Rural round-up

14/07/2020

Urban spread: farmer accuses councils of economic vandalism – Tom Kitchin:

A small group of Hawke’s Bay landowners are fighting to ensure what’s described as “a cancerous” spread of urban development doesn’t destroy quality crop lands on the Heretaunga Plains.

Councils agree that something must be done, but say it’s not an overnight fix.

Most days for the past 25 years, Richard Gaddum has gone up into the hills on his cattle farm above Havelock North to take in the view.

It captures the vast plains with the hills and mountains beyond. . . 

Wool report: on ‘cusp of renaissance‘ – Sally Rae:

A wool working group has finally released its long-awaited report, saying it believes natural fibres are “on the cusp of a renaissance” and a new approach is needed.

The Wool Industry Project Action Group was established in 2018 to look at opportunities to improve returns for the beleaguered crossbred wool sector.

New Zealand was one of the world’s most significant producers of strong wool; it produced around 10% of global wool of all micron types and around 20% of the 500 million kg of strong wool produced globally, the report said.

But increased competition from synthetic fibres had reduced demand for strong wool and led to a long-term contraction of the sector. . . 

Action now needed for wool say industry leaders – Sally Rae:

National Council of New Zealand Wool Interests chairman Craig Smith says the big thing missing from the wool working group’s report is an action plan to deliver the recommendations.

Mr Smith, who is general manager of Devold Wool Direct, was part of the working group in the early stages when it was set up in 2018.

“We all know the wool industry is in a bloody tough space but we didn’t want it to be just another report.”

But the report that had been produced reiterated the industry was in a bad place, and something needed to be done about it — “and here’s a few ideas”, he said. . . 

Night Shift – Milk Truck Driver – Andrea Vance:

Throughout the night, a fleet of tankers is on the road collecting milk from all over the country. Meet a man behind the wheel of one of them.

In the silent, starless night, Darren Mason’s enormous truck thunders off the state highway and onto a country lane, churning up a cloud of dust.

Sleepy cows rise onto their knees in fright, frozen breath suspended in the chill air. A lone dog starts to bark somewhere in the distance. 

The tanker rolls into the yard, its headlights illuminating two huge stainless steel milk vats. . . 

Courgette shortage sees record high prices:

Courgette prices jumped 74 percent to an all-time high of $21.42 per kilo in June 2020, as imports from Queensland continued to be barred, Stats NZ said today.

Overall vegetable prices were up 7.6 percent in June, also influenced by seasonally higher prices for tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and courgettes. These rises were offset by typical falls for winter crops including potatoes, onions, and carrots.

Both tomatoes and courgettes are more expensive than usual at this time of the year. . . 

The art of Michelle Clarke – Cheyenne Nicholson :

A Canterbury farmer who is a self-confessed creative type says it hasn’t been the easiest of roads turning a passion for art into a fully-fledged business but she has done just that and is drawing inspiration from rural life. Cheyenne Nicholson reports.

CANTERBURY farmer Michelle Clarke has trod a rather wobbly career path and even when she settled on art it very nearly didn’t happen. 

But now she has forged a successful art career that has grown her business, The Art of Michelle Clarke, into a full-time job. Her photographs and artwork grace the pages of magazines and walls all around the country and more recently she has turned her hand to writing and illustrating a children’s book. 

Michelle and husband Stephen Tuck manage on a 224-hectare dairy farm at Hororata where they milk 750 cows. . . 


Rural round-up

04/02/2020

A word from the mayor – Hurunui District Council:

We heard Last week that our central government is increasing its spending on infrastructure. This is welcome news to local government who provide forty percent of New Zealand’s public infrastructure.

However, with this news comes a bit of disappointment. There is a feeling that South Island projects have been largely ignored and that the allocated spending fails to recognise the contributions and needs of the rural sector.

While the news itself is good, the government’s infrastructure spending priorities appear to focus on moving people and ignore the economic importance of agriculture. Our productive rural sector is reliant on road transport that allows goods to be moved from farm to market – the proposed infrastructure spend fails to recognise and value this from an economic perspective. . .

Outrage at government over new levy :

Farmers have taken to social media to express outrage at the Government over a new levy.

Last week, Rural News reported that the New Zealand Agricultural Aviation Association (NZAAA) was unhappy with a proposed new aerial safety levy.

NZAAA claims the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) levy unfairly targets the ag sector and will increase the costs of aerial spreading of fertiliser and spraying of crops. . .

Fodder beet yield unaffected by significant reductions in fertiliser – research :

New research shows that it is possible to reduce traditional fertiliser recommendations for growing fodder beet – sometimes by significantly more than half the usual amount – with no effect on crop yield or quality.

Plant & Food Research, along with industry partners, recently completed a three-year study with the assistance of the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI’s) Sustainable Farming Fund (now superseded by Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures) to determine the best way to grow fodder beet, a popular supplementary feed crop for livestock in New Zealand.

The researchers conducted a series of nitrogen, potassium and boron trials to establish whether standard management practices could be recommended for varying soil types and locations. . . 

Revised weather messaging aims to prevent repeat of 2019 mass cattle deaths in Qld monsoon – Eric Barker:

Almost a year to the day after flooding in north-west Queensland killed more than 500,000 head of cattle, the monsoonal rain was forecast again.

Summer flooding is a regular event in the area and many graziers rely on it to sustain their businesses for the rest of the year.

But the 2019 monsoon was one of the biggest and most unusual on record and if the cattle survived the raging torrents, they died from a cold snap that coincided with the rain . . 

City girl loving rural life – George Ckarj:

‘‘I’m a city girl born and bred.’’

Anna Munro, who works at the Temuka saleyards, is originally from Christchurch but felt like she needed a change of scenery, finding peace in the idea of rural life.

‘‘I was born in the North Island but my dad was in the army, so we travelled a lot all over. I ended up in Christchurch for a while, met up with a really cool guy and moved down here.’’

Speaking to Central Rural Life during a recent stock sale, Ms Munro felt she needed to get involved with the community after purchasing a lifestyle block and some sheep. . . 

How a vegan diet could affect your intelligence – Zaria Gorvet:

The vegan diet is low in – or, in some cases, entirely devoid of – several important brain nutrients. Could these shortcomings be affecting vegans’ abilities to think?  

It was the late 1880s in the city of Rajkot, India. The meeting was to take place on the banks of the local river – and discretion was essential. Mahatma Gandhi, who was just a teenager at the time, hadn’t told his parents where he was going; if they had found out, they would have been shocked to death.

As it happens, Gandhi was having a picnic. And on this occasion, India’s future national hero – and one of the most famous vegetarians in history – wasn’t planning to dine on cucumber sandwiches. No, for the first time in his life, he was going to eat meat.

As he later wrote in his biography, Gandhi was raised as a strict Vaishnava Hindu, so he had never even seen meat before this fateful day. But his picnic companion was a shady character with an unusual obsession – the idea that meat held the key to being physically and mentally strong.

In the end, Gandhi braved the meat. It was as tough as leather. . .


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