Rural round-up

November 22, 2016

Environment group goes to court to protect Mackenzie Country:

The Environmental Defence Society (EDS) has filed court proceedings to try to stop land conversions in the Mackenzie Country.

The group is arguing at the Environment Court that conversion from arid grassland to irrigated pasture is happening without the proper approval from the Mackenzie District Council, and the authority is not doing anything about it.

It is also worried at the level of water consents for pivot irrigators being issued by the regional council, Environment Canterbury.

EDS chief executive Gary Taylor said tens of thousands of hectares of the Mackenzie Basin was being destroyed and transformed by irrigation at a very rapid rate. . . 

Offers of Help and Cash Flow In For Quake Hit Farmers:

 

A week out from the 7.8 earthquake, offers of help logged with the Federated Farmers 0800 FARMING line have topped 300.

The Feds have also had teams on the ground and in the air reaching out to farms at the end of long and winding roads all over North Canterbury and Marlborough, checking how they fared and what they need.

The national farming organisation’s Adverse Events Trust Fund was reactivated mid-week and more than $21,000 has been received. One $10,000 donation came from a farmer keen to help South Island counterparts with emergency supplies, farm equipment, essential tools and materials. . . 

30,000 Bees Among Those Rescued by the NZDF:

If calamity struck and you had to flee your home, what would you take?

One of the estimated 900 Kaikoura residents rescued by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) from the quake-damaged seaside town carried his most valuable possession: about 30,000 bees.

“Many people took what they could fit into a suitcase or two – the things closest to their hearts. One of the evacuees just could not leave his bees behind,” Commander (CDR) Simon Rooke, the Commanding Officer of amphibious sealift vessel HMNZS Canterbury, said.

“The ship does a meticulous count of everything we bring on board as a matter of course. Last Saturday, we evacuated 192 people together with 2.3 tonnes of baggage, one cat, 14 dogs and about 30,000 bees – they were one thing we didn’t count exactly. . . 

Temporary fishery closures around Kaikoura:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced a temporary closure of shellfish and seaweed harvesting along the earthquake-affected east coast of the South Island, and a $2 million package to investigate the impact of the earthquakes on these fisheries.

“There will be an initial one month closure of the crayfish fishery and three months for all remaining shellfish and seaweed species,” says Mr Guy.

“The earthquakes have had a devastating impact on the coastline, raising it by up to four metres in places in an area nearly 100 kilometres long. There has been major mortality for paua and some crayfish in this area and there are concerns about the loss of habitat and what that might mean for breeding. . . 

Fruit fly stopped at the border:

Ministry for Primary Industries staff have intercepted four Queensland fruit fly larvae at Wellington airport, stopping the dangerous pest from making a home in New Zealand.

The larvae were found earlier this month in an undeclared mandarin carried by an Australian passenger arriving from Melbourne. They have since been confirmed as Queensland fruit fly – regarded as one of the worst horticultural pests in the world. . . .

Warm, wet and worrying for facial eczema:

With NIWA’s seasonal weather outlook through to December signalling warm, wet conditions across the North Island, farmers are being encouraged to include preventive measures against facial eczema in their summer farm management plans.

Above average temperatures and rainfall are ideal conditions for the fungus which causes facial eczema to thrive. Spore production occurs when soil temperatures exceed 12 degrees for three consecutive nights and soil moisture is favourable or air conditions are humid.

“After reduced milk production through the spring, the last thing farmers need is another potential brake on it as summer progresses. Prevention is the best approach and starting early with zinc supplementation is a good tactic to get the best protection,” says SealesWinslow Science Extension Officer, Natalie Hughes. . . 

Farm-gate milk prices lift producer prices:

Business Price Indexes: September 2016 quarter

In the September 2016 quarter, producer output prices rose 1 percent, and producer input prices rose 1.5 percent.

The prices received by dairy cattle farmers (up 28 percent) and paid by dairy product manufacturers (up 22 percent) were key influences to the increase

“Higher farm-gate milk prices contributed to the September 2016 quarter rises,’’ business prices manager Sarah Williams said. . . 

Church Road Winery’s Chris Scott named New Zealand Winemaker of the Year

Church Road Winery’s winemaker Chris Scott has been named New Zealand Winemaker of the Year 2016 by Winestate Magazine for the second time in four years, having also taken out this sought-after title in 2013.

A trophy duo was awarded to Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2014 with the Syrah/Shiraz of the Year Trophy and New Zealand Wine of the Year Trophy for this stunning wine.

Chris has been crafting award-winning wines for sixteen years at Church Road Winery in Hawke’s Bay with the support of an outstanding viticulture and winemaking team, and he has a passion for Chardonnay and red blend winemaking, a dedication to his craft and a commitment to quality wine-making. . . 


Rural round-up

July 12, 2016

Taking on the big issues in big country – Kate Taylor:

After driving into the Ormond Valley property of Charlie Reynolds, it’s not surprising that rural roads is an issue he’s hot under the collar about.

Tight gravel roads are everywhere in rural New Zealand and Ngakoroa Road near Gisborne is one of them. In the next few years, Reynolds is going to have to warn all visitors about the forestry harvesting happening at the end of his road.

“It is 300 hectares so we will see 3000 to 4000 logging trucks passing our farm gate before they’re finished… and that’s a small block in comparison to what’s around the rest of the region,” he says. . . 

Will losing guaranteed milk supply stir Goodman Fielder to action? – Keith Woodford:

Since the formation of Fonterra in 2001, Goodman Fielder has always had a guaranteed supply of 250 million litres of Fonterra milk.   MPI Minister Nathan Guy is now proposing that the time has come for Goodman Fielder to fend for itself.

For the last fifteen years, the major milk supply chain in New Zealand has comprised one supplier (Fonterra), two processors (Fonterra and Goodman Fielder) and two supermarket chains (Foodstuffs and Progressive).  It has indeed been a cosy arrangement.

It is this cosy arrangement, combined with a goods and services tax on food of 15% which is either absent or imposed at a lower rate in most countries, that has led to milk in New Zealand supermarkets being more expensive than elsewhere.  The processing and marketing margins are not disclosed, so the relative returns to the processors and supermarkets can only be estimated. But it is a fair bet that both processors and supermarkets do rather nicely. . . 

Tim Mackle is 2016 Landcorp Communicator of the Year:

The chief executive of DairyNZ, Dr Tim Mackle, is the winner of the 2016 Landcorp Agricultural Communicator of the Year. 

The judges noted that in his time as DairyNZ CEO, Tim’s excellence as a communicator has enabled him to provide an extraordinary level of leadership for the dairy sector.  This has been particularly evident over the last 12 months when the industry has faced a difficult period in the media with low milk prices, issues with animal welfare and environmental standards.

“He has spoken out, challenged opinions and most importantly, used his position to educate and change views of the sector. His has been a prevailing voice for his industry and he has regularly featured on television news and in daily regional and national publications.” . . .

Enterprising Rural Women Awards entries open for 2016:

The Enterprising Rural Women Awards (ERWA) offer women who run their own rural businesses the opportunity to showcase their innovative rural enterprise and gain recognition for their success.

Rural Women New Zealand invite entries from businesswomen who have strong entrepreneurial skills, are innovative and embrace new technology, and are active in their rural community.

2016 ERWA categories: . . 

NZ Fur Council Backs Environment Commission recommendation to do more to control possums:

In the state of New Zealand’s environment report released today, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has found that pests are among the high priorities for action.

The report highlights concern that the control of possums and other pests is only happening in one–eighth of the Conservation estate, signifying that our native plants and animals are losing the war against pests.

Neil Mackie, Chair of the New Zealand Fur Council (NZFC) applauds the Commisisoner’s report and says fur recovery is a sustainable approach to winning the war against possums. . . 

Feds honour those who excel in primary sector:

Federated Farmers has unveiled six winners in its inaugural National Conference Awards.

The awards celebrate excellence in agriculture and the contributions made by Federated Farmers’ members to further enhance the primary industry.

Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston said those nominated had gone above the call of duty, putting in significant time and energy to serve and advance the entire primary industry.

Federated Farmers’ Bee Industry Group Chairperson John Hartnell MNZM from Canterbury was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Federated Farmers for his unrivalled commitment to the Federation and the bee industry. . . 

Expert tips help calves get the best start:

Calving season just got a little bit easier thanks to a new series of online videos from SealesWinslow.

The 2 minute clips provide quick and relevant advice from SealesWinslow nutritionist and quality manager, Wendy Morgan, allowing calf rearers to refresh their knowledge and access useful information while on the go.

Wendy says that giving calves the best possible start is vital to setting up dairy cows for a long and productive life.

“It starts with having a good calving plan; ensuring calves get the right nutrition at the right time and making best use of farm facilities to provide the best calf housing. . . 


Rural round-up

May 3, 2016

Rattling Fonterra’s governance is not enough – Keith Woodford:

Late last year, Fonterra’s farmers rattled the cage by voting for a change in governance rules. However, the voting majority was insufficient to change the rules. Fonterra’s Board has now responded with its own proposals for new governance structures.

To me, the new proposals look like a continuing meander towards corporatisation, without recognition of the special features of a huge co-operative conglomerate like Fonterra.

The proposal last year, led by former Fonterra directors Greg Gent and Colin Armer, was to reduce the number of directors. But would a smaller number of directors really make a difference? And what would it do in terms of further disconnecting the Board from the grassroots? . . 

Rabobank Agribusiness Monthly (NZ) – April 2016:

The Agribusiness Monthly provides timely information and analysis on agricultural conditions, commodity price updates and commentary on the latest sectoral trends and developments.

Key Highlights:

• Dairy – Global commodity prices continue to stumble along a market floor largely determined by the level of EU intervention support—and the ceiling for this support has just been approved higher. . . 

Time to plan ahead for droughts – Dan Satherley:

Improving water storage will be key to getting farmers through future droughts, according to one agribusiness expert.

Failing that, it might be time for beef, sheep and dairy to rethink their business model.

North Canterbury is into its second year of drought, with rainfall over the past few months only a third what it normally is. . . 

Kiwi-Owned Organic Rice Company Number One in South America:

Organic Latin America, an organic rice processing and distribution company in South America owned by kiwi company Ceres Organics and international partners, has risen to be the largest organic rice exporter out of South America in just five years.

Organic Latin America was founded five years ago by Ceres Organics and Thai, Danish, and Argentinian companies in order to provide South American organic rice growers with access to international markets.

Organic Latin America worked with growers in the Northern parts of Argentina and in Southern Brazil to help them improve processing systems and supply markets all over the world. . .

Fonterra says season-to-date milk collection down 3% in NZ, down 1% in Australia – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group says milk collection is down in both New Zealand and Australia in the first 10 months of the season, reflecting destocking in its home market in the face of low milk prices and unfavourable weather across the Tasman.

Milk collection across New Zealand fell 3 percent to 1.39 billion kilograms of milk solids in the 10 months ended March 31, with all of the decline coming in the North Island and no change in the south. . . 

New PGP Investment Advisory Panel Chair announced:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed John Parker as the new Chair of the Primary Growth Partnership’s independent Investment Advisory Panel (IAP).

Mr Parker is a primary industry and governance specialist, and assumes his role as IAP Chair from 1 May 2016.  He replaces Joanna Perry whose tenure as Chair finishes on 30 April after nearly seven years on the IAP, including almost three as its Chair.

“IAP members use their expertise and judgement to advise on decisions about the investment of PGP funds, and to help ensure these investments achieve the aims of economic growth and sustainability,” says Mr Guy.

“Mr Parker has extensive experience in both governance and in the primary industries and he understands what is required to grow value in the sector. . . 

Northland Farmer gets top foodies on side:

A local specialist pork and beef producer has won a nationwide competition to have some of the country’s top experts help promote the business.

Amanda Hellier and her husband Wayne farm in Motutangi under the name Farm Gate Produce. They have been named as one of four winners of the Sustainable Business Network’s Good Food Boost competition. The family business produces Free Range pork cuts, sausages, salami and Chorizo and supplies it ‘from gate to plate’. . . 

Considering more days in milk?:

After a tough season many dairy farmers may be considering extending the milking period of their cows to create more cashflow.

For farmers in a position to do so, keeping cows in milk for an extended period can make strong commercial sense. A dry cow by contrast still incurs feed and grazing costs but without a corresponding milk income.

SealesWinslow Consultant Animal Nutrition Specialist, Paul Sharp, says that farmers weighing the costs and benefits of extending the milking period have several things to consider.  . . .

Waikato forum to unlock secrets to $3/kg MS farm systems:

Dairy farmer Gary Rowlands says running his farm at a cost of under $3/kg milksolids (MS) is thanks to a simple system.

Gary and wife Debra’s farm is among the 10-15 percent of New Zealand farmers who operate below $3/kg MS FWE (farm working expenses).

The Rowlands put their $2.21/kg MS FWE system down to simple farming – including an all-grass focus, basic machinery, doing their fertiliser application/silage/topping themselves and looking after their cows well.

“It’s a simple system. We just do the basics well and don’t spend if we don’t have to,” says Gary. “Every aspect comes into it.” . . 

Federated Farmers welcomes New Zealand Fire Services merger:

Federated Farmers welcomes the Government’s announcement today that funding of $303 million will be used over four years to combine rural and urban fire services.

Federated Farmers rural fire spokesperson Anders Crofoot says the creation of the new organisation – Fire and Emergency New Zealand – will mean a more efficient delivery and a better service provided by one organisation. It also recognises the services other than fire which rural fire has often provided for many years, even though it was unfunded and outside their mandate.

“The government is showing a strong commitment to transition and we welcome the additional money to build capabilities in rural fire and supporting our rural volunteers,” he said. . . 

Westpac NZ seeks more agriculture market share despite dairy downturn – By Fiona Rotherham:

 (BusinessDesk) – Westpac New Zealand says it wants to lift its market share of agricultural lending over time to 20 percent from the current 12.6 percent.

The Australian-owned bank today reported a steady performance in its New Zealand unit with cash earnings of $445 million for the six months ending Mar. 31, up 2 percent on a year ago.

Overall lending rose 8 percent with a 9 percent lift in business lending to $26.6 billion. Its agricultural portfolio totals $8.1 billion, up from $7.3 billion a year ago with dairy accounting for more than two-thirds of that. Its market share in agricultural lending rose from 12.3 percent in the previous half to 12.6 percent, which chief financial officer Jason Clifton said went mainly to existing rather than new dairy operations. . . 

Water Accord demonstrates the importance of using qualified advisers:

The release of the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord this week highlights the important role of talented people in delivering improvements in the environmental performance of dairy farming.

The report notes that the training and certification of nutrient management advisers hit a major milestone in the 2014/15 year with a total of 100 rural professionals completing the requirements for and achieving certification in the Nutrient Management Adviser Certification Programme (NMACP). This was accomplished with the ongoing support and commitment of the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand and its member companies, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Ltd and Ravensdown Ltd. One of the Accord targets was that 50% of Fertiliser Association member company advisers would be certified by 31 May 2014, which was comfortably achieved. . . 

Contractors must do their bit:

Agricultural contractors around the country must play their part in helping to prevent the spread of the invasive weed velvetleaf, says Rural Contractors NZ (RCNZ) president Steve Levet.

Mr Levet is reminding contractors about the importance of biosecurity and machinery hygiene practices on, and between farms, in controlling the spread velvetleaf and says rural contractors have an important role to play in this.

“Contractors need to be conscious of the potential of spreading velvetleaf when moving between properties, or between areas of the same property, and to take responsibility in managing these risks,” he says. . . 

Wool Industry Reacts to New Health and Safety Regulations:

The National Council of New Zealand Wool Interests Inc comprises associations and organisations involved in the domestic and international trading of greasy and scoured wool. The Council acts as the New Zealand member of the International Wool Textile Organisation, which represents the interests of the wool textile trade at the global level.

The National Council and its members are committed to providing a safe working environment throughout the wool industry. Increasing concerns relating to bales weighing over 200kg (which are estimated to cover approximately 6% of the national clip) have prompted the Council to address the issue. Bales weighing in excess of 200kg can contribute to workplace accidents and throughout the industry provide a significant problem during dumping and shipping. These bales have been assessed as hazards during transport and handling, with changes deemed necessary to comply with tougher Occupational Health and Safety laws being introduced in New Zealand. . . 


Rural round-up

April 12, 2016

Water brings back ‘marvellous’ times – Sally Rae:

“Lower Waitaki – The Community That Water Saved” was the theme of a recent media tour organised by the Waitaki Irrigators Collective and IrrigationNZ and coinciding with IrrigationNZ’s 2016 conference in Oamaru. Agribusiness reporter Sally Rae hopped on the bus to discover just what irrigation has done for the area and its inhabitants.  

When Jim Dennison’s father bought Drumena in 1919, the Hilderthorpe farm was in a “desolate state”.

Local women pitied his new bride moving to such a property to try to make a living. . .

Harnessing the sunshine for record-breaking crop yields – Pat Deavoll:

Farmers talk about growing feed, but North Otago crop and dairy farmer Chris Dennison says he is “harvesting sunshine.”

His world record-breaking crops of barley and oil seed rape were the combination of heavy soils, a coastal environment, reliable water and sustained sunshine, he said.

“Here at Hilderthorpe (just south of the Waitaki River) we get a cool easterly wind which gives a lull in the growing season for cereal and oil seed rape, so the crops can utilise more sunshine.”

Dennison took over the farm from his father Jim in the early 1980s. Traditionally it was a mixed sheep and beef property but when Dennison arrived home he brought with him an interest in cropping. . . 

Waitaki water key to reliable farming – Sally Rae:

Reuben Allan’s dairy shed has one heck of a view.

It overlooks the vast Waitaki River which provides not only recreational opportunities for his family, but also has allowed them to transition from a “feast or famine” dryland operation to one with reliable irrigation.

Mr Allan grew up on Fairway Farm, which used to be a dryland sheep property, near Ikawai.

Irrigation began on the hills in the mid-1990s and the move was made into intensive beef finishing. . . 

Irrigation provides reliability – Sally Rae:

Matt Ross first arrived in North Otago “more by accident”.

But his decision to return, once he completed his university studies, was deliberate as he had identified the potential opportunities in the district.

Mr Ross and his wife Julie operate Kokoamo Farms, which comprise two dairy farms near Duntroon, milking 1730 cows at peak, and lease a run-off property.

Their farming operation is a showcase: lush green grass, extensive plantings, including a wetland development that is home to more than 100,000 plants, and impressive infrastructure. . . 

Still turning them (tractors) on at 85:

North Otago’s Don Fraser is a man who loves his tractors. His love affair has been so intense he is still driving them at the ripe old age of 85.

Part of the hard-working team at EGL Pastoral for 26 years, and a farmer most of his life, Mr Fraser remembers the old style tractors (crawlers) when he first started out and recalls they were so noisy you needed hearing aids. “There was no silencers then and we didn’t have air con back in the day, but then we didn’t need it when a keen souwester was blowing through.” . . .

Sheep Industry Awards celebrate success:

This country’s sheep industry will celebrate its best and brightest at Beef +Lamb New Zealand’s fifth annual New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards in the Wairarapa in July.

Entries are open for the Awards which recognises this country’s top sheep farmers, breeders, scientists and industry innovators.

People can put their name forward, or be nominated for the Award categories; Science Trainer of the Year, Innovation, Significant Contribution to the New Zealand Sheep Industry and the Emerging Talent Award. . . 

Focus on forages is key to sustainable farm profits:

Pastoral farming is a huge earner for New Zealand worth over $23 billion in export revenues last year. Forages – the grasses and other plants grazed by farm animals – are a critical part of pastoral farming systems. Industry participants consider there is significant scope to lift the contribution forages make to the underlying productivity and profitability of the pastoral sectors and to achieve these outcomes in an environmentally sustainable manner.

This is why an initiative to improve the sustainability and profitability of New Zealand’s forage grazing systems has the buy-in of everyone representing the pastoral sector. . . 

Bostock New Zealand experiencing highest quality apples for several years:

New Zealand’s largest organic apple grower is harvesting some of the best quality fruit it’s experienced for years – thanks to near perfect growing and harvesting conditions.

Bostock New Zealand Director, David Brasell says the weather has been outstanding for the harvest and the fruit has sized well.

“The quality of our apples this season is very, very good. The colour is great, the fruit is clean and the size is excellent. . . .

Time to guard against costly nutritional deficits:

A small investment in autumn feed testing can be good insurance against mineral deficiencies in dairy and beef cows that can lead to low growth rates and poor milk yields.

Winter feeds like fodder beet, low pasture phosphorus levels in some regions, and lower seasonal availability for copper can lead to deficiencies of both of these key minerals during late pregnancy, early lactation and calf growth.

Consultant nutritionist to SealesWinslow, Paul Sharp, says for around $100 a comprehensive pasture mineral test will provide the right information to farmers. . . 

Yealands Launches NZ’s First Vineyard Tour Guide App:

The first kiwi wine app that allows the user to take a self-guided vineyard tour – and take in Yealands’ famous White Road hot-spots.

One of the only vineyards to actually let visitors drive through its vineyard, wine innovators, Yealands Wine Group have released a mobile application that allows visitors to its Seaview Vineyard in the Awatere Valley, Marlborough the unique opportunity of taking their own self-guided vineyard tour. . .


Rural round-up

February 16, 2016

Surviving the dairy downturn – Keith Woodford:

In recent weeks the short term dairy outlook has turned from bad to awful. Fonterra’s recently revised milksolids price estimate of $4.15 for the current 1015/16 season has already been overtaken by events, and is once again looking decidedly optimistic.

I now see a figure of about $3.90 as being more likely, but still with plus or minus 40c around that. Even more important, no longer can we ignore the likelihood that dairy prices are going to stay low for at least the first half of the 2016/17 dairy season, and possibly for all of that season.

Most but not all of the farmers I have contact with are going to come through relatively unscathed. But that is not the case for those who have both high costs of production and high debt. We are now facing a situation which New Zealand farmers have not faced since the 1980s. . . 

Broker warns average dairy farmer may lose $140k this season – Edwin Mitson:

(BusinessDesk) – Financial broker OMF is warning the average New Zealand dairy farmer is likely to lose $140,760 this season, with next year looking just as grim.

In its monthly New Zealand dairy report OMF suggests there is a further risk that Fonterra Cooperative Group could lower payouts again, pointing to a potential milk price of $3.89 per kilogram of milk solids. Fonterra lowered prices on Jan. 28 to $4.15/kgMS. OMF estimates the current cost of production is $5.31/kgMS.

OMF said dairy farmers are likely to face a third season of weak prices, with many becoming increasingly reliant on credit lines and vulnerable to a shift in banks’ willingness to “extend and pretend” loans are going to be repaid. DairyNZ estimates 85 percent of dairy farmers will make a loss this season compared to 49 percent last season. . . 

Seafood exports reach $1.63 billion:

New Zealand seafood exports reached a record high of $1.63 billion last year, up over 6 per cent on 2014.

The growth was most pronounced in the final two months of the year, says Chief Executive Tim Pankhurst.

Up to the end of October export growth was tracking at about 3 per cent but increased demand in November and December pushed the growth to over 20 per cent for those two months and lifted total growth for the year to 6.6 per cent. . . 

Ex-deer farmers drawn back by strong returns:

Deer farmers who left the industry for brighter pastures in dairy are being drawn back by strong returns for venison and velvet, a south Canterbury deer farmer says.

Kris Orange farms 1600 weaner deer on 260 hectares in Geraldine, South Canterbury and 1000 hinds on a farm at Dunback, Otago.

He said venison prices were up more than $1 on last year’s returns, sitting at about $7.20kg, with expectations of strong growth in the next five to 10 years. . . 

Four finalists named for IrrigationNZ’s Innovation Award:

For the second time – IrrigationNZ has shortlisted four finalists for its ‘Innovation in Irrigation Award’ sponsored by Aqualinc – which will be presented at the organisation’s biennial conference in early April.

New technologies, products, practices or community collaborations that reflect innovation within the irrigation sector are the focus of the award, which is only presented every second year.

IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis says the external judging panel had struggled to keep the shortlist to the normal three, so four finalists have been chosen this year. . . 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand making global connections:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand teamed up with Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand Institute (LCBNZ) recently to host six chefs from China – winners of the global “Chef par Excellence” culinary competition.

The institute and Sealord New Zealand were the main sponsors and Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) was invited to arrange a day’s activity for the chefs.

B+LNZ General Manager Market Development Nick Beeby says the opportunity was too good to pass up, particularly given the group’s influential travel members. . . 

SealesWinslow mills receive quality stamp:

SealesWinslow has attained FeedSafeNZ accreditation across all of its mills, recognising the high quality of the animal feed products they make.

FeedSafeNZ is a quality stamp from the New Zealand Feed Manufacturers Association (NZFMA) for manufacturers and blenders, designed to enhance the quality assurance of stockfeed. . . 

Synlait Strengthens Senior Team to Drive Value Growth And Business Performance:

Three new senior management positions will add business development and process improvement capability to Synlait’s Senior Leadership Team.

Managing Director and CEO John Penno said the decision follows an assessment of business areas that require additional focus to ensure the company continues to deliver against its growth aspirations.

“Building our business development capability will significantly improve our ability to take advantage of emerging opportunities that will accelerate our growth,” said Mr Penno. . . 

 


Rural round-up

September 11, 2015

Sheep and beef farmers to benefit from weaker NZD:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Economic Service released its New Season Outlook 2015-16 today. It predicts the average sheep and beef farm in New Zealand will see its profit before tax lift to $109,900 this season – 9.6 per cent more than last season, but 3.1 per cent below the five-year average.

B+LNZ Chief Economist Andrew Burtt says this is positive news, at a time when the New Zealand economy will benefit from increased farm sector spending.

“This season, New Zealand’s 12,300 commercial sheep and beef farmers will spend a total of $4.66 billion on fertiliser, interest, repairs and maintenance and general farm operating costs. This will be welcomed by rural suppliers and communities, particularly at this time.” . . 

Techno lucerne: getting the best out of bulls – Kate Taylor:

Nothing spells out spring more than lambs and daffodils.

You won’t find many woolly creatures on the Central Hawke’s Bay farm of Angus and Esther Mabin, apart from the ones keeping the grass down in the home paddock.

You will find daffodils though. Thousands of them planted across more than 8ha by Angus’ Mum Railene over 40 years and now sold as a fundraiser for CHB Plunket. Every September, giant-sized daffodil signs grace the side of SH2 south of Waipukurau and locals and visitors swarm to the farm known as Taniwha. . . 

Will ants bee the saviours of our hives? – Alexa Cook:

Scientists have discovered a new ant virus related to the deformed wing virus, which kills honey bees.

Bees and ants often forage together, and may be capable of passing on diseases to each other.

The new virus is carried by Argentine ants, which are one of New Zealand’s major bee pests.

The ants already carry a deformed wing virus, which can cause bee colony collapses. . .

Silver Fern Farms ‘strategic’ not even close – Gravedodger:

The entire  NZ Meat Industry may qualify in that category but there is absolutely nothing about a farmer supplier owned part player processor, I hesitate to call them marketer, in the meat industry to what I understand Strategic to involve.

Yes there is farmer supplier investment  in SFF and if the whole shambolic outfit went broke tomorrow it would have some dire effects for many but in the absence of any significant new meatworks being created, those that were built in the latter years of last century have all outlived the planned obsolescence and the older ones are more relics than meatplants.

The entire meat industry since the “Dunedin” departed New Zealand waters with the first refrigerated cargo of meat for the UK over 130 years ago, is littered with incompetence and manipulations bordering on fraud as aspiring entrepreneurs attempted to make their fortune. . . 

New great walk to be ‘one of the best‘ – Paul Taylor:

The Department of Conservation is working on plans for a Great Walk near Queenstown, the country’s 10th.

The proposed three day route is through the spectacular scenery of nearby Mt Creighton Station.

The ”Moonlight Trail” is part of a mooted trade off between the Government and the company which owns the perpetual lease for the 15,000ha station. . . 

New Zealand Winegrowers launches consumer focused education programme in China:

The New Zealand Wine Intermediate Certificate was launched in Shanghai last week, giving Chinese wine consumers the chance to learn about New Zealand’s diverse wine styles.

The education programme was developed by New Zealand Winegrowers and New Zealand Trade & Enterprise in response to a growing demand for information about New Zealand wine from consumers across China.

“This certificate has been several years in the making. We are working with New Zealand based Master of Wine Jane Skilton and her team at the New Zealand School of Wines & Spirits, whose experience will prove invaluable” said Chris Yorke, Global Marketing Director at New Zealand Winegrowers. “Education plays a huge part in our marketing strategy for China, and the launch of a programme specially tailored for consumers will help raise awareness and appreciation of our premium wines in a growing market.” . . 

Watch your back this spring:

Sheep farmers busy with tailing/docking of lambs are being urged to take extra care of their backs.

With spring comes more stock handling,” says Al McCone, WorkSafe’s Agriculture Programme Manager. “Injuries often happen when people do routine tasks like tailing/docking over and over again. Before you or your workers start any job on the farm, stop and consider what you need to watch out for and how to get it done safely.”

In September last year, people working on farms made 600 claims qualifying for ACC funding for back injuries. In addition to injuries suffered as a result of tailing/docking work, other back-related injuries came from kicks or crushing by animals, slips, trips and falls, and injuries from vehicles and heavy machinery. . . 

True Dairy Trainees Targeted in Contest Revamp:

Changes to the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competition will give genuine dairy trainees the opportunity to succeed.

National Convenor Chris Keeping says the entry criteria in the dairy trainee competition has been tightened to ensure it caters for young people, who have less experience and qualifications than other potential new entrants to the dairy industry.

“The dairy trainee contest aims to foster and assist new people coming into the industry to gain the skills, knowledge and reputation they need to progress,” Mrs Keeping says. . . 

2015 New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards:

Entries in New Zealand’s most prestigious competition for extra virgin olive oil closed on Wednesday 9th September, with a total of 70 entries. There were 60 entries in the Extra Virgin classes and 10 entries in the Flavoured Oil classes, which are new classes for these Awards.

The 2015 New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards have attracted entries from all of the major olive growing regions across the country. . .

Save on calf rearing this season:

Weaning calves from milk when they reach 65 kilograms could add to the bottom line if a good value meal and pasture is added to the diet early on – especially when it comes to replacement heifers.

Wendy Morgan, Nutrition and Quality Manager at animal nutrition company SealesWinslow said the cost of rearing calves can be reviewed by farmers who are looking for ways to make cost savings this season.

“To wean from milk, start weighing calves at six weeks of age. An animal can be weaned once it has reached 65 kilograms, has an obvious rumen (a pot belly when looking at it from behind) and is eating 1 kilogram of meal for three consecutive days,” she said. . .

The Global Forest Industry in the 2Q/2015:

Excerpts from the Wood Resource Quarterly (www.woodprices.com)

Global Timber Markets:

Sawlog prices fell again in the 2Q/15 in most of the 19 regions worldwide that are part of the Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI). The Index is at its lowest level since 2009, and is down 20% from its all-time high four years go.The only regions where prices increased in the 2Q were in Northwest Russia andthe Interior of British Columbia.

Global trade of softwood roundwood slowed down towards the end of 2014 and log shipments have continued to be slow during the first half of 2015, with the biggest reduction in imports being in Japan, South Korea and Sweden. . . 

Increased cruise ship biosecurity a welcome result for kiwifruit:

The Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) announcement to beef up biosecurity on incoming cruise ships is a welcome result for the kiwifruit industry.

Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) Chief Executive, Barry O’Neil, says KVH has been working with MPI for increased border interventions on the cruise ship pathway, and supports the work being done to address the increasing risks.

“The cruise ship pathway is one the kiwifruit industry is concerned about so we are fully supportive of MPI’s proactive approach following a cruise ship passenger risk review.” . . 


Rural round-up

July 5, 2015

Calm cattle eases storm’s pain – Kate Taylor:

Easterly faces on Heughan and Carol Gordon’s Waimarama farm still bear the scars of a brutal storm that hit coastal Hawke’s Bay during Easter weekend four years ago.

But when you’re there on a still, clear winter’s day in the Hawke’s Bay sunshine, it’s hard to picture 750mm of rain falling in just 36 hours.

The property is a 260ha sheep and beef farm, plus 50ha lease block, running between Waimarama Rd and the Maraetotara ridge, south east of Hastings, rising sharply off the road up to about 300m above sea level.  Gordon and his wife Carol moved to Hawke’s Bay from Kaitawa, near Pahiatua, six years ago having previously farmed in Taihape.  . .

Going great Gunns – Joanna Davies:

When Allan Gunn and his brother Trevor bought Burwood Downs farm in South Otago five decades ago survival was their only goal. Times may have changed but Allan endures and he’s glad still to be on the land he loves. Joanna Davies tells the tale. Photos by John Cosgrove.

When Allan Gunn and his brother Trevor bought 445 hectares at Wangaloa on the South Otago coast in 1965 they knew they’d be there for the long haul. Fifty years later and mortgage free, Allan stands by his original view that farming is a long-distance event and not a sprint – though there have been a few hurdles along the way. 

When the pair bought Burwood Downs farm in the Clutha District five decades ago their first goal was to survive. State Advances had given them a £32,000 mortgage for land. They had a second mortgage of about £10,000 for plant plus stock of 2000 ewes, 500 hoggets, 56 cows, 56 calves and a few odds and sods. . .

Advance Parties gaining traction:

Deer Industry NZ is fielding an upsurge in the number of farmers wanting to join an Advance Party (AP).

These are an innovative concept, designed to get deer farmers to encourage and support each other in adopting management practices that will make their farms more profitable.

There are nine APs underway, as part of a three-year trial of the concept. One of the nine is developing tools or ‘metrics’ that farmers can use to measure the performance of their deer businesses. The rest are on-farm groups located from Hawkes Bay to Southland. . .

Spark Digital operates to fix the gap between urban and rural surgery:

Spark Digital is powering Mobile Health Solutions as a unique paperless mobile surgical centre – the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

Mobile Health Solutions runs a fully-equipped operating theatre housed in a purpose built 20m bus. It travels the length of New Zealand, from Kaitaia to Gore taking a full range of surgical services to rural areas. The bus journeys on a five week cycle clocking up 50,000km a year and has performed 18,500 operations.

Spark Digital delivers reliable mobile broadband to the unit using a dual option service that can fail over from 4G to 3G and vice versa when required. . .

 

When did farming become a paper-pushing exercise? – Chris Lewis:

People often ask me, what Federated Farmers elected people do with their day. Well I’m currently sitting in my office writing this column and looking at my diary for the next few weeks, which is filled with Federated Farmers work.

In the next few weeks my days are jam packed with meetings, with the majority focused on paper shuffling or death by paper cuts. There is so much going on in the primary industries I feel like I’m tied to my desk, barely ever leaving the house, because the paper work never stops! I kid you not; farming is becoming a paper pushing exercise!

Farmers do the essential stuff like PAYE forms, paying bills, financial budgets, staff rosters, and general planning, but more and more forms are coming in that tell us we cannot do our job until we have filled them out. Some make sense but others seem to be an answer to lefties using social media to push their vendettas’ against farmers. We are in an era where people’s dislike or even hatred is expressed over a keyboard and answered by bureaucrats pushing more paper work at the alleged problem. . .

Leading New Zealand Grower Rebrands:

One of New Zealand’s leading growers and the largest organic apple producer, BOSTOCK NEW ZEALAND, has launched a new corporate name and brand to reflect the consolidation of the company and the positive growth.

The Bostock Group’s three main brands JB Organics, JM Bostock Ltd and D M Palmer will all now become part of BOSTOCK NEW ZEALAND.

BOSTOCK NEW ZEALAND owner and founder, John Bostock said the company had experienced significant expansion and was delighted to announce a new brand to simplify the company’s identities. . .

SealesWinslow passes on savings:

Farm animal nutrition company SealesWinslow is passing on business efficiencies through lower feed costs, sharing gains with farmers at a time when budgets are tight.

SealesWinslow’s chief operating officer Chris Brown said the business was reaping the benefits of higher efficiencies following the $10 million upgrade of its production and distribution facilities and was also saving costs through improved procurement.

The Ballance Agri-Nutrients subsidiary has significantly reduced its prices across its calf and bulk dairy ranges. . .

Three top tips for calf nutrition:

Calving season is just around the corner and there are three top tips for healthy productive calves.

1. Feed good-quality colostrum for at least four days

2. Set up spacious, dry, draught-free housing

3. Don’t skimp on feed quality – you will pay later!

Wendy Morgan, SealesWinslow Nutrition and Quality Manager, says developing a plan is essential for calves to achieve weaning weights quickly while their digestive development is supported. . .

 


Rural round-up

June 5, 2015

Central Plains Water moves to Stage II planning:

Central Plains Water is proceeding with planning for an enlarged Stage 2 of the $375m project on the back of fresh funding from the Ministry of Primary Industries’ (MPI) Irrigation Accelerator Funding (IAF).

The $3.5 million investment from the IAF will allow CPW to proceed with the first phase of the Stage 2 design. This investment is one of two that the IAF has committed to CPW, which must match the commitment dollar-for-dollar. . .

Rabobank New Zealand announces appointment of new general manager Country Banking:

Rabobank New Zealand has announced the appointment of Hayley Moynihan to the new role of general manager Country Banking.

Subject to regulatory approval from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Ms Moynihan will commence in the role from July 2, 2015.

Reporting to Rabobank New Zealand chief executive officer Ben Russell, the general manager Country Banking will be responsible for leadership of Rabobank’s rural banking business throughout New Zealand.

 

Farmers urged to have their say on future plans for fighting bovine TB:

New Zealand cattle and deer farmers are being urged to get involved in how the fight against bovine TB is carried out, with a review of the Bovine Tuberculosis Pest Management Plan underway.

Since the start of 2000, New Zealand has spent more than $1.2 billion fighting bovine TB and controlling the pests (especially possums) that spread the disease.

Independent Chair of the Plan Governance Group (PGG) Chris Kelly said, “To protect the health of farmed cattle and deer and our good international trade reputation around animal products, it is critical we continue to build on this large investment and maintain the low TB rates we see today.” . .

Research findings a promising start for PhD student:

Preliminary findings from a research project at the University of Waikato could mean good things for farmers dealing with the effects of ongoing drought.

Increasing drought resilience
Doctoral student Jack Pronger’s research focuses on identifying approaches to increase pastoral drought resilience by using more diverse mixes of pasture species. He’s comparing the seasonal water use of mixed-sward pasture systems (a combination of different grass, legume and herb species) with more traditional ryegrass/clover systems under dairy grazing. . .

Healthy thinking workshops for rural people:

A 1980s era ambulance will be on the road soon, helping to bring practical advice to farmers and others in the rural community about looking after themselves.

It is part of a new programme, Farmstrong, that rural insurer, FMG and the Mental Health Foundation have launched.

It is taking a different approach to other rural mental health initiatives, by promoting well-being, with advice on subjects such as nutrition, managing fatigue, exercise, and coping with pressure. . .

Growing value – an uncertain future:

The uncertain future of the dairy sector is currently top-of-mind for many primary sector leaders, reports KPMG New Zealand.

That was a key theme arising from the KPMG Agribusiness Agenda 2015, titled “Growing Value”.

KPMG’s Global Head of Agribusiness, Ian Proudfoot, says conversations about the dairy industry’s future have “changed dramatically in the last year”.

“The extent of the downturn in milk returns for the 2014/2015 season was not expected. The belief that prices had moved to a new plain, driven by insatiable Chinese demand, has disappeared.”  . . .

Farmers score with new DairyNZ app launching at Fieldays:

A tool to allow farmers to perform one of their most important jobs on a smartphone will soon be available when DairyNZ launches its new free Body Condition Scoring (BCS) App at the National Agricultural Fieldays next week in the Waikato.

The app gives farmers the opportunity to body condition score cows on their smartphone using DairyNZ’s Body Condition Scoring Made Easy field guide.

DairyNZ animal husbandry specialist Andrea Henry says condition scoring cows is such an important job, DairyNZ wanted to make it as easy as possible. . .

Blocks help minimise metabolic disorder risks in herds:

It’s the calm before the calving season and a bit of planning now will help herds get through without the risk of metabolic disorders, such as milk fever, which can lead to downer cows or impact future milk production.

The disorders are prevalent just before or after calving, triggered by an inability to mobilise enough calcium. Subclinical cases of milk fever can be hard to pick up, with industry data indicating that for every downer cow it is likely that between 10 and 15 others in the herd will have early stage milk fever symptoms.

“It’s estimated that the cost of a clinical case of milk fever can reach up to $1,500 per cow* – including lost milk production, reduced fertility, and increased likelihood of culling due to other diseases such as mastitis. Not only is the risk a costly one, it’s also unnecessary,” says SealesWinslow Product Development Manager, Jackie Aveling. . .


Rural round-up

January 31, 2015

Rabobank Agribusiness Outlook 2015

The 2015 Agribusiness Outlook shares Rabobank’s view for New Zealand agriculture in 2015. It includes four key swing factors that will be critical in shaping the outlook for 2015, addresses the significant price drivers for agricultural commodities and outlines the sectoral trends and developments that will be important to watch in 2015.

Key highlights

Outlook 2015

• Dairy – Lower global milk supply and demand gradually improving should be enough underpin a modest price recovery in 2015

• Beef – Much tighter supply from Australia, combined with strong demand from the US, will support historically high farmgate and export prices in 2015 . . .

 Tri-Lamb Group working to put lamb on the menu in the US:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) is working together with its sheep farming counterparts from the US and Australia to get Americans eating more lamb.

B+LNZ’s Central South Island Director Anne Munro has just been at the annual Tri-Lamb Group conference in Nevada with B+LNZ’s North America Manager Terry Meikle and Federated Farmers’Meat & Fibre Industry Group Chairperson Rick Powdrell. Representatives from the Sheepmeat Council of Australia (SCA) and the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) also took part.

The Tri-Lamb Group was established in 2004 to grow demand for sheepmeat in the US, mainly by increasing consumers’ awareness of lamb’s nutritional value. . .  

 Planting a winner – how to protect farm waterways:

How to get the best results from planting waterways and avoid the common pitfalls will be the focus of a DairyNZ and Tatua field day on February 13 at the Tatua farm in Tatuanui.

Representatives from DairyNZ, Tatua and Waikato Regional Council will be answering farmers’ questions and providing advice on how to successfully plant farm waterways.

As part of the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord, all dairy farms must have stock excluded from waterways by 31 May 2017, and a planting plan for stream banks by 2020. The accord covers all dairy farms and is supported by all dairy companies across the country.

DairyNZ water quality scientist, Tom Stephens, who will be talking at the field day, says the focus will be on helping to ensure farmers get value for money from their planting while making the most of the environmental benefits. . .

 

Farming clean streams:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients has launched a specialist team to help farmers navigate increasingly complex environmental regulations and consent requirements to promote clean green land, rivers and streams.

Alastair Taylor, the new Business Extension Services Manager at Ballance Agri-Nutrients said national programmes such as the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord are putting increased pressure on farmers to manage the nutrients within the farmgate.

“Farmers need to navigate through regulations around effluent management, nutrient use and environmental performance. Our new team will provide a direct link between farmers and regional councils to take the hassle out of environmental compliance. . .

 

Right diet helps cows keep their cool:

Choosing the right supplementary feed can help farmers turn down the heat in their cows’ digestive systems as hot, humid summer conditions increase the risk of heat stress in herds.

Science Extension Officer for animal nutrition company SealesWinslow, Sarah Morgan, says all cows generate heat when they digest feed, but feeds requiring less energy to digest will also result in less heat generated and more comfortable cows as the average daytime temperatures stay high.

“Fibre produces more heat in the rumen than other carbohydrate feed sources. Feeds that have high oil content also require more energy to digest and reduce the efficiency of nutrient metabolism. Low fibre feed sources usually result in less heat from digestion than feeds that are higher in fibre.” . .

 

Strong Interest in New Zealand Bloodstock at Karaka Sales:

This week’s Karaka bloodstock sales can expect to see a nice swing to top-end colts that will eventually make their mark in the stud market, says Geoff Roan, Bloodstock Client Manager for Crowe Horwath.

“In part this reflects the influences of the changes six years ago to the Income Tax Act, which accelerated write-downs on colts,” he said.

The market was also feeling the impact of the recent amendment to the Goods and Services Tax Act, allowing overseas entities to register for GST if they are registered in their own foreign territory and don’t have a taxable activity in New Zealand. . .

 


Rural round-up

November 30, 2014

New Glenavy Dairy Factory Officially Opened:

Leading global dairy company, Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group (Yili), today officially opened its $236 million Oceania Dairy factory in Glenavy, South Canterbury.

Yili also confirmed plans to invest a further $400 million in the South Canterbury factory over the next five years, increasing its total investment to in excess of $600 million.

Yili is China’s largest dairy company and one of the top ten dairy companies in the world. Oceania Dairy Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary.

The first stage of the Glenavy factory was completed in September and the factory is in its first full season of production. . .

 NZ secondary schools eye agribusiness subjects to bolster industry –  Tina Morrison:

New Zealand secondary schools are trialling an agribusiness programme which aims to feed more students into tertiary study to provide future talent for the industry.

Some 48 students trialled a pilot curriculum at St Paul’s Collegiate School in Hamilton this year with another 85 signed up for next year, the school said in a statement. Seven other schools throughout the country have joined the project and will offer the subject in 2016, with the new subject expected to be available to all secondary schools by 2017, it said. . .

Feed to farmers faster:

SealesWinslow is celebrating as its $10 million upgrade to get feed to farmers faster nears completion. The investment has predominantly focused on its Morrinsville feedmill and distribution centre, officially opened last week, and includes improvements to its counterpart facilities in Ashburton and Wanganui.

The wholly-owned subsidiary of Ballance Agri-Nutrients, SealesWinslow has made the investment to lift its service and manufacturing and distribution capabilities to better meet the needs of its customers.

Speaking at the official opening at Morrinsville, Ballance Chief Executive Mark Wynne said the investment was another way the co-operative was supporting farmers to lift production and productivity. . .

Karaka 2015 Handbook & IPad Catalogue Available Now:

The Karaka 2015 Handbook is online now for New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sales Series, as well as the catalogue being loaded on to the free iPad application.

Designed as your ‘go-to’ guide for all things Karaka, the Karaka 2015 Handbook contains detailed information that will make your trip to Karaka in January a breeze.

The Handbook contains all the information you will need to make your selection process a breeze from vendor information and sire previews, to bonus schemes, Karaka Million information, highlight lots and past successes. . .

Figured and LIC Announce Partnership:

Strategic partnership to deliver integrated technology solution to farmers

Figured, (www.figured.com), New Zealand’s innovative farm financial management software provider, and farmer-owned co-operative LIC (NZX:LIC) today announced a new strategic partnership combining LIC’s leading position in the herd improvement industry with Figured’s expertise in cloud-based farm accounting. LIC has also invested in Figured to secure a cornerstone shareholding, with an 18.8% equity stake, and an LIC director will also sit on the board.

“The partnership with LIC is an important endorsement of our vision of improving the business of farming. Our proven innovation in farm accounting and early market traction provides a compelling proposition for LIC,” said Paul Reid, Chief Executive of Figured. “By offering farm accounting in a cloud-based platform we enable the whole farming team to work together to monitor, re-plan and review financial performance and improve farm profit in real-time from any location.” . .

 


Rural round-up

July 6, 2014

Young Farmer named for 2014:

David Kidd has beaten seven finalists over three days of competition to become the 2014 Young Farmer of the year.

In the 46 years of the contest’s history, Mr Kidd is the first Northern region finalist to take the title.

His father Richard Kidd was third in a young farmer competition in 1984.

Mr Kidd joked his inspiration for competing was to better his father and said he’ll be rubbing it in when he sees him. . .

Evil among us – farm community closes ranks – Rebecca Ryan:

The quiet and friendly community of Ngapara has been shaken.

Neighbours are watching out for neighbours, new chains and locks have been placed on gates and security cameras on fence posts, some residents are unable to sleep at night and farmers are requiring help to carry out basic farm work – all fearful after a mass killing of more than 215 sheep on two different properties in the area, two weekends in a row.

They are all hopeful the culprit, or culprits, do not return this weekend.

Police believe the killings may be linked and a firearm was used in both. . .

Dairy head to focus on environment – Gerard Hutching:

Newly elected Federated Farmers dairy chairman Andrew Hoggard said focusing on the environment was one of his two main priorities.

The other was to deal with the issue of labour standards.

A Feilding dairy farmer, Hoggard said it frustrated him that farmers were always trying to play catch up when it came to dealing with environmental issues.

He acknowledged there was a “real issue” of water quality being affected by dairying.

“Cows urinate and that’s got a lot of nitrogen in it, but a lot of people perceive there’s a pipe coming out of a cow shed and into a river. There are a few ratbags but things are in place for farmers to do the right thing. I don’t defend those who don’t,” he said. . .

Firm finds cunning niches – Emma Rawson:

From a mechanism that cleans up geese poop, to small parts for a Fisher & Paykel baby incubator – the range of machinery designed and manufactured by Dannevirke company Metalform is about as broad as it gets.

But the products have one thing in common: they provide solutions to problems deemed too small for the big international manufacturing giants to produce.

Solving Canada’s geese waste issue might not be big business for an agricultural giant like John Deere, but for family-owned Metalform, its Tow and Collect product has been a winner.

Tow and Collect is being used in North American towns to clean up after Canadian geese, which leave a large volume of mess on golf courses and parks during their migration. . .

Fieldays set to get even bigger – Andrea Fox:

National Fieldays will offer up to 100 extra exhibitor sites next year and a new dairy innovation centre is in the pipeline.

Chief executive Jon Calder said the new sites were part of a master plan for the Mystery Creek Events Centre and would maximise the central exhibition space area.

Large-scale exhibitors who have been seeking a new area are likely to benefit but Calder said the flow-on effect for all exhibitors of an improved design and layout would be positive.

The planned dairy innovation centre, which might not be ready until 2016, would be based on a pavilion model in Canada and would bring together in one area exhibits devoted to the dairy industry, including a herd of cows, live robotic milking, interactive plant and equipment displays, and effluent systems, Calder said. . .

Fonterra targets audience of two billion – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra intends to be a dairy co-operative that makes a difference in the lives of two billion people by 2025, chief executive Theo Spierings says.

It was already the world’s largest milk processor and dairy exporter and now it wanted to be a globally relevant co-operative, Spierings said.

Growth in demand was forecast to exceed dairy product supply growth by 3% each year in the massive markets of China and India from now until 2020, he said.

India’s forecast compound annual growth rate was 10% and China’s 7%, whereas their supply growth rates were 7% and 4% respectively. . . .

Life in the saddle – Pip Courtney:

PIP COURTNEY, PRESENTER: In the bush, no-one likes a skite. But while modesty’s an admirable trait, it’s kept many with fascinating lives from writing their memoirs.

Alwyn Torenbeek’s a good example. Despite an extraordinary life, it took years of badgering from his family before the 77-year-old retired drover agreed to put pen to paper.

At just 21, he was Australia’s bronc-riding champion, known for his bravery, natural talent and cheeky showmanship. But his biography is about more than fame. There’s adventure, tragedy, romance and mateship, and that indomitable bush trait, endurance.

An endurance riding camp has its own pace. There’s plenty of time to catch up with mates and swap stories, some of them tall.

At Alwyn Torenbeek’s camp, you’re assured of a yarn or five. . .

Good calving nutrition can better support calving season

With calving season just around the corner, the Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) and SealesWinslow have teamed up to educate dairying women around the importance of good calf nutrition.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients, through its animal nutrition business, SealesWinslow, will be running a series of interactive calf nutrition days across nine locations in New Zealand during June and July.

Mike Stephens, dairy category manager for Ballance Agri-Nutrients said the sessions will provide participants with practical, hands-on skills to raise healthy calves and, in the long term, build healthier and more profitable herds. . .


Rural round-up

December 19, 2013

SFF implements salary freeze – Nigel Stirling:

Silver Fern Farms (SFF) is implementing a salary freeze as part of a range of measures to get the meat processor back to profitability.

The move, revealed at the company’s AGM in Dunedin today, holds all salaried employees’ remuneration at current levels for a period of 12 months.

The company last year paid wages, salaries and benefits of $315.1m, up from $290.2m the previous year.

Chief executive Keith Cooper outlined further steps to turnaround the company’s performance including land disposals and exiting some stock financing arrangements. . .

Farming – change the perception – Will Wilson:

Agriculture must tread carefully in its bid to attract new entrants to ensure it does not undervalue and trivialise the incredible amount of hard work and education required to be success in the industry.

Agriculture is such a catch all term for a huge range of very specialist professions, yet from the outside the perception is the drip fed image of the village idiot on a tractor or the floppy haired Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in his cable knit.

As an industry agriculture continue to pander to this image because it’s media friendly and easier than finding out and explaining the real demands of modern agriculture. . .

Financial report shows agriculture is well on track:

Federated Farmers is pleased to see the Government’s half year Economic and Fiscal Update report showing a faster growing economy, with the agriculture industry being well on its way to doubling its exports by 2025.

“We have long advocated for economic restraint, and it is great to see the $86 million surplus forecast for 2014/15 is up ever so slightly on the surplus forecast in May,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“Agriculture has had a great start, with the tradable sector growing 11.1 percent since 2009 compared with non-tradeables up 6.6 percent, however resource pressures are growing and next year we will likely see a tightening of monetary policy to dampen inflation. Farmers and exporters will need the Government to keep spending and debt under control in order to take the pressure off interest rates and the exchange rate. . .

Commission releases final report on Fonterra’s milk price manual:

Issued 16 December 2013, Release No. 56

The Commerce Commission has today released its final report on its statutory review of Fonterra’s milk price manual. The manual determines how Fonterra calculates the farm gate milk price, which is the price paid by Fonterra to dairy farmers for their raw milk.

This is the first of two statutory reviews that the Commission is required to undertake each milk season under the 2012 amendments to the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 (DIRA).

The Commission has concluded the 2013/14 Milk Price Manual is largely consistent with the purpose of the DIRA milk monitoring regime. . .

MG lifts milk price to $6.25/kg :

MURRAY Goulburn (MG) has announced a third step-up in the farmgate price (excluding the NSW-Sydney region) for the 2013-14 season of $0.18 per kilogram butterfat and $0.38/kg protein.

This step-up takes MG’s weighted-average, available price to $6.25/kg milk solids.

MG has also increased its end of season forecast to a range of $6.30-$6.50/kg milk solids.

“Global demand for dairy foods remains strong and as a result prices for key dairy ingredients, such as whole milk powder, have remained at near record levels for an unprecedented period,” MG managing director Gary Helou, said. . .

Canterbury style zone committee comes to the Wairarapa:

Federated Farmers’ Wairarapa welcomes the formation of the Ruamahanga Whaitua Committee and its commitment to balance environmental and economic values for the Ruamahanga Catchment.

“The Whaitua committee makeup is well balanced to deliver sustainable and workable rules for the Catchment and the Wairarapa,” says Federated Farmers’ Wairarapa provincial president Jamie Falloon.

“We thank the people involved for putting their names forward for what will be a pretty busy two year period.

“It will be a challenging process and will require all parties to be fully involved in discussions to find outcomes that are what the community wants. . .

Workshops help dairy farmers drive better production and profit:

Farm nutrient company SealesWinslow is running a series of seminars and workshops to help dairy farmers achieve higher production, margins and profits.

SealesWinslow’s “Routes to Profitable Milk Production” roadshow, which kicked off in the Waikato in late October, has been rated highly for content and relevance by farmers attending.

Animal nutrition expert for SealesWinslow, James Hague, has been demonstrating how farmers can master the art of balancing the diet to fully feed the herd and benefit from better production from grass, higher production per cow and per hectare, higher margins and more profit. . . .


Rural round-up

November 15, 2013

 

Indonesia – islands of opportunity for New Zealand agriculture:

Indonesia is emerging as a market which needs large volumes of food and agricultural products to satisfy its fast-growing consumer demand. And New Zealand is well placed to capitalise on this demand and grow trade with Indonesia – a significant neighbour – according to new industry report.

In the report, ‘Indonesia – islands of opportunity’, global agricultural banking specialist Rabobank says the economic transformation underway in Indonesia – which is seeing the country emerge as an economic and political powerhouse in South-East Asia – is leading to rapidly-increasing demand for consumer goods, including food.

And with pressure on its natural resources limiting the country’s ability to boost local food production, Indonesia will continue its reliance on imported agricultural commodities. . .

One voice vital for infant formula industry:

New Zealand’s infant formula industry must speak with one voice if it is to achieve best practice and regain the faith of export markets, Infant Nutrition Council (INC) Chief Executive Jan Carey said in Dunedin today.

Ms Carey was speaking at the Global Food Safety Forum Meeting which was being held in New Zealand for the first time. 

She said achieving best practice in the industry depended on a number of vital ingredients. . .

Maximising the productive value of heifers:

Some heifers are calving at only 82% of their mature weight rather than the target of 90%, recent dairy industry statistics reveal.

With some farmers struggling to keep condition on stock during the drought last year, further support may be required to assist heifers to reach target weights.

SealesWinslow Nutritionist Wendy Morgan says that the strategic use of animal feed can assist heifers to reach their target weight by the time they calve, resulting in the animals being more profitable in the herd, using the nutrients and energy from pasture for production of milk solids, rather than for growth.  . . .

2013 New IPO Opens Dairy Sector to Retail Investor:

New Zealand’s leading dairy farm manager MyFarm today launched an initial public offer (IPO) of shares in the first new dairy farm investment to be immediately quoted on its new securities trading platform, MyFarm Trading.

The IPO of GCF Investments Limited will for the first time give New Zealand retail investors access to both a MyFarm syndicate investment, and a facility to trade that investment, overcoming one of the principal barriers to investment in the dairying sector. . .

Wolf Blass tops off outstanding year:

Wolf Blass tops off an outstanding year being named ‘International Winemaker of the Year’ at the 2013 International Wine and Spirit Competition.

Leading Australian winery, Wolf Blass, has been named International Winemaker of the Year at the 2013 International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) in London overnight.

This is the third time that Wolf Blass has won this highly acclaimed award, the first being 1992 followed by 2002. . .

Remarkable success continues for Gibbston Valley School House Pinot Noir at the 2013 Air New Zealand Wine Awards

Multi award-winning Gibbston Valley Winery is celebrating once again after receiving its fourth consecutive Pure Gold Medal for its premium 2012 School House Pinot Noir at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

The results of this year’s awards were issued earlier this week (November 13 2013) by the New Zealand Winegrowers Association marking an unprecedented success for the winery. . .


Rural round-up

September 18, 2013

Indonesia relaxes beef import rules:

Beef exports to Indonesia should take off again shortly, according to the Meat Industry Association.

The Indonesian Government has signalled it is willing to lower its trade barriers and allow in more beef imports to ease soaring domestic beef prices in the country caused by the lack of supply.

Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie says the import quota system had resulted in a massive reduction in the amount of beef New Zealand was sending to Indonesia over the last three years.

Beef volumes had dropped to about 20% of 2010 levels, he says, with a lost value of about $150 million a year. . .

Vital talks for sheep, beef sector – Mike Petersen:

Over the past two weeks farmer representatives from the world’s major sheep-meat and beef-producing countries have had their annual catch-ups as Australia hosted the Tri-Lamb Group and the Five Nations Beef Alliance meetings.

Between them these two groups are responsible for almost two-thirds of the world’s sheep-meat exports and about half the world’s beef exports.

New Zealand is a founding member of the two groups through the organisation owned and run by farmers – Beef + Lamb NZ. The reason, of course, is that for NZ sheep and beef farmers, trade is our lifeblood. . .

Taxpayers turn US farmers into fat cats with subsidies – David J. Lynch & Alan Bjerga:

A Depression-era program intended to save American farmers from ruin has grown into a 21st-century crutch enabling affluent growers and financial institutions to thrive at taxpayer expense.

Federal crop insurance encourages farmers to gamble on risky plantings in a program that has been marred by fraud and that illustrates why government spending is so difficult to control.

And the cost is increasing. The U.S. Department of Agriculture last year spent about $14 billion insuring farmers against the loss of crop or income, almost seven times more than in fiscal 2000, according to the Congressional Research Service. . . . (Hat tip Whaleoil).

Wine born of ‘special piece of dirt’ – Timothy Brown:

Central Otago winery Akarua won the champion wine of show award at the Romeo Bragato Wine Awards in Blenheim last month. Reporter Timothy Brown met winemaker Matt Connell and vineyard manager Mark Naismith to see what is special about Akarua’s wine.

Hidden in the rolling hills of Bannockburn, off the twisting tarseal of Cairnmuir Rd, lies the Akarua vineyard.

A 50ha expanse of north-facing hillside and terraces is planted with pinot noir, pinot gris and chardonnay grapes.

Or as winemaker Matt Connell puts it – ”a very special piece of dirt”. . . .

SealesWinslow feed mill in production:

SealesWinslow’s upgraded Wanganui stock feed mill is up and running following a multi-million redevelopment.

The animal nutrition producer has celebrated the new site with a quick sales win, supplying 1350 tonne feed to keep dairy cows in peak condition en route by boat to China.

SealesWinslow General Manager, Graeme Smith, says the site puts the company in the box seat to better serve its existing customer base of dairy, sheep and beef farmers in the Taranaki, and a rapidly expanding new customer group from the Wanganui, Manawatu, East Coast and Wairarapa regions. . .

Best new honey bee links – Raymond Huber:

1. The bee and its place in history: article by Claire Preston, author of new book, Bee.

The bee is the only creature on the planet that is a true creative artisan. It gathers materials and transforms them to make not only architecture but food.– Claire Preston

2. The Trouble With Beekeeping in the Anthropocene: summary of Time Magazine’s feature on bees.

We are a species that increasingly has omnipotence without omniscience. – Bryan Walsh . .

Two new awards launched at the third annual Marlborough Wine Show :

Continuing to showcase the next level of the Marlborough story, the Marlborough Wine Show has launched two new awards.

In an effort to reward producers who consistently produce outstanding wines, the Marlborough Museum Legacy Award will be awarded to a wine company for three outstanding vintages of one wine within a ten year period.

The second new award, the Award for Vineyard Excellence has been developed to acknowledge the vineyard team from grower and viticulturist to all others involved and will awarded to the highest scoring single vineyard wine. . .


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