Rural round-up

January 22, 2013

How will genetics feed the world?

As soon as the phrases “genetic improvement” and “new technology” are used in the same breath, the image that many laymen create is one of monsters and Frankenstein food, writes Chris Harris.

However, are the two really mutually exclusive or can they live together happily?

This year’s Oxford Farming Conference brought the questions on genetics, new technology, genetic modification and improvements in agriculture into sharp focus.

At a time when the global population is growing and growing largely in the underdeveloped and developing countries, the need to produce more food, more efficiently is unquestioned.

It is predicted that by 2050 the world’s population will need 100 per cent more food and according to the UN FAO 70 per cent of it must come from efficiency enhancing technology. . .

Government pushes banks to go rural but will it pay? – Swati Pandey and Rajendra Jadhav:

Working out of a tiny rented room furnished with a wooden table, small biometric authentication machine and shelf stacked with passbooks, Ganesh Dangi is a one-man bank for a village of 650 people in northwestern Rajasthan.

A business correspondent, or local representative, for State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ) in Ranchhodpura village, 40 km (25 miles) east of Udaipur, Dangi is racing to sign up villagers to new “no frills” plans to meet a government target that every family in the district should have a bank account.

New Delhi plans to directly transfer cash payments for subsidies into these accounts, a move aimed at tackling graft in India’s creaky, corruption-ridden public distribution system.

If successful, the initiative could also bring modern banking to the doorstep of rural India, a goal towards which progress has so far been fitful despite mandatory targets set by the government and Reserve Bank of India. . .

Shear determination keeps business going – Sally Rae:

Shearing was Dave Bateman’s life.

After decades spent shearing, Mr Bateman saw a need for affordable shearing gear and established Dave Bateman Shearing Supplies at his Milburn home.

But following his death in May 2011 following a short illness, his widow Rayna was faced with a decision- continue with the business or walk away.

She did not have a business background but, for her, the answer was simple: ”I just took over – I couldn’t see it go”. . .

Fair success with Dorset Downs – Sally Rae:

North Otago Dorset Down breeders John and Wendy Dodd had a successful trip to the recent Canterbury A and P Association’s stud ram fair.

Mr and Mrs Dodd sold the top-priced Dorset Down ram at the sale, at $6200, along with two other rams at $6000 and $5500. They also topped the averages across the various breeds offered at the two-day sale at $5900. . .

Agriculture scholarships target Maori:

Ten new scholarships each worth $10,000 have been made available for Maori tertiary students studying agriculture.

The Whanui grants have been created by the independent charitable trust, Te Putea Whakatupu – in partnership with the national organisation, the Federation of Maori Authorites. . .

Helping Dairy Women Hold Their Own When Buying And Selling Stock:

Helping women who work in the dairy industry understand the ins and outs of purchasing stock is the focus of a series of practical workshops being held across the North and South Islands in February and March.

The Dairy Women’s Network is hosting the workshops to equip first herd buyers, or those looking to get involved in purchasing stock for the first time, with the skills and knowledge to understand the process of buying and selling stock, step by step, to make an informed decision. . .

Cambridge Stud Parade Today:

With the 2013 Karaka Yearling Sales less than a week away, one of the first drafts to arrive at Karaka at the weekend was Sir Patrick and Lady Justine Hogan’s Cambridge Stud which is set to host its annual public parade tomorrow (Tuesday 22 January) at 1:30pm.

Having presented yearlings at the National Yearling Sales Series since the early 1980s, Cambridge Stud has dominated the leading vendor category by sale aggregate – racking up 31 straight years at the top in 2012. . . .


Rural round-up

August 22, 2012

Award for Omakau farmer :

Omakau farmer Jan Manson has been awarded the 2012 Rabobank business development award for her project to reposition her farming operation for future expansion.   

Mrs Manson received the award at the executive developmen programme graduation dinner, which celebrated the latest business management thinking in agriculture. . .

Sheep, beef sectors look at training – Sally Rae:

A steering group is investigating the possibility of    copying in the South Island the residential training farm model, following concerns about the low level of skilled, work-ready employees in the sheep and beef sector.   

Sarah Barr, of Kyeburn, is co-ordinating a feasibility      project, on behalf of the Central South Island Residential  Training Farm steering group, including conducting a survey  to ascertain if there is an issue and, if so, how it can best  be addressed. . .

Fonterra wraps up record End-Of-Season export quarter:

Fonterra’s record end-of-season quarter has been the Co-operative’s biggest ever May, June and July – with 620,000 metric tonnes of dairy products loaded on ships for export to over 100 markets around the world.

Fonterra NZ Milk Products Managing Director Gary Romano says the Co-operative has shipped 36 per cent more than the same period last year.

“The record milk production in the 2011/12 season has meant Fonterra has exported more product at the end-of-season than ever before. Our teams have done a great job collecting the milk, processing it, packing it, storing it, selling it and shipping it.

“If we were to lay the containers we have shipped this year end-to-end they would stretch from the top of the Bombay hills to Christchurch – which is around 1000 kilometres,” he says. . .

Financial treat for rural schools – Rebecca Ryan:

Five Forks Primary and Omarama School received a financial surprise, thanks to their local farmers.

More than 200 rural schools throughout New Zealand received much-needed money for resources such as books and sports equipment.

Five Forks Primary and Omarama School received some of the more than $4300 distributed to schools from the Hatuma Growing Minds Fund.

Hatuma marketing and sales Aaron Topp said the fund was well received by rural schools.

More than $15,000 has been distributed to rural schools in the past three years. . .

US boot camp tune-up:

A WEEK of high-powered brainstorming was expected to heighten ideas of collaboration among 25 of New Zealand’s leading chief executives from the primary sector. With them was Primary Industry Minister David Carter.  

This august group has been tucked away at a ‘boot camp’ at Stanford University, near San Francisco. They represent the dairy, meat, seafood, horticulture and viticulture sectors.

No ‘industry good’ organisations are there but it does include the chief executives of MPI and NZ Trade and Enterprise. . .

Buffalo and rhino make big money:

MAKING SURE none of the rhinoceros herd is poached during the night isn’t something New Zealand farmers have to worry about but it is typical for an increasing number of South African farmers diversifying into the lucrative game breeding industry.  

After several years of rapid growth, there are now estimated to be more than 10,000 commercial game ranches in South Africa breeding rare species for hunting, meat and conservation purposes.

Kirstie Macmillan of Farm To Farm Tours recently returned from escorting a group of New Zealand farmers through South Africa, Victoria Falls and Botswana. . .

Australia and New Zealand Arrangement to combat illegal logging:

Australia and New Zealand have today strengthened their long standing cooperation on forestry issues by signing the Arrangement on Combating Illegal Logging and Promoting Sustainable Forest Management. The signed Arrangement illustrates a shared commitment to working together to address illegal logging and promote sustainable forest management.

Australia’s Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, and New Zealand Associate Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, signed the Arrangement during forestry talks which included discussions relating to the progress of Australia’s Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill 2011. . .

Wise Nutrient Use Rewarded In Ballance Farm Environment Awards

Former fertiliser consultant Jim Galloway takes a scientific approach to the application of nutrients on his Nireaha dairy farm, west of Eketahuna.

Jim and his wife Lynette bought the farm in 2006 and are milking about 170 cows this season on a milking platform of 70ha (effective). The Galloways also own a nearby run-off, supplementing milk income by rearing extra dairy replacements and farming carryover cows.

Jim and Lynette are both Massey University graduates and Jim worked as a fertiliser consultant for nine years before going farming. This experience in the fertiliser industry is valuable when deciding the farm’s fertiliser policy. . .

Zespri keeping tabs on vine bacterial infection of gold varieties:

 Zespri International, which controls exports of the nation’s kiwifruit, is keeping tabs on the spread of vine bacteria disease Psa-V which is showing signs of infection in new gold varieties.

Listed kiwifruit packer and grower Satara Co-operative Group has warned its shareholders of the potential adverse impact Psa-V could have on its business. Pseudomonas syringae PV actinidiae is again showing clear evidence in orchard vines, Satara managing director Tom Wilson said in a statement to NZX. . .

Grape growers are on target for improved profitability

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has today released an analysis of viticulture production and profitability as part of its annual Farm Monitoring Report series. The report is based on models of a Marlborough and a Hawke’s Bay vineyard and an overview of the financial performance of typical vineyards, based on information gathered from a sample of growers and industry stakeholders.

Grape growers experienced significant erosion in profit last season, with unfavourable weather in both Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay leading to a 20 percent drop in average yields. . .

NZX confirms slump in 1H profit; Agri information stands out as bright spot:

New Zealand’s stock market operator, posted a 28 percent drop in first-half profit as revenue growth stalled and expenses rose, squeezing its earnings margin.

Profit was $3.25 million in the six months ended June 30, from $4.5 million a year earlier, the Wellington-based company said in a statement. Operating revenue rose 1 percent to $26.5 million.

The first-half results confirm NZX’s Agri information unit as the biggest source of revenue, growing 8 percent to $6.2 million in the latest period, driven by growth in subscriptions, while advertising revenue was little changed at $3.76 million. The company expects subscription growth to continue in the second half, when it typically enjoys the benefit of a seasonal pickup. . .

Long-term investment in NZ kiwiberry industry:

Freshmax NZ Ltd is the holder of the exclusive New Zealand master kiwiberry license, granted by Plant & Food Research (PFR) to commercialise four of their proprietary kiwiberry varieties. This month, Freshmax welcomes the decision by select growers to advance these varieties into commercial production in New Zealand.

Over the last few years global demand for kiwiberry has continued to rise on the back of a sustained increase in market share for berryfruit. Freshmax has recognized this exciting opportunity for New Zealand growers to benefit from increasing demand, through investment in kiwiberry production. . .

Skip the sheep can shake a leg again - Sally Rae:

First Tarras had Shrek – and now Tapui has Skip.   

And if Skip the Romney ewe was a cat, she would probably be down to about seven lives.   

Farmer John Dodd did not think the little triplet, born on a  cold and frosty night in rural North Otago, would survive its first night if left outside and took her home. . .


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