Rural round-up

NZ being denied role as leader in biotechnology: Rolleston – Gerald Piddock:

Timid political will is stopping New Zealand from becoming a global leader in biotechnology, according to farming leader-scientist Dr Williams Rolleston. 

    As scientists worked to feed billions more humans opportunities existed for the country to show leadership in biotechnology without causing environmental degradation. 

“By any measure New Zealand ought to be a leader. No, it should be the leader. The fact we are not comes back to a timid political will,” he told an international conference on agricultural biotechnology in Rotorua. . .

Savings vet’s carrot for pig vaccination – Shawn McAvinue:

A Southland vet wants to spread the cost of vaccinating pigs to stop the spread of a deadly disease in humans. 

    Vet South Gore veterinarian Anne Gelling said all the pigs in Southland should be vaccinated to protect humans from leptospirosis. 

    Leptospirosis spread when pigs’ urine came in contact with human skin, eyes or mucous membranes, Dr Gelling said. 

    People become ill after about three to 14 days later. . .

Time now right for farmers, processors to talk – Rob Tipa:

Southland farming leader Andrew Morrison believes the time is right for farmers to talk with their meat companies about Red Meat Sector Strategy initiatives and what appetite both parties have to make changes to future-proof their industry. 

Mr Morrison, who is Southland Federated Farmers’ meat and wool section chairman, said southern sheep farmers and meat companies had experienced two very tough seasons in a row. 

In September 2010, spring snowstorms caused heavy lamb losses in Southland, the Catlins and South Otago and last spring was wet and just as challenging with similar lambing percentages to the previous year of the storm. . .

Dairy union talks action over layoffs – Al Williams:

The New Zealand Dairy Workers Union is considering legal action against Fonterra after eight staff members at the Waimate milk processing plant were given marching orders on Monday. 

    It follows Fonterra’s acquisition of the former New Zealand Dairies operation last week. 

    New Zealand Dairies was placed in receivership in May owing a substantial amount to its supplier farmers. 

    New Zealand Dairy Workers Union southern organiser Murray Kerse said the union was looking at a case for discrimination. . .

Disasters on farms ‘different‘ – Jill Galloway:

Farmers have a different view when it comes to natural disasters, said chairwoman of the Rural Family Support Trust Margaret Millard. 

    She said that in times of floods or earthquakes, farmers were concerned about their family and staff, but also about their stock. 

    “If it floods, they want to shift stock to higher ground before they leave. 

    “Farmers often take a broader view, urban dwellers often take a very people perspective,” Millard said. 

    Rural support trusts are giving their backing to the upcoming Civil Defence “Shakeout” earthquake drill at 9.26am on September 26. . .

Biofuels NZ not ‘mismanaged’ – Gerald Piddock:

The global economic downturn and poor decisions around land use fuelled by the desire to expand quickly led to the failure of profitability for Biodiesel New Zealand, a former senior employee says.

David Geary, who worked as national field operations manager for Biodiesel New Zealand from 2007-2010, said the economic environment meant it was not the ideal time to be starting a biofuel business.

‘‘I think the economics of the fuel industry and the economic downturn worldwide had quite a major impact for a fledgling start-up business.’’  

However he said he was confident the biofuel industry in New Zealand would survive. . .

In search of Australia’s dairy sweetspot – Dr Jon Hauser & Neil Lane:

In the previous two articles I have written about the value of flat milk supply to processors and “the market”. The articles also showed how milk pricing mechanisms have been used to pull southeast Australian milk towards a flatter milk supply curve. In this third article of the series I’ll take a look at the topic from the farmer’s perspective – what are the cost / benefit implications for a farmer who chooses to flatten their milk supply.

To write this article I have enlisted the support of Neil Lane – a dairy farmer consultant and member of the Intelact farm advisory group (www.intelact.com). Neil’s clients include some of the more profitable and successful farmers in southeast Australia and he is well respected for his theoretical and practical understanding of dairy farm economics and management. . .

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