Rural round-up

July 31, 2015

Westland Milk cuts payout further as dairy prices fall – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – Westland Milk Products, New Zealand’s second-largest dairy cooperative, cut its forecast milk payout to farmers by 10 cents for the current season and for next season’s by $1, in the face of sustained weakness in global dairy prices.

The Hokitika-based company will pay $4.80 to $4.90 per kilogram of milk solids for the 2014/15 season, with the final payout to be determined at the September board meeting, it said in a statement. The forecast payout for the 2015/16 season was slashed to between $4.60 and $5/kgMS, from a previously band of $5.60 to $6/kgMS.

The advance rate for this season remains at $4.80/kgMS, although the 2015/16 season rate was revised to $3.80/kgMS from $4.40/kgMS. . .

 

Light at the end of the paddock for dairy farmers – Jason Walls:

The New Zealand dollar is poised to shed more value against the US by the start of next year and dairy prices may only be at the current level temporarily.

This is good news for farmers, says ASB Bank rural economist Nathan Penny, who forecasts the New Zealand dollar will be at 61c against the US by the beginning of 2016.

He says the one of the biggest factors to this will be the US interest rate hike later this year. . .

Speech to Horticulture New Zealand Conference Award Dinner:

Good evening. Thank you Julian Raine, Horticulture New Zealand President, for that introduction. It is a pleasure to join you this evening in recognising excellence and future leaders of the horticulture industry.

I would particularly like to acknowledge outgoing Chief Executive Peter Silcock for all his contribution to the industry over the past 30 years.

Tonight I want to talk to you briefly about the long-term value that can be created by recognising talent and growing leaders.

A growing industry

Horticulture is a top performing primary industry. In the year to June 2015, export revenue reached $3.897 billion. This is up $602 million from 2012, a total of over 18 percent growth over four years. . .

 

Dairy modules hitting the spot for DWN members:

Dairy Women’s Network has received feedback on how its latest professional development offering is being perceived by its members – with impressive results.

The network launched its new Dairy Modules programme for the first time in November 2014 and has since had the programme evaluated by the renowned Net Promoter Score system, confirming world class standard. . .

 

Bayer Wairarapa Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015 announced:

A great win for Mark Langlands from Te Kairanga as he becomes the Bayer Wairarapa Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015. Contestants battled it out at Te Kairanga Vineyard with their final challenge being to deliver a speech to a key audience in the evening at the Martinborough Village Cafe.

Contestants completed a wide range of activities including questions on trellising, vine management, pests & diseases, budgeting, tractor maintenance and irrigation as well as having an interview and a quick fire buzzer round. . .

 

Wool Firms:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that despite a slightly stronger New Zealand dollar wool prices were firm to slightly dearer. With less wool available due to weather affecting shearing and vacation related shipping requirements this has helped underpin prices.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies increased 0.99 percent week on week.

Of the 7,905 bales on offer 96.2 percent sold. . .

 

PERRIAM on national stage at New Zealand Fashion Week 2015:

Luxury merino fashion brand PERRIAM has been selected for a special showcase on wool in fashion at the prestigious New Zealand Fashion Week (NZFW) in August.

PERRIAM is among some of the country’s iconic labels chosen for the Choose Wool show, taking to the runway with Sabatini, twenty-seven names, Tanya Carlson, Hailwood, Liz Mitchell and Wynn Hamlyn on Tuesday, August 25.

Curated by leading Kiwi stylist Anna Caselberg, who is known for her work with NZ wools, Choose Wool represents an important aspect of the NZ fashion industry. . .

 


Rural round-up

December 8, 2014

Little water left for new schemes -David Bruce:

Virtually no water will be available from the lower Waitaki River for new irrigation schemes, if Environment Canterbury changes a water allocation plan for the river.

That possibility is revealed in a report on ”plan change 3” for the Waitaki catchment water allocation regional plan. Environment Canterbury (Ecan) earlier this year called for public submissions on the plan change, receiving 549. It is now in the second round of submissions.

As part of the plan change, a report under section 32 of the Resource Management Act, that contains details of what the change contains and the effects, has had to be prepared. . .

Westland Milk records highest-ever one-day milk collection – Fiona Rotherham:

 (BusinessDesk) – Westland Milk Products, the country’s second largest dairy cooperative, has recorded its highest ever one-day collection, with its tankers bringing in slightly more than four million litres of milk on Oct.31.

The Hokitika-based cooperative’s farmer shareholders have lifted production by more than 5 percent this season in spite of wet and cold weather on West Coast with 335 million litres of milk sent so far to the company’s plants in Hokitika and Rolleston, Westland said in a statement. Coast-based farmer suppliers have produced a 3 percent rise on this time last year while Canterbury shareholders are up by more than 14 percent. . .

 

Putting in 100% pays off with win – Sally Rae:

Reward for effort.

That is a common saying in the Engelbrecht household in East Otago, applied to anything from farming to the sports field.

”That sums up everything in life,” Simon Engelbrecht told those attending a field day at his farm last week.

Mr Engelbrecht, who farms at Stoneburn, near Palmerston, with his wife Kirstin, was a firm believer in ”do it 100% or don’t do it”.

The couple were the winners of this year’s New Zealand ewe hogget competition. First-time entrants in the competition, they won the crossbred section with their Coopdale hoggets and the flock performance award, before winning the overall title. . .

Exporters paying lower tariffs:

A report into trade barriers for New Zealand’s horticulture industry reveals the amount exporters have had to pay on tariffs was 25 percent less than two years ago.

The Trade Barriers report shows tariffs imposed by other countries cost New Zealand growers on average $36,000 each – about $8000 less than in 2012.

Sixty percent of New Zealand’s total production of fruit and vegetables is exported and is worth just over $2.4 billion.

Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Peter Silcock said it is important to continue efforts on getting free trade agreements because while progress has been made there is still a long way to go. . .

Non-tariff barriers next hurdle – Nigel Stirling:

A shift in New Zealand’s trade strategy looks to be underway as primary industry bosses question the value in launching yet more tariff-tackling negotiations when potentially larger obstacles to trade exist elsewhere.

The recent deal with South Korea meant NZ now had trade agreements with six of its top 10 export markets.

Of the remaining four (the United States, Japan, the European Union and India) negotiations were under way for tariffs-busting deals either through the 12-country TransPacific Partnership or in bilateral talks either underway or expected soon. . .

Study of kea strike starts – Sally Rae:

Clio Reid wants to help prevent sheep being attacked by kea – and kea being shot.

Ms Reid is seeking help from farmers in a study of sheep and kea that she is conducting as part of her PhD through the Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences at Massey University.

They were encouraged to take part in a survey to find out the extent of kea strike on South Island high country sheep stations.

Kea strike was discovered in the Wakatipu area in the 1860s, with a legal government bounty initiated in the same decade which resulted in an estimated 150,000 kea killed up until the early 1970s. . .

Farm Environment Trust Celebrates ‘Great Farming Stories’:

 Many of the great farming stories delivered by the Ballance Farm Environment Awards are showcased on New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust’s website.

NZFE chairman Simon Saunders says the Trust recently revamped its website to make the “vast wealth of educational material and fantastic farming stories” easily accessible to farmers and the wider community.

The ‘Great Farming Stories’ link on NZFE’s homepage www.nzfeatrust.org.nz will take the viewer through to an extensive choice of ‘Sustainability in Action’ video presentations and written reports. . .

 


Rural round-up

July 3, 2014

Labour policy under fire from Hort NZ:

The Labour’s Party proposed immigration policy has come under fire from the horticulture sector which says it would make life more difficult for growers employing foreign workers.

Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Peter Silcock said if Labour’s new immigration policy was implemented it would penalise growers using the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme.

He said they would have to pay foreign workers more than local ones – and pay for their accommodation too.

“Those people (under the RSE scheme) are only brought in when we can prove that there are no New Zealanders to do the work, so we’re concerned it’s going to penalise people who are growing their businesses just because there are not New Zealanders available,” he said. . .

Lower dairy commodity prices and higher interest rates drive down farmer confidence:

Results at a Glance
• New Zealand farmer confidence dropped significantly, led down by a slide in dairy farmer confidence. Higher interest rates also tempering sentiment.
• Beef and sheep farmer confidence, however, rose to three-year high.
• Dairy producers concerned about falling commodity prices and the exchange rate, while sheep and beef farmers buoyed by improving prices.
• Investment intentions remain stable.
• 82 per cent of farmers consider that they are implementing best practices for environmental sustainability in their business.
• Only 50 per cent of farmers considering farm succession have formal plans in place. . . .

Sustainable farming protects economic skeleton:

Agriculture is not only the backbone of our economy, it is also its entire skeleton, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Chairman David Peacocke told the Ballance Farm Environment Awards national sustainability showcase last week.

“To support our economy’s growth and our country’s growth, we need to look after those bones. That work starts with us as farmers on the land, but it also needs good working partnerships with regional councils and with local and central government so we can increase productivity and profitability and still safeguard our agricultural future.” . . .

New Meat & Fibre Executive:

Federated Farmers Meat and Fibre Executive have elected their new Chairperson, Rick Powdrell, and consequently elected to the Federation’s Board.

“It is with great pleasure that I hand over the reigns to Rick Powdrell, who has been my vice-Chair for the past year. I would also like to congratulate Sandra Faulkner, as the new vice-Chairperson, the re-election of Chris Irons, and to our two new executive members, Michael Salvesen and Miles Anderson.” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers outgoing Meat & Fibre Chairperson.

“The new Meat & Fibre Executive have all been active members of the Federation’s Meat & Fibre Council, and I would like to congratulate them all on their well deserved appointments,” said Mrs Maxwell. . . .

Federated Farmers Dairy elects new executive:

It’s goodbye from him and hello from me

Federated Farmers’ Dairy Industry Group has elected Fielding farmer Andrew Hoggard as its new chairperson. The Federation’s dairy council also elected Waikato’s Chris Lewis to be one of two vice-chairpersons, joining Kevin Robinson who was reconfirmed in that role.

“I am stoked dairy farmers have placed their faith in me,” says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers new Dairy chairperson.

“Willy has been a great leader and it is comforting to know he’s just at the end of the telephone.

“The challenges and arguments about dairy have grabbed the headlines but this has masked many of the good things dairy farmers are doing. . .

July marks final countdown for cattle in NAIT transition:

Farmers have one year left to make sure all cattle are tagged and registered with NAIT.

“We are entering the final 12 months of NAIT’s three-year transition for cattle. By 1 July 2015, all stock should be tagged and registered in the NAIT database,” said Dan Schofield, Acting NAIT and Farm Operations Manager.

This includes cattle that were born before the NAIT scheme became mandatory on 1 July 2012. Cattle born since July 2012 must be tagged within six months of birth, or before they are moved off farm, whichever comes first. . . .

Safety And Quality First for Forestry – Changes announced for national forestry training qualifications:

A review of qualifications for forestry workers led by industry training organisation Competenz has resulted in new qualifications being developed with an increased focus on health and safety, and environmental protection and quality.

The New Zealand Certificates, to be launched later this year, will give more weight to essential knowledge like health and safety and quality. They also increase the focus on supervisory and crew management skills.

Competenz’s newly appointed national manager, Mark Preece, says the organisation has closely collaborated with contractors, workers, forest owners, trainers and assessors throughout the country to develop the new qualifications. . . .

New Zealand’s Multi- Million Dollar Bee Industry Moving Towards One Body:

The country’s bee industry could soon be represented by one body, following a mandate given at the NZ Apiculture Industry conference last week.

“I recognised a clear indication from the both the floor at the conference and the AGM for the NBA to explore the value in uniting with other industry stakeholders in the formation of a single representative industry body,” says NBA President Ricki Leahy.

“For us to get results it is important that all the different categories within the industry such as commercial beekeepers, hobbyists, exporters, packers, and researchers and others, speak with one, united, clear voice, and that we are all on the same page when talking to government.”

Meanwhile Federated Farmers Bees agrees. . .


Reputation at risk from word play on labels

September 27, 2011

An Australian television report says New Zealand is being used as the back door into Australia, and chemicals that are banned in other countries are being allowed in.

A dangerous trick is being played in the battle to take over local vegetable growers, with Chinese frozen vegetables sneaking into Australia through New Zealand.

The response from Horticulture New Zealand isn’t reassuring:

Chief executive Peter Silcock says testing proved that products coming from New Zealand met the requirements in terms of chemical residues and in labelling and the Ministry of Agriculture has confirmed that frozen vegetable exports to Australia comply with New Zealand food regulations.

But what if the regulations don’t go far enough for consumers?

However, Mr Silcock says Hort NZ does believe there could be amendments to New Zealand’s food labelling laws so they have more ‘country of origin’ information.

He says phrases such as “made from local and imported ingredients” are not as helpful as they could be and the industry would like to see more specific labelling.

If the industry wants to see more labelling, it doesn’t need to wait for legislation.

There is nothing preventing producers and manufacturers from introducing better country of origin labelling themselves and there are marketing opportunities for grown/made/processed in New Zealand.

It is difficult to give country of origin labelling to products with many ingredients but frozen vegetables usually contain only vegetables. How hard can it be to let consumers know where they were grown and processed?

New Zealand has very high standards for food safety and quality and the continuing demand for our exports rely on our reputation for that.

Any exporters who are playing with words on packaging and using New Zealand’s reputation to sell produce from other countries are risking that reputation.

That would not only impact on the product involved it could threaten all our other food exports too.

Perception is reality when it comes to food and we cannot afford to do anything to change the perception – based on strict quality and safety standards – that our food is good and safe.


In-season produce cheaper

August 19, 2011

I picked up a couple of capsicums and half a dozen kiwifruit on my way round the supermarket without looking at the prices.

When I got to the checkout I found that the two capsicums cost nearly $5 each but the six kiwifruit came to just 93 cents.

The lesson from that is to buy in-season. 

Horticulture New Zealand points out  that seasonality and weather have a big impact on prices:

Horticulture NZ says . . .  an expected shortage of some vegetables due to this week’s adverse weather, highlights the seasonality of produce which determines the retail price.

Chief executive Peter Silcock says a lot of the products that are expensive now such as tomatoes, capsicums and lettuces, are not in season now so therefore they will not be cheap.

Another lesson is that I’d have gained a lot more from the removal of GST from buying the out-of-season capcicums than in-season kiwifruit.

That’s not surprising. Geoff Simmons points out there are holes in Labour’s health by stealth line.

The poorest 10 per cent of New Zealand families spend about $10 a week on fruit and vegetables. At the other end of the spectrum, the richest 10 per cent spend around $30 a week.

This means taking GST off fruit and vegetables will give the poorest just over $1 extra a week. That will barely make a dent in their food bill. Meanwhile, the richest will get just under $4.

John Pagani disputes that but Scrubone dug deeper and found

In short, there is basically no evidence that this policy will do a heck of a lot – and that’s an admission from people who really really wish it did.

The removal of GST from fresh fruit and vegetables is a feel-good policy based on emotion not fact.

It might reduce the price but not significantly for the people who need it most.


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