Rural round-up

June 20, 2014

New Zealand features at “Olympics” of TB control

New Zealand’s expertise in the eradication of bovine tuberculosis (TB) will be showcased in Wales this month at the prestigious international M.bovis conference.

TBfree New Zealand TB Eradication and Research Manager Dr Paul Livingstone QSO will be a keynote speaker at the conference. He is well known for advising other countries, including Wales, Ireland, Chile and the United States, on TB management.

Dr Livingstone has spent his working life managing the disease and has been a key part of TBfree New Zealand’s success. He said it is a privilege to speak in front of such an esteemed gathering of experts from around the world, with about 500 attendees expected at the conference. . .

Antimicrobial resistance worries vets:

Growing resistance to antimicrobials has vets worried.

The New Zealand Veterinary Association at its annual conference in Hamilton this week, regards it as one of the greatest threat to human and animal health.

Bacteria, which is the major cause of disease develops the ability to withstand the antibiotic used to control them.

Keynote speaker at the conference, Australian vet, Stephen Page said that while the problem in animals is not nearly as great as in humans, farmers and vets can’t afford to relax. . .

Rural professionals needed – Vet Assn:

The Veterinary Association says the lack of young people wanting to take up careers in agribusiness and sciences is likely to affect the number of vets being produced in this country.

The Ministry for Primary Industries puts the number of rural professionals currently at about 2000.

Association president Steve Merchant said for this country to achieve an increase in its primary exports at double the current rate, more rural professionals were needed. . . .

Research to focus on environment:

Dairy industry research funded by farmer levies will have a stronger focus on environmental issues.

The industry body Dairy NZ has received strong farmer support for renewing the levies it collects from them for another six years.

That will take effect when the Primary Industries Minister signs a new commodity levies order, which needs to happen by February next year. . . .

HRH The Prince of Wales hosts Campaign for Wool’s 5th Anniversary:

To commemorate the 5th anniversary of the Campaign for Wool, the campaign’s Patron His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales hosted a major celebration of wool at Clarence House.

Attended by a host of key guests representing brands and fashion designers from the Wool Collection, the occasion was marked with enlightening talks by very special guests including Nicholas Coleridge CBE, Chairman of the Campaign for Wool (pictured below with HRH The Prince of Wales). Seeking to highlight two of the Campaign’s most frequently made claims regarding wool’s benefits: firstly, that it is a supremely safe fibre thanks to its natural fire retardant properties and that secondly, wool quickly biodegrades in soil – a key ecological benefit, the day centred around two tests and an immersive wool fashion and interiors presentation. . . .

To commemorate the 5th anniversary of the Campaign for Wool, the campaign’s Patron His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales hosted a major celebration of wool at Clarence House.

Attended by a host of key guests representing brands and fashion designers from the Wool Collection, the occasion was marked with enlightening talks by very special guests including Nicholas Coleridge CBE, Chairman of the Campaign for Wool (pictured below with HRH The Prince of Wales). Seeking to highlight two of the Campaign’s most frequently made claims regarding wool’s benefits: firstly, that it is a supremely safe fibre thanks to its natural fire retardant properties and that secondly, wool quickly biodegrades in soil – a key ecological benefit, the day centred around two tests and an immersive wool fashion and interiors presentation.

– See more at: http://www.campaignforwool.org/news-item/hrh-the-prince-of-wales-hosts-campaign-for-wools-5th-anniversary/#sthash.4Zt2b9RF.dpuf

‘Farming in the Cloud’ online accounting launched by Xero:

Online accounting software company Xero today formally launched its dedicated rural online accounting and farm management solution – Farming in the Cloud – together with key farming solution partner, Figured, at the National Fieldays in Mystery Creek.

Xero also announced that rural services company, RD1 has joined Farming in the Cloud as a partner, and as part of this is working with the wider Fonterra group to explore opportunities for integration.

Ben Richmond, CA, Xero Rural Strategy Lead said: “We are excited to now have all our major rural supplier partnerships in place. Figured has been instrumental in taking Xero to the farming market. Now, having RD1 on board, alongside the likes of PGG Wrightson which is already a partner, really validates the power of Farming in the Cloud as a ground-breaking farm productivity tool, and looking ahead we’re pleased to be broadening our relationship with Fonterra.” . . .

Kahungunu Harvesting Our Future:

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi is hosting a second in a series of Agribusiness Conferences to showcase current farming talent and to provide roadways into the future for landowners and shareholders who in the past leased their land to neighbouring farmers.

This conference is being held on Thursday 26th June at The Hub in Dannevirke.

We will highlight successful business women in farming and successful grouping of Māori interests that take produce from the ‘Nuku to the Puku’ meaning from the land to the tables of the world.
Dannevirke is already a hot bed of energy and innovation when it comes to farming. The success stories from this area will be a good example for other small communities that see the value of cooperation and partnership.

Ngāti Kahungunu is well known in iwi circles for our generous hospitality to visitors. This trait has built lifelong relationships throughout the country and one we want to extend to the world. . .

Fonterra Announces Two Senior Appointments:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today announced two senior appointments to the Fonterra Management Team.

Kelvin Wickham, who is currently President Greater China, will take up the newly created position of Managing Director Global Ingredients.

Johan Priem, who is currently a member of the Office of the CEO, will become President Greater China, when Mr Wickham assumes his new role on 1 August. . . .

New Zealand Site Dominates U.S. Wine World:

The most influential wine website in the U.S. is not based in Silicon Valley but the Auckland suburb of New Lynn.

The VinePair Wine Web Power Index measures the influence of selected wine websites and mobile apps within the United States and West Auckland-based Wine Searcher is top of the list.

Wine Searcher is a search engine for wine that lists more than 5.5 million wines and prices from almost 40,000 merchants around the world. Master of Wine Jancis Robinson calls it “the most successful, and seriously useful, price comparison website.” . . .


Rural round-up

February 20, 2012

Council and Transpower overstep mark with buffer zone proposal:

Federated Farmers is opposing the Western Bay of Plenty District Council’s moves to create buffer zones of up to 32 metres either side of electricity transmission lines.

“Federated Farmers strongly opposes the creation of these Electricity Transmission Buffer Zones, because they are solely designed to protect transmission line companies’ interests and circumnavigate individual easement agreements with landowners,” Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty provincial president John Scrimgeour says.

“Transpower says it wants these buffer zones to ensure safety and supply continuity. However, Federated Farmers feels the width of the zones is excessive, as is the level of proposed regulation around them.

“We believe the resulting raft of new rules for earthworks, buildings and subdivision within those zones would hamper landowners’ ability to farm, without meeting Transpower’s original goals. . .

Dairy farmers are better-off  with  industry competition:

All New Zealand dairy farmers are better off because Synlait Milk and other independent dairy companies exist, says Synlait Milk Chief Executive John Penno.

“While independent dairy companies make up a very small portion of the industry, the competitive pressure that Synlait Milk and others bring has brought about faster change within Fonterra than would have occurred had competition not emerged,” Penno said.

Competition between New Zealand dairy companies is not about the international markets. It is all about competition for farmer’s milk. Because of competition, Fonterra pays farmers more for their milk, which forces independent dairy companies to develop their businesses faster to keep one step ahead, says Penno. . .

Visit to top kiwi farm impresses Swedish delegation:

Members of a Swedish delegation will go home with positive views of New Zealand agriculture after visiting an award-winning farm in the Waikato

On February 9, delegates from the Swedish Parliamentary Committee on Environment and Agriculture were hosted by the New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust on Gray and Marilyn Baldwin’s organic dairy farm near Putaruru.

The Baldwins and their sharemilkers, Hamish and Jane Putt, were Supreme winners of the 2009 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards. . .

Dairy debate is getting really interesting – Allan Barber:

My piece last week supporting the OIO decision on the Crafar farms deal provoked a lot of comment, most of it negative, but also, interestingly, it sparked a sometimes acrimonious debate between several respondents about the Israeli – Palestinian situation. Now that was something I didn’t expect, not considering myself to be remotely competent to cover that sort of global issue.

Since my piece appeared I have picked up some really interesting columns by Fran O’Sullivan in the NZ Herald and Rod Oram in the Sunday Star Times which took diametrically opposing views on the same topic, O’Sullivan in support and Oram totally against. . .

Hawke’s Bay shearers head to world champs:

Two Hawke’s Bay shearers will represent New Zealand at the world shearing championships, to be held during the Golden Shears in Masterton, later this month.

It is an upset for David Fagan who was the favourite heading into the final shear-off, the Southern Shears, in Gore at the weekend. . .

RD1 gets behind Dairy Women’s Network:

In an exclusive agreement, RD1 has committed to sponsoring the Dairy Women’s Network regional groups. The partnership is aimed at growing the reach and effectiveness of these groups over a three year period, helping to increase the success of women in dairying.

RD1 CEO Sarah Kennedy, now a leading woman in the dairy industry, sees some direct correlations between the two organisations.

“RD1 and the Dairy Women’s Network aspire to add value to dairy businesses. We also both have nationwide networks with a strong regional focus” says Kennedy. “The Dairy Women’s Network regional groups are not only the heart of that organisation, they are the grassroots of our industry, much like the RD1 store network. . .

Dairy Women’s Network partners with training leader AgITO:

Dairy Women’s Network has announced its partnership with one of New Zealand’s largest and most respected industry training organisations, AgITO. The partnership was formed in an effort to open up further education possibilities for New Zealand dairying women.

“We are very excited about this partnership,” said Kevin Bryant, Chief Executive for AgITO. “It gives us the opportunity to further support and help upskill women who are such an important group in making the daily business management decisions within the dairy industry.”

According to Mr Bryant, AgITO has a number of qualification options suitable for dairy women who are looking to further develop their careers or gain skills and knowledge in specific key areas from improving milk quality to business management and planning. . .


Fonterra putting milk back in schools

December 16, 2011

School milk was not one of the happy memories of my childhood.

A half pint was too much for me to drink at a time and it was usually warm. Besides, like most of my contemporaries we had plenty of milk at home.

Ample milk and adequate diets are no longer the norm for too many children and Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings has announced a plan to put it back in schools.

Mr Spierings says New Zealand has the potential to be the dairy nutrition capital of the world, and this should start at home with Kiwis drinking milk.

“When I took over this role I made a promise to take a fresh look at how we could make milk more accessible in New Zealand,” says Mr Spierings.

Milk is an important building block for good nutrition. We want Kiwi kids to grow up drinking milk because it is good for them.

We are looking to introduce a Fonterra Milk for Schools programme. We want all New Zealand primary school children to have access to dairy nutrition every school day. For some New Zealanders this initiative will bring back memories of the  Government programme which operated in New Zealand primary schools between 1937 and 1967. We’ll ensure this time that the milk is cold and tastes great.

The company is staring with a regional pilot for primary schools in Northland, covering 110 schools and 14,000 children, starting during the first term next year.

 It will be a voluntary programme for schools to opt into so we can get a fix on likely demand from schools for such a programme.   “We don’t want kids having to drink warm milk in summer like the old days, so we will look at installing refrigerators in schools, and also explore options for recycling the milk packaging,” Mr Spierings says.

Results from the Northland pilot will be monitored during the first three terms of the 2012 school year with the intention of progressing with a nationwide programme for the start of the new school year in 2013. Mr Spierings said Fonterra would welcome support from other partners for a nationwide programme, including the Government.

As a supplier and  shareholder in Fonterra I can see social, health, marketing and PR benefits from this scheme but it comes at a cost.

The company announced an increase in the forecast payout this week and even without that expected returns this year were reasonable. But what happens when the price of milk, and therefore returns to farmers, go down? Once the provision of  “free” milk is established it will be difficult to take it away again.

I’m definitely not keen on the government getting involved in the provision of school milk, especially if it’s not being aimed at only those in genuine need. Its money would be better spent on initiatives which address the causes of ill-nourished children.

The company has been criticised for the high price of milk on the domestic market and is continuing to review it.

Our motivation is to have more New Zealanders drinking more milk because it is important for basic nutrition. To achieve this, we have to make it available and affordable.

In recent years we have seen a major lift in international dairy prices which effectively doubled in 18 months. This has pushed up the cost of milk prices locally and we have seen consumption decline, with New Zealanders drinking less milk.

Traditionally milk consumption in New Zealand has been increasing around 1-2 per cent per year but it is currently declining by a similar rate.

“We are exploring a range of options to turn around the consumption decline by making milk more consistently affordable and will report back in the first quarter of next year,” Mr Spierings says.

Fonterra will also trial milk sales in its RD1 rural supply stores.

Anchor is our flagship brand and it makes sense to have it available in the 64 RD1 rural stores around New Zealand which we now own 100 per cent. “Initially we will be focusing on smaller towns that don’t have supermarkets nearby. From here we can measure the demand and decide whether to roll this out further,” Mr Spierings says.

Customers of RD1 stores are predominantly farmers. But if the stores sell milk well below supermarket prices they will broaden their customer base and the competition will probably force supermarkets to reduce their mark-ups.


Top rural websites

October 13, 2009

Scoop reports  the top 10 New Zealand rural websites for domestic traffic from Nielsen NZ Market Intelligence in September:

1. metservice.co.nz/rural 70, 683.

2. stuff.co.nz/farming         38,805.

3. rd1.com                                 13,125.

4. farmtrader.co.nz               11,504.

5. dealsonwheels.co.nz            8,927.

6. country-wide.co.nz             4,772.

7. ruraltrader.co.nz                3,276.

8. agridata.co.nz                      3,216.

9. nzfarmersweekly.co.nz      2,686.

10. ruralliving.co.nz               1,707.

It doesn’t surprise me that the Met Service is so popular. When you work outside and so much you do is affected by the weather forecasts are very important. I helped one of our staff set up a new laptop recently and he has the Met Service site as his homepage.

Stuff includes most of the provinical papers and has good rural news and features.

Countrywide and NZ Farmers Weekly are the most highly regarded of the give away papers which turn up in rural mail boxes. The popularity of the papers and dial up or slow broad band for internet conncetion might explain why their websites don’t get more hits.


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