Earnscleugh put to trial – Sally Rae:
Alistair Campbell has clocked up a few kilometres perusing gullies on Earnscleugh Station – all in the search of the perfect dog-trial course.
The Omakau-Earnscleugh Collie Club’s annual trials will for the first time be held at the station, on February 21 and 22.
Mr Campbell, himself a keen dog triallist, said he had done ‘‘some miles” trying to find the right spot, even waking in the middle of the night thinking he had found it – only to find out, in reality, he had not. . .
Bank on bright side but farmers sombre – Sally Rae:
Dairy farmers are facing another tough year but a ‘‘generally strong year” is being picked by Rabobank for most other sectors.
Solid demand in key offshore markets, recent progress in export development and generally tight global supply was likely to bring another good year for producers of beef, wool and horticultural products, food and agribusiness research general manager Tim Hunt said.
While beef prices had lost some ground in recent months, they remained well above multi-year average levels and were expected to receive support from a generally tight global market. . .
Poachers, fed-up farmers and guns don’t mix – Andrea Fox, Mike Watson:
The potential for flashpoint confrontations between fed-up farmers and poachers on their land has never been higher, a farming leader says.
Rick Powdrell, Federated Farmers meat and fibre chairman and a Bay of Plenty farmer, is urging closer communication between rural households and police as landowners face increasing trespass intrusion by game hunters and livestock killers after free, and saleable, meat.
“My big concern is farmers getting so frustrated with trespassers – whatever they’re doing on the property – that they’re running the risk of confrontation situations. If you are regularly having stock rustled or whatever, you get bloody determined you’re going to catch them,” Powdrell said. . .
Manawatu will host the fourth test when New Zealand’s top shearers meet the best from Wales.
The small town of Apiti in northern Manawatu will host the shearing test at its agricultural and pastoral show on February 27.
Then the final test will be held at Pahiatua on February 28.
New Zealand won the first test, held at Marton, and the second was won by the New Zealanders in Balclutha at the the weekend.
Kiwi shearers Dion King and Tony Costerhope took a 2-0 lead over Welsh shearers Richard Jones and Gwion Evans. . .
Family gem hits the market – Jessie Davies:
AN OPPORTUNITY to bag a slice of one of the biggest and oldest grazing properties in the Bega district has opened.
For the first time since settlement the Collins family’s “Oakhurst” is being offered for sale.
The 388-hecatre (960 acre) property has been in the family for almost 150 years.
The property is priced at $1.4 million through LJ Hooker Bega. . .
While farmers may be used to taking headcounts for stock, they’re now being asked to check the number of earth worms in their ground.
The Waikato Regional Council wants farmers to count the number of worms in a 20cm cube of soil, with 30 to 35 worms being the ideal number.
Worms increase the depth of topsoil and the carbon content by burrowing, digesting and mixing soil and plant residues. . .
New Zealand’s growing international reputation has helped secure the strongest international judging panel yet for the 2016 New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards.
Top critics from USA, UK and Australia will join local experts to judge more than 420 entries over a two-day competition this month.
Master Judge Russell Smith, one of Australasia’s most experienced international cheese judges and educationalists, said, “The Kiwi dairy industry is revered around the globe and we are also growing a reputation for quality cheeses and innovative cheesemakers, making the event a drawcard for high-calibre judges.” . .