Rural round-up

December 8, 2017

Dairy not all about milking it:

A Lincoln University pilot study is backing the importance of environmental and social responsibility, as well as the bottom line, to dairy farmers.

Seeing themselves as “guardians of their land” and adopting environmentally friendly ways of farming is a key component of the farmers’ personal convictions.

The study, What really drives dairy production systems: economic rationale or social and environmental responsibility? surveyed owners, share milkers and managers, to format a questionnaire for much larger sample of interviews with farmers, due to take place in January. . .

Day a chance to experience life on a farm – Sally Rae:

When Duncan Wells left secondary school, he was encouraged not to go farming.

It was during the farming downturn in the 1980s and his farming father suggested he get some other skills.

So he became an electrician and worked for a few years before giving in to his passion for the dairy sector.

Now Mr Wells and his wife Anne-Marie are sharing that passion with others – opening the gates of their Outram dairy business, Huntly Road Dairies, to allow the public to experience a taste of farm life.

On Sunday, Fonterra has organised an ”open gates” initiative, with 40 selected farms around the country opening for the day. . . 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand supporting sustainable hill country scientific programme:

A scientific programme aimed at improving the sustainability of hill country for sheep and beef farming is to be launched with the support of Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ).

The project, which is backed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Partnership Scheme, will look at ways to invigorate hill country by developing sustainable production systems.

A strategy and action plan to increase the sustainability of hill country farming (economic, environmental, social and cultural) will be one of the key pr iorities for the initiative.  . . 

NZ Beef prices expected to hold firm in the face of expanding global production:

New Zealand beef prices moved marginally higher in quarter three and are expected to hold relatively firm in the coming months despite expanding global beef production generating intense competition in global markets, according to Rabobank’s latest Beef Quarterly report.

Rabobank animal proteins analyst Blake Holgate said stronger-than-anticipated demand for New Zealand beef in key export markets, combined with restricted domestic supplies and a weakening New Zealand dollar, resulted in a marginal increase in New Zealand slaughter prices in quarter three. . . 

Focus on New Zealand brands needed in face of trade uncertainty:

Uncertainty over Brexit means New Zealand needs to urgently focus on developing brands and differentiating our agricultural exports.

Senior lecturer in Agribusiness Management Dr Nic Lees, said New Zealand produces some of the best fruit, wine, meat, seafood and dairy products in the world but around 70 per cent reaches the consumer with no identification that is sourced from here.

“Sudden changes such as Brexit remind us that relying on undifferentiated commodity exports leaves us vulnerable to sudden changes in government policies,” Dr Lees said.

“When consumers demand a branded product, it is difficult for governments to shut it out of the market.” . .

Fonterra imposes grading system on milk fat with ‘excessive’ PKE, Fed Farmers confirms – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group has followed through on its work into the impact of palm kernel expeller on the composition of fat in the milk it collects with a grading system that will start in September 2018.

The new system follows consultation with farmers and is the latest step in Fonterra’s efforts to reinforce its Trusted Goodness logo, which is designed to appeal to consumers who want sustainable and ethical practices in food production and is underpinned by New Zealand’s “natural, grass-fed advantage”. But Fonterra’s research has shown that PKE also has implications for dairy product manufacturing and sales in global markets of products such as butter. . . 

New PKE grading system warrants contractual clause change for farmers:

Federated Farmers is reminding dairy farmers and sharemilkers to update existing business agreements as they face joint liability to meet upcoming changes for using palm kernel (PKE) as feed.

Dairy co-operative Fonterra is introducing a grading system next September to measure milk fat composition, which changes with excessive use of PKE impacting on manufacturing capability and seasonal customer preferences.

Fonterra farmers who don’t comply with new recommended levels for cows’ PKE intake will be penalised. . . 

Synlait opens new Wetmix kitchen:

Synlait Milk  has today officially opened its new Wetmix kitchen, which will enable it to simultaneously run both large-scale infant formula spray dryers.

This will double the amount of infant formula powder which can be produced at the Dunsandel site, from 40,000 metric tonnes (MT) to 80,000 MT per year.

“We were at the point where our current Wetmix facility was at capacity, and our consumer demand was continuing to grow. Building this new Wetmix kitchen will relieve that pressure,” says John Penno, Managing Director and CEO. . . 

New arrangement simplifies meat exports to Egypt:

A new arrangement signed recently will simplify New Zealand’s meat product exports to Egypt, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) said today.

Under the new arrangement, Egyptian authorities will no longer have to visit each individual meat premises that wishes to export to Egypt.

The arrangement was signed by MPI Director-General Martyn Dunne and Egyptian Deputy Minister for Agriculture Dr Mona Mehrez in Wellington. . . 


Rural round-up

February 1, 2014

Sock-less shoe idea gets $30k kickstarter – Daniel Lynch:

Tim Brown’s sock-less woollen running shoe idea is one step closer to being a commercial reality after the startup’s wildly successful crowdfunding campaign.

It took just over 24 hours for Brown’s fledgling company Three Over Seven to reach its $30,000 target on crowd funding site Kickstarter.

So far, more than 290 people from around the world have backed the Wool Runners idea each pledging a small financial contribution – and that figure could grow much higher by the end of the month-long funding push.

The former All White’s and Phoenix soccer player said the goal of hitting $30,000 from the Kickstarter campaign was the breakeven point to get the shoes into production.

“It has required an investment of well into the six figures to get to this point with our fabric production and the legal costs of patent filing,” Brown said.

The shoes are made from mid-micron New Zealand sheep’s wool, utilising a patent pending process comprising of knitting together wool fibres, melt-bond fibres, and multifilament yarn to form a unique knitted fabric. . .

Rare Wairarapa forest protected for all to enjoy:

Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith today announced the Nature Heritage Fund has purchased of seven hectares of rare kahikatea forest on the Wairarapa Plains for $340,000.

“The giant trees that can be seen for miles on the Wairarapa Plains are now guaranteed for everyone to enjoy,” Dr Smith says.

“This area of forest known as Allen’s Bush is next to the 42-hectare Lowes Bush Scenic Reserve, which was purchased by the Fund in 2000. The latest purchase will see the nearby kahikatea forest also protected as a scenic reserve.

“Allen’s Bush is distinctive for the size of its trees, its maturity and ecological diversity. The forest is also home to a number of species uncommon elsewhere in the Wellington region, including a number of native birds, long-tailed bats, and koura and freshwater crayfish in the creeks and pools. . .

High commodity prices boost Synlait’s profit – Alan Williams:

Synlait Milk will have a much higher profit this year than it expected just a few months ago, and some of the credit goes to Fonterra.

Mostly it is a result of very high dairy commodity prices and Synlait’s mix of products.

However, Fonterra’s mix of products has led to a situation where Synlait and the other small competitors are having to pay less for their milk than they would otherwise.

They could pocket the difference as profits, NZX Agrifax dairy analyst Susan Kilsby said. . .

Milk powder exports to China leads to high export levels in 2013:

Milk powder exports, particularly to China, dominated the total goods exported for the year ended December 2013, Statistics New Zealand said today. This led to many new record highs, such as export values for the month, quarter, and year for the grouping milk powder, butter, and cheese.

“For 2013, the value of goods we exported rose by $2.0 billion – to reach $48.1 billion – and most of this increase was from milk powder,” industry and labour statistics manager Louise Holmes-Oliver said. “Almost half of our milk powder exports went to China.”

Goods exported to China in the year ended December 2013 were valued at $10.0 billion, of which $4.0 billion was milk powder. This is the highest-ever value of milk powder exported to China for any year. . .

Manawatu shows how rural banking works – Lucy Townend:

New Zealand is an agri-commerce powerhouse in the eyes of our Asia-Pacific neighbours, with Manawatu proving to be the best example.

An international delegation got the inside scoop on New Zealand’s agricultural sector this week, touring farms, banks and questioning industry experts in Palmerston North.

As part of a Massey University pilot programme, bank managers and policy makers from the Philippines, India and Bangladesh travelled to New Zealand for first-hand experience of financing in the farming sector.

The trip is part of a programme, led by Massey’s Centre for Professional and Continuing Education (Pace) and the Centre for Training and Research for Agricultural Banking (Centrab). Nearly 60 institutions are involved, including top central and commercial banks, as well as government departments, in more than 20 countries across the Asia-Pacific region. . .

New rules to help minimise livestock injury risk:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is introducing new rules which will reduce animal welfare risks in the nation’s livestock – particularly in the dairy sector.

Hardware disease is the perforation of the stomach wall by sharp metal fragments.  It is known to occur in animals fed with contaminated Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE) which is imported into New Zealand 

PKE is an animal feed that is important to New Zealand farming.  It is used to supplement feed especially during a drought.

The new rules will be issued by a notice under the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicine (ACVM) Act 1997.  These will set the minimum requirements for screening PKE and outline record keeping and traceability requirements for all imported animal feeds, . .

Heading back to school:

As children head back to school, Rural Women NZ  hopes 2014 will be the year when state-of-the-art signage will be approved for use on school buses to help remind passing motorists that ‘Either Way It’s 20K’.

Rural Women NZ national president, Wendy McGowan, says “The 20kmh speed limit in both directions must be one of the most flouted rules in the Road Code, often because drivers are simply unaware of the law, or don’t notice they’re passing a school bus until it’s too late.

“We are calling for illuminated 20K signs to be approved for use on school buses.”
During 2013 Rural Women NZ took part in an extensive trial in Ashburton, along with TERNZ Ltd and NZTA, to alert drivers that they’re about to pass a school bus and of the need to slow right down, called ‘Either Way it’s 20K’. . .

Rural round-up

December 18, 2013

Fonterra faces big milk problem – Chalkie:

If Heath Robinson designed a contraption to pluck the feathers from a mallard with barbecue tongs, it would be the epitome of elegance compared with Fonterra.

Our giant dairy co-operative, bless it, is like an elephant balancing on a stool built by engineering students out of toothpicks – a gravity-defying feat of complexity that threatens to go crashingly wrong at any moment.

The elephant hit the deck big time last week when Fonterra had to press the manual over-ride on its intricate milk pricing machinery and Chalkie reckons the damage will be more than a few splinters in the bum. . .

Farmer loses cows to feed ‘hardware’ – Sandie Finnie:

Carterton dairy farmer Chris Engel is out of pocket but better informed after two of his cows died of “hardware disease”, the industry term for cows that die from ingesting metal fragments in palm kernel expeller supplementary feed.

Now he wants to alert other farmers to the importance of reading the fine print on their PKE supply deals.

Mr Engel sought compensation of $12,522.23 from PKE supplier INL through the Masterton District Court Disputes Tribunal.

It would have covered the death of the cows, lost milk production, veterinarian fees and other costs. . .

New Chancellor for Massey University:

Wellington businessman Chris Kelly is Massey University’s new Chancellor.

Mr Kelly replaces Dr Russ Ballard, who has been Chancellor for the past five years. Mr Kelly is a veterinary science graduate of Massey and highly regarded New Zealand business leader with multiple directorships. This year he retired as chief executive of state-owned Landcorp Farming Ltd, a role he was in for 12 years. He has been on the University Council since August 2005 and has been Pro Chancellor – deputy chair of the council – since July last year.

The University’s new Pro Chancellor is Michael Ahie, also from Wellington. . .

Meat industry takes stock:

The Red Meat Sector Strategy coordination group has released a progress report on how the sector is tracking towards the goals of the Red Meat Sector Strategy, released in May 2011.

The Red Meat Sector Strategy was developed by Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Meat Industry Association, with support from the Ministry for Primary Industries and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. It identified ways to secure improved and sustainable growth for the sector against a background of volatile sales and variable profitability, over the past decade in particular.
 
Just over two years after the launch of the strategy, this report outlines the progress in each of its focus areas and towards realising the opportunities outlined. The report records where progress has been made and where work is actively ongoing. It also identifies the areas where progress has been limited. . .

Fitch gives Fonterra thumbs up over unchanged farmgate payout, dividend cut – Paul McBeth:

Fitch Ratings has praised Fonterra Cooperative Group’s [NZX: FCG] decision to hold the forecast payout to farmers and slashing its dividend by two-thirds amid a growing gap in prices between milk powders and its cheese and casein products.

The Auckland-based company’s decision is “characteristic of the fiscal discipline that underscores its credit rating,” Fitch said in a statement. Fonterra has an AA rating. Earlier this month the cooperative surprised analysts by holding the forecast payout for this season at a record $8.30 per kilogram of milk solids and cutting its expected dividend to 10 cents from 32 cents. . .

Better water quality won’t happen overnight … but it must happen – Jenny Webster-Brown:

If we cannot stop ongoing water quality degradation, and effectively restore degraded water environments, we stand to lose much that we value about New Zealand and our way of life. We will lose recreational opportunities, fisheries and our reputation for primary produce from a “clean” environment. We will lose functioning ecosystems, the ecosystem services they provide and the beauty of our iconic water features. We will have to pay for increasingly higher technology to treat drinking, stock and even irrigation water … like so many drier, more populous or older nations, who have long since lost their natural water amenities. This is not what we have known, or what we wish for our children, or their children. To improve water quality, we need only three things: the will, the means and the time. . .

Wine industry shows increased profitability in 2013:

Financial benchmarking survey optimistic despite challenges for smaller wineries

The turnaround in the New Zealand wine industry has continued in 2013 on the back of improved profitability, especially for large wineries, according to the eighth annual financial benchmarking survey released today by Deloitte and New Zealand Winegrowers.

Vintage 2013 tracks the results of wineries accounting for almost half of the industry’s export sales revenue for the 2013 financial year. New participants provided data this year making for the most even spread across the revenue band categories in the survey’s history. . .

How to count grass – Baletwine:

The Pasture Meter™ automatically takes 200 readings per second so takes thousands of readings per paddock. At 20kph it is taking a reading every 27mm or 18,500 readings in 500 meters.

Towed behind an ATV / RTV or utility vehicle at up to 20kph, this machine provides a fast, practical method of measuring grass cover particularly over large areas over all terrain that can be safely covered by an ATV/vehicle.  The Pasture Meter™ automatically takes 200 readings per second so takes thousands of readings per paddock. At 20kph it is taking a reading every 27mm or 18,500 readings in 500 meters. Developed and proven in New Zealand, there are 3 models ranging from manual paddock ID entry to fully GPS with auto paddock start /stop. . .


Rural round-up

October 6, 2013

Moves to keep sheep and beef in the frame – Annette Scott:

One of the most important aspects of the AgResearch Future Footprint (FFP) proposal is the need to ramp up New Zealand efforts to confront new challenges faced by agriculture, Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman Mike Petersen says.

In his chairman’s update last week Petersen assured farmers B+LNZ was consulting AgResearch over its FFP restructure to ensure the needs of sheep and beef farmers were met.  

“B+LNZ has been working closely with AgResearch to ensure the needs of our sector are not compromised by these plans. . .

Advocate for improved farming – Annette Scott:

Lynda Murchison was born with farming in her blood but she grew up in Christchurch. Now a farmer and environmental planning consultant, she talks to Annette Scott for this first in the series of Women Stepping Up.

Lynda Murchison joined the Federated Farmers executive because she wanted to advocate for improved farming outcomes, in particular around land and water management and red meat and wool opportunities.

She identified a gap, she had the skills and she put her hand up for the challenge. . .

New proposal for screening PKE:

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy is welcoming a proposal to bring in compulsory screening of palm kernel expeller (PKE) imported into New Zealand.

PKE is imported mainly from Malaysia and Indonesia and is used by the dairy industry as supplementary stock feed.

“The proposal from the Ministry for Primary Industries is that all PKE must be passed through a 4-6mm size screen on entry to New Zealand and before going on sale. There will also be added requirements for record keeping and traceability.

“It’s important to note there are already tough conditions in place for imports, including heat treatment, fumigation and inspection. On top of this new standards were introduced in June ensuring that in-market facilities are Government approved. . .

Chinese charm offence needed – exporter:

HIGH PROFILE media coverage is needed in China to get the message out that infant formula products are safe, says Chris Claridge from the NZ Infant Formula Exporters Association.

The New Zealand Government needs to take the lead and Prime Minister John Key should visit soon, with industry people, he says.

Claridge is highly frustrated that he cannot seem to get his message heard in New Zealand: our products are still at high risk because the Chinese consumer still thinks New Zealand infant formula is poisoned.

Meanwhile New Zealand’s competitors are cashing in. . .

Two more awards for Tru-Test – Hugh Stringleman:

Agri-technology manufacturer and exporter Tru-Test Group has added two prestigious awards to others won earlier this year, along with a major acquisition.

Tru-Test was named supreme winner in the New Zealand International Business Awards after winning the ANZ Best Business operating internationally, more than $50 million category.

Peter Chrisp, chief executive of award manager NZ Trade and Enterprise, said Tru-Test had forged strong relationships with its partners and developed a well-thought-out market entry strategy. . .

Looming large – Mark C O’Flaherty:

Hermès and Chanel have long chosen Scottish over Italian mills. Now a new generation of designers is following suit, inspired as much by technological innovation as matchless quality. Mark C O’Flaherty reports on a Scottish textile renaissance.

 

The archive library at Johnstons of Elgin in the Scottish Highlands resembles a lavishly produced fantasy film set. There are shelves full of bulging red-leather books with weathered pages, each tome greater in size than the Domesday Book. Collectively, they house the mill’s estate tweeds, each swatch exclusive to a single landowner, and each book marked in gilt across its giant spine with the year of production. The earliest is 1865. In the corner sits a roll of recently woven fabric, an intricately detailed marbled-grey cloth with flecks of red in it. “That’s Albert Tweed,” says James Sugden, a director at the company. “Prince Charles commissioned it from a sample he found in his archive. It was one of the most difficult things we’ve ever worked on. It took months to reproduce and to get precisely the right kind of red, reminiscent of the granite of Aberdeenshire and Balmoral. But that’s why people come to us, because we create things that are too difficult for anyone else to do.” . . .


Rural round-up

June 27, 2013

New Agricultural Trade Envoy appointed:

Trade Minister Tim Groser and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today announced the appointment of Mike Petersen to the position of New Zealand Special Agriculture Trade Envoy (SATE).

The role is to advocate for New Zealand’s agriculture trade interests, from the perspective of a practising farmer.

“In the immediate term, Petersen’s priority will be to coordinate support among international farmer groups for a comprehensive outcome on agriculture in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations,” says Mr Groser.

“More broadly, he will be tasked with telling the story of New Zealand’s agriculture success in a post-subsidy world. New Zealand farmers are the least subsidised in all OECD member countries.”

Mike Petersen is a sheep and beef farmer from the Hawke’s Bay, and is currently serving as Chairman of Beef + Lamb New Zealand. He has held a variety of other governance roles in the primary sector. . . .

International Dam Expert Confident Hawke’s Bay Dam Site Ticks All the Boxes:

The man who could be leading one of New Zealand’s largest water storage projects has just inspected the Ruataniwha Dam site and given it the thumbs up.

Leading European Contractor, Obrascon Huarte Lain (OHL) and Hawkins Infrastructure, New Zealand’s largest privately owned construction company, have joined forces to bid for the design and construction phase of the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme in Central Hawke’s Bay.

Santiago Carmona is likely to be appointed construction manager if the OHL Hawkins bid is successful. He was among several experts from the OHL Hawkins team to inspect the site last week and says he’s very happy with the data he collected. . . .

Relief PKE animal part not foreign but systems needed:

Federated Farmers is relieved that DNA testing on an animal part found in Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE) is now confirmed to be a local sheep. Originally suspected by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to be foreign, its discovery still shows the need for system improvements.

“Confirmation by DNA testing that the animal limb is local and a sheep is a huge relief for all farmers,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Biosecurity spokesperson.

“Can we again stress that the Bay of Plenty dairy farmer who discovered the contaminant did the right thing in calling the Biosecurity hotline; 0800 80 99 66.

“If any one finds something untoward then calling the Biosecurity hotline is the correct response. An additional measure is to take photographs; almost all modern mobile telephones have in-built cameras. . .

Peak effort getting stock down – Stephen Jaquiery:

Ida Valley farmer Lochie Rutherford moves a sheep one sapping heave at a time, 1200m up Mt St Bathans yesterday. Trudging through the snow behind him is neighbour David Hutton.

The pair’s properties were not badly affected by last week’s snowfall and the two farmers have been helping rescue stock on nearby St Bathans Station.

Thick snow which blanketed inland Otago is thawing quickly on the flat but the race is still on to rescue stock trapped on the hill country. . .

Two new primary growth projects announced:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed $6.88 million in Government funding for two new Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programmes, which will deliver a major boost to productivity and environmental outcomes.

“A project led by the Whai Hua group will work to develop new probiotic dairy health products. This will help to add value to what we export by targeting high value niche markets. . .

Top 10 annoying cows to milk – Freddy Lawder On the Udder Side of the World:

Here is the list of the most frustrating, infuriating and unpleasant types of cows to milk. There is always at least one of each in the herd.

 
If you milk cows for a living, there is a good chance this will resonate with you!
 
10. ‘The Low Udder’
 
The Low Udder is as you might have predicted when the teats are particularly close to the floor. This is due to the cow being either very short or having a huge udder. It means there is not much room for the cluster and your hand when cupping on. The rubber pipes get kinked and stops the vacuum which prolongs the annoyance as your knuckles are scraped against the concrete.
 
9. ‘The Nervous Dancer’
 
The Nervous Dancer will not stand still whilst cupping on. She hops from one foot to the other, it is neither aggressive or likely to cause injury but it is incredibly irritating. It is if she is desperate for a wee and is trying to hold it in, or maybe she is just dancing to the music of The Rock FM.
 
8. ‘The Mud Grater’ 
 

The Mud Grater is often combined with the Nervous Dancer, and occurs when there is a load of dry mud on her legs. . .

(This is a post written by a young Englishman who spent last season working on a North Otago dairy farm. I’m working my way through all 59 posts, the first of which is here, and thoroughly enjoying his observations on dairying,  and sightseeing).

First Viognier for Clearview Estate takes out silver:

The first-ever Haumoana Viognier produced by Clearview Estate Winery has taken out a silver award at the Spiegelau International Wine Awards announced this week, while the Te Awanga winery’s star, its Reserve Chardonnay won another gold.

The 2012 Viognier is a special one-off limited release, while the Reserve Chardonnay adds to its consistent long pedigree of gold awards or five-star ratings; 50 in total since the first vintage won a gold award in 1991.
Clearview sourced grapes sourced from Black Bridge Vineyard on the gravel banks of the Tukituki River near Haumoana for the Viognier wine. Only 2000 bottles of the inaugural release were bottled last year. . .


Rural round-up

June 20, 2013

Zimbabwe’s first cattle bank opens – Gillian Gtora:

William Mukurazita’s deposit at the bank has four legs and moos.

Zimbabwe’s first “Cattle Bank” has just opened its books in a unique kind of banking where owners bring in their animals as collateral against cash loans.

For many rural poor in this southern African country once wracked by world-record inflation, it’s the first bank account they’ve ever had.

“Cattle banking is the only way owners can get monetary value for their animals without having to sell them,” bank executive Charles Chakoma told The Associated Press amongst fields and small farming plots near Marondera, east of Harare, the capital. . .

Farmers respond to an animal part found in PKE:

Federated Farmers considers the proposed improvements to the biosecurity of Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE), following the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) response to the Federation’s Clark-McKinnon Report, cannot come soon enough.  It also comes on the same day an exotic animal body part was confirmed to have found in PKE on a Bay of Plenty farm.

“Can we first pay tribute to the Bay of Plenty dairy farmer who absolutely did the right thing when he or she discovered an animal part in PKE,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Biosecurity spokesperson.

“Any farmer who finds something untoward must do what this farmer rightly did and call the Biosecurity hotline; 0800 80 99 66.  Do not ignore or dispose of it.  Report it. . .

Zespri Gold3 licence allocation significantly oversubscribed:

The Zespri Board has announced that 1,130 hectares of licences for the more Psa-tolerant gold kiwifruit cultivar Gold3 will be allocated to Zespri growers in 2013, as the next step in the Psa recovery pathway – 288 hectares more than was originally intended for allocation.  This includes 688 hectares of new gold licences for Green growers and new developments, as well as 442 hectares of Gold One-for-One licences, where Hort16A growers can transfer to Gold3.  

Zespri Chairman Peter McBride says the significant over-subscription clearly demonstrates the confidence the kiwifruit industry has in the recently-licensed gold cultivar, its performance to date in the Psa environment and growers increasingly looking to diversify their orchard portfolios. . .

Young viticulturists challenged to test themselves:

Young viticulturists around the country are being challenged to step up and enter the annual competition to find their best and brightest to represent the sector in the national young horticulture competition later in the year.

An Open Day is being held to give those who need a bit of encouragement or convincing, the chance to find out from previous winners just exactly what’s involved and how good the spoils of winning $12,000 worth of prizes are. . .

Invivo Named Finalist at Export Awards:

New Zealand winery Invivo continues their success in export markets and has been named finalist for 2013 BDO Food and Beverage Exporter of the Year at the Air New Zealand ExportNZ Auckland Awards.

Executive Officer Catherine Lye from ExportNZ Auckland that organises the awards, says, “It was a tough field, with such highly motivated and innovative exporters. “The entrants in this year’s awards were totally unlike each other as far as their businesses and customers were concerned. Yet each of them demonstrated particular areas of excellence.  . . .”

Church Road releases a duo of iconic TOM wines

2009 TOM Cabernet Merlot likely the “best TOM ever”
2010 TOM Chardonnay from “one of the very best Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay vintages”

Church Road, the winery that helped establish Hawke’s Bay as a premier winemaking region is proud to announce the simultaneous release of its two iconic wines – TOM Cabernet Merlot 2009 and TOM Chardonnay 2010.

Crafted only in outstanding vintages, TOM showcases the power and vibrancy of the best hand-harvested parcels of fruit, coupled with the traditional Bordeaux and Burgundian influence of winemaking. . .

Top accolades for 2011 Syrah:

Two Sacred Hill Wine Company Syrahs have recently been rated in the top tier of New Zealand Syrahs in an influential tasting.

Both Sacred Hill Halo Syrah 2011 and Ti Point Syrah 2011 wowed the Cuisine judges in their annual New Zealand Syrah tasting which features in the July edition of the magazine.

The results of the tasting, released today, see Sacred Hill Halo Syrah 2011 with a triple success – 5 stars; ranked in the top 5 wines of the tasting (at No 4); and rated as one of New Zealand’s best Syrah buys. . .


PKE import rules tightened

June 20, 2013

Rules are on the importing of palm kernel expeller are to be tightened.

Federated Farmers have been airing concerns about the biosecurity risks from the import of PKE for some time.

Grains executive members Colin McKinnon and David Clark travelled to Malaysia last September for an official Palm Industry Board briefing; they also made an unofficial, unannounced visit to another plant, chosen at random.

They saw PKE in silos open to birds and other animals, and contamination was probable. Product would probably not have met New Zealand’s Import Health Standard, but the mill owner believed it was suitable for export to New Zealand and was willing to sell it to them.

Clark and McKinnon detailed their concerns in a report to MPI in November (Rural News, December 4 and February 19). Late last month, the ministry issued a statement saying it took Feds’ report very seriously. . .

MPI sent two inspectors to PKE meal processing facilities and Malaysia and Indonesia and requirements will be tightened as a result.

The audit reports show good biosecurity systems are in place in the two main PKE-supplying countries, but some tightening up is recommended to ensure New Zealand’s standard is met.

Deputy Director-General, Compliance and Response, Andrew Coleman says the reports conclude that any biosecurity risk from the importation of PKE is very low, but the strengthening of import requirements will be accelerated after a small part of an animal limb was recently discovered in a PKE shipment.

MPI is sending a senior manager to Malaysia today and then on to Indonesia to work with authorities there.

“The focus will be on working together to ensure that PKE from unapproved facilities cannot be exported to New Zealand. In addition, a small number of processing facilities will need to improve their systems to keep birds and rodents out of the product in storage,” Mr Coleman says.

“This work is timely given the recent discovery of the animal limb which was reported to MPI by a Bay of Plenty farmer. The lower part of an animal leg, approximately 18cm in length, has been identified by a zoologist as most likely from a small deer or goat species not present in New Zealand,” Mr Coleman says.

“Our risk assessors have told us that the risk of the introduction of any animal disease posed by this find is very low. However we took the precaution of sending a vet to the property where they found all animals in excellent health.

“A find like this one is rare, given that approximately 1.5 million tonnes of PKE are imported annually.”

PKE is a vital import for New Zealand’s dairy farmers who rely on it for supplementary feed – particularly now in the aftermath of the summer’s drought and with the onset of winter.

“The changes we are introducing will help strengthen our system further,” Mr Coleman says. Currently every shipment of PKE must meet strict requirements before it can be imported to New Zealand, including heat treatment, fumigation and inspection.

“A further option being considered is a new levy on PKE imports, or an increase to the existing biosecurity levy to increase the level of inspection in these countries. Any such proposal would have to be consulted on and have industry support. MPI is now beginning work on various options for consultation.”

The audit reports are here and here.

 

 


Rural round-up

May 3, 2013

Challenge goal to boost NZ export earnings – Hugh Stringleman:

Four of the government’s selected 10 National Science Challenges are connected with the primary sector and have potential to boost export earnings, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce says.

However, the need to expand export earnings to the government’s target of 40% of GDP by 2025 was not a specific criterion for selection of the challenges.

Prime Minister John Key’s chief science adviser, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, drew attention to challenge four, called high-value nutrition – developing high-value foods with validated health benefits – as an obvious area where commodities would be enhanced to earn much more. . .

Why only a small number of people will consider working on a dairy farm – Milking on the Moove:

There are 60 new dairy conversions going into Canterbury this year. In This video I discuss how this equates to an extra 250 dairy staff been required, and why most “townies” won’t even consider a job on a dairy farm.

I’m surprised by the extra staff required, but the numbers seem to be logical. . .

60 new dairy conversions in Canterbury for 2013 season

Hey, well I want to talk about dairy farm employment issues. So staffing, of all the issues that the dairy industry face, finding people to milk the cows is the biggest issue. So I was talking to a cow shed manufacturer. He said there’s 60 dairy conversions going into Canterbury this year; and those are new dairy conversions.

60 conversions x 750 cows (cant avg) = 45,000 extra cows into Canterbury 2013

Now the average herd size in Canterbury is 750 cows, so 60 times 750 equals 45,000 extra cows coming into Canterbury this year alone. That’s not including Southland or the rest of the South Island; 45, 000 new cows into Canterbury. . .</>

No PKE from dodgy mills says MPI:

Malaysian officials have confirmed no palm kernel expeller (PKE) has been exported to New Zealand from the processing mill that Federated Farmers has reported concerns about.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is taking the concerns about post-production handling of PKE very seriously, says director plants, food and environment Peter Thomson.

“There are stringent safeguards in place that ensure PKE is safe for use, and MPI is requiring full assurance that these safeguards have not been breached,” Thomson says. . .

O’Connor leaves DINZ in good heart – Annette Scott:

If Mark O’Connor has done something right in his 13 years as chief executive of Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ), it has been employing good people.

He will officially leave his position after the industry’s annual conference later this month and he makes no secret he will miss the people.

“It is a wonderful industry in terms of people – they are a unique bunch. I will certainly miss them. It has been nothing but a joy,” O’Connor said. . .

Irrigator ruts causing accidents:

Centre-pivot irrigator ruts are contributing to the high accident rate amongst groundspreaders.</>

The New Zealand Groundspread Fertilisers’ Association, (NZGFA) would like to see a reduction in recent accident rates amongst groundspreaders.

NZGFA president Stuart Barwood says “we are aiming to make farmers aware of the dangers to groundspread fertiliser drivers and trucks. Centrepivot ruts are a major accident waiting to happen. . .

National Science Challenges are the new black:

Federated Farmers is delighted that New Zealand’s primary industries are well represented in New Zealand’s fiscally upsized National Science Challenges, announced yesterday by Prime Minister John Key and the Minister for Science and Innovation, the Hon Steven Joyce.

“This is significant because we hear talk of creating a technological future and the National Science Challenges are about inspiring this to happen,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President.

“Significantly, the Government has increased its funding by $73.5 million taking the investment to $133.5 million. In an age of constrained spending this deserves praise for its foresight.

“When taken in conjunction with AgResearch’s major investment announcement earlier this week, the National Science Challenges are another tool to break down institutional barriers and foster scientific collaboration and endeavour. . .

Photo: Dam fecking right!


Rural round-up

February 18, 2013

Call for tighter rules – Gerald Piddock:

Federated Farmers is demanding the rules for importing palm kernel expeller (PKE) be tightened.

This comes after two members of the group’s grain and seed executive observed massive breaches of the New Zealand import health standards for importing 

Federated Farmers is demanding the rules for importing palm kernel expeller (PKE) be tightened.

This comes after two members of the group’s grain and seed executive observed massive breaches of the New Zealand import health standards for importing PKE into New Zealand during a visit to a Malaysian PKE crushing plant.

Mid Canterbury farmer David Clark along with Whakatane farmer Colin MacKinnon visited the country in September last year.

They detailed the breaches along with several recommendations to improve New Zealand’s biosecurity process in a report they submitted to the Ministry for Primary Industries last year.

into New Zealand during a visit to a Malaysian PKE crushing plant.

Mid Canterbury farmer David Clark along with Whakatane farmer Colin MacKinnon visited the country in September last year.

They detailed the breaches along with several recommendations to improve New Zealand’s biosecurity process in a report they submitted to the Ministry for Primary Industries last year. . .

Irrigation scheme on target -Gerald Piddock:

The first of the giant ponds at the Rangitata South Irrigation scheme could be filled by the end of the month, as construction of the project continues.

Workers were one third of the way through lining the surface of the first of the ponds, Rooney Earth Moving general manager Colin Dixon said.

The plastic lining came in large rolls that were unwrapped and the edges were then joined together.

“It’s like a sewing machine, it runs up the seam really slowly and melts them together,” Mr Dixon said.

He estimated it would take four to six weeks to line each pond. The ponds were lined one after the other, rather than all at the same time. As soon as one pond is lined, it can be filled with water. . .

Time to merge ag unis?- Marie Taylor and Rebecca Harper:

Merging agriculture courses offered at Lincoln and Massey universities is one way to make better use of limited resources, Beef + Lamb chairman Mike Petersen says.

It emerged last week that Lincoln was undertaking a major review of its qualifications.

It is the country’s smallest university, with 3500 full-time equivalent students, and has faced a series of financial losses in the past few years. It had a $5 million loss last year and a $5m loss is budgeted for this year.

Lincoln wants to reduce the number of undergraduate degrees it offers from 13 to three land-based three-year degrees, with a common first year. . .

The carbon-neutral dairy farm, is it possible? – Milking the Moove:

What does a dairy farmer have to do to become carbon neutral?

There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth at the prospect of agriculture being included into New Zealand’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETS). 

So I thought to my self, what would a dairy farmer need to do to become carbon neutral?

But first, why would a farmer what to be carbon neutral?

Some may say because it’s the right thing to do for the environment.

Others will want to eliminate any tax paid on the carbon they emit. 

Other people will say that, being carbon neutral gives that farmer a wonderful point of difference in which to differentiate their products.

In order to avoid getting into a debate about whether climate change is real or not, I’m going to approach this from the marketing angle. . . .

Sector pins hopes on golden fleece – Tim Cronshaw:

A golden yarn developed by Kiwi scientists and containing pure gold is expected to be sold to wealthy buyers of luxury carpets, rugs and furnishings.

Unlike the golden fleece in Greek mythology the yarn and completed woollen products will not have a golden colour at this stage.

The Aulana-branded wool has been developed by Professor Jim Johnston and Dr Kerstin Lucas of Victoria University after $3 million of research and development.

A tiny amount of pure gold is combined with wool and the chemistry between the two causes it to bond and produce the colours of purple, grey and blue.

The range is expected to be extended and include a golden hue later. . .

Shearers busy as farmers heed market – Tim Cronshaw:

Canterbury shearers have gone into overdrive after an unexpected surge in sheep needing to be shorn.

The December to early February stint is usually quiet for shearing, but an influx of lambs and cull ewes needing their fleece removed put the pressure on shearers during the hot spell, when temperatures soared above 30 degrees in shearing sheds.

Farmers appear to have moved quickly in line with lower lamb prices and this acted as a catalyst for more shearing.

January was expected to be a slow month for shearing, but only in the last week has the pace slowed, said Barry Pullin,  an owner of Pullin Shearing, and chairman for the New Zealand Shearing Contractors Association. . . .


Rural round-up

December 17, 2012

MPI investigating palm kernel biosecurity-risk – Gerald Piddock:

The Ministry of Primary Industries is investigating claims by Federated Farmers that Malaysian-grown palm kernel expeller (PKE) could present a biosecurity risk to New Zealand.

The claims come after Federated Farmers grains executive vice-chairman David Clark and maize growers committee chairman Colin MacKinnon visited Malaysia in September to investigate the country’s palm industry.

“What we saw would be a complete breach of the import health standard if that palm kernel, when it was consolidated, formed part of a shipment coming to New Zealand,” Mr Clark said.

The pair were hosted on a plantation and shown around a mill where the PKE was processed. They attended a conference on PKE and spent time visiting the installations where PKE is stored and loaded onto container ships bound for New Zealand. . .

Farmlands CRT favour merger – Rebecca Harper:

Farmlands and Combined Rural Traders (CRT) directors are recommending in favour of a merger between the two farmer-owned rural supplies co-operatives.

The New Zealand Farmers Weekly revealed the two farmer-owned co-ops were in merger talks in early October.

The chairmen of the two co-ops, Don McFarlane (CRT) and Lachie Johnstone (Farmlands) confirmed exclusively to Farmers Weekly on Friday that a letter had been sent to shareholders that day saying the boards of each society were in favour of the merger. Directors had “agreed to take steps to merge the two societies together”. . .

Poor pasture quality costly – Gerald Piddock:

The poor quality of New Zealand pastures is one of the main reasons agricultural debt levels are so high, a leading soil scientist says.

Dairy cows are being presented too often with a nitrate-crude protein-rich pasture that does not provide them with enough energy, Graham Shepherd says.

It meant farmers brought in high levels of supplementary feed to give the rumen the energy required to process that type of pasture, he told farmers at a field day at Bryan and Jackie Clearwater’s farm near Geraldine. . .

Glyphos hit by grass resistance – Richard Rennie:

The discovery of glyphosate resistant ryegrass in Marlborough has sparked calls for compulsory labels on agri-chemicals highlighting resistance risks.

Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) CEO Nick Pyke officially confirmed the discovery at a field day in Hamilton on Thursday.

The discovery came during work for a Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) funded project on studying glyphosate resistance. It was identified in grasses from a vineyard after a call from a chemical company. . .

Really important to have social scientists working in agriculture – Pasture to Profit:

Social scientists are very active in agrifood.

That’s great! I welcome these intelligent minds working in both the agriculture & food space. Agrifood is about people. Dairy Farming is primarily about people. 
 
How people think, make decisions, work with each other, how we collectively live & work together is really important stuff. Yet mainstream agricultural science, farmers & farming largely ignore the social scientists & their work. I’ve just attended the Australia-NZ Agri-food Research Network conference held at Massey University. . .

Greenpeace back on PKE hobbyhorse

December 6, 2011

Greenpeace have resurrected their campaign against Palm Kernel Expeller.

Despite the many real issues facing the planet, Greenpeace New Zealand is back on its supplementary feed hobbyhorse. This time with a report written by a consultant who lives in the south of France.

“It must be summer because here comes Greenpeace again on Palm Kernel Expeller. You can almost set your watch by them,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“Wikipedia defines palm kernel expeller (PKE) as, “the leftovers after kernel oil is pressed out from the nut in the palm fruit. Palm kernel cake is commonly used as animal feed for dairy cattle because of its high protein content. If not, it is usually treated as biomass to fuel up boilers to generate electricity for use at palm oil mills and surrounding villages”.

“From a quick read of Greenpeace’s report I found a huge flaw in its logic. Their report wrongly treats PKE as a‘coproduct’ of palm oil, rather than it being a byproduct. It’s like saying orange peel is a coproduct of orange juice so must carry the same carbon footprint as orange juice. I think accountants call this type of error double counting.

“Greenpeace tries to use tonnage to talk up the issue, but that’s like saying a kilogram of feathers is the same as a kilogram of gold. According to publicly available statistics on the Malaysian industry, Palm Kernel Cake generates less than one percent of that industry’s export earnings. Being a byproduct, PKE is worth well less than one percent of palm oil’s value.

“Consumers deserve to know that 99 percent of the value derived from Palm Oil isn’t in animal feed. You can actually say some farmers are recycling a byproduct that would otherwise go up in smoke or be left to rot generating methane. Where’s the greenhouse gas sense in that?

If palm oil is such a problem, Green peace should be directing its efforts at the 99% of the industry which uses the product, not the 1% which makes good use of the by-product.

“Until we can get water storage infrastructure in place New Zealand’s farming system is subject to the vagaries of rainfall. The most cost effective supplemental feed is what is grown on-farm and thankfully, water storage is coming due to Federated Farmers’ lobbying.

“You are left with the impression Greenpeace’s questioning of our carbon footprint has an anti-trade dimension to it. This report could be seen as economic vandalism.

“The recent Caygill Report on the Emissions Trading Scheme said that since 1990, New Zealand agriculture has been cutting emissions in each unit of production by an average of 1.3 percent a year. That’s an environmental positive I would have thought.

“Individual farmers through their commodity levies are directly investing in greenhouse gas research and New Zealand is now a world leader in agricultural greenhouse gas research.

“If Greenpeace is truly about the environment, why aren’t they protesting against oil based carpets instead?

“Can you honestly say in a world of food scarcity that recycling PKE as animal feed is the number one environmental issue? Especially if the ‘high value’ product it claims it to be, is either left to rot on the ground or burnt as fuel,” Mr Leferink concluded.

A wet start to summer has enabled farms in most areas to make their own supplements.

But the weather can and will change and it’s possible some farmers will have to buy feed later int he season and PKE will be one of the options.

Even if they do, New Zealand dairy farming is among the most efficient in the world and the industry has been doing all it can to make it even better.

If supply drops off here it will be replaced by milk from other countries whose carbon footprints are much greater than ours. That will cost farmers, the wider economy and the environment.


Greenpeace has wrong target for wrong reasons

September 17, 2009

Greenpeace activists might have had a case if they were protesting about the biosecurity risks from importing palm kernel extract.

But in undertaking an act of piracy and attacking Fonterra they had the wrong target for the wrong reasons.

Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson was right to call it an act of piracy.

“I fully respect the freedom of Greenpeace to protest legally but they have crossed the line by interfering with legal commerce and free navigation on the high seas.

“That’s why the Police need to take this act of piracy, or sea-robbery, very seriously and prosecute those activists to the full extent of the law.  Those activists need to be sent a message that is unequivocal and clear.  They need to be made an example of.

“It’s also economic treason designed to damage New Zealand’s reputation abroad.  Greenpeace is actually anti-farming and these new tactics show how low they are prepared to go. 

Nicolson pointed out PKE is a waste by-product of a waste by-product, derived from producing palm oil we eat or consume daily. 

This point was made by Feds’ biosecurity spokesman John Hartnell in an earlier media release:

“Palm kernel extract is a waste by-product left over from the processing of palm oil for consumer products.  I can’t state that enough, palm kernel is a waste by-product.

“Palm kernel has so little commercial value that if it isn’t recycled into supplementary feed, it is burnt.  That doesn’t sound too great for either climate change or the environment. . .

“Palm plantations aren’t created just to generate a waste by-product, just as newspapers don’t exist solely to support recycling.

Farming is a much easier target than the people who buy potato chips and all the other food which contains palm oil and Nicolson correctly points out:

“Greenpeace knows it cannot win the argument on logic so has resorted to illegal means to express its lies.  It’s a despicable new tactic that has Greenpeace’s loathing of farming written all over that ship. 

Fonterra said the ship wasn’t carrying any feed bound for its stores and that it only uses pke from sustainable sources.

The 14 activists who illegally boarded the ship have been arrested.


PKE fungi story short on facts long on hysteria

August 31, 2009

Disclosing a preliminary draft report on the danger of fungi in palm kernel extract (PKE)  as Sue Kedgley did in parliament was reckless and irresponsible, Federated Farmers says.

“Releasing a preliminary draft report, which has never been finalised, peer reviewed or subjected to robust scientific methodology is irresponsible,” says Lachlan McKenzie, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“Palm Kernel Expeller is a dry feed and like any dry matter, if it gets wet, it will attract fungi.  That’s the same with maize, silage, bread or even sportswear. 

“AgResearch put together a draft report on the ‘shocking expose’ that Palm Kernel Expeller, when wet, attracts fungi. . . 

“The Ministry of Agriculture reviewed the report in 2006 and found that of the fungi identified, the vast majority were already present in New Zealand and the few remaining were common in almost every country on earth.

“The New Zealand Food Safety Authority looked at the general issue of fungal growth on animal feed and concluded there was no risk to food safety.”

He said he’s concerned that the Green Party grabs every opportunity, no matter how tenuous, to knock New Zealand’s largest and most important industry.

“Most people don’t believe the recycling of a waste by-product like Palm Kernel Expeller into animal feed is a bad thing, so long as it comes from certified sources.  Especially if that waste would otherwise be burnt or just left to rot.

“Most New Zealanders also believe it’s hypocritical to target farmers, when they themselves use palm oil daily in the household goods they consume or the cosmetics they wear.

“I’d be highly surprised if products containing palm oil were not present in the homes of the Green Party MPs.  That said, this serves as a timely reminder to ensure dry feed is stored appropriately,” Mr McKenzie concluded.

Feds biosecurity spokesman John Hartnell responded earlier to criticism on the use of PKE as cow feed by Greenpeace saying PKE was a waste by-product left over from the processing of palm oil for consumer products.

“Palm kernel has so little commercial value that if it isn’t recycled into supplementary feed, it is burnt.  That doesn’t sound too great for either climate change or the environment. . .

“Palm plantations aren’t created just to generate a waste by-product, just as newspapers don’t exist solely to support recycling. . .

He said there was a genuine problem with PKE which Feds had been concerned about.

“”Yet for a long period of time, Federated Farmers has been questioning the biosecurity risks posed by what seems to be a great amount of uncertified palm kernel entering New Zealand.  There’s a huge biosecurity hole posed by the stuff.”

That risk is not the risk of fungi mentioned in the preliminary draft report.


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