Rural round-up

Biological control agents vary in results:

A review of the history of the biological control agents introduced to combat weeds in New Zealand has found some have produced incredible results.

Others, however, were next to useless.

Dr Max Suckling is science group leader of biosecurity at Plant and Food Research and his latest work has taken a look at the benefits of biological control introduction in the country.

He says while the success of the different biological controls introduced varies greatly – some have been game changers. . .

Willow and poplar feed stock during drought:

A North Island farm forester is urging drought-afflicted farmers who have run out of feed for their stock to take a leaf out of his book and feed them foliage from trees.

Manawatu Whanganui Regional Council has highlighted the benefits of willows and poplars in particular as a source of nutritious supplementary feed. . .

Seven-Time Entrants Win Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Awards:

Pahiatua farmers Shaun and Kate Mitchell can finally claim the 2013 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year title after entering seven times and placing runners-up last year.

The couple won $16,400 in cash and prizes at the region’s Dairy Industry Awards dinner at Copthorne Solway, in Masterton, last night. The other big winners were Bart and Tineke Gysbertsen, the 2013 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Farm Managers of the Year, and Ken Ahradsen, the Dairy Trainee of the Year.

The Mitchells say they have entered the awards multiple times due to the benefits of the feedback they have received. “It’s helped us to get a better understanding of our business and goals. The awards has also brought us out of our comfort zone and given us an opportunity to meet and interact with like-minded people.” . .

and now it’s the dairy industry awards – RivettingKate Taylor:

Guess where I have been tonight….. Masterton – watching the Hawke’s Bay Wairarapa Dairy Industry Awards (and taking the photos). . .

Contest Makes Dairy Awards Winner Better Farmer:

Entering the 2013 Manawatu/Rangitikei/Horowhenua Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year contest has made its winner, Richard McIntyre, better at what he does.

Mr McIntyre, who won $13,500 in cash and prizes, says he entered the Dairy Industry Awards to have his farm business analysed, with weaknesses highlighted and solutions found. “Essentially, it makes us better at what we do.”

The other big winners were Michael and Raewyn Hills, the 2013 Manawatu/Rangitikei/Horowhenua Farm Managers of the Year and Nic Verhoek, the Dairy Trainee of the Year. All winners are farming at Feilding and were announced at the region’s awards dinner held at Awapuni Racecourse, near Palmerston North, last night . .

“Extreme Barbecue” A Recipe For Market Success:

Combine New Zealand lamb with 40 keen foodies, a celebrity chef, some heavy-duty barbecue equipment, spectacular alpine scenery… and a forecast for snow. What have you got? Winter Grillcamp – a Beef + Lamb New Zealand promotion in Germany.

The event last week launched the farmer organisation’s new season PR programme in Northern Europe. It targeted two key market groups: upwardly mobile young men and women with a keen interest in cooking healthy but delicious food.

“Hosting a barbecue in zero temperatures at the top of Germany’s highest mountain may seem extreme, but we wanted to do something out of the ordinary,” says Nick Beeby, Beef + Lamb New Zealand Market Manager, Emerging Markets. . .

More drought pics – RivettingKate Taylor:

These were taken before we had 57mm of rain on Monday and Tuesday.

Friends up at Te Pohue had only 11mm.

It may have rained but the fat lady has seriously left the stage. . .

2013 a dream vintage so far for Bay wine industry:

The superlatives are coming thick and fast as the Hawke’s Bay wine industry gets underway with the 2013 grape harvest, with many believing this could be the “vintage of the century”.

“It’s a dream vintage,” says Tony Bish, chief winemaker for Sacred Hill and chairman of Gimblett Gravels Winegrower Association. “It’s been an awesome season, one we don’t get often enough. The fruit is early, ripe and clean; everything we would want.”

For Peter Gough, senior winemaker and viticulturist with Ngatarawa the lack of stress has meant there is a buoyancy of spirit across the industry this year. “There is no disease pressure so we aren’t picking because we have to, it’s when we want, based on flavour. It’s a winemaker’s dream.” . . .

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