Rural round-up

January 27, 2015

Race to control Canterbury fire – Thomas Mead:

Rural fire crews are considering all possible options as a massive scrub fire burns through a high-country station in Canterbury and temperatures creep up.

Three planes, six helicopters and around 20 firefighters are battling a raging blaze on the hillside at Flock Hill Station, near State Highway 73 and on the way to Arthur’s Pass.

The fire started around 2:30pm yesterday and grew from 10 hectares to 333 hectares overnight, burning through a thick growth of wilding pine, manuka scrub and tussock. The area is equivalent to around 300 rugby fields or three-quarters of the Auckland Central Business District. . .

If farmers hurt, the nation hurts – Bryan Gibson:

Last week, while navigating the cat pictures and uplifting life affirmations of Facebook, I came across a post about the drought-like conditions. The writer stated there seemed to be a fair number of farmers complaining about the weather in the media.

His reasoned the weather was simply a factor of farming business and so farmers should just live with whatever rain or shine the heavens provided.

I sense this is a common belief of many people not associated with farming. . .

McCook hangs up his pest sword – Richard Rennie:

The nemesis for millions of possums is stepping down from his post as king of eradication but his furred foe can be assured there will be little respite on his departure.

OSPRI chief executive William McCook is leaving his post after 12 years heading OSPRI since 2013 and its predecessor the Animal Health Board (AHB). He has decided it’s time for something new but wants to keep his links with the primary sector. . .

Sheep and vineyards a winning combination  – Sally Rae:

Timbo Deaker and Jason Thomson might know a thing or two about grapes but they admit they are ”totally green” when it comes to sheep.

So it comes as something of a surprise that the pair, who operate Viticultura, a Central Otago-based business that manages vineyards and provides brokerage, consultancy and contracting services, supply lambs to Alliance Group.

Historically, they have given winter grazing to local farmers, but for the past two years they have bought their own sheep to fatten beneath the vines. . .

Golden run for NZ shearing legend:

New Zealand shearing legend David Fagan is on a winning streak in what might be his final season on the competition shearing circuit.

He won the Geyserland Shears Open Final at the Rotorua A&P Show during the weekend – the twelfth time he had won that particular event. . .

Equine industry joins GIA biosecurity agreement:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed a fourth primary industry to the GIA partnership today.

The New Zealand Equine Health Association has signed the Deed of the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) for Biosecurity Readiness and Response at the Karaka yearling sales today.

“This means the horse racing, recreational and breeding industry and the Ministry for Primary Industries can work together to manage and respond to the most important biosecurity risks. . .

Double delight for Cambridge Stud early on Day One at Karaka:

The undoubted quality of the famous Cambridge Stud bloodlines were to the fore again at Karaka as the Stud enjoyed a high-priced double strike during the early stages of this year’s premier session at the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling sale series.

The Cambridge draft provided Lot 36, a bay filly from the first crop of resident stallion Cape Blanco out of the Danehill mare Love Diamonds. The mare is a daughter of blueblood producer Tristalove with this filly’s extended pedigree on the catalogue page reading like a who’s who of Australasian racing. . .

 

Doors open at Rabobank Dargaville

Rabobank will open its newest office in New Zealand next Monday February 2, 2015 located in the Northland township of Dargaville.

Nestled in the heart of Dargaville, the new Rabobank branch will be located at 92 Normanby Street.

Rabobank Northland branch manager Tessa Sutherland said the office is convenient and centrally-located, allowing for clients to easily access the branch.

“It has been a vision for quite some time now and we are thrilled to be opening our new branch in Dargaville next week, starting off 2015 with a bang,” Ms Sutherland said. . .

 


Rural round-up

January 9, 2015

Seasonal worker shortage in Central Otago – Dave Gooselink:

A seasonal worker shortage has been declared by the Ministry of Social Development in central Otago as cherry growers look to harvest a bumper summer crop.

That will see work visa rules relaxed for overseas holidaymakers for the next six weeks so that cherries won’t have to be left on the trees.

At the Roxburgh Packhouse a lack of rain has helped produce the biggest crop in years, which is now being processed for the export market.

Summerfruit NZ chairman Gary Bennetts says they’re on track, if the weather stays right, to double the tonnage that was exported from New Zealand last year. . .

Corn seed not so sweet – Gerard Hutching:

A batch of old sweet corn seed given out by McCains to its Hawke’s Bay growers this spring failed to germinate.

A spokesman for McCain Foods confirmed that some “non-performing” sweet corn seed had been distributed to a number of growers in Hawke’s Bay area.

“As soon as the problem was identified, McCain Foods issued new sweet corn seed and a replanting programme was immediately put in place with all costs being met by the company,” the spokesman said. . .

Bill Taylor is dedicated to deer – Diane Bishop:

When Bill Taylor was a boy, deer were wild animals that could only be admired from afar.

All that changed with live deer capture in the 1970s, although it wasn’t until the mid 1980s that Taylor started farming them.

“I had a real passion for deer. I still have,” Taylor said.

His family have farmed at Lora Gorge, near Winton, since 1872, and he and wife Jill were one of the first recipients of the Century Farm and Station Awards. . .

Silver Fern’s Rob Hewett up for top jobs -

Silver Fern Farms chairman Rob Hewett is in a three-way race for two seats on the meat exporting and processing co-operative’s board.

Director nominations were confirmed yesterday including for Hewett and Herstall Ulrich who retire by rotation in line with company policy and have advised they will stand for re-election.

The incumbents will vie for the seats with Fiona Hancox, a West Otago sheep and beef farmer who has the backing of the Meat Industry Excellence group seeking reform in the meat industry and targeting director seats on the SFF and Alliance Group boards to hasten change. . .

It’s a country hoedown to draw crowds -

Wairarapa’s own “hoedown” is attracting greater numbers of crooners, yodellers, line dancers, and wannabe Willie Nelsons and Dolly Partons, says its organiser.

The third annual Clareville Country Music Festival kicks off Friday afternoon at Clareville Showgrounds, with organiser Ray Beale expecting “a few thousand” country fans – and a couple of hundred caravans.

Mr Beale, Wairarapa A&P Society complex manager, said numbers of festival goers had jumped significantly since its debut in 2013, jumping from about “1500 to 2000″ to near 4000 at last year’s event. . .

 Team penning champs in it for fun – Shan Goodwin:

THEY have plenty of wins, but for these Clarence Valley team penning champs the sport is as much about fun as it is about ribbons and prize money.

And that is precisely why their parents, and fellow club members at Clarence Valley Team Penning, believe the sport is so valuable – it encourages the development of some very important life skills.

“We joke that the boys don’t like getting beaten but team penning gives our kids, and everybody involved, so much more than just a chance to try to win something,” said Karen Morgan, vice president of the Clarence club, and mum to Tom.

“It’s such a healthy thing for families to be involved in.” . . .


Rural round-up

December 6, 2014

Alliance hires former Fletcher exec Surveyor as new CEO – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Alliance Group, the world’s largest processor and exporter of sheepmeat, has hired former Fletcher Building executive David Surveyor to head up the meat processor from next year.

The Invercargill-based, farmer owned cooperative today said Surveyor will join the company as chief executive from January, replacing Grant Cuff, who said in July he was stepping down. Surveyor is currently executive general manager of Fletcher subsidiary Laminex, having previously worked for BHP and Bluescope Steel.

“It is a privilege to be leading the business into its next phase,” Surveyor said in a statement. “I aim to build on what has already been achieved to further improve the Alliance Group’s performance and returns to the company’s shareholder suppliers.” . . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand director nominations called for:

North Canterbury farmer Andy Fox is not seeking re-election to the board of Beef + Lamb New Zealand and will stand down at next year’s annual meeting in March.

Fox has represented sheep and beef farmers for three terms – a total of nine years. He was first elected to the board of Meat & Wool New Zealand and then to its successor, Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

Fox said he had been proud to represent sheep and beef farmers and his biggest satisfaction was seeing more levy-funded activity focused behind-the-farm-gate. Advances in animal genetics through farmer investment via Beef + Lamb New Zealand were especially good. . .

Forest Firefighting Expert for International Safety Conference

The Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) is pleased to announce US Forest Service forest firefighting expert Ivan Pupulidy has been confirmed as a keynote speaker for its flagship forest safety conference series in March 2015. The summit will be at Rotorua’s Distinction Hotel on 3-4th March and the Bayview Eden Hotel in Melbourne on 10-11th March.

“Ivan’s expertise in fire-fighting behaviours and root cause analysis is well-respected internationally. So we’re sure he will be well-received at our 2015 Safety Summit conferences,” says FIEA’s forestry spokesman John Stulen. . .

Rural Women New Zealand Calls for Keep Left Road Markings on All Roads to reduce Tourist Crashes

Rural Women New Zealand is calling for arrows to be painted on the left-hand side of roads leaving tourist venues, and at regular intervals on all roads, in an attempt to reduce the number of accidents involving tourists.

“The danger posed by tourists particularly on rural roads was a hot topic at our recent national conference,” says Rural Women NZ national president, Wendy McGowan.

Last year 558 crashes resulting in death or injury involved foreign drivers. In three-quarters of the cases the visitors were shown to be at fault, with many of the accidents caused by drivers being on the wrong side of the road. . .

Paua Industry Calls for Delay in Shark Cage Dive Operations:

The paua industry is calling for a moratorium on great white shark cage dive operations in order to avoid risks to paua divers and local communities.

The Department of Conservation is currently considering applications for permits for great white shark cage dive operations in the waters around Stewart Island.

Storm Stanley, Chairman of the industry representative group PauaMAC5, said that a one year moratorium would allow time for the Department to properly assess the impacts of shark cage diving on the fully protected great white shark population. . .

 


Rural round-up

November 11, 2014

Cheese-making success recognised – Dene Mackenzie:

Whitestone Cheese, of North Otago, was founded in 1987 as a diversification during the 1980s rural downturn and a series of crippling droughts.

Last night, the company won the Westpac-Otago Chamber of Commerce Supreme Business Awards at the 2014 OBiz awards ceremony held in Dunedin.

About 330 people attended the function which is held every two years.

Notes provided to the Otago Daily Times said Whitestone founder Bob Berry’s experience in livestock trading was quickly applied to cheese trading. . .

Alliance pool payment first in 3 years – Sally Rae:

Alliance Group farmer shareholders will receive a pool payment for the first time in three years after a better financial result.

The company has announced an operating profit, before a $7 million pool payment distribution, of $17.6 million for the year to September, up from $8.4 million last year.

Turnover increased from $1.38 billion to $1.46 billion, while after-tax profit increased from $5.6 million to $6.2 million. . .

Merino genetics focus breeds success – Sally Rae:

When Gordon Lucas’ parents bought Nine Mile Station, the local land agent commented that it ”wouldn’t be a bad stepping stone for the lad”.

”Here I am at the end of my career and I’m still on the stepping stone,” Mr Lucas quipped.

He was outlining the story of Nine Mile Pastoral Ltd to those attending the New Zealand Grassland Association conference, which was based in Alexandra last week.

As part of several field trips, including Ida Valley Station and Hills Creek Station, those attending visited Willowbank, near Tarras, an intensive irrigated finishing property run in conjunction with Nine Mile. . .

Mobile Milking System, Bureaucrats & Regulations – Milking on the Moove:

When I decided to actually build the mobile cowshed & process my own milk, I knew that the regulatory requirements would be the hardest part.

New Zealand trades on our food safety reputation. We need to protect that reputation. I’m aware that even small scale producers have the potential to put our whole reputation at risk too.

With this in mind, I delved into all the regulations that a mobile cowshed would have to meet. 

The regulations for the farm dairy side of things are in a document named NZCP1.

People wanting to process milk will also need to know all the requirements of DCP1, DCP2, DCP3 & DCP4.  . .

MP welcomes trail initiative;

Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay congratulates the Gibbston community, landowners, and the Queenstown Trails Trust for delivering the $370,000 Gibbston River Trail which will join the Queenstown Trail as a part of the NZ Cycle Trail Great Rides network.

The Gibbston River Trail Upgrade was reopened today (8 November). Mr Barclay was presenting certificates to the landowners who provided easements to make the trail possible. . .

Feed Grain market tightens up:

Grain growers will be heading into the next harvest with silos completely empty, and an emerging potential for shortages. This is according to a recent study published by the Arable Industry Marketing Initiative (AIMI).

David Clark, Federated Farmers Grain and Seed vice-chairperson, says this time two years ago there was a glut of wheat and barley available to end-users.
“That has now been obliterated” he says.

“Twenty-four months ago the market had a big surplus of carry-over stock heading into the end of the year.

“Last year we made a big dent in that surplus, but these latest figures show that it has now disappeared. . .

Building the next generation of Federated Farmers – Casey Huffstutler:

When it comes down to it, people are the key to our primary industry success and even survival. They are our most precious resource.

Our value recognised in the multiple organisations set up to promote and support the industry and its people.  From education, to industry good, to insurance, to lobby organisations; New Zealanders are building a strong agri-community.  NZ Young Farmers and Federated Farmers sit at the core of this; made up of the very farmers this community exists for.

The Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions, of which I have been a NZ Young Farmers Field Officer for nearing on four years, have a great working relationship with Federated Farmers Waikato.  It is important to have cohesion between our young farmers and our farming leaders, to ensure we are supporting the next generation into the spotlight. . .

 Open Day aims to give public a peak at primary sector:

 Connecting city folk with ‘what goes on behind the gate’ is just one of the objectives for the upcoming Farm Open Day to be held at the Lincoln University Dairy Farm (LUDF).

Following on from the success of last year’s inaugural event, the farm will once again open its gates to the public to showcase the operations of a commercial dairy farm and provide perspective on the broader scientific, commercial and logistical aspects of sustainable food production.

The event is organised by the South Island Dairying Development Centre (SIDDC) and Fonterra, and will include nine outdoor educational demonstrations and displays which take people on the journey of ‘turning sunshine into food’. A central marquee will offer information to the public, along with samples of a range of milk-based products, such as cheeses, yoghurt, milk drinks and ice creams. . .

Building NZ’s reputation as a leader in food safety in China:

 New Zealand Government owned AsureQuality and PwC’s New Zealand and China firms are cooperating with COFCO, China’s largest agricultural and food products supplier, to continually improve China’s food safety and quality. All four parties signed a cooperation agreement to that effect on the side-lines of the 2014 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Beijing, China today.

Drawing on leading New Zealand and international food and agricultural models, the agreement formalises areas where AsureQuality and PwC will support COFCO in embedding best practice in food safety and quality across the food and agriculture industries. . .

Results Announced for the 2014 Fonterra Elections:

Returning Officer Warwick Lampp, of electionz.com Ltd, has declared the final results of the 2014 elections for the Fonterra Board of Directors, Directors’ Remuneration Committee and Shareholders’ Council.

Shareholders voted to re-elect incumbent Directors John Monaghan and David MacLeod. They will be joined by new Director Leonie Guiney.

Leonie Guiney lives and farms near Fairlie where she is Director of four dairy farming companies. Leonie has previous experience as a Consulting Officer, Dairy Production Lecturer and has studied overseas co-operatives in the Netherlands and Ireland. Leonie was the 2014 winner of the low-input Dairy Business of the Year. . .

 


The perfect roast

October 2, 2014

Chef Graham Hawkes showed us how to cook the perfect lamb leg roast at Alliance Groups’ Pure South conference earlier in the year.

I roasted a leg recently which, more or less, followed his instructions:

* Take leg from fridge and allow tempering for an hour at room temperature.

* Preheat the oven t0 220 C.

* Place a bed of roughly chopped vegetables (including onion with the skin on which helps colour the gravy) in the bottom of a shallow roasting dish.

* Place the leg on top and season generously.

* Place in over and roast for 15 minutes.

*  Add a couple of cups of water to the dish and turn the oven down to 180 C.  Cook for 25 minutes per 500 grams of meat.

* Add a little more water if necessary as it evaporates.

* Remove lamb from oven when cooked, place in a warm place covered by a clean tea towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

Gravy:

* Discard the vegetables from the pan and tip out any visible fat.

* Stir a couple of tablespoons of flour into what’s left in the bottom of the roasting dish.

* Add small amounts of water (preferably what you’ve been cooking other vegetables in), stir to mix after each addition until you’ve got enough.

Put pan on element over moderate heat, stir constantly until gravy thickens.

Here’s another recipe.

 


Rural round-up

September 8, 2014

Ballance Farm Environment Awards Show Farmers Care:

Bay of Plenty dairy farmer Trevor Hamilton entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards because he had a point to prove.

Trevor and his wife Harriet run a large-scale family business that spans ten farms – five in Canterbury, four in Bay of Plenty and one in Hawke’s Bay. The operation is on track to produce three million kilograms of Milksolids this season, with four million targeted for 2015/16.

Starting from scratch as a sharemilker in 1980, Trevor says his aim is to create an intergenerational dairy farming business. But he is acutely aware that the scale of the operation opens it up to claims that its growth has come at the expense of the environment.

Entering the Ballance Farm Environment Awards gave him the opportunity to prove this wasn’t the case. . . .

NZ possum hits fashion catwalk –  Sally Rae:

With apologies to Dame Edna, it’s Goodbye Possums.

New Zealand’s possum fur industry is estimated to be worth $130 million annually to the country’s economy.

Perino, a blend of possum fur and cashmere or merino yarn, recently featured on the catwalk in garments from the latest collections from Zambesi and The Noble Savage. . .

Lavender: The sweet smell of success - Sally Rae:

Two novice lavender growers from Central Otago nearly stole the show at this year’s New Zealand Lavender Growers Association awards.

In the oil competition, Joth Hankinson and Tony Culshaw, from Central Otago Produce, won two of the three trophies on offer – the Eoin Johnson Memorial Trophy for best lavandin oil, and the Ken Wilson Memorial Trophy, for best grosso.

Two particular types of lavender were grown commercially for oil – angustifolia or English lavender, and intermedia lavender – also called lavandin – a hybrid cross between an angustifolia and a latafolia, which grows in the wild at higher altitudes in the Mediterranean. . .

Drone big success on and off the farm - Rob Tipa:

A Southland family pioneering the use of drones on New Zealand farms believes there is a massive gap between the science, research and technology available today and its application on farms.

Neil Gardyne and his 14-yearold son Mark made television and news headlines internationally last year when they started flying drones over their 466ha hillcountry farms in the Otama Valley in Eastern Southland.

Instead of climbing on a quad bike twice a day to check on hogget lambing, the Gardynes programmed a drone to cover the same ground from the air. What took them two hours on a bike opening and closing 120 farm gates, took 20 minutes flight time for the drone. . .

No growth benefits shown with docking - Sally Brooker:

Docking lambs’ tails has no long-term beneficial or detrimental effect on lamb growth rates from docking to slaughter, a new study has found.

Alliance Group Ltd, one of New Zealand’s largest meat processing companies, Beef and Lamb New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries Sustainable Farming Fund commissioned the research after farmers wondered if leaving tails intact improved lamb growth rates from docking to slaughter and British retailers had started asking about tail length.

AbacusBio consultant Jo Kerslake presented the results at a Beef and Lamb field day in South Canterbury last week. . . .

 Rustling must be stopped – but how?  – Jon Morgan:

    I suppose running sheep in a park in central Auckland is asking for trouble. The temptation of a week’s meals there for the taking is too much to expect the big city’s criminal element to ignore.

In the latest of a string of incidents, rustlers using dogs and traps targeted the 600-ewe flock in Cornwall Park.

Members of the public disturbed three men and three large dogs capturing new-born lambs. And last month rustlers stole at least six sheep – including two pregnant ewes and a large ram – from the park’s farm.

A heavily pregnant ewe was caught in a leg-hold trap but spotted by a member of the public before it could be taken.

Another ewe that was due to give birth to triplets disappeared two days earlier and three more ewes and a 110kg ram were taken a few months earlier. . .


Rural round-up

August 22, 2014

NZ meat industry tie-up stumbled on differing strategies – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand meat companies abandoned efforts to consolidate and reduce surplus capacity last year because they lacked an agreed export strategy and farmers wouldn’t commit stock to firms that closed plants, industry sources say.

The country’s four biggest meat processors – farmer owned cooperatives Silver Fern Farms and Alliance Group, accounting for about half the industry, the Talley’s Group family-owned Affco and ANZCO Foods, with a majority ownership held by a Japanese food company – ended talks after failing to reach agreement last year.

A proposal for competitors to share the cost of closing plants was rejected, as was a plan for each company to retain its stock volumes for a period of up to five years following a closure, so they weren’t disadvantaged, according to people involved in the talks, who asked not to be named. . .

No more rules please, say farmers – Diane Bishop:

Education, not regulation, is the key to good environmental outcomes, Southland farmers say.

They want Environment Southland to establish best-practice guidelines around hill and high country development instead of enforcing rules on them.

“I don’t like rules,” Lumsden farmer Willie Menlove said.

“I’ve farmed for more than 20 years without these sorts of rules and I’d prefer education to be the end goal.”

He isn’t alone. . .

GM artificial food may be ‘staple diet’ – Matt Stewart:

From test-tube meat to 3-D printed pizza, the future of food is a brave new world where science is racing to keep up with a resource that grows ever more expensive and scarce.

As part of Wellington on a Plate, Victoria University tourism management honours students are imagining various scenarios around the future of food festivals and, ultimately, the way we will consume and make food as the planet struggles to feed 10 billion mouths by 2050.

“By 2050 the burger competition at Wellington on a Plate could consist of restaurants who are growing their own hamburgers,” student supervisor and futurist Ian Yeoman said. . .

Quality of river raises passions – Gerard Hutching:

Outside the mercury may be falling, but indoors the atmosphere heats up as a trio of farmers passionately debate the future of dairying in the Tararua district.

It’s a hot topic, with the Horizons Regional Council laying down the gauntlet to land users to clean up their act with its One Plan and the Environment Court setting limits on the amount of nitrogen loss into rivers.

Many found the court’s ruling hard to swallow.

“It would have been catastrophic. Our farms were going to rot from the inside out. The regional council had not done its work properly,” says Dannevirke dairy farmer Will Findlay. . .

 John Deere and the downside of an abundant harvest:

This year hasn’t been kind to the US agricultural sector.

Just ask John Deere, the world’s largest manufacturer of farming machinery. The company reported a 15 per cent plunge in profit for its fiscal third quarter compared with the previous quarter on Wednesday. After years of sustained growth, the company has now seen its sales fall in each of the first three fiscal quarters of 2014 and each time significantly.

Tractor sales, which are often used as a barometer of agricultural sector health, have been especially weak in the US. Deere’s equipment sales fell by 6 per cent in the third quarter, and are expected to tumble by another 8 per cent in the fourth quarter. . . .

Strong sales signal confidence in the New Zealand wine industry:

Solid export value growth and continued demand for New Zealand wine is the summary of the year according to the June year end 2014 Annual Report of New Zealand Winegrowers.

“Wineries took full advantage of the glorious 2013 vintage to bounce back from the supply constraints of 2012. The end result was a 10% increase in both export volume and value as overseas sales earned a record $1.33 billion” said Steve Green, Chair of New Zealand Winegrowers. The highly successful sales year left stocks needing replenishment and even greater demand forecast. 445,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested in 2014.

All grape growing regions witnessed a two-speed growing season which commenced early but slowed in the lead-up to vintage with a run of fine but cool weather in most regions allowing for good flavour development. . .

Our Seafood the Best in the World:

The Prime Minister John Key called New Zealand’s seafood ‘the best in the world’ in opening the Seafood Industry Conference in Wellington.

John Key said he’s travelled all over the world and eaten seafood in all sorts of places, but ‘without doubt New Zealand produces the best and I’ll challenge anyone to show me better.”

“I’ve hosted Hilary Clinton, to Will and Kate, and they’ve all been impressed by our seafood,” he told delegates. . .

 

 


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