Crunch times ahead for agricultural methane and nitrous oxide – Keith Woodford:
New Zealand must quickly come to grips with how agricultural-sourced methane and nitrous oxide are going to be managed within the ‘Zero Carbon Act’, more formally called the ‘Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019’. This Act brings both gases into the Emission trading Scheme (ETS) in 2025 unless an alternative charging system can be devised in the meantime.
Initially, the ETS charges will be only 5% of the full carbon charge at that time. However, the percentage will then increase at 1% of the full price each year. Initially, it will only be a few cents per kg milksolids, and a few cents per kg of sheep and beef carcass. But over time it will build up and become painful.
Given the media negativity to dairy, most people probably don’t realise that it will actually impact on sheep and beef profitability more than on dairy profitability.
In response to the situation set out in the Zero Carbon Act, a 13-sector pan-industry group called He Waka Eke Noa is beavering away, with Government encouragement, on alternatives to put back to Government. On 23 November, He Waka Eke Noa released a document setting out where their beavering has been heading. . .
Farmers face delays in getting stock to the works – Sally Murphy:
Farmers are facing delays in getting stock to the works as the brakes well and truly come off the cattle kill.
AgriHQ senior analyst Mel Croad said some farmers were having to wait three weeks before they can get a space.
“Delays are likely going to be a common theme this summer, just purely due to the shortage of meat workers, basically limiting how many cattle can be processed each week,” Croad said.
“If farmers face delays it can put some pressure onto farming systems, fortunately, most areas have still got relatively good feed levels, although some regions are sort of a little bit drier than they’d like to be.” . .
A rural contractor says hiring young people to fill labour gaps has paid off and he is urging others to do the same.
Rural contractors have been struggling with a labour shortage since the borders closed as skilled machinery operators, which normally travel from overseas, have been unable to get into the country.
North Canterbury Chapman Agriculture owner Allan Chapman said the labour shortage had forced him to look closer to home, and he had hired a team of nine young New Zealanders ranging from 14 to early 20s for the current season.
“It’s been a bit of a struggle but it’s been rewarding, it’s probably cost the company a bit of money as the guys have made a few mistakes but at the end of the day we’ve got through,” Chapman said. . .
After the successful launch of their strategy in September, The Campaign for Wool New Zealand (CFWNZ) has begun the first round of their “live naturally, choose wool” consumer campaign. With advertising across television, OnDemand, radio, print and digital, as well as consumer PR and a new website launching mid-December, CFWNZ has wasted no time getting their activity started.
Tom O’Sullivan, Chairman of CFWNZ is thrilled. “It’s very exciting to see our strategy turn into action so fast. This agility means we can start turning the dial more quickly.” O’Sullivan has also grown his team to help deliver their bullish plans by bringing on Linda Calder in a newly created role as Campaign Manager.
Strategic consultant for CFWNZ, Kara Biggs provides further comment. “The trick is to line up all of the activity at the same time using a diverse range of marketing channels,” she says. “This means the message to “choose wool” becomes heavily embedded in the minds of consumers when they are making purchasing decisions.” Biggs also remarks that New Zealand acts as a strong test market before more activity is rolled out globally. . .
A new weed and mulch mat made from natural New Zealand wool is providing a completely organic and biodegradable option for weed control while helping gardeners reduce their environmental impact and support the agriculture industry.
Wool Life director Stephen Fookes says a key point of difference with their weed and mulch mats is that they contain 100 per cent pure New Zealand wool and are an organic product with a low-carbon sustainable footprint.
“We use a low energy needle punching and carding process to create the mats which are produced at our plant located at Te Poi near Matamata. Using new and untreated wool has benefits over recycled wool as the finished product is completely pure and does not require any chemical treatment. The mats and pegs completely biodegrade over 12-18 months.” . .
Just like his parents and grandparents before him, Nick Davis farmed beef and sheep on Esgairdraenllwyn, an upland holding rising to 430m at its highest point.
But diminishing returns and a desire to take the farm in a different direction from the systems run by previous generations drove a conversion to dairying in 2015.
“A lot of people said it couldn’t be done on this farm and that was another reason for driving forward with the change – the challenge of proving that it could be done and done profitably,” Mr Davis recalls.
To inform that change, he visited dairy farms running the grazing systems he aspired to replicate at Esgairdraenllwyn and spent time with people who had a similar mindset. . .