Rural round-up

10/08/2016

Dairy downturn has a $1.3b impact on Waikato/Bay of Plenty farmers – Gerald Piddock:

The dairy slump has ripped more than a billion out of Waikato and Bay of Plenty farmers’ pockets, new figures show.

Farm consultancy group AgFirst’s 2016 Financial Survey shows the average dairy farmer’s net cash income was down $273,000 last season.

When multiplied by the region’s 4800 dairy farms, that’s $1.3b in lost income.

The big question was how much longer farmers could maintain the current situation where they had drastically reduced expenditure, AgFirst consultant Phil Journeaux said. . . 

Wintry blast hits farmers hard – Matt Shand:

The milking shed has frozen shut at Taharua Valley Farm as 200 dairy cows huddle together waiting for the problem to be fixed.

At 783 metres above sea level, the 2000-cow PenXing Group Milk New Zealand farm is one of the hardest hit by the recent snowstorm. Just over 100 metres lower in Taupo, the snow was a fun novelty. But here it is causing serious challenges. 

There is no such thing as time off for farmers and farmhands. Hot water and heaters are used to help thaw the shed out so it can hopefully milk animals tonight.  . . 

The snow has come again – Keith Woodford:

Every year we all talk about the weather and how fickle it is.  This year is no different. In most parts of the country, June and July were unseasonably warm.  Where I am in Canterbury, winter grass growth has possibly been higher than ever before.  Grass covers at the start of August were excellent.

In contrast, last year was one of the coldest winters on record, with many South Island farms getting no net growth in June and July.   That year, there was a string of southerlies, whereas this year warm winds were blowing over the Alps. . . 

MPI investigators target alleged unregulated meat sales:

A team of Ministry for Primary Industries investigators today executed a search warrant at an alleged unregulated meat premises in Turangi.

This was the culmination of a six month undercover operation involving the purchase of considerable quantities of venison, lamb and pork products from a local Turangi man.

The man is now being spoken to by MPI investigators in relation to the alleged sale of meat from an unregulated premises.

MPI Compliance Operations Manager, Gary Orr, says a decision will be made shortly as to whether charges will be laid under the Animal Products Act. . . 

Profit jumps for New Zealand’s leading fresh produce exporter :

Turners & Growers Global has posted an 89 percent gain in first-half profit driven by sales from new and existing businesses and a one-time gain from the sale of its crate hire unit.

The fruit marketer is controlled by Germany’s BayWa but is Auckland based. Their product base includes apples, pears, mandarins, coconuts and kiwifruit.

T&G profit rose to $22.7 million, or 18.2 cents a share in the six months ended June 30, from $12m, or 9.8 cents, a year earlier. Sales rose 14 percent to $423m. . . 

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council to get clearer mandate – Paul McBeth

(BusinessDesk) – The Fonterra Shareholders’ Council, which represents farmer interests in the world’s biggest dairy exporter, is poised for a refreshed mandate with clearer guidelines on how it interacts with the milk processor.

The council and Fonterra Cooperative Group are seeking feedback from farmers on a series of proposals to update the group’s governance to make the council’s role clearer, explain how it works with Fonterra’s board and management, and improve communication with farmer shareholders. Farmers are expected to vote on any changes to the council’s governance at a special meeting in mid-October. . . 

One of the worlds’ most respected wine consultants appointed to NZ’s boutique vineyard Chateau Waimarama:

After an extensive international search, award winning boutique vineyard Chateau Waimarama, has lured leading Bordeaux wine consultant Ludwig Vanneron half way across the world to be its wine specialist.

Ludwig Vannerons’ stellar career has seen him work in prestigious and major wine areas of Bordeaux, managing the winemaking process in estates from small chateau Bordeaux appellation properties to great classified growths. . . 


Rural round-up

12/09/2014

Coasters nervous about a dry start to spring:

Nervous West Coast farmers are hoping meteorologists are right that a rainmaker is close at hand, with no more than 1 millilitre (mls) falling at Westport over the past 23 days.

“This is the driest start to spring in some years,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers West Coast Provincial President.

“Apparently a dry spell is 15 consecutive days with less than one millilitre of rainfall and the South Island has been very dry. Heck, even Milford Sound has been dry for going on 22 days.

“Speaking to the guys at MetService, they say it is down to a persistent high, which has been sitting out to the west that’s meandering its way across the country. . .

 

Turners & Growers enters Chilean JV to grow grapes for first time – Suze Metherell:

 (BusinessDesk) – Turners & Growers, the fruit marketer majority owned by Germany’s BayWa, has entered a joint venture with Unifrutti Chile to grow and export Peruvian grapes.

The joint venture with Italian-owned, Chile-based Unifrutti builds on an existing export relationship with T&G, and is the Auckland-based company’s first foray into grape growing. T&G didn’t disclose any financial details surrounding the deal, saying it will begin planting in Peru later this year with first commercial volumes harvested in late 2015.

T&G’s Delica business already exports grapes and has existing operations in South America, though those haven’t extended to grape growing before. The company already had a commercial relationship with Unifrutti, which is ultimately owned by the Italy-based De Nada International Group, according to its website. . .

Waikato Sharemilkers Enjoy Benefits of Farm Environment Competition:

Entering the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards was a great way for Matamata sharemilkers Phil and Kim Dykzeul to find out how their operation stacked up in terms of environmental sustainability.

The Dykzeuls, who 50:50 sharemilk 200 cows on 83ha owned by Richard and Pauline Kean, were thrilled to win three category awards in the 2014 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA), including the LIC Dairy Farm Award.

“We were over the moon to win three awards in our first time in the competition,” says Phil. . .

 Important season for black-grass eradication:

With the second season of black-grass operations about to begin, continued vigilance this spring and summer will be crucial to stop the noxious weed from establishing in Mid-Canterbury, says the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

MPI, supported by industry partners, began a black-grass response following spillage of contaminated seed from a truck travelling between Ashburton and Methven in July last year.

“We didn’t find any black-grass last season and are confident that if it were there the operations team would have found it,” says MPI Response Manager Brad Chandler.

“However, we are also very conscious that if there is any chance of black-grass appearing, it is most likely to show its face this season. So everyone involved, including the public, needs to remain particularly vigilant and keep a lookout.” . . .

Live Lobsters Fly to Export Success:

An increasing volume of valuable export earnings are being generated by the Fiordland Lobster Company (FLC), following its successful pioneering of the live lobster export industry over the past 25 years.

Now exporting about over 800 tonnes of the Kiwi Lobster-branded product (officially known as Jasus edwardsii lobster) each year, the firm’s achievements have been founded on efficient air freight and a well-oiled logistics operation, says FLC group general manager sales and marketing David Prendergast.

“This lobster is considered the sweetest tasting and most succulent variety available and is highly sought after in Asia, where it is the lobster of choice,” he says. . . .

 

 Wool Market Makes Gains:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s Marketing Executive, Mr Paul Steel reports that at today’s South Island sale there were market gains of up to 2 percent on the back of recent business concluded mainly with Chinese interests.

A limited Merino offering saw best top making types slightly in buyers favour and poorer styles mixed and irregular.

Mid Micron wools when compared to the last South Island sale on the 28th August generally made small gains. 24.5 and 25 micron were firm, 25.5 to 26.5 and 29 to 30.5 micron were 1 to 2 percent dearer while 27 to 28.5 micron were buyers favour. . . .


Rural round-up

04/04/2014

Fonterra Australia and Woolworths announce proposed new 10 year milk partnership for Victoria:

Fonterra Australia and Woolworths today announced that Fonterra Australia has been selected as the preferred supplier to process Woolworths Own Brand milk in Victoria for the next 10 years in a deal that is great for customers and farmers. The proposed long-term arrangement will give farmers certainty that will allow them to invest in their businesses with the confidence that they have a guaranteed buyer for their milk. Woolworths existing contracts were for a period of one year.

It also means that all Woolworths Own Brand milk sold in Victoria will be made and processed in Victoria, supporting local farmers and jobs in regional communities. . .

Farmers told to talk through differences – :

Environment Canterbury boss Dame Margaret Bazley says she is committed to working with farmers to resolve issues with the recently notified Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan.

“I think if you don’t get any other message from me, just know that we at ECan are absolutely committed to working with you to get a solution to these things,” she told high country farmers at a Federated Farmers field day in the Mackenzie Country.

She said the Government’s national policy statement for freshwater required all regional councils to set water quality limits and to have a process and timeframe to achieve that. . . .

Simpler Compliance needed – James Houghton:

Last week I was in the midst of New Zealand’s High Country, watching my son row in the Maadi Cup Regatta. As a Waikato dairy farmer in the midst of a drought, I drew some surprising parallels from the iconic landscape to Waikato’s usually lush pastures back home.

Driving through the vast barren landscape, with sleet coming at us horizontally, you cannot avoid the conclusion that the High Country farmers here in the South Island must be made of some hard stuff.  To farm down here is certainly not for the faint hearted, and requires big thinkers who can innovate the land into a viable business. Through the Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998, High Country farmers have effectively lost the grazing rights to the top 60 percent of the Crown’s land to conservation, so the need for water has become a much more pressing issue. They need water to negotiate their farm through the loss in feed, another similarity we are also experiencing in the Waikato right now with our second drought in two years. . .

High Court rejects kiwifruit growers’ claim – Niko Kloeten:

Disgruntled kiwifruit growers have taken the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) to court over the performance of a German company that owns Turners & Growers.

But a High Court judge has rejected their challenge to the OIO’s view that German company BayWa, which now owns 73 per cent of listed fruit and vegetable marketer Turners & Growers, had fulfilled its consent conditions.

The OIO, which is an arm of Land Information New Zealand, approved BayWa’s takeover of Turners & Growers in 2012. . .

Change aplenty on FarmIQ demonstration farm:

BEEF COWS are out, dairy grazers in and ewe condition a priority on the first FarmIQ demonstration farm to hold a field day this autumn.

“Historically a lot of emphasis went on fattening lambs,” Duncan Mackintosh of White Rock Mains told a field day audience of about 30 farmers and industry representatives late last month.

With hindsight, some of that was at the expense of ewe condition. Now, they routinely condition score the flock when yarded for other operations. . .

Body language can cause confusion – Anna Holland:

THERE SEEMS to be some confusion out there reading dog body language. 

 A couple of people who had watched a DVD about dog training remarked to me that the dogs looked scared of the trainer. I hadn’t seen it so couldn’t comment however I have since seen the DVD and I don’t think the dogs are scared.

Also, at my training days, I have had people remark that the dogs I am demonstrating with have their tails between their legs. It seems to concern the person more than the dog. Why?


Not a problem?

04/06/2013

Turners & Growers, the fruit marketer controlled by Germany’s BayWa Aktiengellschaft, has bought the 30 percent in specialist producer exporter Delica it didn’t already own from managers for $25.8 million.

. . . Delica was set up in 1994 to sell citrus, cherries, asparagus and berry fruit. It formed a joint venture with Turners & Growers in 2007.

The purchase price entails $17.5 million upfront and four payments of about $2.06 million over the next four years. The company hired an independent valuer to give a valuation range for the business, it said.

Buying Delica is part of the company’s strategy “to grow its trading business ton and within Asia, further develop the global trading capability of Turners & Growers and to rationalise operating costs for the benefit of New Zealand,” chairman Sir John Anderson said in a statement. . .

I don’t have a problem with overseas investment but some xenophobes do yet there hasn’t been a peep about this from the usual suspects.

Is it that they see a difference between selling produce and the land on which the produce is grown, or is it the nationality of the purchases which means they don’t have a problem with this sale.


Rural round-up

02/04/2013

‘Inspiring’ kiwi landscape in the blood decades on

Life is still a laugh for 88-year-old environmentalist Gordon Stephenson.

While he was “gobsmacked” to learn that Waikato University wanted to bestow its highest honour on his shoulders, he isn’t above making light of it.

“What do I do in public when somebody says is there a doctor in the house, please?”

“Yes,” he says with a laugh, “that is worrying me.”

But on that score there’s still time up his sleeve – April 16 is the day Mr Stephenson will receive his honorary doctorate at Claudelands Events Centre for his lengthy and ongoing contribution to the environment. . .

Dyed in the wool innovation partners to go global – Peter Kerr:

The time it takes to convert a good idea into something that another person’s willing to buy is almost invariably longer than you think.

A couple of years ago, sticK reported on BGI Developments’ winning the right to commercialise AgResearch’s new textile fabric dyeing process.

The beauty of this process is different dye colours don’t bleed into each other – the picture or pattern remains sharp and embedded in the fabric (unlike say printing on top of a T-shirt for example).

BGI (stands for Bloody Good Ideas) directors Robyn George-Neich and Brent Gregory have spent part of the past two years looking for the right company to take the technology to the global market. . .

Time to shore-up water supplies for the future – Terri Russell:

Southland river levels are the lowest they have been for years. Environment Southland has stopped some farmers from irrigating. No significant rain is in sight. Terri Russell talks to industry experts to find out what is being done to help future-proof the agricultural industry in times of a changing climate.

From flooding in January to a prolonged dry period, the Southland Federated Farmers boss says it is time to look at water storage options for the future.

MetService duty forecaster Ian Gall said parts of Southland were forecast to receive about 10mm to 15mm of rain yesterday but there would be no more significant rain before the end of the week. . .

Orchard optimism follows tough times – Peter Watson:

Turners & Growers has had to make big writedowns in the value of its Nelson orchards for the second consecutive year, but chief executive Geoff Hipkins hopes they are at an end, with market prospects looking brighter.

Bruised by $29 million in asset writedowns, the fruit and vegetables marketer posted a full-year loss of $15.3m for 2012.

The loss, although deep, was an improvement on the previous year’s $18.9m deficit, also a result of asset writedowns, and better than the $16m to $19m loss it forecast in December. . .

Ballance Farm Award finalists chosen – Sally Rae:

The finalists have been selected for the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

There were 10 entries in the awards, which were judged by Matt Harcombe, Andrea Ludemann, Bernard Lynch and John Barkla.

The winners will be announced at an awards dinner to be held at The Venue in Wanaka on Friday, April 12. . .

Venison gets exposure:

The deer industry has just hosted four young German chefs and eight German journalists to New Zealand, to learn more about farmed venison here.

Manager for Deer Industry New Zealand, Innes Moffat, said the aim was to enthuse them about farm-raised venison and develop relationships with these influential people within German cuisine.

“Some of the feedback from both the young chefs and journalists reveals that there is an ongoing need to improve the level of understanding of how NZ venison is grown and how it can be prepared.” . .

Technology important part of farming – Terri Russell:

New Zealand dairy farmer co- operative LIC delivered its farmer workshops in Southland and Otago. 

Last week sessions were held in Gore, Invercargill and Balclutha as part of a series of workshops throughout the country. It provided dairy farmers with the knowledge to plan and record drying- off of cows and and the culling of cows.

There were two sessions on how to enter and access data in MINDApro, a herd management software program, and a more advanced session on how to produce more tailored reports using the program. . .

Agland goes to market:

A $150 million-plus portfolio of Australian agricultural land, including the remaining PrimeAg Australia assets, is being offered to institutional investors just as they start to show greater enthusiasm for the alternative asset class.

Last week the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, one of the world’s largest pension funds, said it planned to start buying Australian farmland.

That follows two Swedish pension funds known as ­AP-fonden, the Michigan Municipal Employees’ Retirement System, US-based fund manager TIAA CREF and the Qatar Investment Authority buying Australian ­agricultural land in the past 12 to 18 months. . .


Rural round-up

28/10/2012

Fonterra to sell up to $525m of units at indicative price of $4.60-$5.50, accounting for 7% of shares:

The Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund will raise as much as $525 million selling shares in an indicative price range of $4.60 to $5.50 apiece, giving outside investors exposure to up to 7 percent of the dairy cooperative’s equity, offer documents show.

The final price will be set by a bookbuild among institutions and NZX firms on about Nov. 27.

Fonterra unveiled the prospectus for the fund aimed at providing liquidity for the Trading Among Shareholders scheme, one of the biggest overhauls of the dairy giant’s capital structure since its inception in 2001. . .

Rural pulse a worry in National bank confidence survey:

The agriculture sector is the least confident in the October National Bank Business Outlook which shows overall business confidence flat-lining.

A net 17 percent of respondents expect business conditions to improve in the year ahead, unchanged from last month. A net 25 percent in the agriculture sector are pessimistic, the lowest reading in the survey.

“The agriculture sector is the nucleus of our income generating capacity. So when the rural pulse keeps getting weaker we take note,” chief economist Cameron Bagrie said in his report.

Sentiment in the agriculture sector has been sliding for months because of the high New Zealand dollar, a lower dairy payout, nervousness about environment regulation and the leveling out of a production boost from good weather, he said. . .

Turners and Growers pulls out kiwifruit vines near Kerikeri:

Turners & Growers is removing about 20 hectares of kiwifruit orchards in the Kerikeri area after the bacterial vine disease Psa-V was detected on a single male “baker graft” vine in one of its orchards in the area.

Kiwifruit Vine Health has established a controlled area, which includes 102 orchards in the region.

Kerikeri is the eleventh region to be infected since PSA was first discovered in New Zealand two years ago. . .


Turkeys make NZ look Mickey Mouse

22/08/2012

If you listen to opponents to foreign investment in New Zealand you could be forgiven for thinking the Overseas Investment Office is merely a rubber stamp for anyone with a whim to buy land or  a business here.

It’s far from easy and from the applicant’s side the Wellington turkeys make New Zealand look Mickey Mouse:

THE IMAGE presented by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) and the Crafar Farms situation made New Zealand look like “Mickey Mouse turkeys” to German company BayWa, says Geoff Hipkins, the new chief executive of Turners & Growers (T&G).  

As BayWa went through processes of buying the major shareholding in T&G, Hipkins says its impression of the OIO was of a huge government department “all-powerful and telling the world what to do”.

“They didn’t believe me when I said it is actually four people stuck in the bowels of the Land Transfer Department, snowed under because they had this issue re Crafar Farms; that’s why [BayWa’s] case had been delayed,” Hipkins told the HortNZ conference in Auckland.

“They all looked at me and virtually said to a man, ‘b****’. They couldn’t believe our foreign investment was controlled by such an august group.

“Then you throw in the Crafar farm situation, where you have the judiciary changing the rules of the game with five minutes to play. They couldn’t understand that situation. You try to explain that to people wanting to spend hundreds of billions in this country.

“We really looked like Mickey Mouse turkeys and that is the only way I can explain it. The question was asked, ‘Is it because we are German?’ That was quite literally the thought going through the BayWa executives’ minds.” . . .

A friend who manages a farming company owned by overseas interests tells me a similar story.

Getting approval for purchases – even if it is using money gained from selling another farm in New Zealand – is a long, complicated,  frustrating and very expensive process.

He says it wasn’t the fault of the people he was dealing with. They administer the law but they don’t make it and contrary to what the xenophobes would have us believe, successive governments have made it harder.


Rural round-up

07/08/2012

Visit highlights ‘extraordinary opportunities’: Sally Rae:

Anna Campbell has returned from a recent trip to China buoyed by the opportunities that she saw for New Zealand’s red-meat sector.   

Dr Campbell, a consultant at AbacusBio in Dunedin, described those opportunities as “extraordinary”.   

She was in China for two weeks, firstly attending a Harvard agribusiness course in Shanghai focused around global agribusiness opportunities, which attracted 60 people from around the world, although she was one of only four women. . .

Fonterra election now wide open – Hugh Stringleman:

The shock resignation of Fonterra director Colin Armer has thrown the forthcoming election for farmer directors of the huge co-operative wide open.

Anti Trading Among Farmers group Our Co-op has confirmed it will stand a candidate in what is expected to be a crowded field. It has not yet decided who . . .

People key to success of agri-food plan – Jon Morgan:

    It would be easy to pooh-pooh the latest strategic plan for agriculture. After all, it follows at least 10 others in recent history, all of which have made little or no impact. 

    This one comes from the Riddet Institute, a bunch of university and government scientists, and is the work of a Thought Leadership Team – a name evocative of ivory towers. 

    But to accept that this plan hasn’t a chance is to give up, admit that the task of harnessing the wonderful potential of the agriculture and food sector is beyond us. . .

Call to Arms to treble agri-food turnover – Allan Barber:

The Riddet Institute, a partnership of five organisations, The University of Auckland, AgResearch, Plant & Food Research, Massey University, and the University of Otago, encompasses the entire New Zealand science sector.

 In its report A Call to Arms launched last week, it challenges New Zealand’s agri-foods sector to take the steps needed to realise its potential which the Government’s Economic Growth Agenda estimates should treble to about $60 billion by 2025. This demands a compound annual growth rate of 7% which, when compared to the present rate of 3%, is a daunting task, unless some truly revolutionary thinking and, more important, action occur very soon. . .

Turners & Growers lifts first-half profit 2.2% to $7.1m:

Turners & Growers said first-half net profit rose 2.2 percent to $7.1 million but didn’t provide any other details.

The fresh produce company said it will release the details of its results for the six months ended June 30 by August 17, as “required by listing rule 10.4.” . . .

2013 Ballance Awards new category energy efficient farming:

The 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards will feature a new category award that rewards energy-efficient farming.

This award is sponsored by New Zealand’s largest renewable energy generator, Meridian Energy.

The New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust, which administers the annual competition, has welcomed Meridian to the sponsorship family.

NZFE chairman Jim Cotman says the Trust identified the need for an energy award some time ago. . .

Free range hen farm to expand:

A $2 million expansion at the largest free-range poultry farm  in New Zealand will house another 16,000 hens on the property at Glenpark, near Palmerston.   

The 77ha site already has 48,000 Shaver hens, Mainland Poultry general manager for sales and marketing Hamish Sutherland said.   

When the free-range poultry farm opened in 2002, expansion was promised as the free-range market grew. . .

Overseer upgrade released:

Farmers and growers are being offered an enhanced tool to help them use nutrients efficiently.

The owners of the OVERSEER® Nutrient Budgets software are releasing a major upgrade today.

Overseer is available free of charge through a partnership between the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand and AgResearch.

The upgrade to Overseer Version 6 reflects user feedback on previous versions says Mark Shepherd of AgResearch, the Overseer technical team leader. . .


Rural round-up

04/04/2012

All hands on deck to restore the waterway

The Waihopai River is suffering from severe sedimentation. What is being done to bring the Southland waterway back to better health? Shawn McAvinue reports.

Eels and freshwater crayfish from the Waihopai River in Woodlands were fair game for Mike Knight when he was 12.

Now 33, he wants the river to remain a happy hunting ground for his three children.

So 11 days ago, the former Woodlands School pupil rallied the whole school to plant 230 trees across half a hectare of the 256ha of dairy farm where he and his wife Vicki contract milk 700 cows. . .

Scary’ One Plan faces appeal – Jill Galloway:

Federated Farmers national dairy vice-chairman and Manawatu dairy farmer Andrew Hoggard says the One Plan has been “scary” for dairy farmers.

Federated Farmers is appealing parts of the One Plan to the Environment Court.

The plan is an environmental blueprint for water, land, biodiversity and air, with all consents for farmers rolled into one.

Horizons Regional Council said most of the outstanding issues were resolved at mediation. But in regards to water, there were still outstanding nutrient management problems and land management issues, such as the regulation of dairy farming and intensive farming activities, which were going to the Environment Court.

Mr Hoggard said when the One Plan was first discussed in 2005, dairy farmers thought it would be a non-regulatory approach, so they were “OK” about it. . . .

Migrants guides soften shock – Sally Rae:

Two new guides to help migrant dairy workers and their employers work together more successfully have been launched.   

 There are now about 1500 migrant dairy workers in the country, making up 6% of the workforce, with the majority from the Philippines.   

Demand had increased in recent years, as it had proved difficult to attract and retain local workers in some parts      of rural New Zealand, Immigration and Associate Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said .   . .

1986 winner says contest fantastic – Sally Rae:

Russell Whyte knows exactly the pressure the seven grand    finalists in the National Bank Young Farmer Contest will be    feeling when they arrive in Dunedin this month.   

Mr Whyte, now living in Christchurch, won the Young Farmer of      the Year title back in 1986 – the last time Dunedin hosted      the grand final.   

He described it as a “fantastic” experience, which was  followed by an “amazing opportunity” to travel to the UK, as      part of the prize package, which also included a tractor and  motorbike.   . .

Mill links paddock, plate – Gerald Piddock:

Plans for a new flour mill in Washdyke will give Canterbury grain growers control and opportunities to add value to their product.

The mill is being built by Farmers Mill, a new company set up by South Canterbury grain storage company Grainstor.

General manager Dave Howell said it was thought to be the first new mill built in New Zealand in 25 years.

It will be a showcase with state-of-the-art equipment not seen before in New Zealand, designed to mill soft wheat to a higher standard than some older equipment.

It will produce premium biscuit, baking and bread flours to the specifications of high-end customers.

“There are no New Zealand-owned mills and we wanted to have some control and add value over our own product that we grow,” Mr Howell said. . .

Shrek: the next generation – Matthew Littlewood:

WOOLLY WANDERERS: This merino pair, dubbed “Shrek’s cousins”, were discovered near the bottom of Ferintosh Station about a fortnight ago. While one has since been shorn, the other will be losing his fleece at the Mackenzie Highland Show on Easter Monday.

Ferintosh Station are making sure that two of their residents do not have the wool pulled over their eyes.

Pastoral lease-holders Marion and Gilbert Seymour spotted two wandering merinos near the bottom of the station about a fortnight ago.

It appeared that neither of them had been shorn in nearly seven years.

“We knew they were around somewhere, but we managed to capture them only recently,” Mrs Seymour said.

“They were quite docile, and couldn’t move very fast, because they were carrying a lot of wool.”

Mr Seymour, who is in his 80s, has already given one of the pair a decent haircut, but its mate will go under the clippers at the Mackenzie Highland Show in Fairlie on Easter Monday. . .

Argentines embrace change – Shawn McAvinue:

Are success and happiness possible in the Southland dairy industry? Shawn McAvinue talks to a 2012 Dairy New Zealand Dairy Awards finalist who’s working hard to achieve both.

When Argentine Leo Pekar and his partner Maricel Prado arrived in Southland 10 years ago to work on a dairy farm, they were welcomed with two months of solid rain. But the New Zealand Dairy Awards regional finalist wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

When they arrived in March 2002, they had little money and only thin PVC jackets to protect them from the heavy rain.

“I would get up at 4.30[am] and think, `what am I doing here’?”

The 35-year-old admitted he was not a morning person but his goals got him out of bed. . .

Grape crop down but hopes high – Gerald Piddock:

Waitaki winemakers will have a later than usual harvest this year after enduring a cold wet summer.

From late January in the Waitaki, it turned into a cold summer, making it a very difficult season for wine growers within the region, Waitaki Valley Wine Growers Association chairman Jim Jerram said.

It was a late harvest in wine producing regions across the country and the Waitaki was no exception.

“It was one of the coldest February’s on record and there was not a lot of sun.

“That has been the case for the whole eastern side of the country.”

Grape harvesting usually takes place in late April-mid May in the Waitaki. . .

Leadership lessons – Shawn McAvinue:

A free rural leadership course is set to give priceless results to the future leaders of the Southland rural sector.

Farmers Mutual Group Gore rural manager Sharon Paterson said she enrolled in the 2011 Generate rural leadership course to gain confidence.

She sells insurance for FMG in Gore and lacked confidence when cold-calling potential customers.

“Although I looked confident, I lacked a lot underneath. Now I just waltz up anyone’s drive to talk about insurance.” . . .

Onion harvest hit hard – Gerald Piddock:

Central Canterbury onion growers will have one of the worst harvests in 10 years.

The cold wet summer has slashed yields and delayed getting the crop off the ground.

Levels potato and onion grower Tony Howey said the poor crop along with the falling international markets made it a season for him to forget.

“About three years out of five you have a bad year, about two years out of five you might have a good year and probably once every 10 years you have a disaster, and this is that year.”

Trees on farms – exploring hill country options:

Following successful workshops in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay, the next Trees on Farms workshop will be held on the King Country property of Barrie and Jude Tatham, and will explore the role of trees in hill country farm management, particularly in marginal or less productive areas.

Barrie and Jude own a 500 ha drystock farm near Piopio, which they operate in a share-farming arrangement with Kieran and Shona Bradley, running cattle, dairy grazers and sheep. The Tathams are previous Waikato Farm Environment Award winners, and their farm is notable for the diversity of species they have planted for nutrient buffering, stock shade and beautification. . .

Farmers getting better at growing meatier lambs:

Initial results from a large-scale meat testing programme show New Zealand farmers are getting better at producing the sorts of lambs that overseas customers are looking for.

The testing programme is part of the Farm IQ project, a joint venture involving Silver Fern Farms, Landcorp and PGG Wrightson.

The seven year sheep, cattle and deer research programme aims to turn the red meat industry’s traditional production-led approach into one that is market-led and focused on consumer needs.

DairyNZ urges farmers to prepare for animal tracing scheme:

Dairy farmers are being urged to prepare early for the introduction of a new animal identification and tracing scheme, especially if they’re planning stock movements over the winter period.

The recently adopted NAIT legislation (National Animal Identification and Tracing) introduces new obligations for farmers under the scheme from July 1 this year.

After this date, all cattle being moved will need to be wearing a NAIT approved electronic tag. Anyone in charge of animals and animal movements will need to be registered with NAIT.  . .

Primary industry training organisations to merge:

The Seafood ITO and the NZITO (meat and dairy sector) have today signed a Memorandum of Intent to investigate a full merger of the two organizations.

The merged entity will service a workforce of over 60,000 people nationally, covering three key export industries – meat, dairy and seafood.

These are all strategically important export industries.  The idea of an integrated primary sector ITO has been in the minds of both organisations for some time, and this is a significant step on the way. . .

T&G appoints new senior management team, directors:

Turners & Growers, the local fruit marketer, has announced new senior management and directors from new majority parent BayWa Aktiengesellschaft, and tapped local boardroom heavyweight John Anderson as an independent director.

The company confirmed the intended appointments of BayWa representatives Klaus Josef Lutz and Andreas Helber as directors, with Lutz taking up the role of chairman. Former National Bank head Anderson and Fonterra Cooperative Group director John Wilson have also been appointed independent directors. Jeff Wesley, Brian D’Ath and Christina Symmans resigned from the board on March 7.

T&G also announced plans to review the fruit marketer’s operation, which will be conducted by senior management. . .

The people’s champion retired:

The curtains have come down on the career of one of the most admired horses seen in New Zealand in recent years, the people’s champion Sir Slick (NZ), who had his final race in Awapuni at the weekend.

Now ten years old, Sir Slick (Volksraad x Miss Opera) showed that he was ready to settle into the green pastures of retirement when he ran home at the tail of the field in the Group 3 Awapuni Gold Cup.

Few would disagree there was a more fitting race for Sir Slick to finish his career on, having contested the Awapuni Gold Cup six times and winning it on three occasions: in 2007 (by 4.5 lengths), 2008 and 2010, and running second in 2009. . .


Why no uproar?

13/03/2012

Could someone please explain to me why the thought of selling a relatively few hectares of farmland to foreigners upsets so many people but there’s no uproar at the news that a German company has OIO approval to buy Turners and Growers?

Germany’s BayWa Atiengesellschaft has secured Overseas Investment Office approval for its takeover of local fruit marketer Turners & Growers, and has declared its offer unconditional.

The German company, which has global investments across the building, energy and agriculture sectors, has bought some 72.5 percent of T&G shares at a cost of about $157 million and will close its offer today, it said in a statement.

“The takeover is a ground-breaking step towards internationalisation of BayWa,” the company said.

Group chief executive Klaus Josef Lutz will take T&G’s chair, and the company will appoint chief financial officer Andreas Helber, board member responsible for agriculture and fruit Josef Krapf, and head of fruit Dietmar Bahler to the board.

Why does the possible sale of land exercise the xenophobes when the sale of a company which owns Enza, New Zealand’s largest apple exporter and one of the country’s signature brands does not?

Owners of farms can’t take the land away but owners of this company could take the produce, the brand and of course the profits.

I’m not opposed to sale of either land or the company but I really don’t understand why people who oppose foreign ownership of farms aren’t just as upset by the sale of companies.


Right where it hurts

28/06/2010

The billboard was hard to miss as we walked past the Custom House in Wellington last week:

 The big print says: It’s kicking the country right where it hurts.

The smaller print says that Kiwifruit regulations are sstrangling innovation and export earnings.

It’s part of a campaign by Turners and Growers which wants to export independently of Zespri.


%d bloggers like this: