Rural round-up

13/03/2014

Will Lincoln survive? – Tony Chaston:

Lincoln University is awash in rumour as it undergoes a major restructure of it’s workforce in a bid to survive.

There are reports it is financially stretched.

Earthquake payments have yet to be assigned even though Canterbury University has received theirs and it was recently revealed Lincoln has lost its bid for major funding for its Centre of Research Excellence group.

Voluntary redundancies are being proposed and many long-term staff fear the next step will be forced redundancies.

Staff morale is said to be low and the discord between the academics and management is growing as the University searches for a new direction. . .

Succession a key focus of young farmers’ business management program in Year of the Family Farm:

With 2014 the International Year of the Family Farm, the pressing issue of farm succession will be a key focus of this year’s Rabobank Farm Managers Program.

The program – which is designed to strengthen the operational and strategic skills of tomorrow’s farm leaders – will cover succession planning for farm businesses, along with a range of topics including leadership, business planning and financial and economic management.

Applications are now open for the 2014 Farm Managers Program, which will be held in Victoria in June. . .

Pakeha farmer doing it for whanau:

A Pakeha farmer who manages two Maori-owned farms with his Maori whanau near Whakatane is encouraging other farmers to form partnerships with Maori Land Trusts.

Peter Livingston is the farm advisor for both the Putauaki Trust’s Himiona Farm and Ngati Awa Farm Limited’s Ngakauroa Farm.

The two farms are finalists in this year’s Ahuwhenua Awards celebrating Maori farming excellence. . .

Drones Could Revolutionize Agriculture, Farmers Say – Gosia Wozniacka:

Idaho farmer Robert Blair isn’t waiting around for federal aviation officials to work out rules for drones. He and a friend built their own, outfitting it with cameras and using it to monitor his 1,500 acres.

Under 10 pounds and 5 feet long nose to tail, the aircraft is the size of a turkey and Blair uses it to get a birds-eye view of his cows and fields of wheat, peas, barley and alfalfa.

“It’s a great tool to collect information to make better decisions, and we’re just scratching the surface of what it can do for farmers,” said Blair, who lives in Kendrick, Idaho, roughly 275 miles north of Boise.

While Americans are abuzz about Amazon’s plans to use self-guided drones to deliver packages, most future unmanned aircraft may operate far from the nation’s large population centers.

Experts point to agriculture as the most promising commercial market for drones because the technology is a perfect fit for large-scale farms and vast rural areas where privacy and safety issues are less of a concern. . . .

Investment opportunity in Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme;

Qualified Hawke’s Bay investors are being given the opportunity to express their interest in investing in the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company Ltd (HBRIC Ltd) has released a Preliminary Information Memorandum (PIM) calling for expressions of interest from qualified locals interested in a potential investment in the water storage scheme.

Interested parties are not being asked for money now. They have until the end of April to indicate their interest in the proposal, and will then be given detailed information on the investment opportunity via an Information Memorandum which will include modeled cashflows and further specific information that is currently commercially sensitive. The Information Memorandum is due for release in May 2014. . . .

NZ develops world-first solution to improve ATV use:

Trial underway at Landcorp with Blue Wing Honda and Blackhawk Tracking Systems

Blue Wing Honda have engaged Blackhawk Tracking Systems to develop a world-first solution to help improve ATV safety with a focus on driver behaviour and communication.

Called Farm Angel, the Blackhawk technology is being trialled by Landcorp Farming Ltd, which is committed to improving safety on farms. Landcorp will trial the equipment on around 60 ATV and Side by Side vehicles.

“This is a unique solution which will enable rider/driver behaviour to be monitored, modified and improved” says Blue Wing Honda General Manager Alan Petrie. “The aim is to save lives before they need to be saved, but should an accident unfortunately occur, Farm Angel will also assist in the recovery of seriously injured or trapped riders.

“We have been working with Blackhawk for some time to create the right system that not only helps the ATV rider get out of trouble quickly by sending an immediate automated alert to a first response Call Centre, but also improves on-farm communication while giving peace of mind to farmers, their employees and their families.” . . .

New Zealand wine Trust funds valuable research:

The Cresswell Jackson New Zealand Wine Trust has awarded its first research grant.

Under the broad objective of enhancing the success of the New Zealand wine industry, the Trust awarded the grant to scientist Dr Wendy Parr of Lincoln University. The study is in collaboration with Adelaide-based Phil Reedman MW, the University of Burgundy in France as well as London University and Oxford University in the UK.

The overall goal of the project is to provide sound, scientifically-based information concerning specific aspects of wine tasting and wine judging.

The study aims to investigate the influence of contextual variables on qualitative and quantitative aspects of sensory evaluations by testing whether wines are perceived as tasting ‘different’ under particular conditions. . .

Rockburn Wines Shine in China’s Biggest and Most Prestigious Wine and Spirits Competition:

Rockburn Wines has just been awarded an impressive four Double Gold CWSA Best Value medals at the China Wine and Spirits Awards Best Value 2014.

Double Gold Medals were handed out to Rockburn’s 2012 Pinot Noir, 2013 Pinot Gris, 2010 Chardonnay and 2013 Devil’s Staircase Pinot Gris in the blind tasting alongside the most famous brands in the world including 4,350 wines and spirits from 35 countries. The Rockburn 2009 Riesling also received a Gold Medal.

Having won a Double Gold for their 2009 Chardonnay in last year’s competition, Rockburn are once again honoured to add these latest accolades from a competition which is “the ultimate authority for wines and spirits in Hong Kong and China.” . . .


Rural round-up

04/12/2013

Govt stepping up on forestry safety:

The Government has stepped up its efforts to improve forestry safety and Labour Minister Simon Bridges is calling on those in the industry to do the same. 

“The Government is committed to implementing the major step change in workplace health and safety that we need to see in New Zealand, which will help bring down fatalities and serious injuries in the forestry sector,” Mr Bridges says. 

“WorkSafe NZ, the new Crown agency dedicated to workplace health and safety, will go live on 16 December.  It has a very clear mandate to bring down the death and injury toll – by 25 per cent by 2020 – in our workplaces.  The Government has allocated an additional $30 million to WorkSafe to strengthen education and enforcement. . .

The science behind white clover decline – Doug Edmeades:

I’m hearing a cacophony of denial out there in farm-land. I am not talking about the local sports teams or politicians. I am referring to my pet hobby-horse – white clover.

We give ourselves so many reasons to justify why white clover no longer thrives on our farms like it did back in Dad’s day – it must be the dreary droughts, or the fickle flea, the evil weevil, miss’s management or mister drug, fertiliser N. The list goes on.

I have no doubt that these events, practices and insects have some effect – sometimes all of them – but I’m not willing to concede that we should take an early shower, pack the kit and retire to our clover-less farms. . .

Minister welcomes resumption of trade negotiations with Korea:

Trade Minister Tim Groser welcomed Korea’s decision to resume formal negotiations toward a free trade agreement, following a meeting today in Bali with his Korean counterpart, Minister of Trade Yoon Sang-jick.

“The resumption of negotiations was discussed by Prime Minister John Key and Korean President Park Geun-hye during the Prime Minister’s recent visit to Korea in July. I am pleased that their shared determination to conclude a free trade agreement has led to this point,” Mr Groser says.

“This is an important step. Korea is one of New Zealand’s biggest and most important trading partners.” . . .

Shareholders welcome Synlait Milk plans for growth:

Synlait Milk’s performance for the 2013 financial year and its plans for the future were welcomed at its Annual Meeting of Shareholders, held today in Christchurch.

Managing Director Dr John Penno said FY13 had been a good year.

“The IPO was successful and we are very pleased to welcome all new shareholders. During the year product volumes and margins continued to grow. This helped the business deliver on its forecast which was a significant improvement over performance for the previous financial year.” . .

New pesticide approved for use:

The Environmental Protection Authority has approved an application for a new pesticide to control sucking insects including aphids and greenhouse whitefly.

Dow Agro Sciences Limited applied to import and manufacture GF-2032, a pesticide containing the chemical sulfoxaflor, for use on a variety of commercial crops.

GF-2032 provides a more effective and less toxic means of pest control compared to some other pesticides currently available, such as organophosphates. . .

Agria repays $5 million loan, interest owed to Livestock Improvement:

(BusinessDesk) – Livestock Improvement, the farmer-owned bull semen and dairy genetics company, said China’s Agria has made early repayment on the balance of a loan that allowed it to take control of PGG Wrightson.

LIC provided the loan as part of Agria’s $144 million partial takeover of Wrightson in 2011 and last year gave the Chinese company until March 2014 to repay the balance, extending an earlier deadline. The funding allowed Agria to take control of New Zealand’s biggest rural services company including its valuable portfolio of proprietary seeds. . .

The Sheep Deer and Cattle Report: Vote for your future meat Co-Op shareholders urged – Tony Chaston:

Lamb schedules continue to ease as the emphasis changes from chilled to frozen as processing volumes build, but prices are at least $10 a head better than last year and demand is good with low stocks on hand.

Pre Christmas weaning drafts are common and operators are keen to market all killable lambs while procurement premiums are still in place.

Demand for early cull ewes is strong at the saleyards with many yardings of good cutting animals averaging $90-$100 a head. . . .

 


Rural round-up

30/01/2013

Hard going for independent dairy firm; more competition unlikely in milk processing – Tony Chaston:

Is there still a place for more competition in the NZ dairy industry with Fonterra being such a dominant force?

This article looks at 10 years of business by the number two dairy processor Open Country Dairy which has been characterised by fights with big brother to get a fair crack at the market, and challenges to be consistently profitable.

This fight to compete with Fonterra has affected nearly all the processing minows in NZ and many have had to acquire overseas capital and increased shareholder investment to stay afloat. . .

Six finalists contend for 2013 Dairy Woman of the Year title:

The Dairy Women’s Network has announced the names of the six women who will progress into the final round of judging for the 2013 Dairy Woman of the Year Award.

They are:
• Juliet MacLean, chief executive Synlait Farms Limited, Rakaia
• Justine Kidd, business manager BEL Group, Waipukurau
• Kath Taylor, dairy veterinarian and Mastitis consultant, VetSouth Limited, Winton
• Kathryn van den Beuken, farm owner/operator and key account manager AgITO, Rakaia
• Leonie Guiney, farm owner/operator, Fairlie
• Sarah Watson, farm supervisor Canterbury, MyFarm, West Melton. . . .

Proposed changes to Rural Post and the NZ Post Deed:

Federated Farmers is to consult its membership on proposed changes that could radically reshape the delivery of physical mail to over half a million New Zealanders in rural areas.

“NZ Post deserves praise for the way it has worked with Federated Farmers, Rural Woman NZ and the other rural stakeholders,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“This will largely not come as a shock because we are living through a fundamental shift in technology. The decline in physical mail is offset by the rise of electronic mail.

“Commercially, NZ Post’s business model must either evolve or face extinction but I doubt many people can seriously argue the status quo is tenable. . .

Alliance Group Welcomes Primary Growth Partnership Collaboration Programme:

Leading meat processor and exporter Alliance Group has welcomed the launch of an initiative designed to improve farmer profitability.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has approved a commitment of up to $32.4 million, matched by industry, from MPI’s Primary Growth Partnership Fund (PGP) for the red meat sector’s new Collaboration for Sustainable Growth programme.

Grant Cuff, chief executive of Alliance Group Limited, one of the founding organisations taking part in the initiative, said . . .

Actually, The $58K From 20 Cows Is Not That Easy – Milking on the Moove:

In my last post, How To Make $58,788 Per Year With 20 Cows. I talked about how a simple dairy can be set up for quite a small investment of just over $100,000 and the milk can be sold direct to the customer.

I hoped the post would encourage people to think differently about dairy farming and the possibilities available. 

It’s certainly a good illustration of how profitable a business can be if it can retain the whole retail price.

Warning!

It’s not quite that simple.

It’s easy enough to buy a few cows and build a cheap dairy to process the milk. That’s easy. There are plenty of experts who can design or build the components for you. . .

 Hawkes Bay water project boon for Maori workers:

The spokesperson for four hapu in Central Hawke’s Bay says it’s vital local Maori play a key role in a proposed $220 million water storage project.

The regional council’s Ruataniwha water storage scheme would see a dam built on the Makaroro River to store 90 million cubic metres of water which could irrigate 22,000 hectares of farmland. . .

Nearly 75% of Kiwi women not getting enough calcium:

We all need calcium for strong bones and teeth as part of a healthy lifestyle, but studies show that nearly 75 per cent of New Zealand women aren’t getting the recommended amount of dietary calcium in their day[1].

If eating sardines and tofu doesn’t tickle your fancy however, Anchor and Osteoporosis New Zealand have now made it easy to top up your daily dietary calcium with the launch of a calcium enriched spread.

Endorsed by Osteoporosis NZ, Anchor Dairy Blend Calci+ spread is the first calcium enriched spread that not only provides the goodness of New Zealand dairy and is spreadable straight from the fridge, but also offers 10 per cent of your recommended dietary intake (RDI) of calcium. . .

NZ to run agricultural training programme in Chile:

New Zealand is to run an agricultural training project in Chile.

The Chilean government has announced that New Zealand will be running the four-year initiative, aimed at revamping agricultural productivity in the South American country.

Chile says it hopes the programme will help improve the effectiveness of the agricultural subsidies it pays its farmers and attract more skilled workers to the sector. . .


Grass-fed beef is best

20/05/2012

British researchers have concluded what New Zealand farms have been saying for years: grass-fed beef is better :

Feeding cattle on grass throughout their lifecycle is the most environmentally sustainable way to rear beef, according to new research for the National Trust.

One of the biggest global challenges is how to increase food security whilst reducing the environmental impacts of food production.

Livestock – like cattle and sheep – produce high levels of methane as part of the process of digesting grass. This has led to suggestions that intensive production methods – where cattle are fed largely on cereals, producing less methane – should be preferred over more traditional grass-fed livestock farming.

However, in this report, research at 10 Trust farms shows that while the carbon footprint of grass-fed and conventional farms were comparable, the carbon sequestration contribution of well-managed grass pasture on the less intensive systems reduced net emissions by up to 94 per cent, even resulting in a carbon ‘net gain’ in upland areas. The farms that had recently converted to organic status showed even greater gains. . .

The research found that grass-fed beef is better for the environment and human health:

“The debate about climate change and food often calls for a reduction of meat consumption and a more plant based diet, but this often overlooks the fact that many grasslands are unsuitable for continuous arable cropping.

“Grasslands support a range of ecosystems services including water resources, biodiversity and carbon capture and storage. Grazing livestock not only contributes to their maintenance but also turns grass into human-edible food.”

Other recent research found that the health benefits of beef (and lamb) are greater when animals are fed totally on grass – their natural food. Omega 3 fatty acids – recognised as essential to good physical and mental health – are higher in meat from grass and the levels of saturated fat are a third of grain fed beef.

Hat Tip: Tony Chaston


Rural round-up

28/08/2011

There is a possibility that only people who come from farms will find this amusing – Laughy Kate:

I was having a drink with an old friend who was in town the other day. Today he’s a successful cameraman/producer with awards coming out his ears, but he started out earning a crust as a farm hand and a fencer before picking up a camera. And every once and a while we get reminded of this . . .

Rural women learn crucial skills – Jon Morgan:

As a farmer’s wife on rugged hill country near Taihape, raising three boys and involved with schools and the local community over the past 20 years, Nicki Duncan has had a busy life.

But always, niggling away at the back of her mind, has been a feeling of unfinished business.

She was brought up in Christchurch, the daughter of Pyne Gould Guinness trading director John Paterson, and after completing a commerce degree in Japanese and marketing worked in Japan teaching English and promoting New Zealand lamb.

First intake passes leadership scheme – Sally Rae:

Christine Angland encourages other women to become involved with the Agri-Women’s Development Trust’s Escalator course.

Mrs Angland, from Waipori Station, along with Dawn Sangster (Maniototo) and Andrea Shore (Clydevale), were among the 11 graduates of the inaugural programme which was aimed at developing rural leadership and governance skills in women . . .

Green Party’s irrigation charge policy ‘crazy’ ‘a joke’ – Lynda Van Kempen:

 The Green Party’s plans to charge for irrigation water would be a death blow for Central Otago if implemented, a farming accountant said yesterday.

Alexandra-based Ibbotson Cooney accountant George Collier said the Greens’ policy was “crazy”, while Central Otago Mayor and irrigation scheme manager Tony Lepper described it as “a joke”. . .

Cow pacifier benefits worth rising early to crow about – Sally Rae:

Some mornings, John Brown gets up at 5am to head out to North Otago dairy farms to demonstrate a tool to calm cattle.

Nothing unusual about that except, at 87, Mr Brown could be entitled to stay in bed a little longer. But he is passionate about the product . . .

Tour of UK proud time for shearer – Sally Rae:

Managing the New Zealand shearing team on its recent UK tour was a proud occasion for veteran South Otago shearer Bruce Walker.

Dion King and Rowland Smith, both from the North Island, ended the tour with a series-winning victory over Wales . . .

Converstion key to family succession – Mary Witsey:

Good communication is the key to successful farm succession – that and having a business that’s profitable enough to be passed on.

That was the message about 130 farmers heard at a Beef and Lamb NZ farm succession seminar this month, where a range of specialists outlined ways to hand on the family farm to the next generation . . .

Pioneer of pregnancy scanning –  Kirsty MacNicol:

 The man credited with being one of the first in the world to scan sheep for pregnancy on a commercial basis died this month. KIRSTY MacNICOL looks at the impact Richard Chantler had on farming in the south of New Zealand.

The 1980s in rural New Zealand was a tough time – the impact of Rogernomics and the removal of agricultural subsidies forced farmers to review the way they managed their properties. Animals had to be easy care; farming had to be low cost. To make it work, stock numbers per farmer virtually doubled.

In the sheep industry romney breeders had been the first out of the starting blocks in recognising their sheep had to be genetically more efficient in carrying out their natural functions . . .

Matarangi farms sell at bargain prices – Duncan Bridgeman:

Three farm blocks on the Coromandel Peninsula have been sold at a heavy discount to valuation as bankers try and recover loans to Matarangi properties that were once part of the Hanover (© Copyright Protected – The National Business Review 56) empire.

The three farms on State Highway 25 were owned by subsidiaries of Matarangi Beach Estates, which went into receivership in November 2010 . . .

Top fine wool scoured here – Hugh Stringleman:

What is believed to be the finest bale of wool ever scoured in New Zealand is yet unsold and intending buyers need to have mortgage-sized funding.

The tested 11.4 micron, 122kg greasy bale of microfine Forest Range Merino from Anna Emmerson’s Lindis Ridges property at Mayfield, Canterbury, was scoured last week by Canterbury Woolscourers in Timaru.

Until now, scouring of such valuable wool would have been done in China where almost all of NZ’s Merino goes for processing . . .

Venison and Velvet – quality products in demand – Tony Chaston:

The deer industry as a pastoral option has fallen out of favour for NZ farmers over the last few years with numbers falling from previous heady days when growth was rampant.

But what has been consistent all the way along, is the quality of the two main products and these two articles reinforce the prospects of future demand for this small industry . . .


CGT would hamper farm succession

01/08/2011

Two of the country’s most respected farm advisors, Andy Macfarlane and Pita Alexander,  say a capital gains tax would hamper farm succession and lead to larger land holdings owned by fewer people.

The founder of Macfarlane Rural Business in Ashburton said a CGT would make succession very difficult and there would be fewer families able to pass on land to their children.

“We have seen that in the UK where intergenerational transfer has been extremely difficult. What families tend to do is hold onto the land until they are very old, but they stop farming it and you get big corporates farming land owned by multiple families.” . . .

It would also deter the next generation of farmers striving for farm ownership, Mr MacFarlane said. When retiring farmers sold their farm, the price they received would be the only superannuation they received and the price equivalent was often no better than a good super scheme.

Land values responded up and down to the availability and cost of credit, optimism to the future and investment that increases productivity.Those three things drove land prices and were more important than the tax impact on land as a storer of value, he said.

“The perception that putting a CGT on is suddenly going to make big behaviour changes, I don’t think is necessarily correct.”

A CTG hasn’t kept land prices down in other countries. If anything it has boosted them by making owners more reluctant to sell.

Labour’s policy would slow down farm succession, increase the price of land and encourage both absentee ownership and sale to foreigners who would be better able to pay.

It would help the rich pricks they despise and hurt younger, less wealthy people.

Well-known Canterbury farm accountant Pita Alexander said a CGT had been promoted as being easy to manage but it would not be.

“It will be complicated, slow to produce much real tax income for the Government and will increase incomes for all accountants and solicitors, probably indefinitely.”

New Zealand had three world class industries in dairying, tourism and sheep and beef farming. It was unfortunate that all three of those industries involved substantial land values in terms of a potential CGT, Mr Alexander said.

He doubted, based on worldwide evidence that a CGT would improve the distribution of capital so that it would improve productive investment for New Zealand as a whole.

He also doubted it would fix New Zealand’s farmland and housing shortage.

“Is a CGT going to fix these two key areas? Hard to see with one being a physical shortage and the other going to be exempt.”

The absence of a such a tax had not held down production on New Zealand farms, he said.

“New Zealand farmers’ production output has been affected by climate, prices received and costs. Lower interest costs which a CGT may bring about in time may improve profitability, but the production output is already high and still increasing gradually.”

Real care was required in ascertaining what effect a CGT would have on New Zealand’s land based export sector. Very few of other developed countries with a CGT would have this particular export and economy `mix’, he said.

New Zealand is the only developed country with such a reliance on primary production.

Anything which got in the way of productivity and made it more difficult for people to enter wouldn’t just be bad for the primary sector, it would have a negative impact on the whole economy.

Massey University professor Jacqueline Rowarth  puts it simply: farms need more capital not more tax.

Hat tip: Tony Chaston


Rural round-up

24/07/2011

Interest in merino born in childhood – Sally Rae:

Jayne Rive attributes her love of merino sheep to growing up on remote Halfway Bay Station.

She and her five siblings were all involved in daily station life, including working with sheep, on the property on the western shores of Lake Wakatipu . . .

Stock judge wins national title – Sally Rae:

Olivia Ross proved she has an eye for stock when she won the New Zealand Young Farmers national stock judging competition.

A member of Nightcaps Young Farmers Club, Miss Ross (23) works as a field consultant for Outgro Bio Agricultural Ltd . . .

Fitting milestone as CRT cracks $1b – Sally Rae:

Rural servicing co-operative CRT has cracked the billion-dollar mark – reporting turnover of $1.092 billion and an operating surplus of $8.4 million in the year to March 31.

That was up from a turnover of $801 million and an operating surplus of $5.1 million in the previous year. . .

Well managed systems key to dairy success – Mary Witsey:

The most profitable dairy farms in Southland are those which are well managed.

That was the message the province’s dairy farmers heard from Dairy New Zealand senior economist Matthew Newman, who was in the south last week conducting seminars.

Regardless of the size of the herd, or whether it was a low, medium or a high-input production system, the most profitable farms were those that made the best use of resources on offer, Mr Newman said . . .

Warning on dire state of apple industry – Peter Watson:

Nelson’s apple growers are in such a dire state the region risks not having a viable export industry in five years, leading local businessman John Palmer warns.

Speaking at a Nelson-Tasman Chamber of Commerce luncheon yesterday, he said it had got to the stage where many orchards were more valuable without their trees and would be “less of a cash drain growing grass than growing apples”. . .

New Fonterra boss wants positive impact – Hugh Stringleman:

A Canadian will hand over management of Fonterra to a Dutchman at the end of September, which indicates that the skills needed to run New Zealand’s biggest company are more readily found offshore.

Theo Spierings, aged 46, has been appointed by the Fonterra board as the new chief executive to take over from Andrew Ferrier, who has held the job for eight years . . .

Welcome end in sight for forced farm sales – Tony Chaston:

Is this just real estate spin or is rural real estate on the move again and can we expect modest price rises based on stronger product prices and profits?

As reported earlier from the June real estate figures, more farms are being sold than last year, but at values last seen in 2004. The banks have signaled their intention to lend more on profits and less on land value, so if product prices continue, we can expect more sales. . .

Better information needed on farm technology – RadioNZ:

Pastoral Agriculture Professor Jacqueline Rowarth of Massey University thinks farmers are not being well served by some of the new technology they’re being urged to adopt, to lift production.

Professor Rowarth, who spoke at an Agricultural & Horticultural outlook summit this week, says New Zealand farmers are doing a good job of taking up new ideas. She says that’s clear from statistics which show  agriculture is one of the few sectors that continues to grow.

Market knowledge the key – Debbie Gregory:

KNOWLEDGE about commodity prices and markets helps farmers future-proof their businesses, says ANZ National Bank agri-economist Con Williams.

Speaking to farmers and others involved in the rural industry in Gisborne this week, he said commodity prices across the board had peaked and would soften, but should remain at a relatively high level compared with prices seen in the past.

“It’s not so much the level they have got to, it’s the speed they have got there,” he said . . .

Hat tip: Interest.Co.NZ


Rural round-up

17/07/2011

Farming couple move south to live dream – Collette Devlin:

Hannes and Lyzanne Du Plessis travelled to New Zealand from South Africa eight years ago with their child, a suitcase and only $20 in a bank account.

Six weeks ago, they moved to Southland with their three children to contract milk on a dairy syndicate managed by MyFarm at Edendale.

“We had no idea our lives would go in this direction,” Mrs Du Plessis said. “We want our story to inspire others. You do not need a lot of money or experience, because the opportunities to live your dream are all here within the New Zealand dairy industry.” . . .

Self-shedding dorper sheep a growing breed – Collette Devlin:

The dorper sheep, a common sight in most parts of the country, was introduced to New Zealand by a Southland breeder, but it remains a rare breed in the region.

There are 45 registered breeders in New Zealand but only four of these are registered in Southland, the New Zealand Sheep Breeders Association reports. Two are in Gore, one in Balclutha and one in South Otago . . .

Problems facing new grain and seed head – Gerald Piddock:

Ian Mackenzie has taken up the chair of Federated Farmers Grain and Seed at a tumultuous time.

He comes into the role after a tough few years for grain farmers with a grain surplus keeping returns low for many of them . . .

June farm sales up year on year but median price per hectare at 7 year low says REINZ – Gareth Vaughan:

A total of 111 farms changed hands last month, 30 more than in June
last year, according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand
(REINZ), with nearly half the sales coming in Canterbury, Otago and
Southland. However, REINZ says the median price per hectare is now at
its lowest level since July 2004.

The June sales included 13 dairy farms and 59 grazing properties and
compares with the 81 farms that changed hands in June 2010, 80 in June
2009, 216 in June 2008, 212 in June 2007 and 158 in June 2006. . .

Radicalsim from the far right – Tony Chaston:

Don Nicolsons foray into politics from a Federated Farmers background
is not new, as many well known politicans have started their political
career via this way.

Just how successful he will be only time will tell, but it is
interesting to note that Bruce Wills the new president has already
stated that his style will be less divisive. Is the political following
by farmers changing, and are they moving further to the right and away
from ther traditional National Party roots? . .

Nestle takes slice of Vital Foods:

A subsidiary of global food giant Nestle says it is taking a minority stake in Vital Foods, a New Zealand company that specialises in developing kiwifruit-based “functional foods” solutions for gastrointestinal conditions.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but Nestle Health Science said in a statement that it would take a seat on the board of Vital Foods “to help steer future product development as well as commercial strategy”. . .

It’s time for some friendly persuasion – Jon Morgan:

Bruce Wills has the creased features of an outdoorsman and the dirty fingernails of a farmer who just a few hours before was dagging lambs in the Hawke’s Bay hills. But seated in the Wellington head office of Federated Farmers he looks at home in a suit and tie.

He is a model of the modern farmer – university educated, highly numerate, literate, articulate and computerate, and an agricultural jack-of-all-trades, handy with hammer, fencing pliers, shearer’s handpiece, drenching gun and team of dogs.

Now he wants to add political lobbying to his skillset – the tramping of corridors, handshaking, backslapping, joshing, hard talk, soft persuasion and smiling through clenched teeth . . .

I’ve got farming in my blood –  Eleanor Ainge Roy:

Bruce Wills, the new head of Federated Farmers, talks about a childhood spent taming the wilderness, and the price he paid for returning to the family land.

When the Wills family moved onto Trellinoe Farm in the late 1950s, 45km north of Napier, the only accommodation was a tiny rabbiter’s cottage, stuck on the knob of a hill. There were no gardens, no fences, and no grass. Just acres and acres of blackberry scrub, wild pigs and goats.

After more than 50 years of hard yakka turning the land into an 1100ha sheep and cattle station, Bruce Wills says the family is still in the “breaking in” phase.

Wills, 50, is the new president of Federated Farmers, and spent his first week in the job travelling between Rotorua, Wellington, Trellinoe and Hamilton. It was a hectic mix of attending meetings, talking to the media – and sheep crutching on his farm.

Prime lambs return record sale prices – Sally Rae:

Record prices for prime lambs at southern stock sales are      giving farmers something to smile about after last year’s      shocking season when up to a million lambs died in freezing      conditions.   

A pen of about 20 Dorset Down ram lambs sold for $223.50 each      at a recent Charlton stock sale in Gore. The price was      believed to be a record for the saleyards, PGG Wrightson Gore      livestock manager Mark Cuttance said .  . .

Growth rates beefed up in simple herd home – Sally Rae:

When Mike Elliot could not get the growth rates he    desired through winter to finish beef cattle – despite feeding    as much as they wanted to eat – he looked for an alternative.   

With an 88ha farm in South Otago, although about 11ha of that  was in trees, it was a fairly small property and he needed to   farm intensively.

But he had a “phobia” about making mud and there were also      the increasing costs of planting crops and the amount of time      and effort to feed cattle on those crops . . .   

Support, direction required for rural sector – Dr Marion Johnson:

Sometimes I completely fail to understand New Zealand. As a     nation we trade on a clean green image yet encourage the  desecration of our resources at every turn.   

 We espouse a No 8 wire mentality; yet I wonder how many   citizens even know what No 8 wire is? We no longer support  innovation, unless it is within a prescribed field and then I      would debate the legitimacy of calling such developments innovation . . .   

Bee roads and wildflowers can help save bees in the UK – pasture farmers  are key players  – Pasture to Profit:

Do you know what a “Bee Road” is?
It’s a wild flower planting on farms to attract & protect Bees. I’ve started my own “Bee Road” sowing a wild flower strip of about 40metres x 10m along a roadside on a pasture based dairy farm.  https://www.cotswoldseeds.com/seedmix/wild-flowers-1 

It was sown this spring & is now in glorious techno colour. The bees &
insects love it but there have been some problems like the dry weather &
weed infestation. I am justly proud of my efforts but there are frustrations .  . .

Farmsafe and AgITO launch Quad Bike Farm Licence:

Farmsafe, in association with Agriculture ITO (AgITO), has launched the Quad Bike Farm
Licence.

“On average 35 farmers come off their quad bikes every day,” Grant Hadfield, FarmSafe national manager, says.

“FarmSafe and AgITO are committed to reducing accidents and changing attitudes through training on safe quad bike riding practices.”

The Quad Bike Farm Licence is gained through a practical on job training package that covers safe quad bike riding practices as well as teaching participants to effectively identify, minimise and isolate potential bike riding hazards and make safe riding decisions. . .


Rural round-up

11/07/2011

Confidence lifts on rural up-swing – Tony Chaston:

PGGW’s back to the basics approach and the focusing on its core asset, it’s staff, is a strategy many in the agricultural industry said should have happened years ago.

The direction the previous management had taken the company saw major damage to the once strong PGGW brand, and indirectly to its low share price.

It appears the new owners are giving this company some time to sort its act out, but this will not last forever, and it is no secret that the controlling shareholder interests are more in the seeds area, than other parts of the business . . .

Foreign buyers’ policy affirmed by farmers – RadioNZ:

Federated Farmers has reaffirmed its support for overseas investment in New Zealand agriculture by people who want to come and farm here.

But it’s not so comfortable with foreign coporate investors buying large numbers of farms that could end up in foreign control.

Beef + Lamb promoting trade opportunities with Japan:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman, Mike Petersen is part of the New Zealand delegation attending the Japan New Zealand Partnership Forum in Tokyo next week, working to strengthen the business relationship between the two countries.

With both countries in recovery mode since devastating earthquakes, common interests are strengthened and there is a realisation that business must play a leading role in moving Japan and New Zealand forward, Petersen said.

On the agenda will be discussion of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement and while Japan is not yet a party to those negotiations it has signalled its interest.

“If Japan was to join the TPP this would certainly expand the trade opportunities for our two countries within the Asia Pacific region. . .

Woolly thinking it’s not – Peter Kerr:

For a change, you can’t call this woolly thinking

The wool industry got some interesting ‘innovation things’ happening at the moment.

Firstly, there’s a consortium consisting of the Wool Research Organisation of NZ, industry participants and the Ministry of Science and Innovation, that’s collectively investing $3m a year over the next five years on a range of projects. This is being managed by Wool Industry Research Ltd. (WIRL) and is examining some industry good projects and confidential individual company co-funded wool projects to help move the fibre up the value chain.

But, of more immediate interest is a project, initially kicked off by WRONZ, now managed by WIRL, which commissioned a New York based innovation consultancy to find some new, better paying, markets for wool. . .

Scientists in Scotland decode potato genome – BBC:

An international team of scientists based in Scotland has decoded the full DNA sequence of the potato for the first time.

The breakthrough holds out the promise of boosting harvests of one of the
world’s most important staple crops.

Researchers at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee say it should soon be
possible to develop improved varieties of potato much more quickly. . .

Rabobank’s Agribusiness review June 2011:

Prepared by the bank’s Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory division (FAR), the report provides monthly commentary on New Zealand and Australian agricultural conditions.

Key highlights:
•June was mild in New Zealand, with winter really only arriving at the end of the month. The seasonal outlook in New Zealand is generally for warmer than average temperatures and wetter than average rainfall. Continuing dry conditions across Australia through June, consistent with the end of the La Nina event and expected to prevail into spring, have switched the focus back to how much rain will fall on winter crops over coming months. . .

The full report is here.


Rural round-up

22/05/2011

DWN appoints new CEO – dairy Women’s Network chair Michelle Wilson announces:

Sarah Speight has been appointed as full time CEO for DWN, and will commence her role as CEO on 13 June 2011.

Sarah comes to DWN with a wealth of knowledge having been involved in the dairy industry since finishing university in 1992. . .

Organic agriculture aint the answer – Tim Worstall posts:

Not to any reasonable question it ain’t.

Take the case of farming suitable for a world with climate change. And let’s just agree with the IPCC here. It’s happening, we’re causing it, something must be done.

Let’s also take their predictions of what will be the effects. Warmer, wetter winters, hotter, drier summers. . .

Preparer les terrains de l’avinir – perpare the land for the future – Pasture to Profit posts:

“Preparer Les Terrains de L’Avenir”. My French friends will be amazed with my command of the french language but this is a very appropriate title for this week’s blog.
“Prepare the earth for the future” is the core element of a Sustainable Farming system. . .

Beef demand shows seasonal uptake in US at last – Tony Chaston writes:

Much of the demand for beef in the US is driven by the barbeque season and traditional holidays that allow consumers to enjoy this way of eating. After a slow wet spring, things have warmed up and demand is picking up again. Economic factors also influence, and the price of oil affects the household budget and can determine how much is left over for the higher priced cuts of beef.

NZ’s beef prospects and prices are heavily influenced by what happens in the US, with most of our manufacturing beef being consumed there. Our prime beef has many more outlets than that country alone, but US’s exporting power can influences our returns.

There’s money in manuka honey and trial aims to greatly increase it – Peter Kerr at Sciblogs:

There’s plenty of research on why manuka honey’s so useful from a medical and human health point of view.

Equally we understand bees pretty well.

The missing part of the puzzle, ironically, particularly as it is a plant that’s indigenous to New Zealand is how to best grow the native.

But a newly formed consortium, the Manuka Research Partnership (NZ) Ltd., along with well-known honey marketer Comvita Ltd., aims to change that.


Rural round-up

08/05/2011

 Go Mr McGill – rivettingKate Taylor writes:

Good news and another step up the politicial ladder for my friend Paul McGill.

 Current Nuffield Scholar, former Kellogg’s Scholar, convenor of this year’s Grand Final of The National Bank Young Farmer Contest in Masterton….. he’s now also president of Wairarapa Federated Farmers. . .

The price of milk – Claire Browning on food security:

The true price of milk is its cost, in distracting us from the bigger issue: what policy and regulation is needed, to secure quality food for ordinary — all — New Zealanders

Why assume milk guzzling is such a good thing? Why should it not cost, since it does? . .

Focus on farm jobs educators urged – Mark Hotton writes:

The public perception of agriculture and other primary industries must change to make them more attractive to Southland’s brightest young people, high school heads of department were told yesterday.

In a presentation designed to encourage teachers and career advisers to recommend careers in primary product industries to students, Lincoln University lecturer Dr Jon Hickford said Southland’s economy was heavily reliant on the rural sector so it was vital skilled people were being encouraged into the industry.

There was a real need to encourage young people into the sector because that was where the province’s wealth was being generated, he said.

Hat tip: Tony Chaston who wrote:

It is ironic this story broke on the same day the government announced a $55 million youth employment, and job training package aimed at building the skills of our young people for the future.

This site last year expressed concerns about lack of funding at Lincoln University to allow agricultural lecturers to properly cover the three areas of teaching, extension and research. Following  up on these issues it appears a significant turnaround has been achieved and new appointments should improve the quality of that service.Thats good news but how much of that $55million will be directed to agriculture I ask? . .

Red meat strategy shows a path to sustainable sector profitability – Beef+ Lamb NZ;

The Meat Industry Association (MIA) and Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) have today released the Red Meat Sector Strategy with the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon John Key and the Minister of Agriculture, the Hon David Carter. The strategy reflects broad recognition of the underlying challenges to the sector’s sustainable profitability, but also clearly identifies the opportunities for the sector to realise its full potential and continue to be a principal driver of New Zealand’s economy.

“While the sector currently generates nearly $8b annually in export earnings and forms the basis of the visual and social landscape of New Zealand, over time its profitability has been inconsistent and often unsatisfactory, as is reflected by conversion of sheep and beef farm land to other uses such as dairy farming and forestry,” said Mike Petersen, B+LNZ Chairman.

In this context, MIA and B+LNZ initiated the development of this sector strategy – with unprecedented input from the sector and underpinned by extensive data and in-depth analysis by Deloitte – to identify ways of achieving sustainable profitability and promote re-investment in the industry. . .

Largest in the world – from Rural News:

 THE NEWLY-OPENED New Zealand Ruminant Methane Measurement Centre (NZRMMC) is the largest purpose-built facility of its kind in the world.

Opened last week by Agriculture Minister David Carter the Palmerston North-based facility provides New Zealand scientists with an opportunity to accurately measure methane emissions from more than 25 ruminant animals at the same time. . .

Locals can’t rival Crafar bid – Richard Rennin in NZ Farmers Weekly writes:

Despite increased confidence in the dairy industry it looks unlikely individual sales of Crafar farm properties would raise more than if they are sold as one.

` The prospect of another Chinese company bidding for the 8000ha Crafar portfolio has had local farmers like Raetihi’s Gerry Dekker asking why the farms could not be sold off individually.

Dekker’s concerns, expressed in a letter to The New Zealand Farmers Weekly, have been echoed by Federated Farmers dairy head Lachlan McKenzie. . .

Farming families honoured – Helena de Reus writes:

Families who have owned the same farm for more than a century will be honoured at the New Zealand Century Farm Awards in Lawrence next Saturday.

Twenty-two families from around the country will attend the official function at the Simpson Park complex, with four receiving sesquicentennial awards (150 years). . .

Passion for High Country and painting – Sally Rae writes:

 High country artist Norman Sinclair is looking forward to a trip to the Waitaki Valley next week.

Not only is he having an exhibition at the Kurow Museum – coinciding with the South Island sheep dog trial championships at nearby Hakataramea – but he will also fit in some duck-shooting in the Hakataramea Valley. . .


Rural round-up

29/01/2011

Pied Pipers of Galapogos Sally Rae writes in the ODT:

Herbert couple John and Bruna Oakes have played a major role in helping protect the wildlife and plant life of the Galapagos Islands.

Mr and Mrs Oakes, who own Central South Island Helicopters, were approached to do some work for the Ecuadorian Government, due to their expertise in pest control. . . 

The golden shearer hits 70 – Colin Williscroft writes in the ODT:

When Brian “Snow” Quinn needs to shear his flock of about 400 ewes, he does most of the hard work himself, although he admits getting in some help when it is needed.

At 70, there is nothing wrong with that, he reckons.

In his heyday, of course, Mr Quinn was a champion shearer – a world champion at one stage – and today he is still hugely respected for his legacy, having won the Golden Shears competition in 1965, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1971 and 1972. . .

Only the tough survive the Wairere hills – Jon Morgan writes:

Asked to explain the key to being a successful sheep breeder, Derek Daniell thinks for a second or two, then smiles and says, “Well, to put it simply, it’s about tits and bums.”

He looks down the hill to a small group of two-tooth ewes hugging the shade of an overhanging bank and explains. “It’s tits because the ewes need to be good milkers and rear big lambs.” He points to the two-tooth rams on the hillside above him and adds, “And it’s bums because that’s where most of the meat is.”

 All sheep prices look good: Tony Chaston at Interest.co.nz writes:

With a picture telling “a thousand stories”, we thought it would be good to review where livestock commodity prices are at compared to the last 3 years by way of our charts.

The wool price rises are spectacular, with crossbred prices back to they were in the 80’s. And it may not be over yet with supply  restricted and no stocks in the pipeline.

 

Wools second auction of the year produced price rises that are unprecedented for decades.

The 6-13% rises for different wool classes lifted the indicator levels dramatically, especially for crossbred (44-49c) and lamb (61c) wools. . .

Rakaia sales show confidence – Tim Fulton writes in NZ Farmers Weekly:

Three years ago it felt like a struggle to get rid of them – now his top pen of store lambs has made $151 and owner Stuart Millar can’t help murmuring “it’s incredible”.

Millar, a champion sheepdog trialist, attributes the price shift to a massive shortage of sheep as dairy expansion and storm losses alter supply and demand for stock.

Flock numbers appeared to be well back on early-season estimates, Millar said following his family’s Suffolk and Perendale sale at Peak Hill.

Their offering of just over 2600 lambs averaged $100 as did another Gorge property Snowdon Station which sold 5400 Suffolk and Perendale lambs. . .

Works buyers breaking ranks – also in NZ Farmers Weekly:

With works struggling to find enough cattle some buyers are starting to break ranks and are competing for cattle by paying premium prices, PGG Wrightson agent Vaughan Vujcich said at the Kaikohe sale.
It was another strong market with 780 head on offer with prices for most of the store market on a par with the previous week which was already high. However, there were still increases for heavier, more forward cattle with schedule changes and a lack of prime cattle for killing.
The cattle market at Pukekohe was very strong with all classes being in very big demand, Chris Humphrey of Livestock Mart Auctions reported.
“This is a trend which looks to only get better as was predicted late last year as cattle numbers are very low in most sales and demand is huge. This will not change for a long time and this shortage of cattle is a real concern,” he said. . .

Confessions of a hunter-gatherer – Steve Wyn-Harris in the Farmer Weekly:

For many years at this time I’ve felt a martyr to the cause on behalf of this country’s export earnings, well at least from Hinerangi Road anyway.

I’d diligently keep slogging away except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day while all the neighbours, stock trucks and various reps magically disappear. The road becomes a sleepy quiet byway instead of its usual busy vein of commerce and frantic activity.

I wonder how others can be so organised at a busy time of the year or alternatively why I am not. . .


Rural round up

23/10/2010

The subheading on this blog is a rural perspective with a blue tint.

It’s often a lot more blue than rural (though the two aren’t mutually exclusive). I’ve decided to help rebalance that with ocassional posts linking to rural news and views, starting with these:

Sticky milk powder – Marcus Wilson at Sciblogs:

. . .   One of the most enjoyable talks was given by student Timothy Walmsley, concerning a study on the sticking of milk powder in spray dryers. To convert milk into powder form it is sprayed into a dryer; the milk solids remain and fall to the bottom but the water content is removed; the result is something that is easily packaged and transported. . .

Making Milking faster and easier:

DairyNZ has launched a programme for farmers aimed at improving the milk harvesting efficiency on New Zealand dairy farms.

“Milksmart is concerned not only with milking, but with the whole milk harvesting process, from collecting the cows from the paddock and milking, to clean-up and the return of the cows,” says DairyNZ Developer and project leader, Samantha Palmer.

The programme allows a farmer to complete a comprehensive self-assessment of the milk harvesting operation and then compare their performance against other farmers.

“The smallest change in the dairy shed can stack up to important savings in both time and costs over a whole season,” says Samantha.

More on this can be found at Milksmart.

What’s going on at New Zealand’s specialist land based university? – Tony Chaston queries Lincoln’s priorities and future:

High quality agricultural education is  needed to grow the rural economy into the future. In my opinion Lincoln University lost its way over the last 20 years focusing on “buying students” in many areas of education, just to survive, rather than focus on agriculture.

The Rural Recovery Group, set up in after the Canterbury earthquake is finding rural issues are starting to emerge:

Farmers had been downplaying damage, particularly as their counterparts in Southland and the North Island were struggling after recent snowstorms. The Group heard that because of those events, people were holding off on putting claims in. Rural Recovery Group co-ordinator Allan Baird urged them to register damage as soon as possible.

Selwyn District Council Recovery Welfare Manager Diane Chesmar said there had been a small number of Red Cross applications from the Selwyn district and some inquiries about emotional support.

“We understand that in this type of event the bulk of the social needs come three months after the event.”

Zespri lifts forecast payment to growers:

In the latest forecast from kiwifruit marketer ZESPRI, average fruit and service payments for kiwifruit growers are set to increase by $13.7 million or $0.15 per tray on last season.

ZESPRI’s Director of Corporate and Grower Services, Carol Ward, said: “Market returns this season are up on last year and reflect strong consumer demand for ZESPRI Kiwifruit. However we are still facing challenging market conditions as the global economy emerges from the recession, with Japan and East Asia recovering more quickly than Europe and North America.”

2011Nuffield Scholars to investigate Asian markets:

David Campbell is currently Livestock Productivity Manager and Project Leader ‘Special Milks’ for Synlait Farms Limited in Canterbury. . .

Nicola Waugh is another graduate of Massey University. She is currently employed by AgFirst Waikato Ltd as an agricultural consultant. . .

High accolade for high country leader:

John Brakenridge, Chief Executive of The New Zealand Merino Company Limited (NZM) has scooped the coveted ‘outstanding international business leader’ award at the New Zealand International Business Awards. 


%d bloggers like this: