Rural round-up

05/12/2019

Escalator programme provides next step up – Alice Scott:

Rebecca Smith is a wife, mother, farmer and qualified veterinarian.

She is now also a graduate of the Agri Women’s Development Trust’s Escalator programme.

Escalator is a leadership and governance programme for women involved in the primary industries and rural communities and is run by the Agri Women’s Development Trust. The Escalator programme equips women with the tools, confidence and support they need to successfully lead and govern in their chosen fields.

Each year, the programme receives around 80 applications from around New Zealand, which need to be whittled down to just 14. . . 

Olive yield doubles through change of technique:

Using New Zealand fruit tree management techniques instead of the olive grove management methods used in the Northern Hemisphere and Australia has at least doubled olive yields at trial sites across New Zealand, Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)-funded research has shown.

MPI supported Olives New Zealand to carry out a three-year research project, through its Sustainable Farming Fund.

The project explored ways to increase market share for New Zealand olive oil, with the aim of increasing the average harvest tonnage of less than 10kg per olive tree to 15kg.

The researchers exceeded their own expectations, reporting a yield of 20-35kg per tree by the end of the project. . . 

Rural firms promote ingenuity :

A campaign celebrating unique rural enterprises has been launched by the Wanaka A&P Society.

Four rural businesses in the Clutha area will front the Acres of Ingenuity campaign.

They were selected in a competition focusing on diversification in farming and land use.  

Salmon farm and restaurant Hook, tourist attraction LandEscape, cherry growers and exporters New Zealand Cherry Partnership and honey production company Taylor Pass Honey feature in the campaign.

“All four enterprises are using their land in unique and varied ways in an effort to create a viable and sustainable business,” Wanaka Show event manager Jane Stalker said. . . 

Hemp growers aiming high – Sudesh Kissun:

New regulatory changes are forcing some horticulture and dairy farmers to look at a new crop – hemp.

About 1300ha are now assigned by growers across New Zealand for the 2020 hemp crop. HempFarm NZ founder Dave Jordan hopes the 2021 crop will increase four-fold.

“Who knows, it could be more if we can sell our story well to the New Zealand public and business sector,” Jordan told Rural News. . . 

Nutrition key to productive cows – Yvonne O’Hara:

A productive cow is the dairy world’s equivalent of a triathlete, ruminant nutritionist Andrea Murphy, of Alexandra, says.

Therefore, nutrition which meets her energy requirements is essential to keeping her healthy and productive and enhancing her longevity within the herd.

Ms Murphy was one of the committee that organised the New Zealand Association of Ruminant Nutritionists’ first conference in Gore last week.

More than 80 people, including fertiliser company representatives, veterinarians, agronomists and animal feed consultants, attended the day.

‘‘I often use the analogy of sport. Just like an athlete, the better the nutrition of the individual the better the performance, both in training and on game day,’’ Ms Murphy said. . . 

Hay bale art challenge is on as designs appear in paddocks – Alastair Dowie:

The challenge has been set as Newstead’s Hutton family unveiled their new hay bale artwork.

The well-known annual construction on the Pyrenees Highway near Newstead has been creating widespread interest and comment.

This year the Christine and Craig Hutton and children Maddy, 17, and Charlie, 14, hope fellow district farmers will take up the challenge and construct their own works of art.

Ms Hutton said the artworks started in around 2012 and were spasmodic for the first few years, but more regular in the past few years. . . 


Rural round-up

26/01/2015

Record canola crop on irrigated plot – Sally Rae:

As dry conditions continue in North Otago, a world-record canola crop harvested at Hilderthorpe has provided proof of the benefits of irrigation.

Arable farmer Chris Dennison achieved the record crop on Friday, with a 6.3-tonne-per-hectare yield, beating the previous record of 6.14 tonnes, set by an English farmer last August.

While Mr Dennison has had a few attempts at wheat world records over the years, it was his first crack at improving on the record for canola.

He approached Guinness World Records a few years ago, wanting to attempt to break a canola record, having had some ”really big crops”. . .

Alpine water would counter dry spell  – Nicky Hyslop:

If you’re lucky enough to still be on holiday, no-one will blame you for basking in the hot, dry weather being experienced in many parts of New Zealand.

For the South Island’s east coast it’s been the first decent Kiwi summer for decades with temperatures regularly in the 30s and little or no rainfall.

But spare a thought for farmers whose very livelihood relies on adding water to soil to grow crops, feed and water animals. If regular water doesn’t come from the sky in the form of rainfall, irrigation plugs the gap by providing access to authorised river, dam and groundwater supplies. . .

Dairy, lamb skid on oil slick – Andrea Fox:

Tumbling prices at the petrol pump have a sting in the tail for farmers, with predictions that oil-producing countries’ appetite for dairy products and lamb will shrink along with their economies.

Economists say with some oil-producing countries – in particular the Middle East region – being important markets for New Zealand dairy exports, the oil price fall will dampen chances of a commodity dairy price recovery in the first half of the year, suggested by the recent three-strike run of improved average prices on Fonterra’s Global Dairy Trade auctions.

The oil price collapse could also offset any economic comfort for commodity exporters from the weakening of the New Zealand dollar against the US dollar, in which this country mostly trades overseas.

In the sheepmeat export sector, the oil price plunge is also said to be contributing to a fall in the lamb schedule since early December. . .

Network supportive – finalist – Sally Rae:

Andrea Murphy is proud to call New Zealand home.

Ms Murphy, who is a finalist in the 2015 Dairy Woman of the Year competition, has forged a global career as a dairy nutritionist.

Originally from Canada, she worked in China before moving to New Zealand 11 years ago. She is based in Alexandra where she works for PGG Wrightson and is also on the committee for the New Zealand Association of Ruminant Nutritionists. . .

Ready to take on the male contingent – Sally Rae:

When Olivia Ross lines up for the Otago-Southland regional final of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest in Queenstown next month, she intends giving it ”120%”.

The winner will go through to the contest’s grand final at Taupo in July and only three women have ever made it that far.

Louise Collingwood, representing Waikato-Bay of Plenty, came the closest to claiming the title, finishing second to Otago-Southland’s Robert Kempthorne in 2003 and third in 2004, while Denise Brown was a grand finalist in 1981 and Katherine Tucker in 2012. . .

High-country farm owner changes the guard – Kate Taylor:

Finding a compatible lessee is critical in a successful ongoing partnership, says high country farmer Geoffrey Thomson.

For the past six months, Mt Earnslaw Station at the head of Lake Wakatipu in Otago, has been leased to former high country farm managers Cameron Craigie and partner Anita Holthaus.

The feeling of not being responsible for the stock on a daily basis after so many years was a weight off the shoulders, Thomson says. He took over the 6670 hectare station from his parents in 1976, having spent time away at boarding school, university and then working as a civil engineer. He and Diana have two sons in their early 20s, James and Thomas, who have both chosen non-farming careers. . .

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Adrienne Pierce's photo.


Rural round-up

18/01/2015

From dual purpose to multi-purpose: a win-win for dairy farmers:

Dairy farmers throughout New Zealand will benefit from recent research undertaken by Dr (Paul) Long Cheng and Dr Jeffery McCormick from the Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Lincoln University.

Dr Cheng and McCormick found that dairy replacement heifers grazed on dual purpose cereal and brassica crops such as wheat and canola achieved higher weight gains and caused less environmental pollution through reduced urinary nitrogen excretion than heifers grazed on conventional pasture.

“Every year farmers needed to rear dairy heifers as replacements for their milking herds as part of their farm management routines,” says Dr Cheng. . .

 Dairy Woman of the Year finalists announced:

Four women from throughout New Zealand have been selected as Dairy Women’s Network’s 2015 Dairy Woman of the Year finalists.

They are:

• PGG Wrightson animal nutritionist Andrea Murphy of Alexandra

• Dairy director Wilma van Leeuwen of Waimate

• Southland Demonstration Farm director Elaine Cook of Waikato; and

• Federated Farmers board member and provincial president Katie Milne of Kumara, West Coast

Run by the Dairy Women’s Network and sponsored by Fonterra, the prestigious Dairy Woman of the Year Award includes a 12-month scholarship to the Breakthrough Leaders Programme run by Global Women New Zealand, valued at $25,000. . .

Katie Milne, Dairy Woman of the year Finalist:

Federated Farmers President, Dr William Rolleston, says he’s thrilled by Katie Milne’s selection as a finalist for the 2015 Dairy Woman of the Year Award.

“I’m not surprised at Katie’s selection, as she has been a passionate advocate for farmers for a long time and has made some real progress for all of us at both a provincial and national level.”

“Katie has been involved with Federated Farmers since 1991, when as a 23 year old she went along to a provincial meeting with some concerns about the RMA’s impact on her ability to farm. Since then she has moved up the executive ranks, now in her third year as a Federated Farmers Board Member and in her sixth year as the Federation’s West Coast provincial president.” . . .

 

Marlborough farmers resilient despite parched land – Helen Hill:

Continuing dry weather has not yet forced any drought management action on Marlborough farmers.

No appreciable rain has fallen in the province since last April, followed by a cold, dry spring but, in an area where dry summers are common, farmers know how to cope.

“Farmers are very resilient in Marlborough because they’ve been here for a long time and have been through plenty of dry times and they learn to deal with them,” said Marlborough Federated Farmers president Greg Harris.

“Federated Farmers encourages people to be proactive, to have feed resources on hand, practise soil conservation and have water storage dams. Generally Marlborough farmers have been heeding this advice.”

Harris said there were no issues of space at freezing works and plenty of stock was moving out of the district. . .

Low impact of drought on Synlait’s milk supply:

Current dry weather in Canterbury is expected to have little impact on Synlait Milk’s milk supply because almost all Synlait suppliers have reliable irrigation water access.

Managing Director Dr John Penno said that Synlait is not seeing a drop in milk production, which remains at budgeted levels.

“This is consistent with what we’ve seen in the past with dry weather, which Canterbury farmers are used to. We have reviewed the factors at play and do not expect it to have much of an impact on our milk supply,” said Dr Penno.

“However, we are monitoring the situation closely as weather conditions may change this position at any stage.” . .

 

ASB Farmshed Economics Report – Taking stock in the New Year:

• Dairy markets moving back into balance over 2015.

• Beef prices off the boil, but still simmering.

• Lengthy period of low interest rates ahead.

While 2014 was a year of big moves in the dairy markets, with record highs and lows, 2015 is shaping up as a year with more moderation, according to the latest ASB Farmshed Economics Report.

“After last year’s steep falls, we expect dairy prices to recover gradually over the year as dairy markets move back into balance,” says ASB Rural Economist Nathan Penny. . .

 Vic poppies here to stay – William Vallely:

HIDDEN in the depths of a local farming community lies a substance that divided 19th century empires and thus far in Victoria has been shrouded in secrecy.

A batch of opium poppies – a revered alkaloid notionally associated with Tasmania – is about to be harvested close to Ballarat, and early signs suggest it’s here to stay.

Australia’s three largest poppy manufacturers – GlaxoSmithKline, Tasmanian Alkaloids and TPI Enterprises Ltd – have conducted secret trial plots of the crop across Victoria over the past two years, however only one has grown a commercial crop after Victoria passed legislation in May allowing cultivation of opium poppies on its land. . .

 

 

 


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