Rural round-up

April 1, 2014

Venison industry at the crossroads – Keith Woodford:

In recent years the venison industry has gone backwards. Total farmed deer numbers declined from about 1.8 million in 2005 to 1.1 million in 2011. The most recent 2013 annual slaughter statistics show that 53% of slaughtered animals were females. This is a sure sign of ongoing retreat. So what has gone wrong and what can be fixed?

Back in the 1980s, AgResearch data from Invermay Research Station suggested that red deer were more efficient at converting grass to meat than non-deer species. We now know that on an overall farm system basis that notion was wrong.

The female deer reproductive system has been designed by nature to only produce one progeny per year. This productive disadvantage would not matter too much if the price premium was large, and for a long time this was the case. . . .

New conservation fund announced:

A Community Conservation Partnership Fund to support the work of voluntary organisations undertaking natural heritage and recreation projects was launched today by Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith at the opening of the new Hoddy Estuary Park in Nelson.

“Thousands of New Zealanders contribute to conservation by building tracks, controlling pests, planting trees, and restoring native wildlife. This new fund is about the Government providing finance for the plants, traps, poisons, equipment and coordination to support this voluntary work,” Dr Smith says.

The new fund of $26 million over the next four years is to be distributed to community organisations in an annual contestable funding round of between $6 million and $7 million a year. Projects may be funded over multiple years, reflecting the time it takes to complete projects of this sort. . .

Chatham Rock, would-be seabed phosphate miner, files second EEZ marine consent application:

(BusinessDesk) – Chatham Rock Phosphate, which wants to mine phosphate nodules from the seafloor on the Chatham Rise, has submitted a draft marine consent application to the Environmental Protection Authority.

The application is the second to be submitted under new EEZ legislation. TransTasman Resources, which wants to hoover ironsands off the seafloor more than 20 kilometres off the coast from Patea is currently going through the first ever hearings under the new regime.

CRP’s application comes after more than four years’ work and $25 million of investment in environmental impact assessments, market evaluation, and development of relationships with mining partners, most notably Dutch dredging firm Royal Boskalis. . .

Investment over decade shows merit of ewe’s milk – Alison Rudd:

A decade ago, Southland businessman Keith Neylon did not know the first thing about sheep’s milk.

Now his company, Blue River Dairy, milks more than 10,000 ewes daily; runs a factory turning out butter, five cheese varieties, ice cream and milk powder; exports products to seven countries; and has just launched sheep’s milk infant formula on the New Zealand and Chinese markets.

Reporter Allison Rudd spoke to the agricultural innovator.

Keith Neylon nurses a cup of coffee in the cafe and tasting room at the Blue River Dairy factory, formerly the Invercargill town milk supply plant. He’s in the middle of an interview, but he still has his eye on his customers. . .

Pilot training course in deer handling to start :

A training course in how to manage and handle farmed deer has been developed, with a pilot run starting in Southland next month.

For several years, training opportunities had been very limited so a 12-month level 3 training course had been developed to ”fill the gap”, Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) producer manager Tony Pearse said.

A pilot block course is being held at Netherdale deer stud at Balfour on April 9, followed by one in South Canterbury in the spring. After that course ended, there would be courses in the North and South Islands in response to a hopefully increasing demand, Mr Pearse said. . .

Fake products risk NZ honey exports:

A Waikato University scientist says there is a risk that fraudulent products will wreck the international reputation of New Zealand honey exports.

Associate Professor Merilyn Manley-Harris says it is extremely urgent that New Zealand sets up standardised labelling of honey, especially the lucrative manuka variety.

New Zealand produced more than 16,000 tonnes of honey in 2012 and 2013 and in 2012 honey exports were worth $120 million with manuka honey making up about 90 per centof that.

The Ministry of Primary Industries has formed two working groups to come up with a robust labelling guideline for manuka honey – one made up of scientists and one from the industry. . .

 


Rural round-up

December 16, 2013

Knowledge key to future of station in high country – Ruth Grundy:

For Balmoral Station owner Andrew Simpson knowledge is key to making the best decisions for the future.

”If you don’t have answers you can’t plan your future”You have to know as much as you can, to understand things, to be able to make clever decisions.”

Over the years the Simpsons have welcomed scientists and researchers of all persuasions on to the unique property.

Balmoral was home to the oldest agricultural trial site in the country, forestry crown research institute Scion had been conducting trials on the property for the past 20 years and this included New Zealand’s biggest dryland forestry trial, he said. . .

NZ velvet highly rated by Chinese – Allison Rudd,:

Deer velvet – still fuzzy and fresh from being cut – is spread on the table for judging at the New Zealand Velvet and Trophy Antler Competition at Invercargill’s Ascot Park Hotel.

Chinese scholar Quankai Wang, who is attending his third competition, likes what he sees. He pulls banknotes from his pocket and offers to buy a specimen, much to the amusement of competition officials.

”New Zealand deer velvet is number one. It is the best quality,” Prof Wang says. . .

Country inspires musical output – Sally Rae;

Craig Adams has always loved music.

Years ago, while working in a wool store, the guitar used to come out and there would be a sing-along. But while people told him he had a good voice, Mr Adams (41) never had any training.

Fast forward to now and music has gone from being ”a bit of a lark” to being semi-professional, including the recent release of his debut album Country High. . .

Swarms keep beekeepers on their toes:

Beekeepers in the North Island are scratching their heads – and ducking for cover – due to the exceptionally high rate of swarming going on.

Swarming is one of the ways bees reproduce – with the queen bee leaving the hive – along with about half of the bees to establish a new colony, before a new queen bee emerges in the hive.

Plant & Food Research bee scientist Mark Goodwin said swarms were annoying for beekeepers as they lost half their bees and honey production dropped but the environmental conditions this year had been perfect for it. . .

All Health Care Is Local, Part 1: Uganda –  Eric Silfen,MD:

The late Tip O’Neill, former speaker of the U.S. House, coined the phrase “all politics is local,” by which he meant that politicians become successful by addressing the everyday concerns of the voters who elected them to office. In the same way, I believe that many of the “global” healthcare challenges we face can best be addressed by developing affordable, accessible and cost-effective solutions that satisfy patients’ needs. Simple solutions can offer dramatic results, and local implementation means solutions are in tune with cultural preferences and economic realities. In other words, when it comes to improving people’s lives, all healthcare is local.

Nowhere are opportunities to deliver simple, and locally relevant, solutions more evident than in sub-Saharan Africa, in a country like Uganda. Here, the non-governmental organization Imaging the World (ITW) is working to offer affordable, accessible and quality maternal medical services through a revolutionary concept that integrates technology, training and the community. ITW is making a significant impact on the lives of women and their families in rural villages where women have limited access to healthcare throughout their entire lives. . . .

Homebound: Despite their absence, rural women impress through work:

ISLAMABAD: Nothing can curtain natural talent and skill, and the work of homebound women of Pakistan is a testament to that.

The work of indigenous women artisans went on display at an exhibition titled, ‘Stitching and Chai’ here on Saturday promoting the richness and splendour embedded in the heritage of the four provinces of Pakistan.

The exhibition was organised by USAID’s Entrepreneurs Project at the Centre for Arts, Culture and Dialogue, Kuch Khaas as a part of its project to implement cluster-based Value Chain approach through local organisations, private sector, government agencies and other relevant actors for capacity building. . .

Boosting beef without borrowing:

STEPHEN AND Jane Hayes run 348 sheep and 734 cattle on their 583ha property near Kaeo, just north of the Bay of Islands. For the past three years they’ve been Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Far North monitor farm during which time they’ve lifted gross farm revenue $43,850, not to mention having better pasture covers and stock condition across the farm.

Stocking rate’s been lifted from 8.5SU/ha in 2011 to 9.7SU/ha. That’s despite initial concerns that stock weren’t getting enough to grow properly as it was in 2011.

“I didn’t feel we were doing a good enough job of feeding the animals we had without adding on more,” Jane commented to the field day. . .


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