Hawke’s Bay farmers have more ground water to draw on than their council previously thought. That’s one unexpected outcome from the Board of Inquiry into proposal to build the Ruataniwha dam in the Tukituki catchment to create the biggest irrigation scheme in New Zealand and serve more than 25,000 hectares of farm land. Discussions started this week between Hawke’s Bay Regional Council staff and farmers on just how much additional water can be drawn from the aquifers, and how it should be allocated.
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Southland farmers say they are getting mixed signals on a decision by PGG Wrightson Seeds to continue selling the controversial HT swede that’s been linked to the illness and deaths of hundreds of dairy cows across Southland . Federated Farmers Southland dairy chairman Allan Baird said it isn’t unreasonable for PGG Wrightson to continue selling the HT swede variety. Some farmers he’s spoken to have had no problem with the HT swede. Dairy New Zealand regional leader Richard Kyte says his organization doesn’t want to see any risk around cows – and warns it’s unlikely the scientific cause the problem will be identified before the swede planting season starts in October and November. Kyte says Dairy NZ will be giving farmers advice on the type of feed crops they should consider planting for next season, and adds they should discuss HT swede issues with their advisers before making any planting decisions.
Synlait Milk has posted growth in earnings that meet its revised guidance. Its sales in the year ended June rose 43 percent to $600 million, and its profit rose 70 percent to $19.6 million for the year - up from $11.5 million last year. Synlait is still waiting for registration under China's new food safety. It now plans to acquire 25 percent of China’s New Hope Nutritional Foods Company, which sells the akara branded infant formula range. New Hope Nutritional is in turn owned by New Hope Dairy, a shareholder in New Zealand's PGG Wrightson.
Federated Farmers is urging the incoming National government to press ahead with reforming the Resource Management Act. Its president Dr William Rolleston says vital reforms to the RMA were stalled by National’s partners in the last government. National has now put its plans to the electorate, and has gained a clear mandate to go ahead. However, the Labour party’s primary industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says Federated Farmers seem to have got its priorities wrong in putting its focus on the Resource Management Act. He says the biggest cost to agriculture is the cost of capital and the cost of power, and both the banks and the power companies have been making profits with “not a squeek from Federated Farmers”.
Waitaki District Council will lend up to $17 million to the North Otago Irrigation Company.
When the North Otago scheme was built in 2005, the council lent the company $10 million to ensure enough infrastructures were built for a second stage of 10,000 hectares, in addition to the original 10,000 hectares.
That has now grown to $12.7 million and will be included in the loan of up to $17 million, to be available from July 1 next year, providing enough farmers buy shares in the second stage expansion of the scheme.
French food giant Danone plans to use New Zealand as an "innovation hub" for infant-formula products.
The step follows Danone Nutricia’s acquisition of the dairy processing businesses Sutton Group and Gardians. The purchase has seen it gain control of Nutricia Sutton's Auckland infant-formula processing facility and Gardians' spray-drying plant in Balclutha.
It’s also given Nutricia access to a supply of fresh milk through Gardians' 18 dairy farms.
Nutricia's managing director for Australia and New Zealand, Corine Tap says intends to double the capacity of these plants to meet the considerable growth expectations and says it will need an extra 60,000 cows to meet demand from markets in New Zealand, Australia, China and Southeast Asia by 2020.
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