Rural round-up

September 1, 2017

Low methane producing sheep could be way forward for NZ – Brittany Pickett:

Sheep giving off lower methane emissions are being bred by scientists now looking to see if they can produce leaner meat and more lambs.

Methane from livestock is responsible for 33 per cent of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions. As part of international agreements, New Zealand is committed to cutting these emissions.

“New Zealand has the issue that they can’t do this by cutting urban emissions or planting trees,” AgResearch senior scientist Suzanne Rowe said.

Scientists at Invermay have been involved in a five year programme to measure whether breeding sheep for low methane is likely to affect reproduction, productivity and health. . .

Dairy farmers discovers the secret of a happy workforce – Esther Taunton:

Faced with a line-up of ‘zombies’ of his own making, dairy farmer Stuart Taylor knew something had to change.

“I looked at these beautiful young people who I’d promised a life and a career and I’d turned them into zombies,” he said.

“I’d made them work from 3am to 6pm and they were broken, the way we were doing things was broken.”

Speaking at DairyNZ’s Taranaki Rural Professional’s Conference in Inglewood, Taylor said the realisation that things weren’t working was the start of a culture change on his Rangitikei farm. . .

Labour manipulating farmers brilliantly over proposed water tax – Gerald Piddock:

Farmers have played right into Labour’s hands with their outcry over their water tax policy.

Last month has seen floods of claims, counter claims, accusations, conflated figures of its impact and downright hysteria in some quarters of the rural sector.

Thankfully, the vast majority of dairy farms in Waikato are dryland apart from a handful that irrigate in South Waikato, so it will have a minor effect on farmers in this region.

A cynical person would see the tax as a simple, clever vote grab of the urban sector by the Labour Party. . .

MPI sniffer dog joins stink bug fight:

A bug-sniffing detector dog introduced by the Ministry for Primary Industries will help stop the potentially devastating brown marmorated stink bug from making a home in New Zealand.

An MPI labrador (named Georgie) demonstrated her sniffing skills on stage today by locating dead stink bugs hidden in a harvesting machine at the New Zealand Winegrowers conference in Blenheim.

MPI will have two trained dogs ready to sniff out stink bugs this summer, including a specialist dog to assist with detecting the pest in the event of an incursion, says MPI Border Clearance Director Steve Gilbert. . .  

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Rural round-up

July 25, 2017

The coming dairy revolution – Keith Woodford:

The attached article NZH_Agribusiness_July2017_4 was commissioned by The New Zealand Herald and published 20 July 2017 within their annual Agribusiness Supplement.

The Herald is the main Auckland newspaper. Accordingly, the article was written for a largely urban audience.

The urban community which dominates within New Zealand society has diverse and often negative opinions about the dairy industry, but typically this is based on limited knowledge. Many of these urban folk  do recognise that dairy underpins much of the export economiy on which New Zealand depends, but there is an increasing overarching perspective that New Zealand has become too dependant on dairy. . . 

Genetic centre to boost agriculture – Alexa Cook:

A new genetic centre in Waikato hopes to overcome what scientists say is a lack of research in quantitative genetics in New Zealand.

The Massey University AL Rae Centre for Genetics and Breeding is based at AgResearch’s Ruakura Research Centre in Hamilton.

It’s named after one of the founders of modern animal breeding, Professor AL Rae and funded by the Norman FB Barry Foundation. . . 

Personal safety device Anderson’s passion – Sally Rae:

Being rescued in the outdoors is a topic close to Trent Anderson’s heart.

When Mr Anderson was 7, he slipped and fell off a cliff at Karitane. Badly hurt — including sustaining a serious head injury — he was rescued by helicopter pilot Graeme Gale.

His parents did not know if he was going to walk again or “do stuff like a normal kid” and he had to learn again how to do many things.

But Mr Anderson (28) never let it hold him back and, just a few years later, he was surfing at the national championships. It was a major factor as to why he was so determined, he said.

Now his focus is on another passion; Mountain Peak Productions, a company he has established with wife Tonelle to help with safety of those in the outdoors. . . 

Eating quality farmers’ focus – Sally Rae:

Adam and Sam Spiers unashamedly live and breathe the red meat industry.

The father and son are involved with Alpine Pastures, an impressive large-scale finishing operation with properties at Tarras and in Canterbury.

The company’s vision is simple: to be a leading supplier of high quality beef, lamb and venison 12 months of the year.

Both men are excited about the future but they are also keenly aware of the challenges the industry faces, which was reinforced during a visit to the United States earlier this month. Sam tried an Impossible Burger — the high-profile product launched last year by Impossible Foods to supposedly look, cook, smell, sizzle and taste like conventional ground beef, but made entirely from plants. . . 

Suspension bridge destroyed – Shawn McAvinue:

The historic Sutton suspension bridge near Middlemarch has been destroyed by the flood.

Strath Taieri Community Board chairman Barry Williams said the extensive damage to the bridge, which opened in 1875, was “devastating”.

The bridge had been restricted to five-tonne vehicles since mid-2015 because of its state of repair. . .

Increasing lumber exports leads to new technology investment:

Signs are good right now for the country’s wood processing industry. A report from Wood Resources International last week said that although over 50% of the wood harvest in New Zealand is being exported as logs, lumber production had picked up by about ten percent over the last three years.

Shipments from New Zealand into the US market have in fact gone up 37% over just the past four years and during the first five months of 2017. The U.S. has now overtaken Australia as the number one export destination for pine lumber produced in New Zealand. In terms of value, New Zealand is now the second largest overseas lumber supplier into the US, behind Chile, but still ahead of lumber exporters from Europe. . . 

Bunnies sheepish but safe
Richard Horne said his father, Ferg Horne (64), was checking stock on his 16ha sheep and beef farmlet in Riccarton Rd on Saturday morning. . . 


Rural round-up

July 17, 2017

Susatainability key to role as new AgResearch leader – Sally Rae:

The big thrust for AgResearch in the future has to be around farm and environmental sustainability issues, new chairman Jeff Grant says.

His focus would be continuing to build on AgResearch’s ability to deliver science that was “highly relevant” to the future of farming.

Regional council changes, in a bid to get better outcomes around land and water, would force AgResearch to provide the science to ‘‘get the answers’’ and the tools for farmers.

“I see the organisation as being the lead provider of answers that allow farmers to meet the expectations for producing high quality food in natural and sustainable environments, while also being able to run a viable business. . .

Cattle grazing on river edges keeps weed ‘shambles’ down on extensive farms – Bob Todhunter:

With alI the bad publicity our rivers are receiving I feel the general public is confused between extensive and intensive grazing.

I would like to make some observations about stock grazing alongside waterways. I am no scientist, however I do have 70-plus years of practical observation.

I remember being taught fishing by my grandfather in the 1950s on the rivers of the Canterbury Plains when sheep and cattle were grazed extensively by the riverbeds. . .

Pine tree seedlings in short supply after poor growing season  – Jill Galloway:

A shortage of pine tree seedlings after a poor growing season for tree nurseries has hit some forest owners and farm foresters.

Patrick Murray ,who is owner of Murray’s Nurseries at Woodville in Tararua, said he had turned down orders of 1.2 million pines.

“We grew around five million pinus radiata but could easily have sold more. It has been a wet summer and poor autumn and that affected badly the growth of the trees.” . . 

EU farmer subsidies under threat – Nigel Stirling:

There are signs that the massive subsidisation of European agriculture could be cut back.

New Zealand has long fought the policy, which tops up the incomes of millions of European farmers.

For decades, NZ has argued the policy keeps European production higher than justified by market prices, and supply on global markets out of kilter with demand. . .

Alliance looks to food service growth – Alan Williams:

Alliance Group hopes that its new food service business will be achieving annual sales above $100 million in the next three years or so.

A four-strong development team is working up a pilot programme in the United Kingdom that the meat exporter will use as a springboard for wider Europe, and into Asian markets as well, general manager sales Murray Brown said.

“Who knows how it could go – we’re a $1.5 billion business and if we could get the food service up to 10% of total sales over three years that would be $100m to $150m.” . .

Nitrate data suggests a corner turned – Nicole Sharp:

Environment Southland’s latest water quality report shows a trend of decreasing or indeterminate nitrogen levels and Southland farmers deserve a pat on the back for this, Agribusiness farm consultant Deane Carson says.

Nitrate levels in Southland had always been an area of significant concern for him, and for a while were somewhat out of control, he said.

But the latest report showed the majority of the sites were indeterminate for nitrite­nitrate nitrogen (NNN) levels over the five years covered and nine of the 49 sites had a decreasing trend. . .


Rural round-up

July 6, 2017

Farmers’ social licence fast expiring – warning – Nigel Malthus:

Dairying has a lot at stake as the world enters the fourth industrial revolution, says former DairyNZ chairman John Luxton.

A dairy farmer, businessman and former National minister of agriculture, Luxton gave the opening keynote address at the 2017 South Island Dairy Event (SIDE) conference at Lincoln University.

He says farmers’ social license to operate as in the past was now fast expiring. Rules and regulations requiring farmers to improve farm systems were becoming more and more complex. . . 

Military cameras help red meat – Sudesh Kissun:

Cameras used by the military are helping the New Zealand red meat sector produce premium lamb products.

One camera, installed in a South Island meat plant, scans eight lambs a minute, collecting from 45 data points per lamb in a round-the-clock operation. The technology is not available anywhere else in the world; AgResearch needed special approval to get the military-grade camera into NZ.

Chief executive Tom Richardson says the technology has the potential to help farmers double their income. . .

NZ support for agriculture innovation

Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced an $11 million boost to global agricultural research.

“New Zealand is a world leader in international agriculture research and we want to help meet global food needs in ways that are positive for the environment,” Mr Brownlee says.

“New Zealand is committing $11 million over two years to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a network of research institutes around the world that focus on agriculture, forestry and fishing. . .

Feds’ commend Government on investment in global agriscience:

Federated Farmers commends the Government on investment of $11 million towards global agricultural research.

The announcement today, made by Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee, is a progressive step that will drive science and innovation in the agriculture sector.

“There is a great deal of work that governments and farmers worldwide should be collaborating on in the pre-competitive space to not only lift livelihoods in rural sectors, but also improve environmental outcomes,” says Federated Farmers’ National Vice President Andrew Hoggard. . .

Horticulture ripe for investment:

World-wide consumer interest in healthy food, growers being early-adopters of innovation, and rapid growth make horticulture in New Zealand ripe for further investment, says Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman.World-wide consumer interest in healthy food, growers being early-adopters of innovation, and rapid growth make horticulture in New Zealand ripe for further investment, says Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman.

“Today, the government has released a business-focused overview in The Investor’s Guide to the New Zealand Produce Industry 2017 which shows potential investors how well fruit and vegetable production in New Zealand is going,” Mr Chapman says.  . .

Healthy humans, lusty lambs:

Managing the diets of sheep to boost human health and keep stock in prime condition will be on the menu when NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) researchers present their latest findings at a Graham Centre sheep forum in Wagga Wagga on Friday July 7.

NSW DPI livestock researcher, Edward Clayton, has investigated ways to lift omega-3 fatty acid levels in lamb to deliver human health benefits, which could decrease risks of cardiovascular disease and treat inflammatory conditions, including eczema and arthritis.

“Omega-3 fatty acid, found in high concentrations in oily fish, is also a component of red meat and levels can be altered considerably through the animal’s diet,” Dr Clayton said. . .


Rural round-up

June 29, 2017

 

Rockit Global is Hawke’s Bay Exporter of the Year:

Specialist apple grower Rockit Global has been named ExportNZ Hawke’s Bay’s ASB Exporter of the Year.

They were presented with the award by the Head of Trade Finance at ASB Bank, Mike Atkins, at the sold-out awards dinner last night at the Napier Conference Centre.

Rockit Global had earlier in the night won the Napier Port Industry Trail Blazer Award. . . 

Arable Farmers Honoured with Inaugural Awards:

The best and brightest of the country’s arable industry was celebrated and honoured at last night’s Federated Farmers’ Arable Industry Conference and AGM at Lincoln.

At the climax of the industry’s annual get together was the presentation of two inaugural awards.

Mid-Canterbury farmer Eric Watson was crowned Federated Farmers /Bayer Arable Farmer of the Year with Karen Williams from the Wairarapa awarded Federated Farmers’ Biosecurity Farmer of the Year.

$85 million for new Lincoln University facilities:

Primary sector education, research and innovation will receive a significant boost thanks to a capital injection for state-of-the-art new buildings at Lincoln University, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment and Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith announced today.

The Government has agreed to provide Lincoln University with $85 million to support the construction of new shared education and research facilities with AgResearch on the university’s campus. The investment will help Lincoln University’s recovery from the Canterbury earthquakes by replacing earthquake damaged buildings with modern teaching and research spaces. . . 

#My60Acres: Is it really illegal for me to keep my own seed? – Uptown Farms:

Its growing day 30 and we have been blessed with timely rainfalls for #My60Acres! The soybeans are doing well and starting to become more visible among the cover crop and last year’s corn stubble.

As I have had the opportunity to talk about my soybean crop, I’ve realized people have some of the same questions I did about soybeans. Is it really illegal for farmers to keep their own seed? Does the government force us to grow GMO crops?

I think these are important questions and with all the misinformation available, I wanted to tackle them head on. 

Is it really illegal for me to keep soybean seed from #My60acres to plant next year?

The short answer is – yes, it is! When we decide to purchase certain seeds, we sign a contract that we will not keep seed to replant. But why the heck would farmers be OK with that? . . 

Mid-2018 opening for Lorneville venison plant – Sally Rae:

Alliance Group’s new $15.2million venison processing facility at Lorneville is expected to be operational in mid-2018.

Plans were announced last year to build the plant in a refurbished beef building, funded with proceeds from selling Makarewa land.

In the latest update to suppliers, chief executive David Surveyor said the team had been working since then to improve the design. . . 

Kiwifruit industry to create 29k jobs by 2030:

The kiwifruit industry will generate 29,000 new jobs and add an annual $3.5 billion to New Zealand’s gross domestic product by 2030, with much of the growth driven by new cultivars such as Gold 3, according to a Waikato University report for Zespri International.

The nation’s statutory kiwifruit exporter commissioned the report to look at the economic contribution of the industry to the Bay of Plenty, Northland and New Zealand as a whole. The report finds that both the Bay of Plenty, which has the lion’s share of the industry, and Northland will enjoy a similar impetus to regional GDP – 135% between 2016 and 2030, with the contribution to Bay of Plenty GDP rising to $2.04b from $867 million and Northland’s to $72m from $30.6m. . . 

Skifield possums return – Guy Williams:

Queenstown’s furry skifield saboteurs may have struck again.

For the second time in a fortnight, the Remarkables ski area was unable to open yesterday because of a power cut possibly caused by possums.

Ski area manager Ross Lawrence said the outage occurred about 6.45am.

”I was doing our reports saying we were opening, then bang, the power went out.”

A helicopter took to the air at dawn and found a power pole, with a dead possum attached, on the mountain’s lower slopes about 15 minutes later.

However, power could not be restored immediately, forcing him to close the ski area for the day. . . 

Colonial homestead in North Canterbury abandoned by UK owners, looking for love – Colleen Hawkes:

No-one is building houses like this any more, which makes it all the more sad that this majestic homestead has been abandoned for the past six years.

The colonial beauty in Swannanoa, North Canterbury, known as Northwood, was last sold in 2011 to a family living in the UK. But due to changed personal circumstances, their dream plans for relocation fell through.

Now, they need to sell, says listing agent Mitchell Roberts of Harcourts Twiss-Keir Realty in Christchurch. . . 


Rural round-up

June 22, 2017

Consumers must be the focus: report – Sally Rae:

The need to create New Zealand provenance brands has been ranked by primary industry leaders as one of the top priorities for 2017.

KPMG’s latest Agribusiness Agenda, released last week, again ranked biosecurity as the highest priority.

It had ranked first in every survey completed, although the priority score was at its lowest level since 2012. . . 

Agri hub now open for business – Nigel Malthus:

Never mind the bricks and mortar, the Lincoln Hub is now open for business, says its recently appointed chief executive Toni Laming.

The Hub, or He Puna Karikari, brings several agricultural research and commercial entities together, to collaborate on basic and applied agricultural science.

It has five founding shareholders – Lincoln University, AgResearch, Landcare Research, Plant & Food Research and DairyNZ – and expects to attract others as it grows and develops. . .

First bull sale for Murray family since quake – Alexa Cook:

The Murray family in Clarence Valley have had their first big bull sale since the earthquake in November.

Because the road is closed to the south, the 65 buyers were flown in from Kaikōura on four different helicopters.

Over 100 bulls were up for sale from the Murray’s Matariki Hereford stud and the neighbouring Woodbank Angus stud. . . 

‘Trojan Female Technique’ could sterilise pest populations – Alexa Cook:

A new technique that could be used to eradicate pests like mice and wasps has just been proven in the laboratory on fruit flies.

The “Trojan Female Technique” is where females pass on genes that make male offspring infertile.

The head of the University of Otago’s Department of Anatomy, Neil Gemmell, said it was not a new idea to release sterile males, but creating and releasing females that produce sterile offspring was a first for pest control. . . 

Fieldays reflects positive outlook for Primary Sector:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has congratulated the National Fieldays Society for another successful event at Mystery Creek in Waikato.

“This year’s Fieldays was another success thanks to hard work from Peter Nation and his team, but also in part due to the positive outlook for the primary sector,” says Mr Guy.

“Many farmers and growers have dealt with some challenging past seasons, so it was great to feel a really positive mood across the many thousands who entered the gates. There’s a strong sense that many will be looking to use their extra forecast revenue to reinvest in their businesses. . . 

Rural confidence lifts with early frosts – Dene Mackenzie:

As early frosts and snowfalls signalled the approach of winter, confidence within the rural sector continued to build, Real Estate Institute rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said yesterday.

Farmers were anticipating improving incomes during the forthcoming season.

Demand for quality properties and the shortage of supply remained constant, he said.

Figures released by the institute showed there were 25 more farm sales for the three months ended May than for the three months ended May 2016. . . 

Kūmara costs double in disastrous season:

Kūmara prices are nearly double what they were a year ago due to disastrous weather this season, growers say.

Kaipara Kūmara manager Anthony Blundell said the crop was down about 35 percent on normal years due to the wet weather that hit in March.

Mr Blundell said the season didn’t start off well with a wet spring but the biggest damage was done by the cyclones that swamped kumara fields in March. . . 


Rural round-up

June 7, 2017

Time to give farmers their due – Dr William Rolleston:

It is election year and it seems that for the environmental groups the gloves are off.

We have seen Greenpeace run a series of fundraising ads vilifying dairy farmers and Forest and Bird pull out of the Land and Water Forum. No surprise that both these organisations are headed by ex-Green politicians. Scuttlebutt is that Forest and Bird will re-join the Land and Water Forum after the election. Greenpeace has yet again been accused of misleading the public.

The truth is that farmers are fully engaged in meeting their environmental responsibilities. Up and down the country I have seen catchment groups working to reduce their impact on water quality and address issues of water allocation. . . 

Queen’s Birthday Honours: James Guild:

James Alastair Hay Guild, of High Peak Station, Darfield, has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the deer industry.

Mr Guild is a farmer and tourism operator who has been active in the deer industry for more than forty years.

Mr Guild has been a councillor and President of New Zealand Deer Farmers Association, Director of the Game Industry Board, Director of the Cervena Trust, inaugural Chair of Provelco Co-op Ltd, President of the New Zealand Association of Game Estates, and chaired the organising committee of first World Deer Congress. . .

People at the heart of decades of work for Flaxmere’s new MNZM:

Its third time lucky for the humble Peter MacGregor, who has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to Maori and agriculture.

The Flaxmere resident said he felt very honoured to have received the Queens Birthday Honour.

This was not the first time Mr MacGregor had been recognised in such a way – he said he had declined the Queens Birthday honours the first time “some years ago”, and the second time the required paperwork was not completed in time. . . 

Saving seed in case :

AgResearch has deposited a collection of seeds in a remote Arctic doomsday vault to guard against the loss of plant species through war, disease or disaster striking New Zealand.

The deposit was made via an airmailed package to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a secure facility on the rugged Arctic Svalbard archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole.

It is the second delivery of its kind from AgResearch’s Margot Forde Germplasm Centre (MFGC) following an agreement established last year. . .

Socks of many colours for resthome residents – Sally Brooker:

For its 40th anniversary, the Black and Coloured Sheep Breeders’ Association of New Zealand continued its tradition of charitable works.

The association held its annual conference in Oamaru, bringing in more than 50 delegates from across the country. As well as attending meetings and competing with their coloured fleeces, sheepskins, handcrafts and photography, they made time to donate woollen goods to a local rest-home. . . .

Fieldays’ Rural Bachelor competition is back:

Rest easy, New Zealand, the Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year finalists have been found.

Fieldays staff have been scouring New Zealand and Australia in search of the eight most eligible rural bachelors, and they have finally found this year’s stock. The blokes will soon be embarking on a whirlwind week as they vie for the title of Rural Bachelor of the Year, a prize pack worth over $20,000 and a chance at finding love.

Rural Bachelor event manager Lynn Robinson said selecting the finalists was a tough job. . .

 

 


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