Rural round-up

July 5, 2016

The Snow Farmer – John Lee of the Cardrona Valley – Beattie’s Book BLog:

The Snow Farmer

John Lee of the Cardrona Valley
Sally Rae
Photographs by Stephen Jaquiery
Published by Random House NZ; July 1, 2016; RRP: $50

“John’s story is one to inspire others. It’s a story of a man with a vision, and the strength of personality and the strong relationships with others to make it happen. It’s a Kiwi story of grit and determination of which we can all be proud.” –

Helen Clark, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand (1999-2008).

John Lee has always been a law unto himself. Entrepreneurial, inventive, determined, he hailed from a farming background in the Cardrona Valley; the third of five boys. Schooled in Oamaru, the young John Lee was no fan of the classroom – he was good at maths, but struggled with words– preferring to spend his time dreaming about the day he would farm in his beloved Cardrona Valley. . . .

Fed Farmers launch new sustainability scheme:

An initiative aimed at directing farmers towards sustainable use of land and water has been launched by Federated Farmers.

The farming lobby group’s president Dr William Rolleston, announced the establishment of the Land Water Stewardship initiative at its conference this morning.

Dr Rolleston said the initiative would be a small group that would work together to propose solutions to take the economy and the environment forward and engage with farmers . . .

‘Best in the world’ fruit in demand – Jill Herron:

The Cromwell Basin is now producing around half of New Zealand’s export cherries and they are “the best in the world”.

Quite a claim, but one that can be confidently made, in relation to the Asian palate anyway, newly-elected chairman of Summerfruit NZ, Tim Jones, says.

“We think they are the best in the world and our market is telling us they are. That’s one of the reasons we can charge up to $25 a kg, because we deliver on the promise that when someone over there lifts the lid on a box of our cherries, they will go wow.”

Cherry plantings around Cromwell had expanded in recent years, mainly into the Mount Pisa area, as the Southeast Asian markets developed, Mr Jones said. . . 

Silver Fern confident – Sally Rae:

September 30 has been agreed in principle by Silver Fern Farms and Shanghai Maling as the revised date to meet Overseas Investment Office approval for their joint venture.

SFF has been awaiting an announcement from the OIO since farmer shareholders voted in favour of the deal last October.

More time was needed to answer the further information requests from the OIO and then to provide sufficient time for the OIO and then Government ministers to consider the application.

SFF continued to believe the investment would be approved “given its substantial merits”, chief executive Dean Hamilton said in a statement. . . 

Waterways project wins environment funding:

Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox have announced more than $376,000 of funding to improve water quality in seven waterways in the Manawatū-Whanganui and Taranaki regions.

Local iwi Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi will lead the Te Kāhui o Rauru Trust’s Waterways Restoration Project, working with both local and central government.

“The Government is committed to improving water quality in the Manawatū-Whanganui and Taranaki regions. This initiative is focused on the Kai Iwi, Ototoka and Ōkehu streams, the Waitōtara riverbank, Tapuarau Lagoon, the middle reaches of the Waitōtara River and the Whenuakura River,” Dr Smith says.

“Te Kāhui o Rauru Trust clearly understands the issues in these waterways and its project offers realistic, achievable objectives. It has focused clearly on protecting and restoring the seven waterways and moreover has recognised the need to develop ways to monitor the ongoing health of these rivers, lagoon and streams.” . . 

Marlborough Sounds Salmon Working Group to be established:

The Marlborough District Council and the Ministry for Primary Industries will establish a Marlborough Sounds Salmon Working Group to consider options to implement the Best Management Practice Guidelines for Salmon Farming in the Marlborough Sounds (the guidelines). Other agencies that will have input into the process include the Department of Conservation and the Ministry for the Environment.

The working group will meet starting in July and provide recommendations to Marlborough District Council and the Government on implementing the guidelines.

Ministry for Primary Industries Deputy Director General Ben Dalton said the public, the council, government and industry have shown a commitment to implement the guidelines. . . 

Guy attending primary sector leaders’ bootcamp:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy departs for Stanford University today to attend a primary sector leaders bootcamp, focused on developing collaboration and innovation. 

“The week-long conference is part of the Te Hono movement, bringing together Chief Executives and leaders with a vison to accelerate the transformation of the primary sector by adding value and creating demand,” says Mr Guy.

“As a Government we have a goal of doubling the value of primary sector exports by 2025 and sector leaders share our ambition to explore new ways of collaboration and building capability in our people. . . 

10 Reasons Why Kids Brought Up in Agriculture Make the Best Employees – Raised in a Barn:

Kids involved in agriculture are truly one of a kind. They possess a unique skill set unlike anyone else. For the record, there are more than 10 reasons why you should hire an ag kid, but here are some of the best and most important reasons why ag kids make the best employees.

  1. They understand the importance of being on time.

For Ag kids they know that time is of the essence and wasting daylight is not an option. Even if your five minutes late feeding that show lamb, it will notice. You can expect us to be 15 minutes early because that’s what we’ve learned from our time at the barn.

  1. Respect is something they value more than anything.

They have worked hard in the show ring to be well-respected so they understand that respect isn’t something that’s given it’s EARNED. FFA taught them to, “…believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others.” . . .

 


Rural round-up

May 20, 2016

Major Japanese suit retailer commits to Kiwi wool – Dave Gooselink:

Fifty sales representatives from one of Japan’s largest suit retailers have spent the day on a Kiwi sheep farm.

They’ve been inspecting some of the merino sheep behind the company’s premium clothing, and it’s a market that’s expanding.

“We show them where it comes from off the sheep [and] we have some sheep out the back, which they’ve seen,” says Maniototo’s Closeburn Station’s Tony Clarke.

“We have some shearing so they see how it’s taken off them.” . . 

Westland launches UHT Product in China:

Only a few weeks after officially opening its new UHT milk and cream plant at its premises in Rolleston (April 15), Westland Milk Products has launched its whipping cream product into the Chinese market.

The Hokitika-based co-operative (New Zealand’s second largest dairy co-op) chose the 19th International Bakery Exhibition of China (Bakery China 2016) to launch the brand ‘Westgold Mu En’ (pronounced ‘moo ern’), aiming to bring a wider range of authentic New Zealand dairy products to Chinese consumers. Westgold Mu En, Westland’s flagship consumer and foodservice brand in China, literally translates as ‘nourishment from the pasture.’ The brand will initially comprise of Westland’s UHT milk, whipping cream and butter. . . 

China dominates global dairy imports – Keith Woodford:

In New Zealand, we have yet to come to terms with the reality that the future of our dairy industry is highly dependent on China.

America does not need us. Europe does not need us. The oil producing countries can no longer afford us. Africa has never been able to afford us.

So it is all about Asia. . . 

Government welcomes Māori forestry collective announcement:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Te Puni Kokiri (TPK) welcomed the announcement of Te Taitokerau Maori Forestry Collective Incorporated’s Action Plan to 2020 launched today at the He Kai Kei Aku Ringa (HKKAR) Regional Hui in Kerikeri.

The Collective is made up of 10 Māori land entities, and together they plan to replant more than 32,000 hectares of their land in forest – an initiative that offers business, education and employment opportunities. The Action Plan to 2020 will pave the way for the Collective’s future.

Ben Dalton, Deputy Director General at the Ministry for Primary Industries, is pleased with the significant progress the Collective has made. . . 

Nurturing the World: dairying with a difference – Caitlin McGee:

Miraka is a dairy company with a difference. It is the only one in the world that uses geo-thermal steam to power its plant. It also uses a worm farm to help get rid of waste.

Richard Wyeth is the chief executive and he says Miraka has a real point of difference in the industry.

“We have a full, closed-loop recycling system, which is reasonably unique in the New Zealand dairy sector. The other thing that is unique about Miraka is that we are predominantly Maori-owned, so 80 percent of our shareholders are Maori trust corporations.” . . .

Uncontrolled Urban Sprawl Will Increase Vegetable Prices:

It’s a simple equation: Auckland spreads its housing into our fruit and vegetable production land = we all pay more for food.

Horticulture New Zealand says if more houses are built on the most productive rural land then we can all expect to pay more for fresh vegetables and fruit.

“We know we need a bigger Auckland, but do we want to pay $10 a kilo for vegetables imported from China?” HortNZ natural resources manager Chris Keenan says.

HortNZ is worried the true cost of uncontrolled Auckland sprawl is not understood. . . 

 

Positivity Pumping At 2016 NZ Dairy Awards Final:

The winners and finalists in the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are evidence of the opportunities for people to prosper in the country’s dairy industry.

In front of 530 people at Wellington’s TSB Bank Arena last night, Mark and Jaime Arnold were named the 2016 New Zealand Share Farmers of the Year, Thomas Chatfield became the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and Nicholas Bailey was announced the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year. They shared prizes worth nearly $170,000. . . 

Research into rural disease transmission:

The transmission of diseases passed between animals and humans is the focus of research to be carried out by Otago University.

Known as Zoonotic disease transmission, around 60 percent of micro-organisms causing human diseases are passed that way.

The research led by Dr Pippa Scott will concentrate on two diseases, Escherichia coli, a particularly nasty bug that causes severe diarrhoea, and Staphylococcus aureus, a skin and blood infection. . . 

Onion Industry Strategy Delivering Increased Export Earnings:

Onions New Zealand Inc says with 75% of this season’s crop shipped, the industry is pleased with the direction it’s heading in.

“Returns are expected to be up 50% on last year,” chief executive Michael Ahern says.

“This means an increase from $81 million to $125 million FoB. This forecasted result will re-assert onions position as the third largest fresh horticulture export item after kiwifruit and pipfruit.” . . 

Accurate fertiliser spreading could save NZ agriculture millions:

A research study, commissioned by the New Zealand Fertiliser Quality Council (FQC), estimates that New Zealand agriculture could save tens of millions of dollars in lost production and wasted fertiliser – every year.

Conducted by Massey University’s Centre for Precision Agriculture, the report, which reviewed spreading accuracy from twin disc fertiliser spreaders, found that several factors contributed to ‘off target’ fertiliser spreading – including the physical properties of the fertiliser product, demand for spreaders to spread wider, as well as topography and wind. . . 

Southeast Asian entrepreneurs to gain insights into New Zealand agriculture:

Top Southeast Asian agribusiness leaders and entrepreneurs will be visiting Hamilton agricultural show Fieldays as part of a programme run by the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

The group is coming to New Zealand for a week-long programme through the ASEAN Young Business Leaders Initiative, managed by the Asia New Zealand Foundation for the New Zealand Government. ASEAN is a grouping of 10 Southeast Asian nations with a population of more than 620 million. New Zealand has a free trade agreement in place with ASEAN through the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA). . . 


Project Manuka sweeetens life

April 27, 2016

This is a honey of a story:

A group of young Kaikohe men who have never had full-time work have begun planting manuka as part of a pilot project aimed at improving their future and that of their small Northland town.

Project Manuka is a joint venture between Northland College and the government to reboot the moribund local economy.

The school owns 450ha of land, gifted decades ago for educational purposes, and has run it as a dairy farm and forestry block giving students opportunities to learn agricultural skills.

In its latest venture, it has begun replanting some of the land in manuka for honey production.

There is currently fierce competition for manuka as beekeeping takes off as an industry in the north.

Under a scheme backed by several government ministries, 11 long-term unemployed people have been training in forestry skills over eight weeks and preparing scrubby hillsides for planting in the valuable crop.

None of them have held a full-time job before, and none have formal qualifications.

Their tutor, forestry training contractor Jack Johnson, has had them training at the gym, on the hills cutting tracks and in the classroom swotting for Level 2 NCEA forestry papers. And all eleven have passed.

“A Level 2 certificate in anything – that’s a huge achievement for these boys,” said Mr Johnson.

“Passing a drug test was a huge achievement. The challenge I’ve given them now is refraining altogether from drugs. That’s a life change that they need to make – not only for themselves, but for their families.”

It’s a challenge the workers themselves seem happy to meet. . . .

Drug free, legitimately employed, gaining new skills and qualifications – life will be sweeter for these men and their families.

The official leading Project Manuka is Ben Dalton, from the Ministry of Primary Industries, who says the pilot scheme is intended to lead to much bigger things.

The three priorities for the government in its Northland Economic Action Plan were to increase productivity in existing industries, attract new industry and investment to the north and to build a workforce capable of meeting the needs of that industry.

Mr Dalton said there were 86,000 hectares of undeveloped Māori land around Kaikohe and a huge pool of unemployed people who would relish the chance to escape poverty and improve their families’ lives, given the training.

“These are good people,” he said. “They just haven’t had the chances. All of these guys cost the New Zealand taxpayer a lot of money. So if you spend a fraction of that helping them to become employable and also to see a brighter future, then I think it’s a worthwhile investment. ” . . .

It’s far better to invest money in helping people help themselves than keep on investing in misery.

The chairman of Northland College’s board of trustees, Ken Rintoul, dismissed any suggestion that a new generation of young Māori were being trained just to be labourers.

A percentage of all these students will go into management.

“They’ll be earmarked at the end of this course to be crew leaders, or business owners “

Mr Rintoul also chairs the Youth Enterprise Scheme in Northland which aims to get young people into governance.

“Three years in a row now local Māori have won the National Awards, so we must be on the right track,” he said.

Mr Rintoul said the eventual proceeds from the Northland College manuka plantation would go back to the school.

This is an opportunity for people to escape poverty which brings social and economic benefits for them and the country, and the project will eventually provide an income stream for the school.


Rural round-up

July 27, 2014

Changes likely in lakes camping – David Bruce:

Thousands of campers who pour in to Waitaki lakes camp sites during summer face some major changes in management by the Waitaki District Council.

Most of the camps could be handed over to private operators under leases or contracts, but before any final decisions are made, people will be asked what they want.

That is likely to be contentious. Similar proposals in the past have caused consternation among some campers.

But they could also look at the Mackenzie District Council’s Haldon Arm Camp, which is administered by the Haldon Arm Reserve Trust Board, made up of campers. . .

Water deal celebrated – Sally Brooker:

Compromise and co-operation are being hailed as the main ingredients in a South Canterbury agreement on nitrogen limits.

Farmers in the Lower Waitaki-South Coastal Canterbury catchment had asked their Environment Canterbury zone committee for more time to work on allocating nitrogen emissions, within the maximum already set to meet the goals of a healthy environment and vibrant economy.

Since February, the farmers have held more than 10 meetings, with ECan supplying technical advisers. After fearing they would not agree, they eventually did.” . . .

Asian markets driving growth for NZ food & beverage exports:

Consumer demand in East and South East Asia for high value foods and beverages is driving export growth and diversification, a new Government report shows.

‘What does Asia Want for Dinner? Emerging Market Opportunities for New Zealand food & beverages in East & South East Asia’ was released today by Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

The report finds that New Zealand’s overall food and beverage export performance to Asia is excellent; performing strongly in dairy, as well as in meat, seafood, produce and processed foods.

“Asia is the fastest growing food market in the world and is increasingly important for New Zealand exports”, Mr Joyce says. . .

Māori agribusiness showcased to international delegation:

New Zealand’s Māori agribusiness programmes are on show this week, as delegates from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies visit New Zealand to address common barriers to rural economic development. Through case studies and on-farm visits, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will share experiences learned while helping to build the capability of New Zealand’s rural economic development.

The visiting delegates from Peru, Indonesia, Japan, China, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines will attend a two-day APEC PPFS Rural Development workshop from 22-24 July 2014, hosted by MPI and the Northland Māori agribusiness partners.

“Food security is a common APEC challenge with increasing demands and a need to focus on sustainable productivity,” says MPI’s Deputy Director-General Ben Dalton. . .

Don’t write of dairying MyFarm says:

People should not be in any hurry to write off dairy farming just because prices have taken a dive, MyFarm executive director Andrew Watters says.

The average whole milk powder price in the Fonterra GlobalDairyTrade auctions has fallen by 38 percent since February.

Dairy farmers and economists say with the recent sharp drop in prices, it is inevitable Fonterra’s $7 per kilogram of milksolids price forecast will come down – one predicted as low as $6.

But Mr Watters said predictions of the end of the good times in the dairy industry were premature.

He pointed out that Fonterra only sold only about a third of its product at the auction, and that volumes at recent auctions had been low.

The positive, longer-term outlook for dairy farming had not changed, he said. . .

Grow Movie – A Great Documentary Which Outlines Young Urbanites Turning To Farming – Milking on the Moove:

I watched the Grow Movie the other night. 

It’s a documentary that tells the story of how young urban people are being attracted to farming.

The movie follows a few young farmers in the US state of Georgia. We learn how they found themselves farming & why they love it.

Most of the people were highly educated with degrees in finance, engineering & soil science etc, but they have chosen the small scale rural lifestyle. . .

MPI introduces new biosecurity sniffers

Two young biosecurity sniffers were introduced to the world today, along with a new type of detector dog and a new home for the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) Auckland-based canine team.

Beagle puppies Darcie (girl) and Darwin (boy), collectively known as D-litter, were born by caesarean in May to working detector dog Zuma under the MPI detector dog breeding programme.

Steve Gilbert, MPI Director Border Clearance Services says the MPI breeding programme “provides a cost-effective way of producing fit-for-purpose biosecurity detector dogs”.

The programme has produced 27 litters since 1996 and nearly 80 percent of the individual puppies have become successful biosecurity detector dogs. . .

Brits buy record amount of NZ wine:

New Zealand premium wine sales soar in the UK market

New Zealand wine has become the number 2 country of origin in the UK market for wine sold over £7 according to the latest Nielsen data (MAT 21-6-14). New Zealand now sells 18% of all wines sold in this premium price segment, having overtaken Australia and now sits behind France.

The latest statistics also show New Zealand’s average price per bottle has increased to £7.34 from £6.79 – an 8.1% increase (Nielsen MAT 21-6-14). . . . .

 New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Welcome Boost to Horticulture Industry:

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) has welcomed the Government’s plans to get more Kiwis into seasonal work, and its decision to increase the annual Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) cap to a total of 9000 workers.

NZKGI President, Neil Trebilco, says this boost to seasonal workers is essential in delivering the industry’s forecasted future growth.

“The kiwifruit industry is recovering quickly from Psa and is poised for big future growth. Over the next few years we are going to see a significant increase in Gold3 volume. . . .


Rural round-up

March 21, 2014

Maori dairy farm set to boost Northland’s economy:

Dairy cows will be led into Northland’s Rangihamama milking sheds for the first time officially this weekend, marking the first tangible example of the Government’s aim to increase regional economic development in Northland.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has been working with the Omapere Rangihamama Trust (ORT) to accelerate the Trust’s transformation of 278 hectares of Māori-owned land, from grazing to high-productivity dairy farming since 2012.

“Omapere Rangihamama Trust is a model for growing rural development by pulling together a vast number of stakeholders into a larger and more commercially effective operation,” says MPI’s Deputy Director-General Ben Dalton. . .

Simple fix touted for deadly quad bike problem – Jill Galloway:

A Wellington farmer who survived a quad bike accident says using a sash window weight on the front of a four-wheeler stops it turning over so easily.

Stuart Woodman said he was going up a steep slope when he hit a hole and his quad bike rolled over and landed on him.

“I was unconscious, and came to after I had got out from under the bike. I don’t know how I survived it. Thick skull, big bones – I don’t know.”

Woodman said he righted the bike on the slope, and it rolled down the hill.

“I picked the soil off it and finished mustering. Then I drove to hospital.” . . .

Farmer develops mussel shell fertiliser – Cathie Bell:

The enormous pile of old mussel shells near Havelock could become a lot smaller because of the landowners’ business venture turning it into fertiliser.

Bill Brownlee stores millions of shells from the Sanford mussel factory on his farm, on the Blenheim side of Havelock. He said the Marlborough District Council had estimated it as 13 metres high.

The pile started 50 years ago when his father took the shells, but had really grown in the past 15 years since mussel production boomed in the Sounds, he said.

He and wife Jane Brownlee bought a crusher from the Cape Campbell lime works and started a new venture, crushing the shells into a fine powder to be spread as fertiliser. . .

BOP Dairy Awards Winners All Career Changes:

Making the move to dairy farming has been hugely successful for the three major winners at the 2014 Bay of Plenty Dairy Industry Awards.

The 2014 Bay of Plenty Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Brett and Natasha Grindrod, were both teachers, the Bay of Plenty Farm Managers of the Year, Thomas Blackett and Stacey Lepper, had engineering and technician careers, and Bay of Plenty Dairy Trainee of the Year, Cameron Luxton, was a builder. They all switched careers to dairy farming and were announced winners at the region’s awards dinner at Awakeri Events Centre last night (March 19).

Brett Grindrod says he took the opportunity to work on a dairy farm for a season and never looked back. “After a short time on farm I found I really enjoyed the career change, and did not want to return teaching. I enjoyed the flexibility that farming offered and could see the long term potential for growth. . .

Royal FrieslandCampina lifts stake in Synlait Milk to 9.999 percent buying shares at $3.85 apiece:

(BusinessDesk) – Royal FrieslandCampina has lifted its stake in Synlait Milk to 9.999 percent from 7.5 percent, adding to an investment that has gained 41 percent since its NZX debut last July.

The Netherlands-based cooperative bought about 3.66 million shares at $3.85 each yesterday, according to a statement to the NZX. The shares last traded at $3.87, having sold in Synlait’s initial public offering last year at $2.20 apiece.

The purchase puts the Dutch company, where the current Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings was a senior executive until 2009, ahead of Japan’s Mitsui & Co, with an 8.4 percent holding, as the second-biggest shareholder in the Canterbury-based dairy processor. China’s Bright Dairy Food owns 39 percent, having been diluted during last year’s IPO. . .

Posted skulls pose biosecurity threat:

A box of South African animal skulls crawling with maggots never made it through the post, thanks to the work of vigilant Auckland biosecurity staff.

A Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) dog team recently detected the unusual biosecurity threat at the International Mail Centre near Auckland airport.

Once opened, the box revealed a number of wild animal skulls, thought to include zebra and wildebeest.

“There was clearly some flesh on the bones, as you could see maggots writhing beneath and on top of the cellophane wrapping,” says Aynsley Richards, MPI Auckland Team Leader, Border Clearance Services. . .

Gisborne figure elected to lead role in Eastern Fish & Game:

The Eastern Fish and Game Council has elected well known Gisborne identity Murray Ferris as its new chairman.

The Eastern Council represents over 30,000 anglers and 3000 game bird hunting licence holders.

As one of 12 Fish and Game councils, it is responsible for managing sports fish and game birds over a large central North Island area which runs from Wairoa, west to Mt Ruapehu, and then north to Waihi.

The Eastern Fish & Game Region has trout fisheries of national significance, including the heavily-used Rotorua Lakes, and popular Lake Waikaremoana and the Ruakituri River within its eastern boundaries. . .


Rural round-up

March 19, 2014

Taumarunui farmer cheats death for a third time -Lachlan Forsyth:

Yesterday, 54-year-old Janet Kelland cheated death for a third time.

She cheated death on Mount Everest in 1996 in a storm that claimed the life of mountaineer Rob Hall.

And five years ago she broke her neck in a horse-riding accident.

Yesterday, the Taumarunui farmer was checking an electric fence when she stumbled across a wasps’ nest. . .

Wasp swarm attacks farmer – Ben Irwin:

A Waikato farmer had to walk 45 minutes for help after she was stung at least 50 times in the head by wasps when she stepped in a nest on a remote block of land northwest of Taumarunui.

A “really, really sore” Janet Kelland last night spoke to the Herald from her bed at Taumarunui Hospital after the ordeal which began about midday yesterday on the farm she part- owns.

The 56-year-old was walking up the fenceline of a paddock, checking that an electric fence was free from weeds and obstructions.

Moments later she stepped in a “big hole of wasps”. . . .

IrrigationNZ welcomes report on water’s value but questions pricing/allocation focus:

IrrigationNZ has welcomed today’s release of a report confirming the value of water for New Zealand, but cautions any moves to reallocate water or overhaul pricing in its wake would be ‘overly-simplistic’.

Andrew Curtis, IrrigationNZ’s CEO, says while the majority of recommendations in the NZIER report ‘Water Management in New Zealand – a road map for understanding water value’ resonate with the organisation, he has concerns about its recommendations around water allocation and pricing.

“IrrigationNZ agrees that transfer of water can be improved in New Zealand and that water permits need to be standardised and irrigation storage and distribution infrastructure enabled to do this. But calling for allocation reform is overly simplistic.” . . .

An overview of topical agricultural issues – Allan Barber:

There are four local issues exciting particular interest in the agricultural landscape at the moment: the ram breeders’ testy meeting with AgResearch in Gore, the case against Fonterra by MPI, the failure to award grants to three major research institutes, and Silver Fern Farms’ Eating Quality beef grading system.

First the meeting in Gore when AgResearch finally fronted up to the ram breeders and sheep farmers from the deep south to hear their complaints about relocating most of the scientists from Invermay to Lincoln. Unfortunately for the disaffected farmers AgResearch seems to have made its mind up a long time ago about its Future Footprint Programme which will see two hubs at Massey and Lincoln. After the meeting on 12th March, the word is that the Board will look at the issue again, but only very limited tweaks are expected.

Meeting convenor, Hugh Gardyne, intended to move a vote of no confidence in AgResearch’s board and management, but didn’t get the chance to table the motion. My impression is that the group has shot its bolt and is unlikely to achieve any significant change to the plans. . . .

Changes to Dairy Cattle Code of Welfare Proposed:

The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) is seeking public consultation on proposed changes to the Animal Welfare (Dairy Cattle) Code of Welfare 2010.

NAWAC is proposing that blunt force trauma may not be used for the routine killing of unwanted dairy calves on the farm.

“We understand that people are concerned about farmers using blunt force trauma to kill young calves on the farm,” says Dr Karen Phillips, Deputy- Chair of NAWAC.

“The risks of incorrect use, coupled with the fact that there are alternatives that can be better for animal welfare, meant that it was time to consider changing the rules on this.

“Industry bodies have been discouraging it over a number of years and it is no longer common practice. However, we agree that there are significant animal welfare concerns when this method is not used correctly,” says Dr Phillips. . .

Ahuwhenua field days farms achieve a level of rural development that has the world watching

Finalists of 2014 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming Award are achieving a level of rural development that is gaining increasing international interest, as the second of three field days kicks off today.

“The finalists this year are all exemplar models for growing rural economic development,” says Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI’s) Deputy Director-General Ben Dalton speaking from Te Rua o Te Moko Ltd’s field day near Hawera.

“There is increasing international interest in Māori agribusiness as a model for rural development, particularly from countries with rural land holdings capable of agriculture. . .

Regional Finals heat up in Taupo

The ANZ Young Farmer Contest heads to Taupo for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Regional Final, Saturday 22 March.

Eight finalists are contending for a spot at the Grand Final in Christchurch 3-5 July and their share of an impressive prize pack worth over $14,000 in products, services and scholarships from ANZ, Lincoln University, Silver Fern Farms, AGMARDT, Ravensdown, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone.

This Regional Final will see a remarkable group of contenders come together for what will surely be a full on day of practical, physical and theoretical challenges at the Tongariro North Domain followed by the entertaining evening quiz-show held at the Taupo Great Lake Centre. . .

Hogget Mating Becomes Big Focus for Hill Country Farmers:

Hogget mating is becoming a big focus for more and more hill country farmers.

Wanganui Farmer and Focus Genetics ram breeder, Donald Polson held a farm field day recently and told farmers that farm profitability on hill country was driven by the number of lambs weaned.

“Our main goal is to put as many lambs on the ground as we can in a challenging environment. To achieve this we need to grow out good replacements and then we mate our ewe hoggets, which is efficient and more productive. We also run cropping systems which is another simple way to boost productivity.” . . .

New innovation supports confidence in NZ food exports:

In a world facing increasing concerns for food safety and quality, the ability for consumers to get independently verified information about a product, right at the point of sale, is a big step forward in supporting confidence in New Zealand food exports.

Seeing the opportunity to meet this AsureQuality, global experts in food safety and quality, developed the inSight™ brand which is designed to provide consumers with additional information about the products they are buying.

The rigorous process of supply chain assessment to gain an inSight™ licence allows producers to use the inSight™ brand and a unique QR barcode on their products. By scanning the barcode with their mobile devices, shoppers are taken straight to the inSight™ website (www.aqinsight.com). Here they can view independent evidence about the product features prior to purchase. . .

Ballance shareholders get free Ag Hub access:

Thousands of farmers throughout the country are being offered free access to the award-winning Ag Hub farm technology system.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients moved to full ownership of Ag Hub last year and Chief Executive Larry Bilodeau says that with farmers under increasing pressure to track nutrient use and manage nutrient budgets, putting the technology in shareholders’ hands has been a priority.

All of Ballance’s shareholders are being offered free access to the Ag Hub system for their nutrient information.

“Farmers want practical, accurate systems to support on-farm decisions and Ag Hub provides the level of real-time information to help them make the right calls, both for their business and for the environment,” says Mr Bilodeau.


Rural round-up

November 5, 2012

Fonterra: land of milk and money – The Economist:

ALTHOUGH New Zealand still has seven times as many sheep as people, cows drive its economy these days. Dairy products are a quarter of the country’s exports, giving it a third of the world’s dairy trade. Large tracts of sheep pasture and forest are being converted to churn out more milk, or “white gold”.

Bestriding the local market with a share of over 90% is Fonterra, a co-operative formed in 2001 as a national champion, from two smaller entities and the former New Zealand Dairy Board. The only truly global Kiwi company, with annual revenue of almost NZ$20 billion ($16.4 billion), Fonterra operates in 100 countries and has 10,500 farmer-owners. Rabobank of the Netherlands ranks it the world’s fourth-largest dairy company. . .

‘Grand career’ but concerns for future – Sally Rae:

Professor Frank Griffin sums up his lengthy career in animal science with a simple comment – “it’s grand”.

For three decades, Prof Griffin has led a University of Otago-based research team devoted to solving animal health problems in the deer industry.

That work has included developing diagnostic tests for the detection of two major bacterial diseases of New Zealand deer – bovine tuberculosis and Johne’s disease – and a vaccine for the prevention of yersiniosis.

Widely respected in the industry, he was recently one of 11 researchers and scholars elected as Fellows of the Royal Society of New Zealand. . .

Farm Environment Ambassadors Go On Tour to Promote Sustainability

‘Good things take time’, was the key message delivered by the National Winners of the 2012 Ballance Farm Environment Awards, Blair and Jane Smith, to some of the nation’s leading politicians.

In October, the North Otago farmers addressed the Primary Production Select Committee in their role as ambassadors for good environmental practice.

The address to the multi-party parliamentary committee was part of a six-day tour organised by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust. . .

Working towards water standards – Groping Towards Bethlehem:

Various colleagues and I have been trying for years to get research funded on the preferences of New Zealanders regarding the environment. Bits and pieces of work get done — notably, the public perception work by Huey, Cullen, and Kerr from Lincoln University (here’s a summary conference paper (pdf)). We have grander ambitions, though. We want to understand the rank ordering of different environmental attributes amongst different subpopulations, and the economic value of those attributes in comparison to other things of value. Methodologically, it wouldn’t break much new ground. That’s actually a strength. If we end up squabbling over method, that’s taking away from the content of the findings.

Why? Isn’t it obvious that we want clear air and clean water and biodiversity? Well, yes, it is. We also want health care and tertiary education and public transportation and wi-fi and rainbows and unicorns. Maybe not unicorns. But you get the drift. . .

2013 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming Award Launched 80th Anniversary Commemorated:

Māori sheep and beef farmers who compete in the 2013 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming award this year will be part of the competitions 80th anniversary commemorations.

Entry for the competition is now open following its launch by the Minister of Māori Affairs, Hon Dr Pita Sharples at the Federation of Māori Authorities conference in Taupo on Saturday November 3th 2012.

The Minister also launched the Ahuwhenua Young Maori Trainee/Cadet competition, the first for young Maori sheep and beef farmers. This award was introduced last year for young Maori dairy farmers. . .

Search for the 2013 Ahuwhenua Young Māori Sheep and Beef Trainee/Cadet of the Year begins:

The search is on for the 2013 Ahuwhenua Young Māori Trainee/Cadet of the Year. On Saturday 3 November the competition was officially launched by the Minister of Māori Affairs Hon Dr Pita Sharples at the Federation of Māori Authorities conference in Taupo.

This is the first year the competition has targeted young Māori sheep and beef farmers. . .

MPI backs awards for Maori farming excellence:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today announced it is a gold sponsor of the 2013 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Maori Excellence in Farming Award.

The competition was launched at the Federation of Maori Authorities (FoMA) conference in Taupo on Saturday (3 November).

Ben Dalton, Deputy Director General Maori Primary Sector Partnerships, said MPI had increased its sponsorship to build on a longstanding involvement with the competition.

“MPI is committed to working with Maori to enable the sustainable growth of their primary sector assets and this competition fits well with our objectives,” Mr Dalton said.

“Maori agribusiness has a significant part to play in lifting the primary sector contribution to New Zealand’s economy. By increasing Maori primary sector productivity, we increase the wealth of New Zealand as a whole. . .

High Level Of Interest In Maori Agribusiness Funding Round:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is reporting a high level of interest from groups seeking to promote sustainable resource use in Maori agribusiness.

MPI’s Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) provides co-funding for small to medium-scale applied research and extension projects.

In August 2012, MPI held a special SFF round for Maori agribusiness, offering approximately $1 million of co-investment funding.

MPI has committed to undertake activities that specifically foster opportunities for Maori agribusiness. . .

Both Sides of the Fence:

A resource for teachers and children from Walking Access NZ.


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