Rural round-up

22/02/2016

‘Dryland specialists — not victims’ – Sally  Rae:

Coping with dry conditions on Otago farms and the ongoing implications is about taking action, as agribusiness reporter Sally Rae reports.

Soul-destroying. That is how Otago Rural Support Trust co-ordinator Pat Macaulay describes living through drought.

Mrs Macaulay, of North Taieri, knows first-hand exactly what it feels like, having farmed in the Strath Taieri where drought was a regular occurrence. . .

Bank on bright side but farmers sombre – Sally Rae:

Dairy farmers are facing another tough year but a ‘‘generally strong year” is being picked by Rabobank for most other sectors.

Solid demand in key offshore markets, recent progress in export development and generally tight global supply was likely to bring another good year for producers of beef, wool and horticultural products, food and agribusiness research general manager Tim Hunt said.

While beef prices had lost some ground in recent months, they remained well above multi-year average levels and were expected to receive support from a generally tight global market. .  .

Farmers look for exit as prices crunch – Gerald Piddock & Aaron Leaman:

More dairy farmers are looking to shut the family farm gate, some after generations on the land, as the milk price slump pushes rural households to breaking point.

A DairyNZ and AgFirst report on farm ownership pathways out in April is expected to show farm ownership stretching further out of reach of many  as growing numbers look for a managed exit from an increasingly unprofitable and stressful industry.

The looming dairy exodus has prompted a warning that some of the country’s best and brightest will be lost to a sector once considered the backbone of the New Zealand economy.  . . 

Lamb prices better than expected – Sally Rae:

Prices at last week’s Omarama lamb sale were stronger than anticipated, considering schedule pricing, agents say.

More than 70 buyers from throughout the South Island registered for the sale, which comprised a total yarding of just over 12,000 lambs.

The average price for PGG Wrightson’s offering of 7000 lambs was $54, up $8 or $9 on last year’s sale.

Tara Hills achieved the top price for merino wethers at $68, while prices ranged from $66-$31.50. Tara Hills also topped the merino ewe lambs, at $58.50, with prices ranging from $52-$24. . . 

Taranaki avocado shortage blamed on freak weather – Christopher Reive:

Freak storms caused by climate change are being blamed for a poor avocado harvest causing shortages around the country.

Taranaki avocado grower Steve Wright has an orchard of 230 avocado trees near Urenui, north of New Plymouth, and said while the fruit generally ran in a cycle of good crop-bad crop, this season had been particularly bad.

“It’s not just a mild wind that comes through, they come through and they just hammer your place and what happens is, because the avos hang on a stem, they just twist around and break,” Wright said. . . 

First Grand Finalist Confirmed In FMG Young Farmer of the Year:

Jake Thomson is the first Grand Finalist to be named in the 2016 FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

The 27 year old from Whangarei who manages a Dairy Farm took first place at the Northern Regional Final in Pukekohe on Saturday 20 February.

Mr Thomson went home with a prize pack worth over $10,000 including cash, scholarships and products and services from FMG, Massey University, Ravensdown, Median Energy, AGMARDT, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, STIHL and Vodafone. He also won the AGMARDT Agri-Business Challenge, Meridian Energy Agri-Knowledge Challenge and the Ravensdown Agri-Skills Challenge . . .

Farm Takeover!  The dirt on raising GMO corn: The Land – Uptown Farms:

“Tell your story!”  Anyone in the agriculture industry has been hearing it!  It is important and I’m the first to boast how much I love to tell my story.
 
But, if I am honest, I’m usually telling my husband’s story. He’s the farmer.
 
Well not this year!  Matt is sliding over into the buddy seat and turning me loose on my very own 60 acres!  And I’m taking you along for the ride by detailing the entire process of raising corn right here, all season long!

When it comes to land, farmers generally talk in acres.  One acre is 43,560 square feet – roughly the size of a football field. 
 
The first step for any crop farmer is the most obvious (and most expensive) one – find some land. . .


Rural round-up

27/05/2013

Go farming, young Kiwis – Bruce Wills:

What is your perception of a farm worker? The response from those who do not know much about farming is possibly that they are low-skilled, low-waged and over-worked.

Federated Farmers, with Rabobank, have produced an annual remuneration survey for a number of years with the most recent released last month. The positive thing about social media is that it is easy to catch out those ‘swinging the lead’. The downside is that it anyone with a keyboard can take aim and fire a salvo.

The response to our 2013 survey, aside from one colourful Facebook post, has been that it is on the money, if you excuse a poorly chosen pun.

We are coming out of the shadows on farm worker remuneration to counter the “response” we sometimes get. It also comes after seeing hundreds of Aucklanders queuing for seven jobs at a factory to earn just over $15 an hour. . .

Integration lifts Maori farming:

A STRATEGY shift a few years ago to integrate the dairy and sheep and beef units with a flexible stocking policy provided a step change in performance for large-scale Maori-owned farm business, Te Uranga B2.

Now, its sheep and beef unit is one of three finalists in this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy for excellence in Maori farming.

“The farming philosophy is around maximising pasture production, optimising feed conversion and then maximising productivity,” says Te Uranga B2 chairman Traci Houpapa. . .

Tech summit for primary industries:

For the first time in New Zealand, a mobile communications event is being run specifically for primary industries.

MobileTECH Summit 2013 runs in Wellington on August 7-8. A two-day programme bringing together this country’s leading communications specialists, technology providers and those working in the primary industries, has just been released. Details can be found on the event website, www.mobiletechevents.com. . .

Why export when you can milk it abroad? –  Simon Day:

Hundreds of plump cows line their concrete stalls like rows of dominoes at Fonterra’s Yutian 2 farm, 120 kilometres east of Beijing.

The cows push their heads through the steel bars of their confinements to eat imported alfalfa feed off the floor. Fans line the roof of the long barns, cooling the herd on a hot China day.

There is no grass in sight.

These are Kiwi cows, shipped to China or bred locally from New Zealand genetics. But this looks nothing like New Zealand farming. . .

Too late to avoid ‘dirty dairying’ taint – Aaron Leaman:

The directors of a Mangakino farming company fined $30,000 for breaches of the Resource Management Act have expressed their “shame” at being labelled dirty dairy farmers.

Fernaig Farms Ltd, owner of a 210-hectare block in McDonald Rd, Mangakino, was this week fined $30,037 and ordered to pay $132 costs after pleading guilty to two charges of unlawfully discharging animal effluent to land.

The prosecution, brought by Waikato Regional Council, related to offending on February 23 last year in which effluent was discharged from a holding pond and from an irrigator.

Council staff visited the property after an aerial flyover of dairy farms in the region. . .

Exploring alternatives to quad bikes –  James Houghton:

There has been a huge amount of discussion around quad bikes again, after LandCorp announced they are not using them on their new North Island farms and will be moving away from them on all other operations. Certainly, having 20 accidents involving their staff and quad bikes since December is a sobering statistic. Perhaps for large corporate farmers, with huge numbers of staff to think about, looking at other options is a sensible solution.

Just because LandCorp does something it doesn’t mean all farmers have to follow suit, but it is good to follow the discussion and know what the options are. Many farmers seem to be moving towards the “side by side” or farm utility vehicle options for getting about on their farms because they allow for passengers, carrying loads and do not require a helmet.

Within this category there are again many options. It is about looking at the needs you have on your farm, selecting the best tool for the job and making sure everyone using them is trained to operate that tool safely. . .


Rural round-up

03/07/2012

Agribusiness Man of the Year shares secrets of his business success – Caleb Allison:

Craig Hickson had no idea he would win agribusiness person of the year at the Federated Farmers awards in Auckland this week.

The Hawke’s Bay sheep farmer wasn’t there to receive the award as he is in Australia attending a lamb industry conference, but he told NBR ONLINE winning is a pleasant surprise nonetheless.

Modestly, he says he doesn’t know why he won, but says innovation has long been a focus of his company, Progressive Meats, which he started with his wife in 1981.  . .

Outlook is green for primary industries – Burce Wills:

Today, I am going to take a look at where we might be in the year 2020 and touch on some challenges ahead. 

A lot can change in eight years but much can also stay the same. 

In 2004, eight years ago, the Iraq war was one year old and Afghanistan was in turmoil.  Despite this petrol was under $1.10 a litre.  Meanwhile exporters faced a Kiwi dollar that was US$0.67 in January but ended 2004 at $US.71.  Some things never change.

For the year ending June 2004, our agricultural, horticultural and forestry exports came to around $18.5 billion.  In the year to March 2012, exports for the primary industries came to almost $32 billion. . .

That is a remarkable increase of almost 73 percent. 

Environmentally good practice wins – Sally Rae:

Blair and Jane Smith might have won the 2012 national Ballance Farm Environment Awards – but they reckon their    farming journey is just beginning.   

The North Otago couple were awarded the Gordon Stephenson Trophy during a function at Parliament Buildings that celebrated people farming in a manner that was environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. . .

Dairying needs to connect – Sally Rae:

Public perceptions of dairy farmers are probably better than farmers might think, but there is still room for improvement, DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle says.   

A panel discussion, entitled Perception is Your Reality, was  held as part of the South Island Dairy Event in Dunedin.   

Public perceptions were important and DairyNZ surveyed the      New Zealand public twice a year and also held focus groups in the main urban centres. There was still “a fair amount of support out there for us”, Dr Mackle said.   

But farmers must “get things right” on the farm. . .

Horsing around serious pastime – Sally Rae:

Ask Tara McConnell how she fits everything into her day    and the answer is simple – with a head-light.   

Miss McConnell (24), of Flag Swamp, works as a shed-hand for      a shearing gang four days a week, but the rest of her time is      consumed with horses. . .

Key Opens New Zealand’s Advanced New Infant Dairy Formula Facility to Supply Global Demand:

After over 12 months preparation, New Zealand’s most advanced pharmaceutical grade infant dairy formula production facility opens to supply soaring demand overseas. .

The new facility was officially open by Prime Minister John Key on Friday 29th July 2012 and addresses a rapid increase in global demand and a shortage of high quality wet dairy infant formula products. By the end of 2012 it expects to annually produce over 20 million cans of infant formula for the export market.

Building a facility that provides pharmaceutical standard dairy formulas on a scale large enough to meet international demand was not easy.  It required over a year’s planning and a large investment in infrastructure, experience and technology. GMP pharmaceuticals already New Zealand largest pharmaceutical manufacturing and testing facility specializing in health supplements, was in a good position to meet the significant logistical requirements. . .

Harvest disaster hits wine price – Greg Ninness:

The days of quality Marlborough sauvignon blanc being available for less than $10 a bottle are ending as this year’s disastrous grape harvest starts to push wine prices higher. 

This year’s sauvignon blanc harvest was down 19 per cent on last year’s, and total production of all varieties in Marlborough, the country’s main wine region, was down 23 per cent. 

There are signs that this year’s much smaller vintage is already starting to lift wine export prices from recent lows. . .

Court slams Te Awamutu farm for illegal effluent discharge– Aaron Leaman:

A Te Awamutu farming company has with been hit with almost $32,000 in fines for dirty dairying after a helicopter monitoring flyover raised red flags with their operation. 

    Wyebrook Farms Ltd, owner of a farm in Candy Rd, west of Te Awamutu, has been fined $31,875 and ordered to pay $491 costs following a hearing in the Hamilton District Court. The company pleaded guilty to two Resource Management Act charges. . .

Fourth time lucky for Central Otago viticulture competition winner:

Central Otago viticulturist David Salmon took the honours at the regional Markhams Young Viticulturist of the Year competition on Friday (29 June).  This was Mr Salmon’s fourth attempt at the title, finishing runner-up last year, and was “over the moon” to win the competition.

“It has been an ambition of mine for a long time,” says Mr Salmon (30).  “This was my last attempt as I’ll be too old for the competition next year.  I’ve fought hard for this and it’s been my dream to represent Central Otago at the nationals,” he says.

Mr Salmon, who works at Kawarau Estate, Cromwell, took out the award against seven other local wine industry hopefuls, competing in a range of activities including wine taste-testing, pruning, hanging gates, fixing irrigation, testing their machinery handling abilities and finally delivering a speech on a given topic.

Michelle Dacombe from Felton Road Wines came second, improving on her third placing last year, and third place went to Jake Tipler from Peregrine Wines.  This was Mr Tipler’s first entry into the competition. . .

Pesticide programme pays off:

A research project to reduce the use of chemical pesticides on apple orchards has had a huge pay-off for the pipfruit industry.

Analysis by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research has shown that the Apple Futures programme has been worth up to $113 million in export earnings in the past four years, for a research cost of just over $3 million. . .

The March edition of Countrywide is online here.

Aussie farm blogs many styles, many perspectives – Talking Fairleigh links to 50 farm blogs.


%d bloggers like this: