Rural round-up

February 3, 2016

Booklet kicks off Fonterra structure review – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra’s farmer-shareholders have received a preliminary booklet on the co-operative’s governance and representation, raising many questions but not providing answers.  

It begins a five-month journey to a revised structure more appropriate for Fonterra’s size, complexity and global ambitions.  Farmer-shareholders will be expected to contribute to the review and vote on the final proposal in May. . . 

Rabobank announces new head of Food & Agri Research:

Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group has announced the appointment of Tim Hunt as new General Manager of its Food & Agribusiness Research (FAR) division.

Mr Hunt takes on the role after five years with Rabobank in New York, where he served in the international position of Global Strategist – Dairy.

In his new role, Mr Hunt will lead Rabobank’s highly-regarded food and agri commodities research team – comprising 10 specialist analysts – in New Zealand and Australia. . . 

Alliance drafter has eye for winner – Sally Rae:

Warwick Howie received a little good-natured ribbing when he won the Paddock to Plate competition at the recent Otago-Taieri A&P Show.

Mr Howie, a drafter for Alliance Group, laughed that he had ‘‘copped a bit of flak” following the victory.

The competition, which attracted 41 entries, has become an annual fixture at the show, with proceeds going to the A&P Society. . . 

Course already tidy for Legends – Sally Rae,

When it comes to maintaining the Tokarahi golf course, greenkeeper Marty McCone has the same philosophy as for his farm – he likes it tidy all the time.

So preparing for this month’s PGA Legends Tour, which is returning to Tokarahi for the second year, did not require an extraordinarily massive effort.

‘‘I try and keep the course up to speed all the time. There’s a lot of little things you do to have it really tip-top,” Mr McCone said. . . 

Synlait revises milk price forecast to $4.20:

Synlait Milk has revised its forecast milk price for the 2015 / 2016 season from $5.00 per kgMS[1] to $4.20 per kgMS.

Chairman Graeme Milne said the revision is driven by the sustained low global commodity prices since September 2015, and a view that the recovery will be slower than anticipated.

“Our previous forecast of $5.00 kgMS expected prices to recover somewhat by this stage in the season, however this hasn’t happened and our revised forecast reflects this,” said Mr Milne. . . 

World Wetlands Day celebrated:

World Wetlands Day is a chance for New Zealanders to find out more about some of the country’s most important natural treasures, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry and Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner say.

To mark the day the Department of Conservation has released a new online resource,Our Estuaries, to help people explore and look after the wetland environment.

“New Zealand has more than 300 estuaries, and they are home to a wide range of native plants, fish and birds,” Ms Barry says. . . 

Rethink needed over dairy farm planting incentives:

The cost and benefits of planting trees to help mitigate environmental effects of dairy farming need to be shared by us all for it to succeed, a new study says.

Evaluation of an agri-environmental program for developing woody green infrastructure within pastoral dairy landscapes: A New Zealand case study says Government incentive programs are ineffective in overcoming barriers to planting such as the higher cost and slow growth of native plants, and the perception of planting being of little direct benefit to farmers’ operations.

Lead author, Lincoln University Landscape Ecology Senior Lecturer, Dr Wendy McWilliam, says the Government and the dairy industry need to work closely together to develop and maintain a landscape-scaled woody vegetation network on both private and public land. . .

Forestry show NZ way to better safety:

A sharp drop in forestry deaths and serious injuries after a massive safety overhaul in 2014 shows what can be achieved when an industry joins together to make improvements, the Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum says.

The fall is welcome and sets an example for other industries to follow, says Forum Executive Director Francois Barton.

“Forestry has shown us some of the things that need to be done to bring down high fatality and serious injury rates in an industry,” Francois says. . . 

Good Progress – But More Work to Do to Make Forestry Safe:

A reduction in deaths and serious injuries in forestry since 2013 is encouraging but there is more work to be done yet, the Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC) says.

WorkSafe figures show serious injuries halved to 78 in 2015 from 160 in 2013, FISC National Safety Director Fiona Ewing says.

“The trend is going in the right direction but we can’t rest on our laurels. Three forestry workers died in 2015. That’s well down on the 10 who died in 2013 but it’s up from just one in 2014.. . .

Irrigation scheme loan approved:

An $8 million loan from the Selwyn District Council means design of stage two of a multi-million dollar irrigation scheme can go ahead.

The council approved the loan to Central Plains Water last month, with the money expected to transfer over next week.

But a community group told RNZ News rate payers should not be lending money to fund a private shareholder scheme. . .

Ruataniwha Dam: Investor mix still being finalised:

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s investment company (HBRIC) says work on getting farmers to sign up to buy water from the proposed Ruataniwha Dam is on hold until the project’s investor mix becomes clearer.

HBRIC has been looking for institutional investors to put money into the dam since Trustpower and Ngai Tahu pulled out in early 2014, saying the risks surrounding the dam were too high and the returns too low.

The company said it had countersigned contracts for 31 million cubic metres of water with a minimum of 45 million cubic metres needed to be sold to make construction financially viable.

It said finalising the investor mix for the Ruataniwha Dam was its current focus. . . 

Global slump in fert prices benefits NZ farmers:

New Zealand farmers stand to benefit from significant savings on their farm nutrient inputs with Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ latest round of price reductions, effective 31 January.

The price review sees urea drop $50 to $525, DAP reduce $25 per tonne, sulphate of ammonia by $15 and potash by $10. These changes will flow through to product blends.

Ballance CEO Mark Wynne says the move comes on the back of a global slump in fertiliser prices, driven by strong supply and soft demand. . . 

Lowest urea price since 2007:

Farmers stand to benefit from a $50 per tonne saving for urea from 1st February, when Ravensdown will drop its prices.

Chief Executive Greg Campbell says he is pleased that Ravensdown is again leading on a price reduction for farmers who are facing increasing costs in many aspects of their business whilst their returns are under pressure.

“We said it not long ago, with our recent superphosphate cap,” Greg says, “that we are about delivering all-year value to our shareholders, and we’re demonstrating it again with urea and other products.” . . 


Rural round-up

February 5, 2015

Fonterra and DOC working together on World Wetlands Day:

With World Wetlands Day marked this week (February 2), Fonterra and the Department of Conservation (DOC) are continuing their work to improve the health of five key catchments across New Zealand, through their Living Water partnership.

Living Water contributes to the conservation of wetlands through a ten year programme of work to improve water quality and the variety and abundance of native wildlife at the selected catchments located in major dairying regions.

The Living Water catchments are Hikurangi in Northland, three Waikato peat lakes – Areare, Ruatuna and Rotomānuka, Miranda/Pūkorokoro on the Firth of Thames/ Tīkapa Moana, Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere in Canterbury and Waituna in Southland. . .

 Setting dairying women on the right path:

Two participants of the Agri-Women’s Development Trust’s (AWDT) new pilot programme say they have been left feeling empowered and confident in the running of their dairy farming businesses.

Hawke’s Bay dairy farmer Zoe Kuriger and Arohena dairy farmer Cathy Prendergast were among the first intake of the Pathways Programme, which is run in two modules – the first held in November last year.

The Pathways Programme is a collaborative venture between Dairy Women’s Network and AWDT and is funded by DairyNZ and Ministry for Primary Industries. . .

 

Adding value to business and balance to life:

Dairy Women’s Network and DairyNZ are running free goal setting workshops called ‘Know where you are heading’ in nine locations throughout New Zealand during February and March.

The dairy module is suitable for all levels of dairying, however is open to DWN members and non-members, and both men and women of any profession.

The workshop has been jointly developed by DWN and DairyNZ, using material from DairyNZ’s Mark and Measure seminars.

“The aim of the workshop is to build farmer confidence and gain clarity on goals, as well as an understanding of the essentials of planning, goal setting and workable action plans,” said DWN Takaka regional convenor Tyler Langford, workshop co-presenter. . .

Young bidder gets the job done – :

A determined 17-year-old helped to set the prices at this week’s Hawarden crossbred sheep sale, as she held her nerve and saw off rival bidders for three pens of romney two-tooths.

Louisa McClintock was buying on behalf of her father, and paid between $165 and $173 for 230 romney and romney cross ewes.

“Dad just said, ‘Get the ones you like’, so hopefully I’ve done all right for him,” Louisa laughed after the sale. . .

Farmers urged to plan feed for cows carefully:

Industry body DairyNZ is urging farmers facing drier than normal farming conditions to carefully consider how they make their feed planning decisions to keep cows in milk while maintaining their condition.

General manager of extension, Craig McBeth, says farmers are now reaching some crunch points for making the calls on feed planning and milking frequency.

“We know some farmers have moved on to once a day milking or milking every 16 hours as a way of managing their way through what are still very dry conditions in most parts of the country despite the recent rainfall. In the last couple of weeks we’ve seen pastures go from green to brown pretty quickly with limited post grazing regrowth. Soil moisture levels are still well below the average for this time of year and we’re now seeing that reflected in crisp pastures,” he says. . .

 

 

No slowing in demand to buy Canterbury farms:

Local and international interest in the New Zealand rural real estate market remains extremely strong, defying suggestions demand could soften in the face of the lower Fonterra payout to farmers.

Shane O’Brien, national director of Colliers Rural & Agribusiness division, said buyers were taking the medium to long-term view of the dairy industry and were still keenly contesting quality land.

“We’re still getting strong enquiry both from local buyers wanting to expand their land holdings as well as from international funds and private investors.” . .

Wool Demand Outstrips Supply:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that strong buying interest for quick shipment underpinned this week’s wool market for the 13,789 bales on offer from both Islands.

Currency played a minor role despite the New Zealand dollar’s volatility with the indicator for the main trading currencies practically unchanged at 0.6898 compared to the last sale on 29th January.

Of the offering 90.8 percent sold with most unsold wools coming from the Mid Micron selection.

Mr Dawson advises that there were some inter Island variations in price direction in some sectors, with an overall firm to dearer trend. . . .

FMG Selects Interactive Intelligence as Telephony Partner

Reinforces Insurer’s Commitment to Servicing New Zealand’s Rural Sector

Interactive Intelligence Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ) has announced that it will partner with FMG, New Zealand’s leading rural insurer, to roll out its Customer Interaction Center™ (CIC) IP communications software suite across the company’s New Zealand service centre operations.

CIC will support FMG in improving its overall customer experience delivery through key features, including recording and quality assurance, multi-media ACD contact centre, IVR, outbound dialer, agent and supervisor desktop functionality. . .

 


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