Rural round-up

January 6, 2014

Top 10 reasons being a farmer rocks – Fastline:

In case you ever need a reminder as to why you have the best job in the world as a Farmer, check out our list we put together! Think we forgot one? Let us know in the comments with your favorite part of being a Farmer.

10.Outdoors – there’s nothing like the smell of fresh air, or even better, the smell of fresh cut hay!

9.Fun Equipment – What other job do you get to drive large tractors, combines, sprayers or anything else?

8. Weather – You always know the weather, even when you don’t want to.

7. You’re your own boss – Well besides mother nature – but she’s another story. . .

New proposals for red meat industry – Stephen Bell:

Copying Uruguay’s meat industry and Anzac alliance and a north-south hemisphere collaboration are among “pick and mix” proposals Federated Farmers has put up for reform of the red meat section.

Uruguay’s system involves its National Meat Institute (Instituto Nacional de Carnes or INAC) being responsible for all meat processing including beef, sheep, poultry, swine, rabbits, horses, goats and game.

“We promote, co-ordinate and monitor the whole process from production and processing to marketing, storage and transportation,” Inac chairman Luis Alfredo Fratti Silveira says. . .

Diagnosing mycotoxicosis a challenge – Anne Boswell:

Leading animal nutrition consultant and researcher Dr Lucy Waldron says one of the biggest challenges when dealing with mycotoxicosis in farm animals is simply making a diagnosis.

Dr Waldron, who has been involved with mycotoxin research in grazing animals since 2002, said there were many challenges facing practitioners seeking to make field diagnosis, including the non-specific nature of many of the symptoms, and that mycotoxins almost never present as single toxins.

Mycotoxins are substances naturally produced by moulds and fungi that are normally present as some form of defence for the organism. . . .

 Farming a passion for Massey’s top student – Collette Devlin:

A Southland student who won the top agriculture student award at Massey University plans to continue his studies to research water quality for sheep and beef farmers.

Cameron Black, 21, who completed a bachelor of agricultural science at Manawatu, was awarded the accolade for his high academic achievement and was also judged by staff and his peers to have made the largest contribution to the wellbeing and reputation of their fellow students in agriculture.

Mr Black will now complete an honours degree in agricultural science, which will focus on a soil agronomy research project for sheep and beef farmers in hill country. . .

Constable survives his first wacky race – Jo McKenzie-McLean:

The experience of bolting down a racetrack with nothing to hold on to but a saddle was almost like confronting an armed offender, a Queenstown constable says.

Constable Feleki Urhle was a reluctant participant in the Double Banking Race at the Glenorchy Races on Saturday, where thousands turned out for the annual 10-race event run by the Lakeside Rugby Club.

The day includes the long-standing tradition for the most junior-ranking police officer on duty to ride with seasoned jockey Callum Grimmer – also a St John Ambulance paramedic.

Mr Urhle said his only experience on a horse had been a slow-paced trek ride about 10 years ago.

“So to ride behind someone, not in a saddle and without my feet in stirrups bolting down a track was pretty freaky stuff. It compares to confronting an armed offender almost.” . . .

Year in review – July – Rebecca Harper:

Heavy snow in the South Island caused sleepless nights for many farmers as they battled to get feed and water to stranded stock and free those trapped by the snow.

Precision agriculture propelled Canterbury arable farmers Craige and Roz Mackenzie to the top of the class for sustainability, proving intensive land use can be sustainable, in taking out the 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Award. . .

Year in review – August – Rebecca Harper:

Fonterra directors said they intended to even out dividends paid on milk supply shares and listed fund units by looking beyond the current year’s earnings expectations and to give more market commentary.

The aim was to provide a longer-term view on any potential volatility in earnings.

Silver Fern Farms started to collect the blood protein from bobby calves processed at its Fairton plant in a bid to add value to a co-product and fruit and berry grower Julian Raine was named as the new president of Horticulture New Zealand at its annual conference. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

October 13, 2013

Passionate advocate of genetics – Annette Scott:

South Canterbury hill-country farmer Chris Hampton is a sheep farmer at heart. He is passionate about genetics and is focused on making a difference in the New Zealand sheep-meat industry. Annette Scott reports.

Chris Hampton has confidence is the sheep industry and has put his money where his mouth is by investing in genetics.

He and his wife Annabelle farm an 816-hectare hill-country property at Cave, in South Canterbury.

The couple moved south five years ago from their mixed-farming operation at Waterton, in Mid Canterbury. . .

Pair switch on to magnetic mapping power – Tony Benny:

National Ballance Farm Environment Award winners, Canterbury farmers Craige and Roz Mackenzie, say electro-magnetic mapping is central to their precision agriculture operation.

Their farm, just outside Methven, comprises a variety of soil types, some far more productive than others, and knowing accurately what’s beneath the surface means they can tailor irrigation and fertiliser inputs to suit.

“Information is power and this is the background you really need,” said Craige Mackenzie.

“It’s just a base point,” said Roz. “We’re all farming the land – we need to know what we’re farming.” . . .

Hospital site to become agricultural park – Tim Cronshaw:

A former hospital site outside of Christchurch is being transformed into an innovation park for agricultural research and business.

The 65-hectare park is owned by the Mauger family. They gained clearance after long negotiations with the Christchurch City Council to rezone the special purpose hospital zoning into an agricultural business centre.

Six tenants have committed to the site. The Foundation for Arable Research (Far) is the first business to move into former office buildings, and a purpose-built work station is close to being completed for a new client. . .

Live seafood exports to Australia ‘exciting prospect’ – Bill Moore:

The export of live seafood to Australia could develop into a $100 million annual trade, Seafood New Zealand says.

The industry umbrella group says the announcement last week by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy that the ministry is to begin work on getting live trade going, coupled with the development in Nelson of a new harvesting method to bring fish on board alive, opens up exciting prospects.

There are high value live exports to other countries, predominantly rock lobster to Hong Kong and China, worth $237m in 2012-13, but Australia blocks them. . . .

Foreclosure inspires Kalamazoo artist to knit herself a ‘safe house’ –  Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood:

Inside a knitted house made of wool roving, a Kalamazoo artist sat upon a knitted couch made of the same wool roving and clicked her triple zero needles making slow but steady progress on a yellow sweater.

It was day five of ArtPrize and she had already spent many hours knitting inside her cozy entry titled simply: “Woolhouse.”

“If I’m going to sit here all day, I figured I’d rather get a sweater out of it,” said Annie Eckrich, 22, who creates art under her childhood nickname “Annie Belle.”  . . .

Biofuels plants key to UK wheat price outlook – Agrimoney:

Success in efforts to bring two major biofuel plants onstream may have an undue impact on UK wheat values, in determining the level of supplies needed to be priced to compete on export markets.  Wheat futures for November touched £151.00 a tonne in London last week, the lowest for a spot contract in 19 months, in a slump attributed to growing harvest hopes leaving the country with hefty supplies to sell abroad.  Harvest estimates, some of which fell below 11.5m tonnes after a cold spring followed an unusually wet autumn and winter, have risen substantially after early harvest results showed far better yields than had been expected. . .


Rural round-up

February 15, 2013

Rabobank Agribusiness Monthly February 2013:

The report covers all the major agricultural sectors that are important to New Zealand and Australia as well as covering off the latest economic, retail and currency developments.

Key highlights:

• The early stages of 2013 have brought some weather extremes across New Zealand and Australia. The latest outlook paints more of a normal picture for upcoming autumn seasonal conditions.
• Dairy commodity prices continue to trend higher with fundamentals slowly coming back into better balance. Markets are closely watching the dry weather in New Zealand’s North Island, which is taking its toll on milk flows.
• Effective February 1, Japanese beef import protocols will allow US beef exporters to source cattle up to the age of 30 months (previously 20 months) for export into the Japanese market.
• Record low US corn and soybean stocks continue to drive global grain markets. Australian prices continue to hold at historically strong basis levels.

The full report is here.

Eco-Warrior To Speak At Dairy Women’s Conference:

Three-time Ballance Farm Environment Award winner Dan Steele is on a mission to make New Zealand a better place for the future. In March he’s fronting up to hundreds of dairying women at their annual conference in Nelson to explain why he believes farmers and conservationists need to work together to ensure we have productive and sustainable farms to live and work on in the future.

Dan is a typical kiwi bloke. He’s a bushman, hunter, traveller, farmer, conservationist and business man. He’s been on his OE. He’s also used kiwi ingenuity to think outside the square and create an award-winning eco-tourism business – Blue Duck Station.

Blue Duck is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground located on the banks of the Whanganui and Retaruke rivers in the Ruapehu district. The Station is surrounded by Whanganui National park. . .

All forests to be monitored for foreign bugs:

All forest plantations will be brought into a nationwide forest health surveillance scheme if next month’s referendum of forest growers is successful.

“A yes vote in the referendum will see a small compulsory levy applied to harvested logs. Broadening the reach of the surveillance scheme will be one of the big benefits,” says Paul Nicholls, a Forest Growers Levy Trust board member.

“Forests owned by members of the Forest Owners Association have been monitored for exotic pests and diseases for more than 50 years. But new bugs don’t discriminate. We need to be monitoring forests on the basis of a scientific assessment of risk, not because they are owned by a member of an industry association.” . .

Iwi owned oyster business cements partnership with Cawthron Institute:

Iwi owned seafood company Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd this week signed an agreement with Cawthron Institute in respect to their Pacific oyster hatchery and oyster nursery based at Glenduan, north of Nelson. Under the agreement Aotearoa Fisheries will take over the Pacific oyster Nursery and Spat growing operations. Three of Cawthron Institute’s staff involved in the Nursery and growing operations will be seconded to Aotearoa Fisheries. Cawthron Institute will continue to spawn and produce Pacific oyster larvae at the site.

Aotearoa Fisheries is one of New Zealand’s largest fishing and seafood businesses and is the largest Pacific oyster company in New Zealand, trading as Kia Ora Seafoods and Pacific Marine Farms. This deal follows on from Aotearoa Fisheries acquisition of Sanford NZ Limited’s North Island Pacific oyster farms last year. . .

LIC lifts first-half profit 7.3 percent as dairy farmers ramp up investment:

Livestock Improvement Corp, which compensated some farmers for selling bull semen that caused ‘hairy calf’ mutations, increased first-half profit 7.3 percent as dairy farmers raised their herd investment, even as farmgate prices fell.

Net profit rose to $30 million, or $1.017 a share, in the six months ended Nov. 30, from $28 million, or 94.7 cents, a year earlier, the Hamilton-based company said in a statement. Sales rose 9.6 percent to $131.5 million, though LIC typically gets most of its revenue in the first half of the financial year and doesn’t recognise costs until the second half. . .

Lempriere reaches 90% of Wool Services International, hitting mop-up target:

Australian wool merchant Lempriere has reached the 90 percent target of Wool Services International, allowing it to mop-up the remaining shares.

The Melbourne-based company reached 90.9 percent of acceptances yesterday, according to a substantial security holder notice, meeting its minimum acceptance and letting it compulsorily acquire the remaining shares in the company.

Lempriere launched the takeover last year, offering 45 cents a share, valuing WSI at $31 million, a 22 percent premium to the trading price before the offer emerged. The shares last traded in January at 42 cents. . .

Survey reveals Scottish farming’s 2013 challenges – Gemma Mackenzie:

Confidence in Scottish agriculture remains high, despite falling profitability, harsh weather and poor lamb prices.

According to the Bank of Scotland’s annual agricultural report, only 11% of 474 respondents said they thought the industry was prosperous in 2012 – a drop of eight percentage points compared to the previous year.

Although only 59% expected to be profitable this year, 28% of farmers were optimistic about the future of the industry; the second highest level since the survey began 17 years ago.

KEY FINDINGS

• 85% of farmers were profitable in the last financial year – two percentage points lower than previous year
• Only 59% expected to be profitable in 2013 . . .

NFU Scotland calls for daiy contingency plan – Gemma Mackenzie:

NFU Scotland has called on the UK government to prepare a contingency plan for the dairy industry as the voluntary code of practice has not been as effective as hoped.

At a meeting with farm minister David Heath last week, president Nigel Miller said the voluntary dairy code of practice had not worked as well as it should have, and it was time to develop a plan B.

“NFUS is pushing for the UK goverment to explore a contingency plan, including legislation, in case the code fails to achieve its intentions. NFUS maintains that the best way of strengthening and developing the dairy market at home and abroad is to increase trust in the supply chain,” said Mr Miller. . .

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Rural round-up

September 23, 2012

Hairy mutant calves

Federated Farmers met with LIC on Tuesday to try to secure a solution that works for LIC’s farmer-shareholders and farmers affected by calf-mutation.

“I guess the best summary is that we spoke and they spoke,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“Our only hope is LIC may reflect on what we said over the next few days.  This is not about winners or losers because no one is winning right now. . .

Award-Winning Livestock Farmer Urges Others to Enter 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Environmental sustainability is a hot topic for North Otago farmer Doug Brown.

As a councillor for the Otago Regional Council and a director of a large meat co-operative, he discusses the subject with a wide range of people from both urban and rural backgrounds. He also talks to consumers of NZ products who are demanding increasingly higher standards of environmental management and animal welfare.

He believes most farmers are committed to protecting their land-based resources.

“But we’ve got to keep working on these issues, and keep moving forward at a pace that farmers can handle.” . . .

New Chair for Dairy Awards Trust

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Trust has a new chair, with former New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year, Teresa Moore, taking on the role.

Mrs Moore won the sharemilker competition in 2009 with husband Chris and the couple is now farming a 71ha 200-cow property at Te Puke in the Bay of Plenty.

“I’m looking forward to working with some great people on the Trust and in overseeing our role to ensure the Trust’s goals are implemented and that there is good communication between the Trust and the NZDIA Executive running the awards programme.” . . .

Reminder to TB test dairy service bulls

The Animal Health Board (AHB) reminds all traders and receiving herdowners that there is no fee for bovine tuberculosis (TB) testing of bulls aged over 12 months that are entering the dairy industry.

Commercial bull lessors should organise a TB test for bulls prior to marketing and leasing them to provide peace of mind to receiving herdowners.

Dairy farmers seeking assurance that the service bulls they are leasing are TB-free should insist on TB tests before accepting them onto their property, or at least ascertain that one has been completed in the past six months. . .


Rural round-up

April 13, 2012

Irrigation problems call for new approaches – Gerald Piddock:

Getting to the future first could see New Zealand become a world leader in sustainable, irrigated agriculture, says a visiting Australian academic.

By achieving an innovative vision for agriculture, New Zealand could then trade this to the world market, Dr Peter Ellyard told delegates at the IrrigationNZ Conference in Timaru.

“I think what you need to do is create a vision for irrigated agriculture for the year 2050 and say `this is what we think we could look like’, and say `why not?”‘ . . .

Management of water resources the problem – Gerald Piddock:

The world does not face a water crisis, but a crisis of water management, an international expert on water says.

The solution to future problems around water management is integrated water resources management by managing the resource across all of its different uses, Danish professor Torkil Jonch Clausen told delegates at the IrrigationNZ conference in Timaru.

This is currently not being done, he said.

“I don’t think the world faces a water crisis, if we act intelligently. We have all the water we need but we do face a crisis in governance in a world of uncertainty.” . . .

Opuha dam held up as fine irrigation example – Gerald Piddock:

South Canterbury’s Opuha Dam should be sold to the public as what irrigation can achieve, the IrrigationNZ conference in Timaru was told. Showcasing such schemes would help improve overall public perceptions of irrigation.

Improving perceptions of irrigation among the wider public could be achieved through better branding and celebrating industry success stories, industry experts said. . .

NZ must make the most of its assets now if it’s to recover – Gerald Piddock:

Growing the levers that generate income is the “only palatable option” in getting New Zealand’s economy back on its feet, ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie says.

New Zealand needed to recognise what it has that is world class which include its water resources, potential minerals, tourism and global reputation, he said in an address at the IrrigationNZ Conference in Timaru.

“They are tremendously powerful areas of strategic advantage.” . . .

‘Wow Factor’ Farm Wins Supreme Title in Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards

Opio farmers Michael and Karen Blomfield, the owners of an “industry-leading” dairy farm, have won the Supreme award in the 2012 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Ballance Farm Environment Award (BFEA) judges were lavish in their praise of the couple’s 220ha former sheep and beef farm, describing it as an “impeccable and aesthetically pleasing farm with the wow factor”.

“This dairy business can be highlighted as demonstrating all the disciplines we would have expected of a medium scale operation that epitomises near optimum environmental, social and financial sustainability.” . . .

Doug’s drought solution leverages water – Jon Morgan:

Doug Avery admits he’s “a bit flash” on the environment and the need to build good soils.

That’s because the 2010 South Island Farmer of the Year has been through the pain of long drought years that hit his Marlborough farm in the 1980s and 90s.

The “decarbonising” of the Marlborough farmland by generations of farmers left him embarrassed to be a farmer, he told a Hawke’s Bay Future Farming Conference.

“But farmers are not the problem,” he said. “We are the solution. As landholders of this country we occupy most of the land that is not in bush or mountain pasture. We must be the guardians of this valuable and ongoing resource.” . . .

Wool must mean wool – Bruce Wills:

What would happen if a local wine company produced a nice bottle of sparkling wine, so nice, they put ‘Champagne’ on the label? In a matter of days they’d feel some hefty legal muscle because since the 1890’s, the French have protected ‘Champagne’ with passion. The French could so easily have given a Gallic shrug, uttered sacré bleu and seen Champagne become another generic name for sparkling wine. Having once tried a $2.99 bottle of American ‘Champagne,’ there’s a few choice words I could use to explain why the French should protect their $7 billion industry.

The Champagne houses couldn’t do this without the active backing of their government. If you want to deal with France or Europe for that matter, you have to respect what intellectual property means. While I’m passionate about wool, the industry around it has sometimes resembled an epic disaster movie. After the boom years of the 1950’s we got so caught up in minutia and infighting, we lost control of our most precious asset being the word ‘wool’ itself. . .

Orchards struggle to find workers – Peter Watson:

Some orchardists are scrambling for pickers as the apple harvest reaches its busiest period.

A late start to the season means the harvest has been compressed into a shorter period.

This has pushed up the demand for staff.

However, growers are finding it difficult to recruit and retain experienced pickers in particular, as foreign workers resume their travels and Kiwis often find the work too hard for the money they can earn. . .

 

Controversial wood strategy shows promise:

The Wood Council of New Zealand (Woodco) released its Strategic Action Plan for Forestry at the FORESTWOOD 2012 national conference for the forest and wood products sector in Wellington last month.

At the ForestWood Conference a new action plan emerged from within that strategy – one which strongly recommends a steep change and leap forward for the industry. Richard Phillips, of North Carolina State University, made a compelling presentation for a new “mega-mill” in the form of a one million tonne per annum integrated pulp mill built to also house integrated biomass and biofuel production cells. . .

Think solar when building a barn – Business Blog:

Anyone constructing a new agricultural building should consider maximising additional income from a roof-mounted solar installation, says Strutt & Parker.

The firm has just opened one of its first solar barn projects at EW Davies Farms in Thaxted, Essex (pictured below) and says that even with the lower Feed-in Tariffs a solar barn should pay for itself in around 20 years. . .


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