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.” . . .


PETA picking on wool

April 11, 2015

The radical animal rights group PETA has long campaigned against the meat industry.

Now it’s turned to wool with posters like the one on the right.

A user's photo.

Shearing is a highly skilled occupation and animal welfare is a priority for shearers and the farmers who own the sheep.

There’s usually little bleating in the shed and stock start grazing happily as soon as they return to the paddocks which is a sure sign they haven’t been traumatised by the shearing.

PETA might not want to believe that shearers and farmers care about animal welfare. But even they must understand the cost of injured animals and blood-stained wool provides a very strong financial incentive to treat stock with care.

The odd sheep might be accidentally nicked. But no shearer who deliberately injured an animal would keep his/her job and no reputable shearing gang or farmer would tolerate cruelty like that in the photo.

The lamb on the left has been shorn. The one on the right has either been photo-shopped or butchered for the campaign.


Rural round-up

March 7, 2015

NZ wool market mixed amid targeted buying – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand crossbred wool, which accounts for the majority of the country’s production, rose to a three-and-a-half month high this week on lower volumes.

The price for 35-micron clean wool, commonly used for carpets, advanced 3.9 percent to $5.35 per kilogram, the highest level since Nov. 20, according to AgriHQ. The wool type only sold in the South Island this week, with the lower supply bolstering the price as other strong wool types declined in auctions across both islands.

Some 21,228 bales were offered for sale at the combined auctions across the North and South islands, the second-largest volume this year, as New Zealand comes out of its main shearing season from December to early February, which accounts for about 60 percent of the annual crossbred wool clip. . .

Rural Canterbury should diversify land use:

A report suggests Canterbury’s land use and crops should be diversified to support the region’s economy.

The report, released by the Canterbury Development Corporation yesterday, said diversification would help when other sectors such as dairying were under pressure with a low milk payout and the drought.

The corporation’s chief executive Tom Hooper said branching out from the region’s traditional cropping and sheep and beef farming, was making sure the eggs were not all in one basket.

The research found milking sheep and production of honey, blackcurrants and pharmaceutical crops such as poppies were all viable options. . .

Veterinarians play key role in judicious use of antimicrobials following McDonald’s announcement on use of antibiotics in supply-chain:

Yesterday fast food restaurant McDonald’s announced that it will only source animals raised without antibiotics that are important to human health, highlighting the key role veterinarians play in judicious use of antimicrobials to combat the rise of antimicrobial resistant bacteria.

New Zealand is a world leader in the prudent and highly regulated use of antimicrobials. Antibiotics used in animals are regulated by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and are registered for use for the treatment of animal disease. Antibiotics play a vital role in keeping animals healthy and protecting their welfare. In both pets and livestock, these products treat and control infections that threaten life and productivity, providing significant benefit to both the animals receiving treatment and the people looking after them. New Zealand is different to some overseas countries, in that antibiotics are not permitted to be used for the purpose of growth promotion here. . .

 

Call for 1080 to be used on organic properties:

In a bid to combat wild dogs in Australia, the organics industry there is considering allowing 1080 to be used as bait on certified properties.

While 1080 is derived from plants, it is produced synthetically and not approved for organic livestock farmers to use.

But Australia’s Invasive Animals Co-operative Research Centre is calling for that to change.

The Australian organic industry’s national standards sub-committee will meet early this month to discuss submissions calling for 1080 to be allowed on organic properties to control the wild dog population. . .

New release takes annual ryegrass to a new level:

A new tetraploid annual ryegrass proven to yield 1 tonne dry matter/ha more than old common varieties will help farmers enhance the productivity of their land this season.

That’s the word from Agriseeds, which bred the new cultivar Hogan to replace Archie, and says it will raise the bar for annual ryegrass performance on New Zealand farms.

Hogan’s significant yield advantage over old genetics is valued by the DairyNZ Forage Value Index (FVI) at $380/ha extra profit.

Agriseeds pasture systems manager Graham Kerr says this stacks up to a 10 fold return on investment for the extra $35-$45/ha it costs to sow Hogan compared with Moata or Tama. .

“It amazes us how much Moata and Tama seed is still sold, because these cultivars were released well over 30 years ago. . .

 

*   *   *

 

The Fujita Scale measures the power of tornados but was regarded as too technical for lay people so meteorologists came up with the Moojita Scale:

M0 Tornado- Cows in an open field are spun around parallel to the wind flow and become mildly annoyed
M1 Tornado- Cows are tipped over and can’t get up
M2 Tornado- Cows begin rolling with the wind
M3 Tornado- Cows tumble and bounce
M4 Tornado- Cows are airborne.
M5 Tornado- Steak.


Rural round-up

February 2, 2015

Blue River Dairy Sells Invercargill Processing Plant to Chinese Interests:

New Zealand’s leading sheep milk powder producer, Blue River Dairy, has sold its Nith Street, Invercargill processing plant to Blueriver (HK) Nutrition Company Limited (hereinafter referred to as ‘Blueriver Nutrition HK’) for an undisclosed sum.

The deal is effective from 1 February and no jobs will be lost at the plant. Conversely, significant new investment at the plant is planned by Blueriver Nutrition HK with the likely addition of a second drier and up to $40m in new development. This will likely create additional jobs in construction and production, both on-plant and on-farm, over the next five years.

Blueriver Nutrition HK will continue to process Blue River milk as part of the sale with Blue River, who will concentrate on expanding its milk production on-farm to meet growing demand. . .

NZ lamb wool price jumps to 3 1/2 year high on increased demand – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand lamb wool prices rose to a three-and-a-half year high at auctions this week on increased demand for the fibre used in clothing, as buyers benefited from a decline in the local currency.

The price for lamb wool in the North Island auction jumped 30 cents to $6.40 per kilogram, from last week’s North Island auction, while the South Island auction price rose to $6.25/kg on lower volumes, according to AgriHQ. The prices are the highest for lamb wool since July 2011.

The price for 35-micron clean wool, a benchmark for crossbred wool used for carpets and accounting for the majority of New Zealand’s production, rose to $5.05/kg in the North Island and $5.10/kg in the South Island, from $4.85/kg the previous week. Merino wool didn’t trade at the latest auctions. . .

Fonterra’s US licence blunder human error:

Fonterra has admitted human error has cost the dairy giant its multi-million dollar licence to export cheese to the United States.

In a statement the co-operative said it missed its deadline to apply for the licence, and will now have to sell its cheese to the US by arranging deals with other licenced New Zealand exporters.

“Due to human error, a deadline was missed which meant that Fonterra (USA) failed to apply in time for licences to import New Zealand cheese into the USA in 2015,” said Fonterra director global ingredients Kelvin Wickham. . .

Synlait revises forecast of market milk price to $4.40:

Synlait Milk has today revised its forecast of the market milk price for the FY2015 season down from $5.00 per kgMS to $4.40 per kgMS, along with a corresponding decrease in advance rates to farmers.

Synlait Chairman Graeme Milne said this revision is the result of several factors at play in the global market, which are causing continued downward pressure on milk prices.

“Low commodity prices are persisting as the global market struggles with the current over supply of milk products,” said Mr Milne. . .

 

 

Unless you're in the middle of a blizzard. Maybe wait a bit and *then* plant some trees. But that's totally your call. Thanks for the image, Give A Shit About Nature!

 

 


Rural round-up

April 14, 2014

Challenge of creating a strong red meat sector – Allan Barber:

I am obviously not alone in trying to work out ways of creating a strong red meat sector with profits being shared equitably between the participants. But it is an elusive model which nobody has yet succeeded in identifying. It makes me wonder if it is an impossible dream, but there are a number of determined dreamers who are still intent on finding the solution.

Recently I have had an exchange of emails, not always amicable, with John McCarthy, chairman of MIE, who is committed to achieving consensus among farmers about a future industry structure which will get away from the price taker model.

He takes me to task, quite legitimately, for seeing things from the companies’ perspective which, he says, focuses on making a profit for shareholders. But this doesn’t satisfy farmers’ objectives of being sustainably profitable which is the only way a strong red meat sector will emerge. He agrees the top farmers are performing satisfactorily, but in his view these only comprise 20-25% of farmers. . .

Wool industry picks up dropped stitches – Sally Rae:

New Zealand’s wool industry is ”a wee bit broken” , Wools of New Zealand chief executive Ross Townshend says.

At an autumn roadshow in Waikouaiti, Mr Townshend spoke of his observations since starting the job in August last year.

Sixty years ago, 85% of sheep farmers’ revenue was from wool and 15% was from meat, and now it was the complete opposite. . .

Linking youth and the land – Sally Rae:

Annika Korsten is on a mission to expose disengaged Dunedin youth to rural work opportunities.

Ms Korsten, a recipient of a $100,000 World of Difference grant from the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation, is establishing a programme, on behalf of the Malcam Charitable Trust, to develop opportunities for young people aged 18 to 24 to transition to work or further rural training.

Describing herself as passionate about people, place and food and the inter-relationship between the three, she said she enjoyed facilitating networks and connecting people. . .

 

The costs of GMO labelling -Foodie Farmer:

There has been much discussion over whether or not the labeling of “GMO” foods would add to the cost of food production or not. This was one of the supporting arguments for GMO labeling at the legislative hearing at the Maryland House of Delegates Committee on Health and Government Operations during which Doug Gurian-Sherman of the Union of Concerned Scientists and Michael Hansen of the Center for Food Safety, both insisted that labeling costs would be minor at best.

So does Mother Jones

So does The Grist

Wow, do these scientists and journalists have any understanding of the food supply chain from farm gate to grocery shelf?
Apparently not, nor does anyone else who thinks that “GMO” labeling won’t increase the cost of food.
Here is my pictorial analysis of the food supply chain from my farm gate: . . .

 

What is Your Dairy farm Profit?  – Pasture to Profit:

What is dairy farm profit? Is profit a dirty word? Too few New Zealand dairy farmers know their profit? Discussion groups rarely discuss or compare profit. Few farmers financially benchmark. Why do farmers and consultants continue to use profit per hectare to compare farms?

PROFIT = GROSS FARM REVENUE – FARM OPERATING EXPENSES + NON-CASH Adjustments. Non-Cash Adjustments include changes in feed & livestock inventory, inclusion of Family labour & Management and depreciation. See NZDairybase   Why do so few NZ dairy farmers know what their profit is? Profit per hectare is not enough, although every farmer should calculate Profit/hectare.  . . .


Rural round up

December 29, 2013

Wool rice product developed:

A Wellington company which has developed a new upholstery fabric blended from wool and rice straw is expecting to start commercial production next year.

The Formary, a textile design and development company, is proposing to use 70% New Zealand mid-micron wool and 30% rice straw in the fabric, which will be manufactured in China.

The Formary co-founder Bernadette Casey said manufacturing of commercial samples would start in China early next year, with full production by mid-year. . .

Indo Minister steps up rhetoric on live cattle:

The Indonesian agriculture minister Suswano has stepped up his anti-Australia rhetoric, calling for cut backs on the importation of live cattle from Australia due to the ongoing spying rift between the two neighbours.

The Minister has called on the cattle industry to cease imports of cattle from Australia and to give preference to local suppliers. He said the appeal was related to Australia’s snooping on Indonesia.

“Basically it is business-to-business, (and is) the right of businesspeople to chose where they source their meat supplies. However, when the government shows a certain political stance, it would be good if the businesspeople adapt to it,” he said. . .

Donating kidneys to protect the landscape – Erin Hutchinson:

Manawatu farmer Dave Stewart reckons the agricultural landscape needs a lot more kidneys.

Dave uses the term to describe the numerous small native-bush blocks he has planted in the small, incised gullies that criss-cross the family’s property.

Those organs across the flat to occasionally rolling territory intercept nutrients carried in paddock run-off before they enter waterways. Dave calls them nutrient-interceptor beds.

Dave and wife Jan are the fourth generation of Stewarts to farm the 600ha property at Hiwinui, a short distance from Palmerston North. . .

Year in review – April – Rebecca Harper:

Fonterra’s strong balance sheet was used to bring forward the advance payment schedule for its milk supply pool and improve cashflow for drought-affected dairy farmers. The co-op declared a net profit increase of 33% on the first half of 2011-12 to $459 million in the six months to January 31 after an 8% increase in sales volume. The milk payout forecast was lifted 30c to $5.80/kg milksolids.

The Meat Industry Excellence Group (MIE) continued to hold farmer meetings around the country to gauge support for its push for red meat industry consolidation. Meat companies said they were working together on a plan to rationalise the processing industry and the two big co-ops said they were willing to work with MIE. Tradable slaughter rights were suggested as one solution to industry woes as the impetus for change gathered momentum.

MIE elected a national executive with Richard Young as chairman. . .

And from the Nutters Club:

>:) kindest, Boris


Rural round-up

November 6, 2013

Fonterra 2.0 – Willy Leferink:

There has been more than a little soul searching by Fonterra’s Board. For all the bad press it gets slammed with locally, I can say from the World Dairy Summit in Japan that Fonterra is not just respected; it is admired by many and even feared by some across the world.

With its independent report on the non-botulism scare, Fonterra’s Board dropped a very big hint that things are going to be different going forward in deeds more than words. Given former act leader Rodney Hide admitted in print this year that “politicians leak all the time,” it must have come as a shock to the media that such a critical and sensitive report was kept tight right up until 2pm last Wednesday.

I didn’t have an advance copy just a general heads up so I raced to the internet at the same time as everybody else. There was no leak and nor was it timed to clash with some other event; Honesty 1 v. Spin Doctors 0. Even the media conference was webcast live for anyone to watch anywhere on earth. I don’t want to sound like a commercial here, but wait, there’s more. Critical parts of the report were translated into key languages so I guess Fonterra’s Board did not want there to be any ambiguity.

Yet the words of Jack Hodder, who chaired Fonterra’s independent board inquiry, sticks in my mind – the biggest thing that needs to change within Fonterra is cultural. . .

 Farmers urged to vote in historic meat co-op elections:

Given strong moves to restructure New Zealand’s red meat sector, Federated Farmers is describing the director elections for Silver Fern Farms and Alliance Group as historic.

“If you want empowerment in your farming business then as shareholders you need to vote,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre Chairperson, newly returned from a World Farmers’ Organisation event in Zambia.

“Set against a backdrop of what could be up to three million fewer lambs and declining stock numbers, future generations of farmers will ask current shareholders how they voted. . . .

New sentencing options for polluters not needed, says minister:

The Government has rejected a suggestion that more flexible sentencing options for judges are needed to help the fight against agricultural polluters

In a speech to the Environmental Compliance Conference this week, Environment Court judge Craig Thompson says more imaginative sentencing options could lead to better outcomes for both the environment and farmers.

Judge Thompson suggests that judges should have the power to shut down the worst offenders altogether.

He says those farmers or farm companies place a huge burden on the enforcement and prosecution resources of councils that are unfortunate enough to have them as ratepayers. . .

Fonterra and Tatua paths might cross in Australian tangle:

Cross-ownership and joint ventures could see two New Zealand rivals working together depending on the outcome of wrangling for ownership of an Australian dairy company.

Dairy companies throughout the world often own a stake in competitors or operate joint ventures, an Australian analyst Jon Hauser of XCheque says.

“There’s a whole range of commercial joint ventures and ownership structures between private companies and private companies, and private companies and co-operatives,” Hauser said. . .

Fleeced: 160 sheep stolen from field near village of Wool – Adam Withnall:

Dorset police are appealing for witnesses after 160 sheep were stolen from a field near the village of Wool.

The rustlers are thought to have had to use a large lorry to move the animals, which were all marked and electronically tagged.

Police said the incident took place between 8am on Saturday 2 November and 2.30pm on Monday, at the field which lies next to the A352 between Wool and the nearby village of East Stoke. . .

 

Gigatown competiton could benefit a rural town:

Farmers see the benefits for their rural town if it were to win Chorus’s year-long competition to bring the fastest broadband speed to one New Zealand town

FWPlus followers tweeted that it could have both indirect and direct benefits for farmers.

“Fantastic urban internet will help rural communities indirectly by helping their towns thrive,” @AaronJMeikle tweeted

The one-gigabit per second broadband speeds – up to 100 times faster than most cities around the globe – would act as a magnet and attract businesses to relocate to that town, he tweeted.

Another direct benefit, he tweeted, was that it would provide services that fitted farmers’ time constraints.

This is why I’m supporting #gigatownoamaru


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