The Government’s announcement it’s allowing 2000 horticultural workers enter New Zealand through the RSE scheme is better than nothing, but it’s still just a drop in the bucket of what is actually needed, National’s Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“Overall this is a poor deal for New Zealand’s horticulture industry, for New Zealand, and for the RSE workers themselves. Firstly, 2000 workers is not enough, it’s less than one seventh of quota (which is more than 14,000) of RSE workers the sector would normally have available to pick these key export products.
“Secondly, it’s far too little and far too late. Spring and early summer crops have already missed out on these workers, but the Government has known about these problems for months, and is only acting at the eleventh hour.
“The time has come to allow RSE workers from Pacific countries to isolate in bubbles in RSE accommodation, like sports teams, provided by the industry. The countries where these RSE workers come from are Covid-free so there is little to no risk of transmission in transit as workers will come direct to New Zealand. . .
Government’s seasonal workers move ‘not enough, but a good start’ – Charlotte Cook:
An influx of seasonal workers is a relief for the horticulture and wine industries with the government giving a border exemption to 2000 seasonal workers.
The experienced workers will begin arriving from the Pacific in January and will spend two weeks in isolation before starting the harvest.
So after months of angst, the horticulture and wine sector will get some of the seasonal workers they are desperate for.
But they come with a cost. Employers must first pay for managed isolation – currently estimated at $4722 per person and pay at least $22.10 an hour – the living wage. . .
Farrow crate use ‘saves piglets’ lives’ – Sally Rae:
Former New Zealand Pork chairman Ian Carter is saddened by a High Court ruling that the use of farrowing crates is unlawful, saying they save “millions” of piglets globally every year.
Animal welfare groups Safe and the New Zealand Animal Law Association took the Attorney-general, the Minister of Agriculture and the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) to court in June saying the use of farrowing and mating crates breached the Animal Welfare Act 1999, RNZ reported.
In its decision, the court said the agriculture minister must consider new regulations phasing out the use of farrowing crates and mating stalls, and improve minimum standards.
Mr Carter, who farms in North Otago, said no other system got close to meeting the needs of farmed pigs. He estimated farrowing crates could save more than 200 piglets a day in New Zealand if they were universally used. . .
Manawatū dairy farmers Amy and Greg Gemmell are enjoying more family time these days, thanks to three shiny machines in their dairy shed.
No longer does Greg need to be out of the house before dawn to milk the herd as they have installed robots to do that chore 24/7.
The cows come to the dairy shed whenever they feel like it to be milked.
“They come in when they’re ready,” Amy says. . .
Switching from milking goats and cows to milking sheep has been likened to swimming three lengths underwater by Te Aroha dairy goat and cow farmer Paul Schuler.
He is one of four Waikato based farmers that this season have taken on milking sheep for Maui Milk.
Come June, as his new sheep were about to arrive on the former cow farm, he was still completing a milking shed and fixing fences.
Covid slowed developement down, but Schuler says the ram didn’t know that. His lambs were going to arrive on time. . .
Researchers make wheat genome breakthrough – Gregor Heard:
Just two years after the bread wheat genome was finally mapped for the first time, a crack team of international scientists, including researchers from the University of Western Australia, have sequenced and analysed the genomes of 16 key wheat varieties from around the globe.
The research, including varieties that represent different breeding programs from around the world, provides the most comprehensive atlas of wheat genome sequences reported to date.
The genomic study, published in Nature Journal by the University of Saskatchewan, involved an international effort by more than 90 scientists from universities and institutes in Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, the U.K., Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Israel, and the U.S. . .