Rural round-up

June 14, 2018

Fieldays 2018: NZ farming ‘boxes above its weight’

Nearly 25,000 people attended day one of the 50th New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek.

Fieldays chief executive Peter Nation opened this year’s event on Wednesday speaking of the changes the agricultural industry has seen over the last 50 years and introduced this year’s theme of the future of farming.

“New Zealand and our agricultural industry is vastly different to what it was in 1969 largely driven by our hunger and desire to be leaders in our special industry,” he said. . .

Time for strugglers to sell?

Heavily indebted farmers may be under pressure from their banks to sell up on the rising farm market to get out of their debt.

“Reading between the lines, it might be a case of the banks suggesting to the perennial strugglers that it is time to sell up,” said Federated Farmers vice-president Andrew Hoggard.

Banks may have been waiting “until things are looking rosy” on farm prices before encouraging customers to look at their options.

Hoggard was commenting on the May 2018 Federated Farmers’ Banking Survey, which showed that more farmers are feeling under financial pressure, and are less satisfied with their banks. . . 

Cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis threatens to put a dampener on children’s calf day – Gerard Hutching:

Girls at Hiwinui School in Manawatu have already started choosing names for the calves they are eagerly anticipating arriving in a few weeks’ time.

But this year the bogey of Mycoplasma bovis might be the party pooper that diminishes the fun for thousands of children who enjoy the traditional lamb and calf day at their local schools.

Each spring children attending rural schools bring in the animals they have raised since birth to show their classmates, and Hiwinui with a roll of 143 is no exception. . .

Farmers deserve answers – Steve Cranston:

Most farmers would be surprised to learn there is no evidence that New Zealand agriculture is warming the planet.

All that farmers have heard from scientists, the Government and at times their own companies is that agriculture is a major contributor to NZ’s emissions.

However, what everyone forgot to tell the farmers is that no direct correlation exists between methane emissions and global warming. The problem is that the accounting method used fails to acknowledge the fact methane is constantly degrading back to CO2, and it is only when emissions exceed degradation that warming will occur. . .

Bachelors and bachelorettes go head-to-head for Rural Catch of the Year – Ruby Nyika:

There’s no rose ceremony, but the love-catch competition might just be fiercer than ever. 

The Rural Bachelor – a 13-year-running Fieldays favourite – has been revamped to the Rural Catch of the Year. 

For the first time rural women join the men vying to be crowned the most eligible rural singleton.  . .

Waikato’s Te Poi farm changes hands after 103 years with Bell family – Kelly Tantau:

A farm in rural Waikato has history seeping into its soil.

For 103 years, one bloodline resided on the 56 hectare plot in Te Poi, living through two World Wars, economic changes, births and deaths.

The family was the Bells; pioneers of their trade and strong-willed labourers well-known in the small town 9km from Matamata.

Allan Bell, the grandson of the farm’s first owners John and Minnie Bell, said the family broke new ground. . .

 60 years of milk – Co-op farmer celebrates diamond supply anniversary:

When 88-year-old Raglan farmer Jim Bardsley first started supplying Fonterra, he remembers separating his own milk.

Always  the inventor, Jim’s flying fox was one of many memories shared by friends and family at his retirement lunch. Shareholders’ Councillor Ross Wallis and Raglan Area Manager Brendan Arnet were also on hand to congratulate Jim on six decades of supply. . . 

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Rural round-up

June 8, 2018

Beef + Lamb New Zealand calls for tailored approach towards emissions:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) welcomes the government’s commitment to setting a new carbon target and considering accounting for the differing contributions of specific livestock emissions as consultation on proposed Zero Carbon legislation gets underway.

“With severe weather events like droughts and floods becoming more frequent, sheep and beef farmers feel the impacts of climate change first hand and are aware of the challenges climate change brings”, says B+LNZ CEO Sam McIvor. “We know that everyone has to do their bit to meet this challenge, and as a sector we’ve already reduced greenhouse gas emissions from livestock by 30 per cent since 1990.

“We’ve also set the target for our sector to be carbon neutral by 2050 as part of our new Environment Strategy and we’re progressing a range of actions to help build on the good work that farmers are already doing. . . 

Gas differences recognised in Zero Carbon consultation:

Federated Farmers is heartened that impacts on the economy, and the difference between short and long-lived greenhouse gases, are becoming more prominent topics in our discussions about global warming and climate change.

Some of the choices and challenges in front of New Zealand get an airing in the Ministry for the Environment’s consultation document on the Zero Carbon Bill, the Federation’s Climate Change spokesperson, Andrew Hoggard, says.

“It’s a positive that the ‘Our Climate, Your Say’ document, released today, recognises that methane from livestock is a recycling, not accumulating, greenhouse gas. Methane has a half-life of around 12 years, whereas carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. . . 

Economists concerned by risks of ‘M. bovis’ – Sally Rae:

Economic risks associated with Mycoplasma bovis are rising, economists say, and a beef farm in Ranfurly is one of the latest properties confirmed with the disease.

Last week, it was announced eradication would be attempted, at a cost of $886million, and entailing slaughter of a further 126,000 cattle.

In BNZ’s latest Rural Wrap, senior economist Doug Steel said there was much more to it than the initial impact on production from culling cows. . . 

Devold role continues a passion for wool – Sally Rae:

Craig Smith’s passion for wool never dims.

After about 28 years in the wool industry, Mr Smith remains a staunch advocate for the natural fibre, which he described as “the most amazing product in the world”.

This month, Mr Smith — previously business development manager at PGG Wrightson Wool — began a new job as general manager of Devold Wool Direct NZ Ltd.

Devold is a Norwegian-based high performance wool clothing brand which dates back to 1853, when its founder came up with the idea of knitting wool sweaters for fishermen. It celebrated its 165th anniversary last weekend. . . 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand proposes levies increase to meet future challenges:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) today launched consultation on a proposal to increase sheepmeat and beef levies to accelerate investment in a range of key programmes.

B+LNZ is seeking farmers’ views on the plan to increase the sheepmeat levy by 10 cents to 70 cents per head and the beef levy by 80 cents to $5.20 per head.

If adopted, the rise would mean an average sheep and beef farm would pay an additional $260 per annum and an average dairy farm an extra $55 per annum. . . 

Arable Industry Honours Two of its Finest:

A leading advocate for biosecurity and a 30-year contributor to organisations that support growers were honoured at the Federated Farmers Arable Industry conference in Timaru yesterday.

Former Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) CEO Nick Pyke was presented with the Federated Farmers Arable Biosecurity Farmer of the Year Award and North Canterbury farmer Syd Worsfold was named Federated Farmers Arable Farmer of the Year in recognition of his contribution over the last three decades to the arable industry and stakeholder groups, Federated Farmers, FAR and United Wheatgrowers. . . 

Helping dairy farmers avoid FEI penalties with supplementary feed:

It’s three months away but New Zealand dairy farmers are already preparing for the impact of Fonterra’s new fat evaluation index (FEI) grading system, which comes into effect on September 1.

Fonterra established the FEI test to measure the fat composition in the cow’s milk it collects, to ensure it is suitable for manufacturing products that meet customer specifications.

The use of palm kernel expeller (PKE) as a supplementary feed has been identified as a key influencer on high FEI levels in dairy milk. A by-product of the palm oil extraction process from the fruit of the palm, PKE has become increasingly popular as a feed option in dairying, due to its relative low cost. However, high use of PKE can impact the fatty acid profile of milk, and has led to manufacturing challenges for Fonterra with certain products. . . 


Agriculture convenient scapegoat

June 7, 2018

Should farmers be worried about the Zero Carbon Bill’s impact?

An agricultural leader says his sector has “some trepidation” that taking steps to protect the environment may have an unnecessary impact on the farming community.

Federated Farmers dairy sector chair Andrew Hoggard is keeping a close eye on the Zero Carbon Bill, with public consultations opening on Thursday.

The proposed legislation would put climate change targets into law, in line with the goal of the country becoming carbon-neutral by 2050.

“The key thing most farmers want to see with the Zero Carbon Bill is that it recognises the difference between methane and carbon dioxide,” Mr Hoggard told The AM Show.

“Methane is 75 percent of the gases that come from agriculture but it is a short-lived gas, unlike carbon dioxide – so it basically recycles.”

Mr Hoggard says the two are often confused, but if methane emissions remain “static”, have no greater impact. He says dropping methane levels by “4 or 5 percent” would bring them back to 1990 levels.

He added it “wouldn’t make any sense” if the Government considers cutting back on farming as a solution.

“New Zealand feeds about 40 million people in the world, so if we reduce our agricultural production by 20 percent to supposedly reduce emissions by 20 percent, there is effectively 8 million people that will be looking for food elsewhere and it probably won’t be done as well as what it is in New Zealand.” . . 

There is a danger with this Bill that politicians will act locally without thinking globally.

The ban on oil exploration here is an example of that. It is expected to increase global emissions by replacing New Zealand gas with coal gas from China.

There is a similar danger with the Carbon Zero Bill.

Any policies which increase the cost of food production and reduce the amount produced in New Zealand will provide the opportunity for increased production in other countries with much less efficient and environmentally sustainable farming systems.

Derek Daniell, one of this country’s leading farmers, sheep breeders and thinkers, says NZ agriculture makes a convenient scapegoat.

New Zealand’s environmental profile has been shafted by the one-sided, false accounting analysis of the Kyoto Accord.

Consider:

Why was New Zealand the only country to have agriculture emissions specifically included in Kyoto? Because the blame could be shifted to methane emissions from ruminants, even though the methane percentage in the atmosphere has been constant over the past 25 years. And ruminants have been around for 90 million years. Their methane emissions had a balance in the earth’s atmosphere long before the world became overstocked with humans, who are using up billions of years of stored energy as oil, coal and gas in a short binge.

No credit is given for the buildup of top soil and organic matter under our pastoral farming system, under the “single entry” accounting approach. This is a much more virtuous farming system than monoculture cropping, using herbicides and pesticides to kill competing plants and animals, and continually depleting the organic matter in the soil. How long is monoculture cropping around the world going to be sustainable?

Tourism is touted as a great industry for New Zealand, with recent growth to 3.7 million visitors. But no one talks about the 2.9 million Kiwis travelling OUT of the country, and spending more than $10 billion in the process. This is another example of “single entry accounting”. And no one talks about the continual increase in GHG caused by this two way travel.

The energy industry is another sector under attack from the current government, and environmental lobby groups. The local oil, gas and coal industry supplies the equivalent of 78 percent of domestic requirements, but reducing. We will become more and more dependent on an oil tanker sailing into the Whangarei refinery every six days. This is another example of “single entry” accounting. If the government restricts this sector, it will simply reduce the living standards of New Zealanders, because we will import more energy. And be less self sufficient. . . 

Derek’s column is worth reading in full which you can do if you click on the link above.


Rural round-up

June 1, 2018

Farmers at country club: ‘We want to stop the spread’-:

A small Tararua farming community has told the agriculture minister of the uncertainty facing it because of the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.

Damien O’Connor visited the community of Makuri near Pahiatua today as part of the government’s Mycoplasma bovis roadshow.

Tararua district mayor and farmer Tracey Collis was there and told Checkpoint there was a lot to be learned from the Mycoplasma bovis scare.

“Watching the uncertainty in farmers in the district – it’s not something you wouldn’t wish on anybody,” she said.

“I think we need to tidy up our practises. [Husband] Mike and I spent five years as organic dairy farmers and within that system anything that came onto the farm was cleaned.” . . 

M bovis eradication costs will be uneven:

The costs of the attempted eradication of Mycoplasma bovis will be borne unevenly, although economists say the full extent of the costs has yet be calculated.

The Government chose to attempt to eradicate the presence of the bacterium, noting the current estimates of eradication costs were smaller than the estimated costs of management.

No country has yet successfully eradicated the disease, but the Government does not want to regret not trying. . . 

Decision made but important to find the cause – Allan Barber:

The Government decision to eradicate rather than contain Mp. Bovis has the merit of drawing a line under the first stage of the disease outbreak. There were three options under consideration: eradicate, manage or do nothing; the third was clearly not seriously considered, but there must have been a serious debate between the first two. In the end the eradication course of action was chosen because it gives ‘the best shot’ at eliminating the disease to the benefit of the New Zealand agricultural sector, particularly the dairy industry, and the economy.

The other factor which weighed in favour of the chosen option was MPI’s cost estimate of $886 million in contrast to $1.2 billion from attempting to manage the disease, although at any point along the way it may prove necessary to accept eradication is not possible and management will then become the default option. The likely first trigger point for a change will come in October/November after calving when cows are at their most stressed and liable to show signs of Mp. Bovis. The third option of doing nothing has been estimated to cost $1.3 billion in lost production over 10 years as well as continuing productivity losses. . . 

ANZ announces Mycoplasma Bovis assistance package:

ANZ Bank today announced an assistance package to help Mycoplasma Bovis-affected cattle farmers meet their short-term cash-flow requirements and ultimately re-establish their herds.

The ANZ Mycoplasma Bovis relief package is in response to this week’s Government announcement stating it would work with farming sector leaders to attempt to eradicate the disease, which is not harmful to humans, over the next few years.

The package will be effective immediately.

ANZ also acknowledges the efforts of the Rural Support Trust and will make a $20,000 donation to support their important work with local farmers on the ground. . . 

Future Focus planning boost for farming partners in Tararua

Tararua and Southern Hawke’s Bay sheep and beef farming couples are among the first in the country to be offered a new programme to help them plan for long-term business success, developed in response to strong industry demand.

Launched recently, the programme equips farming partners to decide their business and family goals together, then use that to plan for, and lead, their teams.

Funded by the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) PGP programme, Future Focus, is initially being offered in seven rural centres, involving more than 100 participants.

Designed and delivered by the Agri-Women’s Development Trust (AWDT), each two-day programme will be held over two months. . . 

Supply pressure building in major world beef markets:

It’s been a positive start to 2018 for the global beef sector – with production and consumption up and prices generally favourable – however, building pressures in some of the world’s major beef-producing nations have the potential to change export market dynamics, with implications for New Zealand, according to a recently-released industry report.

In its Beef Quarterly Q2 2018 – Production continuing to Grow, but Supply Pressure Starting to Mount, agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank says supply pressure is growing in global beef markets due to dry weather conditions in the US, a surplus of animal protein in Brazil and changes in live cattle trade out of Australia.

Report co-author, Rabobank New Zealand animal proteins analyst Blake Holgate says the degree to which these supply pressures continue to build will determine the extent of their impact on global markets. . . 

Survey underlines rural connectivity frustration:

Plenty of rural folk have jumped at the chance to respond to a Federated Farmers survey on the quality of telecommunications connectivity out in the provinces.

There were close to 500 responses within 24 hours of the launch of the survey.

“It’s hardly surprising because we know from member feedback that broadband and mobile blackspots cause considerable frustration,” Federated Farmers Vice-President Andrew Hoggard says.

“Technology is a huge and increasing facet of modern farming. If the apps and programmes on farmers’ digital devices drop out or run at crawl-speeds, they simply can’t run their businesses efficiently.” . . 

The survey link is https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/a09e7cdf97874d85b722169fc6649d4f . . .

 


Simple taxes better

May 2, 2018

Federated Farmers is urging the Tax Working Group to keep taxes simple:

New Zealand enjoys a relatively neutral, non-distortionary tax system, with low compliance costs by international standards. Any changes should retain these hallmarks, Federated Farmers says.

I’ve said it many times but it needs to be repeated: simple taxes are better taxes.

Making it relatively easy to comply reduces the burden on both the Inland Revenue Department and taxpayers.

Simple taxes also reduce loop holes.

The Federation’s submission to the Tax Working Group, which was guided by 1,400 responses to a survey of its members, also argues money raised by any new taxes should be offset by reductions in other taxes.

Survey respondents strongly rejected some of the tax options that have been mooted: 81% opposed a capital gains tax (CGT) excluding the family home; 91% rejected a land tax and 82% opposed any form of environmental taxation.

Feds Economics and Commerce spokesperson Andrew Hoggard says it seems many proponents of a CGT hope it will crack down on property speculators.

A CGT hasn’t stopped runaway property price inflation in other countries.

“But that could be substantially achieved by an extension of the ‘bright-line test’ on sales to five years, making the need for a CGT largely redundant.

“The Federation didn’t oppose the two-year ‘bright-line’ when it was introduced, and our tax survey last month showed 47% supported this measure, with five years the most favoured period,” Andrew says.

A CGT would also have complications in terms of portfolio investment (PIE) rules, Livestock Herd Scheme gains and losses, farmhouse use changes and indexing the asset cost base so the inflation component is not taxed.

“There’s a lot to be said for the KISS (keep it simple…) principle and a CGT tramples all over that.”

A land tax would be “punitive and inequitable” on farmers, given the size of their properties. If it was introduced, highly geared enterprises could become equity negative, with potential flow-on effects to banks and financiers, Andrew says.

“What’s more developing businesses, or those with fluctuations in income typical of many farms, may not have sufficient cash flow in any one year to pay a land tax. Gross revenue can vary hugely for farmers due to the vagaries of international markets, exchange and interest rates, and the weather.”

It’s not just farmers who would be adversely affected by a land tax. It would add to costs for every business.

That includes service providers like doctors and other health professionals.

At least some of the extra cost would be passed on to consumers, fueling inflation and making life even more difficult for the poor.

As for environmental taxes, Federated Farmers believes there are more appropriate levers, such as regulation and industry-led initiatives, to spur gains.

“Those other levers are more efficient and more easily targeted.

“Taxpayers might decide it is cheaper to simply pay a new tax, particularly if they have limited ability to change/respond, and thus you don’t get the environmental gains we’re all looking for,” Andrew says.

Adding a tax would take away money that could be used for environmental improvements and wouldn’t discriminate between those whose environmental footprint is small and those whose isn’t.

The Federation’s survey showed 66% of farmers believed the current company tax rate of 28% is ‘about right’. There was limited appetite for a 26% rate for small to medium enterprise (SMEs) companies because savings would be relatively insignificant, because not all SMEs are companies, because it would significantly complicate the imputation regime and widening the gap between an SME company tax and the top marginal individual’s tax rate would likely cause even more inappropriate tax planning and avoidance.

Any reduction in tax rate should apply to all businesses.

How would you define a SME – by the number of employees, by income, by profit?

Discriminating by size would complicate the tax system and give some companies an advantage not available to their competitors.

It could also provide a perverse incentive for a business to stay small.

Any tax which incentivises businesses  to spend more time on working out how to organise themselves to minimise the tax they pay than on running their businesses  is a bad tax.

While on the topic of discrimination, I support the Taxpayers’ Union which is advocating for treating Maori Authorities and charitable companies the same as other businesses:

Keeping tax simple should be a major priority for the TWG.

It should aim to make any changes revenue neutral so that any increases in one area are offset by decreases in another too.

It should also take the opportunity to end fiscal drag, or bracket creep, which offsets gains from pay rises by subjecting them to a higher tax rate, by indexing tax threshold adjustments to inflation.

The government has restricted what the TWG can do by telling it what it can’t do.

But it still has the opportunity to make the tax system better by ensuring it’s simple.


Rural round-up

March 30, 2018

P****d off Feds want straight thinking – Pam Tipa:

When people say New Zealand should be a leader in agricultural climate change technology and systems, Feds climate change spokesman Andrew Hoggard says he gets “pissed off”.

“We are already a leader, if you look at carbon footprint per km of land or per kilo of milk solids or whatever,” he told Dairy News.

“Most things we produce we are already producing at world’s best or we are setting the target for world’s best. I don’t know how much more of a leader you can be. . .

Methane not a villain:

Many people do not grasp that methane is a short-lived gas that recycles, says Feds climate change spokesman Andrew Hoggard.

This statement in the PCE report is important, he says: “Given its shorter lifetime, emitting methane will not [cause] the same irreversible inter-generational warming that carbon dioxide or the release of nitrous oxide have.”

“It was good to hear that being mentioned,” says Hoggard. . .

Pampered pets push venison prices:

A growing appetite for venison from a booming global pet food market has helped drive autumn venison schedules to record highs.

While schedule prices normally peak in spring, pampered pets have continued to push prices upward to an autumn peak of $11/kg.

Deer Industry New Zealand chief executive Dan Coup said the popularity of venison as a pet food component is driven by a worldwide shift in attitudes towards companion animals from owners who want the best for their pets.

That includes an increasing interest in feeding them natural paleo-type diets. . . 

‘Fitbit for cows’ set to revolutionise beef industry from paddock to plate – Tom major:

An electronic tracking ear tag being developed for cattle could forever change the way graziers manage both livestock and farmland.

Researchers from James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville are collaborating with the Queensland Department of Science, the CSIRO and commercial partner Ceres Tag to adapt GPS technology for small, affordable livestock ear tags.

Computational chemistry expert, Ian Atkinson said the project would ultimately enable more accurate assessment of livestock condition. . . 

What if Africa’s farmers had access to needed seed technology? – Gilbert Arap Bor:

We’ve been told by trusted media and researchers that Kenya is on the brink of accepting biotechnology in agriculture.  I’ve said it myself. And now, President Kenyatta appears to be saying the same.  Business Daily recently reported “President Uhuru Kenyatta is betting on mass production of genetically modified cotton to create 50,000 jobs.”  

Another recent report, this one by the Africa Center for Biosciences International (CABI) affirms that “agriculture is essential for sub-Saharan Africa’s economic growth and yet average crop yields in Africa are among the lowest in the world.  Over 80% rely on it but many face challenges in growing sufficient good quality produce”.

True, farmers know that some years are good and some years are bad. . . 

Morrisons promises all lamb sold over Easter will be British – Katie Grant:

Morrisons has pledged that all of the lamb it sells this Easter will be British. The supermarket said it had taken the decision not to offer lamb sourced from New Zealand or Australia over Easter after “listening to customers”.

Supporting British farmers

Over two thirds (68 per cent) of shoppers said they wanted to support British farmers, according to the results of a YouGov poll commissioned by Morrisons last year. . .


Rural round-up

March 29, 2018

Free trade trumps protectionism, we hope – Allan Barber:

It’s ironical the same week the CPTPP agreement was signed President Trump proudly announced new tariffs on steel and aluminium which threaten to undermine the World Trade Organisation’s function as the global regulator of international trade. The jury is still out on whether Trump can get the tariffs signed off by Congress and he has already created exemptions, at the time of writing for Australia, Canada and Mexico. But it’s an uneasy period, particularly for a country as dependent on trade for its economic survival as New Zealand, because we might well get caught in the crossfire from a trade war.

Meanwhile supporters of free trade can celebrate the signing of the CCTPP which I admit I didn’t rate as a certainty in my tips for 2018 in January. There has been a lot of noise from those against the agreement, either because it doesn’t differ markedly from the original TPP since rejected by Trump or because 22 clauses negotiated by the USA, including Investor State Settlement Disputes provisions, have only been suspended rather than removed altogether. But I suspect the antis would have objected regardless, wanting neither the original nor current agreement to be signed under any circumstances. . . 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand urges farmers to comply with NAIT:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) is urging all farmers to comply with the National Animal Identification Tracing (NAIT) scheme requirements following the announcement of a programme to track cattle movements as part of the Mycoplasma bovis response.

The Ministry for Primary Industries will stop trucks in the upper South Island to check that farmers moving cattle from the South to the North Island are complying with their legal obligations under the NAIT Act.. . . 

Technical advice and pathway tracing reports released following compliance searches:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has today released reports by a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to its Mycoplasma bovis response and an internal report examining potential entry routes (pathways) to New Zealand for the disease.

The TAG report contains a reference to possible legal breaches in relation to how the disease entered the country.  While these have largely been redacted from the report, MPI has been unable to release it until those matters were sufficiently examined by compliance investigators.

Note: Redactions have been made to the TAG and pathways reports consistent with provisions of the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). Where required, the Ministry for Primary Industries has considered the public interest when making decisions on the information being withheld. . . 

Environment under the spotlight at Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Annual Meeting:

The sheep and beef sector is well-placed to turn the challenges into opportunities and reap the rewards, farmers were told at Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Annual Meeting in Gisborne today.

James Parsons, outgoing Chair at Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) said strong prices and recent trade gains such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will undoubtedly help lift the profitability of sheep and beef farming. . . 

First Tauranga kiwifruit for 2018 sailing tomorrow

As chocolate eggs are being dispensed this weekend, New Zealand kiwifruit growers are shipping a much healthier alternative to Chinese consumers.

The Klipper Stream will carry New Zealand’s first load of Zespri Kiwifruit from the Port of Tauranga to China for the year, marking the start of what looks like another record-breaking season. Loading began this morning and the ship is scheduled to pass through the harbour entrance on Good Friday. . . .

Nigel Woodhead to put his ploughing skills to the test in Southland:

One of the country’s most recognisable young farmers will put his ploughing skills to the test in Southland next month.

Nigel Woodhead has been invited to compete at the New Zealand Ploughing Championships in Thornbury on April 14th-15th.

The 30-year-old is a sheep and beef farmer at Milton and was named the FMG Young Farmer of the Year last July. . . 

Go for 5G, but bring rural NZ along too:

New Zealand’s ambitions to get on with the roll-out of 5G technology should be applauded but don’t put dealing with woeful rural coverage on the back-burner, Federated Farmers Vice-President Andrew Hoggard says.

Tests of 5G mobile technology were carried out on the streets of downtown Wellington this week and industry players are talking about putting this next generation of digital communications infrastructure in place from 2020. Meanwhile plenty of towns and provincial hinterland limp on without broadband, and patchy or non-existent mobile coverage.

“Primary producers play a dominant role in earning the nation’s living and technology is pervading every aspect of agriculture. With poor or no access to ultra-fast broadband and mobile, faming businesses – and family life – suffers,” Andrew says. . . 

2018 Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Industry Awards Winners Announced:

The major winners in the 2018 Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Industry Awards are relatively new to the dairy industry and believe their success is due to their full involvement in their business.

Daniel and Paula McAtamney were announced winners of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year competition at the Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner held at the Addington Raceway and Events Centre last night. The other big winners were Will Green, who was named the 2018 Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Manager of the Year, and Salem Christian, the 2018 Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year. . . 

Second time lucky for 2018 West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Industry Awards winners:

A Hokitika couple have been announced as major winners in the 2018 West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Industry Awards.

Carl Wilmshurst and Anna Boulton were announced winners of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year competition at the West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner held in Nelson last night. The other big winners were Anthony Lamborn, who was named the 2018 West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Manager of the Year, and Sam Goffriller, the 2018 West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Trainee of the Year. . .  

Inventors and innovators wanted for the 2018 Fieldays Innovation Awards:

Calling all agricultural inventors and innovators: entries are now open for the 2018 National Agricultural Fieldays Innovation Awards.

The Innovation Awards showcases innovation across several industry areas: dairy and drystock farming, horticulture, information and communication technology, cloud and mobile-based software, animal health and genetics, water and waste management, environment and clean-tech, animal and farm management, farm safety and leading research. . . 

Fewer weeds, more wheat:

A herbicide to control problematic weeds in wheat crops and so increase crop yield, has been approved by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

An application from Bayer New Zealand Limited to import Sakura 850 WG was considered by a decision-making committee convened by the EPA. This product contains pyroxasulfone, an active ingredient not used before in New Zealand. It will be imported ready-packaged for sale, and is intended for use by commercial growers and contractors, not home-gardeners.

“The EPA has concluded that this product offers considerable benefits to wheat growers,” said General Manager of Hazardous Substances and New Organisms, Dr Fiona Thomson-Carter. . . 


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