Report card: could do better – Hugh Stringleman:
Fonterra’s Shareholders Council has told the co-operative’s directors and senior management the recent interim results were below the council’s expectations.
Council chairman Ian Brown said shareholders would rightfully feel disappointed that, in particular, an increase in dividend was not delivered.
He was introducing the FSC April report to all shareholders, one of four written reports a year. . .
New research into sustainable pest management controls might soon offer avocado growers an effective non-chemical control against leafrollers.
The research, being conducted by scientists at Plant & Food Research aims to use the pests’ own sex pheromones to disrupt the mating process in an effort to reduce populations.
“Sex pheromones, the natural chemicals released by the females of many insect species to attract mates, can be used to disrupt communication between insects” says Plant & Food Research scientist Dr Max Suckling. . .
Fileding scientist’s seed drill a Rolls Royce system – Gerard Hutching:
Feilding soil scientist and inventor Dr John Baker is on a mission to save the world’s soils and has created a special machine that has been described as the “Rolls Royce” of direct drill seed machines.
With a turnover of between $3-4 million a year, Baker’s cross-slot no-tillage drills are sold in 18 countries and used extensively in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.
As the earth’s soil quality diminishes, Baker’s drill has been touted by its designer and enthusiastic supporters as a potential saviour.
Recently researchers from the University of Sheffield found that soils under Britain’s allotments were significantly healthier than soils that had been intensively farmed. They said the UK had only 100 harvests left in its soil. . .
New Zealand’s commitment to participating in the United Nation’s International Year of Soils has been challenged by some soil scientists.
With four months of the year already gone, Dr Doug Edmeades has questioned how much effort the NZ scientific community was making during the year for raising the profile of soils’ contribution to the economy and the potential careers on offer.
“I was recently at a seminar in Wellington that described the gap that exists between scientists and society. . .
PHILANTHROPIST Turia Pitt will join Rural Women’s Award state winners at a Beef Australia 2015 high tea in Rockhampton next week.
Westpac Agribusiness will celebrate the Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation (RIRDC) Rural Women’s Award by honouring the winners’ quintet at the Women in Business High Tea, led by guest speakers Ms Pitt and Juliette Wright, founder of Givit. Westpac has been a long-term sponsor of the RIRDC Award.
Susan Bower, head of Agribusiness at Westpac, said the bank was pleased to host the inspirational group at an event which would bring highly skilled women into agribusiness settings to share their skills. . .
Automation marks new age for ag – Rebecca Sharpe:
RISING costs and difficulty in sourcing skilled labour have contributed to farmers seeking automated machinery systems for their operations, particularly in broadacre cropping enterprises.
Technology in this area continues to evolve quickly, with an Australian-first Yanmar driver-less tractor prototype revealed earlier this year in the Riverina.
But the days of driver-less machines haven’t yet been reached in Australia, according to Chesterfield Australia Integrated Solutions manager Paul Slatter, Brisbane, Queensland. . .