Rural round-up

November 26, 2015

Farmers on knife-edge as land dries out:

Evidence of a dry El Nino summer is beginning to be seen in Canterbury, and has farmers worried.

Federated Farmers president William Rolleston said the region is not seeing a lot of rain and the nor’west winds are already drying things out.

Fire restrictions have been put in place for the rural district of Selwyn, as have restrictions on taking water from the Opuha dam. . . 

Opuha Dam at 80% capacity:

Early irrigation restrictions have helped South Canterbury’s Opuha Dam reach 80 percent of its capacity.

But with little rain expected in the coming months, farmers are being warned this summer could be harder than last.

The irrigation water supply from the dam was turned off for the first time in its 17 years of operation last February as a result of the drought. . . 

North Canterbury irrigaition proposal rejected:

Independent Hearing Commissioners appointed by Environment Canterbury have rejected a proposal to take water from a North Canterbury stream for irrigation and power generation.

The Kakapo Brook runs through Glynn Wye Station and co-applicants Rooney Group – owner of the station – and Mainpower proposed taking up to 1600 litres per second, to fill two large storage dams on the farm totaling 1 million cubic metres.

The water would be used for irrigating 500 hectares of the high country property and providing hydropower generation. . . .

Fonterra says 2016 forecast payout tied to dairy prices rising next year – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group has affirmed guidance for the 2016 milk payout to farmers, although chairman John Wilson said it was dependent on global dairy prices rising in the first half of next year from current unsustainable levels.

The world’s largest dairy exporter has forecast a farmgate milk price of $4.60 per kilogram of milk solids and a cash dividend of 35-to-40 cents per share for a total payout of $4.95/kgMS to $5/kgMS. . . .

Fonterra targets doubling of China revenue within five years, Spierings says – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s largest dairy exporter, has set a target of becoming the number one dairy player in China and doubling its business in the country to $10 billion within the next five years.

Speaking at the cooperative’s annual meeting in Waitoa today, chief executive Theo Spierings said the new plan meant China could become 25 percent to 30 percent of total revenue.

When asked whether that would expose the cooperative to too much risk in one country, Spierings said China’s provinces could almost be regarded as countries in their own right. . . 

Results of shareholder voting at Fonterra AGM:

Fonterra shareholders have voted to pass seven of the eleven resolutions at this year’s Annual Meeting.

Resolutions eight, nine, ten and eleven, which were special resolutions put forward by Fonterra shareholders, were not passed. The Board and Shareholders’ Council had earlier recommended that shareholders vote against these resolutions.

The results of the resolutions are:

Resolution result / % in favour

Resolution 1: Approval of remuneration of Directors / 85.32%

Resolution 2: Approval of remuneration of Shareholders’ Council / 83.36% . . .

New technologies a paradigm shift for strong wool:

In a move to improve the returns of New Zealand strong wool growers, Wools of New Zealand (WNZ) has entered into a commercial agreement with to acquire the exclusive global rights to an innovative scour and dying process providing new opportunities for New Zealand strong wool previously only the domain of man-made synthetic fibres.

The two innovative technologies will considerably improve the ‘white and bright’ properties of strong wool, along with colour fastness enhancements that will provide a “paradigm shift” in the demand for end products using strong wool. . . .

Texel Poll Dorset Cross wins Mint Lamb Competition:

Hawarden farmer, and long-time corriedale exhibitor, Andrew Sidey took out the 2015 Mint Lamb Competition at the Canterbury A&P Show on November 11. His texel/poll dorset lamb was judged as the country’s best from paddock to plate.

This year the competition had an overhaul with the overall winner being decided on a combination of yield, tender test and taste results as opposed to just taste alone.

Mr Sidey drafted the lamb himself, and after entering for the past four years, believes that experience helped him take out the win. . . 

2016 Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards / Ambassador Chefs to be Announced:

Mark your calendars: The 2016 Beef and Lamb Excellence Award holders will be announced on Tuesday 1 December, alongside five new Beef and Lamb Ambassador Chefs.

The announcement will take place as part of an exclusive 5 course degustation dinner, specially prepared by the five new Ambassador Chefs, on Tuesday December 1 at The James in Auckland.

The 2016 announcement is a special occasion as it marks the 20th anniversary of the Excellence Awards, establishing them as the longest running culinary awards in New Zealand. . . .

Week to Go Til Dairy Awards Entries Close:

There is [less than]a week to go until entries close in the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, including the Share Farmer of the Year, Dairy Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions.

Entries are being accepted online at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz and close at midnight on November 30.

General Manager Chris Keeping says there have been 360 entries received to date, including 358 who entered in time to be eligible for the Early Bird Entry Prize Draw of $12,000 in travel vouchers and spending money*. . . 


Rural round-up

November 25, 2014

China investment to create 50 new jobs:

Fifty new jobs for Southland and a guaranteed supply chain into China for sheep and beef farmers have been secured in the latest in a series of Chinese investments in the New Zealand primary sector.

Lianhua Trading Group has increased its shareholding in Prime Range Meats in Invercargill to 75 percent from 24.9 percent, with the creation of 50 new jobs at the original Southland abattoir and meat processing plant.

Prime Range Meats’ new director and Lianhua adviser, Rick Braddock, said today that Lianhua is getting a guaranteed supply chain for its retail brand in China. . .

Dairy deal latest in China investment:

Chinese dairy giant Yili’s plan to spend a further $400 million on developments at its South Canterbury processing site has capped a flurry of investment announcements coinciding with the visit of China’s president to New Zealand.

As well as processing milk powder at its new Oceania production site near Waimate, Yili has plans for producing UHT or long life milk, packaging infant formula and processing other nutritional products. Yili has also signed an agreement with Lincoln University.

The memorandum of understanding is wide ranging and includes investigating new dairy farming and processing technology and improving the production and processing of dairy products here and in China. . .

Research priorities needs sorting:

 FUNDING FOR science and extension in the sheep and beef industry needs better coordination and Beef + Lamb NZ should step up, says a long-standing New Zealand Grassland Association member and scientist.

 “One of the roadblocks to more co-ordinated science and extension in the [sector] is the large number of funding bodies,” Jeff Morton told delegates at the association’s annual conference in Alexandra.

“There is a need for identification of industry priorities by all parties and co-ordination of the funding through one agency, probably Beef + Lamb.”

Delivering the keynote Levy Oration* at the conference, Morton said BLNZ with its levy funds is “a major player”, but other funders such as Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment with its Pastoral 21 Programme and MPI with its Primary Growth Partnerships and Sustainable Farming Funds make for “a piecemeal approach.”

Treble Cone Wins New Zealand’s Best Ski Resort Back-to-Back in 2014:

Treble Cone (Wanaka, NZ) has been announced as the winner of New Zealand’s Best Ski Resort for the second consecutive year at the 2nd annual World Ski Awards over the weekend.

‘Hundreds of thousands of travel professionals and skiers across the globe voted for their favourite resorts, chalets, and hotels’ World Ski Awards website.
The World Ski Awards Ceremony was attended by Treble Cone’s Snow Sports School Manager Klaus Mair who received the award on behalf of Treble Cone, and in interviews following accepting the award used the opportunity in front of ski industry peers from around the world to touch on the strengths, offering and accessibility of skiing and snowboarding at Treble Cone and in New Zealand. . .

 

Texel lamb crowned as best in the country

Ashburton farmer Paul Gardner took out the 2014 Mint Lamb Competition at the Canterbury A&P Show on November 12. His Texel lamb was judged as the country’s best lamb from paddock to plate.

Farmers from throughout New Zealand were invited to showcase their quality lamb and compete in the competition that celebrates the quality and variety of lamb available in New Zealand with a focus on increasing consumption of one of the country’s largest export earners.

Lambs were judged on the hook at an Alliance plant for Best Overall Yield. The top four lambs in each class (dual purpose,
dual purpose/cross terminal, composite/crossbred cross terminal and terminal) were selected as semi-finalists and sent to be Tender Tested at Lincoln University. Based on the result of the Tender Test, the top three lambs in each class were selected as finalists. All finalists were Taste Tested at the 2014 Canterbury A&P Show to decide the overall winner of the Mint Lamb Competition. . .

 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Calls for Remits:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand is calling for remits to next year’s annual meeting, being held on Tuesday 10 March in the Southern South Island electorate.

Livestock farmers who want to propose written remits are invited to submit them by 7 January 2015.

Written remits need to be submitted on the official form that can be obtained from Beef + Lamb New Zealand general counsel, Mark Dunlop, by freephoning 0800 233 352. . .

 

Dairy Awards Entries Close in One Week:

The New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competition is again attracting strong interest with more than 200 entered so far in the popular nationwide contest.

All entries in the 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards – including the dairy trainee, New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year and New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year competitions – close at midnight on Sunday, November 30.

Entries are being accepted online at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz. . .


Rural round-up

July 20, 2014

Back agriculture back our Roads:

Federated Farmers welcomes the Government’s announcement to increase investment in our deteriorating rural roads, but has concerns at whether it will be enough.

“A proposed increase of 4.3 percent per annum for local road improvements, and a 2.4 percent increase for local road maintenance, is long overdue but it remains to be seen whether it is enough.” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Local Government Spokesperson.

“To date, the investment in our rural roads has not kept up with inflation and it is evident in each pot hole and/or goat track that farmers, families, school buses and contractors navigate everyday.

“We are pleased this is now being addressed but is it a sufficient recognition of the importance of roading to an economy reliant on primary production, and in turn it’s long rural roads? . . .

More places earmarked for rural medical students:

Health Minister Tony Ryall has today announced there will be an additional 34 medical places for students next year at our two medical schools, including more positions earmarked for rural students.

Mr Ryall made the announcement at Taumarunui Hospital, a busy rural health facility in the King Country with around 100 staff. 

“Research shows that students who grew up in rural areas, such as Taumarunui, are more likely to go back and work in those areas. These extra places will help encourage more doctors to work in our rural communities,” says Mr Ryall.

“Since 2009 this government has now funded 170 extra medical school places. . . .

New Zealand Seafood Industry Assures Australian Consumers that its Seafood is Sustainable:

The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) list of imported fish that it’s telling consumers to stay away from, sounds like an ‘underarm delivery’ to the New Zealand industry.

Seafood New Zealand’s Chairman George Clement says it seems that the AMCS is has just gone through a list of imported seafood to arbitrarily warn people against most of it.

“Species by species, as we go through them, we can see how misinformed the AMCS report is. They’ve provided no transparent criteria nor openness in their assessments. There’s no indication that they have actually challenged themselves to examine the facts when they’ve drawn up their list.” . . .

Seafood New Zealand welcomes community funding for seabird conservation work:

Seafood New Zealand today welcomed Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith’s announcement that the Government will provide $300,000 of funding to two community groups to support their work in protecting some of New Zealand’s special seabirds.

The seafood industry is one of the founding partners in the Southern Seabird Solutions Trust which has received $100,000 towards a seabird smart recreational fishing initiative that aims to reduce the number of birds accidentally caught by recreational fishers in the upper North Island. . . .

From the last will and testament of a farmer c1986 – Gravedodger:

To my Wife,  my bank overdraft. Maybe she has an explanation for it.

To my Banker, I bequeath my soul, he has the mortgage on it anyway.

To my nearest and dearest neighbor, my clown suit, he claims he is going to carry on farming.

To The Rural Bank, my grain silo and my Fertilizer Bin, he has them as chattel security anyway.

To the local scrap metal dealer, every item of crap machinery I have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep from his possession. . . .

Otago woman named NZ’s top young amenity horticulturist:

New Zealand’s top young amenity horticulturist has been found after an intense day of competition at the Young Amenity Horticulturist of the Year event in Hamilton yesterday.

The annual competition is run by the New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA) and serves as the qualifier for the prestigious Horticulturist of the Year competition, which will be hosted in Auckland in November.

Otago woman Sarah Fenwick emerged as the judge’s choice after planning, planting and potting her way to victory. The 30-year-old former vet nurse narrowly beat second place getter Josh van der Hulst, from Kamo, to take out the prize. . . .

Tax officials to work with bloodstock breeding industry:

Racing Minister Nathan Guy and Revenue Minister Todd McClay have confirmed that Inland Revenue officials will work with the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association on a number of tax issues raised by the industry.

The issues cover questions the NZTBA has over the application of tax rules for the industry and are expected to be dealt with as part of the normal consultative process between the private sector and tax officials.

“We are confident that the majority of the issues can be worked through, providing a positive result and greater certainty for what is an important industry to New Zealand,” Mr McClay says. . . .

Entries open for New Zealand’s largest A&P Show:

Show organisers for the 2014 Canterbury A&P Show are calling upon showing enthusiasts from throughout New Zealand to send in their entries and compete in the country’s largest Agricultural and Pastoral Show. For over 150 years, The Show has been attracting and showcasing New Zealand’s best animals and talented competitors. In addition to showing success, exhibitors will be competing for over $100,000 in prize money.

More than 3000 animals and close to 1000 competitors are expected to compete in 1700 classes including sections for horse and pony, beef and dairy cattle, sheep, alpaca, llama, wool, goat, dog trials, poultry, shearing and woolhandling, woodchopping and vintage machinery. Entries are also open for two of the feature competitions of The Show – the Mint Lamb Competition where New Zealand’s top lambs are put to a taste test, and the Young Auctioneers Competition where up-and-coming stock agents get to show off their skills. . . .


Rural round-up

November 26, 2013

Will pay dirt slip through farmers’ hands? –  Robert Gottliebsen:

The GrainCorp takeover bid from the US agricultural giant Archer Daniels Midland is suddenly becoming a wake-up call to farmers — they are going to lose long-term market power.     

And that potential loss of power underlines the fact that in the last few decades a big proportion of the rewards from farming have shifted from growing crops to those providing transport, processing and retail services. 

In major international takeovers of agricultural transport and processing, the winners are the shareholders and the management. All too often the losers are the farmers.

As we have seen in both Warrnambool Cheese and GrainCorp, shareholders are being offered substantially more than the pre-bid market value for their shares. And the mangers of both GrainCorp and Warrnambool will be essential for the overseas bidders. They will almost certainly receive international style salaries. . .

Five tribes buy state dairy farms in Waikato:

Five tribes have bought a big dairy operation in the Waikato region.

The Hauraki Collective now owns the Pouarua dairy complex, which it’s purchased from the state farmer, Landcorp.

Ngati Maru, Ngati Paoa, Ngati Tamatera, Ngati Tara Tokanui and Te Patukirikiri have used Treaty money to buy more than 2200 hectares near Ngatea on the Hauraki Plains.

Although the iwi have not yet fully settled their grievances with the Crown, the government has agreed to provide $53.5 million up front to complete the deal. . .

Overcoming obstacles to setting water quality limits – Ned Norton and Helen Rouse:

In the previous Waiology series on Water governance, we referred to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM) (2011) requirement to set limits for water quantity and quality. So, how are councils getting on with limit-setting?

In May 2012 we surveyed planners for regional councils to find out how their current regional plans measure up against the NPSFM requirements to set limits, and found that 1 of 14 respondents said their current plan meets NPSFM requirements, 8 of 14 said their plan met requirements to some extent, and 5 of 14 said their plan did not meet NPSFM requirements.

Our survey also identified a number of potential obstacles that make limit-setting difficult. Some of the most common obstacles were costs (time,staff), availability of catchment-specific data, understanding existing/baseline conditions, balancing instream and out-of-stream values, lack of support for plan process (political or council staff), lack of clear process for getting parties together/getting agreement, and lack of understanding of (and difficulty communicating) complex issues and value trade-offs. . .

Eric Ropiha — a legendary horseman:

New Zealand racing has lost a highly-respected, successful and decorated horseman with the death last Friday of Eric Ropiha. He was aged 88.

Ropiha trained 716 winners during his career from 1948 to his retirement in 2001 and won the National Trainers’ Premiership in 1959-60 with 43 winners.

He had a number of top-class gallopers through his hands, including the 1960 Caulfield Cup winner Ilumquh, who was twice placed in the Melbourne Cup, and Fans, who also finished third in the Flemington feature for him. . .

North Canterbury Winery takes out trophy for top Pinot Noir:

Greystone Wines has won the Pinot Noir trophy at New Zealand’s most prestigious wine show- the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, for their Waipara Pinot Noir 2012. The North Canterbury winery has taken the top gong from more well-known Pinot Noir producing regions, reinforcing growing interest in this area. The Pinot Noir was grown on the clay and limestone slopes of the Waipara Valley, an hour north of Christchurch.

A team of local and international judges were effusive with praise for the sustainably accredited wine. They described it as “Opulent and powerful, yet poised and refined with dark berries and floral aromas.” In addition the same wine was last month rated 96 points and named by Gourmet Traveller magazine as one of New Zealand’s Top 12 Pinot Noir. . .

New Zealand’s best lamb:

Canterbury farmer Mike Ryan has taken out the 2013 Mint Lamb Competition, producing the country’s best lamb from paddock to plate.

Farmers from throughout New Zealand were invited to showcase their quality lamb and compete in the competition that celebrates the quality and variety of lamb available in New Zealand with a focus on increasing consumption of one of the country’s largest export earners.

Lambs were judged on the hook at an Alliance plant for Best Overall Yield. The top 4 lambs in each class (dual purpose,
dual purpose/cross terminal, composite/crossbred cross terminal and terminal) were selected as semi-finalists and sent to be Tender Tested at Lincoln University. Based on the result of the Tender Test, the top 3 lambs in each class were selected as finalists. All finalists were Taste Tested at the 2013 Canterbury A&P Show to decide the overall winner of the Mint Lamb Competition. . .

Organic practices will improve water quality:

A shift towards organic farming practices and diversification is needed to protect and enhance our waterways and our economy, says the Soil & Health Association. The recently released report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright, shows that water quality is deteriorating, particularly in areas where there is expansion or intensification of dairy farming.

“The current push for more dairy farms and more animals on the land is not sustainable,” said Marion Thomson, co-chair of Soil & Health. “We need to be farming smart and farming to the conditions of each area, rather than trying to wring as much as we can out of the land, or extracting huge volumes of water to irrigate naturally dry areas.” . . .


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