Farmers in Whangarei District are facing rates increases of up to 21% at a time when dairy farmers, in particular, can’t afford to pay any more.    Federated Farmers Northland president John Blackwell says the increases follow a new three-yearly Quotable Value property revaluation.    John Blackwell says it’s  the worst possible time for dairy farmers and the council maintains the rates increases flowed from a 14.6% rural property valuation increase.   But Federated Farmers produced Real Estate Institute figures saying the dairy farm price index in March was down 15.9%.   The Feds say the value of most farms has decreased over the past year, not increased,   and farmers should be experiencing rates reduction, not increases. The average proposed rural rate would be $3269, compared with the average residential rate of $1717.

Fish & Game says it’s high time Environment Canterbury met its obligations to the region’s ratepayers – after failing dismally to provide effective responses to many reports of cattle damaging waterways.     The North Canterbury Fish and Game Council says that as managers of the freshwater sports fishery and habitat, it is recommending Ecan should take immediate steps to meet its obligations to ratepayers.    Chairman Trevor Isitt says they’ve prepared a report with  evidence that after investigating 382 complaints of stock in waterways,  Ecan took action in only 15 cases, demonstrating a reluctance to set a high standard.    The North Canterbury Fish and Game Council will be discussing this report and its recommendations directly with Ecan commissioners .    At a recent Hurunui Waiau Zone Committee meeting, ECan promoted its compliance efforts by stating that it got better results by talking to land users rather than being overly strict on enforcement.

Thirty three of the nation’s top dairy farmers are in Wellington vying for the three top titles.    The New Zealand  Share Farmer of the Year, Dairy Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year for 2016 will be decided in Wellington on Saturday night as the prestigious New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards reach their 10th year.    Ravensdown chief executive Greg Campbell  says the awards play a vital role to boost the industry’s spirits shining a light on the positives of the industry and showcasing some of the outstanding leaders within.     The Share Farmer and Dairy Manager finalists collectively represent over 4200 hectares of the 1.8 million hectares of land used by New Zealand’s dairy farmers, and they farm over 11,600 of New Zealand’s five million dairy cattle.

Half of all pizzas in China have Fonterra cheese on top and to capitalise on NZ’s ability to create premium products the Dairy Coop has launched a new global foodservice brand, Anchor Food Professionals.     Fonterra says it will help to cement the cooperative’s position as a leader in foodservice.   Director of foodservice Grant Watson says  it’s a significant milestone for  with the global foodservice market growing at a rate of 6% every year.    Fonterra is aiming for its foodservice business to be worth  $5 billion by 2023 and after Asia it will focus on North and South America.    In China Fonterra has market shares  of between 40 and 80 per cent, depending on the product category and more than half of the leading bakery chains in China use Fonterra dairy products.       Starting in China, Anchor Food Professionals will be rolled out across 60 specialised foodservice products destined for 50,000 customers in more than 50 countries.

The weather pattern in the North Island has been varied for farmers with dry conditions coming late in the piece and creating vary patchy conditions depending on where you are.
New Zealand wool prices at yesterday’s international sale slipped a little from last week’s level.   New Zealand Wool Services International chief John Dawson says the quality of the North Island offering was generally average to poorer compared to the South Island wool sold last week – and lines with high seed content were significantly discounted.  John Dawson says that a limited selection of Fine Crossbred Early Shorn and Second Shears fetched prices that were were firm to buyers favour. Coarse Full Length Fleece were firm to 2.5 percent easier, Coarse Shears 1 to 2 percent cheaper. First Lambs were 3 to 4.5 percent easier with more  poorer style lines offered. Short Oddments eased 3 to 5 percent compared to last week’s more stylish South Island offering.  Bidders for Australasia, India and Western Europe led the buying with limited support from bidders for China, United Kingdom and the Middle East. Dawson says competition was limited, but 91% of the 5,400 bales offered were cleared at the auction, and prices were still firm to slightly dearer than they were at the previous North Island sale a fortnight ago.

The second cow fair was held in conjunction with the usual store sale and 260 mainly Angus and Ang & A/Hx were offered.  Younger Vetted In Calf cows sold up to the last sale with good local demand matched by that from further south.    Heavy traditional lines were averaging $2.17-$2.20/kg, though the top straight Angus lines sold for $1340-$1420 at $2.64-$2.76/kg.   A larger portion of the older VIC cows were picked up by the processors than the last sale, though some headed to Central Hawke’s Bay.    R2 steers made up a big chunk of the rest of the yarding, with a consignment of Hereford cross from the Chatham’s selling for $1010-$1200 at $2.87-$2.89/kg, while Angus, 413kg, earned $2.91/kg.   VIC Angus heifers sold for $1000-$1005 at $2.53-$2.77/kg.   Friesian, weighing 130-156kg, sold for $440-$535, with a heavier line making $612.      Fewer lambs and more buyers looking for small numbers saw prices regain the ground lost last week.   The first race of lambs were heavy forward types and sold on a lifting market, with ewe lambs, 35-37kg, making $75-$85 at $2.31/kg, and similar weighted males $81-$88 at $2.39/kg.    These prices lifted the 36kg indicator price to $2.35/kg, which is 46.04% of the current PM2 schedule.     Medium male lambs also sold on a firm market at $80-$84, while 30-34kg ewe lambs were making $68-$79.