Rural round-up

April 20, 2014

High-Performing Sheep Operation Wins Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Kaituna sheep and beef farmers Matt and Lynley Wyeth are Supreme winners of the 2014 Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Judges said the couple’s 800ha (effective) farming operation, Spring Valley Enterprises, was exceptionally well run.

“This is an extremely high performing business with a defined aim to stay in the top 10 percent of equivalent farming operations.”

At a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on April 16, Matt and Lynley also collected the Beef+Lamb New Zealand Livestock Award, the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award, the Massey University Innovation Award and the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award. . .

Getting ready to kill the evil weevil  – Tim Cronshaw

Scientists are nearing the halfway mark of their target of sucking up one million wasps from Canterbury paddocks and sending them to Southland to combat the clover root weevil.

AgResearch teams armed with modified leaf blowers are sucking up weevils infected with an Irish wasp.

After counting their numbers in a laboratory, they are sent down in groups of about 100 to go to as many as 1000 Southland farmers. The wasp is a natural enemy of the weevil, which has attacked Southland clover in pastures and limited sheep, beef and milk production since arriving in 2010.

A mild winter allowed the weevil to take its small foothold on Southland farms to a widespread infestation. . .

Moths, beetles free farm of stock-threatening weed  – Iain Scott:

Once covered in ragwort, a Manawatu farm is now almost free of the stock-threatening weed thanks to the introduction of moths and beetles.

Kiwitea dairy farmer Wayne Bennett credits the cinnabar moth, flea beetle and plume moth for ridding the farm of the yellow-flowered weed that had spread through the farm two years after he bought it.

Ragwort has the ability to compete with pasture species and contains alkaloids that are toxic to stock. A single plant can produce more than 50,000 seeds. . .

Marijuana growers causing ‘level of fear’:

Many people in rural areas are ”living in fear” of drug growers and dealers taking advantage of isolated conditions, Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) executive officer Noeline Holt says.

RWNZ and Federated Farmers New Zealand asked their members for feedback on the Ministry of Health’s New National Drug Policy, which sets out the Government’s approach for tobacco, alcohol, and illegal and other drugs.

Mrs Holt said the main concerns of the almost 400 people who responded were about legal highs, marijuana plantations and methamphetamine manufacturing.

”Some of the most isolated homes and houses can be easily accessed and [drug manufacturers] can discreetly manufacture to their heart’s content. . .

Grape Harvest beats rain -

Nelson wineries are relieved the region’s grape harvest has largely finished ahead of prolonged rain.

Nelson Winegrowers Association chairman Richard Flatman said most people he had talked to had managed to get their grapes in.

He described this year’s harvest as perfect, as it had been early and was big on flavour. “It will be fantastic for Nelson,” he said.

Waimea Estates general manager Ben Bolitho said they had been delighted to have all but finished harvest ahead of 10 days forecast rain. . .

 


Rural crime and safety survey

March 25, 2013

Rural Women NZ has a survey on rural crime and safety:

Rural Women New Zealand has today launched a rural survey on crime and safety that is aimed at making rural communities safer places to live. 

 
“The online survey goes live today, and we are hoping for a wide response from all sectors of the rural community,” says Rural Women NZ executive officer, Noeline Holt. 
 
“You may have already taken part in a recent survey around crime occurring on your farming properties. However, the focus of this survey is broader and we urge you to take part.”
 
We have worked with Crimestoppers and the Police to develop questions that cover a range of issues including theft, drink driving and speeding as well as violence to people or animals.” 
 
“The survey will help us understand how people feel about crime and safety ,” Ms Holt said. The survey also seeks people’s views on police responsiveness and involvement in rural communities. 
 
“Given the nature of small rural communities, we believe there are occasions when people are hesitant to contact the police, and for that reason we are promoting the work of Crimestoppers, where people are able to pass on information anonymously.” 
 
The survey is open for three weeks, then results will be analysed by an independent research company and the key findings will be used by Rural Women NZ to work with Crimestoppers and Police to make rural communities safer. 
 
“We strongly encourage people to take part in this survey. Participants are anonymous and it’s a good opportunity for people living in rural New Zealand to provide valuable feedback about these important issues.”

The survey is here.

When I first moved to the country we never locked doors or vehicles unless we were away overnight.

Nothing happened to make us change but for some years we have taken a more prudent approach and lock up at night and if we’re away during the day.

There are still some areas where not everyone feels the need for this precautionary approach to home security.

We had some Argentinean visitors with us last week when we called on friends. They weren’t at home but we tried the door, which was unlocked, and went in to use the loo.

Our visitors were amazed and we had to explain that this probably isn’t the norm here any more.

When we caught up with our friends yesterday we mentioned our visit and wondered if the door had been unlocked by mistake.

They said no and they weren’t even sure they could lay their hands on a key easily.

I hope their trust isn’t misplaced. It’s a good reflection on their community that they feel safe with doors unlocked whether they’re home or not.


RWNZ “Feeling Rotten” survey

February 4, 2013

Rural Women New Zealand has launched a “Feeling Rotten” survey on the causes and effects of anxiety and depression in rural communities.

“In 2006 our “Feeling Rotten” survey revealed a high level of anxiety and depression in rural areas,” says Rural Women NZ executive officer, Noeline Holt. “Causes varied, but for women, post-natal depression was reported as a significant factor.”

“We’d like to know what’s changed in the six years since then, to help guide us in our advocacy role, and in providing practical help in rural communities.”

Rural Women NZ is working with agricultural-based organisations such as Federated Farmers and Dairy Women’s Network to find ways of combating depression following recently released figures from the Ministry of Health showing there are significantly more suicides per head of population in rural than in urban areas. . .

“We recently provided funding for extensive counselling services to rural families in Canterbury following the earthquakes, for example,” says Ms Holt.

She says most people have felt the blues or been pessimistic or unfulfilled at some point in their lives.

“These feelings may be driven initially by anxiety, particularly if we have no control over what is causing our anxiety. While it is normal to feel these emotions, if they continue for too long they may be signs of depression.”

Anyone who lives in a rural areas is invited to participate in the survey which is here.


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