Rural round-up

January 15, 2016

The year ahead for agri-food – Keith Woodford:

The year ahead is going to be challenging for many of New Zealand’s farmers. There are no quick solutions for either dairy or sheep. Amongst the bigger industries, only kiwifruit and beef have a positive outlook. The wine industry could go in either direction this year. Among the smaller industries, manuka honey could be the one to watch.

Dairy
The year has started badly for dairy, with whole milk powder down 4.4% at the early January auction. For me, this number came almost as a relief. It could have been a lot worse. . . 

More cows stolen in Mid-Canterbury – Audrey Malone:

More than 100 dairy cattle disappeared without a trace from three Mid Canterbury farms during December.

A farm in Alford Forrest has lost 52 Friesian bull calves, while a farm south of Hinds lost 17 grown dairy cows.

It followed news that 36 cows disappeared from Mayfield farm over a two week period in December.

The farm owners are puzzled 

Jill Quigley, who owns the Mayfield farm with husband David, said rural Mid Canterbury was not a good place anymore.

“It just looks a little suspicious,” she said. . . 

New A2O section opened

A group of 40 people celebrated another milestone in The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail in Duntroon yesterday afternoon.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher officially opened the 28km section from Kurow to Duntroon – now totally off-road – in a short ceremony in the Waitaki Valley town. Mr Kircher said the trail would be a boon for the town’s economy, but also allowed locals to show ‘‘how proud people are of their community”. . . 

Hat tip: Utopia

High country meets town in rural games – Jill Galloway:

How far can you throw and catch a raw egg, throw a gumboot or spit a cherry stone? For that matter, how fast can you put up a fence or shear a sheep?

These skills will be tested when country comes to town in the New Zealand Rural Games at Queenstown next month.

Games founder Steve Hollander was in Palmerston North on his way to help run the events.

He said rural people from this area would take part in shearing and fencing.

Hollander said the games were about entertaining people, and no event was more than two hours long. He expected 8000 people over the two day event.  . . 

Lewis Road Creamery eyes China as potential export market – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Lewis Road Creamery, the premium dairy brand company, will make a final decision this year whether to export, most likely fresh organic milk into China’s Shanghai. It’s also planning to release a number of product extensions and has already moved beyond dairy products into baked goods.

The Auckland-based brand saw 340 percent growth in retail sales to $40 million of its butter, cream, organic milk, and flavoured milk products during 2015, the year of what founder Peter Cullinane calls “the chocolate milk frenzy”.

His big decisions this year include whether to get serious about exporting and how far to extend the product range beyond dairy. For the past couple of months it has been trialling sales of Lewis Road Bakery premium kibbled grain bread in 12 Auckland retail outlets. . . 

Activity Steps up in 2016 Dairy Awards:

Those entrants who used their summer holiday to prepare for the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards could have an advantage, as activity gears up in this year’s competitions.

The awards, which oversee the Share Farmer of the Year, Dairy Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions, received 452 entries prior to Christmas.

General Manager Chris Keeping says information events for entrants and sponsors are being held in some of the awards’ 11 regions over the next couple of weeks. . .

Wool Steady

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s C.E.O, Mr John Dawson reports that this week’s auctions held in both centres saw slightly different price movements between them, however overall the local market remained firm.

Of the 16,500 bales on offer, 95.6 percent sold. . . .

NZ Tractor Trek:

A cavalcade of Vintage Tractors, Jeeps and Trucks trekking 2600km from Bluff to Cape Reinga over 26 days.

Raising funds for hospices throughout New Zealand. . .

 


Rural round-up

December 4, 2015

Moving stock to cope with dry conditions:

Canterbury and other parts of the country are continuing to struggle with dry conditions. The need to offload stock, particularly store lambs from farms is intensifying and it may be necessary to get large numbers of lambs to the North Island to help ease the pressure.

Federated Farmers are trying to get a handle on the numbers we may have to deal with and if there are farmers in other parts of the country with surplus feed who may be interested in taking on lambs to finish. . . 

Katie Milne reflects on her role before new Dairy Woman of the Year nominations open:

Dairy Women’s Network will be taking nominations for the 2016 Dairy Woman of the Year Award from 1 February until 11 March 2016.

Sponsored by Fonterra, the Dairy Woman of the Year award recognises an outstanding woman who has significantly contributed to the dairy industry with passion, drive, innovation and leadership.

The Dairy Woman of the Year is announced annually at the national Dairy Women’s Network conference, which in 2016 is being held on 4-5 May in Hamilton.

Current Dairy Woman of the Year Katie Milne attributes her recent win in the rural category of the New Zealand Women of Influence Awards to her Dairy Woman of the Year title, along with her role as Federated Farmers national board member. . . 

Dairy Awards Receives 452 Entries:

A total of 452 entries have been received in the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, a pleasing result given the economic climate in the industry.

The awards have also undergone significant change for the 2016 awards programme, with entry criteria changing for all three competitions resulting in two of the competitions sporting new names.

“Given this we are really happy with the result and we are pleased with the balance of entries across the three competitions,” General Manager Chris Keeping says. . . 

Ngāi Tahu Holdings confirms new joint venture:

Ngāi Tahu Holdings Board Chairman Trevor Burt is pleased to announce a new joint venture with the family-owned company, Watson & Son, one of New Zealand’s largest mānuka honey producers.

Ngāi Tahu will own 50% of Wairarapa-basedv which focuses on the production and distribution of premium mānuka honey products; and 50% of ManukaMed, a related company focused on the medical applications of mānuka honey. . . 

Notice of hearing for herbicide with two new active ingredients:

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) advises a hearing is scheduled for an application to import for release the herbicide GF-2687. This herbicide contains two active ingredients that are new to New Zealand, halauxifen methyl and florasulam. It is intended to be used for the control of broadleaf weeds in cereal crops, including wheat and barley.

The application from Dow AgroSciences (NZ) Ltd is for a wettable granule herbicide containing two ingredients that have not previously been approved under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act and which are not components in any approved formulations. The submission period was from 8 June 2015 to 20 July 2015. . . 

Elite Ram and Ewe Sale Results:

The Canterbury A&P Association Elite Ram and Ewe Sale, held Friday 27 November, attracted a quality line up, with 231 Rams and 11 Ewes entered into the sale. With 144 rams selling, the average sale price was $1861 and $250 for ewes with 6 selling; total sales of $269,500 were recorded.

The highest price was reached by a Clifton Downs Southdown Ram (Chris Medlicott, Waimate), selling for $16,000.

Other top prices were as follows: Corriedale – $2900 (Wattlebank, GR and RW Wilson, West Melton); Hampshire – $3100 (Blue View, Gudex Family, Ashburton); Romney – $2400 (Gatton Park, DA & SJ Wyllie, Ashburton); Poll Dorset – $2000 (Brooklands, A&P McIlraith, Leeston); Border Leicester – $4000 (Hermiston, GJ Letham, Ashburton); Texel – $4000 (Hemingford, SEJ & V Holland, Culverden); South Suffolk – $4200 (Inver, SJ Sinclair, Ashburton); Suffolk – $6700 (Stoneylea, AW & JH Adams, Christchurch). . . 

Ceres Organics Addresses Californian Drought Impacts on Almond Crops:

NZ organics company Ceres Organics is spearheading action to diversify the world’s organic almond supply and take pressure off Californian almond growers, in response to one of the most severe droughts in California’s history.

Currently, California provides 80 per cent of the world’s almonds and with the drought affecting supply, the price of almonds has risen 40 per cent globally. Ceres Organics is one of the biggest suppliers of organic products across Australasia with around 400 products in the range and at least 40 of these contain organic almonds.

Managing Director of Ceres Organics Noel Josephson said the drought in California highlighted the issues associated with having mono-crops and the need for global crop-diversification. . . 

Wool Generally Steady

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s C.E.O, Mr John Dawson reports that the more versatile and stylish South Island selection on offer this week saw most types well supported, despite a slightly firmer New Zealand dollar.

Compared to the last sale on 26th November the indicator for the main trading currencies was up 1.05 percent only having minimal impact in some quarters.

Mr Dawson advises that compared to the last time sold on 19th November, Merino Fleece 20.5 microns and finer were firm to 1.5 percent easier with 21 to 23.5 microns 1 to 3 percent dearer. . . 

Narrabri mega train rolls into the record books – Mike Foley:

BIG train, big gain: That’s the aim for the longest grain train to haul wheat to port in Australia.

The train, rivalling the coal industry’s heaviest efforts, hauled out of Narrabri this morning and unloads at Newcastle Agri Terminal (NAT) tonight, its cargo bound for South East Asia.

Longer trains deliver bigger loads and squeeze more value from the scant rail slots available on the coal-laden Hunter Valley line.

The massive train – which is 1.3 kilometres long – is snaking across the North West farming districts and over the Great Dividing Range to port. . . 

NZ Farming's photo.

Proud to be a farmer supporting animal welfare.


Rural round-up

November 20, 2015

Aquaculture and red meat producers share South Island’s top agricultural prize:

For the first time ever, the prestigious Lincoln University Foundation’s South Island Farmer of the Year competition has been awarded to two entrants, with a North Otago red meat producer and a Marlborough green-lipped mussel grower sharing the top prize.

Announcing the unexpected result at the finals this evening at Lincoln University, the competition’s chief judge Nicky Hyslop told the audience that the judges were unable to separate the two top performers, Richard and Annabelle Subtil of Omarama Station, and Marlborough’s Clearwater Mussels (John Young Managing Director).

Clearwater Mussels is a greenshell mussel producer with 90 mussel farms ranging from 2.5 to 80 hectares supplying a variety of food and pharmaceutical markets.

Primarily a sheep and beef property with some smaller scale hydro and tourism operations, Omarama Station also has scientific reserves and Department of Conservation and QEII Trust covenants on the property. . . 

Fonterra exits Dairy Farmers of America joint venture, retains supply deal – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, plans to sell its stake in the DairiConcepts ingredients joint venture with Dairy Farmers of America for some $196 million, after deciding it didn’t fit the company’s strategy.

The Auckland-based cooperative will sell its 50 percent stake in DairiConcepts to partner DFA on Dec. 31, ending a 15-year venture where Fonterra contributed key ingredients to the US dairy and cheese flavours business, while the American cooperative supplied a number of cheese and cheese-powder assets, it said in a statement. Fonterra signed a long-term supply agreement as part of the sale. . . .

Regions benefiting from rural broadband:

Connectivity is growing rapidly in the regions with more New Zealanders than ever before now able to access faster rural broadband, Communications Minister Amy Adams says.

The latest quarterly report for phase one of the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) build as at 30 September 2015 shows 271,000 rural addresses can connect to the network.

“With 35.6 per cent uptake across the network, RBI is making sure that New Zealanders living in our rural and remote areas can enjoy the benefits of faster, better internet,” Ms Adams says.

“The RBI is making a genuine difference to farmers, schools, hospitals and health centres in rural areas as well as families and households.” . .  .

Pacific urged to invest more in Agriculture:

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community is encouraging governments in the region to put more emphasis on developing their agricultural sectors.

The team leader of SPC’s Pacific agriculture policy project Vili Caniogo says more than 80 percent of the region’s people live in rural areas but this is not reflected in government policies. . . 

Wool lifts:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s C.E.O, Mr John Dawson reports that a slightly easier New Zealand dollar and limited wool volumes combined with steadier enquiry, saw most categories well supported.

Of the 5,700 bales on offer, 92 percent sold.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies compared to last sale weakened 0.94 percent, helping underpin local prices. . . 

Old school ties to historic home on the market for sale:

A historic home converted from a country school that comes complete with rugby posts and a swimming pool, and boasts an Olympian among its former students, has been placed on the market for sale.

The former site of Richmond Downs School is located in Walton, 15km from Matamata. For more than 80 years it served the community, with former students including Olympian hurdler Lynette Massey. Due to dwindling numbers, the school closed in 2004. . . 

Leading South Island cucumber growing operation for sale is pick of the bunch:

A successful Canterbury horticultural operation, which is the leading supplier of telegraph cucumbers in the South Island has been placed on the market for sale.

Located at 38 Madeleys Road in Clarkville, North Canterbury, the property combines an established telegraph cucumber business and four-bedroom dwelling on 4.05 hectares. It has been placed on the market for sale as a going concern with Bayleys Canterbury, via a deadline sale closing on November 26, unless sold prior. . . 


Rural round-up

November 13, 2015

Alliance profit takes $4.28m hit – Sally Rae:

Alliance Group’s profit has taken a dive and operating profit was down $4.28million in the year ended September.

The company released its key financial results yesterday, which showed operating profit of $9.19million, down from $13.47million last year.

Turnover lifted slightly, from $1.45billion to $1.49billion, while reported profit was down from $6.21million to $4.62million. . . .

Alliance taps in to online traffic through Chinese partner – Tim Cronshaw:

The Alliance Group’s closer partnership with a big red meat player in China will position it better to take advantage of the quick uptake by Chinese internet users to online buying.

Online sales are huge in China with US$9.3 billion of transactions going through Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba.com on November 11 (11/11) last year . This is known as  Singles’ Day when students graduate and has been popularised in the internet era. Much of the online retail went through Tmall.com, a platform for Chinese and international businesses to sell brand name goods to consumers in mainland China and owned by China’s richest man, business magnate Jack Ma.

Meat processor Alliance’s main sheepmeat buyer into China, Grand Farm, plans to step up online sales which will tie in with the companies’ joint strategy to increase their co-branding in the Chinese marketplace. . . 

Farming in the land of the hobbit – Gerald Piddock:

The Alexander family had never heard of Peter Jackson when in 1998 he first knocked on the front door of their Matamata farm.

The movie maker had spotted their 560ha sheep and beef farm from the air and thought the site could make an ideal set for what was to be The Lord of the Rings movies.

Unfortunately, Jackson chose the wrong time to call in on Ian Alexander, his son Craig told a large crowd of international farming journalists in Waikato for the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists Congress in Hamilton. . . 

Broadband rollout to rural hospitals complete:

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Communications Minister Amy Adams have announced that all rural public hospitals and integrated family health centres now have access to high speed broadband.

The 39 hospitals and integrated family health centres identified by DHBs as candidates for the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative are now all able to connect to fibre capable of peak speeds of at least 100 Mbps.

“Faster broadband enables healthcare to be delivered in new and innovative ways. These e-Health solutions offer better, safer, more efficient healthcare closer to home,” says Dr Coleman. . .

Transtasman Company Named NZ’s Fastest Growing Agribusiness:

Agricultural consultancy and rural investment management company Compass Agribusiness, has secured the title of New Zealand’s fastest growing agribusiness in the latest Deloitte Fast 50 Index.

The company, which has offices in both Arrowtown (New Zealand) and Melbourne (Australia), also placed 18th on the overall index ranking the 50 fastest growing businesses in New Zealand.

New Zealand based company director Guy Blundell says the ranking caps off a big year for the business. . . 

Non seasonal dairy – Keith Woodford:

Recently, I have been writing about what we need to do in New Zealand to climb the agri-food value chain. I have been emphasising the importance of China – there really is no alternative – and the associated need for an integrated ‘NZ Inc’ approach to online selling direct to consumers.

The products we need to be selling through this dedicated and integrated ‘NZ Inc‘ portal (but also linked into the major Chinese online portals) include dairy, meat, wine, fruit, jams, biscuits, chocolate, and bottled water. Indeed almost anything else we manufacture for ourselves that has a shelf life of more than a few days, we can also manufacture for China. . . 

Commission approves Cavalier’s application to acquire NZ Wool Services:

The Commerce Commission has issued its final determination approving Cavalier Wool Holdings’ (Cavalier) application to acquire New Zealand Wool Services International’s (NZWSI) wool scouring business and assets.

Today’s decision follows on from the Commission’s draft determinations, released in March and October, which indicated it was likely to approve the application because of the public benefits of the acquisition.

Chair Dr Mark Berry said the Commission had considered and tested all the submissions and evidence presented to it since the application was lodged in October 2014 and was satisfied the acquisition should be permitted. . . 

James Wong's photo.

Despite all our accomplishments, we owe our existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact it rains.


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