Mike Moore 28.1.49 – 2.2.20

February 2, 2020

Mike Moore ONZ AO PC has died.

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Mike Moore has died. He was 71.

Moore served as prime minister with Labour from September to November in 1990, at the age of 41, installed by caucus just weeks before the 1990 general election, replacing Sir Geoffrey Palmer.

At the time he was New Zealand’s third prime minister in 13 months, and lasted 59 days until Labour lost the general election.  . . 

In 1999, Moore secured the job of director-general of the World Trade Organisation, a job he kept until 2002. . . 

His enthusiasm for trade was unbounded, although it took nearly 30 years before his idea of lamb burgers was taken up.

New Zealand owes him gratitude for his work for free trade while leading the WTO and when he was New Zealand’s ambassador to the United States.


Rural round-up

July 5, 2019

User-pays emphasis in productivity report is spot on, Federated Farmers says:

The Productivity Commission’s report on local government funding is another step in a very long journey to genuine equity for farmer ratepayers, Federated Farmers says.

“To cover costs of council services, we value the emphasis in this draft report on the principle that who benefits should pay a fair amount, and that the legislative framework be changed to back this principle,” Federated Farmers local government spokesperson Andrew Maclean says.

“We agree this ‘benefit principle’ should be the primary basis for deciding cost allocations.

“Paying huge amounts of money for council services distant from farms is a key problem. Farmers need this resolved and we see potential in this report to achieve fairness,” Maclean said. . .

It’s not weak to speak – Luke Chivers:

Farmers are by nature independent, optimistic, proud, resilient and strong. But the perfect storm of terrible weather, prolonged market weakness, global trade wars and more is driving some farmers to breaking point. Luke Chivers spoke to a dairying couple whose change in perspective has transformed their farm, their family and their community. 

It was a warm, sunny afternoon in Takaka in Golden Bay. 

As daylight beamed through a window only to hit the back of a curtain Wayne Langford found himself bedridden in a cool, dark room. He had been flat on his back every afternoon for more than a week to escape his constant mental anguish. 

But this day was different.

“I had like an out-of-body experience.

“It was as though I was hovering above myself looking down and saying ‘what the hell are you doing in bed?” . . .

NZ questions US farm subsidies – Nigel Stirling:

New Zealand is among a handful of World Trade Organisation members pushing the United States to come clean over billions of dollars paid to its farmers as compensation for the trade war with China.

In May US President Donald Trump announced a further US$16b in payments to follow US$12b in aid dispensed in July last year.

American farmers have borne the brunt of retaliatory tariffs on US exports to China. . .

Rural contractors worried about spreading Mycoplasma bovis – Tim Newman:

Rural contractors have expressed their fears about unwittingly spreading Mycoplasma bovis between farms. 

The issue came up during a panel discussion on M bovis and biosecurity at the Rural Contractors New Zealand national conference in Nelson on Thursday. 

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) admitted farmer privacy issues made the situation challenging for contractors but the chance of them spreading the disease further was low.   . .

Fonterra tries again in India, launches ‘Dreamery’ yoghurt and milks — Anuja Nadkarni:

Fonterra has launched a range of four products in India under the brand Dreamery through a joint venture with retail giant Future Group.

Fonterra first entered the Indian market in 2001 but the venture fell through.

The Dreamery range of products is the first brand under the joint venture Fonterra Future Dairy, which included two flavoured milk drinks, yoghurt and skim milk in tetra-packs. . .

Darfield partnership named top wheat growers

A Darfield father and son have claimed this year’s top wheat growers’ award.

Syd and Earl Worsfold were named 2019 supreme award winners in the United Wheat Growers wheat competition awards recently. The pair also won the feed wheat section.

Earl Worsfold farms in partnership with his parents Syd and Trish Worsfold on 400ha, including 260ha which Earl leased from a neighbour. . .

Why veganism is not the answer to reducing our environmental impact – Emma Gilsenan:

Reducing our environmental impact is more complex than simply removing animal products from the diet.

This week, on Wednesday, June 12, the National Dairy Council (NDC) – in association with Teagasc, Ornua and Lakeland Dairies – hosted its annual farm walk and seminar on the McKenna family farm in Emyvale, Co. Monaghan.

Speaking on the day, Dr. Marianne Walsh – a senior nutritionist with NDC – made some interesting points about veganism and the affect a complete plant-based diet would have on the environment and the population as a whole.

She said: “At the moment we have about 7.7 billion people and this is set to rise to about 9.7 billion by the year 2050. Which can exasperate some of the current problems that we are facing. . . 


Rural round-up

June 19, 2019

Oh DIRA – Elbow Deep:

As a Fonterra supplying dairy farmer you have every right to be disappointed with the release of the Government’s changes to the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA).

Fonterra will still have to supply raw milk at cost to new, presumably foreign owned processors who can then export value-added product in direct competition with the co-op, all without having to establish their own supply chain.

Fonterra will still have to accept new milk under the open entry provision, albeit with a few tweaks around new conversions and environmental concerns, which is worrying enough, but wait until you delve deeper: the flawed reasoning behind keeping this provision is MPI’s  belief Fonterra can already control supply through the milk price. How this belief persists when legislation exists specifically to prevent milk price manipulation is beyond me, and this is where my disappointment turns to anger. . .

Dairy champion: a balancing act – Ross Nolly:

Dairy Woman of the Year Trish Rankin is a primary school teacher, full-time farmer and a passionate environmentalist among other things. Ross Nolly reports.

When Trish Rankin heard her name announced as the winner of the 2019 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year award she was completely taken by surprise. 

She has always followed her passions but never set out to strategically target an award.

Entering the 2013 Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Industry Awards and winning the 2016 Northland share farmer competition set the ball rolling for her. It brought about a realisation that people, many in the higher echelon of the dairy industry, are interested in what she has to say.  . .

Pets or steak? The inside story of a bovine brouhaha in the ‘burbs – Alice Neville:

An urban farm in Auckland has been raising cows for meat for years. This time, they decided to involve the community in the process – but the backlash was so intense, the plan was canned. Alice Neville talks to those involved about what went down, and what we can learn from the saga. 

Asprawling, hippy-esque bucolic paradise surrounded by multimillion-dollar white villas, Kelmarna Gardens is a bit of an anomaly at the epicentre of one of Auckland’s most bougie neighbourhoods.

Covering four and a half acres of council land on the Grey Lynn/Ponsonby/Herne Bay border, it’s a city farm and organic community garden headed by a trust and mainly run by volunteers. In recent years, local chefs have got behind the gardens: you’ll see Kelmarna produce name-checked on menus all over town. . . 

The foul-smelling bugs threatening NZ wine – Farrah Hancock:

Hold your pinot noir a little closer tonight. If brown marmorated stink bugs establish themselves, New Zealand’s red wine could taste unpleasant. Italian stink bug expert Professor Claudio Ioriatti visited New Zealand and shared lessons from Italy’s smelly bug invasion with local growers and scientists.

Tasting notes for New Zealand’s red wines could look very different if brown marmorated stink bugs establish themselves here.

New Zealand Winegrowers biosecurity and emergency response manager Ed Massey said stink bugs could cause a loss in production as well as a serious quality issue.

“They’re called stink bugs for a reason.” . . 

Organic product to tackle selenium deficiency in soils – Chris Balemi:

A new generation of organic selenium supplementation will be introduced into New Zealand this year, helping to solve NZ soil’s issue of low selenium.

Selenium is an essential trace element for ruminants and required for growth, fertility and the prevention of mastitis and calf scours. However, selenium deficiency is prevalent in soils NZ-wide. This presents an issue every farm manager would benefit from understanding better.

A new generation of organic selenium supplementation (called Excential Selenium 4000) will be introduced into NZ this year. It’s an important development because it will greatly improve on previous options for selenium supplementation on the farm.. . 

Yes, eating meat affects the environment, but cows are not killing the climate – Frank M. Mitloehner:

As the scale and impacts of climate change become increasingly alarming, meat is a popular target for action. Advocates urge the public to eat less meat to save the environment. Some activists have called for taxing meat to reduce consumption of it.

A key claim underlying these arguments holds that globally, meat production generates more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector. However, this claim is demonstrably wrong, as I will show. And its persistence has led to false assumptions about the linkage between meat and climate change.

My research focuses on ways in which animal agriculture affects air quality and climate change. In my view, there are many reasons for either choosing animal protein or opting for a vegetarian selection. However, foregoing meat and meat products is not the environmental panacea many would have us believe. And if taken to an extreme, it also could have harmful nutritional consequences. . . 

Trump’s $16 billion farm bailout criticised at the WTO – Bryce Baschuk:

The European Union joined China and five other World Trade Organization members in criticizing the Trump administration’s $16 billion assistance program for U.S. farmers, indicating the bailout may violate international rules.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest farmer assistance program could exceed America’s WTO subsidy commitments and unduly influence U.S. planting decisions, according to a document published on the WTO website June 17. .  .

 


Rural round-up

June 13, 2019

NZ customers admire our values – Mike Petersen:

The international trading system is facing one of its biggest challenges in recent times.

The building trade war between the US and China and the impasse at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) are two significant global events that demand the attention of New Zealand in its dependence on trade for continued success.

Alongside these two geopolitical power plays runs a creeping tide of protectionism in the form of nationalist inward-looking policies that challenge the global value chain model which is increasingly becoming the future of food. . .

From the ground up – Penny Clark-Hall:

Rural communities are incredibly powerful and beautiful things. I’ve seen them in action during natural disasters, family tragedies, raising children, supporting each others businesses, families, hopes and dreams. It’s this calibre of people that are now starting to take charge of their own Social Licence to Operate (SLO) – helping and learning from each other. Many forming their own catchment groups and managing, measuring and improving their own environmental impact.

The isolation of rural communities makes them incredibly vulnerable to the calibre of its inhabitants. But thankfully, it is also a breeding ground for creating a rich tapestry of people that build communities out of necessity. Our remoteness creates a much stronger reliance on each other where we all strive to bring something valuable to the community, to make it our own – our home. It’s got a name – resilience. . .

Success in its rawest form

Northland sharemilkers Guy and Jaye Bakewell’s number-eight wire ingenuity is not only helping pay off their dairy cows faster but capitalising on consumers’ growing demand for raw milk. Luke Chivers reports. 

Open any dairy farmer’s fridge and you will likely find it stocked with raw, untreated milk.

Now more and more urban consumers are catching on.

Four days a week in Auckland’s inner-city suburbs many people look twice as a sign-written truck delivers raw milk in glass bottles to residents.

“It’s just like it used to be done back in the day,” 31-year-old Guy Bakewell says. . .

 

Rural mental health lacks detail – Richard Rennie:

Rural health supporters and agencies are not holding their collective breath for a major windfall from the Government’s massive $1.9 billion mental health package in the Budget.

The mental health package is to be spread over five years and includes $455 million to expand access to primary mental health and addiction support, particularly for people experiencing mild to moderate mental health issues.

But Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand executive director Marie Daly said so far there is only resounding silence from government agencies about where rural mental health sits in regard to the money.

Rural mental health has become a pressing issue with statistics recording 20 farmers taking their own lives in the year to June 2018, a figure relatively unchanged over the past five years. Rural health providers are also reporting significant increases in rural depression and mental health issues. . . 

Dual cropping to increase efficiency in commercial hemp farming:

Developments in hemp cropping could place New Zealand at the forefront of innovation globally, says Craig Carr, group managing director of Carrfields.

New multi-purpose cropping innovations being developed by Hemp NZ, Carrfields and NZ Yarn are paving the way for highly efficient use of the whole plant – resulting in higher potential returns for growers.

Under a partnership established late last year, Hemp NZ, NZ Yarn and Carrfields are making changes to hemp harvesting technology which allows the stalks and seed to be separated at harvest. . .

Finding the best diet for you and the planet – Carolyn Mortland:

Fonterra’s Director of Sustainability Carolyn Mortland looks at finding a diet that’s good for you and good for the planet.

It’s hard enough working out what food is nutritionally good for us. But what about throwing in the question around what we eat and how it might impact the health of the planet?

With the challenges we face around climate change and a rising global population, we’re starting to see more studies and assessment tools that look to draw conclusions on what is a healthy and sustainable diet.

The debate is heating up around what foods have the smallest environmental footprint, and what proportion of our diet should be animal-based vs. plant-based. . . 

 


We lose if WTO not taken seriously

November 28, 2018

Could the Provincial Growth Fund threaten New Zealand’s free trade credentials?

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones today confirmed that some Provincial Growth Fund expenditure may qualify as agricultural subsidies, meaning it would need to be reported to the World Trade Organisation, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Jones said he had sought advice from MFAT about the legitimacy of his spending. This would be the first time New Zealand has reported such subsidies to the WTO in 25 years.

“It would be incredibly embarrassing if the Government had to report this expenditure, especially given David Parker travelled to Europe in January seeking to limit the agricultural subsidies of other countries, and Jacinda Ardern’s recent trumpeting of free trade.

“Subsidies for agricultural products are tightly restricted under WTO rules and for good reason. They stand in the way of free and mutually-beneficial trade; they create inefficient domestic industries by coddling producers; and, they represent wasteful spending and require higher taxes to support them.

“The Fourth Labour Government scrapped all of New Zealand’s agricultural subsidies in the 1980s, resulting in more productive, profitable and innovative producers.

“In his typical, blustering fashion Jones said he had no intention of complying with the international trade body’s rules.

“NZ First has always harboured a deep desire to return us to the Fortress New Zealand of the 1970s.

“If Shane Jones is determined to continue making such payments, he’ll be sullying New Zealand’s international reputation as a free and open trading nation.

This exchange in question time yesterday doesn’t give any confidence that Jones is taking WTO requirements seriously:

David Seymour: Has the Minister had advice in any form that some of his provincial growth fund expenditure may have to be reported to the World Trade Organization as it qualifies as agricultural subsidies—the first time New Zealand would have reported such subsidies in 25 years?

Hon SHANE JONES: Yes. Naturally, advice has been sought from the foreign affairs department. However, given that the adjudication and the appeals of so-said international trade body are in a state of disarray, I’m not bothered by that at all.

Part of the pain of the ag-sag of the 80s was due to the axing of subsidies but I don’t know of any farmers who would want to go back to the bad old days when they were at the mercy of politicians and bureaucrats, focused on producing more rather than what markets wanted.

Free trade has made New Zealand stronger and protection from the WTO has helped when other countries have tried to use non-tariff barriers and other anti-trade measures against us.

As a small nation heavily dependent on trade, we need the WTO and the minister’s cavalier attitude to it and our reputation for free trade is yet another reason to question the PGF.

 


Rural round-up

August 7, 2018

Wool gets revived as tide turns on synthetics’ pollution of the seas – Heather Chalmers:

A new wave of socially and environmentally-conscious consumers are turning to natural fibres for their clothing and homes, rejecting polluting synthetics and plastics.  

New Zealand wool companies are already tapping into this trend, promoting wool as a natural, biodegradable and renewable replacement.

But while momentum is growing, returns remain stubbornly low for the coarser end of New Zealand wool clip.   

While shoppers may think they have done their bit for the environment by ditching plastic bags, they are being advised to look at what they are wearing and how their house is carpeted, furnished and insulated.  . . 

 Wrightson shares jump 9.4% on plans to sell seeds unit for $439M; may distribute cash – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Shares in PGG Wrightson jumped as much as 9.4 percent after the country’s largest rural services business said it had agreed to sell its seed and grain business to Danish cooperative DLF Seeds for $421 million in cash and $18 of debt repayment, and signalled it may return up to $292 million to its shareholders.

The sale is above the $285 million book value of the seeds business and follows several expressions of interest received from international parties as part of a strategic review underway with Credit Suisse (Australia) and First NZ Capital. The Christchurch-based company expects to have a net cash balance of about $270 million following the sale and could distribute as much as $292 million to shareholders. . . 

A2 doubles stake in Synlait at 23% discount – Sophie Boot:

A2 Milk will buy another 8.2 percent of Synlait Milk, doubling its stake in the company.

The milk marketing firm will buy the shares at $10.90 apiece, down 2.3 percent from the NZX one month volume weighted average price of $11.16, for a total of $161.8 million. The shares will come from Tokyo-listed Mitsui & Co, a general trading company which invests across sectors and bought 8.4 percent of Synlait at the company’s initial public offering in 2013. . .

 

New Zealand red meat sector strongly opposes European Union and United Kingdom’s WTO quota proposal;

Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Meat Industry Association strongly oppose the European Union (EU) and United Kingdom’s (UK) proposal to ‘split’ the EU’s World Trade Organisation (WTO) Tariff Rate Quotas between them.

The UK and EU have officially notified the WTO of their draft tariff schedules, which propose to split tariff rate quotas that allow access for New Zealand sheepmeat and beef exports. . .

Trade outlook still bright, but not without challenges – Allan Barber:

Vangelis Vitalis, Deputy Secretary for trade at MFAT and chief negotiator for the CPTPP due to take effect early next year, gave a very thorough and enthralling presentation on the trade landscape to the Red Meat Sector Conference in Napier on Monday.

Free trade and market access are a key area of interest to the New Zealand meat industry and the economy as a whole. Vitalis stated that three assumptions underpin New Zealand’s international trade negotiations: . . 

MPI sets the record straight with Forest & Bird:

Ministry For Primary Industries 2 August 2018 MPI is disappointed that Forest and Bird thinks it necessary to make inaccurate claims about combined efforts to prevent the spread of Kauri dieback.

Forest and Bird has advised MPI that it is closing off its reserves with wild kauri as a further measure to prevent the spread of kauri dieback, says Roger Smith, Head of Biosecurity New Zealand (a part of MPI). “We welcome all efforts to protect our kauri and have been working in partnership with a wide range of organisations to support their local efforts. . .

Tour leader found with fruit fly:

Fruit fly larvae carried by a tour party leader could have devastated New Zealand’s horticulture industry, says Biosecurity New Zealand.

Biosecurity officers intercepted the larvae last month in undeclared food with a holiday group from Malaysia at Auckland Airport, says Biosecurity New Zealand Passenger Manager, Craig Hughes.

The larvae was found in chillies following x-ray screening of the tour leader’s baggage. A caterpillar was also detected in some garlic bulbs carried with the undeclared food. . .

Rabobank Wine Quarterly Q3 2018: Status Quo Under Pressure in US Route-to-Market

The US has emerged as the largest wine market in the world, and by most measures, the most profitable and attractive. While wineries – both foreign and domestic – recognise the profit potential of the market, it is also widely seen as an exceptionally-difficult market to penetrate (particularly for small wineries), according to the latest RaboResearch Wine Quarterly report.

Route to the US consumer

Major changes are occurring today in how wine reaches the US consumer. “Changes in technology, business models and market structure are disrupting the global wine market and creating new sets of winners and losers among wholesalers, retailers and suppliers,” according to Stephen Rannekleiv, RaboResearch Global Strategist – Beverages. “Responding quickly to these changes will determine who survives, who thrives, and who fades away.” . .

Boy, 10, raises $60,000 in ‘Fiver for a farmer’ campaign – Shelley Ferguson:

More than $60,000 has been raised for drought-stricken farmers through a campaign started by children at a Sydney school last week.

Jack Berne, a grade four student at St John the Baptist Catholic School in Freshwater, was the instigator of “a fiver for a farmer”, and was inspired to help after learning about the struggles of those on the land in class.

Last week, Jack wrote a letter to media outlets as he tried to generate support for the cause after telling his mum that their teacher always tells them, “we can use our small and mighty voices” ..  . 


Rural round-up

July 7, 2018

Rural health wants tourists’ cash – Neal Wallace:

A rural South Canterbury general practitioner was paid $13 for each of the 150 emergency calls she made in the last year, a pay rate described by the Rural GP Network as a joke.

The network’s chief executive Dalton Kelly said with such low pay rates plus the demands on rural GPs it is understandable rural health professionals are leaving the sector, prompting a call for a portion of the proposed tourist tax to be directed to rural health services.

Kelly said rural GPs and nurses are regularly called to tend to sick and injured tourists and unlike an urban incident, patients cannot be transferred to someone else who is on call. . .

Trading times get challenging – Pam Tipa:

A trade expert has backed up comments by agricultural trade envoy Mike Petersen, who says New Zealand is facing its most challenging time in trade in 30 years.

Petersen told Rural News that the established rules on trade via the World Trade Organisation, particularly for agricultural products, are at risk from the US-China trade war.

While the products being targeted now are not NZ products, the risk of spillover into our products is very high, he says. . . 

Concerns over Mycoplasma bovis leave farmer confidence in the balance:

Concerns about the impact of Mycoplasma bovis disease on the country’s agricultural sector have seen New Zealand farmer confidence decline over the past quarter, the latest Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey has shown.

While farmer confidence remains at net positive levels, the overall reading dropped to +two per cent in the latest quarter, from +15 per cent in the previous survey. . .

A strong bull-seeking season in south – Nicole Sharp:

Prices are up and bull breeders are happy following a successful selling season.

Bull breeders throughout Southland and Otago have been hosting fellow farmers on farms for sales over the past couple of months.

PGG Wrightson livestock genetics representative Callum McDonald said sales came to a conclusion at the end of last month and there was positivity in the air.

”We have seen a great bull-selling season for the South, with high demand for quality bulls“ . . 

Hundreds gather to celebrate 50th anniversary of FMG Young Farmer of the Year:

Hundreds of people have celebrated the 50th anniversary of New Zealand’s longest-running agricultural contest.

The first FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final was held in Auckland in 1969.

Former winners and finalists were among a 400-strong crowd which gathered in Invercargill last night to mark the milestone.

“It’s amazing. It’s just like a school reunion isn’t it,” said Levin farmer Geoff Kane, 66, who won the national final in 1981. . .

Entire Northland school visits farm on paddock to plate learning journey

A national project is helping a Northland teacher combine her two passions of education and food production.

Natalie Lynch teaches a class of Years 5-8 students at Matakohe School in the Kaipara District.

Last week the small school’s entire roll of 47 pupils visited the farm of Marshall Walton in Whangarei.

“Watching a sheep being shorn, pressing a bale of wool in a manual press, and using the drafting gates was a new experience for everyone,” said Natalie. . . 

Omega lamb project update in third year:

The Omega Lamb Project is now in its third year and well over 100 restaurants in New Zealand and Hong Kong have had Te Mana Lamb on their menus.

The project builds on a decade-long scientific programme and breakthrough research. It found that the right combination of genetics, management and feeding can alter the fat profile of lamb and produce animals that are healthy, while delivering a tastier and healthier product.

Te Mana Lamb is higher in Omega-3 than other lamb available on the market.

Mark Williamson, general manager of the Omega Lamb Project, a collaboration between the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) under the Primary Growth Partnership, the farmer-owned Headwaters and leading food company Alliance Group, said Te Mana Lamb is being praised by chefs for its flavour and consistent eating quality. . . 

Fears for future of Scots beef and lamb production – Colin Ley:

The viability of beef and sheep production in Scotland is being threatened by a Scottish government climate change bill that includes a net zero greenhouse gas emissions target.

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) chairman Jim McLaren said that will make it virtually impossible for the country’s farmers to produce beef and lamb.

“Moving to net zero GHG emissions would be absolutely devastating for our livestock industry,” he told an industry meeting at the Royal Highland Show.  . . 

 


Rural round-up

December 26, 2017

‘Drag ‘n drop’ grazing now a reality – Nigel Malthus:

The idea of virtual fencing has been around for 20 years, but AgResearch believes its time has come and will soon start testing an Australian product.
Farm systems scientist Warren King, of AgResearch Ruakura, says it has been watching the technology for years and now believes the eShepherd product from Melbourne company Agersens is “the real deal”.

New Zealand’s Gallagher Group is a lead investor in Agersens, with marketing manager Mark Harris on the board. . .

Recent heat boost for lavender crops:

A South Canterbury lavender grower is experiencing an early start to the season.

Rob Martin, of Limestone Valley Estate, near Cave, said his crop of Pacific blue lavender was two weeks early this year, and his other varieties were following close behind.

He put the ”very early” start down to the year’s weather patterns, which were ”excellent” for lavender.

”[There was a] sudden heavy wet winter and spring and that immediately changed to hot weather,” he said. . .

Mozzarella plant on track for May start – Alexia Johnston:

Clandeboye’s $240million mozzarella plant is on target for commissioning in May.

AThe project, which is the third mozzarella plant for Fonterra’s Clandeboye site, is three-quarters complete and has already created 75 new jobs.

A further 25 employees will join the team in February.

Clandeboye operations manager Steve McKnight was among those watching progress.

”There’s a real buzz in the air on site as we have more people on site and the plant takes shape,” he said. . .

Decades of service:

The 2017 NZ Winegrower Personality of the Year goes to the NZSVO and its departing Executive Officer, Nick Sage and the recently announced life member, Rengasamy Balasubramaniam – better known as Bala.

There seems to be a common thread when you look at the retiring committee members of the NZSVO. All seem to have landed the job after being lured to an AGM by the offer of free wine. . .

I can’t wait for when we don’t have any possums – Andrew Austin:

The rabbits populating my neighbourhood seem to have begun breeding like, well, rabbits.

They are all around – on the roads, in the gardens, in the paddocks. They are a menace. As I am not a gun owner, I simply have to live with them.

The dogs give them (literally) a run for their money, so at least they don’t come too close to the house.

But even worse than rabbits are the possums. I drive along a one kilometre-long shared rural driveway to get to my house and every night I see at least one possum waddling along the road. Workmates and others tell me that I should aim for them and run them over. I have tried, but always seem to pull out at the last moment. . .

Gove tells Brits to be more patriotic about cheese buying habits

Brits who are worried about the price of their foreign produce going up after Brexit should be more patriotic about their choices, according to Michael Gove.

Mr Gove, who attended the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) on Wednesday (20 December), has criticised claims that the price of cheddar cheese will go up by 40 percent if Britain leaves the EU without a trade deal.

The Defra Secretary said Brits should instead focus their priority on British cheddar. He said that, in a WTO scenario, if cheese prices rise steeply then the British public should buy more British cheese. . .


Rural round-up

November 15, 2017

Fine wool prices soar while coarse remain in the doldrums – Gerard Hutching:

Prices for fine wool are on a high, in complete contrast to those for coarse crossbred wool which make up 90 per cent of New Zealand’s clip.

PGG Wrightson South Island sales manager Dave Burridge said the present demand for merino fine wool harked back to the 1990s period of “micron madness”, when it was then wanted for high-end suits.

After 18 months the boom ended in a bust, from which the industry took decades to recover, and large stockpiles built up in Australia and New Zealand. . . 

Putting off succession planning could cost Taranaki farmers:

outh Taranaki dairy farmer Andrew Tippett believes starting early is the key to tackling farm succession planning.

Andrew and his wife, Lisa, run a 400-cow autumn calving farm at Okaiawa near Hawera.

The couple, who have five daughters, jointly own the 165-hectare property with Lisa’s parents, Dennis and Diane Bourke.

“Lisa and I couldn’t afford to buy the farm by ourselves,” Andrew said . . 

Foods of the future to boost brain:

New Zealand foods of the future could not only have more flavour and texture, but also boost our brain functions.

AgResearch scientists are working on programmes that have been awarded more than $21 million from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Endeavour Fund.

”The future for New Zealand food exports to the world is premium quality and adding as much value as possible to our products,” AgResearch science group leader Dr Jolon Dyer said.

”This cutting-edge research will look at how we can help deliver premium foods by taking the eating experience, and the health benefits of the food, to new levels.” . . 

A2 Milk, top-performing stock on NZX 50 in 2017, cites ‘pleasing’ start of 2018 financial year –  Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk, the best performing stock on the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index this year after its annual profit tripled, signalled that growth has continued into the current financial year.

The company, which markets milk with a protein variant said to have health benefits, outlined positive developments in its Australia and New Zealand, China and other Asia, US and UK markets in presentation notes for delivery at a UBS Investor Conference in Sydney today, although it stopped short of providing detailed figures noting it would give an update at its annual meeting of shareholders on Nov. 21. Its shares rose 3.1 percent to $7.64 and have soared 248 percent this year. . . 

New Zealand’s best farm yarns being sought by Blue Wing Honda:

This November marks 45 years since Blue Wing Honda began operating in New Zealand. And to celebrate the milestone, they’re asking farmers to share their favourite farm memories. The best farm yarn will win a brand-new farm bike worth over $5,000.

New Zealand’s official importer and distributor of genuine Honda motorcycles began selling road bikes and off-road bikes in 1972. By the late 1970s, All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) were being bought in large numbers by the nation’s farmers.

The locally-owned company has been heavily involved in the farming community ever since and consistently enjoys the number one market position for ATV sales. . . 

High tech manufacturing turning old tyres into better irrigation systems:

It seems unlikely that discarded tyres could help valuable crops grow but that is exactly what the work of two Geelong based joint high-tech manufacturing companies is making happen.

Polymeric Powders and Austeng, are using end-of-life tyre crumb combined with polyolefin plastic, in a ‘world’s first’ process to manufacture a high quality composite material for the manufacture of high quality pipes for uses that include irrigation, drainage and sewerage. . . 


Rural round-up

November 12, 2017

Westland Looks to Take Its Wastewater Out of the Hokitika River:

Westland Milk Products said today it is well down the path toward potentially taking its treated wastewater discharge out of the Hokitika River.

CEO Toni Brendish says that in September last year Westland re-opened its investigations into an ocean outfall for its treated wastewater discharge, which would take it out of the Hokitika River two years prior to the existing in-river discharge consent expiring in 2021. A final decision on whether to go with the option will be made early in 2018. The investigations are at the stage that the company is about to go back to the West Coast Regional Council for a minor variation to its existing permit. . . 

Challenging future facing livestock farming – Nigel Malthus:

The disruptive forces facing New Zealand agriculture could mean a tough future for livestock farming, says the new president of the New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management (NZIPIM).

Farm consultant Craig Osborne, from Oxford, North Canterbury, has been named to replace Guy Blundell, heading the institute for the next two-year term.

Osborne says that where NZ farming is heading is the “million-dollar question” and a tough one to answer because of all the competing forces gaining momentum globally. . .

WTO declines Indonesia appeal on ruling over trade barriers that hurt NZ beef trade –  Jonathan Underhill

(BusinessDesk) – The World Trade Organization has turned down Indonesia’s appeal against a ruling that trade barriers imposed since 2011, which hurt New Zealand’s beef exports, were inconsistent with global trade rules.

New Zealand had invoked WTO dispute settlement consultations with Indonesia in 2013 and 2014 over 18 trade barriers it said had resulted in an 80 percent drop in the nation’s exports to Indonesia of beef and horticultural products such as apples and onions. Prior to the restrictions, Indonesia was New Zealand’s second-largest market for beef, worth $180 million a year, and the accumulated trade impact was an estimated $500 million to $1 billion, according to the complaint. . . 

Icebreaker inks $100M 10-year supply contract for NZ merino wool – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Merino outdoor clothing company Icebreaker has signed the longest ever supply contract with growers of New Zealand merino wool, worth $100 million over 10 years.

The Auckland-based company, which announced this week that it is being bought by US-based VF Corporation, has inked agreements with New Zealand woolgrowers in collaboration with wool marketer The New Zealand Merino Company to ensure it has long-term supply of the fibre. Pricing will be at a premium to market prices to recognise long-term grower loyalty and to enable Icebreaker to use farm imagery and storytelling in its global marketing campaigns, Icebreaker said in a statement. . . 

Fencing best practice showcased – Sally Brooker:

Fencing industry folk from a large part of the South Island converged on a North Otago landmark on October 25.

The Fencing Contractors Association New Zealand ran a demonstration day at Parkside Quarries, the place where Oamaru stone is hewn from the hills.

More than 50 people attended – a mix of fencing contractors and practitioners, suppliers, and industry partners.

Motueka-based fencer and tutor John Noakes said the event showcased fencing best practice – both traditional and modern techniques. . . 

NZ  company Fifth Breath launches woollen yoga mat – Brittany Pickett:

It all started with the idea that traditional yoga mats didn’t align with yogi principles and now Fifth Breath has launched the first yoga mat made from wool.

Co-founders of the New Zealand company Dana McKenzie and Irina Arya have spent the last year working to develop the mat’s design and key technology elements, with the aim to retain the functionality expected by yoga followers.

Both of them are engineers by training and met during studying for a masters in business administration at the IMD Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland in 2008. Since then, they have both enjoyed corporate careers and growing families, yet a passion for wool and yoga prompted them to build Fifth Breath Ltd, a company with an ethos about offering naturally safe yoga mats. . . 


Rural round-up

October 27, 2016

Fraud exposes Fonterra supply chain – Fran O’Sullivan:

Dairy giant Fonterra is expected to have control of its supply chain in China. But is that reasonable given the extraordinary amount of consumer fraud in that country?

Fonterra has launched an internal probe into the fraudulent sale of 300 tonnes of its bakery products in China that had passed the expiry date.

It is not alone in facing problems with distributors in China. Zespri became engulfed in a double invoicing scam involving one of its distributors. All multinationals face these problems. . . 

NZ EU focus on WTO ag, NTB issues and FTA:

Trade Minister Todd McClay and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström have agreed on the importance of working in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) towards reducing non-tariff barriers (NTBs), addressing harmful fisheries subsidies that contribute to over fishing, and reform of domestic support in agriculture.

“Commissioner Malmström and I are committed to progressing these important issues in Geneva as part of preparations for the next WTO Ministerial Conference in 2017,” say Mr McClay.

The discussion took place in Oslo, Norway this weekend in advance of the WTO mini-ministerial meeting. . . 

Taratahi looks to partner with Chinese dairy company – Alexa Cook:

Agricultural training school Taratahi is in talks to partner a Chinese dairy firm.

It has hosted visitors from eight different countries this month, including a group from a Chinese dairy company and veterinarian association.

Taratahi chief executive Arthur Graves said there was demand from all over the world for their agricultural on-farm education model. . . 

Dairy Farmers Attract Au Pairs From Across the Globe:

New Zealand dairy farms are becoming home for many au pairs who are heading across the globe to help rural kiwi families..

Taranaki Dairy Farmers Rachel and Murray Perks have two young children and say they used to struggle with the early starts in the milking shed.

“Now that we have an au pair we can keep our children at home and don’t have to take them to the milking shed,” says Ms Perks.

When German au pair Veronika Burger arrived, life became a whole lot easier. . . 

Coastal farm has lifestyle block and horticultural crop potential:

A large mixed-use coastal farm which commands breath-taking views of the Bay of Plenty and even boasts its own airstrip has been placed on the market for sale.

The 260ha Sybton Farm, at 1402 State Highway 2, Waiotahi, is presently run as a dairy and dry stock beef unit, but it has the potential to be used for horticultural crops or even subdivided into lifestyle blocks or rural residential properties.

The property is well placed to take advantage of the area’s growing popularity with lifestylers looking for a gentle climate, beautiful scenery and an easy pace of life. . . 

Farmers: a different style of leadership – Karen Schwaller:

If there is one skill farmers have honed, it’s being in charge. They’re born leaders.

After all, they choose their crop inputs, map out their field fertility plans, invest in livestock and feed stocks, decide on crop insurance, determine when commodity prices are right, spend the money they need for the equipment to make it all happen, and choose to get up before the roosters each day because there’s a lot to accomplish. Often times, the farmers I know, do not stop until long after the sun has called it a day.

And while they are busy running their farms and helping raise their families, many also decide to become involved in their communities. You’ll find farmers in rural areas involved in all kinds of things-from memberships on the local school board, board of supervisors, elevator board, electric cooperative board, corn and soybean associations, and even being 4-H leaders and friends of the local FFA. . . 

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Long hours. Calloused hands. Dirty clothes. Wouldn’t trade it for the world. – Pink Tractor.com


Rural round-up

September 14, 2016

Success outside of big cities:

We asked some of New Zealand’s leading business people about their bravest moment in business. In the sixth story of our series for Spark, Whitestone Cheese CEO Simon Berry.

“Bravest moment? I reckon moving from Vancouver to Oamaru!”

Simon Berry, CEO of Oamaru’s Whitestone Cheese, comes from a long line of Otago farmers.

When the 1980s arrived so did the rural downturn. Noticing the tide was about to turn, Simon’s father Bob made the bold decision to forego beef and sheep for cheese.

“Dad was always good at reading markets,” says Simon. “‘In those days, the only cheese you could find in Kiwi supermarkets was the 1kg block. So my parents would visit their neighbours in Karitane who ran a small business called Evansdale Cheese.”

“Everyone raved about their green, mouldy farmhouse cheese!” . . 

Lessons from Australian dairy – Keith Woodford:

Our Australian dairy cousins are currently going through difficult times, particularly for those who supply Murray Goulburn, and to a lesser extent Fonterra.  There are lessons to be learned, although there may be alternative perspectives as to the specifics thereof.

Right now, production in Australia has plummeted. It will take a month or two to see how it all settles out, but early season production is down 10 percent.  Fonterra’s production is down 22 percent, and Murray Goulburn is in all likelihood down even more. Indeed, there have to be doubts as to whether Murray Goulburn can survive long-term in its current form.

Once the spring-calving cows come on-stream, the figures may look less dramatic, but both Murray Goulburn and Fonterra have clearly lost substantial market share. . . 

Vehicle review ‘great’ – Sally Rae:

It’s out with the old and in with the new with vehicles on Landcorp-owned farms.

Keeping people safe was the driver behind a review of vehicle safety by New Zealand’s largest corporate farming operation.

The review established a set few vehicles to be used on the basis of what worked for particular farms and terrain.

It was decided to remove all quad bikes on Landcorp’s dairy farms and reduce the number of quad bikes on livestock farms. . . 

Beef producers cautioned to look beyond the price peak:

New Zealand cattle producers are being cautioned to look beyond the current high-priced environment, with near-record prices unlikely to be sustained in the medium to long term according to a new industry report.

In its latest beef research report, Australian and New Zealand beef industry – looking beyond the price peak, agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank says while New Zealand farmgate prices are expected to remain around current levels in the short-term, they will then come under pressure as global beef production, and indeed total animal protein production, increases.

This will likely see prices ease, albeit to trade in a higher-than average range out to 2020, the report says. . . 

Officials Urged to Challenge Canada’s Latest Dairy Trade Protectionism:

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) has joined with US, Australian, European, and Mexican dairy organisations in requesting a WTO dispute settlement proceeding be initiated against Canada if it continues with a planned extension to its dairy trade protections.

A joint letter, sent to Trade Ministers, sets out concerns that a recently concluded agreement between Canadian dairy producers and processors would provide an incentive to substitute Canadian dairy ingredients for imported dairy ingredients and would unfairly subsidise exports of Canadian dairy products. The agreement would provide a guaranteed price for milk used to manufacture ingredient dairy products, including skim milk powder and milk protein concentrate, which is below Canada’s cost of milk production, and which matches the lowest globally traded reference price for these products. . Image may contain: text

Life is better on the farm.

New Zealand’s Escorial Wool launches exclusive collection:

This season the luxurious and rare Escorial wool will showcase the first complete collection in both worsted and woollen fabrics, woven in Yorkshire, England by exclusive partners Joshua Ellis and Luxury Fabrics.

Escorial wool, originating from the Spanish Royal flocks of El Escorial, has made a name around the world for producing luxury performance garments for a discerning customer, grown from an exceptional small sheep, grazing in limited numbers in Australia and New Zealand. The Escorial distinction is in the heart of the fibre, performing as a naturally coiled spring. It is this coiled attribute that delivers fluidity in the Escorial fabric making a lightweight garment of crease resistance and comfort.

Founded by New Zealander Peter Radford in 1998, Escorial wool in February this year partnered with renowned Yorkshire textile companies Joshua Ellis and Luxury Fabrics, both who have the heritage and experience to translate the characteristics of Escorial into a luxurious fabric. . . 


Rural round-up

February 9, 2016

Southern Field Days: from humble beginnings to huge event – Brittany Pickett:

From humble beginnings the Southern Field Days at Waimumu have transformed into the second largest in the country. Brittany Pickett set out to find out how Southland’s biennial agricultural magnet began and where it goes to next.

Some have dubbed it the “friendly field days”, a more laid-back version of the National Field Days, but behind the scenes Southern Field Days is anything but laid-back.

Like most events, the Southern Field Days began with an idea; hold an ag-focused event for Southland farmers which was farm-related and had a technical agricultural focus. . . 

Subsidies stall recovery – Neal Wallace:

Subsidies for European and United States farmers, that could be stalling the much-anticipated recovery in global dairy prices, are now being investigated by the New Zealand dairy industry.  

The subsidies were mostly linked to environmental protection rather than milk production but special agricultural trade envoy Mike Petersen and Dairy Companies Association chief executive Kimberly Crewther both believed the payments were shielding farmers from market reality.

“If price signals are masked for European farmers it could mean a delayed response to the dairy price cycle,” Crewther said. . .

‘People Lift’ having an effect – Sally Rae:

During challenging times such as those the dairy industry is now experiencing, being efficient on-farm is crucial.

So for Waipahi farm manager James Matheson, being involved in People Lift has been a beneficial experience.

The initiative, which is being trialled in the Waikato and Southland, has been created by DairyNZ. . . 

Training for Farmstrong cycling tour – Sally Rae:

A cycle seat is not the sort of saddle that Olivia Ross is ordinarily accustomed to.

But Miss Ross (27), a keen equestrian rider and barrel racer, has been enjoying a change of horsepower.

As Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s southern South Island extension manager, a keen Young Farmer, and supporter of all things rural, she has embraced Farmstrong, an initiative launched in June last year to promote wellbeing for farmers. . . 

Big traders forced to rethink –

A World Trade Organisation ban on agricultural export subsidies was more important for its signals on where global trade negotiations could go next than the ban itself, former top trade negotiator Crawford Falconer says.  

Fonterra immediately hailed a “watershed moment for global trade” with the removal of what it described as the “most damaging” subsidy available to governments wanting to support their farmers.  

The description of the subsidies – undoubtedly a drag on world dairy prices in the 1980s and 90s but not used for the best part of a decade – raised eyebrows among some local trade-watchers. . .

Historic Otago coastal property up for sale – Brooke Hobson:

Another piece of New Zealand paradise is up for sale, this time at the other end of the South Island.

Nature Wonders, a privately owned 172-hectare property at Taiaroa Head on Otago Peninsula is on the market as of today.

It comes after Awaroa Inlet in the Able Tasman National Park was listed for sale and a Givealittle campaign started for Kiwis to buy a piece of the property and gift it the Department of Conservation to oversee. . . 

Duck eggs hatch into growing business for Taranaki couple – Christpher Reive:

Forget chickens, duck eggs are the next big thing.

After doing their research about the health benefits of the duck eggs, Taranaki couple Dawn and have started to make a living out of making people, including themselves, healthier. 

“It’s not just about us and the ducks, it’s about helping people,” Dawn said. . . 

Hilux New Zealand Rural Games

Nathan Guy the Minister for Primary Industries and Steve Holland founder of the ‪#‎hilux‬ ‪#‎ruralgames‬ finding a good moist cowpat to throw.

Hilux New Zealand Rural Games's photo.

TVNZ coverage of the games is here  and Newshub’s report is here with the Minister trying cow-pat throwing and saying: “Sometimes we dish it out, sometimes we receive it.”

Hilux New Zealand Rural Games

Who will be judged Outstanding Rural Sports Competitor at this year’s Games and win the Grumpy Graham Trophy? Here’s Games founder Steve Hollander with Mitre 10 New Zealand‘s Stan Scott who made the shield in memory of our founding patron Neil ‘Grumpy’ Graham.
Hilux New Zealand Rural Games's photo.


End of Ag subsidies in sight

January 19, 2016

The 10th World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference concluded with an agreement of eliminate agricultural subsidies.

. . . Hailed by WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo as “the most significant outcome on agriculture” in the history of the WTO, this decision includes a commitment to eliminate subsidies for farm exports.1 Developed countries have made a direct commitment to eliminate export subsidies immediately, with the exception of a few agricultural products; subsidies on some of the most sensitive products, such as processed foods, dairy products, and meat, must be phased out by 2020. Developing countries have been granted until 2023 to remove their subsidies, with Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and net food-importing countries having until 2030 to meet their commitments.

The decision to end agricultural export subsidies is widely supported by research from institutions such as IFPRI’s Markets, Trade and Institutions Division, which contributed several reports to this year’s discussions with the WTO Secretariat and a number of WTO member countries. In a recentFSP blog post based on a forthcoming IFPRI Working Paper, IFPRI researchers David Laborde and Eugenio Diaz-Bonilla explained the potential impacts of the full use of existing export subsidy allowances. During recent years of high global agricultural prices, export subsidies were not needed by countries to sell on the global market; thus, the subsidy levels allowed by the WTO were higher than the level of subsidies actually being used. As prices have started to fall, however, this unused portion of allowable subsidies (sometimes called “the water”) could come into play. Using a CGE model, the authors find that if global agricultural prices continue to fall, the unused portion of export subsidies allowed by the WTO could reach US$11 billion. The full use of this amount, the authors estimated, could displace agricultural production in middle- and low-income countries by about US$12 billion, negatively impacting poverty reduction and food security throughout developing regions. The decision in Nairobi to eliminate agricultural export subsidies represents an important step in the right direction to protect poor populations from these harmful effects. . . 

Subsidies benefit a relatively few, generally inefficient producers at the cost of more efficient producers, consumers and taxpayers.

They reduce choice and increase costs.

They also divorce producers from market signals.

When the milk price dropped, New Zealand farmers cut back production but farmers in countries with subsidies didn’t, adding to the problem of supply outstripping demand.

Losing subsidies can cause short-term pain as New Zealand farmers found in the 1980s when we were dragged into the real world, but the medium to long term gains are worth it.

That we’ve already faced up to market realities is one of the reasons we have more to gain from the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) than the USA:

New Zealand stands to reap considerably greater benefits from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade and investment agreement (TPP) than the United States, says a new study of the controversial pact by economists at the World Bank.

However, the biggest long term benefits are likely to be in emerging economies like Vietnam and Malaysia, where a combination of manufacturers shifting production to their more competitive economies and structural economic reforms are expected to deliver more than in countries where many of those transitions have already largely occurred. . . 

The World Bank study estimates an increase in economic output for New Zealand by 2030 from TPP of around 3 percent, compared to less than 1 percent for the US and Australia.

New Zealand would be the fourth largest gainer behind Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei, roughly equal with gains estimated for Singapore.

New Zealand could expect small increases of around 2 percent in output growth, with slightly greater gains in unskilled than skilled labour-intensive industries. . . 

Those opposing the TPPA are fighting against an agreement that will help developing countries and provide greater gains for unskilled workers here.

At least some of the opponents are ideologically opposed to free trade per se. They also ignore the costs of being outside this large and influential trade tent:

. . . Claims that New Zealand has given up sovereignty appear misinformed at best, highly politically-motivated at worst. 

The TPPA sets the rules for more than a third of the world’s trade. More than that, it will play a large role in defining the world we live in should it be voted through by each of the 12 member states.

And for New Zealand’s part in pushing the deal through, it seems likely we’ll take the auspicious role of hosting the document’s signing by all 12 member nations, next month.

But it seems prudent to ask – of those who have done the economic modelling – what would New Zealand look like if it was left behind? 

The World Bank Report is here.


Rural round-up

October 3, 2015

Federated Farmers’ President praises WTO and criticizes those stalling the TPP at Geneva Forum :

The last 20 years of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have provided an objective framework on which to base our international trade and seen the organisation provide great assistance to small countries like New Zealand.

That was the message from Federated Farmers’ President Dr William Rolleston, Vice President of the World Farmers’ Organisation, in his address overnight to a WTO Public Forum in Geneva.

“New Zealand is a small country, which means our political influence bilaterally can be limited. Without WTO rules, disputes are more likely to be settled on bargaining power rather than the evidence,” said Dr Rolleston. . .

Fossicking in Fonterra’s annual report – Keith Woodford:

The release of Fonterra’s annual report on 24 September coincided for me with a long plane trip back from China. I used the time trying to work out what all the numbers really mean. It was not an easy task.

Fonterra’s annual report – like most reports from large companies –provides masses of numbers. Some are clearly there for public relations purposes. Others are there to meet the required rules of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). And then there is another set of numbers which Fonterra constructs according to its own rules.

These additional measures are called non-GAAP measures; i.e. ‘non-generally accepted accounting measures’. Fonterra itself acknowledges that these measures are not standard between companies, so comparison must be made with caution. . . 

‘Cloud of dread’ over Filipino workers:

A Filipino worker in the dairy industry says people with false documents are being denied visas and sent home, despite many of them not knowing their paperwork was wrong. 

Immigration New Zealand has confirmed it is investigating multiple work visa applications involving Filipino dairy workers in the South Island, after staff noticed false claims of work experience and qualifications on visa applications.

Roberto Bolanos is a dairy farmer in North Canterbury, who arrived from the Philippines 10 years ago.

Mr Bolanos said the problem started with recruiters in the Philippines who offered people dairy jobs in New Zealand, along with documents, at a cost of, in some cases, $15,000. . . 

Government to consider amending National Bovine TB plan:

An independent Plan Governance Group made up of representatives of funding organisations, OSPRI, and wider stakeholder interests, has reviewed the bovine tuberculosis National Pest Management Plan (TB Plan). Today it gave its final advice on the proposed changes to the TB Plan to the Minister for Primary Industries, Hon Nathan Guy. The changes build on the significant progress made by OSPRI under the current TB Plan.

The Plan Governance Group considered a range of technical and scientific advice, and strongly believes that the eradication of TB from New Zealand is both feasible and economically justifiable. The proposed changes to the TB Plan were consulted on with farmers, local communities, and other stakeholders in June and July this year. Over 400 quality submissions, covering a wide range of issues, were received on the draft Plan proposal, and the Plan Governance Group took them into account as it prepared its final proposal to the Minister. . . 

Rabobank Beef Quarterly Q3 2015: Traded Volumes Are Reaching Quota Limits:

New Zealand and Australia beef exports to the US are set to reach their quota limits in Q4. Meanwhile, global economic conditions—such as the appreciation of the US dollar and the depreciation of the yuan and the real—are having an impact on beef trade, according to the Rabobank Beef Quarterly Q3.

A strong US dollar has led to a reduction in US exports and support for US imports, while a weakening Chinese economy and devaluation of the yuan are curbing beef prices in China, and the devaluation of the real is expected to support Brazilian exports in the coming months. “With little change expected in major beef-trading economies in the coming quarter, other than a possibility of the US FOMC raising interest rates, a strong US currency is expected to continue to affect global beef trade”, according to Angus Gidley-Baird, Senior Animal Protein Analyst at Rabobank. . . 

Commission issues second draft determination on wool scouring assets application:

The Commerce Commission has released a second draft determination maintaining its preliminary view that it should allow Cavalier Wool Holdings (CWH) to acquire New Zealand Wool Services International’s (NZWSI) wool scouring business and assets.

The Commission released its preliminary view on CWH’s application in March 2015 and has since received further information and submissions from interested parties on various matters. The second draft determination has been released to allow interested parties the opportunity to submit on this new information.

Commission Chair Dr Mark Berry said having considered the new information, the Commission is still of the view that the public benefits of the acquisition would outweigh the loss of competition. . . 

Ballance thriving as it plans next 60 years:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients achieved record sales and returned $76 million to shareholders while keeping margins tight and prices affordable, Chairman David Peacocke told the annual meeting of shareholders in Tauranga on Wednesday.

He said the result for its financial year ended 31 May 2015 capped off a milestone year for the co-operative, which celebrated 60 years since the first shares in legacy company Bay of Plenty Fertiliser were issued. Noting the co-operative “not only survives but also thrives”, he said its core value of collective strength remained unchanged while it evolved to meet the current needs of farming.

“What has changed is that farmers are busier, operating over larger properties and working within increasingly tight environmental demands. So along with a secure supply of the right nutrients, we continually broaden our scope to tailor our products, our technology solutions and our advice for today’s farms, and the farms of the future.” . . .


Rural round-up

September 10, 2015

Number of TB infected herd numbers at all-time record low:

The number of bovine tuberculosis (TB) infected herds has dropped below 40 for the first time in the history of New Zealand’s TBfree programme delivered by OSPRI. According to this week’s figures, an all-time low of 36 herds were infected with bovine TB (34 cattle and two deer herds).

OSPRI Chief Executive, Michelle Edge, said ‘Reaching this milestone is a credit to farmers and the industry and Government organisations that are shareholders and investors in the TBfree programme and is a big step towards New Zealand becoming TB-free.’

Farmers, industry and Government partners working hand-in-hand with OSPRI have collaboratively made the programme one of the world’s leading TB control schemes. . . 

New Zealand’s Precision Seafood Harvesting Finalist In Global Seafood Champion Awards:

The new Precision Seafood Harvesting fishing technology being developed in New Zealand has today been announced as a finalist in Seaweb’s Seafood Champion Awards at Seafood Expo Asia in Hong Kong.

The Seafood Champion Awards annually recognise individuals and companies for outstanding leadership in promoting environmentally responsible seafood. PSH is a finalist in the Innovation category, which recognises efforts in advancing sustainability within the global seafood sector to effectively design products and processes with sustainability as a driving force. . . 

New Zealand Ambassador to Chair WTO Agriculture Negotiations

Trade Minister Tim Groser announced today that the members of the World Trade Organisation have appointed New Zealand’s WTO Ambassador, Vangelis Vitalis, as the new Chair of the WTO Doha Round agriculture negotiations.

Mr Vitalis was formally elected Chair at a meeting of the Special Session of the Committee on Agriculture held in Geneva today.

“I am very pleased that the WTO membership have once again underlined their trust and confidence in New Zealand’s WTO Ambassador for the role as Chair of the agriculture negotiations”, Mr Groser said. . . 

 

Fonterra Milk Volume Forecast:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited has maintained its milk volume forecast for the 2015-16 season at 1,589 million kgMS, which is in the range of 2-3 per cent lower than the amount collected last season.

Fonterra is required under the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act to update its current season forecast milk volumes by early September.

Group Director Co-operative Affairs Miles Hurrell said although Fonterra had forecast a 2-3 per cent decline in volumes there was evidence that farmers were pulling back on production, which could lead to a further downward revision of forecast volumes as we move through the season.

“Farmers are responding to the lower forecast Farmgate Milk Price by returning to more traditional farming practices. They are reducing the use of feed supplements, and lowering stocking rates per hectare as they concentrate on utilising pasture. . . 

 

Too many eggs in the whole milk powder (WMP) basket – Keith Woodford:

For some time there has been a view developing within New Zealand that we have too many eggs in the dairy basket. There is also a view that we are over-exposed to China.

I do not share those perspectives, at least when they are expressed in such over-arching and simplistic terms. In contrast, I note that dairy is one of the things we are good at, and that our pastoral dairy resources are not easily put to alternative profitable use.

Yes, we could go back to sheep production, but I do not know where we would profitably sell the increased meat volumes. For beef, there are markets, but most of our beef is a by-product of dairy. It is hard to make money from beef cows. . . 

Fonterra Opens New Manufacturing Facility In Indonesia:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited has officially opened its new blending and packing plant in Indonesia – its first manufacturing facility in the country.

Chairman John Wilson said the plant is Fonterra’s largest investment in ASEAN in the last decade and will support the growth of Fonterra’s brands – Anmum, Anlene and Anchor Boneeto – in Indonesia.

“Fonterra has been supplying high quality dairy nutrition to Indonesia for more than 30 years and today it is one of our most important global markets. The opening of our new plant is an exciting step forward in our relationship with the country and local dairy industry,” he said. . . 

Dairy Women’s Network conference details announced:

Dairy Women’s Network has decided to take its cue from the dairy industry and curtail its next annual conference, at a time that the industry and its members are hurting.

The Network had planned to hold the 2016 conference in Wellington over two full days in May.

“The Wellington location would have meant more people from the North Island needed to fly than if we held it in a central North Island location,” said de Villiers. . .

MPI and cruise industry to combat fruit fly risk:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will work closely with the cruise ship industry this season to manage biosecurity risk, especially fruit fly.

The cruise sector is expecting a record season, with passenger numbers forecast to jump 33% to 267,800.

“This, coupled with the enhanced fruit fly threat across the Tasman and other parts of the Pacific, has brought MPI and the cruise industry together to improve biosecurity,” says Stephanie Rowe, MPI’s Head of Intelligence and Operations. . . 


Rural round-up

June 17, 2015

What to do when you have two farms and three sons – Kate Taylor:

After decades of hard work, 64-year-old David Humphries would have been debt-free on his two farms near Waipukurau by the end of next year. But he has three sons – all farmers. So he bought another farm.

It wasn’t a matter of three farms for three sons, but creating a business big enough and diverse enough to allow them all to do what they love and to make a living at it.

At 364 hectares, Glen Moraig was the original family farm with 324ha Awaraupo added later. Now 600ha Te Tui has been added to the business. It is on the same road, but 10km closer to Waipukurau. It is hoped the business will carry 11,000 stock units across the properties once development has been carried out on the new farm. . .

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) gets caught on American rocks – Keith Woodford:

Last Friday (12 June) was a bad day for proponents of the twelve-country Trans Pacific Partnership. To the surprise of many, the American House of Representatives has thwarted, at least temporarily, President Obama’s request for fast-track authority. Without that authority, other countries will not put forward their bottom line positions.

The irony is that the House has in theory offered Obama exactly the fast-track authority that he needs. However, the differences between the House and Senate versions of legislation are such that in reality he has been defeated.

The importance of fast-track authority is that the American Congress would then only be able to accept or reject the TPP without amendment. Without that agreement, ratification becomes unmanageable. . .

Safe Relationship Seminars Applauded:

Rural Women New Zealand is partnering with the Sophie Elliott Foundation and the It’s Not Ok campaign to present a series of Safe Relationships seminars.

The purpose of the seminars is to increase awareness and education to stop domestic violence in rural communities. Lesley Elliott MNZM will be the guest speaker and the event will include discussion about what makes a safe relationship.

Lesley established the Sophie Elliott Foundation after the tragic death of her daughter, Sophie by her former boyfriend. Lesley says, “I applaud this initiative by Rural Women New Zealand and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to talk to rural groups. Domestic violence isn’t a problem just in towns and cities, every community and socio-economic group throughout the country is affected. . .

 

Consistency of New Zealand Lamb is Second to None:

Peter Gordon ONZM has been an ambassador chef for New Zealand lamb in the UK market since 1998. He credits the success of the 17-year partnership to the product itself.

“I fully and wholeheartedly believe in the product. I am not just doing this to earn a fee. I do it because I believe in New Zealand lamb. Without integrity, campaigns fall flat. I can easily demonstrate to the public the genuine enthusiasm I have in cooking it and showing others how to do so.

“As a chef, the quality of the produce I cook with is paramount. The consistency of New Zealand lamb is outstanding and second to none.” . .

 

NZ industry backs US meat labelling move:

The meat industry here is hoping the United States will dump its law requiring compulsory country of origin labelling for meat imports.

The House of Representatives has voted to repeal the law, in response to a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling that country of origin requirements for beef, chicken, pork and some other products discriminates against imports.

Canada and Mexico are proposing retaliatory trade penalties against the US after winning their WTO case.

The US Congress also needs to repeal the law for the compulsory labelling to be scrapped. . .

 Moocall now available in New Zealand & Australia:

 Moocall is expanding its international operations by making their calving sensor available for purchase in New Zealand & Australia. The devices will be on sale via au.moocall.com and also through some local distributers.

Moocall is a calving sensor, worn on a cows tail that measures over 600 data points a sec- ond to determine the onset of calving. The device then sends an SMS text alert to two mobile phones to ensure the cattle breeder can be on location when calving takes place.

Moocall was invented when Irish farmer Niall Austin, lost a calf and a cow due to an unexpected difficult calving. . .

Seeka’s commitment to innovation drives top avocado returns:

Seeka will harvest all of next season’s crop for its avocado growers using the new efficient blue plastic bins it has been introducing as part of its commitment to innovation, says Chief Executive Michael Franks.

Seeka currently has 6,000 of the bins in service and will be doubling the number this year. The Surestore bins were built by TCI New Zealand, with development and design strongly influenced by Seeka’s operational experience. The Surestore bins are stronger, safer to handle, easier to clean than wood, and are lighter, allowing more fruit to be loaded onto a truck. Importantly, they are also less damaging to the fruit and have helped improve the quality of harvested fruit. . .

 

 


Protection penalises poor

February 17, 2015

Protectionist trade practices penalise the poor:

Trade policy adjustments to insulate domestic markets when world food prices spike have been ineffective in dealing with food price shocks that exposed millions of people to poverty in developing countries, a World Bank researcher told a New Zealand agricultural economics conference this week.

Dr Will Martin, the manager for agriculture and rural development research in the World Bank is an Australian who has worked for the Washington-based World Bank for the past 25 years. He is also President-Elect of the International Association of Agricultural Economists. He was speaking to more than 250 international delegates attending the Australian Agricultural & Resource Economics Society’s conference in Rotorua this week.

His analysis of detailed expenditure and agricultural production data from 31 developing countries assesses the impacts of changes in global food prices on poverty in an effort to understand their impacts on the poor.

Food price increases unrelated to productivity changes in developing countries raise poverty in the short run in all but a few countries. “That’s because the poor spend large shares of their incomes– frequently about 60-70 percent–on food and many poor farmers are net buyers of food,” he says.

“However, in the longer run, if prices stay high, two other important factors come into play. Poor workers are likely to benefit from increases in wage rates for unskilled workers resulting from higher food prices, and poor farmers are likely to benefit from higher agricultural profits as they produce more food. As a result, higher food prices appear to lower global poverty in the long run.”

He says a natural and understandable policy reaction for many countries when food prices rise is to lower domestic prices through levies on exports, temporary import tariff reductions, or import subsidies. “But these are beggar-thy-neighbour policies that push up world prices,” he says. He estimates that these policies accounted for nearly half the increase in world rice prices in 2007-8. Individually, most countries took action that reduced the impact of higher world prices on the poor. But, when the contribution of these policies to the higher world prices is taken into account, they turn out to have been ineffective.

“What countries need is a collective approach that enables relatively open trade to continue in those circumstances. Clearly, this still needs to be combined with social safety nets so poor people can cope in the short term, but then realise the longer term benefits of higher prices. We need to deliver policies that actually work rather than policies that appear to work.”

Dr Martin says countries need to develop this ‘social safety net’ so the poorest can get access to what they need when they need it.

He says the World Trade Organisation (WTO) showed with the abolition of variable import levies in the Uruguay Round that it can introduce trade policies that bring about the kind of collective action needed to tame food price spikes.

“The collective agreement of the EU-US over export subsidies in the Uruguay Round also showed what can be done when there is clear recognition of the problem. It’s much more complex when many more countries are involved but we need to keep working away at the challenge if we are to make progress. Getting the confidence of policymakers to act differently will require a lot more research and policy formulation.”

Most people, rich or poor, farmers or not are net buyers of food. All will be affected by price rises and the poor, who spend a greater proportion of their income on food,  will be hardest hit.

Export bans and other protectionist measures might help the poor in the short-term but it is a temporary fix.

Policies which increase wealth rather than those which artificially keep prices low provide the best long-term solution to poverty and hunger.

The solution to poverty and food shortages isn’t restrictive trade practices, it’s liberalising trade.

The challenge is how to help the poor cope with price rises in the short-term until they benefit from improved incomes which enable them to afford more food.

 


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