Rural round-up

June 1, 2016

Intergenerational links forge deep connections to the land at Te Nihi Nihi – Gerald Piddock:

Six generations of family farming by the Muirs at Te Nihi Nihi in northern Waikato has led to a deep respect for the land, Gerald Piddock writes.

Farming and land stewardship is more than just about milk in the vat for Stuart Muir and Kim Jobson.

Muir is the fifth generation of his family to farm the land at Aka Aka in North Waikato. He can can trace his family back to when his Scottish ancestor Sandy settled on the land in the 1850s, droving cattle from the East Cape to the Auckland markets. . . 

New rules hit job prospects for Filipino dairy workers – Tess Brunton:

New rules introduced to protect Filipino workers from taking out huge loans to secure work in New Zealand are now being blamed for preventing those very people from landing jobs here.

Filipino Dairy Workers in New Zealand (FDWNZ) chairman Earl Magtiday said the rules, introduced by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) late last year, could cost Kiwi employers up to $10,000 to recruit a single Filipino worker.

“Employers are not keen to pay out so much money, especially now the payout is low,” Earl Magtiday said. . . 

Close watch on dairy auction – Dene Mackenzie:

The GlobalDairyTrade auction early tomorrow morning takes on more significance than usual because of Fonterra’s first indication of next season’s milk price being lower than the market consensus.

Fonterra last week indicated a milk price of $4.25 per kg of milksolids, lower than the informal market consensus of $4.60 kg/ms and the ASB expectation of $4.80 kg/ms.

“To us, the forecast is conservative as it appears to be based off recent spot dairy price with no future increases in global dairy prices built in,” ASB rural economist Nathan Penny said. . .

Consumers split on market choice – Rebecca Harper

A major change in the values driving consumer decisions means businesses have a choice about which side of the consumer fence they sit on, Massey University Business School’s Dr James Lockhart says.

Speaking at the 2016 Primary Industries Summit, Lockhart cited a Deloitte study, Capitalising on the Shifting Food Value Equation, that showed consumers are now split 50-50 into two groups – a traditional value group and an evolving value group. . . 

Stream work wins unlikely praise:

Bill Wilson smiles as he looks down on the Waikuku Stream: below him is a superb example of a restored lowland Canterbury stream.

The efforts of Wilson and his fellow farmers have recently been recognised with an environmental award from Fish & Game.

The Waikuku Water Management Group is the first recipient of North Canterbury Fish & Game’s ‘Working with Nature Award’ for outstanding efforts to improve local freshwater habitats. . .

ADF: no silver bullet solution to dairy crisis – Colin Bettles:

AUSTRALIAN Dairy Farmers CEO Ben Stapley says milk processors could help ease immediate pressure on dairy farmers by announcing next season’s prices now but has stressed there’s no silver bullet solution to the current crisis.

Mr Stapley said the support package announced by the federal government with $555 million in dairy-specific concessional loans and other measures was a “really good starting point”. . .

Indonesian live export scandal revisited – Colin Bettles:

FIVE years ago today, the ABC Four Corners program “A Bloody Business” exploded onto television screens throughout the nation, igniting a cataclysmic chain of events that catapulted Australia’s northern beef cattle industry into its deepest crisis.

The dramatic, emotion charged broadcast showed repeated images of graphic and intolerable animal cruelty, originally captured by animal rights group Animals Australia in mid-March 2011, from deliberately targeted Indonesian abattoirs.

Intertwined with vision also filmed by the ABC’s own investigation a month before, the expose zoomed-in on the gore and violence, to portray the live animal export trade as being systematically cruel and desperately needing government intervention to enact urgent reforms. . . 

Rural round-up

April 5, 2016

Smith takes out NZ top shearing title:

Shearer Rowland Smith won top honours at the New Zealand Open Championship final in Te Kuiti over the weekend.

Mr Smith won by just 0.411 points, John Kirkpatrick came second and Gavin Mutch was third.

Joel Henare won the open woolhandling final, a month after scoring his fourth consecutive Golden Shears Open title.

Doug Laing from Shearing Sports New Zealand said it was a typically exciting final. . . 

IrrigationNZ congratulates Waihao Downs Irrigation:

The opening of Waihao Downs Irrigation Scheme reinforces that irrigation will continue to be a vital ingredient for the health of rural New Zealand, regardless of the fortunes of the dairy industry, says IrrigationNZ.

The $32million Waihao Downs project will be officially opened today  by IrrigationNZ Chairwoman Nicky Hyslop, coinciding with the first day of the industry body’s bi-ennial conference.

More than 400 people will converge on Waitaki District this week to view irrigation infrastructure, hear guest speakers from around the world speak on irrigation issues and attend technical workshops. The conference opens with a Farmer’s Trade Afternoon on Tuesday (3.30pm-5.30pm) where 52 exhibitors will showcase irrigation technology, services and products to farmers and the general public. . . 

IrrigationNZ and Feds ask for scientific integrity:

IrrigationNZ and Federated Farmers say greater scrutiny of claims irrigation causes increased ‘rumbly-gut’ is needed, as recent assertions by Alison Dewes are not scientifically sound.

The industry bodies have joined forces to ask for improved scientific integrity when making claims in the media as “the validity of the argument around increased pathogen losses resulting from irrigation or water storage are not sound,” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

“Our understanding is pathogen contamination of a water supply generally occurs through a direct pathway – a point source contamination. Neither irrigation nor water storage create pathogen issues, except through natural means, the increased birdlife around a water storage lake for example. The main causes of pathogen contamination are poor water treatment from domestic discharges or inadequately protected well-heads. ” says Mr Curtis. . . 

Success Helps Southland/Otago Dairy Awards Winners Keep Goals on Track:

The major winners in the 2016 Southland/Otago Dairy Industry Awards, have adapted their business to remain on track to achieve their farming goals.

The couple were announced winners of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year competition at the Southland/Otago Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner held at the MLT Events Centre in Gore last night. The other big winners were Wayne Ashmore, who became the 2016 Southland/Otago Dairy Manager of the Year, and Chloe Mackle, the 2016 Southland/Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year. . . 

Conditions now right for recovery in global dairy prices, ASB economist Penny says – Fiona Rotherham

(BusinessDesk) – Global dairy prices will recover this year as growth in European production has now slowed, says ASB rural economist Nathan Penny.

His comments follow a Fitch Ratings report last week that forecast the modest supply response so far to low global dairy prices would prolong a recovery in prices beyond 2016.

Last month, when announcing Fonterra Cooperative Group’s half-year results, chairman John Wilson said the company and most of its global dairy peers were struggling to make predictions on the direction of global dairy prices but the imbalance in supply and demand could correct itself in the next six months. . . 

Changes to maximum allowable weight of greasy wool bales in industry code of practice:

The National Council of New Zealand Wool Interests Inc comprises associations and organisations involved in the domestic and international trading of greasy and scoured wool. The Council acts as the New Zealand member of the International Wool Textile Organisation, which represents the interests of the wool textile trade at the global level.

The National Council and its members are committed to providing a safe working environment throughout the wool industry. Increasing concerns relating to bales weighing over 200kg (which are estimated to cover approximately 6% of the national clip) have prompted the Council to address the issue. . . 

Farmers Are Awesome's photo.

Rural round-up

April 4, 2016

Alliance taking NZ produce to the world – Sally Rae:

Alliance Group is looking at how to “take a New Zealand Inc story to the world”.

Chief executive David Surveyor, who has returned from a trip to Asia, said the company was happy to do that with other industry players, whether it was the likes of kiwifruit growers, cheese or wine makers.

It was also happy to do it with other red meat companies “where it makes sense”, Mr Surveyor said. . . 

Eyes on lamb price as supply falls – Sally Rae:

Time will tell which “fork in the road” lamb prices will take over the coming months, ASB rural economist Nathan Penny says.

While the good news was that prices had stopped falling, the bad news was that prices remained low.

In the latest ASB rural commodities outlook, Mr Penny said one possibility would be “more of the same”, with prices remaining low until the spring before a modest recovery began.

That pattern would be consistent with demand remaining weak, particularly in Europe and the Middle East. . . 

Harvest brings grain glut – Annette Scott:

Canterbury is awash with feed grain, forcing cropping farmers to pay for off-farm storage for the surplus.  

But despite treading water over the next 12 months the industry was confident it had the resilience to ride out the glut, Federated Farmers arable chairman Guy Wigley said.  

The strong harvest this season, combined with a lot of grain carried over from the previous year meant farmers had to account for significant quantities of uncommitted grain. . . 

Farmers win with revived stream

Fish and Game has rewarded the Waikuku Water Management group for its efforts to protect a north Canterbury stream.  

The group is the first recipient of North Canterbury Fish and Game’s Working with Nature Award for outstanding efforts to improve local freshwater habitats.  

The award recognises what Fish and Game describes as the dedicated efforts of a number of farmers to protect and give back to the Waikuku Stream. . .

Farmer events spread message – Glenys Christian:

Northland dairy farmers have been urged to put strategies in place to move forward, monitor progress and keep communication up.  

A facilitation day organised by the Rural Support Trust, DairyNZ and Federated Farmers in Whangarei attracted more than 30 farmers.  

“That’s a good turnout for the north as some have started autumn calving,” Northland Rural Support Trust co-ordinator Julie Jonker said. . .



Hat tip: The Farming Show

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

April 27, 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

February 14, 2015

Drought déjà vu

Dairy production plunging at the same time prices are spiking.

Lamb prices soft on drought impact.

Reserve Bank signals OCR could go up or down.

Stronger dairy prices in the most recent dairy action are a double-edged sword, according the latest ASB Farmshed Economics Report.

“Strengthening dairy prices in the 2 February dairy auction have given upward momentum to prices,” says ASB’s Rural Economist Nathan Penny. “However, farmers still have to navigate this summer’s drought and potential falls in production. But if farmers can manage through this tough drought and low milk price combo, we expect a rebound in the milk price for the 2015/16 season to around $6.00/kg.” . .

Farmers need to evolve new systems:

New Zealand farmers face a new evolutionary pressure – farming within nutrient limits – and together with scientists and industry bodies, they will need to evolve new farming systems in response to this challenge, a University of Waikato economist told the Australian Agricultural & Resource Economics Society’s conference in Rotorua this week.

Associate Professor Graeme Doole, an economist who specialises in the connections between agriculture and the environment and acts as an advisor to the government on water issues, says the economic impact of nutrient limits that are now being developed and implemented around the country will be significant for farmers.

“It is something that the industry has to deal with because generally around 75 to 90 percent of Nitrogen eaten by cows is lost in urine,” he says. . .

Future proofing our pastures against drought – Lynley Hargreaves:

New Zealand may have escaped another official declaration of drought, but climate-change forecasts make dry periods more likely. Good news, then, that a New Zealand high school student has helped improve the drought-resistance of future pastures. Former Palmerston North Girls’ High School student Minushika Punchihewa explains her Gold CREST research that ensures successful cross-breeding just by looking closely at a clover plant.  

Why are clovers being cross-bred?

Currently Trifolium repens (White Clover) is the most common species of clover used in New Zealand’s agricultural sector and is depended upon by farmers to feed their live stock and for pastoral growth. However, a relativity new type of clover called Trifolium ambiguum was introduced to New Zealand from regions surrounding the Black Sea. This clover has many advantageous traits such as drought tolerance, pest and disease resistance and strong rhizomes for spreading, so scientists are beginning to cross breed this clover with T.repens to try incorporate some of these beneficial traits. . .

New Zealand captures over 10% of its freshwater resource – Waiology:

Following a recent Timaru Herald article (3 February, 2015), I learned of a claim that 98% of NZ’s rainfall is left to flow out to sea, and that we only capture the other 2%.

‘‘This country doesn’t have a water shortage issue. What it has is a water storage issue. We capture a mere 2 per cent of our country’s total rainfall, the rest pours out to sea!’’ – Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean’s office.

‘‘It is wasteful that we only capture around 2 per cent of rainfall in New Zealand, with the rest roaring out to sea.’’ – Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy, in a speech to Crown Irrigation Investment Ltd.

These statements aren’t quite right, but because the topic is of vital importance, it is worth commenting on what is actually happening. Some of the rain evaporates before it can reach the sea or get used by us, and the “2%” isn’t actually how much we capture anyway. . .

 Liveweight breeding values and breeding worth calculations change this month:

Liveweight breeding values for dairy cattle are to improve as a result of data analyses carried out by NZ Animal Evaluation Limited (NZAEL), a wholly owned subsidiary of DairyNZ.

Changes to these breeding values and the flow-on effects for the overall measure of cow and sire genetic merit; Breeding Worth (BW) will be implemented from 16 February 2015.

These improvements are focused around the conversion of liveweight information into a mature weight equivalent.

“Historically this conversion has been done within the liveweight animal evaluation model, but over time the information that we receive has become heavily weighted towards data for two-year-olds which skews the calculation,” says NZAEL Manager Dr Jeremy Bryant. . .


Rural round-up

January 18, 2015

From dual purpose to multi-purpose: a win-win for dairy farmers:

Dairy farmers throughout New Zealand will benefit from recent research undertaken by Dr (Paul) Long Cheng and Dr Jeffery McCormick from the Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Lincoln University.

Dr Cheng and McCormick found that dairy replacement heifers grazed on dual purpose cereal and brassica crops such as wheat and canola achieved higher weight gains and caused less environmental pollution through reduced urinary nitrogen excretion than heifers grazed on conventional pasture.

“Every year farmers needed to rear dairy heifers as replacements for their milking herds as part of their farm management routines,” says Dr Cheng. . .

 Dairy Woman of the Year finalists announced:

Four women from throughout New Zealand have been selected as Dairy Women’s Network’s 2015 Dairy Woman of the Year finalists.

They are:

• PGG Wrightson animal nutritionist Andrea Murphy of Alexandra

• Dairy director Wilma van Leeuwen of Waimate

• Southland Demonstration Farm director Elaine Cook of Waikato; and

• Federated Farmers board member and provincial president Katie Milne of Kumara, West Coast

Run by the Dairy Women’s Network and sponsored by Fonterra, the prestigious Dairy Woman of the Year Award includes a 12-month scholarship to the Breakthrough Leaders Programme run by Global Women New Zealand, valued at $25,000. . .

Katie Milne, Dairy Woman of the year Finalist:

Federated Farmers President, Dr William Rolleston, says he’s thrilled by Katie Milne’s selection as a finalist for the 2015 Dairy Woman of the Year Award.

“I’m not surprised at Katie’s selection, as she has been a passionate advocate for farmers for a long time and has made some real progress for all of us at both a provincial and national level.”

“Katie has been involved with Federated Farmers since 1991, when as a 23 year old she went along to a provincial meeting with some concerns about the RMA’s impact on her ability to farm. Since then she has moved up the executive ranks, now in her third year as a Federated Farmers Board Member and in her sixth year as the Federation’s West Coast provincial president.” . . .


Marlborough farmers resilient despite parched land – Helen Hill:

Continuing dry weather has not yet forced any drought management action on Marlborough farmers.

No appreciable rain has fallen in the province since last April, followed by a cold, dry spring but, in an area where dry summers are common, farmers know how to cope.

“Farmers are very resilient in Marlborough because they’ve been here for a long time and have been through plenty of dry times and they learn to deal with them,” said Marlborough Federated Farmers president Greg Harris.

“Federated Farmers encourages people to be proactive, to have feed resources on hand, practise soil conservation and have water storage dams. Generally Marlborough farmers have been heeding this advice.”

Harris said there were no issues of space at freezing works and plenty of stock was moving out of the district. . .

Low impact of drought on Synlait’s milk supply:

Current dry weather in Canterbury is expected to have little impact on Synlait Milk’s milk supply because almost all Synlait suppliers have reliable irrigation water access.

Managing Director Dr John Penno said that Synlait is not seeing a drop in milk production, which remains at budgeted levels.

“This is consistent with what we’ve seen in the past with dry weather, which Canterbury farmers are used to. We have reviewed the factors at play and do not expect it to have much of an impact on our milk supply,” said Dr Penno.

“However, we are monitoring the situation closely as weather conditions may change this position at any stage.” . .


ASB Farmshed Economics Report – Taking stock in the New Year:

• Dairy markets moving back into balance over 2015.

• Beef prices off the boil, but still simmering.

• Lengthy period of low interest rates ahead.

While 2014 was a year of big moves in the dairy markets, with record highs and lows, 2015 is shaping up as a year with more moderation, according to the latest ASB Farmshed Economics Report.

“After last year’s steep falls, we expect dairy prices to recover gradually over the year as dairy markets move back into balance,” says ASB Rural Economist Nathan Penny. . .

 Vic poppies here to stay – William Vallely:

HIDDEN in the depths of a local farming community lies a substance that divided 19th century empires and thus far in Victoria has been shrouded in secrecy.

A batch of opium poppies – a revered alkaloid notionally associated with Tasmania – is about to be harvested close to Ballarat, and early signs suggest it’s here to stay.

Australia’s three largest poppy manufacturers – GlaxoSmithKline, Tasmanian Alkaloids and TPI Enterprises Ltd – have conducted secret trial plots of the crop across Victoria over the past two years, however only one has grown a commercial crop after Victoria passed legislation in May allowing cultivation of opium poppies on its land. . .




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