Rural round-up

August 29, 2018

Financial incentives no silver bullet for sustainable agriculture – study – Charlie Dreaver:

A Landcare Research study shows financial incentives to encourage more sustainable practices on farms are not enough.

The research, as part of the National Science Challenges, investigated the best incentives to promote changes within the agriculture sector in the face of approaching climate change.

One of the authors, Landcare Research senior scientist Nick Cradock-Henry said he had been working with farmers over the last seven or eight years and had found awareness around climate change was growing.

Dr Cradock-Henry said it was partly due to recent severe weather events. . .

Destocking not the answer – Dr Jacqueline Rowarth:

It is a great pity that some people have embraced – with little question – the concept that farmers can make a ‘reduction in stocking rate and still make the same money, while leaching less nitrogen’.

Destocking is now being offered as the panacea to environmental woes, and hence a goal for the country, without examination of impacts or alternatives. Nor is the issue of climatic variability being considered; a region once ‘summer safe’ or ‘winter dry’ may be no longer.

Of even more importance is the starting point: destock from what? And did the high stocking rate mean animals were under pressure for feed? And, of course, what is the milk price and the cost of importing food to the milking platform? . . .

No excuse:

 Farmers are unhappy and confused with the NAIT changes rushed through Parliament into law.

Social media has been abuzz with angry farmers demanding a ‘please explain’ from DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ on why they are publicly backing the changes.

One Northland dairy and beef farmer tweeted “please explain why [you] supported the draconian changes to the NAIT Act which treat farmers like terrorists. Why should I pay my levy/sub if u can’t stand up for us?” . .

Fertiliser made from sea squirts shows student ingenuity :

More than 30 student businesses from 11 high schools around Northland competed in this year’s Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) trade fair at the Old Packhouse Market in Kerikeri, and market patrons found plenty to attract their interest.

For YES the students come up with a product or service, set up a real-world business, and end the year with a real profit – or loss.

The fair was the young entrepreneurs’ first chance to test their wares and marketing skills on the public, with shoppers voting for their favourite business and secret judges rating the best stalls. . .

Food price ‘to rise 5%’ because of extreme weather :

Meat, vegetable and dairy prices are set to rise “at least” 5% in the coming months because of the UK’s extreme weather this year, research suggests.

Consultancy CEBR said 2018’s big freeze and heatwave would end up costing consumers about £7 extra per month.

It follows price warnings from farmers’ representatives about peas, lettuces and potatoes. . .

The world’s first floating farm making waves in Rotterdam – Simon Fry:

The world’s first offshore dairy farm opens in the Port of Rotterdam this year, with the aim of helping the city produce more of its own food sustainably. But will such farms ever be able to produce enough to feed the world’s growing urban populations?

A Dutch property company, Beladon, is launching the world’s first “floating farm” in a city port.

It has built the offshore facility right in the middle of Rotterdam’s Merwehaven harbour and will use it to farm 40 Meuse-Rhine-Issel cows milked by robots. . . 


Rural round-up

August 12, 2018

Lumsden birthing centre closure prompts community anger – Tess Brunton:

The Lumsden Rural Women’s network is calling for the decision to shut its local birthing centre to be reversed.

The Southern District Health Board today announced the unit would become a maternal and child hub, where babies are only delivered in an emergency.

The DHB today released a plan that also included four other hubs to be established in Wanaka, Te Anau, Tuatapere and Ranfurly; funding support for midwives working in remote locations; and investment in technology to support care. . . 

Lessons from dairy can help NZ red meat sector develop winning formula in China:

New Zealand’s red meat sector should draw on the experiences of the dairy sector to help formulate its strategy for continued growth in the Chinese market, according to RaboResearch General Manager Tim Hunt.

Speaking at the Red Meat Sector conference in Napier last week, Mr Hunt said the Chinese market offered significant growth potential for New Zealand’s red meat sector and there was much the industry could learn from New Zealand dairy. . .

T&G Global lifts first-half operating profit 40% on improvements in pipfruit, international produce – Tina Morrison:

Aug. 9 (BusinessDesk) – T&G Global, New Zealand’s biggest fresh produce grower, distributor, marketer and exporter, posted a 40 percent jump in first-half operating profit due to improved performances from its pipfruit and international produce businesses, its two largest units.

Operating profit, which gauges the underlying performance of the business, rose to $10.4 million in the six months ended June 30, from $7.5 million in the year earlier period, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. . .

Sustainable plastic recycling solution for farmers:

As plastic waste hits the headlines again, rural recycling programme Agrecovery assures farmers and growers that it offers a complete and sustainable local solution for empty agrichemical containers and drums.

This plastic is collected from over 80 sites and large-scale farms across the country and taken to Astron Plastics in Auckland, where it is reborn as underground cable cover and building materials to prevent rising damp. . .

Tighter import rules to stop stink bug:

New treatment and cleaning rules for imported vehicles and machinery will make it harder for brown marmorated stink bug to make landfall in New Zealand, says the Ministry for Primary Industries.

MPI released the new import health standard for vehicles, machinery and equipment today. It will come into force on 1 September – the beginning of the stink bug season. . .

How Australia’s meat industry plans to flood post-Brexit Britain with products banned in EU – Josh Gabbatiss:

Australian meat industry leaders are heavily lobbying their government to put pressure on Britain to accept products currently banned under EU law after Brexit.

Among the meat products suggested for export to the UK are hormone-treated beef and “burnt goat heads”.

Ministers from both countries met last week to discuss the future of their trading relationship, amid concerns that the Australian government could force the UK to lower food standards.

It comes as a petition supporting The Independent’s campaign for a Final Say on Brexit passed 570,000 signatures. . .

Norway up to 60% crop loss :

The worst grain crops in more than 50 years.

The farmers despair over what seems to be the worst season for grain crops since the early 1960s. “Extreme situation”, says an advisor.

– I do not think the regular Joe understands what’s going on. This is an extreme situation that we have never experienced before, says grain advisor in Norwegian Farm Counsellors (Norsk Landbruksrådgiving), Bjørn Inge Rostad to Aftenposten.

The grain farmers are unevenly affected, but Rostad thinks the grain crops can be down to 40 per cent of what is normal.
Chairman of the Board in the Cereal Producers’ Organization, John Lilleborge also believes that the production is a halved on a nationwide basis. . . 

World’s first Manuka honey jar with 11 separate counterfeit measures available September:

The world’s first Manuka honey jar with eleven separate consumer security and anti-counterfeit measures is available to purchase nationwide and online on from September. Boasting New Zealand’s highest standard of Manuka honey, PURITI Manuka comes in a customised cylindrical jar with a unique lid that features a thick anti-tamper seal.

The jar and lid have the same diameter, allowing for a smooth and seamless fit and a distinctly different visual appearance. This design is unique to PURITI Manuka. The jar also features a tear strip for additional consumer security. . .


Rural round-up

June 27, 2018

Chinese demand for NZ crossbred wool lifts; auction price rises – Sally Rae:

There are “just a few hints” of upside potential for crossbred wool prices over the next two years, an industry report says.

Auction prices had lifted slightly in recent months and demand from China was just starting to return, the Ministry for Primary Industries latest Situation and Outlook report said.

The wool market had been struggling for the past 18 months or more. The main reasons were a lack of crossbred wool demand from China and increased competition from cheaper synthetic fibres. That had led to a build-up of inventory on farms and throughout the supply chain, which was slowly being worked through. . .

Tom Mulholland to speak at ‘Safetree’ workshops – Yvonne O’Hara:

Media personality and emergency department doctor Tom Mulholland will be speaking at Forestry Industry Safety Council (FISC) workshops in July.

Dr Mulholland will be talking to forestry workers about their physical and mental health and wellbeing as part of the FISC ‘‘Safetree’’ programme, which will include topics such as diabetes, smoking, cancer and dealing with depression. . .

The milk that can change the world:

New study seeks to understand more about milk variant – and the huge changes it potentially brings.

Somewhere in Auckland, 20 men and 20 women are drinking lots of milk and eating lots of cheese – and they could help change not only the digestive comfort of 65 per cent of the world’s population but the make-up of our dairy herd and the direction of the dairy industry.

The reason is A2 milk, the genetic variant supposed to aid digestion for people who find dairy products a difficult assignment to eat or drink. . .

Deer milk about taking ‘industry forward’

Deer milk is the sort of innovation the agriculture sector needs to invest in to make sure it remains competitive, Pamu chief executive Steve Carden says.

Pamu deer milk won the Grassroots Innovation award at the national field days at Mystery Creek earlier this month.

“As an industry, agriculture needs to be changing and evolving what we produce in response to consumer demand.

“Pamu deer milk is one of the ways that Pamu is investing in innovation, with like-minded partners, to take the milk industry forward,” Mr Carden said.

With its high fat content and protein levels, it was ideal for food service, cosmetics and other uses that were being explored, he said. . . 

Live export halt: WA farmers tell of sheep in limbo – Bethany Hiatt:

The fate of tens of thousands of sheep is in limbo after the sudden halt to WA’s live sheep exports, farmers have warned.

The Federal Government suspended the export licence of the State’s biggest shipper, Emanuel Exports, on Friday, just days after the industry’s second-biggest exporter, Livestock Shopping Services, announced it would suspend shipments for the northern summer.

WAFarmers president Tony York said no one knew what would happen to 60,000 sheep being held in a quarantined feed lot in Baldivis, ahead of their scheduled departure on a livestock carrier this week. . .

Trump’s trade war shuts cheesemakers out of foreign markets – Ana Swanson:

It’s a common observation here that you can’t turn off the cows — not for Christmas, and not for a trade war.

So as President Trump’s aggressive trade measures prompt other countries to retaliate with barriers to American goods, dairy farmers and cheesemakers in the rolling, bright green hills of Wisconsin are growing anxious about what will happen to all of the milk and cheese they churn out and typically sell overseas.

“If export markets get shut off, I could see us getting to the point where we’re dumping our milk in the fields,” said Jeff Schwager, the president of Sartori Company, which has produced cheese in a nearby town for generations with milk it purchases from more than 100 dairy farms throughout Wisconsin. “It’ll be a big ripple effect through the state.” . . 


365 days of gratitude

June 19, 2018

North Otago tends to get a lot of blue sky cold – a frost followed by sun in clear blue skies.

It is a wee bit chilly early in the morning but the sun warms us up.

Unusually we’ve had a run of cloud and muzzle – misty drizzle – when it stays cold all day.

Last night the sky cleared, we woke up to a light frost and have had a sunny day.

Everything looks brighter and it definitely feels warmer and for that I’m very grateful.


365 days of gratitude

June 12, 2018

The sky’s been grey and we’ve had drizzle off and on all day.

Mother Nature has been far more restrained down here than she was further north where friends got 140mms of rain in 24 hours and I’m grateful for that restraint.


Rural round-up

May 9, 2018

Natural Fibre Exchange aimed at providing greater efficiency :

In a significant step forward for the wool sector, industry participants have come together to develop and launch an independent online trading platform.

Modelled on the Global Dairy Trade Events (GDT) platform, the Natural Fibre Exchange (NFX) is scheduled to go live with its first trading event on 22 May 2018.

NFX Ltd shareholders Wools of New Zealand Ltd (WNZ) and Alliance Group have teamed with CRA International (CRA), an acknowledged leader in online trading platforms. CRA, which also designed and manages the GDT platform, has developed and will manage the NFX platform. . . 

Short and long-lived gases need separate regulatory baskets – Keith Woodford:

A key issue for New Zealand is how to meet the Paris commitments for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Fundamental to any analysis is the different attributes of long-lived and short-lived gases.  In particular, how should methane be accounted for, and how should it be brought into any emission trading scheme?

Back in 2016, current Commissioner of the Environment Simon Upton raised the importance of placing short-lived gases in a different regulatory ‘basket’ from long-lived gases. Remarkably, our rural leaders appear to have failed to pick up on the importance of this issue.  

More than any other country in the world, NZ’s gross emissions are influenced by methane-producing ruminant animals. No other developed country has a comparable emission profile, with the arguable exception of Uruguay. . . 

Cheaper lab meat to put pressure on farmers by vying with mince and other red meat cuts – Jill Galloway:

New Zealand farmers are in danger of becoming redundant as synthetic meat took consumers away from red meat, says a strategic science expert.

Dr Anna Campbell, managing director of agribusiness consulting company AbacusBio, said synthetic meats would get cheaper and global consumers would choose them because of their light environmental impact and zero animal treatment.

Campbell was a key speaker talking to about 180 farmers and agribusiness people at the AgInnovation conference in Palmerston North on Wednesday.

“At the moment, synthetic meat-makers take some cells, some blood and other things, spin it around, and get mince.  It’s mince for hamburger patties that is spat out. It is expensive at the moment, but the companies will scale it up and make it cheap.”  . . 

Age not wearing this farmer – Peter Burke:

Moyra Bramley was born in 1933, the year Sir Apirana Ngata and Lord Bledisloe inaugurated the Ahuwhenua Trophy to recognise excellence in Maori farming — now Ms Bramley has at least a 50/50 chance of winning that trophy.

Bramley is in the running for her role as chairwoman of the Onuku Maori Lands Trust, one of two finalists in the competition. 

Onuku’s entry in the competition is its 72ha Boundary Road dairy unit is near Lake Rotomahana, 30km south of Rotorua. It is one of four farms run by the trust.  . . 

Looking into using drones differently – Mark Price:

Wanaka beekeeper Daniel Schweizer is investigating a use for drones that is yet to catch on in New Zealand.

He can see potential for “spray drones” that target weeds in difficult-to-get-to places in the high country.

The weeds would include gorse, broom and wilding pines.

“The only options at the moment are a helicopter and a man with a knapsack, and one is $20 an hour and one is $2000 an hour,” he said. . . 

Drought will bring more crop disease scientists warn:

New Zealand’s land-based primary industries need to get ready for more, and more serious, crop disease as climate change causes more and longer droughts, according to new research.

In the journal Australasian Plant Pathology, the authors say that climate change is expected to bring more droughts in many parts of New Zealand, and more droughts are “likely to increase the severity of a wide range of diseases affecting the plant-based productive sectors”.

Scientists from the Bio-Protection Research Centre, Scion, Lincoln University, AUT University, Landcare Research, and the University of Auckland analysed the potential impact of climate-change-induced drought on several commercial plants and their diseases. . . 


365 days of gratitude

April 29, 2018

My mother once told me that if she ever got too feathery to explain what she’d want, she would just like to sit with her back to the sun.

I’ve inherited her sun-seeking tendencies, though wisdom born of experience and some minor skin cancers have persuaded me to slip, slop slap and seek shade during the burniest time of day if I’m outside.

The sun-seeker in me also guided the plans when we did house alterations.

Like with many of  our home’s vintage, bedrooms got sun all day and the living area didn’t. Now, thanks to a redesign, if there’s sun, we’ll get it somewhere in the living room.

Even if there’s no sun, thanks to good insulation, double glazing and heating we’re still warm and I”m very grateful for that.


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