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Silver Fern offer wage rise to Meatworkers Union

The Meatworkers Union are not ruling out industrial action if Silver Fern Farms continues to offer minimal rises in wage negotiations.
Negotiations began about four months ago.
Otago Southland union secretary Gary Davis says Silver Fern Farms won’t increase pay over the next nine months despite living costs increasing by the day.
Silver Fern are offering an increase of only around 2% in the second year, members of the union are now voting on whether to accept or reject the company’s offer with a result expected next week.

Gary Davis says if the offer is rejected, industrial action is a real possibility, however, the unions negotiations team is encouraging members to accept the offer.

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Ag-Research ‘no confidence’ vote

Otago and Southland sheep breeders are rallying to get support for a vote of no confidence in AgResearch’s management.
The Crown Research Institute plans to shift 80 of its staff from the Invermay site near Dunedin to a new research hub at Lincoln University by 2016.

Around 80 sheep breeders unanimously rejected AgResearch’s plan at a meeting called by the Southern Texel Breeder’s Association last month.
Association chairman, Hugh Gardyne says AgResearch has failed to adequately consult stakeholders and have ignored farmer’s submissions prompting the farmers call for a vote of no confidence.
The vote will close on Sunday April 20.

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Urea prices drop

Urea prices have been cut to $645 a tonne by two major fertiliser co-operatives as autumn rain begins to relieve farmers.
Lower prices by Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-Nutrients yesterday were timed to coincide with farmers applying more fertiliser to build up feed reserves for winter and early spring.

Farmers are being urged to put nitrogen on pastures earlier rather than later this year, to ensure paddocks have the time and conditions to respond.
Urea prices are now equal between the two co-ops where in previous years Ravensdown has been the cheapest of the pair.

Prices of Urea have fallen since 2012 as supply beings to exceed demand with more urea production facilities being established internationally.

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Canterbury animal abusers convicted

Two Canterbury men, one a registered rabbit breeder, have been convicted of ill treating animals in their care.

Christchurch rabbit breeder David Fairbrother, was convicted on seven charges for failing to properly care for his animals.

58 rabbits, two quail, two rats and seven chinchilla were among the variety of animals found inside his garage.
The garage was poorly ventilated, animals had no access to water and were all suffering illness and disease.

The animals were seized by the SPCA and 55 have since been homed.

Fairbrother was sentenced to 175 hours of community service and ordered to pay $4000 reparations to the SPCA and $750 in court costs. He was also disqualified from owning animals for at least five years.

Another man, Robert McGowan of Darfield was convicted of three charges for failing to provide sufficient care for over 60 cattle.
McGowan had no backup plan when he ran out of feed and did not seek veterinary help when the herd fell ill last year.

McGowan was sentenced to 275 hours of community service and ordered to pay $2763 in veterinary costs and $750 in court costs. He was also disqualified from owning farm animals for at least five years.

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Central Otago winery to be sold overseas

The sale of a Central Otago vineyard to a global luxury goods group could boost the region’s economy and reputation.
Northburn Station chief executive Tom Pinckney has confirmed the company has entered a conditional agreement o sell the Northburn vineyard and The Shed to Cloudy Bay Vineyards.

Cloudy Bay falls under the umbrella of Moet Hennessy, a part of LMVH, the global luxury goods group.

Tom Pinckney says the sale will boost the region, expanding the reputation of Central Otago wine around the world as a top quality Pinot Noir growing area.

The agreement is conditional on a few matters including the approval of the Overseas Investment Office.

Northburn Station will continue as a wine brand and remain for sale at the usual retailers.

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Fonterra multi-million revamp underway

Fonterra’s multimillion dollar expansion of its Pahiatua plant is well underway.
The company is building a new milk powder dryer and creating more storage in the revamp expected to cost up to $250 million.
Concrete was poured at the site yesterday while reinforcing steel and other earthquake proofing measures were underway.
The site employs about 130 people currently and 50 further jobs will be created as the rebuild continues.

The expansion will see the milk processing from the plant rise by 2.5 million litres.
Fonterra is also creating a storage area and new railway siding to load dairy product.

The expanded plant was expected to be ready for commissioning in early August 2015.

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China still supports Fonterra

Fonterra say Chinese diary consumers are moving on from the botulism scare.

Dairy is hoped to play a major role in helping New Zealand hit its $30 billion two-way trade target with China.
However there are concerns that not all in China realise that Fonterra’s botulism scare last year was a false alarm, and New Zealand products are safe.
Fonterra’s Greater China and India president Kelvin Wickham says work from Fonterra at restoring Chinese confidence is working.
Trade Minister Tim Grosser says that while the scare did bruise New Zealand reputation, the Chinese Government was impressed with New Zealand’s handling of the scandal.

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South Canterbury Irrigation scheme gains Govt support

A major irrigation scheme proposed for South Canterbury has got enough farmer support for it to carry out an indepth feasibility study.
The Hunter Downs Irrigation scheme that could irrigate up to 40,000 hectares from the Waitaki to below Timaru also has significant financial backing from the Government.

Funding gained from farmers over the last three weeks will support the feasibility study to determine if the scheme is economically and technically viable.

The Ministry for Primary Industries will be providing the scheme with up to $7 million and Meridian energy $3 million worth of support.
Meaning every dollar farmers put into the plan will be met by two dollars from external sources.
If the feasibility study stacks up, the scheme could be in operation by 2019.

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Live NZ seafood available in China

Live paua, greenshell mussels and Bluff oysters are now available in China.

New Zealand Trade Enterprise is working with online shopping platform, Tmall.com, to promote New Zealand seafood in a week long campaign.

Chinese costumers are able to buy live seafood fresh from NZ waters, have it packaged and shipped to Shanghai within 36 hours.

A similar campaign with Alaskan seafood last year resulted in 50 metric tonnes being supplied to Chinese consumers.

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Zespri CFO resigns

Zespri’s Chief Financial Officer, Merv Dallas has announced his resignation.

Chief executive Lain Jager has thanked Mr Dallas for his 12 years service and his role in the industry’s recovery from PSA.

Zespri is under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office in New Zealand.
Last year the company was convicted and fined in China for its role in a duty-avoidance scam

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