If locals won’t work

March 15, 2018

An urgent call for fruit pickers in Hawkes Bay attracted just 14 applicants.

A concerted effort to find fruit pickers in Hawke’s Bay saw just 14 people express an interest and has resulted in the declaration of a regional labour shortage . . .

Gary Jones of Pipfruit NZ said the low unemployment rate meant there was strong competition for workers.

“There are at least 350 registered vacancies at the moment. The real number is likely to be higher than that,” Jones. . . .

Monday’s declaration means visitors presently in the country who did not have a work visa would be able to apply for a variation to their visitor’s visa allowing them to undertake seasonal work in the horticulture/viticulture industries for 6 weeks.

“This will now enable us to access as many available seasonal workers as possible to help harvest our fruit crops in Hawke’s Bay. Once the season is over, employers will be looking to offer permanent jobs to suitable New Zealand workers,” Jones said.

Jones said pickers were paid “well above the minimum wage” ($15.75 an hour) and the pay for those working in the packhouses depended on experience. . .

Hawkes Bay isn’t the only place where orchards can’t get local staff.

An employer in another region offered transport for staff from neighbouring towns and provided a creche. He also offered bonuses to those who would work five days but still couldn’t get enough locals.

One reason some didn’t apply or started and didn’t stay was drug testing.

What to do about them is another issue for which there are no simple solutions.

But the business couldn’t afford the risk of accidents from drug impaired staff and the only way to ensure workers were drug-free was testing.

There may be other reasons locals won’t work but the employer had done everything he could to attract them.

That left him dependent on immigrants.

His business couldn’t survive without them and as the Hawkes Bay orchard experience shows it’s not an isolated problem.

If businesses can’t get locals who are willing and able to work, they need immigrants to keep their businesses in business.


Rural round-up

August 4, 2017

Tool built to stop rogue spray incidents – Adriana Weber:

Winegrowers in Central Otago have developed a new tool to prevent agri-chemicals drifting and damaging their crops.

The Central Otago Winegrowers Association has created a map designed to stop rogue spray incidents.

Its past president, James Dicey, said spray drifting cost winegrowers millions of dollars every year in lost production.

“Grape vines are remarkably difficult to kill but they are ridiculously sensitive to some of these chemicals, so they can take a bit of a hit for a couple of years and that can have a downstream effect on the volume of grapes and the volume of wines that’s produced off those grapes,” he said. . . 

Westland Payout on the Way Up:

Westland Milk Products has reached a milestone in its efforts to offer shareholders a sustainable and industry competitive payout with confirmation of next season’s forecast payout.

Westland is forecasting a net payout range (after retentions) of $6.40 to $6.80 for 2017-18 season – a substantial improvement on the two previous seasons. The industry-competitive forecast comes after ten months of analysis and systems change under its new Chief Executive Toni Brendish and new Chair Pete Morrison, resulting in changes at both managerial and board level to better position the company for success in a changing and challenging global dairy market. . . 

Funding a boost for quake affected farmers says Feds:

Federated Farmers is delighted that a joint application made to the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Earthquake Recovery Fund has been successful.

The Federation led the application towards a Farm Business and Land Recovery Programme, which will give direction to recovery research following the Hurunui-Kaikōura earthquake. . . 

Mid-range option considered for Manuherikia water – Alexa Cook:

A new option is on the table for a water scheme in central Otago.

Crown Irrigation Investments is putting $815,000 funding into the Manuherikia Water Project, which will allow a Falls Dam proposal to move forward.

The dam is about an hour north of Alexandra and, with water permits expiring in the next five years, farmers want reliable irrigation for the future. . . 

Crown Irrigation provides funding for Orari-Temuka-Opihi-Pareora Irrigation Scheme:

Crown Irrigation Investments Ltd (Crown Irrigation) has agreed development grant funding of $339,875 for the Orari-Temuka-Opihi-Pareora (OTOP) irrigation conceptual design and costing project, which Environment Canterbury (ECAN) is managing. The South Canterbury area and particularly the greater Opihi catchment has long suffered from water shortages and drought, and numerous water reticulation and supply options have been considered over the years. . . 

New irrigation funding welcomed:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed new grant funding of over $1.1 million for two irrigation projects in South Canterbury and Central Otago.

Crown Irrigation Investments Ltd has agreed development grant funding of $339,875 for the Orari-Temuka-Opihi-Pareora (OTOP) irrigation conceptual design and costing project, which Environment Canterbury (ECAN) is managing. . . 

Agricultural Aviation Recognises Outstanding Performance:

The New Zealand Agricultural Aviation Association is pleased to confirm the winners of two awards presented at the Aviation Leadership Gala Awards Dinner in Hamilton on Tuesday 25 July.

‘These awards recognise operational excellence and outstanding industry leadership in agricultural aviation,’ said Alan Beck, Chairman of the NZ Agricultural Aviation Association (NZAAA). . . 

Biosecurity heroes recognised at Parliament:

Biosecurity heroes from across the country were recognised in Wellington tonight with the announcement of the 2017 New Zealand Biosecurity Award recipients.

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy says the winners of these inaugural awards have shown a real commitment to protecting New Zealand.

“Biosecurity is my number one priority as Minister and crucial in protecting our economy and way of life. These awards recognise that it is a shared responsibility for all New Zealanders, and celebrate the efforts of people who are doing their bit for biosecurity every day. . . 

Extra boost for Bay of Plenty farmers:

Flood-hit farmers in the Bay of Plenty region will have a further opportunity to apply for a grant to help with clean up and recovery, say Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy.

The $100,000 Primary Industries Flood Recovery Fund is part of a package of additional support totalling $295,000 for farms and orchards who suffered damage following the floods. 

“The Government is committed to ensuring communities in the Bay of Plenty have the support they need to recover from the April floods,” says Mrs Tolley. .  .

Zespri wins top award for US trade:

Zespri won the Supreme Award as well as Exporter of the Year at the AmCham-DHL Awards in Auckland last night, recognising the investment made to grow kiwifruit sales across the United States.

Zespri Chief Operating Officer Simon Limmer says the company is growing strongly across North America, with most of this growth coming from the new gold variety Zespri SunGold. . . 

Ngāi Tahu Seafood appoints new directors:

Ngāi Tahu Seafood Limited is pleased to announce the appointment of two new directors, Jen Crawford and Ben Bateman, bringing the total of Ngāi Tahu directors on the board to four out of six.

Ms Crawford has 20 years’ national and international legal experience in project consenting and planning, along with governance experience in the Canterbury region. She has previously worked in leading law firms in New Zealand and the UK, including a partnership at Anderson Lloyd. . . 

Seafood industry congratulates its stars:

New Zealand’s seafood stars have been recognised at the industry’s annual conference in Wellington today.

Chief Executive of Seafood New Zealand Tim Pankhurst said the conference, titled Oceans of Innovation, was a celebration of the exciting developments in the industry over the past few years, most of which were not well known.

“Some of the recipients of the Seafood Stars Awards played a significant part in the world-leading, cutting edge technology that is making a real difference to the way commercial fishing targets what it needs and is lessening its environmental footprint,” said Pankhurst. . . 

One stop source for New Zealand seafood information launched:

A one-stop source for information on New Zealand seafood was launched at the New Zealand Seafood Industry conference in Wellington today.

OpenSeas is a third-party verified, broad-based transparency initiative designed to enable customers of New Zealand seafood, primarily international customers, a single, comprehensive source of information about the environmental, social and production credentials of the New Zealand seafood industry. . . 

Commercial fishing industry worth more than $4 billion to NZ economy – BERL:

A report from economic researchers, BERL shows New Zealand’s commercial fishing industry is worth $4.18 billion.

Chief Executive of Fisheries Inshore New Zealand, Dr Jeremy Helson, says the report confirms the importance of commercial fishing to New Zealand.

“The Ministry for Primary Industries says exports alone are expected to reach $2.3 billion by 2025. Add the contribution to the domestic market through jobs, investment in infrastructure and the sectors supporting the industry and you have a significant contributor to the New Zealand economy,” said Helson. . . 

Name Change for New Zealand’s Top Performing Sector:

The apple and pear industry has a new name, New Zealand Apples and Pears Incorporated, a change from Pipfruit New Zealand.

The unanimous decision was made at the industry’s annual general meeting held in Napier today.

New Zealand Apples and Pears chief executive, Alan Pollard, said the new name tells exactly what the industry is “apples and pears” and takes advantage of the strong global reputation of “brand New Zealand”. . . 

Mataura Valley Milk on track for August 2018 production start:

Southland farmers are expressing significant interest in becoming Mataura Valley Milk shareholders and the company expects to fill its supplier requirements, general manager Bernard May says.

The company is striving to be the ‘World’s Best Nutritional Business’ manufacturing and producing premium infant milk formula mainly for export from its purpose-built nutrition plant at McNab, near Gore, Southland. . . 

Update on China Infant Formula Registration Process:

Synlait Milk Limited  and The a2 Milk Company Limited  are confident with the progress of their application to export a2 Platinum® infant formula to China from 1 January 2018.

The CFDA requires manufacturers of infant formula to register brands and recipes with them in order to import products from 1 January 2018. . . 

 


Rural round-up

November 21, 2016

Kaikoura quake will have long-term implications for rural economy– Nick Clark:

This week has of course been dominated by the Kaikoura earthquake.  Our thoughts go out to everyone affected and Feds is playing an important part in the response efforts. 

As well as the impacts on people’s lives and livelihoods, there will be significant economic ramifications, both immediate and long-term.  The impacts will be felt locally and nationally.

The actual amount of damage and costs involved are still unclear and will take time to emerge.  What we do know though is that the scale of the disaster is immense and there has been severe damage to crucial transport and communications infrastructure, not to mention farms, businesses and homes. 

The cost of repair and rebuild alone will likely be in the billions and then there is the cost of the disruption, including lost business. . . 

Support package for earthquake-affected primary sector:

A support package for the primary sector around the upper South Island has been announced today by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

“The earthquakes this week have had a major impact on farmers, fishers, growers and the wine industry. The damage is widespread and severe and will need the help of the Government to recover,” says Mr Guy. 

The package today involves funding of at least $5 million and includes:

  • $4 million for Mayoral Disaster Rural Relief funds (Hurunui, Kaikoura and Marlborough) to help with non-insurable assets such as tracks, on-farm bridges and water infrastructure
  • $500,000 to support Rural Recovery Coordinators in the Hurunui, Kaikoura and Marlborough Districts
  • $500,000 extra funding for Rural Support Trusts
  • $200,000 per month to mobilise and support skilled primary industry students and workers for farm recovery work
  • Rural Assistance Payments (RAPs) from Work and Income NZ – emergency payments for farmers in real hardship. . . 

Farmers Grateful for Quake Zone Rural Relief Package:

Financial relief announced today for quake-stricken North Canterbury and Marlborough farmers will go a long way towards getting these families back up and running.

Federated Farmers president Dr William Rolleston says farmers will be pleased with the Government’s comprehensive range of $5 million in funding for various aspects of the quake response and recovery.

“The mayoral fund is specifically aimed at rural communities. It’s designed to help with restoring uninsured on-farm infrastructure like tracks, bridges and water reticulation. . . 

Feds set up trust for quake-hit farms:

Federated Farmers has reopened its Adverse Events Trust Fund to raise funds to support farms affected by the North Canterbury earthquake.

The trust fund will take donations which will be spent on immediate emergency support for farms, including emergency supplies, farm equipment, essential tools and materials.

“It’s a times like this that people are so keen to help, and that’s fantastic, but we have to be aware, the reality is dollars are going to be required to get these farms back up and running,” Federated Farmers adverse events spokesperson Katie Milne says. . . 

Plenty of positive talk about venison and velvet season – Yvonne O’Hara:

“Positive” and “encouraging” are words that deer farmer and veterinarian Dave Lawrence, of Browns, is using  to describe this year’s venison and velvet season.

“It is all very positive,” Mr Lawrence said.

“The venison schedule is about $8kg.

“In seasons gone by, the trend was to peak at about $8 and now there is talk about that being the bottom.

“It is very encouraging.”

He said as the industry moved out of the trough, deer farmers were now retaining more stock to  build up numbers, rather than sending them to the works. . . 

Milk price brings welcome boost to economy:

DairyNZ has welcomed the increased forecast milk price announced today, as a boost to dairy farmers as well as the regional and national economies.

The increase of 75 cents brings Fonterra’s 2016/17 forecast farmgate milk price to $6/kg milksolids (MS) – a lift of $1.75/kg MS since the start of the season, which brings a boost for average dairy farmer revenue of $260,000 or $3 billion nationally.

Today’s 75 cent increase equates to a $1.3 billion lift in the value of this season’s milk production. . . 

Rabobank: World Dairy Trade Faces Strong Headwinds:

The trade in dairy products has suffered a number of massive blows in the last three years and is set to continue face headwinds going forward. The Russian trade embargo, the slowing of demand growth from China, the impact of low oil prices on demand from oil exporting countries and the strengthening of the US dollar have all had an impact on the demand for imports. The expansion of production surrounding the removal of production quotas in Europe added to the pain and resulted in a period of extremely low world prices, according to Rabobank’s report “Strong Headwinds Weigh on Trade Growth.”

“And when we look forward”, says Kevin Bellamy, Global Strategist Dairy at Rabobank. “We see that none of these issues has been resolved. The Russian ban will be in place at least until 2017. Demand from China will continue to grow but at a slower rate, oil prices are forecast to remain at around the USD 50 per barrel mark, and the dollar is forecast to maintain its high value against other currencies. As a result, dairy trade is likely to grow at a slower rate than in recent years, driven more by population growth than per capita consumption increases.” . . 

‘High-risk situation’ for yellow-eyed penguin chicks

Avian diptheria has killed one in three yellow-eyed penguin chicks hatched at two north Otago colonies this year.

Outbreaks of the disease have been occuring every second season on average for at least the past 17 years and young chicks are particularly vulnerable to the disease.

Penguin Rescue manager Rosalie Goldsworthy, who looks after two colonies on the Moeraki Peninsula, said 31 out of 85 chicks hatched this year had died – many before they could be treated with antibiotics.

The disease first took hold in 1999, and at that point there were more than 600 breeding pairs on the mainland.

That population had declined to just 200 breeding pairs. . . 

New Zealand apple industry is breaking all records with largest ever apple crop forecast for 2017:

New Zealand is set to grow its largest ever export apple crop of 21.5 million cartons worth a record $800 million, the industry’s leader announced today.

Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Alan Pollard said the success of New Zealand’s apple industry was breaking all records.

“We are the first of New Zealand’s larger primary sectors to meet the Government’s challenge of doubling exports by 2025, and are well ahead of our own target of becoming a billion dollar industry by 2022. . .. 

Paul Henry … Invivo’s Newest Winemaker:

When Invivo winemakers were looking for a personality to make a Pinot Noir to match Graham Norton’s Own Sauvignon Blanc, they looked no further than Paul Henry. Now Paul ‘The Palate’ Henry can add winemaker to his career.

The self-confessed Pinot Noir expert was happy to team up with Invivo, the makers of award-winning Graham Norton’s Own Sauvignon Blanc, to produce a limited edition run of Paul Henry’s Own Pinot Noir.

Henry, who jokes about his highly attuned taste buds and advanced palate, says “I have been in training for this for years, most recently fine-tuning my expertise by specialising on reds, particularly Pinot Noir”.

Invivo co-founder Tim Lightbourne says, “When Paul put up his hand, we put a glass in it. Paul sees himself as bit of a wine buff, so we taught him about the blending process, then sat him down at the blending bench and said ‘go for it’”. . . 


Rural round-up

August 16, 2016

Top-up feed no longer enough – Fed Farmers:

Bringing in supplementary feed is no longer an option for drought-stricken north Canterbury farmers.

Rain at the weekend brought some hope to replenishing food stocks, but it will be a long haul before the herds could return.

Federated Farmers north Canterbury president Lynda Murchison says feeding livestock is unsustainable.

“This drought is so prolonged and so widespread that bringing feed in is not really an option anymore. The amount of feed you have to bring in is just too big.” . . 

Time to move on and accept the value of 1080:

Federated Farmers is mystified as to why people are still complaining about the use of 1080, long after it’s been established as a key tool in New Zealand’s environmental protection system.

The Commissioner for the Environment concluded five years ago that 1080 was the only viable tool for protection against pests on much of New Zealand’s conservation land.

Federated Farmers Taranaki vice president Donald McIntyre says the Department of Conservation’s planned use of 1080 on Mount Taranaki this month must go ahead.

“If we want to keep the kiwi, the rata and all the rest of New Zealand’s native flora and fauna, then we have to accept the use of 1080,” he says. . . 

Horticultural Pioneer John Paynter receives top honours:

Horticultural pioneer John Paynter, whose lifetime ambition is seeing Hastings Heretaunga Plains planted in fruit trees, is this year’s recipient of the Pipfruit New Zealand Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Pipfruit Industry.

Mr Paynter is the first grower in New Zealand to receive the award since it was established in 2013. He was presented with the award at the Horticultural Conference and Awards dinner held in Nelson last night – home to where his family first started growing apples in 1862. . . 

Biosecurity – it’s everyone’s business, join the conversation:

The Ministry for Primary Industries will be holding six hui and public meetings around the country during August and September, to give New Zealanders the opportunity to join a national conversation about managing biosecurity risks to New Zealand.

At the meetings, people will be asked their views about how we can all work together to keep New Zealand free from pests and diseases, because our lifestyles, livelihoods, environment, and the growth of our nation depend on it. . . 

Moth move could curb stinking horehound – Alexa Cook:

A high country sheep farmer wants the government to introduce two types of moth into New Zealand to help control a putrid-smelling lucerne crop weed called horehound.

Horehound looks like mint and is recognised as one of the worst lucerne weeds – sticking to sheep wool and reducing its value, and it can also taint the meat if large amounts are eaten.

Lake Tekapo farmer Gavin Loxton, who formed the Horehound Biocontrol Group, is working with Landcare Research to survey farmers and then apply for government funding to introduce two moths to control it. . . 

Top risks for world’s pollinators named – Alexa Cook:

An international study has narrowed down the biggest risks for pollinators, with the hope of preventing further threats to global food production.

The research identified six risks that need urgent attention, including corporate control of agriculture, diversifying pollinator species, the effects of climate change and reducing chemicals in non-agricultural settings.

David Pattemore from Plant & Food Research was a co-author of the study, and said the findings were mixed. . . .

Ballance Farm Environment Awards Highlight Good Work:

Entering the Auckland Ballance Farm Environment Awards gave Patumahoe dairy farmers Brian and Pirkko Gallagher a chance to showcase some of the good work they’d been doing on their farm.

“We’d only recently finished installing our new effluent system and so we were keen to show that off to the judges and see what they thought of it,” Brian says.

The Gallaghers also wanted to acknowledge the support of Auckland Regional Council, which provided assistance for the planting of trees and shrubs around the five-million litre pond.

Brian says the Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) offered a valuable outside perspective of their farming operation. . . 

Zespri to resume China shipments – Edwin Mitson

(BusinessDesk) – Zespri International, the kiwifruit marketer, is due to resume shipments to China later this week following an overhaul of the process for checking kiwifruit prior to export.

On Aug. 5, the Tauranga-based company said it had temporarily halted exports to the country after China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) issued a risk notification and strengthened inspection and quarantine processes on New Zealand kiwifruit entering Chinese ports when it found the fungus Neofabraea actinidiae. It causes fruit to rot but has no food safety implications.

Prime Minister John Key last week insisted that there was no link between Zespri’s problems and reports that China had threatened to retaliate if New Zealand launched an investigation into whether Beijing was selling steel to NZ below cost, a practice known as ‘dumping’. Key told his weekly media conference that “people should be careful about joining dots.” . . 

Sheep producers from the Tri-Lamb Group meet in New Zealand to discuss common interests:

Young sheep industry leaders from New Zealand, Australia and the United States are getting together in New Zealand this week to discuss common interests and look at the New Zealand sheep industry first-hand.

The trip is one of the annual activities of the Tri-Lamb Group, giving young leaders a taste of sheep farming in each of the three member countries, and this time, showcasing New Zealand’s unique farm management systems.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Northern South Island Farmer Director, Phil Smith says the forum is designed to encourage young producers and leaders from the three countries to share ideas, network and to broaden understanding of sheep production practices in all three countries. . . 


Rural round-up

August 8, 2016

Expansion of Marlborough wine industry depends on finding enough labour and overcoming accommodation shortages – Oliver Lewis:

To grow any further, the Marlborough wine industry needs accommodation and it needs labour. Reporter Oliver Lewis takes a look at the challenge facing the $1 billion industry.

Behind every bottle of Marlborough sauvignon blanc, the wine that put New Zealand on the map, lies the unseen work of thousands of pairs of hands.

From a handful of vineyards in the 1970s to the engine room of the pumping wine export economy, the Marlborough wine industry has transformed the physical and social landscape of the region. . . 

Possum industry works towards its own demise – Gerard Hutching:

For an industry that has been delivered a death sentence by the Government, the possum fur and meat business is showing vigorous signs of life.

The New Zealand Fur Council says possum fur alone is worth $130 million a year and employs about 1500 people. But if National’s recently announced plan to rid the country of possums by 2050 comes true, the industry will go bust.

Some top trappers are earning six figure sums a year for their work, says one Northland fur agent. . . 

Primary ITO seeks new boss :

Mark Jeffries has resigned as chief executive of Primary ITO, the facilitating organisation for training over 30 sectors in agriculture, horticulture, equestrian, seafood, sports turf and food processing.  

He had been in the role for two years and his last day would be Friday, August 19.  

Board chairman Mark Darrow said Jeffries had effectively consolidated the recently merged organisation. . . 

New Zealand plants another million apple trees as Industry Leads the World:

A million more new apple trees are being planted across the country as international demand for New Zealand apples continues to soar, the industry’s leader announced today.

Pipfruit New Zealand’s chief executive Alan Pollard, who is in Nelson for the Horticulture Conference said New Zealand’s world-leading apple industry is transforming into a billion dollar export business.

“All of our growing regions are experiencing increased industry investment. Our apple industry is putting tens and hundreds of millions of dollars back into the local economies of our growing regions with huge spin-offs for local businesses and for growing jobs. . . 

Zespri puts kiwifruit exports to China on hold

Zespri has temporarily halted all kiwifruit exports to its biggest market, China, after fungus was reportedly found in two containers during routine checks.

This comes after Chinese officials warned Zespri last month there could be retaliation if New Zealand investigated claims of steel dumping.

But Zespri general manager of grower and external relations David Courtney told Checkpoint with John Campbell these sorts of issues did crop up from time to time.

He said the fungus had not been found before on New Zealand kiwifruit in China or in any other market, but it had been present on fruit in New Zealand for 20 years. . . 

Washed out road severs rural Hawke’s Bay community from outside world – again – Simon Hendery:

Heavy rain washed out a section of McVicar Rd, off the Napier-Taupo highway north of Te Pohue, on Saturday morning.

The washout cut road access to and from State Highway 5 for several farming families and a holiday park, the Mountain Valley Adventure Lodge, which is located at the end of the road.

The McVicar Rd residents also lost their power and phone lines during the extreme weekend weather, and are among about 300 rural Taupo Plains customers who have been warned they could be without electricity for up to a week. . . 

Parish ponders what to do with its church – Jono Edwards:

Tarras locals may have to buy their community church if they wish to continue using it, as a possible sale looms.

The property, in Church Lane, Tarras, is owned by the Upper Clutha Presbyterian Parish. Since 1958, it has been managed under a joint use agreement by Anglicans and Presbyterians.

In 2014, Presbyterian services ceased as the last active member of the congregation left the area. . . 

 


Rural round-up

June 30, 2016

Farmers on the cusp of unprecedented change:

KPMG’s Ian Proudfoot says significant change is coming to New Zealand’s primary sector and “farmers that ignore it do it at their peril”.

Mr Proudfoot was speaking this morning at Federated Farmers’ National Conference Meat and Fibre AGM.

The world was on the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution and this would mean thinking more globally.

Kiwi farmers who could tell their unique story would prevail as the global consumer became more discerning about what they eat and where it came from.

“There is a fusion happening where digital, physical and biotechnological products will redefine how we live and farm,” he said. . . 

Abandoning challenge, not my way – Rick Powdrell:

There is one thing in life that never changes. The moment you overcome one challenge, there is sure to be another. Once in a while a challenge crops up that might be easier to abandon, but that’s not my way.

You guessed it, that last reference is to the New Zealand red meat industry.

At our February meeting we discussed our role going forward. The emphasis was on continued dialogue with key players, notably Beef + Lamb, the Meat Industry Association, Meat Industry Excellence Group and other parties keen to engage.

There have been plenty of people willing to engage, some notable for their commercial self-interest, and others to talk about specific elements within the industry. All have relevant ideas and the passion and desire to see the industry move forward. But until key players come together with a common goal, the quantum shift required will not occur. . . 

Address to Federated Farmers Dairy Industry Group –  Andrew Hoggard:

Good morning colleagues, observers, media, and of course all the keyboard warriors and trolls waiting in anticipation.

Another season has gone by and whilst there are some positive noises out there around potential market improvements, the prices we all face are still below the break even point for many of us. The expectation is that the financial implications of this downturn will see us in pain for a few years to come.

Much of the commentary over the past few days has been around the Brexit, and the fallout from it. One might ask, what this means for New Zealand Dairy? It really is all up in the air at the moment, our exports presently to the UK are pretty minimal. . .

Recipients of the Gordon Stephenson Trophy:

Richard and Dianne clearly share a deep passion for their family’s show piece farm on the edge of Auckland city. Their beef breeding and sheep breeding and finishing operation runs 4820 stock units on 331ha (effective) with a pine woodlot established on 18.5ha and 15.3ha of regenerating native bush.

Richard and Dianne, who have three adult sons, have farmed the flat to easy-rolling property since the late 1970s.

They are pragmatic about protecting the environment for future generations. All waterways have been fenced, and large areas of raupo act as sediment traps to capture nutrients. Biodiversity corridors link the upper catchment areas to the bush, and bush remnants have been planted with native species such as kauri, rimu and pohutukawa.

Whenuanui runs 300 Angus breeding cows and a Coopworth ewe flock. Mixed-age ewes lambed at 162 percent last year, with hoggets achieving an impressive 129 percent. All lambs are sold prime under the “Kaipara Lamb” brand. . . 

Call out to Young New Zealanders to share in success of the booming apple industry:

New Zealand’s world leading apple industry is putting a call out to school leavers and graduates across the country to come share in its success.

Pipfruit New Zealand’s new capability development manager Erin Simpson has been charged with growing and retaining young people into Zealand’s apple and pear industry.

“New Zealand apples are leading the world, the industry is dynamic, innovative, and going places and so can young New Zealanders,” said Mr Simpson . . 

Bayer Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year 2016 announced:

Congratulations to Brenton O’Riley who became the Bayer Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year 2016 on Friday 24 June.

O’Riley has worked at Giesen Wines for the last few years as Viticultural Technician and credits his time and experience there as helping him gain some of the high level knowledge and skills required to win the competition. He is due to start a new job at Pernod Ricard in a grower liaison role at the beginning of next month.

This is the second time O’Riley has won the Marlborough competition, previously in 2014, so he will be even more determined this year to win the National Final taking place locally at Villa Maria in August. . . 

Irish approach may be better than New Zealand’s–  Allan Barber:

The Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s (DAFM) 10 year strategy report named Foodwise 2025 contains a lot of the same features as MPI’s ambition to double agricultural exports over a similar timeframe.

As an agricultural producer Ireland also has many of the same characteristics as New Zealand: a rural economy based heavily on grass-fed production and produce from the sea, a small domestic market and heavy reliance on exports, an expanding dairy herd and an ageing farmer profile. The agri-food industry contributes a greater proportion of export revenue than non agri-food production which is equally true of New Zealand.

Obviously there are differences, notably the impact of the EU common agricultural policy on Irish farm incomes, the destination of exports, the lower efficiency and smaller scale of farms, and the variation of production volumes. . . 

NZ sheepmeat, tourism may be hardest hit by Brexit as pound weakens, market volatility jumps –  Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s sheepmeat exports and tourists from the UK may be the hardest hit from the Brexit with the most immediate impact likely to be on British tourists suddenly finding the spending power of the pound against the kiwi is the weakest in almost three years.

The European Union is the biggest market for New Zealand sheepmeat, taking $1.4 billion of product last year and almost half of that 228,000 tonnes of quota is taken by the UK. Total red meat exports to the EU amount to $2 billion, making it the single most valuable market. However, the biggest impact for New Zealand would be the UK’s loss of zero-tariff access for its own sheepmeat into Europe, where it currently sends 90 percent of production, leaving more in its domestic market. . . 


Rural round-up

May 10, 2016

What impact do milk solids payouts have on the economy?:

Milk solids payouts have been in the news a lot of late with a rollercoaster ride of pricing that has shaken the farming sector’s confidence.

But what impact do these fluctuating prices have on the broader economy?

In the May year 2013/14, Fonterra paid its milk suppliers $8.40/kg for milk solids (excluding the dividend for shareholders). That is $1.3 million for the average dairy herd at the time of 413 cows producing 153,012 kg of milk solids. . . 

Farmers desperate for rain – Rhys Chamberlain:

The seemingly endless summer produced balmy days across Otago but the unseasonably warm start to autumn has caused further headaches for drought-hit farmers.

Niwa statistics show Dunedin is on track to record its second-lowest autumn rainfall on record with about three weeks to go before winter officially starts.

Although another 6mm of rain fell yesterday, Dunedin recorded just 53mm of rain between March 1 and May 7, just 6mm more than the 1939 record low. . . 

Chinese meat processors look to NZ ahead of chilled meat deal:

The new John Key-brokered deal to gain access for chilled meat to the China market is already attracting Chinese meat processors to the Bank of China (NZ) Agri-Business Investment and Trade Conference in anticipation of China relaxing the rules.

During Prime Minister Key’s recent visit to China, he was given an undertaking that the meat protocols between the respective regulatory authorities would be reformed to allow chilled meat exports to China. The deal, when it goes through, will add multi-millions to New Zealand’s trade with China. . . 

Organic dairy farmers reaping just rewards:

The huge rise in the milk payout to organic dairy farmers is a welcome encouragement for the dairy sector to move towards clean, green and high-value production, according to the Soil & Health Association.

Fonterra just announced a big jump in the milk payout to organic farmers, due to increasing global demand. For the 2016-17 season organic farmers will receive $9.20 per kg of milk solids, up from the current organic price of $5.65. Non-organic milk solids fetch just $3.90.

“Consumers worldwide are demanding safe, healthy food, and are prepared to pay for high quality, GE-free, organic dairy products,” said Marion Thomson, co-chair of Soil & Health. . . 

Silver Fern Farms Propose to Relocate Islington Venison Operations to South Canterbury:

 As a result of the pending expiry of its lease, and change in surrounding land use, Silver Fern Farms is consulting with staff at its Islington venison processing plant on options for closing the site and building a new integrated venison processing plant at its Pareora site, in South Canterbury.

Silver Fern farms currently leases land on the Waterloo Road site. The lease is shortly due to expire and the current plant buildings on the site are planned to be demolished to make way for new commercial developments at the Waterloo Business Park.

Silver Fern Farms Chief Executive Dean Hamilton says staying on the Waterloo Business Park site is no longer an option for the company. . . 

Pipfruit New Zealand gains role in protecting NZ biosecurity:

New Zealand’s $700 million pipfruit industry says it will have greater confidence in the country’s biosecurity system now that it will play an influencing role in helping to manage and govern biosecurity and risk.

Pipfruit New Zealand’s chief executive Alan Pollard said growers have welcomed the Government Industry Agreement for Readiness and Response (GIA) and supported the partnership with Government. . . 

Dairy Trainees Embark On Eye-Opening Study Tour:

The 11 finalists in the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competition begin a three-day study tour today, visiting award-winning farmers, Fonterra Innovation and Massey University’s No 4 dairy farm.

The trainees will also have a health check, visit a robotic farm, a goat farm, a raw milk farm and hear from a range of speakers on the state of the dairy industry and also on setting and achieving goals.

The tour will finish in Wellington where the group will join finalists in the New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year competitions. The final aspect of their judging, an interview, will take place on Friday before the winners of the three competitions are announced at the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards national awards dinner at the TSB Arenaon Saturday night . The winners will share about $170,000 in cash and prizes. . . 

Judges Begin Search For National Winner Of Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

The New Zealand Farm Environment Trust has assembled a strong line-up of judges to decide the next recipients of the esteemed Gordon Stephenson trophy.

Comprising six people with a broad range of skills and experience, the National Winner Judging Panel will select the next trophy holders from the eleven Supreme winners in the 2016 Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

The recipients will be announced at New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust’s National Sustainability Showcase in Northland on June 22, becoming ambassadors for the primary industry in a role that will take them around the country and beyond as they promote the importance of sustainable farming. . . 

Duncan Venison Unveils The “Bistro Fillet,”

A New, Innovative Premium Venison Cut:

Duncan Venison, one of New Zealand’s original venison producers, has developed a brand new item, which it has named the “Bistro Fillet.” The restaurant quality cut will be available to the public from 1 July, through a recently developed online store at duncan-nz.com.

Andrew and Vinnie Duncan, owners of the company, discovered the fillet when looking into ways to make the venison leg more useable, consistent and convenient for restaurants. They found a way to trim and portion the meat in that area, which has resulted in a tender, top quality cut that is ready for immediate cooking and serving. . . 


Rural round-up

March 23, 2016

Time for NZ meat industry to ‘move on’ – Sally Rae:

New Zealand’s red meat sector will never achieve greatness if it continues to “fight and argue”, Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman James Parsons says.

In his chairman’s report in the 2014-15 annual report, for the organisation’s annual meeting in Paihia on Wednesday, Mr Parsons said the industry’s structure had been keenly debated.

But now it was time to “move on, heal the wounds and work together as one sector”, he said. . . 

Designers inspired by woolly thinking – Sally Rae:

Penny Ronald has been doing a lot of woolly thinking lately.

Much of that occurred when she was in a woolshed at Ngamatea Station with a group of other up-and-coming architecture, interior, spatial, product and industrial designers.

Weekend in a Woolshed involved three days at the North Island station working in a studio set up in a woolshed. Campaign for Wool (CFW), with support from the Primary Wool Co-operative, immersed the group of nine in wool and challenged them to create and innovate. . . 

Young Waikato dairy couple aren’t singing the dairy blues – Andrea Fox:

Waikato first-time farm owner Allen Hurst has given up on his plan to be out of the milking shed by age 40 –  but that’s the only moan you’re going to hear from him about dairy farming right now.

He and wife Karen, finishing the third season on their Arapuni farm, are completely fed up with what they see as the relentless negative sideshow to dairying.

“It’s not just payout, it’s environmental, compliance, health and safety – it feels like a big wall of negativity,” says Allen.

“You have to remain positive. You can’t wake up every day tripping over your lip. You can’t get up every day thinking you’re working for nothing.” . . 

$895,000 in funding for Marlborough irrigation scheme:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed new funding of $895,000 for the Flaxbourne Community Irrigation Scheme in Marlborough.

The funding comes from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF) and will help the Marlborough District Council complete concept designs, finalise funding arrangements, and begin the detailed design phase for the storage dam.

“Water from this project will most likely be used for wine grapes and arable crops, showing again that irrigation is about much more than just dairy,” says Mr Guy.

“Providing a reliable water supply for growers has major potential to boost growth, creating jobs and exports. This is especially important in Marlborough given the serious drought the region has suffered over the last 18 months.” . . 

Rosy start to apple season:

The apple season is in full swing, and excellent fruit size and quality, have Pipfruit New Zealand tipping a record crop.

But business development manager Gary Jones said it was the latest start to the season anyone could remember but orchards were now flat-out harvesting.

“Although the season was late we have exported more fruit than we ever have before and places like the Napier Port are saying they’ve handled more apples at the same date than they have had in any other season. . . .

Notice of hearing for agents to control the weed tutsan:

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) advises a hearing is scheduled on an application to introduce a moth and a leaf-feeding beetle as biological control agents. If approved for release, the moth Lathronympha strigana and the leaf-feeding beetle Chrysolina abchasica would be used to help control the weed tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum), which is threatening hill country farming.

The application, from the Tutsan Action Group, is made under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996. . . 

Farmer is back making words with sheep:

A North Canterbury farmer whose photo of sheep spelling out ‘bugger’ went viral last year, has been at it again.

Mike Bowler who runs nearly 4000 stock on his Parnassus farm used the sheep art to vent his frustration at the on-going drought in the region last May.

The photo of the sheep spelling out ‘Bugger’ went viral.

“I even had the German version of Federated Farmers call me up about it.” . . 


Rural round-up

July 24, 2015

Certainty underpins healthy community :

Federated Farmers have placed an emphasis the importance of certainty within the primary sector as a key component of a thriving economy.

Speaking at the Local Government New Zealand conference, Federated Farmers president Dr William Rolleston told councils the number one issue facing the primary sector needs was certainty, and with certainty came the ability to make investment decisions that underpinned a thriving economy. 

Rolleston also spoke about the Resource Management Act (RMA), and heavy burden it placed on the rural sector.  . .

Shanghai Pengxin puts all its farms up for sale – Gerard Hutching:

Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin’s total farm assets in New Zealand are up for sale, including 16 farms and a conditional agreement to buy Lochinver Station – but they are unlikely to be sold.

Because the company wants to restructure, the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) requires it to offer its assets for sale to New Zealanders.

The 16 dairy farms totalling 7885 hectares are the former Crafar family farms, bought controversially for $200 million in 2012.

They were listed for sale on Trade Me on Sunday on a “price by negotiation” basis and by Tuesday had been viewed 657 times. . .

Paraparaumu farmer is looking to give away his best friend to a loving home – Jessy Edwards:

Brian Arnopp is being eaten out of house and home by his best mate, and it’s finally got too much for him.

So now Mr Bull is going free to a good home.

Arnopp, of Paraparaumu, has looked after Mr Bull since he was left at the 77-year-old’s farm four years ago. . .

Pipfruit industry on track:

The New Zealand pipfruit industry recently regained its position as the world’s most competitive pipfruit industry, making this year’s conference time to reflect, says Pipfruit NZ.

The pipfruit industry, which is due to hold its annual conference in Wellington in August, is one of the fastest growing primary sectors in the country. Exports have increased in value from $340m in 2012 to $536m in 2014. The industry is well on track to reach its $1bn export target by 2022.

Pipfruit NZ says the annual conference will be an important networking and educational event for the industry. . .

Time to show your true nature:

Farmers are being urged to enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, which now include the Auckland region.

Entries open on August 1.

Facilitated by the New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust, the awards promote best-practice land management by showcasing the work of people farming in a way that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. . .

Farmers need government to heed ’10 point’ local government plan:

Federated Farmers want the government to give immediate attention to the Local Government New Zealand’s ’10 point plan’ for rates reform.

Federated Farmers Local Government spokesperson Katie Milne says the disastrous dairy payout prices in particular mean farmers want urgent action on inequities in the rates they pay to their local bodies.

“We farmers can’t control international prices. Neither can the government. But the government can legislate rates reform. It all helps, and the sooner the better,” Katie Milne says. . .

Te Karaka student awarded scholarship:

A Te Karaka student has been awarded the Mangatu Blocks and Ravensdown Scholarship, providing three years study at Auckland University.

Roland Taupara Brown completed his secondary schooling at Gisborne Boys High School where in his final year he was named Dux for 2014.

Brown says the scholarship provides him with a unique opportunity to focus on his studies in science and commerce at Auckland University. His Bachelor of Science degree will focus on green chemistry and his Bachelor of Commerce will provide the business disciplines to ensure a balance between environmental and commercial considerations. . .


Rural round-up

March 17, 2015

‘Safety culture’ on farms preferred by farmers – Sally Rae:

Creating a compliance culture is not the answer to reducing the number of farm accidents, Beef and Lamb New Zealand chairman James Parsons says.

In his address to Beef and Lamb New Zealand’s annual meeting, held at LincolnFirst-Telford near Balclutha last week, Mr Parsons said the best people to assess risks and mitigate them were the farmers who managed them every day.

Including family in daily farming activities was a core farming value in action. . .

How to boost red meat earnings:

A new study of New Zealand’s red meat sector shows that savings of hundreds of millions, potentially billions of dollars can be made through industry rationalisation and consolidation.

The report, to be released in Wellington on the 17th March, ‘Red Meat Industry –Pathways to Long-Term Sustainability’ provides independent analysis of the industry, commissioned by Meat Industry Excellence (MIE), to help farmers and industry players make progress to reform the structure of the sector.

The report extrapolates various savings estimates from industry rationalisation and consolidation. It shows that more than $400 million in gains is available over five years just from the two big meat co-ops Silver Fern Farms and Alliance Group getting together.(Refer Table 19 from Report). . .

 

MIE Red Meat Sector report to be released – Allan Barber:

   Tuesday sees the public release of the Meat Industry Excellence industry study ‘Red Meat Sector – Pathways to Long-Term Sustainability’ at a launch function in Wellington. The study, funded with the assistance of a grant from Beef + Lamb New Zealand, was commissioned in the middle of last year; it was initially due for release by the end of October, but concerns about the robustness of the findings delayed the process.

According to MIE’s website the two main areas of work were: . . .

Facing up to pest invasions: A new reality

With Queensland fruit fly breaching the borders yet again, despite investment in quarantine processes, questions need to be asked whether some pest incursions are inevitable and if more should be invested in preparedness rather than prevention.

That’s according to Professor Philip Hulme, an expert in plant biosecurity at the Bio-Protection Research Centre at Lincoln University.

“Biosecurity has traditionally had a strong border focus, yet we have seen many examples recently of major pests slipping through; such as PSA, potato/tomato psyllid, and the great white cabbage butterfly. We also know that there are many pests on the horizon that will be difficult to prevent from establishing here, including myrtle rust and the brown marmorated stink bug.

NZ King Salmon may have to close farm:

New Zealand King Salmon says it may have to close one of its Marlborough farms for future summers after stock died from significantly warmer waters.

Average water temperatures at the company’s Waihinau Bay farm in the past few months have been some of the hottest on record for the area, averaging above the salmon’s ideal growing conditions. . .

Families central to club’s history – Sally Rae:

Ask Rick Aubrey why he keeps dog trialling and the answer is succinct: ”Too old to play footy, aren’t I?”

On a more serious note, it was the camaraderie involved and the ”buzz” he got from a good run that kept him involved in the sport. . .

NZ apple growers help transform India’s apple industry – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Pipfruit New Zealand, the pipfruit growers’ organisation, is working on a plan to help revitalise a key part of India’s declining apple industry with the long-term aim of having a tariff-free window for Kiwi apple exports

India’s apple industry is the fourth largest in the world by volume and the second largest by land area but grower returns are starting to decline as production drops because of ageing trees and pest and disease issues.

Pipfruit New Zealand is taking the lead on the World Bank project and along with the crown research institute Plant & Food Research, is now applying its expertise to a plan to rejuvenate apple growing in the state of Himachal Pradesh, one of India’s three main growing areas. . .


Rural round-up

February 19, 2015

Future dairy leaders – Sam Johnson:

Last week I was invited to speak to 60 graduates at Fonterra in Palmerston North. As New Zealand’s largest co-operative, Fonterra is seen as delivering significant economic value back into Aotearoa.

The 60 graduates I was privileged to speak to have all graduated at the top of their classes from various institutions around New Zealand. After graduating, they each spent two years working in various factories around the country, learning about everything; from milk production, the intricate details of making yoghurt to coming up with new ideas using their skills to streamline processes, ultimately seeking to improve the efficiency and success of Fonterra.

Before I arrived, each person delivered a 10-minute presentation on their project or thesis around their area of expertise. Then the debates began on whether or not the idea would save the company $10 million. While saving money didn’t appear to be the brief from the company, I was interested in how frequently the cost saving aspect was referenced. . .

Good progress in Auckland fruit fly operation:

Field work is ramping up in Auckland today in response to the detection earlier this week of a single male Queensland fruit fly in a surveillance trap in Grey Lynn.

MPI, along with response partners and Government Industry Agreement partners KVH and Pipfruit NZ, have responded swiftly.

Today a field team of more than 90 staff is setting additional fruit fly lure traps to determine if other flies are present in the area.

Field teams are also collecting samples of fruit from home gardens in the area to test for any flies or their eggs or larvae. . . .

Students making quads safer:

850 farmers are injured each year from quad bike accidents in New Zealand. Two to seven die. A group of young innovative entrepreneurs are launching a new, safe storage solution for carrying equipment on quad bikes. Launching this week, Flatpak is a bag that is specifically designed to easily attach onto the back of a quad bike. They are launching their pledge me campaign on the 18th of February. Here, customers are able to pre-order a limited edition Flatpak along with other rewards.

They are working to raise $40,000 to produce their first run of 100 Flatpaks! They need your help. . .

‘Tactics for Tight Times’ to be shared – Sally Rae:

DairyNZ has launched a campaign to help dairy farmers get through a tough season brought on by a low milk price and drought.

The declaration of drought conditions on the South Island’s east coast as a medium scale adverse event had highlighted the ”critical need” for extra support for farmers, DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said.

”The milk price hit a six year low in December, and dry conditions have exacerbated the situation, forcing many farmers to make some pretty tough decisions, especially as they look to set themselves up for next season,” he said. . .

Aorangi Young Farmers to be put to the test in ANZ Young Farmer Contest Regional Final:

The second ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Finalist will be determined next weekend, Saturday 28 February at the Aorangi Regional Final held in Oamaru.

“This contest season is shaping up to be very impressive after a fantastic Regional Final in Queenstown over Waitangi weekend. Every year the calibre of contestants continues to impress,” says Terry Copeland, Chief Executive of New Zealand Young Farmers – organisers of the event.

The eight finalists are contending for a spot at the Grand Final in Taupo 2 – 4 July and their share of an impressive prize pack worth over $271,000 in products, services and scholarships from ANZ, FMG, Lincoln University, Silver Fern Farms, AGMARDT, Ravensdown, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone. . .

 Tractor industry reports buoyant sales:

Waikato led the way in purchases of tractors in New Zealand during 2014, in a year when tractor sales approached record highs.

A total of 4061 tractors were purchased between January and December, including 3,419 of at least 40 horsepower (HP), the most common measure for farm tractors. The figure is significantly more than the 3065 40HP tractors bought in 2013.

Ian Massicks, president of the Tractor and Machinery Association (TAMA) which gathers the sales data, said a combination of the record dairy payouts last year and good growing conditions were key to farmers investing in new equipment. . .

 

And Spring Rolls into Summer:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 109 fewer farm sales (-19.3%) for the three months ended January 2015 than for the three months ended January 2014. Overall, there were 455 farm sales in the three months to end of January 2015, compared to 486 farm sales for the three months ended December 2014 (-6.4%) and 564 farm sales for the three months to the end of January 2014. 1,811 farms were sold in the year to January 2015, 1.0% more than were sold in the year to January 2014.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to January 2015 was $27,997 compared to $22,664 recorded for three months ended January 2014 (+23.6%). The median price per hectare fell 2.7% compared to December. . .


Rural round-up

December 4, 2014

Another industry signs up for biosecurity partnership:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed Pipfruit New Zealand onboard as the third industry to join the Government’s biosecurity partnership.

The Deed of the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) for Biosecurity Readiness and Response was signed by Pipfruit New Zealand today.

“This means that apple and pear growers and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) can work closely together and make joint decisions on readiness and response to manage mutual high priority biosecurity pests,” says Mr Guy. . .

More support for Otago farmers to improve water quality:

Dairy farmers in Otago are receiving more support to meet upcoming water quality rules through a series of DairyNZ ‘EnviroReady’ field days being held with the support of Federated Farmers and Beef + Lamb.

More than 200 farmers and rural professionals attended four recent field days in both north and south Otago, with the last one being held this week at Elderslie, near Oamaru.

DairyNZ’s sustainability team manager Theresa Wilson says the farmers were given an understanding of new regional environmental rules and regulations presented by Federated Farmers’ policy staff. . .

ANZ to pay $19 million in interest rate swaps case:

The Commerce Commission has reached a $19 million settlement with ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited (ANZ) in relation to the marketing, promotion and sale of interest rate swaps to rural customers between 2005 and 2009.

The settlement will see ANZ establish a payment fund of $18.5 million, to be used to make payments to eligible customers (those who registered their complaints with the Commission). The Commission will also receive $500,000 towards its investigation costs, and some monies from the payment fund are able to be distributed to charitable organisations for the assistance of the rural community. . .

Federated Farmers call Commerce Commission ANZ settlement ‘fair and equitable’:

Federated Farmers have described the Commerce Commission settlement with the ANZ Bank over interest rate swaps as ‘a fair and equitable outcome’ for rural customers.

Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston says the agreement that the ANZ will pay compensatory payments to customers, who believe they were misled by their interest rate swap contacts, is the best outcome which could be expected.

“While some farmers found interest rate swaps a useful instrument, others felt they were not adequately informed of the risks should the market run against them. The Global Financial Crisis created those unexpected and unfavourable conditions. Federated Farmers wrote to the Commerce Commission asking it to investigate and the outcome today vindicates our stance,” Dr Rolleston says. . .

Rural areas need law reform – Hugh Stringleman:

Regional economies are declining when a means of revitalisation is within reach according to a new study of the potential for mining.

The New Zealand Initiative think tank has published the Poverty of Wealth, subtitled why minerals need to be part of the rural economy.

It sought to answer the conundrum of why resource-rich regions were not tapping into the wealth beneath their feet. . .

Weevil-killing wasp in demand:

Farmers in Southland have been queuing up for supplies of a small parasitic wasp used to fight a serious pest.

Scientists have warned that farms in region could be hit hard by the clover root weevil again this summer – one of the worst pasture pests that attacks and destroys clover.

AgResearch scientist Colin Ferguson said more than 200 farmers had attended workshops in Southland to find out more about the pest and where and how to release the wasps. . .

 20K signs without delay  call:

Rural Women New Zealand says this week’s accident in Canterbury, when a teen was hit crossing the road after getting off a school bus, may have been avoided if the bus had been fitted with flashing 20K signs.

Rural Women New Zealand took part in a trial of new LED signs in Ashburton last year, which included a public education and police enforcement campaign. The trial proved very successful in slowing drivers and Rural Women New Zealand hopes that the signs will be approved for general use on school buses in 2015. . .

Blue Sky Meats acquires Clover Export, adding beef, venison processing – Jonathan Underhill:

 (BusinessDesk) – Blue Sky Meats, whose shares trade on the Unlisted platform, has agreed to acquire Gore-based Clover Export, adding processing capacity in beef and venison to the range of services it can offer to sheep and bobby calf customers, while attracting new suppliers.

No price was disclosed for the transaction. Chairman Graham Cooney said Clover is about 10-15 percent of the size of Blue Sky in terms of turnover. Blue Sky’s revenue was $95.3 million in its 2014 year. More details may be given in the company’s annual report after its March 31, 2015, balance date.

Clover’s owners include European shareholders and, as part of the deal, Blue Sky has agreed to continue with Clover’s horse meat processing on a toll basis for sale into the European market. Horse meat will be a small ongoing business, amounting to about “a day a month,” Cooney said. . .

Another Success for NZ Farming:

CarboPhos®, a phosphate based fertiliser developed after conducting pot, plot and field trials and construction of a pilot plant in Nelson NZ, has been granted a patent in both New Zealand and Australia.Independently monitored trials have shown it can be applied at half the rate of the NZ mainstream phosphate product, saving time and costs for farmers. Sales continue to grow in New Zealand as farmers begin to understand the need for slower release, soil and biology friendly nutrients, compared with the mainstream fertiliser.

Chris Copplestone, Managing Director of The Growing Group commented “We are extremely proud of being able to offer a solution to farmers who understand the need for traditional nutrients, delivered in a granular form free of the traditional sulphuric acid base”. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

August 16, 2014

 Not celebrating yet – Andrea Fox:

Bay of Plenty farmer David Jensen’s commitment of nearly a third of his milk production this season to Fonterra’s June guaranteed milk price (GMP) of $7 a kilogram of milksolids (MS) looks set to boost his coffers by at least $80,000 but he’s not crowing.

He knows that would be foolhardy, given the roller-coaster ride of the milk price this year and the long stretch of the season ahead.

This is Jensen’s second round on Fonterra’s new fixed milk price programme. In last year’s pilot scheme his business posted a $45,000 opportunity cost after he committed milk at $7/kg MS in what is set to be a record $8-plus payout season. . .

Pipfruit sector’s future ‘very bright’ – Pam Jones:

Good returns are expected in the pipfruit industry this year following a record season last year, Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive officer Alan Pollard says.

Mr Pollard was one of the keynote speakers at the two-day Pipfruit New Zealand conference in Queenstown last week, and visited three Central Otago orchards and one winery with delegates during a field day after the conference.

The conference built on the Pipfruit New Zealand strategic plan, which was released at last year’s conference and outlined how to achieve a goal of developing the pipfruit industry into a $1 billion export industry by 2022, Mr Pollard said. . .

Innovative sheep farmers winners

Southland and Otago did well in the third annual Beef and Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards in Napier last week.

AbacusBio managing director Neville Jopson, of Dunedin, received the Focus Genetics sheep industry science award in recognition of his work in the industry, while Mount Linton Station, in Southland, won the Alliance Group terminal sire award for lamb growth and meat yield and the SIL-ACE award for terminal sire for lamb growth.

Andy Ramsden, of Wanaka, was awarded the Allflex sheep industry innovation award for his input to increasing the productivity of New Zealand sheep during the past 20 years, and Riverton’s Blackdale Coopworth stud won the Telford dual purpose award for reproduction, lamb growth plus adult size and wool production. . .

Agricultural drones taking off on farms:

Robots are not only taking their place in milking sheds or on vineyards and orchards – aerial drones are increasingly being used to extend the reach and view of human farmers.

Unmanned aerial vehicles or aerial robots – known in the military world as drones – are increasingly being used for a range of activities on farms, including checking fences and water systems, and monitoring and even moving stock.

Linda Bulk of the Aeronavics company, said farmers were surprised at how easy they were to use.

“It’s so practical,” she said. “There’s that eye in the sky, what you see from above is so much more informative than when you’re on eye level to start with and it gets into those hard to reach areas that are often a hazard for quad bikes. . . .

Improved Returns See Rise in Cattle Numbers:

Dry conditions in the northern North Island and continued land use change in the South Island saw New Zealand’s sheep numbers decrease 3.2 per cent over the 2013-14 season, while beef cattle numbers increased 1.6 per cent.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) Economic Service carries out a stock number survey annually. Its latest survey shows sheep numbers dropped to 29.8 million in the year to 30 June 2014.

B+LNZ Economic Service Chief Economist Andrew Burtt says strong mutton prices, driven by rising demand from North Asia, encouraged a high level of cull ewe processing for the second year in a row.

Breeding ewe numbers, at 19.96 million, were slightly down (-1.4%) on the previous June. The largest contributor to the overall decline was the South Island, reflecting the continued land use trend towards dairy and dairy support activities.

 

Meadow Mushrooms Opens Second Stage Of $120 Million Redevelopment:

The second stage of a $120 million redevelopment and expansion project at one of New Zealand’s largest agricultural enterprises will be opened this week.

The $12 million investment into the extension of Meadow Mushrooms’ Christchurch farm will add a further 60 jobs and increase production by 37,000 kilograms of fresh white mushrooms a week.

This project follows the $45 million expansion undertaken by the company on site in 2011 and is the second of three stages to completely reconfigure the company’s infrastructure in New Zealand. A new office administration and headquarters construction project will commence before the end of the year and will be followed by an expansion of the compost facilities and growing shed conversions.

“This development demonstrates Meadow Mushrooms’ confidence in the future market and our commitment to the industry,” said John Barnes, CEO of Meadow Mushrooms. . . .

 

 

 


Rural round-up

June 18, 2014

N. Otago couple sell Angus bull for $55,000:

A joint record of $55,000 in this season’s bull sales has been achieved by North Otago Angus breeders Neil and Rose Sanderson.

Fossil Creek Hero H006 was purchased by Tangihau Station, near Gisborne, at the Sandersons’ recent on-farm sale at Ngapara.

Earlier this month, a Hereford bull from David and Rosemary Morrow’s Okawa stud, near Mt Somers, also sold for $55,000 to the Kokonga stud at Tuakau. . .

The world now produces more farmed fish than beef – Not PC:

You know, years ago when this blog first started, we had a discussion about property rights in fish, large and small, and talked about property rights as a way both to save the oceans, and to de-politicise them.

The solution to the imminent and watery Tragedy of the Commons represented by whale-harvesting and out of control fishing is similar to the problem solved by nineteenth century cattlemen by the imperfect means of branding, and eventually by the invention of barbed wire. It is one of recognising and legally protecting the property right in these animals.
    And no, it’s not easy to protect property rights in big fish, but then there was a time when it wasn’t easy to protect property rights in cattle either, particularly on America’s great plains.  But that was before barbed wire.
    Branding and barbed wire were inventions that allowed the cattlemen to identify “their cattle” and to ask the law for its protection for them. The solution for those who wish to protect “their whales” is essentially the same  — a technological advance that allows them to identify to themselves and others which whales are theirs, and which therefore have the full protection of law. . .

Awards recognise pride in property:

Taranaki sheep and beef farmers Robin and Jacqueline Blackwell have always taken pride in their property. That pride was publically recognised at this year’s Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The couple took home four awards: the Beef + Lamb New Zealand livestock award, Hill Laboratories harvest award, Donaghys stewardship award and the Taranaki Regional Council sustainability award.

Blackwells farm Mangaotea, a 658ha mainly flat to rolling sheep and beef property at Tariki, north east of Stratford. It sits at 200-300m above sea level and averages 1800mm of rain annually. Mangaotea is about 20 minutes drive from the base of Mt Taranaki and includes some steeper ridges. It winters 11,300 stock units, with a cattle to sheep ratio of 90:10. The main focus is producing bulls for an annual September sale on the property and grazing young dairy stock for long-term clients. . .

Success for Plant & Food Research’s Seafood Team:

Plant & Food Research’s Alistair Jerrett and the team involved in the Precision Seafood Harvesting (PSH) programme had several reasons to celebrate at last night’s second annual KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards. Mr Jerrett’s 30-year career as an innovator and entrepreneur within the New Zealand seafood industry saw him collect the coveted Researcher Entrepreneur Award, before he and his team also collected the People’s Choice Award and runner up in the BNZ Supreme Award category.

The awards, held at Auckland’s Viaduct Event Centre last night was attended by around 250 people from throughout the research, business and investment sectors, including politicians Hon. Steven Joyce, Nikki Kaye and Grant Robertson, and New Zealander of the year Sir Ray Avery. The annual awards aim to bring together the people and technologies changing the research commercialisation landscape in New Zealand.  . .

Long shelf life for new type of pear:

Crown Research Institute, Plant and Food Research has bred a new variety of pear which will be grown in Australia.

The fruit has been released by Prevar, a joint venture between Pipfruit New Zealand, Apple and Pear Australia and Plant and Food.

A Prevar spokesperson said the new cultivar combined characteristics from European, Japanese and Chinese pears, which gave it a crisp, juicy texture. . . .

US visit focuses on duty-free access to TPP markets:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO, Dr Scott Champion pressed home the need for comprehensive tariff elimination in the Trans Pacific partnership during a visit to the United States last week.

Dr Champion met with the leadership of several major US trade and farming associations, including Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s US counterparts, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the American Sheep Industry Association, as well as state and federal government agencies, members of the US Congress, and US and New Zealand businesses. . .

Comvita lifts cash component of $12.3 mln NZ Honey purchase:

(BusinessDesk) – Comvita, which makes health-care products and supplements based on honey, has lifted the cash component of its takeover offer for New Zealand Honey, the Timaru-based honey produce owned by the New Zealand Honey Producers Cooperative that operates the Hollands Honey, 3 Bees and Sweet Meadow brands.

The purchase price will now comprise $10.3 million in cash and $2 million Comvita shares issued at $3.50 apiece, Comvita said in a statement. The deal had originally been for $7.3 million of cash and $5 million of shares. The NZX-listed company last traded at $3.80. . . .


Rural round-up

February 7, 2014

Beef producers need comprehensive TPP deal:

Beef producers from the four largest beef producing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) member countries continue to advocate that any TPP agreement must deliver on the 2011 TPP Ministers’ position of eliminating tariffs and other barriers to trade.

Beef producers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States, working in a coordinated partnership known as the Five Nations Beef Alliance (FNBA), issued a statement today expressing concern at the possibility that some TPP members may seek to exclude some so-called “sensitive” products from comprehensive, duty free access.

Granting a TPP member any such exclusion would result in other members seeking similar treatment, leading to a decline in the agreement’s level of ambition and the resulting economic growth that it would bring. . .

NZ apple growers likely to beat $1 billion export target early on rising prices, higher productivity – TIna Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand apple growers will probably reach $1 billion in exports ahead of their 10-year 2022 target as the industry benefits from higher productivity and rising prices.

The apple industry, New Zealand’s second-largest fresh fruit export after kiwifruit, has raised export prices to offset the negative impact of a higher New Zealand dollar on returns, said Gary Jones, business development manager at grower organisation Pipfruit New Zealand. Better access to seasonal staff through a 2008 government scheme has helped orchard owners raise production.

New Zealand’s apple industry, which accounts for a quarter of the southern hemisphere’s fresh apple exports, is heading into its main three-month harvesting period. Pipfruit NZ plans to drop its compulsory grower levy for research and development to 1 cent a kilogram this year from 1.25 cents last year as it benefits from the extra revenue gleaned from a larger crop. . .

Strong Export Seed Season:

New Zealand seed growers enjoyed another strong export season in 2013.

Radish, carrots, ryegrass and white and red clover are just some of the high value export seed crops grown in this country every year, many of them in Canterbury, and exported to over 60 world New data sourced from Statistics New Zealand show the total value of seed exports was $192 million up $24 million or 14 per cent for the year ended December 2013, compared with the previous year.

Herbage seed (ryegrass, clover and other grasses) accounts for 53 per cent of total seed exports by value. Vegetable seed has 47 per cent share.

Australia is the biggest market for pasture seed, accounting for 16 per cent of total shipments.

Northern hemisphere markets remain hugely important for New Zealand vegetable seeds and Asian sales are steady with good growth opportunities. The Netherlands is the number 1 export market by value for carrots, radish and other vegetable seeds.

Thomas Chin, general manager of the New Zealand Grain and Seed Trade Association, says growers, processors and exporters have every reason to be pleased with the latest export data. . .

There are two types of eaters at the table: The quick, and the hungry! – Art4Agriculture:

It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to our guest blogger Andrew Dallimore

In the words of Marian MacDonald ( read Marian’s blog post on Andrew here) who suggested  Andrew to me as a candidate for the Young Farming Champions program

There are plenty of dreamers out there. I can’t tell you how many of our city friends say how lucky we are to be living on the land but never take the plunge. Andrew Dallimore is not one of them.

This young man is a dreamer, thinker and doer rolled into one. In the name of encouraging students to be ambitious, achieve their goals, and overcome challenges, he set up a charity and cycled from Adelaide to Melbourne (see more at http://thegentlewaydotorg.wordpress.com/about-2/). Now, in the name of his future family and community, Andrew’s applying those very same principles to his own life. . .

My first five decades in a nutshell (but I didn’t marry a farmer after all) – Madbush Farm:

January 1964

My mother gave birth to her fifth child. It was the time of the Vietnam War. People were dying and the protests against the war were already raging. Mum and Dad got a black and white Murphy Television.

1967
I was three years old and I saw my first horse. I wanted to have my own horse. Next door was an old horse named Joey. I was found sitting underneath him with a rope in my hand.

1969

I started school. My first day was crap. I got the drawing in the book wrong. The teacher hit me on the hand with a ruler. I  now wanted my own farm and a horse.  I didn’t like school. We watched Neil Armstrong take his first steps on the moon. I was disappointed. There was no man in the moon after all.

1973

I still wanted my own farm and a horse. I was told I had to marry a farmer if I wanted a farm. I knew the answer to the question What is the capital of Vietnam? in my class general knowledge quizz. It was Saigon. The Vietnam War was all over our television screen. People were dying. I didn’t understand why. I started to watch Country Calender because I wanted to be a farmer. . .

 


Rural round-up

July 11, 2012

Milk protein product to fight bad breath in China – Andrea Fox:

Hamilton biotechnology company Quantec has signed a deal that could open up a $2 million-a-year oral and throat-care market in China for its patented milk protein ingredient. 

    Quantec managing director Rod Claycomb  said Auckland-based NZ New Paradise had bought exclusive rights to the milk protein ingredient, patented as IDP, for use in oral-care and throat-care confectionery products made in New Zealand and exported to China. 

    NZ New Paradise’s first IDP-based product would be a mint to fight bad breath, launched under its Purel brand, he said. . .

Pipfruit industry has high hopes for moth-killing wasp – Peter Watson:

Pipfruit NZ is celebrating getting the go-ahead to release a small parasitoid wasp that it is confident will be effective in controlling codling moth, one of the most serious apple pests and a major threat to export markets. 

    The Environmental Protection Authority late last month approved Pipfruit NZ’s application to use the wasp, mastrus ridens, as a biological control for codling moth. 

    Pipfruit NZ chairman Ian Palmer said it was an exciting development. “Anything where we can have a natural and environmentally sound way of managing our pests has got to be good.” . . .

On a dairyfarm milk income minuse costs =$whatever is unacceptable – Pasture to Profit:

Too few dairy farmers budget and when the milk price is volatile (as it is now) it’s really important. If you don’t you might lose more than just your shirt. You can not & must not be financially dependent on the milk price.

Too many simply accept Milk Income Minus Costs = $ Whatever. Why? Why would you accept $Whatever? Dairy farmers need to concentrate on those factors that you do have control over within your farm gate. I would hope that in control pasture based dairy farmers aren’t too concerned about the milk price. After all you as an individual have little or no influence or control over milk price. What you do control is on farm spending & the efficiency of resource management & decisions related to spending. . .

Farming programme ‘brilliant’ – Sally Rae:

Owaka herd manager Shane Bichan is a firm believer in the    need to keep challenging yourself.    

Mr Bichan (28) started training with Agriculture ITO after returning to dairy farming.   

His eyes have since been opened to the opportunities in the agriculture industry after attending AgITO’s South Island Farming to Succeed programme sponsored by FIL New Zealand. . .

Yield grading system being used for venison – Sally Rae:

Meat-processing company Alliance Group is extending its    yield-grading system to include venison.   

The company has been involved with a deer progeny test, an      initiative for the deer industry, which was launched last      year and is based at Invermay in Mosgiel, and Whiterock  Station in the Rangitata Gorge. . .

Venison avoids buffeting – Tim Cronwshaw:

Deer farmers, who are savouring stable venison prices as other farming commodities drop, are looking for the economies of northern Europe to remain strong at the height of the export season. 

    Now is the time of year exporters are finalising their chilled contracts for the European game season, ranging from this month to Christmas depending on when venison is traditionally consumed in each country . 

    Last year, venison made high prices but Deer Industry New Zealand (Dinz) is unsure if the same level will be reached for the 2012-13 season. . .

More profit less gas:

The recent Government announcement of a deferment for agriculture entering the ETS will not only ease farming pocketbooks, but will also provide more time for research into ways to reduce just how much methane and nitrous oxide our ruminant export earners produce individually.

And while some publicly funded research has been looking at methods to change how the rumen works in the animal, some private research has focused on the pasture that goes in, and not just the gases coming out.

Indigo Ltd, who has produced Agrizest for orchardists since 2005, has turned its focus to pasture, and recently launched Biozest, a patented New Zealand spray for pasture which is already certified as an organic agricultural compound. . .


Rural round-up

March 3, 2012

Mount Linton improves ewes’ genetics – Shawn McAvinue:

Dag-laden sheep should be nervous when sheep genetics manager Hamish Bielski enters their paddock on Mt Linton station.

“I want marbles and handgrenades, instead of slops and plops,” he said.

He looks at the lambs’ faecal consistency twice a year, once in autumn and when they are one year old. . .

Kaiwhakahaere used a “Garry Owen” – Gravedodger:

This week I attended the biennial get together  of the High-Country section of Federated Farmers, this year hosted by the Marlborough area centered on the Middle Clarence Valley.
The commencement was at the Kahautara River on Highway 70 and kicked off by current chair, Graeme ‘Stumpy’ Reid. . .

Investment firms eyes southern dairy farms – Shawn McAvinue and Alan Wood:

 A new investment company is looking to buy “attractive” dairy farms in the south.

The dairy farms would be part of an investment fund that opened to investors yesterday.

Investors can buy into the Pastoral Dairy Investments fund with a minimum commitment of $20,000, plus fees. . .

Pig power proves promising:

There’s a new, unlikely energy source that can power farms while reducing greenhouse gas emissions – pig poo.   

A team of scientists at NIWA in Hamilton has developed a system that stores greenhouse gases from pig manure in a deep pond, from where it can be used as an energy source.   

NIWA research engineer Stephan Heubeck said the system reduces greenhouse gases in the atmosphere while providing an alternative source of energy . . .   

Protocol frustrates export of apples – Che Baker:

Apple exports from Central Otago to Australia will not go ahead this year after “excessive” biosecurity protocols have made exporting to the country uneconomic.

Pipfruit New Zealand director and Ettrick apple grower Stephen Darling said despite a 90-year ban on apple exports from Australia being lifted in 2010, the fruit would not be exported from the region this year.

Trial supports DCD’s environmental value – Gerald Piddock:

New research has confirmed the effectiveness of the nitrification inhibitor dicyandiamide (DCD) as a tool to reduce environmental impacts of pastoral farming.

The three-year nitrous oxide mitigation research (NOMR) trials commenced in autumn 2009.

They were conducted in the Waikato, Manawatu, Canterbury and South Otago dairy regions. . .

Boysenberry growers call it quits after continuing losses – Peter Watson:

The country’s two biggest boysenberry growers have quit the Nelson-based industry after another season blighted by bad weather and a high New Zealand dollar.

Their withdrawal means not only the loss of export income, but the end to hundreds of seasonal jobs which local people, particularly students, relied on to supplement their income.

Both Ranzau Horticulture and Berry Fields have started pulling out about 80 hectares of vines, although an existing grower is to take over 23ha of the Berry Fields’ fruit on McShane Rd and another is interested in running its pick-your-own operation.

Ngai Tahu wants to farm more fish species – Penny Wardle:

Ngai Tahu Seafoods Resources plans to add new species to its 14 hectare Marlborough Sounds mussel farm.

The Christchurch-based iwi-owned firm has applied to the Marlborough District Council for resource consents covering its plans to farm king salmon and hapuku, trial 13 New Zealand fish species and to grow algae and seaweeds at its Beatrix Bay marine farm in Pelorus Sound.

The company intends to grow fish, shellfish and seaweed together to improve production while reducing environmental impacts. Scallops and dredge and pacific oysters as well as mussels are covered in its existing consent. . .

Oysters on lunch menu – Shawn McAvinue:

Skippers say they look great and the first few hundred dozen oysters in from Bluff will be flown up to the Dockside restaurant in Wellington for lunch. And, so the oyster season has begun in what has been tipped to be a bumper year.

The first oyster boat got in to Bluff at 5.05am before heading back out . . .

Dairy Farms could save energy: study:

New Zealand dairy farms could achieve cost-effective annual      energy savings of at least 68.4 million kilowatt hours (kWh) in the dairy shed, the results of a pilot programme show.   

That was a 10% reduction and equivalent to the annual electricity use of about 7100 households. Individual farms could cut milking-shed electricity consumption by 16%, and a      post-pilot survey showed 46% of farmers would adopt savings technologies if their costs could be recouped within three years.  

Rabbits still a problem – Gerald Piddock:

Rabbit numbers in the eastern Mackenzie Basin have increased post-Christmas, the Canterbury Regional Council says.

The concerning area is 12,000ha and encompasses seven adjoining high country properties, Environment Canterbury (ECan) biodiversity team leader Brent Glentworth said.

The increase could have resulted from the high levels of vegetation this season caused by the wet spring and summer. . .


Rural round-up

September 5, 2011

Pipfruit NZ CEO says industry needs to accept govt’s position on currency ‘is what it is’ and focus is on areas it can change – Alex Tarrant:

Exporters need to focus their attentions on areas they can change, and accept the government will not shift in its position on exchange rate management, the head of an industry group says.

Pipfruit New Zealand CEO Peter Beaven, who represents apple and pear growers nation-wide exporting half a million billion dollars worth of product a year, also said he would like to see the industry use more of an overarching national branding strategy to help sell New Zealand pipfruit, similar to the approach taken by the wine industry . . .

Universities to collaborate on precision research:

Massey and Lincoln Universities have agreed to work together on precision agriculture research and education.

Precision agriculture is based around creating practical land management solutions, through the use of tools such as sensors which capture the rate of pasture growth and measure soil moisture . . .

 Award-Winning Hawke’s Bay Dairy Farmers Stand Up For Their Industry:

Patoka dairy farmers Nick and Nicky Dawson saw entering the 2011 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards as a good way to gain knowledge and “break down a few barriers”.

The Dawsons, who farm 480 cows in an equity partnership on 186ha of rolling contour northwest of Napier, were encouraged to enter the inaugural East Coast awards by a representative from the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.

They were proud to win the LIC Dairy Farm Award.

Suisteds Enjoy Spin-Offs From Dairy Awards Success:

Success at the 2011 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards has broadened Jason and Lisa Suisted’s perspective of the country’s dairy industry and propelled their sharemilking business forward.

The Waikato couple won the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year title at the national awards dinner in May and has since embraced the opportunities they have received to be exposed to other facets of the industry, and the people involved.

Lisa Suisted says winning the title on their third time entering was a dream. “Once you get involved in the dairy awards and start the process, it’s addictive. You can see your systems becoming more refined, your business improving and the financials flowing from that.” . . .

New dairy scholarship encourages student travel and adventure:

DairyNZ today announced the launch of its new Gap Year Scholarship programme in partnership with Communicating for Agriculture Education Programme (CAEP) New Zealand. The scholarships will provide support for school leavers looking for experience overseas prior to beginning their tertiary studies. They consist of funding ($5750 including GST) as well as expert assistance with overseas placement and travel arrangements.

Up to three Gap Year Scholarships will be available to New Zealand school leavers from 2012 and applications for the first round close on November 15 this year . . .

Christchurch woman receives deserved Land Girl medal after 70 years – Nicky Wagner:

It’s always humbling to present awards and medals to thoroughly deserving recipients. And Molly Anderson is no exception.

After seventy years, Molly has been honoured for her services to the New Zealand Women’s Land Service as a land girl on a dairy farm at Halswell. Molly’s duties on the Van Asch town supply farm, were milking, feeding out and looking after some of the calves. She also worked on the Browns’ farm in the area . . .

Could a small New Zealand company solve the world’s carbon crisis?

According to an article in Australia’s foremost business newspaper, The Australian Financial Review, the world will need to produce twice as much food by 2050 as it does now, using the same amount of land and water (or probably less). It’s a disturbing proposition, but a large part of the solution could be found in a small, unassuming factory west of Auckland.

To meet growing demand for food, most of today’s farming and agricultural practices lean towards clearing and irrigating more land and increasing use of fertilizers. These methods are unsustainable, and if they continue the world will experience major food shortage in the coming years. All is not gloom and doom, however. The Australian Financial Review article suggests that the single key to meeting our increased demand for food lies in better soil management. Well-managed soils produce better harvests even during poor seasons, and can recover more quickly from drought or flood. . .

The last extract is a media release from EcoCover about which you can read more here.


Rural round-up

August 7, 2011

Landcare genetic scientist names recipient of entrepreneurship award – Esther G0h:

A genetic scientist has won the inaugural Women in Science Entrepreneurship Award, receiving $50,000 of venture development advice and access to an international advisory board with experience in science commercialisation.

Dr Dianne Gleeson, a director of DNA diagnostic facility EcoGene, says the award will encourage more women at top levels of the industry, where they are underrepresented.

“There is growing commercial demand for scientific services and women can make a valuable contribution to the development of the industry in New Zealand and overseas,” she said . . .

Managing irrigation compliance – Sally Rae:

For the North Otago Irrigation Company, environmental management is a “fundamental part” of its business.

“We need to embrace our environmental requirements and push towards full compliance. There’s no other option,” the company’s environmental co-ordinator, Jodi Leckie, said . . .

Quick call sees woman go country for long haul – Sally Rae:

When Nicole Amery returns to the bright lights of Auckland, she feels like a “possum in the headlights”.

The city no longer has any appeal for the young woman, who was brought up in a non-rural family on Waiheke Island.

A split-second decision to head south to Telford to undertake an equine course, rather than study design, turned out to be life-changing . . .

Better lamb crop this year – Gerald Piddock:

Signs are looking good for a bumper lamb crop in Central Canterbury as the first of the new season’s arrivals hit the ground on coastal farms and lifestyle blocks.

South Canterbury scanner Brian Bell has been scanning ewes every day for the past month. He is just over halfway through his assignments and, with about another six weeks to go.

Results were 5-10 per cent up on last year and farmers were reasonably happy, he said . . .

Arable farming shows positive signs – MAF:

Cropping farmers expect strong global commodity prices and increasing demand for dairy support to underpin a significant increase in returns over the coming year.

Many arable farmers had a profitable season last year, but there is increasing interest in converting some of their land to dairy which is still performing more strongly. . .

Meat supplies ready for World Cup – Hugh Stringleman:

Concerns that hungry Rugby World Cup visitors and rabid All Blacks fans will run short of good New Zealand red meat have eased, according to local market operators.

An extraordinary autumn and winter of grass growth have brought forward finished cattle, lambs and deer, while the high NZ dollar has helped the local market compete with export returns.

Because of the pick-up in the flow of prime cattle, the local market price has “come off the peak” and now sits at $4.25/kg, said Fred Hellaby, principal of the largest Auckland meat processor, Wilson Hellabys.

It is unusual for that indicator to go down heading into the seasonal period of shortest prime beef supply, not including the added Rugby World Cup demand . . .

Merinos go multi-purpose – Hugh Stringleman:

Substantial increases in prices are being offered to farmers by New Zealand Merino in two and three-year contracts for fine wool, soon to be followed by Merino meat contracts at attractive prices. The higher contract terms flowed on from the extraordinary increases in market prices for wool and lamb during the past 12 months, said NZ Merino chief executive John Brakenridge.

For him, after 15 years of unrelenting effort to create premium markets for Merino products, the latest surge repositions the sheep as a multi-purpose animal.

It was also a wonderful springboard for the $36 million Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) with the government, which was the first of its kind, signed in May 2010 . . .

Climate debate pits farmers against science – Jon Morgan:

Despite the best efforts of the Government and its officials, the opposition among farmers to the emissions trading scheme refuses to fade away.

Many would like to see the debate ended with the acceptance that the legislation – and the belief behind it that climate change is man-made – is indisputable.

But in the farming media the debate rages on. There, it is one- sided, with only the rare brave person willing to stand against an overwhelming opposition.

And, on the surface, the farmers have a point. Their animals’ burps and farts are to be taxed. Put like that, it is laughable . . .

Caring pasture based dairy farmers encourage biodiversity – Pasture to Profit:

Biodiversity on pasture based dairy farms is seriously important. If dairyfarmers are seen by the public to be caring for the environment & making a special effort to protect the biodiversity, this too is a major PR with our consumers. There are very strong arguments for farmers to protect biodiversity as well as enjoying it for its own sake. The farms are both our homes & our work places.

Ben & Jerry the ice cream makers have established the “Caring Dairy” Program with Sustainable Indicators. Most pasture based dairyfarmers would embrace this program & agree fully with the targets . . .  

Fruit and wine growers under pressure – MAF:

Many orchardists and winegrowers are feeling the pressure of lack of profitability or threat of disease.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has released the kiwifruit, pipfruit and winegrowing analyses as part of its annual Farm Monitoring Report series. The reports provide models and an overview of the financial performance of typical orchards and vineyards, based on information gathered from a sample of growers and industry stakeholders. . .

Tough times for pip fruit growers – Jon Morgan:

The pipfruit industry is in serious financial strife, according to a senior industry figure.

John McCliskie, a Nelson grower and exporter and former chairman of the Apple and Pear Board and past chairman of the World Apple and Pear Association, told the Pipfruit NZ conference that bankers and international customers were starting to question the industry’s viability.

He told the growers, who were meeting in Havelock North yesterday, that they must change the industry’s strategy and alter the way they marketed their fruit . . .

Let’s give farming another kick – RivettingKate taylor:

So now’s it’s dangerous for me to bring my kids up on a farm? FOR GOODNESS SAKE (picture half a dozen strong words combined with a slow shake of the head and a grim mouth to match).

This story was on the radio this morning and it has now caught my attention on stuff.co.nz. According to the story, children raised on livestock farms have a greater risk of developing blood cancers later in life . . .

Reacting to the same story: Breaking news: farmers’ children don’t live forever – Andrei:

 Children of livestock farmers ‘face cancer risk’
 
Is there anything of usable value in this, probably not . . . 

The true nature of nature – Bruce Wills:

Some 80 years ago, pioneers started experimenting with artificial insemination to improve our livestock.  A big challenge they faced was how to get this time sensitive ‘product’ out to farms before couriers were commonplace.  Someone suggested carrier pigeons, but there were some obvious flaws.  Not every pigeon makes it to the right place on time and to our native hawk or Kahu, a pigeon is ‘meals on wings’. 

While times have moved on, the end result of this breeding refinement is now appearing on the nation’s farms. It’s the first sign of spring and some 150 days after the rams were let out in April, I’m now counting down the final four weeks.  Since calving comes around 283 days after last December’s mating, September is shaping up to be a busy month at my Hawke’s Bay farm, Trelinnoe. . .  

LIC set to pay record dividend – Owen Hembry:

NZAX-listed animal and farm improvement company LIC will pay a record dividend in a result chairman Stuart Bay says reflects the vibrancy of the farming industry.

Revenue at the dairy farmer co-operative for the year to May was up 21.4 per cent on the previous year at $165.6 million, with record underlying net earnings of $17.1 million, up 87.9 per cent.

The result would give farmer shareholders a record net dividend of $13.6 million, the company said . .

Ballance shareholders receive bumper rebate – Owen Hembry:

Fertiliser company Ballance Agri-Nutrients will pay a record rebate to it shareholders.

Operating profit for the year ended May 31 was $85.9 million, compared to $20.7 million the previous year. A record total average payment to shareholders of $50.29 a tonne included a rebate of $46 a tonne on fertiliser purchased and an imputed dividend of 10 cents a share, resulting in a total distribution of $49 million, the company said. . .

Federated farmers Waikato provincial president James Houghton takes issue with that in playing fast and loose with co-operation:

The news that fertiliser cooperative Ballance Agri-Nutrients is planning to pay a record rebate back to its shareholder farmers such as myself, was met with a few expletives around my area last week.

In the corporate world an $85.9 million operating profit, especially when up from $20.7 million the previous year would be great news.

In a co-operative though, it looks plain greedy. . .


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