Rural News

  • Fonterra cut another blow to dairy farmers AAP - Thu, Jun 30, 2016 3:04 PM NZST

    The latest price cut from a major dairy producer could force some Australian farmers out of the industry as they struggle to break even. Fonterra Australia has joined Murray Goulburn and Bega Cheese in lowering their farmgate milk prices for the 2016/17 financial year, continuing the trend of recent months. Fonterra will offer an opening farmgate milk price of $4.75 per kilogram of milk solids for the 2016/17 season, and expects that to rise to $5.00 later in the year.

  • Fonterra cuts milk price in Australia AAP - Thu, Jun 30, 2016 12:44 PM NZST
    Fonterra cuts milk price in Australia

    Fonterra has announced a lower opening price for its Australian farmer suppliers in the upcoming season, but says it expects prices to recover over the year ahead. The Auckland-based dairy co-operative announced an opening farmgate milk price of $A4.75 per kilogram of milk solids for the 2016/17 season, rising to $A5 by the end of the season. Fonterra's forecast is ahead of Australia's dominant milk processor Murray Goulburn which this week announced an opening forecast of a net $A4.31 for the 2016/17 season, which it expects to rise to $A4.80 by the end of the season.

  • Vic's dairy farm water supply studied AAP - Wed, Jun 29, 2016 2:43 PM NZST

    Victoria's drought-affected South Gippsland will be the focus of a $50,000 study to improve water security for dairy farmers. The feasibility study will look at constructing a 23km pipeline from Foster extending Victoria's water grid and the best ways to increase on-farm storage. The state's Dairy Industry Taskforce is also looking at measures to support the welfare of farmers and regional communities.

  • Dairy farmers gutted over new milk price AAP - Tue, Jun 28, 2016 7:35 PM NZST

    Dairy farmers already reeling from having their milk prices slashed have been handed another price cut for the upcoming season. Many farmers faced huge bills when Murray Goulburn retrospectively slashed its milk prices in April to between $4.75 and $5.00 per kilogram of milk solids, down from $5.60. "This opening price is below the cost of production for many dairy farmers and we'll all need to pull together to get through the months ahead," United Dairyfarmers of Victoria president Adam Jenkins said on Tuesday.

  • Vic farmers gutted at milk price offer AAP - Tue, Jun 28, 2016 5:39 PM NZST

    Victorian dairy farmers say the latest Murray Goulburn milk price offer has left them "gutted". Many farmers faced huge bills when Murray Goulburn retrospectively slashed its milk prices in April ...

  • Murray Goulburn sets low FY17 milk price AAP - Tue, Jun 28, 2016 1:17 PM NZST
    Murray Goulburn sets low FY17 milk price

    Dairy Farmers will still get a low price for their milk from co-operative Murray Goulburn over the 2016/17 season. Murray Goulburn announced on Tuesday that it expects to pay dairy farmers $4.80 per kilogram of milk solids (kgms) for the 12 months ending June 30, 2017. Last week, dairy producer Bega Cheese announced an opening farmgate milk price of $5.00 per kgms.

  • Murray Goulburn sets lower FY17 milk price AAP - Tue, Jun 28, 2016 12:35 PM NZST
    Murray Goulburn sets lower FY17 milk price

    Dairy co-operative Murray Goulburn has forecast a full-year profit of $42 million, with its farmgate milk price again lower. Murray Goulburn says it expects to pay farmers $4.80 per kilogram of milk solids for the 12 months to June 30, 2017, which is at the lower end of the $4.75 to $5.00 range it set in April for the rest of the current financial year. "Global conditions have not improved, and the latest data suggests excess global inventories, including the impact of European intervention, may have surpassed the equivalent of six billion litres of milk," Murray Goulburn interim chief executive David Mallinson said in a statement on Tuesday.

  • Joyce stands by investment rule tightening AAP - Wed, Jun 22, 2016 5:51 PM NZST
    Joyce stands by investment rule tightening

    Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says Australia has enough capital to invest in agriculture and does not need to ease foreign investment rules. Mr Joyce has called on superannuation funds to use some of their $2 trillion to invest in farms and boost exports to Asia. "Let's not say we don't have access to capital - we do," Mr Joyce told the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday.

  • Bega cuts farmgate milk price AAP - Tue, Jun 21, 2016 5:18 PM NZST
    Bega cuts farmgate milk price

    Bega Cheese has followed its rivals by cutting the price it will offer dairy farmers for their milk. Bega has trimmed its 2016/17 farmgate price from $5.60 to $5.00 per kilogram of milk solids, a cut of about 11 per cent that brings it into line with Fonterra and Murray Goulburn. "These are difficult times in terms of farmgate milk prices," Bega executive chairman Barry Irvin said on Tuesday.

  • Energy and climate priorities equal: BHP AAP - Tue, Jun 21, 2016 3:09 PM NZST
    Energy and climate priorities equal: BHP

    BHP Billiton says combating climate change cannot take priority over the need for affordable energy, and is bullish on the future of coal. "We believe the world must pursue the twin objectives of limiting climate change and providing access to affordable energy," said Mike Henry, the global giant's head of Australian mining. In an update on its coal business on Tuesday, BHP said its coal portfolio is resilient "in both an orderly and a rapid transition to a 2 degrees C world" - a reference to the two degrees celsius figure identified as the limit of warming to avoid catastrophic climate change.

  • Origin sells NSW wind farm to Duet Group AAP - Fri, Jun 17, 2016 7:50 PM NZST
    Origin sells NSW wind farm to Duet Group

    Origin Energy has agreed to sell its Cullerin Range wind farm in NSW to Duet Group for $72 million, as part of an ongoing program to offload non-core assets. The 30 megawatt wind farm, located near Goulburn in southern NSW, was set up in 2009. The sale is part of Origin's plan to raise $800 million through divestment of non-core assets that began in September 2015, aimed at strengthening its balance sheet amid a slump in oil prices.

  • Australian milk production down: Fonterra AAP - Fri, Jun 17, 2016 7:31 PM NZST
    Australian milk production down: Fonterra

    Dairy giant Fonterra has blamed dry weather and low prices for a fall in Australian milk production over the last year. The New Zealand-based firm's June global dairy update reported that milk production in Australia was down by three per cent in April compared to the same month a year earlier. Production in Australia for the 12 months to April was down by one per cent.

  • Origin sells NSW wind farm for $72m AAP - Fri, Jun 17, 2016 12:12 PM NZST

    Origin Energy will sell its Cullerin Range wind farm to utility Duet Group for $72 million, but still take the electricity it produces. The 30 MW wind farm, located near Goulburn in southern NSW, was set ...

  • Lamb gets chop in supermarket price war AAP - Wed, Jun 15, 2016 7:05 PM NZST
    Lamb gets chop in supermarket price war

    Woolworths has opened a new front in the supermarket price war by announcing a significant cut to its price for lamb legs alongside reductions in other fresh meat products. As Coles responded with an immediate match to its rival's latest move on Wednesday, the peak farmers' body expressed concern about the impact any long-running discount war would have on meat producers. Woolworths announced a 28 per cent reduction in its regular price for lamb leg roasts on Wednesday, plus cuts to other meat prices as part of a $45 million spend on lowering prices in the meat category.

  • A2 Milk lifts profit forecast AAP - Wed, Jun 15, 2016 6:17 PM NZST
    A2 Milk lifts profit forecast

    Shares in A2 Milk have soared after the dairy producer lifted its full year profit guidance due to continued demand from China. A2 Milk also said it is well placed to respond to any further regulatory change in China governing the supply of infant formula. Shares in A2 Milk gained 20.5 cents, or 13.6 per cent - their best daily gain in over five months - to close at $1.71.

  • A2 Milk shares lift after profit upgrade AAP - Wed, Jun 15, 2016 12:54 PM NZST
    A2 Milk shares lift after profit upgrade

    Shares in A2 Milk have climbed more than 10 per cent after the dairy producer lifted its full-year profit guidance due to continued demand in China. A2 Milk also said it is well placed to respond to any further regulatory change in China governing the supply of infant formula. Shares in A2 Milk were 16.5 cents, or 10.96 per cent, higher at $1.67 at 1033 AEST.

  • A2 Milk lifts full-year profit guidance AAP - Wed, Jun 15, 2016 12:20 PM NZST
    A2 Milk lifts full-year profit guidance

    A2 Milk has lifted its full-year profit guidance due to continued demand in China and says it is well-placed to respond to any further regulatory change there. The company lifted its profit guidance to $NZ350 million to $NZ360 million ($A333 million to $A342 million), up from the $NZ335 million to $350 million it forecast in February. A2 says it successfully adapted its manufacturing and distribution model in response to recent regulatory change to the Chinese infant formula market.

  • High national crop yield predicted AAP - Wed, Jun 15, 2016 2:06 AM NZST

    Australian farmers are set to produce a near record 42.3 million tonnes of winter crops, the latest ABARES report says. Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences attributes that to above average autumn rain in Western Australia, although rain was more variable in eastern states - lower than average in April but above average in May. For major crops, wheat production was forecast to rise by five per cent to 25.4 million tonnes and barley production was also to increase by five per cent to nine million tonnes.

  • Risk register for climate change: report AAP - Tue, Jun 14, 2016 7:05 PM NZST

    A key economic development body says Australia needs to start considering the cost of carbon emissions and establish a National Risk Register to help it plan for disasters associated with climate change. A new report from the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) says that an estimate of the social cost of carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions - that is the economic damages associated with increased emissions - is needed to evaluate responses to climate change. CEDA on Tuesday suggested that Australia set up a National Risk Register similar to the UK's National Security Risk Assessment.

  • Oswal took $150m for personal use: court AAP - Tue, Jun 14, 2016 6:45 PM NZST

    Indian businessman Pankaj Oswal spent more than $150 million in company money on Perth mansions, luxury cars, a farm and his wife's vegetarian restaurants, a court has heard. A court heard money from Burrup Fertilisers was also used for private planes, including paying for Mr Oswal's wife Radhika, one of their daughters and a friend to fly halfway up the West Australian coast for a birthday party. About $8 million was used for Mrs Oswal's Otarian vegetarian restaurant chain in London and New York and $2 million on the Oswals' Dalkeith home, the Victorian Supreme Court heard on Tuesday.

  • Dairy producer raising funds to cut debt AAP - Fri, Jun 10, 2016 6:18 PM NZST

    Warrnambool Cheese and Butter intends to use funds from a new $142 million share offer to cut debt and enable investment in expanded dairy production. The maker of Coon Cheese and Sungold Milk's controlling shareholder, Canadian dairy giant Saputo, has committed to take up its full entitlement of shares, guaranteeing about $124.8 million of new equity for Warrnambool Cheese. "All of the proceeds from the entitlement offer, less costs, will be used to repay debt," Warrnambool Cheese said.

  • Dairy producer raises funds to cut debt AAP - Fri, Jun 10, 2016 1:51 PM NZST

    Warrnambool Cheese and Butter is seeking to raise $142 million through a new share offer in order to repay debt and allow investment in extra dairy production. The maker of Coon Cheese and Sungold Milk is 88 per cent-owned by Canadian dairy giant Saputo, while Japan's Kirin holds a stake of nearly 10 per cent. Saputo has committed to take up its full share of the entitlement offer, guaranteeing about $124.8 million of new equity for Warrnambool Cheese.

  • Dairy industry reshaped by Asian deals AAP - Thu, Jun 9, 2016 1:25 PM NZST

    The global dairy industry is being reshaped by a wave of dealmaking driven by low milk prices and growing demand for products like yoghurt and baby formula in Asia and the Middle East. Prices for dairy ingredients like milk and butter have fallen sharply for more than two years, hit by a global oversupply, squeezing the finances of farmers and producers and pushing many towards consolidation in search of economies of scale. By contrast, at the other end of the sector, the low ingredient costs are plumping the profit margins of companies that make "value-added" products like yoghurt, cream cheese and infant formula, making them attractive targets for food multinationals and private equity investors.

  • Free range rules dent egg supply AAP - Wed, Jun 8, 2016 8:35 PM NZST
    Free range rules dent egg supply

    The NSW Farmers Group has issued a fresh warning of a shortage, which its egg committee chairman Bede Burke says is caused partly by a downturn in investment in egg production infrastructure due to the long running debate over the definition of free range. A new standard for free range - requiring no more than one hen per square metre - was agreed upon by state and territory ministers at the end of March. "Adding to the current shortage has been the two year cloud of uncertainty on the definition of free range which put a halt to all new investment," Mr Burke said.

  • India to work towards Paris climate pact AAP - Wed, Jun 8, 2016 8:51 AM NZST
    India to work towards Paris climate pact

    India has agreed to work toward joining the Paris Agreement on climate change this year, giving momentum to the international fight to curb global warming. President Barack Obama met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House on Tuesday. "We discussed how we can, as quickly as possible, bring the Paris Agreement into force," Obama told reporters during talks in the Oval Office.

  • BHP backs low emission tech study in China AAP - Mon, Jun 6, 2016 9:06 PM NZST

    Mining giant BHP Billiton will fund a study of the potential for low-emissions technology in China's iron and steel sector, its biggest market. BHP, the top global miner and biggest exporter of coal used in steelmaking, has signed a three-year agreement with Peking University and China's National Centre for Climate Change Strategy to help set up a centre focused on developing low-emissions technology. It will contribute $US7.4 million($A10.04 million) to the program, which is also tasked with identifying key policy, technical and economic barriers to deploying carbon capture, use and storage(CCUS) projects in steelmaking in China.

  • Cheers, tears for NSW farmers after storms AAP - Mon, Jun 6, 2016 3:37 PM NZST

    Banana, sugarcane and oyster farmers in northern NSW are counting the cost after their crops were slammed by heavy storms. Swathes of sugarcane crops are still underwater after floods ravaged the region over the weekend, while wild winds battered banana plantations at Coffs Harbour, said NSW Farmers spokesman Michael Burt. At Woolgoolga, north of Coffs Harbour, about 20 per cent of banana crops have been destroyed.

  • Bonds inch up ahead of US payrolls data AAP - Fri, Jun 3, 2016 6:58 PM NZST

    The Australian bond market has lifted slightly but movements were muted ahead of the release of key employment data in the US. Market attention is focused on US non-farm payrolls data due for release on ...

  • NSW warning for Russian grain aphid AAP - Fri, Jun 3, 2016 6:38 PM NZST

    NSW farmers are being told to watch for a destructive Russian aphid that is threatening South Australia's $1.6 billion grain industry. The Russian wheat aphid was detected for the first time in Australia near Tarlee last month and has since been found in low levels elsewhere in South Australia. The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is warning the pale yellowish-green insect would have considerable impacts on the industry if it takes hold.

  • Aust bonds up ahead of US payrolls report AAP - Fri, Jun 3, 2016 11:27 AM NZST

    Australian bonds are slightly higher ahead of the US non-farm payrolls report. Westpac senior market strategist Imre Speizer said global rates markets saw a fall in yields overnight, driven by the US market. ...

  • $A lower ahead of US jobs report AAP - Thu, Jun 2, 2016 7:38 PM NZST

    The Australian dollar is on the slide as nervous traders mark time ahead of a key US jobs report. ANZ senior FX strategist Daniel Been said the currency moved within a tight range ahead of the release of US non-farm payrolls data on Friday, and a speech from US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen next week. The Australian dollar briefly shot up after the release of data showing Australia's trade deficit shrank to $1.6 billion in April.

  • Japan suspends Aust live cattle trade AAP - Thu, Jun 2, 2016 7:25 PM NZST

    Japan has temporarily suspended live cattle imports from Australia over disease concerns. It is understood the ban came after some Holstein heifers sent from Victoria last week allegedly tested positive to bovine johne's disease in quarantine in Japan. The federal agriculture department said in a statement it was investigating to confirm that cattle were prepared according to the importing country requirements.

  • Survey points to distress among farmers AAP - Thu, Jun 2, 2016 5:33 PM NZST

    Large numbers of farmers in the southern Murray-Darling Basin are planning to sell up, a survey has revealed. Conducted by the University of Adelaide's Centre for Global Food and Resources, it quizzed more than 1000 irrigators and found that horticultural farmers face the highest distress levels. More than 60 per cent are intending to sell up in the next five years with 54 per cent of dairy farmers expressing a similar view.

  • Vic, Commonwealth bicker over dairy loans AAP - Wed, Jun 1, 2016 5:17 PM NZST

    Victoria's dairy farmers have been offered $30 million in interim loans in the first tranche of the federal government's dairy assistance scheme. The details were revealed in a letter to Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford from her federal counterpart Barnaby Joyce. A $555 million loans package for struggling dairy farmers was announced last month.

  • Pest found in SA cereal crops AAP - Wed, Jun 1, 2016 4:46 PM NZST

    An exotic pest has been detected in South Australian cereal crops - the first time it has been reported in Australia. The Russian wheat aphid, which poses a major threat to the state's $1.6 billion grain industry, has been found at a number of sites in the state's mid-north - prompting an investigation into the source and the launch of a control program. South Australian Agriculture Minister Leon Bignell says farmers need to be aware of the threat the aphid poses to their crops.