Rural round-up

01/08/2016

Farmers check out challenges in Zambia – Sally Rae:

When Nelson Hancox returned home from a trip to Zambia and had to write a brief statement on what he had learnt, it was not a difficult task.

“I wrote, ‘New Zealand’s a great place to do business’,” the Tapanui sheep and beef farmer said.

Mr Hancox recently attended a Rabobank Global Farmers Master Class in Zambia, which attracted 20 farmers from throughout the world and from a diverse range of farming operations.

The week-long programme brought farmers from nine key food and agriculture-producing countries to observe the potential of the Zambian agricultural sector and to discuss the challenges facing local producers. . . 

New regulations on live animal export rules announced:

New rules that will give the Ministry for Primary Industries greater visibility of the welfare of animals being exported from New Zealand will come into force on 25 August 2016, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) announced today.

“New Zealanders care deeply about the welfare of animals, and this was reflected during the consultation process” says MPI’s Director Biosecurity and Animal Welfare Julie Collins.

“The changes that are being introduced in August will further strengthen New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible exporter of animals and animal products.

They will give early effect to amendments made last year to the Animal Welfare Act 1999 that would have otherwise commenced in May 2020. . . 

Farming initiative the first of its kind for Northland and NZ:

A brand new farming initiative – Extension 350 – is an innovative programme, the first of its kind for New Zealand. Designed to lift on farm performance through improving farm systems and profitability through shared knowledge.

The programme aims to have 350 Northland farms involved in four years and is modelled on having clusters of five farms working together with business advice and direction provided to a Target Farmer by an expert consultant, with that relationship encouraged by a Mentor Farmer. The expectation is that the Target Farmer similarly influences a group of Associated Farmers.

The pilot scheme which ran at Candy Farm in Okaihau from 2011 to 2014 saw local farmers Alister and Lyn Candy make management changes which have resulted in greater resilience and an increase in profits of around $180,000 per annum. . . 

Farmers cooperating to lift performance:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed an innovative programme lifting the performance of 350 Northland farmers through shared knowledge.

“The first year of the Extension 350 programme will see the start of two dairy clusters and one sheep and beef cluster. Each cluster consists of five top performing ‘mentor farmers’ extending their knowledge, advice and direction to a group of five target farmers,” says Mr Guy. 

“These target farmers then interact and influence a surrounding group of five associated farmers, extending the benefits of top performing farm practice from the original target farmer. The farm clusters are supported with farm consultants and other service providers. . . 

War on predators: capture collective wisdom, Trust says

Plant pests must also be a focus

Hawke’s Bay-based conservation group Forest Lifeforce Restoration (FLR) Trust has welcomed the Predator-Free by 2050 initiative announced by the government earlier this week. It says the target is achievable but that success will rely on collaboration and information-sharing on a scale not yet seen in New Zealand conservation circles and that few have dared dream was possible.

“Conservation in New Zealand can no longer be purely the preserve of government agencies,” said Trust Chairman Simon Hall. “The job’s too big, the battle’s too fierce. Landowners and the private sector all have a role to play.

“It’s crucial for the success of this initiative, though, that Predator Free New Zealand Limited is able to harness not just the collective will, but also the expertise developed from decades of trial and error that exists in pockets right across the country.” . . 

Predator Free community fund to boost local conservation efforts:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has today welcomed the efforts of a young Taranaki conservationist which will contribute to making New Zealand predator free by 2050.

Ms Barry met with 8 year-old Monte Woodward while visiting New Plymouth on Saturday.

“Monte is to be congratulated. He has worked hard to raise money by running sausage sizzles and washing cars to purchase two traps which will help protect some of our most vulnerable native wildlife from rats, stoats and possums.” Ms Barry says. . . 

Briefing Paper: Mt Pisa, Doc & the Hunting Issue
A tragedy waiting to happen:

Earlier this year, historic Mt Pisa Station closed public access gates that run through its property to the adjacent DOC-managed conservation estate.

It was an action taken by the principals of Mt Pisa – Murray, Jacky and Shane MacMillan – for the purpose of safeguarding unsuspecting recreational users from potential danger and death.

The adjacent Pisa Conservation Area is managed by the Department of Conservation and allows uncontrolled access onto its estate for recreational trampers, trail-bikers … and hunters.

At no stage does it warn recreational trampers, hikers and bikers that armed hunters may be sharing their space. . . 

$30 million cash injection from Ballance rebate:

Results at a glance
Total distribution to shareholders of $30 million ($76 million last year)
Rebate payment of $25 per tonne ($55.83 last year)
Total revenue of $837 million ($893 million last year)
Gross trading result of $35 million ($81 million last year)
Total sales volumes of 1.62 million tonnes (1.75 million last year)
Equity ratio of 81% (80.4% last year)

Farm nutrient co-operative Ballance Agri-Nutrients is distributing a total of $30 million to farmers this week, returning 87 percent of its 2015/16 $35 million gross trading result to shareholders. . . 

Sustainable Farming Fund open for applications:

The 2017/18 funding round for MPI’s Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) opens today.

“We welcome any groups keen to tackle a shared problem or develop a new opportunity related to the primary industries to apply for the fund,” says Investment Programmes Director Justine Gilliland.

“SFF supports farmers and researchers involved at grass-roots level and each year we receive a very high calibre of project applications.” . . 

Fonterra & LIC Investigating Tech Solution to Improve Farm Performance:

Fonterra and Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) are teaming up to develop a new online technology solution designed to provide farmers with a view of their operation in one place.

The two farmer-owned Co-operatives are combining resources, knowledge and expertise to look at the best way to bring together a farmer’s milk production and quality data, herd data, pasture data, local weather forecasts and more into one easy-to-use online portal.

Farmers will be able to see their private individual farm information in one place, allowing them to make faster and easier decisions about their farming operation. . . 


Rural round-up

08/04/2015

Are capacity utilisation and processing costs part of the beef problem, and if so, what is the solution? – Keith Woodford:

I have previously analysed GHD’s data on capacity utilisation and processing costs in the sheep industry [SFF’s sheep processing dilemma]. These GHD data underpinned the major MIE recommendations in their recent report. However, whereas MIE focused on the need for amalgamations, I showed that the crucial evidence was the exposed position of Silver Fern Farms relative to other processors. The overall cost leader was Ovation, which lies outside the ‘Big Four’.

Here I analyse the beef processing costs to see if a similar story emerges.
The simple answer is that for beef, as with sheep, there are big differences between the industry cost leaders and the rest. Once again, Silver Fern Farms appears to be one of the laggards, but it is not there by itself. . .

Fonterra eyes $250m bond sale:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, may sell $250 million of six-year bonds in what would be its third security listed on the NZX debt market.

The Auckland-based dairy company would sell the bonds, expected to mature in October 2021, to New Zealand institutional and retail investors. Proceeds would be for general corporate purposes, it said.

Fonterra has $150 million of March 2016 bonds that carry a coupon of 6.83 percent and were last quoted at a yield of 3.9 percent and $35 million of perpetual notes that pay 5.59 percent annual interest.

Fonterra eyes rival farmers with agricultural funding fix  – Timothy Binsted:

Fonterra Australia chief executive Judith Swales says the dairy giant’s new Equity Partnership Trust should help the company win farmers from its competitors.

The trust could be ready to start making its first investments in dairy farms in about October this year, she said.

In November, the world’s biggest dairy exporter starting consulting its farmers about establishing an independent trust that would provide long-term equity capital to invest in farms supplying Fonterra. . .

 Precision Seafood Harvesting publishes first results on fish survival in new kiwi fishing technology (+Video):

The first set of results are in from two years of testing on New Zealand’s new Precision Seafood Harvesting method and scientists say already they can see that the survival rates for fish are better than expected.

The new way to fish is a potential replacement for traditional fishing methods. It is a large, flexible PVC liner with specifically sized holes along its length that allow undersized fish to escape before they are even brought on board a fishing vessel.

And the fish which are brought on board stay in great condition because they are still swimming in the liner when they are on the deck. That means they are less stressed and much less likely to be injured. . .

 

200th kiwi released in Maungataniwha Forest – Jesse Peach:

A conservation group in a remote part of Hawke’s Bay is celebrating a milestone achievement. It’s just released its 200th kiwi chick back into the wild.

The young kiwi Tanekaha, which means strong man, has been returned to the remote Maungataniwha Forest.

Tanekaha is the symbol of a saved kiwi population.

Simon hall, who owns the company Tasti Foods, bought the 6000-hectare block of bush in 2005. . .

Rangers rediscover rare plants:

Two native plants believed to be extinct have been rediscovered in the wild by Department of Conservation rangers.

The herbs were spotted by Department of Conservation rangers over the summer.

One of the two plants, Dysphania pusilla – or pygmy goosefoot – had not been seen for 56 years and was believed to be extinct.

But, this summer, abundant growth was found almost simultaneously in Canterbury’s McKenzie Basin and at Molesworth Station in south Marlborough. . .


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