Rural round-up

October 13, 2015

Location and movement sensors thwart hive thieves – Tim Fulton:

Thieves are stealing manuka honey hives, forcing beekeepers to protect their hives using location and movement sensors.

Manuka-rich regions like Northland and Waikato, down to the wide-open pastures and hill country of the South Island, are being targeted.

Federated Farmers Bee Industry Group chairman John Hartnell said the country had nearly 600,000 hives –double the number at the turn of the century. . .

Love of dairying overcomes cow allergy – Barbara Gillham:

An allergy to cows has not stopped Sheree Walters from fulfilling her dream of dairy farming.

She feels she has time and experience on her side as she works toward her ultimate goal of running her own run-off block.

Currently working as a support technician for  on their 2700ha dairy farm near the small rural community of Hororata in North Canterbury, Walters says she has always loved dairy farming.

Although her parents did not farm, she was fortunate to have an uncle that had a dairy farm and lived nearby.

“When I was younger I always used to go to his farm after school and help out; he milked about 150 cows and I was always down there any chance I had,” she says. . . 

Hopes for better rural health services:

NZLocums, A recruitment division of the NZ Rural General Practice Network, has placed its first nurse practitioner in a permanent role in a New Zealand rural general practice.

Network chairwoman and Temuka nurse practitioner Sharon Hansen hopes for more such appointments, saying these nurse practitioners in rural areas are “absolutely” positive for the community.

Nurse practitioners have master’s degrees and must go through an extensive assessment by the Nursing Council. They can do a wider range of duties than other nurses, including some diagnosis and prescribing of medicines. . . 

Cloudy Bay celebrates its 30th vintage wine:

Stories of entrepreneurs are usually inspiring, but not many tales are as dramatic as that of Cloudy Bay wines, whose makers are celebrating its 30th vintage.

This is the stuff of urban legend. One minute, a gung-ho Australian takes a couple of sips of Marlborough sauvignon blanc (1983), the following year he is travelling to Marlborough and unwittingly planting the seeds of one of the most successful wine brands in the last half century.

The man in question is David Hohnen. He was in Western Australia when he first tasted Marlborough sauvignon blanc, so he wasn’t exactly handy to the region.

But his sixth sense back then of right time-right place enabled him to take the plunge and investigate further. . . 

 

Farm sitters settle in – Shan Goodwin:

FARM sitting has been plugging gaps left by the trend for retired producers to relocate to the coast and the mining boom induced farm labour shortage in the past decade, but now it’s emerging as the newest agriculture profession.

Attracted by the extensive travel opportunities, diversity, flexibility and next-to-nothing living expenses of being a short-term caretaker of somebody else’s operation, experienced farmers are selling up to become full-time farm sitters.

Rural community and farm industry leaders say the growth of the concept of farm sitting has many pluses, not the least being the retention of knowledge and skills in agriculture and the social and economic benefits of additional faces in small bush towns. . . 


Rural round-up

June 10, 2015

Two options for Wairarapa water storage:

Two options for water storage schemes in the Wairarapa have been selected for a feasibility study after six other options were ruled out.

A four-year investigation by the Wairarapa Water Use Project will now consider building reservoirs near Masterton at Black Creek and Tividale.

The two reservoirs would irrigate about 30,000 hectares from Masterton to Lake Wairarapa.

An independent study calculates the scheme could add $157 million to the Wellington regional economy each year and create 1,200 new jobs. . .

 Plea for open minds on Wairarapa water project:

A Wairarapa farming leader is asking people to keep an open mind on plans for large scale irrigation in the region as a feasibility study begins on two potential dam sites.

Following four years of investigation so far, the Wairarapa Water Use Project will focus on building reservoirs near Masterton, at Black Creek and Tividale.

They could irrigate almost 30,000 hectares, stretching from north of Masterton and southwest of Greytown to the north of Lake Wairarapa. . .

Young couple learn from old hands – Barbara Gillham:

AFTER several years’ farm leasing, sheep and beef farmers Tom Cranswick and his fiancé Ellie Meadows see the equity partnership they have recently entered as an exciting step in their farming career.

In April the couple became equity partners with brothers Peter and Andrew Gawith and their wives on an 830ha-effective farm near Gladstone, Wairarapa.

The farm has been in the Gawith family for three generations, and Peter has been farming it since taking it over from his parents. Andrew is an economist who lives and works in Wellington. . .

Fieldays fencer aims for 60th birthday win – Te Ahua Maitland:

After 40 years of competing, Nick Liefting is preparing to lace up his boots one last time for this year’s Fieldays at Mystery Creek Golden Pliers fencing competition.

The Pukekohe contractor is set to retire following his 60th birthday. His presence this year will make him the first 60-year-old to compete at the Golden Pliers competition, an achievement which crowns appearances that started when he was just 19. . .

Biowaste key ingredient for growing profits:

New research from Lincoln University suggests biowaste can be used on former pine plantations to generate big economic returns.
Four years of research in a greenhouse environment found the waste, which might include sewage and dairy shed effluent, can be used to rapidly establish native vegetation on former pine forest soils.

Early estimates suggest the natives could produce a financial return of over $200 million annually. . .

Be more than just average statistics: 

Averages are a great mathematical tool and brilliant for hiding poorer performing results because they get dragged up by higher results.
Unfortunately the reverse also happens: the top performing results get dragged down into the general population. This is fine when we are only interested in trends in the status quo, but the dairy industry today needs change.

The dairy industry faces a number of challenges – environmental, welfare and profitability to name a few. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

March 8, 2015

Legendary shearer David Fagan retires from competition – Diane Bishop:

David Fagan reckons he’s had a pretty good innings. And you can’t argue that.

After all, he’s one of the most successful competition shearers this country has ever seen, and is likely to see.

At 53, he’s hanging up the handpiece, competitively speaking.

Despite his legendary status, Fagan is surprisingly down-to-earth and matter-of-fact about his last season on the shearing circuit. . .

Devotion saves oasis on dry plains:

Peter Etheridge is passionate about wildlife. So much so that when this summer’s drought threatened to shut down the creek flowing through his 12ha property, he knew he had to act.

The deer farmer, who lives 7km outside Ashburton, teamed up with neighbouring farmers to keep Green Street’s Spring Creek alive.

It was a tough ask. Irrigating farmers in the area were already on a 100 per cent water restriction so no water could be taken from the Ashburton River which feeds the creek. However, by negotiating with the local regional council, Environment Canterbury, Etheridge and his neighbours were able to get a small amount of water released purely for environmental purposes. . .

Learning experience for Southland deer farmers – Diane Bishop:

Dipton deer farmer Brian Russell is at the top of his game.

But, he’s the first to admit he’s still got a “bit to learn” on his family-owned property The Rock.

Brian and his wife Kristine are large scale deer farmers farming two properties comprising more than 2100 hectares in Northern and Central Southland. . .

Shear diplomacy for US Consul – Andrew Bonallack:

Mr Ambassador sir, it’s time to take your jacket off.

Under hot lights and in front of a large crowd, the brand new US Ambassador to New Zealand donned a Golden Shears singlet over his shirt and waited for his turn to have a go shearing a sheep at Masterton’s War Memorial stadium yesterday.

Mark Gilbert, who officially became the US Ambassador to New Zealand last month, was enjoying a tour of the Golden Shears competition when the suggestion was made for him to have a go at shearing. . .

Marmalade champions – Gerald Ford:

Whareama couple Sally Duckworth and Alisdair Ross have conquered the world of marmalade, taking two gold medals at the World Marmalade Championships in Cumbria, United Kingdom, on Saturday.

The competition, known as the World’s the Original Awards, this year attracted more than 2500 entries from across Europe, North America, Asia and Africa, as well as the Middle East and Australia and New Zealand.

Only one entrant managed more than two golds at the event.

The couple make marmalade as Marmalada, on their property at the historic 1884 Langdale Homestead.

This was the second year Sally and Alisdair have entered the competition. . .

Wood chopping a crowd favourite at Field Days     – Barbara Gillham:

Competition will be at the cutting edge and records may be broken when axemen from around the country enter the Husqvarna Wood Chopping Arena this year.

Always a crowd-pleaser, wood chopping has been at Central Districts Field Days since it began 22 years ago.

Run by the Taranaki Axemen’s Club, competitors – including brothers Jack and Shane Jordon from Stratford – will be in action. Two of New Zealand’s top axemen, Jack was the youngest world champion two years ago at the age of 17. . .

 


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