Rural round-up


Councils’ reliance on rating slammed as ‘abhorrent’ – Sally Rae:

Federated Farmers national president Katie Milne says councils need new ways to diversify their funding and the reliance on rating is “abhorrent” and needs addressing.

In her report to the rural lobby organisation’s national conference, Ms Milne said that would be particularly helpful for councils with a small rating base.

Central government must also make sure councils were reasonable in how they rated “and not bleed the public for projects which may never get off the ground or pet ideas that only serve the ideologies of the few rather than the many”.

“There is a belief we are all rich farmers but this is just a myth,” she said. . . 

Government negligent over PSA claim:

A landmark decision released by the High Court today has found that the Ministry of Primary Industries (formally MAF) was negligent in allowing the deadly PSA disease into New Zealand in 2009, which devastated the kiwifruit industry.
Kiwifruit Claim Chairman John Cameron said that it was also hugely significant for the kiwifruit industry and other primary industries that the Court also established that MPI owed a duty of care to kiwifruit growers when carrying out its biosecurity functions.
“We completely agree with the Judge when she says that the wrong to the 212 kiwifruit growers should be remedied. . .
Psa Litigation:
MPI has received the High Court’s decision on the long-running Psa litigation and we are now carefully considering its findings and implications for current and future biosecurity activities.
The 500 page document traverses events dating back 12 years, pre-dating the establishment of MPI, and requires a thorough examination. We cannot rush this process.
Once we have completed consideration of the judgment, a decision will be made on whether to appeal. That decision must be made by the Solicitor-General, not MPI.
Until then, we will be making no further comment. . .

Early winners are still leading – Hugh Stringleman:

Hugh Stringleman looks back on the initial decade of the Young Farmer Contest and catches up with some of those who took part.

Winning the Young Farmer Contest’s national honours opened many doors to farming success and primary industry leadership for champions from the first decade.

Between 1969 and 1978 competition was very keen among thousands of Young Farmers Club members nationwide to achieve a place in the four-man grand finals, as they were then.

Every member was encouraged to participate to build public speaking skills, increase their industry knowledge and try to progress through club, district, regional, island and grand finals. . . 

Fonterra says climate change policy shouldn’t reduce methane emissions to zero – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group said it supports a target aimed at mitigating and stabilising methane emissions, but not seeking to reduce them to zero, in its submission on the productivity commision draft report on transitioning to a low-emissions economy.

“Agricultural emissions make up approximately half of New Zealand’s emissions and we support policies being set to help transition agriculture to a low emissions economy,” it said in the recently published submission. Submissions on the commission’s draft report – presented in April – were open until June 8 and the commission aims to present a final report to the government by August. . . .

AgResearch purchases full ownership of Farmax:
AgResearch has taken full ownership of agricultural software company Farmax Ltd by acquiring the shares of Brownrigg Agriculture, and Phil Tither, of AgFirst.
Farmax has been operating for 15 years and has already been used to add value to more than 5000 farm businesses in New Zealand and overseas. The software is used by farmers and their advisors to analyse, monitor and review farm operations to determine the production and economic outcomes of various managerial options. . .

Gallagher’s takes supreme ExportNZ award:

Gallagher Group has taken out the supreme award for the 2018 Air New Zealand Cargo ExportNZ Awards for Auckland and Waikato regions.

Judges were impressed with the way the Hamilton-based business has become the leading technology company in animal management, security and fuel system industries over the past 80 years.

Founded in 1937, Gallagher’s was initially a 10-person business which designed and delivered New Zealand’s first electric fence solution. Today, it employs 1100 people across a global network of 10 countries through three business units. . . 

British farmers are ‘better equipped than anyone’ to deliver high quality food, says Michael Gove

NFU President Minette Batters has welcomed comments made by Michael Gove in his keynote speech at the NFU’s Summer Reception at the House of Commons on 25 June. 

Defra’s Secretary of State for food and the environment said he had ‘heard, received and understood’ the NFU’s call on government to uphold the high-quality produce that he said was a ‘hallmark of British agriculture’ in post-Brexit trade agreements.

He said that British farmers are ‘better equipped than anyone’ to fulfil the national and global demand for high-quality food. . .


Rural round-up


Dairy development helping environment – Gerald Piddock:

A controversial dairying development near Omarama is leading the way with its environmental practices.

It is still early days but the structure, fertility, health and depth of Little Ben dairy farm’s soil has significantly improved over the past three years.

Farmers saw the progress the farm had made at a field day last week.

The 470ha farm operates as a partnership between Richard Gloag and Merv McCabe. . . .

PGG Wrightson managing director to step down in August – Tina Morrison:

PGG Wrightson managing director George Gould will step down from New Zealand’s biggest rural technology and services firm after helping refocus the company.

Mr Gould previously headed Pyne Gould Guinness and was appointed to the top job at the larger company in February 2011 to help stabilise it as it exited non-core activities.

He will leave on August 31, the Christchurch-based company says in a statement today. . .

Merino man shakes up primary industries

In 1995, John Brakenridge had an acute case of ‘new guy’. 

He’d been hired by the board of Canterbury-based wool marketer New Zealand Merino to breathe fresh air into a stale sector.

But the high country heartlanders were wary.

‘Which part of the South Island are you from?’ they asked the bloke who grew up in Auckland. ‘You look a bit young, don’t you?’ they said to the 34-year-old. ‘How long have you been in the wool industry?’ It was his first day.

Although he had a track record in the primary sector, serving as marketing manager for produce company Cedenco Foods in the late 1980s and partnering with the New Zealand Dairy Board in the Middle East, he was unmistakably a wool industry outsider.  . .

So close on second go – Jill Galloway:

Cam Brown says he will always be known as the guy who was second in the grand final of the Young Farmer Contest.

He was one of seven regional winners who won a place in the final. He was the winner of the Manawatu-Taranaki final.

Brown is competitive. He likes to do everything correctly and win.

“I lost by five points. I thought afterwards about places I could have made up those points. But I knew I’d given it my best shot in the contest.” . . .

Westland Milk Products Predicts Lifts Payout Prediction for 2013-14:

Westland Milk Products has announced a pay-out prediction for the 2013-14 season of $6.60 to $7 per kilo of milk solids (kgMS), an increase of 60 to 70 cents on the current season, with an opening advance (payable 20 September) of $4.80 per kgMS for all milk collected from 1 August 2013.

The Hokitika-based dairy cooperative also confirmed the forecast pay-out for this season of $6 to $6.30 per kgMS excluding retentions. The advance rate payable 20 June 2013 has been approved at $5.20 per kgMS.

Chief Executive Rod Quin says the forward view for the dairy market is relatively strong, even with the recent decline from the highs of six weeks ago. The strong outlook is being driven by ongoing firm demand and the expected shortfall of milk supply from key exporting markets. . .

Dairy farmers welcome some good news at last:

After a harsh drought and massive feed costs, dairy farmers needed good news and Fonterra Cooperative Group may have just delivered it.

“The forecast farmgate milk price of $7 per kilogram of milksolids (kg/MS) for 2013/14 is going to get a lot of attention,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson.

“Boy oh boy did we need some morale raising good news. In plain-English, it means that farmers could get about 0.58 cents per litre for milk they will produce between June and May 2014.

“While a $7 kg/MS milkprice forecast sounds amazing, the public deserve to know this is forecast revenue and revenue is not profit. To get to profit, you need to take off the farm’s working expenses, tax obligations and pay back the bank manager; a big expense being right there. . .

Aggressive forecast Farmgate Milk Price, advance welcomed by Farmers:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown, said it was encouraging for Farmers to see Fonterra take an aggressive stance in its Milk Price forecasting for next season.

The Fonterra Board of Directors today announced an opening Farmgate Milk Price forecast of $7.00 per kg/MS for the 2013/14 season, including a $5.00 advance.

Ian Brown: “This is great news for our Farmer Shareholders and reinforces the good position our Co-operative is in.

“Having a strong forecast Milk Price and advance puts Farmers in a healthier position and provides them greater flexibility in running their farms. . .

Great food starts with great soil:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients is showcasing the connection between great soil and premium produce, with quality producers of beef, vegetables, apples and wine featuring at their Fieldays site this year.

Ballance General Manager Sales, Andrew Reid, explains that soil is an integral part of the success of our farmers.

“In fact the whole New Zealand economy starts with those three inches of topsoil which support our rural production sector,” says Mr Reid.

Mr Reid says that premium producers have one thing in common – respect for the soil and the ability to work with it. . . .

Rural round-up


Farming editor wins premier award

Dominion Post farming editor Jon Morgan is this year’s Landcorp Agricultural Communicator of the Year.

He was selected ahead of five other nominees from throughout the agriculture sector and was presented with the award at a dinner in Hamilton last night.

Morgan has worked as a reporter or sub-editor for 45 years on newspapers in New Zealand and Australia. He joined The Dominion in 1988 as a news editor and has been farming editor of The Dominion and then the Dominion Post for the past 10 years.

This is a well desered win for a journalist whose writing does a lot to bridge the rural-urban divide.

Winners accentuate the positive – Jon Morgan:

When Gisborne sheep and beef farmers’ son Richard Greaves met Manawatu dairy farmers’ daughter Joanna Olsen at university, they agreed on two goals in life. They wanted to own a farm and they wanted four children.

Twelve years later, they can tick off one of them: three girls and a boy aged under six race around their home.

The second aim is in sight too. They expect to have $3 million of equity within seven years, enough to buy an 800-cow farm.

Amazingly, the couple, who sharemilk at Sherwood in Central Hawke’s Bay, have been in dairying just four years.

5 -year project roaring success – Sally rae:

When Shane and Leona Trimble bought a Hampden sheep and beef farm five years ago, they could see the potential for a deer conversion.

Shifting to North Otago was a big move for the couple and their children,who previously lived at Haldon Station – a vast, isolated property in the Mackenzie Basin . . .

Pick me! Pick me! :

Central Otago apple growers are vying for their produce to be eaten by the Australian Prime Minister if New Zealand Prime Minster John Key wins a bet he made earlier this week on the Rugby World Cup.

Mr Key became the first New Zealand leader to address the Australian Federal Parliament in Australia on Monday and afterwards propositioned Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard with a bet which could see the loser eating an apple produced in the winning country . . .

Contest involves a lot of prep

Winton sheep stud farm stock manager HAYDEN PETER talks about the countdown to the final of the Young Farmer Contest, just over a week away.

The days appear to be flashing past much faster now. After the regional final it seemed like the final was ages away but, in a week, I’ll be in Masterton. And that’s when the really pressure comes on.

The challenge isn’t just to turn up on the day, having done some study and hoping for the best for the final. And there’s not just the study and preparation, I’ve also had to submit work in advance . . .

Applause, another record falls

It is seldom that the public claps a sale of store sheep but that is what happened at Stortford Lodge last week when a capital stock line of 384 2-tooth ewes, SIL163%, were knocked down at $310.
The same vendors (story and picture on P11) received $225 twice for their 5-year lines and some mixed age fetched $222, PGG Wrightson livestock manager Vern Wiggins said. . .

Overseas buy-up of South Island farms

If New Zealand was to stop foreign investment into its farm land then the agricultural sector would have to up its performance to attract on shore capital or be prepared for poor returns and the major sector of the economy underperforming.

Before making a decision on whether foreign investment in New Zealand agricultural land was good, consideration should be given as to whether it was needed, head of agribusiness BNZ Partners Richard Bowman cautioned.

In recent months foreign investment had been relatively rampant with German investment funds spending a further $14 million buying two Southland farms with another $4 million tagged for on-farm capital investment.

Growers toil to yield the good oil – Peter Watson:

Ed Scott is in manic mode.

Plastic crates of freshly picked olives are stacking up outside his press and require his attention. He jumps off his tractor and hurries in to check how processing is going, emerging a few minutes later with his moustache stained from the virgin oil he has just sampled.

He was up until 1am feeding the latest lot of fruit through, and faces another long day as the mechanical harvester shakes off tonnes more from his 4500-tree grove near Neudorf. With an expected crop of 40 to 50 tonnes – almost double last year’s total – he will be flat out processing the harvest until the end of this week . . .

Little asparagus crop to spare – Jill Galloway:

Asparagus plantings in New Zealand almost need to double to meet the demand, says George Turney, a grower at Mangaweka in Rangitikei.

Chairman of the Asparagus Council, he grows 160 hectares of the crop in the Kawhatau Valley and is a keen supporter of the vegetable.

“There’s a crisis in the industry. There is not enough product for export, local market and processing.”

The asparagus crop was 600 hectares at present, but needed to grow to about 1000 hectares to meet demand, he said. . .

If we could talk to the animals :

 It is 250 years since veterinary education began in Lyon, France. JILL GALLOWAY talks to the head of Massey University’s vet school about 2011, the Year of Veterinary Science.

Animal science and human medicine will link more closely in future, predicts Massey University’s head of the Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Frazer Allan.

When veterinary science began in 1761, “it was originally set up to look at diseases of livestock, such as rinderpest, a cattle plague, and a lot has happened since then.” . . .

Crafar’s strike deal with receivers – Andrea Fox:

Crafar farms patriarch Allan Crafar says his family has reached an agreement with receivers that “clears the air” and allows family members to stay in their Reporoa homes for now.

Crafar said the deal would allow the family to start “organising the  finance … to redeem the debt.” 

He declined to discuss the details.

The family’s nearly 8000ha dairy farming estate across the Central North Island was put into receivership by banks and financiers nearly two years ago, owing around $200 million.

Crafar said redeeming the debt did not mean buying back the farms, but paying off the debt. . .

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