The power of water – Bryan Gibson:
Central Hawke’s Bay farmers are still confident catchment landowners will invest in the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.
Takapau farmer Richard Dakins believes the scheme will reach investment goals, even though many farmers are still digesting the Environmental Protection Agency board of inquiry’s final report on the $265 million dam.
Dakins, who farms a 350ha mixed-arable operation, with 150ha irrigated, at the southwestern end of Ruataniwha Plains, said the scheme was vital for Central Hawke’s Bay.
“The region is not in a good state, really, but the scheme will give landowners the confidence to invest in their properties and that will benefit everyone downstream,” he said.
Rob Wilson, who farms a few kilometres from the proposed dam site, agreed. . .
Federated Farmers Northland calls for farmers to put safety first with no farming fatalities or serious injuries to date. With the wet weather set to continue and the power out in some areas, it wants neighbours to band together.
“I think you can safely say the drought’s over give the biblical amount of rain that’s come our way,” says Roger Ludbrook, Federated Farmers Northland provincial president.
“Right now it’s a cracker of a day up here in fact you can call it steamy. I just hope policymakers regionally and nationally will remember these past few days if we’re talking El Nino come the summer. Water storage would have been awesome given what we’ve had. . .
Core Truths: 10 Common GMO Claims Debunked – Brooke Boral:
Later this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture may approve the Arctic Granny and Arctic Golden, the first genetically modified apples to hit the market. Although it will probably be another two years before the non-browning fruits appears in stores, at least one producer is already scrambling to label its apples GMO-free. The looming apple campaign is just the latest salvo in the ongoing war over genetically modified organisms (GMOs)—one that’s grown increasingly contentious.
Over the past decade, the controversy surrounding GMOs has sparked worldwide riots and the vandalism of crops in Oregon, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Philippines. In May, the governor of Vermont signed a law that will likely make it the first U.S. state to require labels for genetically engineered ingredients; more than 50 nations already mandate them. Vermont State Senator David Zuckerman told Democracy Now!, “As consumers, we are guinea pigs, because we really don’t understand the ramifications.”
But the truth is, GMOs have been studied intensively, and they look a lot more prosaic than the hype contends. To make Arctic apples, biologists took genes from Granny Smith and Golden Delicious varieties, modified them to suppress the enzyme that causes browning, and reinserted them in the leaf tissue. It’s a lot more accurate than traditional methods, which involve breeders hand-pollinating blossoms in hopes of producing fruit with the desired trait. Biologists also introduce genes to make plants pest- and herbicide-resistant; those traits dominate the more than 430 million acres of GMO crops that have already been planted globally. Scientists are working on varieties that survive disease, drought, and flood. . .
A winemaker has teamed with researchers to find biological controls to manage brown beetles.
The brown beetle (Costelytra zealandica) can be kept under control with insecticides but causes problems for organic or biodynamic vineyards.
This same beetle in its immature stages is known as the grass grub, a pest to farming pastures for decades.
Kono Beverages, producer of Tohu and Aronui wines, is co-leading a project to study the life cycle of the brown beetle to find sustainable ways to stop the damage it causes in vineyards.
They have teamed with PhD student Mauricio González Chang and Professor Steve Wratten, from the Bio-Protection Research Centre at Lincoln University. . .
Top genetic selection produces biggest antlers – Heather Chalmers:
Producing deer with some of the biggest antlers in New Zealand takes careful genetic selection and a dollop of luck, says South Canterbury deer farmer Chris Petersen.
Just as others follow the breeding lines of thoroughbred racehorses, Petersen does the same for deer.
“I know all the top stags and hinds in New Zealand. I study them.”
Farming Highden Deer Park with his wife Debra at Sutherlands near Pleasant Point, his stags are highly regarded for their antlers, both for trophies and velvet. The 130 hectare rolling downlands farm carries 364 spikers and mixed-age stags, 122 mixed-age hinds and 55 18-month hinds, as well as this season’s progeny. Most stags are grown out to seven years old for the trophy market, with 27 out of 30 sold last year. . .