Rural News

  • Indonesia frees up foreign investment AAP - Thu, Feb 11, 2016 9:43 PM NZDT

    Indonesia has opened dozens of sectors to foreign investors in what President Joko Widodo has described as a "Big Bang" liberalisation of its economy, Southeast Asia's largest. President Joko Widodo's administration loosened foreign investment restrictions on Thursday, on everything from restaurants and agriculture to health facilities and movie theatres. "Today's revisions represent our largest opening to international investment in 10 years," Trade Minister Tom Lembong told Reuters.

  • NT Labor launches censure of deputy leader AAP - Thu, Feb 11, 2016 6:50 PM NZDT

    The Northern Territory Labor opposition has launched a censure motion aimed at the deputy chief minister and his controversial dealings with a Vietnamese company. Opposition Leader Michael Gunner said Primary Industry and Fisheries Minister Willem Westra van Holthe breached the ministerial code of conduct and potentially the criminal code when he signed a shares offer for $570,000 to invest in a mega-mall project of CT Group, a company his girlfriend worked for and with whom the NT government was working to develop a $140 million dragon-fruit farm in the Top End. Mr Westra van Holthe has maintained there was no wrongdoing or conflict of interest because he pulled out of the deal after signing the offer in September.

  • Farmer confidence dips - not just for dairy Newstalk ZB - Wed, Feb 10, 2016 5:23 AM NZDT

    Federated Farmers is confident the banks will do the right thing by farmers as it's shaping up to be a tough year.

  • NZ eco-tourism venture on market AAP - Tue, Feb 9, 2016 10:48 AM NZDT

    A New Zealand eco-tourism venture on Otago Peninsula's world-famous Taiaroa Heads is up for sale. The owner of Natures Wonders, Perry Reid and his family, say it needs an injection of money to maintain it or to take it further. Natures Wonders is a privately-owned 172-hectare property at the tip of the peninsula, with historic gun placements, a working sheep and beef farm, and some of New Zealand's largest colonies of native species.

  • End of El Nino lifts agricuture outlook AAP - Mon, Feb 8, 2016 4:14 PM NZDT

    Rabobank says farmers will benefit from the dissipation of the El Nino weather pattern, a further weakening of the Australian dollar and lower oil prices helping to ease input costs. Rabobank's Agribusiness Outlook 2016 report, released on Monday, said the outlook was positive for most agricultural sectors, especially beef and sheep producers. Rabobank's manager of country banking in Australia, Todd Charteris, said the El Nino weather pattern in 2015 had hindered production, especially the winter grain crop.

  • Farm in a box: Shipping containers reused AAP - Mon, Feb 8, 2016 4:02 PM NZDT

    Shipping containers have been turned into housing, art, even playgrounds. Now, a Boston company is recycling them into high-tech mobile farms as part of a new wave of companies hoping to bring more innovation to agriculture. Freight Farms and other US indoor agriculture companies are looking to meet the growing demand for high-quality, locally grown and sustainable produce by farming fruits and vegetables in non-traditional spaces such as warehouses, industrial buildings and containers.

  • BHP pledges $20m for low emissions tech AAP - Mon, Feb 8, 2016 3:54 PM NZDT
    BHP pledges $20m for low emissions tech

    Resources giant BHP Billiton has pledged $20 million for a knowledge centre in Canada's Saskatchewan province to develop carbon capture and storage technologies. BHP will partner with local electricity provider SaskPower for the project. BHP has committed to spend the money over five years for the research centre in Regina, which will help develop low-emissions technologies necessary to limit the impact of climate change.

  • Aust bonds lower on US jobs data AAP - Mon, Feb 8, 2016 10:56 AM NZDT

    Australian bond prices are lower amid glimmers of hope about the US labour market and a heavy domestic bond supply. Non-farm payrolls data, released on Friday, showed that the US jobless rate was just ...

  • $A higher as greenback roars back to life AAP - Mon, Feb 8, 2016 9:27 AM NZDT

    The Australian dollar has continued to slide as the greenback "roars back to life" amid hopes of a US labour market recovery. US non-farm payroll data, released on Friday, showed a drop in unemployment and a sharp rise in wage growth, indicating the US labour market was recovering, helping to spur the greenback's rise. National Australia Bank's global co-head of FX strategy Ray Attrill says that although commodity prices were set back by the stronger US dollar, it was commodity currencies like the Australian dollar that fared worse.

  • No room on the plane to meet demand AAP - Fri, Feb 5, 2016 1:16 PM NZDT

    As Asian appetite for delicacies such as lobster and cherries soars for the Lunar New Year, some producers in Australia and New Zealand have been facing problems getting their lucrative cargo to consumers on time. Farmers and fishermen have been jostling for limited air freight space and trying to perfect the timing of production cycles for a peak in demand, as hundreds of millions of people in countries such as China prepare to eat lavish meals during the new year festival. "This year, we have had some issues with air freight to Hong Kong.

  • Aust bonds modeslty lower ahead of US data AAP - Fri, Feb 5, 2016 11:09 AM NZDT

    The Australian bond prices are marginally lower as global markets continue to get whipped around by oil and equities. ANZ economists said US Treasuries traded with a calmer tone ahead of US non-farm payrolls ...

  • Adani mine clears environment hurdle AAP - Tue, Feb 2, 2016 9:29 PM NZDT

    Indian mining giant Adani has cleared a major hurdle for its controversial Carmichael coal mine, with the Queensland government issuing the project with a final environmental permit. The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) said it had vigorously assessed the environmental authority application and acted on recommendations made by the Land Court. "Climate change will kill the Great Barrier Reef, putting at risk the tens of thousands of local tourism jobs," said Ellen Roberts, Queensland Lead Organiser for GetUp.

  • Coles dumps Bega for Murray Goulburn AAP - Mon, Feb 1, 2016 3:42 PM NZDT
    Coles dumps Bega for Murray Goulburn

    Coles has dumped Bega Cheese as the supplier of the supermarket chain's own brand cheese products. Bega will be replaced by Australia's largest dairy co-operative, Devondale Murray Goulburn, which has just signed a five-year partnership with Coles. Under the agreement, Devondale Murray Goulburn will supply a range of Coles brand cheddar-style cheese including tasty, colby, mild and light cheese from January next year.

  • Qld farmers need up to $1.5b: economist AAP - Fri, Jan 29, 2016 8:25 PM NZDT
    Qld farmers need up to $1.5b: economist

    Up to $1.5 billion could be needed from the Queensland government to help farmers struggling to cope with the state's crippling drought. Economist Mark McGovern predicts the government will need to put up anywhere between $500 million and $1.5 billion to address the state's rural debt crisis, with solutions including a reconstruction board, or rural bank, and multi-peril loans currently being considered. "In an extreme drought, and Queensland is in 85 per cent drought, you can't expect people in their third and fourth year without income to be still able to stand up and say `I'm ok'," the Queensland University of Technology academic said.

  • Industry won't buy tainted Qld banana farm AAP - Thu, Jan 28, 2016 6:11 PM NZDT
    Industry won't buy tainted Qld banana farm

    The banana industry will not buy out a farm infected with the potentially devastating soil-borne virus, Panama Tropical Race 4. The Australian Banana Growers Council (ABGC) had proposed an industry-funded ...

  • Phoney rice data threatens food supply AAP - Thu, Jan 28, 2016 1:01 PM NZDT

    Indonesian agriculture officials routinely inflate rice harvest data to present a rosy picture to the government and keep farm subsidies flowing, but their latest phoney numbers could lead to a severe shortage of the staple in coming months, officials say. If the data had been correct, Indonesia would be awash with rice supplies and the country's president would have less to worry about. "These numbers are so exaggerated," said a senior government official, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

  • Fonterra drops payout forecast AAP - Thu, Jan 28, 2016 10:35 AM NZDT
    Fonterra drops payout forecast

    The world's biggest dairy exporter Fonterra has announced a big drop in its forecast farmgate milk price payout, blaming global economic conditions. When combined with the earnings per share and retentions this would equate to a forecast cash payout of $NZ4.50-$NZ4.55/kgMS, well below the $NZ5 mark which is considered the break-even point for farmers. The cut was expected and Westland Milk Products also cut its forecast payout this week.

  • Greencross rejects TPG takeover proposal AAP - Wed, Jan 27, 2016 6:24 PM NZDT

    Listed vet and pet care retailer Greencross has rejected a $736 million takeover proposal from global private investment firm TPG. Greencross also said on Wednesday that it had received proposals and expressions of interest from other parties but had rejected them because they were conditional, uncertain and undervalued Greencross. Greencross operates the Petbarn, City Farmers, Animates and Greencross Vets brands, with 209 stores, 142 clinics, 43 in-store grooming salons and 111 in-store dog washes across Australia and New Zealand.

  • Dongfang expansion bears fruit AAP - Wed, Jan 27, 2016 6:03 PM NZDT

    Chinese citrus producer Dongfang Modern Agriculture, which listed on the Australian share market last year, expects the current citrus and camellia harvest in China to be the company's best ever. The company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in October 2015, giving Australian investors the opportunity to gain direct exposure to China's ever-growing agriculture industry. Dongfang raised $39 million in an initial public offer of shares partly to help it fund the leasing of more fruit plantations in China.

  • Obama does victory lap for car industry AAP - Thu, Jan 21, 2016 1:09 PM NZDT
    Obama does victory lap for car industry

    President Barack Obama, facing Republican criticism over the state of the economy, has done a Detroit victory lap to showcase the car companies his administration helped save. Obama has held out his bailout of General Motors and Chrysler during the US recession as examples of tough decisions he made that paid off both for the economy and the environment. "The auto industry here in the United States has figured out that we can make more fuel-efficient cars that reduce the carbon pollution that is causing climate change, and make a profit - and put more people to work," Obama told a crowd at a United Auto Workers Union centre for workers at GM.

  • Pope urges Davos to consider poverty AAP - Thu, Jan 21, 2016 9:48 AM NZDT
    Pope urges Davos to consider poverty

    Pope Francis has told members of the world's wealthy political and economic elite they should not be deaf to the cry of the poor and must consider their own role in creating inequality. New technologies such as robotics must also not be allowed to replace humans with "soulless machines," he said in a message to the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday. The annual Davos meeting brings together many of the world's wealthiest and most powerful people to consider issues such as economics, climate change and war, with an eye to working on solutions to them.

  • DiCaprio rips into Big Oil at Davos summit AAP - Wed, Jan 20, 2016 9:51 PM NZDT
    DiCaprio rips into Big Oil at Davos summit

    Fresh off his Golden Globe win, Leonardo DiCaprio drew ooohs, ahhs and smiles from a crowd as he was honoured for his work against the climate crisis at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Then he ripped into Big Oil. The Hollywood star of The Revenant on Tuesday announced his foundation was donating another $US15 million ($A21.69 million) to environmental projects, and pleaded with business leaders and other notables on hand to help battle climate change.

  • Coal India plans biggest tech overhaul AAP - Wed, Jan 20, 2016 4:01 PM NZDT

    Coal India Ltd is making its biggest tech overhaul in four decades to check rampant theft and shed its image as an inefficient behemoth, spurred by an impending opening up of the sector to private firms for the first time since the 1970s. Coal India's productivity is estimated at just one-eighth of its technologically advanced rivals in the United States, and as much as a fifth of its annual output is stolen, costing the company up to $US1 billion ($A1.44 billion) a year. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, Coal India has raised output at a record pace, helped by accelerated environmental clearances, though this has prompted criticism that the world's third-largest carbon emitter is not doing enough to check climate change.

  • Funding boost for drought-hit farmers Newstalk ZB - Wed, Jan 20, 2016 12:15 PM NZDT

    The South Island's drought classification has been extended for the third time, and entered its second year.

  • WEF warns of growing array of risks AAP - Mon, Jan 18, 2016 11:01 AM NZDT

    The global economy faces an array of risks, from natural disasters related to climate change to the rise of the Islamic State group and increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks, according to experts polled by the World Economic Forum, which organises the annual gathering of political and business leaders in the Swiss resort of Davos. In a bleak assessment, published ahead of the January 20-23 Davos meeting, the WEF said its survey found that a failure to deal with and prepare for climate change is potentially the most costly risk over the next 10 years, ahead of weapons of mass destruction, water crises, large-scale migration flows and severe energy price shocks. "Climate change is exacerbating more risks than ever before in terms of water crises, food shortages, constrained economic growth, weaker social cohesion and increased security risks," said Cecilia Reyes, chief risk officer at Zurich Insurance, which helped develop the annual Global Risks Report.

  • Obama administration halts new coal leases AAP - Sat, Jan 16, 2016 1:48 PM NZDT
    Obama administration halts new coal leases

    The Obama administration is halting new coal leases on federal lands until it completes a comprehensive review of fees charged to mining companies and coal mining's impact on the environment. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Friday said that companies can continue to mine coal reserves already under lease. The coal leasing program has not been significantly changed in more than 30 years, Jewell said, adding that it needs to be modernised to ensure a fair return to American taxpayers and to account for climate change.

  • More milk affected by WA bushfires AAP - Thu, Jan 14, 2016 7:44 PM NZDT
    More milk affected by WA bushfires

    Harvey Fresh is not the only milk producer to be affected by the deadly bushfires in Western Australia's South West, with Brownes Dairy confirming its milk supply has also been impacted. In a statement posted to social media, Brownes said seven of the 15 dairy farms affected by the bushfires supplied milk to the company. Brownes Dairy said it lost two to three days of production, while Harvey Fresh had previously confirmed a similar delay.

  • Industry may buy infected Qld banana farm AAP - Wed, Jan 6, 2016 4:11 PM NZDT

    A banana farm infected by a devastating fungal disease could be bought out and closed by the industry. Australian Banana Growers Council chairman Doug Phillips says a buy-out and closure, with all proceeds going to the embattled family, would be the best outcome for the entire industry. "The ABGC believes it is in the best interests of the overall banana industry that farming be discontinued on the property as soon as possible," he said.

  • Tinkler stays believer on coal's future AAP - Wed, Jan 6, 2016 2:38 PM NZDT
    Tinkler stays believer on coal's future

    Former mining tycoon Nathan Tinkler is betting on a strong future for coal in Australia, despite plummeting coal prices and the increasing global focus on limiting climate change. "Australia is in a different position to the rest of the world, we have very high quality coal that will continue to be in demand," he told Sky Business. "Part of Australia's problem is that we are grouped with low-quality producers such as Indonesia and China.

  • Aust Dairy Farms to buy Victoria dairy AAP - Tue, Dec 29, 2015 9:12 PM NZDT
    Aust Dairy Farms to buy Victoria dairy

    Milk producer Australian Dairy Farms will pay $11 million to acquire Victoria-based Camperdown Dairy Company from food delivery company Aussie Farmers Direct. Camperdown's plant in South West Victoria has capacity to process 36 million litres of raw milk per annum. Australian Dairy Farms, which operates six dairy farms in close proximity to the CDC milk processing facility, said the acquisition will deliver significant value and and provide key synergies and profit margin expansion opportunities.

  • 10 million Ethiopians need food aid AAP - Thu, Dec 24, 2015 2:01 PM NZDT

    More than 10 million Ethiopians will need food aid in 2016, up from 8.2 million in 2015, due to the worst drought in decades, the charity Save the Children warns. Although it has one of the highest growth rates in Africa, Ethiopia's economy still depends heavily on farming, which employs three quarters of the workforce in the nation of more than 90 million people. Caused by failed spring and summer rains and worsened by the El Nino weather phenomenon, the drought has led to food and water shortages.

  • EU doubles aid to drought-hit PNG AAP - Thu, Dec 24, 2015 10:15 AM NZDT
    EU doubles aid to drought-hit PNG

    An El Nino-related drought and frost have triggered severe food and water shortages in Papua New Guinea's highlands, prompting the European Commission to more than double its aid there. The warming of the Pacific Ocean due to the El Nino weather system is causing drought and other extreme weather, affecting millions of people across parts of the world. Prime Minister Peter O'Neill in August said El Nino may bring on the worst drought in 20 years in Papua New Guinea, which is home to more than 7 million people who mostly rely on their own crops for food.

  • WTO agriculture deal 'remarkable': Robb AAP - Sun, Dec 20, 2015 3:43 PM NZDT
    WTO agriculture deal 'remarkable': Robb

    The World Trade Organization has reached deals on agricultural export subsidies, food aid and other issues, capping a ministerial conference in the Kenyan capital which Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb praised as "remarkable and historic". Mr Robb said the decision to abolish agricultural export subsidies would have significant implications for Australian farmers. Speaking from Nairobi, he said the "unexpected" deal was a win for the country's meat, dairy, sugar, grain, wine, cotton and vegetable producers.

  • Nigerian farmers can sue Shell over spill AAP - Sat, Dec 19, 2015 6:46 PM NZDT
    Nigerian farmers can sue Shell over spill

    A Dutch appeals court has ruled that Royal Dutch Shell may be held liable for oil spills at its subsidiary in Nigeria, potentially opening the way for other compensation claims against multinationals in the Niger Delta and elsewhere. The ruling was hailed by rights groups as a victory for victims of environmental pollution worldwide, while Shell said it was disappointed. Judges in The Hague on Friday ordered Shell to make available to the court documents that might cast light on the cause of the spills and whether leading managers were aware of them.

  • A2 shares surge as firm can't meet demand AAP - Fri, Dec 18, 2015 9:58 PM NZDT
    A2 shares surge as firm can't meet demand

    A2 Milk shares have surged on bumper profit predictions as the company struggles to keep up with soaring demand for its infant formula in China and Australia. Parents of infants have complained of continuing shortages of high quality baby formula despite dairy companies boosting production and the big supermarket chains imposing customer limits on purchases. A2 now expects sales of its a2 Platinum brand to be around $NZ68 million ($A64 million) for the six months to 31 December 2015 as demand among Chinese consumers soars.