Rural round-up

Bio-security thoroughly underprepared for high risk incursions – Allan Barber:

The Auditor General’s report into the current state of readiness to cope with potential high-risk threats to our biosecurity makes sobering reading. In the report Lyn Provost, the Auditor General, makes a number of recommendations for improvements, while complimenting MPI on recent progress. But the overwhelming impression is one of a disaster waiting to happen.

Beneath the carefully modulated tones of her report, which follows the public service principle of expressing any criticisms quietly, there are some worrying conclusions; the most notable being that New Zealand is not prepared for an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). It is estimated that FMD would reduce GDP by $8 billion in the first year and $13 billion by the end of year two, equivalent to more than 6% of GDP. . . .

Proactive farming – getting the wheels in motion:

Taking a proactive approach to farm business management is critical to ensure success, according to farm owner Tony Buckingham, of ‘Wainui Hills’, in the Southern Southland, who completed Rabobank’s Farm Managers Program.

Running a Perendale-Coopdale fat lamb enterprise across three properties in the Waimahaka region, Tony was seeking the opportunity to set some strategic goals for his family business to help them step things up to the next level.
Tony said the Rabobank program helped set the ‘wheels in motion’ for their business planning, motivating him to address key issues for the family business – rather than reactively.
“The program really highlights things you know in the back of your head you have to address at some stage – like succession planning – but motivates you to take a head-on approach so you’re not caught behind the eight-ball,” Tony said. . .

Farmers seeking fairness on PGP – Annette Scott:

Sheep farmers agree their industry needs new direction. As they consider options they spell out a clear message – they will settle for nothing short of a fair deal. Annette Scott talked to farmers.

Pressure is building as a farmer vote set to give the go-ahead for Beef + Lamb New Zealand to spend industry reserves on a Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme moves closer.

The $65 million red-meat sector Collaboration for Sustainable Growth programme, which could turn the industry on its ear, has been marked by meat-industry players agreeing to put aside their differences and lift their game to ensure stronger co-ordination in an attempt to pick up the ailing sheep-meat industry. . .

Drought effect may be reduced – Catherine Harris:

Worsening drought in the upper North Island will slow economic growth over the next few months but the country is expected to shake off those effects later this year.

Infometrics economist Matt Nolan said parched growing conditions this summer would put a sizeable dent in the country’s milk production, but its effect would not be as bad as the drought four years ago.

This was largely because the extended sunny spell had come later, and farmers had had time to build up their feed, putting more than two-thirds of their normal production under the belt. . .

New Centre pig genes leader – Tim Cronshaw:

The newest boar stud, with some of the most sophisticated genetic collecting technology in a bio-filtered facility to ensure they are in good health, has opened in the small Canterbury township of Hororata.

The Gene Transfer Centre is set to become the largest pig semen collection and processing facility for the pork industry.

Centre facilities carry the latest semen diagnostic technology and computer-assisted analysis. . .

Wild insects better than bees:

Well publicised risks to the health of managed honeybee hives may be less of a threat to food production worldwide than a decline in wild insect pollinators, new research suggests.

Carried out around the world, including New Zealand, the latest work found wild insects were better at pollination than honeybees, raising fears that a continuing loss of wild pollinators will lead to lower agricultural yields.

The study published today and led by Lucas Garibaldi from the National University in Río Negro, Argentina looked at 41 crops from 600 field sites on six continents. The sites studied included three in this country, where onions, kiwifruit and turnip rape were being grown. . .

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