A shepherd’s warning – Wayne Langford:
Pink sky in the morning is a shepherds warning, but today I’d like to give a little warning of my own.
This time last year in New Zealand we had five deaths on farm. That’s five families that are absolutely heartbroken this year as they are forced to relive the tragic events that struck their families and wider communities last year.
I implore you to please be safe right now, everyone’s getting tired and slow. Please think about safety on the farm, on your bike – wear your helmet. It is easy to get busy and forget, but we simply have to stop and think about it. . .
It is really disappointing to see that Prime Minister has not fronted up and engaged with Groundswell NZ following their nationwide protests in July, National’s Rural Communities spokesperson Joseph Mooney says.
“The Groundswell protests sent a clear and direct message to the Government that rural communities are fed up with its unrealistic and impractical approach to a range of important issues. An estimated 60,000 people lined the streets of 57 towns and cities across the country in one of New Zealand’s biggest ever protests and they shouldn’t be ignored.
“I was at Groundswell NZ’s protest in Gore alongside Bryce McKenzie and Laurie Paterson, who founded the group in the Southland Electorate. I have been in regular contact since and I met them when they presented a petition seeking to amend the National Policy Statement For Freshwater Management to the Environment Select Committee in Wellington last month. . .
“When some 60,000 people converge on towns and cities around New Zealand, in protest at government proposals and regulations, a response from the Prime Minister is a reasonable expectation.
“Or even one from her ministers,” says National’s Agriculture spokesperson Barbara Kuriger.
“We are a week shy of two months since July 16’s Howl of Protest and organisers still haven’t heard from anyone running this country.
“Now the PM’s office is refusing to release any information — letters, emails, documents and/or advisories concerning Groundswell to or from her office, her deputy’s, or the ministers of Agriculture, Environment and Climate Change — to a media outlet making the request under the Official Information Act.” . .
Here’s why you should take a farmer out for lunch – Jacqueline Rowarth:
Lockdown has brought the essentials of life to the fore again – family and food. People rushed to their home base. People already at home base rushed to the supermarket. This time perishables topped the list – broccoli, bananas, milk, avocado, butter.
Food producers, processors and distributors are essential workers, once again, with the ongoing debate about supermarket chains staying open while independent outlets are closed. For the independents, the issue is survival. Margins are slim. It is often because their products are less expensive that people go to them for purchases.
Farmers and growers are feeling the pressures of slim margins, too. Countrylife on April 20 highlighted concerns. The interviewer was pleased that dairy prices are high; the farmer pointed out that costs have increased. The data support his case. Input prices increased 4.3 per cent for the year to June for dairy farmers and 3.4 per cent for the primary sector as a whole. . .
New Lincoln University Pastoral Livestock Production Lab research, is defining how to get the maximum benefit from cows predisposed to urinate nitrogen (N), resulting in less leaching to the waterway.
PhD student Cameron Marshall, has just published two new articles in top scientific journals as part of his doctoral thesis, showing that what cows with phenotypically lower milk urea N eat, and how they eat, is important to reducing their environmental impact.
He said inefficient N use from pastoral dairy production systems has resulted in concern regarding environmental degradation.
“This is a result of excessive urinary N leaching into waterways and nitrous oxide emissions from urination patches into the atmosphere. . .
Busy time for family farming together – Alice Scott:
Last week, as the nation took a deep breath and ventured down the well-trodden path of lockdown 2.0, newborn animals were none the wiser and the work still needed to be done.
Like many around Southland and Otago, Clinton-based calf-rearer Laura Allan is right in the thick of calf feeding and with 2-year-old Otis, 6-year-old Freddy and 8-year-old Juno at foot, she concedes homeschooling is a little “looser” this time around.
Mrs Allan and her husband James rear 50 to 60 beef calves each season and graze 150 rising 2yr-old dairy cows on their 80ha farm. Mr Allan is also a topdressing pilot and at this time of year they are like “ships in the night”, as he leaves early and gets home late.
“James usually gets up early and shifts a break fence in the dark before he leaves, to ease the pressure a bit,” she said. . .
If you have a working dog that needs to be retired, Retired Working Dogs NZ (RWD) can help. RWD is a charity re-homing retired working dogs throughout New Zealand into forever homes.
The charity, set up in 2012, have re-homed more than 634 working dogs who are either at retirement age or aren’t cut out to be working on farm anymore.
“Retired working dogs make great pets for families. Many of them have been trained with basic commands and are often trusted around stock, other animals, and children,” says Natalie Smith.
The charity works with the SPCA, vet clinics, and farmers to find, advertise, and re-home dogs. . .
Otis, the first New Zealand oat milk made from homegrown oats, will now be available to buy nationwide thanks to a new supply deal inked with Countdown. The deal will see Otis cartons lining shelves around the country in Countdown, New World, Farro and Moore Wilson, and its online store.
The announcement coincides with the company’s launch of its 1% Fund today.
The 1% Fund is an initiative by Otis to help diversify farming by supporting New Zealand farmers to grow oats.
“Otis wants to help Kiwi farmers lead the way in farming for the 21st century – a way of farming that’s more diverse, more plant-based and one that works in harmony with nature, not against it,” says Otis co-founder Chris Wilkie. . .