Word of the day

08/12/2020

Glas – an n element in some place-names of Celtic (mostly Gaelic) origin, signifying dark or valley;  the colour of grass, the colour of the sea, and the colour of silver; green, blue, and some shades of gray;  blue, green, silver; sparkling; dazzling; pristine’ youthful.


Sowell says

08/12/2020


Rural round-up

08/12/2020

Learning to be brave key lesson – Sally Rae:

Being brave.

That’s something Kate Menzies has learnt a lot about through her involvement over the past decade with the Agri-Women’s Development Trust.

The charitable trust, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, was founded by Eketahuna woman Lindy Nelson.

It supported women through a range of leadership, farming business and personal development programmes and had notched up 4500 graduates in that time. . . 

New Zealand farmers prepare to export ‘best cannabis in the world – Tracey Neal:

Sun, sea and soil: these are the key ingredients for growing New Zealand’s largest-ever medical cannabis crop.

The first seedlings are now in the ground along the salt-laden and sunny slopes of Kēkerengū – just north of Kaikōura.

The ocean-side plantation run by research and development and cultivation company Puro will eventually cover the equivalent of 10 rugby fields.

Fresh out of quarantine, US-based cultivation technician Max Jablonski was last Friday focused on planting the prized seedlings into freshly furrowed, chocolate coloured soil. . . 

Family working out how to keep tracks open :

Merinos and mountain bikes.

Changes are afoot at Matangi Station, near Alexandra, where the Sanders family is seeking to open a commercial mountain bike park over the summer.

As lambing ends and recreational access to the Little Valley property reopens, the family has been grappling with how to keep the tracks behind the town’s famed clock open to the public for years to come.

“We feel we have always had a positive relationship with the community around them utilising our family land, especially during recent times,” Brett Sanders said. . . 

Deep dive gems on N use efficiency – Anne Lee:

A deep dive into Lincoln  University Dairy Farm’s data sets is offering Canterbury farmers insights into what to expect and how they may be able to profitably offset likely pasture production losses expected from the government’s new farm input control – the 190kg/ha/year nitrogen cap. While others were taking up crafts or completing 5000-piece jigsaws during Covid-19 lockdown, DairyNZ scientist David Chapman’s pastime was to crunch the numbers from the myriad of LUDF data sets. They included 2500 grazing events and 1800 fertiliser events.

His specific focus was to interrogate the data on the farm’s shift from using 300+kg/ha/year of nitrogen fertiliser to 168kg/ha/year as it moved to a lower input farming system that also saw a reduction in stocking rate.

Among his surprising finds were a smaller drop in pasture production than expected, a big jump in nitrogen use efficiency and the discovery of previously wasted opportunities for pasture utilisation and feed conversion efficiency. . . 

Seasoned industry leader joins FarmIQ board:

Industry leader, farmer and cattle breeder, Shane McManaway, has taken a place as a director on the FarmIQ board, representing MSD Animal Health. The owner of Gold Creek Charolais stud and past leader of Allflex Livestock Intelligence in Asia-Pacific and China said he welcomes the opportunity to step into the role, at a time when turning farm data into usable information has never been more critical to business success.

“ FarmIQ with its ‘farmer-centric’ approach to data is one of the best platforms for making it possible for companies with data collecting software and technology to hook into, and over time I believe this will only grow.”

Having headed up Allflex Livestock Intelligence for 15 years, McManaway comes with a deep understanding of farm data collection, and the ability to integrate livestock tagging systems to become more than just a compliance box to be ticked. . .

Andrew Forrest secures iconic Kimberley cattle stations as $30 million sale wins final approval

After almost six months, the $30 million sale of two iconic Kimberley cattle stations to billionaires Andrew and Nicola Forrest has been finalised.

The news comes days after West Australian Lands Minister Ben Wyatt approved the land transfer of Jubilee Downs and Quanbun to the Forrest family company.

In July, the Forrests bid more than $30 million to secure the highly sought-after pastoral leases, outbidding 14 interested parties, including a group of Yi-Martuwarra traditional owners who attempted to block the sale.

The stations were formerly owned by a partnership of American billionaire and environmentalist Edward Bass and Kimberley pastoralists Keith and Karen Anderson, who managed the property for more than 40 years. . . 


Yes Sir Humphrey

08/12/2020


When you try to employ NZ workers . . .

08/12/2020

Why do businesses need foreign workers when there are so many unemployed people?

The question is simple but the answer is not as the experience of Hawkes Bay apple exporter John Bostock shows:

. . . Bostock New Zealand is the largest organic apple producer in the country.

In documents released to RNZ, Bostock told ministers it ran a marketing campaign in October on TV, social media, traditional backpacker boards and seasonal worker websites.

By the end of October, it reached nearly 600,000 people.

The company had 227 applications and all of them were contacted to move their application forward.

The company had 77 people respond, in which 55 got jobs and 22 people withdrew their applications.

Despite multiple attempts to contact them, 150 people did not respond after their initial application.

Bostock New Zealand said based on these figures, it would have to extend its reach massively from 600,000 to over 3.1 million people to achieve their goal of finding an extra 300 seasonal staff.

That was not far off the total working-age population in New Zealand – 3.9 million people. . . 

Workers need to be fit to do the work but that isn’t the only reason employers can’t find enough locals to do the work.

The companies said there were many reasons why New Zealanders were not suitable for the work: they’re not available for as long as they need to be, not fit for the job, underage, could not commit to the job or had family or animal/pet obligations that could not fit around the work.

Bostock gave the government some examples:

  • Person A and Person B – working full time but were free over the Christmas break. However, thinning finishes at Christmas and picking would not begin until early February so the timing did not work.
  • Person C – applied saying she was not very fit, but had three weeks free over the Christmas break and wanted to give it a go. She also had some allergies and asthma. After having an honest discussion about the physicality of the job and that picking would only be available during the final week of her holiday, she decided not to progress her application.
  • Person D – applied from Indonesia, worked as an RSE before and would like to come back, but Bostock could not accept any overseas applications due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
  • Person E – the 15-year-old and wants a summer job while school is out. Because seasonal employees were required to be 16 or over, Bostock could not progress his application.
  • Person F – working remotely and would like to travel to Hawke’s Bay and stay in Bostock accommodation, but was only available to work for a few hours in the evenings Monday to Friday as he already had a full-time job. Unfortunately due to the nature of the available roles and timings, Bostock was not able to accommodate his requirements.
  • Person G – wanted to bring her family of four (two adults plus a 12-year-old and 14-year-old) to Hawke’s Bay for a short family holiday and wanted to find work for all four of them for a fortnight. Because Bostock required seasonal workers to be 16 or over, they were unable to offer work to the two children, meaning an adult would also be unavailable to work as they would be with them.

Dairying has similar problems finding people who want to work and will stay working when and where they’re needed. One of our sharemilkers used to use backpackers who were usually keen to work and save for a few months before continuing their travels.

Covid-19 has put an end to that and a lot of farms are relying on a few permanent employees supplemented by a series of relief milkers.

The cows get  milked but it’s not a good long term solution to the problem of not enough locals who are both willing and able to work fulltime.

 


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