Rural round-up

September 9, 2018

Make jobs attractive to youth – Neal Wallace:

Farmers need to change their approach to employment conditions to encourage more people to work for them, Federated Farmers employment spokesman Chris Lewis says.

Low regional unemployment is making staff recruitment more challenging but there are already fewer people choosing agricultural careers.

To be competitive farmers need to consider more than just pay but also rosters, hours of work, housing, the workplace environment, pressure of the job and ensure they meet their legal payroll and time-recording obligations. . .

Annual results will put Fonterra under microscope – Sally Rae:

Scrutiny from farmers is expected next week when new chairman John Monaghan and recently appointed interim chief executive Miles Hurrell front Fonterra’s 2017-18 annual results presentation.

While commodity price fluctuations were “part and parcel” of the reality of being a dairy farmer, grumblings about Fonterra’s corporate performance have been growing, Westpac senior economist Anne Boniface said.

From an historical perspective, prices remained at relatively robust levels and, at $6.50, most farmers would be in positive cashflow territory. . . 

FENZ urges caution on controlled burns – John Gibb:

Large, controlled burn fires at Northburn Station, near Cromwell, produced huge smoke clouds on several days this week, but burned without any problems, Fire and Emergency New Zealand said.

Otago principal chief rural fire officer Graeme Still, of Dunedin, said permitted fires at Northburn had produced large clouds of smoke on Monday, Wednesday and yesterday, but finished without incident.

Fire conditions were suitable at Northburn, partly because remaining snowpack restricted any potential fire spread, he said yesterday. . . 

Wool recovery continues – Alan Williams:

Wool prices made another step forward at Thursday’s Napier sale, building on the gains of a fortnight earlier.

After a disappointing start to the season prices have lifted in the last few weeks and strong wools in the 35-37 microns range were up by another 4% to 5%, PGG Wrightson’s North Island auctioneer Steven Fussell said.

Second-shear wools were mostly up by similar margins on a fortnight earlier with good style 2 to 3 inch fibre length ahead about 7%. . .

On the farm: our guide to what’s been happening rurally:

What’s happening on farms and orchards around New Zealand? Each week Country Life reporters talk to people in rural areas across the country to find out.

North Island-Te Ika-a-Māui

The week finished off much better than it started in Northland. Mid-week the Far North town of Kaitaia had its second 13 degree day of winter – that’s chilly for them. A cold southerly is blasting through and apparently farmers are “right up against it” for pasture. Any strongly kikuyu dominant sward is very slow growing; rye grass is going okay but patches of it are few and far between on most farms. . . 

Fruit exports boost wholesale trade in June quarter:

Fruit exports drove wholesale trade sales up in the June 2018 quarter, Stats NZ said today.

The seasonally adjusted total sales value for wholesale trade rose 2.6 percent in the June 2018 quarter, following a modest 0.3 percent rise in the March 2018 quarter.

Five of the six wholesaling industries had sales rises in the June 2018 quarter. The largest industry increase was in grocery, liquor, and tobacco wholesaling, which was up 3.0 percent ($236 million). . . 

Deer milk hits the spot as finalist in NZ Food Awards:

Pāmu’s deer milk is on the awards stage again with today’s announcement that it is a finalist in two categories in this year’s New Zealand Food Awards.

The NZ Food Awards have been a highlight of the food sector for over 30 years and aim to demonstrate innovation, creativity and excellence in the food industry in New Zealand. . .

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Foreign investment welcomed

April 10, 2014

Foreign investment gets negative press but this story shows the positive side:

The potential investment in a Central Otago vineyard by a global luxury goods group is ”ecstatically good news” for the region, a wine industry leader says.

Subject to gaining Overseas Investment Office approval, the 23ha Northburn Station vineyard at Cromwell and The Shed cellar door and function centre on the same site will be sold to Cloudy Bay Vineyards.

”I think this is a real coup for Central Otago wines for a major player like this, a global luxury brand, to be putting a stake in the ground,” Northburn owner Tom Pinckney said yesterday. . .

He and wife Jan bought Northburn Station, northeast of Cromwell, in 1993 and run sheep and cattle on the 13,000ha property.

They diversified into grapes in 1999 and opened The Shed on the property in 2008.

They would remain on the farm and the sale of the vineyard and function centre was good timing, he said. It would give him more time with his young family and to explore new projects ”which I’m keeping under my hat for now”.

As well as focusing on the farm, he would continue to grow the Northburn 100-mile mountain run, launched four years ago, which attracted endurance athletes from around the world. ”We won’t be getting out of wine altogether, though. We’ll remain the most important part of the wine industry – consumers.” . . .

Those opposing foreign investment often overlook that the vendors can use the money for other projects.

Central Otago Winegrowers’ Association president James Dicey, of Bannockburn, said the conditional sale was ”ecstatically good news”.

”To have Cloudy Bay in the region is a wonderful endorsement of what this area’s wine industry has achieved and continues to achieve and the profile we’ve generated,” Mr Dicey said.

The deal would have ”fantastic” spin-offs for Central Otago winegrowers.

”It will mean our wine, Central Otago wine, will get in front of a lot more consumers from all around the world, because of the iconic brands involved, and pinot noir drinkers are inquisitive and will want to know more about the area.

”It will do a power of good for Central Otago and develop new markets and contacts that would have taken us years to reach.” . . .

The Pinckneys were finalists in the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards last year and won the Donaghy’s Farm Stewardship Award.

If this sale goes through it will benefit the vendors, Central Otago wine in general and the wider economy.


Rural round-up

August 15, 2012

Australian dairy farmers follow the money – Dr Jon Hauser:

Ten years ago there was a general belief in the industry that dairy farmers would respond to low prices and low profitability by producing more milk. This is a sort of perverse defiance of the laws of supply and demand where the reverse is supposed to happen. The reality of this adage is that some farmers produced more milk, and others sold out or shut down the dairy. During the 1990’s the net effect of this was industry growth. Since 2002 the trend in Australia has been the other way – an ongoing decline in milk supply. This article is not however about the causes of declining production. It is about how to encourage milk supply and, despite the evidence to the contrary, that is exactly what has happened during the autumn and winter periods of production in the southeast. . .

Forestry harvesting machine wins national innovation award:

A non-scientist has won a major forestry research award for his key role in developing a new harvesting machine designed to be safer and more productive on steep slopes.

Kerry Hill, Managing Director of Trinder Engineering Ltd, of Nelson, is one of five winners of the second annual Future Forests Research Awards, presented at a function in Rotorua on Tuesday 14 August.

Mr Hill was one of four nominees for the award for innovation that adds value to the forestry sector. The three judges cited Trinder Engineering’s joint development with Kelly Logging Ltd over the past three years of a winch-assisted steep slope feller-buncher machine. Innovations include a front mounted winch, rear mounted blade and integrated hydraulic control systems. . .

Farm Transactions Slow As Seasonal Workloads Take Priority:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 55 more farm sales (+18.3%) for the three months ended July 2012 than for the three months ended July 2011.  Overall, there were 356 farm sales in the three months to end of July 2012, compared with 406 farm sales in the three months to June 2012, a decrease of 50 sales (-12.3%).  On a seasonally adjusted basis, after accounting for normal seasonal fluctuations, the number of sales rose by 0.7%, compared to the three months to June.

1,439 farms were sold in the year to July 2012, 50.4% more than were sold in the year to July 2011.  The number of farms sold on an annual basis is now the highest since April 2009.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to July 2012 was $17,955; a 22.6% increase on the $14,649 recorded for three months ended July 2011, and an increase of 2.2% on the $17,565 recorded for the three months to June 2012. . .

The Shed At Northburn Station Appoints Experienced Wine Professional As General Manager:

Northburn Station’s The Shed has appointed wine and hospitality expert Paul Tudgay as General Manager underlining the company’s commitment to enhancing the events and conference and incentive sector of its operations, focusing around its purpose-built facility, The Shed Restaurant, Cellar Door and function venue.

Tudgay (40) is a professional sommelier, trained in the UK, and for the past five years has had a high profile as a Queenstown Resort College wine educator and more latterly as its Hospitality and Business manager. He is also credited with introducing the international Wine and Spirit Education Trust qualification to Queenstown, with more than 80 people qualified to date.

Northburn Station owners Tom and Jan Pinckney  opened The Shed four years ago with Jan taking on the diverse role of  overseeing The Shed including the restaurant, cellar door, functions and the company’s trade wine business. . .

Young Farmer elected to FCANZ Board

New Zealand Young Farmer member Mark Lambert has been elected to the board of the Fencing Contractors Association of New Zealand (FCANZ). FCANZ is an industry organisation that supports and benefits the fencing industry of New Zealand.

The 2012 FCANZ AGM was held at the Waipuna Conference Centre, Auckland on 27, 28 and 29th of July. There were eight nominees for seven spots on the board which went to a vote and Mr Lambert was elected for a one year term.

A group of dedicated fencing contractors launched The Fencing Contractors Association of New Zealand Inc. (FCANZ) in February 2006. . .

New Animal Welfare Regulations Affect Producers & Processors:

New regulations coming into force next year mean that the export meat industry will need to train all staff in animal welfare and quality issues appropriate to their jobs.  Supermarkets in the EC and UK, and their customers, want to be assured that livestock are treated humanely at all stages of processing.

In particular they are concerned that the procedures used in handling animals on farm, during transportation and from reception at meat plants through to stunning and slaughter are painless and cause as little distress as possible, according to Dr Nicola Simmons, General Manager of Carne Technologies Ltd. . .

Winter delivers too much of a good thing:

Prolonged wet weather and surface flooding is causing concern on-farm during a very busy period in the farming calendar, with calving and in some pockets, lambing, underway.

“I know when we hit a long dry spell farmers will look back at the rain longingly. But what many need right now are days or weeks of fine settled weather to dry out,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Adverse Events spokesperson.

“The only way to describe much of rural New Zealand is sodden and there’ll be plenty of people in the towns and cities who’d probably agree. Farmers are hoping for a decent fine spell in order for saturated pasture to recover. . .

Hoping indeed with all fingers and toes crossed. It stopped raining here (North Otago) late this morning, the sun is trying to shine through the clouds and there are streaks of blue sky appearing.


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