Rural round-up

May 26, 2018

Waikato farmer reveals his farm first in the region to get Mycoplasma bovis cattle disease – Gerald Piddock:

Henk Smit has come forward as the Waikato dairy farmer whose herd has tested positive for Mycoplasma bovis.

Smit walked up to the stage and put his hand up during a meeting attended by close to 600 farmers at the Sir Don Rowlands Centre near Cambridge.

He outlined how the cattle disease arrived on his farm and his frustrations with dealing with the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Smit has farming interests in three properties around Waikato including the dairy farm that tested positive for M bovis. . .

Good clearance at online sale – Alan Williams:

About 96% of the wool offered in the first Natural Fibre Exchange (NFX) online auction was sold.

Indications are the sale was in line with the improving tone in wool prices at the latest open-cry auctions.

Six sellers provided lots for sale and a good cross-section of New Zealand’s major wool buyers were bidding online for the 1525 bales offered on May 22, Wools of NZ chief executive Rosstan Mazey said. . .

Performing as a co-op should – Neal Wallace:

Fonterra gets a pass mark from industry observers for its performance as a co-operatively-owned business.

But they warn it cannot rest on its laurels given challenges connecting with 10,500 owners and plans for further investment in added-value and consumer products.

Fonterra Shareholder’s Council chairman Duncan Coull said Fonterra has performed as a co-operative should. It is owned and democratically controlled by members, it serves its members, returns surpluses to members and strives to operate profitably. . .

Fonterra approach farmes to switch from WMP – Brendon McMahon:

Fonterra has again approached Westland Milk Products suppliers to switch loyalties with the promise of better returns.

The West Coast Federated Farmers annual general meeting in Greymouth this week heard that Westland suppliers from Inchbonnie and Rotomanu in the south and Springs Junction in the north, were being courted by the country’s largest dairy co-operative, which has a massive milk powder factory at Darfield.

Fonterra scouts were on the West Coast several years ago, but at that time few local farmers were tempted. . . 

STRESS removes headache for hill country farmers:

Taranaki farmer Roger Pearce is confident he’s hit a good formula allowing him to make a successful living in the eastern Taranaki hillcountry without bringing nature’s wrath on himself.

…or indeed a wrath on the communities and farms all the way down to the sea.

He’s tapped into the South Taranaki and Regional Erosion Support Scheme (STRESS) to allow him to reap more of the potential of his 2000ha Waitōtara Valley property – while ensuring its soil does not erode into waterways where it degrades water quality and heightens the risk of downstream flooding. . .

Australian milk production up 3.5%

Australian milk production to the end of April is up 3.5 per cent on the same time last year, according to the latest figures from Dairy Australia.

The figures reveal April production was up 4.5 per cent compared with last year, with increases in all states except Queensland.

Tasmania led the growth with production up 19.6 per cent for April, followed by South Australia, where production was up 8.6 per cent. . .

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Rural round-up

May 25, 2018

Farmer has to start again after M. bovis – Sally Rae:

It is not surprising that Graham Hay gets a little choked up as he describes the devastating impact of Mycoplasma bovis on his farming business.

The Hakataramea Valley property has been in the family since his grandfather took over in 1921 and Mr Hay has lived there all his life.

He and his wife, Sonja, have invested in it for their children to carry on and he was one of the drivers of Haka Valley Irrigation Ltd, a small group of farmers who brought water to the traditionally dry valley.

But the cattle disease has ”destroyed” their business. . .

New Zealand could achieve world first by eradicating Mycoplasma – Gerard

No country has ever eradicated Mycoplasma bovis, but they have never really tried, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says.

The Government is widely expected to opt for an eradication approach to tackle the cattle disease which has shaken the rural sector since being detected last year.

Despite the lack of precedent for ridding any country of the disease before now, “members of the technical advisory group regard it as feasible,” O’Connor said. . .

M. bovis predicted to bring about the end of sharemilking in New Zealand – Andrea Vance:

Farmers are predicting the end of sharemilking as the country moves to control the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis.

Share-milkers own their own cows – but not the land– so move them from farm to farm. Some use the income to save for their own farm.

But Primary Industries Minister Damien O’Connor said farming practices must change, with less movement of stock, as officials battle the infection. . . 

Survey assess health of NZ’s farming women – Yvonne O’Hara:

Farmstrong is asking farming women to complete a survey about their health and social connections to identify key wellbeing issues and provide information for research into possible tools and solutions to issues.

Farmstrong is a non-commercial initiative founded by rural insurer FMG and the Mental Health Foundation and provides programmes, advice and events that focus on farmers’ health and wellbeing.

Project manager Gerard Vaughan said the survey had had more than 820 responses so far and would close in early June. . .

Moteo apple orchards show way of the future – Rose Harding:

A new block of apples at Moteo is the way of the future, according to its developers.

The 47ha leased block being developed by T and G is planted to be two-dimensional rather than the usual three.

This is done by training growth along wires so the fruit is easily visible and easily picked. It also simplifies thinning and pruning.

T and G national growing manager Lachlan McKay says the Moteo block is the biggest 2D planting in New Zealand. He was reluctant to give an exact cost for the development. It was clearly not cheap. . . .

Kiwifruit monthly exports soar to new high:

Kiwifruit exports rose $197 million (82 percent) in April 2018 compared with April 2017, to reach $438 million, Stats NZ said. This is a new high for any month.

The rise in kiwifruit exports was the leading contributor to a $345 million rise (7.3 percent) in overall goods exports, which reached $5.1 billion. This is the second-highest for any month – the highest level was $5.5 billion in December 2017.

“Kiwifruit exports were up for all New Zealand’s principal kiwifruit markets – China, the European Union, and Japan,” international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said. . .

Agricultural innovation in East Otago: helping to shape New Zealand’s farming industry – D.A. Stevens & K.A. Cousins:

ABSTRACT

The East Otago region has been at the forefront of agricultural advancement in New Zealand with key people leading the way in creating a culture of innovation. Rural technology developments are traced back from the emerging new biotechnology industries, through animal genetics research, improvements in hill country and pasture production, soil and fertiliser research, the introduction of deer farming and sheep breeding, to the frozen meat shipments, agricultural organisation restructuring and land reforms of the early settlers. . .


Rural round-up

May 24, 2018

Farm conversion considers environment – Nicole Sharp:

Kanadale Farms is no ordinary dairy farm.

First to stick out are the rolling hills and steeper landscapes, obvious signs it was once home to animals of a different kind, combined with planting of trees around the property.

It was the diversity of the 355ha property, and the work and investment the Moseby family has put into it, which resulted in their being crowned the 2018 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Award supreme winners. . . 

Hoki Dokey: NZ fish skin facemasks to launch in China – Emma Hatton:

It’s not quite a slap in the face with a wet fish but hoki skins, once destined for pet food, are now in a facemask and going on sale in China this month. 

Sanfords fishing group and Auckland science company Revolution Fibres have teamed up to produce a skincare range, which they claim can reduce wrinkles by up to 31.5 percent.

Revolution Fibres recently created a product called a nanofibre, which is a particle 500 times smaller than the width of a human hair. . . 

Sanford lifts first-half profit 43% with focus on higher value fish fillets – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Sanford, New Zealand’s largest listed seafood company, lifted first-half profit 43 percent as it continued to focus on higher value items such as fish fillets rather than frozen commodity products.

Profit rose to $27.3 million, or 29.2 cents per share, in the six months ended March 31, from $19 million, or 20.4 cents, a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Revenue from continuing operations lifted 18 percent to $272.7 million. Earnings before interest and tax lifted 14 percent to $35.4 million. . . 

(That tweet is form yesterday, today is National Lamb Day).

Zespri annual profit rises 38%, lifts grower payment – Rebecca Howard:

 (BusinessDesk) – Zespri Group reported a 38 percent lift in full-year profit and tripled its dividend after revenue growth was driven by the release of 400 hectares of licences for the profitable SunGold variety in 2017.

Net profit for the season ended March 31 was $101.8 million with global kiwifruit sales for the year up 6 percent at $2.39 billion, the Tauranga-based business said in a statement. Total revenue, which includes the license income, was $2.51 billion.

Zespri said the total dividend returned to shareholders was 76 cents per share, versus 25 cents per share in the previous season.  . . 

Sheep and Beef sector welcomes agreement to start NZ-EU FTA negotiations:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) welcome the agreement to start the New Zealand-European Union Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations following the agreement from all European Union Member States on the negotiating mandate.

B+LNZ Chief Executive Sam McIvor says the agreement to start negotiations represents a significant milestone for the sector in the face of growing protectionist rhetoric worldwide. . . 

Specialty cheesemakers ‘worse off’ in EU trade deal – Chris Bramwell:

An award-winning cheese producer says a trade deal with the European Union will hurt the specialty cheese industry.

The EU, the world’s biggest trading bloc, overnight approved the beginning of negotiations with New Zealand and Australia.

Whitestone Cheese company produces a range of products from blue to feta in its Oamaru-based factory.

Whitestone Cheese chief executive Simon Berry said for cheesemakers in the specialty trade like his, the news of a trade deal with the EU was not that great. . . 

NZ Apple Industry Leads the World Four Years Running:

The World Apple Review has for the fourth year running named New Zealand’s apple industry the most competitive on the global stage, against 33 major apple growing countries.

Released this week by Belrose Inc, the US based world fruit market analysts, the World Apple Review, stated that the innovations emerging from New Zealand’s apple industry will increasingly impact production and marketing throughout the world.

New Zealand’s high productivity gains helped deliver the outstanding performance, ahead of its closest rivals Chile and the United States. . . 

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The Farmer’s dilemma.

Many have said “farming is easy.” “All farmers get rich.” “Farmers only work a few months out of the year.”

However, if farming is so easy, so profitable, & requires so little work; why are only 2% of the population brave enough to be farmers.

Australians buzzing about New Zealand honey as Manuka Health wins most ‘Trusted Honey Brand’ across the Tasman:

Reader’s Digest ‘Trusted Brands’ survey reveals Aussies prefer New Zealand’s Manuka honey to homegrown brands

Leader in the Manuka honey industry for more than a decade, New Zealand natural healthcare company, Manuka Health New Zealand, has been voted the ‘Most Trusted Honey Brand’ by Australians – topping brands including Capilano and Beechworth.

The award has been revealed as Reader’s Digest releases the results of its 2018 ‘Trusted Brands’ survey, highlighting the most trusted brands in Australia from across 70 categories, as chosen by more than 2,400 members of the Australian public.. . 

FQC produces guidelines for bulk fertiliser storage and handling:

The Fertiliser Quality Council (FQC) has produced a set of storage and handling guidelines for manufacturers and distributors who deal with bulk fertiliser.

The guidelines, which can also be applied to the storage and handling of fertiliser on-farm, aim to ensure that the physical quality of the product is maintained from when it arrives at the depot (or farm) to the point it is distributed on the land. . . 

 


How do I Love Ewe

May 24, 2018

A reprise for National Lamb Day:

How Do I Love Ewe? (With apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

How do I love ewe? Let me count the ways

That lamb tempts the taste buds and any hunger stays.

Of course I love ewe roasted, but still a little rare.

And I love ewe butterflied, from all the bones carved bare.

I love you chopped or diced and threaded onto sticks,

With capsicum and onion to get my vege fix.

I love you minced with salad in a burger bun

And chewing on the chop bones is always lots of fun.

I love ewe tender barbequed, the smokey taste sublime,

And shanks cooked long and slow for flavour that’s divine.

I love ewe marinated, with mint or coriander,

And many other ways my appetite ewe pander.

Though, proud Kiwi that I am, would be hard to find one keener,

My favourite way to cook ewe is how it’s done in Argentina:


Cull or contain?

May 24, 2018

The government is deciding whether to keep culling cows in an attempt to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis or to attempt to contain it.

No other country has managed to eradicate the disease but the ability to do that here is a little easier because every infection has been traced back to a single source.

However, continuing to attempt eradication will be a very expensive exercise.

Containing it will incur less direct expense for the government, but each time the disease spreads it reduces production which reduces farmer income and therefore the tax take.

Whether or not the government opts for continued culling or containment, farmers whose operations aren’t self-contained will be needing to move stock to grazing when they dry off next week.

Whichever decision the government makes, farmers, sharemilkers and their staff on farms which have, or might have the disease, are under huge stress, financially and emotionally.

Whatever the decision, there are still a lot of lessons to be learned from how the incursion has been, and is being handled so that the same mistakes aren’t made next time because sooner or later there will be one.

 


Rural round-up

May 22, 2018

Mycoplasma bovis: The spread, cost and response – Conan Young:

Southland is believed to be the origin of where Mycoplasma bovis first took hold in New Zealand because this is where the earliest known cases of infection have so far been discovered, the Ministry for Primary Industries says.

This overturns an earlier theory that a South Canterbury farm belonging to the Van Leeuwen Dairy Group was the first farm to be infected.

While steps have been taken to trace and deal with cattle transported from the Van Leeuwen farm since July last year, controls on cows coming out of Southland have only been brought in much more recently. . .

Rural health workforce reaching crisis point:

The rural health workforce is at crisis point, with more than 40 percent of country doctors due to retire in the next five years.

So could the growing number of nurse practitioners, nurses who have taken extra training to be able to prescribe medicines and make diagnoses, provide a solution?

The nurses themselves say yes, but those working in rural health say there are some professional and bureaucratic hurdles which make it more difficult. . . 

Love of breeds leads to junior judge status – Sally Rae:

Amanda Brown just loves cows.

Her particular passion is for the Ayrshire breed, continuing a long family history which started when her mother’s family — the Morton family — established the Ingleside stud in Southland in the 1940s.

The 29-year-old recently became an accredited junior judge for the breed, which meant she could judge at shows alongside a senior judge and, after a few shows, sit another paper to become a senior judge.

Miss Brown was brought up showing cattle and was leading calves when she was big enough to handle them. . .

Feds Kapiti and Wellington says no to roading rates rip-off:

Federated Farmers fears when the Kapiti Coast District Council says it is interested in equity and affordability, it only means equity and affordability for urban residential ratepayers. 

Last week Federated Farmers’ representatives made a submission to the council’s draft Long Term Plan (LTP) hearing opposing a proposal to change from a flat rate to a property-value rate to fund roading.
This will take the council further away from its stated aim of equity and affordability, says Federated Farmers Wairarapa president Jamie Falloon.

“This is pretty crude consultation when a huge impact like this is not discussed and considered with affected parties well before a hearing process for the LTP. This is a failing of many of the councils in our region.” . . 

Astonishingly high rates hikes proposed:

Tomorrow Federated Farmers will speak to their submission on yet another council proposed rate hike, as Hawke’s Bay Regional Council proposes an average rate increase of 19%.

Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay president Jim Galloway calls this “excessive and obscene”.

“Farmers are facing increased operating costs and are finding rates an ever-increasing unproductive cost that takes funds away for things like technology and environment spending. . .

Feds hail on-line fibre exchange as useful innovation:

Transparency, ease-of-use and the potential for increasing competition among buyers are among the positives of the Natural Fibre Exchange (NFX), Federated Farmers says.

The NFX, which is owned by shareholders Wools of New Zealand and Alliance Group, kicks off the first of its fortnightly on-line trading events tomorrow. 

Federated Farmers Meat and Wool chairperson Miles Anderson sees NFX as an innovation that potentially can stream-line the selling-buying process, raise awareness of wool and reach a wider buyer market. . . 

Ranching cattle in California  – Teresa O’Connor:

It may be hard to believe but ranching is the number-one land use in the state of California. I was surprised to learn this fact, and I’m certainly not alone.

This complex connection of California ranching to food production is a mystery for many. The public rarely understands the ecological benefits of livestock grazing, nor the tough economic returns, according to Sheila Barry, Livestock Advisor and Director of Santa Clara County for University of California Cooperative Extension.

“Working ranches occupy roughly 40 million acres in California,” says Barry. “Whether these working ranches are public land or privately owned, many ranchers represent the fourth or fifth generations stewarding the land and their livestock. The fact that the most prevalent land use in California goes largely unnoticed by much of the public puts ranching at risk.” . . 


Rural round-up

May 21, 2018

Disease reaches ‘crisis point’ – Annette Scott:

Mycoplasma bovis has reached crisis point and it’s time the Ministry for Primary Industries handed it back to farmers and support them to manage it, Mid Canterbury dairy farmer Frank Peters says.

The Peters family last week had 450 of their 1400-cow herd trucked to slaughter after just one cow tested positive for the cattle disease, now running rampant across the country.

Peters believes a lack of knowledge about M bovis is the biggest threat the disease poses to the dairy industry. . .

Farming and the Fight Against Climate Change – Veronika Meduna:

Climate friendly sheep could soon be romping around as part of the national flock as farmers take action to help reduce the carbon footprint of agriculture.

As the interim climate commission begins its work, one of its most controversial tasks is to determine how agricultural greenhouse gas emissions could be included in the Emissions Trading Scheme. At the same time, farmers have an increasing number of options to curb emissions.

On a farm south of Invercargill, a small flock of ewes that burp less methane – a potent greenhouse gas that makes up 76 per cent of emissions from the primary sector – is part of a research project to mitigate agricultural emissions. . . 

Tukituki catchment project aimed at curbing N-leaching big challenge :

A project aimed at determining how Tukituki catchment farmers will operate under new nitrogen leaching targets has found significant changes will have to made to achieve the reduced levels.

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Plan Change 6 outlines Land Use Capability (LUC) nitrogen leaching rates for all farms, depending on their physical characteristics and attributes, that have to be achieved by May 2020.

Farmers unable to reach these rates could apply for resource consents provided they stay within 30 per cent of the prescribed rate. . .

Farmer plea to politicians: talk to us not at us – Andrew McGiven:

It certainly is an interesting time to be a farmer now and not necessarily for all the right reasons.

The declaration from Environment Minister David Parker that regulation is his chosen path for dealing with intensive dairying is just the latest salvo from this government that principles and ideology reign supreme over co-operation and common sense.

This comes on top of the Green element of the coalition doing all it can to include agricultural animal emissions in an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), uncertainty around the Tax Working Group and the potential requirements that Plan Change One Healthy Rivers will heap on us.

I am not surprised to see so many farms on the market right now. . .

Technology is getting CRISPR –  Daniel Kelley:

The future of farming just got a lot brighter.

On March 28, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that his department won’t add a new layer of regulations to crops that scientists have enhanced through a cutting-edge method of selective breeding. This wise decision will encourage innovation, helping producers and consumers alike—and it even holds the potential to usher in the next great revolution in food.

After half a century of farming in Illinois, I’ve endured every kind of challenge, from droughts, floods, and diseases to insect invasions and weed infestations. But what I’ll remember best about my career—and the thing for which I’m most grateful—is the stunning technological progress. Today, we have hybrid seed corn that delivers bumper crops, computer databases that overflow with information, and precision agriculture driven by satellites in the Global Positioning System. Compared to what I knew as a boy, these are incomprehensible, head-spinning technologies. . . 

Crop disease: waging modern war against an ancient foe – John Ward:

The problem of world hunger is complex and the threats to our global food supply are many. They include growing populations, loss of arable land, dwindling water supplies, and climate change.

As if these present-day challenges weren’t enough, there is another – far older – adversary that farmers have grappled with for centuries. Crop disease.

Crop losses due to pests and plant pathogens continue to rob world markets of much needed food and cost farmers billions of dollars every year.

But innovators like Ad Bastiaansen, believe that modern information technology might finally help turn the tide of battle against this ancient foe. . . 


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