Rural round-up

Huge potential in textile blend – Annette Scott:

A new wool and rice straw blended textile will create huge opportunities for New Zealand wool, Wellington designer Bernadette Casey says.

The new eco-blend upholstery fabric has been developed by Wellington textile design and development company The Formary, co-founded four years ago by managing director Casey and Gisborne designer Sally Shanks.

The fabric will go into production in the next three months.

A visit in December to the top 10 North American furniture makers and distributors to present samples and start building interest boosted their confidence for the new textile.

“There is a huge shift happening away from synthetics to the more sustainable virgin yarns and textiles,” Casey said. . .

Milk collection up on last season and rising – Hugh Stringleman:

The favourable influences of regular rain and good pasture growth should show in the milk figures when compared with last year’s widespread late-summer and autumn drought.

Daily collection figures last week for six of Fonterra’s eight regional zones were 4-8% higher than last January, which illustrates how quickly milk production fell away last season.

While no one is predicting yet a repeat of the bumper autumn of 2012, rain patterns and soil-moisture figures promise a strong finish to the season for the majority of dairy farmers.

Farmers have a powerful incentive in the $8.30 a kilogram milksolids payout forecast to maximise production and prolong milking with supplementary feed if needed. . .

People management key for farm expansion – Lisa Deeney:

UK farmer Ed Dale spoke at today’s Positive Farming conference on the importance of people management for farm enterprises in the run up to the abolition of dairy quotas in 2015.

From Cheshire, his family’s farm business has over the past 10 years expanded from managing 220 cows in one herd with one employee to managing 2,000 cows in six herds over a 45-mile radius. He now has 14 full-time employees and 15 part-time.

In terms of advice for people management, he said it was vital to start with the right people. . .

Irish wasp may need help moving west:

Increasing clover root weevil populations are being seen on the West Coast, but the AgResearch-introduced biocontrol is hot on its tail.

Clover root weevil being stalked by its biocontrol agent

AgResearch entomologists Dr Scott Hardwick and Mark McNeill, based at the Lincoln Campus in Canterbury, have been tracking the spread of clover root weevil (CRW) in the South Island, so that they know if and where to release the Irish wasp, a very effective biocontrol agent for this serious pest of white clover.

Sampling last winter and early spring for the DairyNZ-funded biocontrol project has revealed that the weevil is now present through much of the northern parts of the West Coast. AgResearch is now asking southern West Coast farmers who suspect they may have the weevil to get in touch, so they can be sure the wasp keeps apace of the problem. . . 

Comparison of NZ and Australian red meat export markets – Allan Barber:

A cursory analysis of beef and lamb exports from New Zealand and Australia shows some similarities as well as some significant differences between them.

Some of these variations are due to quota constraints, notably New Zealand’s historical access to the EU for lamb, others to product type, such as Australia’s beef exports to North Asia and the growing influence of dairy beef in this country.

Australia exports roughly three times as much beef as New Zealand, although the US market takes comparable volumes of beef from both countries, 212, 000 MT versus 175,000 MT in the latest 12 months for which statistics are available. However a far higher proportion of our exports is in grinding beef for the hamburger trade. . .

The felfie: how farmers are embracing social media

Farmers are posting their ‘felfies’ online, but it’s not just for fun – social media is a lifeline for people in a lonely profession.

Pouting at a camera isn’t the preserve of trendy young urbanites. The “felfie” – or selfie snapped on the farm – is taking off, with farmers posting photos of themselves next to their favourite sheep, cow or tractor.

Farmingselfie.com, a blog set up by Essex farmer @willwilson100, collects the latest felfies from around the world – showcasing rural working lives everywhere from Finland to Argentina. . .

Apprentice Chef’s Foodie Adventure Thanks to Fonterra:

Fonterra Foodservice, in partnership with William Angliss Institute, held the inaugural Fonterra Foodies Adventure Competition at the William Angliss Open Day 2013. The competition was designed to provide the Institute’s Level 3 Professional Cookery Apprentices with an opportunity to cook with Fonterra dairy products while presenting a main and dessert to a panel of four judges.

Matthew Moffat, a third year apprentice from the Society Restaurant in Melbourne, was named winner of the event.

Matthew won a five day, culinary immersion tour of New Zealand, visiting dairy farms, Fonterra factories and working at two award winning restaurants in Auckland, The Grove and The French Cafe.

Matthew’s main recipe was a “Good ol’ Caesar salad”, a recreation of a classic dish using modern methods. . .

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