Dry stock farmers’ salaries have gone up in the last year.     Despite tough times and low inflation, most sheep, beef and grain farmers have paid higher average salaries than a year ago.   The employee remuneration report by Federated Farmers and Rabobank  shows salaries in the dairy industry have remained stable, but there’s been a very small decrease in the added value farmers provide their staff, such as firewood and internet access.    Federated Farmers Dairy Industry Group Chair, Andrew Hoggard, says the report once again highlights a decrease in working hours with dairy  employees across all levels working an average of 46 hours each week.   Andrew Hoggard says  people tend to concentrate on hours farm employees work in the busiest time of year and overlook the fact that hours fluctuate markedly from season to season.  The survey covered  3158 employment positions across 13 different on-farm roles in the dairy, sheep and beef and grain sectors.
Fonterra’s  global dairy trading platform is to expand further into online trading.   GlobalDairyTrade (GDT),  acts independently of its owner Fonterra as one of the world’s leading dairy trading platforms.   As well as its fortnightly auction, the company offers  a new way for customers to trade in the 66-billion litre international dairy market.    It is now introducing online trading 24 hours a day, seven days a week.     Fonterra says the new digital trading channel will meet growing demand for online transactions and will be complimentary to the existing auction.   It said online trading is ideal for customers purchasing smaller volumes who want convenience and availability at a time that suits them.   And the twice monthly auction will now include a new cream group for anhydrous milk fat and butter.

The search for Velvet leaf in Southland is continuing even though MPI’s support ended this week.  Enviroment Southland is set to cease hunting the weed at the end of this week.  Biosecurity Manager Richard Bowman says they still have 300 hectares to search and the council is going to continue the search on its own.   The search so far has found 189 velvet leaf plants on about 40 farms with more mature plants found in Northern Southland with its slightly warmer climate.  Searchers have investigated 270 farms in the region with 33 still to go.

A marketing expert says the fact Chinese dairy producer Yashili’s is selling  its locally-made infant formula in New Zealand supermarkets will help the brand crack the lucrative baby milk market in China.    The Guangdong-based company’s Super a-Golden Stage  is available in selected New World and Pak’nSave stores across the North Island.    The product is manufactured at Yashili’s plant in Pokeno, south of Auckland, which opened in November following a $220 million investment from the company and is being launched in China this week.   It will sell for between $23 and $25 per can in New Zealand supermarkets and $55 to $66 a can in China.   Auckland University’s Andrew Zhu says selling the product here will give it a “country of origin effect” in the Chinese market which appeals to Chinese parents who like imported formula brands that are also sold in their country of manufacture, rather than solely for exports
The Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand is right behind making District Health Boards responsible for adding fluoride to water.  RHANZ  is an umbrella organisation with 40 members,
The outlook for the US market for the remainder of 2016 is a mixed bag, but not one that offers much chance of surging beef prices. The supply side remaind positive but supply from NZ looks set to be much shorter than anticipated through May.   US cow slaughter rates look set to remain lower and Australian supply also continues to be low. However on the demand side things are not so positive with reports that lean beef is losing ground at a faster pace than more expensive cuts, as it competes directly with the much cheaper chicken and pork.   Once the peak sales period of Memorial Day holiday is over,  analysts expect fierce competition with other proteins will put further pressure on prices.   Uncertainty surrounding global economic conditions is also keeping the market wary.  End users are less inclined to commitment to long term contracts, which in turn is creating more uncertainty.

Cows dominated a quieter day in the rostrum at Temuka, and the pressure was on the buyers, with prices firming across the board.    Beef cow numbers were very limited, but another decent number of Angus sold on a firm market, with 478-580kg making $1.70-  $1.74/kg.   The headlines easily show the movement in dairy cow prices with Friesian, 425-575kg, averaging a 3-7cpk firming in price to $1.42-$1.47/kg.    Indicator prices for 450kg and 500kg cow still hover just below 2015 levels, though with demand looking set to improve over the coming weeks, they should break the back.   Numbers were limited in other sections but steer prices lifted with Hereford x, weighing 492-617kg, making $2.78-$2.84/kg, and the best of the heifers $2.72-$2.80/kg.   Store lamb numbers were still significant at 4,800 with many from higher country outside the South Canterbury area as feed is not as abundant as many feel comfortable with.    A larger portion of the yarding were medium to good types and also included Merino and Halfbred lines.   Mixed sex, 32-37kg, sold on a firm market at $76-$89 to average $2.32-$2.39/kg, which firmed the 36kg indicator price to $2.31/kg. Some of the best selling lambs were 26-27kg, and  averaged $2.65-$2.74/kg.    Halfbred male lambs sold for $73-$81, while ewe lambs earned $71-$84.  The prime lamb market came to life as determined bidding from two extra buyers firmed the market by $3-$5.    South Is lambs are now starting to trickle into North Is processors, which has provided bigger budgets, and most lambs sold for $90-$109, with second cut lambs at $79-$89.