Rural round-up

August 24, 2015

Increased focus on rural depression:

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have today announced increased training for rural health professionals and community leaders to tackle depression in rural communities.

The commitment is the second part of the one-off $500,000 funding boost for mental health initiatives targeted at rural communities announced at Fieldays.

“Raising awareness of mental health issues in rural communities is important, but you also need the professional support with the right skills to help those who are at risk,” says Dr Coleman. . . 

TPP deal to free up world dairy trade would reduce volatility:

DairyNZ chairman John Luxton writes that major TPP players are holding their dairy consumers to ransom

The news that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal has not been agreed because of differences over autos, dairy and intellectual property is no surprise to anyone.

Some of the major players have sought to maintain trade protection rather than to reduce it.

It seems incredible that the US dairy industry has so far convinced the US negotiators that they need to be protected from any increase in New Zealand dairy imports into the US. . . 

Back to basics – Annette Scott:

Dwindling demand from dairy has forced cropping farmers to readjust their businesses in a return to traditional practices and markets.

Dairy industry destocking would result in reduced demand for off-farm feed supplies and that would mean greater demand for store lambs, Federated Farmers arable industry chairman Guy Wigley said.

With tongue in cheek he suggested now could be a good time to buy sheep. . . 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand pleased with health and safety changes:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand says sheep and beef farmers will be pleased to hear that most farms are not going to be classed as high risk work places and won’t have to have a health and safety representative, following changes to the proposed Health and Safety Reform Bill.

Responding to suggestions that farmers are getting getting off lightly, Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman James Parsons said sheep and beef farms average fewer than two full time employees per farm.

“Can you imagine the farm manager and the shepherd standing on a hill and electing the health and safety representative? Not classifying farms as high risk doesn’t exempt farm businesses from any liability under the Health and Safety Reform Bill. But the amendment does recognise some basic practicalities of implementing the legislation on farms.” . . 

A2 Milk eyes infant formula for sales growth after ASX listing costs result in loss – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk Co sees more upside for infant formula, which underpinned full-year sales growth for the specialty milk marketing company, although costs for a secondary listing on the ASX resulted in an annual loss. The shares dropped 9.1 percent.

The Auckland-based company reported a net loss of $2.09 million in the year ended June 30, compared to a profit of $10,000 a year earlier. That included a $1.68 million charge relating to its ASX listing. Revenue jumped 40 percent to $155 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and one-time costs rose 35 percent to $4.18 million, reflecting a record performance in Australia.

The shares sank 7 cents to 70 cents, the lowest level in a month. . .

Rural Infrastructure needs to be a priority:

The government appears to be on the same page as Federated Farmers, with their announcement of their 30 Year Infrastructure Plan today.

Anders Crofoot, Federated Farmers Infrastructure Spokesperson says “Rural infrastructure will need to be a priority in looking at addressing the inefficiencies in infrastructure investment and planning.”

Federated Farmers supports the intent to better understand where the critical demands are and to make better decisions from that knowledge, but remain wary of what that strategy means for rural communities. . .

Water New Zealand welcomes Government’s 30 year infrastructure plan:

Water New Zealand welcomes the Government’s initiatives for better developing and maintaining New Zealand’s 3 waters infrastructure announced today as part of the 30 Year Infrastructure Plan 2015.

Water New Zealand is a strategic partner of the Treasury’s National Infrastructure Unit which produced the report*.

“New Zealand’s urban centres are rapidly growing and it is very encouraging to see that Central Government is facing the infrastructure challenges head on with an increased focus on developing a better understanding of water related infrastructure assets,” said John Pfahlert, CEO of Water New Zealand. . .

Science turns to sheep for answers on human health –  Sarah Stewart:

If you’ve ever tried to lose a few kilos you probably know all about fat and carbs.

But did you know you can learn a lesson or two from sheep?

A group of Kiwi scientists are finding they have much more to tell us about our health than we might think.

The saying ‘ you are what you eat’ has been around for years.

But there may in fact be a chance your health is actually determined by what your parents or even grandparents ate.

There is also a chance what you eat could affect what illnesses your kids get. . . 

Collaboration Key for Canterbury Dry Land Farmers:

In the last couple of months over 250 farmers and their advisors have attended a range of workshops, field events and presentations across four sub-catchments in the Hurunui Waiau Zone – which fits within the area of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.

The workshops included initial work around developing, designing and forming a ‘Collective’ for dry land farmers, linked to the Beef+Lamb NZ Farm Environment Plan and broader environmental programmes. Under the Hurunui Waiau River Regional plan, ‘for farmers to continue to farm without a consent from 1 January 2017,’ they will be required to be a member of a Collective or Irrigation Scheme. In addition, the Collective will need to develop an approved Environmental Management Strategy. . . 


Rural round-up

August 20, 2015

Dairy diversification opportunities in SE Asia:

Growing consumer demand in South East Asia offers plenty of opportunity for the New Zealand dairy industry to increase its exports of consumer-ready products into the region, a new report shows.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today released Opportunities for New Zealand Dairy Products in South East Asia,which assesses possible “build”, “buy” and “niche” strategies across seven dairy consumer product categories in six South East Asian countries.

New Zealand is this year commemorating 40 years of ties with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and ASEAN is New Zealand’s fourth largest trading partner, Mr Joyce says. . . 

First Milk through New High-Efficiency Dryer at Pahiatua:

The new high-efficiency milk powder plant at Fonterra’s Pahiatua site has kicked into gear, processing its first milk from the Co-op’s lower North Island farmers.

Whole milk powder from the new plant will soon head to customers in more than 20 markets worldwide including South America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Fonterra Managing Director Global Operations Robert Spurway says the new dryer at Pahiatua is part of the Co-operative’s strategy to drive greater efficiency and value in its product mix. . . 

Profound ignorance or is that too kind – Gravedodger:

The chatterati fixation on the current lower prices for NZ Dairy exports reveals a need to find a process to turn the daily garbage produced by almost all those pontificating  into fertilizer, at least that would create something useful

Fonterra is a highly visible, high profile corporate in NZ, they suffer slings and arrows because of that fact and with so many included in the wide spread total scene as suppliers, process workers, tanker drivers, then add in the massive numbers involved in Dairy support farming, maintenance, construction and upgrading of farms, factories and freight down stream nearly everybody has some connection to someone involved.
That makes for many armchair experts, however their knowledge is based on more accurate information than much of the sheer guesswork and making stuff up that emanates from the aforementioned Chatterati

That however is the local scene and has so very little to do with what has been creating headlines for the media and attack lines for politicians both relying on the significant lack of understanding of that which goes to make the present trading price what it is. World dairy trade perhaps one of the most volatile and protected commodities that has storage and shelf life challenges. . . 

Russia repeals Fonterra import ban

Russia has lifted two-year-old import bans on products from some of Fonterra’s dairy factories.

In the midst of the 2013 botulism scare, which testing later revealed to be a false alarm, Russia temporarily revoked some of Fonterra’s export licences.

This week, the Russian veterinary service Rosselkhoznadzor reinstated the licences for 29 of Fonterra’s plants. . . .

Speech to the Seafood New Zealand 2015 conference – Nathan Guy:

Thank you for the invitation to open the 2015 New Zealand Seafood Industry Conference.

Your industry is vital to the economy, especially regional economies, directly providing 8000 jobs and earning more than $1.5 billion in export revenue each year.

This year’s conference has a great theme. “Sustainable Seafood – Adding Value” is a perfect summary of where the wider primary sector – not just seafood – needs to head, and matches with our priorities as a Government.

Sustainability and adding value are two of the keys to unlocking new growth in the primary sector.

Our ability to increase the amount of seafood we harvest is limited, so we need to find new and innovative ways to increase our earnings. . . 

Caution evident in rural sector:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 79 fewer farm sales (-15.4%) for the three months ended July 2015 than for the three months ended July 2014. Overall, there were 433 farm sales in the three months ended July 2015, compared to 479 farm sales for the three months ended June 2015 (-9.6%), and 512 farm sales for the three months ended July 2014. 1,719 farms were sold in the year to July 2015, 10.6% fewer than were sold in the year to July 2014.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to July 2015 was $27,796 compared to $26,680 recorded for three months ended July 2014 (+4.2%). The median price per hectare fell 4.6% compared to June.

The REINZ All Farm Price Index fell 2.9% in the three months to July compared to the three months to June. Compared to July 2014 the REINZ All Farm Price Index rose by 3.9%. The REINZ All Farm Price Index adjusts for differences in farm size, location and farming type, unlike the median price per hectare, which does not adjust for these factors. . . 

 Alice Mabin: Riding the long paddock – Pat Deavoll:

It’s quite the journey … from high country shepherd to winner of a national business award.

But it’s a journey Alice Mabin completed this year when she won the 2015 Asia Pacific Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the self-publishing of her book, The Drover.

Mabin’s book tells the historic story of the Great Brinkworth Cattle Drive of 2013, when 18,000 head of cattle were moved 2500km down the “long paddock;” the stock routes of inland Queensland and New South Wales. . . .

New Zealand potatoes bound for Vietnam:

Fresh potatoes from New Zealand have been approved for export to Vietnam, providing a new export opportunity for growers.

Champak Mehta, chief executive of Potatoes New Zealand Inc, says the development, which follows four years’ of negotiations, would absorb excess potatoes in good growing seasons and provide better export prices for growers in less abundant years.

“We currently export about $100m of potatoes each year,“ says Mehta.  “Most of that is frozen, with about $15m worth – about 30,000 tonnes – exported as fresh produce.” . . .

Helping science students find their way:

A new mentoring programme that pairs plant science students with experienced researchers has been launched by the New Zealand Plant Protection Society (NZPPS).

The programme aims to teach students about the use of science in protecting New Zealand’s plant resources and give them a better understanding of the career options available in the sector.

“Ensuring the New Zealand environment is safe from the threat of invasive pests and diseases is vital, in protecting both our horticultural exports and for conservation of our native environment,” says Lisa Jamieson, NZPPs president. . . .

New Zealand National Party's photo.


Rural round-up

August 15, 2015

Central Plains Water irrigation scheme opens in Canterbury:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the official opening of Stage 1 of the Central Plains Water irrigation scheme in Canterbury today, which has the potential to create more than $1 billion in new economic activity.

The Central Plains Water Enhancement Scheme, when completed, will irrigate 60,000 hectares of dairy, arable, horticulture and stock finishing land between the Rakaia and Waimakariri Rivers.

“This is an exciting day for the Canterbury region, given that farmers and growers have suffered through a severe drought this year. This shows the clear need for this kind of water storage project. . . 

INZ applauds Central Plains Water for providing farmers reliable water for diversification and efficiency:

“Today marks a big step for irrigation infrastructure in New Zealand. Central Plains Water will help sustain Canterbury,” says Nicky Hyslop, Chair of IrrigationNZ on the official opening of New Zealand’s largest irrigation scheme for some years, by the Prime Minister John Key.

Mrs Hyslop attended the opening with IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

“Access to reliable water is particularly important at the moment during a dairy downturn as it will allow farmers to diversify and weather the storm,” says Mrs Hyslop. . . 

Fonterra cuts back GDT whole milk powder by a third over the next year – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s largest dairy exporter, is reducing by a third the amount of whole milk powder, the key commodity export ingredient, it sells on the GlobalDairyTrade platform over the next 12 months due to persistent low prices.

The Auckland-based cooperative’s forecast cut the offer volumes over the next 12 months for its total New Zealand products by a further 56,045 metric tonnes, following a 62,930 metric tonne decrease in the past three months, it said in a statement.

Fonterra managing director global ingredients Kelvin Wickham said the bulk of that is whole milk powder, and milk collected will be shifted from whole milk powder production into other value-add parts of the business that will achieve a higher margin. . . 

Fonterra ratings on review at S&P in face of high debt levels, low global prices – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group’s credit ratings were put on CreditWatch with negative implications by Standard & Poor’s, which said there was a risk of weakness in the dairy exporter’s financial metrics given its high debt levels at a low point in the global price cycle.

The Auckland-based company has ‘A’ long-term and ‘A-1’ short-term ratings with S&P, which were put on CreditWatch following its announcement of a lower forecast milk price due to weak demand and surplus supply in the global dairy market.

“This ongoing weakness in the global dairy market has occurred when Fonterra’s debt is at very high levels due to a large acquisition and peak capital expenditure, placing downward pressure on Fonterra’s key financial metrics,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Brenda Wardlaw. . . 

Fonterra – Anchor extends portfolio with additional Kids’ Milk range in China:

Our China Brands business recently hit another milestone with the launch of the ultra-premium Anchor Kids’ Golden Milk.

The new milk has 3.6g/100ml protein, a high calcium content and no added sweeteners or additives other than vitamins. 

Business Development Director of China Brands Manoj Namboodiri said the team designed and launched Anchor Kids’ Golden Milk to meet the growing demand from Chinese parents for ultra-premium quality, nutritious and unsweetened kids’ milk.  . . 

Misery peddlers are milking a crisis – Mike Hosking:

Yes, these are tough times for dairy farmers but we should trust those with the industry’s interests at heart.

My plea this morning is that we give our dairy farmers a break, that we cut them some slack and start to get on board with what they already know. Because, let’s be frank, they know dairy a lot better than all the others who, from the comfort of their urban existence, are lining up to tell us the world is ending.

Just to be clear, this will be a tough season. The return of $3.85 is not flash and it’s a mile away from $8.40.

Yes, most farmers won’t make a profit. Yes, some farmers might not make it out the other side, especially those who have gone in late and borrowed big to do so. But what I admire so much about the farming community is they’re realists. . . 

Is organic farming making climate change worse? Demand for ‘sustainable’ food has increased greenhouse gas emissions – Richard Gray:

It has a reputation for being better for us and the environment, but new research suggests organic food may actually be harming the planet.

Scientists have found that rather than reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions released, organic farming may actually be increasing them.

They found the shift to large scale organic farming in order to meet growing demand for organic products in shops has led to an increase in emissions for each acre of land. . .

Fit farmers with Farmstrong – Anna Russell:

The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand and FMG Insurance, along with support from NZX-Agri, launched the initiative Farmstrong. It is an initiative designed to give farmers the skills and resources to live well, farm well, and get the most out of life.

The three areas they focus on are applicable in any work environment, and particularly can help during times of transformation and change:

Time Out – taking regular breaks is an important part of remaining fresh and positive in day-to-day work. So is getting a good night sleep. . . 

Jordy Nelson’s offseason activity? Farming – Anna Katherine Clemmons:

FOR MANY NFL PROS, the offseason means private islands and poolside cabanas. Not for Jordy Nelson. The 30-year-old, who set the Packers’ single-season receiving record last year with 1,519 yards, swaps his cleats for work boots on his family’s 4,000-acre Kansas farm. For five or six weeks each year, he drives a combine and cuts wheat, sometimes for 12 hours a day, or rounds up some of the 1,000-cow herd. “Working cattle is my favorite farm duty,” he says. “It’s interactive, and you’re on your feet all day.” . . .

 


Rural round-up

August 14, 2015

Support extended for drought-affected South Island:

Support for the drought-affected eastern South Island has been extended with an extra $100,000 for Rural Support Trusts and the medium scale event officially extended to February next year, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

Mr Guy met with local farmers in the Hurunui district today and says North Canterbury is the worst affected region with little rainfall all year, despite being well into winter.

“North Canterbury, Southern Marlborough and parts of South Canterbury and Otago continue to experience very dry conditions. Pasture growth is well behind normal for this time of year and with lambing and calving starting, the situation remains serious for some,” says Mr Guy. . . 

Low stress the key to success at Whangara – Kate Taylor:

Robbie and Kristin Kirkpatrick’s eyes light up when they talk about the opportunities they have been given at Whangara Angus since 2009.

The business is owned by Patrick Lane but is still officially Lane Bros after Patrick’s father and uncle who bought the first part of the farm in 1929.  Whangara Angus was formed in 1966.

Robbie started working as a shepherd at the station, north of Gisborne, six years ago and is now managing the 1800ha property. . . 

Mushroom battle faces more delays –  Patrick O’Sullivan:

Te Mata Mushroom Company has accused Hawke’s Bay Regional Council of keeping it in the dark.

The council is prosecuting Te Mata for six allegedly smelly discharges between March and April.

The 48-year-old Havelock North company has been the subject of regular complaints from a nearby new housing development about the odour it produces when making compost. . . 

Rebuild of US beef cow herd will hit NZ:

New Zealand’s beef prices could fall as the United States rebuilds up its beef herds.

A new Rabobank report suggests the US is well on its way to rebuilding its herds as it recovers from a drought which has lasted since 2011.

It is expected to reduce the demand and record prices for New Zealand beef in this country’s biggest market.

The report – Beef cow repopulation, the case for diversification – showed the US beef industry expected to grow by 3,000,000 head of cattle in the next three to five years. . . .

New technology for sustainable snapper fishing:

The New Zealand seafood industry makes a serious commitment to the sustainability of our fisheries through significant investments in world-leading technologies, Chief Executive Tim Pankhurst says.

He was commenting on today’s announcement that fishing companies Aotearoa Fisheries, Sanford and Leigh Fish are stepping up their efforts to bring greater transparency into the inshore fleet. The companies are some of the first to commit to fitting vessel monitoring systems (VMS) on all vessels within their fleets that are part of the snapper fishery operating on the east coast of the North Island from the far north to the bottom of the Bay of Plenty. . . 

Hawke’s Bay Viticulturist Encourages Other Farmers and Growers to Enter East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Winning a category award in the East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards was a nice little pat on the back for viticulturist Steve Wheeler and his employer, Mission Estate Winery.

Steve manages 33ha of vines for Mission Estate, one of New Zealand’s oldest and most well-known wine producers.

Based near Napier and owned by Marist Holdings Ltd, the winery prides itself on “delivering excellent wine to consumers in a way that enables the natural environment, the businesses and the communities involved to thrive”.

“Mission Estate has being doing some great work in the sustainability field,” Steve says, “so entering the Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) was an excellent way to showcase this work and to encourage others to do the same.” . . 


DIRA’s had its day

August 14, 2015

Some good news on dairying:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today certified that in the 2014/15 season independent dairy processors collected 22 percent of all milksolids in the South Island.

Under the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA), the Minister is required to certify when this threshold is reached. It triggers expiry of the pro-competition DIRA provisions in the South Island by no later than 31 May 2018, unless there is legislative change before then.

“While Fonterra continues to collect more milk every season, it is encouraging to see new processors enter the market and create competitive pressure,” says Mr Guy. 

“Independent processors also collected 9 percent of all milksolids in the North Island. This indicates there is increasing competition in the New Zealand dairy industry.”

Monitoring of the amount collected by independent processors is required under DIRA, which allowed for the merger of our largest dairy co-operatives to form Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited in 2001.

DIRA also contains provisions to promote the efficient operation of dairy markets in New Zealand through contestability in the farm gate and factory gate markets. These provisions are intended to expire when there is sufficient competition. 

“While the percentage of milksolids collected by independent processors is one indicator of competition, it is not definitive. For this reason the Commerce Commission has been tasked with providing a report on the state of competition in the New Zealand dairy industry.

“The Commerce Commission’s report, as well as policy advice from the Ministry for Primary Industries, will help to inform my decisions as Minister and will inform the Government as it considers the results of this review.

“The Government will need to consider next year whether to promote changes to legislation to extend the duration of the pro-competition provisions, or provide a transition pathway to deregulation, or a combination of both.” . .

Information about the process, including the terms of reference for the report, key dates, and how submissions can be made, are available on the Commerce Commission website: http://www.comcom.govt.nz/regulated-industries/dairy-industry/report-on-the-state-of-competition-in-the-new-zealand-dairy-industry/

The final report is due on 29 February 2016 to the Ministers of Primary Industries and Commerce and Consumer Affairs. The Government will respond shortly thereafter by giving public notice of the Government’s policy intent.

The sooner these provisions in the DIRA go the better for Fonterra and the industry.

Under the provisions farmers can sell their shares, supply another company then go back to Fonterra which has to take them back.

DIRA has also encouraged dairying in distant areas which might not have happened had Fonterra not had to take the milk produced.

It’s had its day and competition is alive and well in the industry, at least in part not in spite of Fonterra but because of it.

No matter what the hurdles someone will see an opportunity and seize it.

Bit isn’t always better as suppliers to Tatua which is forecasting a $6 payout this season know.

Those wanting the meat industry to follow the Fonterra model should take note that the market will find a way even with legislation.

They should also note that if legislation is the answer to a business’s formation or growth you’ve almost certainly asked the wrong question.


Rural round-up

August 13, 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

August 6, 2015

Red meat on the brink of greatness:

New ANZ research has underlined the huge performance potential of the red meat industry, but also identified significant barriers that need to be overcome if it is to once again be a driving force in the New Zealand economy.

The annual ANZ Privately Owned Business Barometer survey found the top performing farmers were achieving returns on investment that outshone almost any other producers in New Zealand. However, a larger number of farms were achieving more modest returns and comparatively flat growth. . .

 Fatter, less flatulent cows good for planet and for farmers –   Olivia Wannan:

New feeds that make cows less flatulent are a discovery that could truly save the world.

The methane produced in the stomachs of ruminant animals including cows, sheep and deer is a powerful greenhouse gas. In New Zealand, agriculture comprises nearly half of our rising gas emissions.

A global search is on to find ways to reduce the amount of methane produced by farm stock, and a Kiwi researcher is part of the team behind what may be the first solution.

Research co-authored by Matthew Deighton, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal last week, found a new stock feed additive, NOP, cuts the methane produced by cows by almost a third. . .

Increased reports concerning farm animal welfare:

More people are reporting concerns about the welfare of farm animals, official data shows, particularly on lifestyle blocks.

The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) received 2947 complaints about farm animal welfare between 2010 and 2014 – with a high of 698 complaints last year.

Commercial farms accounted for 1852 of the complaints, while lifestyle blocks accounted for 785 complaints – who were overrepresented in the figures, according to MPI. . .

Production drop forecast as farmers look to manage costs:

Analysis undertaken by the DairyNZ Economics Group is pointing to at least a two to three percent drop in New Zealand’s milk production this season as farmers tighten the focus on improving the efficiency of their farming systems.

DairyNZ senior economist Matthew Newman says the official Ministry for Primary Industries cull cow figures show that farmers reduced cow numbers earlier than normal last season. “This looks likely to continue this season in response to low milk prices,” he says. . .

Alpaca farm is the stuff of dreams – Emily Norman:

The Alpaca Place is a humble, scenic farm along Rangitumau Road that has not only captured the hearts of its owners, but has also captured hearts around the world, making it the number two attraction on TripAdvisor in Masterton and Wairarapa.

Owners Cheryl Hughson and Liz Barnes are two sisters that left their nine-to-five jobs in office work to fulfil their dreams of owning an alpaca farm.

The sisters, who live by the advice of their late father, have gone from establishing an alpaca farm with two alpacas in 2001, to running what is now a guided tourist attraction of everything alpaca. . .

 Canterbury-born veterinarian Cheryl McMeekan leaves legacy of rescued animals  – Brittany Mann:

Cheryl McMeekan had a gift with animals. She cared for every one she found and her beneficence is living on, despite her death.

McMeekan, a highly-regarded veterinarian, died in a suspected suicide on June 8 in her adopted home of Lantau Island in Hong Kong. She was 43 years old.

The “cattle whisperer”, originally from Canterbury, moved to the island 11 years ago. She was the only vet in the rural village of Mui Wo, where she managed an SPCA clinic.

The South China Morning Post reported flowers had been left for McMeekan outside the clinic, in tribute. . .

Air passengers to face new biosecurity controls:

New biosecurity measures will be introduced by the Ministry for Primary Industries to make it tougher for air passengers to bring goods into New Zealand that could carry pests or diseases.

The measures are the result of new biosecurity funding from the government’s 2015 budget.

Expected to be in place by December for the busy summer season, the measures include the introduction of 20 more biosecurity detector dog teams, more x-raying of baggage and more targeting of passengers likely to be carrying risk goods.

One of the plans is to use detector dogs to screen passengers much earlier than before in the arrival process for international passengers, says Steve Gilbert, MPI Border Clearance Services Director. . .

 Tougher biosecurity measures at airports welcomed:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed a new package of biosecurity measures to be implemented at international airports, including more detector dogs and new x-ray machines, as a result of $27 million in new funding in Budget 2015.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has announced today that by December there will be:

  • 20 new biosecurity detector dog teams
  • Five new x-ray machines
  • Trialling a mobile x-ray machine that can shifted to different sites
  • Introducing new communications to target passengers more likely to carry Queensland fruit fly host materials. . .

 


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