Rural round-up

Fonterra’s fed-up farmers risk – Andrea Fox:

Fonterra is facing a supplier crisis of confidence and risks haemorrhaging milk to private companies as fed-up farmer-shareholders react to its latest financial results.

The co-operative turned in disappointing half -year results, with profit and revenue down on last year, and rocked farmers and the sharemarket with its announcement of a deterioration in the forecast dividend.

The dividend tracks how the business is performing and was widely expected to be fattened or at least held steady, given the low milk price it is paying farmers this season. . .

Sheep and beef can match dairy grazing :

Wintering dairy cows may be a useful pasture development tool but once the bulk of the regrassing’s done, sheep and beef can at least match the returns, say award winning North Otago farmers Blair and Jane Smith.

 They farm near Five Forks, inland of Oamaru, and if their name sounds familiar it’s probably because they won the Ballance Farm Environment Awards national title in 2012, though it may also be through the Newhaven Perendale stud flock.

Newhaven is the name of the home farm, 230ha of rolling country with 193ha effective, while up the road they have Blairgowrie, a 1072ha hill block running from 450m to 650m above sea-level. . .

Upset farmers dump excrement at ORC – Timothy Brown:

An ongoing dispute with a North Otago farmer who says he is at his wit’s end has landed the Otago Regional Council in the poo – literally.

Five Forks farmer Robert Borst says the ORC’s water plan change 6A has ”destroyed us as a family” and provided four years of ”sheer frustration and exhaustion” for him and his wife, Sylvia.

When told last night the ORC still hoped to resolve the dispute, he replied: ”Bull… – absolute bull…”. . . .

Water quality threatens fishing future – Blake Foden:

Poor water quality is threatening the future of one of Southland’s biggest industries, fishermen say.

Seafood exports from New Zealand were worth $1.375 billion in 2014, up 3 per cent on the previous year.

About $150 million could be attributed to the Southland coast, with crayfish accounting for two-thirds of that.

But Bill Chisholm, spokesman for eel and blue-cod fishermen, said the future of the industry was being jeopardised by poor water quality as a result of sediment flowing into the ocean and estuaries. . .


Toxins killed Southland cows, Ministry saysEvan Harding:

The death and illness of hundreds of dairy cows in Southland last year was due to the swedes they fed on having high concentrations of naturally occurring toxins, an initial assessment by the Ministry for Primary Industries has found.

A ministry spokesman said the industry-led investigation into factors contributing to the deaths of cattle in Southland was still ongoing.

But an initial assessment undertaken by the ministry supported the agriculture industry’s view that the cause of deaths were due to swedes having higher concentrations of glucosinolates, a toxin which naturally occurs in brassicas and is known to be toxic to cattle. . .

Fifth Grand Finalist Confirmed in ANZ Young Farmer Contest:

Pete Fitz-Herbert is the fifth Grand Finalist to be named in the 2015 ANZ Young Farmer Contest.

The twenty-nine year old stock manager took first place at the Taranaki/Manawatu Regional Final in Palmerston North on Saturday 28 March.

Mr Fitz-Herbert went home with a prize pack worth over $10,000 including cash, scholarships and products and services from ANZ, FMG, Lincoln University, Ravensdown, AGMARDT, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone. He also won the AGMARDT Agri-Business Challenge.

Pete has been competing in the ANZ Young Farmer Contest since 2007 but this will be his first attempt at Grand Final level. Pete stock manages on the family farm and also runs a Dorset Down sheep stud. Pete is an active member of the Marton Young Farmers Club, where he enjoys networking with like-minded people and participating in a range of events. . .


3 Responses to Rural round-up

  1. Mr E says:

    What a ridiculously silly water quality article from the Southland times. And silly silly comments from some of the contributors.

    Lets break some of it down.

    1) “But Bill Chisholm, spokesman for eel and blue-cod fishermen, said the future of the industry was being jeopardised by poor water quality as a result of sediment flowing into the ocean and estuaries. ”

    Perhaps supporting Bills claim is that LAWA report 2 sediment measures (black disc and turbidity) in the worst 50% of regions in NZ.

    Click on the scientific indicators tab


    Black disc monitoring in the 2010 state of the Environment monitoring report by Environment Southland found 4% of monitoring sites showed deterioration. 10% of sites were improving and the remainder were stable, or showing no change over 5-10 years (largely 10 years)

    Click to access 10_year_water_quality_trends_2.pdf

    Similarly the LAWA reporting found Black disc monitoring shows no trend over the last 10 years – Importantly turbidity is improving – Southland and BOP are the only sites in NZ where this is happening.

    definition of turbidity: Turbidity is an index of cloudiness of water. It measures the scattering of light caused by fine particles in our waterways.

    If Bill’s concern for sediment is real- any issue appears to be improving. And you would have to wonder is the sediment simply a natural phenomenon in Southlands rivers. Lets face it – the Southland plains didn’t come about from no sediment coming down rivers. Anyone who knows anything about Southland geology will well know Southlands esturaries used to be Sea bed. Sediment deposition and uplift has extended our shoreline creating these estuaries.

    If you look at the head waters of Southland Rivers you will find soil and forest. Places were sediment comes from. If you look at the head waters of Canterbury rivers you find schist and shingle – were minerals come from but not much sediment.

    2)”There are so many opportunities for fishing to grow and that growth will come not by catching more fish, but through marketing,” Chisholm said.

    “While poor water quality did not affect crayfish as heavily as other fisheries, because most fishing took place away from developed areas, there was still a threat to its value because of importers’ perceptions, he said. (Malcolm Lawson)

    Oh so we don’t want markets to think we have poor water quality – but we rock up to the News paper with out water quality statistics or facts and start bashing it… That makes sense.

    So ES would bring some facts to the table I am sure.

    This from them

    3)”‘HOLD THE LINE’

    An Environment Southland report in June 2014 said all but one of the estuaries in the region were showing signs of rapid degradation.”

    Ummmm – we are holding the line if not improving according to above statistics.

    If anyone – Someone can find the June 2014 report showing all but one with rapid declines – Ill personally send them a great gift.

    4)”Sediment fingerprinting studies conducted by AgResearch, Niwa and DairyNZ soon after linked poor estuary health to sheep sediment. ”

    No it didn’t –
    Riverton estuary – 75% of sediment is from marine deposits. Of the remaining 25% half of that is bank erosion. Of the remaining 12.5% half of that is sheep sediment – Only 7.5% came from sheep.
    Sheep are not the problem at Riverton – Marine sediment and bank erosion are!

    As for the other estuary in the study, Waituna – and I quote “up to 95 percent of sediment in Waituna Creek came from stream banks, with bank collapse and drain cleaning pointed to as the major offenders. The remaining five percent of sediment was attributed to topsoil losses. At some sites, the loss of topsoil was relatively high, most likely associated with winter forage cropping.”

    Not sheep!

    Right about now – you’d expect an ES scientist to chirp and correct some of the misinformation. Nope

    5)”Vin Smith, the director of policy, planning and regulatory services, said nutrients and sediment already in the system meant the council had to accept water quality might decline further in the short term. ”

    What the heck?!!!!! Scientists must be running for cover. The director of Policy has chirped in predicting things will get worse because of slow decisions making.- Contrary to statistics saying things have been getting better.
    I wonder if he wants decision making to be faster? Think about that. The Director of Policy. Would he want it easier to make policy? I wonder.

    Where the heck are the ES scientists with statistics?

    6)”The short-term focus had been encouraging farmers to implement good management practises in order to “hold the line” until the long-term plan was implemented, he said.”

    Ummmm see above – the line has been held – actually stats indicate improved.

    7) “Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie said it was crucial that the issue was looked at carefully and the long-term future of the fishing industry secured.

    Dowie said she had met representatives of each major fishing sector last week and considered fishing one of the Invercargill electorate’s most important industries. ”

    Sarah!!!! Please, search for facts before believing rhetoric. Ele, can you possibly do me a favour and send my comment link to Sarah?

    I continue to be unimpressed with the Southland Times and ES with their ability to present facts when issues are raised. Why is it the state of the environment and factual trends are so hard to report?


  2. MarcW says:

    Ele, some of the links in today’s RRU aren’t working. Can you please fix them if possible. I am most interested in the swede toxicity report. Thanks.


  3. homepaddock says:

    Thanks for alerting me to the problem Mark. Should work now.


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