Rural round-up

February 27, 2013

Future foods – Robert Hickson:

Will farm livestock become endangered species? Social, economic and environmental drivers are converging to not only look at producing food more efficiently and sustainably, but are also stimulating new ways to produce meat or remove the need for it altogether. Such changes, if successful, could have substantial effects on New Zealand’s agricultural and economic landscapes.

Lab-grown meat has been worked on for a while, and convergence with other technologies is starting. Modern Meadow  is aiming to print meat. In vitro production of meat still has a long way to go, technically, economically and socially. There is scepticism that it will become economically viable and sufficiently scaleable. Or even appeal to consumers. But would it really be that different from currently available mechanically extracted meat products , insects or some of the delights whipped up by molecular gastronomists? . . .

St John says thanks to Federated Farmers:

A $54,000 grant to St John from Federated Farmers will help the organisation continue its important community work.

Federated Farmers made several grants from their Adverse Events Trust in September 2012, and St John was one of the recipients. The money came from individual farmers, meat company workers and meant and wool companies.

Federated Farmers’ representatives Katie Milne (National Board Member) and John Hartnell (Chairman of the Bee Industry Group) visited the St John Regional Operations Centre to see the work of the ambulance communications centre, as well as have a look at a new ambulance. . .

Fonterra Milk for Schools attracts interest from more than half of NZ’s Primary Schools:

Contacting Fonterra has been on the to-do list for many New Zealand primary schools since the 2013 school year kicked off – and more than half of the country’s eligible schools have now expressed interest in Fonterra Milk for Schools.
 
More than 1100 schools, representing about 191,000 kids, have registered their interest in the nationwide programme which will provide free milk to primary-aged children every school day. This is on top of the more than 110 schools already participating in Northland.
 
Fonterra Group General Manager Global Co-operative Social Responsibility Carly Robinson says the number of schools getting in contact has been growing by the day. . .

Dairy expo braodens view of the industry - Sally Rae:

Question – what’s black and white and red all over? Not necessarily a newspaper.

It could be a cow hide tanned by Southland man Adam Cowie, who established his own business about three years ago after working in a tannery for many years.

Mr Cowie, from Animal Skin Tanning Services Ltd, had skins for sale at the Southern Region Dairy Expo at Clydevale last week.

The event, organised by the Clutha Valley Lions Club, attracted a wide variety of exhibitors, selling everything from tractors and trailers to fertiliser and milking systems, pumps and stockfeed. . .

Cultivar information aids autumn pasture decisions:

DairyNZ is encouraging farmers to use the latest Forage Value Index lists to help make decisions on perennial ryegrass cultivars.

The DairyNZ Forage Value Index (FVI) was launched last May as an initiative between DairyNZ and the New Zealand Plant Breeding and Research Association (NZPBRA). The region-specific FVIs utilise seasonal dry matter yields from NZPBRA’s National Forage Variety Trials.

DairyNZ’s Dr Jeremy Bryant says the latest set of FVI lists were released in December. . .

Kirsten Bryant re-elected to Beef + Lamb New Zealand Board:

Kirsten Bryant has been returned as the Western North Island Farmer Director on the Board of Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

The Beef + Lamb New Zealand Returning Officer, Warwick Lampp has reported that Kirsten Bryant received 11,503 votes and John McCarthy received 6,149 votes. . .

First 2013 Dairy Awards Winners:

In less than a week the first regional winners in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards will be announced, opening new opportunities and career prospects.

National convenor Chris Keeping says it is an exciting time when the winners of the 12 regional competitions become known and a new group of passionate and enthusiastic dairy farmers step forward.

“We had more than 550 entries this year, so our judges are working extremely hard to identify those sharemilkers, equity farmers, farm managers, contract milkers and trainees doing the best with the resources and farm they have available to them. The awards are not about being perfect, they are about making progress.” . . .

Dairy farmers have cost effective “friend in N”:

With high demand in dry areas edging up the price of supplementary feed, dairy farmers wanting to maintain production into late autumn have got an increasingly cost effective “friend in N”, says Ballance Science Extension Manager Aaron Stafford.

“As a feed source home grown pasture remains your best bang for buck and with supplementary feed prices now averaging $50 a tonne more, farms that are not battling the dry conditions will find N an even more competitive tool for extending autumn lactation and maintaining herd condition.”

Aaron says products like SustaiN Green, which reduces ammonia volatilisation, offer farmers more flexibility to apply nitrogen when it’s needed most or when it suits them better, even if the weather or soil conditions often experienced during autumn are not optimal. . .


Milk in schools works

December 11, 2012

Not every school which was offered free milk from Fonterra has liked it.

But TV3 found a Waikato school where it is making a positive difference to the children’s learning.

It’s also making a difference to milk consumption out of school:

Northland kids have been drinking more milk – at school and at home – since the Fonterra Milk for Schools programme kicked into gear in early 2012, according to an independent evaluation by the University of Auckland.

Fonterra commissioned the report to understand the impacts of its school milk pilot on children’s consumption and attitudes to dairy.

Associate Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu, who led the evaluation, says the results show a significant increase in children’s milk consumption following the adoption of the Fonterra Milk for Schools programme in Northland schools.

“A key highlight of the results is that the rise in consumption has happened both at school and at home – with the evaluation showing a 28 per cent increase in the number of students who reported drinking milk five or more days a week.”

In addition, the evaluation showed a clear increase in the number of children drinking milk at least twice a day – with students consuming milk twice or more each day increasing from 66 to 77 per cent.

“The evaluation provides evidence that Fonterra Milk for Schools is helping to increase children’s milk consumption not only during school time, but overall as well,” says Associate Professor Ni Mhurchu.

Carly Robinson, Fonterra General Manager Co-operative Social Responsibility, says the Co-operative is encouraged by the findings.

“Our goal with Fonterra Milk for Schools is to make a lasting difference to the health of New Zealand children. New Zealand is the largest exporter of dairy products in the world, but at home, we’re not drinking as much milk as we used to. These findings show that this programme can help get Kiwi kids drinking more milk.”

116 Northland primary schools are participating in the Fonterra Milk for Schools pilot – making up 85 per cent of the region’s eligible schools.

“Each term we survey the schools and our latest results showed that around 90 per cent of schools that responded were either satisfied or very satisfied with the programme,” says Ms Robinson. . .

The milk is free to the schools but it costs the company and in turn its suppliers.

But if the programme is helping children and increasing milk consumption then it’s worth it.


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