Rural round-up

July 26, 2016

Kiwifruit exports reach record levels:

In June 2016, kiwifruit exports rose $105 million (47 percent) from June 2015 to reach $331 million, Statistics New Zealand said today. Overall, goods exports rose $109 million (2.6 percent) in June 2016 (to $4.3 billion).

The June 2016 rise was across all our top kiwifruit export destinations, but particularly Japan (up $55 million) and China (up $39 million). The quantities of kiwifruit exported also rose (up 32 percent), with gold kiwifruit up 49 percent, and green kiwifruit up 21 percent. . . .

New researchers should focus on primary industry:

Federated Farmers wants a plan to attract the world’s top scientists to New Zealand to concentrate on those who will work on primary sector initiatives and the environment.

Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston says it makes sense for the government’s $35 million ‘Entrepreneurial Universities’ programme to build knowledge in areas which are key to New Zealand’s economic and environmental needs.

The four year programme, announced by Minister Steven Joyce on Wednesday, aims to encourage the world’s leading researchers to bring their teams to work in New Zealand.

“This programme will help New Zealand keep up with the scientific developments already going on around the globe. . . 

Feds congratulates government on ambitious pest eradication project:

Federated Farmers fully backs the target to completely eradicate introduced predators from New Zealand by 2050 announced by the government today and agrees with the government that emerging technologies is now making such an ambitious target possible.

This project is going to require a team effort from scientists, farmers, government, politicians and rural communities.

“Our farmers live and work in our natural environment every day and in that sense are stewards of a significant part of New Zealand’s land, says Federated Farmers spokesperson for pest management Chris Allen.

“Farmers already spend a substantial amount of money on pest management. They also pay levies to OSPRI, to control vectors of tuberculosis, such as stoats and possums. . . 

Beekeepers stung by swarm of hive thefts –  Wilhelmina Shrimpton:

Beekeepers are seeking an urgent meeting with police as an increasing number of sticky-fingered thieves make off with beehives across the country.

The most recent incident was in Northland, where around $500,000-worth of hives were stolen from Topuni Forest more than a week ago. 

Some call the honey liquid gold – and for very good reason.

“If you’re getting high-grade manuka honey, the beekeepers can expect to get about $60 a kilogram,” Apiculture New Zealand’s Daniel Paul said. . . 

Profit warning makes Silver Fern Farms’ deal more critical – Allan Barber:

Last week’s profit warning from SFF chairman Rob Hewitt confirmed what industry observers suspected – this season has been affected by a combination of factors which has made achievement of the budgeted profit more remote than ever. At the half year Hewett had already warned the year end result would be materially different from budget without specifying numbers. The latest warning indicates break even at best.

The current season has suffered from reduced livestock volumes, regular rain and grass growth in most parts of the country which even out supply patterns, and an obstinately strong NZ dollar. Processors have been squeezed at both ends, paying too much for livestock and not earning enough from the market. . .

Nervous times at Silver Fern Farms – Keith Woodford:

Silver Fern Farms announced last week to its farmer suppliers that it now expects no more than a breakeven return for the year ending 30 September 2016.  This should focus the minds of its farmer shareholders, who vote on 12 August as to whether or not Silver Fern Farms should proceed with the partial takeover by Shanghai Maling. 

The disappointing projected financial outcome – which could yet get worse – reinforces the notion that Silver Fern Farms lacks the necessary financial resilience to go it alone. There is increasing risk that without completion of the Shanghai Maling buy-in, that Silver Fern Farms will lose the support of its bankers and be placed in receivership. That is not an attractive option, for what has in recent years been New Zealand’s largest meat processor. . . 

UK milk production drops 10% in a year – Alexa Cook:

Many British dairy farmers are getting out of the industry due to plummeting milk prices and production, says a UK dairy analyst.

Farmers are being paid from 10 to 30 pence a litre at a time when most farms need 25 to 30 pence a litre to meet the cost of production.

The UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) – the British equivalent of DairyNZ – has reported more than 1000 farms have closed since June 2013, leaving about 9500 in operation.

The board’s senior dairy analyst Luke Crossman said milk production had fallen off sharply. . . 

Pea growers work with MPI to rid Wairarapa of weevil pest:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and local pea growers, are planning urgent action to eradicate a small Wairarapa population of a newly discovered weevil that damages pea crops.

The pea weevil (Bruchus pisorum) has been found in pea seeds grown on 8 different Wairarapa properties. It has also been found in 3 seed storage facilities in the region.

The weevil larvae feed on growing pea pods, damaging crops. Its discovery in the Wairarapa has long-term implications for pea production in New Zealand and the pea growing industry is strongly supportive of moves to attempt to get rid of it. . . 

NZDF-Led Projects Boost Drought Resilience of Tongan Communities:

Community projects undertaken by a multi-national task group led by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) are expected to reduce the vulnerability of remote communities to the impact of drought, Tongan officlals say.

The projects, designed to improve water storage in two main islands in Tonga’s Ha’apai island group, were undertaken as part of Exercise Tropic Twilight 2016 and have been formally handed over today to the Tongan Government.

“Tropic Twilight conducted a vast range of activities that will directly improve the resilience of communities in Ha’apai in addressing some water security issues and safety equipment shortages. It was also an opportune time to collaborate with partners to address health issues,” said Tongan Deputy Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni. . . 

Punakaiki Fund Invests in Agtract:

Taranaki rural job management software Agtract has closed a funding round with high-growth investorPunakaiki Fund.

The Agtract software drastically reduces the time it takes for rural contractors to do management tasks and create invoices, saving them up to a week’s work each month.

“Agtract does the administrative grunt work so rural contractors can do what they do best: helping farmers,” says CEO Chris West, who co-founded Agtract with his brother James after feeling the pain first hand of having to do admin work for a rural contractor.

“I was an employee of a contractor in Taranaki and had to fill in job sheet after job sheet. So much of what I did was repetitive, and even more of what the contractor did could’ve been automated. I created an early software solution, saw that it saved time and money, and realised I was onto a winner. Agtract is the result.” . . .


Rural round-up

June 23, 2016

Retiring prof’s work continues – Sally Rae:

Prof Frank Griffin describes his lengthy career in animal science at the University of Otago in his own inimitable way.

“It’s been absolutely amazing. I’ve had a party every day; it’s really been fun,” he said.

Official retirement might be looming at the end of the month for the popular professor but his association with the university, where he has worked since 1973, is unlikely to end. . . 

Port dairy cows spared – Sally Rae:

Port Chalmers dairy farmer Merrall MacNeille is looking at various options to get his milk back on the market.

He was recently ordered to stop selling raw milk after a tuberculosis-positive heifer was discovered on his property.

He was able to supply milk for pasteurisation and, using a small pasteuriser, hoped to have “something on the shelf” by the end of August.

Other options were also being explored and Mr MacNeille said they would “get there one way or another”. . . 

Zespri raises profit forecast range to recognise $50M of Gold3 licence revenue :

(BusinessDesk) – Zespri International, the kiwifruit marketer, raised its full-year profit forecast to take into account licence revenue of $50 million from the release of 400 hectares of Gold3 licence in 2016.

Zespri is now forecasting profit of $70 million to $75 million for the 2016/17 year, up from the range of $25 million to $30 million it gave in April. The earlier forecast excluded revenue from the release of Gold3 licences that were tendered in May.

The closed tender bid process attracted broad participation from the industry with 1,376 hectares bid and 266 successful bidders for the 400 hectares of the SunGold licence, Zespri said. Half the hectares were restricted to Green and Green14/Sweet Green growers to provide an opportunity for existing green growers to convert over to SunGold, it said. . . 

Seeka handles record volumes:

Seeka Kiwifruit Industries Limited advises that it has completed kiwifruit packing operations in Australia and New Zealand for the 2016 season. The Company has handled record volumes in the packing season, with more than 30M trays handled in New Zealand for the first time. Seeka now heads into the storage and inventory management portion of the season in New Zealand, while at the same time it completes its kiwifruit sales program in Australia. The Australian pear selling season is anticipated to complete in October.

New Zealand volumes handled by Seeka were up by 16.6% at 30.8m trays. This figure includes approximately 700k trays that will be removed from the inventory or at time of packing, through crop management. All volumes have been handled within the company’s infrastructure, and Seeka now moves to managing more than 16M trays in store. . . 

Police investigate ‘dear old lady’s’ pet sheep:

An elderly Waikato woman has been left distressed after four of her pet sheep were killed and their body parts strewn across her paddock.

Cambridge police say someone jumped the “dear old lady’s” farm fence on Tirau Road on Friday night and killed the four pregnant ewes.

“They left the offal and heads in the paddock for her to find the next morning,” police said on their Facebook page. . .

Greenpeace launches legal challenge against controversial $1b dam plan:

Greenpeace NZ is launching a legal challenge against a controversial plan to build a dam that’s set to cost close to $1 billion and will pollute a region’s rivers.

Today, Greenpeace will file a judicial review of resource consents granted by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to extend the area of land area that can be irrigated by the Ruataniwha scheme, which will aid the expansion of dairy farms in the region. 

The motion, to be lodged at the High Court in Napier, challenges two resource consents given to the Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company in January, which were granted without public notification on the basis of a Council assessment that any environmental effects would be no more than “minor”. . . 


Rural round-up

May 22, 2016

Canterbury woman captures drought on camera – Annabelle Tukia:

A north Canterbury woman has created a remarkable record of how tough it’s been farming through a drought.

Claire Inkson has been living through the ordeal and at the same time capturing it through her camera lens.

Frame by frame, Ms Inkson is capturing north Canterbury’s record-breaking drought.

The photographer and farmer’s wife usually snaps portraits, but as the region’s dry spell enters its second year, Ms Inkson shifted her focus to documenting the people and stock affected by it. . . 

US political change may slow efforts to free up agricultural trade, academic Bailey says – Tina Morrison

(BusinessDesk) – Political change in the US may slow efforts to free up agricultural trade, impacting New Zealand which had hoped to gain better access to the world’s largest economy through the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, according to a US academic with links to New Zealand.

US lawmakers are expected to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership during the so-called “lame-duck” session of Congress between the US presidential election in November and the swearing-in of a new US president early next year. . . 

Rare native plant back from the brink:

The white-flowered ngutukākā, a rare variant of the kākābeak, has been welcomed back to Te Reinga Marae in Wairoa.

The native plant has been nurtured back from near extinction by Crown research institute Scion, which took four years to successfully grow the white-flowered ngutukākā after being given seeds from the estate of a collector of wild seed.

There were 100 people at the homecoming and children from the marae planted the shrubs in a specially prepared garden near the marae. . .

Statement from the Director General of the Ministry for Primary Industries in Relation to Operation Achilles:

There has been much comment in recent days in relation to a Ministry for Primary Industries compliance investigation into potentially illegal discarding of fish by some South Island-based fishing vessels in 2012 and early 2013.

The investigation was known as Operation Achilles. Copies of a preliminary investigation report have now been placed in the public arena.

The investigation was known as Operation Achilles. Copies of a preliminary investigation report have now been placed in the public arena. . . 

Ahuwhenua Trophy winners congratulated:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell have tonight congratulated The Proprietors of Rakaia Incorporated, this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy winner.

The Proprietors of Rakaia Incorporated were presented with the 2016 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming award tonight in Hamilton.

“The Incorporation has a long and proud history back to 1886. They have set a fantastic example to other Māori landowners of what can be achieved through ambition and hard work,” says Mr Guy.

“They converted to dairy farming in 1996 and sustainable irrigation has helped them grow and develop wider opportunities for whānau,” says Mr Guy. . . 

Township’s only shop faces closure – Jono Edwards:

The imminent closure of a community-owned Teviot Valley store has residents rallying to save it and a councillor calling a grocery chain’s departure from the building “disgraceful”.

Millers Flat’s only shop, Faigan’s Store, will shut its doors on Sunday next week after operating in different forms for more than 100 years.

The catalyst was Foodstuffs pulling out its Four Square, which has been in the building since the late 1950s.  . .

 

Kiwifruit project excites eastern BoP Māori:

Māori in eastern Bay of Plenty are hailing a plan to create kiwifruit orchards as a solution to high unemployment and low productivity in the region.

The kiwifruit orchards will replace low value maize farming on multiply-owned Māori land in Omaio near Te Kaha as part of a six-year conversion plan.

Te Rau Aroha Charitable Trust devised the strategy for Omaio, Otuwhare and Waiorore whānau and hapū. . . 

Australian agricultural ministers visit:

Primary Industries Ministers Nathan Guy and Jo Goodhew have welcomed Australian Ministers of Agriculture to New Zealand for a study tour and forum.

“The primary industries are the engine room of both New Zealand and Australia, and an important goal of both countries is growth in value-added products,” says Mr Guy.

“The study tour has focused on exciting progress being made by the Primary Growth Partnership, which involves industry and Government co-investing in innovation. It is helping develop value-added products and services, through new science and technology,” says Mr Guy. . . 

Zespri Kiwifruit Strives for Growth Across North America

Global leader in premium quality kiwifruit responds to growing consumer demands

In response to the very positive consumer reaction to Zespri Kiwifruit last season, Zespri today announces plans to significantly grow its volume across North America in 2016. In fact, Zespri’s growth extends beyond its distribution: a North American office is opening in Orange County, California to support customers and distributors in the next step in the company’s expansion, which includes hiring more staff within the region.

Zespri SunGold—a natural cross between gold varieties of kiwifruit—is one of the fastest growing new fruits globally, with sales expanding rapidly in the U.S. and Canada. Sweeter than a green kiwifruit, the SunGold variety tastes like a cross between a mango and a strawberry and has a smooth, hairless skin with a juicy, yellow flesh. SunGold’s appeal is also its nutrition benefits: one serving has three times more vitamin C than an orange and provides as much potassium as a banana.1 . .


Rural round-up

April 14, 2016

Water gives life to NZ’s economy – Anrew Curtis:

Much media debate has arisen recently on whether new irrigation schemes are necessary in the wake of the dairy downturn.  

What the dairy industry doesn’t need at the moment is to be kicked when it’s down; the debate has brought to light a need for IrrigationNZ to better foster relationships and promote understanding of modern irrigation across the board.  

Let’s start with the facts: in NZ water is plentiful. We average 145 million litres per person in NZ compared with 82 in Canada, 22 in Australia, nine in the US, two in China and two in the UK. We are water rich but are yet to make the most of this potential. . . 

Farmers agree kiwi farm labourers  ‘hopeless‘ – Alexa Cook:

Deputy Prime Minister Bill English is “on the money” saying many young New Zealanders in farm work are “pretty damned hopeless”, a South Island farming leader says.

Mr English made the comments at a Federated Farmers meeting last week, saying many people seeking jobs through the Ministry of Social Development did not show up or stay with the job.  

Otago Young Farmers Club vice-chair Mike Marshall milks 500 cows, and said he was employing people from Scotland because New Zealanders were not good workers. . .  

Fonterra’s first governance review suggests cutting board members by two, single election process for directors – Fiona Rotherham:

 (BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group is proposing cutting its board numbers by two to 11 and having a single process for electing farmer appointed and independent directors as part of the first governance overhaul since it was established 15 years ago.

A booklet on the first draft proposal from the long-awaited review of the farmer-owned dairy cooperative is being sent out to farmers today and a final recommendation is to go to shareholder vote in late May or early June after feedback. . . 

National regulations proposed for pest control:

Regulations are being proposed under the Resource Management Act (RMA) to provide for a nationally consistent approach to pest control, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today in releasing a consultation paper standardising the regulatory regime for pest control at the New Zealand PIanning Institute conference.

“These proposed RMA regulations are a response to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s report recommending that I instigate a more standardised approach to pest control. Rather than each regional council having different pest control rules, the standard controls set by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) would apply. . . 

Kiwifruit found to regulate blood sugar – Lucy Warhurst:

A new study has found there could be more health benefits to eating kiwifruit than we first thought.

It’s known for being high in fibre and vitamin C, but it’s also now been found to significantly slow and reduce the uptake of sugars into the bloodstream.

Zespri’s Innovation Leader for Health and Nutrition, Dr Juliet Ansell, says people who ate kiwifruit with their breakfast saw more regulated blood sugar levels.

“You actually really reduce that blood sugar peak in your blood stream. It’s a much slower, longer tail off, so much more regulated blood glucose control.” . . . 

Global megatrends expert says New Zealand on trend with food-for-health:

New Zealand should apply its tourism’s “100% Pure” campaign to the agricultural industry, utilise its “clean-green” image, extend it to “clean-green-healthy” and back it with science to add a premium to its exports, according to Dr Stefan Hajkowicz, an international expert in strategy and foresight.

Dr Hajkowicz, author of the recently published book “Global Megatrends – Seven Patterns of Change Shaping our Future” is in New Zealand to address the 2016 High-Value Nutrition Science Symposium -Foods of the Future, Transforming New Zealand into a Silicon Valley of Foods for Health-. . . 

Feedback sought on proposed animal welfare regulations:

The Government is seeking feedback on proposed regulations to further strengthen our animal welfare system.

“Last year the Government amended the Animal Welfare Act to improve the enforceability, clarity and transparency of the animal welfare system,” says Mr Guy.

“We are now seeking the public’s views on proposed regulations that have been developed in consultation with the independent National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC),” says Mr Guy.
These proposed regulations will set enforceable rules based on best practice and modern science.

“Our animal welfare system is considered one of the best in the world. The proposed regulations will further strengthen our reputation as a country that cares for animals,” says Mr Guy. . . .

IrrigationNZ confident Ruataniwha will proceed:

IrrigationNZ today said it was confident that Ruataniwha would go ahead and disputed claims aired on RadioNZ that costs for the project have risen by 50 percent.

“What isn’t clear in this reporting is there are two distinct parts to this project. One is the cost of building the dam and the infrastructure of piping water to the farm gate, the other is the cost of developing on-farm irrigation systems,” said IrrigationNZ chairwoman Nicky Hyslop.

“A year on yes, there is an increase to building the dam – $275 to $330 million, and the reality is, the more time that goes by the more it will cost. There will never be a cheaper time to build than today. . . 

Deputy PM to headline DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum event:

Deputy Prime Minister Hon Bill English and Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings are among a line-up of leading speakers presenting to dairy farmers at the DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum, May 17-18, in Hamilton.

The biennial event will give dairy farmers insight into how to adapt their businesses in the current challenging times and how the global environment will shape the future of New Zealand milk production.

“The Farmers’ Forum is about helping farmers understand what is driving the current financial climate and what they can do to help manage it,” says DairyNZ strategy and investment leader for sustainability, Rick Pridmore. . . .

Farmers Gather for First Field Day at Sea:

Farmers took to the water recently to learn about the entrepreneurial drive of Clearwater Mussels director John Young and how his principles can equally apply to land-based farming.

As aquaculture entrepreneurs, Clearwater Mussels was joint winner of the 2015 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year Competition (with Omarama Station), it was the first ever winner’s field day held at sea.

Three boatloads of field day attendees (approx. 200 people) left Havelock Marina and motored into the Kekeperu Sound to see greenshell mussel harvesters and seeders at work, and learn about what a marine farming business did to make it a competition winner. . . 

Final FMG Young Farmer of the Year to be found in Ashburton:

The last of the seven Grand Finalists will be determined this weekend in Ashburton at the Aorangi FMG Young Farmer of the Year Regional Final.

“This contest season has been very successful and impressive to date, the calibre of contestants is high and each Regional Final has been fiercely competed for” says Terry Copeland, Chief Executive of New Zealand Young Farmers – organisers of the event.

The eight finalists are contending for a spot at the Grand Final in Timaru 7 – 9 July and their share of an impressive prize pack worth over $285,000 in products, services and scholarships from FMG, Massey University, Silver Fern Farms, AGMARDT, Ravensdown, Meridian Energy, Honda, STHIL and Vodafone. . . 

NZ Farming's photo.

Farming is the art of losing money while working 400 hours a month to feed people who think you’re trying to kill them. – NZ Farming.


Rural round-up

March 1, 2016

Fonterra Plant Openings Celebrate Strength in Southern Dairying:

Fonterra has further highlighted its commitment to New Zealand’s dairying communities this week as the Co-operative officially opened four new plants across the South Island.

Ribbon cuttings have been held to celebrate successful opening seasons for the new mozzarella plant at Fonterra’s Clandeboye site near Timaru, along with three new plants at its southernmost site at Edendale.

Fonterra Managing Director Global Operations Robert Spurway said these expansions generate cash not only for the Co-operative’s 10,500 farmers but also help to bolster rural and regional economies. . . 

Another link added in Transforming the Dairy Value Chain:

Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew today congratulated Fonterra on the opening of their new mozzarella plant at Fonterra’s Clandeboye site. The new plant will result in 25 new jobs and a doubling of Fonterra’s total mozzarella production to 50,000 metric tonnes per annum, over two plants.

The Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme “Transforming the Dairy Value Chain” helped Fonterra to commercialise their patented, breakthrough technology for producing frozen mozzarella cheese in a fraction of the usual time – without sacrificing functionality for their customers or sensory qualities for the end consumers. This technology will help to grow Fonterra’s Foodservice business in the $35 billion global pizza market.

“The Government has a goal of doubling the value of exports by 2025. Around half our exports are food, so our food safety systems are closely linked to this goal”, said Mrs Goodhew. . . 

“Put your hand up and ask for help”:

Stay away from negativity and don’t be afraid to ask for help are 2 tips that farmer Hannah Topless has for her counterparts around New Zealand.

Great swathes of Hannah’s 150ha Taranaki dairy and sheep farm in Strathmore, eastern Taranaki, were flooded or cut off in the storms of June 2015.

“We had 340ml of rain in one weekend,” said Hannah. “Rivers overflowed, taking out fences and gouging out races; and landslides took out culverts and fences, and cut off access to some of the farm.”

Hannah says that they were fortunate to have strong community links, particularly with her local church, as well as their Rural Support Trust, FMG and Federated Farmers. . . 

Returning Pacific workers an asset to NZ industry:

Pacific Island workers returning to New Zealand for seasonal employment have become an increasing asset for the horticulture and viticulture industries.

In New Zealand’s region of Hawke’s Bay, there’s an increased demand for Pacific workers contracted through the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme.

The General Manager of Focus Contracting Ltd, Linley King, said the industries would not have grown as much as they had in the past decade without the involvement of Pacific islands workers. . . 

Avocado sector joins GIA Biosecurity partnership:

The avocado industry has become the seventh industry partner to join the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) biosecurity partnership today, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced.

“It’s very pleasing to have the avocado industry on-board, working with the Ministry for Primary Industries and other industry partners to manage and respond to the most important biosecurity risks,” says Mr Guy.

Avocados are New Zealand’s third largest fresh fruit export. In the 2014-2015 season the industry produced 7.1 million trays of avocados worth around $135 million. . . 

MPI seeks submissions on proposed amendments to the Kiwifruit Export Regulations:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is seeking feedback on proposals to amend the Kiwifruit Export Regulations 1999. The proposals are outlined in a discussion document released today.

“This is the first comprehensive review of the Regulations since they were enacted,” says Jarred Mair, MPI’s Acting Deputy Director-General Policy and Trade.

“The current regulations have enabled New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry to compete effectively on the international stage. In 2015, New Zealand exported kiwifruit to 50 countries, valued at $1.003 billion. . . 

Next Steps for Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project (KISP):

 

The government’s consultation document supporting the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project has been released.

Public consultation is a standard regulatory process, giving stakeholders an opportunity to consider alternatives to the recommendations proposed by the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project Team.

NZKGI Chairman, Doug Brown, says the government consultation process is another step towards the implementation of the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project that the majority of kiwifruit growers overwhelmingly supported.

“We are very pleased the government has included all of the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project’s recommended options in their consultation document. I encourage all kiwifruit growers to read through the document and submit their feedback through the consultation process. . . .

Kiwifruit NZ welcomes regulations review:

The regulator of the kiwifruit industry, Kiwifruit New Zealand (KNZ), has welcomed the review of the Kiwifruit Export Regulations 1999 and the release of a discussion document by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today.

KNZ believes the regulations have served the industry well for 16 years but the New Zealand industry and the international fruit market are very different today than they were in 1999. . . 

Allied Farmers 1H profit falls as it focuses on livestock services growth – Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – Allied Farmers reported a 32 percent drop in first-half profit as income from its shrinking asset management services segment plunged, while its livestock services segment increased sales.

Net profit fell to $615,000 in the six months ended Dec. 31, from $907,000 a year earlier, the Hawera-based company said in a statement. Revenue rose 0.7 percent to $10.3 million.

“This is a strong operating result, benefiting from the livestock division’s trading performance, and does not have the benefit of the corporate and asset management one-off gains that bolstered the group result for the corresponding six months period ended Dec. 31, 2014,” said chairman Garry Bluett. “The directors now consider that the group is well placed to shift its primary focus to growth.” . . 


Rural round-up

December 23, 2015

Proud to be NZ Farmers:

A  campaign designed to tell good news farming stories has caught the imagination of kiwi farmers attracting more than 1000 followers and reaching tens of thousands more in the first 24 hours since launch.  

The Proud to be NZ Farmers campaign, announced yesterday on The Farming Show by prominent beef and deer farmer, Shane McManaway, was kick-started with a Facebook page inviting anyone associated with New Zealand agriculture to share their positive news stories and talk about the pride they feel for their profession.  

Shane McManaway says the #ProudNZFarmers campaign is all about farmers coming out of their shells and showing the world the positive and passionate side of New Zealand farming.  . . 

Proud to be NZ Farmers's photo.
Solar innovation a relief for drought-stricken farmers:

A solar water pump system is helping get much needed water to stock on remote hill country farms and has captured international interest from water-stressed countries.

Central Hawke’s Bay electrical and pumping business Isaacs Pumping & Electrical has been developing the technology over the last two years with support from Callaghan Innovation.

Isaacs Electrical directors Gavin Streeter and Shane Heaton were continually being asked by farmers what options were available to reliably get water to stock without electricity, especially in remote hill country properties. . . .

Shareholder needs focus of manager – Sally Rae:

Nigel Jones is a strong believer in co-operatives.

Mr Jones, who joined Alliance Group as general manager strategy at the end of September, previously spent 16 years with Fonterra, where he had the same role in the ingredients division. Before that, he had an extensive career in internal logistics and supply chain.

Ever since he had been involved in co-operatives, he felt a sense of accountability to the shareholders.‘‘You recognise, in some cases, shareholders have got their entire family wealth entrusted to you,” he said. . . 

Beef and Lamb scientist takes genetics to farmers – Sally Rae:

One of the best parts of Annie O’Connell’s job is connecting with farmers.

Dr O’Connell is South Island extension officer for Beef and Lamb New Zealand Genetics, a position she took up in August.

Her Dunedin-based role focuses on helping commercial farmers and breeders apply genetics to their business objectives.

Beef and Lamb NZ Genetics was established in 2014 to consolidate sheep and beef genetics research and innovation. . . 

NZ export log prices jump to 9-month high on Chinese demand; slowdown looms – Tina M0rrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand export log prices jumped to a nine-month high amid steady inventories and stronger demand from China, the country’s largest market.

The average wharf-gate price for New Zealand A-grade logs rose to $104 a tonne in December from $92 a tonne in November, marking the highest level since March, according to AgriHQ’s monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and sawmillers. The AgriHQ Log Price Indicator, which measures log prices weighted by grade, increased to 97.11 from 92.51, its highest level since February. . . 

MPI’s SOPI report suggests it is on different planet – Allan Barbeer:

When I read the headline forecast in the December update of the Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries report, my initial reaction was “they must be joking, what planet are they on?” After a slightly more in depth study of their analysis, I am still baffled.

Their prediction for the 2016 year appears to be based on two main premises: firstly product prices will be roughly maintained at present levels due to strong overseas demand and secondly the exchange rate will be 15% lower than at the time of the June update. These factors indicate an increase in export revenue of $1.9 billion, roughly half from red meat and the other half from forestry and horticulture. . . 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Director Election in Central South Island:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Western North Island Farmer Director Kirsten Bryant has been elected unopposed.

An election will be held in the Central South Island with candidates, John Gregan of Timaru and Bill Wright of Cave, being nominated for one Farmer Director position. . . 

Kiwifruit industry to benefit from new strategic alliance:

New corporate shareholders for Opotiki Packing and Coolstorage Limited (OPAC) provide the company with a strategic advantage in the growing Eastern Bay of Plenty kiwifruit industry.

Te Tumu Paeroa – the new Māori Trustee, and Quayside Holdings Limited (Quayside) – the investment arm of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, will each own 10.1% of OPAC following agreement at a shareholders meeting yesterday.

The investment by each is part of an OPAC over-subscribed equity capital raising which totalled $4.85 million. . .

Proud to be NZ Farmers's photo.


Rural round-up

September 7, 2015

Drones monitor Fiordland’s rainbow trout – Hamish Clark:

Fish & Game is using drones to monitor prized rainbow trout spawning at one of the world’s top fishing spots.

The remote location is the Upper Waiau River, which runs from Lake Te Anau and borders Fiordland National Park.

At the moment fishing is off-limits, as the trout are busy spawning and burying their fertilised eggs. . . 

World-first Kiwi technology can be a big boost to lucrative forestry industry:

A Christchurch company believes it can add tens of millions of dollars to the multi-billion forest industry by cutting-edge hi-tech testing to find out which trees are suitable for the booming housing and building construction markets.

Fibre-gen has produced a world-first harvester head mounted sonic tool, the HITMAN PH330, which measures the strength of trees to see if they are suitable or not for high-end building construction. There are no known direct competitors in the global market as yet.

Fibre-gen is the leader in forest wood segregation sonic technology tools and was a finalist at the 2015 New Zealand Hi-Tech Awards. It has entered the New Zealand Innovators Award, with finalists being named next week on September 10. It is also a finalist in the 2015 Champion Canterbury Business Innovation Awards with winners being named in Christchurch on September 16. . . 

New Chairman leads New Zealand Young Farmers into the future

Jason Te Brake has been elected the new Chairman for New Zealand Young Farmers. Mr Te Brake takes the helm after Cole Groves stepped down after two years in the role.

Mr Te Brake has served on the Board as an elected member since May 2013, in this time he has taken on the role of Vice-Chairman and the Chairman of the National Committee of New Zealand Young Farmers. Mr Te Brake joined Young Farmers in 2010, and while he first joined with social intentions, Jason quickly found his way into governance. . . 

Community groups receive $918,000 in War on Weeds funding:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has announced a $918,000 commitment to the War on Weeds through this year’s round of Community Conservation Partnerships Fund grants.

$500,000 will go to a significant joint programme run by Weedbusters NZ and the QEII National Trust, and will be used to fund voluntary weedbusting efforts by community groups, alongside regional and local councils.

An additional $418,000 will go to other projects tackling problem plants such as old man’s beard, banana passionfruit and other members of the Dirty Dozen weeds launched on August 27. . .

‘Young Hort’ winner calls for more primary industry diversification:

The downturn in prices confronting dairy farmers is a timely reminder to those in horticulture to consider crop diversification now, while kiwifruit, pipfruit and wine exports are booming.

Outgoing New Zealand Young Horticulturist of the Year (YHOY) title holder and Whangarei kiwifruit grower, Patrick Malley, believes local farmers can learn from the diversification practices of their Californian counterparts.

Malley was speaking after just having returned from a fact finding travel scholarship to the United States, which was part of his prize for winning the NZ Young Horticulturist of the Year 2014 competition.

While the dairy industry is at the bottom of its commodity cycle, the kiwifruit and pipfruit industries arebooming, making it a good time to think about diversifying crop types to spread risk and create stability through commodity cycles. . . 

Let Ballance get your career started:

Soil scientists, engineers and farmers to vets, bankers and regulators, there are a wide range of careers which Ballance Agri-Nutrients is proud to support with its annual scholarship programme.

Warwick Catto, Science Strategy Manager at Ballance said the co-operative was always excited to see student talent interested in primary industry careers.

“The recent unprecedented interest in our dairy and red meat sectors sets the backdrop for the importance the sector has on New Zealand’s future growth and our place in the world.” . . 

Zespri launches new $15,000 scholarships:

Zespri has announced two new $15,000 scholarships to encourage New Zealand’s top secondary students to pursue a career in New Zealand’s fast-growing kiwifruit industry.

Zespri General Manager Grower & External Relations Dave Courtney explains that Zespri is looking to support and encourage tomorrow’sleaders into the horticulture sector.

“Kiwifruit is a global business; our industry earned $1.6 billion in sales revenue last year and we’re set to grow strongly over coming years. . . 

Canterbury Dairy Farmers Thrive On Environment Competition Experience:

Ashburton sharemilkers Sara and Stuart Russell have always strived to make their dairy operation as sustainable as possible. Entering the Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards helped them confirm they were on the right track.

“We wanted to see how our business compared with others, and we wanted to find out what we could do to improve in future,” says Sara.

She and Stuart, a former builder, 50:50 sharemilk 700 cows on 252ha (effective), south of Ashburton. The farm is owned by Sara’s parents Rick and Diana Bourke via the Bourke Family Trust.

The Russells entered the 2015 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) and won the LIC Dairy Farm Award in their first time in the competition. . . 

Free service boosts feed efficiency for dairy farmers:

In a bid to help dairy farmers in tight times, GrainCorp Feeds has announced that 150 clients nationwide will receive free access to a feed forecasting, tracking and monitoring service.

GrainCorp Feeds is working with technical specialists DairyClub to provide additional on-farm assessment, monitoring and technical support alongside Tracker™, an online tool which measures current milk production and shows how the farmer can use supplementary feed to achieve maximum return.

GrainCorp Feeds general manager Daniel Calcinai says to increase income from milk production, farmers have to feed strategically, which means the right feed at the right time. . . 


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