Rural round-up

March 14, 2018

Irrigation essential for Central Otago – Brittany Pickett:

New technology to help improve water use and efficiency will be essential for the future of horticulture and agriculture in Central Otago, IrrigationNZ says.

“What we’re seeing is a gradual move towards higher and higher land value uses of irrigation,” IrrigationNZ chief executive Andrew Curtis said.

Cherry and other pip fruit businesses, as well as wine, were expected to expand because they used less water per hectare than other farming types, he said.

New technology to assist irrigators meet water quality requirements will be on display at IrrigationNZ’s conference on April 17-19 in Alexandra. . . 

Clock ticking for farm houses to comply with new laws for insulation – Gerald Piddock:

Farm owners have been warned to make sure their staff accommodation complies with new laws coming into effect in July next year.

The laws will insist that all rental properties, including farm housing, had to meet new standards for insulation.

There was a myth among farmers that they were excluded from the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), Morrinsville lawyer Jacqui Owen told farmers at a field day near Walton run by the Matamata Piako Three Rivers Trust.

“You 100 per cent are and any one of your staff can file a claim against you with the tenancy tribunal,” she said. . .

Labour shortage could spoil apple season :

A bumper crop of Hawke’s Bay apples is being harvested early this year but there are fears a labour shortage could spoil things – leaving thousands of apples unpicked.

A spokeswoman for Bostock said the company was usually behind conventional packing but this year was 10 days ahead of schedule since they started the harvest.

“We have a good quality product at present, it’s going to be a bumper season. We should be picking 1400 bins a day but we are picking only 1200 and that’s purely because of the labour shortage. . . 

Record crowds see games records :

More than 30,000 people participated in Hilux Rural Games activities in Palmerston North over the weekend.

Rural Games Trust chairwoman Margaret Kouvelis said “It was so fantastic to see people of all ages trying out different things from tree climbing to digger driving to gumboot throwing.

“Friday was fabulous for Feilding as thousands attended the Property Brokers Running of the Wools and that evening the Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards were held in front of a sell-out crowd.” . .

Little farmer reaction to LIC plan – Alan Williams:

Owners of LIC’s co-operative shares are being urged to read the information on the directors’ plans for a share restructure to see what the impact on them will be.

The call from Southland Federated Farmers president Allan Baird applies especially to dairy farmers who own only the co-op shares and not the NZAX-listed investment shares. . . 

Don’t make it hard for next generation– Dan Korff:

Every generation says the same thing, or something similar: “That’s how it is, we had to go through the same thing”.

Why? Why is that just how it is? Who decided? And why would you want other people to keep feeling the same frustration and annoyance you felt?

I’m talking about the challenge of trying to become involved in local or industry committees or groups trying to remain relevant, get new energy into them or attract a new crowd of people back to the cause or event. . . .


Rural round-up

May 12, 2016

Gentle giants deliver the meat – Kate Taylor:

A Pahiatua farmer is pleased his family dairy farm is still in the family because it allows him to enjoy his passion for south devon cattle. Kate Taylor paid him a visit.

Pahiatua south devon breeder Mark Eagle talks enthusiastically about the temperament of his “gentle giants”.

We pride ourselves on breeding cattle with quiet temperaments and a decent strong, meaty carcass,” he says.

Mark and Di Eagle and their Kaimoa South Devon Stud can be found on the 230-hectare Chessfield Farm in the Mangaone Valley about 11 kilometres south east of Pahiatua. Their annual bull sale is on May 23. . .

Farmers think about the future at Federated Farmers Southland meeting – Brittany Pickett:

Primary industries production remains crucial in Southland’s future.

That was the message given to farmers at the Federated Farmers annual meeting on Wednesday at Bill Richardson Transport World.

Speakers and leaders had farmers thinking about what farming in Southland would be like within the next 10 years.

Southland Federated Farmers president Allan Baird said his desire for the future would be to have a healthy environment alongside a growth in production. . . 

Views on animal welfare heard across the country:

Close to 500 people attended six public meetings across the country, to express views on animal welfare.

MPI is currently seeking feedback on 85 proposed animal welfare regulations and took to the road as part of the five week consultation. The proposals set out tougher rules around animal management and would put new fines and infringements in place.

Director of Biosecurity and Animal Welfare Julie Collins has been pleased with the amount of feedback MPI had received to date. . . 

Solar powered pump sells to 20 countries:

A central Hawke’s Bay company has signed a deal to sell its solar powered water pump in 20 countries.

Isaacs Electrical launched its ePump last December, and strong demand nationally and internationally has led to it signing a major distribution partnership with Waikato Milking Systems.

The ePump can pump up to 20 litres of water per minute in daylight hours, and for a distance of up to 120 metres, making it ideal for use in remote locations. . . 

Waikato forum: what dairy can learn from kiwifruit crisis:

Dairy farmers facing the industry’s lowest milk price in years will this month hear lessons learnt by the kiwifruit industry when Psa struck in 2010.

“We are different industries, but we are still people. One looks after animals, one looks after plants – but we are people, we have passion, we have drive, we earn our income and live our lifestyles this way,” says Ian Greaves, kiwifruit industry representative.

The kiwifruit vine disease, Psa, devastated all Gold kiwifruit orchards across the Bay of Plenty but also affected Green, with many growers only now getting their first or second crop since it occurred. . . 

Battle for our birds 2016:

The largest pest control operation in New Zealand’s history will be launched this winter in response to a pest plague which threatens vulnerable native wildlife, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.

Battle for our Birds 2016 will receive $20.7 million in new operating funding for 2015/16 from this month’s Budget, helping to fight back against an expected pest population boom caused by a heavy forest seeding, or mast.

“DOC scientists have confirmed the seed fall predicted last year has eventuated,” Ms Barry says. “We must respond if we’re to protect our native birds and animals from the threat – and the funding will enable DOC to achieve this.”

This autumn around a million tonnes of beech seed will drop to the forest floor, providing a bonanza of food for rats and causing their population to boom.

“As rats increase due to the readily-available food source, so will the number of stoats which feed on rats,” Ms Barry says. “Once the seeds germinate and the food source disappears in early spring, the plague of millions of starving rats and tens of thousands of hungry stoats will turn on native wildlife, bringing disaster if we do nothing.” . . 

Welcome to New Trustee from Rural Women NZ:

This months meeting of NZ Landcare Trust’s Board of Trustees will see a new face at the table, as Fiona Gower takes over from Liz Evans as the representative for Rural Women New Zealand.

NZ Landcare Trust CEO Dr Nick Edgar said, “On behalf of Trust staff I’d like to welcome Fiona to the Board of Trustees. Fiona’s extensive knowledge of rural issues and her understanding of community involvement will be a real asset.”

Fiona is looking forward to the new role. “With the growing importance, emphasis and pressure on freshwater in New Zealand, organisations such as NZ Landcare Trust will play an increasingly important role in achieving positive outcomes for our land and water resources, and I am looking forward to being a part of that journey,” Fiona added. . .


Rural round-up

August 17, 2015

More women working NZ farms – Suzette Howe:

New Zealand is seeing a rise in the number of women working in farming. For years farming has been mainly viewed as a man’s world, but the tide is turning.

Nestled away on a north Canterbury farm, Louisa McClintock is not your average teenage girl. At just 17 she’s fallen in love with farming. She has quit school and is taking up the reins of her granddad’s farm.

“Everyone thought I was going to stay at school till year 13 and do the whole nine yards and go to uni, but I don’t think there’s anything I’d rather be doing; farming is it,” she says. . . 

Getting through the tough times – Andrew Hoggard:

We at least now know where we are with the much anticipated Fonterra forecast payment.  A price of $3.85 per kilo of milk solids is a real shocker.  There’s not going to be many farmers making anything on that payout.

That said, what can realistically be done about helping farmers through the tough times ahead for at least the next few months?

First, there is the no brainer stuff.  Talk to the bank manager.  Talk to advisers.  Put a bit more effort into communication with the family – they will be feeling the pressure as well.  . . 

Water Proposals jeopardise Southland’s farming future

Federated Farmers Southland strongly opposes Environment Southland’s draft ‘Water and Land Plan and are planning meetings to discuss the rural community’s concerns.

President of Federated Farmers Southland, Allan Baird, says “In its current form, the cost to Southland farmers will be crippling and there will be large flow on affects for the wider Southland economy.”

“As proposed, this Plan would severely limit or prohibit development, flexibility, and innovation for farming businesses, which will have huge consequences for Southland’s economy.”

“Farmers want good water quality just like every other Southlander; by progressing the current outcomes based approach that focuses our resources on the priority hot spots. This is consistent with what the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment is encouraging in her recent report, but we can’t do that without the flexibility to adapt to the environment and regulatory changes.”    . . .

NZ and Australia likely to trigger milk quota – Allan Barber:

For the first time since 2004 New Zealand and Australian beef exporters look almost certain to run out of US beef quota before the end of the year. High kills in both countries have seen an excess of beef being processed, well ahead of the normal annual production trend.

New Zealand’s annual quota allows shipments of 213,402 tonnes, much of it manufacturing beef for the fast food industry, but also higher value prime beef cuts in the pre Christmas period. If the quota runs out, these cuts will be at risk. The excess production this year is a direct result of the high cow cull because of the downturn in dairy prices. One processor told me the present slaughter rate was four times the normal amount. . . 

Reducing waste to feed the world:

A 2013 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) agreement to reduce food waste by 10 percent across the region is picking up pace as researchers and technical team members work towards their 2017 goal of developing effective strategies and actions to address urgent global food waste issues.

A third of the edible parts of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. That translates into about 1.3 billion ton per year. Lincoln University Associate Professor James Morton says reducing food waste is the logical first step in meeting the needs of a growing world population, which is predicted to reach nine billion by 2050. He recently attended the second of three APEC ‘Multi-Year Project’ meetings focused on addressing global food waste, where he spoke around the need to measure and reduce wastage in the livestock chain. . . 

TPP – it’s time for a breather – Keith Woodford:

The failure to reach closure at the recent TPP negotiations in Hawaii may be a blessing for New Zealand. It may give some time for our negotiators to reflect on what we hope to achieve and what we are prepared to concede.

Most farmers will be supporters of the TPP. They will be working on the apparently reasonable assumption that more free trade has to be good value. . .

Commission releases draft report on 2014/15 review of Fonterra’s base milk price calculation:

The Commerce Commission today released its draft report on Fonterra’s base milk price calculation for the 2014/15 dairy season. The base milk price is the price Fonterra pays to farmers for raw milk and is currently set by Fonterra at $4.40 per kilogram of milk solids for the 2014/15 season.

The Commission is required to review Fonterra’s calculation of the base milk price each year as part of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act’s (DIRA) milk price monitoring regime. The review assesses whether Fonterra’s approach delivers incentives for it to operate efficiently and provides for contestability in the market for purchasing farmers’ milk.

The Commission’s overall view is that Fonterra’s calculation of the 2014/15 base milk price is largely consistent with both the efficiency and contestability purposes of the DIRA. . . 



Rural round-up

July 10, 2014

India’s massive buffalo exports reflect different approach to food safety – Alan Barber:

India has exported well over 500,000 tonnes of buffalo to Vietnam in 10 months of the latest July to June year. This figure easily exceeds the total of New Zealand’s beef exports to all countries.

Over the same period India’s total bovine (buffalo) exports were 1.45 million tonnes at an average value of US$3041 (NZ$3475), while the average price to Vietnam was US$3489 (NZ$3987), an increase of 40% since 2012. Other main markets in order of importance are Malaysia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and United Arab Emirates.

In comparison New Zealand’s beef exports command an FOB price of between $5000 to the USA, Canada, Korea and China and up to $9000 to French Polynesia, the highest paying market, with other main markets such as Japan, Taiwan and Europe at various points in between. . . .

Consultation opens on infant formula proposals:

Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye today announced the opening of consultation on measures that aim to ensure the robustness of the government’s assurance system for infant formula exports.

“In June last year I announced a work plan to further protect and strengthen confidence in New Zealand’s food assurance systems, to match rapid growth in infant formula exports,” Ms Kaye says.

“Export assurances are particularly important for infant formula exports where consumers have strong concerns about food safety, quality and product integrity.” . . .

Wools of NZ:

It’s not our wool, we borrow it from nature to where we can return it.Photo: It's not our wool, we borrow it from nature to where we can return it.

Why politicians shouldn’t be on the field of play – Andrew Hoggard:

In case you were expecting Willy Leferink this week, there has been a bit of a change at Federated Farmers.  My name is Andrew Hoggard and I am the new Dairy Industry Group chair.  That’s not the only change.  Being a North Islander you may get a slightly different perspective on things as I farm with my wife and two children near Fielding in Manawatu. That’s of course the region which gave us that planning beast called “One Plan.”

At Federated Farmers National Conference last week, we heard from political leaders from across the spectrum.

One common theme that annoyed me and the farmers around me was this notion that New Zealand is doing the wrong thing in the marketing of its agricultural products.  That we are not adding value and are just doing cheap and nasty commodity products thanks to industrial farming practices.  Oh and the primary industries are like putting all our economic eggs in one basket.  Now where have I heard that before? . . .

Environment Southland listening to farmers:

Federated Farmers commends Environment Southland for listening to the concerns of Hill and High Country farmers, and delaying notification of the proposed Hill and High Country Development Plan Change today.

“The council’s decision, having engaged and taken on board farmers concerns, will result in better outcomes for farmers and the environment,” says Allan Baird Federated Farmers Southland acting provincial president.

“Taking time to fully consider the issues, potential impacts, inclusive of the whole community and their values, is a fundamental part of the National Policy Statement for Fresh Water Management, and needs to be central in all decision making. . .

Finalists of Consultant of the Year Awards announced:

The judges have deliberated and the finalists have been selected for this year’s annual Farmax Consultant of the Year Awards.

Today Farmax announced the finalists for the DairyNZ Dairy Consultant of the Year, Beef + Lamb NZ Sheep and Beef Consultant of the Year, and NZIPIM Emerging Rural Professional of the Year.

Farmax general manager, Gavin McEwen, said it was great to see such a high standard of talent and skills amongst the nominations. . . .


Rural round up

October 23, 2010

The subheading on this blog is a rural perspective with a blue tint.

It’s often a lot more blue than rural (though the two aren’t mutually exclusive). I’ve decided to help rebalance that with ocassional posts linking to rural news and views, starting with these:

Sticky milk powder – Marcus Wilson at Sciblogs:

. . .   One of the most enjoyable talks was given by student Timothy Walmsley, concerning a study on the sticking of milk powder in spray dryers. To convert milk into powder form it is sprayed into a dryer; the milk solids remain and fall to the bottom but the water content is removed; the result is something that is easily packaged and transported. . .

Making Milking faster and easier:

DairyNZ has launched a programme for farmers aimed at improving the milk harvesting efficiency on New Zealand dairy farms.

“Milksmart is concerned not only with milking, but with the whole milk harvesting process, from collecting the cows from the paddock and milking, to clean-up and the return of the cows,” says DairyNZ Developer and project leader, Samantha Palmer.

The programme allows a farmer to complete a comprehensive self-assessment of the milk harvesting operation and then compare their performance against other farmers.

“The smallest change in the dairy shed can stack up to important savings in both time and costs over a whole season,” says Samantha.

More on this can be found at Milksmart.

What’s going on at New Zealand’s specialist land based university? – Tony Chaston queries Lincoln’s priorities and future:

High quality agricultural education is  needed to grow the rural economy into the future. In my opinion Lincoln University lost its way over the last 20 years focusing on “buying students” in many areas of education, just to survive, rather than focus on agriculture.

The Rural Recovery Group, set up in after the Canterbury earthquake is finding rural issues are starting to emerge:

Farmers had been downplaying damage, particularly as their counterparts in Southland and the North Island were struggling after recent snowstorms. The Group heard that because of those events, people were holding off on putting claims in. Rural Recovery Group co-ordinator Allan Baird urged them to register damage as soon as possible.

Selwyn District Council Recovery Welfare Manager Diane Chesmar said there had been a small number of Red Cross applications from the Selwyn district and some inquiries about emotional support.

“We understand that in this type of event the bulk of the social needs come three months after the event.”

Zespri lifts forecast payment to growers:

In the latest forecast from kiwifruit marketer ZESPRI, average fruit and service payments for kiwifruit growers are set to increase by $13.7 million or $0.15 per tray on last season.

ZESPRI’s Director of Corporate and Grower Services, Carol Ward, said: “Market returns this season are up on last year and reflect strong consumer demand for ZESPRI Kiwifruit. However we are still facing challenging market conditions as the global economy emerges from the recession, with Japan and East Asia recovering more quickly than Europe and North America.”

2011Nuffield Scholars to investigate Asian markets:

David Campbell is currently Livestock Productivity Manager and Project Leader ‘Special Milks’ for Synlait Farms Limited in Canterbury. . .

Nicola Waugh is another graduate of Massey University. She is currently employed by AgFirst Waikato Ltd as an agricultural consultant. . .

High accolade for high country leader:

John Brakenridge, Chief Executive of The New Zealand Merino Company Limited (NZM) has scooped the coveted ‘outstanding international business leader’ award at the New Zealand International Business Awards. 


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