Huge solar power system to milk cows - Gerald Piddock:
Hugh and Sue Chisholm are turning to solar power to help run a more sustainable dairy business.
The Putaruru farmers are installing one of the country’s largest solar powered systems ever to be used on a dairy farm on their dairy shed near Putaruru.
The 28kW photovoltaic (PV) system has 112 solar panels on the roof of the Chisholm’s 64-bale rotary shed as well as two Fronius IG 150 V3 inverters.
Chisholm said the capital cost of the system was a smart investment, and part of an improvement plan for their farm. . .
Sharemilkers not bad people, just bad bosses - Jon Morgan:
Immigration adviser Lyn Sparks is blaming a rise in corporate-owned dairy farms for an increase in workers’ complaints about poor working conditions.
The Christchurch-based adviser says the biggest offenders are some corporate-owned farms run by sharemilkers.
However, he believes there are more good employers than bad in dairying.
“The bad ones are not bad people,” he says. “They just don’t know how to manage.”
But a contract milker says there are just as many bad employees in dairying as bad employers. . .
Sorry tale of swaps no one understood - Fiona Rotherham:
It has been a victory – of sorts – for farmers with the Commerce Commission last week saying it intended filing court action next March against the ANZ, ASB and Westpac banks for “misrepresenting” the sale of interest rate swap loans to rural customers.
I say a victory of sorts because there’s a lot of water under the bridge yet to get compensation for farmers, some of whom ended up more heavily indebted and losing their land.
Sold between 2005 and 2008, interest rate swaps were marketed to farmers as a way to beat rising interest rates. When the global financial crisis hit in 2008 farmers with swaps saw the interest they were paying rise when rates were falling rapidly elsewhere. The banks charged huge break fees for those wanting to exit the swaps. . . .
Bank claims farmer swaps compo call ‘too late’ - Rob Stock:
ANZ says the three-year limitation period has passed under the Fair Trading Act for the Commerce Commission to obtain compensation for farmers who were mis-sold interest rate swaps.
That, the bank warned, meant the commission “will now have to attempt a novel and uncharted method to obtain compensation if it takes the court route.”
The bank’s written statement comes in the wake of the news last week that the commission would launch legal action next March under the Act against ANZ, Westpac and ASB for the sale of the swaps between 2005 and 2008. It is also investigating another bank, not yet named, that also sold swaps and may be joined to the action. . .
Postie’s long run of deliveries nears an end - Lauren Hayes:
After 53 years, millions of kilometres, thousands of early mornings and an unthinkable amount of petrol, a Winton postie is calling it a day.
At 21, Ray Cosgrove used his savings to buy into a Central Southland rural delivery run, and began loading letters into a Hansa station wagon. The Hansa might be long gone and the delivery route altered but, more than half a century later, Mr Cosgrove and his wife, Debbie, are still delivering mail to rural Southlanders.
Mr Cosgrove bought the rural run in September 1960 and stepping into the role was not as easy as many people, including the urban posties, often thought, he said. . .
Year in review – March – Rebecca Harper:
The drought was really hurting rural communities and the bill started to mount for the primary sector with drought declarations coming thick and fast. The entire North Island was eventually declared as being in drought along with the West Coast of the South Island. Dairy production took a hit and the first talk about a merger between the two largest meat co-operatives, Alliance and Silver Fern Farms, started, as farmers looked for the causes of low lamb prices.
This was quickly followed by a call from the newly-formed Meat Industry Excellence Group, a group of lower South Island farmers, for meat-sector consolidation. A meeting in Gore to gauge support and discuss possible reform of the red meat industry attracted 1000 farmers and Alliance chairman Owen Poole put the cost of consolidation at $600 million. . .