Rural round-up

December 16, 2013

Knowledge key to future of station in high country – Ruth Grundy:

For Balmoral Station owner Andrew Simpson knowledge is key to making the best decisions for the future.

”If you don’t have answers you can’t plan your future”You have to know as much as you can, to understand things, to be able to make clever decisions.”

Over the years the Simpsons have welcomed scientists and researchers of all persuasions on to the unique property.

Balmoral was home to the oldest agricultural trial site in the country, forestry crown research institute Scion had been conducting trials on the property for the past 20 years and this included New Zealand’s biggest dryland forestry trial, he said. . .

NZ velvet highly rated by Chinese – Allison Rudd,:

Deer velvet – still fuzzy and fresh from being cut – is spread on the table for judging at the New Zealand Velvet and Trophy Antler Competition at Invercargill’s Ascot Park Hotel.

Chinese scholar Quankai Wang, who is attending his third competition, likes what he sees. He pulls banknotes from his pocket and offers to buy a specimen, much to the amusement of competition officials.

”New Zealand deer velvet is number one. It is the best quality,” Prof Wang says. . .

Country inspires musical output – Sally Rae;

Craig Adams has always loved music.

Years ago, while working in a wool store, the guitar used to come out and there would be a sing-along. But while people told him he had a good voice, Mr Adams (41) never had any training.

Fast forward to now and music has gone from being ”a bit of a lark” to being semi-professional, including the recent release of his debut album Country High. . .

Swarms keep beekeepers on their toes:

Beekeepers in the North Island are scratching their heads – and ducking for cover – due to the exceptionally high rate of swarming going on.

Swarming is one of the ways bees reproduce – with the queen bee leaving the hive – along with about half of the bees to establish a new colony, before a new queen bee emerges in the hive.

Plant & Food Research bee scientist Mark Goodwin said swarms were annoying for beekeepers as they lost half their bees and honey production dropped but the environmental conditions this year had been perfect for it. . .

All Health Care Is Local, Part 1: Uganda –  Eric Silfen,MD:

The late Tip O’Neill, former speaker of the U.S. House, coined the phrase “all politics is local,” by which he meant that politicians become successful by addressing the everyday concerns of the voters who elected them to office. In the same way, I believe that many of the “global” healthcare challenges we face can best be addressed by developing affordable, accessible and cost-effective solutions that satisfy patients’ needs. Simple solutions can offer dramatic results, and local implementation means solutions are in tune with cultural preferences and economic realities. In other words, when it comes to improving people’s lives, all healthcare is local.

Nowhere are opportunities to deliver simple, and locally relevant, solutions more evident than in sub-Saharan Africa, in a country like Uganda. Here, the non-governmental organization Imaging the World (ITW) is working to offer affordable, accessible and quality maternal medical services through a revolutionary concept that integrates technology, training and the community. ITW is making a significant impact on the lives of women and their families in rural villages where women have limited access to healthcare throughout their entire lives. . . .

Homebound: Despite their absence, rural women impress through work:

ISLAMABAD: Nothing can curtain natural talent and skill, and the work of homebound women of Pakistan is a testament to that.

The work of indigenous women artisans went on display at an exhibition titled, ‘Stitching and Chai’ here on Saturday promoting the richness and splendour embedded in the heritage of the four provinces of Pakistan.

The exhibition was organised by USAID’s Entrepreneurs Project at the Centre for Arts, Culture and Dialogue, Kuch Khaas as a part of its project to implement cluster-based Value Chain approach through local organisations, private sector, government agencies and other relevant actors for capacity building. . .

Boosting beef without borrowing:

STEPHEN AND Jane Hayes run 348 sheep and 734 cattle on their 583ha property near Kaeo, just north of the Bay of Islands. For the past three years they’ve been Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Far North monitor farm during which time they’ve lifted gross farm revenue $43,850, not to mention having better pasture covers and stock condition across the farm.

Stocking rate’s been lifted from 8.5SU/ha in 2011 to 9.7SU/ha. That’s despite initial concerns that stock weren’t getting enough to grow properly as it was in 2011.

“I didn’t feel we were doing a good enough job of feeding the animals we had without adding on more,” Jane commented to the field day. . .


Rural round-up

January 6, 2013

An inspiring start to farming life – Diane Bishop:

The Otago Southland farmer names Tangaroa Walker as its 2012 newsmaker of the year.

The world is Tangaroa Walker’s oyster.

Since winning the Ahuwhenua Young Maori Trainee-Cadet of the Year Award in June last year, he has taken up a lower order sharemilking position on the farm he previously managed at Rimu, near Invercargill.

“I’m really loving it,” Tangaroa said. . .

Beekeepers eschew kiwifruit orchards as Psa sprays create ‘hazard’ – Jonathan Underhill:

Some beekeepers have pulled their hives out of kiwifruit orchards, concerned that sprays used to control the Psa vine-wilting bacteria are the latest hazard for an under-siege bee population.

“More than one beekeeper has withdrawn their hives,” said John Hartnell, honey exporter and bees spokesman at Federated Farmers. He wouldn’t put his own hives on a kiwifruit orchard, saying “that would destroy my business overnight.” . . .

Varroa spread takes heavy toll – Tim Cronshaw:

Some South Island beekeepers with hives freshly exposed to varroa mites have lost up to 25 per cent of their bees.

They have been forced to replenish their hives with new bees by putting in a man- grafted queen cell in the top box of a non-infected colony and shifting it across to restore a full population.

Varroa has continued its run to as far south as Invercargill now, with the few remaining pockets in the South Island expected to be infected by autumn. . .

Pasture for dairy cows under trial – Terri Russell:

A Southland agricultural research centre is participating in its first trial of grass that will be grazed by dairy cows instead of sheep, a likely result of the shift to dairying in Southland, the centre manager says.

Woodlands Research Station is one of four sites throughout New Zealand hosting the trial, run by DairyNZ and AgResearch, to measure the growth of different pasture varieties.

The centre is monitoring eight varieties of grass over five years and across 20 paddocks. . .

Outlook cloudy for 2013 – Allan Barber:

As we head into the New Year, the Christmas break has provided an opportunity to consider how the meat industry is likely to pan out during 2013. But literally as I write this speculative opinion piece, the fate of the American economy is still uncertain – although the Senate approved a restructured deal on taxes and expenditure yesterday, Republican dominated Congress has yet again balked at reaching an acceptable conclusion.

By the time you read this, the situation will no doubt have changed again for the better or the worse, but it isn’t easy to predict which. . .

Ministry needs recreational quad bike focus:

Farmers are taking quad bike safety seriously, but the latest incident in the Hawke’s Bay, again highlights this message is not getting through to recreational users.

“Recreational users, quad bikes and alcohol are a cocktail for disaster,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers spokesperson for health and safety.

“While many farmers are heeding the safety message, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment need to find a better way to convey safety when it comes to recreational users. . .


Rural round-up

June 7, 2012

Europe not a lost lamb market – Tim Cronshaw:

Large South Island meat exporter Alliance Group plans to grow its sheepmeat trade even further in China, but is cautious about over-reliance on that market. 

    Chief executive Grant Cuff said China was an important destination for the meat processing co-operative, and it was eyeing future growth and aimed to be the largest exporter of lamb to that country. . .

Growing business but staying home – Collette Devlin:

The traditional 50:50 sharemilking career path is declining as land, farm and herd numbers increase. Reporter Collette Devlin speaks with the van der Straatens on equity partnerships in dairying.

    Yesterday, with the arrival of Gypsy Day, the van der Straatens didn not move house or cows; instead they shifted the focus of their business. 

    Contract milkers Arjan and Tracy van der Straaten had been 50:50 sharemilkers but found it difficult to take the final step to ownership, so looked at alternative options. . .  

Nature’s land anchor:

MEASURING the root growth of poplar tree is part of an ongoing study by Landcare Research to look at which trees species are best suited to erosion control.

The roots of a three-year-old poplar tree have been excavated using compressed air and a long lance gun and then laid out in a glasshouse to carry out the tree measurements.

Landcare research scientist Dr Mike Marden says the research initiative has been running for a number of years. . .

Licences plan to keep bees – Gerald Piddock:

Moves are underway to tighten compliance within the beekeeping industry in an effort to curb the spread of diseases. 

Beekeepers currently have to register their hives as required under the National American Foulbrood Pest Management Strategy. 

    They are also encouraged but not required to hold a Disease Elimination Conformity Agreement (DECA). . .

Precision farming better at Lincoln – Gerald Piddock:

The Lincoln University Dairy Farm has had a successful season after moving to precision farming. 

    The new system focuses on a high-energy intake when feeding the cow herd and ensuring good grass growth for the next grazing rotation instead of chasing every blade of grass. . .

    Milk production, profit and cow health were all well above last year’s figures on the 185ha farm.

Breeding dogs still on the agenda – Sally Rae:

Barry Hobbs freely admits that moving from managing    20,000 stock units to just 100 is going to be a major    adjustment.   

Mr Hobbs, who manages Thornicroft Station, a 2832ha property near Lake Mahinerangi, and his wife Pamela are moving to an 11ha property at Herbert in North Otago this winter. . .   

Hereford bull sale a big one – Sally Rae:

Millers Flat Hereford breeders Gray and Robyn Pannett had an      outstanding bull sale on their property last week.   

 Mr and Mrs Pannett, from the Limehills stud, sold 42 bulls      for an average of $7921, with a top price of $39,000 to David and Rosemary Morrow from the Okawa stud, near Mt Somers . . .

Finalist liked getting stuck in – Sally Rae:

Last Monday morning, Pete Gardyne was out shifting calves.   

It was back to work as usual for the Gore sheep, beef and arable farmer after a gruelling few days in Dunedin at the grand final of the National Bank Young Farmer Contest. . .


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