Rural round-up

March 21, 2014

Maori dairy farm set to boost Northland’s economy:

Dairy cows will be led into Northland’s Rangihamama milking sheds for the first time officially this weekend, marking the first tangible example of the Government’s aim to increase regional economic development in Northland.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has been working with the Omapere Rangihamama Trust (ORT) to accelerate the Trust’s transformation of 278 hectares of Māori-owned land, from grazing to high-productivity dairy farming since 2012.

“Omapere Rangihamama Trust is a model for growing rural development by pulling together a vast number of stakeholders into a larger and more commercially effective operation,” says MPI’s Deputy Director-General Ben Dalton. . .

Simple fix touted for deadly quad bike problem – Jill Galloway:

A Wellington farmer who survived a quad bike accident says using a sash window weight on the front of a four-wheeler stops it turning over so easily.

Stuart Woodman said he was going up a steep slope when he hit a hole and his quad bike rolled over and landed on him.

“I was unconscious, and came to after I had got out from under the bike. I don’t know how I survived it. Thick skull, big bones – I don’t know.”

Woodman said he righted the bike on the slope, and it rolled down the hill.

“I picked the soil off it and finished mustering. Then I drove to hospital.” . . .

Farmer develops mussel shell fertiliser - Cathie Bell:

The enormous pile of old mussel shells near Havelock could become a lot smaller because of the landowners’ business venture turning it into fertiliser.

Bill Brownlee stores millions of shells from the Sanford mussel factory on his farm, on the Blenheim side of Havelock. He said the Marlborough District Council had estimated it as 13 metres high.

The pile started 50 years ago when his father took the shells, but had really grown in the past 15 years since mussel production boomed in the Sounds, he said.

He and wife Jane Brownlee bought a crusher from the Cape Campbell lime works and started a new venture, crushing the shells into a fine powder to be spread as fertiliser. . .

BOP Dairy Awards Winners All Career Changes:

Making the move to dairy farming has been hugely successful for the three major winners at the 2014 Bay of Plenty Dairy Industry Awards.

The 2014 Bay of Plenty Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Brett and Natasha Grindrod, were both teachers, the Bay of Plenty Farm Managers of the Year, Thomas Blackett and Stacey Lepper, had engineering and technician careers, and Bay of Plenty Dairy Trainee of the Year, Cameron Luxton, was a builder. They all switched careers to dairy farming and were announced winners at the region’s awards dinner at Awakeri Events Centre last night (March 19).

Brett Grindrod says he took the opportunity to work on a dairy farm for a season and never looked back. “After a short time on farm I found I really enjoyed the career change, and did not want to return teaching. I enjoyed the flexibility that farming offered and could see the long term potential for growth. . .

Royal FrieslandCampina lifts stake in Synlait Milk to 9.999 percent buying shares at $3.85 apiece:

(BusinessDesk) – Royal FrieslandCampina has lifted its stake in Synlait Milk to 9.999 percent from 7.5 percent, adding to an investment that has gained 41 percent since its NZX debut last July.

The Netherlands-based cooperative bought about 3.66 million shares at $3.85 each yesterday, according to a statement to the NZX. The shares last traded at $3.87, having sold in Synlait’s initial public offering last year at $2.20 apiece.

The purchase puts the Dutch company, where the current Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings was a senior executive until 2009, ahead of Japan’s Mitsui & Co, with an 8.4 percent holding, as the second-biggest shareholder in the Canterbury-based dairy processor. China’s Bright Dairy Food owns 39 percent, having been diluted during last year’s IPO. . .

Posted skulls pose biosecurity threat:

A box of South African animal skulls crawling with maggots never made it through the post, thanks to the work of vigilant Auckland biosecurity staff.

A Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) dog team recently detected the unusual biosecurity threat at the International Mail Centre near Auckland airport.

Once opened, the box revealed a number of wild animal skulls, thought to include zebra and wildebeest.

“There was clearly some flesh on the bones, as you could see maggots writhing beneath and on top of the cellophane wrapping,” says Aynsley Richards, MPI Auckland Team Leader, Border Clearance Services. . .

Gisborne figure elected to lead role in Eastern Fish & Game:

The Eastern Fish and Game Council has elected well known Gisborne identity Murray Ferris as its new chairman.

The Eastern Council represents over 30,000 anglers and 3000 game bird hunting licence holders.

As one of 12 Fish and Game councils, it is responsible for managing sports fish and game birds over a large central North Island area which runs from Wairoa, west to Mt Ruapehu, and then north to Waihi.

The Eastern Fish & Game Region has trout fisheries of national significance, including the heavily-used Rotorua Lakes, and popular Lake Waikaremoana and the Ruakituri River within its eastern boundaries. . .


Rural round-up

February 4, 2014

Risk in having all eggs in Fonterra basket:

Government analysis has pointed to weaknesses in the dairy industry, including putting all our eggs in the Fonterra basket.

A five-year Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment project looking at the state of New Zealand’s food and beverage industry found growing strengths for our exports beyond dairy but also sounded a warning about our continued reliance on dairy.

According to the report, New Zealand is the ninth largest milk-producing country in the world and accounts for 2.4 percent of global milk production. Fonterra controls 88 percent of our milk supply and is the fourth-largest dairy company in the world by turnover and first by milk intake. . .

Grant helps student’s project – Letitia Atkinson:

A former Tauranga Boys’ College student is getting a $5000 scholarship to go towards a Bachelor of Science research project.

Zach McLean, who is currently studying at the University of Waikato, will take on a project that involves investigating genes associated with the genetic network regulating pluripotency in bovine embryos.

Pluripotent cells are able to produce all cell types in the body, and emerge during early pre-implantation development.

Zach will be working alongside Dr Bjorn Oback and the Reproductive Technologies group at AgResearch. . . .

Speed fencing record set:

A new world record has been established in speed fencing.

Bill Brewer and Simon Green erected 30 battens on a nine-wire fence in 11 minutes and 38 seconds at last week’s Grasslandz Agricultural Machinery Expo, at Ereka, in Waikato, to become inaugural world champions in the event.

The Taumarunui fencing contractors also won $1000 in prize money. . .

Honey of a job comes to an end - Sonia Beal:

Don Freeth scooted home for the last time on Friday, after almost 40 years working for Blenheim beekeeping company Bush J & Sons.

Mr Freeth, 73, has clocked up just under 108,000 kilometres on his 1968 Honda 50, most of which had been accumulated riding to and from work every day since he started there in October 1975.

“Sometimes I go in the car if the weather’s a bit crook, but other than that it’s every day,” he said.

Mr Freeth described himself as a “jack of all trades”, helping out with all aspects of the company’s beehive management including inspecting hives, packing honey, and queen-rearing, the method used to raise more queen bees. . .

Record profit for Primary Wool:

PRIMARY WOOL Cooperative’s profit of $1.9m for the 2013 financial year is the largest in the cooperative’s 39-history, says chairman, Bay de Lautour.

An average of two members per week joined the cooperative in 2013, growing to three members per week in the first four months of the 2014 financial year, de Lautour says.

The 2013 profit represents 71c a share and comes from Primary Wool Cooperative’s 50% share of Elders Primary Wool which de Lautour says has gained market share as farmers see the benefits of their wool being handled by an efficient broker and seeing half the profits returned to the 100% farmer owned cooperative. . . .

Timaru beauty declared top cow – Jill Galloway:

A cow from Timaru jazzed things up at last week’s Dairy Event, in Feilding, being named the best bovine beauty on show.

It was the Miss New Zealand of dairy cows at Manfeild Park on Thursday with the country’s best cows and calves all aiming to put their best hoof forward.

The Supreme 2014 All New Zealand Champion, or the top cow award, went to Fairview Dolman Jazz-ET, a 5 -year-old holstein friesian cow, from Timaru.

The judges deemed the South Island stunner “best in show”, topping all other cows in the competition. . . .

Strong Results at Karaka 2014:

New Zealand Bloodstock’s 88th National Yearling Sales Series drew to a close yesterday with increases posted across all key statistics as the hammer fell on the final of 1372 yearlings catalogued over six days of selling.

At the completion of Karaka 2014, the combined statistics across the Premier, Select and Festival Sales show consistent strength throughout the week to record an increased average, clearance and median, with 64 fewer horses sold compared to 2013. . .


Rural round-up

January 18, 2014

Meat Options Paper Seeks Farmer Opinions - Allan Barber:

Federated Farmers’ Meat Options discussion paper, written by Sarah Crofoot, does an extremely good job of laying out the alternative market orientations companies can adopt. It presents three different focus options from which farmers are asked to select their set of preferences.

It should be noted up front that the discussion paper is aimed at Federated Farmers’ farmer members and its key purpose is to engage those farmers in thinking about what they want their industry to look like in 5,10 or 20 years from now. The final output will not be binding on anybody, but it will provide a more comprehensive summary of farmer opinion than the feedback from the series of Meat industry Excellence meetings.

The paper starts with a late 1980s definition of the industry’s unique characteristics quoting Anita Busby, Editor of Meat Producer at the time:

“Meat industry people don’t need to take advice or listen to new ideas. They already have the answers. They strangle new thoughts at conception. If that fails, they discredit the source. If you haven’t been in the meat industry for years, you don’t know what you are talking about. If you have, you’re washed up…”

Sarah Crofoot with the confidence of youth has nevertheless taken the bold step of producing a set of ideas which merit serious consideration. It is now 30 years since subsidies were removed, even longer since the deregulation of the meat industry, and despite many positive developments, the industry still has fundamental structural problems. . .

More than 4000 sheep perish on live export:

More than 4000 Australian sheep have died from heat exhaustion after 21 days on board a live export ship bound for Qatar from Fremantle.

Exporter Livestock Shipping Service said 4179 sheep perished in August aboard their Bader III vessel – the same ship that was loaded with animals last weekend in Perth despite searing 44-degree heat.

LSS are a Jordanian-owned company based in Perth and are already under investigation by Australian Federal Authorities for two breaches of live export regulations in Jordan and Gaza. . .

No downtime for shearing gangs – Jill Galloway:

When it has been too wet for shearing in one area, sheep have been dry enough in another so shearing has cracked on.

Shearers and contractors say they are not behind, in spite of the recent moist weather. “The boys have not had a day off,” said Feilding-based contractor Erin Bailey.

“They had a few days off over New Year, but they have been working since,” she said.

She and her husband Scott run two shearing gangs from their Feilding base, but shear a lot around Marton and Apiti, she said. . .

Taranaki Trust leads dairy research – Sue O’Dowd:

The Taranaki Agricultural Research Trust provides two platforms for cutting-edge research beneficial to the dairy industry.

The trust leases a 126ha (111ha effective) research farm across the road from Fonterra’s Whareroa site near Hawera and owns the 350 cows milked there. DairyNZ manages the Westpac Taranaki Agricultural Research Station (WTARS) under contract to the trust.

The station, established at Normanby in 1974, has done research into areas as diverse as grass grub, nitrogen and phosphate use, once-a- day-milking and feed conversion efficiency.

It had made a significant contribution to New Zealand farming over the last 40 years, said trust chairman Brendan Attrill. . .

Neil’s pinot empire expands – James Beech:

Actor Sam Neill says his winery’s fourth vineyard acquisition demonstrates ”faith and confidence” in Central Otago and its pinot noir for the global market.

Two Paddocks announced this week it had become the only Central Otago winery with a foothold in all three Central Otago wine-producing sub-regions, owning vineyards in Gibbston, the Alexandra basin and now the Cromwell basin.

Neill said a sum of money which was ”considerable, but both vendors and purchasers think it fair” had bought the established 6ha Desert Heart Vineyard, plus woolshed and house, at the end of Felton Rd, Bannockburn, last week. . .

Don’t let Fonterra’s lawyers run off with the fresh cream – Willy Leferink:

They say bad things come in threes.  We’ve had the news Fonterra is going to “vigorously defend any proceedings” taken by Danone against it for US$400 million.  In recent days, Fonterra Brands has voluntarily recalled 330ml and 500ml bottles of fresh cream sold under the Anchor and Pams brands in the upper North Island. 

As a farmer you wonder, what’s next?

First of all Fonterra is doing things by the book in voluntarily recalling affected bottles of fresh cream stamped “best before 21 January”.  Visit foodsmart.govt.nz and you’ll quickly learn that food product recalls happen irrespective of who’s in government.  In 2008, there were 19 recalls versus the 14 last year and they have involved everything from hash browns to fish fillets to soy milk powder.

While the timing of this is far from ideal given last year’s events, this voluntary recall came from Fonterra’s own testing.  It shows consumers that a company owned by thousands of Kiwi farmers puts food safety first.  When consumers take a Fonterra product off the shelf, they deserve to know someone back at Fonterra is testing it. . .


Rural round-up

November 4, 2013

Few farms in foreign hands says English – Alan Wood:

Foreign investment in New Zealand farmland, including dairy farms, remains relatively low and has significant safeguards, Finance Minister Bill English says.

Some investment, including that in the Crafar farms in the North Island by the Chinese, has raised the hackles of some Kiwis.

For example, Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa spokesman Murray Horton says he is firmly against ownership of New Zealand land by foreigners, whether they be Chinese, American, Australian or British.

Last month the China-based Shanghai Pengxin Group announced a takeover bid for Synlait Farms, in association with two of Synlait’s founders, John Penno and Juliet Maclean. . .

The Industrialisation of American Dairying and the Implications for New Zealand: Keith Woodford:

The ‘handout notes’ that follow were written  for a Lincoln University Dairy Farm Focus Day on 10 October 2013. These focus days are held every two months. This one was attended by about 200 farmers and rural professionals. I gave the presentation as Lincoln’s Professor of Farm Management and Agribusiness, standing on a trailer out in the paddock – so basically it was all ad libbed without visual aids. Actually,  sometimes it is fun to talk without the distraction of powerpoints!

Background

  • The American dairy industry is rapidly transforming to an industrial model based on large scale (>2000 cow) mega farms.
  • As of 2013, approximately 40% of American production comes from 800 mega farms.
  • Another 30% comes from a further 2500 farms, each with between 500 and 2,000 cows.
  • The final 30% comes from more than 50,000 farms with less than 500 cows
  • The mega farms have costs of production that are much lower than the smaller farms. . .

 

Farming robot could bring the cows in – Jill Galloway:

“Like a four-wheel-drive wheelchair on steroids” is how Andrew Manderson describes his Agri-Rover.

He designed the prototype farm robot which was built by a team from AgResearch and Lincoln University, using industrial parts and costing $4000.

It was a robust machine and had a powerful engine, said Dr Manderson.

It would comfortably trundle around a paddock, so long as it didn’t encounter a gradient of more than 20 degrees.

He said it had a top speed of 5kmh, but with a few adjustments it could really motor.

(Click on the link above to see a video of the robot in action)

Winning the battle against boxthorn pest – Ruth Grundy:

Graeme Loh is the first to admit he is more ”exterminator” than ”nurturer”.

He is the Department of Conservation (Doc) ranger who oversees one of the country’s newest reserves, a prominent and ancient limestone outcrop at Gards Rd, between Duntroon and Kurow.

He said his main focus was to eradicate an aggressive exotic invader – boxthorn – which threatened to appropriate this national treasure.

”People don’t realise how bad a weed it is and how difficult it is to remove.” . . .

Farmsafe says quad bike research backs roll bars – Anna Vidot:

Farm safety advocates say the science is in, and now is the time to start encouraging people to use quad bikes with roll bars.

Manufacturers of the vehicles have long argued that crush protection bars cause more injuries than they prevent, and take the focus away from other safety measures like helmets and proper training.

But Farmsafe Australia says there’s mounting evidence that crush protection bars are more likely to save a life than not, if a quad bike rolls. . . .

Dogs queue up for aversion training -

Kiwi advocate Lesley Baigent  was  gratified by the response  to Saturday’s kiwi aversion  training session for dogs at the
Raetea reserve, at the northern foot of the Mangamuka  Gorge.

Dogs were literally queuing  up to undergo the training,  which involves a special collar  delivering an electric shock at  the appropriate moment to  persuade the dogs that kiwi  are best left alone. Success rates varied, Lesley said, and there were certainly  no expectations of 100 per  cent. . . .


Rural round-up

October 7, 2013

Company proves it’s in the business of growth - Sally Rae:

At Mosgiel-based Superior Minerals, manager David Hoseason-Smith says it is ”not just about selling fertiliser”.

The company was recently named Otago and lower South Island regional winner in the fastest-growing manufacturer category in the Deloitte Fast 50.

Superior Minerals was established in 2001 to ”provide a point of difference” in the marketplace for solid fertiliser, director Lawrence Alloo said. . .

Donation helps get Noslam restarted:

A donation from the North Otago Irrigation Company (NOIC) will allow the newly re-established North Otago Sustainable Land Management Group (Noslam) to begin its vision for the district.

That vision is to create an integrated team approach to sustainable land and water quality management for the greater good of both farmers and the community.

In March last year, NOIC received an Irrigation New Zealand innovation award including cash prize of $2500 which, in turn, it has given to Noslam to be used as a seeding grant.

Noslam’s goals to promote a healthy environment with all North Otago farmers by identifying measures that secured and improved the environment and considered the economic and social issues and constraints, resonated strongly with the company, NOIC chief executive Robyn Wells said. . .

Farmer places clean-up faith in watercress – Matthew Littlewood:

A South Canterbury farmer hopes watercress could be used to help clean the area’s degraded catchment.

Rory Foley is working with Environment Canterbury on a project that  involves not only fencing and replanting alongside the streams on his Wainono property near Waimate, but also planting watercress in the stream itself.

”I’m really conscious of the environment, because I work on the land. I want to help improve the habitat for future generations, we have a responsibility to do so,” he said.

”We’ve lost a lot of the native wetlands, we need to restore them.” . . .

Wool NZ eyes market’s top end – Sue O’Dowd:

New Zealand’s new farmer-owned wool sales and marketing company is focusing on the luxury market.

“Our focus has to be on the top end of the market, on luxury,” Wools of New Zealand (WNZ) chief Ross Townshend told about 40 farmer shareholders at Stratford, the fifth stop on the company’s 17-venue roadshow.

Townshend, a foundation shareholder supplying the company with 20,000kg of wool a year from 2500 ewes on his north Waikato property, said as a commercial company, WNZ had to have a global focus so it could get value from its products.

He was responding to questions from Tarata sheep and beef farmer Bryan Hocken, who said he was running out of time to become a wool baron and was concerned at how difficult it was to buy a wool carpet in New Zealand. . .

Wool growers called on to be patient – Sally Rae:

Strong-wool growers have been urged to be patient as Wools of New Zealand continues its mission to improve the profitability of its grower shareholders.

A series of roadshows have been held throughout the country to give an update on the company’s progress since capitalisation was completed in March.

More than 700 applications for shares, totalling about $6 million, were received, allowing it to proceed with a grower-owned sales and marketing company. . .

Rural achiever to pit skills against Aussies – Jill Galloway:

It’s a good thing Cameron Lewis is in a talking competition, rather than a practical contest, he says.

But it pays to be multi-skilled all the same.

“It is like the Young Farmers contest, you have to be an all-rounder. Learn to shear sheep, fence and put machinery together. You have to put aside a few years to compete.”

Lewis won the National Royal Agricultural Society’s Young Rural Achiever Award at the RAS Conference in Christchurch. He was representing the Western District.

Now he’ll be up against winners from five Australian states. It is the Australasian final being held at the Royal Show hosted by the Manawatu Consortium at Manfeild Park in Feilding from December 6 to 8. . .

Aussie claims honours at merino champs – Lynda van Kempen:

An Australian shearer has claimed the New Zealand Merino Shearing Championship open title for the third year in a row.

Defending champion Damien Boyle, of Broomehill, Western Australia, won his third successive title by seven points ahead of Chris Vickers, of Palmerston, in the final staged in Alexandra last night

New Zealanders Tony Coster, Mana Te Whata, Charlie O’Neill and Nathan Stratford also made the final. . .

 


Rural round-up

August 7, 2013

Fonterra problem highlights danger of being a one-trick pony - Allan Barber:

It’s a change for the dairy industry to capture the negative agricultural headlines instead of the meat or kiwifruit sectors. Unfortunately for everybody in New Zealand the dairy industry has become such a critical and large part of our economy that the whey protein botulism scare has already caused, and will continue to cause, major concerns for our global dairy trade.

Only last week Fonterra was again the star of the economy with a $3 billion boost to farmers’ earnings because of a 50c lift in the payout. Yet this week the company’s very scale has been called into question. People are now asking whether Fonterra can survive its third health scare in five years.

Even if this is unnecessary scaremongering, another question which would have been unthinkable a week ago is being asked. Is Fonterra too big for the country or, to quote the Waikato Times, its gumboots? This ought to make those calling for one mega meat company hesitate for a moment, before they find that they are asking for something which may contain the seeds of its own destruction. . .

Winegrowers fear China backlash – Penny Wardle:

Marlborough winegrowers fear the discovery of a botulism risk in Fonterra milk products could taint the reputation of New Zealand wine and food in China.

China has suspended imports of products that contain Fonterra’s whey protein concentrate and a product known as base infant powder formula.

Allan Scott of Allan Scott Family Winemakers said everyone in the industry was nervous about market reaction to the contamination debacle which has dominated news headlines since Saturday. . . .

Scientist collars innovation prize – Jill Galloway:

A senior AgResearch scientist has been highly commended for his cow collar, winning $1000 at the Innovate Manawatu contest last week.

Keith Betteridge said he would form a start-up company, FarmSense, to produce the cow collar.

It measures pasture continuously during grazing, with results being sent to a central data handling centre.

“Only 20 to 25 per cent of farmers regularly measure pasture mass over their farms. The rest do it by eye, but according to dairy consultants that can be pretty inaccurate.” . . .

Election date now certain but policies unclear for farmers -

With the election confirmed for September 7, the nation’s peak agriculture advocacy body, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is looking to politicians to provide clarity on their policies, and commit to action for the agriculture sector.

NFF President Duncan Fraser said Australian agriculture needs to be a priority for all sides of Parliament this coming election. The NFF will be looking for agriculture to be elevated in the policy debate between major parties.

“Now that we have certainty in terms of the election date, we’re looking equal certainty in policy issues, so farmers can get on with their job. We encourage all political parties to consider how they can best serve a strong, vibrant agriculture sector that ensures that Australians continue to have access to a sustainable supply of Australian grown food and fibre,” Mr Fraser said. . .

£160m agri-atech strategy ‘verging on insulting’ -

The Agricultural Engineers Association has branded the government’s £160m investment strategy for developing agricultural technology “very disappointing”.

Roger Lane-Nott, the director general of both the AEA and Milking Equipment Association, made the comments after the agri-tech strategy to invest more money in science and technology was launched two weeks ago.

“The fact that farm equipment was given a couple of small paragraphs was verging on insulting to an industry that has a turnover of nearly £4bn in the UK and is a fundamental part of agricultural production,” said Mr Lane-Nott. . .

Collier heads NZIPM:

EAST COAST AgFirst consultant Hilton Collier is the new president of the New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management, replacing Wayne Allan who’s completed the standard two-year term in the role.

“Wayne has been a driving force in developing NZIPIM’s new strategic plan and instrumental in its implementation,” says Collier, who says there’s an increasing need for NZIPIM and its members to play a leadership role within the primary industry, within and beyond the farm gate.

“This includes positioning our farmers and growers to capture global market opportunities and ensure we have a highly profitable primary sector to levels New Zealand formerly enjoyed as one of the best standards of living in the OECD.” . . .

My first attempt at homemade sausages - Cabbage Tree Farm:

After much procrastination I finally got around to making sausages. A few months ago we bought a meat grinder with a sausage making attachment and I had a bit of a hiccup with getting the correct type of skins – I bought edible collagen casings which did not fit on the end of the sausage maker….oops! Finally I tracked down a butcher that could supply the natural ‘hog’ casings (pig intestines) and we had some pork scraps that our butcher bagged up specifically for us to make sausages, from when he butchered our last lot of home raised pigs.

I did a quick search on You Tube to make sure I knew what to do, and to get some recipes. In the end I chose to make up some chorizo sausages after watching this helpful tutorial. . .


Rural round-up

June 18, 2013

Address to New Zealand National Fieldays - Tim Groser:

This arresting phrase – ‘Agriculture: New Zealand’s Silicon Valley’ – is not mine. It is Sir Graeme Harrison’s and I can’t improve on it. Sir Graeme, you will recall, is the founder and Chairman of ANZCO Foods, one of New Zealand’s largest exporters.

I like the phrase for three complementary reasons:

· First, it conveys a real sense of optimism – and we have every reason in this country to be optimistic about our future in the first quarter of the 21st Century.

· Second, it captures the reality that agriculture will be as important to New Zealand’s future as it has been to our past.

· Third, it also captures a more subtle idea about our agriculture future. Yes – agriculture will continue to be the economic backbone of our country’s export future. But it will be a vastly more sophisticated agriculture with innovation at its centre. . .

Major New Zealand presence at the International Maritime Organisation:

New Zealand has stepped up its engagement with the International Maritime Organization, with the appointment this week of the Rt Hon Sir Lockwood Smith as New Zealand’s first Permanent Representative.

The Director of Maritime New Zealand, Keith Manch, also participated in the first-ever Symposium on the Future of Ship Safety, held at IMO headquarters in London.

Sir Lockwood, New Zealand High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, presented his credentials to the IMO’s Secretary-General, Koji Sekimizu, today (London time). . .

Winter shearing has payoffs – Jill Galloway:

Sheep might want their wool on their backs for the cold winter months, but farmers say they shear in winter to get heavier lambs and better wool.

However, many urban people see shorn sheep in the winter and are sure they must be feeling the cold.

Shearers have been working at David and Helen Worsfold’s farm near Kiwitea, in Manawatu. He said 700 of his ewes were being shorn with a “cover comb”. . .

Beekeepers Assn turns 100:

The National Beekeepers Association is 100 this year. And the centenary is being celebrated at the association’s annual conference in Ashburton this week.

The national president, Barry Foster, says the industry has had its ups and downs since regional groups of beekeepers formed the national body in 1913. . .

Farmer uses IRB to save stock – Thomas Mead:

A Dunedin farmer was forced to mount an aquatic rescue mission this afternoon to save a herd of cows stuck on his flooded farm.

In a change from the normal four-wheel-drive, farmer Chris Ryalls used an inflatable rescue boat to move around 20 heifers and their calves away from the deep water.

The nearby Taieri River hit record levels following torrential downpours in the region and left much of his Outram farm submerged. . .

Allan Scott Pinot Noir – The Perfect Dinner Guest This Winter

The table is set, the logs are on the fire and delicious, rustic aromas fill the air – so complete the scene and take your annual seasonal soirée to the next level with Allan Scott Pinot Noir, the ultimate dinner guest!

Boasting rich Marlborough dark cherry and raspberry notes with hints of wild herbs, Allan Scott The Hounds Marlborough Pinot Noir 2011 offers a soft and well balanced palate with subtle oak influences – the perfect indulgence for elegant winter dining. . .

 


Rural round-up

May 30, 2013

Dairy development helping environment - Gerald Piddock:

A controversial dairying development near Omarama is leading the way with its environmental practices.

It is still early days but the structure, fertility, health and depth of Little Ben dairy farm’s soil has significantly improved over the past three years.

Farmers saw the progress the farm had made at a field day last week.

The 470ha farm operates as a partnership between Richard Gloag and Merv McCabe. . . .

PGG Wrightson managing director to step down in August – Tina Morrison:

PGG Wrightson managing director George Gould will step down from New Zealand’s biggest rural technology and services firm after helping refocus the company.

Mr Gould previously headed Pyne Gould Guinness and was appointed to the top job at the larger company in February 2011 to help stabilise it as it exited non-core activities.

He will leave on August 31, the Christchurch-based company says in a statement today. . .

Merino man shakes up primary industries -

In 1995, John Brakenridge had an acute case of ‘new guy’. 

He’d been hired by the board of Canterbury-based wool marketer New Zealand Merino to breathe fresh air into a stale sector.

But the high country heartlanders were wary.

‘Which part of the South Island are you from?’ they asked the bloke who grew up in Auckland. ‘You look a bit young, don’t you?’ they said to the 34-year-old. ‘How long have you been in the wool industry?’ It was his first day.

Although he had a track record in the primary sector, serving as marketing manager for produce company Cedenco Foods in the late 1980s and partnering with the New Zealand Dairy Board in the Middle East, he was unmistakably a wool industry outsider.  . .

So close on second go - Jill Galloway:

Cam Brown says he will always be known as the guy who was second in the grand final of the Young Farmer Contest.

He was one of seven regional winners who won a place in the final. He was the winner of the Manawatu-Taranaki final.

Brown is competitive. He likes to do everything correctly and win.

“I lost by five points. I thought afterwards about places I could have made up those points. But I knew I’d given it my best shot in the contest.” . . .

Westland Milk Products Predicts Lifts Payout Prediction for 2013-14:

Westland Milk Products has announced a pay-out prediction for the 2013-14 season of $6.60 to $7 per kilo of milk solids (kgMS), an increase of 60 to 70 cents on the current season, with an opening advance (payable 20 September) of $4.80 per kgMS for all milk collected from 1 August 2013.

The Hokitika-based dairy cooperative also confirmed the forecast pay-out for this season of $6 to $6.30 per kgMS excluding retentions. The advance rate payable 20 June 2013 has been approved at $5.20 per kgMS.

Chief Executive Rod Quin says the forward view for the dairy market is relatively strong, even with the recent decline from the highs of six weeks ago. The strong outlook is being driven by ongoing firm demand and the expected shortfall of milk supply from key exporting markets. . .

Dairy farmers welcome some good news at last:

After a harsh drought and massive feed costs, dairy farmers needed good news and Fonterra Cooperative Group may have just delivered it.

“The forecast farmgate milk price of $7 per kilogram of milksolids (kg/MS) for 2013/14 is going to get a lot of attention,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson.

“Boy oh boy did we need some morale raising good news. In plain-English, it means that farmers could get about 0.58 cents per litre for milk they will produce between June and May 2014.

“While a $7 kg/MS milkprice forecast sounds amazing, the public deserve to know this is forecast revenue and revenue is not profit. To get to profit, you need to take off the farm’s working expenses, tax obligations and pay back the bank manager; a big expense being right there. . .

Aggressive forecast Farmgate Milk Price, advance welcomed by Farmers:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown, said it was encouraging for Farmers to see Fonterra take an aggressive stance in its Milk Price forecasting for next season.

The Fonterra Board of Directors today announced an opening Farmgate Milk Price forecast of $7.00 per kg/MS for the 2013/14 season, including a $5.00 advance.

Ian Brown: “This is great news for our Farmer Shareholders and reinforces the good position our Co-operative is in.

“Having a strong forecast Milk Price and advance puts Farmers in a healthier position and provides them greater flexibility in running their farms. . .

Great food starts with great soil:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients is showcasing the connection between great soil and premium produce, with quality producers of beef, vegetables, apples and wine featuring at their Fieldays site this year.

Ballance General Manager Sales, Andrew Reid, explains that soil is an integral part of the success of our farmers.

“In fact the whole New Zealand economy starts with those three inches of topsoil which support our rural production sector,” says Mr Reid.

Mr Reid says that premium producers have one thing in common – respect for the soil and the ability to work with it. . . .


Rural round-up

May 12, 2013

Export prices for lambs improving – Alan Williams:

Export market prices for lamb are improving but an early return to a $100 lamb is a question of all the planets aligning, Alliance Group general manager of marketing Murray Brown says.

“You’d be wanting a bit of exchange rate improving as well, but it’s not out of line,’’ Brown said.

If it happened, a big reduction in lamb numbers next season would be one reason, he said.

The signs were positive for the winter market and heading into next Christmas but some caution was still needed in forecasting prices. . .

Farmers may be able to invest in water storage project:

Central Hawke’s Bay farmers who tap into the proposed Ruataniwha water storage scheme may get the opportunity to invest in it too.

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is asking the Government to recognise the scheme as a project of national significance.

The council and its investment company have made applications to the Environmental Protection Authority seeking resource consents and a regional plan change required for the project, which would supply water to about 25,000 hectares of land from a dam on a tributary of the Tukituki River. . .

Dairy Farms staff and the shocking state of employee turnover – Milking on the Moove:

Well, gidday. Glen Herud here again and I am going to carry on talking about dairy farm staff. Last time I said that only a small percentage of New Zealand population are prepared to work on a dairy farm simply because of the long hours involved.

Today I want to talk about a report that was released by Dairy NZ in 2009 I think, called “Farming Smarter Not Harder.” They had some interesting figures.

  • They said that 50% of staff had been in their current job less than one year.  
  • The average length of service, so that’s the average time people stay with an employer was less than one year. 
  • 1/3 of dairy staff leave the industry every year. . .

Early start for lambing - Jill Galloway:

There are about 50 early lambs gambolling around a Kiwitea farm in Manawatu.

They are cute now, but they’ll be gracing dinner plates in Britain for Christmas, owners Jill Martin and Nigel Lintott say.

They had planned to have early lambs at two of their three properties.

“This breed are Dorset ewes, so they can have early lambs,” Lintott said.

$11m for Wagyu project - Marie Taylor:

The government has stumped up with $11 million for a project to produce high-value, marbled beef for premium markets in New Zealand and offshore.

What will the country get for its money and what does the project mean?

Hastings-based Firstlight Foods managing director Gerard Hickey is a key part of the Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) project.

The seven-year PGP is worth $23.7 million and Hickey describes it as an investment to create a new category of NZ beef. . .

Fight to be the top dog – Ian Allen:

New South Island sheep dog champion Steve Kerr plans to celebrate this week’s success by getting his dog a bitch on the way home.

Mr Kerr, of Fairlie, said he was stopping near Christchurch to breed his winning huntaway, Dodge.

Mr Kerr and Dodge took out the straight huntaway title at the South Island Championships in Blenheim yesterday.

After four days of competition, only .25 points separated Mr Kerr and runner up Kerry Kilmister, of Tinui, and his dog Pulse.

Mr Kerr said it had been a hard week and it was time to celebrate.

The top of the hill got a little bit tricky but Dodge did a great job, he said. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

May 9, 2013

Conservation farming at work in NZ:

“Seek the power of narrative” was the parting plea of world-renowned American Landscape Architect, Thomas Woltz, when he recently spoke at the 50th International Federation of Landscape Architects World Congress in Auckland.

Woltz – principle of the esteemed Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, with offices in Manhattan, Virginia and California, and clients spanning nine nations – is no stranger to New Zealand farming, having worked on and off in the rural realm here for over a decade.

Most famously, it is Woltz’s ongoing, 11-year work at the 607ha Young Nick’s Head Station on coastal Hawkes Bay that is his firm’s Kiwi showcase and, as his inspirational talk demonstrated, it’s not hard to see why. . .

What is drought?:

What is a drought? The traditional sense is defined by a “long period of abnormally low rainfall,” but the amount of rainfall, or even irrigation, is arguably less than half the bigger picture; the remainder is capturing and retaining moisture in the soil.

A field not far from Cambridge is a good place to start. In the heart of one of the worst droughts in living memory, there grows plentiful pasture in a paddock surrounded by brown, crisp and short feed.

Father and daughter team, John and Janie Taylor, run this family sheep and beef farm in the heart of the Waikato. Three years ago, they found themselves disillusioned with the mainstream fertiliser approach and began to learn more about soil nutrition.

“We thought that’s got to be the approach we’ve got to take, in terms of feeding the plants to feed the animals, and get a better result around our animal fertility, lambing percentages and all the rest,” says Janie. . .

Life is sweet for organic farmer:

On the edge of Hororata township at the inland edge of the Canterbury Plains Kelvin Hicks grows some of the sweetest carrots around.

They are big, organically grown and in nice straight rows.

At 120ha, plus another 80ha leased, Willowmere, the Hicks’ certified organic, mixed livestock-cropping farm is one of the larger units of its type in the country.

Recently Kelvin collected the Harvest Award in the Ballance Farm Environment Awards for Canterbury where the judges said:

“You have proven the business’s sustainability: yours is an enduring business, your products are highly specialised, you are successfully working through succession arrangements and the business is well positioned to take future opportunities as they presents.” . . .

Students get dirt under their fingers - Jill Galloway:

Riding a quad bike, fencing, operating a chainsaw and dealing with animal health are just some of the things students of a UCOL and Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre course learn.

It is all about preparing students for life on a farm and they have to have skills in a number of rural fields.

Cam Nossiter works on a dairy farm in Marton fulltime, and uses his two days off a week for the practical learning associated with the general farm skills programme.

“It’s good for my CV. I’ve learnt a few new skills, and honed a few.”

Some people want the certificate, to show they completed the course.  . . .

DairyNZ welcomes strategy for animal welfare:

Industry body DairyNZ is welcoming the New Zealand Animal Welfare Strategy released by the Minister of Primary Industries, Nathan Guy.

DairyNZ’s Strategy and Investment Leader for Sustainability Dr Rick Pridmore, says New Zealand’s dairy farmers take animal welfare matters seriously and it is useful to have an overarching strategic framework for guiding how the country approaches the care of animals.

“Animal welfare is one of the dairy industry’s 10 objectives in the newly refreshed Strategy for Sustainable Dairy Farming. We’re committed to farming to high standards of animal health, welfare and well-being. As the Minister points out, New Zealand has a world-leading reputation for animal welfare and we need to recognise and protect that as it is a vital part of continuing our success as an export industry,” he says. . .

McDonald’s removes the lamb from Lambton:

While Federated Farmers is saddened it understands why McDonald’s has removed lamb as a permanent item from its local menu. Federated Farmers still has big hopes this breakthrough will eventually appear in other markets where lamb is widely consumed.

“McDonald’s may have removed the lamb from Lambton, but to us, the decision is more a speed hump,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre spokesperson.

“China has become our largest lamb market by volume and if we look to India, where free trade negotiations are underway, it has a 300-million strong middle class fast developing a taste for meat. .

“It looks promising if we put these together with the substantial intellectual property McDonald’s New Zealand has for how lamb works within the McDonald’s system. In ANZCO’s Taranaki plant it has the means of production while our farms provide the raw ingredients and an impressive back story. . .


Rural round-up

April 17, 2013

Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO smoothing the way for TPP in Mexico:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, Dr Scott Champion is in Mexico to talk with Mexican sheep and beef industry interests about the opportunities that will occur when the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is agreed.

Dr Champion is meeting a range of Mexican sheep and beef farmers and representatives from their processing and retail sector to assure them that while he expects that there will be opportunities for New Zealand beef in the Mexican market, the TPP will provide expanded market access for all.

“We want to dispel any myths that New Zealand will swamp the Mexican market with beef. The amount of beef we produce is limited by the land available and production here has been more or less steady over the past 10 years. TPP will not change that,” he said. . .

Finalists Line Up In 2013 Dairy Awards:

The finalists lining up in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are evidence of the huge opportunities and varying pathways available to progress in the dairy industry.

The 34 finalists in the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions are now all known after the completion of 12 regional award programmes last week.

“The finalists have a range of backgrounds and experience in the industry, but are all working hard and achieving great results in their various positions. This is helping them to progress their career and grow their equity to take the next step in the dairy industry,” national convenor Chris Keeping says. . .

Just add water for more food - Jill Galloway:

Availability and access to water resources are the keys to increasing global food production and for New Zealand this means more irrigation is needed, says infrastructure company GHD.

It has appointed Palmerston North-based Robert Sinclair as its food and agriculture business leader, because it sees irrigation as important for promoting growth.

GHD is a global engineering consultancy company with 7000 employees working in the areas of water, energy and resources, environment, property and buildings, transportation and food and agriculture. GHD has 16 staff in its Palmerston North office. . .

Farmer’s gift to land that united family - Jon Morgan:

Tom Hartree is a vigorous 78 and has no intention of being culled for dog tucker anytime soon. But he knows what he wants to happen when his time comes.

He wants his ashes to be mixed with those of his dearly missed wife Dora and scattered in a grove of 45-metres-tall redwoods.

He and Dora planted the redwoods in 1969, in the bottom of a deep gorge carving through Te Motu, one of three farms he and son Greg and his wife Rachael farm at Dartmoor and Patoka in the hills west of Napier. . .

Ngai Tahu sees future in farming – Alan Wood:

South Island iwi Ngai Tahu is partnering with Lincoln University to help get young Maori further involved in dairy and agricultural development in Canterbury.

Today Ngai Tahu Property, Lincoln University and Te Tapuae o Rehua signed a memorandum of understanding on an initiative focused on supporting more local Maori into agriculture.

The memorandum marks the beginning of a project known as “Whenua Kura”, Ngai Tahu says.

The project follows on from dairy development work already started by the tribe. The commercial arm of the iwi, known as Ngai Tahu Holdings Corp, has a number of pilot dairy farms in Canterbury. . .

Big turnout predicted for meat industry meeting -

Farmer feedback points to a big turnout of farmers tomorrow for the Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) meeting in Christchurch, says Blair Gallagher, the local organising chairman.

“We even have farmers coming down from the North Island to attend this meeting,” he says.

A committed group of Canterbury farmers has been working hard to ensure the success of this meeting, as their future relies on a nationwide mandate of farmer support so as to move forward as one united farmer group, Gallagher says.

MIE chairman Richard Young will present a five point strategy plan at the meeting, which he believes will give farmers some direction on how to move forward if a NZ wide farmer mandate is achieved. . .

Sheep, beef leaders focus on environment:

Twenty-five sheep and beef farming leaders will attend the first Beef and Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Environmental Leadership Forum in Wellington next week.

 The B+LNZ-funded forum will be delivered by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust. It is based on the trust’s successful programme for dairy farming leaders run in partnership with DairyNZ.

B+LNZ chief executive officer, Dr Scott Champion says it will equip the farmers with some of the skills they need to engage with regional councils and take on leadership roles within their communities. . .


Rural round-up

April 16, 2013

Genuine NZ infant formula labelling critical issue for New Zealand:

The New Zealand Infant Formula Exporters Association (NZIFEA) is attending the Mother and Baby Expo in Beijing in April to demonstrate measures to protect brand New Zealand from false labelling of product on sale overseas.

The Chairman of the NZIFEA, Michael Barnett, says guaranteeing New Zealand quality is essential, “the Chinese and other international countries need to know the New Zealand labelled infant formula product is genuine and is backed by our quality and regulations. The health consequences and the damage to New Zealand from not having accredited brands and genuine labelling could be severe. The infant formula industry is worth millions and the impact of harmful fake New Zealand dairy product anywhere would be devastating,” said Michael Barnett. . .

Tarras Water Project one step closer:

The developers of the Tarras water project have come a step closer to giving the scheme the ‘green light’ following a hugely supportive shareholders’ meeting.

The six resolutions that will enable Tarras Water Limited to issue its upcoming prospectus were voted on and overwhelmingly approved by 95% of shareholders and proxies attending the Special General Meeting on Friday evening at the Tarras Community Hall.

The company now intends to issue a prospectus within the next week.

Tarras Water Ltd chairman Peter Jolly said it was “an absolute thrill” to have such a strong endorsement from shareholders, who were now looking forward to a positive future for their community. . .

Cut in costs more time – Jill Galloway:

Once-a-day-milking is a viable option that more dairy farmers should consider, says a Massey University emeritus professor.

Colin Holmes says it cuts milking costs and allows more farm and family time.

“The majority [of farmers] won’t do it. They feel that performance will suffer and, as a result, profitability.”

He says some farmers have a lot of debt and even a small loss of milk production might make it unmanageable.

Holmes was a guest speaker at a once-a-day milking seminar at Christine Finnigan’s Glen Oroua farm. . .

Beekeeper expects overseas disorder to come to NZ:

Beekeepers are being asked to watch out for any unusual bee activity or pest outbreaks in New Zealand, amid concerns over a disorder that is devastating bee populations in the northern hemisphere.

Plant and Food Research says the symptoms of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) are similar to those suffered during one of the current threats to New Zealand bee populations, the varroa mite. . .

Fonterra Looks To Strengthen Its Organics Business

Fonterra is renewing contracts for some of its organic dairy farmers in the middle and lower North Island, following a turnaround in its niche organics business.

Managing Director Fonterra Nutrition, Sarah Kennedy, said the Co-operative has worked hard over the past 18 months to return its organics business to profitability.

“18 months ago we were losing money so we restructured the business to focus on markets in Asia, while also reducing our costs to ensure ongoing profitability.

“We reduced transport costs by concentrating organic milk supply in the central and lower North Island. . .

QTech technology helps irrigators comply with tightening water regulations:

 Telemetry and water management specialist, QTech Data Systems, has created and launched a sophisticated Aqua Flow Management System (AFM) that enables water consent holders to remotely monitor, better manage and report their water usage data directly to their regional council.

Under New Zealand’s National Regulations of Water Use Measurement and Reporting, all 20,000 water consent holders in New Zealand must install both a water measuring and data reporting system*. And by law the onus is on every one of them to provide their water usage data to their regional council in the required format. If they fail to comply with these measures councils will either charge to collect the data in person, or present the consent holder with an abatement order. . . 

Contaminated input suspended by organic certifier:

 

Citrox BioAlexin was suspended as an approved input for organic production by organic certifier BioGro three weeks ago when some batches were found to be contaminated with low levels of didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride (DDAC). While some countries allow DDAC below minimum residue levels, and it is not considered a risk to human health, BioGro’s organic standards do not allow it.

A small number of organic kiwifruit growers had been using Citrox BioAlexin as an elicitor to help vines cope with the bacterial disease Psa-V. . .

 

NZFarmer launch creates integrated home for farming news:

Following the integration of Rural Press into Fairfax Media New Zealand, digital rural content has been rebranded NZFarmer, with the launch today of a powerful digital farming destination www.nzfarmer.co.nz (housed within Stuff.co.nz) and the new look farming sections in all regional Fairfax newspapers.

This digital home complements the already extensive rural publishing of Fairfax Media in New Zealand, which reaches 88.8% of the farming community via specialist publications and farming sections within our daily newspapers. The team of 20 rural editorial specialists will work together to create content for all publications, under the direction of Tim Cronshaw, Head of Rural Content.

The new structure offers advertisers a highly integrated solution for multimedia campaigns targeting Fairfax Media’s farming audience. Advertisers will also be able to target specific farming sectors thanks to dedicated coverage of key farming sectors and issues. . .


Rural round-up

April 3, 2013

Planning: our rural romance mustn’t stop us building homes:

This evening many of us may find escape by watching the first of 42 hours of the BBC’s chronicle of 100 years of rural life, The Village, set in the lushly dramatic countryside of Edale and Hayfield in the Peak District.

A few of us – 165,095, in England and Wales, to be precise – might be doing so in the comfort of a second home, deep in the heart of Cornwall, perhaps, facing rolling green fields with not another dwelling in sight.

Yet, whatever the romantic view of our green and pleasant land, in fact and fiction, in our towns and cities, an all too real crisis of space and homes is already upon us.

As rents rise, mortgages are elusive and home ownership for increasing numbers of young people becomes a distant dream, the refusal to concede so much as an inch of greenfield terrain by organisations such as the National Trust appears less and less reasonable. . .

Focus on rural crime – Jill Galloway:

In a first, crime prevention advocate Crimestoppers is launching a campaign aimed at giving rural communities greater confidence to speak up about suspicious or criminal activity.

It is called “Shut the gate on rural crime”, and is supported by New Zealand rural insurer FMG and New Zealand Post.

Chief executive of Crimestoppers Jude Mannion said there were about 50 calls a day from all around New Zealand – urban and rural areas.

“Things like stock theft are now more professional and organised than they were. And in rural areas there are fewer people and that brings a problem of isolation.” . .

City docs ‘go rural’:

HEALTH Minister Lawrence Springborg’s plan to turn Beaudesert Hospital into a training facility for rural doctors has been given a positive prognosis from young city GPs keen on taking their much-needed medical skills bush.

The urban based doctors were recently at the South East Queensland medical facility for a ‘Go Rural Queensland – a day in the life of a rural doctor’ workshop run by Health Workforce Queensland.

While Beaudesert might only be a one-hour’s drive from Brisbane, the town’s medical services still operate in a rural context that would appear foreign to how services are delivered in the city, according to Health Workforce Queensland CEO Chris Mitchell. . .

Feed dispenser takes top award – Gerald Piddock:

A dispenser that provides dairy cattle with a daily dose of mineral supplements has taken top honours at the South Island Field Days innovation awards.

Called the Conedose, the machine dispenses molasses mixed with mineral supplements to cattle in the dairy shed.

It was designed by Southland-based company Winton Stock Feed and won the class one New Zealand-made farm machinery award at the South Island Field Days at Lincoln.

The Conedose dispensed non-soluble minerals, which other feeders could not do, Winton Stock Feed operations manager Paul Jackson said. . .

Mesh covers could beat TPP – Gerald Piddock:

A simple mesh cover could be the answer to halting one of the country’s most devastating tomato and potato pests.

The covers are being trialled at the Lincoln University Future Farming Centre to see if they stop the tomato potato psyllid (TPP) from invading the plants.

The results so far look extremely promising despite the trials being in their first season, centre head Charles Merfield says. . .

Beef, Lamb & Chelsea: A Recipe For Success:

In an exciting new partnership, Beef + Lamb New Zealand has today announced a partnership with Chelsea Winter, winner of Master Chef New Zealand 2012.

Winter’s recipes will be gracing butchery shelves and supermarket in abundance from this month.

Winter is joining the team as the face of mEAT magazine, Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s free, quarterly guide to beef and lamb.

“This is a really exciting partnership and we have had so much fun developing fresh new recipes to complement the new-look mEAT magazine, which I am sure readers are going to love,” says Winter. . .

Richie Mccaw Visits Fonterra’s Sri Lanka Operations:

Fonterra’s global ambassador Richie McCaw has gained an up-close view of Fonterra in Sri Lanka last week during a two day tour of the Co-operative’s operations in the country.

McCaw said it was great to see first hand how Fonterra was growing its business in the region.

“It’s my first time in Sri Lanka and it made me realise how big Fonterra and Anchor are in the region. You drive through Colombo and see Anchor signs everywhere – it’s amazing that Sri Lankan kids are drinking the same milk that I grew up on in Canterbury.

“You sometimes forget that Fonterra’s got such a global reach. The kids and farmers that I met during the trip all told me that Fonterra and Anchor are a big part of their lives – not only because of the products Fonterra supplies but because the Co-op has become part of the community over the last 35 years,” said McCaw. . .

From here via Campaign for Wool we have tartan sheep:

One of our favourite April Fools Day hoaxes has to be the Tartan Sheep: The London Times ran a photo of "tartan sheep" said to have been bred by Grant Bell of West Barns, East Lothian. However, the Times warned, "Before you complain of being fleeced, check out the baa-code for today's date." http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/af_database/permalink/tartan_sheep


Rural round-up

November 11, 2012

Cheesemaker wins $35,000 scholarship:

Marlborough Sounds woman Lisa Harper has been awarded a Nuffield New Zealand Scholarships for 2013.

She is one of five people throughout the country to be awarded the $35,000 study grant.

The others include Meridian Energy national agribusiness manager Natasha King, from Christchurch, a daughter of Blenheim-based Kaikoura MP Colin King.

The others are Dairy NZ regional leader Tafadzwa Manjala, from Whangarei, ANZ rural banker Sophie Stanley, from Hamilton, and Northern Southland farmer and retailer Stephen Wilkins, from Athol.

The Nuffield NZ Scholarship offers the opportunity for overseas travel and study.

Dr Harper, 37, who lives on Mahau Sound, is described as a rural entrepreneur.

She was the 2011 winner of the Rural Women Enterprising Woman Award and a finalist in the 2009 Cuisine Artisan Food Awards. She has a Masters in Business Management from Massey University, a PhD in plant pathology from Lincoln University and a science degree from Victoria University.  . .

Chinese market gardens in NZ – Jill Galloway:

During their heyday in the 1970s, there were 600 Chinese market gardeners in New Zealand, but now there are only 157.

Many young people watched their parents work hard in the market gardens and they became lawyers and doctors, choosing not to work like their parents, said the chief executive of the Dominion Federation of New Zealand Chinese Commercial Growers, Howe Young.

He was one of the speakers at the Palmerston North launch of two books last week: Sons of the Soil and Success Through Adversity.

Sons of the Soil covers the history of Chinese market gardening through the personal stories of more than 100 ordinary people from market gardening communities around the country. . .

Award recognises wine tourism ventures – Kat Pickford::

Marlborough wineries Spy Valley Wines and Yealands Estate Wines have been named as two of the best South Island wine tourism ventures in the Best of Wine Tourism Awards.

Yealands Estate won the award for sustainable wine tourism and Spy Valley won the award for architecture and landscapes.

Run by the Great Wine Capitals Global Network, the annual awards recognise outstanding wine tourism businesses in the South Island. The network is a group of wine regions from around the world which aims to promote wine tourism, education and business exchange. . .

Why punish NZ’s over achievers - Bruce Wills:

The supreme irony of the UK Daily Mail’s headline, “Buy New Zealand lamb to save the planet,” is that it took a British newspaper to make mainstream media here, realise that our farms are pretty darn good. Another irony is that this is old news to Dr Jan Wright, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Speaking recently onTV3′s The Nation, Dr Wright helped to balance a myth farmers are exempt from the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). When she was asked about agriculture, the host, Rachel Smalley, appeared surprised by the response. “New Zealand is in an interesting position because half of our greenhouse gas emissions are from agriculture, which is unusual among developed countries, but I am actually less concerned about agriculture than I am than these heavy industrial emitters and that’s because the agricultural gases are different. It is difficult and there are challenges there…I say agriculture should come in but I don’t have the same problem being generous to it…”

Where Dr Wright and Federated Farmers diverge is the entry point for agriculture. But even she recognises that agriculture is not complacently sitting on its haunches.

Like mums and dads everywhere, farmers pay the ETS. Every time we fill up the tractor or turn on electric pumps, we pay. This also finds its way into the cost of a vet’s visit through to the price of number eight wire. The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment also knows that when my ewe ‘Jackson’ gave birth to quintuplets, nicknamed, the ‘Jackson Five,’ it was an efficiency that is a global good. . .

And from Facebook:

Colin King, past champion shearer, current MP, in action for a charity fundraiser:

@[100002906361883:2048:Colin King] half way done shearing shrek 2

The merino wether had three years’ wool and the fleece weighted 13.5kg. All funds raised went to the Nelson, Marlborough Helicopter Trust.


Rural round-up

October 31, 2012

Customers attack Sainsbury’s for ditching Red Tractor – Alistair Driver:

SAINSBURY’S has come under fire on its own website over its decision to drop the Red Tractor logo from the food it sells.

Customers have branded the decision a ‘disgrace’ and some are threatening to stop shopping at Sainsbury’s stores until the logo is reinstated. The move has also been attacked by TV presenter Jimmy Doherty, who described it as ‘an odd thing to do’.

The UK’s third biggest retailer announced it was ditching the Red Tractor logo last week, blaming concerns that consumers were becoming confused about the number of labels on food packaging. It is planning to phase the logo out across its products lines, beginning with fresh meat. . .

CAP reform must not overshadow collaboration on family-owned farms -  Tom Levitt:

SMALLER family farms need better access to rural development funds to enable them to break free of subsidy dependence, a meeting of the Family Farmers Association (FFA) in Westminster heard last week.

NFU vice-president Adam Quinney, whose wife now runs the family farm near Redditch, West Midlands, told the audience that CAP funding was still inaccessible and unfavourable to smaller farm enterprises.

He was especially scathing of rural development funding, split between environmental schemes, modernising the farming sector and helping the rural economy. He said it had been largely ‘wasted’. . .

Times change for big show – Jill Galloway:

A & P shows used to be the the highlight of the social calendar for many people. They were the event of the year and there were public holidays, so people had time off to go to the show.

Now there are just two which have statutory holidays – Hawke’s Bay and Canterbury celebrate their anniversary days the weekend of their shows.

“Twenty years ago, it was about the promotion and sale of livestock,” says Manawatu and West Coast A & P president Lawrence Satherley. Now, Manawatu Showtime, being held at Manfeild Park this weekend, is competing against the Tour de Manawatu bicycle race, the Feilding horse races at Awapuni and the stock cars in Palmerston North. . .

Farm Environment Trust Leader Bows Out After Constructive Tenure:

North Waikato farmer Jim Cotman has stood down from his role as chairperson of the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust after a very successful six years at the helm.

Since the Trust was established, its flagship event, the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, has gone from strength to strength and is now regarded as one of New Zealand’s premier farming awards. The Trust has also developed a range of other initiatives designed to promote environmental sustainability in New Zealand agriculture.

Mr Cotman says the Trust has played a key role in showcasing sustainable farming practices. . .

What NZ agriculture can learn from the i-Phone -  Milking on the Moove:

. . . New Zealand’s agricultural sector could do well to study Apples business model and supply chain design. I’m really struggling to think of a major NZ agribusiness that even attempts a vertical supply chain.

Fonterra is New Zealand’s economic saviour, but Fonterra is a commodity supplier. It is equivalent to a Korean company that supplies a component to Apples iPad or iPhone and receives less than 7% of the final retail price.
The red meat sector is in the same, farmers are relegated down the value chain and as a result receive only a small fraction of the retail price.
Australian dairy farmers are at the mercy of the supermarkets because they don’t control their supply chain. The same is true for our UK dairy farming friends too. . .

Standards met through pond course:

Over 100 contractors and designers of farm dairy effluent (FDE) ponds are the first to complete a training course aligned with new industry standards.

The Farm Dairy Effluent Pond Training Course was established by DairyNZ in conjunction with InfraTrain New Zealand and Opus International Consultants (Opus).

The course is based on Practice Note 21: Design and Construction of FDE Ponds, released by the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) at the end of last year. . .

Australia on top in new Trans-Tasman series opener:

New Zealand has suffered a double defeat in the machine shearing and woolhandling tests against Australia in Warnambool, near Melbourne.

The Shearing Sports New Zealand team did however derive some success, with a victory to its two blades shearers denying Australia a clean sweep of the three matches at Saturday’s Romney Shears, which also incorporated the Australian national championships. . .

Public Consultation Begins On Proposed Agricultural Vehicle Rule Changes

The NZ Transport Agency is seeking public feedback proposed changes to agricultural transport law.

The proposed changes would establish a two-tier system for agricultural vehicles, based on a 40km/h operating speed. Vehicles operating below this speed will be exempt from warrant of fitness and work time requirements. The proposed changes aim to reduce compliance costs and provide greater operational flexibility for vehicle owners, without comprising safety. . .


Rural round-up

October 14, 2012

Alarm as PSA confirmed in the Bay – Patrick O’Sullivan:

Hawke’s Bay kiwifruit orchardists are on heightened alert after an outbreak of the devastating vine-killing disease Psa-V in an orchard near Taradale.

A positive test result was confirmed yesterday and industry organisation Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) has established a controlled area that includes 43 kiwifruit orchards in the Hawke’s Bay region. . .

New Zealand Pinot Noirs Triumph at Major International Competition:

New Zealand Pinot Noir shone at this year’s International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC). Over half of the country’s Gold Medals were awarded to wines made from the variety, while the Valli Gibbston Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 beat all other Pinot Noirs entered from around the world to win the Competition’s coveted Bouchard Finlayson Pinot Noir Trophy. . .

Further success for Gibbston Valley Winery in their 25th year of winegrowing

A Central Otago Winery is celebrating as it received results overnight from the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London (IWSC).

The IWSC has awarded Gibbston Valley Winery a Gold Medal for its 2010 Gibbston Valley Pinot Noir. This was one of only 12 Gold Medals awarded to New Zealand wines across all varieties, and one of five Pinot Noirs. . .

Eye-opening visit to Canada – Jill Galloway:

Peter Fitz-Herbert has just been absent from his farm at Hunterville, on a trip to British Columbia in Canada, to talk beef cattle.

He won the Beef and Lamb scholarship to the Five Nations Beef Alliance and the Young Ranchers programme.

Fitz-Herbert is stock manager on the family farm in Upper Pakihikura Rd, near Hunterville. He manages 2400 ewes and 220 breeding cattle on 600 hectares. . .

Industry Training for the Primary Industries:

Federated Farmers welcomes the new Primary Industry Training Organisation (Primary ITO), following the formal merger launch yesterday of the AgITO and Horticulture ITO. This follows July’s merger of the Seafood ITO and the NZITO (meat and dairy sectors).

“What we are seeing is the natural alignment of the primary industries training organisations ITO’s),” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers spokesperson on education and skills.

“So far this year, we have seen four related ITO’s announce intentions to become just two. This not only reduces duplication but provides a more seamless offer to trainees. . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Workshops to Kickstart the Conversation Around Farm Succession:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand is holding a series of workshops in Wairarapa and Hawke’s Bay to help farming families plan for the future.

A succession plan can help to avoid family rifts further down the track, ease the transition from one generation to the next, and ensure a fair go for all involved.

It’s a big issue for the sheep and beef sector. We’re told that more than 60 per cent of farm businesses are owned by over-60s – the majority of whom want to pass the family farm on to the kids. . .

Award-winning ‘super farm’ goes on the market for sale

One of the biggest dairy farms in the Bay of Plenty – and the recipient of an award for environmental best practice policies – has been placed on the market for sale.

“Lake Farm” near the townships of Matata and Kawerau encompasses some 373 hectares of land – milking 850 cows and producing 306,644 kilogram’s of milk solids over the 2011/12 season. This was forecast to grow to 320,000 kilogram’s of milk solids over the current year.

The farm is owned by former New Zealand Dairy Board deputy chairman Doug Bull, who also held senior roles at the Rangitaiki Plains Dairy Company and which became a part of the single merged Bay of Plenty dairy company known as Bay Milk Products. This year the farm won the environmental section of the Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Awards. . .


Rural round-up

September 15, 2012

NZ being denied role as leader in biotechnology: Rolleston – Gerald Piddock:

Timid political will is stopping New Zealand from becoming a global leader in biotechnology, according to farming leader-scientist Dr Williams Rolleston. 

    As scientists worked to feed billions more humans opportunities existed for the country to show leadership in biotechnology without causing environmental degradation. 

“By any measure New Zealand ought to be a leader. No, it should be the leader. The fact we are not comes back to a timid political will,” he told an international conference on agricultural biotechnology in Rotorua. . .

Savings vet’s carrot for pig vaccination - Shawn McAvinue:

A Southland vet wants to spread the cost of vaccinating pigs to stop the spread of a deadly disease in humans. 

    Vet South Gore veterinarian Anne Gelling said all the pigs in Southland should be vaccinated to protect humans from leptospirosis. 

    Leptospirosis spread when pigs’ urine came in contact with human skin, eyes or mucous membranes, Dr Gelling said. 

    People become ill after about three to 14 days later. . .

Time now right for farmers, processors to talk - Rob Tipa:

Southland farming leader Andrew Morrison believes the time is right for farmers to talk with their meat companies about Red Meat Sector Strategy initiatives and what appetite both parties have to make changes to future-proof their industry. 

Mr Morrison, who is Southland Federated Farmers’ meat and wool section chairman, said southern sheep farmers and meat companies had experienced two very tough seasons in a row. 

In September 2010, spring snowstorms caused heavy lamb losses in Southland, the Catlins and South Otago and last spring was wet and just as challenging with similar lambing percentages to the previous year of the storm. . .

Dairy union talks action over layoffs – Al Williams:

The New Zealand Dairy Workers Union is considering legal action against Fonterra after eight staff members at the Waimate milk processing plant were given marching orders on Monday. 

    It follows Fonterra’s acquisition of the former New Zealand Dairies operation last week. 

    New Zealand Dairies was placed in receivership in May owing a substantial amount to its supplier farmers. 

    New Zealand Dairy Workers Union southern organiser Murray Kerse said the union was looking at a case for discrimination. . .

Disasters on farms ‘different‘ – Jill Galloway:

Farmers have a different view when it comes to natural disasters, said chairwoman of the Rural Family Support Trust Margaret Millard. 

    She said that in times of floods or earthquakes, farmers were concerned about their family and staff, but also about their stock. 

    “If it floods, they want to shift stock to higher ground before they leave. 

    “Farmers often take a broader view, urban dwellers often take a very people perspective,” Millard said. 

    Rural support trusts are giving their backing to the upcoming Civil Defence “Shakeout” earthquake drill at 9.26am on September 26. . .

Biofuels NZ not ‘mismanaged’ - Gerald Piddock:

The global economic downturn and poor decisions around land use fuelled by the desire to expand quickly led to the failure of profitability for Biodiesel New Zealand, a former senior employee says.

David Geary, who worked as national field operations manager for Biodiesel New Zealand from 2007-2010, said the economic environment meant it was not the ideal time to be starting a biofuel business.

‘‘I think the economics of the fuel industry and the economic downturn worldwide had quite a major impact for a fledgling start-up business.’’  

However he said he was confident the biofuel industry in New Zealand would survive. . .

In search of Australia’s dairy sweetspot - Dr Jon Hauser & Neil Lane:

In the previous two articles I have written about the value of flat milk supply to processors and “the market”. The articles also showed how milk pricing mechanisms have been used to pull southeast Australian milk towards a flatter milk supply curve. In this third article of the series I’ll take a look at the topic from the farmer’s perspective – what are the cost / benefit implications for a farmer who chooses to flatten their milk supply.

To write this article I have enlisted the support of Neil Lane – a dairy farmer consultant and member of the Intelact farm advisory group (www.intelact.com). Neil’s clients include some of the more profitable and successful farmers in southeast Australia and he is well respected for his theoretical and practical understanding of dairy farm economics and management. . .


Rural round-up

June 13, 2012

Sustainability Helpful in mix no matter what style – Sally Rae:

Good farming in New Zealand should be celebrated – no matter what approach a farmer takes.

That is the message from Prof Henrik Moller from the Centre for Sustainability: Agriculture, Food, Energy, Environment at the University of Otago.

Prof Moller is part of the Agricultural Research Group on Sustainability (Argos), a joint venture between the AgriBusiness Group, Lincoln University and the University of Otago. . .

Hazelnuts’ potential discussed – Sally Rae:

Hazelnut growing could deliver returns exceeding those from dairy farming if growers could achieve the yields and orchard management cost efficiencies achieved in Chile, Oregon and Italy.

That is the message from Hazelnut Growers Association of New Zealand (HGANZ) chairman Murray Redpath, who was in Central Otago recently for the organisation’s annual meeting. . .

Meat season hits the wall – Allan Barber:

Settlement of the industrial dispute at AFFCO barely came in time to beat the passing of the season’s processing peak. Contrary to expectations that the supply of cattle, particularly cull dairy cows, would last until the end of June at least, the flow has virtually dried up.

After 34 weeks of the meat year which runs from 1 October to 30 September, slaughter volumes for all species are below both last season and the five year average.

While there are variations between islands and species, the only stock types which have a chance of exceeding last year’s national total are lamb and prime steer. If this occurs it will only be by the slimmest of margins.

Award winning young farmer hopes to inspire:

A  22-year-old self-employed dairy farmer hopes his success through winning a new Maori farming award will inspire other young, troubled Maori to follow their dreams.

Tangaroa Walker, who has strong cultural links in Tauranga district (Ngati Ranginui/ Ngati Pukenga/ Pirirakau), won the Ahuwhenua Young Maori Trainee/Cadet award recently.
The award was created to encourage young Maori workers between 16 and 25 to move into leadership roles. . .
 
Italian tomato dumping has small impact on NZ market - Hannah Lynch:

June 11 (BusinessDesk) – The dumping of Italian processed tomatoes onto the New Zealand market has been found to have little impact, according to a Ministry of Economic Development report.

Heinz Watties Limited, which sells canned tomatoes under the Watties and Oak brands, made a complaint about dumping of Italian tomatoes with the ministry in July 2011. The report, “Dumping Investigation, Preserved Tomatoes Investigation” found that one, a producer called Conserve Italia Agricultural Cooperative Society, had dumped the products.

“There is evidence of an increase in the volume of dumped imports in absolute terms and in relation to production in New Zealand,” the report said. “There is evidence of only a slight increase in dumped import volumes relative to consumption in New Zealand.” . . .

Orchard joins FON programme:

A SECOND focus orchard has been established in Gisborne as part of the Zespri Focus Orchard Network (FON) programme.

Designed to bring growers the latest research information, the programme involves monitoring growing conditions in Gisborne and will help demonstrate how to produce the new varieties of kiwifruit.

Management of both orchards is geared toward improving productivity and a new financial system on the orchard will provide an analysis of orchard management decisions, says Zespri’s communication spokesperson, Rachel Lynch.

Search for ideal clover - Jill Galloway:

 

A plant breeder says finding the parent clovers of New Zealand’s white clover could lead to an to agricultural plant better adapted for farming.

 

AgResearch Grasslands Palmerston North clover specialist Warren Williams said it may enable them to better breed a drought-tolerant, low fertility and low temperature-growing white clover.

 

New Zealand white clover was a mainstay of agriculture and was worth more than $2 billion to farming each year, Dr Williams said.

 

“That was years ago, probably, with dairying expansion, it is close to $3b each year now.” . . . 


Country kindy back to basics environment

April 4, 2012

When we were in the Manawatu last month we passed a bright red corrugated iron building with a large sign proclaiming: Country Kindy.

Jill Galloway writes that it’s  all about giving children the chance to play and learn their own limits in the great outdoors.

“Why put kids behind high fences? Out here they can see the farmer walking his cows in for milking or they can see a storm rolling in. It is different childcare here. By wrapping children in cotton wool, they don’t learn much,” says Country Kindy’s Fiona Zwart, who insists on teaching a give-it-a-go philosophy at the centre.

You can find Country Kindy, on the corner of Milson Line and Te Arakura Rd, in a big red purpose-built barn between Feilding and Palmerston North.

Mrs Zwart and her husband Tom are owners of the private kindergarten, which is situated on 1 1/2 hectares. The building itself is 290 square metres, and the fenced playground 650sqm.

The remaining land consists of animal paddocks and the “farmyard”.

“Our aim was to create an environment that is back to basics,” Mrs Zwart says. “Kids learn how to handle a situation and know the consequences.” . . .

What a brilliant idea.

The rest of the story is worth reading in full. It tells more about the way Country Kindy teaches children rules and consequences, how to treat animals, fire safety and other life skills.

When our children were small there was a Playcentre in our district.

It was in an old house which community volunteers had done up and maintained.

When inspectors arrived from on high they weren’t impressed that it had only one loo plus a potty for emergencies.

That none of the parents present could ever remember a child having to use the potty didn’t sway them.

They were even less impressed by one of the mothers who added, “If there was a queue, they could always pop into the paddock next door, after all they’re all country kids.”


Rural round-up

March 4, 2012

Only a Lotto ticket away from a PhD - Jon Morgan:

One day while travelling, Trevor Cook and a friend were discussing what they would do if they won Lotto.

His friend said: “I’d leave work and travel the world playing golf on the best courses I could find. What would you do?” Mr Cook, a Feilding veterinarian and farming consultant, thought for a bit and replied: “I’d cut down on work and do a PhD.”

He lets out a gruff laugh. “You should have seen the look on his face. `You’re not joking, are you,’ he said. I wasn’t. If I had the financial freedom, that’s exactly what I would do.” . . .

Classrooms to cowsheds:

The students of four Taranaki schools are combining classroom study with on-the-job learning in a Primary Industry Trades Academy (PITA).

The year 11-13 students of Hawera and Opunake high schools and New Plymouth’s Spotswood and Francis Douglas Memorial colleges are undertaking the National Certificate in Agriculture Level 2, in tandem with NCEA study. They form two clusters and undertake study on Thursdays or Fridays.

Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre established the academy in Taranaki this year after operating it in other areas of the lower North Island last year. It wants to expand it to other Taranaki schools. . .

Kylee’s in search of perfection – Sue O’Dowd:

Young ayrshire cattle judge Kylee Perrett brings a pedigree of her own to her role.

The 22-year-old is the daughter of prominent Taranaki ayrshire breeders Ivan and Robyn Fredrickson, of Ngaere, in central Taranaki.

And she’s well on the way to establishing herself as a stock judge on the show circuit.

She’s a New Zealand Ayrshire Association junior judge and wants to become a senior judge as soon as she can. . .

Farmers praised on water quality - Jill Galloway:

Farmers should be congratulated for doing their bit to improve the quality of the Manawatu River, says water quality scientist Shirley Hayward.

She talked to about 20 dairy farmers at a field day last week to help dairy farmers improve their productivity while at the same time reducing their environmental footprint.

Ms Hayward said Niwa figures showed river quality had improved during the past 10 years. She said there were fewer pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphrous. . .

Farmers face new take on water – Ali Tocker:

Waikato Regional Council is currently planning how it will work with farmers required to apply for water take consents under the council’s new water allocation policy.

The policy, variation 6 to the council’s regional plan, was endorsed by the Environment Court late last year. The period for appeals has now passed, clearing the way for the council to begin implementing the policy.

The council’s resource use division manager Brent Sinclair said his team is now doing detailed planning to ensure farmers in different areas are aware of their responsibilities under variation 6. The council will also work with the agricultural sector to develop the most efficient way for farmers to meet those responsibilities. . .

NZ to see more of luxury meat – Tim Cronshaw:

Merino-branded meat will be rolled out to more Kiwi diners and luxury global markets in the next year.

A mix of high-priced racks and legs with unconventional cuts of lamb such as short ribs are under the new luxury brand of Silere Alpine Origin Merino.

The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) is developing the merino brand in a joint venture with the meat company Silver Fern Farms (SFF) and plans to build on merino wool’s clever marketing with more innovative twists. . .


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