Rural round-up

August 28, 2011

There is a possibility that only people who come from farms will find this amusing – Laughy Kate:

I was having a drink with an old friend who was in town the other day. Today he’s a successful cameraman/producer with awards coming out his ears, but he started out earning a crust as a farm hand and a fencer before picking up a camera. And every once and a while we get reminded of this . . .

Rural women learn crucial skills – Jon Morgan:

As a farmer’s wife on rugged hill country near Taihape, raising three boys and involved with schools and the local community over the past 20 years, Nicki Duncan has had a busy life.

But always, niggling away at the back of her mind, has been a feeling of unfinished business.

She was brought up in Christchurch, the daughter of Pyne Gould Guinness trading director John Paterson, and after completing a commerce degree in Japanese and marketing worked in Japan teaching English and promoting New Zealand lamb.

First intake passes leadership scheme – Sally Rae:

Christine Angland encourages other women to become involved with the Agri-Women’s Development Trust’s Escalator course.

Mrs Angland, from Waipori Station, along with Dawn Sangster (Maniototo) and Andrea Shore (Clydevale), were among the 11 graduates of the inaugural programme which was aimed at developing rural leadership and governance skills in women . . .

Green Party’s irrigation charge policy ‘crazy’ ‘a joke’ – Lynda Van Kempen:

 The Green Party’s plans to charge for irrigation water would be a death blow for Central Otago if implemented, a farming accountant said yesterday.

Alexandra-based Ibbotson Cooney accountant George Collier said the Greens’ policy was “crazy”, while Central Otago Mayor and irrigation scheme manager Tony Lepper described it as “a joke”. . .

Cow pacifier benefits worth rising early to crow about – Sally Rae:

Some mornings, John Brown gets up at 5am to head out to North Otago dairy farms to demonstrate a tool to calm cattle.

Nothing unusual about that except, at 87, Mr Brown could be entitled to stay in bed a little longer. But he is passionate about the product . . .

Tour of UK proud time for shearer – Sally Rae:

Managing the New Zealand shearing team on its recent UK tour was a proud occasion for veteran South Otago shearer Bruce Walker.

Dion King and Rowland Smith, both from the North Island, ended the tour with a series-winning victory over Wales . . .

Converstion key to family succession – Mary Witsey:

Good communication is the key to successful farm succession – that and having a business that’s profitable enough to be passed on.

That was the message about 130 farmers heard at a Beef and Lamb NZ farm succession seminar this month, where a range of specialists outlined ways to hand on the family farm to the next generation . . .

Pioneer of pregnancy scanning –  Kirsty MacNicol:

 The man credited with being one of the first in the world to scan sheep for pregnancy on a commercial basis died this month. KIRSTY MacNICOL looks at the impact Richard Chantler had on farming in the south of New Zealand.

The 1980s in rural New Zealand was a tough time – the impact of Rogernomics and the removal of agricultural subsidies forced farmers to review the way they managed their properties. Animals had to be easy care; farming had to be low cost. To make it work, stock numbers per farmer virtually doubled.

In the sheep industry romney breeders had been the first out of the starting blocks in recognising their sheep had to be genetically more efficient in carrying out their natural functions . . .

Matarangi farms sell at bargain prices – Duncan Bridgeman:

Three farm blocks on the Coromandel Peninsula have been sold at a heavy discount to valuation as bankers try and recover loans to Matarangi properties that were once part of the Hanover (© Copyright Protected – The National Business Review 56) empire.

The three farms on State Highway 25 were owned by subsidiaries of Matarangi Beach Estates, which went into receivership in November 2010 . . .

Top fine wool scoured here – Hugh Stringleman:

What is believed to be the finest bale of wool ever scoured in New Zealand is yet unsold and intending buyers need to have mortgage-sized funding.

The tested 11.4 micron, 122kg greasy bale of microfine Forest Range Merino from Anna Emmerson’s Lindis Ridges property at Mayfield, Canterbury, was scoured last week by Canterbury Woolscourers in Timaru.

Until now, scouring of such valuable wool would have been done in China where almost all of NZ’s Merino goes for processing . . .

Venison and Velvet – quality products in demand – Tony Chaston:

The deer industry as a pastoral option has fallen out of favour for NZ farmers over the last few years with numbers falling from previous heady days when growth was rampant.

But what has been consistent all the way along, is the quality of the two main products and these two articles reinforce the prospects of future demand for this small industry . . .


Rural round-up

August 14, 2011

Quenching our thirst for water – Paul Callow:

Developing greater access to irrigation is critical to our economic prosperity and the private sector will likely play a big part.

New Zealand’s economy is heavily dependent on the agriculture sector for generating much of our wealth and wellbeing. The sector itself depends on a range of inputs, but by far the most important is water – you only have to look at the devastating effect recent droughts have had on dairy, lamb and beef production to realise just how important.

Interestingly, the problem is not that there isn’t enough water in an absolute sense; it is just that it often isn’t available in the right place at the right time . . .

NZ workers ‘lazy, unmotivated’: farmer – Sally Rae:

Productivity has soared since the Bloem family employed Filipino workers at its Highcliff piggery.

Long-time pig farmer Peter Bloem estimated his operation was producing an extra 1500 pigs a year from the same number of sows.

He had become frustrated with New Zealand workers who were “lazy, unmotivated and didn’t want to go the extra mile to learn anything”.

Training makes for better staff – Sally Rae:

When Brendan Morrison returned home to the family dairy farm in South Otago, his father encouraged him to do some further training.

Mr Morrison (22), who won this year’s Otago dairy trainee of the year in the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, has completed training with AgITO from levels 3 to 4 and is enrolled in the national certificate in agribusiness management, agribusiness resource management, level 5. . .

Arthur’s nearly 80 and still on the job – Sue Newman:

Arthur Maude might be close to 80, but he reckons that’s got nothing to do with his ability to work.
He still puts in a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay, ask his employers.
They can’t speak highly enough of the man who headed for the hills as a 17-year-old to begin a career as a high country musterer. They call him “a legend”.
That was decades ago, more decades than Arthur cares to count.
The years might have somehow ticked by, but time has done nothing to dull his energy or his enthusiasm for rural life. He’s a stockman through and through and can’t see any reason why he should hang up his boots and raincoat or retire his dogs. . .

Eastern promise for beef & lamb:

NEW ZEALAND’S sheep and beef farmers are set to reap the benefits of booming trade and tumbling tariffs on exports to China, says Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

Already, the China FTA is delivering annual tariff savings of nearly $25 million a year on sheep and beef exports of nearly $700m in 2010.

“Those volumes are trending upwards as China continues to develop rapidly, with a growing middle class population looking to increase protein consumption, and that includes our beef and lamb,” says BLNZ chief executive Scott Champion . . .

Fonterra, farmers blame retailers – Andrea Fox:

Fonterra farmers, fed up with being blamed for high milk prices, have turned the heat up on retailers, saying it’s time they explained their part in price setting.

The Fonterra Shareholders Council, which represents the interests of the big company’s 10,500 farmer owners, has urged Kiwis to consider the facts and figures around wholesale and retail milk prices.

Chairman Simon Couper said it will be clear neither farmers nor Fonterra are profiteering.

“Retailers owe New Zealanders a fair description of their part in taking wholesale priced milk to the consumer,” he said.

Dairy industry figures show the wholesale price of a litre of house brand milk in New Zealand is $1.11 . . .

Survey highlights effect of salmonella on sheep population –  Mary Witsey:

The preliminary results of the Southland Salmonella Brandenburg survey confirm the impact the infectious disease is having on the province’s sheep population.

Fifty-five Southland sheep farmers responded to the VetSouth survey, with almost one-third saying that their stock had been affected by the disease last season.

Thirty-eight per cent said their animals had suffered abortions last season, with 29 per cent attributing those losses to Salmonella Brandenburg . . .

Manager gets to know new patch – Mary Witsey:

Fonterra’s newly appointed Western Southland area manager is looking forward to meeting the dairy farmers in her patch.

Alana Tait has been on the road this month introducing herself to Fonterra suppliers around Western and Central Southland, as she settles into her new role.

No stranger to the district, she grew up in Central Southland and worked in the rural banking sector, and as a fertiliser field consultant, after completing a degree at the University of Otago . . .

Farmers forced to ride out currency, export volitility – Owen Hembry:

Volatility is a fact of life for exporters, says Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills.

Farmers had been looking with increasing concern at a rampant kiwi currency but the world had changed a lot in the past week and the dollar was down, which was useful, Wills said.

“I’m guessing we’re probably going to see commodity prices come back as well because the economies that we sell into are obviously now suffering some sort of contagion that they haven’t previously felt,” he said . . .

British heir sells off chunk of farm – Martin van Beynen:

British banking heir David de Rothschild has made a small gain on the sale of his Hickory Bay farm on Banks Peninsula.

The eco-adventurer and author had big plans for the property, but few appear to have come to fruition before he sold most of the farm in April to Ashburton company Hickory Bay Farm Ltd, shareholders of which include dairy farmer Keith Townshend, his wife Rosemary and Rachel and Kristin Savage.

Townshend bought 382 hectares of the 442ha property for $3.2 million. De Rothschild has retained a 60ha block, which has remnants of native bush . . .

Taipei Bloggers Create A Buzz Around New Zealand Beef:

Taiwan’s tastemakers are helping to set a new consumer trend for pure and natural New Zealand beef.

The local blogosphere is abuzz with appetizing photos and recipes singing the praises of our product, hailing it as delicious and nutritious.

The blogs follow three cooking class-style workshops hosted by Beef + Lamb New Zealand in a Taipei culinary school.

The industry-good organization invited 96 of the city’s young foodies to come along and learn about grass-fed beef, and have a go at cooking it for themselves. . .


Rural round-up

July 24, 2011

Interest in merino born in childhood – Sally Rae:

Jayne Rive attributes her love of merino sheep to growing up on remote Halfway Bay Station.

She and her five siblings were all involved in daily station life, including working with sheep, on the property on the western shores of Lake Wakatipu . . .

Stock judge wins national title – Sally Rae:

Olivia Ross proved she has an eye for stock when she won the New Zealand Young Farmers national stock judging competition.

A member of Nightcaps Young Farmers Club, Miss Ross (23) works as a field consultant for Outgro Bio Agricultural Ltd . . .

Fitting milestone as CRT cracks $1b – Sally Rae:

Rural servicing co-operative CRT has cracked the billion-dollar mark – reporting turnover of $1.092 billion and an operating surplus of $8.4 million in the year to March 31.

That was up from a turnover of $801 million and an operating surplus of $5.1 million in the previous year. . .

Well managed systems key to dairy success – Mary Witsey:

The most profitable dairy farms in Southland are those which are well managed.

That was the message the province’s dairy farmers heard from Dairy New Zealand senior economist Matthew Newman, who was in the south last week conducting seminars.

Regardless of the size of the herd, or whether it was a low, medium or a high-input production system, the most profitable farms were those that made the best use of resources on offer, Mr Newman said . . .

Warning on dire state of apple industry – Peter Watson:

Nelson’s apple growers are in such a dire state the region risks not having a viable export industry in five years, leading local businessman John Palmer warns.

Speaking at a Nelson-Tasman Chamber of Commerce luncheon yesterday, he said it had got to the stage where many orchards were more valuable without their trees and would be “less of a cash drain growing grass than growing apples”. . .

New Fonterra boss wants positive impact – Hugh Stringleman:

A Canadian will hand over management of Fonterra to a Dutchman at the end of September, which indicates that the skills needed to run New Zealand’s biggest company are more readily found offshore.

Theo Spierings, aged 46, has been appointed by the Fonterra board as the new chief executive to take over from Andrew Ferrier, who has held the job for eight years . . .

Welcome end in sight for forced farm sales – Tony Chaston:

Is this just real estate spin or is rural real estate on the move again and can we expect modest price rises based on stronger product prices and profits?

As reported earlier from the June real estate figures, more farms are being sold than last year, but at values last seen in 2004. The banks have signaled their intention to lend more on profits and less on land value, so if product prices continue, we can expect more sales. . .

Better information needed on farm technology – RadioNZ:

Pastoral Agriculture Professor Jacqueline Rowarth of Massey University thinks farmers are not being well served by some of the new technology they’re being urged to adopt, to lift production.

Professor Rowarth, who spoke at an Agricultural & Horticultural outlook summit this week, says New Zealand farmers are doing a good job of taking up new ideas. She says that’s clear from statistics which show  agriculture is one of the few sectors that continues to grow.

Market knowledge the key – Debbie Gregory:

KNOWLEDGE about commodity prices and markets helps farmers future-proof their businesses, says ANZ National Bank agri-economist Con Williams.

Speaking to farmers and others involved in the rural industry in Gisborne this week, he said commodity prices across the board had peaked and would soften, but should remain at a relatively high level compared with prices seen in the past.

“It’s not so much the level they have got to, it’s the speed they have got there,” he said . . .

Hat tip: Interest.Co.NZ


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