Rural roundup

December 14, 2013

Storm-hit farmers feel heat – Annette Scott:

Repairs to wind-battered irrigation systems are progressing but for many Canterbury farmers being back on tap will come too late.

Delayed irrigation has reached crisis point and the economic consequences could rival last year’s drought.

The picture is grim for farmers whose irrigators require complicated rebuilds.

Cropping farmers in particular are counting lost dollars by the day because crops desperately need water. . .

Cottingley and Bradford wool firm spins a successful yarn – Chris Holland:

It used to be said that for woolmen ‘every silver lining has a cloud’ but that’s certainly doesn’t apply to Martin Curtis and his team at Curtis Wools Direct, the Cottingley-based wool merchants he runs with his brother Simon and which owns Howarth Scouring and Combing in Bradford.

Wool may be as old as the hills – and the scale of the processing that produced much of Bradford’s wealth is miniscule compared with the industry’s heyday – but optimism and evangelism about the qualities of this natural fibre and its commercial future dominate their thinking. . .

Raw milk all the rage – Laird Harper:

A milk revolution is bubbling up in Taranaki.

Touted as being a “powerhouse food”, raw cow’s milk keeps many vitamins, enzymes and probiotics often considered lost in the processing plant.

But it’s not a concept lost on Dolly’s Milk owners Peter and Margaret Dalziel, and Cindy and Kevin Death.

Hunting for something new, the group stumbled across the idea while flicking through a magazine.

And as they researched the rules and ways to safely distribute the product, they knew they had to get out in front of this fledgling industry. . . .

Raw milk option expands into South Canterbury – Jacqui Webby:

South Canterbury consumers looking for a choice in the type of milk they use will soon have another option.

Early next year, Timaru dairy farmers Stu and Andrea Weir, and son Mitch, will open a raw-milk outlet at their property in Fairview Rd.

The couple, who milk a herd of about 200 mainly friesian cows, have long been interested in the concept of fresh raw milk and were quick to initiate franchise discussions to open a Timaru outlet with Nelson-based Village Milk. . . .

Bumper Fonterra pay-out boosts farm values at auctions:

Fonterra’s bumper payout for dairy milk solids has underpinned the multi-million dollar sale of two large scale dairy conversion farms in Northern Hawke’s Bay.

The two farms sold for a combined value of more than $12.5million after some hectic bidding in the auction room of Bayleys Napier last week – with multiple parties bidding on each of the properties. Some 58 farmers, stock managers, accountants and rural banking specialists from across the Hawke’s Bay were in the auction room to watch proceedings.

Bidding on the 351 hectare Ben Alpin farm opened at $3.9million. After 16 bids from four potential buyers, the property sold under the hammer for $5.020million. . .

Synlait Milk expects to outperform financial targets:

Synlait Milk expects to outperform financial targets on the basis of a favourable product mix.

Current international dairy commodity price differentials are larger than usual, and continue to favour Synlait’s milk powder and AMF dominant product mix. The company expects that ongoing demand, particularly from China, will mean that this will be maintained for much of the current season.

While it is still early in the season, recent announcements also make it clear that the current season’s milk price is likely to be less than the company was expecting.

John Penno said that Synlait’s policy is to pay our contract suppliers a fair market price.  . .

Strong finish for Young Farmer at Rural Ambassador competition:

New Zealand Young Farmers Vice-Chairman Cam Lewis finished runner up at the recent trans-Tasman Rural Ambassador competition in Feilding, 6-8 December.

The top honour and a $5000 travel grant were awarded to Prue Capp, an equine dentist from New South Wales, and in third place was Samantha Neumann from South Australia.

Mr Lewis, a dairy farmer from Levin, keeps the kiwi success in this competition going strong. The 2012 winner was another Young Farmer member and 2013 ANZ Young Farmer Contest Champion, Tim Van de Molen.

Mr Lewis won the Royal Agricultural Society’s Rural Young Achiever Award at the RAS Conference in Christchurch earlier this year and was the only representation from New Zealand in the Rural Ambassador competition. The other six competitors were the top Australian state finalists. . .

And from the Farming Show:

 The Farming Show's photo.

Rural round-up

September 3, 2012

Boot camp stimulates insights and understanding of consumer demand – Allan Barber:

My readers may be pleasantly surprised that I have decided to return to less contentious topics than my last piece about overseas investment. The downside is that this will be far less provocative and may not give the readers the chance to question my intellect, political leanings and status in society or to accuse me of treason for having the gall to support overseas investment in land.

The outcome of the Boot Camp which was held two weeks ago at Stanford University has not for obvious reasons been widely trumpeted. After all the objective was never to produce yet another sector strategy, long on analysis of the problem and short on achievable actions to produce a state of nirvana.

Bill Falconer, Chairman of the Meat Industry Association, was chosen as the spokesperson for the Boot Camp because he did not represent a single company, but an industry body. . .

. . .  and the elephant in the room tiptoed away – Jon Morgan:

Back in 2009, DairyNZ was a leader in setting an industry strategy. Other agriculture and horticulture groups soon followed the industry-good body. 

    But unfortunately its timing wasn’t quite right. 

    As soon as the strategy was announced – with its admirable goals of increased farm profitability, attracting talented and skilled people, being internationally competitive and partnering with the government and the wider community – the world went into recession. 

    Three years later, with Europe and America still in financial strife, it is time to take another look at the strategy – a “refresh”, as DairyNZ says. . . .

Raw milk lapped up as review awaited – Laura Basham:

Village Milk, the Golden Bay business setting a precedent in the way it is legally selling raw milk to consumers, is proving there is public demand.

However, plans to set up franchises around the country have not progressed while other farmers await the outcome of a Ministry of Primary Industries review of raw milk regulations.

The 1981 Food Act allows farmers to sell up to five litres of milk daily to buyers who consume it themselves or provide it for their families. . .

The agriculture industry goes social – Carolyn Baumgarten:

The marriage of agriculture and social media likely conjures up images of crop seeding on Farmville, but socially savvy agribusinesses are proving that the connection runs much deeper than the popular Zynga game. A 2011 study by the American Farm Bureau Federation revealed that of the 98% of farmers and ranchers ages 18 to 25 who have internet access, 76% of them use social media.

Sure, agribusiness often gets a bad rep for being “behind the times,” but that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, agribusinesses have embraced social media as a channel that is revolutionizing both B2B and B2C communications for the industry. . .

Major US retailer to stock NZ wool carpets:

Elders Rural Holdings says there’s been a significant breakthrough in efforts to boost the sale of New Zealand-made wool carpets in the United States.

CCA Global Partners which is the world’s largest carpet retailer with more than 2000 stores, is to stock the company’s Just Shorn range of carpets and rugs, in all its retail flooring businesses.

Early last year it agreed to sell the carpets in more than 80 luxury stores. . .


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