Rural round-up

February 21, 2013

Fish war on canals :

”Greedy” salmon anglers threatening to turn a salmon bonanza in the Waitaki hydro canals into a free-for-all are being accused of ignoring catch limits and using illegal methods to catch easy prey.

Following the release of 36,000 salmon smolt from the Mt Cook Alpine Salmon hatchery at Ohau 18 months ago, anglers have reported being able to hook a fish on every cast at some spots on the Tekapo and Ohau canals.

However, Central South Island Fish and Game field officer Graeme Hughes said the easy fishing had resulted in more people fishing illegally and ignoring the two-salmon quota. .  .

Tarras scheme reprieve - Rebecca Fox:

Potential irrigator Tarras Water Ltd has had a reprieve, but it has come with a stern warning from the Otago Regional Council.

The council voted 7-3 to overturn its own hearing panel’s recommendation not to amend the long-term plan to allow for investment in the irrigation scheme at a meeting in Dunedin yesterday. Instead, the ORC is proposing the amendment go ahead.

As the decision gives the council the option to invest in the scheme, a meeting will be held, possibly as early as next month, when councillors will make the decision whether to invest – with conditions attached – or not. . .

Cautious steps in goat milk expansion:

An Australasian goat milk company, CapriLac, is looking to expand “in a cautious way” in the Waikato.

Co-owner Rupert Soar said the family-owned company was advertising for goat farmers who were interested in selling their goat milk or leasing their operations to the company.

The company had received “quite a bit of interest”, and was following up leads, Soar said.

Farmers did not need to buy shares to get involved, as the company was not a co-operative. . .

Mining rights unlikely to affect farm sales – Terri Russell:

Solid Energy’s decision to sell farmland and keep mineral rights for mining would not turn away potential buyers, a Southland rural agent says.

About 1000 hectares of farmland near Mataura have been put on the market, and the mining giant plans to retain rights to lignite resources under the surface for about 30 years.

Last year, the company reviewed its land holdings after a drop in coal prices and a $40m loss for the year ending June 2012.

Southern Wide Real Estate director Philip Ryan said potential buyers would not be put-off if it were reserved for mining because about half of Southland had mineral rights. . .

A finalist but best still home – Gerald Piddock:

Doug and Jeannie Brown have made the final of the 2013 Glammies.

The North Otago farmers made the cut in the best of breed – traditional for one of his romney lambs grown on his farm at Maheno.

It was the third time they had entered the Golden Lamb Awards and the first time they have made the finals. This year four sheep were entered into the competition.

Their entry was one of 20 finalists which made the cut out of 180 entries from around the country. . . .

 

 

 

 

 


Rural round-up

January 15, 2013

We’re all winner from trade deal - Bruce Wills:

I have two big wishes for 2013 – agreeing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and an end to the “farmer versus environmentalist” bickering.

If we can get environmentalists working with us on solutions, a better environment will reap a pot of gold at the end of an economic rainbow called the TPP. Money makes all things possible, something you only discover when you don’t have it.

The TPP is a US$21 trillion (NZ$24.9t) club and Europe would need another Germany just to match it.

I know some have suspicions and want everything done in the open but trade negotiations are like any negotiation. Whether it is for wages or a used car, there are things that must be kept within four walls. I doubt those of a conspiratorial disposition would want their personal details posted on the internet. I also know that any TPP deal will need legislation and if that does not provide scrutiny, what would? . . .

Sheep farmers urged to aim for Chinese market:

New Zealand sheep farmers are being encouraged to think like the tourism industry, and aim for the niche, top end Chinese market.

Lamb prices have fallen hard over the past year, with recession in Europe constraining household spending – which means luxuries like lamb have been off the menu.

Westpac economist Nathan Penny points out we’ve done quite well in the past with targeting wealthy consumers in the UK, Japan and Europe.

He says those consumers are emerging in China, but have yet to really experience New Zealand lamb. . .

Caution urged in taking up a dairy job – Ali Tocker:

Dairy farmers and farm workers are being urged not to rush into employment agreements in the new year as the workload starts to pick up.

Waikato dairy recruitment specialist John Fegan said people on both sides of the coin should take time to make sure the working relationship would be a good fit.

“The recruitment market tends to get really busy from late January. That makes both employers and employees nervous because everyone likes to have things arranged early. That results in people picking work or workers they shouldn’t.

“We’re advising people to relax and not just grab the first person or the first job. Put the time in, make sure you’ve got the right person if you’re the employer, and that you’ve got the right job for you if you’re the employee. . .

Lack of dairy award entries prompts thoughts of merger – Diane Bishop:

The future of the Otago Dairy Industry Awards hangs in the balance.

Chairman Matthew Richards said only 20 entries had been received for this year’s competition, which could mean the region is merged with Southland in the future.

That was despite a record 566 entries being received in the nationwide competition.

In Otago there were four entries in the sharemilker/equity farmer contest, four in the farm manager contest and 12 in the dairy trainee contest, down from 28 last year. . .

Thousands of farmers owed up to $5,800 of duty refund on off-road farm petrol:

Thousands of farmers and contractors are owed money on fuel used by off-road farm vehicles – and should make a claim before they miss out.

An average dairy farmer who spends $5,000 per annum on off-road petrol will get an excise duty refund of $2,900 per annum.

Almost any commercial off-road fuel usage includes an on-road tax (or duty) of up to $0.58 cents/litre that can be refunded back to the farmer. . .

Zabeel Still Starring at Karaka:

With 44 yearlings by this Champion Sire, and a further 79 yearlings from his mares set to be featured at Karaka 2013, Zabeel is continuing his reign as one of the leading sires in Australasian history through the deeds of his racetrack progeny and his daughters at stud.

A sire that has set many records in the sales ring, Zabeel – at the ripe age of 26 – is still producing Derby winners and Melbourne Cup runners, but increasingly his legacy is being carried through his daughters who are proving potent producers of Group 1 racehorses.

Zabeel’s damsire record makes for impressive reading: . . .


Rural round-up

January 12, 2013

Big changes ahead for kiwifruit industry – Andrea Fox:

The western Waikato could become a more important kiwifruit growing region to the country after the ravages of Psa-V disease in the kiwifruit capital Bay of Plenty, says a local grower.

Richard Glenn, who has just stepped down after 18 months as regional co-ordinator for Psa-V action management agency Kiwifruit Vine Health, said the Waikato, particularly the western side, has less rainfall than the Bay of Plenty.

Psa-V thrives in wet conditions, and has now affected 69 per cent of New Zealand’s kiwifruit hectares. . .

Careful planning saved milk from dumping – Annette Scott:

Contingency planning by Westland Milk Products has saved thousands of litres of milk from being dumped following the New Year weather bomb that hit the West Coast.

The event also highlighted the importance of dairy farmers ensuring they have their own insurance to cover on-farm milk losses.

With potential to lose more than two million litres of milk, the actual loss of just 400,000 litres has been praised by farmers and the milk company. . .

Mealworms could be tucker of future – Jon Morgan:

Some Dutch researchers have come up with a novel idea (at least to Westerners) to save the planet – eat worms. Mealworms, to be precise – they’re actually beetle larvae, or worms with legs.

Mealworms have much more protein than animals, are low in fat and cholesterol and high in minerals. They take up less room and use fewer natural resources. And they’re edible.

It’s an intriguing idea. And seeing this is what we in the news world call the silly season, when the usual newsmakers are on holiday, I’m in the mood to give it some consideration. . .

Farmers’ Market a plum part of job – Jon Morgan:

Tom Chambers loves to see what he calls the “chocolate face”. It’s when a browser at his farmers’ market stall tries a chocolate filled with syrupy damson plum liqueur.

“You can’t just take a bite or the syrup will dribble everywhere. You have to put it all in your mouth and then bite it,” the Hastings grower says.

“Then the intense damson flavour explodes in their mouth and they get the chocolate face. They are lost in the moment – their eyes sparkle and a big grin spreads across their face. Seeing that is what makes my job worthwhile.”

He is an owner, with wife Margie and their friend, Catherine Rusby, of The Damson Collection, a three-year-old Hawke’s Bay business making a variety of products from the 400 damson plum trees on their Hastings orchard. . .

Beef exporter bonanza – Hugh Stringleman:

United States imported beef prices are at record levels and are expected to go higher during 2013, into bonanza territory for New Zealand beef exporters and producers.

High feed grain prices, the smallest US cattle herd in 50 years and limited supplies from Australia, NZ, Canada and Latin America have driven import prices sky-high.

Bull beef (95CL) is at US 223c/pound and cow beef 212c/pound, both prices slightly higher than the previous records, set in March last year.

The US prices are 7% higher than January last year but the 5c appreciation of the NZ dollar has absorbed all of that lift. . .

Agri-scientist pushes limits – Ali Tocker:

A Waikato dairy industry scientist has made history as the first woman to conquer New Zealand’s most extreme road-cycling challenge.

Chris Couldrey, a molecular biologist from AgResearch’s Ruakura campus, cycled eight times around Lake Taupo, the equivalent of cycling from Hamilton to Dunedin. It took her three days and three nights. She clocked in at 72 hours, 21 minutes and 30 seconds, during which she slept for only seven hours altogether.

The 38-year-old was one of only two people to cross the finish line at this year’s Extreme Enduro race, part of the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. . .


Benedict Collins wins Rongo

October 15, 2012

The TBfree New Zealand Rongo Award, the supreme prize at the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators  awards has been won by  Benedict Collins for programmes prepared for Country99TV.

The runner up was Shawn McAvinue  for articles which appeared in the Southland Times. He now works for the Otago Daily Times.

The Rural Women NZ Journalism Award was won by Jackie Harrigan for articles that appeared in Country-Wide magazine. Andrew Stewart of Young Country, another NZX Agri group publication was runner up.

The award recognises journalism that portrays the important contribution women make to farm businesses and in rural communities.

In presenting the award, Rural Women NZ national president, Liz Evans, said the winning entries were refreshing, informative and topical and reflected the true professionalism of the farming women whose stories they told.
One story, for example, involved school leaver Anita, who finally got her dream job as a shepherd on a North Island hill country station, only to experience a quad bike accident that left her in a wheelchair. But Anita’s fighting spirit has ensured that she is still pursuing a career in agriculture. . . 
Liz Evans said, “Rural Women New Zealand continues to support these awards as we see the calibre and content of the entries about rural women, their lives, businesses and communities grow more dynamic each time.”
Other awards went to:
AGMARDT Agribusiness Award –  Hugh Stringleman
AgResearch Science Writers Award – Tim Cronshaw, The Press;  runner up Peter Burke, Rural News
Beef + Lamb NZ News Award – Richard Rennie
Ballance Agri-Nutrients –  Tim Cronshaw, The Press;  runner up, Ali Tocker, Waikato Times
Guild Encouragement Award  -  John  Watson, Country99TV
Federated Farmers Rural Photograph Award   –  Jonathan Cameron, Taranaki Daily News
Horticulture New Zealand Journalism Award -Tim Fulton, NZ Farmers Weekly;  runner up, Susan Murray, Country Life
PGG Wrightson Sustainable Land Management Award –  Susan Murray, Country Life.

Rural round-up

March 4, 2012

Only a Lotto ticket away from a PhD - Jon Morgan:

One day while travelling, Trevor Cook and a friend were discussing what they would do if they won Lotto.

His friend said: “I’d leave work and travel the world playing golf on the best courses I could find. What would you do?” Mr Cook, a Feilding veterinarian and farming consultant, thought for a bit and replied: “I’d cut down on work and do a PhD.”

He lets out a gruff laugh. “You should have seen the look on his face. `You’re not joking, are you,’ he said. I wasn’t. If I had the financial freedom, that’s exactly what I would do.” . . .

Classrooms to cowsheds:

The students of four Taranaki schools are combining classroom study with on-the-job learning in a Primary Industry Trades Academy (PITA).

The year 11-13 students of Hawera and Opunake high schools and New Plymouth’s Spotswood and Francis Douglas Memorial colleges are undertaking the National Certificate in Agriculture Level 2, in tandem with NCEA study. They form two clusters and undertake study on Thursdays or Fridays.

Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre established the academy in Taranaki this year after operating it in other areas of the lower North Island last year. It wants to expand it to other Taranaki schools. . .

Kylee’s in search of perfection – Sue O’Dowd:

Young ayrshire cattle judge Kylee Perrett brings a pedigree of her own to her role.

The 22-year-old is the daughter of prominent Taranaki ayrshire breeders Ivan and Robyn Fredrickson, of Ngaere, in central Taranaki.

And she’s well on the way to establishing herself as a stock judge on the show circuit.

She’s a New Zealand Ayrshire Association junior judge and wants to become a senior judge as soon as she can. . .

Farmers praised on water quality - Jill Galloway:

Farmers should be congratulated for doing their bit to improve the quality of the Manawatu River, says water quality scientist Shirley Hayward.

She talked to about 20 dairy farmers at a field day last week to help dairy farmers improve their productivity while at the same time reducing their environmental footprint.

Ms Hayward said Niwa figures showed river quality had improved during the past 10 years. She said there were fewer pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphrous. . .

Farmers face new take on water – Ali Tocker:

Waikato Regional Council is currently planning how it will work with farmers required to apply for water take consents under the council’s new water allocation policy.

The policy, variation 6 to the council’s regional plan, was endorsed by the Environment Court late last year. The period for appeals has now passed, clearing the way for the council to begin implementing the policy.

The council’s resource use division manager Brent Sinclair said his team is now doing detailed planning to ensure farmers in different areas are aware of their responsibilities under variation 6. The council will also work with the agricultural sector to develop the most efficient way for farmers to meet those responsibilities. . .

NZ to see more of luxury meat – Tim Cronshaw:

Merino-branded meat will be rolled out to more Kiwi diners and luxury global markets in the next year.

A mix of high-priced racks and legs with unconventional cuts of lamb such as short ribs are under the new luxury brand of Silere Alpine Origin Merino.

The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) is developing the merino brand in a joint venture with the meat company Silver Fern Farms (SFF) and plans to build on merino wool’s clever marketing with more innovative twists. . .


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