Rural round-up

April 4, 2017

New research will help address rural communities’ health and wellbeing:

New research on farm-related suicide and the factors behind it is a progressive step and will enable a more concerted focus on reducing rates, says Federated Farmers.

The study by Dr Annette Beautrais was conducted on behalf of the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand and funded by AgResearch.

As inaugural members of RHANZ, Federated Farmers has advocated for many years for an increased awareness on addressing issues related to rural health and wellbeing.

In her findings, Dr Beautrais reveals that general farm workers and males are the most vulnerable and more likely to take their own life. . . 

Zespri calls in police over cross-border kiwifruit transfer – Paul McBeth

 (BusinessDesk) – Zespri International has called in police to investigate the transfer of Gold3 and Gold9 kiwifruit varieties into China that may have been done illegally.

Last year the Mount Maunganui-based international fruit marketer started investigating reports that a kiwifruit licence had been sold to a third party, breaching the terms limiting transfers within a country, and it passed on that evidence to police in December which is investigating, it said in a statement.

“The purported sale of a licence from one jurisdiction to another by a third party is a breach of Zespri’s licences and plant variety rights, and potentially could give rise to allegations of fraud or misleading conduct,” Zespri said. “In this case, Zespri suspects . . 

Primary sector women funded to step up:

Government investment in developing and supporting women to create sustainable prosperity in the primary sector and regional communities has been welcomed by the organisation that is growing the leadership, governance and business skills of women in the sector.

The Agri-Women’s Development Trust (AWDT) has received $289,000 from the Government’s Sustainable Farming Fund to extend its work to three groups of women who have been identified as part of the key to sustainable primary industry growth.

The two-year project will see AWDT research, design and deliver pilot programmes for younger women who are entering primary sector careers, Māori women in the regions, and women who have had careers outside of primary industries whose expertise was of value. . . 

More RMA stress and cost for farmers in Horizons region:

Federated Farmers is deeply disappointed by a legal decision which suggests the Horizons Regional Council has not implemented the One Plan correctly and environmental gains are not being made.

The court decision announced today is now being carefully reviewed by Feds, so we can begin to understand the on-the-ground implications for our member farmers.

Federated Farmers Manawatu/Rangitikei provincial president James Stewart says we have to remember the enormous amount of good work and investment undertaken by farmers across the region to comply with the ‘One Plan’ regulations and that the plan’s objectives are being achieved.

“The council has worked very hard to implement a One Plan that’s workable and that does not put farmers out of business and improves water quality as needed. . . 

Research provides new guidance for West Coast farmers on pests:

AgResearch scientists are set to present new guidance to West Coast farmers on dealing with some of the region’s worst pests after years of in-depth research alongside locals.

Over the past three years farmers in the West Coast Pest Management Group have taken part in a project funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Farming Fund to improve the understanding of pests that threaten pastures.

“This research is about providing farmers on the South Island’s West Coast with the tools to tackle these pests, before the long-term damage is done to their pastures and bottom lines,” says AgResearch Senior Scientist Sarah Mansfield. . . 

New Zealand farming couple grow record-breaking wheat crop:

Huge crop confirmed by Guinness World Records

• Bayer and Yara play key role

• Increasing yields key focus

Ashburton farmers Eric and Maxine Watson have entered the renowned book of Guinness World Records after producing the world’s highest yielding crop of wheat.

The couple produced a staggering 16.791 tonnes per hectare, beating the previous record of 16.519 tonnes held for two years by a UK farmer.

On average, irrigated wheat yields in New Zealand are around 12 tonnes per hectare, demonstrating how remarkable the new record is. . . 

Successful meeting with Lithuanian Agricultural Minister:

New Zealand Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Lithuanian Agriculture Minister Bronius Markauskas met on Monday in Vilnius, Lithuania to discuss a range of agricultural issues in each country. 

“Clearly, there are many similarities between our countries, including the role of dairy in our respective economies,” says Mr Guy. 

“New Zealand is an example for Lithuania,” says Lithuanian Minister of Agriculture B. Markauskas

“We are quite similar – in both countries the dairy industry and agriculture in general play a huge role. I was in New Zealand previously and I was impressed by the great atmosphere and the relationship between the government and farmers, as well as the country’s agricultural potential. . . 

  Fonterra makes a splash at China’s food ingredients show:

Fonterra’s NZMP dairy ingredients business has made a splash at China’s largest food ingredients trade show in Shanghai, launching three dairy ingredients and bringing New Zealand’s dairy story to life for customers through a 360° immersive virtual reality experience.

One of the world’s foremost food ingredients events, the three-day Food Ingredients China 2017 event attracted more than 100,000 customers from all over the world.

Fonterra announced the launch of NZMP Gold Whole Milk Powder for UHT, NZMP Tasty Cheese Powder and NZMP Butter Concentrate products at the event. . .

 

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If you think it’s expensive to hire a quality farmers, just wait until you hire a crappy one.


Rural round-up

April 3, 2017

NZ red meat sector must pursue both ‘value and volume’ growth into China:

The New Zealand red meat sector must focus on creating greater value from its exports into China, as the rate of import growth slows in this major export market, according to new research from Rabobank.

In its recently-released report, China’s Animal Protein Outlook to 2020, the specialist global agribusiness bank says while Chinese imports of sheepmeat and beef will continue to grow out to at least 2020, the rate of growth will not be as rapid as it has been in the past.

In addition, says Rabobank animal proteins analyst Blake Holgate, as China has continued to open its market to New Zealand’s competitors in recent years, the NZ red meat sector no longer enjoys the same unique competitive advantage it had when it was the first developed country to enter into a free trade agreement with China in 2008. . . 

Rural doctor shortage: GPs considered ‘lesser beings’ – Joanne O’Brien:

For 25 years, Dr John Burton has been a lifeline for people in the isolated Waikato community of Kawhia, but, he says, GPs are considered “lesser beings” so job training is not producing good doctors for rural areas.

He said being the only doctor within an hour’s drive might deter some, but it made life fun.

“One of the things that often puts people off coming to a place like Kawhia is you’re always on call and anything can happen.

“Yet if I look back over the years I’ve had here, the times I’ll be remembering will probably be the times when, yes, I delivered a baby in the back of the ambulance or somebody was in a life-threatening condition.” . . 

Cows could infect humans with different strain of leptospirosis – Alexa Cook:

About 30 percent of New Zealand’s dairy herds pose a risk of infecting humans with a different strain of Leptospirosis not covered by the existing animal vaccine, a study has revealed.

People can pick up the disease if they come into contact with cow urine and rodents. It can lead to serious illness or death.

Leptospirosis is the most common zoonotic occupational disease for farm and abattoir workers. In the past year cases of the disease have jumped by nearly 50 per cent, compared to 2015.

The Massey University study, which started in 2015 and is government funded, collected blood and urine samples from 200 dairy farms. . . 

Fonterra produces a solid half-year set of results but it is not all plain sailing ahead – Keith Woodford:

Fonterra has produced a solid set of results for the first half of the 2016/17 season, with after-tax profit up two percent to $418 million.

Results were broadly in line with market expectations. Prices for Fonterra units had been drifting down on the NZX in the weeks prior to the announcement from a high of $6.39 to $6.20 and lost another five cents over the following two days down to $6.15.

As always, the half-yearly and annual reports from Fonterra are a masterful exercise in communication. It takes effort to scratch beneath the surface to figure out what the numbers are really telling us. . . 

Cervena to be marketed in Germany:

Cervena venison is to be marketed in Germany during the northern hemisphere summer as part of a market development trial.

Deer Industry NZ (DINZ) venison marketing manager Marianne Wilson says the trial, while relatively small, is symbolically very important. Traditionally, the deer industry has been heavily reliant on sales of venison to the German game trade which is highly seasonal, with demand and prices peaking in the northern autumn and winter, she says.

“Marketing Cervena venison there as a lighter summer eating option, suitable for grilling, is a challenge but it’s a journey we want to begin. Chefs across Europe are now showing more interest in innovative summer menu items, so the timing is positive.” . . 

NZ exporters gain access to international agfood innovations portal:

The FoodHQ Innovation Club has become a partner of World Food Innovations, an internationally recognised online portal that profiles innovative agfood solutions to attract global business.

The FoodHQ Innovation Club helps food and beverage companies tackle the multiple challenges associated with innovating their products and businesses to meet consumer demands in New Zealand and overseas. It provides one-door access to 2,200+ researchers, leading-edge knowledge, and innovation tools from internationally recognised research and innovation organisations.

WorldFoodInnovations.com, an initiative by Food Valley, the Netherlands, was established in 2016. Food Valley has built up a deep insight into the challenges of the agrifood industry and vast network of companies and knowledge institutions that can help to tackle these challenges effectively. . . 

Rabobank NZ annual profit falls 14% on higher provisioning for bad dairy debt – Paul McBeth

(BusinessDesk) – Rabobank New Zealand posted a 14 percent decline in annual profit last year as the rural lending specialist boosted its provisioning for bad debts in the face of the dairy slowdown.

Net profit fell to $89.5 million in calendar 2016 from $104 million a year earlier, the Wellington-based lender said in a statement. The decline in profit was largely due to the bank booking $15.1 million in impairment charges on bad debt. In 2015 Rabobank booked a $5.6 million gain, writing back the value on impairments. Net interest income edged up 2.6 percent to $251.3 million, outpacing a 2.2 percent increase in the size of Rabobank’s NZ net loan book to $9.65 billion. . . 

Dairy – the new cream of choice in China:

For chefs across China, it’s out with the old mock cream and in with the UHT cream as Fonterra ups capacity to meet growing demand.

UHT cream, one of Anchor Food Professionals top selling products, is fast becoming the cream of choice for chefs in China and other parts of the world as they look for a product that has the freshness of pure dairy, won’t over whip and holds its shape for longer.

Fonterra has recently completed a new one litre UHT line at its Waitoa site. However, with continued growth, the Co-operative has already begun construction on a second line which will produce an additional 45 million litres each year for consumers across Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean. . . 


Rural round-up

January 24, 2017

Young farmer’s wife (33): ‘He kissed me goodbye, told me that he loved me… but then my whole life was ripped apart’:

 The wife of a young farmer who was killed in a freak farm accident has appealed to farmers to slow down and work safely.      

Diane Banville, whose husband Kevin died on the family farm in Newbawn, New Ross last year said her “whole life was ripped apart” just ahead of the couple’s first wedding anniversary.  

Kevin was killed when a silage bale fell on him on March 17th, just one month after Diane had given birth to the couple’s second child. . .  

Farm thinking to build supercity Glenys Christian:

After leaving school at 17 Bill Cashmore started at the bottom of the farming ladder and worked his way up.

Then six years ago he thought the creation of Auckland as a supercity could cause problems for rural people so he got into politics and again started at the bottom and worked his way up so he’s now second in charge. He told Glenys Christian about his aim to be not just a voice for rural people but to take a New Zealand Inc approach to the job.  

When Bill Cashmore built fences on his Orere Point farm he made certain they would be around in 50 years time by using eight wires and plenty of battens.  “You mightn’t put up so many but you were sure they would last,” he said. . . 

Comvita warns annual earnings to slump on weak honey harvest, slow China sales – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Comvita shares sank 14 percent after the manuka honey products maker warned annual earnings will tumble by about two-thirds as the nation’s unseasonably wet and windy weather saps the honey harvest and slow sales via China’s informal trading channels.

Te Puke-based Comvita expects after-tax operating earnings of between $5 million and $7 million in the year ending June 30, having previously predicted it would be in line with 2016’s earnings of $17.1 million. However, the company’s sale of its Medihoney brand and shareholding in Derma Sciences will bolster the bottom line, with net profit expected to be between $20 million and $22 million. . . 

Water woes for CHB farming couple – Nicki Harper:

Central Hawke’s Bay’s Helen Powley checks the rain gauge every day at her and husband Matthew Powley’s property near State Highway 50 on Smedley Rd.

Her record shows they’ve had 10mm of rain so far this month.

This time last year they’d had 130mm.

It’s dry, but making matters worse is that for the first time since they have farmed the 160ha property, their 200ft well dried up last April.

In addition, a pipe they had installed to take water from the Mangaonuku Stream as of last weekend is no longer supplementing stock water because the access point on the stream has also dried up. . . 

Ewes flock to annual Hawarden fair – Amanda Bowes:

The number of sheep on offer at the upcoming Hawarden Ewe Fair has surprised stock agents and has resulted in a two day sale this week.

Livestock agent for Rural Livestock Kevin Rowe says after a meeting of agents it was decided to split the sale.

“There is around 33,000 ewes on offer and realistically the sale yards can hold about 19,000 so the sale will be on the Tuesday and Friday.” . . 

 

Hawkes Bay kiwifruit farm sells for $40.2mn Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry continues to surge ahead and a recent orchard sale underscores confidence in the sector.

A 66-hectare kiwifruit orchard in the Hawkes Bay area recently sold for $40.2 million, something PGG Wrightson Real Estate general manager Peter Newbold said was unusual.

“Not many of this size come on the market. Kiwifruit orchards normally sell in the 100s of thousands or single digit millions,” he said. . . 

Beyond Jamaica’s beaches – a day on a Jamaican farm – Uptown Farms:

We have just returned from a week trip to paradise, also known as Jamaica. While there, we had the opportunity to spend a day off the resort at a farm, learning about the agriculture on the island.

The island itself is the third largest of the Caribbean islands (square miles of land), measuring approximately 4200 square miles with a population approaching 3 million people. Forty-five percent of the population lives in rural areas of the island with only 51% of those people having access to potable water.

Comparatively, our home state of Missouri measures over 69,000 square miles and has a population of just over 6 million with only 30% of us living in rural areas. . . 

 


Rural round-up

December 22, 2016

Sheep and beef industry confidence – a tale of two species:

While overall sheep and beef farmer confidence in their industry has taken a dip in the last four months, there is a solid core that remains upbeat about the future.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand commissions UMR Research to gather a range of confidence and performance indicators to understand three main topics. These are the mood of the industry, to assess the key areas farmers’ want their organisation to deliver on for them and to assess Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s performance.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Executive Sam McIvor said the latest 2016 quarterly report shows that farmers with high beef numbers are more confident than the sheep dominant enterprises. . . 

High value sheep milk PGP programme officially kicks off:

Building an environmentally, socially & economically sustainable industry to meet the growing demand for sheep milk products is the goal of a new sheep milk Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme that has officially kicked off.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Spring Sheep Milk Co. have signed a contract for the new Sheep – Horizon Three PGP programme, which means the programme can formally start.

Sheep – Horizon Three will provide a major boost by creating a high value, sustainable sheep milk industry in New Zealand. Internationally, sheep milk is growing in demand. This is particularly clear in Asia, where consumers like its nutritional value, flavour and digestibility. . .

A2 scotches talk of infant formula woes; shares gain – Paul McBeth

(BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk Co shares gained after the milk marketer played down fears about the infant formula market stemming from ASX-listed rival Bellamy’s Australia’s extended trading halt.

The stock gained 5.4 percent to $2.15, having been under pressure since Dec. 12 when Bellamy’s sought a trading halt, stoking speculation about the formula market. . . 

Research could lead to agricultural emissions reduction – Andrew McRae:

Scientists from New Zealand and the United States have made a discovery which could lead to new ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the agricultural sector.

They have worked out how reactive nitrogen could be chemically converted to unreactive di-nitrogen gas, without forming harmful greenhouse gases.

Agriculture contributes more of the harmful greenhouse gas nitrous oxide than any other sector worldwide, primarily through nitrogen fertilisation. . . 

Dairy prices on the rise after sustained low:

Food prices fell 0.1 percent in November, Statistics New Zealand said today. Seasonally lower prices for vegetables in November were mostly offset by higher prices for dairy, meat, and fruit. After seasonal adjustment, food prices rose 0.3 percent.

“Prices for the cheapest available cheddar cheese rose 17 percent in October, to $8.44 a kilogram,” consumer prices manager Matt Haigh said. “Cheese prices overall rose 7.9 percent.” . . 

Farmers encouraged to keep children safe this summer:

Farmers are being encouraged to keep children safe on farms over the school holidays with a heightened risk of accidents on farms.

Accidents involving children on the farm peak over December and January, account for more than 22% of injuries to those aged 15 years and under. Seven children died as a result of an accident on a farm between 2013-2015. In the 12 years up until 2015, nearly 20,000 children were injured on the farm.

WorkSafe’s sector leader Agriculture Al McCone says children are a vital component of farming family life and it was important this tradition continued. . . 

Misha’s Vineyard Opens Pop-Up Cellar Door:

Misha’s Vineyard will open a pop-up cellar door in Cromwell for just two weeks commencing on Monday the 2nd January. Located in The Mall in the heart of Cromwell, the pop-up cellar door will be open from 10am to 4pm daily.

Misha’s Vineyard produces an extensive range of Pinot Noir and aromatic white wines including Pinot Gris, Riesling, Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, as well as a late harvest dessert wine – all of which will be available for complimentary tastings at the pop-up cellar door. . . 

Dijon Bleu (NZ) Stakes Karaka Million Claim:

It took just one start for Dijon Bleu (NZ) (Burgundy) to race her way into contention for next month’s $1m Karaka Million (1200m) at Ellerslie.

Purchased for $26,000 by Awapuni trainer Lisa Latta at the 2016 Select Sale, Dijon Bleu made her debut in Sunday’s$20,000 Mills Reef Winery 2YO (1100m) at her home track. Ridden by Kelly McCulloch, she edged out her stakes-performed stablemate Dreams of Platinum (Dream Ahead) by a nose.

Dijon Bleu earned $12,500 for Sunday’swin, putting her in equal eighth position on the Karaka Million . . 


Rural round-up

November 17, 2016

Quake carnage raises 10m new hill at Clarence River – Tim Cronshaw:

A 10 metre high hill pushed up by the 7.5 earthquake on a previously flat river paddock has left valley farmers along the Clarence River completely flabbergasted.

The hill has appeared from nowhere on farmland along river flats about eight kilometres up the valley.

“It was completely flat and now there is a 30 foot hill in the middle of Priam’s Flat and the whole river has come up,” said Matariki farmer James Murray. “it’s unbelievable and if you hadn’t know what it looked like before you would never notice it.” . . .

Fairlie couple 2016 South Island Farmer of the Year:

A husband-and-wife “super team” has secured the title of the Lincoln University Foundation’s South Island Farmer of the Year at the 2016 finals held tonight (Wednesday 16 November).

Chief Judge Nicky Hyslop says that Neil and Lyn Campbell won the judges’ praise with the “efficient, incredibly flexible and adaptive” approach to the way they have developed their dryland property. Their focus has been on systems that allow them to pursue activities that generate the most profit at the most effective point of time, with land stewardship always the foundation of their decisions.

The Campbells’ farm consists of 769ha of rolling hills and flats in Middle Valley near Fairlie in South Canterbury, producing sheep, deer breeding and finishing, and a variety of crops. . . 

Nattrass eyes another stint on Fonterra board:

Former Fonterra director Stuart Nattrass is making a bid to rejoin the co-op’s board. The South Canterbury farmer has been confirmed as a self-nominated director candidate.

He will face off with the two board-nominated directors Michael Spaans and Donna Smit.  

The self nomination process allowed any Fonterra shareholder (with the support of 35 different shareholders) to put themselves forward as a director candidate and be considered for election by their fellow shareholders alongside the previously announced Independent nomination process candidates. . . 

Fonterra running normally, helping quake-hit farmers – Mark Daniel:

With the South Island earthquake dominating our screens, Rural News Group had the opportunity to catch up with Fonterra’s Director of Farmer services, Matt Bolger at Wednesday’s Farm Focus Day at Owl Farm, Cambridge.

Bolger confirmed that since the seismic event they had been in close contact with their teams on the ground in the area, and could confirm that there were no injuries to Fonterra staff or suppliers.

He also told the largely farmer based audience that all factories in the organisation were running normally, although some had shut down automatically due to aftershocks, but were now all back on line. . . 

Crayfish confused by quake ushered back into the water – Kate Newton:

Disorientated crayfish, thrust out of the ocean onto the Kaikoura coastline, have been slowly ushered back into the water by locals.

Along the Kaikoura coastline, earthquake conversation keeps turning to the native crayfish for which the coast is named.

A horde of escaped crayfish (koura) was a side effect of Monday’s massive 7.8 magnitude shake, according to Ward resident Kerry Snell.

“When we got to the [Burkhart Fish] factory, the crayfish that were ready for the load-out, all the bins had tipped over and there were crayfish crawling everywhere. A couple of hundred. I think it was two tonnes of crayfish, just all crawling around. Disoriented too, as we all were.” . . .

Appeal Court turns down Fonterra’s bid to keep inferior terms for ex-NZDL suppliers – Paul McBeth:

Fonterra Cooperative Group has lost its bid to overturn a High Court ruling against inferior terms offered to the suppliers of the failed New Zealand Dairies Ltd business in South Canterbury. 

The Court of Appeal bench, comprising Justices Tony Randerson, Helen Winkelmann and Brendan Brown, today rejected Fonterra’s application to throw out a ruling that it breached the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act by imposing less favourable terms on farmers who had previously supplied NZDL.  . . .

Sanford’s Move From Volume to Value Helps Boost Profit 152%:

Sanford Limited (NZX:SAN) has today posted a 152% increase in net profit after tax to $34.7m for the year ended 30 September.

The Group posted an 85.5% increase in reported EBIT to $57.7m, with revenue up $13.2m to $463.5m.

Sanford CEO, Volker Kuntzsch said it’s a pleasing result after a year of focus across the business on executing the company’s volume to value strategy. . . 

Sanford annual profit more than doubles on weaker kiwi, cheaper fuel – Paul McBeth:

BusinessDesk) – Sanford, New Zealand’s largest listed fishing group, more than doubled annual profit as a weaker kiwi dollar and cheaper fuel bolstered earnings in the face of a smaller catch, and as year-earlier impairment charges weren’t repeated.

Net profit rose to $34.7 million, or 37.1 cents per share, in the 12 months ended Sept. 30 from $13.8 million, or 14.8 cents, a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Revenue rose 2.9 percent to $463.5 million, even as the volume of its catch shrank 11 percent as the company extracted more from a higher-value catch and a weaker kiwi generated bigger export receipts. . . 

Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd v McIntyre and Williamson:

PARTNERSHIP AND ORS (CA736/2015)
[2016] NZCA 538
PRESS SUMMARY

This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment and reasons can be found at http://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz.

1. The Court of Appeal has today dismissed an appeal brought by Fonterra against a High Court ruling that Fonterra had discriminated against a group of dairy farmers by offering them less favourable terms on which it would purchase their milk.

2. The respondents are South Island dairy farmers who were contracted to supply milk to New Zealand Dairies Ltd (NZDL) when it went into receivership in May 2012.

Fonterra successfully tendered to purchase NZDL’s plant in Studholme. As part of the deal, NZDL’s suppliers agreed to switch to selling their milk to Fonterra. . . 

Good news for wine and spirit industries:

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith has welcomed the passing of a bill which will enable New Zealand wine and spirit makers to register the geographical origins of their products.

“The value of our wine exports has now reached $1.6 billion. We must jealously guard the reputation of New Zealand wines if we are to continue growing our wine exports,” says Mr Goldsmith.

The Bill amends the Geographical Indications (Wines and Spirits) Registration Act (the Act) to ensure the process for registering geographical indicators runs smoothly. . . 

Largest robotic farm taking shape:

A 6500-head dairy farm in Chile will become the world’s largest robotic dairy after signing an agreement to install 64 DeLaval VMS milking robots.

The farm, owned by AgrÌcola Ancali and part of the Bethia Group, already has 16 DeLaval VMS installed and averages 45.2 litres for the 920 cows going through the robotic milking system.  

Ancali AgrÌcola chief executive, Pedro Heller, says the expansion follows good results from first stage of the robotic dairy. . . 


Rural round-up

August 29, 2016

Farmers enable us to reach our potential. Let’s celebrate that – Federated Farmers:

Farmers get their hands dirty so we can pursue goals and livelihoods beyond growing and harvesting the food we need to survive.

With food plentiful, and lifestyle expectations high, we seem to have forgotten the role of farmers in the modern world.

Why is it farmers in developing countries only farm around a hectare of land each?  It is because that is how much land one person can cultivate in one season by hand.  The food production in many developing countries is not limited by land, but by labour and productivity.  That is why big families are necessary – more hands to till more land.

Have you ever stopped to think how many potentially great doctors, engineers or scientists spend their lives on the end of a hand-hoe in these countries?  Never to see their potential fulfilled.  In many developing countries subsistence farmers make up more than 80 per cent of the population.

Delegating farmers to provide our food gives the rest of us freedom and choice to do what we are good at. . . 

Drought warning – Annette Scott:

Low or no flow in many of Canterbury’s streams and rivers could lead to early water restrictions this season, Environment Canterbury warns.

Canterbury has entered its third successive drought season with 86% of water bores affected and some wells at their lowest in 30 years.  Only significant snow and rain could make a difference now, ECan chief Executive Bill Bayfield said.  

Weather forecasters reported one of the wimpiest winters in recent years and had already announced spring’s early arrival. Significant rain or a decent snow-dump were not on the radar. .  .

Feral cats reaching plague proportions – Robin Martin:

Feral cats are reaching plague proportions in New Zealand’s back country and no-one seems to want to take responsibility for the problem, says a Taranaki beekeeper.

Sarah Hart and her partner Steven Henwood say they often drive through – what they describe as – “herds” of wild cats while out retrieving hives.

The couple live in the remote Okoki valley, about 20 kilometres inland from Urenui in North Taranaki.

Ms Hart said at dusk the rugged beef and sheep country was alive with feline forms – some of the estimated 2.5 million feral cats in New Zealand. . . 

We aren’t that couple – Uptown Farms:

Dear America, 

It struck me this morning, as my husband and I were walking out the door – there is something I need to tell you.  Something I need you to know.  

We aren’t that couple.  In fact, I’m not even sure if we own a pitchfork.  

A lot has changed since the 1930’s.  Our corn yields have increased six times over.  We use computers, GPS, seed technology. We grow more, on less water and land. Our farms are bigger, our equipment is bigger, even our animals are bigger.  We do all of this with fewer people than ever before in history. 

We have college degrees, my husband actually has two. One of us works off the farm full time which is the new norm for farm families – just like non-farm families.  We are professionals.  . . 

Cavalier Corporation returns to profit:

New Zealand carpet maker Cavalier Corporation has returned to a profitable position posting a net profit after tax of $3.1 million for the financial year ended 30 June 2016.

This represents a significant turnaround from the company’s write downs and recorded loss of $25.7 million in 2015.

Both net profit and normalised profit of $6.3 million after tax were slightly up on the earnings guidance Cavalier issued in June.

Cavalier Corporation CEO Paul Alston says the company’s performance is encouraging and representative of the transformation it is undertaking with debt reduction and a dual focus on revenue and cost. . . 

Milk production plummets 10.3%:

Australian milk production plummeted 10.3 per cent in July compared with last year, with massive drops in Tasmania, South Australia and northern Victoria, according to the latest figures from Dairy Australia.

Farmers have slashed production in response to the big cut in milk prices, initially by Murray Goulburn and Fonterra in May and then by most processors in July.

Tasmanian production is hardest hit, down 19.6 per compared with July 2015. . . 

Seeka hikes interim dividend as first-half profit almost doubles Paul McBeth

(BusinessDesk) – Seeka Kiwifruit Industries hiked its interim dividend to shareholders as the first harvest from its recent Australian acquisition and record crops contributed to a first-half profit that almost doubled.

Net profit rose to $7.1 million, or 43 cents per share, in the six months ended June 30 from $3.7 million, or 24 cents, a year earlier, the Te Puke-based company said in a statement. Revenue climbed 39 percent to $134.2 million, and the board declared an interim dividend of 10 cents per share, payable on Sept. 29 to shareholders on the register on Sept. 22. That’s up from 9 cents a share a year earlier. . . 

Delegat to pay bigger dividend after posting record annual operating profit – Paul McBeth

(BusinessDesk) – Delegat Group will pay a bigger dividend to shareholders after reporting a record operating profit for the 2016 financial year, with North American sales driving revenue growth.

The Auckland-based company’s board declared a dividend of 12 cents per share payable on Oct. 14 to shareholders on the register on Sept. 30, up from 11 cents it’s paid in the past two years. The winemaker reported a record operating profit of $37 million, on a 9 percent increase in global case sales to a record 2.41 million, including 1 million cases sold in North America.

“The directors consider that the underlying operational performance and strong cash flows justify an increase in dividends this year,” executive chairman Jim Delegat said. . . 

Central Otago winery nails Decanter tasting in UK – “Outstanding”:

Central Otago winegrowers Roger and Jean Gibson are elated that a wine from their Lowburn Ferry vineyard has ranked Number One in high profile Decanter magazine in the UK. The in-depth tasting of more than 170 pinot noirs from across New Zealand in Decanter’s September 2016 issue was carried out by a panel of three prominent UK industry wine judges. Lowburn Ferry Home Block Pinot Noir 2014 scored 96 points out of a possible 100, giving it “Outstanding” status in the tasting.

In the covering feature article reviewing the tasting, New Zealand is described as being “the best Pinot-producing country outside of France.” . . 

Dunedin owners of Central Otago winery win their first wine trophy:

Central Otago’s Black Quail Estate vineyard and truffière is victorious after being awarded the Mike Wolter Memorial Trophy and Champion Pinot Noir at the Bragato Wine Awards in Marlborough last night.

Black Quail Estate 2013 Pinot Noir is a true boutique, single vineyard wine. All the Pinot Noir is from this single vineyard on Felton Road, Bannockburn and only 400 cases are made every year.

Sitting on 25 hectares of prime grape growing land on Felton Road, Bannockburn Dunedin’s Keillor family purchased the land in 1999. Owners Rod and Mirani Keillor immediately planted ten hectares with Pinot Noir and now have planted the rest with olives, fruit and hazelnut trees. . . 


Rural round-up

August 10, 2016

Dairy downturn has a $1.3b impact on Waikato/Bay of Plenty farmers – Gerald Piddock:

The dairy slump has ripped more than a billion out of Waikato and Bay of Plenty farmers’ pockets, new figures show.

Farm consultancy group AgFirst’s 2016 Financial Survey shows the average dairy farmer’s net cash income was down $273,000 last season.

When multiplied by the region’s 4800 dairy farms, that’s $1.3b in lost income.

The big question was how much longer farmers could maintain the current situation where they had drastically reduced expenditure, AgFirst consultant Phil Journeaux said. . . 

Wintry blast hits farmers hard – Matt Shand:

The milking shed has frozen shut at Taharua Valley Farm as 200 dairy cows huddle together waiting for the problem to be fixed.

At 783 metres above sea level, the 2000-cow PenXing Group Milk New Zealand farm is one of the hardest hit by the recent snowstorm. Just over 100 metres lower in Taupo, the snow was a fun novelty. But here it is causing serious challenges. 

There is no such thing as time off for farmers and farmhands. Hot water and heaters are used to help thaw the shed out so it can hopefully milk animals tonight.  . . 

The snow has come again – Keith Woodford:

Every year we all talk about the weather and how fickle it is.  This year is no different. In most parts of the country, June and July were unseasonably warm.  Where I am in Canterbury, winter grass growth has possibly been higher than ever before.  Grass covers at the start of August were excellent.

In contrast, last year was one of the coldest winters on record, with many South Island farms getting no net growth in June and July.   That year, there was a string of southerlies, whereas this year warm winds were blowing over the Alps. . . 

MPI investigators target alleged unregulated meat sales:

A team of Ministry for Primary Industries investigators today executed a search warrant at an alleged unregulated meat premises in Turangi.

This was the culmination of a six month undercover operation involving the purchase of considerable quantities of venison, lamb and pork products from a local Turangi man.

The man is now being spoken to by MPI investigators in relation to the alleged sale of meat from an unregulated premises.

MPI Compliance Operations Manager, Gary Orr, says a decision will be made shortly as to whether charges will be laid under the Animal Products Act. . . 

Profit jumps for New Zealand’s leading fresh produce exporter :

Turners & Growers Global has posted an 89 percent gain in first-half profit driven by sales from new and existing businesses and a one-time gain from the sale of its crate hire unit.

The fruit marketer is controlled by Germany’s BayWa but is Auckland based. Their product base includes apples, pears, mandarins, coconuts and kiwifruit.

T&G profit rose to $22.7 million, or 18.2 cents a share in the six months ended June 30, from $12m, or 9.8 cents, a year earlier. Sales rose 14 percent to $423m. . . 

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council to get clearer mandate – Paul McBeth

(BusinessDesk) – The Fonterra Shareholders’ Council, which represents farmer interests in the world’s biggest dairy exporter, is poised for a refreshed mandate with clearer guidelines on how it interacts with the milk processor.

The council and Fonterra Cooperative Group are seeking feedback from farmers on a series of proposals to update the group’s governance to make the council’s role clearer, explain how it works with Fonterra’s board and management, and improve communication with farmer shareholders. Farmers are expected to vote on any changes to the council’s governance at a special meeting in mid-October. . . 

One of the worlds’ most respected wine consultants appointed to NZ’s boutique vineyard Chateau Waimarama:

After an extensive international search, award winning boutique vineyard Chateau Waimarama, has lured leading Bordeaux wine consultant Ludwig Vanneron half way across the world to be its wine specialist.

Ludwig Vannerons’ stellar career has seen him work in prestigious and major wine areas of Bordeaux, managing the winemaking process in estates from small chateau Bordeaux appellation properties to great classified growths. . . 


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