Rural round up

AgResearch confirms 83 lay-offs, hires 27 for new roles – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – AgResearch has confirmed speculation it is axing jobs, announcing plans to lay off 83 scientists and technicians because of declining investment in some areas of research and development, while hiring 27 for new roles.

AgResearch chair Sam Robinson said the Waikato-based crown research institute had to balance shifts in its sector’s research needs, and therefore revenue, with the need to respond to emerging science opportunities to maximise the impact for New Zealand’s pastoral sector.

“Declining R&D investment in some areas means that we are currently facing a significant and ongoing funding challenge in those areas,” he said. “While both private sector and government revenue is increasing in other areas, our net science revenue is forecast to be $5.3 million less for FY16 compared to FY15,” he said. . . 

Federated Farmers disappointed with AgResearch redundancies:

Further job cuts at AgResearch back up Federated Farmers concern that science capability in agriculture continues to be eroded through inadequate funding and a lack of strategic planning.

“Agriculture science is a long term investment which is difficult for governments on a short term three year election cycle, but we owe it to our future farmers, and all New Zealanders, to make the investments now, develop our capability and build the basic sciences which provide the necessary grunt to ensure commercialisation of innovation is optimised,” says Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston.

“We appreciate that AgResearch needs to ensure its capacity aligns with the work it has ahead of it, but the continual downsizing at AgResearch is a symptom of this bigger problem.” . . 

Napier road washout cancels wedding, isolates farmers – Simon Wong:

A wedding at a remote venue near Napier has been forced to cancel after heavy rain washed out the only road to the site.

McVicar Rd, which runs along the Mohaka River in Te Haroto, has cut off the 10 permanent residents including farmer and Sensible Sentencing Trust founder Garth McVicar.

The only road to his farm and the neighbouring Mountain Valley Adventure Lodge, where the wedding was to be held this weekend, has been completely washed out. . . 

Are microbes the key to geographical differences in wine?:

A new study of six of New Zealand’s major wine-growing regions has found that differences in flavour and aroma of wine from different areas may depend more on microbes than was previously thought.

Classically the reason that wine, and other agricultural crops such as coffee, from different places tastes and smells different was thought to be due to a range of environmental reasons such as climate and soil minerals. The idea that organisms such as microbes played a role in this was not appreciated until very recently.

Previous work by Associate Professor Mat Goddard and Research Fellow Sarah Knight from the School of Biological Sciences published in Nature’s microbial ecology journal ISME demonstrated that different regions of New Zealand have different types of the main yeasts (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) that ferment juice into wine. . . 

Positive Psa-V result on Whangarei kiwifruit orchard:

Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) has received a Psa-V positive test result on Hort16A and male vines on a kiwifruit orchard in Whangarei. This is the first confirmed case of Psa-V on an orchard in the Whangarei region.

All growers in the region have been advised of the situation by KVH, including best-practice advice going forward. KVH will hold a meeting for Whangarei growers next week and will be carrying out extensive monitoring in the region over the weekend.

There are a total of 49 orchards in the Whangarei region comprising of approximately 144 canopy hectares.

KVH Chief Executive, Barry O’Neil, said this new find in Whangarei is very disappointing and will be particularly hard for local growers and the regional committee. . . 

Minister welcomes passage of Korea FTA Bill:

Trade Minister Tim Groser has welcomed the passing of the Tariff (Free Trade Agreement between New Zealand and the Republic of Korea) Amendment Bill in Parliament today.

“Under this FTA, approximately 98 percent of tariffs on New Zealand’s current exports to Korea will be progressively eliminated,” says Mr Groser.

“This FTA will play an important role in strengthening the relationship between New Zealand and Korea. It delivers significant benefits across a range of areas including goods, services, and investment by breaking down trade barriers, facilitating the movement of goods and services, and establishing a framework for resolving any trade-related issues in the future. . . 

Zespri looks forward to sales growth in South Korea following passage of Tariff Amendment Bill:

Zespri welcomes the passage of the Tariff Amendment Bill through parliament yesterday, which is a significant step towards the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with South Korea. The agreement will provide significant benefit for the New Zealand kiwifruit industry.

Ratification of the FTA this year would mean a 33% reduction in tariffs on exports of New Zealand kiwifruit to South Korea for next year’s kiwifruit season. During 2014, Zespri growers paid approximately $22 million in tariffs, with the rate set at 45 percent. The tariff for kiwifruit will reduce to zero over the next five years. . . 

Tariff Amendment Bill a Significant Win for Kiwifruit Growers:

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. (NZKGI) welcomes yesterday’s passing of the Tariff Amendment Bill in parliament – a positive step toward a Free Trade Agreement with South Korea.

NZKGI president Neil Trebilco said cutting the tariff is a big win for kiwifruit growers.

“The agreement will eliminate a 45 per cent tariff on New Zealand kiwifruit over five years, creating significant savings for growers.”

“The agreement will also bring about parity with Chilean competitors who have been on a zero tariff since concluding their own Free Trade Agreement in 2004.” . . 

Fastline's photo.
Not just during harvest and not just farmers – many who service and supply farmers and work in businesses which turn what comes off the paddock in to what’s put on the plate, also work long and irregular hours. And of course, lots of other people work long and irregular hours in lots of other jobs.

7 Responses to Rural round up

  1. Dave Kennedy says:

    Axing jobs in AgResearch is just more cost cutting nonsense that will actually cost us more in the end 😦
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/285267/concern-for-emissions-research-after-jobs-cut

  2. Will says:

    In 1841, Charles Mackay wrote of ‘The Madness of Crowds.’

    “Every age has its peculiar folly: some scheme, project or fantasy into which it plunges, spurred on by the love of gain, the necessity of excitement, or the force of imitation.” He also observed that “Men, it has been well said, think in herds, it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”

    So it goes, and as the West slowly shakes off this strange little episode in our history, we can only hope we will be a little wiser next time. I’m not very optimistic.

  3. farmerbraun says:

    “Axing jobs in AgResearch ”

    Still, I struggle to recall the last piece of science to come out of Ag research that I could actually use to some benefit in my operation.
    There is an awful lot of research into biological weed control that seems not to have been a priority.
    Can anyone think of a useful finding from the last ten years?
    There must be some.

  4. Dave Kennedy says:

    “Can anyone think of a useful finding from the last ten years?”
    FB, for someone like yourself that may be true, perhaps they should do more organic related stuff 😉

    http://www.agresearch.co.nz/news/trial-suggests-winter-management-can-cut-runoff-losses/

    http://www.otago.ac.nz/profiles/otago030508.html

    http://www.deernz.org/agresearch-invermay-vital-deer-industry#.VgYjrmSqpBc

  5. Name Withheld says:

    Thank you Will.

    Three quotes from H.L. Mencken:

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and hence clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
    “The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false face for the urge to rule it.”
    “The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos.”

  6. farmerbraun says:

    Dave , I read the first one about winter grazing. Did you?
    Talk about teaching nana to suck eggs 🙂
    I didn’t bother with the other two links ; were they equally underwhelming?

  7. Dave Kennedy says:

    FB, they were just what I could find in a Google search. I know lots of Southland farmers were very annoyed when the Invermay research center was being downsized. They obviously valued the work being done there. What does concern me is the Government’s focus on just “commercial science”. What they don’t get is that just chasing stuff that has a current commercial need limits the potential discoveries that may provide future commercial success.

    I don’t agree with everything Jacqueline Rowarth says but we do agree about the need to promote science and not restrict scientific endeavour with excessive management.

    http://www.ruralnewsgroup.co.nz/rural-news/rural-opinion/science-suffers-as-middle-managers-meddle-more-and-more

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