Rural round-up

26/06/2021

Farmer lobby groups defend teaching resource on climate change – Catherine Harris and Kate Green:

A teaching resource on climate change produced by meat and dairy interests is being criticised as targetting schools with a one-sided view on farm emissions.

The information focuses on the “important role of New Zealand dairy and red meat in feeding a growing global population”.

Co-authored by Beef and Lamb New Zealand, DairyNZ and Federated Farmers, it explores “the complex relationship between environmental, economic, nutritional, social and global food security outcomes in New Zealand’s food system”. . . 

Growing farming wellbeing awareness :

Working in the agri-nutrient sector, Calvin Ball says he has seen a significant change in farmers’ attitudes to health and safety in recent years.

Ball, the Northern 2021 FMG Young Farmer of the Year, grew up on a Northland dairy farm, studied agriscience at Massey and began his career with an agri-nutrient company in 2013. After his OE in London, he returned to the company and is now Northern North Island regional sales manager, heading a team of nutrient specialists.

“Going out on farms, I have seen farmers’ attitudes change significantly since 2013,” Ball said.

“Back then, many could be pretty dismissive in their response to conversations about health and safety, but now they are much more on board with the requirements and attitudes are very different.” . .

Being green and profitable – Peter Burke:

A major, three-year research project is underway in Taranaki to see what can be done to practically reduce the environmental footprint of dairy farmers and, above all, ensure that farms remain profitable. Reporter Peter Burke looks at the initiative and how it’s progressing.

The project is led by Dairy Trust Taranaki in conjunction with Mark Laurence – DairyNZ’s regional leader in the province.

He heard about the trust working on a project called ‘Future Farming’, which was designed to see what farming might look like in the future with greenhouse gas and nitrate restrictions, as well as new animal welfare requirements, and still be profitable. . .

Icebreaker chief makes switch to carpet and wool company Cavalier :

The former chief executive of merino clothing company Icebreaker is heading to the strong wool sector.

Greg Smith will take up a new role as chief executive of the New Zealand carpet and wool company Cavalier in July.

The listed company last year announced it would stop producing synthetic carpets and would shift to wool-only.

Cavalier chair George Adams said Smith had extensive international business experience, running iconic New Zealand companies and helping them to scale on the world stage. . .

Focus turned to non-mānuka honeys at beekeepers’ conference :

Beekeepers from around the country have gathered in Rotorua to discuss challenges facing the industry.

The annual Apiculture Conference is being held over the next three days and is expected to attract about 900 people from the sector.

Apiculture New Zealand chief executive Karin Kos said one topic of discussion would be finding ways to add value for non-mānuka varieties – to solve the issue of low prices and an oversupply.

“The mānuka story has been very, very successful and has been a great platform to leverage New Zealand honey on the global market and what we’re saying is, it’s time for the other honeys to shine as well. . .

Defra unveils new green fund for farmers in National Parks:

Farmers in National Parks will receive more funding to help them make improvements to the environment, the government has today confirmed.

Land managers based in England’s National Parks or AONBs will also be able to use the funds to improve public access on their land.

The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme is open to all farmers and land managers based in these areas.

The government, announcing the programme on Thursday (24 June), encouraged those interested to apply from 1 July. . . 


Rural round-up

11/03/2021

Importance of sequestration highlighted :

Beef + Lamb New Zealand says the Ministry for the Environment’s report “Net Emissions and Removals from Vegetation and Soils on Sheep and Beef Farmland” is valuable.

It recognised there was significant sequestration happening on sheep and beef farmland in New Zealand and was part of an ongoing process to build understanding of the issue.

Chief executive Sam McIvor says B+LNZ stands by the AUT research it commissioned that arrived at different figures, but the numbers are not the focus.

“We absolutely stand by Dr Case’s independently reviewed robust and credible research. While there are differences in some of the methodologies MfE used in their report – particularly their netting-off of all harvested forest that doesn’t take into account the replanting and additional new planting we know is happening – it reinforces the importance of on-farm sequestration. . . 

Working together on common goals – Colin Williscroft:

Beef + Lamb NZ’s new independent director Bayden Barber brings a mix of business acumen, governance experience and a Maori voice to the boardroom table. Colin Williscroft reports.

Bayden Barbour’s first meeting with his fellow B+LNZ directors was a workshop that also brought together board members from DairyNZ and Federated Farmers to look at a range of issues they have a shared interest in.

He says working together on mutual challenges makes sense, not only because it’s a more effective use of resources, but also because of the opportunities it provides to gain an appreciation of other views and approaches.

That includes complying with rules and regulations coming out of central government that increasingly require engagement with iwi and hapu right through legislation. . . 

Opportunities to reduce lamb losses – Dr Ken Geenty:

Lost production and income from lamb deaths at lambing can range from moderate to horrendous. This wastage can be minimised by sound animal health, good feeding management, and genetic selection. Ram purchases each year should focus on genetics, with high lamb survival. Ewes need to be fed to maintain ewe body condition score (BCS) of 3, with lamb birth weights between 4.2 and 7.4kg for multiples and singles respectively. With veterinary advice a sound animal health plan should be developed.

In planning to minimise lamb losses next lambing it is strongly recommended to revisit results from previous years. These may include causes of lamb deaths, most commonly starvation-exposure for light multiples and dystocia for heavier multiples and singles. Management to minimise these losses will include separation of pregnant ewes with multiples given preferential feeding in mid-late pregnancy, and those with singles fed less generously. The aim being to achieve the range of lamb birth weights shown in Figure 1.

Advance planning for pregnancy and lambing can include choosing and preparation of your best lambing paddocks for multiple lambing ewes. Preferences will be for easy contour, good shelter, and a feed bank at lambing of at least 1400kg DM/ha. . . 

Bee health still priority despite vote outcome –  Yvonne O’Hara:

Apiculture New Zealand will continue to focus on bee health and education as part of its strategies for the good of the sector, despite the majority of commercial beekeepers’ voting ”no” to the introduction of a commodity levy last week.

ApiNZ held a meeting on Monday, the first since the vote result.

Apiarist and board member Russell Marsh, of Ettrick, said while the outcome was disappointing, the commodity levy was just part of ApiNZ’s various strategies going forward.

He said bee health, sustainability and industry education were the key priorities. . . 

Kiwi skills sought after in Ireland – Anne Lee:

A Kiwi couple who moved to Ireland to further their dairying and science careers may have had the brakes put on their travel due to Covid, but it’s not stopping them from learning on the job. Jacob Sievwright and Katie Starsmore hope the knowledge they’re gaining will have a direct benefit to New Zealand. Anne Lee reports.

As the song says, ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’, but for a young Kiwi couple the move to Ireland has been an ideal way to build on their dairying and science careers and get to see a whole new chunk of the world – Covid-19 aside.

Jacob Sievwright and Katie Starsmore have been in Ireland since June 2019, and although the global pandemic has put the handbrake on their wider travels over the past year and they’ve been in the strictest lockdown level over recent weeks, their jobs mean they’re both classed as essential workers.

Katie works at Teagasc Moorepark on research that could arguably be deemed essential not only to Ireland but also to the planet – investigating ways to reduce methane emissions from cows and help limit the effects of climate change. . . 

Walgett’s Stone’s Throw Cafe enjoys influx of travellers due to COVID-19 pandemic – Billy Jupp,:

YOU would expect that opening a small business in the height of one of the worst droughts on record would be tough going.

Those seasonal conditions coupled with a global pandemic, which caused the entire world to isolate, seemed like a recipe for disaster.

However, the challenges have not just helped Waglett’s Stone’s Throw Cafe survive, but thrive.

Travellers who traded their international or interstate holidays for something more regional have provided a welcome boost to the Fox Street eatery and others like it across country NSW. . . 


Rural round-up

01/01/2021

Roll on 2021  – Rural News editorial:

There is no doubt that 2020 has been a challenging year for New Zealand and the world.

However, despite this, our country’s farmers have soldiered on doing what they do best – farming!

The country’s farmers stepped up during the lockdown, as an important part of New Zealand’s essential services, adapted quickly and kept on farming despite the constraints.

If there is one good thing to come out of Covid-19, it has further emphasised the vitally important role that the agriculture sector plays in NZ. At a time when other major sectors have been adversely affected, farming is playing – and continues to play – an increasingly vital role as a source of income and employment for the country. . .

2020: a most unusual year – Colin Miller:

2020: It definitely has been a most unusual year!

“Who would have thought / I never would have thought…” really sums up our year rather accurately, don’t you think?

Quarantines, social distancing, bubbles and masks were certainly not words on people’s lips, or in the media, when 2020 broke in on us January 1. For the sports fans; who would have thought the Warriors would need to be based in Aussie or drop right out of the comp?

Who would have thought that Super Rugby would be shut down this year, and then the All Blacks would also need to be based across the creek? And, whoever would have thought games would get played with no spectators – before empty grandstands! . . 

Long service to cattle industry :

ONZM

DENIS AITKEN

Dunedin

For services to the dairy industry and the community

Denis Aitken has always believed in paying it forward.

The Dunedin man appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit said he was “gobsmacked” to hear the news.

“I’m pretty humbled … I do enjoy helping the community. . . 

Wanaka woman forestry scholar – Yvonne O’Hara:

Maude Rogers decided earlier this year that she wanted a career in forestry science.

The Wanaka teenager could see it taking her all over the world or working as a sector researcher for the Ministry for Primary Industries.

She was delighted when she was named as one of eight recipients to be awarded a 2021 Nga Karahipi Uru Rakau forestry scholarship .

The scholarship provided $8000 a year for four years, and was designed to encourage more women and Maori to enter New Zealand’s forestry and wood processing sectors. . .

Scholarship allows dream career in beekeeping to take flight :

A Bay of Plenty teen has been given a boost into his dream career in beekeeping after receiving the 2020 Apiculture New Zealand Ron Mossup Youth Scholarship.

Ohope-based Angus Brenton-Rule says he was thrilled to receive the scholarship which provides $2000 to support training and set up costs for new beekeepers, a one-year membership to Apiculture NZ (ApiNZ) and attendance at ApiNZ’s national industry conference.

“I was really, really happy to get it. I didn’t expect it, but I thought I might have had a small chance since I’ve been studying apiculture and fascinated by bees most of my life,” he said.

Brenton-Rule’s childhood interest in bees began with watching YouTube videos of hives in action, and then he got a taste of the real thing when some family friends started beekeeping.

Woola raises €450k to replace bubble wrap with sheep wool:

We’re excited to announce we’ve just closed an investment round of 450 000 euros led by Ragnar Sass, the co-founder of Pipedrive and Lift99. He was joined by Pipedrive co-founder Martin Tajur, Bolt co-founder Martin Villig, Klaus co-founder Kair Käsper, business angel fund Lemonade Stand, Karina Univer through the Atomico Angel Programme, ex JPMorgan Alejandro Jimenez, and a few other angel investors.

Woola takes the waste of one industry – leftover wool – and uses it to solve the waste problem of another – online shopping. Most online stores use plastic bubble wrap to ship fragile items, adding to the global plastic pollution problem.

  • More than 100 billion parcels are shipped every year globally, commonly packed in bubble wrap. Bubble wrap degrades in 500-1000 years and is a large polluter of ocean life. . .


Rural round-up

11/08/2020

Dry July puts Marlborough farmers at risk of spring drought – Sophie Trigger:

Marlborough farmers are relying on “significant” spring rain to avoid drought, figures show.

Last month’s weather data from the Marlborough Research Centre showed the region had recorded just 26 per cent of the long term July average, with 16.8mm.

Total rainfall in from January to July had been 220.2mm, or 59 per cent of the long term average. This made 2020 the fifth driest year on record so far, in the 91 years of data available. . . 

Carpet company links with NZ Merino:

Cavalier Bremworth has entered into a partnership with the New Zealand Merino Company to launch long-term forward contracts with its ZQ wool certification grower community.

In a statement, it said the partnership would deliver $5million value direct to New Zealand strong-wool growers over the next three years as Cavalier Bremworth moved away from synthetic products in favour of wool and natural fibres.

“Partnerships like this are so important for New Zealand’s economic recovery, adding value in generating local employment with transparency and gives confidence and reward to the growth of the New Zealand strong wool sector.

“It’s great to see local brands like Cavalier shifting the dial and walking the talk in helping counter climate change and carbon emissions with more regenerative fibres,” NZM chief executive John Brakenridge said. . . 

Muster’ brings in the younger generation – Sally Rae:

Georgia Urquhart had a couple of sleepless nights prior to the Nextgen Muster.

Miss Urquhart (24) was a driving force behind the initiative which aimed to get more young people involved in — and learning about — the merino industry.

Initially, she feared no-one would turn up or there might only be five, so she was thrilled when 68 attended the first day at Benmore Station, near Omarama, and about 40 the second at Simons Hill Station, in the Mackenzie district — “way more” than she expected.

Miss Urquhart grew up on Grays Hills Station in the Mackenzie, which includes a merino stud that she has become increasingly involved with over the last several years. . . 

New Zealand’s lesser known honeys to get a boost in international markets:

New Zealand’s apiculture industry has embarked on a collective story-telling drive to educate ‘conscious foodie’ consumers offshore about its diverse range of native honey varieties.

Apiculture New Zealand has joined forces with New Zealand Story to create a suite of compelling promotional material about lesser known honey varieties.

Karin Kos, Chief Executive of Apiculture New Zealand says although mānuka honey continues to yield strong export prices and has provided a ‘halo effect’ for other New Zealand honeys, the shrinking margins for non-mānuka styles mean producers are now competing in a commoditised market. . . 

Permission granted for new potato protector:

A new herbicide that controls potato weeds, like black nightshade, has been approved for use in New Zealand, subject to conditions.

Boxer Gold contains the active ingredient prosulfocarb, which is new to New Zealand, but already approved in the European Union, Australia, and Japan.

Benefits identified in the application process for this product include reduced resistance in weeds, leading to bigger potato crops, and more product choice for farmers. . . 

AACo rolls out the Wagyu flavour wheel :

THE unique flavour, texture and aroma of Australia’s famous Wagyu beef can now be marketed using a world-first flavour profile.

Developed by The University of Queensland in partnership with the Australian Agricultural Company, the new flavour wheel is designed to provide product descriptors and to differentiate the different Wagyu cuts and marbling grades.

Sensory and flavour expert Dr Heather Smyth said flavour wheels were commonly used by the wine, seafood, coffee, beer and cocoa industries to describe flavour and sensory properties . . 


Rural round-up

26/09/2019

Trees don’t pay tax. Government’s Action for Healthy Waterways discussion document a massive subsidy for tree planting:

Environmental lobby group 50 Shades of Green says the government’s policy document on waterways will provide a massive subsidy for forestry.

Spokesman, Andy Scott said the problem was it would make sheep and beef farming less economic thereby encouraging farmers to walk away and sell their land for trees.

“Modelling suggesting 68% of dry stock farms in the Waikato/Waipa catchment would be converted to forestry as a direct result of the proposed regulations will send a chill through the entire sheep and beef industry,” Andy Scott said. . .

Time for a ‘cup of tea’ over trees policy:

Minister Jones Needs Assurance That His ‘Trees Fund Branching Out’ Doesn’t End up as a Knot According to 50 Shades of Green.

Conservation Group 50 Shades of Green supports Minister Jones in his efforts to put the right tree in the right place.

It also supports Iwi initiatives to regenerate native bush.

What it doesn’t support is easy access for foreign investors and carbon speculators to plant good farmland in trees for no other reason than to claim carbon credits. . .

Millions poured to ensure mānuka honey is a NZ only product  – Yvette McCullough:

The government is allocating nearly $6 million to a campaign to stop Australian beekeepers marketing their products as “mānuka” honey.

The Mānuka Honey Appellation Society is being granted $5.7 million through the Provincial Growth Fund, including a $1.7 million loan, to help in its bid to secure international property rights.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones accused Australian honey producers of trying to steal what was indigenous to New Zealand. . .

Major dairy producer unveils $30m expansion:

When a group of dairy families opened Idaho Milk Products a decade ago, the company faced a murky future at best.

The $80 million facility began churning out cream and protein during a recession, at a time of painfully low milk prices.

“These dairy families risked everything,” Idaho Dairymen’s Association CEO Rick Naerebout said. “They rolled the dice, put everything on the line that their families had built for generations.”

Ten years and a $30 million plant expansion later, it looks like the gamble is paying off. . .

Welsh dairy farmers plan to blockade lorries of ‘cheap’ Irish beef :

Farmers in Wales are planning to disrupt Irish trucks carrying beef from entering Wales via the Port of Holyhead.

The blockade is planned for Friday 27 September.

According to North Wales Live, the protest is a result of farmer complaints that “prices are down £150-£200 (€170-€ 226) on this time last year, blaming the slump on imports” coupled with the uncertainty of Brexit.

Farmers are urged to make a stand against “rock-bottom beef prices and ‘subsidised’ Irish beef imports.”. . .

 


Rural round-up

10/09/2019

2050 deadline to improve freshwater in New Zealand – Rachael Kelly and Gerard Hutching:

A lobby group says some Southland farmers may abandon their land because of new water rules but the agriculture ministers says it’s a ridiculous statement to make.

Agriculture minister Damien O’Connor and Environment Minister David Parker released a draft National Policy Statement and National Environment Standards: Freshwater, on Thursday.

They propose changes to farming practices and new rules for councils, aiming to stop the degradation of waterways and clean up rivers and lakes within a generation.

Southland Federated Farmers president Geoffrey Young says some of the rules nitrogen may be able to be met but the numbers around freshwater may just be a step too far and there is going to be a significant financial cost. . . 

Water policy is doomed to fail – Aan Emmerson:

I can’t see anyone in the provincial sector being remotely surprised at the draconian nature of Environment Minister David Parker’s policy announcement on water quality.

For a start, Parker told us in June there would be tighter regulation of the agricultural sector.

He also made the earth-shattering statement he would regulate what, in his view, were some of the riskier farming practices.

Last Thursday’s statement came in three parts, a diagram, a bland summary then the actual document, all 105 pages of it.

Climate change Bill concerns for SFF – Brent Melville:

Silver Fern Farms, the nation’s largest procurer and exporter of red meat, has tabled “significant concerns” related to the economic impacts of the Government’s proposed climate change response Bill.

In its submission to the environment select committee this morning, the company said while it supported the Bill’s ultimate temperature increase goals, it had concerns specific to methane reduction targets, the inability of farmers to offset the warming effects of biogenic methane and processor obligations for farm emissions.

Silver Fern Farms head of communications and sustainability Justin Courtney said the submission had largely been informed by discussion with more than 750 of the company’s 15,500 farmer suppliers across New Zealand. The zero carbon proposals as tabled were “top of the list of farmers’ concerns”, he said. . . 

The unpopular tree sucking carbon from our air – Eloise Gibson:

Pinus Radiata grows like a weed, which is why it’s so fast at sequestering carbon. But since many people prefer native trees, forestry scientists are proposing an unconventional solution to get the best of both worlds.

To measure how much carbon is in a tree, you first have to kill it.

You slice up the trunk, branches, twigs, leaves and roots and dry the dismembered tree parts in an oven. Then you weigh them.

“It takes a long time,” says Euan Mason, a professor at the University of Canterbury’s School of Forestry. “I did some in 2012 with two students, and in six weeks I think we did 25 trees.” . . 

New campaign promotes wool’s benefits – Brent Melville:

Recent experiments in Japan measured the efficiencies of using wool carpet versus a synthetic option in two identical houses.

The wool option resulted in electricity savings of between 8% to 13%, with additional savings of up to 12% for cooling under the same conditions.

It is one of the fast facts contained in an informative and highly stylised campaign, designed to educate international frontline carpet and other retailers on the benefits of strong wool.

The “back to basics” approach is the brain child of wool sales and marketing company Wools of New Zealand (WNZ), in the belief that frontline retailers are neglecting the natural benefits of the fibre in the rush to sell synthetic product.

The heart of the programme is a 12-part “wool benefits” marketing campaign, which the company says has resonated strongly with local and international customers alike. . . 

NSA celebrates ban on false advertising about wool:

The National Sheep Association (NSA) is pleased to see the response by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) banning some misleading advertising from PETA propagating the lie that wool is cruelly obtained from sheep.

NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker comments: ‘NSA is pleased to hear this decision by ASA that exposes PETA’s advertising for what it is, grossly inaccurate jargon which is misleading the public as well as damaging farmers reputations and livelihoods. The simple undeniable fact is that removing wool from sheep is necessary for their health and welfare. It does not harm them, and it does not exploit them. Wool is a by-product of their existence.”

Following reports of cruelty during shearing last year (2018), NSA joined with several other industry bodies to create a clear set of guidelines for farmers and shearing contractors to follow to ensure they shear to the highest standard possible. . . 


Rural round-up

17/05/2019

Time for agricultural industry to lead the way – Anna Campbell:

It seems a long time ago that National MP Shane Ardern rode ”Myrtle”, his elderly tractor, up the parliamentary steps in protest at the proposed ”fart tax”.

That was back in 2003 and there have been many iterations of carbon reduction schemes since then with agriculture sliding along relatively unscathed. One did feel that it was only a matter of time before the grace period was over. Climate change has not gone away, a raft of regulations are on their way, but they do look a little different from what we were expecting.

The biggest difference to the current scheme versus previous schemes is the split gas regime, where methane is treated separately due to its shorter lifespan in the atmosphere – the target is a 10% reduction in biological methane emissions by 2030, with a provisional reduction of 24% to 47% by 2050. . . 

‘Major reset’ for honey industry – Yvone O’Hara:

There has been strong growth by the honey industry during the past few years but with demand and prices dropping by as much as 50% compared to the previous season, there will be belt tightening and rationalisation, Apiculture New Zealand chief executive Karin Kos says.

She said the strong growth and good returns in the past few years had attracted a lot of new entrants to the industry.

However, the domestic and international markets have been ”a bit sluggish”. . . 

Katie Milne responds to Shane Jones’ claim that farmers are ‘moaners‘:

Farmers have come under fire this week from MP Shane Jones, who says they need to stop “bitching and moaning”. Jones launched into farmers while talking to host Jamie Mackay on The Country yesterday. But what do farmers say in response? Mackay catches up with one of Jones’ targets, Federated Farmers president Katie Milne, who says the urban/rural divide has damaged people’s opinions of farmers.

“I don’t like the term ‘whingeing’,” says Katie Milne. “But we do like to highlight and try to talk to the issues that do affect us that people do have control over.”

The Federated Farmers president is responding to claims from the Minister of Forestry and Regional Economic Development Shane Jones that farmers are moaners. . . 

Facts ‘overrated’ in farming’s fight for social licence – Glen Herud:

There’s the “thing” and there’s the perception of the “thing” and they are not the same thing.

You could say, there’s the “dairy farm” and there’s the perception of the “dairy farm” and they are not the same thing.

You can change the thing but that doesn’t necessarily change the perception of the thing. . . 

FarmStrong: Shearer’s look after top paddock :

An initiative in the wool harvesting industry is changing traditional attitudes to injury prevention and wellbeing and it’s not just shearing crews who are benefiting.  

Times are changing in the woolshed, Shearing Contractors’ Association spokesman Mark Barrowcliffe says.

He’s been running his King Country business for nearly 20 years, employing up to 50 staff at peak season. . .

Busby takes the feijoa for New Zealand’s oldest sheep – Tracey Neal:

Busby’s genetic roots might lie in the blustery North Sea island of Texel, but the owners of what was possibly New Zealand’s oldest sheep said he has thrived on a more gentle lifestyle.

The Texel-Romney cross wether is estimated by Lynley and Barry Bird to be 24-years-old, measured against the ages of their now-adult children who rescued him as a lamb. . .


Rural round-up

08/08/2018

BLNZ conference offers big choice of topics – Nicole Sharp:

A first for the South Island, farmers will have the future in front of them at Progressive Ag.

The Progressive Ag conference, organised by Beef + Lamb New Zealand (BLNZ), is being held in Gore next month, on August 9.

Organiser and BLNZ southern South Island extension manager Olivia Ross said the idea came from a similar event in the North Island.

”They have an ag innovation and we ran a mini all together in one place here in Gore last year,” she said. . .

Retractable roof a NZ first for Central orchard – Aexia Johnston:

A New Zealand-first development is taking shape at Clyde Orchards — a shed with a retractable roof will house three hectares of cherries.

Owners Kevin and Raymond Paulin, who could not yet confirm how much the development would cost, will plant thousands of cherry trees in the shed, boosting the company’s overall crop to 30ha.

They have been working on the project over winter, with the aim of getting it ready for planting so produce will be available in three years’ time. . .

Nailing the big issues:

Climate change and water quality are two issues the sheep and beef industry has yet to nail, says Beef + Lamb NZ chairman, Andrew Morrison.

Speaking to Rural News last week at the Red Meat Sector conference in Napier, he said health and safety was a big issue 12-18 months ago but the industry has moved on from this and is working through these other issues.

“We really want to get the water quality and climate change issues sorted,” Morrison says. “We are working out what tools we can set up to help change the behaviour of people on these issues; not regulation so much as how we can structure policy that gets the necessary outcomes.” . . 

Common ground – Forest & Bird and Pāmu announce new collaboration:

The heads of New Zealand’s largest conservation organisation and largest farming group have agreed to work together to promote best environmental practice in New Zealand’s farming sector.

Forest & Bird and Pāmu have agreed in a Memorandum of Understanding to work together on researching, implementing, and promoting agricultural practices that protect the natural environment.

“Forest & Bird is New Zealand’s largest independent conservation organisation, and Pāmu is New Zealand’s largest farmer. It makes sense for these two influential organisations to collaborate on one of the country’s biggest challenges – how to reverse the crisis facing New Zealand’s unique natural environment,” says Forest & Bird Chief Executive Kevin Hague. . . 

New scholarship in beekeeping launched:

Apiculture New Zealand (ApiNZ) recently launched a new youth scholarship in beekeeping aimed at encouraging young New Zealanders who wish to take up a career in the industry and undertake training that supports best practice beekeeping.

The Ron Mossop Youth Scholarship in Beekeeping is sponsored by Mossop’s Honey based in Tauranga. Ron Mossop was a leading pioneer in the industry, starting out his family beekeeping business in the 1940s and building a values-based family business focused on quality and integrity.

Today, the Mossop family honours those values through the scholarship fund which will be awarded annually. . .

New Zealanders still want meat, just less

Plant-based proteins won’t replace meat as consumers want both, a food scientist says.

Red meat consumption in New Zealand has fallen 57 percent in the last decade and companies like Air New Zealand have started offering meat free burger patties.

But Plant and Food Research scientist Dr Jocelyn Eason told RNZ’s Sunday Morning that did not mean New Zealanders wanted to replace meat with lab-grown meat.

She said consumers were increasingly becoming “flexitarian” – choosing to be vegetarian sometimes and eat meat other times. . . 

New Zealand’s largest alpine resort to be developed between Queenstown & Wanaka:

A new partnership between Cardrona Alpine Resort and Queenstown businessman John Darby will lead to the development of New Zealand’s largest alpine resort, incorporating Cardrona and a new Soho Basin Ski Area.

Soho Basin faces Queenstown and covers all the southern and south-west faces of Mt Cardrona, and includes the two Willow Basins that directly adjoins Cardrona Alpine Resort’s southern boundary. Soho Basin will add an additional 500ha of high altitude skiable terrain, offering up to 500 vertical metres of skiing. . . .

Hat tip: Utopia


Rural round-up

07/07/2017

Govt renews call for Landcorp dividends – Alexa Cook:

The government wants better returns and a dividend to the Crown from Landcorp but isn’t looking at selling it, the Minister for State-Owned Enterprises says.

A strategic review advised the government to sell Landcorp because the asset-rich, cash-poor nature of farm ownership was not well matched to the government’s fiscal objectives.

Independent financial consulting firm Deloitte carried out the review in 2014, which was released under the Official Information Act to agricultural markets publication AgriHQ Pulse. . . .

Speech to RSE Conference – Michael Woodhouse:

. . . It’s a big year for the RSE scheme – 10 years since it was first introduced and what a difference it has made. To the horticulture and viticulture industries, to business growth, to Kiwis looking for work, and of course, to the Pacific communities.

As I stand here today, I can’t help but think back to 2007 when the RSE scheme began, with around 65 RSE employers and a national cap of just 5,000. Today, there’s more than 130 RSE employers and the national cap has more than doubled to 10,500.

That growth is a vote of confidence in the scheme. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this ground-breaking policy has been such a success.

The RSE scheme has been regarded as one of the best circular migration schemes in the world, and without the dedication and willingness from employers to try something new back in 2007, we wouldn’t be here today celebrating its 10th anniversary. . .

Pukeko Pastures: Bridging the urban-rural divide – Siobhan O’Malley:

Christopher and Siobhan O’Malley are the current NZ Share Farmers of the Year. Here Siobhan writes about why they decided to put their farming practices out into the digital world.

Lately, we can’t go to an event, meeting or even open a rural newspaper without someone asking the question: “What are you doing about the public image of dairy farming? The media hate us. We feel picked on. It is an unfair and inaccurate portrayal. What are you doing about it?”

We sympathise. We feel like the media have created a narrative that vilifies the “dairy industry” while forgetting that behind our corporate co-operative stand literally thousands of families. .  .

Sheep industry leaders recognised: 

The skills and depth of talent within this country’s sheep industry was recognised at Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Sheep Industry Awards in Invercargill last night.

Now in their sixth year, the Award’s celebrate the top performers in the field of science, innovation, industry training and genetics and acknowledge emerging talent and outstanding contributions.

Among the award recipients was retired Hawke’s Bay Romney breeder Tony Parker, whose stud, in 1961, was the first to produce a Selection Index for sheep. This was selecting sheep on recorded performance data rather than physical attributes alone. Although controversial at the time, this represented a step-change in this country’s sheep industry. . .

Westland appoints new Chief Operations Officer:

Westland Milk Products Chief Executive Toni Brendish has continued her drive to add depth and strength to the dairy co-operative’s management team with the appointment of a new Chief Operations Officer, Craig Betty.

It is the second new appointment to Westland’s Senior Management Team (SMT) following the announcement of Gary Yu taking up the role of General Manager, China.

Brendish says Betty’s appointment will bring considerable operations experience to the Hokitika based company. . .

National apiculture conference set to break record numbers this weekend:

Myrtle rust, manuka honey and the impact of neonicotinoids on bees are just some of the current topics that have been making global headlines. These and more will steer the conversations at the Apiculture New Zealand national conference this weekend.

A record 1200 plus people from around the country and abroad will be in Rotorua for the conference, which will be held at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre from Sunday 9 July to Tuesday 11 July 2017. . .

International staff seeking short term agriculture employment :

New Zealand as a location to work and travel is becoming more popular amongst students and graduates from abroad.

While it has always been a popular choice, many travellers are now looking to seek work in advance and secure longer term positions, from 6-12 months, as opposed to trying their luck when they arrive. This is largely due to many travellers wanting to experience New Zealand’s working lifestyle, particularly in agriculture, and to be able to learn on the job and pick up some knowledge they can take away with them. . .


Rural round-up

23/06/2017

MP expects cattle rustling bill to get support from all parts of Parliament – Jono Galuszka:

The man behind a proposal designed to deter people from cattle rustling says he hopes the final law goes further to include other rural crimes.

Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie had his member’s bill proposing the law change pulled from the Parliamentary ballot recently.

The Sentencing (Livestock Rustling) Amendment Bill proposes making stock theft an aggravating feature when thieves are sentenced in court.

McKelvie said stock rustling was a big issue for farmers, especially those in remote areas of the country. . .

Stars align for venison:

A big drop in the number of deer being processed has undoubtedly played a big part in the strength of venison prices to farmers, but there are other important factors at work.

Attendees at the 2017 Deer Industry Conference heard that the United States is now the single largest market for venison, knocking Germany out of the top slot. In the words of Mountain River’s John Sadler, “the holy grail of the venison industry ever since I first became involved was to sell leg cuts into the United States – traditionally a middles market. I think we are finally getting there.”

“We are reaping the rewards of 35 years of market investment,” said Duncan New Zealand’s Glenn Tyrrell. They’re right but there are also other factors at play. Whether it’s the emergence of paleo diets or culinary trends – like small plates and shared plates – or the new enthusiasm in Europe for summer barbecues, our farm-raised venison looks like the right product for the times. . . .

Primary Sector Science Roadmap ‘not all about food’:

The just released Primary Sector Science Roadmap features a pine tree nursery on its front cover.

The Forest Owners Association says this is a clear signal that the primary sector is not just a food sector.

The FOA president, Peter Clark, says size and importance of the forest sector for New Zealand, as at least the third most significant export category, is often ignored. . . 

New zone plan for Taupō catchment:

A new high-level plan to guide Waikato Regional Council’s work to promote a healthy catchment in the crucial Lake Taupō zone has been approved by the integrated catchment management committee today.

The Lake Taupō catchment, covering nearly a tenth of the Waikato region, contains the country’s largest lake and 11 smaller lakes, as well as significant hydroelectricity schemes and geothermal resources, and is home to major tourist attractions. . . .

India Trade Alliance Bridges NZ India Agriculture Divide:

India Trade Alliance was once again on the forefront of cementing Agriculture business and government relations between the state of Haryana, India and New Zealand.

India Trade Alliance worked closely with the Government of Haryana, India in promoting #NZ Agricultural capabilities and best practices. As a result the Haryana Agricultural Minister Hon O. P. Dhankar led a 16 member strong delegation that included senior MLA’S and CEO’S of various Haryana Agricultural a departments. . .

Informative and hands-on apiculture event set to inspire and educate:

There is something for everyone at the event of the year for New Zealand’s apiculture industry.

The Apiculture New Zealand National Conference will be held at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre from 9 July to 11 July 2017, gathering hobbyist and commercial beekeepers, honey packers and anyone with an interest in apiculture from around the country and abroad. . .


Rural round-up

27/01/2017

Trade is the life blood of the New Zealand sheep and beef sector:

While disappointed by the US decision to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), the New Zealand sheep and beef sector remains strongly supportive of the Agreement and its aims, its representative organisations, the New Zealand Meat Industry Association (MIA) and Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) say.

Multilateral trade liberalisation creates a stable and level playing field on which to compete and it’s hugely important to the growth and future prosperity of the sheep and beef sector and New Zealand as a whole, the two organisations say.

“We estimated that a 12 nation TPP would have delivered around $72 million in tariff savings a year for the red meat sector alone – not to mention that volume growth in high-value markets that would flow from tariff reduction. The US withdrawing from the TPP is a real setback to our capitalising on these opportunities – and it’s a loss for consumers in the TPP nations,” MIA Chief Executive Tim Ritchie said. . . 

Three astronauts land in Manawatu – Mark Daniel,

Brian and Margaret Schnell bought their Bunnythorpe, Manawatu dairy farm in 1984, and were joined by their daughter Amy and husband Greg Gemmell, who became sharemilkers in 2003.

Fast forward to 2016, when they decided to replace a tired 24-aside herringbone set-up with three Lely Astronaut robots, meaning labour requirements dropped from 1.5 to 0.5 units, and a change from being milkers to supervisors.

The Schnell and Gemmell Partnership farms 240 Friesians, split 75:25 between spring and autumn calvers, now producing about 390kgMS/cow on an all grass system, and expected to rise to 450- 500kgMS/cow within three years. . . 

Champion schooled in some hard sheds – Sally Rae:

As a youngster growing up in Gisborne, champion woolhandler Joel Henare struggled with mainstream schooling.

He left school when he was about 11 and continued his studies through correspondence. 

Sometimes he accompanied his mother, who worked as a shedhand, and would “help out a bit and play around” in the woolsheds. . . 

Bee keepers say honey season ‘worst in 20 years’ :

Some frustrated beekeepers have now declared our dismal summer the worst in two decades for honey-making – but it’s still too early to say whether consumers will also feel a sting.
Apiculture New Zealand chief executive Karin Kos said the consistent message from beekeepers across the country was this had been a particularly bad season for yields, as poor weather kept bees from collecting nectar.

“We’ve had unseasonable weather conditions, and less predictable and shorter flowering seasons, and that is absolutely affecting honey production this year.”

No Increase in Bid for Blue Sky Meats:

NZ Binxi has received a good volume of acceptances for its offer for Blue Sky Meats (BSM) to date but would need to see acceptances continuing to flow if the offer is to succeed. All acceptances must be received by BSM shareholders by 18 February 2017.

The directors of NZ Binxi consider the cash offer of $2.20 per BSM share correct and full value for the BSM company, as it is at the top end of the value scale and is supported by the Target Company Statement. We have fully considered all aspects of the business, the competitive environment, historical and current financial results, overseas market conditions and future capital required to operate the improved business performance. . . 

The public is finally coming round to GM crops – Tom Bawden:

The public has become much more welcoming towards genetically-modified crops in the past few years, preparing the ground for them to be introduced to the UK, a leading expert has predicted.

Professor Christine Raines is in charge of a major GM project that could herald the beginning of a new era in an area that detractors say has seen disappointing progress in the past three decades.

The project, which the government will decide whether to approve next March, would involve trialling a new type of GM wheat – the first time a crop has been engineered to produce a higher yield.


Rural round-up

07/09/2016

Techno-lucerne: getting the best out of bulls – Kate Taylor:

Driving into the sweeping park-like driveway of a Takapau farm, the last thing you think of is bulls. Kate Taylor found out why.

Nothing spells out spring more than lambs and daffodils.

You won’t find many woolly creatures on the Central Hawke’s Bay farm of Angus and Esther Mabin, apart from the ones keeping the grass down in the home paddock.

You will find daffodils though. Thousands of them planted across more than 8ha by Angus’ Mum Railene over 40 years and now sold as a fundraiser for CHB Plunket. Every September, giant-sized daffodil signs grace the side of SH2 south of Waipukurau and locals and visitors swarm to the farm known as Taniwha.

“It’s all hands on deck at this time of year. I tend to go and hide on the farm though… thistle spraying is a highly-productive occupation for me in September,” Angus laughs. . . 

Thinking Of Starting a Micro Dairy. Don’t Do It! – Milking on the Moove:

I’ve been selling milk from my micro dairy for over 1.5 years now. I started with 7 cows and I’m now milking 55 cows and selling milk all over Christchurch to some of the top cafe’s and restaurants.

I’m selling direct to the public as well and we are about to start supplying supermarkets too.

So things are going well. At least from the outside it looks successful.

Internally, it feels like a complete shit show in which I’m only just hanging on.

I now employ 2 full time staff and I literally work 14 hours a day 6 days a week. Which is exactly the opposite of what I set out to achieve. . . 

Marlborough companies ordered to remove grape byproduct – Mike Watson:

A Marlborough man with the goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable wine producer has again been ordered to remove a dump of grape byproduct after it leached into a waterway. 

Peter Yealands was handed an abatement notice by the Marlborough District Council to remove grape marc after thousands of tonnes were dumped on leased farmland on the eastern Wither Hills, south of Blenheim, during this year’s harvest.

He was previously issued an abatement notice by the council in 2014 for grape marc sites on six properties in Seddon. . . 

What happened when the apple dropped – Rob Mitchell:

Rob Mitchell talks to a scientist whose chance encounter with an apple took her into food science and engineering.

“A trail of serendipity.” That’s how Auckland academic Bryony James describes her career so far.

It’s a trail that began in Cornwall, England, and has taken her halfway round the world to an idyllic five-acre property in the Waitakere Ranges and a prominent role as deputy dean of the Faculty of Engineering in the city’s university.

Much to the benefit of the New Zealand dairy industry and the wider economy.

Between those two points the path has been diverted and redirected by a distaste for British politics, a chance meeting in a student pub,  an awkward coffee in a McDonald’s and the nudge of a Newtonian apple.

Let’s start in the pub.  . . 

Bee and agrichemical industry join to promote bee safety:

Agcarm and Apiculture New Zealand have announced the release of a campaign to increase awareness of the importance of keeping bees safe by using agrichemicals responsibly.

The campaign highlights the need for farmers and beekeepers to work together to manage the use of agrichemicals near hives. A flyer and poster have been produced on how to protect bees from unintended exposure to agrichemicals as well as tips on reducing risks to bees.

Agcarm chief executive Mark Ross says “bees are extremely good pollinators of crops, so contribute substantially to New Zealand’s multi-billion dollar agricultural economy.” . . 

What’s up with my #60 Acres? Uptown Farms:

I  love the emails I have been getting asking about #My60Acres!  The summer has gotten away from me so before we get much closer to harvesting I wanted to share with you some more from the growing season!

If I had to describe this growing season in one word it would be “blessed”.  After the initial cold spell right after planting, we have had rain and temperatures that are ideal for growing corn – at least right here.  Some of our neighbors have had way too much rain – some as much as 10+ inches in 24 hours, and some of our neighbors are too dry.  But we have gotten very timely rains in manageable amounts.

Unfortunately, the corn prices are reflecting the good growing conditions much of the corn belt is experiencing and even with good yields it’s going to be a very hard season financially. . . 

Freshwater Salmon Industry Consolidates:

Queenstown-based Mount Cook Alpine Salmon (MCAS) has announced the purchase of South Canterbury salmon company, Aoraki Smokehouse Salmon Ltd.

Both companies operate Freshwater King Salmon farms on the South Canterbury hydro canals in the MacKenzie district.

MCAS has a current production of just over 1000 tonnes of salmon and Aoraki produces just under 600 tonnes of salmon a year.

“The purchase is a logical step in the growth of the business with the majority of MCAS production going to high-end overseas customers, while Aoraki’s production, particularly its sought-after smoked salmon products, is highly regarded in the domestic market,” says MCAS Chief Executive, David Cole. . . 

EPA grounds aerial spraying application:

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has declined an application for the insecticide Exirel to be also used as an aerial spray to control stock crop pests.

DuPont Limited applied to extend the use of Exirel to allow aerial spraying over uneven terrain and during wet conditions. Exirel contains the active ingredient cyantraniliprole, and is already approved for ground-based use to control caterpillars and aphids in fodder brassica crops, such as turnips, swede, forage, rape and kale. . . 

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No farmers, no food, no future.


Rural round-up

31/08/2016

Why the green, green grass of home is simply the best – John Roche, Kevin Macdonald:

New Zealand’s grazing system was once considered “the eighth wonder of the world”.

In the 1970s and 80s, a team at Ruakura led by Dr Arnold Bryant undertook grazing experiments that were to revolutionise the way pasture was managed through winter and spring.

The system matched herd demand through assigning the correct calving date and stocking rate with a store of pasture (ie cover at calving) and crop and an assumed winter growth rate. . . 

Westland ups season forecast payout:

New Zealand’s second biggest dairy co-operative Westland Milk Products today announced a 20 cent increase in its forecast 2016-17 season payout.

The company’s forecast average operating surplus has increased to $4.75 – $5.15 per kgMS while the average cash payout range has increased to $4.55 – $4.95 per kgMS.

Chairman Matt O’Regan says this is a result of a recent uplift in international dairy prices for the range of products Westland produces, along with positive August GDT auction results. . . 

Population of honey bees is growing fast:

New Zealand’s honey bee population is growing rapidly, despite recent reports of its decline, according to Apiculture New Zealand.

The industry body was responding to comments from Lincoln University that give the impression that honey bees are under threat in New Zealand.

The university said New Zealand agriculture stands to lose between $295 and $728 million each year if the local honeybee population continues its ‘current decline’.

“I’m pleased to say that hive numbers are growing rapidly,” said ApiNZ chief executive, Daniel Paul. . . 

Wild bees set to save our honey industry from varroa mite – but they need your help  – Jamie Small:

Plant & Food Research is asking for public help to locate colonies of feral bees, as groundbreaking evidence suggests they may save our honey industry from the devastating varroa mite.

Bee numbers in New Zealand are growing – bucking the international trend – thanks to human intervention controlling varroa, says Dr Mark Goodwin, who leads the organisation’s apiculture and pollination team.

The high price and demand for manuka honey is encouraging apiaries to expand in the face of the colony-killing mite and other threats. . . 

Buyers caught napping by potential milk production decine – Gerard Hutching:

A milk futures broker says whole milk powder buyers have been “caught napping” by a potential shortfall in the product, explaining why the price has risen 28.8 per cent at the last two global dairy auctions.

Director of OM Financial Nigel Brunel said the price hike had been “staggering” and taken everyone by surprise.

“Buyers haven’t been able to source WMP at the right price and have been concerned that New Zealand supply could be well down this season. They have been caught napping in a sleepy sideways WMP market for almost a year,” Brunel said.

As a result the buyers had climbed over each other to source WMP and lifted the price. . . 

New appointment to FSANZ Board:

Jane Lancaster has been appointed to the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Board, Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew announced today. Ms Lancaster’s term began on 1 July 2016.

“Ms Lancaster will make a valuable contribution to the FSANZ Board with her background in food science, biotechnology, and strong governance experience. In particular, she has professional experience in food safety, food regulation, and the food industry,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“Ms Lancaster replaces Neil Walker, whose second term on the FSANZ Board expires on 30 June 2016. Mr Walker’s extensive knowledge has been highly valued by both myself and the FSANZ Board over this time.” . . 

Environmental impacts come first in EPA insecticide decision:

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has declined an application to import an insecticide to control pests on onion and potato crops.

The insecticide Grizly Max contains the active ingredients imidacloprid, novaluron and bifenthrin. These active ingredients are already approved for use in New Zealand, but not in a single formulation. The proposed application rate for the neonicotinoid imidacloprid was much higher than other insecticides already available in New Zealand.

At a 19 July hearing, the applicant, Agronica New Zealand Ltd, noted that Grizly Max had proved to be effective against target pests. . . 

New Appointment to Synlait’s Senior Leadership Team:

Quentin Lowcay, General Counsel and Commercial Manager, has joined Synlait’s Senior Leadership Team.

Since joining Synlait in 2013, Quentin’s role has grown to advise the SLT and Board on legal affairs, risk, corporate governance, insurance and commercial matters (particularly customer and supplier relationships). . .

New Zealand King Salmon confirms intention to undertake an IPO:

There may soon be an opportunity for Kiwi investors to own a stake in New Zealand’s estimated $180 million salmon industry.

The world’s largest aquaculture producer of King salmon, New Zealand King Salmon Investments Limited, has today (29 August) confirmed its intention to undertake an initial public offering of shares in New Zealand and a listing on the NZX Main Board and ASX. The proceeds of the offer will be used to repay debt, fund future investment and working capital, and to enable investor Direct Capital and some other shareholders to realise some or all of their investment. . . 

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Rockburn releases limited edition Stolen Kiss Pinot Noir & Rosé:

Rockburn’s Stolen Kiss Rosé enjoys a cult following around country for a couple of years now and the boutique producer from Cromwell now added another way to enjoy the “fruity and saucy side” of Central Otago Pinot Noir with the launch of their limited edition Stolen Kiss Pinot Noir.

Stolen Kiss wines are made from grapes ‘stolen’ from Rockburn’s best Central Otago Pinot Noir. The name alone evokes images of summertime rolling-in-the-clover frivolity and romance. . . 

Substantial Hawke’s Bay winery operation goes on the market for sale:

One of Hawke’s Bay’s best known vertically-integrated wine operations – featuring multiple vineyards, the winery plant and cellar door retail sales outlet – has been placed on the market for sale.

The assets are run under the Crossroads brand – owned by Yealands Estate Wines. The Crossroad’s vineyard and operations being sold encompass three separate vineyards in the bay, along with a plant capable of pressing more than 700 tonnes of grapes and storing the resulting juice in 59 tanks, and a cellar door retail premises which attracts more than 5000 visitors annually.

The Crossroads brand, business and existing stock in bottles, barrels, and tanks, are not part of the sale. . . 


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