Rural round-up

November 11, 2015

Push for Fonterra board cut takes to road

The board of New Zealand’s biggest company is not the place to learn how to be a director, says an advocate of cutting Fonterra’s board size to improve performance.

Former Fonterra director Colin Armer told about 30 farmer-shareholders at Tatuanui, Waikato that the Fonterra board should not be a “training ground” for “junior directors”. 

Aspiring farmer directors needed to come to the board having had commercial governance experience “outside – not through the (Fonterra) shareholders’ council”, said the large-scale dairying businessman.

Armer and former Fonterra deputy chairman Greg Gent are meeting shareholders who want to hear more about their call for voter support at this month’s Fonterra annual meeting for their resolution to reduce board members from 13 to nine. . . 

Drone technology makes mustering easy in North Otago – Daisy Hudson:

A North Otago couple have taken to the skies with a revolutionary new method of herding stock on their Kurow farm.

Janina and Justin Slee are using a drone to muster hard-to-reach cattle on their property near Mount Domett, and the technology has revolutionised the way they operate their farm.

After hearing about the drone at a show in Wanaka about six months ago, the couple decided to bite the bullet and try the technology on their own farm. . . 

Conservation ‘cornerstone’ of tourism – Stacey Bryant:

Southern tourism operator Real Journeys won a Conservation Week Award for protecting the kakapo and whio (blue duck) and also ridding the Walter Peak area of wilding pines and restoring land. Commercial director talks to Stacey Bryant.

What is it about conservation work that got your company interested and continues to interest it?

In the 61 years that Real Journeys has been operating, conservation work has always interested us.

Real Journeys founder Les Hutchins made the now famous quote (back in 1998): ”Today I am more convinced than ever before that conservation is the real cornerstone of New Zealand’s tourism industry. Tourism and conservation need each other for mutual survival and the right direction to go is to take more notice of conservation issues, not less.” . . .

Making it sexy – David Anderson:

The Government has set a target to increase the value of New Zealand’s food sector exports from $25 billion to $60b, meaning there will be an additional 50,000 jobs in the primary sector by 2025.

What must we do to encourage NZ’s best and brightest to look to the primary sector for a career?

According to John Brackenridge, the head of Merino New Zealand and the leader of the chief executives’ agri-bootcamp scheme that takes industry high-flyers to the United States, the current messaging aimed at attracting young people into the agri sector is unappealing and the wrong people are involved in that messaging. . . .

Get ready for the big dry:

Vets are encouraging farmers to prepare for a dry summer and to figure out how best to manage livestock through this time.

The NZ Veterinary Association (NZVA) says forecasters are predicting that the already strong El Nino conditions of spring 2015 will continue over summer and into autumn 2016 and it could rank amongst the four strongest El Nino events recorded along with 1972-73, 1982-83 and 1997-98.

“During El Nino NZ tends to experience stronger or more frequent winds from the west in summer, leading to drier conditions in the north and east, and more rain in the west,” it warns. . . 

What Indonesia wants – Melissa Aisthorpe:

INDONESIA’S growing demand for food imports holds much opportunity for Australian exporters beyond the cattle industry.

The real value of agrifood consumption in Indonesia is projected to quadruple between 2009 and 2050, on the back of expected sustained economic growth, population increase and continued urbanisation.

That’s according to a new report, What Indonesia wants: Analysis of Indonesia’s food demand to 2050 from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Science (ABARES). The report is set to be discussed at the 19th Indonesia–Australia Working Group on Agriculture, Food and Forestry Cooperation this week. . .

 


Rural round-up

February 6, 2015

Project to reduce nitrate levels in Ashburton:

A project looking to reduce nitrate levels in groundwater around Ashburton is underway.

The Hinds Drains working party was exploring ways to address what it said were consistently high levels of nitrates in the lower Hinds Plains’ groundwater.

The working party was helping the Ashburton Zone Committee, which was responsible for local water management, with recommendations on minimum flows and water allocations.

Committee chair Donna Field said a Managed Aquifer Recharge, or MAR, project was being explored to manage declining water quality and quantity in the catchment. . .

Delays at slaughter houses:

Dry conditions throughout much of the country means some cockies are now facing long waits to get their stock slaughtered, a Hawkes Bay farmer says.

Federated Farmers Hawkes Bay president Will Foley said the long delays were piling more pressure on farmers who were trying to offload stock.

Mr Foley said huge stock numbers were being sent to the meat works and that was creating a big backlog. . .

ANZ AgriFocus forecasts farmgate milk price of $4.50-to-$4.70/kgMS – Fiona Rotheram:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s farmgate milk price may be $4.50-to-$4.70 per kilogram of milk solids for the 2014/2015 season with dairy incomes a key downside risk for the economy, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group’s AgriFocus report says.

That compares with the AgriHQ seasonal farmgate milk price of $4.55/kgMS and Fonterra Cooperative Group’s December forecast of $4.70/kgMS, which was down 60 cents on its earlier estimate following a halving of dairy prices during the season.

In its latest Agri Focus report, the bank’s economists said this week’s GlobalDairyTrade auction, which led to a larger-than-expected jump in the price of whole milk powder to US$3,042 per tonne from US$2,758 two weeks ago, suggests the tide has turned for dairy prices. The question is whether the bounce will be strong enough to ward off further cuts in the 2014/2015 outlook. . .

 

Minimal impact to farm price values from falling commodity price index:

A drop in the latest primary produce commodity price index will have little effect on the valuation matrices many farmers will use for base data when calculating their potential rural property purchasing levels, according to a senior figurehead in the real estate industry.

The latest ANZ Commodity Price Index released this week recorded an overall 0.9 percent fall in January – the 11th consecutive monthly decrease in the index, which is now down some 18.8 percent over the past 12 months. . .

Walter Peak Land Restoration Project:

Real Journeys is embarking on large scale restoration of its land at Walter Peak to ensure visitors continue to have an authentically New Zealand experience.

Almost 90 hectares of wilding Douglas Fir will be removed by logging or spraying (around 40 hectares of the area consists of dense trees – the rest are scattered) in partnership with the Wakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group (WCCG) and Department of Conservation. A further 30 hectares of land will be cleared of invasive weeds such as broom, gorse and hawthorne.

Commercial Director, Tony McQuilkin is behind the move, which he says is both exciting and necessary for a company with a proud tradition in conservation and as a responsible landowner. (Real Journeys purchased 155 hectares at Walter Peak in December 2013.) . . .

 

 


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