Rural round-up

Seasonal worker shortage in Central Otago – Dave Gooselink:

A seasonal worker shortage has been declared by the Ministry of Social Development in central Otago as cherry growers look to harvest a bumper summer crop.

That will see work visa rules relaxed for overseas holidaymakers for the next six weeks so that cherries won’t have to be left on the trees.

At the Roxburgh Packhouse a lack of rain has helped produce the biggest crop in years, which is now being processed for the export market.

Summerfruit NZ chairman Gary Bennetts says they’re on track, if the weather stays right, to double the tonnage that was exported from New Zealand last year. . .

Corn seed not so sweet – Gerard Hutching:

A batch of old sweet corn seed given out by McCains to its Hawke’s Bay growers this spring failed to germinate.

A spokesman for McCain Foods confirmed that some “non-performing” sweet corn seed had been distributed to a number of growers in Hawke’s Bay area.

“As soon as the problem was identified, McCain Foods issued new sweet corn seed and a replanting programme was immediately put in place with all costs being met by the company,” the spokesman said. . .

Bill Taylor is dedicated to deer – Diane Bishop:

When Bill Taylor was a boy, deer were wild animals that could only be admired from afar.

All that changed with live deer capture in the 1970s, although it wasn’t until the mid 1980s that Taylor started farming them.

“I had a real passion for deer. I still have,” Taylor said.

His family have farmed at Lora Gorge, near Winton, since 1872, and he and wife Jill were one of the first recipients of the Century Farm and Station Awards. . .

Silver Fern’s Rob Hewett up for top jobs

Silver Fern Farms chairman Rob Hewett is in a three-way race for two seats on the meat exporting and processing co-operative’s board.

Director nominations were confirmed yesterday including for Hewett and Herstall Ulrich who retire by rotation in line with company policy and have advised they will stand for re-election.

The incumbents will vie for the seats with Fiona Hancox, a West Otago sheep and beef farmer who has the backing of the Meat Industry Excellence group seeking reform in the meat industry and targeting director seats on the SFF and Alliance Group boards to hasten change. . .

It’s a country hoedown to draw crowds

Wairarapa’s own “hoedown” is attracting greater numbers of crooners, yodellers, line dancers, and wannabe Willie Nelsons and Dolly Partons, says its organiser.

The third annual Clareville Country Music Festival kicks off Friday afternoon at Clareville Showgrounds, with organiser Ray Beale expecting “a few thousand” country fans – and a couple of hundred caravans.

Mr Beale, Wairarapa A&P Society complex manager, said numbers of festival goers had jumped significantly since its debut in 2013, jumping from about “1500 to 2000” to near 4000 at last year’s event. . .

 Team penning champs in it for fun – Shan Goodwin:

THEY have plenty of wins, but for these Clarence Valley team penning champs the sport is as much about fun as it is about ribbons and prize money.

And that is precisely why their parents, and fellow club members at Clarence Valley Team Penning, believe the sport is so valuable – it encourages the development of some very important life skills.

“We joke that the boys don’t like getting beaten but team penning gives our kids, and everybody involved, so much more than just a chance to try to win something,” said Karen Morgan, vice president of the Clarence club, and mum to Tom.

“It’s such a healthy thing for families to be involved in.” . . .

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