Rural round-up

North Island drought confirmed. West Coast makes request:

Federated Farmers welcomes confirmation that the entire North Island has been declared a medium scale adverse event due to drought. The West Coast is today forwarding its request to the Ministry for Primary Industries for a medium scale adverse event declaration.

“The 2012-13 drought came late in the season but is North Island wide and that’s something Wellingtonians know all too well,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Adverse Events spokesperson.

“I can now confirm the West Coast of the South Island is also requesting a medium scale adverse event declaration due to drought. . .

Dairy Farmers Say Core Financial Skills Getting Them Through Summer Drought:

As drought bites throughout the North Island, Kevin White is one dairy farmer who, at first glance, seems to have a secret for staving off panic.

Kevin has farmed for seven years and currently manages a 350-cow herd just south of Te Aroha. He says he’s like every other dairy farmer around the North Island, in that he’s watching the clouds and hoping for rain. In the meantime, he says the key to getting through and managing anxiety levels is pretty simple: have a plan.

He completed the National Diploma in Agribusiness Management two years ago, having started it during the last drought in 2007/08, and says, “one major thing I took away was that smart farmers always have a contingency plan in place for the worst case scenarios – in this case a major drought. . .

Farm Days Starring Fonterra Milk Tankers And Milk This Weekend And Next:

Fonterra Cooperative Group is bringing its high-tech milk tankers to the special ‘Farming in Drought’ Farm Days taking place this Sunday, March 17, in Wellington and Rotorua and next weekend in Tauranga (Sunday, March 24). Farm Day is completely free and is open to the public.

“Every one at Federated Farmers thanks Fonterra Cooperative Group because these milk tankers could rival the Star Ship Enterprise,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“What is more Fonterra is bringing wholesome milk products to try. A taster for Fonterra Milk in Schools, which by Term One next year, will see most New Zealand primary-aged children enjoying the goodness of dairy every school day through free milk in schools.

“It is truly exciting to have New Zealand’s largest cooperative and exporter partnering with us on Farm Days 2013. . . .

Don’t Wait for Rain, Drill Now:

A leading world authority on soil science is recommending that, even in severe drought conditions, farmers should be drilling new seed now.

Dr John Baker says even after weeks of drought, seeds can still survive in the ground until the weather breaks. He explains that dry sowing is common in Australia and even Wairarapa.

There could still be moisture vapour in the soil even if there’s no usable liquid moisture present he says. But even if there’s no moisture vapour the seeds won’t come to any harm until it rains. . .

Kapiti Most Awarded Cheesemaker:

Kapiti has received the highest number of awards at the 2013 Champion of Cheese Awards, taking away a total of four category trophies and 22 medals.
Fifty nine cheese companies entered 413 cheeses in this year’s competition, with the winners announced at a gala dinner and awards ceremony at The Langham.

As well as winning the Champion Washed Rind, Champion Blue Cheese, New World Champion Favourite and Champion Original Cheese category trophies, Kapiti cheeses won a slew of gold, silver and bronze medals for a wide range of their cheese across almost all categories.

Founded in 1984, Kapiti prides itself on being dedicated to using the finest New Zealand produce to create cheese which is original, unique and handcrafted. . .

Trees on Farms Workshop:

The first Trees on Farms workshop for 2013 focuses on riparian plantings, a hot topic for the country’s dairy farmers.

The Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord is set to be in place for the start of the dairy season in August, and will cover all of the country’s 12,000 dairy farmers, not just Fonterra suppliers. Every Fonterra farmer’s annual Farm Dairy and Environmental assessment and the company’s conditions of supply require all Accord-type waterways to be fenced by the end of this year. But fencing off waterways is only part of the sustainable dairying equation – dairy farmers also need to get their heads around how to plant and manage their riparian areas.

This straight talking workshop has been specifically designed for dairy farmers, by dairy farmers, all locals and all experienced tree planters, and will particularly look at how riparian planting can provide cost effective, sustainable long term land use solutions. . .

Sweet as! Long hot summer results in delicious tomato crop at great prices:

The long hot summer has proved the ideal climate for tomato growing, with a bumper crop of sweet ripe fruit.

TomatoesNZ, Vice Chairman, Frank Van Rijen said that with tomatoes retailing around $2/kg it’s an ideal time to enjoy plenty of your favourite tomato recipes.

“Fresh tomatoes are great eating and excellent value right now,” said Mr Van Rijen. “If you are planning on making preserves or pasta sauces or soups to bottle or freeze for winter, then this is also the ideal time to take advantage of great seasonal prices. . .

Organic Lamb All About Queenstown:

Twin Rivers Organic Lamb launches today to bring local organic lamb cuts and whole lambs to Queenstown through its online store.

“The need to localise food and celebrate New Zealand Produce is so important. We want to share that with kiwis in a way they can relate to though.”

“People live in Queenstown for the lifestyle and that’s what we wanted to promoteeating quality meat and produce with good friends and family in a beautiful place. We love it.” Said company Director Dave Hockly. . .

Young talent to be tested in Gore:

Eight of the best Young Farmers will be competing at the Otago-Southland Regional Final Saturday 23 March in Gore for the 2013 ANZ Young Farmer Contest.

Contest hopefuls will complete four different Challenges during the Practical Day at the Southern Field Days Site and then straight into the Evening Show at the St James Theatre.

By the end of the evening one contestant will have secured their spot at the Grand Final (16-18 May, Auckland) and their share of the Regional Prize Pool worth $13,000 thanks to ANZ, AGMARDT, Lincoln University, Ravensdown, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, and Husqvarna. The top prize is worth an impressive $9000. . . .

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