Rural round-up

March 2, 2015

Farmers are not bulletproof – Neal Wallace:

It was a decision hundreds of farmers make every day. 

But Andrew Fleming’s decision to take a shortcut up the spur of a hill rather than a longer route that involved opening and closing six gates was a life-changing few seconds.

It was October 2000 and near the top of the spur on his in-laws Taranaki farm, the front wheel of his quad bike lifted as he crossed a sheep rut and he believes wind, which had grown in strength in the minutes leading up to the incident, caught under the guards of the quad bike helping to tip it over. . .

Forest safety paradigm shift from international experts:

After a horror year of workplace fatalities in 2013, New Zealand’s forest industry performed superbly in 2014, both in terms of safety and wood production. The credit for the dramatic turnaround in safety performance has to go to the people on the forest floor. These hard-working people were the same ones who made their voice heard at the Independent Forest Safety Review. They did it to ensure workplaces in forestry could be safer for everyone.

As part of the sweeping safety reform in forestry workplaces, the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) is bringing international safety experts to New Zealand next week for an industry-wide summit. At this event, forest safety leaders and forest company CEOs will have access to the best safety thinkers in the business globally. . .

 

Drought shows water storage vital – Katie Milne:

Water storage will never stop the types of drought which have just been declared throughout the eastern South Island.

But water retention schemes can blunt their impact and negate their effect.

It should be a no brainer.  We are, as Geoffrey Palmer so famously once put it, a pluvial country – in other words, it rains a lot here.

In simple terms, the problem is that most rain falls when it’s too cold for pasture to grow.  And, conversely, it doesn’t rain when it’s warm enough for pasture to grow.

We are so accustomed to farming in between these seasons in our spring and autumn flushes that we don’t realise that in other parts of the world it doesn’t happen that way.  It’s not even universal in New Zealand. . .

Last chance to reunite the Bee Industry:

Federated Farmers is calling on the bee industry to unite and ensure they achieve a fully integrated entity peak body.

John Hartnell, Federated Farmers Bee Chairperson says “The bee industry has long needed a more united approach to its activities, whether it’s to do with the government, market access or biosecurity, but it can only be achieved with the whole industry united as one.”

“When you look at the current structure of the industry well less than 1000 are members of an industry body, whilst the industry has 5400 involved. That is our main problem because you end up with 20 percent funding 100 percent of industry good activity.” . . .

 

A2 Milk 1H profit tumbles 81% as listing costs, fees rise, lodges ASX application – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk Co, which markets milk with a protein variant said to have health benefits, said first-half profit fell 81 percent on costs for its planned ASX listing, lodged today, and for hiring consultants.

Net profit dropped to $125,000, or 0.02 cents per share, in the six months ended Dec. 31, from $643,000, or 0.11 cents, a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. That included $762,000 in one-time costs associated with the Australian listing, and a $1.4 million increase in other operating costs to $5.3 million, which was largely selling and consulting costs linked to business growth, it said.

Excluding those costs, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation climbed 27 percent to $3.3 million as revenue rose 38 percent to $74.8 million, largely in line with Forsyth Barr’s estimate for sales of $75.2 million and Ebitda of $3 million. . . .

Farmers need to step-up their human capital risk planning:

Farmers aren’t paying enough attention to human capital risk planning, says Hastings-based Crowe Horwath Risk Adviser Tim Ewen.

Although the intellectual property underpinning the farm’s wealth was often tied up with the owner, too little focus was placed on the “what-if?” factor, he said. In the event of a farmer becoming either temporarily or totally disabled, or passing away, planning was essential to make sure the farm business could continue to provide for family members.

“Farms rely on key people to make the business work,” said Mr Ewen. “Farmers need to take account of the human capital risk and ensure they have appropriate planning in place so the right money goes to the right people at the right time.” . . .

 

 


Rural round-up

February 28, 2015

Dairy commits $5 million to ambitious zero pest plan – Suze Metherell:

New Zealand’s dairy industry has committed $5 million over two years to the fight against stoats, rats and possums, which destroy native flora and fauna, and can carry bovine tuberculosis.

The Zero Invasive Predators scheme, or ZIP, formed after a $10 million injection from philanthropic fund NEXT Foundation, and a further commitment of $5 million from the Department of Conservation. The funds will be used to develop the Wellington-based conservationist’s barrier system, which aims to prevent the reintroduction of pests in cleared zones, without using fences.

New Zealand’s major dairy companies, including Fonterra Cooperative, Westland Milk Products, Open Country, Synlait and Tatua, have contributed to the programme, which is trialing its system on the 400 hectare Bottle Rock peninsula in the Marlborough Sounds. The dairy industry wants to eradicate possums because of the TB threat to dairy herds. . .

 Dairy funding for predator control welcomed:

The announcement that the dairy industry will join an initiative to tackle the predators decimating New Zealand’s native wildlife is another positive step on the way to achieving the long term goal of a predator-free New Zealand, Forest & Bird said today.

Five major dairy companies, including Fonterra, have committed $5 million to the Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP) programme, which was founded late last year by NEXT Foundation and the Department of Conservation. The partnership intends to find new ways to eradicate introduced predators such as rats, stoats and possums from large areas of land.

Forest & Bird Group Manager Campaigns and Advocacy Kevin Hackwell welcomed the dairy industry involvement in the campaign to stop the decline of our native wildlife due to invasive predators. . .

NZ business confidence gains in February as agri sector gets more upbeat – Paul McBeth:

  (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand business confidence improved in February as recent gains in dairy prices turned sentiment around in the agriculture sector, and as low interest rates stoke hiring and investment expectations.

A net 34.4 percent of firms are optimistic about the general economy, up from 30.4 in the previous survey, according to the ANZ Business Outlook. That was aided by a turnaround in agriculture to a net 15.2 percent becoming optimistic, having previously been dominated by pessimists. Firms’ own activity outlook showed a net 40.9 percent of respondents upbeat on their prospects, compared to 37.3 percent.

“General confidence, profit expectations and employment intentions in this sector (agriculture) have flipped from negative to positive,” ANZ Bank New Zealand chief economist Cameron Bagrie said in his report. “Higher dairy prices are no doubt working their magic. Such a bounce-back is particularly welcome considering challenges delivered by Mother Nature.” . .

 

Fonterra’s journey – Keith Woodford:

[This is the second of five articles on Fonterra that I have been writing for the Fairfax NZ Sunday Star Times. This one was published on 8 February 2015. The previous article was titled ‘The evolution of Fonterra’ ]

Last week I wrote about the battles that led to the formation of Fonterra in 2001. However, Fonterra’s structure and associated institutional culture have moved a long way since then.

Sufficient time has elapsed since Fonterra’s formation battles that they can now be seen in reasonable perspective. But subsequent events are still raw. In line with corporate policy, the participants have largely kept their opinions private, and the official line is a product of the public relations team. However, in a co-operative structure, it is inevitable that information does leak. One thing for sure, is that some of the internal debates have been vigorous. . .

Forest safety council underway:

The forest industry has established a safety council to make forests safer places to work. This was a key recommendation of the Independent Forestry Safety Review Panel that reviewed forest workplace safety in 2014.

The Forest Industry Safety Council will formally get underway in early April. But in the meantime a working group representing forest owners, contractors, workers, unions and the government is putting the building blocks in place. An independent chair and national safety director are being recruited.

There were 10 workplace deaths and 169 serious harm injuries in forestry in 2013. This led to the industry establishing the review panel which reported in late October 2014. . .

Sailor convicted after biosecurity ramp-up in Northland:

A sailor who appeared in the Kaikohe District Court last week (17 February) has become the first person convicted for deliberately concealing biosecurity goods on a visiting yacht.

The conviction follows increased biosecurity scrutiny of arriving yachts by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) at Northland this yacht arrival season.

Sylvie Berthe Barre, 61, a retired French national, had earlier pleaded guilty to one charge of knowingly possessing unauthorised goods, and misleading an official. She was fined $3000.

She is currently staying in New Zealand on a three-month visiting visa. . .

2015 Northland Field Days Could Be Biggest Ever:

The 2015 Northland Field Days is shaping up to be the biggest ever according to organisers with more exhibitors, more competitions and better facilities than ever before.

From February 26 to February 28 people from Northland and beyond will flood into Dargaville for the Northland Field Days with high expectations

With over 450 companies exhibiting at the event this year Northland Field Days president Lew Duggan says interest has never been higher with exhibitors taking the extra effort to make site displays more dynamic and exciting than ever.

Those interested in getting a glimpse into Northland’s history will be getting a special treat this year say organisers but not one but two heritage organisations having displays at the event. . .

 Mammoth donkey heads for record books – David Farrier:

Jenny Clausen is famous in Taupiri for a very specific love – donkeys.

The locals call her the “donkey lady” thanks to the 30 or so donkeys she keeps at her and her husband’s dairy farm.

But Ms Clausen may also soon be in The Guinness Book of World Records for one of her donkeys.

Nutmeg is a mammoth donkey born and bred in New Zealand, and she’s bigger than your normal mammoth. . .

New Zealand and Australia Tie in the Trans-Tasman Wine Challenge:

New Zealand Winegrowers injected some old fashioned rivalry in ‘The Great Trans-Tasman Wine Challenge’ on Thursday evening in Auckland ahead of the New Zealand and Australia Cricket World Cup game at the weekend. The two nations channelled their trans-Tasman rivalry as they met head-to-head in a blind wine tasting.

After some rigorous judging lead by Bob Campbell MW and Nick Stock, the ‘dream team’ of top 12 wines turned out to be a perfect split from Australia and New Zealand with each nation claiming six places each. Australian wine, Campbells Merchant Prince Rare Rutherglen Muscat NV, was crowned “player of the match”. . .

 


Rural round-up

December 6, 2014

Alliance hires former Fletcher exec Surveyor as new CEO – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Alliance Group, the world’s largest processor and exporter of sheepmeat, has hired former Fletcher Building executive David Surveyor to head up the meat processor from next year.

The Invercargill-based, farmer owned cooperative today said Surveyor will join the company as chief executive from January, replacing Grant Cuff, who said in July he was stepping down. Surveyor is currently executive general manager of Fletcher subsidiary Laminex, having previously worked for BHP and Bluescope Steel.

“It is a privilege to be leading the business into its next phase,” Surveyor said in a statement. “I aim to build on what has already been achieved to further improve the Alliance Group’s performance and returns to the company’s shareholder suppliers.” . . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand director nominations called for:

North Canterbury farmer Andy Fox is not seeking re-election to the board of Beef + Lamb New Zealand and will stand down at next year’s annual meeting in March.

Fox has represented sheep and beef farmers for three terms – a total of nine years. He was first elected to the board of Meat & Wool New Zealand and then to its successor, Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

Fox said he had been proud to represent sheep and beef farmers and his biggest satisfaction was seeing more levy-funded activity focused behind-the-farm-gate. Advances in animal genetics through farmer investment via Beef + Lamb New Zealand were especially good. . .

Forest Firefighting Expert for International Safety Conference

The Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) is pleased to announce US Forest Service forest firefighting expert Ivan Pupulidy has been confirmed as a keynote speaker for its flagship forest safety conference series in March 2015. The summit will be at Rotorua’s Distinction Hotel on 3-4th March and the Bayview Eden Hotel in Melbourne on 10-11th March.

“Ivan’s expertise in fire-fighting behaviours and root cause analysis is well-respected internationally. So we’re sure he will be well-received at our 2015 Safety Summit conferences,” says FIEA’s forestry spokesman John Stulen. . .

Rural Women New Zealand Calls for Keep Left Road Markings on All Roads to reduce Tourist Crashes

Rural Women New Zealand is calling for arrows to be painted on the left-hand side of roads leaving tourist venues, and at regular intervals on all roads, in an attempt to reduce the number of accidents involving tourists.

“The danger posed by tourists particularly on rural roads was a hot topic at our recent national conference,” says Rural Women NZ national president, Wendy McGowan.

Last year 558 crashes resulting in death or injury involved foreign drivers. In three-quarters of the cases the visitors were shown to be at fault, with many of the accidents caused by drivers being on the wrong side of the road. . .

Paua Industry Calls for Delay in Shark Cage Dive Operations:

The paua industry is calling for a moratorium on great white shark cage dive operations in order to avoid risks to paua divers and local communities.

The Department of Conservation is currently considering applications for permits for great white shark cage dive operations in the waters around Stewart Island.

Storm Stanley, Chairman of the industry representative group PauaMAC5, said that a one year moratorium would allow time for the Department to properly assess the impacts of shark cage diving on the fully protected great white shark population. . .

 


Rural round-up

September 26, 2014

Biofuels vs food production – Keith Woodford:

There is an inevitable tension between using crops for biofuel or for food. In working out the capacity of the world to feed itself in the future, the demand for biofuel is an essential part of the equation.

In the last ten years, the global quantity of biofuels has more than doubled. The big question is where will it go in the next ten years? It is widely agreed that biofuels are a key reason why grain prices have been much higher in this current decade than in the previous decade.

The largest producer of biofuels is the US, where 40 percent of the corn crop is now distilled into ethanol. To put that into perspective, corn is by far the most important crop grown in the US. The US produces four times as much corn as wheat, and it is corn that underpins both the animal feed and much of the human food industries. . .

New Zealand’s dairy opportunities in China – Keith Woodford:

This is the fourth in the ‘China series’ of articles written for the journal  Primary Industry Management by Xiaomeng (Sharon) Lucock and myself. It was published in September 2013.

As with other products to China, the statistics have moved on in the last year but the drivers of change are similar.

In the last year since the Primary Industry Management paper was written,  New Zealand’s total dairy exports to China have increased from $NZ2.9 billion for the 12 months ending 30 June 2013, to NZ6.05 billion for the 12 months ending 30 June 2014. These numbers will almost certainly decline in coming months, not because of a decline in volume, but from the current major downturn in prices. . . .

Passion for dairy drives manager  – Sally Rae:

When it comes to succeeding in the dairy industry, Maigan Jenkins believes passion is needed.

”You’ve got to want to be out there. It’s not a job where you go to work just for the money,” the young Clydevale herd manager said.

Brought up in South Otago, Miss Jenkins (21) had always enjoyed being around animals and wanted to be a vet from a young age. . .

Sculptor aims for essence of Shrek  – Lucy Ibbotson:

Capturing the ”multi-faceted personality” of New Zealand’s most high-profile sheep was a challenge relished by sculptor Minhal Halabi.

Central Otago celebrity wether Shrek, who died three years ago, will soon be immortalised in bronze in his hometown, Tarras, as a $75,000 sculpture by Mr Halabi nears completion.

Shrek’s owner, John Perriam, commissioned the piece, which will be unveiled later this year in the Tarras village. . .

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1409/S00825/comvita-sees-annual-earnings-lift-of-up-to-32.htm

Comvita sees annual earning lift of up to 32 %  – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Comvita, which produces health products derived from manuka honey, sees annual earnings growth of up to 32 percent, while bemoaning a growing imbalance between the first and second halves of the year.

The Te Puke-based company expects net profit of between $9 million and $10 million in the year ending March 31, 2015, up from $7.6 million a year earlier, on revenue of between $140 million and $145 million, up from $115 million, it said in a statement. That will largely come through in the second half of the year, due to uneven sales between the northern and southern hemispheres, and after the honey harvest is collected between January and May next year, which will generate revenue from the beekeeping operations.

 Strong Wool Sale

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that at today’s South Island Wool Sale prices held firm to slightly dearer across all categories.

The Trade Weighted Indicator continued its recent decline at 0.7269 against 0.7305 last week.

A small Half-bred offering was generally 2.5 to 3.5 percent dearer through all microns 25 to 30. . . .

 


Rural round-up

September 5, 2014

New forestry body provides unity – Alan Williams:

The linking of the forest products processing and manufacturing sector in one industry organisation should set it up to be internationally competitive, the group says.

It would also allow the Government to see the sector as a major industry entity, in the same way it sees Fonterra in the dairy sector, Wood Processing and Manufacturing Association (WPMA) chief executive Jon Tanner said.

The new association was launched officially in Wellington last week but has been operating for a couple of months. 

It links the entire processing supply chain outside the forest boundary – businesses involved in pulp and paper, packaging, solid wood, engineered wood, and a lot else, including the Frame and Truss Manufacturers Association, which will continue as a separate entity within the overall umbrella. . . .

A2 cornerstone shareholder Freedom Foods buys $589k of shares after dilution – Paul McBeth:

 (BusinessDesk) – ASX-listed Freedom Foods Group bought almost one million shares of A2 Milk Co this week for about $589,000 after its stake was diluted in the past year due to the issue of partly-paid shares.

The Sydney-based food company bought 942,500 shares in four transactions in A2 this week at an average price of about 62.5 cents, according to a substantial shareholder notice filed to the NZX. Freedom Foods holds about 117.9 million shares, or 17.9 percent of A2, leaving it as the biggest shareholder in the milk marketing company.

Because A2 issued partly-paid shares to executives earlier this year, Freedom Foods’ stake was diluted down from 18.1 percent when it made its last disclosure in December 2012. . . .

Venison prices on the move:

European market prices for chilled New Zealand venison are reported to be up about 5 per cent on last year, with exporters hopeful of reduced competition from European game meat supplies. But prices to farmers are currently being held back by a stronger New Zealand dollar.

Venison exporters have recently indicated they see the venison schedule potentially reaching $8/kg for 55-60 kg AP stags. This would be similar to the 2012 national average published schedule peak of $7.95/kg and much better than last year’s peak of $7.40/kg.

The main factor restraining prices to farmers at this point in the traditional chilled game meat season is currency, with the Kiwi dollar 8.4% stronger against the Euro than at the same time last year. This is reflected in an average schedule that is 7% weaker. . . .

Look for rooks :

 Thousands of eyes on the ground are needed to help Otago Regional Council (ORC) eliminate rooks.

Its rook control programme has begun and runs until November. The council is asking people to look out for rooks and their rookeries.

Anyone noticing rooks in Otago can call Malcolm Allan on 027 278 8498, or ORC on 0800 474 082 or email info@orc.govt.nz

At their peak there were several thousand nesting rooks in Otago but their numbers have been drastically reduced through the council’s control programmes.

Rooks, part of the crow and raven family, are larger than magpies and totally black. . . .

New Ballance director brings new dimension:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients has appointed Genesis Energy Chief Executive Albert Brantley as a new independent director to its board.

The farm nutrient co-operative reconfigured its board in 2012 to include three appointed directors to work alongside six regional directors elected by its farmer shareholders.

Ballance Chairman David Peacocke says independent directors are crucial to the governance of the co-operative with its turnover of close to $1 billion and profits of $90 million.

“We have come a long way from being a simple fertiliser company. We have divisions including complex fertiliser and feed manufacturing, we are developing leading edge farm technology and we are an integral part of the agricultural sector which drives our economy. A combination of farmer directors and appointed directors ensure we have the balance of skills, experience and perspectives for good governance. We take our commitment to performing consistently for our farmer shareholders seriously, and having strong governance is an essential component of this.” . . .

 

 New Zealand Avocado Launches New Campaign at Asia’s Largest Fresh Produce Trade Show:

 New Zealand’s avocado industry will launch its new export market promotional material at Asia’s leading fresh fruit and vegetable trade show Asia Fruit Logistica (AFL) this week in Hong Kong.
Jen Scoular, Chief Executive of New Zealand Avocado, says the new marketing collateral positions New Zealand avocado as a premium product promoting quality, safety and health.

“The unique property of New Zealand grown avocados that we will promote in Asia is time. New Zealand grown avocados hang on the tree for much longer than in other producing countries – at least a year, during this time they are fed by the generous rainfall and sunshine all the while being nurtured by our dedicated growers,” says Scoular. . . .


Rural round-up

September 2, 2014

Farming app in running for award – Phillipa Webb:

A Manawatu-developed smartphone app could see dairy farmers spending more time on smartphones and less time in paddocks.

The Grass2Milk app developed by the OneFarm Centre of Excellence in Farm Business Management – a joint venture by Massey and Lincoln universities – was shortlisted in the environmental category of the 2014 World Summit Award mobile competition.

Massey University agri-business student Hamish Hammond helped to test the app, which allowed farmers to see whether herds were fed enough to reach daily milk and body condition targets to plan feed allocations for the day.

“Most farmers would be really intuitive when it comes to feeding, but they could use [the app] as a gauge.” . . .

China deal factor in Fonterra’s lower credit rating – Sally Rae:

Fonterra’s credit rating has taken a hit following the announcement of its proposed partnership with a Chinese infant food manufacturer.

Credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s has lowered the dairy co-operative’s long-term rating from A+ to A and affirmed its short-term rating of A-1.

Last week, Fonterra said it was forming a global partnership with Beingmate to help meet China’s growing demand for infant formula.

Fonterra’s proposed sizable shareholding in a commercial company operating in China indicated a financial risk appetite that was ”more aggressive” than Standard and Poor’s had factored into the previous rating, credit analyst Brenda Wardlaw said in a statement. . . .

Teasing out the beta-casein evidence – Keith Woodford:

In last week’s column I advocated that the mainstream dairy industry should convert New Zealand herds away from the production of A1 beta-casein. To not do so creates unnecessary long term risk to the industry. However, the mainstream industry remains locked into a defensive position.

In this article I will therefore briefly review some of the major strands of health evidence. I cannot cover it all – it took me a whole book to do so back in 2007. Since then, there has been a lot more evidence forthcoming.

In assessing the evidence, it is helpful to recognise that A1 beta-casein is the consequence of a historical mutation. Goats, sheep camels, buffalo, Asian cattle and humans produce beta-casein that is totally of the A2 type. It is only cows of European ancestry which produce A1 beta-casein. . .

Allied Farmers back in black as livestock unit grows – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Allied Farmers, which is rebuilding from a disastrous takeover of the Hanover and United Finance loan books, returned to profit as its core livestock unit lifted income with gains in Taranaki and Waikato.

The Hawera-based company reported a profit of $1.03 million, or 1.03 cents per share, in the 12 months ended June 30, turning around a loss of $1.12 million, or 2.94 cents, a year earlier, it said in a statement. Revenue in the slimmed down entity shrank 38 percent to $16.9 million.

“The focus for the coming year will be to continue to grow the livestock business and to leverage off the client relationships and trust that exists with those clients to provide value for money services,” chairman Garry Bluett said. “The effect of the reduced dairy payout is likely to have some uncertain impact on dairy livestock sales going forward and the continuing high dollar is already having some impact on meat exports at the early stage of this season.” . . .

 New Zealand firm creates health focused flavoured milk; export potential:

Christchurch-based New Zealand Dairy Brands believes it is a world leader in its sector in the production of health products with the launch of its highly innovative Go Milk flavoured milks.

The range has no added sugar, a low GI (glycaemic loading) and is low fat, making it suitable for diabetics and excellent in the fight against obesity. The product was a recent finalist in the NZIFST awards in the product innovation category.

Just released on New World and Pak n Save supermarket shelves in New Zealand, a trial export shipment of Go Milk has already been sent to China and the product is destined for the Australian market also. . . .

 Compass points new crop direction – Gregor Heard:

RESEARCHERS are excited about the prospects of a new barley variety set to be commercialised next year.

Speaking at a trial walk at last week’s Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) grower update in Horsham, Birchip Cropping Group research agronomist Simon Craig said the Compass variety, developed by the University of Adelaide research team and commercialised by Seednet, showed outstanding promise.

“It looks to have a very good fit right across a range of low to medium rainfall zones.” . . .


Rural round-up

May 24, 2014

NZ’s rural businesses struggle to attract equity capital to develop – Graham Turley:

Agri-business is New Zealand’s most productive and successful business sector yet it struggles to attract investor capital.

It seem counter-intuitive, particularly with all the talk of food bowls for Asia, that a sector which represents more than 25 per cent of New Zealand’s economy is widely perceived as difficult and inaccessible for investment – whether those investors are retail, large fund managers or overseas looking to invest in New Zealand’s agricultural success story.

Few successful agriculture-based businesses are listed on the NZX, especially when you consider how significant a contributor agriculture is to the economy. . .

Mackenzie Country farmer wins top deer award:

Paddy Boyd, manager of Haldon Station in the Mackenzie Country, is the winner of the 2014 Deer Industry Award.

The announcement of the award at the annual Deer Conference in Methven on Wednesday was followed by a sustained standing innovation for a farmer who has been a behind-the-scenes industry leader from the 1970s to the present day.

The award citation listed Paddy’s involvement in numerous industry groups including quality assurance, the Cervena strategy, velveting standards, Tb eradication, genetic improvement and environmental standards. . .

Kiwi team and supporters in charge in Ireland:

Six New Zealand shearers, including World Championships representatives Rowland Smith and John Kirkpatrick, have made it to the semi-finals of the Irish All-Nations Open championships semi-final in Gorey, Ireland.

Smith headed the 18 qualifiers after 70 shearers took part in the open-entry heats on the first day of the 16th Golden Shears World Championships, while Kirkpatrick qualified in third place.

They were separated by Scottish World championships contender Hamish Mitchell, whose teammate and defending World champion Gavin Mutch was a surprise elimination. The All-Nations has no bearing on the World Championship, for which the first round will be held tonight (Friday NZT).

The other New Zealanders still in All-Nations contention are five-times World champion David Fagan and son Jack, and Smith’s brothers, Matt and Doug. . . .

Passenger to be investigated for carrying plants:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is investigating an air passenger it nabbed carrying two concealed plants in her shirt.

Watchman, one of MPI’s most experienced detector dogs, sniffed out the plants on the passenger arriving from China at Auckland airport yesterday afternoon.

The woman had rooted cuttings in a plastic bag hidden in her shirt sleeve and under a coat.

“It appears the cuttings were to be planted and that this was a deliberate attempt to smuggle risk items into New Zealand,” says Craig Hughes, MPI’s Manager, North, Passenger and Mail. . .

Delegat’s says 2014 harvest supports sales growth projections – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Delegat’s Group, the winemaker which last year bought Australia’s Barossa Valley Estate, said its just completed 2014 harvest will allow it to achieve its forecast future sales growth.

The Auckland-based winemaker expects to increase wine sale volumes by 2 percent to 1.985 million cases in the year ending June 30, accelerating to an 8.8 percent pace in 2015 and 8.9 percent in 2016, according to projections detailed in its 2013 annual report. The 2014 harvest amounted to 35,127 tonnes, as its New Zealand vintage increased 18 percent to 34,123 tonnes. Its Australian harvest, the first vintage since acquisition of Barossa in June last year, amounted to 1,004 tonnes, the company said today.

“The 2014 vintage has delivered excellent quality in all regions,” managing director Graeme Lord said. “The group has appropriate inventories to achieve future sales growth in line with guidance provided in the 2013 annual report.” . . .

Researchers start a wine revolution:

The global wine industry may be on the cusp of a revolution, thanks to pioneering genetic research conducted by scientists at Lincoln University and Plant & Food Research that not only has ramifications for controlling disease and increasing productivity, but will quite likely mean completely new varieties of grapes and styles of wine.

The research project initially commenced to fill a knowledge gap in the identification and function of the genes that underpin the key characteristics of grapevines. The goal was to bed down a research framework, such as those used by researchers with other plant species, to establish a knowledge base for the study of gene behaviour and the critical processes of grape production.

As the research developed, however, new opportunities became apparent, and a greater emphasis was placed on investigating the potential for manufacturing and encouraging the expression of genetic elements within grapevines which may, in turn, come with commercial benefits. . .

Premium Amisfield Wines to Be Showcased At International Event in Venice, Italy:

Celebrated New Zealand wine producer Amisfield will showcase a premium selection of its wines to a select international audience at the prestigious 14th Venice Architecture Biennale.

The specialist producer of multi-award-winning Pinot Noir and aromatic white wines will be the exclusive wine sponsor and supplier to the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) exhibition at the Biennale from June 5 to November 23.

Amisfield wines, sourced from fruit grown on its estate vineyard beneath the Pisa Mountain range in the renowned Central Otago region, will be served during the official opening events and associated events for the duration of the Biennale at the New Zealand exhibition, to be staged in the Palazzo Pisani Santa Marina. . .

Comvita annual profit rises 3.3% as honey price squeezes margin, sees more growth in 2015 – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Comvita, which produces health products from manuka honey and olive leaves, lifted annual profit 3.3 percent as the rising cost of honey squeezed margins, and said revenue and earnings would grow in 2015.

Net profit rose to $7.6 million, or 24.37 cents per share, in the 12 months ended March 31 from $7.4 million, or 24.52 cents a year earlier, the Te Puke-based company said in a statement. That’s slightly ahead of the $7.5 million profit Comvita signalled earlier this month. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 11 percent to $16.4 million and revenue gained by the same amount to $115.3 million.

“Margins were impacted by the very strong New Zealand dollar and from further sharp rises in the cost of Manuka honey,” the company said. “Because of contractual commitments on pricing in the fast growing China market these costs couldn’t be recovered within the annual time frame.” . . .

New president for Federated Farmers Waikato:

Federated Farmers is thrilled to welcome our new Waikato provincial president, Chris Lewis, who is replacing James Houghton following their provincial AGM.

“Chris has been a part of Federated Farmers for nine years and is well versed on the issues surrounding the Waikato region as well as the dairy industry at a national level,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers National President.

“I would like to thank outgoing provincial president, James Houghton for his service to the province and Federated Farmers and congratulate him on his role on the Waikato Waipa Stakeholders Group, in continuing the collective conversation around water quality in Waikato.

“We are in a year of change within the Federation with leadership changes throughout the organisation, both nationally and provincially, Chris is an incredibly passionate advocate for the farming community and I know he will do a fantastic job,” said Mr Wills. . .

Shocking Sharemilker compliance revealed:

With just over a week until it closes, Federated Farmers is blowing the whistle on the four-fifths of Sharemilkers who are yet to vote in the 2014 DairyNZ Levy referendum.

“The last time I checked only 20 percent of sharemilkers had voted and that’s a shocker turn out,” says Neil Filer, Federated Farmers Sharemilkers section chairperson.

“It’s like seeing only 100 people physically in Eden Park for the upcoming England test.

“I need to send a rocket to our guys to pull finger and vote. We’re the ones that get the most from the levy as it sets up the best possible industry for us. . . .


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