Rural round-up

29/09/2022

We don’t want farmers to break the law :

The Government’s winter grazing regime is becoming increasingly confusing for farmers as D-Day looms to have consents in place, warns Federated Farmers, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and DairyNZ

The Government has been slow to implement freshwater farm plans, forcing farmers into an expensive consent process, while councils nationwide are struggling with the consenting burden.

This has left farmers at risk of breaking the law as planting for winter crops needs to take place in late spring, says Federated Farmers National Board spokesperson, Water and Environment, Colin Hurst. 

“We’ve been told by the Ministry for the Environment, Ministry for Primary Industries and various regional councils that ‘it’s ok’ and nothing will happen if farmers get planting, even though they’d be at risk of breaking the law.” . . 

Have your say on the Dairy Industry Restructuring (Fonterra Capital Restructure) Amendment Bill:

The Primary Production Committee is seeking public submissions on the Dairy Industry Restructuring (Fonterra Capital Restructuring) Amendment Bill. This bill would enable Fonterra to implement a new capital structure.

The bill would amend the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 to allow Fonterra’s unit fund to be partially and permanently delinked. Fonterra’s ability to limit the size of the unit fund would be specifically excluded from conduct that could be considered illegal.

The bill also seeks to improve the transparency, and strengthens the Commerce Commission’s oversight of Fonterra’s base milk price-setting arrangements. It would also support liquidity in trade of Fonterra shares. . . 

Non-food corps are eating our food – Deepak K Ray:

The world’s farmers grow crops for food as well as other uses. Those other uses are threatening to crowd out our chance to feed the world’s hungry, writes Deepak K Ray.

It’s sometimes bandied about that enough food is grown globally to feed everyone now and into the future. Undernourishment is ‘just a distribution challenge’. And it’s mostly true: enough kilojoules do and will be harvested in just the top 10 global crops, which account for more than 80 percent of all calories. We will grow an extra 14,000 trillion kilocalories (around 59,000 trillion kilojoules) by 2030.

But while distribution is certainly one challenge, under the hood things are not so simple; all harvested crops are not for direct food consumption.

Crops are often consumed with little to no processing, such as apples from the tree and tortillas made from the flour of a wheat or maize crop. But there are another six reasons crops are grown: animal feed (for dairy, eggs and meat production); the food processing industry (think high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oil and modified starch); exports (to countries that can pay); industrial use (think ethanol, bio-diesel, bagasse, bio-plastics, and pharmaceuticals); seeds; and then there are crop losses. These last two categories are relatively small, though in the 2010s crop losses were still relatively high in Africa. . . 

The fragile magic of highly productive land – Emile Donovan:

Not all land is created equal.

Some – which we call ‘highly productive land’ – is, as it says on the tin, highly productive.

That means it’s much more flexible than other types of land: you can grow many different types of fruit or vegetables on it; you can adapt it for other types of farming, all with minimal input from farmers.

Aotearoa puts its highly productive land to good use: in breadbaskets, like Pukekohe, we grow food that feeds New Zealanders, and is exported around the world.  . . 

More seasonal workers welcome :

BusinessNZ welcomes the Government’s announcement of another 3000 places for seasonal workers to help ease workforce pressure, and would like to see the same done for more sectors.

BusinessNZ Chief Executive Kirk Hope says this afternoon’s announcement is a good start.

“Hopefully by recognising the urgent need for more workers in the horticultural sector, the Government is also open to considering the shortages New Zealand is currently facing across all sectors and at all levels of employment.

“The global war for talent has resulted in a very competitive international environment and New Zealand businesses are looking to source skills from the New Zealand labour market where that is possible. . . 

Increased RSE cap will help wine industry meet seasonal work peaks :

New Zealand Winegrowers welcomes the announcement today that the Government has increased the RSE cap to 19,000, providing 3000 additional places.

“The availability of skilled seasonal workers continues to be a critical concern for many growers and wineries. The announcement today will help the New Zealand wine industry to plan with more certainty to meet seasonal work peaks, and ensure we can continue to make premium quality wine. This decision will benefit Pacific workers, their families, and our wine regions,” says Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers.

“There are very clear requirements for all accredited employers regarding accommodation, and pastoral care. As an industry we expect these are upheld, as a minimum. It is a privilege to have this scheme, to enable our industry to meet our seasonal work peaks, and RSE employees must be provided with fair and ethical working conditions – anything less is unacceptable.”

“This increase recognises the Government’s confidence in the scheme, and the confidence they have in the primary industries to get this right, and give RSE workers the experience they deserve. This is a responsibility that will not be taken lightly.” . . 


Rural round-up

02/09/2022

‘NZ farmers can show the way’ – Rabobank :

Rabobank has released a white paper outlining key actions to help guide New Zealand’s food production as it faces challenges around climate change and food security

Among the conclusions of “Steering into the food transition” is that we need to feed more people while cutting back on emissions.

The global population is projected to reach 10 billion by 2050, while at the same time there is scientific and political consensus that global warming must be contained to 1.5°C. 

Food producers will have to balance both challenges. . . 

Overseas firms buy more sheep, beef farms for forestry conversion :

The sale of four sheep and beef farms to overseas investors, who will turn about 7100 hectares into rotational forests, has been approved.

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has issued its latest decisions made under the special forest test.

Introduced in 2018, the test was designed to support the government’s forestry priorities, including more tree planting. Farming groups have raised concerns too much productive farmland is being lost to trees.

Furniture store IKEA’s parent company Ingka Investments is continuing to buy land to plant trees with its latest purchase, the Huiarua and Matanui Stations in the Gisborne region with a combined area of just over 6000 hectares. . . 

South Westland rivers are pristine – told you so says Feds :

University of Otago research describing the water quality of South Westland rivers as pristine, despite 160 years of river flats farming, is no surprise to Federated Farmers.

Feds freshwater spokesperson Colin Hurst says we already knew this, but the additional science-based corroboration is great to have as we continue to put the case to government that blanket, one-size-fits-all stock fencing regulations are impractical.

The farming systems used on the West Coast take account of the province’s terrain, weather and environment.

“The West Coast has mountains very close to the coast meaning when it rains, rivers surge and often flood. Fences are inevitably swept away and simply become a hazard to river and marine life,” Colin says. . . 

Tool to boost high country health – Annette Scott:

The wellbeing of hill country farmers is at the heart of the new FarmSalus tool.

An innovative farmer wellbeing assessment tool for hill country farmers will help understand and monitor the human component of farming.  

FarmSalus, launched in August, is part of the $8.1 million Hill Country Futures (HCF) programme focused on future-proofing the profitability, sustainability and wellbeing of New Zealand’s hill country farmers, their farm systems, the environment and rural communities.

The wellbeing of hill country farmers is at the heart of the new FarmSalus tool developed by the HCF partnership programme, which includes the Ministry for Primary Industries and Nature Positive, and is facilitated by Beef + Lamb NZ. . . 

New arable tool aims to find true costs :

Arable farmers must understand their ‘true cost’ of production to ensure continued financial viability – and Federated Farmers has a new spreadsheet designed to do exactly that.

The cost of production spreadsheet offers growers a unique tool with which to analyse all relevant costs associated with growing ryegrass and white clover seed crops and running the farm.

It even allows for a return on investment.

Its release coincides with a recent Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) gross margin analysis for ryegrass seed production. . . 

Tahryn Mason is the 2022 Corteva Young Viticulturist of the Year :

Congratulations to Tahryn Mason from Villa Maria in Marlborough, who became the 2022 Corteva Young Viticulturist of the Year. The National Final was held on 30 August at Indevin’s Bankhouse in Marlborough with the announcement made at the Awards Dinner the following evening.

It has been a busy few months for Tahryn, aged 30, as he also recently became a father for the first time. The Young Vit competition is open to those 30 years and younger working in viticulture, so Tahryn was determined to take out the prestigious title in his last year of competing. Tahryn originally competed in the Auckland/Northern competition in 2019 when he was working at Villa Maria in Auckland, before moving to Marlborough in 2020.

“This competition has been the driving force and making of my career” he says. The competition helps grow Young Vits by giving them support, focus and opportunities to upskill and widen their networks. . . 


Rural round-up

23/08/2022

Regulations repeatedly failing ‘practicality test’ – Andrew Hoggard:

Federated Farmers has given repeated warnings to government that aspects of the 2020 ‘Essential Freshwater’ regulations are unworkable. Frustratingly, officials have treated us as lobbyists and viewed our concerns as simply coming from a point of self-interest rather than recognising we seek workable and lasting solutions.

But it is becoming increasingly apparent that all the problems we identified are coming to fruition.

First cab off the rank was the N fertiliser reporting deadline of 31 July 2022. This is where all the dairy farmers are supposed to report back to their regional council that they haven’t exceeded the 190kg per hectare nitrogen cap. The vast majority of dairy farmers never use more than this anyway, and we are already reporting all this stuff back through their dairy companies but hey let’s do the job a second time because what else do we have going on at this time of year….Actually, make that the third time because Stats NZ would also like to know how much fertiliser I applied.

Federated Farmers opposed this regulation because it wasn’t scientific and it targeted dairy farmers over other users of fertiliser. But at the end of the day, it is a pretty simple regulation. We would have thought it would be pretty easy to implement. . . .

Sector praised after challenging times – Tim Cronshaw:

A farming leader says the way the red meat sector has got through unprecedented times in sheep and beef farming is an “unsung hero” story.

Agricultural exports made $52 billion and contributed 82% of export revenues despite a line-up of challenges since Covid-19 arrived.

About 300 delegates attending the Red Meat Sector Conference in Christchurch heard that they’d faced an increase in government policies, regulations and consumer attitudes around Climate Change.

“I’m really proud of how we’ve navigated these Covid challenges and I’m really proud we’ve collectively navigated these policy challenges,” Beef+Lamb NZ chairman Andrew Morrison said.

“We’ve come together as a red meat sector and an agricultural sector.” . . 

Glimmer of hope in draft Tasman stock control bylaw  – Hamish Barwick:

Federated Farmers has a glimmer of hope that the Tasman District Council is listening to its concerns about the council’s Draft Stock Control and Droving Bylaw.

Farmers in the Nelson and Golden Bay area’s feel the Bylaw is unworkable as it would require mobs of livestock to be held 50m back from the roads, before going onto the road, in an attempt to stop stock defecating on roads. . . 

The Bylaw would also require permits which would capture virtually all road droving within consent application processes, so the Council can gather information on stock droving.

In addition, there are wrongly placed rules citing the need for compliance with Resource Management Act (RMA) freshwater management policy and regulations when the Tasman Regional Resource Management Plan doesn’t allow the Council to use bylaws in its implementation methods on Freshwater Management. . . 

Young winegrowers heading to Burgundy :

The best young talent from Central Otago is going to one of best wine-producing areas in the world.

After a two-year pause on travel, the Central Otago Winegrowers’ Association (Cowa) is once again sending young winegrowers to France’s Burgundy area.

The six young winegrowers are part of the Central Otago Burgundy exchange stagiaires (interns), which is back on its feet.

This will be the largest group that has headed to Burgundy since the exchange was first established in 2006. . . 

Seeka announces result for the six months to 30 June 2022 :

Listed New Zealand produce company Seeka, reports its unaudited interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2022.

– $49.4m EBITDA – up 5.3% on six months to June 2021, (previous corresponding period (pcp))
– $21.5m NPAT – up 4.3% on pcp

Seeka has announced its results with a backdrop of Covid-19, adverse weather events, extreme labour shortages, machine commissioning delays, shipping disruption, lower fruit yields and poor quality. It has been a tough six months and the company has hunkered down, toughed it out and focussed on the immediate job of optimising its operations and results in a volatile environment with significant inflationary pressure and geopolitical events affecting key markets.

The company has focussed on core business having completed the acquisition and integration of OPAC, Orangewood and NZ Fruits in the last twelve months. . . 

The most damaging farm products are not regenerative beef & lamb, George Monbiot  – Meg Chatham:

It’s half-baked, over-simplifications of nature’s complexity and our increasing disconnection from the rest of the living world.

I was recently made aware of this article by author, George Monbiot, damning organic, pasture-fed beef and lamb as the world’s most damaging farm products.

This statement alone reveals a misunderstanding of global ecology and an ignorance of how essential livestock is to 1.3 billion people.

First, let’s address the sweeping assumption that all animal impact causes a negative impact around the world. . . 


Rural round-up

17/08/2022

Concern about rate of forestry conversions – Sally Rae:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand says the rate of whole-farm sales and conversions to carbon farming in the country is “out of control”.

The Government’s announcement last week that exotic trees would no longer be removed from the permanent category of the emissions trading scheme (ETS) was a step back from addressing the “deeply concerning” sale of sheep and beef farms, chief executive Sam McIvor said .

Overseas Investment Office decisions for June show consent has been given under the special forestry one-off purchase for the acquisition of nearly 2300ha of land, running sheep and beef, for conversion to forestry.

Approval was also granted for the sale of a dairy farm for forestry conversion and an existing forestry block. . .

Kiwifruit returns not so juicy this year as rising costs and fruit quality issues bite – Andrea Fox :

Growers in New Zealand Inc’s sweetheart kiwifruit industry are in for some unusually downbeat news next week as rising costs and fruit quality issues combine to drive down forecast returns.

Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson has sounded the warning in an update to the global marketer’s 2800 New Zealand growers, saying the next orchard gate returns forecast on August 23 will reflect that fruit quality this season remains a significant issue as previously flagged.

Zespri, which has a statutory near-monopoly on kiwifruit exporting with record net global sales nudging $3.6 billion last year, is a little over halfway through its sales season.
Ongoing rain and cold weather in New Zealand and unseasonably high summer temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere had led to a crowded fruit market, Mathieson said.

“Fruit quality remains an ongoing and significant issue this season….We are not alone in facing this challenge, with quality issues evident across other global fruit categories this season, and our competitors and colleagues have also battled labour shortages, supply chain congestion and inflationary pressures, all of which impact grower returns. . .

Align Farms CEO Rhys Roberts on Government’s regenerative farming project

While chief executive of Align Farms Rhys Roberts has reservations about the Government’s new regenerative agriculture project, he welcomes another voice on the subject.

Ngāi Tahu and the Government are undertaking a seven-year research programme to validate the science of regenerative farming.

The trial will compare a conventional and regenerative farm side-by-side to assess the environmental impacts of their practices.

Roberts, who is also the 2022 Zanda McDonald Award winner, has been running a similar trial at Align Farms for years. . . 

NZ avocado industry warned to brace for lower prices as key Aussie market swamped – Tina Morrison :

New Zealand’s avocado industry needs to brace itself for a period of lower prices and volatility ahead as its key Australian market is swamped with the fashionable fruit, and returns from its emerging Asian market lag behind.

Increased Australian production resulted in an “avalanche” of avocados last year which saw retail prices for the green creamy fruit fall to a record low A$1 and prices this year are 47% below the five-year average, according to Rabobank associate analyst Pia Piggott.

“It’s simple supply and demand – as the supply goes up, the price goes down,” she says.

Strong demand for the heavily promoted “superfood” which features in dishes such as smashed avocado, has prompted Australian farmers to plant more than 1000 hectares a year and after six years those trees are now coming to maturity, which is expected to see Australia’s production expand by more than 40% over the next four years. . .

Course tailored for workers – John Lewis :

The rhythms of the seasons have been taken into account in a new Otago Polytechnic education pathway aimed at refining wine-growing and fruit production skills in Central Otago.

It means those already working in the horticulture and viticulture fields can concentrate their energy where it is needed during peak production times of the year while studying for a New Zealand diploma in horticulture production (level 5).

Delivered online and run at night, it enables students to continue to develop their skills in two focus areas: orchard fruit production (stone fruit, pip fruit and berries); and vineyard wine growing.

When they graduate, students will be able to manage horticultural or viticultural operations to ensure fruit or wine grape quality requirements are met. . . 

Australian Dairy Nutritionals to stop milk and yoghurt production in Camperdown – David Ross :

Camperdown Dairy, a historic Victorian brand, will stop producing fresh milk as rising costs push its owner to turn to better margins on milk powder products.

The ASX-listed Australian Dairy Nutritionals, based in the southwestern Victorian town of Camperdown, on Tuesday said it would cancel its fresh dairy produce due to rapidly rising costs that had eroded margins. Woolworths supermarkets stock Camperdown milk in their stores.

Australian Dairy Nutritionals said the move would mitigate staffing shortages and allow it to focus production on higher-margin products such as infant formula and nutritional supplements, but three staff might lose their jobs.

It said margins on fresh milk products had made it uncompetitive to continue, with nearly all suppliers increasing prices by more than 10 per cent and logistics costs nearly doubling. . . .


Rural round-up

15/07/2022

A ‘lousy’ deal! – Peter Burke:

The chair of the organisation which represents all the New Zealand dairy companies has hit out at government politicians for failing to deliver a quality FTA with the EU for the dairy sector.

Malcolm Bailey, Dairy Companies Association of NZ (DCANZ), says the parameters the politicians finally set for the negotiations made it virtually impossible for our highly skilled trade negotiators to pull off a good deal for what he calls one of the big engine rooms of the NZ economy – the dairy industry.

“This is a lousy deal, a significantly missed opportunity and sets an awful precedent for any future trade negotiations,” he says.

Bailey, who was in Brussels when the final touches were being put on the deal, says he had a sleepless night when he heard that the message from the Government to the negotiators was ‘anything better than the status quo’. . . 

I’ve worked the land for 25 years. Am I a ‘classic Kiwi farmer’ yet?  – Craig Hickman:

People like me may not have farming in our blood, but we’re just as passionate about the industry as those born into it, writes Craig Hickman, better known online as DairymanNZ.

The classic Kiwi farmer is Fred Dagg. He’s Wal Footrot. He’s Barry Crump from the classic Toyota Hilux ads.

The classic Kiwi farmer may have gone to university and got a diploma in agriculture, but more likely they got a trade or travelled on their Big OE before returning to New Zealand. When they arrived home, they worked alongside their parents in preparation for taking over the family farm and implementing their new ideas.

Today they’re middle aged, white, conservative, weather beaten and set in their ways. When they get angry, they’ll drive their tractors to town to protest and they most definitely took to Facebook to complain about a recent episode of Country Calendar. . .

Maori Trust-based  dairy business seeks dozens more suppliers – Sally Murphy:

A Taupō based dairy company with a point of difference is looking for 40 new farmer suppliers.

Miraka which is owned by a group of Māori trusts uses renewable geothermal energy to power its factory at Mokai.

Company chief executive Karl Gradon said it sources milk from about 100 farms in the central North Island but demand for its products is growing.

“We simply can’t keep up, our products are in high demand at the moment. We’re moving faster into areas such as consumer goods with our partners using their brands and we’re privileged to work with some of the most known brands in China and other parts of the world. . .

Province aims to be nation’s oat milk producer – Luisa Girao:

A Southland initiative got a milky boost from the Government to help in its goal to become the main producer of oat milk in the country.

Economic and regional development minister Stuart Nash visited Invercargill yesterday where he announced the Government would invest up to $6million in New Zealand’s first and largest carbon neutral plant-based beverage processing facility — with oat milk the first product off the production line.

The project, carried by New Zealand Functional Foods, would bring the construction of a $50million factory in Makarewa to produce 80 million litres of oat milk annually and generate about 50 new jobs when operating by the end of next year.

New Zealand Functional Foods acting chief executive Roger Carruthers said half of the oats grown in the country come from Southland and its quality was among the best in the world. . . 

We can all do our bit  Barbara Kuriger:

An estimated 40% of food produced globally each year is wasted — totalling 2.5 billion tonnes.

New Zealand households account for more than 157,000 tonnes of it.

July 8 marked the release of Food Waste: A Global and Local Problem, a report by the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor.

The first in a series of reports the OPMCSA will produce as part of a food waste project, it describes NZ’s wastage as ‘avoidable’ and explains why it’s such a huge problem — environmentally, socially and economically. . . 

 

Tahryn Mason from Villa Maria takes out Marlborough Young VIt competition:

Congratulations to Tahryn Mason from Villa Maria who became the 2022 Marlborough Corteva Young Viticulturist of the Year on 7 July at the competition held at Giesen House in Rapaura. He will now go through to the National Final which will also be held in Marlborough at the end of August.

Tahryn previously competed in the National Final in 2020 when he represented Auckland and was working for Villa Maria, as he was living there although still working for Villa Maria. Having moved to Marlborough a couple of year ago, he is delighted to now represent the region he now calls home.

It’s been a busy few months for Tahryn as not only has he been studying hard for the competition, but he recently became a father for the first time, making his win feel even more special.

Congratulations also goes to Jess Marston from Giesen Wines who came second and to Daniel Clearwater from Constellation Brands who came third. The other contestants Zac Howell from Villa Maria, Claudia Clark from Constellation Brands and Kris Godsall from Whitehaven all impressed the judges with their knowledge, skills and positive, professional attitude throughout the day. . . 


Rural round-up

17/06/2022

The methane issue is far from settled – Keith Woodford:

Big methane decisions lie ahead that will affect all New Zealanders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crunch time for calculating farming emissions –  Jean Bell:

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

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

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

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

Team likely to travel to Australian national shearing and woolhandling championships

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

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

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

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

Horticulture industry more than just being out on an orchard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Rural round-up

31/05/2022

Labour’s economic mismanagement hurting farmers :

Grant Robertson’s refusal to rein in spending and take meaningful action to dampen inflation is piling pressure on primary industries, National’s spokesperson for Rural Communities Nicola Grigg says.

“This Labour Government has unleashed unprecedented levels of spending in last week’s Budget, with more than $9.5 billion in new spending forecast this year alone. To put it in context, they are now spending 68 per cent more, or an extra $51 billion per year, since coming into office.

“This out of control spending is putting huge pressure on the economy and is driving inflation to a record 30-year high, with the cost of farm inputs rising by 9.8 per cent since the March quarter last year.

“This week we saw another 50 basis point jumps in the OCR, the first back to back 50 point increase since the OCR was introduced – which has never happened before and will effectively double interest rates compared with last year. . . 

Farmers encouraged to make the most of wetlands :

A new guide has been developed to help farmers get the most out of wetlands on their land – and it features a case study that shows a wetland on one Waikato farm removed about 60 percent of nitrogen from the water it receives.

As more farmers look to reduce their environmental impact, there’s growing interest in re-establishing and constructing new wetlands.

Dairy NZ and NIWA, with guidance from the Fish and Game Council have teamed up to create a guide for farmers, which features a Waikato dairy farm as a case study.

Gray and Marilyn Baldwin developed a wetland on their 713 hectare dairy farm, where over 12,000 native plants were put in. . . 

 

Critical questions – Owen Jennings:

A number of critically important questions have been raised in recent discussions I have had with farmers about their greenhouse gas emissions. They deserve answers. The mainstream media ignore them preferring to bag the farming community saying they are getting off lightly and are not meeting their responsibilities.

Question 1. Why is Article 2 (b) of the Paris Agreement ignored when it states clearly that countries should not reduce food production in their pursuit of emission goals? Proposals that will reduce production by 15% or more violate the Agreement.

Question 2. Why are we taking unilateral action that will cut production in NZ that has the planet’s lowest carbon footprint when we know that other countries, with a worse record, will make up the shortfall leading to increased emissions overall?

Question 3. Why is 1990 used as a base date for measuring ruminant emissions when methane emissions only last 9 to 10 years in the atmosphere? Isn’t that deceptive? The Climate Change Commission showed clearly ruminant methane emissions are stable or falling slightly since 2005 which means farmers have achieved ‘net zero’ and are actually contributing to cooling the planet. The amount of methane from the farm in the atmosphere is falling. Farmers are heroes not villains. . . 

Pioneering viticulturist receives Wine Marlborough Lifetime Achievement Award :

A stalwart of the Marlborough wine industry, Dominic Pecchenino, has been honoured by the board of Wine Marlborough with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award, which recognises service to the development of the Marlborough Wine industry, was presented to the viticultural consultant during the Winter Pruning Field Day held at Matador Estate today [Wednesday, 25 May].

Wine Marlborough General Manager Marcus Pickens says Mr Pecchenino has played a significant role in the development of Marlborough’s wine industry as a scientist and viticulturist.

He arrived in Marlborough from the US in 1994, as vineyard manager of Matador Estate – the very place where he was honoured with his award, almost 30 years later. . .

 

Olive oil pressers optimistic despite low olive oil produce :

Olive oil growers in Wairarapa are optimistic about the season’s harvest, despite some very wet weather to start with.

Leafyridge Olives manager and grower Craig Leaf-Wright said the weather had thrown growers a curveball.

“We’ve had a lot of rain in the Wairarapa since December, and then on and off since then, and that kind of skewed things a bit for people,” he said.

“Some people thought that their fruit was ripening earlier, I think it’s probably about on par, and some people believe it should be a bit later. . .

In Sri Lanka organic farming went catastrophically wrong – Ted Nordhaus & Saloni Shah:

Faced with a deepening economic and humanitarian crisis, Sri Lanka called off an ill-conceived national experiment in organic agriculture this winter. Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa promised in his 2019 election campaign to transition the country’s farmers to organic agriculture over a period of 10 years. Last April, Rajapaksa’s government made good on that promise, imposing a nationwide ban on the importation and use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and ordering the country’s 2 million farmers to go organic.

The result was brutal and swift. Against claims that organic methods can produce comparable yields to conventional farming, domestic rice production fell 20 percent in just the first six months. Sri Lanka, long self-sufficient in rice production, has been forced to import $450 million worth of rice even as domestic prices for this staple of the national diet surged by around 50 percent. The ban also devastated the nation’s tea crop, its primary export and source of foreign exchange.

By November 2021, with tea production falling, the government partially lifted its fertilizer ban on key export crops, including tea, rubber, and coconut. Faced with angry protests, soaring inflation, and the collapse of Sri Lanka’s currency, the government finally suspended the policy for several key crops—including tea, rubber, and coconut—last month, although it continues for some others. The government is also offering $200 million to farmers as direct compensation and an additional $149 million in price subsidies to rice farmers who incurred losses. That hardly made up for the damage and suffering the ban produced. Farmers have widely criticized the payments for being massively insufficient and excluding many farmers, most notably tea producers, who offer one of the main sources of employment in rural Sri Lanka. The drop in tea production alone is estimated to result in economic losses of $425 million. . . 


Rural round-up

26/04/2022

91 students enrolled with Growing Future Farmers in 2022:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) funds Growing Future Farmers (GFF) who aims to accelerate a graduate’s career from entry level Essential Farm Skills programme to advanced Farm Skills and Business Management.

GFF recently reported that 31 second year students and 60 first year students enrolled in the programme for the 2022 intake.

With a total of 91 students enrolled in 2022 Growing Future Farmers is cemented as the largest training organisation of its type in the country,” says GFF General Manager Cyn Smith.

Growing Future Farmers combines a range of specialised industry training and development with formal NZQA learning that includes classroom lectures, independent study, and group sessions. It is a two-year programme (46 weeks each year) with placements in 10 regions throughout the country. . . 

Winegrowers hopeful better harvest will allow renewal of stocks – Nicholas Pointon:

The 2022 grape harvest looks to have rebounded from the disappointment of last year allowing bigger production and winemakers to refill their cellars, after stocks were depleted a year ago.

The 2021 harvest was nearly 20 percent smaller than the previous year because of poor weather and wineries had to draw down on their reserves to meet market demand.

But reports are coming through from some makers of a much better year, with the stock exchange-listed company Foley Wines reporting its 2022 harvest was likely to be two-thirds higher than last year.

“The team across the business did a remarkable job in very difficult conditions,” chief executive Mark Turnbull said in a statement. . . 

 

Ukraine export woes prompt sunflower oil business to amend plans – Sally Murphy :

A New Zealand company is looking to more than treble its production of sunflower oil in response to global shortages.

Ukraine is the world’s largest producer of sunflower oil but due to the war its production is expected to be down 40 percent this season.

In a normal year it produces 7.5 tonnes of the oil each year, 7 million tonnes are exported.

Ukraine’s main sunflower oil producer is Kernel, its chief executive Ilevgen Osypov told CNN they’re struggling to get product to ports for export. . . 

Apiculture NZ secures funding for honey sector strategy :

Apiculture New Zealand has successfully secured funding from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI’s) Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund, for a two-year project that will help identify how the New Zealand apiculture sector can achieve sustainable growth.

“The aim of the project is to establish a strategic direction for the apiculture sector by identifying actionable measures to enable sustainable value growth. This will be driven by a shared purpose, derived from engagement with all participants in the sector,” says Karin Kos, CE Apiculture NZ.

“The sector experienced huge growth following the quick escalation in demand from international consumers for New Zealand’s mānuka honey. But in many ways the sector’s response to meet that new demand has been unsustainable. Now is the time to understand how we can capitalise on the opportunities that have emerged, but at a rate that can be lasting, both for participants and the environment. Apiculture NZ welcomes the Government’s support to help us realise that goal,” says Ms Kos.

The work will look at opportunities to capture more value at all levels of the sector and understand what type of transformation, capability and innovation will be required to capture that value sustainably. . . 

FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest series regional finals a success :

The road to the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final is underway, with all regional finals now finished and competitors selected.

Seven FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Finalists, 14 FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year teams (28 competitors) and 21 AgriKidsNZ teams (63 competitors) will be heading to Whangarei to battle it out for the top awards, this July.

Wanting to celebrate the regional final season loudly and proudly, New Zealand Young Farmers CEO Lynda Coppersmith has called it an absolute success.

“To have travelled across the country during the omicron outbreak, held seven great regional finals with minimum disruptions and selected all our incredible competitors – all with no outbreaks at our events – is a testament to our exceptional teams and volunteers who put this contest together and their dedication and resilience. . . 

Award-winning riverfront cropping and grazing property is place don the market for sale :

A multi-award-winning agricultural block which has been diligently nurtured for generations to produce high cropping yields and grazing conditions has been placed on the market for sale.

The flat contoured 109-hectare property close to Wairoa between Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay is known as Whakapau Farm and has sustained seasonal cropping of vegetables and grains, along with fattening of sheep and beef.

Whakapau Farm has been awarded multiple accolades by Hawke’s Bay-based agricultural and horticultural produce company Cedenco, including highest yield for sweet corn, Organic Grower of the Year, Highest Gross Return, and highest yield. . . 


Rural round-up

05/04/2022

A river runs through it – Lois Williams :

Flood-prone Franz Josef and nearby farms remain at the mercy of the West Coast’s biblical rainfall as the Government dithers on protection measures. 

In South Westland, work has begun on extending the giant stopbanks that protect the tourist town of Franz Josef and State Highway 6 from the wild Waiho River.

It’s nearly two years since the Government trumpeted a grant of $24 million for improved flood defences following the spectacular March 2019 event that washed away the road bridge and stranded hundreds of tourists for days.

But on the south bank opposite Franz Josef township, farmers and homeowners are still waiting to hear if they’re to be included or forgotten. . . 

Long processing season likely – Riley Kennedy:

Farmers should prepare for a “very long” processing season, Silver Fern Farms chief executive Simon Limmer says.

While the company had managed to keep Omicron out of its plants, the outbreak had put pressure on its processing chains.

There had been high rates of absenteeism across its network as staff had to self-isolate.

Much as with the overall outbreak in New Zealand, Silver Fern Farms had experienced a “north to south” wave. . . 

The picking is good as vineyards wait for workers – Tracie Barrett:

Central Otago winemakers and viticulturists are looking forward to the 2022 vintage, reporting good fruit size and flavours as harvest takes place on sunny days, although possible labour shortages cast a shadow.

Quartz Reef Wines winemaker Rudi Bauer, a two-time recipient of New Zealand Winemaker of the Year, said harvest of grapes began on February 22 for the label’s sparkling wine, which requires lower sugar levels than are required for a pinot noir.

“Generally, we are very happy with the sparkling wine quality,” he said.

Picking of the pinot noir began on the Bendigo vineyard on March 17, and the stable season had contributed to a promising vintage. . . 

 

Medals for NZ Champions of Cheese Awards 2022 announced :

After judging at the end of February the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association (NZSCA) has announced 254 medal winners in the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards 2022.

In what was a record for recent years entries were up 20 percent on 2021 – more than 380 cheeses were judged, with 76 Gold Medals, 120 Silver Medals and 58 Bronze Medals awarded.

Thirty-six judges led by Master Cheese Judge Jason Tarrant assessed the cheeses at Wintec in Hamilton on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 February 2022.

Jason Tarrant thanked the high calibre judging team, saying proof of their skill and understanding of NZ cheese was how aligned they were with all their assessments. . . 

 

Tim Dangen takes out the Northern FMG Young Farmer of the Year title:

Tim Dangen, 29, has secured himself the final spot at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final for Season 54.

Tim, a beef farmer and calf rearer in Muriwai, was announced as the winner of the Northern FMG Young Farmer of the Year on Saturday night after a full day of challenges.

Following closely in the runner-up position was Lisa Kendall and in third place, Sam Waugh, both members of Franklin Young Farmers.

The Northern Regional Final Organising Committee, led by Auckland Young Farmer Louise Ford, put on an outstanding day, challenging Contestants to a range of tasks ensuring to test their ability and knowledge of the food and fibre sector. . .

QAAFI science cracks down on beef counterfeiting – Shan Goodwin:

WITH beef commanding top dollar, the incentive to counterfeit species and cuts is stronger than ever and the ways of doing it are becoming more and more sophisticated.

While meat fraud is rare in Australia, cattle producers certainly have a strong interest in stopping it – or even accidental substitution – overseas, given three quarters of Australian beef is exported.

That’s why scientists in Australia are honing in on ways to outsmart the fraudsters.

Advanced machine learning algorithms that researchers at the Queensland Alliance for Agricultural and Food Innovation are helping to develop have the power to validate the species, cut and even provenance of meat. . . 


Rural roundup

04/04/2022

Food crisis coming farming leader warns – Tim Cronshaw:

The price of diesel has gone up so much that it cost Valetta grain farmer David Clark $4000 to fill up his combine harvester.

By the time he had finished harvesting a milling wheat crop that night it was empty and needed filling again.

A full tank only cost him $1700 last year.

Mr Clark said there was no alternative, but to pass on the extra cost to shoppers who would have to pay more for their bread. . . 

Surfing for Farmers hits the right spot – Nick Brook:

A nationwide initiative supporting farmers’ mental and physical health was a roaring success in its first season at Kaka Point in South Otago.

Surfing For Farmers (SFF) was launched in Gisborne in 2018 by Stephen Thomson after seeing how pressure on the rural sector was hurting farmers at an alarming rate.

The programme now operates at 18 beaches throughout New Zealand.

‘‘As much as we love this industry, the stress of the job can get on top of you. . . 

Govt drought support doesn’t go far enough – Simmonds

Invercargill MP Penny Simmonds says the Government’s declaration of a drought in Southland is big on talk, but small on funding support.

Yesterday, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced the current drought condition in the Southland, Clutha and Queenstown Lakes districts as a medium-scale adverse event.

The adverse event classification unlocks up to $100,000 in Government funding to support farmers and growers until October 2022, O’Connor says.

“The drought coupled with pandemic disruption to meat processing has contributed to added strain on people. . . 

Looking for the perfect peanut – Country Life:

Can New Zealand grow peanuts suitable for peanut butter?

To find out, eight peanut varieties are currently being trialled in Northland and one looks particularly promising…

A text of GPS coordinates leads Country Life to a paddock of peanuts in the Far North. It can’t be spotted from the road.

“It’s by design,” laughs Greg Hall from the Whangārei development agency Northland Inc. “It stops people ripping off our peanuts.” . . 

The roots go deep at Wanaka vineyard – Cosmo Kentish-Barnes:

Rippon winemaker Nick Mills looks across his family vineyard on the western flank of the Upper Clutha Basin, overlooking Lake Wānaka.

He says the land has its own spirit that he feels strongly.

Asked by Country Life to elaborate, he puts it like this:

“This land is about belonging, connections, love, family, team, voice, being blessed to be a place that grows grapes… that can talk with warmth and accuracy to this beautiful place.” . . 

Taking Stock: No shearers? – the wool industry hits a dilemma – Stephen Burns:

There have been many issues which have threatened the existence of the wool industry during the past 200 years when Merino sheep have been bred in Australia.

Some have been divisive to the point of pitting neighbour against neighbour, family against family – think of the troubles to introduce a Reserve Price Scheme in the early 1960’s or think again about the rancorous attempts to introduce wide combs.

Each were a cause of much heartache and dispute at the time but wide combs are now so readily accepted, it is a wonder so much time was sweated in denying their use.

That the Reserve Price Scheme eventually came undone only caused great financial pain to the many woolgrowers who continued to breed Merino sheep for their fleeces only to see them added to the wool stockpile until that accumulation was eventually sold. . . 


Rural round-up

31/03/2022

Practical and powerful resources growing great workplaces in food & fibre sectors :

Farmer Hamish Murray knows first-hand what it feels like to be short of the resources needed to create a great workplace. In 2014/2015, he and his family’s high-country sheep and beef farm suffered from one of Marlborough’s toughest droughts.

“My cup was empty; I had nothing left to give. When I reached emotional breaking point, it was obvious that to be successful at leading others, I needed to look at myself first. Soft skills aren’t a typical priority on-farm, but they matter the most if you want to attract, train and retain the best team.”

Hamish embarked on a series of coaching courses, mentoring and a Nuffield scholarship. Empowered by his new-found skills and knowledge, he then shared what he had learnt with his team.

“I worked out what I can control or change, and what I can’t. I learnt how to ask better and more open questions. We created a team, not a hierarchy. Accessing some very practical and powerful resources, improved my wellbeing, grew our staff’s self-awareness, and made our family business a better place to work.” . . 

Farmers stressed as Southland’s ‘green drought’ unlikely to break soon – Rachael Kelly:

John Smart looks out the window in the morning, sees the clear blue sky, and thinks it is going to be ‘’another crap day”.

He says he has never seen conditions so dry in his 30 years of farming in Southland, and he is worried that if rain does not fall soon, farmers are going to move from being ‘’stressed to really struggling’’.

“I’ve seen it dry before, but this is different. There’s no wind drying anything, and it’s staying warm even late into the evening.’’

Only 6mm of rain has fallen this month on the farm he is managing just outside Invercargill. . . 

Lack of staff, bad weather and Covid-19 creating challenges for wine harvest – Piers Fuller:

Ripe grapes don’t like the rain, and east coast vineyards are doing their best to get their harvests in before bacteria and mould takes hold.

After a hot summer the grape crops were in great shape, but heavy rains in February and March, and labour shortages are causing headaches for some wineries, particularly in Wairarapa.

Pip Goodwin of Martinborough’s Palliser Estate said it was “all hands to the deck” as they rushed to get their harvest in this year before the grapes were too “compromised”.

“It was a very challenging harvest. The fruit got a little bit compromised by the rain, and then we had no pickers.” . .

Race to beat ute tax – Neal Wallace:

Attempts to beat the ute tax, which comes into force on April 1, have been hampered by supply issues delays.

Vehicle retailers reported exceptional interest as potential purchasers try to beat the levy and replace their utilities, but supply issues have caused delivery delays of up to six months for some models.

The Clean Vehicle Act imposes a levy on high carbon-emitting vehicles, with the money used to rebate or subsidise the purchase cost of new electric vehicles (EVs).

Implementation has already been delayed from January 1 due to covid. . . 

Hunters advised not to release deer into new regions :

Ahead of the hunting season kicking off in earnest, OSPRI and farmers are asking hunters to think again if they are considering illegally releasing and relocating deer into new areas.

Deer hunters can unintentionally spread bovine TB by moving/releasing deer from one area to another area. Over the years OSPRI has worked hard to eradicate TB in possums from large areas of New Zealand. This work can all be undone by the reintroduction of TB infected deer with the potential of spill back of infection into the possum population.

Waikato farmer Leith Chick says Sika deer from the Central North Island in particular, pose a threat of infecting others if they are released in TB free areas.

“Farmers who are getting deer released onto their land should be aware that they are exposing themselves to the risk of bringing TB to their farm,” says Leith. . . 

Comvita partners with Save the Kiwi to help safeguard taonga species :

Comvita has partnered with conservation organisation, Save the Kiwi, in a significant sponsorship agreement that will ultimately provide more safe habitat for the iconic birds across the North Island.

Starting with Makino Station, home to one of Comvita’s mānuka forests in the lush Manawatu-Whanganui region where kiwi already reside, the ambition is that over time Comvita’s properties will become kiwi-safe habitats.

The partnership will see the implementation of predator management plans on land managed by Comvita that will enhance biodiversity and provide kiwi safe habitats to help the endangered population and other native flora and fauna thrive.

Save the Kiwi executive director Michelle Impey says partnering with Comvita is a new and exciting approach for kiwi conservation. . . 

 


Rural round-up

07/03/2022

Growers wary of Russia-Ukraine conflict – Annette Scott:

Cropping farmers are wrapping up one of the worst harvests they’ve seen.

Coupled with the threat of the long-term implications of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, things can’t get much worse, United Wheatgrowers chair and Mid Canterbury cropping farmer Brian Leadley said.  

“It’s got beyond urgent for many crops, the damage is done now, particularly for cereals and cut grasses,” Leadley said.

“The weather hasn’t played its part right back from flowering time in December, covid has created logistics issues and now we have the added confusion of the Russia-Ukraine war – both that are large and strong grain growing nations. . . 

Nervous final push ahead for Marlborough wine vintage – Morgane Solignac:

This year’s Marlborough wine vintage is shaping up to be a good one, but pressure is high as the industry navigates Covid, a labour crunch and Mother Nature.

Marlborough contractor Alapa Vineyard Services owner Alan Wilkinson usually employs 250 seasonal workers, but he is 60 per cent down this year with only 100 staff.

“We were supposed to get 22 Samoan workers last November, but they only just arrived last week,” he said.

“Last year we had 70 Thai workers but 20 of them have returned home over the last four months for various reasons. . . 

Diversity for sustainability – Hugh Stringleman:

Concern for the soil structure after summer maize cropping with conventional tillage has led Northland dairy farmers Adam and Laura Cullen to introduce multi-species cover crops over the prior winter and use direct drilling where possible. They are only beginning to see the benefits of this regenerative approach, they told Hugh Stringleman.

Adam Cullen, of Ararua in the Kaipara District, has rediscovered his enthusiasm for agriculture and applies his curiosity to finding new ways of dairying better, says his wife Laura.

The change of mindset prioritises improving the environment and the farm resources rather than constantly driving for production.

But the Cullens are not following a formula or prescription, rather being adaptive to their circumstances and farming conditions. . . 

 

Art for farming’s sake – Peter Burke:

A warning from his wife not to hang around the house and get under her feet when he retires has prompted a Feilding-based farmer to launch himself into a new and successful career – as an artist, painting rural scenes.

Seventy-three year-old Graham Christensen was brought up on a farm and as a youngster helped with shearing and the like before eventually doing a degree at Lincoln University.

His first job was with the old MAF where he managed the sheep breeding programme on Mana Island, near Wellington. . .

2022 Primary Industries Good Employer Awards open for entries :

The search has begun to find Aotearoa New Zealand’s most exceptional primary sector employers.

Entries have opened for the 2022 Primary Industries Good Employer Awards, which are run by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT).

“The Awards provide the opportunity to recognise and celebrate outstanding employers across the primary sector that may otherwise fly under the radar,” said MPI’s director of investment, skills and performance Cheyne Gillooly.

“The sector has been resilient throughout the pandemic and the hard mahi of farmers, growers and processors is leading our export-led recovery from COVID-19. . . 

Death by red meat is unsubstantiated – Frank Frank Mitloehner:

One might expect that a major breakthrough delivered by a well-respected organization – especially when the breakthrough seriously overrides a conclusion drawn merely two years earlier – to be backed by cold, hard facts. And yet, they are woefully absent from a Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) that calls unprocessed red meat an unconditional health risk.

The 2019 report points to a 36-fold higher estimate of deaths attributable to unprocessed red meat consumption than what is outlined in GBD’s 2017 study. In other words, any amount of red meat intake can lead to serious health complications, particularly cancer. The claim is made all the more shocking by the fact that GBD’s previous report assigns relatively low death risk to animal-sourced foods.

Prof. Alice V. Stanton, a world-renowned physician who specializes in the study of pharmacy and biomedical sciences at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, is cautioning us not to buy in. After a period of intense work with a team of researchers, that included Stanton, Frédéric Leroy, Christopher Elliott, Neil Mann, Patrick Wall and Stefaan De Smet, their take on GBD’s no-red-meat-ever cry was published in the well-regarded Lancet Feb. 25. The GBD study fails to clarify how it came to its conclusions, Stanton says. 

The GBD report isn’t the only time meat has been castigated. A 2015 study from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) tried its best to link meat with certain types of cancer, namely colorectal cancer. The organization eventually released the full scientific basis of its finding, confirming just how weak the evidence linking meat and colorectal cancer is. Amidst confusion, the World Health Organization (WHO) – the parent organization of IARC – came forward to deflate IARC’s claim and reassure the public that meat should be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy, balanced diet. . . 


Rural round-up

22/02/2022

Scenery is what ‘makes’ it for young shepherd – Sally Rae:

Life is no trial for young North Otago shepherd Mikayla Cooper.

Miss Cooper (23) has embraced living and working in the high country, where she reckons it is the scenery that “makes it”.

She works at Dome Hills Station, a large-scale sheep and beef property near Danseys Pass farmed by the Douglas family.

It was a much larger and more extensive property than her home farm at Raglan, where her family moved to from Te Kauwhata at the end of her year 8 studies, Miss Cooper said. . . 

From mother to daughter a smooth transition – Country Life:

After single-handedly running Rees Valley Station for nearly 20 years, Iris Scott was more than happy to hand over the reins to her daughter Kate.

The 18,000-hectare property at the head of Lake Wakatipu is home to about 5000 merino sheep and 200 cattle.

When Iris’ husband died in 1992, Iris decided to carry on farming the land that had been in the Scott family for more than 100 years. She was also running a vet practice in Glenorchy.

She admits it was a great relief to her when her daughter Kate finally expressed an interest in taking over the farm. . . 

Demand strong as $1b wine grape harvest gets underway :

The first grapes of the 2022 vintage have been harvested, with ongoing international demand and low stock levels meaning that winemakers are hoping for a significantly larger harvest this year.

“The 2021 harvest, while of exceptional quality, was 19% smaller than the previous year. Over the past 12 months this has forced wineries to draw down on stocks to maintain their place in market. New Zealand wine sales for 2021 were 324 million litres, meaning they were 48 million litres more than was actually produced in the 2021 vintage. This stock drawdown highlights that we desperately need a bigger harvest in 2022, to replenish cellars, and help satisfy international demand,” says Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers.

“Over the past 12 months many New Zealand wineries have faced tough decisions over who they can supply in their key markets, and the ongoing increase in international demand has placed huge strain on already depleted stocks. For some wineries, there has been quite simply just not enough wine to go around,” says Philip. . . 

Drop in infant formula sales hits A2 Milk’s bottom line :

Specialty dairy company A2 Milk’s bottom line has been halved, as it continues to face significant disruption to its infant formula sales in China.

KEY NUMBERS:

(for the six months ended 31 December 2021 vs year ago)

  • Net profit: $59.6 million vs $120m
  • Revenue: $660.5m vs $677m
  • Underlying earnings: $97.5m vs $178.5m
  • Dividend: no dividend vs 12 cps

A2 Milk chief executive David Bortolussi said despite challenging market conditions in China and volatility caused by the pandemic, it was making good progress to stabilise the business. . . 

Strong demand for solution to urea price spike and regulations :

This season’s record urea prices, coupled with nutrient cap regulations, have seen a lift in the number of dairy farmers changing their fertiliser programmes to lower their nitrogen footprint and costs.

Donaghys Managing Director Jeremy Silva says the company is working at capacity to keep up with renewed demand for their N-Boost nitrogen booster product. Donaghys N-Boost is a proven addition to a fertiliser programme that helps maintain production, while lowering urea application.

“It’s one of the few options out there that can help farmers maintain or lift production off lower nitrogen inputs.”

“We’ve seen the dual impact of high urea pricing and regulations on N come together. The result has been a wave of dairy farmers turning to foliar applications of urea. When N-Boost is added they can cut back their application rates this way to get under the N-cap, and they’re finding they can cut their urea bill and protect their dry matter production.” . . 

Pāmu announces solid half year result:

Pāmu (Landcorp Farming Limited) has announced a net profit after tax (“NPAT”) of $41 million for the half-year ended 31 December 2021.

Pāmu’s EBITDAR (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and revaluations), which is its preferred financial measure, was $16 million compared to $14 million in the half-year to December 2020.

Chairman Warren Parker said the result was particularly gratifying as the company managed the ongoing impact of Covid.

“Covid has continued to disrupt our people, which on top of ongoing labour shortages, extreme weather events on the West Coast and in the Manawatu and logistics, processing and availability of farm supplies, has made for a challenging half year,” Dr Parker said. . . 


Rural round-up

15/02/2022

Farmers to pay more for essential staff when borders open – Rachael Kelly:

Farmers, desperate for staff, will end up paying essential workers up to $40 an hour when the borders re-open.

The border opens to vaccinated skilled workers on March 13, but they must be earning one and a half times the median wage.

Federated Farmers national intensive winter grazing spokesperson Jason Herrick said the requirement would push wages up from $27 an hour for foreign staff now, to $40 an hour.

“It’s just another attack on farmers and the primary sector,” Herrick said. . . 

Marathon shearing effort nets $130,000 for charity hospital :

Organisers are thrilled with the support they received during a shearathon that has raised money for the Southland Charity Hospital.

The hospital is the brainchild of the late cancer care advocate Blair Vining and his wife, Melissa, who wanted better cancer care for all New Zealanders.

Last weekend, a group of shearers, wool handlers, and support crew raised more than $130,000 during the Shear4Blair Shearathon.

Shearers put their bodies on the line as they completed 24 hours of shearing time, broken into 12 two-hour runs. . . 

The untold story of New Zealand’s favourite berry – Don Rowe:

They’re almost ready. Lined up in their thousands on tall bushes beneath an early summer sky, the boysenberries gleam like hairy red-wine jewels, or bloodshot spider’s eyes. Just a few weeks from now these bulbous berries will be picked from the vine, weighed, packaged and sent across the country and abroad. Because New Zealand is the world’s leading producer of a particularly unlikely fruit.

Simply put, we’re mad about boysenberries. Every year around Christmas they flood the market in punnets, jams and frozen treats. According to Tip Top, Boysenberry Ripple — first released in 1960 — is the fourth-highest selling flavour in both two-litre tubs and the humongous 16-litre tubs used for rolling ice-cream cones at dairies. In prepackaged cones, the boysenberry Trumpet is second only to a classic chocolate. And while the Ripple is exported to China, Malaysia and the Pacific Islands, it is here at home that we race to the dairy like pigs to the trough, consuming — per capita — the most boysenberry ice cream in the world, and never more than in summer.

The boysenberry is a Frankenstein’s monster of a berry and a uniquely juicy, hefty little mongrel. First developed early last century in Anaheim, California, by Swedish immigrant Rudolf Boysen, it’s a hybrid of the European raspberry and blackberry, the American dewberry and the loganberry. Boysen was an amateur horticulturist who spent his days splicing various genera and cultivars. Then in the early 1920s, before his creation made him famous, he disappeared, leaving his farm a tangled decaying mess. . . 

Anger, grief as cavalcade is called off – Shannon Thomson:

Organisers of the 2022 Goldfields Cavalcade have made the “gut wrenching” decision to pull the pin on this year’s event.

The cancellation coincides with the cavalcade’s 30th year celebration.

The event was scheduled for February 26, with hundreds of cavalcaders due to converge at the end of it on host town Millers Flat on March 5.

However the move to the Red traffic light setting due to the surge of the Covid-19 Omicron variant and the introduction of new regulations forced organisers’ hands. . . 

Little-known family firm buys renowned Sacred Hill winery out of receivership – Nikki Mandow:

The Poulters are New Zealand’s biggest family-owned winemakers, as well as the largest supplier of bananas to supermarkets. They just bought top-end vineyard Sacred Hill – their first big brand. In all likelihood, you’ve never heard of them.

Sacred Hill’s new chief winemaker Nick Picone laughs when I say I’ve heard Steve Poulter, the Hawkes Bay vineyard’s super-low-profile new owner, works hard. Crazy hard. 

“I’ve only been here five minutes, but what I can tell you is I haven’t met anyone as driven and hardworking as Steve. And I’ve worked for some pretty driven people,” Picone says. His bosses include, for many years, Villa Maria founder George Fistonich, definitely no slouch.

Oh, and while we are talking driven, Picone clocked up 10 (yes, 10) New Zealand Winemaker of the Year or Winemaker of the Show titles between 2011 and 2020. His new job puts him in charge of the future of some pretty classy wine brands – Riflemans Chardonnay ($70 a bottle), Deerstalkers Syrah ($60), and Helmsman cabernet sauvignon blend ($85). . . 

Otago-Southland FMG Junior Young farmer of the Year and AgriKidzNZ winners announced:

The competition was hot on Saturday as 70 teams went head-to-head in a bid to take out the Otago Southland AgriKidsNZ and FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year titles.

Twins Zoe McElrea (Columba College) and Millar McElrea (John McGlashan College) were crowned FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year Otago Southland champions and will be off to compete at the Grand Final in July.

Meanwhile, the ‘Agriboys’, Jud Duffy, Will Bensemann, and Theo Dynes from St Peter’s College in Gore took out the top spot for the AgriKidsNZ contest. . . 

 


Rural round-up

29/01/2022

Urgent action needed to stop carbon farming rort – William Beetham:

Federated Farmers is calling on the government to live up to its pledge and review the Overseas Investment Act ‘special forestry test’ and be fair to sheep and beef farmers

We understand that Forestry Minister Stuart Nash and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor have been lobbying for this fair and sensible step but Cabinet is dithering, and this is profoundly impacting our rural communities.

It’s well past time for action.  This is hurting rural people in Aotearoa New Zealand.

There are multiple factors driving the alarming and accelerating trend of productive sheep and beef farmland being sold for pine tree carbon farming, and a multitude of changes government must make to restore balance to land use policy. Sorting the special forestry test is straight-forward. . . 

Omicron outbreak may leave rural hospitals precarious staffing  levels – Rowan Quinn :

Rural communities could be left without local medical services for a time when Omicron hits.

Staffing is precarious in many small towns – and doctors, nurses or key administration workers will have to stop working if they get the virus.

Hospitals have predicted 30 percent of their staff could be off with Omicron at the height of the outbreak.

Rural doctor Jeremy Webber said it was hard to gauge the impact that would have on very small hospitals, which tended not to have staff to spare. . .

Horticulture, meat processors push for private RAT orders to protect supply chains – Maja Burry:

The horticulture and meat processing industries are among those advocating for the government to allow the private importation of rapid antigen tests, saying they’re worried Covid-19 testing capacity could impact on staffing.

The industry group Horticulture New Zealand said if Covid-19 testing capacity slowed that would impact monitoring – as well as return to work decisions – at a time when the sector needed as many hands on deck as possible.

Chief executive Nadine Tunley said it was imperative there was a focus on maximising the number of people available, to keep the supply chain operating during the Omicron response.

“We have strenuously pointed out to the government that our industry cannot withstand any further labour shortages as growers will be faced with having to leave vegetables in the ground and fruit on trees.” . . 

The taonga on fire: 40 days at Kaimaumau – Matthew Scott:

The fire at overlooked natural treasure Kaimaumau wetland began before Christmas, and it’s still ablaze

It’s been burning for more than 40 days and 40 nights.

Despite summer rains and being largely left behind by the media cycle, the fire in the Kaimaumau wetland in the Far North rages on.

The burning area is 2800ha, with a perimeter of 38km as of Day 41 – larger than Rangitoto Island. “On a national scale, that’s probably one of New Zealand’s biggest fires,” said incident controller Wayne Martin. . .

Robo tractor could revolutionise viticulture :

A driverless tractor able to perform up to three tasks at once is on the cards for New Zealand orchards.

The Government is contributing $622,360 through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund to develop a prototype tractor, which is set to transform the productivity of trellised orchards while reducing carbon emissions. The Smart Machine Company Limited is taking the lead on the three-year project, and is contributing a further $945,520.

“The tractor will be able to perform several tasks, including canopy spraying, mulching, mowing, trimming, and leaf defoliation,” says Steve Penno, MPI’s director of investment programmes.

“As well as lowering carbon emissions, we could expect to see reduced spray drift, and improved soil and tree health. . .

Canterbury teen wins beekeeping scholarship :

Canterbury-based Alyssa Wilson (17) is the 2021 recipient of Apiculture New Zealand Ron Mossop Youth Scholarship in beekeeping.

Alyssa topped a strong field of candidates to win the scholarship, which includes $2000 to support training and set-up costs for new beekeepers, a one-year membership with industry body Apiculture New Zealand and attendance at Apiculture New Zealand’s industry conference to be held in June 2022.

The scholarship was set up to help young people into a career in beekeeping and the judges identified Alyssa as showing great potential. “She’s clearly not afraid to get stuck in and learn as much as she can. With a strong work ethic and a real interest in bees, she is going to be an asset to our industry,” says judge Neil Mossop.

Alyssa says she was “pretty chuffed” to win and is planning to use the scholarship to help fund her involvement in the New Zealand Apprenticeship in Apiculture scheme run through Primary ITO in partnership with Apiculture New Zealand. . . 


Rural round-up

25/01/2022

NZ’s climate planting asking for trouble – Anne Salmond:

Dame Anne Salmond lays out the fundamental problems with this country’s strategy to use pine forests and overseas offsets to help wish away our climate emissions

New Zealand’s strategy for responding to climate change is fundamentally flawed. Much of the nation’s carbon debt is to be addressed by ‘off-setting’ – planting trees to sequester carbon, either at home or abroad.

On one hand, the government proposes to spend billions of dollars on international carbon credits – in other words, paying people in other countries to plant trees to sequester the carbon emitted in New Zealand.

On the other hand, the Emissions Trading Scheme has been designed as a ‘market’ for the owners of trees in New Zealand to sell the carbon they sequester to buyers who want to offset the carbon they generate.

Since most of the plantations in New Zealand are owned offshore, we’re paying even more to people in other countries to sequester the carbon we’re emitting. . . 

Here for the long game – DairyNZ:

In the sector we know that caring for the land, investing in the future, and making long-term plans are all part of dairy farming in New Zealand. To be a dairy farmer is to be in it for the long game; to create a better future for our farms, our families, our communities, and the country.

With that said it can often be hard to get this across to the wider public – to show we all share the same values, and we all want the best for New Zealand.

We want to help New Zealanders better understand and connect with dairy farmers – what drives you, the common values, and how we are seeking to create a better future for ourselves, our families, our communities, and the country we are proud to call home.  Most of all, we want you to feel proud of your work and vocation, and be confident your story is being proudly told to Kiwis. . . 

New Zealand cheers Canada’s loss in dairy dispute and calls for ‘significant reform’ – Cloe Desirée Juarez:

New Zealand said Canada needs to overhaul its approach to dairy imports because Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has repeatedly broken its promise to let foreign cheese and butter flow more freely into the country.  

The public criticisms are the first in what trade lawyers expect could become an international pile-on following Canada’s loss to the United States this month in a long-running dairy dispute. Canada’s approach to dairy imports has long been a sore spot for trading partners, and the success of the U.S. in challenging that approach could embolden copycat actions under trade agreements Canada signed with the European Union and a group of mostly Asian countries that includes New Zealand, a major dairy exporter.

New Zealand’s ministry of foreign affairs and trade, “is currently considering its next steps to address these serious concerns,” spokesperson Susan Pepperell said in an email on Jan. 17. The trade ruling that got New Zealand’s attention involved U.S. complaints that Canada was using a work-around to dull the impact of extra dairy imports allowed under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USCMA), the pact that replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement in 2020. . . .

Rider (86) readying for 30th cavalcade – Sally Rae:

“She’s just a treasure.”

That’s how Chris Bayne describes fellow cavalcader Alice Sinclair (86) who is preparing for her 30th consecutive Otago cavalcade next month.

The adventure-loving great-grandmother of 15 has ridden every cavalcade since the inaugural event in 1991 and is somewhat of a legend on the trail. She might rue her knees were “starting to give out” but she made few concessions for her age, including bungy jumping when she turned 85. 

When contacted last week, she was preparing to grub thistles in the hay paddock of her Taieri property.“. . . 

Grapes a bunch of history – Shannon Thomson:

More than 150 years after Frenchman Jean Desire Feraud first made his mark on Central Otago, his legacy lives on.

The goldminer turned winemaker is widely credited as the original commercial winegrower in Central Otago. He planted more than 1200 vines in the Alexandra Basin at his Clyde winery, Monte Christo.

When viticulturalist Sam Wood recently discovered an unidentified grapevine at the original site of Feraud’s winery — the present-day Monte Christo Winery — he turned to the Bragato Research Institute, a specialist research centre for the New Zealand wine industry, for DNA testing.‘

‘We weren’t sure what it was, and I was talking to someone in the industry and they suggested we get it DNA tested,’’ Mr Wood said. . .

 

 

‘Animal sentience committee’ could ‘attack’ farming, MPs fear :

MPs and rural groups have warned that the proposed ‘animal sentience committee’ could be used to ‘attack’ farming, pest control and wildlife management.

Concern has been raised over the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, with one MP this week referring to it as ‘a bad bill’ and ‘an unnecessary one’, during its second reading in the Commons.

The bill, which is only six clauses long, recognises that animals are sentient beings and creates a body to oversee UK ministers’ efforts to take account of their welfare needs when drawing up and implementing policy.

However, much of the controversary to date has centred on the proposed creation of an animal sentience committee. . . 


Rural round-up

13/01/2022

Fruitful days lie ahead, say North Otago growers – Ashley Smyth:

Fruitgrowers in North Otago are looking forward to a bumper crop this season.

Matsinger’s Berry Farm owner Leanne Matsinger said the season had been going very well, and the strawberries were “massive and beautiful”.

The Peebles business, about 15km inland from Oamaru towards the Waitaki Valley, had about 50,000 plants in the ground, and another 20,000 growing hydroponically. There was also 1ha of raspberries.

Far from being a burden, the wet weather had meant the fruit was big and juicy, Mrs Matsinger said. . .

Primary industry leaders call for Gen Z to secure the future of the sector :

New Zealand’s food and fibre sector is working hard to secure the future of the primary industries by trying to attract more young people to choose a career in the sector.

The key to attracting Generation Z, loosely defined as those born between 1995 and 2010, to the sector is raising awareness of opportunities and the range of roles available in the industry, experts say.

Kellogg Rural Leadership scholar Madison Pannett, who now works for the Ministry of Primary Industries as a senior adviser in the Animal Welfare Liaison team, released a report on this subject called Generation Z and the environment – how can we use their passion to attract them into food and fibre sector careers?

She says: “I have found my journey into the sector so personally rewarding, so I was keen to explore how to inspire young people to join. . . 

AACo partners with The Zanda McDonald Award to support future leaders in agriculture:

The new year is off to a great start for The Zanda McDonald Award, with the announcement that Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) have come on board as a partner for the trans-Tasman agricultural badge of honour.

AACo, Australia’s largest integrated cattle and beef producer, owns and operates stations, feedlots and farms comprising around 6.4 million hectares of land in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Managing Director and CEO Hugh Killen says the company can play a role in helping develop the next generation of industry leaders.

“AACo has been helping grow agriculture in Australia for almost 200 years and our association with the Zanda McDonald Award continues this legacy,” Mr Killen said. . . 

Comvita’s 50-year history: hippies, health and harmony :

Almost 50 years ago, 20-something hippie surfer Alan Bougen teamed up with 60-something beekeeper Claude Stratford to set up a health food company, based mostly around bee products. They called it Comvita. In the fourth in a series, Newsroom talks to Bougen about a small business which turned into our largest mānuka honey producer  

It all started with a mutual goal to improve people’s health, while leaving the environment better than they found it – and in that the Comvita founders were ahead of their time as sustainable thinkers. Stratford and Bougen were also leaders in the drive to validate mānuka honey’s unique health-giving properties and then share its magic with the world.

Claude Stratford died in 2013 at the age of 102; his longevity a testament to the founders’ shared Hippocratic belief that food is medicine and medicine is food. Now aged 71, and about to walk the Heaphy Track, Alan Bougen has new insights on old lessons learned over half a century in the business.

Hippie roots

“The natural food and products industry in 1970-1971 was where I dropped into the lifestyle of health and wellness, the ‘health food revolution’ as it was known,” Bougen says. He’s at home in Mt Maunganui, reminiscing about his early days in San Diego in true bohemian style. . . 

Five months on the 2021 Corteva Young Viticulturist Of The Year national final set to go ahead:

It may be five months later than planned, but it’s on! Due to the sudden and extended Delta lockdown the 2021 Corteva Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition, just one week away from taking place in August, is set to finally go ahead on Thursday 27th January 2022.

It will take place at Indevin’s Bankhouse Vineyard in Marlborough and the national winner will be announced at the Awards Dinner the same night.

“We’re excited and relieved that we can finally go ahead with the competition” says Nicky Grandorge, the National Co-Ordinator “The flexibility of everyone involved has been incredible and shows the strength, resilience and passion of the Young Vit community.”

The national finalists have been in limbo for quite some time, although they were able to hand in their research reports and give their presentations online which relieved them of some pressure. The topic for this year’s project was “Assess various pruning options during a labour shortage”, thus addressing one of the real challenges currently facing the wine industry. . . 

Pending irrigation scheme water access set to add balue to livestock grazing blocks on the market for sale:

Two blocks of livestock grazing pastureland – with the potential to have access to a substantial sustainable water supply enabling conversion of the property into highly productive horticultural land – have been placed on the market for sale.

The 33.41-hectare property in two titles at Te Kopuru on the Poutu Peninsula is just south of Dargaville in Northland.

The pair of freehold lots 2 and 18 at Redhill Cemetery Road in Te Kopuru are now being marketed for sale by tender through Bayleys Whangarei, with the tender process closing on February 3. Salespeople Vinni Bhula and Todd Skudder said buyers had the opportunity tender for either of the blocks individually, or as a combined offering.

Lot 2 comprises 16.05-hectares, while adjoining lot 18 consists of 17.36-hectares. Both lots are classified as featuring flat to gently rolling topographic contours. . . 


Rural round-up

15/12/2021

Women forge farming futures together – Sally Rae:

A farm training institute with a difference opened its gates in Northern Southland at the beginning of this year. Business and rural editor Sally Rae checks out how the first year of the Fairlight Foundation went.

For the past year, Emma Foss, Yvonne van Baarle and Ella Eades have lived, worked and learned together.

Now they are preparing to go their separate ways, pursuing careers in the rural sector, but they will always share a common bond as the first interns of the Fairlight Foundation.

The foundation is a female-only farm training institute based at Fairlight Station, a 2500ha property near Garston, in Northern Southland, owned by Simon and Lou Wright, and Doug and Mari Harpur. . .

Data ‘wrangler’ happy on block –  Sally Rae:

She describes herself as a recovering academic.

Most days, Nicola Dennis is happily ensconced in her home office, on a rural block of land in East Otago, surrounded by animals, and doing her thing as a “data wrangler”.

In November, Dr Dennis made the move to self-employment, establishing her own business which focused on the agricultural sector which she has been involved in since graduating from university.

Originally from Northland, her parents moved to be dairy farmers in Southland in 1996. She always had a love of animals, being outside and living in a rural setting. . . 

 

A day in the life of a beekeeper – Nikki Mandow:

The sun is shining, the mānuka is coming into flower and New Zealand’s beekeepers are hoping for a great season. But as business editor Nikki Mandow discovered, producing some of the world’s best honey products is way harder than it sounds.

If you want to write a story about beekeepers, you better be prepared to get up early. I talk to Alejandro Gibson, Comvita’s Taupo-based apiary manager, at 7am, but he’s already been up a couple of hours, is dressed in his hi-viz gear, and is champing to get off the phone to head off to his hives, before it gets too hot for the bees. 

Talking to journalists? Not high priority on a sunny day. 

But then I ask the question: “What’s it like being a beekeeper?” and any impatience or reluctance disappears. Gibson’s love for bees is infectious – almost an hour later, when I press stop on the Zoom recording, I’ve caught the bug. . . 

Tomato prices pull down overall food prices:

Food prices fell 0.6 percent in November 2021 compared with October 2021, mainly influenced by lower prices for tomatoes, Stats NZ said today.

Tomato prices fell 49 percent in November. However, their price was 54 percent higher than a year ago.

“The weighted average price of 1kg of tomatoes fell from $12.04 in October 2021 to $6.16 in November 2021,” consumer prices manager Katrina Dewbery said. “This compares with $3.99 in November 2020.”

Monthly fruit and vegetable prices fell 6.7 percent in November. As well as lower tomato prices, there were lower prices for broccoli, strawberries, and potatoes. These falls were partly offset by higher prices for apples, kiwifruit, and carrots. . . 

New Zealand winegrowers launches 2021 mentoring programme:

New Zealand Winegrowers is delighted to launch the 2021 Mentoring Programme. This programme aims to support wine industry members increase their confidence, focus on their self-development and reach their goals.

The programme matches one mentee with an experienced mentor from within the New Zealand wine industry, following a careful selection and matching process. The pair then meet regularly over the next six to eight months as the mentee sets goals, makes plans to reach them and is encouraged and supported by their mentor.

Previous mentors and mentees have found the programme incredibly valuable, with the 2021 programme the biggest so far including 18 matched pairs. Applications were received throughout September and October, matches carefully made and the mentor and mentee workshops run by Fiona Fenwick were held at Giesen’s Ara Wooldshed Cellar Door in Blenheim. Auckland mentors had their session online due to Covid Alert Level restrictions. . . 

NZ Dairy Industry Awards’ dairy trainee numbers increase:

The Dairy Trainee category has received a substantial increase in the number of entries for the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

170 entries have been received in the refreshed category including 27 in Canterbury region, 22 in Waikato and 21 in Southland/Otago.

Nationally, 112 entries were received in the Dairy Manager category and 82 entered Share Farmer of the Year.

NZDIA General Manager Robin Congdon said a total of 364 entries were received for the Awards.  . . 

 


Rural round-up

12/12/2021

Shipping delays and staff shortages bite the meat industry – Rachael Kelly:

Farmers are starting to struggle to get stock killed because staff shortages and shipping woes are causing major issues in the meat industry.

Ben Dooley, a farmer from Mimihau in Southland, said he had 200 ewes booked in with Alliance Group next week, but he was worried about finding more space for stock in the coming months.

“It’s definitely concerning. If this shipping container issue doesn’t get sorted out then we’re going to have some big problems in the next few months.”

The Alliance Group and Silver Fern Farms both say chronic labour shortages and global supply chain issues were causing problems. . .

Cheap accommodation, social sport used to entice workers for orchard jobs – Sally Murphy:

Efforts to attract workers to pick and pack fruit this summer are heating up – with more employers offering incentives to attract workers.

On the PickNZ website where orchards and packhouses advertise jobs, 42 percent are offering accommodation and 30 percent are offering bonuses.

Just under 20 percent are offering transport, social events and flexible working hours.

One company advertising on the site is Clyde Orchards. . . 

Fonterra’s Hurrell says New Zealand milk is the most valuable in the world – Tina Morrison:

New Zealand’s grass-fed farming model makes the country’s milk the most valuable in the world, Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell told farmers at the co-operative’s annual meeting in Invercargill.

Since taking over from Theo Spierings, Hurrell has moved Fonterra away from expanding its milk pools overseas, and brought the focus back to getting more value from the “white gold” produced by New Zealand farmers. His shift in strategy comes at a time when consumers are wanting to know more about where their food comes from and the environmental impact it leaves.

“We believe New Zealand milk is the most valuable milk in the world due to our grass-fed farming model, which means our milk has a carbon footprint around 70 per cent lower than the global average,” Hurrell told farmers. . .

 

River restoration starting to flow – Colin Williscroft:

The Manawatū River Leaders’ Forum recently won the supreme award at the 2021 Cawthron New Zealand River Awards for the catchment that has made the most progress towards improved river health. Colin Williscroft reports.

In a little over a decade, the Manawatū River has gone from being identified through Cawthron Institute research as one of the most polluted in the western world to that same organisation now celebrating the work being done to clean it up.

The Manawatū River Leaders’ Forum was established in 2010 in response to freshwater health problems facing the catchment.

The previous year Cawthron research showed the river topped a pollution measurement taken on 300 rivers across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand for all the wrong reasons. . .

Kiwifruit companies to amalgamate :

Seeka announces third amalgamation in 2021

 Gisborne growers will be delivered a stronger service with the proposed amalgamation of NZ Fruits and Seeka Limited.

In an agreement announced 10 December 2021, NZ Fruits shareholders are being offered Seeka shares and cash for their NZ Fruits shares. Seeka chief executive Michael Franks says the deal will enable Seeka to service the Gisborne region.

“The amalgamation will deliver a strong service to Gisborne growers,” says Franks. . . 

Research aims to develop more resilient sauvignon blanc vines :

An $18.7 million programme is aiming to introduce genetic diversity of New Zealand’s sauvignon blanc grapevines.

The Bragato Research Institute is partnering with New Zealand Winegrowers, more than 20 wine companies and the NZ Viticulture Nursery Association on the seven-year programme.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor the vines were based on one clone which presented some risk.

“Developing improved, commercially-available variants of this grape variety will also act as an industry insurance policy against future risks from pests, disease and changing markets. . . 


Rural round-up

06/12/2021

Wool price making a comeback as overseas demand for product rises :

Higher demand for sportswear, rugs and other wool products has resulted in a resurgence in wool prices.

Prices across all wool types lifted in the year to October, Beef and Lamb’s latest wool export data shows.

Merino was up 28.4 percent to just over $18,000 a tonne and strong wool, which has been struggling with depressed prices, rose 12.1 percent.

PGG Wrightson general manager of wool Grant Edwards said prices are lifting due to higher demand. . . 

Commercial beekeeper numbers drop amid low prices – Maja Burry:

The Ministry for Primary Industries’ latest apiculture monitoring report showed the number of beekeepers with 500 or more hives fell by 9.9 percent to 316 oin the 2020/21 season.

This follows a 7.6 percent drop the previous season.

The total number of registered hives in New Zealand also fell over the last two years to 806,000.

Prior to this the commercial honey industry had been experiencing growth, with a jump in the popularity and price of manuka honey driving a boom in production. . .

NZ agriculture is starting to see value in celebrating its provenance – Tina Morrison:

Much of New Zealand’s agricultural produce is sold as unbranded commodities on global markets. But that’s starting to change as companies discover there is value in heralding their Kiwi provenance.

“New Zealand has got a really strong story and that’s something that we haven’t really told in the past,” says Lincoln University agribusiness and food marketing programme director Dr Nic Lees. “We are making progress. I think we have started on that journey.”

Fonterra, the country’s largest dairy company, has been vocal about its shift in focus under new chief executive Miles Hurrell. Where his predecessor Theo Spierings envisaged the co-operative becoming another big global conglomerate like Danone or Nestle, Hurrell has sold off overseas assets and pulled back to New Zealand to focus on getting more value from the “white gold” produced by local farmers.

Hurrell says Fonterra is only now amplifying the New Zealand provenance message it always knew it had as demand has increased across its global markets to know more about the origin and purity of food. . . 

MLA becomes major supporter of award benefitting Australasian agriculture:

In an exciting development for future leaders in agriculture, Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) have announced their partnership with Australasian agricultural badge of honour, the Zanda McDonald Award.

The Award, which recognises talented young individuals from Australia and New Zealand who want to make a difference in agriculture, helps take people’s careers to the next level for the betterment of the industry on both sides of the Tasman.

This is delivered through an impressive personal development plan for the finalists on both sides of the Tasman, and a ‘money can’t buy’ prize package for the winners. This prize includes media training, further education, and a tailored mentoring program across both countries, where they spend time up close and personal with some of the biggest leaders and influencers in the sector. . . 

Fellows of New Zealand Winegrowers announced for 2021:

The New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) Fellows award recognises individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the New Zealand wine industry.

From making strides in wine governance to adding sparkle to the wine industry, the 2021 NZW Fellows are a group of highly respected and influential individuals who have helped to shape the success of New Zealand wine today.

We are pleased to announce the NZW Fellows for 2021: Steve Smith MW for service to NZW, Wine Institute of New Zealand, and other initiatives, John Clarke for service to NZW and New Zealand Grape Grower’s Council (NZGGC), Andy Frost for service to national research, Rudi Bauer for service to New Zealand Pinot Noir, and Daniel and Adele Le Brun for service to New Zealand bottle fermented sparkling wine. . . 

Eating less meat no climate solution – Shan Goodwin:

AUSTRALIAN-SPECIFIC research is showing the climate benefits of reducing red meat consumption below amounts recommended in dietary guidelines is small and could create negative environmental trade-offs such as higher water scarcity.

The industry’s big service provider Meat & Livestock Australia has released a fascinating report on the topic, which draws extensively from research conducted by CSIRO and other institutions.

Against a backdrop of increasing calls for affluent societies to significantly cut red meat consumption in the name of the environment, the work shows getting Australians to eat less beef is not an effective climate solution.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend eating 65 grams of lean, cooked, unprocessed red meat a day.

The MLA report, called The Environmental Impact of Red Meat in a Healthy Diet, points out that Australian lamb production is in fact climate neutral already. Further, the water and cropland scarcity footprints of Australian beef and lamb are low. . . 


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