Rural round-up

27/04/2015

Raiders butcher prized beef Andrea Fox:

Cattle butchers have struck a beef breeding farm near Whakatane, slaughtering two valuable in-calf cows and forcing the destruction of two others because of gunshot wounds.

Residents of Herepuru Rd about 5km from Matata and 35km from Whakatane are meeting to discuss installing a security camera in the road after the incident last week, in which the cows, among 113 in a paddock near the roadside, were gunned down with a .22 rifle.

Farmer Chrissy Weeks hoped police were following good leads after a woman neighbour in the road on the way to work early last Wednesday morning confronted three men loading up a dark-coloured, late model sedan.  . .

The tech revolution and the farm ute – Andrew Hoggard:

In the near future when you talk to a farmer about their dashboard and what they  have on it, they won’t respond by telling you “a speedo and a fuel gauge you idiot”.

 Instead they may well talk about their daily production summary, weather forecast, water pressure monitoring, fence power status, vat refrigeration temperature, and many other things.

Now you may be wondering why you would want this sort of information on the dashboard of your tractor or ute.  But it’s not a vehicle dashboard we are talking about,  but a farm dashboard. . .

Dollar, dairy forecast, drought have impact on farm sales – Sally Rae:

Prudent farm purchasers have ”carefully assessed” the reduced milk price forecast and the high New Zealand dollar, Real Estate Institute of New Zealand rural spokesman Brian Peacocke says.

Drought conditions had also had a negative impact on some South Island regions, Mr Peacocke said.

Data released by REINZ showed there were 47 fewer farm sales for the three months ended March than for the corresponding period last year. . .

Commodity index down, but wool does well – Dean Mackenzie:

The ASB New Zealand commodity index fell last week but lamb, beef and wool prices all posted rises close to 2% in United States dollar terms.

The index fell 0.8% in New Zealand dollar terms, dragged down by a 1.9% appreciation in the dollar against the US currency. In contrast, the index rose 1.1% in US dollar terms, ASB rural economist Nathan Penny said. . .

Hobby beekeeping takes off – Narelle Henson:

New Zealand is abuzz with enthusiasm over the humble bee, as hundreds of people a year sign up to hobby beekeeping.

John Hartnell, chairman of the Federated Farmers Bee Industry Group, said the last three years had seen numbers across the country explode. 

“We’ve got over 600 new beekeepers a year coming in. This year will probably be even greater than that. 

“We have an expectation that probably, come Christmas time, we might have 6000 beekeepers in the country and we might be heading towards 600,000 hives.” . . .

 

Horticultural production tops $7B, led by wine and apples – Fiona Rotherham:

Horticultural production has topped $7 billion for the first time, with good growth in nearly all the main industries, including wine, apples, potatoes, and onions.

The latest edition of the industry publication Fresh Facts shows in the year to June 30 2014 the horticultural industry was calculated to reach $7.16 billion in production, up from $6.7 billion the year before.

Exports rose by $300 million to $3.9 billion, an increase of nearly 7 percent on the previous year. . .

 


Rural round-up

19/02/2015

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

23/01/2015

Government assistance for drought not a hand out

Federated Farmers believes that if the government made a medium-scale adverse event declaration for some South Island provinces, it would give more emotional support to farmers than financial.

“Adverse event declarations don’t make rainfall, but they do put a label on a serious situation, providing some comfort and support to affected farmers,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Adverse Events Spokesperson.

“While the drought, in some parts of the country, has some farmers calling for a drought declaration, it has sparked questions in the media of whether farmers should be getting what is termed ‘hand-outs’ from the government. It needs to be clarified what exactly a drought declaration means.” . . .

Zespri monitoring Chinese arrest ‘situation’ – John Anthony:

Zespri is closely monitoring an investigation at one of its Chinese importers where nine staff have reportedly been arrested, the kiwifruit exporter says.

Zespri spokeswoman Rachel Lynch said Dalian Yidu imports many New Zealand and international agricultural products and dealt with less than 5 per cent of Zespri’s China volume. 

“There is nothing to indicate this investigation involves Zespri Kiwifruit. We’re in constant contact with our people in China monitoring the situation closely,” Lynch said. . .

Biocontrol of an environmental pest – wasps – Geoff ridley:

In an earlier blog I outlined the research programme that Beef + Lamb New Zealand was funding this year. The programme included a number of Sustainable Farming Fund projects one of which is research into the biological control of wasps.

This might seem like a strange one for us to help fund but two species of European wasp are now established across all of New Zealand and are a major environmental pest and hazard. For instance this time last year a Taumarunui sheep farmer was hospitalised after stepping into a was nest while checking electric fences. . .

This particular research is focussed on evaluating a species of mite that was discovered in the top of the South Island causing the collapsed wasp colonies. The mite was previously unknown and unnamed. This project will address the questions: . . .

Wine museum to feature Marlborough – Chloe Winter:

A French film crew has touched down in Marlborough, putting the region’s wine industry in the spotlight.

Six Marlborough wine industry figures are being interviewed this week and will feature in an exhibit in a new $93 million wine museum in Bordeaux, France next year.

Director Eric Michaud, director of photography Roland Clede and assistant director Geraldine Clermont, of Grand Angle Productions, arrived last weekend and have been busy filming winemakers and viticulturists speaking about different topics, from soil types, to subregions, to sustainability and organics, to how Marlborough’s wine industry started. . .

Solid Performance in December Rural Property Market

Summary

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 68 fewer farm sales (-12.3%) for the three months ended December 2014 than for the three months ended December 2013. Overall, there were 486 farm sales in the three months to end of December 2014, compared to 374 farm sales for the three months ended November 2014 (+30.0%) and 554 farm sales for the three months to the end of December 2013. 1,849 farms were sold in the year to December 2014, 5.9% more than were sold in the year to December 2013.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to December 2014 was $28,781 compared to $24,163 recorded for three months ended December 2013 (+19.1%). The median price per hectare fell 3.5% compared to November. . .

 Wool Strengthens:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s Marketing Executive, Mr Paul Steel reports that the North Island sale saw prices lift on the back of a weaker New Zealand dollar and steady off-shore interest.

Of the 10,000 bales on offer 97 percent sold. The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies compared to the last sale on 15th January was down 1.63 percent.

Mr Steel advises Fine Crossbred Fleece and shears were 1 to 4 percent dearer.

Coarse Crossbred Fleece were 1 to 3 percent stronger with shears generally firm to 2 percent dearer. . .

 

Food Ingredients to sell Lactose online:

GlobalDairyTrade (GDT), the world’s leading online dairy auction platform, announced today that Arla Foods Ingredients (AFI) will offer food grade lactose on the platform.

AFI, a global leader in producing natural whey ingredients, is an independently-operated subsidiary of Arla Foods, a leading European dairy co-operative, and GDT registered seller.

GDT director Paul Grave said Arla Food Ingredients will offer a significant volume of lactose to the platform.

“AFI’s offering of lactose on GDT reflects an increasing trend for European producers to seek export of Europe, and to extend their reach to the global market, as they expand production.” . . .


Rural round-up

16/04/2014

“Awareness needed around psychology of hunting accidents”:

Wellington start-up, Hunter Safety Lab says there needs to be greater awareness around the subconscious psychological factors that can cause safety conscious, experienced hunters to mistakenly shoot another hunter.

The comment came in light of the death of a Southland hunter shot by another hunter over the weekend.

It is the hunting season’s second shooting accident to take place in the space of two weeks since it officially kicked off at the beginning of April. . .

No rain reprieve yet for drought-hit farms:

While farming areas in the South Island and the main centres receive rain, very little has fallen in areas affected by the upper North Island’s second consecutive autumnal drought.

“It is clearly a localised drought adverse event covering Waikato and parts of Auckland and Northland,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers adverse events spokesperson.

“I must add that we are also concerned about conditions in Manawatu-Rangitikei too.

“Having been through drought myself last year, I fully understand why farmers up north would dearly like to trade weather with us in the South Island. . . .

Kiwi environmental innovation receives international honours:

Contact Energy’s Wairākei bioreactor – a Kiwi innovation – has been awarded honours at the internationally recognised 2014 IWA Asia Pacific Regional Project Innovation Awards in Singapore. Jointly developed by Contact and Beca, the bioreactor is a unique, world-first solution to improve the quality of water that is discharged from the iconic Wairākei geothermal power station into the Waikato River.

“I’m immensely proud of our bioreactor,” says Contact Energy CEO, Dennis Barnes. “As a world-first it’s great to see this example of Kiwi ingenuity recognised at an international level.”

“To work with Contact Energy from the beginning, developing and testing innovative concepts through to the design and construction of the Wairākei bioreactor has been immensely rewarding for the Beca team”, says Beca CEO, Greg Lowe. “This is another great example of New Zealand talent delivering world class project outcomes.” . . .

Tough Ask to Separate Bright 2014 Sharemilker Finalists:

Choosing a winner in the 2014 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year competition is a tough task for the judges, due to the varying backgrounds and positions of the finalists.

“It is a really interesting competition this year. A number of the finalists are relatively new to the dairy industry, having changed careers, and they also hold a variety of positions which highlights the many ways people can now progress in the industry,” national convenor Chris Keeping says.

“The greatest factor they have in common – apart from being ambitious dairy farmers – is the majority of this year’s finalists have Bachelor degrees. This demonstrates the industry is attracting talented people who are applying skills learned on the job or in other vocations to excel.” . . .

Rollout of faster broadband to remote East Cape schools complete:

All twelve rural schools in remote locations around Gisborne and Wairoa now have faster broadband, as a result of the Government’s broadband initiatives, Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams announced today.

Local communications company Gisborne Net has successfully completed the installation of point-to-point wireless broadband for the 12 schools, under a contract signed with the Government last year.

The 12 Gisborne and Wairoa schools are among 57 across New Zealand which will get faster broadband under the Remote Schools Broadband Initiative, because they are beyond the reach of cost-effective fibre deployment.

The schools will have access to broadband capable of peak speeds of at least 10 megabits per second (about four times faster than previous services). . . .

Sales Volumes Strong, With Prices Holding Steady in March Market:

Summary

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 94 more farm sales (+25.5%) for the three months ended March 2014 than for the three months ended March 2013. Overall, there were 472 farm sales in the three months to end of March 2014, compared to 534 farm sales for the three months ended February 2014 (-11.6%). 1,842 farms were sold in the year to March 2014, 28.5% more than were sold in the year to March 2013.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to March 2014 was $22,342 compared to $22,317 recorded for three months ended March 2013 (+0.1%). The median price per hectare fell 1.3% compared to February.  . . .

State of the art CT scanner to make quick work of animal yield measurements:

Sheep and Deer farmers in the South Island can now benefit from faster and more accurate carcass measurements, thanks to a new CT scanner in Mosgiel. The scanner, which uses X-Ray technology to create cross-sectional pictures of the body, is a valuable tool for determining meat yield in livestock.

The new CT scanner is being provided by INNERVISION, a joint venture between Landcorp Farming Ltd and AgResearch. It replaces an older scanner that had been in operation for eighteen years.

CT scanner scientist Neville Jopson said the new scanner was considerably faster than the old machine, scanning a whole carcass in around two minutes compared to as much as two hours previously. The ‘spiral scanning’ feature takes measurements over the entire carcass rather than single slice views at set points, providing a much better understanding of composition. . . .

Rabobank opens afresh in central Christchurch:

Continued strong growth in New Zealand has seen specialist agribusiness lender Rabobank relocate to state-of-the-art premises in the new ‘Rabobank Building’ in central Christchurch.

The Christchurch branch of the world’s leading specialist agribusiness bank and the third largest lender to rural New Zealand reopened on Monday 14 April at Level 2, 12 Papanui Rabobank northern south island regional manager David Clarke said the new premises catered for expanding staff numbers and would enable the branch to better service rural farmers and agribusinesses in the Canterbury region.

“We’ve almost doubled in staff numbers in the last decade so we’re excited to move to modern, newer premises with improved technology and more space, which will allow us to grow into the future,” he said. . . .

New Zealand’s First Masterclass for Home Winemakers?

Wine enthusiasts, as well as new and seasoned home winemakers, can learn the secrets of the profession from veteran vintner Justin Oliver.

Oliver is from Matakana’s famous Mt Tamahunga Vineyard and has over 20 years industry winemaking experience at wineries throughout New Zealand and in California. He is also Senior Cidermaker at Zeffer Cider and has distilled professionally. Oliver is in the throes of launching his own wine brand, Free Range Wine Co, specialising in premium wine on tap. 

The Syrah grapes that Mt Tamahunga make into $50 a bottle wine can also be pre-purchased from makewine.co.nz to be collected at the masterclass. The supply is very limited this year – and will be sold on a first in first served. Mt Tamahunga vineyard is one of oldest in the area. It was first planted by the Vuletic brothers for the famous Antipodean Farm wine label of the 1980’s. People may remember a 5-litre bottle of this Bordeaux-styled red selling for $5000 at auction. Those were the days! The Syrah vines were planted in 2004 by new owners, for the premium Mt Tamahunga wine label.  . .


Rural round-up

25/01/2014

Farm sales up, confidence strong – Laura Walters:

The number of farm sales rose by more than 20 per cent last year, reflecting strong confidence in the rural sector, the Real Estate Institute says.

More than 1700 farms were sold in 2013, the largest number of sales a year since 2009.

Figures released by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) today showed 292 more farms were sold in the three months to December compared to the same period the previous year, an increase of 20.1 per cent.

Overall, there were 554 farm sales in the three months to the end of December 2013, compared to 414 farm sales for the three months ended November 2013, an increase of 33.8 per cent. . .

Good, not spectacular, arable harvest ahead – Annette Scott:

Crops are looking good but the harvest is not going to be a “bin buster”, industry leaders say.

As the combines roll out many farmers, particularly in Mid Canterbury, are counting the losses after wind and hail played havoc with crops in recent months.

All on top of a wet winter that has created more disease than usual.

“We are really just getting started with the harvest,” Mid Canterbury arable farmer and Federated Farmers South Island grain and seed vice-chairman David Clark said.

“So far the vining peas have been quite disappointing. Autumn cereals, having endured some very wet weather, are not expected to be too exciting. Some ryegrasses have been good and some, due to a variety of ills, quite disappointing. . .

Farmers act as water guardians

Farmers have been helping Environment Canterbury by providing practical onfarm knowledge and expertise on water quality.

They are members of the Guardians of Fork/Hakatere Stream.

The group was in the process of completing a funding application to help develop and restore an area of land adjacent to the stream.

This would include an educational amenity with green space and interpretive panels next to the stream on Braemar Road. . .

Apple exports a sweet success – Esther Ashby-Coventry:

The growing American demand for the honeycrisp apple has prompted Waipopo Orchards to encourage other local growers to join its export market.

Honeycrisp out-earns any other export apple grown in New Zealand. In the US it sells for about US$50 (NZ$61) a box, compared with other varieties, which are about US$20 a box.

Honeycrisp is the most popular apple in the US, with demand increasing 20 to 30 per cent each year since Waipopo’s first export of 50 tonnes in 2011.

Waipopo co-director Peter Bennett said that along with growers in Central Otago a total of 1300 tonnes, which was double the volume shipped in 2013, would be exported this year. Waipopo will produce about 1100 tonnes, which is 85 per cent of the market. . . .

Missing foal feared stolen – Nicole Mathewson:

A Central Otago couple are baffled after their foal disappeared. 

Horse trainers Bill and Rosanne Keeler were shocked to find their three-week striking black colt was missing from its paddock on January 15.

Bill Keeler said he believed the male foal went missing about two days earlier, because his mother’s milk had already dried up.

The paddock – located in Millers Flat, just south of Roxburgh – was surrounded by high fencing and there were no holes it could have escaped through. None of the other horses in the paddock had disappeared. 

”I find the chances of it being stolen are pretty minimal, but the chances are even more minimal of it disappearing by itself through two paddocks surrounded by deer fencing,” Keeler said. . . .

Hawke’s Bay iwi want Mayor’s resignation – Adam Ray:

A Hawke’s Bay Iwi says local Mayor Peter Butler should resign after suggesting their opposition to a proposed dam means they should be banned from any jobs it creates.

Mr Butler singled out the chair of Ngati Kahungunu for criticism in an email to other councillors.

He says parched pastures will be transformed with irrigation from the proposed Ruataniwha Dam.

“We’re sick of the negativity of the people trying to stop the dam,” he says.  

Among those in his sights are local iwi Ngati Kahungunu and its chair Ngahiwi Tomoana. . .

 


Rural round-up

15/08/2013

What Fonterra critics can learn from Sir Henry – Willy Leferink:

In the space of a few days farmers went from the heights of Mt Everest to the bottom of the Marianna Trench. That is what it seemed lurching from the fantastic payout forecast into Fonterra’s product recall.

We now know that a product, worth a few hundred thousand dollars, will likely end up costing Fonterra tens of millions. That is what CEO Theo Spierings told TVNZ’s Q+A on Sunday and will likely be customer claims relating to the recall. Fonterra’s recall was a shock and we absolutely must do the right thing by our customers and consumers. That is not in question. But if you were a consumer abroad and went off the New Zealand media coverage, you would have thought that Fonterra was some corporate version of Sweeney Todd.

In my years of farming, I have come to learn that things are never as good or as bad as they first seem, they are just what they are.

I do not think that Fonterra has done everything right but there’s a huge ‘damned if you do, dammed if you don’t’ reality when facing some feral media. Especially when the most feral are those in our own backyard. As the days went on the initial fever pitch whipped up was slowly replaced with a growing sense of perspective; testing had led to a precautionary recall. . . .

We must prove to customers that our high standards are more than words. Critical self-examination and then action, will go a long, long way – Bruce Wills:

. . . Last Thursday there was celebration that the 2013/14 forecast payout would clear overdrafts built up over the drought.

Then came news Clostridium botulinum had been found in the whey protein concentrate, WPC80.

I sense we may just be getting through the worst of this initial crisis.

Yet one unsanitary pipe at Fonterra’s Hautapu factory must not be allowed to define 120-year’s worth of hard work. . . .

Fonterra food scare claims scalp of NZ Milk Gary Romano:

Fonterra Cooperative Group’s tainted food scare has claimed its first scalp with the resignation of NZ Milk Products managing director Gary Romano.

Romano, who initially fronted for Fonterra to New Zealand media while chief executive Theo Spierings went to China, has resigned effective immediately, the dairy company said in a statement. Spierings will personally assume interim responsibility for the daily operations of NZ Milk, which collects milk from New Zealand farmers and manufacturers it into dairy products ready for export.

Romano’s focus was “to drive profitability through a customer-centric approach to business that delivers world-class standards in productivity, quality, safety and service,” Fonterra said on its website . . .

Fisherman’s new net may save young fish – Michael Morrah:

A commercial fisherman in Napier has taken the unusual step of speaking out about wasteful practices in the industry. Rick Burch says he’s sick of needlessly killing juvenile fish, and has developed a type of net he thinks can help.

Mr Burch is the first to admit that he’s seen a lot of waste since first taking to the water in the 1960s.

“You step back and say, ‘Do I really need to continue killing everything in the ocean?'”

But he says making just small alterations to the standard pattern of a fishing net would save fuel and help release young round fish like gurnard. . .

Mild Winter Leads To Early Spring:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 82 more farm sales (+23.0%) for the three months ended July 2013 than for the three months ended July 2012. Overall, there were 438 farm sales in the three months to end of July 2013, compared to 474 farm sales for the three months ended June 2013 (-7.6%). 1,536 farms were sold in the year to July 2013, 6.7% more than were sold in the year to July 2012.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to July 2013 was $20,667; a 15.1% increase on the $17,955 recorded for three months ended July 2012. The median price per hectare rose 4.8% compared to June. . .

Introducing The Collective’s Limited Edition Kiwi Gourmet Probiotic Yoghurt:

Kiwifruit, fresh and furry, this vibrant wee fruit is irrevocably Kiwi, to the core. And now, partnered with its best-ever comrade – The Collective’s signature gourmet yoghurt, the ever-vibrant kiwi begs the question; who needs wings when you’ve got ridiculously tasty New Zealand dairy?

Never being ones to disappoint we can tell you that the first taste of The Collective’s Kiwi will have your taste-buds tingling for more… a huge dash of national pride and a pairing of delicious dairy and kiwifruit, this gourmet treat might as well be called New Zealand in a tub… no bull! . . .


Rural round-up

18/05/2013

Looking out for one another is positive for all – James Houghton:

Rural New Zealand has traditionally been made up of close-knit communities.

The knowledge that the people around you were looking out for you in tough times, as well as good, was a source of huge strength for heartland New Zealand. Lately I feel our rural communities are not as close as they used to be.

This is probably a reflection of society as a whole, but it would be great if we all made more effort to look out for our neighbours and get that sense of community back.

Are we in an era of entirely corporate thinking? Does extracting the value of every dollar and cent make us stronger?

I believe self-interest and self- preservation sometimes work against people. . .

Contestants battle elements as well as each other – Hugh Stringleman:

Seven Young Farmer Contest grand finalists and hundreds of supporters and schoolchildren battled steady rain at Kumeu Showgounds last Friday.

The weather got worse as the contestants tired, which made the combined technical and practical day an endurance test.

About 500 schoolchildren from Auckland secondary schools attended to hear presentations by primary sector leaders on career choices. That part was undercover and was well attended. . .

Mackenzie agreement confirms it is a working landscape:

Farmers who work the Mackenzie country are central to its future and that has been recognised in the Mackenzie Agreement, which was launched on Sunday. This Agreement fundamentally recognises the iconic region to be a working rural landscape.

“The Mackenzie Agreement is a significant achievement,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President.

“This agreement is a tribute to all those who sat down to understand each other’s point of view. It is environmental groups, recreational users and tourism interests reaching common ground with farmers that the Mackenzie is a working landscape with high conservation values. . .

Small grazing blocks drive rural sale volumes:

While Real Estate Institute of NZ (REINZ) data shows 67 more farm sales took place in the three-months to April 2013, this has been driven by the sale of smaller grazing blocks and comes with the median price per hectare falling 9.3 percent.

“While more farms were sold, 42 of them were grazing blocks with a median size of 65 hectares,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“Perhaps more significant is that the median price per hectare across all farm types actually fell. At $20,241 per hectare, this is 9.3 percent down on the previous median of $22,317. . . .

Farmlands Marketing Man to Head New $2.2 Billion Co-op Marketing Team:

He’s headed marketing teams in industries as diverse as frozen foods, fragrances and farming and now Allister Bathgate’s success sees him appointed to an executive management role in New Zealand’s major rural retail co-operative.

Mr Bathgate’s new role as General Manger Marketing for Farmlands Co-operative Society Limited is a significant opportunity that doesn’t come along every day so he’s “rapt about it”.

Formerly the General Manager of Innovation and Communication for Farmlands, Waikato-born and bred Mr Bathgate’s new role is a result of the recent merger of rural retailers Farmlands and CRT. . .

NZ fine dining salmon wins global award:

New Zealand’s Ōra King salmon has been judged as ‘remarkable’ at the iTQi Superior Taste Awards in Belgium.

The brand has been developed specifically for fine dining by Nelson-based New Zealand King Salmon and was launched only last year.

Ōra King Fresh Whole Salmon achieved two stars in the awards and an overall mark of 83.1 per cent.

The iTQi Superior Taste Awards are in their ninth year and are judged by more than 120 of the world’s opinion-leading chefs and sommeliers. . .


Rural round-up

19/04/2013

New Zealander joins World Farmers Organisation board:

Federated Farmers President, Bruce Wills, has been appointed to the World Farmers Organisation Board as its Oceania representative. This assures New Zealand a key voice on the peak body representing farmer organisations from over 50 countries.

“It has been a superb General-Assembly in Japan,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President, speaking from Niigata, Japan.

“Federated Farmers has helped to broker a breakthrough trade policy for the World Farmers Organisation. I need to acknowledge the high level policy work involving not only Federated Farmers’ staff but kindred organisations too. . .

Cracks appear between farmer groups – Allan Barber:

It hasn’t taken long for the cracks to appear in the ‘united farmers for change’ movement started by the Meat Industry Excellence group which held its first meeting in Gore a couple of weeks ago with a resoundingly successful response.

The next meeting organised by MIE will be held in Christchurch this Friday, but without Gerry Eckhoff who chaired the Gore meeting but has resigned over a disagreement with the strategy. Having said on the National programme the morning after the meeting that the new system and structure could be in place by next season at the beginning of October, he is now saying this is completely unrealistic. I told you so, Gerry! . .

Drought Declarations in March Dominate Rural Marketplace:

Summary

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 21 fewer farm sales (-5.3%) for the three months ended March 2013 than for the three months ended March 2012. Overall, there were 376 farm sales in the three months to end of March 2013, compared with 379 farm sales in the three months to February 2013, a decrease of 3 sales (-0.8%). 1,433 farms were sold in the year to March 2013, 2.4% more than were sold in the year to March 2012.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to March 2013 was $22,317; an 11.3% increase on the $20,056 recorded for three months ended March 2012. The median price per hectare increased by 1.7% compared to February.

The REINZ All Farm Price Index eased by 1.1% in the three months to March compared to the three months to February, from 2,939.42 to 2,907.18. Compared to March 2012 the REINZ All Farm Price Index fell by 7.2%. Further details on the REINZ All Farm Price Index are set out below. . .

Govt supports development of dairy women leaders:

Associate Minister for Primary Industries Jo Goodhew has announced that the Dairy Women’s Network has been approved for a Sustainable Farming Fund grant of $180,000 over three years.

“The Government is investing in the development of female leaders in dairying to ensure the sector is well-placed to face future challenges,” said Mrs Goodhew.

“The Dairy Women’s Network has a track record of linking up and empowering women in dairying.

“The Network has identified the need for leaders to drive reform in the dairy sector so that it’s meeting social and environmental footprint obligations without compromising overall productivity.” . . .

Dairy Women’s Network Chief Executive Resigns :

The Dairy Women’s Network has announced the resignation of chief executive Sarah Speight.
 
Backed by significant national and international dairy industry experience, Mrs Speight joined the Network in 2011 as the first full-time chief executive in its 15 year history.
 
For the past two years she has been commuting from her home in Tauranga to the Network’s Hamilton-based offices. Mrs Speight said that to take the Dairy Women’s Network to the next stage and do the role justice requires someone who is Waikato-based.
 
“Being in Tauranga and with significant family and community commitments has made me rethink my priorities. I have decided to resign from the role of chief executive to spend more time with my family in the immediate future.” . . .

Govt funding to help support eucalpyt forestry:

Associate Minister for Primary Industries Jo Goodhew has announced that two projects focusing on eucalypts have been approved for Sustainable Farming Fund grants.

“The Government is investing in the development of eucalypts as a foresting option,” said Mrs Goodhew.

“Eucalypts offer a useful planting option. They are an alternative landuse for dryland areas and produce a naturally durable timber product.”

A project being run by the NZ Dryland Forests Initiative to share information about how to effectively manage plantations of durable eucalypts in dryland areas will receive SFF funding of $216,000. . .

Change Of Directors On Fonterra Board:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited announced today the appointment of a new Director, Simon Israel, following the retirement of Ralph Waters.

Chairman John Wilson said the Board welcomed Mr Israel, a Singaporean who has exceptional governance, consumer and wider Asian business experience.

“Simon is based in Singapore and has worked in Asia for many years. He has significant business credentials in Asia and in consumer and investment businesses. He will bring to the Board invaluable knowledge and insights as Fonterra pursues its business strategy, particularly with its emphasis on emerging markets,” said Mr Wilson. . .

Synlait Milk Launches its ISO 65 Accredited Dairy Farm Assurance System:

Synlait Milk launched its internationally accredited ISO 65 dairy farm assurance system called Lead With Pride to its 150 strong milk supply base today.

The only system of its kind in Australasia, Lead With Pride recognises and financially rewards certified milk suppliers for achieving dairy farming excellence.

“It is about demonstrating industry leadership in food safety and sustainability, and guarantees the integrity, safety and quality of pure natural milk produced on certified dairy farms .

“It enables our world leading health and nutrition customers to differentiate their products using Gold Plus or Gold Elite certified milk that has been sustainably produced,” says Synlait Milk CEO Dr John Penno. . .

Funding to help sustainable aquaculture porjects:

Five important projects focusing on aquaculture will benefit from the latest round of Sustainable Farming Fund grants, Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has announced today.

“New Zealand seafood is a premium product and it’s great to see groups looking to improve their production and value by developing aquaculture,” says Mr Guy.

The projects with funding are:

  • Koura Aquaculture, by Wai-Koura South: $119,420
  • Farming Premium Salmon, by the Salmon Improvement Group: $600,000
  • Management of the GLM9 Greenlipped Mussel Spat Resource, by GML9 Advisory Group: $20,000
  • Tuna (Shortfin-eel) Aquaculture, by Te Ohu Tiaki o Rangitane Te Ika a Mauri Trust (MIO): $600,000
  • Aquaculture custom bacterial vaccines, by Aquaculture New Zealand: $115,686. . .

Easy lamb roast (hat tip: Whale Oil):


Rural round-up

20/03/2013

Commercial Partnership Pays Dividends for New Zealand:

An AgResearch-developed wool dyeing technology that bridges the gap between high performance and haute couture is set to shine on a global stage thanks to a worldwide licensing deal.

The revolutionary textile dyeing process is now being commercialised by BGI Development. It enables wool to be dyed two colours at the same time, and graphics and images to be dyed into the fabric. There is no loss of the quality feel of the fabric and the images won’t deteriorate over time.

The technology enables designers to use high performance merino in creative ways never before possible, making merino an excellent choice for fashion active wear. . .

Dairying Women Want Greater ROI From Professional Advisors:

The Dairy Women’s Network will work with hundreds of dairying women across the country in April, helping them to increase the return on their investment on rural professional advice.

Dairy Women’s Network chief executive Sarah Speight said dairy farmers spend an average of $4,000 annually for advice from rural professionals (Reference, Ministry of Primary Industries, Farm Monitoring Report 2012 – Pastoral Monitoring: National Dairy) and the Network wants to help ensure this is money well spent.

“Dairying women and their partners want to get the best return possible on the money and time they are investing in rural professional advice. They want to see a demonstrable return on their operation’s bottom line – whether that’s in the short or long term – or it’s money down the drain. . .

Red meat farmers call for industry consolidation – Allan Barber:

Not for the first time, sheep and beef farmers have called for a single processing and marketing company representing 80% of the red meat industry.

At a meeting in Gore on Monday up to 1000 farmers from Southland and Otago, and as far away as HawkesBay voted overwhelmingly for a consolidated structure. The organisers now intend to promote the concept to other farmer groups throughout the country. But the industry has been down this route before without reaching a satisfactory conclusion. So what is different this time?

 In 2006 a group of South Island famers formed the Meat Industry Restructuring Group which called for a merger of the two big cooperatives, Alliance and Silver Fern Farms or PPCS as it then was. In 2008 Alliance Group led an attempt to reach agreement with those companies that made up approximately 80% of the industry which was seen as the minimum level required to achieve critical mass. . .

Drought-fuelled pests threaten winter feed crops:

As farmers across the country grapple with drought recovery plans and dry conditions, Ravensdown’s George Kerse Business Manager Agrochemicals is warning about the impact of insect pests on winter feed.

“As if the lack of moisture was not bad enough, the consistent extremely dry conditions mean insect pests are becoming a real issue for farmers.

The current dry conditions will have already reduced the amount of autumn-saved forage for winter feed, so specialist winter crops are becoming more important ensuring adequate feed for animals to prepare for next season. . .

Deteriorating Conditions Impacting On Farm Sales:

Summary

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 28 more farm sales (+8.0%) for the three months ended February 2013 than for the three months ended February 2012. Overall, there were 379 farm sales in the three months to end of February 2013, compared with 399 farm sales in the three months to January 2013, a decrease of 20 sales (-5.0%). 1,445 farms were sold in the year to February 2013, 11.6% more than were sold in the year to February 2012.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to February 2013 was $21,951; a 1.43% increase on the $21,641 recorded for three months ended February 2012. The median price per hectare decreased by 8.5% compared to January. . .

NZ Honey Not Always What It Seems: Airborne Honey Urges Kiwis to Buy Fully Traceable Food:

Airborne Honey, New Zealand’s longest standing honey brand, is calling on New Zealanders to be sure that the honey they are buying is what it claims to be and of a sufficiently high standard. According to Airborne Honey data, a large amount of honey on the shelves is heat damaged and labelled inaccurately. This includes Clover and Manuka honeys coming in well under the pollen percentage recommended by published research and derived from applying the Codex international standard for honey.

“The horsemeat scandal in Europe is encouraging more people than ever before to make food choices based on traceability and assured quality. Unfortunately, many don’t realise that there can be such discrepancies when it comes to honey,” says Peter Bray, Managing Director of Airborne Honey. . .

Mobile technology is a game changer for primary industries:

Back in 1990 few people had personal computers, the internet was an unknown and the age of the mobile phones was just around the corner. In a very short space of time these three technologies have fundamentally changed the face of business around the world.

Many of today’s leading global companies, Google, Apple and Microsoft, built their business around these three technologies. The services they provided their customers had a dramatic effect on workers’ productivity and levelled the playing field for many small businesses.

The recent release of smartphones has also been a game changer for many. Businesses now take it for granted that emails can be checked, news read, documents signed or video streamed, all while on the morning commute to work. . .

Babich Wins Trophy for ‘New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year 2013’ in China:

Babich Wines has continued their run of impressive international accolades by winning the Trophy for ‘New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year 2013’ at the China Wine & Spirits Awards Best Value 2013 held in Hong Kong earlier this month.

The Babich Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 and Babich The Patriarch 2010 both won a Double Gold Medal. These medals, along with a Silver Medal for the Babich Black Label Sauvignon Blanc 2012 helped clinch the ‘New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year 2013’ trophy. . .


Rural round-up

14/12/2012

Food and beverage stars for NZ to hitch its wagon to – report – sticK:

There’s not that many reports you can sit down and study and go – uumm, interesting.

But Auckland-based Coriolis has done it (again), and their ‘Investors guide to emerging growth opportunities in NZ food and beverage exports’ is, and I don’t say this lightly, quite fascinating.

The company has deliberately taken its methodology and report-back from a (potential) investor’s point of view.

The simple objective was to find the next ‘wine’ – such as that fledgling industry existed 25 years ago.
Over 500 food & beverage items, based on export trade codes, were screened down to 25 candidates for stage II in-depth investigation. . . .

Strong Finish To Spring Selling Season:

Summary

Farm sales increase 9.8 per cent compared to October
Median $/ha price rose 11.9 percent compared to November 2011
After noticeable period of absence first farm buyers active in Waikato and Taranaki
Lifestyle property sales lift 24% compared to November 2011

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 25 more farm sales (+9.8%) for the three months ended November 2012 than for the three months ended October 2012. Overall, there were 281 farm sales in the three months to end of November 2012, compared with 315 farm sales in the three months to November 2011, a decrease of 34 sales (-10.8%). 1,417 farms were sold in the year to November 2012, 23.4% more than were sold in the year to November 2011. . .

Cheese first made at least 7,500 years ago – Maria Cheng:

Little Miss Muffet could have been separating her curds and whey 7,500 years ago, according to a new study that finds the earliest solid evidence of cheese-making.

Scientists performed a chemical analysis on fragments from 34 pottery sieves discovered in Poland to determine their purpose. Until now, experts weren’t sure whether such sieves were used to make cheese, beer or honey.

Though there is no definitive test for cheese, Richard Evershed at the University of Bristol and colleagues found large amounts of fatty milk residue on the pottery shards compared to cooking or storage pots from the same sites. That suggests the sieves were specifically used to separate fat-rich curds from liquid whey in soured milk in a crude cheese-making process. . .

Debt is good under some circumstances – Allan Barber:

After my column last week about meat industry debt levels, Keith Cooper, CEO of Silver Fern Farms, took me to task for incorrectly reporting the situation with Silver Fern Farms’ debt facility.

I stated that these expired in September 2012 and therefore the company was operating on a temporary extension. The correct position was that the debt facility was originally negotiated for two years from September 2010 and consequently due to expire in September 2012. This remained the position at balance date in September 2011. However in the 2012 annual report, the facility was stated as expiring on 31 December 2012. . . .

Farmgate raw milk sales to continue:

Farm gate sales of raw milk will continue and the amount that can be purchased is likely to increase, Food Safety Minister Kate Wilkinson said today.

Farmers will also be exempt from the current requirement to have a costly Risk Management Programme for farm gate sales of raw milk and will instead need to adhere to certain animal health and hygiene requirements.

“The current Food Act allows people to buy only up to five litres of raw milk at the farm gate to drink themselves or give to their family,” Ms Wilkinson says.

Consultation carried out by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on possible changes to rules for raw drinking milk sales attracted nearly 1700 submissions. . .

ANZCO embarks on group-wide energy management programme:

One of New Zealand’s largest exporters is set to save more than $2 million a year and enhance its global reputation as a sustainable producer through a company-wide energy management programme.

EECA Business today announced it would support the initiative over two years to help ANZCO generate long-term energy savings in its New Zealand plants.

With annual sales of NZ $1.25 billion, ANZCO Foods Ltd processes and markets New Zealand beef and lamb products around the world. The firm employs over 3,000 staff world-wide and has 11 meat processing plants in New Zealand. . .

Feedback sought about regulation of dairy herd improvement

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is looking for feedback on the rules surrounding the New Zealand dairy herd improvement industry.

The New Zealand dairy industry has been a world leader in herd improvement, and its ability to trace the performance of the national herd – through the dairy core database – has been central to that success.

Studies have shown that genetic gains through dairy herd improvement have accounted for about two thirds of the sector’s productivity over the last decade. . . .


Rural round-up

15/08/2012

Australian dairy farmers follow the money – Dr Jon Hauser:

Ten years ago there was a general belief in the industry that dairy farmers would respond to low prices and low profitability by producing more milk. This is a sort of perverse defiance of the laws of supply and demand where the reverse is supposed to happen. The reality of this adage is that some farmers produced more milk, and others sold out or shut down the dairy. During the 1990’s the net effect of this was industry growth. Since 2002 the trend in Australia has been the other way – an ongoing decline in milk supply. This article is not however about the causes of declining production. It is about how to encourage milk supply and, despite the evidence to the contrary, that is exactly what has happened during the autumn and winter periods of production in the southeast. . .

Forestry harvesting machine wins national innovation award:

A non-scientist has won a major forestry research award for his key role in developing a new harvesting machine designed to be safer and more productive on steep slopes.

Kerry Hill, Managing Director of Trinder Engineering Ltd, of Nelson, is one of five winners of the second annual Future Forests Research Awards, presented at a function in Rotorua on Tuesday 14 August.

Mr Hill was one of four nominees for the award for innovation that adds value to the forestry sector. The three judges cited Trinder Engineering’s joint development with Kelly Logging Ltd over the past three years of a winch-assisted steep slope feller-buncher machine. Innovations include a front mounted winch, rear mounted blade and integrated hydraulic control systems. . .

Farm Transactions Slow As Seasonal Workloads Take Priority:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 55 more farm sales (+18.3%) for the three months ended July 2012 than for the three months ended July 2011.  Overall, there were 356 farm sales in the three months to end of July 2012, compared with 406 farm sales in the three months to June 2012, a decrease of 50 sales (-12.3%).  On a seasonally adjusted basis, after accounting for normal seasonal fluctuations, the number of sales rose by 0.7%, compared to the three months to June.

1,439 farms were sold in the year to July 2012, 50.4% more than were sold in the year to July 2011.  The number of farms sold on an annual basis is now the highest since April 2009.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to July 2012 was $17,955; a 22.6% increase on the $14,649 recorded for three months ended July 2011, and an increase of 2.2% on the $17,565 recorded for the three months to June 2012. . .

The Shed At Northburn Station Appoints Experienced Wine Professional As General Manager:

Northburn Station’s The Shed has appointed wine and hospitality expert Paul Tudgay as General Manager underlining the company’s commitment to enhancing the events and conference and incentive sector of its operations, focusing around its purpose-built facility, The Shed Restaurant, Cellar Door and function venue.

Tudgay (40) is a professional sommelier, trained in the UK, and for the past five years has had a high profile as a Queenstown Resort College wine educator and more latterly as its Hospitality and Business manager. He is also credited with introducing the international Wine and Spirit Education Trust qualification to Queenstown, with more than 80 people qualified to date.

Northburn Station owners Tom and Jan Pinckney  opened The Shed four years ago with Jan taking on the diverse role of  overseeing The Shed including the restaurant, cellar door, functions and the company’s trade wine business. . .

Young Farmer elected to FCANZ Board

New Zealand Young Farmer member Mark Lambert has been elected to the board of the Fencing Contractors Association of New Zealand (FCANZ). FCANZ is an industry organisation that supports and benefits the fencing industry of New Zealand.

The 2012 FCANZ AGM was held at the Waipuna Conference Centre, Auckland on 27, 28 and 29th of July. There were eight nominees for seven spots on the board which went to a vote and Mr Lambert was elected for a one year term.

A group of dedicated fencing contractors launched The Fencing Contractors Association of New Zealand Inc. (FCANZ) in February 2006. . .

New Animal Welfare Regulations Affect Producers & Processors:

New regulations coming into force next year mean that the export meat industry will need to train all staff in animal welfare and quality issues appropriate to their jobs.  Supermarkets in the EC and UK, and their customers, want to be assured that livestock are treated humanely at all stages of processing.

In particular they are concerned that the procedures used in handling animals on farm, during transportation and from reception at meat plants through to stunning and slaughter are painless and cause as little distress as possible, according to Dr Nicola Simmons, General Manager of Carne Technologies Ltd. . .

Winter delivers too much of a good thing:

Prolonged wet weather and surface flooding is causing concern on-farm during a very busy period in the farming calendar, with calving and in some pockets, lambing, underway.

“I know when we hit a long dry spell farmers will look back at the rain longingly. But what many need right now are days or weeks of fine settled weather to dry out,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Adverse Events spokesperson.

“The only way to describe much of rural New Zealand is sodden and there’ll be plenty of people in the towns and cities who’d probably agree. Farmers are hoping for a decent fine spell in order for saturated pasture to recover. . .

Hoping indeed with all fingers and toes crossed. It stopped raining here (North Otago) late this morning, the sun is trying to shine through the clouds and there are streaks of blue sky appearing.


Rural round-up

28/07/2012

Kiwi a Transtasman winner:

Tim van de Molen, the Royal Agricultural Society of New Zealand (RAS) Rural Youth Ambassador, was announced as the Australasian Rural Youth Ambassador in the finals at the Darwin Royal Showgrounds.

This is a historic win for New Zealand, taking top honours in only the second year the competition has been extended transtasman.

Van de Molen, a 29-year-old agribusiness manager for ANZ and based in Waikato, is overwhelmed by the win. . .

Rapid lamb gains now in the past – Hugh Stringleman:

The drivers of sheep farm productivity increases are forecast to be throttled back over the coming decade, compared with the rapid pace of improvement over the past 20 years.

Total lamb weight produced per breeding ewe, lambing percentage and lamb carcase weight will ease off compared with past productivity increases which have been the envy of the national economy.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief economist Rob Davison told the Red Meat Sector Conference in Queenstown that an industry-wide discussion is needed on the right mix of lamb carcase weights for the future – whether farmers should push on above 18kg. . .

Ballance shareholders benefit from strong result

Another strong result by Ballance Agri-Nutrients has its 18,200 shareholders sharing in a $47 million rebate and dividend distribution.

Shareholders will receive $43.6 million through a $40 rebate per tonne of fertiliser purchased plus a further $3.4 million through an imputed dividend of $0.10 per share.

This will result in an average return of $44.29 per tonne, a result which compares well with last year’s record distribution averaging $50.29 per tonne. . .

Ravensdown announces new CEO:

Ravensdown, the 100% farmer-owned co-operative, has appointed Greg Campbell as the new CEO to replace chief executive Rodney Green when he retires on the 31st December 2012.

 In announcing the appointment, Chairman of Ravensdown, Mr Bill McLeod, commented that “Rodney Green had given us plenty of notice of his intention to retire, which gave us the luxury of time to conduct a really thorough search for his replacement. We are grateful for that, as Rodney will leave a very different Ravensdown to the one he took over in 1998. We especially thank Rodney, and acknowledge the job he has done growing and strengthening the company over the years of his stewardship. This meant we needed to find a special replacement to take over the reins from him.” . . .

North Islander set to defend title:

 Last year’s winner of the Canterbury A&P Association Mint Lamb Competition, Bill Feetham of Hastings, is preparing his entries for 2012 with the opening of this year’s competition launched this month.

 Farmers from throughout New Zealand are invited to showcase their quality lamb and compete in the 2012 Mint Lamb Competition held in conjunction with the country’s largest Agricultural and Pastoral Show, the Canterbury A&P Show. . .

Government scheme increaeses recycling on farm:

More than 650 tonnes of plastic farm waste has been recycled nationwide during the past year thanks to a government-funded scheme, Environment Minister Amy Adams says.

Under the product stewardship scheme, Plasback supplies more than 1000 recycling bins to New Zealand farms, and collects agricultural plastics such as bale wrap, silage wrap and covers, agrichemical containers and crop bags.

The waste is recycled into plastic resin pellets and then reused in new plastic products.

“Many farmers have been frustrated by the lack of options for dealing with plastic farm waste and know that burning or burying waste is not a sustainable solution,” Ms Adams says. . .

Allied Farmers granted waiver for $1.2M loan for bobby calf business:

Allied Farmers, the company whose market value was all but wiped out when it acquired the financial assets of Hanover Finance, has been granted a waiver to borrow up to $1.2 million for the operations of its bobby calf venture.

The waiver, granted by NZX Markets Supervision, was required because the loan would exceed 10 percent of Allied’s average market capitalisation of about $2.5 million and would have needed approval of shareholders. . .

REINZ Introduces New Farm Price Index:

REINZ is pleased to announce today the introduction of the REINZ Farm Price Index, as a superior and more accurate guide to changes in farm sale prices.

The new measure has been developed in conjunction with the Reserve Bank and adjusts for property specific factors such as location, size and farm type in measuring changes in farm prices.

“The REINZ Farm Price Index is less influenced by the type of farms that happen to sell, providing an improved measure of underlying farm prices,” says REINZ Rural Market Spokesman Brian Peacocke. . .

Canterbury vegetable grower takes national Young Grower title:

Andrew Scott from Canterbury has been named Young Grower of the Year at the Horticulture New Zealand Conference 2012.

Andrew, 29, was presented with his award last night after the day-long Young Grower of the Year competition held at Ellerslie Events Centre, Auckland, as part of this year’s Horticulture New Zealand Conference. . . .


Rural round-up

15/07/2012

New NZ Infant formula using NZ food safety for Kiwi babies, to market in China:

New Zealand’s strong food safety and consumer demand for quality is the starting point for a new venture – selling New Zealand infant formula, developed for Kiwi babies, into the Chinese market.

In July Carrickmore Infant Formula is being launched in both New Zealand and China. This launch will highlight both New Zealand’s strict food safety laws and clean green reputation.

Carrickmore Nutrition Managing Director, Chris Claridge, said “There are Chinese-owned and a few New Zealand owned milk powder companies selling NZ originated Infant formulas however, the fact we’re selling formula made from fresh New Zealand milk to our children as well as those in the rest of the world, shows the confidence we have in our product.  . .

Blue Sky posts loss as export prices dive:

Blue Sky Meats, the Invercargill-based meat processor, has posted a full-year loss after export prices plummeted in the second half, squeezing margins for companies who started the season with “unrealistic” opening schedules for lamb.

The net loss was $449,149 in the 12 months ended March 31, from a profit of about $3.69 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement.

Sales rose about 13 per cent to $114.2m while expenses climbed 22 per cent to $114.8m.

“International market prices for almost all items that the company sells reduced at an alarming rate from November to March, against a background of EU financial challenges,” chairman Graham Cooney said. . .

Predicting river flows in ungauged river catchments,from New Zealand to the world– Waiology:

Our knowledge of the water cycle is imperfect – for example we don’t have data for all rivers across the landscape, and yet so often we want river flow information for resource and hazard management purposes. In the absence of direct data, then, we turn to models and seek to make hydrological predictions in these ungauged river basins.

Predictions in Ungauged Basins (PUB) is an IAHS initiative operating throughout the decade of 2003-2012, established with the primary aim of reducing uncertainty in hydrological predictions. It is a ‘grass-roots’ science movement intended to engage the interest of hydrologists around the world, and has grown to encompass an enormous variety of approaches and settings. . .

New Zealand gingerly navigates a global dairy crisis:

This year is shaping up as a bumpy one for the international dairy industry, with the worst U.S. drought since Ronald Reagan was president and thousands of European dairy farmers taking to the streets in protest.

“We seem to be staring down the barrel of a global dairy crisis, which could benefit New Zealand’s dairy farmers,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers dairy chairperson.

“An act of nature in the United States and subsidies elsewhere are putting dairy farmers under the most unimaginable pressure. WeatherWatch’s Philip Duncan says half of the continental United States is now in drought. . .

Peel Forest Estate buys Winderemere Stud:

Peel Forest Estate, based in South Canterbury, has announced today that it has purchased the Pure Warnham and Warnham-Woburn breeding herd along with selected sires, semen, embryos and the Windermere name from the award winning Windermere Red Deer Stud near Hamilton.

Windermere stud has been specialising in breeding for superior velvet genetics for nearly twenty five years providing outstanding sires to the deer industry with a high degree of consistency and reliability. . .

Vidal Estate Winery wins Beef & Lamb Excellence People’s Choice Award:

The people have chosen – Vidal Estate Winery in Hastings has been named winner of the Hawkes Bay People’s Choice Award, recognising its excellence in beef and lamb cuisine.

Over 500 diners in Hawkes Bay have spent the past month scoring their beef or lamb dishes in their favourite Beef & Lamb Excellence Award restaurant in the region, with Vidal Estate Winery taking out top honours. . .

Rural sales ease as winter begins:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 13 more farm sales (+3.3%) for the three months ended June 2012 than for the three months ended June 2011. Overall, there were 406 farm sales in the three months to end of June 2012, compared with 467 farm sales in the three months to May 2012, an decrease of 61 sales (-13.1%). On a seasonally adjusted basis, after accounting for normal seasonal fluctuations, the number of sales fell by 6.8%.

1,413 farms were sold in the year to June 2012, 47.2% more than were sold in the year to June 2011.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to June 2012 was $17,565; a 12.8% increase on the $15,568 recorded for three months ended June 2011, and an increase of 3.1% on the $17,031 recorded for the three months to May 2012. . .

NZIF Forester of the Year:

The New Zealand Institute of Forestry Forester of the Year Award for 2012 was presented to Mr Brett Gilmore, a Registered Forester from Napier at the Institute’s annual conference in Christchurch last week.

Announcing the recipient of this prestigious award, President of the Institute, Dr Andrew McEwen, noted that the award recognises leadership, excellence and personal integrity. Consideration is given to the nominee’s contribution to New Zealand’s economic, social and environmental development, the use of innovation and new technologies or the creation of a new product or business of significance to forestry. Further consideration is given to professional and academic achievements, broad community involvement, cultural and other achievements. . .


Farm sales up, most to locals

19/04/2012

Farm sales increased 109% in the March quarter it doesn’t necessarily signal the start of a boom.

“Sales over the three months to March reflect the strengthening of the rural economy, bolstered by favourable growing conditions, very good levels of production, solid market returns and a positive climate for borrowing,” said Brian Peacocke, rural market spokesperson at REINZ.

All regions, apart from the Hawkes Bay, recorded an increase in sales in the March quarter compared with a year earlier. Canterbury showed the largest increase, up 39 sales, followed by Waikato on 38, while the Hawkes Bay dropped 4 sales.

“Irrespective of the above, a note of caution is clearly emerging as the industry prepares for winter, with the expectation that income levels may moderate next season, and given seasonal variabilities, it is unlikely the combination of current benevolent factors will be repeated for some time to come,” said Peacocke.

Critics of land sales to foreigners argue that they price locals out of the market.

The media release doesn’t mention the nationality of the buyers but there haven’t been many Overseas Investment Office approvals for sales this year so most of the properties must have been bought to locals.

Among those sales would have been ones engineered by one of the major banks which has been carefully and quietly sorting out heavily indebted customers who weren’t going to be able to farm their way out of their problems.

The bank has been working under the radar on purpose, usually selling to neighbours, sometimes doing some much-needed maintenance before looking for buyers.

Had the receivers for the Crafar Farms followed this example, the chances of properties being sold individually and to locals would have been much greater.

 


Rural round-up

25/01/2012

New Zealand’s first independent product development spray dryer:

 New Zealand’s first and only independent product development spray dryer is one step closer to being open for business.  The 10.5 metre high stainless steel dryer, weighing 7.5 tonne was lifted into the new pilot plant today on the Waikato Innovation Park campus in Hamilton.

The $11 million product development spray dryer facility, primarily funded by Innovation Waikato Ltd, is the Waikato component of the Government-sponsored New Zealand Food Innovation Network.  Capacity of the multi-purpose spray dryer is one-half tonne/hour.

Construction of the facility will be completed in April 2012 and the first product run is scheduled for mid-May.

“We’re now looking for commitments from companies that want to research and develop new spray dried food products in the pilot plant.  Our message out to the market is that we’re open for business and we want to help companies create new products and reach new export markets. . .

Strong finish for rural property sales in December:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 140 more farm sales (+65.7%) for the three months ended December 2011 than for the three months ended December 2010.  Overall, there were 353 farm sales in the three months to end of December 2011, compared with 213 farm sales in the three months to December 2010.  The number of sales increased by 38 (+12.1%) in the three months to December 2011 compared to the three months ended November 2011.  1,193 farms were sold in the year to December 2011, the highest number of farm sales on an annual basis since June 2009.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to December 2011 was $20,445, the same as for the three months ended November 2011 and down $3,230 per hectare on the $23,675 recorded for the three months to December 2010. . .

Red meat potential is there but so are challenges – Suzie Horne:

“You can win … you can grow … you can be one of the food industry’s great success stories,” was the positive message from Joanne Denney-Finch to producers at Quality Meat Scotland’s conference this week.
IGD’s research showed that farmers were viewed as hardworking, down to earth, professional and vital to the future, said chief executive Ms Denny-Finch . . .

Livestock prospects for 2012 – Allan Barber:

Livestock processing volumes have been very low so far this season and the prices being paid to farmers are at historically high levels for both beef and lambs. This has got very little to do with the overseas markets, nothing at all with the exchange rate and everything to do with the grass growth everywhere except Otago and Southland.

Many farmers are holding onto their stock with little prospect of being able to afford to buy replacements because of the state of the store market. Although the published schedules are closer to $4.30, current North Island prime beef prices are as high as $4.70, which reflects saleyard prices for 2 ½ year old steers as high as $2.75, equivalent to $5.50 a kilo. This is a grass market running rampant . . .

Anger at loss of lamb weighing at saleyards

GISBORNE farmers are appalled that livestock companies have revoked access to weighing lambs at Matawhero, Stortford Lodge and Feilding saleyards.

PGG  Wrightson and Elders have told iFarm that the lamb weights reported in Livestock Eye were playing a part in increased competition from paddock-based agents, by providing independent benchmark lamb pricing.

Since 2006, iFarm had a contract to weigh a sample of each pen of lambs sold at the yards . . .

Hat tip: interest.co.nz

Farmers’ group aims for greater urban ties – William McCorkindale:

New Zealand Young Farmer leaders have revealed the organisation’s intention of creating closer ties to city contacts.

Young Farmer organisation chief executive Richard Fitzgerald, speaking at the beginning of the 2012 Young Farmer of the Year contest in Dunedin yesterday, stressed the need for agriculture to market itself into urban areas.

Staging the grand final in Dunedin in May would be one of the few times the event had been hosted in a large centre, he said.

“We are taking a more proactive approach to marketing the contest and agriculture in general to an urban audience by holding the grand final in a large centre.”

The Young Farmer competition highlighted the need for today’s farmers to have a diverse range of qualifications, technical skills, and abilities, he said . . .

Potatoes New Zealand appoints  new interim board:

Potatoes New Zealand has appointed a new interim board ahead of changes to the organisation’s structure to help the industry achieve its goal of tripling the value of the potato supply chain by 2020.

Potatoes New Zealand’s structure is changing to reflect its new role representing not just growers, but the whole potato supply chain – from grower to seller – who all face the same industry challenges such as psyllid, tightening margins and maintaining consumer demand. Previously, Potatoes New Zealand was a grower-only organisation.

Ron Gall, Potatoes New Zealand Business Manager, believes the new Potatoes New Zealand structure will present greater opportunities for growth and collaboration among its expanded membership base.

From the paddock to the packet field day:
The 2011 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year will hold a field day on their South Canterbury property in early March.

Raymond and Adrianne Bowan will open Fallgate Farms and their Heartland Potato Chip factory to the rural community to show how innovation helped them turn well grown potatoes into great tasting chips.

Lincoln University Foundation chairman Neil Taylor expects many people from throughout the South Island and potato growers from around the country to attend the field day.


Rural round-up

25/09/2011

Rural contractors say review needed – Sally Rae:

Rural Contractors New Zealand has welcomed a review of    transport rules affecting agricultural contractors, describing    it as “great news”.   

Associate Transport Minister Nathan Guy said the Government      was about to begin a review. It wanted to make sure the rules      ensured public safety without imposing unnecessary red tape . . .

Arable farming career excites graduate – Sally Rae:

Hannah Priergaard-Petersen reckons she has the perfect    first job. Ms Priergaard-Petersen has been employed as a trials    officer at the Foundation for Arable Research (Far), following    her stint as a Far summer scholar in 2010-11.   

Brought up in a farm in northern Southland, she recently      completed a bachelor of science degree at the University of      Canterbury, majoring in biological sciences . . .

Young stock judge tackles Australia – Sally Rae:

A great learning experience” is how young Otago stock judge Will Gibson describes representing New Zealand at the Royal      Adelaide Show in Australia.   

 Will (18), a pupil at John McGlashan College, competed in the junior merino judging competition earlier this month, against      the six Australian state finalists.   

 He was among a small group of young New Zealanders who participated in stock judging and handling competitions at      the show.   

 New Zealand Young Rural Achiever Cath Lyall, from Raes Junction, also represented New Zealand at the event.  

New focus sought for Waituna – Kimberly Crayton-Brown:

Farmers in the Waituna catchment fear they may lose their farms, meaning talk must focus on solutions and not problems, a senior Environment Southland staff member says.

Council chief executive Ciaran Keogh said people needed to be thinking about a response, not a threat. “We have got a problem and we need to get people talking about answers which we are not doing at the moment. People are starting to feel threatened so let’s lift the discussion out of the confrontational things.”

Mr Keogh said at the moment farmers had this great fear they were going to lose their farms . . .

Sheep milking operation continues to expand – Collette Devlin:

Losing his seat at the general election this year could be enough for Deputy Prime Minister Bill English to return to a farming life, with sheep milking one option.

Southland’s leading sheep milking operation Blue River Dairy hosted Mr English last week, including a visit to the milking shed run by Keith Neylon in Antler Downs.

Blue River Diary has another milking operation in Brydone, Invercargill. Both farms milk non-stop for 12 months . . .

Demographics alter consumer demand patterns – Allan Barber:

Demographic changes will present challenges for the red meat sector in spite of apparently unstoppable world population growth. Several speakers at the Red Meat Sector Conference made reference to the possible effects of these changes over the next 40 years, some of which will be positive, like the growth of the Indian and Chinese middle class, and others negative.

The most obvious challenge will be the ageing of the population in first world countries, because older people eat less and require more single portion meat cuts . . .

RMSS conference reveals templates to learn from:

THE RED Meat Sector Strategy report, issued in May, said what needed to be done. Now Beef + Lamb NZ and the Meat Industry Association have run up another clutch of signal flags.  

Others in agriculture are seen to be doing some of the things the RMSS report suggested, so they were invited to tell their stories at a recent conference. Their successes stemmed from growers and consumers being in harmony . . .

Merino meat next on the menu – Owen Hembry:

A new sheep industry initiative aiming to replicate the branding success of high country merino wool with premium priced meat products is heading to high-end restaurant plates.

The New Zealand Merino Company and processor co-operative Silver Fern Farms have formed a joint venture and launched a premium brand called Silere Alpine Merino, which will sell for about 10 to 15 per cent more than normal meat . . .

Choose good tucker and chew slowly – Alan Emmerson:

I was really intrigued with the statistics as to how many of the world’s people were starving and how many were obese. Out of a world population approaching seven billion people, one billion are hungry.

Similarly one billion are overweight with 300 million classed as obese. In the United States with a population of 311 million, 10 million are starving and 105 million are obese. Obesity is a massive problem, not much is heard of it and, worse, New Zealand is the third most obese nation in the world. It is, indeed, a crisis . . .

Seeking farmer contorl of wool – Tony Leggett:

A new company formed to raise capital to invest in the wool sector is already shrouded in controversy.

The New Zealand Wool Investment Company (to be known as WoolCo) is a 50:50 joint venture between the farmer-owned and listed wool innovation firm Wool Equities Limited (WEL) and Christchurch merchant bankers Ocean Partners.

It announced plans last Friday to attempt to raise $40 million capital to buy the 65% stake in Wool Services International (WSI), formerly held by two companies associated with Allan Hubbard but now controlled by a receiver . . .

Crafar not guilty in dirty farming trial

Reporoa dairy farmer Glen Walter Crafar has been found not guilty by a Rotorua District Court  jury of one charge of dirty dairying . . .

Farmers fearful over rustler raids – Greg Stack:

Stolen livestock and gunshots on the wild west coast have Waikato farmers fearing for their safety, with one stopping vehicle access to a popular fishing spot in response.

Livestock rustling, a problem more common in a Western film, has hit Waikato’s west coast as the tail of the recession squeezes the isolated farming community . . .

Divisions over apple marketing – Gerald Piddock:

Waipopo Orchards is taking a wait and see approach following a split in the apple industry over the best way to exploit the newly opened Australian market.

The split came following the results of a recent postal ballot that showed while 73 per cent of growers with 72 per cent of the export crop voted to support adopting a Horticultural Export Authority (HEA) model for the Australian market, just 37 per cent of exporters with 43 per cent of the fruit backed the proposal . . .

Farm sales on the rise – Gerald Piddock:

Farm sales nationally for the year to August topped 1000 for the first time in almost two years, according the Real Estate Institute.

“The underlying trend is rising. We are seeing enquiry emerging for quality properties,” rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said.

The improvement was based on expectations for commodity prices to hold or in some cases firm slightly as the season progressed, he said . . .

Herbal pasture clovers challenge our concept of what a dairy pasture looks like – Pasture to Profit:

The dawning of a new age OR a Storm of Innovation? A group of very innovative pasture based dairyfarmers in the UK are challenging our concept of what a pasture looks like. Farmers are experimenting with Herbal Clover pastures. Lots of different mixes of herbs with white clover to provide the nitrogen. Over the past two weeks I’ve been very lucky to work with 2 French groups (one farmer group from Brittany & an Organic Dairy Advisers group from Normandy) visiting SW England. We were on both conventional & organic pasture based dairy
farms . . .


Farm sales and property values drop

18/09/2010

The volume of farm sales and prices paid dropped in the three months to August.

From a high of $4,650,000 in August 2008 the three month median price for dairying properties is down by a third to $3,100,000 in the latest REINZ Rural Market Report statistics released today.

Only 17 dairy farms were sold in the three months to August, one less than in the same period last year and significantly below the 67 transactions in the three months to August 2008. Just three dairy farms sold in August at an average price of $2,543,333, and the average price per hectare decreased to $31,598 from $36,435 in July. The average price per kilogram of milk solids has fallen further to $33 from $37 in July, $40 in June and $45 in May.

From a peak of $90,125 in August 2009, the average price per hectare of all types of farms has fallen to $29,739. The 192 farms sold in the three months to the end of August is an increase on the 183 in the same period last year, but less than the 516 transactions in the three months to August 2008.

The national median farm sale price eased up from $1,118,500 for the three months to July to $1,127,754 for the three months to August 2010. Well down on the median of $1,742,500 for the equivalent period in 2008, the latest August figure is fractionally above the median for all farms of $1,000,000 for the same three months in 2009. However with the low number of sales currently occurring, price fluctuations, both upwards and downwards, can be impacted by the range of prices of the mix of properties being sold.

On a regional basis the largest number of farm sales during the three months to August was 31 in Canterbury, 24 of them grazing properties, and 27 in Southland, 11 of them grazing properties.

During the past year median prices for farms have declined in eight out of the 14 districts. In the three months to August 2010 compared with the corresponding period in 2009, farm sale prices were down in Waikato from $1,663,655 to $1,187,500, Bay of Plenty from $1,000,000 to $920,000, Hawkes Bay from $1,800,000 to $945,000, Manawatu/Wanganui from $1,275,000 to $1,200,000, Wellington from $3,005,000 to $1,935,000, Canterbury from $1,300,000 to $1,200,000, Otago from $937,500 to $712,000, and Southland from $1,200,000 to $1,125,000.

There was another decrease in the number of sales of lifestyle properties from 1088 at the end of July to 1066 in the three months to the end of August, and the national median selling price eased from $447,500 at the end of July to $436,750 last month. While the August 2010 median is still up on $430,000 for the same three month period in 2009 it is below the August 2008 median of $450,000.

The decline in sales and prices is due to both the recession and the boom which preceded it.

Farm prices for all properties soared on the back of increasing dairy prices until it was cheaper to buy an existing dairy farm than to purchase sheep or cropping land and convert it.

There used to be a rule of thumb that you should never pay more than three to five times the value of a property’s gross income when buying a farm. That was disregarded for not just dairy properties but sheep and beef ones with much less earning potential.

The value of a property is most important when you’re buying or selling or if it’s highly mortgaged.

Lower prices may make it easier for people to get in to farming or increase their land holding, although credit is still pretty tight. But they will also be causing older farmers to re-think their retirement plans and they will be having a detrimental impact on equity of those with mortgages.

That won’t matter if the people can cover interest payments and ride out the current downturn. But it will put pressure on people who were struggling before prices dropped.

However, banks will be mindful that there’s no point pushing for sales when prices are dropping.

The protracted process of the sale of the Crafar properties won’t be helping farm sales and that’s when it’s possible for overseas investors to own farms.

The volume of sales and property prices would drop even more if farm ownership was restricted to New Zealanders.


There’s Still Gold in Grass

17/06/2008

The price of farms sold doesn’t reflect the supposedly weakening economy with record median price for dairy farms at $4m last month.

 

The dairy boom is having a flow on effect to other prices with the national median for all farm prices at $1.8m, up by more than 50% on May last year.

 

Real estate agents at the fieldays told me they had no problem selling farms, but there were more buyers than sellers so they’re having problems finding farms to sell.

 

However, 72 Otago farms sold in May, up from 66 the previous month and 39 in May last year. Of those farms 31 were finishing and 28 grazing, which are sought after by dairy farmers. Five were special, five dairy and one each arable, forestry and horticulture.

 

In Southland, 108 farms sold in May, up from 103 in April and 96 in May 2007.

 

The median Otago farm price was just above the national median but eased to $1.87 million in May, from $1.96 million in April, but still up on the $1.16 million in May 2007.

In Southland the median price rose to $2.41 million in May, up from $2.37 million in April and $1.30 million in May 2007.

 

REINZ rural spokesman Peter McDonald said while fuel price rises will hit farming hard that’s not yet reflected in property sales.

 

Mr McDonald said the main drivers for the rural strength were city investors wanting to get into farming, and dairying in particular, as well as farmers wanting to extend their landholdings and amalgamate properties where possible.

 

“It is clear that farmers are taking the view that now is as good a time as any to amalgamate properties to achieve better economies of scale.”


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