Rural round-up

March 31, 2015

Fonterra’s fed-up farmers risk - Andrea Fox:

Fonterra is facing a supplier crisis of confidence and risks haemorrhaging milk to private companies as fed-up farmer-shareholders react to its latest financial results.

The co-operative turned in disappointing half -year results, with profit and revenue down on last year, and rocked farmers and the sharemarket with its announcement of a deterioration in the forecast dividend.

The dividend tracks how the business is performing and was widely expected to be fattened or at least held steady, given the low milk price it is paying farmers this season. . .

Sheep and beef can match dairy grazing :

Wintering dairy cows may be a useful pasture development tool but once the bulk of the regrassing’s done, sheep and beef can at least match the returns, say award winning North Otago farmers Blair and Jane Smith.

 They farm near Five Forks, inland of Oamaru, and if their name sounds familiar it’s probably because they won the Ballance Farm Environment Awards national title in 2012, though it may also be through the Newhaven Perendale stud flock.

Newhaven is the name of the home farm, 230ha of rolling country with 193ha effective, while up the road they have Blairgowrie, a 1072ha hill block running from 450m to 650m above sea-level. . .

Upset farmers dump excrement at ORC – Timothy Brown:

An ongoing dispute with a North Otago farmer who says he is at his wit’s end has landed the Otago Regional Council in the poo – literally.

Five Forks farmer Robert Borst says the ORC’s water plan change 6A has ”destroyed us as a family” and provided four years of ”sheer frustration and exhaustion” for him and his wife, Sylvia.

When told last night the ORC still hoped to resolve the dispute, he replied: ”Bull… – absolute bull…”. . . .

Water quality threatens fishing future - Blake Foden:

Poor water quality is threatening the future of one of Southland’s biggest industries, fishermen say.

Seafood exports from New Zealand were worth $1.375 billion in 2014, up 3 per cent on the previous year.

About $150 million could be attributed to the Southland coast, with crayfish accounting for two-thirds of that.

But Bill Chisholm, spokesman for eel and blue-cod fishermen, said the future of the industry was being jeopardised by poor water quality as a result of sediment flowing into the ocean and estuaries. . .

 

Toxins killed Southland cows, Ministry saysEvan Harding:

The death and illness of hundreds of dairy cows in Southland last year was due to the swedes they fed on having high concentrations of naturally occurring toxins, an initial assessment by the Ministry for Primary Industries has found.

A ministry spokesman said the industry-led investigation into factors contributing to the deaths of cattle in Southland was still ongoing.

But an initial assessment undertaken by the ministry supported the agriculture industry’s view that the cause of deaths were due to swedes having higher concentrations of glucosinolates, a toxin which naturally occurs in brassicas and is known to be toxic to cattle. . .

Fifth Grand Finalist Confirmed in ANZ Young Farmer Contest:

Pete Fitz-Herbert is the fifth Grand Finalist to be named in the 2015 ANZ Young Farmer Contest.

The twenty-nine year old stock manager took first place at the Taranaki/Manawatu Regional Final in Palmerston North on Saturday 28 March.

Mr Fitz-Herbert went home with a prize pack worth over $10,000 including cash, scholarships and products and services from ANZ, FMG, Lincoln University, Ravensdown, AGMARDT, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone. He also won the AGMARDT Agri-Business Challenge.

Pete has been competing in the ANZ Young Farmer Contest since 2007 but this will be his first attempt at Grand Final level. Pete stock manages on the family farm and also runs a Dorset Down sheep stud. Pete is an active member of the Marton Young Farmers Club, where he enjoys networking with like-minded people and participating in a range of events. . .

 


Rural round-up

March 30, 2015

Candid advocate top dairy woman – Sally Rae:

West Coast dairy farmer Katie Milne was recently named Dairy Woman of the Year. She talks to agribusiness reporter Sally Rae. 

Katie Milne is a straight shooter.

So it’s not hard to imagine those attending a meeting on the West Coast, in the early 1990s, took notice when she went along with some concerns about the Resource Management Act’s impact on her ability to farm.

There were a large number of Federated Farmers people there, but they were ”all older fellas with grey hair”. . .

Landcorp’s Carden optimistic despite low half year profit - Allan Barber:

The state owned farmer Landcorp last month reported a substantial drop in both revenue and profit for the six months ended 31 December last year, but CEO Steve Carden is still very positive about future prospects and the importance of Landcorp as a farming business.

In response to a question about the impact of dairy and whether the exposure to it has gone too far, he said he felt the balance was about right at a similar proportion to red meat which had traditionally been the dominant farming type. Dairy represented over half the turnover last year, but in the current year that percentage had fallen to 46%, as evident from the almost $10 million decline in first half year revenue. . .

Synlait releases Interim Report for 2015 financial year:

Synlait Milk has posted a $6.4 million net loss after tax for the first six months to 31 January in the 2015 financial year (FY15).

This result includes after tax unrealised foreign exchange losses of $6.8 million.

The underlying after tax financial performance of $0.4 million for the period was lower than expected and primarily due to delays in the shipment of infant formula and nutraceutical products.

A one-off, after tax product mix benefit of $7.5 million in the first half of FY14, combined with increased depreciation and interest costs from the commissioning of three growth initiatives projects in the second half of FY14, are the primary reasons for a $11.7 million variation between the underlying FY15 interim result of $0.4 million and the FY14 interim result of $12.1 million net profit after tax. . .

New kiwifruit variety revives industry – Jenna Lynch:

Kiwifruit growers are celebrating a bumper export season, with fruit volumes at their highest since the outbreak of the vine-killing disease Psa in 2010.

The disease devastated New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry, costing growers millions.

But a new variety has helped bring the industry back from the brink of collapse.

It’s the industry king, its green brother fetching a fraction of its price, but after years of small crop yield due to Psa the gold kiwifruit is back. . .

Kiwifruit industry set for strong growth in 2015 season:

The first kiwifruit charter ship for 2015 is set to sail from the Port of Tauranga tomorrow (Sunday 28 March), marking the start of a season promising strong growth with volumes back to pre-Psa levels this season, Zespri’s Chief Executive Lain Jager says.

The 2015 harvest began in orchards in Gisborne, Katikati and Te Puke last week, with the first charter shipments of gold kiwifruit leaving on the MV Atlantic Erica today for Zespri’s long-standing premium market of Japan. Zespri has chartered 55 refrigerated ships – including five ships direct to Shanghai – and 8,000 refrigerated containers to carry the 2015 Zespri harvest to 54 countries around the world. . .

Swedes farmer survey results coming in May:

The results of an in-depth farmer survey carried out to help understand the factors behind the toxic swedes issues that hit Southland dairy herds last year are expected to be available by the end of May.

DairyNZ’s Southland regional leader Richard Kyte says DairyNZ interviewed 134 affected and unaffected farmers and 34 graziers last year as part of its study into why many cows became ill after feeding on swedes last season. The detailed interviews followed a general short survey of all dairy farmers that generated more than 400 replies. Analysis of all the survey data is now nearly complete.

“We interviewed farmers across the region to help us understand whether farm management practices may have been a contributing factor. We had some delays in getting the data from the field as farmers got busy just as we started approaching them for information. Until all this analysis is complete, we won’t know if we need to gather more background information. We are expecting to have the results of all this work released to farmers from around mid to late May,” he says. . .

 

Consultation on Campylobacter performance targets open:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is asking for feedback on a range of proposed options for testing of Campylobacter in poultry.

The consultation considers the need for any change to Campylobacter performance targets – contamination limits poultry processors must meet as part of MPI’s routine testing for Campylobacter in broiler chickens.

Paul Dansted, MPI’s Acting Director Systems Audit, Assurance and Monitoring, says that while there have been significant improvements in the control of Campylobacter since performance targets were introduced, it’s important they are continually reviewed. . .

 


Rural round-up

March 29, 2015

Tenure deal exemption loss angers – Lynda van Kempen:

Two high country farmers who have gone through the tenure review process vented their ire this week about planned changes to the Central Otago district plan they say make a mockery of that agreement with the Crown.

”That agreement will count for nothing,” Nick Mackenzie, of Kyeburn Station, told the Central Otago District Council’s hearings panel.

Ralph Hore, of Becks, said the proposed changes would take away his rights as a landowner. . .

Lifestylers versus orchards – Lynda van Kempen:

The conflict between rural residential living and noisy rural activities was highlighted as lifestyle block residents squared off against orchardists in Alexandra this week.

Gas guns and sirens used for bird-scaring during the fruit season were spoiling rural residents’ peace over summer, several said, while orchardists said cherries boosted the Central Otago economy by about $50 million a year and the total fruit crop boosted it by about $100 million annually.

The differing views were heard at Central Otago District Plan review discussion document hearings. More than 100 written submissions have been received on proposed changes to the plan and the district council’s hearing panel set aside three days this week to hear from those who submitted. . .

City kids schooled in rural jobs – Gerard Hutching:

He is just 16, but Michael McAdam knows exactly what he wants to do for a career.

“I want to become a head shepherd on a station, then a farm manager, and I would love to own my own farm if possible,” the Aotea College student says.

At a Get Ahead careers programme in Wellington, McAdam is one of 50 students who are learning what an agricultural sector career might offer. . .  

NZ dairy exporter Fonterra aims to lift profits after tough year – Sue Neales:

It has been a tough start to the year for the world’s biggest dairy exporter, New Zealand monopoly co-operative Fonterra.

Early this month, the $NZ11 billion ($10.7bn) company, which ranks as New Zealand’s biggest, became the target of an eco-terror scare, with an unknown blackmailer threatening to poison its lucrative baby milk formula exports unless local politicians banned the use of 1080 poison to kill possums in forestry plantations.

This week, the company reported another round of disappointing half-yearly ­financial results, immediately pushing Fonterra’s listed-units down 8 per cent. While Fonterra’s ownership remains with farmers, the units give outside investors exposure Fonterra’s performance. . .

Claim Europe set to outstrip NZ:

Dairy farmers must get used to milk price swings even worse than this year’s collapse, according to a leading analyst.

Torsten Hemme, managing director at the International Farm Comparison Network (IFCN) dairy research centre, said farmers could see prices move 50% once or twice every 10 years.

Swings of 20%, close to what British producers faced in 2014-15, could become the new normal and managing that risk was the biggest challenge in the industry. . .

New world opens up for European dairy farmers:

European dairy farmers will wake up to a different world on April 1.

The end of milk quotas will see the limits on European production disappear so farmers and processors will be free to pursue growing world demand.

But the post-quota world will bring new challenges, a Rabobank report has forecast. . .

Managing risk for food manufacturers: Lincoln offers industry short courses:

Increasingly complex and rapidly changing patterns in global food consumption, manufacturing and retailing are creating a whole new range of problems in food safety, according to Lincoln University Senior Lecturer in Food Microbiology Dr Malik Hussain.

With commercial reputations on the line, the situation has prompted him and his colleagues, Senior Lecturer Dr Sue Mason and Associate Professor in Toxicology Ravi Gooneratne, to organise a range of food safety short courses for industry professionals, with the first three courses commencing in April.

The courses are run through the Department of Wine, Food and Molecular Biosciences, and will involve participation from industry experts from the likes of AgResearch and The Institute of Environmental Science and Research. . .

 


Rural round-up

March 28, 2015

Mackenzie Country Station Wins Supreme in 2015 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Omarama high-country farmers Richard and Annabelle Subtil are the Supreme Winners of the 2015 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

At a BFEA ceremony on March 26, the Subtils also collected the Massey University Innovation Award, WaterForce Integrated Management Award, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award and the Environment Canterbury Water Quality Award.

Richard and Annabelle run 12000ha Omarama Station – a family-owned property previously farmed by Annabelle’s parents Dick and Beth Wardell. . .

Guardians of the land a family tradition – Jill Galloway:

Broadlands Station has 250 hectares in trees, many of them in gullies or on banks, saving the land from slipping.

The farm goes from the banks of the Pohangina River to the foothills of the Ruahine Range in Manawatu. There are 1650 hectare in all, 1400 of them are effective – running sheep and beef.

Broadlands stood out at the Ballance Farm Environment Awards because of its tree programme but also for other reasons. The other finalists for the supreme award were all dairy farms. . .

Is Gypsy Day too disruptive for rural people? :

Discussion is underway about less disruptive methods of moving farms as Gypsy Day looms.

On June 1 thousands of sharemilkers will pack their cows into stock trucks and move equipment and families to new farms. It is a familiar sight which sums up the traditional path of progression in New Zealand’s dairy industry.

DairyNZ strategy and investment leader, people and business, Mark Paine said getting away from the traditional Gypsy Day was one of the issues explored at a workshop that focused on improving the reputation and experience of working in dairying. . .

 

 It can only get better – Annette Scott:

Nothing too flash or expansive for farmers came out of Fonterra’s half-yearly report, dairy farmer Chris Ford says.

Fonterra maintained the 2014-15 forecast Farmgate Milk Price at $4.70/kg milksolids (MS) but lowered its forecast dividend by 5c to 20-30c.

“What it means for most is that the tough just gets tougher,” the Mid Canterbury equity manager said. . .

 NZ milk powder futures drop as Fonterra lifts GDT volumes, signalling prices will fall - TIna Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand whole milk powder futures dropped after Fonterra Cooperative Group said it will increase the volume of product it puts up for sale on the GlobalDairyTrade platform, suggesting prices may extend their decline in next week’s auction.

Auckland-based Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy exporter, has increased the amount of whole milk powder it will offer at the upcoming April 1 auction in Contract 2, which covers product with a June shipping date, by 14 percent to 4,965 metric tonnes. Whole milk powder futures for June delivery dropped US$230 a tonne to US$2,400 a tonne today. At last week’s GDT auction, whole milk powder fell 9.6 percent to US$2,928 a tonne. . .

Bittersweet response to bee code – Rebecca Sharpe:

THE honey bee industry is set to be modernised with the adoption of the industry’s first biosecurity code of practice.

The Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice is in the draft stage, which has received mixed feelings from beekeepers.

Glen Innes-based Craig Klingner, who is chairman of the industry working group developing the code, said the bee industry had to “step up”.

“All the (states’) Department of Primary Industries are slowly walking away from us so unless the industry steps up, we’re going to go without,” he said. . .

 

 


Rural-round-up

March 27, 2015

Ahuwhenua Trophy finalists announced:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has congratulated the three finalists in this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy competition, celebrating excellence in Māori farming.  

Mangaroa Station in Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne, Paua Station north of Kaitaia, and Maranga Station near Gisborne were announced as the finalists for the 2015 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming award at an event tonight in Parliament. . .

 Can green-lipped mussels be the next heavy lifter? – Keith Woodford:

If New Zealand is to double agri-food exports by 2025 in line with Government targets, then we are going to need some lateral thinking. We won’t get there just by doing more of what we have been doing.

Related to this, in recent weeks I have been giving thought as to whether the green-lipped mussel can be one of the heavy lifters that can get the job done for New Zealand.
The green-lipped mussel is indigenous to New Zealand. The species is found nowhere outside our coastal waters. It is easily identified in the shell by its distinctive emerald green colour. The flesh is also distinctive from other mussels.

Maori would no doubt have harvested green-lipped mussels for many hundreds of years, but most of nature’s mussels are well hidden. In most years there are huge amounts of microscopic mussel spat washed up attached to seaweed on the Northland Coast, particularly on the so-called Ninety Mile Beach. Exactly where it comes from no-one knows. . .

 – Keith Woodford:

A Chinese language report on WeChat –China’s popular social media platform – indicates that the Chinese infant formula market is about to become a lot more price competitive. According to a usually reliable Chinese industry website, the New Hope Nutritional Foods Company is about to introduce a new line of products called ‘Akarola’ which will come from New Zealand and sell for less than one third the price of similar products.

New Hope already has a New Zealand sourced brand called ‘Akara’ which is manufactured and canned by Canterbury-based Synlait. Linked to this, Synlait announced in late 2014 that it was taking a 25 percent share in New Hope Nutritional Foods and that this would create an integrated supply chain from farm to consumers, in line with Chinese Government regulations. . .

Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Awards Winners Determined to Advance in Industry:

The 2015 Canterbury/North Otago Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Justin and Melissa Slattery are passionate and determined to advance in the dairy industry – in fact they want to be farm owners before they are 35 years old.

The Slatterys took out the major title and claimed $18,800 in prizes at last night’s 2015 Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Industry Awards annual dinner held at the Airforce Museum of New Zealand at Wigram. The other big winners were Mark Cudmore, the 2015 Canterbury/North Otago Farm Manager of the Year, and James Davidson, the 2015 Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year. . .

Food Safety Law Reform Bill consultation begins:

Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew has welcomed the consultation process for the Food Safety Law Reform Bill, which will address the recommendations from the Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) Contamination Inquiry.

“We have made substantial progress implementing the WPC Inquiry recommendations; however, some recommendations require legislative change,” Mrs Goodhew says.

“The Food Safety Law Reform Bill will address these recommendations and reinforce New Zealand’s reputation as a reliable supplier of safe and suitable food.

“We are seeking feedback from the public and those in the food industry to ensure the proposed changes are usable and practical for all involved.” . .

Red Meat Sector welcomes signing of Korea FTA:

The recently signed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Korea will be a significant step towards reducing the overall amount of tariffs paid on New Zealand red meat exports, according to the Chairmen of Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

Trade Minister Tim Groser signed this week the New Zealand Korea FTA with his Korean counterpart.

“This deal is critical for New Zealand sheep and beef farmers and meat exporters, keeping us competitive in this key market,” said Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman James Parsons. . .

 Commerce Commission issues draft determination on wool scouring assets application:

The Commerce Commission has reached a preliminary view that it should allow Cavalier Wool Holdings to acquire 100 per cent of New Zealand Wool Services International’s wool scouring business and assets.

The Commission has today published its draft determination on Cavalier Wool Holding’s application under the Commerce Act for authorisation of the proposed acquisition.

“Our preliminary view is that the proposed acquisition would substantially lessen competition in the North and South Island wool scouring markets, and in the small domestic customer wool grease market. Cavalier Wool Holdings would essentially have a monopoly on the supply of wool scouring services and the supply of wool grease post-acquisition. However, at this preliminary stage, the Commission is currently satisfied that the public benefits of the acquisition would outweigh the loss of competition,” said Commerce Commission Chairman Dr Mark Berry. . .

 


Rural round-up

March 26, 2015

Clever clover management boosts output at Tempello  – Tony Benny:

Tempello Station has been in David Grigg’s family for 101 years. The 4800-hectare property lies between the Awatere and Wairau Valleys, climbing from 100 metres, just out of Renwick, up to 1000m in the hills south of Blenheim.

It’s mix of intensively managed flats and lower hill country and lightly stocked high run country and carries 10,495 stock units, 51.4 per cent cattle and 48.6 per cent sheep. There’s also 13ha in grapes, grown on contract.

Over the past 10 years or so, David and wife Jo have fine-tuned their system and by getting the most out of their sub clover they’ve upped total meat production from 60 tonnes to 76 tonnes, despite having fewer ewes. . .

ASB Farmshed Economics Report:

Special Quarterly Edition

Special edition: Cherry picking in the USA and the US dairy renaissance

A better milk price will have to wait until next season after all

Parity against the Australian dollar is a possibility for the NZ dollar this year

Special topic: Cherry picking in the USA: The US dairy renaissance

The NZ dairy production outlook is not as bad as first feared according to the latest ASB Farmshed Economics Report. Prices have moved to reflect this changing view – up sharply in February on the plunging production fears, and then down by a lesser amount as those fears eased. . .

 Aerial tool a game-changer for agriculture:

A new aerial imaging tool is capturing the attention of the agriculture sector with its ability to provide nutrient, soil and water information about land.

Massey University bought the $500,000 imaging system from Finland for a primary growth partnership programme involving the Ministry for Primary Industries and fertiliser company Ravensdown, which aims to improve how fertiliser is applied to hill country.

The university’s Professor in Precision Agriculture, Ian Yule, says the sensor, which is attached to a plane, can capture large amounts of information on the nutrient content of land. That information may have previously been inaccessible.

“We can use it to identify the nutrient concentration in pasture or any crop that we would want to look at. We can identify different plant types, different species. We think we can find the differences between cultivars and so on, just from looking at the crop from the air. It’s a very fast developing technology but I think we’re kind of in the forefront with it here, with the use we’re trying to make of it.” . . .

Natural Progression for West Coast/Top of the South Dairy Awards Winners:

It was a natural progression for Greymouth’s Kelvin and Heather McKay to take out the 2015 West Coast/Top of the South Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year title – the couple were last year’s runners-up and placed third in 2013.

Kelvin and Heather McKay were the major winners at the 2015 West Coast/Top of the South Dairy Industry Awards at Shantytown last night, winning $7100 in prizes. The other big winners were Thomas and Hannah Oats, the region’s 2015 Farm Managers of the Year, and Danny Mitchell, the 2015 Dairy Trainee of the Year.

“Entering the competition made us look closely at all aspects of our business,” the McKay’s said. “It has made us focus more on what it is we want to achieve and identify areas of our farming operation which we can improve.” . . .

 

Maori growers back record result in kiwifruit industry vote:

Kiwifruit grower and post-harvest entity Te Awanui Huka Pak has congratulated growers for turning out in record numbers for the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project (KISP) grower referendum.

“Maori are a key driving force in the kiwifruit industry, and the KISP process was about ensuring that this industry creates wealth for Maori both now and for future generations” says Te Awanui Huka Pak Chair Neil Te Kani.

“With a record voter turnout and over 90% support for all recommendations, the kiwifruit industry is in a strong position to deliver a strong economic growth platform for Maori” says Mr Te Kani.

“Te Awanui Huka Pak are strong supporters of the Single Point of Entry (SPE) structure as this is a crucial element to increase wealth for Maori in the industry. To see 98% grower support for the SPE is a fantastic result, and one that I endorse” says Mr Te Kani.

McCashin’s Brewery Wins Supreme Cider Award in Ireland:

A sugar-free berry cider produced by McCashin’s Brewery in Stoke, Nelson, has claimed the Supreme Cider Award in a country that’s been making cider for over 2000 years.

The Rockdale Three Berry Cider was one of six McCashin’s Brewery products to gain recognition at this month’s Dublin Craft Beer Cup in Ireland, taking out a gold medal and the Supreme Cider Award.

Market representative Scott McCashin said the Supreme Award was a tremendous accolade to receive as the competition attracted entries from all around the world, and it validated the effort that McCashin’s had put into its cider production. . .

 

 

Dairy farmers work stories's photo.


Rural round-up

March 25, 2015

Freeloaders relying on co-ops – Alan Williams:

Using a mathematical formula to work out the level of overcapacity in meat processing won’t work, Silver Fern Farms chairman Rob Hewett says.

And nor would the Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) proposal for a permanent reduction in capacity offset by a reserve processing plant, funded by the industry and used only at times of  very high demand for killing space. That idea, based on the electricity industry model, was too simplistic.

“You’d have hundreds of people just sitting round most of the time, not doing anything. The issue is more complex than that.”

Hewett agreed with farmers who wanted enough killing space available all the time to cope with seasons like the current one, with drought conditions in many areas. . . .

 Rabobank New Zealand 2014 results:

Rabobank New Zealand Limited (RNZL) has further strengthened its position in the New Zealand rural banking market, recording above market rural lending growth, and reporting its highest net profit after tax (NPAT) of $105.49 million in 2014.

RNZL recorded net lending growth of $342 million in 2014, with the bank’s rural lending portfolio growing by 4.5 per cent, slightly ahead of overall rural debt market growth of 4.3 RNZL chief executive officer Ben Russell said the results were pleasing, as they demonstrated Rabobank’s ongoing commitment to New Zealand’s critical food and agribusiness sector, and were consistent with the bank’s goal of supporting clients to both help feed the world and achieve their goals and aspirations. . .

South American beetle introduced to control weeds:

A tiny Chilean beetle has been introduced to New Zealand in a bid to control a weed that if left unchecked could potentially become as big a problem as gorse.

Landcare Research, a Crown research institute which focuses on environmental science, recently provided Environment Southland with about 70 barberry seed weevils to release just north of Invercargill as a biocontrol agent for Darwin’s barberry. The fast-spreading orange-flowered thorny shrub has become a huge problem across the country, threatening to overrun native plants and farmland – particularly in Southland.

It is the first time this species of weevil, a type of beetle, has been used as a biocontrol agent anywhere in the world. . .

Natural pesticides tested:

New Zealand scientists have begun trials to test the effectiveness of some natural pesticides on one of the world’s worst vegetable pests, the diamond back moth.

The moth caterpillar causes serious damage to brassica crops such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and bok choy.

More than a billion dollars a year is spent on trying to control the pest. The moth quickly becomes resistant to whatever chemical pesticide is used on it.

Scientists working under the Bio-Protection Research Centre based at Lincoln University, with the backing of genetic specialists at New Zealands Genomics, have been trying a non-chemical biological approach. . .

Going FAR for farmers – Annette Scott:

It is 20 years this week since formal practical research was initiated for the New Zealand arable industry.

On Wednesday the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR), established in 1995, will mark a number of arable industry milestones as the organisation reaches its 20th birthday.

FAR was set up primarily to do practical research for arable farmers.

Over the past two decades the levy-funded organisation has developed to actively do research and extension on a broad range of grain and seed crops in NZ and Australia. . .

NZ Kiwifruit Growers United In Support For Industry Change:

Following a record voter turn-out, interim results show more than 90 percent of New Zealand kiwifruit growers have supported the outcomes of the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project (KISP) to lock-in long-term grower ownership and control of their industry.

KISP’s Independent Chairman, Neil Richardson, said the voter turn-out and interim results were outstanding. They are a clear sign New Zealand kiwifruit growers are united in their vision for the future of their industry, he said.

“Two-thirds of growers, representing 80 percent of production voted in the KISP referendum. This compares to an average voter turn-out in primary industry of around 40 percent. . .

 

Zespri welcomes high turnout and support for positive change in grower referendum:

Kiwifruit growers have made a strong statement about the direction they want for their industry in the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project (KSIP) referendum. There is a clear mandate for change with interim results from the referendum showing two-thirds of growers, representing 80 percent of production, voting so far, says Zespri chairman Peter McBride.

“Over 90 percent of growers have clearly stated their desire for change in three areas which affect Zespri – ownership of Zespri shares by growers who have left the industry, the mechanism by which the Zespri margin is calculated and changes to Zespri’s board to formalise the three independent members. . .

 

Memories of the working horse – Mark Griggs:

RON Job, now retired at Parkes, says a lot of memories return as he inspects some of the horse harness and gear stored in the tack room at “The Grange”, Peak Hill.

The tack room was attached to the original stables, which have been converted into a machinery shed and workshop now the work-horse days are long gone.

“The Grange” is owned by the Frecklington family who settled there in the late 1800s.

The property is now operated by Ian and Lyn Frecklington, who have kept the old gear stored in the tack room where it was left as motor vehicles took over from real horsepower, and have been close family friends with the Job family for many years. . .


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