Rural round-up

July 31, 2015

Westland Milk cuts payout further as dairy prices fall – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – Westland Milk Products, New Zealand’s second-largest dairy cooperative, cut its forecast milk payout to farmers by 10 cents for the current season and for next season’s by $1, in the face of sustained weakness in global dairy prices.

The Hokitika-based company will pay $4.80 to $4.90 per kilogram of milk solids for the 2014/15 season, with the final payout to be determined at the September board meeting, it said in a statement. The forecast payout for the 2015/16 season was slashed to between $4.60 and $5/kgMS, from a previously band of $5.60 to $6/kgMS.

The advance rate for this season remains at $4.80/kgMS, although the 2015/16 season rate was revised to $3.80/kgMS from $4.40/kgMS. . .

 

Light at the end of the paddock for dairy farmers – Jason Walls:

The New Zealand dollar is poised to shed more value against the US by the start of next year and dairy prices may only be at the current level temporarily.

This is good news for farmers, says ASB Bank rural economist Nathan Penny, who forecasts the New Zealand dollar will be at 61c against the US by the beginning of 2016.

He says the one of the biggest factors to this will be the US interest rate hike later this year. . .

Speech to Horticulture New Zealand Conference Award Dinner:

Good evening. Thank you Julian Raine, Horticulture New Zealand President, for that introduction. It is a pleasure to join you this evening in recognising excellence and future leaders of the horticulture industry.

I would particularly like to acknowledge outgoing Chief Executive Peter Silcock for all his contribution to the industry over the past 30 years.

Tonight I want to talk to you briefly about the long-term value that can be created by recognising talent and growing leaders.

A growing industry

Horticulture is a top performing primary industry. In the year to June 2015, export revenue reached $3.897 billion. This is up $602 million from 2012, a total of over 18 percent growth over four years. . .

 

Dairy modules hitting the spot for DWN members:

Dairy Women’s Network has received feedback on how its latest professional development offering is being perceived by its members – with impressive results.

The network launched its new Dairy Modules programme for the first time in November 2014 and has since had the programme evaluated by the renowned Net Promoter Score system, confirming world class standard. . .

 

Bayer Wairarapa Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015 announced:

A great win for Mark Langlands from Te Kairanga as he becomes the Bayer Wairarapa Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015. Contestants battled it out at Te Kairanga Vineyard with their final challenge being to deliver a speech to a key audience in the evening at the Martinborough Village Cafe.

Contestants completed a wide range of activities including questions on trellising, vine management, pests & diseases, budgeting, tractor maintenance and irrigation as well as having an interview and a quick fire buzzer round. . .

 

Wool Firms:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that despite a slightly stronger New Zealand dollar wool prices were firm to slightly dearer. With less wool available due to weather affecting shearing and vacation related shipping requirements this has helped underpin prices.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies increased 0.99 percent week on week.

Of the 7,905 bales on offer 96.2 percent sold. . .

 

PERRIAM on national stage at New Zealand Fashion Week 2015:

Luxury merino fashion brand PERRIAM has been selected for a special showcase on wool in fashion at the prestigious New Zealand Fashion Week (NZFW) in August.

PERRIAM is among some of the country’s iconic labels chosen for the Choose Wool show, taking to the runway with Sabatini, twenty-seven names, Tanya Carlson, Hailwood, Liz Mitchell and Wynn Hamlyn on Tuesday, August 25.

Curated by leading Kiwi stylist Anna Caselberg, who is known for her work with NZ wools, Choose Wool represents an important aspect of the NZ fashion industry. . .

 


Rural round-up

July 28, 2015

Rural professionals asked to be vigilant for signs of personal drought pain – Tim Fulton:

Men have a habit of carrying forward problems in the recesses of their mind, farm accountant Pita Alexander has come to believe.

Most of his career has been social work with accountancy on the side, he quipped to peers at the Railway Tavern in Amberley.

Stock agents, bankers, accountants and farm advisors were offered the customary round of sandwiches and savouries at Wednesday’s mini meeting, but the mood was subdued. One speaker labelled the drought – not to mention the crash in dairying – a “precipice”.

That’s financial – millions upon millions in lost income – and very personal. . .

Forest safety director appointed:

A National Safety Director, Fiona Ewing, has been appointed to advance the work of the Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC).

This is a key role in the recently-formed Council, set-up to lead safety culture change and to drive improvement in safety performance across the sector.

Ms Ewing has 30 years’ experience as a health and safety professional in a wide range of industries including energy, engineering, construction, agriculture and forestry in the United Kingdom. Her most recent position was Group Manager Health Safety Environment and Quality for Powerco. . .

Hurunui irrigation project on hold:

A company developing an irrigation scheme in North Canterbury has put plans on hold while it waits for the Environment Court to give a final ruling on consents.

The board of the Hurunui Water Project has decided to not continue spending money on the $400 million Waitohi Irrigation Scheme, to conserve funds it might need for potential legal costs.

The proposed water storage is planned to sit along the length of the upper Waitohi River and provide irrigation around the Hawarden area. . .

New Māori aquaculture agreements signed:

New regional agreements for Māori commercial aquaculture have been signed by Government Ministers today, including Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

Three regional agreements have been signed with iwi from the Auckland, Tasman, and Marlborough regions following successful negotiations between the Crown and regional Iwi aquaculture organisations.

The agreements are the result of the Māori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004, which requires the Crown to provide Iwi aquaculture organisations with 20% of new commercial aquaculture space consented since October 2011, or anticipated to occur into the future.  . .

King Salmon looks at Southland expansion:

The world’s largest king salmon farmer is looking to move into Southland once space for a new fish farm can be found.

New Zealand King Salmon says the project would be worth $100 million a year and create 150 jobs.

But first it has to find a place to put its new farm.

The company’s chief executive, Grant Rosewarne, said the company was ready to expand so searched around New Zealand and decided south was the way to go. . .

New seafood and marine centre welcomed:

The decision by Plant & Food Research to invest with Port Nelson in a new purpose-built research facility in Akersten Street is great news for Nelson, says local MP Dr Nick Smith.

“This investment helps lock in Nelson’s status as the seafood capital of New Zealand. The industry already contributes $300 million per year in GDP and 3,000 jobs to the regional economy but the future depends on an ongoing investment in science and technology to generate more value, maintain high food standards and ensure sustainability of the resource,” Dr Smith says.

The total investment of $7.5 million, including shared facilities, specialist fit-out and tenant fit-out is to be built by Port Nelson but leased by Plant & Food for a term of 25 years to house the government research company’s 38 science and support staff. . .

 


Rural round-up

July 25, 2015

Govt: Lighter rules insulating dairy shock – Suze Metherell:

Light regulation in the New Zealand dairy industry has insulated the wider economy from the sharp decline in prices for the country’s largest export commodity, according to Finance Minister Bill English.

Prices for whole milk powder, the country’s key commodity export, have plunged this year and dropped an unexpectedly large 10.7 percent in in the GlobalDairyTrade auction last week, sending the kiwi dollar to six-year-lows.

Dairy prices are now expected to remain lower for longer than previously forecast, amid higher global supplies, weak demand in China and an import ban in Russia on European dairy products, which are being sold into other market. . .

Vets to cut down on antibiotics:

The Veterinary Association has set an ambitious target to reduce the use of antibiotics to control disease in animals.

Its goal is to have New Zealand no longer having to rely on using antibiotics for animals by 2030.

President Steve Merchant said the country was well suited to the challenge because of its size, and the fact that it was already the world’s third lowest user of antibiotics on animals. . .

Changes to Health and Safety Reform Bill are sensible:

Federated Farmers believe the two month delay in the Select Committee reporting back the Health and Safety Reform Bill to Parliament has led to improvements for the farming industry.

The Bill has been reported back today.

Federated Farmers health and safety spokesperson Katie Milne says the Bill overall will make farms safer places.

Specifically she says the Bill has gone some way to recognising that farms are different to urban industrial workplaces. . .

 

New Māori aquaculture agreements signed:

New regional agreements for Māori commercial aquaculture have been signed by Government Ministers today, including Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

Three regional agreements have been signed with iwi from the Auckland, Tasman, and Marlborough regions following successful negotiations between the Crown and regional Iwi aquaculture organisations.

The agreements are the result of the Māori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004, which requires the Crown to provide Iwi aquaculture organisations with 20% of new commercial aquaculture space consented since October 2011, or anticipated to occur into the future. . .

Australian consortium said to be in no hurry to up their bid for A2 Milk – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Australian-based Freedom Foods and US-based Dean Foods are said to be in no hurry to up their bid for A2 Milk Co after the milk marketer this week told its suitors to try again after an initial offer wasn’t compelling and drew out as yet unnamed rival bidders.

A source close to the bidding consortium said they were underwhelmed by a trading update A2 Milk released at the same time as rejecting the offer and request for due diligence, saying it contained “nothing that would shift their view on valuation”.

Given Freedom Foods, the company’s previous joint venture partner in Australia, has a 19.1 percent blocking stake in A2 Milk, any rival bidders may struggle to get an offer across the line. . .

 

Wool market buoyant:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that today’s sale of 6,617 bales saw increases of 1 to 2 percent overall. A good result, considering offering of 52 percent Coarse Crossbred Early Shorn and Second Shear types.

There was good demand for shorter Second Shear types 2 to 3 inch 32 to 35 micron as buyers bid to cover Chinese orders.

The trade weighted indicator was little changed from the last wool sale on 16th July. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

July 18, 2015

Bumble-bee sniffing dog creating a buzz – Kanoa Lloyd:

Bumblebee numbers are in decline around the world, and that’s not good news for the fruit and vegetable industry, which relies on the insects and their honeybee cousins for pollination.

So Plant and Food Research has brought in a very special helper – Ollie the Bumblebee dog.

Ollie and his owner, pollination scientist David Pattemore, are learning how to sniff out bumblebee queens in an effort to help Kiwi growers. . .

Feedback delays launch of dairy accord:

The launch of a dairy industry workplace accord has been delayed by months because of the amount of feedback it has received.

DairyNZ is creating the accord with hopes of lifting employment standards on farms and helping farmers employ and retain skilled staff.

It was due to be launched in May but has been delayed until after calving in September. . .

Swamp Kauri rules strengthened:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is making changes to swamp kauri rules which will improve transparency, clarity and oversight of the law.

The Ministry’s director spatial, forestry and land management, Aoife Martin, says there is already strong regulatory oversight of swamp kauri and the new measures will continue to ensure that operators are playing by the rules.

“Overall it will mean that MPI and regional councils get more detailed information from operators at every stage of the process.” . . .

 

New moves to tighten swamp kauri management:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed a range of new operational changes announced today to improve the transparency, clarity and enforcement of rules around swamp kauri.

“Last month I asked the Ministry for Primary Industries to look at any improvements that could be made in managing the milling and exporting of swamp kauri stumps.

“I’m pleased to see such a comprehensive package of measures announced today, and this has been welcomed by Northland Regional Council and the wider industry.” . .

Shortage of fertiliser freight truck drivers:

The country could soon be facing a shortage of drivers for fertiliser haulage trucks.

The New Zealand Groundspread Fertiliser Association is driving a campaign to attract young workers into the industry, in which the current workforce is ageing.

Immediate past president Stuart Barwood said an appealing aspect of the job was that no student loan was needed because companies trained their employees to work towards a qualification. . .

Bayer Hawkes Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015 announced:

Congratulations to Caleb Dennis from Craggy Range who became the Bayer Hawkes Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015 last week and now goes through to the National Final. This annual competition is now in its 10th year and has become an important fixture in the viticultural calendar, giving young vits the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge as well as make a name for themselves within the industry.

After an action packed day Caleb beat 7 other contestants to take the Hawkes Bay title. Anton Luiton from Constellation came second and Will Krippner from Indevin Partners came third. . .

 


Rural round-up

July 14, 2015

NZInc, Australia Mall and China’s JD.com – Keith Woodford:

For the last four years I have been promoting the notion that we need an integrated approach to selling New Zealand food online in China. Now the Aussies have gone and beaten us with ‘Australia Mall’ on China’s JD.com.

Chinese buyers increasingly want to want to buy their food online. They want food that is processed in a Western country. They also want a one-stop online shop. And they want same day delivery.

All of the above consumer needs are increasingly being achieved by our competitors. We need to be there too. . .

$7.3m for agricultural research partnership:

The Government will invest $7.3 million over five years in an agricultural research partnership to improve pasture grasses and lift the performance of livestock farming, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy announced today.

Pastoral Genomics is an industry-led research partnership between DairyNZ, Beef+Lamb NZ, Grasslands Innovation, NZ Agriseeds, DEEResearch, AgResearch, and Dairy Australia whose objective is to provide pastoral farmers with better forage cultivars that will increase productivity, profitability and environmental sustainability of New Zealand’s pastoral farming systems. . .

Risk-based approach mooted for bovine TB eradication  – Gerald Piddock:

Proposed changes for bovine tuberculosis management in New Zealand could see a risk-based approach adopted in deciding which livestock to test for the disease.

This meant shifting to a system where high TB risk areas would be targeted, a risk profile would be built around infected livestock. That profile would relate to the area, a herd’s history and the amount of stock movements. The higher the level of movements, the more risk there was of infection.

The Biosecurity Act required the plan to eradicate TB be formally reviewed on a regular basis. The proposed changes would come into effect in July 2016. . .

Designers carry the flag for wool:

The inspiring way in which Australia promotes wool used in its fashion and interiors sectors prompted Auckland fashion editor and stylist Anna Caselberg to initiate a fashion wool week this year – ‘Choose Wool 2015’.

The inaugural ‘We’re loving Wool’ week last year involved a number of New Zealand high fashion designers, with a major kick-off event – including sheep shearing – in the trendy Britomart precinct of Auckland. It was organised in conjunction with Elders Primary Wool. . .

Productivity and lifestyle meet at Bellingen – Nick Heydon:

AFTER time spent living in Hong Kong, Duncan and Fiona McDonald and their family planned to live at their North Coast grazing property “Glynravon”.

Mr McDonald purchased the property at Bellingen in 2008.

“Glynravon” was seen as an opportunity to set up a home base close to New England Girls School and The Armidale School, where Duncan and Fiona’s children were set to board.

“We decided on Bellingen so we could be close to the kids, close to the coast, and that it was easy to get to Sydney,” Mr McDonald said. . .

 Meat Slicer Nelson –Safer, More Efficient Meat Slicers on the Rise:

When dealing with fleshy goods, meat companies take utmost care in every part of the process. From raising the animals to their actual processing, butchers ensure complete sanitation in each step. All of them rely on heavy machinery to do much of all the heavy work, including slicing and packaging.

These two procedures have received much development in the recent years. Its involvement ensures clean meat reaches customers. As for the slicers, it’s just not about safety. People demand specific cuts for particular dishes. This means in addition to guaranteeing cleanliness, meat slicers have to be versatile and efficient.

Local Excellence

New Zealand can compete with the best meat and dairy producers in the world. With some of the most well looked after livestock, the Pacific nation exports top-class products guaranteed. Meat-loving countries demand constant supply of premium-grade meat from NZ’s prized farms and they cannot afford to disappoint. . .

 


Rural round-up

July 6, 2015

Matt Bell wins 2015 ANZ Young Farmer Contest

After a nail-biting finish Matt Bell of Aorangi is the 2015 ANZ Young Farmer Contest Champion.

“This is the most surreal feeling, all the hard work has paid off. The blood, sweat and tears – it was all worth it! It’s somewhat of a dream at the moment” said Mr Bell.

Competition in the 47th ANZ Young Farmer Contest was fierce, with the Evening Show rounds resulting in a tie between East Coast’s Sully Alsop and Aorangi’s Matt Bell. Matt Bell won on a count-back of Practical Day scores. . . .

Young farmers ‘shattered’ after tough contest – Daniel Hutchinson:

The best young farmers in the land flocked to Taupo for a showdown as the town hosted the grand final of the Young Farmer Contest on Saturday.

Animal instincts and rat cunning were on display as the seven contestants battled it out with fencing duels (wire fences), shearing feats and even a speech contest during the three-day competition.

After a nail-biting finish on Saturday night, Matt Bell of Aorangi was declared the 2015 champion. . .

Plans to invest up to $30m goat plant:

A goats’ milk company has announced plans to invest up to $30 million to build processing and packaging facilities in Hawke’s Bay.

Fresco Nutrition’s managing director Greg Wycherley said there was growing demand for infant formula that came from goats and sheep milk, particularly in Asia.

He said Hawke’s Bay was the ideal place to produce and process the product. . .

Speech to Federated Farmers 2015 Annual Conference – Nathan Guy:

Good morning and thank you all for the opportunity to speak to your annual conference here this morning.

I would like to begin by acknowledging your President, Dr William Rolleston; Chief Executive, Graham Smith; members of your National Board; and all other members here today.

My congratulations go to Dr Rolleston who has just been elected as the Vice-President of the World Farmers Organisation.

I met with newly elected WFO President Evelyn Nguleka and Executive Director Marco Marzano in Europe recently.

As an organization “of farmers, for farmers” the main focus of the WFO is to represent the interests of its hugely diverse constituency in international forums where they are often the only voice for farmers. . .

 Low flyer wins top prize at NZ aviation awards:

The business is usually flying close to the ground. But this week, top dressing firm Ravensdown Aerowork was the high flyer when it took out the prestigious ServiceIQ Award for Excellence in Training at the Aviation Industry Association Awards in Queenstown.

ServiceIQ Sector Advisor Gary Scrafton, says the Wanganui-based aviation firm places a strong emphasis on its people, ensuring that they have the skills they need to do both a great job in the air, and to provide customers with top-class service. . .

 

Further boost for New Zealand Cycle Trail:

The Government is investing nearly $400,000 in six new projects to enhance and maintain the quality of the New Zealand Cycle Trail, Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism John Key announced today. 

“This is the second round of funding available through the Maintaining the Quality of Great Rides Fund and brings the total investment under the fund so far to $1.36 million,” says Mr Key.

“Priority has been given to proposals that aim to improve the safety and quality of the Great Rides – the premier rides on the New Zealand Cycle Trail. Three of the successful applications are for repairs to sections of trail that have incurred storm damage. . .

NZ blackcurrants improve mental agility

Researchers say New Zealand blackcurrants can keep people mentally young and agile, and aid in managing the effects of depression and Parkinson’s disease.

A study conducted by scientists at New Zealand’s Plant & Food Research, in collaboration with Britain’s Northumbria University, showed the compounds found in New Zealand blackcurrants increased accuracy, attention and mood.

The research also found juice from a specific New Zealand blackcurrant cultivar, Blackadder, reduced the activity of the enzymes which regulate serotonin and dopamine concentrations in the brain. . .

Seafood industry supports efforts to save Auckland Islands’ sea lions:

The seafood industry actively supports measures to conserve the Auckland Islands sea lion, Seafood New Zealand Chairman George Clement says.

His comments follow the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) upgrading the sea lions’ status from vulnerable to endangered.

“The decline in the sea lion population at the Auckland Islands has been a cause of concern for some time, although other populations are increasing. . .

Winter Mixed Bloodstock Sale Catalogue Out Now:

The catalogue for New Zealand Bloodstock’s Winter Mixed Bloodstock Sale are due in letterboxes early next week and can be viewed online now.

There are 73 horses catalogued, consisting of broodmares (40), weanlings (6), yearlings (4), two-year-old’s (9), unraced stock (2), racehorses (11) and stallion shares (1).

A range of sires will be on offer at NZB’s Winter Mixed Bloodstock Sale with 53 sires represented, including the progeny of leading sires from New Zealand and Australia, Savabeel and Fastnet Rock. . .

 


Rural round-up

July 2, 2015

Stoat threatens sanctuary kiwi:

Conservation staff are hunting a stoat that has breached a native wildlife sanctuary’s $2 million fence.

The Orokonui Ecosanctuary near Dunedin is home to several species of native birds, insects, and tuatara.

The centre’s conservation manager, Elton Smith, said a ranger spotted the stoat’s footprints in the snow last week.

“Experts confirmed the worst case scenario that it was in fact a stoat,” he said. . .

$8.8m in erosion grants awarded

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced $8.8 million in funding grants over four years to help councils tackle hill country erosion.

“We’ve seen the serious damage that erosion has caused after the severe storm in the Whanganui, Rangitikei and Taranaki regions, both economically and environmentally,” says Mr Guy.

“This funding round is timely, given that $4.7 million out of the total $8.8 million is going towards the Horizons Regional Council. This covers the Whanganui and Manawatu regions which have been badly affected by flooding and landslides.” . .

 

Getting the right TPP deal – Nigel Sitrling:

Farming leaders say they will not be bounced into accepting a poor deal in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Government should walk away from the talks if they do not deliver significant improvements in access to overseas markets for this country’s major exports.

After several times looking like it might fail in recent weeks the 12-country negotiation took a sizable step forward yesterday when the United States Senate finally passed legislation giving President Barack Obama authority to negotiate trade deals on behalf of Congress.

The so-called Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill was passed 60-34 and is now ready to be signed into law by Obama in a move expected to clear the way for countries in the TPP talks to bring six years of talks to a close. . .

The bigger picture is progress – Rick Powdrell:

My November address to council had a theme of change. This is a topic our wider industry regularly focuses on, but concentrates on the big macro burning issues often without giving credit to the many progressive changes being made.

I don’t need to highlight the on farm productivity gains made in recent years to this council.  Our progressive farmers have adopted practices and technology to significantly lift the performance of their stock and the quality of the product to the end consumer.

At the same time the meat companies have been adopting modern technologies to improve the throughput performance of their plants. . .

Life membership takes Elliot by surprise – Sally Rae:

When Mike Elliot was presented with life membership of Otago Federated Farmers, he said it took him by complete surprise.

”It certainly blew my socks off. It was totally unexpected; just brilliant,” the 66 year old South Otago farmer said.

Mr Elliot first became involved with the rural lobby organisation in the early 1980s, attending Clinton branch meetings. In those days, the branch system in the organisation was very strong.

He later became chairman of the dairy section of Otago Federated Farmers and served as national senior vice president of the section. He was also a former provincial president. . .

 

Disappointment with ORC over wilding trees – John Gibb:

Otago Regional Council member Gerry Eckhoff says it is ”regrettable” the council has earmarked no funding to support community groups, including those in Central Otago, battling to remove wilding trees.

At an ORC meeting this week Cr Eckhoff, who lives near Alexandra, voted for the ORC’s amended long-term plan (LTP) overall.

But he voiced concern that no money was being provided to support community groups undertaking good work in tackling the growing wilding pine ”disaster”. . .

“Resounding support” for new arable industry structure:

Federated Farmers new Arable Industry Group Chairperson Guy Wigley says some “minor changes” has the arable sector on a secure footing for the forseeable future.

The industry group held its AGM in Wellington today with council elections and confirmed it’s name change from Federated Farmers’ Grain and Seeds Industry Group to the Federated Farmers’ Arable Industry Group. . .

 

New faces on federation’s dairy executive:

Federated Farmers’ Dairy Industry Group has announced changes to its national executive this afternoon.

At the industry’s national council in Wellington there were two new delegates elected with one retiring.

Marlborough dairy chair Wayne Langford was elected vice chair to the national executive, while Mid Canterbury dairy chair Jesse Chan-Dorman was appointed to the executive. . .

 


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