Rural round-up

NZ primary sector commentators argue for genetic modification –  Gerard Hutching:

New Zealand could not pretend to be an agricultural Silicon Valley if it did not embrace genetic modification, farming leader Malcolm Bailey has said.

“It would be Silicon Valley without the silicon,” he told the Future Farms conference being held in Palmerston North.

Bailey, who is chairman of the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand and former Federated Farmers president, said there were a number of different types of GM. He was not advocating the use of transgenics, where genes from a plant are mixed with those from an animal. . .

Elite soils sprouting houses – Bernard Orsman:

Pukekohe market gardeners, the Bhana family, live in a rural zone but across the road houses are sprouting up on a paddock they were cropping potatoes two years ago.

In the past 10 years, about 16 per cent of Pukekohe’s dark brown, volcanic soil has been taken over for houses, and more is under threat from the city’s new planning rulebook.

More than 5000 new houses are in the pipeline in Pukekohe and neighbouring Paerata – and another 9000 are planned in the two areas over the next decade.

“We are genuinely worried the elite soils are getting eaten up for housing,” says Bharat Bhana, whose family have been growing vegetables in Pukekohe since 1957. . . 

Dam water would be useful in an emergency – Steve Wyn-Harris:

I am a sheep and beef farmer and was on the farm on Monday the 13th just gone.

When Jamie Mackay of The Country radio show rang me at midday for our regular chat on farming in Hawke’s Bay and wanted to talk about the drought I told him and his listeners that we had a far more pressing situation to discuss.

I spoke that in 33 years of farming I had never been more alarmed at the risk of fire. Conditions out on my farm and elsewhere were terrifying.

The wind was blowing around 100km. It was hot. Very hot, over 30 degrees. Humidity was very low with the air flow coming across from a scorching and dry Australia. And there was plenty of fuel on ground and dry scrub and trees. I said folk needed to take great care not to use machinery or anything that could cause sparks. . . 

Special gene makes heat-resistant cows – Alexa Cook:

A New Zealand company has produced a new breed of dairy cow which can keep producing decent amounts of milk in hot and humid conditions.

Most cows struggle to maintain milk production if they are under stress from heat. The “Slick” gene bulls are believed to be the first type of dairy bull in New Zealand to pass on heat tolerance to their daughters.

The bulls are named Slick Pathos, Slick Eros and his brother, Slick Himeros, after the Greek gods of love and sexual desire. Their genetics have been 10 years in the making.

New Zealand company Dairy Solutionz and STGenetics launched their Kiwipole breed in the US at the Tulare World Ag Expo. . . 

Living Water and Fonterra Farmers help give more Kiwi a safe haven:

Two more kiwi have found a safe haven in Northland thanks,in part, to a group of Fonterra farmers and Fonterra’s Living Water partnership with the Department of Conservation. 

The two birds, Geoff and Charlie, were transferred from Limestone Island near Whangarei to the Tanekaha Community Pest Control Area last weekend to join 12 others released there about a year ago.

Fonterra farmers have worked for years to rid stoats and other predators from the area, work that has been part-funded in over the past two years by the Living Water partnership. . . 

Fonterra’s Australian Business is on Track And Investing for the Future:

Fonterra’s Australian business is in good shape and performing well, says Fonterra Australia managing director René Dedoncker.

The Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd announced its half-year results for its global operations, posting a NZD$418 million net profit after tax, up two per cent.

Fonterra Australia has contributed to this overall result which René says comes on the back of “all the hard work with our turnaround, making sure we’re focussing on areas where we have a clear advantage.

“We had to make tough decisions with our transformation. Our three businesses are now delivering good results for us, although there are headwinds ahead,” René says. . . 

 

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