Rural roundup

04/04/2022

Food crisis coming farming leader warns – Tim Cronshaw:

The price of diesel has gone up so much that it cost Valetta grain farmer David Clark $4000 to fill up his combine harvester.

By the time he had finished harvesting a milling wheat crop that night it was empty and needed filling again.

A full tank only cost him $1700 last year.

Mr Clark said there was no alternative, but to pass on the extra cost to shoppers who would have to pay more for their bread. . . 

Surfing for Farmers hits the right spot – Nick Brook:

A nationwide initiative supporting farmers’ mental and physical health was a roaring success in its first season at Kaka Point in South Otago.

Surfing For Farmers (SFF) was launched in Gisborne in 2018 by Stephen Thomson after seeing how pressure on the rural sector was hurting farmers at an alarming rate.

The programme now operates at 18 beaches throughout New Zealand.

‘‘As much as we love this industry, the stress of the job can get on top of you. . . 

Govt drought support doesn’t go far enough – Simmonds

Invercargill MP Penny Simmonds says the Government’s declaration of a drought in Southland is big on talk, but small on funding support.

Yesterday, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced the current drought condition in the Southland, Clutha and Queenstown Lakes districts as a medium-scale adverse event.

The adverse event classification unlocks up to $100,000 in Government funding to support farmers and growers until October 2022, O’Connor says.

“The drought coupled with pandemic disruption to meat processing has contributed to added strain on people. . . 

Looking for the perfect peanut – Country Life:

Can New Zealand grow peanuts suitable for peanut butter?

To find out, eight peanut varieties are currently being trialled in Northland and one looks particularly promising…

A text of GPS coordinates leads Country Life to a paddock of peanuts in the Far North. It can’t be spotted from the road.

“It’s by design,” laughs Greg Hall from the Whangārei development agency Northland Inc. “It stops people ripping off our peanuts.” . . 

The roots go deep at Wanaka vineyard – Cosmo Kentish-Barnes:

Rippon winemaker Nick Mills looks across his family vineyard on the western flank of the Upper Clutha Basin, overlooking Lake Wānaka.

He says the land has its own spirit that he feels strongly.

Asked by Country Life to elaborate, he puts it like this:

“This land is about belonging, connections, love, family, team, voice, being blessed to be a place that grows grapes… that can talk with warmth and accuracy to this beautiful place.” . . 

Taking Stock: No shearers? – the wool industry hits a dilemma – Stephen Burns:

There have been many issues which have threatened the existence of the wool industry during the past 200 years when Merino sheep have been bred in Australia.

Some have been divisive to the point of pitting neighbour against neighbour, family against family – think of the troubles to introduce a Reserve Price Scheme in the early 1960’s or think again about the rancorous attempts to introduce wide combs.

Each were a cause of much heartache and dispute at the time but wide combs are now so readily accepted, it is a wonder so much time was sweated in denying their use.

That the Reserve Price Scheme eventually came undone only caused great financial pain to the many woolgrowers who continued to breed Merino sheep for their fleeces only to see them added to the wool stockpile until that accumulation was eventually sold. . . 


Rural round-up

09/02/2022

Staffing shortages cause processing delays – Neal Wallace:

Farmers already facing up to six weeks delay getting stock killed are being warned to prepare for a longer than usual season as the meat industry continues to struggle with staffing shortages.

Silver Fern Farms has warned suppliers that for the season to date the ovine kill is 8% behind the same stage last year and bovine by 3%.

“Early indications show that for most stock classes it will not be until July before we will catch up with current backlogs,” chief executive Simon Limmer told suppliers in the newsletter.

Just how late will depend on any impact of Omicron. . . 

Robots offer a tireless staffing option – Richard Rennie:

The prospect of autonomous robotic tractors has long been a lure for growers and farmers, often pushed beyond the bounds of reality by cost and existing technology. But a Blenheim company has been quietly building a fleet of automated machines that are proving their worth with one of the region’s largest winegrowers. Richard Rennie reports.

For any innovative agritech company, New Zealand’s small market size demands founders have an eye out from the start on their tech’s applicability in larger global markets. For the founders of the Oxin automated viticulture tractor, Marlborough has proven an appealing place to start, prior to making that international leap.

“We have been fortunate to have an excellent industry partner right from the start in Pernod, one of the largest grape growers in the region, but also one that has very strong international connections,” Smart Machine director Andrew Kersley said.

Blenheim’s unique concentration of 35,000ha of vineyards, grown primarily by only a few large industry players, makes the company’s ability to showcase the technology, and get it dispersed, a simpler task.  . . 

Stud owners ready for a new chapter – Sally Rae:

For more than a century, the Punchbowl name has been synonymous with stud sheep breeding in North Otago.

But a new chapter is looming for its current owners, Doug and Jeannie Brown, who are holding ewe dispersal sales in Oamaru this month.

It was Mr Brown’s grandfather Henry (HJ) Andrew — a legendary figure in the stud sheep industry — who came to Punchbowl, near Maheno, in 1915 after graduating from Lincoln College.

Originally from the Leeston area, he shifted south with his parents and began breeding Southdowns. Over time, his Southdown stud became very prominent at a time when Southdowns were the main terminal sire breed in New Zealand. He exported sheep to many parts of the world and also imported sires. . . 

Seeds of traceability in digital move – Tim Cronshaw:

Arable growers will enter the digital world for their seed certification this month.

All the paperwork will be replaced by online entries in a $2million industry and government investment, which industry chiefs have called a watershed moment.

About $400million of certified seed crops — including brassicas, herbage grasses and legumes — will be checked throughout their growing cycle for quality control and consistency by about 800 growers, seed merchants and Assure Quality inspectors.

New Zealand Grain and Seed Trade Association manager Thomas Chin said the app-based system would provide traceability so quality assurances could be given to overseas markets that export seed shipments leaving the country were ‘‘true-to-label’’. . . 

Potato milk hits UK supermarket shelves :

Described as “deliciously creamy” and the “perfect foam” for your cuppa, potato milk is the latest contender to the plant milk market.

Milk developer at Lund University professor Eva Tornberg said she was working with a potato starch company in Sweden when she came up with the idea.

The amino acid composition of potato protein is much like milk and egg, she said.

“I thought perhaps it would be good to use potato protein to make a milk.” . . 

Farmer who flipped car cleared of criminal damage because ‘Englishman’s home is his castle’ – Martin Evans:

A farmer who wrecked a car parked on his land with a tractor has been cleared of criminal damage after he successfully used the 400-year-old legal principle that “an Englishman’s home is his castle”.

Robert Hooper, 57, became an internet sensation in June last year, when a video of him using the spikes on his telehandler to flip a £16,000 Vauxhall Corsa went viral on social media.

The hill farmer from Upper Teesdale said he had been forced to take action after he came under attack from a “strutting and agitated” shirtless youth, who had refused to move the car from his land.

Mr Hooper said he did not call police because he had been burgled eight times and found they were often slow to respond. . . 


Rural round-up

20/01/2022

24-hour Shear-a-thon to raise money for hospital – Shawn McAvinue:

The rural sector is uniting again to help those battling cancer in the South.

Shear 4 Blair 24-hour Shear-a-thon will run in the woolshed on Wohelo Station in Moa Flat on February 5 and 6.

The event is to raise money for the Southland Charity Hospital in Invercargill, which was established in 2019.

Winton man Blair Vining died of bowel cancer in 2019, after calling for cancer care to be equitable for all New Zealanders. . . 

Horticulture industry using fund to support growers impacted by Tonga eruption –

New Zealand’s horticulture and wine industries are calling for donations to support Tonga after the volcanic eruption.

The horticulture industry labour collective, made up of NZ Apples & Pears, NZ Kiwifruit Growers, Summerfruit NZ, NZ Wine, NZ Ethical Employers, and HortNZ, said it was saddened by news of the tsunami and its impact.

It aims to help the Tongan economy recover and is using the Growers Relief Fund to collect donations to support small businesses like market gardens to recover.

The fund is a charity that helps to support growers in an adverse event, with wellness or when additional support is needed. The fund also helps people working in the horticulture industry who need assistance, to help nurture the whole horticultural community. . . 

Mature lowland forest lost in Wānaka fire – DOC :

A popular Wānaka lake and track were spared during a devastating fire earlier this month.

The fire took hold on 9 January at Emerald Bay, burning 280 hectares of land and taking four days to contain.

The Department of Conservation said it was too early to know the full extent of the damage to conservation land.

Its Central Otago Pou Matarautaki/operations manager Nikki Holmes, said Diamond Lake and the Rocky Summit Track were untouched. . .

Beekeepers hoping for good flow – Tim Cronshaw:

Beekeepers hope a sluggish start won’t put the brakes on honey flows this year.

They want to avoid a repeat of the 2020-21 season when national honey production was down 24% to 20,500 tonnes, from a much better summer.

The average honey yield fell then to 25kg per hive.

Apiculture NZ chief executive Karin Kos said a late-flowering and cold and windy start has failed to assist beekeepers so far this season. . . 

A secret getaway to Mototapu track – Liz Carlson:

Perhaps the closest backcountry hut near the popular outdoor playground of Wanaka is one that you might not have heard of – Fern Burn Hut. Tucked away on a lush high-country station, it is the first stage in a three-day tramp connecting Wanaka and Arrowtown, which retraces a historic path in Central Otago.

An enjoyable day walk to the modern hut, it’s a great way to experience the beauty of the area, though it’s even better if you stay the night in one of the 12 bunks.

Most people walk the 34-kilometre Motatapu Track over three days, though the day trips and overnight at one of the huts are equally enjoyable. From Wanaka to Fern Burn Hut is only 7km and a couple of hours winding up and down over the beautiful land.

The track begins near Glendhu Bay in Wanaka, making it one of the closest and easily accessed huts from the town, and a great alternative to the busy alpine huts in summer  – you’ll often have the place to yourself. . . 

Going the distance:

Getting fast broadband to rural areas of New Zealand is the last great challenge for the country’s Internet network.

Former Prime Minister Sir John Key said last week one of the top achievements of his time in government was Ultra-Fast Broadband. The roll-out of fibre arrived in time to be a vital help for communities during Covid lockdowns and is now an essential service for all kinds of social and economic reasons.

But he said he was concerned about the rural/urban divide with a number of people unable to get access to fibre Internet.

Luckily there is already a solution for many rural properties as New Zealand’s wireless internet providers, or WISPS, are working to link users with quality broadband and which have been building their own networks to do this. . . 


Rural round-up

30/10/2021

Farmers are not climate villains – Sam McIvor:

Methane measurement doesn’t truly reflect its global warming properties.

Agriculture is not being let off the hook when it comes to climate change says Sam McIvor, chief executive, Beef + Lamb New Zealand in this opinion piece.

We often hear agriculture is responsible for 48 per cent of New Zealand’s annual greenhouse gas emissions and that agriculture is being “let off the hook” by the methane reduction targets in the Zero Carbon Act. The first point is misleading and the second one is plain wrong.

To see why, all you have to do is look at the science on methane in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC’s) latest report.

There is a whole section on methane, which is vital to the discussion we are having in New Zealand, and it makes it clear there is a fundamental difference between emissions and warming. . . 

Irrigation-innovation combination a winner – Tim Cronshaw:

A young couple are in the early days of ambitious plans for an irrigated North Canterbury farm, writes Tim Cronshaw.

Angus Aitken admits he often needs to resist the temptation to experiment.

With a background in financial analysis, and a strong interest in technology, he finds himself gravitating towards innovation.

‘‘I’m guilty of that but I’m quite conscious of that as we have a business to run and we’ve got to make sure we’re profitable. We’ve gone through a development phase and this financial year is about showing what it can do. The experimentation is at a smaller level and trying to add value to the property and secure yield.’’ . . 

 

Saffron market growth increasing demand in food sector due to rising preference for natural colouring, flavouring agents :

An extensive research report on the Saffron Market envisaged diligently by MarketResearch.Biz comprises a 360-degree view of the present market situation as well as its future growth survey. This report will offer you all the accurate data related to the different market bifurcations covering a crystal-clear idea on the Saffron market. In addition, we are literally promising you to give the perfect information on the distinct marketing angles and status over the upcoming duration of 2021-2030. There are some of the most important marketing aspects that are adequately boosting the growth of the worldwide market. They are gross margins, market penetrations, CAGR study, Porter’s 5 Force Model, descriptive and well-defined graphical representations, business strategies, etc.

A report comprising market current and future trends, market analyst opinions and perspectives, competitive scenario, and key regions from both regional and global aspects. This Global Saffron Market report offers an overview of the ongoing state of the market and forecasts of future progress. SWOT study is used to calculate strong market players’ performance and calculating their strengths and weaknesses.  . . 

Working together to increase forestry value and create new jobs :

Tupu Angitu Ltd, the commercial arm of the Lake Taupō Forest Trust, and NZ Bio Forestry Ltd have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that they hope will increase the value of the forestry estate and create new regional jobs. And they plan to achieve this on a zero-carbon footprint.

“The Trust owns a sustainable forestry estate,” says Temuera Hall, the Chair of Tupu Angitu. “It controls over 33,700 hectares on behalf of its 14,000 Ngāti Tūwharetoa owners of which 28% is conserved in its natural state. Tupu Angitu is focused on diversifying our asset base and integrating throughout the forestry value chain.”

Hall also notes that Ngāti Tūwharetoa is a co-owner of the 170,000 hectares forestry estate in Kaingaroa, one of the largest production forests in the Southern Hemisphere.

NZ Bio Forestry has made it a priority to work with Māori in support of the forestry sector. “Forests are so much more than just structure and fibre,” says NZ Bio Forestry CEO Wayne Mulligan. . . 

HoneyLab secures massive USA distribution, rename as TRG Natural Pharmaceuticals :

Tauranga-based company’s natural pharmaceutical products to hit shelves in all 50 US states

Kiwi natural pharmaceutical company, TRG Natural Pharmaceuticals (formerly HoneyLab), will see its products sold across all 50 states in the US as part of its licencing deal with Taro Pharmaceuticals. This deal is a key contributor to TRG’s 10-20 fold increase in sales this year.

Launched under the brand Bee RX, the range includes topical kānuka honey based cold sore, acne, and rosacea treatments. First launched online at Target, the first drop of product sold out within hours. Bee RX will also be sold in major pharmacy chains, in total representing more than 21,000 stores and giving TRG a strong foothold across every state in the US.

The brand is being fronted by Golden Globe and Emmy nominated actress and singer, Mandy Moore, well-known for the TV show ‘This is Us,’ and Erika Thompson of Texas Bee Works is the Bee RX ambassador. . .

AWI candidate Don Macdonald vows to work hard for Australia’s shearing industry – Kristen Frost:

Australia’s continuing threat of shearer and shed hand shortages is one of the reasons existing AWI board director Don Macdonald is seeking re-election.

It’s on top of his list of “unfinished business”, he said.

“I stood because I felt there were some issues that needed addressing,” woolgrower and wool broker Mr Macdonald said.

“Amongst other concerns, one of my main concerns was that if we don’t modernise, we won’t get the next generation of farmers wanting to run Merino sheep.” . . 


Rural round-up

20/10/2021

NZ primary sector best performer in global emissions survey :

The New Zealand agriculture, land use and forestry sector has been ranked No 1 of 32 nations for the way it is getting to grips with climate change issues.

“With environmental NGOs and commentators regularly pointing the finger of blame at our farmers it’s pleasing to see an independent and in-depth assessment tell a very different story,” Federated Farmers President Andrew Hoggard said.

For its just-published Net Zero Readiness Index (NZRI), global consultancy KPMG examined 103 indicators of commitment and performance on decarbonizing in 32 countries, which together are responsible for around three-quarters of global emissions.

It ranked our overall national performance at No 9, with Norway, the UK and Sweden taking out the top three places. . . .

 Rising costs eat into dairy payout – Tim Cronshaw:

Rising costs are taking some of the fun out of a high payout forecast for Mid Canterbury farmers.

Farmers still recovering from June floods are facing on-farm inflation that is pushing out the break-even point.

Fonterra’s unchanged forecast for a milk price range is $7.25 to $8.75, with a mid-point of $8.

Federated Farmers Mid Canterbury dairy chairman Nick Giera said most farmers would end up with five years of strong payouts if this held up. . . 

Young Farmers launch new club on West Coast :

Networking, events, working bees, and socialising are back on the calendar for Young Farmers on the West Coast.

The brand-new Westland Young Farmers’ Club has been launched for anyone from rural communities in the district aged 15 to 31-years-old to join.

Tasman Regional Chair Cheyenne Wilson said the decision was made to form a new Club to service the West Coast, based in Greymouth, after a number of people expressed interest about getting involved.

“This is really exciting for all young people on the West Coast because you don’t have to work on a farm to join as a member, you could work in any part of a rural community or just want to sign up to make new friends,” she said. . . 

Independently assessed candidates for Fonterra’s Board of Directors election announced:

Incumbent Directors Peter McBride, John Nicholls and Leonie Guiney have been announced as the Independently Assessed Candidates for the 2021 Fonterra Directors’ election. This year there are three Board positions up for election.

The three incumbent Directors are seeking re-election and chose to participate in the Independent Assessment Process. The Panel’s assessment of Peter, John and Leonie will be included in the voting pack and as re-standing Directors they automatically go through to the ballot. No other candidates put themselves forward for the Independent Assessment Process. . . 

T&G Global lowers full year profit expectations :

Persistent labour shortages and rising shipping costs has forced produce grower and exporter T&G Global to lower its full-year profit expectations.

The company is now forecasting earnings of between $4 million and $10m, compared with $16.6m a year ago.

It said the disappointing outlook reflected updated forecasts in the results of a number of T&G business units.

They include apples, due to shipping challenges and associated impacts on pricing and costs, particularly in the northern hemisphere. . .

Organic Dairy Hub announces New Zealand’s first free organic dairy farming ambassador:

Organic Dairy Hub (ODH), the only farmer-owned organic co-operative in Aotearoa, has announced Te Aroha farmer Gavin Fisher will be joining the team as its official Farmer Ambassador.

Fisher has been a key figure in creating a shift towards organic farming in the dairy industry, paving the way for other organic dairy farmers after becoming one of the first farmers to supply Fonterra with organic milk, explains Clay Fulcher, ODH Chief Executive.

“With over 20 years of organic farming experience, Gavin is an absolute expert in organic and regenerative farming, and his role as ambassador gives us the opportunity to educate and advise our other farmers on best practices in these areas – with no cost to them. We expect that our farmers will see a vast difference through the rest of this farming season,” says Fulcher. . . 


Rural round-up

01/12/2016

Government farmer Landcorp puts 11,650 hectares of NZ land on the market  – Tim Cronshaw:

Government farmer Landcorp is offloading 10 farms totalling about 11,650 hectares.

Two of the properties are being offered for sale this month with another eight farms from across the country to go before iwi for the first right of refusal.

The farms were mainly sheep and beef units and should attract an enthusiastic response, said PGG Wrightson Real Estate general manager, Peter Newbold. . . 

Applications now open for Primary Industries Earthquake Relief Fund:

Applications for funding from the Primary Industries Earthquake Relief Fund are now open, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

“Recently we announced a $4 million fund for uninsurable on-farm infrastructure repairs in the Hurunui, Kaikoura and Marlborough districts. Applications are now open and will close at the end of February, and I’m hopeful the panel will make an initial assessment of some applications before Christmas,” says Mr Guy.

“Criteria for applications has been released which includes re-establishment of uninsurable assets like water infrastructure and opening up tracks, culverts and farm bridges. . . 

MPI intercepts on-farm black market butchery operation:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has intercepted another illegal black market meat operation.

MPI District Compliance Manager Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Brendon Mikkelsen, says compliance officers recently executed a search warrant following an inspection at an Atiamuri Farm.

“Officers seized 22 freshly processed sheep that were destined for sale and several thousand dollars associated with the alleged offending.

“This operation involved the processing and sale of sheep, cattle and goats over a number of years. The operator is likely to face prosecution. MPI has a low tolerance for any black-market butchery operations.” . . 

Westland shareholders elect two new directors:

Well known West Coast dairy advocate Katie Milne and Canterbury Dairy Farmer Sven Koops have been elected to Westland Milk Products’ Board of Directors by shareholders, it was announced at the co-operative’s annual general meeting today (Wednesday 30 November).

Milne is a fourth generation West Coaster and farms at Rotomanu with her partner Ian Whitmore. In 2015 she won both the Dairy Woman of the Year title and Westpac’s Woman of Influence Rural award. She is a member of the national board of Federated Farmers and is currently the West Coast President. . . .

Strategy correct, mistakes in the delivery Westland Shareholders told:

Westland Milk Products’ shareholders turned out in force at their annual general meeting today to hear retiring chairman Matt O’Regan tell them that while the company’s business strategy was sound, it’s delivery had been poor.

In a frank address to an audience of some 150 shareholders demanding answers, O’Regan acknowledged that Westland’s low payout of $3.62 per kilo of milk solids, topped up from equity to a final payout of $3.88 was “beyond disappointing”, below break-even point for farmers and represented a failure of Westland’s goal to be industry competitive.

“However,” O’Regan said, “our strategy for growing Westland’s capacity to produce value-added products was, and remains, a sound one. Indeed, the survival of this company will depend upon its success. . . 

Horticulture shows ‘spectacular’ growth:

Horticulture has experienced a spectacular 40 percent growth in export earnings since 2014, according to a new report, with tariffs on exported produce down by 22 percent since 2012.

The New Zealand Horticulture Export Authority (HEA) and Horticulture New Zealand commission the report New Zealand Horticulture – Barriers to Our Export Trade every two years, with funding support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and NZ Fruitgrowers Charitable Trust.

The report, launched at an event in Wellington today, says horticultural produce exporters paid an estimated $190 million in tariffs, a reduction of 22 percent on 2012’s figure of $241 million. . . 

Horticulture celebrates major successes:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is welcoming a new report showing a 40 per cent growth in horticulture export earnings since 2014.

The strong results are highlighted in Horticulture New Zealand and the New Zealand Horticulture Export Authority (HEA)’s report New Zealand Horticulture – Barriers to Our Export Trade which is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and NZ Fruitgrowers Charitable Trust.

“Horticulture is a star performer of the New Zealand economy with export revenue just under $5 billion, making it one of our most important industries,” says Mr Guy. . . 

Oligopoly strangling fresh food supply chain – Alistair Lamond:

Last week the Horticultural Code was put under the spotlight.

Large wholesalers were mistreating growers with fear mongering tactics and long payment terms. It’s an all too familiar case for the hundreds of thousands of Australian small and medium sized businesses who are subjected to the corporate bullying culture that arises from one systemic problem – market power imbalance.  

In Australia, most industries are dominated by oligopolies – a state of limited competition, in which a market is controlled by small number of companies. . . 

No automatic alt text available.


Rural round-up

17/11/2016

Quake carnage raises 10m new hill at Clarence River – Tim Cronshaw:

A 10 metre high hill pushed up by the 7.5 earthquake on a previously flat river paddock has left valley farmers along the Clarence River completely flabbergasted.

The hill has appeared from nowhere on farmland along river flats about eight kilometres up the valley.

“It was completely flat and now there is a 30 foot hill in the middle of Priam’s Flat and the whole river has come up,” said Matariki farmer James Murray. “it’s unbelievable and if you hadn’t know what it looked like before you would never notice it.” . . .

Fairlie couple 2016 South Island Farmer of the Year:

A husband-and-wife “super team” has secured the title of the Lincoln University Foundation’s South Island Farmer of the Year at the 2016 finals held tonight (Wednesday 16 November).

Chief Judge Nicky Hyslop says that Neil and Lyn Campbell won the judges’ praise with the “efficient, incredibly flexible and adaptive” approach to the way they have developed their dryland property. Their focus has been on systems that allow them to pursue activities that generate the most profit at the most effective point of time, with land stewardship always the foundation of their decisions.

The Campbells’ farm consists of 769ha of rolling hills and flats in Middle Valley near Fairlie in South Canterbury, producing sheep, deer breeding and finishing, and a variety of crops. . . 

Nattrass eyes another stint on Fonterra board:

Former Fonterra director Stuart Nattrass is making a bid to rejoin the co-op’s board. The South Canterbury farmer has been confirmed as a self-nominated director candidate.

He will face off with the two board-nominated directors Michael Spaans and Donna Smit.  

The self nomination process allowed any Fonterra shareholder (with the support of 35 different shareholders) to put themselves forward as a director candidate and be considered for election by their fellow shareholders alongside the previously announced Independent nomination process candidates. . . 

Fonterra running normally, helping quake-hit farmers – Mark Daniel:

With the South Island earthquake dominating our screens, Rural News Group had the opportunity to catch up with Fonterra’s Director of Farmer services, Matt Bolger at Wednesday’s Farm Focus Day at Owl Farm, Cambridge.

Bolger confirmed that since the seismic event they had been in close contact with their teams on the ground in the area, and could confirm that there were no injuries to Fonterra staff or suppliers.

He also told the largely farmer based audience that all factories in the organisation were running normally, although some had shut down automatically due to aftershocks, but were now all back on line. . . 

Crayfish confused by quake ushered back into the water – Kate Newton:

Disorientated crayfish, thrust out of the ocean onto the Kaikoura coastline, have been slowly ushered back into the water by locals.

Along the Kaikoura coastline, earthquake conversation keeps turning to the native crayfish for which the coast is named.

A horde of escaped crayfish (koura) was a side effect of Monday’s massive 7.8 magnitude shake, according to Ward resident Kerry Snell.

“When we got to the [Burkhart Fish] factory, the crayfish that were ready for the load-out, all the bins had tipped over and there were crayfish crawling everywhere. A couple of hundred. I think it was two tonnes of crayfish, just all crawling around. Disoriented too, as we all were.” . . .

Appeal Court turns down Fonterra’s bid to keep inferior terms for ex-NZDL suppliers – Paul McBeth:

Fonterra Cooperative Group has lost its bid to overturn a High Court ruling against inferior terms offered to the suppliers of the failed New Zealand Dairies Ltd business in South Canterbury. 

The Court of Appeal bench, comprising Justices Tony Randerson, Helen Winkelmann and Brendan Brown, today rejected Fonterra’s application to throw out a ruling that it breached the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act by imposing less favourable terms on farmers who had previously supplied NZDL.  . . .

Sanford’s Move From Volume to Value Helps Boost Profit 152%:

Sanford Limited (NZX:SAN) has today posted a 152% increase in net profit after tax to $34.7m for the year ended 30 September.

The Group posted an 85.5% increase in reported EBIT to $57.7m, with revenue up $13.2m to $463.5m.

Sanford CEO, Volker Kuntzsch said it’s a pleasing result after a year of focus across the business on executing the company’s volume to value strategy. . . 

Sanford annual profit more than doubles on weaker kiwi, cheaper fuel – Paul McBeth:

BusinessDesk) – Sanford, New Zealand’s largest listed fishing group, more than doubled annual profit as a weaker kiwi dollar and cheaper fuel bolstered earnings in the face of a smaller catch, and as year-earlier impairment charges weren’t repeated.

Net profit rose to $34.7 million, or 37.1 cents per share, in the 12 months ended Sept. 30 from $13.8 million, or 14.8 cents, a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Revenue rose 2.9 percent to $463.5 million, even as the volume of its catch shrank 11 percent as the company extracted more from a higher-value catch and a weaker kiwi generated bigger export receipts. . . 

Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd v McIntyre and Williamson:

PARTNERSHIP AND ORS (CA736/2015)
[2016] NZCA 538
PRESS SUMMARY

This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment and reasons can be found at http://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz.

1. The Court of Appeal has today dismissed an appeal brought by Fonterra against a High Court ruling that Fonterra had discriminated against a group of dairy farmers by offering them less favourable terms on which it would purchase their milk.

2. The respondents are South Island dairy farmers who were contracted to supply milk to New Zealand Dairies Ltd (NZDL) when it went into receivership in May 2012.

Fonterra successfully tendered to purchase NZDL’s plant in Studholme. As part of the deal, NZDL’s suppliers agreed to switch to selling their milk to Fonterra. . . 

Good news for wine and spirit industries:

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith has welcomed the passing of a bill which will enable New Zealand wine and spirit makers to register the geographical origins of their products.

“The value of our wine exports has now reached $1.6 billion. We must jealously guard the reputation of New Zealand wines if we are to continue growing our wine exports,” says Mr Goldsmith.

The Bill amends the Geographical Indications (Wines and Spirits) Registration Act (the Act) to ensure the process for registering geographical indicators runs smoothly. . . 

Largest robotic farm taking shape:

A 6500-head dairy farm in Chile will become the world’s largest robotic dairy after signing an agreement to install 64 DeLaval VMS milking robots.

The farm, owned by AgrÌcola Ancali and part of the Bethia Group, already has 16 DeLaval VMS installed and averages 45.2 litres for the 920 cows going through the robotic milking system.  

Ancali AgrÌcola chief executive, Pedro Heller, says the expansion follows good results from first stage of the robotic dairy. . . 


Rural round-up

15/11/2016

North Canterbury farmers confronted by milk crisis – Tim Cronshaw, Gerald Piddock, Gerard Hutching:

Dairy farmers across the Kaikoura and North Canterbury region will have to dump their milk into effluent systems or find other ways to deal with it because it cannot be picked up.

Fonterra said road conditions in Kaikoura meant there were about 30 farms that might not have their milk collected, while others around the country might have late collections as tankers were rerouted.

A Federated Farmers spokeswoman said local councils had given the go-ahead for milk to be dumped into paddocks, following the midnight quake. . . 

Farmers pool resources to keep milking:

North Canterbury farmers are rallying together by sharing cow sheds and lending generators as they try to carry out the daily business of running their farms despite some suffering extensive damage from Monday morning’s quake.

Culverden dairy farmer Justin Slattery said about half of Culverden, in north Canterbury, had lost power and he was still waiting for it to come back on at his farm.

Slattery had been using his neighbour’s milking shed and was working around him, meaning his 520 cows got milked almost five hours late on Monday morning. He planned to return at 6pm if power had not returned to his property. . . 

 

Low price impact on milk production slight – Sally Rae:

Milk production eased only slightly in 2015-16, despite the lowest milk prices in at least 20 seasons, figures released by DairyNZ and LIC show.

Production was down 1.5% nationally, despite 52 fewer herds and 20,522 fewer cows than in 2014-15.

South Island production increased 2%, with rises in both Marlborough-Canterbury (2%) and Otago-Southland (2%). . . 

Alexandra space research centre taking off :

A Central Otago space research centre has been tipped as a game changer for Alexandra after it was announced this morning it is to be funded as a regional research institute.

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce made the announcement at a breakfast meeting in Alexandra.

Mr Joyce said the New Zealand Research Institute of Viticulture and Oenology in Marlborough had been chosen as the first new regional research institute. 

The Centre for Space Science Technology (CSST), led by Alexandra-based research company Bodeker Scientific requested $15million in funding. . .

Constable Rhys Connell says police want to work in partnership with rural communities – Sue O’Dowd:

Police are committed to working in partnership with rural communities, says Taranaki rural police officer Rhys Connell. 

 “Ninety per cent of rural crime is solved by people in the community who see and hear things and let us know about them,” he told about 50 people at a rural crime prevention national roadshow in Stratford.

The roadshow also visited Tikorangi. Eight roadshows have already been in other areas of the country as part of a joint police, FMG and Federated Farmers initiative to promote rural crime prevention measures. 

“You are our eyes and ears,” Connell said. “It’s us together, not you and us.” . . 

Native mussels thrive in Canterbury stream:

Last year, we heard the story of Nigel Gardiner who found some Endangered native mussels as a result of riparian planting and continued work around the stream to improve its health. Here’s the latest update, a year on since the first discovery.

Endangered native mussels, or Kākahi, are continuing to thrive in the creek on FLO – Triangle farm in Canterbury one year after they were discovered by sharemilker Nigel Gardiner.

Kākahi are one of only three species of the endangered fresh water mussels to exist in New Zealand and can live for between 30 and 50 years. . . 

Far from ‘uneducated’ – Life on this Side of the Fence:

If you watched any of the recent presidential election results, you may have noticed a recurring theme.  As traditionally blue states turned red, a common phrase heard among reporters was that the “uneducated rural community” had made a larger turnout than what was expected.  As a member of the rural community, which is quite educated might I add, I saw a few things wrong with this statement.

First, the political affiliations of a certain group of people should in no way merit the assumption of education, or lack thereof.  In a society that claims to be open to all walks of life and discourages the labeling of cultural groups, I felt that the way rural voters were viewed was quite misguided. . . 

 


Rural round-up

02/11/2016

Asian milk demand continues, but with little fat for exporters:

While demand from China and ASEAN countries for New Zealand milk continues to grow, export margins have been squeezed and could potentially tighten further, according to a recently-released industry report.

The report, Liquid milk exports to Asia – avoiding the crush, by agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank, says competition in Asian markets will remain fiercely competitive as both international and local brands fight for market share and consumer spend.

Report author, Rabobank senior dairy analyst Michael Harvey, says the automatic premium that international brands had historically received was unlikely to be repeated. . . 

Children need to know about agriculture – Ann Thompson:

Getting children interested in agriculture is important if we want our future agriculture workforce to come from within New Zealand.

It’s also important if we want people to understand where their food comes from and why the country is so good at producing it.

A new online learning resource has been developed, tailored to suit the curriculum for Years 5-8. The Soil, Food and Society web-based resource covers how food is grown and takes the student from the nutrients in the soil to what appears in the lunch box, with experiments to back it all up. . . 

Work continuation of lifelong passion for beef – Sally Rae:

Beef cattle have long been a passion for Natalie Howes.

Mrs Howes (29), nee Marshall, grew up on a farm at Taramoa in Southland where her family have the Benatrade Angus stud.

It was a natural progression for her to become involved in both showing and judging cattle.

She travelled to Australia several times, including as the recipient of the New Zealand Angus transtasman scholarship.

After completing her secondary schooling, Mrs Howes was intent on studying veterinary science but she wanted to add to her farming skills. . . 

Merino farmers make the most of a lull in the Aussie market – Tim Cronshaw:

A shortfall of Aussie merino fleece gave Kiwi farmers something to smile about at a Melbourne sale.

The large offering of 2800 bales landed on an Australian market short on merino wool because of wet conditions.

The New Zealand offering sold for an average greasy price of $12.40 a kilogram, about 40c/kg up on the last sale two weeks ago of 2500 bales which also met a rising market. The average price included part tender wool, hogget wool and oddments. . . 

Adventure eco-tour company grows with forest – Kate Guthrie:

From the ziplines and swing bridges built high in the canopy of Rotorua’s Mamaku Forest there’s a phenomenal view of what a New Zealand forest looks like when it’s not full of possums and rats. There’s an abundance of green palatable species now that the hordes of grazers are gone. Gary Coker, conservation manager for Canopy Tours and a qualified arborist, has been amazed at the speed of recovery since the eco-tour company began trapping in 2013. He reckons few New Zealanders realise what a healthy native forest actually looks – and sounds – like.

Mamaku Forest is noticeably louder now and last fruiting season the tawa seed was thick on the ground. It means there’s more food around for native birds and Gary says that wood pigeon numbers in the forest are incredible. There are tomtits, tui, bellbirds, whiteheads, fantails and kaka too and rare North Island robins will sometimes eat from your hand. . . 

Navigating the highway during peak milk – Gerald Piddock:

Every day is a new journey for Rick Sanford.

While travelling to farms and collecting milk remains a constant for the Fonterra tanker driver, the unknown journey is the part of the job he enjoys the most.

“You do the same job every day, but there is a variation in where you go.” . . 

Image may contain: sky and text

Behind every successful woman is herself – Pink Tractor.com


Rural round-up

13/11/2015

Alliance profit takes $4.28m hit – Sally Rae:

Alliance Group’s profit has taken a dive and operating profit was down $4.28million in the year ended September.

The company released its key financial results yesterday, which showed operating profit of $9.19million, down from $13.47million last year.

Turnover lifted slightly, from $1.45billion to $1.49billion, while reported profit was down from $6.21million to $4.62million. . . .

Alliance taps in to online traffic through Chinese partner – Tim Cronshaw:

The Alliance Group’s closer partnership with a big red meat player in China will position it better to take advantage of the quick uptake by Chinese internet users to online buying.

Online sales are huge in China with US$9.3 billion of transactions going through Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba.com on November 11 (11/11) last year . This is known as  Singles’ Day when students graduate and has been popularised in the internet era. Much of the online retail went through Tmall.com, a platform for Chinese and international businesses to sell brand name goods to consumers in mainland China and owned by China’s richest man, business magnate Jack Ma.

Meat processor Alliance’s main sheepmeat buyer into China, Grand Farm, plans to step up online sales which will tie in with the companies’ joint strategy to increase their co-branding in the Chinese marketplace. . . 

Farming in the land of the hobbit – Gerald Piddock:

The Alexander family had never heard of Peter Jackson when in 1998 he first knocked on the front door of their Matamata farm.

The movie maker had spotted their 560ha sheep and beef farm from the air and thought the site could make an ideal set for what was to be The Lord of the Rings movies.

Unfortunately, Jackson chose the wrong time to call in on Ian Alexander, his son Craig told a large crowd of international farming journalists in Waikato for the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists Congress in Hamilton. . . 

Broadband rollout to rural hospitals complete:

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Communications Minister Amy Adams have announced that all rural public hospitals and integrated family health centres now have access to high speed broadband.

The 39 hospitals and integrated family health centres identified by DHBs as candidates for the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative are now all able to connect to fibre capable of peak speeds of at least 100 Mbps.

“Faster broadband enables healthcare to be delivered in new and innovative ways. These e-Health solutions offer better, safer, more efficient healthcare closer to home,” says Dr Coleman. . .

Transtasman Company Named NZ’s Fastest Growing Agribusiness:

Agricultural consultancy and rural investment management company Compass Agribusiness, has secured the title of New Zealand’s fastest growing agribusiness in the latest Deloitte Fast 50 Index.

The company, which has offices in both Arrowtown (New Zealand) and Melbourne (Australia), also placed 18th on the overall index ranking the 50 fastest growing businesses in New Zealand.

New Zealand based company director Guy Blundell says the ranking caps off a big year for the business. . . 

Non seasonal dairy – Keith Woodford:

Recently, I have been writing about what we need to do in New Zealand to climb the agri-food value chain. I have been emphasising the importance of China – there really is no alternative – and the associated need for an integrated ‘NZ Inc’ approach to online selling direct to consumers.

The products we need to be selling through this dedicated and integrated ‘NZ Inc‘ portal (but also linked into the major Chinese online portals) include dairy, meat, wine, fruit, jams, biscuits, chocolate, and bottled water. Indeed almost anything else we manufacture for ourselves that has a shelf life of more than a few days, we can also manufacture for China. . . 

Commission approves Cavalier’s application to acquire NZ Wool Services:

The Commerce Commission has issued its final determination approving Cavalier Wool Holdings’ (Cavalier) application to acquire New Zealand Wool Services International’s (NZWSI) wool scouring business and assets.

Today’s decision follows on from the Commission’s draft determinations, released in March and October, which indicated it was likely to approve the application because of the public benefits of the acquisition.

Chair Dr Mark Berry said the Commission had considered and tested all the submissions and evidence presented to it since the application was lodged in October 2014 and was satisfied the acquisition should be permitted. . . 

James Wong's photo.

Despite all our accomplishments, we owe our existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact it rains.


Rural round-up

09/08/2015

Merino deal lines up with Swanndri – Tim Cronshaw:

A new deal has been inked by the New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) to supply fine and strong wool to Swanndri for its outdoor clothing and new urban range.

An initial 30 tonnes of wool will be supplied by NZM’s supplier network of merino, mid-micron and strong wool farmers with most of the strong wool to come from its business partner Landcorp, the government-owned farming company.

NZM expects the tonnage to grow quickly because of its ability to supply wide ranging wool types for Swanndri’s clothing and accessories, from jackets and vests to baby blankets and luggage. . .

Whitestone Cheese takes on trail guardian role – Rebecca Ryan:

Whitestone Cheese has signed on as the first ”section guardian” of the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail and will contribute to maintenance and upkeep of the Duntroon to Oamaru section until at least 2018.

Tourism Waitaki marketing manager Ian Elliott said the new initiative was launched as an opportunity for businesses and individuals to make a more ”significant and ongoing contribution” to the cycle trail in its development period.

Simon and Annabel Berry, of Whitestone Cheese, announced their signing as guardians of Section 8: Duntroon to Oamaru yesterday. . ..

Happy to host hunter in Hawea:

The owner of a Lake Hawea trophy-hunting business says he is ”more than comfortable” about hosting a US hunter who is being slammed for showcasing photos of herself posing with a giraffe, wildebeest and other animals she has shot.

Glen Dene Hunting and Fishing owner Richard Burdon said he expected to host Idaho accountant Sabrina Corgatelli at his station in April next year.

She would hunt red stags during the roar using a bow.

Ms Corgatelli is another trophy hunter being condemned on social media after the allegedly illegal shooting of a lion known as Cecil in Zimbabwe by American dentist Walter Palmer. . .

G.M.O. Dilemma: Swaying a Wary Public – Conrad De Aenlle:

Genetic food modification worked out well the first time it was tried.

By planting seeds from the best grain season after season or breeding the best animals to one another, our ancestors changed gene pools and gave civilization its start.

The earliest known practitioners of biotechnology — Babylonians who added a variety of yeast fungus to grain about 5,000 years ago — produced beer and helped make civilization fun.

Proponents of modern genetic food modification through biotechnology expect it to help keep civilization going by feeding people who otherwise might starve, but the public is wary at best. . .

UniBio plots annimal feed revolution – Big Picture (Hat tip Kiwiblog)

Get set for a revolution in animal feed.

If UniBio’s plans come to fruition it won’t be too long before the company orchestrates a major adjustment to the food-chain, and with very positive implications for the environment.

The company already has letters of intent for 110,000 tonnes of its key product, a biologically engineered animal feed manufactured out of methane called UniProtein.

The UniProtein price will be benchmarked against Peruvian fishmeal, as it has the potential to substitute fishmeal in a feed mix for, for example piglets. . .

And from Peterson Farm Bros:
Peterson Farm Bros's photo.


Rural round-up

29/06/2015

Snow does little to blunt Hurunui drought – Tim Cronshaw:

Melting snow has combined with the first decent rainfall in six months to provide some relief for dry Hurunui but it would be a stretch to call it a drought breaker.

Much of the snow over the last week has thawed and gone into soils to go some way to replenishing ground moisture that has taken a hammering in the district particularly extending from Hawarden to Cheviot.

The problem is that it’s arrived too late for farmers as winter pulls the plug on major grass or winter crop growth.

Snow, sleet and rain topped up gauges by 20mm to 50mm over Hurunui farmland in the first major rain of the year.

Federated Farmers North Canterbury Meat & Fibre chairman Dan Hodgen said the snow and rain event would be of little initial help for farmers. . .

US likely to force pace on TPP with fast track in place – Pattrick Smellie:

(BusinessDesk) – The United States is likely to try and force the pace of negotiations to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the next few weeks, following a vote in the US Senate last night that all but ensures President Barack Obama will gain so-called ‘fast track’ authority to complete the controversial agreement.

One more Senate vote is expected overnight tonight, New Zealand time, to confirm Trade Promotion Authority – an essential component to resuming the 12 nation talks that have been stalled for months while Obama cobbled together a coalition of Democrats and Republicans large enough to support the measure. . .

TPP does not add up for NZ without good dairy outcomes:

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) is firm in its view that a good deal on dairy in TPP is necessary for any deal to stack up for New Zealand.

“The facts are that dairy accounts for 35% of NZ exports. You can’t even come close to achieving an acceptable deal for New Zealand without a good deal on dairy” says DCANZ Chairman Malcolm Bailey.

DCANZ which represents the common policy interests of 11 New Zealand dairy companies, accounting for 98% of milk processed is following the negotiations carefully. . .

 

Landcorp sees NZ dairy conversion rate slowing – Tina Morrison:

 (BusinessDesk) – Landcorp Farming, which has almost tripled its milk production over the past decade, expects the rate of dairy expansion will slow as environmental restrictions, and higher land and labour costs make it less viable.

Large tracts of flat land in New Zealand once used for sheep farming have been converted to dairy as farmers were lured by higher prices for dairy products while demand for sheepmeat and wool waned. The number of dairy cows has jumped to a record 6.7 million, while sheep numbers dropped below 30 million for the first time in more than 70 years, according to data published by Statistics New Zealand last month, covering the 2014 agricultural year. . .

2015 National Award Winners: Recipients of the Gordon Stephenson Trophy:

John and Catherine own 1240ha Highlands Station – a productive and well-maintained hill-country farm south of Rotorua. Sitting within the Lake Tarawera and Rotokakahi catchments, the farm’s distinctive contour was shaped by volcanic activity which flattened forests, carved out hill faces and left the area covered in Phosphate-rich mud.

John’s father Allen began developing Highlands Station in the early 1930s and award judges noted the Ford’s “strong family history of commitment to agriculture”.

Highlands Station has a “much loved feel” and its outstanding meat and wool production puts it among New Zealand’s leading sheep and beef farming operations. . .

 Appointments to Conservation Boards made:

Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner today announced 41 appointments to the 14 Conservation Boards across New Zealand.
“I want to congratulate each of the community representatives who are being appointed in 2015, particularly the 14 who will serve for the first time. I would also like to thank the outgoing representatives for their contribution to conservation in their region,” Ms Wagner says.

“A third of Conservation Board positions were open for renewal this year. The diverse range of appointees will bring a wide array of knowledge and skills to conservation management in the communities they represent. . .

Nobody’s happy with manuka honey definitions: MPI – Suze Metherell:

 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s lack of definition for what constitutes manuka honey has overseas regulators worried about forgeries, with China likely to introduce a certification scheme for the honey imports, the Ministry for Primary Industries is telling the country’s beekeepers.

There is no industry-wide consensus on exactly what constitutes manuka honey, with MPI working to come up with a formal definition and a method for identification. While it isn’t a food safety issue, MPI “takes concerns about the authenticity of New Zealand products very seriously and is acting to address these,” according to its website. . .


Rural round-up

27/06/2015

Lincoln University’s VIce-Chancellor Resigns:

Dr Andrew West today resigned as Vice-Chancellor of Lincoln University.

“I am proud of what the University has achieved under my leadership. It has been a fabulous three years and Lincoln is on track to become one of the world’s truly great land-based universities”, said Dr West.

 “However my commitment of time, energy and focus has been so great that it is now appropriate that I refocus on my family that live in the Waikato and on my very elderly parents that live in England”, Dr West added.

Farm Environment Award goes to Rotorua couple – Gerard Hutching:

ROTORUA couple John and Catherine Ford have won New Zealand’s pre-eminent farming prize, the Ballance Farm Environment Award for 2015.

It is the first time in the five years since the award was established that a North Island farming business has won.

The Fords were presented with the Gordon Stephenson trophy by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy at a Parliamentary function.

The judges said the sheep and beef property had the “wow” factor and had been chosen from out of 10 regional supreme winners. It stood out in terms of environmental sustainability and impressive production and performance figures, they said. . .

Taupō farmer warned over nitrogen cap breaches:

A sheep & beef farmer has been formally warned for breaching the Resource Management Act by exceeding a nitrogen discharge cap on properties in the Lake Taupō catchment over a two year period.

It is the first warning issued by Waikato Regional Council under the new Variation 5 consenting regime designed to protect the lake’s health from nitrogen, which can leach into waterways and cause nuisance algae.

The warning came after it was discovered more than a tonne of excess nitrogen could eventually leach into the lake as a result of the farmer’s operations over the two years. By themselves the breaches are not expected to have a major detrimental effect on the lake’s future health. . .

Look at it as a challenge – Bryan Gibson:

The line painted on Rob Craig’s haybarn, marked 2004, is a reminder of the devastating floods of a decade ago. 

But heavy rain is often enough to jog Craig’s memory, as it did last weekend.

“I didn’t sleep well on Friday night, to be honest. It was bucketing down with rain. Ever since ’04 it’s always in the back of your mind when it’s raining heavily. It just kept raining and raining and I got a pretty bad feeling then that it was going to be bad.” . . .

Lake Opuha reaps the winter harvest – Tim Cronshaw:

A rich snow harvest in the Fairlie basin is providing an unexpected windfall for lowland farmers needing Lake Opuha to fully recharge for the next irrigation season.

After being closed to irrigating in February the lake reached “zero storage” for the first time in 17 years and had been slow to return to its normal levels over autumn.

The lake will be boosted by the initial snow melt in the lower basin with lake levels expected to continue rising as deeper snow in the Two Thumb Range thaws in spring, but more water is needed for it to totally refill. . .

 NZ finishes 2014/15 wool season with smallest volume sold at auction in at least 7 years: – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s 2014/15 wool season ended this week with what is expected to be the smallest percentage of the clip sold through auctions in at least seven years, as more farmers were attracted to the premium prices and protection from commodity price volatility offered in private sales.

The auction system’s share of wool is expected to continue to shrink. An estimated 464,000 bales are expected to come up for auction in the 2015/16 year, down from 480,000 bales in 2014/15 and 493,000 bales in 2013/14, according to Wool Services International executive Malcolm Ching, who is on the roster committee which estimates wool bale supply for the auctions. Ching said the committee has been forced to revise down its estimates in recent years to reflect declining sheep numbers and an increased amount of wool circumventing the auction system. . .


Rural round-up

22/06/2015

Fonterra – who loves ya baby? – Tim Hunter:

It’s so ironic. Fonterra [NZX: FCG], whose sole reason for being is to benefit its co-operative members, is so distrusted by them that it must have a Shareholders Council to oversee its board, even though the board is already completely controlled by shareholders.

The co-op is so successful it is the world’s largest processor of milk and the world’s biggest dairy exporter, yet its shareholders complain that its head office is not in a provincial town, even though there are barely any international flights from provincial airports.

Meanwhile, the business has become so economically important to New Zealand that non-shareholders argue Fonterra is too focused on processing milk and should be more like Nestle, which sells a lot of coffee, chocolate and instant noodles (although it probably doesn’t want to talk about noodles right now). . . 

 

Tight times for sharemilkers – Hugh Stringleman:

Most sharemilkers will be unable to write a break-even budget for the new dairy season and face several months of negative cash flows before dairy prices are expected to recover.

That is the market reality facing all dairy farmers, but especially taxing for sharemilkers of all descriptions given the low milk prices, incomes in the $1 to $2/kg range, and the lack of discretionary or deferrable spending.

Industry-wide, considerably more seasonal finance will be necessary because herd-owning sharemilkers (40-50% contracts) face losses between 30c and 50c/kg on all milk produced for the remainder of 2015. . .

 Survey captures cost of compliance – Richard Rennie:

Waikato dairy farmers have invested about $400 million in environmental compliance in recent years, but are uncertain about how long that investment will remain compliant.

New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays scholar Thomas Macdonald has just issued findings from a survey he conducted on Waikato dairy farmers, determining how much they have invested in effluent management and compliant farm systems. . .

 AgResearch hub remodelled for Lincoln – Tim Cronshaw:

AgResearch’s soon to be built science hub programme will look much different from the operation first envisaged, writes Tim Cronshaw.

AgResearch is about to put out new master plans as more science and agriculture partners join its vision for innovation clusters at its main Lincoln and Palmerston North hubs in a nationwide $100 million restructuring programme.

Originally the research organisation was going to build its science centre for its Future Footprint programme on new ground connecting to the Lincoln University campus with the wider Crown Research Institute precinct.

Townie helps out – Annette Scott:

Christchurch businessman Grant Silvester launched a campaign earlier this month to help get feed to North Canterbury farms.

He has been thrilled at the amazing support the campaign has attracted and is more than confident of trucking in his goal of 500 bales of feed to the region.

Silvester, a self-described townie who sells cars and racing car parts from his Christchurch-based business, had seen how dry farms were while travelling through the area. . .

 Firm friendship: The sports star and the girl inventor – Narelle Henson:

It’s easy to see young inventer Ayla Hutchinson and her mentor, Bernice Mene are mates – even though they clearly have pretty different backgrounds.

Mene is a national figure, accomplished in the world of sport, Ayla is a teen inventor from the fields of Taranaki; introverted, inexperienced and – by her own admission – a little anxious.

Fifteen-year-old Ayla is the inventor of the Kindling Cracker, a wood-splitting device taking New Zealand by storm. She’s just signed “a massive” supply deal with major American corporate, Northern Tools + Equipment. The second 12-metre container of orders needs to be sent soon, but New Zealand demand keeps emptying it. She’s constantly being badgered with interview requests, and everywhere she goes people just keep asking how she came up with that invention. . .


Rural round-up

21/06/2015

World’s largest robotic dairy barn leads technology – Pat Deavoll:

 Fitting 1500 cows under one roof seems impossible, but that’s just what Wilma and Aad van Leeuwen of the Van Leeuwen Dairy Group did, by building the world’s largest robotic dairy barn at Makikihi in South Canterbury. 

The 23,000 square metre barn, completed last September at a cost of $22 million, was the third of its kind built by the van Leeuwens, but the first of its scale.

Behind the drive to install the barn was the premium price paid for winter milking, which a robotic system enabled, and a shortage of skilled staff. . .

 Hayley’s star rises at Rabobank:

The market downturn in dairy is among foremost concerns for Rabobank dairy research director Hayley Moynihan as she steps into the newly created role of the bank’s general manager Country Banking.

She is sure the bank has the right support systems in place for dairy farmers in its 33 branches, but a first priority will be to ensure the bank stay aligned to farmers needs in all sectors.

Moynihan told Rural News the new role of general manager Country Banking had been created in recognition of the size of the New Zealand business now. . .

Are the Mexico-bound sheep for breeding or barbeque? – Keith Woodford:

Prior to this week, I had no particular knowledge about the current shipment of 50,000 ewe lambs that are heading to Mexico. So when I was approached by Jamie Ball from the NBR for comment, my immediate thought was to say nothing. I simply assumed that this was indeed a very large shipment of future breeding stock.

However, once my attention was focused, and I started scratching around, all sorts of warning bells started to ring. It seemed a very large number of breeding animals to be sending there. And surely, if this was a genuine shipment, then at the other end there had to be either a huge rural development project, or alternatively a very large agribusiness.

So I started to dig a little deeper. As I dug through the layers, a fascinating story began to emerge. I am sure there is still more to uncover. . .

Mexico-bound livestock get cared for in shipment – Tim Cronshaw:

Until now exporters of a massive shipment of young stock going to Mexico have kept out of the limelight. They tell their side of the story to Tim Cronshaw.

Exporters sending 45,000 ewe hoggets and 3200 beef heifers to Mexico say they will continue to receive top care after their two-week voyage to their new home ends on June 26.

Contrary to concerns by animal right groups the group has confirmed livestock will not go to Mexican regions with temperatures of 40 degrees celsius, have not breached minimum age requirements, will be used only for breeding and the farms have been ratified by state governments who have bought most of the animals. . .

Prestigious, International Agri Conference grows from NZ BBQ:

PPP celebrates 10 years with announcement of inaugural agri award winner

This week, agricultural networking fraternity, the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group, will head to Darwin, Northern Australia, to celebrate its 10th anniversary conference – and announce the winner of a new agri award.

Founded in New Zealand by head of Allflex Australasia and Wairarapa farmer, Shane McManaway, the Group started with a handful of producers at an informal BBQ in 2005. It now comprises over 130 of Australasia’s most influential agri-businessmen and women. . .

 

Hawkes Bay horticulture contractors fined:

The Employment Relations Authority has fined three Hawke’s Bay horticulture contracting companies a total of $22,500 for failing to provide employment records.

The Labour Inspectorate launched an investigation into Kiwi Labour Solution, OOMDA New Zealand and Positive Force after an audit last year to check for compliance with employment, immigration and tax laws. . .

 US going nuts about milk prices:

From Kentucky family farms to Californian ‘mega dairies’, there is one thing on the mind of US dairy farmers – milk price. In California this is driving many to nuts.

The dairy farmers are not making money right now. The Californian price is $13-$16/cwt (cwt = 0.045 tonne), about $2/cwt below cost – and well below the $20/cwt they were getting last year. Kentucky is on a similar price: one farmer told Rural News they were getting $27/cwt last year. . .


Rural round-up

02/06/2015

Experimentation pays dividends – Sally Rae:

Ask Graham Hunter how many trees he has planted through the years and there is a pause.

Because, with about 40ha in forestry on the property he farms with wife Pam, 20km from Lawrence, along with 5km of shelterbelts, not to mention all the trees planted on their previous farm, the answer is literally ”thousands and thousands”.

Mr and Mrs Hunter were named the South Island Husqvarna farm forester of the year at the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association’s conference in Whangarei. . . .

Effluent pond test tool a first: designer – Allison Beckham:

The designer and developer of a new, high resolution device to test whether effluent ponds are leaking says it is the first test in New Zealand which provides farmers with accurate scientific information.

Other tests available collected information only once every 24 hours, Opus principal rural consultant Dr Marc Dresser, of Hamilton, said.

But the device he and fellow Opus Rural Services engineer Andy Johnson have designed and built uses two probes to calibrate information every 10 seconds, taking into account rainfall, evaporation and atmospheric pressure changes. . .

Minister to represent NZ at UN Food and Agriculture conference:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy leaves for Europe today to represent New Zealand at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations’ (FAO) Biennial Conference in Rome.

The FAO is an inter-governmental organisation with 194 member nations. Its aims include the sustainability of natural resources while driving economic and social progress.

“As a country founded on our primary industries, New Zealand can add real value to the discussions at the conference,” says Mr Guy. . .

Larger Japanese stake in Anzco gains OIO approval – Tim Cronshaw:

A Japanese company investing just over $40 million has won Overseas Investment Office approval to buy a larger stake in the major meat processor Anzco Foods founded by chairman Sir Graeme Harrison.

Existing shareholder Itoham Foods met overseas investment criteria to lift its ownership to 65 per cent of the company, from 48.2 per cent,  after buying three lots of shares from Nippon Suisan Kaisha Limited, known as Nissui,  Harrison and Janz Investments which is majority owned by Harrison with senior Anzco managers.

Anzco is now a subsidiary of Itoham which is Japan’s second largest meat based manufactured and processed foods company. Itoham announced in February it wanted a larger shareholding as part of expansion plans in its processed meat business to meet growing Asian demand. . .

 Visa application holdups add to farmers’ Gypsy Day headaches – Phil McCarthy:

A Southland dairy leader is calling on Immigration New Zealand to extend migrant visa concessions handed out elsewhere to workers on farms in southern regions.

This month the Government announced changes to immigration policy which will make it easier to recruit and retain Filipino migrant workers for the Canterbury rebuild.

The change meant that employers who wanted to retain a lower-skilled Filipino worker could do so without having to renew the visa annually. They would also not have to apply for a variation of conditions if they changed employer. Overseas people working in tourism in Queenstown have also had their visa requirements short-cut  on a temporary basis. . .

 Rural agents bet on farmland boom – Matthew Cranston:

COMPETITION is growing between Australia’s major rural land selling agents as farm sales volumes are expected to come out of a trough and major institutional and private investors seek to gain a foothold in the growth area of agriculture.

Elders chief executive Mark Allison, who saw the rural services company sell more than $1.4 billion in real estate last year, is taking on the new entrants of CBRE and Colliers International.

He is aiming for 12 real estate agency acquisitions next financial year and 40 by fiscal 2017. . .

Saddle up for the High Country: – Mark Abernethy:

THE colonial days of stockmen and bushrangers come alive when you journey on horseback.

There was a point when the slow clop of the hooves and the primal shade of the gum trees could have placed us in a much earlier era of history.

There were eight of us on horseback, sliding through the high country of the Great Dividing Range just north of Glen Innes in New South Wales, the iron barks and gums swaying under the clear skies; and if it hadn’t been for the occasional click of an iPhone camera, we could have been riding through the colonial frontier, about to bump into a bushranger or a bullock team. . .


Rural round-up

24/04/2015

100 years 100 horses unites community:

The tale behind this Saturday’s 20km trek by 100 horses and riders to honour their Anzac war dead has galvanised rural communities around Waikari, north Canterbury, even after the worst drought for 60 years.

On Anzac Day, a spectacular remembrance called ‘100 Years, 100 Horses’, assisted by a Fonterra Grass Roots Fund donation, will see 100 riders in formation – many of them dressed in replica gear from World War I. They will pay tribute, not just to the fallen, but to the community spirit behind the Canterbury Mounted Rifles.

Fonterra’s Grass Roots Fund was touched by the story of the Rifles, part of the New Zealand Mounted Rifle Brigade which left Lyttelton in 1914 for the conflict in Turkey with just under 2000 men and over 2000 horses. The north Canterbury townships of the Hurunui district – Waikari, Hurunui, Mason Flats, Peaks and Hawarden – provided 187 of the riders, 42 of whom did not return. . .

Landowners ease path to Tinui Cross, NZ’s first Anzac memorial  – Gerard Hutching:

Farmers and landowners in the Tinui district of the Wairarapa have been “superb” over the creation of a walkway across their land to the historic Tinui Anzac Cross.

The first Anzac memorial built in New Zealand, the cross was built in 1916 on top of Mount Maunsell, or Tinui Taipo as it is known locally.

It has long been a tradition for locals to walk the three kilometres from the Tinui cemetery to the cross on Anzac Day, but in recent years numbers have grown.

Chairman of the Tinui Parish Anzac Trust, Alan Emerson, said the Trust had wanted to establish informal access to the cross for a number of years, and a route through Tinui Forest Park and a neighbouring farm belonging to Mike and Lesley Hodgins proved most suitable. . . .

Dealing weeds a crushing blow – Time Cronshaw:

Frustrated by weeds infiltrating his crops Aussie farmer Ray Harrington borrowed coal mining technology to come up with an invention turning heads internationally, writes Tim Cronshaw.

Crushing was the final C option that farmer-inventor Ray Harrington turned to for eliminating persistent weeds on his Western Australia farm.

“I knew we would have to do something different to stave off the impending (herbicide) resistance and knew what was coming. That is why I decided to build in my mind what I dubbed as as the Big C project. We knew the chaff (coming from the header) when we harvested crops contained 98 per cent of the weed seeds and I had to catch the chaff, cart it, cook it, crush it or cremate it and that was the project in my head.” . . .

Bees show taste for toxic pesticides – study:

A New Zealand bee scientist says new international research that shows bees may be getting hooked on some types of pesticides, only paints part of a wider picture.

A study published in the science journal Nature this week shows bees prefer food laced with neonicotinoids in lab tests undertaken at Newcastle University.

Neonicotinoids are long-lasting insecticides which are primarily used to coat the seeds of plants, making them toxic to all insects when they grow.

There is international debate on whether bees are affected by them. . .

Horticulture production exceeds $7 billion:

Plant & Food Research is a New Zealand-based science company providing research and development that adds value to fruit, vegetable, crop and food products.

New Zealand’s horticultural production has exceeded $7 billion for the first time, according to the latest edition of the industry statistics publication Fresh Facts. . .

 


Rural round-up

04/04/2015

MIE report exposes Silver Fern Farms’ sheep processing dilemma: – Kieth Woodford:

Meat industry reform is back in the news in recent weeks with the long awaited release of the Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) report. The MIE perspectives have been well known for some years and so there were no real surprises in what they said. According to MIE, the most important issue is dealing with industry over-capacity through plant rationalisations and company amalgamations.

I will return to MIE’s solutions at another time, but here I want to look at the underpinning analyses provided by international consultancy company GHD, and some key insights therein that could easily be lost. When it comes to finding solutions, losing those insights would be a great pity. For Silver Fern Farms in particular, some of those insights make uncomfortable reading. . .

2015 Golden Lamb Awards (Glammies) Declared a ‘No Contest’:

The 2015 Glammies competition has been declared a ‘No-Contest’ as a result of a mistake made by the testing facility in analysing the data to ascertain the top twenty finalists.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Inc were made aware of this issue by testing facility late Friday afternoon. Yesterday, we found out the full extent of the mistake which impacted the selection of the top twenty finalists.

An error was made with the final spreadsheet when the testing facility calculated the final score and applied the ranking. In error, their IT person used the formula for shear force – where low is good, high is bad – and applied it to yield. . .

Test error dethrones Glammies winner – Kate Taylor and Tim Cronshaw:

A Dannevirke farmer will hand back his Golden Lamb Award after organisers found a testing mistake.

Hamish Buchanan beat 20 finalists last month to win the competition, known as the “Glammies”, to find the most tender and tasty lamb. 

However, organisers have ruled the results in the competition, run by Beef + Lamb New Zealand, were invalid because of a mistake made by the testing facility in analysing the data to narrow the top-20 finalists. . .

Methodical approach a winner:

An analytical approach has won northern Wairarapa farmers Lucy and Robert Thorneycroft the 2015 Keinzley AgVet Wairarapa Farm Business of the Year Award.

“We entered the competition as a challenge and are delighted with the win. It has been a fantastic competition to be involved in,” she said.

Their high-performing stock, tight control of expenses and concern for the environment were also highlighted by judges.  . .

Just the ticket – Anne Calcinai:

In part two of a series looking at different pathways to farm ownership Anne Calcinai looks at the leasing and contracting routes.

It is tough getting into farming, but not impossible.

Hawke’s Bay couple Jeremy and Gina Sunckell are proof that you don’t need to start out with millions of dollars to have a successful business in the sheep and beef industry. . .

 

Midlands 25 Year Celebrations:

Ashburton business, Midlands Seed Limited has celebrated its 25th Birthday by giving back to the local community and both the Mid Canterbury Cancer Society and the Ashburton Stadium Complex Trust were recipients of a generous donation. The company is celebrating 25 years of success in the International seed trade and rather than spending money in this anniversary year, decided to donate the combined sum of $25000 to two organisations that would benefit the local community.

Midlands Seed Managing Director Chris Green said “On behalf of our staff, grower suppliers and international partners, it is great to be able to make these donations into the same local community which has supported our business since the company’s inception in 1990”. . .


Rural round-up

16/03/2015

Dairy firms confident of safety, security systems – Alan Williams:

Dairy manufacturing companies are very confident of their food safety systems against any risk of the 1080 threat but one has stepped up its security.

Synlait Milk has brought in round the clock physical security checks for site access, including photo identification for all staff at its plant in central Canterbury. . .

Women must invite themselves –  Annette Scott:

A report suggesting business women need to get more assertive to arrest the dramatic fall in women around New Zealand board tables has been challenged by industry experts.

 Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) chief executive Zelda de Villiers acknowledged it was a challenge for women to get their feet under the table in the male-dominated agribusiness sector. . .

Picked, washed, packed and stacked, it’s all about apples  – Lynda van Kempen :

This year, almost more than 10,000 tonnes of Otago apples will be traded in more than 60 countries around the world. The apple industry has kept the van der Voort family in business in Central Otago for 50 years. Their Ettrick apple export packhouse is one of New Zealand’s largest. Reporter Lynda van Kempen follows some early season Cox’s Orange apples, as careful hands and high technology guide the way from picking and packing to trucking out.

Collected from home, a quick bath, a spin through the packhouse and then chilling out on a leisurely sea cruise before meeting the fans overseas – that’s the lot of an Otago-grown export apple. . .

Sheep and beef are doing it tough in drought – Tim Cronshaw:

The drought has put a dent in the incomes of South Island sheep and beef farmers, particularly those with lower beef cattle ratios.

South Island prices at about $4.95 a kilogram for an average 17 kilogram lamb are back about 12 per cent from $5.55/kg the same time last year. A gap lies between southern returns and North Island prices of $5 to $5.10/kg.

Lamb volumes have increased as farmers cull more stock during the drought through much of the South Island’s east coast. Volumes were up 11 per cent at 9.1 million lambs the middle of last month from 8.2 million the same time last year. . .

Alliance steps up its links with rural women – Tim Cronshaw:

Half of the Alliance Group’s 5000 shareholders are women and the meat processor and exporter is strengthening its links with them to help them improve their decision-making on farms.

A Nelson visit to a meat plant today followed a Christchurch workshop yesterday and a visit to Alliance’s Smithfield site in South Canterbury this week.

The workshops were devised after it was noticed that women sometimes felt uncomfortable attending Alliance meetings and a pilot was held in Invercargill last year. . .

New Zealand’s first purpose-built calf feeding system has been developed:

Inspired by a European farming system, but with an understanding that New Zealand farms are different, a local engineer has developed New Zealand’s first purpose built calf feeding system. CalfSMART has the potential to reduce labour costs and lead to overall herd improvements.

New Zealand has nearly 12,000 dairy herds that rear cohorts of calves ranging in size from less than 100 to over 250. The largest 15% of New Zealand’s dairy farms rear 35% of the entire country’s replacement heifers. Traditionally, calf rearing has been carried out by farming families, however in recent years as farms grow in size this work has increasingly been carried out by a migratory workforce. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

16/02/2015

Work of dedicated greenie on view  – Tim Cronshaw:

A lifetime’s work by a Canterbury farmer to lay out a tree canopy on his property, the envy of many farmers, will be opened up to visitors this month.

Lochaber Downs was until lately the home of Graeme and Christine McArthur and they spent decades putting in shelterbelts, woodlots and many varieties of native trees and plants on the 680 hectare hill country and downs property at Whitecliffs, inland Canterbury.

This was rewarded with the couple being named the Husqvarna Farm Foresters of the Year for the South Island. As part of the award they will hold a field day on February 21 despite since selling the farm. The field day has been allowed to continue with the consent of new owner Ken Wragg. . .

Kiwi smashes world barley record – Alan Williams:

Timaru farmer Warren Darling set his mind on a new world barley growing record after going close last season without really trying.

His determination has paid off with the numbers and now he’s just waiting to see if Guinness World Records will ratify the result. Word from the United Kingdom-based group was expected any time.

The January 23 harvest produced a yield of 13.8 tonnes a hectare from the 11.5ha block of land on the coastal Poplar Grove Farm. . .

 Dairy man disputes barn finding – Neal Wallace:

A study questioning the merits of wintering barns or free stalls has been slammed as muddled and narrow-focused by an advocate of the system.

Ray Macleod, the manager of Landward Management, a Dunedin company specialising in hybrid dairy farming systems, said the report failed to look at the barn system as part of a year-round production cycle and confused farm intensification with better use of resources.

The study by DairyNZ senior economist Matthew Newman and AgFrirst consultant Phil Journeaux said the jury was still out on the financial and environmental merits of the barns. . .

Astronauts catch on to wool’s fire resistant qualities – Mary-Jo Tohill:

For merino wool protective clothing specialist Andy Caughey, there’s nothing like going straight to the source.

The New Zealand merino wool advocate was at the Central Otago A&P Show at Omakau yesterday, mingling with some of the farmers who grow wool for his UK-based brand, Armadillo Merino. 

From the sheep’s back to outer space might sound a bit far-fetched, but not when you’re talking about astronauts, whose under-garments are made from merino wool. . .

Government distrust of Fonterra ‘staggering’:

The level of Government distrust in Fonterra was a “huge shock” according to the man who led the dairy giant’s board inquiry into 2013’s botulism scare.

Speaking at an Institute of Directors function in the Waikato today, Jack Hodder, QC, said the inquiry team was taken aback by the lack of goodwill between the country’s largest company and politicians.

“That was a huge shock. That was probably the most staggering thing,” the Chapman Tripp partner said. 

“Accidents happen, but the lack of goodwill Fonterra had in Wellington was a real concern.”

Hodder said what goodwill had existed between the two “evaporated” once the botulism scare broke. . .


%d bloggers like this: