Rural round-up

Unlikely lower dairy payout will lead to immediate land use change – Allan Barber:

Previous downturns or relative changes in sector profitability have generally led to a change of land use; and because sheep farming was the predominant 20th century rural activity, land use change was usually to a form of farming other than sheep. Think forestry in the late 80s and 90s, dairy since the early years of this century, horticulture, grape growing and rural subdivision for lifestyle blocks since the 1980s.

Now the dairy payout has almost halved in 12 months because of global overcapacity and weaker economic conditions, the question arises whether there will be a flight from dairy, either back to sheep and beef or to one of the other agricultural options.

There are two main facts about the dairy sector: the current price is below the cost of production and global dairy production will continue to increase. There are also differing opinions about the implications of the price downturn and the prospect of improvement in the near future. . .

Dairy Awards Winners Lead Profitability Charge:

The winners of the 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are ahead of the game in driving profitability on farms, during a forecast period of low milk payouts.

At Auckland’s Sky City Hotel last night, Justin and Melissa Slattery were named 2015 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, James Foote became the 2015 New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and James Davidson was announced 2015 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Judges say the winners were actively seeking to manage through tougher economic times in the dairy industry. “They are ahead of the game and are planning to ensure they will be profitable if the payout is bad,” Sharemilker/Equity Farmer contest head judge Mark Horgan says. “The whole group were focused on operating profitable systems.”

Some finalists were actively involved in trialling new grasses on their farms while all were monitoring stock liveweights to ensure they met targets for optimum reproductive performance. . .

 

Culverden sharemilkers win national dairy title – Gerald Piddock:

The 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards winners are ahead of the game in driving profitability on farms, during a forecast period of low milk payouts.

Justin and Melissa Slattery, who farm in Culverden, North Canterbury, were named 2015 NZ Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year at the annual awards in Auckland on Saturday night.

James Foote was named 2015 NZ Farm Manager of the Year and James Davidson is the NZ Dairy Trainee of the Year.

The winners were actively seeking to manage through tougher economic times in the dairy industry, the awards judges said. . .

Nervous wait on backlogs – Nigel Stirling:

The United States’ emergence from its economic slumber looks certain to rev up beef prices again this year. First though, large inventories built up during last year’s ports strike will need to be worked through. 

Prices for imported cow and bull beef reached record highs of US$2.97/lb and US$3.17/lb respectively in November because of high consumer confidence and because the long-awaited rebuild in the domestic herd squeezed local supplies. . .

Vet LSD shows promise for cattle:

Farmers who have enjoyed improved flock performance using Vet LSD (Livestock Survival Drench) mineral supplement will welcome early trial results on its use in cattle.

Developed by respected Marlborough veterinarian Peter Anderson, Vet LSD is now recognised as the benchmark for quality mineral supplementation, providing a valuable boost to vitamin and trace element deficiencies.

Its success as a quality mineral supplement for sheep has made it a mainstay for farmers using it pre-mating to lift fertility performance and again at pre-lambing to boost lamb survivability. . .

 Tales of a bushman and businessman – Inga Stunzer:

DESPITE being softly spoken and self-deprecating, Tim Connolly has a mischievous twinkle in his eye that hints at a roguish past.

And this is all laid out in print in his self-published autobiography, Bushman Bullrider Bushman – well, let’s say a sanitised version of his life.

The title says it all. His book maps his life as a six-year-old on a remote property at the foot of the Carnarvon Ranges, to life on the professional bull-riding circuit in the US, to droving and working in the mines at Mt Isa.

Now living in Miriam Vale, Tim says the idea to write began about 30 years ago. . .

Harris Tweed – the wool to succeed – Victoria Moss:

Even through the clouds on a murky day, as your plane begins its descent, the islands of the Hebrides are breathtaking: the barren landscape, that mixture of vibrantly coloured furrows accented with heaps of peat, has an earthy beauty. Driving across the Isle of Lewis, you see a bare expanse dotted by small villages, the houses flecked in pebbledash, all built to endure their environment rather than to please the eye. But aesthetics have long had a home here. These undulating roads have welcomed Dame Vivienne Westwood (who apparently complains if she arrives in good weather, preferring the biblical wind, rain and hailstones that more fittingly frame these islands) and designers from Chanel, Comme des Garçons, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, as well as a harried employee from a Parisian fashion house sent here on a wait-and-return private jet to pick up a pre-fashion-week panic roll of Harris Tweed.  . .

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