Farmers check out challenges in Zambia – Sally Rae:
When Nelson Hancox returned home from a trip to Zambia and had to write a brief statement on what he had learnt, it was not a difficult task.
“I wrote, ‘New Zealand’s a great place to do business’,” the Tapanui sheep and beef farmer said.
Mr Hancox recently attended a Rabobank Global Farmers Master Class in Zambia, which attracted 20 farmers from throughout the world and from a diverse range of farming operations.
The week-long programme brought farmers from nine key food and agriculture-producing countries to observe the potential of the Zambian agricultural sector and to discuss the challenges facing local producers. . .
New rules that will give the Ministry for Primary Industries greater visibility of the welfare of animals being exported from New Zealand will come into force on 25 August 2016, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) announced today.
“New Zealanders care deeply about the welfare of animals, and this was reflected during the consultation process” says MPI’s Director Biosecurity and Animal Welfare Julie Collins.
“The changes that are being introduced in August will further strengthen New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible exporter of animals and animal products.
They will give early effect to amendments made last year to the Animal Welfare Act 1999 that would have otherwise commenced in May 2020. . .
A brand new farming initiative – Extension 350 – is an innovative programme, the first of its kind for New Zealand. Designed to lift on farm performance through improving farm systems and profitability through shared knowledge.
The programme aims to have 350 Northland farms involved in four years and is modelled on having clusters of five farms working together with business advice and direction provided to a Target Farmer by an expert consultant, with that relationship encouraged by a Mentor Farmer. The expectation is that the Target Farmer similarly influences a group of Associated Farmers.
The pilot scheme which ran at Candy Farm in Okaihau from 2011 to 2014 saw local farmers Alister and Lyn Candy make management changes which have resulted in greater resilience and an increase in profits of around $180,000 per annum. . .
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed an innovative programme lifting the performance of 350 Northland farmers through shared knowledge.
“The first year of the Extension 350 programme will see the start of two dairy clusters and one sheep and beef cluster. Each cluster consists of five top performing ‘mentor farmers’ extending their knowledge, advice and direction to a group of five target farmers,” says Mr Guy.
“These target farmers then interact and influence a surrounding group of five associated farmers, extending the benefits of top performing farm practice from the original target farmer. The farm clusters are supported with farm consultants and other service providers. . .
Plant pests must also be a focus
Hawke’s Bay-based conservation group Forest Lifeforce Restoration (FLR) Trust has welcomed the Predator-Free by 2050 initiative announced by the government earlier this week. It says the target is achievable but that success will rely on collaboration and information-sharing on a scale not yet seen in New Zealand conservation circles and that few have dared dream was possible.
“Conservation in New Zealand can no longer be purely the preserve of government agencies,” said Trust Chairman Simon Hall. “The job’s too big, the battle’s too fierce. Landowners and the private sector all have a role to play.
“It’s crucial for the success of this initiative, though, that Predator Free New Zealand Limited is able to harness not just the collective will, but also the expertise developed from decades of trial and error that exists in pockets right across the country.” . .
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has today welcomed the efforts of a young Taranaki conservationist which will contribute to making New Zealand predator free by 2050.
Ms Barry met with 8 year-old Monte Woodward while visiting New Plymouth on Saturday.
“Monte is to be congratulated. He has worked hard to raise money by running sausage sizzles and washing cars to purchase two traps which will help protect some of our most vulnerable native wildlife from rats, stoats and possums.” Ms Barry says. . .
Briefing Paper: Mt Pisa, Doc & the Hunting Issue
A tragedy waiting to happen:
Earlier this year, historic Mt Pisa Station closed public access gates that run through its property to the adjacent DOC-managed conservation estate.
It was an action taken by the principals of Mt Pisa – Murray, Jacky and Shane MacMillan – for the purpose of safeguarding unsuspecting recreational users from potential danger and death.
The adjacent Pisa Conservation Area is managed by the Department of Conservation and allows uncontrolled access onto its estate for recreational trampers, trail-bikers … and hunters.
At no stage does it warn recreational trampers, hikers and bikers that armed hunters may be sharing their space. . .
Results at a glance
Total distribution to shareholders of $30 million ($76 million last year)
Rebate payment of $25 per tonne ($55.83 last year)
Total revenue of $837 million ($893 million last year)
Gross trading result of $35 million ($81 million last year)
Total sales volumes of 1.62 million tonnes (1.75 million last year)
Equity ratio of 81% (80.4% last year)
Farm nutrient co-operative Ballance Agri-Nutrients is distributing a total of $30 million to farmers this week, returning 87 percent of its 2015/16 $35 million gross trading result to shareholders. . .
The 2017/18 funding round for MPI’s Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) opens today.
“We welcome any groups keen to tackle a shared problem or develop a new opportunity related to the primary industries to apply for the fund,” says Investment Programmes Director Justine Gilliland.
“SFF supports farmers and researchers involved at grass-roots level and each year we receive a very high calibre of project applications.” . .
Fonterra and Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) are teaming up to develop a new online technology solution designed to provide farmers with a view of their operation in one place.
The two farmer-owned Co-operatives are combining resources, knowledge and expertise to look at the best way to bring together a farmer’s milk production and quality data, herd data, pasture data, local weather forecasts and more into one easy-to-use online portal.
Farmers will be able to see their private individual farm information in one place, allowing them to make faster and easier decisions about their farming operation. . .