Rural round-up

Landcare genetic scientist names recipient of entrepreneurship award – Esther G0h:

A genetic scientist has won the inaugural Women in Science Entrepreneurship Award, receiving $50,000 of venture development advice and access to an international advisory board with experience in science commercialisation.

Dr Dianne Gleeson, a director of DNA diagnostic facility EcoGene, says the award will encourage more women at top levels of the industry, where they are underrepresented.

“There is growing commercial demand for scientific services and women can make a valuable contribution to the development of the industry in New Zealand and overseas,” she said . . .

Managing irrigation compliance – Sally Rae:

For the North Otago Irrigation Company, environmental management is a “fundamental part” of its business.

“We need to embrace our environmental requirements and push towards full compliance. There’s no other option,” the company’s environmental co-ordinator, Jodi Leckie, said . . .

Quick call sees woman go country for long haul – Sally Rae:

When Nicole Amery returns to the bright lights of Auckland, she feels like a “possum in the headlights”.

The city no longer has any appeal for the young woman, who was brought up in a non-rural family on Waiheke Island.

A split-second decision to head south to Telford to undertake an equine course, rather than study design, turned out to be life-changing . . .

Better lamb crop this year – Gerald Piddock:

Signs are looking good for a bumper lamb crop in Central Canterbury as the first of the new season’s arrivals hit the ground on coastal farms and lifestyle blocks.

South Canterbury scanner Brian Bell has been scanning ewes every day for the past month. He is just over halfway through his assignments and, with about another six weeks to go.

Results were 5-10 per cent up on last year and farmers were reasonably happy, he said . . .

Arable farming shows positive signs – MAF:

Cropping farmers expect strong global commodity prices and increasing demand for dairy support to underpin a significant increase in returns over the coming year.

Many arable farmers had a profitable season last year, but there is increasing interest in converting some of their land to dairy which is still performing more strongly. . .

Meat supplies ready for World Cup – Hugh Stringleman:

Concerns that hungry Rugby World Cup visitors and rabid All Blacks fans will run short of good New Zealand red meat have eased, according to local market operators.

An extraordinary autumn and winter of grass growth have brought forward finished cattle, lambs and deer, while the high NZ dollar has helped the local market compete with export returns.

Because of the pick-up in the flow of prime cattle, the local market price has “come off the peak” and now sits at $4.25/kg, said Fred Hellaby, principal of the largest Auckland meat processor, Wilson Hellabys.

It is unusual for that indicator to go down heading into the seasonal period of shortest prime beef supply, not including the added Rugby World Cup demand . . .

Merinos go multi-purpose – Hugh Stringleman:

Substantial increases in prices are being offered to farmers by New Zealand Merino in two and three-year contracts for fine wool, soon to be followed by Merino meat contracts at attractive prices. The higher contract terms flowed on from the extraordinary increases in market prices for wool and lamb during the past 12 months, said NZ Merino chief executive John Brakenridge.

For him, after 15 years of unrelenting effort to create premium markets for Merino products, the latest surge repositions the sheep as a multi-purpose animal.

It was also a wonderful springboard for the $36 million Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) with the government, which was the first of its kind, signed in May 2010 . . .

Climate debate pits farmers against science – Jon Morgan:

Despite the best efforts of the Government and its officials, the opposition among farmers to the emissions trading scheme refuses to fade away.

Many would like to see the debate ended with the acceptance that the legislation – and the belief behind it that climate change is man-made – is indisputable.

But in the farming media the debate rages on. There, it is one- sided, with only the rare brave person willing to stand against an overwhelming opposition.

And, on the surface, the farmers have a point. Their animals’ burps and farts are to be taxed. Put like that, it is laughable . . .

Caring pasture based dairy farmers encourage biodiversity – Pasture to Profit:

Biodiversity on pasture based dairy farms is seriously important. If dairyfarmers are seen by the public to be caring for the environment & making a special effort to protect the biodiversity, this too is a major PR with our consumers. There are very strong arguments for farmers to protect biodiversity as well as enjoying it for its own sake. The farms are both our homes & our work places.

Ben & Jerry the ice cream makers have established the “Caring Dairy” Program with Sustainable Indicators. Most pasture based dairyfarmers would embrace this program & agree fully with the targets . . .  

Fruit and wine growers under pressure – MAF:

Many orchardists and winegrowers are feeling the pressure of lack of profitability or threat of disease.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has released the kiwifruit, pipfruit and winegrowing analyses as part of its annual Farm Monitoring Report series. The reports provide models and an overview of the financial performance of typical orchards and vineyards, based on information gathered from a sample of growers and industry stakeholders. . .

Tough times for pip fruit growers – Jon Morgan:

The pipfruit industry is in serious financial strife, according to a senior industry figure.

John McCliskie, a Nelson grower and exporter and former chairman of the Apple and Pear Board and past chairman of the World Apple and Pear Association, told the Pipfruit NZ conference that bankers and international customers were starting to question the industry’s viability.

He told the growers, who were meeting in Havelock North yesterday, that they must change the industry’s strategy and alter the way they marketed their fruit . . .

Let’s give farming another kick – RivettingKate taylor:

So now’s it’s dangerous for me to bring my kids up on a farm? FOR GOODNESS SAKE (picture half a dozen strong words combined with a slow shake of the head and a grim mouth to match).

This story was on the radio this morning and it has now caught my attention on stuff.co.nz. According to the story, children raised on livestock farms have a greater risk of developing blood cancers later in life . . .

Reacting to the same story: Breaking news: farmers’ children don’t live forever – Andrei:

 Children of livestock farmers ‘face cancer risk’
 
Is there anything of usable value in this, probably not . . . 

The true nature of nature – Bruce Wills:

Some 80 years ago, pioneers started experimenting with artificial insemination to improve our livestock.  A big challenge they faced was how to get this time sensitive ‘product’ out to farms before couriers were commonplace.  Someone suggested carrier pigeons, but there were some obvious flaws.  Not every pigeon makes it to the right place on time and to our native hawk or Kahu, a pigeon is ‘meals on wings’. 

While times have moved on, the end result of this breeding refinement is now appearing on the nation’s farms. It’s the first sign of spring and some 150 days after the rams were let out in April, I’m now counting down the final four weeks.  Since calving comes around 283 days after last December’s mating, September is shaping up to be a busy month at my Hawke’s Bay farm, Trelinnoe. . .  

LIC set to pay record dividend – Owen Hembry:

NZAX-listed animal and farm improvement company LIC will pay a record dividend in a result chairman Stuart Bay says reflects the vibrancy of the farming industry.

Revenue at the dairy farmer co-operative for the year to May was up 21.4 per cent on the previous year at $165.6 million, with record underlying net earnings of $17.1 million, up 87.9 per cent.

The result would give farmer shareholders a record net dividend of $13.6 million, the company said . .

Ballance shareholders receive bumper rebate – Owen Hembry:

Fertiliser company Ballance Agri-Nutrients will pay a record rebate to it shareholders.

Operating profit for the year ended May 31 was $85.9 million, compared to $20.7 million the previous year. A record total average payment to shareholders of $50.29 a tonne included a rebate of $46 a tonne on fertiliser purchased and an imputed dividend of 10 cents a share, resulting in a total distribution of $49 million, the company said. . .

Federated farmers Waikato provincial president James Houghton takes issue with that in playing fast and loose with co-operation:

The news that fertiliser cooperative Ballance Agri-Nutrients is planning to pay a record rebate back to its shareholder farmers such as myself, was met with a few expletives around my area last week.

In the corporate world an $85.9 million operating profit, especially when up from $20.7 million the previous year would be great news.

In a co-operative though, it looks plain greedy. . .

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