Tough dairy times all over the globe – Jim Dickrell
French dairy farmers are once again taking manure and spreading it on roads, five dairy farms a week are going out of business in Great Britain, and the New Zealand government told its farmers to “stand on their own two feet.”
In France, according to theInternational Business News, farmers have blockaded roads, entered supermarkets and filled shopping carts with cheap food imports and even hurled their farm boots at government buildings.
In response, the French government said it will cut social security taxes farmers are required to pay by $556 million this year. . .
A preferred private sector investor in the Ruataniwha water storage scheme is close to selection, says its primary backer, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Co.
HBRIC confirmed media reports earlier in the week that suggested a preferred private investor is about to start due diligence on the $275 million project, which would create a 93 million cubic metre reservoir to store water in the upper Makaroro river to improve river flows for agricultural use in the Tukituki River catchment.
Infratil-controlled Trustpower pulled the plug on its involvement in early 2014, followed by its other private backer, South Island iwi Ngai Tahu’s investment arm, before a board of inquiry process delayed resource consents for the dam while new environmental quality standards were set. . .
A pilot water efficiency campaign initiated by IrrigationNZ in four Canterbury districts this summer has concluded with evidence of strong interest in making water savings.
Home gardeners and lifestyle irrigators were the primary targets of the inaugural water efficiency campaign, which ran with the support of Timaru, Ashburton, Selwyn and Waimakariri District Councils, Environment Canterbury and inaugural industry partners Water Supply Products and RX Plastics.
The campaign launched in late November with the release of case studies illustrating how home gardeners and community projects can use irrigation tools and technologies to minimise water use and maximise productivity. . .
High beef prices and a surge in pasture growth has led to the cancellation of two cattle sales in Gisborne, a farmer and former stock agent says.
In January, two cattle sales were cancelled because there were not enough stock.
Barrie Gordon has worked in the cattle industry for more than 60 years and said only a few sales had been cancelled in the major cattle breeding region in all that time. . .
PGG Wrightson posted a 19 percent drop in first-half profit as low dairy prices and fear of an El Nino drought contracted farmer spending at the rural services firm.
Profit fell to $16.1 million, or 2.1 cents a share, in the six months ended Dec. 31, from $19.7 million, or 2.6 cents, in the year earlier period, the Christchurch-based firm said in a statement. Revenue declined 4.8 percent to $623 million, while the cost of sales slid 6.9 percent to $462 million.
Farmers have tightened their wallets after milk processors like Fonterra Cooperative Group, the country’s largest, cut their farmgate milk payouts below the cost of production as a global oversupply lasts longer than anticipated. Fears of an El Nino drought heading into summer also kept farmers cautious with their spending. . .
Following a spate of workplace deaths in 2013, New Zealand’s forestry industry has set a shining example in improved safety performance nationally over the past three years. Annual serious harm incident rates dropped in half over the past two years. The numbers dropped from 160 incidents in 2013, to 107 in 2014 and then to 79 in 2015.
Even more striking – the rate of serious harm in production forestry has dropped to less of one-third of the rate in 2008. This is based on annual forest harvest volumes lifting from less than 20 million cubic metres per annum to over 30 million in that period. . . .
Past competitive tree-climber and arborist Richard Wanhill has returned to his primary sector roots, he says, with his appointment as business development manager at Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre.
Mr Wanhill, who shifted to Wairarapa from the capital after originally hailing from Auckland, had worked as an arborist for about 15 years and also operated as a contract arboriculture and horticulture educator as a partner in a company named Thought Planters.
“I was teaching arboriculture mostly in New Zealand, Australia and Singapore and some in other places like Cambodia and Thailand. The competitive tree-climbing I’ve done has been only nationally in New Zealand, which is internationally recognised as one of the top tree-climbing countries in the world. . .
Four Fonterra farmers will travel to Sri Lanka this year as part of a new farmer volunteer scheme to work with Sri Lankan dairy farmers.
Troy Doherty from Bay of Plenty, Tim Phillips from Waikato, Murray Douglas from Northland, and Marloes Levelink from West Otago, will spend a month at Fonterra’s new demonstration and training farm in Pannala, near Colombo.
While in Sri Lanka they will work with local farmers and Fonterra supplier relationship officers on areas including animal nutrition, prevention and treatment of mastitis and how to run a farm as a business. . .