Rural round-up

September 16, 2015

Deal will change face of industry – Dene Mackenzie:

Silver Fern Farms aims to be debt free with money in the bank by this time next year if a deal to form a 50:50 joint venture with Chinese food giant Shanghai Maling gets shareholder approval.

Silver Fern Farms chairman Rob Hewett remained optimistic yesterday the deal would receive the required 50% shareholder support and the company is offering significant sweeteners to persuade shareholders to vote yes.

The deal would allow Silver Fern Farms to become unleashed, he said.

Mr Hewett’s presentation to a media conference was peppered with phrases such as ”turbo-charged” and ”compelling”. . . 

 

Shock waves from Silver Fern Farms will now pulsate through the industry – Keith Woodford:

Five months ago I wrote that whatever happened at Silver Fern Farms, it would be like an earthquake within the meat industry. Given that Silver Fern Farms is New Zealand’s largest meat company, and with the status quo unsustainable, it could not be any other way.

The offer that has now come forward from Shanghai Maling is remarkable. This offer, once regulatory approvals are received, will change Silver Fern Farms from being large but financially very weak, to being large and financially very strong.

Apart from mid-season working capital, Silver Fern Farms will be debt free and with cash in their war chest to ‘take it’ to their competitors. . . 

Alliance reaches out to Silver Fern suppliers – Dene Mackenzie:

Invercargill meat processor Alliance Group wasted no time yesterday in trying to woo disgruntled Silver Fern Farm suppliers after Silver Fern announced a joint venture with a Chinese company.

Alliance chairman Murray Taggart said it was important for New Zealand farmers to retain ownership of their industry and the best way to achieve that would be to supply Alliance as the only remaining major co-operative.

Alliance also muddied the water somewhat by saying it submitted a bid for Silver Fern before Silver Fern’s capital-raising process got under way as part of ongoing discussions with the Dunedin group. . . 

Beef and Lamb expects farm profits to rise – Dene Mackenzie:

New Zealand ”average” sheep and beef farmers are in for a profit lift and Beef and Lamb chief economist Andrew Burtt calls it positive news at a time when the economy would benefit from increased farm sector spending.

Beef and Lamb predicted the average sheep and beef farm would see its profit before tax lift to $109,000 this season – 9.6% more than last season but 3.1% below the five year average. . . 

Sheep meat marketing needs focus on premium – Simon Hartley:

Softening demand for sheepmeat in China and Europe should be prompting New Zealand to prioritise getting premium chilled lamb cuts in China, and to also look further afield to new Middle Eastern markets.

Softer overseas demand for New Zealand sheepmeat, particularly from China, had curtailed New Zealand sheepmeat producers’ returns in recent months, Rabobank animal protein analyst, Matthew Costello said in his recent report on the New Zealand sheepmeat industry.

While China’s imports had ”exploded on to the New Zealand sheepmeat export scene” in 2013, to become New Zealand’s largest sheepmeat trading partner, its own production had since grown to about eight times that of New Zealand. . . 

Large trade blocs good for NZ exports:

New Zealand’s refreshed priorities for international trade have been welcomed by ExportNZ.

The Government’s Business Growth Agenda on trade has been updated, with a focus on completing the Trans Pacific Partnership, achieving a free trade agreement with the European Union, and engaging more with emerging economies in Latin and South America.

ExportNZ Executive Director Catherine Beard said exporters welcomed the continued emphasis on TPP. . .

Swede test a first for NZ – Hamish Maclean:

The plight of Southern farmers last year has led to a first for New Zealand.

When 200 dairy cows died in Southland and South Otago and many more became ill, the cause – a naturally occurring compound in winter feed, swedes in particular, – could not be tested at any New Zealand commercial laboratories.

Now, commercial glucosinolate testing of plants is available in New Zealand, and that is good news for the dairy industry, Dairy NZ says. . . 

Farm prices hold up; MyFarm eyeing dairy opportunities – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Farm prices are holding up well on a drop in volume over the winter months, according to the latest Real Estate Institute of New Zealand rural farm sales data.

There were only three dairy farm sales recorded in the past month and the median sales price per hectare for dairy farms for the three months ended August fell to $26,906, compared to $35,304 for the three months ended July and $43,125 for the three months ended August 2014.

But the REINZ Dairy Farm Price Index, which adjusts for differences in farm size and location, rose by 17.3 percent in the three months to August, compared to the three months to July. . . 

Tests before tightening help protect farm fertility:

Soil tests should be the first step for farmers trying to managing budgets while maintaining pasture productivity.

Ballance Science Extension Manager, Ian Tarbotton, says keeping soils fertile is good insurance with pasture an essential feed source, but gut instinct or past experience won’t lead to good decisions on what to spend or save.

“Soil tests will show you what you have to work with and they are the best guide to decisions around a fertiliser budget. The last thing farmers want to do is to compromise future productivity, so understanding what nutrients are available now is the best basis for decisions on fertiliser budgets.” . . 


Rural round-up

May 30, 2015

Ahuwhenua Trophy winner congratulated:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell have tonight congratulated Mangaroa Station, this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy winner.

Mangaroa Station was presented with the 2015 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming award at an awards dinner tonight in Whanganui.

“The owners of Mangaroa Station set a fantastic example to other Māori landowners of what can be achieved through ambition and hard work,” says Mr Guy.

“They’ve created a successful family-run farm and sustainably developed their land for future generations.” . . .

Farmers confronting second season of low dairy payouts:

Federated Farmers says the latest Fonterra $5.25 payout prediction for farmers for next season is a signal that the low payment this year is not a one off.

Dairy chairman Andrew Hoggard says a more immediate impact will be felt from a further 10 cents a kilo reduction in the current season payout down to $4.40.

“This will make it really tough for farmers managing their cashflows through the low winter months with the likelihood of little or no retro payments helping to smooth out that cashflow.”

Hoggard notes Fonterra’s advance rate of $3.66 isn’t scheduled to pick up to $4.17 until February 2016, for the milk produced in January. . .

Swede survey results show multiple factors to manage:

Industry body DairyNZ is advising farmers to focus on managing a number of factors involved in feeding swedes this season, including the proportion of swede that makes up the diet of their cows.

In the wake of preliminary analysis of an in-depth farmer survey, DairyNZ’s Southland/South Otago regional leader Richard Kyte says farmers have been advised<http://www.dairynz.co.nz/swedes> of its key findings including that cow ill-health increased last season as the proportion of swedes fed as part of the total diet increased. Feeding swedes on the milking platform (farm) in spring when cows approached calving and early lactation also increased the incidence of ill-health. . .

Agri-event to strengthen links between research and industry:

On the eve of Fieldays, the University of Waikato will host agri-stakeholders at an event to showcase its latest research and strengthen links with the agricultural industry. It features a presentation on the importance of soils, a panel discussion on how industry can work with Waikato, and the presentation of the 2015 New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays Sir Don Llewellyn Scholarship prize.

The importance of soils

University of Waikato soil expert, Professor Louis Schipper, will discuss how we can improve the environmental outcomes of farming by looking at the use of soils to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and approaches to help reduce nitrogen losses to waterways. . .

Growing knowledge through collaboration:

A collaborative workshop to help food producers gain specialist knowledge and skills was held at Lincoln University yesterday.

Entitled “Growing You”, it is part of a series covering topics such as sustainable weed management and sustainable pest and disease management, and was a joint effort of the University, MG Marketing, and the Lincoln-based Biological Husbandry Unit (BHU) and Bio-Protection Research Centre (BPRC).

MG Marketing is a co-operative organisation with over 90 years of growing, distributing and selling fresh vegetables and fruit. . .

Blue cod fishery consultation launch:

Consultation on new proposals to manage the blue cod fishery in the Marlborough Sounds will begin on 2 June.

The Blue Cod Management Group, which developed these proposals, is made up of recreational and commercial fishing representatives and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

Group spokesperson, Eric Jorgensen, says the proposals were developed following feedback from the community and an analysis of the science earlier this year.

“Our goal is a sustainable fishery for the current and future generations. Your feedback on these proposals will help us arrive at the best way forward. . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Using Online Tool to Engage with More Sheep And Beef Farmers:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has launched a new interactive communication tool, “Farmers’ Voice” to provide another way to engage with sheep and beef farmers and provide a forum for them to share information with each other.

B+LNZ chief executive, Dr Scott Champion said Farmers’ Voice will be accessed through the B+LNZ website atbeeflambnz.com/farmersvoice and would be another way to get information to farmers and receive feedback on topical issues. It is designed to complement existing face-to-face, print, radio and electronic channels used by B+LNZ.

“As an online forum, Farmers’ Voice provides the opportunity to post stories and videos, follow blogs, have online conversations and run quick polls on a topical question. . .

Pomahaka Project Scales Up:

Following the success of a one year scoping exercise NZ Landcare Trust has secured nearly $150,000 from MPI’s Sustainable Farming Fund to facilitate a catchment scale project within the Pomahaka catchment. With support from Pomahaka Farmers Water Care Group and the Pomahaka Stakeholders Group the ‘Pathway for the Pomahaka’ project will utilise and showcase industry tools that demonstrate the benefits of good farm management practices on water quality. . .

Finer Wools Firm, Coarse Wools Ease:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s Marketing Executive, Mr Paul Steel reports that continued shipping pressure for China kept Finer Crossbreds firm however coarse wools eased as volumes available increase.

The weighted indicator remained unchanged compared to the last sale on 21st May.

Of the 8,900 bales on offer, 94 percent sold. . .


Rural round-up

March 30, 2015

Candid advocate top dairy woman – Sally Rae:

West Coast dairy farmer Katie Milne was recently named Dairy Woman of the Year. She talks to agribusiness reporter Sally Rae. 

Katie Milne is a straight shooter.

So it’s not hard to imagine those attending a meeting on the West Coast, in the early 1990s, took notice when she went along with some concerns about the Resource Management Act’s impact on her ability to farm.

There were a large number of Federated Farmers people there, but they were ”all older fellas with grey hair”. . .

Landcorp’s Carden optimistic despite low half year profit – Allan Barber:

The state owned farmer Landcorp last month reported a substantial drop in both revenue and profit for the six months ended 31 December last year, but CEO Steve Carden is still very positive about future prospects and the importance of Landcorp as a farming business.

In response to a question about the impact of dairy and whether the exposure to it has gone too far, he said he felt the balance was about right at a similar proportion to red meat which had traditionally been the dominant farming type. Dairy represented over half the turnover last year, but in the current year that percentage had fallen to 46%, as evident from the almost $10 million decline in first half year revenue. . .

Synlait releases Interim Report for 2015 financial year:

Synlait Milk has posted a $6.4 million net loss after tax for the first six months to 31 January in the 2015 financial year (FY15).

This result includes after tax unrealised foreign exchange losses of $6.8 million.

The underlying after tax financial performance of $0.4 million for the period was lower than expected and primarily due to delays in the shipment of infant formula and nutraceutical products.

A one-off, after tax product mix benefit of $7.5 million in the first half of FY14, combined with increased depreciation and interest costs from the commissioning of three growth initiatives projects in the second half of FY14, are the primary reasons for a $11.7 million variation between the underlying FY15 interim result of $0.4 million and the FY14 interim result of $12.1 million net profit after tax. . .

New kiwifruit variety revives industry – Jenna Lynch:

Kiwifruit growers are celebrating a bumper export season, with fruit volumes at their highest since the outbreak of the vine-killing disease Psa in 2010.

The disease devastated New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry, costing growers millions.

But a new variety has helped bring the industry back from the brink of collapse.

It’s the industry king, its green brother fetching a fraction of its price, but after years of small crop yield due to Psa the gold kiwifruit is back. . .

Kiwifruit industry set for strong growth in 2015 season:

The first kiwifruit charter ship for 2015 is set to sail from the Port of Tauranga tomorrow (Sunday 28 March), marking the start of a season promising strong growth with volumes back to pre-Psa levels this season, Zespri’s Chief Executive Lain Jager says.

The 2015 harvest began in orchards in Gisborne, Katikati and Te Puke last week, with the first charter shipments of gold kiwifruit leaving on the MV Atlantic Erica today for Zespri’s long-standing premium market of Japan. Zespri has chartered 55 refrigerated ships – including five ships direct to Shanghai – and 8,000 refrigerated containers to carry the 2015 Zespri harvest to 54 countries around the world. . .

Swedes farmer survey results coming in May:

The results of an in-depth farmer survey carried out to help understand the factors behind the toxic swedes issues that hit Southland dairy herds last year are expected to be available by the end of May.

DairyNZ’s Southland regional leader Richard Kyte says DairyNZ interviewed 134 affected and unaffected farmers and 34 graziers last year as part of its study into why many cows became ill after feeding on swedes last season. The detailed interviews followed a general short survey of all dairy farmers that generated more than 400 replies. Analysis of all the survey data is now nearly complete.

“We interviewed farmers across the region to help us understand whether farm management practices may have been a contributing factor. We had some delays in getting the data from the field as farmers got busy just as we started approaching them for information. Until all this analysis is complete, we won’t know if we need to gather more background information. We are expecting to have the results of all this work released to farmers from around mid to late May,” he says. . .

 

Consultation on Campylobacter performance targets open:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is asking for feedback on a range of proposed options for testing of Campylobacter in poultry.

The consultation considers the need for any change to Campylobacter performance targets – contamination limits poultry processors must meet as part of MPI’s routine testing for Campylobacter in broiler chickens.

Paul Dansted, MPI’s Acting Director Systems Audit, Assurance and Monitoring, says that while there have been significant improvements in the control of Campylobacter since performance targets were introduced, it’s important they are continually reviewed. . .

 


Rural round-up

September 16, 2014

Vigilance required with Winter Brassica Feeding:

Southland farmers are being advised to keep a close watch on cows that have been grazing or are grazing on swede crops after reports of illness, and in some cases death, on dairy farms.

“The mild winter and lush growth of leaf material on brassica crops, especially swedes, has caused problems where dairy cows have been introduced onto the late winter swedes after wintering on other types of crops,” David Green, PGG Wrightson Seeds (PGW Seeds) General Manager Seeds says.

PGW Seeds is the major supplier of forage brassica products in New Zealand.

“With extra swede leaf material available due to the unusually mild winter it appears some cows have consumed more leaf and less bulb than normal. Consuming more leaf, less bulb and less supplementary feeds during wet August conditions has combined to amplify risk factors that can cause liver disease. . .

 Police say poachers putting lives at risk:

Police in Alexandra say poachers caught on private property give a range of reasons for their offending, but many fail to realise they are putting lives at risk.

Senior Sergeant Ian Kerrisk said poaching was widespread in the lower half of the South Island, where there were large areas of farms and forests, and plenty of people who were interested in hunting.

Mr Kerrisk estimates they receive a call from a forestry worker or farmer once a week with concerns about poachers and have recently prosecuted four people for poaching.

He said it was not easy to say why people poach animals.

“Some of them have said that they hunt because they enjoy hunting, it’s a recreational thing for them, some people have said they believe they have the right to go hunting in the bush, some people have said they need food.”

Mr Kerrisk said the concern is that they are hunting on private property without permission. . .

Protein found on sheep’s back – Nevil Gibson:

University of Otago researchers have won $1 million in government funding for a two-year project that will extract food-safe digestible protein from natural wool. 

Sheep wool is 95% protein with no fat or carbohydrates. This makes it an extremely rich protein source but until now it has been difficult to access, says Associate Professor George Dias.

“Wool-derived protein (WDP) offers an exciting opportunity to add value to New Zealand’s low-valued medium to coarse wool clip,” he says. “WDP can be produced at less than $10 a kilogram, making it extremely cost competitive relative to the gold standard whey protein isolate at $25/kg.”  . . .

$90,000 for kea conservation:

The Government is providing $90,000 from the Community Conservation Partnership Fund to support the Kea Conservation Trust, Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today.

“The kea is the only alpine parrot in the world and a species endemic to our Southern Alps. The population of these inquisitive and nomadic birds is declining and it is estimated that fewer than 5000 remain. The tragedy of the kea is that over 150,000 birds were killed deliberately when there was a bounty on them for the perceived damage they caused to sheep. More recently, the biggest threat to kea survival is from pests – principally rats, stoats and possums,” Dr Smith says. . .

35-year affair with eucalypts – Alison Beckham:

Thirty-five years ago, Dipton sheep farmer Graham Milligan decided to plant a few eucalypt trees on stony ground next to the Oreti River, where his paddocks seemed to be always either flooded or burnt off.

Now he farms more trees than sheep – raising seedlings and exporting cool climate eucalypt seed all over the world. Reporter AllisonBeckham visited the man who says he loves trees so much he feels like every day on the job is a holiday.35-year affair with eucalypts

At first glance, the eucalpyt trees on Graham and Heather Milligan’s farm look similar. But as we bounce along the farm track Mr Milligan points out different varieties.

There are towering regnans grown for their timber, and nitens, now the world’s most favoured wood for biomass heating fuel. There’s baby blue, whose foliage is sought after by florists, and crenulata, with its delicate star-shaped buds, also popular at the flower markets. . . .

Farm Environment Awards Help Hort Newbies Climb Steep Learning Curve:

Horticultural newcomers Patrick and Rebecca Malley say entering the Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards was a great way to build knowledge.

In 2011 the couple left jobs in Auckland to run Ararimu Orchard with Patrick’s parents Dermott and Linzi. Situated at Maungatapere near Whangarei, Ararimu grows 14ha of kiwifruit and 3.5ha of avocados.

While Patrick grew up on an apple orchard in the Hawke’s Bay, he and Rebecca knew very little about growing kiwifruit when they first arrived. So the learning curve was steep.

Rebecca says they decided to enter the 2014 Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) after talking to other people who had been involved in the competition. . . .

Water NZ Annual Conference 17 – 19 September:

Implementing Reform

Water New Zealand’s annual conference is being held this week against a backdrop of the General Election.

“Our members are pleased that political parties have released policies on improving the management of freshwater as declining water quality is consistently rated by New Zealanders as being their number one environmental concern,” Murray Gibb, chief executive of Water New Zealand said.

“It is also pleasing to see the early results of the work that Water New Zealand has been closely involved with over the past five years through the Land and Water Forum and other initiatives.”

Therefore the theme of “Implementing Reform” is appropriate at the conference being held at Hamilton’s Claudelands convention this week over 17 – 19 September. . .


Swede’s a southern thing

April 8, 2013

My favourite meal of the week when I was growing up was Sunday dinner.

Mum would put the roast in the oven and ice cream in the freezer before we went to church.

We’d come home to the delights of roast mutton and potatoes, accompanied by mint sauce, gravy (made the proper way in the roasting dish) and, in winter, swede.

The delights of swede escape many people further north. That could be because, like stone fruit, swedes need good frosts to enhance their sweetness.

To my farmer’s regret we rarely have roasts and I can’t remember the last time I cooked swede.

But reading swedes sales grow full-blown business  has reminded my taste buds of those long ago dinners.

It’s too early yet, but when we’ve had a few frosts I”ll be hoping the stock won’t mind if a few swedes make their way from the paddock to my pot.

 

 

 

 

 


Southland party at Parliament

August 23, 2012

Invercargill MP Eric Roy is reviving the Southland party at Parliament:

Oysters, chocolate, meat and “sheep on a spit” will be a few of the delicacies National MP Eric Roy will be serving in Parliament next month to bring displaced Southlanders together for a night of cheese rolls and southern company.

Mr Roy said the Southland Party in the banquet hall of the Parliament building used to be an annual evening.

However, it had died out about seven years ago.

In its heyday, the night attracted about 400 Southland people to the Beehive, he said.

“It’s about networking and showing off Southland. It was always a good way for us to reconnect – people are saying it’s time we did it again.”

Mr Roy was calling on any Southlanders based in Wellington, as well as any Wellingtonians with Southland connections, to come out and party “Southland-style” in the capital.

A very protein-laden meal was promised with lots of hay bales, swedes and cheese rolls, he said. . .

I’m not sure about the protein content of hay bales but presumably they’re for sitting on not for eating.

The party’s Facebook page is here.


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