Rural round-up

December 23, 2014

New Zealand-Korea FTA initialled:

Trade Minister Tim Groser welcomed today’s initialling by Chief Negotiators of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between New Zealand and the Republic of Korea.

“Initialling marks the end of the text’s legal verification process. It’s another milestone as we progress towards bringing the FTA into force,” says Mr Groser.

“The next step is translation of the text into Korean, which will be completed early next year. Following translation, the FTA will be signed.

“This FTA will deliver real economic benefits to both our countries. It will secure our position in the Korean market and will create more opportunities for traders as tariffs are gradually removed.” . . .

 

Stay safe on the farm this summer:

On average, 850 people each year are injured riding quad bikes on farms. Five die.

It is because of these unacceptable statistics that Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment inspectors will visit farms this summer to ensure key quad bike safety steps are recognised and understood.

Rural Women New Zealand joins the Ministry in urging farmers and their families to take extra care on the farm over summer, particularly when it comes to quad bike safety.

As it gets closer to the holiday season the pace of work picks up and more tasks are fitted into the longer days.

“Long hours can lead to fatigue and an increase in accidents,” says the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s General Manager – Central, Ona de Rooy.

There is also a real need for vigilance once the school holidays begin and children are spending more time around the farm. . .

Signs of new interest in soil science:

Soil scientists worried about a decline in the numbers working in that field have taken heart at signs that interest may be growing among a new generation of scientists.

Science Strategy Manager at Ballance Agri-Nutrients, Warwick Catto said a national soil science conference in Hamilton earlier this month was notable for the number of younger scientists attending.

And he was hoping that showed interest was on the rise, because as he pointed out, the soil and what it produces was the basis for much of the country’s economy .

“There were a lot of young people in the audience, which is either a reflection that I’m getting older, or that there are lot of people looking at careers in soil science and I think the latter is that there are issues going on with soil, be it nitrogen leaching, soil erosion into water water ways. . .

Scientists breed cattle to thrive in tropics:

Livestock improvement co-operative LIC sees South America, Asia and possibly Africa as potential markets for a new breed of heat tolerant dairy cattle it is developing.

LIC has started a breeding programme crossing the Senepol breed from the Caribbean with New Zealand Holstein-Friesian dairy cattle.

The programme came about, ironically, from scientists’ investigations into a genetic mutation in one of its breeding bulls that produced very hairy off-spring, prone to over-heating. . .

New Zealand’s Food Safety Regulations Are Not About Food Safety, But Rather International Trade & Politics – Milking on the Moove:

New Zealand’s food safety regulations are not simply about food safety. It’s also about international trade & politics.

Once I understood that, the regulations & procedures around dairy products begins to make sense to me.

I’m going to be quite charitable to the regulators in this post.

Biddys Story

Last night Seven Sharp did a follow up story on Biddy and her micro cheese making business. You can view the 7 minute video here. http://bit.ly/1xRsYT8

Biddys story is, she milks 3 cows and makes the milk into cheese. She has won international awards etc etc. 5 years ago she was featured on Country Calendar. This alerted the authorities to her small operation and she was required to meet the dairy regulations.    . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Director Elections:

Nominations have now closed for two farmer-elected positions on the Beef + Lamb New Zealand board.

A director election in the Northern North Island electorate will not be required. James Parsons (incumbent) is elected unopposed.

Two nominations have been received for the Northern South Island electorate. The candidates are Nigel Harwood of Takaka and Phil Smith of Culverden. . . .


Rural round-up

November 12, 2013

Plant not closing – Simon Hartley:

Silver Fern Farms’ Silverstream lamb-processing plant near Mosgiel will not open for the start of its season as usual in December – but it is not being closed.

While the plant’s 12-strong management team are in consultation over potential redundancy, Silver Fern and the New Zealand Meat Workers Union are confident the Finegand plant near Balclutha could take the up to 180 boning staff should they choose to transfer there.

With no staff meeting or statements sent to individual staff, there is confusion over the plant’s future and it was ”inadequate for workers to be left dangling”, Otago-Southland Meat Workers’ Union branch president Daryl Carran said. ”Because Silverstream is for overflow processing, to bone lamb at the peak of the season, it’s more open to volatility.”

Coronial report on quad bike deaths – industry forum to be convened:

 Whangarei Coroner Brandt Shortland has today released findings into five workplace quad bike deaths:

As part of his concurrent inquests in April this year into the five deaths, Coroner Shortland invited submissions on quad bike issues from a series of experts and involved parties, and his findings include his conclusions and recommendations (see summary below).

“These findings and recommendations give weight, in the Ministry’s view, to the need to continue focusing on reducing the death and injury toll associated with quad bike use in agricultural settings,” General Manager Health and Safety Operation Ona de Rooy said. . . .

Federated Farmers welcomes coronial recommendations:

Federated Farmers is welcoming recommendations contained in Coroner Shortland’s written findings released today on quad bike related deaths in 2010 and 2011.

“Can we express our heartfelt commiserations to the family and loved ones of those people subject to the Coroner’s findings,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Health & Safety spokesperson.

“The one thing we welcome in Coroner Shortland’s findings is that it recognises the practical realities of using quad bikes in a farm setting. Indeed, many of the recommendations are current industry practice and that is a good thing.

“There are far more quad bikes in New Zealand than registered road-going motorcycles. Many farmers will spend hundreds of hours a year operating a quad bike because they have become the farmer’s Swiss Army knife. . .

High input costs in China’s milk benefit NZ:

A dairy industry analyst says it’s a good thing for New Zealand farmers that it costs substantially more to produce milk in China than it does to produce the same volume in this country.

The International Farm Comparison Network 2013 Dairy Report shows that producing 100kg of milk in New Zealand costs $US35. In the United States it costs $US44 to produce the same amount and in China it’s 50% higher again.

NZX Agrifax’s dairy analyst Susan Kilsby says that reinforces China’s ongoing dependence on importing dairy products from countries such as New Zealand.

She says it’s importing feed that makes producing milk so expensive in China. . .

Star rating system for food could benefit primary industry sector:

Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye says food labelling using a star rating system could benefit the primary industry sector in New Zealand.

The star system effectively rates the nutritional value of a product.

The minister announced last week a voluntary star rating system would be the focus of research as to how effective it could be and what consumers think about it.

Ms Kaye says it’s important consumers have the best possible information about making healthier eating choices which is why the New Zealand Front of Pack Labelling Advisory Group decided the system should be looked into.

She says the system could have flow-through benefits for the primary sector.   . .

Giesen, Johanneshof and Villa Maria dominate 2013 Marlborough Wine Show awards:

Family companies dominated the awards at the 2013 Marlborough Wine Show celebration dinner held in Blenheim on Saturday night with Giesen, Johanneshof Cellars and Villa Maria winning nine of the 14 awards presented.

In addition to 12 class trophies, there were two new awards – The Marlborough Wine Show Award for Vineyard Excellence which was presented jointly to Ara Wines and Villa Maria for their Seddon Vineyard and the Marlborough Museum Legacy Award which was presented to Johanneshof Cellars for their Gewurztraminer, vintages 2006, 2010 and 2012. . .


Rural round-up

January 24, 2013

Govt expects money back from irrigation investment – Marie McNicholas:

A promise of $400 million for direct taxpayer-stakes in new regional irrigation schemes comes with a crucial caveat: the Government expects to get its money back.

It has decided to spend the first $80 million setting up a new Crown company to provide bridging finance for irrigation projects to encourage hesitant private investors to take the plunge.

It is the first tranche from the $400 million pool the National-led Government had already earmarked for taking equity stakes in new irrigation infrastructure. . .

Budget boost to irrigation funding welcomed as ‘circuit breaker’:

 “New Zealand is extraordinarily water rich, but we only capture and use about two per cent of annual water runoff, which is absolutely miniscule by international standards,” Water New Zealand Chief Executive, Murray Gibb said in welcoming the decision announced today by outgoing Primary Industries Minister, David Carter. He said Government would earmark $80 million to fund irrigation schemes in the 2013 Budget.

 “Large scale off-farm harvesting, storage and distribution water infrastructure for irrigation comes with a hefty price tag. The funding announced today is likely to be a deal maker, bringing planned schemes to fruition. This has to be good news for the New Zealand economy Murray Gibb says. . .

DairyNZ supports Government irrigation funding decision:

DairyNZ has welcomed the Government’s decision to support regional-scale water infrastructure which will ultimately speed up the delivery of irrigation schemes.

The Government announced today that it will create a company to act as a bridging investor for regional water infrastructure. In addition, $80 million will be set aside in the 2013 budget for water infrastructure projects.

DairyNZ Chairman, John Luxton, says the decision bodes well for the future of dairy farming and its contribution to the economy.

“The dairy industry is committed to sustainable use of water and will be releasing a new Sustainable Dairying Water Accord as well as a wider sustainable farming strategy. But, for continued development of the industry, we need to have confidence that the necessary big regional investments will happen.” . . .

Fonterra Welcomes Irrigation Investment Commitment:

Fonterra Co-operative Group has welcomed today’s announcement by the Primary Industries Minister, David Carter confirming an $80m investment in this year’s Budget for irrigation and water storage infrastructure.

Managing Director Co-operative Affairs, Todd Muller, said the investment announcement, coupled with the establishment of a Crown vehicle to co-invest in water schemes, was an important step towards boosting agricultural productivity and exports.

“Water is fundamental to dairying and agricultural productivity. Enabling a mix of public and private funding will give investors the necessary confidence to push ahead with schemes at the regional level.

“We will see benefits flow through in increased production and export earnings and we will also see the environmental benefits which will come from improved water flows. . .

Put farm safety first this summer:

The first occupational agricultural death in 2013 has the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Federated Farmers asking farmers to put safety first in 2013 to bring down the farm toll.

“Five people died doing agricultural work last summer,” says Ona de Rooy, the Ministry’s General Manager Health and Safety Operations.

“As summer is a busy time on the farm it is vital to make safety a top priority.”

“Long hours of work in the heat and sun can lead to fatigue, impair judgement and increase the likelihood of an accident taking place,” Ms de Rooy says. . .

Comvita buys Aussie groves to expand olive extract output:

Comvita, which uses produces health products from manuka honey and olive leaves, has bought an 85 hectare organic olive estate with potential to expand its production of olive leaf extracts by 130 percent over the next five years.

The price paid for Organic Olives (Aust) by Comvita’s Australian subsidiary is undisclosed. The estate comprises some 7,000 certified organic olive trees, with room for further plantings, and is in Coominya, on the shores of Lake Wivenhoe in south-eastern Queensland . . .


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