Rural round-up

World’s largest robotic dairy barn leads technology – Pat Deavoll:

 Fitting 1500 cows under one roof seems impossible, but that’s just what Wilma and Aad van Leeuwen of the Van Leeuwen Dairy Group did, by building the world’s largest robotic dairy barn at Makikihi in South Canterbury. 

The 23,000 square metre barn, completed last September at a cost of $22 million, was the third of its kind built by the van Leeuwens, but the first of its scale.

Behind the drive to install the barn was the premium price paid for winter milking, which a robotic system enabled, and a shortage of skilled staff. . .

 Hayley’s star rises at Rabobank:

The market downturn in dairy is among foremost concerns for Rabobank dairy research director Hayley Moynihan as she steps into the newly created role of the bank’s general manager Country Banking.

She is sure the bank has the right support systems in place for dairy farmers in its 33 branches, but a first priority will be to ensure the bank stay aligned to farmers needs in all sectors.

Moynihan told Rural News the new role of general manager Country Banking had been created in recognition of the size of the New Zealand business now. . .

Are the Mexico-bound sheep for breeding or barbeque? – Keith Woodford:

Prior to this week, I had no particular knowledge about the current shipment of 50,000 ewe lambs that are heading to Mexico. So when I was approached by Jamie Ball from the NBR for comment, my immediate thought was to say nothing. I simply assumed that this was indeed a very large shipment of future breeding stock.

However, once my attention was focused, and I started scratching around, all sorts of warning bells started to ring. It seemed a very large number of breeding animals to be sending there. And surely, if this was a genuine shipment, then at the other end there had to be either a huge rural development project, or alternatively a very large agribusiness.

So I started to dig a little deeper. As I dug through the layers, a fascinating story began to emerge. I am sure there is still more to uncover. . .

Mexico-bound livestock get cared for in shipment – Tim Cronshaw:

Until now exporters of a massive shipment of young stock going to Mexico have kept out of the limelight. They tell their side of the story to Tim Cronshaw.

Exporters sending 45,000 ewe hoggets and 3200 beef heifers to Mexico say they will continue to receive top care after their two-week voyage to their new home ends on June 26.

Contrary to concerns by animal right groups the group has confirmed livestock will not go to Mexican regions with temperatures of 40 degrees celsius, have not breached minimum age requirements, will be used only for breeding and the farms have been ratified by state governments who have bought most of the animals. . .

Prestigious, International Agri Conference grows from NZ BBQ:

PPP celebrates 10 years with announcement of inaugural agri award winner

This week, agricultural networking fraternity, the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group, will head to Darwin, Northern Australia, to celebrate its 10th anniversary conference – and announce the winner of a new agri award.

Founded in New Zealand by head of Allflex Australasia and Wairarapa farmer, Shane McManaway, the Group started with a handful of producers at an informal BBQ in 2005. It now comprises over 130 of Australasia’s most influential agri-businessmen and women. . .

 

Hawkes Bay horticulture contractors fined:

The Employment Relations Authority has fined three Hawke’s Bay horticulture contracting companies a total of $22,500 for failing to provide employment records.

The Labour Inspectorate launched an investigation into Kiwi Labour Solution, OOMDA New Zealand and Positive Force after an audit last year to check for compliance with employment, immigration and tax laws. . .

 US going nuts about milk prices:

From Kentucky family farms to Californian ‘mega dairies’, there is one thing on the mind of US dairy farmers – milk price. In California this is driving many to nuts.

The dairy farmers are not making money right now. The Californian price is $13-$16/cwt (cwt = 0.045 tonne), about $2/cwt below cost – and well below the $20/cwt they were getting last year. Kentucky is on a similar price: one farmer told Rural News they were getting $27/cwt last year. . .

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