Rural round-up

22/02/2018

Ban kids from riding quad bikes RCH surgeon urges – Warwick Teague:

IN MY work as a surgeon and trauma prevention advocate, I see few better places to start saving lives than a ban on children getting on quad bikes.

This is a hard line, too hard for some, but I would challenge anyone — farmer, doctor, lawyer, voter, seller, buyer, parent or child to answer the question: How many more children do you think need to be injured on quad bikes before we say “Enough is enough”?

Since 2001, 42 Aussie kids aged under 16 have died from quad bike trauma. . .

Using technology to give farmers an eye in the sky:

Is there anything technology can’t do? It seems everyday something new pops up that makes our lives easier… and now one Taranaki dairy farmer has taken this to new heights, using a drone to get his cows in.

Hayden Fowles says it’s not just about getting the herd to the shed quicker, the drone also helps him keep his cows healthy.

“It gives me another pair of eyes. I can check for lameness and anything that might appear a bit odd sooner than I would if I was on foot or bike.”

Not only is the drone helping to keep his cows healthy, it’s also helping to improve his on-farm health and safety.

“It means a lot less time on and off the bike and I don’t need to go on to the steeper land.” . . 

NFU elects new officeholder team:

Minette Batters has been elected as the new President of the National Farmers’ Union.

Ms Batters, a beef farmer from Wiltshire, has been elected for a two-year term alongside Guy Smith as Deputy President and Stuart Roberts as Vice President.

The election took place after the AGM of the NFU Council, a representative body made up of its elected members, following the annual NFU Conference.

Ms Batters said: “I am delighted to have been elected as President of the NFU and I am grateful to all the members who have given me the opportunity to lead our industry through Brexit and beyond.

“At the heart of the NFU is its members and I would like the organisation to aim even higher on their behalf. British farming is in the spotlight like never before and this is a great opportunity to reposition the sector in the eyes of the nation. . . 

A2 Milk first-half profit soars 150%, aligns itself with Fonterra in new supply deal – Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk more than doubled first-half profit on strong infant formula sales and has aligned itself with Fonterra Cooperative Group which will see the two companies partner up on a range of products.

Net profit rose to $98.5 million in the six months ended Dec. 31 from $39.4 million a year earlier as sales climbed to $434.6 million from $256 million, Auckland-based, Sydney-headquartered a2 said. . . 

A2 shares soar 25%, making it NZ’s biggest listed company – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk Co shares jumped 25 percent, making the milk marketing firm New Zealand’s biggest listed company on a deal that will give it backing from Fonterra Cooperative Group.

The stock gained $2.31 to $11.60, valuing a2 Milk at $8.47 billion, toppling Auckland International Airport at $7.75 billion, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare at $7.37 billion and Meridian Energy at $7.29 billion. The spike underpinned the S&P/NZX 50 index, which gained 1.5 percent to 8,215.63 as at 2.35pm. . . 

No Change to Existing Synlait And A2 Milk Infant Formula Supply Arrangements:

Synlait Milk Limited and The a2 Milk Company Limited wish to clarify that the announcements made today by The a2 Milk Company and Fonterra do not change Synlait’s exclusive infant formula supply arrangements to The a2 Milk Company.

Synlait and The a2 Milk Company have an exclusive long-term supply agreement for the production of the a2 Platinum® infant formula range for China, Australia and New Zealand. . . 

Red Meat Sector welcomes release of the CPTPP text and National Interest Analysis:

The release of the text of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (CPTPP) and New Zealand’s National Interest Analysis represents important progress for trade leadership in the Asia-Pacific region, say the Meat Industry Association of New Zealand (MIA) and Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ).

‘CPTPP brings some of the largest and most dynamic economies in the Asia-Pacific together around a common goal’, says B+LNZ Chief Executive, Sam McIvor.

MIA Chief Executive, Tim Ritchie, said ‘This new agreement addresses concerns many New Zealanders had with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and is a deal that is good for trade and good for New Zealand.  . . 


Rural round-up

08/03/2016

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

13/08/2015

Strong outlook for primary sectors – Nathan Guy:

There’s been much talk about the dairy sector in recent days.

Last week, our largest dairy company Fonterra announced a new reduced forecast payout for farmers. This isn’t particularly surprising as it reflects the ongoing volatility in the international dairy price, but clearly it will have a significant impact on the dairy industry.

Times will be a bit tougher for dairy farmers over the next few months and it will have a flow-on impact in regional communities.

However, this volatility in dairy prices is expected to be short-term. The medium to long-term outlook for our dairy sector, and indeed all primary sectors, is very positive, and expected to grow by 17 per cent to more than $41 billion over the next four years. . .

 

Farmers to get higher wool price:

Marketing and sales company Wools of New Zealand has bumped up the price it’s offering farmers for lambs wool.

It will pay farmers a contract price of $7.50 per kilo for 28 micron to 31.5 micron lamb’s wool produced this season.

That is a 15 cent per kilo increase on the price it was offering at the beginning of July, which the farmer-owned company said reflected positive movements in the exchange rate, with a falling New Zealand dollar increasing export returns. . .

Hefty prices predicted for NZ beef:

 The Meat Industry Association says prices for New Zealand beef will be kept high, fuelled by Asia’s strong demand for protein.

Chief executive Tim Ritchie said although the United States, the country’s biggest beef market, was rebuilding its cattle herd numbers after drought, it too remained a very firm market and he expected it to stay that way for some time.

Mr Ritchie said the outlook for the country’s beef prices and exports was very positive, as many Asian countries were urging their people to eat more protein. . .

Milk payout cut undoes three years hard work – Sue O’Dowd:

Having to borrow back hundreds of thousands of dollars paid off their loan in the last 2½ years is leaving a Hawera couple bitterly disappointed.

Amanda and Bryce Savage, 50:50 sharemilkers on a 134ha farm for Maori incorporation Parininihi ki Waitotara, raised a loan to buy their first farm, a 74ha property near Stratford, in 2013.

Fonterra’s revised dairy payout of $3.85 kilogram milksolids (kg MS), down from $5.25, means they feel they’re going backwards because they’ll have to borrow back all the money they’ve repaid off that loan. . .

First Threatened Species Ambassador appointed:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has today announced New Zealand’s first Threatened Species Ambassador is Nicola Toki.

The Ambassador will be a high-profile role within the Department of Conservation for all of the country’s threatened species, working to build partnerships and encourage New Zealanders to become involved in conservation efforts.

“As a nation, we face a major battle to save our threatened species. Our unique native wildlife is besieged by introduced pests and other threats,” Ms Barry says. . .

Bluegreen programme of improved environmental management outlined:

A programme of stronger national direction and guidance on key environmental issues was announced today by Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith at the Environmental Defence Society’s conference in Auckland.

“A key problem with the Resource Management Act is that there has been too little central government direction on major issues. We are stepping up our programme of National Policy Statements, National Environmental Standards and national guidance to get better environmental results at less cost,” Dr Smith says.

Dr Smith today released the Ministries for the Environment and Primary Industries’ new guide on implementing the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. . .

Half Share for Sale in Large New Zealand Pastoral Farming Portfolio:

Half the shares in a large pastoral farming operation, New Zealand Pastures Ltd (NZP), are being offered for sale.

NZP is a private company that owns seven properties in Otago and Canterbury with a combined value over $100 million. Its portfolio comprises two partially irrigated and five dryland farms, ranging in size between 958ha and 7,533ha that have been predominantly managed as lamb and beef grazing and finishing units. Combined land area is 23,500ha with an assessed carrying capacity around 140,000 stock units. . .

BioGro Introduces New Organic Service:

BioGro Ltd, New Zealand’s leading organic certifier, has introduced a new Initial Contact Meeting service to help make it easier for anyone looking to ‘go organic.’

The Initial Contact Meetings are designed to inform and assist producers interested in organic production and certification.

Since the programme launched in November 2014, the meetings have proven popular with over 20 farmers and producers across New Zealand taking part so far. . .


Rural round-up

25/03/2014

Farmer confidence slips, but horticulture remains buoyant:

Results at a Glance
• New Zealand farmer confidence has edged lower this quarter.
• Less than half of farmers now think conditions will improve in the next 12 months.
• Horticulture producers are more optimistic than others, driven by a recovery in the kiwifruit industry and stronger prices.
• Investment intentions are currently stable, but may be impacted by the recent rise in the Official Cash Rate.
• New survey data shows a third of New Zealand farmers struggling to attract/retain labour.

New Zealand farmer sentiment has eased from last year’s highs, though remains at robust levels, the latest Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey has shown.

Sentiment among horticulture producers is stronger than in the broader farming community likely due to a recovery in the kiwifruit industry following the PSA outbreak and stronger prices. . .

Meat plants extend hours to meet demand – Rob Tipa:

Meat processing plants around the country have stepped up production and most plants are working full weeks and extended hours to meet market commitments.

The processing season started well with the national lamb kill hitting 4.6 million by the end of the December quarter, up 4 per cent on the previous year.

However, a cold, wet January in parts of the country meant lambs were slow to finish and the cumulative lamb kill for four months to the end of January was 6.9 million, down 5.8 per cent on the 7.3m lambs processed for the same period in 2012-13. . .

Trial site takes the biscuit – Tim Cronshaw:

A mixed picture has emerged of grain yields for autumn sown crops grown for research at Canterbury trial sites by the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR).

Autumn sown feed wheat yields of 10.5 tonnes a hectare this season are off the pace of the four-year average of 11.1t/ha.

However, some trial sites have performed better with feed and biscuit wheat yields above the long- term average at a dryland Chertsey site and at a dryland St Andrews site.

Research manager Rob Craigie said disease pressure appeared to have influenced yields for autumn- sown grain crops, but this was not widespread among the six Canterbury trial sites.

“We are back, but it’s kind of a mixed picture because some sites the yields have been good,” Craigie said. . .

Raw milk market revives faith in nutritious food – Lyn Webster:

I recently decided to advertise raw milk to gauge if there was any demand for the product locally.

I was pleasantly surprised when word quickly spread and I got a few phone calls from a tiny amount of advertising in the classifieds and on a Facebook local information site.

It was great to meet the people who bought the milk. In fact, they all became return customers, buying about 4 litres a week. I was struck by how happy and enthusiastic they were about its taste compared with the seemingly watered- down version you buy at the supermarket. Some of them even travelled significant distances to source my raw milk.

While some dairy farmers have invested in raw milk dispensing machines that automatically fill glass bottles and allow the customer to pay with eftpos, I kept it personal. . .

Speak Meat 2014: Helping government officials better understand the sheep and beef industry:

A joint industry initiative is doing its part to support a more confident and profitable sheep and beef sector.

There is a small and often unheralded group of officials working hard to make sure New Zealand’s meat products can get into our export markets. It’s an important job, especially when you consider that more than 80 per cent of our beef and more than 90 per cent of our sheepmeat is exported.

It’s not glamorous work. It often involves technical and complex concepts. But it’s work that helps to ensure a smooth trade in meat products to the broadest possible range of markets.

The New Zealand officials doing that work were the focus of the second edition of the Speak Meat initiative, run jointly by B+LNZ and the Meat Industry Association in late February. The more they understand what actually happens on farms and in meat plants, the better they can work for us in keeping export markets open for our products. . . .

Cheers to that – 40 years of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc:

It’s hard to separate New Zealand and Sauvignon Blanc these days, but Matua was the first to put them together, planting the first New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc vines in 1969, producing their first bottle in 1974. This year marks the 40th anniversary of not only Matua Sauvignon Blanc but also Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand.

Matua began with a vision shared by Bill and Ross Spence – to revolutionise the New Zealand wine industry by making wines with the best fruit from the best vineyards. A philosophy that still stands today and has earned them international recognition for their pioneering work.

Today, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has taken the world by storm with over $1.2 billion dollars in export sales* and a leading position in both the UK, Australia and USA Sauvignon Blanc categories. Matua sources grapes and produces wines of exceptional quality from all over New Zealand, with wineries in both Auckland and Marlborough. . .

Deutz sparkles after trophy win at Easter Show Wine Awards:

Deutz Marlborough Cuvée is celebrating a Trophy win after Deutz Marlborough Cuvée Blanc de Blancs 2009 was awarded the Champion Sparkling Wine Trophy at the Easter Show Wine Awards 2014 Dinner, held at ASB Showgrounds in Auckland on Saturday 22nd March.

A fitting way to mark the 21st anniversary for Deutz Marlborough Cuvée Blanc de Blancs, the award-winning 2009 vintage was chosen as the very best in its category by Chair of Judges and renowned Australian wine Judge Mike DeGaris, together with a panel of New Zealand’s leading wine judges.

This recent trophy win for the 2009 vintage follows on nicely from the previous 2008 vintage of Deutz Marlborough Cuvée Blanc de Blancs which was also awarded the Champion Sparkling Wine Trophy at the 2013 show. . .

Giesen Wines win Easter Show champion trophy in first attempt at Syrah:

Giesen Wines has tasted success in its first attempt at the Syrah varietal, winning the SkyCity Trophy Champion Syrah at the coveted Easter Wine Show 2014.

The Brothers Marlborough Syrah 2011 is the first Syrah that Giesen Wines has produced during its 30-year history. The winery also won gold for The Fuder Clayvin Chardonnay 2011.

“Syrah can be a very difficult varietal to master, but it’s a very versatile grape and can do well in warm and cooler climates. Viticulture is the key,” Marcel Giesen said.

“While the Marlborough region is renowned for its Sauvignon Blanc, we’ve always believed it has the potential to produce world class wines from other varietals and this is certainly being borne out.” . . .

Marlborough’s Versatility Shines:

Marlborough wines across eight varieties took out trophies at the weekend’s Easter Show Wine Awards.

On top of that, a Marlborough wine was awarded Champion Wine of the Show and a Marlborough winemaker was judged top in his field.

It was a big night for Villa Maria, with their Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Chardonnay 2012 winning the Chardonnay trophy, plus Champion Wine of the Show. The man behind making that wine, George Geris was named Winemaker of the Year. . .


Rural round-up

18/12/2013

Fonterra faces big milk problem – Chalkie:

If Heath Robinson designed a contraption to pluck the feathers from a mallard with barbecue tongs, it would be the epitome of elegance compared with Fonterra.

Our giant dairy co-operative, bless it, is like an elephant balancing on a stool built by engineering students out of toothpicks – a gravity-defying feat of complexity that threatens to go crashingly wrong at any moment.

The elephant hit the deck big time last week when Fonterra had to press the manual over-ride on its intricate milk pricing machinery and Chalkie reckons the damage will be more than a few splinters in the bum. . .

Farmer loses cows to feed ‘hardware’ – Sandie Finnie:

Carterton dairy farmer Chris Engel is out of pocket but better informed after two of his cows died of “hardware disease”, the industry term for cows that die from ingesting metal fragments in palm kernel expeller supplementary feed.

Now he wants to alert other farmers to the importance of reading the fine print on their PKE supply deals.

Mr Engel sought compensation of $12,522.23 from PKE supplier INL through the Masterton District Court Disputes Tribunal.

It would have covered the death of the cows, lost milk production, veterinarian fees and other costs. . .

New Chancellor for Massey University:

Wellington businessman Chris Kelly is Massey University’s new Chancellor.

Mr Kelly replaces Dr Russ Ballard, who has been Chancellor for the past five years. Mr Kelly is a veterinary science graduate of Massey and highly regarded New Zealand business leader with multiple directorships. This year he retired as chief executive of state-owned Landcorp Farming Ltd, a role he was in for 12 years. He has been on the University Council since August 2005 and has been Pro Chancellor – deputy chair of the council – since July last year.

The University’s new Pro Chancellor is Michael Ahie, also from Wellington. . .

Meat industry takes stock:

The Red Meat Sector Strategy coordination group has released a progress report on how the sector is tracking towards the goals of the Red Meat Sector Strategy, released in May 2011.

The Red Meat Sector Strategy was developed by Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Meat Industry Association, with support from the Ministry for Primary Industries and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. It identified ways to secure improved and sustainable growth for the sector against a background of volatile sales and variable profitability, over the past decade in particular.
 
Just over two years after the launch of the strategy, this report outlines the progress in each of its focus areas and towards realising the opportunities outlined. The report records where progress has been made and where work is actively ongoing. It also identifies the areas where progress has been limited. . .

Fitch gives Fonterra thumbs up over unchanged farmgate payout, dividend cut – Paul McBeth:

Fitch Ratings has praised Fonterra Cooperative Group’s [NZX: FCG] decision to hold the forecast payout to farmers and slashing its dividend by two-thirds amid a growing gap in prices between milk powders and its cheese and casein products.

The Auckland-based company’s decision is “characteristic of the fiscal discipline that underscores its credit rating,” Fitch said in a statement. Fonterra has an AA rating. Earlier this month the cooperative surprised analysts by holding the forecast payout for this season at a record $8.30 per kilogram of milk solids and cutting its expected dividend to 10 cents from 32 cents. . .

Better water quality won’t happen overnight … but it must happen – Jenny Webster-Brown:

If we cannot stop ongoing water quality degradation, and effectively restore degraded water environments, we stand to lose much that we value about New Zealand and our way of life. We will lose recreational opportunities, fisheries and our reputation for primary produce from a “clean” environment. We will lose functioning ecosystems, the ecosystem services they provide and the beauty of our iconic water features. We will have to pay for increasingly higher technology to treat drinking, stock and even irrigation water … like so many drier, more populous or older nations, who have long since lost their natural water amenities. This is not what we have known, or what we wish for our children, or their children. To improve water quality, we need only three things: the will, the means and the time. . .

Wine industry shows increased profitability in 2013:

Financial benchmarking survey optimistic despite challenges for smaller wineries

The turnaround in the New Zealand wine industry has continued in 2013 on the back of improved profitability, especially for large wineries, according to the eighth annual financial benchmarking survey released today by Deloitte and New Zealand Winegrowers.

Vintage 2013 tracks the results of wineries accounting for almost half of the industry’s export sales revenue for the 2013 financial year. New participants provided data this year making for the most even spread across the revenue band categories in the survey’s history. . .

How to count grass – Baletwine:

The Pasture Meter™ automatically takes 200 readings per second so takes thousands of readings per paddock. At 20kph it is taking a reading every 27mm or 18,500 readings in 500 meters.

Towed behind an ATV / RTV or utility vehicle at up to 20kph, this machine provides a fast, practical method of measuring grass cover particularly over large areas over all terrain that can be safely covered by an ATV/vehicle.  The Pasture Meter™ automatically takes 200 readings per second so takes thousands of readings per paddock. At 20kph it is taking a reading every 27mm or 18,500 readings in 500 meters. Developed and proven in New Zealand, there are 3 models ranging from manual paddock ID entry to fully GPS with auto paddock start /stop. . .


Rural round-up

11/12/2013

New Zealand meat industry calls for speedy conclusion to Korea FTA:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) are calling for a speedy conclusion to New Zealand’s free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with Korea.

Concluding negotiations quickly is vital. Korea finalised FTA negotiations with Australia last week, and, on top of the Korea-US FTA that was signed in 2012, this has the potential to place New Zealand exporters at a significant disadvantage in the near future, the two organisations say.

Korea imposes 40% tariffs on beef imports, which cost New Zealand producers around $48 million in 2012. Korean tariffs on other products like prepared meats can be as high as 72%. . .

Federated Farmers on ECan’s Land & Water Regional Plan

Federated Farmers knows farming practices need to evolve in order to minimise Nitrogen loss from Canterbury farms.

“The Land and Water Regional Plan has to comply with the National Policy Statement (NPS) on freshwater which introduces limits and national bottom lines,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Environment spokesperson.

“Meeting compulsory national bottom lines for nitrates on much of the Canterbury plains, is going to be very difficult without a major shift in how we farm, especially on the lighter soils.

“Right now, Federated Farmers is working as part of a wider partnership with all others in the primary industries to represent a common position to Environment Canterbury (ECan). . .

Council win saves time and money:

Federated Farmers Manawatu-Rangitkei is thrilled by the recent wins in the Horowhenua District Plan.

“We have had two significant wins from the Horowhenua Council hearings, which means we will not need to appeal in the Environment Court,” says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Manawatu Rangitkei provincial president.

“It is a testament to the great working relationship we have with the council, and the great work of our Policy Advisor, that we were able to get some practical and workable decisions made around ‘Housing’ and ‘Hazardous Substances’. . . .

Farming builds communities in adverse times – James Houghton:

Last week, Federated Farmers Waikato held a fundraising function to raise money for the Rural Support Trust. It is not so long ago that the Trust was stepping in to aid farmers through the drought and working with Federated Farmers on our rural mental health campaign, ‘When Life’s a Bitch’. It is important that we give back to organisations like this who are the ones we call on in our time of need.

The function was not only about raising money for the organisation but it was a chance for the community to get together and focus on building relationships. The Chairwoman of the Regional Council, Paula Southgate, attended the dinner along with other rural community stakeholders, and overall the night was a success, raising $3500 for the Trust. Federated Farmers Waikato donated $3000 for the Trust to direct towards rural mental health initiatives, which is an area that requires a significant amount of resources. . .

Farm package targets sustainability, growth:

New Zealand’s largest rural lender today launched a lending package for farmers wanting to invest in improving the environmental sustainability and productivity of their farms.

ANZ Bank’s Farm Development Package includes a low-interest loan of 4% p.a. for fulfilling compliance on effluent management, water quality management and water and energy conservation.

“Fast-growing markets in Asia are producing enormous opportunities for New Zealand farmers. But increasing agriculture production is creating complex challenges on how to manage environmental stresses – in particular the impact of dairy farming on water quality,” said Graham Turley, ANZ Managing Director Commercial & Agri. . .


Rural round-up

25/10/2013

Meat quality in restaurants constantly improving – Allan Barber:

The quality of domestic red meat supply both to the retail and catering trade has improved out of sight in the last 20 years because of stricter food regulations and the introduction of the Quality Mark. It has moved up another notch over the last five years or so, particularly since the global financial crisis.

Back in the 1980s and early 90s the term ‘export quality’ was supposed to provide a guarantee of excellence as distinct from meat destined only for the domestic market which was considered to be of inferior quality. That has all changed because today almost all meat plants are export licensed regardless of whether they mainly supply the export or domestic market. Food safety regulations are much stricter than they used to be and all meat processors must comply with stringent hygiene and health requirements, audited by vets employed by the Ministry for Primary Industries. . .

MIA gives honest assessment of industry’s challenges – Allan Barber:

The Meat Industry Association has recently published its 2013 Annual Report which contains an honest assessment of the challenges of the past year and a summary of the positive initiatives under way.

The 2012/13 year took place against a background of unsatisfactory farmer returns and heavy losses by processors during the previous season. Although the total value of exports actually increased compared to the previous year, this was mostly because of drought-induced slaughter volumes. This of course will have a depressing effect on future sheep and beef numbers.

The report acknowledges the volatility inherent in the meat industry and highlights a number of factors which influence this, including weather conditions, their impact on timing of supply and production numbers, mismatch between supply of livestock and sale of product, uncertainty of supply and market returns, competition from cheaper proteins, changing marketing environment, New Zealand’s small global scale, and the need to sell the whole carcase at a profit. . .

Dairy Women’s Network growth continues:

The growth of the Dairy Women’s Network continues with another 900 women joining the organisation between 1 June 2012 and 31 May 2013, increasing its total membership from 3100 to 4000.

At its annual general meeting tonight (Wednesday, 23 October) Dairy Women’s Network Trust Board chair Michelle Wilson said alongside its membership growth, the year had been an exceptionally busy one with several highlights including being a key partner in developing the Strategy for Sustainable Dairy Farming, securing a $180K grant from the Sustainable Farming Fund to develop Project Pathfinder – the country’s first leadership programme for dairying women, and welcoming Ballance Agri-Nutrients as a major sponsorship partner.

Like all businesses she added there were also challenges. . .

Lucerne text messaging service passes 500 subscriber milestone:

More than 500 people are now subscribed to Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s lucerne text messaging service – getting free real-time updates on how to get the best from this drought-tolerant pasture.

The collaboration between B+LNZ and Lincoln University was initiated early last year. It is facilitated by plant science specialist Professor Derrick Moot.

B+LNZ chief executive, Dr Scott Champion says: “The text messaging service is a way for farmers, whether they’re new or experienced with lucerne, to get tips and tricks delivered straight to them in a way that’s easy to use.”

All public texts are also posted to Twitter, so people can go back any time and look through the library of lucerne information. . . .

Time almost up in hunt for top rural consultants:

Time is running out for rural professionals to enter the inaugural Farmax Consultant of the Year Awards.

Award nominations close on November 1.

Top North and South Island rural consultants who use Farmax pastoral farm support software will be named in the awards, boasting an approximate $5000 prize pool. . .

Chinese experts judge Marisco wines best with Chinese food:

Marisco Vineyards wins two trophies at Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition

Marlborough winery Marisco Vineyards has been awarded two prestigious trophies for the wines best matched with two iconic Chinese dishes—Cantonese Dim Sum and Braised Abalone (Paua)—at the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition.

The Ned Pinot Gris 2013 won the trophy for the best Cantonese Dim Sum match because it pairs equally well with steamed, deep-fried and stewed savoury items from the traditional dim sum trolley. The King’s Bastard Chardonnay 2012 won the best Braised Abalone match for its resolved tannins, complexity and concentration of flavour. . . .

Farmer Brown Gets Cracking With Colony Eggs:

Kiwis nationwide now have a greater choice of welfare-friendly, affordable eggs with the launch of Farmer Brown Colony laid eggs in supermarkets this week.

Farmer Brown is the first egg producer in New Zealand to offer Colony laid eggs to New Zealand shoppers throughout the country. At the same time, the company has also launched a Free Range option to provide consumers with access to a full range of quality eggs.

Colony is an improved caged housing system which gives hens more space and increased ability to behave naturally and do the things hens love to do – nesting, scratching, perching and stretching their wings. It has been scientifically evaluated by New Zealand’s National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), as meeting the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act along with Barn and Free Range systems. . .


Rural round-up

18/10/2013

Flagship dairy farm showed off – Sue O’Dowd:

Maori incorporation Parininihi ki Waitotara (PKW) showed off its flagship dairy farm near Matapu in South Taranaki to the board of directors and senior managers of DairyNZ yesterday.

The organisation, which is funded by levies on dairy farmers’ milksolids, is holding its annual general meeting in Hawera today. It’s the first time DairyNZ has held its AGM in Taranaki since it was formed in 2007.

PKW chief executive Dion Tuuta said the DairyNZ visit was an endorsement of the excellent practices the incorporation was demonstrating. . .

China meat sales boom comes with warning – Gerald Piddock:

Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie has warned the country’s meat companies against becoming too reliant on the booming Chinese export market.

China is now New Zealand’s largest single market for sheepmeat by volume and value, but the industry had to try to have a balance of trade outside of China, he said.

“It’s about getting that balance right.”

He feared a repeat of New Zealand’s dependence on meat exports to Iran in the 1980s. . .

Cattle grazing stockmen take a stand – Sue O’Dowd:

Long-time grazier Ian Marshall relies on his reputation rather than contracts when he grazes heifers and weaners for Taranaki dairy farmers.

Ian and Julie Marshall have owned the 550ha Wild Stream Cattle Station near Ratapiko for 20 years and now share-farm it with son Alec and daughter-in-law Clair, who have been managing the property for four years.

The Marshalls graze 1150 friesian, cross-bred and jersey yearling heifers and weaners for 16 dairy farmers each year and run steers and sheep as well. . .

Whanganui farmer praises flood warning system:

A Whanganui farmer has praised the regional council’s river warning system which she says gave farmers plenty of time to prepare for this week’s flooding and move stock out of harm’s way.

Manawatu-Whanganui regional council installed the automated monitoring system after the disastrous 2004 floods.

And Kirsten Bryant who farms at Fordell and also has hill country farms in the upper Whanganui catchment, says it’s been invaluable. . .

Share the wealth – Willy Leferink:

While there’s been a right brouhaha over asset sales something big has slipped under the radar. I am not talking about the Trans Pacific Partnership, awesome though that will be. I am not even talking One Direction hitting New Zealand. What I am talking is the dividend which recently hit the bank accounts of fully shared up Fonterra shareholders.

Alright, dividends aren’t exactly new to Fonterra shareholders but what is, is the way many farmers are now active players on the NZX sharemarket.

Since the Fonterra Shareholders Fund kicked off some eight months ago, the unit price has surged from $5.50 to a high point of $7.30. It’s now trading at $6.92 despite a drought–affected season and that false alarm involving the whey concentrate WPC80. Danone is lining up for compensation across many markets and I suspect they won’t be alone. That the Shareholders Fund is still about 26 percent up on the listing price tells me ‘the market’ believes any compensation won’t sink the coop. . .

New traps could be key to kiwi survival:

Revolutionary new traps that can hold up to 24 dead predators at a time are being touted as the possible saviour of the kiwi.

The traps use a mixture of gas and toxic sprays to wipe out the pests and do not have to be cleared as often as the models they are replacing.

There are roughly 70,000 kiwi left but 27 die each week. . .


Rural round-up

18/09/2013

Indonesia relaxes beef import rules:

Beef exports to Indonesia should take off again shortly, according to the Meat Industry Association.

The Indonesian Government has signalled it is willing to lower its trade barriers and allow in more beef imports to ease soaring domestic beef prices in the country caused by the lack of supply.

Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie says the import quota system had resulted in a massive reduction in the amount of beef New Zealand was sending to Indonesia over the last three years.

Beef volumes had dropped to about 20% of 2010 levels, he says, with a lost value of about $150 million a year. . .

Vital talks for sheep, beef sector – Mike Petersen:

Over the past two weeks farmer representatives from the world’s major sheep-meat and beef-producing countries have had their annual catch-ups as Australia hosted the Tri-Lamb Group and the Five Nations Beef Alliance meetings.

Between them these two groups are responsible for almost two-thirds of the world’s sheep-meat exports and about half the world’s beef exports.

New Zealand is a founding member of the two groups through the organisation owned and run by farmers – Beef + Lamb NZ. The reason, of course, is that for NZ sheep and beef farmers, trade is our lifeblood. . .

Taxpayers turn US farmers into fat cats with subsidies – David J. Lynch & Alan Bjerga:

A Depression-era program intended to save American farmers from ruin has grown into a 21st-century crutch enabling affluent growers and financial institutions to thrive at taxpayer expense.

Federal crop insurance encourages farmers to gamble on risky plantings in a program that has been marred by fraud and that illustrates why government spending is so difficult to control.

And the cost is increasing. The U.S. Department of Agriculture last year spent about $14 billion insuring farmers against the loss of crop or income, almost seven times more than in fiscal 2000, according to the Congressional Research Service. . . . (Hat tip Whaleoil).

Wine born of ‘special piece of dirt’ – Timothy Brown:

Central Otago winery Akarua won the champion wine of show award at the Romeo Bragato Wine Awards in Blenheim last month. Reporter Timothy Brown met winemaker Matt Connell and vineyard manager Mark Naismith to see what is special about Akarua’s wine.

Hidden in the rolling hills of Bannockburn, off the twisting tarseal of Cairnmuir Rd, lies the Akarua vineyard.

A 50ha expanse of north-facing hillside and terraces is planted with pinot noir, pinot gris and chardonnay grapes.

Or as winemaker Matt Connell puts it – ”a very special piece of dirt”. . . .

SealesWinslow feed mill in production:

SealesWinslow’s upgraded Wanganui stock feed mill is up and running following a multi-million redevelopment.

The animal nutrition producer has celebrated the new site with a quick sales win, supplying 1350 tonne feed to keep dairy cows in peak condition en route by boat to China.

SealesWinslow General Manager, Graeme Smith, says the site puts the company in the box seat to better serve its existing customer base of dairy, sheep and beef farmers in the Taranaki, and a rapidly expanding new customer group from the Wanganui, Manawatu, East Coast and Wairarapa regions. . .

Best new honey bee links – Raymond Huber:

1. The bee and its place in history: article by Claire Preston, author of new book, Bee.

The bee is the only creature on the planet that is a true creative artisan. It gathers materials and transforms them to make not only architecture but food.– Claire Preston

2. The Trouble With Beekeeping in the Anthropocene: summary of Time Magazine’s feature on bees.

We are a species that increasingly has omnipotence without omniscience. – Bryan Walsh . .

Two new awards launched at the third annual Marlborough Wine Show :

Continuing to showcase the next level of the Marlborough story, the Marlborough Wine Show has launched two new awards.

In an effort to reward producers who consistently produce outstanding wines, the Marlborough Museum Legacy Award will be awarded to a wine company for three outstanding vintages of one wine within a ten year period.

The second new award, the Award for Vineyard Excellence has been developed to acknowledge the vineyard team from grower and viticulturist to all others involved and will awarded to the highest scoring single vineyard wine. . .


Rural round-up

11/07/2013

X-ray transfer system offers biosecurity boost:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the beginning of trials for the use of x-ray images to screen airline baggage before it arrives in New Zealand.

The trials are a world-first and involve the transfer of aviation security x-ray images from Melbourne Airport to Auckland for passengers on Air New Zealand flights, while the passenger is on the flight. Passengers will still be subject to clearance requirements prior to boarding the plane.

“This technology will allow biosecurity staff to assess the x-ray images before the plane touches down. Any bag containing biosecurity risk items will then be matched with the passenger, who will face further scrutiny by officials upon landing,” says Mr Guy. . .

Plenty of hope but no solutions yet – Allan Barber:

The Red Meat Sector Conference, held in Auckland on Monday, was very well attended by 320 people from all parts of the industry.

There were interesting presentations from overseas and local speakers. The former spoke eloquently about the outstanding global prospects for the red meat sector, while the latter had plenty of statistics to illustrate their concerns about sheep and beef farming debt and shrinking livestock numbers.

The Prime Minister opened the Conference with an upbeat talk about an $8 billion industry of great importance to the country. While acknowledging farmer dissatisfaction with the status quo, he said it was up to the industry to drive change, but the government was sympathetic and supportive. . .

New Zealand red meat sector welcomes Economic Cooperation Agreement with Taiwan

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) say the signing of the Economic Cooperation Agreement (ECA) between New Zealand and Taiwan is a significant outcome for the New Zealand sheep and beef sector.

Eliminating all tariffs on beef within two years and sheepmeat within four years is important news B+LNZ Chairman, Mike Petersen and MIA Chairman, Bill Falconer said.

“This ECA will eliminate tariffs with Taiwan and it complements New Zealand’s existing free trade agreements with China and Hong Kong,” Petersen said.  .  .

ExportNZ welcomes economic cooperation agreement between New Zealand and Taiwan:

ExportNZ welcomes the announcement that New Zealand and Taiwan have signed an economic cooperation agreement.

Executive Director of ExportNZ, Catherine Beard, says this will be positive for both economies since they are very complementary, with Taiwan’s exports to New Zealand being dominated by high tech manufactured goods and New Zealand’s top exports to Taiwan being agricultural products. . . .

New Zealand – Taiwan Economic Cooperation Agreement positive for seafood trade:

Seafood New Zealand welcomes today’s announcement of the signing of an Economic Partnership Agreement (ANZTEC) between New Zealand and Taiwan and congratulates the Trade Minister, Tim Groser, and his team of negotiators for completing a negotiation that first started under the watch of the previous Labour-led administration.

All of New Zealand’s seafood trade interests with Taiwan have been fully included in the Agreement. All seafood items will be able to enter Taiwan tariff free within eight years – with many products benefitting much earlier. . .

‘ASEAN tigers’ offer growth opportunities for New Zealand’s dairy sector:

Burgeoning demand for dairy among consumers in the ASEAN-6 group of countries is creating substantial trade opportunities for dairy export countries including New Zealand, according to a new industry report.

In the report Dairy – Milk for the ASEAN-6 Tigers, global agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank says the ASEAN ‘six majors’ (the six largest economies of the Association of South East Asian Nations – Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam) should be part of all dairy exporters’ global growth strategies, but particularly for New Zealand given its competitive advantage in these markets. . .

Latest Agreement gives New Zealand wine tariff-free access to Taiwan:

New Zealand Winegrowers welcomes the signing of the Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Cooperation (ANZTEC). The Agreement will give New Zealand wine tariff-free access to the Taiwan market as soon as it comes into force.

“This is an important trade advantage for New Zealand wine exporters. Taiwan is a small but developed market that is well suited to the premium wine styles that New Zealand offers. Asia is an increasingly important destination for New Zealand wines. This Agreement will make New Zealand the only wine exporter with tariff-free access to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.” said Dr John Barker, general manager advocacy and trade for New Zealand Winegrowers. . .

Latest research delivers encouraging signs for oyster industry ahead of AGM:

A collaborative research programme to breed oysters resilient to a virus that three years ago devastated New Zealand’s Pacific oyster industry is starting to deliver promising results.

Scientists at Cawthron Institute, together with industry partners, have been working towards breeding Pacific oysters resilient to the ostreid herpes (OsHV-1) virus that almost wiped out the country’s Pacific oyster stocks in 2010.

Cawthron Institute has today reported promising results from the latest research trials which it will present at the New Zealand Oyster Industry Association AGM this weekend (6 July).

“We have identified oyster families with a very high survival rate when exposed to the oyster virus, which decimated stocks in 2010,” Cawthron Institute Chief Executive Charles Eason says. “These recent findings are most encouraging. They suggest that selective breeding has great potential to address the current crisis.” . . .


Rural round-up

13/12/2012

Agricultural producers and food processors call for full trade liberalisation through the Trans Pacific Partnership

Farmers and food processors from Australia, New Zealand and Canada are calling on Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries to conclude a 21st century trade agreement in 2013 that liberalises trade across all goods and services.

At the 15th round of TPP negotiations taking place in Auckland, New Zealand, agri-food groups from across the TPP region are meeting together and call for negotiators to uphold a high level of ambition in the trade talks. . .

TPP negotiations need to deliver for agriculture:

New Zealand’s red meat sector is encouraging all negotiating parties in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to work tirelessly to ensure this agreement can be completed by October 2013. Key outcomes from the completion of TPP must be the elimination of agricultural trade barriers and the opportunity for greater economic integration across the Asia Pacific region, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) say.

The B+LNZ and MIA chairmen, Mike Petersen and Bill Falconer (respectively) reinforced the need for reduced barriers to agricultural trade, including the elimination of tariffs and other technical barriers as a priority. Achieving that would create benefits and opportunities for all TPP members exporting red meat products. . .

$2.5 million for irrigation project a welcome potential boost for jobs and the environment

The government’s announcement that it is funding half of the $2.5 million Wairarapa Water Use Project to investigate the feasibility of developing water storage, alongside the Greater Wellington Regional Council, is warmly welcomed by Federated Farmers.

“Water is the lifeblood of farming, which is why Federated Farmers welcomes Primary Industries Minister David Carter’s announcement this morning that the government will add this funding from the Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF) to look at the feasibility of this project,” says Federated Farmers water spokesperson Ian Mackenzie.

“This announcement means Wairarapa is potentially a huge step closer to securing a brighter economic future for its farmers and everyone else in the region. . . .

New Zealand Winegrowers explores the science of Sauvignon blanc

New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) has commissioned UK wine writer Jamie Goode to publish The Science of Sauvignon blanc. The book is based on the results of a six year multidisciplinary research initiative that explores the key aroma and flavour compounds in Sauvignon blanc wine and how they relate to viticulture and winemaking.

“In our research programme we wanted to understand the unique characters of New Zealand Sauvignon blanc” says Dr Simon Hooker, General Manager Research at New Zealand Winegrowers. “What are its sensory attributes? Can they be linked back to viticultural management? Are they generated in the vineyard, through winemaking processes or by the yeasts? This book presents an overview to these questions in a very user friendly way that has given the industry new tools for driving flavour”. . .

Rapaura Springs Judged No2 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc:

The Rapaura Springs 2012 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc has been named one of the two best Sauvignon Blancs in the country by Cuisine Magazine’s judging panel.

Owner Brendan Neylon says achieving number two rank, as well as a five star accolade, denoting “outstanding quality” in a wine, is an excellent result from such a prestigious tasting, and perfectly timed for Christmas. . .


Rural round-up

23/07/2012

Heaps of grass has helped agriculture grow three times as fast as the overall economy. Doug Steel wonders if this may even understate how well the rural sector is doing, given how the numbers were analysed in 2007/08 – Doug Steel:

Like blood to the body, agriculture is critical to the NZ economy.

The sector makes economic contributions in direct and indirect ways, although measurement of such can be a tricky business.

The latest national accounts show agriculture GDP growing 7.5% through the year to March 2012. This supported the 2.4% expansion in the New Zealand economy over the same period. . .

Massive Chinese market for red meat market – Sally Rae:

The importance – and potential – of China as a market for the red meat industry was reiterated during the recent red meat sector conference in Queenstown.   

 Arron Hoyle, McDonald’s senior director and head of strategy in China and Hong Kong, said the dragon was redesigning  global trade and global prices.   

He spoke of the “unprecedented” urbanisation in China, the emergence of mega cities and the significant opportunities      the fast food chain saw. It was bullish and very excited      about those opportunities. . .

Sector strategy shows encouraging signs – Sally Rae:

Meat Industry Association chairman Bill Falconer believes the red meat sector strategy has been “settling down extremely well” since its launch 14 months ago.   

The strategy, initiated by the MIA and Beef and Lamb New  Zealand, was aimed at improving the sector’s viability and      increasing its earnings from $8 billion to $14 billion by  2025. . .

Aim for first place: chairman:

NZPork chairman Ian Carter has challenged those attending the  industry’s annual conference to recognise themselves as “the best little pig industry in the world”.   

    “Pork is the world leader in animal protein, but only number three in New Zealand.   

    “Our target must be first place,” Mr Carter, a North Otago farmer, said. . .

Clutha dairy earnings climb – Shawn McAvinue:

Sheep and beef farmers were the biggest agricultural earner in the Clutha district but dairy farmers were a close second.

The latest statistics from the Clutha Agricultural Development Board (CADB) says sheep and beef farming earned $313 million and dairy farming $276m for the year ending June 2011.

However, a steady five-year growth spurt in dairying had the Clutha herd increasing by 30 per cent to 98,543 cows. In the same period sheep numbers dropped 14 per cent to about 2.17m. . .

2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards Opening Soon:

Entries for the 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards open on August 1, 2012.

Administered by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust (NZFE) and operating in nine regions, the annual competition promotes sustainable land management by showcasing the work of people farming in a manner that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable.

Entry forms for the 2013 competition are available from the NZFE website at http://www.nzfeatrust.org.nz

NZFE chairman Jim Cotman says this website has been upgraded to make it easier for farmers to find information on the Ballance Farm Environment Awards and the Trust’s other activities. . .


No free ride for farming

05/07/2012

Federated Farmers has put the record straight about the”free ride”   which the opposition think farming is getting through delaying the admission of agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme and the way it is being reported:

Some media are reporting the latest revision to the ETS as ‘the Government excluding farmers from the Emissions Trading Scheme until 2015’.  This is factually incorrect.  

It is vital for accuracy to refer to the 2015 delay as applying to biological emissions only (methane and Nitrous Oxide from livestock and soils).

All New Zealand farms and orchards have been in the ETS since 1 July 2010.

We wish to counter a belief among some media that farmers do not pay the ETS on farm inputs or that farmers somehow receive a rebate.  Both these assumptions are incorrect.

Like all New Zealand businesses, farms pay the ETS on fuel and electricity they directly consume.  They also pay it indirectly through the supply chain on things as diverse as processing costs, animal remedies, wire netting, fencing, feed and fertiliser. Indirectly, it also affects the cost of professional services farmers consume too. 

There are few exemptions to the ETS and apply mostly to international air travel and international bunker fuels to and from New Zealand.

The cost of the ETS on dairy, horticulture, sheep, beef and deer: The cost impact of the ETS on dairy, horticulture, sheep, beef and deer farmers is conservatively estimated to be a minimum of $106 million per annum:  Fonterra Cooperative Group estimates its individual dairy farmer suppliers directly pay $3,700 a year in carbon costs for fuel, energy and their share of the carbon costs being paid by Fonterra for processing emissions (approximately $38.8 million per annum).   Beef+Lamb NZ, Meat Industry Association & Deer Industry New Zealand calculated the individual cost on sheep, beef and deer farms of the ETS, to be $2,000 per annum (approximately $27.8 million per annum)  HortNZ, in its 2011 submission, highlighted smaller greenhouse glass operators facing additional ETS related costs of $30,000 per annum.  In 2008, it estimatedthe ETS would add industry costs in excess of $40 million.

These compare to typical households paying additional ETS related costs of around $133 per annum.  It should be noted that many farms and orchards are households too.

Farmers are paying for research which is likely to lead to practical ways to reduce biological emissions.

But in the meantime there is no point imposing extra costs on food production with absolutely no benefit for the environment.


Trade makes new friends of old enemies

15/11/2010

We were the first country in the world to get a free trade agreement with China and are now the first to begin free trade talks with Russia Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Negotiations on a free trade agreement between New Zealand and Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will start early next year, Prime Minister John Key announced at the APEC Summit in Japan today.

“Free trade deals offer real benefits for jobs and economic growth in New Zealand and I am very pleased to be able to announce the start of negotiations on this FTA,” says Mr Key.

. . . “Russia is also one of the world’s emerging powerhouses, with Brazil, India and China.  It is the 12th largest economy in the world and the world’s fifth-largest food importer, with food imports reaching US$30 billion in 2008.

“An FTA with Russia would give us an improved position in that market.  New Zealand’s exports to Russia grew 267 per cent from NZ$51 million to NZ$187.1 million between 2000 and 2009. There is further strong growth potential, not only in food and beverage exports but also in agritech, specialised manufacturing and clothing.”

It’s good news for New Zealand in general and the primary sector in particular.

The Meat Industry Association and Beef + Lamb NZ  say improved market access in Russia will provide exciting opportunities.

B+LNZ Chairman, Mike Petersen said while Russia is currently a relatively small market for the New Zealand red meat industry, it’s a country with a substantial population of red meat consumers. They have increasing incomes and the potential to support significant market growth.

Over the last five years, the New Zealand red meat industry’s exports to Russia have been around $30 million annually, mainly consisting of sheepmeat and beef offals.

Exports peaked at $56 million in 2008 before the impact of the global financial crisis softened Russian demand for imported meat last year.

MIA Chairman, Bill Falconer said that while Russian imports of red meat have been volatile, the expectation is that Russian demand for red meat will continue to increase and that a significant proportion of this increased demand will have to be met by imports.

An arrangement with Russia would be significant if it provided genuine improved access into the market.

Securing an FTA with Russia is important because it’s not just about eliminating tariffs, it’s also about addressing non-tariff barriers that restrict trade, he said.

The Chairman of the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand, Malcolm Bailey, said the FTA talks with Russia and its Customs Union partners, Belarus and Kazakhstan, as great news for the New Zealand dairy industry.

“New Zealand is really picking up pace in the FTA game” said Bailey.  “Adding Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan to our growing list of FTA partners should mean new market opportunities for New Zealand dairy exporters.  Russia is already a significant butter market for New Zealand and reducing trade restrictions will only lead to further growth and diversification in the future,” he said.

Bailey said it was also a smart strategy to place New Zealand as one of the first countries to negotiate an FTA with Russia.  “Russia is a vast country with an economy that promises to continue to grow in the coming years.  Projections are for very significant growth in dairy consumption met by imports in the medium term.  Integrating our export industries with expanding Russian wealth and consumption is a good place for New Zealand to be.”

Russia is the world’s largest market for imports of butter and cheese.  New Zealand exports last year were around 33,200 tonnes, mostly butter and cheese, worth approximately $120 million.  New Zealand has the largest share of butter imported into Russia, last year supplying 28,600 tonnes which was over 50% of Russia’s internationally imported butter.

It’s not very long ago that China and Russia were cold war enemies. It’s much better not just for the economy but for security to be friends.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be careful about dealing with people who have different cultures and different values from us. But trade is a very good way to develop positive relationships from which both sides can benefit.


Meat sector strategy urgent

27/07/2010

Returns to sheep farmers seem to be defying the normal rules of supply and demand.

Sheep numbers have dropped and the demand for lamb is high which ought to mean good returns to farmers but although they’re not as bad as they were they’re not as good as they ought, and need, to be.

The relatively high exchange rate and dismal returns from wool, pelts, tallow and other by-products are partly to blame. Other factors include over capacity in the meat industry and changes in eating and cooking trends.

The result is a difference between profits of $600 a hectare from sheep farming and $3,500 to $4,000 for dairying which is encouraging more dairy conversions.

However, not every sheep farm is suitable for conversion and not all farmers who could change to dairy want to. They’ll be hoping that the meat sector strategy delivers.

The initiation of the meat sector strategy is a critical step towards improved profitability within the sector, according to project Co-chairs Meat Industry Association (MIA) Chairman, Bill Falconer and Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Chairman, Mike Petersen.
 
Mr Petersen says the concept of developing an overarching strategy for the meat sector was championed by the organisation previously known as Meat & Wool New Zealand during last year’s referendum debate, when farmers expressed frustration at volatile and marginal profitability.
 
“We are delighted that through the Meat Industry Association, the processor/exporter part of the sector also sees the need to do this, and is prepared to work alongside farmers in identifying the opportunities for step-change improvement.”
 
B+LNZ, MIA, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and MAF have agreed terms of reference and funding for Phase one of a two stage strategy process, which entails an overarching ‘umbrella’ study of the issues and opportunities across the sector from market to farm. Mr Petersen and Mr Falconer are optimistic that there will be a number of ‘quick-wins’ identified from that Phase one process.
 
In Phase two, willing industry participants will collaborate to adopt and implement initiatives to drive change. These may include research & innovation, market development or whole of supply-chain initiatives.
 
Mr Falconer expects Phase one to be complete in the first quarter of 2011.

Federated Farmers is backing the strategy:

“There’s a hell of a lot hinging on the meat industry strategy for New Zealand’s meat farmers,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“The really important thing is that farmers and the marketers are both seeing the highest ever in-market prices for Kiwi lamb, but they’re not benefiting from those prices. 

“The meat companies tell me they could sell double the lambs we currently produce and at these record prices too, but that’s where a massive disconnect between ‘there’ and ‘here’ kicks in.

“On-farm, sheep farmers are exiting the industry because there’s little or no profitability.  Sheep farmers are voting with their business plans in order to survive.

“We’ve now got a consensus among farmers and the processors that the industry is broken and it needs shape and form to go forward.

B+LNZ is forecasting a lamb crop of only 21 million – two million fewer than forecast last December.

That’s not only concerning for farmers because the meat industry still plays an important role in the eocnomy:

  • The New Zealand meat industry (lamb, beef, mutton, veal and co-products) is unique in the world with the great majority of production exported to overseas markets (more than 90 per cent of lamb and over 80 per cent of beef exported).
  • The New Zealand meat industry generated $5.8 billion in export revenue in 2009 – 15 per cent of New Zealand’s merchandise exports.
  • In 2009, New Zealand meat products were exported to 119 different countries.
  • Total meat production (on a bone-in basis) was 1.2 million tonnes for year ended 30 September 2009.
  • Total labour employed in the New Zealand meat industry is 72,000, which is 5 per cent of the total labour force (according to New Zealand’s 2006 Census).
  • It’s very unlikely we’ll get back to the days at the height of subsidies when we had 70 million sheep, but if  the strategy succeeds we could look forward to modest improvements in the sheep population. 

    That will  come on the back of better returns for farmers which will in turn help those who service and support them, people involved in processing and the wider economy.


    Australia dealys ETS, Select Committee deliberates in NZ

    04/05/2009

    Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced his government’s Emissions Trading Scheme will be delayed a year.

    Back here, the Select Committee reviewing our ETS has started hearing submissions.

    Federated Farmers have asked for the scheme to be scrapped or substantially altered.

    “The road to economic hell will be paved by an ill conceived ETS, because New Zealand doesn’t need the ETS to meet its Kyoto obligations,” said Don Nicolson, President of Federated Farmers.

    Federated Farmers favours repeal of the ETS and non-punitive policy measures to transition New Zealand to a low-carbon economy. The Federation’s interim solutions put to the Select Committee include:

    • New Government-funded forest plantings via land leasing regimes, land purchases or other viable partnership arrangements. This will not just develop new permanent forestry sinks but also generate employment opportunities. This concept was also put to the Prime Minister’s Job Summit held earlier in the year;
    • A low-level carbon charge set at a rate that recovers just enough revenue to account for any emissions deficit;
    • Government purchasing the cheapest Kyoto emissions units available to meet New Zealand’s future liabilities, until the Kyoto Protocol lapses in 2012;
    • Lead internationally by advocating for each country to allocate a percentage of GDP towards climate change initiatives; and potentially,
    • Non-compliance, akin to the Canadian Government’s approach since 2005.

    Feds’ other option was a substantial rewrite of the ETS to exclude primary food production and introduce economic tests.

    “The primary production of food has no place in any emissions trading scheme,” Mr Nicolson continued.

    “Precedent for this comes from Denmark. The Danish Government in March moved to specifically exclude the primary production of food from its Kyoto response.

    Meat & Wool NZ and the Meat Industry Assocation  also want a rethink of the scheme.

    They say including livestock in the scheme when no other country does puts farming at a signifincant risk and would have severe financial, social and environmental impacts.

    They are using two case studies to show the affect the scheme would have. One of these is Southland farmers Julie and David Marshall:

    Mr Marshall said the cost of paying for his emissions would equate to an extra $43,000 a year from about 2017 onwards.

    The alternative would be to plant enough trees to offset his carbon footprint but, because of the unsuitable growing conditions near the coast, he would have to plant enough pine to cover half his 247ha property, he said.

    MIA chair Bill Falconer said:

    New Zealand’s 15,000 commercial sheep and beef farmers and about 80 processing plants collectively generated export earnings of $6.8 billion a year, which was in jeopardy under the current legislation.

    “We could only contemplate an ETS for livestock if it properly incentives farmers to use proven mitigation technologies but leaves them no worse off compared to their overseas competitors,” he said.

    The ETS is about politics and bureaucracy not the environment.

    It is irrseponsible to impose significant costs on primary industry with the consequent social and economic impacts of that when there will be no environmental gain and possibly an increase in emissions.

    There is no point in reducing emissions here if it will only lead to an increase somewhere else. We’ve signed the Kyoto Protocal but that doesn’t mean we have to sabotage our economy with an ETS which far exceeds what other countries are contemplating.

    New Zealand and the environment would be better off if the energy and money going into the ETS was diverted to research  instead.


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