Rural round-up

December 20, 2013

Red meat is worth 35 annual Avatars and could be much more:

Federated Farmers has started consultation among its membership covering reform of New Zealand’s $6 billion Red Meat industry.  The red-meat industry is currently worth around 35 annual Avatar movies to the New Zealand economy.

“Given Avatar Director James Cameron is also a Wairarapa farmer, reform of New Zealand’s red meat industry represents our economic blockbuster if we can pull it off,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre spokesperson.

“From the number of calls I have already received, I know both the media and our meat processors are very keen to see a copy of our paper. . .

Feds’ members only meat report:

FEDERATED FARMERS has put “three broad options” to its members on meat industry reform in a paper to be publicly released in the New Year.

Meat & Fibre section national chair Jeanette Maxwell says the solutions within the options are “more like a pick a mix” and suggests the processor focussed option will generate much discussion.
“There is a push by some in the industry to merge the cooperatives, something that’s much easier said than done. If the thinking is ‘just copy Fonterra’ then it will not succeed. To work, any merger needs a reassessment of the entire industry but especially its capital structures.” . . .

Alliance group’s Blue Sky Meat takeover talks fail – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) Meat co-operative Alliance Group’s talks about a potential takeover of rival South Island processor Blue Sky Meats have ended when Blue Sky withdrew after a failure to agree on key terms.

Blue Sky withdrew from the “respectful and amicable” talks early this month after being approached by Alliance a couple of months ago, Blue Sky chairman Graham Cooney said.

Both processing companies were based in Invercargill.

The farmer-led Meat Industry Excellence group had this year been pushing for closer integration of meat companies in an attempt to improve efficiency and boost profits.  . .

Farmers’ dairying halt boosts river

Dairy farmers are adapting to the massive pressures of farming under the close scrutiny of the public eye, but one farmer on the outskirts of Palmerston township in East Otago has more at stake than most.

For a start, Alan and Iain Ford’s 100ha Glenlurgan dairy farm on fertile river terraces is neatly split in two by the Shag River.

To complicate matters further, the townships of Palmerston, Dunback and Goodwood all draw their water from a pumping station intake at the lower end of the farm. . .

A timely reminder:

Fonterra dropped a bombshell last week when it announced its latest consideration on its farmgate milk price.

For farmer shareholders in New Zealand’s largest company, it had been shaping up to be a particularly merry Christmas, with economists suggesting the milk price could be lifted as much as 40c.

Elevated prices, which have defied predictions and remained at very high levels – the GlobalDairyTrade price index was just 7% below its April high and about 50% higher than a year ago – raised expectations for the forecast to rise. . .

Christmas comes early for Westland dairy farmers:

Federated Farmers is thrilled about the latest announcement from Westland Milk Products regarding their milk pay-out forecast of $8.30 per kilogram of milk solids.

“Dairy farmers have had Christmas early this year with this pay-out announcement,” says Richard Reynolds, Federated Farmers West Coast Dairy chair.

“This is a huge difference from last years pay-out and I know a lot of dairy farmers on the West Coast will be ecstatic at this announcement. . .

Taranaki provincial president hands over the reins:

Federated Farmers is saddened to lose its Taranaki provincial president, Harvey Leach, following his resignation this week.

“Harvey has been a huge influence and a game changer in the Taranaki region, and we will all be sad to see him go,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“The role of provincial president is voluntary and takes a lot of time and dedication.Our provincial presidents do a lot of great work that does not get a lot of coverage, but Harvey has always been one of life’s true gentlemen. He will be missed but he leaves his province in great shape. . .

Bloodstock – setting up to succeed:

The New Zealand’s bloodstock sector is more than just an agribusiness niche and is attracting renewed interest from investors, says Geoff Roan, Senior Manager, Bloodstock, for Crowe Horwath.

While sometimes seen as a high risk investment, if structured correctly and professionally managed as a business, the bloodstock sector can be both profitable and fun, says Mr Roan.

The bloodstock sector was valued at $1.6 bn in NZ by New Zealand Racing Board in 2010, which compares favourably with viticulture ($1.5 bn) and aquaculture ($1.7 bn).

Contribution to GDP $1.64 billion $1.5 billion $1.7 billion Direct employment impact FTE $8,877 $5,940 $10,520 Total employment impact FTE $17,000 $16,500 $26,600 . . .

2013 Waipara Hills Sauvignon Blanc textural and bursting with flavour:

Waipara Hills release their 2013 Waipara Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, just in time for what is predicted to be a hot summer. The new release Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect partner on a balmy summer evening, with its fresh flavours of guava, melon, nettles and flint that flow from the nose into the mouth.

Waipara Hills Winemaker, Simon McGeorge, is really looking forward to showing off the 2013 Waipara Hills Sauvignon Blanc in the coming year. “I love the rich burst of fruit on the first sip, but it’s the texture and structure that I think are exciting. A grapefruit pith character, along with a nice rich mid-palate, gives this wine vibrancy and complexity which I believe will really have broad appeal.” Simon said. . .


Rural round-up

October 3, 2013

Taranaki study backs landfarming science – Isobel Ewing:

An independent report on landfarming in Taranaki has vindicated the science behind the process, Taranaki Regional Council boss of environmental quality Gary Bedford says.

In a report commissioned by the council, soil scientist Doug Edmeades, of AgKnowledge Ltd in Hamilton, set out to see if landfarms in Taranaki were fit for pastoral farming, in particular dairy farming.

Dr Edmeades investigated soil fertility, heavy metal and barium concentrates and petrochemical residues in the soil at three landfarming sites in the region.

The report found that landfarming made sandy, coastal farmland ten times better for dairying.

“The process of landfarming these otherwise very poor soils, together with appropriate management has increased the agronomic value of the land from about $3000-5000/ha to $30,000-40,000/ha.” . .

Hardwood project promises billions – Jon Morgan:

When arsenic was found in the aquifer beneath Marlborough’s vineyards in 2003 it sent a shiver of fear through the region. The worry was that the deadly poison would find its way into the wine and sink the then-$400 million industry.

Research found the water source was naturally occurring arsenic and not a danger to health. But it also found arsenic in the soil – from thousands of tanalised pine posts.

A search began for an alternative post. It has taken 10 years, but the group formed to undertake the research and grow the wood – the New Zealand Dryland Forests Initiative – has reached a crucial stage.

Seven eucalypt species have been identified as having the ideal qualities. Seed has been collected, trials planted on farms throughout both islands and the best trees are starting to show.

At the same time, new markets far beyond the 450,000 posts a year needed for Marlborough vineyards alone have been discovered. . .

Forum Will Rebuild New Zealand’s Food Safety Image:

A Dunedin woman has accepted the challenge to help rebuild New Zealand’s food safety image.

Dr Helen Darling, a founder of a company which pioneers global food verification systems, is bringing up to 200 delegates to Otago to address the perception that New Zealand must improve its food safety standards.

The Global Food Safety Forum traditionally meets in Beijing but Dr Darling has persuaded the US based, not-for-profit organisation, to hold it in New Zealand from November 13-15.

A strong emphasis will be to consider and seek solutions to the next crisis before it occurs.

“With food safety, prevention is better than cure. We will look at emerging threats and ways to address them before they become a problem to our producers and for trade.” . .

Drought over but affects will linger:

While the drought of 2013 is now officially over, some farms, especially meat and fibre will see its aftermath linger for years to come.

“While the thankfully benign winter and spring has seen a most remarkable come back in terms of pasture, North Island sheep farmers in particular lost capital stock and quality genetics,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Adverse Events Spokesperson.

“Not to mention their wool crop too. The shame being that it came at a time when wool seemed to be finding its feet

“After speaking to my colleague Jeannette MaxwellI, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre Chairperson, it means we are looking at fewer lambs this year with speculation it could be upwards of three million. . .

Ready and relevant for 21st century: Lincoln University launches new land-based degree portfolio:

This week Lincoln University has marked a number of significant events. 

On Tuesday 1st October, the University launched its new portfolio of bachelor’s degrees – all of which are now focused on knowledge and expertise that creates careers in the land-based industries, globally.

The new portfolio retains flagships such as the Bachelor of Agricultural Science and Bachelor of Commerce (Agriculture), and introduces new degrees such as the Bachelor of Agribusiness and Food Marketing and the Bachelor of Environment and SocietyAll the new majors have a very clear focus on the land-based sector. 

“These changes reinforce what this University exists to do, which is to help feed the world, protect the future and live well.  Our reform has seen us reduce the number of majors within our degrees from 42 to 24 (43 percent).  We have narrowed our focus and deepened our capacity to be world class where it really counts, in the land-based industries,” says Professor Sheelagh Matear , Assistant Vice-Chancellor, Academic Programmes and Student Experience. . .

Westland trumps its big brother:

New Zealand’s second largest dairy cooperative, Westland Milk Products, has managed to beat Fonterra Cooperative Group with a $6.34 per kilogram of milk solids (kg/MS) payout before retentions.

“That 2012/13 season must rank as one of the weirdest we’ve had here on the Coast,” says Richard Reynolds, Federated Farmers West Coast Dairy chairperson.

“After a promising start, we had a summer flood which washed out bridges before a drought so severe some sections of our rivers like the Taramakau actually dried up.

“Despite all of this, Westland deserves credit for managing to make a surplus of $6.34 kg/MS. That compares to Fonterra’s $6.30 kg/MS before retentions.

“The difference in the final payout is due to Fonterra retaining 14 cents kg/MS while Westland retained 30 cents kg/MS. We are comfortable with what Westland is retaining despite it leaving us with slightly less cash in the hand at $6.04 kg/MS. . .

And the latest parody from Peterson Farm Bros:


Rural round-up

May 31, 2013

Businesses making it big in China honoured at Awards night:

Milk products manufacturer Synlait Milk Ltd, based in Rakaia 50km inland from Christchurch, has won the supreme award at the HSBC NZCTA China Business Awards 2013 – announced at a special event in Auckland tonight.

Synlait is an innovative dairy processing company that makes milk products such as nutraceuticals, infant formulations and a dairy milk-based formula to meet the nutritional needs of breastfeeding women, and colostrum products.

Bright Dairy of China became a significant partner and shareholder in 2010, and construction began on the largest and most sophisticated purpose built infant formula facility in the Southern Hemisphere – in Canterbury.

The Supreme Award was decided from all categories listed below, of which Synlait also won the DLA Phillips Fox – Successful Investment with China, Inward or Outward Award. This award is for an organisation that demonstrates innovative and successful NZ/China cross-border investment – inward or outward. . .

Move to create new integrated fibre industry body:

Moves are afoot to form an integrated fibre industry body that would knit together wool and other fibre producers, with processors, textile manufacturers and exporters.

The Fibrenz initiative comes from Textiles New Zealand which has been holding discussions with representatives from other fibre groups, encompassing natural products as well as synthetics.

It’s taking that further on Friday with a meeting in Wellington, where it’s looking for a commitment to establish Fibrenz as the administrator and communicator for the New Zealand fibre sector. . .

Southland-style rules come to Marlborough:

Federated Farmers is concerned Marlborough District Council has notified two plan changes, which will require resource consent to establish new dairy farms in the district.

“While existing dairy farms or those expanding without need for the addition of a milking shed aren’t affected, future dairy conversions will be,” says Gary Barnett, Federated Farmers Marlborough provincial president.

“Most of Marlborough is too hilly for dairying or is in vineyards. There is no issue with dairy conversions in Marlborough or anywhere else in the top of the South Island. . .

Meat shipments now moving into China:

Containers of New Zealand meat are now moving off the wharves and into the Chinese market, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has confirmed today.

“I’ve spoken to meat companies this morning who have confirmed that the first shipments have been collected from the wharf. It’s positive news that the backlog has now begun clearing.

“AQSIQ are now progressively working their way through the remaining reissued certificates as a priority.

“Ports are being authorised to release these further consignments, so it is now up to importers and agents to begin collecting their shipments. . .

Westland Milk follows Fonterra in raising payout forecast on upbeat outlook:

Westland Milk Products, the Hokitika-based dairy cooperative, has raised its payout forecast for the 2014 season on expectations prices will be underpinned by strong demand and a global shortage of milk.

Westland forecast a 2014 payment to farmers of $6.60 to $7 per kilogram of milk solids, up between 60 cents and 70 cents from what it expects to pay this season of $6 to $6.30 per kgMS.

“The market is showing signs of supply constraints and higher than average prices are expected throughout next season,” chief executive Rod Quin said in a statement. “With the market particularly volatile as a result of the drought, we expect prices to be higher at the start of the season and remain relatively high throughout.” . .

Whatever Fonterra Can Do, Westland Can Do Too

Federated Farmers West Coast is delighted that Westland Milk Products is going toe-to-toe with its larger cooperative sibling, Fonterra, with a bullish forecast for the 2013/14 season.

“The news from Westland is just what the doctor, or should I say, accountant ordered,” says Richard Reynolds, Federated Farmers West Coast Dairy chairperson.

“First up we’ve got reconfirmation of this (2012/13) season’s payout before retentions of between $6 and $6.30 per kilogram of milksolids (kg/MS). 

“Yet Coasters are also saying whatever Fonterra can do, Westland can do too.  You don’t need to be in Auckland to be an innovative international exporter of quality dairy products. . .

Federated Farmers’ Hauraki-Coromandel’s ‘Man-U’ Renewal:

Federated Farmers Hauraki-Coromandel is full of praise for John Sanford, who has retired as provincial president after serving the province’s farmers since 2000.  His successor, Kevin Robinson, is also the vice“chair of Federated Farmers Dairy Industry Group.

“John is a farming legend in these parts having been on Federated Farmers’ National Council for some 21-years, says Kevin Robinson, Federated Farmers Hauraki-Coromandel provincial president.

“John has helped us navigate storms and drought. His institutional knowledge is second to none, especially on issues from council policy to biodiversity. In 13-years as provincial president, John has seen many things come and go but at least I can still call him up. . .

Landmark winery and hospitality business in receivership sale:

A pioneering winery and hospitality venue which went on to become one of New Zealand’s most award-winning wine and food businesses is on the market for sale by receivers.

Ascension Wine Estate at Matakana just north of Auckland was established in 1996 by husband and wife team Darryl and Bridget Soljan. Ascension was one of the earlier wineries planted in the valley – gateway to the upmarket coastal seaside resorts of Omaha and Leigh – and went onto become the biggest hospitality operator in the region. . .


%d bloggers like this: