Rural round-up

January 13, 2016

Alliance moves to deepen cooperative culture as Silver Fern sells stake – Tina Morrison:

Alliance Group, New Zealand’s second-largest meat processor, plans to entrench its cooperative status, encouraging farmers to ‘share up’ at a time larger rival Silver Fern Farms is watering down its cooperative by tapping a Chinese investor for capital to repay debt, upgrade plants and invest for growth.

Farmer groups failed last year to force a mega-merger on the country’s two large South Island-based meat cooperatives. Both changed chief executives last financial year and Dunedin-based Silver Fern is now awaiting regulatory approval for the $261 million sale of half its business to Shanghai Maling Aquarius, while Invercargill-based Alliance is moving its business model further towards a cooperative system. . . 

Milking sheep has potential to earn billions of dollars for NZ –  Jill Galloway:

Isobel Lees did a veterinary degree at Massey University and is now in Grenoble, France, doing a post graduate study in sheep milking.

She says her research investigating if New Zealand can establish an internationally competitive sheep dairy industry might shed light about how farmers might set up the industry.

“This research focused on the lessons learnt from France, a world leader in sheep dairy.”

Her studies indicate there is vast potential for New Zealand to establish a sheep dairy industry and for it to be a billion dollar contributor to the economy.

“New Zealand has a competitive advantage and superior performance. It has pasture-based agricultural production systems, leading innovations from the dedicated agricultural research community and market leading standards for sustainability, animal welfare and food safety.” . . .

Turangi Maori land trust brings in Chinese partners for sheep milk expansion – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Waituhi Kuratau Trust, the Turangi-based Maori land trust, has teamed up with Chinese interests to develop its sheep-milking interests as part of a plan to sell into the world’s most-populous nation.

The trust sold a leasehold interest in 490 hectares of land in Kuratau to Maui Milk for $1.2 million, which has been slated for development into a sheep dairy farm, according to the Overseas Investment Office summary approving the transaction. The trust owns 40 percent of Maui Milk, with the remainder held by four Chinese nationals. . . 

Govt happy with farm conditions monitoring:

The Government is ruling out an an inquiry into the pay and conditions of farm workers in New Zealand, saying standards are already in place.

Former Council of Trade Unions head Helen Kelly made the call, saying many farm workers were working up to 70 hours a week for low pay, and that was leading to high staff turnover. 

She said fatigue was a major cause of workplace accidents, and an official inquiry was needed to introduce regulations.

But Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse said the Labour Inspectorate already monitored non-compliance with minimum employment standards in the dairy sector. . . 

Right attitude key to $70k jobs – Tamsyn Parker:

A farm worker with the right attitude could take fewer than five years to get to a $70k-plus salary, says an industry leader.

Andrew Hoggard, a farmer who is on the board of farming body Federated Farmers, said Seek data showing a 14 per cent rise in the average salary for the sector was probably a little high as it was based only on jobs advertised through that business. . . 

Federated Farmers mourns the loss of life member Gordon Stephenson:

Federated Farmers expresses their deepest sympathies to the family of farmer and environmentalist Gordon Stephenson who died on Boxing Day.

A stalwart of Federated Farmers, Mr. Stephenson served as national chairman of the dairy section from 1973 to 1977 and instigated the Farm Environment Awards in 1991.

“Gordon was instrumental in the formation of QEII National Trust and the legacy he’s left behind can be seen all around the country in the land and native forests now voluntarily protected by farmers through the Trust,” says Federated Farmers National President Dr. William Rolleston. . . 

Farm Environment Awards Founder Leaves Lasting Legacy:

The passing of Farm Environment Awards founder Gordon Stephenson is a huge loss for New Zealand agriculture, Simon Saunders, chairman of the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust (NZFET), says.

“Gordon was a farsighted and inspirational leader. As a passionate advocate for conservation he was steadfast in his belief that good farming and good environmental management go hand in hand. This message is still very much at the heart of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) today.”

Mr Saunders says the establishment of NZFET and the success of the BFEA programme are legacies of Gordon Stephenson’s drive and vision. . . 

Federated Farmers grieves loss of former Chief Executive:

Federated Farmers is saddened by the death of former Chief Executive Tony St Clair.

Mr. St Clair served as Chief Executive between 1997 and 2005 following several years as Executive Director of the Victorian Farmers Federation.

“Tony was an inspirational and passionate advocate for agriculture and farming and he had an intimate and detailed knowledge and understanding of Federated Farmers,” says Federated Farmers National President Dr. William Rolleston. . . .

 

Fonterra Announces Record Export Volumes in December:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today announced it has exported record volumes for the month of December 2015.

Export data for the Co-operative in December confirms the new record for a single month’s volume, with more than 300,000 MT shipped to its global markets.

December’s volume was approximately 10 per cent higher than Fonterra’s previous record month in December 2014. . . 

NZ honey exports double in November on manuka demand – Tina Morrison::

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand honey exports doubled in November as the country benefited from demand for high-value manuka honey.

The value of honey exports jumped to $27.4 million in November from $13.6 million the same month a year earlier, according to the latest Statistics New Zealand data. That helped boost the annual value of honey exports in the 12 months through November by 45 percent to $281 million, the figures showed.

New Zealand is the world’s third-largest exporter of honey by value, behind China and Argentina. However it is only the 16th biggest global supplier on a volume basis, reflecting the premium price garnered for manuka honey, which accounts for as much as 80 percent of New Zealand exports and is prized for its health benefits. . .

Final report into killer swedes released:

The group investigating the fatal poisoning of hundreds of animals by swedes in Southland has issued one last warning to farmers not to feed herbicide tolerant swedes to cows in the spring.

The Southland Swedes working group today released its final report into the incident which left hundreds – if not thousands – of sheep and cows dead across the region.

In 2014 farmers across Southland reported sick, dead and dying livestock – after they’d been fed on swedes – mostly a new herbicide tolerant variety developed and sold by PGG Wrightson Seeds.

Farmers were subsequently warned by industry experts not to feed the HT Swede variety to cows when they were heavily pregnant or with calves – because the chemically mutated HT swedes were producing unnaturally high levels of glucosinolates that are toxic to livestock. . . 

 Recreational fishing parks proposed in Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds as part of Marine Protected Area reform:

The Government has today launched a consultation document on a new Marine Protected Areas Act to replace the Marine Reserves Act 1971 that includes proposals for recreational fishing parks in the inner Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds.

“We are proposing a new system of marine protection that will include marine reserves, species-specific sanctuaries, seabed reserves, and recreational fishing parks. This more sophisticated approach with four different types of marine protection is similar to the graduated approach we take to reserves on land that vary from strict nature reserves to those for a specific or recreational purpose,” says Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith.

“We want to improve community and iwi involvement in marine protection and develop a comprehensive network of areas that better protects marine life and which enhances New Zealanders’ enjoyment of our marine environment.” . . 

Seafood industry supports sustainable fisheries:

The seafood sector supports effective marine conservation, its Chief Executive Tim Pankhurst said today.

He was commenting on today’s release of a consultation document on a new Marine Protected Areas Act to replace the Marine Reserves Act 1971 that includes proposals for recreational fishing parks in the inner Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds.

The proposals would cut commercial fishing in the proposed areas. . . 

Easing NZ Dollar Helps Lift Local Wool Market:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s C.E.O, Mr John Dawson reports that the first sale after the Christmas break of approximately 13,700 bales from the North Island saw a generally firmer market in local terms with 98.5 percent selling.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies eased 1.3 percent compared to the last sale on 17th December, however compared to the US dollar the New Zealand was back 1.9 percent. This weakening NZ dollar underpinned the market for most types. . . 

Grow Food, Not Lawns's photo.


Rural round-up

December 7, 2015

West Coast community congratulated for achieving Lake Brunner water quality target:

Lake Brunner’s water quality target has been achieved five years ahead of schedule, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced on the West Coast today.

“The early achievement of the target is a fantastic result and goes to show what can be accomplished when government, local authorities, businesses and local communities collaborate to reach a shared objective,” Dr Smith says.

“The Government has an ambitious plan for stepping up New Zealand’s freshwater management and Lake Brunner is an example of how we can reverse deteriorating water quality. The next steps will be a renewed fund to support community initiatives for improving water quality and a discussion paper in the New Year on how New Zealand can better manage freshwater within limits. . . 

NZ dairy farmers say animal activists are pushing vegan lifestyle – Laura Walters:

Farmers appalled by footage showing the abuse of bobby calves have shared their farming experiences on social media.

In an investigation by Farmwatch and welfare organisation Safe (Save Animals From Exploitation), investigators used hidden cameras to record abuse of calves in the dairy industry.

The graphic footage shows bobby calves being thrown on to trucks and kicked and bludgeoned before they are clubbed to death at an abattoir.

Since the footage aired on Sunday the story has gone global, being picked up by media in Australia, China, the United Kingdom and Europe

Those who claim to be responsible and caring dairy farmers are hitting back at the negative portrayal of the dairy industry. . . 

Fruit fly operation ends, but risk remains:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has congratulated MPI staff and the Auckland community for the successful eradication of Queensland fruit fly, but is warning the public to stay on high alert this summer.

“It’s great news this small population has been eradicated and all restrictions are now lifted. It means that New Zealand is officially free of this potentially destructive pest,” says Mr Guy.

“I want to thank local residents in the affected area who have been very patient and followed the instructions around the movement of fresh fruit and vegetables. . . 

AsureQuality mum on reported talks to buy out DTS partners – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – AsureQuality, the state-owned food safety and biosecurity services firm, is staying mum on reports it’s in talks to buy out its partners in Australia’s Dairy Technical Services.

The Australian Financial Review’s ‘StreetTalk’ column, citing unnamed sources, reported Melbourne-based DTS is in talks with 25 percent shareholder AsureQuality over a potential buyout, valuing the food and beverage testing business at between A$80 million and A$100 million. DTS’s other shareholders include Fonterra Cooperative Group, Murray Goulburn Cooperative, and Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory.

A spokeswoman for AsureQuality said the state-owned enterprise was “bound by confidentiality” and has no comment to make. . . 

Fonterra Officially Opens New Milk Powder Plant at Pahiatua

Around 300 people came together today to celebrate the official opening of Fonterra Pahiatua’s new high-efficiency plant, now producing milk powder destined for more than 20 markets worldwide.

The plant came online in August this year and has already produced more than 30,000 metric tonnes of high-quality whole milk powder destined for key markets including Sri Lanka and Algeria.

Minister for Primary Industries Hon Nathan Guy joined local farmers and community members to officially open the new plant. . . 


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

September 24, 2015

Groser: TPPA not a gold-plated deal – Patrick Smellie:

New Zealand negotiators expect to conclude a Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) deal with some improved access for dairy exports to the highly protected markets of North America and Japan but it won’t be a “gold-plated deal”, says Trade Minister Tim Groser.

He acknowledged that comments from Prime Minister John Key on Monday, that whatever deal was achieved would be “at least the very best we can do”, had been interpreted as a sign of a poor deal on dairy in the offing.

But Mr Groser told BusinessDesk that New Zealand negotiators weren’t in “capitulation mode”. . . 

No drought-breaker but ‘darn good help‘:

A farmer in the heart of the North Canterbury drought is welcoming the rain currently falling in parts of the region, describing it as a good morale boost for many farmers.

Vince Daly runs a 160 hectare cropping farm in Cheviot. He said the NIWA weather station on his farm showed the soil moisture level on his farm has gone from 32 percent to 37 percent this week so far. Normally it is at 100 percent at this time of year.

Mr Daly said 43 millimetres of rain had fallen but farmers further inland have, so far, not been so lucky. . . 

Aorere Wins NZ RiverPrize:

NZ Landcare Trust’s Aorere River Project won the inaugural Morgan Foundation NZ Riverprize at the International Riversymposium Gala Dinner in Brisbane last night.

Richard Thompson Chair of NZ Landcare Trust’s Board of Trustees said “What a fantastic result for the Trust and the Aorere community. This is an amazing result given the strength of the competition… it really underlines the value of this project and the work carried out by NZ Landcare Trust.”

NZ Landcare Trust CEO Dr Nick Edgar accepted the award on behalf of the Aorere River Initiative. “I think this is a real victory for community-led grassroots river management in New Zealand. Without the Aorere river community, the story really wouldn’t have happened.” . . 

Rural areas feeling agricultural sector slowdown:

Almost a third of businesses in regions see revenues fall

Three quarters of agricultural businesses expect economy to decline

Businesses in New Zealand’s rural areas are already feeling the effects of a significant slowdown for the agricultural sector, according the latest MYOB Business Monitor survey of over 1000 businesses nationwide, which includes over 200 rural SMEs.

Over the last 12 months, just 18 per cent of rurally-based SME operators have seen their revenue rise, compared to the SME average of 31 per cent. Almost a third (32 per cent) have seen revenue decline in the year to August 2015 (25 per cent SME average). . . 

Fonterra director Farrelly replaces Norris on Fund board – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group director Ian Farrelly will replace Ralph Norris as one of the dairy exporter’s representatives on the board of the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund manager.

Farrelly will join the board of the fund’s manager at the close of its annual meeting on Nov.27 when Norris retires, Fonterra said in a statement. Farrelly has been on the board of Fonterra since 2007, having clocked up a 20-year career in banking including 15 years as head of ASB Bank’s rural division. He operates a 400-hectare calf rearing farm in Te Awamutu and has dairy farm interests in Canterbury and Waikato. . .

Lasers: the transformation to come –  Lynley Hargreaves:

Cather Simpson wants every child and parent in New Zealand to know the word photonics – and to consider photonics science or engineering as a career. An Associate Professor at the University of Auckland and Director of the Photon Factory, she’s worked on problems as diverse as robotic surgery and sorting dairy herd sperm by sex. Now as part of the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, Associate Professor Simpson is working to give school children, and the general public, a glimpse of the future of laser manufacturing.  . . 

Official start of new PGP lamb programme:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the official start of a new Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme involving premium quality lamb products.

“The ‘Targeting New Wealth with High Health’ PGP programme aims to reach existing and emerging markets with a new class of premium lamb products with improved health qualities,” says Mr Guy.

“This is a collaboration between Alliance Group, Headwaters New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). It will help our producers tap further into the increasing demand for premium and healthy foods, and add value to our exports. . . 

Rabobank Agribusiness Monthly (NZ) – September 2015:

Rabobank’s Agribusiness Monthly provides timely information and analysis on agricultural conditions, commodity price updates and commentary on the latest sectoral trends and developments.

Key highlights
Agribusiness Monthly

Dairy – Global commodity prices have shown signs of recovery in recent weeks, as international buyers look for short-term cover, given that prices appear to have reached a floor.

Beef – Steady demand from the US continues to fuel farmgate prices, with record levels reached this September (NZD 6.10/kg cwt). Prices have edged up 33% from last year, supported by seasonal tightening of supplies.

Sheepmeat – Farmgate prices have continued to improve into September 2015, with supply tightening heading into lambing season. . . 


Rural round-up

September 22, 2015

Oceania Dairy Guarantees Minimum Payout:

Oceania Dairy has delivered good news to its supply farmers with a guaranteed minimum milk payout of $4.50 per kilogram of milk solids for the 2015/16 dairy season.

As the New Zealand dairy sector reels from continued turbulence in global dairy markets Oceania has sought to support its local supply farmers and their communities with the guarantee.

“With Fonterra reducing its forecast payout for the season to $3.85, we wanted to send an important signal of support and partnership to our supply farmers,” said Roger Usmar, General Manager, Oceania Dairy Limited.

“Backed by our owner, Yili, Oceania Dairy has looked at how we can practically support our suppliers at a difficult time for the sector. . . 

Dairy prices a ‘hot topic’ at world summit – Jemma Brackebush:

Farming leaders from around the globe are gathering in Europe this week for the World Dairy Summit.

The week-long summit gets under way today in the Baltic State of Lithuania.

Federated Farmers dairy chairperson Andrew Hoggard is attending and said the main focus would be on science, the environment, animal welfare and international trade.

A hot topic will be how farmers around the world react to low dairy prices, he said. . . 

Factory expands in ‘leap year’ – Allison Beckham:

The addition of three further milk processing plants to Fonterra’s Edendale factory – already the largest in the world by volume – means Fonterra can make a wider range of products and respond more quickly to demand, managing director of global operations Robert Spurway says.

The company has almost completed a $157 million expansion. A new 2900sq m building houses three processing plants – a milk protein concentrate (MPC) plant to separate protein from skim milk and turn it into protein powder, a reverse osmosis plant to increase the capacity of an existing drier by about 300,000 litres a day, and an anhydrous milk fat plant capable of processing 550,000 litres of cream daily. . . 

Synlait annual profit slumps 46% as lactoferrin sales struggle, forecast payout cut – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Synlait Milk, which counts China’s Bright Dairy & Food as its biggest shareholder, posted a 46 percent drop in annual profit as lactoferrin sales missed expectations and it kept milk payments high enough to ensure supply. Synlait cut its payout forecast for the current season.

Net profit dropped to $10.6 million, or 7.21 cents per share, in the 12 months ended July 31, from $19.6 million, or 13.4 cents a year earlier, the Rakaia-based milk processor said in a statement. That was just within the $10 million-to-$15 million forecast Synlait gave when reporting its first-half results in March. Revenue fell 25 percent to $448.1 million, and the bottom line was also weighed on by a $1.6 million unrealised loss on foreign exchange.

Synlait is “in a global operating environment where milk prices have fallen to unsustainably low levels and this is reflected in our FY15 revenue,” chairman Graeme Milne said. “Our suppliers are an important part of our business and we’ve prioritised paying them higher advances and final payments for their milk, relative to our earnings, in what has turned out to be the first of probably two very challenging years on farm.” . . .

 .s on for New Zealand’s next generation of agri-leaders:

• Applications for the 2016 Zanda McDonald Award now open

Agriculture’s young leaders in New Zealand are being urged to step forward and apply for the 2016 Zanda McDonald Award.

Open to agri-business professionals with natural leadership skills from across New Zealand and Australia, the award comes with a $30,000 prize package comprising; an overseas mentoring trip, a place on Rabobank’s Farm Manager’s Programme and $1,000 cash.

Applicants aged 35 or younger and currently in paid employment in agriculture have until Friday 30th October 2015 to submit their entries. . . 

B+LNZ CHIEF EXECUTIVE SIGNALS MARCH 2016 DEPARTURE:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman, James Parsons has today announced the resignation of the organisation’s chief executive, Dr Scott Champion. Dr Champion will leave the industry body, and also his role as chief executive of the New Zealand Meat Board, at the end of March 2016, after 10 years with the organisations.

Dr Champion commenced with then Meat & Wool New Zealand, as General Manager Market Access and Market Development in March 2006. He then stepped up to the CEO roles in late September 2008.

Most recently, Dr Champion has successfully led Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) through the 2015 Sheepmeat and Beef Levy Referendum which secured over 84 per cent support for the organisation to continue working on behalf of farmers. . . 

First-Time Entrants Enjoy Farm Environment Competition:

It took West Otago farmers Richard and Kerry France about eight years to enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) but they finally gave it a go last year.

Richard says the experience was well worthwhile and his recommendation to other first-time entrants is to not leave it as long as they did.

“It’s a very well-run competition and it makes you take a ‘big picture’ look at the sustainability of your operation,” he says.

“We put up our hand this year because we felt our farm was ready, but my advice to other farmers would be to get in as soon as you can because that way you will get the benefits earlier.” . . .

Red Meat Profit Partnership and New Zealand Young Farmers partner for education programme:

The Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) has teamed up with New Zealand Young Farmers to promote the value of Education in Agriculture. This new programme offers teachers and students the chance to engage with the Primary Sector to highlight the opportunities within New Zealand’s largest export led industry. This journey is to be “triggered off” with a launch event in Christchurch on September 22.

This programme will offer teachers and students the chance to engage with the Primary Sector to show the vast learning and career opportunities within the industry. Much more than “on-farm” careers this programme encompasses the full value chain – the science, innovation, marketing as well as the global consumer. . . 

Fonterra Shares Further Results of Its Business Review:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today provided a further update on its business review.

Fonterra Chief Executive Theo Spierings said the purpose of the review was to ensure that Fonterra remains well positioned to compete in a rapidly changing global dairy market.

One-off savings generated by changes the Co-operative is making during the business review, such as improving working capital, have already enabled the Co-operative to support our farmers during challenging market conditions. . . 

Zespri shares innovation in inaugural Symposium

Zespri invests over $15 million in kiwifruit innovation science each year and the inaugural Kiwifruit Innovation Symposium on 29 October in Mt Maunganui gives people a chance to see the latest developments for themselves.

Zespri General Manager Marketing and Innovation Carol Ward explains innovation is huge part of the industry with significant investment from Zespri, along with the NZ government and industry. Zespri wants to share this work with its community and hear their ideas about where innovation could go in the future.

“We want to show our growers and industry what’s coming up and the future challenges we’re tackling. The focus for the past few years has been on developing tools and techniques to grow profitably with Psa – now we’re turning our focus back to other areas again and we want to bring industry along with us. . . 

Keeping on top of worms – Mark Ross

Managing internal parasites (worms) is one of the biggest challenges that farmers face in producing healthy stock.

According to research, there is widespread resistance to several drench families in sheep, cattle, deer, and goats on New Zealand farms. This is estimated to cost farmers in excess of $20 million per annum.

Resistance can develop to any drench. So every farmer needs a plan to manage the risk of worm resistance on their farm. Animal welfare and productivity in the future will rely on farm plans that are developed today to control the emergence of drench resistance on farms. . . 


Rural round-up

September 2, 2015

Tap turned on at Hororata irrigation scheme – Annabelle Tukia:

The tap has officially been turned on for one of the country’s largest irrigation projects.

The Central Plains water scheme will irrigate more than 20,000 hectares of Canterbury farmland.

One Hororata farmer says the massive scheme, which runs off the Rakaia River, will enable him and his neighbours to completely transform their operations.

Rodney Booth has waited a long time to turn the irrigators on at his Hororata farm. . . 

Dairy and travel still our largest export earners:

New Zealand earned $2.3 billion more from exports than we spent on imports during the year ended June 2015, Statistics New Zealand said today.

In the year to June 2015, total exports of goods and services were $67.5 billion, while total imports were $65.1 billion.

Dairy remains New Zealand’s largest export commodity, earning $12.0 billion in the June 2015 year. However, this was down from $15.8 billion in the June 2014 year. Spending by international visitors to New Zealand (travel exports) increased $2.4 billion, reaching $11.7 billion in the June 2015 year.

“Dairy and travel are New Zealand’s biggest export earners,” international statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said. “A fall in dairy exports to China, combined with the increase in expenditure by overseas visitors to New Zealand, has narrowed the gap between the two.” . . 

App helps keep hives humming – Sally Rae:

Brice Horner gets a buzz about educating others about beekeeping.

Now the Dunedin police officer has developed a phone app that helps beekeepers identify whether they have the destructive bacterial disease American foulbrood (AFB) in their hives.

AFB kills bee larvae and infected hives have to be destroyed by burning, as the disease is very difficult to combat. After destroying the bee larvae, spores could survive outside a bee colony for more than 35 years.

It is a serious issue, and beekeepers are legally required to advise the AFB Management Agency within seven days of noticing an outbreak and to destroy the disease by burning within the same period. . . 

Kiwi dairy farmers feeling the pinch are right – their payout is the world’s lowest – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand dairy farmers bracing for the lowest payout in a decade probably won’t welcome the latest analysis of global trends in the industry – their counterparts in every other dairy-producing country are being paid more.

An expected uplift in dairy prices in the overnight GlobalDairyTrade auction won’t change the fact Kiwi dairy farmers are the lowliest paid. AgriHQ analysed milk prices from around the world converted to NZ$/kilogram of milk solids to allow valid comparisons, although some dairy farmers incomes in other countries are boosted by subsidies and support schemes.

Fonterra’s forecast farmgate milk price, which is the price setter in the New Zealand dairy industry, is $3.85/kgMS for the current season, the lowest in a decade. That compares to China at the other end of the scale at $11/kgMS, the United States at $8.15/kgMS, Argentina at $7.57/kgMS, and the UK at $6.95/kgMS. Of the countries analysed, Ireland’s payout of $6.10/kgMS was the closest to New Zealand’s. . . 

OceanaGold raises 2015 production estimate to reflect Waihi acquisition – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – OceanaGold Corp expects 2015 production to increase while costs fall after the gold miner takes control of Waihi Gold Mine later this year.

The acquisition of the Waihi mine from Newmont Mining Corp is awaiting approval from the Overseas Investment Office this month, and once completed, OceanaGold expects to assume the economic benefits and costs associated with Waihi from July 1, the Melbourne-based miner said in a statement. The company increased its 2015 production estimates, and reduced its costs forecast to reflect lower copper and diesel prices and a weaker New Zealand dollar, it said. . . 

Sanford quits Pacific tuna business, lines up buyers for vessels – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Sanford, New Zealand’s largest listed fishing group, will quit its underperforming Pacific tuna business and put the unit’s fleet up for sale.

The Auckland-based company sold its San Nanumea vessel and is in talks with a potential buyer of San Nikunau, its other Pacific tuna ship, after reviewing the viability of the business, Sanford said in a statement. On April 9, it entered into a conditional agreement to sell both international purse seiner vessels, according to Sanford’s interim report released in June. . . 

Rural Equities posts 27% decline in annual earnings after milk prices slumped – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Rural Equities, the farming group majority-owned by the Cushing family, posted a 27 percent decline in annual earnings as milk prices plummeted.

The Hastings-based company said operating earnings before interest and tax fell to $4.67 million in the year ended June 30, from $6.43 million a year earlier as Fonterra Cooperative Group slashed its milk price payout to $4.40 per kilogram of milk solids from $8.40/kgMS the previous year. While that impacted its seven dairy farms, the company said its Waikato Puketotara sheep and beef property had a record year and it had steady income from leasing 15 of its 25 farms.

“Operating earnings were satisfactory given the substantial reduction in milk price,” said executive chairman David Cushing. “The company’s portfolio, with a mixture of directly operated and leased farms and diversity by property type and geography, helped provide balance.” . . 

Government grant for East Coast stream restoration:

An $89,700 grant from the Community Environment Fund for the restoration of the Whangawehi stream on the Mahia Peninsula was announced today by Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith during a visit to the catchment. 

“New Zealand has a major challenge to improve the management of our waterways, which has to be achieved stream by stream, river by river and lake by lake. The key to the success of these restoration programmes is getting all parties – landowners, iwi and hapū, district and regional councils as well as the Government – working together. This has been achieved on this project and that is why the Government is providing funding support,” Dr Smith says.  . . 

Fonterra Farmers Can Now Apply for Co-Operative Support:

Fonterra farmers can now apply for Fonterra Co-operative Support, a loan to help them deal with the current challenging conditions.

Chairman John Wilson said Fonterra is well placed to help its farmers because of the Co-operative’s underlying strength.

“Being able to help our farmers is all about standing together as a Co-operative and using our collective strength to get through these tough times,” said Mr Wilson. “We have had a lot of interest from farmers who appreciate what the Co-operative is trying to do for them to assist them with their farming businesses in a tough financial climate, and we are anticipating a large number of applications.” . . .

 


Rural round-up

August 11, 2015

Singer is loving country living – Sally Rae:

She’s opened for the Hollies and sung for Robert Kennedy jun – now Bex Murray is holed up in the Hakataramea Valley and she could not be happier.

Miss Murray (29) is living on a sheep and cattle farm with her fiance Tom Hayman while continuing to perform at gigs throughout the country at weekends.

She is also hoping to help inspire and motivate other young rural women by sharing ideas through Young Rural Ladies, a social media site she has set up with Sarah Connell, another newcomer to rural life, and which has quickly gained a following.

Originally from Lake Tekapo, where her family has been involved in tourism for most of her life, Miss Murray’s dream growing up was always to be a famous singer. . .

City girl goes country and loves it – Sally Rae:

It’s a long way from London to Livingstone.

So when Sarah Connell made the transition from big city living to remote rural life in North Otago, it was a monumental lifestyle change.

But the former urban girl is loving country life on sheep and cattle station Dome Hills, even though shifting break fences and stock is something she once never dreamed she would end up doing. . .

Top class tenderness from tough country – Kate Taylor:

Quiet stock with good genetics is the secret to the success of Gisborne farmer Tom Savage at this year’s Steak of Origin Awards.

A hereford/shorthorn steer from Tom and Linda Savage’s Poututu Station won the crossbred section at the annual nationwide competition in May.

It was a surprising win for the couple as Tom Savage says it was a last minute decision to enter the awards after a tough season. . .

Farmers woes blamed on short-term focus:

There are calls for banks to ensure the wellbeing of dairy farmers during the current crisis.

Fonterra has slashed its payout to $3.85 per kilogram of milk solids after another drop in global prices.

Rabobank analyst Hayley Moynihan says it’s important farmers manage to cope with the downturn.

“Banks take a very strong interest in the wellbeing of farmers, and they have an obligation to do so, and certainly a responsibility, because people can’t run their businesses and therefore the wellbeing of farmers is paramount.” . . .

NZ banks strong enough to weather downturn, dairy slump – Paul McBeth:

 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s lenders are in a strong enough position to weather slowing economic growth over the next year-and-a-half, while slumping dairy prices aren’t expected to pose as big a threat as they did in 2009, says Moody’s Investors Service.

The global rating agency has a stable outlook for the nation’s banking system, built on the expectation the country’s lenders will maintain strong asset quality and stable profitability in the face of a slowing economy. Moody’s anticipates slower gross domestic product growth of 2.9 percent in 2015 and 2.5 percent in 2016 as lower dairy prices crimp export incomes, though building activity in Auckland and Christchurch, persistently strong inbound net migration, and lower interest rates will support the economy. . .

Farmers to hold ‘urgent summit’ over milk prices:

Farming unions from across the UK will hold an “urgent summit” later to discuss milk prices, following widespread protests.

Some farmers are being paid less than the cost of production, the National Farmers’ Union says.

Protests have included removing large quantities of milk cartons from shops and blockading distribution centres. . .

New Zealand tourist providers should pay attention to advancements in Chinese agritourism –  Jason Young:

I’ve been incredibly lucky, over the last decade, to have the opportunity to travel regularly to China. In recent years, my research has turned to rural China allowing me to break out of the mega-cities and see some of the countryside.

During visits to farms and villages and by speaking with local academics, government officials and farmers, I’ve noticed the rise of Chinese agritourism. China has urbanised very fast. In the early 1980s roughly 200 million people lived in urban areas. Today the figure is closer to 700 million with projections of 1 billion urban dwellers by 2030.

Urban areas are often heavily populated, polluted and can lack green spaces. It is no surprise then to see people seeking ways of reconnecting with the natural environment and beginning to romanticise the image of a simpler rural life. . .

Breaking the cycle – farming sustainability requires change – Phil Beatson:

Albert Einstein once said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

The need for change in the dairy industry has prompted me to revise an article I originally wrote back in 1999 that is still very much relevant today.

When it comes to the ongoing economic welfare of today’s farmers – the backbone of New Zealand’s largest industry – all sectors must work together to create change. As history demonstrates, without change, we will continue to get the same results. . .

 


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