Firefighters have spent the day  cleaning up a chemical spill at the Fonterra Edendale factory near Invercargill.  Invercargill fire service assistant area commander Deane Chalmers said there was a chemical spill of two substances at the plant overnight and about 5000 litres each of nitric acid and caustic alkali leaked, however the chemicals had been caught by their respective safety catchment areas.  The spill was “significant” but the chemicals did not mix and there were no injuries.  The fire service had been worried about the two chemical mixing, because the reaction would have produced a toxic, corrosive gas and explosion.   Nitric acid and caustic alkali are used in the plant’s cleaning processes, Chalmers said.   Staff were evacuated from the plant, but returned when the scene was secured and clean.    A clear indication that fire fighters face different challenges every day.

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And on that note  Rural fire officers across the country are among those who have submitted on a bill outlining how a new firefighting organisation will work.    The merger of urban, rural, paid and volunteer firefighters will create the Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) organisation, expected to take effect from July next year.   Marlborough Kaikoura Rural Fire Authority principal rural fire officer Richard McNamara said he mostly supported the draft bill, but Rural fire officers wanted to make sure the bill allowed for the use of fire in a rural setting, he said.   Fire is a very useful tool to farmers, foresters, agricultural industries, vineyards, and even in beekeeping,” McNamara said.   The draft bill said regional committees would inform the national authority FENZ about fire risk and the needs of brigades, and FENZ would then direct how brigades operate.   The committees would be made up of representatives from the community, including residents, industries, the Department of Conservation and iwi.  It was essential communities had input into how their brigades operated, McNamara said.

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A huge upheaval in the infant formula industry two years ago is to now be followed by the honey and wine exporters.    MPI  yesterday confirmed it was aware of the move by Chinese regulators to require registration of wineries and honey producers next year.    The Certification and Accreditation Administration of China requirements will apply to all countries that export wine and honey to China, including New Zealand.     Local infant formula manufacturers were thrown into a state of flux in May 2014 when the registration requirement was introduced for that industry  and a number of Kiwi baby milk exporters went under following the rule change.   China has also introduced registration for meat and seafood exporters in recent years.   Chemlinked.com, a website that covers Chinese regulatory changes, reports  that CNCA is training officials to conduct on-site audits of bee farms, honey processing facilities and wineries.

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An elderly farmer died after he was run over by his tractor while feeding cattle in rural North Canterbury.    Emergency services were call to the “tragic accident” at a lifestyle block in Giles St, Kaiapoi,  Acting Sergeant Josh Clauson said the man, aged in his 70s, was run over by his tractor which came to rest against a row of tees about 20 metres away.   Sergeant Clauson said there were no witnesses to the “tragic accident”.    WorkSafe New Zealand and the police serious crash unit are investigating.

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The US imported beef market is struggling to show signs of life this week, with some industry participants noting they have never seen the market this quiet.  Even the tight imported supply has not been enough to spark any interest from buyers.     There are several contributing factors causing the quiet market and they include the glut of pork and poultry continuing to weigh heavily on the market.     The market is also anticipating a large volume of product from the domestic fed cattle kill in the next couple of months making buyers cautious on paying too much for imported product. Then there’s the prospect of the imminent arrival of Brazilian beef into the US market. While there is limited opportunity for Brazil in quota, some are concerned that  the 26% duty on outside quota beef won’t be enough of a deterrent for the export driven Brazilian market. The very same scenario took place with Uruguay and from 2003-2005 Uruguay exported large volumes outside of quota. The US market has since learned not to underestimate South America and will be keeping a close watch on exported volumes.
Local talk is that trade prices have hit their top, and that was felt in the rostrum at Temuka, with heifer prices easing just a tad.    Traditional heifers, 475-575kg, eased to average $2.77-$2.78/kg, though the heavy, higher yielding export types still sold for $2.80-$2.84/kg. The best of the Friesian heifers weighed  462-488kg, and made $2.56-$2.60/kg.   Beef cows, 535-685kg, made $2.13-$2.22/kg, while Friesian and Friesian x, 449-598kg, made $1.80- $1.93/kg.   Angus steers were the main feature in a small offering, with 520-670kg fetching $2.80-$2.96/kg, though higher yielding Angus x and Murray Grey sold to $2.90-$2.91/kg.      In the sheep pens demand was strong for store lambs  with a consignment of freshly shorn half bred ewe lambs the main feature, and well sought after.   Sold in three main lines, the top two were 26-31kg and made $79-$90 at $3.02-$3.05/kg, while 22-23kg fetched $70 at $3.17/kg. Ewe lambs topped the section at $106 for 38-40kg, with values similar for 35-37kg mixed sex, which sold for $95-$102 at $2.78/kg.  Very light mixed sex however made the highest cpk values at $3.41-$3.42/kg.    Top price of $130 was spent on a line of Scanned in Lamb  175% AD ewes, while most others traded at $102-$105. Prime markets were steady with lambs trading at $100-$130, while ewes were mainly medium to good, and made $60-$99.