Rural round-up

April 14, 2014

Challenge of creating a strong red meat sector – Allan Barber:

I am obviously not alone in trying to work out ways of creating a strong red meat sector with profits being shared equitably between the participants. But it is an elusive model which nobody has yet succeeded in identifying. It makes me wonder if it is an impossible dream, but there are a number of determined dreamers who are still intent on finding the solution.

Recently I have had an exchange of emails, not always amicable, with John McCarthy, chairman of MIE, who is committed to achieving consensus among farmers about a future industry structure which will get away from the price taker model.

He takes me to task, quite legitimately, for seeing things from the companies’ perspective which, he says, focuses on making a profit for shareholders. But this doesn’t satisfy farmers’ objectives of being sustainably profitable which is the only way a strong red meat sector will emerge. He agrees the top farmers are performing satisfactorily, but in his view these only comprise 20-25% of farmers. . .

Wool industry picks up dropped stitches – Sally Rae:

New Zealand’s wool industry is ”a wee bit broken” , Wools of New Zealand chief executive Ross Townshend says.

At an autumn roadshow in Waikouaiti, Mr Townshend spoke of his observations since starting the job in August last year.

Sixty years ago, 85% of sheep farmers’ revenue was from wool and 15% was from meat, and now it was the complete opposite. . .

Linking youth and the land – Sally Rae:

Annika Korsten is on a mission to expose disengaged Dunedin youth to rural work opportunities.

Ms Korsten, a recipient of a $100,000 World of Difference grant from the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation, is establishing a programme, on behalf of the Malcam Charitable Trust, to develop opportunities for young people aged 18 to 24 to transition to work or further rural training.

Describing herself as passionate about people, place and food and the inter-relationship between the three, she said she enjoyed facilitating networks and connecting people. . .

 

The costs of GMO labelling -Foodie Farmer:

There has been much discussion over whether or not the labeling of “GMO” foods would add to the cost of food production or not. This was one of the supporting arguments for GMO labeling at the legislative hearing at the Maryland House of Delegates Committee on Health and Government Operations during which Doug Gurian-Sherman of the Union of Concerned Scientists and Michael Hansen of the Center for Food Safety, both insisted that labeling costs would be minor at best.

So does Mother Jones

So does The Grist

Wow, do these scientists and journalists have any understanding of the food supply chain from farm gate to grocery shelf?
Apparently not, nor does anyone else who thinks that “GMO” labeling won’t increase the cost of food.
Here is my pictorial analysis of the food supply chain from my farm gate: . . .

 

What is Your Dairy farm Profit?  – Pasture to Profit:

What is dairy farm profit? Is profit a dirty word? Too few New Zealand dairy farmers know their profit? Discussion groups rarely discuss or compare profit. Few farmers financially benchmark. Why do farmers and consultants continue to use profit per hectare to compare farms?

PROFIT = GROSS FARM REVENUE – FARM OPERATING EXPENSES + NON-CASH Adjustments. Non-Cash Adjustments include changes in feed & livestock inventory, inclusion of Family labour & Management and depreciation. See NZDairybase   Why do so few NZ dairy farmers know what their profit is? Profit per hectare is not enough, although every farmer should calculate Profit/hectare.  . . .


Rural round-up

April 11, 2014

Farmers back irrigation feasibility study:

A planned large-scale irrigation scheme in South Canterbury has got enough farmer backing for it to carry out an in depth feasibility study.

The Hunter Downs Irrigation Scheme, which could irrigate up to 40,000 hectares of land from Waitaki to just south of Timaru, also has significant financial backing from the Government.

Hunter Downs Irrigation chairman Andrew Fraser says they’ve been going through a capital raising process over the last several weeks – and have managed to get over the threshold of 20,000 hectares of farmer uptake.

“This funding will enable us to do a feasibility study and so that will tell us whether the scheme is economically and technically viable so we hope to have that result back out to the shareholders and farmers by the end of the year.”

Mr Fraser says the capital raising period has been extended as the scheme gauges corporate interest and speaks to more farmers in the area. . .

Winners committed to pushing farming change – Gerald Piddock:

Mike and Sharon Barton’s innovative approach to farming in an environmentally sensitive area has earned them the supreme title in the 2014 Waikato Farm Environment Awards.

The Western Taupo beef farmers were presented with the award as well as category awards for soil management and innovation at a ceremony near Karapiro last night.

The Barton’s farm at Glen Emmreth Farm near Tihoi. They purchased the 142ha property in 2004 at a time when strict environmental legislation to protect the health of the lake was looming.

They faced this challenge head-on, determined to make their farm as environmentally sustainable as possible. . .

Farmers warned to tidy up act:

Federated Farmers is warning farmers not to risk making the dairy industry a scapegoat at this year’s general election through poor farm practices.

In a message to farmers, dairy chairman Willy Leferink said he was worried they could be negatively portrayed during the election campaign and they needed to do the basics properly to avoid bad publicity.

Visual aspects of the industry needing to be tidied up, and that could help create a better public image, Mr Leferink said. . .

Call for better health and safety on farms after death –  Collette Devlin:

Farming is a hazardous occupation and the number of injuries and deaths on Southland farms must come down, industry insiders say.

They are calling for better health and safety awareness on farms.

The issue has been put in the spotlight by the tragic death of fertiliser truck driver Les Cain, killed when the truck he was driving overturned on a northern Southland farm on Tuesday.

Southland Federated Farmers president Russell MacPherson said one farm death was one too many.

The old attitude of ‘she’ll be right’ needed to disappear from the industry. . .

Hawke’s Bay Farmers of the Year – Hugh and Sharon Ritchie – RivettingKateTaylor:

Well done to Hugh and Sharon Ritchie – Hawke’s Bay Farmers of the Year.

I’ve just been writing about Hugh lately as I am doing the Nuffield NZ newsletter and he has just retired after 12 years as a trustee (we also went through Young Farmers together, although I hasten to add he is older than me!!!  Hugh, Shane Tilson and I won a national debating final in 1995!)

So last night (back to the important news) they were awarded the prestigious Silver Fern Farms Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year title in front of 350 people at a dinner at Showgrounds Hawke’s Bay (well done on great night Hillary). . .

D2S ‘growing at a rate of knots’:

Wool growers have rallied behind Wools of New Zealand’s Direct-to-Scour (D2S) spot market sales option.

Launched in October last year, volumes under D2S are doubling month on month and have now reached around 350,000 kgs, with annualised volumes expected to reach between 3.5m – 4m kilograms within its first year, about 8% of the market.

Ross Townshend, Chief Executive of Wools of New Zealand told shareholder growers and supporters during the company’s roadshow series of 12 national meetings this week that the system was “simpler and put more money into the pockets of growers than the conventional model. It makes logical sense for growers’ wool to go to the first point of processing which is the scour where it can be core-sampled, independently tested, objectively assessed and fairly priced. . . .

Wool Market Defies Dollar:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that despite a resurgent New Zealand dollar the South Island offering of 11,500 bales saw most types range from firm to 3 percent dearer. Even with the strength of the sale and an 86 percent clearance, some growers were still unprepared to accept current market levels with 13 percent of the offering being passed in.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies was 1.36 percent up on the last sale on 3rd April.

Mr Dawson advises that Fine Crossbred Fleece and Shears were between 1 and 3 percent firmer. . .


Rural round-up

October 7, 2013

Company proves it’s in the business of growth – Sally Rae:

At Mosgiel-based Superior Minerals, manager David Hoseason-Smith says it is ”not just about selling fertiliser”.

The company was recently named Otago and lower South Island regional winner in the fastest-growing manufacturer category in the Deloitte Fast 50.

Superior Minerals was established in 2001 to ”provide a point of difference” in the marketplace for solid fertiliser, director Lawrence Alloo said. . .

Donation helps get Noslam restarted:

A donation from the North Otago Irrigation Company (NOIC) will allow the newly re-established North Otago Sustainable Land Management Group (Noslam) to begin its vision for the district.

That vision is to create an integrated team approach to sustainable land and water quality management for the greater good of both farmers and the community.

In March last year, NOIC received an Irrigation New Zealand innovation award including cash prize of $2500 which, in turn, it has given to Noslam to be used as a seeding grant.

Noslam’s goals to promote a healthy environment with all North Otago farmers by identifying measures that secured and improved the environment and considered the economic and social issues and constraints, resonated strongly with the company, NOIC chief executive Robyn Wells said. . .

Farmer places clean-up faith in watercress – Matthew Littlewood:

A South Canterbury farmer hopes watercress could be used to help clean the area’s degraded catchment.

Rory Foley is working with Environment Canterbury on a project that  involves not only fencing and replanting alongside the streams on his Wainono property near Waimate, but also planting watercress in the stream itself.

”I’m really conscious of the environment, because I work on the land. I want to help improve the habitat for future generations, we have a responsibility to do so,” he said.

”We’ve lost a lot of the native wetlands, we need to restore them.” . . .

Wool NZ eyes market’s top end – Sue O’Dowd:

New Zealand’s new farmer-owned wool sales and marketing company is focusing on the luxury market.

“Our focus has to be on the top end of the market, on luxury,” Wools of New Zealand (WNZ) chief Ross Townshend told about 40 farmer shareholders at Stratford, the fifth stop on the company’s 17-venue roadshow.

Townshend, a foundation shareholder supplying the company with 20,000kg of wool a year from 2500 ewes on his north Waikato property, said as a commercial company, WNZ had to have a global focus so it could get value from its products.

He was responding to questions from Tarata sheep and beef farmer Bryan Hocken, who said he was running out of time to become a wool baron and was concerned at how difficult it was to buy a wool carpet in New Zealand. . .

Wool growers called on to be patient – Sally Rae:

Strong-wool growers have been urged to be patient as Wools of New Zealand continues its mission to improve the profitability of its grower shareholders.

A series of roadshows have been held throughout the country to give an update on the company’s progress since capitalisation was completed in March.

More than 700 applications for shares, totalling about $6 million, were received, allowing it to proceed with a grower-owned sales and marketing company. . .

Rural achiever to pit skills against Aussies – Jill Galloway:

It’s a good thing Cameron Lewis is in a talking competition, rather than a practical contest, he says.

But it pays to be multi-skilled all the same.

“It is like the Young Farmers contest, you have to be an all-rounder. Learn to shear sheep, fence and put machinery together. You have to put aside a few years to compete.”

Lewis won the National Royal Agricultural Society’s Young Rural Achiever Award at the RAS Conference in Christchurch. He was representing the Western District.

Now he’ll be up against winners from five Australian states. It is the Australasian final being held at the Royal Show hosted by the Manawatu Consortium at Manfeild Park in Feilding from December 6 to 8. . .

Aussie claims honours at merino champs – Lynda van Kempen:

An Australian shearer has claimed the New Zealand Merino Shearing Championship open title for the third year in a row.

Defending champion Damien Boyle, of Broomehill, Western Australia, won his third successive title by seven points ahead of Chris Vickers, of Palmerston, in the final staged in Alexandra last night

New Zealanders Tony Coster, Mana Te Whata, Charlie O’Neill and Nathan Stratford also made the final. . .

 


Rural round-up

September 25, 2013

Increases for selected fish stocks show success of QMS:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has today announced increases to catch limits for a range of New Zealand fisheries, thanks to healthy stock levels.

“These decisions today reflect the success of the Quota Management System (QMS), which is recognised as world leading. It is driven by science and responsive to change, which means that as stocks improve we can increase our sustainable take”, says Mr Guy.

Healthy stocks have led to increased Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limits for Hoki 1, Ling 5, Ling 7, Orange Roughy 3B, Scampi 2, Kingfish 7, Leatherjacket 3, Oyster 4 and Sea Perch 1.

“For several stocks, such as Ling 6, Bluenose 1, 2, 3, 7 and 8 and Snapper 7, I have decided to maintain the current TAC. . .

Regulatory Californication – Willy Leferink:

Isn’t it amazing how some people love catastrophy  Last month’s dairy recalls saw some truly leap off the deep end and when we were just getting through that, others latched onto a report by a New York-based dairy strategist.  It warned the New Zealand dairy industry could be squashed by a resurgent U.S. one.

I am only going off media reports but “Arise the Hunter: The Re-orientation of the US Dairy Industry and Implications for New Zealand,” by Tim Hunt certainly impressed the media.  The U.S. dairy industry produces five times the volume of milk as we do and its star used to be California.  I say ‘used to,’ because our new found love of red tape has me worried our dairy industry may be undergoing ‘Californication.’  There is a raunchy TV series going by that name where a fictional novelist solves his ‘writer’s block’ by having affairs.  Is our affair with regulation going to tie our industry up in knots, just like it did to California’s?

I learned how much California has become horridly regulated from Nicola Waugh.  As a Nuffield New Zealand Farming scholarship recipient, she travelled overseas in 2011 from March until October.  As a farm consultant for AgFirst Waikato, she also understands what regulation is. . .

Stay safe these holidays:

With school holidays starting this week, Federated Farmers is putting out a timely reminder to be vigilant with farm safety.

“Our home is our work place and when the children are home from school, we need to be more alert to hazards around the farm,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Health & Safety Spokesperson.

“Last year we had 14 fatalities and 408 serious injuries on farm, don’t become a part of the statistic these holidays. Be mindful of visitors on farm wanting to experience the rural lifestyle, educate them on hazards and keep them safe. . .

More options for growers under Wools of New Zealand / New Zealand Wool Services International agreement:

Growers will be the ultimate winners of a direct farm-to-scour service agreement between Wools of New Zealand and New Zealand Wool Services International (NZWSI).

Wools of New Zealand will be the face to their grower shareholders and supporters with NZWSI providing all of the back office logistics to move wool efficiently from farm directly to the scour and ultimately, to market.

Ross Townshend, Chief Executive of Wools of New Zealand, says the agreement is a ‘win-win’ for shareholders and suppliers providing them with access to a range of sales options including a weekly schedule, monthly plans and more Wools of New Zealand brand contracts, such as the forthcoming Camira lambswool contract. . .

Big dairy results fortnight kicks off with Synlait:

In a big results fortnight for most dairy farmers and the New Zealand economy, listed milk processor Synlait has started the ball rolling with a net after tax profit for 2012/2013, which was ahead of its prospective financial information forecast. Fonterra Cooperative Group releases its 2012/13 results tomorrow with the other two cooperatives due to follow next week.

“For supplier-shareholders of Fonterra, Synlait, Tatua and Westland, this is going to be a huge fortnight, given Open Country Dairy has already paid its suppliers for the 2012/13 season,” says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Dairy Vice-Chairperson.

“I would add for New Zealand, too, since this relates directly to over a quarter of our country’s merchandise exports. . .

Wrightson chair John Anderson to retire at October meeting:

(BusinessDesk) – PGG Wrightson chairman John Anderson will retire from the rural services company at the annual meeting next month.

Anderson, who joined the board during a tumultuous shake-up in 2010, will step down from the board at the Oct. 22 meeting, the company said in a statement. A new chairman will be appointed after the meeting. Anderson’s appointment coincided with a changing of the guard in 2010 when Craig Norgate and Baird McConnnon left the board and China’s Agria Corp came on as a cornerstone investor, going on to mount a partial takeover of the company. . .

Lindauer Leads Lion’s Charge at New World Wine Awards 2013

New Zealand’s most popular sparkling wine wins gold medals at wine awards

23 September 2013 – Lindauer Classic Brut Cuveé, Lindauer Classic Rosé and Saints Sauvignon Blanc 2012 have scooped gold medals at the New World Wine Awards 2013, leading the way for Lindauer Special Reserve Blanc de Blancs which won silver. In addition, following on from its gold medal win, Lindauer Classic Rosé was then named Champion Bubbles.

A record number of entries were received for this year’s New World Wine Awards, which were judged by an independent panel of 13 wine experts at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium in July. . . .

Spy Valley Chardonnay Named Champion White Wine:

Marlborough’s Spy Valley Wines is delighted to announce that their 2012 Chardonnay has been named Champion White Wine at the 2013 New World Wine Awards.

Now in its 11th year, the New World Wine Awards utilise the internationally recognised ‘20 point scoring system’, with wines blind tasted and evaluated by an independent panel of 13 judges, many from overseas. Winners of each category are then re-judged to find the Champion Red, Champion White and Champion Bubbles, with the sole criteria being that all wines must retail for under $25. . .

Mission Reserve Chardonnay 2012 wins Gold at the 2013 New Word Wine Awards:

One of only two Chardonnays to be awarded Gold.

The Mission Reserve Chardonnay 2012 is one of only two Chardonnays to win Gold at the 2013 New World Wine Awards. These Awards are exclusively for the very best wines retailing at under $25.

In total, a record 1,099 wines were entered from 157 wineries, with the Mission Reserve Chardonnay taking out Gold and a coveted place in the Top 50.

This recognition follows on from a Gold at the 2010 Awards, and marks 15 years of local and international acclaim for the classically crafted Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay. . . .


Rural round-up

June 15, 2013

Field Days opinion poll reveals effects of the drought is seen as biggest challenge for agricultural industry:

An opinion poll of visitors to the annual Agricultural Field Days 2013 shows that 54% of respondents believe the effects of the nationwide drought are the biggest challenge facing New Zealand’s agricultural industry this year.

The Aggreko Thought Generator poll was conducted during the first three days of Field Days event. Visitors completed an iPad questionnaire hosted by Aggreko, the world leader in the supply of temporary power and temperature control solutions. The poll aimed to gauge industry sentiment around a number of topical issues. . .

Key notes: supporting rural communities:

New Zealand’s primary industries have been in the spotlight this week, with the annual Fieldays taking place at Mystery Creek near Hamilton.  I’m enjoying talking to farmers, exhibitors, and members of the public at the event today.

Fieldays is an opportunity for us to reflect on the importance of our rural communities.  Agriculture and the wider primary sector are the backbone of New Zealand’s economy.  When it succeeds, New Zealand succeeds.

National’s economic plan has real benefits for the primary sector. When we cut the company tax rate to 28 cents in the dollar in 2010, we knew this would make life easier for New Zealand businesses, including farmers. And it has. . . .

Bloody Friday – Offsetting Behaviour:

Saturday mornings, I cook pancakes. While cooking pancakes, I listen to Duncan Smith and Susan Murray’s Country Life programme on Radio New Zealand (as do all good Kiwis). It’s often a wonderful celebration of rural entrepreneurship.

I had never heard of Bloody Friday. And so I last week learned something new.

Friday, 9 June, 1978: 300 farmers released 1300 ewes onto the streets of Invercargill, herded them through the streets, then slaughtered them right there to the surprise of onlookers.

The Meatworkers’ Union had made it impossible for the farmers to get their stock to slaughter. Sheep were starving in the paddocks because the feed had run out; the farmers had planned on getting their stock to market rather earlier. . .

Bloody Friday farmers praised for bravery -Terri Russell:

 Hundreds of Southland farmers involved in the 1978 “Bloody Friday” protest were praised for their bravery at the weekend.

About 200 people gathered at the Invercargill Workingmen’s Club for the 35th anniversary of the protest, when farmers ran 1300 ewes down Dee St before slaughtering them on a Victoria Ave section.

Farmers were frustrated by industrial chaos across the meat industry, exacerbated by the worst drought much of the province had seen since 1956.

Protest leader Syd Slee said there were about 200 people at the reunion and half were involved in the protest. “We’re very proud looking back on the protest,” he said. . . .

New Leadership for Young Farmers:

Cole Groves has been voted the new Chairman for New Zealand Young Farmers. Mr Groves takes the helm after Paul Olsen who stepped down from his two-year term.

“It’s a fantastic group of people”, Mr Groves said. “It’s a big honour”.

Mr Groves previously served on the board as an elected member for two years, and he views his new appointment as an opportunity to give back to an organisation that has given him plenty.

“I’ve gotten so much out of my involvement with Young Farmers; from self-development to growing my business contacts”, commented Mr Groves. . .

Wools of NZ appoints new CEO:

Wools of New Zealand Limited is pleased to announce the appointment of Ross Townshend as its new Chief Executive Officer. The appointment follows the successful capitalisation of Wools of New Zealand completed in March of this year and is in line with the company’s strategy of putting the necessary people and processes in place to effectively run a 100% grower-owned sales and marketing company.

Mark Shadbolt, Chairman of Wools of New Zealand, said that after a rigorous selection process spanning several months the Board was delighted that Townshend, a Waikato sheep farmer and a shareholder of Wools of New Zealand, had accepted the role. . . .

Bioenergy association  statement – Woodscape:

Bioenergy Association is encouraged by the wood processing sector identification of the value of business opportunities from biofuels.

Recent research undertaken for the forestry and wood processing sector has identified that some emerging biofuel technologies can provide attractive additional revenue streams for existing businesses.

Speaking today, Mr Brian Cox, Executive Officer of the Bioenergy Association of New Zealand (BANZ) said that “BANZ welcomes the release of the Woodco research project (WoodScape) which evaluates a number of possible investment opportunities for the wood processing sector. The report shows that the emerging technologies for producing transport biofuels can be financially attractive as new enterprises. However these would be even more attractive as bolt-ons to existing business which already have the infrastructure and technical capabilities to extend into these new products.” . . .

Industry Happy to Talk About Sharing the Otago-Southland Paua Fishery:

The Otago Southland paua industry says it wants to make the most of the next few months to try to reach agreement with recreational and customary paua divers over shared access for areas of the coastline.

The Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, has announced that consultation on commercial access would continue for areas that previously had been closed because of a health risk. . .

Release of new fish stock assessment:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has released the latest comprehensive scientific assessment of the status of New Zealand’s fisheries.

“The 2013 plenary report provides us with valuable, peer-reviewed scientific information on the status of our fish stocks and fisheries” says Dr Pamela Mace, Principal Advisor Fisheries Science for MPI.

“Many of the assessments indicate there is scope for increases in current catch limits. Hoki is the “star” performer. A few short years ago, there was concern that the western stock had become depleted. Science has driven strong and decisive management action and ensured the full restoration of hoki New Zealand-wide, even surpassing management benchmarks.” . . .


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