Rural round-up

March 14, 2016

Shearers sharing their skills – Sally Rae:

Ryan MacLean came to New Zealand last year “to learn how to shear a sheep and grow grass”.

The young Scotsman arrived in October to work for a Napier-based shearing contractor before heading south in January to work for Warren White, of Waimate Shearing.

From a sheep and beef farm, Mr MacLean (20) has always wanted to be a farmer and he also enjoyed shearing.

The aim of his New Zealand trip was to increase his tally. . . 

Why farmers pay higher interest on loans – Stephen Franks:

Specialist farm lending can be very profitable. Competition does not seem to wipe out the premium farmers tend to pay compared to other mortgage lending. It has puzzled economists from time to time.

Andrew Little’s stupid threats reported on Stuff this morning remind me why good farmers pay too much for their mortgages. I suspect he has just helped ensure more years of super-profits for farm lenders.

I’ve seen no recent study, but the farm sector interest margin was estimated to average over half a percent over many years when I was a lawyer for various farm financing institutions and a director of Wrightson and its finance company arm. . . 

Fonterra ‘needs to be good corporate citizen’ – agribusiness professor:

Waikato University professor of agribusiness Jacqueline Rowarth says farmers are concerned about the way Fonterra is treating the suppliers. Prof Rowarth says the farmers want their co-operative to be a good corporate citizen.

There have been suggestions that by cutting supply costs, Fonterra will be able to fund additional interest-free loans for farmers.

“This is ridiculous. Farmers do not want an interest-free loan,” says Prof Rowarth. “They want Fonterra to do a good job as a corporate citizen, as a marketing and processing arm, for its good product.” . . 

No Bailouts – Offsetting Behaviour:

Low dairy prices bite harder in New Zealand than elsewhere; dairy is a bigger part of our economy than it is elsewhere.

And so pressure for bailouts is potentially larger here than elsewhere. And so today’s “Things I love about New Zealand”: our Finance Minister’s response to dairy prices: . . 

Riding the milk roller coaster:

Dairy farmers are being urged to take a second look at their budgets against the background of a plummeting payout.

Fonterra now is forecasting a $3.90 payout per kg of milksolids, $1.75 below the average cost of production, and there’s fears that next season may be just as bad.

Farmers, who have already gone through their budgets to make savings, are being urged to get together with one another and farm consultants, to see what else they can trim.

Dairy farmers who move now stand more of a chance of riding out the milk roller coaster’s latest descent further into the trough, said Hayden Dillon New Zealand’s head of corporate agribusiness for accounting and advisory firm Crowe Horwath. . .

Predicted Growth Will Provide Challenges for Marlborough Wine Industry:

The Marlborough wine industry is so optimistic about the future that predictions are for an increase in producing vineyards of nearly 25 percent in the next four years.

But with that growth will come challenges, according to a Wine Marlborough, New Zealand Winegrowers, and Marlborough District Council labour market survey.

Undertaken last year, the survey shows that the industry is set to grow by 6,444 hectares by 2019/2020. Currently Marlborough has a total production area of 23,619 hectares, the predicted growth will take those productive hectares up to 29,270 – a 24 percent increase. . . 

Fourth Grand Finalist Confirmed in FMG Young Farmer of the Year:

Tony Dowman is the fourth Grand Finalist to be named in the 2016 FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

Tony is a 30 year old Farm Business Manager who took first place at the East Coast Regional Final in Dannevirke on 12 March.

Mr Dowman went home with a prize pack worth over $10,000 including cash, scholarships and products and services from FMG, Massey University, Ravensdown, Meridian Energy, AGMARDT, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, STIHL and Vodafone. Tony also won the Massey University Agri-growth Challenge, Silver Fern Farms Agri-sports Challenge and the Ravensdown Agri-Skills Challenge.

The last time Tony competed in the Contest was in 2012. . . 


Rural round-up

January 15, 2015

Strong demand improves meat export returns:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand compiles lamb, mutton and beef export statistics for the country. The following summarises activity during the first quarter of the 2014-15 meat export season (1 October 2014 to 31 December 2014).

Summary

A more favourable exchange rate and strong demand – particularly for beef – saw average meat export returns improve in the first quarter of the 2014-15 season. . .

Parched land alarms farmers – David Loughrey:

 The reality of Otago’s continuing dry weather is beginning to bite hard and an end to irrigation for some farmers is taking a financial toll.

Andrew and Lynnore Templeton have been a full week in a brown, baking Middlemarch with no water available from a Taieri River running below its minimum flow.

Federated Farmers said farmers were becoming alarmed at how fast the land was drying out, while the Otago Regional Council said it was continuing meetings with farmers to try to deal with the situation. . .

Dry soil conditions put DairyNZ on alert to boost support:

Soils are drying out fast around the country, but above the ground it’s a different story, with grass and feed supplies looking good in many parts of the country, says industry body DairyNZ.

General manager of extension, Craig McBeth, says DairyNZ is closely monitoring the soil moisture and feed levels in all regions in case it needs to quickly ramp up support for farmers having a dry summer coming on top of a low seasonal milk price.

“It is already severely dry in parts of Canterbury and North Otago and farmers there are facing serious measures with some irrigation restrictions now in place. The south of the Wairarapa is also very dry. The soil moisture data is also showing us that the rest of the country is on the brink of heading into dryer than average soil moisture conditions. We need to see some rain soon to reduce the risk of a normal dry summer turning into something more serious,” he says. . .

 The Search is on for the Nation’s Top Steak:

Beef farmers across the country are putting their best entries forward for the thirteenth annual Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin Competition.

The highly anticipated competition, sponsored by Zoetis, seeks to find New Zealand’s most tender and tasty steak, an award taken seriously by those in the industry.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO, Dr Scott Champion, says the competition is a great platform to showcase the New Zealand beef industry and illustrates the great care farmers take in producing the best quality beef.

“It’s also a competition keenly contested by beef farmers who strive to take the coveted Steak of Origin title,” says Champion. . . .

New test for serious algal toxin threat saves time and money for NZ shellfish farmers – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – The most serious algal toxin threat to New Zealand shellfish can now be detected faster and at around a quarter of the previous cost through a new test method likely to be introduced this year.

The test for paralytic shellfish toxin (PST), the most serious of shellfish poisoning syndromes caused by harmful algae, has been developed by New Zealand’s Cawthron Institute in collaboration with the UK’s Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science.

Cawthron researchers developed the world’s first instrumental test method for marine toxins in seafood using marine biotoxins it sells for more than $100,000 per teaspoonful to laboratories worldwide after some people fell sick from eating shellfish affected by algal blooms in the 1990s. . .

Potato shortage has upside in Southland – Phil McCarthy:

They’re eating our potatoes in the North Island, and in Taiwan too.

A nationwide potato shortage is leaving some chip-lovers pining for their favourite flavours, with some Southland supermarkets posting notices in chip aisles apologising for supply shortages. However, one Southland company is making up for a shortage of fresh potatoes in the central North Island – and tip-toeing into exporting fresh potatoes to Asia. 

Pyper’s Produce director Brent Lamb said it was not very often the Branxholme-based growers sold potatoes into the North Island but they had since late November because poor growing conditions there had limited the supply of fresh potatoes. . .

Runs on board for deer initiative:

Advance Parties, a Deer Industry NZ initiative designed to help farmers increase the profitability of their farm businesses, is getting runs on the board. At the end of the first year of a three-year trial co-funded by the Sustainable Farming Fund, there are eight Advance Parties underway, involving 89 farms.

Project manager Amy Wills says Advance Party members are committed to personal and farm business development, sharing their data, methods, plans, results, problems and successes. It’s very different to a farm discussion group.

Because members lay all their cards on the table, Advance Party meetings are limited to the participating farmers, their families and staff, plus a facilitator. Meetings are not open to the public or the media. . .

 

New Zealand Winegrowers launches Mandarin-language website

New Zealand Winegrowers has launched a Mandarin-language website to support ongoing marketing activities in China.

The site, www.nz-wine.cn, features information about New Zealand’s wine-growing regions and key grape varietals with content mirroring the flagship English-language site www.nzwine.com. In addition it includes details of upcoming events in Mainland China, links to social media platforms Weibo and WeChat, and offers insight to the New Zealand wine industry’s widespread commitment to sustainability. . .

 


Rural round-up

January 5, 2015

Is raw milk safe? Some pasteurisation facts. Why I won’t well Raw milk & what to look for in a raw milk supplier – Milking on the Moove:

Tragically a child in Australia has died as a result of drinking contaminated raw milk.

So the raw milk vs pasteurised milk debate begins again. The comments on this article from June this year show the diverse opinions.

I grew up drinking raw milk from the vat. We looked long and hard at selling raw milk. We looked at the issues and decided that raw milk was not for us. I’ll explain why.

Is raw milk safe or not? 

The quick answer is, it can be safe, but it can turn bad very quickly. . .

Silver Fern Farms profit unsatisfactory, but promises more to come – Fiona Rotherham:

Silver Fern Farms, New Zealand’s biggest meat processor and marketer, has returned to profit after two years of losses but admits it still needs to deliver more.

Net profit after tax was $500,000 in the year ended Sept. 30, a significant turnaround from the $28.6 million after tax loss the previous year while pre-tax profit was $1.8 million compared to a loss of $36.5 million in 2013, the Dunedin-based cooperative said in a statement.

Over the same period the company paid down $99 million in debt as part of a plan to reduce the company’s debt servicing costs. Total income was $2.32 billion, up from $2 billion the previous year while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation was $68.1 million, a nearly $46 million improvement on the 2013 financial year. . .

Silver Fern Farms release audited result just before Christmas – Allan Barber:

The delayed and much anticipated final result for Silver Fern Farms’ 2014 year has made it into the public arena in time for Christmas. Although it has squeaked in just above breakeven for the year at $1.8 million pre-tax and $0.5 million after tax, this is worse than the original guidance of $5-7 million announced at the end of October.

The difference is accounted for by a $3.3 million provision following a ruling by the Employment Relations Authority in relation to a technical redundancy arising from the closure of the Silverstream plant in 2013. From recollection SFF laid off staff on the basis of a seasonal shutdown, although at the time the company announced that it was unlikely to reopen unless stock numbers increased significantly.

The ERA’s ruling suggests this automatically implies a technical redundancy situation, whereas SFF believes not. The company has sensibly chosen (requested by the auditors?) to make the provision “while we consider our next steps over the coming month” according to chairman Rob Hewett. The time taken to reach this decision indicates the auditors must have refused to sign the accounts without this provision. . .

Year of contrasts for rural New Zealand:

It has been a year of contrasts for rural New Zealand, weather-wise and in other ways.

In Northland, for instance, while some farmers were emerging from drought, others were battling floods.

And dairy farmers saw record milk payments for the past season plunge from above eight dollars a kilo to below five dollars in a few short months.

Pondering on that is Waikato University’s professor of agribusiness, Jacqueline Rowarth.

“Hooray, hooray for good prices and then far more of a crash than actually was predicted by any of the analysts, though the banking ones were saying ‘watch out, we don’t think it’s going to be as good as you’re saying’, but of course they’re still saying that and there are some fairly dire predictions by the end of the year. . .

Rabobank Beef Quarterly Q4: Supplies remain tight amid robust consumer demand:

Rabobank’s Beef Quarterly Q4 reports that tight global cattle and beef supplies continued in Q4 2014, although prices tempered from their Q3 highs. The US remains the major global driver, with import demand affecting prices and volumes for other countries. A big question heading into 2015 with such a finely balanced market is—if Australian export rates decrease and herds in Mexico and Canada continue to be run down by the US—whether a new norm has been reached for prices or whether they still have room to rise.

“The US continues to be the driver in the global beef market with constrained supply and strong demand keeping prices high. A recent strengthening in the US economy and dollar will support continued imports to the US however we are watching a drop in the oil price and depreciation of the Russian Ruble given Russia’s status as the world’s largest beef importer”, explains Rabobank analyst Angus Gidley-Baird.  . .

Wine industry shows continued increasing profitability:

2014 financial benchmarking survey supports industry-wide optimism

The turnaround in the New Zealand wine industry has continued in 2014 on the back of improved profitability across wineries of all sizes, according to the ninth annual financial benchmarking survey released today by Deloitte and New Zealand Winegrowers.

Vintage 2014 tracks the financial results of wineries accounting for over 40% of the industry’s export sales revenue for the 2014 financial year. Survey respondents have been categorised into bands according to revenue to assist comparison within the industry.

Deloitte partner Peter Felstead says that for the first time since 2007, every category showed profitability before tax, ranging from 3.3% to 17.6%. . . .

New technology helps in fight against pests – Adrien Taylor:

A New Zealand inventor hopes to add drones to the fight against pests.

He won $25,000 to help turn his dream into reality and a trial of his Trap Minder system is taking place on Great Barrier Island this summer.

Scott Sambell and his dog Millie are finding that keeping Glenfern Sanctuary pest-free can be hard work.

The 240 hectare peninsula is cordoned off by a pest-proof fence to protect native wildlife, but that doesn’t stop a handful of unwanted predators making their way in every year. . .


Rural round-up

November 17, 2014

Primary exports tipped to rise:

The Ministry for Primary Industries is forecasting an eight percent lift in primary export earnings in the next four years.

In its briefing for incoming ministers, MPI is projecting export values from agriculture and horticulture, fisheries and forestry to grow to $40.7 billion by 2018.

However, export earnings will have to grow at an average rate of more than five percent a year if they are to reach the government target of doubling the value of primary exports by 2025.

Despite China putting the brakes on milk powder imports, which has contributed to the current slide in dairy prices, the ministry is predicting dairy export revenue to lift from just over $18 billion to $18.4 in 2018, on the back of higher production. . .

More to farming than gumboots – Sally Rae:

A Teacher’s Day Out was held in Otago last week, organised by New Zealand Young Farmers’ Get Ahead programme.

It highlighted to secondary school teachers the vast range of opportunities the primary sector affords school-leavers. Agribusiness reporter Sally Rae went along on the bus trip.

Party lines and horses.

That’s what East Otago farmer Jim Lawson recalls during his early years on the sheep and beef farm, as he holds his smartphone in the sheep yards of the family property, Moana, while son Rob demonstrates weighing hoggets through an auto-drafter.

The 2336ha property, running 10,000 stock units, has been owned and operated by the Lawson family since 1950. . .

‘Appaws’ for animal welfare research contribution:

A Massey University scientist has been honoured for his work in refining the ways animals are used in scientific research, testing and teaching.

Professor David Mellor was presented with this year’s National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC) Three Rs Award.

NAEAC deputy chair Dr Peter Larsen said the award covered all areas of animal welfare research.

“The concept of the Three Rs, from which the award takes its name, is to replace and reduce the number of animals used in research, testing and teaching, and refine experimental techniques to minimise pain or distress.  . .

Farm sector singled out by WorkSafe:

The agricultural sector is being targeted by WorkSafe New Zealand over its high accident rates.

In its briefing to its new Minister Michael Woodhouse, WorkSafe said agriculture was one of the worst industries in terms of health and safety.

The report said in 2013, there were 20 deaths from workplace accidents in agriculture – more than the forestry, construction, and manufacturing sectors combined.

Half of those deaths were from quad-bike or tractor accidents.

WorkSafe said there was a poor understanding of risk in the industry and it will be launching a targeted initiative next year to address the issues. . .

Red meat sector welcomes conclusion of Korea FTA

The recently-concluded free trade agreement (FTA) with Korea will provide a major boost for New Zealand’s red meat exports there, according to the chairmen of Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

Earlier today, Prime Minister John Key and Korean President Park Geun-hye announced that the FTA negotiation had been concluded.

“This deal is great news for sheep and beef farmers and meat exporters,” said Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman James Parsons. . .

Business Forum welcomes NZ Korea FTA:

The New Zealand International Business Forum (NZIBF) welcomes the much anticipated conclusion of the New Zealand Korea Free Trade Agreement.

“This negotiation has been a marathon and we are delighted Trade Minister Groser and his officials have got it over the line” said NZIBF Chairman Sir Graeme Harrison.

Korea is a significant trading partner for New Zealand and a number of key export sectors including dairy, meat and kiwifruit stood to be severely disadvantaged if New Zealand could not achieve a more level playing field with its key competitors in the Korean market notably Australia, Canada, the European Union and the United States all of whom have already concluded FTAs. . .

Zespri welcomes Free Trade Agreement with South Korea:

Zespri welcomes the announcement of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) deal with South Korea and the significant outcome that has been achieved for the kiwifruit industry.

Over the past year, Zespri growers have paid approximately $20 million in tariffs into this important market.

“It is hugely satisfying that the industry can focus on building sales in the South Korean market, which will benefit both New Zealand and South Korean growers, as well as South Korean consumers,” says Zespri Chief Executive, Lain Jager. . .

Wine Industry Welcomes South Korea Trade Deal:

New Zealand Winegrowers has warmly welcomed the announcement of the conclusion of the free trade agreement between New Zealand and the Republic of Korea.

Commenting on the news, NZ Winegrowers CEO Philip Gregan said ‘The negotiators have achieved a great outcome for the wine industry. Tariff free access into South Korea at the time the agreement comes into force represents a significant boost to our export ambitions in one of the key Asian markets.’ . .

 

 

Yealands named World Champion at the International Green Apple Environment Awards:

Yealands Family Wines has claimed the overall World Champion title at the International Green Apple Environment Awards held in London last night. The prestigious ceremony was held at the House of Commons, in the Palace of Westminster and celebrates environmental best practice.

Yealands Family Wines competed against more than 500 global nominations from a range of industries, taking home the Australasia Gold Award, as well as the supreme “World Champion 2014” title.

Now in their 20th year, the Green Apple Awards have become established as the UK’s major recognition for environmental endeavour among companies, councils, communities and countries. The awards are organised by The Green Organisation, an independent, non-political, non-activist, non-profit environment group dedicated to recognising, rewarding and promoting environmental best practice around the world. . . .


Rural round-up

August 29, 2014

Synlait Milk receives MPI approval:

Synlait Milk has received approval of its Risk Management Programme from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for its dry blending and consumer packaging plant.

The approval enables Synlait Milk to now pack and export retail-ready product from its manufacturing site, having met the New Zealand food safety requirements of the Animal Products Act 1999.

The only exception is for exports of finished infant formula to China. Documentation required to support Synlait Milk’s application for registration as an exporter of finished infant formula to China was sent to the Chinese regulatory body today by MPI. . . .

Beef + Lamb NZ expenditure on overseas promotion under review – Allan Barber:

Next year sheep and beef farmers will have their five yearly referendum under the Commodity Levies Act when they get to vote on whether they wish to continue funding Beef + Lamb New Zealand as their industry good body.

It was a fairly close run thing last time and actually resulted in the motion to continue with wool promotion being defeated, although this is now back on the agenda. However there is obviously some nervousness about the likely outcome of the next referendum, although this may be unfounded if farmer returns continue to be positive

One element of B+LNZ’s activity which tends to provoke debate among farmers is the use of funds for overseas promotion. Within the last 20 years, and especially more recently, there has been an agreement within the meat industry that promotion should be jointly funded by MIA members and B+LNZ. . .

Westland farmers braced for hard season:

Farmer-shareholders of the dairy cooperative, Westland Milk Products, will be watching spending very closely as the country’s number two dairy cooperative has cut 60 cents per kilogram of Milksolids (kg/MS) to a range of $5.40 – $5.80 kg/MS before retentions.

“Given Fonterra’s hold on its benchmark payout forecast, this isn’t exactly the best news to go into spring with,” says Renee Rooney, Federated Farmers West Coast Dairy Chairperson.

“The fact the world produced seven billion litres of milk for export in the first half of 2014 isn’t a secret and hasn’t happened overnight, so this further revision is disappointing. . . .

TNZ and NZ Winegrowers sign MOU:

Tourism New Zealand and New Zealand Winegrowers have today announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly promote New Zealand as a visitor destination and premium wine producer internationally.

The two-year MOU will see the organisations formalise their activity to enhance both brands, ultimately driving more visitors to New Zealand and increasing the sales of New Zealand wine in key markets.

The MOU was jointly signed by Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler and Phillip Gregan Chief Executive Officer for New Zealand Winegrowers, at the wine organisation’s annual conference in Blenheim.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says that the MOU will see both parties work together to leverage and enhance each other’s international profiles. . .

 

Possum-fur yarn makes double debut at NZ Fashion Week

Wellington yarn maker, Woolyarns New Zealand were rapt to find out this week two designers, Zambesi and Maree MacLean, are featuring their luxury possum fur product, Perino in collections for New Zealand Fashion Week 2014.

Up until now the luxury yarn has been used exclusively in the tourist market. Woolyarns NZ Marketing manager Jimad Khan says the move into high fashion is an exciting development for the company.

Both Zambesi and Maree MacLean are using the top-end yarn as features in their New Zealand Fashion Week collections.

“Zambesi is very keen to source local, sustainable product and on being approached by Woolyarns New Zealand got excited by the idea of possum yarn,” says Zambesi designer Dayne Johnston. . . .

Spark brings high speed mobile broadband to rural New Zealand:

Spark New Zealand announced today that it has begun its rollout of 4G services on the recently acquired 700MHz spectrum in the Waikato, enabling 12 sites with 4G in the region.

Following a successful trial earlier this year Spark, in conjunction with Huawei Technologies has now livened up sites with 4G in Te Aroha, central Hamilton, Morrinsville, Mystery Creek and other surrounding areas in the Waikato – allowing customers to access high speed mobile broadband over the 700 MHz spectrum.

Spark Networks Chief Operating Officer, David Havercroft, said: “Today marks the start of an accelerated rollout of 4G services to regional New Zealand. Over the next few months we’ll continue to widen our 4G footprint in the Waikato region, including the Coromandel, and will bring this technology to existing sites by February 2015. . .

Finally, a cloud based solution even the number crunchers can get excited about:

Xerocon Australia 2014 proved to be the perfect launch pad for iAgri, the agri-add on partner for Xero’s farm accountancy solution.

With more than 1,300 delegates cramming into the Dome in Sydney to hear the latest news from Xero and check out the latest add-ons and services from 82 exhibitors, the Canterbury based farm software company was one of the real winners.

iAgri CEO John Lay says there was a huge degree of interest in the product. “Farming is as important in Australia as it is in New Zealand so we fielded a lot of enquiry. Plainly, a lot of the accountants and bankers, many of whom had travelled from all over Australia specifically to view the iAgri add-on, have been waiting for a comprehensive solution like this to take to their clients and they were super excited – about as excited as an accountant can get anyway.”  . . .

 


Rural round-up

August 25, 2014

Key skill is the attitude – Bryan Gibson:

I had the chance last week to spend an afternoon at the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre in Masterton during a visit by Prime Minister John Key.

He spent more than an hour talking to staff and students and saw them at work milking, measuring pasture, washing down quad bikes and fencing. . .

Stint as ocean-going shepherd an eye-opener – Sally Rae:

When Fred Ellis boarded a ship at Port Chalmers in 1957 in charge of a consignment of stud sheep bound for Brazil, he was ”dead scared”.

His only previous sea experience was crossing Cook Strait on the Wellington-Lyttelton ferry in his school holidays.

Now in his 80s and retired in Inglewood, Taranaki, Mr Ellis contacted the Otago Daily Times after watching a recent Country Calendar episode which featured Central Otago.

It reminded him of his own exploits 57 years ago and he wondered where the sheep came from and how many subsequent exports of sheep to South America there had been. . . .

They don’t come here for fun – Alan Williams:

New Zealanders need to respect the reasons for migrant workers coming to this country to work, Waimate resource centre manager Steve Napper says.

Most of those he speaks to haven’t come just for the Kiwi way of life.

“They come from areas of the world with much greater deprivation than we experience and so come to earn a decent wage so they can support their families back home,” he said.

“That they come here to support their families instead of living large is to be admired.” . . .

Couple thrilled with move north – Sally Rae:

Dairying is likely be a regular topic of discussion in the Duffy household.

Husband and wife Mark and Sue Duffy work for artificial breeding company CRV Ambreed, which has a core business of dairy semen production and sales.

Mr Duffy is sales and services manager for the South Island, managing about 20 full-time staff, while Mrs Duffy is the regional sales and services manager, covering the area from Rakaia to Invercargill. . .

Alpaca breeders forming owners’ group – Sally Rae:

Interested in alpacas?

Southern alpaca breeders Brenda and Stewart McLean, of Windermere Alpacas, and Gordon Baird, of Waiwera Alpacas, have formed an Otago-Southland alpaca owners’ group.

The aim of the new group was to share information and help new and interested alpaca owners, following an increasing number of inquiries to breeders about basic alpaca care, from health and welfare through to feeding and shearing.

Mr Baird, from Waiwera South, in South Otago, first became interested in alpacas in the mid-1990s. . .

Winegrowers see growth through value:

Future wine industry growth will largely come from increased value, rather than from planting more vineyards, New Zealand Winegrowers chair Steve Green says.

The industry exports more than $1 billion worth of product and has set a target of nearly doubling that within two years.

It has confirmed a record grape harvest this year of 445,000 tonnes, up about 60,000 tonnes on last year. . .


Rural round-up

August 22, 2014

NZ meat industry tie-up stumbled on differing strategies – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand meat companies abandoned efforts to consolidate and reduce surplus capacity last year because they lacked an agreed export strategy and farmers wouldn’t commit stock to firms that closed plants, industry sources say.

The country’s four biggest meat processors – farmer owned cooperatives Silver Fern Farms and Alliance Group, accounting for about half the industry, the Talley’s Group family-owned Affco and ANZCO Foods, with a majority ownership held by a Japanese food company – ended talks after failing to reach agreement last year.

A proposal for competitors to share the cost of closing plants was rejected, as was a plan for each company to retain its stock volumes for a period of up to five years following a closure, so they weren’t disadvantaged, according to people involved in the talks, who asked not to be named. . .

No more rules please, say farmers – Diane Bishop:

Education, not regulation, is the key to good environmental outcomes, Southland farmers say.

They want Environment Southland to establish best-practice guidelines around hill and high country development instead of enforcing rules on them.

“I don’t like rules,” Lumsden farmer Willie Menlove said.

“I’ve farmed for more than 20 years without these sorts of rules and I’d prefer education to be the end goal.”

He isn’t alone. . .

GM artificial food may be ‘staple diet’ – Matt Stewart:

From test-tube meat to 3-D printed pizza, the future of food is a brave new world where science is racing to keep up with a resource that grows ever more expensive and scarce.

As part of Wellington on a Plate, Victoria University tourism management honours students are imagining various scenarios around the future of food festivals and, ultimately, the way we will consume and make food as the planet struggles to feed 10 billion mouths by 2050.

“By 2050 the burger competition at Wellington on a Plate could consist of restaurants who are growing their own hamburgers,” student supervisor and futurist Ian Yeoman said. . .

Quality of river raises passions – Gerard Hutching:

Outside the mercury may be falling, but indoors the atmosphere heats up as a trio of farmers passionately debate the future of dairying in the Tararua district.

It’s a hot topic, with the Horizons Regional Council laying down the gauntlet to land users to clean up their act with its One Plan and the Environment Court setting limits on the amount of nitrogen loss into rivers.

Many found the court’s ruling hard to swallow.

“It would have been catastrophic. Our farms were going to rot from the inside out. The regional council had not done its work properly,” says Dannevirke dairy farmer Will Findlay. . .

 John Deere and the downside of an abundant harvest:

This year hasn’t been kind to the US agricultural sector.

Just ask John Deere, the world’s largest manufacturer of farming machinery. The company reported a 15 per cent plunge in profit for its fiscal third quarter compared with the previous quarter on Wednesday. After years of sustained growth, the company has now seen its sales fall in each of the first three fiscal quarters of 2014 and each time significantly.

Tractor sales, which are often used as a barometer of agricultural sector health, have been especially weak in the US. Deere’s equipment sales fell by 6 per cent in the third quarter, and are expected to tumble by another 8 per cent in the fourth quarter. . . .

Strong sales signal confidence in the New Zealand wine industry:

Solid export value growth and continued demand for New Zealand wine is the summary of the year according to the June year end 2014 Annual Report of New Zealand Winegrowers.

“Wineries took full advantage of the glorious 2013 vintage to bounce back from the supply constraints of 2012. The end result was a 10% increase in both export volume and value as overseas sales earned a record $1.33 billion” said Steve Green, Chair of New Zealand Winegrowers. The highly successful sales year left stocks needing replenishment and even greater demand forecast. 445,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested in 2014.

All grape growing regions witnessed a two-speed growing season which commenced early but slowed in the lead-up to vintage with a run of fine but cool weather in most regions allowing for good flavour development. . .

Our Seafood the Best in the World:

The Prime Minister John Key called New Zealand’s seafood ‘the best in the world’ in opening the Seafood Industry Conference in Wellington.

John Key said he’s travelled all over the world and eaten seafood in all sorts of places, but ‘without doubt New Zealand produces the best and I’ll challenge anyone to show me better.”

“I’ve hosted Hilary Clinton, to Will and Kate, and they’ve all been impressed by our seafood,” he told delegates. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

June 11, 2014

Sector in good heart – judge – Sally Rae:

After travelling 3800km in nine days, visiting 27 farms throughout New Zealand, Preston Hope is heartened by the state of the sheep industry.

Mr Hope, who farms with his wife, Tori, at Deep Stream, between Middlemarch and Outram, was one of three judges for the final round of the New Zealand ewe hogget competition.

The couple won the competition in 2012 and it was an honour to be asked to officiate, he said. . . .

2014 New Zealand wine vintage to support export growth:

The 2014 New Zealand grape harvest has been completed with high quality grapes picked across the country.

“All grape growing regions experienced very favourable growing conditions through the summer and into the early autumn. 2014 is set to be another memorable, high quality vintage which will provide a further boost to growing wine exports” said New Zealand Winegrowers Chief Executive Officer Philip Gregan.

According to the 2014 Vintage Survey, 445,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested. The 2014 crop is up 29% on the harvest last year and will position the industry well for the continuing consumer demand for New Zealand wine. Virtually every region has achieved production growth and for the first time Nelson, Waipara and Central Otago have exceeded 10,000 tonnes. . . .

Skilled and off-farm jobs the growth areas for agriculture – Pattrick Smellie:

(BusinessDesk) – Support services will be the biggest source of job growth for an increasingly sophisticated agricultural sector, a report on the future workforce needs of primary industries concludes.

Projections for the Ministry of Primary Industries, published today, forecasts that some 140,000 primary sector support services jobs will be required by 2025, compared with around 105,000 now, making it the fastest area of job growth and the largest source of employment in the primary sector, which covers sheep, beef, dairy and other animal farming, horticulture, fishing, and forestry.

Sheep and beef farming shows the largest fall in projected workforce size will be in the sheep and beef sectors, where jobs are expected to shrink to around 70,000 by 2025, from around 95,000 in 2002. The booming dairy sector shows hardly any job growth in the next decade, settling at around 50,000. . . .

Accommodation shortage of Fieldays – Susie Nordqvist:

It might be the biggest event of its type in the Southern Hemisphere, but Fieldays management says the event’s future growth could be threatened by an accommodation shortage in Hamilton.

So canny locals are cashing in and renting out their homes.

“I’m renting out my house to exhibitors who are exhibiting over the week of Fieldays, and I’m going as far away from here as I possibly can,” says homeowner Sam Ward. . .

Forest owners want people to speak up

The sponsors of the Independent Forestry Safety Review welcome the public consultation document issued by the review panel on Friday.

”It poses a series of questions which will provide a useful structure for the public consultation meetings that begin on 12 June. We strongly encourage forest owners, contractors, workers and anyone else with an interest in improving the safety of people working in forestry to go to one of the meetings, or to make a private submission,” says Forest Owners Association (FOA) president Paul Nicholls. . . .

New Zealand Avocados Achieve Record Sales For 2013-14 Season:

New Zealand’s avocado industry today announced it has more than doubled its sales from last season to $136m, setting new records in both export and New Zealand markets.

This stunning return eclipses the previous sales record of $84.1m set in 2009-10 and is far in excess of the $60.4m worth of avocados sold last year.

Jen Scoular, Chief Executive of NZ Avocado, says this season’s success is due to a number of reasons including initiatives which are transforming the industry into a more cohesive and competitive sector. . . .

B+LNZ Sheep Industry Awards 2014:

Help us recognise the best of the best in the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards. Nominations close 30 June.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand is excited to be hosting our annual showcase for sheep farming excellence in Napier this year, the first North Island venue for the event. . .

Search for top NZ rural consultants gets closer

Nominations for the annual Consultant of the Year Awards have closed and Farmax is one step closer to announcing this year’s top New Zealand dairy, sheep and beef, and emerging rural professionals.

Farmax general manager, Gavin McEwen, said the awards were developed last year to recognise the expertise and value agricultural consultants and rural professionals provide to the New Zealand pastoral farming industry, which often goes unnoticed.

“On a regular basis we see first-hand the invaluable service that rural professionals provide farmer clients with. The feedback we receive from farmers about their consultants is really uplifting. It shows just how much of a difference consultants can make to their clients’ businesses,” Mr McEwen said. . . .


Rural round-up

May 21, 2014

Finding alternatives to dairy – Keith Woodford:

New Zealand dairy production has increased by 80% since Year 2000. This has come almost equally from both more dairy hectares and more production per hectare. However, the limits to pastoral dairying in New Zealand have largely been reached. Where do we go from here?

First, there is a need to recognise the two reasons why pastoral dairying has largely reached its limits.

The most important reason is that society is no longer willing to accept the effects of cow urine leaching from pastures into waterways and aquifers. Huge progress has been made in fencing off livestock from waterways, and in tree planting alongside the streams, but that does not solve the problem of the urine patch. This 2013/14 year is therefore the last year of large-scale conversion of sheep and beef farms to pastoral dairying. New environmental regulations have effectively closed that door. . . .

Nominations & entries open for South Island Farmer of the Year:

Nominations and entries are open for the 2014 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition, and organisers are hoping for another record year.

“Last year we had entries from throughout the South Island, the quality of which were such that we were obliged to select six finalists instead of the usual four,” says Lincoln University Foundation Chair Ben Todhunter. “This, plus the very successful winner’s field day at Yealands Wine Estate, generated a lot of interest.

Todhunter says that one of the attractions of the competition is that size really doesn’t matter and is not one of the criteria for judging.

“We’re looking for leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship, which can be found equally in a small family-owned farm business as they can within a large commercial agricultural entity. . . .

Central South too wet to drill:

CROPPING FARMERS in Canterbury and North Otago face a soggy battle to get winter cereals sown after another belt of rain swept the region this week.

Paddocks had only just become passable after an unusually wet April and now some fear they will not get back on again until spring. Where crops have been sown agronomists say slugs are having a field day.

“Slug pellet use has gone through the roof,” Mid Canterbury agronomist Roger Lasham told Rural News.
“Where people have gone on with pellets before any damage has been done it’s not too bad but if they’re late they’ll never get those plants back.”  . . .

Fresh look for Fieldays partnership:

A mutual interest in contributing to – and growing – New Zealand’s agricultural sector is behind an enduring strategic partnership between two iconic regional organisations.

The University of Waikato is into its eighth year as a strategic partner of the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek and Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says it is an important partnership for both organisations.

“The University has a shared interest with Fieldays in the agricultural sector, from our research which we will be showcasing on our stand, to our students who undertake internships with many agricultural organisations and our graduates who are employed in the agricultural sector,” he says.

The University and the New Zealand National Fieldays Society signed their latest strategic partnership in March and Fieldays Chief Executive Jon Calder says the relationship has developed well over the years “to the point where we now have a true partnership”. . .

Deal to develop wine tourism:

New Zealand Winegrowers and Air New Zealand have signed a deal which will see them jointly promote the country as a destination for wine tourists.

They believe that more than a million visitors have toured the country’s vineyards and wineries over the last five years and the sector has tremendous opportunity for future growth.

Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said the North American and Asian markets will be targetted in the promotion. . .

Giesen single vineyard first release wins international recognition:

Giesen Wines has won international plaudits with its first release of premium single vineyard wines from Marlborough.

Three different single vineyard selections have won gold at two prestigious UK competitions. The Brookby Rd Pinor Noir 2012 and Clayvin Pinot Noir 2012 were awarded gold in the coveted Decanter competition while Giesen The Fuder Clayvin Chardonnay 2012 captured gold at the International Wine Challenge (IWC).

Theo Giesen, of Giesen Wines, says this is the first time its wines have been awarded gold at either of the UK competitions. . . .


Good news but

May 2, 2014

New Zealand wine exports have hit a new high:

New Zealand wine export earnings have hit a new high, bubbling over the $1.3 billion mark for the first time.

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive officer Philip Gregan, said it’s due to a combination of increased supply from the 2013 vintage and the continuing strong demand in overseas markets.

“So bring the two things together and we’ve got 9 percent growth in value over the past year.” . . .

That’s the good news.

But there’s another side to the story – there’s still a lot of wine to be sold.

We toured a wine bottling plant last month and saw pallets of boxes full of clean-skin wine bottles which didn’t have a market.

This wasn’t wine maturing, it was wine unsold from last season’s bottling.

New Zealand’s wine production has expanded but it hasn’t all found a market and the plant was already getting this season’s wine in.

Drink up – moderately and sensibly – the country’s wine industry needs us to.


Rural round-up

November 13, 2013

New Zealand’s Primary sector must not tolerate its weakest links

•        Industry must be prepared to remove those not prepared to meet baseline standards
•        Regulation needs to be balanced to avoid overburdening a strategic sector of the New Zealand economy

The global reputation of New Zealand’s primary sector lives or dies on every participant in the industry doing the right thing each and every day.  In a connected world it only takes one person to fail in fulfilling their duty to the environment, their animals or the community for significant pressure to come to bear on the whole sector’s license to operate.

The message that the industry can no longer tolerate weak links is a central theme in the latest volume of the KPMG Agribusiness Agenda 2013 which is released today. The fourth volume of the Agenda, titled “Balancing the needs of the environment, communities and businesses” discusses the issues associated with building a world class, sustainable primary sector in New Zealand. . .

Rollover protection on quads a lifesaver – researcher:

Associate Professor Charley Lamb, of Lincoln University’s Telford Division, has backed Whangarei coroner Brandt Shortland’s recommendation for more research to be done in New Zealand into the protection devices.

Mr Shortland’s recommendation follows the release this week of his findings into five quad-bike related deaths in which he says the vehicles are a farmer’s best friend, and also their worst enemy.

His recommendations include the compulsory wearing of helmets, more research on roll-bars and more training for riders.

On average, five people each year are killed in quad-bike accidents on farms and a further 850 are injured. . . .

Shock tactics and scars suggested for quad bike safety ads – Abby Brown:

Tweeting farmers say there needs to be an educational advertising campaign that uses shock tactics and even scars to warn of the hazards of using alcohol or drugs before using a quad bike.

Some farmers also said there needs to be more research on roll-over protection, speed limits need to be considered and most supported the call for the use of helmets.

Colin Grainger-Allen (@NZcows) tweeted that authorities like ACC need to use shock tactics to run educational advertising campaigns about the hazards of using quad bikes after drinking or drug use like they do with the anti-drink driving campaign. . .

Van der Heyden shares ideas with MIE – Alan Williams:

Former Fonterra chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden is playing down his role with red-meat lobby group Meat Industry Excellence (MIE).

“I’m sharing my ideas and experience from what I’ve learned in my time in the dairy industry with a large number of farmers and MIE is part of that,” van der Heyden said.

“Over the past two or three years many folk in the red-meat sectors have contacted me.”

It is understood van der Heyden has spoken at “invitation-only” MIE meetings with farmers over the past few months, ahead of director elections at the two biggest meat industry co-operatives, Silver Fern Farms and Alliance Group, at their annual meetings in December. . .

Leadership Reaffirmed for Grape and Wine Industry

New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country’s 1,500 grape growers and winemakers, has announced the re-election of Steve Green as Chair and John Clarke as Deputy Chair for a second year.

Mr Green is proprietor of Carrick, a boutique Central Otago winery; he has been involved in the Central Otago grape and wine industry since 1994, has previously served as Chair of Central Otago Winegrowers and has been on the New Zealand Winegrowers Board since 2005.

Mr Clarke is a Gisborne grapegrower with over 30 years’ experience in the grape and wine industry. Mr Clarke, who is a former Gisborne Mayor, has previously served for ten years as the Chair of Gisborne Winegrowers and joined the New Zealand Winegrowers Board in 2006. . .

Wine & Tourism – a Winning Combination:

 2013 is turning out to be an outstanding year for Hawke’s Bay winery Sileni Estates. Off the back of recent local and international award success for their wines, Sileni Estates have recently been awarded the coveted Hawke’s Bay Cellar Door of the Year at the Hawke’s Bay A&P Wine Awards.

Cellar Door of the Year recipients in 2010 and 2012, Sileni Estates are surprised and delighted to receive the award again in 2013. Owner and CEO Graeme Avery comments, “We are thrilled that the Sileni Cellar Store has been awarded Cellar Door of the Year in three of the past four years. It is a credit to our dedicated and hardworking Cellar Store Team – Anne Boustead, Emily Lay and Simone Hartley; and to Sileni’s long term commitment to promote Hawke’s Bay and its wines.” . . .

Quality of wine shines through at Air New Zealand Wine Awards:

New Zealand wineries have again impressed judges at this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards with wines of outstanding quality making up the 111 gold medal winners.

Pinot Noir was the strongest performer, winning 22 gold medals, while 20 gold medals were awarded for Sauvignon Blanc and 17 for Chardonnay.

The aromatics classes, consisting of Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Viognier and Albariño, also shone in this year’s competition, bagging a total of 25 gold medals. The judges were impressed by the sparkling class, which was awarded 19 medals, including six gold.

Chair of Judges, Michael Brajkovich MW, said New Zealand winemakers are producing world-class wines across an exciting and diverse range of varieties. . .


Rural round-up

September 23, 2013

Rural contractors ready to help:

Farmers around the country hit by devastating storms last week are being reminded that rural contractors are available to help them with any clean-up work.

“Canterbury was hit by its worst wind storm in 40 years, which has caused major damage on farms throughout the province,” says Steve Levet, president of Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ). “There are also reports of a fair bit of destruction in the North Island as well.

“This has been a tough time for landowners with many needing to carry out big clean-up jobs on their properties. If the farmers don’t have the time or the resources to clear up storm damage; they should contact their local rural contractor and ask for help.” . . .

Northland farmer Parsons named B+LNZ chair-elect – Hugh Stringleman:

New Beef + Lamb New Zealand chair-elect James Parsons, of Northland, has left on his first market access and trade relations trip to Southeast Asia and Europe.

He has accompanied chairman Mike Petersen to Japan, South Korea, and Europe for a meeting of the sheep-meat forum.

Parsons has been appointed by fellow directors for six months as chair-elect before Petersen retires in March.

Rather than have deputy chairmen, in recent times primary sector organisations like Fonterra, Alliance, Ballance, and now B+LNZ, have used a nominated heir approach to transition. . .

New chair for Awards trust:

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Trust has a new chair- Mid-Canterbury dairy farmer and DairyNZ director Alister Body.

Body says a key focus of the Trust under his leadership will be to ensure the awards and its three contests – the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year – retain relevancy and competitor interest.

“The competitions are improving and evolving and that’s really important. They also provide a great showcase of the dairy industry and give tremendous promotion of the value and benefits to be gained by participating in the dairy industry,” he says. . .

End of drought boosts prospects of NZ land prices – Agrimoney:

The ending of New Zealand’s drought has handed the country’s farmland market a “strong platform” for the important spring season, real estate professionals said, amid bright hopes for the important dairy sector too.

Economic data on Thursday highlighted the impact to New Zealand agriculture from one of the worst droughts on record, with the sector seen shrinking 4.8% in the April-to-June period from the previous quarter, thanks largely to the impact on dairy farms of poor pasture conditions.

“Dairy production was the biggest contributor to the fall, while sheep and cattle farming also fell,” the official statistics office in New Zealand, the top milk exporting country, said. . .

Golden harvest puts industry back on track:

THE WINE industry is seeing the first signs of renewed interest in new vineyard development, showing there is new optimism in the industry, says New Zealand Winegrowers chairman Steven Green.

Five years ago the New Zealand wine industry suffered a supply imbalance as producers made more wine than they could sell. Grape prices slumped and vines were ripped out.

But a record 345,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested this year producing 250 million litres of wine. The 2013 crop is up 28% on the small 2012 harvest but up only 5% on 2011. . .

My father’s succession strategy worked a treat – Stephen Carr:

My great farming hero, the late Hampshire farmer writer and broadcaster John Cherrington, used to maintain that if you wished your son or daughter to follow you into dairying you should “break them in” before they knew any better.

To delay an introduction to the mind-numbing routine of the milking parlour beyond the age of 12 was to run the risk that the adolescent will discover there are easier ways of earning a living than being tied to the tail of a dairy cow 365 days a year from 4am each morning.

My own father inducted me into farming with ruthless single-mindedness. We didn’t have dairy cows, but he introduced me to the delights of beef, sheep and arable farming without me realising that a subtle brainwashing was in progress. . .


Rural round-up

September 4, 2013

Synlait Milk raises forecast milk price for FY2014 season:

Continuing high international commodity prices have seen Synlait Milk increase its forecast milk price for the FY2014 season from $7.00 per kgMS to $8.00 per kgMS.

The Company also lifted its advance rates for the season effective from August paid September from $4.50 per kgMS to $5.00 per kgMS.

Synlait Milk announced last week that it will process more milk than forecast this season following a decision to take a significant allocation of DIRA milk that will increase total production volumes of its ingredients products.

Synlait Milk Managing Director John Penno says the Company remains confident in achieving its forecast financial result for FY2014. . .

Vet becomes farmer with no regrets:

The lives of a qualified veterinarian and a computer science graduate from the Philippines took an unexpected turn when they arrived in New Zealand.

Unable to work in his chosen field in New Zealand unless he took a refresher course, Don Mananes, now lives with

wife Khristine and daughters Denisse (9) and Diane (4), on a dairy farm at Waiparu, near Riversdale, where he works as a farm manager and AI specialist. The family loves the lifestyle, which is different from the city lifestyle they had back home. . .

Mental health still a work in progress:

The Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ) was established in March and ”brings together health, social and political agencies with a rural focus to provide a unified voice and resource to help find solutions for the health problems facing rural communities.”

Southern Rural Life invited chairman Dr Jo Scott-Jones to discuss GPs’ roles in mental health in rural communities.

The role of the rural GP has always been one which has had to provide a wider range of services than in urban centres where there is easier access to support from other providers. . .

Heard it on the grapevine – Kat Pickford:

Fairhall grape grower Stuart Smith has been recognised for services to the country’s wine industry.

New Zealand Winegrowers chairman Steve Green announced Mr Smith’s induction to the roll of fellows at the 29th annual Romeo Bragato conference yesterday.

More than 600 vintners, viticulturists, trades people and suppliers are at the three-day conference being held at the Marlborough Convention Centre this week.

The sell-out event was the industry’s largest, and included the Bragato dinner tonight, when the Moore Stephens Young Viticulturist of the year and the Bragato Wine Award trophy winners would be announced. . .

Land deals first inkling of the future – Kat Pickford:

Tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of the beginning of Marlborough’s commercial wine industry.

The small group of farmers, lawyers, engineers and orchardists who pioneered viticulture practices to suit the region’s climate talk to reporter Kat Pickford about the journey that led to the phenomenal growth and international success of Marlborough wine.

Blenheim businessman John Marris had his feet up by the fire on a typical Marlborough winter evening in August 1973 when he took a phone call from his boss looking for 200 hectares of bare land on behalf of a mystery buyer.

The freshly minted real estate agent immediately sensed something was up. Rural property was not selling in Marlborough, and he wanted to talk to this guy to find out how serious he was.

In 1973, the value of bare land was about $550 a hectare, and there was not a lot of it on the market. . .

King Country chook lays massive egg – Catley Edwards:

A King Country chook is the toast of the henhouse after laying an egg the size of a mini ostrich egg.

When cracked, the egg revealed its surprise contents – a yolk and another egg.

One of Taumarunui woman Sheryl Standfield’s 12 free-ranging brown highliner hens laid the monster, which weighed in at 165gm, had a girth of 12.7cm and height of 12cm. . .

 


Rural round-up

June 12, 2013

2013 New Zealand Wine Vintage Set to Be One of the Best:

The 2013 New Zealand grape harvest has been completed with high quality grapes picked in all regions. Winemakers across the country are heralding it as one of the best vintages in history.

“An outstanding New Zealand summer provided near perfect conditions for growing grapes across the country” said Philip Gregan, chief executive officer of New Zealand Winegrowers. “The result is that we expect the 2013 wines to be vibrant, fruit driven and complex expressions of our diverse grape growing regions. 2013 looks set to be a vintage to remember.”

According to the 2013 Vintage Survey, 345,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested. The 2013 crop is up 28% on the small harvest last year but up only 5% on 2011. . .

Fieldays: new forecasting service for farmers

A new weather and environmental forecasting service has been launched at the National Fieldays by NIWA today.

The service provides farmers with tailored information about weather conditions on their farm.

The web-based weather forecasting information service called NIWA forecast aims to help farmers and growers identify the right time to carry out weather-dependent operations like irrigation, spraying and harvesting.

NIWA chief scientist, atmosphere, Dr Murray Poulter said the new service takes forecasting to another level because different forecasts can now be created for properties as little as 12km apart.

“NIWA forecast can deliver valuable climate analysis and forecasts from the present to 15 days ahead direct to farmers’ and growers’ computers via the internet direct to their farm.” . . .

Meat Industry Excellence gets into the first gear of reform:

With the 2013 National Agricultural Fieldays now underway, so is reform of New Zealand’s red meat sector being championed by Meat Industry Excellence (MIE). MIE is shifting the gears of reform following intensive meetings held in Christchurch and Wellington last week.

“Having met with Beef+Lamb NZ Chairman, Mike Petersen and Federated Farmers’ Meat and Fibre executive, there is recognition and support among farmers for a truly sustainable red meat sector,” says Richard Young, MIE Chairman.

“MIE sees its role as shifting the gear for reform out of neutral. For an industry bedevilled by past infighting it is great to know that Federated Farmers and Beef+Lamb NZ want to work with us. . .

Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre works on reform:

Federated Farmers Meat and Fibre will follow up on a positive meeting with the Meat Industry Excellence Group (MIE) with a discussion on reform and farmer behaviour at its 2013 conference in Ashburton next month.
“MIE gave us an update on where they are at and some of the changes they are working on,” Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson Jeanette Maxwell said.

“We had a highly constructive conversation around meat industry issues and many areas of alignment emerged.

“Both organisations realise they have much in common and want to achieve the same goals. In the next couple of weeks there will be a lot more information to emerge from MIE. . .

Farmers to have equal say in Fairtrade:

Farmers from Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America are to have an equal say in running the global Fairtrade movement for the first time this week.

In a ground-breaking move, producers of tea, coffee, bananas and other goods will have half the votes at Fairtrade International’s annual General Assembly in Germany on Wednesday, 12 June 2013. . .

Fairtrade is the first major development organisation to pioneer such power-sharing between groups in the northern and southern hemisphere. . .


Rural round-up

March 12, 2013

2013 Glammies victor crowned:

Beating out over 180 entrants, Mangapoike Ltd, represented by Pat Sheriff from Gisborne, has been crowned the 2013 Glammies Grand Champion.

Their Composite lamb, processed at Silver Ferns Farm Takapau, took out the title at the final taste test, after being tasted next to 20 other finalists. 

The final was judged by Iron Maidens, Sarah Walker and Sophie Pascoe, food writer Lauraine Jacobs, Beef + Lamb ambassador chef Darren Wright and head judge and chef, Graham Hawkes. 

Hawkes noted the high level of quality this year, saying it was a step up from last year’s competition. . .

Drought conditions perfect for grape growers:

Grape growers say the hot, dry weather which is wreaking havoc for farmers could produce one of their highest quality yields in years.

Gisborne grower John Clarke who is also New Zealand Winegrowers deputy chair said Gisborne’s growers have been enjoying the highly favourable conditions.

Mr Clarke said the weather means there is no disease pressure and grapes which have been harvested in Gisborne in the last couple of weeks are displaying excellent flavours.

He said the weather conditions around the country have been favourable for wine and growers have their fingers crossed the vintage this year will be fantastic. . .

DOC, Green Taliban, everyone take note. Cows are good for the climate [must watch] – Whaleoil:

Antony Watts at Watts up with That? says

Imagine, shooting 40,000 elephants to prevent the land in Africa from going to desert because scientists thought the land couldn’t sustain them, only to find the effort was for naught and the idea as to why was totally wrong. That alone was a real eye opener. Every once in awhile, an idea comes along that makes you ask, “gee why hasn’t anybody seen this before?”. This one of those times. This video below is something I almost didn’t watch, because my concerns were triggered by a few key words in the beginning. … I want every one of you, no matter what side of the climate debate you live in, to watch this and experience that light bulb moment as I did. The key here is to understand that desertification is one of the real climate changes we are witnessing as opposed to some the predicted ones we often fight over.

I like to add my recommendation that this is a Must See video, no matter what you think about Climate Change currently. . .

Now that is interesting – Gravedodger:

Several blogs are embedding a video featuring a 23 min lecture part, of an hour full length effort on combating desertification by Allan Savory who in the early years of his study advocated culling elephant herds to combat desertification on the vulnerable fringes of the deserts of Africa.
He has now worked out what many graziers have known for years but has remained hidden due to an unpopular perception stance in great debates on denuding of soils contributing to degredation.

Most farmers I have encountered in over 60 years of life are basically environmentalists if only because they understand a poorly maintained machine will eventually fail often with devastating outcomes. Yes there are some tossers in farming, there is at least one in every bus. . .

BOP Dairy Awards Winners Progress:

Winning the 2013 Bay of Plenty Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year title has proved a natural progression for Russell and Nadine Meade.

The couple won the2010 Bay of Plenty Farm Manager of the Year title and set about developing innovative and flexible investment opportunities to achieve farm business ownership.

Now 50% sharemilking 220 cows for Barbara Sullivan at Whakatane, the couple took home cash and prizes in winning the top prize worth $16,600 at the awards dinner held at the Awakeri Events Centre last night. . .

Organic certifier points to producers and consumers for double digit growth:

The latest organic market report launched on Wednesday (6th March) at Parliament confirms double digit growth of organics in New Zealand over the past 3 years and comes as great news for organic certifier BioGro, its certified producers and consumers.

The organic sector has grown 25 per cent in the past three years – from $275 million in 2009 to $350 million in 2012. The export and domestic market for New Zealand organic products has grown on average 8 per cent a year at a time of global recession.

BioGro’s CEO Dr Michelle Glogau says the report, funded by the organic sector umbrella group Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ) is a really positive sign of the increased demand for organics amongst consumers. ‘It supports the trends we are seeing with dramatic growth in certified wine and extension into health & body care products’. . .


Rural round-up

December 13, 2012

Agricultural producers and food processors call for full trade liberalisation through the Trans Pacific Partnership

Farmers and food processors from Australia, New Zealand and Canada are calling on Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries to conclude a 21st century trade agreement in 2013 that liberalises trade across all goods and services.

At the 15th round of TPP negotiations taking place in Auckland, New Zealand, agri-food groups from across the TPP region are meeting together and call for negotiators to uphold a high level of ambition in the trade talks. . .

TPP negotiations need to deliver for agriculture:

New Zealand’s red meat sector is encouraging all negotiating parties in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to work tirelessly to ensure this agreement can be completed by October 2013. Key outcomes from the completion of TPP must be the elimination of agricultural trade barriers and the opportunity for greater economic integration across the Asia Pacific region, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) say.

The B+LNZ and MIA chairmen, Mike Petersen and Bill Falconer (respectively) reinforced the need for reduced barriers to agricultural trade, including the elimination of tariffs and other technical barriers as a priority. Achieving that would create benefits and opportunities for all TPP members exporting red meat products. . .

$2.5 million for irrigation project a welcome potential boost for jobs and the environment

The government’s announcement that it is funding half of the $2.5 million Wairarapa Water Use Project to investigate the feasibility of developing water storage, alongside the Greater Wellington Regional Council, is warmly welcomed by Federated Farmers.

“Water is the lifeblood of farming, which is why Federated Farmers welcomes Primary Industries Minister David Carter’s announcement this morning that the government will add this funding from the Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF) to look at the feasibility of this project,” says Federated Farmers water spokesperson Ian Mackenzie.

“This announcement means Wairarapa is potentially a huge step closer to securing a brighter economic future for its farmers and everyone else in the region. . . .

New Zealand Winegrowers explores the science of Sauvignon blanc

New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) has commissioned UK wine writer Jamie Goode to publish The Science of Sauvignon blanc. The book is based on the results of a six year multidisciplinary research initiative that explores the key aroma and flavour compounds in Sauvignon blanc wine and how they relate to viticulture and winemaking.

“In our research programme we wanted to understand the unique characters of New Zealand Sauvignon blanc” says Dr Simon Hooker, General Manager Research at New Zealand Winegrowers. “What are its sensory attributes? Can they be linked back to viticultural management? Are they generated in the vineyard, through winemaking processes or by the yeasts? This book presents an overview to these questions in a very user friendly way that has given the industry new tools for driving flavour”. . .

Rapaura Springs Judged No2 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc:

The Rapaura Springs 2012 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc has been named one of the two best Sauvignon Blancs in the country by Cuisine Magazine’s judging panel.

Owner Brendan Neylon says achieving number two rank, as well as a five star accolade, denoting “outstanding quality” in a wine, is an excellent result from such a prestigious tasting, and perfectly timed for Christmas. . .


Rural round-up

November 20, 2012

Crown needs to be good neighbour too – Richard Strowger:

I was chatting to another local last week and we got on to the often debated topic of the financial impact of Crown ownership of land in districts like Waitaki.

There are a fair few of us in the district who have Crown-owned land as our neighbour and we wonder, like all good neighbours, just what role the Crown plays in our community.

A classic example of this is getting access into Department Of Conservation land. It takes a fair bit of expense on behalf of ratepayers in the district to maintain local roads that lead into Department of Conservation-administered land, but we do not haul in any rates off that piece of dirt for the purpose. . .

Federated Farmers: quality comes first – Matt Harcombe:

The debate over water and agriculture is a tangled web of interlinked policies, on-farm actions, science, emotion, perception and economic and cultural factors affecting its use, availability and quality.

Some factors are well understood, others are not. The biggest issue in the public eye is quality. But access to water and its use, irrigation and storage are also vital.

Although most farmers are working hard to adapt and evolve alongside changing public expectations of water quality, they are also trying to keep up with the demands of the Government and regional councils, while working out what it means to their farm.

The farming community wants to play its part in ensuring everyone has reasonable access to clean water but there is no clear consensus on what pathways should be taken to reach that goal. . .

We all own our agricultural story . . .  that’s the problem – PastureHarmonies:

The trouble is; we all own New Zealand’s agricultural story.

That is, the huge collective effort that went into figuring out, developing and improving the soil, pasture and plant/animal interaction that is our pastoral method: is part of our collective birthright.

Unfortunately, NZ Inc has never (and as such never could) apply for a worldwide patent for the knowledge. There’s none of it that’s uniquely identifiable. If, perhaps way back in the 1930s when some of the eminent scientists of the day were working up their theories of how to grow grass/clover better, there may have been some form of IP we could’ve called ‘ours’. . .

Bid to drown-proof Maori children:

Water Safety New Zealand has launched a five-year programme to boost the swimming ability of young Maori in rural areas.

Over the past six years 22% of drownings were Maori.

Portable pools will be rotated around rural centres, catering for up to 40 students at a time based at the kura. . .

New Zealand Winegrowers release Vineyard Register Report:

New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) has released the 2012 Vineyard Register Report today, which presents the most accurate statistics in the last decade on the sector’s vineyard productive capacity. The report includes data from 1,841 vineyards with a combined producing area of 34,269 hectares in 2012, which is anticipated to increase 683 ha in 2015.

The Vineyard Register is an initiative from the New Zealand Winegrowers Strategic Review, and replaces the previous Vineyard Survey which was conducted annually. “The 2011 PricewaterhouseCoopers Strategic Review emphasised the importance of accurate data as a prerequisite for understanding future production capability, infrastructure planning, biosecurity management, disaster response purposes, and pest and disease management. The Vineyard Register now provides this vital information and is a significant step forward for the industry” says Philip Manson, General Manager Sustainability at New Zealand Winegrowers. . .

Preston’s Gold sets up for a summer of good meat:

Preston’s Master Butchers have been awarded a Gold Medal at the Devro New Zealand Sausage Competition for its Turingia Bratwurst.

“Our customers have been telling us for a while that this is a fantastic sausage”, says General Manager Andrew Preston.

“A win in a national competition is reinforcement that we’ve got it right. Our Anytime Turingia Bratwurst is a traditional pre-cooked German Bratwurst. It is flavoured with marjoram and parsley and a touch of pepper and garlic. . .


Rural round-up

November 10, 2012

Synlait Farms Takes Out South Island Farmer of the Year title for 2012

Canterbury-based dairy enterprise Synlait Farms clinched the Lincoln University Foundation’s South Island Farmer of the Year competition for 2012 last night (Thursday 8 November 2012) with an entry that judges hailed as a prime example of New Zealand’s leadership role in innovative and entrepreneurial agricultural practice.

Chief Judge Bob Simpson said that all four finalists demonstrated leadership, excellence and innovation.

“Any of the finalists could have won this award tonight,” Simpson said. “But in the finish it was Synlait’s blend of family-based traditional farming practices with the very best of modern corporate innovation and management systems that saw this multi-farm company stand out. Synlait’s approach to its people, its stock and its land can be held up as an example of what can be achieved when good leadership and good people go hand-in-hand.” . . .

Landcorp ready to run Crafar farms – Andrea Fox:

State farmer Landcorp says its Chinese client Shanghai Pengxin will settle the Crafar farms purchase with receivers on November 30 and it is scheduled to start managing the dairy farming estate the next day.

Landcorp chief executive Chris Kelly said that to the best of his knowledge this was the timetable that would mark the end of the tortuous three-year Crafar farms sales process.

Landcorp’s management of the 16 central North Island farms is a condition of Government consent to the controversial sale to the Chinese company, which has waited through a string of court challenges and consent processes to put its money on the table as receiver KordaMentha’s preferred bidder. . .

Wool growers asked for $10m – Gerald Piddock:

Wools of New Zealand is asking for $10 million from strong wool growers in a capital raising offer to expand its sales and marketing capabilities.

The raising would give strong wool growers the opportunity to invest in a grower-owned sales and marketing, company, chairman Mark Shadbolt said.

The company has made significant inroads into transforming Wools of New Zealand into a commercial entity, aimed at connecting customer to grower, he said. . .

Wine sector senses a whiff of recovery – Claire Rogers:

The wine industry is on the mend after a gruelling few years that prompted a string of closures and collapses, New Zealand Winegrowers says.

One recent high-profile casualty, Hawke’s Bay winery and vineyard Matariki Group was put into receivership in September owing creditors, including the Government, about $11.2 million. Receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers said the winery struck financial trouble after reduced harvests in 2011 and 2012 led to weak sales, and that was compounded by a lack of capital.

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said the 2012 harvest was down 19 per cent on 2011, and that had dealt another blow to the industry, which had been struggling since 2008 with over-supply and weak demand from the global downturn. . .

Sea air tenderises spring lamb – Jon Morgan:

Logan Brown’s head chef Shaun Clouston takes a bite, chews thoughtfully, swallows and then licks his lips.

“By crikey, that’s beautiful,” he says, shaking his head slowly, wonder in his voice.

On the plate is a lamb rump, finely sliced, with kumara, crushed peas and roasted tomatoes. It’s a simple dish. “I want the lamb to be the hero,” Clouston says.

This is not any lamb. The meat is from a young spring lamb, only 4 months old when it was sent to slaughter, and from a farm on the coast south of Whanganui. . .

Kiwi to Lead International Tree Society

A Dunedin arborist became the first-ever Australasian president of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) last week.

Mark Roberts, an experienced arborist and academic director of horticulture training firm Thoughtplanters, is the second non-American elected to lead the 88-year-old society.

More than 20,000 arborists from 18 countries are members of ISA today. . .


Rural round-up

October 30, 2012

Tasty lambs’ tails may soon be off the barbecue menu – Jon Morgan:

FIRST, there’s the acrid smell of burning wool, closely followed by a frenzied crackling as the lanolin sizzles. But then comes the mouth-watering aroma of roasting meat.

Barbecued lambs’ tails are a delicacy savoured by many farmers at this time of year as tailing, or docking, gets under way.

It’s a time of short-lived pain for the lambs but is necessary to prevent greater pain later. The long dangling tail can become encrusted with faeces and attract blowflies. Their maggots feed on the lamb’s flesh, causing great pain and distress.

There’s an art to docking.

Many farms have modern equipment that clamps the lamb and presents it breech-forward to the man or woman wielding a hot iron. With a swift flourish, the tail is severed and the lamb is set free to run bleating to its mother.

Rubber rings can also be used. They cut off the blood supply so the tail drops off in seven to 10 days.

Enough of the tail must be left to protect the genitals and so it can still wag. That’s not so farmers will know if it is happy or not, but so the lamb can spray its faeces away from its body. . .

Tails could prove winner – Terri Russell:

A Southland sheep farmer started docking his lambs this month as part of new research that looks at the effect of docking tails at different lengths.

The three-year docking trial is the first of its kind documented worldwide and was launched by Alliance Group last month when lamb tagging started.

Tail docking is common practice in New Zealand to try to reduce dag formation and the risk of fly strike.

Alliance Group livestock general manager Murray Behrent said the research would help shed light on claims that docking tails too short was an animal welfare issue, and that longer tails improved the growth rate of lambs. . .

Pressure on meat,wool farmers to improve outputs – Tim Cronshaw:

Farmers will put their energies into improving meat and wool production as markets meet a strong headwind from the debt crisis in Europe.

The European recession and unfavourable currency exchange rates would lead to weaker sale prices for lamb and wool in the 2012-13 season, said Beef + Lamb New Zealand economic service executive director Rob Davison.

The forecast for average lamb price at $94 was down on the likely $113 for the 2011-12 season just completed. . .

Dairy chairman urges more focus on image – Neil Ratley:

Southland dairy farmers were congratulated for a job well done but also asked to continue working to improve the industry’s public image at the DairyNZ annual general meeting in Wallacetown.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said the dairy industry pumped millions of dollars into the regional economy.

“The average annual revenue from milk production is more than $1.2 million per farm,” he said. “At least half of that money is being spent on farm working expenses and circulating through the local economy.”

Dairy NZ chairman John Luxton said the New Zealand and Southland dairy industry had shown considerable growth and resilience to factors impacting other industries. . .

The way you’d farm if you farmed yourself – Pasture Harmonies:

Think for a moment that you’re a Western consumer contemplating buying some animal protein for dinner that night.

Faced with an array of red and white meat choices, you have a tiny thought in the back of your mind about how the animal that produced that steak or mince or breast grew up.

(Ignoring anthropomorphism) mostly, you’re going to be aware that its life was pretty confined and squashed, and bears very little resemblance to how it would’ve existed in a ‘natural’ world.

However, you’ve got to eat, and pretty much you have Hobson’s choice when it comes to the production source of the meat. . .

New Leadership for Grape and Wine Industry

New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country’s 1,500 grape growers and winemakers, announced today the election of Steve Green as Chair and John Clarke as Deputy Chair.

Mr Green is proprietor of Carrick, a boutique Central Otago winery; he succeeds Stuart Smith of Marlborough who has stepped down after six years in the role. Mr Green has been involved in the Central Otago grape and wine industry since 1994. He has previously served as Chair of Central Otago Winegrowers and has been on the New Zealand Winegrowers Board since 2005, serving for the last three years as Deputy Chair.

Mr Clarke is a Gisborne grapegrower with over 30 years experience in the grape and wine industry. Mr Clarke, who is a former Gisborne Mayor, has previously served for ten years as the Chair of Gisborne Winegrowers and joined the New Zealand Winegrowers Board in 2006. . .

More calculators to make the most of nitrogen:

A broader range of online calculators developed to assist farmers to gauge the possible benefits of using urea treated with a urease inhibitor are now available

Summer is just around the corner which in New Zealand typically means drier weather conditions making it difficult to assess the best time to apply nitrogen fertiliser.

Urea treated with the urease inhibitor AGROTAIN® nitrogen stabiliser addresses ammonia volatilisation and offers farmers more flexibility to apply nitrogen when it’s needed most or when it suits them better even if the weather or soil conditions are not optimal. . .

World’s first compostable fruit label for Zespri Kiwifruit:

Zespri will introduce the world’s first and only fully compostable fruit labels on all Zespri® Organic Kiwifruit next season.

Zespri’s Global Marketing Manager – Organic, Glen Arrowsmith, explains this initiative is part of Zespri’s leadership role and ongoing commitment to improving the environmental credentials of its products.

“Our international customers – retailers, wholesalers, consumers, governments – are increasingly interested in the sustainability of products arriving in their markets and we’ve invested in research and development to continue to lead the market in this area.” . . .


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