Rural round-up

August 25, 2018

Call for compo for farmers maintaining walkways – Maja Burry:

A high country farmer says there should be compensation for landholders affected by increasing visitor numbers.

A draft report published earlier this year by the Walking Access Commission found that a growing population, combined with record international tourist numbers is putting pressure on some access to the South Island High Country.

Andrew Simpson, who owns Balmoral Station at Lake Tekapo, said about 100,000 people use the Mt John Walkway on his farm each year.

Mr Simpson said he wanted people to enjoy his land, but he was having to spend tens of thousands of dollars on track maintenance this year, even with some support from the Department of Conservation. . .

Farmer leaders back off – Neal Wallace:

Farming sector leaders are unimpressed by the last-minute inclusion of far-reaching search and surveillance powers changes to the National Animal Identification and Tracking Act.

Federated Farmers, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ leaders, who endorsed the changes a week ago, said they understand the need for the change but the late additions should have been open to public scrutiny instead of being pushed through Parliament under urgency.

The Farmers Weekly was told a drafting error omitted the search and surveillance powers from the original Nait Act.

Farming sector leaders have been criticised for supporting the changes but they now say they were unhappy at the rushed legislated process. . . 

NAIT still long way from meeting original objective – Allan Barber:

NAIT is like a long running soap opera which viewers can watch faithfully for a couple of years, go back to after a long absence and find nothing much has changed. It was first thought of back in 2004, took eight years of argument, design, business case preparation and readings in parliament and it was finally implemented in July 2012 with a three year lead-in for cattle.

In 2016 a review was started which was finally completed in May this year and presented to the present Minister for Primary Industries. When it finally saw the light of day, you could have been forgiven for thinking it would be a review of all the reasons NAIT doesn’t yet appear to be working properly, but I understand it was always intended to be a routine review of the programme after three years in operation. . . 

Exchange rate reset will breathe new life to agriculture – Keith Woodford:

The recent decline in the value of the New Zealand dollar is about to breathe new life into agriculture. It will take some months before the benefits flow through to farm level, but the macro signs are there to be seen.

The key question is whether we are seeing a strategic reset or is it just short term. My own thinking is that it is medium term through to around three years and maybe beyond, but with inevitable volatility. Beyond that I cannot see.

First let’s get the basic maths sorted out. A lower value of the New Zealand dollar means that we get more New Zealand dollars for exports. And in the New Zealand context, that largely relates to our primary industries, principally agriculture and horticulture, but also forestry and fishing. . . 

A new weapon will help in the Stink Bug battle:

The addition of another weapon to fight any incursion of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug on our shores is excellent news, Federated Farmers biosecurity spokesperson Karen Wiliams says.

“We’re delighted to learn the Environmental Protection Authority will allow controlled release of the tiny Samurai Wasp if this stink bug were ever to get a foothold here.

“The BMSB is a scourge that could put a multi-billion dollar hit on our economy. For arable and horticulture farmers, a scenario where a breeding population could get established here is a nightmare,” Karen says. . .

Seeka 1H profit falls on further banana business writedown – Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – Seeka, New Zealand’s biggest kiwifruit grower, posted a 6.5 percent decline in first-half profit despite revenue rising, as it wrote down the value of its banana-sourcing business further.

The Te Puke-based company reported profit of $10.4 million in the six months ended June 30, from $11 million in the same period a year earlier. Seeka said the bottom line included a $1.5 million writedown of goodwill to its tropical fruit business, Seeka Glassfields. Revenue rose 8.5 percent to $145.4 million, and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation lifted 7 percent to $23.5 million. . . 

Federated Farmers keen to work with new Extension Service:

A new extension service intended to bring knowledge and resources to farmers struggling to keep up on production efficiency and environmental protection fronts is a “positive”, Federated Farmers board member and Arable chairperson Karen Williams says.

“Offering support so farmers can get up to speed is certainly preferable, and more likely to achieve progress, than wielding the big stick of fines and more regulations.

“The new extension service could prove helpful but we would urge MPI to continue to work with farming groups on the mechanics of it and how it is rolled out,” Karen said. . .

Apple and stonefruit group willing to engage in meaningful discussions with MPI following High Court judgment:

The group of five industry members who joined together to challenge MPI’s directive for nurseries and orchardists to contain and/or destroy tens of thousands of apple (Malus) and stonefruit (Prunus) plants has received the High Court judgment and is currently reviewing this in detail.

The judge found that the MPI directions, issued under s116 of the Biosecurity Act were unlawful and has directed MPI to reconsider.

The judgment encourages MPI to work with industry to develop and agree a more appropriate set of directions that address their key biosecurity concerns. . .


Rural round-up

January 11, 2017

South Island’s two-year drought ends:

After two years, regions along the South Island’s east coast are no longer considered to be in a state of drought.

In 2015, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy classified the drought as “a medium-scale adverse event” affecting Marlborough, Canterbury and parts of Otago.

The following two years made the drought the longest recorded in this country – but the official period has not been extended since 31 December. . . 

Putting New Zealand’s farming woes in perspective – Pat Deavoll:

Over the last 10 years, I have been a few times to an area of northern Afghanistan called the Wakhan Corridor.

I am reminded of the dichotomy between the farmers of this area and the farmers in New Zealand whenever a weak GlobalDairyTrade auction result is announced, or the poor state of the meat industry is bandied around the media, or a wool auction fails to meet expectations.

The Wakhan Corridor is split east-west by the Panj River. On the northern side is Tajikistan and nomads herd sheep and cattle, and above 4500 metres, yaks.

Bio-diesel drives milk flow – Richard Rennie:

Fuel is starting to flow from New Zealand’s first commercial bio-diesel plant with Fonterra in line to be one of the first large-scale fleet operators to power its tankers with the Z Energy blend.  

Z Energy’s $26 million bio-diesel plant in Wiri, South Auckland began processing tallow based bio-diesel before Christmas, with the first commercial product due to be at the commercial pump by February.  

The plant’s commissioning marked a milestone in the country’s chequered history of domestic bio-fuels production. . . 

New weapon in rabbit war – Neal Wallace:

A NEW strain of rabbit-killing RHD virus could be released this winter.  

Increasing immunity among rabbits means the existing RHDV1, or Czech strain, has become less effective and advocates say the RHDV1 K5, also known as the Korean strain, would overcome protective antibodies and improve kill rates by up to 40%.  Federated Farmers South Canterbury high country section representative Andrew Simpson said the original RHD strain was still working to a point but growing immunity had allowed populations in some areas to recover, meaning a new, virulent strain was needed.  

Rabbits less than three months of age exposed to the Czech strain became immune, which resulted in the population returning to plague proportions in some parts of the South Island. . . 

Consumers drive move back to dairy:

The new year is marked by resolutions, often about healthier lifestyles. A new series backed by Fonterra looks at the nutritional and lifestyle benefits of dairy – and at some of the old views now being slowly discarded.

The Wall Street Journal headline ran over two lines: Grass-Fed Milk Is Taking Off With Health-Conscious Shoppers. It was a sign of things to come.

That was in 2014 – a story about how shoppers were prepared to pay more for grass-fed milk (many cows in the US eat feed derived from corn) because it was considered healthier.

Now, an article on the Gallagher Group’s website relates how US dairy retail supplier Organic Valley (the one highlighted in the WSJ two years ago) is enjoying an 82 per cent dollar growth in their grass-fed yoghurt, more than three times that of non-grass-fed yoghurts. Their Grassmilk brand is the top-selling grass-fed dairy brand in the US, experiencing double-digit growth since its launch in 2012. . . 

WTO decision important for NZ beef and horticulture into Indonesia

Trade Minister Todd McClay today welcomed the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) decision upholding New Zealand’s challenge to 18 agricultural non-tariff barriers imposed by Indonesia.

New Zealand and the United States jointly brought the case against Indonesia in 2013 over a range of barriers imposed on agricultural imports since 2011. These included import prohibitions, use and sale restrictions, restrictive licence terms and a domestic purchase requirement.

The barriers are estimated to have cumulatively cost the New Zealand beef sector alone between half a billion and a billion dollars. As recently as 2010, Indonesia was New Zealand’s second-largest beef export market by volume, worth $180 million a year. . .

Quality Pedigrees Abound at Karaka 2017;

Full-brother to G1 winner Lucia Valentina (NZ) (Savabeel) to be offered at Karaka 2017.

New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2017 National Yearling Sales Series at Karaka has impressive depth with a large quantity of siblings and progeny of Group 1 winners.

For the second consecutive year, the National Yearling Sales Series will present a full-sibling to the winner of one of Australia’s richest and most prestigious races. . . 

Image may contain: meme and text

Farming it’s an addiction.


Rural round-up

December 16, 2013

Knowledge key to future of station in high country – Ruth Grundy:

For Balmoral Station owner Andrew Simpson knowledge is key to making the best decisions for the future.

”If you don’t have answers you can’t plan your future”You have to know as much as you can, to understand things, to be able to make clever decisions.”

Over the years the Simpsons have welcomed scientists and researchers of all persuasions on to the unique property.

Balmoral was home to the oldest agricultural trial site in the country, forestry crown research institute Scion had been conducting trials on the property for the past 20 years and this included New Zealand’s biggest dryland forestry trial, he said. . .

NZ velvet highly rated by Chinese – Allison Rudd,:

Deer velvet – still fuzzy and fresh from being cut – is spread on the table for judging at the New Zealand Velvet and Trophy Antler Competition at Invercargill’s Ascot Park Hotel.

Chinese scholar Quankai Wang, who is attending his third competition, likes what he sees. He pulls banknotes from his pocket and offers to buy a specimen, much to the amusement of competition officials.

”New Zealand deer velvet is number one. It is the best quality,” Prof Wang says. . .

Country inspires musical output – Sally Rae;

Craig Adams has always loved music.

Years ago, while working in a wool store, the guitar used to come out and there would be a sing-along. But while people told him he had a good voice, Mr Adams (41) never had any training.

Fast forward to now and music has gone from being ”a bit of a lark” to being semi-professional, including the recent release of his debut album Country High. . .

Swarms keep beekeepers on their toes:

Beekeepers in the North Island are scratching their heads – and ducking for cover – due to the exceptionally high rate of swarming going on.

Swarming is one of the ways bees reproduce – with the queen bee leaving the hive – along with about half of the bees to establish a new colony, before a new queen bee emerges in the hive.

Plant & Food Research bee scientist Mark Goodwin said swarms were annoying for beekeepers as they lost half their bees and honey production dropped but the environmental conditions this year had been perfect for it. . .

All Health Care Is Local, Part 1: Uganda –  Eric Silfen,MD:

The late Tip O’Neill, former speaker of the U.S. House, coined the phrase “all politics is local,” by which he meant that politicians become successful by addressing the everyday concerns of the voters who elected them to office. In the same way, I believe that many of the “global” healthcare challenges we face can best be addressed by developing affordable, accessible and cost-effective solutions that satisfy patients’ needs. Simple solutions can offer dramatic results, and local implementation means solutions are in tune with cultural preferences and economic realities. In other words, when it comes to improving people’s lives, all healthcare is local.

Nowhere are opportunities to deliver simple, and locally relevant, solutions more evident than in sub-Saharan Africa, in a country like Uganda. Here, the non-governmental organization Imaging the World (ITW) is working to offer affordable, accessible and quality maternal medical services through a revolutionary concept that integrates technology, training and the community. ITW is making a significant impact on the lives of women and their families in rural villages where women have limited access to healthcare throughout their entire lives. . . .

Homebound: Despite their absence, rural women impress through work:

ISLAMABAD: Nothing can curtain natural talent and skill, and the work of homebound women of Pakistan is a testament to that.

The work of indigenous women artisans went on display at an exhibition titled, ‘Stitching and Chai’ here on Saturday promoting the richness and splendour embedded in the heritage of the four provinces of Pakistan.

The exhibition was organised by USAID’s Entrepreneurs Project at the Centre for Arts, Culture and Dialogue, Kuch Khaas as a part of its project to implement cluster-based Value Chain approach through local organisations, private sector, government agencies and other relevant actors for capacity building. . .

Boosting beef without borrowing:

STEPHEN AND Jane Hayes run 348 sheep and 734 cattle on their 583ha property near Kaeo, just north of the Bay of Islands. For the past three years they’ve been Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Far North monitor farm during which time they’ve lifted gross farm revenue $43,850, not to mention having better pasture covers and stock condition across the farm.

Stocking rate’s been lifted from 8.5SU/ha in 2011 to 9.7SU/ha. That’s despite initial concerns that stock weren’t getting enough to grow properly as it was in 2011.

“I didn’t feel we were doing a good enough job of feeding the animals we had without adding on more,” Jane commented to the field day. . .


Yealands SI Farmer of Year

November 29, 2013

Marlborough entrepreneur and winemaker Peter Yealands has won the prestigious Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year award for 2013.

The finals were held at Lincoln University with Chief Judge Nicky Hyslop saying the Yealands entry stood out for its innovation, entrepreneurship and vision.

The winner’s prize is a $20,000 grant toward overseas travel for study, research, marketing, or a combination of these.

The Yealands entry, one of six finalists from throughout the South Island, also won the Silver Fern Farms ‘Plate to Pasture’ award for consumer awareness, and the Lincoln University award for best use of technology and innovation, receiving $5000 for each.

“Peter impressed us with his philosophy of ‘think boldly and never say it can’t be done’,” Hyslop says. “He also demonstrated outstanding innovation inside and outside of the winery business. That was backed up by sound business practices integrated into every aspect of the operation, and a holistic ‘vine to bottle’ approach. Peter showed he was a visionary and had the will and the tenacity to convert that into a successful farm business enterprise.”

Andrew, Karen and Sam Simpson from Lake Tekapo were runners up with their high country merino sheep station, Balmoral, that has diversified into forestry, deer, cropping, property development, conservation recreation, value-added processing of their wool and meat. Hyslop says this entry was also notable for its vision and entrepreneurship, the extensive skill set within the family operation, its business and governance structures, and international networking.

The BNZ award for best human resource management, and the award for resource use efficiency were both taken out by North Canterbury dairy farmers Alan and Sharron Davie-Martin, winning $5000 for each.

“We had an outstanding group of finalists this year, all of a very high calibre,” says Lincoln University Foundation Chair Ben Todhunter. “They each in their way represented some of the best examples of the high performing, innovative, leading edge farming that is coming out of the South Island. This very high standard of entry represents not only a strong future for this competition, but for New Zealand, as we seek to encourage, promote and reward farming excellence.”

The six finalists were:

Neil and Philippa Gardyne from Otama, near Gore, who operate a sheep, beef and cropping enterprise. They are passionate about the sheep and beef industry and focus on innovative, efficient systems.

Trevor and Karen Peters from Roxburgh operate a large scale sheep and beef hill country enterprise built on strong succession planning and a real passion for farming, with low cost development contributing to outstanding farm management.

Andrew, Karen and Sam Simpson from Lake Tekapo run a high country Merino sheep station with diversification in forestry, deer, cropping, property development, conservation recreation, wool on-processing, and meat on-processing. Other commercial activities include a helicopter pad and golf course.

Alan and Sharron Davie-Martin from Culverden operate a highly productive dairy farming operation and continually explore technology to improve systems and production in all aspects of their business.

Simon and Pip Todhunter from Blenheim intensively farm Marlborough East Coast hill country with developed and native tussock hills, carrying ewes, cows and trading cattle. They continually explore technology to improve systems and production in all aspects of their business.

Peter Yealands from Seddon operates a large viticulture business, focused on innovation and business excellence. The business is hugely integrated with outstanding environmental balance.


Healing the rift in the high country

March 26, 2009

Pastoral  lessees head for court with LINZ today to defend their property rights  against an attempt by Fish and Game to establish the right to roam in the high country.

High Country Accord chairman Andrew Simpson estimated it would cost pastoral lessees $200,000 to defend but said the stakes were high.

“It’s a direct threat to our way of life and the ability of pastoral lessees to farm the land. We can’t farm if we don’t have some form of control over who enters our properties,” he said.

The case is being heard in the High Court at Wellington, and if successful would grant the public as-of-right access to pastoral lease land for recreation – so long as it did not interfere with the lessee’s exclusive right to pasture for grazing livestock.

 . . .  Fish and Game chief executive Bryce Johnson said his organisation was seeking a declaratory judgement on whether pastoral leases granted under the 1948 Land Act offered exclusive possession or exclusive occupancy of the land.

He will argue that pastoral leases only grant runholders exclusive rights to the pasture.

I hope the judge is familiar with Shakespeare because I think this argument is similar to the one which prompted Portia’s speech in The Merchant of Venice.

Tarry a little;—there is something else.—
This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood;
The words expressly are, a pound of flesh:

The words expressly, with pastoral leases, are land exclusive of improvements.  The land is publicly owned but the improvements which include the fertility, grass, crops, tracks, trees, fences, gates, and buildings, are the property of the lessee.

I reckon that would preclude the right to roam because no-one could enter the property without touching at least some of those improvements.

Regardless of the outcome of the case, we can be grateful that the government wants to heal the rift which developed between pastoral lessees and the previous administration.

Lands Minister Richard Worth said the relationship between lessees and the previous government had collapsed, with farmers feeling there was no trust between the government as landlord and the lessee.

Mr Worth said in an interview he was committed to a relationship based on three policy planks his party campaigned on at the last election: voluntary, good-faith negotiations between runholders and the Government; ensuring rentals were tied to the earning capacity of the property; and recognition that runholders could be as effective land stewards as the Crown.

The inclusion of amenity values in determining rents for leashold land led to court because some lessees are being charged rentals which exceed their gross income just because the sheep and cattle have a view while grazing.

The case concluded last month but the judgement has yet to be released.

Without pre-empting that, there is no doubt this government has a more reasonable attitude to pastoral leases than the previous one.  As Agriculture Minsiter David Carter says:

“The land is not easy to manage and the fundamental question we now have to ask is how will the Doc manage its already 43% hold of the South Island.”

Mr Carter said Doc and other interested parties needed to work more closely with farming families who, in many cases, had farmed the land for several generations.

“They are the ones who have delivered us the landscapes we see today. They are the ones with the ability to manage it far more sustainably than any government department,” he said.

 The previous government was hung up on ownership. But conservation can be assured and access negotiated without wasting taxpayers’ money on purchasing land and the on-going costs of ownership.


%d bloggers like this: