Two New Zealand irrigation champions have been recognised with the awarding of the Ron Cocks Memorial Award to South Canterbury’s Robin Murphy and Central Otago’s Tony Banks.
Both men’s achievements were celebrated at IrrigationNZ’s biennial conference dinner last night in Oamaru. The event has drawn more than 400 people to the Waitaki District this week to tour local irrigation infrastructure, listen to global guest speakers address irrigation issues, attend technical workshops and view an industry expo with 52 exhibitors.
The former chairman of the Earnscleugh Irrigation Company, Tony Banks, was described as an outstanding leader in delivering the benefits of water to Central Otago. Tony has given 31 years of service to the scheme; more than half his working life and all in a voluntary capacity. . .
Power to the people – Anee Hardie:
The power bill is a big expense for many farms. Anne Hardie talked to Franz Josef farmer Graeme Berry about using local resources to reduce that bill to zero.
Water is an abundant resource around Graham Berry’s Franz Josef dairy farm, which prompted him to build a small hydro power scheme that now supplies all his electricity with enough extra to sell into the national grid and pay its cost.
It was a lengthy exercise that took years to acquire the necessary consents and ended up costing nearly half a million dollars, but that extra power sold into the national grid pays the interest while the farm and dairy now pay zilch for electricity. . .
Ashburton’s Carrfields Irrigation company has won 2016’s IrrigationNZ Innovation Award in association with Aqualinc for its innovative irrigator stabiliser.
The award was presented last night at the industry body’s national conference which has attracted more than 400 people to Waitaki District this week.
The HydroFix Irrigator Stabiliser System consists of a series of inflatable water tanks connected to a pulley and counterweight systems along the length of an irrigator. . .
South America set to dominate beef trade – Allan Barrber:
Rabobank’s quarterly report on the global beef market maintains South American beef producers, particularly Brazil, will be the major influence on the beef trade in 2016.
The most notable features are expected to be an increase in China’s official imports which rose sharply by 60% last year, a decline in US imports and lower than usual Australian beef production. New Zealand’s cattle kill is forecast to be earlier and lower than 2015 because of the earlier dairy cull. Although the American beef kill is still at 20 year lows, high stocks of frozen product will continue to put a dampener on both prices and import volumes. . .
Allegations by SAFE that Colony farming causes increased mortality and poor welfare among layer hens is being strongly rejected by the Egg Industry.
The Egg Producer Federation (EPF) has been working with the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) to investigate claimsmade by SAFE about one of its member farms.
SAFE broke into a member farm to obtain footage that the Industry said is an unacceptable, but isolated discovery.
“The welfare of the birds is our first priority, so this footage is most definitely disturbing. Investigations have shown this is the negligence of one farm, in an isolated incident that shows poor practice around cage checking and clearing. . .
Puahue dairy farmers John Hayward and Susan O’Regan are Supreme winners of the 2016 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
At a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on April 7 (2016), the couple also collected the LIC Dairy Farm Award, WaterForce Integrated Management Award, Waikato Regional Council Water Protection Award and the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award.
Based on 245ha of flat to steep contour east of Te Awamutu, their operation, Judge Valley Dairies Ltd, was described by BFEA judges “as a highly productive farm that works well in a challenging landscape while balancing environmental care”. . .
IrrigationNZ and Federated Farmers say greater scrutiny of claims irrigation causes increased ‘rumbly-gut’ is needed, as recent assertions by Alison Dewes are not scientifically sound.
The industry bodies have joined forces to ask for improved scientific integrity when making claims in the media as “the validity of the argument around increased pathogen losses resulting from irrigation or water storage are not sound,” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.
“Our understanding is pathogen contamination of a water supply generally occurs through a direct pathway – a point source contamination. Neither irrigation nor water storage create pathogen issues, except through natural means, the increased birdlife around a water storage lake for example. The main causes of pathogen contamination are poor water treatment from domestic discharges or inadequately protected well- heads. ” says Mr Curtis. . .
A $5,000 donation for catering and serving lunch for 130 of Australasia’s leading agribusiness professionals turned into an impromptu fundraising event recently – with a rural school of 36 students receiving over $40,000.
As part of its annual conference in Wellington, the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group visited a sheep farm and a dairy operation in the Wairarapa. The school children welcomed the delegation with a Kapa Haka followed by the serving of fresh, local produce including paua fritters, whitebait and crayfish for lunch. . .
If you haven’t sown your new pastures yet, there’s no better time than now to get seed into the ground.
Soil temperatures in many parts of the North Island and upper South Island are still mild – over 15 degrees C which is ideal for establishing most pasture species.
Perennial ryegrass or any short term ryegrass can be sown through to about Anzac Day, so that gives you plenty of options.
Early April is however too late for sowing pasture brome or fescue, because these species are sensitive to low soil temperatures. . .
There’s good news for New Zealand’s organic fruit and vegetable growers in the report released today showing Kiwis are buying more organic product from their local supermarket.
The Organics Aotearoa Organic Market Report 2016 shows continuing growth in markets for organic fresh fruit and vegetables, particularly in supermarkets, up 127% in four years.
“What is good about that figure for horticulture is it shows shoppers are thinking more about what they put in their shopping trollies.
“That’s a good trend for all the producers serving the New Zealand domestic market,” HortNZ chief executive Mike Chapman says.. .
New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s C.E.O, Mr John Dawson reports that the slightly weaker New Zealand dollar compared to last weeks’ sale helped lift local prices, aided by strong support for a more stylish South Island selection suitable for greasy wool orders.
Of the 9,400 bales on offer, 91.6 percent sold.
The weighted currency indicator was down 1.12 percent week on week.
Compared to the last time comparable wools were sold on 23rd March in the South Island Fine Crossbred Full Fleece and Shears were firm to 1.7 percent dearer. . .
Let’s also pay tribute to those farmers’ husbands/partners who work as hard or harder than their farmers.