Rural round-up

July 13, 2016

Waikato farmer spearheads wireless farming for the future of dairying – Gerald Piddock:

Tony Walters is farming’s ambassador of technology, writes Gerald Piddock.

Dairy farmers could soon be using wireless technology as proof that they are operating an environmentally sustainable operation.

The wireless connection could help sell the New Zealand story to overseas customers resulting in better prices for their products in the market. For farmers, that would mean they get paid better for their milk. 

Tony Walters is convinced the day will come soon when this works and is piloting the technology on his 95 hectare dairy farm at Waiuku in North Waikato. . .

Dairy – It’s Not Rocket Science. Or is It? Innovation the key to shaping the global dairy sector:

Using charged iron to capture tiny particles worth hundreds of dollars a kilo, creating technology to speed up nature more than 300 fold and real-time composition analysis with the potential to revolutionise a multi-billion dollar industry.

These may sound like scenarios borne out of a NASA testing facility, but in fact these space-age innovations have origins right here in New Zealand – part of Fonterra’s asset optimisation programme that’s helped position the Co-operative as a global leader in dairy R&D.

Fonterra Chief Operating Officer Global Operations Robert Spurway says R&D is one of the most important factors shaping the dairy industry today, particularly when it comes to selling our capabilities with new and existing customers around the world. . . 

NZ groundspreaders celebrate 60 years of helping farmers:

Nearly 200 groundspreaders from across the country will, next week, gather in Nelson for the 60th Annual Conference of long-standing trade organisation – the New Zealand Groundspread Fertilisers’ Association (NZGFA).

Conference attendees – ground spreaders, suppliers, trainers, auditors and testers – will hear from key speakers including Hon. Damien O’Connor (West Coast MP and Labour’s Spokesperson for Primary Industries), Mark Wynne, CEO of Ballance Agri- Nutrients, Mike Whitty, General Manager Marketing of Ravensdown Fertiliser Cooperative and Nelson forestry contractor and health and safety pioneer, Dale Ewers.

“Health and safety and accident prevention are high on our agenda this year,” explains Brent Scully, NZGFA President. “Fertiliser spreading is a demanding job involving heavy plant, complex equipment and often steep terrain. Machine operators and spreader drivers undergo intense training; however, errors do occur and accidents do happen. We want to do everything we can to minimise risk for the men and women in this industry.” . .

New fisheries decisions bring closures and increases:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has decided for sustainability reasons to close part of the Southern Scallop Fishery (SCA7), which covers the top and northwest coast of the South Island, for the coming season.

The measures will prohibit commercial and recreational fishing for scallops in all of the Marlborough Sounds and part of Eastern Tasman Bay for the coming season, ending on 14 February 2017.

“This decision follows the latest scientific survey in 2015 which shows a continued and significant decline in the fishery, despite commercial catch reductions over the past three seasons,” says Mr Guy

“The strong message from the scientific evidence, as well as public submissions is the need to take the next step and close parts of the fishery to let it recover. . . 

Turn your best bull calf into cash:

Dairy farmers in the thick of calving are being offered thousands of dollars for their best bull calves by CRV Ambreed.

The company is offering farmers who breed the best bull calves $4,000 if their bull calves are selected for the CRV Progeny Test program. That $4,000 could turn into $11,000 from graduation payments or more if royalty options are taken.

CRV Breeding Program Manager Aaron Parker said with calving now underway, a lucrative source of extra income could be dropping in farm paddocks across the country right now.

As well as being welcome income for dairy farmers, delivering their best bulls to CRV Ambreed will contribute to genetic diversity, and thus advancement, across the national herd. . . 

South Islander quacks his way to US world champs – Brooke Hobson:

Luggate local Hunter Morrow has quacked his way to the US for the world championships in duck calling after taking out the national competition in Tauranga.

More than 20 duck callers from around New Zealand took part in the quack-off on Saturday, where they had 60 seconds to blow a greeting, pleading and feed call – plus a lonesome hen call.

Mr Morrow, a building apprentice, came 5th in the world champs last year.

Fish & Game says he told reporters duck calling had been a “weird obsession” since he was a young boy. . .

Marlborough Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker 2016 Announced:

Congratulations to Jordan Hogg from Seresin for winning Marlborough Young Winemaker 2016. The competition took place on 8 July at MRC in Blenheim where six contestants spent the day battling it out across various activities. Hogg scored very strongly across the board showing a great degree of knowledge and professionalism.

Congratulations also goes to Matt Fox from Hyland Viticulture who placed second and Shelley Young from Delegat who came third. . .

Massive New Plymouth store to benefit farmers:

Farmers of the Central and Western North Island are to benefit from a $30 million Ravensdown investment in a new fertiliser storage and blending facility in New Plymouth.

The 14,000 square metre facility adjacent to Ravensdown’s existing store will allow better customer service and better environmental performance according to the farmer-owned co-operative.

“The agri-sector in the Taranaki is feeling the pinch and service towns like New Plymouth are seeing the impact. This investment has spin-off benefits for local contractors and shows Ravensdown’s commitment to the community and to its North Island customers,” said Mike Davey, Regional Manager. . .


Rural round-up

July 30, 2015

Flood-stricken Taranaki farmer says others are worse off – Sue O’Dowd:

A North Taranaki sheep and beef farmer wishes he could do more to help his flood-stricken colleagues.

Alan Cudmore, who has been farming at Okoki in North Taranaki for the past 14 years, lost fences and tracks when three days of torrential rain left a bog on his 810-hectare property.

Adamant the flood has left many farmers far worse off than he is, he says the shortage of feed on his own farm is limiting his ability to help them out. . . 

Taranaki dairy cow numbers and fertiliser use are steady – Sue O’Dowd:

A protection programme set in place 40 years ago to protect Taranaki’s waterways from intensive agriculture has created a precious resource of clean, healthy water that is the pride and joy of the province’s environmental guardians.

The Taranaki State of the Environment Report, with peer-reviewed environmental monitoring data, shows trends in the ecological health of waterways and in the physical and chemical measures of water quality are the best ever recorded but Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) chairman David MacLeod and chief executive Basil Chamberlain say that’s no reason for the region to rest on its laurels. . .

Employment the only controllable part of lambing, calving – Chris Lewis:

Most of you reading this now will be getting ready for calving and lambing in the next month.

Every year, this time comes around, most farmers promise themselves that we will do better and not repeat the mistakes of the last year; whether it’s production, animal health, environment or staff. The only thing controllable in this situation is staffing.

You advertise, interview, hire and put staff to work with the hope of better outcomes from everyone else. As employers we do control most of the process, so if we get things right from the start and make the right decisions employing someone, things can run a lot smoother. It can be like speed dating, interviewing staff and seeing what’s going to be compatible with you! But the buck stops with us, if the decision was wrong or things don’t work out; you are the one who has to take responsibility. . .

Rural Women New Zealand celebrates 90 years:

On 29th July 1925 the launch of the Women’s Division Farmers Union (WDFU) was to change farming women’s lives.

A small group of farmers wives had come to Wellington with their husbands for the New Zealand Farmers Union (NZFU) conference.

But there were rumblings of discontent. The needs of the women and their families out in the ‘backblocks’ was being overlooked by the NZFU. There were serious concerns about their health, and the effects of isolation. The farmers wives formed the WDFU with the aim of finding ways to improve living conditions on New Zealand farms and support the NZFU. . . 

Bull calves have value – no bull!

In tight times dairy farmers are looking for new ways to add cash to their back pocket and CRV Ambreed believes the cash can often be found in the bull calf.
CRV Ambreed’s breeding team manager, Aaron Parker, says a bull calf could provide an extra $4,000 upfront if they are suitable for CRV Ambreed’s breeding programme. A proven bull can provide an additional $7,000 in income from graduation payments – sometimes more if a royalty option is chosen.

With calving now underway, this source of extra income could be dropping in the paddock right now. . .

 

And a new (to me) rural blog: A Spoonful of Country

A blog from rural New Zealand that uses inspiration from country kitchens and cooks to inspire those that are passionate about ‘keeping house’ the good old fashioned way. . .


%d bloggers like this: