More North Island areas move out of drought:
Weekend rain has brought further relief to farmers in drought areas.
While some say it’s been enough to break the back of the drought for them, others say they are not out of trouble yet and follow up rain over the next few weeks will be critical.
Most of Bay of Plenty had moved out of drought last week before the latest rain which caused flooding in a number of areas.
Waikato and most of Taranaki have also had good falls. . .
Papakaio sharemilker pair winners – Sally Rae:
Farming and family go together for Morgan and Hayley Easton.
Mr and Mrs Easton, who are 50% sharemilkers at Papakaio, on the lower Waitaki Plains, were recently named the 2013 Canterbury-North Otago Sharemilker-Equity Farmers of the Year.
The couple have spent the past five years developing the 365ha property, owned by Mr Easton’s parents David and Clare, and have increased cow numbers from 450 to 1350. . .
Vet believes NZ sheep farmers deserve recognition for gains – Sally Rae:
South Otago vet John Smart reckons New Zealand sheep farmers have not had enough recognition for improvements made over the years.
Now in his 37th year in the veterinary profession, he said there had been ”quite massive gains”.
He believed New Zealand did it as well as, if not better, than most other countries.
He recalled the days when farmers were producing 13kg lambs and struggling to achieve a 100% lambing. There had been vast improvements since then. . .
Research bias has no sense – Jenny Taylor:
Anyone could be forgiven for thinking the only breed of dairy cattle being farmed in New Zealand is holstein-friesian.
A DairyNZ trial looking for the cows that convert their feed into milk most efficiently involves only holstein-friesian cows.
Can someone forward the memo which explains the mass withdrawal of other breeds?
The national dairy statistics for the 2011/12 season show jerseys make up 12.2 per cent, ayrshires 0.7 per cent and other breeds (which include brown swiss, milking shorthorn, guernsey) 8.1 per cent of the national population. Crossbred animals are 40.8 per cent which leaves holstein-friesian at 38.2 per cent. . .
Helping to ease country stress levels:
When the Scott Guy murder trial unfolded, Invercargill social worker Gavin Booth felt he had to do something to help farming families work through their problems.
Ewen Macdonald was found not guilty of killing his brother-in-law, 31-year-old Guy, outside his Feilding property in 2010, over tensions about the future of the family farm.
Farm progression and succession planning were a common trigger of stress and anxiety among farmers, particularly in the face of land use change towards dairying, Booth said.
“That’s huge. And it can break up families. It started me thinking I have to do something.”
Farmers are not only faced with changing land use but higher debt ratios, a drop in lamb prices, more complex farming systems, and weather-related issues. . .