Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Tiny dairy company gives farmers top payout

The tiny Morrinsville-based Tatua Cooperative Dairy Company Ltd yesterday promised its 112 farmers the industry's biggest payout -- $8.00/kg milksolids, beating the neighbouring giant cooperative Fonterra hands down.

Tatua's farmers had to battle through the one-in-100 year drought last summer and autumn -- a problem which did not affect all of Fonterra's 10,000 suppliers -- to beat the Fonterra payout of $7.90/kg.

The payout for the year to July nearly doubled last season's $4.10/kg milksolids.

Tatua generated record revenues of $185.6 million for the 14 months to July 31, and its earnings before payout and taxation were $93.8 million, equivalent to $8.62/kg.

The company said it was retaining tax-paid earnings of 37c/kg to re-invest.

The financial red-letter day comes just as the company is struggling with not only the discovery that some of its high-value lactoferrin protein powder has 4 parts per million melamine contamination, but that the cause may be its own proprietary manufacturing process.

A satellite lactoferrin plant at Westland Milk Products in Hokitika was today also revealed as having low levels of melamine contamination, and food safety officials said they were looking at the possibility that the contamination is being introduced by the manufacturing process.
Investigators are understood to be waiting for results from testing of samples from a third plant using the Tatua process, at Tatura Milk Industries in Victoria, Australia which were sent to New Zealand a week ago.

Tatua chief executive Paul McGilvary said in a statement that the company's cashflows were strong and its debt to debt plus equity ratio had been reduced to 29 percent, compared with 35 percent in 2007 and 44 percent in 2006.

Monday, 29 September 2008

T150 - Federated Farmers targets $150 a lamb

Hear Bruce Wills on the Farmingshow by clicking here.

Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairman, Bruce Wills, today launched the Federation's T150 campaign at Stortford Lodge Stockyards in Hastings.

The T150 campaign sets a goal of $150 a lamb for the sheep-meat and wool industries to work towards over the next five years.

"The average lamb price received by farmers over the past three years was only $55 per lamb, and the average sheep farmer's income was $19,400 last year. This has resulted in many sheep farmers leaving the industry. The Federation believes that the targeted return should be at least $150 to restore viability to the sector. This is why the "target $150 a lamb" campaign has been launched today," Mr Wills said.

"For several years now sheep farmers have been getting inadequate returns on their efforts and capital. New Zealand is seeing large changes in land use and as a result a very large drop in sheep numbers - from around 40 million to 34 million over the past two years alone."

"These poor returns have had a flow-on impact in New Zealand's towns and cities with job losses at freezing works being an example of this. Lamb exports contribute over $2 billion per annum to the New Zealand economy and it is of grave concern to the country that such an important industry is in crisis."

"This downward spiral is potentially terminal and will continue if the value farmers receive for their lambs stay at current low levels. To continue to have viable sheep-meat and wool industries, to preserve the tens of thousands of down-stream jobs many communities rely upon and to maintain major overseas earnings for New Zealand, it is essential that farmers get more for their stock."

"While there have been different proposals and discussions on ownership and structure in the meat processing sector of late, there is no clear focus on what the industry should be aiming for over the next five years. The T150 campaign will provide that."

"We know that $150 will not be an easy target to meet. Federated Farmers believes heads need to be lifted on a target that is tangible, inspirational but above all, achievable."

"We see much of this extra value coming from efficiencies and rationalisation within the supply chain. Currently farmers receive less than 20% of the retail value of a lamb. Farmers too have their part to play. We need to commit to supply contracts with our meat processors and spread our selling season."

"Federated Farmers also believes that a recognised target will give farmers a context within which to make decisions about how they farm and a focus on future changes to industry structure. Those proposing change should ask themselves, "How will this initiative help reach the $150 lamb target?"

"Federated Farmers of New Zealand wants all those involved in the lamb supply chain, from the paddock to the plate, from our farmer members to processors, researchers, marketers, transporters and supermarkets to lift their sights and help achieve our goal."

Friday, 26 September 2008

Is the end of higher fert prices on the horizon?

There are signs that farmers might be in for some respite from rising fertiliser prices, says Ballance Agri-Nutrients Chairman, David Graham.

He told shareholders at the co-operative’s annual meeting at Rotorua today that while current international fertiliser prices were still incredibly high, they were not rocketing up like a year ago.

‘To say prices were coming back would be very bold, but there has been definite downward movement for some commodities,’ he said.

‘We are still paying top dollar for our raw materials because it is a sellers’ market for commodities. While food is short, prices won’t be back to historical levels. But we may be on the cusp of fertiliser prices settling back slightly to an equilibrium position.’

He said crude oil and whole milk powder had come off their highs recently, and overall the world was very positive about food production.

‘It will take some time for softer prices to filter through, but I think we are looking at a market correction to this equilibrium, not a fall back to where we were a year ago.

‘We cannot see global prices for fertiliser inputs coming back in the near future, but there are some signs that the headlong rush has eased, with some key commodities slipping back off their highs.’

He said the latest United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization food price index showed that food commodity prices were back to where they were in January, with further falls possible, which could ease the demand for fertiliser inputs.

‘International confidence in the future of farming is strong, which can only be of benefit to us all in the medium to longer term.

‘We know it has been a difficult year for many of our shareholders, what with too much rain in some regions, then the long drought over much of the country.

‘Prices for most farm inputs increased, and some sectors are only now starting to see a matching increase in their returns.

‘I hope it has helped that we have returned more to our shareholders this year by way of dividend and rebate than ever before.’

He said it was particularly gratifying to have set production and sales records while maintaining competitive prices throughout New Zealand in the face of rampant international commodity price rises.

‘It is clear that our strategy of focusing only on fertiliser products and services has paid dividends.’

Ballance reported a trading result of $78.6 million, up 135 percent for its 31 May year, based on record fertiliser sales volumes of 1.54 million tonnes and revenue of $651 million. Its average rebate and dividend payout increased by 49 percent to $36 per qualifying tonne.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Jamie's Weekly Sports Thought

At the time of writing I have absolutely no idea of the outcome of the Stags v Steamers game or the Northland challenge to the NZRU to retain its first division status.

The Stags result is in the hands of the rugby gods. More disconcertingly, the Northland challenge is in the hands of the rugby gits.

I don’t wish to be mean-spirited or uncharitable but has God ever put breath into a more disorganized organization than the NZRU?

Ummm …let’s have a look at some recent cases of its stupidity.

There was the appointment of the clearly ill-qualified John Mitchell in 2001. The youngest coach in All Black history then set about getting rid of some of the best players in All Black history, namely Jeff Wilson and Christian Cullen, then he proceeded to pick Brad Thorn, who promptly turned his back on the All Black jersey. Don’t even get me started on the muddled riddle that was Mitch-speak!

Messrs Murray McCaw and David Rutherford lost us the co-hosting rights to the 2003 Rugby World Cup and then followed a relative period of sanity where Mitchell was dumped in favour of Graham Henry (who should have got the job in 1999 rather than the accident-prone Wayne Smith following John Hart’s ugly demise).

The good ship Henry then sailed through calm waters in 2004-06 before becoming becalmed in 2007 and sinking without trace in Cardiff. And let’s not even go there, when it comes to the Robbie Deans decision.

There was a welcome break in the bungling when jocular Jock Hobbs managed to score the 2011 World Cup. However, normal transmission was resumed when the NZRU decided to extend the national provincial championship to 12 teams, got 14 applicants, couldn’t make the hard call and finished with a free-for-all.

Then in its infinite wisdom the NZRU decided this year, mid-competition, to go back to the 12 team contest it should have had in the first place! The coup de grace was surely telling Northland and Tasman of their probable fate, only a few games into their respective campaigns. Talk about a kick in the guts!

Here’s hoping that great rugby nursery, Northland, survives while the delicious irony of Tasman winning the Ranfurly Shield, albeit an unlikely outcome, is mouth-wateringly tantalizing to contemplate.

I bet the NZRU welcomes the welcome diversions of Fonterra, Wall Street and Winston.

BBQ Rules

We are about to enter the BBQ season. Therefore it is important to refresh your memory on the etiquette of this sublime outdoor cooking activity.

When a man volunteers to do the BBQ the following chain of events are put into motion:

(1) The woman buys the food.
(2) The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables and makes dessert.
(3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces and takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill - beer in hand.
(4) The woman remains outside the compulsory three meter exclusion zone where the exuberance of testosterone and other manly bonding activities can take place without the interference of the woman.

Here comes the important part:


More routine...

(6) The woman goes inside to organise the plates and cutlery.
(7) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is looking great. He thanks her and asks if she will bring another beer while he flips the meat.

Important again:


More routine...

(9) The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauces, and brings them to the table.
(10) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.

And most important of all:

(11) Everyone PRAISES the MAN and THANKS HIM for his cooking efforts.
(12) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed 'her night off.' And, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some women.

Reduced dairy payout will hit economy

Federated Farmers Dairy chairman Lachlan McKenzie warned while New Zealand's major economic tap is not being turned off, it is being turned down.

He made the comments following today's announcement by Fonterra Cooperative Group, that in the space of the 2007/08 and 2008/09 seasons the payout is set to go from the $7.66 announced today, to $6.60 per kilogram of milksolids (/kgms) forecast for next season. Mr McKenzie said this reduction will suck $1.2 billion out of the economy in 2008/2009.

"Bearing in mind the champagne corks popped over the billion dollar gain from the proposed multilateral free trade agreement with the United States, this is more than offset by the $1.2 billion that will be lost to the economy over the next twelve months. Dairy is not the 'one-way bet' some commentators, politicians and policy makers may have believed until now."

"That said, if we were looking at a forecast of $6.60/kgms even three years ago, dairy farmers would have been celebrating. The difference from three years ago is the New Zealand economy is now in recession with farmers facing increased year-on-year working costs of 10%. With large on-farm debt levels this reduced payout forecast will have a major economic impact."

"In the last three years alone my personal on farm costs alone have increased by the equivalent of $1.50/kgms. We hope Government and councils alike will show restraint and discipline on new compliance costs affecting the agricultural industry."

Mr McKenzie called on Dr. Alan Bollard, Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, to institute a one percent cut in the Official Cash Rate on 23 October to avoid a hard economic landing.

"Around a year ago the dairy sector was singled out as the reason interest rates were kept high. That logic no longer holds as the entire business sector needs relief from crippling interest rates."

Federated Farmers also asks councils to plan for restraint in the setting of rates for the 2009/10 financial year.

"With the economy in recession Federated Farmers calls into question the wisdom an emissions trading scheme that includes agriculture. There is also concern over the unknown costs associated with the proposed National Animal Identification Traceability (NAIT) system let alone potential regional fuel tax levies. If ever there was a time for prudence it is now," said Mr McKenzie.

Hear more of Lachlan's views by clicking here.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

P4 deal will be significant for New Zealand sheep and beef farmers

P4 trade deal will be significant for New Zealand sheep and beef farmers

Hear Meat and Wool New Zealand chairman Mike Petersen's view by clicking here.

Meat & Wool New Zealand says the inclusion of the United States in the P4 trade agreement will add to what is already a high quality trade agreement.

Meat & Wool New Zealand Chairman, Mike Petersen, was enthusiastic about the news that the United States had decided to enter into negotiations to join the P4 (Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership) which already includes New Zealand, Chile, Singapore and Brunei.

“The P4 is a high quality agreement and the inclusion of the United States, which is the biggest economy in the world, has far greater rewards. Meat & Wool New Zealand has made a significant commitment to building a closer trading relationship with the United States. We’ve had representation in Washington for nearly 50 years and have more recently been an active participant in the NZ US Business Council and the resulting Partnership Forums in 2005 and 2007.”

Mr Petersen said there was huge potential to further develop beef and sheepmeat markets in the United States.

The United States is New Zealand’s biggest beef export market and while those exports have fallen slightly in recent years, this has been due to opportunities in other markets like North Asia, where United States beef has been excluded because of BSE.

“The United States will become more important to us again as they pursue re-entry opportunities in North Asia and other markets.”

Mr Petersen said the United States was also experiencing a drop in its cattle herd because of increasing feed costs and this could create a greater demand for imports. Current economic conditions in the United States have led to consumers trading down to ground beef products and both these factors have led to stronger import prices.

“The United States joining P4 will put New Zealand in a better position to meet any further increases in demand for beef and sheepmeat.”

Tariffs on wool and out-of-quota beef are quite high and it would be important for negotiations to secure tariff free access for all products, he said.

Key statistics

• The United States is the number one market for New Zealand beef exports, taking 45% of New Zealand’s beef exports. It was worth $685 million in the year ending June 2008.

• The United States imported 170,000 tonnes of New Zealand beef in 2007 under New Zealand’s CSTQ. For this quota there is an in-quota tariff of 4.4c/kg. This amounts to around NZ$10million paid in tariffs. The out-of-quota tariff is 26.4%.

New Zealand also pays tariffs of 0.7-2.8c/kg on sheepmeat exports to the United States. The United States is New Zealand’s second most valuable market for lamb behind the European Union. New Zealand exports around 20,000 tonnes of sheepmeat to the United States worth approximately $200 million annually.

New Zealand exported 3,500 tonnes of wool (clean) to the United States in 2007, worth approximately NZ$13.8 million. The tariff on wool is 18.7c/kg clean. This equates to around NZ$880,000 paid in tariffs.

Hear more of Mike Petersen's thoughts by clicking here.

Fonterra Announces Final Payout


Fonterra Co-operative Group has announced a final payout of $7.90 per kilogram of milksolids (kgMS) for the 2007/08 season, comprising a milk price of $7.59 per kgMS and a value return of 31 cents per kgMS.

The actual final cash distribution to shareholders will be $7.66 per kgMS after the Board decided to retain within the Co-operative 24 cents from the value return component of payout. Retentions were signalled by the Board in May to strengthen further Fonterra’s balance sheet in the light of instability in financial markets.

Eligible shareholders and suppliers have already received a premium of an average 3 cents per kgMS, which relates to specialty and winter milk supplied to the Co-operative.

In total Fonterra will distribute $9.1 billion from the amount available for payout of $9.3 billion. This is a 65 per cent lift on the prior season’s distribution of $5.5 billion.

2008/09 Revised Payout Forecast

The Fonterra Board has also lowered the payout forecast for the current 2008/09 season to $6.60 per kgMS from the $7.00 per kgMS forecast in May. The $6.60 forecast comprises a milk price of $6.25 and a value return component of 35 cents. The value return remains unchanged from the May forecast and will be reviewed again in December.

Fonterra Chairman, Henry van der Heyden, said the co-operative had advised shareholders when making the May forecast that the 2008/09 season payout forecast had an equal chance of going up or down, given volatile market conditions.

“Since then we have seen prices fall away from last year’s record highs. High prices have dampened global consumer demand and, at the same time, have encouraged production increases in exporting regions around the world. With buyers playing a waiting game, there is the possibility of further softening of prices before supply and demand come back into balance. Although the New Zealand dollar has been moving in our favour this season, we can’t be confident that a lower currency will fully offset price movements – indeed, there’s still a chance of currency upside or downside.”

San Lu Tragedy

The tragic events surrounding San Lu in China also had an impact on Fonterra’s financial results for 2007/08, he said.

As a direct consequence of the criminal contamination of milk in China, Fonterra has recognised an impairment charge of $139 million against the carrying value of its investment in San Lu. This reflects the cost of the product recall and Fonterra’s anticipated loss of San Lu brand value. Following this impairment charge, Fonterra’s best estimate at this point in time, of the book value of its investment in San Lu is approximately $62 million.

“We have recognised this charge as we are required to by accounting standards, but we are certainly not putting the financial consequences ahead of our primary priority of consumer safety. We are focusing all our efforts on what Fonterra can best do to work with the Chinese authorities and help get safe dairy products to Chinese consumers,” Mr van der Heyden said.

At yesterday’s Board meeting, the Directors discussed the San Lu tragedy in depth and were fully supportive of the approach taken to date by Fonterra management and staff.

“Throughout this crisis, Fonterra’s paramount concern has been for the health and safety of Chinese consumers and recalling contaminated product as quickly and effectively as possible in the Chinese environment. The scale of this tragedy has been truly shocking and our heartfelt sympathies go out to all the affected children and their families.”

“The latest revelations that an official Chinese Government investigation has revealed San Lu management was investigating complaints of sick infants as early as eight months before the San Lu Board and Fonterra were first informed on August 2 is deeply concerning. That Fonterra was not informed earlier is frankly appalling,” he said.

Mr van der Heyden said the Board had reaffirmed its long term, strategic commitment to the China market, believing that Fonterra was well placed to supply safe and healthy dairy products to Chinese customers and consumers and contribute towards helping improve the Chinese dairy supply chain.

2007/08 Results Overview

Mr van der Heyden said the 2007/08 result followed one of the most volatile and challenging years in global markets in recent memory, compounded by the drought which affected production in New Zealand.

Fonterra achieved revenues of $19.5 billion from the sale of goods in the 14 months to July 31 2008.

A 63 per cent increase in weighted US$ average sales prices offset an average exchange rate seven cents higher for the season at 74 cents resulting in the record result.

Commodities and Ingredients sales revenues, excluding intersegment sales, were $13.5 billion, while Australia/New Zealand’s were $3.3 billion. Asia/Middle East’s sales revenues were $1.9 billion and Latam’s $789 million.

Fonterra collected 1,192 million kilograms of milksolids, including contract milk, a 4.3 per cent decrease on the prior season due to drought conditions across much of New Zealand.

Mr van der Heyden said the level of volatility during the year had been unprecedented.

“We have seen a global liquidity crisis, drought, the New Zealand dollar hit new highs and increases in the cost of everything from fuel to interest rates in the past season. It is hard to imagine a more unpredictable operating environment.”

Mr van der Heyden said the Board decision to make a retention from payout had been signalled last May, and was prudent in the current unstable global financial environment.

“It is a consequence of the high levels of instability in both trading and financial markets and the need for Fonterra to strengthen further our balance sheet in such uncertain conditions. The balance sheet is not under pressure, but we need to ensure it remains that way given the impact of current market conditions on our cost of capital.”

Fonterra CEO, Andrew Ferrier, said the record result for the 2007/08 financial year was not solely related to record commodity prices.

“They certainly played a big part, but they also presented a real challenge for our consumer operations, which had to overcome the record prices to return improved earnings and profitability, despite lower volumes in some markets. Higher prices also impacted negatively on our Fonterra Ingredients business.”

Fonterra’s share of profits from international businesses and joint ventures, excluding royalties, were $158 million for the 14 months to July 31 2008 compared with $73 million in the 12 months to May 31 2007.

Australia and New Zealand returned a profit before depreciation, amortisation and non-recurring items of $266 million, Fonterra Asia/AME $96 million and Latam $119 million for the 14 months.

The Commodities and Ingredients segment returned an operating profit of $824 million before depreciation, amortisation and non-recurring items and excluding contributions from equity accounted businesses. This compared to $1.3 billion in the year May 31, 2007. Higher milk costs and reduced margins in Fonterra Ingredients as a result of high commodity prices were contributing factors.

With a record milk price, high global prices pushing up the cost of product sourced outside New Zealand, higher fuel and energy costs and additional two months of trading, Fonterra’s cost of goods sold increased by 55 per cent over the 14 months to July 31, 2008 to $16.8 billion. Mr Ferrier said the higher milk price accounted for the majority of this increase.

Operating expenses were $2.2 billion for the 14 months to July 31, 2008, against $1.7 billion for the 12 months to May 31, 2007 with the extended financial year the main contributor.

Fonterra retained a profit of $235 million, including minority interests, for the 14 months to July 31, 2008.

Where previously, performance has primarily been discussed in terms of commodity and consumer goods sales, the group now has four reportable segments defined by product type and geographic area, reflecting how the business is managed.

These are: -

  • Commodities & Ingredients – which includes New Zealand Milk Supply, New Zealand Manufacturing, Sales and Operations Planning, Fonterra GlobalTrade, Global Supply Chain, Fonterra Ingredients’ operations in North Asia, North America and Europe, Corporate and the equity accounted investments including DairiConcepts, Arla Fonterra Foods and DMV Fonterra Excipients.
  • ANZ – operations in New Zealand (other than those included in Commodities and Ingredients) and Australia, including Australian milk supply and manufacturing.
  • Asia/AME – operations in Asia, Africa and the Middle East and the equity accounted investments including San Lu.
  • Latam – Soprole (Chile) and our equity accounted joint ventures with Dairy Partners of America in Latin America.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

National Bank Rural Report - September

Where Are We Going?

The increase in the value of New Zealand farm land has outstripped growth in the farm income generated by the land. Several reasons can be given for the trend. Typically commentators look at rural assets being over or undervalued. Such terms are notoriously hard to define. Less is written about the implications of the change in land values. We provide some background data by looking at the trends in the farm business result and the underlying drivers. We conclude it is the ‘market’ in operation, but ask is it sustainable?

Click here for the full report

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Backgrounding the Financial Meltdown

The global credit crunch has dominated the news for weeks. Here’s an excellent background article from the NZ Herald this past weekend which lays out the history which got the world economy to this point.

NZ Herald: How the Financial Dominoes Tumbled

The financial meltdown of the last week has hammered home the predictions of many who said there was more fallout to come from the US credit crunch.

But for those not so closely embroiled in the goings-on of Wall St and the financial markets it's hard to know how we have got to a point where some of the world's most well-known banks and insurance companies are going under.

Who would have believed two years ago that Britain's Halifax and Bank of Scotland (HBOS) group - the UK's biggest mortgage lender, would come to a point where it would need to be bailed out through an emergency cash injection from Lloyds TSB?

Or that American International Group (AIG), a global insurance firm with US$1 trillion ($1.48 trillion) in assets, would have to be stopped from going bankrupt with an emergency loan from the US Federal Reserve.

So how did we get to this? Follow this link.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Babies Before Brands - Rural Network

From RuralNetwork.co.nz

Why were Chinese parents not warned they could be - very likely were - giving their babies contaminated milk powder?

This fundamental courtesy, this act of humanity does not seem to have occurred to Fonterra, its Chinese partners and government officials as they took six weeks or more to work through an apparently labyrinthine process toward a product recall.

I am reminded of my good friend Clive Dalton’s constant plea to dairy farmers: you are not just in the cow business, he tells them, you are in the human health food business.

Clearly the head office cockies need the lesson, too.

For the full article visit:

New Zealand rural confidence stages dramatic improvement

New Zealand farmer confidence has staged a dramatic improvement on the levels seen in the first half of 2008, according to the latest Rabobank/Nielsen Rural Confidence Survey.

The survey – conducted across New Zealand last month – showed the number of farmers expecting the rural economy to improve had leapt to 59 per cent, compared to just 18 per cent who had that expectation back in April this year, at the time of the previous survey. The number expecting economic conditions to worsen had fallen from 37 per cent to just seven per cent.

Full Rural Confidence Survey at:


SFF/PGG-W Great Expectations

From Rural News:

The pressure is on Silver Fern Farms and PGG Wrightson to deliver on their promises after the partnership deal scraped over the 75% support hurdle last week.

But industry commentators are also saying the result will put pressure on Alliance to raise its game and play its part in industry reform.

Full article at: http://www.ruralnews.co.nz/Default.asp?task=article&subtask=show&item=16245&pageno=1

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Jamie's Sports Thought 19/9/08

It’s a bugger to be getting old eh?

I detest technology and technology hates me back with interest.

Most functions on a computer are still a mystery to me and surplus to requirements. I’ve no idea how to tune a television with a remote, let alone work the remote or a home theatre system. Facebook and i-pods are things I hear my kids talk about but can’t see myself ever figuring out.

I do, however, make some exceptions when it comes to being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century. Like many who spend the majority of their working lives a slave to a computer, I must admit I could not function without e-mail and I’d battle these days to survive without Google. It’s a glorified Encyclopedia Britannica for old guys.

There is one other piece of new technology I’ve grown to love, and figured out how to work, in a short space of time. It’s called My Sky.

Don’t ask me how it works because all I know is that since we’ve replaced a decrepit old VCR with My Sky, My Life has become infinitely more pleasurable. I can arrive home any time of the day or night to the latest version of news, sport, current affairs or Coronation Street , which I can enjoy, minus the commercials, at my leisure.

Tonight’s a cracker on the box for sporting sofa sloths and a perfect example of the beauty of My Sky. My first port of call will be the Stags in the must-win clash against Tasman at 7-35pm. That provincial loyalty will be sorely tested at 8-30pm when the Warriors take on the Roosters in the sudden death NRL play-off.

Unless the Stags really run away with the game in Blenheim, I’ll be sticking with them until the final whistle, by which time the Warriors at Mount Smart should at the half time break.

And that’s where My Sky comes into play. It’s back to the start of the league. Some judicious fast-forwarding through unnecessary stoppages in play and the extended half time break and I reckon I won’t be a mile away from finishing the game in real time just after 10pm.

All of which leaves time for a Stags-inspired celebratory hot cocoa drink before bed and a My Sky re-run of last night’s episode of Coronation Street.

It’s a bugger to be getting old eh?

Your thoughts? Email me at jamie@farmingshow.com

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Rabobank's Australia & New Zealand Agribusiness Review

Click the title above for the full report, but the Highlights include:

A broad sell off in global commodities markets got underway in August with oil leading soft commodities lower in the month. Wheat, corn, soybeans and sugar have all declined substantially in global markets since their June peak driven by USD strength, growing concerns over the impact on demand from the slowing global economy and substantial liquidation of long positions by investment funds.

Global dairy prices have lost altitude through August with demand slowing in response to record high prices and expectations on exportable supply improving. The full impact has been buffered by declining local currencies.

Global beef markets remain strong despite the return of the US product to north Asian markets, driven by lower supply availability from key exporters such as Australia, New Zealand and Brazil. New Zealand benchmark cattle prices are 25% higher than the same time last year in a welcome turnaround for the sector.

Sheep meat prices maintained higher levels in both Australia and New Zealand through August. Benchmark indicator prices are at or near their highest point in 18 months in both countries, with the impact of drought in Australia, and poor recent season prices in New Zealand having a particularly negative impact on the supply outlook for the 2008/09 season.

To view the full report, please click on the the link below:

Australia and New Zealand Agribusiness Review

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Welcome to the Farmingshow Blog

Everybody is blogging, so why not the Farmingshow?

Once I'm shown how to use this thing and when I have something worth sharing, here's where it will happen.