Tuesday, 28 July 2020 11:55

Be careful, Potatoes NZ!

Written by  Staff Reporters
Charles Finny. Charles Finny.

Moves by the NZ potato industry to have anti-dumping tariffs imposed on European imports could play into the hands of the EU, warns a long-time trade negotiator.

Charles Finny told Rural News that the Potatoes NZ (PNZ) stance is “remarkably similar” to the protectionist view held by European agricultural bodies in regard to NZ primary product exports to the EU.

Finny, a consultant with Wellington-based government relations firm Saunders Unsworth and an expert in international trade, says PNZ’s timing of its complaint is complicated by the fact NZ is currently trying to negotiate a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU.

“I can’t imagine Fonterra, the meat or other horticultural industries will be overly delighted by Potatoes NZ’s timing,” he says. 

“This move could annoy European negotiators and lead to a slowdown in the current EU FTA negotiations.”

Meanwhile, Finny says the process of gaining this kind of anti-dumping measure is not quick. “No one should anticipate an immediate response, as both domestic and international – including WTO – trade laws needed to be taken into consideration,” he explained.

Finny says there is also ministerial discretion, which means, even if a case is found against European potato imports, the Government can choose not to impose any tariff. He says it may decide on this option if any anti-dumping tariff may hurt the overall NZ/EU FTA process.

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Lely offerings for the future

Dutch robotic specialist Lely launched a new farm management application called Horizon at its recent Future Farm Days 2020.

Designed to connect data from a range of on-farm equipment and suppliers into one management system, it creates a real-time decision-support platform, to make the farmer’s life easier, the herd healthier and the farm more profitable, says Lely.

Developed over a 24-month period, with over 100 test farmers in seven countries, working with 75 engineers, designers, farm management advisors, veterinarians and AI specialists, the new application will eventually replace the current Lely T4C management system. It uses smart algorithms and the cloud to deliver data that is processed into actionable information that is always accessible on any device in a user-friendly way.

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To ensure full support in the migration to Lely Horizon, existing Lely T4C customers will be personally informed by their Lely Center before the end of 2020.

The migration is planned in a phased approach, from country to country, over the year 2021.

Also launched at the event, Lely Exos is an autonomous concept for harvesting and feeding fresh grass to the herd.

The company suggests that feeding fresh grass makes better use of available roughage, suggesting “fresh” has between 10 and 20% more nutritional value than grass silage, as there are minimal losses typically seen during mowing, tedding, raking, harvesting and feeding.

Lely suggests that feeding fresh grass over an extended season reduces the amount of silage that has to be conserved, reduces the need for concentrates and bought-in feed and increase the margin made on each litre of milk produced.

Based around an all-electric vehicle that mows and feeds, Exos is light weight and uses soil friendly technology, that can be exploited throughout the growing season. Design to work 24/7 as feed requirements change, the system places no constraints on labour or time, while it is also designed to work in tandem with the Lely Vector automatic feeding systems.

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