Rural round-up

11/10/2012

Strong tug at Canterbury teat – Tim Fulton:

By building a plant at Darfield Fonterra fired the “first shot” in competition on the West Coast, Westland Milk Products CEO Rod Quin says.

Steve Murphy, Fonterra’s general manager for milk supply, says his crew collects only a “tiny” amount of milk from the coast, from around Springs Junction. A fair number of coasters wouldn’t even call Springs Junction their patch, he says.

A Fonterra letter drop into Westland Milk country in mid 2011 generated “quite a bit of interest”, but nothing more has come of it apart from promises to keep in contact. . .

The perfect farmer’s body – Milk Maid Marian:

What does the perfect body look like? Not mine, that’s for sure! Yesterday, I was reminded just how bad my genes are for farming. Allergies run on both sides of my family and the worst irritant of all looks like this:

(Click link above for photo)

I’m told it’s called “fog” grass because the pollen is released in such huge quantities, it makes everything go misty. Dynamite! Yesterday, I had to wander through thigh-high forests of it to get the dam siphon running again. My scalp, eyes, nose, mouth and arms are all still desperately itchy 15 hours later.

The cows don’t like it either. Fog grass is covered in thick velvety “fur” that understandably is most unpalatable. . . .

How would you design a “future dairy farm? – Pasture to Profit:

Imagine what a “Future Dairy Farm” might look like.

How would you set up a “Future Dairy Farm”? What dairy farm system will be best? Dairy farms in the future must be profitable. Farm businesses must be resilient to increasing risk. Farmers will need to operate within stricter environmental rules. There will be environmental guidelines for farms to meet. Do we understand economic comparative advantage?  . . .

Synlait Milk Announces Milk Price for 2011/2012 Season

The average price paid by Synlait Milk for milk supplied in the 2011/2012 season is $6.22 per kg MS.

This is made up of an average base milk price of $6.14 per kg MS, autumn premiums of $0.01 per kg MS, colostrum and other special milk payments of $0.04 per kg MS, and winter milk premiums of $0.03 per kg MS.

Synlait Milk Chairman Graeme Milne said “This is a solid payout for our suppliers, and demonstrates our continued focus on ensuring we leave our farmers better off than their alternatives.” . . .

Primary industry merger welcomed:

DairyNZ says the merger of the agriculture and horticulture industry training organisations this month has real benefits for the dairy industry.

AgITO and Horticulture ITO have been merged to form the Primary Industry Training Organisation (Primary ITO).

The new organisation will be officially launched tonight at a celebration event in Wellington attended by Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, Steven Joyce as well as industry representatives. The new ITO, which will also be responsible for water and equine industry training and NZ Sports Turf industry training, will facilitate on-the-job training for 15,000 employees across the primary industries. . .


Fonterra takes sharper focus on water quality

02/12/2011

Fonterra will require all suppliers to fence all waterways on their farms which are covered by the Clean Streams Accord.

Fonterra’s General Manager Milk Supply Steve Murphy says since signing the Clean Streams Accord eight years ago, the co-operative has made measurable progress on protecting New Zealand’s waterways.

“In addition, our Every Farm Every Year programme introduced last year has achieved improvements in effluent compliance.  We are heading in the right direction and are now taking the next step by introducing a clause that will mean the Co-operative’s 10,500 suppliers will be required to fence all Accord waterways on their farms.

“Fonterra is committed to doing its bit to look after our environment.  Ensuring stock stay out of lakes, rivers and streams is fundamental to maintaining water quality and this clause sets a clear Fonterra standard for all of our farmers.”

Many farmers have already done this but some are lagging behind and Fonterra’s contractual requirement will ensure they comply with the standard expected on all farms.

Oh, and what consitutes a waterway?

Accord waterways are defined in the Dairying and Clean Streams Accord as deeper than a red-band gumboot, wider than stride (one metre) and permanently flowing.

Would anyone else in the world have a gumboot measurement? And are all red-bands the same height?


Fonterra expects record production

17/05/2011

Fonterra is expecting record production for the 2010/11 season after the best autumn weather in several years. 

Production is 4% ahead of the same time last year with a couple of weeks of the season still to go. This time last year drought resulted in lower milk production.

Steve Murphy, general manager milk supply said:

Fonterra last season collected 1,286 million kilograms of milksolids.

“Exceptionally favourable pasture growth conditions since January mean our farmer shareholders have enjoyed strong production around the country, particularly north of Taupo. This is a real turnaround from earlier in the season when many of our farmers were struggling with a cold and wet spring. This, coupled with an early December drought, depressed production levels dramatically.”

 “It was a tough start to the season due to the northern drought. Farmers then had to cope with more drought, floods and snowstorms. But the recent excellent pasture growth has meant herds are now in good condition, which bodes well for calving and the new season’s start.”

Mr Murphy said the additional milk would be welcomed in the market where supply remained tight.

He noted prices for globally traded dairy products, while off their highs of early March, were still at historically high levels.

“This means farmers are on track to enjoy another good season, which will flow through the economy and benefit every New Zealander.”

Farmers have been very cautious, paying off debt and containing costs in the expectation that next season’s payout will not be as high as this one’s.

But record production when international prices are well above the long term average is very good news not just for the company and its shareholders, employees and those who supply and service them but the wider economy as well.


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