Rural round-up

25/09/2017

Demonstration dairy farm cuts nitrate leaching 30% and stays profitable – Tony Benny:

Lincoln University Dairy Farm is close to achieving a 30 per cent reduction in nitrate leaching, while maintaining its profitability. The farm’s managers tell Tony Benny how it was done.

​Like other farms in the Selwyn Waihora zone, one of 10 catchment zones under Environment Canterbury’s water management strategy, Lincoln University’s dairy farm faces new environmental limits, including reducing nitrate leaching 30 per cent by 2022.

By adopting the findings of small-scale research on a nearby farmlet, the farm has all but achieved that well before the deadline and is at the same time nearly matching the financial performance of high-profit farms against which it is benchmarked. . .

Alliance buyout targets Asia – Alan Williams:

Buying its southeast Asian marketing agent is part of a 10 to 15-year strategy to increase sales and the range of meat cuts into the region, Alliance chairman Murray Taggart says.

Goldkiwi Asia has represented the southern farmer-co-operative for more than 25 years, helping to build up customer bases in China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and in Singapore where it is based.

The arrangement had worked very well but there was “no substitute for ownership and control” of the business, Taggart said. . .

Price direction depends on weather – Hugh Stringleman:

Dairy prices remained steady in the latest Global Dairy Auction, adding to speculation that continued wet weather in New Zealand might give the market a lift.

Already it was possible that NZ seasonal supply might increase 1.5% rather than the 3% predicted earlier.

The direction of international market prices would depend very much on weather conditions over the next month in NZ, the world’s largest dairy products exporter. . .

Australia threatens to cash in on NZ’s mānuka honey marketing heroics – Gerard Hutching:

First they claimed the pavlova and Phar Lap as their own, now Australians are arguing they have the right to use the Māori word mānuka for the expensive honey.

This week they racheted the dispute up a notch by setting up the Australian Manuka Honey Association.

“We’re the only two countries that produce it and the whole world needs it [mānuka honey]. We can’t understand what our Kiwi friends are trying to do,” Australian Honey Bee Industry Council chairman Lindsay Bourke said. . . .

Finalists say now is the right time to enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Don’t wait until you think you have the perfect farm to enter the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, say 2017 Southland finalists Derek and Bronnie Chamberlain.

“It’s all about work in progress. Set yourselves some goals and go for it. There’s always something more you can do,” Bronnie says.

“The more eyes you have on your property, the more advice and suggestions the better.”  . . 

Mixed New Season Outlook:

 Silver Fern Farms Chief Executive says the new season, which starts on 1 October, is expected to be mixed across beef, lamb and venison.

“On beef, we are at an interesting point. Store stock markets appear over-heated given where we expect volumes and schedules to end up. Current finished cattle schedules reflect a shortage of supply, which is typical at this time of the year.  . .


Environmental role models needed for ag

24/07/2012

New Zealanders need to hear more about the great progress farmers are making to lift their environmental performance says Ballance Agri-Nutrients Chairman David Graham.

“Farmers, their co-ops and their industry bodies all agree there is a need to protect and improve New Zealand’s water quality.  We have made good progress and we will make more.

“That’s a strong message we need to take to the rest of New Zealand. They don’t hear enough about the great work being done by  our farmers.  Nor do many of them realise how much of our economy depends on six inches of topsoil and how important it is to ensure that soil is productive.”

He said initiatives like the Ballance Farm Environmental Awards were important in showcasing and celebrating agriculture’s great role models and demonstrated to New Zealanders that farmers are committed to sustainable farming. He singled out this year’s national winners, Blair and Jane Smith, as an example of best practice at work.

The fact is, most farmers have always been committed to looking after the land and preserving it for generations to come – it’s just what we do.  Farming sustainably is good common sense and makes good economic sense too.”

Mr Graham said that in order to give communities confidence that farming can and will change, role models like the Smiths were important.

“The Smiths represent a new generation of farmers who understand and are clearly demonstrating that reducing waste and improving efficiency is as good for the environment as it is for the bottom line.”

The Smiths run Newhaven Farms Ltd – a North Otago sheep, beef, forestry and dairy support operation that spans three family-owned properties totalling 1528 ha, and were chosen from nine regional winners. He said despite identifying many talented farmers and role models through the Ballance Farm Environment Awards over the years, it can’t all be left up to them. “While the timeframes to introduce agriculture into the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme appear to have eased off, we cannot rest on our laurels.  The extra time will allow the sector to develop effective, proven mitigation practices.”

Ballance is making a contribution to the cause through their $32 million Clearview Innovations research programme, which is part funded by the Government’s Primary Growth Partnership.

The seven year programme targets all the major challenges facing farming today; nutrient efficiency, water quality and  farm productivity  and is focussed on farming profitably with a lighter environmental footprint.

The Balance Farm Environment Awards showcase the best of farming.

All the entrants are role models for the industry.

This is important not just for other farmers but for the public which is too often shown only the minority of farmers who don’t regard themselves as stewards of their land and the wider environment.

Farmers we spoke to in England and Europe last month spoke admiringly of New Zealand farming practices.

There is no room for complacency and there is still a small minority of farmers who either don’t know or don’t care about the importance of sustainable farming practices.

But that is all the more reason to celebrate the majority and industry leaders like the Environment Award winners.

 


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