Rural round-up

Will pay dirt slip through farmers’ hands? –  Robert Gottliebsen:

The GrainCorp takeover bid from the US agricultural giant Archer Daniels Midland is suddenly becoming a wake-up call to farmers — they are going to lose long-term market power.     

And that potential loss of power underlines the fact that in the last few decades a big proportion of the rewards from farming have shifted from growing crops to those providing transport, processing and retail services. 

In major international takeovers of agricultural transport and processing, the winners are the shareholders and the management. All too often the losers are the farmers.

As we have seen in both Warrnambool Cheese and GrainCorp, shareholders are being offered substantially more than the pre-bid market value for their shares. And the mangers of both GrainCorp and Warrnambool will be essential for the overseas bidders. They will almost certainly receive international style salaries. . .

Five tribes buy state dairy farms in Waikato:

Five tribes have bought a big dairy operation in the Waikato region.

The Hauraki Collective now owns the Pouarua dairy complex, which it’s purchased from the state farmer, Landcorp.

Ngati Maru, Ngati Paoa, Ngati Tamatera, Ngati Tara Tokanui and Te Patukirikiri have used Treaty money to buy more than 2200 hectares near Ngatea on the Hauraki Plains.

Although the iwi have not yet fully settled their grievances with the Crown, the government has agreed to provide $53.5 million up front to complete the deal. . .

Overcoming obstacles to setting water quality limits – Ned Norton and Helen Rouse:

In the previous Waiology series on Water governance, we referred to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM) (2011) requirement to set limits for water quantity and quality. So, how are councils getting on with limit-setting?

In May 2012 we surveyed planners for regional councils to find out how their current regional plans measure up against the NPSFM requirements to set limits, and found that 1 of 14 respondents said their current plan meets NPSFM requirements, 8 of 14 said their plan met requirements to some extent, and 5 of 14 said their plan did not meet NPSFM requirements.

Our survey also identified a number of potential obstacles that make limit-setting difficult. Some of the most common obstacles were costs (time,staff), availability of catchment-specific data, understanding existing/baseline conditions, balancing instream and out-of-stream values, lack of support for plan process (political or council staff), lack of clear process for getting parties together/getting agreement, and lack of understanding of (and difficulty communicating) complex issues and value trade-offs. . .

Eric Ropiha — a legendary horseman:

New Zealand racing has lost a highly-respected, successful and decorated horseman with the death last Friday of Eric Ropiha. He was aged 88.

Ropiha trained 716 winners during his career from 1948 to his retirement in 2001 and won the National Trainers’ Premiership in 1959-60 with 43 winners.

He had a number of top-class gallopers through his hands, including the 1960 Caulfield Cup winner Ilumquh, who was twice placed in the Melbourne Cup, and Fans, who also finished third in the Flemington feature for him. . .

North Canterbury Winery takes out trophy for top Pinot Noir:

Greystone Wines has won the Pinot Noir trophy at New Zealand’s most prestigious wine show- the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, for their Waipara Pinot Noir 2012. The North Canterbury winery has taken the top gong from more well-known Pinot Noir producing regions, reinforcing growing interest in this area. The Pinot Noir was grown on the clay and limestone slopes of the Waipara Valley, an hour north of Christchurch.

A team of local and international judges were effusive with praise for the sustainably accredited wine. They described it as “Opulent and powerful, yet poised and refined with dark berries and floral aromas.” In addition the same wine was last month rated 96 points and named by Gourmet Traveller magazine as one of New Zealand’s Top 12 Pinot Noir. . .

New Zealand’s best lamb:

Canterbury farmer Mike Ryan has taken out the 2013 Mint Lamb Competition, producing the country’s best lamb from paddock to plate.

Farmers from throughout New Zealand were invited to showcase their quality lamb and compete in the competition that celebrates the quality and variety of lamb available in New Zealand with a focus on increasing consumption of one of the country’s largest export earners.

Lambs were judged on the hook at an Alliance plant for Best Overall Yield. The top 4 lambs in each class (dual purpose,
dual purpose/cross terminal, composite/crossbred cross terminal and terminal) were selected as semi-finalists and sent to be Tender Tested at Lincoln University. Based on the result of the Tender Test, the top 3 lambs in each class were selected as finalists. All finalists were Taste Tested at the 2013 Canterbury A&P Show to decide the overall winner of the Mint Lamb Competition. . .

Organic practices will improve water quality:

A shift towards organic farming practices and diversification is needed to protect and enhance our waterways and our economy, says the Soil & Health Association. The recently released report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright, shows that water quality is deteriorating, particularly in areas where there is expansion or intensification of dairy farming.

“The current push for more dairy farms and more animals on the land is not sustainable,” said Marion Thomson, co-chair of Soil & Health. “We need to be farming smart and farming to the conditions of each area, rather than trying to wring as much as we can out of the land, or extracting huge volumes of water to irrigate naturally dry areas.” . . .

5 Responses to Rural round-up

  1. Gravedodger says:

    Had contact with Eric Ropiha in a previous life when he had an interest in Pony Club eventing.
    He was one of a rare breed who was as one with horses and his people skills were great with young riders also.
    A very shy man in my experience but sure had Mana.

    RIP eric.

  2. JC says:

    I knew him back in the 50s and 60s because my old man used to plate his horses when he came up to Hastings and Napier Park. Later I struck him around the various showgrounds when he took to showjumping sometime in the 70s.

    I only knew him in passing but over 40 odd years my father often talked affectionately of him.

    He was one of the good guys and boy, he was one natty dresser!

    JC

  3. Mr E says:

    Train of thought.
    Organic production has a lower output than conventional
    Encouraging organics reduces food supply
    Reduced food supply increases food cost
    The poor starve.

    I don’t understand why the Greens push this band waggon. I suspect many of them grow their own food and simply don’t care for the poor.

    Somebody please tell me I am wrong and point me towards their logic.

  4. TraceyS says:

    People who buy organic food do so because they:

    1. like it, and
    2. can afford it.

    Growers produce organic food because there is a market for it.

    Going totally organic is not the answer for NZ. Gorse, in particular, needs to be chemically controlled. If the countryside is left to gorse over then we will have more nitrogen leeching from the hillsides than from the present conventional farming of sheep and beef.

  5. Mr E says:

    Why do the greens push it?
    Is it dumb logic?

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