Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Five further thoughts

465 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 14 15 16 17 18 19 Newer→ Last

  • krothville,

    Farmer Green, sorry, I'm not very knowledgeable about the dairy sector, so I have a few questions.

    "Through-put driven", so this means that Fonterra is focussed on the volumes of milk it receives from farmers?

    "It should be obvious that the way the bulk of the NZ dairy industry, i.e. Fonterra , is operating is a disaster , environmentally , economically and socially, for the whole country, but it is a perfectly rational response to the policy settings under which Fonterra operates."
    So, this refers to the effects of too many cows on the soil and waterways, fertiliser run-off etc? Anything else in the environmental category? And for economics, mainly is this the negatives effects of Fonterra's pricing model? What else?

    "A NZ added-value dairy company would have to contract its suppliers to calve in the Autumn , and milk through the winter"
    Would this entail a feed lot operation? Or would cows be fed on silage and hay?

    "O.K. That is the collective will of the Fonterra farmer owners.
    It’s easy, relatively simple , can be scaled- up , requires minimal skill, and can use imported Filipino labour, import cheap rubbish (PKE) when the margins are there, and doesn't require the possession of some relevant consumer brands."
    Are we bringing in FIlipinos to work in our dairy industry? Is there no local labour available for these jobs? What is PKE? (wikipedia comes up with nothing)

    Sorry, many questions!

    Since Sep 2014 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Wow . I recognise this house ; it's the old Winter homestead.
    Lyall Winter was my scout troop leader.

    http://www.realestate.co.nz/2071634

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to krothville,

    “Through-put driven”,

    A powder factory costs about 400-500 million and is most efficient running at full capacity around the clock.

    "too many cows on the soil " yep and too much bought-in nitrogen (as feed and fertiliser) to support them.
    Consequently more effluent than the land area can sequester. Plus soil damage from too many hooves and spring -calving. All adding up to increased leaching losses.

    "What else?"

    Blindness and lack of education. :-)


    "Would this entail a feed lot operation? " Not necessarily.

    " Or would cows be fed on silage and hay?" Probably - because the need for pasture control in October / November would remain , and be best dealt with by creating reserves for the winter.

    "Are we bringing in FIlipinos to work in our dairy industry? "

    Oh yes , young NZers are frequently horrified by what they encounter , and have low tolerance of labour exploitation.

    PKE - the residue from palm oil extraction ex Indonesia/Malaysia

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to krothville,

    Fonterra’s pricing model?

    -dictates that the milk in that buttermilk lake had the same value as fresh milk in the middle of winter, when factories were lying idle , or on the shoulders of the season when efficiency was dropping owing to lack of throughput.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Blindness and lack of education. :-)

    That might be too harsh. The effect of collectivism is not insignificant.
    If everyone is doing it , you would have to be something of a renegade to be different.
    Shetlander /Irish ancestry can be facilitative . . . :-)

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • krothville, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Thank you for your answers!

    "Are we bringing in FIlipinos to work in our dairy industry? "

    Oh yes , young NZers are frequently horrified by what they encounter , and have low tolerance of labour exploitation.

    Wow. Ok, that is something I truly had no idea was happening. What is the pay and working conditions? How did this happen? How can we stop this?

    Since Sep 2014 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to krothville,

    How can we stop this?

    Create a sustainable dairy industry.
    Somewhat glib answer , I know, but what I mean is that we have to re-design the industry so as to rebuild the stores of capital . . . economic , environmental and social.
    Sell the finest cultured dairy products and ice cream , derived from the year-round production of fresh milk in an ordered fashion, to the wealthiest 5% of the Asian consumers.
    Selling powder to the poor will not do it for Godzone.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    What is the pay and working conditions?

    My (2nd hand) experience of pay and conditions on dairy was that you work minimum wage for a couple hours in the morning and a couple hours in the evening you get paid for, and between them you have to hang around unpaid in case the boss thinks of something for you to do, which almost never happens. Complaining gets you the sack with no notice, because there's an unlimited supply of similarly eager people down at Work & Income.

    Many dairy farmers are human beings instead of that, I'd like to say most but I have a very small sample set hints otherwise. Such weak employment laws that there's a lot of people aren't treated well, gets to be a race to the bottom for conditions in an oversupplied and compulsive market.

    Since Nov 2006 • 607 posts Report Reply

  • krothville, in reply to tussock,

    Such weak employment laws that there's a lot of people aren't treated well, gets to be a race to the bottom for conditions in an oversupplied and compulsive market.

    Sounds like hospo. Yep, and National are going to be weakening the laws even more this term apparently.

    Since Sep 2014 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Selling powder to the poor will not do it for Godzone

    This report from the International Farm Comparison Group was mentioned on Morning Report today. It puts Fonterra as the second in the world for volume of milk collected (22m litres) but near the bottom of the list for value creation per kg.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Alfie,

    Yep , amazing that it saw the light of day. here's the item as it appeared on Rural News:-

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/rural/255708/fonterra-poor-at-value-adding-report

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    So in N.Z. terms the best performers have a turnover (Gross Income) of NZ$ 1.60/ litre.
    Fonterra achieves about $1.

    There are micro dairy companies in N.Z. achieving $4 gross/litre.

    If this becomes news , then I can stop banging on about it , and head back down the back-paddock, and meditate under a tree :-).

    It would be nice if the NZ industry got on the front foot , and instead of being forced to reduce nitrogen leaching (and stocking rate) by environmental law, it voluntarily achieved the same result by flattening the milk production curve and adding a big chunk of value.
    It is an important step in fixing Godzone’s chronic balance of payments problem.
    That is what the Stanford think-tanks keep reporting , but nobody is grasping the nettle.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to krothville,

    According to some commentators there is also a growing problem with an 'entitlement mindset' or ' narcissistic personality disorder'. These things are relative of course.


    OPINION: Gen Y's legacy - the age of entitlement
    Jacqueline Rowarth | WEEKEND REVIEW |


    "The more one has, the more one wants. Apparently, anyway. This is because more doesn’t satisfy for very long.

    The phenomenon is termed “hedonic adaptation” and refers to the fact that people quickly become used to changes, whether good or bad, to maintain a stable level of happiness. This means that in order to get the “pleasure rush,” more is necessary.

    This has implications for societies where governments fund the basic necessities of life, including welfare, health and education.

    Writing for Student Pulse, American Kate Rourke has described how the capitalist system has changed from one of personal responsibility where “citizens worked hard their entire lives” to one where “with each generation, we begin to see a growing entitlement mindset.”

    The problem is that children in the most recent generation of adults born between 1982 and 1995, known as Generation Y, were raised to believe it is their right to have everything given to them more than any other previous generation."

    NBR

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Farmer Green,

    "The problem is that children in the most recent generation of adults born between 1982 and 1995, known as Generation Y, were raised to believe it is their right to have everything given to them more than any other previous generation.”

    I can recall identical sentiments expressed about each rising generation. It's just the yapping of the working dogs of the status quo, heading them into the chute.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to tussock,

    Helen Kelly of the CTU has been collecting job ads for the industry. Some very long shifts/days on to time off and she has calculated that many would pay below the minimum wage. I think employment conditions currently have to be assessed on a weekly basis. As part of the new employment laws (the ones that didn't get passed at the end of the session but are now top of the pile) the minimum wage and labour conditions can be calculated over a longer period. I'm not sure about the details but the trend is for longer work hours without breaks.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3199 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Farmer Green,

    If this becomes news , then I can stop banging on about it , and head back down the back-paddock, and meditate under a tree :-).

    What you you think about summing all this up into a guest post for us, FG?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22753 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I'd really appreciate that too. Interesting discussion.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19685 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    What you you think about summing all this up into a guest post for us, FG?

    +1

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Russell Brown,

    What you you think about summing all this up into a guest post for us, FG?

    Could we teach him about linking so there is back up to what he is saying. It is interesting but I'd like some evidence too.
    Scratch that. he knows how.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • krothville, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Lol, I'm not sure how expecting good working conditions (such as a 10-15 min tea break, and a paid lunch break) connects to gen-y-ers expecting everything to be handed to them on a platter.

    In fact, I'd say (with the exception of those born into riches and privilege through family connections), gen-y is the most realistic of all. My grandparents' generation fought hard to get basic rights and minimum working conditions, and my parents' generation pissed them all away through complacency. My generation have seen everything slowly eroded, and we feel helpless to stop it. We expect to have to work shitty jobs, 3 on the go at once, for the rest of our lives. But that doesn't mean we can't point out how horrible lack of job security and paid breaks and decent wages is. These commentators who keep spouting the nonsense that gen-y has ridiculous expectations are often the 50+ers, completely detached and so out of it.

    Since Sep 2014 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • Greg Dawson, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    and among some older names is 阳桃/yángtáo – “sun peach”. Thanks, Ian!

    Please tell me that is because a regular peach looks like a 'moon'.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 294 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Chris if you ever hear of some Polled Holsteins in China , or see them , I'd love to know.
    They are almost certain to have come from my place, and I've always wanted to know how they were doing.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    MIGRANT DAIRY WORKER SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS PROCEDURE HOLE
    Wasn't me shouting, it was the headline format, terrible but then I guess that's " farmer-speak "

    “Late last year, to help farmers do better with migrant workers, Federated Farmers released a migrant pack. Costing members just $200 (plus GST), it is written in farmer-speak and includes everything an employer needs to follow.

    And then there is the old "Probitas" story... and how they got "Busted" for misleading claims

    Commerce Commission Chair Paula Rebstock said the fertiliser industry is a very important part of the New Zealand economy, with farmers spending a billion dollars annually on fertiliser. Fertiliser is generally the most expensive single item in a farmer's budget, costing most farmers between $20,000 and $40,000 a year.

    wouldn't want "The Industry" to miss out on a slice of that pie eh?.
    Does it work?

    Probitas is a lime
    based soil conditioner developed by Ewan Campbell, a
    Waihi sheep and beef farmer. It has amounts of silica, sea
    based minerals and paramagnetic rock. We have
    measured up to 82 worms per spade full since we started
    using this product, higher Omega 3 levels in our lamb
    and beef and a longer shelf life for our organic lamb and
    beef sold under Avalon Organic

    Richard Baxter seems to think so...

    Also included was Probitas' silica-based brew which has since been discredited in a court case taken against the manufacturer by the Commerce Commission.

    Baxter has used it just once but has an open mind about its value. He continues to follow Clark's advice.

    The next year, another 2.5 tonnes of lime to the hectare were applied, plus trace elements, and the whole farm was sprayed with fish oil. In the following years, the lime was reduced to 1.5 tonnes a hectare while the trace elements continued.

    No nitrogen or phosphate were applied. The farm soon greened up, clover began to reappear and the high-protein herbs chicory and plantain were added to the pastures. They are allowed to flower and are still reseeding five years later.

    Soil and herbage tests now show the pH levels of the soil, a measure of acidity, to have lifted from 5.8 to the ideal range for soil health of 6.4-6.8 and that the plants have the optimum level of trace elements.

    As does Allan Richardson

    Probitas, developed by Ewan Campbell of Waihi, is a lime base soil conditioner that has been used on the Richardson’s farm for the past three years. The results of the soil and herbage tests that have been conducted before and since the introduction of Probitas have shown impressive results. Initially introduced to only 125 hectares, Probitas is now being used across the entire farm. Allan says that Probitas unlocks the nutrients from the soil and lets nature do the work, and he believes that it has the potential to “revolutionise the fertilizer industry”.

    But hey, let's just fuck up our rivers and streams so the Fertiliser Industry can remain profitable, you know it makes cents.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Split milk...

    What you you think about summing all this up into a guest post for us, FG?

    Hell, I'd like to see him co-opted to run Fonterra, or at least advise them, it sounds like they need to hear, and do, stuff they have been avoiding for whatever reason...

    Anything that based and dependant on the land and environment
    has to be run better than Fonterra is being run now...

    Their just announced Farm Source initiative sounds like something they should have been doing from day one - but I can't find any more detail as it behind a membership wall at Fonterra's site...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to krothville,

    We expect to have to work shitty jobs, 3 on the go at once, for the rest of our lives.

    Unions. Join 'em. Just sayin :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 14 15 16 17 18 19 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.