Rural round-up

July 4, 2015

 Wendy Avery – strong woman behind the man – Barbara Gillaham:

Doug Avery is well known throughout the farming community as a man who has faced adversity, immense stress and the dark pit of depression.

Battling through all of these, plus ongoing droughts, and other serious setbacks on the family’s South Marlborough farm Bonavaree, today he has successfully turned his farm into a high-performing business.

Now with the farm safely managed by his son Fraser, Doug is busy touring the country presenting his Resilient Farmer plan, reaching out to other farmers in New Zealand suffering from stress and depression.

Although he laughingly describes himself as a “sad bastard” Doug Avery has proven himself a strong man in every sense of the word. . .

50 years with Alliance Group – Brittany Pickett:

Separating faeces and intestines may not be for everyone but for Ian Miller it has been a 50 year long career.

The Invercargill man began his career at the Makarewa Alliance plant in May 1965, at the tender age of 16, after his father, also a long-time Alliance employee, decided it was time for his son to learn a trade.

“He went to the boss and said I’ve got a lad who’s not doing so good at school and then I started there with my father in the gut floor,” Miller said.

Adding to the family tradition, Miller’s two uncles also worked for Alliance. . .

 Corrections land returned to Tuwharetoa:

 Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga today helped celebrate the return of 8500ha of Crown land to Ngāti Tūwharetoa. Some of the land on the Tongariro/Rangipō Prison site will continue to be used by Corrections to help rehabilitate prisoners.  This includes about 700ha for a training farm for prisoners to hone their farming skills, giving them real work opportunities on release. The sale of the land to Ngāti Tūwharetoa was finalised today at a ceremony at Rongomai Marae near Taupō. …

Iwi partnership purchases Crown land and forests:

E ngā mana, e ngā reo o te motu, tēnā koutou katoa. E mihi ana ki a koutou i ngā āhuatanga o te wā.

A Ngāti Tūwharetoa partnership, the Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust (TST) and five other Tūwharetoa entities, have finalised the purchase of 8,500 hectares of Crown land in the central North Island. This includes around 4,000 hectares of timber plantations.

The sale and purchase by Hautu-Rangipo Whenua Limited (HRWL), valued at $52.7 million, was marked at Rongomai marae today by Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, Ta Tumu te Heuheu, CNI Iwi representatives, and representatives of the iwi partnership.

TST Chairman, Dylan Tahau, said the deal has significant strategic and commercial benefits for the iwi partnership. . .

Tourism opportunity on burgeoning cycle trail:

A former regal Waitaki homestead that has been run as a commercial enterprise with links to the famous Scottish whisky Glenfiddich, has been placed on the market for sale.

Craigellachie was built by a Scottish migrant in 1899, who chose the name as it fondly reminded him of a place in Northern Scotland. Meaning ‘rocky hill’, Cragellachie is at the heart of Scotland’s malt whisky trail. The village sits above the Rivers Spey and Fiddich, whose valley or glen gives its name to arguably the country’s most famous whisky, Glenfiddich.

The New Zealand namesake is located at 399 Otiake Road in the Waitaki Valley settlement of Otiake. . .

 

Kiwi Consumers Pay Dearly for Manuka Honey Goldrush:

New Zealand honey consumers are being forced to pay dramatically higher retail prices for everyday honeys as exporters buy up all available table honeys to blend and sell as authentic manuka honey in global markets.

“There’s a goldrush mentality out there. Overseas demand is rapacious for manuka honey or a blend that can be labelled as manuka honey,” says industry leader and long-time advocate for transparent and internationally credible manuka honey quality standards, Peter Bray, managing director of Canterbury­-based Airborne Honey. Recognised world standards require a honey to be “wholly or mainly” made from the named source on the label yet a high proportion of honey sold as manuka fails to meet this threshold. . .

 

Unification the hot topic at the Conference of the National Beekeepers Association attended by Waikato Based SummerGlow Apiaries:

Unification has been one of the major topics at last week’s annual Conference of the National Beekeepers Association and Federated Farmers Bee Industry Group held at Wairakei, attend by Waikato based Manuka Honey producers SummerGlow Apiaries.

“This year has been the biggest event yet in terms of attendance as we have had over 830 registrations from all areas of the industry attend this year’s conference which is up from last year when 500 people attended,” says John Hartnell, Bees Chairperson of Federated Farmers Of New Zealand. . .

 

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Hat tip: Utopia


Rural round-up

July 3, 2015

More work urged on water quality – Neal Wallace:

A good start but still more to be done.

That is the conclusion of a stocktake by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment on managing the quality of fresh water.

Dr Jan Wright praised the Government for implementing the National Policy Statement to improve fresh water management and regional councils for taking steps to improve water quality, but warned there was still much to be done. . . .

AGMARDT goes Green:

Rural businessman Richard Green of Canterbury has been appointed to the AGMARDT board.

AGMARDT is an independent not-for-profit trust that aims to foster and enable innovation and leadership within the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors of New Zealand.

 “We are very fortunate to have Richard join the AGMARDT board of trustees,” says chair Barry Brook. . .

Precision aerial spreading a reality:

Precision fixed wing aerial fertiliser application on hill country is now a reality, says nutrient cooperative Ballance Agri-Nutrients.

New technology in top dressing planes is set to resolve some of the challenges for farmers relying on aerial application, offering the ability to take precision up a gear.

SpreadSmart is a variable rate application system. This allows different amounts of fertiliser to be applied to different areas of the farm to boost productivity and protect waterways and sensitive areas. . .

Donkeys keep dogs on the hoof – Cara Jeffrey:

LIVESTOCK producers in southern NSW are ramping up their fight against wild dogs with baiting, trapping and donkeys all part of the arsenal.

Rob and Sally Bulle introduced donkeys to their Holbrook property “Ardrossan” two years ago to help combat wild dog attacks against their first-cross ewe flock – particularly at lambing time.

The donkeys – a mixture of jacks and jennys – have proven their worth and have remained a fixture on the property. . .

Feeding beats slow- release worm control:

A large anthelmintic trial investigating the efficacy of controlled-release capsules (CRC) and long-acting (LA) anthelmintics in pregnant ewes should ring alarm bells for sheep farmers. The study was initiated by the Whangaehu and Alfredton Farm Business Groups because of the widespread perception among farmers that use of these products will reliably return significant production benefits to both the ewe and her lambs. 

The perception held by farmers, and promoted by commercial interests, appeared to the group to be largely unsupported hence the reason for a widespread, repeated study to provide independent data on both the size and variability in the production response from treating ewes with a CRC pre-lambing. . .

Your first dog – Lloyd Smith:

When buying your first dog, first make sure the animal is going to be an asset not a liability. Sometimes young folk can be a dumping ground for old dogs past their use-by date. But a genuine dog with a few useful years left is a good option to get you started. These dogs are not always easy to source.

A dog’s useful working life is usually pretty much over by 10 years old. I would be hesitant about buying a dog of more than seven years old. Old dogs are pretty set in their ways and are limited in what you can change about them so expectations should not be high. . .


Milk mountain must move before price will rise.

July 3, 2015

Yesterday’s GlobalDairyTrade auction resulted in a 5.9% drop in the price index.

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The end of EU milk quotas, embargoes on trade with Russia and lower feed prices in the USA are all contributing to an increase in the supply of milk.

Another cause for the price drop is less demand from China which has stockpiled a mountain of milk powder.

Until that mountain moves we’re not going to see much improvement in prices.

 

 


Rural round-up

July 2, 2015

Stoat threatens sanctuary kiwi:

Conservation staff are hunting a stoat that has breached a native wildlife sanctuary’s $2 million fence.

The Orokonui Ecosanctuary near Dunedin is home to several species of native birds, insects, and tuatara.

The centre’s conservation manager, Elton Smith, said a ranger spotted the stoat’s footprints in the snow last week.

“Experts confirmed the worst case scenario that it was in fact a stoat,” he said. . .

$8.8m in erosion grants awarded

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced $8.8 million in funding grants over four years to help councils tackle hill country erosion.

“We’ve seen the serious damage that erosion has caused after the severe storm in the Whanganui, Rangitikei and Taranaki regions, both economically and environmentally,” says Mr Guy.

“This funding round is timely, given that $4.7 million out of the total $8.8 million is going towards the Horizons Regional Council. This covers the Whanganui and Manawatu regions which have been badly affected by flooding and landslides.” . .

 

Getting the right TPP deal – Nigel Sitrling:

Farming leaders say they will not be bounced into accepting a poor deal in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Government should walk away from the talks if they do not deliver significant improvements in access to overseas markets for this country’s major exports.

After several times looking like it might fail in recent weeks the 12-country negotiation took a sizable step forward yesterday when the United States Senate finally passed legislation giving President Barack Obama authority to negotiate trade deals on behalf of Congress.

The so-called Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill was passed 60-34 and is now ready to be signed into law by Obama in a move expected to clear the way for countries in the TPP talks to bring six years of talks to a close. . .

The bigger picture is progress – Rick Powdrell:

My November address to council had a theme of change. This is a topic our wider industry regularly focuses on, but concentrates on the big macro burning issues often without giving credit to the many progressive changes being made.

I don’t need to highlight the on farm productivity gains made in recent years to this council.  Our progressive farmers have adopted practices and technology to significantly lift the performance of their stock and the quality of the product to the end consumer.

At the same time the meat companies have been adopting modern technologies to improve the throughput performance of their plants. . .

Life membership takes Elliot by surprise – Sally Rae:

When Mike Elliot was presented with life membership of Otago Federated Farmers, he said it took him by complete surprise.

”It certainly blew my socks off. It was totally unexpected; just brilliant,” the 66 year old South Otago farmer said.

Mr Elliot first became involved with the rural lobby organisation in the early 1980s, attending Clinton branch meetings. In those days, the branch system in the organisation was very strong.

He later became chairman of the dairy section of Otago Federated Farmers and served as national senior vice president of the section. He was also a former provincial president. . .

 

Disappointment with ORC over wilding trees – John Gibb:

Otago Regional Council member Gerry Eckhoff says it is ”regrettable” the council has earmarked no funding to support community groups, including those in Central Otago, battling to remove wilding trees.

At an ORC meeting this week Cr Eckhoff, who lives near Alexandra, voted for the ORC’s amended long-term plan (LTP) overall.

But he voiced concern that no money was being provided to support community groups undertaking good work in tackling the growing wilding pine ”disaster”. . .

“Resounding support” for new arable industry structure:

Federated Farmers new Arable Industry Group Chairperson Guy Wigley says some “minor changes” has the arable sector on a secure footing for the forseeable future.

The industry group held its AGM in Wellington today with council elections and confirmed it’s name change from Federated Farmers’ Grain and Seeds Industry Group to the Federated Farmers’ Arable Industry Group. . .

 

New faces on federation’s dairy executive:

Federated Farmers’ Dairy Industry Group has announced changes to its national executive this afternoon.

At the industry’s national council in Wellington there were two new delegates elected with one retiring.

Marlborough dairy chair Wayne Langford was elected vice chair to the national executive, while Mid Canterbury dairy chair Jesse Chan-Dorman was appointed to the executive. . .

 


Two tales of one shipment

July 2, 2015

The Ministry of Primary Industries has one story:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has confirmed the 45,000 sheep and 3,200 cattle, exported to Mexico are now at a holding farm following their 15-day journey from Timaru.

A total of 191 sheep and one cow died – 0.42% and 0.03% respectively of the sheep and cattle in the shipment. This compares favourably with the average mortality of 0.71% in 40 Australian live sheep shipments last year.

MPI’s Director Animal and Animal Products, Matthew Stone, said the exact cause of the deaths is not yet known but, as a matter of course, MPI has required a detailed voyage report by mid-July from the exporter, which will include information from the veterinarian who travelled with the shipment.

“Nothing unexpected happened in terms of the animals’ health and welfare during the voyage,” said Mr Stone.

“The stockmen on board report the sheep had a 10% to 12% weight gain on the 15 day voyage.”

Mexican authorities oversaw the completion of the vessel’s disembarkation process. . .

And SAFE has another story:

192 lives lost on export shipment

Animal advocacy organisation SAFE is appalled that 191 sheep and one cow perished on board a controversial live export shipment to Mexico. The shipment of a reported 45,000 sheep and 3,200 cattle was the largest cargo of animals ever to leave New Zealand.

“192 animals have died and it begs the question, how many more will die on the next stage of their journey?” says SAFE’s executive director, Hans Kriek.

The sheep are being transported by truck for 1000 kilometres in 30-degree temperatures to a farm near Mexico City from where they will be distributed to smaller farms. It was reported that some sheep also died at the feedlots as they waited to board.

There are no reports yet on why the animals died, but it is known that on live export ships a number of animals die from illness or starvation. Some suffer from ‘inanition’ – not recognising the ship food of pellets as food as they were previously used to being on pasture.

When we were in Darwin at All Flex’s PPP conference a couple of weeks ago the preparation of animals for live shipments, which includes conditioning on the feed they will eat at sea, was explained.

Stock are monitored carefully and any not eating enough are culled before they embark and well before there is any danger of starvation.

I am certain that those caring for the sheep in New Zealand would take similar care for both animal welfare and financial reasons.

Although the shipment is purportedly for breeding purposes rather than for slaughter, which is illegal, SAFE says this latest shipment ignores the spirit of the ban on live export since the animals will still eventually be slaughtered in Mexico after they are no longer required for breeding, most likely in conditions that would be deemed cruel and illegal in this country. . .

 New Zealand’s meat works are world leading, I don’t know enough to comment on Mexico’s but the sheep and cattle would eventually be slaughtered had they stayed in New Zealand.

Apropos of dying at sea, another fact we learned in Darwin was that the death rate for people on cruise liners is as high as 2.5%.

Weight gain is also common among people on cruises though probably not as high as the 10-12% gain of the stock.


Rural round-up

July 1, 2015

Dr Rolleston new vice-president of the World Farmers Organisation:

Federated Farmers President, Dr William Rolleston has been elected Vice President of the World Farmers Organisation (WFO) while attending its General Assembly in Milan.

The WFO aims to bring together all the national producers and farm cooperative organisations with the objective of developing policies which favour and support farmers’ causes in developed and developing countries around the world.

“I am delighted and incredibly humbled to be elected into this role,” says Dr Rolleston. .  .

 

Sheep shipment should have been handled better – Jon Morgan:

 I recall once being told that the Prime Minister gets more calls and letters about animal welfare than any other issue.

No-one likes to see an animal suffer and it appears we’re more vigilant about this than we are about anything else, including child cruelty.

The authorities act quickly and severely when cases of animal cruelty occur. Hardly a week goes by when we’re not reading of a case before the courts. Unfortunately, each year several of these are farmers and involve multiple animals.

And so the outcry over the recent shipment of 50,000 sheep (actually 45,000) to Mexico quickly escalated to hysterical levels. . .

Gisborne bull breeders on a high after $100,000 sale  – Kate Taylor:

Angus breeders Charlie and Susie Dowding are buzzing at the sale of one of their bulls for $100,000 – a record price for an on-farm bull sale in New Zealand.

The Gisborne stud’s Rangatira 13-38 sold to the Bayly family’s Cricklewood Angus, Wairoa, which will use the rising two-year-old bull itself initially and make semen available for sale in the future.

“I don’t think I’ve stopped smiling yet,” Susie Dowding said.

“We had no idea at all he would be so sought after. We had moved him up the catalogue but obviously he should have been up further. I’m not sure how many were bidding to start with but it ended up with two studs who wanted him badly.” . .

Focus on support networks – Sally Rae:

A gathering of rural professionals is being held in Oamaru next week to highlight the support networks available to farmers.

It has been organised by the Rural Support Trust, Federated Farmers, Beef and Lamb New Zealand and DairyNZ.

The organisations all had concerns for farmers, particularly in North Otago but also other areas, over the next three to four months, as they faced the effects of drought and also the low dairy payout, Otago Rural Support Trust co ordinator Dave Mellish said. . .

ECan’s future direction – Conan Young:

After five years without a democratically elected regional council, warnings are being sounded that Canterbury’s stock of capable leaders is in danger of being hollowed out.

As Insight investigated the plan for ECan to make a partial return to democracy, it was told the region is getting used to having decisions made for it by government appointed commissioners.

Environment Canterbury’s councillors were sacked by the government amidst claims they were dysfunctional and had failed to introduce a water plan for the region, allowing it to make the most of its alpine water and reap the economic rewards of large scale irrigation.

Now there’s a proposal for a partial return to democracy with a mix of elected members and appointed commissioners.

According to the government, there’s still too much at stake to risk a return to fully elected councillors.

But the head of the Politics Department at Canterbury University, Bronwyn Hayward, takes issue with that position. . .

 

Cashflow crucial for Taranaki demonstration farms – Sue O’Dowd:

Demonstration farms near Stratford and Manaia are closely monitoring their cashflow, focusing on pasture management and deferring some expenditure as they plan for the season ahead.

The Stratford Demonstration Farm, operated by an incorporated society, and the Waimate West Demonstration Farm, owned by a trust, were both established in 1917 by local farmers who wanted a model dairy farm in their area to develop and promote better farming methods. Both farms are managed by the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre. 

Waimate West Demonstration Farm chairman John Fischer says cashflow will be crucial if dairy farmers are to manage their finances in the wake of two seasons of low payout forecasts. . .

Auditing just futile bureaucracy –  Lynda Murchison:

So much time and energy is spent managing land and water at present, with decisions around rules only the first step.

What those rules look like and how much they will cost farmers and the community to implement also needs close scrutiny. Take a couple of examples from Canterbury.

Overseer; like it or hate it, Canterbury farmers are required to record an estimate of their nitrogen losses using Overseer. Personally I don’t have an issue with that. . .


Quote of the day

July 1, 2015

. . .  The whole point – indeed the underlying, triumphal, raison d’être of science – is that it is the only way of thinking and doing things which human society has ever dreamed up which is designed, sometimes, to fail.

The ‘failure’ of a trial is not a ‘failure’ at all, in the conventional sense. It shows that something was wrong with the assumptions that came from the laboratory experiments. . . Michael Hanlon writing about how Anti-GM protesters don’t understand how science works.


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