Rural round-up

May 26, 2014

Golden times return for kiwifruit trade – Jamie Gray:

Just as the last rites were about to be administered to the New Zealand kiwifruit industry, a new disease-resistant variety has restored grower confidence to where it was just before the devastating Psa virus swept through Bay of Plenty orchards late in 2010.

Orchard prices have rebounded, investment has started again and fruit prices are better than for more than 10 years, giving growers reason to be more optimistic, industry representatives say.

Psa has already had a big impact on kiwifruit “gold” volumes, which fell by 55 per cent in 2013/14 compared with the previous season and to the lowest ever, but higher prices overall have helped to boost returns. Zespri estimates that this season will yield 17 million trays of Gold, up from 11 million trays in the previous season — thanks mostly to the fact that the new variety, called Gold3, is Psa-tolerant compared with its highly susceptible predecessor, Hort16A. . .

Open day showcase for award winner – Sally Rae:

”Capturing sunlight in a form you can eat.”

That is how Wayne McIntosh describes the fruit produced on his family’s award-winning orchard at Earnscleugh, near Alexandra.

Mr McIntosh, who has been managing the orchard for 10 years, was the supreme winner of this year’s Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards and hosted a field day on the property on Wednesday.

The 64ha property has about 34,000 trees producing cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, apples and a range of trial fruits. . .

Dairy boss picks industry evolution – Jamie Gray:

The acquisition by French food giant Danone of two New Zealand dairy companies last month signals a new phase in the evolution of the local dairy industry – one in which manufacturers will get closer to their brands, says Synlait Milk managing director John Penno.

Danone last month said it had entered an agreement to buy processing firms Sutton Group and Gardians.

The announcement came as the dairy industry negotiated its way through new Chinese infant formula regulations.

Auckland company Sutton is best known for contract manufacturing of infant formula; Gardians has a milk powder spray drying plant in Otago. . . .

Pastoral lifestyles on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau - Keith Woodford:

This week I am writing from the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau in Western China, at 3600 metres above sea level. The Plateau is part of China’s pastoral zone where lifestyles are based on sheep and yak farming systems. I am here with three New Zealand colleagues from Lincoln University and AgResearch. Jim Moir is our soils specialist, Phil Rolston is our agronomy specialist, and Sharon (Xiaomeng) Lucock is our science and general translator who also helps co-ordinate the program. We are working with colleagues from Qinghai University, and also working with a commercial partner who processes yak milk into yoghurt which sells as far afield as Beijing and Shanghai.

The zone that we are working in is part of the Sanjiangyuan (Source of Three Rivers) Ecological Zone with an area 25% larger than all of New Zealand. The winter lasts for more than six months and the growing season is limited to late May through to the end of September. . . .

Theme recognises Fieldays’ future success - Tony Benny:

The theme for the National Fieldays premier feature this year recognises that the future success of New Zealand agriculture rests on effective use of all resources, says Fieldays chief executive Jon Calder.

Called Managing resources for a competitive advantage, the theme recognises that resources can be human, capital, natural, assets or livestock.

“There’s really a two-fold view. One is that we have got strength and capability in the way we manage our resources and the other is looking at what the future holds in terms of new innovations, new technology and new ways of managing resources,” he says.  . .

Volunteers key to Fieldays success – Sonita Chandar:

While visitors to the NZ National Agricultural Fieldays check out the latest products and innovations from the rural sector, a dedicated team of staff and volunteers work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure all is running smoothly. 

“We have a team of around 36 fulltime staff five of who work solely on Fieldays and more than 120 volunteers,” said Mystery Creek membership administrator Sierra Jenkins.

“Every single one of the volunteers is invaluable and without them the event wouldn’t be the success it is.” 

Volunteers are split into four teams covering all aspects of Fieldays. Around 30 people work in the guest services area overseen by Shirley Murphy. . .

Happy Beef month! We keep one of our steers every so often to use as meat for our family to eat..... it lasts us forever! #EATBEEF Some have pointed out some flaws in this picture and we apologize for that! (It's not ours) But the message to take away is that one steer feeds a lot of people!! (Picture via Kansas Department of Agriculture)


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.


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