Rural round-up

May 16, 2017

Three Years On and more progress by dairy farmers:

Greenie groups who seek to bolster their fundraising campaigns by using dairy farmers as their favourite target need to read the Water Accord report released today.

Federated Farmers Dairy Industry chairman Andrew Hoggard says the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord ‘Three Years On’ report underlines how seriously dairy farmers take their environmental responsibilities.

“None of us are claiming we’re perfect, or that there is no problem with dairy’s impact on waterways. But the latest report shows the strenuous and ongoing efforts the vast majority of dairy farmers are making to lessen their environmental footprint,” Mr Hoggard says.

The level of compliance for dairy effluent systems is at its highest ever, at a shade under 95 percent. . .

Latest Water Accord update shows good environmental progress by farmers:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the latest progress report of the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord project, showing dairy farmers have now fenced off over 97 per cent of waterways.

“The Water Accord is a voluntary project led by the industry to improve farming practices and water quality. This Year Three update shows a range of targets have been achieved, including stock exclusion from 26,197 km of measured waterways which is the equivalent of Auckland to Chicago and back again,” says Mr Guy.

“99.4 per cent of regular stock crossing points on dairy farms now have bridges or culverts to protect local water quality, and over 10 million dollars has been spent on environmental stewardship and farmer support programmes. . . 

Climate change report indicates challenges for NZ agriculture – Allan Barber:

GLOBE-NZ, a group of 35 MPs from all the main parties, has released a report by UK firm Vivid Economics which lays out various scenarios for New Zealand to meet the target of zero emissions by 2050. Business New Zealand and the Sustainable Business Council have both welcomed the cross party initiative, saying it gives confidence there will be collective and coordinated action towards meeting the target. It will also help to achieve commitments under the 2030 Paris climate change agreement to reduce emissions to 20% below the 2005 level.

The report, Net Zero in New Zealand, acknowledges this country’s unique characteristics: a significant amount of renewable energy, large share of land sector emissions (i.e. methane from sheep and cattle) and a large forestry sector. . . 

Waikato farmers launch innovative health and safety app:

Waikato farmers have developed an innovative app that aims help farmers meet their health and safety obligations and streamline communication to those who come to farm.

Husband and wife Horsham Downs dairy farmers Megan Owen and Jason Ham teamed up with Hamilton-based tech company Bridge Point to create the cloud-based app Orange Cross, which launched in late 2016.

Orange Cross will be showcased at the Innovation Centre at Fieldays from June 14-17. . . 

Feds’ keen to improve awareness with stock management on roads:

Federated Farmers is looking forward to working with Marlborough District Council on building more awareness and good practices around stock movement on local roads.

This follows a recent review of the council’s Traffic Bylaw which found current guidelines as being sufficiently “practical and enforceable”.

“It’s very pleasing to see the council have taken on board our feedback and listened to the local community,” says Sharon Parkes, Federated Farmers’ Marlborough Provincial President.

“Many farmers rely on the ability to use public roads in rural areas to move stock between different parts of their farming operations, while clear, workable bylaws assist everyone in their application and use. . . 

Forestry Training and Success Celebrated in the South:

Last Friday saw an outstanding turnout by local forestry companies, contractors and transport operators from throughout the lower South Island of New Zealand. The function was the 2017 Southern Wood Council Forestry Awards.

The Council, representing all major forest owners and most of the major wood processing companies in Otago and Southland ran the 2017 Awards programme in conjunction with the country’s industry training organisation, Competenz. . . 

High producing contract vineyard placed on the market for sale:

A boutique highly productive vineyard supplying grapes to one New Zealand’s largest contract winemakers has been placed on the market for sale.

Zaccarat Vineyard in Renwick on the outskirts of Blenheim consists of some eight hectares of grape plantings – encompassing 6.55 hectares of sauvignon blanc vines and 1.43 hectares of pinot noir. . . 


Rural round-up

September 21, 2016

Improved dairy sector expectations see New Zealand farmer confidence surge higher:

Results at a Glance

· Overall confidence in the agricultural economy has improved considerably from the previous quarter

· Farmers’ expectations for their own business performance also improved, driven by sizeable improvement in expectations among dairy farmers

· While overall confidence was up among all sectors, sheep and beef farmers registered small decline in expectations of their own business performance

· Horticulturalists’ business performance expectations also fell, but remain at elevated levels

· Farm business investment intentions remained stable. . . 

Young role model inspires primary sector job seekers – Gerard Hutching:

Ellie Cranswick knew New Zealand was different to the United Kingdom the moment she saw drench being advertised on TV.

She noticed on arrival that there were a number of differences between the two agricultural industries, from the end markets, to the genetics, to systems used.

Originally from Dorset, 27-year-old Cranswick now has her red bands firmly grounded in New Zealand soil after five years in the country. . .

Changing agri-food perspectives – Keith Woodford:

When I was an undergraduate back in the 1960s – in some ways it seems just yesterday – the dominant agricultural paradigms were about farm production and management.  As students, we learned nothing about marketing. And when marketing did come in vogue in the following decades, the dominant perspective was that marketing was what happened at the end rather than the beginning of the agri-food chain.

To a considerable extent, that perspective of a value chain that starts with production still survives within our animal-based agricultural industries. In contrast, the plant-based industries have been more successful in making the transition to a consumer-led position. And that may well be why, in an evolving world, our horticultural industries are currently succeeding where our traditional pastoral industries are currently struggling.

Our three big plant industries that are leading the way are viticulture, kiwifruit and apples. And then there are some other such as cherries which are also making good progress, plus seed crops such as carrots. . . 

Hope wallaby tracks ‘isolated incident’ – Lynda van Kempen:

The spread of wallabies is a serious concern and the last thing Otago needs is another destructive animal pest, a regional council director says.

Otago Regional Council environmental monitoring and operations director Scott MacLean, commenting about wallaby tracks being found at Galloway, near Alexandra, recently, said the council was treating the sighting seriously.

“Given that at this stage, only wallaby sign was sighted, I would like to think, and certainly hope, that this is an isolated incident. . . 

$3.1m funding for climate change projects:

Primary Industries Ministers Nathan Guy and Jo Goodhew have welcomed $3.1 million in new funding for 13 climate change research projects in the agriculture and forestry sectors.

The grants were announced today by the Ministry for Primary Industries through the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change (SLMACC) research programme.

“This funding plays an important part in helping our primary industries prepare for the future challenges of climate change,” says Mr Guy.

“$935,000 is being invested in three projects to analyse soil carbon on hill country farms and under irrigation systems. . . 

Mighty mite makes easy meal of Marlborough broom – Mike Watson:

A tiny insect with a big appetite is making short work of invasive scotch broom plants in dry areas around Marlborough.

The broom gall mite was released by the Marlborough District Council biosecurity team into an area south of Blenheim in 2011.

In the past five years, the biocontrol agent has been spread by wind to surrounding farmland on the Redwood Pass and Dashwood Pass. . . 

Using wood fuel is heating up:

With the continual growth in the use of wood fuel for heating the Bioenergy Association is increasing its support for wood fuelled heat plant operators and maintenance staff, helping plant owners improve the performance of their plant and encourage others to move from coal to wood fuel.

“The amount of wood fuel replacing coal is growing each year and we want to ensure heat plant operating and maintenance staff are well supported,” says the Association’s Executive Officer Brian Cox.

The Bioenergy Association is holding a forum for heat plant owners, operators and maintenance staff in Christchurch on 27 September. . . 

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Rural round-up

July 28, 2016

NZer Matt Smith breaks world shearing record:

New Zealander Matt Smith has broken one of the biggest world records in shearing sports in England overnight.

He smashed the world solo nine-hours ewe shearing record with a new tally of 731 in the first global shearing record attempted in the Northern Hemisphere.

The previous record of 721 had stood for more than nine years since being shorn by Hawke’s Bay shearer Rodney Sutton in 2007.. . 

Farm survey shows confidence subdued but steady:

Farmer confidence has picked up slightly since surveyed last in January but remains weak, according to Federated Farmers’ July 2016 Farm Confidence Survey.

The survey was conducted immediately after the Brexit decision and this appears to have dampened farmer confidence in the global market, on top of their existing concerns about the domestic scene, president of Federated Farmers Dr William Rolleston says.

“The strength of the global economy, post Brexit, is weighing heavily on farmers’ expectations. . . 

Leading Kiwi farmers join global master class on fact-finding mission to Zambia:

Six New Zealanders were among a select group of 20 leading farmers from around the world to recently attend a Rabobank Global Farmers Master Class in Zambia.

The week-long education program – which comprised alumni of previous Rabobank Global Master Class events held around the world – brought together farmers from nine key food and agriculture-producing countries to observe the potential of the Zambian agricultural sector and to discuss the challenges facing local producers. The program saw participants visit a range of agricultural operations in Zambia’s Lusaka and Mkushi regions and hear from a number of key Zambian agriculture industry participants. . .

Challenges as Marlborough wine industry booms  Shannon Redstall:

Wine production in Marlborough is tipped to increase by 25 percent over the next five years so industry leaders are meeting to today to plan for the future.

The movers and shakers of the Marlborough wine industry are holding a meeting today to discuss the future of one of the country’s biggest exports.

Results from the recent Marlborough Labour Market Survey, a joint initiative by Wine Marlborough, New Zealand Winegrowers and Marlborough District Council, show the industry is rapidly expanding. . .

Predator-Free New Zealand Critical to Dairy Industry:

Fonterra has welcomed the Government’s goal of New Zealand becoming predator free by 2050.

“This is a hugely significant goal, and one that the dairy industry shares,” said Carolyn Mortland, Fonterra’s Director of Social Responsibility.

“A predator free New Zealand would have significant benefits for New Zealand’s environment as well as help with animal TB eradication.”

TB and other diseases carried by possums and rats carry a high on-going cost to farmers, as well as to dairy companies investing in pest control for the protection of production facilities. . . 

Allied Farmers shares jump 16% on earnings upgrade – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Allied Farmers shares jumped 16 percent after the rural services firm gave a rosier view on annual earnings due to a better than expected performance from its livestock division.

The Hawera-based company said pre-tax profit was between $1.4 million and $1.6 million in the year ended June 30, up from $1.11 million a year earlier. The final result will be released on by Aug. 29. The shares climbed 0.7 of a cent to 5 cents, valuing the company at $8.3 million.

“A large portion of NZ Farmers Livestock’s income is budgeted to be received in May each year, due to the timing of dairy herd sales,” chairman Garry Bluett said. “ . .

 


Rural round-up

July 5, 2016

The Snow Farmer – John Lee of the Cardrona Valley – Beattie’s Book BLog:

The Snow Farmer

John Lee of the Cardrona Valley
Sally Rae
Photographs by Stephen Jaquiery
Published by Random House NZ; July 1, 2016; RRP: $50

“John’s story is one to inspire others. It’s a story of a man with a vision, and the strength of personality and the strong relationships with others to make it happen. It’s a Kiwi story of grit and determination of which we can all be proud.” –

Helen Clark, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand (1999-2008).

John Lee has always been a law unto himself. Entrepreneurial, inventive, determined, he hailed from a farming background in the Cardrona Valley; the third of five boys. Schooled in Oamaru, the young John Lee was no fan of the classroom – he was good at maths, but struggled with words– preferring to spend his time dreaming about the day he would farm in his beloved Cardrona Valley. . . .

Fed Farmers launch new sustainability scheme:

An initiative aimed at directing farmers towards sustainable use of land and water has been launched by Federated Farmers.

The farming lobby group’s president Dr William Rolleston, announced the establishment of the Land Water Stewardship initiative at its conference this morning.

Dr Rolleston said the initiative would be a small group that would work together to propose solutions to take the economy and the environment forward and engage with farmers . . .

‘Best in the world’ fruit in demand – Jill Herron:

The Cromwell Basin is now producing around half of New Zealand’s export cherries and they are “the best in the world”.

Quite a claim, but one that can be confidently made, in relation to the Asian palate anyway, newly-elected chairman of Summerfruit NZ, Tim Jones, says.

“We think they are the best in the world and our market is telling us they are. That’s one of the reasons we can charge up to $25 a kg, because we deliver on the promise that when someone over there lifts the lid on a box of our cherries, they will go wow.”

Cherry plantings around Cromwell had expanded in recent years, mainly into the Mount Pisa area, as the Southeast Asian markets developed, Mr Jones said. . . 

Silver Fern confident – Sally Rae:

September 30 has been agreed in principle by Silver Fern Farms and Shanghai Maling as the revised date to meet Overseas Investment Office approval for their joint venture.

SFF has been awaiting an announcement from the OIO since farmer shareholders voted in favour of the deal last October.

More time was needed to answer the further information requests from the OIO and then to provide sufficient time for the OIO and then Government ministers to consider the application.

SFF continued to believe the investment would be approved “given its substantial merits”, chief executive Dean Hamilton said in a statement. . . 

Waterways project wins environment funding:

Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox have announced more than $376,000 of funding to improve water quality in seven waterways in the Manawatū-Whanganui and Taranaki regions.

Local iwi Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi will lead the Te Kāhui o Rauru Trust’s Waterways Restoration Project, working with both local and central government.

“The Government is committed to improving water quality in the Manawatū-Whanganui and Taranaki regions. This initiative is focused on the Kai Iwi, Ototoka and Ōkehu streams, the Waitōtara riverbank, Tapuarau Lagoon, the middle reaches of the Waitōtara River and the Whenuakura River,” Dr Smith says.

“Te Kāhui o Rauru Trust clearly understands the issues in these waterways and its project offers realistic, achievable objectives. It has focused clearly on protecting and restoring the seven waterways and moreover has recognised the need to develop ways to monitor the ongoing health of these rivers, lagoon and streams.” . . 

Marlborough Sounds Salmon Working Group to be established:

The Marlborough District Council and the Ministry for Primary Industries will establish a Marlborough Sounds Salmon Working Group to consider options to implement the Best Management Practice Guidelines for Salmon Farming in the Marlborough Sounds (the guidelines). Other agencies that will have input into the process include the Department of Conservation and the Ministry for the Environment.

The working group will meet starting in July and provide recommendations to Marlborough District Council and the Government on implementing the guidelines.

Ministry for Primary Industries Deputy Director General Ben Dalton said the public, the council, government and industry have shown a commitment to implement the guidelines. . . 

Guy attending primary sector leaders’ bootcamp:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy departs for Stanford University today to attend a primary sector leaders bootcamp, focused on developing collaboration and innovation. 

“The week-long conference is part of the Te Hono movement, bringing together Chief Executives and leaders with a vison to accelerate the transformation of the primary sector by adding value and creating demand,” says Mr Guy.

“As a Government we have a goal of doubling the value of primary sector exports by 2025 and sector leaders share our ambition to explore new ways of collaboration and building capability in our people. . . 

10 Reasons Why Kids Brought Up in Agriculture Make the Best Employees – Raised in a Barn:

Kids involved in agriculture are truly one of a kind. They possess a unique skill set unlike anyone else. For the record, there are more than 10 reasons why you should hire an ag kid, but here are some of the best and most important reasons why ag kids make the best employees.

  1. They understand the importance of being on time.

For Ag kids they know that time is of the essence and wasting daylight is not an option. Even if your five minutes late feeding that show lamb, it will notice. You can expect us to be 15 minutes early because that’s what we’ve learned from our time at the barn.

  1. Respect is something they value more than anything.

They have worked hard in the show ring to be well-respected so they understand that respect isn’t something that’s given it’s EARNED. FFA taught them to, “…believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others.” . . .

 


Rural round-up

March 15, 2016

What’s all this crying over spilled milk? New Zealand’s dairy crisis explained – Richard Meadows:

The dairy industry is constantly in the headlines lately – for all the wrong reasons.

Milk prices are going down the gurgler, and farmers are really starting to feel the pain.

Dairy is such a huge part of the economy that townies can’t help but be swept up in this too.

If you haven’t been following the issue closely, here’s an overview of what’s going on. . . 

Dairy industry marshalling its resources:

Dairy industry leaders are marshalling their collective resources to ensure a united approach to supporting farmers in the wake of a record low Farmgate Milk Price.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says the industry’s leaders including dairy company chairs and chief executives and Federated Farmers’ dairy section have met over the past month to discuss the serious situation and considered joint actions and options for support.

The DairyNZ board also meets this week and will discuss further options. “We’ll be talking through and reviewing our plan as an industry,” he says. . . 

NZ calf prices hit record high as demand soars amid supply shortage – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Prices for weaned calves at the start of the new sales season in New Zealand are hitting record highs amid increased demand and lower supply.

Sales of six-month-old weaner steers and heifers this month at Stortford Lodge in Hastings, an early benchmark ahead of the peak sales period in April, rose between 17 and 29 percent on 2015, which was itself at record levels, according to AgriHQ. Weaner sales generally finish early May.

Farmers who shed stock ahead of summer last year on concern about the impact of a dry El Nino weather pattern were now seeking to restock as rain in many areas through January stimulated pasture growth. Meanwhile, farmers who had previously provided grazing support to the dairy industry are now looking for other sources of income such as fattening weaners as dairy farmers look to rein on costs. . . 

Fonterra and foresight – Robert Hickson:

I can’t help thinking whether Fonterra, and NZ’s dairy industry, would be in a better position now if they’d devoted some (more) resources to strategic foresight. They may have, but it isn’t evident so far.

What is “strategic foresight”, and what, if anything, is it good for?

Strategic foresight, which is being used increasingly now in the private sector rather than simply “futures”, is about linking foresight activities (scanning for trends and weak signals, scenarios, visioning exercises, etc) with strategy formulation and execution.

Strategic foresight needs to ask and answer the “So what?” questions, and identify actions to address anticipated challenges and opportunities. The organisation then deliberatively chooses to undertake them, or not. . . 

Marlborough wine industry needs more workers to sustain rapid growth – Oliver Lewis:

More labour and accommodation is needed to service the Marlborough wine industry, which is predicted to grow by a quarter over the next five years, a new report shows.

The Marlborough Labour Market Survey, released on Monday, was organised by Wine Marlborough, in collaboration with New Zealand Winegrowers, the Marlborough District Council and Seasonal Solutions Co-operative Limited.

The purpose of the report, the first of its kind, is to get a comprehensive picture of the wine industry and its plans moving forward, to be able to plan for future labour requirements. . . 

Applications open for leading farm business management program:

Applications are open for the 2016 Rabobank Executive Development Program, tailored for progressive farmers to develop and enhance their business management skills.

Now in its 18th year, more than 500 New Zealand and Australian farmers have graduated from the intensive two-week program, which covers all aspects of business management including strategic goal setting, negotiation, risk management, leadership and technology.

Announcing the opening of applications, Rabobank general manager Country Banking New Zealand Hayley Moynihan said “interest in the program was perhaps stronger than ever, even taking into account the current downturn in the dairy industry”. . . .

NZ’s most tender and tasty lamb named at the Glammies:

The Gardyne family’s Perendale from Central Otago has been named the most tender and tasty lamb in New Zealand at the Glammies – the Beef + Lamb NZ Golden Lamb Awards – over the weekend.

The competition received a total of 173 entries which were subject to stringent scientific testing at Carne Technologies.

Following this process, the top 20 finalists were then tasted at the Grand Final judging at the Wanaka show. . . 

Manawatu and Rangitikei farmers have a fun day to help keep blues away – Jill Galloway:

Manawatu and Rangitikei farmers kept the blues away by attending a stress-free Rural Family After Five event.

About 200 people attended the evening event at the Te Kawau Memorial Recreation Centre this week at Rongota.

Parents talked and enjoyed a steak and sausage sandwich, while children slid on a water slide in an old fashioned get together with tug-of-war, touch rugby and a bouncy castle.

“When the kids are happy the parents can cope,” said a rural woman. . . 

 EPA Fines Wyoming Man $16 Million for Building a Pond on His Property – S. Noble:

Farmers and ranchers call the EPA’s new water rule the biggest land grab in the history of the world. It is a massive land grab, especially in a country that has been built on the right to own property. The administration is changing all that.

A new oppressive water rule gives the EPA jurisdiction over all public and private streams in the United States that are “intermittent, seasonal and rain-dependent.” It will regulate what are normal daily ranching and farming practices and take control of their land.

According to congressional budget testimony, waters of the United States would give the EPA authority over streams on private property even when the water beds have been dry, in some cases, for hundreds of years. . . 

 


Rural round-up

March 14, 2016

Shearers sharing their skills – Sally Rae:

Ryan MacLean came to New Zealand last year “to learn how to shear a sheep and grow grass”.

The young Scotsman arrived in October to work for a Napier-based shearing contractor before heading south in January to work for Warren White, of Waimate Shearing.

From a sheep and beef farm, Mr MacLean (20) has always wanted to be a farmer and he also enjoyed shearing.

The aim of his New Zealand trip was to increase his tally. . . 

Why farmers pay higher interest on loans – Stephen Franks:

Specialist farm lending can be very profitable. Competition does not seem to wipe out the premium farmers tend to pay compared to other mortgage lending. It has puzzled economists from time to time.

Andrew Little’s stupid threats reported on Stuff this morning remind me why good farmers pay too much for their mortgages. I suspect he has just helped ensure more years of super-profits for farm lenders.

I’ve seen no recent study, but the farm sector interest margin was estimated to average over half a percent over many years when I was a lawyer for various farm financing institutions and a director of Wrightson and its finance company arm. . . 

Fonterra ‘needs to be good corporate citizen’ – agribusiness professor:

Waikato University professor of agribusiness Jacqueline Rowarth says farmers are concerned about the way Fonterra is treating the suppliers. Prof Rowarth says the farmers want their co-operative to be a good corporate citizen.

There have been suggestions that by cutting supply costs, Fonterra will be able to fund additional interest-free loans for farmers.

“This is ridiculous. Farmers do not want an interest-free loan,” says Prof Rowarth. “They want Fonterra to do a good job as a corporate citizen, as a marketing and processing arm, for its good product.” . . 

No Bailouts – Offsetting Behaviour:

Low dairy prices bite harder in New Zealand than elsewhere; dairy is a bigger part of our economy than it is elsewhere.

And so pressure for bailouts is potentially larger here than elsewhere. And so today’s “Things I love about New Zealand”: our Finance Minister’s response to dairy prices: . . 

Riding the milk roller coaster:

Dairy farmers are being urged to take a second look at their budgets against the background of a plummeting payout.

Fonterra now is forecasting a $3.90 payout per kg of milksolids, $1.75 below the average cost of production, and there’s fears that next season may be just as bad.

Farmers, who have already gone through their budgets to make savings, are being urged to get together with one another and farm consultants, to see what else they can trim.

Dairy farmers who move now stand more of a chance of riding out the milk roller coaster’s latest descent further into the trough, said Hayden Dillon New Zealand’s head of corporate agribusiness for accounting and advisory firm Crowe Horwath. . .

Predicted Growth Will Provide Challenges for Marlborough Wine Industry:

The Marlborough wine industry is so optimistic about the future that predictions are for an increase in producing vineyards of nearly 25 percent in the next four years.

But with that growth will come challenges, according to a Wine Marlborough, New Zealand Winegrowers, and Marlborough District Council labour market survey.

Undertaken last year, the survey shows that the industry is set to grow by 6,444 hectares by 2019/2020. Currently Marlborough has a total production area of 23,619 hectares, the predicted growth will take those productive hectares up to 29,270 – a 24 percent increase. . . 

Fourth Grand Finalist Confirmed in FMG Young Farmer of the Year:

Tony Dowman is the fourth Grand Finalist to be named in the 2016 FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

Tony is a 30 year old Farm Business Manager who took first place at the East Coast Regional Final in Dannevirke on 12 March.

Mr Dowman went home with a prize pack worth over $10,000 including cash, scholarships and products and services from FMG, Massey University, Ravensdown, Meridian Energy, AGMARDT, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, STIHL and Vodafone. Tony also won the Massey University Agri-growth Challenge, Silver Fern Farms Agri-sports Challenge and the Ravensdown Agri-Skills Challenge.

The last time Tony competed in the Contest was in 2012. . . 


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