Rural round-up

12/01/2020

Dairy farm sales dry up as tighter bank lending, foreign investment take hold – Catherine Harris:

Commentators say dairy farm values are falling, as bank lending tightens and foreign investment becomes harder to get.

According to the Real Estate Institute (REINZ), sales of dairy farms nationally tumbled 55 per cent in the three months to November on the same period in 2018, and 83 per cent on 2017.

Dairy farm prices slid 22 per cent, from $50,964 per hectare to $39,678 per hectare.

Lincoln University farm management professor and commentator Keith Woodford told RNZ that while other types of farms such as grazing or horticulture were holding their own, dairying had suffered, despite improving milk prices. . . 

Border collie saves flock of sheep from wall of fire in Australia: –  Joe Roberts:

A hero border collie has saved a flock of sheep as a wall of fire destroyed farmland in Australia.

Patsy the six-year-old working dog rounded the sheep up with a farmer as the flames bore down on them in the rural town of Corryong in Victoria.

She brought them to the safest paddock on the farm as her owner fought the fire in a tractor with a tank of water.

Thanks to Patsy and her owner, almost all of the sheep were saved, along with the hay bales, silage, shearing shed, and farm houses. . .

‘Mycoplasma bovis’ challenges faced – Laura Smith:

‘‘One of the greatest biosecurity challenges we’ve ever faced’’ — Mycoplasma bovis continues to affect farmers but the Ministry for Primary Industries is confident eradication of the disease can be achieved.

Southland farm owners Ben Walling and Sarah Flintoft had 1700 cattle culled in 2018 after Mycoplasma bovis was discovered on their farm.

Since then they were declared disease-free, but are now awaiting results after tests on cows at one of their three cattle farms.

The bovine disease Mycoplasma bovis can cause mastitis, pneumonia, arthritis and late-term abortions. More than 130,700 cattle have been culled nationwide because of it. . . 

Fonterra rationalises in Chile – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra is buying the minority interests in its Chilean processing partner, Prolesur, to streamline its businesses and give it more options for the future.

Among the options could be an exit from the dairy industry in Chile after several decades of New Zealand involvement, firstly by the Dairy Board in 1986.

Fonterra has agreed to buy 13.6% of Prolesur for NZ$29.3 million from Fundacion Isabel Aninat, a church-owned charity. . . 

Remote island farm on market – Richard Rennie:

A long-held family property on Great Barrier Island offers the chance to own the last piece of land before Chile.

It includes private beaches and an historic grave site for shipwreck victims.

The Mabey family has farmed the 195ha property at the island’s northern end for almost a century and has decided to put the farm on the market as a bare block. 

The land is farmed by Scott Mabey who said he anticipates a buyer will be most interested in building a dream home on one of the farm’s many elevated positions. . . 

The beef farmer eats a plant patty – Uptown Farms:

Well… we did it. We were in a hip little craft beer joint in Nashville, saw the Impossible burger on the menu, and ordered one.

Of course they wanted to send it out with a fresh baked bun, cheese and all the sauces.

But we passed on all of that so we could really get an idea what all the fuss was about. Here’s what we decided:

🌱 It is better with ranch. Matt jokes, “What vegetable isn’t?” (His jokes are getting worse the older he gets.) . . 


Rural round-up

20/08/2017

Taxing our water:

Figures released yesterday by Irrigation New Zealand included bad news for Otago when it comes to funding being taken in irrigation tax for “Clean Rivers”.

The figures show Otago will pay the second-highest amount of irrigation tax of $7.8 million when it has 8% of rivers said to be poor for swimming and just 3% of irrigated land.

Canterbury, as could be expected, will pay the most at $41 million. The region has 4% of rivers declared poor for swimming but 11% of irrigated land.

Labour has declared it will implement a royalty on the commercial consumption of water to assist with the cost of keeping New Zealand’s water clean. The royalty will be flexible to reflect the scarcity or abundance of water in different regions, the different quality of water and its use. Royalty levels will be set following consultation and the revenue will largely be returned to regional councils. . .

Award recognises work with SIL – Sally Rae:

Invermay scientist Dr Sheryl-Anne Newman has received national recognition for her work with Sheep Improvement Ltd.
Dr Newman received the Sir Arthur Ward Award, presented by the New Zealand Society of Animal Production.

It recognised the successful application of research or experience to an aspect of animal production in New Zealand.

She is only the second woman to receive the award. Dr Julie Everett-Hincks, also from Otago, received it last year for work she had done to improve lamb survival. . .

Growing virtual plants could help farmers boost their crops – Leslie Nemo:

What if farmers could grow sugarcane in a matter of seconds, not days or weeks? Scientists are doing just that. Of course, these crops are not sprouting from soil. Instead they flourish on a computer screen.

Digital plants like these are part of a new movement in agricultural science called “in silico,” where researchers design highly accurate, computer-simulated crops to help speed up selective breeding, in which plants are chosen and replanted to amplify their desirable traits. Scientists believe the future of farming is not just in fields, but in graphics, too. . .

Dispatch from New Zealand no. 4 lessons for the UK – Jonathan Baker:

New Zealand was easily the most challenging and energising place I’ve visited so far. Having thought about it, I think this is because many of the debates are similar, until they’re not. Meaning the cultural and geographic similarities create a sense of familiarity which means the inevitable differences really jarr. I certaintly spent more time gazing into the middle distance here than anywhere else I’ve visited. There is much more I could say about New Zealand but I’m currently in Korea and the detailed synthesis of my thoughts in NZ will have to wait.

In the meantime, here is a non-exhaustive and slightly long set of lessons for the UK:

  1.  Environmental regulation is inevitable
  2. Be nimble
  3. No subsidy, no problems
  4. Look to solve conflict, with collaboration and consensus
  5. Prepare for political ping-pong
  6. The need for new, improved industry – Government collaboration
  7. Using subsidies to compensate for policy change, can allow for more radical policy change
  8. There is trouble in (farming) paradise. . .

Kokako birdsong rings out in Kauri Coast forests:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says there’s been a more than thousand percent increase in the number of kokako in Kauri Coast forests since 1990 due to the continued use of 1080 and trapping.

“An aerial 1080 drop in 1990 is credited with saving the kokako from local extinction and its continued use along with trapping has seen the population grow from a low of 5 pair in 1990 to 60 pair today, as well as 29 single kokako,” Ms Barry says. . . .

Continued Softening in Rural Real Estate Market:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 76 fewer farm sales (-16.2%) for the three months ended July 2017 than for the three months ended July 2016. Overall, there were 392 farm sales in the three months ended July 2017, compared to 459 farm sales for the three months ended June 2017 (-14.6%), and 468 farm sales for the three months ended July 2016. 1,739 farms were sold in the year to July 2017, 1.5% fewer than were sold in the year to July 2016, with 44% more finishing farms, 28% more dairy farms and 21% fewer grazing and 22% fewer arable farms sold over the same period. . . 

Farmer candidates sought for DairyNZ elections:

Candidate nominations opened this week for farmer-elected roles on the DairyNZ board and Directors Remuneration Committee.

This year two farmer positions on the Board of Directors are available, along with one position on the DairyNZ Directors Remuneration Committee. . .

Kiwis assured all Fresh avocados eaten in New Zealand are grown here:

 “All fresh avocados eaten in New Zealand are grown here,” says New Zealand Avocado CEO Jen Scoular, mitigating concerns that we import the fruit from Mexico. Criticism of Mexican growing practices was raised by an article published this week by the New Zealand Herald in the Lifestyle Section article headlined “Why you should stop eating avocados.”*

Scoular says the article has caused confusion and New Zealand Avocado had fielded some concerned calls from the public for clarification about the origins of the fruit in New Zealand. . .


Rural round-up

19/04/2016

Genetics addicts – Anne Hardie:

Jesse Huffam and Renee Mason have managed a 110-cow herd through to 1600 cows, operated high-input systems as well as grass-based and their ultimate goal is to find a marginal sheep farm in a remote corner of the country that can be developed into a profitable business.

The Springs Junction couple scooped the West Coast-Top of South Share Farmer of the Year title, two years after being placed runners-up in the Waikato Farm Manager of the Year award.

And it would never have happened if Renee hadn’t got hooked on the Australian McLeod’s Daughters television series as a teenager, or Jesse hadn’t turned his back on dairying and followed a career path toward shepherding. . .

Escape to paradise – Anne Hardie:

The Haupiri Valley on the West Coast gets an impressive 4m of rain a year, yet Matt Birchfield prides himself on the pasture management for the 785 cows he manages in an environment surrounded by bush and mountains.  

The 36-year-old took out the 2016 West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Manager of the Year in his first attempt at the coveted title, which he entered for experience.  As production manager for farm owners Murray and Gaye Coats he is in charge of the herd, dairy and staff of what was a high-input farm before the payout drop lowered its inputs to palm kernel.  

Measuring pasture is a key aspect of the farm’s management which is collected by a pasture meter on the front of the Gator utility vehicle. . .

National farm sales drop in tough year – REINZ – Tim Fulton & Gerard Hutching:

Farm sales so far this year are down about 10 per cent on 2015, Real Estate Institute of New Zealand figures show.

Nationwide 383 farms were sold in the three months to March – down 42 on the same period last year.

Dairy farm sales were “dramatically down” but horticulture sales continue to rise, The Real Estate Institute (REINZ) said.

Only 48 dairy farms were sold compared to the 86 sold in the first quarter last year. . . 

Marlborough wine grower co-operative quietly confident for grape harvest – Mike Watson:

Bringing in the grapes is a nervous time for a co-operative’s growers, but there is nothing but smiles on their faces during a “dream” harvest.

Marlborough’s annual wine harvest is drawing to an end but there will be no let up until the last grape has been picked.

Working 24 hours around the clock have been harvesters, truck drivers, supervisors and growers for the past two to three weeks throughout the region. . . 

Profitable farms underpin rural communities – James Parsons:

When farmers do well, rural communities do well. I know this may be stating the obvious to many; however it is a topic worth exploring a little more deeply.

On 23rd March we held the Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) AGM at Waitangi. A good number of farmers turned out, with one couple travelling from as far afield as Gore. The Northern Farmer Council put together a great showcase of leading Northland farmers who had worked with B+LNZ as project farms over the last 10 years. By having a strong team around them, each had improved their business performance significantly. . . 

NZ beef, lamb and mutton prices fall in first half of exporting season – Jonathan Underhill:

 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand export beef, lamb and mutton prices fell in the first half of the current season, which tapered off after a strong start.

Prices for beef and veal fell 2.5 percent to $7,350 a tonne in the six months ended March 31, while the volume of exports fell 3.7 percent to 204,200 tonnes, said Beef + Lamb NZ. The price of lamb fell 4.2 percent to $8,500 a tonne as volume climbed 5.9 percent to 162,700 tonnes. Mutton prices fell 10 percent to $4,800 as volume rose 0.5 percent to 51,200 tonnes.

Beef + Lamb said the price decline would have been worse if not for a weaker kiwi dollar. . . 

Excellent environmental stewardship earns couple supreme title in 2016 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Redcliff farmers Shane Gibbons and Bridget Speight are Supreme winners of the 2016 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

At a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on April 14 (2016), the couple also collected the Farm Stewardship Award in partnership with the QEII National Trust and New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, the Environment Southland Water Quality and Biodiversity Award and the WaterForce Integrated Management Award. . . .

 Farmers urged to remain on lookout for late-emerging velvetleaf:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is urging farmers to remain vigilant in their management of the velvetleaf pest plant.

MPI’s Velvetleaf 2016 Response Manager, Carolyn Bleach, says the window of opportunity to control plants that haven’t yet seeded is narrowing and it’s very important farmers remain on the look- out.

“Farmers and landowners need to maintain a watchful eye until crops have been grazed, particularly as some late emerging plants have been found in crops that have already been inspected. . . 

Upgrade for farm menus:

Farmers are being offered extra environmental protection advice through an upgraded version of the hugely popular “farm menus” produced by Waikato Regional Council in co-operation with eight agriculture sector partners.

Since their launch in 2013, the first farm menus have been picked up by more than 4000 farmers and rural professionals in Waikato and elsewhere. They offer methods for reducing the impact of farming operations on water quality.

The initial menus – covering nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment or micro-organisms getting into waterways – had a focus on reducing nitrogen leaching. Now the outcome of further research means the upgraded menus have more options added for reducing phosphorus and sediment loss. . . 

Fonterra to Divest Share in Dairy Technical Services:

Fonterra Australia has today announced it has signed an agreement to divest its shareholding (36.02 per cent) in Dairy Technical Services (DTS) to a consortium comprising Bureau Veritas Singapore and AsureQuality Limited.

DTS was originally set up as a cooperative testing service company for dairy companies in Victoria, and its other shareholders are The Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Group, Murray Goulburn and AsureQuality. . . 


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