Rural round-up

March 7, 2017

Telling NZ’s red meat story globally:

New Zealand’s red meat sector has “taken another step” towards  positioning its beef and lamb as a premium food choice globally, Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive Sam McIvor says.

More than 70 people including farmers, meat exporters and government partners have been meeting to advance the project with the aim of supporting better sector profitability.

The story of New Zealand farming and its farmers is at the heart of Beef + Lamb’s new market development strategy targeting new and emerging markets.

The sector had been working together for 12 months, designing a new market development plan and the first piece of it was defining the sector’s story, Mr McIvor said. . . 

New Pareora venison plant a major boost to South Canterbury economy – Pat Deavoll:

The Silver Fern Farms (SFF) Pareora freezing works can now offer its skilled employees full-time work across 52 weeks, rather than the seasonal work of the past, as a result of a new $7 million venison processing plant.

Seventy staff, shareholders and executives gathered at Pareora, south of Timaru, on Tuesday for the official opening of the plant, which processed its first animal on November 14 last year.

The new plant had been built to replace the meat co-operative’s Islington plant, which was on leased land and part of a business park at Belfast, Christchurch. . .

Velvetleaf-sniffing dog Rusty finds weed pest in Waikato no problem – Gerald Piddock:

With a sniff of the air and nose to the ground, Rusty has his prize within minutes.

The seven-year-old border collie cross turns back to his handler, John Taylor and barks, letting him know he has found another velvetleaf plant.

He then leads Taylor to the plant’s location in the ryegrass paddock on a farm in eastern Waikato. The invasive species is carefully uprooted and bagged for disposal.

Palmerston North hosts Rural Games this weekend – Jill Galloway:

Throwing arms are being warmed up for the Hilux Rural Games, which are being held in Feilding on Friday and Palmerston North during the weekend.

Among the competition disciplines are gumboot, egg and cowpat throwing with the criteria harder for the egg thrower as one member of a two-person team has to catch the raw egg intact.

Also on the line-up will be wood chopping, speed shearing, dog trialling and fencing. . . 

 

Zespri brand turns 20, as industry aims to more than double sales to $4.5 billion by 2025:

This week marks a milestone with the kiwifruit industry coming together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Zespri brand, proudly owned by New Zealand kiwifruit growers.

Zespri chief executive Lain Jager says the celebrations come at a great time, with the industry aiming to more than double sales to $4.5 billion a year by 2025.

“Kiwifruit is an important economic contributor to communities in regional New Zealand, with more than $1.14 billion returned to NZ communities last year alone. More than $21 billion of premium kiwifruit has been sold in a Zespri box since 1997; our brand is underpinned by the great work done over many years right across the industry from orchards to packhouses and in the markets,” says Mr Jager. . . 

Public warned of fines up to $20,000 for collecting toheroa at 90 Mile Beach:

Fisheries officers are appealing to the public to ensure they’re up to speed with the rules around collecting toheroa, now that the rare shellfish are making a comeback to 90 Mile Beach (Northland).

Ministry for Primary Industries spokesman, Steve Rudsdale, says the beach has been empty of toheroa for many years and it is great to see juvenile toheroa making a comeback and beginning to recover.

However, he says their survival will be threatened if people don’t leave them alone.

“There is a ban on collecting these shellfish for a very good reason.  . . 

Dairy awards southern finalists named:

Finalists have been named for Southland-Otago and Canterbury-North Otago in the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

The awards, which oversee the Share Farmer of the Year, Dairy Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions, received 424 entries nationally, 75 of them coming from those regions.

The Canterbury-North Otago regional winners will be named on March 22 and the Southland-Otago ones on March 25.

They will then progress to the national final. The winners will be announced at a function at Sky City in Auckland on May 6. . . 


Rural round-up

June 14, 2016

Old meets new on China’s farms – Sally Rae:

The vast region of Inner Mongolia is an important agricultural producer in China. Agribusiness reporter Sally Rae pays a visit.

The sight of an elegantly dressed woman, complete with red high heels, unloading sheep at a saleyards in Inner Mongolia is a little unusual.

But it is China after all.

Expect the unexpected.

Having spotted a small truck carrying a load of sheep, a detour proves enlightening for a group of Silver Fern Farm shareholders as the truck is destined for a sheep-trading centre in Wuchuan county, surrounding the capital city of Hohhot. . . 

Fieldays 2016: Govt looks to entice young people into farming Samantha Hayes:

The annual Fieldays farming extravaganza kicks off on Wednesday in Hamilton, bringing together farmers and 1008 exhibitors.

More than 120,000 people are expected through the farm gates at Mystery Creek between Wednesday and Saturday, but with falling dairy prices over the past two seasons will it be the money-go-round of previous years?

Around $1 million was withdrawn from ATMs on site last year. The trade show contributed $396 million to New Zealand’s economy, with Waikato’s slice of the pie totalling $132 million. . . 

Results of Fonterra shareholder voting at special meeting:

Fonterra’s Board and Shareholders’ Council will consider adjustments to the recommendations on the Co-operative’s governance and representation model with a view to bringing a revised proposal back to farmer shareholders before the end of the year.

This follows today’s Special Meeting where farmer shareholders did not pass a resolution regarding changes to Fonterra’s Constitution and Shareholders’ Council By-laws. 63.74 per cent of votes cast were in favour of the changes but under Fonterra’s Constitution 75 per cent support was required for the changes to be accepted. . . 

Back to the drawing board for Fonterra governance – Keith Woodford:

The key message from this month’s failed governance restructure vote is that Fonterra’s directors and the Shareholders’ Council must go back to the drawing board. Farmers do want change, but nothing can happen without 75% support from voting members.  So where to from here?

 Calculated over the total membership, approximately 37% of the voting electorate said ‘yes’ to the proposals, 21% said ‘no’, and 42% sat on the sidelines. Those 42% on the sidelines were either confused, disenchanted, or distracted by other events.

It is hard to believe that any of Fonterra’s farmers could consider themselves to be disinterested. This is because, unlike most investors who have diversified holdings across many companies, Fonterra’s farmers are totally dependent on Fonterra.   It is a very special relationship. . . 

Govt mulling options after velvetleaf outbreak:

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy says he had “strong words” with his Italian counterpart after seeds imported from Italy led to a potentially costly outbreak of velvetleaf.

Labour has called for the company behind the beet seed importation to be prosecuted, but MPI is still considering its options.

The contaminated seed has been sown on more than 250 properties from Southland to Waikato, and is linked to beet seeds imported from Italy. . . 

Horticulture Supports Primary Sector Skills Funding:

Horticulture New Zealand welcomes a new pilot programme which aims to encourage tertiary education providers to work more closely with primary industry.

The new programme will introduce a competitive process to the allocation of the $35 million annually spent on tuition for study in tertiary level primary sector qualifications.

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce announced the new approach saying it would increase the tertiary sector’s responsiveness to industry education and training needs. . . 

ViBERi – NZ’s own organic blackcurrants – Just A Farmer’s Wife:

This week I was introduced to a fantastic, locally grown, superfood that is produced organically,  just 15 minutes from my door step – Organic Blackcurrants by ViBERi, Owned by Tony and Afsaneh Howey.

The packaging has caught my eye many times on supermarket shelving, local cafes and health food stores. As I knew little about them I never took it any further but made a note in my blog diary to look into them. In a strange twist of fate, just one week later I bump into Afsaneh, at Strawberry Divine (The local ice cream shop). Had a quick chat and got handed her card and flier with an offer to stop by!

Of course I cannot resist and here I am! Afsaneh was fantastic and took me for a look around the pristine facility and popped my head through the door of the sorting and packaging room where the overwhelming smell of sweet berries and even sweeter chocolate hit me like a freight train. (If they could bottle that smell I would buy it!). . . .


Rural round-up

June 6, 2016

Merino work recognised – Sally Rae:

Bill Gibson, the elder statesman of the merino industry, has been recognised for his vast contribution to the breed.

Mr Gibson, who lives in Wanaka, was presented with the Heather Perriam Memorial Trophy at the Otago Merino Association’s recent merino excellence awards in Queenstown.

In presenting the award, Mrs Perriam’s husband John said it was a privilege to present the trophy to someone who was deserving of it “in every possible way”. . . 

Double-header for Ginger at the sheep dog trials – Hamish MacLean:

It has been a big week for Omarama farmer Ginger Anderson.

Not only did the 70-year-old win the short head and yard national title with Don at the New Zealand dog trial championships at Omarama on Saturday, but he was also named a life member of the New Zealand Sheep Dog Trial Association.

Now a four-time national champion, the 15th life member of the association, who for 12 years served on the judging panel, had no plans on ending his days of competing in the sport. . . 

Farmers satisfied with banks but pressure building for some:

Farmers overall remain satisfied with their banks, but pressure is building and sharemilkers are feeling it most a Federated Farmers survey has revealed.

The Federated Farmers Banking Survey, which is undertaken quarterly to gauge the relationship farmers hold with their banks, has indicated that perceptions about ‘undue pressure’ have gradually built.

Federated Farmers Dairy chairman Andrew Hoggard says that it comes at no surprise considering the current environment.

“Despite sharemilkers being particularly exposed at present bank satisfaction remains strong overall.” . . 

Dual role at Feds for multi-talented farmer:

Federated Farmers newest provincial president Simon Williamson is used to flying high and has taken the reins of both Federated Farmers High Country Industry Group and North Otago Province.

The high country farmer, who also holds a pilot licence and is president of the local jockey club, joined the Federation 13 years ago. He recently took over as Federated Farmers’ High Country Chairman from Chas Todhunter, and at the North Otago provincial Annual General Meeting this week, he was elected provincial president. He replaces Richard Strowger.

Federated Farmers President William Rolleston said: “Simon is an incredibly passionate advocate for the farming community and I know he will do a fantastic job.” . . 

Speech by Guy Wigley, Chairman of Federated Farmers Arable Industry Group at the Arable Industry Conference in Ashburton:

The past 12 months have been a rollercoaster.  The year started quietly with no biosecurity incursions – life seemed to be dominated by the price of milk – then along came velvetleaf. 

This is not specifically an arable industry weed as it is across all farming types and the arable industry will be able to manage this weed better than most.  However, it highlights how crucial biosecurity is to the wellbeing of our industry and the country as a whole. 

The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has done an outstanding job in its response to the velvetleaf incursion mobilising large numbers of staff from its networks with the aim of eradicating velvetleaf from New Zealand. . . 

Board cut in doubt – Hugh Stringleman:

The 75% yes vote needed for Fonterra’s constitutional changes to governance and representation will be close and might fail to attract sufficient support.  

Fonterra’s area managers have hit the telephones, asking if farmers need any more meetings.  Chairman John Wilson acknowledged many shareholders were uncertain about the change to the voting process.

 “(We) recommend you support the different process as we are very confident it will give the outcomes the co-operative is looking for. . . 

Flood farmers still recovering – Richard Rennie:

Shaun O’Leary’s racehorse did not earn a Melbourne Cup win last November to pay for the damage the June floods inflicted on his property at Whangaehu.  

Nevertheless, O’Leary retains his optimism about horses and farming with a refreshingly optimistic and philosophical mindset.  

The family runs 690ha in the hard-hit Whangaehu Valley southwest of Whanganui, milking 1500 cows on the flats alongside the Whangaehu River. .  .

The economics of butterfly farming:

Karl Rich has been helping to farm an altogether more delicate animal than those usually associated with agribusiness.

The Lincoln University Agribusiness and International Development Associate Professor was recently part of a multi-disciplinary, international group of researchers looking to develop an innovative approach to conservation in India — butterfly farming.

The group wants to aid conservation of butterflies in Western Ghats, “an area with some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world and one threatened by unsustainable agricultural and land use patterns,” Associate Professor Rich says.

He says in developing countries conservation efforts can be very challenging. . . 

Gateplates & Signs's photo.


Rural round-up

May 31, 2016

Japanese visit source of their wool – Sally Rae:

Delegates from Japanese suit maker Konaka were treated to a Kiwi farm experience and more when they visited Closeburn Station this week.

Gimmerburn farmer Tony Clarke gave a karate demonstration, a passion of his and one of the reasons he is so interested in Japanese culture.

His family’s relationship with the Tokyo stock exchange listed company has been “going from strength to strength” since initial contact in 2012, he said. . . 

Demonstration farm turning to dairying:

Southland Demonstration Farm (SDF) at Wallacetown, near Invercargill, is changing from operating a leased farm to establishing the Southern Dairy Hub.

SDF chairman Maurice Hardie commended the vision of Pam Brock and her late husband Stephen for the provision of their farm, which had contributed immensely to raising the profile and productivity of dairy farming in Southland.

“Nine years ago, farm owners Stephen and Pam Brock made their Wallacetown dairy farm available to the southern dairy industry to showcase dairy farming in Southland. . . 

Farming through drought easier with software:

A farmer struck by two years of drought says farm management software is helping him make timely decisions and get better results.

Rob Lawson farms with his brother Willie and father Jim on the 2300ha family farm Moana, just north of Dunedin.

While many parts of the East Coast seem to have dodged the predicted El Nino, Rob says it has been “very typical” in their area over the past two years. In fact the rainfall has even been lower this year than the worst drought his father has experienced before now – in 1998 and 1999. “That’s East Coast farming, and that’s what we’ve got to contend with,” Rob says.

Despite the severity of the drought, so far they have not lowered their capital stock numbers at all. Rob puts that down to close monitoring of stock. .  .

Bank of China NZ unit funds Chinese-NZ mission to boost tradeBy Tina Morrison

 (BusinessDesk) – Bank of China, one of the country’s biggest lenders, funded 55 of its Chinese company clients to meet with 120 Kiwi agricultural businesses in a bid to grow trade and help meet its goal of becoming the largest Chinese bank in New Zealand.

The bank flew over two to three representatives from each Chinese company and hosted 348 matchmaking sessions, which have so far resulted in at least four Memorandums of Understanding between firms to work together. A similar venture for 20 second-tier e-commerce companies in November last year helped local manufacturers export US$3 million in the first quarter of this year, it said. . . 

Don’t let velvetleaf hitch a ride on Gypsy Day:

This Gypsy Day, farmers are being urged to avoid moving the invasive pest weed velvetleaf along with their stock.

June 1 marks the first day of the new dairying season where thousands of sharemilkers load their cows into stock trucks or herd stock on roads and move equipment and families to new farms.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) cautions that the mass movement of stock and equipment could also move velvetleaf seed to other properties. . . 


Rural round-up

April 19, 2016

Genetics addicts – Anne Hardie:

Jesse Huffam and Renee Mason have managed a 110-cow herd through to 1600 cows, operated high-input systems as well as grass-based and their ultimate goal is to find a marginal sheep farm in a remote corner of the country that can be developed into a profitable business.

The Springs Junction couple scooped the West Coast-Top of South Share Farmer of the Year title, two years after being placed runners-up in the Waikato Farm Manager of the Year award.

And it would never have happened if Renee hadn’t got hooked on the Australian McLeod’s Daughters television series as a teenager, or Jesse hadn’t turned his back on dairying and followed a career path toward shepherding. . .

Escape to paradise – Anne Hardie:

The Haupiri Valley on the West Coast gets an impressive 4m of rain a year, yet Matt Birchfield prides himself on the pasture management for the 785 cows he manages in an environment surrounded by bush and mountains.  

The 36-year-old took out the 2016 West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Manager of the Year in his first attempt at the coveted title, which he entered for experience.  As production manager for farm owners Murray and Gaye Coats he is in charge of the herd, dairy and staff of what was a high-input farm before the payout drop lowered its inputs to palm kernel.  

Measuring pasture is a key aspect of the farm’s management which is collected by a pasture meter on the front of the Gator utility vehicle. . .

National farm sales drop in tough year – REINZ – Tim Fulton & Gerard Hutching:

Farm sales so far this year are down about 10 per cent on 2015, Real Estate Institute of New Zealand figures show.

Nationwide 383 farms were sold in the three months to March – down 42 on the same period last year.

Dairy farm sales were “dramatically down” but horticulture sales continue to rise, The Real Estate Institute (REINZ) said.

Only 48 dairy farms were sold compared to the 86 sold in the first quarter last year. . . 

Marlborough wine grower co-operative quietly confident for grape harvest – Mike Watson:

Bringing in the grapes is a nervous time for a co-operative’s growers, but there is nothing but smiles on their faces during a “dream” harvest.

Marlborough’s annual wine harvest is drawing to an end but there will be no let up until the last grape has been picked.

Working 24 hours around the clock have been harvesters, truck drivers, supervisors and growers for the past two to three weeks throughout the region. . . 

Profitable farms underpin rural communities – James Parsons:

When farmers do well, rural communities do well. I know this may be stating the obvious to many; however it is a topic worth exploring a little more deeply.

On 23rd March we held the Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) AGM at Waitangi. A good number of farmers turned out, with one couple travelling from as far afield as Gore. The Northern Farmer Council put together a great showcase of leading Northland farmers who had worked with B+LNZ as project farms over the last 10 years. By having a strong team around them, each had improved their business performance significantly. . . 

NZ beef, lamb and mutton prices fall in first half of exporting season – Jonathan Underhill:

 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand export beef, lamb and mutton prices fell in the first half of the current season, which tapered off after a strong start.

Prices for beef and veal fell 2.5 percent to $7,350 a tonne in the six months ended March 31, while the volume of exports fell 3.7 percent to 204,200 tonnes, said Beef + Lamb NZ. The price of lamb fell 4.2 percent to $8,500 a tonne as volume climbed 5.9 percent to 162,700 tonnes. Mutton prices fell 10 percent to $4,800 as volume rose 0.5 percent to 51,200 tonnes.

Beef + Lamb said the price decline would have been worse if not for a weaker kiwi dollar. . . 

Excellent environmental stewardship earns couple supreme title in 2016 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Redcliff farmers Shane Gibbons and Bridget Speight are Supreme winners of the 2016 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

At a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on April 14 (2016), the couple also collected the Farm Stewardship Award in partnership with the QEII National Trust and New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, the Environment Southland Water Quality and Biodiversity Award and the WaterForce Integrated Management Award. . . .

 Farmers urged to remain on lookout for late-emerging velvetleaf:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is urging farmers to remain vigilant in their management of the velvetleaf pest plant.

MPI’s Velvetleaf 2016 Response Manager, Carolyn Bleach, says the window of opportunity to control plants that haven’t yet seeded is narrowing and it’s very important farmers remain on the look- out.

“Farmers and landowners need to maintain a watchful eye until crops have been grazed, particularly as some late emerging plants have been found in crops that have already been inspected. . . 

Upgrade for farm menus:

Farmers are being offered extra environmental protection advice through an upgraded version of the hugely popular “farm menus” produced by Waikato Regional Council in co-operation with eight agriculture sector partners.

Since their launch in 2013, the first farm menus have been picked up by more than 4000 farmers and rural professionals in Waikato and elsewhere. They offer methods for reducing the impact of farming operations on water quality.

The initial menus – covering nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment or micro-organisms getting into waterways – had a focus on reducing nitrogen leaching. Now the outcome of further research means the upgraded menus have more options added for reducing phosphorus and sediment loss. . . 

Fonterra to Divest Share in Dairy Technical Services:

Fonterra Australia has today announced it has signed an agreement to divest its shareholding (36.02 per cent) in Dairy Technical Services (DTS) to a consortium comprising Bureau Veritas Singapore and AsureQuality Limited.

DTS was originally set up as a cooperative testing service company for dairy companies in Victoria, and its other shareholders are The Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Group, Murray Goulburn and AsureQuality. . . 


%d bloggers like this: