Rural round-up

October 3, 2015

Federated Farmers’ President praises WTO and criticizes those stalling the TPP at Geneva Forum :

The last 20 years of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have provided an objective framework on which to base our international trade and seen the organisation provide great assistance to small countries like New Zealand.

That was the message from Federated Farmers’ President Dr William Rolleston, Vice President of the World Farmers’ Organisation, in his address overnight to a WTO Public Forum in Geneva.

“New Zealand is a small country, which means our political influence bilaterally can be limited. Without WTO rules, disputes are more likely to be settled on bargaining power rather than the evidence,” said Dr Rolleston. . .

Fossicking in Fonterra’s annual report – Keith Woodford:

The release of Fonterra’s annual report on 24 September coincided for me with a long plane trip back from China. I used the time trying to work out what all the numbers really mean. It was not an easy task.

Fonterra’s annual report – like most reports from large companies –provides masses of numbers. Some are clearly there for public relations purposes. Others are there to meet the required rules of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). And then there is another set of numbers which Fonterra constructs according to its own rules.

These additional measures are called non-GAAP measures; i.e. ‘non-generally accepted accounting measures’. Fonterra itself acknowledges that these measures are not standard between companies, so comparison must be made with caution. . . 

‘Cloud of dread’ over Filipino workers:

A Filipino worker in the dairy industry says people with false documents are being denied visas and sent home, despite many of them not knowing their paperwork was wrong. 

Immigration New Zealand has confirmed it is investigating multiple work visa applications involving Filipino dairy workers in the South Island, after staff noticed false claims of work experience and qualifications on visa applications.

Roberto Bolanos is a dairy farmer in North Canterbury, who arrived from the Philippines 10 years ago.

Mr Bolanos said the problem started with recruiters in the Philippines who offered people dairy jobs in New Zealand, along with documents, at a cost of, in some cases, $15,000. . . 

Government to consider amending National Bovine TB plan:

An independent Plan Governance Group made up of representatives of funding organisations, OSPRI, and wider stakeholder interests, has reviewed the bovine tuberculosis National Pest Management Plan (TB Plan). Today it gave its final advice on the proposed changes to the TB Plan to the Minister for Primary Industries, Hon Nathan Guy. The changes build on the significant progress made by OSPRI under the current TB Plan.

The Plan Governance Group considered a range of technical and scientific advice, and strongly believes that the eradication of TB from New Zealand is both feasible and economically justifiable. The proposed changes to the TB Plan were consulted on with farmers, local communities, and other stakeholders in June and July this year. Over 400 quality submissions, covering a wide range of issues, were received on the draft Plan proposal, and the Plan Governance Group took them into account as it prepared its final proposal to the Minister. . . 

Rabobank Beef Quarterly Q3 2015: Traded Volumes Are Reaching Quota Limits:

New Zealand and Australia beef exports to the US are set to reach their quota limits in Q4. Meanwhile, global economic conditions—such as the appreciation of the US dollar and the depreciation of the yuan and the real—are having an impact on beef trade, according to the Rabobank Beef Quarterly Q3.

A strong US dollar has led to a reduction in US exports and support for US imports, while a weakening Chinese economy and devaluation of the yuan are curbing beef prices in China, and the devaluation of the real is expected to support Brazilian exports in the coming months. “With little change expected in major beef-trading economies in the coming quarter, other than a possibility of the US FOMC raising interest rates, a strong US currency is expected to continue to affect global beef trade”, according to Angus Gidley-Baird, Senior Animal Protein Analyst at Rabobank. . . 

Commission issues second draft determination on wool scouring assets application:

The Commerce Commission has released a second draft determination maintaining its preliminary view that it should allow Cavalier Wool Holdings (CWH) to acquire New Zealand Wool Services International’s (NZWSI) wool scouring business and assets.

The Commission released its preliminary view on CWH’s application in March 2015 and has since received further information and submissions from interested parties on various matters. The second draft determination has been released to allow interested parties the opportunity to submit on this new information.

Commission Chair Dr Mark Berry said having considered the new information, the Commission is still of the view that the public benefits of the acquisition would outweigh the loss of competition. . . 

Ballance thriving as it plans next 60 years:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients achieved record sales and returned $76 million to shareholders while keeping margins tight and prices affordable, Chairman David Peacocke told the annual meeting of shareholders in Tauranga on Wednesday.

He said the result for its financial year ended 31 May 2015 capped off a milestone year for the co-operative, which celebrated 60 years since the first shares in legacy company Bay of Plenty Fertiliser were issued. Noting the co-operative “not only survives but also thrives”, he said its core value of collective strength remained unchanged while it evolved to meet the current needs of farming.

“What has changed is that farmers are busier, operating over larger properties and working within increasingly tight environmental demands. So along with a secure supply of the right nutrients, we continually broaden our scope to tailor our products, our technology solutions and our advice for today’s farms, and the farms of the future.” . . .


Rural round-up

October 2, 2015

Chinese deal vital, SFF says – Sally Rae:

Silver Fern Farms could be facing insolvency if shareholders do not approve a 50:50 joint venture with Chinese company Shanghai Maling.

Voting has opened on the proposal before a meeting of shareholders at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium on October 16.

Shanghai Maling, a subsidiary of state owned food giant Bright Food Group, is proposing to take a 50% stake in Silver Fern Farms, in return for an investment of $261million. . . 

Hold off on Silver Fern vote, farmers urged –  Sally Rae:

Farmers are being urged to hold off voting on the Silver Fern Farms joint venture deal with Shanghai Maling, with hints that ”concrete” alternatives will emerge.

Voting is under way and closes at 10.30am on October 14, before a special meeting in Dunedin on October 16, where two resolutions will be voted on.

As well as the Shanghai Maling proposal, the meeting will also consider the shareholder resolution, promoted by Heriot farmer Allan Richardson and John Cochrane, from Clinton, seeking full analysis of the benefits and risks of a merger with Alliance Group. That resolution was not supported by Silver Fern Farms’ board. . . 

Bright lets sparks fly – Alan Williams:

Bright Dairy group is an excellent strategic investor in Synlait Milk, the latter’s chairman Graeme Milne says.

“It’s more than just money they bring.

“They’ve got the knowledge and capability to help us make good decisions.”

Shanghai Maling, the proposed new investor for Silver Fern Farms, is part of the wider Bright Dairy-Bright Foods group. . . 

Super-drone sprayer comes with risks -Robin Martin:

The first unmanned helicopter certified to spray chemicals in New Zealand could ultimately save back-country farmers thousands of dollars but it comes with a hefty price tag – and a safety warning. 

The Yamaha RMAX is a beast by drone standards, powered by a 260cc engine and weighing in at close to 100 kilograms.

Yamaha business development manager Geoff Lamb and his team put the chopper through its paces for a gathering of curious farmers, spraying contractors and radio-controlled aircraft enthusiasts at a Lepperton farm in Taranaki this week. . . 

Fonterra boss offers $4m salary freeze:

The chief executive of Fonterra has asked for his multi-million dollar salary to be frozen this year as the co-operative goes through major cost cuts and slashes hundreds of jobs.

Theo Spierings requested the freeze on his base salary on the same day Fonterra announced it was slashing hundreds more jobs as part of a business shake-up, taking total layoffs to 750.

That came just days before the company released its annual result.

A spokesman said Mr Spierings went to a meeting of Fonterra’s people, culture and safety committee on 21 September and requested that his base salary of about $4 million for the 2015/16 year be frozen. . . 

Nutrient loss under the spotlight:

New Zealand’s shift from a pasture-based model to high feed-input dairy farms will come under the microscope in a joint research project involving Ballance Agri-Nutrients, AgResearch, DairyNZ and Tatua, in partnership with the Government’s Sustainable Farming Fund initiative.

The two year project, led by AgResearch’s Dr Stewart Ledgard, will use case study farms varying in intensity of feed use to examine effects of their system changes over the last decade on emissions, production and profit as well as testing options for improving their sustainability.

“Locally there is strong interest in understanding implications for water quality of dairy intensification through increased use of supplementary feeds and how effects can be minimised, while internationally there is a desire for food products to be produced with efficient use of resources and reduced wider environmental impacts”, says Dr Stewart Ledgard. . . 

Aussies nab heaviest fleece record:

Well it’s official New Zealand has been fleeced by the Australians ..who now hold the world record for the heaviest fleece shorn off a merino.

The Australians were quick to yell they had found a wild merino near Canberra in early September with a fleece which weighed in at 40 kilograms.

Otago’s ‘Shrek the sheep’ held the record up until last year when another wild merino – dubbed Big Ben – was found in the Mackenzie Country with a fleece weighing 28.9 kgs. . . 

Steady wool market:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s C.E.O, Mr John Dawson reports that the more restricted wool type offering in the North Island sale of 6,165 bales saw a 97 percent clearance and a generally steady market.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies firmed 1.66 percent compared to the last sale on 24th September only impacting on the finer end of the offering.

Mr Dawson advises that the stronger New Zealand dollar and limited interest in the Fine Crossbred longer wools saw prices ease 2 to 4 percent with shorter types better supported with pries 1 to 3.5 percent softer in local terms. . . 


Rural round-up

September 26, 2015

Beef exports hit $3 billion in record season:

The value of total goods exported was $3.7 billion in August 2015, up $197 million (5.6 percent) compared with August 2014, Statistics New Zealand said today. Meat and fruit exports led the rise.

Beef exports continued to rise, up 46 percent ($61 million) in August 2015 compared with the same month last year. The beef export season runs from 1 October to 30 September.

“With one month to go in the 2014/15 beef export season, beef exports are at a new high of $3 billion,” international statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said. “So far this season, 404,000 tonnes of beef have been exported, and if we export at least 18,000 tonnes next month we’ll surpass the peak 2003/04 season for quantity exported.” . . 

June floods cost the primary sector $70 million says MPI:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has today released a report on the economic impacts to the primary sector of the heavy rain and flooding that affected the western North Island in June.

The total on-farm cost of the June storm affecting Taranaki and Horizons regions has been assessed at approximately $70 million with up to 800 rural properties affected.

MPI Director of Resource Policy, David Wansbrough, says the greatest impact of the storm was on sheep and beef farms, due to landslides and damage to infrastructure.

“Around 460 sheep and beef farms were affected, some with significant levels of infrastructure damage and lost productive capacity. The on-farm economic impact to sheep and beef farms is estimated to total $57.6 million. . . 

People power:

When Lyn Neeson, who farms near Taumaranui, saw the Whanganui and Ohura rivers rise rapidly in June, she figured this spelled trouble for farmers downstream and she was right. 

Since July she has been working four days a week in Whanganui as the coordinator for the RST. She has the task of assessing the reports coming to her from farmers and people such as Harry Matthews and Brian Doughty who know the region and the farmers. 

A major problem is damage to fences, she says. . . 

Origin of Beef Informs Shopper Decisions:

Consumer research shows 89 per cent of supermarket shoppers in key international beef markets consider “country of origin”, when deciding which beef product to purchase.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive Scott Champion says this insight informs how the organisation works on the ground to boost sales of New Zealand origin beef.

“We use a three-pronged approach that gives consumers reasons to buy New Zealand beef ahead of other countries. We tell the New Zealand story – including environment and animal welfare aspects – and highlight our food safety systems, as well as the health and wellbeing attributes of New Zealand beef.” . . .

Dissapointing 2014/15 result for farmers, encouraging signs for coming season:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Duncan Coull, said the final payout for the 2014/15 season of $4.65 for a fully shared-up Farmer is a disappointing result for the Co-op’s Farmers.

Mr Coull: “While it is encouraging to see the improvement in Fonterra’s performance in the second half of the season Farmers will be disappointed with the 25 cent dividend which was at the lower end of their expectations.

“Farmers had an expectation the business would have been able to take greater advantage of the low Milk Price environment.”

Mr Coull was encouraged by the Co-op’s improved second-half performance which saw many parts of the business operate at a high level. . . 

Wool Market Firm:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s C.E.O, Mr John Dawson reports that the South Island sale this week saw a strong market with steady support.

Of the 9,250 bales on offer 84.4 percent sold.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies was down 0.72 percent compared to the last sale on 17th September, helping hold up local price levels.

Mr Dawson advises that in line with other Merino growing markets, local prices for Merino Fleece 18 to 23.5 microns compared to when last sold on 10th September, saw a slight easing with prices 2 to 6 percent cheaper. . . 

Waikato modelling results show high costs to farmers and region:

DairyNZ is encouraging Waikato dairy farmers to get involved in regional policy development processes after the release of new information highlighting the potential for high costs to their businesses.

Commenting on new modelling released<http://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/Community/Whats-happening/News/Media-releases/Models-look-at-potentially-very-large-costs-of-improving-water-quality/> today by a group of technical experts, DairyNZ’s strategy and investment leader for productivity, Bruce Thorrold says the analysis shows there is potentially a very high economic and community cost to the region of changing land use and management practices. Estimates range from $1.2 billion to $7.8 billion depending on the degree of improvement in water quality modelled.

“That’s not surprising given the size and importance of the pastoral industry in the Waikato,” he says. . .

Best Sauvignon Blanc in the World for Rapaura Springs in London:

Rapaura Springs Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015 has impressed the judges and taken home the Sauvignon Blanc Trophy at the prestigious International Wines and Spirits Competition (IWSC) in London.

The IWSC was established in 1969 and is one of the world’s pre-eminent wine competitions, held in high regard with consumers and wine trade alike. The formidable reputation of its judging process, and judges themselves, set the standard for wine competitions globally. . . 


Rural round-up

September 12, 2015

Meat returns to rise over next year – Alan Royal:

A lower New Zealand currency will do much of the running for sheep meat and beef returns to farmers over the next year.

Beef + Lamb NZ expected slight increases in product values but they were likely to be outweighed by lower volumes, especially for lamb.

B+LNZ forecast an average lamb price of $5.47/kg for the export year ending September 30, 2016, a 4% lift on the provisional figure for the year finishing in a couple of weeks. . .

Few animal welfare issues in dry North Canterbury:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has complimented farmers on how they have managed animal welfare through the prolonged North Canterbury drought.

Canterbury-based MPI Animal Welfare Manager Peter Hyde says there have had been very few animal welfare issues to deal with in North Canterbury.

“Sheep are a bit lighter than ideal but not to the extent where they are below the minimum standard that breaches of the Animal Welfare Act.”

Mr Hyde says farmers have adopted different management strategies to maintain the condition of their animals. . . 

Finalists in the NZ Innovators Awards:

Finalists in the New Zealand Innovators Awards 2015 demonstrate that Kiwi innovation is thriving, with a 24 per cent increase in entries that are of world class standard.

Announced today are the finalists who represent game changing innovation from every corner of the country, with new products and services from a broad range of industries and business disciplines. Included in the finalists are an exciting range of entries, from electric farm bikes, dairy free cheese, anti-cancer treatments and free school lunches. Spoilt for choice with this year’s entries – these are ordinary Kiwi’s doing extra-ordinary things.

New Zealand Innovation Council CEO Louise Webster says the 2015 entrants give a real sense that Kiwi innovation is moving into the main stream, demonstrating world leading approaches to innovation with many businesses going global from day one. . . 

Wool Jumps:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s Marketing Executive, Mr Malcolm Ching reports that a weakening New Zealand dollar and steady off-shore buying interest saw all wool types improve for the South Island offering of 9,300 bales with 87 percent selling.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currency came down 1.29 percent compared to the last sale on 3rd September.

Mr Ching advises that compared to the last time sold on 27th August, Merino Fleece 21.5 micron and finer were 5 to 10 percent dearer with 22 to 23.5 microns 1 to 2 percent firmer. . . 

Ballance Farm Environment Awards Showcase Sustainable Farming Success:

Entering the Ballance Farm Environment Awards is a great way for farmers to show they care about the environment, say Waikato dairy farmers Susan O’Regan and John Hayward.

The couple entered the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards for the first time last year and were thrilled to win two category awards, including the LIC Dairy Farm Award.

“Waikato Regional Council has been working with us on a planting programme on the farm for several years and they encouraged us to enter,” Susan says.

“We went in to the competition pretty cold and didn’t really know what to expect. We didn’t do any window dressing on the farm and we were fairly relaxed when the judges showed up and started asking us questions.” . . .

PGP delivering much needed support to rural communities:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says a further 400 rural professionals will be trained in 20 workshops delivered over the next month to support farming families and rural communities.

“These workshops are about creating a culture of mental health awareness and training within service organisations, a key outcome from ‘Transforming the Dairy Value Chain’, a Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme between the Ministry for Primary Industries, DairyNZ and Fonterra.

“This adds to the more than 400 rural professionals already trained in mental health awareness by the programme.

“While the economic benefits of PGP are well known as the Government’s flagship research and development programme for the primary sector, it’s great to see it is also supporting the wellbeing of dairy farmers in what is a difficult year for some. . . 

$345,000 for wilding conifers in War on Weeds:

Five groups tackling the major problem of wilding conifers have received $345,000 from the Community Conservation Partnerships Fund as part of the War on Weeds, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.

“Wilding conifers cover more than 1.7 million hectares of land, and are advancing at an estimated rate of 5 per cent a year,” Ms Barry says.

“They alter entire landscapes and are notoriously difficult to clear once established, representing a major threat to our unique New Zealand ecosystems, land and farms.” . . .

Sharp Blacks ‘meat’ victory for third time:

New Zealand’s national butchery team the Pure South Sharp Blacks have carved their way to victory for the third time, during last night’s Tri-Nations Butchers’ Challenge.

The team of butchers have been reigning champions for three years now, and last night they once again showed their world-class form at Auckland’s Shed 10.

Going up against the best-of-the-best from Australia and England, the Sharp Blacks endured three hours of intense competition, turning a side of beef, pork and whole lamb into art based on a Kiwiana theme. . . 

PEP agrees to buy Manuka Honey for undisclosed sum – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – Pacific Equity Partners, the biggest private equity firm in Australia and New Zealand, has agreed to buy Manuka Health, the functional food and dietary supplement company, for an undisclosed amount, subject to Overseas Investment Office approval.

The Te Awamutu-based honey firm currently has 37 shareholders, according to records on the Companies Office, with Watermann Capital a cornerstone owner. Founder Kerry Paul owns 7.3 percent, while Milford Asset Management owns 6.3 percent. The New Zealand Herald has reported the purchase price was $110 million.

Manuka Health was founded in 2006 and exports 90-plus products based on propolis, royal jelly, bee pollen, and manuka honey to 45 countries. It has annual turnover of more than $50 million. . . 

More biosecurity detector dog power for Christchurch:

Two new biosecurity detector dog teams have started at Christchurch airport to sniff out risk goods carried by international travellers, says the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

Anna Howie and Alice McKay started work on Monday. They finished their detector dog handler training in Auckland last week, along with 9 other new MPI handlers who have since started at Auckland and Wellington.

Anna will work detector dog Frank (labrador), originally sourced from an Australian customs breeding programme. Alice will work with Pip, a brand new labrador detector dog purchased from a private home in Hastings. . . 

Dairy goat industry gets $3.6 million research boost:

A research grant of $3.63 million from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment is set to boost dairy goat productivity in the near future.

The three year study is led by Professor Russell Snell and Associate Professor Klaus Lehnert from the Faculty of Science at the University of Auckland.

The research is aimed at accelerating sustainable productivity gain within the Dairy Goat Co-Operative (NZ) Ltd (DGC) with the primary product target of high value infant formula. . . 

Cadrona Extend Opening Hours & On Track to Break Snowfall Record:

Cardrona is set to have the best season it’s had in 20 years – just 15cm off beating its own record of 333cm total snowfall in a season. The resort is experiencing one of the best seasons in regards to snowfall and snow conditions that it has seen in the past two decades, and with the longest season in the South Island, there are still 4 weeks to break the record.

Spring has officially kicked off with a few early September snowfalls gifting Cardrona guests ideal snow conditions to start the spring season. Currently even Cardrona’s lowest lift, the Valley View Quad, still boasts superb conditions both off and on-piste. . . 


Rural round-up

August 25, 2015

Five Otago entries for farmer of year award – Sally Rae:

Five Otago farming businesses are among those entered for the 2015 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year award.

Twelve entries have been received from throughout the South Island, including a West Coast farm for the first time in the history of the competition.

Operations range from sheep and beef farms to a marine mussel farm, saffron grower and fruit producer. . . 

Pipes full, water coming soon – Alan Williams:

The pipes are full and ready to start irrigating stage one of the Central Plains Water (CPW) scheme in Canterbury.

Once the control system was fully tested over the next few weeks the valves could be turned on, chief executive Derek Crombie said.

The official target date was September 1 but the practical timing for water to flow to most of the 120 farms involved would be late September or early October, depending on rainfall levels and ground temperatures. . . 

Science close to unlocking velvet’s secret:

New Zealand and South Korean scientists may soon be able to identify the compounds that give deer antler velvet its immune-boosting properties.

If successful, it would allow velvet extracts to be sold with a precise measure of the active ingredients they contain. Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) says this will be an important step in getting such products registered for sale as healthy functional foods. . . 

Conservation planting crowdfunded:

Crowdfunding might be better known for assisting fledgling businesses but it is also helping restore New Zealand waterways.

The Million Metres Streams Project, set up by the Sustainable Business Network in collaboration with Enspiral, is New Zealand’s first conservation crowdfunding initiative.  

Launched in October last year, the project gave people the opportunity to contribute to the restoration of waterways. It has already funded almost 5km of riparian restoration work. . . 

Deadly rattle detected in Cuban maracas:

Biosecurity staff detected a deadly rattle in a set of souvenir maracas carried by two air passengers arriving in New Zealand from Cuba.

The couple declared the Cuban percussion instruments to Ministry for Primary Industries biosecurity staff at Auckland airport earlier this month.

X-ray screening revealed the maracas used red seeds for their rattle. MPI later identified the seed asAbrus precatorius, commonly known as crab’s eye and rosary pea.

The seeds contain abrin, which is more toxic than ricin – a deadly poison associated with spies and biological weaponry. . . 

Feed field days address fluctuations:

Tips and information to help manage the ups and downs of fluctuating milk price will be provided at a series of DairyNZ events in September and October.

The Feed Tactics field days will focus on helping farmers get the best returns from all feeds used on farm.

The nationwide events follow on from one-on-one feed review visits which provided more than 750 farms with an assessment of feed allocation and grazing management in early spring. . . 

Commission reconvenes conference on wool scouring authorisation:

The Commerce Commission is to reconvene its conference on Cavalier Wool Holding Limited’s application for authorisation to acquire New Zealand Wool Services International’s wool scouring business.

The conference will be held on Tuesday 1 September to consider specific issues relating to property valuations, which form part of Cavalier’s application. . . 

GMO ‘Right to Know’ movement takes food off of plates of hungry in Africa, Asia – Michael Dzakovich:

One of the most contentious and polarizing issues today is the use of biotechnology in farming. While many farmers in industrialized countries have been safely and successfully using genetically engineered crops for almost two decades, adoption in the developing world has been significantly slower, only recently eclipsing the U.S. in terms of total acreage.

Many of these crops have been developed to produce naturally occurring nutritional compounds, resist aggressive diseases and tolerate extreme environmental conditions. The benefits of GE crops are not equitably spread throughout the developing world, as those in most critical need often cannot benefit from existing solutions created by public scientists. . . 

Dayton community harvests late farmer’s final crop – Taylor Viydo:

A community came together this week to help a family harvest the final crop of a local farmer who passed away from cancer.

Jim Hanger was still running a 5,000-acre family farm in Dayton when he passed away last week. He lost his battle to cancer at age 66.

“He was always on the tractor, the combines — if it was seeding, he was seeding. If it was harvest, he was harvesting,” said daughter Tracy Hanger. . .

Racheal Trail's photo.


Rural round-up

August 7, 2015

Rabobank Report: Moving Globally; What role will China play in the global beef market?:

Rabobank sees great potential in China’s beef market, and believes that Chinese investors will play an influential role in the global beef market over the next decade. According to Rabobank’s latest report, Moving Globally: What role will China play in the global beef market?, China’s beef demand will grow an additional 2.2 million tonnes by 2025. Driven by the weak domestic production, but with strong demand, the beef sector will likely become the first agricultural sector where China has high integration with the rest of the world and Chinese investors are expected to play an influential role in the global beef market.

In addition to the volume gap, China’s beef market also demonstrates potential for value-added and branded beef products. Strong demand from the food service and retail market channels provides opportunities for both Chinese and foreign companies in the further processing sector. . .

 

Fonterra’s restructure more about poor strategy than milk price – Allan Barber:

When Fonterra was formed back in 2001, there was a great sense of optimism about the potential for a New Zealand dairy company to compete on a truly global scale. The industry’s infighting and parochialism would be a thing of the past and the clear intention was to use the greater efficiencies and scale to create a substantially better performing business model.

The big question 14 years down the track is whether that objective has even remotely been achieved. Fonterra is the world’s leading exporter of milk products and the fourth largest dairy processor, so achievement to date appears consistent with the objective. But for many observers there was another, more ambitious expectation: to establish an internationally competitive value added business to compare and compete with Nestle and Danone. . .

Dairy sector needs to work together to manage downturn:

National accounting and business advisory firm Crowe Horwath is calling on all stakeholders in the dairy industry to work together to help the sector get through the current difficult period of lower milk solid prices.

On the back of dairy companies announcing a string of forecast milk price downgrades and prices continuing to plunge at the Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auctions, predictions are the current hard times for the dairy sector could potentially last another 18 months to two years.

Crowe Horwath says given the scale of the challenge now being faced by the industry, doing nothing is not an option for anyone involved, including farmers, banks, farm consultants and business advisors. . .

 

Fish & Game Calls for Fonterra to Lift Its Game After Pollution Conviction:

Fish & Game says Fonterra needs to lift its game after the dairy giant was fined $174,000 for several pollution offences under the Resource Management Act.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council prosecuted Fonterra for polluting the and other waterways after several wastewater system failures at Fonterra’s Edgecumbe dairy plant.

The offences occurred several times between September 2014 and April 2015.

Fonterra pleaded guilty to six charges and was sentenced in the Tauranga District Court by Judge Smith. . .

 

I’m worried! I’m sympathising with organic farmers over a land use conflict! – Jim Rose:

Writing this blog of sound mind and sober disposition, I still have considerable sympathy with two organic farmers over a land use conflict they have with the neighbouring gun range.

Local land use regulations allows a gun club to set up 600 m away with competitive shooting days all day for 88 days a year. That is a voluntary self restraint. They could hold shooting competitions every day of the year. The local land use regulations allow the use of guns on rural land. The gun club used this absence of a prohibition on the use of guns in the frequency of use to set up a gun range to fire guns all day long on rural land. . . .

Market Continues to Show Strength:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that a continuing upward trend at today’s South Island wool sale saw prices increase.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies decreased from 0.6314 to 0.6181, down 2.1 percent. The US dollar rate was down to .6520 from .6670 which meant increased prices in NZC terms.

Of the 5,564 bales on offer 5,260 sold, a clearance of 95 percent. . .

 

Matariki Forestry Group announces recapitalisation:

Matariki Forestry Group (“Matariki”) today announced a NZ$242 million capital infusion from Rayonier Inc., its largest shareholder. This injection of capital will be used for the repayment of all outstanding amounts under its existing NZ$235 million credit facility and for general corporate purposes.

Upon completion of this capital infusion, Rayonier’s ownership in Matariki will increase from 65% to approximately 77% and the Phaunos Timber Fund ownership will be reduced from 35% to approximately 23%. The capital infusion is subject to certain closing conditions including New Zealand Overseas Investment Office approval and is expected to close by year end. Matariki will realise interest cost savings of approximately NZ$15 million annually as a result of the recapitalisation. . .

 

NZARN says strategic feed approach key to farmer viability:

Nutrition experts have entered the milk price payout debate saying that a strategic approach and optimising home grown and supplementary feed resources are key to long-term viability.

The New Zealand Association of Ruminant Nutritionists (NZARN) urges farmers, in an article published on their website (www.nzarn.org.nz) to benchmark themselves against the best performing farms to identify areas for improvement.

Dr. Julian Waters, NZARN Chairman says, “Maximising utilisation of home grown resources such as pasture, silage and crops should be the basis for a profitable business, with a sound strategy to incorporate supplements to increase efficiencies when home grown feed is limited.” . . .

 Internet Provider Puts Farmers’ Wellbeing First:

New Zealand internet provider, Wireless Nation, further demonstrates its commitment to the rural sector in a new agreement with Farmstrong, an initiative to promote wellbeing for all farmers and growers across New Zealand.

Wireless Nation’s zero-rated data agreement means that its Satellite Broadband customers can access Farmstrong’s website without the data counting towards their data cap.

Wireless Nation’s technical director, Tom Linn says he is passionate about making internet connectivity easier for people living in rural areas. . .

New Forests agrees to purchase Marlborough timber plantations from Flight Group:

New Forests today announced that it has reached agreement to purchase approximately 4,200 hectares of freehold land and softwood plantations from the Flight Group. The plantations consist of radiata pine and are located in the Marlborough region of New Zealand’s South Island.

The agreement forms part of a larger transaction by Flight Group, including the purchase of the Flight Timbers sawmilling assets by Timberlink, an Australian timber products processor that is also an investee company of New Forests. Completion of the plantation purchase by New Forests is subject to approval by the Overseas Investment Office. . .

 


Rural round-up

July 31, 2015

Westland Milk cuts payout further as dairy prices fall – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – Westland Milk Products, New Zealand’s second-largest dairy cooperative, cut its forecast milk payout to farmers by 10 cents for the current season and for next season’s by $1, in the face of sustained weakness in global dairy prices.

The Hokitika-based company will pay $4.80 to $4.90 per kilogram of milk solids for the 2014/15 season, with the final payout to be determined at the September board meeting, it said in a statement. The forecast payout for the 2015/16 season was slashed to between $4.60 and $5/kgMS, from a previously band of $5.60 to $6/kgMS.

The advance rate for this season remains at $4.80/kgMS, although the 2015/16 season rate was revised to $3.80/kgMS from $4.40/kgMS. . .

 

Light at the end of the paddock for dairy farmers – Jason Walls:

The New Zealand dollar is poised to shed more value against the US by the start of next year and dairy prices may only be at the current level temporarily.

This is good news for farmers, says ASB Bank rural economist Nathan Penny, who forecasts the New Zealand dollar will be at 61c against the US by the beginning of 2016.

He says the one of the biggest factors to this will be the US interest rate hike later this year. . .

Speech to Horticulture New Zealand Conference Award Dinner:

Good evening. Thank you Julian Raine, Horticulture New Zealand President, for that introduction. It is a pleasure to join you this evening in recognising excellence and future leaders of the horticulture industry.

I would particularly like to acknowledge outgoing Chief Executive Peter Silcock for all his contribution to the industry over the past 30 years.

Tonight I want to talk to you briefly about the long-term value that can be created by recognising talent and growing leaders.

A growing industry

Horticulture is a top performing primary industry. In the year to June 2015, export revenue reached $3.897 billion. This is up $602 million from 2012, a total of over 18 percent growth over four years. . .

 

Dairy modules hitting the spot for DWN members:

Dairy Women’s Network has received feedback on how its latest professional development offering is being perceived by its members – with impressive results.

The network launched its new Dairy Modules programme for the first time in November 2014 and has since had the programme evaluated by the renowned Net Promoter Score system, confirming world class standard. . .

 

Bayer Wairarapa Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015 announced:

A great win for Mark Langlands from Te Kairanga as he becomes the Bayer Wairarapa Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015. Contestants battled it out at Te Kairanga Vineyard with their final challenge being to deliver a speech to a key audience in the evening at the Martinborough Village Cafe.

Contestants completed a wide range of activities including questions on trellising, vine management, pests & diseases, budgeting, tractor maintenance and irrigation as well as having an interview and a quick fire buzzer round. . .

 

Wool Firms:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that despite a slightly stronger New Zealand dollar wool prices were firm to slightly dearer. With less wool available due to weather affecting shearing and vacation related shipping requirements this has helped underpin prices.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies increased 0.99 percent week on week.

Of the 7,905 bales on offer 96.2 percent sold. . .

 

PERRIAM on national stage at New Zealand Fashion Week 2015:

Luxury merino fashion brand PERRIAM has been selected for a special showcase on wool in fashion at the prestigious New Zealand Fashion Week (NZFW) in August.

PERRIAM is among some of the country’s iconic labels chosen for the Choose Wool show, taking to the runway with Sabatini, twenty-seven names, Tanya Carlson, Hailwood, Liz Mitchell and Wynn Hamlyn on Tuesday, August 25.

Curated by leading Kiwi stylist Anna Caselberg, who is known for her work with NZ wools, Choose Wool represents an important aspect of the NZ fashion industry. . .

 


Rural round-up

July 25, 2015

Govt: Lighter rules insulating dairy shock – Suze Metherell:

Light regulation in the New Zealand dairy industry has insulated the wider economy from the sharp decline in prices for the country’s largest export commodity, according to Finance Minister Bill English.

Prices for whole milk powder, the country’s key commodity export, have plunged this year and dropped an unexpectedly large 10.7 percent in in the GlobalDairyTrade auction last week, sending the kiwi dollar to six-year-lows.

Dairy prices are now expected to remain lower for longer than previously forecast, amid higher global supplies, weak demand in China and an import ban in Russia on European dairy products, which are being sold into other market. . .

Vets to cut down on antibiotics:

The Veterinary Association has set an ambitious target to reduce the use of antibiotics to control disease in animals.

Its goal is to have New Zealand no longer having to rely on using antibiotics for animals by 2030.

President Steve Merchant said the country was well suited to the challenge because of its size, and the fact that it was already the world’s third lowest user of antibiotics on animals. . .

Changes to Health and Safety Reform Bill are sensible:

Federated Farmers believe the two month delay in the Select Committee reporting back the Health and Safety Reform Bill to Parliament has led to improvements for the farming industry.

The Bill has been reported back today.

Federated Farmers health and safety spokesperson Katie Milne says the Bill overall will make farms safer places.

Specifically she says the Bill has gone some way to recognising that farms are different to urban industrial workplaces. . .

 

New Māori aquaculture agreements signed:

New regional agreements for Māori commercial aquaculture have been signed by Government Ministers today, including Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

Three regional agreements have been signed with iwi from the Auckland, Tasman, and Marlborough regions following successful negotiations between the Crown and regional Iwi aquaculture organisations.

The agreements are the result of the Māori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004, which requires the Crown to provide Iwi aquaculture organisations with 20% of new commercial aquaculture space consented since October 2011, or anticipated to occur into the future. . .

Australian consortium said to be in no hurry to up their bid for A2 Milk – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Australian-based Freedom Foods and US-based Dean Foods are said to be in no hurry to up their bid for A2 Milk Co after the milk marketer this week told its suitors to try again after an initial offer wasn’t compelling and drew out as yet unnamed rival bidders.

A source close to the bidding consortium said they were underwhelmed by a trading update A2 Milk released at the same time as rejecting the offer and request for due diligence, saying it contained “nothing that would shift their view on valuation”.

Given Freedom Foods, the company’s previous joint venture partner in Australia, has a 19.1 percent blocking stake in A2 Milk, any rival bidders may struggle to get an offer across the line. . .

 

Wool market buoyant:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that today’s sale of 6,617 bales saw increases of 1 to 2 percent overall. A good result, considering offering of 52 percent Coarse Crossbred Early Shorn and Second Shear types.

There was good demand for shorter Second Shear types 2 to 3 inch 32 to 35 micron as buyers bid to cover Chinese orders.

The trade weighted indicator was little changed from the last wool sale on 16th July. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

July 23, 2015

Potential for dairy farmers to increase income from calves:

In a welcome departure from dismal news on the dairy front, farmers are being told that a simple change to their herd mating plans could increase their income from calves.

The advice is one outcome from the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Dairy Beef Integration Programme which is looking at the impact of using good beef genetics in a dairy beef supply chain.

The aim of the AgResearch managed research is to confirm the impact the strategy could have for dairy farmers and others in the supply chain. Early results show clear advantage – and potential additional profit – to dairy farmers from the use of proven beef genetics. . .

 Tiny mite a buzzkill for NZ’s wasps: – Nick Butcher:

A Landcare Research scientist says a tiny mite found on the back of wasps could be helping control the spread of the pests, which sting the country’s primary industries by about $130 million a year.

Wasps also pose a hazard to people and harm the native bird population by competing with them for food, including honeydew and other insects.

Dr Bob Brown discovered the unnamed mite in 2011. He said his studies showed wasp nests infested with the mites were 50 to 70 percent smaller than uninfested nests. . .

Efforts continue to get to the bottom of NAIT puzzle – Allan Barber:

The saga continues, as my Warkworth friend attempts to find out how NAIT intends to ensure correct reconciliation of livestock records, but as yet without a totally satisfactory answer. After further contact, NAIT’s acting Group Manager Sam McIvor replied with answers to the main points raised and I understand the conversation will continue, as both parties try to convince the other of their respective point of view.

At its most basic, the debate centres round the issue of ensuring 100% accuracy which is only possible, if there is 100% retention of tags at the time of stock movement or every animal has a second or reserve tag. At present NAIT estimates there is 98% retention. My friend who came through the mad cow disease disaster as well as FMD outbreaks in the UK is adamant the only acceptable position is 100% accuracy in the event of a disease outbreak. . .

Duncan Coull New Shareholders’ Council Chairman:

Duncan Coull has been elected unopposed to the position of Chairman of the Fonterra Shareholders’ Council.

Mr Coull was first elected to the Council in 2010 to represent Fonterra Farmers in Otorohanga and served as the Council’s Deputy Chair for the past 12 months.

Mr Coull: “It is a privilege to be elected to lead the Council and I thank Councillors for the support I continue to receive. . .

 New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated Annual General Meeting:

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) held its Annual General Meeting today, Wednesday 22 July 2015, updating growers on its key projects and reflected on a successful year.

NZKGI President, Neil Trebilco, says grower confidence and orchard values have continued to increase over the last twelve months.

“The main factors in this increasing optimism are the reduced effects of Psa and increasing OGRs per tray, particularly for Green. . .

 

Dairy farm prices stalling, lifestyle blocks strong, REINZ data shows – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Farm sales are down 9 per cent in the year to June and dairy farm prices have begun a slight downward trend, according to the latest Real Estate Institute of New Zealand data.

There were 62, or 11.5 percent, fewer farm sales for the three months ended June, compared to the same period a year ago and the overall year to date is down 9 percent to a total of 1,737 farms sold.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to June was $29,141, compared to $26,634 in the same period the previous year, up 9.5 percent. But the All Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in farm size, location and farming type, rose by just under 1 percent in June compared to the same month in 2014. . . .

Expert’s visit fruition of relationship cultivation:

Feijoas and Kiwifruit have been on the menu as Lincoln hosted a plant specialist recently to initiate closer working ties around food production with a Chinese province of 90 million people.

Feijoa expert Dr Meng Zhang, of Southwest University of Science and Technology (SWUST) in Sichuan Province, spent a month with Lincoln University and the Bio-Protection Research Centre (BPRC) at Lincoln specifically to learn more about New Zealand horticulture production systems, biological protection and bio-control.

The visit comes a few months after SWUST’s President, Jun-bo Wang, and Director Guan-zhi Zhang, were in Lincoln as part of a large Sichuan trade delegation intended to further extend co-operation between the two institutes. . .

 

Weaker New Zealand Dollar Helps Wool Prices:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the weakening New Zealand dollar helped local prices this week with most types increasing by the corresponding currency change.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies was down 2.04 percent compared to the last sale on 9th July.

Of the 7,900 bales on offer from the South Island, 88 percent sold with types suitable for in the grease shipments coming under strong competition. . .

New production quality accreditation for animal feed:

New Zealand animal feed manufacturers now have a quality of production accreditation.

FeedSafeNZ is a new accreditation available to New Zealand Feed Manufacturers Association (NZFMA) members who pass independent audit standards as to quality of feed production. The FeedSafeNZ accreditation has two main aims: to provide safe feed for animals and thereby to protect the safety of human food.

Michael Brooks, NZFMA Executive Director says, “High quality feed is vital not only for the health and wellbeing of animals but also for humans, so it’s imperative that feed is manufactured to strict guidelines and is packed and stored correctly to ensure its quality is maintained. . .

 


Rural round-up

July 15, 2015

FMG gets $3m flood, snow claims – so far:

The country’s largest rural insurer Farmers Mutual Group says it has received $3 million worth of claims related to the flooding and snow that hit the country last month.

FMG said the severe flooding in the lower North Island prompted 264 claims from the Manawatu-Whanganui and Taranaki regions, and snow damage in Canterbury led to 80 claims being lodged.

General manager of advice and insurance Conrad Wilkshire said most of the claims were for damage to houses, contents, sheds, and farm equipment.

In one case, a farm building was swept down a river. . .

Fonterra’s rivals tell DIRA review there is insufficient competition for dairy industry deregulation – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Competitors of Fonterra Cooperative Group, the country’s largest dairy processor, claim there’s still insufficient competition to deregulate the industry.

In submissions to the Commerce Commission, which is undertaking a government-ordered review of the industry’s competitiveness, rival processors either want the status quo or the regulations tightened.

Farmers lobby group, Federated Farmers, says the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001(DIRA) will need to be amended if it’s retained long-term. . .

 Kiwi Developed Sugar Substitute to Tackle Obesity Problem:

A new low-calorie sugar alternative made entirely from fruit and developed by Kiwis, is set to offer companies around the world a natural way to reduce sugar in everyday foods and beverages such as cereals, yoghurts and juices, without compromising flavour.

Developed by Kiwi and Chinese joint venture company Guilin GFS Monk Fruit Corporation, Sweet-Delicious is a natural fruit juice made from a small Chinese melon called monk fruit. As a natural low-calorie alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners it is a new way to tackle the growing obesity epidemic. . .

 ‘Drought man’ coming to Lincoln:

“Innovate or stagnate” will be the main message from Grassmere farmer Doug Avery when he visits Lincoln University next Thursday.

Avery’s talk about turning drought and desperation into sustainability and success will take place on Thursday, July 16 at 7pm.

Avery, also known as the ‘drought man’, says he understands the value of farmers learning from farmers. . .

Fonterra strengthens ties with the Netherlands:

Associate Minister of Trade Todd McClay says a new Fonterra ingredients factory in the Netherlands, opened yesterday by Dutch King Willem-Alexander, marks an exciting step forward in agribusiness collaboration between New Zealand and the Netherlands.

The state-of-the-art factory in Heerenveen, Friesland, has been developed in partnership with Dutch conglomerate A-Ware Food Group, which has built a major new cheese plant next door.

Whey and lactose, by-products of A-Ware’s cheese-making process, will be processed into specialty ingredients by the Fonterra plant. These will be used in high-value paediatric, maternal, and sports nutrition products for sale in the European Union and beyond. . .

Kiwifruit Claim Wins First Round:

The High Court at Wellington has ruled in favour of The Kiwifruit Claim and against the Crown on all substantial points, in a judgment released on 8 July.

Kiwifruit growers and post-harvest operators who were negatively affected by Psa have untilFriday 9 October 2015 to sign up to The Kiwifruit Claim, the court has ruled.

The court said growers and post-harvest operators should be allowed to bring the proceedings as a representative or class action, which had been opposed by the Crown Law Office (CLO). . .

Hemp seed food sales remain on horizon:

The adoption of a hemp seed food standard remains on the horizon, following work requested by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Ministerial Forum earlier this year says Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew.

“New Zealand supports a standard allowing the sale of hemp seed food products, and I am hopeful that the Ministerial Forum will be able to assess the proposed hemp standard again early next year,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“The best available science shows us that hemp seed is safe to eat and has positive nutritional properties. However, the Ministerial Forum had some unanswered questions when it met in January. . .

 

Review of Hemp as a Food:

The NZ Grain and Seed Trade Association (NZGSTA) was pleased to learn today that the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (the Forum) was continuing to address some concerns around the sale of hemp seed foods for human consumption.

Responding to the Forum’s communiqué issued from Hobart Thomas Chin, association general manager, said the industry realises that the NZ Minister and officials were supportive of hemp seed foods and they are continuing with strong efforts to help see the development of a new cropping opportunity for NZ primary producers and manufacturers. . .

 

Wool Market Slightly Easier:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the first wool auction of the 2015/16 season offering 6,800 bales comprising predominantly 80 percent short second shear wools, saw a 92 percent clearance with a slightly softer tone.

Despite a weaker New Zealand dollar compared to the last sale on 25th June, with the weighted currency indicator down 1.96 percent, the bulk of the offering was firm to 2 percent easier.

Mr Dawson advises that the seasonal slow-down in order, approaching European vacation period and well stocked supply lines in China are limiting new orders for wool temporarily. . .

 


Rural round-up

June 27, 2015

Lincoln University’s VIce-Chancellor Resigns:

Dr Andrew West today resigned as Vice-Chancellor of Lincoln University.

“I am proud of what the University has achieved under my leadership. It has been a fabulous three years and Lincoln is on track to become one of the world’s truly great land-based universities”, said Dr West.

 “However my commitment of time, energy and focus has been so great that it is now appropriate that I refocus on my family that live in the Waikato and on my very elderly parents that live in England”, Dr West added.

Farm Environment Award goes to Rotorua couple – Gerard Hutching:

ROTORUA couple John and Catherine Ford have won New Zealand’s pre-eminent farming prize, the Ballance Farm Environment Award for 2015.

It is the first time in the five years since the award was established that a North Island farming business has won.

The Fords were presented with the Gordon Stephenson trophy by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy at a Parliamentary function.

The judges said the sheep and beef property had the “wow” factor and had been chosen from out of 10 regional supreme winners. It stood out in terms of environmental sustainability and impressive production and performance figures, they said. . .

Taupō farmer warned over nitrogen cap breaches:

A sheep & beef farmer has been formally warned for breaching the Resource Management Act by exceeding a nitrogen discharge cap on properties in the Lake Taupō catchment over a two year period.

It is the first warning issued by Waikato Regional Council under the new Variation 5 consenting regime designed to protect the lake’s health from nitrogen, which can leach into waterways and cause nuisance algae.

The warning came after it was discovered more than a tonne of excess nitrogen could eventually leach into the lake as a result of the farmer’s operations over the two years. By themselves the breaches are not expected to have a major detrimental effect on the lake’s future health. . .

Look at it as a challenge – Bryan Gibson:

The line painted on Rob Craig’s haybarn, marked 2004, is a reminder of the devastating floods of a decade ago. 

But heavy rain is often enough to jog Craig’s memory, as it did last weekend.

“I didn’t sleep well on Friday night, to be honest. It was bucketing down with rain. Ever since ’04 it’s always in the back of your mind when it’s raining heavily. It just kept raining and raining and I got a pretty bad feeling then that it was going to be bad.” . . .

Lake Opuha reaps the winter harvest – Tim Cronshaw:

A rich snow harvest in the Fairlie basin is providing an unexpected windfall for lowland farmers needing Lake Opuha to fully recharge for the next irrigation season.

After being closed to irrigating in February the lake reached “zero storage” for the first time in 17 years and had been slow to return to its normal levels over autumn.

The lake will be boosted by the initial snow melt in the lower basin with lake levels expected to continue rising as deeper snow in the Two Thumb Range thaws in spring, but more water is needed for it to totally refill. . .

 NZ finishes 2014/15 wool season with smallest volume sold at auction in at least 7 years: – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s 2014/15 wool season ended this week with what is expected to be the smallest percentage of the clip sold through auctions in at least seven years, as more farmers were attracted to the premium prices and protection from commodity price volatility offered in private sales.

The auction system’s share of wool is expected to continue to shrink. An estimated 464,000 bales are expected to come up for auction in the 2015/16 year, down from 480,000 bales in 2014/15 and 493,000 bales in 2013/14, according to Wool Services International executive Malcolm Ching, who is on the roster committee which estimates wool bale supply for the auctions. Ching said the committee has been forced to revise down its estimates in recent years to reflect declining sheep numbers and an increased amount of wool circumventing the auction system. . .


Rural round-up

June 26, 2015

Young Queensland beef leader Emma Hegarty wins inaugural Zanda McDonald award – Matt Brann:

A beef extension officer from western Queensland took out the inaugural Zanda McDonald Award at the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) conference in Darwin last night.

The award is in honour of grazier and young beef industry leader Zanda McDonald, who died in 2013 following a tragic accident on his Queensland cattle property.

The award winner, Emma Hegarty, is from Colanya Station near Longreach and works as a beef extension officer for the Queensland Department of Agriculture. . .

Final Board of Inquiry decision:

The Chairman of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Investment Company, HBRIC Ltd says it is pleased to be at the end of the Board of Inquiry decision process on the Tukituki Plan Change and consent conditions for the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.

The Board today released its final decision, with submitters allowed 15 working days to appeal. HBRIC Ltd Chairman Andy Pearce says it is good to be getting some finality in what has been an extremely long and involved process. . .

Some Manawatu farms still under water:

 Farmers in Manawatu, like those in the Whanganui and Taranaki regions, are waiting for floodwaters to clear before they can begin to clean up and repair fences, and see what damage may have been caused to pasture.

 Farms in Rangiotu in southern Manawatu were left badly flooded after the weekend rain caused the Oroua River to breach its stopbanks.

The chief executive of Hopkins Farming Group, Richard Syme, said all six of the company’s dairy farms flooded and one of them was left almost entirely under water.

Mr Syme said that farm’s manager had to be plucked from his home by a helicopter after the flood cut off all road access. . .

Opening of the Oete Farms new goat milking facility – Jo Goodhew:

 . . . Apparently Captain James Cook had a taste for goat milk, and took a goat along with him on his maiden voyage to New Zealand. This was the beginning of a long established history of goat milk in this country.

In 1988, New Zealand was the first country to develop goat milk based nutritional products for infants (by Dairy Goat Cooperative). Since then it has been a long journey building the profile of goat milk, and addressing issues such as when the European Union didn’t recognise goats’ milk as an approved infant formula.

With the EU’s recent approval, and growing global demands in the Middle East, Latin America as well as Europe and Asia, goat milk infant formula already accounts for 7% of our infant formula exports, and future growth is predicted. . .

Apiculture industry unification to go ahead:

The apiculture industry has voted to progress plans to unify under one representative organisation.

National Beekeepers Association president, Ricki Leahy, said today’s AGM had voted overwhelmingly to progress unification.

“I am excited about what this offers the industry moving forward.” . .

 Fragmented honey industry votes to create single peak body – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – Federated Farmers Bees, Honey Packers’ and Exporters’ Association, and National Beekeepers’ Association have all voted to proceed with plans to create a single national body for the apiculture industry.

The industry bodies voted with a substantial majority to unify the industry at their respective annual meetings held after a four-day conference in Taupo, Fed Farmers said in a statement. The Apiculture Industry Unification Project’s interim working group told the conference that to be profitable and sustainable the industry needed formalised administration and a single peak body funded by a possible reintroduction of commodity levies. . .

Innovative Fonterra return on investment project wins international award:

A return on Investment (ROI) project delivered by Fonterra’s Sales Excellence Team and guided by Bloom Training and Recruitment’s Director, Beryl Oldham, has won a prestigious international award from the ROI Institute.

The Fonterra project was recognised for its approach to ROI measurement and evaluation and earned Fonterra and Oldham this year’s award for the “Most Innovative Approach to ROI”.

“ROI is a performance measure used to evaluate the effectiveness of an investment,” says Ms Oldham. . .

 Fonterra’s June Guaranteed Milk Price Set at $5.25 Per kgMS:

Fonterra has set the June Guaranteed Milk Price (GMP) at $5.25 per kgMS, the same price as the opening 2015/16 forecast Farmgate Milk Price.

A total of 45.2 million kgMS was offered by 443 farms, more than double the number of farms that applied this time last year.

Fonterra’s Group Director Co-operative Affairs Miles Hurrell said: “More of our farmers are seeing GMP as a financial risk management tool and are choosing to lock in a price for a percentage of their milk production. . .

 Wool Generally Holds Its Ground

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the combined North and South Island auction comprising 20,585 bales saw a 91 percent clearance and a generally firm market except for the previously over pressured Fine Crossbred types which eased slightly.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies was down 1.47 percent compared to the last sale on 11th June helping underpin local values.

Mr Dawson advises that Finer Mid Micron Fleece were 3 to 6 percent easier with the coarser types firm to 2 percent dearer. . .


Rural round-up

June 13, 2015

 Farmer Wellness Big Breakfast – Nathan Guy

The title of my speech today is “Managing Through Tough Times”.

I came up with the idea of this function when I was out running about six weeks ago and felt the time was right for the Government to communicate two very important messages to our farming families and communities.

Firstly, I want to acknowledge that these are challenging times for many farmers and the wider rural community, particularly in the dairy sector, but that we expect much improved conditions in the longer term.

Secondly, I wanted to reinforce the message that if farmers are struggling, or have concerns about how things are going, you are not alone and help is out there.

We know there are plenty of challenges this year, as there always is with farming. . .

$500,000 boost to help rural mental health:

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have announced a $500,000 funding boost to support mental health initiatives targeted at rural communities.

“Rural depression is a significant issue. The physical isolation as well as the uncertainties of being reliant on the land creates different pressures to those living in an urban setting,” says Dr Coleman.

“The Ministry of Health and Ministry for Primary Industries have each contributed $250,000 to the one off funding boost. . .

Federated Farmers Fielday Seminars: “The essence of farming: water, land, capability”:

Agribusiness expert, Jaqueline Rowarth, has told a Federated Farmers seminar at the Mystery Creek Fieldays this afternoon that investment is necessary for ensuring supplies of sufficient farm water, but meanwhile maintaining water quality.

She said this investment is only possible if primary produce meets the huge challenge of attracting good prices.

Professor Rowarth told the 50 odd people at the seminar New Zealand has both water quantity and quality, which farmers are capturing and using responsibly. . .

 

Greenhouse gas study tour winners announced:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced the two winners of the 2015 Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) – World Farmer Organisation Study Tour in Argentina later this year.

Doug Avery and Zach Mounsey have been selected as winners by a panel including Mr Guy and Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew after giving presentations at Fieldays this year.

“The purpose of this study tour is to increase global understanding and engagement on agricultural greenhouse gas research. These two winners will have an important role as ambassadors for New Zealand in sharing environmental management practices that support sustainable productivity. . .

Breeder confident of sheep’s safety:

A Canterbury sheep breeder with stock on board a major shipment to Mexico says she has been in touch with the destination farm and has no concerns about the animals’ safety.

Penni Loffhagen, who is one of the biggest Suffolk stud breeders in the country, has sold 15 young pedigree sheep to a Mexican farm for breeding.

Her ewes and rams are among 50,000 sheep now at sea on the way to Mexico. . .

They’re not ‘our’ sheep – Kiwiblog:

Newstalk ZB reports:

Labour wants assurances that tens of thousands of sheep and cattle being shipped to Mexico won’t be killed when they get there.

The shipment leaves Timaru today.

Leader Andrew Little told Newstalk ZB’s Rachel Smalley the regulations are clear – you can export live sheep for breeding purposes, you can’t for slaughter. . .

PGG Wrightson lifts annual earnings outlook for a second time, warns of weak farmer confidence – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – PGG Wrightson, the rural services firm controlled by China’s Agria Corp, lifted its annual earnings outlook as second-half trading comes in ahead of expectations, but warned weak farmer confidence may weigh on future sales.

The Christchurch-based company expects annual operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to be between $66 million and $69 million in the year ending June 30, above the February forecast for earnings between $62 million and $68 million. That in itself was an upgrade from previous guidance to beat last year’s earnings of $58.7 million. . .

New Zealand Avocados Achieve Record Sales Volume:

New Zealand’s largest ever avocado crop has been successfully harvested, packed and marketed with a massive 7 million trays sold during the 2014-15 season.

Jen Scoular, Chief Executive of NZ Avocado, today announced the new record volume which was 43 per cent higher than last season, and up from a previous industry high of 6.1 million trays sold in 2011-12 and a great industry return.

“Growth in the consumption of avocados in our key markets continues to be very impressive. . .

Best Young Butchers in the Region:

Two of New Zealand’s top young butchers have been named following the Alto Young Butcher & Competenz Butcher Apprentice of the Year Lower North Island regional final yesterday.

Havelock North local, Justin Hinchco from New World Havelock North took out the Alto Young Butcher category and Vernon Atutahi from New World Marton finished first place in the Competenz Butcher Apprentice category. . .

 

Body condition score to become a breeding trait:

Body condition score (BCS) is to be included as a new trait in Breeding Worth (BW) from February 2016.

Breeding Worth provides farmers with an economic measure of genetic merit (profit per five tonne of dry matter) and is calculated for all dairy cattle. During a National Breeding Objective Review in 2012, BCS (particularly late lactation BCS) was identified as an important trait with economic value to farmers. . .

 

Wool values ease:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the North Island offering this week, made up predominantly of short coarse Second Shear wools compared to the more varied South Island longer selection last sale on 4th June, saw prices ease despite the weakening New Zealand dollar.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies came back by 1.95 percent with a 98 percent clearance of the 9,400 bales on offer. . .

NIWA’s Fieldays stand a winner:

NIWA’s Fieldays team is today basking in the glory of winning the Best Indoor Agribusiness Site awarded by the National Agricultural Fieldays organisation for the 2015 event.

Dr Mark Bojesen-Trepla, NIWA’s manager of marketing and industry engagement, said the win was a great endorsement for the team who had worked extremely hard to put together a space that would be eye-catching and relevant to farmers.

“We are delighted our efforts have been formally recognised but are also looking forward to meeting more farmers during the rest of Fieldays and showing them how we can help.” . . .

 

 


Rural round-up

June 7, 2015

Fed Farmers appeals GMO decision:

Federated Farmers has lodged an appeal with the High Court over a decision allowing Northland Regional Council to regulate the use of genetically modified organisms in the region.

The farming lobby group had previously appealed to the Environment Court over the matter. Last month the court ruled the council had jurisdiction under the Resource Management Act to decide whether GMOs can be used.

The council would do this though regional policy statements and plans.

Federated Farmers’ president William Rolleston was seeking clarification on some points of the decision but would not discuss details because it was before the court. . .

Winners of 2015 Green Ribbon Awards announced:

Project Janszoon has named as the recipient of the Supreme Award at this year’s Green Ribbon Awards, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry announced at the ceremony held at Parliament tonight.

“Project Janszoon has carried out an impressive job restoring and protecting one of New Zealand’s greatest natural assets: the Abel Tasman National Park. Project initiatives include extensive pest and weed control, the return of important plants and animals like rata and kaka and future proofing the project through education and community engagement,” Dr Smith says. . .

 

Maize growers nervous – John Hodge:

Although I’m an optimist I am becoming more aware that maize growers are exceptionally nervous about the future of the industry in New Zealand.

I see problems arising in the future for us and optimist or not I have to admit things are not looking rosy. Having farmed my way through ups and downs for the past 60 years, my optimism has always got me through. So my advice to other growers is to do the same because when we can hope things will come right it makes it bearable.

The drop in payout to dairy farmers has had an immediate effect on their demand for both maize silage and maize grain, which combined with the drought conditions over the last three years, has been hard going. With dairy farmers looking for cheaper options to feed their herds, it’s fair enough that maize farmers are feeling nervous. . .

Continued pressure on wool:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s Marketing Executive, Mr Paul Steel reports that the weakening New Zealand dollar coupled with exporter pressure to meet shipping requirements and limited supply continues to underpin the market.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies came down 2.14 percent compared to the last sale on 28th May.

Of the 6,876 bales on offer, 94 percent sold. . .

 NZ lamb wool price rises to record amid strong demand, limited supply – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand lamb wool prices jumped to a record high amid strong demand from exporters and limited supplies.

Lamb wool climbed to $7.45 per kilogram at yesterday’s South Island auction, from $7/kg at last week’s North Island auction, the highest price that AgriHQ has recorded since it began collecting wool prices in July 2005. The price for clean 35-micron wool, a benchmark for crossbred wool used for carpets and accounting for the majority of New Zealand’s production, held at $6.20/kg for a third week, its highest level since November 2013 and 17 percent above year earlier levels. . .

 Canterbury Seed consolidates cereals partnership with KWS:

Canterbury Seed and cereal breeder KWS UK continue to cement their long standing partnership as the number of New Zealand growers recognising the distinct benefits of the KWS cereal varieties increases.

The relationship now extends to new cereal varieties being evaluated in New Zealand under local conditions at the same time as the varieties being entered into the UK official trials. This is crucial given not all UK varieties will perform in New Zealand and allows for evaluation before moving forward into the local trial system.

During the 2014 – 2015 seasons, Canterbury Seed evaluated five new wheat varieties and seven new barleys – two wheat and one barley variety progressed to New Zealand trials. . .

 

Wellington Gets Set For Big Farm Environment Celebration:

This year its Wellington’s turn to host New Zealand Farm Environment Trust’s annual Sustainability Showcase – a premier event on the national farming calendar.

To be held on June 24 in Parliament’s Banquet Hall, the Showcase honours Supreme winners of the 2015 Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) and culminates with the naming of the National Winner and the presentation of the esteemed Gordon Stephenson trophy.

New Zealand Farm Environment Trust general manager David Natzke says having the event in Wellington provides the rural community with a chance to celebrate its successes in front of an audience that includes some of the nation’s top decision-makers.

 


Rural round-up

May 25, 2015

Extraordinary season for growers as industry gets back on track for growth:

Zespri’s final result for 2014/15 shows an industry that is back on track and revitalized for the strong growth outlook ahead.

The last season has been extraordinary, Zespri Chairman Peter McBride said, with the total fruit and service payment up 17 percent on the previous year to $939 million. Zespri’s global kiwifruit sales reached $1.568 billion, up 16 percent on 2013/14. Export earnings increased by 18 percent to $1.086 billion versus the 2013/14 season. “These strong headline results were achieved because of the effort of growers, the post-harvest sector and the Zespri team onshore and in the markets,” Mr McBride said. . .

Budget 2015: Driving primary sector export growth:

The Government will invest $7.5 million over two years in developing key skills and systems to help boost exports across the primary sector, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.

This investment focuses on key initiatives that will help deliver greater economic growth, including:

  • Identifying new farming systems and processes.
  • Building international consumer trust in New Zealand products.
  • Identifying and prioritising opportunities to increase investment, employment and incomes in the primary sector.
  • Encouraging more people to get involved in the primary industries. . . .

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

Nominations and entries are open for the 2015 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition, and organisers are hoping for another record year.

Foundation Chair Ben Todhunter says, “Last year we had record entries followed by the most popular winner’s field day in the history of the competition when more than 400 people turned up to tour Patoa Farms.”

The competition offers a top prize of a $20,000 travel grant to undertake further farm study or pursue farm business opportunities, plus four $5000 awards for the best performers in specific areas such as resource management, consumer awareness, innovation and human resource management. . .

Smart agriculture: What resilient farmers do differently – John Janssen:

Falling milk prices have seen renewed discussion about the tough times ahead for those in the dairy sector, and as such it seems a timely opportunity to share some insights into how farmers can put themselves into the best possible position to overcome the challenges ahead.

Adaptability and resilience have become critical to successful agribusiness ventures and we see time and again that the most profitable and resilient businesses are the ones where the decision-making over a period of time has been of a high standard. . . .

Weaker NZ Dollar Helps Wool Prices:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s Marketing Executive, Mr Paul Steel advises that a weaker New Zealand dollar compared to the last sale on 14th May, kept prices high despite a significant increase in the rostered quantity. Steady demand and exporters struggling to source enough wool to meet shipping requirements added extra strength to the market.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies eased 1.97 percent week on week.

Of the 9,733 bales on offer, 91.4 percent sold. . .

$41.2m for resource management, water reform:

The Government is committing $41.2 million in Budget 2015 to deliver on its priorities for the environment, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

Budget 2015 will invest an additional $20.4 million over four years to provide greater national direction and support to councils in implementing the resource management reforms.

A further $4 million will go towards supporting the Environmental Protection Authority’s role to implement the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) legislation in 2015/16. An additional $16.8 million is allocated to support the Government’s programme of improving the management of freshwater. . .

 


Rural round-up

May 9, 2015

Low-Cost Pasture-Based Dairying Still Our Best Bet, Say Farm Environment Leaders:

New Zealand dairy farmers shouldn’t lose sight of their competitive advantage, say farm environment ambassadors Mark and Devon Slee, who recently returned from a study tour of the Northern Hemisphere.

In late March the Canterbury dairy farmers and National Winners of the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards embarked on a 25-day trip to the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Ireland, visiting a wide range of dairy farms

Mark says a key aim of the tour, which was facilitated by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust and supported by a range of industry groups, was to study intensive dairy farming systems in Europe and to find out how farmers were using technology to improve sustainability. . .

Pacing global changes a big ask for Fonterra – Fran O’Sullivan:

Tim Groser’s warning that the dairy sector would effectively have to guts it out during a period of low milk payouts was timely.

It’s perhaps easier said than done maybe from the perspective of a Trade Minister.

But dairy farmers are a resilient lot. They’ve been through cyclical times before.

Yet, last week’s Fonterra announcement that the co-operative has downwardly revised its 2014/2015 payout forecast back to $4.50/kg milk solids (from $4.70) was still a hard knock for those that had factored the higher track into their own financial planning.

Federated Farmers pointed out just how difficult it was for some dairy farmers with their comment that the average Canterbury dairy farmer was now facing a loss of 91c for every kilogram of milk solids that they produced. . .

ANZ Bank was most aggressive in rural rate swaps sales to farmers, ComCom says – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – ANZ Bank New Zealand, the country’s biggest lender, was the most aggressive in pitching interest rate swaps to farmers, over which it subsequently agreed to pay $19 million in compensation, the Commerce Commission says.

General counsel competition Mary Anne Borrowdale told Parliament’s primary production select committee that of the three banks to settle with the regulator, ANZ had the most customers involved and was investigated over both the way it was able to move its margin and the break fees it charged farmers for an early release. While ANZ announced its settlement with the regulator before ASB Bank and Westpac Banking Corp, it only just made its offer to farmers yesterday. The three banks’ collective settlements totalled $24.2 million. . .

Landmark animal welfare legislation welcomed by veterinarians:

The New Zealand veterinary profession welcomes today’s landmark passage of the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill which brings greater clarity, transparency and enforceability of the country’s animal welfare laws, further strengthening New Zealand’s excellent reputation for animal welfare.

The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA), which played a key role in helping to shape the Bill, says some of the key changes include the legal recognition of animal sentience, which is sensation or feeling in animals, for the first time in New Zealand law.

NZVA President Dr Steve Merchant says: “Veterinarians are at the vanguard of animal welfare advocacy and public support is behind us in the call for greater clarity on issues concerning animal welfare and increased sanctions for animal cruelty. . .

 

 High prices and volumes for avocado growers:

Avocado exporter Avoco says its growers are celebrating the end of a season where they not only got a bumper crop – but decent prices for their fruit too.

Avoco said strong end-of-season demand from Australia lifted returns for growers – to $15 per tray for large avocados and $14 per tray for smaller fruit.

Avoco director John Carroll said the company exported a record volume of fruit – 4.5 million trays, out of a total 7 million trays – and still managed to get good returns for its 700 plus growers. . .

Anchor Gives More New Zealanders an Organic Milk Choice:

Anchor is making organic milk more accessible to New Zealanders with the nationwide launch of Anchor Organic.

Fonterra Brands New Zealand Managing Director Tim Deane said that with other organic milk brands only available in certain regions or very expensive, Anchor is on a mission to make organic milk more widely available at a fair price.

“We want to put organic milk in reach of more New Zealanders. We’ve done just that through our nationwide distribution and providing Anchor Organic at an everyday price that works out at only about 20 cents extra per glass compared to our standard Anchor milk,” said Mr Deane. . .

Wool Prices Bounce:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that a weaker New Zealand dollar, limited wool volumes pressuring exporters and renewed client interest, combined to lift local prices across the board.

Of the 6,350 bales on offer, 99 percent sold.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies was down 1.79 percent compared to the last sale on 30th April.

Mr Dawson advises that Fine Crossbred Full Fleece and longer shears were 7 to 10 percent dearer, stimulated by resurgent Chinese interest with shorter types 3 to 6 percent firmer. . .


Rural-round-up

March 27, 2015

Ahuwhenua Trophy finalists announced:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has congratulated the three finalists in this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy competition, celebrating excellence in Māori farming.  

Mangaroa Station in Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne, Paua Station north of Kaitaia, and Maranga Station near Gisborne were announced as the finalists for the 2015 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming award at an event tonight in Parliament. . .

 Can green-lipped mussels be the next heavy lifter? – Keith Woodford:

If New Zealand is to double agri-food exports by 2025 in line with Government targets, then we are going to need some lateral thinking. We won’t get there just by doing more of what we have been doing.

Related to this, in recent weeks I have been giving thought as to whether the green-lipped mussel can be one of the heavy lifters that can get the job done for New Zealand.
The green-lipped mussel is indigenous to New Zealand. The species is found nowhere outside our coastal waters. It is easily identified in the shell by its distinctive emerald green colour. The flesh is also distinctive from other mussels.

Maori would no doubt have harvested green-lipped mussels for many hundreds of years, but most of nature’s mussels are well hidden. In most years there are huge amounts of microscopic mussel spat washed up attached to seaweed on the Northland Coast, particularly on the so-called Ninety Mile Beach. Exactly where it comes from no-one knows. . .

 – Keith Woodford:

A Chinese language report on WeChat –China’s popular social media platform – indicates that the Chinese infant formula market is about to become a lot more price competitive. According to a usually reliable Chinese industry website, the New Hope Nutritional Foods Company is about to introduce a new line of products called ‘Akarola’ which will come from New Zealand and sell for less than one third the price of similar products.

New Hope already has a New Zealand sourced brand called ‘Akara’ which is manufactured and canned by Canterbury-based Synlait. Linked to this, Synlait announced in late 2014 that it was taking a 25 percent share in New Hope Nutritional Foods and that this would create an integrated supply chain from farm to consumers, in line with Chinese Government regulations. . .

Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Awards Winners Determined to Advance in Industry:

The 2015 Canterbury/North Otago Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Justin and Melissa Slattery are passionate and determined to advance in the dairy industry – in fact they want to be farm owners before they are 35 years old.

The Slatterys took out the major title and claimed $18,800 in prizes at last night’s 2015 Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Industry Awards annual dinner held at the Airforce Museum of New Zealand at Wigram. The other big winners were Mark Cudmore, the 2015 Canterbury/North Otago Farm Manager of the Year, and James Davidson, the 2015 Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year. . .

Food Safety Law Reform Bill consultation begins:

Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew has welcomed the consultation process for the Food Safety Law Reform Bill, which will address the recommendations from the Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) Contamination Inquiry.

“We have made substantial progress implementing the WPC Inquiry recommendations; however, some recommendations require legislative change,” Mrs Goodhew says.

“The Food Safety Law Reform Bill will address these recommendations and reinforce New Zealand’s reputation as a reliable supplier of safe and suitable food.

“We are seeking feedback from the public and those in the food industry to ensure the proposed changes are usable and practical for all involved.” . .

Red Meat Sector welcomes signing of Korea FTA:

The recently signed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Korea will be a significant step towards reducing the overall amount of tariffs paid on New Zealand red meat exports, according to the Chairmen of Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

Trade Minister Tim Groser signed this week the New Zealand Korea FTA with his Korean counterpart.

“This deal is critical for New Zealand sheep and beef farmers and meat exporters, keeping us competitive in this key market,” said Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman James Parsons. . .

 Commerce Commission issues draft determination on wool scouring assets application:

The Commerce Commission has reached a preliminary view that it should allow Cavalier Wool Holdings to acquire 100 per cent of New Zealand Wool Services International’s wool scouring business and assets.

The Commission has today published its draft determination on Cavalier Wool Holding’s application under the Commerce Act for authorisation of the proposed acquisition.

“Our preliminary view is that the proposed acquisition would substantially lessen competition in the North and South Island wool scouring markets, and in the small domestic customer wool grease market. Cavalier Wool Holdings would essentially have a monopoly on the supply of wool scouring services and the supply of wool grease post-acquisition. However, at this preliminary stage, the Commission is currently satisfied that the public benefits of the acquisition would outweigh the loss of competition,” said Commerce Commission Chairman Dr Mark Berry. . .

 


Rural round-up

March 22, 2015

Pesticides not behind bee decline – study – Dan Satherley:

Bee numbers have been plummeting since the 1990s, with pesticides usually taking the brunt of the blame.

But a three-year study in the United States has now shown that at real-world dosage levels, bee colonies are remarkably tolerant of insecticides; therefore, there must be something else driving what’s become known as colony collapse disorder.

Scientists at the University of Maryland subjected colonies to imidacloprid, the world’s most commonly used insecticide, and found it had no real effect on colony numbers when used at recommended levels. . .

2015 Dairy Woman of the Year named:

Federated Farmers national board member and provincial president Katie Milne of Rotomanu, Lake Brunner, West Coast, has been named the 2015 Dairy Woman of the Year at the Dairy Women’s Network conference gala dinner in Invercargill tonight.

Milne farms with her partner at Rotomanu, Lake Brunner catchment on the West Coast of the South Island. They have a small high BW Jersey herd of 200 cows.

On a separate run-off the couple rear replacement heifer calves and run a localised contracting operation making silage pits, hay, baleage, effluent spreading from ponds, herd homes and stand-off pads.

The 2015 Dairy Woman of the Year judging panel comprised Mark Heer from DWN gold partner ASB Bank, Sandy Burghan from Global Women New Zealand, DWN trustee Alison Gibb, DWN chair and 2014 Dairy Woman of the Year winner Justine Kidd, and Fonterra representative Janet Rosanowski. . .

 Katie Milne is Dairy Woman of the year:

Federated Farmers President, Dr William Rolleston, says he’s thrilled by Katie Milne winning the 2015 Dairy Woman of the Year Award.

“I’m not surprised Katie won, as she has been a passionate advocate for farmers for a long time and has made some real progress for all of us at both a provincial and national level.”

“Katie has been involved with Federated Farmers since 1991, when as a 23 year old she went along to a provincial meeting with some concerns about the RMA’s impact on her ability to farm. Since then she has moved up the executive ranks, now in her third year as a Federated Farmers Board Member and in her sixth year as the Federation’s West Coast provincial president.” . .

Westland congratulates 2015 Dairy Woman of the Year Katie Milne:

Westland Milk Products is delighted that West Coast dairy farming stalwart Katie Milne has won the 2015 Dairy Woman of the Year Award.

Westland’s Board Chairman Matt O’Regan says the award is fitting recognition for Milne’s passionate dedication to dairying on the West Coast and, through her work with Federated Farmers, as a national advocate for the industry.

“Katie has been a shareholder supplier of Westland Milk Products for more than 20 years,” O’Regan says. “In that time her advocacy for the dairy industry has hugely benefited the Coast, especially in terms of the incredible amount of work she has put into TB prevention and infection control. TB is still a serious issue on the West Coast, with some 35 of the South Island’s 58 infected herds located here. But compare that to a decade ago when there were 253 infected herds in the region.” . .

Markets dismiss 1080 threat – Andrew Hoggard:

The dairy industry is at large pleasantly surprised at the non knee jerk reaction that has happened in the international dairy markets as the result of the 1080 scare.

The reporting to date has been fairly well measured and thus the public has not been spooked.  The market responses seem measured and rational and that is promising, and I want to pat the New Zealand public on the back for acting in a similar fashion.

The only sour notes have been Winston Peters and some of the minor exporters.

Peters put out a supportive statement, stating he believed it was all a hoax.  The next day he got out of bed on the wrong side and bitterly claimed the news came out timed as part of a John Key be-election plot.

Commercial limits for southern blue whiting, Otago rock lobster changing:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced changes to commercial fishing limits in two areas as part of the annual fisheries sustainability review.

“From 1 April 2015 the total allowable catch for the southern blue whiting stock at the Bounty Platform will be decreased to ensure its ongoing sustainability, while the commercial limit for Otago rock lobster will increase,” says Mr Guy.

“Limits for rock lobster (crayfish) will be unchanged in Northland, Gisborne, the Canterbury and Marlborough region, and the Westland and Taranaki region.”

The decisions follow consultation with all stakeholders and careful consideration of scientific advice. . .

Innovative Dairy Farming Couple Wins Supreme in 2015 Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Pakotai dairy farmers Rachel and Greig Alexander are the Supreme winners of the 2015 Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

At a special BFEA ceremony on March 18, the Alexanders were also presented with the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, LIC Dairy Farm Award, Massey University Innovation Award, and the WaterForce Integrated Management Award.

Their business, Waikopani Holdings Ltd, farms a total of 486ha on two farms (one dairy and the other beef) in the Mangakahia River Valley, about 50km northwest of Whangarei.

Greig and Rachel have farmed the family dairy farm since the mid-1990s and have continued to improve the property and build a very sustainable business. . .

 Yoghurt And Butter ‘as Good as It Gets’:

Yoghurt made from buffalo milk and butter from a boutique producer have been named Champions in the 2015 New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards.

Forty-five yoghurts and butters were entered in this year’s awards, the first time these categories have been judged alongside cheese.

Made on the shores of the Hauraki Gulf, Clevedon Valley Buffalo Company’s Buffalo Boysenberry Yoghurt has won the very first Green Valley Dairies Champion Yoghurt Award. . .

Resurgent New Zealand Dollar Lowers Wool Prices:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s Marketing Executive, Mr Paul Steel advises that the rapid rise in the New Zealand dollar just prior to the auction saw generally corresponding lowering of local wool prices in many areas apart from fine crossbred fleece and some targeted coarser types.

Of the 18,200 bales on offer 88.4 percent sold.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies was up 1.78 percent compared to the last sale on 12th March.

Mr Steel advises that Fine Crossbred Fleece and Shears ranged from firm to 5 percent dearer. . .


Rural round-up

February 5, 2015

Fonterra and DOC working together on World Wetlands Day:

With World Wetlands Day marked this week (February 2), Fonterra and the Department of Conservation (DOC) are continuing their work to improve the health of five key catchments across New Zealand, through their Living Water partnership.

Living Water contributes to the conservation of wetlands through a ten year programme of work to improve water quality and the variety and abundance of native wildlife at the selected catchments located in major dairying regions.

The Living Water catchments are Hikurangi in Northland, three Waikato peat lakes – Areare, Ruatuna and Rotomānuka, Miranda/Pūkorokoro on the Firth of Thames/ Tīkapa Moana, Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere in Canterbury and Waituna in Southland. . .

 Setting dairying women on the right path:

Two participants of the Agri-Women’s Development Trust’s (AWDT) new pilot programme say they have been left feeling empowered and confident in the running of their dairy farming businesses.

Hawke’s Bay dairy farmer Zoe Kuriger and Arohena dairy farmer Cathy Prendergast were among the first intake of the Pathways Programme, which is run in two modules – the first held in November last year.

The Pathways Programme is a collaborative venture between Dairy Women’s Network and AWDT and is funded by DairyNZ and Ministry for Primary Industries. . .

 

Adding value to business and balance to life:

Dairy Women’s Network and DairyNZ are running free goal setting workshops called ‘Know where you are heading’ in nine locations throughout New Zealand during February and March.

The dairy module is suitable for all levels of dairying, however is open to DWN members and non-members, and both men and women of any profession.

The workshop has been jointly developed by DWN and DairyNZ, using material from DairyNZ’s Mark and Measure seminars.

“The aim of the workshop is to build farmer confidence and gain clarity on goals, as well as an understanding of the essentials of planning, goal setting and workable action plans,” said DWN Takaka regional convenor Tyler Langford, workshop co-presenter. . .

Young bidder gets the job done – :

A determined 17-year-old helped to set the prices at this week’s Hawarden crossbred sheep sale, as she held her nerve and saw off rival bidders for three pens of romney two-tooths.

Louisa McClintock was buying on behalf of her father, and paid between $165 and $173 for 230 romney and romney cross ewes.

“Dad just said, ‘Get the ones you like’, so hopefully I’ve done all right for him,” Louisa laughed after the sale. . .

Farmers urged to plan feed for cows carefully:

Industry body DairyNZ is urging farmers facing drier than normal farming conditions to carefully consider how they make their feed planning decisions to keep cows in milk while maintaining their condition.

General manager of extension, Craig McBeth, says farmers are now reaching some crunch points for making the calls on feed planning and milking frequency.

“We know some farmers have moved on to once a day milking or milking every 16 hours as a way of managing their way through what are still very dry conditions in most parts of the country despite the recent rainfall. In the last couple of weeks we’ve seen pastures go from green to brown pretty quickly with limited post grazing regrowth. Soil moisture levels are still well below the average for this time of year and we’re now seeing that reflected in crisp pastures,” he says. . .

 

 

No slowing in demand to buy Canterbury farms:

Local and international interest in the New Zealand rural real estate market remains extremely strong, defying suggestions demand could soften in the face of the lower Fonterra payout to farmers.

Shane O’Brien, national director of Colliers Rural & Agribusiness division, said buyers were taking the medium to long-term view of the dairy industry and were still keenly contesting quality land.

“We’re still getting strong enquiry both from local buyers wanting to expand their land holdings as well as from international funds and private investors.” . .

Wool Demand Outstrips Supply:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that strong buying interest for quick shipment underpinned this week’s wool market for the 13,789 bales on offer from both Islands.

Currency played a minor role despite the New Zealand dollar’s volatility with the indicator for the main trading currencies practically unchanged at 0.6898 compared to the last sale on 29th January.

Of the offering 90.8 percent sold with most unsold wools coming from the Mid Micron selection.

Mr Dawson advises that there were some inter Island variations in price direction in some sectors, with an overall firm to dearer trend. . . .

FMG Selects Interactive Intelligence as Telephony Partner

Reinforces Insurer’s Commitment to Servicing New Zealand’s Rural Sector

Interactive Intelligence Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ) has announced that it will partner with FMG, New Zealand’s leading rural insurer, to roll out its Customer Interaction Center™ (CIC) IP communications software suite across the company’s New Zealand service centre operations.

CIC will support FMG in improving its overall customer experience delivery through key features, including recording and quality assurance, multi-media ACD contact centre, IVR, outbound dialer, agent and supervisor desktop functionality. . .

 


Rural round-up

January 30, 2015

Fonterra Milk Volume Forecast Reduced:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited has reduced its milk volume forecast for the 2014-15 season to 1,532 million kgMS, reflecting the impact of dry weather on production in recent weeks.

The new forecast is 3.3 per cent lower than the 1,584 million kgMS collected last season. The previous milk volume forecast, made in December last year, was 1,584 million kgMS.

Group Director Co-operative Affairs Miles Hurrell said daily milk production was now 6.1 per cent lower than at the same time last season, as farmers appear to be using more traditional practices to manage their farm businesses with the low payout forecast. . .

 

Dollar Drop Helps Push up Wool:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s Marketing Executive, Mr Paul Steel reports that the rapidly weakening New Zealand dollar against the US and GBP aided by recent active customer buying activity saw the local prices lift in all areas.

Of the 21,600 bales on offer, 93.7 percent sold with mainly some Merino’s being held back.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies was down 2.28 percent accounting for most of the price gain in the carpet wool sector with sales/supply pressure pushing Lambs wool and Fine Crossbred’s higher. . .

 

Americans the biggest buyers of New Zealand land since 2010, Linz data shows – :

(BusinessDesk) – Americans have been the biggest buyers of New Zealand land in the past five years although the Chinese topped the list in 2014 alone.

Figures released by Land Information New Zealand of approved investments since 2010 shows a breakdown of buyers by country and by industry. The figures come amid renewed concern over foreign buyers contributing to rising house prices, particularly in Auckland, and of increasing amounts of farmland heading into offshore hands.

Of the 646,190 hectares sold during the five years, Americans bought the most at 168,154 hectares. UK residents, who headed the list in 2010, came in second over the five-year period buying a total 66,932 hectares, followed by Israel on 52,325 hectares and Switzerland on 36,965.Chinese buyers came in fifth at 34,908 hectares, although they headed the list with 10,989 hectares bought in 2014, a big jump from just 53 hectares in 2010, and attracted the most criticism. . .

$5m to expand Food Innovation Network:

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today announced that Callaghan Innovation will invest almost $5 million over five years in a project that will expand New Zealand’s Food Innovation Network.

FoodSouth, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC), will use the funding to build a food innovation centre and pilot production plant at Lincoln University to support South Island food and beverages businesses.

“The FoodSouth facility will provide South Island-based food and beverage companies with a one-stop-shop range of product development services, expertise, and equipment to help accelerate the development of innovative high-value products,” says Mr Joyce. . .

Two new PGPs approved:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed approval for two exciting new programmes to join the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Primary Growth Partnership (PGP).

The first, ‘Passion2Profit’, aims to develop new markets for chilled venison and to help deer farmers to become more productive and profitable.

A total investment of $16 million has been secured for this project, with MPI contributing almost $7.4 million and the balance coming from Deer Industry New Zealand and its partners.

The other, ‘Targeting New Wealth with High Health’ looks to reach existing and emerging markets with a new class of premium lamb products with improved health qualities – including lower levels of saturated fat and higher levels of polyunsaturated fat and healthy omega-3 oils.

This is a seven year $25 million programme, with half the funding contributed by MPI. . .

New PGP programme to turn passion into profit:

Deer Industry New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) have today announced they will partner in a new Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme called Passion2Profit.

The $16 million, seven-year programme is intended to be a game-changer in the production and marketing of venison. It’s expected to deliver $56 million in extra revenues a year from the end of the programme, and reverse the ongoing decline in the size of the national deer herd.

A total investment of $16 million has been committed to Passion2Profit, with a $7.4 million contribution from the PGP over the life of the programme, and the balance coming from Deer Industry New Zealand and its commercial partners. . .

 

MBIE takes enforcement action against Opotiki kiwifruit industry employers:

Enforcement action has been taken against eight employers in the Kiwifruit sector in the Opotiki area of the Bay of Plenty following an operation carried out last year by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The Ministry’s Labour Inspectorate and Immigration New Zealand, together with Inland Revenue visited 29 businesses including orchards, pack houses and administrative offices to check their compliance with employment, immigration and tax laws. . .

 

Dairy conversions – getting it right from the start:

Farmers contemplating a land use conversion to dairying can get a new online environmental ‘how to’ planning guide to help ensure any new farm meets the industry’s standards.

Responsible dairy conversions outlines farmer environmental responsibilities during the conversion process. It has been produced by industry body DairyNZ to help farmers understand what the requirements are for new dairy farms and what is expected under the industry’s commitments in the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord.

“It is important to get the conversion process right from the start. Detailed planning will pay off,” says Dairy NZ’s environment manager Dr Mike Scarsbrook. “I recommend a three-step planning process for farmers. Take advice, talk to your regional council and talk to your prospective dairy company. These actions will stand you in good stead for the future,” he says. . . .

 Longer skiing season at Cardrona:

With winter approaching, Cardrona Alpine Resort have decided to lengthen their winter season and have invested heavily into improving the quality and number of groomed trails for all types of skiers and snowboarders.

Cardrona have extended their season by two weeks which gives the ski area the longest scheduled winter season in the South Island. Cardrona’s 2015 Opening Day will now be on June 13 and the final day of the season is scheduled for October 11. Dates are weather dependent and the first week of the season will see limited beginner’s terrain on offer with additional terrain opening as snowfall allows. . .

 

 

 


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