Rural round-up

April 4, 2020

Change of tune needed – John Jackson:

It has been some weeks since we have had to face the ideological rhetoric, in any quantity, that has pervaded our lives for much of the last three years – and I haven’t missed it one bit!

I’m referring, of course, to the campaigns on agricultural greenhouse gasses, water quality and afforestation. All of which unnerved many of us who work the land.

When it suited the current Government, we were a country in a world with international obligations. For some, it was important to be a leader – even if it was to our detriment or to the detriment of the world. However, also when it suited, we were a country with no greater or lesser natural attributes than any other.  . .

Support teams ready to help :

Dedicated teams have been set up to provide support for Hawke’s Bay farmers and rural communities affected by drought and constrained by the national lockdown.

Hawke’s Bay Rural Advisory Group co-chairmen Wade Nilsson and Lochie MacGillivray say the eight teams cover water, feed, logistics, finance, welfare, animal health, Maori liaison and Wairoa. 

“These teams are operational and can provide specialist support in their particular area,” MacGillivray says. . .

Sarah’s Country: It’s a wild world:

The lyrics of a brand new song by one of my favourite artists, Kip Moore, released this week nails it. 

It is so humbling that rural media is valued as essential by Government as the food and fibre sector puts the boot to the ball like Beaver in the last 30 seconds of the game. . .

Diversity valued as business strength:

A qualified artificial insemination technician and former builder were named the winners of the 2020 Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year.

Sam and Karen Bennett, who milk 630 cows on Andrew and Jenny Calder’s 223ha farm in Wyndham, believe diversification and excellent staff are two major strengths of their successful business.

“We went contract milking in 2016, and are currently contract milking two separate farms,” Mr Bennett said.

“Diversification is a key strength of our business. As well as running two farms, we have also diversified into investment properties which helps reduce any risk.” . . .

Milking continues as normal – Gus Patterson:

Cows have no idea there is a pandemic, Natural Dairy co-owner Bethan Moore says.

The 12-cow organic dairy farm in Alma, near Oamaru, is continuing production and selling milk locally.

“That’s why we are so glad to keep going. We can’t dry them off and try to start milking again.”

In normal times, the dairy delivered 1000 litres of milk a week throughout Otago, but now operations had been restricted to the farm shop and local deliveries. . .

Agave turns into tequila but did you know it can produce a moist hand sanitiser? – Jamie Brown:

Agave plants grown under trial at Ayre, North Queensland show that ethanol production is higher than from corn and more economical than from sugar cane, while surviving drought in marginal landscapes.

University of Sydney agronomist associate professor Daniel Tan says there is scope for the crop to be grown in northern NSW.

In an article published this week Prof Tan, with international and Australian colleagues, analysed the potential to produce bioethanol from the agave plant. . .


Selling single better for all

December 23, 2010

The government has turned down Natural Dairy’s attempt to buy the Crafar Farms.

Hon Maurice Williamson and Hon Kate Wilkinson have today declined consent to Natural Dairy (NZ) Holdings Limited to acquire the Crafar farms.

The Ministers’ decision covers the applications by Natural Dairy (NZ) Holdings Limited to acquire UBNZ Assets Holdings Limited and 16 of the Crafar farms.

The Ministers also declined consent to UBNZ Assets Holdings Limited’s retrospective application to acquire the four Crafar farms it purchased in February 2010.

“We concur with the Overseas Investment Office’s recommendation that consent should be declined,” the Ministers said.

That’s not surprising, nor is the news that Landcorp isn’t putting in a fresh offer for the 16 farms, although it is intimating the existing one would stand should the receivers show any interest in it.

Landcorp says it would still be interested in the purchase but is unlikely to substantially increase its original offer.

The company makes a pitiful return on the capital it already has invested in farms, it shouldn’t take on any more, not even to sort them out then on-sell them individually.

That would mean the state taking on the risk and passing on the benefit to individuals.

Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson wants the farms back on the market to be sold individually. A view which Adolf has been promoting from the start.

That would increase the number of likely buyers and could well result in a better total price than if the farms were sold as a unit.


Who will buy Crafar farms now?

December 9, 2010

The chances of the Hong Kong based Natural Dairy company passing the Overseas Investment Commission hurdles to allow it to buy the Crafar farms weren’t high to start with.

There’s even less chance now that the company front-woman May Wang has been bankrupted.

So who’s likely to buy the farms now?

It shouldn’t be Landcorp – it is one of the State Owned Enterprises giving a poor return on investment which was highlighted in a report on SOE performance released this week.

The best thing the receivers could do would be to stop trying to sell the farms as a single entity and offer them singly.

The rural real estate market is sluggish but the chances of attracting buyers able to buy single farms is far greater than finding someone willing and able  to buy the lot.


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