Rural Round-up

March 9, 2014

Agriculture sector asked for input on health and safety:

WorkSafe New Zealand has released a suite of draft health and safety guidelines for those working in the agriculture industry for public consultation.

WorkSafe NZ’s National Programmes Manager, Francois Barton said that the draft guidelines are based on accepted best practice and have been developed in partnership with industry bodies and subject experts to ensure they meet the needs of New Zealand farmers.

“Good guidance is critical for farmers to know what safe work looks like, and these guidelines will play an important role in helping farm owners and managers understand and comply with their obligations and duties,” Mr Barton said.

“This is a really important opportunity for those most affected to have their say about agricultural health and safety. These are the people closest to the dangers and their views are very important. . .

West Coast cutting rights sold:

Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew has today announced the sale of 22,800 hectares of Crown forest cutting rights on the West Coast to Ngāi Tahu Forest Estates Ltd (NTFE).

“The Crown’s forests are being sold to NTFE under a first right of refusal dating back to Ngāi Tahu’s 1997 Treaty Settlement,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“The land the forests are on was previously purchased by Ngāi Tahu as part of their Treaty Settlement.

“Since 1990, government policy has been to exit from commercial forestry on commercial terms. The sale of forests to Ngāi Tahu is consistent with this policy.” . . .

Invermay vital for the sheep industry:

The Southern Texel Breeders Association has called on the AgResearch Board and management to attend a meeting to explain what science will be left at the Invermay campus following the proposed restructure to Lincoln.

Tom Richardson (CEO of AgResearch) and Sam Robinson (Chair) will be attending the public meeting to be held at the Heartland Hotel in Gore at 1.30pm on Wednesday 12th March.

The association says that the retention of Invermay fits with Government strategy in all aspects of regional development, economic growth and knowledge transfer. . .

Upper North Island dryness a concern:

Federated Farmers is increasingly anxious over soil moisture deficits in Waikato, south Auckland and the West Coast of Northland.  In some areas, the effects are worse than last year’s record-breaking drought.

“We are keeping a very close eye on the next few weeks,” says James Houghton, Federated Farmers Waikato provincial president.

“We’re hoping to get some rain relief but the MetService’s Monthly Outlook doesn’t give me much hope.

“Farmers know summer means sunshine, heat and a lack of rain.  We can cope with that, but what we can’t cope with is when autumn fails to deliver its essential dose of rain. . .

Four pillars of wisdom – a farm accountant’s take– Pita Alexander:

Pita Alexander is a specialist farm accountant at Alexander’s Chartered Accountant in Christchurch. He shares his thoughts with NBR ONLINE on how the agricultural commodity cycle, capital gains tax, escalating volatility and New Zealand’s debt quagmire may affect the economy in the coming years.

12.15 on the clock of the agricultural commodity cycle

“I find that five to seven years is the average cycle over the last 40 years. It just cycles. It’s nobody’s fault. I will be very surprised if those cycles change much. Maybe they will get a bit shorter, such as four to six year, but who knows.”

“Thinking of it as an economic clock, I would suspect right now we are about 12.15 o’clock. It’s a matter of opinion, of course but we are close to the top.

“Within three years, for various reasons, things will turn on us and we need to be ready for it. We need to make money when things are going up on this side of the cycle but we need to make sure we are building our reserves. . .

Barrys Bay Cheese wins New Zealand’s supreme award:

Storms may have lashed Banks Peninsula over the last week with power blackouts common, but the spotlight was on Barrys Bay Cheese as it took out 11 medals including six golds and the coveted Countdown Champion of Champions Award at the New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards.

The hand-crafted Aged Gouda was described by judges as boasting tropical fruit flavours and was a favourite with the entire panel. Barrys Bay also won golds for its Maasdam, Peppered Havarti, Gouda, Aged Gouda, Gruyere and Nettle Gouda.

The judging panel was made up of 28 of the country’s most experienced cheese connoisseurs and included over 430 New Zealand specialty cheeses. Judge Smith rated New Zealand cheese as “ranking with the best in the world, with certain styles indisputably world class.” . . .


Rural round-up

March 8, 2014

Otago water plan appeals resolved:

The appeals of Federated Farmers and others on Otago Regional Council’s Plan Change 6A (Water Quality) have been constructively resolved for farming and the environment.

“Otago Regional Council’s Plan Change 6A is now a reality,” says Stephen Korteweg, Federated Farmers Otago provincial president.

“On paper, at least, it offers a roadmap for maintaining or improving water quality in Otago. Now the hard work of implementing the plan begins. . .

What’s good for the farmer also proves good for the environment - Jamie Gray:

In Canterbury, the cockies are only half joking when they say they’re into hydroponics.

For dairy farmers, once they have the land it’s just a matter of adding water, the right feed, nutrients and cows and the result is milk. Lots of it.

In some parts of the province, you only have to dig down a few centimetres before hitting gravel and soil can vary widely in depth and quality.

Dairying does have an impact on the environment and it is heavily reliant on irrigation. So it comes as no surprise that water usage and quality is a hot topic in the region and the nation in general. . .

New posting to boost MPI presence in the Middle East:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the creation of a new position for an Agricultural Counsellor to be based in Dubai.

The announcement has been made as part of the Minister’s current visit to Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“This new position is the latest step by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to increase its presence in the Middle East. It recognises the growing importance of the New Zealand relationship with the region and will provide further support for New Zealand exporters,” says Mr Guy.

“Based in Dubai, the position will cover key markets in the Middle East and seek to advance our trade and economic relationships. The position will also contribute to New Zealand’s strategy to develop strong government and private sector relationships with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). . .

Why wait till disaster strikes? – Katie Milne:

Ten years ago last month, the Manawatu suffered flooding in scenes eerily similar to what we saw in Britain and now Christchurch.  That 2004 flood event cost $300 million with Palmerston North coming within a hair’s breadth of disaster. 

In Britain, a former head of its Environment Agency dismissively said of Somerset’s flood management: “I’d like to see a limpet mine put on every pumping station.”  The UK’s Environment Agency acts like a huge regional council for England and Wales on flood and coastal management.  Its embattled head, Lord Smith, now faces headlines like this: “Environment Agency bosses spent £2.4million on PR… but refused £1.7million dredging of key Somerset rivers that could have stopped flooding.”

In October 2010, the late Horizons Regional Councillor, David Meads, told the Manawatu Standard that the Resource Management Act made it harder for his council to deliver its core business of flood protection:  “…that $6 million saved Palmerston North…But the work lower down, on the tributaries, was way behind. As we found out in 2004.”  Farmers felt shut out on consultation on flood and drainage schemes yet, “they were the people whose gumboots overflowed when heavy rain caused flooding on the plains.” In Christchurch, I guess we can add homeowners. . .

Husband and Wife to be tested in Kaikohe:

The Northern Regional Final of ANZ Young Farmer Contest will see husband and wife Rachel and Robert Cashmore of Papakura, battle it out in Kaikohe, Saturday 15 March.

The couple, along with six other competitors, will be vying for a place at the Grand Final and their share of $14,000 in prizes from ANZ, Lincoln University, Silver Fern Farms, AGMARDT, Ravensdown, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone.

The events begin with the practical day at the Kaikohe Showgrounds which will test competitors’ skills, strength and stamina. There will be a variety of hands-on, physical and theoretical challenges – all with an agricultural and farming focus.. .

Fieldays seeks agricultural innovators:

The highly regarded Fieldays Innovation Competition is back after yet another ground breaking year which saw previous entrants finding fame and fortune.

The most innovative competition in the agricultural industry is now open for 2014 and organisers are urging inventors to enter their rural innovations in the distinguished competition held annually at Fieldays, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest agribusiness expo.

The competition celebrates New Zealand ingenuity by showcasing the latest innovations, backyard inventions and commercial improvements, with thousands of Fieldays visitors eager to view the latest rural advancements. . .

Years of Dedication Sees Double Award Win for Goat Cheesemaker:

Rural Waikato cheesemaker Jeanne Van Kuyk is celebrating an incredible double win at the 2014 NZ Champions of Cheese Awards after claiming a highly sought-after supreme award and major category win.

Aroha Organic Goat Cheese cheesemaker, Jeanne, was presented with the Milk Test NZ Cheesemaker of the Year Award at a gala dinner and awards night held at The Langham, Auckland on Tuesday night (March 4).

While the certified organic, and GE free company is no stranger to award wins, this is the first time Aroha Organic Goat Cheese has taken out one of the coveted supreme titles. . .


Battle of cheesemakers

February 5, 2014

A media release from the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards:

With over 400 entries, a new milk type, three new international judges and five new cheese companies stepping into the ring, this year’s NZ Champions of Cheese Awards are set to be the most competitive yet.

Now in its eleventh year, the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards see our country’s finest speciality cheese come together under one roof, in the hope of winning one of 16 champion cheese titles.

New Zealand’s largest cheese exporters, our smallest artisan cheesemakers, and even home crafted cheeses, will be judged by an expert panel at The Langham in Auckland on Sunday 2nd March.

“The diversity in this year’s entries with five new companies, a new milk type and a record number of home crafted cheesemakers, are positive signs of a dynamic and vibrant New Zealand cheese industry that strengthens each year,” organiser of the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards, Vikki Lee Goode, said.

One of Australasia’s most experienced international cheese judges and renowned cheese educationalist, Russell Smith will be joined by three highly-regarded overseas cheese judges, adding another level of expertise and excitement to the awards.

Of particular note is Ueli Berger, the most awarded cheese maker in Australia and current head cheesemaker at beverage and food company, Lion.

“I regard Mr Berger as Australia’s most knowledgeable and skilled cheesemaker. He’s simply one of the best, and I personally am very excited to bring him to New Zealand to experience first-hand the top-rate cheese produced in this country,” Mr Smith said.

Master Judge Russell Smith will lead 28 expert assessors, including some of New Zealand’s most experienced cheese connoisseurs. Together they’ll consume and critique over 400 cheeses in search of the nation’s best.

Each cheese will be examined by a technical and an aesthetic judge as a duo, and strictly graded to pre-determined gold, silver and bronze standards.

Judges will also determine a champion cheese in 16 categories before selecting the two best overall cheeses to be named supreme winner of the Cuisine Champion Artisan Award for small artisan producers, and the Countdown Champion of Champions Award for larger producers.

 The international trend of mixed milk cheese varieties remains, as well as a strong number of home crafted cheesemakers – a category that’s increasing in popularity each year.

For the first time in award history, cheese made from deer milk is being entered. Deer cheese was introduced last year as a collaboration between Whitestone Cheese alongside scientists at the University of Otago and Lincoln University, and drew interest of the feat of milking deer and the technical skill of turning deer milk into cheese.

Kiwi cheese lovers can also have their say with the New World Champion Favourite Cheese Award selected entirely by public votes through the New World website (www.newworldcheeseawards.co.nz). Voting is open now till 26th February.

The 2014 NZ Champions of Cheese Award winners will be announced at a gala dinner at The Langham in Auckland on Tuesday 4th March.

The following day (Wednesday 5th March) the public are invited to sample award-winning cheeses. Cuisine CheeseFest, billed as at the ultimate event for cheese lovers, takes place at The Langham from 5pm to 8:30pm. Tickets are available for $30 per person at www.eventfinder.co.nz or $35 at the door.

You can read more at Specialist Cheesemakers.

You can vote for the People’s Choice and go into a draw to win  two tickets to the Cuisine CheeseFest on Wednesday, 5 March at The Langham hotel in Auckland (flights provided if you reside outside of Auckland). Prize includes two night’s accommodation at The Langham, dinner at Langham’s Eight Restaurant, a Langham Tiffin Afternoon Tea and a $500 VISA Prezzy Card! More on that here.


Champion cheese

March 1, 2013

North Otago people don’t need awards to prove that  Whitestone Cheese is wonderful.

But its good to have our bias confirmed by more success at the annual Champion of Cheese Awards.

With a win for the Innovative Packaging Champion Soft White Rind Cheese Award for its Whitestone Brie Maxi, 3 Gold medals, 15 silvers and 18 bronze it claims the most medals awarded on a per plant basis.

The 2013 NZ Champions of Cheese Awards category winners are:

Crossroads Wines Champion of Champions Award
Meyer Vintage Gouda – Meyer Gouda Cheese

Cuisine Champion Artisan Cheese Award
Very Old Edam – Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese

Milk Test NZ Champion Cheesemaker Award
Jake Rosevear – Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese


The Langham Champion Fresh Unripened Cheese Award
Mozzarella – Whangaripo Buffalo Cheese Company

Countdown Champion Feta Cheese Award
Waimata Brined Feta – Waimata Cheese Company

Innovative Packaging Champion Soft White Rind Cheese Award
Whitestone Brie Maxi – Whitestone Cheese

Elldex Packaging Champion Goat Cheese Award
Aroha Rich Plain – Aroha Organic Goat

NZ Specialist Cheesemakers Champion Sheep Cheese Award
Mercer Pecorino – Mercer Cheese

Thermaflo Champion Washed Rind Cheese Award
Kapiti Ramara – Fonterra Brands NZ

Ecolab Champion Blue Cheese Award
Kapiti Awa Blue – Fonterra Brands NZ

Eurofins Champion European Style Cheese Award
Farmhouse Mature – Crescent Dairy Goats

AsureQuality Champion Dutch Style Cheese Award
Mature Gouda – Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese

Ministry for Primary Industries Champion New Cheese Award
Aroha Raw Milk Rich Plain – Aroha Organic Goat

Fonterra Champion Original Cheese Award
Kapiti Tuteremoana – Fonterra Brands NZ

Moa Beer Champion Flavoured Cheese Award
Labneh Lemon – Kaikoura Cheese

GEON Champion Cheddar Cheese Award
Lichfield Cheddar (aged less than 12 months) – Fonterra Lichfield

NZ Specialist Cheesemakers Champion Export Award
Meyer Vintage Gouda – Meyer Gouda Cheese

New World Champion Favourite Cheese Award
Kapiti Kikorangi – Fonterra Brands NZ

Caspak Champion Cheese Packaging Award
Mainland Natural Cheese Sticks – Fonterra Brands NZ

Curds & Whey Champion Home Crafted Cheese Award
Tahatu by Alan Moore

Curds & Whey Champion Home Crafted Cheesemaker Award
Alan Moore of Sunnyvale, Auckland


Rural round-up

February 12, 2013

Are dairy farm workers well paid? – Milking on the Moove:

I often hear dairy farmers say “farm workers work hard, but they are paid well too”

Well are they?

I thought I would look at three scenarios and compare them to a few jobs in town.

They are:
Entry level dairy farm worker 

18 years old
1 years dairy experience
No tertiary qualifications
Is likely to break things/crash things/stuff things and generally do stupid things at any time with no reasonable explanation. . .

Historic Caterpillar tractors to remain in New Zealand:

A collection of 36 rare and historic Caterpillar tractors will stay in New Zealand – thanks to Ben Gough, executive director of Gough Group and his sister, Gina Satterthwaite.

The Canterbury-based brother and sister have secured a deal which will see the machines and associated equipment remain here following the sale in Rotorua of the privately-owned New Zealand Caterpillar Experience.

The Experience has operated for the last seven years, and is well known world-wide as a unique collection of rare machines.

“When the owner, Lindsay Willis, contacted us to see if we were interested in buying the collection, it was too good an opportunity to pass up,” said Ben Gough. . .

Tamariki get farm training on customary land:

A training centre set up to get more tangata whenua into farming has taken on its first students.

Eight people have so far signed up for lessons on a South Taranaki dairy farm owned by Te Rua o Te Moko.

It sits on blocks of customary land in Normanby – collectively controlled by 1100 owners. . .

New Zealand Campaign Signs Two Year Contract with Global Campaign for Wool:

The Campaign for Wool New Zealand has just signed a further two year contract with the global Campaign for Wool.

National Council of New Zealand Wool Interests, who manages the campaign, has endorsed the international plan focused on the concentrated global populations in the Northern Hemisphere, principally in Europe, USA and Asia.

Chairman, Stephen Fookes said, “The patronage of HRH Prince of Wales and other members of the Royal family has provided a huge boost to the aim of creating a wool renaissance globally. We are now starting to see real evidence of increased demand at the consumer end, and this must eventually flow back to wool growers”. . .

New Zealand cheesemakers set to battle for top honours at the tenth NZ Champions of Cheese Awards:

Wheels of cheese are turning, coloured wax is being applied and cheese is being carefully packed for shipping as the country’s finest cheesemakers vie for top honours at the tenth annual NZ Champions of Cheese Awards.

From the smallest artisan cheesemakers producing one cheese a day to the biggest dairy plants exporting cheese globally, New Zealand’s best speciality cheese will take centre stage under one roof later this month.

Marking a ten year milestone this year, the 2013 NZ Champions of Cheese Awards judging will take place at The Langham in Auckland on Sunday 24th February.

With 413 entries from 59 different cheese companies, including six first time entrants and a larger number of smaller artisan companies, this year’s competition may deliver interesting results, organiser of the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards Vikki Lee Goode says. . .

Future of postal services: Rural delivery a lifeline says New Zealand Rural General Practice Network:

The New Zealand Rural General Practice Network agrees with Rural Women New Zealand when it says the special role of the rural delivery service needs to be acknowledged and preserved as far as possible.

The Rural Women NZ Postman pat-on-the-back Awards in 2012 revealed the extent of the social and practical services provided by rural delivery contractors who often deliver groceries, medicines, supplies or spare parts, all of which help farmers, small businesses and families overcome the obstacles of living long distances from town.

The award entries also revealed the very important social role played by rural posties. . .

First finalist named in Northern Regional Final:

Ian Douglas, from the Whangarei Young Farmers Club earned top place at the Northern Regional Final in Whangarei on Saturday 9th February, after a long day at the Barge Park Showgrounds.

Mr Douglas secured his spot at the ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Final in Auckland 16 – 18 May and took home the winner’s prize pack valued at $9000 which includes cash components from ANZ and AGMARDT, a Lincoln University Scholarship for an entrepreneurial workshop, quality fertiliser products from Ravensdown, Silver Fern Farms retail products, and a Honda XR125 two-wheeled farm bike.

Prizes for the runners up included cash from ANZ, Ravensdown products, a Honda water pump, and outdoor power equipment from Husqvarna. All entrants have the opportunity to apply for one of seven Lincoln University Study Scholarships worth up to $4000 each. . .


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