Rural round-up

High-Performing Sheep Operation Wins Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Kaituna sheep and beef farmers Matt and Lynley Wyeth are Supreme winners of the 2014 Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Judges said the couple’s 800ha (effective) farming operation, Spring Valley Enterprises, was exceptionally well run.

“This is an extremely high performing business with a defined aim to stay in the top 10 percent of equivalent farming operations.”

At a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on April 16, Matt and Lynley also collected the Beef+Lamb New Zealand Livestock Award, the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award, the Massey University Innovation Award and the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award. . .

Getting ready to kill the evil weevil  – Tim Cronshaw

Scientists are nearing the halfway mark of their target of sucking up one million wasps from Canterbury paddocks and sending them to Southland to combat the clover root weevil.

AgResearch teams armed with modified leaf blowers are sucking up weevils infected with an Irish wasp.

After counting their numbers in a laboratory, they are sent down in groups of about 100 to go to as many as 1000 Southland farmers. The wasp is a natural enemy of the weevil, which has attacked Southland clover in pastures and limited sheep, beef and milk production since arriving in 2010.

A mild winter allowed the weevil to take its small foothold on Southland farms to a widespread infestation. . .

Moths, beetles free farm of stock-threatening weed  – Iain Scott:

Once covered in ragwort, a Manawatu farm is now almost free of the stock-threatening weed thanks to the introduction of moths and beetles.

Kiwitea dairy farmer Wayne Bennett credits the cinnabar moth, flea beetle and plume moth for ridding the farm of the yellow-flowered weed that had spread through the farm two years after he bought it.

Ragwort has the ability to compete with pasture species and contains alkaloids that are toxic to stock. A single plant can produce more than 50,000 seeds. . .

Marijuana growers causing ‘level of fear’:

Many people in rural areas are ”living in fear” of drug growers and dealers taking advantage of isolated conditions, Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) executive officer Noeline Holt says.

RWNZ and Federated Farmers New Zealand asked their members for feedback on the Ministry of Health’s New National Drug Policy, which sets out the Government’s approach for tobacco, alcohol, and illegal and other drugs.

Mrs Holt said the main concerns of the almost 400 people who responded were about legal highs, marijuana plantations and methamphetamine manufacturing.

”Some of the most isolated homes and houses can be easily accessed and [drug manufacturers] can discreetly manufacture to their heart’s content. . .

Grape Harvest beats rain

Nelson wineries are relieved the region’s grape harvest has largely finished ahead of prolonged rain.

Nelson Winegrowers Association chairman Richard Flatman said most people he had talked to had managed to get their grapes in.

He described this year’s harvest as perfect, as it had been early and was big on flavour. “It will be fantastic for Nelson,” he said.

Waimea Estates general manager Ben Bolitho said they had been delighted to have all but finished harvest ahead of 10 days forecast rain. . .


9 Responses to Rural round-up

  1. robertguyton says:

    “A mild winter allowed the weevil to take its small foothold on Southland farms to a widespread infestation. . .”
    When the climate does unusual things, problems like this can result.
    This is a very good reason to take climate change seriously and DO SOMETHING TO PREVENT IT!


  2. Mr E says:

    What like Robert? Ban organics I hear you say? Carbon spewing organics?


  3. Andrei says:

    This is a very good reason to take climate change seriously and DO SOMETHING TO PREVENT IT!

    Don Quixote tilting at windmills again.


  4. robertguyton says:

    Andrei! WW3! Focus!!!
    Me Enonymous, no doubt you find your hyperbolic provocations hilarious but they only serve to paint you as shallow and your arguments thin. Still, if it amuses you…
    What you call “organics”, frightens you and makes you go all wibbly-wobbly at the knees. It shouldn’t. There’s a great deal of solid science underpinning organic practices. For example (don’t be frightened now, and feel you have to look away from the screen!), many modern farmers are returning the manure from their livestock to the pasture the animals grazed – I know, Mr E! It’s wacko-plus, but there you go, those organic guys got it right that time. Why, there are even conventional farmers trying this new-fangled method and finding it not too crazy!!
    Mr E, yes, organic methods have scary names, “increasing diversity of pasture species” chills you to the bone I know, but don’t jump, all a-quiver, to your bed and pull the covers over your head just yet, there might just be something in it!!!.
    I could go on, outlining other organic practiced but I respect those who have delicate constitutions and faint easily, like our Mr E, so I’ll leave it there. Organics, eh! There’s a lot to be said for it!
    (Rescue Remedy, Mr E – it has your name written all over it!)


  5. Mr E says:

    I have been heavily invested in a BioGro organic system Robert.
    I have to say the experience really put me off. So much of it appeared to be about emotion rather than sound practices. And the thought of the product now makes me cringe. Not to mention the fact that the standards seemed to be based on some kind of religion rather than consideration of a quality product. At least that was my take.


  6. robertguyton says:

    Which one?


  7. willdwan says:

    I’ve just been offered a cheap (supposedly) deal on organic fertiliser. (chook manure) As far as I can tell it’s mostly nitrogen with some phosphate and a lot of potassium, which I don’t really need. Can’t do much about that though. But they are really vague about the amount of nutrient you are getting and to make it even more difficult the product is sold by the cubic meter instead of weight. wtf?
    It seems strange when we have come so far with soil tests and nutrient budgets…real precision farming, to be asked to go back to the old “she’ll be right” approach, just because it is ‘organic.’


  8. robertguyton says:

    If you don’t need potassium, why are you considering applying a product that contains it?
    In any case, raw animal manures are best ‘processed’ before use, in order to make them more valuable. For example, earthworms vastly increase the value of horse manure by eating it. As it passes through the worm, enzymes and slimes coat the material and add significantly to its usability and quality. I think, Will, that you need to do some more study into organic methods. You are trying to condemn them from a position of ignorance, it seems to me. The organic farmers I know don’t have a “she’ll be right” approach, that’s famously attributed to the conventional “no.* wire-wielding farmer. Of course, I know that’s a characterization and am not going to resort to that shallow play, as you have done.


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