Rural round-up

July 30, 2018

More profit with lower impact – Neal Wallace:

The low milk price in 2013 was not the ideal time for a multimillion dollar dairy conversion let alone one writing its own blueprint. But, as Neal Wallace reports, North Otago’s John and Ruby Foley had a vision and a goal and they were determined to see it through.

There was no single dairy farm blueprint for John and Ruby Foley to follow. 

They had just a wish list underpinned by a philosophy that the value of the business had to be set by the enterprise not the cost of land.

In the back of the minds of the North Otago dairy farmers was the increased difficulty for young people to enter the industry because of the cost of land. . .

Shearing pay rises are showing results – Neal Wallace:

Higher pay rates appear to have stemmed the flow of shearers and shedhands heading offshore.

Shearing Contractors Association president Mark Barrowcliffe said a wage increase of up to 25% has been welcomed by woolhandlers and South Island contractors starting pre-lamb shearing have been told by staff the better wages are an attraction to stay here instead of heading overseas.

“We have just made New Zealand an attractive proposition for our transient staff,” he said. . .

 No regional development cash to breed the ‘perfect’ varroa-resistant honey bee – Joanne Carroll:

A West Coast beekeeper has been denied Government funding to breed bees he says are resistant to the varroa mite.

Gary Jeffery, a beekeeper in Westport, said he wanted to continue breeding mite resistant bees from his stock, but that his application for help from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund had been denied.

Jeffery has previously received $25,000 from Development West Coast and has had the backing of private investors, but was running out of money to feed his bees before the end of winter. 

In a letter declining his pitch for $150,000 to develop a breeding programme, the provincial development unit said there was no evidence as to how Jeffery’s proposal would boost the West Coast economy . . 

 

Hillside collapses to from New Zealand’s newest lake – Marty Sharpe:

“Um, I think you might want to have a look at this new slip,” the top-dressing pilot told Gisborne farmer Dan Jex-Blake on February 25.

“Yeah, I know about that one. Been there forever,” Jex-Blake said.

“Nah, I don’t think so. You need to see this,” the top-dressing pilot replied.

So the fourth-generation owner of Mangapoike farm, about 55km southwest of Gisborne, jumped on the plane.

He couldn’t quite believe what he was seeing.

Where there was once a grass-covered bluff was now a vertical wall, a massive scar of debris and mud, and where there was once the clear-flowing Mangapoike River was a fast growing lake. . .

City kid’s burgeoning farm empire; 6 leased lifestyle blocks and 160 ewes – Sophie Cornish:

Angus Grant’s younger sister Josie was not happy when he converted her playhouse into a chicken coop when he was eight-years-old.

But now it has all paid off. Angus and his schoolmate Nick O’Connor, won the national Teen Ag grand final, the high school version of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

The 16-year-old St Bede’s College student is a city boy hailing from Papanui who has been passionate about farming since he first watched Country Calendar when he was three. . .


Rural round-up

April 30, 2018

NZ scientists’ anti-cow burp vaccine – Eloise Gibson:

Livestock has directly caused about a quarter of industrial-age warming. Scientists in New Zealand are working on an anti-burp vaccine for those methane-emitting cows. Eloise Gibson reports. 

In a cream-colored metal barn a few minutes’ drive from Palmerston North a black-and-white dairy cow stands in what looks like an oversize fish tank. Through the transparent Plexiglas walls, she can see three other cows in adjacent identical cubicles munching their food in companionable silence. Tubes sprout from the tops of the boxes, exchanging fresh air for the stale stuff inside. The cows, their owners say, could help slow climate change.

Livestock has directly caused about one-quarter of Earth’s warming in the industrial age, and scientists from the US departments of agriculture and energy say bigger, more resource-heavy cattle are accelerating the problem. Contrary to popular belief, cows contribute to global warming mostly through their burps, not their flatulence. So about a dozen scientists here at AgResearch Grasslands, a government-owned facility, are trying to develop a vaccine to stop those burps. “This is not a standard vaccine,” says Peter Janssen, the anti-burp program’s principal research scientist. “It’s proving to be an elusive little genie to get out of the bottle.” . . 

Local choppers can be the difference between life and death:

Saving lives is more important than saving dollars, and that should be reflected in decisions about the nation’s rescue helicopter services, Federated Farmers President Katie Milne says.

6Existing Te Anau, Taupo/Rotorua and Coromandel rescue chopper services were missing from a list of bases proposed under new, larger area contracts put out by the National Ambulance Sector Office (NASO).  Late on Tuesday came news that the Central Plateau could put in their own tender, but it would have to meet the new specifications to be successful.

Rescue helicopters are generally funded 50 per cent by government and 50 per cent by the community through sponsorship and donations.  NASO says the current model is financially unsustainable long-term, and wants all rescue choppers to be twin-engined. . . 

Chilled meat trial proves successful – Neal Wallace:

The meat industry is optimistic the success of trial shipments of chilled beef and sheep meat to China will be extended to other plants.

About 800 tonnes of beef and 400 tonnes of sheep meat were shipped to China from 10 approved plants from June to December, which Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie said went well.

“I am not aware of any impediment to suggest it shouldn’t be broadened.” . . 

Dairy farmers key to new food revolution – Gerald Piddock:

City-based future food systems such as cultured meat and vertical farming will rely heavily on the nutrient and water management expertise of dairy farmers, Australian science writer Julian Cribb says.

Food production that took in the emerging innovations would shift to the cities, Cribb said.

For the new systems to succeed, all of the freshwater and wasted nutrients dumped into the ocean via urban sewage and wastewater would have be captured and used in the new food production.

This was where dairy industry expertise would be critical, he said. . .

Christchurch city schoolboy already farming own flock of sheep – Heather Chalmers:

Growing up in a city all his life hasn’t stopped Angus Grant from becoming a farmer, even before he has left high school.

Grant, 15, already has a flock of 50 ewes that he will lamb this spring.

From the Christchurch suburb of Papanui and despite having no family farming background, Grant has always known he wanted to be a farmer. “My mother had been reading me a book about cows and my first word was cow.

“I watched Country Calendar when I was three and that was it.” . .

Farm Babe: no livestock aren’t destroying the planet – Michelle Miller:

The rumours are swirling, but how truthful are they? We’ve heard time and time again from people who say, “Go vegan, save the planet!” But let’s investigate those claims, shall we? First off, livestock don’t only give us meat. What many people may not be aware of is there are actually 185 uses for a pig, from cement to renewable energy, paint to brushes, and life-saving pharmaceuticals. If you haven’t yet seen this TED talk from Christien Meindertsma, check it out! There is lots of fascinating info there. There are also these byproducts that come from cattle. . 


Rural round-up

April 10, 2018

Water essential to feed New Zealand – Mike Chapman:

Reality: plants need water to grow, and that water supply needs to be consistent and reliable.

In the past two years, there have been extreme climatic events, alternating between intense periods of rain and drought. Last winter, heavy rain made vegetable growing difficult in the North Island. Supply was short and prices went up. Supply had to be supplemented from parts of New Zealand that rely on irrigation to sustain fruit and vegetable growing.

In December, the country went into drought. After having had too much water for months, then there was none. In Waimea, growers were forced to make decisions about which trees would not fruit and would have water supply reduced to root stock survival levels only. This is a highly productive area for horticulture and water supply during dry periods is vital. In fact, to maintain production and produce high quality vegetables and fruit a consistent supply of water is needed throughout the main growing areas in New Zealand.

Water storage and irrigation are key for sustainable growth of horticulture to feed New Zealanders. Water storage helps keep river flows at the right level during heavy rain, to use during drought. . . 

B+LNZ finalising brand mark and strategy for Red Meat Story:

Michael Wan, B+LNZ’s Global Manager Red Meat Story, provided farmers with an update on the progress of the Red Meat Story at our recent Annual Meeting in Gisborne.

As you may be aware, B+LNZ is currently finalising the proposed brand mark, story and Go-to-Market Strategy for the Red Meat Story.

Subject to discussions with the sector, these are expected to be shared with farmers later this year, before being rolled out to global markets, in partnership with processors.

“What is clear from the work we have done so far is that the New Zealand’s red meat story is more than a brand, story and activation plan,” says Michael. . . 

No more NZ lamb for French Canadian restaurateur – Eric Frykberg:

A French Canadian woman has stopped buying New Zealand lamb for her restaurant.

Marie Boudreau used to happily purchase frozen, prepared New Zealand meat to serve customers at her restaurant.

She said the New Zealand product was fine, but she later found a far better way to stock her kitchen.

She began to raise her own lambs for her restaurant. And she would give them love, attention and special treatment while they were growing. She would even cuddle them while they were being slaughtered.

“I stay with them right to the end, and I pass them to the butcher myself,” Madame Boudreau said. . .

Finalists compete for prestigious dairying awards:

The 33 finalists in the 2018 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards didn’t have long to celebrate their respective regional wins, as their attention quickly turned to preparing for the final round of judging which gets underway on 30th April.

The finalists represent 11 regions and will compete for prizes worth more than $200,000 and the honour of winning either the 2018 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year, 2018 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year or the 2018 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the year title.

General Manager Chris Keeping says the 33 finalists are the cream of the crop from the 374 entries received, and it was a hard-fought battle. . . 

Open day to help farmers recycle:

A field day is being held in Geraldine next week to inform farmers on options to deal with farm waste.

The field day is taking place on the Orari Estate on Wednesday 18 April at 2pm, and will help farmers find out how to participate in current rural recycling schemes.

This will be focused on some products that require specific handling including plastic agri-chemical containers, chemicals, silage and balage wrap as well as waste oil & its containers. . . 

Syndex announces first of its kind Diversified Agri Fund:

Innovative investment platform Syndex today announced the listing of its first diversified agriculture fund.

The “Natural Farm Food Limited Partnership” fund* (NFFLP) is being launched in conjunction with Farm Venture, a farm property and operations management business based in Taranaki.

The new funds targeted a total capital raise of NZ$150 million, with a first close of NZ$50 million. There is a minimum capital investment of NZ$25 million for ownership of an initial three dairy farms and livestock, plus capex and the proportional purchase of Fonterra shares. . . 

Dove River Peonies gets game-changing boost in venture capital from New Zealand’s first SheEO allocation:

Nelson’s Dove River Peonies will receive a game-changing boost from New Zealand’s inaugural SheEO allocation of venture capital, announced in Auckland today (9 April, 2018).

“It’s absolutely huge for us,” says co-owner of Dove River Peonies, Dot Kettle. “It’s a real honour. We feel that we’re benefiting from New Zealand women investing in women and we’re excited to use this investment in us to benefit many, many people of all ages with skin conditions, both around New Zealand and overseas.”

SheEO is a global innovation in the female entrepreneur marketplace started by Canadian Vicki Saunders in 2015. . . 

Canterbury and Marlborough students heading to Invercargill grand final:

A talented due from St Bede’s College has taken top honours at the Tasman TeenAg Regional Final in Christchurch.

Nick O’Connor and Angus Grant won the hotly-contested TeenAg event in Templeton on Saturday.

The event saw 44 teams clash at Innovation Park.

Tomos Blunt and Finn Taylor, who’re also from St Bede’s College in Christchurch, took out second place. . . 


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