Rural News

  • Beauty companies target emerging markets AAP - 32 minutes ago

    In Brazil, women primarily wear their hair long, and need to tackle the country's generally hot, humid climate when they style it. Beauty industry giants such as L'Oreal, Unilever and Procter & Gamble that are looking to crack key emerging markets like Brazil are quickly adapting their product lines to suit local tastes. L'Oreal, the world's leading beauty group, has launched a new investment program in Brazil -- the number four market after the United States, Japan and China, and one expected to double in size by 2025.

  • Murray Goulburn may cut farmers' payments AAP - 1 hour 50 minutes ago

    Dairy co-operative Murray Goulburn is warning farmers it may have to cut how much it pays them for their products if global prices continue to fall. The dairy giant says it paid $6.02 per kilo of milk solids to farmers in 2014/15, the third highest farmgate milk price it has ever paid to suppliers. Murray Goulburn said that while there had been an unexpected continuation in the decline of dairy prices, the weaker Australian dollar was helping to offset those impacts.

  • Murray Goulburn hopeful on profit targets AAP - 2 hours 29 minutes ago

    Murray Goulburn is hopeful of meeting its profit forecasts despite a continuing slide in dairy commodity prices. The dairy co-operative on Monday reported a net profit of $25.17 million for the year to June 30, down 10 per cent from $27.94 million. Murray Goulburn said that while there had been an unexpected continuation in the decline of dairy prices, the weaker Australian dollar was helping to offset those impacts and the co-operative expected to produce an annual net profit of $86 million for 2015/16.

  • Industry pushes for speedy China FTA deal AAP - 12 hours ago
    Industry pushes for speedy China FTA deal

    Three leading industry groups will launch a national advertising campaign pushing federal parliament to ratify the free trade agreement with China by the end of the year. The National Farmers' Federation, the Minerals Council of Australia and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry say any delay in parliament ratifying the FTA deal will deprive business of new job and export opportunities. The campaign will focus on the farming, mining, energy and small business sectors and aims to convince Australians the deal is good for Australia.

  • Brazil drought brews trouble for coffee AAP - Fri, Aug 28, 2015 1:01 PM NZST

    Brazil's coffee harvest in 2014 was hit by one the country's worst droughts in decades, with effects on the world's largest producer which at the start of the year was threatening to spill over into 2015, pushing prices ever higher. Barabach says he expects production in 2015 to be "similar" to 2014, but exports may be even lower, potentially pushing prices yet higher.

  • Dairy price plunge hurts Bega Cheese AAP - Thu, Aug 27, 2015 8:13 PM NZST
    Dairy price plunge hurts Bega Cheese

    Tumbling dairy prices have eaten a hole in profits for Bega Cheese. The company's net profit dived 81 per cent to $12.4 million in the year to June as producers flooded the market with dairy products, causing a collapse in prices. The result was also affected by Bega's sale of its shares in Warrnambool Cheese and Butter and costs from the introduction of a milk sustainability program.

  • Farmers try to reassure China about deal AAP - Thu, Aug 27, 2015 7:23 PM NZST

    Australian farmers are trying to reassure their Chinese counterparts about the merits of their free trade agreement, in the face of a vocal union campaign. The Nationals Farmers Federation is part of a contingent that has headed to China, concerned about an advertising blitz by the CFMEU over the impact on Australian jobs. "It's been very important for us to reassure our Chinese colleagues and government counterparts that we're here for the long term ... that the noise you're hearing from sections of the Australian community, particularly the unions is misinformation," the federation's chief executive Simon Talbot told AAP from Shanghai on Thursday.

  • China, US seek 'clean coal' agreement AAP - Thu, Aug 27, 2015 1:01 PM NZST

    US and China officials have taken a major step toward an agreement to advance "clean coal" technologies that purport to reduce the fuel's contribution to climate change - and could offer a potential lifeline for an industry that's seen its fortunes fade. The agreement between the US Department of Energy and China's National Energy Administration would allow the two nations to share their results as they refine technologies to capture the greenhouse gases produced from burning coal, said Christopher Smith, the Energy Department's assistant secretary for fossil energy.

  • Landcorp profit cut as dairy prices fall AAP - Thu, Aug 27, 2015 11:00 AM NZST

    The sharp drop in global dairy prices has cut into Landcorp's profits, which are down almost 85 per cent. The tumbling price of milk solids, along with lower lamb prices, has resulted in a 12 per cent drop in income from farm products, to $NZ213.5 million. Global dairy prices have slumped over the past year amid higher supplies and weak demand, and lamb prices are also weak following a record Australian slaughter and after a mild winter boosted UK production.

  • More tree clearing on Qld banana farm AAP - Fri, Aug 21, 2015 3:53 PM NZST
    More tree clearing on Qld banana farm

    One hectare of crops will be cleared at a far north Queensland banana farm where a devastating fungal disease has been found for a second time this year. Biosecurity Queensland chief biosecurity officer Dr Jim Thompson says the discovery of the infected plant one kilometre from the initial outbreak is disappointing. "History would suggest that, yes, it's likely to continue to spread and we're likely to pick it up again," Dr Thompson told ABC radio.

  • Panama spreads within Qld banana farm AAP - Thu, Aug 20, 2015 7:45 PM NZST

    A devastating fungal disease has spread within a far north Queensland banana farm. The Tully property was one of two properties quarantined earlier this year after testing positive to Panama TR4, a soil-borne ...

  • Maine's cheese making boom continues AAP - Thu, Aug 20, 2015 1:01 PM NZST

    Heather and Doug Donahue left careers in teaching and construction to follow a dream of opening a dairy farm and cheese-making business in the rolling fields of Maine. Maine has established itself as the state with the fastest-growing artisan cheese industry in the US, and state agriculture officials say it's not slowing down. It's really kind of exploding," said Heather Donahue.

  • Methane tractor could cut farmers' costs AAP - Thu, Aug 20, 2015 1:01 PM NZST

    Luca Remmert's dream of running a self-sustainable farm is within sight. Remmert's 450-hectare La Bellotta farm has been testing a second-generation prototype of what will be the first tractor to run on methane, the T6 by New Holland Agriculture. Methane would be 30 per cent cheaper than diesel.

  • Awards, investors put fizz in UK wineries AAP - Wed, Aug 19, 2015 3:01 PM NZST

    Winning investor capital and new fans around the world, a growing number of British wineries are quickly gaining ground and breaking away from a niche home market for sparkling whites. Barry and Joyce Tay set up the Bluebell Vineyard in 2004 on a former pig farm in Uckfield in southern England near the sea. The couple now have six hectares of vines producing wine and they planted 19 more hectares in 2014, said Kevin Sutherland, a wine expert who has been helping them from the start.

  • Water is drying up, along with funds AAP - Mon, Aug 17, 2015 3:01 PM NZST

    A pipeline project intended to bring billions of gallons of water a year to a drought-stricken section of eastern New Mexico represents a lifeline to parched communities that are quickly running out of water. The slow pace of construction in what would be the state's most expensive infrastructure project to date underscores the challenges faced by a number of states eyeing such projects. During the widespread drought, officials are struggling to finish large-scale water infrastructure projects while populations are growing, drinking water resources are dwindling, and federal dollars are diminishing.

  • NT upbeat over cattle exports to Thailand AAP - Sat, Aug 15, 2015 12:51 AM NZST
    NT upbeat over cattle exports to Thailand

    The Northern Territory is hoping live cattle exports to Thailand can reach tens of thousands of head over the next five years after the trade resumed this year. NT Agriculture Minister Willem Westra van Holthe was upbeat as beef cattle exports to Thailand reached 7600 this year after import protocols came into effect late in 2014. "The Northern Territory recognises and had recognised for a long, long time that our future lies in Southeast Asia and, of course, Thailand is an emerging market for live cattle exports, is a key and critical part of that," Mr Westra van Holthe told AAP during an official visit.

  • Dairy industry pushes for swift China FTA AAP - Fri, Aug 14, 2015 1:38 PM NZST
    Dairy industry pushes for swift China FTA

    A delay in parliament passing the China free trade agreement could cost dairy exporters $80 million. The Australian Dairy Industry Council and Dairy Australia have told a treaties committee inquiry into ...

  • Are pink pineapples heading to market? AAP - Thu, Aug 13, 2015 3:01 PM NZST

    Cancer-fighting pink pineapples, heart-healthy purple tomatoes and less fatty vegetable oils may someday be on grocery shelves alongside more traditional products. The companies and scientists that have created these foods hoping customers will be attracted to the health benefits and convenience and overlook any concerns about genetic engineering. "I think once people see more of the benefits they will become more accepting of the technology," says Michael Firko, who oversees the US Agriculture Department's regulation of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

  • Aust bonds up amid US jobs disappoint AAP - Mon, Aug 10, 2015 7:14 PM NZST

    The Australian bond market is higher amid weaker Chinese trade figures and US employment growth. US non-farm payrolls for July were just short of forecasts with an extra 215,000 jobs added in the world's ...

  • $A stronger after US jobs data: RBA AAP - Mon, Aug 10, 2015 9:52 AM NZST

    The Australian dollar has hit a three-week high after Friday's US non-farm payrolls employment report was a little weaker than expected. At 0700 AEST on Monday, the currency was trading at 74.13 US cents, ...

  • SA food processor secures Chinese exports AAP - Wed, Aug 5, 2015 5:53 PM NZST

    Beston Global Food Company will supply the Dashang retail group with dairy, meat, seafood and health foods. "Our two companies share a common objective of taking lean, green and safe products from high-quality producers in Australia into the discerning consumer markets in China," Beston chairman Roger Sexton said in a statement on Wednesday.

  • Obama unveils emissions cut plan AAP - Tue, Aug 4, 2015 2:54 PM NZST

    Calling it a moral obligation, President Barack Obama has unveiled the final version of his plan to dramatically cut emissions from US power plants, as he warns anew that climate change will threaten future generations if left unchecked. Touting the plan at a White House event on Monday, Obama said the unprecedented carbon dioxide limits are the "the single most important step" America has ever taken to fight climate change. "There is such a thing as being too late when it comes to climate change," Obama said.

  • Food tech startups raking in cash: survey AAP - Tue, Aug 4, 2015 2:01 PM NZST

    Farm and food tech startups were red-hot in the first half of 2015, pulling in $US2.06 billion ($A2.82 billion) from investors, a new survey shows. The amount of money pouring in -- amid an overall boom in tech investments -- could be revised since some of the investments are not publicly disclosed, AgFunder said. The second quarter saw 99 deals totaling $971 million "which we expect to revise upward as additional funding data trickles in," AgFunder chief executive Rob Leclerc said.

  • Climate change: Obama orders steeper cuts AAP - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 3:24 PM NZST

    Aiming to jolt the rest of the world to action, President Barack Obama has moved ahead with even tougher greenhouse gas cuts on American power plants, setting up a certain confrontation in the courts with energy producers and Republican-led states. In finalising the unprecedented pollution controls, Obama was installing the core of his ambitious and controversial plan to drastically reduce overall US emissions, as he works to secure a legacy on fighting global warming. The Obama administration estimates the emissions limits will cost $US8.4 billion ($A11.49 billion) annually by 2030.

  • Fonterra fined for buttermilk stench Newstalk ZB - Mon, Aug 3, 2015 1:29 PM NZST

    Fonterra has been fined $192,000 for its involvement in a bad stench drifting through a small Taranaki town.

  • Melbourne Port lease to reap $200m AAP - Sun, Aug 2, 2015 7:33 PM NZST
    Melbourne Port lease to reap $200m

    Selling the Port of Melbourne lease will provide $200 million to help Victorian farmers with investment in agricultural infrastructure. Premier Daniel Andrews announced the new Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund in Bunyip and said the new $200 million would support investment in agricultural infrastructure and supply chains to boost productivity, increase exports and reduce costs. The deal is reliant on the successful passage of the lease legislation through parliament, which may not be an easy feat as the coalition and the Greens are using their numbers in the upper house to send the bill to an inquiry.

  • Joyce questions economics of Chinese mine AAP - Sun, Aug 2, 2015 6:50 PM NZST
    Joyce questions economics of Chinese mine

    Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has questioned the economics of the controversial Watermark coal mine going ahead in his NSW electorate on prime farming land. The go-ahead for Chinese-owned Shenhua mine now lies with the NSW state government, but Mr Joyce wonders why it would make an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars when coal is just $60 per tonne and it would be cheaper to buy an existing mine. "Economics is going to be a big player in this debate going forward," Mr Joyce told Sky News.

  • US spies on Japan trade talks: WikiLeaks AAP - Fri, Jul 31, 2015 10:51 PM NZST
    US spies on Japan trade talks: WikiLeaks

    Australia is receiving secret US intelligence on Japanese trade negotiations, according to newly published WikiLeaks documents. The Saturday Paper has reported the US National Security Agency routinely obtains highly sensitive information on issues including US-Japanese relations, trade issues and climate change policy. The information, some of which is collected from discussions in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's official residence, is shared with Australia, the newspaper says.

  • French farmers have Hollande's support AAP - Fri, Jul 31, 2015 12:01 PM NZST

    Over the past week, French farmers have used tractors to block the border with Germany and chucked foreign vegetables off trucks in protest of cheap imports. France's permissive attitude toward protest has cultural roots that run even deeper when it comes to the people who work the land. The actions of French farmers in this northern summer of discontent has included hijacking toll booths, setting up "customs" roadblocks to search trucks carrying German meat and throwing produce from abroad off trailers heading to French supermarkets.

  • Nationals demand TPP sweeteners AAP - Fri, Jul 31, 2015 5:31 AM NZST

    Trade Minister Andrew Robb is in Hawaii for what's hoped to be the final round of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Mr Robb insists he won't sign a deal that doesn't offer some sweeteners to sugar farmers. The US allows sugar imports on a quota system, with Australian cane farmers now allowed to send about 100,000 tonnes there each year.

  • Qld business confidence on the rise AAP - Thu, Jul 30, 2015 1:57 PM NZST

    Queensland businesses are more optimistic after the state budget, but they're still worried about economic risks. Confidence rose to 42.7 per cent in the June quarter of this year, up from 37.7 per cent in the March quarter, according to a Westpac Group-Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) survey. CCIQ's Nick Behrens says businesses responded positively to the budget, but he warns they're still concerned about the weak resource sector, drought and reduced consumer spending.

  • New machines to revive green chile trade AAP - Thu, Jul 30, 2015 12:01 PM NZST

    Efforts are underway to save the green chile that's important to traditional New Mexican fare as labour shortages, a previous severe drought and competition from China, India and Mexico endanger its growth in the state. The delicate chillies are now picked by hand, and problems with bruising and removing their stems have made the change to machines difficult. New Mexico land dedicated to growing chile has long been declining, and experts say mechanisation might stop or even reverse the trend.

  • Australia keen on quinoa-powered future AAP - Wed, Jul 29, 2015 3:17 PM NZST

    It began as a hard-to-pronounce hipster health fad but quinoa may one day make Australia a global superfood superpower. A worldwide boom in consumption of quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has sparked interest in growing the high-protein, high-priced cereal in Australia and now agriculture researchers have set up trials around the country to investigate the potential for high-volume local production. Project leader Richard Snowball, from the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA), is overseeing tests of quinoa crops in NSW, South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

  • Medical marijuana biotechs join forces AAP - Tue, Jul 28, 2015 7:27 PM NZST

    PhytoTech Medical and MMJ Bioscience have joined forces to become the first Australian-listed medical marijuana company to control pharmaceutical hemp from farm to pharmacy counter. The re-branded MMJ PhytoTech will control the complete supply chain from cultivation to distribution after Phytotech raised $4.8 million to buy MMJ Bioscience. MMJ PhytoTech chief executive Andreas Gedeon said the merger made the company one of the only serious players in the medical marijuana market.

  • Anatara set to target Europe, US markets AAP - Tue, Jul 28, 2015 3:41 PM NZST

    Biotech Anatara Lifesciences, which is working to treat diarrhoea in farm animals, is set to target markets in Europe and the US. Detach is a natural, non-antibiotic treatment for diarrhoea in pigs and other farm animals. "The combined $9 million raised will allow Anatara to move into both Europe and the US markets in parallel, as well as target the larger Asian markets earlier than originally forecast," Anatara chairman Dr Mel Bridges said on Tuesday.