Rural round-up

February 4, 2013

Alliance taste testers help guide NZ meat industry – Dave Gooselink:

A team of 50 Southlanders have what some carnivores might see as the perfect job.

They’re the taste testing panel for meat company Alliance, charged with ensuring the company’s export lamb, beef and venison is gourmet quality.

There’s not a lot of conversation around the table. The diners are too busy eating prime cuts of lamb, cooked to perfection by an award-winning chef. It’s their job, making in-depth evaluations of meat.

“You smell it for the aroma, then you bite into it for the texture and succulence, then last of all the flavour,” says veteran meat taste tester Sonja Lindsay. . .

$21m of new funding to benefit research partnerships:

The Government will invest $21 million over a maximum of seven years to support research that will benefit two of New Zealand’s primary industries Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced today.

A $16 million investment over seven years will be made in the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium and a $5 million investment over a maximum of seven years will be made in Seafood Innovations Limited.

“Science and innovation are major drivers of economic growth and international competitiveness. These investments will help improve the performance of two key parts of our primary industries, and as a result the New Zealand economy will benefit,” Mr Joyce says.

The Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium — a partnership between AgResearch, DairyNZ, Beef+Lamb NZ, Fonterra, Landcorp Ltd and DeerResearch — will develop new technologies that farmers can use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without loss of productivity. . .

ORC split on water accord – Rebecca Fox:

A decision about whether or not to sign up to the dairy sector’s new water accord has divided Otago regional councillors.

The council, along with others nationally, has been asked to sign up to the accord as a ”friend” but the implications of this worried some councillors, while others were concerned not signing would alienate the dairy sector.

Councillors voted three times before a final decision was made to sign the document – although not all were happy. . .

Winton’s dairy vet woman of year finalist – Sally Rae:

Winton dairy veterinarian and mastitis consultant Kath Taylor is among six finalists in the 2013 Dairy Women of the Year Award.

She has been a dairy vet for 19 years, graduating from Massey University in 1994 and working in mixed practice in Taranaki for the next seven years before moving to Southland in 2001. She works for VetSouth Ltd in Winton, leading the milk-quality team. . .

Shearers take break before big Southland record challenge:

Four shearers are sitting it out in Southland in the countdown to a World Record shearing challenge in which they could shear as many as 3100 lambs between them on Tuesday.

Contractor and event organiser Brendon Potae says he’s given the quartet the weekend off after three hard weeks preparing for the Heiniger Four-stand Crossbred Lambs Eight-Hour World Record, to be shorn at Centre Hill Station, near Mossburn.

“I’ve told them to go fishing, sightseeing,” he said today as he and others from a support crew expected to swell to almost 70 people put finishing touches to the shed where about 250 people are expected to watch the event inside, with others watching on CCTV in marquees nearby. . .

Dancers for Farmarama - Sally Rae:

Tractors, motorbikes, farm machinery and dancing girls will all be on display at the Southfuels Farmarama at Lawrence on February 7 and 8.

The biennial event will be held at the Lawrence gymkhana grounds, opening to the public at 11am on the Thursday and 9am on the Friday. . .

Tru-Test Group acquires NZ’s leading milk containment and refrigeration company, DTS:

Auckland-based agri-tech company Tru-Test Group has today announced the acquisition of Dairy Technology Services from NDA. The move is the second such deal completed by Tru-Test Group in recent months, following its purchase of Radian Technologies (MilkHub) in December.

Dairy Technology Services (DTS) is the leading provider of milk storage and cooling systems in the New Zealand dairy industry. It employs 80 staff in its manufacturing facility in Taranaki and its nationwide sales, installation, repairs and maintenance and customer service operation based in Hamilton.

The deal reflects NDA’s desire to focus on its engineering activities in the dairy processing and transport, chemicals and refining, wine and resources industries. . .

New Record Top Price at Karaka Festival Sale:

Day 1 of New Zealand Bloodstock’s two-day Festival Sale was highlighted by a new top price for this session with the Swiss Ace colt at Lot 1149 fetching $125,000.

From the Hussonet mare Eclaircissement, Lot 1149 from Westbury Stud was purchased by Rogerson Bloodstock for $125,000.

Having a previous affiliation with the family, Rogerson was prepared to go beyond his budget to secure the colt out of a half-sister to multiple stakeswinner Illuminates (Strategic). . . .


Rural round-up

May 8, 2011

 Go Mr McGill - rivettingKate Taylor writes:

Good news and another step up the politicial ladder for my friend Paul McGill.

 Current Nuffield Scholar, former Kellogg’s Scholar, convenor of this year’s Grand Final of The National Bank Young Farmer Contest in Masterton….. he’s now also president of Wairarapa Federated Farmers. . .

The price of milk - Claire Browning on food security:

The true price of milk is its cost, in distracting us from the bigger issue: what policy and regulation is needed, to secure quality food for ordinary — all — New Zealanders

Why assume milk guzzling is such a good thing? Why should it not cost, since it does? . .

Focus on farm jobs educators urged – Mark Hotton writes:

The public perception of agriculture and other primary industries must change to make them more attractive to Southland’s brightest young people, high school heads of department were told yesterday.

In a presentation designed to encourage teachers and career advisers to recommend careers in primary product industries to students, Lincoln University lecturer Dr Jon Hickford said Southland’s economy was heavily reliant on the rural sector so it was vital skilled people were being encouraged into the industry.

There was a real need to encourage young people into the sector because that was where the province’s wealth was being generated, he said.

Hat tip: Tony Chaston who wrote:

It is ironic this story broke on the same day the government announced a $55 million youth employment, and job training package aimed at building the skills of our young people for the future.

This site last year expressed concerns about lack of funding at Lincoln University to allow agricultural lecturers to properly cover the three areas of teaching, extension and research. Following  up on these issues it appears a significant turnaround has been achieved and new appointments should improve the quality of that service.Thats good news but how much of that $55million will be directed to agriculture I ask? . .

Red meat strategy shows a path to sustainable sector profitability – Beef+ Lamb NZ;

The Meat Industry Association (MIA) and Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) have today released the Red Meat Sector Strategy with the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon John Key and the Minister of Agriculture, the Hon David Carter. The strategy reflects broad recognition of the underlying challenges to the sector’s sustainable profitability, but also clearly identifies the opportunities for the sector to realise its full potential and continue to be a principal driver of New Zealand’s economy.

“While the sector currently generates nearly $8b annually in export earnings and forms the basis of the visual and social landscape of New Zealand, over time its profitability has been inconsistent and often unsatisfactory, as is reflected by conversion of sheep and beef farm land to other uses such as dairy farming and forestry,” said Mike Petersen, B+LNZ Chairman.

In this context, MIA and B+LNZ initiated the development of this sector strategy – with unprecedented input from the sector and underpinned by extensive data and in-depth analysis by Deloitte – to identify ways of achieving sustainable profitability and promote re-investment in the industry. . .

Largest in the world - from Rural News:

 THE NEWLY-OPENED New Zealand Ruminant Methane Measurement Centre (NZRMMC) is the largest purpose-built facility of its kind in the world.

Opened last week by Agriculture Minister David Carter the Palmerston North-based facility provides New Zealand scientists with an opportunity to accurately measure methane emissions from more than 25 ruminant animals at the same time. . .

Locals can’t rival Crafar bid – Richard Rennin in NZ Farmers Weekly writes:

Despite increased confidence in the dairy industry it looks unlikely individual sales of Crafar farm properties would raise more than if they are sold as one.

` The prospect of another Chinese company bidding for the 8000ha Crafar portfolio has had local farmers like Raetihi’s Gerry Dekker asking why the farms could not be sold off individually.

Dekker’s concerns, expressed in a letter to The New Zealand Farmers Weekly, have been echoed by Federated Farmers dairy head Lachlan McKenzie. . .

Farming families honoured – Helena de Reus writes:

Families who have owned the same farm for more than a century will be honoured at the New Zealand Century Farm Awards in Lawrence next Saturday.

Twenty-two families from around the country will attend the official function at the Simpson Park complex, with four receiving sesquicentennial awards (150 years). . .

Passion for High Country and painting – Sally Rae writes:

 High country artist Norman Sinclair is looking forward to a trip to the Waitaki Valley next week.

Not only is he having an exhibition at the Kurow Museum – coinciding with the South Island sheep dog trial championships at nearby Hakataramea – but he will also fit in some duck-shooting in the Hakataramea Valley. . .


Lemon Tree Cafe

December 4, 2009

If you’re a wee bit peckish and find yourself in Lawrence, I can recommend the Lemon Tree Cafe.

We stopped there today.  The menu was expansive and it wasn’t difficult to find something which satisfied the eye, the taste buds and the appetite.

The vegetarian wrap I ordered was fresh, tasty and imaginatively presented. It looked good and tasted better.


Why not more WiFi?

January 9, 2009

Internect connection in Argentina was better and faster in 2003 than anything we could get at home at that time.

We’ve got broadband since then and although the rural connection (through Orcon) is much slower than we’d get in a city it’s an improvement on dial-up - fine for emails, net surfing and blogging but slower than desiarable for up or downloading lots of data.

But it doesn’t work on the laptop so when we’re on the road we use a Telecom mobile connection which operates at a similar speed to the home connection.

That’s pretty dismal comapred with many other places and last month’s visit to Argentina showed us their technology has overtaken ours again with the proliferation of free WiFi services which were available in most cafes, bars and hotels.

Bernard Hickey  found a similar level of service in the USA and Fairfacts Media notes free WiFi is offered by British pubs as a way to attract business.

We’re a long way from widespread availability of WiFi in New Zealand although the government has promised a boost to internet services as part of its investment in infrasturcture.

The wee Otago town of Lawrence isn’t waiting for the government though. The ODT reports  the locals are already setting up free wireless internet in the town centre.

More and more people, especially overseas visitors and business people, had laptops with them as they travelled, so it made sense to try to offer them free Internet access so they would stay longer in the town. . .

Quite – it’s good for travellers and it’s good for business and there’s no need to wait for the government to do it.


Lonely Planet likes Otago

August 19, 2008

Lonely Planet’s newest guide to New Zealand is generally enthusiastic about Otago.

Dunedin’s live music and cafe and restaurant scene were given a significant plug and the Otago Peninsula was said to be “rich” with wildlife and outdoor activities.

The University of Otago was given recognition for the energy it provided the city.

“The country’s oldest university provides an energy that might otherwise be missing and drives a thriving theatre, live-music – and it must be said – drinking scene.”

Indeed, not all education takes place in the lecture theatres.

Otago was said to be unhurried and “rife with picturesque scenery” with few crowds to share it with, although Queenstown was called an area with a cinematic background of mountains and a “what can we think of next” array of activities.

As it is.

What they said about Otago

Alexandra: “Unless you’ve come to Alexandra especially for September’s NZ Merino Shearing Championships or the Easter Bunny Hunt, the reason to visit this rather nondescript service hub is for the nearby mountain biking.”

Arrowtown: “Beloved by day-trippers from Queenstown . . . The only gold being flaunted these days is on credit cards and surrounded by a bonanza of daytime tourists, you might grow wary of the quaint historical ambience.”

Balclutha: ” . . . South Otago’s largest town but is of little interest to travellers other than a place to stock up on supplies before heading off into the Catlins.”

Clyde: “. . . looks more like a cute 19th-century gold rush film set than a real town . . . retains a friendly small-town feel . . . and it’s a great place to chill out for a couple of days.”

Cromwell: “There’s plenty of good reasons to visit Cromwell: the sweet little historic precinct . . . and to eat (and eat, and eat) . . . Oh, and a third reason – to take a photo of yourself beside the spectacularly ugly giant fruit salad at the entrance to town.”

Dunedin: ” . . . captures the hearts of locals and travellers alike. It’s a surprisingly artsy town, and has more great bars and eateries than its small size deserves.”

” . . . has attractions both urban and rural . . . party down in the South Island’s coolest city, and get up close and personal with the island’s most accessible wildlife.”

Glenorchy: “Set in achingly beautiful surroundings, postage-stamp-sized Glenorchy is the perfect low-key antidote to the hype and bustle of Queenstown.”

 

Lawrence: ” . . . a sweet little town in a valley surrounded by farmland and forestry plantations. For most travellers its not much more than a place to stop for lunch.”

 

 Naseby: “Cute as a button . . . little old Naseby is the kind of town where life moves slowly. That the town is pleasantly obsessed with the fairly insignificant world of NZ curling indicates there’s not much else going on.”

Oamaru: “Nothing moves very fast in Oamaru: tourists saunter, locals languish and penguins waddle”.

“. . .eccentric gems such as the South Island’s yummiest cheese factory, cool galleries and a peculiar live music venue are other distractions.”

Yes, Whitestone Cheese is yummy; the Penguin Club is a gem; and lets not forget our artists, and while Victoriana isn’t old by world standards, the historic precinct gets better every year – newest attraction is the Whysky Bar.  Outside town there’s the Vanished World Trail  and Elephant Rocks where Chronicles of Narnia was filmed and Riverstone Kitchen.

Omarama: “surrounded by mountain ranges, the Omarama area is at the centre of fabulous landscapes.”

Queenstown: “The town wears its ‘Global Adventure Capital’ badge proudly, and most visitors take time to do crazy things they have never done before. But a new Queenstown is also emerging,
with a cosmopolitan restaurant and arts scene and excellent vineyards.”

 

Ranfurly: “Ranfurly is trying hard to cash in on its Art Deco buildings but while there are a few attractive buildings, the town itself is fairly bleak.”

But it is on the Central Otago Rail Trail.

Wanaka: “Beautiful scenery, tramping and skiing opportunities, and an expanding roster of adrenaline-inducing activities have transformed the lakeside town of Wanaka into a year-round tourist destination.”

Call me biased and parochial if you will, but the guide has not overstated the delights of New Zealand’s most beautiful province :)


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