Rural round-up

22/06/2015

Fonterra – who loves ya baby? – Tim Hunter:

It’s so ironic. Fonterra [NZX: FCG], whose sole reason for being is to benefit its co-operative members, is so distrusted by them that it must have a Shareholders Council to oversee its board, even though the board is already completely controlled by shareholders.

The co-op is so successful it is the world’s largest processor of milk and the world’s biggest dairy exporter, yet its shareholders complain that its head office is not in a provincial town, even though there are barely any international flights from provincial airports.

Meanwhile, the business has become so economically important to New Zealand that non-shareholders argue Fonterra is too focused on processing milk and should be more like Nestle, which sells a lot of coffee, chocolate and instant noodles (although it probably doesn’t want to talk about noodles right now). . . 

 

Tight times for sharemilkers – Hugh Stringleman:

Most sharemilkers will be unable to write a break-even budget for the new dairy season and face several months of negative cash flows before dairy prices are expected to recover.

That is the market reality facing all dairy farmers, but especially taxing for sharemilkers of all descriptions given the low milk prices, incomes in the $1 to $2/kg range, and the lack of discretionary or deferrable spending.

Industry-wide, considerably more seasonal finance will be necessary because herd-owning sharemilkers (40-50% contracts) face losses between 30c and 50c/kg on all milk produced for the remainder of 2015. . .

 Survey captures cost of compliance – Richard Rennie:

Waikato dairy farmers have invested about $400 million in environmental compliance in recent years, but are uncertain about how long that investment will remain compliant.

New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays scholar Thomas Macdonald has just issued findings from a survey he conducted on Waikato dairy farmers, determining how much they have invested in effluent management and compliant farm systems. . .

 AgResearch hub remodelled for Lincoln – Tim Cronshaw:

AgResearch’s soon to be built science hub programme will look much different from the operation first envisaged, writes Tim Cronshaw.

AgResearch is about to put out new master plans as more science and agriculture partners join its vision for innovation clusters at its main Lincoln and Palmerston North hubs in a nationwide $100 million restructuring programme.

Originally the research organisation was going to build its science centre for its Future Footprint programme on new ground connecting to the Lincoln University campus with the wider Crown Research Institute precinct.

Townie helps out – Annette Scott:

Christchurch businessman Grant Silvester launched a campaign earlier this month to help get feed to North Canterbury farms.

He has been thrilled at the amazing support the campaign has attracted and is more than confident of trucking in his goal of 500 bales of feed to the region.

Silvester, a self-described townie who sells cars and racing car parts from his Christchurch-based business, had seen how dry farms were while travelling through the area. . .

 Firm friendship: The sports star and the girl inventor – Narelle Henson:

It’s easy to see young inventer Ayla Hutchinson and her mentor, Bernice Mene are mates – even though they clearly have pretty different backgrounds.

Mene is a national figure, accomplished in the world of sport, Ayla is a teen inventor from the fields of Taranaki; introverted, inexperienced and – by her own admission – a little anxious.

Fifteen-year-old Ayla is the inventor of the Kindling Cracker, a wood-splitting device taking New Zealand by storm. She’s just signed “a massive” supply deal with major American corporate, Northern Tools + Equipment. The second 12-metre container of orders needs to be sent soon, but New Zealand demand keeps emptying it. She’s constantly being badgered with interview requests, and everywhere she goes people just keep asking how she came up with that invention. . .


Rural round-up

27/04/2015

Raiders butcher prized beef Andrea Fox:

Cattle butchers have struck a beef breeding farm near Whakatane, slaughtering two valuable in-calf cows and forcing the destruction of two others because of gunshot wounds.

Residents of Herepuru Rd about 5km from Matata and 35km from Whakatane are meeting to discuss installing a security camera in the road after the incident last week, in which the cows, among 113 in a paddock near the roadside, were gunned down with a .22 rifle.

Farmer Chrissy Weeks hoped police were following good leads after a woman neighbour in the road on the way to work early last Wednesday morning confronted three men loading up a dark-coloured, late model sedan.  . .

The tech revolution and the farm ute – Andrew Hoggard:

In the near future when you talk to a farmer about their dashboard and what they  have on it, they won’t respond by telling you “a speedo and a fuel gauge you idiot”.

 Instead they may well talk about their daily production summary, weather forecast, water pressure monitoring, fence power status, vat refrigeration temperature, and many other things.

Now you may be wondering why you would want this sort of information on the dashboard of your tractor or ute.  But it’s not a vehicle dashboard we are talking about,  but a farm dashboard. . .

Dollar, dairy forecast, drought have impact on farm sales – Sally Rae:

Prudent farm purchasers have ”carefully assessed” the reduced milk price forecast and the high New Zealand dollar, Real Estate Institute of New Zealand rural spokesman Brian Peacocke says.

Drought conditions had also had a negative impact on some South Island regions, Mr Peacocke said.

Data released by REINZ showed there were 47 fewer farm sales for the three months ended March than for the corresponding period last year. . .

Commodity index down, but wool does well – Dean Mackenzie:

The ASB New Zealand commodity index fell last week but lamb, beef and wool prices all posted rises close to 2% in United States dollar terms.

The index fell 0.8% in New Zealand dollar terms, dragged down by a 1.9% appreciation in the dollar against the US currency. In contrast, the index rose 1.1% in US dollar terms, ASB rural economist Nathan Penny said. . .

Hobby beekeeping takes off – Narelle Henson:

New Zealand is abuzz with enthusiasm over the humble bee, as hundreds of people a year sign up to hobby beekeeping.

John Hartnell, chairman of the Federated Farmers Bee Industry Group, said the last three years had seen numbers across the country explode. 

“We’ve got over 600 new beekeepers a year coming in. This year will probably be even greater than that. 

“We have an expectation that probably, come Christmas time, we might have 6000 beekeepers in the country and we might be heading towards 600,000 hives.” . . .

 

Horticultural production tops $7B, led by wine and apples – Fiona Rotherham:

Horticultural production has topped $7 billion for the first time, with good growth in nearly all the main industries, including wine, apples, potatoes, and onions.

The latest edition of the industry publication Fresh Facts shows in the year to June 30 2014 the horticultural industry was calculated to reach $7.16 billion in production, up from $6.7 billion the year before.

Exports rose by $300 million to $3.9 billion, an increase of nearly 7 percent on the previous year. . .

 


Rural round-up

28/09/2014

Building an educated workforce – Rick Powdrell:

How about that election result then! The most interesting result took place up in Te Tai Tokerau with Labour‘s Kelvin Davis being elected.  Can I give a big thumbs up to the average Kiwi voter who responded to electoral nastiness by sending one political movement packing.

New Zealanders have dodged a bullet and it restores your faith in democracy.  The party I am thinking about wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about what we farmers do on-farm either.

In this election, it was clear to me that some people do not understand that farming is the most international business we have.  A business you can’t up sticks and transfer with the click of a mouse.  It’s here because the people, climate, soils and temperature are all right here.  Industries collectively generating $35 billion a year; 73 percent of our merchandise exports.  . .

Nepalese adding value in Waimate – Sarah Rowland:

When Ikawai dairy farmer Lyle Green employed Nepalese Ashok Shrestha 11 years ago he was so impressed with his works ethic he looked for more.

Green’s uncle had told him of a hard-working Nepalese man who wasn’t being treated well in his job and to employ him if he could, but at the time Green had no vacancies.

However, when a position opened he tracked down Shrestha and employed him.

It turned out to be one of the best choices he had made for his business, he said.

When another employee left for another position Green asked Shrestha if he had a friend who wanted to come to work for him and he said he had two. . .

Loving it for the lifestyle – Gerard Hutching:

”I wouldn’t change it for anything – it’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle,” says Landcorp dairy farm manager Letitia Hamill.

At the age of 22, Hamill is the second youngest Landcorp farm manager in the country. And as a woman, she is a relative rarity for the state-owned enterprise, which has just five female managers out of 137.

Hamill manages one of the nine Landcorp Moutoa dairy farms in the Foxton region. At 68 hectares and running 216 cows, hers is one of four smaller properties in the complex. . .

Boost for breeding as salmon return to river  – David Bruce:

About 1% of a first release of 2000 salmon raised in the Waitaki River returned in the past fishing season, boosting breeding in a stream whose water was used to raise them.

The Waitaki Riparian Enhancement Society started hatching salmon at a hatchery next to Welcome Stream and released its first 2000 tagged fish in 2012.

They were due to start returning in the past season, and the first was caught in February.

Society secretary Linn Koevoet said five of those fish were weighed in at a competition and another three were reported caught. . .

‘Shear for life’ fundraiser – Yvonne O’Hara:

Two farmers hope to raise $24,000 for the Cancer Society by shearing sheep during a 24-hour ”Shear for Life” marathon in Tarras in February.

Farmer James Hill, of Teviot Valley, and stock manager Cole Wells, of Tarras, want to raise money for the society in memory of family members who had died of cancer.

Mr Hill’s father Dick died of stomach cancer in 2012 and Mr Wells lost his grandfather to prostate cancer. . .

Dairy delegation heads to US – Narelle Henson:

A group of 30 large-scale New Zealand dairy farmers and industry representatives are heading to the United States of America tomorrow to see what lessons they can bring home. 

The country is increasingly being punted as New Zealand’s major competition in the Chinese market.

The USA’s milk supply is around four times that of New Zealand, according to DairyNZ statistics, 40 per cent of which comes from 800 ”mega-dairies”, with 2000 or more cows.

Fieldays chief executive Jon Calder is going on the nine-day trip, and said lessons in keeping costs down would be a major focus. . .

 

Tongariro triumphs at Otiwhiti -Jackie Harrigan:

Told you we should have left the shield in the van.”

That was the triumphant cry from one of the supporters of the agri-skills team from Tongariro School last week when they won the Land Based Training Otiwhiti Station Interschool Challenge Shield at the Rangitikei station for the second year in a row.

Tongariro team leader Chicago Albert was proud of his team and of the win, saying they had been training hard to retain the shield. 

“I reckon it’s really cool to come back and win for a second time.” . .


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