Rural round-up

July 21, 2017

Surrender now and we’ll pay a huge cost in future – Will Foley:

If the dam is dead, as its opponents are claiming, we’ve missed a great chance to smooth the jagged edges of Mother Nature.

Right now, Hawke’s Bay is sodden. A welcome but uncharacteristic (in the current weather pattern) wet autumn set us up to be wet right through the winter and that’s exactly how it’s playing out.

We’ve swung from one extreme to the other; as recently as February we were fretting about another dry summer. . .

Patangata Station shortens supply chain and buys own butchery – Kate Taylor:

An overheard conversation led to a Central Hawke’s Bay farming couple diversifying into retail butchery. Kate Taylor reports.

The market wants to know where its meat comes from, say Duncan Smith and Annabel Tapley-Smith, the owners of Patangata Station and the new owners of Waipawa Butchery.

“When people buy meat from Waipawa Butchery they now know it’s finished at a farm just 10 minutes up the road,” says Smith.

The couple took over the butchery at the beginning of the month. It was sold by 77-year-old Murray Stephens who had worked there for 60 years and owned it for 40. The Smith family has been farming in Central Hawke’s Bay for just as long and has been shopping at the butchery for many years. . . .

Variety is the spice of life on Miranda Farm – Andrea Fox:

If Waikato agroforester and dairy farmer Graham Smith could bottle his energy, he’d make a killing.

Running four businesses from his 37 hectare farm in the Korakonui area, 25km south east of Te Awamutu isn’t enough: he’s about to launch a fifth, and just for fun, excavate a submerged ancient forest and create a little sport museum.

Profitably milking 80 crossbred cows provides the base for all these entrepreneurial efforts, but it’s growing an unusual tree with multiple uses and benefits that sets him apart and proves it is possible to make a small farm a good earner. . .

Researcher using milk protein to help regrow human muscle – Amy Wiggins:

Milk could be the key to helping regrow muscle and eventually body parts.

A Canterbury University PhD student is using milk protein to create biodegradable films with 3D imprints in the shape of muscle and bone cells on them in the hope they may influence the shape and growth of cells.

Azadeh Hashemi is focused on creating those films using casein – one of the two proteins found in milk – so they are biodegradable and would not need to be removed if used as an implant. . .

New animal welfare regulations progressed:

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has confirmed 46 new animal welfare regulations will be developed this year.

“Changes we made to the Animal Welfare Act in 2015 have allowed us to create directly-enforceable regulations. This has given the Act more teeth, and creates more tools to deal with mistreatment of animals,” says Mr Guy.

“These 46 regulations include stock transport, farm husbandry, companion and working animals, pigs, layer hens and the way animals are accounted for in research, testing and teaching. . . 

New app to measure success of wildings control:

For the first time, authorities fighting the spread of wilding conifers will have a complete picture of infestations throughout the country, says Minister for Land Information Mark Mitchell.

“Land Information New Zealand has developed the Wilding Conifer Information System, a web-based mapping and monitoring tool, to ensure control of this invasive species is carried out in the most efficient way possible,” Mr Mitchell says. . .

Seafood New Zealand applauds paua relief package:

The Government’s financial assistance package for the Kaikoura commercial paua divers has been welcomed by Seafood New Zealand chief executive Tim Pankhurst.

“The package will help support paua divers in Kaikoura who have been under considerable financial stress since last year’s earthquake,” Pankhurst said. . .

Carrfields acquires Farmlands’ livestock business:

Carrfields Livestock has grown to a national heavyweight player in its sector following the purchase of Farmlands’ livestock business this month.

Under the deal, Carrfields Livestock has acquired Farmlands’ entire livestock business, which includes a team of nearly 30 agents mainly based in the South Island.

This extends Carrfields’ coverage of the livestock market to all major regions of New Zealand, said Donald Baines, General Manager Carrfields Livestock. . . 

Bayer Wairarapa Young Viticulturist of the Year 2017 announced:

Congratulations to Ben McNab-Jones from Urlar who became Bayer Wairarapa Young Viticulturist of the Year 2017 on 20 July. This is the second year McNab-Jones has entered the regional competition and he is over the moon to be going through to the National Final to represent the Wairarapa.

Congratulations also to Scott Lanceley who came 2nd. Lanceley is currently self-employed and contracting to different vineyards within the region. Congratulations also to  from Te Kairanga who came 3rd. . . 


There and then, here and now

July 21, 2017

This time last week we were in Noosa.

The locals thought it was cold but 20 – 24 degrees suited us perfectly for four days of walking, biking and reading.

That was there and then.

Here and now we’re back home and the forecasters were right:

Today, Friday 21/07/2017
Time Forecast Temp. Precipitation Wind
09:00–12:00
Heavy rain.
17.3 mm Near gale, 14 m/s from south-southwestNear gale, 14 m/s from south-southwest
12:00–18:00
Heavy rain.
27.8 mm Near gale, 16 m/s from southNear gale, 16 m/s from south
18:00–00:00
Heavy rain.
29.9 mm Near gale, 15 m/s from southNear gale, 15 m/s from south
Tomorrow, Saturday 22/07/2017
Time Forecast Temp. Precipitation Wind
00:00–06:00
Heavy rain.
19.2 mm Near gale, 14 m/s from southNear gale, 14 m/s from south
06:00–12:00
Heavy rain.
10.0 mm Near gale, 14 m/s from south-southwestNear gale, 14 m/s from south-southwest
12:00–18:00
Light rain.
0.7 mm Strong breeze, 13 m/s from south-southwestStrong breeze, 13 m/s from south-southwest
18:00–00:00
Cloudy.
0 mm Fresh breeze, 10 m/s from south-southwestFresh breeze, 10 m/s from south-southwest
Sunday, 23/07/2017
Time Forecast Temp. Precipitation Wind
00:00–06:00
Partly cloudy.
0 mm Moderate breeze, 6 m/s from west-southwestModerate breeze, 6 m/s from west-southwest
06:00–12:00
Fair.
0 mm Light breeze, 3 m/s from west-northwestLight breeze, 3 m/s from west-northwest
12:00–18:00
Fair.
0 mm Light breeze, 3 m/s from north-northwestLight breeze, 3 m/s from north-northwest
18:00–00:00
Clear sky.
0 mm Gentle breeze, 4 m/s from northGentle breeze, 4 m/s from north

It’s not perfect timing for the calves which have started to arrive.

Here’s hoping the forecasters are right that it will be improving by Sunday.

P.S. – that forecast is from YR, a Norwegian service which we’ve found to be very accurate.


Rural round-up

July 20, 2017

Woman of the land counts herself lucky – Rose Harding:

Kate MacFarlane has always known what she wanted to do.

She grew up on Waiterenui Angus Stud at Raukawa so is a farm girl “to her DNA” and considers herself lucky in her life.

Lucky that her parents, Will and Viv, told her to follow her dreams, lucky she was able to travel and gain experience overseas, lucky she got the jobs she wanted and lucky with all the “amazing people” who have helped her. . . 

The mysteries of grass-fed milk – Keith Woodford:

Here in New Zealand, we live the notion that milk from grass-fed cows is superior to milk from cows fed other rations. Supposedly it is better for health. And supposedly the cows are happier if they can dance around in the sunshine doing what comes naturally. And supposedly it makes us more cost-efficient than our international competitors.

There is an element of truth to all of the above notions. But more often than not there is lots of myth intertwined with truth. Here, I want to tease out what is truth, what is myth, what depends on specific context, and some things that are still unknown. . . 

Sunless season dries up olive oil production – Susan Murray:

New Zealand’s olive oil producers have had a tough production season.

Harvesting is just ending, and for some growers their fruit volume and oil production is less than half last year’s.

Andrew Priddle is a Wairarapa olive grower and harvester and said there has been a lack of sunshine hours in summer and autumn, and the crops had matured three weeks later than usual.

He said the late crops led to more bird damage and coincided with an “off” year for the biennially producing trees. . . 

“Nightmare’ kumara season for farmers:

A kumara famer has described this year as a nightmare, with horrendous weather cutting the yield of red kumara by up to 45 percent.

The low yield of all varieties has had a big impact on prices as Statistics New Zealand reported kumara hit a high of more than $8 a kilo last month.

John Adolf from the kumara co-operative Delta Produce, said this year had been a shock for farmers after last season’s bumper crop.

A wet, cold spring, a long dry summer and heavy downpours through autumn caused major headaches for farmers, he said. . . 

$300,000 to help preserve native bush and fauna:

The Forest Bridge Trust has been awarded $300,000 from the Community Environment Fund, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today.

“The vision of The Forest Bridge Trust is to create a connected landscape of healthy forest and flourishing indigenous wildlife from the Kaipara Harbour in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. They plan to achieve that vision by connecting up bush remnants, fencing, planting and doing weed and pest control throughout the area,” Mr Simpson says. . . 

CropLogic plans A$8 mln IPO in ASX listing – Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – CropLogic, the agricultural technology company, has launched its prospectus and is planning an A$8 million capital raising before listing on the ASX.

The Christchurch-based company is offering 40 million shares at 20 Australian cents each with a minimum subscription of 25 million shares, or A$5 million. The capital will be used to fund market development, research & development, ASX listing costs and working capital, it said. In May, it completed an A$2 million pre-initial public offering funding round. . . 

Polluted waterways issue widens town and country divide:

The contentious issue of our polluted waterways is deepening a country and town divide, with many farmers saying they are being unfairly blamed by city folk.

“We get lambasted by these allegations for polluting the rivers when in Canterbury we have very few polluted rivers whatsoever,” Canterbury dairy farmer Willie Leferenk said.

Further north sheep and beef farmer Lydia Murchison has noticed that townies seem to have lumped all farmers together. . . 

Farm sales and prices inch down in three months to June on year – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – The number of farms sold in the three months inched down on the year as did the median price per hectare for all farms, pointing to a softening tone in the rural real estate market, the Real Estate Institute said.

There were 459 sales in the year ended June 2017, 13 fewer than the same period a year earlier, or a decline of 2.8 percent. The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to June 2017 was $25,992 versus $26,361 in the same period a year earlier, a decline of 1.4 percent.

Eight regions recorded increases in sales volumes on the year in the three months ended June. Otago recorded the largest increase in sales, with 13 more sales, followed by Gisborne where nine more farms were sold. . . 

Nominations for Fonterra Board of Directors’ Election Open Monday:

Nominations for the Fonterra Board of Directors’ Election open Monday, 17 July with an election to be held for three farmer-elected Directors.

The Independent Nomination process will be run first with nominations needing to have been received by the Returning Officer, Warwick Lampp of electionz.com by 12 noon on Monday, 7 August 2017.

The Returning Officer will announce the Independent Nomination process candidates on Monday, 11 September 2017. . . 

Autogrow announces global first API Solution for indoor agriculture:

Autogrow has become the first of the established players to launch an API (Application Programming Interface) for indoor agricultural growers; greenhouses, vertical urban, containers, plant factories, offering access to data traditionally not available to them.

Called MyData(v0.2), this is the first release in a series of cloud-based solutions offering a universally accessible API to recent and historical growing data including light and relative humidity, wind speed, pH and EC. With a 24-hour data refresh and 180-day historical data available, growers will be able to utilise their information to discover operational insights or even custom-build or develop their own data solutions, services or apps without limitations. . . 

Image may contain: one or more people and food

Oh you did 20 reps at the gym? Cool story Bro. #AgProud


Rural round-up

July 19, 2017

Fonterra’s Te Rapa investment strengthens local economy Elton Rikihana Smallman:

Fonterra’s $20 million expansion is helping feed Hamilton’s growth.

Demand for dairy products in Asian markets has seen the co-op add new machinery to its Te Rapa factory on the outskirts of Hamilton.

A new, sweeter-than-usual mascarpone is in demand in Japan and new production lines will give Fonterra the capacity to deliver up to 3500 tonnes of cream cheese and up to 400 million individual butter portions per year. . .

Ewe hogget award winner beats brain injury – Tony Benny:

After he was hit by a car and seriously injured, John Harrison was told by doctors he’d be unlikely to be able go back farming but he defied the odds and now he and his wife Jane have won the New Zealand ewe hogget young achievers award.

Growing up on a small farm in Southland, it was John Harrison’s dream to manage a high country station for overseas owners. He was on track to realise that dream with a job on Glenthorne Station in Canterbury until one day seven years ago he stepped onto the road to better see the dog he was working on the hill above.

“It was just before Christmas, and he was on a corner. It had been raining so there was no dust and a car came round the corner and bowled him at 80kmh,” says his wife Jane. . .

Wool still faces buyer resistance

Very good quality new season’s wool is on the market but encountering buyer resistance.

About 20% of the new fleece wool and oddments entered for the first Christchurch auction of the season last week was withdrawn prior to sale with farmers resisting the current price levels, PGG Wrightson South Island wool manager Dave Burridge said.

New season’s wool was showing outstanding colour, length and style, reflecting the very good growing season in most parts of the South Island. . .

Kiwi version a cut above in Sweden – Annette Scott:

Cutting the meat to meet the market has reaped reward for venison processor and marketer Mountain River.

The Canterbury-based venison exporter has made a breakthrough for New Zealand venison in Sweden with the official launch of its range of novel grilling cuts.

Connecting with one of Sweden’s leading restaurant wholesalers, Menigo, Mountain River cemented the breakthrough deal that has the venison marketer dealing direct with a one-stop shop for Swedish food professionals. . .

Safe meat cutting technology:

Meat processor Alliance is investing $3.4 million in new processing technology as part of a wider programme to improve health and safety.
The co-op says 49 band-saws featuring state-of-the art safe cutting technology have been installed at eight plants across the country.

Designed specifically for the meat industry, the band-saws are uniquely designed to stop the blade within 15 milliseconds when the unit senses a person, glove or both are in close proximity or in contact with the saw. . .

Milk needs promotion  – Peter Burke:

Milk and dairy products need ongoing promotion in New Zealand, says a nutritional physiology professor at Massey University.

Marlena Kruger, who specialises in bone growth, has just completed a study of the effects of milk on children in the Fonterra milk-for-schools programme, and those who do not. The milk drinkers had significantly better bone health than those who did not.

The year-long research involved children aged five to ten. As the children’s diets were not controlled during the study, the data could indicate that the children drinking milk at school are also milk drinkers at home, so getting the full benefit of milk and dairy. . .

 


Rural round-up

July 18, 2017

 Southern Dairy Hub celebrated – Sally Rae:

About 200 dairy farmers and supporters gathered to celebrate the opening of the Southern Dairy Hub in Southland on Friday.

Conversion of the 349ha property at Makarewa, near Invercargill, began in November last year and the hub is now operational, with research under way and calving due to begin.

The official opening, by Environment Southland chairman Nicol Horrell, was an ”important milestone” for the region and New Zealand, Southern Dairy Hub chairman Maurice Hardie said. . . 

Future of dairy women bright in Women of Influence nominations:

Two women described as “humble and leading from the heart” are among the nominees for this year’s Women of Influence awards.

Dairy Women’s Network trustees Pamela Storey and Tracy Brown have been nominated for the Women of Influence award in the rural category.

Ms Storey is an electrical engineer ‘by trade’ and has extensive governance experience across a variety of local and international organisations, including the Energy Management Association of New Zealand, the Waikato Environmental Centre, the Council for Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership, and most recently Primary ITO. . . 

NZ fruit & vegetable sector urged to watch consumer trends:

There is significant potential for New Zealand to increase sales of fruit and vegetable produce into both developing and developed markets, but the industry must keep a close eye on evolving consumer consumption patterns if it is to maximise export opportunities, according to a visiting US fruit and vegetable expert.

In New Zealand last week to meet with local growers and to deliver a keynote address at the Horticulture New Zealand conference in Tauranga, Rabobank’s California-based senior fruit and vegetable analyst Dr Roland Fumasi said the growing middle-class population in developing countries had generated considerably greater global demand for fruit and vegetables. . .

Twin beef titles for Gore farmer – Sally Rae:

An ”outstanding” eye muscle area of 191sqcm was among the reasons Gore farmer Mike Thompson claimed this year’s Otago-Southland beef carcass competition title.

Mr Thompson’s Limousin steer won both the on the hoof and on the hook sections of the annual competition, which attracted 30 entries.

Convener Barry Gray said entries were down on recent years, which could possibly be attributed to a good season with cattle being killed earlier. . .

Deer industry mulls GIA – Annette Scott:

Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) has begun exploring the benefits of entering a Government Industry Agreement (GIA) on biosecurity.

The organisation’s science and policy manager Catharine Sayer said maintaining the health of NZ’s deer herd and protecting it from biosecurity risks was critical to the industry, prompting DINZ to explore the benefits of entering a GIA. 

She said livestock industries, including DINZ, had been fleshing out with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) what a GIA would look like for the sector. . . 

Pinus radiata, New Zealand’s adopted icon –  Jean Balchin:

I used to be terrified of pine forests. The tall, dark trees seemed to quiver with menace, fringing the roads as we drove along in our little car. I’d peer out the window and dare myself to look into the forest, half expecting to see a wild thing lurking between the trees.

Pinus radiata is New Zealand’s great timber tree. It covers 1.3 million hectares of land and forms the basis of a massive export industry. It was first introduced into New Zealand in 1859 and comprises 89% of the country’s plantation forests, including the massive Kaingaroa Forest on the central plateau of the North Island, the largest planted forest in the world. . . 

Rural recycling programme challenges New Zealand to clear more waste:

Rural recycling programme, Agrecovery, challenges other industries to follow its lead in clearing more of New Zealand’s plastic waste.

The programme will this year recover and recycle over 300 tonnes of plastic that might otherwise be burnt, buried or dumped. “That is enough plastic to cover a rugby field six feet high,” says Agrecovery General Manager, Simon Andrew.

“Agrecovery is a great example of how manufacturers, industry, government and consumers can work together to reduce the harmful impacts of plastic waste on our environment,” he says. . . 

Off Road Heaven – The Pinnacle of Adventure Travel in New Zealand:

The words ‘adventure tourism’ and ‘Queenstown’ go hand-in-hand:

And now one of the tourism resort’s longest-standing adventure tourism companies is revving up the adventure experience to a whole new level.

Off Road Queenstown, a pioneer in everything off road since its inception over 27 years ago, is offering those seeking the ultimate Kiwi adventure the opportunity of a lifetime.

Their new tailor-made private expeditions on four wheels or two – off-road (of course) through the central South Island — give groups exclusive access to some of world’s most stunning and remote off-road terrain and landscapes. . . 


Fonterra aims to restore 50 freshwater catchments

July 18, 2017

Fonterra CEO, Theo Spierings, has announced an ambition to restore 50 freshwater catchments, signalling the Co-op’s desire to take a leading role in improving New Zealand’s waterways.

“We acknowledge we have an important role to play in addressing water quality in New Zealand. Kiwis want swimmable waterways and that’s an aspiration we share. We’ll work with local communities to improve the quality of our streams and rivers,” said Spierings.

Fonterra launched its 10 year Living Water partnership with the Department of Conservation in 2013, with the aim of achieving sustainable dairying in healthy freshwater ecosystems. The programme focuses on five catchments and aims to improve natural habitats, and freshwater outcomes.

“Living Water has taught us a huge amount and we are making a significant impact on the initial regions. Now we want to amplify those results with the launch of a new initiative that will target 50 catchments.

“Our immediate focus will be on working with communities, Government and key partners to identify the catchments and develop a strategic framework for the programme. This is a major undertaking and we need to get it right, but we are committed to making substantial progress,” said Spierings.

Spierings made the announcement at the annual meeting of the New Zealand Sustainable Business Council held in Auckland yesterday. The Council’s Executive Director, Abbie Reynolds, said she was delighted Fonterra was making a significant commitment to improve water quality.

“The business case for sustainability is clear and it’s pleasing that a growing number of organisations are making robust commitments to improving New Zealand society and the environment. It is great that Fonterra is making an ambitious commitment, which is both bold and restorative,” Reynolds concluded.

Water degradation has occurred over many years and has multiple causes.

Intensive dairying has been part of the problem but the industry has done a lot to repair the damage and reduce its environmental footprint.

Niwa’s freshwater and estuaries chief scientist Dr John Quinn notes a significant improvement:

There has been a lot of improvement in dairy industry practice in the last 15 years. Dairy shed effluent management has improved and is more professional, and the majority of streams on dairy farms are now fenced to exclude cows. Things like the Farm Enviro Walk Toolkit and Sustainable Dairying Water Accord have increased adoption of a range of good environmental practices. These advances have been industry-led, rather than driven by government rules.” . . 

More than 97% of streams running through dairy farms are now fenced, so cows are out of waterways. Waterways are still receiving E. coli and Campylobacter from other unfenced stock and wild animals. They’re also getting microbial pathogens from land runoff when it rains. A 2005 NIWA study found that rain can wash a million to a billion E. coli bacterium per square metre of hillside into streams.

Riparian strips can help. These are the areas where plants grow alongside streams. They trap and absorb nutrients and microbes, including E. coli, in surface water. In the best conditions, riparian strips can remove at least 60% of nitrogen and 65% of phosphorus from runoff and groundwater.

There’s even more to riparian strips than the benefits to water quality. Trees holds together river banks, which stabilises them as habitats for insects and prevents silting and cloudy water that disturbs fish. The shade of trees creates cooler and more humid conditions, which insects need, and prevents over-growth of plants in the stream. Their branches and leaf litter provides direct habitat and food for many of the insects that like riverside conditions for only parts of their life stages, particularly larval, before moving to other habitats.

It is good to have this acknowledgement of the work that’s been done and the positive impact it’s having.

There’s still a lot more to do and Fonterra’s initiative will make a major contribution to it.


Rural round-up

July 17, 2017

Susatainability key to role as new AgResearch leader – Sally Rae:

The big thrust for AgResearch in the future has to be around farm and environmental sustainability issues, new chairman Jeff Grant says.

His focus would be continuing to build on AgResearch’s ability to deliver science that was “highly relevant” to the future of farming.

Regional council changes, in a bid to get better outcomes around land and water, would force AgResearch to provide the science to ‘‘get the answers’’ and the tools for farmers.

“I see the organisation as being the lead provider of answers that allow farmers to meet the expectations for producing high quality food in natural and sustainable environments, while also being able to run a viable business. . .

Cattle grazing on river edges keeps weed ‘shambles’ down on extensive farms – Bob Todhunter:

With alI the bad publicity our rivers are receiving I feel the general public is confused between extensive and intensive grazing.

I would like to make some observations about stock grazing alongside waterways. I am no scientist, however I do have 70-plus years of practical observation.

I remember being taught fishing by my grandfather in the 1950s on the rivers of the Canterbury Plains when sheep and cattle were grazed extensively by the riverbeds. . .

Pine tree seedlings in short supply after poor growing season  – Jill Galloway:

A shortage of pine tree seedlings after a poor growing season for tree nurseries has hit some forest owners and farm foresters.

Patrick Murray ,who is owner of Murray’s Nurseries at Woodville in Tararua, said he had turned down orders of 1.2 million pines.

“We grew around five million pinus radiata but could easily have sold more. It has been a wet summer and poor autumn and that affected badly the growth of the trees.” . . 

EU farmer subsidies under threat – Nigel Stirling:

There are signs that the massive subsidisation of European agriculture could be cut back.

New Zealand has long fought the policy, which tops up the incomes of millions of European farmers.

For decades, NZ has argued the policy keeps European production higher than justified by market prices, and supply on global markets out of kilter with demand. . .

Alliance looks to food service growth – Alan Williams:

Alliance Group hopes that its new food service business will be achieving annual sales above $100 million in the next three years or so.

A four-strong development team is working up a pilot programme in the United Kingdom that the meat exporter will use as a springboard for wider Europe, and into Asian markets as well, general manager sales Murray Brown said.

“Who knows how it could go – we’re a $1.5 billion business and if we could get the food service up to 10% of total sales over three years that would be $100m to $150m.” . .

Nitrate data suggests a corner turned – Nicole Sharp:

Environment Southland’s latest water quality report shows a trend of decreasing or indeterminate nitrogen levels and Southland farmers deserve a pat on the back for this, Agribusiness farm consultant Deane Carson says.

Nitrate levels in Southland had always been an area of significant concern for him, and for a while were somewhat out of control, he said.

But the latest report showed the majority of the sites were indeterminate for nitrite­nitrate nitrogen (NNN) levels over the five years covered and nine of the 49 sites had a decreasing trend. . .


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