Rural round-up

August 7, 2014

The other face of foreign ownership:

The generosity of foreign investors has created New Zealand’s largest ever private land protection agreement at 53,000 hectares; equivalent to 240 Cornwall Park/One Tree Hill Domains.

“It is exciting that a Queen Elizabeth II covenant now covers the iconic high country over most of Motatapu, Mount Soho, Glencoe and Coronet Peak stations,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers President.

“This is the other face of foreign ownership, perhaps best explained by dual Federated Farmers/Forest & Bird life member, Gordon Stephenson, who commented: “this is the first time a whole landscape is being put into a covenant”.  . .

Sheep Industry Excellence Celebrated:

The important role ram breeders play in New Zealand’s sheep industry was celebrated at the third annual Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Sheep Industry Awards.

About 230 people attended a dinner in Napier, where 10 genetics-based awards and five sector excellence awards were presented. Results of the genetics-based awards were calculated based on ram breeders’ performance in SIL-ACE (Advanced Central Evaluation) – the large-scale, across flock and breed genetic evaluation of more than 300 ram breeding flocks. . . .

GlobalDairyTrade not ‘milk and disaster’:

The latest decline in the benchmark GlobalDairyTrade (GDT) online auction continues a trend expected by Federated Farmers. 

“We’d love to see a plus sign for a change but at least it seems to be tracking in the direction Rabobank has projected,” says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Vice-Chairperson.

“I don’t expect this latest result will affect the payout forecast in the near term.  What will be critical is the expected market recovery in the New Year.  . .

–  Allan Barber:

It’s wonderful what a bit of buoyancy in the market for beef and sheepmeat will do for morale, especially when it coincides with a solid drop in the predicted dairy payout. It isn’t just about absolute price returns, but also a reduction in the gap which has opened up this year between red meat and dairy prices.

MIE’s chairman John McCarthy has already characterised the improved mood among processors and exporters as signalling a desire to preserve the status quo which is why he and MIE are thrilled to have obtained the funding required to produce a business plan. This is intended to ‘deliver a definitive roadmap for farmer profitability’ through committed supply, coordinated marketing and best practice. . .

Global animal protein trends become more complex – Allan Barber:

At the Red Meat Sector Conference Luke Chandler, General Manager of Rabobank’s Food and Agribusiness Research Advisory group in Australasia, presented an interesting perspective on global protein trends and the increasing complexity required to feed the world’s growing population.

He observed three main trends: demand from emerging markets and market access, competitiveness between proteins and the complexity of the supply chains.

Briefly stated there is a surplus in the west and a shortage in the east with 70% of growth occurring in Asia, predominantly in China, India and Indonesia. Australia and New Zealand provide 6% and 3% respectively of imports of agricultural products into Asia and are therefore high value, niche exporters rather than providers of high volume production. . .

Ravensdown to pay farmer rebate as profits surge – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – Ravensdown Fertiliser Cooperative will resume paying farmers a rebate this year after its earnings jumped some 161 percent after it quit an unprofitable Australian business.

Profit before tax and rebate from continuing operations rose $73 million in the year ended May 31, from $28 million the previous year, the Christchurch-based cooperative said in a statement. Trading profit rose to $46 million from $6 million a year earlier, which was impacted by the cost from quitting Australia. Ravensdown will pay shareholders $37.78 per tonne, made up of $15 in rebate and fully imputed bonus shares worth $22.38. . . .

Third International Accolade in Three Months for Yealands:

Yealands Family Wines (YFW) has been awarded a trophy in the 2014 Green Apple Awards for Environmental Best Practice. This award is the third international award that the Marlborough Company has won for its high quality sustainable wine growing practices in the past three months.

Yealands were awarded “Green Company of the Year” by the UK’s leading drinks publisher, Drinks Business on April 30 and crowned the Gold Medal Winner in the Most Socially or Environmentally Responsible Company of the Year category at the 2014 International Best in Biz Awards last month.

The company competed against more than 500 global nominations in the Green Apple Awards, and they will be presented with their trophy and certificate at a glittering presentation ceremony in The Houses of Parliament, in London on November 10. . .


Rural round-up

May 30, 2014

AgResearch makes changes to Invermay plans –  Vaughan Elder:

AgResearch has made some changes to its plan to slash jobs at Invermay, but the majority of staff will still be moving north to Lincoln.

Invermay staff, along with those affected by planned restructuring at AgResearch’s other campuses, learnt their fate today, with the organisation making a final announcement – as signalled in today’s Otago Daily Times.

There were some changes made to its plans for the Invermay campus, with three deer researchers no longer relocating to Lincoln and the creation of two new science roles. . .

Give AgResearch a chance:

Federated Farmers understands that with any major decision there will be concern, however, it is asking people to look at the best strategic outcome for New Zealand agricultural science.  Above all, to give AgResearch the chance to reform itself as a 21st Century Crown Research Institute.

“I think farmers should welcome the way AgResearch has listened to reason because Invermay’s future has been enhanced over the original proposals,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Food Production Sciences spokesperson.

“There have been some regional gains for those in the south and north, with the Invermay and Ballantrae hill country farms being kept for sheep, beef and deer research.  Invermay will clearly become the centre for deer research.

“We must remember that this restructure is not this year, next year or even the year after.  We are talking 2017 and while one out of every four scientific or technician roles will be asked to relocate, that means 75 percent will not. . . .

DINZ welcomes finalisation of AgResearch’s Future Footprint:

Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) has welcomed announcements, made today by AgResearch, finalising the shape of its ‘Future Footprint’ restructuring.

DINZ Deputy Chair, Jerry Bell, said that it is important that the plan is now finalised, giving certainty to the staff who will be affected, and DINZ was satisfied that the final changes to ‘Future Footprint’ were significant and a good outcome for both Invermay and the deer industry.

“While we accepted the strategic rationale for Future Footprint, we have been concerned throughout that such strategic change can be very disruptive and can contribute to a loss of important people. In that context, it’s great to draw a line under the process.” . .

Consultation on the sale of raw milk to consumers:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is asking for public feedback on options for the sale of raw milk to consumers.

MPI’s deputy director general Deborah Roche says any changes would need to balance people’s desire to buy and drink raw milk with the requirement that food safety risks are properly dealt with.

“It’s clear that there is still a demand for raw milk and that more and different options for its sale need to be considered. It’s important people have the opportunity to comment on this matter so that MPI can consider all viewpoints before making any recommendations for change. I would encourage anyone that has an interest in raw milk sales to consumers to have their say,” Ms Roche says. . .

New president for Federated Farmers Marlborough:

Federated Farmers would like to welcome our new Marlborough provincial president, Greg Harris, who is replacing Gary Barnett, following their Annual General Meeting.

“Greg has been a part of Federated Farmers for 20 years and is well versed on the issues surrounding the Marlborough region, having stepped up from the provinces’ Meat & Fibre Chairperson role,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers National President.

“I would like to thank outgoing provincial president, Gary Barnett for his service to the province and Federated Farmers; he has been an integral part of the Federation.

“We are in a year of change within the Federation, with leadership changes throughout the organisation both nationally and provincially, Greg is an incredibly passionate advocate for the farming community and I know he will do a fantastic job,” said Mr Wills. . .

Rabobank recruits new animal proteins analyst:

Rabobank welcomes new-comer Angus Gidley-Baird, appointed as a senior animal proteins analyst to cover the sheep and beef sectors, joining the bank’s Australia & New Zealand Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory division.

General manager of Rabobank’s Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory Luke
Chandler said Angus’ appointment brought to the team a great depth of agricultural knowledge, as well as mainstream political and economic policy awareness.

“Angus’ entire career has been spent in agribusiness and throughout this time, he has gained a very strong foundation in the sorts of issues impacting farmers and industry stakeholders all the way through the supply chain,” Mr Chandler said. . .

Orange roughy ecolabel to assist exports:

Sealord has welcomed the next step in the journey to have New Zealand orange roughy globally recognised as a sustainable seafood choice.

Three of the main orange roughy fisheries have been submitted for assessment by the Marine Stewardship Council to verify if they can carry the world’s best known marine ecolabel.

New Zealand’s quota management system has allowed industry and government to work together to achieve this and Sealord Fishing General Manager, Doug Paulin, says that MSC certification will provide an additional assurance to customers.
“Globally, New Zealand seafood has a great reputation and Sealord customers will be supportive of this new measure to show retailers and customers alike orange roughy is a sustainable choice,” said Paulin. . .

Boutique Wine Festival Brings the Best of New Zealand to Auckland:

After a successful launch in 2013, the second annual New Zealand Boutique Wine Festival is set to return to Auckland’s Imperial Building on Sunday 15 June 2014.

This year’s festival will see 21 boutique vineyards from around New Zealand showcasing more than 200 wines across a huge range of varietals, creating a one-of-a-kind cellar door experience.

Throughout the day, event attendees will be able to explore wines from different regions, enjoy fantastic food and wine pairings, great live music, and participate in blind tasting seminars throughout the day. . .


NZ risks missing golden ag future

April 8, 2014

New Zealand risks missing ’a golden opportunity’ to grow its agricultural sector, and addressing this will require a coordinated, joint approach from across the sector, a new report on the competitiveness of New Zealand agribusiness has warned.

Agriculture in Focus 2014: Competitive Challenges, by agricultural banking specialist Rabobank, says New Zealand agribusiness is facing mounting competitive threats throughout the supply chain, which require concerted and aligned action from industry and government.

The report, which jointly examines New Zealand and Australia’s agribusiness sectors, identifies six key challenges affecting the competitiveness of the countries’ food and agribusiness industries, which are increasingly coming under threat from a growing group of highly-resourceful international competitors, including countries in South America, Eastern Europe and even Asia.

The report says the critical areas, which need to be addressed as a matter of priority are:

• rising production costs both on-farm and beyond farmgate

• international market access

• logistics infrastructure (in)efficiencies

• regulatory pressures

• capital constraints and

• product innovation and development.

A change in government would aggravate most if not all of these.

Rabobank general manager Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory Luke Chandler says “while the rising demand growth for food from Asia remains a golden opportunity, New Zealand and Australia both risk missing the boat without a more co-ordinated effort from industry and government” to address the factors which threaten to impact both countries’ future competitiveness in world export markets.

“While the competiveness of New Zealand’s food and agricultural sectors has generally compared favourably in a global context in the past, this situation is far from static,” he says.

“Many of New Zealand’s competitors in agricultural markets around the world are
investing heavily and becoming much more productive, and this is very much raising the bar for New Zealand’s agricultural industries.”

Mr Chandler says food and agriculture is becoming the subject of increased focus from governments around the world as the challenge of meeting the food needs of a growing and wealthier global population places pressure on farming enterprises.

“However, we need to realise that New Zealand is not the only agricultural exporter looking to capture this increasing demand,” he says. “Over the past decade highly-resourceful developing countries have begun to assume a greater role in the global export trade of food and agriculture products.

“The potential of countries in South America and Eastern Europe is obvious, but even some major food-importing countries and regions, such as China and the ASEAN-5 nations are playing a greater role in shaping the export landscape.”

Some of these countries don’t have our high standards for food quality and safety and environmental practices.

That means we face higher costs but also gives us a marketing opportunity.

As opportunities to boost direct on-farm cost competitiveness become harder to realise for New Zealand, the report says, the nation’s food and agribusiness sector must look to broader factors to maintain its competitive edge.

Regulatory pressures – New Zealand dairy The report notes other determinants of growth and prosperity for agriculture include the sector’s ability to deal with regulatory pressures.

As a case in point, it says, New Zealand’s dairy industry needs to increasingly deal with significantly heightened environmental regulation, both current and pending.

“New Zealand’s milk production growth is likely to be constrained over the next five years relative to the 2008 to 2013 growth period as the ability to change land use will become more difficult and expensive,” the report says.

“The future growth of the New Zealand dairy industry will party depend on how efficiently producers adapt production systems to meet heightened environmental controls. This will require even closer engagement locally with regulators and the wider community, alongside a rigorous programme of measuring, monitoring and mitigating environmental impacts.”

Capital constraints – sheepmeat

The growing need for new capital to rationalise and revitalise industry supply chains is another priority in lifting the competitiveness of New Zealand’s agricultural sector, the report says.

Ready access to efficient investment capital is critical to driving the pursuit of scale, infrastructure investment and the adoption of new technologies which act to support competitiveness across the agribusiness sector, it says.

“In recent times a lack of investment capital has been a particularly pressing issue affecting the competitiveness of the New Zealand sheepmeat sector,” Mr Chandler says.

“Investment, whether local and/or foreign, is clearly required to improve efficiencies and productivity downstream in the supply chain. With the sheep flock halving since 1990, the adjustment of both processing capacity and capability has not kept pace and is consequently impacting returns.”

With the two major meat companies being co-operatives there’s not a lot of opportunity for foreign investment.

‘Road map’ forward

Mr Chandler says that while the solution to the competitive challenges to New Zealand agriculture does not lie in any one direction, there is a ‘road map’ that can guide industries to build a more competitive and sustainable base for the sector into the future.

“While some competitive factors such as exchange rates and wage costs are beyond the sector’s control, many other issues can be successfully addressed through the concerted and coordinated action of industry and government institutions,” he says.

“There is no question that a food and agriculture sector that has better access to global markets, ready access to capital, more efficient logistics infrastructure, higher value product and processes, a highly sustainable environmental impact, and more affordable production inputs will be better placed to capture the ‘Asian dining boom’.”

Agriculture in Focus 2014: Competitive Challenges is the first in a series of reports Rabobank will release examining the issues impacting the agricultural sector along the supply chain.

The world has a growing demand for protein.

Our climate gives us a natural advantage for producing that through converting grass to milk and meat.

Other countries which have similar advantages don’t all have our stable political and economic conditions nor our high standards in production and processing.

The challenge is to make the most of these to compete on quality where we can’t compete on price.

That doesn’t mean it’s not important to also keep costs down in all areas, including those imposed on us by local and central government.

Agriculture is making a major contribution to the economic recovery. We need to make sure we don’t miss the opportunity that will ensure it continues to do that.


Rural round-up

February 19, 2013

Better Lake Rotorua = Farmers + Community + Councils:

A “third way” to better water quality is the promise of the Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective signed between Federated Farmers, Te Arawa and councils.
“The positive reaction has been pretty amazing,” says Neil Heather, Federated Farmers Rotorua/Taupo provincial president.

“This is the application of a Land and Water Partnership type approach at a local level.

“Despite one academic taking a pot shot, most Kiwis will see farmers and landowners working hard with regulators to improve what is our lake too. . .

A telling quote about co-ops – Milking on the Moove:

“There seemed little room for entrepreneurial creativity; virtually every decision was politicized.  The most politically active members controlled the co-op with the own personal agendas, and much more energy was focused on deciding which companies to boycott than on how to improve the quality of products and services for customers.  I thought I could create a better store than any of the co-ops I belonged to, and decided to become an entrepreneur to prove it.”

This  quote is from Whole Foods CEO John Mckey. The quote is from his recent book Conscious Capitalism and Forbes has run an article about John and his book, which I found interesting.

John was a hippy in the 60s and 70s and was involved in a commune and various food co-ops.

It appears he became disillusioned with the co-ops and started his own natural food store which grew to be the now famous Whole Foods Market. . .

Failure a huge spur as record-breaking shearer faces biggest challenge

Tackling the biggest job of your life might not be the best time to talk about failures.

But that’s not the way for Te Kuiti shearer Stacey Te Huia who on Tuesday tackles possibly the greatest shearing record of them all, hoping to shear more than 721 strongwool ewes in nine hours in a remote a King Country woolshed.

The record has not been tried by any other shearer in the six years since it was set by Southern Hawke’s Bay shearing ironman Rodney Sutton.

Tuesday’s bid will be a at Te Hape B, east of Benneydale on SH30 between Te Kuiti and Taupo, and will start at 5am and end at 5pm, including meal and smoko breaks). . .

Gang of four rips through record – Terri Russell:

A lively crowd of about 800 people cheered as four shearers, two from Southland, set a world shearing record near Mossburn yesterday.

Invercargill shearer Leon Samuels, Ohai’s Eru Weeds – who battled on despite being injured – and North Island shearers John Kirkpatrick and James Mack, shore 2556 sheep in eight hours.

The gang set the record in the previously unattempted Heiniger four-stand crossbred lamb eight-hour event. They shore the sheep in four two-hour runs.

The final countdown was heated, as the crowd screamed and shearers sweated it out. Some members of the crowd also performed a surprise haka to the shearers when they finished shearing. . . .

‘Wiggy’ working to better his skills – Sally Rae:

Meet Wiggy from Wales.

Paul ”Wiggy” Davies has been in North Otago working for shearing contractor Owen Rowland, having met Mr Rowland when he was over shearing in Wales.

Mr Davies (27), who had been shearing with former Oamaru man Grant Rowland, now living in Wales, wanted to improve his shearing. . .

Downright ‘grumpy’ over schedule – Rob Tipa:

NEW Zealand meat companies really should listen to their suppliers, because there are some very frustrated, disillusioned and downright grumpy sheep farmers out there.

And with good reason. Those who have withstood the financial pressures experienced by the meat industry in recent years are survivors who deserve a medal for their enduring loyalty to their respective meat processors.

They have listened patiently to promises of greater co-operation between meat companies in one meat industry review after another going back decades.

When the tide turned on low sheepmeat prices in the last couple of seasons, farmers were rewarded for their loyalty with record returns of an average $117 a head for lambs in 2010/11 and $113 a head in 2011/12. . .

Rabobank strengthens NZ research division – new animal proteins analyst appointed:

Rabobank’s Food and Agribusiness Research & Advisory division has announced the appointment of its new animal proteins analyst for New Zealand, Matt Costello.

Rabobank’s head of Food and Agribusiness Research & Advisory Luke Chandler said Mr Costello – who has strong experience as a researcher in the meat industry – was an excellent addition to the bank’s New Zealand food and agribusiness research team, joining senior analyst Hayley Moynihan, who specialises in the dairy sector.

“We’re pleased to welcome Matt into our team here at Rabobank and I am confident his strong background in the animal proteins sector will be a great asset to help further support our clients in this industry in New Zealand,” Mr Chandler said. . .


Rabobank forecasts agflation

September 25, 2012

Drought in the USA, Russia and South America is contributing to higher prices for agricultural commodities.

Skyrocketing agricultural commodity prices are causing the world to re-enter a period of “agflation”, with food prices forecast to reach record highs in 2013 and to continue to rise well into Q3 2013. Unlike the staple grain shortage 2008, this year’s scarcity will affect feed intensive crops with serious repercussions for the animal protein and dairy industries, according to Rabobank.

Luke Chandler Global Head of Agri Commodity Markets Research at Rabobank commented, “The impact on the poorest consumers should be reduced this time around, as purchasers are able to switch consumption from animal protein back towards staple grains like rice and wheat.

These commodities are currently 30 per cent cheaper than their 2008 peaks. Nonetheless, price rises are likely to stall the long-term trend towards higher protein diets in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. In developed economies – especially the US and Europe –where meat and corn price elasticity is low, the knock-on effect of high grain prices will be felt for some time to come.”

Due to the long production cycles of the animal protein and dairy industries, the affects of grains shortages will be more sustained as herds (especially cattle) take longer to rebuild, maintaining upward pressure on food prices. However, food makes up a smaller proportion of budget spend in such countries, so the current period of agflation should not lead to the unrest witnessed in response to the shortage in 2008.

Rabobank estimates that the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Food Price Index will rise by 15 per cent by the end of June 2013. In order for demand rationing to take place, in turn encouraging a supply response, prices will need to stay high. As such Rabobank expects prices – particularly for grains and oilseeds – to remain at elevated levels for at least the next 12 months.

Most of our meat and milk producing herds are free range which means we ought to benefit from increased prices for our produce without them being offset by significant increases in the cost of feed.

Whilst the impact of higher food prices should be reduced by favourable macroeconomic fundamentals (low growth, lower oil prices, weak consumer confidence and a depreciated US dollar); interventionist government policies could exacerbate the issue. Stockpiling and export bans are a distinct possibility in 2012/13 as governments seek to protect domestic consumers from increasing food prices. Increased government intervention will likely encourage further increases in world commodity and food prices.

Rabobank expects that localised efforts to increase stockpiles will prove counterproductive at the global level, with those countries least able to pay higher prices likely to see greater moves in domestic food price inflation. This is a vicious circle, with governments committing to domestic stockpiling and other interventionist measures earlier than usual—recognising the risk of being left out as exportable stocks decline further.

On top of that, Rabobank warns that global food stocks have not been replenished since 2008, leaving the market without any buffer to adverse growing conditions. Efforts by governments to rebuild stocks are likely to add to food prices and take supplies off the market at a time when they are most needed.

That sounds like another argument for free trade.


Rural round-up

June 20, 2012

Beefing up the research team at Rabobank:

Rabobank Australia & New Zealand has announced the appointment of Sarah Sivyer as the senior animal proteins analyst in its Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory (FAR) division.

Ms Sivyer will undertake high quality research of the animal proteins sector – beef, sheepmeat and pork– supporting Rabobank’s analysis of key markets in the food and agricultural sectors in the region.

Announcing the new appointment, Rabobank general manager for the bank’s Food and Agribusiness Research & Advisory division Luke Chandler said Sarah would be a valuable asset to the research team given her experience across a range of agricultural industries.

“Not only has Sarah been involved with the hands-on and strategic running of her family cattle property, she has also built a career working with leading global agricultural companies, which gives her an excellent foundation for her role at Rabobank,” Mr Chandler said. . .

Beef + Lamb NZ supports wool innovation:

Funds left over from wool levies collected by Meat & Wool New Zealand – now Beef + Lamb New Zealand -have supported the development of a new fabric that blends waste rice straw and New Zealand strong wool.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Operating Officer, Cros Spooner welcomed the innovation from Wellington company,  The Formary, the same company that transformed Starbucks coffee sacks into upholstery fabric for the coffee chain’s furniture.

“The Formary and Managing Director Bernadette Casey have made some valuable contacts in China which produces about two hundred million tonnes of rice a year. This makes vast amounts of waste rice straw and this latest innovation uses the waste rice straw and blends it with 29 micron wool to make upholstery weight fabric. . .

Milking the carbon question – Dr Jon Hauser:

This month I have been asked to comment on the dreaded carbon tax and associated government policy. It is a massive question and the Australian government is pouring an enormous amount of taxpayer’s time and money into the issue. This article provides a perspective on what is it all about and what it means for Australian dairy farmers.

Why is carbon a problem?

Many would say that the climate change is the underpinning driver for the carbon tax and associated government policy changes. Depending on your viewpoint climate change issue is either (a) a fiction and a conspiracy propagated by scientists and other political and economic opportunists (b) it is real but a natural climate cycle outside our control (c) a man-made phenomenon arising from our consumption and emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses. Irrespective of your personal view, governments around the world are taking option (c) very seriously. At an international level co-operation and direct action to reduce CO2 and the associated climate effect remains patchy. There is none-the-less a consensus that something should be done to reduce the rate of increase of greenhouse gas emissions and work towards a net reduction. . .

Top price for Gimmerburn bull – Sally Rae:

Maniototo stud cattle breeder Bev Helm was thrilled to    achieve the top price at the South Island Shorthorn sale in Temuka.   

 Rough Ridge Primo 1004 sold for $10,200 to Bill Callwood, of      Northland. It was also the top-priced Shorthorn bull in New  Zealand this year.   

 Mrs Helm, who farms at Gimmerburn with her husband Malcolm      and their three children, was “absolutely stoked” with the result. . .

Sainsbury cadets visits Alliance :

Representatives from one of the UK’s major supermarkets have gone behind the scenes at Alliance Group.   

      Two cadets from Sainsbury’s have been visiting the meat  company to gain an insight into the industry including meat processing, research and development and livestock procurement.   

  Lisa Quinn, of Ireland, and Mark Chaddock, of Manchester, were in New Zealand as part of the supermarket’s six-week Taste the World programme, in which students worked with Sainsbury’s suppliers and partners around the world. . .

Grass growth key to farm improvement – Sally Rae:

It is all about grass. Forget the stock, or even yourself –      Farmax Ltd general manager Gavin McEwen reckons the biggest asset a farmer has on their farm is the ability to grow      grass.   

 Farmax, which is 50% owned by AgResearch, specialises in decision support systems for pastoral farming enterprises.   

 Mr McEwen gave an address entitled “Converting Pasture Into Profit” during the recent PGG Wrightson seminar series at  Waimate.   

  New Zealand was very good at producing protein, particularly safe, reliable high quality animal protein, he said. . .

RX Plastics launches major product innovation at Fieldays:

This year’s Mystery Creek Fieldays was the platform for New Zealand pipe and irrigation specialists RX Plastics to launch their biggest range of pipe fittings yet for the farm irrigation market.

The result of a year’s worth of research and development time, prototyping and tooling up, the injection moulded range is glass reinforced nylon, and will firmly cement the company’s position as New Zealand’s premier fittings manufacturer and distributor.

According to industrial designer and project engineer, Chris Clay, this is the first time in the company’s history that such a major product development process has been undertaken. . .


Rural round-up

February 12, 2012

Sheep and beef under threat from too much grass – Allan Barber:

This season’s excessive grass growth throughout the country except for Otago and Southland has generally been a cause for celebration among sheep and beef farmers, happy not to have to worry about drought and ecstatic about livestock prices.

But this may be a two-edged sword, in the first place for those farmers seeking replacement stock for whom the store market is too hot, and secondly for all those with problems controlling their grass, including both those who are reluctant to pay the going rate as well as the ones who have a straight numbers shortage.

It will also be a problem for meat companies chasing lower livestock volumes and being forced to take part in a procurement war – not desirable – or stay out of the market – equally or even more undesirable. . .

Highland breeders encourage others–  Sally Rae:

Grant and Cathy Watts are keen to encourage others to get involved in showing Highland cattle.   

Mr and Mrs Watts, who have been breeding the hairy beasts since 1999, will be exhibiting at the national South Island Highland cattle show in Oamaru.   

The show is being held in conjunction with the North Otago A and P show on February 25 and exhibitors from Southland to  South Canterbury will be attending with their prize cattle beasts . . .

Life on land change of tune – Sally Rae:

Australian sheep classer Gordon McMaster could have taken a      very different career path – if it had not been for his father.   

While known internationally for his involvement with merino sheep and kelpie dogs, it was music that was his first love and he nearly became a professional musician.   

As a lad, Mr McMaster (75) reached the finals of the      Australian amateur drumming championships and he was offered a position in a band in Sydney.   

But when the young Gordon came home from school and told his      father, he was told, in no uncertain terms, that no son of  his would be a professional musician. . .

A golden year for ENZAFOODS:

New Zealand’s largest apple processing company, ENZAFOODS is celebrating a special year of production, marking 50 golden years in business.

As the New Zealand apple season kicks off, ENZAFOODS will officially open its new $4 million processing line at its Hastings factory, which has been purpose built to produce premium fruit products and will create dozens up to 30 new jobs.

ENZAFOODS is now injecting an estimated $40 million into the economies of Hawke’s Bay and Nelson and providing more profitable contracts to growers for second grade fruit. . .

Rabobank appionts new head of Food & Agri research:

Rabobank has announced the appointment of Luke Chandler to the position of general manager of its Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory division in New Zealand and Australia.

Mr Chandler has returned from a three-year posting in Rabobank’s London office, establishing and heading the bank’s global Agri Commodity Markets Research team, to take on the new appointment.

Mr Chandler will also retain his international role as global head of Agri Commodity Markets Research, responsible for managing the bank’s analysis and outlook for the world’s major agri commodities markets. . .

Conference a huge learning opportunity:

Dairy farmers are invited to participate in the NZ Dairy Business Conference, the 43rd annual event hosted by the New Zealand Large Herds Association and farm nutrition company Altum.

Chairman of the NZ Large Herds Association Bryan Beeston is encouraging dairy farmers to visit the dairy research and development capital of New Zealand where delegates will have a chance to see the nation’s top scientists at work in their world-leading research centres.

“It’s an opportunity to see innovation as it happens, with Fonterra making a rare decision to allow delegates a glimpse behind the scenes at its Palmerston North based research centre,”says Bryan. . .

Maker of women’s farm gear lookign to expand:

A women’s farmwear manufacturer hopes to grow the business both in New Zealand and overseas by expanding her product range.

Zanux founder Zane Miltona studied fashion in London before moving to a New Zealand farm four years ago.

Ms Miltona says she soon realised there was no fashionable farmwear available for women, so she began designing her own overalls and has developed a design that means she’s able to go to the bathroom without having to remove all the garment. . .

NZ capability in fresh produce on show in Germany:

New Zealand has a unique opportunity to showcase its strengths and secure new business at the world’s largest fresh produce trade event being held in Germany this week.

Each year Fruit Logistica, taking place in Berlin from 8 – 10 February, attracts more than 2,400 companies and 50,000 visitors from all parts of the world’s fresh produce value chain.

New Zealand companies exhibiting in 2012 include Plant & Food Research, Enzafruit, Zespri, BBC Technologies, Wyma Solutions, Fresh Appeal and Compac Sorting Equipment, with a range of other individuals and representatives also heading to Berlin. . .

Dairying with resilience: Dairy Women’s Networkconference:

Helping dairying women along their journeys toward developing dairy businesses in the face of challenges is one of the main themes of this year’s Dairy Women’s Network annual conference.

The conference will be held at Rotorua’s Millennium Hotel on 21 and 22 March.

The 2012 conference theme is ‘Dairying with Resilience’ and much of the programme is aimed at inspiring women and giving them the necessary tools to be resilient at home and on the farm.

Kicking off the conference is keynote speaker, Sarah Kennedy, CEO of RD1 – the Network’s new, exclusive sponsor of its Regional Groups. Sarah will talk about her journey into industry leadership and what it takes to achieve positions of influence.


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