Rural round-up

February 9, 2018

Watch mates farmers told – Kerrie Waterworth:

Otago farmers are being asked ”to keep an eye on their partners and neighbours” as the stress from the drought, or what has been termed a medium-scale adverse weather event, continues.

Otago Federated Farmers president Phill Hunt said the rain last week was a big boost to the farming community but ”it’s not over yet”.

”The rain and the cooler temperatures have been very welcome; in particular the rain has filled up a lot of dams both for stock water and for irrigation.”

”People who have put infrastructure in for irrigation have been staring down the barrel of not being able to use it; a very expensive clothes line is how it was described to me by one farmer.” . . 

Two more farms infected with Mycoplasma bovis:

The number of properties with the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis has risen, with 23 farms now infected.

The latest properties are in Southland and the Waitaki District.

First found in South Canterbury in July last year the disease is now spread from Southland to Hawke’s Bay.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has 38 farms in lockdown and said it was still aiming to eradicate the disease. . .

Friendship and farming for Hugh Abbiss and Patrick Crawshaw in Takapau – Kate Taylor:

Central Hawke’s Bay friends and workmates, Patrick Crawshaw and Hugh Abbiss, will become rivals in the East Coast Young Farmer of the Year on February 17. Kate Taylor reports.

The temperature has been higher than 30 degrees all week, so it’s no surprise to catch Central Hawke’s Bay farmers Hugh Abbiss and Patrick Crawshaw taking the chance to work inside in the shade.

They’re working out feed budgets and stock movements for the next two months as the above average Hawke’s Bay summer has given them an abundance of feed.

The pair work for Foley Farming, where the make-up of the staff is a bit different to most – with four staff, all aged under 30 and three with university degrees. . . 

New take on use of coarse, strong wool for commercial purposes – Annette Lambly:

A Northland farming couple are hoping to add value to the wool they shear from the family flock by creating high value, decorative and functional architectural products which includes a natural wall covering.

Sarah Hewlett and her husband Chris Coffey run Hewlett Point, a sheep and beef farm near Mata around 25 kilometres south east of Whangarei.

Their two young sons are the seventh generation to live on the family farm. . . 

Motion-sensor cameras on farms – Alexia Johnston:

Farmers are turning to hunting technology to protect stock from thieves.

While Parliament is debating a proposed law that would impose harsher penalties on stock rustlers, property owners are already taking steps to protect their stock.

Hunting and Fishing New Zealand Timaru owner Alister Jones said a ”huge” percentage of his sales were now going towards farmers who wanted to protect their land and property.

Previously, sales of motion sensor cameras, also known as game cameras, were predominantly made to hunters who wanted to monitor and catch animals such as deer. . . 

Irrigation an essential tool for Canterbury farmers – Sonita Chandar:

Wet spring conditions followed by a hot dry summer is creating havoc for a Canterbury Dairy farmer 

A Canterbury farmer wants whoever flicked the fine weather switch on, to switch it back to rain for a while.

Robin Hornblow and fiancée Kirstie Austin are farm managers on Willsden Farm Ltd, a 306ha farm at Te Pirita – one of several owned by the Camden Group.

This is their first season on this farm and so far, the weather has not been kind. . . 

Warning over rising facial eczema spore counts:

Farmers are being warned to keep a close eye on their stock as facial eczema spore counts rise around the country.

Spore counts are trending upwards in Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, East Coast and the lower North Island, as well as in Tasman and on the West Coast.

Facial eczema affects cattle, sheep, goats and deer and can result in liver and skin damage, which can severely affect an animal, seriously reduce production and can in worst cases cause death.

It is estimated that production losses caused by the disease are around $200m annually in this country. . .

Autogrow opens virtual innovation community:

Autogrow has opened a virtual agtech and science lab and are inviting indoor ag developers, growers and enthusiasts to join in building a dynamic and innovative community.

Following on from the launch of their Jelly SDK, APIs and Autogrow Cloud platform last year, the Autogrow Lab was set up as a collaborative environment for continued research and development of control systems for indoor agriculture.

“The industry is a fragmented hardware landscape with software and data technology being introduced into the mix. Our goal is to bring much of that together in an open platform, add in the science of plant biology and create a space for discussion, invention and pushing the boundaries,” explains Chief Technology Officer Jeffrey Law. . . 

 


Rural round-up

July 20, 2017

Woman of the land counts herself lucky – Rose Harding:

Kate MacFarlane has always known what she wanted to do.

She grew up on Waiterenui Angus Stud at Raukawa so is a farm girl “to her DNA” and considers herself lucky in her life.

Lucky that her parents, Will and Viv, told her to follow her dreams, lucky she was able to travel and gain experience overseas, lucky she got the jobs she wanted and lucky with all the “amazing people” who have helped her. . . 

The mysteries of grass-fed milk – Keith Woodford:

Here in New Zealand, we live the notion that milk from grass-fed cows is superior to milk from cows fed other rations. Supposedly it is better for health. And supposedly the cows are happier if they can dance around in the sunshine doing what comes naturally. And supposedly it makes us more cost-efficient than our international competitors.

There is an element of truth to all of the above notions. But more often than not there is lots of myth intertwined with truth. Here, I want to tease out what is truth, what is myth, what depends on specific context, and some things that are still unknown. . . 

Sunless season dries up olive oil production – Susan Murray:

New Zealand’s olive oil producers have had a tough production season.

Harvesting is just ending, and for some growers their fruit volume and oil production is less than half last year’s.

Andrew Priddle is a Wairarapa olive grower and harvester and said there has been a lack of sunshine hours in summer and autumn, and the crops had matured three weeks later than usual.

He said the late crops led to more bird damage and coincided with an “off” year for the biennially producing trees. . . 

“Nightmare’ kumara season for farmers:

A kumara famer has described this year as a nightmare, with horrendous weather cutting the yield of red kumara by up to 45 percent.

The low yield of all varieties has had a big impact on prices as Statistics New Zealand reported kumara hit a high of more than $8 a kilo last month.

John Adolf from the kumara co-operative Delta Produce, said this year had been a shock for farmers after last season’s bumper crop.

A wet, cold spring, a long dry summer and heavy downpours through autumn caused major headaches for farmers, he said. . . 

$300,000 to help preserve native bush and fauna:

The Forest Bridge Trust has been awarded $300,000 from the Community Environment Fund, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today.

“The vision of The Forest Bridge Trust is to create a connected landscape of healthy forest and flourishing indigenous wildlife from the Kaipara Harbour in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. They plan to achieve that vision by connecting up bush remnants, fencing, planting and doing weed and pest control throughout the area,” Mr Simpson says. . . 

CropLogic plans A$8 mln IPO in ASX listing – Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – CropLogic, the agricultural technology company, has launched its prospectus and is planning an A$8 million capital raising before listing on the ASX.

The Christchurch-based company is offering 40 million shares at 20 Australian cents each with a minimum subscription of 25 million shares, or A$5 million. The capital will be used to fund market development, research & development, ASX listing costs and working capital, it said. In May, it completed an A$2 million pre-initial public offering funding round. . . 

Polluted waterways issue widens town and country divide:

The contentious issue of our polluted waterways is deepening a country and town divide, with many farmers saying they are being unfairly blamed by city folk.

“We get lambasted by these allegations for polluting the rivers when in Canterbury we have very few polluted rivers whatsoever,” Canterbury dairy farmer Willie Leferenk said.

Further north sheep and beef farmer Lydia Murchison has noticed that townies seem to have lumped all farmers together. . . 

Farm sales and prices inch down in three months to June on year – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – The number of farms sold in the three months inched down on the year as did the median price per hectare for all farms, pointing to a softening tone in the rural real estate market, the Real Estate Institute said.

There were 459 sales in the year ended June 2017, 13 fewer than the same period a year earlier, or a decline of 2.8 percent. The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to June 2017 was $25,992 versus $26,361 in the same period a year earlier, a decline of 1.4 percent.

Eight regions recorded increases in sales volumes on the year in the three months ended June. Otago recorded the largest increase in sales, with 13 more sales, followed by Gisborne where nine more farms were sold. . . 

Nominations for Fonterra Board of Directors’ Election Open Monday:

Nominations for the Fonterra Board of Directors’ Election open Monday, 17 July with an election to be held for three farmer-elected Directors.

The Independent Nomination process will be run first with nominations needing to have been received by the Returning Officer, Warwick Lampp of electionz.com by 12 noon on Monday, 7 August 2017.

The Returning Officer will announce the Independent Nomination process candidates on Monday, 11 September 2017. . . 

Autogrow announces global first API Solution for indoor agriculture:

Autogrow has become the first of the established players to launch an API (Application Programming Interface) for indoor agricultural growers; greenhouses, vertical urban, containers, plant factories, offering access to data traditionally not available to them.

Called MyData(v0.2), this is the first release in a series of cloud-based solutions offering a universally accessible API to recent and historical growing data including light and relative humidity, wind speed, pH and EC. With a 24-hour data refresh and 180-day historical data available, growers will be able to utilise their information to discover operational insights or even custom-build or develop their own data solutions, services or apps without limitations. . . 

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