365 days of gratitude

January 12, 2018

The advertisement encouraged us to buy a bigger block.

It was talking about cheese and in those days it meant mild or tasty.

These days we have much more choice in cheese, imported and local.

It might be parochialism, but my favourite is Whitestone Cheese.

Today I’ve been enjoying their Lindis Pass Camembert.

It’s creamy, delicious and I”m grateful for it.


Word of the day

January 12, 2018

Lethophobic – fear of oblivion; abnormal anxiety of forgetting.


Rural round-up

January 12, 2018

Fast track expansion for Ashley Clinton dairy farmers Andy and Robbie Hunt – Kate Taylor:

A Central Hawke’s Bay couple are proud to be dairy farming and love the lifestyle it provides. Kate Taylor pays them a visit.

A pair of small pink gumboots kick the dust on the laneway as cows wander from their paddock to the milking shed. Three-year-old Annabelle has had enough of the hot summer day.

Bringing in the cows is often a family affair at White Stag – one of three properties farmed by Andy and Robbie Hunt in Central Hawke’s Bay – but today, in the middle of the school holidays, it’s big brothers William, 8, and Ben, 6, doing the work. Andy and Robbie have been on this property since Annabelle was a baby – she was just a couple of weeks old when they had the roof shout for the new shed.

“It’s been a busy few years,” Robbie says, laughing. . .

Quite revolution in hill country farming:

GISBORNE, Wairoa and East Coast hill country farmers are leading the country as innovators and are in great shape to take on the challenges of 2018.

AgFirst agribusiness consultant Peter Andrew says sheep and cattle hill farmers here have progressed to become some of the best in New Zealand.

Gisborne will get to show off some of this country’s best sheep and beef operations when the region hosts Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s annual meeting for the first time on March 22. . .

Feds’ Hoggard urges farmers to pay backpackers regular rates – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Federated Farmers vice-president Andrew Hoggard says farmers should pay backpackers market rates if they want to keep a handy pool of casual labour and avoid volunteer workers.

The Employment Relations Authority ruled an organic farm near Christchurch breached worker rights by paying them $120 a week plus providing food and lodging irrespective of the hours worked, and claiming they were volunteers after a Labour Inspectorate investigation. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said in a statement that thousands of people had been exploited at the farm, working up to 40 hours a week and often as hired out labour at a profit for Robinwood Farms director and shareholder Julia Osselton. . . 

Canterbury farmer joins DairyNZ board:

This year, Canterbury farmer Colin Glass also joined DairyNZ’s Board of Directors as its newest recruit.

The farm owner and Dairy Holdings chief executive joined DairyNZ’s Board in October 2017. Colin is particularly passionate about dairy farmers connecting with the wider community and showcasing the great work being done on farms.

“We have had a massive refocus on what is important to the sector – the new dairy strategy highlights the need for us to have vibrant, profitable businesses and communities,” says Colin. “But that has to be done in a sustainable way that plays on New Zealand’s competitive advantage. . .

Vigilance needed to prevent further spread of Mycoplasma:

National Party Spokesperson for Biosecurity Barbara Kuriger is calling on farmers to be vigilant in light of recent Mycoplasma Bovis incursions to help prevent the spread of the disease.

“The discovery of Mycoplasma Bovis in Ashburton is a strong reminder to our rural communities that we need to be increasingly watchful and report concerns to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) if there are any suspicions of a further spread of the disease,” Ms Kuriger says.

“We cannot be complacent in any rural areas. The recent confirmation in Ashburton follows cases last year in Hastings, North Otago and the Winton District. . .

New Nutrient Management Tool for Reducing Nitrogen Leaching:

Wintermax Triticale – a new nutrient management tool for reducing nitrogen leaching.

Plant Research (NZ) Ltd in collaboration with Grasslanz Technology have developed a unique nutrient management tool in the for of a winter active triticale variety named wintermax.

Nutrient losses to waterways can occur from rainwater either moving organic matter, sediment and nutrients from land surfaces into surface waters, or leaching of nutrients, such as nitrogen, potassium and sulphur, through soil into groundwater. . . 

Is the merino stud model fit for the future? – Robert Herrmann:

It’s many years since stud breeders of jersey bulls, landrace pigs and rhode island red roosters presented their prized stock at the various capital city Royal Shows to assess breeding potential. Today, these industries rely on data & science to identify the best sires to breed for the growing commercial demand for milk, pork and chicken.

Performance recording has replaced show judging.
There is still a role for the show ring, principally for the committed lovers of breeds to showcase their stock. However, the pragmatic farmer of today needs proof or at least confidence that the decisions around sire purchase align with the breeding objectives of their business.

This makes sense, it is not the pampered, prepared and perfumed animal in the show ring that matters; it is the progeny that must perform under commercial conditions that is important. Lipstick on the pig simply won’t do now. . . 


Friday’s answers

January 12, 2018

Teletext gets my thanks for posing Thursday’s questions and can claim a virtual box of apricots for stumping everyone by leaving the answers below.


Kea get own gym

January 12, 2018

How could you not love a country where kea get their own gym to distract them from playing with road cones?


Could both be right?

January 12, 2018

The Ministry of Primary Industries is frustrated with farmers’ response to Mycoplasma bovis:

Farmers are being told to keep better records of livestock movements.

It follows another confirmed case of cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis, this time on an Ashburton farm.

The disease has been found on 14 farms, all but one are in the South Island.

Ministry for Primary Industries response incident controller David Yard said farmers have a poor record of compliance with the national livestock tracing scheme.

He said that’s making for a lengthy search for the disease on other properties.

“It’s proving extremely challenging for us to identify where all the animal movements are being made so we have to go and interview every farmer in detail to see if they can recall who they sold animals to and who they received.” . . 

MPI is frustrated with farmers and the farmer on whose property Mycoplasma bovis was first identified is frustrated with MPI:

. . .  Glenavy dairy farmer Aad van Leeuwen, who owns the farms where the disease was first identified in New Zealand – and has had 4000 cattle culled – said he believed it had been in the country for years.

After going to the United States to learn about the disease, which was prevalent in many other countries, he advised the ministry four months ago to adopt a rigorous nationwide bulk milk testing programme to determine how widespread it was.

”It’s made out to be such a terrible thing, but it’s very, very manageable; it’s been here for a long time already; it is worldwide,” he said. ”So, instead of ripping communities apart, sending people broke … I would say this madness needs to stop.

”It was only before Christmas that they were trying to link all these farms to us, which is absolute rubbish. There’s no link whatsoever to us. . .

‘Yesterday, MPI response incident controller David Yard told the Otago Daily Times the scheme ”if used effectively” was ”the most useful tool to identify where the disease ‘could’ be”. Yet he said the latest case was identified through bulk milk testing.

”MPI is working with the dairy industry to extend this bulk milk testing … nationally.”

It’s possible that both are right.

There are problems with the NAIT scheme. Not all farmers are recording animal movements promptly and correctly and the grapevine says inaccuracies and incomplete records aren’t only at the farmers’ end.

But it is also possible that Mycoplasma bovis has been in New Zealand for years and it is only because a vet went further in searching that it was identified on van Leeuwen’s farms.

Testing animals isn’t 100% reliable, it can result in false negatives. Testing  milk is a much better way to identify infected stock and it needs to be done nation-wide.

That’s the best way of establishing the extent of the disease and getting rid of it.

Bulk testing of milk could also settle the question of where the disease came from and how wide-spread it is.

 


Quote of the day

January 12, 2018

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little. – Edmund Burke who was born on this day in 1729.


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