Rural round-up

Farmers fear restraints despite cleaner lakes – Richard Rennie:

With testing revealing Lake Rotoiti’s water quality is the best in decades, farmers in the Rotorua region are questioning further tightening of nutrient rules on farms in the catchment.

Recent water quality surveys by Bay of Plenty Regional Council indicates the Ohau diversion wall and upgraded sewerage systems have delivered improved fish-spawning conditions and improved water clarity in the lake.

The Ohau diversion wall, completed in 2008, has been successful in diverting the nutrient-rich water of Lake Rotorua from Lake Rotoiti, to be flushed down Kaituna River. . .

Save the working dog – Jillaroo Jess:

I just read the most distressing news. Once again, a bureaucrat in an office somewhere has decided to make like even more difficult for farmers than it already is. It is concerning the keeping of working dogs in Victoria, Australia. I am not from Victoria, but all Australians deserve a fair go, and often other states follow suit with these sorts of things.

Basically, if you have 3 intact females on your property you are now a breeder and will have to follow strict regulations on the keeping of your dogs. Farmers generally do not neuter their animals as it can affect their working ability, and really, if you have a good dog – you’ll want another one day! . . .

Reworking our dairy systems – Keith Woodford:

Many farmers will resist it fiercely, housing our dairy herd in sheds is almost inevitable.

The New Zealand dairy industry has always prided itself as being different. Whereas most other countries developed their dairy industries based on the housing of cows for much or all of the year, the New Zealand industry has always been pasture-based. The cows harvest the grass themselves, the cost of production has been low, and the image was of “clean and green”.

Alas, we now know the image of “clean and green” was never quite true. Although a huge amount has been done to clean up the industry, with fencing of waterways, nutrient budgets and meticulous management of effluent from the milking shed, there is a fundamental problem still to be tackled. This fundamental problem is the concentration of nitrogen in the urine patches which grazing cows leave behind. . .

Debate on increased indoor dairy farming in NZ heats up:

Some farmers worry what increased indoor dairy farming in New Zealand would do to the country’s clean green image.

Tom Phillips (@OneFarmNZ) was worried that indoor farming would remove the country’s point of difference of being clean and green.

“NZ has comparative advantage with pasture based dairy not purchased feed or housing,” he tweeted.

Anne Galloway (@annegalloway) was also worried that it would create animal welfare issues.

She did not think the review of the dairy cattle welfare bill, to ensure indoor cows in NZ have regulations in place, would be enough.

She tweeted that indoor farming would create a new issue that doesn’t exist now and that the public will weigh in on – positively and negatively. . .

Recognising research excellence:

The Lincoln University Research Committee has announced the recipients of the 2013 Excellence in Early Career Research Awards.  Three academic staff members have been named: Dr William Godsoe, Dr Sharon Forbes and Dr Majeed Safa .

The awards recognise research excellence among academic staff who have less than five years of research experience since completing their PhD, with winners being selected on criteria such as the quality and originality of their research; peer recognition via publications and speaking invitations; success with external funding; and awards from other learned bodies.

As well as the formal recognition of their achievements, all recipients receive $5,000 to be applied to a project of their choosing. . .

‘Uncertainty’ over wheat use by UK ethanol plants – Agrimoney:

The UK’s stop-start bioethanol industry was rated as a “large uncertainty” for wheat demand, after officials cut their forecast for consumption of the grain by biofuel plants, amid complaints of unfair imports of US supplies. 

The UK farm ministry, Defra, cut by 307,000 tonnes to 7.50m tonnes its forecast for industrial and food use of wheat in 2013-14, despite higher ideas of the use of the grain by the important distilling industry.  The downgrade reflected in part lower use in flour production, thanks to a better quality UK harvest this year, but also to a drop in use for bioethanol production, which “continues to be a large uncertainty for demand”, the HGCA crop bureau said. . .

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