Rural round-up


GHG just the start for global farm targets – Neal Wallace:

Global greenhouse gas emission reduction targets could be just the first of several goals that producers and processors will have to meet in the coming years.

Rabobank managing board member Berry Marttin told the Farm2Fork forum in Sydney there is a global move to extend targets for water, biodiversity and social standards that consumers will expect producers to meet.

These are being driven by a global group called Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which so far has commitments from 4764 companies, of which 2431 have approved emission reduction targets.

In New Zealand, 29 companies have signed on, six of them rural. They are: Comvita, Fonterra, Silver Fern Farms, Synlait Milk, Timberline Australia and NZ and WoolWorks NZ. . . 

Soaring costs leave apple exporters unlikely to make profit :

For the second year in a row New Zealand apple growers are unlikely to make money from sales in their traditional export markets of Europe and the UK.

Soaring on-orchard costs, high freight charges because of distance to market, coupled with an unwillingness by key European countries to pay more money, is making exporting apples there financially unsustainable.

AgFirst horticulture consultant Ross Wilson said it has always been a challenge being at the bottom of the world, it costs a lot of money to get products shipped to the export destinations.

“That cost in itself does make us a high cost producer,” he said. . .

Feds: more time needed for the Land Use Inquiry to get it right :

With the resignation of Bill Bayfield and now the sacking of Stuart Nash there needs to be an urgent reset of the Ministerial inquiry into land use on the East Coast, Federated Farmers says.

“Forestry slash and other woody debris washed down in Cyclone Gabrielle caused major damage. Communities on the East Coast need to be given the respect they deserve after such a significant event,” Gisborne farmer and Feds Meat & Wool Chair Toby Williams says.

“Finding someone else to sit on the inquiry panel who has the level of experience and skills that Bill Bayfield brought to the table will be very difficult.”

The land use inquiry didn’t get underway until late February and its report is due April 30. Federated Farmers says this ridiculously short time frame needs to be extended so that the issues can be thoroughly considered and all relevant evidence can be collected and analysed. The panel then needs adequate time to consider the recommendations they will present back. . .

The best and worst of humanity – Colin Miller :

The great pics and stories continue as, of course, does the huge cleanup!

I can recommend the video clip farm suppliers Te Pari produced. If you haven’t seen it, it should come up for you if you Google ‘Te Pari Cyclone Video’.

The very best in people has come to light through all this. Total strangers turning up with shovels and wheelbarrows, putting in untold hours of the toil, helping people they had never previously met. We had a group of skilled guys from our area head across to the Hawke’s Bay for several days to assist, mainly with shearing and fencing repairs, I believe.

Aside from all the hands-on stuff, donations, mostly anonymous, have poured in from all over this great country of ours. Even the key farm-staff members, the working dogs, have not been forgotten, with dog tucker included with the donated support! . .

Aotearoa’s top cheeses named in 20th year of NZ Champions of Cheese Awards :

The country’s top cheeses have been recognised with 162 receiving medals following the 20th year of judging for the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards.

Medals are almost equally split with; 57 Gold, 55 Silver and 48 Bronze being awarded following two days of intensive judging at Wintec Te Pūkenga, Rotokauri Campus in early March.

Master Judge, Jason Tarrant, presided over the panel of 30 judges who came from throughout New Zealand and Australia. Judges are a mix of cheesemakers, cheese retailers, food technologists and food writers who sniffed, tasted a range of New Zealand-made cheese across 20 categories including; ewe milk, washed rind, blue cheese, Dutch style, fresh Italian style, Greek-Cypriot style and cheddar. Judges were supported by a further 20 stewards.

Jason Tarrant congratulated all the NZ Champions of Cheese medal winners saying this year’s competition was hotly contested and every medal awarded was hard won after being assessed by the judges who worked in panels of three. . .

Livestock farming mitigates climate change – Redazione :

New studies review emissions calculation and significantly reduce the environmental impacts of Italian farms.

Italian livestock farming contributes to combating global warming and mitigating climate change. This, in summary, is the result of an Italian researchers’ team who recalculated our country’s livestock sector emissions using a new metric proposed by a group of physicists of the Oxford atmosphere and published in Nature.

“The introduction of these new metrics due to the work of the English physicists is destined to change the frame of the debate on the sustainability of the livestock system,” said Giuseppe Pulina, president of Carni Sostenibili. For the first time, the Oxford study considered the difference in action on global warming between short-lived climate pollutants such as methane and long-lived climate pollutants such as carbon dioxide.


 The researchers have observed that if a greenhouse gas remains in the atmosphere for a short time, its effect on global warming is zero. If emissions remain constant every year, they are negative (the atmosphere cools down) if they decrease. This is because reducing its concentration also reduces its contribution to the greenhouse effect. But it is highly heating if emissions increase because this type of gas has a much more greenhouse effect than CO2. The new metrics, therefore, take into account this difference and, in particular, for how long a gas remains in the atmosphere, a substantial difference if we consider that methane after 50 years has practically disappeared, while carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for over a thousand years. . . 

Rural round-up


From ‘hatred and pain to ‘blessed’ life – Sally Rae:

At the tender age of 13, Toria Cummings was doing drugs.

Living in Auckland and in with the wrong crowd, her life was rapidly spiralling downhill. Her mother was barely around — she was in and out of hospital with Toria’s sister — and the teen was filled with “hatred and pain”.

A pivotal moment came when then Child, Youth and Family (CYF) gave an ultimatum that either another guardian be found — her father was given 12 hours to uplift her — or she would be put in CYF care.

So her father took her to Southland and, while in hindsight she was so grateful to him for doing that, she did not give him an easy ride. Angry and resentful, she was stealing and doing drugs — “just doing anything I could to just get myself back to Auckland”. . .

Ag safety advocate recognised for impact on sector – Sally Rae:

Southern farmer Harriet Bremner has been named co-winner of this year’s Zanda McDonald Award, which recognises young professionals in the primary sector.

Ms Bremner and Australian Mitch Highett were presented with the award at a function in Brisbane this week.

Newly married, Ms Bremner farms with her husband Ed Pinckney at Jericho Station, a 1400ha sheep, beef and grazing property at Manapouri.

She is a health, safety and wellbeing advocate for agriculture — particularly around keeping children safe on farms – and has written children’s books, including her most recent edition Wool’s the Word.

Ms Bremner received the Rural Women New Zealand: Rural Champion award in 2021. Mr Highett, of Orange, New South Wales, is the founder and managing director of Bullseye Ag. His farm management company works alongside farms across NSW and Queensland with an area totalling more than 202,000ha. . . .

It’s time for this old dog’s new trick – Steve Wyn-Harris :

Every dog has its day.

This dog’s day has finally come as I contemplate the end of my 40-year full-time farming career.

It has been brought on by an ageing and failing body with a long put-up with lower back injury that gives a bit of sciatica, a crook shoulder from my broken collar bone when I fell off the two-wheeler last year and a couple of arthritic hips. Plenty of people worse, I know, but with more stoicism than me.

Maybe only 64, but the novelty of feeling sore most working days has worn off. . .

Wood petrochemical substitutes one step closer – Andrew Bevin:

Futurity sees forestry waste as a promising source of high-value, sustainable chemicals.

Bio-refinery start-up Futurity is launching a $1.5 million commercialisation study into turning wood by-products into high-value chemicals.

The study will involve working to commercialise technology developed in Europe to turn lignin waste from Oji’s pulp and paper mills into replacements for traditionally fossil fuel-based materials used in automotive, electronics and construction.

Ministry for Primary Industries is putting in $600,000 from its Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund towards the pilot, with Futurity, owned by co-founder and chairman Rupert Paterson’s venture capital firm Prospectors, putting up the remainder. . . .

First of New Zealand’s 2021 kiwifruit crop sets sail to Japan :

The first shipment of the 2023 New Zealand kiwifruit season has now departed the Port of Tauranga, carrying around 2,500 tonnes (more than 600,000 trays) of Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit to customers in Japan. 

The Southampton Star is expected to reach Tokyo in early April before sailing onto Kobe and is the first of 53 charter vessels Zespri will use this season to deliver around 145 million trays of Green, SunGold and RubyRed Kiwifruit to more than 50 countries. 

Charter vessels will be responsible for delivering around 72 million trays of this season’s New Zealand-grown fruit to Zespri’s global consumers. This season’s charter programme will include three services to Northern Europe, seven to the Mediterranean, two to North America’s West Coast and 41 to Asia, with a further 73 million trays to be shipped using container services. 

Zespri Acting Chief Global Supply Officer Jason Te Brake says that after a really challenging 2022 and a tough start to 2023 given adverse weather events including Cyclone Gabrielle’s impact in Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne – the start of the new season represented a reset for the industry.  . . .

Higher than expected demand for NAIT accreditation under the new standards :

OSPRI’s National Manager, Quality, Compliance and Assurance, Melissa Bailey, says the surge in demand came at the end of 2022 which created some challenges in processing all the audits, but overall, it was a good sign for industry that so many individuals/organisations were getting on board with the new accreditation programme.

“The impact of the programme is already being felt. Over 300 individuals have completed online education modules in NAIT legislation and obligations. This means that the industry is more confident in the advice they provide to farmers on how to meet their NAIT obligations, and there are less errors in the NAIT system. Since launching the education modules, errors made by accredited organisations in the NAIT system have reduced by two-thirds.”

Because the demand for audits surpassed our capacity at the end of the year there have been delays in completing the audit process so there are still organisations waiting to become accredited, said Ms Bailey. “We apologise for the delay but rest assured, nobody will lose their accreditation if they have started the accreditation process and completed their education modules. We will not penalise organisations for these delays. Our audit supplier is working as fast as possible to get through the backlog.” . .

Rural round-up


Road care and courtesy necessary at harvest time :

Harvest season is in full swing and Federated Farmers is urging motorists and the operators of agricultural machinery to show each other some care and understanding.

“Not everyone has appreciated the recent sweltering temperatures in some South Island districts but for arable farmers in the middle of harvesting, the golden weather is both a bonus and a race to get crops in before Mother Nature switches moods,” Feds Arable Industry chairperson and Waimate farmer Colin Hurst said.

New Zealand’s $2.2 billion arable industry is an important part of our export earnings, economy and employment – not to mention growers of wheat flour for your summer sourdough. During harvest, combine harvesters, large tractors towing implements and other over-size agricultural vehicles often need to use public roads to move between different parts of the farm and between farms.

“They’re bulky and of necessity – and by law – move at lower speeds than other motorists. . .

Call for NZ’s farmers to show city folk what they’re made of – Annette Scott :

The call is out for farmers to get involved with the Open Farms 2023 event.

Now in its third year, Open Farms is set for Sunday, March 12, with the day providing a platform for farmers to share their stories with urban Kiwis.

More than 7000 people have visited 82 farms throughout New Zealand in the past two years and Open Farms founder Daniel Eb is confident the initiative will continue to grow.

“There is no lack of interest to get on farm,” Eb said. . . 

A2 Milk selling infant formula in US could help improve its market performance  :

A2 Milk’s access to the United States infant formula market offers a lifeline to the company’s efforts to turn a profit in North America.

The company, along with several other big international competitors, wasrecently granted permission to sell infant formula in the US, to help offset a short supply in the domestic market, following a recall of products produced by Michigan-based Abbott Laboratories.

“We are supportive of the US entry as an earnings diversifier but the earnings benefit may only be minor,” Forsyth Barr said in a market report.

“The market is highly competitive, margins are structurally lower, and the market now offers limited ‘free’ near-term market share capture opportunities with the Abbott production shortage largely over.” . . 

Good quality and size a feature of 2023’s New Zealand export apple crop :

The New Zealand apple industry is expecting fruit of good quality and size as it heads into the 2023 export harvest season.

‘At the same time, we are estimating export volumes to be similar to last year’s, at an estimated 20.4 million TCEs-,’ says New Zealand Apples & Pears Incorporated (NZAPI) Chief Executive, Terry Meikle.

‘We are seeing a reduction in the volumes of European Union-bound traditional varieties such as Braeburn – which is expected to be down by 15 percent – as well as Pink Lady and Jazz. Some near market varieties like Fuji, NZ Queen and NZ Rose are also going to be down in volume.

‘However – and this bodes well for the industry’s future – we are seeing continued growth in trademarked varieties such as Rockit, Envy and Dazzle.’ . . 

Fedsvoice all your rural listening in one place :

Listen in for all the latest farming news and views – and voice your own thoughts.

That’s what’s on offer from the newly-updated Federated Farmers mobile phone app and website FEDSVoice.

The app enables farmers and growers to tap into audio recordings and podcasts from Federated Farmers, feeds from top country radio shows from around the world such as American Ag Today and the BBC, as well as a wide range of New Zealand farming shows and podcasts.

“What’s more, FEDSVoice enables farmers and growers to record their own thoughts on hot topics of the day, and we can use the best of that audio to share to a wider audience,” Federated Farmers CEO Terry Copeland says. . . 

Samuel Whitelock and Corteva Agriscience team up :

Corteva Agriscience is thrilled to announce they’re teaming up with New Zealand farmer and rugby player Samuel Whitelock. Though better known for his time spent on the rugby field than on an agricultural field, Samuel’s farming background makes him the perfect brand ambassador for Corteva Agriscience.

When Corteva, makers of Tordon™, Korvetto™, and many other great products were looking for a well-known New Zealander and farmer to voice their radio campaign last spring, they weren’t sure they could find the right combo. However, ad agency Harvey Cameron, the company who put Dan Carter in his Jockeys and Richie McCaw in a Versatile Home, suggested the famous farmer. Not only does Samuel have a Lincoln University degree in plant science and an 800-hectare farm in Hawke’s Bay, he also is a lifetime user of the Corteva brand.

After the successful radio campaign with Samuel in 2022, the relationship has developed into a full partnership, with Samuel becoming a Corteva Ambassador in January 2023. In addition to promoting Corteva products and attending events, his Hawke’s Bay farm will become a demo site.

“We are so excited and honoured to have Samuel as an official part of the Corteva team. We’re chuffed to have someone of Samuel’s calibre, a long-time customer, to talk about our product. This partnership has certainly put a cap on the year,” says Glen Surgenor, Corteva NZ Marketing Manager. . . 


Rural round-up


Farmers, growers face flooded fields, ruined crops after deluge – Sally Murphy :

Pastures are underwater, crops have been destroyed and culverts and valuable feed have been washed away due to heavy rainfall since Friday.

Auckland Federated Farmers president Alan Cole said farms were completely smashed because of the sheer volume of water.

“Some farms have lost all of their culverts, there’s a lot of fencing down and one dairy farm is under water so those cows had to be moved pretty quickly.

“It doesn’t matter how big your infrastructure is; nothing was prepared for that amount of water.” . . 

Auckland floods: Piles of fresh produce litter roadside, new hassle for growers, shoppers – John Weekes :

A fortune in fresh produce has been wiped out in the Auckland floods with piles of onions washed onto the roads and more food price inflation expected.

Fields with pumpkins, garlic, onions and other crops in Pukekohe were still partly flooded on Monday afternoon, nearly three days after the peak of the storm.

The community in the south of Auckland has some of the country’s best horticultural land. But roads and fields were damaged and crops washed into ditches and even residential suburbs.

Some people on Monday were scavenging onions at the side of the road. . . 

Camp reveals rising stars in dairy world – Tim Cronshaw :

A youth camp has helped young animal handlers perfect tricks of the trade. Tim Cronshaw takes a closer look.

Holly Powell is tucking away a few tricks of the trade for a major dairy event after picking them up at a skills camp in Rangiora.

The 19-year-old was among 21 young handlers to attend the World Wide Sires National All Dairy Breeds Youth Camp organised by Holstein Friesian New Zealand at the local A&P showgrounds.

“I’ve been to four camps now and every year you pick up little pieces and tricks to make the animals look as good as possible, just picking up tricks to do the the top line and the belly hair.” . . 

Food exports increase in 2022 :

Total exports saw a growth of $8.7 billion (14 percent) to $72.2 billion in the year ended December 2022 compared with 2021, Stats NZ said today.

Annual imports also rose sharply to $86.7 billion, up $16.1 billion (23 percent).

“Price inflation has been a topic of interest in 2022, and we’re seeing the results of it in these large increases,” international trade manager Alasdair Allen said.

“Many major export commodities eased in volume but saw price increases drive higher values across the year. . . 

Fonterra signs five-year contract with EROAD for 500+ tankers :

Transportation technology services company EROAD Limited (NZX/ASX: ERD) (EROAD) has today announced the acquisition of a significant enterprise customer in New Zealand.

The Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited (Fonterra) has signed a five-year contract to install EROAD fleet management hardware across its fleet of 500+ milk tankers.

Mark Heine, EROAD’s Chief Executive Officer says, “we’re incredibly excited to be partnering with such an iconic and important organisation here in New Zealand. Creating safer, more sustainable roads is at the very heart of what we do at EROAD, and it’s clear that Fonterra is equally committed to these goals.”

From Cape Reinga to Bluff, and almost everywhere in between, Fonterra’s milk collection operation spans the entire country. Through its fleet of 500+ milk collection tankers and 1600+ tanker operators, Fonterra completes an average of one farm collection every 15 seconds and collects around 16.5 billion litres of milk per year. . . 

Ag-drive partners with Agriacadamy to broaden training available to the agricultural sector :

Waikato’s largest agricultural vehicle training provider, Ag Drive, has signed an agreement with Agricademy to deliver its award-winning operator training to even more of the agriculture sector.

Agricademy provides training for new employees in a more affordable and effective way, leaving classrooms behind, to quickly improve staff productivity. Their innovative training model has been developed online and on-farm for the generation that gets its information online on their smartphones and connects on social media.

Agricademy Managing Director Alister Shennan says they’re excited to be working with Ag Drive, which has a great reputation for offering practical, tailored training in the machine and vehicle operation space.

“Agricademy training offers the practical and life skills employees need to do well at work, so it was a natural synergy for us to partner with Ag Drive, who are known for their practical training,” he says. . .

Rural round-up


Labour floundering on farming emissions :

Farmers are likely to be even more confused at Labour’s floundering approach to farming emissions following today’s announcement, National’s acting Agriculture spokesperson Todd Muller says.

“Labour is all over the show. Just a few months ago Labour were proposing to decimate sheep and beef farming by 20 per cent – now they are saying they want to work with the farming sector on how the pricing scheme will work and they will consider carbon sequestration.

“Labour’s process shows a complete disregard for farming realities, and the fact they have made this announcement four days before Christmas is cynical politics.

“Farmers have lost trust in Labour. This is too little, too late and doesn’t go far enough. . . 

Groundswell ‘disturbed’ by govt blinkers – Neal Wallace :

Leaders of the Groundswell ginger group say they are surprised at how little senior government ministers know about the impact of their policies on rural communities.

“Some of what we told them was new, which was disturbing,” the group’s co-founder, Bryce McKenzie, said after a top-level meeting this week.

McKenzie and fellow Groundswell founder Laurie Paterson met with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, associate Agriculture Minister Meka Whaitiri, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and associate Local Government Minister Kieran McAnulty to explain the concerns of their members.

He said they enjoyed the experience, with the scheduled 30-minute meeting lasting 70 minutes. . . 

Methane inhibitor bolus could reduce emissions by 70% :

A project to develop a sustained release methane inhibitor technology for grass-fed animals has received a funding boost from the Government.

Ruminant BioTech’s CALM (Cut Agricultural Livestock Methane) programme has secured nearly $8 million from the state. Ruminant BioTech investors will match the Crown’s cash injection.

The company aims to develop a commercially viable bolus by 2025 that delivers at least a 70% reduction in ruminant animals’ methane emissions over six months.

Ruminant BioTech chief executive George Reeves says the bolus has the potential to provide every dairy, sheep, and beef farmer in New Zealand with an effective, easy, “set and forget” methane reduction solution that is both highly effective and practical for grass-fed animal farming operations. . . 

Fonterra expects biotech products to drive future growth :

Fonterra’s global focus has shifted since the pandemic began, anticipating much of its future growth will stem from investment in high value growth in biotech products.

In response to the changing global market, the dairy co-operative has recently established a global markets business, headed up by long serving executive Judith Swales.

Her brief covers global consumer products, ingredients and food services businesses everywhere but China.

Swales said global dairy production was levelling off, given land constraints, climate change considerations and plateauing consumer demand for dairy products, such as milk, butter, cheese and yogurt. . . 

Why organic farming is not the way forward – Holger Kirchmann:

The aim of this article is to provide information about crop production data based on large-scale organic farming and to point toward major consequences. National statistics show lower organic yields than compiled in meta-analyses from farm- and plot-scale. Yields of organically cropped legumes were 20% and nonlegumes 40% lower than those of conventionally grown crops. Area estimates showed that almost two of three crops were legumes or legume mixtures in organic farming, whereas one of three crops was a legume in conventional cropping. Doubling land use for legumes in organic farming affected the type of food produced, being dominated by milk products and red meat. Over all crops, the organic yield gap was 35%. Since yields are lower under organic than conventional practices, more land is required to produce the same amount of agricultural crops. A 35% yield gap means that 50% more arable land is required. A demand for 50% more farmland imposes huge land use changes and makes one realize the wide-ranging environmental consequences that follow when converting to organic farming. In a relevant comparison between organic and conventional cropping systems, environmental consequences caused by land use change such as lost products (timber, fiber, energy, etc.) and lost ecosystem services (sequestered carbon in soil, wildlife, biodiversity, etc.) must be included. The concept of organic farming was founded on philosophical views about nature, not biological science. Natural means and methods were assumed to be superior. Verification of the reasoning and statements of the founders on why to abandon mineral fertilizers cannot be corroborated by science and is incorrect. Scientific evidence for the concept to abandon synthetic mineral fertilizers as nutrients for crops is lacking. The scientific community is obliged to follow rigorous scientific criteria—not biased views, prejudices, or beliefs. . . 

Wool and cotton outlook – Angus Jones :

International markets for wool and cotton have seen much volatility through the course of 2022 – with the lingering impacts of COVID and escalated geopolitical and economic uncertainty affecting the trade – and the year ahead could be equally turbulent, agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank says in a new industry podcast.

Speaking on the podcast, Turbulent 2022 for Cotton and Wool Prices, Rabobank associate analyst Edward McGeoch said local and global extreme weather events have significantly impacted cotton production while Australian wool production is on the rise.

Year in review – Cotton

There has been a lot of fluctuation with cotton prices through 2022, Mr McGeoch said.

“Cotton prices opened well off the back of strong performances in 2021 – kicking off the year with a local price of roughly $740 per bale. And we saw the price trend up significantly to an 11-year high, with rises of 29 per cent to achieve just under $1000 per bale. . . 

Rural round-up


‘The city-dwellers do not understand the mental and physical strength it takes’ – Gerhard Uyd :

On Clovalley Farms, the cost of feed, fuel, fertiliser and electricity has gone up by about 20% this year, and dairy farmers Sophie Cookson and Donovan Croot have had to make major adjustments to keep the business going.

“We have had to look to other sources of income,” Croot said.

Cookson is employed part-time with Cow Manager, a herd management system, and Croot is a tutor for Dairy Training, which provided further education for the dairy sector.

The pair had also diversified their business and now raised some bull calves and sold them in the meat trade, he said. . . 

Farm debt and mortgages pushing up cost to grow food – Gerhard Uys :

Mortgage rates, inflation and overdraft costs are pushing up the cost of producing food and eroding farm profits, farmers say.

A November survey by Federated Farmers, answered by about 1200 farming businesses, showed the average farm mortgage interest rate had increased to 6.29%, up from 4.59% in May this year.

It was up from 3.95% in November last year.

Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard said many farms carried high debt. . . 

Feds survey: Interest pinch weighs heavily on farmer stress :

Farmers are being squeezed by rising interest rates, with debt or other financial concerns eroding mental wellbeing, the latest Federated Farmers Banking Survey shows.

Nearly 1200 farming businesses answered questions in the November survey, reporting that their average mortgage interest rate had increased to 6.29 percent from 4.59 percent in May (and 3.95 percent in November 2021),
“It’s a reflection of the impact of official cash rate rises and while plenty of other Kiwi households and businesses are also feeling the pinch, many farms are carrying high debt,” Feds President and economy spokesperson Andrew Hoggard said.

Since the May Federated Farmers survey the average farm mortgage value has increased from $4.07 million to $4.19 million while the median increased from $2.25 million to $2.50 million.

The average level of overdraft was up $46,000 to $328,800, with an average interest rate of 8.59%. . . 

Hawke’s Bay: Ongaonga solar farm to be one of NZ’s biggest, land to be ‘retired’ from intensive dairy to build it – James Pocock :

One of the biggest solar farms in New Zealand is all but ready to be built on 152 hectares of farmland in Central Hawke’s Bay.

Sky Solar purchased the farmland near the Kahahakuri Stream at Ongaonga to build an eco-friendly solar farm, simultaneously retiring intensive irrigation and promoting biodiversity in the stream.

According to the resource consent application, the proposed solar farm would have an operational capacity of 160-gigawatt hours per year at full capacity, enough to power 18,000 houses.

Cameron King, director of commercial projects and sales for Sky Solar, said the solar farm will likely be the biggest of its kind in the country when built. . . .

The hybrid harvester bringing lower carbon logging – Nikki Mandow :

A family owned, South Otago-based logging company has become the first in NZ to import a hybrid electric-diesel harvester. It’s saved them a pack of money too

Balclutha-based Mike Hurring Logging & Contracting isn’t the biggest forestry company in the country. Neither is it the smallest. But it is the first to introduce what could be a new trend in lower carbon forestry – a hybrid harvester.

Run on a mixture of diesel and electricity, the Finland-made harvester has a battery in the back which charges as the machine moves. Once harvesting, the machine uses electricity from the battery to power the hydraulics that run the feed rollers and saws. 

The diesel can kick in when needed, but it’s mostly electric while harvesting.  . . 

Apple industry appoints two new directors to board :

NZ Apples and Pears Inc. (NZAPI) is delighted to announce the appointment of Mr Craig Betty, and Mr Cameron Bagrie to its board.

Craig Betty replaces Peter Landon-Lane, who is stepping down in early 2023. He will serve as a director for the remaining term of Mr Landon-Lane’s tenure, which ends in August 2023, and will be eligible for re-election to the board at that time.

Craig joined T&G as Director Operations in October 2019. He leads T&G’s growing operations for apples and berries, including operational R&D, post-harvest and supply chain operations, and has global accountability for continuous improvement and quality standards and frameworks. Craig has extensive experience in operations and supply chain management, having previously been Chief Operating Officer for Westland Milk Products, and General Manager Operations for Fonterra.

Cameron Bagrie is appointed to the board as our second independent director, the rules of the Society allow for two independent directors. A decision was made some time ago to use this appointment to widen the skill base of the board. . .

Sabotage and treason


Sabotage – deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct (something), especially for political or military advantage; any underhand interference with production or work.

Treason showing no loyalty to your country, especially by helping its enemies.

These are strong words that aren’t used lightly but when I look at what the government is  doing to farming they are what come to mind.

We’re facing regulatory overload with poorly drafted rules on freshwater, significant natural areas (SNAs), slopes and wetlands.

All of these appear to have been designed by people who have come no closer to farming than a glance out a car window as they travel down a state highway.

Problems are compounded by labour shortages which are due in part to Labour’s anti-immigration policies.

Adding to all that damage is the proposal to tax methane emissions from farm animals.

Labour backtracked a little in announcing it would widen the recognition of sequestration but gave few details. At best it would be a very small step backwards from a very impractical and expensive destination and it’s not helped by two different versions of the media release of the announcement.

Imposing the tax will destroy or severely damage farms; businesses which service and support them, and process and market their produce. It will wreck havoc on rural communities, export income and the wider economy. It will interfere with both production and work on farms and in downstream economies and communities.

It will impose environmental damage domestically as pine plantations replace pastoral farms and compound that with global damage because of carbon leakage.

It also disregards the Paris Accord’s requirement that climate change mitigation doesn’t come at the expense of food production.

The plan shows no loyalty to farmers and the wider agricultural sector nor to anyone who depends on it; and while enemies is too strong, it will be helping our trading competitors, almost all of whom don’t farm nearly as efficiently as New Zealand farmers do.

Our competitors think the government is mad but they’re delighted at the opportunity it will provide for them in markets where we’ll be selling a lot less meat and milk.

There is no solid data to show that it would give us a marketing advantage or that people who say they would pay more for our produce if our animal emissions are taxed would do so.

Regardless of what people say in surveys, price and quality govern buying behaviour far more than politics does.

Why would anyone pay more for food when, unless and until we have the means to affordably and safely reduce the methane cattle, deer and sheep produce, the meat and milk we sell won’t have any lower carbon footprint per kilo than it did before the tax was imposed?

We will be running less stock which could reduce the country’s emissions but there will be no reduction in methane from individual animals.

The upshot of that is that farmers will be paying more to produce less and consumers will be faced with more expensive food with the same carbon footprint; or buying food with a higher carbon footprint from our competitors.

Meanwhile pines will be marching all over farmland providing homes for pests and diseases and increasing the risk of fires. Jobs will be lost on farm and in downstream industries and businesses, rural towns will lose shops and services, the country will lose multi millions of dollars in export income, and global emissions will increase.

All this in a world where food security isn’t assured.

If that’s not sabotage and treason, what is it?

Think I’m exaggerating ? Look what happened to Sri Lanka when it let the Eco-Utopians set policy. 

Rural round-up


Farmers hit by regulatory overload – Luxon – Gerald Piddock :

It’s tough being a farmer in New Zealand at the moment, National leader Christopher Luxon says.

Speaking at Fieldays, Luxon said the sector is being hit by “regulatory overload” that is confusing and at cross purposes.

“I often describe it like playing tennis and getting 10 tennis balls coming across at you at the same time,” he said.

A stock-take of the rules is needed to work out which ones are inconsistent or could have bad consequences. . . 

Prices hold steady at latest GDT auction but are there warning signs for farmers in scope-3 pressures? – Point of Order :

Prices held steady at the latest Fonterra  GDT auction. In USD terms, they were up 0.6% to an average $US3610, a smaller rise than the 2.4% at the previous auction.

WMP prices  held  steady at $US3400   but SMP and cheddar both rose.  Cheddar was  up 1.8% to $US4826, SMP  about +1.7% to $US3102. Butter meanwhile  was down 1.9% $US4725.

However things were undermined in NZ dollar terms. Overall prices dropped 2% in local currency as the NZD continues its puzzling rise. That means in local currency prices are down 15% over the past two months, compared with the equivalent 9% drop in the USD.

None of this shows NZ is getting on top of its of deteriorating current account deficit. . . 


Council review a chance to achieve better ratepayer equity Feds says  – Simon Edwards:

Yet another local government review is underway – but will its recommendations actually be picked up, especially regarding cost fairness?

The existing system of property value rates is loaded against agriculture. Farmers pay many more times than other residents for council services and infrastructure, even though some of those services aren’t even available to rural residents, Federated Farmers local government spokesperson Sandra Faulkner says.

“Reviews have come and gone before with no real change.

“We know that councils have tools to allocate costs more equitably, such as per property charges and differentials, but councillors tend to be mindful of the voting majorities in urban areas.” . . 

Helius gains certification key to export success :

Helius Therapeutics has received Good Agricultural and Collection Practice (GACP) certification at its purpose-built medicinal cannabis facility in East Tamaki, Auckland.

Recognised globally, GACP is a leading certification standard for medicinal cannabis. It outlines minimum requirements for growers in creating high quality, consistent flower.

“Achieving GACP is another key milestone for the Helius team in our journey to full site certification. GACP is a well-recognised requirement for medicinal cannabis in many countries. Gaining this certification will only open more doors as we now unleash our export strategy,” says Carmen Doran, chief executive of Helius Therapeutics.

. . 

Shaun the sheep joins the flock at Rotorua’s agrodome :

 Rotorua’s Agrodome has a new addition to the flock – a cheeky and mischievous little sheep who is famous around the globe.

Movie and TV star Shaun the sheep is here in Aotearoa! He’s on his long awaited OE and after a whirlwind tour of the country has arrived at his new home.

The Agrodome is a long way from his Mossy Bottom Farm home in England but Shaun is excitedly settling in with his new woolly mates and pal Bitzer.

Agrodome General Manager David Blackmore says, “Shaun is an iconic and lovable sheep and we’re looking forward to welcoming families to the Agrodome to meet him. I’m sure Shaun’s antics, jokes and pranks that he’s renowned for will keep everyone amused. . . 


Rural round-up


Sham marriage! – Peter Burke :

There is widespread anger and disbelief among farming leaders over the actions of MPI and MfE within the He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) partnership.

Both ministries were touted by the Government as being ‘partners’ along with iwi and a number of farming organisations in HWEN, which had been involved in working on a joint counter proposal to put to government to deal with agricultural emissions and avoid them going into the ETS.

However, Rural News has discovered that with about a month before HWEN’s proposal was due to go to the Government in May, the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) and Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) suddenly announced that they would not be signing it because they were “conflicted”.

This last minute walkout by the two ministries came as a complete surprise to the other members of the partnership who say they were led to believe the two ministries were ‘genuine partners’ like themselves. However, it seems they weren’t. Rural News has been told the other HWEN partners felt they had been misled. . . 

Exporters take a double blow as prices fall and currency rises – Point of Order :

NZ  exports have been  hit by falling world prices and a rising NZ dollar. It’s a sharp reversal from earlier in the year when ANZ Bank  was reporting its  commodity price index  had returned to its record breaking run  and stood  nearly  20%  above the level  where it had been  12 months previously.

The price index has fallen 3.9% in November on the previous month to be 11.5%  lower on the same month a year earlier.

The  pain is all the more severe, since overseas markets  are suffering  from inflation and one might have expected  returns to be higher.

 ANZ Agricultural economist Susan Kilsby said exporters suffered a “double whammy” because the NZ dollar had risen in value knocking export returns by 9.1% for the month, with returns at their lowest level since January 2021. . . 

Three year cashmere scheme launches – Sally Rae:

New Zealand Cashmere is hoping goats will float the boats of the country’s farmers.

A three-year programme aimed at “restarting” the cashmere industry has been launched, led by New Zealand Cashmere and backed by the Government via a $900,000 contribution over that period through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund.

Textile manufacturer Woolyarns has commissioned a multimillion-dollar cashmere processing facility at its Lower Hutt operations to meet customer demand.

The programme is led by Woolyarns general manager and New Zealand Cashmere director Andy May, who said it was focused on assisting farmers with advice and support structures to restart the industry and sustainably farm cashmere-producing goats within their existing farming systems. . . 

ED nurse shortage hits provincial areas :

Emergency department’s will continue to be under immense pressure this summer as the health workforce shortage remains, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“Every day, our emergency department staff go to work to provide critical services to New Zealanders, knowing that they will be understaffed and over worked.

“Data revealed to National show that as of 2 November 2022, there are over 230 emergency department nurse vacancies across the country, with our provincial areas being hit the hardest.

“Northland is currently 42 per cent short of the 66 emergency department nurses it is meant to have. . . 

Why diversification from exporting to China must be a deliberate choice – Gareth Kiernan:

There is a deliberate focus needed to diversify away from China.

Since New Zealand’s free-trade agreement with China came into force in late 2008, the share of our exports heading to China has increased from 5% to as high as 32% last year.

This well-documented trend clearly reflects the economic benefits to New Zealand of being hooked into the fast-growing Chinese market.

But the increasing concentration on a single market has also raised questions of New Zealand’s over-reliance on selling into a country where human rights and foreign policy tensions could easily lead to a breakdown in diplomatic relations. . . 

Tony Bouskill takes out fencing top title at Fieldays :

The winners of the annual New Zealand Fencing Competition (NZFC) held annually at Fieldays has been announced after a fierce battle between competitors from across the country.

Reigning champion Tony Bouskill was announced as this years winner of the coveted Golden Pliers by WIREMARK Singles Championship trophy for the fourth year running, while Sander Visser worked hard to take out the top spot in the Bill Schuler competition, named after legendary Waikato-born fencer Bill Schuler who passed away in 2018.

Tony was the one to beat this year as he and his father Shane Bouskill took out the Fieldays Silver Spades Doubles Championship, showing great teamwork and dedication to the job at hand. This not the first time the duo has won the Fieldays Silver Spades Doubles Championship, having competed and won the same championship and award in 2017, 2019 and 2021. . . 

Rural round-up


Fresh developments on climate change measures in the dairy industry a wake-up call to farmers – Point of Order :

The NZ dairy industry faces climate change hurdles beyond the levies the Ardern government has indicated it will impose on farms. Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell drew attention to them when he told an interviewer at the Fieldays at Mystery Creek the giant dairy co-op and its farmers risk not being able to access debt funding in the future if they don’t meet banks’ sustainability expectations.

Banks are wanting to set Scope 3 carbon emissions targets, which includes emissions they are indirectly responsible for, and not meeting their expectations could result in less favourable funding rates or ultimately not being able to access funding in the future.

“That’s something that we need to be aware of but it’s not a conversation we’re having with our banks at this moment,” Hurrell said.

Over the past four years, Solagri has worked with farmers and engineers to build and refine a solar solution optimised for dairy farm operations. Solagri Energy’s capital-free solution means farmers can have an innovative state-of-the-art grid-connected solar generation system without the significant upfront cost.

“The technology is advanced, but the model is pretty simple,” says managing director Peter Saunders. “Farmers provide us with a small parcel of land, about a quarter of a hectare, where we build the solar array. “In return, they receive solar electricity generated on their own farm at a fixed price for 20 years. There is zero capital cost to the farmer, any unused power will supply the local grid.” . . 

Increasing costs and price-shy customers lave stock transport companies struggling – Sally Murphy:

Stock transport companies are struggling under increasing costs with large customers not willing to pay more.

Stock moving companies are a vital part in the supply chain – moving stock between farms, to sale-yards, and to processing plants – but some are now struggling to make ends meet.

Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand chief executive Nick Leggett said increasing staff, compliance and maintenance costs were all starting to have an effect.

Stock transport companies had a fuel adjustment factor in place so the increasing cost of diesel could be passed on, but other increases could not be done so as easily, he said. . . 

New agri board game to feature as part of New Zealand’s NCEA school curriculum :

A new board game – developed to help build knowledge and understanding of food production – will be used as a study tool by secondary school students across New Zealand in 2023. The new ‘Grow’ board game was officially launched earlier today at the Fieldays Opportunity Grows Here Careers Hub.

Developed as part of a joint initiative between Rabobank, Te Whare Wānaka o Aoraki Lincoln University and the Agribusiness in Schools Programme, the game was created to support learning by year 11 students studying National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Agribusiness.

It touches on all the major topics included within the agribusiness curriculum and provides students with a fun way to acquire and reinforce the course content. Copies of the board game are now being mass produced and several sets will be sent to the more than 100 schools participating in the Agribusiness in Schools programme in time for the start of the 2023 school year.

Rabobank New Zealand CEO Todd Charteris said the idea for the new game came about following discussions between Rabobank’s Upper South Island Client Council – a group of the bank’s clients from the upper half of the South Island who meet regularly to discuss the challenges facing the agri sector – and Lincoln University. . . 

Get to know the 2022 Fieldays innovation Award winners :

While they were enjoying the elation that comes with winning a Fieldays Innovation Award, we went to the Innovation Hub to find out more about the winners and what makes them tick.

The University of Waikato won the Prototype Award this year for their Kiwifruit Human Assisted Harvesting (e-BIN), a product that was created during the 2021 lockdown in part, to solve the issue of staff shortages – one of the kiwifruit industrys biggest problems. Funded by Zespri, the electronic fruit bin can potentially revolutionise the picking industry by taking most of the heavy lifting out of picking produce, bringing people that potentially weren’t physically able to get into picking jobs into the industry. The group have consulted with representatives from the picking industry and have worked to refine the fine motor skills on the e-Bin to reduce fruit damage.

Nick Pickering, a lecturer at the University’s School of Engineering says that there is a real need for people in the Kiwifruit industry and physicality can be a barrier to filling in this labour shortage.

During testing next kiwifruit season, we will be working towards solving that labour shortage in the kiwifruit industry and increasing productivity while also making sure that the quality of the kiwifruit is not impacted in any way. . . 

Italian manufacturers buying more NZ skins and pelts :

An increasing number of luxury Italian leather products such as gloves, handbags and upholstery for Ferraris are starting their journey on New Zealand farms.

The Meat Industry Association said exports of cattle hides to Italy in October increased by 110 percent compared to the same month last year.

Italians were also eating more New Zealand lamb – buying nearly $4,500,000 of meat compared to virtually none at the same time last year.

The Meat Industry Association’s chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said the exports to Italy were worth $26m – the highest monthly value for more than four years. . . 

Wide ranging report on Otago rural industries released :

A new report on farming and growing in Otago surveys over 150 years of practices for six primary industries, collating information on their production systems, size, distribution, key features and markets – needed to support development of the Land and Water Regional Plan.

“In essence, it’s a window into rural businesses and their production systems in 2022 – at a time when the region, and New Zealand, appears to be heading into territory that is new” – the report concludes.

The report, Farmers and Growers in Otago, was developed by an ORC Industry Advisory Group and is being publicly released today. It is the first of five studies that comprise the ORC’s economic work programme, which supports the new Land and Water Regional Plan.

“In completing this first report, the organisations involved have created a valuable resource for Otago and shown their commitment to the region,” the summary says. . . 


Rural round-up


Feds breaks ranks on HWEN – Sudesh Kissun:

The He Waka Eke Noa Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership and Māori Agribusiness Partners are calling on the Government to change key aspects of its proposal on agricultural emissions pricing.

However, Federated Farmers has decided not to back the joint submission from the 10 partners.

It recommends changes that would develop an emissions pricing system that creates incentives and opportunities to reduce agricultural emissions while maintaining the viability of the primary sector.

The submission recommends changes to price setting, governance and transitional arrangements that would see decision-making on emissions pricing balance the socio-economic impacts on the primary sector and wider economy with emissions reductions.  . .

HWEN partners question methane targets – Neal Wallace:

The primary sector wants the government to review its methane targets before it starts pricing agricultural greenhouse gases.

This is included in the He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) submission on the government-proposed pricing structure, saying new targets that reflect the latest scientific evidence are needed before the sector starts to be charged in 2025.

Methane targets were legislated by Parliament in 2019 as part of the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act, requiring the sector to reduce emissions 10% below 2017 levels by 2030 and by 24-47% below 2017 levels by 2050.

The HWEN submission pulls few punches, saying the government’s changes are not acceptable to the partnership and the growers and farmers they represent. . . 

Emissions plan: DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel says ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ – The Country :

No deal is better than a bad deal when it comes to pricing agricultural emissions, DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel says

DairyNZ had made a submission in the emissions plan and hoped for a response from the Government, van der Poel told The Country’s Jamie Mackay.

“We had to go into this next stage in good faith because our primary objective is still to get a solution here and put this to bed.

“We’ve been talking about this since 2004 and it’s not going to go away.” . . 

Cherry on top growers feeling “positive”, expecting record volumes of fruit :

Central Otago cherry growers are expecting record volumes of fruit this season.

45 South Cherries chief executive Tim Jones said now that they had survived October’s nasty weather, they had been able to assess crops, and fruit volumes may be double that of past years.

New plantings were coming into their own, he said.

“The last three years have been pretty disappointing crops but all those trees that have been planted in the past five or six will really hit their straps this year.

“Last year the industry exported a little over three thousand tonnes and I would suggest this year it could be at least five or six thousand,” he said. . . 

It’s time to resolve carbon forest conflicts –  Dean Baigent-Mercer :

 Forestry is back in the spotlight. After years of being on the margins, forestry has come full-circle and is again at the heart of discussions about New Zealand’s future. Why? Because of climate change and biodiversity. The opportunity is exciting but there are issues to resolve. A key question is native versus exotic forestry carbon sinks.

The world risks overshooting its climate change targets. We need to stop using fossil fuels, cut emissions and store increasing amounts of carbon in forests, wetlands and other natural carbon sinks for centuries to come.

New Zealand forestry has been quick to act and respond. New Zealand has gone down the pine forest carbon storage route as a relatively fast and cheap way to store carbon.

But it’s clear that this is no longer a viable path. The Climate Change Commission has advised that we must stop relying on pines to store carbon and instead rely on permanent carbon sinks in native forests. Pine planting may appeal in the short term, but a large blaze can release a carbon bomb. There is increasing evidence that pine-based carbon sinks will end up being stranded assets or uninsurable. . .

Rural tourism business finalist at New Zealand Tourism Awards :

“The future of rural tourism is bright”, say Will and Rose Parsons of Driftwood Eco Tours, finalists of the 2022 New Zealand Tourism Awards for community engagement.

The annual New Zealand Tourism Awards, hosted by Tourism Industry Aotearoa in Hamilton, highlights excellence in tourism and helps operators aspire to greater customer service.

Driftwood Eco Tours was delighted to be one of three finalists for the community engagement category.

Operating since 2004, Driftwood Eco Tours is based in Kaikōura, but runs small group, multi-day tours throughout the upper South Island and on offshore islands, offering guests the chance to visit and experience some of New Zealand’s most isolated rural communities. . . 

Rural round-up


Country roads not taking us home – Richard Rennie :

New Zealand’s long skinny, swampy, steep terrain has never made for easy road building and it’s a tribute to our pioneering forefathers this country has the roads it does, going to the places they do.

But the escalating impact of climate change, bringing rainfall events of ever greater intensity, is making keeping that spiderweb network of 76,000km of rural roads tougher to keep open, let alone improve.  

Rural local roads are already the poor relative to their state highway links. 

For 2021-22 an average of $170,000 per km is budgeted for state highway improvements, compared with only $14,700 a km for local roads. . . 

Low methane sheep coming to a farm near you? –  Esther Taunton

Farmers will soon be able to breed low methane sheep through a “world first” genetics programme. 

Beef and Lamb New Zealand has added low methane production to the list of traits breeders can target when choosing rams.

Farmers already use several “breeding values” (BV) to select animals with characteristics they want to strengthen in their flocks, including meat yield and lamb survival rate.

With the addition of a methane BV, they could also breed animals that produced less of the agricultural greenhouse gas. . . 

The problem with coconut milk – Pete Fitz-Herbert

His father-in-law’s innocent “coconut milk” mistake at the supermarket has Manawatū farmer Pete Fitz-Herbert thinking about food labels, “nut juice” and the meaning of communication in relationships.

Every relationship has communication issues at times.

Generally, it comes about because we switch roles temporarily. I know in this modern world we are meant to do everything equally but some days we should just be thankful we aren’t the Taliban.

So, when my father-in-law got released into the supermarket with an essential Covid grocery list (during those interesting times), it was something David Attenborough should have been commentating. . .

Final Zespri charter vessel departs :

Zespri’s last charter vessel carrying some of the final volumes of this season’s New Zealand kiwifruit crop has now departed the Port of Tauranga, bound for Tokyo and Kobe in Japan.

Around 158 tonnes of Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit and 2,231 tonnes of Zespri Green Kiwifruit is onboard the charter reefer vessel MV Kowhai and is expected to reach Tokyo by the end of this month, with the season’s final container shipments scheduled to conclude over the coming weeks. In total, Zespri has used four charter vessels to Northern Europe, eight to the Mediterranean, four to North America’s West Coast and forty-one to Asia, along with almost 17,000 refrigerated containers to ship more than 160 million trays of New Zealand-grown Zespri Kiwifruit this season.

Zespri’s Chief Global Supply Officer Alastair Hulbert says that there had been a huge effort right across the industry and supply chain to ensure fruit could get to market this season given the headwinds experienced in 2022.

“This has been a really challenging season given the ongoing impact of COVID-19 across the global supply chain, as well as the need to manage our fruit quality. . . 

Orchard sector manager Regan Judd names Young Horticulturist of the Year :

Twenty-six-year-old Regan Judd has taken out the title of 2022 Young Horticulturist of the Year.

Regan, an orchard sector manager at T&G Global in the Hawke’s Bay, represented fruit and vegetable growers across the two-day event in Karaka, Auckland this week.

The competition brings together finalists from all corners of the horticulture sector to vie for the grand title in a series of tasks designed to test their practical and theoretical skills, leadership qualities and more.

Regan says he is “stoked” to have won the grand title, particularly given the calibre of the six other finalists and the effort that went into preparing for the event. . . 

Red meat is not a health risk. New study slams years of shoddy research – Ross Pomeroy:

Studies have been linking red meat consumption to health problems like heart disease, stroke, and cancer for years. But nestled in the recesses of those published papers are notable limitations.

Nearly all the research is observational, unable to tease out causation convincingly. Most are plagued by confounding variables. For example, perhaps meat eaters simply eat fewer vegetables, or tend to smoke more, or exercise less? Moreover, many are based on self-reported consumption. The simple fact is that people can’t remember what they eat with any accuracy. And lastly, the reported effect sizes in these scientific papers are often small. Is a supposed 15% greater risk of cancer really worth worrying about? 

Study slams lazy research 

In a new, unprecedented effort, scientists at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) scrutinized decades of research on red meat consumption and its links to various health outcomes, formulating a new rating system to communicate health risks in the process. Their findings mostly dispel any concerns about eating red meat

“We found weak evidence of association between unprocessed red meat consumption and colorectal cancer, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes and ischemic heart disease. Moreover, we found no evidence of an association between unprocessed red meat and ischemic stroke or hemorrhagic stroke,” they summarized.  . . 

Not what farmers think


Audrey Young has given Damien O’Connor the highest mark in her annual cabinet ratings:

. . . Damien O’Connor 9

Agriculture, Biosecurity, Land Information, Rural Communities, Trade and Export Growth

Outstanding year. Another FTA under his belt with EU–NZ deal concluded after UK-NZ deal last year. Important role in setting climate change policy in agriculture. Chairing CPTPP next year. Ageists may expect him to retire but why should he when he is at the peak of his career? Previously 9 . .

That isn’t what farmers think.

The UK trade deal is a good one but the EU one is not.

It looks like it was rushed through to give the government a good headline while the PM was in Europe.

It would have been far better to have continued negotiating than to have accepted this deal.

Whatever his role in setting climate change policy was, it hasn’t been good for farming, farmers, rural communities or the country.

Butchering He Waka Eke Noa would, by the government’s own figures, kill off one in five sheep and beef farms with consequent loss of jobs and export income that will make the ag-sag and share market crash of the 80s look like good times.

Turning productive farmland into forests is economic, environmental and social vandalism.

If there was any advocacy from the Minister on unblocking the immigration pathway for agricultural contractors and farm workers it hasn’t been effective.

Then there’s this:

New Zealand has agreed a declaration along with other members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that commits members to working together to boost sustainable agriculture and food systems, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said today in Paris.

The ‘Declaration on transformative solutions for sustainable agriculture and food systems’ was adopted at the OECD Committee for Agriculture on 4 November. . . 

“The Declaration will see OECD countries identify opportunities and challenges facing food production and share ways to tackle them. 

“It includes ensuring food security and nutrition for a growing global population, along with addressing environmental challenges in an inclusive manner. . . 

How does the goal of ensuring food security align with his government’s determination to tax farm emissions that by their own modelling will reduce food production so drastically?

If farmers had been rating the Minister he’d have got a very generous, not achieved.

It’s not just about farming


Farmers are justifiably angry about the government’s plans to tax animal emissions but it’s not just farmers who are worried about the consequences:

Fish & Game is alarmed at a recently released report which shows the pace and extent of farmland being converted to forestry in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Chief executive Corina Jordan says the scale of the land-use change, which is having a massive impact on rural communities, also has negative implications for recreational access and freshwater health.

The accelerated conversion is a result of current government policies, it will be far worse if the proposals to tax methane emissions are enacted.

The Beef & Lamb NZ (BLNZ) report details how vast tracts of farmland are being sold to carbon farming speculators, with a significant amount being bought up by offshore interests.

“Much of the land is going into permanent forestry for carbon sequestering, and this is destroying many rural communities through lost industry and jobs, and rural services and support disappearing. It is creating ghost towns,” says Jordan.

It is almost impossible for foreigners to buy farmland to farm, the hurdles for foreigners wanting to buy farmland to convert to forestry are much, much lower.

“Our anglers and hunters, and the general public, have long relied on the generosity and goodwill of the farmers who allow access to their properties to hunt, fish, swim or recreate. And many farmers are also keen anglers and hunters themselves.

“The rural hospitality they offer is part of the social fabric and culture of our country, but the amount of land we’re losing, and the rate at which it is disappearing into foreign ownership, is a real threat to that.”

Fish & Game, along with environmental NGOs, is also increasingly concerned about the impact of mass monoculture forest plantings on the environment.

“We absolutely agree there’s an urgent need to address the climate crisis, but BLNZ’s report shows the farm to forest conversion rate is far in excess of the recommendations put forward by the Climate Change Commission for the country to reach its emissions reduction targets.

“What’s more, pines take up a huge amount of water, thereby leading to less flowing into streams, rivers, and wetlands. Couple this with the acidic leachate that comes off land under exotic conifers, and an increase in some pollutants, and you’ve got catastrophic impacts on instream biology and the health of our freshwater.”

We were shown a creek in the Wairarapa which, the farmer whose land it meandered through said, never used to dry up, even in droughts until a large area of land upstream was planted in pines.

Now its water quality is degraded and it often dries up leaving water life including eels and koura to die.

Fish & Game believes government policy should actively encourage additional planting and the integration of trees – particularly natives – on farms, rather than pave the way for entire farms to be sold for conversion into exotic forestry.

“If the scale of forest carbon sinks on farms could be achieved to meet our climate change targets, then there are environmental benefits for biodiversity and freshwater health, whilst also keeping the social fabric of rural communities intact – a win all round.”

Meanwhile, with the carbon price forecast to continue to rise, more land purchases from international speculators will continue if the loopholes in our Emissions Trading Scheme and climate change policy are left unaddressed.

“A consortium of green groups recently called on the government to urgently rethink policy that is paving the way for this proliferation of exotic forests. Similarly, Fish & Game supports changes that lead to better environmental and social outcomes.

“Permanent plantation forestry has a place in helping meet New Zealand’s climate change commitments,” says Jordan. “However, more value needs to be placed on integrating indigenous trees on farm and allowing less productive parts of farms to regenerate.”

Environmental, economic and social damage is already being incurred by the misguided policy that allows productive pastoral farmland to be covered in pines.

If the government goes ahead with its plan to tax methane from cattle, deer and sheep the damage will be far greater and not just to rural land, waterways and communities.

Job losses will spread to towns and cities and the loss of export income will be devastating.

What were they thinking?


Rural News asks : what were they thinking?

The Government’s so-called plan to price agricultural emissions must surely rank as one of the most bewildering decisions in the history of New Zealand farming.

This is about a proposal that could see many sheep and beef farmers’ incomes cut by up to 20%. Making the sheep and beef sector unviable has huge implications. Farmers could well walk off their land and leave it to the ‘plant and walk carbon farmers’.

If this wasn’t bad enough, the group most likely to be affected is Māori. Ardern and her Green mates love to publically display their support for Māori and all the things they are doing for them, which no one can seriously argue about. Traditionally Labour has been strongly supported by Māori – but is this about to end?

Māori produce about 15% of the country’s sheep and beef exports and Māori make up close to 30% of the workforce in meat processing plants. Their asset base in the sheep and beef sector is over $8 billion. . .

All the talk and the little this government has done to materially help Māori will be more than undone if they bulldoze on with their proposal to tax ag emissions.

It won’t just be Maori farmers, it will be the freezing workers, the contractors, consultants, advisors, all the others who service and supply farms and farmers and everyone who eats, regardless of their race.

Freezing works could well close and already poor communities could become destitute. All for the sake, some say, of giving the PM the chance to prance around on the world stage in Red Bands and say, “We are first to tax our farmers”. While the rest of the world will continue polluting on!

The government line is that most of the recommendations by a consortium of the rural sector have been accepted, and that’s probably correct, but it’s the crazy changes it is proposing to these recommendations that beggars belief. How long will it be before we are importing lamb, not exporting it to China, or buying beef, not selling beef to the USA? It might sound dramatic, but the risk is, it could be true – not to mention massive unemployment in rural NZ. . . 

Unemployment won’t just be in rural areas, the loss of farm spending will filter through to towns and cities, jsut as it did during the depths of the ag-sag in the 1980s.

But this will be far worse.

Farmers adapted to the loss of subsidies and other changes foisted on them by the Labour government of the day. While we can debate the way it was done I don’t know anyone who says it shouldn’t have been done nor that farming and the country aren’t better off as a result.

They won’t be able to say that about the pricing of agricultural emissions. Unless and until there are tools farmers can use to combat them, it will impose irreversible and detrimental changes to farming, rural communities and the whole economy.

The government calls it a levy, but with no tools to reduce emissions, it’s a tax, and one that will do immeasurable harm for no more good than virtue signalling to eco-zealots who expect us all to follow their science on climate change but don’t themselves follow any science on mitigation.

Rural round-up


Farmers count the cost of government regulation – Rachael Kelly:

The rate of change coming at the agriculture industry and the cost of complying with it keeps fourth generation farmer Ben Dooley awake at night.

Dooley is adamant he doesn’t want to come across as a whinging farmer, and he’s keen to do what he can to improve his 250ha sheep farm and the environment.

He is the fourth generation on his family farm at Mimihau, south-east of Gore, but he fears his sons may not be the fifth.

“There’s so much regulation coming at us and costs just keep going up. I wonder whether it will get to the point where it’s not possible to make a living here and then there won’t be farm left here for them to take over,’’ he says. . . 

Key methane technologies misfire – Keith Woodford:

Methane technology breakthroughs cannot stop cannot ruminants from doing what comes naturally

Reducing methane production from pastoral agriculture lies at the heart of efforts to make pastoral agriculture more climate friendly. If only sheep and cattle could be made to stop producing methane!

Here I look at the challenges of making this happen. Unfortunately, those challenges are not easily solved. It is a lot harder than the uninitiated might think.

This is not just an issue for farmers. It is also an issue for all New Zealanders, given that almost half our exports come from pastoral agriculture – currently more than $32 billion per annum.  According to MPI, approximately 82 percent of all exports come from primary industries once timber, fish, horticulture and wine are included. . . 

Land plan in the firing line – Lois Williams :

A regional council head who wants to spare ratepayers the inconvenience of statutory land rules is ready to abandon a Local Government Commission-mandated planning document

Three million dollars and three years of work by West Coast councils will be down the drain if regional council head Allan Birchfield has his way.

The Greymouth gold miner was reinstalled as chair by a unanimous vote at the first meeting of the new-look and all-male council this week. 

High on his to-do list is the scrapping of the recently notified Te Tai o Poutini plan that coast councils and planners have been labouring over amid much angst since 2019.

Farm sales drop by almost 40 percent compared to previous year :

Just released real estate data shows a massive slump in farm sales in the three months to September compared with the same period last year.

There were nearly 109 fewer sales – that is a 39 percent drop compared with 2021, and a 53 percent drop when compared with 2020.

Real Estate Institute rural spokesperson Brian Peacocke said the median price also fell nearly 4 percent, down to $23,080 a hectare, compared with $30,890 recorded for the three months ended September 2021.

He said the sales drop was worse than usual for this time of year – which was a generally slower time – and a few factors were at play including inflation and emissions tax. . . 

They don’t care about non-Maori farmers – John Porter:

A new government report to Cabinet, yet again, states Maori are going to be disadvantaged! This time it is Maori farmers.

The Maori Party’s Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said an agriculture emissions pricing system disadvantages Maori-owned beef and sheep farms.

Why, Debbie? Are Maori farmers the only farmers going to be negatively impacted by an agriculture emissions pricing system? Are Maori farmers the only farmers practising regenerative and value-add farming?
I don’t know about you, but I get frustrated with the continual lack of objectivity in pronouncements by the Maori Party. . .


New Zealand wine export value hits all-time high :

The value of New Zealand wine in international markets is stronger than ever, with exports for 12 months to September at an all-time high of $2.03 billion, up 6% from the previous year. USA ($727 million) and Canada ($157 million) are at new record levels. The total value increase of 6% is due to a rise in value per litre, with volume for the 12 months to September decreasing 4% from a year ago.

The month of September 2022 has set a new export record of $287 million, this being the first time the export value has exceeded $¼ billion in any month.

“Record export value in September proves that our customers continue to appreciate the exceptional flavours, commitment to quality and sustainability of New Zealand wines, particularly in key international markets such as North America. Consumers around the world select a bottle of New Zealand wine off the shelf as they know it is a premium and unique product that they can trust,” says Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers. . . 



Government has sabotaged farming consensus


The government’s butchering of the agri-sector’s He Waka Eke Noa has led to growing  farmer rebellion:

A large protest meeting of farmers in Invercargill last night heard Federated Farmers President, Andrew Hoggard, withdraw his support for the Government’s proposal for farmers to pay for their emissions.

And he indicated the Feds would leave the He Waka Eke Noa farm sector partnership that had been working with the Government on a farm emissions policy.

“It’s been two and a half bloody years or more of dumb regulation after dumb regulation after dumb regulation, and  for me, it’s just like, Nah, screw it, I’m done with being polite about it,” he told the meeting to applause.

Hoggard last night said the Feds had always opposed the methane reduction target of a reduction of 10 per cent by 2030.

He said his organisation had continued within the HWEN partnership because of its original principles. They were that the agriculture sector would work with the Government to design a pricing mechanism “where any price is part of a broader framework to support on-farm practice change” and “only to the extent necessary to incentivise the uptake of economically viable opportunities that contribute to lower global emissions.”

“It’s just gotten more and more tenuous as we’ve gone along the process, and finally, the government proposal was the knife that cut that link,” he said.

He said Federated Farmers had never supported pricing in the first place because the alternative would have been farmers going into the Emissions Trading Scheme, which would mean much higher payments and no chance of any rebates for mitigation.  

“We tried to argue that we didn’t want pricing in there, but everyone else was of the opinion that pricing had to be a part of it; otherwise, the government would reject it (the HWEN proposal)”, he said.

“And so we went along with it because we felt at least then if we’re in the team, we could push back, keep providing that sort of tension, keeping that farmer voice in there. “And certainly throughout the process, we have managed to at least get some changes, some wins, keep some stupid things out of it. “But it has been bloody hard work.”

Hoggard argued that what had been intended to be a levy was now a tax because of the failure to allow for sequestration. To achieve the 10 per cent gross reduction in emissions by 2030, the Government would do so by taxing farmers to force them to reduce production.

“And so the way you’ve got to think of it is that they need a gross reduction, and at the moment, without mitigations, a 10% gross reduction only comes from 10% less dry matter going down ruminants throats,” he said. “And so that is a key thing.

“And to me, that is the fundamental change the Government has made is that change to the pricing principles and that singular focus on achieving the targets at all cost to our communities.”

His views were echoed by two South Island National MPs.

“We will not accept the government’s proposal,” said Southland MP Joseph Mooney.

“Yes, we want the research and development to happen, and we want the science and technology to be able to lower the emissions, but we need to be doing it in step, so pricing can’t get ahead of competitor countries, and we can’t put our food security at risk,” said Invercargill MP, Penny Simmonds. . .


It took a lot of work to get the He Waka Eke Noa proposal together, there were a lot of reservations about it but most agreed it was less bad than putting farming in the ETS.

The government has sabotaged the consensus. Federated Farmers is leading the charge against the proposal and other organisations that had been part of HWEN are also very critical of the proposed changes for very good reasons.

The economic and social costs are far too high for little, if any, environmental gain.

The meeting also discussed the impractical winter grazing regulations.

A leading Southland farmer says she won’t be getting winter grazing consents and hundreds of other farmers will also refuse to get them.

Federated Farmers Southland vice president Bernadette Hunt, speaking at a meeting about the Government’s controversial farming emissions’ proposal and winter grazing regulations at Stadium Southland on Wednesday night, said consents were supposed to place extra scrutiny where the highest risks were.

But if thousands of people had to get them for an activity, it was not targeting the highest risk.

“That’ll mean councils can’t adequately check them out in advance or enforce them so it makes a mockery of the process. You’ll pay for a piece of paper but there’s nothing behind it, and that’s why we don’t support these ones,” she said.

The Government legislation was shoddy and was not ready to go which was why she would not be getting a consent for winter grazing, she said.

She was not asking everyone to boycott the consents, saying it was each individual’s choice, but suggested there would be safety in numbers.

“They can’t prosecute us all.”

She asked the hundreds of people at the meeting to stand with her in boycotting the consents and almost all did.

Hunt made of point of saying the Feds would not defend farmers who operated without regard for animal or environmental welfare. . . .

The video is a livestream of the meeting, the business starts at about 18 minutes.

“It is not a levy, it is a tax”


National’s Selwyn MP Nicola Grigg gets it – when research, science and technology have yet to come up with the means to reduce farm emissions, the government’s proposal to charge for them is not a levy, it’s a tax:

NICOLA GRIGG (National—Selwyn): I was thinking, just earlier, after hearing Damien O’Connor’s contribution to the House followed by Meka Whaitiri’s, that we’d heard two valedictory speeches this evening, and I think I can add a third to that list. Yet another five-minute diatribe just proving nothing but what a tin ear the Ministers of this Crown have. We hear nothing but denial and defence coming out from this Government. They are so, so enthusiastic about rewriting history.

The facts of the matter are the industry, the 11 partnership groups of He Waka Eke Noa, took a proposal to the Government. The Government has come back with its response just last week. It has dumped the parts that the farming sector was prepared to sign up to. That is what the so-called “whinging and carping and griping” that Kieran McAnulty talks about is about, because, once again, this industry has been roundly ignored by this Government. And, yes, we do, on this side of the House, stand by the fact that we will not support a pricing mechanism until the science and technology is in place, otherwise it is not a levy; it is a tax. It is a tax on food while our country is in the grip of a cost of living crisis, and this Government is doing nothing but to fan the flames of that crisis.

The government keeps trying to tell us it cares about the poor and wants to help people out of poverty but either doesn’t understand, or doesn’t care, that taxing food production will push more people into poverty by increasing unemployment and food prices, and reducing export income.

Nobody on that side of the House is talking about the 20 percent of sheep and beef farms that are going to go out of business. By the Government’s own numbers, one in five sheep and beef farmers in this country will go out of business, and they have the nerve to talk about this side of the House criticising them and not supporting this proposal. We would support this proposal if it was fair and if it was equitable. We have said from the outset that the National Party does support emissions pricing for the agricultural sector if there are fair and reasonable sequestration options in place; if there is the science and technology in place. We will not stand by a proposal that puts one in five of our sheep and beef farmers out of business. We will not stand by a proposal that sees our richest industry, the industry that earns this country some money, sent offshore to high-emitting farming countries. We will not stand by it, we will not support it, and I do not apologise for calling the Government out on it.

If you don’t want to hear it from me, Mr McAnulty, maybe have a look at the latest industry rag out this week. Here we go: “Govt ‘fails fairness test’ on HWEN”. “HWEN has farmers upset over offsets”. “Sector flags ‘immediate concerns’ on HWEN”. There is no balancing of the ledger on the levy; take that from the people in the industry, Mr McAnulty. And while Ms Whaitiri crows away about the farmers inviting her on to their place, I’ll tell you what: it ain’t for tea and tinies. It is to try, in a desperate, final attempt—in the six weeks they’ve got left, it is to try and educate this Government as to what it is doing to our most productive sector. Fifteen percent of this country earns 50 percent of its revenue, and you lot over that side of the House should pay wise words to that.

Every single one of the industry groups, the 11 groups that signed up to this thing, have reacted angrily and have opposed the Government’s response to it. Once again: you took their advice back in May; perhaps you best start listening to them now. As you keep saying, they are the industry. They are the ones at the coal face. They are the ones who should know what they’re talking about. Well, they’re telling you now: this thing does not work, and the National Party wants to work with those groups and find something that will work. We are committed to reducing carbon emissions. We do agree the primary sector does need to pay its way, and it plays an important part in designing a system, designing its own process for recording and pricing those emissions. It can only happen, though, if farmers are allowed all options of sequestration. That includes shelterbelts; that includes riparian planting; that includes native bush and reserves.

A National Government would invest in driving technology. It wouldn’t just announce $300 million technology incentives and funds and just write a press release and put it out; it would actually invest. Come down to my electorate. Come and visit Lincoln Agritech and all those solutions are right there. They have been developed. They need some sort of system to commercialise them and incentivise them. I would suggest, Mr McAnulty, if you want me up in Marlborough having a look at the flood damage, come down to my electorate, take a look at the technology being developed down there, put your money where your mouth is, and start investing behind them.

We’re not going to take it


Thank you West Coast mayors and chairs:

The combined Mayors and Chairs of the West Coast Region stand strongly in support of the NZ Farmers in today’s protest against the Governments proposed agricultural tax emissions plan.

“We must protect our farming and rural communities at all costs. They are a vital contributor to our economy both regionally and nationally and are some of the most sustainable food producers in the world, having one of the lowest carbon footprints.

“The governments proposed tax emissions have the potential to create food scarcity and higher food prices with a significant volume of farmable land likely to be transferred to growing pine trees.
This tax emission plan is unworkable.

“No government has the right to remove without consent the value of one’s land, production and business which will be the end result.

“Potentially 26% of all NZ farms could disappear due to this tax plan.

We stand strong as a region in supporting and protecting our farmers who are all highly valued contributors to our region.”

Mayor Jamie Cline (Buller)
Mayor Tanya Gibson (Grey)
Mayor Helen Lash (Westland)
Chair Alan Birchfield (West Coast Regional Council) 




Rural round-up


Genetic modification in New Zealand – scientists call for 20-year rethink – Jamie Morton:

Twenty years after the Corngate scandal turned genetic modification into a political hot potato, leading science figures hope a new review will bring changes. Jamie Morton reports.

It’s called ciltacabtagene autoleucel.

Its trading name, Carvykti, doesn’t roll off the tongue any easier.

But it marks a major milestone in one of our most complex, contentious and enduring debates: genetic modification. . .

Fonterra’s competitors challenges its capital restructuring plan but the co-op has the backing of our agriculture minister – Point of Order:

New Zealand’s   big  dairy  company, Fonterra,  has  come  under  pressure   from  two  directions  this  week.  First,  its  fortnightly GDT auction registered  another   fall  in  prices. Second,  it  faced  fire   from   four  of  its  competitors which  lobbied  the  government against  its  capital  restructuring  plan.

On  the  first issue, the latest  sale  has  taken  the GDT index  to  the  lowest level  since  January  last  year, although  what  may  soften that particular  blow  is  the  devaluation  of  the  local  currency. The  NZ dollar is  now  trading well  down against  the  greenback at US56c ,  from where  it  was  then,  around US70c.

The average price at the  auction fell 4.6% to US$3723 a tonne, after falling 3.5% in the previous auction.

Prices have generally been falling since hitting a record high in March. . .

Sharing story sustainability – Sally Rae:

As Becks Smith prepares to record her podcast The Whole Story, she puts a port-a-cot mattress on the headboard of her bed to help with sound quality.

Her bedroom doubled as a studio, given many of the rooms of the Maniototo farmhouse she shares with husband Jason and their three young children, were too echoey.

Occasionally, their working dogs could be heard barking in the background of the podcast, while rural connectivity issues sometimes also had to be worked through.

But it summed her up; rather than having a slick studio somewhere, it was authentic and real, based on a 700ha sheep, beef and deer property in the heart of rural Otago.

“To resonate with farmers, you don’t need polished and shiny,” she said. . .

Lambs to slaughter  – Clive Bibby :

Any farmer trying to get space for lambs that need to be killed before they cut their teeth will identify with this very apt description which could also be applied to a wider difficulty that is affecting the whole country.

Unfortunately the problem in all its forms is a direct result of the government’s obsession with an ideological target that is being increasingly seen as a misplaced interpretation of world climatic events – particularly in how we in New Zealand should react in mitigation to the perceived threat of global warming.

Most intelligent observers, especially those of us charged with rescuing the nation from the avoidable mistakes made during Covid, will be appalled, if not frightened by the government’s determination to pursue the disastrous path on which we have all been committed. 

As one approaching the twilight years of my life and a keen admirer of the farmers who have time and again over the years come to the rescue of the dangerous halfwits we have mistakenly elected to the highest office in the land, I am worried that this time, our collective effort may not be enough. . .

Southern Pastures measuring dairy for good :

Ethical investor Southern Pastures, the country’s largest institutional dairy investment fund, has been judged to be a Responsible Investment Leader for the seventh year running.

It remains the only organization from New Zealand’s agriculture and food sectors to ever be included in the annual benchmark report released by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA).

Southern Pastures owns 19 dairy farms in Waikato and Canterbury and is the owner of premium dairy brand Lewis Road Creamery and wholesale business NZ Grass Fed Products LP.

“So often the pastoral industry is judged by outputs such as emissions, but we’re not nearly as rigorously measured or assessed for the positive services that some of us provide,” says Prem Maan, Southern Pastures’ Executive Chairman. . . 

New Zealand’s top sausages announced :

New World Te Rapa in Hamilton and Zaroa Meats in Auckland have been announced as the Supreme Award joint winners in the 2022 Great New Zealand Sausage Competition. The judges couldn’t split New World Te Rapa’s Pork sausage and Zaroa Meats’ Aoraki Salami, instead crowning them joint winners of the Supreme Award.

The successful sausages were announced at a special Sausage Mixer event this evening where butchers from across the nation gathered to find out who had taken out the top spot. It’s not the first time there has been a tie, but judges were unanimous that both sausages had all the qualities they were looking for to beat out over 530 other entries.

Porsche Davis, of New World Te Rapa says “I wasn’t expecting this at all. I wasn’t expecting to win gold to start with let alone this” When asked the secret to their Supreme sausage, Porsche Davis was giving nothing away “We did recently update our pork sausage recipe, it’s made from New Zealand pork but I can’t reveal any trade secrets, you have to try it to understand!”

Marc Zabern of Zaroa Meats says “my father is the mastermind behind the supreme salami, he’s been designing the most incredible sausages for years now and when he created this Wagyu and Venison Salami we knew it was special. It’s a taste sensation.” . . 

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