Rural News

  • $A weakens ahead of US non-farm payrolls AAP - 17 hours ago

    The Australian dollar is weaker as traders await American employment figures. Traders will be watching US non-farm payrolls data for February to see if it increases the chance of a near-term interest rate rise by the US Federal Reserve, ANZ senior foreign exchange strategist Daniel Been said.

  • Bond market flat ahead of US jobs data AAP - 18 hours ago

    The bond market is relatively steady as financial markets wait on the release of US employment figures. Traders want to see the February US non-farm payrolls data, to be unveiled on Friday night, before dipping back into the market, Commonwealth Bank head of debt research Adam Donaldson said. A healthy set of US jobs figures would be unlikely to substantially weaken the Australian bond market, as financial markets continue to expect another local interest rate cut, Mr Donaldson said.

  • Report finds climate change benefits AAP - Thu, Mar 5, 2015 2:39 PM NZDT

    Climate change could have economic spin-offs, a new government report says. The Intergenerational Report released on Thursday includes a chapter on "managing the environment", which has been a feature of previous versions of the five-yearly economic and budget update.

  • Destructive disease at Qld banana farm AAP - Wed, Mar 4, 2015 7:25 PM NZDT

    A north Queensland banana farm has been quarantined after testing positive for a potentially destructive fungal disease. Biosecurity Queensland has warned that the Panama TR4 disease would have serious consequences for the state's banana industry if it spread from the plantation near Tully, south of Cairns. Chief biosecurity officer Dr Jim Thompson says the affected farm has been isolated after an initial test for the disease came back positive on Tuesday night. "(The disease) poses a serious threat to the banana industry in Australia and obviously Queensland represents ninety-five per cent of that.

  • Modest rise in dairy price Newstalk ZB - Wed, Mar 4, 2015 8:38 AM NZDT

    A small movement in the latest dairy price index.

  • Falling Aussie good news for farmers AAP - Tue, Mar 3, 2015 3:03 PM NZDT

    A falling Australian dollar is good news for farmers. The value of farm exports are estimated to increase by nearly half a billion dollars for every one cent fall in the currency. The fall in the Australian dollar against the US dollar is expected to have a positive affect on farm incomes because close to 65 per cent of agricultural production is exported, and mostly contracted in US dollars. ABARES chief Karen Schneider says the currency's decline is in response to the nation's declining terms of trade and a narrowing differential in interest rates to other countries.

  • Farmers to get low-down on global outlook AAP - Tue, Mar 3, 2015 5:33 AM NZDT

    As the Reserve Bank board chews over another interest rate cut, the agriculture sector is about to hear the low-down on domestic and international economic outlooks. World Bank economist Ayhan Kose will address the annual two-day Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences conference in Canberra on Tuesday about the prospects for the global economy. National Australia Bank chief economist Alan Oster will provide a domestic perspective.

  • Warrnambool buys leading cheese brands AAP - Mon, Mar 2, 2015 7:23 PM NZDT
    Warrnambool buys leading cheese brands

    One of Australia's best known cheese brands, COON, is about to change from Japanese to Canadian ownership. Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory, which is majority-owned by Canadian dairy giant Saputo Inc, is set to acquire the everyday cheese business of Lion Dairy and Drinks for $137.5 million. The everyday cheese business includes the cutting and wrapping, distribution, and sales and marketing of the COON, Cracker Barrel, Mil Lel and Fred Walker brands. COON cheddar cheese has been manufactured in Australia since 1935 and was originally made by Kraft.

  • Warrnambool to buy Lion everyday cheese AAP - Mon, Mar 2, 2015 7:02 PM NZDT
    Warrnambool to buy Lion everyday cheese

    One of Australia's best known cheese brands, COON, is about to change from Japanese to Canadian ownership. Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory, which is majority-owned by Canadian dairy giant Saputo Inc, is set to acquire the everyday cheese business of Lion Dairy and Drinks for $137.5 million. The everyday cheese business includes the cutting and wrapping, distribution, and sales and marketing of the COON, Cracker Barrel, Mil Lel and Fred Walker brands. COON cheddar cheese has been manufactured in Australia since 1935 and was originally made by Kraft.

  • Glencore slashes coal production AAP - Fri, Feb 27, 2015 11:36 PM NZDT
    Glencore slashes coal production

    Global mining giant Glencore is cutting its Australian coal production by 15 million tonnes due to weak demand. Glencore currently employs 8,600 workers. It said it would make changes at several sites, including underground roster changes, scaling back of some open pit mining and revisions to its product portfolio, to better match its volume and coal quality to current market demand. "We will continue to review all our coal operations in the prevailing economic climate," Glencore said.

  • Exports up but value down Newstalk ZB - Thu, Feb 26, 2015 8:28 PM NZDT

    We may be shipping more meat and dairy overseas...but their overall value is trending down.

  • Keystone veto another hurdle for industry AAP - Thu, Feb 26, 2015 12:01 PM NZDT

    North American petroleum producers are expected to turn to Canadian routes to ship oil internationally after Barack Obama vetoed a bill to expedite construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Canada is the fifth largest oil producer in the world, with offshore and shale oil fields and the Alberta oil sands producing four million barrels per day. "Canadian crude has traditionally displaced US imports of oil from Mexico and Venezuela," noted Charles St-Arnaud, Nomura Securities chief economist in New York. Obama has cited environmental and climate concerns in opposing the Keystone project, which would move oil almost 2,000 kilometres from Alberta to refineries along the US Gulf Coast.

  • No change to Fonterra forecast payout Newstalk ZB - Thu, Feb 26, 2015 10:45 AM NZDT

    Fonterra could be waiting for the fog to clear around global dairy prices before making any drastic changes to its predictions.

  • Fonterra keeps forecast payout on hold AAP - Thu, Feb 26, 2015 10:08 AM NZDT

    Fonterra has held its forecast milk payout despite hopes a lift was on the cards. Chairman John Wilson says that although dairy commodity prices have gone up, the increase is not enough to raise the forecast. ...

  • Vic farmers should veto CSG: Nats AAP - Wed, Feb 25, 2015 10:29 PM NZDT
    Vic farmers should veto CSG: Nats

    Farmers should be able to veto coal seam gas activities on their property, the Victorian Nationals believe. Nationals leader Peter Walsh said if CSG mining was ever in place in Victoria, farmers should be able to veto it. "The Nationals support landowners having the right to say no to coal seam gas extraction activity on their property," he said on Wednesday. Greens MP Ellen Sandell said the Nationals' announcement could help them gain Green preferences to win the Gippsland South by-election in March, which will be a race between National and Liberal candidates.

  • Dairy farmers eye Fonterra payout increases Newstalk ZB - Wed, Feb 25, 2015 9:17 AM NZDT

    Dairy farmers are hoping an improvement in recent dairy auction prices will lead Fonterra to raise its payout.

  • Qld premier must support live export: LNP AAP - Tue, Feb 24, 2015 10:06 PM NZDT
    Qld premier must support live export: LNP

    Queensland's opposition is applying pressure on new Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to throw her support behind live cattle exports. Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne has said exports out of Port Alma, in central Queensland, will threaten the viability of the local meat processing industry and jobs in his Rockhampton electorate.

  • Marcia throws farms' future into doubt AAP - Tue, Feb 24, 2015 5:42 PM NZDT

    Yeppoon, which copped the brunt of the storm as it made landfall as a category five system, is a diverse horticultural region that produces tropical fruits, sweet potatoes, pineapples and mangoes. Then there are 31 dairy farms around Rockhampton in central Queensland. Mick Cranny runs a pineapple farm about 25km northwest of Yeppoon and says the disaster has wiped out about 45,000 pineapples due for harvest in the next fortnight. He fears some farmers may become so disheartened they'll quit the industry, adding to the 1000 Queensland pineapple farmers who have done so in the past 20 years.

  • Pet care firm's expansion lifts profit AAP - Mon, Feb 23, 2015 8:49 PM NZDT

    The company behind Petbarn and Greencross veterinary clinics has lifted its underlying half year profit 81 per cent. Greencross made an underlying profit of $19 million in the six months to December 31, up from $10.5 million a year ago, as it opened new stores and expanded with its purchase of petcare retailer City Farmers. Greencross shares gained 72 cents, or 8.5 per cent, to $9.18, its highest price in almost four months.

  • Tassie on the up: Abbott AAP - Thu, Feb 19, 2015 5:27 PM NZDT
    Tassie on the up: Abbott

    State and federal Liberal governments are joining forces to lead Tasmania out of the economic doldrums, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says. At a farming property near Evandale in the state's north on Thursday Mr Abbott committed to a joint funding arrangement for an irrigation scheme designed to protect Tasmania's agricultural sector from drought. It is expected to deliver about an extra 40,000 megalitres of water to landholders and communities across Tasmania, creating 150 full-time jobs. "I think we are on the cusp of an economic revival here in this state," Mr Abbott said.

  • Dairy price fall hurts Bega Cheese AAP - Wed, Feb 18, 2015 6:20 PM NZDT

    Bega Cheese boss Barry Irvin says global dairy prices are finally recovering after a bruising 50 per slide that soured the company half year profit. Profit dropped 68 per cent to $6.05 million in the six months to December 31 in the wake of lower prices and the cost of investments in Bega's supply chain. Mr Irvin said 2014's severe slump in dairy prices had gone on longer than the company expected, but there were signs of a turnaround. "We had continued to expect some level of recovery in commodity prices, that has been very slow coming, but the reality is that we have now begun to see that recovery in February," he said.

  • Dairy prices could see dollar rise AAP - Tue, Feb 17, 2015 5:27 PM NZDT

    The New Zealand dollar, which has reached a post-float high against the Australian dollar and is near a month-high versus the greenback, may extend its gains on speculation drought in parts of the country will prompt another jump in dairy prices in Tuesday's auction. The kiwi rose to as much as 96.77 Australian cents, a post-float high, and traded at 96.35 cents at 5pm in Wellington, little changed from Monday. The kiwi pared its gains against the Australian dollar after minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia's last policy meeting showed there was some internal debate about how soon interest rates could be lowered again after the cash rate was cut to a record low 2.25 per cent this month. "The RBA probably put a bit of a dampener on a March rate cut," said Tim Kelleher, head of institutional FX sales at ASB Bank.

  • Chinese investors ravenous for Europe food AAP - Mon, Feb 16, 2015 2:01 PM NZDT

    Chinese foreign direct investment into Europe appears to be becoming a fixture after hitting a record $US18 billion ($A23.17 billion), with food and agriculture the top draw. Highlights from a forthcoming report by the Baker & McKenzie law firm show that Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) into Europe doubled in 2014, propelling the continent to one of the Asian giant's top global FDI destinations. Chinese FDI into Europe barely existed before 2004, and did not really take off until 2009. New sectors dominated, such as food and agriculture in first place at $US4.1 billion and real estate in third place at $US3.0 billion.

  • Risk of going broke on debt growth: Joyce AAP - Sun, Feb 15, 2015 1:35 PM NZDT
    Risk of going broke on debt growth: Joyce

    A senior Abbott government minister has warned the country will go broke if Australia's financial position isn't turned around. Outspoken Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce says the nation can't stay on its trajectory of debt increase and think there are no ramifications. "If we can't turn the financial position around, whether it's five, 10, 15, or 20 years time, at a point in the future we will go broke," he told Sky News on Sunday. He said the opposition Labor party should have at least come up with alternative ideas.

  • Qld solar farm dependent on energy target AAP - Fri, Feb 13, 2015 10:28 PM NZDT
    Qld solar farm dependent on energy target

    Uncertainty surrounding the Renewable Energy Target could hurt investment in Australia's largest solar farm. The $1 billion Queensland project received local planning approval on Monday, with construction to happen in stages over eight years from 2016. When complete, millions of photovoltaic panels will cover 5260ha of former gazing land between Millmerran and Goondiwindi, west of Toowoomba. Developer Solar Choice says when complete, the solar farm will generate two gigawatts of electricity, enough to power 550,000 homes in Queensland and NSW.

  • Global bank warns Australia on environment AAP - Fri, Feb 13, 2015 5:52 PM NZDT

    One of the world's largest banks has warned international investors could bypass Australia in the future because of concerns about the country's environmental policies. Didier Mahout, chief executive of French bank BNP Paribas' Australian operations, said global firms were increasingly conscious of their environmental reputation and could be put off by Australia's stance on climate change.

  • Telstra's Thodey optimistic on future AAP - Thu, Feb 12, 2015 6:23 PM NZDT
    Telstra's Thodey optimistic on future

    Telstra boss David Thodey is talking up the telco's growth prospects, pointing to a future of ever-growing data usage as the company provides connections for machines as well as people. After unveiling a record $2.1 billion half year profit, Mr Thodey said Australia's biggest telco stands to benefit from its customers' love affair with high-tech gadgets. Demand for data was growing rapidly across industries as diverse as agriculture, mining and education, Mr Thodey said. Mr Thodey's optimism contrasts with the view of several analysts that Telstra, which has 16.4 million mobile customers in Australia, has little room left to grow in its home market.

  • Warrnambool says lower $A a boost AAP - Thu, Feb 12, 2015 5:01 PM NZDT

    Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory says the lower value of the Australian dollar is partly offsetting weak international prices. Warrnambool on Thursday reported a half year net profit of $25.04 million, which was 19.9 per cent lower than the profit of $31.25 million a year ago because the company changed its accounting treatment of raw milk costs. Warrnambool said its outlook for the balance of the financial year is cautiously optimistic. Warrnambool has changed its financial year end reporting date to March 31 to align it with its parent, Canadian dairy giant Saputo Inc, which owns about 90 per cent of Warrnambool shares.

  • Researchers help guard tribe artefacts AAP - Thu, Feb 12, 2015 3:01 PM NZDT

    University of Rhode Island researchers are working with Native Americans to ensure that energy companies hoping to erect massive wind turbines off New England don't inadvertently disturb the tribes' ceremonial sites and burial grounds, now submerged under hundreds of metres of water. Providence-based Deepwater Wind is planning what could be the nation's first offshore wind farm, off the coast of Block Island.

  • Minister's trip highlights drought woes Newstalk ZB - Thu, Feb 12, 2015 1:46 PM NZDT

    The Minister for Primary Industries' trip to Fairlie today is being seen as an acknowledgement of the struggle South Canterbury is facing.

  • Trian backs off call to split DuPont AAP - Thu, Feb 12, 2015 12:29 PM NZDT

    Activist investor Trian has backed off a demand to split DuPont in two, but amplified its call to elect new directors to shake up the chemical giant. Trian Fund Management previously called for DuPont to divide into a "growth co" focused on agriculture and industrial biosciences and a "cyclical/cash co" encompassing performance materials, electronics and communications. On Wednesday, Trian said it was "open-minded" on DuPont's corporate structure, but said that election to the board of Trian chief Nelson Peltz and three other nominees was still needed to address the company's underperformance. "Trian does not see this election as a referendum on separating the businesses, but rather a referendum on DuPont's financial performance," Peltz said in a letter to other DuPont shareholders.

  • Fonterra set to buy fifth of Chinese partner Newstalk ZB - Thu, Feb 12, 2015 11:02 AM NZDT

    Fonterra's formally submitted an offer to buy a fifth of one of its Chinese partners.

  • Marlborough farmers struggling with dry conditions Newstalk ZB - Wed, Feb 11, 2015 1:24 PM NZDT

    Farmers in Marlborough are being hit with increasingly dry conditions.

  • Harsh drought has silver lining for dairy farmers Newstalk ZB - Tue, Feb 10, 2015 2:42 PM NZDT

    Westpac is calling this year's drought one of the harshest in recent history.

  • ACCC approves JBS' Primo takeover AAP - Fri, Feb 6, 2015 2:09 PM NZDT

    The competition watchdog has given the green light to global food giant JBS's $1.45 billion takeover of Primo Group, despite industry concerns. Australia's largest fresh meats processor, JBS, proposed to acquire the country's largest ham, bacon and smallgoods manufacturer, Primo Group in November last year. Farmers, competing abattoirs, and meat and smallgoods suppliers and customers are worried the acquisition will reduce market competition for fat cattle in northern NSW and Queensland. "JBS's abattoirs in Queensland and Primo's abattoir at Scone are more than 500km apart," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.