Rural round-up

No chance government will legislate to restrict meat capacity – Allan Barber

After the announcement last week of Alliance Group’s intention to close sheepmeat processing at its Mataura plant, union representative Gary Davis called for the government to intervene. This was no doubt caused more by frustration over the loss of jobs than any realistic expectation that the government would interfere in a commercial situation.

Alliance has made a business decision based on declining sheep numbers, brought about largely by land use change to dairy. The South Island’s share of national dairy production continues to increase every year with the result that more beef processing is needed at the expense of sheep chains. Hence Alliance took the logical decision to retain beef processing at Mataura and to transfer sheepmeat to Lorneville. . .

Oilseed rape industry a goer!

Federated Farmers Grain & Seed Industry Group welcomes the news that Solid Energy has received a bid to buy its Agribusiness division as a going concern.

“After hearing a few weeks ago there was a possibility that Solid Energy could simply shut the doors at Biodiesel New Zealand, this is the news that oilseed rape growers have been waiting for,” says Federated Farmers South Canterbury Grain & Seed Chairman and oilseed rape grower, Colin Hurst.

“Growing oilseed rape requires a significant commitment because the seeds can stay in the ground and stop you growing any other brassica for as long as ten years. . .

Swiss cows send texts to announce they’re in heat – John Tagliabue:

When Christian Oesch was a boy on his family’s hog farm, cellphones were a thing of the future. Now, Mr. Oesch tends a herd of dairy cattle and carries a smartphone wherever he goes. Occasionally he gets an SMS from one of his cows.

That is because Mr. Oesch, 60, who cares for a herd of 44 Red Holstein and Jersey dairy cows, is helping to test a device that implants sensors in cows to let farmers know when they are in heat. When that is the case, the device sends an SMS to the farmer’s phone. The Swiss do not settle for half measures: the SMS can be in any one of Switzerland’s three main languages — German, French and Italian — plus English or Spanish. . .

Should we bother trying to get consumers closer to farmers? – Pasture Harmonies:

It is often said that farmers need to get closer to consumers.

And while it is possible, and some marketers have set up the facility to, for a bar code (or QR code) to show exactly where a piece of meat came from, even though that’s good it’s not really the point.

Sure, often the marketer will be telling a story associated with the meat’s provenance.

However, my argument is that within the huge quantity of meat sold around the world, the brave battle of such tiny efforts is worthy but not enough. . .

God’s country -Charmian Smith:

Central Otago is “God’s country when it comes to pinot    noir”, Australian wine writer James Halliday wrote in Panorama    in 2000. At the region’s 25th anniversary celebration at the    weekend, Charmian Smith asked him if he thinks it still    applies.

In 1990, James Halliday, elder statesman of Australian wine,  opened Gibbston Valley Wines, the region’s first  purpose-built winery and restaurant. He was privately      thinking that there was no way good wine was going to be made there, he says, and he warned Alan Brady and his investors that wineries had an inexhaustible appetite for funds – something many have found since.

Halliday has been to Central many times since, obviously revising his opinion about the quality of the wine. Last weekend he was back for the 25th anniversary celebrations of  the region’s first wine produced for sale, a 1987 Rhine Riesling made from the few grapes the half-dozen pioneers could get together from their little plots of vines. . .

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