the gold fruit in the Psa-tolerant variety Gold3.

This is 288ha more than intended and includes 688ha of new orchard plantings.

The remainder is replacing the more Psa-vulnerable Hort16A variety with Gold3. . .

Yeah right – everyone loves a farmer - Stephen Bell:

I’m continually and increasingly seeing headlines and stories about farmers wanting to improve the opinion urban Kiwis have of them.

But I see little evidence of them doing much to improve their image, apart from moaning about the fact townies don’t understand them and implying this is somehow the townies’ fault.

Fonterra has made a bloody good start with its school milk programme, backed up by a clever and engaging advertising campaign, where the kids are grateful for the milk but relieved the farmers aren’t taking over the running of schools.

However, contrast that with the Silver Fern Farms ads, which portray negative stereotypes of farmers and urban dwellers. If I ever meet the farmer from those ads I might be tempted to whack him in the mush – if someone gives me something to stand on – such is the way he annoys me. He really is a drongo. . . .

Silver Fern Farms Appoints New Independent Director:

Silver Fern Farms has appointed Jane Taylor of Queenstown to the role of Independent Director, following the retirement of Richard Somerville, who was appointed to the Board in 2004.

Jane Taylor, who will be one of the three independent appointees to the Board, is a barrister, a chartered accountant and member of the Institute of Directors and Global Women.

Jane is a Director of Radio New Zealand and the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Science (GNS Science). She has a strong interest in both the primary sector and the food industry, and was previously a Director of Scion as well as the former Forestry Corporation of New Zealand Ltd. . .

Shining the light on cotton - Art4Agriculture:

Last week 10 of our Young Farming Champions went to Cotton HQ at Mascot where they got the inside story on the Australian Cotton Industry and what an exciting story it is.

Cotton is grown on the east coast of Australia from Emerald to Hay. Just love the denim map

Cotton is seen as an opportunity crop by Australian farmers in the regions where it is grown. It is only grown when water is plentiful and when it provides the best return on investment at that point in time

Now 20 years ago the cotton industry was shall we say not feeling the love from the community and getting a bit of a bad rap about its environmental footprint. Well kudos to them wow have they got their act together to address this by using Cotton BMP to guide their farmers to grow cotton in harmony with our natural environment. Cotton BMP is your guarantee of Australian cotton farmers environmental and ethical stewardship with audited processes and traceable supply chains – from the farm to you. . .

Entries are now open for the 2013 New Zealand International Wine Show:

Established in 2005 this competition has been the largest wine judging event in New Zealand every year and it is also one of the largest international wine shows in the Southern Hemisphere.

There were 2122 entries in 2012 resulting in a total of 22 Trophies and 224 gold medals.

Bob Campbell MW is New Zealand’s leading wine judge and once again he will lead a team of 26 wine senior wine judges. Assistant Chief Judges this year will be Larry McKenna, Peter Cowley and from Australia, Ralph Kyte-Powell. . .


Rural round-up

June 20, 2013

Zimbabwe’s first cattle bank opens – Gillian Gtora:

William Mukurazita’s deposit at the bank has four legs and moos.

Zimbabwe’s first “Cattle Bank” has just opened its books in a unique kind of banking where owners bring in their animals as collateral against cash loans.

For many rural poor in this southern African country once wracked by world-record inflation, it’s the first bank account they’ve ever had.

“Cattle banking is the only way owners can get monetary value for their animals without having to sell them,” bank executive Charles Chakoma told The Associated Press amongst fields and small farming plots near Marondera, east of Harare, the capital. . .

Farmers respond to an animal part found in PKE:

Federated Farmers considers the proposed improvements to the biosecurity of Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE), following the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) response to the Federation’s Clark-McKinnon Report, cannot come soon enough.  It also comes on the same day an exotic animal body part was confirmed to have found in PKE on a Bay of Plenty farm.

“Can we first pay tribute to the Bay of Plenty dairy farmer who absolutely did the right thing when he or she discovered an animal part in PKE,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Biosecurity spokesperson.

“Any farmer who finds something untoward must do what this farmer rightly did and call the Biosecurity hotline; 0800 80 99 66.  Do not ignore or dispose of it.  Report it. . .

Zespri Gold3 licence allocation significantly oversubscribed:

The Zespri Board has announced that 1,130 hectares of licences for the more Psa-tolerant gold kiwifruit cultivar Gold3 will be allocated to Zespri growers in 2013, as the next step in the Psa recovery pathway – 288 hectares more than was originally intended for allocation.  This includes 688 hectares of new gold licences for Green growers and new developments, as well as 442 hectares of Gold One-for-One licences, where Hort16A growers can transfer to Gold3.  

Zespri Chairman Peter McBride says the significant over-subscription clearly demonstrates the confidence the kiwifruit industry has in the recently-licensed gold cultivar, its performance to date in the Psa environment and growers increasingly looking to diversify their orchard portfolios. . .

Young viticulturists challenged to test themselves:

Young viticulturists around the country are being challenged to step up and enter the annual competition to find their best and brightest to represent the sector in the national young horticulture competition later in the year.

An Open Day is being held to give those who need a bit of encouragement or convincing, the chance to find out from previous winners just exactly what’s involved and how good the spoils of winning $12,000 worth of prizes are. . .

Invivo Named Finalist at Export Awards:

New Zealand winery Invivo continues their success in export markets and has been named finalist for 2013 BDO Food and Beverage Exporter of the Year at the Air New Zealand ExportNZ Auckland Awards.

Executive Officer Catherine Lye from ExportNZ Auckland that organises the awards, says, “It was a tough field, with such highly motivated and innovative exporters. “The entrants in this year’s awards were totally unlike each other as far as their businesses and customers were concerned. Yet each of them demonstrated particular areas of excellence.  . . .”

Church Road releases a duo of iconic TOM wines

2009 TOM Cabernet Merlot likely the “best TOM ever”
2010 TOM Chardonnay from “one of the very best Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay vintages”

Church Road, the winery that helped establish Hawke’s Bay as a premier winemaking region is proud to announce the simultaneous release of its two iconic wines – TOM Cabernet Merlot 2009 and TOM Chardonnay 2010.

Crafted only in outstanding vintages, TOM showcases the power and vibrancy of the best hand-harvested parcels of fruit, coupled with the traditional Bordeaux and Burgundian influence of winemaking. . .

Top accolades for 2011 Syrah:

Two Sacred Hill Wine Company Syrahs have recently been rated in the top tier of New Zealand Syrahs in an influential tasting.

Both Sacred Hill Halo Syrah 2011 and Ti Point Syrah 2011 wowed the Cuisine judges in their annual New Zealand Syrah tasting which features in the July edition of the magazine.

The results of the tasting, released today, see Sacred Hill Halo Syrah 2011 with a triple success – 5 stars; ranked in the top 5 wines of the tasting (at No 4); and rated as one of New Zealand’s best Syrah buys. . .


NZ could be fruit bowl of Asia

June 14, 2013

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce released a new report showing opportunities for further growth in the New Zealand fresh fruit sector:

The Coriolis Research report, Driving Growth in the Fresh Fruit Sector, says that New Zealand’s fruit exports are shifting towards Asia and away from traditional markets like Europe and North America.

“The report highlights that we can become a fruit bowl for Asia. Asian consumers prefer the sweetness and quality of New Zealand fruit and we are achieving considerable success there,” Mr Joyce says.

“New Zealand is sending fruit to more countries and there has also been a significant growth in the export value of fruit. Kiwifruit’s export value has almost doubled over the last decade, going from $567 million in 2002 to $1.043 billion in 2012.”

Industry comments in the report indicate that, while PSA has had a significant impact on the industry’s profitability, export value growth is likely to continue into the future when the impact of the disease has passed.

The report highlights a number of potential directions for growth in the fresh fruit sector including new varieties, value-added products and new and emerging fruits.

“The report says that avocados, cherries and blueberries stand out as fruit that have the potential to create meaningful export growth. There are also opportunities to develop fruit extracts and ingredients for foodservice and nutraceuticals”, Mr Joyce says.

Driving Growth in the Fresh Fruit Sector is part of a series of reports released under the Food & Beverage Information Project – the most comprehensive analysis of New Zealand’s food industry ever undertaken. 

The full report is here.

 


Rural round-up

May 15, 2013

Government approves kiwifruit Psa plan:

A national management plan for dealing with the kiwifruit Psa virus has been formally approved by the Government, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

“This plan means that the primary responsibility for managing Psa is now moving to the industry themselves as they are best placed to co-ordinate and lead the response.

“As part of this, the Government has approved a levy rate on exported kiwifruit equating to one cent per tray for green fruit and two cents a tray for gold fruit. This will help cover disease management, monitoring, plant material movement and dealing with unmanaged and abandoned orchards.

“The levy has been voted on by growers and will have a shortfall until yields return to pre-Psa levels. Therefore Cabinet has agreed that $3.5 million remaining from the initial Government funding of $25 million will be passed to Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) to implement the plan. . .

Enrolments to close for leading farm business management programme:

Applications are to close at the end of this month for this year’s Rabobank’s Executive Development Program, Australasia’s leading agricultural business management course for leading primary producers.

Now in its fourteenth year, the prestigious Rabobank Executive Development Program gives leading New Zealand and Australian farmers, from a range of agricultural sectors, the opportunity to develop and enhance their business management skills.

Rabobank CEO New Zealand Ben Russell said the Executive Development Program is designed to assist farmers improve primary producers’ ability to manage the challenges of agriculture and plan for the growth of their farming businesses. . .

Farm Environment Ambassadors Study Marketing of New Zealand Produce in Asia:

An industry-backed trip to Asia has given Otago farmers Blair and Jane Smith a deeper understanding of the challenges facing marketers of New Zealand meat and dairy products.

National winners of the 2012 Ballance Farm Environment Awards, the Smiths recently returned from South Korea, China, Taiwan and Singapore, where they visited a number of key markets for New Zealand sheep, beef and dairy products.

The purpose of the 16-day trip was to learn more about offshore markets, exchange views on topics of crucial interest to New Zealand farmers and to showcase New Zealand’s stance on agricultural sustainability. . .

Announcement of Intention to IPO:

Synlait Milk Limited (Synlait Milk) advises that it is considering an initial public offering (IPO) of shares and to list on the NZX Main Board.

Synlait Milk is currently 49% owned by Synlait Limited and 51% owned by Bright Dairy & Food Co., Ltd (Bright Dairy).

Prior to any shares being allotted under ny IPO, Synlait Limited has advised Synlait Milk that it intends to distribute to its shareholders, on a pro-rata basis, the shares it holds in Synlait Milk. . .

PGG Wrightson annual earnings to fall by up to 27% on drought, lower livestock values:

PGG Wrightson, the rural services company which fell out of the NZX 50 Index this year, expects annual earnings to fall by as much as 27 percent as dry conditions on both sides of the Tasman and lower livestock values erode prices.

The Christchurch-based company expects earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of between $40 million and $48 million in the 12 months ended June 30, down from $55 million in 2012, it said in a statement. The decline was put down to the dry climate in Australia and New Zealand, lower livestock value and falling earnings from its Agri-feeds unit after disposing of its 4Seasons Feeds joint venture. . .

Irrigation Event Needs More ‘Owner Operator’ Irrigator Support:

The irrigation industry is rapidly moving away from a ‘No 8 wire mentality’ as next week’s Great Irrigation Challenge in Ashburton will demonstrate, says IrrigationNZ – but more ‘owner operator’ irrigators need to rise to the challenge.

On May 23 and 24 at Ashburton Racecourse, IrrigationNZ, with the support of principal sponsor Aqualinc, will host a series of hands-on workshops aimed at up-skilling and professionalising both irrigators and their support industries.

While more than 100 irrigators, irrigation scheme representatives and industry advisors from across New Zealand have signed up, IrrigationNZ wants to see more ‘owner-operator’ irrigators attend. . .

Southland’s Morning Milking Roll Call:

Georgia Donaldson discovered some ‘udderly amazing’ facts when she came face to face with about 500 cows on Fonterra Shareholders Allan and Ann Black’s farm in Invercargill this morning.

Each Jersey cow can produce at average 4100 litres of fresh milk a year – enough for more than 20,000 packs of Fonterra Milk for Schools milk.

Georgia was one of several children from 12 Invercargill schools invited to learn about the source of their daily dose of nutrition, and how it can help them concentrate in the classroom and, in this case, outside of it. . .


Rural round-up

April 4, 2013

Farmers need to agree what they want – Allan Barber:

The recent meeting in Gore, organised by the Meat Industry Excellence Committee and attended by about 1000 farmers, gave an overwhelming mandate for change to the present condition of the meat industry.

Key aspects of the Excellence Committee’s plan are one company controlling 80% of processing and marketing, a change in farmer supply culture, procurement equality and transparency, farmers to fund the restructure with assistance from the banks, and government backing.

This wish list may sound completely logical and comparatively simple, but it contains a number of assumptions, all of them very hard to achieve and some pretty unrealistic. In the first flush of optimism after the meeting Gerry Eckhoff suggested the new structure could be in place by the start of next season in October. That is patently ridiculous because a wish list doesn’t equate to a workable strategy and business plan. . .

Drought saves gold kiwifruit harvest in north:

The drought that has plagued Northland this summer has brought an unexpected reprieve for kiwifruit growers battling the PSA virus.

The dry weather has stopped the spread of the disease and, against all expectation, Northland’s gold kiwifruit harvest is shaping up to be a good one.

Fruitgrowers Federation Northland director Rick Curtis says growers feared the worst when the virulent strain of PSA was reported in several orchards in and around Kerikeri last spring. . .

Federated Farmers promotes Commerce Commission swaps investigation:

Having written to the Commerce Commission last November, Federated Farmers welcomes the Commerce Commission’s update on its investigation into the promotion and sale of interest rate swaps marketed by various banks.

“If farmers have concerns about the mis-selling of swaps then now is the time to raise them with the Commerce Commission,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“Having broken the $50 billion barrier the rural debt market is large and some of the debt instruments are complicated. There has also been a lot of discussion about swaps so the Commerce Commission is best placed to properly investigate them.

“The Commission is rightly looking at swaps from the perspective of the Fair Trading Act 1986. This includes misleading and deceptive conduct in trade such as false and misleading representations. . .

Forest owners vote yes:

The Forest Voice referendum will deliver a clear yes vote in favour of a commodity levy when final results are released in a few days.

The levy, which will be used to fund activities that benefit all forest owners, was the subject of a referendum that ran from 1-29 March. . .

Campaign for Wool — Wool House in Design Spotlight:

International enthusiasm and accolades endorsed wool in London recently at a Campaign for Wool showcase, Wool House.

Over 15,000 people visted Wool House, a two-week event hosted in Somerset House Wool House presented wool as a modern, versatile, lifestyle fibre. It featured a showcase of interiors, fashion and the world of artisan and craft making, along with a hi-tech educational suite.

Wool House invited leading interior designers to offer their vision and seven individual rooms to show how the design community uses wool extensively within their work. Exclusive room sets from designers Donna Wilson, Ashley Hicks, Josephine Ryan, Anne Kyyro Quinn, Mary Fox Linton of Fox Linton Associates and Kit Kemp featured alongside a wool art installation commissioned by the Campaign from Dutch tapestry artist Claudy Jongstra. . .

Coopers Creek Vineyard joins the fight to save our kauri forests:

The Kauri Dieback (KDB) Programme has formed a marketing alliance with New Zealand vineyard Coopers Creek, in an effort to slow the spread of kauri dieback disease.

Relationship Manager for the KDB Programme, Ian Mitchell says, “We are really excited and pleased to welcome Coopers Creek into the ‘save our kauri forests whānau’. Kauri dieback is a devastating disease. Hundreds of our majestic kauri trees have died and we need all the help we can get to prevent it spreading.

Coopers Creek winery is close to Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges where many patches of the forest have been decimated. “We’re acutely aware of the kauri dieback problem”, says Coopers Creek General Manager, David Nicholas. . .

Global Glassware Masters to Create Wine Glass for Central Otago Pinot Noir:

The Austrian director of the esteemed Riedel Glass Company, Georg J. Riedel has travelled to Queenstown to develop a specialty wine glass for Central Otago Pinot Noir in consultation with a group of New Zealand’s leading wine experts.

More than 20 wine producers and writers, including Master of Wine Bob Campbell, took part in a blind glassware taste test with Georg at Jacks Point, Queenstown on Tuesday 19 March to help Riedel create the perfect glass shape for Central Otago Pinot Noir.

Georg is a 10th generation member of the Riedel dynasty, which is renowned for producing high-quality, wine-friendly stemware which delivers the bouquet, taste, balance and finish of a wine to the senses. . .


Rural round-up

March 23, 2013

Forestry helps economy grow at fastest pace in three years – Paul McBeth:

The New Zealand economy grew at the fastest quarterly pace in three years in the tail end of last year as demand for forestry exports underpinned gains in the primary sector. The kiwi dollar climbed on the figures.

Gross domestic product grew 1.5 percent to $36.81 billion in the three months ended December 31, from a 0.2 percent pace in the September period, according to Statistics New Zealand.

That is almost twice the 0.8 percent pace of expansion predicted by the Reserve Bank in its latest forecasts published last week and the fastest pace since December 2009. . .

Dairy price rise not the breaking dawn:

Federated Farmers is warning against overstating the 14.8 percent rise in the latest GlobalDairyTrade online auction, saying the increase is driven solely by supply and demand.

“New Zealand’s drought needs to be taken with the one that the United States suffered and unexceptional production out of Europe,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson.

“When you look at the global picture it is no wonder prices have spiked upwards. Westpac is forecasting New Zealand’s production may actually decline for the first time in years. The truth is that the supply of milk and global demand is finely balanced.

“This makes markets skitty and while any increase in international price is welcome, it is moot when you are yet to be fully paid-out for what you have produced. In the North Island many herds have either stopped production or are in the process of drying off early. . .

Local TBfree stalwart retires after three decades:

Well-known Helensville farmer John Glasson will retire from the TBfree Auckland Committee this month after 30 years at the forefront of the region’s mission to control bovine tuberculosis (TB).

Mr Glasson played an important role in reducing possum numbers and cattle and deer herd TB testing requirements in the South Kaipara Head area. “I recall my first experience with bovine TB in 1953 when 48 out of my father’s 100 cattle tested positive to the disease,” said Mr Glasson. These kinds of figures are unheard of today in the Auckland region.

His father’s encounter with the disease, and the experiences of others, prompted Mr Glasson to become involved with the TB control programme as a member of the Regional Animal Health Committee in the early 1980s. He recalls large numbers of possums that were passing the disease to farmed cattle and deer in the region. . .

East Coast still dry – 11mm not enough Fed head says – Kristen Paterson:

The huge low that spread across New Zealand days ago brought rain and relief to most areas of the country but the East Coast is still dry after a minimal fall.

The region is in the grips of what is a 70-year serious drought event, Federated Farmers President Bruce Wills told BusinessDesk.

“There’s a long way to go yet. All the rain did was give us some hope and a bit of a reprieve,” he says. But even after the rain it’s going to take two to three weeks to grow grass on the dry, parched paddocks. . .

Kiwifruit helps maintain muscles at optimum levels -

Researchers at the University of Otago, Christchurch, have found a daily vitamin C intake equivalent to eating two kiwifruit a day is required to ensure muscles maintain optimal levels.

Professor Margreet Vissers and her team at the Centre for Free Radical Research gave 54 males aged 18-35 either half a kiwifruit or two kiwifruit a day over a six-week period.

They then measured the vitamin C content in muscle and elsewhere in the body. . .

Lincoln University experts on tourism and water:

Potential water shortages and water stress will present a significant threat to the future growth and development of the tourism industry in the Asia Pacific region states a white paper on Tourism and Water released today in Singapore.

The international white paper was prepared by a leading research consortium supported by the EarthCheck Research Institute and EcoLab international a global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies.

Susanne Becken, Adjunct Professor at Lincoln University and Professor of Sustainable Tourism at Griffith University, together with Dr Raj Rajan, Vice-President of Global Sustainability for Ecolab, presented the findings of the white paper at the Singapore International Water Festival.  . .

World Wine Trade Group conclude Treaty Protocol on wine labelling:

Trade Minister Tim Groser has welcomed the new Treaty Protocol on Wine Labelling, agreed today by members of the World Wine Trade Group (WWTG).

In 2007, the WWTG negotiated a Treaty on Wine Labelling which set new standards in the field. The Protocol takes this further by requiring participant countries to allow the importation and sale of wine from other signatories, provided it meets minimum standards for labelling (relating to alcohol tolerance, variety, vintage and wine region), and the exporting country’s laws and regulations.

The key benefits of the Protocol for New Zealand producers are that, once in force, it should provide enhanced access to overseas markets, enhanced predictability about regulation in key markets; and will set a useful benchmark for WWTG observer countries and other non-members. . .

Waikato Times letter of the month: runner up – Quote Unquote:

Another drought-related letter, this time blaming gay marriage rather than PKE, as the winner did. From yesterday’s issue, 21 March:

God and the drought

I have a thought about the drought in this country, which affects our country at its grass roots.

Perhaps a contributing factor is the new marriage law proposed in Parliament. . .


Rural round-up

January 12, 2013

Big changes ahead for kiwifruit industry – Andrea Fox:

The western Waikato could become a more important kiwifruit growing region to the country after the ravages of Psa-V disease in the kiwifruit capital Bay of Plenty, says a local grower.

Richard Glenn, who has just stepped down after 18 months as regional co-ordinator for Psa-V action management agency Kiwifruit Vine Health, said the Waikato, particularly the western side, has less rainfall than the Bay of Plenty.

Psa-V thrives in wet conditions, and has now affected 69 per cent of New Zealand’s kiwifruit hectares. . .

Careful planning saved milk from dumping – Annette Scott:

Contingency planning by Westland Milk Products has saved thousands of litres of milk from being dumped following the New Year weather bomb that hit the West Coast.

The event also highlighted the importance of dairy farmers ensuring they have their own insurance to cover on-farm milk losses.

With potential to lose more than two million litres of milk, the actual loss of just 400,000 litres has been praised by farmers and the milk company. . .

Mealworms could be tucker of future – Jon Morgan:

Some Dutch researchers have come up with a novel idea (at least to Westerners) to save the planet – eat worms. Mealworms, to be precise – they’re actually beetle larvae, or worms with legs.

Mealworms have much more protein than animals, are low in fat and cholesterol and high in minerals. They take up less room and use fewer natural resources. And they’re edible.

It’s an intriguing idea. And seeing this is what we in the news world call the silly season, when the usual newsmakers are on holiday, I’m in the mood to give it some consideration. . .

Farmers’ Market a plum part of job – Jon Morgan:

Tom Chambers loves to see what he calls the “chocolate face”. It’s when a browser at his farmers’ market stall tries a chocolate filled with syrupy damson plum liqueur.

“You can’t just take a bite or the syrup will dribble everywhere. You have to put it all in your mouth and then bite it,” the Hastings grower says.

“Then the intense damson flavour explodes in their mouth and they get the chocolate face. They are lost in the moment – their eyes sparkle and a big grin spreads across their face. Seeing that is what makes my job worthwhile.”

He is an owner, with wife Margie and their friend, Catherine Rusby, of The Damson Collection, a three-year-old Hawke’s Bay business making a variety of products from the 400 damson plum trees on their Hastings orchard. . .

Beef exporter bonanza – Hugh Stringleman:

United States imported beef prices are at record levels and are expected to go higher during 2013, into bonanza territory for New Zealand beef exporters and producers.

High feed grain prices, the smallest US cattle herd in 50 years and limited supplies from Australia, NZ, Canada and Latin America have driven import prices sky-high.

Bull beef (95CL) is at US 223c/pound and cow beef 212c/pound, both prices slightly higher than the previous records, set in March last year.

The US prices are 7% higher than January last year but the 5c appreciation of the NZ dollar has absorbed all of that lift. . .

Agri-scientist pushes limits – Ali Tocker:

A Waikato dairy industry scientist has made history as the first woman to conquer New Zealand’s most extreme road-cycling challenge.

Chris Couldrey, a molecular biologist from AgResearch’s Ruakura campus, cycled eight times around Lake Taupo, the equivalent of cycling from Hamilton to Dunedin. It took her three days and three nights. She clocked in at 72 hours, 21 minutes and 30 seconds, during which she slept for only seven hours altogether.

The 38-year-old was one of only two people to cross the finish line at this year’s Extreme Enduro race, part of the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. . .


Rural round-up

December 6, 2012

Innovative Wellington Entrepreneurs Identify Massive New Wool Markets

A small Wellington company The Formary has a plan that will help China reduce its air pollution, while at the same time creating a potentially massive new market for New Zealand wool.

After China’s rice crop is harvested in the paddy fields, millions of tonnes of rice straw are burnt, causing massive air pollution, closing airports, shutting out the sun and creating health issues for millions of people. Working with Massey University in Wellington, The Formary has developed a rice-straw-wool fabric prototype that could lead to a multi-million dollar business.

The Formary is owned by Bernadette Casey of Wellington and Sally Shanks from Gisborne and the idea is an extension of another product they developed, when they identified the potential of using waste fibre from Starbuck’s vast amount of unwanted coffee sacks and blending it with New Zealand crossbred wool to create fabric they called WoJo®. . .

Government to assist kiwifruit growers:

A package of support measures is to be made available to North Island kiwifruit growers affected by the Psa-V vine disease, Primary Industries Minister David Carter announced today.

Mr Carter has declared Psa a medium-scale biosecurity event under the Government’s Primary Sector Recovery Policy, triggering further assistance for growers dealing with the impacts of the disease. 

“The Government has worked closely with kiwifruit industry representatives to ensure that this declaration is timed to give maximum possible benefit to growers,” says Mr Carter. . .

Help for Kiwifruit Growers as Psa-V Declared an Adverse Event:

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) welcomes Government approval for a financial and recovery support package, for kiwifruit growers hit by the vine-killing disease Psa.

NZKGI President Neil Trebilco says the organisation has worked very closely with the Government, to firstly extend the coverage of existing adverse events recovery provisions to include incursions on pests and disease, and then get the Psa-V support package approved for kiwifruit growers.

“This will give some growers most affected by Psa a level of financial and welfare support to help them through the impact of this disaster.” . .

Equity raising and change of listing to the NZX Main Board

Today, A2 Corporation Limited (“A2C” or “the Company”) announces that it is undertaking an equity raising to provide additional funding to accelerate the global growth initiatives outlined in the recently announced strategic review.

The Company will issue NZ$20 million in new equity and the Company’s three largest shareholders have resolved to sell a percentage of their holdings in the Company to new and existing investors (together “the Transaction”) at a fixed offer price of NZ$0.50 per new share (“Offer Price”) to provide additional liquidity, contemporaneous with a change in listing to the NZX Main Board, thus facilitating inclusion in the NZX50. . .

Commitment needed by wool growers to ensure sustainable, profitable wool future:

A key objective of Wools of New Zealand is to build the company, evolving within five years to be a fully commercial grower-owned sales and marketing business.

Wools of New Zealand has spent considerable time meeting with all sectors of the industry in New Zealand and internationally building strong collaborative relationships and is now pursing commercial opportunities with supply chain participants for mutual benefit. The Directors are pleased with the cooperation and progress made to date. Wools of New Zealand is, for example, very supportive of the New Zealand scouring industry which underpins the quality and integrity of our fibre which supports the Company’s branded, market-pull strategy. . .

ANZCO Foods’ new Foodplus programme – comments by Sir Graeme Harrison:

ANZCO Foods Chairman, Sir Graeme Harrison, who has worked in the meat industry in various roles since 1973, is enthusiastic about the potential of the new Foodplus programme to enhance business opportunities for the sector.

ANZCO Foods and the Ministry for Primary Industries announced joint funding for the $87million Foodplus programme earlier this week. MPI Director-General Wayne McNee approved funding from the Primary Growth Partnership, which is administered by MPI.

Sir Graeme says it will give a vital boost to the meat industry. . .


Rural round-up

November 21, 2012

Fonterra scotches speculation of US$450m Indian acquisition – Paul McBeth:

Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, has dismissed speculation the company is among potential bidders for India’s Tirumala Milk Products.

The New Zealand cooperative scotched a Times of India report naming it with French food conglomerate Danone as vying for a controlling stake in Hyderabad-based Tirumala, with a spokesman for the dairy exporter calling it “rubbish”. The US$450 million enterprise value figure reported would be material for Fonterra and would need to be disclosed, he said. . .

Water allocation and limit setting in a changing climate – Waiology:

Last week, the Land and Water Forum released its third and final report on water management in New Zealand. It is a substantial piece of collaborative work with 67 recommendations. Number 29 is that allocation limits be set by taking into account “any flow and water level fluctuations caused by seasonal or other climate variations”. While this primarily refers to natural variability, such as the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation, it’s also important to consider climate change. And along the same lines, last year’s National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management stated the need to account for the “foreseeable impacts” of climate change.

This is an important issue, as climate change is expected to bring about a raft of changes to New Zealand’s freshwaters (more details on that soon). Among these changes are reductions or increases in the amount of water available for use. Also importantly, climate change makes assessments of future water resources less certain. . .

Fonterra shareholder fund pricing uncertainty leaves Morningstar cold – Paul McBeth:

Investors should steer of the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund, which seeks to raise up to $525 million to reduce the dairy cooperative’s redemption risk, until the units start trading, according to Morningstar Research.

However, the units have too many pricing uncertainties in the bookbuild phase.

The research firm gives a ‘do not subscribe’ recommendation for the fund’s initial public offering, saying Fonterra Cooperative Group lacks pricing power over its dairy commodities, generates low returns compared to its multinational peers, and investors won’t know the price they are paying until after the bookbuild process is completed on Nov. 27. . .

A2 in talks with NZX about shifting to main board – Paul McBeth:

A2 Corp, which markets milk products with a protein variant claimed to have health benefits, is in talks with the New Zealand Stock Exchange about shifting its listing on the main board.

The company, currently listed on the alternative market, qualifies for listing on the NZX main board, and managing director Geoffrey Babidge says that is a more recognised market and can provide better transparency and investor protection, according to a presentation at today’s annual meeting.

“A move to the NZX main board may provide greater liquidity and increase access to capital,” Babidge said. “To this end, the company has commenced discussions with NZX regarding a move to the NZX main board.” . . .

Kiwifruit vines credited as carbon sinks:

Three years of research by a Bay of Plenty company has found that kiwifruit orchards store a significant quantity of organic carbon in the soil.

PlusGroup Research received funding from the former Ministry of Agriculture’s sustainability farming fund to do the research, which investigated soil samples from more than 120 kiwifruit orchards across different growing regions. . .

Beef + Lamb NZ director elections:

Nominations are being called for two farmer-elected positions on the Board of Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

The positions are for the Western North Island and Central South Island electorates.

Nominations must be submitted on the official form obtained from the Returning Officer, Warwick Lampp, free phone 0508 666 003. The nominations need to be received by 5 pm on 20 December 2012. . .

Better Look Over Your Shoulder – Fish & Game Warning To Poachers:

The latest camouflaged ‘poacher cams’ are proving their worth in the Rotorua lakes district – giving trout poachers even more reason to look over their shoulder.

That’s according to Eastern Region Fish & Game, which has released information on the number of offenders caught over the last three months.

Fish & Game Officer Anthony van Dorp says that over the past three months (ending November) they’ve dealt with 30 people for a variety of offences ranging from fishing without a licence and fishing closed waters – to serious poaching offences. . .

Celebrating 150 Years in the Valley of Gold & Cardrona Vintage Fair

The historical and picturesque township of Cardrona in the breathtaking Cardrona Valley turns 150 years Gold this year. To celebrate, the iconic Cardrona Hotel and the greater community are opening their doors, hearts and rabbit cookbook’s for a birthday bash guaranteed to delight all ages.

Saturday 8th December – 150 Years of Gold celebration

From the excitement of highly trained heading dogs competing in the Dog Trials to trying your hand at gold panning, the 150 Years of Gold celebrations are local-jam-packed with fun and fascinating events for everyone. . .


Rural round-up

October 30, 2012

Tasty lambs’ tails may soon be off the barbecue menu – Jon Morgan:

FIRST, there’s the acrid smell of burning wool, closely followed by a frenzied crackling as the lanolin sizzles. But then comes the mouth-watering aroma of roasting meat.

Barbecued lambs’ tails are a delicacy savoured by many farmers at this time of year as tailing, or docking, gets under way.

It’s a time of short-lived pain for the lambs but is necessary to prevent greater pain later. The long dangling tail can become encrusted with faeces and attract blowflies. Their maggots feed on the lamb’s flesh, causing great pain and distress.

There’s an art to docking.

Many farms have modern equipment that clamps the lamb and presents it breech-forward to the man or woman wielding a hot iron. With a swift flourish, the tail is severed and the lamb is set free to run bleating to its mother.

Rubber rings can also be used. They cut off the blood supply so the tail drops off in seven to 10 days.

Enough of the tail must be left to protect the genitals and so it can still wag. That’s not so farmers will know if it is happy or not, but so the lamb can spray its faeces away from its body. . .

Tails could prove winner – Terri Russell:

A Southland sheep farmer started docking his lambs this month as part of new research that looks at the effect of docking tails at different lengths.

The three-year docking trial is the first of its kind documented worldwide and was launched by Alliance Group last month when lamb tagging started.

Tail docking is common practice in New Zealand to try to reduce dag formation and the risk of fly strike.

Alliance Group livestock general manager Murray Behrent said the research would help shed light on claims that docking tails too short was an animal welfare issue, and that longer tails improved the growth rate of lambs. . .

Pressure on meat,wool farmers to improve outputs – Tim Cronshaw:

Farmers will put their energies into improving meat and wool production as markets meet a strong headwind from the debt crisis in Europe.

The European recession and unfavourable currency exchange rates would lead to weaker sale prices for lamb and wool in the 2012-13 season, said Beef + Lamb New Zealand economic service executive director Rob Davison.

The forecast for average lamb price at $94 was down on the likely $113 for the 2011-12 season just completed. . .

Dairy chairman urges more focus on image – Neil Ratley:

Southland dairy farmers were congratulated for a job well done but also asked to continue working to improve the industry’s public image at the DairyNZ annual general meeting in Wallacetown.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said the dairy industry pumped millions of dollars into the regional economy.

“The average annual revenue from milk production is more than $1.2 million per farm,” he said. “At least half of that money is being spent on farm working expenses and circulating through the local economy.”

Dairy NZ chairman John Luxton said the New Zealand and Southland dairy industry had shown considerable growth and resilience to factors impacting other industries. . .

The way you’d farm if you farmed yourself – Pasture Harmonies:

Think for a moment that you’re a Western consumer contemplating buying some animal protein for dinner that night.

Faced with an array of red and white meat choices, you have a tiny thought in the back of your mind about how the animal that produced that steak or mince or breast grew up.

(Ignoring anthropomorphism) mostly, you’re going to be aware that its life was pretty confined and squashed, and bears very little resemblance to how it would’ve existed in a ‘natural’ world.

However, you’ve got to eat, and pretty much you have Hobson’s choice when it comes to the production source of the meat. . .

New Leadership for Grape and Wine Industry

New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country’s 1,500 grape growers and winemakers, announced today the election of Steve Green as Chair and John Clarke as Deputy Chair.

Mr Green is proprietor of Carrick, a boutique Central Otago winery; he succeeds Stuart Smith of Marlborough who has stepped down after six years in the role. Mr Green has been involved in the Central Otago grape and wine industry since 1994. He has previously served as Chair of Central Otago Winegrowers and has been on the New Zealand Winegrowers Board since 2005, serving for the last three years as Deputy Chair.

Mr Clarke is a Gisborne grapegrower with over 30 years experience in the grape and wine industry. Mr Clarke, who is a former Gisborne Mayor, has previously served for ten years as the Chair of Gisborne Winegrowers and joined the New Zealand Winegrowers Board in 2006. . .

More calculators to make the most of nitrogen:

A broader range of online calculators developed to assist farmers to gauge the possible benefits of using urea treated with a urease inhibitor are now available

Summer is just around the corner which in New Zealand typically means drier weather conditions making it difficult to assess the best time to apply nitrogen fertiliser.

Urea treated with the urease inhibitor AGROTAIN® nitrogen stabiliser addresses ammonia volatilisation and offers farmers more flexibility to apply nitrogen when it’s needed most or when it suits them better even if the weather or soil conditions are not optimal. . .

World’s first compostable fruit label for Zespri Kiwifruit:

Zespri will introduce the world’s first and only fully compostable fruit labels on all Zespri® Organic Kiwifruit next season.

Zespri’s Global Marketing Manager – Organic, Glen Arrowsmith, explains this initiative is part of Zespri’s leadership role and ongoing commitment to improving the environmental credentials of its products.

“Our international customers – retailers, wholesalers, consumers, governments – are increasingly interested in the sustainability of products arriving in their markets and we’ve invested in research and development to continue to lead the market in this area.” . . .


Rural round-up

October 28, 2012

Fonterra to sell up to $525m of units at indicative price of $4.60-$5.50, accounting for 7% of shares:

The Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund will raise as much as $525 million selling shares in an indicative price range of $4.60 to $5.50 apiece, giving outside investors exposure to up to 7 percent of the dairy cooperative’s equity, offer documents show.

The final price will be set by a bookbuild among institutions and NZX firms on about Nov. 27.

Fonterra unveiled the prospectus for the fund aimed at providing liquidity for the Trading Among Shareholders scheme, one of the biggest overhauls of the dairy giant’s capital structure since its inception in 2001. . .

Rural pulse a worry in National bank confidence survey:

The agriculture sector is the least confident in the October National Bank Business Outlook which shows overall business confidence flat-lining.

A net 17 percent of respondents expect business conditions to improve in the year ahead, unchanged from last month. A net 25 percent in the agriculture sector are pessimistic, the lowest reading in the survey.

“The agriculture sector is the nucleus of our income generating capacity. So when the rural pulse keeps getting weaker we take note,” chief economist Cameron Bagrie said in his report.

Sentiment in the agriculture sector has been sliding for months because of the high New Zealand dollar, a lower dairy payout, nervousness about environment regulation and the leveling out of a production boost from good weather, he said. . .

Turners and Growers pulls out kiwifruit vines near Kerikeri:

Turners & Growers is removing about 20 hectares of kiwifruit orchards in the Kerikeri area after the bacterial vine disease Psa-V was detected on a single male “baker graft” vine in one of its orchards in the area.

Kiwifruit Vine Health has established a controlled area, which includes 102 orchards in the region.

Kerikeri is the eleventh region to be infected since PSA was first discovered in New Zealand two years ago. . .


Rural round-up

October 23, 2012

New growing sites may help save kiwifruit - Jamie Morton:

The Psa bacterium is here to stay so growers must manage it, says horticulture expert.

Kiwifruit growing regions outside the Bay of Plenty could soon play bigger parts in a $1 billion-a-year industry battling a bacterial scourge that is here to stay.

Professor Ian Warrington, co-president of the International Horticulture Congress, has suggested ways New Zealand could live with Psa-V, which has now spread as far as Hawkes Bay since its discovery in heartland Te Puke nearly two years ago. . .

Landcorp denies Crafar farms ale meddling – Andrea Fox:

Landcorp chief executive Chris Kelly says he’s getting fed up with suggestions that, as intended Crafar farms manager for Chinese purchaser Shanghai Pengxin, he is frustrating iwi efforts to buy two of the central North Island farms.

The state-owned enterprise boss said he had heard the rumours and they were “simply not correct”.

However he said that as the two farms at Benneydale constituted a significant 25 per cent of the whole 16 farm Crafar estate package, personally, he would be asking Landcorp’s future Chinese partner to consider why it would want to sell them. . .

 

Trial may be of global importance:

The Clutha Agricultural Development Board’s latest project, on the value of probiotics to calves in their first few weeks of life, is believed to be of national and possibly international importance.

The project involved about 300 calves on three farms in the Clutha district.

In New Zealand, only one limited study of the possible weight gain and health benefits to calves has been done previously, and the board was thought to be undertaking a “significant study of national and perhaps international importance”, the board said. . .

Future of sheep farming ‘not flash‘ – Sally Rae:

The potential for New Zealand’s primary sector is significant but the industry must get better at how it takes its products to markets, both individually and collectively, New Zealand Merino Company chief executive John Brakenridge tells Agribusiness reporter Sally Rae.

Imagine New Zealand without sheep and without a sheep industry.

That is a scenario New Zealand Merino Company chief executive John Brakenridge poses.

A scenario that he says is “actually quite on the cards” if the status quo continues. . .

Bettering deer genetics just the job for Sharon – Sally Rae:

Sharon McIntyre reckons her new role as DEERSelect manager is about “a perfect fit” for her skill set.

The Gore-based farm consultant, who has been heavily involved in genetics for 25 years, was enthusiastic about the part-time position.

She has provided technical assistance to Sheep Improvement Ltd (SIL) for five years and it was a “logical step” to be involved with improving deer genetics as well.

DEERSelect runs a system to evaluate the genetic worth of stags which then allows breeders and finishers to select for desirable traits in their deer herds. . .


Rural round-up

October 20, 2012

Kiwifruit breeder honoured for $3 billion contribution:

The inaugural kiwifruit industry award – the Hayward Medal – was presented last night to a kiwifruit breeder whose work has added around $3 billion to the industry and the New Zealand economy, Russell Lowe from Plant & Food Research.

The new award is named after another great horticulturalist and kiwifruit breeder, Hayward Wright, whose innovation and contribution established the industry. The kiwifruit Industry Advisory Council (IAC) established the Hayward Medal and IAC chairman Bruce Cameron presented Russell with the award at Zespri’s kiwifruit industry conference Momentum, saying his work defined the kiwifruit industry. . .

Commission releases draft report on first statutory review of Fonterra’s milk price manual

The Commerce Commission has today released a draft report on its first 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).

This first statutory review requires the Commission to report on the extent to which Fonterra’s milk price manual is consistent with the purpose of the milk price monitoring regime. The purpose of the regime is to promote the setting of a farm gate milk price that provides incentives for Fonterra to operate efficiently while providing for contestability in the market for the purchase of milk from farmers. . .

Why co-operatives in farming? – Anti-Dismal:

A few days ago Ele Ludemann at the Homepaddock blog noted that Co-ops key to feeding world and in a sense she is right. Co-ops are more common in argiculture than any other sector of the economy. The big question is Why?

To see why start from the idea that there are two basic ways to organise production, via contracts or via ownership. So what are the costs of each? First consider the costs of contracting. In farming one reason for the formulation of co-operatives was monopsony power. Farming is a business with many producers of highly homogeneous commodities. It is one of the most competitive of all industries. In contrast, the middlemen-handlers and processors – who purchase farm products are often highly concentrated and hence have the potential for exercising a degree of monopsony power over the farmers they deal with. Such monopsony power can be accentuated by seasonality or perishability of agricultural products. . .

Moovers and shakers in dairy industry - Linda Clarke:

Rakaia dairy farmers Rebecca and Brent Miller live in a fish bowl.

Their 1070-cow farm borders State Highway 1 just north of the Rakaia overbridge, and every man and his dog can see what they are up to.

Rebecca says the couple jokes about living in the limelight, but they farm with pride, knowing the cows and land they manage are scrutinised regularly by passing dairy farmers and are often photographed by tourists, who are taken by the green grass, black and white cows and snowcapped mountains. . .

Meatworks plans for Chathams – Gerald Piddock:

The viability of a meat processing plant on the Chatham Islands will be decided by its farmers later this month following the completion of a study into the feasibility of the facility.

The study was finished last Friday and will be presented to the Chatham Islands Enterprise Trust committee later this week.

From there it will be discussed with the islands’ farmers and other interest groups over the next fortnight, Chatham Islands Enterprise Trust chief executive Brian Harris said. . .

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