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Daily Report 20th November 2015

It might take a while but it will happen… that’s the view of a global dairy expert who predicts world dairy prices will recover but not until the middle of next year.  Rabobank global dairy strategist Tim Hunt says milk production around the world needs to ease and excess stock needs to clear before demand for dairy  picks up again.    Tim Hunt is based in New York but and says low dairy prices are due to  China pulling out of the market, Russia banning imports, falls in the US dollar and the European quota being lifted.      Tim Hunt says the biggest impact has been on New Zealand farmers, who’re weathering a storm far worse  than anywhere else in the world and we need more of the pain of this downturn to spread to producers in other regions beyond just New Zealand which he predicts that will happen in the coming months as milk prices fall further in Europe, margins tighten up in the United States, and as Chinese margins tighten also.  The stockpile of product  is primarily held in milk powders, butter and cheese and NZ has sold so much product in the last 12 months with overseas countries taking  advantage of low pricing to  stock up heavily, but that excess stock will  be worked through in six months or so.



Australia's government has mirrored the NZ government and knocked back the sale of Australian farm land and amazingly Shanghai PengXin is involved.   The Aussies have stopped the sale of the country's largest private property portfolio to foreign investors.  Kidman’s had Pastoral leases for sale  in several states covering about 101,000 square kilometres - an area roughly the size of the North Island excluding Northland.   Two Chinese companies, Genius Link Group and Shanghai Pengxin engaged in a $NZ384 million bidding war over the holdings.    Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison said Selling the company would be against the national interest with part of the portfolio inside a military weapons testing range in South Australia.     Kidman's landholdings encompass 1.3 percent of the Australian continent and includes the world's largest cattle station, Anna Creek.     Prospective buyers from around the world have been forced to withdraw their bids.



Infant formula exporter Carrickmore has shut up shot.   CEO Chris Claridge says the "inordinately hard work" of operating in China is the main reason.   Instead, he has become the new boss of Potatoes New Zealand.    Mr Claridge says China's a difficult market to operate in and Carrickmore was probably one of the last remaining brands out of New Zealand.     He said there were too many barriers for a small company in exporting dairy products into China.     Several years after launching its first product in 2012, Carrickmore was exporting 800,000 cans of infant formula to China a year, in 3500 stores.    Chairman of the New Zealand Infant Formula Exporters Association and CEO of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, Michael Barnett, says small New Zealand exporters are being forced out of the Chinese market.   He says

following the 2013 Fonterra botulism scare and the 1080 blackmail threat this year, MPI has allowed the Chinese to introduce an accreditation process for exporters which has allowed a privileged group to export and as a result, the number of exporters  has fallen from about 200 to 20.


A second irrigation dam for South Canterbury could be on the cards.   Environment Canterbury  is investigating demand for another possible irrigation scheme with an ECan spokesperson confirming  that the regional authority is jointly funding a project with the Irrigation Acceleration Fund to support "an integrated water infrastructure solution".     A survey of coastal consent holders aiming at finding out how they would respond to such an idea is underway and  ECan is also undertaking a computer-modelling exercise as part of the investigation.


Grass cover is a hot topic at the moment with statements like you can hear the grass growing in some areas while the grass is definitely not greener in other parts where a medium scale drought is in action.


A slightly easier kiwi dollar, steadier demand and limited wool volumes combined to lift prices at this week’s New Zealand wool sale  in Christchurch.     Compared to last week’s sale the trade-weighted currency  weakened 0.94 percent, and 92 percent of the 5,000 bales on offer sold at the auction. Merino Fleece were generally firm to 2 percent dearer and Mid Micron Fleece were firm to 3 percent dearer than they were a fortnight ago.   Fine Crossbred Fleece were 1 to 4 percent dearer, than last week’s sale price, while longer shears were firm to 4 percent dearer with shorter types firm to 2.5 percent easier. Coarse Crossbred Full Fleece were up to 1.5 percent dearer. Long Coarse Shears and very short shears eased 1.5 percent with 3 to 4 and 2 to 4 inch shears firm to 1.5 percent firmer. Oddments were 3 to 6 percent dearer.  New Zealand Wool Sale International’s chief executive John Dawson says bidding competition was led by  buyers for China, and supported by bidders for Western Europe and Australasia. The next  sale has attracted 5,900 bales of North Island fleece.


So that’s the latest in wool with the next sale in Napier on Thursday.   Now it’s  time to check out what happened at the  Frankton  saleyards this week.




Recent rain continues to help grass growth locally and further afield, and in turn is putting more life in the store market. At Frankton 2yr steers   were limited in number with Here/Frx selling over a tight range at $2.77 – 2.82/kg for 454 – 524kgs. There was plenty of weight in  the 1yr steer pens with some beef and dairy beef lines at 370kg plus. While the $3/kg mark was a distant memory, the market was  solid with Angus 315 – 382kgs making $2.81 – 2.83/kg, and similar weighted Here/Frx at $2.83 – 2.90/kg. 35 Friesian steers 270 –  368kgs made $2.41 – 2.50/kg. The 1yr bull pens consisted of a mixture of small lines. Of note were 15 Angus which sold for  $2.88/kg, while 3 heavy Hereford fetched $2.79/kg. The heifer market showed good strength, especially 1yr Here/Frx 223 – 260kgs  which made $2.98 – 3.08/kg.     A further 10cpk was taken out of schedules again this week and prime cattle in particular are largely unwanted at the processors, with  many focusing on manufacturing. This saw prices drop again in the pens at Frankton with most steers making between $2.66 –   2.75/kg. Heifer prices quickly followed suit with a further 5cpk taken off last week prices. Boner cow prices on the other hand  remained solid, with Fr/Frx making $1.90 – 1.95/kg.    The sheep market showed more promise this week with prices for lamb firm while ewes were steady to firm. Prime lambs sold for  $105 – 128/hd, while stores made $55 – 82.50/hd. Ewes sold for $63 – 91.50/hd.



Daily Report 19th November

Latest figures from the Real Estate Institute show grazing properties accounted for the largest number of farm sales in the three months to October, accounting for just over 42 percent of all farm sales.   Finishing and horticulture properties accounted for nearly 20 percent of sales each while arable properties accounted for just under 10 percent.    The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to October 2015 was $27,579 -  a 6 percent rise compared with September.    Real Estate Institute rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said, overall, there were 358 farm sales in the quarter ended October compared to 346 farm sales for the same period last year.

And sales volumes for lifestyle blocks for the three month period ending October have again reached record levels with  the median price rising  by $20,000 to $525,000 compared with the same period last year.    Hawke's Bay,  Manawatu / Whanganui and Wellington regions were the popular regions.

Dairy giant Fonterra is selling its 50 per cent interest in a joint venture with Dairy Farmers of America for $196 million.      Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings says DFA will purchase Fonterra's stake in Dairi Concepts as Fonterra decided the partnership was no longer a key part of its plans, although the US remained a major part of its global 'multi-hub' strategy.    Dairi Concepts was established in 2000 when Fonterra contributed to its US dairy and cheese flavours business, and DFA contributed some cheese and cheese-powder assets.    Fonterra and DFA were both founding members of the Global Dairy Platform and have a shared interest in promoting the growth in global dairy consumption and the further development of co-operative dairy farming.

The South Island Farmer of the Year title came down to the wire with a dead heat between a high country farming couple and a Marlborough mussel growing company.  For the first time ever, the Lincoln University Foundation competition was awarded to two entries - Richard and Annabelle Subtil of Omarama Station, and Marlborough's Clearwater Mussels.   Chief Judge Nick Hyslop said the judges were unable to separate the two top performers and the title would be shared.    Clearwater Mussels is a greenshell mussel producer with 90 mussel farms and  Omarama Station a sheep and beef property with some smaller scale hydro and tourism operations.    Nick Hyslop said the joint winners exhibited above-industry standards in their fields and showed leadership in innovation, technology, human resource management, marketing and entrepreneurship and  strong relationships with their customers.


The High Court has agreed with MPI that Honey New Zealand's international's trademarks Manuka Doctor and Manuka Pharm amount to health claims and cannot be used on the company's products.   A spokesman for the company said it would appeal the decision, and that it might have implications for other companies.    Honey New Zealand said in a statement that it was surprised by the decision, which ruled the two trademarks did not comply with the labelling provisions of the Australia New Zealand Foods Standards Code.    Honey NZ said that, while being able to use the trademarks was important to the company, its customers were more likely to focus on the high-quality product in the jar.

The National Animal Identification Tag or NAIT came into being in July 2012 specifically for cattle and three years down the track Deer are about to be included.    But many farmers are saying before any other animals are included NAIT should be making sure the cattle ID system is working properly.



Lamb prices in the North have taken a big hit last week with the large majority trading around the $6.00/kg level and it’s expected this week to bring another sharp drop.  There are plenty of lambs being killed, with the majority now new season lambs. Good quality feed in most areas has lambs finishing well. Farmers no longer have their hands forced by the lack of feed to kill at lighter weights. With the chilled christmas trade and a lower NZ Dollar supporting prices, current average export values are close to being on par with those last year but the lack of demand from key markets such as UK and China is having a serious adverse impact on returns.    Supply from both NZ and Australia is expected to be tight for this season, however the dry conditions hitting the east coast of the country is likely to keep slaughter rates high through early 2016.  In the South the supply of slaughter lambs is expected to be steady through to Christmas with hogget slaughter winding up over the next couple of weeks with new season lambs are currently filling the gaps, however unlike the North Island it’s mainly due to farmers having to offload at lighter weights due to dry conditions.   Lamb growth has been comprised by dry conditions in parts of Marlborough and Canterbury and cold, wet conditions further south. S ome reports suggest there will not be sufficient numbers reaching killable weights before Christmas to keep plants full. The main supply of lambs is expected through February.




Taupo cattle made up the majority of a small yarding at Stortford, with a consignment of Here/Frx featuring.  Regular rainfall in Hawkes Bay has prompted good grass growth and everything sold to strong demand, including small lines and dairy cross. Demand was strong from a local buying bench for 1yr Here/Frx heifers, with 274 – 338kgs lines mainly making $2.88 – 2.97/kg, with a line of 18 314kgs making $3.30/kg, though these were bought for a special breeding program.  Straight beef lines flew $3/kg, with 312kgs Angus cross making $3.09/kg.  Along with these Here/Frx heifers were a consignment of autumn born weaners, which also met solid demand from locals.  Angus x steers weighing 251kgs sold for $780/head, while their sisters made $650 – 715/hd.  1yr Angus steers at 205kgs sold to $3.33/kg, while 21 Friesians made $670 – 735/hd at $2.42 – 2.45/kg.     In the sheep pens Mixed sex lines of lambs were in the minority as a big consignment of drafted lambs came down from Wairoa.  Buyers appreciated the time spent drafting and there was a notable increase in interest in the single sex lines over the mixed sex.  The first ewe lamb lines for the season sold well to a local buying bench with grass, with 24 – 29kgs making $2.80 – 2.83/kg.   However longer term lambs weighing 22 – 23kgs averaged just $2.49/kg.    Male lambs were the biggest mover with prices lifting on last week.  28 – 31kgs males averaged $2.92 – 3.00/kg, while 24 – 27kgs made $2.84 – 2.89/kg.   A small yarding of store hogget's had travelled from the Chatham’s and sold for $78 – 99/hd, while a specially advertised line of 4-5yr Romdale ewes sold for $91.50/hd.







Daily Report 17th November

Fonterra is moving larger volumes of milk into more lucrative finished products such as cheese to take advantage of improved prices relative to whole milk powder, it says.     The strategy is part of the co-operative's plan to improve its business performance in the face of falling dairy prices globally.

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings says, with less milk produced this season, the cooperative has optimised its product mix, while investing in new plants to improve its manufacturing options.

Mr Speirings says the  consumer foodservice business around emerging markets in Asia, greater China and Latin America, has grown due to a change to higher stream returns and, over the last eight or nine months and driven by cheese.


Europe is the only market showing love for our lamb.    AgriHQ says international lamb markets remain under pressure, which is causing some concern among New Zealand exporters.      Analyst Nick Handley says in continental Europe  there appears to be decent demand for most cuts of lamb, and there is some optimism that this demand will hold over the next few months, but with neither China nor the Middle East showing any interest in forequarters, exporters are diversifying into other markets where possible.

Demand for lower value cuts in China has been steady, and is expected to hold until the end of shipments for the Chinese New Year period and negotiations for chilled lamb sales during the Easter holiday period are in the early stages.


A sign of summer to come is the Marlborough Cherry season getting off to a start this week with orchardists saying  the first pickings are due to start this week after a good winter.

Orchard owner Terry Sowman says the trees are shedding or dropping cherries at the moment which is how  the trees decide how much fruit they want to hold…natures way of controlling the crop.  The weather is the biggest worry  with heavy rain causing the cherries to split and frost burn damaging fruit.

Cherries  develop a tolerance for frost as they mature.  At peak harvest there will be 30 pickers on an orchard with a  good cherry picker picking 400 kgs per day while an average picker will average 100kg.  As to quality, it is too early to say but the crop this year is off medium size


Fonterra's Te Awamutu site has become the first in the world to be awarded a new internationally recognised food safety accreditation.    Previously food safety and food quality have been audited and assessed separately, but accreditation to Food Safety System Certification 22000 - Quality gives companies the option of combining both safety and quality  into one certification providing customers with international best-practice assurances.     Fonterra director New Zealand manufacturing Mark Leslie says the certification was in keeping with the importance it placed on each of these critical aspects of the business.   Food safety assurance company AsureQuality is also the first in the world to be an accredited provider of the Food Safety Certification System.


Few issues are of greater importance to society than antibiotic resistance and the threat it poses to modern medicine, both veterinary and human, according to NZ Vet Assn President Dr Jenny Weston. It’s World Antibiotic Awareness Week and vets are urging farmers to work closely with them to address antibiotic resistance so they remain effective.    Jenny Weston says  many  bacteria and diseases are shared between humans and animals so the use of antibiotics in animals can affect how medicines work in humans and vice versa.    She says that in administering antibiotics it’s important that it’s done correctly, including completing the course of antibiotics and storing them correctly.   Dr Weston says New Zealand is one of the world’s lowest users of antibiotics in animals and with our livestock have a high health status due to our pastoral based farming systems and strict biosecurity measures at the border.


How will farming look in 2035.   Well a new KPMG report is pointing to radical changes in New Zealand's primary sector in years to come.   The business advisory firm has released its annual Agribusiness Agenda looking at what agriculture will look like in 2035, through the eyes of more than 50 emerging leaders in the primary industries.    KPMG farm enterprise specialist Julia Jones is co-author of the Agenda’s report and joins me now on Round Up


The US market is struggling to absorb the large quantities of bull
meat being offered from NZ with end-users continuing to remain out of the market and processors 
struggling to find bids.   NZ’s best chance of seeing improved demand
rests on a decline in Australian supply. Recent rain has slowed
slaughter significantly to the extent that some Australian processors are closing plants at the end of November for an extended summer- season shutdown. This has to create opportunities for NZ and with a decline in US domestic supply from around now on  and increased retail demand post Thanksgiving should provide the market with the opportunity to work through stocks and hopefully see end-users re-enter the market.     Export statistics for October illustrate the extent processors have had to diversify into alternative markets in order to manage US quota limits.    With cattle slaughter tracking above last year for several months, monthly export totals have been well above this time last year. October 2015 beef exports tracked 34% higher than last year, and without the US market to rely on to offload the additional product, processors would have had their work cut out for them. In October 2014 the US took 42% of our beef shipments, this dropped to 21% in October 2015.    Canada absorb the volumes of manufacturing cow being processed and beef shipments to China were also substantial through October with market share lifting from 14% in the previous month to 26%. Exports to Korea and Indonesia also increased through October.


A smaller yarding of cattle offered some glimpses of strength, but the general trend is falling schedules. A surprisingly decent number of steers were offered at Temuka though many would have been finished had the weather conditions allowed. Hereford cross and Murray Grey, 480 – 599kgs made $2.71 – 2.87/kg, while 11 similar weighted Angus were a feature, selling for $2.88 – 2.94/kg. The 500kg indicator price trended down this week to finish below 2014 levels at  $2.72/kg.   Heifers were sold in mainly small lines, with prices steady as killable types realized $2.75 – 2.85/kg.    Dairy cow prices were mixed with the prime types selling on a steady to firm market.  Weights of 525kgs and over averaged $1.69 – 1.73/kg.   Beef cows mainly sold for $1.80 – 1.88/kg. (pause) Buyers continued to take a cautious approach to buying lambs, as Sth Island paddocks continue to dry out and the falling schedule prices offer no reward. The first of the new season lambs are usually greeted with some enthusiasm, but this year is proving to buck the trend, with bidding very conservative.  Mixed sex weighing 25kgs and under were averaging $2.12 – 2.14/kg, while heavier types did sell at higher rates at $2.44/kg.  Big lines of store hogget's with lambs teeth were offered with these mainly making $2.03 – 2.08/kg for 27 – 31kgs.

The prime lamb market was best described as lukewarm as well with most making $80 – 120/head and hogget's $85 – 118/hd.    With some processors now killing ewes,  moderate numbers  sold at similar levels to last week, with medium to heavy trading at $70 – 109/hd


Daily Report 13th November

A government agency is being investigated for its role in the Saudi sheep scandal.   Chief Ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakem is looking into New Zealand Trade and Enterprise refusal to release a report into the mass lamb deaths at the controversial farm New Zealand helped set up in the Saudi desert.   The agrihub in the Saudi desert was created to appease an angry sheikh and get a free trade deal with the Gulf States.   Documents released by Foreign Minister Murray McCully show the government  flew 900 very heavily pregnant sheep from New Zealand to the sheikh's farm but shortly after the sheep arrived and began giving birth late last year, nearly all their lambs died.     At the time, the Govt flew experts to investigate producing a report into the debacle,  but now NZTE is refusing to make it public.


Alliance Group has reported a pre-tax profit of $7.9 million for the year ended September on the back of what it says are challenging sheepmeat markets.    The result is based on a turnover of $1.5 billion and compares to a pre-tax profit of $17.6 million last year.    Alliance chief executive David Surveyor says the company's sheepmeat market in China declined by about 25 percent due to the economic slowdown, high product inventories there and a strong domestic kill.



The futures market is predicting another fall at next week’s GDT auction.   Derivatives  specialist OM Financial says October milk collection is  only marginally down on  last year opposed to the large fall in September and given many farmers have cut costs, they now appear to be producing as much as they possibly can.     The last auction on November 4 registered a 7.4 per cent decline in the GDT price index, following on from a 3.1 per cent fall in the auction before that.   According to OM Financial the market remains weak and all eyes will be on GDT next Wednesday morning to see if this slide can be arrested.

Whole milk powder futures prices for November were untraded and unchanged this week while the December contract is down by $30 to US$2230.   January whole milk futures are down $50 to US$2270 and February down $90 to US$2270.


Good news for the deer industry with South Korea planning to remove a special excise tax on deer velvet, a source of frustration for the deer industry for several decades.   The tax is applied to several ‘luxury’ products, including dried and frozen deer velvet and  Deer Industry NZ’s market manager Asia, Rhys Griffiths, says the tax being eliminated will take effect on 1 January 2016.     Under the Korea-New Zealand FTA, the 20 per cent tariff on dried velvet imports from New Zealand will be reduced by 1.33 percent a year which ultimately could mean a reduction of nearly 13% in taxes and duties on dried velvet exports to Korea during this season. Rhys Griffiths says the changes are “hugely meaningful” for the NZ velvet industry over the longer term.


DairyNZ’s senior developer feed and farm systems, Kim Mashlan says that even though sowing time is nearly over, there is still time to plant crops that will provide a valuable summer feed buffer in some areas.    There are crops that can be planted between now and early December like sweet sudan grass, sorghum-sudan grass hybrids and greenfeed maize which maintain relatively high levels of production during hot and dry conditions and can reduce the risk of having inadequate forage during the summer. These grass hybrids are used for grazing and cutting and regrow faster than forage sorghum.  They also recover quickly after grazing or cutting.   Soil temperatures, need to be at 17°C and rising, for germination.   Greenfeed maize can also yield large quantities of green fodder per hectare.   It can be planted once soil temperature is 10°C and be ready within  42-56 days of planting.


Positive vibes came out of the rostrum despite schedule prices easing. 3yr steers sold between $2.94 – 3.07/kg, while the 2yr steer market was steady on the sale two weeks ago. Angus 414 – 481kgs made $3.14 – 3.24/kg with most heading to Manawatu. 1yr steers were an attractive bunch, with specially advertised lines of good weighted cattle offered, and with good grass growth of late, prices were firm for this age group. All lines sold were well over 300kgs and in forward condition, and as such met strong local      demand. Angus 337 – 380kgs sold for $3.16 – 3.27/kg, while 24 Aut-born Simx 481kgs made $1,485/hd at $3.09/kg. While the traditional cattle filled most of the steer pens, it was Charolais x that featured in the 1yr heifer pens. 41 sold for $810 – 900/hd at $2.79 – 2.81/kg. A specially advertised line of Angus cows with calves at foot stayed local and sold for $1,405/unit.

The East Coast of the North Is is continuing to enjoy regular rainfall, which flies in the face of earlier predictions, and as such a grass market is starting to emerge for store stock. This is despite schedules falling, and in the sheep pens today, a smaller than advertised offering of lambs met solid demand with prices firm on last week. The buying bench was mainly local and 28 – 34kgs mixed sex lambs sold on a steady market at $2.91 – 2.95/kg. The male lamb market showed more promise this week and while 28 – 29kg lines were steady at $2.76/kg, 32 – 34kg lifted to $2.97/kg. Best sellers today were 96 ram lambs at $75/hd or $3.13/kg, while two lines of males 29 – 31kgs made $3.01 – 3.02/kg. The 33kg indicator price firmed to $2.94/kg, but despite the 27cpk gap with last year’s indicator, kill margins are the same as the % of PM2 schedule is equal at 47.4%. Hogget's with lambs at foot made an appearance today, with these making $47 – 58 all counted, while ewe hogget's sold for $49 – 78/hd.






Daily Report 11th November

The deadline for  farmers to sign contracts to buy water from the proposed Ruataniwha Dam has

passed a few hours ago and the question is now if there are enough farmers backing the dam project to green light it.   That will be answered later in the month.   A week ago the Hawke's Bay Regional Council's Investment Company, was about 7 million cubic metres of water short of  the 45 million  required to make construction viable.    Contracts had been requested for about 38 million cubic metres and we will know on November 25th if the target was reached.    The scheme will consist of a 93 million cubic metres of storage reservoir located in the upper Makaroro river, storing water during periods of high flow and over winter.  It will then be released in the Tukituki Catchment through summer .



Silver Fern Farms has lifted its annual profit by more than $24 million in the past financial year, and wiped more than $160m off its debt.  For the year ended September 2015, the country's biggest meat company reported a profit of $24.9m after tax, up from $500,000 in 2014. Chairman Rob Hewett says the result, came mainly from selling assets and reducing inventories.     SFFs was  New Zealand's biggest beef farmers but  now don’t own the animals anymore, rather they buy them off their farmers and process them.   Rob Hewett says SFF has slashed its debt by $120.9m and  is now awaiting the decision by the Overseas Investment Office regarding the partnership with China's Shanghai Maling .


Waikato dairy farmer and businessman Michael Spaans has been elected chair of  DairyNZ.    He replaces John Luxton who retired last month.    Mr Spaans has been farming since 1984 and also has farming interests in Canterbury, Chile and the United States.   He is a director of Fonterra and ASB Bank and has been on the DairyNZ board for seven years.


More than 80 gold medals have been awarded to wines from around the country in Air New Zealand's Wine Awards.    Of the more than 1400 entries, 84 gold medals were spread across a number of different varieties and regions.    Chair of judges Michael Brajkovich said pinot noir was the star performer with 18 golds, mostly from Otago, Marlborough and the Wairarapa.    220 silver medals and 551 bronze medals were also awarded across 16 classes by the judges.

Trophies and elite gold medals for the top wines will be announced in Nelson at the end of this month


Aquaculture's value to the Marlborough region has been confirmed in a new report - but it warns of the potential threat posed by looming consent deadlines.    The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research report, says aquaculture, generated close to 6 percent of Marlborough's $2.8 billion annual GDP.      Last year the industry generated $276 million in export sales, and about 62 percent of New Zealand's aquaculture production.    The report also noted Marlborough, had the highest marine farming output of any region, mostly from mussels and salmon production.    Mussels made up the bulk of New Zealand's $400m annual aquaculture exports, but if the industry gets the support it needs, it could reach $1b a year by 2025.



The importance of bees' pollination work often goes unrecognised, but without it two-thirds of the food we take for granted would almost vanish making life as we know it impossible.   For beekeepers, spring where the  bees prepare to go about their work, pollinating our crops. The importance of bees' pollination work often goes unrecognised, but without it two-thirds of the food we take for granted would almost vanish making life as we know it impossible.  So some tips for farmers on how to look after our buzzy little mates.   Be Aware with sprays. If the crop or plants in the headland are flowering, then bees will be working the crop, so delay  spraying until dusk or before dawn.  . Be aware with irrigation as Bees cannot survive in a cold-wet environment and will rapidly chill and die before returning to the hive. So if possible  irrigate during the evening when bees are not flying.  And be aware with hive location placing hives  -- it is all about location, location, location.    Ensure hives are out of  reach of any irrigator.   The most important things in agriculture is  "bees, bees and bees". We have to look after them.


There has been so much talk about the upcoming summer and the effects of El Nino.  One area that always struggles with water in summer is Northland.   To find out how they’re approaching what could be a worse than normal season we’re joined on Round Up by Roger Ludbrook   Federated Farmers Northland  President Roger Ludbrook



With key market prices in retreat and plenty of cattle being killed, it is pretty much all downhill from here for cattle slaughter prices. There has been plenty of earlier discussion that prices will drop, however, many still seem to be surprised by the magnitude of the decline.  While there is plenty of grass in most areas now, most cattle are up to killing weights and/or farmers realise that at the rate schedules are dropping, there is little chance in beating this with weight gain.    Slaughter is in full swing now and the flow is expected to be steady in coming weeks, with many farmers, particularly those on the east coast, aiming to be clear of killable cattle by Christmas.    Store cattle prices continue to feel the pressure from falling slaughter prices with demand for good quality cattle still solid, but anything of poorer quality is meeting some price resistance.    While firmer buying power has been reported out of the Hawke’s Bay due to recent rain, the general feel is that farmers from the east coast are unlikely to get too carried away buying extra mouths with El Nino conditions on their doorstep. Yearling cattle prices have eased again this week and with a bit more grass around now, it is likely these prices may settle down and hold steady. Yearling bulls are trading on a par with historical percent of schedules. Store friesian bulls are typically subject to more price volatility than the beefy cattle.  The majority of 2yr cattle available to trade now are more average quality longer term types with a smaller chance of finishing before Christmas.




Prime prices continued to ease this week, in line with schedules, and most steers sold between $2.72 – 2.84/kg, though one small line of Char/Herex sold to $3.03/kg, which at 746kgs, put well over $2,000 on their heads. A handful of prime bulls made $2.75 – 2.79/kg. Boner prices came back also with the majority of lines selling under $2/kg. Friesian 462 – 492kgs made $1.77 – 1.87/kg, while lighter Fr & Frx made $1.86 – 1.89/kg.     Quality was the key in the 1yr pens and those with it sold on a firm market to last week, while other types eased. Here/Frx steers 251 – 265kgs made $2.88 – 3.02/kg, while heavier types eased to $2.73 – 2.81/kg. Good weighted lines in the 1yr heifer pens did not have quite the following, with Here/Frx 331 – 337kgs at $2.48 – 2.55/kg 2yr Here/Frx heifers 431 – 464kgs made similar values on a steady market. A feature also in the 2yr heifer pens was 32 Angus which, at 403 – 477kgs, made $2.57 – 2.66/kg.      In the sheep, falling schedule prices are making the market hard going in the prime lamb pens, with prices easing.   Just over 100 sold for $80 – 115/hd, which was $7 – 10/hd back on last week. A better top end of store lambs saw these sell to $62.50/hd, with the range being $41 – 62.50/hd.    Prime ewe prices were slightly stronger with the medium to heavy types making $60 – 98/hd and lighter ewes at $44/hd. Hogget's eased again this week to $76 – 127/hd and one line of ewes with LAF made $55 all counted.






Daily Report 10th November

With five farmers killed and 850 injured in quad bike accidents each year little wonder research has been carried out to try and figure out why.    And it seems farmers' personality traits, behaviour and confidence are linked to quad bike accidents. A team surveyed 216 farmers and eight were then interviewed as part of the study, by the University of Otago.   Researcher Lynne Clay says farmers were questioned about  the 'it won't happen to me' idea, and risk-taking in their recollections of quad bike accidents.   Ms Clay says confidence plays a huge part in accidents, and too much or not enough confidence is a key factor.    She says farmers aren't necessarily risk-takers, and they know the risks but when they're out there on the farm there just isn't the time to think about it because they're trying to get on with the job,  or things happen so quickly you don't have the ability to do anything about it."     Ms Clay says reducing the high rate of accidents involving quads isn’t  easy because the rider, terrain, weather and each incident are so different.


60 refrigerated ships carrying New Zealand kiwifruit have left the Port of Tauranga this season with the last of them leaving for Japan and China this week. Kiwifruit marketer Zespri says the number of ships is up from 51 last season, and a total of more than 9000 refrigerated containers was exported.

Zespri says sales to China are up by about 40 percent and it‘s expecting overall volumes to be up by about 25 percent on last season.    The company's recorded almost $2 billion in sales.


West Coast farmer and Federated Farmers provinicial President Katie Milne is the Rural Women of Influence for 2015.   Katie Milne has a passion for improving health and safety on New Zealand farms, and the health of those working in the industry.    Katie Milne, a dairy farmer from Rotomanu, and as well as being on the Fed Farmers Board she is on the National Animal Welfare Advisory Board, TB-Free West Coast and is a volunteer firefighter.   She works closely with the Rural Health Alliance and travels the country talking to farmers about health and safety.    She says  the human and animal toll on farms is pretty high when a farmer starts to slip into depression so she’s aiming to make people better at noting the tell tale signs, so they can get the right help.


DairyNZ has launched a new online tool which visualises data about dairying in New Zealand in a three dimensional model using gaming technology .    DairyNZ’s brand marketing manager, Andrew Fraser, says you can take a virtual flight around the globe and discover data on New Zealand dairy farms and where dairy products go around the world.   He says the new tool tells the New Zealand dairy story in a way that makes it easy to understand and interesting to view.   Teachers are developing new educational resources for schools to use the 3D Dairy model as a source of information.   He says production and dairy herd stats are updated each year, and  it turns it into information that has more context and can be interacted with – giving it much more impact than just looking at statistics on a page.



Most media reports suggest regional New Zealand is in a deep recession.   And although there is some truth in that, particularly in dairying regions, there are selected parts of the country where economic and job market conditions are actually improving.   And they have reason to be optimistic as  all have relatively low exposures to dairying and are selling goods and services whose returns have been boosted by the  fall in the New Zealand dollar.   To find out where  and why we’re joined on Round Up by Gareth Kiernan from economic strategists Infometrics



Thanks Mark.   US imported beef prices were steady but with very light volumes traded last week which  is a reflection of end-users choosing to step out of the market, because they are  working down some of their inventories; which are both large and expensive.  A few months ago NZ was scrambling to withhold product to protect quota limits, now it’s a case of being able to use up what quota they have left remaining as end-users don’t want 2015 meat with their freezers full. The volatility of the market continues to challenge NZ processors.  The US is expected to be inundated with beef in the next three months, which does not bode well for imported prices and there are concerns on how the market will handle the large volumes expected in January 2016, as the quotas renew.  Imported prices are expected to be under pressure at this time, which in turn will be reflected in NZ farmgate prices.  The bottom line is don’t expect to see beef operating prices recover before February 2016. The continued absence of rain in Australia can take a large amount of blame for this with most expecting Australian beef slaughter to have slowed by now, however unless rain falls, slaughter is expected to stay high through to December. Uruguayan cow slaughter is up 22% on year ago levels, with large volumes of this also destined for the US market. On top of this US cow and bull slaughter is rising, and is expected to keep prices under pressure in the US domestic market and limit demand for imported beef. This is concerning given the volume of product on the water and currently in storage.


Numbers dipped to their lowest level since the end of July and the reduction in number saw prices improve, despite schedules  continuing to ease.   Of the 138 lots sold, there were no lines over 10 head. The better types of the 42 steers sold  between $2.89 – 3.03/kg, which lifted the 550kg indicator price up to $2.93/kg, with similar results in the heifer pens.   Traditional  heifers 425 – 475kgs lifted to $2.79/kg, with the 500kg indicator up to $2.64/kg.   While 4 Angus cows sold for $1.95 – 2.05/kg, next cuts were back to $1.70 – 1.80/kg, with  similar money paid for Friesian cross 470 – 575kgs. While this was firm on last week, a number of lines made between $1.50 –  1.66/kg, which pulled the 500kg indicator price back to $1.59/kg.             New season lamb numbers continue to grow each week, albeit at a slow rate,  while hogget numbers dropped significantly.    79 store  lambs were sold in a handful of small lnes with those  weighed making between $63 – 73/hd at $2.35 –  2.86/kg.    Prime lambs had a bigger showing with prices steady  on last week at $90 – 126/hd. Hogget numbers were  well down and while the majority made between $90 –   138/hd, this market is certainly losing momentum.    Fresh 2ths mainly sold for $45 – 74/hd.   Prime ewes numbers rose slightly with most medium   to good types that made $70 – 99/hd. Heavy ewes   sold for $100 – 112/hd, which was back on last week.  A small offering of ewes with LAF sold for $41 – 55 all  counted.







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