Bay of Plenty dairy farmer Trevor Hamilton entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards because he had a point to prove.
Trevor and his wife Harriet run a large-scale family business that spans ten farms – five in Canterbury, four in Bay of Plenty and one in Hawke’s Bay. The operation is on track to produce three million kilograms of Milksolids this season, with four million targeted for 2015/16.
Starting from scratch as a sharemilker in 1980, Trevor says his aim is to create an intergenerational dairy farming business. But he is acutely aware that the scale of the operation opens it up to claims that its growth has come at the expense of the environment.
Entering the Ballance Farm Environment Awards gave him the opportunity to prove this wasn’t the case. . . .
NZ possum hits fashion catwalk – Sally Rae:
With apologies to Dame Edna, it’s Goodbye Possums.
New Zealand’s possum fur industry is estimated to be worth $130 million annually to the country’s economy.
Perino, a blend of possum fur and cashmere or merino yarn, recently featured on the catwalk in garments from the latest collections from Zambesi and The Noble Savage. . .
Lavender: The sweet smell of success - Sally Rae:
Two novice lavender growers from Central Otago nearly stole the show at this year’s New Zealand Lavender Growers Association awards.
In the oil competition, Joth Hankinson and Tony Culshaw, from Central Otago Produce, won two of the three trophies on offer – the Eoin Johnson Memorial Trophy for best lavandin oil, and the Ken Wilson Memorial Trophy, for best grosso.
Two particular types of lavender were grown commercially for oil – angustifolia or English lavender, and intermedia lavender – also called lavandin – a hybrid cross between an angustifolia and a latafolia, which grows in the wild at higher altitudes in the Mediterranean. . .
Drone big success on and off the farm - Rob Tipa:
A Southland family pioneering the use of drones on New Zealand farms believes there is a massive gap between the science, research and technology available today and its application on farms.
Neil Gardyne and his 14-yearold son Mark made television and news headlines internationally last year when they started flying drones over their 466ha hillcountry farms in the Otama Valley in Eastern Southland.
Instead of climbing on a quad bike twice a day to check on hogget lambing, the Gardynes programmed a drone to cover the same ground from the air. What took them two hours on a bike opening and closing 120 farm gates, took 20 minutes flight time for the drone. . .
No growth benefits shown with docking - Sally Brooker:
Docking lambs’ tails has no long-term beneficial or detrimental effect on lamb growth rates from docking to slaughter, a new study has found.
Alliance Group Ltd, one of New Zealand’s largest meat processing companies, Beef and Lamb New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries Sustainable Farming Fund commissioned the research after farmers wondered if leaving tails intact improved lamb growth rates from docking to slaughter and British retailers had started asking about tail length.
AbacusBio consultant Jo Kerslake presented the results at a Beef and Lamb field day in South Canterbury last week. . . .
Rustling must be stopped – but how? – Jon Morgan:
I suppose running sheep in a park in central Auckland is asking for trouble. The temptation of a week’s meals there for the taking is too much to expect the big city’s criminal element to ignore.
In the latest of a string of incidents, rustlers using dogs and traps targeted the 600-ewe flock in Cornwall Park.
Members of the public disturbed three men and three large dogs capturing new-born lambs. And last month rustlers stole at least six sheep – including two pregnant ewes and a large ram – from the park’s farm.
A heavily pregnant ewe was caught in a leg-hold trap but spotted by a member of the public before it could be taken.
Another ewe that was due to give birth to triplets disappeared two days earlier and three more ewes and a 110kg ram were taken a few months earlier. . .