Rural round-up

April 20, 2016

Farm the secret to school’s success:

Northland College’s agricultural focus is helping to turn the once struggling secondary school into a success story, says the school’s Commissioner, Chris Saunders.

Absenteeism was an issue at the Kaikohe school, but truancy has halved since several initiatives were put in place to help prepare students for careers in agriculture, with Lincoln University contributing to Northland College’s curriculum and the operations of its commercial dairy farm.

“I think a big part of the success we’re seeing now is that we’re using the farm to offer students practical, primary industries-based training,” Mr Saunders says.

The University offers curriculum support that allows students to undertake on-farm courses, which will lead on to Lincoln qualifications.

“The farm is a significant asset for a small secondary school to own, so it’s very helpful to have Lincoln playing an active and supportive role with the management of it.” . . 

Woolly thinking in Norway – Sally Rae:

At first glance, the similarities between a Norwegian clothing company and a Gimmerburn farm might appear remote.

But with both enterprises sharing a strong focus on quality and a passion for wool – along with histories spanning more than a century – there were definite synergies.

Three executives from high-performance wool clothing brand Devold, including chief executive Cathrine Stange, recently visited the Paterson family’s property Armidale in the Maniototo. . . 

Merino key to ‘amazing’ new fabrics – Sally Rae:

‘‘It’s not your grandfather’s merino”.

Addressing a group of farmers in the Paterson family’s woolshed at Gimmerburn, Global Merino founder and chief executive Jose Fernandez outlined his business.

Global Merino is a United States-based technical textile manufacturer

founded by Mr Fernandez in 2007. It sold its first product in 2009. . . 

Dairy professor retires after years in dairy industry – Jill Galloway:

Peter Munro is about to retire after spending most of his working life in the dairy industry.

The professor, Fonterra chair in food materials science at Riddet Institute, started his life on the family’s dairy farm in Northland and has gone on to develop new dairy products for New Zealand.

“What I am proudest of is creating value for the New Zealand dairy farmer.”

Throughout a long career Munro has worked on milk protein manufacturing and its use, whey proteins and other products.

Fonterra often gets stick for exporting commodities, but at least 30 per cent of its products is sold in a specialised form, usually for food ingredients, says Munro. . .

My most valuable stock unit – Jamie Mackay:

A recent conversation with a sheep farming mate of mine about the current plight of the dairy industry resulted in me reflecting positively on the bad old days of sheep farming in the 1980s.
 
My friend was somewhat surprised when I declared, off the top of my head, that even during the lows of Rogernomics we never ran our farm at a loss.  This is in stark contrast to some dairy farmers who this season will run at a $300,000-plus loss per annum.
 
So I went back through some old annual accounts from 30 years ago to check I wasn’t looking back at farming through rose-tinted spectacles. Those annual accounts for the year ended 30 June, 1986 made for very interesting, if somewhat sobering, reading. . . 

How hill country can be profitable and resilient – Doug Edmeades:

It seems that we have lost sight of what a good clover-based pasture looks like and have forgotten the skills to grow and manage it, says Doug Edmeades.

A two-day symposium on hill country was held recently in Rotorua.  It was well attended by 300 farmers, consultants and agricultural scientists. Clearly, there is a thirst for innovation, new technologies and knowledge in this sector. 

The aim of the meeting was explicit: “What does a profitable and resilient future for our hill country farming look like?” And, “What do we, collectively and as individuals, do to achieve this future?” 

The output of the symposium, and hence, one hopes, the answers to these questions, is to be formally captured in a “position paper”. More on that after the paper comes out. . . 

Fertile ground for enhancing farming software:

Farmers are fairly enthusiastic about using the latest digital technologies to run their businesses, but there is still room for improvement in the agricultural software area, preliminary Lincoln University research suggests.

Lincoln student Jamie Evans recently undertook an exploratory study that involved surveying some of Canterbury’s farmers about the types of technologies they used and how well they thought they were being served by the programmes.

“With this study, we wanted to identify any issues farmers might have with their software, but the long-term goal is to carry out further research that will help us find solutions and ultimately improve these digital technologies,” says IT lecturer Shirley Gibbs, one of the project supervisors. . . 

Big sell off begins and big dry continues – Brian Wood:

THE big dump has started and, unless substantial rain falls across the Bathurst region, the panic to sell livestock before winter sets in shows no signs of abating.

An incredible 20,000 cattle have gone under the hammer at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange during the past two weeks.

Last week’s sheep sale had a yarding of 20,000 and 19,300 the week before, which also shows how the weather is impacting on the rural community.  . . 


Rural round-up

April 4, 2016

Alliance taking NZ produce to the world – Sally Rae:

Alliance Group is looking at how to “take a New Zealand Inc story to the world”.

Chief executive David Surveyor, who has returned from a trip to Asia, said the company was happy to do that with other industry players, whether it was the likes of kiwifruit growers, cheese or wine makers.

It was also happy to do it with other red meat companies “where it makes sense”, Mr Surveyor said. . . 

Eyes on lamb price as supply falls – Sally Rae:

Time will tell which “fork in the road” lamb prices will take over the coming months, ASB rural economist Nathan Penny says.

While the good news was that prices had stopped falling, the bad news was that prices remained low.

In the latest ASB rural commodities outlook, Mr Penny said one possibility would be “more of the same”, with prices remaining low until the spring before a modest recovery began.

That pattern would be consistent with demand remaining weak, particularly in Europe and the Middle East. . . 

Harvest brings grain glut – Annette Scott:

Canterbury is awash with feed grain, forcing cropping farmers to pay for off-farm storage for the surplus.  

But despite treading water over the next 12 months the industry was confident it had the resilience to ride out the glut, Federated Farmers arable chairman Guy Wigley said.  

The strong harvest this season, combined with a lot of grain carried over from the previous year meant farmers had to account for significant quantities of uncommitted grain. . . 

Farmers win with revived stream

Fish and Game has rewarded the Waikuku Water Management group for its efforts to protect a north Canterbury stream.  

The group is the first recipient of North Canterbury Fish and Game’s Working with Nature Award for outstanding efforts to improve local freshwater habitats.  

The award recognises what Fish and Game describes as the dedicated efforts of a number of farmers to protect and give back to the Waikuku Stream. . .

Farmer events spread message – Glenys Christian:

Northland dairy farmers have been urged to put strategies in place to move forward, monitor progress and keep communication up.  

A facilitation day organised by the Rural Support Trust, DairyNZ and Federated Farmers in Whangarei attracted more than 30 farmers.  

“That’s a good turnout for the north as some have started autumn calving,” Northland Rural Support Trust co-ordinator Julie Jonker said. . .

 

 

Hat tip: The Farming Show


Rural round-up

March 28, 2016

Onus put on everyone to keep safe on farms – WorkSafe – Brittany Pickett:

The responsibility of farmers to ensure safety on farms remains mostly unaltered with the new health and safety legislation, says WorkSafe NZ chief executive Gordon MacDonald.

The Health and Safety at Work Act comes into effect on April 4.

The new act puts the responsibility onto almost everyone on a farm to ensure the health and safety of themselves and the people around them.

They must be accountable and identify hazards and risks, taking steps to prevent them from happening, and hold regular training and reviews of incidents with frequent health and safety audits. . . 

Resources to back up health and safety laws – Sally Rae:

Helping people through the “demystification” of health and safety is not about having endless ring binders on the shelf gathering dust, WorkSafe chief executive Gordon MacDonald says.

Instead, there are great resources available and implementation of the new Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) next week was an opportunity for people to review what their own approach was to health and safety.

For the farming community, it was not a question of “eliminating risks from life or getting obsessed by paper cuts”; it was about stuff that caused life-changing and life-ending injuries to people, Mr MacDonald said. . . 

‘A cool bit of science’ – Sally Rae:

AgResearch scientist Sara Edwards is on a quest to help find out why the reproductive performance of hoggets is so poor.

Dr Edwards is reproduction team leader, based at Invermay, where a hogget trial has been conducted over two years at the research centre’s farm, near Mosgiel.

Much work had been done to try to improve the efficiency of hogget lambing using management practices.

Hoggets produce about half the lambs mature ewes do but the underlying question remained as to what was going wrong, Dr Edwards said. . . 

Life on the ridge of sighs – Kate Taylor:

Adrian Arnold glances at the sky and wonders out loud if the flurry of raindrops will come to anything.

Even the slightest hint of rain is enough to send a farmer scurrying back to the woolshed in the middle of shearing to make sure he has enough sheep under cover – in this case, the remainder of 600 two-tooth ewes due for a campylobacter vaccine after shearing.

Adrian grew up at Kaiwaka, north-east of Napier, and has been farming the family’s 425ha property with wife Kim since 1987. . .

Understanding European dairy – Keith Woodford:

In working out the long term positioning for the New Zealand dairy industry, we have to ask ourselves four big questions:
• What will happen in China?
• What will happen to oil prices?
• What will happen in America?
• What will happen in Europe?
In this article I will focus on Europe.

The need to shed some myths
To understand the fundamental changes that are occurring in European dairy, we need to first shed some myths. Dominant among these myths is that the European industry only survives because of subsidies. . . 

Annual Otago shoot culls 10,000 rabbits:

There are 10,011 fewer pest rabbits on Central Otago farms thanks to the annual Great Easter Bunny Hunt.

The 328 hunters who took part in the annual event assembled in Pioneer Park in Alexandra at midday today for the count and prizegiving and a team called Down South took top honours for a second consecutive year with a kill of 889 rabbits.

Team leader Brett Middleton from Winton says the team has been competing for six years and in four of them it has been in the top five. . . 

Farmers Are Awesome's photo.


Rural round-up

March 23, 2016

Time for NZ meat industry to ‘move on’ – Sally Rae:

New Zealand’s red meat sector will never achieve greatness if it continues to “fight and argue”, Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman James Parsons says.

In his chairman’s report in the 2014-15 annual report, for the organisation’s annual meeting in Paihia on Wednesday, Mr Parsons said the industry’s structure had been keenly debated.

But now it was time to “move on, heal the wounds and work together as one sector”, he said. . . 

Designers inspired by woolly thinking – Sally Rae:

Penny Ronald has been doing a lot of woolly thinking lately.

Much of that occurred when she was in a woolshed at Ngamatea Station with a group of other up-and-coming architecture, interior, spatial, product and industrial designers.

Weekend in a Woolshed involved three days at the North Island station working in a studio set up in a woolshed. Campaign for Wool (CFW), with support from the Primary Wool Co-operative, immersed the group of nine in wool and challenged them to create and innovate. . . 

Young Waikato dairy couple aren’t singing the dairy blues – Andrea Fox:

Waikato first-time farm owner Allen Hurst has given up on his plan to be out of the milking shed by age 40 –  but that’s the only moan you’re going to hear from him about dairy farming right now.

He and wife Karen, finishing the third season on their Arapuni farm, are completely fed up with what they see as the relentless negative sideshow to dairying.

“It’s not just payout, it’s environmental, compliance, health and safety – it feels like a big wall of negativity,” says Allen.

“You have to remain positive. You can’t wake up every day tripping over your lip. You can’t get up every day thinking you’re working for nothing.” . . 

$895,000 in funding for Marlborough irrigation scheme:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed new funding of $895,000 for the Flaxbourne Community Irrigation Scheme in Marlborough.

The funding comes from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF) and will help the Marlborough District Council complete concept designs, finalise funding arrangements, and begin the detailed design phase for the storage dam.

“Water from this project will most likely be used for wine grapes and arable crops, showing again that irrigation is about much more than just dairy,” says Mr Guy.

“Providing a reliable water supply for growers has major potential to boost growth, creating jobs and exports. This is especially important in Marlborough given the serious drought the region has suffered over the last 18 months.” . . 

Rosy start to apple season:

The apple season is in full swing, and excellent fruit size and quality, have Pipfruit New Zealand tipping a record crop.

But business development manager Gary Jones said it was the latest start to the season anyone could remember but orchards were now flat-out harvesting.

“Although the season was late we have exported more fruit than we ever have before and places like the Napier Port are saying they’ve handled more apples at the same date than they have had in any other season. . . .

Notice of hearing for agents to control the weed tutsan:

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) advises a hearing is scheduled on an application to introduce a moth and a leaf-feeding beetle as biological control agents. If approved for release, the moth Lathronympha strigana and the leaf-feeding beetle Chrysolina abchasica would be used to help control the weed tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum), which is threatening hill country farming.

The application, from the Tutsan Action Group, is made under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996. . . 

Farmer is back making words with sheep:

A North Canterbury farmer whose photo of sheep spelling out ‘bugger’ went viral last year, has been at it again.

Mike Bowler who runs nearly 4000 stock on his Parnassus farm used the sheep art to vent his frustration at the on-going drought in the region last May.

The photo of the sheep spelling out ‘Bugger’ went viral.

“I even had the German version of Federated Farmers call me up about it.” . . 


Rural round-up

March 16, 2016

Whitestone blue wins silver in world champs – Sally Rae,

Whitestone Cheese has got the blues – but in a good way.

The Oamaru-based company has been awarded a silver medal in the blue vein division of the 2016 World Championship Cheese Contest in the United States, the world’s largest cheese, butter and yoghurt competition.

The contest, hosted by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, attracted a record 2948 entries from 25 countries. Judges came from all over the world and included Fonterra research technologist Andrew Legg. . . 

Bankers aren’t farmers – Offsetting Behaviour:

On Radio New Zealand this morning, Andrew Little argued the government should lean on the banks to prevent their foreclosing on dairy farms, warning of that foreigners might swoop in and buy distressed NZ farms. 

  • Banks do not want to run farms. If they foreclose, they have to find somebody to run the thing pending auction. There are cows that need to be fed. The bank or the receiver takes on all the health & safety, and animal welfare, liability. The most heavily leveraged ones are the ones that’d be first to go; those are the ones where the banks have the biggest stake, and where the banks would take the greatest share of the loss in a fire-sale. A receiver’s fees will include all the farm-running costs. . . 

Dairy industry needs to stay competitive – DairyNZ:

DairyNZ says it is time to look at how the dairy industry can stay competitive in the wake of a record low Farmgate Milk Price and mounting debt.

It is stepping up its support to farmers and is running workshops across the country this week focussing on sharemilkers and farm owners working with sharemilkers.

Chief executive Tim Mackle said Fonterra has done well since it formed in 2001, and the main challenge for farmers – compared to other tough years – was the mountain of debt that had grown.

“Ten percent of the highest indebted farms have 30 percent of the total dairy debt – that’s $11 to $12 billion or $10 million each. But that doesn’t mean all those farms are at risk,” says Dr Mackle. . . 

Dairy prices affecting over one fifth of NZ SMEs:

More than one-in-five small and medium enterprises across New Zealand are feeling the effects of falling dairy prices, according to leading accounting software developer MYOB.

A snapshot result from the latest Business Monitor research commissioned by MYOB and undertaken by Colmar Brunton, found that 21 per cent of the more than 1,000 SMEs surveyed stated their business’ revenues were negatively affected by the dairy price. Even more concerning is the 25 per cent of SMEs that said general consumer confidence has been directly hit.

Across the country, it means that approximately 100,000 businesses employing upwards of one million New Zealanders are facing reducing revenue because of the dairy downturn. MYOB General Manager James Scollay says that the results show a significant impact on the New Zealand economy. . .

Dairy farming: it’ll be survival of the fittest – Jamie Gray:

Bank analyst has confidence in the sector’s ability to adapt but says that some of those ill-prepared for the downturn will go to the wall, writes Jamie Gray.

The dairy sector may be in for a period of adjustment of an order not seen since the 1980s, when farmers were hit with high interest rates, a high New Zealand dollar, and the removal of subsidies, says Rabobank NZ’s head of country banking Hayley Moynihan.

As dairy farmers prepare to enter what may be their third season in a row of negative returns, Moynihan said there will be casualties, but she has confidence in the sector’s ability to cope. . . 

dairy graphic

Stellar vintage predicted for Hawke’s Bay winegrowers:

All signs are pointing towards 2016 being another stellar year for Hawke’s Bay winemakers.

Paul Ham, Managing Director of Alpha Domus Winery, says the 2016 vintage is shaping up to be one of the best yet.

As one of the first wineries in Hawke’s Bay to harvest their early Chardonnay grapes, Alpha Domus is in a unique position to assess the coming vintage. “We’re really excited about the remainder of the harvest,” says Mr Ham. “It’s been a superb season and the grapes are looking outstanding on the vine.” . . .

Quality of NZ wool clip leaves exporters scrambling to fill lower-grade fibre orders – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand wool exporters scrambling to fill orders for lower-grade wool have driven up the price of what are known as oddments in recent weeks because the season to date has delivered an unexpectedly high-quality clip.

Wool oddments are the shorter parts of the fleece, such as from the belly, second pieces, eye clips, necks and those parts stained or otherwise discoloured. They are often baled and sold separately, but a paucity of lower-quality wool has meant exporters are blending oddments with other higher wool grades to make up orders, said Malcolm Ching, an executive at New Zealand Wool Services International in Christchurch. . . 

China Resources buys stake in NZ’s biggest apple exporter – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – China Resources Ng Fung has acquired 15.3 percent of Scales Corp, New Zealand’s biggest apple exporter, for about $55.9 million from Direct Capital Investments.

The Hong Kong-based company today entered into an arrangement to buy the shares at $2.60 apiece, with settlement on about March 21. Scales said it welcomed China Resources “as a significant minority shareholder, and as a party who can provide support to Scales in its ongoing initiatives in China.” . . 

Social Media Stars Win Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Awards:

The 2016 Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Industry Awards winners are active among a growing group of dairy farmers turning to social media to support, share and gain information to help progress their dairy career.

At the region’s annual awards dinner held at the Indian Hall in Pukekohe last night, Brad Markham and Matthew Herbert were named 2016 Auckland/Hauraki Share Farmers of the Year, Hayden Kerr became the 2016 Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Manager of the Year and James Doidge the 2016 Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Mr Markham, Mr Herbert and Mr Kerr are all active and well-known among dairy farmers on Twitter. “We enjoy connecting with other farmers, in New Zealand and overseas, on social media platforms like Twitter,” Mr Markham and Mr Herbert say. “It can be a great way to share ideas. . . 

Accountants Get in Behind New Zealand Dairy Farmers:

NZ CA Limited announces Gold Sponsorship of 2016 Dairy Business of the Year

Improving farm profitability and developing resilient and sustainable farming systems are two of the key drivers behind NZ Chartered Accountants Limited’s (NZ CA) gold sponsorship of this year’s Dairy Business of the Year (DBOY).

Sue Merriman, NZ CA’s chairperson and also partner in Greymouth chartered accountants Marshall & Heaphy Limited, says, “The group is delighted to be a Gold Sponsor of the 2016 Dairy Business of the Year. With so many of our member firms located in provincial New Zealand and having dairy farm businesses as clients, it’s a logical move for the group to be involved in supporting and further developing these businesses. With the continuing slump in milk solid prices this year and the effect of this on farm businesses, it’s more important than ever that dairy farmers get good independent business advice from their chartered accountants. . . 

Fertiliser Company Takes Industry Lead to Identify Fertiliser Efficiency:

Fertiliser Company Hatuma Dicalcic Phosphate has taken an industry lead to identify fertiliser efficiencies for farmers

The company has invested over $1 million in research and is monitoring 12 sheep and beef farms totalling 16,500 hectares in the independent ‘Farming for the Future’ programme.

The programme set out to find how a lower nutrient input system can build both economic and environmental resilience within the farm gate. . . 

TECH Talks a highlight at national primary industry conference:

In two weeks Rotorua will be playing host to over 300 industry representatives from throughout the agriculture, horticulture and forestry sectors. MobileTECH 2016 is a two-day conference focusing on new technologies and innovations designed for our food and fibre industries.

As well as the New Zealand sector, MobileTECH has also attracted a solid contingent from across the Tasman. Some of Australia’s largest primary industry companies will be flying into Rotorua and joining the local industry for this event.

The strength of this programme, boosting over 36 speakers, is in bringing together under the one roof leaders from across a diverse range of primary industries with those who are developing, manufacturing and adopting these new technologies. . . 

 


Rural round-up

March 14, 2016

Shearers sharing their skills – Sally Rae:

Ryan MacLean came to New Zealand last year “to learn how to shear a sheep and grow grass”.

The young Scotsman arrived in October to work for a Napier-based shearing contractor before heading south in January to work for Warren White, of Waimate Shearing.

From a sheep and beef farm, Mr MacLean (20) has always wanted to be a farmer and he also enjoyed shearing.

The aim of his New Zealand trip was to increase his tally. . . 

Why farmers pay higher interest on loans – Stephen Franks:

Specialist farm lending can be very profitable. Competition does not seem to wipe out the premium farmers tend to pay compared to other mortgage lending. It has puzzled economists from time to time.

Andrew Little’s stupid threats reported on Stuff this morning remind me why good farmers pay too much for their mortgages. I suspect he has just helped ensure more years of super-profits for farm lenders.

I’ve seen no recent study, but the farm sector interest margin was estimated to average over half a percent over many years when I was a lawyer for various farm financing institutions and a director of Wrightson and its finance company arm. . . 

Fonterra ‘needs to be good corporate citizen’ – agribusiness professor:

Waikato University professor of agribusiness Jacqueline Rowarth says farmers are concerned about the way Fonterra is treating the suppliers. Prof Rowarth says the farmers want their co-operative to be a good corporate citizen.

There have been suggestions that by cutting supply costs, Fonterra will be able to fund additional interest-free loans for farmers.

“This is ridiculous. Farmers do not want an interest-free loan,” says Prof Rowarth. “They want Fonterra to do a good job as a corporate citizen, as a marketing and processing arm, for its good product.” . . 

No Bailouts – Offsetting Behaviour:

Low dairy prices bite harder in New Zealand than elsewhere; dairy is a bigger part of our economy than it is elsewhere.

And so pressure for bailouts is potentially larger here than elsewhere. And so today’s “Things I love about New Zealand”: our Finance Minister’s response to dairy prices: . . 

Riding the milk roller coaster:

Dairy farmers are being urged to take a second look at their budgets against the background of a plummeting payout.

Fonterra now is forecasting a $3.90 payout per kg of milksolids, $1.75 below the average cost of production, and there’s fears that next season may be just as bad.

Farmers, who have already gone through their budgets to make savings, are being urged to get together with one another and farm consultants, to see what else they can trim.

Dairy farmers who move now stand more of a chance of riding out the milk roller coaster’s latest descent further into the trough, said Hayden Dillon New Zealand’s head of corporate agribusiness for accounting and advisory firm Crowe Horwath. . .

Predicted Growth Will Provide Challenges for Marlborough Wine Industry:

The Marlborough wine industry is so optimistic about the future that predictions are for an increase in producing vineyards of nearly 25 percent in the next four years.

But with that growth will come challenges, according to a Wine Marlborough, New Zealand Winegrowers, and Marlborough District Council labour market survey.

Undertaken last year, the survey shows that the industry is set to grow by 6,444 hectares by 2019/2020. Currently Marlborough has a total production area of 23,619 hectares, the predicted growth will take those productive hectares up to 29,270 – a 24 percent increase. . . 

Fourth Grand Finalist Confirmed in FMG Young Farmer of the Year:

Tony Dowman is the fourth Grand Finalist to be named in the 2016 FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

Tony is a 30 year old Farm Business Manager who took first place at the East Coast Regional Final in Dannevirke on 12 March.

Mr Dowman went home with a prize pack worth over $10,000 including cash, scholarships and products and services from FMG, Massey University, Ravensdown, Meridian Energy, AGMARDT, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, STIHL and Vodafone. Tony also won the Massey University Agri-growth Challenge, Silver Fern Farms Agri-sports Challenge and the Ravensdown Agri-Skills Challenge.

The last time Tony competed in the Contest was in 2012. . . 


Rural round-up

March 8, 2016

Embrace change Ballance CEO says – Sally Rae:

Agriculture has to ‘‘sell itself to New Zealand”.

That is the strong belief of Ballance Agri-Nutrients chief executive Mark Wynne, who cited a generation of people with no rural connections.

The sector – which was the foundation of New Zealand’s wealth – had to keep promoting its good stories, he said. . . 

$2m fertiliser plant opens near Timaru – Sally Rae:

More than $2million has been invested at Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ Washdyke site with the official opening of a specialist PhaSedN fertiliser manufacturing plant.

Timaru Mayor Damon Odey and Ballance chief executive Mark Wynne attended the opening, along with local farmers.

The plant was developed in partnership with Te Poi Manufacturing Ltd. It was expected to initially produce about 10,000 tonnes annually with capacity to build production as demand grew. . .

Landcorp to scale back Wairakei dairy conversion – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Landcorp Farming, the state-owned farmer, confirmed it will scale back the conversion of former forestry land to dairy farming on leased land at the Wairakei Estate north of Taupo following a slump in milk prices and concern about the environmental impact.

New Zealand’s largest corporate farmer “will significantly reduce dairy’s footprint from the original plans and instead include alternative uses for the 14,500 hectares of former forestry land it leases from Wairakei Pastoral,” the Wellington-based company said in a statement.

Landcorp has a 40-year lease to develop and farm the former forestry land, and since 2004 has developed 13 dairy farms with 17,000 cows over 6,400 hectares of the property. A new land-use model will see the eventual number of dairy farms and cows on the Wairakei Estate significantly reduced from the 39 originally planned, it said today. . . 

Industry group well advanced on bobby calf initiatives:

The eight organisations that formed a Bobby Calf Action Group at the end of 2015 are well advanced on a range of initiatives ensuring best practice handling and management of bobby calves.

The group is DairyNZ, Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand, Meat Industry Association, Federated Farmers, New Zealand Petfood Manufacturers Association, Road Transport Forum, New Zealand Veterinary Association and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Scott Gallacher, MPI Deputy Director General Regulation and Assurance, said a number of the initiatives being worked on were new, other initiatives were already underway but were being accelerated. . . 

Seeka commits to a new HQ and major infrastructure development to handle growing kiwifruit processing demand:

Seeka Kiwifruit Industries (NZX-SEK) will move into its new headquarters in Te Puke by the middle of this year and plans to make it a centre of excellence for its produce and grower-focused business, says Chief Executive Michael Franks.

“Our new HQ will reflect our focus on the crops we and our growers produce, and the harvest and post-harvest value chain,” said Mr Franks.

The move is part of this year’s planned capital expenditure of $20 million to develop new infrastructure to handle increasing kiwifruit volumes. . . 

Manawatu Dairy Awards Winners Look for New Opportunities:

The 2016 Manawatu Dairy Industry Awards big winner, Stephen Shailer, is on the hunt for a new dairy farm position and hopes his win will help his progress.

Mr Shailer won the 2016 Manawatu Share Farmer of the Year title and $10,450 in prizes at the region’s awards dinner held at Awapuni Racecourse last night. The other major winners were Renae Flett, the 2016 Manawatu Dairy Manager of the Year, and Karl Wood, the 2016 Manawatu Dairy Trainee of the Year.

“We entered the awards for the first time this year as we are hoping to move to a 50:50 sharemilking position or lease farm, so we entered in an effort to make our CV stand out a bit more,” Mr Shailer says. “We also wanted to push ourselves to identify our own strong and weak points.” . . .


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