Category Archives: New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND – South Island Dairy Event – Challenging The Future – June 24, 2011

NEW ZEALAND – There’s no doubt this year’s been a positive one for most in the dairy industry, but there is a lot on the horizon for farmers to keep their eye on. Helping them to see the bigger picture will be presentations and discussion at this year’s South Island Dairy Event (SIDE) conference on June 27 to 29 at Lincoln University near Christchurch.

The “Challenge your future” theme of SIDE will cover many of the concerns facing the industry now and into the future. Organising committee chair Simon Mackle said it will be the ideal place to bring some of those issues forward for discussion, and he’s hoping for a big farmer turnout this year.

Some of those challenges farmers need to be aware of are external political and economic influences, and sustainability in resources like people, as well as environmental sustainability including climate change.

“As an industry, and as individual farmers, we have to be increasingly aware of the environmental impact of farming, and what we have to do to still have our families farming in 50 year’s time. At the same we have be conscious of meeting the consumers needs and public expectations. What we do to attract and retain new generations into the industry also needs to be aired.

“Many of the global economic fluctuations are things we can’t change, but being aware of the climate we operate in and what’s going on beyond the farm gate helps each of us with long-term decision making.”

Having speakers and discussion forums to address just some of those concerns assists to understand the issue better, hear new ideas, focus the thinking, and make better-informed choices. “If we don’t talk about these things and plan our own future we lose control of our own direction.”

But as well as looking at what is facing the industry, challenging your future is also looking at what individual farmers can do to challenge themselves.

“So it’s the perfect opportunity for all farmers to take some time out, assess what we’re doing well, where there’s room for improvement and what we need to do next. And as well as stimulating the brain, farmers tell us it’s a great chance to chat with people and have a good time.”

“We’re also looking forward to having the event at Lincoln, something that will help the Christchurch area economically,” Mr Mackle added.

As always, SIDE has secured top speakers, this year including All Blacks coach Graham Henry talking about high performance leadership and Finance Minister Bill English on the importance of dairying to the New Zealand economy. Other keynote speakers address sustainability, climate change, and world macroeconomic conditions and trends, while a panel discussion looks at how South Island dairy growth can be sustainably managed.

SIDE Workshops have traditionally been popular, but new this year are some with a longer format and extended presentations prior to open discussion. Thirty-one topics across five workshop sessions over three days range from career progression to employment law and understanding financial statements, to wet weather management and OAD milking and low cost grazing systems.

Information presented at Business SIDE 2011 is pitched at owners, sharemilkers and equity partners looking to improve the governance, strategy and risk management of their businesses.

More than 400 registrations have already been received for this year’s event, and organisers are encouraging farmers to register promptly and avoid disappointment, as venue capacity will limit numbers.

SIDE 2011 is on 27-29 June 2011 at Lincoln University, Christchurch.

Full registration is $290 (including GST) with a discounted rate of $265 if more than one registration is received at the same time from the same farm. Business SIDE is an additional $100 with a full registration.

A copy of the programme and registration form can be downloaded from

Information TheDairySite


NEW ZEALAND – NZ Farmers Defend Responsible Use Of Antibiotics – June 23, 2011

NEW ZEALAND – Federated Farmers is asking Sue Kedgley, Green Party MP to apologise for comments in April, relating to the use of antibiotics in agriculture. This comes after a Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) survey showed no human health implications from antibiotic resistance in New Zealand food-producing animals or fresh produce.

“Sue Kedgley made some serious claims in April relating to the use of antibiotics in agriculture,” says Don Nicolson, Federated Farmers President speaking on behalf of John Hartnell, the Federation’s food safety spokesperson.

“As a Member of Parliament, she has a responsibility to make certain any comments she makes are accurate. Food safety is simply no place for politicking or scaremongering.

“Her comments in April had potential to impact New Zealand’s reputation as a quality food exporter. It also directly affects people’s livelihood and indirectly affects the livelihoods of thousands of New Zealanders. This is serious, serious stuff she needs to be aware of.

“MAF’s public health principal adviser, Dr Donald Campbell, has confirmed that farmers are responsibly using antibiotics under veterinarian guidance.

“MAF has just released a year-long survey covering 2009-2010 that I quote, “focused on antimicrobial resistance to important and commonly used antibiotics among E. Coli, Enterococcus, Campylobacter and Salmonella bacteria found in freshly dressed carcasses of calves, pigs and broiler poultry from New Zealand abattoirs and processing plants.”

“Although the survey detected some bacterial resistance to some antibiotics, this resistance has no direct human health implication.

“Ms Kedgley gave the false impression that farmers were using antibiotics with abandon and that’s also wrong. The latest statistics show that 11.25 per cent fewer antibiotics were used on-farm in the 2008/9 season than in 2005/6.

“Dr Campbell has also concluded that there’s been no increase in resistance found in food-producing animals in New Zealand.

“I personally think Ms Kedgley owes agriculture an apology,” Mr Nicolson concluded.

To see what Ms Kedgley said see here.

Information TheCattleSite News Desk

NEW ZEALAND – First Year of Effluent Risk Assessment Completed – June 22, 2011

NEW ZEALAND – Fonterra has completed its first Every Farm Every Year check of on-farm effluent with independent assessors completing the first ever risk assessment on every supplying farm.

“We now have a clear picture of where our farms are at, who is doing well and who needs help. The majority are doing well and we can give credit where it’s due. Now we’re concentrating on those who need help and that support is being welcomed,” said Fonterra’s Director of Supplier and External Relations, Kelvin Wickham.

Every Farm Every Year is Fonterra’s programme to help farmer shareholders improve compliance with council effluent rules. Since its launch in August 2010, independent assessors from AsureQuality or QCONZ have visited all 10,500 supplying farms, checking if effluent infrastructure is compliant, non-compliant or even at risk of non-compliance.

Fonterra received 2,800 referrals to its Sustainable Dairying Advisors team. These involve farms assessors have identified with compliance issues or the risk of them and farms where shareholders have proactively self-referred to get advice. The advisor team has completed 1940 one-one-one visits with referred farmers.

“To date we have 1200 farms with effluent improvement plans in place and of those, 600 plans have already been completed.”

Mr Wickham said the Every Farm Every Year check on every single farm had sorted out where Fonterra needed to focus its efforts first.

He said that while the number of referrals was higher than initially forecast, that was the result of Fonterra broadening the scope to include farms that might be at risk of non-compliance in the future.

“Because we have widened the scope, we have advised farmers it might take us a bit longer to get to them to help them develop their effluent improvement plans.

“We know that not all councils have the resources to get out to every single farm in their area. We also know farms can and do pass compliance spot checks, but may then run into problems if there is an extended wet period, they have to defer irrigation and their effluent storage proves temporarily inadequate.

“Council expectations can also change from one year to another. For example, feed pads and entry and exit races have been recently included in monitoring. This is positive, but it does mean farmers can have risks they weren’t aware of under their existing consents. That’s why we are identifying farms at risk of non-compliance. That has meant a heavier workload, but it’s also meant we have a clear picture on a farm-by-farm basis for the first time.

Mr Wickham said Fonterra had hired more people to implement the programme and this investment was being matched by farmers who were putting place remedial plans. Plans could cost up to $100,000 to implement, depending on whether major infrastructure, such as additional effluent storage ponds, was required.

“Plans do cost money, but our experience is that farmers are welcoming the support and advice and responding well. In March, 252 plans had already been actioned and today that’s up to 600.”

Mr Wickham said Every Farm Every Year would turn the compliance tide over time.

“We will not achieve 100% compliance overnight. Even farms doing well now are always at risk of gear failure, or storage problems caused by long periods of heavy rain. That is the nature of farming and we will just have to maintain the effort.

“Positively though, farmers recognise the need for year-round compliance and are getting a better understanding of the risks in areas such as effluent storage capacity, irrigation systems and feed pads or standoffs.”

Information TheCattleSite News Desk

NEW ZEALAND – Print This Page Fonterra To Tap Hong Kong Bond Market – June 17, 2011

NEW ZEALAND – Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, will look to tap Hong Kong investors for some 300 million renminbi in its first Chinese currency denominated bond issue.

The sale is the first of its kind for an Australasian company in Chinese yuan deliverable in Hong Kong, and the proceeds will be used to support growth in its Chinese business. HSBC will run the book and lead manage the sale.

Fonterra China president Philip Turner said the unit is growing rapidly, and expects to tap second- and third-tier cities over the next three years. It aims to triple the value of its Chinese market to US$70 billion by 2020.

“We see huge potential to expand the breadth of products we offer in China, as well as the geographical distribution of our customer brands and foodservice dairy products,” Turner said in a statement. “We are also exploring opportunities to produce and sell a range of premium value-added dairy ingredients for key customers on the ground in China.”

The sale comes a week after the dairy exporter flagged its first bond issue in Australian dollars. General Manager Treasury Stephan Deschamps said the renminbi issue is part of a strategy to spread its debt across different markets.

Fonterra has a 6,000-cow factory farm at Tangshan, in China and is planning a second such facility. It has agreed to a joint feasibility study with Indian Farmers Fertiliser Co-operative for a pilot dairy farm in India, the world’s second-most populous country after China.

Last month it bought a dairy farm in Brazil, which is expected to start producing milk by late 2014 with a total herd of some 3,300 cows.

Information TheCattleSite News Desk

NEW ZEALAND – Strong Year Expected For NZ Meat & Dairy Exports – June 14, 2011

NEW ZEALAND – Broad-based, steady and sustainable demand for many agricultural commodities is expected to underpin New Zealand’s export income for the medium term, a Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry report shows.

The annual Situation and Outlook for New Zealand Agriculture and Forestry (SONZAF) shows New Zealand exporters are receiving historically high prices in foreign currency terms for beef, dairy, lamb, logs, timber and wool products, with the returns expected to continue into the medium-term.

MAF Director-General Wayne McNee says the steady pick-up in fortunes for the primary sectors is notable for its breadth and consistency.

“Adverse climatic events in New Zealand and other producing areas have had an effect in driving up some prices.

“But the majority of our primary sectors should be able to look forward to a period of sustained growth, which will enable recovery of balance sheets, reinvestment and some breathing space after a tough few years.

“As with all forecasts SONZAF is subject to unforeseeable factors such as extreme weather events and unexpected currency movements, but what it shows is that many of the sectors have their fundamentals in order and are well positioned to take advantage of strong international demand for our products.”

The relatively strong New Zealand dollar reduces the gains passed through to New Zealand farmers, growers and foresters. On the other hand, it also reduces the effective cost of imported rural inputs such as fertiliser.


Beef: New Zealand beef production is down about nine per cent this season as a result of reduced cattle numbers and lower carcase weights due to adverse weather.

Prices for New Zealand manufacturing beef in the key United States market reached historical highs during the 2010/11 season, due to reduced supply and strong demand.

In the medium term international beef supply is expected to increase, but still remain slightly behind growth in demand, underpinning higher average prices.

Dairy: Dairy production in the 2010/11 season started below expectations due to widespread spring drought and slowed rate of dairy conversions. However favourable autumn weather lifted milk solids production – continuing after SONZAF went to print – resulting in an estimated four per cent increase. A further four per cent increase in production is now expected in the 2011/12 season.

International dairy prices in the 2010/11 season were up due to strong demand. In the medium term increased supply is expected to moderate this.

Information TheCattleSite News Desk

NEW ZELAND – New Tararua Project Benefits Environment – June 14, 2011

NEW ZEALAND – Sustainable dairy farming in Tararua is the focus of a new project which has just been launched and has two more field days coming up this month.

More than 50 farmers and industry leaders gathered at Geoff Arends and Ester Romp’s 162ha farm at Hukanui for the launch of the Tararua DairyLink project. The initiative is led by local farmers, DairyNZ and Horizons Regional Council.

The host farm is one of three selected as part of the project to demonstrate methods of reducing dairying’s environmental impact, while also looking to improve productivity.

The DairyLink launch is one of a series of events, with field days also being held in Pahiatua and Dannevirke and more planned for later in the year.

Geoff and Ester, along with sharemilkers Chris and Dana Sutton, gave attendees a rundown of their operation, what they hope to achieve in their business and the reason for participating in DairyLink.

Last season’s production of nearly 140,000kgMS/ha was badly affected by flooding in the spring. They are hoping to increase production this season through better pasture management whilst decreasing the use of nitrogen fertiliser.

Mr Sutton says he is taking part in the project to give back to an industry that has been very generous to him.

“The DairyLink project provides a way for me to contribute towards the future of dairying in this district,” he says.

Keith Riley, the farmer chairman of the DairyLink committee, spoke of the importance for farmers to have greater control over all aspects of their farming systems, to improve productivity and reduce negative environmental impacts.

Mr Riley says there are real opportunities for farmers to increase productivity and use natural resources more efficiently.

“The project provides a way for everybody to work together, pool their knowledge, and become more innovative and adaptive to the pressures currently being felt by dairy farmers,” says Mr Riley.

Professor Mike Hedley, director of the Fertiliser and Lime Research Centre at Massey University, gave the opening presentation at the launch.

Mr Hedley says it is crucial that farmers learn to understand the environmental consequences of their production systems.

Information TheCattleSite News Desk

NEW ZEALAND – Looking Good For Fieldays – June 13, 2011

NEW ZEALAND – Companies exhibiting at the National Agricultural Fieldays are expected to benefit this week, as all the signs are positive for dairy farmers opening their wallets, following an excellent autumn and high milk prices.

DairyNZ CEO Dr Tim Mackle says the provisional national production increase of 5.3 per cent to 1.5 billion kilograms of milksolids is remarkable, given the very dry conditions before Christmas.

“The end result is excellent for dairy farmers and positive for the country as a whole, which will benefit from the higher export earnings, farmer spending and a substantial lift in the amount of tax paid.

“We estimate the average dairy farm business has paid more than $50,000 in tax this season, and we know a good proportion of the extra revenue has been used to reduce debt,” he says.

Reserve Bank figures show $1 billion of bank lending has been repaid over the last six to nine months, with the majority likely to have been from dairy farmers. This coupled with an increase in production would have lowered the average term liabilities by $1.50/Kg MS from $21.65/Kg MS in June 2010 to around $20.15/Kg MS in June 2011.

“Should the current high international demand for New Zealand dairy products continue, it’s likely we’ll see more debt reduction this coming season, along with some increase in discretionary expenditure,” says Dr Mackle.

But he cautions against complacency. “The only thing certain in global markets today is volatility, so we’re continuing to encourage farmers to keep focusing on producing milk more efficiently and sustainably, reducing the cost of production to remain competitive and lowering debt levels,” he says.

Each year DairyNZ publishes the historical financial results for the past season via the Economic Survey of dairy farmers. The 2009-10 Survey not only contains a 10-year time series but a forecast of average owner-operator and average sharemilker operating profit for 2010-11 and 2011-12. A copy can be downloaded from the DairyNZ website or collected from the DairyNZ stand in the Mystery Creek Pavilion at the National Agricultural Fieldays, 15th -18th June.

Information TheCattleSite News Desk