Regardless of whether you have been farming for years, are just starting out, or simply are interested in agriculture, PGG Wrightson offers an unsurpassed range of products and services – all aimed at helping grow the country.
Our ability to provide a diverse range of products and services enables us to be one of the major suppliers to the agricultural sector in New Zealand. We can provide farmers with a full service offering complimented with the knowledge and expertise of our people.
We have a range of specialist teams who work with our representatives to provide additional support and expertise to our customers. We also provide access to the latest information on farming practices, industry news and market commentary.
PGG Wrightson has an extensive nationwide network of representatives across our livestock, real estate, water, wool, insurance, arable and horticultural businesses. You can be sure to find a representative near you.
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PGG Wrightson is a New Zealand business listed on the NZ Stock Exchange (NZX:PGW). We have a rich heritage of more than 160 years working alongside New Zealand farmers to service their on-farm needs.
Our business today employs 2,100 people located throughout New Zealand and in key regions within Australia and parts of South America. We also have an agent network for key products which extends into South Africa, North America, Europe and China.
Our vision as a group is to be Leaders in the Field. This means being a trusted partner to our customers and being leaders in all that we do.
The Country's Rowena Duncum speaks with PGG Wrightson's GM for Wool Grant Edwards and highlights the success from the live auction system at the New Zealand Agricultural Shows, despite a dip in the market.
"The current wool market is softening across all wool types in the last 3-4 weeks which raises concerns for the industry," says Edwards.
At day two of the New Zealand Agricultural Show (formerly known as the Canterbury Show), PGG Wrightson show-cased their live wool auction, which Edwards states as "a great promotion of their auction system which is the main vehicle for transferring ownership of wool."
This is the third year in a row that the live wool auction has ran at the New Zealand Agricultural Show and it has generated strong interest from the public, farmers, and buyers, and has also helped to demonstrate the professional nature of the live auction system. Within 5 hours the PGG Wrightson's live wool auction turned over seven million dollars' worth of wool.
Edwards recently attended the Wool Research AGM and has been encouraged by it as Dr. Garth Carnaby provided insights into previous market trends and the development of wool fiber as a sustainable product.
Dr. Garth Carnaby highlighted that there is an opportunity for cross-breed wools particularly in the domestic market, and that there is the consideration of the health benefits in synthetic vs natural productions.
Demand from sportswear and fashion companies is sending the price of a previously written-off type of wool to record levels.
This has led the dual-purpose corriedale sheep breed to make a comeback, after many farmers chose to shift to more meat breeds.
Corriedale wool is in the mid-micron range, coarser than most merino fibre, but far finer than crossbred wool that comprises most of the New Zealand clip.
Once prized by New Zealand and Australian dryland farmers, corriedales have been pushed aside over the past 20 years or so as farmers chased more lambs as the expense of quality wool.
Corriedales were developed by crossing fine-wooled merinos and meaty lincoln sheep more than a century ago.
The breed handles dry conditions, but in the past was often criticised for having low fertility, poor mothering ability, low lamb survivability and being susceptible to footrot.
When lamb prices were high and wool returns low, many farmers turned to highly fertile composite breeds and for some, wool became little more than a by-product.
In 2000, the McKinsey report on the state of the wool industry saw no future for mid-micron sheep like corriedale and halfbred.
But nearly 20 years later, the corriedale is a much improved breed and with it's fibre now being in demand again, more farmers are buying corriedale rams, particularly in Canterbury.
PGG Wrightson wool representative Peter McCusker said he had seen a swing back in the last two years "with these higher wool prices and after the drought in north Canterbury".
"Growers who'd got out of corriedales and into a crossbred composite breeds for more lamb production are now realising the corriedale can withstand dry conditions and bounces back quicker."
Corriedale breeders have addressed the breed's perceived shortcomings, McCusker said.
"The modern corriedale has been selected for fertility, mothering ability, footrot resistance and lamb survivability. Breeders have been very progressive with any technology that's been out there to make that breed more suitable with a good cross section of desirable traits," he said.
Wool finer than 28.5 micron, which includes much of the corriedale clip, is now in demand by apparel producers.
"Many of your leading sports and apparel brands now have wool in their product range and that's putting pressure on the supply chain and that's a great position for a producer to be in," McCusker said.
At the last sale, 27 micron clean wool was $10.75 a kilogram, an increase in value not seen for some time.
At the start of the ram sale season, farmers are being advised to fully inform themselves about any changes they are considering around flock genetics.
This season, farmers will have more choice and greater value from the rams available than ever before, says PGG Wrightson Livestock National Genetics Manager Callum Stewart.
“Depending on what a farming business prioritises, ram breeders have programmes to deliver. In those districts where it is a concern, farmers are focusing on breeding resistance to facial eczema into their flocks; for others, particularly after the significant lamb losses we suffered during the winter, breeding to improve survivability is the main motivation. Elsewhere, emphasis is on other characteristics, including Omega 3, eating quality and marbling.
“Ram breeders are speculating what the market requires, and what farmers are prepared to pay for. There are multiple different programmes designed to fit those commercial demands.
“PGG Wrightson’s genetics advisors are on hand to match up these programmes to the particular demands that farmers specify. We will listen to what a farmer has determined is the best direction, and match that to a ram breeding programme suited to those requirements. Whatever you are looking for, we will go and find it,” he said.
Although prices are not likely to differ too much from last year, Callum Stewart says the value purchasers receive is increasing.
“Farmers buying rams have plenty of options this season. If you look back to where we were five years ago, breeders have become more progressive in what they are seeking to achieve. Their programmes are more advanced, and the genetics able to be bred into a flock more sophisticated than they have ever been before. That is good news for individual farmers, and for the capacity of the sheep meat industry to deliver on what consumers in our export markets demand,” he said.
This year’s ram sales campaign began in Claudelands, Hamilton on 1 November and will run until 30 January 2019 in Winton, Southland, with around 40 sales, which include a large number of private sales, scheduled throughout the campaign and across the country.
The name Waipopo Orchards is well-known in South Canterbury and wider afield, particularly for their delicious export Honeycrisp apples, which are so well suited to the cooler South Island conditions.
New owners took over the established 80 ha operation in December 2017 from Waipopo founders Danny and Peter Bennett, with General Manager Andrew Forward starting in April this year. Andrew has his own heritage in the growing sector – his father was a Hawke’s Bay apple grower for whom Andrew worked during his school years and later as the Operations Manager. Until recently he ran alarge horticultural contracting/labour force company with teams working in Hawke’s Bay apple blocks, Marlborough and Central Otago vineyards and Gisborne citrus.
The role at Waipopo saw him lease out his own 3 ha Hawke’s Bay apple block and shift to Timaru, bringing him full circle back to pipfruit growing full-time. Andrew and his team of 12 full andpart-time personnel have been flat-outas they head into Andrew’s first growing season at Waipopo. “We’ve undertaken a substantial amount of redevelopment here already,” he says, “removing older trees like the Cox’s Orange. We now have about 8 ha to be replanted with dwarfing rootstocks and new varieties – 10,000 Galaval have been ordered for 2020, we’re trialling Dazzl and Posy (TCL3) apples, and Piqa® Boo® pears.The prospects look good for this new pear variety in South Canterbury. I think this district has a good opportunity because fireblight risk is a lot lower here than in Hawke’s Bay for example.”
Access to new trees is the defining factor on how quickly the redeveloped blocks can be progressed, but Andrew has plenty to get on with as the second-biggest Honeycrisp grower inNew Zealand. The operation includes an export-accredited packhouse making the most of the opportunity to supply the US market in their off-season with this variety that has a relatively short cool-store life. Considered a super-premium variety, Honeycrisp apples attract a price premium of 2-4 times over other varieties in the US. “I’m looking forward to the challenge of going into the new season. We’ve restructured many of the trees, especially the older Gala, Braeburn and Red Delicious plantings, during inter pruning. The owners have invested a lot in new equipment and tractors, three new sprayers from Fruitfed Supplies, updating irrigation, etc.
“The new owners have seen the potential with Honeycrisp and new varieties of apples, as well as the Piqa Boo pear. So first, we want to get the orchard operating the way we like it over the next couple of years and lift production, then secondly, redevelop those areas with the new rootstocks and varieties, in a mix of intensive 2D and 3D systems.” Andrew has a long-standing relationship with Fruitfed Supplies. “Christchurch based Rob Wards is our current Fruitfed representative, and I’ve been a Fruitfed client for years with our family orchard and my own orchard. My father was also a Fruitfed client for many years before that – our original rep was Kevin Manning, who’s now R&D Manager for PGG Wrightson and Fruitfed Supplies.”
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