Rural round-up

July 7, 2018

Rural health wants tourists’ cash – Neal Wallace:

A rural South Canterbury general practitioner was paid $13 for each of the 150 emergency calls she made in the last year, a pay rate described by the Rural GP Network as a joke.

The network’s chief executive Dalton Kelly said with such low pay rates plus the demands on rural GPs it is understandable rural health professionals are leaving the sector, prompting a call for a portion of the proposed tourist tax to be directed to rural health services.

Kelly said rural GPs and nurses are regularly called to tend to sick and injured tourists and unlike an urban incident, patients cannot be transferred to someone else who is on call. . .

Trading times get challenging – Pam Tipa:

A trade expert has backed up comments by agricultural trade envoy Mike Petersen, who says New Zealand is facing its most challenging time in trade in 30 years.

Petersen told Rural News that the established rules on trade via the World Trade Organisation, particularly for agricultural products, are at risk from the US-China trade war.

While the products being targeted now are not NZ products, the risk of spillover into our products is very high, he says. . . 

Concerns over Mycoplasma bovis leave farmer confidence in the balance:

Concerns about the impact of Mycoplasma bovis disease on the country’s agricultural sector have seen New Zealand farmer confidence decline over the past quarter, the latest Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey has shown.

While farmer confidence remains at net positive levels, the overall reading dropped to +two per cent in the latest quarter, from +15 per cent in the previous survey. . .

A strong bull-seeking season in south – Nicole Sharp:

Prices are up and bull breeders are happy following a successful selling season.

Bull breeders throughout Southland and Otago have been hosting fellow farmers on farms for sales over the past couple of months.

PGG Wrightson livestock genetics representative Callum McDonald said sales came to a conclusion at the end of last month and there was positivity in the air.

”We have seen a great bull-selling season for the South, with high demand for quality bulls“ . . 

Hundreds gather to celebrate 50th anniversary of FMG Young Farmer of the Year:

Hundreds of people have celebrated the 50th anniversary of New Zealand’s longest-running agricultural contest.

The first FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final was held in Auckland in 1969.

Former winners and finalists were among a 400-strong crowd which gathered in Invercargill last night to mark the milestone.

“It’s amazing. It’s just like a school reunion isn’t it,” said Levin farmer Geoff Kane, 66, who won the national final in 1981. . .

Entire Northland school visits farm on paddock to plate learning journey

A national project is helping a Northland teacher combine her two passions of education and food production.

Natalie Lynch teaches a class of Years 5-8 students at Matakohe School in the Kaipara District.

Last week the small school’s entire roll of 47 pupils visited the farm of Marshall Walton in Whangarei.

“Watching a sheep being shorn, pressing a bale of wool in a manual press, and using the drafting gates was a new experience for everyone,” said Natalie. . . 

Omega lamb project update in third year:

The Omega Lamb Project is now in its third year and well over 100 restaurants in New Zealand and Hong Kong have had Te Mana Lamb on their menus.

The project builds on a decade-long scientific programme and breakthrough research. It found that the right combination of genetics, management and feeding can alter the fat profile of lamb and produce animals that are healthy, while delivering a tastier and healthier product.

Te Mana Lamb is higher in Omega-3 than other lamb available on the market.

Mark Williamson, general manager of the Omega Lamb Project, a collaboration between the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) under the Primary Growth Partnership, the farmer-owned Headwaters and leading food company Alliance Group, said Te Mana Lamb is being praised by chefs for its flavour and consistent eating quality. . . 

Fears for future of Scots beef and lamb production – Colin Ley:

The viability of beef and sheep production in Scotland is being threatened by a Scottish government climate change bill that includes a net zero greenhouse gas emissions target.

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) chairman Jim McLaren said that will make it virtually impossible for the country’s farmers to produce beef and lamb.

“Moving to net zero GHG emissions would be absolutely devastating for our livestock industry,” he told an industry meeting at the Royal Highland Show.  . . 

 


Rural round-up

July 5, 2018

Discovery that could help save the world – new diet to make cows burp less methane – Gerard Hutching:

New Zealand could be the first country in the world to change a cow’s diet so it burps out less methane.

Dutch nutrition company Royal DSM is developing a commercial feed additive which it hopes will be on the market in two years’ time. Studies had shown it could reduce up to 30 per cent of cattle methane in intensive farm systems.

It is focusing on New Zealand because the country’s livestock produce a lot of methane, one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

A single dairy cow generates about 3 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent every year in the form of methane (CH4). . .

Robotic technology running at Alliance Dannevirke plant :

State-of-the-art robotic technology is now running as part of the Alliance Group’s $10.6 million investment in its Dannevirke meat processing site.

The primal/middle cutting machinery is part of the co-operative’s investment programme in the plant which also included a redsigning the boning room.

The technology is the most advanced system of its kind in New Zealand. The custom-built primal/middle cutting technology features an x-ray unit which analyses each carcass and instructs two cutting machines where to cut.

It automatically adjusts to a wide variation in carcass size, a challenge in the red meat processing sector. The technology also minimises waste and improves the accuracy of the cut. . .

New fabric made from recycled plastic bottles and NZ merino :

A unique, environmentally friendly fabric made from recycled plastic bottles and a New Zealand merino wool blend will be displayed as part of the Material Innovation exhibition at the London Design Museum.

The material, which was created by renowned Danish designers Kvadrat, was designed to be a sustainable replacement for leather in the latest Range Rover model.

Jaguar Land Rover NZ sales operations manager Ben Montgomery says the merino wool blend was chosen by the designers for its premium characteristics. . . 

Kiwi meat can cut the mustard – Annette Scott:

There are no facts in the future. It’s all just an educated or opinionated guess, agri-futurist and digital strategist Melissa Clark-Reynolds told 250 sheep and beef farmers in Christchurch.

In her keynote address to Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s FarmSmart 2018 Clark-Reynolds said the biggest challenges in futureproofing farming will come in a changing business farming model.

“The future is already here. It’s just not very evenly distributed,” she said. . . 

LIC takes disease precautions – Glenys Christian:

Breeding companies are gearing up for the busy spring mating season with extra measures to stop the spread of Mycoplasma bovis between dairy farms.

LIC shareholder councillor Mark Meyer, who farms at Tangiteroria, told a farmer meeting in Dargaville AI technicians have already inspected nearly 5000 dairy farms to make sure they have one major suitable entry point and footbaths were in place.

There was 100% compliance with 60 technicians in the field for winter milk inseminations despite some pushback from farmers to start with, he said.  . . 

Best advice to U.S. dairy farmers? ‘Sell out as fast as you can’ – Phil McCausland:

Small-dairy farmers are getting squeezed out by corporate agriculture. “That is not what America is about,” a struggling farmer said.

All Curtis Coombs wanted was to raise cows and run his family’s dairy farm in this slice of Kentucky hill country, less than 35 miles from Louisville. But a few weeks ago, he was forced to sell his milking herd of 82 cows, putting an end to his family’s nearly 70-year dairy business.

On a rain-drenched Monday, Coombs, his father and his uncle struggled to shove their last 13 cows into a trailer destined for auction and slaughter. As the earthy smell of manure filled the air, the men yelled for the Holsteins to move and urged them forward with the whack of a plastic stick. . . 


Rural round-up

June 13, 2018

New faces take on arable roles – Annette Scott:

Wairarapa cropping farmer Karen Williams made history as she took up the reins of the Federated Farmers arable section at its annual conference.

The first woman to head the section, the 2017 biosecurity farmer of the year and former Ballance Farm Environment Award winner takes on the job with a bundle of enthusiasm.

“I am excited about the opportunity. 

“For me this role gives me the opportunity to continue to work in biosecurity and engage in that space in Wellington. . . 

Drones prove worth on farms – Richard Rennie:

Drones initially welcomed as great novelties are now fixtures as business tools and on farms they can have multiple uses. Richard Rennie talked to farmers who have used them and found a new drone firm setting up shop here as their use becomes more widely accepted.

IN THE heady early days of drone deployment many promises were made about how they would revolutionise some of the grinding daily farm jobs, often all from the comfort of the farm kitchen table. 

A few years on they have proved to be more than a flash in the pan. 

For some farmers they are now an established tool but still as dependent on the technology they take into the sky as the inventiveness of farmers using them. . . 

Meat company results only average for 2017 – will 2018 be any better?  – Allan Barber:

ANZCO’s lacklustre result for 2017, posted last month, concludes the financial reporting for last year by the three major processors which publish their results. ANZCO’s pre-tax profit was $1.8 million which compares disappointingly with Alliance Group’s $16.7 million profit and Silver Fern Farms Cooperative’s 15 month profit of $7.8 million.

None of the three companies achieved a particularly good return on their investment in the business, but both Alliance and SFF showed improvement on the previous year which was in each case the result of substantial changes in the business structure and balance sheet. The $261 million investment by Shanghai Maling in acquiring 50% of SFF had an immediately positive impact on the company’s balance sheet strength and interest bill. During its year to September Alliance was able to reduce debt and make increased investment in plant upgrades at the same time. . . 

Danone adds to investment in NZ infant formula with proposal to buy up to 49% of Yashili New Zealand – Jonathan Underhill

(BusinessDesk) – Danone plans to increase its investment in New Zealand infant formula manufacturing by acquiring up to 49 percent of Yashili New Zealand Dairy Co, the local unit of China Mengniu Dairy, according to a filing in Hong Kong.

Terms of the transaction haven’t been finalised, including the price and method of payment, Yashili International said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange. “The consideration, the payment method and the payment schedule shall be determined after arm’s length negotiations and mutual agreement between the parties,” it said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange. . .

Changes on board of Young farmers – Sally Rae:

Experienced Dunedin marketer Sharon Angus has joined the board of New Zealand Young Farmers as an appointed director.

Ms Angus (54), who is former general manager of marketing at Silver Fern Farms, has extensive experience with food brands.

The marketing consultant was excited about joining the board as she felt New Zealand Young Farmers “represents the future”. . . 

Process vegetables industry signs up to GIA:

Today, Horticulture New Zealand signed a Government Industry Agreement (GIA) for Biosecurity Readiness and Response on behalf of Process Vegetables New Zealand (PVNZ).

PVNZ chair David Hadfield says robust biosecurity should be seen as an investment for growers.

“Committing to the GIA enables us to have closer, more informed interactions with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and other GIA industry partners around biosecurity. This includes planning for potential incursions and taking a leading role in collective biosecurity management where it impacts our members,” Hadfield says. . . 

Knitted with love:

How Fonterra is helping keep Gore’s newest residents warm and cosy this winter.

It’s a rainy Wednesday afternoon in Gore and Lois Shallard’s knitting needles are working over-time. Beside her on the table is a pile of tiny knitted baby socks, singlets and hats and at her feet are balls of wool – hot pink, lime green, lavender and a “lovely mottled blue”.

Lois is 70 this year and she’s been knitting since her teens. She knitted clothes for all her children back in the day and now she’s moved on to knitting for her town’s new mums.

“I love knitting the little socks the best, they are just so tiny and cute.” . . 


Rural round-up

May 7, 2018

The threat of irrational environmentalism – Dr Doug Edmeades:

I never thought it would end. Certainly I never thought that I might be alive to see the beginning of its end.

I am referring to the Enlightenment – the intellectual movement that began in the 17th century. It saw the end of Dark Ages and ushered in the Age of Reason. Mystical and religious certitude and bigotry gave way to reason based on objectively derived evidence.

Rather than praying to God for a good crop you adopted the latest technologies to ensure the crop did not fail. And if it did fail it was not seen as a consequence of your failure to appease God through prayer, but because you did not fully understand or fully implement the best knowledge and technology. If you prayed it was for more science, please. . . 

Economic development is about more than wishful thinking:

The Government risks serious damage to New Zealanders’ livelihoods by replacing the real productive economy with wishful thinking, National’s Economic Development Spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“On TVNZ’s Q&A this morning, Economic Development Minister David Parker spoke of his wish to reduce the number of livestock in this country. He said horticulture, such as growing apricots, would be better for the environment.

“He said the problem was that it was too expensive to pick fruit in New Zealand. But, no worries, we’ll invest in robotics. Robots will pick the fruit and the economy will surge.

“This is wishful thinking on a grand scale and it fails on so many levels.

“Mr Parker also admitted that the Government hadn’t done an analysis of what the economic impact of his proposed shift away from current land use. . . 

Plan to keep scheme farmer owned – Sally Brooker:

Farming leader William Rolleston has come up with a plan to keep the Hunter Downs irrigation scheme fully farmer-owned.

The former Federated Farmers national president, who farms in South Canterbury, outlined his idea at the federation’s South Canterbury provincial annual  meeting in Waimate on Friday afternoon.

The irrigation scheme, which has resource consent to use water from the Waitaki River on land towards Timaru, has struggled to get landowners to buy enough shares to make it financially viable. Originally aimed at a 21,000ha command area, it was reduced to 12,000ha last year. . . 

 

Quacker of a start for duck shooting :

Duck-shooting season is off with a bang, with tens of thousands of people turning out across the country for the opening weekend.

The season officially started at 6am yesterday and runs through until August.

Fish and Game’s spokesperson Don Rood said hunters were on good behaviour and there were no reports of serious injury on day one.

“That’s all credit to our licence holders for doing the right thing. We’ve been pushing the education message with them. Safety is the very first priority before anything else – no duck is worth a shooting accident.”

In 2016, three people were accidentally shot at the beginning of the season. . . 

Alliance beefs up offering – Neal Wallace:

Alliance Group has launched premium branded beef under the label Pure South Handpicked 55 Day Aged Beef.

To qualify each carcase, irrespective of breed, is individually selected and visually assessed. 

It must have a high marbling score, low Ph range and extended wet aging.

The launch follows three years of research and will be targeted at the New Zealand food service sector and overseas markets. . . 

Farmers back in driving seat – Lindy Nelson:

Time, creative thinking, resources to create change and information all support us to turn business threats into opportunities.

Leadership well-applied and executed is one of those resources that inspires and supports action to respond.

Applied leadership was exactly what was demonstrated at Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s recent workshop on the red meat sector story where our sector’s origin brand story, go-to-market strategy and response to the threat of alternative proteins were unveiled.

It was inspiring on a number of fronts – what the leadership team of B+LNZ has achieved and who it had collaborated with, its in-depth understanding of customers and detailed analysis of the synthetic protein threat and the knowledge that place of origin acts as a shortcut to consumer understanding and trust in our products.

All of this provides a strategy for action alongside the release of the origin brand story. . . 

Whare’s new lease on life – Toni Williams:

A  little red corrugated-iron whare will roll smoothly behind a vintage tractor in the Greg Donaldson Contracting Ashburton Wheels Week Plus street parade this month.

The whare  will be taking its place among members of the Ashburton Vintage Machinery Club in the parade on the final day of the Wheels Week Plus  programme.

  The club has about 100 members, so expect to see a few vintage machines. The whare, which sits on a truck chassis, plays a big role in the life of Ashburton Vintage Machinery Club president John Hall. It holds warm memories and its walls are lined with memorabilia — newspaper clippings, places and events Mr Hall has visited. . . 

 


Rural round-up

May 2, 2018

Rural-urban divide proves to be real – Neal Wallace:

The concept of an urban-rural divide can no longer be dismissed as a conspiracy theory given the deluge of Government decisions that negatively affect the rural sector.

The list is diverse: The end of Government money for irrigation schemes, fuel tax changes that suck money out of the regions for Auckland public transport, the end to offshore drilling for oil and gas which will affect Taranaki, the loss of air ambulance services in Taupo, Rotorua and Te Anau and the refusal to fund $600,000 for the Rural Health Alliance.

Sitting in the wings are promises of tougher regulations on water quality and taxing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. . . 

No rest for farm manager as industry awards beckon – Sally Rae:

Standing in the middle of a paddock fixing a water leak, Jaime McCrostie acknowledges there is still a farm to run ahead of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards next month.

Miss McCrostie (32) will head to Invercargill for the awards function on May 12, having previously won the 2018 Southland-Otago Dairy Manager of the Year competition.

It will be on her home turf, as she is farm manager for her employer Steve Smith and farm owner AB Lime on a 370ha, 930-cow farm in Winton.

Also representing the region will be Simon and Hilary Vallely, who won the Share Farmer of the Year, and Dairy Trainee of the Year Simone Smail. . .

Fed Farmers tenure drawing to close – Sally Rae:

Phill Hunt is looking forward to spending the next 12 months on the farm “and getting the gates swinging the way they used to”.

The sheep and beef farmer from Maungawera, near Wanaka, is standing down as president of Federated Farmers Otago at the annual meeting on May 15, after a three-year tenure.

It had been an enjoyable and interesting role, which he estimated was probably the equivalent of a two-day-a-week job, he said. . .

Class of 1980 reflects on work life 38 years after graduating from vet school – Joyce Wyllie:

In November 1980, 55 new graduates walked away from Massey vet school and into the big wide world.

It made no headline news, but for each of those fresh recipients of a hard earned veterinary science degree it was a mighty big step. Some began jobs in clinics the next week, others had a break before employment and a few headed overseas. After years of study we all left student life, joined the workforce and began contributing to the communities we had chosen to become part of.

A vet qualification leads to many job opportunities. The long list in the careers advice info covers work in clinics with large and small animals, drug companies, government departments, universities, and wildlife centres. There are opportunities in scientific research, animal welfare, areas of policies and regulations, and specialising in disciplines like surgery, eyes or medicine. Graduates from our class have filled nearly all those roles at some stage in their work-life. . .

Alliance makes loyalty payments :

Alliance shareholders will get a share of $5.9 million in loyalty payments.

The quarterly payments have been made to the co-operative’s Platinum and Gold shareholders who supply 100% of their stock to the company.

The payments cover January to March and bring the total distributed to shareholders for the season to date to $9.8m, an increase of 4.7% compared to the same period of the 2016-17 season. . .

In fire-scorched Oklahoma, help comes one bale at a time – Mitch Smith:

The hay began arriving before the fires were out. It came stacked on pickup trucks and strapped onto semis. From a few counties away. From halfway across the country.

For ranchers whose grazing land was destroyed by wildfires that tore across western Oklahoma this month, the cylindrical bales were an economic lifeline, a way to feed cattle marooned on grassless patches of charred red soil. The hay was also free, provided not by lawmakers in Washington or Oklahoma City, but mostly by strangers in other corners of rural America.

“If we waited on the government, we wouldn’t have it,” said Leo Hale, a local business owner who volunteered for 12-hour shifts distributing hay at the Vici rodeo grounds. Vici, population 700, was hit hard in the fires that scorched nearly 350,000 acres across the region, left two people dead, and blackened mile after mile of pasture. Donated bales of hay arrived from Kansas, Texas, Michigan and other parts of Oklahoma. . .

 


Rural round-up

April 17, 2018

Station owner hopes for ‘permanent lake’ after landslide stabilised :

A landslide between Gisborne and Wairoa which caused a large lake to form has been stabilised.

On Monday, Gisborne District Council said strategic management of the slip in Muriwai had stabilised the area, and the previously-closed Paparatu Rd had been reopened.

Last month, Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence manager Ian Macdonald said the landslide, which was likely triggered by a small, localised earthquake, had become a “significant hazard” and people were warned to stay away from it. . . 

Enthusiasm’ wins award for family:

Waipahi sheep farmers Ross, Alexa and Logan Wallace are this year’s Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards winners.

Their win was announced at a dinner at the Lake Wanaka Centre on Friday night. Judges described the family as a supportive, close family unit with clear vision, great goal-setting and financial discipline.

“They have incredible enthusiasm and a passion to learn — taking on ideas, good use of external advice and analysing data for the best outcomes.

“They have a strong environmental focus; land and environment plan, nutrient budgeting, wetland construction, retention of biodiversity and water quality emphasis, as well as an outstanding commitment to community and industry.” . . 

Ploughing in her blood – Nicole Sharp:

Ploughing is not your ordinary type of sport, but national finalist Tryphena Carter, of Riversdale, is not your ordinary type of lady.

Driving a tractor while towing a conventional plough is not a sport most would think of getting into, but Miss Carter was born to plough.

She is now in full preparation for the New Zealand Ploughing Championships, being held at Thornbury, Southland, this weekend, where she will compete in the Silver Plough class.

She started in the sport aged 15 and these championships will be her eleventh. . . 

Environment award winners delight in swimming in rivers around their Tararua dairy farm – Jill Galloway:

The dairy farmer winners of a farm environment award are proud to be sandwiched between two swimmable rivers in Tararua.

Swimming in them was a source of pleasure after media reaction to dairying’s contribution to poor river quality, said Andrew Hardie and Helen Long.

The pair showed off their dairy operation Te Maunga Farm near Dannevirke to about 70 people at a field day celebrating their performance as supreme winners of the Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Award.

Hardie said it was a robust, sustainable and profitable farm, which enabled them to fence off almost 14 kilometres of riparian strips. . .

First skin-pack cuts dispatched:

Alliance Group has dispatched its first major shipment of product in vacuum skin tray packaging to Hong Kong following a successful trial.

Skin packaging is technology that hermetically seals right to the edge of the meat cut, extending its chilled shelf life for up to 11 weeks, retaining colour and optimising meat tenderness. . . 

 

Chairman and incumbent director returned to Silver Fern Farms Co-Operative Board:

Rob Hewett and Fiona Hancox have been re-elected to the Silver Fern Farms’ Co-operative Limited’s Board of Directors.

The results of the election, which closed at 3.00pm on Monday, 16 February 2018, were: . .

A2 shares rise as new distribution deal opens up South Korean market – Paul McBeth

(BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk Co has signed an exclusive distribution deal with Yuhan Corp in South Korea, more than a decade after an earlier foray into that country which ended in litigation. The milk marketing firm’s shares rose 1.3 percent.

The Auckland-based, Sydney-headquartered company today signed an exclusive sales and distribution agreement with Yuhan to promote and distribute a2 branded products in South Korea, it said in a statement. . . 

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365 days of gratitude

April 15, 2018

We’ve been eating our way through a long weekend.

It started on Thursday with lunch at Minaret Station for a friend’s birthday (will post about that in the next few days).

On Friday we dined at Jacks Point with international chefs and media who are in New Zealand as part of Alliance Group’s Antipocurean tour (more of that in a future post too).

Yesterday we celebrated a friend’s 77th birthday at the Hawea pub and today we caught up with friends for lunch at Riverstone Kitchen.

Fine food, good friends and other friendly people – I’m grateful for them all.

 


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