Rural round-up

August 10, 2013

Fonterra Confirms No Health Risk with High School Project:

Fonterra today confirmed that there is no health risk to students at Palmerston North Girls’ High School who drank drinks that included whey protein concentrate (WPC80) from a batch subsequently subject to the recent precautionary recall.

Fonterra visited the school today to work with the principal and teachers as they informed students and parents about the whey protein concentrate provided to the school. The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health have also been involved in supporting the school.

Fonterra Chief Technology Officer Dr Jeremy Hill said Fonterra established last night that a small portion of some potentially affected whey protein concentrate was provided to the school in February 2013. . .

Landcorp 2013 profit probably higher than forecast as it mitigates drought impact – Tina Morrison:

Landcorp Farming, New Zealand’s biggest farmer, says earnings may be a smidgen higher than first budgeted after initially thinking it may only breakeven this year when drought hit milk production and livestock price.

Net operating profit was probably $13 million in the year ended June 30, compared with its original budget of $12.7 million and down from $27 million the year earlier, state-owned Landcorp said in a statement

In January, the company, which operates 119 properties, cut its earnings expectations to between $6 million and $8 million and in March said it may only breakeven as the worst drought in 70 years crimped production and hit prices. . . .

New salmon farms get the go ahead:

New Zealand King Salmon got the go ahead yesterday for four new salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds, when two appeals to the High Court were completely dismissed.

New Zealand King Salmon CEO Grant Rosewarne says he and his team are extremely relieved. He says “I am hugely proud of my team, and their absolute commitment through what has been an exhausting process. But we’re very excited and eager to get on with the business of producing the world’s best salmon”.

Once operational, the four new farms will create about 200 new jobs in the Top of the South, and benefits will start to flow through wages and additional work for local suppliers such as water taxis, engineering firms, transport companies and local shops. . .

Government welcomes King Salmon decision:

Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have welcomed the High Court’s decision to dismiss two appeals on the Board of Inquiry’s approval for New Zealand King Salmon to develop new marine farms in the Marlborough Sounds.

The decision of the Board of Inquiry, reached in February 2011, to approve four new salmon farming sites in the Marlborough Sounds was appealed by two parties and that appeal was heard at the High Court in Blenheim in May.

“The impacts of these new marine farms on the important recreation and conservation values of the Marlborough Sounds are small. This is about use of only six hectares of more than 100,000 hectares of water space in the Sounds,” Dr Smith says. . .

Sanford to miss forecast on lower skipjack tuna, toothfish and mussel harvest – Tina Morrison:

Sanford, New Zealand’s largest listed fishing company, said annual profit will fall short of its forecast after lower catches of skipjack tuna and toothfish and slow growth in its main Marlborough mussel growing area. The shares fell.

Profit will probably be $23 million to $25 million in the year ending Sept. 30, from $21 million last year, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. That’s less than Sanford forecast in May when it said second half profit would probably match the $14 million posted in the first half.

Sanford profits are being crimped as it faces high costs of operating its vessels while its catches fail to meet expectations in the Pacific skipjack tuna fishery and for toothfish in the remote South Georgia fishing zone. Slower growth in Marlborough mussels means those that are able to be harvested are generally smaller, resulting in lower revenue per kilogram and increased production costs. . .

Long haul to first consent for water scheme:

The company driving a large-scale irrigation and water storage scheme in North Canterbury hopes to have the initial stage operating in two or three years, now that it has got its first resource consent.

The $400 million scheme will take water mainly from the Hurunui River to irrigate up to 60,000 hectares of land on several hundred properties extending from north of the river to the coast. A series of dams will be built on a tributary of the Hurunui, the Waitohi, for water storage as well as hydro power.

Project manager Amanda Loeffen says it has been a long haul to get the first consent; initially the scheme wasn’t supported by everybody, and after a year and a half of discussions it has been completely redesigned. . .

Pins Colt Attracts Top Price at South Island Sale:

A striking colt by top-drawer stallion Pins has topped the New Zealand Bloodstock South Island Sale of Two-Year-Olds and Mixed Bloodstock, knocked down for $50,000.

Presented at Lot 29 from the draft of Phoenix Park, the colt is out of the 2005/06 New Zealand Bloodstock Southern Filly of the Year Series winner Ombre Rose and is bred on the Waikato Stud cross of Pins over O’Reilly that has proven successful in the past.

The hammer fell in favour of Joe Barnes of J & I Bloodstock Ltd, with the colt’s racing future likely to be in Hong Kong. . .


Rural round-up

August 9, 2013

Fonterra welcomes New Zealand Government’s confirmation of safety of New Zealand dairy products

Fonterra today welcomed the New Zealand Government’s confirmation that the quality issue involving whey protein concentrate is confined to the products made from three batches of WPC80 and no other New Zealand dairy products are affected.

Fonterra Chief Executive Theo Spierings said: “Public safety is Fonterra’s number one priority. When we informed our customers and the Ministry for Primary Industries of the quality issue, we advised them that it was limited to three batches of whey protein concentrate.

“We appreciate the New Zealand Government confirming this to be the case and reiterating the safety of all other New Zealand dairy products, including Whole Milk Powder (WMP) and Skim Milk Powder (SMP), butter and cheese. . .

Surprised by the biosecurity issue – Bill Kaye-Blake:

The issue with botulism bacteria in Fonterra’s whey powder has been in the news all week. There’s been lots of talk of milk prices, exchange rates, marketing images and damage to brands. Most of it is fairly simple. A lot of it, at least over the weekend, was speculation about what could or might happen — filler more than news.

I have one small note to add. I have been working in agricultural economics in New Zealand for the last ten years, all across the sector. Dairy, sheep/beef, apple, kiwifruit, potatoes, forestry, wine, lettuce — lots of different products. I’ve also worked on many different issues: trade, technology, consumer trends, productivity. One area in particular has been biosecurity, which in New Zealand refers to keeping bugs out (in other countries, it refers to biological terrorism, which led to some confusion once when I visited the OECD). . .

Fonterra says no sign yet of losss of business, too soon to count cost:

Fonterra Cooperative Group hasn’t seen any signs of customers reducing their business and says it is too soon to say whether the costs of dealing with the contamination will result in a charge against earnings.

Chief executive Theo Spierings told a conference call today that with listed units on the NZX, Fonterra has obligations to disclose any significant financial impact. Major customers hadn’t signalled as yet any change in demand, he said.

On the conference call chairman John Wilson fronted the media for the first time since the crisis emerged last weekend and defended why it took him this long to appear in public on the issue, saying “in reality this is an operational matter” and he had faith in Spierings’ management team to handle it. . .

North Canterbury will boom on back of water storage

IrrigationNZ says North Canterbury will be revitalised on the back of the Waitohi Irrigation and Hydro Scheme, which was granted resource consent this week.

“Hurunui District, like many other rural areas, has experienced gradual population decline and subsequent school and local service closures over the past 20 years. The announcement that Hurunui Water Project’s Waitohi Irrigation and Hydro Scheme can now proceed has the potential to completely reverse North Canterbury’s fortunes,” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

“The supply of reliable water will create certainty which will encourage greater investment in a range of land use options. With North Canterbury’s unique climate allowing a wide range of crops to be grown, the district is well placed to experience an economic boom,” says Mr Curtis.

Mr Curtis says environmental concerns around intensive farming and increased irrigation would be taken care of through audited farm plans. . . .

Rural Contractors welcome new workplace safety reforms:

Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ) says it welcomes the government’s newly announced workplace health and safety reforms.

“Both employers and employees have an important part to play in improving safety in the workplace,” says RCNZ president Steve Levet.

“Unfortunately, the attitude towards ensuring workplace safety is not universal in the agricultural scene and it can be a battle to get safety seen as a priority by every individual.”

He says rural contractors and their staff need to be as vigilant with maintaining their own safety in the workplace, as they are with maintaining their machinery. . .

Local yarn’s luxury fibre reaches US Vogue Knitters:

With the resurgence in hand knitting and all things handcrafted, a local yarn company is spinning a name for itself with its luxury natural fibre yarn product especially for hand knitting.

Wellington company, Woolyarns New Zealand, produces an exclusive range of luxury yarn brands for both the textile manufacturing and hand knitting markets internationally.

It is Woolyarns Zealana hand knitting yarn, that has now attracted the attention of Vogue Knitting USA magazine’s Chief Editor. . .


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