Rural round-up

February 16, 2017

Farming leader warns of Post Factual Science:

Our free trade prospects have been a victim of Brexit and the US Presidential election. New Zealand must be careful not to be caught in the crossfire of any ensuing trade war, Dr William Rolleston says.

Rolleston, the President of Federated Farmers, told its National Council in Wellington today that there were opportunities in disruption but our officials would need to play their cards with skill and tact.

“If there is any area of government which needs investment priority right now, it is our trade division,” he said. . . 

Special stock auction raises hope for young cerebral palsy sufferer – Dave Gooselink:

Stock prices were higher than normal today at a special sheep and cattle sale near Oamaru, bringing a big smile to the face of a four-year-old girl suffering from cerebral palsy.

Charlee McLachlan is used to being around farm animals but the special stock sale raised money to help her undergo lifechanging surgery in the United States, which will go some way towards alleviating her cerebral palsy.

“They go into her spine, they take a bit of her vertebrae out to pull out the spinal cord, and then put electrodes on her legs,” her mother, Anna McLachlan, told Newshub. . . 

The search for new agri-food markets – Keith Woodford:

The proposed 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is now well and truly dead.  The question is where do we go from here?

We are hearing talk from various sources about possibilities for a ‘TPP minus Mr Trump’s USA’. But that too is highly unlikely to happen. Getting Japan, in particular, to agree to something without the USA being involved is wishful thinking. And simply waiting for another four years and hoping the USA might came back into negotiations is also likely to prove wishful.  Both major American political parties know that supporting a new version of the TPP is a sure way to lose the next presidential election in 2020. . . 

Lamb price higher than expected – Sally Rae:

The 2016-17 season average lamb price is shaping up to be a bit over $5 per kg, economists predict.

While that was not quite as low as previously thought, it was still below its five-year average, BNZ’s latest Rural Wrap said.

Lamb prices have lifted some 15% in the UK over the past six months but the plunge in the British pound following the Brexit vote had “offset all of that and then some”, creating very challenging conditions for New Zealand exporters.

Chinese demand indicators have been positive and fewer New Zealand and Australian lambs had added some support to prices.

BNZ economist Doug Steel said the bank’s best guess was that this season’s lamb numbers were similar to, although probably marginally lower than initial industry estimates, perhaps about 23.5million. . . 

Sharemilking payment model has merit but awaiting review says Federated Farmers:

Federated Farmers has been concerned for some time at the reduction in herd owning sharemilking opportunities and possible impact on the industry’s future sustainability.
We encourage and support the development of new business concepts that will potentially make sharemilking more attractive and resilient as an industry.
The development of the variable rate payment option for herd owning sharemilkers has some merit, with Federated Farmers party to discussions relating to this option over the past year. . . 

This all-natural native corn is bejeweled with brilliantly colored kernels – Lacy Cooke:

Oklahoma farmer Carl Barnes decided to reconnect with his Native American heritage, so he began a hunt for old, native varieties of corn. He uncovered a brilliant strain of corn now called Glass Gem Cornthat looks almost too good to eat. These all-natural corn ears are riots of color, and are also a testament to the beauty we stand to lose as biodiversity vanishes.

Through his quest to reconnect to his roots, Barnes isolated several traditional strains of seeds that fell to the wayside when his ancestors traveled to what’s now Oklahoma in the 1800s. Through years of selective growing, Barnes grew corn that looks bejeweled, creating a colorful celebration of native heirloom varieties of corn. . . 

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Rural round-up

February 26, 2014

Govt invests $540,000 in Lake Horowhenua clean-up:

Environment Minister Amy Adams has today announced the Government will invest $540,000 towards cleaning up Lake Horowhenua.

Combined with funding from Horizon’s Regional Council and Horowhenua District Council, as well as in-kind contributions from Dairy NZ and the Tararua Growers’ Association, the total funding for the project will be $1.27 million.

The project will improve the water quality through sediment and nutrient management on the lake and its tributaries, improving water quality for recreation and wild life.

The project includes stream fencing, planting, building a wetland, harvesting lake weeds, and developing farm plans. . .

Irrigation supplies shut-down begins:

Irrigation water supplies to some parts of Marlborough are being shut down as the continuing hot, dry weather takes its toll on river levels.

The Marlborough District Council is advising property owners that water for irrigation is being shut off to about 5000 hectares of farmland and vineyards along the Wairau River.

Further Wairau consents, including all those from the Southern Valleys Irrigation Scheme, were expected to be cut off by today.

Waihopai consents will be suspended in the next day or two.

The shutdown is necessary slightly earlier than last year because there has been no real rain since Christmas. . .

 

Safety group astonished as farmers flout helmet law – Sue O’Dowd:

Worksafe New Zealand has savaged organisers of a farmers’ day out for failing to require helmets on quad bikes in Taranaki hill country.

About 200 people visited Aotuhia Station when Beef + Lamb New Zealand – the farmer-owned industry organisation representing New Zealand’s sheep and beef farmers – hosted what it called a Big Day Out last week.

Only about five people on a cavalcade of bikes touring the 2240ha Aotuhia Station, 65km east of Stratford, wore helmets, and many riders carried passengers.

Worksafe New Zealand would have issued enforcement notices to the organisers, those not wearing helmets and those carrying passengers if it had been there, quad bike national programme manager Francois Barton said yesterday. . . .

Eyes wide open – James Houghton:

Employment relationships are a key factor in setting a positive working environment and ensuring your farm is productive. The general work relationships in rural New Zealand have been traditionally informal. This has had to change with stronger workplace protection for employees.  It means the farm employer has had to learn new skills, involving contractual agreements and human resources.

When it comes to dairy agreements with sharemilkers, who are arguably what makes New Zealand dairying so successful; there have been breakdowns between some employers and their sharemilker.  Sharemilking is a hybrid between self-employment and employment but that hasn’t stopped some harsh treatments of sharemilkers. Such as an employer not honouring either a handshake agreement or misusing clauses in their agreement, which causes sheer misery for the sharemilker involved.

Over the past year, Federated Farmers has been revising the industry standard Herd Owing Sharemilking Agreement, looking to remove outdated clauses and with it, issues within the industry like harsh treatment, which may deter new entrants. . .

Strong growth and profitability increases from PGG Wrightson:

PGG Wrightson Ltd* (PGW) has announced a strong half-year performance under its new Chief Executive.

For the six-months ended 31 December 2013, PGW achieved operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Operating EBITDA)** of $22.3 million, up from $18.0 million for the corresponding period last year.

Mark Dewdney, who took up the role of PGW Chief Executive on 1 July 2013, called it a strong result with increases recorded across most areas of the business. . .

New Zealand Drives Global Pet Addiction:

Imagine a Singaporean company making premium pet food from possums in the Bay of Plenty and exporting successfully for eight years. That’s what Jerel Kwek of Addiction Foods has accomplished, along with a vision to improve pet nutrition globally.

While cats and dogs around the world have fallen for Addiction, it’s only now with a recent plant upgrade in Te Puke that Kwek can make his natural NZ pet food available in the NZ market.

Addiction use a selection of premium proteins and game meats, including New Zealand possum to produce a range of dry and raw dehydrated natural foods designed to prevent allergies and promote long-term health in cats and dogs. . .

Loan package to grow pasture productivity:

New Zealand’s largest rural lender today launched a lending package for farmers wanting toboost farm productivity by improving pasture and forage growth.

ANZ Bank’s Pasture Productivity Loan offers an interest rate of 4%* p.a with a maximumloan amount of $100,000. The maximum loan term is five years, principal reducing, andthere are no establishment fees.

“Renewing pasture and forage is one of the key things red meat farmers can do to improveproductivity and profit,” said Graham Turley, ANZ Managing Director Commercial & Agri. . .


Rural round-up

February 21, 2014

Draconian sharemilking clause to be deleted:

Federated Farmers is to delete the outdated ‘set-off’ clause from its industry standard Herd Owning Sharemilking Agreement.  This move will be welcomed by Sharemilkers and Sharemilker Employers alike.

“The set-off clause is outdated, against common law and is downright draconian,” says Tony Wilding, Chairperson of Federated Farmers Sharemilker Employers section  

“The set-off clause gave farm owners the ‘right’ to instruct their dairy company to withhold up to 75 percent of the milk payment due to a sharemilker during a dispute.  These funds are instead transferred into the farm owner’s solicitor’s Trust Account. 

“I know the set-off clause is only supposed to be used after conciliation of the dispute has failed and the dispute is in arbitration, but too often, I have heard it being misused and this is causing sheer misery. 

“Sharemilkers end up with little money to feed their family, let alone their cows, when the correct dispute resolution process hasn’t been adhered to. . .

Young herdsperson wins three times on the trot–  Yvonne O’Hara::

Samantha Hall (14), of Stirling, has won the Southern Rural Life Young Herdsperson of the Year for the third year in a row.

Jorja Robertson (13), of Wyndham, was second, after placing third last year.

Samantha won the Southern Rural Life trophy and $100, while Jorja received $50. . .

 

Honeybee disease infecting bumblebees:

Scientists in Britain say they’ve found evidence that diseases found in commercially-kept honeybees are increasingly spreading into wild populations of bumblebees.

Populations of bumblebees are in steep decline around the world.

The insect is an important part of the countryside, but over the last 50 years numbers have plummeted, the BBC reports.

Scientists from Royal Holloway at the University of London believe that a virus and a fungal parasite, usually carried by honeybees have spread to bumblebees. . .

Consultation on draft EEZ regulations underway:

The Government is seeking feedback on draft regulations for the dumping of waste and the discharge of harmful substances under the EEZ Act, Environment Minister Amy Adams announced today.

“These activities already occur within New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. They are currently regulated by Maritime New Zealand under the Maritime Transport Act 1994, but will be transferred to the Environmental Protection Authority when the new regulations come into force,” Ms Adams says.

The proposed regulations will cover discharges of harmful substances from offshore structures and from production facilities on board mineral mining ships, as well as the burial of human remains and the dumping of waste. . .

Farm accountancy puzzle solved:

A missing piece of the farm accountancy puzzle has fallen into place with the launch of Figured – an online farm financial package launched at Xerocon today.

As a former partner in a rural accounting firm, and a farmer, David Marshall felt for a long time there had to be a more efficient way of managing farm finances.

Working with farm investment company MyFarm, which is responsible for managing more than 50 farms, Marshall says he became increasingly frustrated at not having the right financial information at his fingertips.

“We were trying to communicate how well the farms were running or if there were issues looming but we seemed to be reporting different results, using different systems and getting different answers.” . . .

Xero to launch ‘Farming in the Cloud’ service mid-year:

Significant partners on board

Online accounting software company Xero has announced today that its new ‘Farming in the Cloud’ solution, which brings real-time, single ledger reporting to the farm for the first time, will be ready to go to market mid-year 2014.

The solution allows farmers and their accountants, banks and rural service companies to work together from the same set of online, real-time data, and will provide one centralised home for key accounting and farm management tools.

Key to the solution is a growing eco-system of farming software partners that are fully integrated with Xero’s beautifully simple online platform, and has the potential to be a major boost for farmers, and for the country. . .

Finalists Recognised for Maori Excellence in Farming:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) would like to congratulate the three finalists, and all entrants of the 2014 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming award.

“It’s great to be a major sponsor of a competition that celebrates and encourages Māori farmers who are committed to pursuing new and innovative approaches,” says MPI’s Deputy Director-General Ben Dalton.

“Māori agribusiness is a major contributor to New Zealand’s primary sector, and the wider New Zealand economy. These finalists should be proud of their achievements and I’m sure they will go on to be leaders in their sector,” says Mr Dalton.

The three finalists announced at an event in Parliament last night are:

  • Putauki Trust –Himoana Farm Bay of Plenty
  • Ngati Awa Farms Ltd – Ngakauroa Farm – Bay of Plenty
  • Te Rua o Te Moko Ltd – Taranaki . . .

 


Rural round-up

September 10, 2012

Efficient Water Use Recognised in Ballance Farm Environment Awards -Kai Tegels and John Evans:

An efficient irrigation system drives crop production on John Evan’s award-winning Canterbury farm.

A leading arable farmer in the region, John runs an intensive 245ha (effective) property in the Dorie district.

‘Tregynon Farm’ finishes stock and grows a range of crops, specialising in seed production.

John says water is the life-blood of the farm, and his ability to manage water efficiently was recognised when he won the WaterForce Integrated Management Award in the 2012 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA). . .

Sharemilking and the progression to farm ownership – Milking on the Moove:

Federated Farmers has a report on their website called Ensuring a viable progression path in the dairy industry”.
 
It raises some interesting observations.

35% of farms are managed by sharemilkers (2009/10), 20% by Herd Owning Sharemilkers (HOSM). Although there has been only a minor reduction in the percentage of dairy farms managed by sharemilkers, there is a more noticeable trend in the declining number of HOSM, particularly in the South Island.

It’s important to know the difference between a herd owning sharemilker and a contract milker/variable order sharemilker. Obviously a herd owning sharemilker owns the herd and they receive 50% of the milk cheque. They are responsible for most costs except capital fertilizer and R&M on the farm & infrastructure. . .

Federated Farmers assists Ministry in animal welfare case

Under its Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Federated Farmers is supporting the Ministry in a major animal welfare case involving dairy cattle on the West Coast.

“Federated Farmers is assisting the MPI, but as this is a live investigation I need to choose my words carefully,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers West Coast provincial president and a dairy farmer herself.

“In animal welfare cases involving farm animals, Federated Farmers provides expert farmers and resources to complement the Ministry’s professional team.  Our sole combined aim is always the welfare of affected stock. . .

Meat inspection no longer exclusively supplied by AsureQuality – Allan Barber:

Last Tuesday AFFCO’s Imlay plant in Whanganui was the first to be allowed to introduce meat inspection by its own employees. Till then this function has been performed exclusively by government employed meat inspectors, originally employed by MAF, subsequently by the SOE AsureQuality.

The proposal to allow meat companies to have a hand in meat inspection finally saw light of day about two years ago, although the companies have been dissatisfied with the government monopoly for many years. I can remember the issue raising its head in the early 1990s when the meat inspectors went on strike because of pay and conditions. . .

Wool Services FY profit falls 66% on drop in wool prices – Hannah Lynch:

New Zealand Wool Services International, the wool scouring and exporting business whose majority shareholding is up for grabs, posted a 66 percent drop in full-year profit as wool prices tumbled.

Profit was $2.2 million in the 12 months ended June 30, from a record $6.6 million a year earlier, when wool prices surged in the face of global demand and a supply shortage. Sales rose 0.9 percent to $202 million. . .

New Zealand Beef Wows Tokyo Festival-Goers

Grass-fed New Zealand beef struck a chord with the crowds at one of Japan’s largest dance and music festivals, Super Yosakoi, held in Tokyo on the weekend of 25 and 26 August.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand was at the festival for the second year in a row, as part of its programme of activities to boost a taste for grass-fed New Zealand beef among Japanese consumers.

Organisers estimate that around 800,000 visitors took part in this year’s festival. Over the course of the two days, nearly 700 kilograms of grass-fed beef was served off the B+LNZ stand, which equated to more than 4,000 servings. To enable people to appreciate its true flavour, the beef was cooked simply in oil and seasoned only with salt and pepper. . .

Big Station’s Cropping Plan Impresses Ballance Farm Environmental Award Judges Adam Waite and Ross Shepherd:

A meticulously planned cropping programme is crucial to the success of Landcorp’s Rangitaiki Station on the Napier-Taupo highway.

Totalling almost 9,700ha, the Central Plateau sheep, beef, deer, dairy grazing and forestry farm grows significant areas of crop to lift livestock production in challenging climatic conditions.

Crops grown this year include over 600ha of swedes, kale and fodder beet for winter feeding. A combination of pasja and cordura ryegrass is sown for summer lamb finishing, and the station harvests 700ha of pasture silage and 30ha of lucerne annually. . .

Stars shine at rare vintage wine tasting event

Gibbston Valley Winery opened the vaults to some of Central Otago’s oldest and rarest wines at an exclusive ‘vertical tasting’ event to coincide with 25th anniversary celebrations on Saturday (September 1).

The Gibbston Valley Pinot Noir Grand Vertical Tasting took wine enthusiasts on a journey through four generations of the award-winning winery’s finest Pinot Noirs showcasing the development of the wine from 1990 to 2011.

Held at Queenstown Resort College, the exclusive event was open to Gibbston Valley Wine Club members and was hosted by legendary wine vignerons Alan Brady and Grant Taylor and current Gibbston Valley winemaker Christopher Keys. . .


Rural round-up

June 7, 2012

Europe not a lost lamb market – Tim Cronshaw:

Large South Island meat exporter Alliance Group plans to grow its sheepmeat trade even further in China, but is cautious about over-reliance on that market. 

    Chief executive Grant Cuff said China was an important destination for the meat processing co-operative, and it was eyeing future growth and aimed to be the largest exporter of lamb to that country. . .

Growing business but staying home – Collette Devlin:

The traditional 50:50 sharemilking career path is declining as land, farm and herd numbers increase. Reporter Collette Devlin speaks with the van der Straatens on equity partnerships in dairying.

    Yesterday, with the arrival of Gypsy Day, the van der Straatens didn not move house or cows; instead they shifted the focus of their business. 

    Contract milkers Arjan and Tracy van der Straaten had been 50:50 sharemilkers but found it difficult to take the final step to ownership, so looked at alternative options. . .  

Nature’s land anchor:

MEASURING the root growth of poplar tree is part of an ongoing study by Landcare Research to look at which trees species are best suited to erosion control.

The roots of a three-year-old poplar tree have been excavated using compressed air and a long lance gun and then laid out in a glasshouse to carry out the tree measurements.

Landcare research scientist Dr Mike Marden says the research initiative has been running for a number of years. . .

Licences plan to keep bees – Gerald Piddock:

Moves are underway to tighten compliance within the beekeeping industry in an effort to curb the spread of diseases. 

Beekeepers currently have to register their hives as required under the National American Foulbrood Pest Management Strategy. 

    They are also encouraged but not required to hold a Disease Elimination Conformity Agreement (DECA). . .

Precision farming better at Lincoln – Gerald Piddock:

The Lincoln University Dairy Farm has had a successful season after moving to precision farming. 

    The new system focuses on a high-energy intake when feeding the cow herd and ensuring good grass growth for the next grazing rotation instead of chasing every blade of grass. . .

    Milk production, profit and cow health were all well above last year’s figures on the 185ha farm.

Breeding dogs still on the agenda – Sally Rae:

Barry Hobbs freely admits that moving from managing    20,000 stock units to just 100 is going to be a major    adjustment.   

Mr Hobbs, who manages Thornicroft Station, a 2832ha property near Lake Mahinerangi, and his wife Pamela are moving to an 11ha property at Herbert in North Otago this winter. . .   

Hereford bull sale a big one – Sally Rae:

Millers Flat Hereford breeders Gray and Robyn Pannett had an      outstanding bull sale on their property last week.   

 Mr and Mrs Pannett, from the Limehills stud, sold 42 bulls      for an average of $7921, with a top price of $39,000 to David and Rosemary Morrow from the Okawa stud, near Mt Somers . . .

Finalist liked getting stuck in – Sally Rae:

Last Monday morning, Pete Gardyne was out shifting calves.   

It was back to work as usual for the Gore sheep, beef and arable farmer after a gruelling few days in Dunedin at the grand final of the National Bank Young Farmer Contest. . .


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