Rural round-up

Shearing industry shoulders blame for alcohol abuse:

The New Zealand Shearing industry yet again shoulders the blame for alcohol abuse and subsequent driving accidents by people who either work in the industry, or are associated with it. That’s the view of New Zealand Shearing Contractors’ Association (NZSCA) chairman Barry Pullin of Rolleston, following comments by Otago/Southland coroner David Crerar on a road accident death last year involving a Southland shearer.

“The coroner has challenged shearing contractors to have an aspect of host responsibility and supervision in the consumption of alcohol at parties, outside of work hours. Our Association and its members have, over the past five years, taken many steps to combat issues of alcohol, drug abuse and driving accidents during work time,” Barry Pullin says.

“Professionally run businesses do this every day and not only in the shearing industry. Now shearing contractors are challenged to be responsible outside of work time as well. Drink driving and alcohol abuse is a community problem. The sad fact is that in rural communities accidents late at night, well after work time has finished, often have the contributing factor of alcohol,” Mr Pullin noted.

Trees on farms workshop:

 Dairy farmers are increasingly recognising the benefits of tree planting as part of an integrated land management strategy that not only helps address problem spots on-farm but adds value and cash flow in the process.

The latest Trees on Farms workshop has been specifically designed for Waikato dairy farmers, looking at trees as an on-farm investment opportunity on less productive areas. The workshop will particularly look at how sideling and riparian planting can provide cost effective, sustainable long term land use solutions.

As part of the workshop an afternoon field trip will visit the Putaruru dairy farm of Gray and Marilyn Baldwin. The Baldwins, with their sharemilkers Hamish and Jane Putt, were the 2009 Ballance Farm Environment Awards Supreme Winners for Waikato. They farm around 410 dairy cows, with around 40 ha in plantation forest – not only radiata pine, but also including a diversity of species such as redwoods, cypresses, kauri (for timber production), larches and taxodiums, as well as significant plantings of tree crops (mainly chestnuts, hazelnuts, and feijoas). The Baldwins have a visionary yet very pragmatic approach to tree planting, based around the economic, land management, animal welfare and environmental benefits that trees provide. They are looking to these timber species for future earnings, optimal land use and weed control. . .

Baker no-tillage launched in Europe:

The crusade to encourage more farmers to adopt no-tillage techniques on their properties is being taken to Europe.

Baker No-Tillage, a Manawatu based developer and manufacturer of a revolutionary new drill, is holding an international conference and field days in Germany and France next week (June 18 to 25) to encourage more European farmers to adopt no-tillage methods.

Nearly 50 owners of Baker No-Tillage drills from nine different countries are attending including 19 from New Zealand. . .

NZ grape harvest down after cool spring and summer:

The 2012 New Zealand grape harvest is down 18 percent on last year due to a cool spring and summer.

About 269,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested in the 2012 season, down from the record 2011 harvest of 328,000 tonnes, New Zealand Wine Growers said after completing its vintage survey.

The 2012 harvest was expected to be smaller than last year, said Philip Gregan, chief executive of New Zealand Winegrowers.

“The 2012 vintage is very similar in size to 2010, but given sales growth in the past two years, the reduced crop will introduce a new tension to the sectors’ supply demand balance,” Mr Gregan said. .

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