Watt family all pulling together – Sally Rae:
They say many hands make light work.
At Waitaki Orchard, near Kurow, there are many hands, although the workload is not always light, particularly over the busy harvest season.
But the remarkable Watt family, who own and run the summerfruit operation, take it all in their stride.
Justin and Julie Watt, along with their eight children, aged between 9 and 20, do not consider themselves anything out of the ordinary.
But their story is anything but ordinary as the close-knit family work together and the children step up to take on more responsibility, due to their parents’ serious health issues. . .
Challenge for A&P Shows to satisfy demands of new public – Allan Barber:
The 148th Warkworth A&P Show was held on the Saturday of Auckland Anniversary Weekend on a very warm day with no fear of rain which at least alleviated the committee’s first concern. In the north at least feed is still plentiful, although rain would be welcome, but there is as yet no major worry of drought; so we were able to plan the event and welcome the weather forecast without a guilty conscience.
Two years ago there were rather more serious concerns the Show wouldn’t reach its 150th anniversary, but a few things have happened since then which have pushed this undesirable outcome into the background. . .
Wool trade still at crossroads – Allan Barber:
Ever since the Korean War over sixty years ago the price of wool has been in decline with a few upturns along the way. Over the period the fortunes of wool growers have suffered from massive lifestyle changes leading to reduced demand for woollen textiles and fibres and the rise of synthetics with properties capable of imitating, if not matching, those of wool at a lower price. Wool is not the only natural fibre to be affected, with cotton being hit even harder.
There are a remarkable number of parallels between the red meat and wool industries in the reactions to the situation which is not surprising given the respective price trends and the fact many of the farmers are the same individuals. Sheep and beef farmers’ opinions of the deficiencies of the meat industry are virtually identical to those of the wool trade, while proposed solutions are also remarkably similar. . .
The fire which burned through almost 600 hectares of forest and farmland in Marlborough in the past week could be costly for some grape growers as well.
Vineyards in the vicinity of the fire which burned over five days in the Onamalutu Valley near Renwick, may now have a problem on their hands with smoke-tainted grapes.
Wine Marlborough’s general manager Marcus Pickens said they did not know yet how many vineyards may have been affected by smoke from the fire, on the edge of one of Marlborough’s main wine producing areas.
But they were acting on advice from the Australian wine industry and its experience in dealing with the impact of bush fires on grape production. . . .
Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse today welcomed the launch of the government’s Safer Farms programme.
Safer Farms is a multi-year programme designed by farmers and the wider agricultural sector, WorkSafe New Zealand and the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).
“The death and injury rate behind the farm gate is simply unacceptable. Someone is killed nearly every fortnight – this needs to change,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“Safer Farms is a new way of tackling a long standing problem hurting rural New Zealand. It’s about education, awareness and support for rural communities.” . . .
Sharing a passion for smart farming – Diane Bishop:
All eyes will soon be on Brian and Kristine Russell’s deer farming operation.
The large-scale deer farmers are the new Southland deer focus farmers. Their first field day will be held later this month, with Browns farmer Dave Lawrence as facilitator.
“We wanted a farmer with the right attitude and who is prepared to change. Brian is extremely positive and extremely passionate about the deer industry,” Lawrence said.
The Russells farm almost 10,000 stock units on two properties totalling 2165 hectares in central and northern Southland.
The 845ha Dipton West block, where the couple live with their three children, is used mainly for finishing, while the 1320ha Kowhai hill block, 20 kilometres away, is primarily used for breeding. . .
Deer farmers are being encouraged to have a close look at their animal health as part of the Passion2Profit initiative.
P2P aims to improve deer farm profits by developing new high-value markets for venison and removing barriers to performance on the farm. The initiative, which has just won funding support from the government’s Primary Growth Partnership, already has several activities underway.
“Animal health, feeding and genetics are the three big areas where farmers can influence the profits they make from deer,” says Deer Industry NZ chief executive Dan Coup. . .