Rural round-up

April 2, 2015

MIE plan stimulates debate but won’t fix the problem – Allan Barber:

The Pathways to Long-Term Sustainability document launched earlier this month makes some very valid points about the red meat industry’s shortcomings, but its recommendations are almost certainly impossible to implement.

Even if the processors are willing to consider capacity rationalisation, it won’t be on the scale envisaged by the GHD consultants and judging by Sir Graeme Harrison’s remarks ANZCO won’t be part of it; nor will AFFCO unless the Talleys undergo a St Paul like conversion on the road to Motueka. This leaves the cooperatives, with Rob Hewett prepared to consider merging with Alliance, although he isn’t holding his breath, while Murray Taggart remains very lukewarm.

The common theme evident from all the company chairmen is the fundamental need for any solution to be commercially justifiable from the companies’ perspective. The problem with this particular stance is the conflict with the farmer bias of MIE’s proposals. . .

Wine and Spirit geographical registration coming:

Trade Minister Tim Groser and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith today announced that Government will implement the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act.

“The Act will set up a registration regime for wine and spirit geographical indications, similar to the trademark registration regime,” Mr Groser says.

A geographical indication shows that a product comes from a specific geographical region and has special qualities or a reputation due to that origin.  Well known products that are identified by geographical indications include Champagne, Scotch Whisky and Prosciutto de Parma.

The use of geographical indications by New Zealand producers is largely confined to the wine industry. . .

Implementation of Act is a big step forward for the New Zealand wine industry:

New Zealand Winegrowers warmly welcomes the announcement that Government will implement the Geographical Indications Registration Act.

Geographical indications identify wines as originating in a region or locality says Philip Gregan, CEO, New Zealand Winegrowers. The Act will set up a registration system for wine geographical indications, similar to the trademark registration system. . .

 

$7.8m for new sustainable farming projects:

29 new projects have been approved for $7.8 million in new funding over four years through the Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF), Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

“These are grass-roots projects that support farmers, growers and foresters to tackle shared problems and develop new opportunities. They will deliver real economic, environmental and social benefits.

“For example, one project will develop industry tools for farmers to improve their farm practices to improve water quality and infrastructure, while reducing nutrient loss. . .

Forestry projects identify practical solutions:

New Zealand’s forestry sector will benefit from five new projects in the latest round of the Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF), Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew announced today.

“Around $1.2 million has been committed over four financial years towards five new SFF projects involving the forestry sector,” Ms Goodhew says.  “SFF continues to be a great example of government supporting foresters to ensure the sustainability of our primary industries.”

The forestry projects are part of the 29 new SFF projects announced today—following the 2015/16 SFF funding round held last year. . .

New OSPRI Chief Executive appointed:

OSPRI Chairman Jeff Grant has today announced the appointment of Michelle Edge as Chief Executive of OSPRI.

Ms Edge brings a wealth of agricultural industry experience to the position having had an extensive career spanning scientific research, government regulation, policy and industry organisations within the Australian agricultural sector.

She was most recently Chief Executive of Australian Meat Processor Corporation – a levy-funded research, development and extension organisation operating in the red meat sector. . .

IrrigationNZ welcomes OVERSEER 6.2 despite forecast Nitrate loss spike:

IrrigationNZ says any short-term pain for irrigating farmers who end up with worse nitrate leaching results in OVERSEER 6.2 will be out-weighed by the benefits of more realistic irrigation modelling.

To prevent issues arising from OVERSEER 6.2’s introduction, IrrigationNZ and OVERSEER’s General Manager Dr Caroline Read have been working to inform affected regional councils to reduce compliance concerns. The industry body says irrigating farmers also need to be proactive and familiarise themselves with the new software.

The latest version of OVERSEER® Nutrient budgets (OVERSEER 6.2) launches later this month and IrrigationNZ says some irrigators will see increased nitrate loss estimates for their properties due to more accurate modelling. This may impact on their compliance under regional council regulations. . .

Nitrogen dollars dissolving in thin air:

Millions of dollars’ worth of nitrogen is vanishing into thin air, causing losses to farmers and to New Zealand in wasted import dollars.

That’s the conclusion reached in field trials completed as part of the Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ Clearview Innovations Primary Growth Partnership programme to measure ammonia losses from standard urea and urea treated with a nitrogen stabiliser. These losses occur when the nitrogen in the urea volatilises into ammonia.

While farmers try to avoid the loss by applying urea when wet weather is forecast, research by Landcare Research and Ballance has shown a good 5 to 10 mm of rain is needed within eight hours of application to reduce ammonia loss – a finding consistent with research in New Zealand in the 1980s. . .


Rural round-up

November 17, 2014

Primary exports tipped to rise:

The Ministry for Primary Industries is forecasting an eight percent lift in primary export earnings in the next four years.

In its briefing for incoming ministers, MPI is projecting export values from agriculture and horticulture, fisheries and forestry to grow to $40.7 billion by 2018.

However, export earnings will have to grow at an average rate of more than five percent a year if they are to reach the government target of doubling the value of primary exports by 2025.

Despite China putting the brakes on milk powder imports, which has contributed to the current slide in dairy prices, the ministry is predicting dairy export revenue to lift from just over $18 billion to $18.4 in 2018, on the back of higher production. . .

More to farming than gumboots – Sally Rae:

A Teacher’s Day Out was held in Otago last week, organised by New Zealand Young Farmers’ Get Ahead programme.

It highlighted to secondary school teachers the vast range of opportunities the primary sector affords school-leavers. Agribusiness reporter Sally Rae went along on the bus trip.

Party lines and horses.

That’s what East Otago farmer Jim Lawson recalls during his early years on the sheep and beef farm, as he holds his smartphone in the sheep yards of the family property, Moana, while son Rob demonstrates weighing hoggets through an auto-drafter.

The 2336ha property, running 10,000 stock units, has been owned and operated by the Lawson family since 1950. . .

‘Appaws’ for animal welfare research contribution:

A Massey University scientist has been honoured for his work in refining the ways animals are used in scientific research, testing and teaching.

Professor David Mellor was presented with this year’s National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC) Three Rs Award.

NAEAC deputy chair Dr Peter Larsen said the award covered all areas of animal welfare research.

“The concept of the Three Rs, from which the award takes its name, is to replace and reduce the number of animals used in research, testing and teaching, and refine experimental techniques to minimise pain or distress.  . .

Farm sector singled out by WorkSafe:

The agricultural sector is being targeted by WorkSafe New Zealand over its high accident rates.

In its briefing to its new Minister Michael Woodhouse, WorkSafe said agriculture was one of the worst industries in terms of health and safety.

The report said in 2013, there were 20 deaths from workplace accidents in agriculture – more than the forestry, construction, and manufacturing sectors combined.

Half of those deaths were from quad-bike or tractor accidents.

WorkSafe said there was a poor understanding of risk in the industry and it will be launching a targeted initiative next year to address the issues. . .

Red meat sector welcomes conclusion of Korea FTA

The recently-concluded free trade agreement (FTA) with Korea will provide a major boost for New Zealand’s red meat exports there, according to the chairmen of Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

Earlier today, Prime Minister John Key and Korean President Park Geun-hye announced that the FTA negotiation had been concluded.

“This deal is great news for sheep and beef farmers and meat exporters,” said Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman James Parsons. . .

Business Forum welcomes NZ Korea FTA:

The New Zealand International Business Forum (NZIBF) welcomes the much anticipated conclusion of the New Zealand Korea Free Trade Agreement.

“This negotiation has been a marathon and we are delighted Trade Minister Groser and his officials have got it over the line” said NZIBF Chairman Sir Graeme Harrison.

Korea is a significant trading partner for New Zealand and a number of key export sectors including dairy, meat and kiwifruit stood to be severely disadvantaged if New Zealand could not achieve a more level playing field with its key competitors in the Korean market notably Australia, Canada, the European Union and the United States all of whom have already concluded FTAs. . .

Zespri welcomes Free Trade Agreement with South Korea:

Zespri welcomes the announcement of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) deal with South Korea and the significant outcome that has been achieved for the kiwifruit industry.

Over the past year, Zespri growers have paid approximately $20 million in tariffs into this important market.

“It is hugely satisfying that the industry can focus on building sales in the South Korean market, which will benefit both New Zealand and South Korean growers, as well as South Korean consumers,” says Zespri Chief Executive, Lain Jager. . .

Wine Industry Welcomes South Korea Trade Deal:

New Zealand Winegrowers has warmly welcomed the announcement of the conclusion of the free trade agreement between New Zealand and the Republic of Korea.

Commenting on the news, NZ Winegrowers CEO Philip Gregan said ‘The negotiators have achieved a great outcome for the wine industry. Tariff free access into South Korea at the time the agreement comes into force represents a significant boost to our export ambitions in one of the key Asian markets.’ . .

 

 

Yealands named World Champion at the International Green Apple Environment Awards:

Yealands Family Wines has claimed the overall World Champion title at the International Green Apple Environment Awards held in London last night. The prestigious ceremony was held at the House of Commons, in the Palace of Westminster and celebrates environmental best practice.

Yealands Family Wines competed against more than 500 global nominations from a range of industries, taking home the Australasia Gold Award, as well as the supreme “World Champion 2014” title.

Now in their 20th year, the Green Apple Awards have become established as the UK’s major recognition for environmental endeavour among companies, councils, communities and countries. The awards are organised by The Green Organisation, an independent, non-political, non-activist, non-profit environment group dedicated to recognising, rewarding and promoting environmental best practice around the world. . . .


Rural round-up

June 11, 2014

Sector in good heart – judge – Sally Rae:

After travelling 3800km in nine days, visiting 27 farms throughout New Zealand, Preston Hope is heartened by the state of the sheep industry.

Mr Hope, who farms with his wife, Tori, at Deep Stream, between Middlemarch and Outram, was one of three judges for the final round of the New Zealand ewe hogget competition.

The couple won the competition in 2012 and it was an honour to be asked to officiate, he said. . . .

2014 New Zealand wine vintage to support export growth:

The 2014 New Zealand grape harvest has been completed with high quality grapes picked across the country.

“All grape growing regions experienced very favourable growing conditions through the summer and into the early autumn. 2014 is set to be another memorable, high quality vintage which will provide a further boost to growing wine exports” said New Zealand Winegrowers Chief Executive Officer Philip Gregan.

According to the 2014 Vintage Survey, 445,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested. The 2014 crop is up 29% on the harvest last year and will position the industry well for the continuing consumer demand for New Zealand wine. Virtually every region has achieved production growth and for the first time Nelson, Waipara and Central Otago have exceeded 10,000 tonnes. . . .

Skilled and off-farm jobs the growth areas for agriculture – Pattrick Smellie:

(BusinessDesk) – Support services will be the biggest source of job growth for an increasingly sophisticated agricultural sector, a report on the future workforce needs of primary industries concludes.

Projections for the Ministry of Primary Industries, published today, forecasts that some 140,000 primary sector support services jobs will be required by 2025, compared with around 105,000 now, making it the fastest area of job growth and the largest source of employment in the primary sector, which covers sheep, beef, dairy and other animal farming, horticulture, fishing, and forestry.

Sheep and beef farming shows the largest fall in projected workforce size will be in the sheep and beef sectors, where jobs are expected to shrink to around 70,000 by 2025, from around 95,000 in 2002. The booming dairy sector shows hardly any job growth in the next decade, settling at around 50,000. . . .

Accommodation shortage of Fieldays – Susie Nordqvist:

It might be the biggest event of its type in the Southern Hemisphere, but Fieldays management says the event’s future growth could be threatened by an accommodation shortage in Hamilton.

So canny locals are cashing in and renting out their homes.

“I’m renting out my house to exhibitors who are exhibiting over the week of Fieldays, and I’m going as far away from here as I possibly can,” says homeowner Sam Ward. . .

Forest owners want people to speak up

The sponsors of the Independent Forestry Safety Review welcome the public consultation document issued by the review panel on Friday.

”It poses a series of questions which will provide a useful structure for the public consultation meetings that begin on 12 June. We strongly encourage forest owners, contractors, workers and anyone else with an interest in improving the safety of people working in forestry to go to one of the meetings, or to make a private submission,” says Forest Owners Association (FOA) president Paul Nicholls. . . .

New Zealand Avocados Achieve Record Sales For 2013-14 Season:

New Zealand’s avocado industry today announced it has more than doubled its sales from last season to $136m, setting new records in both export and New Zealand markets.

This stunning return eclipses the previous sales record of $84.1m set in 2009-10 and is far in excess of the $60.4m worth of avocados sold last year.

Jen Scoular, Chief Executive of NZ Avocado, says this season’s success is due to a number of reasons including initiatives which are transforming the industry into a more cohesive and competitive sector. . . .

B+LNZ Sheep Industry Awards 2014:

Help us recognise the best of the best in the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards. Nominations close 30 June.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand is excited to be hosting our annual showcase for sheep farming excellence in Napier this year, the first North Island venue for the event. . .

Search for top NZ rural consultants gets closer

Nominations for the annual Consultant of the Year Awards have closed and Farmax is one step closer to announcing this year’s top New Zealand dairy, sheep and beef, and emerging rural professionals.

Farmax general manager, Gavin McEwen, said the awards were developed last year to recognise the expertise and value agricultural consultants and rural professionals provide to the New Zealand pastoral farming industry, which often goes unnoticed.

“On a regular basis we see first-hand the invaluable service that rural professionals provide farmer clients with. The feedback we receive from farmers about their consultants is really uplifting. It shows just how much of a difference consultants can make to their clients’ businesses,” Mr McEwen said. . . .


Rural round-up

May 21, 2014

Finding alternatives to dairy – Keith Woodford:

New Zealand dairy production has increased by 80% since Year 2000. This has come almost equally from both more dairy hectares and more production per hectare. However, the limits to pastoral dairying in New Zealand have largely been reached. Where do we go from here?

First, there is a need to recognise the two reasons why pastoral dairying has largely reached its limits.

The most important reason is that society is no longer willing to accept the effects of cow urine leaching from pastures into waterways and aquifers. Huge progress has been made in fencing off livestock from waterways, and in tree planting alongside the streams, but that does not solve the problem of the urine patch. This 2013/14 year is therefore the last year of large-scale conversion of sheep and beef farms to pastoral dairying. New environmental regulations have effectively closed that door. . . .

Nominations & entries open for South Island Farmer of the Year:

Nominations and entries are open for the 2014 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition, and organisers are hoping for another record year.

“Last year we had entries from throughout the South Island, the quality of which were such that we were obliged to select six finalists instead of the usual four,” says Lincoln University Foundation Chair Ben Todhunter. “This, plus the very successful winner’s field day at Yealands Wine Estate, generated a lot of interest.

Todhunter says that one of the attractions of the competition is that size really doesn’t matter and is not one of the criteria for judging.

“We’re looking for leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship, which can be found equally in a small family-owned farm business as they can within a large commercial agricultural entity. . . .

Central South too wet to drill:

CROPPING FARMERS in Canterbury and North Otago face a soggy battle to get winter cereals sown after another belt of rain swept the region this week.

Paddocks had only just become passable after an unusually wet April and now some fear they will not get back on again until spring. Where crops have been sown agronomists say slugs are having a field day.

“Slug pellet use has gone through the roof,” Mid Canterbury agronomist Roger Lasham told Rural News.
“Where people have gone on with pellets before any damage has been done it’s not too bad but if they’re late they’ll never get those plants back.”  . . .

Fresh look for Fieldays partnership:

A mutual interest in contributing to – and growing – New Zealand’s agricultural sector is behind an enduring strategic partnership between two iconic regional organisations.

The University of Waikato is into its eighth year as a strategic partner of the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek and Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says it is an important partnership for both organisations.

“The University has a shared interest with Fieldays in the agricultural sector, from our research which we will be showcasing on our stand, to our students who undertake internships with many agricultural organisations and our graduates who are employed in the agricultural sector,” he says.

The University and the New Zealand National Fieldays Society signed their latest strategic partnership in March and Fieldays Chief Executive Jon Calder says the relationship has developed well over the years “to the point where we now have a true partnership”. . .

Deal to develop wine tourism:

New Zealand Winegrowers and Air New Zealand have signed a deal which will see them jointly promote the country as a destination for wine tourists.

They believe that more than a million visitors have toured the country’s vineyards and wineries over the last five years and the sector has tremendous opportunity for future growth.

Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said the North American and Asian markets will be targetted in the promotion. . .

Giesen single vineyard first release wins international recognition:

Giesen Wines has won international plaudits with its first release of premium single vineyard wines from Marlborough.

Three different single vineyard selections have won gold at two prestigious UK competitions. The Brookby Rd Pinor Noir 2012 and Clayvin Pinot Noir 2012 were awarded gold in the coveted Decanter competition while Giesen The Fuder Clayvin Chardonnay 2012 captured gold at the International Wine Challenge (IWC).

Theo Giesen, of Giesen Wines, says this is the first time its wines have been awarded gold at either of the UK competitions. . . .


Good news but

May 2, 2014

New Zealand wine exports have hit a new high:

New Zealand wine export earnings have hit a new high, bubbling over the $1.3 billion mark for the first time.

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive officer Philip Gregan, said it’s due to a combination of increased supply from the 2013 vintage and the continuing strong demand in overseas markets.

“So bring the two things together and we’ve got 9 percent growth in value over the past year.” . . .

That’s the good news.

But there’s another side to the story – there’s still a lot of wine to be sold.

We toured a wine bottling plant last month and saw pallets of boxes full of clean-skin wine bottles which didn’t have a market.

This wasn’t wine maturing, it was wine unsold from last season’s bottling.

New Zealand’s wine production has expanded but it hasn’t all found a market and the plant was already getting this season’s wine in.

Drink up – moderately and sensibly – the country’s wine industry needs us to.


GE has place in NZ

April 8, 2014

The audience at the annual Kim Hill Earth Hour debate decided there is a place for genetic engineering in New Zealand.

. . . Ninety minutes of pros, cons and broad views presented by panellists Tony Conner (AgResearch),  Robert Cruickshank (Lincoln University) and Richard Newcomb (Plant and Food Research) on one team and Christine Dann (Organics Aotearoa), Philip Gregan (NZ Winegrowers) and  Jon Hickford (Lincoln University) on the other, with close interrogation of them all by Kim Hill, was followed by 30 minutes of questions from the audience.  Chairwoman Sarah Walters, Deputy Mayor of Selwyn, then invited the audience to indicate by “noise” how they felt on the question.

Sarah ruled that the “ayes” were “slightly louder” signalling that genetic engineering should stay on New Zealand’s agenda “as a research opportunity” but with the provisos that it be well regulated, that consumers have a choice between GE and non-GE through strict labelling, and that the role of large overseas corporate organisations funding, and thereby influencing, research, be curbed. . .

Richard Newcomb added that the “GE debate has become completely intertwined with the anti-big business debate and with the notion of big business controlling food production and supply.” . . . .

He’s right – many of those opposed to GE are on the left of politics and also opposed to what they label big business.

Defending the environment, Christine Dann said she believed genetic engineering was “ecologically dangerous and too risky.”

“If everyone had their own little garden and grew their own vegetables the problem would be solved,” she said.  . .

If she is right, and I don’t think she is, Would she care that a whole lot of other problems would be created including job losses?

New Zealand is taking a very cautious approach to GE which is as it should be.

But the vehement opposition to it is based on emotion not science.

That a majority of the audience gave cautious support, albeit with provisos, to GE gives some hope that science might win.

 

 


Rural round-up

June 12, 2013

2013 New Zealand Wine Vintage Set to Be One of the Best:

The 2013 New Zealand grape harvest has been completed with high quality grapes picked in all regions. Winemakers across the country are heralding it as one of the best vintages in history.

“An outstanding New Zealand summer provided near perfect conditions for growing grapes across the country” said Philip Gregan, chief executive officer of New Zealand Winegrowers. “The result is that we expect the 2013 wines to be vibrant, fruit driven and complex expressions of our diverse grape growing regions. 2013 looks set to be a vintage to remember.”

According to the 2013 Vintage Survey, 345,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested. The 2013 crop is up 28% on the small harvest last year but up only 5% on 2011. . .

Fieldays: new forecasting service for farmers

A new weather and environmental forecasting service has been launched at the National Fieldays by NIWA today.

The service provides farmers with tailored information about weather conditions on their farm.

The web-based weather forecasting information service called NIWA forecast aims to help farmers and growers identify the right time to carry out weather-dependent operations like irrigation, spraying and harvesting.

NIWA chief scientist, atmosphere, Dr Murray Poulter said the new service takes forecasting to another level because different forecasts can now be created for properties as little as 12km apart.

“NIWA forecast can deliver valuable climate analysis and forecasts from the present to 15 days ahead direct to farmers’ and growers’ computers via the internet direct to their farm.” . . .

Meat Industry Excellence gets into the first gear of reform:

With the 2013 National Agricultural Fieldays now underway, so is reform of New Zealand’s red meat sector being championed by Meat Industry Excellence (MIE). MIE is shifting the gears of reform following intensive meetings held in Christchurch and Wellington last week.

“Having met with Beef+Lamb NZ Chairman, Mike Petersen and Federated Farmers’ Meat and Fibre executive, there is recognition and support among farmers for a truly sustainable red meat sector,” says Richard Young, MIE Chairman.

“MIE sees its role as shifting the gear for reform out of neutral. For an industry bedevilled by past infighting it is great to know that Federated Farmers and Beef+Lamb NZ want to work with us. . .

Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre works on reform:

Federated Farmers Meat and Fibre will follow up on a positive meeting with the Meat Industry Excellence Group (MIE) with a discussion on reform and farmer behaviour at its 2013 conference in Ashburton next month.
“MIE gave us an update on where they are at and some of the changes they are working on,” Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson Jeanette Maxwell said.

“We had a highly constructive conversation around meat industry issues and many areas of alignment emerged.

“Both organisations realise they have much in common and want to achieve the same goals. In the next couple of weeks there will be a lot more information to emerge from MIE. . .

Farmers to have equal say in Fairtrade:

Farmers from Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America are to have an equal say in running the global Fairtrade movement for the first time this week.

In a ground-breaking move, producers of tea, coffee, bananas and other goods will have half the votes at Fairtrade International’s annual General Assembly in Germany on Wednesday, 12 June 2013. . .

Fairtrade is the first major development organisation to pioneer such power-sharing between groups in the northern and southern hemisphere. . .


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