Rural round-up

Quenching our thirst for water – Paul Callow:

Developing greater access to irrigation is critical to our economic prosperity and the private sector will likely play a big part.

New Zealand’s economy is heavily dependent on the agriculture sector for generating much of our wealth and wellbeing. The sector itself depends on a range of inputs, but by far the most important is water – you only have to look at the devastating effect recent droughts have had on dairy, lamb and beef production to realise just how important.

Interestingly, the problem is not that there isn’t enough water in an absolute sense; it is just that it often isn’t available in the right place at the right time . . .

NZ workers ‘lazy, unmotivated’: farmer – Sally Rae:

Productivity has soared since the Bloem family employed Filipino workers at its Highcliff piggery.

Long-time pig farmer Peter Bloem estimated his operation was producing an extra 1500 pigs a year from the same number of sows.

He had become frustrated with New Zealand workers who were “lazy, unmotivated and didn’t want to go the extra mile to learn anything”.

Training makes for better staff – Sally Rae:

When Brendan Morrison returned home to the family dairy farm in South Otago, his father encouraged him to do some further training.

Mr Morrison (22), who won this year’s Otago dairy trainee of the year in the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, has completed training with AgITO from levels 3 to 4 and is enrolled in the national certificate in agribusiness management, agribusiness resource management, level 5. . .

Arthur’s nearly 80 and still on the job – Sue Newman:

Arthur Maude might be close to 80, but he reckons that’s got nothing to do with his ability to work.
He still puts in a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay, ask his employers.
They can’t speak highly enough of the man who headed for the hills as a 17-year-old to begin a career as a high country musterer. They call him “a legend”.
That was decades ago, more decades than Arthur cares to count.
The years might have somehow ticked by, but time has done nothing to dull his energy or his enthusiasm for rural life. He’s a stockman through and through and can’t see any reason why he should hang up his boots and raincoat or retire his dogs. . .

Eastern promise for beef & lamb:

NEW ZEALAND’S sheep and beef farmers are set to reap the benefits of booming trade and tumbling tariffs on exports to China, says Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

Already, the China FTA is delivering annual tariff savings of nearly $25 million a year on sheep and beef exports of nearly $700m in 2010.

“Those volumes are trending upwards as China continues to develop rapidly, with a growing middle class population looking to increase protein consumption, and that includes our beef and lamb,” says BLNZ chief executive Scott Champion . . .

Fonterra, farmers blame retailers – Andrea Fox:

Fonterra farmers, fed up with being blamed for high milk prices, have turned the heat up on retailers, saying it’s time they explained their part in price setting.

The Fonterra Shareholders Council, which represents the interests of the big company’s 10,500 farmer owners, has urged Kiwis to consider the facts and figures around wholesale and retail milk prices.

Chairman Simon Couper said it will be clear neither farmers nor Fonterra are profiteering.

“Retailers owe New Zealanders a fair description of their part in taking wholesale priced milk to the consumer,” he said.

Dairy industry figures show the wholesale price of a litre of house brand milk in New Zealand is $1.11 . . .

Survey highlights effect of salmonella on sheep population –  Mary Witsey:

The preliminary results of the Southland Salmonella Brandenburg survey confirm the impact the infectious disease is having on the province’s sheep population.

Fifty-five Southland sheep farmers responded to the VetSouth survey, with almost one-third saying that their stock had been affected by the disease last season.

Thirty-eight per cent said their animals had suffered abortions last season, with 29 per cent attributing those losses to Salmonella Brandenburg . . .

Manager gets to know new patch – Mary Witsey:

Fonterra’s newly appointed Western Southland area manager is looking forward to meeting the dairy farmers in her patch.

Alana Tait has been on the road this month introducing herself to Fonterra suppliers around Western and Central Southland, as she settles into her new role.

No stranger to the district, she grew up in Central Southland and worked in the rural banking sector, and as a fertiliser field consultant, after completing a degree at the University of Otago . . .

Farmers forced to ride out currency, export volitility – Owen Hembry:

Volatility is a fact of life for exporters, says Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills.

Farmers had been looking with increasing concern at a rampant kiwi currency but the world had changed a lot in the past week and the dollar was down, which was useful, Wills said.

“I’m guessing we’re probably going to see commodity prices come back as well because the economies that we sell into are obviously now suffering some sort of contagion that they haven’t previously felt,” he said . . .

British heir sells off chunk of farm – Martin van Beynen:

British banking heir David de Rothschild has made a small gain on the sale of his Hickory Bay farm on Banks Peninsula.

The eco-adventurer and author had big plans for the property, but few appear to have come to fruition before he sold most of the farm in April to Ashburton company Hickory Bay Farm Ltd, shareholders of which include dairy farmer Keith Townshend, his wife Rosemary and Rachel and Kristin Savage.

Townshend bought 382 hectares of the 442ha property for $3.2 million. De Rothschild has retained a 60ha block, which has remnants of native bush . . .

Taipei Bloggers Create A Buzz Around New Zealand Beef:

Taiwan’s tastemakers are helping to set a new consumer trend for pure and natural New Zealand beef.

The local blogosphere is abuzz with appetizing photos and recipes singing the praises of our product, hailing it as delicious and nutritious.

The blogs follow three cooking class-style workshops hosted by Beef + Lamb New Zealand in a Taipei culinary school.

The industry-good organization invited 96 of the city’s young foodies to come along and learn about grass-fed beef, and have a go at cooking it for themselves. . .

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