Rural round-up

October 2, 2019

Are the water proposals a done-deal? – Mark Daniel:

Big questions have been raised by farmers at an environmental roadshow on the Government’s freshwater proposals.

What’s the difference between a dairy heifer and a beef heifer? It depends. Not a lot if you’re changing from a dairy to a beef operation, as it’s not a problem.

But a change from beef to dairy heifer rearing is demanding and will likely require resource consent as it’s likely to be considered intensification. . . 

Tatua pays $8.50/kgMS for last season’s milk:

Waikato milk processor Tatua has announced a final payout of $8.50/kgMS for last season, beating all other processors including Fonterra.

The co-op, supplied by 107 shareholder farms, achieved record group income of $364 million and earnings of $140 million in 2018-19. Milksolids processed from Tatua suppliers was 14.5 million kgMS, which is our divisor for earnings.

This was lower than the prior season, due to extended dry summer conditions across our milk supply area. . .

Work to control ryegrass flowering :

A quintessential Kiwi landscape usually includes green pastures dotted with livestock munching on healthy, vibrant grass.

Those green fields are generally full of ryegrass and in late spring the ryegrass flowers. When it does, it is no longer as nutritious for the livestock feeding on it.

A research project from the University of Otago’s department of biochemistry is aiming to develop a ryegrass that does not flower on-farm.

That project, headed by Associate Prof Richard Macknight and Dr Lynette Brownfield, was this month awarded $999,999 by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) Endeavour Fund “Smart Ideas”
programme. . .

Agcarm affirms safety of glysophate:

Glyphosate is used in New Zealand by farmers, councils and home gardeners. It has recorded more than 40 years of safe use and has been the subject of over 800 studies, all of which have confirmed its safety.

The herbicide offers effective and safe weed control, is low-volatility and degrades quickly in soil. It continues to be rigorously tested by regulators in New Zealand and throughout the world, with over 160 countries approving its safe use.

At the heart of the hype that questions the safety of the herbicide, is a misleading classification by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) made in 2015. IARC classifies substances using terms such as ‘possibly’ or ‘probably’ carcinogenic to define the potential hazard of a substance. This has led to several everyday products, including coffee, bacon and talcum powder, being categorised as ‘possibly carcinogenic’.  But the IARC report is not a risk assessment – it is the type and extent of human exposure that determines the actual risk. . .

Financial workshops aiming to empower dairy farmers planned by Dairy Women’s Network:

Helping dairy farmers gain a better understanding of their farming business and strengthening the relationship with their accountant is the focus of 10 workshops throughout New Zealand being run by the Dairy Women’s Network with support from NZ CA and CRS Software.

“As a not for profit organisation we have a focus of supporting woman in dairying in New Zealand to be the best they can be both on and off farm,” Dairy Women’s Network CEO Jules Benton said. . .

Producing food and capturing carbon – Arty Mangan:

An interview with Ariel Greenwood, a “feral agrarian” and grazer who manages a herd of cattle while restoring ecosystems.

Describe where you work.

I live and work on a 3,000-acre research preserve in the inter-coastal Mayacamas mountain range region of Sonoma County. Pepperwood has around 1,000 acres of open grassland, another several hundred of mixed oak woodland mosaic, deciduous and evergreen, and some serpentine outcropping, and then some dense dark woodlands. We actually have, I think, the eastern most stand of redwoods in the County. There’s a lot of bay trees and scrubby chaparral too in its own natural state. It’s a really breathtaking and in many ways really challenging landscape.

Pepperwood is a private operating research and ecological preserve. Really, every aspect from the vegetation to the soil to the broader watershed, and then even more largely the climate that we’re situated in is monitored and researched here with staff and other visiting researchers, so it’s very much a progressive conservation-oriented place. This is considered quite a robust eco-tone, the meeting of several different environments. . .


Fonterra milk supply still to crest

September 30, 2011

Fonterra has sent a newsletter to suppliers saying it has a milk wave coming in at the moment.

The company has had a strong spring and if it continues, it will mean one of the biggest year-on-year increases in milk production for a number of years, Gary Romano, Managing Director of trade and operations said.

The combination of a  good autumn followed by a reasonable winter generally throughout the country, has meant
that this week Fonterra will exceed last year’s peak three weeks early.

“Over the last six days milk collection is on average up more than 15% on a daily basis throughout the country compared to last year. In the lower North Island alone this week we have collected 19% more milk than we did for the same week last year. This is putting pressure on milk collection, manufacturing, and the supply chain.

“We have the tankers to collect the forecasted milk but one problem at any of the sites can have a  big flow on effect and can push the schedule back and result in late off farms. In cases where milk volumes exceed milk estimates it means more partial collections. We’re very conscious of the disruption this is causing on farm.

“Across NZ we have been averaging 40 to 150 late off farms across our 10,000 farmers over the past few weeks. The problem is also being amplified by some of our competitors cancelling their daily DIRA milk on occasions and we are having to now find somewhere to process that milk.”

“We are still three weeks out from the traditional peak which usually comes around October 20. We have already got contingencies in place to cope with higher than budgeted/forecasted milk volumes and we are doing everything we can to minimise the impact on your farms. But if the milk wave continues we could be heading for a Super Flush and this could result in more late off farms.

Our production is up and neighbours are also reporting higher yields.

However, the law of supply and demand means that this could result in a fall of prices.

In other milk news, Waikato dairy co-operative Tatua has announced its highest ever payout of $8.10 a kilo with a 58 cent retention.

Westland Milk has delivered its second highest payout  of $7.58.


Tatua tops payout

October 16, 2009

Tatua topped the dairy payout for the 08/09 season with a final figure of $5.38  and no retentions.

Fonterra’s final payout was $5.21 with a one cent retention and Westland paid out $4.50.

In an email to shareholders, Henry Van der Heyden said that international milk prices are holding up.

They need to be with the dollar high and climbing.


Minnows beat Fonterra’s payout

October 1, 2008

Tatua Cooperative Dairy Company has rewarded its 112 shareholders with a payout of $8.00 per kilo of milk solids for last season.

Westland Milk Products bettered that, and set a record, with its payout of $8.29/kg.

Fonterra announced a $7.90/kg payout last week.

All companies are retaining some of that payout for future investments – 37c/kg for Tatua, 30c/kg for Westland and 24c for Fonterra.


Melamine map

October 1, 2008

Our competitiors will love this:

Map

New Zealand is in purple, denoting that melamine has been found in products here. It doesn’t explain that it was in minute quantities: New Zealand Food Safety Authority Dr Geoff Allen said:

“Without exception, all results fall below the safety threshold set by NZFSA, and also fall below any safety limits set by other food safety regulators around the world including US and EU,” he said.

NZFSA has set a 1ppm limit on melamine in infant formula, a 2.5ppm limit on melamine in foods on shop shelves, and a 5ppm limit on foods which might be used as ingredients.

“From all 116 tests there is clearly no indication of any deliberate adulteration,” he said. “Based on results to date we are confident that all New Zealand dairy products are fully compliant.”

Tatua chief executive Paul McGilvary told NZPA though the NZFSA, and major multinational food companies including Nestle and Heinz have argued that low-level melamine contamination does not pose a health risk, the Chinese dairy scandal involving Fonterra’s joint venture Sanlu has triggered consumer sensitivities around the world.

Global markets had been sensitised to melamine contamination, and consumer perceptions were important even where contamination levels were so low they did not present a health risk, he said.

Emotion and perception will beat the facts in food safety and our competitors will be very keen to use this to their advantage if they can.


Melamine confirmed in Tatua lactoferrin

September 29, 2008

Tuatua Cooperative Dairy Company has suspended exports of lactoferrin while it determines how traces of melamine got in to it.

A Chinese customer told Tatua’s agent two weeks ago that melamine had been detected in its product in China.

Further tests were done in both in China and New Zealand, and results on September 22 and 23 confirmed contamination at less than four parts per million.

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA), inspected the factory on September 24.

Tatua chief executive Paul McGilvary told NZPA today the company’s own investigation detected no melamine in its raw milk.

The company is now working with the NZ Food Safety Authority on a traceback project to determine where the melamine came from.

The traceback was expected to canvass whether the melamine was introduced to the raw milk, either by farmers using insecticides containing cyromazine, an insecticide which breaks down to melamine in mammals and plants, or feeding dairy cows cheap imported feeds such as palm kernel contaminated with cyromazine or its metabolite, melamine.

This is serious, and Tuatua has done the right thing in suspending exports and working with the NZFSA to find out where the melamine came from.

But the risk at the moment is more in the perception than reality and as I said in a post on this issue  on Saturday it’s important to keep it all in perspective.

The poisoned milk scandal has raised awareness of what might be in the food we’re eating which is good, but we need to be careful about causing needless hysteria over “contamination” of food by elements in tiny amounts which won’t cause any harm.

Inquiring Mind  rightly points out the need for oversight of all stages of the supply chain as a result of this.

No Minister  regards this as seriously serious.


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