Rural round-up

September 24, 2013

Fears of ‘erosion of capacity’ in agri-science :

Unless the ”erosion of capacity” in agri-science is halted and quickly reversed, New Zealand will remain a preferred supplier of low-tier food commodities and additives.

That is the message from Frank Griffin, who is concerned about the direction of the sector, including the proposed restructuring of AgResearch which would see the Invermay research centre reduced.

For more than three decades, Prof Griffin has led a University of Otago-based research team devoted to solving animal health problems in the deer industry. . .

Nominations open for third annual Dairy Woman of the Year:

The Dairy Women’s Network and Fonterra announced today that nominations open for the 2014 Dairy Woman of the Year on 1 October.

In its third year, the Award provides the winner with a position on the prestigious Women in Leadership Programme run by Global Women, valued at $25,000. The scholarship is sponsored by Fonterra Milk Supply.

The call for 2014 nominations comes on the heels of Barbara Kuriger’s 19 September graduation from the Global Women programme. Barbara was the inaugural winner of the Award in 2012. . .

Synlait Milk posts $11.5 million NPAT for FY2013:

Synlait Milk posted an $11.5 million net profit after tax for the year ending 31 July 2013, an increase of $7.1 million on FY2012 and ahead of its prospective financial information (“PFI”) forecast of $10.8 million.

The Company had revenue of $420 million in FY2013, an increase of 11.5% compared to $377 for FY2012 driven largely by increased sales volumes.

Synlait Milk Managing Director Dr John Penno said the Company made positive steps forward in all areas of its business relative to FY2012. . . .

Crown Irrigation appoints chief executive:

The newly formed Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (Crown Irrigation) has selected a proven investment professional, Murray Gribben, as its first chief executive.

Chair Alison Paterson said “Murray will bring to the role a strong combination of investment experience and working knowledge of the primary sector”.

Crown Irrigation has been established to help harness the potential of irrigation to accelerate New Zealand’s economic development by making targeted, bridging investments in larger, regional scale irrigation schemes. The Government has signaled its willingness to invest up to $400 million. . .

Excitement hosting World Alpaca Expo :

Kaiapoi alpaca breeder Kit Johnson is looking forward to opening the World Alpaca Expo and Conference in Hamilton this weekend.

”We have been waiting for this for a long time, since we got chosen back in 2007. This is the big event and we probably won’t get it for another 20 years,” the Alpacas Association of New Zealand president said.

”As the host president, I get to speak at the opening of the expo and the closing of the conference. The rest of the time I will be showing my animals and fleeces.”

Mr Johnson said there were 50 delegates coming from Australia and other delegates from the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Hungary, the United Kingdom and Canada. . .

Better beef genetics in dairy beef supply chain a win-win

Early results from research are showing clear advantage with the use of better beef genetics for dairy beef.

Two-thirds of New Zealand’s beef production originates from the dairy industry, yet despite this, few dairy farms use beef bulls of known genetics.

The five year Beef + Lamb New Zealand Dairy Beef Integration Programme is looking at the impact of using good beef genetics in a dairy beef supply chain. 

“The use of beef sires with high estimated breeding values (EBVs) for calving ease, growth and carcass characteristics on dairy farms is not commonplace, but will produce surplus calves of higher value to dairy farmers, beef finishers and beef processors,” says AgResearch scientist and project leader Dr Vicki Burggraaf.  . .

Farmax, Cashmanager Rural integration provides return to farmers:

A new partnership between leading farm management software providers Farmax and Cashmanager Rural has given sheep and beef farmers the ability to share data quickly and easily between the two programs.

The integration eliminates the need for double-entry of livestock information, saving farmers time and providing greater data accuracy.

The first phase of integration is already in place for sheep and beef farmers, giving them the ability to import livestock sales and purchase transactions from Cashmanager Rural into Farmax, meaning users of both systems only have to enter the data once.  The companies will launch a second integration in the future, allowing farmers to share physical farm management data. . .

Kiwi First Hits Garden Centres This Week:

The  incredible edibles® POTATO TOM™ will be released to garden centres early this week. A Kiwi first and potentially a world first at a commercial level, the new concept by incredible edibles® brings a grafted tomato and potato together in one plant. This is the first time at a commercial level anyone has delivered this concept to home gardeners in New Zealand. Andrew Boylan General Manager of Tharfield Nursery who produces and markets the POTATO TOM™ says “The POTATO TOM™ has gone viral, we can’t believe the response.  The phones have been running hot with garden centres throughout New Zealand vying to get hold of this new and exciting concept”. . .

Chardonnay makes a comeback as a must-have win:

This year, with 65% of all entries in the Chardonnay category of the New World Wine Awards winning a medal and Spy Valley’s 2012 Chardonnay taking out the title of Champion White Wine, the varietal is back as a must-have for wine lovers.

With a record number of entries, including more than 100 wines from the eagerly anticipated 2013 vintage, the highest number of medals ever was awarded overall this year.

“White wine varietals performed particularly strongly at this year’s awards with around 60% of all Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Sparkling and sweet wines entered winning a medal. For the second year in a row, Chardonnay has scooped the Champion White Wine trophy which reflects the international resurgence in Chardonnay’s popularity,” says Jim Harré, Chairman of the judging panel. . .


Rural round-up

August 26, 2013

New irrigation system being trialled – Sally Rae:

The development of a new irrigation system, being trialled in North Otago, has been described as a potential ground-breaker for the industry.

RX Plastics, the Ashburton-based manufacturer and distributor of the K-Line irrigation pod and sprinkler system, has produced the G-Set irrigation system, which it believes meets a gap in the market for an efficient system that irrigates more challenging areas.

G-Set was an embedded system that could be installed anywhere that irrigation pipe could be run, making it more suitable for more difficult terrain, hill slopes and irregular shaped pastures, sales and marketing manager Phil Gatehouse said. . .

Sour times in the dairy industry – Sally Rae:

Queen Elizabeth famously had one in 1992. Now it is dairy giant Fonterra – New Zealand’s largest exporter – that has experienced an ”annus horribilis”, as agribusiness reporter Sally Rae reports.

January 2013: Fonterra moves to persuade global customers that New Zealand dairy products are safe in the wake of the discovery of dicyandiamide residue in milk.

Chief executive Theo Spierings says the co-operative’s testing found only minute traces of DCD – a nitrification inhibitor used by the dairy industry to reduce nitrate leaching into waterways and greenhouse gas emissions – and they were about 100 times lower than acceptable levels under European food safety limits. . .

Think of rural communities – Rebecca Harper:

Earthquakes have become too much of a regular occurrence for many New Zealanders.

The earth moving can be a frightening and destructive thing.

The latest significant quake was centred in Seddon on August 16. The force was reportedly comparable to that felt in central Christchurch on February 22, 2011.

Almost every home in Seddon was damaged by the earthquake swarm, which began with a magnitude 6.6 quake at 2.31pm on Friday, August 16. About 50 aftershocks of magnitude four or more rocked the region in the 30 hours after the initial jolt. . .

Making money in the hills and on the flats:

HILL COUNTRY farmers should put their efforts and energy into increasing lambing and calving rates, rather than trying to finish stock.

Meanwhile finishers should focus on daily liveweight gain and maximum return on feeds.

That’s the message large-scale finisher Roger Dalrymple, Bulls, gave a recent BRIG (Beef Returns Improvement Group – see panel) seminar near Hunterville, Rantikei.

“The one thing that hill country farmers can influence most is their lambing percentage and if they increase this from say 110% to 130%, their returns will skyrocket,” Dalrymple says. . .

POTATO TOM, a probable world first:

ONE PLANT, two crops: it’s a bit like having your cake and eating it and for New Zealanders it could be reality this summer.

How? With an innovation Tharfield Nursery, Katikati, is marketing nationwide in what it believes is a world first commercialisation. The Western Bay of Plenty operation has grafted thousands of Gardeners Delight tomato plants onto Agria potatoes to create the POTATO TOM, a trademarked seedling it is distributing under its incredible edibles brand. “It will produce a great yield of potatoes and tomatoes,” says nursery general manager, Andrew Boylan. While the idea of grafting a tomato with a potato is not new this could be the first time anyone has successfully developed this combination at a commercial level globally, he adds. . .

Woodchip wins stand-off study:

WELL MANAGED woodchip is the best stand-off for cow care judging by the findings of a Dairy NZ research project.

Agresearch scientist Karen Schulz presented the results of the three month trial at a recent field day at Fonterra’s Jordan Valley farm, Northland.

During the trial 80 pregnant non-lactating cows were split into groups and allocated to one of four different stand-off surfaces for eighteen hours/day, and pasture for the remainder of the day.

After four days of this on-off regime, they had a week on pasture with researchers continuing to record lying times as well as signs of leg health, walking gait and dirtyness. . .


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