Rural round-up

February 21, 2018

Farmers face hefty riparian planting bills – Robin Martin:

Taranaki farmers could face hefty bills as the regional council toughens enforcement of its riparian planting programme to clean up waterways.

The council has begun auditing more than 1700 dairy farms and now says their plans for planting along riverbanks and streams must be completed by 2020.

Taranaki’s riparian planting programme – the largest in the country – has received international recognition and is has been credited with improving water quality. . . 

NAIT problems stymie M. bovis response – Nigel Malthus:

Federated Farmers president Katie Milne says farmers’ problems in complying with NAIT (National Animal Identification and Tracing) have slowed the response to Mycoplasma bovis.

NAIT could be a lot easier to use, she says.

While it works well for recording animals arriving at a processing works, there are apparent breakdowns in compliance when farmers are transferring stock among themselves. . .

Robotics opportunities in forestry being explored

Forest safety, improving productivity and getting workers off the felling site has been a major push for forestry managers, forest owners, logging contractors and equipment suppliers to modify their wood harvesting operations over the last few years. Another major driver to increased mechanisation has been the skilled machine operator shortages that many forestry companies are now currently facing. The ultimate goal of the industry is to have “no worker on the slope, or no hand on the chainsaw”.

Technology development and the pace of change over the last couple of years, in keeping with other industries, has been rapid and exciting for the forestry industry. Recent research is suggesting that by 2019, 35% of leading organizations will be exploring the use of robots to automate operations. Forestry isn’t any different. In fact, the switch is already underway. . .

Fonterra And the A2 Milk Company Form Comprehensive Strategic Relationship:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited (Fonterra) and The a2 Milk Company (a2MC) have today entered into a comprehensive strategic relationship that links Fonterra’s global milk pool and supply chain, manufacturing capability and in-market sales and distribution capacity with a2MC’s brand strength and capabilities.

As part of the partnership, Fonterra will now begin conversations with its farmers to source an A2 milk pool for a2MC products in New Zealand, which is intended to significantly expand over time to help meet the growing demand for a2MC products. A similar milk pool in Australia will also be developed. . . 

MPI targets vehicles and machinery from Japan:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has introduced new measures to reduce the risk of brown marmorated stink bugs arriving in vehicles and machinery from Japan.

The changes will require all used vehicles (cars and trucks) to undergo inspection and cleaning at an MPI-approved facility in Japan prior to export.

In addition, any used machinery or other types of used vehicles from Japan will require certification proving it has undergone cleaning by an appropriate provider, says Paul Hallett, MPI Biosecurity and Environment Manager.  . .

Feedback sought for upgrade of fertiliser-spreader standard:

The (NZGFA) is calling on fertiliser spreaders up and down the country to have their say ahead of a review of the industry’s Spreadmark programme.

Dean Brooks, the NZGFA’s president, says the programme – which was first developed in 1994 to raise the standard of fertiliser spreading performance and to provide a benchmark for best practice – will soon be reviewed by the Fertiliser Quality Council (FQC). . .

Funding request to federal Health Minister met with ‘positive response‘ – Sally Cripps:

We were swamped.” That was how psychologist, Dervla Loughnane, described the overwhelming response to the news that a texting counselling service had been launched for rural people in need.

Announced by the Queensland Country Life at the start of February, it was hoped the Virtual Psychologist service, supported by Aussie Helpers, would save lives and that’s what has happened, according to Dervla.

“It was so overwhelming that in the first 24 hours we had to double our staff on the lines,” she said. . .

 


Rural round-up

August 29, 2016

Farmers enable us to reach our potential. Let’s celebrate that – Federated Farmers:

Farmers get their hands dirty so we can pursue goals and livelihoods beyond growing and harvesting the food we need to survive.

With food plentiful, and lifestyle expectations high, we seem to have forgotten the role of farmers in the modern world.

Why is it farmers in developing countries only farm around a hectare of land each?  It is because that is how much land one person can cultivate in one season by hand.  The food production in many developing countries is not limited by land, but by labour and productivity.  That is why big families are necessary – more hands to till more land.

Have you ever stopped to think how many potentially great doctors, engineers or scientists spend their lives on the end of a hand-hoe in these countries?  Never to see their potential fulfilled.  In many developing countries subsistence farmers make up more than 80 per cent of the population.

Delegating farmers to provide our food gives the rest of us freedom and choice to do what we are good at. . . 

Drought warning – Annette Scott:

Low or no flow in many of Canterbury’s streams and rivers could lead to early water restrictions this season, Environment Canterbury warns.

Canterbury has entered its third successive drought season with 86% of water bores affected and some wells at their lowest in 30 years.  Only significant snow and rain could make a difference now, ECan chief Executive Bill Bayfield said.  

Weather forecasters reported one of the wimpiest winters in recent years and had already announced spring’s early arrival. Significant rain or a decent snow-dump were not on the radar. .  .

Feral cats reaching plague proportions – Robin Martin:

Feral cats are reaching plague proportions in New Zealand’s back country and no-one seems to want to take responsibility for the problem, says a Taranaki beekeeper.

Sarah Hart and her partner Steven Henwood say they often drive through – what they describe as – “herds” of wild cats while out retrieving hives.

The couple live in the remote Okoki valley, about 20 kilometres inland from Urenui in North Taranaki.

Ms Hart said at dusk the rugged beef and sheep country was alive with feline forms – some of the estimated 2.5 million feral cats in New Zealand. . . 

We aren’t that couple – Uptown Farms:

Dear America, 

It struck me this morning, as my husband and I were walking out the door – there is something I need to tell you.  Something I need you to know.  

We aren’t that couple.  In fact, I’m not even sure if we own a pitchfork.  

A lot has changed since the 1930’s.  Our corn yields have increased six times over.  We use computers, GPS, seed technology. We grow more, on less water and land. Our farms are bigger, our equipment is bigger, even our animals are bigger.  We do all of this with fewer people than ever before in history. 

We have college degrees, my husband actually has two. One of us works off the farm full time which is the new norm for farm families – just like non-farm families.  We are professionals.  . . 

Cavalier Corporation returns to profit:

New Zealand carpet maker Cavalier Corporation has returned to a profitable position posting a net profit after tax of $3.1 million for the financial year ended 30 June 2016.

This represents a significant turnaround from the company’s write downs and recorded loss of $25.7 million in 2015.

Both net profit and normalised profit of $6.3 million after tax were slightly up on the earnings guidance Cavalier issued in June.

Cavalier Corporation CEO Paul Alston says the company’s performance is encouraging and representative of the transformation it is undertaking with debt reduction and a dual focus on revenue and cost. . . 

Milk production plummets 10.3%:

Australian milk production plummeted 10.3 per cent in July compared with last year, with massive drops in Tasmania, South Australia and northern Victoria, according to the latest figures from Dairy Australia.

Farmers have slashed production in response to the big cut in milk prices, initially by Murray Goulburn and Fonterra in May and then by most processors in July.

Tasmanian production is hardest hit, down 19.6 per compared with July 2015. . . 

Seeka hikes interim dividend as first-half profit almost doubles Paul McBeth

(BusinessDesk) – Seeka Kiwifruit Industries hiked its interim dividend to shareholders as the first harvest from its recent Australian acquisition and record crops contributed to a first-half profit that almost doubled.

Net profit rose to $7.1 million, or 43 cents per share, in the six months ended June 30 from $3.7 million, or 24 cents, a year earlier, the Te Puke-based company said in a statement. Revenue climbed 39 percent to $134.2 million, and the board declared an interim dividend of 10 cents per share, payable on Sept. 29 to shareholders on the register on Sept. 22. That’s up from 9 cents a share a year earlier. . . 

Delegat to pay bigger dividend after posting record annual operating profit – Paul McBeth

(BusinessDesk) – Delegat Group will pay a bigger dividend to shareholders after reporting a record operating profit for the 2016 financial year, with North American sales driving revenue growth.

The Auckland-based company’s board declared a dividend of 12 cents per share payable on Oct. 14 to shareholders on the register on Sept. 30, up from 11 cents it’s paid in the past two years. The winemaker reported a record operating profit of $37 million, on a 9 percent increase in global case sales to a record 2.41 million, including 1 million cases sold in North America.

“The directors consider that the underlying operational performance and strong cash flows justify an increase in dividends this year,” executive chairman Jim Delegat said. . . 

Central Otago winery nails Decanter tasting in UK – “Outstanding”:

Central Otago winegrowers Roger and Jean Gibson are elated that a wine from their Lowburn Ferry vineyard has ranked Number One in high profile Decanter magazine in the UK. The in-depth tasting of more than 170 pinot noirs from across New Zealand in Decanter’s September 2016 issue was carried out by a panel of three prominent UK industry wine judges. Lowburn Ferry Home Block Pinot Noir 2014 scored 96 points out of a possible 100, giving it “Outstanding” status in the tasting.

In the covering feature article reviewing the tasting, New Zealand is described as being “the best Pinot-producing country outside of France.” . . 

Dunedin owners of Central Otago winery win their first wine trophy:

Central Otago’s Black Quail Estate vineyard and truffière is victorious after being awarded the Mike Wolter Memorial Trophy and Champion Pinot Noir at the Bragato Wine Awards in Marlborough last night.

Black Quail Estate 2013 Pinot Noir is a true boutique, single vineyard wine. All the Pinot Noir is from this single vineyard on Felton Road, Bannockburn and only 400 cases are made every year.

Sitting on 25 hectares of prime grape growing land on Felton Road, Bannockburn Dunedin’s Keillor family purchased the land in 1999. Owners Rod and Mirani Keillor immediately planted ten hectares with Pinot Noir and now have planted the rest with olives, fruit and hazelnut trees. . . 


Rural round-up

October 2, 2015

Chinese deal vital, SFF says – Sally Rae:

Silver Fern Farms could be facing insolvency if shareholders do not approve a 50:50 joint venture with Chinese company Shanghai Maling.

Voting has opened on the proposal before a meeting of shareholders at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium on October 16.

Shanghai Maling, a subsidiary of state owned food giant Bright Food Group, is proposing to take a 50% stake in Silver Fern Farms, in return for an investment of $261million. . . 

Hold off on Silver Fern vote, farmers urged –  Sally Rae:

Farmers are being urged to hold off voting on the Silver Fern Farms joint venture deal with Shanghai Maling, with hints that ”concrete” alternatives will emerge.

Voting is under way and closes at 10.30am on October 14, before a special meeting in Dunedin on October 16, where two resolutions will be voted on.

As well as the Shanghai Maling proposal, the meeting will also consider the shareholder resolution, promoted by Heriot farmer Allan Richardson and John Cochrane, from Clinton, seeking full analysis of the benefits and risks of a merger with Alliance Group. That resolution was not supported by Silver Fern Farms’ board. . . 

Bright lets sparks fly – Alan Williams:

Bright Dairy group is an excellent strategic investor in Synlait Milk, the latter’s chairman Graeme Milne says.

“It’s more than just money they bring.

“They’ve got the knowledge and capability to help us make good decisions.”

Shanghai Maling, the proposed new investor for Silver Fern Farms, is part of the wider Bright Dairy-Bright Foods group. . . 

Super-drone sprayer comes with risks -Robin Martin:

The first unmanned helicopter certified to spray chemicals in New Zealand could ultimately save back-country farmers thousands of dollars but it comes with a hefty price tag – and a safety warning. 

The Yamaha RMAX is a beast by drone standards, powered by a 260cc engine and weighing in at close to 100 kilograms.

Yamaha business development manager Geoff Lamb and his team put the chopper through its paces for a gathering of curious farmers, spraying contractors and radio-controlled aircraft enthusiasts at a Lepperton farm in Taranaki this week. . . 

Fonterra boss offers $4m salary freeze:

The chief executive of Fonterra has asked for his multi-million dollar salary to be frozen this year as the co-operative goes through major cost cuts and slashes hundreds of jobs.

Theo Spierings requested the freeze on his base salary on the same day Fonterra announced it was slashing hundreds more jobs as part of a business shake-up, taking total layoffs to 750.

That came just days before the company released its annual result.

A spokesman said Mr Spierings went to a meeting of Fonterra’s people, culture and safety committee on 21 September and requested that his base salary of about $4 million for the 2015/16 year be frozen. . . 

Nutrient loss under the spotlight:

New Zealand’s shift from a pasture-based model to high feed-input dairy farms will come under the microscope in a joint research project involving Ballance Agri-Nutrients, AgResearch, DairyNZ and Tatua, in partnership with the Government’s Sustainable Farming Fund initiative.

The two year project, led by AgResearch’s Dr Stewart Ledgard, will use case study farms varying in intensity of feed use to examine effects of their system changes over the last decade on emissions, production and profit as well as testing options for improving their sustainability.

“Locally there is strong interest in understanding implications for water quality of dairy intensification through increased use of supplementary feeds and how effects can be minimised, while internationally there is a desire for food products to be produced with efficient use of resources and reduced wider environmental impacts”, says Dr Stewart Ledgard. . . 

Aussies nab heaviest fleece record:

Well it’s official New Zealand has been fleeced by the Australians ..who now hold the world record for the heaviest fleece shorn off a merino.

The Australians were quick to yell they had found a wild merino near Canberra in early September with a fleece which weighed in at 40 kilograms.

Otago’s ‘Shrek the sheep’ held the record up until last year when another wild merino – dubbed Big Ben – was found in the Mackenzie Country with a fleece weighing 28.9 kgs. . . 

Steady wool market:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s C.E.O, Mr John Dawson reports that the more restricted wool type offering in the North Island sale of 6,165 bales saw a 97 percent clearance and a generally steady market.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies firmed 1.66 percent compared to the last sale on 24th September only impacting on the finer end of the offering.

Mr Dawson advises that the stronger New Zealand dollar and limited interest in the Fine Crossbred longer wools saw prices ease 2 to 4 percent with shorter types better supported with pries 1 to 3.5 percent softer in local terms. . . 


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