Rural round-up

February 9, 2020

Southland farmers could face long road back from flooding  – Esther Taunton:

Flood-hit Southland farmers could face a long road back to normality.

About 120 dairy farms had been impacted by extensive flooding in the region this week, DairyNZ South Island manager, Tony Finch, said.

The full extent of the damage would become clearer as water levels dropped over the next few days but low-lying farms could have been left with debris, washed-out fences, silt, and pasture damage. . . 

Farmers in rapidly drying out Wairarapa face long waits at works – Catherine Harris:

A perfect storm is developing for Wairarapa farmers, who are starting to run out of water for their stock but also unable to get them killed.

Although the region is not officially in drought, creeks and bores are drying up, worsened by low rainfall last year.

Traditionally farmers send their stock to the meat works in such circumstances, but processors are overloaded with requests and reportedly cutting back on processing due of a drop in demand from coronavirus-hit China. . . 

 

Capturing the value of carbon negative consumerism – Sarah Perriam:

The pay inequality between merino wool and strong wool has never been so far apart, reminiscent of a race between Phar Lap and a retired Shetland pony. However, Sarah Perriam believes that transformational change is happening and the traditional commodity product is about to become hot property.

There’s a saying in the industry: ‘How do you tell the difference between strong wool and merino wool? It’s where you put the decimal point in the price to farmers.’

It may not be a joke many strong wool sheep farmers in Canterbury would think is funny when the dire record-low wool prices don’t even cover the cost of shearing the sheep. . . 

Protecting the origins of a Kiwi classic:

There is a well-known saying that claims “if you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.”

So, when it comes to our world-famous Anchor butter, Fonterra farmer and Waipa District Councillor Grahame Webber is doing his best to make sure the past is not forgotten.

For the past 30 years Grahame has been tending a historic site at Pukekura, near Cambridge, as he says, “to keep it tidy”. The site is significant because it’s the location of a butter factory built by Henry Reynolds, an Englishman who emigrated here to take up dairy farming. It was this factory where the first Anchor butter was made in 1886. . .

A profession of hope: the realities of female farmers – Audra Mulkern:

— NOW HIRING — 

From the Ground Up has an immediate opening in our Agrarian Growing Center (AGC). This position is responsible for the growing of our country’s food, for planning, budgeting, implementing and executing the seasonal planting including, but not limited to, harvesting, washing, packing, promoting and selling of the crops. In addition the position requires at least 30% travel for weekly markets and route deliveries. The ideal candidate will also be responsible for sales and marketing, including digital marketing, maintaining and increasing presence on all social media sites.

This is a full-time, 24-hour on-call position including evenings and weekends.

Are you the energetic, early-riser, self-motivated person we’re looking for? . . 

 

Why vegan junk food may be even worse for your health – William Park:

While we might switch to a plant-based diet with the best intentions, the unseen risks of vegan fast foods might not show up for years.

No British train station or high street would be complete without a Greggs bakery. The merchants of mass-produced pastries are as quintessential as they come. And last year they won plaudits for turning vegan. On the back of their success, other fast food brands shortly followed suit.

In fact, Greggs’s vegan sausage rolls have been so successful, the company announced a “phenomenal year” for sales in 2019 driven in part by their new product and that they would share a £7m ($9.17m) bonus equally between staff. . .


Rural round-up

March 11, 2019

Silence on the land: Why are NZ Farmers quiet on the prospect of capital gains tax? –  Andrea Fox:

The proposed capital gains tax is a “mangy dog”, Federated Farmers says – but so far it hasn’t provoked much barking in the home paddocks.

Farmers have been almost silent – at least in public – on the spectre of a tax that, according to critics, will add unacceptably high costs and complexity to farmers’ already heavy compliance burden.

But don’t think for a minute they’ve accepted the idea of a tax on land sales.

The suggestion from farmers is that while some feel so hammered by central and local government lately they are shellshocked. Others are more relaxed. That’s because they know Coalition partner NZ First won’t support the recommendations from the Tax Working Group (TWG), for fear of being consigned to political history next year. . .

Aerial “no-till” project set to revolutionise NZ farming:

A successful trial of “no-till” helicropping showcased today in the Southern Waikato promises a step-change in the approach to pastoral farming in New Zealand – ensuring the protection of soils while maintaining productivity.

“We are effectively putting away the plough,” says Sustainable Helicropping Group Chairman, Colin Armer. “The aerial no-till approach means we can establish crops and renew pastures without touching the ground or disturbing precious soil, more like what happens in nature.”

Mr Armer says early results from the $1 million project have proven the potential to address the estimated 192 million tonnes of soil that are lost every year from erosion – according to the Ministry for the Environment’s Our Land 2018 report – 44% of which is from pastoral land. . . 

On the Farm: Our guide to what’s happening in rural New Zealand:

Each week our Country Life reporters talk to farmers and orchardists up and down the country about what’s happening in their area.

Northland’s  kumara need rain.  The harvest is 15 percent through and some moisture would help swell the size of the kumara. The up-side of the dry is it is easy to get them out of the ground.  The crop needs to be harvested by the end of May so there is only limited time to wait for rain and to get through it all.  Kumara have been very expensive in the past couple of years because of a lack of supply and  growers would love it if prices could ease a bit so it’s more affordable for everyone.   

Around Pukekohe the long dry spell continued until Thursday when some scattered showers drifted over the district but our south Auckland correspondent says they may get some “useful precipitation’ from the approaching cold front. He says much of the district’s cultivated land is bare except for irrigated paddocks where brassicas and lettuce are growing or are being planted.  . . 

Meat and dairy up in December:

The volume of meat and dairy product manufacturing rose in the December 2018 quarter, Stats NZ said today.

After adjusting for seasonal effects, the volume of total manufacturing sales rose 2.0 percent in the December quarter. A 4.0 percent boost in meat and dairy product manufacturing led the rise.

“The meat and dairy industry rebounded after a strong fall in the September quarter,” manufacturing statistics manager Sue Chapman said. . . 

If there’s no water what’s the point? Female farmers in Arizona – Debbie Weingarten and Audra Malkern:

By 9am, it’s already 100F (38C). In the desert afternoons, rain gathers on the horizon, teasing – and then it disappears. There is so much heaviness, so much waiting.

I pulled on to the ranch of Anastasia Rabin with Audra Mulkern, a Washington-based photographer and founder of the Female Farmer Project. We were on assignment for a story and chasing a statistic: according to the most recent US census, Arizona is the state with the highest proportion of female farm operators.

Despite the fact that women have always farmed, they have been left out of our agricultural narrative. An incomplete story has real consequences: women have been left off land titles and bank documents; they have been denied federal loans and training opportunities; and until the 1982 census of agriculture, female farmers were not counted at all. . .

LIC officially opens upgraded facility in Manawatu:

LIC’s semen processing centre in the Manawatu was officially opened this week following an injection of more than $1 million to upgrade the facilities.

LIC, a herd improvement and agritech co-operative, is the country’s largest supplier of artificial breeding (AB) services and dairy genetics.

The refurbishment will enable the dairy farmer-owned co-operative to enhance its export capabilities and use the centre as a back up to its main facilities in Hamilton if required. . . 

Cheaper to travel to Japan than stream the Rugby World Cup:

It will be cheaper for communities in some remote areas of New Zealand to travel to Japan than it will be to stream the Rugby World Cup later this year.

Tim Johnson, CEO of Gravity – New Zealand’s only dedicated satellite broadband provider – says that apart from the challenges of doing homework and running a business in remote areas, capped broadband data rates would make it cheaper for some Kiwi’s to fly to Japan than it would to stream the Rugby World Cup later this year.

For Gravity Internet, who has as one of its shareholders former All Black Andrew ‘Andy’ Ellis, that scenario was intolerable. . . 


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