Farmer morale is low, despite record highs for commodity prices last year, farmers say.
But the sheer amount of challenges “coming down the line”, from regulation like the zero carbon bill and freshwater management policies, to restricted lending from banks has resulted in low farmer confidence and morale, Canterbury dairy farmer Jessie Chan-Dorman said.
“Yes, it’s a really good milk price, but most of us will be paying down debt and consolidating. There won’t be the growth we’ve seen in previous years.” . .
The country’s biggest dairy region is facing the first signs of a “green drought” after a spell of limited rain for the last couple of weeks.
With summer weather finally in full force temperatures are expected to rise and soil moisture levels plummet throughout Waikato and Northland, NIWA say.
While much of the region still has green paddocks, Northern Waikato and Coromandel/Peninsula have entered very dry to extremely dry conditions.
Waikato Federated Farmers president Andrew McGiven said it’s not unusual for this time of year, but if it continues into late February farmers will be concerned. . .
Hailes a meat man to the bone – Neal Wallace:
Danny Hailes has had plenty of variety in his 27-year career with Alliance but it now reaches a new level with his elevation to livestock and shareholder services manager. He talks to Neal Wallace.
WHEN Danny Hailes looks back over his meat industry career he quotes one statistic he says reveals much about the capability of New Zealand sheep and beef farmers.
In 2004 Hailes managed the company’s newly bought and renovated Dannevirke plant where the average weight of lambs processed that season was 15.5kg.
Seven years later in his last year managing the Pukeuri plant north of Oamaru the average weight of lambs processed was over 18kg. . .
2020 the year of ‘New-Gen’ ag – Dr Jacqueline Rowarth:
Could 2020 be the year of New Zealand ‘generative agriculture’?
A new thought for the New Year – New Zealand ‘generative agriculture’… or New-gen, for short.
New-gen captures New Zealand’s approach to the soil-plant-animal-environment continuum that makes up agriculture: animals have been moved in herds or flocks around the farm or station, enabling them to graze the pasture at its optimum quantity and quality and return dung and urine to the soil in situ. Earthworms have been introduced to enhance organic matter incorporation into the soil and water has been applied in some areas to overcome drought. The result is that organic matter has been maintained or increased.
Efficiencies developed over the past 100 years have been based on science, informed by research, and honed by farmers. . .
Rabobank climbs rural loans ladder – Nigel Stirling:
Rabobank has leapfrogged ASB to become the country’s third largest rural lender in yet another sign the Australian banks are backing off lending to farmers.
The Dutch bank had $10.7b on loan to farmers at the end of September, behind ANZ with $17.4b and the BNZ with $14.1b, official figures show.
ASB, which is culling jobs at its rural lending division as it sets itself for a slow-down in lending growth, slipped to fourth place with $10.6b of rural loans. Westpac rounded out the top five with loans of $8.6b.
The switch in rankings follows a strong period of lending growth for Rabobank at the same time as three of the four Australian-owned banks throttled back their lending to the sector. . .
Veganism may not save the world but healthier animals could – Jeff Simmons:
At this month’s Golden Globes, the meal got almost as much attention as the movies with award-winner Joaquin Phoenix and other celebrities touting veganism as a path to saving the planet. The event’s meatless menu created a lot of buzz and critics gave the effort mixed reviews.
I’m a big proponent of reducing our impact on the environment and I applaud people who want to be part of real change. We face big challenges and it will take all of us working together. If there’s one thing I can absolutely agree with Joaquin on, it’s that we should be talking about animals and their impact on our world. But his storyline is missing the bigger picture. Let’s make sure the facts don’t hit the cutting room floor. . .