Rural round-up

February 15, 2013

Rabobank Agribusiness Monthly February 2013:

The report covers all the major agricultural sectors that are important to New Zealand and Australia as well as covering off the latest economic, retail and currency developments.

Key highlights:

• The early stages of 2013 have brought some weather extremes across New Zealand and Australia. The latest outlook paints more of a normal picture for upcoming autumn seasonal conditions.
• Dairy commodity prices continue to trend higher with fundamentals slowly coming back into better balance. Markets are closely watching the dry weather in New Zealand’s North Island, which is taking its toll on milk flows.
• Effective February 1, Japanese beef import protocols will allow US beef exporters to source cattle up to the age of 30 months (previously 20 months) for export into the Japanese market.
• Record low US corn and soybean stocks continue to drive global grain markets. Australian prices continue to hold at historically strong basis levels.

The full report is here.

Eco-Warrior To Speak At Dairy Women’s Conference:

Three-time Ballance Farm Environment Award winner Dan Steele is on a mission to make New Zealand a better place for the future. In March he’s fronting up to hundreds of dairying women at their annual conference in Nelson to explain why he believes farmers and conservationists need to work together to ensure we have productive and sustainable farms to live and work on in the future.

Dan is a typical kiwi bloke. He’s a bushman, hunter, traveller, farmer, conservationist and business man. He’s been on his OE. He’s also used kiwi ingenuity to think outside the square and create an award-winning eco-tourism business – Blue Duck Station.

Blue Duck is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground located on the banks of the Whanganui and Retaruke rivers in the Ruapehu district. The Station is surrounded by Whanganui National park. . .

All forests to be monitored for foreign bugs:

All forest plantations will be brought into a nationwide forest health surveillance scheme if next month’s referendum of forest growers is successful.

“A yes vote in the referendum will see a small compulsory levy applied to harvested logs. Broadening the reach of the surveillance scheme will be one of the big benefits,” says Paul Nicholls, a Forest Growers Levy Trust board member.

“Forests owned by members of the Forest Owners Association have been monitored for exotic pests and diseases for more than 50 years. But new bugs don’t discriminate. We need to be monitoring forests on the basis of a scientific assessment of risk, not because they are owned by a member of an industry association.” . .

Iwi owned oyster business cements partnership with Cawthron Institute:

Iwi owned seafood company Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd this week signed an agreement with Cawthron Institute in respect to their Pacific oyster hatchery and oyster nursery based at Glenduan, north of Nelson. Under the agreement Aotearoa Fisheries will take over the Pacific oyster Nursery and Spat growing operations. Three of Cawthron Institute’s staff involved in the Nursery and growing operations will be seconded to Aotearoa Fisheries. Cawthron Institute will continue to spawn and produce Pacific oyster larvae at the site.

Aotearoa Fisheries is one of New Zealand’s largest fishing and seafood businesses and is the largest Pacific oyster company in New Zealand, trading as Kia Ora Seafoods and Pacific Marine Farms. This deal follows on from Aotearoa Fisheries acquisition of Sanford NZ Limited’s North Island Pacific oyster farms last year. . .

LIC lifts first-half profit 7.3 percent as dairy farmers ramp up investment:

Livestock Improvement Corp, which compensated some farmers for selling bull semen that caused ‘hairy calf’ mutations, increased first-half profit 7.3 percent as dairy farmers raised their herd investment, even as farmgate prices fell.

Net profit rose to $30 million, or $1.017 a share, in the six months ended Nov. 30, from $28 million, or 94.7 cents, a year earlier, the Hamilton-based company said in a statement. Sales rose 9.6 percent to $131.5 million, though LIC typically gets most of its revenue in the first half of the financial year and doesn’t recognise costs until the second half. . .

Lempriere reaches 90% of Wool Services International, hitting mop-up target:

Australian wool merchant Lempriere has reached the 90 percent target of Wool Services International, allowing it to mop-up the remaining shares.

The Melbourne-based company reached 90.9 percent of acceptances yesterday, according to a substantial security holder notice, meeting its minimum acceptance and letting it compulsorily acquire the remaining shares in the company.

Lempriere launched the takeover last year, offering 45 cents a share, valuing WSI at $31 million, a 22 percent premium to the trading price before the offer emerged. The shares last traded in January at 42 cents. . .

Survey reveals Scottish farming’s 2013 challenges – Gemma Mackenzie:

Confidence in Scottish agriculture remains high, despite falling profitability, harsh weather and poor lamb prices.

According to the Bank of Scotland’s annual agricultural report, only 11% of 474 respondents said they thought the industry was prosperous in 2012 – a drop of eight percentage points compared to the previous year.

Although only 59% expected to be profitable this year, 28% of farmers were optimistic about the future of the industry; the second highest level since the survey began 17 years ago.

KEY FINDINGS

• 85% of farmers were profitable in the last financial year – two percentage points lower than previous year
• Only 59% expected to be profitable in 2013 . . .

NFU Scotland calls for daiy contingency plan – Gemma Mackenzie:

NFU Scotland has called on the UK government to prepare a contingency plan for the dairy industry as the voluntary code of practice has not been as effective as hoped.

At a meeting with farm minister David Heath last week, president Nigel Miller said the voluntary dairy code of practice had not worked as well as it should have, and it was time to develop a plan B.

“NFUS is pushing for the UK goverment to explore a contingency plan, including legislation, in case the code fails to achieve its intentions. NFUS maintains that the best way of strengthening and developing the dairy market at home and abroad is to increase trust in the supply chain,” said Mr Miller. . .

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