Rural round-up

August 25, 2014

Key skill is the attitude – Bryan Gibson:

I had the chance last week to spend an afternoon at the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre in Masterton during a visit by Prime Minister John Key.

He spent more than an hour talking to staff and students and saw them at work milking, measuring pasture, washing down quad bikes and fencing. . .

Stint as ocean-going shepherd an eye-opener – Sally Rae:

When Fred Ellis boarded a ship at Port Chalmers in 1957 in charge of a consignment of stud sheep bound for Brazil, he was ”dead scared”.

His only previous sea experience was crossing Cook Strait on the Wellington-Lyttelton ferry in his school holidays.

Now in his 80s and retired in Inglewood, Taranaki, Mr Ellis contacted the Otago Daily Times after watching a recent Country Calendar episode which featured Central Otago.

It reminded him of his own exploits 57 years ago and he wondered where the sheep came from and how many subsequent exports of sheep to South America there had been. . . .

They don’t come here for fun – Alan Williams:

New Zealanders need to respect the reasons for migrant workers coming to this country to work, Waimate resource centre manager Steve Napper says.

Most of those he speaks to haven’t come just for the Kiwi way of life.

“They come from areas of the world with much greater deprivation than we experience and so come to earn a decent wage so they can support their families back home,” he said.

“That they come here to support their families instead of living large is to be admired.” . . .

Couple thrilled with move north - Sally Rae:

Dairying is likely be a regular topic of discussion in the Duffy household.

Husband and wife Mark and Sue Duffy work for artificial breeding company CRV Ambreed, which has a core business of dairy semen production and sales.

Mr Duffy is sales and services manager for the South Island, managing about 20 full-time staff, while Mrs Duffy is the regional sales and services manager, covering the area from Rakaia to Invercargill. . .

Alpaca breeders forming owners’ group - Sally Rae:

Interested in alpacas?

Southern alpaca breeders Brenda and Stewart McLean, of Windermere Alpacas, and Gordon Baird, of Waiwera Alpacas, have formed an Otago-Southland alpaca owners’ group.

The aim of the new group was to share information and help new and interested alpaca owners, following an increasing number of inquiries to breeders about basic alpaca care, from health and welfare through to feeding and shearing.

Mr Baird, from Waiwera South, in South Otago, first became interested in alpacas in the mid-1990s. . .

Winegrowers see growth through value:

Future wine industry growth will largely come from increased value, rather than from planting more vineyards, New Zealand Winegrowers chair Steve Green says.

The industry exports more than $1 billion worth of product and has set a target of nearly doubling that within two years.

It has confirmed a record grape harvest this year of 445,000 tonnes, up about 60,000 tonnes on last year. . .


Rural round-up

August 19, 2014

Global grain prices in free-fall – Keith Woodford:

Last week I wrote how the OECD and FAO secretariats expect many agricultural prices to drop in real terms over the next ten years as supply ramps up across the world. This is particularly the case for staple crops such as wheat, corn and soybeans. However, in the last ten days it has become increasingly apparent that major price decreases are playing out right now in front of us. With the early Northern Hemisphere harvest reports for wheat now coming through, with increasingly positive pre-harvest reports for both corn and soybean, and with existing high global stocks, the prices have all been tumbling.

The first place to look when considering international grain prices is the USA. The USA is by far the most technologically advanced cereal growing country in the world, and has huge global influence. . .

Insights from Canada water trip – Sally Rae:

When Waitaki Irrigators Collective policy manager Elizabeth Soal headed to Canada recently, she wanted to learn more about how water issues were managed, given that nation’s similarities with New Zealand.

There were similar legal systems, similar amounts of water per capita and challenges similar to those in New Zealand, including rising pressure around intensification and urbanisation putting pressure on the resource.

While she did not return with all the answers she was looking for, which she acknowledged was to be expected – ”water issues are complex and hard to solve, nowhere in the world has solved it perfectly” – she described it as an ”incredible experience”. . .

Growsafe looking to rise to the challenge - Yvonne O’Hara:

If relevant regulations and improved training requirements are introduced for agrichemical users as a result of the new Health and Safety at Work Act, it is likely Growsafe will rise to the challenge.

Growsafe provides basic and advanced training in the use of agrichemicals and is run by the New Zealand Agrichemical Trust.

Growsafe chairman Graeme Peters said the Government, as part of the new health and safety requirements, might consider removing the approved handler regime and replacing it with an Australian model that tailored training to suit the need, rather than the present ”one size fits all” regime. . .

Changing guard at ‘Lake Cowal’ – Peter Austin:

WHEN Leppington Pastoral Company took possession of the “Lake Cowal” property adjoining its Billabong Station at Marsden earlier this month, history to some degree repeated itself.

It was precisely 80 years ago that an earlier resident of Billabong Station had crossed the Bland Creek that forms the boundary between the two properties to make a new home on “Lake Cowal”.

That earlier 1934 migrant was Herbert (“Bert”) Dent, who had managed “Billabong” since 1924 for the Ricketson and (later) Sanderson families before taking the plunge and setting up on his own. . . .

Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award entries open:

Entries are now open for the Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award 2014, which will be presented at the NZ Guild of Agricultural Journalists annual awards dinner in Wellington on 17 October.

The Rural Women NZ award encourages journalists to report on the achievements of women living and working in rural communities.

It’s a strategy that’s paid off, says Rural Women NZ national president, Wendy McGowan.

“Last year the Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award was one of the most popular categories.” . . .

Entries open for 2014 Air New Zealand Wine Awards:

Entries are open for the 2014 Air New Zealand Wine Awards.
Now in its 39th year, the Awards are a celebration of excellence in New Zealand winemaking and is widely considered to be the country’s most prestigious wine competition.

“Our industry is known for its commitment to quality, innovation and exceptional wines. The Air New Zealand Wine Awards is a fitting showcase for this,” says New Zealand Winegrowers’ Global Marketing Director, Chris Yorke. . .


Rural round-up

August 11, 2014

Aim to raise sheep, beef farming profit – Sally Rae:

Graham Alder wants to help improve the profitability of sheep and beef farming.

Mr Alder was appointed general manager of Beef and Lamb New Zealand Genetics earlier this year, after a successful vote at Beef and Lamb New Zealand’s annual meeting to combine the organisation’s genetics investments.

The new entity draws together Sheep Improvement Ltd, the Beef and Lamb New Zealand central progeny test and Ovita, with added investment in beef genetics, and was created with the aid of government funds. . .

South to the fore at awards – Sally Rae,

AbacusBio managing director Neville Jopson has been acknowledged for his contribution to New Zealand’s sheep industry.

Dr Jopson received the sheep industry science award at the recent Beef and Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards in Napier.

His ability to provide sound advice from both a scientific and commercial perspective was the critical reason for his receiving the award, a citation said.

His involvement and leadership in animal production had been instrumental in many of the sector’s recent technological developments. . .

New modelling steers towards better N responses:

PASTURE RESPONSE to nitrogen fertiliser will this spring be predictable more accurately by a new computer model unveiled by Ballance Agri-Nutrients.

The model is the first product of Ballance’s $19.5 million, seven-year Clearview Innovations Primary Growth Partnership project jointly funded by MPI.

Dubbed N-Guru, the decision support software was designed in partnership with AgResearch to improve the efficiency of nitrogen use on pastoral farms. . .

Victorian community yarn bombs its towns in a display of wool pride  – Danielle Grindlay:

When Southern Grampians Shire Council (SGSC) announced it was going to re-brand and ditch its ‘wool capital of the world’ slogan, the community revolted.

The slogan was representative of a region ‘built on the sheep’s back’ and a campaign was launched to save it.

Thousands of stickers sporting the wool capital catchcry were printed and plastered on cars, shop windows and town poles.

However $75,000 was spent promoting the new ‘Hamilton – One Place, Many possibilities’ slogan, which pointed to the business, education, service and employment prospects in SGSC. . .

False ‘NZ made’ claims for merino, alpaca:

THE HIGH Court has rejected an appeal by four companies and four individuals who were convicted and fined $601,900 for selling visiting Asian tourists imported alpaca goods as “Made in New Zealand”, and making claims that duvets were 100% alpaca or merino wool when they were not.

In September 2013 the four companies and four directors pleaded guilty in the District Court at Rotorua and were convicted and fined a total of $601,900 for breaches of the Fair Trading Act. . .

Heard the yarn all about a building made from wool? – Matt Oliver:

SOME might see this as a wooly-brained idea for closure-threatened Temple Cowley Pools.

But Oxford Brookes University architecture student Will Field has won a top award for his plan to replace the pools with a building made out of wool.

Areas of knitting can be dipped in resin and set into a chosen shape by placing them over a frame.

After being left to set, the 19-year-old said it could then be removed from the frame and left at the city site for all to enjoy. . .

"The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands dirty."


Rural round-up

August 5, 2014

Farmprint a form of insurance - Sally Rae:

Stock rustlers beware. Mosgiel-based company Oritain is using its pioneering approach to scientifically certify the origin of food products to help address the multimillion-dollar issue of stock theft.

The company, which is based at Invermay, uses an ”origin” based system, identifying the naturally occurring chemical properties of food products, which were influenced by the soils and environment in which they were produced.

It works with food producers throughout New Zealand and around the world to protect their brands and reputation – and now it is using the same system to protect farmers’ stock. . .

Enjoying role helping select merino genes - Sally Rae:

Anna Vaughan got ”hooked” on merino sheep while undertaking work experience at Lake Coleridge Station, in the Canterbury high country, during her university summer.

Now, Miss Vaughan (31) is combining her passion for the breed and for farming with her work as genetics project manager for the New Zealand Merino Company (NZM), where she is heavily involved with its central progeny test (CPT).

Miss Vaughan is from a farming background – her parents were dairy farmers – but her last four secondary school years were spent at Te Anau, where they managed a sheep and beef farm for Landcorp. . .

Three generations growing veges – Kay Blundell:

The third generation of Gordon Sue’s family is tilling the soil and growing vegetables in Horowhenua, catering for growing demand from supermarkets throughout the North Island.

Sue’s great-grandfather came from China in the 1860s to dig for gold. When that was elusive he turned his hand to growing vegetables.

Sue’s father was born in Alexandra, Otago, went back to China and moved to Wellington where he ran a greengrocer’s shop before he and his wife moved to Levin when Sue was a 1-year-old.

Since then the family has made a “comfortable living” market gardening. . .

New machine age for Japan’s ageing farmers:

New types of agricultural machinery with functions and designs that differ from conventional tractors and rice planters are attracting new attention in Japan.

They include high-tech machines for assisting elderly farmers whose physical strength is weakened. Machines with designs intended to attract young people are also being released.

Agricultural machinery makers are trying hard to expand the domestic market for the new styles of products.

The average age of farmers in Japan reached 66.2 in 2013. For agricultural machinery makers, how to support farmers with waning physical strength is an important challenge. . . . . .

Commodity prices drive rural appetite – Larry Schlesinger:

RURAL property investors are ­paying close attention to commodity prices as appetite improves for ­agribusiness investments.

In its latest Rural and Agribusiness report, Colliers International said many agriculture regions had passed their ­bottom points and that a positive ­agricultural commodities outlook was “key” for the sector.

Commodity prices reflect supply and demand market dynamics. Rising ­commodity prices often act as leading indicators of rising property values provided the outlook is also favourable in terms of interest rates, rainfall outlook and water availability. . .

Oceania Dairy Factory Receives First Milk:

Oceania Dairy’s new $214 million Glenavy milk processing plant received its first intake of milk from South Canterbury and North Otago farmers today.

The milk will be used for the next stages of the plant commissioning as the 14 -month construction programme draws to its conclusion. The initial plant testing has been completed using water. The final six weeks of commissioning and performance testing will now be undertaken with milk before the final handover of the factory from construction to production by the middle of September

“This is a landmark day for Oceania Dairy Limited, for our supply farmers and for the district,” said Aidan Johnstone, Chief Executive Officer for Oceania Dairy.

“The factory represents a significant investment by Oceania’s owners, Yili, that will have an ongoing impact on the rural economy of the region. . .

Rural TV

We had a massive weekend in Wanaka smashing the boots on the D-floor to the ultimate NZ country - this guy had a birthday & his pals throw him a party - hope you all had a good one!


Rural round-up

July 22, 2014

Lepto danger with flood waters:

RURAL WOMEN New Zealand  reminds Far North farming families to be mindful about health issues in dealing with flood waters, including the elevated risk of leptospirosis.

Families should be careful about drinking water, pull on their gumboots, wash hands and faces thoroughly, and cover cuts and grazes before they come into contact with flood water to reduce the chance of getting infections, in particular leptospirosis, Rural Women says.

The leptospirosis bacteria is shed in the urine from infected animals including stock, rodents, dogs, possums, and hedgehogs and is more easily spread about where there is excess surface water as the Far North is currently experiencing. . .

Free lunch for Northland farmers:

WHO SAYS there’s no such thing as a free lunch – or dinner, asks the Northland Rural Support Trust.

It is holding free lunch or dinners for flood-hit Northland starting tomorrow (Wednesday, July 23).

“We can’t stop it raining, but here’s a chance to have a dinner you don’t have to cook and an opportunity to talk to other storm affected folk plus pick the brains of some support people,” the Support Trust says to farmers.

Free food and drink is supplied at each event thanks to the trust and local merchants. . .

Stark difference between NZ and Australian dairying but why? – Pasture to Profit:

The visual & financial differences between the New Zealand & Australian dairy industries at the current time are stark and startling!

Why is the NZ dairy industry booming and Australian dairy farmers under so much pressure & having to dig deep to remain profitable. Both dairy industries supply into the same international market and Australia has a much bigger domestic population and local market. A strong local market is often argued as being a strength and likely to lift dairy farmers farm gate price. The economy in both countries is relatively strong & to a large extent was not greatly affected by the world financial crisis. Yet one dairy industry is hanging in by their fingernails while the other is buoyed (perhaps unrealistically!) by higher milk prices. . . .

AbacusBio finalist in sheep awards – Sally Rae:

Dunedin-based AbacusBio and its managing director Neville Jopson both feature among the finalists in this year’s Beef and Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards.

After being held in the South for the past two years, the awards have been shifted to Napier and will be held on August 6.

Dr Jopson is a finalist in one of two new categories – the sheep industry science award, which recognises a project, business or person undertaking science that is having a positive impact on farming. . .

Decision on effluent area reserved:

An Environment Southland hearing committee has reserved its decision on whether Southland meat processor South Pacific Meats (SPM) can spread effluent on to a larger area of farmland in northern Southland.

SPM, jointly owned by Affco New Zealand and Talleys Fisheries Ltd, opened a plant at Awarua, south of Invercargill, in 2005.

Last year, it gained consent from Environment Southland to spread sludge from the bottom of its wastewater treatment pond on to 55.5ha of a 1033ha sheep farm near Garston. . . .

Farms: the abuse of children –  A Farm Girl’s Fight:

Recently, I was reading some blogs and websites of organizations and individuals that oppose farmers. These websites have “facts” that are outrageous. Luckily, these facts have “sources” attached….that link back to their own website. Anyway, it’s humorous to me, and gives me ideas for my blogs. And let me tell you what. I am fired up.

There was a sentence on one of the websites (which no I will not link to their website) that stated:

“Farmers are awful people that often take advantage of underage children, often their own, forcing them into a life of work and learning of inhumane ways.”
Let me tell you something. With the exception of the “inhumane ways” addition, that statement is damn true and I am darn proud of it. . . .

 


Rural round-up

July 21, 2014

A balanced lifestyle – Sally Rae:

Entering the Ballance Farm Environment Awards reinforced to South Otago couple Brendon and Suzie Bearman they were ”heading in the right direction”.

The couple, who farm a 245ha property south of Milton, received the Otago Regional Council water quality award, LIC dairy farm award and PGG Wrightson land and life award in this year’s Otago BFEA awards.

The opening date for entries in the 2015 competition is August 1 and Mrs Bearman encouraged people to enter. It was a good forum to promote farming in a positive light and the ”good things” people were doing on farms needed to be highlighted, she said. . .

Caution urged on intensification - Andrea Fox:

Not long ago Irish dairy leaders were saying New Zealand dairy farmers had lost the plot on cost competitiveness.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle recalled they gave him stick about the Kiwi move to higher inputs and this country’s flirtation with cow housing. 

Now the Irish are fearful they will go down the same road, with European milk production quota limits coming off next year. . .

Skills key to future success – Andrea Fox:

Sharemilkers will always be among us but the future pathway to farm ownership will be through the classroom, sector veterans say.

With the number of herd owners from the traditional nursery, 50:50 sharemilkers, shrinking in the past decade, from more than 3000 to 2229 last year, there is a question mark over who will be the dairy farm owners of the future as land prices, which spawned sharemilking, continue to rise.  

Sharemilker, farm-owner and DairyNZ director Ben Allomes said as the dairy industry grew in size and maturity, it would not be so much the sharemilking system that would be the ladder to farm ownership but an ability to work whatever system there was to get traction. . . .

Molesworth Station: From ruin to redemption :

The story of Molesworth is one of ruin to redemption, says the author of a book on the iconic high country station.

”It’s sort of a heroic theme really and a lesson in fantastic land management,” says Harry Broad, the journalist and conservationist behind Molesworth: Stories from New Zealand’s largest high-country station.

Harry is one of the authors at next weekend’s Marlborough Book Festival, where he’ll share stories of the incredible history, landscape and people of Molesworth.

The 180,000-hectare Marlborough station was ”close to ruin” by 1937, due to poor management, aggravated by low wool prices, a plague of rabbits and winters that could kill a third of its sheep. . .

Beef, lamb exports near peak – Gerard Hutching:

New Zealand beef and lamb exports are at almost record levels for the first nine months of trade this season.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand figures show lamb exports reached $2.06 billion for the nine months to June, despite volume dropping by 3.6 per cent and the disadvantage of a strong dollar.

The buoyant meat export figures are in contrast to recent slumps in dairy prices. In a shock fall, dairy prices dropped 8.9 per cent at the latest Global Dairy Trade auction earlier this week and are down about 35 per cent from recent peaks. . .

 

Single farmers looking for love – Kelly Dennett:

A new Facebook page that helps farmers find love has created a stir in the provinces.

NZF Singles invites country folk seeking companionship to post their photo and information for others to peruse.

The applicants could see who liked or commented on their photo and add them online accordingly.

For those seeking something a little more casual, a Russian roulette style system called Second Chance Sunday invited people to post their Snap Chat names or phone numbers on the wall for others to get in touch.    . . .


Rural round-up

July 17, 2014

Shock treatment makes waves - Sally Rae:

It has been an electrifying experiment.

A research team at the University of Otago has been using short bursts of high-voltage electricity in a bid to improve the tenderness of red meat.

The research, in conjunction with Alliance Group and led by Dr Alaa El-din Bekhit, of the university’s food science department, has been cited as having the potential to open up new opportunities for lifting returns on lower-value carcass cuts. . . .

Landowners want history kept alive:

A Taranaki Maori landowner of an award-winning farm wants tribal descendants to know about the land’s history, not just its success.

Te Rua o te Moko farm near Hawera won this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy recognising Maori excellence in farming.

The farm is made of four land blocks, one of which was confiscated by the Crown in 1863 and is being held in a land bank. It is due to be given back as part of the Ngaruahinerangi iwi Treaty of Waitangi settlement. . .

Landcorp’s huge dairy plans start to take shape -

Three new dairy farms that have been converted from forestry will begin milking for the first time in the new season as part of Landcorp’s large-scale dairy development near Taupo.

The state-owned enterprise has converted nine farms from forestry in partnership with landowner Wairakei Pastoral. In total, the nine dairy units encompassed 5300ha and milked 13,000 cows, chief executive Steven Carden said. Based on its current timetable, Landcorp hoped to have everything completed by 2020. To date, the project has cost $87 million.

“We have four this year, four the next year and four the year after. When the whole thing is finished we are looking at 24 farms and around about 30,000 cows across 25,700ha of land.”  . . .

Knock-on effects of less beer drinking – Sonita Chandar:

Fewer people are drinking beer and farmers are getting a hangover.

As beer consumption falls, breweries require less malt and malting companies need less barley from farmers.

The change in Kiwis’ drinking habits is being felt at the Marton malting factory of MaltEurop NZ.

Operations manager Tiago Cabral says some barley growers are likely to feel the effect more than others.

“We will need less barley and will have to contract less tonnage from our growers,” he says. . . .

2014 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards Finalists Announced:

The finalists have been announced for the third Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Sheep Industry Awards.

About 300 people are expected to attend the awards dinner – which recognise top-performing New Zealand sheep breeders – on 6 August in Napier.

Five industry-related awards will be presented. In addition to the Sheep Industry Trainer of the Year, Individual or Business Making a Significant Contribution to the New Zealand Sheep Industry and the Sheep Industry Innovation Award, two new awards have been added: the Sheep Industry Science Award, recognising a project, business or person undertaking science that is having a positive impact on farming now, and the Sheep Industry Supplier Award, which recognises a farmer supplier nominated by processors for consistently meeting company specifications and other key performance indicators. . .

CRV Ambreed appoints artificial insemination expert to Tasman, Marlborough area role:

Dairy farmer, breeder and artificial insemination expert Nigel Patterson has been appointed field consultant for the CRV Ambreed team, in which he will be managing the Nelson, Marlborough, Murchison area.

CRV Ambreed’s South Island sales and services manager Mark Duffy said the company was delighted to have someone with such a strong background in dairy join the team.

“Nigel has over 26 years’ experience in the dairy industry, including running his own pedigree Jersey herd, share milking, providing testing services and supporting farmers through artificial insemination (AI),” said Mr Duffy. . . .

New Zealand’s leading analytical testing laboratory celebrates 30 years:

In July 1984 a young Waikato scientist by the name of Roger Hill left a small soil testing laboratory in Cambridge to launch his own in Hamilton.

Roger and his wife Anne’s initial business intention, he says, was simply to “have a go” on their own.

Yet three decades later the company, well-known nationally and internationally as Hill Laboratories, is the largest privately owned testing laboratory in the whole of New Zealand. . .

Ballance signs up record shareholders:

A record number of farmers from around the country have secured shareholdings in Ballance Agri-Nutrients in time to receive a rebate on their fertiliser purchased from the farm nutrient co-operative in September this year.

Ballance’s rebate and dividend in the 2013 financial year averaged a record $65 per tonne.

Nearly 1000 farmers signed up to become shareholders for the 2014 financial year which ended on 31 May. . .

Reduce winter nitrogen loss – Bala Tikkisetty:

Winter is a time when farmers should take special care to protect both profits and the environment from the effects of increased nitrogen leaching at this time of year.

Applications of nitrogen fertilisers in winter are generally least effective for promoting grass growth.

That’s because slow growth of pasture and drainage from increased seasonal rainfall can result in nitrate leaching directly from fertiliser before plants can take it up. The nitrogen can then make its way to waterways where it can stimulate nuisance algal growth. . .


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