Fonterra’s boss might have been ultra-cautious but out on the country’s dairy farms there was a subdued cheer at the news that the wholemilk powder price had leapt 14% at the latest GDT auction..
The GDT index rose 8.3%, the biggest rise since November 2016, and the fourth successive gain. Fonterra’s CEO Miles Hurrell says it’s “really surprising—no-one saw a number of this magnitude”.
It dispels some of the gloom generated by the Covid-19 pandemic. And it generates the hope that Fonterra pitched its forecast for the season too low, in the broad range from $5.40kg/MS to $US6.90.
Hurrell suggested suppliers should not get “too excited” by the WMP result. Fonterra had put out excess product for immediate shipment, which resulted in “a bit of a flurry in that first event” ..
“[This] suggests to me that some of our customers out there had caught themselves short – had seen Covid having an impact on their business – but things had bounced back faster than what they’d realised I think”. Continue reading “Dairy prices lift the gloom for farmers but their future meanwhile is being plotted by Beehive planners with a vision”
The world stands on the brink of a food crisis worse than any seen in the last 50 years, the UN has warned as it urged governments to act swiftly to avoid disaster.
So what is the Ardern government doing about it? Shouldn’t it be working to ramp up food production? After all, NZ prides itself on being among the world’s leaders in producing high-quality food.
Instead, Climate Change Minister James Shaw is celebrating being “ ambitious” in tackling what he calls the climate crisis with, he says,
“ … necessary rule changes that will incentivise NZ’s biggest polluters to invest in the transition to a clean, climate-friendly economy”.
This includes putting a price on farming emissions. Shaw reckons it’s great that this puts NZ further ahead on climate action than many other parts of the world. Continue reading “Agriculture Minister is missing in (in)action while climate change warriors harry NZ’s dairy industry”
Latest from the Beehive
The best news from the Beehive since we reported yesterday is that New Zealand and the UK have formally launched free trade negotiations.
At least, it’s the best news from a national perspective. Farmers in drought areas may well be more heartened by the government’s decision to pump an extra $3 million into the Drought Recovery Advice Fund. This is designed to help hundreds of farmers and growers recover from drought “and prepare their businesses to better meet future needs”, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor reminded us.
Significant drought has affected many parts of New Zealand and this fund will provide relief across all of the North Island, the Chatham Islands, Christchurch, Marlborough, Nelson, Tasman, Selwyn, Kaikoura, and Waimakariri districts and regions.
But farmers should be just as delighted by Parker’s announcement that New Zealand is among the first countries to negotiate a trade agreement “with one of our oldest friends”. Continue reading “While malcontents assail historical links with Britain, Parker puts NZ on course to shape a trade partnership through an FTA”
The Covid-19 pandemic has put enormous pressure on the country’s primary sector, yet it has managed to expand export receipts by $1.7bn over the previous year.
The government, or at least several ministers in it, are celebrating the effort of the primary sector in doing so, and recognise the sector is a key driver in rebooting the economy.
Yet the government, with its climate change measures hitting agriculture’s methane emissions and its freshwater reforms, has done little to encourage farmers to expand production.
When Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says the government is focused on creating more demand, pursuing greater market opportunities to generate higher export returns and growing rural communities with new jobs, the response down on the farm may be no more than a one-handed clap.
Farmers are more likely to be grumbling over the government’s failure to drive down the exchange rate. Or to do more to build irrigation schemes. Continue reading “Strong dairy receipts help lift the primary sector’s export growth – and its boost to the economy”
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor eschewed the words “Gypsy Day”, in a press statement yesterday that addressed dairy farmers’ concerns about what would happen on June 1. He preferred “Moving Day” and said Moving Day will go ahead as planned this year, but with strict controls to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Reporting this news, Farmers Weekly explained that Moving Day is also known as Gypsy Day and occurs on June 1 each year when many dairy farming families, sharemilkers, contract milkers and employees move to new farms to start new jobs and milking contracts.
Yet another expression was incorporated in a Federated Farmers press statement headline on April 9: GYPSY / MOOVING DAY.
In the statement, the feds said they were aware of the level of concern among dairy farmers over how the annual 31 May/1 June “Gypsy Day” or “Moving day” shift would work under the COVID-19 controls. Continue reading “Whatever it is called, Gypsy Day will go ahead this year and cows will be mooved – but under strict COVID-19 controls”
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says the primary sector will play a critical role in NZ’s economic recovery once the country emerges from the Covid-19 lockdown.
It is the first time (at least within Point of Order’s close surveillance of the issue) that a coalition minister has acknowledged how the pandemic has shifted the dial inside the economy.
O’Connor says there is no shortage of demand for what NZ produces.
“Our primary sector is part of the solution to global food security concerns in the short-term”.
The government is working alongside the primary sector to help ensure workers get to the places they are needed. Continue reading “O’Connor recognises how pandemic has affected the economy and its primary players”
The Nats are accusing Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor of being slow to act on a bovine tuberculosis outbreak in Hawke’s Bay. Is it a fair cop?
OSPRI confirmed an outbreak in Hawke’s Bay in April last year, but a disease management response wasn’t put in place until October, National agriculture spokesman Todd Muller contends.
There have been more positive tests since then and one third of Hawke’s Bay will be under stock movement controls from March 1.
“Responses like this need to be fronted quickly for the sake of our valuable beef and dairy sector. The Minister needs to be across his portfolio and ensure these issues don’t sneak past him.”
But whether O’Connor has been caught napping depends on when he first learned (a) about the bovine tb and its rate of spread and (b) what was being done to deal with the outbreak – and when he should have first learned those things.
Continue reading “O’Connor is accused of being slow to act on bovine tb – but Nats have been slow to raise questions, too”
The Primary Sector Council’s vision for the country’s vital food and fibre sector (you can check it out here) promotes the government’s programme for blending science with the Maori belief system.
In a press statement, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor welcomed the “vision to unite the primary sector”, although he did not mention advice to unite science with matauranga Maori.
But on the vision website we learned:
By bringing together Mātauranga Māori, community based knowledge and modern science, we will form a body of knowledge that can guide and elevate our practices everyday, empowering us to elevate ourselves above compliance.
The vision describes “an active approach” and brings the metaphysical concept of “mauri” into considerations –
Kaitiakitanga (guardianship) is an active practice. Good Kaitiakitanga will involve taking action where things are out of balance and other parts of the system are being affected by resource use. Te Mauri o te Taiao provides a framework for everyone to effectively assess the mauri of all the elements within Taiao. We will look to develop assessment and monitoring tools to assist with implementing Te Mauri o te Taiao successfully. Continue reading “Primary Sector Council merges science with the metaphysical in vision to guide the food and fibre sector”
Farmers are riding a boom with the latest ASB index for primary sector exports surpassing its 2011 level. Lamb prices cracked the $9/kg mark and beef prices are at, or close to, record levels. There is the prospect too that Fonterra’s payout could reach $7.50kg/MS, one of its best ever.
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has not been slow to put his government in line for the credit in reaching these high levels—or to argue a Labour-led government is better for farmers than National.
At least that was the implication in an answer he gave in Parliament last week.
“So farmers and growers are getting better prices for their work under this government than the last National one”.
O’Connor is one of the more effective ministers in the Ardern Cabinet but he might have been stretching it a bit in implying the high prices are due to the government.
When Labour’s Kiritapu Allan asked him what action the government is taking to help this sector, he responded: Continue reading “Yep, farm prices are booming and the outlook is bright – but cockies might quibble with O’Connor about the causes”
So how “transformational” will the zero carbon legislation prove to be?
Many New Zealanders have come to believe global warming poses a real danger to their lives – but will the new legislation remove, or even lessen, the danger?
Under the legislation, agriculture for the first time is brought into the emissions trading scheme. That’s won support from Green lobbyists, but many say it’s too little, too late – “a weak-ass carbon reform”.
On the other side, the criticism is just as pointed. There are no tools to measure on-farm emissions and what the government proposes could shrivel NZ’s growth rate by up to $50bn a year. Continue reading “Leading the world and saving it, too – but let’s brace for a drop in our standard of living (and wellbeing)”