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The ups and downs of 2016 – the year in review

The ups and downs of 2016 – the year in review

[20 December/ Rural News] According to Rural News, highlights of the year included the successes of Zespri and the kiwifruit sector, the rise of Lewis Road Creamery, and the deal between Silver Fern Farms and Shanghai Maling. Other highs included the sharp increase in dairy pay outs, Federated Farmers’ response...
Record global supplies to challenge beef prices in 2017

Record global supplies to challenge beef prices in 2017

[16 December/ Rabobank Media Release] According to Rabobank’s latest Beef Quarterly Report, an increasing supply of beef globally has been putting downward pressure on beef prices, with the trend expected to continue into 2017. Report Author, Matthew Costello said New Zealand farmgate prices would come under increasing pressure in 2017....
Mozzarella plant landmark for dairy industry

Mozzarella plant landmark for dairy industry

 [20 December/ Otago Daily Times] Fonterra’s announcement of a new $240 million mozzarella plant would be the largest foodservice investment in the history of New Zealand’s dairy industry. The plant would be the largest producer of natural mozzarella in the southern hemisphere and double Fonterra’s capacity to produce individually quick-frozen...
Fishing companies announce plan to help protect Maui dolphin, take aim at set netting

Fishing companies announce plan to help protect Maui dolphin, take aim at set netting

 [15 December/ NZ Herald] Moana New Zealand and Sanford have begun working with World Wildlife Foundation to protect Maui dolphins. The companies want to protect the world’s rarest dolphin from fishing nets in the dolphin’s habitat along the west coast of the North Island. The plan proposed an end to...
NZ apple growers launch Dazzle on world markets

NZ apple growers launch Dazzle on world markets

 [20 December/ NZ Herald] New Zealand apple growers have launched Dazzle, a new variety of apple, which was seen as the biggest development since the launch of the Royal Gala variety decades ago. The master licensing rights for production and marketing of the variety worldwide was granted to Fruitcraft, a...
Never seek to turn back the tide; a reflection for the holiday period

Never seek to turn back the tide; a reflection for the holiday period

  I was born in West Sussex and spent my formative years in the South Downs around the Roman City of Chichester; the sort of place teenagers are desperate to leave when they reach 18 but look back on fondly a few decades later.  A city with the near 2,000...
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High value sheep milk PGP programme officially kicks off

[20 December/ Ministry for Primary Industries Media Release] A new Primary Growth Partnership between the Ministry for Primary Industries and Spring Sheep Milk has officially kicked off with the aim to build an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable industry to meet the growing demand for sheep milk products. The partnership, Sheep – Horizon Three, aimed...

Peter Carr elected as new Fieldays Society president

 [19 December/ Business Day: NZ Farmer] Waikato Businessman, Peter Carr has been elected president of the New Zealand National Fieldays Society. Mr Carr has previously served as Fieldays Society vice president and as chairman of its structure committee. Mr Carr said he was eager to look at new opportunities for future commercial growth for the...

Farming heavy hitters sign the safety pledge

 [19 December/ NZ Farmers Weekly] A group of 24 agricultural industry leaders have come together to establish the Agricultural Leaders’ Health and Safety Action Group in order to make farming safer. The group included co-operative processors and retailers, farming companies and producer groups. Group Chairman, Steven Carden said everyone wanted better health and safety and...

Kiwi research explores emotions in farm animals

[19 December/ Otago Daily Times] AgResearch Scientist, Gosia Zobel has been exploring the emotions of livestock in pioneering research that could improve the way animals were farmed. Ms Zobel said she wanted to understand, with a scientific basis, what the animals were feeling based on their behaviour, as opposed to just saying a dog wagging...

Costs of bobby calf ramps not high: MPI

[19 December/ Business Day: NZ Farmer] From 1 August 2017, farmers would have to provide loading and unloading facilities when young calves were transported for sale and slaughter. Farmers would also have to provide suitable shelter for young claves before and during transportation and at points of sale or slaughter. Federated Farmers Dairy Spokesman, Andrew...

Primary exports down then up

[20 December/ Rural News] Ministry for Primary Industries Sector Policy Director, Jarred Mair said New Zealand’s primary exports would decrease by $300 million to $36.7 billion next year, but would increase by 12.5 percent to $41.2 billion in 2018. Mr Mair said the drop in 2017 would be due to falling lamb and beef production...

MPI to help sort farm education

 [19 December/ NZ Farmers Weekly] Ministry for Primary Industries Director General, Martyn Dunne said the Government was putting pressure on the Ministry for Primary Industries to assist with education within the sector. Mr Dunne added that there was a growing concern that there would not be enough people in the sector to meet future demand...

NZ dairy farm prices recover as sales volumes improve, REINZ says

[16 December/ National Business Review] According to Real Estate Institute of New Zealand data, there was a 7.4 percent increase in the quantity of New Zealand farm sales in the three months to 30 November 2016 compared to the same quarter in 2015. The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three...

New Zealand dairy farmers, ‘second class citizens,’ in Australian dairy assistance program

 [19 December/ ABC News] New Zealand dairy farmers who have been farming in Australia for more than a decade have revealed they were struggling to survive without access to the Federal Government’s industry assistance. The Federal Government was making low interest loans available to dairy farming families in response to the low milk prices, but...

Bird flu outbreak at Christmas turkey farm

[17 December/ The Daily Telegraph] The British Government has confirmed that a number of turkeys at a farm in Lincolnshire have tested positive for a strain of the bird flu disease which has been circulating through Europe. A quarantine area had been set up around the farm to stop farmed birds mixing with wild birds,...

Soil Association slams ‘unscientific’ analysis of organic’s not-so-green credentials

[16 December/ Food Navigator] The United Kingdom’s organic certification body, the Soil Association, has defended organic food after an article urged consumers to stop buying organic products to protect the environment. The article argued that organic farms took up more land which meant cutting down more rainforests, while greenhouse gasses produced from organic farming were...

Danone & WhiteWave merger cleared by European Commission with divestment of ‘growing-up milk’ in Belgium

[16 December/ Dairy Reporter] The European Commission has approved Danone’s acquisition of WhiteWave for USD 12 billion. The European Commission’s largest finding was that the proposed transaction would leave only one other competitor, Nestle, on the market for growing-up-milk in Belgium, leading to the condition that Danone must divest this part of its business in...

Group of Butchers joins Equistone family

[16 December/ Global Meat News] Equistone Partners Europe has announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Group of Butchers from Nordian Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum. Group of Butchers produce and distribute high quality meat products to the retail sector. Group of Butchers brought together several local production sites which each had a...

USDA rules would aim to protect livestock, poultry producers

 [15 December/ NZ Herald] The United States Agriculture Department has announced new rules aimed at protecting the rights of livestock and poultry producers who did business with larger companies. One rule which became effective immediately would make it easier for farmers to sue the companies they contracted with over unfair practices. Two other proposed rules...

Monsanto shareholders back Bayer deal, CEO hopeful of U.S. approval

[14 December/ Reuters] Monsanto shareholders have approved the company’s USD 66 billion acquisition by Bayer, with the deal only requiring regulatory approval before it would be completed in late 2017. Monsanto Chief Executive Officer, Hugh Grant said increased research and development spending by the combined companies along with plans to develop a global seeds and...

Ynsect Raises $15.2m Series B for Robotics-Enabled Insect Farm to Replace Unsustainable Fishmeal

[14 December/ AgFunder News] French insect company, Ynsect has announced that it managed to raise USD 15.2 million in funding from a range of global investors. Ynsect used robotics and automation to farm mealworm for use as a fishmeal replacement in fishfeed and has now raised a total of USD 37 million in its three...

Silicon Valley VCs lose faith in on-demand delivery startups

 [14 December/ The Globe and Mail] According to an analysis by Reuters, venture capitalists have invested at least USD 9 billion into 125 on-demand delivery companies over the past decade, including USD 2.5 billion this year. However, the flow of money into the sector has slowed to a relative trickle, with just USD 600 million...

Union in landmark legal action over underpaid farm staff

 [14 December/ The Sydney Morning Herald] Australia’s National Union of Workers has taken Covino Farms to court in an attempt to recover AUD 500,000 in back pay for exploited international workers. Underpaid workers were often left with no way to get back stolen wages after contractors and middlemen disappeared and companies went into liquidation. Former...

Big rise in black beetle numbers this summer

 [16 December/ Business Day: NZ Farmer] AgResearch Senior Scientist, Pip Gerard said climate change was to blame for an increase in the number of black beetles, with the population of the pest nearly doubling in Waikato this year. Mr Gerard explained that the rise in temperatures over the past few years was creating a more...

Potatoes NZ latest to join biosecurity agreement

[12 December/ Business Day: NZ Farmer] Potatoes New Zealand has become the latest organisation to join 11 industry groups in a Government Industry Agreement to protect New Zealand’s borders from unwanted pests. Potatoes New Zealand Chairman, Stuart Wright said potato growers had experience of a pest incursion and wanted to have a say in pest...

Tegel’s profit doubles, but share price still falls sharply

[15 December/ Radio NZ] Tegel has announced a net profit of $15.1 million for the six months to October 2016, an increase of $9.1 million compared to the six months to October 2015. Tegel Chief Executive, Phil Hand said a 4 percent decrease in underlying profit to $35.2 million reflected a fall in profit margins...

Taggart predicts plant closures

 [19 December/ NZ Farmers Weekly] Alliance Group Chairman, Murray Taggart said meat processing plant closures were inevitable for some companies as sheep and beef kill numbers continued to decline. Mr Taggart explained that the lower kill numbers were putting pressure on balance sheets and profitability of businesses which had uncompetitive cost structures. Mr Taggart added...

Taggart, Morrison re-elected to Alliance board

 [17 December/ Otago Daily Times] Alliance Group Directors, Murray Taggart and Don Morrison have been re-elected to the co-operatives board. Mr Taggart won the election with 25.2 million votes, while Mr Morrison came in second with 21.6 million votes. Leon Black was unsuccessful with his bid to become director, coming in third with 19.3 million...

NZ urged to hit back at synthetic products

 [17 December/ Otago Daily Times] According to ANZ’s latest Agri Focus Report, telling the story of New Zealand’s sustainable production system and naturalness would be critical in a world of increased competition from synthetic foods. Synthetic foods already under development included steak chips, burger patties, meatballs, hot dogs, sausages, meatless chicken strips, mayonnaise, bacon, milk,...