Rural round-up

March 29, 2015

Tenure deal exemption loss angers – Lynda van Kempen:

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

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

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

Lifestylers versus orchards – Lynda van Kempen:

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

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

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

City kids schooled in rural jobs – Gerard Hutching:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Claim Europe set to outstrip NZ:

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

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

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

New world opens up for European dairy farmers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Rural round-up

March 28, 2015

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

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

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

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

Guardians of the land a family tradition – Jill Galloway:

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

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

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

Is Gypsy Day too disruptive for rural people? :

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

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

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

 

 It can only get better – Annette Scott:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bittersweet response to bee code – Rebecca Sharpe:

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

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

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

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

 

 


Rural-round-up

March 27, 2015

Ahuwhenua Trophy finalists announced:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 – Keith Woodford:

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

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

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

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

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

Food Safety Law Reform Bill consultation begins:

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

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

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

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

Red Meat Sector welcomes signing of Korea FTA:

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

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

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

 Commerce Commission issues draft determination on wool scouring assets application:

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

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

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

 


Rural round-up

March 26, 2015

Clever clover management boosts output at Tempello  – Tony Benny:

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

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

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

ASB Farmshed Economics Report:

Special Quarterly Edition

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

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

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

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

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

 Aerial tool a game-changer for agriculture:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Maori growers back record result in kiwifruit industry vote:

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

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

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

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

McCashin’s Brewery Wins Supreme Cider Award in Ireland:

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

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

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

 

 

Dairy farmers work stories's photo.


Rural round-up

March 25, 2015

Freeloaders relying on co-ops – Alan Williams:

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

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

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

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

 Rabobank New Zealand 2014 results:

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

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

South American beetle introduced to control weeds:

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

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

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

Natural pesticides tested:

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

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

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

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

Going FAR for farmers – Annette Scott:

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

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

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

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

NZ Kiwifruit Growers United In Support For Industry Change:

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Memories of the working horse – Mark Griggs:

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

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

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

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


Fonterra holds forecast payout drops dividend UPDATE – Synlait increases forecast

March 25, 2015

Fonterra is maintaining its forecast milk payout for the current season but is dropping the proposed dividend.

In a newsletter to shareholders, chair John Wilson said:

  • We are holding the forecast Farmgate Milk Price at $4.70 per kgMS.
  • However, we are lowering our forecast dividend to 20-30 cents per share, resulting in a forecast Cash Payout of $4.90 – $5.00.
  • The Board has declared a 10 cent interim dividend to be paid on April 20 (the record date is April 10).
  • The half-year results will be below your expectations, in a period when the Milk Price is low and the forecast dividend range is being reduced.
  • The results are due to tough conditions in dairy globally, with volatility in production and pricing, and further impacts of inventory valuation realities after our record Milk Price last year. . .

 

  • In summary, the results:
    • Forecast Cash Payout for the 2014/15 season, maintained at $4.90 – $5.00
      • Forecast Farmgate Milk Price $4.70 per kgMS
      • Estimated full year dividend of 20-30 cents per share
    • Revenue $9.7 billion, down 14 per cent
    • Normalised EBIT $376 million, down 7 per cent
    • Net profit after tax (NPAT) $183 million, down 16 per cent
    • Interim dividend of 10 cents per share.

Farmers will be relieved the milk payout is not being reduced.

UPDATE:

Synlait has increased its forecast milk price.

Synlait Milk has increased its forecast of the market milk price for the FY2015 season from $4.40 per kgMS to a range of $4.50 – $4.70 per kgMS.

“The market has recovered faster than expected, but recent volatility has shown us it still remains fragile,” said John Penno, Managing Director.

Mr Penno also acknowledged how financially difficult the current season is for suppliers and says this increased forecast market milk price range will be well received.

“Cash flows are incredibly important for our suppliers, particularly as they head into winter. We indicated in February that our next update would be in May, but given current market conditions, I’m pleased we can provide one now”.

Mr Penno added that this update will enable Synlait suppliers to manage their finances with more certainty and a corresponding increase in advance rates will further support this.

“We believe the market will continue to recover in the medium term as consumption expands and production growth slows in response to lower pricing. However, we remain mindful of the additional milk growth likely to come from Europe as milk production quotas are removed on April 1”.

“We will continue to keep an eye on the market and expect to update our forecast market milk price towards the end of May 2015”.

 


Rural round-up

March 24, 2015

Dairy industry to launch workplace accord:

A new dairy industry workplace accord will be launched in May as part of a range of industry actions aimed at helping farmers attract and retain skilled people to work on farms.

“The Quality Workplace Accord is a commitment to improving the work environment of dairy farms,” says DairyNZ’s strategy and investment leader for people and business, Mark Paine.

“The overarching goal is to achieve quality work environments through helping farmers implement good people management practices. . .

Korea tariff reductions benefit value-added velvet:

The potential to add value to velvet in New Zealand as tariffs reduce is the one big positive for deer farmers to come out of the Korea-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement.

“It’s no secret that Deer Industry NZ was unhappy with the terms of the agreement in respect to tariffs and taxes on frozen velvet. But we now need to make the most of the opportunity we have gained – elimination of the 20 per cent tariff on processed velvet over 15 years,” says DINZ chief executive Dan Coup.

“It’s a better outcome than some other countries have achieved, and the overall result of the FTA for the NZ primary sector will be very positive. We look forward to the FTA starting as soon as possible because within two or three years the reduction will be quite meaningful.” . .

Deer industry to co-operate with Korean health-food giant:

The New Zealand deer industry is today signing an agreement with one of Korea’s largest health food manufacturers, the Korea Ginseng Corporation (KGC), to help it develop more products containing NZ velvet antler.

The non-binding memorandum of understanding, to be signed by Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) chief executive Dan Coup and KGC chief executive officer Kim Jun-gi, will be witnessed by Prime Minister John Key. The signing will take place in Seoul following the signing of the Korea New Zealand Free Trade Agreement.

“For seven years our relationship with KGC has strengthened and has increasingly focused on the development of branded consumer products that include extracts from NZ velvet. In that time, KGC has developed a children’s tonic that has become a household name in Korea, taking around 8 per cent of NZ’s velvet production,” said DINZ chief executive Dan Coup. . .

 

Lengthy links in merino field – Sally Rae:

The Merriman name is closely linked with Australia’s merino sheep industry.

Wal Merriman, managing director of the famed Merryville stud, was recently in Otago to judge super-fine and ultra-fine merinos at the Upper Clutha A&P Show in Wanaka.

His family’s association with the New Zealand merino industry extended for 50 years or more, with Merryville’s genetics featuring among the bloodlines of New Zealand sheep, Mr Merriman (62) said. . .

Finalists announced for farm environment awards – Sally Rae:

Five finalists have been named for this year’s Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Richard and Kerry France, from Longview Farm, in West Otago, also own the Hazeldale Perendale stud.

The couple bought the 568ha breeding and finishing property, at the northwest end of the Moa Flat area, in 2000.

About 6000 stock units – sheep, deer and cattle – were wintered. Peter and Sarah Adam have been managing Wilden Station, at Moa Flat, since 2000, when the property was purchased by Mrs Adam’s uncle, John Maisey.

It comprises a sheep and beef breeding and finishing operation spread over the home block of 570ha and a run block, 14km away, of 1200ha. About 12,300 stock units were wintered. . .

Mesh cover to fight potato pests:

New research shows a plastic mesh cover laid over potato crops could be the answer to fighting potato pests without using chemical sprays.

Scientists at the Future Farming Centre and Lincoln University say field trials of the mesh cover is showing exciting results in controlling the tomato potato psyllid as well as reducing potato blight.

The psyllid arrived in New Zealand in 2006 and can cause severe crop loss through its bacterium.

Researchers Dr Charles Merfield said the trials over two growing seasons in Canterbury showed potatoes under the mesh covers had reduced numbers of psyllids, increased tuber size and an increase in overall yield. . .

Project brings students back to nature:

As the earth loses biodiversity at a rapid rate and people become increasingly disconnected from nature, we must encourage new generations to take an interest in preserving the natural world, says Lincoln University senior ecology lecturer Dr Tim Curran.

High school students involved in an award-winning biodiversity project aimed at addressing this issue met at Lincoln University last week to examine the plant and animal specimens they collected a year ago during a weekend EcoBlitz near Lewis Pass. 

More than 170 high school students from 21 South Island schools took a trip to the Nina Valley in March last year, accompanied by scientists and students from Lincoln University and many other research organisations.

They found a range of plant, insect, bird, reptile and mammal species, which some of the students set about identifying last Thursday, March 12. . .

Oxfam calls for support as Vanuatu farmers face months without crops:

As aid begins to reach communities across Vanuatu, Oxfam New Zealand have spoken to their development partner Farm Support Association (FSA) to understand the longer term impact Cyclone Pam will have on a society which lives mostly off farming.

Oliver Lato, Senior Extension Officer from FSA was at home in Port Vila when the Cyclone struck. “For me, it was my first time experiencing a cyclone this strong. I was at home. I thought it would take off the roof. There was lots of water overflowing from the creek. Water came into my house, half a meter deep”.

Mr Lato said “Lots of vegetation is destroyed. Root crops are people’s main food. If yam, cassava and taro haven’t been destroyed, they need to be quickly harvested before they rot from flooding. They will need to be eaten quickly, within a week or so they will be spoilt” . .

 Fourth ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Finalist Named:

Sully Alsop is the fourth Grand Finalist to be named in the 2015 ANZ Young Farmer Contest.

The thirty-one year old took first place at the East Coast Regional Final in Greytown on Saturday 21 March.

Mr Alsop went home with a prize pack worth over $10,000 including cash, scholarships and products and services from ANZ, FMG, Lincoln University, Ravensdown, AGMARDT, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone. . .

 

 


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