Rural round-up

22/01/2021

Dollar causes fall in lamb prices – Peter Burke:

A report by the ANZ bank paints a somewhat sombre picture for sheepmeat in the coming year and mirrors a similar prediction in MPI’s Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries report (SOPI) published in December.

ANZ says, overall, global demand for lamb products is relatively subdued and as a result farmgate prices for lamb and beef are expected to soften further as the country heads into the peak processing months.

It says while international prices for NZ lamb and beef seem to have stabilised after a fall, the strong NZ dollar is taking the edge off farmgate prices. Lambs destined for slaughter in the North Island are fetching $6.50/kg CW and $6.40/kg CW in the South Island, but the report expects these to fall to around $6.00/kg CW by February. . . 

Playing to our strengths in drought: are we missing Lucerne, the low hanging fruit – Harry Mills & Peter Kerr:

Since the dawn of farming, the rain has signalled renewal and hope while drought has signalled disaster and despair.

When Lincoln University-based plant scientist Derrick Moot returned from studying in the UK in 1996, he was convinced climate change was already impacting New Zealand’s drylands. The east coast of New Zealand, the home of many sheep farms was getting noticeably drier. Drought was becoming more prevalent. The number of hot summer days exceeding 30C was increasing. When summer air temperatures reach 30C, the dry soil temperature rises to 50C. Ryegrass pastures shrivel up and die in 50C heat.

Derrick Moot’s advice to drought-stricken sheep farmers was simple and low cost. Replace your ryegrass with lucerne and graze it in spring. . . 

Viruses can support sustainable food production – Richard Rennie:

2020 proved to be the year where most of the world learnt more than ever anticipated about viruses. Plant & Food Research lead scientist Dr Robin MacDiarmid views this increase in understanding as a silver lining in the covid cloud. But her research is also finding another silver lining in viruses, learning where they can serve good for more sustainable food production. She spoke to Richard Rennie.

A single slice from any flora or fauna sample analysed in a lab may contain hundreds if not thousands of viruses and bacteria, but the number actually known, categorised and understood by scientists may well pale against the total there.

For Dr Robin MacDiarmid, identifying and categorising the viruses represents barely half the job at hand. In recent decades genomic sequencing has made that task simpler, quicker and more affordable for researchers. 

“But once you have discovered and categorised a virus, you are really only at the ‘so what?’ stage. The big questions come after that, in terms of what is its cell biology, and what is the ecosystem it functions in?” MacDiarmid said. . . 

The rise and rise of the merino shoe – Michael Andrew:

Varieties of merino wool footwear are emerging faster than Netflix series about British aristocracy. Michael Andrew takes a look at the rise of the shoe that almost everyone – including his 95-year-old grandma – is wearing.

Some might say it all started with Allbirds. After all, to the average consumer, it was the New Zealand-American company founded by former all white Tim Brown in 2014 that successfully popularised the versatile, comfortable and, lets face it, kind of goofy merino wool shoe that is now synonymous with corporate sustainability and Silicon Valley.

But when we cast our minds – and google searches – back to the early 2010s, we see that sustainable shoe initiatives were happening long before Allbirds came along and dominated the market. . . 

Game Animal Council working to improve new rules for flare arms users:

The Game Animal Council (GAC) is applying its expertise in the use of firearms for hunting to work alongside Police, other agencies and stakeholder groups to improve the compliance provisions for hunters and other firearms users.

The GAC has been a part of the Firearms Community Advisory Forum (FCAF) since 2018 and along with other hunting sector stakeholders successfully advocated for a number of practical changes to the Arms Legislation Act.

“While we continue to have concerns over the fairness and practicality of some aspects of the legislation we are working with Police and other groups seeking to develop practical rules and guidance going forward,” says Game Animal Council General Manager Tim Gale. “A major part of this work is making sure Police fully understand the impact of the new rules from a user’s point of view and apply them fairly.”

Lockdown games teach children about farm safety :

Educational games centred on farm safety have been developed for children studying at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The materials, which seek to raise awareness of the key dangers on farms, include interactive videos and colouring sheets.

Children can use the videos to identify animal emotions and understand the dangers relating to livestock and the rules to follow when coming into contact with them.

They have been created by SAC Consulting and 360 Degree Imagery company Exhibit Scotland for the Farm Advisory Service (FAS). . . 


Rural round-up

18/03/2018

Camp manager returns to roots – Philip Chandler:

Managing Camp Glenorchy, which officially opened on Tuesday, is like coming full circle for Peter Kerr.

The 58-year-old’s stellar hotel career had its humble beginnings in Queenstown.

Dunedin-raised, he got to know the resort because his parents had a holiday home in Hallenstein St.

He had plans to go farming after leaving school, but a car accident – not his worst, as it turned out – put paid to that.

After two months in hospital he shifted to Queenstown and to subsidise his skiing, which he had fallen in love with, started working at the Frankton Motor Hotel as a trainee manager. . . 

$160m Kiwi cannabis export deal to US – Madison Reidy:

New Zealand’s only large scale medicinal cannabis grower has inked a $160 million conditional deal to supply a United States manufacturer. 

Under the deal Ruatoria-based Hikurangi Cannabis will send three tonnes of cannabidiol extracts, THC extracts and whole cannabis flowers to Seattle-based cannabis brokerage company Rhizo Sciences next year and up to 12 tonnes by 2021.

Hikurangi has a crop of 5000 plants. Rhizo also has suppliers in Africa, Europe, Australia and North America. . . 

Rabbit hunt postponed due to rabbit virus release

Alexandra’s annual Great Easter Bunny Hunt has been postponed so the newly released K5 rabbit virus has time to work.

The first batches of the virus were released in Central Otago this week at two sites monitored by Landcare Research.

Hunt convener Dave Ramsay, of the Alexandra Lions’ Club, said because there were so many rabbits in the district, the organising committee decided it was necessary to support the introduction of the virus by not holding the hunt, which attracts hundreds of people from across the country.

“We made the decision to see this thing [the virus] work,” Mr Ramsay said.. . 

Old season wool overflow is selling well – Alan Williams:

Large volumes of last season’s crossbred wool are coming out of storage as farmers decide it’s time to meet the market.

That wind-change in sentiment has put pressure on auction values in February and March, but prices, while still low, have crept up slightly at some of the Napier and Christchurch sales, PGG Wrightson South Island sales manager Dave Burridge said.

The older wool has been coming to market along with the latest wool shorn over the same two months and volumes have been about 15% to 20% higher than usual for this time of year and well ahead of the levels forecast by brokers, forcing meetings to work out how to cope with the extra.” . . 

Farm tick coming – Stephen Bell:

An assurance programme to guarantee New Zealand farm products’ environmental and sustainability credentials to the world is being developed by the Ministry of Primary Industries, Labour MP Kieran McAnulty told the Future Farming conference in Palmerston North.

And from now on all Government decisions, no matter what portfolios they relate to, will have to pass a rural-proofing test to assess their impact on provincial people and their communites, McAnulty, speaking of behalf of Agriculture, Biosecurity and Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor, said.

The Government is also reviewing the Biosecuruity Act and plans to enhance the protection of the primary sector by allocating enough resources to protect the country from future incursions. . . 

Manawatū farmer unveils gumboot cleaning device at Central Districts Field Days – Sam Kilmister:

There’s a famous New Zealand folk song that asks “if it weren’t for your gumboots, where would ya be?”. 

It’s a question that Manawatū farmer Ivan Wildbore could put his own spin on as punters stopped by his site at the Central Districts Field Days in Feilding on Friday – if it weren’t for clean gumboots, where would you be? 

The Feilding entrepeneur unveiled the Yuk-Off at the agricultural expo this week, a boot washer he designed that even Fred Dagg would be proud of.  . . 


Rural round-up

04/02/2016

Federated Farmers welcomes TPP signing:

 

Federated Farmers welcomes today’s signing in Auckland of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement as a significant milestone for the New Zealand economy and a positive deal for the agriculture sector.

Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston says the agreement may not have delivered everything the sector desired, but the scale and its importance to New Zealand is undoubtedly profound.

“As a founding member, the signing of the latest TPP agreement introduces another chapter in our proud history as a trading nation,” he says.

“For the primary sector, the TPP offers diverse opportunities not only for agriculture but for future generations of New Zealanders and their prosperity. You only have to look at the current state of dairy prices to realise the vital importance of opening up new export markets and ensuring a level playing field for New Zealand exporters. . . 

Quota allocations suggest change in balance of industry power – Allan Barber:

The release of the 2016 quota allocation which Alan Williams analysed in detail (Farmers Weekly 11th January) show some considerable shifts in tonnage entitlements between the major meat exporters. The quota is allocated as a percentage of the total allowable quota for shipment to the EU for sheepmeat and USA for beef during a calendar year; in the last two years New Zealand has only filled around 75% of the EU quota and 90% and 98% of the USA beef quota.

This shortfall, especially for sheepmeat, has been a result of the lower lamb kill, economic conditions in Europe and the availability of China as an alternative market eager for product at a competitive price. In 2014 China also took large quantities of beef. . . 

Cattle operated drinking trough:

A new trough that allows cows to pump their own water as they drink could be the answer to keeping stock out of the country’s rivers and lakes, a company says.

Beef cattle roaming in waterways] have hit the headlines in the past week.

Veterinary equipment company Shoof International, which is the importer of the new pump, says it could offer a solution.

Company group sales manager John Stubbs said because it was operated by the animals there was no need for electricity or other mechanical means.

The pump could supply enough water for up to 50 stock. “[It ] operates from the animal’s nose actually pushing on a lever as they drink water from the bowl. . . 

A2 cows are the future – Keith Woodford:

Towards the end of 2015 there was a massive re-assessment of A2 milk on the New Zealand and Australian stock exchanges. The shares of ‘The a2 Milk Company’ (abbreviated hereafter to their NZX code of ATM) closed the year at almost four times their price back in May, and with market capitalisation at $NZ1.35 billion.

For a few heady hours the capital value was close to 1.7 billion – more than Trade Me and almost double The Warehouse. Since then the shares have settled back somewhat, but still showing a three-fold gain from 12 months earlier.

In essence, the drive was fuelled by several major Australian institutional investors building their stakes, and then hundreds of smaller investors climbed on board. This was in response to ongoing good news stories from ATM, based on sky rocketing sales of infant formula in Australia and China, with this news particularly well reported in the Australian media. . . 

Fishing for a complimentary use of fire reservoir ponds – Peter Kerr:

Years ago for a farm management report at Lincoln University, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek plan around the integration of goldfish in troughs on dairy farms (we’d spotted the use of such technology to help keep the troughs clean).

Well here’s a huge expansion on this idea, one that’s taken my fancy…this time utilising water ponds kept on hand by forestry companies in case they ever need to fight a fire.

(Check out the story here in last year’s Otago Daily Times)

Ernslaw One started with an experiment in one of its Maniototo forest ponds, growing koura, or freshwater crayfish, and it has been such a success, it is going to expand the programme around some of its 2000 ponds spread throughout Southland and Otago.  . . 

New Zealand wine industry financial metrics remain sound:

Financial benchmarking survey shows industry resilience

The New Zealand wine industry continues to show sound financial metrics in 2015 on the back of profitability in all but the smallest wineries and stable or increased gross margins across the board, according to the tenth annual financial benchmarking survey released today by Deloitte.

Vintage 2015 tracks the financial results of wineries accounting for nearly 40% of the industry’s total wine production by volume. Survey respondents have been categorised into bands according to revenue to assist comparison within the industry. . . 

Help cows chill out this summer:

With the current El Niño weather pattern bringing heatwave conditions to many parts of the country, it’s important to ensure cows avoid heat stress and closely monitor cow health.

As temperature and humidity levels rise this summer, farmers should take steps to ensure stock stay cool and where necessary put in place a plan help prevent facial eczema.

“These conditions also encourage facial eczema, so farmers are reminded to monitor spore levels in your area, talk to your vet and put in place a prevention plan to suit your farm situation.”

“When it comes to high temperatures this summer, put simply a cool cow is a happy cow,” says DairyNZ animal welfare team manager Chris Leach. . . 

Farmers looking for environmentally friendly solutions:

Despite recent bad press of a select few dairy farmers’ poor environmental practices, New Zealand farmers are showing an increasing interest in finding environmentally friendly farming solutions, according to Frizzell Agricultural Electronics General Manager Alastair Frizzell.

Frizzell have supplied farmers with solar powered water pump systems for the past five years and have noticed a steady increase in demand as farmers search for more sustainable ways to farm.

“We’re getting more and more calls from farmers who genuinely care about implementing sustainable farming practices,” Alastair said. . . 

How a huge dairy is solving a major pollution problem – Beth Kowitt:

Hint: The secret ingredient comes from cows.

Though city dwellers may not realize it, agriculture is a big source of carbon emissions. That’s because of livestock’s production of methane, how manure is handled, and soil management (something as simple as tilling the soil releases greenhouse gases). Dairy geniuses Mike and Sue McCloskey, partners in one of the country’s biggest dairy operations, have come up with an elegant approach to tackling several of these problems at once in the hopes of creating a zero-carbon footprint dairy farm. At the heart of the operation: a process that turns their dairies’ tons of cow manure into natural-gas fuel. Here’s how it works. . . 

 

 


Rural round-up

24/07/2014

 

 

Kiwi red meat really starting to sizzle – Graham Turley:

“When the first shipment of red meat sailed from Dunedin in 1882, it was a turning point for New Zealand’s economy. Now the red meat sector faces another turning point having lost out to dairy as NZ’s star export.

For the past two decades red meat’s low profits, lack of reinvestment, wide differences in performance between farms and a troubling misalignment between farmers, processors, and markets, have seen its glorious past recede into memory.

On-farm production figures show how the gap with dairy has grown. Between 1993 and 2013 dairy farmers increased per hectare output from just over 600kg of milk solids a hectare to over 1,000kg, while production of meat and fibre per hectare was almost flat, averaging about 130kg. . . .

The dominant role of agribusiness co-operatives – Keith Woodford:

Last week I wrote about the Farmlands co-operative which, together with other co-operatives dominate the farm supplies sector. I suggested that farmers have a natural affinity for co-operatives. This is because these co-operatives, which are owned by the farmer members, exist for the purpose of working in farmers’ interests.

Whereas Farmlands and similar co-operatives such as RD1 and Ashburton trading Society (ATS) are merchant traders who have their own retail stores, there is also a range of other farmer co-operatives that supply specific and specialist inputs, either directly to farmers or through the merchants.

Most notable of the specialist supply co-operatives are the Ravensdown Fertiliser and the Ballance Agri-Nutrients co-operatives. They are of similar size, each with about $1 billion of annual revenue. Between them, they have over 90% of the fertiliser market. . .

 Speech to GIA signing with NZ Pork – Nathan Guy:

It’s great to be here today to witness the signing of the Government Industry Agreement Deed by the New Zealand Pork Industry.

This is a historic day. It’s the result of the hard work over several years of both industry and government to realise the benefits of working in partnership. 

There is a simple but important principle behind the GIA: by working together, we are stronger.

This agreement means we can share our expertise, experience and knowledge to make joint decisions on biosecurity readiness and response.

Those with a direct stake in biosecurity can now be directly involved in decision making and funding.

In May this year, the Kiwifruit industry became the first signatory to the GIA Deed. I’m very pleased to have the pork industry onboard as the first animal sector industry into GIA. . .

 

Is the future for our sheep their milk? Peter Kerr:

Being the farm raised boy I am, I’m keen on the idea of clever new and profitable products from our ability to convert sunlight, soil and water into them.

So, Blue River Dairy, the sheep milk products company which is over 10 years old, is something to keep an eye on.

It is the creation of Keith Neylon, a 60-something entrepreneur, who has had previous lives in deer recovery (owned 10 helicopters at one stage) and salmon farming (co-pioneered its development in NZ) among other things.

He was semi-talked into exploring sheep milk potential by a meat company chairman – and saw opportunity. . .

Looking for a home where the buffalo roam? – Nick Heydon:

A PROPERTY that previously grew bananas and was more recently home to cattle has been transformed over the past couple of years into what is a highly unusual rural listing – a wildlife retreat home to deer, buffalo and a range of other species.

Some cattle do still remain on the 311 hectare (770ac) Queensland property “Mountain Creek”, abut 30 kilometres south west of Gympie, but when current owners Michael and Kate Read purchased the grazing land they decided to fulfil a dream of building up a wilderness retreat.

Selling reluctantly for health reasons, the Reads have decided to offer the property on a walk-in walk-out basis with animals included in the sale, meaning buyers can take advantage of much of the hard work that has gone into selecting species for this rare offering. . . .

 


Rural round-up

22/06/2014

In the rush to all things digital, are we missing a biological trick? – sticK:

New Zealand is missing a trick when it comes to the startup weekend, incubator, accelerator programme ecosystem that’s got lots of attention lately.

And sure, I can appreciate how the digital side of things is extremely quick at developing and validating a business through processes such as Lightning Lab.

Where I wonder if we’re underplaying to one of our strengths, is in the biology/technology economy (the analogue economy perhaps?).

What would be the new research and commercialisation projects if we had fired up scientists, engineers, manufacturers,  hands-on finance and distribution people, digital experts and some other odd and even people hothoused in a similar way to the incubator models? . . .

Cracking sheep source code vindicates grower support:

AgResearch’s internationally led mapping of the sheep genome is not just an unprecedented opportunity for New Zealand, but vindicates growers backing the creation of Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics.

“With the loss of lowland pasture Federated Farmers is keen to see sheep bred with traits to thrive in hill and high country farms. Mapping the sheep genome is a crucial breakthrough,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“We back the sheep industry to grow and genetic mapping will be of immense benefit to wool should farmers approve a proposed levy vote later in the year.

“We think it was said best at the KPMG Agribusiness Leader’s Breakfast at Fieldays, one megatrend could be beef, lamb and wool as high value luxury consumer goods. . . .

Electric farm bike under development:

Developers of an electric farm bike are hoping to put their idea into production over the next year.

Anthony Clyde and Darryl Neal’s Ranger-two wheel drive Lightweight Electric Farm Bike won two innovation awards at the Agricultural Fieldays.

Darryl Neal said the bike had been on the drawing board for about three years, but it was a rush to get a prototype built to display at the fieldays.

He said the concept grew from people who wanted to use bicycles on farms. . .

Prices and Sales Volume Lifting in Strong May Market:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 52 more farm sales (+10.2%) for the three months ended May 2014 than for the three months ended May 2013. Overall, there were 564 farm sales in the three months to end of May 2014, compared to 498 farm sales for the three months ended April 2014 (+13.3%). 1,881 farms were sold in the year to May 2014, 26.2% more than were sold in the year to May 2013.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to May 2014 was $25,018 compared to $20,499 recorded for three months ended May 2013 (+22.0%). The median price per hectare rose 1.8% compared to April. . . .

Dead heat for farmers and dentists on ‘most trusted professions’ list:

Farmers are tied with dentists as New Zealand’s fourteenth most trusted profession in Readers Digest New Zealand’s Most Trusted Professions 2014.

“It is gratifying to see farmers held in such respect by this Reader’s Digest survey,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President and 2014 Landcorp Agricultural Communicator of the Year.

“It is telling the company you keep. Being well within the top 20 means farmers are there with the professions that defend you and your animals, the people who feed you, the people who educate and the people who literally move you.

“Like any profession we have our share of ratbags but this survey demonstrates that most New Zealanders know farmers are hard working decent folk who genuinely try our hardest. . . .

Australia still owns the farm

DESPITE an increase in farmland owned by businesses with some level of foreign investment, Australia’s farms and farm businesses remain largely Australian-owned.

Figures released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in its 2013 Agricultural Land and Water Ownership survey (ALWOS) show just under 99 per cent of Australian farm businesses are fully Australian-owned and just under 90pc of farmland is fully Australian owned.

Bruce Hockman from the ABS said the survey also confirmed that large businesses continue to account for the majority of foreign owned farmland, with less than 50 businesses accounting for 95pc of the total area of foreign owned farmland in Australia. . . .


Rural round-up

17/07/2013

Australian farmers facing tough times:

Australian farmers are doing it tough with food imports becoming cheaper because of the Australian dollar’s plunge against the greenback three years ago, just as the worst drought in living memory finally broke.

Although there’s a general election in September, Australian farmers say their plight continues to be ignored by both Government and opposition.

Hundreds of jobs have gone from the regions as food processing factories close – or they’ve slashed production, leaving growers with tonnes of rotting fruit. . .

How a 750 cow dairy farm could make $125,000 more by employing 2 extra staff – Milking on the Moove:

I’ve been using a 750 cow farm (Canterbury average) as an example. I have been saying that this farm should have 5 employees + the boss, instead of the usual 3 employees + the boss.

 2 extra staff @ $35,000 each = $70,000/year extra wages
But if this farmer could:

 
  • Increase fertility by 7% = extra $32,000
  • Decrease SCC in just 5% of cows = $30,000
  • Increase pasture quality by 10% for just 31 days = $63,000
Thats adds up to an extra $125,000
 
Subtract the $70,000 in additional wages = $55,000 better off. . .

Ponding effluent proves costly for Hinds company:

A farm company has been fined $25,000 after pleading guilty to breaching the Resource Management Act following problems with a travelling irrigator which resulted in severe effluent ponding on its Hinds dairy farm.

In convicting and fining Drumblade Farm Ltd and awarding costs of $2990.80, Judge PR Kellar described the offence as “comparatively serious offending.”

He noted that when an Environment Canterbury Compliance Officer made a routine monitoring visit to the property on April 17, 2012 he was informed that there had been an issue that morning with the travelling irrigator where a nozzle had come off. Inspection revealed severe liquid and solid effluent ponding on the land surface. . .

Greenlea turns 20 – Allan Barber:

Waikato based Greenlea Premier Meats turns twenty this month and considering that they have just spent twenty years in the meat industry they seem to be in remarkably good shape.

They are currently the Westpac Waikato business of the Year taking out both the large business and supreme winner categories and their two plants are basically full on both shifts all year round. This year they will process more than 200,000 cattle and in the past five years they have invested more than $45 million in their plants.

Owned by the Egan family, Greenlea is not one of the big four meat companies, but belongs instead to a group of smaller players who do not seem to share the view that the meat industry is ‘broken and dysfunctional’. Neither do they regard collaboration with farmers as an issue; in fact they get plenty of support and Greenlea’s Managing Director Tony Egan reckons this is due to mutual respect. “They see us doing our job well and give us their support. It’s as simple as that”. . .

Japanese ad gives boysenberry growers a boost:

There’s good news at last for Nelson’s boysenberry growers, with a Japanese health supplements company filming an ad campaign championing the fruit’s health properties.

John Gibb, head of Nelson-based processor and exporter Sujon, says researchers in Japan have identified boysenberries as being beneficial for eye-sight, as they contain good levels of a powerful antioxidant.

However, Mr Gibb says researchers aren’t divulging the exact science behind their health claims. . .

Free range farms – herding start-ups for collective growth – Peter Kett at sticK:

Scale, as anyone starting a business realises, is a key, if not the key to growth and success.

Even in IT-related commerce, achieving scale from a New Zealand base is pretty darn difficult.

Enter, drum-roll please, Free Range Farma startup helping startups start up and stay up.

It’s the brainchild of Linc Gasking and Josh Feast, and its goal is to help entrepreneurs grow 1,000 Kiwi startups. . .


Rural round-up

03/07/2013

Bacteria detector set to scale up for food industry – Peter Kerr at sticK:

I’m always a bit of a sucker for innovations and improvements that add value to our biological industries.

After all, as a country we’d be fools not to play to our major strength in producing food and fibre.

An innovation’s appeal is also greatly increased when it solves a problem – and in this particular case it is instantly identifying the presence of bacteria in food products.

It’s one reason I’m keen on seeing Veritide’s real-time, non-contact bacterial scanner gain more traction. (Note: Veritide’s in the process of updating its website following its pivot to concentrate on the food industry). . .

Synlait well structured for a successful future – Allan Barber:

Synlait Milk’s $120 million capital raising will enable the company to restructure debt and invest in several new initiatives, including a lactoferrin plant, a third dryer, a butter plant, testing laboratory and dry store. The share offer is made up of $75 million of new capital and $45 million sell down by some of the exiting shareholders.

All the signs point to this capital raising being a success, unlike the attempt to raise $150 million in 2009 which was shunned by New Zealand investors. . .

Fonterra to Invest $27 Million in New Dry Store at Te Rapa:

Fonterra has announced a $27 million investment in a dry store distribution centre at its Te Rapa site that will strengthen its Waikato operations and allow the Co-operative to deliver product more efficiently to its customers.

Fonterra’s Director Logistics Network, Mark Leslie, says the dry store will provide the Co-operative annual benefits of nearly $5m through reduced operating costs.

“Our seasonal production means that we store product until we receive orders. The new dry store will enable us to store product at the site of manufacture right through the peak of the season and to more efficiently manage the flow of goods through to our customers by better utilising the rail infrastructure out of our Crawford St distribution centre,” says Mr Leslie. . .

Reassessment of organophosphates and carbamates:

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is being congratulated by Federated Farmers for the difficult decisions it has made around the use of organophosphates and carbamates (OPC’s).

 “Extending the use of Diazinon through to 2028 was the right thing to do because farmers have little or no alternatives at this time,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President.

 “Home gardeners and farmers both know that diazinon is the most effective agrichemical we currently have to treat grass grub and porina. An issue may arise if by the end of the next 15-years we fail to have approved replacements in the toolbox. . .

New Crown Irrigation Chair welcomes opportunity:

The chair of the newly appointed Crown Irrigation Investments board, Alison Paterson, is welcoming the opportunity to help develop large-scale irrigation infrastructure.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has this morning announced the establishment of the new company and the appointment of all members of the Establishment Board to the board of the new company. . . .

Crown irrigation investment company needs to act:

IrrigationNZ has congratulated the Government on the establishment of the new Crown company ‘Irrigation Investments Ltd’ – but signals action is needed quickly before opportunities are lost.

The $80million investment company was announced this week as a “bridging investor” to help irrigation projects that may not otherwise get off the ground. . .

OSPRI New Zealand looking to add value to the primary sector:

This week sees a new arrival in the primary sector with the launch of OSPRI New Zealand.

Formed on 1 July, following the merger of the Animal Health Board and NAIT, the national animal identification and tracing scheme, OSPRI has been set up to bring together existing expertise and, as its name implies, to provide creative operational solutions.

“We are excited by the prospect of developing some creative operational solutions for the sector,” said OSPRI Chief Executive William McCook. . .

New President for Veterinary Association:

 Dr Steve Merchant is the new President of the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA). His first official public engagement is welcoming delegates at the opening plenary of the NZVA’s annual conference in Palmerston North this week (3 and 4 July).

He is a founding director of the Pet Doctors Group. Established in 2005, this is an expanding network of clinics made up of like-minded veterinarians who share resources and take a team-based approach to animal care. . .

New Avocado Exporter Lifts Earnings Forecast

Newly formed avocado exporter AVOCO has raised its forecast for this season’s earnings in Australia and now expects to hit the $50 million mark by the end of the harvest, which starts in late August.

Alistair Young, a director of AVOCO, says latest analysis of the potential harvest suggests there will be a better yield than usual, without it being a brilliant harvest. Formed recently by the two largest avocado exporters, AVOCO represents about 75% of all the growers in New Zealand and holds a similar-sized chunk of sales into the Australian market. . .

Praise Bee – industrious insects get the stamp of approval:

They’ve been celebrated in verse (by the likes of Emily Dickinson[1], William Blake[2] and Kahlil Gibran[3]) – in song (by the likes of Gloria Gaynor[4], Blake Shelton[5] and Owl City[6]) – and in popular culture (with spelling bees, ‘Buzzy Bees’ and Wellington’s own ‘Beehive’). But the humble bee stands poised to get a new tribute this week, with the release of a special set of postage stamps.

The Honey Bees stamp issue celebrates the industrious insects on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the National Beekeepers’ Association of New Zealand.

Honey bees, which are of European origin, have played a key role in New Zealand horticulture for over 150 years – pollinating essential crops and producing up to 12,000 tonnes of honey per annum, with as much as half of that being exported. . .


Rural round-up

05/04/2013

Senior Aussie PGG Wrigthson exec to head Landcorp:

 (BusinessDesk) – PGG Wrightson’s Steve Carden, who heads up its Australian seeds unit, will leave the country’s biggest rural supplies firm to take up the reins at New Zealand government-owned Landcorp Farming in July.

The Wrightson general manager will take up the chief executive role being left vacant by long-standing Landcorp boss Chris Kelly, the company said in a statement.

Carden has been with Wrightson since 2008, and responsible for the Australian seeds business since 2010, overseeing the acquisition and integration of a number of businesses while confronting some challenging climatic and market conditions. . .

Collaborative water management delivers water solutions in North Canterbury – David Eder and Ian Whitehouse:

In July 2013 the Hurunui-Waiau Zone Committee will notch up three years of work. It was set up as part of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy – a collaborative process for finding local solutions to water issues within an environmentally sustainable framework.

In July 2010 the committee’s daunting task was to sort out water storage in the Hurunui catchment and set water quality limits.

We held dozens of committee meetings, public meetings involving more than 300 people, and received written feedback from more than 120 people before finalising our zone implementation programme of recommendations.

Working collaboratively empowered us to reach consensus decisions on local water issues that are acceptable to a wide range of people. The ZIP now guides local government work programmes and policy to achieve the agreed goals of the Strategy. . .

 

TAF scheme could benefit independent processors:

Massey University’s professor of agribusiness thinks Fonterra’s Trading Among Farmers (TAF) system will play into the hands of independent dairy processors, including Chinese companies, setting up new milk powder plants in New Zealand.

Two Chinese companies have been cleared by the Overseas Investment Office to establish plants in South Canterbury and northern Waikato processing milk for infant formulas.

Hamish Gow does not think they will have a problem finding a supply of milk from local farmers. . .

South Canterbury farmer welcomes Chinese investment:

A dairy farmer who sold part of his land for a new Chinese owned milk powder factory to be built in South Canterbury says it will be a huge economic boost for the region.

Aad van Leeuwen had a 12.5% shareholding in the Oceania Dairy company – which has just been bought out by the Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group, after it got Overseas Investment Office approval. . .

Westland Milk Products’ new nutritional plant enters commercial production:

Westland Milk Products, New Zealand’s second largest dairy cooperative, has made a bold strategic step into the international high-value paediatric nutrition market with the commissioning of a state-of-the-art nutritionals plant at Hokitika.

The new multi-million dollar plant commenced commercial production in February and already has committed customers, taking Westland from being a well-respected dairy ingredient supplier to an exciting new entrant in the infant nutrition sector. . .

Happy, Profitable, Sustainable Dairy Business Wins Top Prize in Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Walton farmers Grant Wills and Karen Preston have scooped a string of awards in the 2013 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards, including the highly coveted Supreme title.

Judges said decision making on the couple’s 244ha (215ha effective) dairy farm ‘Tremeer’ focuses on profitability while caring for the people, the cows and the environment.

Grant and Karen were announced winners of the Supreme Award at a Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on April 3. They also collected the Ballance Agri-Nutrients – Nutrient Management Award, the LIC Dairy Farm Award, the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award, the Massey University Discovery Award and the Meridian Energy Excellence Award. . .

Adding a hole lot of value to a piece of pine – Peter Kerr:

We all know that we’d prefer to export more than just a log of pine to overseas markets.

At the same time, the NZ Inc desire to add value to our raw commodities such as trees is almost tiresome through over-use.

So, it is a pleasure to be able to highlight a company and person doing something different and in their case, making a better pine pole. 

Now TTT Products (and no, I’d never heard of them either until going through a recent exercise to maximise the return from a 20 year old four hectare block of pines that I’m involved with) isn’t a small firm. Its North Island headquarters at Tuakau covers 20ha, specialising in creating pine poles of many different sorts.

Search begins for the 2013 Young Horticulturist of the Year:

The future of New Zealand’s horticulture industry could easily be in the hands of the finalists in the 2013 Young Horticulturist of the Year. Professor Jacqueline Rowarth says that the life skills that the contestants learn through the competition sets them on the path to future leadership.

This statement launches the search for the 2013 Young Horticulturist of the Year, and for up to 7 finalists to line up in the grand final in November.

Finalists (30 years and under) compete for a prize pool of over $40,000 that includes a $7,500 travel and accommodation package, and a $5,500 Massey University study scholarship and travel. While the prizes are tempting, it is the development opportunities that are the real reward for finalists in the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition. . .

Green Meadows Beef Continues To Grow Demand. Export- Quality, 100% Grass-Fed Beef Now Available In Wellington & New Plymouth:

Green Meadows Beef, 100% grass-fed, free-range, export–quality Angus beef from South Taranaki, has responded to increased demand for their beef by making it available in two North Island food stores. Moore Wilson in Wellington and Fresha in New Plymouth are now both stocking a wide variety of Green Meadows Beef, from Scotch Fillet and Rump Steaks to Premium Beef Mince.

Moore Wilson will publicly launch Green Meadows Beef at an in-store tasting event on Sunday, 7 April from 10:00am to 2:00pm. Wellington chef, Liam Brash, who has worked at The Savoy in London, will be cooking up a variety of gourmet bite-sized beef treats for the public to try. Green Meadows Beef Directors, Michael and Nick Carey, will be on hand to answer questions about the different cuts of beef and the Green Meadows Beef way of farming. . .


Rural round-up

02/04/2013

‘Inspiring’ kiwi landscape in the blood decades on

Life is still a laugh for 88-year-old environmentalist Gordon Stephenson.

While he was “gobsmacked” to learn that Waikato University wanted to bestow its highest honour on his shoulders, he isn’t above making light of it.

“What do I do in public when somebody says is there a doctor in the house, please?”

“Yes,” he says with a laugh, “that is worrying me.”

But on that score there’s still time up his sleeve – April 16 is the day Mr Stephenson will receive his honorary doctorate at Claudelands Events Centre for his lengthy and ongoing contribution to the environment. . .

Dyed in the wool innovation partners to go global – Peter Kerr:

The time it takes to convert a good idea into something that another person’s willing to buy is almost invariably longer than you think.

A couple of years ago, sticK reported on BGI Developments’ winning the right to commercialise AgResearch’s new textile fabric dyeing process.

The beauty of this process is different dye colours don’t bleed into each other – the picture or pattern remains sharp and embedded in the fabric (unlike say printing on top of a T-shirt for example).

BGI (stands for Bloody Good Ideas) directors Robyn George-Neich and Brent Gregory have spent part of the past two years looking for the right company to take the technology to the global market. . .

Time to shore-up water supplies for the future – Terri Russell:

Southland river levels are the lowest they have been for years. Environment Southland has stopped some farmers from irrigating. No significant rain is in sight. Terri Russell talks to industry experts to find out what is being done to help future-proof the agricultural industry in times of a changing climate.

From flooding in January to a prolonged dry period, the Southland Federated Farmers boss says it is time to look at water storage options for the future.

MetService duty forecaster Ian Gall said parts of Southland were forecast to receive about 10mm to 15mm of rain yesterday but there would be no more significant rain before the end of the week. . .

Orchard optimism follows tough times – Peter Watson:

Turners & Growers has had to make big writedowns in the value of its Nelson orchards for the second consecutive year, but chief executive Geoff Hipkins hopes they are at an end, with market prospects looking brighter.

Bruised by $29 million in asset writedowns, the fruit and vegetables marketer posted a full-year loss of $15.3m for 2012.

The loss, although deep, was an improvement on the previous year’s $18.9m deficit, also a result of asset writedowns, and better than the $16m to $19m loss it forecast in December. . .

Ballance Farm Award finalists chosen – Sally Rae:

The finalists have been selected for the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

There were 10 entries in the awards, which were judged by Matt Harcombe, Andrea Ludemann, Bernard Lynch and John Barkla.

The winners will be announced at an awards dinner to be held at The Venue in Wanaka on Friday, April 12. . .

Venison gets exposure:

The deer industry has just hosted four young German chefs and eight German journalists to New Zealand, to learn more about farmed venison here.

Manager for Deer Industry New Zealand, Innes Moffat, said the aim was to enthuse them about farm-raised venison and develop relationships with these influential people within German cuisine.

“Some of the feedback from both the young chefs and journalists reveals that there is an ongoing need to improve the level of understanding of how NZ venison is grown and how it can be prepared.” . .

Technology important part of farming – Terri Russell:

New Zealand dairy farmer co- operative LIC delivered its farmer workshops in Southland and Otago. 

Last week sessions were held in Gore, Invercargill and Balclutha as part of a series of workshops throughout the country. It provided dairy farmers with the knowledge to plan and record drying- off of cows and and the culling of cows.

There were two sessions on how to enter and access data in MINDApro, a herd management software program, and a more advanced session on how to produce more tailored reports using the program. . .

Agland goes to market:

A $150 million-plus portfolio of Australian agricultural land, including the remaining PrimeAg Australia assets, is being offered to institutional investors just as they start to show greater enthusiasm for the alternative asset class.

Last week the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, one of the world’s largest pension funds, said it planned to start buying Australian farmland.

That follows two Swedish pension funds known as ­AP-fonden, the Michigan Municipal Employees’ Retirement System, US-based fund manager TIAA CREF and the Qatar Investment Authority buying Australian ­agricultural land in the past 12 to 18 months. . .


Rural round-up

28/11/2012

Chemical-free biopesticide offers hope for porina control

AgResearch scientists are working on a chemical-free biopesticide that can kill one of New Zealand’s worst pasture pests – the porina caterpillar.

The caterpillar and with another pest, the grass grub, cost farmers an estimated $100 million a year in destroyed pasture and control measures.

The biopesticide is based on a naturally-occurring bacterium, Yersinia entomophaga,discovered during a search for alternatives to health-threatening chemical pesticides which are being phased out. . .

What would responsible pastoralism mean? (A strategic ‘glue’) – Peter Kerr:

My contention is, by branding our method (pasture Harmonies) and taking that through on products to the consumer, NZ Inc would become the global custodians for responsible pastoralism.

What would that mean?

In one word, ‘glue’.

I argue that as nation of rugged individualists, the thing that has been missing for our farmers, our agritech, our marketers and our publics is a common sense of purpose. . .

The dairy cliff in America – an Alice in Wonderland of the planned – Life Behind the Iron Drape:

A journalist from the land of fiat money and central banking sat down this week and, no doubt with a straight face, wrote the following about the American ‘dairy cliff’:
As if the “fiscal cliff” and the long-suffering farm bill weren’t enough, Iowans may soon face a new dilemma — a “dairy cliff.”
If Congress fails to act in the handful of weeks it has left in its lame-duck session before adjourning for Christmas recess, the nation’s dairy programs for farmers will expire Jan. 1.

Dairy Awards at 300 Entries

Just over 300 entries have so far been received in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

National convenor Chris Keeping is pleased with entry numbers and the level of interest in the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions.

“We are past halfway in our entry target this year, which is great. I’m hoping for a rush of entries this week as our earlybird entry prize draw closes off on Friday,” Mrs Keeping says. . .

Clearview chocolates – a little piece of paradise

Combining wine and chocolate may be a combination made in heaven for some, but in reality it’s a sweet collaboration coming out of Te Awanga on Hawke’s Bay’s Cape Coast.

Clearview Estate Winery and local (yet French) chocolatier, Anissa Talbi of La Petite Chocolat have joined forces to create two special dessert wine chocolates, one featuring Sea Red and the other, Late Harvest Chardonnay. . .


Rural round-up

24/10/2012

For want of a name our agriculture flounders – Peter Kerr:

Every story has a name – except the one which describes our agriculture.

This, I argue, is one of the reasons we struggle to tell people around the world and in our cities about what exactly is and has been the basis of our farming’s comparative advantage for the past 130 years.

Let me provide an example.

We don’t start a story with: ‘This is about a wolf and a little girl and a grandmother who lives alone.”

No, we start, “This is the story of Little Red Riding Hood.” . . .

MPI’s Farm Monitoring Report forecasts income drops for diary and sheep and beef; Allan Barber:

MPI’s 2012 pastoral farm analyses, taken from the Farm Monitoring Report, show significant falls in income predicted for dairy, and sheep and beef, and an increase for deer farming.

The reports show typical income patterns based on information gathered from a representative sample of farm properties.

The 2011/12 year was profitable because of favourable growing conditions which saw a 10% lift in dairy production offset the lower payout, while higher prices for sheepmeat combined with better farm productivity generated an 18% increase in cash profit. Deer farmers are enjoying a period of price stability and good productivity. . .

Dairying women push through broadband challenge to access online training:

A professional dairy industry women’s group will deliver an online training programme despite limited access to high-speed internet services in many rural communities.

The Dairy Women’s Network is the premier forum for women working in New Zealand’s dairy industry. With more than 3100 members, it works to develop the leadership and business skills of women in a changing agribusiness environment. It does this by providing a range of training and networking resources.

Chief executive Sarah Speight said that as dairy women’s lives were getting busier, the Network needed be innovative in how it delivered training to allow members to participate without having to be in a specific place at a specific time. . .

Pax Fonterra, Pax:

Federated Farmers is counselling Fonterra Co-operative Group’s Board that now is not the time to start examining the cooperative’s governance arrangements.

“For once it would be great to have some peace within Fonterra,” observed Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson.

“We want Fonterra’s chairman-elect, John Wilson, given time at the helm to show shareholders what he is made of. Fonterra must also bed-in Trading Among Farmers (TAF), so now is not the time to get ahead of itself. . .

And:


Rural round-up

01/07/2012

The risks of global worming:

FOR decades, the overuse of antibiotics has encouraged the evolution of drug-resistant bacteria which, though they have never broken out and caused an epidemic in the way that was once feared, have nevertheless been responsible for many deaths that might otherwise have been avoided. Now something similar seems to be happening in agriculture. The overuse of drugs against parasitic worms which infest stock animals means that these, too, are becoming drug-resistant. That is bad for the animals’ health and welfare, and equally bad for farmers’ profits.

This, at least, is the conclusion drawn by Ray Kaplan, a parasitologist at the University of Georgia who has just published a review of research on the problem. His results, which appear in Veterinary Parasitology, make grim reading. . .

Young man on a mission – Sally Rae:

Tangaroa Walker is a young man with a very clear and bold vision for his future.   

By the time he is 40, Mr Walker (22) wants to own holiday homes in Queenstown and Mt Maunganui, a dairy farm in Southland and be living on a beef farm at Whakamarama, in the Bay of Plenty, the area where he grew up.   

They might be hefty goals but, given what the Southland-based lower order sharemilker has already achieved, you get the feeling he will most likely achieve them . . .

Dad’s death led to organis shift – Sally Rae:

Southland dairy farmer Robin Greer always had a desire to    process his own milk.   

He did some research and spent one day a week for 18 months in his kitchen, making cheese from recipes he found on the internet and in books.   

 He taught himself to make most of the cheeses now produced at the factory he and his wife Lois established on their farm.

They market their products – milk, cheese and yoghurt – throughout New Zealand, under the Retro Organics label, and  are looking at export opportunities. . .

Tests uncover way to cut use of 1080 poison – Gerald Piddock:

Landcare Research scientists are cautiously optimistic they have discovered a method of killing rabbits as effective as current methods but using significantly less 1080 poison. 

    The breakthrough came after Landcare and the Otago Regional Council carried out experiments on two high country stations in Central Otago last winter. 

    The experiments were based around refining how bait was sown on rabbit-prone country from fixed-wing aircraft by altering the volume of bait used for rabbit control. . .

Helicopters only way to cull deer:

It took sweat, precision and millions of dollars to make Highland Cuisine Ltd a venison exporter but owner Bill Hales fears a game council will put its deer procurement and customer relationships to the sword.

Parliament is mulling legislation for the council as part of a national wild game management strategy.

Submissions to the bill have poured in to the Environment and Local Government select committee, including those dismissing it as excess political baggage from MP Peter Dunne.

Yes, the council and wild game strategy is part of the Government’s confidence and supply agreement with Dunne’s one-man United Future Party. But that political history doesn’t change much for people like Hales. . .

Young agribusiness team from Massey competes in China – Pasture to Profit:

Massey University(NZ) had a team competing in theInternational Food and Agribusiness Management Association student case study competition, held in Shanghai,China.

The competition is in its 7thyear and is held in conjunction with the IFAMA annual forum and symposium. The late “Daniel Conforte” (an inspirational lecturer at Massey University) had a long standing association with IFAMA and at the opening of the Symposium was made a fellow of IFAMA the highest honour, a well deserved tribute recognising his passion and contribution to the organisation.  . .

Young farmer contest announces first ever patron:

A career in education and working with young people provided an excellent foundation for Dr Warwick Scott’s involvement with The National Bank Young Farmer Contest.

After 12 years of close association with the event, Dr Scott has recently been appointed as the first Contest Patron.

“I am deeply honoured,” he says. “It is a privilege to work with this amazing event which, year after year, showcases the on-going talent New Zealand has among its young famers, both men and women.”

ANZ Bank, DairyNZ partner on financial benchmarking of farms – Peter Kerr:

DairyNZ is partnering with Australia & New Zealand Banking Group to boost the financial performance of dairy farms.

Under a memorandum of understanding, DairyNZ’s business performance analysis tool, DairyBase, will be available to ANZ Bank economists and agri managers when working with farmers, they said in a statement.

DairyBase consolidates the financial results from more than 1,800 farmers, allowing like with like comparisons. Some 41% of dairy farmers currently use benchmarking . . .

First ever ‘Green 50’ list shows booming green sector:

New Zealand’s first definitive list of companies making money improving the environment has just been launched by strategic research company New River.

Top of the New River Green 50 list is Auckland-based Chem Recovery, which recovers and recycles heavy metals to produce 99.9 per cent pure re-usable metals; followed by Stonewood Homes, builder of a 7-star green building; and Reid Technology, a New Zealand leader in solar power. Other companies on the list include Flotech, a technology pioneer allowing organic waste to be converted into methane for pipeline gas; and Outgro an innovative fetiliser company enabling farmers to reduce phosphorous and nitrogen run-off into waterways while increasing their yields. . .


Rural round-up

15/10/2011

Sights on NZ as dairy nutrition leader – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra can make New Zealand the “dairy nutrition capital of the world”, according to new chief executive Theo Spierings, when speaking just three days into his new job. Spierings was not talking milk volumes at his first news conference, but nutrition knowledge, research, university interactions and product innovation.

“We need to have an ambition to be ahead of the game in dairy nutrition, all of the time,” Spierings said, with typical Dutch determination.

Algae turns greedy for phospohorus from effluent:

MASSEY SCIENTISTS have been granted $745,000 over three years to develop technology of potentially huge benefit to dairying – the removal and recycling of phosphorous from effluent.  

Professor Andy Shilton, School of Engineering and Advanced Technology, and his team have the grant from the Marsden Fund managed by the Royal Society. The fund is designed to allow researchers to do ‘blue sky’, innovative, long term science in particular areas . . .

New look for MAF:

A unified and redesigned MAF will be strongly placed to support the success of New Zealand’s primary sectors, says MAF Director-General Wayne McNee.  

MAF today confirmed the detailed design of the new Ministry following the merger of MAF with the Ministry of Fisheries.

“The new Ministry will be the ‘gateway to government’ for the primary sector, with a clear vision of ‘Growing and Protecting New Zealand’,” McNee says . . .

Board bid brings skills set together – Sally Rae:

John Key inadvertently played a fairly major role in determining Grant Cochrane’s future.   

Although not from a farming family, Mr Cochrane always had an affinity with the land and, from a very early age, had a passion to go farming.   

In 1987, he saw a television programme that featured currency trading and Mr Key – long before the future prime minister had political aspirations – and decided currency trading      would be the quickest route to farm ownership . . .  

Competition hones eye for stock, way with words – Sally Rae:

For young South Canterbury farmer Thomas Gardner,  stock-judging competitions combine valuable public speaking skills with being able to handle stock.   

Mr Gardner (20) was among 13 young people who took part in a      recent junior stock-judging competition in Waimate. . .   

Believe it or not it’s a geep (or a shoat) – Sally Rae:

When Taieri farmer Graeme Wallace brought a mob of ewes    and lambs in for tailing this week, he thought the wool was    being pulled over his eyes.   

      “I thought, ‘What the hell is this? Is it a goat or is it a      lamb? … No, it’s a 50-50’.”   . . .

Zespri says kiwifruit industry will learn to live alonside PSA:

The kiwifruit marketer Zespri says the industry will learn to live alongside PSA.

PSA Innovation’s general manager David Tanner told a kiwifruit conference in Tauranga on Thursday that a programme to produce a new variety of the fruit, which is tolerant or resistant to PSA, has been stepped up.

He says in the short-term, the use of chemicals to protect the vines are buying the industry time . . .

B+LNZ schoalrship takes young Marton farmer to Mexico:

Marton farmer, Richard Morrison, has been awarded the Beef + Lamb New Zealand agricultural scholarship that will take him to the Five Nations Beef Alliance and Young Ranchers Programme being held in Mexico later this month.

Richard (32), was selected from a strong line-up of candidates vying for the chance to represent and promote New Zealand beef, as well as helping to foster international relations within the beef industry.

Rural sales volumes continue rising steadily:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 93 more sales (+56.7%) for the three months ended September 2011 than for the three months ended September 2010.  Overall, there were 257 farm sales in the three months to end of September 2011 compared with 164 sales in the three months to September 2010.  The number of sales fell by eight (-3.0%) in the three months to September 2011 compared to the three months ended August 2011.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to September 2011 was $17,694 compared to $15,148 in the three months to August 2011 and $17,447 for the three months to September 2010. 

Farenheit 212 turns up heat for NZ wool – Peter Kerr:

The guys who presented some new wool innovation ideas last week in Christchurch and Auckland are an interesting bunch, with an extremely interesting business model. (More, generally, about some of these wool ideas in another blog – all participants have signed a non-disclosure-agreement).

Fahrenheit 212, formed by New Zealander Geoff Vuleta five years ago in New York, is the only company of its kind in the world he reckons. Sure, there’s many product development firms, coming up with new ideas for corporate clients . . .

Farms are getting bigger across Europe Paul at Business Blog:

The number of agricultural holdings across Europe fell by one fifth between 2003 and 2010, as the average size continued to increase, European Commission figures have revealed.

In 2010 there were just over 12m agricultural holdings in the EU-27, and a farmed area of 170m ha. While the number of holdings was down 20% on 2003, the area was just 2% lower, meaning the average size increased from 12ha to 14ha. . .

Farmers stressed by environmental rules:

A study into the health of dairy farmers shows environmental rules from regional councils, including those on water management, are a common cause of stress.

In the first year of a seven-year programme, AgResearch interviewed 500 dairy farmers to identify their main health issues.

It found 17% had experienced depression or anxiety and half did not seek help when they needed it.

IrrigationNZ rewards initiative:

Innovation, discovery and achievement making a positive contribution to irrigation and efficient water management are set to be rewarded by the industry’s national body.

Irrigation New Zealand, in association with Aqualinc, will open nominations this month for the second biennial “Innovation in Irrigation’award.

The award is an opportunity for the industry to showcase innovation, and IrrigationNZ’s way to recognise new invention, ideas, systems, or gadgets that are constantly coming out of the irrigation sector.  The award celebrates, encourages and promotes innovation and the benefit and impact irrigation provides to communities right throughout New Zealand . . .

Basking in the rising sun: unlocking our primary potential – William Rolleston:

It is my pleasure to speak to you on research priorities for agriculture and horticulture.

Before I begin to outline some thoughts that will be challenging at times, I first wish to make comment to you on the research priorities according to New Zealander of the year, Sir Paul Callaghan.  I quote:

We are brilliantly successful at dairying, but sadly we cannot scale up this industry because of the risk of further environmental damage.”

What’s more, apparently, “our dairy industry exports milk powder, rather than developing new products. Our forestry industries send raw logs offshore and despite the past capacity to invest in processing, have shown no inclination to do so”

So there you have it.

We can all pack our bags, go back to our offices, send dismissal notices to our staff and report to Ministers, the scientific community and the public, that biologically, we are as good as we can ever possibly be . . .

Farm manager winner takes next step:

The 2011 New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year, Jason Halford, is now the proud owner of his own herd, sharemilking 280 cows at Opiki, Horowhenua.

“I was ready for the next step and I think sharemilking is a great sector to be in and owning cows is a big positive.”

Mr Halford is co-ordinating the 2012 dairy trainee of the year contest for the Manawatu Rangitikei Horowhenua regional competition, one of 12 regional competitions held nationwide by the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards . . .

Shaping the dairy cow of the future:

Dairy farmers get a chance to shape the cow of the future at a national road show over the next month.

The 20 events from Kaitaia to Invercargill are for farmers to give feedback on the National Breeding Objective.

The dairy cow is the engine of the New Zealand dairy industry, with 4.4 million cows producing more than 1.4 billion kilograms of milksolids every year. The National Breeding Objective is to identify animals whose progeny will be the most efficient converters of feed into farmer profit, otherwise known as Breeding Worth (BW). . .

Fertiliser industry environmental initiatives:

The Fertiliser Quality Council (FQC) is pleased that the fertiliser industry is investing considerable amounts on research to lower our environmental footprint. It will be great for farmers and the environment.

The FQC congratulates Ballance Agri-Nutrients and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s Primary Growth Partnership for committing $32 million to support the research.

“At a time when margins are suffering, anything that will reduce a farmer’s inputs has to be good,” FQC chair, Neil Barton said. “In addition anything that we can do to preserve the environment is vital . . .


Rural round-up

11/07/2011

Confidence lifts on rural up-swing – Tony Chaston:

PGGW’s back to the basics approach and the focusing on its core asset, it’s staff, is a strategy many in the agricultural industry said should have happened years ago.

The direction the previous management had taken the company saw major damage to the once strong PGGW brand, and indirectly to its low share price.

It appears the new owners are giving this company some time to sort its act out, but this will not last forever, and it is no secret that the controlling shareholder interests are more in the seeds area, than other parts of the business . . .

Foreign buyers’ policy affirmed by farmers – RadioNZ:

Federated Farmers has reaffirmed its support for overseas investment in New Zealand agriculture by people who want to come and farm here.

But it’s not so comfortable with foreign coporate investors buying large numbers of farms that could end up in foreign control.

Beef + Lamb promoting trade opportunities with Japan:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman, Mike Petersen is part of the New Zealand delegation attending the Japan New Zealand Partnership Forum in Tokyo next week, working to strengthen the business relationship between the two countries.

With both countries in recovery mode since devastating earthquakes, common interests are strengthened and there is a realisation that business must play a leading role in moving Japan and New Zealand forward, Petersen said.

On the agenda will be discussion of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement and while Japan is not yet a party to those negotiations it has signalled its interest.

“If Japan was to join the TPP this would certainly expand the trade opportunities for our two countries within the Asia Pacific region. . .

Woolly thinking it’s not – Peter Kerr:

For a change, you can’t call this woolly thinking

The wool industry got some interesting ‘innovation things’ happening at the moment.

Firstly, there’s a consortium consisting of the Wool Research Organisation of NZ, industry participants and the Ministry of Science and Innovation, that’s collectively investing $3m a year over the next five years on a range of projects. This is being managed by Wool Industry Research Ltd. (WIRL) and is examining some industry good projects and confidential individual company co-funded wool projects to help move the fibre up the value chain.

But, of more immediate interest is a project, initially kicked off by WRONZ, now managed by WIRL, which commissioned a New York based innovation consultancy to find some new, better paying, markets for wool. . .

Scientists in Scotland decode potato genome – BBC:

An international team of scientists based in Scotland has decoded the full DNA sequence of the potato for the first time.

The breakthrough holds out the promise of boosting harvests of one of the
world’s most important staple crops.

Researchers at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee say it should soon be
possible to develop improved varieties of potato much more quickly. . .

Rabobank’s Agribusiness review June 2011:

Prepared by the bank’s Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory division (FAR), the report provides monthly commentary on New Zealand and Australian agricultural conditions.

Key highlights:
•June was mild in New Zealand, with winter really only arriving at the end of the month. The seasonal outlook in New Zealand is generally for warmer than average temperatures and wetter than average rainfall. Continuing dry conditions across Australia through June, consistent with the end of the La Nina event and expected to prevail into spring, have switched the focus back to how much rain will fall on winter crops over coming months. . .

The full report is here.


Rural round-up

22/05/2011

DWN appoints new CEO – dairy Women’s Network chair Michelle Wilson announces:

Sarah Speight has been appointed as full time CEO for DWN, and will commence her role as CEO on 13 June 2011.

Sarah comes to DWN with a wealth of knowledge having been involved in the dairy industry since finishing university in 1992. . .

Organic agriculture aint the answer – Tim Worstall posts:

Not to any reasonable question it ain’t.

Take the case of farming suitable for a world with climate change. And let’s just agree with the IPCC here. It’s happening, we’re causing it, something must be done.

Let’s also take their predictions of what will be the effects. Warmer, wetter winters, hotter, drier summers. . .

Preparer les terrains de l’avinir – perpare the land for the future – Pasture to Profit posts:

“Preparer Les Terrains de L’Avenir”. My French friends will be amazed with my command of the french language but this is a very appropriate title for this week’s blog.
“Prepare the earth for the future” is the core element of a Sustainable Farming system. . .

Beef demand shows seasonal uptake in US at last – Tony Chaston writes:

Much of the demand for beef in the US is driven by the barbeque season and traditional holidays that allow consumers to enjoy this way of eating. After a slow wet spring, things have warmed up and demand is picking up again. Economic factors also influence, and the price of oil affects the household budget and can determine how much is left over for the higher priced cuts of beef.

NZ’s beef prospects and prices are heavily influenced by what happens in the US, with most of our manufacturing beef being consumed there. Our prime beef has many more outlets than that country alone, but US’s exporting power can influences our returns.

There’s money in manuka honey and trial aims to greatly increase it – Peter Kerr at Sciblogs:

There’s plenty of research on why manuka honey’s so useful from a medical and human health point of view.

Equally we understand bees pretty well.

The missing part of the puzzle, ironically, particularly as it is a plant that’s indigenous to New Zealand is how to best grow the native.

But a newly formed consortium, the Manuka Research Partnership (NZ) Ltd., along with well-known honey marketer Comvita Ltd., aims to change that.


Did you see the one about

20/03/2011

Americans call it experience not failure –  Peter Kerr calls for a change in thinking in New Zealand.

Some perspective –  Adolf at No Minister on what kills how many.

There’s glory for you! – Andrew Geddis at Pundit on a legal and literary mixup.

Party manifestos to be displayed in plain packets with government health warnings – Newsbiscuit on new rules for public protection. While there you might also enjoy Pay study shows women now 88% as good as men – a satirical take on pay equity.

Doesn’t work if you’re self employed though –  Something Should Go here Maybe Later on meetings as an alternative to work. While there you should see the footprint of my car will raise a smile.

And congratulations to the Hand Mirror on three years of Hand Mirrorness.


Did you see the one about . .

12/12/2010

I am a receptionist –  The Bullet on life on the other side of the hotel check-in counter.

Bad parenting not lack of money is harming poor kids – Liberty Scott shows poverty is no excuse for children’s failure.

Avoiding the quarter life crisis: parents guide your children well – Peter Kerr on the importance of choosing school subjects carefully.

You swearing at me? Quote Unquote talks dirty.

The Ninth Floor –  Stoatspring on adjusting to ordinary life after work in the PM’s office.

3.6% of Kiwis have paid a bribe in the last year – Stephen Franks takes a serious look at Transparency International’s GLobal Corruption Barometer Survey.

Corrupt? Hell yeah!  – Imperator fish takes a lighter look at the same survey.

The Year in review According to Google – Motella looks back with the help of Google & YouTube.

Wahine Toa – Roarprawn celebrates four Maori women in Cabinet.


Rural round up

27/11/2010

Family’s living proof of sheep farming viability – Neal Wallace in the ODT writes:

Given the sheep industry’s well documented problems, labelling yourself specialist sheep farmers might not be considered the most inspiring of titles, but it is one the Alderton family wears with pride.

They are living proof sheep farmers can make money and be profitable by balancing business, animal and environmental factors.

The key, according to Ron Alderton, was attitude and determination.

Blunt chat puts station on new path – Jackie Harrigan in Country-Wide writes:

You would think it a brave man who told a new farmer-supplier with 30,000 lambs that his lambs weren’t really up to scratch.
That farmer might be tempted to tell the meat company to take a running jump – but to Ren Apatu, managing director of Ngamatea Station, 28,000ha of wild tussock and improved high-performance pastures on the Napier-Taihape road, the comment was a seminal moment.
“We thought we were pretty clever, with that number of lambs, but the meat company said, ‘If you give us lambs like last season we really don’t want them’ – and we really hadn’t heard that before,” Ren says.
Even more of a revelation was being taken into the chiller and shown his lambs on the hooks, next to those of other farmers.
“There were our lambs, about 16kg with a big fatty pack of meat on their rumps, hanging next to lambs at about 25kg with no fat on them.”
Being told “this is what we want and this is what you guys are giving us and if you want to be a part of it you need to supply what we want” was a wake-up call to Ren.
“We were told – ‘Our markets don’t want fat, they want meat; we want high yield as well – its good for us and for you’.” . .

Cleaning up afte Norgate may be expensive – Chalkie writes in The Press:

 Craig Norgate is well gone from PGG Wrightson, but tidying up some of the messes created during his tenure seems to be taking time – and may involve a reasonable bill.

Here’s what the progress card to date looks like:

1. New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay exited – a good outcome, sold above book but below cost, with a bonus $4 million for the management contract and a $19.2m receivable debt owed to PGGW due to be settled.

2. Tim Miles, the former managing director put in place by Mr Norgate has been ejected – but at what cost?

3. Fixing up the half-cocked exit from the wool business and associated creative accounting – work in progress.

New chairman Sir John Anderson comes with one of the finest reputations in New Zealand business, and certainly there seems to be decisiveness around the board table in terms of the sudden and immediate resignation of Mr Miles, who was rightly or wrongly seen as Mr Norgate’s right-hand man.. .

 

Sustainability’s like ‘beauty’ – go on try and define it. Peter Kerr at Sciblogs writes:

Sustainability’s a term that’s a bit like ‘beauty’ – everyone knows what it is, but pinning down exactly what it is, is often in the eye of the beholder.

However, NZ agribusiness better start getting a better grip on the actuality of sustainability, or risk being marginalised by overseas customers and consumers according to KPMG.

In a recent agribusiness green paper KPMG lays out the current and emerging environment in our markets on the vexed issue of sustainability, with a second paper to focus on the practicalities of implementing such a supply chain approach.

The report contends that while the term has broad meaning, in essence it is about meeting the needs of today, without adversely impacting on the needs of tomorrow, and in balancing environmental, social and economic concerns in doing so. . .


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