M. bovis progarmme being speeded up – Sally Rae:
The Ministry for Primary Industries is accelerating its tracing and surveillance programme so a decision whether to proceed with Mycoplasma bovis eradication can be made as soon as possible.
It has urged any dairy and beef farmers who believe they may have animals at high risk of infection to make contact immediately.
”Right now, we need to hear from any farmers who have bought cows and calves or milk for calf feed from farms that have been publicly identified as infected. If these farmers haven’t already heard from us through our tracing work, we would dearly like to hear from them,” director of response Geoff Gwyn said.
The MPI was particularly interested to hear from those who had received cattle or calves from Southland-based Southern Centre Dairies Ltd at any time after January 1, 2016, and had not already been contacted by the MPI. . .
Swede seed mix up in ‘human error’ leaves farmers with wrong variety – Brittany Pickett:
A “human error” in seed deliveries across much of the country has resulted in hundreds of farmers planting the wrong variety of swedes on their properties.
PGG Wrightson Seeds has alerted farmers who bought the new seed variety, Hawkestone yellow-fleshed Cleancrop swede, that a different line of white-fleshed swede, HT-S57, had been distributed to customers instead.
HT-S57 swede was phased out in 2016 and replaced with the Hawkestone swede variety.
However, the HT-S57 seed was distributed to farmers for planting for winter feed instead of the new Hawkestone swede variety. The company said in a statement that the mistake was caused by human error.. . .
Demand leaves NZ livestock numbers low – Sally Rae:
Livestock numbers available for processing over the rest of the season are lower than in any of the previous five seasons, a forecast by Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Economic Service shows.
Dry conditions and strong prices for lamb, mutton and beef in the December quarter drove high processing volumes.
The average values per tonne for lamb, mutton and beef exports were at record or near record levels in the December quarter, the forecast says.
The total number of lambs available for processing in 2017-18 was forecast to be up 1.3% on the previous season. . .
Opotiki kiwifruit growers win BOP Ballance Farm Environment Awards:
Kiwifruit growers Mark and Catriona White and their Coastal Kiwis orchard have won the Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
Ten years ago, the couple embarked on a quest to find an improved lifestyle for their family away from the city and found it on a bare block of land near Opotiki.
Their work and passion have transformed part of an organic dairy farm into the successful 5.85ha orchard it is today, the Awards judges said. . .
Rotorua and Hokitika farmers named as finalists for Māori excellence in farming award:
Two dairy farming operations are the finalists in the Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming Award.
They are Rotorua’s Onuku Māori Lands’ Trust and the Proprietors of Mawhera Incorporation (Hokitika).
The Onuku Māori Lands Trust’s Boundary Road Farm is a 72 hectare block near Lake Rotomahana, about 30 kilometres south of Rotorua. The farm milks 220 cows which produce about 90,000kg of milk solids. The trust consists of four dairy farms, a drystock farm, forestry, natural reserves and a manuka plantation. Onuku has also developed outside the farm gates, starting an export honey business called Onuku Honey. . .
New beef product on the cards – Hugh Stringleman:
Fast-growing dairy-beef steers slaughtered at about 12 months of age could be the basis of a new-generation beef product range.
Rearing those cattle for the beef industry could address some of the concerns in the rural-urban divide about the two million annual bobby calf slaughter, Massey University researcher Nicola Schreurs said.
The short growing period to maximise growth efficiency should also help address concerns about beef’s high environmental footprint, a consequence of the animals’ two- or three-year life.
She told farmers at the annual Limestone Downs field day in northern Waikato about a pilot study at Massey’s Keebles Farm where 80 Hereford-Kiwicross steers are being fast-tracked. . .