Rural round-up

20/10/2020

New government needs to release the uncertainty handbrake – Andrew Hoggard:

As politicians engage in a last-week frenzy of campaigning and sniping and mall walkabouts, it’s now up to the voters.  Surely there’s enough at stake this election to galvanise even the most jaded elector into exercising their democratic right. 

COVID-19 and our push for economic recovery is just another reason why we need MPs who will listen carefully, work hard and put pragmatism ahead of rigid ideology.

Farmers, like all New Zealanders, are vitally interested in Saturday’s result.  The fact that agricultural issues have gained more of the spotlight on the hustings and in the televised debates this time around than in some elections past is probably due to recognition that we need thriving primary industries if we’re to dig our way out of the pandemic financial hole, and start to pay back some of the billions of dollars borrowed since March.

Federated Farmers has hammered three key issues that the nation needs to get right if we’re to look after our producers, the backbone of our exports and our environment.  Whatever government dominates the front benches after the weekend, we need: . . 

MfE steadfast on winter grazing dates – Neal Wallace:

Dates by when grazed winter cropped paddocks must be resown were included in freshwater legislation to provide regulatory compliance, Government officials say.

The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) says in response to questions from Farmers Weekly, the resowing dates provide “regulatory certainty” and that they will not be changed.

“Without a fixed date the status of the activity, that is whether it was permitted or needed a consent, could remain unresolved after it concluded. This would have made it difficult for councils to enforce,” they said.

Introduced as part of the Government’s essential freshwater rules, most of NZ-grazed winter crop paddocks must be resown by October 1. . .

Katie Milne wins Agricultural Communicator of the Year:

West Coast dairy farmer and former President of Federated Farmers Katie Milne was last night named the 2020 Ravensdown Agricultural Communicator of the year.

The award recognises people making a significant contribution to communicating agricultural issues, events and information.

Katie Milne was the first female President of Federated Farmers in its 118-year history and served between 2017 and 2020. She advocated on behalf of farmers affected by M-bovis and helped spearhead the subsequent eradication programme. Most recently she argued powerfully to have primary sector businesses recognised as essential services during the Covid-19 lockdown. . .

Honouring our wartime ‘land girls’ – Simon Edwards:

The ‘Land Girls’ are largely unsung heroes of New Zealand’s World War II experience and Fiona, Lady Elworthy, of Timaru was determined that in her district at least there should be a memorial to them.

While men took up arms against the Axis enemies, Women’s Land Service (WLS) members placed on farms back home had their own sorts of battles with totally unfamiliar tasks, long hours, isolation, equipment shortages – and with prejudice.

Thanks to the efforts of Lady Elworthy, former Women’s Land Service members Sadie Lietze now 97, and Joan Butland – who forged her father’s signature at age 17 so she could join the WLS – a plaque and seat will be unveiled during a ceremony and picnic at Maungati in South Canterbury on Sunday.

The memorial sits among the cherry trees and native plants of Rongomaraeroa (the Long Pathway to Peace), a reserve established by Lady Elworthy to honour her late husband.   Sir Peter Elworthy, a former Federated Farmers president, was a Nuffield Scholar who was also founding president of the NZ Deer Farmers’ Association. . . 

Fonterra’s Chile investment looking good :

Fonterra’s Prolesur is leading the charge in the dramatic recovery in Chilean milk production as the company reaps the benefits of rebuilding relationships with farmers.

The Latin American nation’s liquid milk collection reached 1.3 billion litres in the first eight months of the year, up 6.3% from a year earlier, or 79 million litres. More than half of that increase went to Prolesur. This compares to the 12.8bn litre collection in New Zealand in the first eight months of the year. 

“Prolesur has been working over the last 18 months to regain milk volumes that it lost in 2018-19. This has been achieved through working closely with farmers to regain trust and competitive pricing,” Prolesur managing director Erich Becker said.

Prolesur collected 147ML versus 103.5ML in the eight months through August 2019, a whopping 42% lift. Fonterra’s other Chilean business, Soprole, also posted an increase, collecting 124ML versus 120m in the prior year. . . 

 

 

Villa Maria Estate launches  the New Zealand’s first wine-based seltzer:

New Zealand’s most awarded winery, Villa Maria Estate, owners of the Villa Maria, Esk Valley, Leftfield, Vidal and Thornbury brands, is launching the country’s first wine-based seltzer – LF Wine Seltzers.

The iconic wine business founded in 1961 will launch LF Seltzer later this month, a product crafted using its premium Leftfield wines, sparkling water and locally-sourced natural botanicals in three flavours – Yuzu, Mint & Cucumber with Sauvignon Blanc, Pear & Ginger with Pinot Gris and Strawberry & Hibiscus with Rosé.

The move comes amidst a serious shake up of the RTD category which continues to expand in line with the booming global seltzer market. . . 

From paddock To Ponsonby – dogs’ appetite for possum growing nationwide:

Kiwi pooches’ growing appetite for possum is helping to create jobs and putting a dent in New Zealand’s pest population.

In the past year, New Zealand dogs have devoured more than 100,000 kg of possum meat – or approximately 70,000 possums – in the form of Possyum dog rolls and dried treats.

New Zealand’s largest possum meat dog food producer Fond Foods has seen demand for Possyum double since 2017 and has recently hit a milestone of 500,000 kg of possum meat used in its possum meat products since 2010. . . 

 

 


Rural round-up

12/10/2020

Potential animal welfare crisis looming – Sudesh Kissun:

A local vet recruitment agency says the vet shortage situation in the country is getting more dire by the day. 

Julie South, of VetStaff, says that while the Government’s recent decision to let overseas vets into the country for work is a step in the right direction, it’s nowhere near enough to cover the current shortage.

“They need to allow almost ten times that many in to ease the animal welfare and human stress and mental health issues the shortage is causing,” she told Rural News. . .

Hort’s priorities for a newly-elected government – Mike Chapman:

The biggest challenge facing horticulture is labour and we will – as a collective sector – ask the new government to focus attention in this area.

As a result of Covid, many New Zealanders need to develop new skills and take on positions in essential industries such as horticulture – industries that are pivotal to the country’s economic and social recovery.

This is no easy task. The new government will need to complete the reform of the education and training system so that it reflects post-Covid requirements for flexible delivery and the fostering of innovation.

While New Zealand’s border challenges may currently appear stark, the horticulture industry believes they can be managed in such a way to protect the health of New Zealanders while also ensuring the country can prosper economically, through access to skills and labour that can only be obtained from overseas

Composting mootels can transform dairy, but only if we get things right – Keith Woodford:

Some readers will know that I have been writing about composting mootels for the last three years. I have been suggesting that these mootels can transform New Zealand dairy.   I remain of that perspective, but only if we get things right.

When I first wrote about ‘composting mootels’, I referred to them as ‘composting barns’. Subsequently, I have stepped back from using the term ‘barn’ because it was leading to misunderstandings.   For many folk in the New Zealand dairy industry, the word ‘barn’ is like the mythical red rag to the bull.

Composting mootels are like no other type of barn. They are open structures that focus on cow comfort. Cows love them. They can be a great enhancement to animal welfare.  There is minimal smell – very different to most barns. They can fit seamlessly into New Zealand pastoral systems and in the process solve key environmental problems. . . 

Clydesdales popular centre of attention :

It was horsepower of the old-fashioned variety that proved a drawcard at the Otago Field Days in Palmerston yesterday.

John Booth, from the Dayboo Clydesdale stud in Mid Canterbury, brought Dayboo Annie and Dayboo Sam south, for wagon rides, a children’s tug-of-war today and general admiration – and plenty of pats – from field day visitors.

Mr Booth, who has 17 Clydesdales, enjoyed dealing with the public and both he and the two horses were very patient with the children clamouring for a closer look.

The two-day event, which continues today, moved back to its original site at the Palmerston Showgrounds as it was being planned during Covid-19 Alert Level 2, and allowed for more space than its previous location at the saleyards, chief executive Paul Mutch said. . . 

Rhys Hall announced as 2020 Corteva NZ Young Viticulturist of the Year:

Congratulations to Rhys Hall who became the 2020 Corteva NZ Young Viticulturist of the Year on 8th October. Hall was representing Marlborough and is Assistant Vineyard Manager at Indevin’s Bankhouse.

Congratulations also to Sam Bain from Constellation Brands who came second and George Bunnett from Irrigation Services who came third.

The other contestants were Annabel Angland from Peregrine Wines, Tahryn Mason from Villa Maria and Lacey Agate from Bellbird Spring. . .

Cattle splinter groups urged to ‘get back in the boat’ – Shan Goodwin:

CALLS for unity in advocacy, particularly where grassfed cattle producers are concerned, were made at an industry event, held both live and online, this week.

Hosted by Agforce Queensland, The Business of Beef featured four prominent Queensland producers: David Hill, Bryce Camm, Mark Davie and Russell Lethbridge.

Mr Davie kicked off the talk about the need to have a ‘strong, united, well-funded force’ working on behalf of grassfed producers.

“What I’m talking about is a restructure of CCA (Cattle Council of Australia),” he said. . . 


Rural round-up

18/02/2020

Working to nurture rural wellbeing – Sally Rae:

It’s been a tough time to be a farmer in the South.

But, as he helped man the Ag Proud New Zealand stand at the Southern Field Days at Waimumu last week, Mossburn dairy farmer Jason Herrick was still wearing a beaming smile.

Mr Herrick is heavily involved with the Ag Proud NZ initiative, set up last year to promote positive farming practices and raise awareness of rural people’s mental health. . . 

Solutions may have negative effect

Environmental solutions sought in New Zealand could have unintended global consequences, according to research presented at the Farmed Landscapes Research Centre workshop.

Ravensdown innovation and strategy general manager Mike Manning says there is debate over whether the environmental effects of food production should be calculated by hectare or by unit of food produced.

“If globally we want to continue to feed the world with the least impact environmentally then it is important to have the lowest footprint per unit of food and to maintain the investment in technology to reduce this footprint. To do otherwise simply has a worse global environmental outcome.”

In their research Manning, Jacqueline Rowarth and Ans Roberts looked at the production and environmental aspects of organic and conventional systems, taking into account economic aspects such as government subsidies. . . 

Big load to carry but couple pulls together – Sally Rae:

They say the couple that plays together, stays together.

In the case of Southland couple Brett and Lisa Heslip, their shared hobby is of the very noisy kind; they are enthusiasts of tractor pull, a phenomenally loud and curiously fascinating combination of sheer grunt and horsepower.

Tractor pull involves four different classes of tractor: standard, pre 85, sport and modified. Participants compete to see how far they can drag the Tractor Pull New Zealand weight transfer sled.

It was easy to find the tractor pull area at the Southern Field Days at Waimumu on Friday, as it just required following the noise. . . 

Farming fits the lifestyle – Ross Nolly:

Autumn calving is relatively new in Taranaki but one couple made the switch immediately when they bought their first farm. Ross Nolly reports

Switching to autumn calving wasn’t about making more money for Taranaki farmers Jaiden and Hannah Drought.

It was solely so they could enjoy long summer days with their children.

The couple who milk 360 cows on their 105ha effective farm at Riverlea near Kaponga say the pros of autumn calving far outweigh the downsides. . . 

Vineyard trialling native planting as herbicide alternative:

A commercial vineyard is investigating planting native plants and cover crops under vines as an alternative to spraying herbicides on the area.

Villa Maria Winery is running the trial with funding support from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) fund.

Villa Maria’s co-ordinator for the project, Raquel Kallas said conventional practice in New Zealand vineyards was to maintain a bare strip under the vines by applying herbicides, typically two or three times per season. . .

Getting smarter at growing grass – James Barbour:

Trewithen is a 288ha farm with 1,100 cows in New Plymouth, owned by the Faull Family from Waitara. In his third season, sharemilker James Barbour takes us through the farm’s approach to nutrient management.

The problem

We cover a large area, so paddock variability is an important issue for us. If we just apply a blanket rate without testing or targeting, the costs mount up very quickly because of the scale of the operation.

We’re milking all year around with various winter run-offs. We have an ambitious target of 600,000kg MS. Our focus is on growing more grass, taking care of the animals and becoming increasingly efficient. And we’ve managed to cut our stocking rate while increasing production. . . 

 


Rural-round-up

26/06/2018

New Zealand primary sector nervous over prospect of trade wars – Jamie Gray:

New Zealand’s primary sector is viewing the rising tide of global trade protectionism with trepidation, but escalating trade tensions between the United States and China have yet to spill over into this country’s main exports.

Primary sector and trade representatives welcomed last week’s launch of trade talks with the EU as positive step.

At the time, European Union trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström voiced concerns about trade issues that have plagued markets in recent weeks after the US Donald Trump administration imposed steel and aluminium tariffs and the US and China stepped up their war of words. . . 

Guy Trafford traces the implications for agricultural trade flows from the game of poker the US is playing with China. All sides are vulnerable, even those not directly involved – Guy Trafford:

President Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping are involved in a high stakes game of poker. Trump played the first hand with a $5 0billion tariff card. Xi Jinping immediately matched it with a similar call and put tariffs on US products, namely sorghum and soya beans.

Trump then matched and raised the stakes by increasing the tariffs to another $200 billion with the threat that if China matched this then another raise to $450 billion would be played.

This threat would put tariffs on over 90% of China’s exports to the US. . . 

Clampdown on foreign farm buyers scares off investors with ‘tens of millions’ in funds, agents say – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – The government’s directive to the Overseas Investment Office to raise the bar in overseas applications to buy sensitive New Zealand land has scared away tens of millions of dollars in investments in rural property and will hurt farm values, real estate firms say.

The ministerial directive in a letter from Finance Minister Grant Robertson last November to Land Information NZ chief Andrew Crisp said the government is concerned to ensure any benefits from overseas investment in rural land “are genuinely substantial and identifiable” and economic benefits must be considered alongside environmental, social and cultural goals. Owning sensitive New Zealand assets was “a privilege, not a right.” The directive came into effect on Dec. 15 last year. . . 

Foreign farm buyer applications withdrawn in the past 12 months have tripled, OIO figures show – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – The rate at which potential foreign buyers of New Zealand farms subsequently withdrew their applications to the Overseas Investment Office tripled in the past 12 months, OIO figures show.

The data captures the period since the government’s directive to the OIO to tighten rules for overseas applications to buy sensitive New Zealand land (which means any farmland over 5 hectares). The ministerial directive in a letter from Finance Minister Grant Robertson last November to Land Information NZ chief Andrew Crisp said the government aims to ensure any benefits from overseas investment in rural land “are genuinely substantial and identifiable” and economic benefits must be considered alongside environmental, social and cultural goals. Owning sensitive New Zealand assets was “a privilege, not a right.” The directive came into effect on Dec. 15 last year. . . 

Bayer Hawke’s Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year 2018 announced:

Congratulations to Jonathan Hunt from Delegats, Crownthorpe Vineyard, who became the Bayer Hawke’s Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year 2018 on Thursday 21st June.

This is the third year Hunt has competed and he is thrilled to have won the title and to be going on to represent Hawke’s Bay in the National Final.

Congratulations also goes to Nick Putt from Villa Maria who came second and Grace Petrie from Trinity Hill who came third. . . 

Creative tea and coffee trends good news for NZ dairy:

It’s tea, but not as you know it. Right now people are adding more than just milk and sugar to their cuppa’s and Fonterra is set to meet the demand for adventurous tea and coffee drinks around the world.

Beverages made with yoghurt, topped with cream cheese and mixed with cream are growing in popularity, leading Fonterra to establish a new channel within its Global Foodservice business, Beverage House.

Almost 600 million cups of tea and coffee are consumed out-of-home daily in the Asia Pacific region, a 22% increase on five years ago. . . 

Report Provides Zero Carbon Solution:

Smoke free, plastic free but, more significantly, tillage free.

A report to the Productivity Commission is recommending “bold action” to eliminate tillage or ploughing within the next five to 10 years and replace it with low disturbance no-tillage.

Every time soil is tilled through conventional methods, it releases huge quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere which contribute to global warming.

While the government has introduced a Zero Carbon Bill, it has overlooked the impact of cultivation which causes up to 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and the report challenges the Minister, James Shaw, through the Productivity Commission, to do something about it. . . 

In dairy, a cutthroat U.S. business versus a Canadian cartel – Jerry Zremski:

A little comparison shopping goes a long way toward explaining why President Trump decided to wage a trade war with Canada.

A gallon of milk cost $2.89 at the Tops Friendly Supermarket on Niagara Street last week, while the same product at the Avonmart on Garrison Road in Fort Erie cost $3.35 in American dollars. And Fort Erie shoppers are getting a bargain: According to Numbeo, a crowd-sourced comparison price guide, the average cost for a gallon of milk throughout Canada is $6.32 in American dollars, nearly twice the U.S. price.

And it’s all because the United States and Canada operate their dairy industries in ways that are as different as a bald eagle and a maple leaf. . . 

World Desertification Day: Stories of Resilience from Somalia :

In observation of World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, delve into four stories of resilience from desert lands in Somalia. Meet two farmers and two female entrepreneurs, who—supported by the Somalia Emergency Drought Response and Recovery Project (SEDRP)—share their experiences of grit, hope, and resilience despite years of drought and famine risks.  Together with partners, particularly the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the project aimed to scale-up drought response and recovery in Somalia.

1. An impressive harvest, a happy farmer

The story of Saed Mohamud may not typically be expected from Somalia in 2017, two years into a severe drought that put the country in a nationwide state of natural disaster and famine—yet Mohamud is not alone. In 2017, thousands of families beat the odds and produced good yields, thanks to concerted efforts from government and partners, and solid donor investment in building farmers’ resilience against drought. . .


Rural round-up

26/08/2016

Mid- Canterbury animal lover and dairy farmer frustrated at industry haters – Heather Chalmers:

Ardent animal lover and dairy farmer Sara Russell is frustrated at industry haters who are quick to blame dairy farming for everything from mistreatment of animals to the Havelock North contaminated water crisis.

Russell says all dairy stock on the Mid-Canterbury property sharemilked by her and husband Stuart are well cared for, from new-born calves to the oldest cow in the herd, still milking at 16-years-old.

If you engage with groups like Peta, its philosophy is that dairy farming in New Zealand shouldn’t exist. On social media, a lot of people are attacking something they have no understanding of. There are always improvements that can be made, but you wouldn’t be a dairy farmer if you didn’t like animals. Most of us are too busy getting on with our jobs to point out the flaws in their arguments. . . 

Rural mental health scheme shares top award:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has congratulated the GoodYarn rural mental health initiative for winning an international award today.

GoodYarn was developed as part of a Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme and was named joint Best Mental Health Promotion/Illness Prevention scheme at the Australia and New Zealand TheMHS (Mental Health Services) Conference in Auckland today.

“This is a great programme that has helped over 800 farmers and rural professionals since it was established earlier this year,” says Mr Guy. . . 

Otago Station Enjoys Benefits Of Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Otago farmer Marty Deans entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards because he wanted to benchmark the operation he manages and learn more about improving sustainability.

He and wife Lynette live on Barewood Station, a 6300ha sheep and beef property between Middlemarch and Outram. Barewood is one of eight farms owned and operated by Tom and Heather Sturgess, Lone Star Farms.

Marty was encouraged to enter Barewood in the 2016 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards. . .

Competitors chop it out at Young Butcher Awards – Adam Hollingworth:

Meat experts spent Thursday night deciding who New Zealand’s best young butcher is.

The young butchers had two hours to make the cut.

“So we’re looking for that flair and when they’re cutting, they do that precisely just like in a butcher’s shop, that’s what we want to see,” head judge Matt Grimes says.

Alongside nine guys turning a slab of pork shoulder into choice cuts was 26-year-old Amy Jones from Taumarunui.

“It’s just a male dominated trade,” she says. . . 

Bobby calf improvements noted this season:

The calving season for dairy farmers is now in full swing and improvements in calf welfare have been noted across the bobby calf supply chain.

A suite of welfare actions have been implemented since the end of the 2015 as part of an accelerated work programme focused on further improving the standard of care for bobby calves, including new regulations which have been in place since 1 August.

“Everyone across the supply chain has a role to play when it comes to the welfare of bobby calves. What we have seen and heard so far is promising and a majority of people are following the rules, but we have also noticed some people still need to change their practices to ensure all regulations are met,” says MPI’s Director Verification Services, Chris Kebbell. . . 

Minister welcomes new sheep milks PGP programme:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed a new Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme announced today aimed at boosting New Zealand’s sheep milk industry.

The new $31.4 million, six-year PGP programme called ‘Sheep – Horizon Three’ is a partnership between Spring Sheep Milk Co. and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). 

“This is an exciting and comprehensive programme aimed at boosting New Zealand’s sheep milk industry which has huge potential,” says Mr Guy. 

“It will involve new genetics, new farming systems and developing high premium niche products. New Zealand operators will be involved in all parts of the value chain. . . 

Funding to research giant willow aphid brings relief to Canterbury’s beekeepers – Pat Deavoll:

Canterbury beekeepers are welcoming the news that scientists at Scion Research in Rotorua have won a $600,000 grant to study the giant willow aphid.

The aphid is having a detrimental effect on the country’s beekeeping industry by affecting the ability of the willow tree to flower.

During the spring an affected willow will have little or no catkins. The pollen from the catkin is arguably the most important pollen source to bees in New Zealand, without which they wouldn’t be able to produce honey. . . 

Hurry get your Enterprising Rural Women Awards entries in now:

The Enterprising Rural Women Awards (ERWA) offer women who run their own rural businesses the opportunity to showcase their innovative rural enterprise and gain recognition for their achievements.

Rural Women New Zealand invite entries from businesswomen who have strong entrepreneurial skills, are innovative, and embrace new technology, and are active in their rural community.

2016 ERWA categories: . . 

Beef progeny test delivering answers to farmers:

Commercial farmers can bank on estimated breeding values (EBVs) for calf weaning weights delivering on what they predict.

Initial results from the Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Genetics beef progeny test are rolling in and the second cohort of calves is due on the ground in coming weeks.

The test is being run across five large commercial properties and involves about 2200 cows and heifers each year. Its goal is to determine how bulls of different types perform under comparable commercial conditions. It aims to put a dollar value on the worth of superior genetics – from both the perspective of breeding cow performance and finishing stock’s carcase attributes. . . 

Scales Corporation lifts half-year after tax profit, upgrade full-year earnings guidance:

Scales Corporation Limited (NZX:SCL) today reported a net profit after tax of $33.8 million for the half year ended 30 June 2016 (1H16), up 3 per cent on the previous corresponding half year ended 30 June 2015 (1H15).

Key highlights include:

• NPAT up 3 per cent, EBITDA and EBIT also up 3 per cent on 1H15.
• Apple export volumes up 12 per cent on 2015 export volumes, to 3.55 million TCEs.
• Food Ingredients EBITDA up 33 per cent, with pet food sales volumes up 24% on 1H15.
• Full year guidance upgraded to EBITDA between $55 million and $62 million, equating to a net profit after tax of between $29.6 million and $34.6 million.
• China Resources welcomed as a long term supportive shareholder. . . 

Winner of 2016 Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year announced:

Congratulations to Cameron Price from Villa Maria, Hawke’s Bay who is the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year 2016. After a tough final Price was thrilled to receive this prestigious reward on Thursday night at the Bragato Wine Awards. “All that hard work paid off” he said.

Cameron is the Vineyard Supervisor working on Villa Maria’s Ngakirikiri, Vidal and Twyford Gravels vineyards. He has been there since May this year and is enjoying the challenges of his new position, supervising 60 hectares of vines.

He is 26 years old and grew up in Palmerston North. Price comes from a family of plumbers but his passion for viticulture and wine led him to Hawkes Bay to study Viticulture at EIT in 2008. He continues to study part-time as he furthers his career working full time learning and upskilling on the job as well. . . 

Wine industry recognises shining examples at 2016 Romeo Bragato Wine Awards:

An Auckland Chardonnay and a Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot both shone at this year’s Romeo Bragato Wine Awards.

Grown by Brett Donaldson, the Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Chardonnay 2014 won the coveted Bragato Champion Wine of the Show Trophy – Champion Single Vineyard and the Bill Irwin Trophy for Champion Chardonnay.

“This Chardonnay demonstrated exceptional respect to the variety and is a shining example of what hard graft in the vineyard and soft touch in the winery can achieve. It shows wonderful expression and captures the essence of the Ihumatao vineyard. Simply stunning!,” said Chairman of Judges Ben Glover. . . 

A year on: Invivo hosts innovative bash for stakeholders to toast a good year:

It’s probably one of the most lively investor ‘meetings’ you’re likely to attend.

Forget stuffy AGMs, the shareholders who joined the Invivo directors at the winemaker’s 2016 AGM in Te Kauwhata yesterday (24 Aug.) were treated to live music, canapés, dinner and a winery tour. That’s the Invivo way.

Having been New Zealand’s first company to equity crowdfund the maximum $2 million in 2015, Invivo hosted the bash with its shareholders to celebrate its first year. The company’s innovative approach to its AGM proved a hit as more than 120 shareholders joined the event which was also live streamed across the world. . . 


Rural round-up

29/08/2015

Leave Fonterra to sort itself (or not) – Stephen Franks:

The amalgamation/monolith structure of Fonterra was a mistake. But it is what we have and pulling it to bits now could compound the mistake.

The Fonterra monopoly came from a conjunction of  dairy politics with the instincts of a leftist Clarke Cabinet, at a time when they needed to rebuild trust with business. The Fonterra ‘capture the value chain’ slogans appealed to a Cabinet nurtured on coop=good/big battalions/commanding heights socialism. So they legislatively outflanked the Commerce Commission, relegated official reservations, and created the monolith.

The Herald has an excellent review of the reasoning and the outcomes by Tony Baldwin, an official at key times. But his recommendations could be used to support those who’d like now to pull levers the other way, and impose new structures, equally well meant, equally sloganistic,  and equally without knowing the future any more reliably. . . 

Why hasn’t Fonterra worked? – Tony Baldwin:

Created in 2001, Fonterra was heralded as a ‘breakthrough idea’ meant to help New Zealand ‘catch the knowledge wave’. 14 years on, there’s been no economic transformation, writes Tony Baldwin.

“Potentially better than an oil well,” boasted Fonterra’s founding chairman, John Roadley, in 2002.

“White gold” is another favourite label.

Over many decades, New Zealand has invested massively in raw milk as a pathway to economic prosperity. It’s why Fonterra was formed. . . .

Landcorp strategy of dairy investment over dividends at odds with government’s surplus goal – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Landcorp Farming, which is taking on debt to convert former forestry land into dairy farms, won’t pay a dividend this year, highlighting the friction between the state-owned farmer’s long-term strategy and the government’s demand for regular payments in preference to investment.

New Zealand’s largest corporate farmer posted an 84 percent decline in annual profit to $4.9 million, in line with its forecast of $1 million to $6 million, as revenue fell 12 percent to $213.5 million on weak milk and lamb prices.

Debt rose 25 percent to $222 million, mostly to fund dairy conversions on the 26,000 hectare Wairakei Estate north of Taupo, slated to become the biggest milk producer in the southern hemisphere. Landcorp is 12 years into a 40-year lease to operate and develop the estate. . .

Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards Recognise ‘Labour Of Love’:

Entering the 2015 Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) proved a thoroughly enjoyable experience for Northland farmers Ian and Sandy Page.

The Pages own Tahere Farm near Whangarei in the Pataua North district. Previously a run-down unit, the couple has spent many years developing the 162ha farm into a model of sustainability. With the whole title area under QEII National Trust covenant, BFEA judges said Tahere was like a privately owned regional park, farmed in the public interest.

“By entering an open space covenant, Ian and Sandy have invited the world to share their dreams.”

Tahere has about 62ha of indigenous forest. Another 59ha runs sheep and beef and the balance is in production forestry. . . 

Diabetes nutraceutical wins 2015 Proof of Concept grant:

A team developing a nutraceutical that could help regulate blood glucose levels thereby support the treatment of type II diabetes has won the University’s 2015 Proof of Concept grant.

The $50,000 grant, offered by the University’s commercialisation arm, Otago Innovation, is aimed at transforming novel research at Otago into a marketable idea, product or service.

Dr Phil Heyward and Dr Alex Tups of the Department of Physiology are working on the nutraceutical, which involves a plant product. They are collaborating with Associate Professor Nigel Perry of Plant and Food Research and Pat Silcock, the Manager of Food Science’s Product Development Research Centre, who each bring essential expertise to the project. . .

Wine awards recognise top drops from the Bay:

Some of the country’s best viticulturists and vineyards have been recognised for their grape growing skills.

The Bragato wine awards were announced in Hawke’s Bay last night as part of the New Zealand Winegrowers Romeo Bragato conference.

A Villa Maria chardonnay, with grapes grown by Brett Donaldson, won the Bragato Trophy.

And a Villa Maria cabernet sauvignon merlot, made from grapes grown by Phil Holden in Hawke’s Bay, won the champion domaine wine.

Chair of the judges, Ben Glover, said the competition recognises the grape growing behind a top drop. . . 

Inaugural New Zealand Young Winemaker crowned:

A night of nerves, skill and finesse surrounded the all-female finalists of the inaugural Tonnellerie de Mercurey 2015 New Zealand Young Winemaker competition last night.

Hawke’s Bay Winemaker, Lauren Swift took the inaugural title after she battled it out following three days of winemaking challenges at the Romeo Bragato conference.

Lauren says, “It was an extremely tough competition, I’m really thrilled with the result. It’s been such a great opportunity for me, and has already opened a number of doors and given me so much confidence. . . .


Rural round-up

15/03/2015

Farmax conference to focus farmers and rural consultants on 2025 export goals:

Decision support software company, Farmax, believes it has a key tool pastoral farmers can use to help the agriculture industry achieve its goal of doubling exports by 2025. The company’s 2015 conference will focus on helping farmers and rural consultants gain confidence in the tools they need to achieve this objective.

Minister for Primary Industries Hon Nathan Guy will open the conference at Mac’s Function Centre in Wellington on 7-8 May.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive Dr Scott Champion, OVERSEER general manager Caroline Read and Landcorp Farm Operations general manager Graeme Mulligan will also present over the two-day event. . .

Forestry leases returned to Māori owners:

Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew joined Māori owners and the community in Northland today to celebrate the surrender of a 740 hectare forestry lease.

The ceremony included the felling of the final trees to mark the end of what was originally a 99 year Crown lease. The trees are to be replanted by the landowner, Parengarenga A Incorporation.

“Partnership between the Incorporation and the Crown has been important to the development of forestry in the Far North,” Mrs Goodhew says. “By stabilising moving sand on the Aupouri peninsula this once unproductive land has been developed into a productive forest. . .

Drought may bite olive harvest:

A Wairarapa olive grower says the extremely dry conditions are taking a toll on trees and will bite into this year’s harvest.

Last year a record olive harvest was recorded in many parts of the country, helped by hot, dry summer conditions.

Olive New Zealand’s president, Andrew Taylor, said it was too early to say what this year’s harvest would be like from region to region, although it was likely that some growers will get lighter crops than the record amount last year.

But grower Ray Lilley, who owns White Rocks Olives at Martinborough, said the weather conditions this season would reduce the harvest, especially on younger trees. . .

Open Country posts record annual profit on surge in sales, sees ‘strong’ 2015:

(BusinessDesk) – Open Country Dairy, the dairy manufacturer controlled by Talley’s Group, reported a record profit for 2014 as revenue growth outpaced rising cost of sales, and said it expects a “strong” result in 2015.

Profit was $29.8 million in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2014, from $18.2 million in a 14-month period a year earlier, according to the Auckland-based company’s annual report. Open Country changed its balance date to Sept. 30 from July 31 in 2013.

Sales jumped to $908 million from $635 million, while cost of sales rose to $858 million from $597 million, allowing the company to increase gross profit by 31 percent. The 2014 year took in a season in which farmers received a record payout for their milk, while global dairy prices tumbled in the second half from near their highest levels in seven years. . .

Steak of Origin Underway:

Beef farmers nationwide are waiting in anticipation to see if their steaks will be named amongst the best in New Zealand.

The Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin competition, supported by Zoetis, received over 300 entries from farmers, retailers, wholesalers and foodservice suppliers hoping to take out the title of the nation’s most tender and tasty steak.

Entries will now go on to be scientifically tested at Carne Technologies with colour and tenderness results determining the top 20% from each class, which will be announced as semi-finalists. . .

 

Villa Maria named fourth most admired wine brand in the world and first in New Zealand:

Today, Drinks International, one of the most trusted and respected global drink journals, named Villa Maria as the fourth most admired wine brand in the world, the only New Zealand winery to make the top 10 list. More than 200 of the world’s top masters of wine, sommeliers, educators and journalists took part in the annual poll, which pits wine brands from all regions, styles and qualities against each other.

The Academy of Masters of Wine, sommeliers, educators and journalists were tasked with critiquing and recognising the ‘Most Admired Wine Brands’ in the world and measured against the following list: . .


Rural round-up

19/07/2014

Regen owner named Mumtrepreneur of the Year:

Wellington businesswoman Bridgit Hawkins has been named Fly Buys Mumtrepreneur of the Year in the Fly Buys Mumtrepreneur Awards.

Hawkins’ business, Regen Ltd, helps dairy farmers manage a key issue – disposing of cattle effluent. The company has developed software that turns data, including soil moisture, temperature and rainfall, into a simple daily recommendation that’s sent to the farmer by text message.

Since Regen launched in 2010, the company has helped hundreds of farms across the country manage effluent disposal efficiently and its customer numbers have doubled year on year. . .

$107.5m to Lincoln University science rebuild:

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce today announced that the Government has approved in principle to provide up to $107.5 million in capital funding toward the rebuilding of Lincoln University’s science facilities destroyed in the Canterbury earthquakes.

“Lincoln University suffered very significant damage in the Canterbury earthquakes, and this money will assist the university with its rebuild programme and help it get back fully on its feet. Lincoln is focused on growing its undergraduate enrolments and the rebuild of its key facilities is the next stage in returning it to sustainable operations”, Mr Joyce says.

Lincoln University lost more than 40 per cent of its academic floor space in the Canterbury earthquakes, including much of its facilities for science teaching and research. The rebuild will involve demolishing the badly damaged Hilgendorf and Burns buildings, and replacing them with modern facilities. . .

Federated Farmers on Ruataniwha appeal:

While Federated Farmers did not lodge an appeal with the High Court against the Board of Inquiry decision on the Ruataniwha Dam and the associated Plan Change 6, it is now considering options in light of Hawke’s Bay & Eastern Fish & Game Councils lodging an appeal.

“Federated Farmers principal interests are in the plan change rather than the dam, which was given consent to proceed,” says Will Foley, Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay Provincial President.

“I cannot comment on the merits of Fish & Game’s appeal until we see it next week.

“Since we now know of Fish & Game appeal, we must now reconsider the best way forward.  I need our members to know that we do have options.

“It seems farcical since the news today says Kiwi farmers will have to make big changes to cope with climate change, following release of the International State of the Climate report.  Yet more reasons to store water. . . .

Looking for the South Island’s next top farmer:

The South Island’s next top farmer is out there and Federated Farmers wants to see farmers nominated for the 2014 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year award. The 2013 award being won by the winemaker, Peter Yealands.

“New Zealand farming does not celebrate success enough,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers National President.

“As the farmer-comedian Te Radar told us at Federated Farmers’ National Conference, we do not take time to stop and appreciate just how good our farmers really are. . .

Levy vote about capturing wool’s value –  Chris Irons:

In recent news, one might think that sheep farming is all about red meat, but the sheep farmer’s story is not all about protein. We farm a dual purpose animal and whilst the red meat side is performing, its fibre counterpart has yet to reach its full potential.

Sheep farmers are world leaders in producing fibre; supplying 45 percent of the world’s carpet wool, we are the world’s third largest wool exporter. To capture that value behind the farm gate and building the industry’s worth of $700 million, we need a Wool Levy.

The Wool Levy Consultation has been officially launched, and the Referendum will be voted on the 10th October. Imagine the possibilities, with the average value of our raw wool exports having increased by 38 percent from 2010 to 2014. . . .

Rural elderly communities to struggle – report:

An ageing population where deaths outnumber births will be a challenge for rural communities who won’t be able to afford the services they need, according to analysis of New Zealand census data.

The challenges of adapting to an older population are highlighted in the Our Futures report, by an expert panel at the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Panel chairman, Professor Gary Hawke, says the review is a unique multi-disciplinary approach that looks at the big picture.

“We wanted to highlight what an evolving New Zealand society might look like, what is underlying these changes, and the challenges and opportunities these present.” . . .

Mixed fortunes at wool auction:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the South Island auction offering 10,122 bales this week received varied support despite a weaker New Zealand dollar compared to the last sale on 10th July.

The weighted currency indicator was down 1.11 percent with 81 percent of the offering being sold.

Steady demand from China underpinned the Fine Crossbred sector, however most carpet wool types eased as contracts in this area have been harder to conclude recently. . .

Value Creation and Environmental Sustainability for Marlborough Wine Industry By-Products:

Marlborough’s wine producers have come together with the Marlborough District Council in a new collaborative approach to the management of grape marc disposal, to generate a new, commercially viable and environmentally sustainable product from grape waste.

Facilitated by the District Council, participating wine companies have formed the “Marlborough Grape Marc (MGM) group” to advance a proposal for an environmentally sustainable use of the wine industry’s waste streams.

The MGM group is chaired by Eric Hughes of Pernod Ricard Winemakers with representatives from Cloudy Bay, Constellation Brands, Delegat’s, Giesen, Indevin, Matua, Mount Riley, NZ Wineries, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, Saint Clair and Villa Maria. The group members generate approximately 80% of the wine production in Marlborough. MGM is an open collective, it is hoped that further companies will join and support this industry wide initiative. . .


Rural round-up

25/03/2014

Farmer confidence slips, but horticulture remains buoyant:

Results at a Glance
• New Zealand farmer confidence has edged lower this quarter.
• Less than half of farmers now think conditions will improve in the next 12 months.
• Horticulture producers are more optimistic than others, driven by a recovery in the kiwifruit industry and stronger prices.
• Investment intentions are currently stable, but may be impacted by the recent rise in the Official Cash Rate.
• New survey data shows a third of New Zealand farmers struggling to attract/retain labour.

New Zealand farmer sentiment has eased from last year’s highs, though remains at robust levels, the latest Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey has shown.

Sentiment among horticulture producers is stronger than in the broader farming community likely due to a recovery in the kiwifruit industry following the PSA outbreak and stronger prices. . .

Meat plants extend hours to meet demand – Rob Tipa:

Meat processing plants around the country have stepped up production and most plants are working full weeks and extended hours to meet market commitments.

The processing season started well with the national lamb kill hitting 4.6 million by the end of the December quarter, up 4 per cent on the previous year.

However, a cold, wet January in parts of the country meant lambs were slow to finish and the cumulative lamb kill for four months to the end of January was 6.9 million, down 5.8 per cent on the 7.3m lambs processed for the same period in 2012-13. . .

Trial site takes the biscuit – Tim Cronshaw:

A mixed picture has emerged of grain yields for autumn sown crops grown for research at Canterbury trial sites by the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR).

Autumn sown feed wheat yields of 10.5 tonnes a hectare this season are off the pace of the four-year average of 11.1t/ha.

However, some trial sites have performed better with feed and biscuit wheat yields above the long- term average at a dryland Chertsey site and at a dryland St Andrews site.

Research manager Rob Craigie said disease pressure appeared to have influenced yields for autumn- sown grain crops, but this was not widespread among the six Canterbury trial sites.

“We are back, but it’s kind of a mixed picture because some sites the yields have been good,” Craigie said. . .

Raw milk market revives faith in nutritious food – Lyn Webster:

I recently decided to advertise raw milk to gauge if there was any demand for the product locally.

I was pleasantly surprised when word quickly spread and I got a few phone calls from a tiny amount of advertising in the classifieds and on a Facebook local information site.

It was great to meet the people who bought the milk. In fact, they all became return customers, buying about 4 litres a week. I was struck by how happy and enthusiastic they were about its taste compared with the seemingly watered- down version you buy at the supermarket. Some of them even travelled significant distances to source my raw milk.

While some dairy farmers have invested in raw milk dispensing machines that automatically fill glass bottles and allow the customer to pay with eftpos, I kept it personal. . .

Speak Meat 2014: Helping government officials better understand the sheep and beef industry:

A joint industry initiative is doing its part to support a more confident and profitable sheep and beef sector.

There is a small and often unheralded group of officials working hard to make sure New Zealand’s meat products can get into our export markets. It’s an important job, especially when you consider that more than 80 per cent of our beef and more than 90 per cent of our sheepmeat is exported.

It’s not glamorous work. It often involves technical and complex concepts. But it’s work that helps to ensure a smooth trade in meat products to the broadest possible range of markets.

The New Zealand officials doing that work were the focus of the second edition of the Speak Meat initiative, run jointly by B+LNZ and the Meat Industry Association in late February. The more they understand what actually happens on farms and in meat plants, the better they can work for us in keeping export markets open for our products. . . .

Cheers to that – 40 years of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc:

It’s hard to separate New Zealand and Sauvignon Blanc these days, but Matua was the first to put them together, planting the first New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc vines in 1969, producing their first bottle in 1974. This year marks the 40th anniversary of not only Matua Sauvignon Blanc but also Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand.

Matua began with a vision shared by Bill and Ross Spence – to revolutionise the New Zealand wine industry by making wines with the best fruit from the best vineyards. A philosophy that still stands today and has earned them international recognition for their pioneering work.

Today, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has taken the world by storm with over $1.2 billion dollars in export sales* and a leading position in both the UK, Australia and USA Sauvignon Blanc categories. Matua sources grapes and produces wines of exceptional quality from all over New Zealand, with wineries in both Auckland and Marlborough. . .

Deutz sparkles after trophy win at Easter Show Wine Awards:

Deutz Marlborough Cuvée is celebrating a Trophy win after Deutz Marlborough Cuvée Blanc de Blancs 2009 was awarded the Champion Sparkling Wine Trophy at the Easter Show Wine Awards 2014 Dinner, held at ASB Showgrounds in Auckland on Saturday 22nd March.

A fitting way to mark the 21st anniversary for Deutz Marlborough Cuvée Blanc de Blancs, the award-winning 2009 vintage was chosen as the very best in its category by Chair of Judges and renowned Australian wine Judge Mike DeGaris, together with a panel of New Zealand’s leading wine judges.

This recent trophy win for the 2009 vintage follows on nicely from the previous 2008 vintage of Deutz Marlborough Cuvée Blanc de Blancs which was also awarded the Champion Sparkling Wine Trophy at the 2013 show. . .

Giesen Wines win Easter Show champion trophy in first attempt at Syrah:

Giesen Wines has tasted success in its first attempt at the Syrah varietal, winning the SkyCity Trophy Champion Syrah at the coveted Easter Wine Show 2014.

The Brothers Marlborough Syrah 2011 is the first Syrah that Giesen Wines has produced during its 30-year history. The winery also won gold for The Fuder Clayvin Chardonnay 2011.

“Syrah can be a very difficult varietal to master, but it’s a very versatile grape and can do well in warm and cooler climates. Viticulture is the key,” Marcel Giesen said.

“While the Marlborough region is renowned for its Sauvignon Blanc, we’ve always believed it has the potential to produce world class wines from other varietals and this is certainly being borne out.” . . .

Marlborough’s Versatility Shines:

Marlborough wines across eight varieties took out trophies at the weekend’s Easter Show Wine Awards.

On top of that, a Marlborough wine was awarded Champion Wine of the Show and a Marlborough winemaker was judged top in his field.

It was a big night for Villa Maria, with their Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Chardonnay 2012 winning the Chardonnay trophy, plus Champion Wine of the Show. The man behind making that wine, George Geris was named Winemaker of the Year. . .


Rural round-up

23/11/2013

Agresearch defends its restructure:

AgResearch executives have fronted at a farmer meeting in Wellington to defended the state science company’s plans to relocate its operations to Palmerston North and at Lincoln.

There are fears in agricultural circles that regional agricultural science programmes will suffer when many AgResearch scientists are uprooted from their bases in Waikato and Otago.

Agresearch chief executive Tom Richardson told Federated Farmers’ national council on Wednesday that a lot of myths are circulating about Agresearch’s new footprint.

He says neither he nor AgResearch chairman Sam Robinson are smart enough to run multiple agendas – there’s been no pressure from the Government to relocate to Lincoln to support the Canterbury rebuild. . .

Rural Women NZ helps launch International Year of Family Farming 2014:

Rural Women New Zealand played a leading role in today’s launch at Parliament of the International Year of Family Farming 2014 (IYFF 2014), to coincide with the global launch at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

As one of five members of the national steering committee, Rural Women New Zealand has helped bring together a broad cross-section of groups from the agricultural sector.

Representatives of fifty organisations met at Parliament to gather information about the key issues facing family farming, develop plans for research and actions based on this information, and agree on programme outline for IYFF 2014.

Today’s workshops highlighted some of the challenges facing family farms, including succession planning and the price of land, establishment costs and the need to upgrade plant and machinery to remain competitive in an evolving market. . .

John Palmer awarded 2013 Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal:

Former chairman of the New Zealand Kiwifruit Marketing Board, John Palmer, was last night awarded the 2013 Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal for his tireless efforts to bring the kiwifruit industry through the fiscal crisis in the early 1990’s.

Zespri Chairman Peter McBride announced Mr Palmer as this year’s recipient of the kiwifruit industry award at the Hayward Medal Dinner last night, in front of more than 450 people in Mount Maunganui.

“The kiwifruit industry is facing a huge challenge in form of Psa now but we faced a disaster of equal proportions back in early 1990’s. The financial disaster in 1992 saw the bottom drop out of the market, as prices crashed in an over-supplied European market,” said Mr McBride. . .

Taiwan-NZ trade agreement to take force:

An economic cooperation agreement concluded between Taiwan and New Zealand four months ago will enter into force Dec. 1, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs Nov. 20.

The Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Cooperation (ANZTEC)—signed July 10 in Wellington—is Taiwan’s first free trade pact with a nondiplomatic ally.

“The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Wellington and the New Zealand Commerce and Industry Office in Taipei have completed their respective processes,” MOEA Deputy Minister Liang Kuo-hsin said. . .

Sweet news for cherry growers – Lynda Van Kempen:

Central Otago growers have been served up some ”jolly good news” in time for Christmas – Taiwan has removed its tariff on New Zealand cherries.

About 40% of this country’s export cherries are sent to Taiwan and Summerfruit NZ chief executive Marie Dawkins said the tariff-free agreement would take effect from the start of next month .

The first export cherries to Taiwan this season would be sent within days of the new agreement taking effect. . .

Top Honours for Young Farmers:

New Zealand Young Farmers members are making waves in the agricultural scene at home and abroad.

Former NZYF Chairman, Paul Olsen was recently awarded the prestigious agricultural Nuffield Scholarship for his research topic on potato (cropping) production.

The Nuffield Scholarship is awarded each year to just a few individuals who have been identified as future leaders who want to make a positive difference to their sector of the primary industry. Only 140 scholarships have been awarded over the past 60 years.

“It’s fair to say I was over the moon and slightly humbled given the calibre of the past Nuffield scholars but very much thrilled to be given the opportunity,” said Mr Olsen, a Manawatu potato grower. . . 

Church Road Winemaker Chris Scott named New Zealand Winemaker of the Year:

Hawke’s Bay winemaker Chris Scott has today been named New Zealand Winemaker of the Year 2013 by Winestate Magazine.

With a passion for Chardonnay and red blend winemaking, and the support of an outstanding viticulture and winemaking team, Chris has been crafting award-winning Hawke’s Bay wines for thirteen years.

“Winemaking at Church Road is a team effort,” says Chris, on receiving his award today. “Our vineyard team have an outstanding knowledge of the region and the individual vineyards, and deliver outstanding fruit year after year. Our cellar team has a dedication to wine quality that far exceeds what anyone could hope for. I know everyone at Church Road is extremely proud of the wines we make and this win reflects the passion and commitment of the entire team.” . . .

6 of 14 Wine Prizes go to NZ Wines:

Six of the total 14 prizes in the Wine of the Year for Australia & New Zealand went to NZ wines in the 2013 Winestate Awards announced this week.

Australia’s Wolf Blass Platinum Label Barossa Shiraz 2010 was declared Wine of the Year for Australia & New Zealand.

Winestate NZ Winery of the Year 2013: Villa Maria Ltd Highest scored results audited across the year with wines achieving points across all categories.

Winestate Winemaker of the Year, NZ: Chris Scott (Church Road) Highest score from the top 10 different wines judged throughout the year. . .


Rural round-up

12/11/2013

Plant not closing – Simon Hartley:

Silver Fern Farms’ Silverstream lamb-processing plant near Mosgiel will not open for the start of its season as usual in December – but it is not being closed.

While the plant’s 12-strong management team are in consultation over potential redundancy, Silver Fern and the New Zealand Meat Workers Union are confident the Finegand plant near Balclutha could take the up to 180 boning staff should they choose to transfer there.

With no staff meeting or statements sent to individual staff, there is confusion over the plant’s future and it was ”inadequate for workers to be left dangling”, Otago-Southland Meat Workers’ Union branch president Daryl Carran said. ”Because Silverstream is for overflow processing, to bone lamb at the peak of the season, it’s more open to volatility.”

Coronial report on quad bike deaths – industry forum to be convened:

 Whangarei Coroner Brandt Shortland has today released findings into five workplace quad bike deaths:

As part of his concurrent inquests in April this year into the five deaths, Coroner Shortland invited submissions on quad bike issues from a series of experts and involved parties, and his findings include his conclusions and recommendations (see summary below).

“These findings and recommendations give weight, in the Ministry’s view, to the need to continue focusing on reducing the death and injury toll associated with quad bike use in agricultural settings,” General Manager Health and Safety Operation Ona de Rooy said. . . .

Federated Farmers welcomes coronial recommendations:

Federated Farmers is welcoming recommendations contained in Coroner Shortland’s written findings released today on quad bike related deaths in 2010 and 2011.

“Can we express our heartfelt commiserations to the family and loved ones of those people subject to the Coroner’s findings,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Health & Safety spokesperson.

“The one thing we welcome in Coroner Shortland’s findings is that it recognises the practical realities of using quad bikes in a farm setting. Indeed, many of the recommendations are current industry practice and that is a good thing.

“There are far more quad bikes in New Zealand than registered road-going motorcycles. Many farmers will spend hundreds of hours a year operating a quad bike because they have become the farmer’s Swiss Army knife. . .

High input costs in China’s milk benefit NZ:

A dairy industry analyst says it’s a good thing for New Zealand farmers that it costs substantially more to produce milk in China than it does to produce the same volume in this country.

The International Farm Comparison Network 2013 Dairy Report shows that producing 100kg of milk in New Zealand costs $US35. In the United States it costs $US44 to produce the same amount and in China it’s 50% higher again.

NZX Agrifax’s dairy analyst Susan Kilsby says that reinforces China’s ongoing dependence on importing dairy products from countries such as New Zealand.

She says it’s importing feed that makes producing milk so expensive in China. . .

Star rating system for food could benefit primary industry sector:

Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye says food labelling using a star rating system could benefit the primary industry sector in New Zealand.

The star system effectively rates the nutritional value of a product.

The minister announced last week a voluntary star rating system would be the focus of research as to how effective it could be and what consumers think about it.

Ms Kaye says it’s important consumers have the best possible information about making healthier eating choices which is why the New Zealand Front of Pack Labelling Advisory Group decided the system should be looked into.

She says the system could have flow-through benefits for the primary sector.   . .

Giesen, Johanneshof and Villa Maria dominate 2013 Marlborough Wine Show awards:

Family companies dominated the awards at the 2013 Marlborough Wine Show celebration dinner held in Blenheim on Saturday night with Giesen, Johanneshof Cellars and Villa Maria winning nine of the 14 awards presented.

In addition to 12 class trophies, there were two new awards – The Marlborough Wine Show Award for Vineyard Excellence which was presented jointly to Ara Wines and Villa Maria for their Seddon Vineyard and the Marlborough Museum Legacy Award which was presented to Johanneshof Cellars for their Gewurztraminer, vintages 2006, 2010 and 2012. . .


Rural round-up

27/11/2012

Hardy annual a cut above the rest – Peter Watson:

Tim McKergow isn’t getting much sleep at present.

He’s in the middle of the paeony harvest, a six-week sprint to pick and pack the prized flowers for export to the United States and Asia.

It means long days for his seven staff and even longer days for him deciding which flowers to send where for the best return and filling in an “awful lot of paperwork” to get them there.

The top out-of-season blooms sell for $US30 ($NZ36.37) a stem in upmarket Manhattan florists in New York, although by the time everyone else takes their cut he will only get about $2. . .

Rustlers caught in the act by Bay of Plenty farmer:

Federated Farmers is warning rustlers and poachers that eyes in the rural community are wide open for suspicious activity. Something rammed home to poachers after they were caught in the Bay of Plenty.

“Perhaps the big lesson I learned, is not to leave your mobile phone on the kitchen table,” says Rick Powdrell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“As the matter is before the courts I cannot go into the precise details. That said, I was working late on the farm and spotted someone jumping the fence. You can say that got my attention. . .

Grasshopper Rock Central Otago Pinot Noir takes top spot at Air New Zealand Wine Awards:

A Central Otago Pinot Noir has won top honours at this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

The Grasshopper Rock Central Otago Earnscleugh Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 was awarded the Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show Trophy at a gala dinner in Wellington on Saturday.

This marks the first ever win at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards for the Central Otago wine producer with judges describing the winning wine as “complex, round and rich”. The wine also won the JF Hillebrand New Zealand Ltd Champion Pinot Noir Trophy. Grasshopper Rock’s vineyard is situated in the southern-most latitude of the winegrowing areas in Central Otago. The five shareholding families of Grasshopper Rock originally met through a common interest in agriculture, with four members involved in rural banking. . .

Southland Hosts Environmental Leadership Forum for Dairy Farmers:

Taking a common sense approach to sustainable dairying is the theme of a sustainability forum for award-winning dairy farmers being held in Invercargill next week.

Forum chair, past-participant and Putaruru dairy farmer Martin Bennett says 54 participants at the Building Environmental Leaders Network Forum will be asked to share their thoughts on how the dairy industry shapes its response to sustainability challenges. . .

Biotech firm gets $2m boost – Hamish Rutherford:

Wellington angel investor Movac is pumping $2 million into Kahne, a biotechnology company trialling wireless devices placed inside dairy cows to provide farmers with health and fertility data.

Founded by Gisborne farmer Michael Eivers in 2002, Kahne was run on a shoestring before hiring former American investment banker Susanne Clay as its first fulltime chief executive last year.

Kahne has about 500 of its wireless rumen and vaginal sensors implanted in dairy cows and is conducting field trials, with the technology expected to launch commercially in about six months. . .

Villa Maria Estate captures big prize at NZI National Sustainable Business Network awards:

Auckland’s Villa Maria Estate has been named Sustainable Business of the Year at the NZI National Sustainable Business Network Awards announced last night (22 November).

The awards, which are now in their ninth year, are the pre-eminent sustainability awards in New Zealand. They recognise leaders in social innovation and businesses that are championing sustainability and new sustainable market solutions. The awards celebrate savvy organisations that are reshaping their business models for a more sustainable New Zealand. . .

And from Smile Project:


Rural round-up

01/11/2012

Wool’s future far from woolly:

Farmers are counting down the days to when major shareholdings in New Zealand Wool Services International (NZWSI) will be on-sold by the receivers.

“In a green-aware age, bales of wool should be flying out of our woolsheds. As they are not, is why management consultants could describe the wool industry as a ‘problem child’,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson. . .

New Head of Farm Environment Trust Ready for Challenge:

Well-known Wanganui farmer Alistair Polson has been elected chairperson of the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust.

He takes over from North Waikato farmer Jim Cotman who has stepped down after six years in the role.

Mr Polson’s extensive experience in farming politics and business management includes serving as national president of Federated Farmers from 1999 to 2002.

Since 2004 he has been Special Agricultural Trade Envoy for New Zealand. He is a former director or committee member of a number of rural-based organisations, including AgITO, the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, Veterinary Council of New Zealand and NZ Landcare Trust. . .

Deep in the current – Bruce Munro:

Graeme Martin has been described as everything from a compassionate, principled, visionary genius to an inflexible, stubborn, demanding taskmaster. Bruce Munro examines pieces of the puzzle that make up the influential, complex and soon to retire chief executive of the Otago Regional Council.

“I shan’t forget a very large fist waved very close to my face” Graeme Martin says.

He is sitting in a comfortable chair in a corner office with city, harbour and peninsula views.

Three hundred and sixty kilometres and 45 years separate him from what happened that day in the Addington railway workshops.

But there is no denying the edge to his voice.

“A fist waved in my face because I was working too hard.” . . .

Winemaker celebrates 50 years:

The staff lunchroom might not seem an obvious stop on a tour of a picturesque winery. But Villa Maria’s is immaculate – largely due to the writing on its wall. 

One side of the lunchroom at the company’s winery in Mangere, Auckland, is dominated by information about its lean manufacturing programme, Achieving Continuous Excellence (ACE), running in the company for the past two years. It’s brought efficiencies to the business, but benefits in the physical environment are also obvious. Nothing – not even in the caf – is out of place.

It’s a point of pride for founder Sir George Fistonich, but also gives an insight into how the company, which celebrates its 50th vintage this year, has continued to grow in a tough industry. . .

Soil biology is key to saving saving fertility – Peter Watson:

Complacency is costing us some of our best soils, says ecologist and educator Nicole Masters.

New Zealand is losing 11 tonnes of topsoil per hectare a year, more than 10 times the global average, she said during a recent Beef + Lamb New Zealand field day held at Claire Parkes and Simon Vincent’s farm near Wakefield, and attended by about 35 farmers.

“We live in one of the most blessed soil environments in the world.

“We are fertile, we have good carbon and beautiful rainfall, but we are losing all this topsoil and it’s not sustainable.” . .

Convert to sustainability – Tim Cronshaw:

A farmer with nearly 9000 deer who once never put much thought into improving the environment on his farm, has become a fully converted believer.

Graham Carr estimates he has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars during the past four years fencing off waterways and putting in settling ponds, so the water coming off his farm at Peel Forest Estate in South Canterbury is crystal clear.

Carr has built up one of the largest deer herds in the country, since emigrating to New Zealand 25 years ago from Britain, where he came from a joinery background. . .

A2 Corp to take control of NZ marketing, enter North America:

 A2 Corp, which markets milk products with a protein variant claimed to have health benefits, wants to directly enter the New Zealand market and is looking to expand into North America and some European nations having wrapped up a strategic review to speed up growth.

The alternative-market listed company will shift its focus to a number of opportunities in a bid to ramp up growth, including directly marketing into New Zealand, it said in a statement. A2 plans to expand rapidly include entering markets in North America, German, France Italy and Spain via joint ventures, using local contract manufacturers or investing in regional processing, it said. . .


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