Rural round-up

June 1, 2013

Dairy company looks to process all year round:

Westland Milk Products says its move into higher value nutritional products is paying off with increased orders.

The company makes a range of protein products, buttermilk powder and anhydrous milk fat (AMF).

The dairy co-operative commissioned a new infant formula plant at its Hokitika base last year which will continue processing through June and July to meet the orders it is getting.

The company is also encouraging some of its farmers to milk all year round to make better use of its processing facilities. . .

Central Plains water users to raise $56m

Shareholders of Central Plains Water, set up to draw water for irrigation from Canterbury’s Rakaia and Waimakiriri rivers, have indicated their commitment to the equity component of a looming $140 million capital raising.

The equity component has not yet been finalised but is likely to be 30 percent to 40 percent of the total, chief executive Derek Crombie says. That means shareholders would be tapped for up to $56 million. The company expects to lodge a prospectus by the end of June.

“We’ve approached all the shareholders and have indicative commitments at the 95 percent level,” Mr Crombie told BusinessDesk. The final funding split will depend on feedback from banks and other financiers “but indications from banks are that it’s do-able”. . .

Salmonella hits southern farmers – Annette Scott:

An outbreak of salmonella has left hundreds of sheep dead and many Southland farmers devastated.

“This has been very debilitating for the farmers whose farms have been hit. It is a frustrating thing to get caught in, demoralising and gutting for farmers already struggling with low returns,” Gore sheep and beef farmer Andrew Morrison said.

Morrison’s farm has not been affected but two neighbouring properties have.

“And that leaves farmers asking the question, what have I done wrong? They have done nothing wrong. That is the nature of farming – it can be hellish,” Morrison said. . .

Joe Ludwig launches national food plan to grow industry – Samantha Hawley:

Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig has unveiled a new plan designed to grow the local food industry and put Australia on the world food map.

First promised in the 2010 election campaign, the National Food Plan includes a multi-million-dollar research fund to help Australian producers capitalise on the so-called Asian “dining boom”.

There is also funding to better brand Australian food exports.

“It’s about helping domestic opportunities find connections in Asia,” Mr Ludwig said. . .

Finding Francoise – Moon Over Martinborough:

“Jared, I have bad news for you,” CJ said.  “Francoise is missing.”

I stared at CJ in disbelief. I had just come back to the property after a week away for work. “Francoise? Missing? What do you mean?”

CJ shook his head. “I’ve looked everywhere. I haven’t seen her in two days.”

“That’s impossible. She can’t just be gone. I mean, chickens don’t just disappear without a trace.” . .


Rural round-up

May 14, 2013

Bee decline worries unjustified says honey producer:

A New Zealand honey producer and exporter says there’s too much unjustified doom and gloom about the health of the world’s bees.

Reports of wide-spread bee losses and colony collapses in Europe, Asia and North America have raised the alarm about the survival of honey bees.

The European Union has recently banned a group of systemic neonicotinoid insecticides.

However, Airborne Honey managing director Peter Bray says global honey statistics show bees are actually doing well.

He says world honey figures show beehive numbers and honey production per hive are up, and world trade is increasing. . .

Taranaki recognised for riparian management:

Taranaki’s flagship riparian management programme, which has “gone the extra mile” in developing relationships with dairy farmers, has been recognised for its outstanding contribution to protecting the environment.

 The Taranaki Regional Council programme is a finalist in two categories of the Ministry for the Environment’s 2013 Green Ribbon Awards: the Caring for Our Water and Public Sector Leadership categories.

Environment Minister Amy Adams announced the finalists in 11 award categories last week. . .

Crusoe wheat variety set to make dough for break makers – David Jones:

When Robinson Crusoe was cast away on his tropical island he would have probably found good use for the breadmaking wheat that is his namesake, to aid his survival until rescue.

The promising eponymous milling variety, named after Daniel Defoe’s hero, could now be delighting growers and breadmakers alike and be the future foundation of the British loaf.

From deserted isle to Kent’s sparsely populated Romney Marsh, one bread wheat grower is planning for the variety to take a big slice of his farm this autumn. . .

Fonterra Tankers Get a School Milk Makeover:

Fonterra Tanker Drivers Mike Courtney, Ian McKavanagh and Jess Drewet with one of the new Fonterra Milk for Schools tankers.

From this week, Fonterra drivers will be hitting the roads in 14 brand new Fonterra Milk for Schools themed tankers.

Fonterra Tanker Driver, Jess Drewet, says the team is excited to get behind the new wheels.

“Not only are these completely new vehicles, they are displaying something of which our team is really proud. When you drive as much as we do, you get quite attached to your tanker, and the team can’t wait to get out on the roads and show the new ones off,” says Mr Drewet. . .

Agriculture extravaganza in Fielding:

Feilding’s Manfeild Park has become a sort of one stop shop for beef and sheep farmers this week.

Three farmer events that have been running for years in Manawatu are being rolled into a single four-day extravaganza.

The Aginnovation programme began on Saturday with Future Beef New Zealand, an event designed to encourage young people into the beef industry. . .

Argentine farmers expected to plant more wheat this coming season

Argentina will plant more wheat this season than last year because of farmer-friendly adjustments to the government’s export policy and the bad luck that growers had last season with alternative crops such as barley, a key grain exchange said.

At a time of rising world food demand, the grain-exporting powerhouse can expect 3.9 million hectares to be sown with wheat in the 2013/14 season, up from 3.6 million planted in 2012/13, the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange said in its first wheat area estimate of the year. Planting starts next month.

“Our survey of growers shows a clear improvement in terms of intention to sow wheat,” the exchange said in a statement. “This improvement is due primarily to the poor experience that growers had with alternative crops (mostly barley) last season.” . . .

The Frankenchicken kerfuffle – Moon over Martinborough:

“I want us to raise chickens for meat,” CJ said. “Like proper farmers.”

“Seriously?” I said. “When you wanted to breed pigs for meat you fell in love with the pigs and ended up screaming, ‘I will never eat their babies!’ Remember?”

 “That was different. That was pigs.”

It turns out CJ had already arranged to pick up five meat birds from our friend Claudia. He was trading them for our olive oil. . .


Rural round-up

April 23, 2013
Lies, damned lies and statistics or historical facts about sheepmeat – Allan Barber:

A brief comparison of sheepmeat and milk solids prices since 1991 throws up some interesting facts. These give the lie to the belief that the dairy industry is consistently more profitable than the sheep sector.

The statement that there are three kinds of lie – lies, damned lies and statistics – is often attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, 19th century British Prime Minister, but it was popularised by Mark Twain. Students of two of this country’s best known (and generally most profitable) agricultural commodities may find it hard to believe, but you can’t really argue with the facts.

In 1991 soon after I started my agricultural career in the stock and station industry before moving to the meat industry two years later, the price of lamb hit a low point of $14 a lamb; mutton was even worse, being down around $4 a ewe at the meat plant. In contrast the 1991 dairy payout was $3.40 per kilo of milk solids. . .

Committees starting point for law – Tim Fulton:

Environment Canterbury is assuring the public the plans it is generating in land and water committees won’t be obliterated by the Resource Management Act process. Tim Fulton examines what Hurunui-Waiau’s ground-breaking process means for other catchments.

Cantabrians have heard a lot about the exhaustive toil of their zone committees.

They have also had a sense that most of the recommendations will be merged into law.

The Hurunui-Waiau zone committee is the first to have its recommendations to a hearing panel measured against a Resource Management Act-based regional river plan. . .

My new job and youth employment – Milking on the Moove:

I’ve decide to trial a video blog, simply because I don’t seem to have much time to write a blog post any more.

So when I’m busy I’ll just talk about whats on my mind for 5 minutes and just post the video.

I’ll be honest and say I’m a little nervous about posting the video. I’ve followed people on blogs or read their books etc and formed an opinion about the person based on what they have written. . .

A cow portrait for the neighbours – Moon Over Martinborough:

When our neighbors John and Aussie Bronwyn announced that they were selling their property and moving away, CJ and I were mortified. More than anyone, those two have taught us how to live on 20 acres. How could they abandon us?

Aussie Bronwyn is our High Priestess of Chicken Wisdom. John lets CJ borrow and break his tractor on a regular basis. And every Tuesday we spend wild evenings with them – playing cards, accusing each other of cheating, and heading home to bed by 8:30pm. . .

The sun is up and so is the sparky (or the day began pear shaped) – Milk Maid Marian:

Dairy cows are rounded up before dawn but, today, they slept in. We had a bit of a disaster in the dairy last night that would have meant the girls missed breakfast. That certainly would not do, so while they waited for the sparky to weave his magic in the grain auger control box, this is how the cows enjoyed watching the sunrise. . .


%d bloggers like this: