Rural round-up

Aussie townies put us to shame over support for dairy farmers – Jon Morgan:

A campaign in Australia to support hard-pressed dairy farmers by paying an extra dollar for milk has – surprise, surprise – been a roaring success.

Like us, the Aussie farmers are struggling with low prices. But for them, the perceived villain is closer to home.

Because the Australians have a large domestic market, sales of fresh milk to supermarkets are a big money-earner. But this is being undermined by competition between the two big chains, Woolworths and Coles.

They have used milk as a loss-leader and retail prices have plummeted to as low as $1 a litre. Dairy farmers have struggled because of this, and factors such as international prices and drought, and the call has gone out to city folk to help out. . . 

There are not two sides to the GMO story – Julia A. Moore:

Regarding the May 18 Politics & the Nation article “Are GMO crops safe? Focus on the plant, not the process, scientists say”:

Enough already! How many National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine reports does it take to give the answer that after decades of research there is no conclusive evidence that genetically engineered crops pose heightened health risks or environmental problems?

Whether it is GMOs, climate change or evolution, two critical issues persist. First, how do you stop partisans from ignoring the weight of scientific evidence and cherry-picking or buying research findings that suit their prejudices or self-interest? And second, how do you build public trust in and regulate scientific and technological knowledge that is hitting us, to quote Isaac Asimov, “faster than society gathers wisdom”? . . 

You can’t buy the rain – Nick Hamilton:

You can’t buy the rain….

Thursday afternoon last week I was rung by a reporter asking if I had time to comment on the effect the drought was having. I got the feeling that she had absolutely no idea when I had to explain the term ‘grazing’ to her, but we pushed on. When she hung up the phone I thought to myself, at least the general public will know that we are still struggling with this bloody drought. Doesn’t help us much but it’s nice to know we are not being ignored.

On Friday morning I got a nice message on Facebook from my Aunty congratulating me on my article in the paper. Must have a look at that at some stage I thought as I leapt out of bed, helped Megan make the school lunches, let the dogs off for a quick run then headed off to work, not on the farm, down the road at Sherwood Estate wines. I was driving the tractor up and down the frosty rows of pruned vines when I got a text from a footy mate. “They’re talking about the drought on Newstalk ZB”. . . .

The story to which he refers is:

Two-year drought drives long-term farmer off his land – Leah Flynn and Gerard Hutching:

The farm has been in Nick Hamilton’s family for four generations, but today it sits barren and stockless.

Hamilton was born on North Canterbury’s Minnivey Downs, but abandoned it after two years of drought made the farm unsustainable. 

He took up work pruning grapes in Waipara to make ends meet.  . .

Recognition for passionate young sheep farmer – Sally Rae:

Ever since he was a young lad, Will Gibson’s passion for the farming sector has been remarkable.

Whether it was exhibiting his coloured merino sheep and fleeces at A&P shows, entering stock-judging competitions with considerable success, or embracing life at home on the farm, he displayed maturity beyond his years.

He was always destined to go places in the industry and, last week, that passion was recognised when he received the emerging talent award at the Beef + Lamb New Zealand sheep industry awards in Masterton. . .

Yards ‘sold out from under us’ – Sally Rae:

Some Upper Clutha farmers are outraged by the sale of the Cromwell saleyards to a property developer, labelling the loss of the facility as a “disaster”.

Tarras farmer Beau Trevathan described the attitude of the Cromwell Saleyards Company’s directors as “bizarre”, saying they were elected to run the facility and ensure it was there for future generations.

“They’ve allowed it to be sold out from under us. As far as the farming community here is concerned, the majority of people are bewildered, to say the least. . . 

Breeding bulls for efficiency :

MILLAH Murrah Angus has taken part in the sire benchmarking program from the outset, with stud principal Ross Thompson a member of the program’s steering committee.

“The program has reached a state of useful maturity,” he said, noting that nominations were now being called for a seventh annual trial.

Mr Thompson said: “Traits such as feed conversion efficiency are very hard to measure without a structured progeny test and that’s one great positives of the sire benchmarking program. . .

Dorper value-adding idea leads Kings to LamHam – Sally Cripps:

It was a flourishing organic Dorper lamb grazing operation, combined with an online paddock to plate business that led Andrew and Maree King to a new lamb food marketing venture that is turning heads around Australia.

The couple were in Dubai in 2014, at the world’s largest food trade show, one of the prizes offered as MLA’s 2013 Queensland Sheepmeat Producer of the Year, when Maree had a “lightbulb” moment.

“We went over there with opportunities for our fresh Dorper lamb in mind but it all changed while we were eating at our hotel, where there were so many smoked offerings – turkey and fish and the like – standing in for bacon and pork. . . 

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