Rural round-up

September 15, 2014

Forestry workers dodge poachers’ bullets – Sonita Chandar:

Forestry workers are dodging bullets from poachers, says a forest manager.

They are being fired at by people hunting wild pigs illegally released in the private forests.

”Our staff shouldn’t have to worry about going to work and being shot, but this is the reality,” said Phil De La Mare, Otago regional manager for forestry plantation company, Ernslaw One.

”These unpermitted hunters forget it is a workplace and go shooting any time, even when there are people out working.

”Their actions are putting our staff and contractors in a risky situation and for us.

”Providing a safe workplace environment has become a challenge.” . .

 Putting Rustling back into the history books – Rick Powdrell:

Contrary to talk, the meat and fibre industries are not broken as the fundamentals to take both sectors forward to much greater heights remain. Still, it requires an entire industry shared vision going forward and that’s of course easier said than done.

 This undoubtedly involves strong leadership accompanied by a strong grassroots involvement.  It hardly entails re-inventing the wheel, but rather more awareness of the areas we need to improve and a path developed to redeem theses issues.

 The red meat sector strategy has already identified significant issues, with the Beef + Lamb: Red Meat Profit Partnership focusing on topics behind the farm gate with the aim of lifting on farm performance.

 This collaboration of Beef + Lamb NZ, meat companies, banks and government foreshadows a united industry approach. . .

NZ exports to EU may face stricter pesticide standards – Yvonne O’Hara:

New Zealand’s fruit and vegetable export trade to Europe could be affected by as much as $600 million if a proposed European Union (EU) reduction of some pesticide residue levels on imported food goes ahead, Agcarm chief executive Graeme Peters says.

The European Commission (EC) had been looking at regulating common crop protection products that had endocrine-disrupting properties. The EC believed reducing endocrine-disrupting pesticides would benefit the environment; be good for the health of growers, workers, rural communities and consumers; and boost the economy.

It will release criteria to identify those properties in the next few weeks. . .

Commission releases final report on 2013/14 review of Fonterra’s base milk price calculation:

The Commerce Commission today released its final report on Fonterra’s base milk price calculation for the 2013/14 dairy season. The base milk price is the price Fonterra pays to farmers for raw milk.

The Commission is required to review Fonterra’s calculation of the base milk price each year as part of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act’s milk price monitoring regime. The review assesses whether Fonterra’s calculation approach provides incentives for it to operate efficiently and provides for contestability in the market for purchasing farmers’ milk.

The most significant issue in this year’s review has been Fonterra’s decision to pay farmers an adjusted price for the 2013/14 season that is less than the milk price calculated under the company’s Milk Price Manual.

The Commission’s overall findings are that the way Fonterra is calculating and applying its proposed adjustment to the base milk price is not consistent with incentives for it to operate efficiently; however, the approach is consistent with contestability in the market under the Act. . .

Field day to give insight into rural work  – Yvonne O’Hara:

Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ) is to hold its second field day on September 17 at Brian Hughes’ yard at Waimatua, near Invercargill, from 10am to 3pm.

RCNZ vice-president and contractor David Kean, of Centre Bush, said the field day, held in association with Work and Income, encouraged people to find out what it was like working in the agricultural contracting sector.

”People can drift in and drift out again throughout the day,” Mr Kean said.

Those attending the field day would have the opportunity to drive large tractors and operate an assortment of machinery under supervision. . .

Farmers’ need for speed – Chris Lewis:

We are ready when you are, and we have been ready for some time. The key investors and the next government need to know farmers and rural households are sick of the inferior connectivity they are receiving. We are in the need for speed and reliable connectivity; it is not only imperative for rural productivity, but for empowering rural households.

The agricultural industry generates 73 percent of New Zealand’s merchandise exports, so you would think that the powers and investors that be, would recognise a gaping hole when they see it. What is not ok is that whilst rural businesses and households are paying for the same services as our urban counterparts, we are not getting the same results.

Market research proves rural New Zealand is being neglected. We are armed with the latest devices, on average 9 connectable devices per business and 5 to 6 of those connected at one time, but have limited infrastructure to use them. Chorus recently went to the rural market through Colmar Brunton to find out exactly what we have been dealing with, and it should come as no surprise that they found we have the same level of needs as urban businesses and households. . .

In Burundi, Viola Nsengiyumva turns two acres into a profitable business - Food Tank:

Viola looks out over the two acres of land she and her husband, Deo, inherited from her father. The fields are thick with bushy, yellow-green vines. The beans are ready to be harvested.

Two and a half years ago, Viola’s fields were nearly bare. Even though she and Deo had land, they could not afford the seed and fertilizer needed to plant on all of it. Harvests were low, with just enough to feed the family. There was no surplus to sell for income.

“Before One Acre Fund, we would just manage to have enough to eat. We couldn’t sell anything we grew,” Viola says. “I would go to purchase fertilizer, but I would not be able to buy enough.” . . .

Do You Have the Correct Licence for the Coming Season?:

Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ) is urging its members to ensure they have all the correct transport licences for the coming season.

RCNZ president Steve Levet says with the new season fast approaching it is timely for rural contractors and their staff to check to see they have the correct licence AND a ‘Wheels Endorsements’ if required.

“It is incumbent on rural contractors to ensure both they and their staff have all the correct licences when moving their tractors and machinery around the country,” he adds.

“There are no excuses for not having the correct licenses and/or wheels endorsement. If contractors are not sure they should find out – all the necessary information is under the members section of our website: www.ruralcontractors.org.nz .”

Mr Levet says the different types of licences rural contractors may require include: . . .


Rural round-up

September 4, 2014

New Season Looking Positive for Sheep And Beef Farmers:

New Zealand sheep and beef farmers can look forward to a positive 2014-15 season, according to analysis released by Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) Economic Service today.

B+LNZ Economic Service executive director, Rob Davison says the season’s favourable climatic conditions so far, expected higher product prices and a more export-friendly exchange rate collectively translate to improved returns for the country’s sheep and beef farmers.

New Season Outlook 2014-15 predicts the average sheep and beef farm profit before tax will increase 8.0 per cent on last season, to $110,800.

Mr Davison says a 6.3 per cent lift in sheep revenue is largely responsible for the increase, while total farm expenditure should only rise by an average of 2.3 per cent. . .

 Unravelling the schedule gap between North and South Islands – Allan Barber:

Every year when livestock numbers pass their peak in the North Island, there is a constant stream of trucks carting stock across the Cook Strait to plants for slaughter. There are two obvious reasons for this – either there isn’t enough South Island capacity at the time or the cost of procurement plus transport is less than the price in the North Island.

 These two explanations are two sides of the same coin, because there is no need for South Island processors to pay more than they have to when their plants are full. This is even more evident from the species with the largest price gap which is cull cows, possibly wider than it has ever been. However there is absolutely no point in paying dairy farmers over the odds for what is a fully depreciated asset they have to get rid of. . . .

Rock Lobster Industry Welcomes Prime Minister’s Pledge of Farmland Buffer Zones:

The New Zealand Rock Lobster Industry Council has today praised the National Party pledge to spend $100 million over 10 years to buy and retire farmland next to waterways to provide a buffer and improve water quality.

The pledge was made by Prime Minister John Key in Southland this morning.

Rock Lobster Executive Officer Daryl Sykes says the National Party pledge represents an appropriate recognition of the quality and integrity of private property rights and invokes market mechanisms to resolve concerns about the natural environment. . .

Independent Inquiry Welcomes Fonterra Progress:

The Independent Inquiry Committee which reviewed the circumstances giving rise to the precautionary recall of whey protein concentrate (WPC80) last year has welcomed Fonterra’s progress on implementing recommended improvements.

The Committee completed a nine-month checkpoint on Fonterra’s progress which itself was one of the Committee’s recommendations.

Committee Chair Sir Ralph Norris said the Co-operative’s leadership had taken responsible measures to distil the Inquiry’s recommendations into a significant programme of work. . . .

 Seeka offers kiwifruit growers share incentive in exchange for trays – Suze Metherell:

 (BusinessDesk) – Seeka Kiwifruit Industries, the fruit grower and coolstore and packhouse operator, is looking to secure kiwifruit supply over the next three years by offering growers shares in return for exclusive supply from their orchards.

Under the growers incentive scheme eligible growers will be issued new shares annually in proportion to the number of trays provided, at a rate of 10 cents worth of shares to every tray, until 2016, the Te Puke-based company said in statement. Seeka shares were unchanged near a five-year high at $3.29 on the NZX and have gained 57 percent this year.

Local kiwifruit growers have been struggling with the outbreak of Pseudomonas syringae PV actinidiae in 2010, which infected about 40 percent of the nation’s orchards, with gold fruit varieties hardest hit. Seeka expects the gold market to double in 2015 once re-grafted SunGold orchards reach commercial volume. . . .

Rural Equities doubles annual profit on record milk production and prices – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – Rural Equities, the farming group controlled by the Cushing family, doubled annual profit and lifted its dividend 17 percent on the back of record dairy production and prices.

Profit rose to $24 million in the 12 months ended June 30, up from $10.9 million a year earlier, the Hastings-based company said in a statement. Operating earnings before interest and tax doubled to $6.43 million from $3.33 million, as its six dairy farms produced a record 1.67 million kilograms of milk solids and the price of dairy products soared.

Production at its three Waikato farms benefited from rising beef, lamb and wool prices, and “contributed materially to increased earnings,” the company said. . . .

Oz turns to selfies in free trade bid:

AUSTRALIAN DAIRY Farmers (ADF) have launched a selfie campaign to push for a China free trade agreement which they say will put them on an equal footing with New Zealand farmers.

 It says the campaign had reached 1.6 million Twitter users by today, September 2. ADF is urging all Australians to get behind its #FTA4dairy ‘selfie’ campaign to help secure a China-Australia free trade agreement (FTA) which could see $30 million in tariff savings per year placed back into the pockets of Australians.

Showing your support is as simple as uploading a #FTA4dairy selfie holding up a postive message, and posting it online incorporating the #FTA4dairy and #FTA4farmers hashtags, the group says. . .

The Campaign for Wool partners with the Harris Tweed Ride:

On Sunday 31st August, tweed clad ladies and gents from all over Scotland gathered outside the luxury Blythswood Square Hotel for the annual Harris Tweed ride, this year in partnership with the Campaign for Wool.

The Harris Tweed ride has continued to become increasingly popular with this year’s ride being no exception. Over 120 cyclists and wool lovers took part in the ride covering Glasgow Green and Kelvingrove Park taking in some of Glasgow’s most iconic sites as well as guiding riders past some of Glasgow’s top dining establishments. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

August 16, 2014

 Not celebrating yet - Andrea Fox:

Bay of Plenty farmer David Jensen’s commitment of nearly a third of his milk production this season to Fonterra’s June guaranteed milk price (GMP) of $7 a kilogram of milksolids (MS) looks set to boost his coffers by at least $80,000 but he’s not crowing.

He knows that would be foolhardy, given the roller-coaster ride of the milk price this year and the long stretch of the season ahead.

This is Jensen’s second round on Fonterra’s new fixed milk price programme. In last year’s pilot scheme his business posted a $45,000 opportunity cost after he committed milk at $7/kg MS in what is set to be a record $8-plus payout season. . .

Pipfruit sector’s future ‘very bright’ – Pam Jones:

Good returns are expected in the pipfruit industry this year following a record season last year, Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive officer Alan Pollard says.

Mr Pollard was one of the keynote speakers at the two-day Pipfruit New Zealand conference in Queenstown last week, and visited three Central Otago orchards and one winery with delegates during a field day after the conference.

The conference built on the Pipfruit New Zealand strategic plan, which was released at last year’s conference and outlined how to achieve a goal of developing the pipfruit industry into a $1 billion export industry by 2022, Mr Pollard said. . .

Innovative sheep farmers winners -

Southland and Otago did well in the third annual Beef and Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards in Napier last week.

AbacusBio managing director Neville Jopson, of Dunedin, received the Focus Genetics sheep industry science award in recognition of his work in the industry, while Mount Linton Station, in Southland, won the Alliance Group terminal sire award for lamb growth and meat yield and the SIL-ACE award for terminal sire for lamb growth.

Andy Ramsden, of Wanaka, was awarded the Allflex sheep industry innovation award for his input to increasing the productivity of New Zealand sheep during the past 20 years, and Riverton’s Blackdale Coopworth stud won the Telford dual purpose award for reproduction, lamb growth plus adult size and wool production. . .

Agricultural drones taking off on farms:

Robots are not only taking their place in milking sheds or on vineyards and orchards – aerial drones are increasingly being used to extend the reach and view of human farmers.

Unmanned aerial vehicles or aerial robots – known in the military world as drones – are increasingly being used for a range of activities on farms, including checking fences and water systems, and monitoring and even moving stock.

Linda Bulk of the Aeronavics company, said farmers were surprised at how easy they were to use.

“It’s so practical,” she said. “There’s that eye in the sky, what you see from above is so much more informative than when you’re on eye level to start with and it gets into those hard to reach areas that are often a hazard for quad bikes. . . .

Improved Returns See Rise in Cattle Numbers:

Dry conditions in the northern North Island and continued land use change in the South Island saw New Zealand’s sheep numbers decrease 3.2 per cent over the 2013-14 season, while beef cattle numbers increased 1.6 per cent.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) Economic Service carries out a stock number survey annually. Its latest survey shows sheep numbers dropped to 29.8 million in the year to 30 June 2014.

B+LNZ Economic Service Chief Economist Andrew Burtt says strong mutton prices, driven by rising demand from North Asia, encouraged a high level of cull ewe processing for the second year in a row.

Breeding ewe numbers, at 19.96 million, were slightly down (-1.4%) on the previous June. The largest contributor to the overall decline was the South Island, reflecting the continued land use trend towards dairy and dairy support activities.

 

Meadow Mushrooms Opens Second Stage Of $120 Million Redevelopment:

The second stage of a $120 million redevelopment and expansion project at one of New Zealand’s largest agricultural enterprises will be opened this week.

The $12 million investment into the extension of Meadow Mushrooms’ Christchurch farm will add a further 60 jobs and increase production by 37,000 kilograms of fresh white mushrooms a week.

This project follows the $45 million expansion undertaken by the company on site in 2011 and is the second of three stages to completely reconfigure the company’s infrastructure in New Zealand. A new office administration and headquarters construction project will commence before the end of the year and will be followed by an expansion of the compost facilities and growing shed conversions.

“This development demonstrates Meadow Mushrooms’ confidence in the future market and our commitment to the industry,” said John Barnes, CEO of Meadow Mushrooms. . . .

 

 

 


Rural round-up

August 12, 2014

A2 milk easier to digest than A1 – study – Dan Satherley:

Milk that contains only A2 protein is easier to digest than the more common A1-type milk, according to a new study that directly contradicts previous research.

Scientists at Curtin University in Perth found that people reported less abdominal pain and bloating after drinking A2 milk than A1.

“We knew there were differences in animals consuming A2 milk without any A1 beta-casein, but this is now supported by our new human study,” says Associate Professor Sebely Pal.

A2 milk is produced naturally, taken from cows without the genetic mutation that most cows in Europe, Australia, the United States and New Zealand have. Normal cows’ milk has a mixture of A1 and A2 proteins. . .

 

Dairy plant conversion seen as catalyst for burgeoning food technology hub:

Plans to establish a state-of-the-art food technology and production hub in the small North Waikato township of Kerepehi have moved another step closer – with several large blocks of bare land with development potential being placed on the market for sale.

The 16 sites are immediately opposite the former Kerepehi dairy factory which was bought earlier this year by the Chinese-owned Allied Faxi Food Company for conversion into an ice cream export manufacturing plant.

Conversion construction of the dairy plant is scheduled to start in spring, with the plant targeted to be fully operational by the end of 2015 – forecasting to produce 10 tonnes of ice cream and 10 tonnes of frozen cream daily. All output is for the Chinese markets. . . .

Deadline approaches for entries in the Enterprising Rural Women Awards 2014:

Women looking for new ways to promote their small rural business are encouraged to enter the Enterprising Rural Women Awards 2014.

“With the deadline of Friday 5 September now around the corner, we’re reminding women to send in their entries,” says Rural Women New Zealand national president, Wendy McGowan.

In their sixth year, the awards attract good publicity for both entrants and winners, says Mrs McGowan.

“Rural Women New Zealand’s aim is to grow dynamic rural communities and giving a boost to women in rural business is a very positive way of achieving this.” . . .

Fine wool gets a sporting chance - Andrew Marshall:

THE wool industry’s search for a big break in the outdoor recreation clothing market may be about to bear fruit thanks, in part, to technology originally developed to make finewool finer.

Fashion industry responses to trials of the new wind and water resistant fabric indicate plenty of promise in clothing market segments such as recreational sailing, fishing, bushwalking or hiking and golf.

Wool marketers also anticipate genuine interest and spill-over orders from the booming smart-casual clothing scene. . .

Delivering Better Tools And Services for Maori Sheep And Beef Farmers:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) is joining forces with the Federation of Maori Authorities (FoMA) to ramp up support for Maori sheep and beef farmers.

FoMA and B+LNZ are creating two new joint roles. Anaru Smiler and William McMillan have been appointed Kaiarahi Ahuwhenua Sheep & Beef, operating jointly for FoMA and B+LNZ. The positions will be responsible for delivering tools and services to support Maori sheep and beef farmers.

B+LNZ Chief Executive Dr Scott Champion says the organisation has worked closely with FoMA to develop the new positions and they will be a key part of supporting the development of more productive and profitable Maori-owned sheep and beef farms. . .

Warrnambool Cheese & Butter not ACCC at its finest, says Joyce - Andrew White:

AGRICULTURE Minister Barnaby Joyce has hit out at the competition watchdog and the law it enforces, claiming its treatment of Murray Goulburn’s bid for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter was a poor application of competition law.

Mr Joyce called for an overhaul of competition law to support the creation of national champions in industries across Australia after the giant Murray Goulburn co-operative was effectively blocked from buying Warrnambool by delays in the competition review process.

“If we want to create — and I believe we should — Australian national champions then that substantial lessening of competition test … its finest hour was not the Warrnambool Cheese and Butter issue,’’ Mr Joyce told a high-powered gathering of food industry and political leaders in Sydney as part of the The Australian and The Wall Street Journal’s Global Food Forum series. . .

Rabobank backs a Challenge - Reg Burton:

THE 2014 Rabobank Beef Challenge is once again focused solely on the graziers in the Richmond Shire with the Flinders and McKinlay Shire opting not to stage the Challenge this year because of the drought.

Conversely, the Richmond Shire graziers elected to continue with the Challenge to obtain information as to which breeds do better on a particular dietary supplement under drought conditions.

Ten mobs of six early weaners were put into the same paddock on Alistair McClymont’s Wilburra Station where they will stay and be weighed and tested monthly. . . .

Fonterra Grass Roots Fund:

Need help with a community project? Grants from $500 to $5,000 will be made. Hurry – applications close 31 August!

Need help with a community project? Grants from $500 to $5,000 will be made. Hurry – applications close 31 August!


Rural round-up

August 2, 2014

Succession planning: the good, the bad and the ugly –  Olivia Garnett , Lucinda Jose , Lucie Bell , Owen Grieve , Belinda Varischetti , Joanna Prendergast and Bridget Fitzgerald:

“To me, farm succession is a dirty word,” an anonymous woman told ABC Rural.

She married into a farming family when she was very young. 

“Farm succession is something that makes me quiver when I think of it.

“To me, all it means is arguments, squabbles, bitterness, resentment.  Every time it comes up in conversation there’s always so much negativity about it.

“I don’t think my in-laws even know that there is such a thing as succession planning. . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Seeks Beef Industry Ambassador:

Do you have what it takes to represent New Zealand beef on the world stage?

Beef + Lamb New Zealand is giving one young beef producer the chance to attend the Five Nations Beef Alliance conference and young leaders programme in the USA this October.

The scholarship is open to New Zealanders aged 22-32, who are working in and can demonstrate a passion for the beef industry and its future direction.

This is the fourth year Beef + Lamb New Zealand has offered the scholarship. It covers all conference-associated expenses, including airfares and accommodation. . .

 Time to Get Entries Sorted For 2015 Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Entries for the 2015 Ballance Farm Environment Awards opened on August 1, 2014.

A major event on the farming calendar, the annual contest promotes sustainable land management and is facilitated by the New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust.

NZFE acting chairman Simon Saunders says the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards drew an excellent standard of entries and he is expecting strong interest in the 2015 competition.

He encourages farmers and horticulturists to put themselves forward for the awards or to nominate others that might benefit from being involved.

The competition is now operating in ten regions throughout the country and past-entrants have described their participation as a highly worthwhile experience. . . .

Australian company Taylors Wines takes on New Zealand

Taylors Wines is seeing early results from its investment in the New Zealand market, with a strong sales increase in the first quarter of its new distribution company.

Company Director, Asia Pacific Market Manager and third generation family member Justin Taylor says NZ has always been one of Taylor’s most important export markets and the company is delighted with its early sales success.  . .

Flavour fizzes in dairy war – Andrew Marshall:

ION’S big milk business is fast becoming a flavoured milk business as the dairy, drinks and beer giant makes determined moves to rebuild its bruised dairy sector reputation.

Yoghurt lines and specialty cheese brands such as King Island and Tasmanian Heritage are also enjoying specific attention from Lion’s dairy and drinks managing director Peter West, who has singled out 10 of the division’s 40 brands to lead the turnaround.

Export prospects are on the agenda, too, as the Japanese-owned milk business prepares to trial a partnership with Chinese distributors exporting ultra-high temperature (UHT) treated lines from November. . .

 Farmers Market NZ Award Winners:

Tasting Real New Zealand flavour at Farmers’ Markets

Farmers’ Markets New Zealand (FMNZ) celebrated the real heroes and champions of regional food production at the 2014 Farmers Markets Awards in Feilding. Chefs Julie Biuso and Hester Guy tasted and tested the very best of NZ Farmers Markets showcasing local innovation and regional tastes that we are developing right here in our own backyards. Judge Hester Guy says “We found less reliance on preservatives in the bottles and more emphasis in the integrity of ingredients. The raw product is the hero and the quality and flavours of these products is paramount”. Chairperson of FMNZ – Chris Fortune commented that “the attention to quality and freshness is what makes the difference and you can find that in bucket loads at Farmers’ Markets nationwide on a weekly basis” . . .


Rural round-up

July 29, 2014

Cuff calling time as CEO – Sally Rae:

Alliance Group chief executive Grant Cuff is stepping down in December after nine years in the position.

Yesterday, Mr Cuff (56) told the Otago Daily Times his decision was not sudden and he had been thinking about it for a while, looking for the right time to stand down.

During his 24-year tenure with Alliance Group, Mr Cuff held various executive positions including general manager commercial, chief financial officer, chief operating officer and chief executive. . .

Beet + Lamb New Zealand give support to MIE business plan:

The Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Board has approved funding for the Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) group’s Business Plan to support red meat sector initiatives.

The decision to approve the funding application comes following farmers voting in support of an MIE remit at the B+LNZ Annual Meeting in March of this year, seeking funding support for MIE initiatives.

The $219,000 project includes MIE contracting independent consulting firms to research improved procurement models, flow on effects on industry profitability and communicating these findings to the sector. . .

DOC: 1080 drop last chance to save mohua - Neil Rately:

The Department of Conservation has confirmed it will dump 1080 on almost 7000 hectares of Waikaia Forest in Northern Southland because of high rat counts.

An aerial drop of 1080 is the only way to ensure the survival of the endangered mohua (yellowhead) and other threatened species during a heavy beech mast, DOC says.

Catlins services ranger Cheryl Pullar said pest control might be the last chance for Waikaia mohua, which was thought to be lost during the beech mast in 2000.

Environment Southland had granted DOC consent for the drop and it would go ahead in August or September, she said. . .

Workers with experience in high demand – Rob Tipa:

Where have all the skilled farm workers gone?

That is the question that has plagued the dairy industry for years but it now extends to a shortage of experienced farm managers and shepherds with well-trained teams of dogs on sheep and beef farms.

Despite relatively high unemployment levels nationally, the chronic shortage of trained staff in the dairy industry has been well documented.

But a new survey of farmers suggests the shortage of workers affects all sectors of agriculture. . .

Overseer expands for new demands -

As the nutrient-budgeting computer-modelling program Overseer becomes ever more central to fresh water management in New Zealand, its developers are working flat-out to expand its capabilities to match new demands.

First developed in the 1990s, Overseer has steadily evolved as a farming tool, becoming ever- more complex, able to calculate loss of nitrates to water, phosphate run-off and greenhouse gas emissions from nine separate farming systems, including dairying and arable.

Regional councils are now using Overseer in the development of water plans, with Canterbury farmers now expected to use it to calculate their average nitrogen losses over the past four years to establish their “nitrogen baseline”, the upper limit for future farming enterprises. . .

Semen collecting is tricky and dangerous – Sonita Chandar:

Working with penises, semen and testicles is no laughing matter but a sense of humour is essential, says a bull whisperer.

Interposing yourself between an amorous bull and the object of its lust is a dangerous occupation, but for semen collector Robyn How, of the Tararua Breeding Centre in Woodville, it is a fascinating way of life.

Born and raised in Australia, How became passionate about cattle after helping a friend with show animals. While doing an artificial insemination course, she found she had a natural ability to read bulls.

She bought a 6ha lifestyle block in Woodville in 1997 and started the breeding centre the next year with Auckland-based business partner and embryo transfer veterinarian Eddie Dixon. . .


Rural round-up

July 23, 2014

Farming family demonstrate conservation message – Ann Warnock:

Dan Steele is a farmer, conservationist, competitive axeman, hunter, historian, lodge host, rugby fan and romantic who never dreamed he’d turn into a bird geek.

But at the age of 21, while wandering up the banks of the Kaiwhakauka Stream at Retaruke Station, his parents’ remote property on the Whanganui River, he spied a family of blue ducks (whio) and they unwittingly shaped the rest of his life.

“I love exploring and poking about up every stream; climbing every ridge. On this particular day I saw two adults with their five ducklings. The next time I saw them there were only three ducklings. Then there were none. I phoned the DOC ranger. They were endangered. It hit me; protecting the blue duck was part of the future of our land.” . . .

Boost for horticulture and viticulture industry:

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse have announced plans for a new programme aimed at getting more Kiwis into seasonal work, alongside an increase to the annual RSE cap.

Mr Woodhouse says the need to raise the cap on Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from 8000 to 9000 demonstrates the success of the RSE scheme.

“There’s no doubt that the growth in the horticulture and viticulture industry in the past few years would not have been possible without RSE, which has been widely praised locally and internationally,” says Mr Woodhouse.

“It has provided employers with a stable and reliable workforce and given them confidence to expand and invest in their business. RSE workers have also benefitted significantly from gaining invaluable work experience and being able to send money back to their communities at home.’’ . . .

NZ Pacific encouraged for new Seasonal Worker Scheme:

Domestic Pacific workers can be as successful as overseas Pacific workers in the horticulture and viticulture industries says Pacific Island Affairs Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga.
 
Mr Lotu-Iiga is encouraging employers to take up the New Zealand Seasonal Worker Scheme announced today by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett. The scheme will provide pastoral care and other support to assist Kiwis into seasonal work. Mrs Bennett also announced an increase to the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme. The scheme recruits seasonal workers from overseas to assist in the horticulture and viticulture industries where there are not enough New Zealand workers.
 
“I was in Marlborough in the weekend speaking to employers, Pacific RSE workers and domestic Pacific workers and I saw first-hand the benefits of Pacific people working in the wine industry,” says Mr Lotu-Iiga. . .

Pork industry joins GIA biosecurity agreement:

The Government and the commercial pork industry have committed to a partnership to strengthen biosecurity, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

The Deed of the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) on Biosecurity Readiness and Response was signed by New Zealand Pork at its annual conference today.

“This enables New Zealand Pork and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to make joint decisions on biosecurity readiness and response activities. It means we can focus on the areas of greatest priority to the pork industry,” Mr Guy says.

“What it means in practice is a stronger, more effective biosecurity system. Those with a direct stake in biosecurity can now be directly involved in decision making and funding. . .

– Keith Woodford:

Last week I wrote about PGG Wrightson and the challenges it faces. For their seeds division there are clear strategic options, but for the farm services division, the long term strategy remains challenging. Part of the reason is the competition they are facing from the farm services co-operatives, with Farmlands now dominant in the sector.

Farmlands has 56,000 members and an annual turnover exceeding $2 billion. This is more than double the New Zealand farm services revenue of its major investor-owned competitor, PGG Wrightson. The aim of Farmlands is to keep prices low for its members. This ensures that its investor-oriented competitor also has to keep its margins low. . . .

The truth about grassfed beef – The Food Revolution Network:

A lot of people today, horrified by how animals are treated in factory farms and feedlots, and wanting to lower their ecological footprint, are looking for healthier alternatives. As a result, there is a decided trend toward pasture-raised animals. One former vegetarian, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford, says he now eats meat, but only “grassfed and organic and sustainable as possible, reverentially and deeply gratefully, and in small amounts.”

Sales of grassfed and organic beef are rising rapidly. Ten years ago, there were only about 50 grassfed cattle operations left in the U.S. Now there are thousands.

How much difference does it make? Is grassfed really better? If so, in what ways, and how much? . . .

New Zealand Meat Exports October 2013 to June 2014:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) compiles lamb, mutton and beef export statistics for the country. The following is a summary of the combined export statistics for the first nine months of the 2013-14 meat export season (1 October 2013 to 30 June 2014).

[All monetary values are in New Zealand dollars.]

Summary

Despite the high New Zealand dollar, particularly during the main export months of January to June, there was an increase in the average value for lamb, mutton and beef/veal. A smaller national lamb crop flowed through to reduced lamb export volumes. However, for only the fourth time in history, lamb exports exceeded $2 billion Free On Board (FOB) in the first nine months of a season.  . . .

New veterinary resource to manage disease in cattle associated with Theileria:

A new veterinary handbook on Theileria, developed by the Theileria Working Group and published by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA), will help to ensure that veterinarians and their farmer clients are well prepared to manage the expected spring upsurge in infections with this important, new parasite of cattle.

The number of affected farms is expected to exceed those reported in the last two years with nearly 700 beef and dairy herds testing positive so far, with about a third of these occurring in the North Island this year.  . .

 Brown Re-Elected as Council Chairman for Third Term, Duncan Coull New Deputy Chair:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown has today been re-elected unopposed to the position for a third term.

Ian Brown: “I appreciate the support I continue to receive from Councillors and look forward to leading the Council for a further 12 months.”

Mr Brown is joined by first time Deputy Chair, Duncan Coull, also elected unopposed, who will take up his new role on 29 July for a 12 month term.
Mr Coull was elected to the Council in 2010 to represent Fonterra Farmers in Otorohanga and serves as the Chair of the Council’s Representation Committee. . . .


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