Rural round-up

September 5, 2015

Rumours of Silver Fern Farms China deal – Sally Rae:

Farmers have been urged not to be ”seduced” by short-term gains as rumours swirl that an announcement by Silver Fern Farms of a 50-50 joint venture with a Chinese company is imminent.

Heriot farmer Allan Richardson, who has led a group of shareholders seeking a meeting to discuss a possible merger with Alliance Group, believed foreign ownership of the co-operative was ”just around the corner”.

Mr Richardson expected Silver Fern Farms could make an announcement to farmers within the next week. . .

Stick to your guns Mr Groser – Andrew Hoggard:

When examining the current low dairy payout there are a number of factors that come into play.

One overriding issue is the protected nature of dairy trade throughout the world. For some strange reason, dairy seems to be one of the most protected food commodities.

This high level of protection means there is only a small global market for dairy products that are freely traded and so, if we get even the slightest market shock, you get quite a big price fluctuation whether it’s up or down.

For me, this emphasises how critically important breaking down trade barriers are for New Zealand’s prosperity not only on farm, but for all those regional economies that rely so heavily on agriculture. . . 

Farmers fear return to ‘desert’ conditions:

A farmer in the heart of the North Canterbury drought says a prolonged dry spell brought on by El Niño will put already struggling farmers in dire straits.

Vince Daily, who runs a 160 hectare cropping farm in Cheviot, said the NIWA weather station on his farm showed the soil moisture level was at 30 percent, rather than the normal 100 percent it is at at this time of year.

Mr Daily said any drought caused by El Niño would just be a continuation of the current conditions.

“We could lose 2 or 3 percent moisture a day and in 20 days you could be back to looking like a desert again,” he said. . .

Building a talent pipeline with New Zealand Young Farmers:

Being part of a TeenAg club at high school kept Northland teenager Sam Moscrip in school longer than he had intended, and it has opened him up to many new possibilities in the primary industries.

The TeenAg club format has been developed by New Zealand Young Farmers as a way for younger people to get started with the movement.

Young Farmers are taking a “pipeline” approach, explains NZYF chief executive Terry Copeland, developing a format to suit each age group around the Young Farmers set-up. New Zealand Young Farmers has existed for more than 80 years and is for people aged 16 to 31. . .

Decision time for dairy support farmers – Rick Powdrell:

As the New Zealand dairy industry has expanded rapidly in recent years so too has the dairy support farm.

So what is the dairy downturn going to mean for the dairy support farmer?

This is an important question which needs some serious thought by both sides of the industry.

Already we have seen many dairy animals not go out to the previously arranged winter feed.

Thankfully for those farmers who had grown this feed, the Mainland drought and North Island floods meant there was an alternative option to sell it. . . 

Calf rearing popular again – Tim Fulton:

Rearing calves on weight gain has leapt back into fashion on dairy units around the country.

A beef-cross calf reared to 100kg may have netted a dairy farmer $400-$500 this season, PGG Wrightson general manager of livestock Peter Moore said.

“If you look over the country there’s been a lot more calves reared than in the past,” he said.Farmers were rearing good Friesian bull calves or the male offspring of Angus or Hereford cows mated late in previous seasons. . .

Wool world record: 40kg fleece shorn off overgrown sheep RSPCA says:

Wool shorn off an overgrown sheep found near Canberra on Wednesday has set an “unofficial” world record for the heaviest fleece removed in one shearing, the RSPCA says.

The sheep, dubbed Chris, underwent a risky shearing operation to remove 40.45 kilograms of wool.

It smashed the previous world record held by a sheep in New Zealand called Shrek, whose fleece weighed 27 kilograms. . .

NZ wool trades at record high amid tight supply – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand wool is trading at record high prices, pushed up by strong demand and limited supply, though the outlook is murky.

The price for clean 29-micron wool changed hands at a record $10.45 a kilogram at yesterday’s North Island auction, up from $9.95/kg at the previous North Island auction on Aug. 13, according to AgriHQ. Meanwhile, the price for 27-micron wool jumped to $10.90/kg, up from $10.70/kg at the previous North Island auction and at its highest level since October 2002, AgriHQ said. . . 

Solutions sought for saving summer fruit:

Combating pests and diseases of tree-based crops and summer fruits was the target of the latest MG Marketing ‘Growing You’ workshop held recently at Lincoln.

MG Marketing, a co-operative organization that has over 90 year of successful record of growing, distributing and selling a comprehensive range of fresh vegetables and fruit, in collaboration with Lincoln University, the Biological Husbandry Unit (BHU) and the Bio-protection Research Centre (BPRC) developed workshops for growers and commercial operators from all around New Zealand to advance their scientific knowledge and practical skills.

About 20 of MG Marketing’s top growers from diverse operations such as cherries, feijoa, raspberry, citrus, and tree-based fruits, from across New Zealand travelled to Lincoln for the workshop. . . 

Rural round-up

August 13, 2015

Strong outlook for primary sectors – Nathan Guy:

There’s been much talk about the dairy sector in recent days.

Last week, our largest dairy company Fonterra announced a new reduced forecast payout for farmers. This isn’t particularly surprising as it reflects the ongoing volatility in the international dairy price, but clearly it will have a significant impact on the dairy industry.

Times will be a bit tougher for dairy farmers over the next few months and it will have a flow-on impact in regional communities.

However, this volatility in dairy prices is expected to be short-term. The medium to long-term outlook for our dairy sector, and indeed all primary sectors, is very positive, and expected to grow by 17 per cent to more than $41 billion over the next four years. . .


Farmers to get higher wool price:

Marketing and sales company Wools of New Zealand has bumped up the price it’s offering farmers for lambs wool.

It will pay farmers a contract price of $7.50 per kilo for 28 micron to 31.5 micron lamb’s wool produced this season.

That is a 15 cent per kilo increase on the price it was offering at the beginning of July, which the farmer-owned company said reflected positive movements in the exchange rate, with a falling New Zealand dollar increasing export returns. . .

Hefty prices predicted for NZ beef:

 The Meat Industry Association says prices for New Zealand beef will be kept high, fuelled by Asia’s strong demand for protein.

Chief executive Tim Ritchie said although the United States, the country’s biggest beef market, was rebuilding its cattle herd numbers after drought, it too remained a very firm market and he expected it to stay that way for some time.

Mr Ritchie said the outlook for the country’s beef prices and exports was very positive, as many Asian countries were urging their people to eat more protein. . .

Milk payout cut undoes three years hard work – Sue O’Dowd:

Having to borrow back hundreds of thousands of dollars paid off their loan in the last 2½ years is leaving a Hawera couple bitterly disappointed.

Amanda and Bryce Savage, 50:50 sharemilkers on a 134ha farm for Maori incorporation Parininihi ki Waitotara, raised a loan to buy their first farm, a 74ha property near Stratford, in 2013.

Fonterra’s revised dairy payout of $3.85 kilogram milksolids (kg MS), down from $5.25, means they feel they’re going backwards because they’ll have to borrow back all the money they’ve repaid off that loan. . .

First Threatened Species Ambassador appointed:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has today announced New Zealand’s first Threatened Species Ambassador is Nicola Toki.

The Ambassador will be a high-profile role within the Department of Conservation for all of the country’s threatened species, working to build partnerships and encourage New Zealanders to become involved in conservation efforts.

“As a nation, we face a major battle to save our threatened species. Our unique native wildlife is besieged by introduced pests and other threats,” Ms Barry says. . .

Bluegreen programme of improved environmental management outlined:

A programme of stronger national direction and guidance on key environmental issues was announced today by Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith at the Environmental Defence Society’s conference in Auckland.

“A key problem with the Resource Management Act is that there has been too little central government direction on major issues. We are stepping up our programme of National Policy Statements, National Environmental Standards and national guidance to get better environmental results at less cost,” Dr Smith says.

Dr Smith today released the Ministries for the Environment and Primary Industries’ new guide on implementing the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. . .

Half Share for Sale in Large New Zealand Pastoral Farming Portfolio:

Half the shares in a large pastoral farming operation, New Zealand Pastures Ltd (NZP), are being offered for sale.

NZP is a private company that owns seven properties in Otago and Canterbury with a combined value over $100 million. Its portfolio comprises two partially irrigated and five dryland farms, ranging in size between 958ha and 7,533ha that have been predominantly managed as lamb and beef grazing and finishing units. Combined land area is 23,500ha with an assessed carrying capacity around 140,000 stock units. . .

BioGro Introduces New Organic Service:

BioGro Ltd, New Zealand’s leading organic certifier, has introduced a new Initial Contact Meeting service to help make it easier for anyone looking to ‘go organic.’

The Initial Contact Meetings are designed to inform and assist producers interested in organic production and certification.

Since the programme launched in November 2014, the meetings have proven popular with over 20 farmers and producers across New Zealand taking part so far. . .

Rural round-up

August 5, 2015

More hands-on support for rural communities@:

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy say around 100 more people will be trained to help farming families across the country access the support they need.

The commitment is the first part of the one-off $500,000 funding boost for mental health initiatives targeted at rural communities announced by the Ministers at Fieldays.

“We recognise that some farmers are under considerable stress. The physical isolation as well as the uncertainties of being reliant on the land creates different pressures to those living in an urban setting,” says Dr Coleman. . .

 Overseas Investment Office penalises investors:

Investigation and enforcement action by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has resulted in two south Canterbury farming syndicates being penalised $173,400 for breaches of the Overseas Investment Act.

Both syndicates involve UK investors Andrew and Paul Turney, while one also involves US company Schooner Agribusiness LLC. The farming syndicates are two of six established by the late Alan Hubbard that were investigated by the OIO. The other four syndicates have disbanded and sold their properties.

OIO Manager Annelies McClure said the six syndicates, or their investors, had breached the Overseas Investment Act 2005 and Overseas Investment Act 1973 multiple times since 2001. . . .


NZ wool exports jump to the highest in more than a decade in June, helped by low kiwi, Chinese demand – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand wool exports jumped to their highest level in more than a decade in June, aided by a lower currency and strong demand from China, the nation’s largest market.

Wool exports rose 19 percent to $75 million in June from the same month a year earlier and reaching the highest level for a June month since 1994, according to Statistics New Zealand data. Exports to China, which account for two thirds of the total, jumped 34 percent to $50 million.

“The main driver of the increase in value is the weakened New Zealand dollar,” said Georgia Twomey, a commodity analyst at Rabobank. The New Zealand dollar averaged 71 US cents through May and June of this year, down from about 86 cents in the same period last year, she said. It recently traded at 65.60 US cents. . . .

NZ unions oppose RSE expansion:

 Unions in New Zealand say they oppose any expansion of the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme.

The RSE allows Pacific workers into New Zealand on short term visas to work in the horticulture sector.

The criticism from New Zealand’s Council of Trade Unions comes as talks on the PACER Plus regional trade deal resume in Samoa, with more seasonal work a critical element in getting the island nations onboard.

The CTU’s Bill Rosenberg says the RSE scheme is threatening to make Pacific workers a dominant source of employees in the industry. . .

Foresters to discuss a better future:

Over 100 forest sector stakeholders are gathering in Wellington next week to discuss developing a national forest policy. They want the policy to be accepted and used by the forestry sector — and for it to guide the Government’s thinking on forestry.

“We believe New Zealand needs a comprehensive long term forest policy, to recognise the long term nature of forests and the many benefits forests provide to society. Many services provided by forestry are not provided by other land uses, and forestry is too often undervalued. This is the reason many other countries have national forest policies,” says Garth Cumberland, chair of the project. . . .

Makeover for OVERSEER®:

The owners of OVERSEER® are establishing a new not-for-profit company to manage, develop and license OVERSEER.

OVERSEER is jointly owned by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand (FANZ) and AgResearch Limited.

The Chief Executives of the owner organisations have committed to a business plan which will significantly enhance OVERSEER over the planned transition phase of three years and ensure a sustainable funding base. . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Launches Referendum Proposal to Farmers:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand has launched the 2015 Sheepmeat and Beef Levy Referendum proposal, outlining activities for the next levy cycle between 2016-2022. Sheepmeat and beef producers, including dairy farmers through their cull cows, will have the chance to continue funding activities and programmes for the next six years when voting opens on 8 August.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman, James Parsons said the Commodity Levies Act requires farmers to vote to continue new levy orders every six years and a ‘yes’ vote will enable Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s activities to carry on. A ‘no’ vote would mean that Beef + Lamb New Zealand would be wound down and all the programmes would end. . .

Six DairyNZ spots up for election:

Nominations open this week for farmer-elected directors on the board of DairyNZ, with one spot vacated by long-serving chairman John Luxton, who is standing down from the industry body.

This year, three farmer positions are open for election to the Board of Directors and another three positions are up for election on DairyNZ’s Directors Remuneration Committee.

Nominations open on August 5 and close on August 28, with voting held from September. . .





Rural round-up

July 15, 2015

FMG gets $3m flood, snow claims – so far:

The country’s largest rural insurer Farmers Mutual Group says it has received $3 million worth of claims related to the flooding and snow that hit the country last month.

FMG said the severe flooding in the lower North Island prompted 264 claims from the Manawatu-Whanganui and Taranaki regions, and snow damage in Canterbury led to 80 claims being lodged.

General manager of advice and insurance Conrad Wilkshire said most of the claims were for damage to houses, contents, sheds, and farm equipment.

In one case, a farm building was swept down a river. . .

Fonterra’s rivals tell DIRA review there is insufficient competition for dairy industry deregulation – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Competitors of Fonterra Cooperative Group, the country’s largest dairy processor, claim there’s still insufficient competition to deregulate the industry.

In submissions to the Commerce Commission, which is undertaking a government-ordered review of the industry’s competitiveness, rival processors either want the status quo or the regulations tightened.

Farmers lobby group, Federated Farmers, says the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001(DIRA) will need to be amended if it’s retained long-term. . .

 Kiwi Developed Sugar Substitute to Tackle Obesity Problem:

A new low-calorie sugar alternative made entirely from fruit and developed by Kiwis, is set to offer companies around the world a natural way to reduce sugar in everyday foods and beverages such as cereals, yoghurts and juices, without compromising flavour.

Developed by Kiwi and Chinese joint venture company Guilin GFS Monk Fruit Corporation, Sweet-Delicious is a natural fruit juice made from a small Chinese melon called monk fruit. As a natural low-calorie alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners it is a new way to tackle the growing obesity epidemic. . .

 ‘Drought man’ coming to Lincoln:

“Innovate or stagnate” will be the main message from Grassmere farmer Doug Avery when he visits Lincoln University next Thursday.

Avery’s talk about turning drought and desperation into sustainability and success will take place on Thursday, July 16 at 7pm.

Avery, also known as the ‘drought man’, says he understands the value of farmers learning from farmers. . .

Fonterra strengthens ties with the Netherlands:

Associate Minister of Trade Todd McClay says a new Fonterra ingredients factory in the Netherlands, opened yesterday by Dutch King Willem-Alexander, marks an exciting step forward in agribusiness collaboration between New Zealand and the Netherlands.

The state-of-the-art factory in Heerenveen, Friesland, has been developed in partnership with Dutch conglomerate A-Ware Food Group, which has built a major new cheese plant next door.

Whey and lactose, by-products of A-Ware’s cheese-making process, will be processed into specialty ingredients by the Fonterra plant. These will be used in high-value paediatric, maternal, and sports nutrition products for sale in the European Union and beyond. . .

Kiwifruit Claim Wins First Round:

The High Court at Wellington has ruled in favour of The Kiwifruit Claim and against the Crown on all substantial points, in a judgment released on 8 July.

Kiwifruit growers and post-harvest operators who were negatively affected by Psa have untilFriday 9 October 2015 to sign up to The Kiwifruit Claim, the court has ruled.

The court said growers and post-harvest operators should be allowed to bring the proceedings as a representative or class action, which had been opposed by the Crown Law Office (CLO). . .

Hemp seed food sales remain on horizon:

The adoption of a hemp seed food standard remains on the horizon, following work requested by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Ministerial Forum earlier this year says Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew.

“New Zealand supports a standard allowing the sale of hemp seed food products, and I am hopeful that the Ministerial Forum will be able to assess the proposed hemp standard again early next year,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“The best available science shows us that hemp seed is safe to eat and has positive nutritional properties. However, the Ministerial Forum had some unanswered questions when it met in January. . .


Review of Hemp as a Food:

The NZ Grain and Seed Trade Association (NZGSTA) was pleased to learn today that the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (the Forum) was continuing to address some concerns around the sale of hemp seed foods for human consumption.

Responding to the Forum’s communiqué issued from Hobart Thomas Chin, association general manager, said the industry realises that the NZ Minister and officials were supportive of hemp seed foods and they are continuing with strong efforts to help see the development of a new cropping opportunity for NZ primary producers and manufacturers. . .


Wool Market Slightly Easier:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the first wool auction of the 2015/16 season offering 6,800 bales comprising predominantly 80 percent short second shear wools, saw a 92 percent clearance with a slightly softer tone.

Despite a weaker New Zealand dollar compared to the last sale on 25th June, with the weighted currency indicator down 1.96 percent, the bulk of the offering was firm to 2 percent easier.

Mr Dawson advises that the seasonal slow-down in order, approaching European vacation period and well stocked supply lines in China are limiting new orders for wool temporarily. . .


Rural round-up

June 7, 2015

Fed Farmers appeals GMO decision:

Federated Farmers has lodged an appeal with the High Court over a decision allowing Northland Regional Council to regulate the use of genetically modified organisms in the region.

The farming lobby group had previously appealed to the Environment Court over the matter. Last month the court ruled the council had jurisdiction under the Resource Management Act to decide whether GMOs can be used.

The council would do this though regional policy statements and plans.

Federated Farmers’ president William Rolleston was seeking clarification on some points of the decision but would not discuss details because it was before the court. . .

Winners of 2015 Green Ribbon Awards announced:

Project Janszoon has named as the recipient of the Supreme Award at this year’s Green Ribbon Awards, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry announced at the ceremony held at Parliament tonight.

“Project Janszoon has carried out an impressive job restoring and protecting one of New Zealand’s greatest natural assets: the Abel Tasman National Park. Project initiatives include extensive pest and weed control, the return of important plants and animals like rata and kaka and future proofing the project through education and community engagement,” Dr Smith says. . .


Maize growers nervous – John Hodge:

Although I’m an optimist I am becoming more aware that maize growers are exceptionally nervous about the future of the industry in New Zealand.

I see problems arising in the future for us and optimist or not I have to admit things are not looking rosy. Having farmed my way through ups and downs for the past 60 years, my optimism has always got me through. So my advice to other growers is to do the same because when we can hope things will come right it makes it bearable.

The drop in payout to dairy farmers has had an immediate effect on their demand for both maize silage and maize grain, which combined with the drought conditions over the last three years, has been hard going. With dairy farmers looking for cheaper options to feed their herds, it’s fair enough that maize farmers are feeling nervous. . .

Continued pressure on wool:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s Marketing Executive, Mr Paul Steel reports that the weakening New Zealand dollar coupled with exporter pressure to meet shipping requirements and limited supply continues to underpin the market.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies came down 2.14 percent compared to the last sale on 28th May.

Of the 6,876 bales on offer, 94 percent sold. . .

 NZ lamb wool price rises to record amid strong demand, limited supply – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand lamb wool prices jumped to a record high amid strong demand from exporters and limited supplies.

Lamb wool climbed to $7.45 per kilogram at yesterday’s South Island auction, from $7/kg at last week’s North Island auction, the highest price that AgriHQ has recorded since it began collecting wool prices in July 2005. The price for clean 35-micron wool, a benchmark for crossbred wool used for carpets and accounting for the majority of New Zealand’s production, held at $6.20/kg for a third week, its highest level since November 2013 and 17 percent above year earlier levels. . .

 Canterbury Seed consolidates cereals partnership with KWS:

Canterbury Seed and cereal breeder KWS UK continue to cement their long standing partnership as the number of New Zealand growers recognising the distinct benefits of the KWS cereal varieties increases.

The relationship now extends to new cereal varieties being evaluated in New Zealand under local conditions at the same time as the varieties being entered into the UK official trials. This is crucial given not all UK varieties will perform in New Zealand and allows for evaluation before moving forward into the local trial system.

During the 2014 – 2015 seasons, Canterbury Seed evaluated five new wheat varieties and seven new barleys – two wheat and one barley variety progressed to New Zealand trials. . .


Wellington Gets Set For Big Farm Environment Celebration:

This year its Wellington’s turn to host New Zealand Farm Environment Trust’s annual Sustainability Showcase – a premier event on the national farming calendar.

To be held on June 24 in Parliament’s Banquet Hall, the Showcase honours Supreme winners of the 2015 Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) and culminates with the naming of the National Winner and the presentation of the esteemed Gordon Stephenson trophy.

New Zealand Farm Environment Trust general manager David Natzke says having the event in Wellington provides the rural community with a chance to celebrate its successes in front of an audience that includes some of the nation’s top decision-makers.


Rural round-up

May 29, 2015

Top deer environment award winners announced – Kate Taylor:

Central Hawke’s Bay farmers George Williams and Laura Billings were presented with the Elworthy Environment Award at the deer industry conference in Napier on Tuesday night.

The couple have a 1188ha business, including home farm Te Maire, in the Tikokino area with sheep, beef and cropping as well as deer.

Williams has a personal passion for deer with a focus on velvet with a venison by-product.

Velvet production for the 2014/15 season was a total of 2550kg (including 278kg of regrowth). Te Maire has also hosted the Wilkins Farming North Island stag sale since 2010. . .

Chefs to serve up kiwi venison in Euorpean restaruants –  Kate Taylor:

New Zealand venison will be eaten at European restaurants this summer.

Thirty-six ambassador chefs in Belgium and the Netherlands will be serving cervena venison on their menus in a trial as part of a Passion2Profit initiative formally launched at the Deer Industry Conference in Napier on Tuesday. . .

NZ heading for lowest wool clip in 6 years as farmers favour meat breeds, sheep flock declines – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand, the world’s largest exporter of crossbred wool, is heading for its smallest annual wool clip in six years, reflecting the lowest sheep flock in more than 70 years, dry conditions and an increased focus on meat producing breeds of sheep.

New Zealand will probably produce 138,400 tonnes of greasy wool, or 833,700 wool bales, in the annual season that runs through June, down 5.4 percent on the year earlier, according to farmer-owned industry organisation Beef + Lamb New Zealand. That would mark the lowest level since the 2008/09 season when the clip dropped to 132,400 tonnes as farmers eschewed a second shear in the face of low wool prices. . .

Support for dairy farmers ramped up:

Industry body DairyNZ is ramping up its support to dairy farmers following the announcement today by Fonterra of an opening forecast Farmgate Milk Price of $5.25 per kgMS for the 2015-16 season.

Chief executive Tim Mackle says DairyNZ had already been working on boosting its Tactics for Tight Times campaign to help farmers cope with what is likely to be a “very tough and grim season”.

“By our calculations, this forecast will translate into an average farmer’s milk income dropping by $150,000 for this next season. We’ve worked out that the breakeven milk price for the average farmer now going forward is $5.70 kgMS, yet under this forecast scenario they’ll only be receiving $4.75 all up in terms of farm income including retro payments from last season and dividends. Annual farm working expenses will need to be reduced to minimise increasing debt levels further. The flow-on impacts to the local economy will be significant as that money gets spent on things like feed, fertiliser, repairs and maintenance items. There will also be less capital spending in our sector. . .

Well-oiled operation sees rapid growth – Harrison Christian:

WAYNE and Maureen Startup never dreamed the four olive trees in their Havelock North backyard would turn into 17,000.

But that is what happened, after they decided to go full-time with their hobby 15 years ago.

The Village Press, which takes its name from their hometown, is the biggest and most competitive olive oil operation in New Zealand. Its high-quality olive and avocado oils are stocked on shelves around the world – and the business continues to grow. . .

Farmers ready to put irrigation funds to good use:

Federated Farmers says farmers will put to good use a $25m funding boost, from the recent Budget, for investigation and development of irrigation projects.

The Government has put $25m into the Irrigation Acceleration Fund through the next five years to kick-start regional irrigation projects.

Federated Farmers spokesperson on water, Ian Mackenzie, says the Government is quite right to identify nearly every part of New Zealand as being hit by drought in the past three years. . .

Plant disease world first in Bay:

A Peruvian plant disease will be used in a world first biocontrol against a notorious weed in the Bay of Plenty and Northland

Lantana blister rust (Puccinia lantanae) was recently released in the Bay and Northland regions in an attempt to control lantana – considered one of the world’s 10 worst weeds.

Landcare Research scientists have been searching for biocontrols before it becomes widespread. . .

Input Prices Rise for Sheep And Beef Farmers:

Prices for inputs used on New Zealand sheep and beef farms increased 1.1 per cent in the year to March 2015, according to the latest Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Economic Service sheep and beef on-farm inflation report.

The sheep and beef on-farm inflation report identifies annual changes in farm input prices in New Zealand for the various expenditure categories. The on-farm inflation rate is determined by weighting the individual input category price changes by their proportion of total farm expenditure.

B+LNZ Economic Service chief economist Andrew Burtt says the increase in the 2014-15 year follows a 0.6 per cent decrease the previous year and was driven by rises in prices of interest and, local and central government rates and fees. It was only partly offset by a fall in fuel prices as fuel accounts for less than 5 per cent of sheep and beef total farm expenditure. . .

Pasture and Performance Loan to lift red meat productivity:

New Zealand’s largest rural lender today launched an extended lending package for red meat farmers wanting to boost farm productivity.

ANZ Bank’s Pasture and Performance Loan offers an interest rate of 5%* p.a. with a maximum loan of $100,000. The maximum loan term is five years, principal reducing, and there are no establishment fees. . .

Rural round-up

May 23, 2015

Modern farming has had its day – Annette Scott:

Modern agriculture, at about 70 years old, was the product of post WWII food shortages and while it had been effective in its primary aim of increasing yields it has to change, an industry expert says.

The 2020s would be the new 1960s as agriculture and social change entered a period as significant as the 1950s and 1960s, Dr Charles Merfield of the Biological Husbandry Unit’s Future Farming Centre said.

“Our times are once again changing,” he told farmers at a sustainable agriculture seminar run by the FFC and the Foundation for Arable Research in Ashburton. . .

Agricultural and Agri-Food Producers Call for an Ambitious, Fair, and Comprehensive Agreement through the Trans-Pacific Partnership:

As Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) nations meet this week in Guam to continue negotiations, agri-food producer and processor organisations from Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand remain united in their call for a modern trade agreement that includes meaningful and comprehensive market access opportunities for agriculture and agri-food.

The organisations advocating for an ambitious, fair and comprehensive TPP agreement are the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Australian National Farmers’ Federation, and the Federated Farmers of New Zealand. Together, they represent hundreds of thousands of farmers, producers, processors and exporters who, in turn, employ millions of workers across the TPP region.

“Our agricultural sectors and the jobs they provide depend on a thriving network of export markets,” said Brian Innes, president of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance. . .

Working to surplus the best news for farmers in the Budget:

Federated Farmers says it’s disappointed there is no Budget surplus this year, but the best news for farmers from the Government is that it is on track for a surplus next year.

Acting President Anders Crofoot says Federated Farmers welcomes a number of measures in the Budget, but the best thing to assist the rural economy is to control government spending enough to create an enduring surplus to enable debt repayment and to keep pressure off inflation, monetary policy and the exchange rate.

“The Government is clearly trying to balance the need to responsibly manage its finances with the pressing and growing demands to do something about housing and child hardship.” . .

Budget biosecurity announcements a good response to changing risks:

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) has welcomed the 2015 budget announcements in support of better biosecurity outcomes.

“Short of a major volcanic eruption in Auckland there is very little that trumps the impact that a biosecurity incursion could have on the New Zealand economy. A bad biosecurity incursion would shut down exports and derail much of our country’s productive capability.” says DCANZ Chairman Malcolm Bailey.

“Unlike a volcanic eruption, there are things we can do as a country to lessen the risk of a biosecurity incursion. DCANZ thanks the Government for its commitment to responding to the changes which are altering New Zealand’s biosecurity risk profile.” . . .

NZ wool prices jump to multi-year high at auction, amid strong exporter demand – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand wool prices jumped to multi-year highs at auction even as the volume on offer rose 78 percent, amid strong demand from exporters.

The price for clean 35-micron wool, a benchmark for crossbred wool used for carpets and accounting for the majority of New Zealand’s production, rose to $6.20 per kilogram at yesterday’s South Island auction, from $5.80/kg in the North Island auction last week, and reaching its highest level since November 2013, according to AgriHQ. Lamb wool jumped to $6.90/kg, from $6.65/kg, marking its highest level since April 2011. . .

Blenheim the place to be in June for Ag contractors:

Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ) is encouraging all of its members – and any others interested in the agricultural contracting sector – to attend its annual conference being held in Blenheim later next month.

Chief executive Roger Parton says this year’s RCNZ annual conference is being held at the Marlborough Convention Centre, in Blenheim, from June 22-25.

“The conference is less than a month away and for those who have not registered yet; now is the time to do so,” he explains. “We will be unable to hold any accommodation past the end of this month, so if people want come they need to get their registrations in now.” . . .


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