Rural round-up

May 7, 2015

Bull-selling season prime for entertaining start – Kate Taylor:

Two counter-balancing influences are expected to have an impact on this year’s bull-selling season, says PGG Wrightson New Zealand livestock genetics manager Bruce Orr.

The season begins on May 12 with almost 100 bulls offered for auction at Te Pari Beef Expo in Feilding.

The bulls come from six different breeds, with 45 anguses, 28 herefords, 11 simmentals, six shorthorns, five gelbviehs and three south devons.

The bull sales are a gauge for how the season might progress.

Orr said the lead-in to this year’s sales had two distinct parts. . .

Genetics the answer for high quality pasture-fed beef – Pat Deavoll:

South Canterbury angus breeders Gerald and Sue Hargreaves are convinced New Zealand is missing the boat when it comes to producing high quality pasture-fed beef of an international standard.

The world wants grass-fed beef, Gerald Hargreaves says, but ours isn’t consistent or marbled enough to make the grade. He says the only way forward is with genetics and facts.

He “saw the light”, turning to genetics in 1994. He had worked for an angus breeder in Scotland in the mid 60s before moving back to New Zealand to take over the family farm – Kakahu Farm near Geraldine – and the accompanying angus stud, which his father had started in 1954. Originally almost all the bulls were sold to Molesworth Station, but in 1974 Gerald linked up with another local Angus breeder, George Hill, for his first sale. . .

2015 Sheep Industry Awards Finalists:

Finalists in the 2015 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards have been announced today.

The awards are now in their fourth year and Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive, Dr Scott Champion said they were a great way of recognising and celebrating excellence in the industry.

“It’s right that we acknowledge the top performers and showcase our industry, which is a significant contributor to the New Zealand economy.”

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Farmer Council national chair, Martin Coup, who also chairs the awards judging panel, said the New Zealand sheep industry could take heart from the high quality and quantity of this year’s nominations. . .

 Sweet smell of success at Kiwi lavender farm – Nadene Hall:

Corry Zeestraten had spent so many years talking about one day running her own herb-based business, when her son sent her an email about a lavender farm for sale back in 2008, he wrote  “Mum, this is something for you as a joke!”.

But Corry and her husband Jan took one look at the advertisement for a 3.4ha block including show garden and commercial lavender crop a few kilometres inland from Kaikoura on the South Island’s east coast, and decided to take a look.

“I’d lived in Lincoln, close to Christchurch, for 40 years and we’d run a market garden,” says Corry. “I’d always had a really big herb garden and I’d always been keen on doing something with herbs. My son sent me a website link about this farm as a joke, but we went for a look straight away.” . .

Weak dairy prices prompt analysts to pull back Fonterra forecast payout for next season – Tina Morrison:

 (BusinessDesk) – Weak global dairy prices have prompted analysts to pull back their expectations for Fonterra Cooperative Group’s payout to farmers for next season.

Average prices dropped 3.5 percent in the GlobalDairyTrade auction overnight. New Zealand’s key product, whole milk powder, slipped an average 1.8 percent, extending its cumulative decline over the past five auctions to 27 percent.

Auckland-based Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy exporter, last week cut its forecast payout for the current 2014/15 season to $4.50 per kilogram of milk solids, from a previous forecast of $4.70/kgMS and last year’s record $8.40/kgMS, citing an oversupply in international markets and volatile commodity prices. . .

Pacific Seeds appoints Canterbury Seed Company for New Zealand distribution:

Pacific Seeds, part of the Australian owned Advanta Seeds Group has awarded Canterbury Seed Company (Canterbury Seed) its New Zealand distribution rights effective 1 June, 2015.

Subsequent to an internal restructure aimed at better servicing the New Zealand market and its farmers, Pacific Seeds wanted to partner with a distributor who was strong in local market knowledge and logistics.

Operating in New Zealand for over the past 23 years via selected agents and direct to clients, Pacific Seeds chose Ashburton based Canterbury Seed after many years of successful co-operative business dealings in other parts of the seed industry. “We know Canterbury Seed well – they are leading edge in the local New Zealand seed business, are passionate about quality and are customer centric in their approach,” said Pacific Seed Managing Director, Nick Gardner. “We are positive the Pacific Seeds range of products will be well represented and accessible across all North and South Island farming regions,” he said. . .

 


Rural round-up

April 21, 2015

Sturgess.”I’ll help” – Neal Wallace:

Tom Sturgess, one of New Zealand’s richest men and largest farmers, is willing to be involved in making the red meat industry more profitable.

A career that includes running several diverse multi-billion-dollar companies including United States meat packing houses has given Sturgess some clear thoughts and ideas on how to revitalise the meat industry, even though some of those solutions could be considered unconventional.

Sturgess volunteered his help in an FWplus interview, saying he would happily be involved to find ways to improve sector profitability if he was wanted. . .

Shear warmth: former hairdresser’s dream become reality :From being a city hairdresser in New Plymouth making small talk with clients to living in the remote central North Island where the closest neighbour is eight kilometres down a winding, gravel road, Monique Neeson has been through a few changes.

You can also add to that the launch of a company selling woollen blankets that are, as she describes them, born, grown, woven and handmade in New Zealand.

Neeson laughs at her transformation.

“I can remember the first time I came to this farm, winding down the road for absolutely ages, and I told Tim, [now her husband], I’d never negotiate the road again.” . .

Don’t fight system farmers told – Alan Williams:

Farming within water quality limits is now a reality that all farmers will need to adapt to, Canterbury farmers have been told.

The process of setting quality limits and the farming changes required to meet them would be challenging and take time for everyone to get there, Environment Canterbury (ECAN) commissioner David Bedford told the Future of the Heartland farm forum at Conway Flats in North Canterbury today.

Some nutrient management tools had limitations and were still being developed and ECAN compliance activities would take that into account, he said in a speech on behalf of head commissioner Dame Margaret Bazley. . .

Farmers’ bank balances under severe pressure:

Industry body DairyNZ says bank balances for most dairy farmers will be heading south this winter and spring, producing some short-term but significant cashflow management challenges for farmers.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says 2015-16 will still probably end up being a breakeven year for most farmers but cashflow will be a major issue that could result in some increased term debt in the sector and less spending in the regions.

“Farmers are used to having seasonal cashflow that drops into the red but then pops back into the black at some stage during the summer period. However, our current forecasts indicate that many farmers won’t be in credit for the entire 12 months of next season unless costs are reduced, income is higher than predicted or some of their overdraft is put into their term debt.” . . .

24 ways to to survive next drought – Nadene Hall:

Ask a group of farmers with over 500 years’ experience between them how to manage a property before, during and after a drought, and you get a lot of practical tips and wisdom. AgResearch asked 20 South Canterbury farmers about their strategies for successfully managing their properties after a drought.

All the farmers had experienced severe droughts over the previous 20-30 years of farming. What worked best on an individual property depended on things like its climate and soil type, and what was being farmed, but the scientists concluded these are the key areas to look at: . .

Search on for cotton workers – Andrew Marshall:

AUSTRALIA’S rural skills shortage is not just a problem troubling individual farms or regional machinery businesses – the cotton industry fears the profitability of the entire cropping sector is eroding.

The combined impact of new farm technology growth and a shortage of rural recruits with skills ranging from information technology and accounting, to engineering and agronomy, is stressing broadacre agriculture’s efficiency and productivity.

Corporate farms and big agribusinesses are frequently resorting to ‘cherry picking’ the talent they need from other players or other sectors of the industry, even if it means taking agronomists and turning them into bankers.  . .


Rural round-up

December 17, 2014

WMP recovery predicted – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra’s third substantial milk price forecast reduction this season will bite dairy farmers in January and sentence them to a bleak winter next year.

Fonterra has inevitably followed the international dairy price slump by revising its milk price forecast downwards by 60c to $4.70/kg milksolids (MS).

The $6 billion turnaround from last season to this one will also hit rural servicing businesses as dairy farmers cut spending to essential inputs. . .

Wear helmets on quad bikes – they’re part of the job:

A farming couple from Canvastown near Blenheim have been fined $20,000 each for offences involving the use of quad bikes on the farm where they have a share-milking partnership.

There were multiple sightings, dating back to 2012, of Phillip Andrew Jones and Maria Anna Carlson riding quads without helmets and in some cases Ms Carlson had small children with her on the quad.

Ms Carlson was witnessed twice riding her quad without a helmet after a prohibition notice had been issued and the second time she had two young children with her on the bike. . .

Generating wealth from dairy – Keith Woodford:

The current dairy downturn is inevitably turning attention to the wisdom of having so many eggs in the same basket. When times look rough, it can be helpful to look back and remind ourselves of the journey we have travelled to get where we are.

The driving forces that have led to the present have had very little to do with industry policy. Rather, the outcomes we are now experiencing are the consequence of thousands of individual farmers and rural investors deciding that dairy was where the profits lay. And to a large extent they got it right.

Taxation policy is the one key area where governments have influenced investor behaviour. The longstanding taxation policy of all governments has been to not tax capital gain. . .

A passion for prestige farming – Sue O’Dowd:

Enthusiastic Wairarapa farmers Matt and Lynley Wyeth are putting the beef and sheep industry in the spotlight.

The couple were keynote speakers at last week’s inaugural Taranaki Big Dine In for Taranaki sheep and beef farmers at Stratford.

The 2014 Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Award winners say they love sheep and beef farming and they’d like to see its success celebrated.

“It’s our turn to shine,” Matt Wyeth said. “We want to thrive, not just survive. . .

5 ways to avoid a bad fencing job – Nadene Hall:

There’s one really easy way to know if a fence is well built: a good fence is one you don’t notice. That’s the golden rule of experienced contractor Simon Fuller, the President of the Fencing Contractors Association of NZ (FCANZ). 

“It blends in, there’s no sudden rises, humps and hollows, it’s a flowing fence, especially on a lifestyle block, unless you’re wanting to make a statement in an entranceway. 

“For me, as a contractor, I notice poor fences before I notice good fences because a good fence is there and it’s not offensive to the eye, where a poorly constructed fence… as a rule, fences that are poorly constructed, you will keep on finding things wrong with them, there will be numerous things wrong with them, not just one.”  . . .

Dairy cattle total rises to 6.7 million:

The number of dairy cattle in New Zealand continued to rise, to reach 6.7 million at the end of June, Statistics New Zealand said today.

“Generally good pastoral conditions since the previous June contributed to the increase,” agriculture manager Neil Kelly said.

In the same one-year period, sheep, beef, and deer numbers fell. The number of sheep declined by 1.2 million, to 29.6 million as at June 2014.

These provisional figures are from the 2014 Agricultural Production Survey, which Statistics NZ conducted in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries. . .

Hawke’s Bay economy gets major boost from fruit innovation:

Havelock North Fruit Company has announced new investment and a major facility expansion and to meet global demand for its award winning Rockit apple brand.

Havelock North Fruit Company (HNFC) managing director Phil Alison today announced a new major facility in Havelock North, set to open in March 2015 as well as further investment into growing and globally supplying the miniature apple.

Already over $14 million has been invested in the production and marketing of Rockit, with a further $10m projected in the next three years. . .

CRV Ambreed celebrates 45 years of business:

It’s a momentous year for CRV Ambreed, who this-year celebrates its 45th year in business.

The company, now part of the world’s third largest artificial breeding company, has come a long way in the last 45 years.

It was set up by a small group of farmers in 1969 under the company name American Breeders Service. The founders began operating in a facility on the outskirts of Hamilton in 1970, with a core business of dairy semen production for the New Zealand market.

Managing Director Angus Haslett said the company has had ‘a couple of changes’ since then, the most recent and significant when it was purchased by a large 30,000-farm Dutch cooperative CRV Delta in 2003 to become CRV Ambreed. . .

 

BioGro New Zealand Names New CEO:

BioGro New Zealand is pleased to announce that Donald Nordeng has been appointed the new Chief Executive of BioGro.

He will be taking over the role from Dr Michelle Glogau who stepped down in early September.

Donald is an accomplished director with extensive experience in leading, building and growing companies in the organic certification industry.

Donald is well-recognised in the international organics sector and will bring global networks and perspectives to his new position. . .

 


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