Farmers struggle after floods – Nigel Malthus:
A Wesport mother and daughter team, who only recently bought a small dairy farm bordering the Buller River, are just one of many still struggling to get back on their feet after the huge flood of mid-July.
Lisa Milligan and her mother Karen took on the 70-hectare property about 5km upstream from the town on June 1. One July 17, almost the entire farm was flooded, with water covering the pastures, running through the milking shed and other buildings and lapping around the house.
Milligan says they knew when they bought the farm that a couple of low areas got water through them when the river flooded, “but not 99% of the farm. It was massive.”
She told Rural News the flood was at levels no one in the district had ever seen. . .
No resolution to labour nightmare – Peter Burke:
Meat Industry Association (MIA) boss Sirma Karapeeva says she struggles to see how much more automation can be introduced into the meat industry to resolve the present labour shortages.
Karapeeva says many people seem to think that automation is the silver bullet that can compensate for labour shortages in the industry caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I struggle to see how that is possible. In the red meat sector, we have already done all that we can do in terms of the lower hanging fruit in automation,” she told Rural News.
“The big pieces of automation are already in place and the next areas of automation that could be developed are really challenging because you are dealing with the natural product – meat.” . .
New RSE season will be tough amid pandemic – researcher – Christine Rovoi:
Many Recognised Seasonal Employers expect they will struggle to survive the 2021-2022 season unless they can refresh and increase their RSE workforce through new recruitment.
More than 300 stakeholders in New Zealand’s RSE scheme gathered in Nelson last month for the 14th annual industry-led conference ‘RSE: The Post-Covid Future’.
A New Zealand-based researcher said compared with the last RSE conference in Port Vila, Vanuatu in 2019, which focused on sustainable growth of the RSE scheme to support expansion of New Zealand’s horticulture industry (including wine), this year’s meeting was a “sobering event”.
Australia National University research fellow Charlotte Bedford said the conference had possibly the largest turnout of RSE employers, contractors, industry representatives and other stakeholders for several years. . .
West Coast farmers say plan to sacrifice their land bad idea – Lois Williams:
A landowner whose family farmed near Franz Josef for decades says it is not the best idea to let the river have its way on the south bank, as the government and councils are now proposing.
The West Coast Regional Council originally pitched a plan for a $24 million upgrade of the stopbanks on both sides of the river, but that has since been scaled back to $12m, the bulk of the work on the north bank of the Waiho River to protect Franz Josef village.
On the south bank, the stopbanks would be kept up only as far as Canavans Knob, and eventually, the river would be left to fan out over its natural flood plain, wiping out the airfield, several farms and a number of houses now protected by the ‘Milton and Others’ stopbank.
Derrick Milton, whose family helped to build and pay for the stopbank 36 years ago, says if the river is allowed to have its way it will shift its bed south to Docherty’s Creek and make it very difficult to rebuild the state highway as planned. . .
Shear inspiration – Nigel Beckford:
Rowland Smith is one of New Zealand’s best known shearers. He’s set world records and won both the NZ Shears and Golden Shears numerous times. Farmstrong asked him how he looks after himself in such a physically demanding occupation.
Shearing’s in the blood for Rowland Smith – his father and brothers were shearers, and shearing had taken him all over the world – Latvia, Finland, USA, Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England.
“Shearing’s a great job because you’re out there doing it every day, you’re not stuck in an office. I’ve travelled the world for years on the back of a handpiece,” he says.
Shearing is unique in that as well as being a job, it’s also a competitive sport. Iconic events like the NZ Shears in Te Kuiti and the Golden Shears in Masterton attract hundreds of competitors and large crowds each year. . .
Farmers look to local products as fertiliser prices skyrocket – Sally Murphy:
Farmers are turning towards New Zealand-made fertiliser as Ravensdown and Ballance Agri Nutrients report soaring price increases.
Ballance general manager of sales Jason Minkhorst said the price of DAP fertiliser had doubled in the last year and while the company absorbed some of the cost, the price farmers paid had gone up by about 55 percent.
“Several things are pushing up the prices, to describe it as Covid is to simple, there’s increased demand for food and particularly for meat and dairy products and a key input to producing food is obviously fertiliser,” Minkhorst said.
“Another driver is that Chinese factories and most fertiliser comes from China, have been told to focus on the domestic market to assure food security for China. And then the last driver is this seasonal purchasing supported by subsidies in countries like India and Brazil that’s also putting pressure on prices at the moment.” . .
Seeking skills to reap bumper crops – Andrew Weidemann:
Another big crop is forecast to be harvested across Australia this year, worth an estimated $15 million for the broadacre grains sector.
But coronavirus is again presenting significant hurdles for the industry to overcome.
There is no point repeating what we already know about the personal inconvenience and business frustrations caused by extended lockdowns in different states.
But for many Grain Producers Australia (GPA) members, a significant and immediate challenge stemming from the global COVID-19 pandemic is securing farm labour. . .