Rural round-up

10/11/2019

Pressure on Jacinda Ardern over water quality amid farmer well-being concern – Pattrick Smellie:

Suddenly, farmers’ mental health is in the news again.

It’s not sensationalist or alarmist. It’s a fact.

A growing number of farmers are feeling massive personal pressure from several directions, with the greatest source of that pressure being felt as the Government’s agenda to make agriculture contribute to cleaner water and climate change action.

It may not be totally rational. Global prices for our key agricultural commodities are currently high and include a very healthy-looking dairy payout in the season ahead. Export returns are further assisted by a weak Kiwi dollar. . .

2020 Zanda McDonald Awards finalists announced:

Things are heating up for the prestigious Zanda McDonald Award, with one Australian and two New Zealanders announced today as the three finalists for the 2020 trophy.

The trans-Tasman award is widely seen as a badge of honour in agriculture, recognising passionate and outstanding young professionals working in the sector.

The 2020 finalists are Dr Elle Moyle, 29, from Victoria, Jack Raharuhi, 27, from Westport NZ, and James Robertson, 22, from Auckland NZ. The three were selected from a shortlist of six applicants, who were interviewed by the judging panel last month in Wellington. . .

“Farmers barely covering interest costs’ – Westpac boss David McLean :

Some heavily indebted dairy farmers are barely covering their interest payments despite relatively strong prices for several seasons, Westpac NZ chief executive David McLean says.

“The ones who’ve got more leverage, most of those are still covering their cost of production but some of them are close to the edge,” he says.

“Their interest cover isn’t that great – there are a lot of farmers who are doing it tough and there’s not a lot of buffer.” . . 

Dairy prices should bring some cheer as bankers get tougher on farmers and govt further burdens them – Point of Order:

The sun  may be shining  again  on  NZ’s  dairy industry:  spirited  bidding  at  the latest    global  dairy trade  auction  backs  up Fonterra’s move  last  month to  lift the  projected  payout  range to $6.55-$7.55 kg/MS.

The  average GDT  price  rose 3.7% to $US3446 a  tonne,  with the  key products  WMP up  3.6%  to $US3254, and SMP  6.7% to $US2924.

WMP prices, after dipping mid-year, have remained above the important $US3000/tonne level since July.  ANZ  in a market commentary   noted the auction outperformed expectations. Futures prices have steadily lifted since the previous GDT event in October. . . 

BioBrew delivers probiotic technology to support dairy farms:

CalfBrew improves profitability while reducing the need for antibiotics and other problematic synthetic inputs.

A small NZ company, BioBrew Ltd, has developed a novel approach to probiotics that delivers a very strong ROI and increases the sustainability of NZ dairy farms.

Developed with the assistance of Lincoln University and with funding from Callaghan Innovation and the Sustainable Farming Fund, CalfBrew delivers the finest probiotic technology available. CalfBrew improves profitability while reducing the need for antibiotics and other problematic synthetic inputs. . .

Meet the winners of the New Zealand International Business Awards 2019:

A Canterbury business creating a high-value, top-dollar future for merino wool has won the Supreme Award at the New Zealand International Business Awards 2019, leading a stellar list of category winners.

Based in Christchurch, The New Zealand Merino Company Limited is an integrated sales, marketing and innovation company for merino wool, and the world’s leading supplier of ethical wool through its accreditation brand, ZQ Merino.   

The company aims to help transform merino wool from a commodity into a high-value fibre, working with brands to create unique design-led and R&D-based products that incorporate merino wool, and in turn helping growers to get better returns. . .

 


Rural round-up

09/07/2015

Proof is in the pudding for romney ewe hogget winner – Kate Taylor:

Brendan and Prudence Butler farm 260 hectares of summer dry country at Tikokino on the Ruataniwha Plains – part of a property that has been in the Butler family since 1903.

Early-lambing romney ewes are farmed with steer finishing at a stocking rate of 9.3 stock units per hectare. It is a low-cost farming system and their results are achieved with no irrigation, no off-farm grazing, and no use of urea. They also have no crops, no hay, and no supplements for any stock – and the youngest pasture is more than 40 years old. . .

Grazing of lupins investigated – Sally Rae:

Grazing of Russell lupins in the high country has ”plenty of scope” in the right areas, New Zealand Merino Company production science project leader Mark Ferguson believes.

A management protocol is being prepared with the aim of gathering as much evidence as possible, both economic and environmental, so it was a ”one stop shop” for lupins, Dr Ferguson said. . .

Posthumous award for sheep efforts – Sally Rae:

Errol Holgate’s contribution to the sheep industry was recognised at the Beef and Lamb New Zealand sheep industry awards in Invercargill last week.

The retired Otago farmer and farm adviser, who died in May from motor neurone disease, posthumously received the award for an individual or business making a significant contribution to the New Zealand sheep industry. . .

 Dairy sector faces Australian competition:

Australia has announced a $4 billion investment in its agriculture sector, even though there’s an oversupply in the dairy sector, fuelled by China’s slowing economy.

It’ll see huge irrigation dams and other infrastructure built, as well as tax breaks and drought assistance for farmers. . .

NZ Merino secures $3M contract with Godfrey Hirst for luxury wool carpet – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand Merino Co, which markets the nation’s wool to customers on behalf of suppliers, has secured a $3 million contract to supply a merino wool blend to manufacturer Godfrey Hirst for a luxury carpet range.

The Australian-based carpet maker’s new range will use fibre from sheep with a Merino genetic base crossed with stronger wool bloodlines. Production runs of the new carpet range will start in the coming shearing season following trials over the past year, NZ Merino said in a statement. . .

Upper North Island Beckons Best Young Butchers:

In the last of the Alto Young Butcher and Competenz Butcher of the Year regional finals, the Upper North Island’s best young butchers have been confirmed.

The winner of the Alto Young Butcher category was Luka Young from PAK’nSAVE Lincoln Road, while the winner of the Competenz Butcher Apprentice category was Hohepa Smith from Countdown Meat and Livestock.

In just two hours, entrants turned a beef rump, pork loin and a size 20 chicken into a display of value-added cuts in the practical cutting test. . .

 

Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/business/dairy-sector-faces-australian-competition-2015070609#ixzz3f7xNF4ra


Rural round-up

14/12/2014

Sweet success for bee team:

A group of Whangarei high school students has won the top award in the Enterprising Primary Industries Career challenge on how to attract young people into working with bees.

The competition requires students to identify different careers within the primary industry sector and market them to their peers.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy presented the Year 10 students from Huanui College the award for their entry ‘Bee in the Scene’. . .

Designer genes on show:

Designer genes will be the focus of a field day in Central Otago today for fine wool growers on the hunt to find the perfect fit.

The event is organised by the New Zealand Merino Company.

Production science manager Mark Ferguson said as well as animal health and forage being discussed, 40 groups of sheep would be on show in Cromwell to highlight genetic differences. . .

Fonterra Shareholders Council gives nod ‘with caveats’ to new milk supply plan – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – The Fonterra Shareholders Council is “broadly supportive” of plans for the cooperative to start sourcing milk from South Island suppliers who are not also shareholders, with a couple of caveats.

Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s largest dairy exporter, yesterday announced a new milk sourcing subsidiary, mymilk, which would try to get milk in the Canterbury, Otago, and Southland regions where competition for milk supply is most intense from new suppliers on contracts on up to five years without the obligation to purchase shares. The feedback, particularly from new farmers who have recently spent a large amount of money converting farms to dairy, is that they can’t currently afford to now buy shares in the cooperative but would do so at a later date. . .

 

Who owns the rain? – Gravedodger:

Well apparently in Oregon State of the US, not the land owner whose land it falls on.

Gary Harrington 64, owns 170 acres and has constructed three ponds that accumulate and store around three million liters of snow melt and rain runoff. One of the ponds has been stocked with large mouth bass and the whole resource is available for fire fighting.
My understanding is Harrington did not dam waterways in his water conservation scheme.
Poor old Gary is or has recently spent 30 days in the clink for continuing his storage of water falling on his acreage.
Fonterra Shareholders Council gives nod ‘with caveats’ to new milk supply plan
What  in Oregon State has done, is common across NZ farmland where stock water is a restraint on production. There are countless Dams across NZ pastoral lands and the most efficient and longer lasting are built to collect rainfall from very small catchments and not from damming waterways. . .

CRV Ambreed opens new bovine semen production and distribution facility:

Primary Industries Minister Hon. Nathan Guy officially opened CRV Ambreed’s new world-class domestic and export-approved bovine semen production and logistics centre today.

The CRV Bellevue Production and Logistics Centre, based on the outskirts of Hamilton, is a purpose-built facility which future-proofs the company with additional capacity to meet the market’s growing demand for its bovine semen products.

The Centre houses a semen collection facility, a semen processing laboratory, storage space for export and domestic products, a warehouse with farmer AI banks, and 38 hectares of grazing paddocks. . .

 

Leading farm automation businesses to merge:

LIC is merging its farm automation and milking sensor businesses to deliver more integrated technology and meet demand from farmers.

The co-op’s Protrack business will transfer into subsidiary Dairy Automation Limited (DAL) in 2015.

LIC chief executive Wayne McNee said the move follows the co-op’s acquisition of DAL in February, and a lot of discussion between both businesses on how they would work together as one.

“Since the acquisition of DAL we have witnessed a number of key market developments that we will be better placed to leverage as one entity. . . .


Rural round-up

09/12/2013

Alliance targets increased lamb exports to Iraq – Hannah McLeod:

Alliance Group plans to increase exports to the Middle East.

The company has just completed its first year exporting directly to Iraq, supplying Pure South lamb to hotels, restaurants and catering companies.

Group general marketing manager Murray Brown said yesterday Alliance provided more than 1000 tonnes of red meat to the Middle Eastern country this year.

They hoped to increase their presence in the Iraq market by introducing a wider product range, and doing more promotional work. . .

Meat exporter turns loss into profit

Meat exporter ANZCO Foods has turned around its last-season loss to record a post-tax profit of $12.2 million for the year to September

The result comes from total revenue of nearly $1.3 billion.

It is an improvement on the $19.1m deficit during a difficult 2011-12 season for red-meat trading and the company says its books are in a healthy position.

ANZCO was begun by Sir Graeme Harrison, who is company chairman, and is owned by three shareholder groups led by Japanese company Itoham Foods . . .

Progeny test helps Perendale breeding – Sally Rae:

Warren Ayers believes Perendale New Zealand’s progeny test will lead to the betterment of the breed.

Now in its fourth year, the test has been extended, with facial eczema and maternal traits, including body condition scoring and ewe longevity, added to the measurements.

Guided by a Perendale genetics group, the society is working with AgResearch and Ovita, with Beef and Lamb New Zealand investment.

Mr Ayers has taken over as host farm for the South Island portion of the progeny test, while a property at Tutira in Hawkes Bay is also involved. . .

Outlook fine for merinos – Sally Rae:

Mark Ferguson may be trying to help provide the perfect sheep – but he also reckons he has the perfect job.

Dr Ferguson is an Australian-born geneticist specialising in fine wool sheep who moved from Western Australia to Christchurch last year to join the New Zealand Merino Company.

He is leading NZM’s production science project, an initiative that aims to unlock the potential of ”the perfect sheep” – one that was healthy, fertile and high-producing, with high-quality meat and wool fit for high-value markets. . .

Survey looks at whitebaiting culture- Yvonne OHara:

Whitebaiting is quintessential Southland and part of the culture, like deer hunting, Environment Southland’s science technical adviser Dr Andy Hicks says.

He sent out a questionnaire in August to about 600 registered holders of whitebait stands in the lower Mataura and upper Aparima areas, to find out their opinions on their whitebaiting experiences.

About half of the respondents (54.5%) of the survey wanted to see more whitebait and better water quality, while about 23% thought there was no need for any change. About three-quarters (73%) of the 100 respondents said they were happy with their experience. However, 20% said they were not. . .

Fonterra finds cause of milk contamination:

Fonterra has completed its inquiry into an October incident in which 150,000 litres of milk in 14 tankers was contaminated with suspected mining waste at its Eltham Plant in Taranaki.

The milk was contaminated with mud and gravel and was disposed of at an Eltham waste plant.

Fonterra’s lower North Island regional manager Scott Walls says the company now knows what happened and has made changes so it can’t happen again.

He says a contractor had accidentally connected a trailer that was not intended to transport food products to a truck unit. . .


Rural round-up

24/06/2013

Stock rescue mission – Rosie Manins:

A massive rescue operation is under way in Otago’s high country, where thousands of sheep and cattle are stranded in thick snow cover.

Volunteers are needed to help farmers access and feed stock on about 40 stations above 500m throughout the region.

Otago’s high country farms are among the worst-hit in the South Island.

Up to one metre of snow has isolated sheep and cattle and prevented farmers from surveying the damage, so it is too soon to know the extent of stock losses. . .

NZ Merino excited by Japanese contract – Sally Rae:

The signing of $2.5 million worth of New Zealand Merino contracts by Japanese brand Nikke has been heralded as a significant deal.

The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) and its fine wool growers have a 17-year relationship with the Japanese manufacturer of wool textiles.

NZM described the deal, signed in Osaka, as marking an ”exciting new era” in the partnership. Contracts were concluded for 132 tonnes of 14.3, 15.3, 16.3, 17.3, 19.5 and 21.5 micron, at prices ”significantly superior” to today’s market. . .

Innovation took merino to world – Tim Cronshaw:

Some of the best advice Icebreaker co-founder Brian Brakenridge gives to people with new business ideas is not to be afraid of being a non-conformist.

He and his wife, Fiona, were running merinos at Pohuenui Island in the Marlborough Sounds when they founded the merino outdoor garment business before the entry of “marketing guru” Jeremy Moon.

Brakenridge admits he sometimes feels uncomfortable being called the founder of the business, as Moon took it to its great heights. . .

Rural contractors take big hit from drought – Carmen Hall:

Western Bay of Plenty rural contractors lost as much as 50 per cent of their business because of the drought.

Hardest hit were hay, silage and cropping companies, which say most of their work was wiped out because of poor grass-growing conditions.

Bradstreet Contractors owner Peter Bradstreet says his workload is down 45 to 50 per cent and it is possibly the worst drought since the business began 35 years ago. “It has been particularly bad because the grass just didn’t grow.

“We’d get a little bit of rain but it would stop just when growing conditions looked good again … it was the longevity of the dry spell that did the damage.” . . .

 

Farmers add meat to debate on behaviour -David Burt:

Federated Farmers’ meat and fibre executive asked its members in April to participate in an online survey about farmer behaviour.

The aim was to gather information that would help the executive understand the drivers underpinning stock selling and related behaviours, which are thought to be one of the issues holding back the sector. The response from members was gratifying, with nearly 900 members participating.

A full analysis of the results is under way and will be presented to members at the Meat & Fibre Conference in Ashburton on July 3 and 4. . .

Double the support for Dairy Women’s Network:

Long-standing Dairy Women’s Network member Cathie Cotter has been appointed to a new role as convener co-ordinator for the South Island.

The network was boosting its support of dairying women throughout the country through two new roles which would help its regional groups increase memberships, increase local training opportunities and identify and support emerging leaders, executive chairwoman Michelle Wilson said. . .

 


Rural round-up

11/03/2013

China consumers to be surveyed on lamb preferences – Sally Rae:

A consumer research programme, to be launched by Alliance Group, will survey Chinese consumers on the taste and quality of New Zealand lamb, in comparison with Chinese and Inner Mongolian lamb.

A Chinese delegation recently visited Alliance Group before the launch of the programme, which is funded by Alliance Group, Beef and Lamb New Zealand and Grand Farm, Alliance Group’s in-market partner. . .

Wool growers’ US visit inspires confidence– Sally Rae:

When Andrew Paterson visited a factory in the United States that turned his fine wool into socks, he came away feeling extremely positive about the future.

Mr Paterson and his wife, Tracy, from Matakanui Station, near Omakau, are among the growers contracted to supply fibre to SmartWool, through the New Zealand Merino Co (NZM).

SmartWool, which has been working in partnership with NZM for 14 years, is an outdoor apparel brand which has direct supply contracts with NZM for ZQ Merino fibre for use in its socks and garments. . .

Jack Russell terriers race for hotly contested title – Lucy Ibbotson:

Regular runs from Alexandra to Clyde – much too fast-paced to be called taking the dog for a walk – paid off for the winner of the hugely popular Jack Russell race during the Upper Clutha A&P Show at the Wanaka Showgrounds on Saturday.

Clad in a neon-bright vest, 4-year-old terrier Kate, of Alexandra, put in an impressive performance to take the hotly contested title, beating about 65 other canine competitors to the finish line.

”She’s a nutcase,” Kate’s owner Hannah Hutton (10) said of her energetic pet, after the race. . .

On a pasture based dairy farm the sky is always blue – Pasture to Profit:
The sky is always blue! This is NOT a reference to the lack of rain in Australia & New Zealand. The dairy industry is a place of optimism and opportunities. In every crisis there is both danger and opportunities. The key is to see the opportunity! Believe me the sky is always blue! Pasture based dairy farming is a place of optimism!

 

Every time I fly the sky is always blue! From the ground it may not seem to be. It’s easy to get pessimistic. Even as the aircraft takes off you are not absolutely sure. But it is always very reassuring to experience that joy of breaking through the clouds. Dark as the clouds might seem. The sky is always blue!  The sky is always blue is a glass half full attitude! . .

Drought costs will be billions – Hugh Stringleman:

Drought declarations have extended across the bulk of the North Island as the government begins to count the cost in billions of dollars to farmers and to the economy.

From their trade mission in Latin America Prime Minister John Key and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the drought was now a wide-scale adverse event with serious economic ramifications.

South Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Rotorua-Taupo and Hawke’s Bay joined Northland under drought declaration last week, with East Cape, Manawatu-Rangitikei, Taranaki and possibly some regions of the South Island expected to follow soon.

The area already declared is wider than in the 2007-08 drought, which was blamed for pushing New Zealand into recession ahead of the Global Financial Crisis.

“So we know it will have an economic impact, it’s just a matter of how much. No one is quite sure,” Guy said. . .

Public invited to ‘Farming in Drought’ Farm Days:

Special ‘Farming in Drought’ Farm Days will be held in Wellington (Sunday 17 March), Rotorua (Sunday 17 March) and Tauranga (Sunday 24 March).  Free and open to the public, they are intended to show how farmers and farms cope with drought.

“Given current drought conditions, we feel the public will want to know more about both how we and our farm animals cope,” says Jamie Falloon, Federated Farmers Wairarapa provincial president, whose province is likely to be declared in drought this week.

“Wellington’s Farm Day runs on Sunday 17 March between 10am and 3pm at the Battle Hill Farm Forest Park in Pauatahanui.  We are bringing in other types of farm animals so it is a great chance to meet farmers and have a family outing close to Wellington. . .

Adverse event drought information:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has added South Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay to Northland as areas affected by a medium scale adverse event (drought). Given conditions as far afield as the South Island’s West Coast, Federated Farmers expects further declarations in the coming week.

What an adverse event declaration means
• Rural Support Trusts (0800 787 254) are local and will coordinate farm advisory and counselling services. This advice is invaluable in aiding business recovery and helping individual families cope with the stresses caused.

• A declaration allows discretion from Inland Revenue on things like Income Equalisation. This allows Inland Revenue to accept later deposits to the income equalisation scheme than is usual, but this needs to be arranged by your farm’s accountant. . .


Rural round-up

12/10/2012

Business skill vital for farming success – Ali Tocker:

Business skills are crucial to high-performing and profitable farms, new research from DairyNZ shows.

The research covered 150 dairy farms in Waikato and Canterbury, and identified the key characteristics of the top-performing farms.

It took the top quarter of farms surveyed, ranked on operating profit per hectare, and identified their common characteristics.

“It’s not animal husbandry, feed or people management – the biggest skill gap is in the business area,” DairyNZ economist Matthew Newman said. . .

Lamb prices hurting Americans – Gerald Piddock:

New Zealand farmers are not the only lamb producers facing tough times.

North American sheep farmers have had a 40 per cent drop in lamb prices with values now sitting where they were a decade ago, Beef+Lamb North American representative Andrew Burt said.

Mr Burt is back in New Zealand having recently taken up the role of Beef+Lamb’s chief economist.

US lamb producers were forecasting an over-supply of lamb for this coming season he said. . .

Alpaca breeders’ patience pays off – Peter Watson:

You need plenty of patience to breed quality alpacas.

New Zealand herds are invariably small and vary widely in quality, top animals are expensive to buy, females take almost a year to produce an offspring and twins are rare. . .

Apple orchardists on a roll south – Sandra Finny:

With little help from anyone outside of family, orchardists Peter and Danny Bennett are reaping the rewards after nearly six years of battling red tape to bring a lucrative apple growing franchise to South Canterbury.

The Bennetts, who own the established Waipopo Orchard near Temuka, are in expansion mode planting 50,000 apple trees on top of 40,000 they planted three years ago, which are already producing export crops to meet an insatiable demand for their trademark HoneyCrunch apples in US markets.

The apples are a point of difference with Southern hemisphere supply being market-led not producer-driven. . .

Unlocking the perfect sheep:

Imagine the perfect sheep; healthy, fertile, and high producing, with meat of unsurpassed eating quality and wool fit for high value markets. This is the sheep that will transform New Zealand’s sheep industry, providing higher returns to growers and elevating the fibre on which much of the New Zealand economy was built to new heights.

With assistance from the government’s Primary Growth Partnership (PGP), The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) is investing in production science initiatives to unlock the potential of this perfect sheep, which will thrive across a range of geographic areas and combine great quality meat and wool traits in the same animal. . .

And an interesting infographic on the difference between natural cheese and processed cheese.


Rural round-up

13/05/2012

Cartels versus babies – Offsetting Behaviour:

Canada’s dairy cartel keeps milk product prices up. Baby formula is one pretty obvious example.
Here in New Zealand, a 900 gram can of baby formula (starter, for newborns) ranges in price from $15 for one that’s on special, to $20-$21 for the most popular brands, to $34 for the ones that give babies superpowers. We supplemented with the brand that’s now $21 per can. The NZ price range then, per kilo and in Canadian dollars at $1 NZ = $0.79 Cdn, is $13-$30; the one we typically bought was $18 Cdn. Unfortunately, the link might redirect to Countdown’s main site. A screenshot is below. . .

Omarama family wins clip of the year – Sally Rae:

The Sutherland family, from Benmore Station, has been awarded the Otago Merino Association’s clip-of-the-year title.   

Bill and Kate Sutherland, and Andrew and Deidre Sutherland,      from Omarama, received the award during The New Zealand Merino Company’s conference in Christchurch . . .   

Change a vital part of fine-wool revolution – Sally Rae:

Changes are inevitable. Not only is that now the motto of  luxury Italian woollen fabric manufacturer Reda, but it was    also a statement that was repeated during the New Zealand    Merino Company’s recent conference in Christchurch.   

The conference brought together about 600 growers and industry partners from around the globe. . .  

Farm holds long family history – Sally Rae:

 The Maclean family, of Omakau, will next year mark 60 years of breeding Southdown sheep.   

Don Maclean started the Bellfield Southdown stud in 1953 and the stud now encompasses 120 ewes.   

 Bellfield was one of 11 properties visited during the New  Zealand Southdown southern tour which was hosted in Otago and  Southland last week.   

 The property is farmed by Donny and Cathy Maclean, their  daughter Kate, and Mr Maclean’s parents, Don and Win . . .

Rates rises close to $5,000 – Gerald Piddock:

Waimate farmers are crying foul after being faced with a dramatic increase in rates for the 2012-2013 year.

The proposed increases will see some farmers pay out nearly $5000 more in rates than they did last year, Federated Farmers South Canterbury Waimate branch chairman Colin Hurst said.

“One farmer’s rates are increasing 37 per cent from just over $13,000 to around $18,000. . .

Barns to keep cows cosy in winter weather – Shawn McAvinue:

What prompts a 94-year-old dairy farm owner to build structures of biblical proportions to keep animals from the driving rain? Shawn McAvinue reports.

Eastern Southland dairy farm owner Dugald McKenzie, 94, looks up at the frame of one of the two wintering barns he is having built on his dairy farm near Edendale and estimates the size of the structure.

“It’s not quite as long as Noah’s Ark, but it’s slightly wider.”. .

Talleys immovable in dispute – Jon Morgan:

After 10 weeks of worker protests, punctuated by fruitless talks and exchanges of lock-out and strike threats, the Affco-meatworkers dispute is no closer to resolution.

The bitterness of the dispute – over pay and conditions for 1000 union workers at eight plants – comes as no surprise to anyone in the meat industry.

The protagonists, the Talley family on one side and the Meatworkers Union on the other, are an irresistible force coming up against an immovable object – or, as one industry source puts it, “a rock hitting a rock”. . .

“Manawhenua” the value placed upon land within the Maori culture – Pasture to Profit:

“Manawhenua” is one of the operating values of the Kapenga M Farming Trust. The exact English translation of “Manawhenua” is difficult to explain. However it relates to the pride and soul of Maori people & their attachment to traditional lands. Manawhenua is about creating links between the people & the land. The concept of ‘mana whenua’ has many layers of meaning. It tells of important relationships that Māori have with whenua (land) and of the value placed upon the land within the culture . . .

Sealord’s mussel farms up for sale:

Sealord Group is selling its last few South Island mussel farms and closing its Tahunanui factory, bringing down the curtain on what was once the biggest mussel operation in the South Island.

All 50 workers – 10 operating the farms and 40 at the Beatty St factory – are being offered new roles within Sealord.

The company announced yesterday that it wanted to focus more on its core fishing business. . .

Synlait Milk to supply colostrum to ASX-listed Immuron:

Synlait Milk, the Canterbury milk processor controlled by China’s Bright Dairy, has signed a deal to supply colostrum to ASX-listed biopharmaceutical company Immuron.

No value was put on the agreement.

Synlait spokesman Michael Wan said the company planned a production run of the “hyperimmune colostrum” in October.

While volumes would be small compared to Synlait’s total production, it was high-end in terms of value. . .

Primary industry working together to grow its people:

The Primary Industry Capability Alliance (PICA) was officially launched in Wellington last night.

The initiative was warmly received by an audience of influential leaders in the primary industry. The Minister for Primary Industries, Hon. David Carter presented at the launch along with several other speakers.

PICA is a collaboration between DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, New Zealand Young Farmers, AgITO, Lincoln and Massey Universities, Federated Farmers and the Ministry for Primary Industries. . .

High expectations met by North Island Farming to Succeed programme:

Daniel Baker says this year’s North Island Farming to Succeed programme has shown him that farm ownership is possible for his generation. Daniel is currently a sole charge farm manager milking 280 cows near Te Awamutu for the Ferris family.

“I’ve been dairy farming since I left school at 16,” says the 28-year-old. “I grew up with an agricultural background in sheep and beef, rearing calves, dairy farming and my father’s agricultural contracting business. I chose to go into dairy because of lifestyle reasons.”

He was motivated to apply for Farming to Succeed after hearing good things about the programme from previous attendees . . .


Rural round-up

04/03/2012

Only a Lotto ticket away from a PhD – Jon Morgan:

One day while travelling, Trevor Cook and a friend were discussing what they would do if they won Lotto.

His friend said: “I’d leave work and travel the world playing golf on the best courses I could find. What would you do?” Mr Cook, a Feilding veterinarian and farming consultant, thought for a bit and replied: “I’d cut down on work and do a PhD.”

He lets out a gruff laugh. “You should have seen the look on his face. `You’re not joking, are you,’ he said. I wasn’t. If I had the financial freedom, that’s exactly what I would do.” . . .

Classrooms to cowsheds:

The students of four Taranaki schools are combining classroom study with on-the-job learning in a Primary Industry Trades Academy (PITA).

The year 11-13 students of Hawera and Opunake high schools and New Plymouth’s Spotswood and Francis Douglas Memorial colleges are undertaking the National Certificate in Agriculture Level 2, in tandem with NCEA study. They form two clusters and undertake study on Thursdays or Fridays.

Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre established the academy in Taranaki this year after operating it in other areas of the lower North Island last year. It wants to expand it to other Taranaki schools. . .

Kylee’s in search of perfection – Sue O’Dowd:

Young ayrshire cattle judge Kylee Perrett brings a pedigree of her own to her role.

The 22-year-old is the daughter of prominent Taranaki ayrshire breeders Ivan and Robyn Fredrickson, of Ngaere, in central Taranaki.

And she’s well on the way to establishing herself as a stock judge on the show circuit.

She’s a New Zealand Ayrshire Association junior judge and wants to become a senior judge as soon as she can. . .

Farmers praised on water quality – Jill Galloway:

Farmers should be congratulated for doing their bit to improve the quality of the Manawatu River, says water quality scientist Shirley Hayward.

She talked to about 20 dairy farmers at a field day last week to help dairy farmers improve their productivity while at the same time reducing their environmental footprint.

Ms Hayward said Niwa figures showed river quality had improved during the past 10 years. She said there were fewer pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphrous. . .

Farmers face new take on water – Ali Tocker:

Waikato Regional Council is currently planning how it will work with farmers required to apply for water take consents under the council’s new water allocation policy.

The policy, variation 6 to the council’s regional plan, was endorsed by the Environment Court late last year. The period for appeals has now passed, clearing the way for the council to begin implementing the policy.

The council’s resource use division manager Brent Sinclair said his team is now doing detailed planning to ensure farmers in different areas are aware of their responsibilities under variation 6. The council will also work with the agricultural sector to develop the most efficient way for farmers to meet those responsibilities. . .

NZ to see more of luxury meat – Tim Cronshaw:

Merino-branded meat will be rolled out to more Kiwi diners and luxury global markets in the next year.

A mix of high-priced racks and legs with unconventional cuts of lamb such as short ribs are under the new luxury brand of Silere Alpine Origin Merino.

The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) is developing the merino brand in a joint venture with the meat company Silver Fern Farms (SFF) and plans to build on merino wool’s clever marketing with more innovative twists. . .


Rural round-up

02/10/2011

Tense tri-nations shearing – Sarah Marquet:

It was a Tri-Nations test like no other – it was tense, there was a grandstand packed with spectators, a commentator,      national anthems and officials scrutinising the competitors’ every move. The only thing missing was a rugby ball.   

Instead, in a makeshift shearing shed in Molyneux Stadium,  Alexandra, New Zealand, Australian and South African teams      competed in a test match for the first Tri-Nations fine wool shearing competition as part of the 50th New Zealand Merino      Shearing and Woolhandling Championships . . .   

‘Showing off’the good:

Entries for the 2012 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards open on Monday.

Winners of the LIC Dairy Farm Award this year, Geoff and Jodelle Clark, are encouraging other farmers to enter the award, which they would like to participate in again.

Mr Clark said they were surprised and thrilled to win the award and to be named finalists.

“Even if we hadn’t won anything, we would still be happy because we got so much out of being part of the competition. . .

Markets favourable for NZ sheepmeat – Collette Devlin:

New Zealand sheepmeat producers can expect high prices and favourable overseas market conditions to continue in the year ahead, a new report says.

The Rabobank global focus report, New Zealand sheepmeat – how long will the fairytale last said the substantial lift in 2011 farm-gate prices brought the country’s sheepmeat producers a level of buoyancy not seen for about a decade, and this was likely to continue into the coming year.

Report author, Rabobank analyst Rebecca Redmond, said as the “fairytale” 2010-11 season drew to a close, the future continued to look bright.

Millions being left on table – Marie Taylor:

Millions of dollars are being left on the table without a national standard for carcase trim, says Federated Farmers’ Jeanette Maxwell.

Maxwell, the chairperson of Federated Farmers’ meat and fibre section, is endorsing the new Beef + Lamb Suretrim standard designed to see farmers get full value for their product.

Beef + Lamb chairman Mike Petersen estimates that for a million lambs, farmers could be losing $1.5 million in value.

He said there was considerable merit in having a point in the chain where farmers have a standard measurement.

Silviculture not the way to get rich – Steve Wyn-Harris:

At the beginning of the year I reported in a column that I was about to harvest my first of our forestry blocks and was getting quite excited at the prospect. After all, 30 years is a long time to wait, so there’s nothing wrong with some eager anticipation.

They were both small blocks by forestry standards, a total of 2.5ha but all I had to offer the industry until my other 25ha comes on stream in another decade . . .

Keeping it local from grass to glass:-

One of New Zealand’s leading food packaging companies has teamed up with one of the country’s largest independent milk producers to deliver the ultimate ‘grass to glass’ dairy nutritional products. 

GARDIANS, (Greenfields, Agricultural Research, Dairy Innovation and Nutritional Systems) combines two Kiwi family businesses, both with a passion for keeping the value and the product integrity in New Zealand.

Sutton Group, who have built a total nutritional solutions business serving the dairy and wider food and beverage industry, have joined forces with Dunedin based dairy farmer Grant Paterson to form GARDIANS . . .

Country school gets innovative  – Carly Tawhiao:

A downturn of organic suppliers in Franklin has customers, solely through word of mouth, travelling far and wide to Drury Christian School.

The independent school is part of Drury Church, which has farmed its Sutton Rd property for 20 years.

There is also a market garden on the 40ha site with a popular shop that sells the community’s surplus produce . . .

Merino meat gains place on menu – Sally Rae:

Merino is on the menu at Pier 24. The Dunedin restaurant is featuring Silere Alpine Origin Merino, a joint-venture meat    brand between Silver Fern Farms and The New Zealand Merino Company.   

 The partnership has been described as an important component      in the aspiration to double the current $150 million merino      industry over the next five years by unlocking the value of      merino meat and co-products, such as leather and lanolin,      alongside New Zealand Merino’s initiatives to add value to fibre . . .   

No rain =no pasture: situaiton now critical in Midlands – Pasture to Profit:

The very dry conditions in the UK Midlands, is currently very serious for pasture based dairy farmers. Little or no rain has fallen in Shropshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire, Derbyshire or Nottingham for months. On farm pasture is critical & farmers are heavily feeding. Winter feed supply is critical. A look at the monthly rainfall patterns in the UK each month is very revealing . . .

Workshops promote diverse benefits of trees on farms:

A new three year programme of regionally-based workshops launching this November will help pastoral farmers and their advisors identify the economic and environmental benefits of planting trees on their properties and how best to incorporate appropriate species into their land use strategies.

The workshops break new ground with their“whole farm” approach and region-specific content. They are supported by the Sustainable Farming Fund, hosted by local branches of the NZ Farm Forestry Association and draw heavily on the expertise and practical local experience of knowledgeable farm foresters.

New Fonterra CEO aims to boost pride – Andrea Fox:

New Fonterra chief executive Theo Spiering says, like the All Blacks, his aim for the dairy giant is to bring “the pride back to New Zealand”.

It’s his third day in the job and the tall Dutchman is already talking like a Kiwi, aglow about the Rugby World Cup, “loving” this country and determined to raise Fonterra’s image in New Zealand to what he calls its envied position in the world.

He says Fonterra, New Zealand’s biggest company and the world’s leading dairy exporter, has an important role to play as an economic powerhouse and employer, but equally it must be a champion for the environment and corporate responsibility. . .

Sorting out sheep and all that jazz – Jon Morgan:

Today I want to talk about the wonderful merino sheep. But first, hep cats, reap this righteous riff.

The unlikely conjunction of jazz and merino sheep took place a couple of years ago when I was introduced to Gordie McMaster on one of the few North Island merino farms, near Whanganui.

He is a sheep classer, and comes across from New South Wales each year to look over the merino flocks of his 30 clients in the North and South Islands . . .

Hop shortage hits brewers -Jono Galuszka:

Local brewers have been forced to cut products from their ranges due to a lack of American-grown hops, a key ingredient in the popular American pale ale style.The problem stems from a hop glut in 2006, which led American farmers to rip out hop vines in favour of more profitable crops such as soy or grain.

But a bad season in the US and multiple warehouse fires in Yakima, Washington State, which destroyed more than $US7 million ($9m) worth of hops, sent demand soaring above supply. After the fires, larger breweries pre-paid for hop crops years in advance to guarantee supply, leaving none for smaller companies to buy on the open market. . .

Singapore salmon sales

 “You need a good palate to tell the difference between Akaroa salmon and its competitors,” says director Duncan Bates. It is a difference appreciated by world-class chefs.

Akaroa Salmon NZ began exporting to Singapore after the Christchurch market collapsed with the earthquake on February 22.

“Overnight we lost 23 per cent of our custom,” said Bates. . .

 Silverfern Farms purchases Frasertown sheep plant:

Silver Fern Farms has purchased the Frasertown sheep processing plant in the Northern Hawkes Bay for an undisclosed sum, effective immediately.

This single chain sheep meat plant currently processes about 3750 sheep per week and will complete Silver Fern Farms processing footprint throughout New Zealand.

Silver Fern Farms Chairman, Eoin Garden says “The acquisition will reduce livestock transport distance’s which is positive from both an animal welfare and carbon emission perspective and will allow suppliers in Wairoa and Gisborne a true local alternative.

The digital version of Countrywide’s September edition is now available here.


Timaru wool mill closing

09/10/2008

New Zealand’s last medium grade wool mill Timaru’s Chargeurs New Zealand, is closing with the loss of 30 jobs.

Its closure was seen as inevitable by industry observers, since the industry was facing competition from low-cost producers in China.

Wool is also a product the international market is demanding less of.

Tim Lonsdale from Wools of New Zealand says there are fundamental changes taking place in the country’s wool sector.

“We’re seeing a radical drop in production of wool as more and more farmland is converted to dairy. This is obviously having a flow-on effect on processors,” he said.

“The global industry for wool is certainly under pressure – we’re facing stiff competition from synthetic fibres.

“I suppose they could have anticipated the trend towards finer wool and perhaps geared their factory up to process that fibre.”

But for John Brakenridge from the New Zealand Merino Company, the outlook is very different.

“Sure there’s some uncertainty as a result of the global situation at the moment but the underlying demand for merino and finer wool is actually very very good,” he said.

“If wool’s going to survive in today’s market people have to invest in marketing and research and development and that’s what NZ’s merino and fine wool growers have done.

“The reason why merino growers and finer wool growers have been successful in my opinion is because they’ve been prepared to invest in marketing and research and development.”

Complaints about poor returns from sheep in recent years have often blamed the meat industry, but the low price for pelts and wool has also been to blame.

The merino industry has shown there is still a place for natural fibresbut courser wools have yet to find a niche which will bring bring the improved returns which are needed if they are to play their part in returning the sheep industry to profitability.


We’re Wearing Their Wool Here

18/06/2008

The New Zealand Merino Company is having to source wool from Australia to fill contracts because tenure review has reduced the number of sheep able to be run in the high country.

It is ironic that tenure review forces farmers to farm more intensively, sometimes with irrigation, and then they are criticised because of the change this has on the landscape.

If the Government wasn’t forcing farmers to relinquish so much of the tussock land requried for summer grazing there would be less need for intensification.

 


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