Rural round-up

February 27, 2015

TB testing reductions another step in eradicating the disease:

Farmers and OSPRI continue to make good progress in their fight against bovine tuberculosis (TB) as high risk areas are reduced.

More than 3190 herds across 937,100 hectares will benefit from reductions in both Movement Control Areas (MCA) and cattle and deer bovine tuberculosis (TB) tests from 1 March 2015.

Herds throughout parts of North Canterbury, Otago and Southland will no longer require pre-movement TB testing, but will continue to be tested annually.

Dunsdale dairy farmer Kelvin Brock is moving out of the Hokonui MCA. He said the progress made by OSPRI’s TBfree programme through movement restrictions and possum control has been particularly satisfying. . .

 

Beef and lamb environment plan approved :

Environment Canterbury has approved a farm environment plan template for the beef and lamb industry under the proposed Land & Water Regional Plan.

Acknowledging the quality of the template, Environment Canterbury chief executive Bill Bayfield said Beef + Lamb New Zealand had met all the requirements of Schedule 7 of the proposed plan.

“We hope the farm environment plans that come from this template are valuable both for farmers and for Beef + Lamb,” Bayfield said. . .

Tagged stock have added value – NAIT – Gerard Hutching:

The move towards tagging and registering all cattle and deer will be a significant boon to farmers and the New Zealand economy, says the agency administering the system.

Farmers have a deadline of July 1 this year to ensure all their cattle are tagged and registered. Deer will have to be up-to-date by March 2016.

Dr Stu Hutchings, head of the OSPRI’s National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme, said there were three main benefits of tagging: for biosecurity; food safety/market access; and farm management.

“The dairy sector thinks about biosecurity implications from a disease perspective such as foot and mouth, so for them it almost becomes an insurance policy,” he said. . .

Nation’s Top Lamb Finalists Announced:

The finalists of the 2015 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Golden Lamb Awards, aka the Glammies, have been announced.

Following stringent scientific testing, over 150 entries have been narrowed down to 20 in the search for the nation’s most tender and tasty lamb.

Carne Technologies General Manager, Nicola Simmons says the tests they run look at yield and the attributes which are relevant to the end product.

“We analyse each lamb leg entry using objective measurements for tenderness, colour and succulence as these are ultimately factors which affect the consumer’s eating experience,” says Nicola. . .

 

The evolution of Fonterra – Keith Woodford:

[This is the first of a series of five articles on Fonterra that I have been writing for the Fairfax NZ Sunday Star Times. This one was published on 1 February 2015.]

It is now a little more than 13 years since Fonterra was formed. In that time, all of the foundation directors have moved on. There have also been three Chief Executive officers (CEOs) and at least four Chief Financial Officers. None of the current top level management team that reports to the CEO were there at the start.

Fonterra itself is a very different company to those early days. It started off as a traditional co-operative, in which members owned shares in proportion to their production. These shares were purchased directly from the co-operative at a price which the co-operative determined. If a farmer ceased production, then the shares were sold back to the co-operative at the current buy/sell price as determined by Fonterra. Given that production and ownership were aligned, any apportionment between what was paid for the milk and what was paid as a dividend on invested capital, was of no material consequence. . .

Synlait Farms rebrands as Purata:

Synlait Farms – the former subsidiary business of Synlait Ltd – has rebranded as Purata.

With Latin and Maori origins meaning ‘clear, bright – like a beautiful morning,” Purata’s name reflects the company’s new vision post ownership change, says Purata CEO Juliet Maclean.

Accompanied by the tagline ‘Farming for Tomorrow’, the Purata brand embodies the company’s focus on innovation, sustainability and creativity.

Juliet Maclean says changing the brand name, tagline and colour palate will help Purata reinforce its separate identity since leaving parent company Synlait Ltd. . .

 

Positive forecast for PGG Wrightson – Alan Williams:

PGG Wrightson is forecasting a very solid increase in annual earnings after reporting its strongest interim result in seven years.

The after tax profit for the six months ended December 31 was $19.7 million, up from $13.4m in the same period a year earlier.

Though there were still several months of trading and the risk of lower farmer spending because of drought conditions, managing director Mark Dewdney said the group was now forecasting operating earnings (Ebitda) of between $62m and $68m for the full year to June 30, up from $58.7m last year. . .

A weather eye on the climate – Pete Mailler:

A FEW years ago my oldest daughter came home from school in a state of high agitation. I quizzed her on what was concerning her, to which she replied angrily that I was killing the polar bears.

Apparently she had learned at school that our collective continued use of petrol and diesel was causing global warming and this was threatening the bears. In her young mind this was interpreted as the fuel use on our farm was directly and singularly the cause of the problem.

“My agricultural science training compels me to rely on good science in forming my own opinion”

I was more than a little disgusted that climate activists were able to terrorise my daughter in such a way. However, as much as it pains me to say so, it did cause me to check my own assumptions and attitudes to climate change. . .

"Bales as far as the eye can see :-D<br /><br /><br /> #Baling #RounBales"


Rural round-up

November 4, 2013

Few farms in foreign hands says English – Alan Wood:

Foreign investment in New Zealand farmland, including dairy farms, remains relatively low and has significant safeguards, Finance Minister Bill English says.

Some investment, including that in the Crafar farms in the North Island by the Chinese, has raised the hackles of some Kiwis.

For example, Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa spokesman Murray Horton says he is firmly against ownership of New Zealand land by foreigners, whether they be Chinese, American, Australian or British.

Last month the China-based Shanghai Pengxin Group announced a takeover bid for Synlait Farms, in association with two of Synlait’s founders, John Penno and Juliet Maclean. . .

The Industrialisation of American Dairying and the Implications for New Zealand: Keith Woodford:

The ‘handout notes’ that follow were written  for a Lincoln University Dairy Farm Focus Day on 10 October 2013. These focus days are held every two months. This one was attended by about 200 farmers and rural professionals. I gave the presentation as Lincoln’s Professor of Farm Management and Agribusiness, standing on a trailer out in the paddock – so basically it was all ad libbed without visual aids. Actually,  sometimes it is fun to talk without the distraction of powerpoints!

Background

  • The American dairy industry is rapidly transforming to an industrial model based on large scale (>2000 cow) mega farms.
  • As of 2013, approximately 40% of American production comes from 800 mega farms.
  • Another 30% comes from a further 2500 farms, each with between 500 and 2,000 cows.
  • The final 30% comes from more than 50,000 farms with less than 500 cows
  • The mega farms have costs of production that are much lower than the smaller farms. . .

 

Farming robot could bring the cows in – Jill Galloway:

“Like a four-wheel-drive wheelchair on steroids” is how Andrew Manderson describes his Agri-Rover.

He designed the prototype farm robot which was built by a team from AgResearch and Lincoln University, using industrial parts and costing $4000.

It was a robust machine and had a powerful engine, said Dr Manderson.

It would comfortably trundle around a paddock, so long as it didn’t encounter a gradient of more than 20 degrees.

He said it had a top speed of 5kmh, but with a few adjustments it could really motor.

(Click on the link above to see a video of the robot in action)

Winning the battle against boxthorn pest – Ruth Grundy:

Graeme Loh is the first to admit he is more ”exterminator” than ”nurturer”.

He is the Department of Conservation (Doc) ranger who oversees one of the country’s newest reserves, a prominent and ancient limestone outcrop at Gards Rd, between Duntroon and Kurow.

He said his main focus was to eradicate an aggressive exotic invader – boxthorn – which threatened to appropriate this national treasure.

”People don’t realise how bad a weed it is and how difficult it is to remove.” . . .

Farmsafe says quad bike research backs roll bars – Anna Vidot:

Farm safety advocates say the science is in, and now is the time to start encouraging people to use quad bikes with roll bars.

Manufacturers of the vehicles have long argued that crush protection bars cause more injuries than they prevent, and take the focus away from other safety measures like helmets and proper training.

But Farmsafe Australia says there’s mounting evidence that crush protection bars are more likely to save a life than not, if a quad bike rolls. . . .

Dogs queue up for aversion training

Kiwi advocate Lesley Baigent  was  gratified by the response  to Saturday’s kiwi aversion  training session for dogs at the
Raetea reserve, at the northern foot of the Mangamuka  Gorge.

Dogs were literally queuing  up to undergo the training,  which involves a special collar  delivering an electric shock at  the appropriate moment to  persuade the dogs that kiwi  are best left alone. Success rates varied, Lesley said, and there were certainly  no expectations of 100 per  cent. . . .


Rural round-up

October 28, 2013

Industry award like winning ‘ham Lotto’ – Sally Rae:

Sue Morton describes winning gold in the 100% New Zealand Bacon and Ham Competition as like winning ”ham Lotto”.

Mrs Morton and her husband Gus, from Waitaki Bacon and Ham, won the gold award for their Hampshire Champagne sliced ham in the recent competition.

Retail meat industry specialist Matt Grimes, who has been a judge since the competition’s inception in 2008, described the entry as a ”standout”. . . .

Otago couple among six in award finals – Sally Rae:

Otago farmers Trevor and Karen Peters are among the six finalists in the Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition.

The Peters family operates a sheep and beef hill country farming enterprise across six properties. Nominees noted their commitment to the farming industry and their focus on succession planning.

Farming was a very high-cost business to get into but one with a low cash return, Mr Peters said.

”We have focused on a process for succession planning to ensure that business decisions on the property can focus on the long term, knowing that there will be a continuity of investment,” he said. . . .

Synlait Farms had five offers – Alan Williams:

Synlait Farms chief executive Juliet Maclean will increase her investment in the company as part of the planned takeover joint venture with Shanghai Pengxin.

If the takeover proceeds Maclean will receive just over $15 million for her 17.55% stake in the corporate dairy farmer but is required to invest $17m directly into her new 16.1% shareholding in the takeover vehicle SFL Holdings (SFLH). She will remain as chief executive and director of Synlait Farms. . . .

Taking Jersey butter to the top – Richard Rennie:

A small dairy company has tipped the usual processing model on its head, aiming to produce crafted, niche butter from one breed of cow, for the top-end food and restaurant trade. Richard Rennie investigates.

A couple of years ago Lewis Road Creamery founder Peter Cullinane had an epiphany in the most ordinary of places.

While trawling the dairy aisle of his Auckland supermarket for Danish Lurpak butter he wondered why he had to buy butter that had travelled 20,000km to get a brand that tasted good? . . .

Fury over eartag ‘spying’:

FARMERS are outraged at proposals by Meat and Livestock Australia to covertly sell to banks and rural lending institutions private information.

The farmer’s private information has been about the income they derive from the sale of their cattle and sheep.

A consultant’s report commissioned by the MLA – and leaked to the Australian Beef Association – says 10 financial institutions are keen to pay to automatically receive emails informing them every time a farmer who has a mortgage or debt sells his stock through the saleyards or to an abattoir.

The scheme, which the ABA likens to “spying for profit”, is made possible by the tracking of electronic eartags, which are now mandatory from birth for all cattle in all states, from farm to meatworks, under a scheme administered by the MLA. . .  Hat tip: Interest.co.nz

Focus on heat on livestock  – Nicloa Bell:

HOW livestock will react to warming global temperatures is the focus of a new study.

While it is commonly known that livestock production can be affected by exposure to heat, researchers from the University of Western Australia’s Institute of Agriculture and India’s Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University are working to determine the physiological and genetic basis for adaptation in animals as a response to increasing global temperatures.

Physiology professor Shane Maloney from UWA’s School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology is leading the project and said they hoped the research might help in the selection of livestock to improve production. . .


Rural round-up

March 26, 2013

Station owner hunts hunters – Matthew Littlewood:

A South Canterbury high country farmer is offering a $20,000 reward for any information about suspected illegal helicopter-hunting activities on his property.

Donald Aubrey, of Ben McLeod Station in the headwaters of the Rangitata River, said the most recent incident occurred in the headwaters of the neighbouring Hewson River on March 22.

He said yesterday the reward would be “payable for any information that enables the prosecution and future prevention of those responsible”.

“Apart from the obvious intention to shoot wild game, pilots are typically unaware of the impact they have on sheep,” Mr Aubrey said. . .

NZ seen as agribusiness beacon – Sally Rae:

Damien McLoughlin has a simple message for New Zealand’s agricultural sector – it needs a pat on the back.

Prof McLoughlin, professor of marketing and associate dean at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, in Ireland, co-led the Queenstown Agribusiness Symposium last week.

The symposium, hosted by Dunedin-based agribusiness consulting and new ventures company AbacusBio Ltd, attracted about 50 people from throughout New Zealand. . .

Synlait stock to trade on unlisted platform:

Synlait Farms, the Canterbury dairy farmer whose owners tried unsuccessfully to raise funds for its milk processing associate in a 2009 IPO, is to have its stock quoted on the Unlisted platform starting tomorrow.

The company runs 12,970 cows on 13 farms in Canterbury.

The listing is to “provide options to enhance liquidity to shareholders”, founder Juliet Maclean says. “Synlait Farms is now well positioned to consider further expansion options.” . . .

Greater innovation needed – Gerald Piddock:

New Zealand could miss out on opportunities in the global market if it does not become a more effective innovator, Synlait Farms’ chief executive Juliet Maclean says.

Farmers were fantastic with coming up with ‘number 8 wire’ ideas. But she questioned if farmers were taking good ideas and applying them to their farm businesses to gain better outcomes.

“That’s what innovation is all about,” she said at a field day to celebrate the company winning the 2012 South Island Farmer of the Year.

The day was held at Synlait Farms’ Hororata property, Robindale Dairies. . .

Huge potential in tools – Gerald Piddock:

Precision agriculture is an industry that is still maturing, but has huge potential to benefit New Zealand agriculture, 2012 Nuffield scholar Michael Tayler says.

His report, New Technologies in Arable Farming, identified precision agriculture as a technology that would play a big part in New Zealand’s agricultural future.

Farmers were going to have to turn to new ways of fine tuning their crop management as they faced tighter environmental regulations, he said in his report.

Advances in precision agriculture would enable farmers to more accurately record placement of the fertilisers and pesticides creating more accountability and traceability. . .

Callaghan Innovation Co-Funding Enables Large Herd Trials For Kahne:

Kahne Animal Health (Kahne) today announced that Callaghan Innovation will co-fund a large-herd testing project for their world-first sensor-based wireless monitoring systems used to track health and fertility in cows.

Callaghan Innovation will provide $1 million towards testing the biotelemetry-based rumen and fertility monitoring devices which measure temperature, pH levels and identify oestrus indicators in cows. The devices track and transmit data to provide farmers with health alerts and reports to help with the early detection of health problems, effectiveness of nutrition management, disorders that could impact fertility, and accurate oestrus detection.

Kahne Chief Executive, Susanne Clay, said while there is a global market for the technology, the company has given priority to the local market to help Kiwi farmers solve livestock issues to drive efficiencies that impact their bottom lines. . .

Trust as much as science is at the heart of water management – Chris Arbuckle:

For many years now “Water User Groups” (WUG’s) have done a great job implementing community-based water management initiatives. And they have achieved this with the assistance of organizations such as the Landcare Trust, Crown Research Institutes, non-government agencies and regional councils. Projects on the Waituna Lagoon, Upper Taieri River and Aorere Catchment attest to this. They were formed because a community of people desired practical action to address concerns about environmental change. Usually a champion has encouraged a group of interested people to form around an issue to seek a solution. In the main this is all done voluntarily, for the well-being of the water resource and community, and by someone with great charisma to drive it through.

Of the three main recommendations in the Government’s “Freshwater Reform 2013 and beyond” [http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/water/freshwater-reform-2013/index.html] (national objectives framework; collaborative community planning (CCP); managing within quality and quantity limits using best industry practices); the collaborative planning bit clearly represents the biggest challenge. Without this working the other two recommendations lose their effectiveness. . . .

Thai Prime Minister Sees Fonterra’s Quality Processes First Hand:

Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday met with Fonterra Co-operative Group Chairman John Wilson for a tour of a South Auckland dairy farm and also visited the Co-operative’s Te Rapa manufacturing site.

The visit was an opportunity for Mr Wilson to further strengthen the company’s relationship with Thailand, where it is the number one supplier of dairy ingredients.

Mr Wilson said Fonterra was honoured to host Ms Shinawatra and provide her, and the Thai trade delegation with a deeper understanding of their business, and the New Zealand dairy industry. . .


Rural round-up

June 10, 2012

Central Plains water scheme nearly there – Chris Hutching:

The Central Plains Water scheme has obtained all necessary agreements with Environment Court appellants.

The appellants, mainly farmers seeking realignment of canal structures, have withdrawn, a (© Copyright Protected – The National Business Review 80) company representative told NBR.

Central Plains will lodge the consents when Christchurch City Council has signed its appeal agreement. . .

Synlait $70 million capital raising deal fails – Annette Scott:

Synlait Ltd has failed in its bid to sell up to 70% of its holding in Synlait Farms.

An eleventh hour collapse of an expected settlement has disappointed the board that was on track for a “done deal” with its capital raising this week.

The New Zealand Farmers Weekly understands the near 5000 hectares of prime, irrigated Canterbury dairy farmland was set to be sold to an offshore buyer.

The future of dairy farming comes to Tasmania Anne Boswell:

A dairy farm in northern Tasmania is revolutionising the role of the traditional dairy farmer by having installed the world’s first commercial robotic rotary dairy.

Gala Farms, operated by the Dornauf family, installed the De Laval-developed Automated Milking Rotary system in February this year and haven’t looked back.

The new milking system was developed in collaboration with the Sydney-based FutureDairy team. . .

Call for rual and urban NZ to reconnect:

Professor Jacqueline Rowarth of Waikato University says urban and rural New Zealand need to reconnect with each other better?

New Zealand is one of the most urbanised countries in the world, with more than 86% of people now living in town.

Professor Rowarth says while most people no longer have a connection with the land, research suggests the majority of urban people know of the importance of the rural sector to the country’s economy.

She says the opposite can’t be said about rural people, with only a minority giving the same credence to the urban sector.

Professor Rowarth says it’s important that both understand each other. .

 


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