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. . . 


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. . .


Rural round-up

August 10, 2015

Fonterra must evolve – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra’s structure must keep evolving, as farmers’ own businesses change through time, former founding director Greg Gent believes.

However, nothing in its structure was preventing farmers from getting the maximum available returns from world dairy markets in the downturn.

As big as it is, Fonterra could not control the milk price.

Fonterra remains silent on dividend impact – Eye to the Long Run:

The staggering hit to milk payouts – around 27% – is also a staggering reduction in the input costs to every product for which milk is an input.

The “model” is supposed to generate returns to suppliers of milk solids and returns to investors (and the two are one in the same for the majority) on sales of processed product. The reduction in input cost must by now be cumulatively very significant. . .

Fonterra overshoot on 2015 advance payment worsens 2016 farmer cash flows – Paul McBeth:

 (BusinessDesk) – Milk prices have dropped so dramatically that Fonterra Cooperative Group effectively overpaid farmers under an advance payments scheme last year, sapping funds available to pay out farmers at the end of the season and leaving them short of cash even before last week’s deep cut to the 2016 forecast payout.

“Last year, Fonterra came out with a higher advance rate schedule during the year, effectively almost overpaying for milk as they went,” Dairy Holdings chief executive Colin Glass told BusinessDesk. “That meant there was nothing left at the end of the year to come through. That’s effectively been the major impact on farm cash flows today.

“Those deferred payments for the previous year haven’t been there and that’s coinciding with what is now the lower advance rate schedule.” . .


Hard work and sacrifice reap stellar success – Kate Taylor:

A determination to buy their own farms has seen a set of siblings grow their businesses from 7000 stock units to about 37,000 in 14 years.

One of the partners, Bart and Nukuhia (Nuku) Hadfield, went on to win the 2015 Ahuwhenua Trophy – the BNZ Maori Excellence in Farming Award (sheep and beef).

In 2001 they had pooled resources with Nuku’s siblings – Eugene, Ronald and Marama – and their partners to lease Mangaroa Station in the Ruakituri Valley and neighbouring Ruakaka Station in Tiniroto. . .

El Niño explained as simply as possible – Weather Watch:

It’s been talked about for almost two years in the global scientific community and now it’s finally showing up on weather stations here in New Zealand – El Nino, the weather/climate event that often causes great concern in the rural sector.

But should be we concerned ?  Short answer – yes, somewhat – long answer, yes, but let’s not get carried away, NZ can buck the international trends and we are still not 100% sure how this will all pan out over summer. 

So saying things like “This El Nino will be worse than the drought creating one of the 1990s” is a bit like saying a newly developing tropical low is going to hurt NZ more than Bola did.  But until it fully forms and until we really get a good feeling as to how it’s going to impact New Zealand, then we need to take a deep breath and not talk about extreme worst case scenarios as if they are locked in with certainty…because we simply don’t know this early.  . .

Blair draws a line on farm trespass – Robyn Ainsworth:

TRESPASSERS will definitely be prosecuted under strict new penalties to be introduced to state parliament under the proposed Biosecurity Bill, industry stakeholders heard this week.

The penalties are one plank of the government’s NSW Farm Incursions Policy being rolled out, which NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair (pictured) hopes will be extended nationwide to protect farmers and crack down on the illegal practices of animal welfare activists and others who trespass on farms. . .

 MyFarm share trading shifts to Syndex – Syndex launches offering investors the opportunity to trade farm and orchard shares:

Syndex, the online investment trading platform, has launched today offering investors the opportunity to buy and sell shares in farms and orchards.

Farm investment company, MyFarm, is the inaugural partner for Syndex’s Agri Syndicate Market.

Syndex will allow people to buy and sell shares in MyFarm’s dairy and kiwifruit investment opportunities. It opened today with shares available for purchase in a new Bay of Plenty kiwifruit syndicate and an established Canterbury dairy farm. . .

Will a red hot beef market cool anytime soon? –  Texas Farm Bureau:

The cattle market the last two years is like August weather in Texas. Red hot!

More than 1,680 beef cattle producers gathered at Texas A&M to hear the latest about the cattle market and future trends at the 61st Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course, held this week in College Station.

“I think there is a lot to look forward to down the road,” said Dr. Jason Cleere, conference coordinator and Texas A&M AgriLife beef cattle specialist. . .

Rural round-up

July 20, 2015

Farming mixes with writing at Triple Springs – Kate Taylor:

Drive the winding Weber road toward the coast from Dannevirke then turn west toward Waihi Falls. It’s tough, windswept country, but farmed with passion for the past seven years by husband and wife team Dennis Gloyn and Anita Lamb.

The 442ha property (400ha effective) is home to between 2000-2300 ewes lambing 125 per cent. About 550 ewe lambs are carried through as replacements.

Their flock is romdale returning to a romney base. “If we’re going to grow wool, we may as well grow plenty,” says Gloyn. . .

Gordon Stephenson Trophy Winners Keen To Spread Sustainability Message:

Left to right, Simon Saunders, Chairman of the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, Catherine and John Ford, 2015 National Winners of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Bay of Plenty farmers John and Catherine Ford were thrilled to win the National Winner title in the 2015 Ballance Farm Environment Awards. And they can’t wait to get out there to spread the message that good environmental management and good farming go hand in hand.

New Zealand Farm Environment Trust (NZFE) chairman Simon Saunders says the Fords will be excellent ambassadors for New Zealand agriculture. . .


A2 says FY earnings flat, sees growth in 2016; pooh-poohs takeover bid – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk Co, which markets milk with a protein variant said to have health benefits, says annual earnings were flat and are set to triple in 2016 with sales expected to rise faster than forecast. Separately, the company has told its suitors to try again after an initial offer wasn’t compelling and drew out rival bidders.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation was unchanged at $4 million in the 12 months ended June 30, and are forecast to rise to $12 million in 2016, ahead of plan, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Annual revenue rose 39 percent to $154 million, and A2 raised its 2016 sales target to $267 million from a previous forecast of $230 million due to growth in infant formula sales in Australasia and China, new product launches in Australia and New Zealand and the company’s launch into North America. . . .

Revised Dairy herd testing standard:

A revised dairy herd testing standard will help herd testers meet the objectives of the Dairy Industry Herd Testing Regulations.

The Dairy Industry (Herd Testing and New Zealand Dairy Core Database) Regulations 2001 require all herd testers to be certified and to submit the minimum data set required to characterise the performance of the national bovine dairy herd.

NZS 8100:2015 Dairy herd testing simplifies the provisions for farming businesses with multiple herds and farm dairies in similar environments, to allow the herds to be tested on the same day or on different days, as long as all cows are tested within an 8-day ‘herd test phase’. . .


Commission reconvenes conference and calls for final submissions on wool scouring authorisation:

The Commerce Commission is to reconvene its conference and seek final submissions on Cavalier Wool Holding Limited’s application for authorisation to acquire New Zealand Wool Services International’s wool scouring business.

The Commission hosted a public conference last month and has since received a number of further submissions. To ensure that all parties have an opportunity to respond to new information provided, the Commission is asking that final submissions be provided by Monday 10 August. . . .

Silver Fern Farms Sells Stake in Rendering Joint Venture:

Silver Fern Farms announced today that it has agreed to sell its 50 percent share in Farm Brands Limited to its partner Modena Investments – a company owned by Italian global rendering company Sapi and local management.

Farm Brands will continue to toll process and market meal and tallow for Silver Fern Farms. . .




AgBioWorld's photo.

Hillside organic vineyard supplying highly-acclaimed wine label for sale:

An established, organic Marlborough vineyard which has supplied grapes to celebrated wine label Churton, has been placed on the market for sale.

Located at 941 Waihopai Valley Road, the 22-hectare vineyard sits high above Marlborough in the Waihopai Valley. Planted across the rolling contours of the land , it encompasses predominantly sauvignon blanc and pinot noir grapes, along with small blocks of petit manseng, and viognier. . . .



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