The Feildays are underway with organisers expecting  more than 120,000 through the gates and it seems the weather will play ball.    With more than 1000 exhibits there’s plenty to see and the conditions should be pretty good.  A large ridge of high pressure covering New Zealand and it will weaken briefly for the first few days before strengthening again late in the week. Temperatures were chilly for the first day but with light winds there was no wind chill.    A gradual warming trend is likely for Thursday and Friday, allowing afternoon maximums to creep towards 16 or 17 degrees so Fieldays visitors will be graced with a blend of sunshine and clouds and a light to moderate breeze both days.     Overall, the odds favour good weather although a southerly breeze might cool things off slightly for the final day when the townies visit on Saturday, but abundant sunshine and light winds will make for prime exhibit viewing. Originally set up over 45 years ago to provide a bridge between urban and rural business, the fieldays has grown from 15,000 people in 1969 to more than 130 thousand in its best year, 2014.   The event was moved to the land known as Mystery Creek in 1971  and   today Fieldays attracts visitors from an average of 38 countries  and brings in over $130 million to the Waikato community.

PGG Wrightson ‘s  retail unit is likely to beat last year’s record result, although 2017 is going to be tough.    Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation are expected to be between $65 million and $68 million in the year ending June 30, up from a previous forecast of $61 to $67 million, but  still down from $69.6 million a year earlier due to the slump in dairy prices eroding farmers’ incomes.   Wrightson said its retail unit will beat last year’s record operating earnings  with horticulture and beef sectors making up for the dairy downturn, while its seed and grain business will deliver higher earnings as its Australasian customers offset weaker South American results.     Chief Executive Mark Dewdney expects the 2017 year will remain challenging with dairy farmers facing their first unprofitable season but he says despite the challenges we believe we can still continue to grow market share and margins in many of the sectors in which we operate.    The company expects to report its final result on Aug  9.    Wrightson shares last traded at 38 cents and have dropped 8.4 percent so far this year.
Federated Farmers has launched a new Safety Management System to help farmers ensure on-farm obligations are met under the latest health and safety legislation.    Developed alongside risk management specialists Quality Solutions International and with significant farmer input the system was developed in conjunction with Worksafe New Zealand and aligns with the latest compliance requirements and focuses on the significant risks faced by farmers as part of their daily work. Federated Farmers’ health and safety spokesperson Katie Milne says an average 17 people die in agriculture each year and many more are seriously injured in New Zealand, which is why a Safety Management System is a critical component for every farm.   She says it’s all about keeping people safe to ensure a high-performing and positive workplace and whenever you lose a key person it weighs heavily on farms.   She says we need to keep safe, to  keep farming.    The Safety Management System is available to Federated Farmers’ members for just $199.50 or $520.50 for non-members and all you have to do is phone 0800 Farming  0800 327 646  or through the Fed Farmers online shop.

Ravensdown is dropping prices for the fourth time in six months.      The reductions cover  a range of nitrogen, phosphate, potash and sulphur products.      Superphosphate is being cut by $18 to $312 per tonne, potash by $40 to $625 per tonne,   DAP by $55 to $785 per tonne and urea by a further $20 to $475 per tonne.     Bryan Inch, General Manager, Ravensdown Customer Relationships says we’re able lead the market because of their strong global supply relationships and long-term strategy of delivering all-year value for a more cost-effective and sustainable way of growing quality feed.
A changing of the guard in the Mid Canterbury section of  Federated Farmers with the new Provincial President being  Michael Salvesen who has taken over from Willy Leferink.   Michael is a deer and beef farmer in the foothills of mid Canterbury, farming around 12000 stock units on 1450 Ha with a split of roughly 50/50 between deer and beef.

In this Market Insight,  while access is being cleared for NZ to ship chilled beef to China, reports suggest that the market may not be ready to pay the type of money we are expecting  for chilled product.  Reports from Chinese traders suggest that while they welcome the move to  grant NZ chilled beef access to their market as increased volumes will drive prices down they still think chilled NZ product is too expensive and that limits demand. Accepting lower prices for our chilled beef in China would defeat the value-added gains this negotiation was supposed to achieve for NZ, particularly when there are other markets willing to pay the  premium. NZ chilled beef in China would be targeted towards the high-end market, which is currently under pressure from a slower economy. Reports from Chinese traders also suggest this market niche is extremely competitive and difficult to crack without the right distribution networks.    These reports also confirm both Silver Fern Farms and Alliance are doing the right thing pursuing partnerships with Chinese businesses that are already players in these networks.   But they also say reveal that market share for chilled beef will not be an easy task.

A small offering of prime only cattle meant for a quick sale today, though prices were strong across the board. Prime steers 550kg plus sold for $2.85-$2.90/kg while lighter traditional sorts 450-550kg reached $3.00-$3.10/kg, lifting around 5-8cpk. Angus heifers earned $2.80-$2.85/kg while beef-cross earned $2.70-$2.75/kg. Bulls in the preferred weight range sold between $2.55-$2.65/kg,  while store bulls earned $2.30-$2.35/kg. One big sire bull 1120kg sold for $1.80/kg. A handful of cows sold on a firm market, with heavy Friesians 1.80/kg and beef cows, $1.85-$1.95/kg.     Store lamb numbers were reduced again this week and prices increased by $4-$5 across all weight ranges. Ewe lambs 35-37kg sold up to $91 while most of the males weighed in at 35-40kg and sold for $89- $94. The bulk of the mixed sex lines also fetched $84-$91. The 36kg indicator graph continued to lift to finish at $2.54/kg. Average per head price lifted to $86 from $72 last week, though this week’s average weight was heavier by almost 5kg. Prices remained on a par with last week in the prime lamb section. Heavy prime lambs sold for $120-$130, good lambs $110-$119, mediums $96-$107 and light $80-$90.    A small yarding of prime ewes met good demand with prices rising $2-$3 across all classes. Good ewes made $80-$88, medium $70-$80 and light $58-$69.