Rural round-up

January 1, 2017

New Govt passing up prime opportunity for rural development:

The evidence this new Government will be no friend to farmers continues to stack up, National’s Primary Industry spokesperson Nathan Guy says.

“During Question Time yesterday, I asked Regional Development Minister Shane Jones whether his $1 billion fund will support regional water storage and irrigation projects that can grow jobs and exports, and enhance the environment.

“Alarmingly, all he could say was that the final criteria for this fund is yet to be determined. . . 

Expanding global production set to increase competition in animal proteins sector in 2018:

Animal protein production is expected to expand around the world in 2018 increasing both trade competition and competition between different meat types, according to a new industry report from agricultural banking specialist Rabobank.

Rabobank’s Global Outlook for animal protein in 2018 says production increases are likely in most regions with Brazil, China and the US expected to record particularly strong production growth. In New Zealand, beef and sheepmeat production is forecast to remain similar to 2017 levels.

The report says beef and pork will be the strongest contributors to global animal protein expansion – with global beef production projected to increase for a third consecutive year in 2018, and a further year of significant growth in pork production anticipated. . . 

CPTPP to the rescue – Allan Barber:

This is truly the age of acronyms – TPP morphed into TPP11 which has now added a couple of initials while actually shrinking in scope from its original intent. But unlikely as it has seemed at several points along its tortuous journey, the mother of all trade deals, or maybe now the stepmother, is still alive in spite of Trump’s and Trudeau’s unsubtle efforts to hijack it.

My major concern before the APEC meeting in Vietnam was the strong possibility the new government would withdraw from TPP11 as it sought to renegotiate the Investor State Dispute Settlement and foreign investment clauses, when all the other signatories were willing to accept them. I freely admit I was wrong to underestimate Labour’s commitment to free trade, while overestimating the influence of New Zealand First. In the lead up to the election all the signs pointed the opposite way, while the concession extracted by Winston Peters to pursue a trade agreement with Russia provided further evidence TPP and its successors may no longer be at the front of the queue. . . 

Beef + Lamb studies threat posed by alternative proteins, considers how to respond – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Beef + Lamb New Zealand is carrying out consumer research into alternative proteins in China and San Francisco in response to the rise of the rival products and wants to report back to the sector before the end of the year.

“What we have discovered is that for better or worse alternative protein is here. We are not seeing it as a replacement for now, but we are definitely seeing it as an alternative for certain types of consumers. The consumer research that we doing is to understand who those consumers are and what’s driving that behaviour,” Damien Cullinan, market innovation manager for Beef + Lamb, told BusinessDesk. . . 

New app to bring in water allowance sharing – Tracy Neal:

Farmers and growers in Marlborough will soon have use of an online tool that tells them how much water they can use on a given day.

The council is grappling with an increasing strain on water supplies, with projections for demand and the effects of climate change showing it is likely to get worse.

A new cloud-based digital system, from which users will be able to download information to a portable device, was presented to councillors at a meeting in Blenheim yesterday.

Gerald Hope of the council’s environment committee said the tool would allow real-time information that would lead to better use of water. . . 

New Zealand farmers and growers welcome EU glyphosate decision:

New Zealand farmers and growers welcome an EU majority decision backing a five-year extension to glyphosate’s licence, which was due to expire next month.

Glyphosate, a herbicide widely-used in agriculture and by gardeners, is “an efficient and cost-effective means to keeping our agricultural economy growing, our environment protected, and our country weed-free,” says Agcarm chief executive Mark Ross.

“The decision is good news for farmers as they won’t be forced to find an alternative solution for use on exports,” adds Ross. . . 

$21 million Government & dairy research collaboration to improve waterways:

The dairy sector welcomes the Government’s announcement today that it will invest alongside farmers in a seven-year $21 million research partnership that will boost the current effort to clean up rural waterways.

Minister of Business, Innovation and Employment, Dr Megan Woods, confirmed today MBIE will provide $8.4 million towards the project which aims to tackle the difficult nitrogen leaching question, nitrogen being one of the nutrients impacting water quality.

A further $11.5 million will be invested by dairy farmers through the levy they pay to DairyNZ, with additional funding support to make up the $21 million coming from CRV Ambreed and Fonterra. . . 

How NZ ag can stop getting beaten up –  St John Craner :

NZ Ag is always on the back foot. Despite the rhetoric from leaders in industry about how we need to tell our story better, we continue to be out-gunned by lobby groups like SAFE, PETA and Greenpeace. Whether it’s bobby calves, PKE, dirty dairying or most recently false free-range eggs, we’re always playing a defensive position that risks our social licence to operate.

NZ Ag could learn from those brands that have had the foresight and planning to build a strong equity. SouthWest airlines is a great example. When 9/11 occurred they were inundated with customers sending them cheques because they were worried about their viability. This was because their customer base had a fond affection for them and what they stood for: everyone has a democratic right to fly. When the botulism scare kicked in for Fonterra they found they had few friends. GSK’s Ribena got caught out after its false claims of Vitamin C was unearthed by two 14 year old school girls from Auckland. I doubt they’ve ever restored consumers’ trust. . .

NZ structural log prices rise to 24-year high, A-grade export logs hit record – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand structural log prices rose to the highest level in 24 years and A-grade export logs hit a record as local mills compete with the export market to secure supply for the domestic construction market amid strong demand from China.

The price for structural S1 logs increased to $130 a tonne this month, from $128 a tonne last month, marking the highest level since 1993, according to AgriHQ’s monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers. Export log prices lifted between $2-to-$5 a tonne for the majority of grades, with the price for A-Grade logs touching $128 a tonne, up from $127 a tonne last month and the highest level since AgriHQ began collecting the data in 2008.. . .

Jason Minkhorst to join Ballance Agri-Nutrients:

Senior Fonterra executive, Jason Minkhorst, has been confirmed as General Manager Sales for Ballance Agri-Nutrients, joining the farmer-owned Co-operative in early March 2018.

Jason is currently Director Farm Source Stores of Fonterra’s rural retail business, Farm Source, and has extensive commercial experience from more than 15 years in senior executive and governance roles in the dairy sector.

Ballance CEO, Mark Wynne, says Jason’s deep knowledge of agri-business and genuine passion for the primary sector will be hugely valuable as Ballance focuses on the changing needs of New Zealand farmers and growers – providing tailored nutrients and advisory services, backed by the best science and technology. . . 


Rural round-up

April 29, 2016

Trade negotiations like water dripping on a stone – Allan Barber:

Before he left for China last week, New Zealand’s Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, Mike Petersen, gave me his thoughts on the process of trade negotiation and a brief list of successes he has been involved with since 2003. At that time he was Chairman of Meat & Wool NZ as it was called in those days.

During that 13 year period New Zealand has signed free trade deals with Taiwan, China, ASEAN which comprises 12 countries and at long last South Korea, not to forget the TPPA. No wonder he called trade negotiations ‘like water dripping on a stone.’ Signing FTAs is never quick and demands a huge amount of manpower, preparation, patience and recognition no country ever gets everything it wants.

The reaction to the TPPA, not only here, but also in other signatory countries, notably the USA, indicates a growing feeling of disaffection with free trade deals because of the perceived loss of sovereignty they entail, including domestic employment opportunities, and conversely the benefits to big business. . .

Food ‘knowledge gap’ creates dangers for farmers:

Does a cow need to have a calf to give milk?

The answer should be obvious, but more than 70% of consumers get the question wrong explains University of Guelph associate professor Mike Von Massow. A majority of Canadians also believe that a chicken is processed for meat when it reaches four years of age.

Von Massow shared these findings from his research on consumer perceptions of food at the Farm & Food Care Ontario annual meeting earlier this month. While many of the findings are troubling for agriculture there is also reason to be optimistic. “Consumers feel pretty good about the food they eat in Canada. Generally they believe they have safe, healthy food and they trust farmers,” says Massow. . .

Tribal councils appeal farmers’ discharge consents – John Gibb:

A decision by independent commissioners to grant a consent for a North Otago farmer from 2020 to discharge nitrogen from three farms on to land ‘‘in a manner that may enter groundwater” has been appealed to the Environment Court.

The consent application from Borst Holdings Ltd was the first to be made under Otago’s new 6A water plan change, which concerns itself with the amount of nitrogen being released into the area’s rivers.

The consent for the Borst farms, near the Kakanui River, was granted for 15 years starting from April 1, 2020. . . 

Dairy farmers will pay for next five years say John Mulvany:

MURRAY Goulburn has sheltered farmers from the real global milk price and they’re going to pay for five years, according to a leading consultant.

Gippsland-based consultant John Mulvany said the effect of the overpayment for milk in 2015-16 will result in the deduction of the equivalent of 24 cents a kilogram of milk solids from milk supply during the next three years, or $36,000 a year for a 150,000kg/MS farm, to pay back for this season’s mistake.

“The late notification is absolutely inexcusable,” he said.

“It is not fair to the MG field staff who, until mid-December, were issuing income estimates with three step-ups leading to a milk price over $6 a kilogram of milk solids. . . 

Sweet opportunities in honey industry for locals:

Today marks the first day of work for 11 Work and Income clients, who will be developing Northland College’s mānuka plantation site.

30 hectares of mānuka will be initially planted on Northland College land – an initiative that provides current and future employment opportunities for Kaikohe people.

The Northland College Mānuka Initiative stems from the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan which identifies 58 actions for stimulating the Northland economy. . . 

Horticulture Welcomes Dam Progress:

Horticulture New Zealand has welcomed the announcement of the progress made in funding for the Ruataniwha Dam project in Hawke’s Bay.

The horticulture industry is reliant on sensible management of freshwater in New Zealand and the provision of water for future generations of primary sector business is essential.

“This will see the number of growers increase, and this in turn will improve the sustainability of the proposal,” HortNZ natural resources and environment manager Chris Keenan says. . . 

Expect more gains in nutrient management says Ballance:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients is confident that Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord targets around nutrient data collection and efficiency reporting will continue to lift as more farmers understand the direct benefits to their farms and their OVERSEER® nutrient budgets.

Commenting on the release of Accord results yesterday, Ballance CEO Mark Wynne said that while results had fallen short of targets for nutrient management data and the reporting back of nutrient efficiency information, good progress is being made.

The target is for all dairy farms to provide quality nutrient management data. Progress is currently sitting at 75 percent, up from 56 percent last year. . . 

New online financial problem-solving platform for farmers: ASK Crowe Horwath:

Earlier this month accounting and business advisory firm Crowe Horwath announced the launch of the online platform, ASK Crowe Horwath.

ASK Crowe Horwath, an obligation-free, online financial problem-solving service allows questions to be posed by New Zealand agribusinesses and individuals that are then answered by Crowe Horwath advisors – ‘get a real answer from a real advisor’ is indeed the tagline of the platform.

There are no boundaries to the questions that can be asked, with rural professionals covering the full spectrum of financial services. . .

Debbie Kelliher's photo.


Rural round-up

March 8, 2016

Embrace change Ballance CEO says – Sally Rae:

Agriculture has to ‘‘sell itself to New Zealand”.

That is the strong belief of Ballance Agri-Nutrients chief executive Mark Wynne, who cited a generation of people with no rural connections.

The sector – which was the foundation of New Zealand’s wealth – had to keep promoting its good stories, he said. . . 

$2m fertiliser plant opens near Timaru – Sally Rae:

More than $2million has been invested at Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ Washdyke site with the official opening of a specialist PhaSedN fertiliser manufacturing plant.

Timaru Mayor Damon Odey and Ballance chief executive Mark Wynne attended the opening, along with local farmers.

The plant was developed in partnership with Te Poi Manufacturing Ltd. It was expected to initially produce about 10,000 tonnes annually with capacity to build production as demand grew. . .

Landcorp to scale back Wairakei dairy conversion – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Landcorp Farming, the state-owned farmer, confirmed it will scale back the conversion of former forestry land to dairy farming on leased land at the Wairakei Estate north of Taupo following a slump in milk prices and concern about the environmental impact.

New Zealand’s largest corporate farmer “will significantly reduce dairy’s footprint from the original plans and instead include alternative uses for the 14,500 hectares of former forestry land it leases from Wairakei Pastoral,” the Wellington-based company said in a statement.

Landcorp has a 40-year lease to develop and farm the former forestry land, and since 2004 has developed 13 dairy farms with 17,000 cows over 6,400 hectares of the property. A new land-use model will see the eventual number of dairy farms and cows on the Wairakei Estate significantly reduced from the 39 originally planned, it said today. . . 

Industry group well advanced on bobby calf initiatives:

The eight organisations that formed a Bobby Calf Action Group at the end of 2015 are well advanced on a range of initiatives ensuring best practice handling and management of bobby calves.

The group is DairyNZ, Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand, Meat Industry Association, Federated Farmers, New Zealand Petfood Manufacturers Association, Road Transport Forum, New Zealand Veterinary Association and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Scott Gallacher, MPI Deputy Director General Regulation and Assurance, said a number of the initiatives being worked on were new, other initiatives were already underway but were being accelerated. . . 

Seeka commits to a new HQ and major infrastructure development to handle growing kiwifruit processing demand:

Seeka Kiwifruit Industries (NZX-SEK) will move into its new headquarters in Te Puke by the middle of this year and plans to make it a centre of excellence for its produce and grower-focused business, says Chief Executive Michael Franks.

“Our new HQ will reflect our focus on the crops we and our growers produce, and the harvest and post-harvest value chain,” said Mr Franks.

The move is part of this year’s planned capital expenditure of $20 million to develop new infrastructure to handle increasing kiwifruit volumes. . . 

Manawatu Dairy Awards Winners Look for New Opportunities:

The 2016 Manawatu Dairy Industry Awards big winner, Stephen Shailer, is on the hunt for a new dairy farm position and hopes his win will help his progress.

Mr Shailer won the 2016 Manawatu Share Farmer of the Year title and $10,450 in prizes at the region’s awards dinner held at Awapuni Racecourse last night. The other major winners were Renae Flett, the 2016 Manawatu Dairy Manager of the Year, and Karl Wood, the 2016 Manawatu Dairy Trainee of the Year.

“We entered the awards for the first time this year as we are hoping to move to a 50:50 sharemilking position or lease farm, so we entered in an effort to make our CV stand out a bit more,” Mr Shailer says. “We also wanted to push ourselves to identify our own strong and weak points.” . . .


Rural round-up

July 21, 2015

Farmers And Forest & Bird Unite to Explain 1080 Facts:

The Pest Control Education Trust, a joint Federated Farmers and Forest & Bird initiative, today released ‘1080: The Facts’, a resource created to increase public understanding of 1080 and how it is used.

The fact sheet is an illustrated, easy-to-read rundown on which predators are targeted by 1080 and the native species that benefit from its use, and how using 1080 prevents the spread of bovine tuberculosis. It also outlines the precautions taken to ensure 1080 operations are safe.

Federated Farmers National Board Member and a Trustee of the Pest Control Education Trust (PCET) Chris Allen says the fact sheet has been produced in response to strong public demand for accessible, factual, summary information about 1080 and its use. . .

Open Country dairy slashes milk price forecast – Andrea Fox:

New Zealand’s second biggest milk processor Open Country Dairy has slashed its milk payout forecast by more than $1kg for the season as industry pessimism deepens about the multi-billion dollar dairy sector’s earnings outlook.

Open Country had until last week been forecasting a milk payment of $4.75-4.95kg milksolids to its around 700 national supplier farmers. 

Now it has told its farmers to instead bank on $3.65-$3.95kg. . .  

Partnership Helps to Set New Zealand Beef Apart From the Competition:

A partnership between Beef + Lamb New Zealand and a restaurant chain in Taiwan is helping to open consumers’ eyes to the nutritional benefits of grass-fed New Zealand beef.

New Zealand product makes up more than 80 per cent of the beef dishes offered on Royal Host’s menu.

The chain has 14 locations across Taiwan and caters for family dining in particular. Vice President Shirley Huang says local diners put a premium on safe, quality food, so Royal Host values that New Zealand beef is such a positive option. “In our menus, we include images of cows grazing peacefully on open pasture. New Zealand grass-fed beef is low in fat and has lower cholesterol.” . .

 

A2 shares fall as investors weigh up funding needs – Paul McBeth:

 (BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk Co shares fell to a three-week low as investors weighed up the company’s funding needs after the board turned down a potential offer from cornerstone shareholder Freedom Foods Group and US food and beverage firm Dean Foods.

The shares fell as low as 70 cents in morning trading on the NZX, and were 6.5 percent to 72 cents shortly before midday. A2 today said it told Freedom and Dean Foods the expression of interest wasn’t compelling enough to get a board recommendation if a formal bid was made, though was open to talking with the suitors. It has also attracted other potential bidders and is evaluating them. . .

Major Revamp of Dairy Awards:

The most significant changes in the history of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards have been made to enhance the competitions and enable more dairy farm workers to enter the awards programme.

Awards Executive Chairman Gavin Roden says he is excited about the changes that have been made to all three of the awards competitions.

“As an executive we had identified for a few years that there were a lot of people that couldn’t enter our awards because of the changing face of the industry and employment,” Mr Roden says. . .

Worker participation key to future safety:

After months of industry consultation, the forest industry has a new safety body – the Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC). Most importantly, there has been practical input from experienced forest contractors from on the forest floor and workers with experience at the bushline.

Some simple questions and answers may help explain how FISC will work:

Q: Who decided forestry needs a safety council?

A: The independent forest safety review team was not satisfied that people on the forest floor had a voice in making workplaces safer. Following the review and its recommendations, FICA has worked with forest owners and managers to put in place this new group. It will focus on safety using incident information reported by people working at the bushline to identify work areas. . .

 

Farmers get online survey option:

Farmers are for the first time this month completing their annual Agricultural Production Survey online.

Every year Statistics New Zealand surveys about 30,000 farmers about their land, livestock and crops, and farming practices.

This week farmers can start filling in their online survey forms, once they’ve received details in the post.

The survey measures changes in the sector, and is used for planning and forecasting. Farmers can use survey results on the Statistics NZ website to keep track of trends and make changes in their businesses. . .

 

Ballance appoints General Manager Sales:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients has appointed Campbell Parker as General Manager Sales.

Campbell will join the co-operative in October, following a successful banking career, including leadership of BNZ’s Partners Network and a track record in rural lending.

Ballance CEO Mark Wynne says Campbell combines sales leadership experience with a strong understanding and connection with the agri-business sector. . .

Bayer Central Otago Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015 announced:

Congratulations to Mike Winter from Amisfield who has just become the Bayer Central Otago Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015 and now goes through to the National Final. After a challenging day of activities on Friday at the Central Otago Polytechnic, the contestants’ final task was to deliver a speech at the Annual Winemakers Feraud dinner on Saturday night at Northburn.

It was a very close competition with Annabel Bulk taking 2nd place and Cliff Wickham coming 3rd, both from Felton Road Vineyard. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

May 22, 2015

Breaking down NZ fences – Lindy Nelson:

From dairy to red meat, New Zealand agribusiness is undergoing a profound transformation. The expanding markets of Asia bring both new opportunities as well as challenges.

To extract the maximum value from these opportunities the sector needs an injection of new ideas and perspectives and to engage 100 per cent of its available talent. One of the ways this is happening is the emergence of more women in leadership roles.

From boardrooms to the management of New Zealand’s top agribusinesses, women are stepping into roles not traditionally held in our sector. . . .

INZ supportive of budget 2015 allocation to freshwater management:

Irrigation New Zealand supports the government’s budget allocation to assisting councils with the implementation of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management and the 2014 National Objectives Framework, and to supporting a new collaborative approach to resolving managing freshwater.

“This will help water policy evolve into even more practical, precise and workable terms and will hopefully make the consenting and regulatory process around water storage and irrigation infrastructure development less costly and lengthy,” says Mr Curtis. “It will also give more recognition to the collaborative processes which are already happening in water catchments about future infrastructure development. . .

Plea to promote good employers:

A rural recruitment specialist says the farming sector should be identifying and celebrating good employers, not naming and shaming the bad ones.

This week Council of Trade Union president, Helen Kelly, has been tweeting links to farm ads which she says are for jobs paying below the minimum wage – and sometimes even below $13 an hour.

John Fegan has been a rural recruitment and HR specialist in the Waikato region for more than 20 years and while he agrees there are bad employers out there, he does not agree with what Helen Kelly is doing.

Mr Fegan believes a system which highlights farmers who have good employment standards is the best way to go about bringing change. . .

Ballance makes key leadership appointments:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients has announced the appointment of two general managers as well as appointments to new roles in strategy and agricultural technology.

Chief Executive Mark Wynne said the appointments were aligned with a revised focus for the co-operative on driving value for shareholders from its core fertiliser business, building the capability of its people, and making smarter use of data and technology to support better decision making both within the company and on the farm. . .

 

Low payout, smarter herd management:

“If you want to get the best out of your farming business when payout is low, you need to have the right tools.”

That’s the view of Drury-based dairy farmer Sue Dyer, who recently presented at a series of workshops run by CRV Ambreed to teach farmers how technology can be better used to achieve their herd improvement goals.

Dyer said dairy farmers spend too much time on administration and managing their herd information, and when time is money, farmers have to make a considered decision about the products and services they use and how they use them. . .

Danielle Nierenberg's photo.


Rural round-up

November 30, 2014

New Glenavy Dairy Factory Officially Opened:

Leading global dairy company, Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group (Yili), today officially opened its $236 million Oceania Dairy factory in Glenavy, South Canterbury.

Yili also confirmed plans to invest a further $400 million in the South Canterbury factory over the next five years, increasing its total investment to in excess of $600 million.

Yili is China’s largest dairy company and one of the top ten dairy companies in the world. Oceania Dairy Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary.

The first stage of the Glenavy factory was completed in September and the factory is in its first full season of production. . .

 NZ secondary schools eye agribusiness subjects to bolster industry –  Tina Morrison:

New Zealand secondary schools are trialling an agribusiness programme which aims to feed more students into tertiary study to provide future talent for the industry.

Some 48 students trialled a pilot curriculum at St Paul’s Collegiate School in Hamilton this year with another 85 signed up for next year, the school said in a statement. Seven other schools throughout the country have joined the project and will offer the subject in 2016, with the new subject expected to be available to all secondary schools by 2017, it said. . .

Feed to farmers faster:

SealesWinslow is celebrating as its $10 million upgrade to get feed to farmers faster nears completion. The investment has predominantly focused on its Morrinsville feedmill and distribution centre, officially opened last week, and includes improvements to its counterpart facilities in Ashburton and Wanganui.

The wholly-owned subsidiary of Ballance Agri-Nutrients, SealesWinslow has made the investment to lift its service and manufacturing and distribution capabilities to better meet the needs of its customers.

Speaking at the official opening at Morrinsville, Ballance Chief Executive Mark Wynne said the investment was another way the co-operative was supporting farmers to lift production and productivity. . .

Karaka 2015 Handbook & IPad Catalogue Available Now:

The Karaka 2015 Handbook is online now for New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sales Series, as well as the catalogue being loaded on to the free iPad application.

Designed as your ‘go-to’ guide for all things Karaka, the Karaka 2015 Handbook contains detailed information that will make your trip to Karaka in January a breeze.

The Handbook contains all the information you will need to make your selection process a breeze from vendor information and sire previews, to bonus schemes, Karaka Million information, highlight lots and past successes. . .

Figured and LIC Announce Partnership:

Strategic partnership to deliver integrated technology solution to farmers

Figured, (www.figured.com), New Zealand’s innovative farm financial management software provider, and farmer-owned co-operative LIC (NZX:LIC) today announced a new strategic partnership combining LIC’s leading position in the herd improvement industry with Figured’s expertise in cloud-based farm accounting. LIC has also invested in Figured to secure a cornerstone shareholding, with an 18.8% equity stake, and an LIC director will also sit on the board.

“The partnership with LIC is an important endorsement of our vision of improving the business of farming. Our proven innovation in farm accounting and early market traction provides a compelling proposition for LIC,” said Paul Reid, Chief Executive of Figured. “By offering farm accounting in a cloud-based platform we enable the whole farming team to work together to monitor, re-plan and review financial performance and improve farm profit in real-time from any location.” . .

 


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