Rural round-up

Skills with people and equity keys – Sue O’Dowd:

A young Hawera farming couple who have just bought their first dairy farm are proud to have reached their goal, even though neither of them grew up on a farm.

Thirteen years ago Bryce Savage, 30, landed his first job on a Manaia dairy farm. He and wife Amanda, 29, have since followed the tried and true method of variable order sharemilking and 50:50 sharemilking to put them in a position to buy their own farm.

Last week they took ownership of a 74 hectare dairy farm at Pukengahu, near Stratford, buying it from Bryce’s uncle and aunt, Ross and Stephanie Tong, who told them early last season it was for sale. . .

Vineyards to form grape waste company:

Eight Marlborough wine companies are working on finding new uses for the large amounts of grape waste left over after wine making.

Each year the country’s biggest wine region generates about 40,000 tonnes of grape marc, the skins, seeds and other residue left over after grapes are pressed.

With the support of Marlborough District Council, the wineries are proposing to form a company, Grape Marc Ltd.

Spokesman Eric Hughes of Brancott Estate says it will explore more profitable ways of disposing of the grape waste which at the moment, mostly ends up as basic compost or stock feed. . .

Farmers urged to build up humus levels in the soil:

Farmers are being told they can play a vital role in slowing warming of the planet by protecting and building up the humus in their soil.

The head of an Australian-based company that sells biological farming products describes humus as the soil’s glue, and a vital storage system for carbon, minerals and water.

Humus is a layer of organic material in the soil produced by the decay of plant and animal material.

Nutritech Solutions chief executive Graeme Sait says 150 years of intensive, extractive agriculture has led to a loss of two thirds of the world’s humus, and the massive loss of the carbon that humus stores into the atmosphere. . .

100 years of shorthorn cows:

It is 100 years on for the Milking Shorthorn Society and the cows get the thumbs up for their longevity and ease of care from the 50 people at the national conference.

It is being held in Palmerston North after starting with a meeting at the Railway Hotel in Main St in July 1913.

About 40 people went to see David and Johanna Wood’s milking shorthorns at their Hiwinui farm. . .

Lucerne lifts mood and profit - Andrew Swallow:

DRYLAND SHEEP and beef farmers Gundy and Lisa Anderson have a new spring in their step, and it’s largely thanks to one crop: lucerne.

As they earlier this month relayed to a CRT-organised field day on their farm, Bog Roy Station,  Omarama, four or five years ago they “were doing a fair bit of soul searching.”

“We were going backwards, spending a 100 days every winter feeding everything. We were even feeding cows a bit,” Gundy told the crowd.

They were also embroiled in tenure review and “haemorrhaging” money on an irrigation consent renewal, spending too much time in Christchurch lobbying bureaucrats and talking to lawyers. . .

Alliance extends rowing sponsorship:

Alliance Group has joined forces with Rowing NZ in a new sponsorship that will see the Pure South export brand associated with the New Zealand Rowing team in New Zealand and around the world.

The sponsorship builds on Alliance’s involvement at a lower level with rowing in 2012 which included Alliance’s supply of red meat to the New Zealand rowing team as they prepared for the Olympic regatta in England, and an association with Southland rowers Nathan Cohen and Storm Uru. . .

Foresters Head to Taranaki

Forestry professionals will head to the centre of dairy farming country at the end of this month to attend the NZ Institute of Forestry’s annual conference. Entitled “The Place of Forests in Collaborative Land Use Decisions”, the conference will be of interest to a broad cross section of rural land users, regulators and conservationists and is also the time when the forestry profession recognises its achievers including new Fellows, Forester of the Year and various scholarships awarded through the NZ Institute of Forestry Foundation. .

While containing less than 1% of the nation’s productive plantation forest, Taranaki is nevertheless unique in the way land use decision making to balance the multiple use interests of the mountain, the intensive dairying ring plain and the eastern hill country is managed.  . .

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