Rural round-up

June 3, 2014

Excited about goat sector – Sally Rae:

Jackie Freeman reckons there is ”more to goats than meets the eye”.

Mrs Freeman and her husband Grant recently bought Mohair Pacific, a Canterbury-based business that is a buyer and broker of New Zealand mohair.

The couple, who were attending the recent inaugural NZGoats conference in Queenstown, were excited about the industry’s potential. . . .

When fashion ploughs into farming - Sonita Chandar:

Designers and artists across New Zealand and Australia have spent the past year unleashing the creative beast within to come up with a stunning array of garments for this year’s New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays Ag Art Wear Awards.

Fieldays Ag Art Wear is a prestigious nationwide competition which challenges designers and artists to create wearable art garments made from materials sourced from the farm, rural industries or the natural environment. . .

Young inventor opening gates to success – Anne Boswell:

A year of hard work hangs in the balance for 13-year-old Patrick Roskam who is launching his invention, the Gudgeon Pro 5 in 1, at the Fieldays Innovation Centre this month.

Patrick won the Best Pitch Award at the SODA Inc Innovation Den last year, wowing the judges with his unique fencing tool which is used to quickly and accurately hang gates.

Following feedback at Fieldays, Patrick improved the product, which was originally conceived as a science fair project, to make it adjustable with a spirit level on top and tape measure down the side. . .

Dairying family on fourth shift - Collette Devlin:

Jimmy and Keri Tatham sit in their kitchen among half-packed boxes, with newborn twins Aiden and Xavier snuggled in their arms.

As they box up the remainder of their belongings, their 23-month-old daughter Caitlyn points to a frame on the lounge wall. It is a memorial to their 20-month-old son Jack, who was killed in 2011 after getting into a holding pen of cows.

This prized possession will perhaps be one of the last packed away for the Gypsy Day move. . . .

 Elections, run-off and winter mud - Sally Brooker:

Richard Strowger is continuing to lead North Otago Federated Farmers.

He was re-elected for another year as president at the annual general meeting on May 15.

Dairy section chairman Lyndon Strang was also re-elected and has become the provincial vice-president.

Greg Ruddenklau is the meat and fibre chairman, with Hayden Williamson and Christopher O’Malley helming the sharemilkers’ section. . . .

Ngāti Kahungunu and Sealord announce fishing deal:

A deal allowing New Zealand’s third largest iwi to be more directly involved in the use of its fishing quota has been signed in Nelson.

The arrangement between Ngāti Kahungunu and Sealord will see the two organisations work together in the sustainable utilisation of fishing quota, employ and develop iwi members whilst at the same time maximising profitable returns to iwi. . . .

 


Rural round-up

May 9, 2014

Solid Energy sells farms - Collette Devlin:

Solid Energy has sold its Southland dairy farms, but the state-owned company is yet to release the price it got.

About 2,000 hectares of the Eastern Southland rural property was sold by tender.

The properties included three dairy farms, two dairy support or conversion farms, and four properties considered as dairy support farms.

The farms, ranging from 33ha to 399ha, were within a 5-kilometre radius between Mataura and Gore.
Solid Energy bought the properties to secure access to the large lignite coal resource in the district, but no longer required the land. . .

Robo cows ready for milking – Diane Joyce:

Robots will be milking cows in Havelock North by early next year, and everyone will be able to stop in and see for themselves how it works.

Dairy farming could become a substantial earner for Hawke’s Bay if the latest robot technology is taken up by farmers, says the man behind the plan, Michael Whittaker.

A state-of-the-art 3500 square metre dairy barn is being built, in which the cows will decide how often they want to be milked and how often they want to head outside into the sunshine. For the 120 cows there will be two “self-milking” bays, to which the cows can wander whenever they chose. . .

Steady rise in milk prices over 50 years – Andrea Fox:

The milk price paid to dairy farmers has increased by an average of 11c a kilogram of milksolids a year over the past 50 years, new analysis by DairyNZ shows.

For DairyNZ senior economist Matthew Newman that was one of most interesting findings of the industry organisation’s economic survey for 2012-13, which also marked 50 years of economic analysis of key financial data from dairy farmers.

“That the milk price has continued to increase is not a recent phenomenon, although in the last 25 years it has shown more volatility and even increased volatility in the past six or seven years,” Newman said.

The trend had implications for farmers around risk management and how to manage changing prices, he said.  . .

MBIE’s dairy farm employee position statement positive:

With the employment practices of dairy farmers in the media spotlight, the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) Labour Inspectorate’s newly released position statement, is to be followed up by both Federated Farmers and DairyNZ.

“Dairy farmers can expect a joint Industry Best Practice Guidance note next week,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers employment spokesperson.

“Both Federated Farmers and DairyNZ endorses MBIE’s common sense position statement, which not only reminds employers about the Minimum Wage Act 1983, but reminds them ‘seasonal averaging’ has gone the same way as 245-T. . . .

Scales’ target continued growth - Alan Williams:

Apple grower Scales Corporation expects to lift production every year until about 2020 to take advantage of increasing demand in Asian and Middle East markets.

Apple consumption was growing strongly in big-population markets such as Thailand, China, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates, and was growing in India, chief executive Andy Borland said.

Scales subsidiary Mr Apple had been steadily replanting its Hawke’s Bay orchards with redder, sweet varieties such as Gala, NZ Queen, and Fuji, Borland said.

It was getting the increased production now and that would continue, because apples took 5-7 years to reach production peak, he said. . .

Tasked to wake sleeping giant – Alan Williams:

Nick Berry is off to work for the opposition, but he has never seen it that way.

In his 30 years in Fonterra’s retail store business RD1, it was always RD1 as a dairy specialist and PGG Wrightson a sheep-and-beef farm supplier.

“We didn’t see Wrightson as a real competitor. It was more CRT and Farmlands as the competitors,” Berry said.

Because of that background it isn’t such a big wrench that he’s going now to help Wrightson build its supply network to dairy farmers.

“We spoke of it as more of a sleeping giant, with its 100-plus stores, and I’ll be happy to help it grow,” he said. . .


Rural round-up

April 11, 2014

Farmers back irrigation feasibility study:

A planned large-scale irrigation scheme in South Canterbury has got enough farmer backing for it to carry out an in depth feasibility study.

The Hunter Downs Irrigation Scheme, which could irrigate up to 40,000 hectares of land from Waitaki to just south of Timaru, also has significant financial backing from the Government.

Hunter Downs Irrigation chairman Andrew Fraser says they’ve been going through a capital raising process over the last several weeks – and have managed to get over the threshold of 20,000 hectares of farmer uptake.

“This funding will enable us to do a feasibility study and so that will tell us whether the scheme is economically and technically viable so we hope to have that result back out to the shareholders and farmers by the end of the year.”

Mr Fraser says the capital raising period has been extended as the scheme gauges corporate interest and speaks to more farmers in the area. . .

Winners committed to pushing farming change - Gerald Piddock:

Mike and Sharon Barton’s innovative approach to farming in an environmentally sensitive area has earned them the supreme title in the 2014 Waikato Farm Environment Awards.

The Western Taupo beef farmers were presented with the award as well as category awards for soil management and innovation at a ceremony near Karapiro last night.

The Barton’s farm at Glen Emmreth Farm near Tihoi. They purchased the 142ha property in 2004 at a time when strict environmental legislation to protect the health of the lake was looming.

They faced this challenge head-on, determined to make their farm as environmentally sustainable as possible. . .

Farmers warned to tidy up act:

Federated Farmers is warning farmers not to risk making the dairy industry a scapegoat at this year’s general election through poor farm practices.

In a message to farmers, dairy chairman Willy Leferink said he was worried they could be negatively portrayed during the election campaign and they needed to do the basics properly to avoid bad publicity.

Visual aspects of the industry needing to be tidied up, and that could help create a better public image, Mr Leferink said. . .

Call for better health and safety on farms after death -  Collette Devlin:

Farming is a hazardous occupation and the number of injuries and deaths on Southland farms must come down, industry insiders say.

They are calling for better health and safety awareness on farms.

The issue has been put in the spotlight by the tragic death of fertiliser truck driver Les Cain, killed when the truck he was driving overturned on a northern Southland farm on Tuesday.

Southland Federated Farmers president Russell MacPherson said one farm death was one too many.

The old attitude of ‘she’ll be right’ needed to disappear from the industry. . .

Hawke’s Bay Farmers of the Year – Hugh and Sharon Ritchie – RivettingKateTaylor:

Well done to Hugh and Sharon Ritchie – Hawke’s Bay Farmers of the Year.

I’ve just been writing about Hugh lately as I am doing the Nuffield NZ newsletter and he has just retired after 12 years as a trustee (we also went through Young Farmers together, although I hasten to add he is older than me!!!  Hugh, Shane Tilson and I won a national debating final in 1995!)

So last night (back to the important news) they were awarded the prestigious Silver Fern Farms Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year title in front of 350 people at a dinner at Showgrounds Hawke’s Bay (well done on great night Hillary). . .

D2S ‘growing at a rate of knots’:

Wool growers have rallied behind Wools of New Zealand’s Direct-to-Scour (D2S) spot market sales option.

Launched in October last year, volumes under D2S are doubling month on month and have now reached around 350,000 kgs, with annualised volumes expected to reach between 3.5m – 4m kilograms within its first year, about 8% of the market.

Ross Townshend, Chief Executive of Wools of New Zealand told shareholder growers and supporters during the company’s roadshow series of 12 national meetings this week that the system was “simpler and put more money into the pockets of growers than the conventional model. It makes logical sense for growers’ wool to go to the first point of processing which is the scour where it can be core-sampled, independently tested, objectively assessed and fairly priced. . . .

Wool Market Defies Dollar:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that despite a resurgent New Zealand dollar the South Island offering of 11,500 bales saw most types range from firm to 3 percent dearer. Even with the strength of the sale and an 86 percent clearance, some growers were still unprepared to accept current market levels with 13 percent of the offering being passed in.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies was 1.36 percent up on the last sale on 3rd April.

Mr Dawson advises that Fine Crossbred Fleece and Shears were between 1 and 3 percent firmer. . .


Rural round-up

January 6, 2014

Top 10 reasons being a farmer rocks – Fastline:

In case you ever need a reminder as to why you have the best job in the world as a Farmer, check out our list we put together! Think we forgot one? Let us know in the comments with your favorite part of being a Farmer.

10.Outdoors – there’s nothing like the smell of fresh air, or even better, the smell of fresh cut hay!

9.Fun Equipment – What other job do you get to drive large tractors, combines, sprayers or anything else?

8. Weather – You always know the weather, even when you don’t want to.

7. You’re your own boss – Well besides mother nature – but she’s another story. . .

New proposals for red meat industry – Stephen Bell:

Copying Uruguay’s meat industry and Anzac alliance and a north-south hemisphere collaboration are among “pick and mix” proposals Federated Farmers has put up for reform of the red meat section.

Uruguay’s system involves its National Meat Institute (Instituto Nacional de Carnes or INAC) being responsible for all meat processing including beef, sheep, poultry, swine, rabbits, horses, goats and game.

“We promote, co-ordinate and monitor the whole process from production and processing to marketing, storage and transportation,” Inac chairman Luis Alfredo Fratti Silveira says. . .

Diagnosing mycotoxicosis a challenge – Anne Boswell:

Leading animal nutrition consultant and researcher Dr Lucy Waldron says one of the biggest challenges when dealing with mycotoxicosis in farm animals is simply making a diagnosis.

Dr Waldron, who has been involved with mycotoxin research in grazing animals since 2002, said there were many challenges facing practitioners seeking to make field diagnosis, including the non-specific nature of many of the symptoms, and that mycotoxins almost never present as single toxins.

Mycotoxins are substances naturally produced by moulds and fungi that are normally present as some form of defence for the organism. . . .

 Farming a passion for Massey’s top student – Collette Devlin:

A Southland student who won the top agriculture student award at Massey University plans to continue his studies to research water quality for sheep and beef farmers.

Cameron Black, 21, who completed a bachelor of agricultural science at Manawatu, was awarded the accolade for his high academic achievement and was also judged by staff and his peers to have made the largest contribution to the wellbeing and reputation of their fellow students in agriculture.

Mr Black will now complete an honours degree in agricultural science, which will focus on a soil agronomy research project for sheep and beef farmers in hill country. . .

Constable survives his first wacky race – Jo McKenzie-McLean:

The experience of bolting down a racetrack with nothing to hold on to but a saddle was almost like confronting an armed offender, a Queenstown constable says.

Constable Feleki Urhle was a reluctant participant in the Double Banking Race at the Glenorchy Races on Saturday, where thousands turned out for the annual 10-race event run by the Lakeside Rugby Club.

The day includes the long-standing tradition for the most junior-ranking police officer on duty to ride with seasoned jockey Callum Grimmer – also a St John Ambulance paramedic.

Mr Urhle said his only experience on a horse had been a slow-paced trek ride about 10 years ago.

“So to ride behind someone, not in a saddle and without my feet in stirrups bolting down a track was pretty freaky stuff. It compares to confronting an armed offender almost.” . . .

Year in review – July – Rebecca Harper:

Heavy snow in the South Island caused sleepless nights for many farmers as they battled to get feed and water to stranded stock and free those trapped by the snow.

Precision agriculture propelled Canterbury arable farmers Craige and Roz Mackenzie to the top of the class for sustainability, proving intensive land use can be sustainable, in taking out the 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Award. . .

Year in review – August – Rebecca Harper:

Fonterra directors said they intended to even out dividends paid on milk supply shares and listed fund units by looking beyond the current year’s earnings expectations and to give more market commentary.

The aim was to provide a longer-term view on any potential volatility in earnings.

Silver Fern Farms started to collect the blood protein from bobby calves processed at its Fairton plant in a bid to add value to a co-product and fruit and berry grower Julian Raine was named as the new president of Horticulture New Zealand at its annual conference. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

December 7, 2013

Lochinver set for record price – Stephen Bell:

Lochinver Station on the Napier-Taupo Road is expected to set a New Zealand farm price record of more than $70 million.

Though bigger farms have been sold in the South Island Lochinver is the most productive rural property ever put up for sale in NZ, Bayleys managing director Mike Bayley said.

The land was waste and scrub when Sir William Stevenson bought it in 1958.

It is now being sold as Stevenson Group, one of the country’s biggest privately-owned companies, rebalances its investment portfolio to exclude farming, chief executive Mark Franklin said. . . .

Trade deals coming thick and fast – Alan Barber:

The TPP may not be happening as soon as expected, but free trade agreements with individual markets, Chinese Taipei and Peru, will come into effect, some aspects immediately, and provide more immediate rewards for our exporters.

Although multinational trade negotiations make more dramatic headlines, history suggests that they have a similar gestation period to an elephant, in fact quite a bit longer in the case of WTO rounds. The TPP looks as if it will follow a similar course because of the USA’s demands about trade partners’ internal arrangements, like Pharmac, and farmer lobbies in countries like Japan and South Korea. This makes it extremely difficult to conclude a binding agreement that meets the requirements of all the countries participating in the negotiations.

Unilateral trade agreements are not as highly regarded or sought after, but they are an essential part of international trade and, for New Zealand with its high trade dependency, very important to our future prosperity. . .

Police fear poaching fatality – Neil Ratley:

Farm workers and their houses are being caught in the spotlights of poachers, and southern police fear someone will be killed unless the illegal practice is stopped.

Constable Steve Winsloe of Winton said police and farmers were taking a collaborative approach to the problem to prevent a potential tragedy.

Landowners had had enough and were working with police to prevent poaching and other rural crime, he said.

“Farmers are getting caught in the spotlights when they are out working after dark. It just takes one poacher to see a glint of an eye that may not be an animal and they pull the trigger” he said.

“The last thing police want is a fatal shooting.” . . .

ANZCO bounces back into profit - Alan Williams:

ANZCO Foods has released early its trading result – a pre-tax profit of $12.6 million – in response to what it says are rumours about its financial strength.

The company was not only profitable in the year ended September 30 but increased its operating cashflow and equity ratio on a year earlier.

Revenue increased to $1.28 billion, from $1.21b previously.

It will also pay a dividend to shareholders, as it has done every year since the shareholding structure was put in place in 2001, chairman Sir Graeme Harrison said. . . .

Alliance operations on move - Collette Devlin:

The Alliance Group is in the process of transferring beef rendering operations to its new $25 million rendering plant at Lorneville in Invercargill.

Alliance Group chief executive Grant Cuff said the company started moving operations from the Mataura beef plant about a week ago.

It was also clearing out the rendering plant at Makarewa, where lamb slinks processing finished about a month ago, he said.

Alliance Group is consolidating its southern rendering operations at the new Lorneville plant to improve productivity. . . .

Flood of interest in storage dam idea- Matthew Littlewood:

The burgeoning Rangitata South Irrigation Scheme in South Canterbury has led to a rush of applications for water storage dams.

Environment Canterbury’s consents spokeswoman confirmed that none of the 21 applications within the Arundel-based scheme’s 16,000 hectare “command area” were declined, because all of them fitted within its notified Land and Water Regional Plan.

“To clarify – these are off-channel storage dams (no waterways were dammed) and these include four certificates of compliance (where a dam met the permitted activity requirements and no consent was required),” she said.

The capacity of the storage dams ranged from 8000 to 210,000 cubic metres. . . .


Rural round-up

October 11, 2013

Effluent may be power house for farmers - Collette Devlin:

Effluent – often a headache for Southland dairy farmers – could soon prove beneficial by offsetting electricity bills, recent research shows.

As part of the Southland Energy Strategy, Venture Southland has been working with farm consultants, Scandrett Rural, Niwa, and EECA trialling the capture of methane emissions from covered anaerobic effluent ponds on dairy farms.

The principle behind the project was to demonstrate that methane could be used as an energy source to reduce electricity use on farms and also reduce greenhouse emissions. . .

Jealous Jillaroo – Jackaroo Joins the Largest Drove In Aussie Memory – Jillaroo Jess:

Something very exciting is happening in eastern Australia at the moment. Well, not for me, I’m stuck at home taking care of the farm. Jackaroo has been lucky enough to be involved in the biggest drove in Australian history. A ‘drove’, is moving cattle/sheep from one place to another, feeding them along the way. They can be very long and hard distances travelled. Often, drovers live on the road, going from one job to the next. Cattle baron Tom Brinkworth has taken advantage of the drought and bad cattle prices by buying 18,000 head of cattle from the ages of 8months to 2yrs old. These cattle are being taken down the TSR (Travelling Stock Route), or ‘The Long Paddock’ to their new properties, some 2500km away (over 1500miles). The herd has been split up into 9 mobs, and are travelling 10km a day. There is about 80km/8days between the different mobs of cattle. . .

Let’s smash a cartel today - Tim Worstall:

I’ve pointed out here before that parts of the fertiliser industry seem to be run as a cartel. Now we’ve evidence that much of the fertiliser industry is run as a cartel.

C. Robert Taylor and Diana L. Moss have written “The Fertilizer Oligopoly: The Case for Antitrust Enforcement,” as a monograph for the American Antitrust Institute. Those looking for examples of possibly anticompetitive behavior, whether for classroom examples or for other settings, will find the argument intriguing.

The effect of which is:

Taylor and Moss write: “Damages from supra-competitive pricing of fertilizer likely amount to tens of billions of dollars annually, the direct effects of which are felt by farmers and ranchers. But consumers all over the world suffer indirectly from cartelization of the fertilizer industry through higher food prices, particularly low income and subsistence demographics. … [I]t is clear that corporate and political control of essential plant nutrients may be one of the most severe competition issues facing national economies today.”

Part of the detail of how the cartel works is that it is not allowed to affect domestic US prices (Ho ho). So therefore the richest farmers in the world are not affected: but all of the poor world ones are. . .

New appointments to Biosecurity  Ministerial Advisory Committee :

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced five new appointments to the Biosecurity Ministerial Advisory Committee today.

The Committee plays an important role in providing the Minister with independent advice on the performance of New Zealand’s biosecurity system as a whole, and on specific biosecurity issues where necessary.

“Biosecurity is my number one priority, and hugely important to New Zealand as a trading nation,” says Mr Guy.

“A world class biosecurity system protects New Zealand from unwanted pests and diseases. This is essential for working towards our goal of doubling the value of our primary sector exports to $64 billion by 2025. . .

New Zealand’s diversity recognised at International Wine and Spirit Competition:

New Zealand’s diverse wine styles have stolen the show at the prestigious UK-based International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC). In the results released today, New Zealand wines beat all international competition to win not only the international Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir Trophies, but the Chardonnay Trophy as well, while Gold Outstanding Medals went to a Gewürztraminer and a dessert Riesling. . .

Ceres Wines wins the coveted IWSC Bouchard Finlayson Pinot Noir Trophy:

Ceres Wines, a tiny artisan wine producer from Bannockburn in Central Otago, has won the coveted International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) Bouchard Finlayson trophy for Pinot Noir. The trophy is awarded to the top Pinot Noir from entries received from around the globe. It is the third time in a row that the trophy has been awarded to wines produced in Central Otago, with Peregrine receiving the award in 2011 and Valli in 2012. . .

Re-wire on a Hayes Roast:

Hayes Roast is this season’s new addition to the offering at Hayes Engineering & Homestead, a Central Otago property cared for by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT).

“It’s been inspired by the inventions and ingenuity visitors experience at the site,” says Property Manager Scott Elliffe.

“We believe Ernest Hayes – inventor of the Hayes wire strainer that is still in use in farms around the world – would have quickly adapted to the new market of urban trail riders biking past his front door and developed a roasting machine to meet their needs for ‘city coffee, country food’.”

In partnership with Vivace Coffee, the NZHPT asked third generation artisan master roaster Bernard Smith to develop a blend of three original coffee beans that best emulated the strength of the site, the body of the ‘big skies’ Central Otago landscape and the sweetness of its sun overhead. . .


Rural round-up

June 7, 2012

Europe not a lost lamb market - Tim Cronshaw:

Large South Island meat exporter Alliance Group plans to grow its sheepmeat trade even further in China, but is cautious about over-reliance on that market. 

    Chief executive Grant Cuff said China was an important destination for the meat processing co-operative, and it was eyeing future growth and aimed to be the largest exporter of lamb to that country. . .

Growing business but staying home – Collette Devlin:

The traditional 50:50 sharemilking career path is declining as land, farm and herd numbers increase. Reporter Collette Devlin speaks with the van der Straatens on equity partnerships in dairying.

    Yesterday, with the arrival of Gypsy Day, the van der Straatens didn not move house or cows; instead they shifted the focus of their business. 

    Contract milkers Arjan and Tracy van der Straaten had been 50:50 sharemilkers but found it difficult to take the final step to ownership, so looked at alternative options. . .  

Nature’s land anchor:

MEASURING the root growth of poplar tree is part of an ongoing study by Landcare Research to look at which trees species are best suited to erosion control.

The roots of a three-year-old poplar tree have been excavated using compressed air and a long lance gun and then laid out in a glasshouse to carry out the tree measurements.

Landcare research scientist Dr Mike Marden says the research initiative has been running for a number of years. . .

Licences plan to keep bees - Gerald Piddock:

Moves are underway to tighten compliance within the beekeeping industry in an effort to curb the spread of diseases. 

Beekeepers currently have to register their hives as required under the National American Foulbrood Pest Management Strategy. 

    They are also encouraged but not required to hold a Disease Elimination Conformity Agreement (DECA). . .

Precision farming better at Lincoln – Gerald Piddock:

The Lincoln University Dairy Farm has had a successful season after moving to precision farming. 

    The new system focuses on a high-energy intake when feeding the cow herd and ensuring good grass growth for the next grazing rotation instead of chasing every blade of grass. . .

    Milk production, profit and cow health were all well above last year’s figures on the 185ha farm.

Breeding dogs still on the agenda - Sally Rae:

Barry Hobbs freely admits that moving from managing    20,000 stock units to just 100 is going to be a major    adjustment.   

Mr Hobbs, who manages Thornicroft Station, a 2832ha property near Lake Mahinerangi, and his wife Pamela are moving to an 11ha property at Herbert in North Otago this winter. . .   

Hereford bull sale a big one - Sally Rae:

Millers Flat Hereford breeders Gray and Robyn Pannett had an      outstanding bull sale on their property last week.   

 Mr and Mrs Pannett, from the Limehills stud, sold 42 bulls      for an average of $7921, with a top price of $39,000 to David and Rosemary Morrow from the Okawa stud, near Mt Somers . . .

Finalist liked getting stuck in – Sally Rae:

Last Monday morning, Pete Gardyne was out shifting calves.   

It was back to work as usual for the Gore sheep, beef and arable farmer after a gruelling few days in Dunedin at the grand final of the National Bank Young Farmer Contest. . .


Rural round-up

October 22, 2011

Contamination claims rubbished - Richard Rennie:

Taranaki farmers and their regional council are demanding critics of an oil and gas drilling method show more science to prove claims about damage to their environment.

“Fracking” or deep rock fracturing for extraction of hydrocarbons in under scrutiny in Taranaki following claims by an environmental group the practice is responsible for ground water contamination, water table loss and even earthquakes . . .

Interested in more than rugby - Jackie Harrigan:

Scoping out opportunities in the New Zealand dairy industry was fitted in around rugby fixtures by a handful of Argentinian farmers in the Manawatu for the Argentina vs Georgia pool match.

Taking the opportunity to network with Kiwi agricultural businesses, the Argentinian farmers were hosted by the NZ Agribusiness Roadshow and shown facets of Kiwi pastoral farming which fitted their individual interests.

One Argentinean who visited was Miguel Rohrer, a beef and cropping farmer who grows soybean, corn, rice, peanuts and beans alongside dairy units running 1200 Holstein cows. Cows are generally run at lower stocking rates than New Zealand at around 1.5cows/ha and fed mainly on alfalfa with grain supplements to produce around 26l/cow/day . . .

Lamb docking a community affair – Jill Galloway:

There used to be 70 million sheep in New Zealand. Now there are around 32 million overwintered each year. So, fewer lambs to dock?

Maybe, but it is still a big job on sheep and beef farms.

Jacquetta Ward is just one of the many farmers docking. And she has nearby farmers, mates and people from the district helping her.

Today, they plan to dock 1200 lambs. A goodly number. But some stations dock 6000 a day. They may have 60,000 lambs to get through . . .

Lorraine hangs up the apron – Jill Galloway:

It is the cafe you can wear your working clothes into, and your gumboots.

The Feilding Saleyards Cafe is synonymous with good mugs of tea, great pies and gravy with chips, and the highly sought-after lamb shanks.

Lorraine Pretious left last Friday after 30 years preparing and serving meals to stock agents, truck drivers and farmers . . .

Women get to grips with using guns – Jill Galloway:

Women In Farming is a non-competitive group, and its members wanted to learn about guns and have a go at shooting on a range.

They get a thorough safety lesson from Marton Smallbore Rifle Club member and mountain safety instructor Peter Lissington. He takes people for their firearms licences, so he knows all about guns, the law and safety.

“I want people to know all about firearms, and feel confident about using them,” he says.

Twelve Women in Farming members find out more about rifles, what types there are and how to safely store and use them . . .

Faster internet offers potential for big gains:

Dairy farmer co-operative Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) believes that not enough attention has been given to how the Government’s rural broadband initiative will affect farmers.

Infrastructure for faster broadband to rural areas, including those in Southland, will be invested over the next six years, at a cost of $285 million.

LIC general manager of farm systems Rob Ford said people had heard about how high-speed broadband in rural areas would help schools and hospitals, but not about the connection between farming, the internet, productivity and profit.

Free website helps global sharing – Collette Devlin:

A former Southland researcher has developed an easy-to-use, free website specifically for farmers.

Gary Hutchinson, originally from Taranaki, was the project manager for Topoclimate South, a successful three-year soil and microclimate mapping programme that finished in October 2001, after mapping 830,000 hectares of Southland’s farmlands . . .

Angus burger demand boosts Southland beef sales - Collette Devlin:

Southern angus beef farms are being boosted by the popularity of McDonald’s angus burgers in the region.

Taramoa angus beef breeder David Marshall said the high sales of angus burgers at the fast-food restaurant has had a direct influence on the market, which has led to a record sales of Southland angus beef and it looked as if they were set to rise further.

Mr Marshall’s family have been breeding angus since the 1940s and his herd can be traced back to the 1860s when the first angus cattle arrived in New Zealand.

The only show in town – Shelley Bridgeman:

A & P Shows – with their prize-winning heifers, farm machinery, highland dancing, wood-chopping, sheep dog trials and carnival atmosphere – are as Kiwi as No. 8 wire and gumboots.

Last season I attended eleven, from as far north as Whangarei right down to Hawke’s Bay . . .

Focus farm is the real thing - Sue O’Dowd:

DairyNZ’s focus farm in Taranaki is being promoted as a real-life farm with challenges ordinary farmers can understand.

The first field day, with a focus on mating, attracted more than 80 people.

Chris and Kathy Prankerd’s Tariki farm was chosen earlier this year as the focus farm after 20 farmers expressed interest in the project . . .

Beef lull then bonanza tipped:

Rabobank is picking United States beef prices to soar to record highs later next year.

But first, the bank says in a new report, New Zealand will have to weather a supply “bulge”.

Escalating exchange rates, global economic uncertainty and climate risks are short-term obstacles for global beef markets, but the longer outlook remains positive, report co-author Rebecca Redmond says.

Breaking lactose down in fresh milk – Collette Devlin:

Diary giant Fonterra is now producing a lactose-free fresh milk, which means it is now in direct competition with a small Southland organic dairy company.

Early last month, Retro Organics released the first lactose-free fresh milk and yoghurt in New Zealand, which company owner Robin Greer said was the solution to a growing need.

Until now, an Australian company, Liddells, dominated the lactose-free milk market here . . .

Druming upsupport for drum use:

Avoiding accidents with agrichemicals is high on the agenda with a new drum recovery programme launched by Agrecovery Rural Recycling.  

The Agrecovery Drum programme offers farmers and growers around the country free on property collection for plastic or steel drums from 61 – 1000L in size. Drums must be empty and triple rinsed . . .

Paediatrict product move at Westland:

WESTLAND SUPPLIERS can look forward to their processor moving more of their milk up the value chain from next season. The Hokitika-based cooperative last week announced a multi-million dollar investment in a state-of-the-art paediatric nutritional product plant.  

“It’s principally about adding more value,” chief executive Rod Quin told Rural News . . .

Havard reports good return form NZ forest investments - Pam Graham:

Harvard Management, the manager of Harvard University’s US$32 billion endowment, made an 18.8 percent annual return on its natural resource portfolio, which includes majority ownership of the cutting rights to the Kaingaroa forest.

Harvard, the oldest and most richly endowed university in the US, has put 10 percent of its portfolio into natural resources, which it says is mostly timberland, and agricultural and other resource-bearing properties on five continents . . .

Ballance dinners demonstrate path to profitability:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients has pulled together a raft of experts to present at its Business Development Dinner series over the next few months.

Ballance Sales and Marketing General Manager Graeme Smith says the business development dinners are held every year as part of the co-operative’s programme to provide more information and tools to farmers.

“We want to be able to seed new ideas and new ways of thinking with our customers as part of our commitment to help them farm more profitability and more sustainably,” Mr Smith says . . .

Claim wool is losing ground to nylon carpets:

A textile industry representative says resurrecting the fortunes of strong wool is going to take more than the wool sector has come up with so far.

Carpet makers say there has been a significant drop in carpet sales, which have been blamed on unsettled world economic conditions and the rapid rise in wool prices over the past year . . .


Rural round-up

October 2, 2011

Tense tri-nations shearing - Sarah Marquet:

It was a Tri-Nations test like no other – it was tense, there was a grandstand packed with spectators, a commentator,      national anthems and officials scrutinising the competitors’ every move. The only thing missing was a rugby ball.   

Instead, in a makeshift shearing shed in Molyneux Stadium,  Alexandra, New Zealand, Australian and South African teams      competed in a test match for the first Tri-Nations fine wool shearing competition as part of the 50th New Zealand Merino      Shearing and Woolhandling Championships . . .   

‘Showing off’the good:

Entries for the 2012 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards open on Monday.

Winners of the LIC Dairy Farm Award this year, Geoff and Jodelle Clark, are encouraging other farmers to enter the award, which they would like to participate in again.

Mr Clark said they were surprised and thrilled to win the award and to be named finalists.

“Even if we hadn’t won anything, we would still be happy because we got so much out of being part of the competition. . .

Markets favourable for NZ sheepmeat - Collette Devlin:

New Zealand sheepmeat producers can expect high prices and favourable overseas market conditions to continue in the year ahead, a new report says.

The Rabobank global focus report, New Zealand sheepmeat – how long will the fairytale last said the substantial lift in 2011 farm-gate prices brought the country’s sheepmeat producers a level of buoyancy not seen for about a decade, and this was likely to continue into the coming year.

Report author, Rabobank analyst Rebecca Redmond, said as the “fairytale” 2010-11 season drew to a close, the future continued to look bright.

Millions being left on table – Marie Taylor:

Millions of dollars are being left on the table without a national standard for carcase trim, says Federated Farmers’ Jeanette Maxwell.

Maxwell, the chairperson of Federated Farmers’ meat and fibre section, is endorsing the new Beef + Lamb Suretrim standard designed to see farmers get full value for their product.

Beef + Lamb chairman Mike Petersen estimates that for a million lambs, farmers could be losing $1.5 million in value.

He said there was considerable merit in having a point in the chain where farmers have a standard measurement.

Silviculture not the way to get rich – Steve Wyn-Harris:

At the beginning of the year I reported in a column that I was about to harvest my first of our forestry blocks and was getting quite excited at the prospect. After all, 30 years is a long time to wait, so there’s nothing wrong with some eager anticipation.

They were both small blocks by forestry standards, a total of 2.5ha but all I had to offer the industry until my other 25ha comes on stream in another decade . . .

Keeping it local from grass to glass:-

One of New Zealand’s leading food packaging companies has teamed up with one of the country’s largest independent milk producers to deliver the ultimate ‘grass to glass’ dairy nutritional products. 

GARDIANS, (Greenfields, Agricultural Research, Dairy Innovation and Nutritional Systems) combines two Kiwi family businesses, both with a passion for keeping the value and the product integrity in New Zealand.

Sutton Group, who have built a total nutritional solutions business serving the dairy and wider food and beverage industry, have joined forces with Dunedin based dairy farmer Grant Paterson to form GARDIANS . . .

Country school gets innovative  – Carly Tawhiao:

A downturn of organic suppliers in Franklin has customers, solely through word of mouth, travelling far and wide to Drury Christian School.

The independent school is part of Drury Church, which has farmed its Sutton Rd property for 20 years.

There is also a market garden on the 40ha site with a popular shop that sells the community’s surplus produce . . .

Merino meat gains place on menu – Sally Rae:

Merino is on the menu at Pier 24. The Dunedin restaurant is featuring Silere Alpine Origin Merino, a joint-venture meat    brand between Silver Fern Farms and The New Zealand Merino Company.   

 The partnership has been described as an important component      in the aspiration to double the current $150 million merino      industry over the next five years by unlocking the value of      merino meat and co-products, such as leather and lanolin,      alongside New Zealand Merino’s initiatives to add value to fibre . . .   

No rain =no pasture: situaiton now critical in Midlands - Pasture to Profit:

The very dry conditions in the UK Midlands, is currently very serious for pasture based dairy farmers. Little or no rain has fallen in Shropshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire, Derbyshire or Nottingham for months. On farm pasture is critical & farmers are heavily feeding. Winter feed supply is critical. A look at the monthly rainfall patterns in the UK each month is very revealing . . .

Workshops promote diverse benefits of trees on farms:

A new three year programme of regionally-based workshops launching this November will help pastoral farmers and their advisors identify the economic and environmental benefits of planting trees on their properties and how best to incorporate appropriate species into their land use strategies.

The workshops break new ground with their“whole farm” approach and region-specific content. They are supported by the Sustainable Farming Fund, hosted by local branches of the NZ Farm Forestry Association and draw heavily on the expertise and practical local experience of knowledgeable farm foresters.

New Fonterra CEO aims to boost pride - Andrea Fox:

New Fonterra chief executive Theo Spiering says, like the All Blacks, his aim for the dairy giant is to bring “the pride back to New Zealand”.

It’s his third day in the job and the tall Dutchman is already talking like a Kiwi, aglow about the Rugby World Cup, “loving” this country and determined to raise Fonterra’s image in New Zealand to what he calls its envied position in the world.

He says Fonterra, New Zealand’s biggest company and the world’s leading dairy exporter, has an important role to play as an economic powerhouse and employer, but equally it must be a champion for the environment and corporate responsibility. . .

Sorting out sheep and all that jazz – Jon Morgan:

Today I want to talk about the wonderful merino sheep. But first, hep cats, reap this righteous riff.

The unlikely conjunction of jazz and merino sheep took place a couple of years ago when I was introduced to Gordie McMaster on one of the few North Island merino farms, near Whanganui.

He is a sheep classer, and comes across from New South Wales each year to look over the merino flocks of his 30 clients in the North and South Islands . . .

Hop shortage hits brewers -Jono Galuszka:

Local brewers have been forced to cut products from their ranges due to a lack of American-grown hops, a key ingredient in the popular American pale ale style.The problem stems from a hop glut in 2006, which led American farmers to rip out hop vines in favour of more profitable crops such as soy or grain.

But a bad season in the US and multiple warehouse fires in Yakima, Washington State, which destroyed more than $US7 million ($9m) worth of hops, sent demand soaring above supply. After the fires, larger breweries pre-paid for hop crops years in advance to guarantee supply, leaving none for smaller companies to buy on the open market. . .

Singapore salmon sales -

 “You need a good palate to tell the difference between Akaroa salmon and its competitors,” says director Duncan Bates. It is a difference appreciated by world-class chefs.

Akaroa Salmon NZ began exporting to Singapore after the Christchurch market collapsed with the earthquake on February 22.

“Overnight we lost 23 per cent of our custom,” said Bates. . .

 Silverfern Farms purchases Frasertown sheep plant:

Silver Fern Farms has purchased the Frasertown sheep processing plant in the Northern Hawkes Bay for an undisclosed sum, effective immediately.

This single chain sheep meat plant currently processes about 3750 sheep per week and will complete Silver Fern Farms processing footprint throughout New Zealand.

Silver Fern Farms Chairman, Eoin Garden says “The acquisition will reduce livestock transport distance’s which is positive from both an animal welfare and carbon emission perspective and will allow suppliers in Wairoa and Gisborne a true local alternative.

The digital version of Countrywide’s September edition is now available here.


Rural round-up

September 25, 2011

Rural contractors say review needed – Sally Rae:

Rural Contractors New Zealand has welcomed a review of    transport rules affecting agricultural contractors, describing    it as “great news”.   

Associate Transport Minister Nathan Guy said the Government      was about to begin a review. It wanted to make sure the rules      ensured public safety without imposing unnecessary red tape . . .

Arable farming career excites graduate - Sally Rae:

Hannah Priergaard-Petersen reckons she has the perfect    first job. Ms Priergaard-Petersen has been employed as a trials    officer at the Foundation for Arable Research (Far), following    her stint as a Far summer scholar in 2010-11.   

Brought up in a farm in northern Southland, she recently      completed a bachelor of science degree at the University of      Canterbury, majoring in biological sciences . . .

Young stock judge tackles Australia - Sally Rae:

A great learning experience” is how young Otago stock judge Will Gibson describes representing New Zealand at the Royal      Adelaide Show in Australia.   

 Will (18), a pupil at John McGlashan College, competed in the junior merino judging competition earlier this month, against      the six Australian state finalists.   

 He was among a small group of young New Zealanders who participated in stock judging and handling competitions at      the show.   

 New Zealand Young Rural Achiever Cath Lyall, from Raes Junction, also represented New Zealand at the event.  

New focus sought for Waituna – Kimberly Crayton-Brown:

Farmers in the Waituna catchment fear they may lose their farms, meaning talk must focus on solutions and not problems, a senior Environment Southland staff member says.

Council chief executive Ciaran Keogh said people needed to be thinking about a response, not a threat. “We have got a problem and we need to get people talking about answers which we are not doing at the moment. People are starting to feel threatened so let’s lift the discussion out of the confrontational things.”

Mr Keogh said at the moment farmers had this great fear they were going to lose their farms . . .

Sheep milking operation continues to expand – Collette Devlin:

Losing his seat at the general election this year could be enough for Deputy Prime Minister Bill English to return to a farming life, with sheep milking one option.

Southland’s leading sheep milking operation Blue River Dairy hosted Mr English last week, including a visit to the milking shed run by Keith Neylon in Antler Downs.

Blue River Diary has another milking operation in Brydone, Invercargill. Both farms milk non-stop for 12 months . . .

Demographics alter consumer demand patterns - Allan Barber:

Demographic changes will present challenges for the red meat sector in spite of apparently unstoppable world population growth. Several speakers at the Red Meat Sector Conference made reference to the possible effects of these changes over the next 40 years, some of which will be positive, like the growth of the Indian and Chinese middle class, and others negative.

The most obvious challenge will be the ageing of the population in first world countries, because older people eat less and require more single portion meat cuts . . .

RMSS conference reveals templates to learn from:

THE RED Meat Sector Strategy report, issued in May, said what needed to be done. Now Beef + Lamb NZ and the Meat Industry Association have run up another clutch of signal flags.  

Others in agriculture are seen to be doing some of the things the RMSS report suggested, so they were invited to tell their stories at a recent conference. Their successes stemmed from growers and consumers being in harmony . . .

Merino meat next on the menu – Owen Hembry:

A new sheep industry initiative aiming to replicate the branding success of high country merino wool with premium priced meat products is heading to high-end restaurant plates.

The New Zealand Merino Company and processor co-operative Silver Fern Farms have formed a joint venture and launched a premium brand called Silere Alpine Merino, which will sell for about 10 to 15 per cent more than normal meat . . .

Choose good tucker and chew slowly - Alan Emmerson:

I was really intrigued with the statistics as to how many of the world’s people were starving and how many were obese. Out of a world population approaching seven billion people, one billion are hungry.

Similarly one billion are overweight with 300 million classed as obese. In the United States with a population of 311 million, 10 million are starving and 105 million are obese. Obesity is a massive problem, not much is heard of it and, worse, New Zealand is the third most obese nation in the world. It is, indeed, a crisis . . .

Seeking farmer contorl of wool - Tony Leggett:

A new company formed to raise capital to invest in the wool sector is already shrouded in controversy.

The New Zealand Wool Investment Company (to be known as WoolCo) is a 50:50 joint venture between the farmer-owned and listed wool innovation firm Wool Equities Limited (WEL) and Christchurch merchant bankers Ocean Partners.

It announced plans last Friday to attempt to raise $40 million capital to buy the 65% stake in Wool Services International (WSI), formerly held by two companies associated with Allan Hubbard but now controlled by a receiver . . .

Crafar not guilty in dirty farming trial -

Reporoa dairy farmer Glen Walter Crafar has been found not guilty by a Rotorua District Court  jury of one charge of dirty dairying . . .

Farmers fearful over rustler raids - Greg Stack:

Stolen livestock and gunshots on the wild west coast have Waikato farmers fearing for their safety, with one stopping vehicle access to a popular fishing spot in response.

Livestock rustling, a problem more common in a Western film, has hit Waikato’s west coast as the tail of the recession squeezes the isolated farming community . . .

Divisions over apple marketing - Gerald Piddock:

Waipopo Orchards is taking a wait and see approach following a split in the apple industry over the best way to exploit the newly opened Australian market.

The split came following the results of a recent postal ballot that showed while 73 per cent of growers with 72 per cent of the export crop voted to support adopting a Horticultural Export Authority (HEA) model for the Australian market, just 37 per cent of exporters with 43 per cent of the fruit backed the proposal . . .

Farm sales on the rise – Gerald Piddock:

Farm sales nationally for the year to August topped 1000 for the first time in almost two years, according the Real Estate Institute.

“The underlying trend is rising. We are seeing enquiry emerging for quality properties,” rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said.

The improvement was based on expectations for commodity prices to hold or in some cases firm slightly as the season progressed, he said . . .

Herbal pasture clovers challenge our concept of what a dairy pasture looks like - Pasture to Profit:

The dawning of a new age OR a Storm of Innovation? A group of very innovative pasture based dairyfarmers in the UK are challenging our concept of what a pasture looks like. Farmers are experimenting with Herbal Clover pastures. Lots of different mixes of herbs with white clover to provide the nitrogen. Over the past two weeks I’ve been very lucky to work with 2 French groups (one farmer group from Brittany & an Organic Dairy Advisers group from Normandy) visiting SW England. We were on both conventional & organic pasture based dairy
farms . . .


Rural round-up

July 17, 2011

Farming couple move south to live dream – Collette Devlin:

Hannes and Lyzanne Du Plessis travelled to New Zealand from South Africa eight years ago with their child, a suitcase and only $20 in a bank account.

Six weeks ago, they moved to Southland with their three children to contract milk on a dairy syndicate managed by MyFarm at Edendale.

“We had no idea our lives would go in this direction,” Mrs Du Plessis said. “We want our story to inspire others. You do not need a lot of money or experience, because the opportunities to live your dream are all here within the New Zealand dairy industry.” . . .

Self-shedding dorper sheep a growing breed - Collette Devlin:

The dorper sheep, a common sight in most parts of the country, was introduced to New Zealand by a Southland breeder, but it remains a rare breed in the region.

There are 45 registered breeders in New Zealand but only four of these are registered in Southland, the New Zealand Sheep Breeders Association reports. Two are in Gore, one in Balclutha and one in South Otago . . .

Problems facing new grain and seed head - Gerald Piddock:

Ian Mackenzie has taken up the chair of Federated Farmers Grain and Seed at a tumultuous time.

He comes into the role after a tough few years for grain farmers with a grain surplus keeping returns low for many of them . . .

June farm sales up year on year but median price per hectare at 7 year low says REINZ – Gareth Vaughan:

A total of 111 farms changed hands last month, 30 more than in June
last year, according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand
(REINZ), with nearly half the sales coming in Canterbury, Otago and
Southland. However, REINZ says the median price per hectare is now at
its lowest level since July 2004.

The June sales included 13 dairy farms and 59 grazing properties and
compares with the 81 farms that changed hands in June 2010, 80 in June
2009, 216 in June 2008, 212 in June 2007 and 158 in June 2006. . .

Radicalsim from the far right – Tony Chaston:

Don Nicolsons foray into politics from a Federated Farmers background
is not new, as many well known politicans have started their political
career via this way.

Just how successful he will be only time will tell, but it is
interesting to note that Bruce Wills the new president has already
stated that his style will be less divisive. Is the political following
by farmers changing, and are they moving further to the right and away
from ther traditional National Party roots? . .

Nestle takes slice of Vital Foods:

A subsidiary of global food giant Nestle says it is taking a minority stake in Vital Foods, a New Zealand company that specialises in developing kiwifruit-based “functional foods” solutions for gastrointestinal conditions.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but Nestle Health Science said in a statement that it would take a seat on the board of Vital Foods “to help steer future product development as well as commercial strategy”. . .

It’s time for some friendly persuasion – Jon Morgan:

Bruce Wills has the creased features of an outdoorsman and the dirty fingernails of a farmer who just a few hours before was dagging lambs in the Hawke’s Bay hills. But seated in the Wellington head office of Federated Farmers he looks at home in a suit and tie.

He is a model of the modern farmer – university educated, highly numerate, literate, articulate and computerate, and an agricultural jack-of-all-trades, handy with hammer, fencing pliers, shearer’s handpiece, drenching gun and team of dogs.

Now he wants to add political lobbying to his skillset – the tramping of corridors, handshaking, backslapping, joshing, hard talk, soft persuasion and smiling through clenched teeth . . .

I’ve got farming in my blood -  Eleanor Ainge Roy:

Bruce Wills, the new head of Federated Farmers, talks about a childhood spent taming the wilderness, and the price he paid for returning to the family land.

When the Wills family moved onto Trellinoe Farm in the late 1950s, 45km north of Napier, the only accommodation was a tiny rabbiter’s cottage, stuck on the knob of a hill. There were no gardens, no fences, and no grass. Just acres and acres of blackberry scrub, wild pigs and goats.

After more than 50 years of hard yakka turning the land into an 1100ha sheep and cattle station, Bruce Wills says the family is still in the “breaking in” phase.

Wills, 50, is the new president of Federated Farmers, and spent his first week in the job travelling between Rotorua, Wellington, Trellinoe and Hamilton. It was a hectic mix of attending meetings, talking to the media – and sheep crutching on his farm.

Prime lambs return record sale prices – Sally Rae:

Record prices for prime lambs at southern stock sales are      giving farmers something to smile about after last year’s      shocking season when up to a million lambs died in freezing      conditions.   

A pen of about 20 Dorset Down ram lambs sold for $223.50 each      at a recent Charlton stock sale in Gore. The price was      believed to be a record for the saleyards, PGG Wrightson Gore      livestock manager Mark Cuttance said .  . .

Growth rates beefed up in simple herd home – Sally Rae:

When Mike Elliot could not get the growth rates he    desired through winter to finish beef cattle – despite feeding    as much as they wanted to eat – he looked for an alternative.   

With an 88ha farm in South Otago, although about 11ha of that  was in trees, it was a fairly small property and he needed to   farm intensively.

But he had a “phobia” about making mud and there were also      the increasing costs of planting crops and the amount of time      and effort to feed cattle on those crops . . .   

Support, direction required for rural sector – Dr Marion Johnson:

Sometimes I completely fail to understand New Zealand. As a     nation we trade on a clean green image yet encourage the  desecration of our resources at every turn.   

 We espouse a No 8 wire mentality; yet I wonder how many   citizens even know what No 8 wire is? We no longer support  innovation, unless it is within a prescribed field and then I      would debate the legitimacy of calling such developments innovation . . .   

Bee roads and wildflowers can help save bees in the UK – pasture farmers  are key players  – Pasture to Profit:

Do you know what a “Bee Road” is?
It’s a wild flower planting on farms to attract & protect Bees. I’ve started my own “Bee Road” sowing a wild flower strip of about 40metres x 10m along a roadside on a pasture based dairy farm.  https://www.cotswoldseeds.com/seedmix/wild-flowers-1 

It was sown this spring & is now in glorious techno colour. The bees &
insects love it but there have been some problems like the dry weather &
weed infestation. I am justly proud of my efforts but there are frustrations .  . .

Farmsafe and AgITO launch Quad Bike Farm Licence:

Farmsafe, in association with Agriculture ITO (AgITO), has launched the Quad Bike Farm
Licence.

“On average 35 farmers come off their quad bikes every day,” Grant Hadfield, FarmSafe national manager, says.

“FarmSafe and AgITO are committed to reducing accidents and changing attitudes through training on safe quad bike riding practices.”

The Quad Bike Farm Licence is gained through a practical on job training package that covers safe quad bike riding practices as well as teaching participants to effectively identify, minimise and isolate potential bike riding hazards and make safe riding decisions. . .


Rural round-up

July 5, 2011

Young Farmer contest #5 Will Grayling – RivettingKate Taylor:

Photos make the world go around…. here’s a selection of photos of Will in action at the 2011 National Bank Young Farmer Contest in Masterton over the past week – Wednesday’s welcome at the Masterton Town Hall where Will’s likeness to Prince Harry was first mentioned; Thursday’s technical day at the historic Brancepeth homestead and the speech back at the Solway Copthorne; Friday’s practical challenges, head to head (s) and agrisports at the Solway Showgrounds and finally the evening show at the new Wairarapa College auditorium. . .

Politicos turn to the land - Sally Rae:

Everyone, it seems, is the farmer’s friend – after all, it is election year.

Act New Zealand leader Don Brash probably summed it up best at Federated Farmers national conference in Rotorua when he said those attending would be “enduring a procession of politicians”. . .

Fonterra to pour $250m into Darfield – Tim Cronshaw:

Dairy giant Fonterra wants to pour another $250 million into trebling milk production at its Darfield site with a new dryer vying to be the largest in New Zealand.

The co-operative entered talks about stage two of the project with neighbours at a community meeting yesterday and is about to begin the consent process. The plan is to have the second dryer built by 2015 as the $200m site, still being constructed, is expected to be at full capacity by then.

 German investors pay $33m for farm - Collette Devlin:

A German investment management company is now possibly the largest player in rural land in Southland after it spent $33million to buy a dairy farm at Dipton.

Aquila AgrarINVEST Investitions Gmbh was granted approval under the Overseas Investment Act to secure the acquisition of rights or interests in up to 100 per cent of the units of Glencairn Ltd Partnership, which owns or controls a freehold interest in 1401ha of an existing dairy farm. . .

Following role models could double NZ food production:

Following role models could double NZ food production

New Zealand could produce enough food to feed around 40 million people if every farm performed at the same level as the most profitable, said Ballance Agri-Nutrients Chairman, David Graham.

He was speaking at the Ballance Farm Environment Awards annual showcase held in the Hawke’s Bay on 25 June.

“New Zealand currently produces enough food to feed approximately 20 million people. We know our most profitable farms achieve an economic farming surplus of $3,500 per hectare, yet the average farm achieves just over $2,000 and about half of all farms are operating below this.

“To double the amount of people we can feed we must lift our production by working on assisting the bottom half of this bell curve to lift its game.” . . .

My word, look – speculation works – Tim Worstall:

This followed a report on Thursday that showed US farmers had planted more corn than analysts had expected and that stocks of the grain were higher than forecast across the US.

Corn futures fell more than 6pc on Friday, bringing the fall since a US report was issued to about 10pc. . .

The Great corn con - Steven Rattner:

FEELING the need for an example of government policy run amok? Look no further than the box of cornflakes on your kitchen shelf. In its myriad corn-related interventions, Washington has managed simultaneously to help drive up food prices and add tens of billions of dollars to the deficit, while arguably increasing energy use and harming the environment.

Even in a crowd of rising food and commodity costs, corn stands out, its price having doubled in less than a year to a record $7.87 per bushel in early June. Booming global demand has overtaken stagnant supply. . .

Hat tip:  Anti-Dismal


Rural round-up

June 19, 2011

Farms sell as vendor expectations drop  – Tony Chaston:

The number of farms being bought and sold has recovered in April and May 2011. Sellers may be being more realistic.

An analysis done for interest.co.nz of 29 farms sold in May 2011 in the Canterbury, Otago and Southland regions shows that capital gains have all but evaporated, despite a strong recovery in the number of properties sold.

These 29 transactions represent two thirds of all sales in these three regions. And this sample of five dairy farms and 24 grazing properties turned over for a combined more than $94 million.  . .

Branding the key to lucrative global market – Tony Chaston:

Farmers often feel they are poweless to have any price influence with the goods they produce, but Prof Jacqueline Rowarth disagrees and believes branding is the way to do it.

Some farmers have embraced this idea and Hereford Prime, Angus Pure, Cervena, Just Shorn, Cervena and Icebreaker, are all now well known brands that attract a premium for the product produced.

With this branding comes accountability associated with food safety or quality standards,but if a premium is paid it must be earnt. The strength of the brand is often seen more graphically when product prices ease, and farmers will all know from experiences at saleyards quality always sells . . .

Glenavy farmers tempt Americans – Sally Rae:

When Digger and Lynn McCulloch served up New Zealand lamb in swanky supermarkets in the United States, they had one aim – to get everyone who walked past to try a sample.

The couple, who farm at Glenavy, recently returned from a trip to the United States, which was organised through Lean Meats Ltd . . .

Inconsistent use of term “biodiversity” frustrating - John Aspinal:

I get frustrated by frequent use of the term “continuing loss of biodiversity” being used to justify various decision-making and planning.

What does it mean? Does it refer to indigenous, exotic or both?  It is variously used to describe either or both.

The Government recently produced a draft national policy statement for indigenous biodiversity. It began by listing quite specific ecosystem types, which I have to assume are legitimately under threat. . .

Winter feed crops critical at Cragimore – Gerald Piddock:

CRAIGMORE STATION, the 4000ha sheep, cattle and deer farm located in the foothills behind Cave, has been owned by the Elworthy family since 1864.

It is managed by Dan Chaffey and agricultural manager Andrew Fraser.

The station runs 6000 romney sheep. It breeds its own replacements and produces meat and wool . . .

Ngai Tahu ready for dairy move – Annette Scott:

A plan to invest in dairy has taken off for big South Island iwi Ngai Tahu that has identified 35,000ha of forestry areas for agricultural development.

New pastures would be a bold initiative but also very exciting, Ngai Tahu Property Ltd chief executive Tony Sewell told The New Zealand Farmers Weekly.

“It (development) will be slow and steady but very efficient, and I am very happy with progress to date,” he said . . .

International connections at Fieldays:

International business connections made at last year’s NZ National Fieldays have resulted in New Zealand companies launching a range of rural products into markets such as Germany, the US, and Central America within the past 12 months.

This year, more than 250 overseas business people are confirmed to visit NZ National Fieldays.

Fieldays International Agribusiness Manager, Terry Blackler, says the Fieldays team is committed to helping New Zealand companies make profitable connections with these visitors . . .

Sheep farmers enjoy best price for decades - Jon Morgan:

If you’re driving through the hill country this week, keep an eye out for gumbooted fools deliriously cavorting about.

They are sheep farmers enjoying a sudden upturn in incomes not experienced for half a century.

No-one can remember seeing sheep selling for such high prices. At livestock sales around the country records are being smashed.

Ewes fetched up to $232 each at Temuka last week and prime lambs went for more than $200. At Hastings, a line of top-quality lambs sold at $216 . . .

Just a year ago, $100 was being hailed as nirvana and the year before that farmers were lucky to get $80 for their top lambs.

Irrigation a lifesaver for troubled farm – Jon Morgan:

A failed $17 million dairy conversion in Central Hawke’s Bay is making a comeback.

Under new ownership, the land is getting massive doses of fertiliser and is luxuriating in the element it has missed the most for the past three years – water.

The conversion of 508 hectares of rolling countryside from sheep and beef to dairying in 2008 ran into trouble soon after it was completed . . .

Te Kairanga’s vision as big as Texas – Catherine Harris:

Bruce Clugston is a man who clearly enjoys a good wine. He reckons he’s tasted just about every sauvignon blanc in New Zealand.

“After 30 years, I’ve spent my whole life either selling wine, tasting wine, or as a buyer. When I was in retail, like most good- quality retailers, you’ve always got to taste the wine you’re going to sell to your customers. I’ve tasted so many wines, I couldn’t list them.”

Mr Clugston, a former wine retailer and distributor, now owns his own wine company, Wineinc, and is president of Foley Family Wines New Zealand, which is majority-owned by United States billionaire Bill Foley . . .

Southland ‘land of opportunity’ – Collette Devlin:

Winton dairy farmer Jim Cooper has been the farmers’ spokesman for a group of rural professionals known as Farming in Southland, for nine years. For the past 15 years, these businesses have raised the profile of Southland, promoting farming, lifestyle and educational opportunities to prospective farmers at Fieldays. Mr Cooper will try to encourage north Island farmers to move south, as he did 16 years ago.

“Immediately after I spoke to Farming in Southland, I knew this is where I wanted to farm. At the time, my wife and I were young with small children, so we decided to leave our dairy farm in Broadlands, south of Reporoa on the central plateau,” Mr Cooper said . . .

And a new website PestWebNZ (hat tip Tony Chaston):

PestWebNZ is a free tool to assist farmers and agricultural professionals in decision-making regarding weed and pest identification, biology, impact and management. PestWebNZ contains a number of New Zealand pasture weeds and pests, which have been chosen in consultation with key farming, industry and research personnel . . .


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