Rural round-up

May 14, 2015

Drought conditions remain in South Island:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says farmers throughout the eastern South Island are still feeling the effects of drought, particularly in North Canterbury.

“It’s likely the medium-scale adverse event classification will remain in place until August or September this year, depending on conditions over autumn,” says Mr Guy.

“Despite recent rainfall, farmers and growers are still feeling the impacts of these prolonged dry conditions.

“In particular, the driest area is around Cheviot in North Canterbury which has been largely missed by most of the recent rainfall. . .

 

Drought takes its toll – feed an issue:

Federated Farmers North Canterbury say farmers affected by the drought are facing a tough year ahead and will be struggling with some tough decisions.

“It is not a great time for farmers in North Canterbury, most of us are facing a year of little to no feed, low stocking rates and substantial financial losses,” says Dan Hodgen, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre Chair. 

“With the drought leaving us with a significant lack of grass and crop growth, we are either having to sell capital stock at a much lower rate than we usually would or having to buy in supplementary feed. Some farmers are doing both.” . . .

El Niño pattern blow to Canterbury farmers – Susie Nordqvist:

North Canterbury farmers already in the grip of their worst drought in 60 years have been dealt another blow today.

NIWA says we are on the cusp of an El Niño weather pattern, meaning things are about to get even drier in the east and wetter in the west.

Canterbury’s trademark Nor’west winds are exactly what drought-stricken farmers don’t need.

“When you just get the wind likes this it’s stripping out the moisture in it,” says Federated Farmers north Canterbury president Lynda Murchison. . .

Relentless drought and El Nino means more water storage needed:

Today it was confirmed that drought conditions in the South Island will likely drag on until September this year, emphasising the risk of dry weather patterns to New Zealand and highlighting the need for regional water storage and irrigation infrastructure,” says Andrew Curtis, IrrigationNZ CEO. “These conditions are only likely to worsen in the long term and spread to other parts of the country as a predicted El Nino weather pattern sets in.”

Concerns about how these warm weather patterns will impact our economy were set out in a recent International Monetary Fund report

(http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2015/wp1589.pdf). As part of its findings, the report recommended further investment in irrigation. . .

Bay of Plenty set for good growth:

The Bay of Plenty region and its industries could grow substantially thanks to its resource, population, location and climate advantages, a newly published report reveals.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today released the Bay of Plenty Regional Growth Study, which shows that the region has a number of natural advantages and is well placed to attract further investment, raise incomes and increase employment.

“This study provides a detailed summary of the opportunities for the Bay of Plenty’s future,” Mr Joyce says. “It outlines the potential of the primary sector, manufacturing and tourism industries in particular to grow the region. . . .

Kiwifruit industry set for strong growth, thanks Prime Minister for support:

The kiwifruit industry came together to thank the Government for its support with efforts to manage the bacterial disease Psa, when the Prime Minister John Key visited Zespri’s Mt Maunganui office this afternoon.

Zespri chairman Peter McBride says senior representatives of postharvest, growers and industry organisations took the opportunity to show the Prime Minister how far the industry has come since Psa was first discovered in New Zealand in 2010.

“It’s hard to recall now just how uncertain and dark those days were, when we simply did not know how the industry could continue with Psa. . .

 

 


Todd Muller Nat candidate for BoP

June 4, 2014

National Party delegates have selected Todd Muller as their candidate in the Bay of Plenty electorate.

“Todd brings a depth of experience and knowledge of the issues facing regional New Zealand that will ensure he is a strong and effective voice for Bay of Plenty,” said Regional Chair Peter Osborne.

“Tony Ryall has served this electorate loyally for 24 years and left big shoes to fill, but I know Todd will work hard to earn the trust of Bay of Plenty communities.”

Mr Muller thanked local members for their confidence in him and pledged to run a strong campaign to ensure the re-election of a John Key National-led Government on 20 September.

“The Bay of Plenty is where I grew up, and have lived and worked much of my adult life. It’s a great place to live with many opportunities ahead if we stick to path we’re on under this Government.”

“I’ll be taking nothing for granted this election. I’ll be working hard over the coming months engage with our communities about National’s plan and the important issues for Bay of Plenty,” said Mr Muller.

“With the support of our communities, I’ll work hard to keep Bay of Plenty’s strong voice in John Key’s National Party.”

Todd Muller – Biographical Notes

Todd Muller was born in Te Aroha and raised in Te Puna. He attended Tauranga Boys College before earning his Masters Degree from Waikato University.

His recent career experience includes roles as a General Manager for Zespri, Chief Executive of Bay of Plenty company Apata, and most recently as Group Director Cooperative Affairs for Fonterra.

He is a Waikato University Councillor, and sits on the Boards of Plant and Food Research and the Sustainable Business Council.

Mr Muller is married to Michelle and is father to their three children, Aimee, Bradley, and Amelia.

While his most recent role took him to Auckland in 2011, Mr Muller will return to the Bay of Plenty to campaign full time.

National has selected another candidate who has real world experience which will be invaluable for constituents and in caucus.

 


Twister kills 16 cows

August 19, 2008

Sixteen cows were electrocuted  on a Bay of Plenty farm when a twister brought down high voltage power lines.

The tornado ripped through the Jackson Rd area, east of Opotiki, accompanied by heavy rain and hail. It also demolished two barns, scattered trees and wrecked hundreds of metres of fencing.

Farmer Graham Collier said the twister ripped out several power-poles, dropping high-voltage power lines that electrocuted 16 in-calf cows.

“There was a lot of rain and hail coming down and then the windows on the house and the ranch sliders started rattling and moving – some of them by several inches. It was quite scary,” Mr Collier said.

“I went outside and checked the cowshed. A couple of 25,000-litre water tanks had been lifted by the twister. They were empty but lashed to the fence.”

The tornado took the tanks and fence, and dragged them through two other fences, damaging more than 300 metres in all, Mr Collier said.

Mr Collier said he noticed the wires and a gate were still glowing and was not able to do anything until the power was shut down.

Nature throwing a tantrum can be very scarey. And those poor cows, the only comfort is that if they were struck by high voltage wires they literally wouldn’t know what hit them.


Which Province is NZ’s Food Bowl?

July 12, 2008

If Waikato is the food bowl of New Zealand  as Lianne Dalziel said in justifying the appointment of former MP Dianne Yates to the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Board, then the province needs to improve its marketing.

I’d have accepted the cream can or horse racing capital, but Waitako wouldn’t immediately come to mind if I was asked which province is the nation’s food bowl.

If we’re going for North Island entrants for the title Hawkes Bay with its wonderful fruit, vegetables, sea food and wine would be a finalist. The Bay of Plenty, Poverty Bay and Northland have a delicious range of fruit and vegetables too; and Wairarapa has wine and olives.

In the South Island, Central Otago can claim the country’s best stone fruit, it has pip fruit and wine too. Nelson and Malborough also grow tasty fruit and have delicious sea food and wine. Canterbury produces tasty fruit and good wine too.

Oysters put Southland on the list, though I’m not sure if swedes would be counted for or against them 🙂

Lamb is legend in Hawkes Bay, Canterbury and Southland, though just about anywhere in New Zealand grows it just as well, and the same can be said for beef.

North Otago may not spring to everyone’s mind as the culinary capital but we have a growing appreciation of our primary produce. There’s a fledging viticulture industry, and Fleurs Place at Moeraki has woken our taste buds to the delights of local fish and sea food. Just as the cold winters add intensity of flavour to Central’s stone fruit, the colder water enhances the flavour of fish, particularly blue cod.

Riverstone Kitchen , a finalist in the Cuisine restaurant of the Year, uses as much local produce as possible – including fruit, vegetables and herbs, from its own orchard and garden.

Wasabi is grown in the Waitaki Valley and it also produces very sweet strawberries, raspberries, loganberries, blackberries, tayberries and boysenberries.

Whitestone Cheese has an array of national awards to back up my ever so slightly biased view that they produce the country’s best cheese.

Totara Lowlands  sells the most succulent cherries I have ever eaten – they don’t export so the pick of the crop is sold locally. Their hazelnuts and honey are also top quality.

While we’re in that part of the the district, Totara and nearby Kakanui are renowned for the vegetables from their market gardens and there are simply no better new potatoes in the world than those which grow here. They are no ordinary spuds, they’re more like underground strawberries.

If you don’t understand how proud North Otago would be if we were called the nation’s potato patch then you obviously haven’t tasted the Jersey Bennies which grow here.


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