Rural round-up

01/07/2022

Scottish farmers set to scale back food production, survey shows  :

Production on Scottish farms is set to be scaled back as farmers respond to unprecedented price increases for key inputs, NFU Scotland has warned.

The union has released the results of its intentions survey, sent to farmers in early June to gauge the impact that the surge in input prices is having on agricultural output.

Farmers are currently seeing a combination of several factors, including the war in Ukraine, which has triggered fertiliser and energy prices to treble, as well as for fuel and animal feed.

NFU Scotland received a total of 340 responses. The impact of cost increases has been immediate, with 92% of farmers indicating that they had already altered production plans. . . 

Youngsters urged to give dairy farming a go – Jessica Marshall:

With a third of dairy farms seeking to fill vacancies ahead of calving season, Kiwis are being encouraged to give dairy farming a chance.

And giving dairy farming a chance is something 2021 Bay of Plenty Dairy Trainee of the Year Dayna Rowe knows a little about.

“Initially, I didn’t quite know if I liked it or anything,” the 23-year-old says of her start in the industry.

Rowe started out as a farm assistant back in 2017, now she’s farm manager on her parents’ Bay of Plenty farm, managing a team of four. . . 

 

Meat and dairy gains are vital in any EU trade deal :

A trade agreement with the European Union must include commercially meaningful outcomes for New Zealand’s meat and dairy exporters, National’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson Todd McClay says.

“If real gains for meat and dairy aren’t on the table, the Prime Minister should instruct negotiators to continue talks until a commercially meaningful offer is presented.

“Trade Minister Damien O’Connor has already confirmed New Zealand has agreed to the European Union’s demands for geographic indicators. This means Kiwi businesses will no longer be able to produce many food products and call them by their name, including feta, gouda and parmesan cheeses. The EU has consulted on a list that also includes restricting the names Mozzarella and Latin Kiwifruit (Kiwi Latina) and other agricultural products.

“The EU’s agriculture sector has expressed delight that restrictions would remain in place for New Zealand exporters, with the current offer meaning almost none of our meat or dairy would be competitive in the EU market. . . 

Nathan Guy appointed the new chairman of MIA :

Former Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has been appointed the new Chairman of the Meat Industry Association following the retirement of current Chairman John Loughlin from the role.

Mr Loughlin finishes his six-year term after the annual Red Meat Sector Conference in Christchurch on 31 July-1 August 2022.

“It has been a privilege to serve as MIA chair for the last six years,” says Mr Loughlin.

“This was a time of challenge and opportunity and it has been great to be part of the red meat sector working cohesively and contributing to the wider primary sector. . . 

Subsurface irrigation benefits clear despite wet season :

A wetter than usual irrigation season has hindered data collection efforts for Cust dairy grazers Gary and Penny Robinson. They had planned to collect data over the season from their subsurface irrigation system and compare this with traditional irrigation methods. However, the couple have still been able to prove the system’s water and power saving benefits on their two-hectare test block.

Gary and Penny are participating in a six-month farming innovation project, which examines how the next generation of farmers are using innovation to improve their farming practices. Waimakariri Landcare Trust (WLT) and Waimakariri Irrigation Limited (WIL) have partnered with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for the project, with support from MPI’s Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund along with Environment Canterbury, Ballance, and DairyNZ.

A subsurface drip irrigation system consists of a network of valves, driplines, pipes, and emitters that are installed in tape below the surface of the soil. The evenly spaced emitters slowly release water directly to the root zone of plants which differs from traditional irrigation systems that apply water to the surface of the soil. . . 

 

Food National leading the NZ plant food offerings :

A government-funded plant award-winning company Food Nation is a fast growing award winning supplier helping climate change by producing New Zealand grown food such as buckwheat, beetroot, hemp, mushrooms, chickpeas and quinoa.

In all cases they use mushrooms and chickpeas as a base rather than imported soy or gluten. The food is great for the planet, whether the consumers are flexitarian, vegan or vegetarian.

Their food includes pea and makrut balls; legumes, herbs, spices, cauliflower, turmeric, broccoli, ginger, red pepper and corn magic mince or mushrooms and ancient grained sausages.

The company is owned by Miranda Burdon and Josie Lambert who are co-founders and sisters and run it with a small team in their premises in St Johns, Auckland. . . 


Rural round-up

30/06/2022

Forestry Amendment Bill fails to achieve fairness :

New rules fall short of delivering a level playing field when overseas investors buy our farmland for forestry, Federated Farmers says.

It’s a “step in the right direction” to scrap the much-criticised special forestry test, Feds Gisborne-Wairoa President Toby Williams said. Instead, overseas investors purchasing farmed land for conversion to forestry would be required to meet the Overseas Investment Office ‘general benefit to New Zealand test’.

“But it will continue to be an uneven land-use playing field because investors buying farmland to continue to raise crops and livestock run up against the much more stringent Farm Land Benefit test.”

Speaking to the Finance & Expenditure Select Committee on the Overseas Investment (Forestry) Amendment Bill this morning, Toby said the general benefit test that would apply to farmland to forestry conversions “provides a slightly higher hurdle but it is nothing like as onerous as the farmland test. . . 

Farmers can reduce emissions and reach the 2030 targets – Kelly Forster:

Those who criticise He Waka Eke Noa for relying on ‘unproven technofixes’ ignore New Zealand’s very strong history of agricultural innovation, argues Kelly Forster

Opinion: On a stud sheep farm in Southland, Leon and Wendy Black are breeding low-methane-emitting rams, which Leon says gives farmers a viable option for reducing their methane emissions.

As Leon says, we now have the tools to measure methane production, and through tweaking the genetics the right way, we can reduce emissions in small incremental steps, improving every generation.

Over three breeding generations this could reduce a farm’s methane emissions between 5 percent and 10 percent. . . 

Otago property native carbon groundbreaker – Sally Rae:

An Otago station is one of the first properties to receive Native CarbonCrop Units through Nelson-founded climate tech startup CarbonCrop.

CarbonCrop, which was established in 2020, yesterday launched Native CarbonCrop Units (CCUs) to enable landowners with native reforestation to access revenue, outside the Emissions Trading Scheme.

The company worked with 15 landowners throughout the country in a pre-launch pilot and more than 5000 CCUs were certified for 631ha of native regeneration, worth about $260,000 at current prices, a statement from the company said.

More than $140,000 of those credits have been sold via the Carbonz platform to companies including Christchurch Airport, Heilala Vanilla and Les Mills. . . 

Counting our farming emissions – Sharon Brettkelly:

There are plenty of farmers out there doing everything they can to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. The Detail takes a trip to a dairy farm in south Waikato to find out how one farming couple is doing it.

“It’s a beast,” says Tokoroa dairy farmer George Moss.  

He’s not talking about one of his cows – he’s talking about the job of understanding, counting and cutting greenhouse gas emissions from the farm he runs with his wife, Sharon. 

New Zealand will be the first country in the world to price emissions at the farmgate, if the agriculture sector’s plan – He Waka Eke Noa – is agreed to by the government.  . . 

2022 kiwifruit harvest complete :

The 2022 harvest of New Zealand’s largest horticultural produce, kiwifruit, is now largely complete with almost all 2,800 growers’ orchards from Kerikeri in the north to Motueka in the south picked for consumers. The 2022 season was expected to have a record-breaking crop of at least 190 million trays of kiwifruit, overtaking last year’s record of over 177 million trays. On average, each tray has around 30 pieces of kiwifruit. However, revisions in the forecast indicate that this year’s volume will be below 2021. Current thought to the reduction is due to labour supply, crop loading and weather. Investigation is this space is ongoing.

2022 also marks the first year that Zespri’s new RubyRed kiwifruit was picked as a commercial variety, which was then followed by the gold and green varieties. The sweet, berry-tinged tasting red kiwifruit was picked for supermarket shelves in New Zealand and overseas markets.

Despite the uncertainty of seasonal labour supply at the beginning of the year, all growers had the opportunity to have their kiwifruit picked and packed. The success of the 2022 kiwifruit harvest hinged on the ability for industry’s supply chain to operate effectively with a restricted labour supply under the changing COVID-19 settings. The 24,000 seasonal workers required to pick and pack the crop were restricted due to COVID-19 infection rates as well as closed borders which limited the 6,500 backpackers traditionally utilised for harvest operations.

CEO of New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. (NZKGI), Colin Bond says that experience of COVID-19 from the two previous seasons gave the kiwifruit industry the foresight to streamline processes across the supply chain to mitigate foreseeable risks. . . 

New AgWorkNZ initiative aims to fill NZ’s extreme agri-worker shortages :

New worker placement initiative Ag Work NZ aims to fill New Zealand’s huge farm worker and tractor driver shortages for our thriving primary industry. Ag Work NZ is affiliated with rural driver training provider Ag Drive, and will bring experienced staff over from the UK, Ireland and Europe on holiday working visas, following the reopening of NZ’s borders.

Director Andre Syben says the launch of Ag Work NZ is perfectly timed to fill the extreme farm worker shortages in New Zealand, while capitalising on the re-opening of NZ borders after the Covid-19 pandemic closures.

“What we’re hearing from New Zealand farmers and agricultural contractors is that they’re desperate for staff,” says Syben.

Northern hemisphere workers will be recruited by Ag Works’ own UK-based team, who will interview and screen workers. Then, in conjunction with Ag Works NZ-based recruitment team, potential workers will be matched with NZ farm and agricultural employers for an online interview. . . 

 


Black Heels & Tractor Wheels – Clare Bradley

30/06/2022

Black Heels and Tractor Wheels Podcasts are a Rural Women NZ initiative in which they share stories from a range of women around New Zealand.

Today we are speaking to Clare Bradley, CEO of AgriSea, who is based in Paeroa with her husband Tane and their three children. Clare started her career after studying Biology at Auckland University. She previously lived and worked for 2 years in the Amazon Rainforest, with a remote community helping them to develop enterprises that would conserve their rainforest. AgriSea was founded more than 20 years ago by Clare’s mother and father-in-law. The company produces seaweed-based concentrates used in the agriculture, horticulture, viticulture, and apiculture sectors.


Rural round-up

29/06/2022

Hobson’s Choice – Rural News:

One of the most recognised lines from the classic TV show Hill Street Blues was the send out by Sgt Stan Jablonski – “Let’s do it to them, before they do it to us”.

Sgt Jablonski’s famous catch cry comes to mind with the release of the He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) proposal to Government. This advocates the system the primary sector wants adopted in respect to reducing on-farm agricultural emissions and sequestering carbon.

HWEN is made up of 14 primary sector groups – including Māori agribusiness. It was set up in 2019 in a bid to stop the Governmnet lumping agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). HWEN’s recently released alternative approach is the farming sector’s answer to the Government’s ridiculous proposition of dumping agriculture into the ETS. In other words: ‘Let’s do it to them; before they do it to us’!

In reality, the Government gave the primary sector a Hobson’s Choice: either it gets plonked into the ETS or it comes up with a tax on production itself. Industry leaders were right to take the option of trying to produce a solution itself. . . 

Weaker Japanese yen a spoiler as orchid sales rebound – Kim Moodie:

Things are looking up for orchid growers, with the flower export market rebounding strongly after being brought to its knees during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

New Zealand’s flower export industry is worth about $20 million a year. Most of that is made up of cymbidium orchids, hydrangeas and peonies.

Covid-19 lockdowns forced the industry to shift into survival mode, but the head of NZ Bloom, the country’s largest flower exporter, said the industry rebounded with sizeable payoffs for growers last year.

Managing director David Ballard told RNZ growers were getting strong prices, but international demand for orchids was mixed. . . 

Rural and provincial councils call on government to better align reforms :

New Zealand’s Rural and Provincial Councils are calling on the Government to slow reforms.

The message comes after all 50 Rural and Provincial Councils’ Mayors, Chairs, chief executives and some of their councillors met for the first time this year during a two-day forum run by Local Government NZ (LGNZ) in Wellington late last week.

The forum heard from politicians from both sides of the House who acknowledged the current pressures on the sector.

Mayor Alex Walker, Central Hawke’s Bay District Council, and Mayor Gary Kircher, Waitaki District Council, are the Chairs of LGNZ’s Rural and Provincial Councils. . . 

Farm sale volumes ease but results remain robust :

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) shows there were 50 fewer farm sales (-11.0%) for the three months ended May 2022 than for the three months ended May 2021. Overall, there were 403 farm sales in the three months ended May 2022, compared to 450 farm sales for the three months ended April 2022 (-10.4%), and 453 farm sales for the three months ended May 2021.

1,697 farms were sold in the year to May 2022, 130 fewer than were sold in the year to May 2021, with 11.9% more Dairy farms, 33.6% fewer Dairy Support, 12.9% fewer Grazing farms, 4.1% fewer Finishing farms and 15.2% fewer Arable farms sold over the same period.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to May 2022 was $29,760 compared to $28,190 recorded for three months ended May 2021 (+5.6%). The median price per hectare increased 3.9% compared to April 2022.

The REINZ All Farm Price Index increased 1% in the three months to May 2022 compared to the three months to April 2022. Compared to the three months ending May 2021 the REINZ All Farm Price Index increased 31.4%. The REINZ All Farm Price Index adjusts for differences in farm size, location, and farming type, unlike the median price per hectare, which does not adjust for these factors. . . 

Ben McNab wins delayed 2021 Young Winemaker of the Year competition :

Congratulations to Ben McNab from Palliser Estate in Wairarapa who became the 2021 Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker. The 2021 National Final was postponed several times due to the pandemic but finally went ahead on 22nd June 2022 at Amisfield winery in the Pisa Ranges near Cromwell, Central Otago.

The other two finalists Jordan Moores Valli in Central Otago and Peter Russell from Matua in Marlborough also excelled themselves with Peter Russell winning the Fruitfed Supplies Speeches and Jordan winning the Villa Maria-Indevin Wine Judging section. All three were delighted and relieved the competition could finally go ahead.

This was the very first time the Young Winemaker National Final has been held in Central Otago and also the very first time someone from Wairarapa has won the prestigious competition. Originally planned as a spring then summer competition, it eventually took place in winter with the snowcapped mountains adding a dramatic backdrop for the day. The finalists undertook a wide range of challenges covering everything needed to be a top winemaker. This included laboratory skills, wine industry knowledge, CAPEX, wine judging and an interview. They also had to prepare and deliver a presentation entitled “What can the wine industry do to reach carbon zero by 2050?” They offered the judges some very well thought out suggestions and plans. . . 

Rural farm with residential subdivision potential at scale is placed on the market for sale :

A substantial farm block overlooking an 18-hole golf course on the outskirts of a prosperous and ever-expanding coastal town – and identified for potential large scale residential property development – has been placed on the market for sale.

The approximately 188-hectare farm is situated on the south-eastern boundary of Thames – the gateway to the Coromandel Peninsula. The northern portion of the existing dairying unit sits alongside Thames Golf Club, while the property’s western boundary has an extensive road frontage onto one of Thames’ main arterial routes linking it with the Hauraki Plains.

The land sits between various residential, lifestyle and commercial zonings, and is currently zoned for rural use under the Thames-Coromandel District Council plan. However, there is an existing council consent in place permitting the two-staged development of the golf course boundary land into nine large lifestyle-sized residential sections.

In addition, the Thames-Coromandel District Council has also identified the address should be rezoned for future medium density housing under its long-term Thames and Surrounds Spatial Plan – to sustain not only the area’s growing population, but also to address the current shortage of new build houses in the locale. . . 


Black Heels & Tractor Wheels – Jenny McDonald

29/06/2022

Black Heels and Tractor Wheels Podcasts are a Rural Women NZ initiative in which they share stories from a range of women around New Zealand.

Today we are speaking with Jenny McDonald, currently our star National Finance Chair here at Rural Women. Jenny lives in Canterbury with her husband Mark and has three grown children, Jack, George, and Annie. 

Jenny has always been determined to forge her own career as an accountant as well as supporting her husband on the farm.

She talks about the challenges of balancing this with farm life and raising a family in a new island where initially, she didn’t know a lot of people. While shes always been a get things done kind of person, she also acknowledges a couple of times in her life where she has experienced some difficult challenges, which she talks about very openly with us today, along with ways that we can all help those in our communities who need our support.  


Rural round-up

28/06/2022

Farmers start new dairy season on an encouraging note as Fonterra signals another record milk price – Point of Order:

New  Zealand’s  dairy  industry, which is  proving  again it is  the  backbone of  the  country’s  export industries, has  been  given  fresh encouragement with the big  co-op Fonterra signalling  a  record  milk price for  the  season  that  has  just  opened.

It  comes  as the  payout  for  the  just-finished  season  stands  as  the  highest  since  the  co-op  was  formed in 2001.

So although farmers have  made  decisions for  this  season on  the  number  of  cows  they  are  milking,  they  have the  incentive  to go  hard on production  levels,  despite the  pressure  from  higher  costs  and worries  over climate changes measures, including  projected charges on emissions.

Fonterra’s buoyant  forecast contrasts with  a recent  report  by agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank  which  said that despite global milk production looking set to decrease for the fourth consecutive quarter in Q2 2022, weakening global demand is expected to create a scenario that will see moderate price declines in dairy commodities during the second half of the year. . . 

How we are suckling the sheep milk industry government invests $7.97m in partnership which involves state-owned Landcorp – Point of Order:

Damien O’Connor scored twice – he issued one statement as Minister of Trade and another as Minister of Agriculture – while rookie Emergency Relief Minister Kieran McNulty broke his duck, announcing flood relief for the West Coast.

Covid-19 Response Minister Ayesha Verrall put more runs on the board, too, with a statement about Government work to combat new and more dangerous variants of COVID-19.

In his trade job, O’Connor declared he was pleased with the quick progress of the United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement Legislation Bill that was introduced to the House yesterday.

It would  enable New Zealand to implement its obligations under the FTA and was necessary to bring the FTA into force, he explained. . . 

 

Kiwifruit sector forecasts drop in profits :

The kiwifruit sector is predicting lower profits this year, as yields drop and shipping costs continue to climb.

Kiwifruit marketer Zespri has sent out an update to growers which shows a decent drop in profit is expected this year.

Last year Zespri made a record $361.5 million, but this year that is expected to drop to between $227m and $247m.

Company spokesperson Carol Ward said it had been a difficult season. . . 

Have your say on the Forests Legal harvest Assurance Amendment Bill :

The Chairperson of the Primary Production Committee is now calling for public submissions on the Forests (Legal Harvest Assurance) Amendment Bill.

The bill would amend the Forests Act 1949 to establish a legal harvest system. This system aims to provide assurance that timber supplied and traded has been harvested legally. The legal harvest system would:

· require that log traders, primary processors, importers, and exporters who operate above specified thresholds to be registered

· require harvest information to be supplied to others when trading, and for records of that information to be kept . . 

Groundspread NZ is the new public face for the New Zealand groundspread fetilisers association :

Groundspread NZ (NZGFA) was established in 1956 to promote and protect the interests of both individuals and companies involved in the groundspread fertiliser industry. The Association is made up of 110 voluntary members from throughout New Zealand, with each member committed to promoting best practice fertiliser placement. Precision placement of fertiliser requires skilled operators, sound spreading equipment and appropriate fertilisers.

Groundspreaders are typically the first step in ensuring on-farm productivity, by spreading nutrients accurately and evenly, using the latest technology, finely calibrated vehicles, and highly trained operators, groundspreaders help farmers and growers get the best out of their nutrient spend. The skill involved in groundspreading means that food production in New Zealand gets the best start possible.

The new name and website better share the story of how the Association’s members contribute to on-farm performance. The new name and website are initiatives driven by the Association’s new and ambitious strategic plan, committed to ensuring best practice in the groundspread industry. Farmers and growers can now visit www.groundspreadnz.com to find a spreader in their area, learn more about how the Association supports members to operate at the high level that they do, and learn more about the Spreadmark scheme.

Spreadmark, established by Groundspread NZ (NZGFA) in 1994, was born from a commitment by the Association’s members to improve spreader performance and outcomes for their clients and the environment. Proper placement of fertiliser is of considerable agronomic benefit to farmers and growers and helps protect the environment from the undesirable side effects of poor fertiliser spreading practices. . . 

Greenfern industries attains important industry certification :

Greenfern Industries Limited (GFI:NZX) is pleased to announce it has attained its globally-recognised GACP (Good Agriculture and Collection Practice) certification for its cultivation facility based in Normanby, Taranaki.

“This is a milestone that the team has been working towards for some time since commencing cultivation and research and development in our pilot stage one facility,” said Greenfern’s managing director Dan Casey.

GACP guidelines were developed to create a single supranational framework to ensure appropriate and consistent quality in the cultivation and production of medicinal plant and herbal substances. They were developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2003 with the aim of improving the quality of medicinal plants being used in herbal medicines in the commercial market.

Greenfern’s certification was undertaken by Control Union Medicinal Cannabis Standards (CUMCS). Control Union Israel was one of the partners which formulated the Israeli Cannabis Standard, which is a global standard. Since then, they have been involved with the development of the Medical Cannabis Standard GAP. . . 


Black Heels & Tractor Wheels – Raewyn van Vugt

28/06/2022

Black Heels and Tractor Wheels Podcasts are a Rural Women NZ initiative in which they share stories from a range of women around New Zealand.

Today, we speak to Raewyn van Vugt who operates a dairy farming business with her husband Rob in Otago 🙌🏻

Raewyn grew up on the West Coast of the South Island, as a coal miners’ daughter in a small town called Reefton. In 1991 she moved to Inch Clutha with her husband Rob, where their farming enterprise started.

Raewyn has been heavily involved in her community, being a member and Treasurer of Plunket, Playcentre, PTA, and involved with the local discussion group, Large Herds Otago Committee and a Networker for Fonterra. She is also a member of the Inch Clutha RW and is currently the Regional Leader for Region 1.

Raewyn gives some tips for any aspiring farm owners, details her experiences going from a single mum to operating a successful farming enterprise with her husband, and helpful ways to get involved in your rural community.

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Rural round-up

27/06/2022

Seed cleaning ingenuity earns global spotlight – Rebecca Ryan:

From a shed in Awamoko, Johnny Neill is getting global attention as he grows his mobile seed cleaning empire. He talks to Rebecca Ryan about how he got into the industry and started building world-leading mobile seed cleaning machines in rural North Otago.

When Johnny Neill was first approached to build a mobile seed cleaning machine, he had no idea what it was.

Fast forward 20 years, and the world is watching the Oamaru man making advances in mobile seed cleaning that no-one ever imagined were possible.

Mr Neill grew up on a dairy farm on the Taieri Plain and finished his secondary school years at Waitaki Boys’ High School. After a stint in dairy farming, he moving to the North Island, where he trained as an engineer and met his partner Kim Lyttle. . . 

Strategy will help farming face change – Annette Scott:

Te Puna Whakaaronui Thought Leaders group chair Lain Jager says New Zealand needs a strategy that will take the country forward as a nation.

He says there is a short window of opportunity to invest and make progress.

Strategies that are incomplete will not attract investment and if you can’t invest in them then you can’t move forward.

“Without clear strategy and capacity to implement change this country will go backwards,” Jager told the E Tipu Boma Agri Summit in Christchurch. . . 

Half year report is a mixed bag – Mel Croad:

At the halfway mark for the year, sheep and beef farmers are searching for some clarity in terms of what the rest of the season is going to look like. But after a roller coaster couple of years, there is no blueprint to follow. 

Breaking it down, market conditions are mixed at best.

For lamb, global markets appear more comfortable with dialling down pricing expectations. 

These lower asking prices and softer demand stretch across most key markets.  . .

Award respect rural health contribution – RIchard Davison:

A rural South Otago GP says his recent national award is recognition for the wider community.

Dr Branko Sijnja has been named recipient of the Peter Snow Memorial Award for 2022.

The New Zealand Rural General Practice Network gives the award each year to medical professionals making outstanding contributions to rural health.

Dr Sijnja (75) has been a GP in Balclutha since 1980, and retires from his role as Director of the Rural Medical Immersion Programme (RMIP) at Otago School of Medicine — his alma mater — next week . . .

Owners of unproductive land encouraged to grow black diamonds :

A Bay of Plenty truffle company is sharing the secrets of the industry in a bid to get landowners growing ‘black diamonds’ across the country.

Ohiwa Black Diamond Truffles is receiving more than $155,000 of Government funding over three years to share its knowledge with interested growers so New Zealand can grow enough truffles for a robust export industry. The business is also researching and developing new truffle products that incorporate the health benefits of truffles with traditional Māori rongoā (healing).

The business is run by Ohiwa-based couple Matui Hudson and Annette Munday. Since partnering with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) through the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund last year, they have held three workshops on truffle growing, with more lined up over the coming weeks.

“We’ve already received orders for around 10,000 inoculated truffle seedlings from several hapū, and we’ve helped a Kawhia whānau set up their truffière,” says Ms Munday. . . 

Chatham Island Food Co wins the top gong at the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards :

Producers spanning the breadth of Aotearoa from the Chatham Islands to Akaroa and its length from Southland to Northland were among the Champions in this year’s Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards, with Chatham Island Food Co named Supreme Champion 2022.

It’s the first time in the awards six-year history that seafood has taken out the top award.

Established by seventh-generation Chatham Islander, Delwyn Tuanui and his wife Gigi, Chatham Island Food Co has turned the Chatham Islands distance into a positive. It’s isolation – 800 kms east of the South Island – means a pristine environment which is reflected in the flavour and quality of its harvest. The business processes its marine harvest on the island, freezing in the flavour to share with seafood lovers across New Zealand.

Studying agriculture in Melbourne in the early 2000s was life-changing for Del. He met Gigi on his first day and came to appreciate the love for quality of seafood from the Chathams when cooking it for friends and later supplying it to top Sydney and Melbourne restaurants. In 2015 the pair purchased a rundown fish-processing plant on Wharekauri and Chatham Island Food Co began in earnest. Now they employ 25 staff and work with 30 fishing boats. . . 


Rural round-up

24/06/2022

Golden milk price may drop, costs rise – Tim Cronshaw:

The gloss of two $9-plus payouts for dairy farmers is being robbed by rising farm costs and a build-up of environmental changes.

A record starting point for a payout of $9 a kilogram of milk solids is being advanced for the 2022/23 dairy season by dairy giant Fonterra and Canterbury-based Synlait Milk.

This follows Fonterra’s forecast range of $9.10/kg to $9.50/kg for this season, with a mid-point of $9.30/kg, that’s being matched by Synlait.

Analysts cautiously support the new-season mark despite a mixed bag at the Global Dairy Trade auction and a hazy horizon created by Covid-19, freighting headaches, Ukraine’s invasion by Russia and rampant inflation. . . 

Govt poaching council staff makes contributing to reforms harder – local govt group :

Rural and provincial councils say a shortage of skilled staff is preventing them from meaningfully contributing to the raft of central government reforms.

Local Government New Zealand Rural and Provincial group co-chairperson Gary Kircher said the shortage was made worse by central government departments poaching the staff they do have.

He said councils are dealing with roading, parks and reserves and community services before adding reforms like Three Waters, the RMA, Civil Defence, an Emissions Reduction plan, Waste Minimisation and a health restructure into the mix.

“We are working in a pressure cooker environment, but this pressure will be exacerbated by the need to make meaningful contributions to the Water Services Bill, the Natural & Built Environments Bill and the Spatial Planning Bill,” he said. . . 

Shared cheese heritage should be shared not stripped :

As the EU-New Zealand FTA advances New Zealand cheesemakers are urging both Governments to recognise and celebrate the shared cheesemaking heritage that exists between European countries and New Zealand. Failure to do so will rob numerous hard working New Zealand cheesemakers of investments they have made over decades.

“New Zealand’s cheese industry is asking the Government to not give in to the demands of Eurocrats in Brussels to strip us of the right to use common description terms like Feta, Parmesan, and Gruyere,” says Catherine McNamara, Chair of the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association (NZSCA).

“These cheese names were brought to New Zealand by our industry pioneers and you need to look no further than this year’s New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards to see they are an important and celebrated part of our vibrant and diverse cheesemaking industry. ”

At the 2022 New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards, 10 New Zealand made Fetas, five Parmesans and two Gruyeres received medals recognising excellence and quality. NZSCA is concerned that these companies will lose vital market recognition and face significant costs if the EU has its way. . . 

NZ can lead food evolution – Annette Scott:

While New Zealand’s food and fibre sector is facing a number of challenges there are opportunities that if realised, will ensure the sector is fairly rewarded, Lincoln University Agribusiness and Economics Research (AERU) director Caroline Saunders says. 

Targeting consumers who share NZ food and fibre producers’ values is key to capturing premium returns for the primary sector.

“Nothing should be low cost in NZ,” Saunders said in her opening address of the E Tipu Boma Agri Summit in Christchurch.

“NZ’s early prosperity grew out of exporting three land-based commodities – meat, dairy and wool  – to the United Kingdom. . . 

From Otago to fields of Uzbekistan  :

Uzbekistan. Probably not at the top of the list of countries to visit right now given its location, but for Patrick Suddaby and Tyson Adams, the prospect of making good money was too good to refuse.

The pair are in the Central Asian country harvesting wheat and barley for an eight-week stint, earning double what they would make at home.

Mr Suddaby comes from Ranfurly and Mr Adams is from Tapanui. This is the first harvest Mr Suddaby has done overseas. Mr Adams has done similar work in Scotland and Australia as well as New Zealand.

“Uzbekistan is a unique place. I don’t think my girlfriend or my family believed me when I said I was coming here at first,” Mr Adams said. . . 

Large block offers divers horticulture options :

A large-scale orchard operation in the Gisborne district offers investors and orchard operators the opportunity to expand across a variety of crops and multiple titles with significant flexibility in future land use options.

The three titled opportunity across Awapuni and Main roads offers a combined area of 52.3ha land planted in viticulture, apples, and kiwifruit, with significant future crop yields still to come from the young apple plantings.

Bayleys agent Simon Bousfield says the property on fertile soils only six minutes from Gisborne represents an increasingly rare chance to acquire land that is accompanied with secure water rights, excellent city proximity, and superior infrastructure.

“This part of the district is known as the Golden Triangle, and for good reason. Meantime the property itself brings a crop variety that ensures a very secure, diverse income stream to the entire operation.” . . 


Rural round-up

23/06/2022

New Zealand red meat sector representatives travel to EU ahead of crunch trade talks :

New Zealand red meat sector leaders head to Brussels this week as negotiations between the European Union and New Zealand for a Free Trade Agreement enter a critical stage.

Meat Industry Association chief executive Sirma Karapeeva and Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive Sam McIvor will be supporting New Zealand trade negotiators during the talks, which are being held just days before an end of June deadline to conclude an Agreement in Principle.

“Negotiations are coming to a crunch and this trip to Brussels highlights just how important these discussions are to New Zealand’s red meat sector,” says Ms Karapeeva.

“New Zealand has been a longstanding and trusted trade partner of the EU and our companies have been providing consumers with safe, nutritious and high quality product for decades. . . 

Biosecurity has taken the overall  #1 spot in New Zealand :

It will surprise nobody that for the twleth year in a row, world-class biosecurity has taken the overall #1 spot in the annual KPMG agribusiness industry leader’s priority survey, BiotechNZ executive director Dr Zahra Champion says.

The Ministry for Primary Industries suggest total exports of food and fibre products for the year to the end of June 2022 will reach a record $52.2 billion, up 9 percent on 2021.

“The growth comes from the dairy, horticulture, red meat, and forestry sectors, all delivering improved export returns.

“For others, the starting point was the disconnect between prices, profitability, and the green fields across most of New Zealand along with the uncertainty many farmers are feeling. . . 

Technology key to dairy’s future – Country Life:

Toilet trained cows may very well be peeing to order by 2032, agritech entrepreneur Craig Piggott says.

Well, in defined places on the farm, that is, and as a way of keeping dairy farming environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Technology around toilet training is one of the “threads” exercising the minds of Piggott’s team at Halter after the start-up’s phenomenal success using “cowgorithms” to farm dairy cows.

“If you can train a cow to move left and right … move them around a farm, then why can’t you train them to urinate in a shed?” he asks. . . 

Farmers shape a high value, high protein, low emissions future after meat and dairy – Jonathan Milne:

Government and industry investment could seed a new plant-based protein industry important to New Zealand’s survival on the global food market, according to a PwC report today

Jade Gray describes himself as a fourth-generation grocer. He’s worked on beef farms and in meat processing plants and butchers’ stores in Canterbury and China. He’s run a pizza restaurant. He knows about food – and he’s convinced there’s no real future in meat.

“I speak with a lot of farmers, I get heckled by mates and by strangers. It’s all good, it’s part of a good, fair and democratic society. But we’ve seen what happened to the wool sector in the past three decades, and we can’t allow that to happen to meat or dairy. We need to learn from that very harsh lesson.”

He argues we need to start turning over our paddocks to high-protein plants such as peas and fava beans. “We can create a whole new revenue stream for protein. The bonus is that brings more resilience. Or we can pitch ourselves against a major disruption that’s looking more and more likely in the next 10 to 20 years.” . . 

Lifeless market for meatless meat – Chloe Sorvino:

Ross Mackay and Eliott Kessas emigrated from Scotland with a dream. The longtime vegans founded Daring Foods, a meatless chicken-nugget startup, with the aim of reducing unhealthy meat consumption and creating more climate-friendly foods. At first, it caught on. Daring’s nuggets secured shelf space in Sprouts stores, Whole Foods and some Albertsons and Target locations.

Then came the big money. In October 2021, the Los Angeles-based brand, not yet two years old, raised $65 million at a valuation of more than $300 million. Investors included D1 Capital Partners, a hedge fund that’s backed companies such as Instacart, as well as DJ Steve Aoki and tennis superstar Naomi Osaka. All told, Daring has raised more than $120 million.

Less than a year later, however, the bottom is falling out. There are more than 100 plant-based chicken-nugget companies, many of them with products similar in taste and texture. To break out from the pack, Daring hired newlyweds Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker to take photos eating the faux nuggets while wearing lingerie. It was unclear whether the result — 1.2 million likes on Kardashian’s post; 5 million on a video Daring posted — was enough to goose sales. There’s simply too many brands struggling for space on supermarket shelves, and the rare chefs who adopt meatless products for their restaurants are reluctant to keep unpopular items on the menu. Consumers are ruthlessly weeding out the market while investors tread lightly now that money is more expensive than it’s been for a decade. . .

2022 harvest will help restore depleted New Zealand wine stocks :

New Zealand grape growers and wineries are breathing a sigh of relief following an improved vintage in 2022 that will help the industry rebuild stocks and sales, reports New Zealand Winegrowers.

“Going into vintage, wineries urgently needed a larger harvest as strong demand and smaller than expected crops in recent years had led to a significant shortage of New Zealand wine. That shortage has caused total New Zealand wine sales to fall 14% from the peak achieved in January 2021, even as wineries supported sales by drawing on stocks which are now at rock-bottom levels,” says Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers.

In the domestic market, the same shortage has led to sales of New Zealand wine falling to their lowest level since 2004.

“There is no doubt we urgently needed an improved harvest this year after cool weather and frosts impacted Vintage 2021. The main challenge this year was COVID-19, which greatly complicated harvest logistics with Omicron rampant throughout New Zealand just as harvest began. This created additional pressure at a time many producers were already under pressure due to labour shortages,” says Mr Gregan. . . 

YILI scoops global innovation awards :

Global dairy giant Yili has scooped the innovation category at the 15th Global Dairy Congress in Laval, France.

Yili, which operates two dairy companies in New Zealand, and its subsidiary Ausnutria topped the tally for most awards at the World Dairy Innovation Awards held simultaneously with the Congress.

The awards were for packaging design, infant nutrition, intolerance-friendly dairy products, ice cream, cheese, and dairy snacks.

The judges noted that: “Yili have their finger on the pulse when it comes to identifying gaps in the market and creating brilliant innovative products that both taste and look great while simultaneously serving a purpose.” . . 


Rural round-up

22/06/2022

Rural backbone of regions expected to stand up better to economic woes:

Rural economies are expected to outperform their urban counterparts in the year ahead, due to the strong demand for agricultural exports.

Westpac Bank’s annual Regional Roundup report forecasts economic growth would slow in the year ahead, as high inflation and rising interest rates put pressure on household budgets.

But the severity of the slowdown would be felt differently across the country.

The outlook for the cities, in particular Wellington and Auckland, would be challenging because they had two of the worst performing housing markets in recent months. . . 

Farmers urged to tell their stories, develop brand – Sally Rae:

“Farmers are the world’s rock stars.”

That was the message from entrepreneur Justine Ross to more than 400 farmers, industry representatives and sponsors attending the two-day South Island Dairy Event (Side) in Oamaru yesterday.

But farmers also needed to be brave “and a little bit louder” as they were terrible at telling their stories, which consumers around the world were craving to hear.

“They want to hear about your farms, hear about your life. They want to know you,” Mrs Ross said. . . 

NZI Rural Women NZ Business Awards 2022 open :

The NZI Rural Women NZ Business Awards 2022 are now open for entries.

The Awards, run by Rural Women New Zealand and insurance company NZI, take place each year and are designed to celebrate rural women entrepreneurs.

Rural Women New Zealand national president Gill Naylor says the Awards are a great opportunity to showcase the contributions rural women entrepreneurs make to rural communities.

“We are delighted that NZI will join us for the sixth year as our Premier Partner in presenting the Awards. . . 

Science and genetics boost Fernside farm :

Fernside dairy farmer Julie Bradshaw has applied learnings from a five-year National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) irrigation study to make science-based decisions while also using genetics to improve her herd with the overall goal of reducing the farm’s environmental footprint.

Julie is participating in a six-month farming innovation project, which examines how the next generation of farmers are using innovative approaches to improve their farming practices. Waimakariri Landcare Trust (WLT) and Waimakariri Irrigation Limited (WIL) have partnered with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for the project, with support from MPI’s Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund along with Environment Canterbury, Ballance, and DairyNZ.

From 2016 to 2021 Julie and a group of five neighbouring farmers participated in a co-innovation study which provided landowners with real time data and forecasts to make science-based irrigation decisions.

The data included measured rainfall, soil moisture, soil temperature, drainage, and estimated evaporation as well as two, six and 15-day rainfall and weather forecasts. . . 

Laura Marston from Craggy Range takes out Hawkes Bay 2022 Corveta Young Vit title :

Congratulations to Laura Martson from Craggy Range who took out the title of Corteva Hawke’s Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year 2022.

The competition took place in the stunning Paritua vineyards in Bridge Pa Triangle on 16 June 2022 with eight contestants competing for the title.

Congratulations also goes to Douw Grobler from Trinity Hill who came second and Robbie Golding from Crab Farm, who came third.

The judges commented on the professional and positive attitude of all the contestants and that there are many passionate and talented young people in the Hawke’s Bay wine industry. The other contestants were Daniel Brewster from AONZ, Jamie Scoon from Te Mata, Joseph Stenberg from Woodthorpe Terraces and Jessica Sunderland-Wells and Sarah St George, both from Villa Maria. . .

Innovative Pāmu deer milk product wins prestigious global award :

Pāmu’s awarding winning Deer Milk won the Best Dairy Ingredient category at the World Dairy Innovation Awards, announced in Laval, France overnight.

Pāmu Chief Executive Mark Leslie says the win in these prestigious awards is a validation of the hard work and innovation that has gone into creating an all-new product for the agri-sector.

“All New Zealanders, as shareholders in Pāmu should be really proud of this win, at what is essentially the World Cup for the dairy sector.

“Our deer milk product has been steadily growing in popularity among high end chefs and as a unique new ingredient in cosmetics. But that’s not where it ends. . . 


Rural round-up

21/06/2022

Climate change farming and a timely reminder for decision makers the Paris conventions nod to the need for food – Point of Order:

An earlier post  on Point  of  Order about farming and climate change attracted  some interesting  comments.  The  post  itself  contended  that in view of the world  facing  a  global food  shortage the government  should be  doing everything in its power  to lift  food production — and  not  imposing  taxes  on methane  emissions (in  other words  taxing the   burps on animals}.

In the  wake  of  posting our thoughts, Point of  Order  was reminded  that the  Paris  Convention on Climate  Change  in  2015 finished  with an agreement   where Article 2  read with these  key  lines:

Article 2
1. This Agreement, in enhancing the implementation of the Convention,
including its objective, aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of
climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, including by :

(b) Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate
change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions
development, in a manner that does not threaten food production. . . 

Massive unjust counter-productive land grab by government :

The latest iteration of the National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity (NPSIB) is a massive land grab on a scale not seen in New Zealand for 140 years, Groundswell NZ spokesman Jamie McFadden says.

“This policy, as drafted, turns biodiversity into a liability and penalizes those that have done the most in looking after the environment.”

“Under this policy, the more you do to look after nature on your land, the worse off you will be. It is punitive regulation that does nothing positive for the environment.”

“Tens of thousands of both urban and rural property owners will be impacted and millions of dollars will be collectively wiped off property values.” . .

Ag holding strong despite major challenges :

New Zealand is a trading nation. We are respected by the world and the best at what we do.

Despite a pandemic, disruption to global supply chains, rapidly rising inflation, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a lack of RSE workers, our food and fibre exports have outperformed expectations. In fact, by June 30, they will have brought in $52.2 billion in revenue.

I recently returned from a Parliamentary trip to Europe. Zoom is a wonderful invention, but nothing can beat sitting at a table face-to-face with farming representatives to discover areas of collaboration and where we differ.

With the Russian/Ukrainian situation, food and energy security were to the fore, given Ukraine is Europe’s second-largest supplier of corn and wheat to the European Union, as well as countries in Asia and Africa. Growers and their lands will take a long time to recover from the devastating assault they are being subjected to. . . 

Time to build on our competitive advantage, KPMG says – Hugh Stringleman:

The primary sector is doing a remarkable job of trading, growing and keeping delivering record returns to the New Zealand economy when such returns are so desperately needed.

But this year’s KPMG Agribusiness Agenda reports a sector that is muddled, opportunity-packed and risk-burdened, global head of agribusiness and author Ian Proudfoot says.

When interviewing agribusiness leaders this year the first comment was “now, where do we start?”

No single theme or trend stood out in the interviews, unlike past years. . . 

Farming sector touts emissions reducing technology amid He Waka Eke Noa criticism – Hamish Cardwell:

The agricultural sector says big strides have been made in research to reduce climate emissions, but considerable uncertainty remains about when the technology will actually be available for farmers.

The primary sector’s proposal He Waka Eke Noa to price its emissions was  criticised by climate activists for relying far too much on unproven technology to make cuts.

Meanwhile, farmer group Groundswell – which also hates the proposal – says after decades and millions of dollars spent there is still no mitigation technology on the market.

Industry leaders have told RNZ about what tech looked promising, what the challenges were and how long farmers would have to wait. . .

Predator Free 2050 Ltd announces $4.8m for new tech and new jobs :

Thanks to funding from the Government’s Jobs for Nature Mahi mō te Taiao programme, Predator Free 2050 Limited (PF2050 Ltd) has today announced $4.8 million in funding for seven companies developing predator eradication tools and ‘best practice’ for their use, while creating and supporting jobs.

The funding is being invested through the ‘ Products to Projects’ initiative, launched in 2019 to accelerate development and commercialisation of new tools that will help groups working to achieve mainland eradication of possums, rats and mustelids at landscape scale without the use of fences.

Now, three years on, a number of new tools are already available to buy and are successfully in use, with many more only months away. PF2050 Ltd Science Director Professor Dan Tompkins said it’s crucial to be continually innovating to get New Zealand to the 2050 national eradication goals at pace.

“Products to Projects is providing options for more efficient and cost-effective ways of achieving and maintaining predator eradication. These new investments include smart self-resetting kill-traps that use A.I. to prevent non-target species from being harmed, remote reporting of both live-captures in cage-traps and bait levels in bait-stations, new ways of targeting rats and stoats, and systems to use ‘SWARM’ satellites for device communications in remote regions,” Prof Tompkins said. . . 


Rural round-up

20/06/2022

Agriculture trip a ‘whirlwind’ of inspiration – Sally Rae:

Sam Vivian-Greer admits he is not usually the most emotional person.

But during this month’s mentoring trip around New Zealand for winners of the Zanda McDonald agribusiness award, the Wairarapa man acknowledged he was a little emotional, particularly as he wrote down each day’s experiences in a notebook.

The award, now in its eighth year, supports talented and passionate young professionals in the agricultural sector from Australia and New Zealand.

Part of the prize package includes a trip to high-performing farms and businesses in Australia and New Zealand, travelling by a chartered Pilatus PC-12 aircraft. . . 

KPMG finds mixed fortunes and increasing demands within rural sector industries :

The rural sector is muddled and looking for the best way forward amid a wave of regulations, Covid-19 related fatigue, and varied outlooks for different parts of the industry.

Business advisory firm KPMG’s Agribusiness Agenda found a mixed picture among 122 primary industry leaders, with some straining to make the most of profitable overseas opportunities, while others were fighting to survive.

KPMG’s head of global agribusiness Ian Proudfoot said no single theme stood out for the sector with a multitude of issues vying for attention.

“For some leaders, things have never been better; others face an existential crisis, while many have aspects of their operations that are humming and other parts that are on, or are close to, life support.”

He said the sector was opportunity-packed and risk burdened by “high highs” and almost as many “low lows”, and had done a remarkable job in reconnecting with world markets and earnings record returns when the country needed it most during the pandemic. . .

 

 

Groundswell NZ challenges Climate Change Minister to tell the full story on farm emissions :

The Government is expecting the agriculture sector to subsidise the rest of the economy on climate change, so Groundswell NZ is asking for the evidence from James Shaw, Groundswell NZ emissions spokesperson Steve Cranston says.

“Groundswell NZ has written to Climate Change Minister James Shaw to request any modelling or data he relies on, showing that agriculture is contributing to additional warming of the climate.”

“We support the call to stop further climate warming from the agricultural sector, in accordance with the Paris Agreement objective of limiting warming to 1.5° C. The farmers we represent want to do the right thing and ensure there is no net increase in atmospheric warming due to farming activities.”

“Our position is that farming in this country is currently at or close to climate neutrality. Emission outputs from agriculture are being offset by natural atmospheric decay, in the case of methane, or offset by farm tree sequestration, in the case of carbon.” . . 

Grow another paddock – Ian Williams:

Farming is becoming increasingly complex. Until recentyl, farmers had relatively few issues to focus on: feeding cows, producing milk and hopefully making enough money to feed their family and pay off their mortgages.

Things are very different now. The historical issues remain but added to these are increased compliance requirements, regular staff shortages, more demands from milk and meat processors, climate change and of course, global supply chain issues brought about by war and pandemics.

This increased complexity results in increased risk. Until this season, payout has been relatively stable, sitting between $6.12 and $7.54/kgMS.

The biggest business risk has been around the variable climate and trying to produce enough milk to generate good profit. . . 

Early warning technology to help farmers battle costly cattle disease mastitis:

New research from Lincoln University could dramatically improve the treatment of a common cattle disease that costs farmers an estimated $280m a year.

Mastitis is a painful bacterial infection that affects cows’ udders and causes a drop in milk quality and production.

The disease is treatable but can prove costly for dairy farmers.

But a team of researchers from Lincoln University may have found a way to detect the disease in its early stages. . .

Wool farmers urged to take simple step to secure prosperous future :

The Campaign for Wool NZ Trust (CFWNZ) is encouraging New Zealand sheep farmers registered under the New Zealand Farm Assurance Programme (NZFAP) for their meat production to take the “very simple step” of adding their NZFAP assurance code to their wool specification sheet.

“This makes sure our farmers’ beautiful wool can be branded and marketed under this important new quality standard,” explains CFWNZ Chair Tom O’Sullivan. “The NZFAP is important, because it provides assurances to consumers across the globe that our wool is produced with integrity, traceability, and animal health and welfare top of mind. We’re hearing that while many of our farmers are already signed up to the programme for their meat operation, they might have neglected to include their NZFAP assurance code on their wool specification to ensure their wool is sold and promoted as NZFAP certified.”

The wool industry adopted the NZFAP as a national standard for wool in September 2021, and Tom says although there’s been an increase in farmers including their NZFAP assurance code on their wool specification sheet in recent months, there is still a long way to go.

Tom, himself an experienced sheep farmer based in Hawke’s Bay, says farmers could be slow to include their assurance code because they think the NZFAP auditing process might be expensive, daunting, or overly rigorous. “But there is no additional cost to farmers. When the NZFAP auditors visit a farm, wool is automatically included in the audit process.” . .

 


Bad dream

18/06/2022

North Otago farmer Jane Smith writes of a nightmare on Bowen Street:

. . . Never before have I seen farmers so conflicted between positivity from great product prices and the negativity via continued harassment by government regulations.

That was later the theme for a nightmare from which I woke in a cold sweat, dazed and confused, similar to the feeling when opening an ACC bill.

I was seemingly attending a function in Wellington entitled ‘the NZ Showcase of Incompetency’. Our fearless leader was to be keynote speaker, however her fiance had just tested positive to something and she was also in a Zoom call with Sri Lanka’s regulators on “how to destroy your farming sector and democracy within a 12-month timeframe”.

The dress code was a moko and cowboy hat or socks and sandals – with the theme for the night “A Smorgasbord of Socialism”. The canapés were an unpalatable mix of plant-based righteousness and laboratory-created confusion, the drinks trolley empty apart from “an optional selection of Three Waters” which upon entry we were all lined up and forced to consume. . . 

Follow the link above to read the rest.


Rural round-up

17/06/2022

The methane issue is far from settled – Keith Woodford:

Big methane decisions lie ahead that will affect all New Zealanders

In late May, the eleven rural-industry partners in He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) reached internal compromises that were sufficient for all to sign-up to a joint greenhouse gas (GHG) document, which laid out the bones of how they think agriculture’s greenhouse gases should be priced.

It went right down to the wire before Federated Farmers agreed to add their logo.  Some of the other partners to the document were also less than happy, but the alternative of failing to come up with an agreement at all was even less palatable.

Now it will be up to the Government, taking account of forthcoming advice from the Climate Change Commission (CCC), to make some calls as to the path forward. . . 

Looming global good shortage highlights New Zealand’s role in climate action :

As a significant global food supplier, changes in New Zealand food systems may soon have substantial impacts.

New Zealand can feed 40 million people, or five percent of the diet of 800 million people with high quality food, AgriTechNZ chief executive Brendan O’Connell says.

However, the food supply impact from the Ukrainian war shows how production changes in one region or country impacts on others, he says.

Global food prices continue to strengthen as shortages loom for basic foods such as grains. This means there will also be a shortage of carbohydrates to feed livestock, ANZ research says. . . 

Crunch time for calculating farming emissions –  Jean Bell:

Farmers need not worry about their initial emissions result being held against them, says Beef and Lamb NZ.

Agribusiness leaders are urging farmers to crunch the numbers on their greenhouse gas emissions, as the primary sector continues its battle to avoid being lumped into the Government’s emissions trading scheme.

According to Federated Farmers, some businesses are concerned their initial results might be held against them in the future. But Beef and Lamb NZ, which funded a free online emissions calculator, says these numbers are confidential and won’t be shared.

Created by software developer Catalyst, Beef and Lamb NZ’s free-to-use online tool takes into account the area of open land on a farm (breaking this down into land that is under pasture, exotic vegetation, and indigenous vegetation), the amount of fertiliser, lime, and dolomite used, and livestock numbers on site. . . 

Team likely to travel to Australian national shearing and woolhandling championships

Shearing Sports New Zealand is hopeful it will be able to resume the annual home and away trans-Tasman test matches this year.

The last matches between New Zealand and Australia were held at the Golden Shears in 2020, a fortnight before the first Covid-19 lockdown.

But with the borders now open, New Zealand has been invited to send a team to Bendigo in October to compete in the Australian National Shearing and Woolhandling Championships.

Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman Sir David Fagan said it was likely a team would travel to Australia but a final decision would be made at the groups national committee meeting in August. . . 

Horticulture industry more than just being out on an orchard

An award-winning orchardist is hoping more people will get into the horticulture industry, saying there’s plenty of job opportunities for outdoorsy types.

Jacob Coombridge was recently crowned the winner of the 2022 Central Otago Young Grower competition.

The 22-year-old beat out seven other contestants in tests on irrigation, pest and disease identification, soil and fertilisers and risk management.

Coombridge, who works as an orchard supervisor at Webb’s Fruit in Cromwell, said it was great to see local growers come together and get involved in the competition. . . 

Tai Nelson wins Auckland Corteva Young Viticulturist of the year 2022 :

Congratulations to Tai Nelson, Vineyard Manager at Soljan’s Estate, who took out the title of Auckland/Northern Corteva Young Viticulturist of the Year 2022.

The first of the 2022 Young Vit regional finals was held at Goldie Estate on Waiheke on Thursday 9th June where contestants from West Auckland, Waiheke and Matakana competed for the title.

Congratulations also goes to Dominic Bolton from Kumeu River Estate who came second and also Nicole Reynolds from Te Motu Estate on Waiheke, who came third. The other contestants, Leon Henson an independent viticultural consultant and Josh Kingston also did themselves proud.

“They all gave it their absolute all, tackling everything with a positive attitude and seeing it as a great opportunity to learn. There was a really upbeat atmosphere from start to finish with strong support from sponsors and industry members.” says Nicky Grandorge, Leadership & Communities Manager at NZ Winegrowers. “This is what Young Vit is all about – it’s fantastic”. . . 


Rural round-up

15/06/2022

Impeding food production with taxes on emissions is a bad idea when the world is tipping towards mass hunger – Point of Order:

As the war in  the Ukraine drags  on, the  international   food  crisis  is  deepening. The  Economist put it  simply but grimly:

“The war is tipping a  fragile  world towards  mass  hunger. Fixing that is  everyone’s  business”.

So  shouldn’t  the  New Zealand Government   be  exhorting  farmers to  go  all out to produce  as  much  as  they  can   for  this  country  to be  lifting  its  food  exports?  Is   this  the  time   for  the  government  to be erecting  new  hurdles to impede the  production  of  food?  Shouldn’t  it  delay  the  plan  to tax methane emissions for  at  least  12  months? 

Let’s look  at what  The  Economist further said:

“The  war is  battering a  global food  system weakened   by  Covid-19, climate  change,  and  an energy  shock.  Ukraine’s exports of grain and oilseeds have mostly stopped and Russia’s are threatened. . . 

How our feta cheese should be tied to a farm emissions deal – Macaulay Jones:

The primary sector has delivered its He Waka Eke Noa emissions pricing recommendation report to ministers. Now it’s time for the Government to deliver on their end of the bargain.

In a 2020 public webinar hosted by the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, titled “Setting the direction: Towards a low-emissions future”, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor spoke about the need for agricultural emissions pricing to enhance our chances of good free trade agreements.

“In negotiating a trade agreement with the EU, and with the UK, both of those places are very proud of their efforts around climate change and emissions reduction,” O’Connor said.

“If we can say we’ve included agriculture [in the Emissions Trading Scheme], that gives us momentum when it comes to negotiating that market agreement and so don’t underestimate the positives of this. While there may be some… adjustments that are needed I think we could innovate our way through that.”  . . .

 

South Island Farmers embrace a dynamic future :

Over 420 dairy farmers gathered in Oamaru last week for SIDE 2022, with a focus on building skills and discussing solutions to challenges facing the farming sector.

The SIDE theme was dynamic and event chair Anna Wakelin opened the event by saying that farmers across New Zealand are taking control of their futures and standing up for positive change.

“We’re on the right track. It’s tough, but we can be proud of our low carbon footprint, our innovation and progress, and our work which supports communities through the bad times and the good.

“It’s staggering that just 11,000 dairy farms contribute almost $2 billion to New Zealand’s economy,” she added. . . 

Silver Fern Farms secures industry-leading sustainability linked financing :

Silver Fern Farms Ltd today announced the company has entered into one of New Zealand’s largest sustainability-linked working capital financing facilities (SL Financing).

At $320 million (NZD) the SL Financing has been carefully tailored to the challenges faced by the red meat industry, and will further enable Silver Fern Farms to grow while delivering on the company’s transformative sustainability agenda.

Silver Fern Farms Chief Executive, Simon Limmer said the country’s largest red meat company is committed to leading food system-change and supporting a just transition to a low carbon economy.

“Our commitment, and follow-through, on sustainability issues is a key way we’re making sure we do the right thing by our customers who increasingly want their red meat sustainably produced and processed. . .

Innovative Pāmu deer milk product finalist in prestigious global awards :

Pāmu’s awarding winning Deer Milk is up for two prestigious awards at the World Dairy Innovation Awards, to be announced in Laval, France on 15 June.

Pāmu Deer Milk is a finalist in the Best Dairy Ingredient category, while its new Doe Nutrition product is a finalist in the Best Functional Dairy section.

Pāmu Chief Executive Mark Leslie says being a finalist in these prestigious awards is a validation of the hard work that has gone into creating an all-new product for the agri-sector.

“Our deer milk product has been steadily growing in popularity among high end chefs and as a unique new ingredient in cosmetics, currently sold exclusively through the Yuhan New Origin stores in Korea. These nominations recognise the extensive application and unique properties of deer milk.” . . .

 

Digital Dairy Chain launches in Dumfries – Gordon Davidson:

South-West Scotland and Cumbria are about to become a ‘magnet’ for hi-tech dairy production – or at least, that is the hope of the newly launched Digital Dairy Chain project.

The £21 million venture was officially launched this week near Dumfries. Led by Scotland’s Rural College from its B arony campus, it will see partners across South-West Scotland and Cumbria focussing on developing a fully integrated and traceable dairy supply chain, bringing about an economic transformation that will, its architects believe, eventually lead to the creation of more than 600 jobs and generate £60m a year of additional value. . . 


Rural round-up

14/06/2022

“We should all be so proud” farmers reflect on year – Sally Rae:

Dynamic is a great word to describe New Zealand’s dairy farmers in 2022, South Island Dairy Event committee chairwoman Anna Wakelin says.

That was why it had been chosen as the theme for Side, the South Island’s largest dairy event which got under way in Oamaru yesterday.

“We are a dynamic industry and want the best for our animals, land and people,” Mrs Wakelin said.

She and her husband Tony farm in South Canterbury and she was proud to produce nourishing food for the world. . . 

Pupils making most of rural trades pathway – Kayla Hodge:

Waitaki Girls’ High School is giving pupils a pathway to the rural sector.

The Oamaru secondary school set up a trades academy last year, allowing pupils the opportunity to get hands-on experience working on various farms throughout the district.

Four pupils took part last year and seven have joined the initiative this year.

At present, the year 11 and 12 pupils mostly spend time on dairy farms, learning different skills from fencing and driving quad bikes and tractors, to spraying and milking. They are now getting ready to help farmers with calf rearing. . .

Why farmers are hard done by with HWEN :

A scheme proposed to be an alternative to putting agricultural biological emissions in to the ETS named He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) has been presented to the Government. The scheme developed by some farming groups and a Māori organization is an attempt to head off the growing pressure for these biological emissions from livestock to be included in the ETS.

This pressure arises because farmers are constantly blamed for producing nearly half our carbon emissions, mainly from the methane ruminant livestock produce as a by product of the digestive process.

What Is not said about these emissions however is that the carbon emissions produced by livestock are very different to the carbon emissions produced by burning fossil fuel.

Carbon emissions from livestock do not cause the warming fossil sourced carbon emissions do. . .

Wool supplement helps heal wounds – Annette Scot:

Research by a United States plastic surgeon has given New Zealand’s coarse wool the opportunity to build more value for growers while helping heal wounds.

Wool sourced from sheep in NZ contains higher levels of a scleroprotein called keratin, a key structural material that protects epithelial cells from damage.

Kiri10 managing director Natalie Harrison says NZ keratin is used in dermatological treatments in dozens of countries around the world for the clinical management of wounds and severe burns, including those injured during the White Island eruption.

But the concept of consuming wool to provide a health benefit for humans is still in its infancy but is showing significant promise. . .

It’s crunch time in Kiwi-grown peanut trial :

Local peanut butter maker Pic Picot is hopeful that outcomes of the Kiwi peanut crop will bring him one step closer to a 100 per cent New Zealand-made nutty spread.

The harvest of field trial peanut crops in Northland is nearing completion this week as part of a project looking into the feasibility of commercially growing the nuts in New Zealand.

It’s the first year of a $1 million project funded by Picot Productions (makers of Pic’s Peanut Butter), Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund and Northland Inc, following a successful one-year feasibility study in 2021.

If the trial proves successful it would have significant positive impacts for the region – generating jobs both on- and off-farm, pumping funds into the local economy and supporting investment opportunities. . .

 

Jacob Coombridge wins the 2022 Central Otago Young Grower competition :

Jacob Coombridge, a 22-year-old Orchard Supervisor at Webb’s Fruit, has won the 2022 Central Otago Young Grower competition.

The competition tested the eight contestant’s fruit and vegetable growing knowledge as well as the skills needed to be a successful grower. Contestants completed modules in irrigation, pests and disease identification, safe tractor operating, first aid, soil and fertilisers and risk management.

“It’s so awesome to have so many people from the industry along to support us,” says Jacob.

“Like all farming, working on an orchard can be isolating at times, but it’s awesome that competitions like this are able to bring everyone together. We’ve got a great grower community, and everyone has been really supportive of all of us as contestants. . .

 


Laughing stock for taxing stock

14/06/2022

Chris Smith says New Zealand’s plan to tax stock burps and farts makes the country a laughing stock.

 


Rural round-up

13/06/2022

It’s not the red meat that’s bad for the planet, it’s us – Joe Bennett:

I used the article to light the log-burner, but I remember the first sentence: “We all know that red meat is bad for the planet.”

Well now, let’s start at the start. We don’t all know this. We may have been told it, and told it repeatedly, but that is not the same as knowing it and neither does it make it true. As a boy I was told many things, including that if you played with it, it fell off, and that god was in heaven. These two in particular seemed antithetical. Luckily neither proved true.

Now, it is possible to take a moral stance against red meat, to argue that it is wrong to end the lives of other creatures to sustain our own. To do so, however, is to condemn every living thing. From bacteria to whales, life on earth consists of things eating each other. The pretty little swallows that nest in my garage murder insects by the million.

But the author doesn’t seem to be taking this moral stance. He or she asserts only that red meat is “bad for the planet”, and presents this notion as if it were scientific fact. But red meat isn’t bad for the planet. The planet is a durable beastie that will continue to orbit the sun regardless of how many pork chops you and I may eat. . . 

Primary Industries on track for $52.2 billion in exports :

The latest Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI) report shows New Zealand’s food and fibre sector export revenue is expected to reach a record $52.2 billion in the year to 30 June 2022.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says the report showed an increase of close to 10% on the previous year. “This is a tremendous result for the sector as farmers, growers and others in the supply chains who play such a critical role in our economy.

They have continued to deliver quality products for Kiwis and overseas consumers while navigating global disruption and uncertainty,” he says.

O’Connor says New Zealand’s overseas markets demand high quality products made with care and the SOPI report indicates exporters are responding to that. . . 

Feds: Biodiversity budget support falls woefully short :

While the latest draft National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity (NPS-IB) is a significant improvement its success is undermined by woeful funding in Budget 2022 to assist private landowners, Federated Farmers says. Only $20 million of the $150m needed over the next four years was allocated.

Keys to Federated Farmers’ support of the new biodiversity policies will be sound criteria on what are truly ‘significant’ natural areas, and protection of existing land use rights where they are not degrading native biodiversity.

“Implementation of the new rules also needs to be accompanied by a comprehensive and well-resourced financial support package,” said Chris Allen, the Feds national board member who was part of the cross-sector Biodiversity Collaborative Group (BCG) that made recommendations to the government.

An exposure draft of the long-delayed NSP-IB has just been released, another step in the long journey of this policy. . . 

Cutting cattle stress delivers payoffs in beef quality, farmer says :

A Hawke’s Bay farmer says reducing stress levels among cattle is resulting in higher quality Angus beef.

Matangi Farm’s beef cattle is raised just behind Havelock North’s Te Mata Peak.

Farm manager Jamie Gaddum said they try to reduce stressors on the cattle as much as possible.

“We’ve tried to keep trucking to a minimum. We’ve got two farms, but they’re only on a truck once in the lifetime,” he said. . . 

Changing pig care regulations may leave farmers and consumers out of pocket – report

Proposed changes to how pigs are cared for could come with a hefty price tag, a new economic report warns.

The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee has proposed a raft of changes to the code for pigs, including banning or reducing the use of farrowing crates, weaning piglets no earlier than 28 days old and increasing the amount of space where young pigs live.

But a new report by consultancy group Sapere warns if the proposed changes are adopted, farmers could be out of pocket by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And it could drive the cost of New Zealand pork up by 18.8 percent for consumers, as farmers try to cover the costs. . . 

New research harvests better outcomes for tree planters :

Newly published research by Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service into tree planting will provide some welcome solutions to problems foresters and planters are all too familiar with.

“The research has enabled us to come up with strategies to successfully plant trees outside of the normal planting season, and also have a better understanding of how to safely hold back trees in nurseries without impacting the quality,” says Emily Telfer, Programme Delivery Manager, Forest Science at Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service.

Tree planting is normally carried out in the middle of the year, with significant work required in nurseries leading up to winter to prepare a crop of trees and by landowners to prepare sites for planting.

“The yearly forestry planting cycle follows a sequential series of steps and is driven by biology, so the research set out to look at what mitigations can be utilised when the sequence is disrupted.”. . . 


Three Waters’ solution’s simple – Jim Hopkins

13/06/2022

Waitaki District Councillor Jim Hopkins has a simple solution for water woes:

It is an honour to be a councillor, and a privilege.

But that privilege brings responsibilities with it. Like promoting your community and preserving your reputation — something that has been too often forgotten lately.

I hate hearing radio hosts bagging local government. Or talkback callers blithely labelling every council in the country a bunch of self-serving, petty, extravagant incompetents who’ve proved beyond doubt why nobody bothers to vote for them.

But I hate even more hearing about a council that’s done exactly the kind of daft thing, like pushing a vanity project or grandstanding on a political issue, that gives the critics another reason to put the boot in. The same goes for councillors whose internal conflicts or dotty comments have either cost a fortune or made the rest of us look like a bunch of gormless prats.

Worse still, it’s not just individual councillors or councils — most of whom are dominated, like Parliament, by political parties — that are shooting us in the foot. Even Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) — the body supposed to speak for us — has got in the act, in my opinion.

When the Government recently announced it was ignoring public opinion and pressing ahead with its four company, 3 Waters reforms — which will inevitably see water meters in every home in the country — the president of LGNZ, Stuart Crosby, meekly said change had to happen because we all know the system is broken.

Well, you may think that, Stuart, I don’t.

The system’s not broken.

It may not be perfect in some areas, but in most places, on most days, most people wake up and drink safe water, enjoy good showers, flush efficient toilets and have drains that cope with bad weather.

For me, the problem’s one of size; the size of smaller towns and the size of the bill they have to pay to improve standards.

And the solution’s simple.

The Government that’s setting the standards should share some of its funds. We don’t need four companies, we need more cash. Cash to help smaller towns, cash to give local people real control over their local assets. . . 

This would be a far less expensive and for more efficient solution than the costly and inefficient four layers of bureaucracy that the government’s Three Waters plan would result in.

The government is imposing higher standards for drinking, storm and waste water.

Their plan to ensure the standards are met is overly bureaucratic and will in time, if not at once, be overly expensive.

If the government goes ahead with its plan to take the water assets from councils, there might be a reduction in rates to reflect the reduction in costs to councils now face for looking after them. But any savings in rates will be more than offset by the increased costs of maintaining the new four levels of bureaucracy on top of the costs associated with meeting the new standards for delivering clean, and dealing with dirty, water.

It would cost less and be more effective to ditch the plan for four new layers of bureaucracy and give the money saved directly to councils, most of which provide pipes, pumps and treatment ponds that enable more of us to, as Jim says, drink safe water, enjoy good showers, flush efficient toilets and have drains that cope with bad weather.


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