Rural round-up

19/08/2014

Global grain prices in free-fall – Keith Woodford:

Last week I wrote how the OECD and FAO secretariats expect many agricultural prices to drop in real terms over the next ten years as supply ramps up across the world. This is particularly the case for staple crops such as wheat, corn and soybeans. However, in the last ten days it has become increasingly apparent that major price decreases are playing out right now in front of us. With the early Northern Hemisphere harvest reports for wheat now coming through, with increasingly positive pre-harvest reports for both corn and soybean, and with existing high global stocks, the prices have all been tumbling.

The first place to look when considering international grain prices is the USA. The USA is by far the most technologically advanced cereal growing country in the world, and has huge global influence. . .

Insights from Canada water trip – Sally Rae:

When Waitaki Irrigators Collective policy manager Elizabeth Soal headed to Canada recently, she wanted to learn more about how water issues were managed, given that nation’s similarities with New Zealand.

There were similar legal systems, similar amounts of water per capita and challenges similar to those in New Zealand, including rising pressure around intensification and urbanisation putting pressure on the resource.

While she did not return with all the answers she was looking for, which she acknowledged was to be expected – ”water issues are complex and hard to solve, nowhere in the world has solved it perfectly” – she described it as an ”incredible experience”. . .

Growsafe looking to rise to the challenge – Yvonne O’Hara:

If relevant regulations and improved training requirements are introduced for agrichemical users as a result of the new Health and Safety at Work Act, it is likely Growsafe will rise to the challenge.

Growsafe provides basic and advanced training in the use of agrichemicals and is run by the New Zealand Agrichemical Trust.

Growsafe chairman Graeme Peters said the Government, as part of the new health and safety requirements, might consider removing the approved handler regime and replacing it with an Australian model that tailored training to suit the need, rather than the present ”one size fits all” regime. . .

Changing guard at ‘Lake Cowal’ – Peter Austin:

WHEN Leppington Pastoral Company took possession of the “Lake Cowal” property adjoining its Billabong Station at Marsden earlier this month, history to some degree repeated itself.

It was precisely 80 years ago that an earlier resident of Billabong Station had crossed the Bland Creek that forms the boundary between the two properties to make a new home on “Lake Cowal”.

That earlier 1934 migrant was Herbert (“Bert”) Dent, who had managed “Billabong” since 1924 for the Ricketson and (later) Sanderson families before taking the plunge and setting up on his own. . . .

Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award entries open:

Entries are now open for the Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award 2014, which will be presented at the NZ Guild of Agricultural Journalists annual awards dinner in Wellington on 17 October.

The Rural Women NZ award encourages journalists to report on the achievements of women living and working in rural communities.

It’s a strategy that’s paid off, says Rural Women NZ national president, Wendy McGowan.

“Last year the Rural Women New Zealand Journalism Award was one of the most popular categories.” . . .

Entries open for 2014 Air New Zealand Wine Awards:

Entries are open for the 2014 Air New Zealand Wine Awards.
Now in its 39th year, the Awards are a celebration of excellence in New Zealand winemaking and is widely considered to be the country’s most prestigious wine competition.

“Our industry is known for its commitment to quality, innovation and exceptional wines. The Air New Zealand Wine Awards is a fitting showcase for this,” says New Zealand Winegrowers’ Global Marketing Director, Chris Yorke. . .


Rural round-up

11/07/2014

Farming leadership mould is slowly breaking – Charlie Mitchell:

Agriculture is the largest sector of New Zealand’s tradeable economy.

It generates 70 per cent of the country’s export earnings, and comprises 12 per cent of annual GDP. Although farming remains the backbone of this country’s economy, women have been far from prominent in its leadership roles. But it is possible to be a woman of influence among the farmers and growers, as two of the country’s prominent female leaders in the sector explain.

JANE HUNTER, HUNTER’S WINERY

Jane Hunter’s reputation precedes her. The managing director of Marlborough winery Hunter’s, she has been dubbed “the first lady of New Zealand wine”, received an OBE in 1993, and was made a Companion to the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009. . .

“Weather” We Will – Just a Ranch Wife:

One thing about being in agriculture, you better like being the “beck and call girl” for Mother Nature.  SHE makes the rules.  SHE decides if you are going to get any sleep in the spring during calving, or “weather” she is in the mood to dump LOADS of snow on you and make every single thing exponentially more difficult.  SHE decides if you are going to brand on the day you have your crew lined up, or “weather” she needs to blow off some steam and try to blow your crew away or give them a good soaking. SHE decides if you are going to get your fields planted, or “weather” your tractor is going to be stuck up to the axle when you tried too soon.  SHE decides if you are going to get your hay cut and baled, or “weather” she wants to blow it around or wet it down some.  . .

Alex takes his stock skills to world stage  – Sahiban Kanwal:

Waimate’s Alex Reekers has trimmed and shorn his way to the finals of the World Young Shepherds Challenge.

Reekers will represent New Zealand at the finals in Auvergne, France, in September and he is keen to learn about his foreign counterparts and their farming systems.

“The hardest thing to do will be study, and try to study the right things. Not being on home turf and competing in a country with different farming systems and regulations could throw some curveballs,” he said.

He said preparation for the preliminary rounds, which had got him this far, was quite difficult as the guidelines for the competition were pretty general. . .

Optimism for woollen mill – Alan Williams:

Wool Equities (WEL) says it is close to getting a funding package for its Bruce Woollen Mill business in South Otago.

A statement on a reconfiguration of the business is expected in the next week or so, WEL chairman Cliff Heath said.

He confirmed significant cashflow problems for Bruce Woollen Mill over the past six months, and attempts over that time to revamp it onto a more fundable footing.

“We are close to achieving that.”

Bruce Woollen Mill had developed a solid customer base over the past two years, since WEL became majority owner, and had a good order book for about five months ahead. . .

Vineyard seeks consent to subdivide – Lynda Van Kempen:

Terra Sancta vineyard owners Mark Weldon and Sarah Elliot are seeking a subdivision of a Cornish Point property to further expand their viticulture business.

The couple, under the name of the Tane and Miro Trust, have applied to the Central Otago District Council for planning consent to create two allotments in Cornish Point Rd, near Cromwell, with areas of 4847sq m and 6.26ha.

They bought the former Olssens vineyard, one of the pioneering vineyards in the Bannockburn area, in 2011 and rebranded it as Terra Sancta. . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics underway:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Genetics is officially in business.

B+LNZ Genetics General Manager, Graham Alder said the contract with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has been signed, securing the Government’s contribution of $15 million over the next five years.

In total the new entity will attract $44 million, coming from sheep and beef farmers, the wider red meat industry and the Government.

“This investment will power up the genetic gains for New Zealand sheep and cattle so they are more profitable and better matched to consumer demands.” . . .

International judges announced for 2014 Air New Zealand Wine Awards:

Two highly respected international wine personalities will be joining this year’s judging panel for the country’s premier wine competition, the Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

Respected wine writer David Brookes from Australian Gourmet Traveller WINE, Wine Companion and Wine & Spirits magazines, and Sebastian Braun, one of Sweden’s leading wine buyers, will be joining the judging team of 26 for this year’s competition.

Judging for the 2014 Air New Zealand Wine Awards will take place from 3 to 5 November, in Auckland. The gold medal winning wines will be announced on 12 November. On Saturday, 22 November, the ‘best of the best’ trophy winning wines will be revealed at a black tie dinner in Hawke’s Bay. The dinner will be attended by New Zealand’s top winemakers and industry figures to celebrate the quality of New Zealand wine. . .


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