Rural round-up

 – Allan Barber:

When sheep and beef farmers in New Zealand grumpily ponder their forecast returns for 2016-17, they may be able to take some comfort from the precarious state of farmers in Europe, particularly the UK where they are facing even more uncertainty of income.

Private Eye’s Bio-Waste Spreader column contrasts the rhetoric of the Environment Minister saying farm subsidies must be abolished post Brexit with a report by her own Ministry, Defra, which finds British farmers would be unable to keep going without them. In the 2014/15 year dairy farms were the most profitable averaging GB Pounds 12,700, whereas cropping farms made GBP 100, lowland livestock farms (most like our sheep and beef) lost GBP 10,900 and grain growers did even worse. These profits or losses came before farmers paid themselves any wages or drawings. . . 

Heavy market share losses affect Silver Fern Farms’ financial performance – Allan Barber:

In recent weeks there has been an exchange of views about PPCS’s acrimonious takeover of Richmond in 2003. Keith Cooper, ex CEO of the renamed Silver Fern Farms, emerged from anonymity in Middlemarch to castigate the appointment of Sam Robinson to the board of Silver Fern Farms as the Shanghai Maling representative. He was critical of Richmond’s rejection of the original approach by PPCS to buy the Freesia Investments shares from the Meat Board in the mid-1990s and Robinson’s role as Richmond’s chairman.

Farmer, SFF shareholder and columnist Steve Wyn-Harris took Keith to task on the grounds of selective memory of what actually happened during the bitter but ultimately successful campaign by PPCS to buy Richmond. I must confess my recollection of events, without being in any way personally involved, is closer to Steve’s perspective than Keith’s and I still remember clearly Ron Clarke’s superb last column on the topic just before he died which was an eloquent attack on what he considered PPCS’s underhand approach. At the time Justice William Young referred to the company’s “gross commercial misconduct.” . . 


Quake ends dairy farmer’s season – Nigel Malthus:

Don Galletly’s Loch Ness dairy farm on the Emu Plain, near Waiau, remains the only one in North Canterbury unable to milk since the November 14 quake.

While farms either side were back up and operating within a few days, Galletly’s rotary shed is deemed a write-off.

“Three-quarters of the season is down the drain for us,” he told Rural News. . . 

Patriotism means we should eat more lamb – Jamie Mackay:

 . . On the subject of one-man crusades, last week on my radio show I launched my 2017 tilt at a windmill. In fairness, past crusades have had mixed results. While I failed to bring back rucking, I proudly and vicariously claimed some reflected glory when Fonterra, to its eternal credit, brought back milk in schools.

I also like to think I played a small part in the media publicity which aided a much-deserved knighthood for David Fagan. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

So what’s 2017’s on-air crusade? I reckon we should be like the Ockers in the West Island and make it a patriotic pastime to eat lamb on our national day. And if we can’t agree to do that because, let’s face it, we don’t agree on much on Waitangi Day, maybe we could all eat lamb on what I’d like to be our national day, April 25. . . . 


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Farming is like any other job. Only you punch in at age 5 and never punch out.

One Response to Rural round-up

  1. Gravedodger says:

    Re the rural roundup item on the only remaining dairy farm still not operating after the November quake.
    Donald’s farm is near Emu Plains but was part of the settlement of all but a few hundred acres of the original McFarlane Station, “Lyndon” at the end of WW2 and was taken up by Don’s Dad Sandy who was very involved in the doomed defence of Malamene Airfield during the airborne invasion of Crete.
    The 500 Ha lay mostly in the Lyndon swamp on River Rd that travels from Waiau through the Leslie Hills station of the Rutherford family after bisecting “Emu Plains” to join Highway seven at The Double Bridges.
    Emu Plains was a four thousand acre square block in the eastern corner of the historic station of almost 30 000 acres, settled on Stuart Rutherford and bought by George Gardner to be further subdivided to his grandsons in the 1960s.
    The “Emu Plains” name for a small corner of Leslie Hills came from a liberation of Emu pairs in the 1800s that ended in the 1930s when they died out.

    The reason for this epistle comes as suggesting Don’s farm was EmuPlains is inflammatory as the two Amuri Wool Kings DD McFarlane of Lyndon and Duncan Rutherford of Leslie Hills had a ten mile boundary from the Waiau river to the Hanmer river and when Scab and Rabbits were rampant Rutherford built a ” Rabbit fence” the entire length a few yards on his side of the legal boundary to keep McFarlane’s scabby sheep and rabbits at bay.
    I spent days in my youth repairing that fence as it formed the western boundary of my Fathers run for some six miles and he managed to freehold the no mans land to the superior structure.
    Or maybe I am pedantic.


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