Rural News

  • Qld farm gets third Panama result AAP - Thu, Oct 8, 2015 7:06 PM NZDT

    A devastating fungal disease has been found at a Queensland banana farm for the third time this year. The Department of Agriculture on Thursday confirmed one plant had tested positive for the soil-borne Panama TR-4 at the Robsons' Tully banana farm. Panama disease, which can survive in earth for up to 40 years, wiped out the Northern Territory's banana industry in the 1990s.

  • Qld farm gets third positive Panama result AAP - Thu, Oct 8, 2015 6:15 PM NZDT

    A devastating fungal disease has been found in a third part of a north Queensland banana farm. The Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of the soil-borne Panama TR-4 in a new area of the Robsons' ...

  • World economic leaders tackle slow growth AAP - Thu, Oct 8, 2015 3:10 PM NZDT

    Kick-starting the sluggish global economy and funding the climate-change fight top the agenda this week as finance ministers and central bank chiefs from around the world gather in Peru. Setting the stage for the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the IMF Tuesday cut its 2015 growth forecast for the world economy to 3.1 per cent, predicting the worst year since the global recession of 2009. The downward revision will provide a gloomy backdrop as economic policymakers from 188 countries meet in the Peruvian capital Lima from Friday to Sunday.

  • Genex wants to build largest solar farm AAP - Thu, Oct 8, 2015 1:20 PM NZDT

    An alternative energy company wants to build the country's largest solar farm next to the Queensland gold mine that it will convert into a hydroelectric power plant. Genex Power has launched a feasibility study for a large-scale solar photovoltaics plant at the Kidston gold mine, 270km northwest of Townsville. "Subject to a successful feasibility study, and assuming 150MW of generation capacity, the solar project will be the largest in Australia," a statement from Genex Power said.

  • A2 Milk announced $NZ43 mn capital raising AAP - Thu, Oct 8, 2015 10:28 AM NZDT

    A2 Milk is launching a $NZ43 million ($A39.42 million) capital raising through a placement and share purchase plan to support its planned expansion in China, the UK and United States. The company's shares, valued at 65 cents on the ASX at Wednesday's close, have been placed in a trading halt ahead of the placement of new ordinary shares with a floor price of 67 NZ cents each. A2, which in July rejected a takeover offer from Australia's Freedom Foods and US dairy giant Dean Foods, has appointed Goldman Sachs New Zealand to act as sole arranger, book runner and underwriter for the fully underwritten placement, which is being offered to institutional investors.

  • Sugar trade deal not so sweet AAP - Wed, Oct 7, 2015 5:33 AM NZDT

    As well as boosting trade with the US, the government says the deal will open up markets in Vietnam, Malaysia, Chile and Canada and usher in a new era of opportunity across the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region. Despite welcoming the freshly-inked 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership as a win for agriculture, the Nationals backbencher says the deal is only "OK" for sugar.

  • Aussie farmers to reap $3.67b from TPP AAP - Tue, Oct 6, 2015 2:00 PM NZDT
    Aussie farmers to reap $3.67b from TPP

    Australian farmers could benefit from the 12-nation Pacific free trade deal to the tune of an extra $US2.6 billion ($A3.67 billion) in annual exports within a decade. Australia already does $A109 billion of trade with the countries that have signed up to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, representing a third of the nation's total. "The TPP can transform Australia's trade by providing businesses with freer market access and new trade and investment corridors," HSBC Australia chief executive Tony Cripps said.

  • TPP may add $3.67b in agriculture exports AAP - Tue, Oct 6, 2015 11:28 AM NZDT

    The 12-nation Pacific free trade deal could add an extra $US2.6 billion ($A3.67 billion) to Australia's agricultural exports. "The Trans-Pacific Partnership will usher in a new era of trade growth for Australia linked to innovative global value chains, agriculture and high-value services," HSBC Australia chief executive Tony Cripps said. One third, or $A109 billion, of Australia's trade last year was with the countries that have signed up to the TPP, including the United States, Canada and Japan.

  • Farmers' $1bn Pacific trade deal boost AAP - Tue, Oct 6, 2015 11:13 AM NZDT

    Farmers are looking forward to having more money in their pockets as a result of tariff cuts under an historic Pacific trade deal. The agriculture sector is one of the biggest winners of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership with new market access or tariff cuts for red meat, dairy and rice. The National Farmers Federation expects it will return $1 billion to farmers overall.

  • Aust bonds firm ahead of rate decision AAP - Mon, Oct 5, 2015 6:42 PM NZDT

    The Australian bond market is firmer in the wake of weaker US jobs figures and ahead of the Reserve Bank's interest rate decision. US non-farm payroll figures on Friday showed that 142,000 jobs were added to the world's largest economy in September, well below expectations of a gain of 205,000, while the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.1 per cent. ANZ economists said the data raised doubts about the strength of the US economy and prompted a rethink on the timing of the Federal Reserve's next move.

  • Winemakers hunt for climate change help AAP - Mon, Oct 5, 2015 2:00 PM NZDT

    Amid the bustle of a busy harvest in France's famed Beaujolais wine-making region, a quiet effort is underway to counter one of the industry's biggest potential threats: climate change. "The ones with yellow leaves, which are missing foliage at the base of the vine's main stem, the ones with withered grapes, we don't want them," said Jean-Michel Desperrier of the Beaujolais winemakers' research centre Sicarex. Since the 2003 heatwave -- Europe's hottest summer since reliable records began -- winemakers have become acutely aware of climate change and its impacts on their work.

  • SA growers urge govt to allow GM seeds AAP - Tue, Sep 29, 2015 1:16 PM NZDT

    South Australian grain growers will petition the state government for the right to grow genetically-modified crops. Farmers want to be able to grow GM canola, but can't because of SA's moratorium on genetically-modified ...

  • Less poverty to help fight climate change AAP - Tue, Sep 29, 2015 1:00 PM NZDT

    India is expected to confirm plans this week for a five-fold increase in renewable energy by 2020. Describing poverty as a key source of global pollution, Prakash Javadekar told The Associated Press last Thursday that nations hoping to reach a global climate pact in Paris in December must commit to a world where all seven billion-plus inhabitants have equal rights and access to electricity, opportunity and justice. "Poverty is, in a way, a real polluting factor," Javadekar said, adding that India's top priority is elevating hundreds of millions of Indians still living on less than $US2 ($A2.84) a day.

  • Brazil pledges 37% emissions cut by 2025 AAP - Mon, Sep 28, 2015 4:03 PM NZDT
    Brazil pledges 37% emissions cut by 2025

    Brazil has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 37 per cent by 2025 from 2005 levels as part of its contribution to a pact to fight global warming. President Dilma Rousseff announced Brazil's targets for a landmark agreement on climate change in an address to the UN in New York on Sunday. In addition to its 2025 commitment, Rousseff said Brazil has an "ambition" of achieving 43 per cent emissions reductions by 2030.

  • NZ dairy bust shows far-reaching ripples AAP - Fri, Sep 25, 2015 2:00 PM NZST

    As Chinese grew wealthier while their economy raced ahead, dairy farmers almost 10,000 kilometres away in verdant New Zealand felt like they'd won the lottery. A world milk glut and a decline in Chinese demand for imported dairy products have sent prices down by 50 per cent. Many farmers are borrowing to stay afloat and rural suicides have increased. Dairy trade to China has proved particularly volatile, rising from $NZ2.8 billion in 2013 to $NZ6 billion last year, then plunging to $NZ2.3 billion this year.

  • The week in numbers to Sept 25 AAP - Fri, Sep 25, 2015 12:55 PM NZST

    The big and small numbers that grabbed attention - or should have - in the business world over the past week. Monday: 277 - The world's larges dairy producer New Zealand's Fonterra has announced a further ...

  • World's largest rice database launched AAP - Thu, Sep 24, 2015 1:01 PM NZST

    The world's biggest genetic rice database online is now available free, a move scientists hope will contribute to a "green revolution". Information on the genetic sequence of 3,024 rice varieties can now be accessed through the Amazon Web Services system, a cloud computing platform, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) said. The head of IRRI's genetic resources centre, Rory Hamilton, said the database would make it faster and easier to develop new rice varieties in the face of climate change and a growing world population.

  • Fonterra eyes better prices AAP - Thu, Sep 24, 2015 10:13 AM NZST

    Fonterra has raised its forecast milk payout from a decade low after posting a jump in full-year profit driven by improved returns from its consumer and food service businesses. Mr Wilson said the lift in profitability in the second half of the 2015 financial year was expected to carry through into the current financial year.

  • Dairy commentator predicts humble Fonterra profit Newstalk ZB - Thu, Sep 24, 2015 5:01 AM NZST

    Farmers will be expecting savings from a restructured Fonterra today.

  • Fonterra culls 750 jobs to cut costs AAP - Mon, Sep 21, 2015 11:58 AM NZST
    Fonterra culls 750 jobs to cut costs

    Dairy exporting giant Fonterra has cut 750 jobs so far as part of a major review to trim costs and remain competitive on the world stage. The Auckland-based company has issued an update on its business review in which chief executive Theo Spierings confirmed the job losses to date and warned there was more "fine-tuning" to come. The company cut 523 jobs in July and has since cut a further 227 positions.

  • Companies call for climate change action AAP - Thu, Sep 17, 2015 4:25 PM NZST
    Companies call for climate change action

    Some of Australia's biggest companies, including Westpac, BHP Billiton and Wesfarmers, have jointly called for a more serious approach to reducing carbon emissions. The eight companies have issued a joint statement saying they want to help tackle global warming and hope a deal will be struck at the United Nations climate change talks in Paris to limit global warming to less than two degrees above pre-industrial levels. The statement comes in the same week that the Liberal Party installed Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister in place of Tony Abbott, a known climate change sceptic.

  • US milk industry fights back AAP - Thu, Sep 17, 2015 4:00 PM NZST

    America's milk industry is fed up with all the sourness over dairy. As Americans continue turning away from milk, an industry group has been pushing back at its critics with a social media campaign trumpeting the benefits of milk. Julia Kadison, of Milk Processor Education Program, which represents milk companies, said the breaking point came last year when the British Medical Journal published a study suggesting drinking lots of milk could lead to earlier death and a higher incident of fractures.

  • China beef exports falter without FTA AAP - Wed, Sep 16, 2015 5:07 PM NZST

    Australia will sell less beef to China next year but more to Japan and South Korea, where free trade agreements are already in place, new export projections show. The forecast that beef and veal exports to China will fall four per cent to 120,000 tonnes in 2015/16 comes before Trade Minister Andrew Robb introduces legislation for the the Australian-China free trade agreement in parliament on Wednesday. Figures in the September forecast from the Australian Bureau of Agriculture Economics and Sciences (ABARES) show exports to Japan and South Korea - where free trade agreements are in place - should rise four per cent and five per cent respectively in the same period.

  • Rain gives SA crops $200m boost AAP - Thu, Sep 10, 2015 2:28 PM NZST
    Rain gives SA crops $200m boost

    South Australia's grain crop has received a $200 million boost after a month of regular rain. SA's crop estimate has increased by 700,000 tonnes to 7.6 million tonnes, Agriculture Minister Leon Bignell ...

  • SA agriculture park to supply China AAP - Wed, Sep 9, 2015 12:44 PM NZST

    A $70 million agricultural park will be built in Adelaide to supply Chinese shops with food and wine, under an agreement signed by a group of South Australia and Chinese companies. The industrial food park expected to be built in Adelaide's north by the consortium will produce hundreds of containers of food and wine for China's Shandong province, SA exporter Tony Royal says. "China's expanding middle class has an insatiable appetite for high-quality wine and food.

  • Mine water impact risks tree health: study AAP - Tue, Sep 8, 2015 8:11 PM NZST

    Open-cut mines can leave surrounding trees unable to withstand drought, according to research that may have implications for the controversial Shenhua Watermark coal project. Researchers have found that underground water tables can fall by up to 20m within two kilometres of an open-cut mine as miners pump out groundwater to keep it out of the mine pit. Groundwater can fall by up to four metres more than five kilometres away from a mine because of the cone of depression that forms around the excavation site.

  • US offshore wind energy off to slow start AAP - Tue, Sep 8, 2015 3:01 PM NZST

    When the Obama administration cleared the way five years ago for the US' first offshore wind farm to be built, advocates hoped it was the start of a new way of generating power along the East Coast. Deepwater Wind's Rhode Island project is a five-turbine wind farm that would be able to power 17,000 homes, perhaps as early as 2016. Developers and industry experts say the offshore wind energy sector is off to such a slow start in the US because of regulatory hurdles, opposition from fossil fuel interests and the trials and tribulations of doing something for the first time.

  • Loans for Tasmanian farmers with ideas AAP - Mon, Sep 7, 2015 5:20 PM NZST

    Tasmanian farmers with a fantastic idea will be able to apply to the state government to share in a new $10 million agricultural loan scheme aimed at supporting long-term profit-making ventures. Primary ...

  • Market edges higher ahead of US jobs data AAP - Fri, Sep 4, 2015 7:06 PM NZST

    The share market has closed slightly higher in a see-sawing session ahead of the release of important jobs figures in the US. Many investors were sitting on the sidelines as they waited for US non-farm ...

  • Qld court rejects Rinehart mine challenge AAP - Fri, Sep 4, 2015 3:42 PM NZST

    Anti-mining activists have been dealt a double blow after a Queensland judge dismissed a challenge to Gina Rinehart's planned Alpha mine and ordered they pay court costs. GVK Hancock is hoping to build an open cut mine in Queensland's Galilee Basin which would produce 32 million tonnes of coal each year. Opponents argue it would contribute to climate change and impact on groundwater supplies in the Great Artesian Basin.

  • GVK Alpha mine challenge dismissed AAP - Fri, Sep 4, 2015 12:53 PM NZST

    A lobby group's legal challenge against Gina Rinehart's central Queensland Alpha coal mine has been dismissed. Lobby group Coast and County, on behalf of three farmers, had challenged GVK plans to build the Galilee Basin mine after the former environment minister approved them last year. Justice James Douglas on Friday dismissed the legal challenge in the Supreme Court in Brisbane and ordered the farmers to pay legal costs.

  • Qld economy not all doom and gloom: report AAP - Thu, Sep 3, 2015 3:14 PM NZST

    Queensland's economy faces its fair share of challenges but the outlook isn't as bleak as we might think, according to Deloitte Access Economics. The company released its Queensland Business Outlook for September on Thursday, identifying crumbling commodity prices, poor gas construction, unflattering unemployment figures and a prolonged drought as prominent negatives. Economic growth over the past year has also been constrained by smaller population growth and weaker than expected retail expenditure growth, the report says.

  • Harvey Norman's dairy stake "odd" AAP - Wed, Sep 2, 2015 6:29 PM NZST
    Harvey Norman's dairy stake "odd"

    Harvey Norman's acquisition of a stake in a dairy farm may be mystifying for some, but not for executive chairman Gerry Harvey. The business includes dairy farm operations, along with a pedigree breeding and genetics division. Harvey Norman gave no explanation for its interest in Coomboona in its ASX notice.

  • Harvey Norman buys $34m stake in dairy co AAP - Wed, Sep 2, 2015 11:04 AM NZST
    Harvey Norman buys $34m stake in dairy co

    Homewares retailer Harvey Norman has agreed to pay $34 million for a 49.9 per cent stake in northern Victorian dairy company Coomboona. Coomboona owns land and farm assets in the Coomboona district of ...

  • Dairy prices rise again at auction AAP - Wed, Sep 2, 2015 9:19 AM NZST

    Prices have risen for the second successive time in Fonterra's fortnightly GlobalDairyTrade auction, up nearly 11 per cent. Whole milk powder, which makes up the bulk of Fonterra's exports, was up 12.1 per cent to $US2078.