Rural News


Sunday 25th February

The Government has announced the first stages of its regional development scheme, but among the many projects, a thorn - a half-a-million dollar project propping up irrigation for farming. The use of irrigated water for farming was a particularly sticky point during the election. On Friday, the Provincial Growth Fund allocated $543,000 for the next stage of the Makauri Managed Aquifer Recharge trial in Gisborne. The project aims to inject water from the Waipaoa River into the aquifer for use on 3000 hectares of irrigated horticultural farm land. The trial itself is not a Labour-led Government initiative - it was started by Nathan Guy in 2017 under the National Government. Forest and Bird is calling for a moratorium on managed aquifer recharge trials until ecological assessments can be carried out. At the announcement, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave credit to coalition partner New Zealand First for pushing for the Regional Development Fund - a key element of its coalition deal.


Data released by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) shows there were 125 fewer farm sales for the three months ending in January this year than for the same period last year. 1,527 farms were sold in the year to January 2018, 12.7% fewer than were sold in the year to January 2017,with 20.1% more finishing farms, 28.2% more dairy farms and 31.9% fewer grazing and 38.0% fewer arable farms sold over the same period. The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to January 2018 was $28,257 compared to $27,058 recorded for three months ended January 2017, with the median price per hectare falling 3.4% compared to December. REINZ Rural Spokesman Brian Peacocke says: “Sales figures for the 3 month period ending January 2018 are reasonably consistent compared to the previous 3 month period, albeit significantly lower than the equivalent periods in 2016 and 2017.

New data from Statistics New Zealand shows higher fuel prices contributed to the rise in producer output and input prices in the December 2017 quarter. Overall, producer output prices rose 1.0 percent in the December 2017 quarter. Input prices  rose 0.9 percent. Input prices paid by petroleum and coal product manufacturers rose 12 percent in the December 2017 quarter, influenced by higher imported crude oil prices. Business prices manager Sarah Williams says higher crude oil prices led to increased costs for many industries, including petroleum, forestry and logging, transport, construction, and farming. In the December 2017 quarter, the dairy product manufacturing industry was the main influence for the increase in producer output prices, up 5.3 percent.

This was influenced by price rises for butter, cheese, and whole milk powder. Annually, dairy product manufacturing prices increased 25 percent.  In the latest quarter, both producer outputs and inputs prices for meat and meat product manufacturing rose to new highs. Output prices rose 4.0 percent due to higher export sheep and lamb prices. Input prices rose 2.6 percent, influenced by higher livestock sheep prices. Compared with the same time last year, meat and meat product manufacturing output prices rose 12 percent and input prices rose 14 percent.

Saturday 24th February

A number of trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and a proposed Mercosur/EU trade agreement, look set to start having an impact on global beef trade in 2018.
At the same time, applications of blockchain technology are now being widely developed in the food industry, with opportunities to realise benefits further up the supply chain growing, according to the RaboResearch Beef Quarterly Q1 for  2018.
Gains are expected for beef-exporting countries Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and Canada—through reduced tariffs into key global beef importer Japan, plus reduced tariffs into smaller importing countries Chile, Vietnam, and Peru.
The 11-member version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) looks set for formal signing next month.

Rail, forestry and tourism are the first sectors to benefit from the Provincial Growth Fund, with the projects announced yesterday adding up to nearly $62 million.
Federated Farmers Vice President Andrew Hoggard says the Government has made a useful first step on its ambition to boost vitality outside the main centres, and from a farming perspective, there’s not a lot of immediate benefit to agriculture though regional rail links can help with efficient transport of freight, and produce for export and domestic markets.
Federated Farmers is seeking swift decisions on funding for the rural broadband and mobile upgrades to provide certainty to rural communities and farm businesses of much needed improvements to rural connectivity.

Pāmu Farms of New Zealand will plant up 1000 hectares of land in the 2018 winter, as part of the government’s forestry-planting programme.
Pamu Chief Executive Steve Carden says Pāmu has been working with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to finalise  commercial terms that will see up to 2000 hectares of forest being planted  in 2018 and 2019.
Pāmu has almost 10,000 hectares planted in a range of trees. The mix of trees to be planted are still to be finalised, as are the locations, however Northland and East Coast/Hawkes Bay regions along with some South Island farmland are under consideration.
Pāmu Farms of New Zealand is the new name for Landcorp, a Stated Owned Enterprise, and New Zealand’s largest farmer.
It is also the name given to the quality products created by the company.

Two dairy farming operations from Rotorua and the South Island’s West Coast are the finalists in this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming Award, for dairy.
They are Rotorua’s Onuku Māori Lands’ Trust and the Proprietors of Mawhera Incorporation near Hokitika.
Maori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta made the announcement at a function at Parliament this week, and said looking after the whenua and taiao – the land and the environment – have been a central part of Māori culture for centuries in Aotearoa.
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, who was also at the announcement, said “We are seeing great developments in all productive sectors and a trend for Māori to play an increasingly significant role in producing higher value food products. The rise and rise of Māori agribusiness is impressive, especially given its unstinting commitment to all aspects of sustainability, particularly the environment and people”.

Rural News on REX thanks to our partners at Farm Source.

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