Rural round-up

Lamb prices down but prospects positive – Tim Cronshaw:

Average lamb prices look as though they will be down 25 per cent nationally at $84 to $85 a lamb for the 2012-13 season ending next month.

Softer overseas markets in the northern hemisphere and smaller lamb weights from the drought drove prices down from $113.60 the previous season.

While it’s early days yet the Economic Service at Beef + Lamb New Zealand expects prices will be somewhere between $90 to $100 for the coming 2013-14 season. That will depend heavily on the state of the dollar with the latest analysis for it to weaken slightly. . .

Fonterra trialling RTVs as quad bike replacement - Sue O’Dowd:

FONTERRA’S year-long trial of rough terrain vehicles to replace quad bikes on its farms looks promising as it draws to a close.

Two vehicles are being tested at the 225ha Whareroa Research Farm near Hawera, where 640 cows are being milked this year.

The company is testing five RTVs on drystock farms in the South Island and four on dairy farms.

The trial, which began before the Government Taskforce on Health and Safety completed its report in April this year, will conclude in December. By then, it will have covered the entire farm season. . .

Dam ‘scary challenge’ to nature – Tony Benny:

Opponents of the planned 8.2 million cubic metre storage dam for the Waimakariri irrigation scheme have vowed to fight the proposal, saying it will put lives at risk if breached in a earthquake.

About 70 people attended a meeting in West Eyreton Hall last week to hear from the Eyre Community Environmental Safety Society (ECESS), the group set up to oppose the dam.

“ECESS believes WIL’s [Waimakariri Irrigation Ltd] solution of a 13-metre-high one kilometre square dam in a seismically active climate is wilfully placing lives at risk to keep shareholder company costs down,” said society chairperson Catherine Ballinger. . .

Why it’s time to get off the grass:

New Zealand can climb its way back up the international wealth tables, argue two scientists in a book* launched last night. But we won’t do it if we continue to rely so heavily on agriculture.

*From Get Off the Grass: Kickstarting New Zealand’s Innovation Economy, by Shaun Hendy and Paul Callaghan (Auckland University Press, $34.99)

Prosperity describes a state of flourishing or thriving. In New Zealand there is a sense that we have flourished less than we might, and especially less than many other countries we like to compare ourselves with. Through insufficient resources, our health system is unable to provide the treatments that are available for free in countries such as Australia or Canada. Our infrastructure is decrepit, our roads are poor, our passenger train systems are an embarrassment to us, and many of our houses are inadequate or, even when new, badly built. Our native forests are in decline because we cannot afford to address pest control in a comprehensive manner. . .

Spierings’ profile unstained by taint scare – Andrea Fox:

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings’ job looks increasingly safe after the botulism contamination scare, with chairman John Wilson repeating the board’s support for the Dutchman’s handling of the incident.

In a letter to Fonterra’s 10,500 farmer-shareholders Wilson said he wanted to “reiterate” the board’s confidence in Spierings’ handling of the scare and the actions that have followed.

Wilson said he expected the board’s inquiry into the scare to be finished in six weeks.

The scare sparked panic in Asian and China consumer markets, and big recalls of baby formula made by one of Fonterra’s biggest customers, Danone. . .

Farmers sorry to see Romano go – Hugh Stringleman:

Farmers were quick to express sympathy for Gary Romano, who resigned last week as head of Fonterra processing after the botulism scare that happened on his watch.

Romano apparently felt responsible and resigned before results are known from four inquiries into the Hautapu plant dirty pipe and its aftermath.

“I presume he didn’t feel comfortable, felt his time was up and left on his own terms,” Federated Farmers dairy chairman Willy Leferink said.

“He was well liked and farmers will be very sorry to see him go.” . . .

The difference between a career and a job – Art 4 Agriculture:

Today’s guest blog comes from Cotton Young Farming Champion Liz Lobsey. You can read all about Liz here

Liz is an agronomist aka Plant Doctor and she loves her “career” and she loves to tell people why

This is what Liz has to say ………………….

I have recently had the pleasure of visiting 4 schools involved in the Archibull Prize for the Art4Agriculture program and I can honestly say that they all have been a different learning experience.

In the past week I can honestly say that I have spoken to children in kindergarten in Sydney who believe that all farmers have animals to children in cotton growing regions who weren’t quite sure what a cotton plant was. . .

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