Rural round-up

November 14, 2012

What does our agriculture offer?  romance and reassurance – Pasture Harmonies:

I’ll be the first to admit that the frilly, intangible, non-scientific aspects of what and how we produce our agricultural products can be a tricky little number to get your head around.

Much of what we’re good at doing as a nation is hard-edged, ‘proven’ – be it across on and off farm technical performance, engineering disciplines, the All Blacks even – all those things that you can measure and monitor.

But, for a moment let’s just sit and accept these quantifiable aspects.

What else does our agriculture offer? . . .

Chatham Rock Phosphate water turbidity model shows encouraging results:

Highly sophisticated computer models of the turbidity from material disturbed during extraction of rock phosphate nodules by Chatham Rock Phosphate have shown encouraging results.

The modelling work is being undertaken by Dutch applied research organisation Deltares using complex modelling techniques developed at their Delft headquarters. Deltares was asked to look at the dispersion behaviour of sediments released during the proposed extraction process.

The modelling results will now be independently evaluated. . .

Sheep in south heading for hills – Sally Rae:

More cows, more mixed farming systems involving dairy support and more finishing in the hill country.

That’s what Rabobank senior rural manager Richard Copland expects to see in the Gore area in the future.

Delivering the opening address at the New Zealand Grassland Association conference in Gore last week, Mr Copland outlined the “massive amount” of change in the district in recent years. . .

Queen gene selection top honey maker – Shawn McAvinue:

The process of breeding better queen bees began for the year in Mosgiel early last week.

Better Bees director David McMillan said drone bee semen was collected and mixed in the morning so queen bees could be artificially inseminated in the afternoon.

The same process would continue for three days so queen bees could sent to shareholders of the Dunedin company, he said Betta Bees assistant Diane Allan, from Balfour, said about 100 mature drone bees were needed daily to collect 20 microlitres of semen. . .

Peel Forest moving to ‘grass roots’ venison – Sandra Finnie:

PEEL Forest Estate owner Graham Carr is the first to admit there was room for improvement on his property, before he grasped the concept of environmentally sustainable deer farming.

It took a letter from Environment Canterbury because someone had “potted him” about dirty water coming off the property, to motivate him to “clean up his act”.

At a recent field day, well supported by friends and farmers, Mr Carr reflected on the the work he’d done in recent years towards his goal of fencing off 90 per cent of the farm by 2012 on one side of a road and how he has improved water quality. . .

Prince Charles and Federated Farmers Express Support for Campaign for Wool:

Fill your living environments with wool and do it in style. That was the message from the Campaign for Wool at Shear Brilliance on Monday and one that will continue to be passed on in the future.

The Campaign hosted HRH The Prince of Wales Monday, November 12 at Shear Brilliance – a wool showcase at The Cloud, Queens Wharf, Auckland. At the event, Prince Charles proudly wore his New Zealand wool suit and told exhibitors New Zealand is globally recognised for the quality of its wool.

The message that wool can fill more than just a closet was evident by the wide range of exhibitors and guests. The Campaign hosted dignitaries, VIPs from architectural, interior and related industries at this special exhibition. It was an opportunity to show New Zealand’s creativity and innovation with woollen textiles and products. . .

Glacial Wool Fit for a Prince:

To honour the Prince of Wales and recognise his role as champion and patron of the global Campaign for Wool, a unique six square metre rug bearing his coat of arms is being hand- crafted in Christchurch from New Zealand Glacial wool by leading New Zealand wool exporter New Zealand Wool Services International.

“The Prince of Wales is the most significant sheep farmer in the United Kingdom and the world’s foremost advocate for wool. He launched the international Campaign for Wool in 2010 to educate the world about the extraordinary benefits and versatility of wool in furnishings, fashion and everyday life”, said Michael Dwyer, managing director, New Zealand Wool Services International. . .

And from  Smile Project:

Photo

Rural round-up

November 1, 2012

Wool’s future far from woolly:

Farmers are counting down the days to when major shareholdings in New Zealand Wool Services International (NZWSI) will be on-sold by the receivers.

“In a green-aware age, bales of wool should be flying out of our woolsheds. As they are not, is why management consultants could describe the wool industry as a ‘problem child’,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson. . .

New Head of Farm Environment Trust Ready for Challenge:

Well-known Wanganui farmer Alistair Polson has been elected chairperson of the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust.

He takes over from North Waikato farmer Jim Cotman who has stepped down after six years in the role.

Mr Polson’s extensive experience in farming politics and business management includes serving as national president of Federated Farmers from 1999 to 2002.

Since 2004 he has been Special Agricultural Trade Envoy for New Zealand. He is a former director or committee member of a number of rural-based organisations, including AgITO, the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, Veterinary Council of New Zealand and NZ Landcare Trust. . .

Deep in the current – Bruce Munro:

Graeme Martin has been described as everything from a compassionate, principled, visionary genius to an inflexible, stubborn, demanding taskmaster. Bruce Munro examines pieces of the puzzle that make up the influential, complex and soon to retire chief executive of the Otago Regional Council.

“I shan’t forget a very large fist waved very close to my face” Graeme Martin says.

He is sitting in a comfortable chair in a corner office with city, harbour and peninsula views.

Three hundred and sixty kilometres and 45 years separate him from what happened that day in the Addington railway workshops.

But there is no denying the edge to his voice.

“A fist waved in my face because I was working too hard.” . . .

Winemaker celebrates 50 years:

The staff lunchroom might not seem an obvious stop on a tour of a picturesque winery. But Villa Maria’s is immaculate – largely due to the writing on its wall. 

One side of the lunchroom at the company’s winery in Mangere, Auckland, is dominated by information about its lean manufacturing programme, Achieving Continuous Excellence (ACE), running in the company for the past two years. It’s brought efficiencies to the business, but benefits in the physical environment are also obvious. Nothing – not even in the caf – is out of place.

It’s a point of pride for founder Sir George Fistonich, but also gives an insight into how the company, which celebrates its 50th vintage this year, has continued to grow in a tough industry. . .

Soil biology is key to saving saving fertility – Peter Watson:

Complacency is costing us some of our best soils, says ecologist and educator Nicole Masters.

New Zealand is losing 11 tonnes of topsoil per hectare a year, more than 10 times the global average, she said during a recent Beef + Lamb New Zealand field day held at Claire Parkes and Simon Vincent’s farm near Wakefield, and attended by about 35 farmers.

“We live in one of the most blessed soil environments in the world.

“We are fertile, we have good carbon and beautiful rainfall, but we are losing all this topsoil and it’s not sustainable.” . .

Convert to sustainability – Tim Cronshaw:

A farmer with nearly 9000 deer who once never put much thought into improving the environment on his farm, has become a fully converted believer.

Graham Carr estimates he has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars during the past four years fencing off waterways and putting in settling ponds, so the water coming off his farm at Peel Forest Estate in South Canterbury is crystal clear.

Carr has built up one of the largest deer herds in the country, since emigrating to New Zealand 25 years ago from Britain, where he came from a joinery background. . .

A2 Corp to take control of NZ marketing, enter North America:

 A2 Corp, which markets milk products with a protein variant claimed to have health benefits, wants to directly enter the New Zealand market and is looking to expand into North America and some European nations having wrapped up a strategic review to speed up growth.

The alternative-market listed company will shift its focus to a number of opportunities in a bid to ramp up growth, including directly marketing into New Zealand, it said in a statement. A2 plans to expand rapidly include entering markets in North America, German, France Italy and Spain via joint ventures, using local contract manufacturers or investing in regional processing, it said. . .


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