Rural round-up

March 28, 2018

WRC Fencing Proposal Breeds Resentment in the Hills:

Drystock farmers have the most water on their land of any farming sector and are therefore key, in any final policy to improve water quality across Waikato. Under the proposed fencing rules contained in the Waikato Regional Council’s Plan Change 1, many hill country farmers will eventually be forced off their land by the costs of installing fencing and water reticulation. Worse than that, the installation such a vast amount of fencing will leave many of our smallest and cleanest streams – clogged and filthy with sediment.

Due to the nature of the ground, some hill country farmers may lose up to forty percent of their total grazing area, if the proposed fencing requirements are implemented without changes. “The absurd idea being espoused by some WRC staff, that farmers can somehow graze sheep on the sides of hills and cattle on the tops of hills is totally impractical and just shows how far out of touch the WRC is, with hill country farming realities” says Mr Andy Loader, Chairman of PLUG.  . . 

Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey Quarter 1:

New Zealand’s farmers have started the year with increasing optimism, with rural confidence edging higher after two consecutive sharp declines recorded in the second half of 2017.

The first quarterly Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey for the year – completed earlier this month – has shown the nation’s net farmer confidence index inched up to +15 per cent, from +13 per cent recorded in the December 2017 survey, primarily driven by an optimistic outlook among horticulturalists.

While the latest survey found the number of New Zealand farmers expecting the agricultural economy to improve in the year ahead had declined slightly to 27 per cent of those surveyed (compared with 29 per cent in the previous quarter) – those expecting agricultural economic conditions to worsen had fallen to 12 per cent (from 16 per cent previously). . . 

Why has Fonterra gone a2? – Keith Woodford:

It is now more than a month since Fonterra and The a2 Milk Company (A2M) announced that they are going to work together. After the initial shock, and with Malcolm Bell, National Market Manager from New Zealand-dominant dairy-semen provider LIC describing it as “the biggest announcement to come out of Fonterra since its formation”, there is a need for some analysis as to what it is going to mean.

From the perspective of A2M, there is a simple answer. It will provide a supply base of milk free of A1 beta-casein that A2M desperately needs for the coming years of growth.

For Fonterra, the issues are far more complex.  Why have they made a U-turn after 17 years of condescending denigration of the A2 concept?  And why is Fonterra doing it as a joint venture rather than striking out on its own? . . .

NZ log exports top 1M cubic metres in January, second-highest level ever for the month – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand exported more than one million cubic metres of softwood logs in January, only the second time in the country’s history that such a high volume has been shipped in the month.

The country exported 1.1 million cubic metres of softwood logs overseas in January this year, up 32 percent on January 2017, according to data from Global Trade Information Services published in AgriHQ’s monthly forestry market report. That’s the highest level for the month since 2014 and only the second time volumes have exceeded 1 million for a January month. . . 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand elects new chairman:

Southland sheep and beef farmer Andrew Morrison is the new Chairman of Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) following a Board election on 23 March.

Morrison takes the Chair after four years on the Board representing the Southern South Island region.

Along with his wife Lisa, Morrison farms a total of 1030ha of breeding and finishing units spread between Southland and Otago.  . . 

Feds and all farmers will be relieved by M.Bovis decision:

The government’s decision to cull all the livestock on properties so far identified as having been contaminated by the Mycoplasma Bovis disease will be a huge relief for all drystock and dairy farmers.

Federated Farmers applauds the Ministry for Primary Industries decision announced today to continue the cull on all the 28 farms so far infected by the nasty disease.

“Basically what this says to us is that the government and MPI are still committed to trying to eradicate this disease. Their determination to do the best we can to get rid of it should be acknowledged by all farmers,” Federated Farmers president Katie Milne says. . . 

Beef + Lamb NZ welcomes certainty for infected Mp.bovis properties:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has announced that all cattle on properties infected with the Mycoplasma bovis (Mp.bovis) cattle disease will be culled and the farmers’ losses compensated.

“The MPI decision that cattle on all infected properties will be culled provides clarity to farmers that have been living with this uncertainty,” said Dave Harrison, General Manager Policy and Advocacy at B+LNZ.

“This has been a very trying few months for affected farmers who have been restricted from trading, borne extra costs, and suffered worry and anxiety about the future. . . 

Details of FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in Invercargill revealed:

In less than four months Invercargill will be buzzing with FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final fever.

The iconic agricultural competition marks its 50th anniversary this year, a milestone worthy of celebration.

The last of the seven grand finalists will be decided at the Otago/Southland Regional Final in Winton on April 21st.

A sell-out crowd is expected at ILT Stadium Southland for the main quiz and awards night in July. . . 

NZ Ag: B+LNZ  future meat report – great on detail, what’s the solution? – St John Craner:

I was eager to read this report. As eager as I am to read their much anticipated Red Meat Story (which by my best guess will be about the provenance of real meat, and rightly so because it’s their only point of difference). Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) should be applauded for commissioning such a thorough analysis on the challenge and opportunities from alternative protein. Its Future Meat Report is a solid piece of work that will be doing the stakeholder rounds and roadshows up and down the country as we speak. However having read it what are the next actions? And does it go far enough?

Its Executive Summary suggests, in regards to our story, “we just need to tell it better”. It’s too simplistic to say this. To be fair and credit the agency Antedote, they recognise this too as they go deeper explaining each of the different strategic scenarios and responses which offers the greatest value to readers.

Being ready for the threat of alternative proteins and their cashed-up Silicon Valley investors will take far more than having a good story.  . . 


Rural round-up

December 17, 2017

Sniffer dogs to help detect pesky weed – Adriana Weber:

Dogs will be used to help find a pesky weed on farms and vineyards in Marlborough.

Chilean needle grass is an invasive plant that spreads rapidly and has sharp, needle-like tips.

It is very hard to detect, so two sniffer dogs specially trained to spot the weed have been sent to the region to help. . . 

Top quality meat remains in NZ for summer:

The common misconception that all the best meat New Zealand has to offer gets sent offshore is not true, says New Zealand’s largest Kiwi-owned meat processor, AFFCO.

While it is well known a large percentage of lamb is exported off shore to meet Christmas demand in the United Kingdom and Europe, it’s a little-known fact that the majority of beef cuts right from eye fillets to rump steak, stay here for Kiwi’s to enjoy over summer.

“Local demand is certainly higher at this time of year when we’ve come out of long winter period and people just want to put some steak on the barbeque,” says AFFCO’s New Zealand Sales Manager, Darryl Butson. . . 

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Did ewe know . . . wool fibre can be bent 20,000 times without breaking and return to its original shape.

Focus on consumer-based value, quality differences –  Wes Ishmael:

For all of you striving to be above average on your next ranch report card, we have good news.

“While the trend of increasing quality is difficult to quantify, the combination of genetic improvement, formula pricing that includes premium price structures, and additional days of feeding due to lower grain prices will continue to drive U.S. beef quality higher,” says Don Close, Rabobank senior animal protein analyst. “The premiums in the U.S. are expected to increase relative to Choice, branded and Select classifications.”

That’s saying a mouthful when you consider how much of the nation’s federally inspected fed cattle supply already grades USDA Choice or higher — upwards of 80%. For instance, the last week of October, 76.8% graded Choice and Prime, according to USDA’s National Steer and Heifer Estimated Grading Report. Of the Choice-grading carcasses, 29.17% were USDA-certified in the upper two-thirds of Choice. . .

Entries open for New Zealand Champions of Cheese awards 2018:

The New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association (NZSCA) is delighted to announce entries are open for its annual Champions of Cheese Awards.

The Specialist Cheesemakers Association has been running the awards since 2003, and will host their 15th annual NZSCA Gala Cocktail Awards Evening in Auckland at Fale Pasifika on Thursday 15 March 2018. For the first time the awards are being organised by specialist food marketing communications company Marvellous Marketing. . . 

Buying a Farm – “Caveat Emptor”:

Buying a farm is a major investment that has now become much more complicated with the Waikato Regional Council’s proposed and current rule changes under Plan Change 1.

Plan Change 1 requires farmers to obtain a nitrogen reference point (NRP) based on either the 2014/15 or the 2015/16 season.

Under a standard agreement for sale and purchase a vendor has no obligation to provide the information necessary to calculate the NRP. If a farmer does not have this information, they are assigned 75per cent of the sector average. . . 

Dairy Compliance Awards:

Hawke’s Bay’s dairy farmers who are consistently achieving full compliance with their resource consents were recognised at the Dairy Compliance Awards 2017 event last week .

HBRC Chief Executive James Palmer said the scheme is getting good participation, and the people involved are continuing to perform at a high level of compliance.

“The scheme is important for both dairy farmers and the regional council. HBRC wants to help farmers to succeed and the Regional Council is pleased with the environmental performance they are achieving.” . . 

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Did ewe know . . .  wool does its bit for climate change. It can store nearly 2x its weight in CO2 in a duarble, wearable form.

Snow Farm NZ locks in “Locals Season” for 2018:

After the success of the Snow Farm local days in 2017, Snow Farm is making 2018, the locals season, with our most affordable early bird seasons pass prices ever.

Adult seasons passes will be $149 and children seasons passes will be $49. Passes can be purchased at the Snow Farm NZ website www.snowfarmnz.com from the 11th of December to the 31stof January when the prices increase to our pre seasons rates.

“Traditionally most early bird pass sales are to locals and New Zealand residents, so we are looking forward to having more locals taking advantage of this amazing deal and spending more time up at the Snow Farm. . . 


Rural round-up

June 23, 2017

MP expects cattle rustling bill to get support from all parts of Parliament – Jono Galuszka:

The man behind a proposal designed to deter people from cattle rustling says he hopes the final law goes further to include other rural crimes.

Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie had his member’s bill proposing the law change pulled from the Parliamentary ballot recently.

The Sentencing (Livestock Rustling) Amendment Bill proposes making stock theft an aggravating feature when thieves are sentenced in court.

McKelvie said stock rustling was a big issue for farmers, especially those in remote areas of the country. . .

Stars align for venison:

A big drop in the number of deer being processed has undoubtedly played a big part in the strength of venison prices to farmers, but there are other important factors at work.

Attendees at the 2017 Deer Industry Conference heard that the United States is now the single largest market for venison, knocking Germany out of the top slot. In the words of Mountain River’s John Sadler, “the holy grail of the venison industry ever since I first became involved was to sell leg cuts into the United States – traditionally a middles market. I think we are finally getting there.”

“We are reaping the rewards of 35 years of market investment,” said Duncan New Zealand’s Glenn Tyrrell. They’re right but there are also other factors at play. Whether it’s the emergence of paleo diets or culinary trends – like small plates and shared plates – or the new enthusiasm in Europe for summer barbecues, our farm-raised venison looks like the right product for the times. . . .

Primary Sector Science Roadmap ‘not all about food’:

The just released Primary Sector Science Roadmap features a pine tree nursery on its front cover.

The Forest Owners Association says this is a clear signal that the primary sector is not just a food sector.

The FOA president, Peter Clark, says size and importance of the forest sector for New Zealand, as at least the third most significant export category, is often ignored. . . 

New zone plan for Taupō catchment:

A new high-level plan to guide Waikato Regional Council’s work to promote a healthy catchment in the crucial Lake Taupō zone has been approved by the integrated catchment management committee today.

The Lake Taupō catchment, covering nearly a tenth of the Waikato region, contains the country’s largest lake and 11 smaller lakes, as well as significant hydroelectricity schemes and geothermal resources, and is home to major tourist attractions. . . .

India Trade Alliance Bridges NZ India Agriculture Divide:

India Trade Alliance was once again on the forefront of cementing Agriculture business and government relations between the state of Haryana, India and New Zealand.

India Trade Alliance worked closely with the Government of Haryana, India in promoting #NZ Agricultural capabilities and best practices. As a result the Haryana Agricultural Minister Hon O. P. Dhankar led a 16 member strong delegation that included senior MLA’S and CEO’S of various Haryana Agricultural a departments. . .

Informative and hands-on apiculture event set to inspire and educate:

There is something for everyone at the event of the year for New Zealand’s apiculture industry.

The Apiculture New Zealand National Conference will be held at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre from 9 July to 11 July 2017, gathering hobbyist and commercial beekeepers, honey packers and anyone with an interest in apiculture from around the country and abroad. . .


Rural round-up

June 12, 2017

Agricultural student with five scholarships says success is a balancing act – Sam Kilmister:

A top agricultural student hailing from Bulls believes the busier you are the more time you have.

Sam Pike has received five scholarships, balancing his academic commitments with his role as a volunteer firefighter, young farmer, technology blog writer and internship with consultancy firm AgFirst.

The 2014 Feilding High School dux developed his passion for agriculture growing up on a Rangitikei farm and it seemed natural to pursue a career in the industry. . .

Double reason to celebrate 150 years – Rob tipa:

Heavy soils that allow a North Otago farm to hang on longer in drought have kept a family on the land since 1864, reports Rob Tipa.

The Century Farm and Station Awards in Lawrence last month was a special landmark for sesquicentennial farm owners Bob and Nancy Allan, of Calton Hill, near Oamaru.

Not only were they celebrating 153 years of continuous family ownership of their property, but coincidentally the awards dinner fell on the same day as their golden wedding anniversary.

The event turned into a double celebration with their four daughters arriving from Auckland, Christchurch and Oamaru and their bridesmaid, Ainsley Webb, also present to celebrate the Webb family’s century of fruit-growing in Central Otago. . . 

Rural appeal wins over bright city lights for new Southland leader – Brittany Pickett:

Bernadette Hunt is passionate about Southland farming, Brittany Pickett writes.Bernadette Hunt is passionate about Southland farming, Brittany Pickett writes.

Bernadette Hunt wears a lot of different hats.

She’s a farmer, a government employee, a mum, a wife, a community member, and most recently she has become the chairwoman for the meat and fibre section of Southland Federated Farmers.

When she and her husband Alistair bought a farm and moved to Chatton, near Gore, 10 years ago Hunt had just qualified as a teacher and taken on a role at Knapdale School. Since then, life has been busy. . . 

Farmer v Farmer – Richard Rennie:

Waikato Federated Farmers has outlined some far-reaching concerns over the proposed Healthy Rivers plan in its submission, one of more than 1000 received by Waikato Regional Council.

The federation acknowledged the conflict the plan presented to it, given the controversial effect of the plan’s nitrogen limitations on dairy versus drystock operators.

Its submission maintained the plan was “divisive”. It had distilled its submission down to concerns in three key areas. . . 

CP Wool captures greater value – Annette Scott:

Carrfields Primary Wool (CP Wool) has relaunched in the United States to put premium New Zealand wool carpets into the homes of rich Americans.

Carrfields managing director Craig Carr said CP Wool was compelled to push creative boundaries to make a difference for its wool growers.

The key to making that difference involved a revamp of the company’s Just Shorn brand and that opportunity arose when the Just Shorn contract, launched eight years ago, came due for renewal.

CP Wool identified an opportunity to rein in greater control that would create significantly more value for CP Wool and its grower suppliers. . . 

Housing squeezing out farms:

If too many houses replace vegetable growing operations, we may have to look at alternatives such as vertical farming, says Horticulture NZ chief executive Mike Chapman.

He has always been sceptical about such methods for NZ, but we may be “stuck with it” if urbanisation keeps taking productive land, he warns.

Vertical farming was among the most interesting sessions at the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) ANZ conference in Adelaide, he says. . .


Rural round-up

October 7, 2016

NZ meat industry pioneer honoured:

New Zealand meat industry pioneer Sir Graeme Harrison has won this year’s Rabobank Leadership Award in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to the food, beverage and agribusiness sectors.

Harrison, the founder and chairman of one of NZ’s largest exporters, Anzco Foods, was presented with the trans-Tasman award at the annual Rabobank Leadership Dinner in Sydney, Australia, last night.

It is the second year in a row a New Zealander has taken the honour with former Fonterra chair Sir Henry van der Heyden the recipient of the award last year.

Presenting the award, Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group managing director Peter Knoblanche said Sir Graeme was a “true champion of agribusiness” who had made an enormous contribution not only as a NZ business leader, but also in the international meat industry trade”. . .

Farmers say river plan will kill businesses – Glenys Christian:

Many of the more than 150 farmers who gathered in Pukekohe last Monday believe the Waikato Regional Council’s Healthy Rivers Wai Ora plan will drive them out of business or severely limit what they can do on their properties.  

And Waikato University Professor of Agribusiness Jacqueline Rowarth told them if the plan came into force there would be a dearth of young people returning to the land.  

New Zealand enjoyed some of the best quality wild water in the world, backed up by a huge amount of environmental protection.  

She questioned comparisons made and said a lot of the research work used by the Healthy Rivers Wai Ora collaborative stakeholder group (CSG) was based on modelling without giving enough attention to the constraints and uncertainties involved, especially went it came to Overseer programme predictions. . . 

Farmers praise Northland plan – Hugh Stringleman:

Northland’s draft regional plan is pragmatic and headed in the right direction, Federated Farmers says.  

Federated Farmers Northland province found the overall thrust of Northland Regional Council policy-making was appropriate for dairy, sheep and beef cattle farmers.  

In particular, it responded to livestock exclusion rules, setback distance from waterways, farm wastewater storage, wetlands and catchment plans for improving water quality.  

It said Northland’s freshwater resources were in a reasonable state and over-allocation and nitrate loadings were not issues. . . 

A damn load of emotional effluent – Tim Gilbertson:

The Ruataniwha water storage scheme saga has gone far beyond soap opera territory: fantasy has long since replaced fact, the noisy quashing any sense.

Here are some examples. Serial anti-RWSS crusader Grenville Christie claims riparian planting stops only phosphate from entering the waterways (CHB Mail Sept 20). Incorrect. It stops virtually everything except nitrogen.

Filtering improves water quality, in some cases by up to 80% within a few months. Nitrogen enters the rivers via groundwater, so riparian planting is ineffective. But nitrogen will be severely limited by Plan Change 6, so Grenville can rest easy. . . 

Time to wake up and get safe! – Mark Daniel:

While quad fatalities keep fuelling a media frenzy, it’s time to look at the broader picture and try to understand what makes our farms such dangerous places.

Dangerous they are: statistics between 2013 and December 2015 show farmers suffered 63 deaths*; the next-highest sectors, transport and warehousing, had 17 and forestry 14 respectively during the same period.  

So the death rate on farms is around four times higher; why is that? If you’ve visited a quarry, warehouse or forest lately, you’ll know that before you get to the action you’ll be hit with rules, hazard identification, hi-vis vests, hard hats and steel-toe boots. Easy to do, you say, on a compact ring fenced site, but much harder to do in the backblocks of New Zealand. . . 

New challenge in milking goats –  Sudesh Kissun:

South Auckland farmer Hamish Noakes had no crystal ball four years ago when he pulled out of cow dairying and started milking goats.

The 40ha family-run farm at Karaka was “just too small and milking 160 cows just wasn’t working”.  

“I was always chasing my tail; I had a lot of leased blocks so I was always running around between leased blocks and running this farm,” Hamish told Rural News. . . 

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No excuse for cruelty, deliberate discharge

August 5, 2015

Don’t click on this link if you’re going to be upset by details of ill treatment of animals:

. . .  Michael James Whitelock pleaded guilty in Greymouth District Court on Monday to 12 charges, including ill treatment of animals, unlawful possession of firearms and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

He was bailed to his home in Timaru until sentencing on October 7.

Whitelock was the dairy manager for a Landcorp farm near Westport from July 2012 until his suspension in September 2013. A Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) investigation began that month after a Landcorp manager arranged for a vet to examine the herd.  . .

There is no excuse for cruelty to animals.

People who can’t treat animals with the care and respect they deserve shouldn’t even contemplate working on a farm.

Nor is there any excuse for this:

A dairy farmer has been fined almost $73,000 for deliberately discharging effluent into his drains which then flowed into the Coromandel Peninsula’s Tairua River.

The 11 years of illegal discharges is “quite staggering”, the Waikato Regional Council says. . .

Accidents could happen on the best of farms. Deliberate discharges might still occur in third world countries but they should not happen here.

 


Rural round-up

June 1, 2015

Fonterra signals major shake-up – Neal Wallace:

Fonterra has signaled the possibility of a major shake-up throughout its operations entailing job losses from senior management down.

Fonterra has signaled the possibility of a major shake-up throughout its operations entailing job losses from senior management down.

It today confirmed it had launched an in-depth review of its business, when questioned by the New Zealand Farmers Weekly. . .

 Synlait’s tough road to riches – Neal Wallace:

Potential riches bypassing Synlait became apparent a year after the Canterbury company opened its milk drying plant.

Customers were buying powder to make their own infant formula and while Synlait had plans to eventually enter the added-value game, such was the demand for its powder and rate of international growth in formula, a strategy rethink was required, managing director John Penno said.

“It gave us an insight to the demand. We saw growth, we saw the market and we saw why they were coming to Synlait.” . . .

 The great Kiwi earthworm survey:

AgResearch scientists want farmer help to better understand the distribution of one of the little known heroes of New Zealand agricultural production.

Earthworms play a vital role in the soil by decomposing organic matter, making nutrients available to plants and creating burrows in the soil to improve the movement of air and water. Studies have shown the introduction of surface-active earthworms improves annual pasture growth significantly as well as boosting environmental performance and extending the growing season. . .

Doors open at training farm:

Waipaoa Station Training Trust is holding an open day on June 6 and 7 as part of its selection of cadets for 2016.

The two-year cadet training scheme is based at Waipaoa Station, a commercial sheep and beef farm 70km from Gisborne.

Each year five new cadets are selected, to learn practical skills and sit in classroom lectures. The cadets live on the station. . .

New Zealand ‘brand’ not being seen:

Many overseas consumers are unaware their food originates in New Zealand, undermining attempts to promote our “clean and green” and premium brand image, a new study finds.

It shows there are significant opportunities for New Zealand premium consumer food and beverage products in overseas markets but we are missing out because we are not communicating to consumers.

“Maximising Export Returns; Communicating New Zealand’s credence attributes to international consumers”, by Lincoln University Agribusiness and Food Marketing Programme Director Nic Lees andAgribusiness and Economics Research Unit director Professor Caroline Saunders, finds having a visible label and a good relationship with industry buyers could improve the situation. . .

Growing knowledge through collaboration:

A collaborative workshop to help food producers gain specialist knowledge and skills was held at Lincoln University 27 May.

Entitled “Growing You”, it is part of a series covering topics such as sustainable weed management and sustainable pest and disease management, and was a joint effort of the University, MG Marketing, and the Lincoln-based Biological Husbandry Unit (BHU) and Bio-Protection Research Centre (BPRC).

MG Marketing is a co-operative organisation with over 90 years of growing, distributing and selling fresh vegetables and fruit. . .

 TB rate collection to continue one more year:

Waikato Regional Council has today agreed to continue collecting the rate for the national bovine tuberculosis (TB) programme, but at a reduced amount of $500,000.

Only ratepayers with properties two hectares or greater in area will pay this rate, which will be 23 per cent less than in 2014/15.

In making its decision during the first day of 2015-2025 Long Term Plan deliberations, the council made it clear 2015/16 would be the last year it would collect the rate. . .


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