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Daily Report (1)

Farmers in Marlborough are making the best of some of the toughest climatic conditions in a long time, according to Beef and Lamb New Zealand.     The industry body's northern South Island extension manager, Sarah O'Connell, says recent rain has lifted spirits in the region but has not broken the two-year drought.   Sarah  O'Connell says the last two years have been some of the hardest on record with very little moisture over the past 18 months.   She says now they are getting used to it but they’re being faced with a lot more challenges as they haven't had any of the autumn and late winter rains that can help them get through the spring.


A  collaboration between The New Zealand Merino Company and the Ministry for Primary Industries, aims at delivering  premiums for New Zealand’s strong wool sector—a partnership that could see an additional $335 million contribution towards New Zealand’s economy by 2025.   “‘Wool Unleashed’, or W3, is a new seven-year, $22.1 million Primary Growth Partnership led by NZ Merino  that will derive greater value from New Zealand’s strong wool.   The programme aims to deliver long-term economic benefits by securing a premium for New Zealand strong wool, increasing on-shore processing, and lifting the returns of the strong wool sector overall.


Yellowing fodder beet is most likely a virus spread by aphids, rather than nutrient deficiencies, according to Ravensdown agronomist Chris Lowe who said investigations and plant tests had revealed the yellowing was caused by the Beet Western Yellow Virus, which was mostly spread by the green peach aphid.   Chris Lowe says Ninety-nine percent of the tests are coming back with the virus which opens the plant up to more diseases.   Animals can still eat yellow fodder beet but farmers are being asked to check with vets to be absolutely certain.  Mr Lowe says the biggest defence that you can give is when you are drilling.  Drilling a bit later can help avoid aphid flights and seeds should be treated with insecticide, not just fungicide, before drilling.


Livestock Improvement’s  interim earnings have halved due to reduced dairy farm incomes and less farm spending.   The dairy genetics group has reported an after tax profit of $15.9 million for the six months ended November 30, down from $29.65m at the same time last year.  Livestock Improvement Corporation  signalled in October that earnings would be impacted, and it ‘s now expected that the full-year result will be “closer to a break-even position” according to chairman Murray King.   Revenues were 9% lower at $145m. Earnings before interest and tax were $23.56m, down from $42.4m.   LIC supplies genetics to breed about three-quarters of the national dairy herd.


Every six months since 2009 farmers have taken part in the Federated Farmers’ Farm Confidence Survey.

July has the new season survey and January the mid season.   Results of the latest January survey reveal farmer confidence remains in the doldrums. The global economy and continuing weakness in commodity prices are weighing heavily on farmers’ expectations and their own fortunes remain stuck near their mid-last year low points.


Thanks Mark and hi there.   Lamb operating prices remained steady last week as production for the chilled easter trade kept demand firm. However, last week marked the end of the production period for some processors, with others finishing up next week.  Expect to see schedules pull back over the next few weeks as processors align farmgate prices with a return to production of lower value frozen product. Lamb slaughter rates have slowed off, but still produced reasonable numbers this week. There is an expectation that if schedules fall further, farmers will opt to hold on to lambs for longer given the feed situation. Given the state of global markets at present, it may well be that processors will be relieved to have less product to market. Any slow down in supply is likely to be managed through reducing killing capacity.       Many farmers are hitting the market simply to find stock to eat the extra grass they now have, but some are now finding themselves in limbo as to whether it is worth buying at current prices. With schedules expected to fall over the coming month, it is likely that the store market has reached its peak, and will decline with the schedules. Lighter and prime lambs are met with strong interest, heavier store lambs have been more difficult to sell, given they will be ready for slaughter shortly after schedules are expected to fall. I’m Kimi Knight and that’s our Market Insight



And with everyone hanging on to stock to munch their grass the Stortford cattle sale was yet again another small affair, though there was a few more than expected. There was a good crowd as usual but not the numbers to satisfy. What was available sold well with the market generally steady. 11 Angus R2 bulls 284 – 310kg  stood out from the rest, fetching $2.90 – 2.97/kg, while in the heifer pens the top lines 321 – 325kg sold very well at $2.93 – 2.98/kg. It is

hoped there will be a larger yarding in a few weeks time, before the weaner fairs at the beginning of March.     For the first time in a while a reasonable number of store  lambs were offered. With demand solid they sold on a steady  market, with a good number of buyers and spectators at the rails to see what was on offer. The majority were male lambs, boosted by a congsignment of ram lambs off one property.  Most of the males weighed between 28-34kg, making $62.70–  81/hd, averaging $2.37–2.45/kg. Ewe lambs of the same  weight range traded for $66.70–79.20/hd averaging $2.23–

2.35/kg. Mixed sex were variable with the largest line of 120  at 30–31kg selling for $66.20/hd or $2.20/kg. This resulted  with the indicator finishing at $2.38/kg for an average weight

of about 30kg. Average per head price was just over   $70.50/hd.     A number of ewes were yarded this week also. 2th’s made $78.50–79/hd, while the largest line of MA Romney’s sold to  $87/hd.   A couple of small lines of Run With Ram ewes came forward with the top 10 Romx reaching $85/hd.





Daily Report

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 are linked to environmental protection rather than milk production but special agricultural trade envoy Mike Petersen believes the payments are shielding farmers from market reality.    The subsidies result in farming land in less favourable areas which she said allowed stocking rates to be maintained even though it was uneconomic.   The Dairy Companies Assn of NZ is investigating links between the subsidies and milk production and Mike  Petersen says such payments ,amounting  to 40,000 Euros a farm,  cushion farmers from market reality.   He says the subsidies pay for groceries and household expenses for a year and in 2014 subsidies accounted for a third of the income of United Kingdom farmers.    World dairy prices have been hit by the lifting of European milk quotas, weak markets and record milk production.


A manuka honey initiative launched in Northland will  boost employment and education in the region.

The government has launched an action plan for the region to get adults off the benefit, into employment and increase education opportunities for young people.  Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell said 30 hectares of manuka cultivars will be planted at Northland College for honey production.   Almost 46 percent of people in Northland received some sort of benefit and the scheme will offer long-term employment for 15 adults to clear the site, plant and maintain the manuka.  It‘s hoped to be extended to 100 hectares by 2017.


A Whakamarama kiwifruit orchard has set a NZ record price in rural real estate, selling in late January for $600,000 per canopy hectare.   David McLaren of PGG Wrightson Real Estate, Tauranga, sold the orchard, comprising five hectares in G3 gold kiwifruit vines, for $3 million.   He says it’s a  new benchmark for a gold kiwifruit orchard, less than 12 months after the first $500,000 sale of such a property.   16 months before that the record sat at $400,000 per canopy hectare.  A Waikato dairy farmer moving to the Bay of Plenty bought the orchard and David McLaren says with total production this season between 65,000 and 70,000 trays it’s one of the top orchards to come on the market in Bay of Plenty.


National records in two iconic rural sports were broken at the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games at the weekend. Olympic decathlete Brent Newdick and teammate Luke Wainui became the new national record holders in the NZ Egg Throwing and Catching Championship, with a throw of 63.73m.  The pair beat last year’s record of 61.7m, set by former All Blacks Jeff Wilson and Justin Marshall last year.

Newdick – who had earlier retained his NZ Gumboot Throwing Championship title – says the achievement was “classic”, given that the pair had no practice before.  Taihape’s Kirsten Churchward set a new NZ women’s record in gumboot throwing by tossing the red band out 34.45m in the NZ Gumboot Throwing Championship.   She will now compete at Taihape Gumboot Day in March, and may qualify for the 2016 World Boot Throwing Championships in Finland.    Levin’s Matt Jones retained his title as NZ Speed Fencing Championan and  world shearing champion Rowland Smith won the NZ Speed Shear by a tenth of a second over Leon Samuels.  It was the second New Zealand Rural Games and a highlight was  the Running of the Wools  through the streets of Queenstown in front of 8000 people.


Last month it was revealed nearly 500 complaints have been made to Environment Canterbury over stock wading in water ways.  The issue has been described as a PR disaster for New Zealand’s image.

Farmers of course bear the brunt of criticism but despite the headlines they have been doing their bit to create solutions to keep them and other water users happy.  More than 20 organisations including Federated Farmers make up the Land and Water Forum and Federated Farmers Mid Canterbury Chair Chris Allen joins me now on Round Up to explain more.



Hello there.   It was a hot and dry start to the first week of February for the South Island, though few are complaining about the weather.    Pasture covers are now in a position where they are actually better than most years, even in Canterbury where the past 12 months have been far from kind on farmers in terms of the weather.   Metservice’s monthly outlook has the entire South Island pegged for drier than usual February. Temperatures should ease as the month progresses, after starting February with abnormal highs.  In the North Island a week of hot, dry weather has changed the playing field for regions in the lower western side of the island this week. Feed  quality has ‘turned’  for Manawatu, Wanganui and Southern Taranaki and farmers have reacted quickly, with cattle slaughter  rates lifting through the week and an increase in store lamb  availability. The East Coast also had a hot, dry week, but farmers there are more familiar with these conditions.  However the  quality of grass for lambs is going off quickly there too, and feed crops could do with some rain.  Central parts of the island remain flush with feed, and have no complaints.  Demand for ewes is strong on both Islands with the grass market as a driver, but another contributing factor, is the low payout driving dairy farmers to winter cows ‘on-farm’  where possible, and as there is surplus grazing land available and a shortage of store cattle, many are turning to ewes.  That’s Market Insight, I’ll be back with more tomorrow



A yarding of mainly good conditioned store cattle sold strongly again at Feilding.   56 Angus R3 steers weighing 513–552kg sold well at $2.98–3.08/kg, while the  R2’s were even better and lifted, with many lines pushing more than $3.20/kg. Char x steers at 316kg fetched up to $3.40/kg. As a result the  450kg steer indicator graph lifted to average $3.09/kg. 31 R3 Friesian bulls 558-661kg sold for $2.80-2.85/kg, but it was the R2’s that lifted.   A large number of Friesians were offered; most making $2.80–2.86/kg. This helped the 450kg bull indicator firm to $2.83/kg.   Several lines of R3 heifers sold for $2.73–2.83/kg, but the stand out were 33 Charolais x heifers fetching $1132-1260/hd or  $2.73-2.81/kg.   In the sheep pens the average per head price was slightly better but the weight increased, which brought the indicator back to an est $2.05/kg.   Most lines were selling within a close   cpk range which was generally $2–2.10/kg. Heavier male lines were steady with the bulk at 35–40kg selling between $68–83/hd or $2.06–2.10/kg.  Most of the ewe lambs were at 30–34kg and sold for $61–70/hd or  $1.97  –   2.03/kg. Mixed sex lines made up the majority of the yarding,  30–37kg making $60.50  - 75/head or  $2.02-2.04/kg.    A few more ewes were offered, with a small line of 2th Romdale selling to $117/hd. The largest line of good Romney 5yr ewes sold for $90.50/hd, while the two largest MA lines sold for $70 and $85/hd.







Daily Report

Zespri and Turners & Growers have confirmed they’re going to work together to create value for their respective growers and shareholders.     Zespri chairman Peter McBride and T&G global chairman Professor Klaus Josef Lutz signed a Memorandum of Understanding  at the fruit industry trade show Fruit Logistica in Berlin.    In a statement, Professor Lutz said as two large New Zealand horticultural exporters with strong global brands, Zespri and T&G are  committed to develop market opportunities together to grow export sales.

Farmers need to plant more trees to ease the effect of dairying on the environment.   The study found plantings were small, limited to unproductive areas, and many continued to be dominated by exotics and monocultures, even though natives and mixed species were preferred.   Lincoln University senior lecturer Wendy McWilliam found government incentive programmes didn’t work because farmers  think the cost is too great and native plants take too long to grow. Another perception is planting trees doesn’t  benefit farmers' operations.   The study found many farmers were increasing woody vegetation around waterways and but many were also removing or replanting their shelterbelts and hedges.

Entrants in the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are being put through their paces, as judges deliberate who the first regional winners will be.   Judging is currently underway in the 11 regional competitions of the 2016 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of Year competitions.    More than 450 people entered the awards, with the first of the regional winners to be announced in Taranaki in early March.    The  judging process involves teams of three judges making on farm visits  spending  two hours on the farm of the share farmer entrants and one-and-a-half hours on the farm of the dairy manager entrants.     The  dairy trainee entrants are challenged to a range of practical skills and an interview.


A new commercial wireless network to carry data to and from sensors and other connected objects – has be launched in Wellington.   KotahiNet founder Vikram Kumar said it could help sheep and beef farmers through to growers.   Kotahi Net is about connecting the physical world to the internet and sights as an example a farmer  watering the fields being able to measure the soil moisture at any given time, integrate that with the forecasted weather and then tell the farm precisely how much water he needs to give to his farm.     KotahiNet will link sensors through to the farmer's computer



Queenstown is going rural big time this weekend with the second annual Hilux Rural Games take place this weekend and this year there’s a brand new challenge for female contestants.   The New Zealand women's DIY challenge is a new event where women will be challenged to build a playhouse and erect a fence at the Queenstown Recreation Ground.    Hilux New Zealand Rural Games founder SteveHollander says another event to look out for is the Mitre 10 Mega man and mutt race.   Otago's fastest 15 young farmers run up and down the street in gumboots with their dogs and the first pair to finish together wins.     Last year's event had nearly 200 competitors taking part in national championships including sheep dog trials, coal shovelling, wood chopping, speed shearing, speed fencing and gumboots throwing plus the 'have-a-go' Wild Buck Challenges.     Beach Street in Queenstown will be closed on Saturday afternoon for the "Running of the Wools" when around 400 merino sheep race through town.

It has been an unusual Summer in many respects with the weather not playing ball but that turning out to be a good thing, and the livestock market going crazy with farmers wanting stock to eat their grass. To find out more we’re joined by North Island Livestock Manager for PGG Wrightston Tom Mowat on Round Up


New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s CEO  John Dawson says prices for most types eased and just 77.7 percent of the 13,356 bales offered were sold as some growers opted to hold rather than sell their wool.   The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies strengthened 2.6 percent with the NZ Dollar  to the US Dollar 3.3 percent higher.   John Dawson says Chinese demand was also quieter now that their New Year break has started.  Fine Crossbred Fleece ranged from 1.5 to 8 percent easier and Fine Crossbred Shears were generally 1 to 5 percent cheaper. Coarse Full Fleece was firm to 4 percent cheaper with second shears were firm to 3 percent easier.  Finer First Lambs were only affected by the currency impact and ranged from 1 to 3 percent softer with harder to place coarser Lambs easing 3 to 5 percent. Long Oddments were firm to 4 percent cheaper with short oddments 1 to 5 percent cheaper.



Improved prices tempted a few more vendors to try their luck at auction, and the punt paid off as demand continues to be strong on a grass  market. Annual draft Angus and Beef cross lines that would usually make an appearance towards the end of February were offered today and  sold well above expectations, with local buyers hard to beat. R2 Angus steers 318 – 342kgs sold for $3.25 – 3.29/kg, with a lighter line at   $3.11/kg. This pushed the 350kg indicator price up to $2.89/kg, which is over 55% of the current P2 schedule, leaving margins tight.     Here/Frx steers were not to be outdone by the traditional cattle, with prices lifting to $3.28 – 3.33/kg for 279 – 294kgs. The R2 heifer offering consisted of more small lines, but the best of the Angus heifers sold for $2.96/kg for 280 – 301kgs. The weaner bull market was also a talking point, with 164 – 200kg Friesians selling for $565 – 680/hd.

Ox sold on a firmer market again, though there were more high yielding exotics and not so much dairy beef this week. Most were exceeding $2.70/kg and up to $2.77/kg, while the rest were $2.63 – 2.68/kg. Heifers were also firm and sold within close $/kg, at $2.61 – 2.67/kg. There was only a few mid weight Friesian prime cows offered and prices reflected this at $1.72 – 1.82/kg. Some heavy Hereford bulls, 845 – 885kg sold for $2.50 – 2.68/kg to put over $2,000 on their heads. Prime lambs were generally steady if not slightly improving for good sorts. Store lambs were in good demand with prices improving across the board. Light to medium prime ewe prices looked to have eased slightly, with better sorts mostly steady.




Daily Report

Federated Farmers has welcomed the  signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement as a significant milestone for the New Zealand economy and a positive deal for the agriculture sector.

Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston says the agreement may not have delivered everything the sector desired, but the scale and its importance to New Zealand is undoubtedly profound.  Dr Rolleston says the TPP offers"As a founding member, the signing of the latest TPP agreement introduces another chapter in our proud history as a trading nation," he says.offerso the primary sector, diverse opportunities not only for agriculture but for future generations of New Zealanders.    He says the TPP will save around $259 million annually as tariffs are lifted on 94 per cent on all exports and there will be a reduction in non-tariff barriers to trade, giving more certainty to investors and ensuring  fair access for New Zealand firms doing business in TPP countries.     William Rolleston says  to continue flourishing as an agricultural exporter,  NZ needs to be at the big table where the more powerful, wealthy nations we hope to trade with,  preside.


Milk solids income is down 42 % on Waikato and BOP dairy farms and 38% down Southland farms according to an AgFirst financial report.   Agfirst conducts regular surveys of farms in the regions and it January modelling says many Waikato Bay of Plenty 50:50 shareholders were having to increase debt to stay in business with smaller 60-80 hectare farms more vulnerable.    Net cattle income was up 10% in the North and 15% in the South  due  to farmers culling cattle early to get better prices.  4900 dairy farms in the Waikato BOP and 942 Southland farms are represented in the modelling.   The Southland survey revealed a deficit of $242,699 compared with a profit of $34,553 last season -  and in the Waikato BoP an  after tax loss of $99,128 compared to a $67,000 profit the previous season.     Agfirst also revealed farmers had taken a knife to working costs, bought-in feed costs and maintenance spending by over 40% in each category.   Fuel spending was also down by over a third due to petrol price cuts.



Myths about inspectors banning quad bikes, banishing kids from farms and creating mountains of new paperwork are being busted in a campaign to keep farmers safe on farms.    WorkSafe New Zealand has discovered  the top 10 tall tales doing the rounds and  Agriculture programme manager Al McCone says there are a lot of misconceptions in the farming community about health and safety, and the role of WorkSafe.     He says they’ve been talking to farmers and listening to their feedback  and many farmers are surprised to hear that the claims they've heard are in fact untrue.    WorkSafe wants to remind  Farmers, however,  that at least two people each day on farms need medical attention because of quad bikes and they are a factor in 25 per cent of deaths on farms.    WorkSafe says only a small number of visits from inspectors result in a fine with an average of one fine in 600 visits in the past two years.


Official figures show 28 people died in quadbike accidents between 2010 and November 2015.   WorkSafe went before a parliamentary select committee yesterday saying prosecuting farmers for dangerous practices would not be a productive way of improving safety in the sector - a stance slammed by opposition MPs.     In September 2011, 53-year-old Grant Cornelius was found pinned under his quad bike on his farm in Dairy Flat, Auckland.     His widow, Sarah Cornelius, said it was unclear what went wrong  but she felt one of the biggest problems is people get a bit too familiar with their quad bike and they don't necessarily take a lot of time to think.    Mrs Cornelius says she really believes driver education is the key and the people who use quad bikes should have a lot more training.


Livestock Improvement  Corp  has just completed its acquisition of 75 percent of the Australian-based Beacon Heat Detectors.    Beacon manufactures heat patches to help farmers identify cows that were ready for artificial insemination.   LIC Chief executive Wayne McNee says the acquisition supported LIC's core business of artificial breeding and its strategy to deliver genetics and information to create superior livestock.



The outlook for lamb returns continues to remain subdued for the first half of 2016. Global demand for lamb is already weak, and growing economic uncertainty could see it get worse before it gets better. The month of December saw average export  returns for lamb drop sharply. Forequarters, which make up roughly a third of the carcass, are a particular problem for exporters, with some reports picking prices are at 15 year lows.   Demand for legs is reportedly picking up, however, prices for these remain approximately 18% down on this time last year. The lack of demand from China is a major thorn in the side for the industry, and until we see some significant improvement  from this market, the going will be tough for exporters. While  tighter supplies may act to stimulate demand in some markets, the backdrop of global economic uncertainty may well prevent a price recovery to an extent that supports lifts in farmgate prices.    The news isn’t all gloomy. Some reports do pick improved demand from key markets in the second half of the year. A  recent report from Rabobank is forecasting that demand in the  Chinese (forequarter) and UK (legs) markets should improve  significantly in the second half of the year with “large volumes of product expected to move”.       Lamb prices held steady last week, underpinned by demand for the chilled easter trade. Operating prices are expected to remain steady until the second week of February  when the easter chilled production period ends.




It was another especially strong prime and store sale at Canterbury  Park with a very short supply of prime cattle seeing the market generally steady to firm. Prime steers ready to be sent to the processors were making $2.85 – 2.95/kg while anything a little lighter than could be finished further was $3 – 3.06/kg. Heifers also sold very well, with heavy types $2.80 – 2.90/kg. Bulls were generally $2.60 – $2.70/kg while good prime cows were largely $2.80 – 2.93/kg. With the region flush with feed, buyers are eager for mouths to  keep on top of it resulting in exceptionally good money being made for store stock across the board.   All ages sold freely, including numerous 2yr steers that fetched between $3 – 3.20/kg, while good heifers were virtually as strong with a line of Angus 358kg reaching $3.07/kg.

With ample feed levels and a quality store lamb offering the result was a very strong sheep sale. Lambs from Marlborough to Canterbury were met with good interest across the board from a keen buying bench.   28kg lambs lifted to a $2.52/kg average, while 30kg were generally steady at $2.30/kg. Most lines were mixed sex, with 22 – 27kg types steady at $52 – 66/hd averaging $2.40 – 2.62/kg. 28 – 34kg fetched between $67 – 80/hd averaging $2.38 – 2.51/kg. The indicator remained exactly the same as last week at $2.49/kg, but the average weight lifted by 2.6kg to 27.1kg, while average per head price lifted by over $6/hd.    Prime lambs remained on a par to last sale, with top lambs $100 – 112/hd, though most were $75 – 95/hd. A small yarding of prime ewes slightly lifted in value, with prices rising $3 – 5/hd across the board. Heavy ewes sold for $73 – 80/hd and mediums $60 – 68/hd.





Daily Report 3rd February

A big drop overnight in the GDT auction with the benchmark Whole Milk Powder price down 10.4% to under $2000.     The overall auction decline was 7.4%   the third time in a row.   The auction is the first since Fonterra,  lowered its forecast payout to dairy farmers for the current season and that new payout price is already under pressure to drop further.    Three other New Zealand dairy companies, Synlait, Westland Milk Products and Open Country, have lowered their forecast payouts in the past month.

NZX dairy futures prices suggested yesterday that a decline of 5 to 10 per

New Zealand's infant formula industry is facing further upheaval as China moves to tighten the screws on regulations for exporters of the lucrative dairy product.    Under proposed new rules submitted to the World Trade Organisation this month, companies will be able to export a maximum of three baby milk brands into the market.    Domestic firms in China will face the same restriction, reducing  the number of formula brands on sale in Asia's biggest economy by 80 per cent.  New Zealand exported $136 million worth of formula to China in the 12 months ending November, up from $118 million a year earlier.   More than $200 million worth of baby milk was exported into the Chinese market between 2012 and 2013, a market that’s expected to grow to $38 billion NZ dollars by next year.

Michael Barnett, chairman of the New Zealand Infant Formula Exporters Association, said some operators had simply given up on trying to do business in the notoriously difficult Chinese market.


The El Nino weather system has passed its peak, but will continue until at least April, according to NIWA    The research institute's Seasonal Climate Outlook for the next three months shows rainfall and soil moisture is likely to be normal or below normal for the north and east of the North Island and along the South Island's east coast.  The country's west coast is expected to have normal rainfall and soil moisture.

While  the east coasts of both islands were likely to have more westerly winds with the recent rain being enjoyed by drought-affected areas  unlikely to continue.

NIWA says El Nino will pass later this year, and the opposite weather system - a La Nina - could appear.   Then where we tend to get more northerly and north easterly winds and so often wet in the east or north east.


Not only shaken by the latest GDT result, Fonterra looking at shaking up its board, but one critic says he is not impressed that the board itself will carry out the review.     The dairy co-operative is calling on its 10,000 farmer-shareholders to have a say on how it is run.    The board currently has 13 directors - nine of whom have direct farming knowledge.   But that could change after the review which was sparked last year when two former directors called for a slimmed down board.   One of them Greg Gent says those conducting the review - the directors and Fonterra Shareholders' Council members - were all conflicted by the prospect of any reduction in their own numbers.   The shareholders council last year rejected a proposal to reduce the board.    Mr Gent says  a board as big as Fonterra's is almost unheard of in Australasia, as it became cumbersome and slow.   Mr Gent is calling for the board to be reduced to nine, made up of six elected directors and three appointed directors.   Fonterra wants to put the new proposals to shareholders in May.


Hawke's Bay Regional Council's investment company  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.



The Australian beef industry is finally showing signs of entering a herd rebuilding phase, following three years of record slaughter. A report released this week from Meat  Livetock Australia predicts cattle slaughter to decline 16% from last year to 7.6 million head; one of the largest yearly drops recorded. The forecast is expected to hold even if  drought-breaking rain stays away. Female cattle slaughter numbers for the past 6 months have slowed considerably following 36 months of record high rates. This suggests herd rebuilding has started. Industry estimates predict that 2017 cattle slaughter is expected to be lower again, declining to just 7 million head, the lowest since 1995. Slaughter rates are expected to increase again from 2018 onwards.    US imported beef prices lifted further this week. A lift in both retail and food service demand is stimulating trade.   The combination of tighter supplies out of both Australia and  NZ and more stable domestic prices means a positive outlook for prices going forward.    NZ has been waiting for a reduction in Australian beef  slaughter for a very long time. A tighter supply of beef, particularly to the US market, will reap positive returns for   NZ beef farmers as competitive pressure decreases and the  lack of supply stimulates demand growth. Benefits should  also flow through to Asian markets, however any opportunity  in the Chinese market may be picked up by cheaper Brazillian  beef imports.


Market improvements continued this week with firm to lifting prices for prime stock yet again, despite no change in schedule prices. Demand boosted by grass growth meant stronger prices for plainer types, while a lack of numbers of finished cattle kept buyers honest.  Beef steers 445 – 572kgs sold for $2.76 – 2.86/kg.    High yielding heifer prices matched the steers, with the Traditionals weighing  475 – 525kg and priced  3cpk up on the steers. This saw the 500kg indicator price climb to one of the highest levels seen of late at $2.83/kg, 62cpk up on last year and 77cpk on the 5yr ave.    Beef bulls over 575kgs were 5cpk up on last week.   Jersey bulls at 484 – 584kgs made $2.55 – 2.70/kg. Cow prices were mainly steady, with Friesian’s selling to a top of $1.76/kg.   $1.60 – 1.67/kg tidied up the lighter dairies, with better types at $1.68 – 1.76/kg and Angus $1.79 – 1.89/kg.      The store lamb market is a vendors paradise at present with strong demand resulting in lifting prices flying in the face of the low schedule prices, with $4.80-5.00/kg Carcus weight  30cpk back on last years levels.    But grass growth from welcome rain and low stocking rates is bringing the buyers to market, so short term competition is heated for all types.   Blackface ewe lambs under 22kgs were a highlight, with three lines making between $3.04 – 3.34/kg, while males of same weight averaged $2.74 – 2.78/kg.  Ewe lambs 28 – 31kgs also bettered the males as quality lines were offered, making $2.36 – 2.39/kg compared to $2.29 – 2.35/kg for male lines. Prime lamb numbers were more respectable and prices were firm at $80 – 108/hd.






Daily Report 2nd February 2016

The forestry industry has cleaned up its act in health and safety and is no longer the most dangerous industry to work in.     There  has been a significant drop in workplace deaths and injuries with Worksafe New Zealand data revealing that in 2015 three forestry workers died on the job, compared with 10 in 2013.  There were also half the number of serious accidents last year at 79.  In 2014 Forestry’s appalling record made headlines, with more than 1000 serious injuries and 32 deaths between 2008 and 2013.     Forest Industry Contractors chief executive John Stulen said with the help of new technology, forest managers and contractors have led positive safety changes.   He says production has gone from 19 million cube in 2008 to over 30 million cubic metres, so the rate of serious harm is actually now a third of what it was in 2008.    John Stulen says 2013 was a year which saw cowboys coming into the industry because prices and volumes were high.



2015 was a great year for apple producers and this year could be even better.    Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Alan Pollard says the final crop estimates sat at $19.5 million export cartons for 2016, up 5.5 percent on last year.    The industry is now forecasting export returns to top last season's bumper $630 million sales.    Alan Pollard says 2016 is likely to be the third back-to-back record export season for apples, cementing New Zealand's apple industry's No 1 ranking in the world for international competitiveness.    Alan Pollard says it's great news for our apple growing regions, such as Hawke's Bay, Gisborne, Waikato, Wairarapa, Nelson, Central Otago and South Canterbury injecting millions directly back into the local economies.    The boom will create more jobs, training and career opportunities to support the growth in the pipfruit industry.      Nelson experienced significant hail losses for some growers, late last year, but the region is forecast to be down just under 7 %  on last year.



A global slump in the price of fertiliser is driving down the price in New Zealand, with farmers set to save thousands of dollars.     Fertiliser company Ballance Agri-Nutrients said the latest round of price reductions came into effect today.  CEO Mark Wynne said urea dropped $50 to $525 per tonne, DAP fell $25, sulphate of ammonia by $15 and potash by $10.   Mr Wynne said the reduction follows a global slump in fertiliser prices, driven by strong supply and soft demand.   "There's plenty of supply in the market at present, with extra production coming on stream and China switching from being an internal consumer of nutrients to an exporter.



Dairy giant Fonterra has received a low rating for animal welfare standards and reporting in an international study.    It is the first time the Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare report has included the dairy co-operative as one of 90 companies it reviews annually.    Fonterra has been ranked at tier four, with one being the highest performing, and is behind global groups such as Marks and Spencer, McDonalds, Sainsbury and Unilever.   World Animal Protection regional agricultural director Rob Gregory says it's not surprising that Fonterra has appeared in tier four for its first ranking, but it would have been nice for it to have had a higher score.   The business benchmark was created to encourage companies to increase their reporting on animal welfare.


Synlait Milk has cut its farmgate milk price forecast for this season to $4.20 a kg of milksolids from $5.00 a kg.    The Mid Canterbury-based company said low international prices were behind the move, which follows Fonterra and Westland, who cut their farmgate milk price forecasts last week.   Synlait chairman Graeme Milne believes the recovery in commodity prices will be slower than anticipated.    Last September, Synlait Milk cut its forecast milk price for the current season to $5.00 down from $5.50 per kg.


So another fortnight has gone by and dairy farmers will await the latest results of the Global Dairy Trade Auction overnight.   The last couple of auctions have been slightly down and now everyone is pretty well resigned to the recovery being a long term process.   Editor at Large of NZ Dairy Exporter Magazine is Glenys Christian and she joins me now on Round Up


Last week saw more rain falling across the North Island with pasture growth rocketing and summer feed crops looking “superb”. While no-one likes to complain in a season such as this, there is plenty of hill country looking a little untidy and with the humid conditions, facial eczema will be a growing concern. This weeks markets are very quiet as slaughter rates drop and no-one is willing to let go of any stock to sell store.  With further cyclonic weather patterns forecast, this untypical season could continue for some time yet.  A difficult road ahead for some time yet.    In the South the rain has continued to fall, bringing a few smiles to the faces of those hurting from the drought.  While pasture covers are still on the shorter side in drought stricken areas, the grass has been shooting upwards compared to only a month before. A lack of stock onhand is also acting to see pasture covers respond rapidly. The general consensus of those in drought affected areas is that the corner has well and truly been turned, with many now looking to restock rather than destock based on current feed growth. Average temperatures have been a little higher than usual through the north half of the South Island, also helping to kick crops into gear. A little more rain is forecast to fall throughout the middle of the Island late next week.


The grass also drove the cattle market, and the cattle coming off it are in good condition too. Prices lifted in all sections, with 3yr steer selling up to $1620/hd or $2.77/kg. Numerous lines of 2yr steers, mainly Ang & Ang/Hx, sold up over $3/kg or near to it. 2yr bulls also sold strongly with $2.80 – 2.90/kg common. There is good interest in heifers though they are few and far between, with only one line of medium 2yr olds selling to $2.77/kg.    21 Angus 365 – 386kg sold for $1120 – 1165/hd or $3.02 – 3.07/kg. 1yr bulls also increased in price with Here/Frx 573kg to 2.93/kg, while a large number of Friesians made $2.79 – 2.85/kg.    Ang & Ang/Here x heifers 279 – 299kg sold for $3.01 – 3.06/kg on limited numbers.   A consignment of specially advertised weaner Friesian bulls saw the top cut at 225kg sell for $685/hd or $3.04/kg.     Hawke’s Bay buying power was again a driving force at the sheep  sale, with just over 9000 lambs for sale.   More rain in the east and central North Island has encouraged buyers further; hence prices were firm to lifting in many sections.. Shorter term lambs were generally steady. The bulk of the male lines were 32 – 40kg,and  selling between $71.50 – 85.20/hd $2.07 – 2.23/kg,   with some easing back in these weight ranges.   Most ewe lambs were est 22 – 30kg, selling between $52 – 66.50/hd, while a good portion of mixed sex made  $70 - 77.50/hd or average $2.20 per kilo.   There was a very small ewe offering with the main line  198 tth Romney’s  which sold to $121 per head while the next best line were 18 mixed aged Romdales at $96.50








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Mystery Creek  (Waikato)

This year, Fieldays' theme of Growing Our Capability in Agribusiness explores our industry growth requirements and how to meet those needs, and will feature a new-look site, offering more exhibiting space and a greater level of efficiency and accessibility to enhance the visitor experience.

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