Rural round-up

April 25, 2018

Water the new gold in Central Otago – Sally Rae:

Irrigation New Zealand held its conference in Alexandra last week. Agribusiness reporter Sally Rae joined a media tour in Central Otago to see  the benefits of water.

It gives John Perriam such a buzz to see “rabbit s…  being turned into world-class pinot”.

But to do that on Bendigo Station, in the heart of Central Otago, it has taken technology, resources and water.

Bendigo —between Tarras and Cromwell — is a very different place to when the Perriam family first arrived in the late 1970s, having been literally flooded out of their previous property by  the Clyde Dam hydro development.

They took over 6000 superfine merino sheep from the previous owners, the Lucas family, and fine and superfine merinos remained a core part of the operation. . . 

Bonding time:

Determined to realise the potential offered by triplet-bearing ewes, Chris, Julia and Richard Dawkins have, with the help of Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Innovation Farm programme, set-up an indoor lambing system on their Marlborough sheep and beef farm.

This is part one of a two-part series looking at the benefits and the economics of this system.An on-farm trial aimed at economically improving lamb survival by lambing triplet-bearing ewes indoors and rearing mis-mothered lambs has got off to an encouraging start.

The Marlborough-based Dawkins family is running the three-year trial on their sheep and beef property as part of Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Innovation Farm programme. . . 

Gypsy Day start of new chapter – Toni Williams:

Trudy Bensted is planning the next chapter in her life, packing up her family and moving farms.

She is motivated to succeed in the dairy industry, but also driven to give her children life experiences.

Trudy has a sole charge position in Temuka milking 260 cows but on June 1 – the traditional Gypsy Day – she moves to a new job.

She will be taking on a new venture joining the team at Kintore farms in Mid Canterbury.

”Kintore consists of two sheds south of Ashburton, 1500 cows, excellent apps and systems in place for an efficient and effective farm,” Trudy said. . . 

Politicking put aside on livestock rustling:

Federated Farmers is greatly encouraged by the cross-party support for tougher livestock theft deterrents being shown by members of the Primary Production Select Committee.

Meat and Wool Chairman Miles Anderson spoke to the committee on the Sentencing (Livestock Rustling) Amendment Bill this morning. He said it was heartening to see there was no politicking on the issue, just determination to work out the best ways of combating the problem.

“There’s good momentum to put in place effective measures to tackle this serious and growing scourge.” . . 

Digital core to future of New Zealand farming – Ballance:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ today announced changes to its lead team that reinforce digitisation as core to the Co-operative and the future competitiveness of New Zealand farming.

Chief Executive, Mark Wynne, says the creation of a new Chief Digital Officer role reflects a strategy to become a truly customer-centric organisation, with digital at the heart.

Ballance was the first New Zealand organisation to go live with SAP S/4HANA in 2016, providing a foundation for the launch this year of the MyBallance customer experience platform that puts customers in control – providing real-time data and the capability to place and track nutrient plans and orders online 24/7, and with digital mapping the ability to report accurately on nutrient application on their farms. . . 

Tech will have profound impact on NZ agriculture:

The New Zealand IoT (internet of things) Alliance believes cutting-edge technologies will have a profound impact on helping improve New Zealand’s agricultural productivity.

Alliance executive director Kriv Naicker says a major study into the potential benefits of IoT last year found that better use of IoT across agriculture could provide more than $570 million for the economy.

“In an earlier study by the Sapere research group found that if New Zealand firms made better use of the internet it could have a major impact on GDP, potentially lifting it by $34 billion,” Naicker says. . . 


Running of the Wools

December 18, 2014

The Hilux New Zealand Rural Games will be starting with a baaaa:

A spectacle not seen in Queenstown for decades will be staged again next February as more than 300 merino sheep run through the town centre to herald the start of the inaugural Hilux New Zealand Rural Games over the Waitangi holiday weekend.

The ‘Running of the Wools’ is planned as a dramatic celebration of the region’s farming heritage evoking memories of early settlers and highlighting the merino’s continued importance to New Zealand’s rural economy. The free event takes place on Waitangi Day, Friday 6 February and is co-sponsored by the Otago Daily Times and clothing and gift retailer, Global Culture.

Beginning at midday, merinos will leave pens on Athol Street and run over the Ballarat Street bridge by the Village Green. They then turn right onto Camp Street before turning left into Beach Street and running all the way down to finish at Earnslaw Park.

Spectators will have plenty of opportunities along the barrier-lined route to witness a forgotten side of Queenstown’s history.

From the early settler period, sheep were regularly transported from surrounding high country stations into Queenstown, including some by barge across Lake Wakatipu, before continuing to Dunedin for processing and export.

All stock for the Running of the Wools are being transported via road by Northern Southland Transport. They include around 300 dry stock – merino whethers and ewes – from Mt Nicholas Station on the south side of Lake Wakatipu and around 50 horned rams from Bendigo Station near Tarras. Bendigo was home to the globally famous merino ram ‘Shrek’ who grew the world’s heaviest fleece while evading muster for several years.

merino(Bendigo merinos at home on the station)

 

Hilux New Zealand Rural Games founder and trustee, Steve Hollander said it was going to be an amazing spectacle for locals and visitors alike. “

This will be a sight to behold! It’s easy to forget that sheep farming powered Queenstown’s economy long before it became one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations,” he said. “The merino is a real symbol not only of that high country heritage but also of the huge contribution farming continues to make to our national economy. Just think of the global phenomenon of merino clothing that began right here in Otago and continues to grow.”

Mr Hollander said he hoped to make the Running of the Wools an annual event to tie in with the Games itself. The Hilux New Zealand Rural Games feature several national championships for sports including speed shearing, sheep dog trials, speed fencing, gumboot throwing and coal shovelling as well as four Highland Games ‘heavy’ events and the Trans-Tasman ANZAXE Wood Chopping Championship.

Entertainment on both days is provided by the Topp Twins who also open a live concert on the Saturday evening headlined by local country pop sensation, Jody Direen. Tickets for the two-day Games and concert are now sale via Ticket Direct. For more information visit the event website at www.ruralgames.co.nz.

The Rural Games aim to bring together the sports that built the nation:

At the heart of the Games are a series of traditional sports attracting top competitors from throughout New Zealand and Australia. You can expect to see several national and world champions battling for the first Hilux New Zealand Rural Games titles.

Together with Sport New Zealand and rural sports associations around NZ we’ve developed exciting new formats for competitive wood chopping, sheep shearing, sheep dog trials, speed fencing, coal shovelling, speed gold panning and other traditional sports. We’ll also be hosting the ANZAXE Wood Chopping Championship, Highland Games ‘heavy’ events and a feature event of the 2015 ANZ Young Farmer Contest, the Silver Fern Farms Agri-Sport Challenge – always a crowd favourite!

As well as the competitive element, the Games will feature a fun-packed festival programme including a live concert featuring NZ country pop sensation Jody Direen, daily entertainment from the Topp Twins, fun participation events like cherry stone spitting and wine barrel racing, kids activities plus delicious local food and wine.

Rural sports organisations have their individual events across the country through out the year.

The Rural Games will bring them together in Queenstown with competitions for elite sports people. There will also be less serious sections for people from the crowd to take part in.

P.S. I chair the trust which is running the games.


Rural round-up

September 23, 2014

Comparing apples with oranges using new Sustainable Farming Fund tool:

Māori agribusiness will benefit from a new tool that can be used to compare the potential benefits of different land uses from an economic and social perspective.

The Social Return on Investment evaluation tool was developed as part of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI’s) Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) Maori Agribusiness round held in 2012. It was co-developed by Aohanga Incorporation and AgResearch and aimed to produce a method to compare various development options for Māori Trusts and Incorporations with multiple shareholders.

“With multiple shareholders, it can be difficult to achieve consensus on the best options for Māori owned land,” says MPI’s Deputy Director General Ben Dalton. . .

Potential bio-control agents settling into containment:

Scientists at Landcare Research are investigating two small European insects as potential bio-control agents against the pest plant Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum).

Tutsan is a significant pest in parts of the Central North Island because it forms extensive patches that take over agricultural, production and conservation land. Unpalatable to stock, hard to kill, and shade tolerant, Tutsan is particularly prevalent in areas where the land has been disturbed by the likes of forestry – much like gorse and broom does. . . 

Five things you didn’t know about growing up in a farm family – Corn Corps:

Ahhh, fall is finally in the air! It’s the perfect time to grab the family and find a nice pumpkin farm or somewhere to pick some apples. Don’t forget the pumpkin spice lattes and a nice warm sweater. Forget about harvest you can finish that field tomorrow! – Said no farm family EVER!

For those of you who grew up on a farm you will know exactly what I am talking about. Growing up in a farm family, like anything else, has its pros and cons but it definitely a unique experience to say the least! Hopefully this will give the “non-farmers” a little bit of insight to what it is really like.

“Sure, we can go…. As long as it rains”

Farm kids know this one all too well. Planning family activities, attendance at Saturday tournaments, or RSVPing to a wedding invitation is next to impossible during planting and harvest seasons. . .

PERRIAM, a new lifestyle fashion brand, poised for launch:

Well-known Central Otago fashion designer Christina Perriam will unveil PERRIAM, her new luxury lifestyle fashion brand, in Tarras next month.

PERRIAM produces New Zealand-made merino clothing that embodies the comforting luxury inherent in the spirit of the high country. The heart of PERRIAM is Christina’s family and their farm, Bendigo Station in Central Otago – a place of rich history, pioneering spirit and enduring natural beauty.

Bendigo, also the home of the famous merino wether, the late Shrek the Sheep, will host an exclusive catwalk show for the launch of the first PERRIAM Woman Summer 2015 Collection, on October 18, 2014.

The Merino Shop in Tarras Village – home to Christina’s original labels ‘Christina Perriam’ and ‘Suprino Bambino’ – will undergo renovations to coincide with the launch and the go-live date of the new PERRIAM online shop, perriam.co.nz. . .

Hill Laboratories appoints new Food and Bioanalytical client services manager:

New Zealand’s leading analytical testing laboratory, Hill Laboratories, has appointed Lorrae Taylor as client services manager for the organisation’s Food and Bioanalytical division.

Lorrae Taylor has nearly four decades of nationwide experience working in laboratories, or with laboratories to provide proficiency services testing.

Lorrae Taylor said Hill Laboratories’ client services teams, which are effective in all three of the company’s divisions, are what sets the organisation apart from most other analytical testing laboratories. . . .

 

Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Pinot Gris Leads the Way:

Amongst some of the best Pinot Gris in the country, Hawkes Bay’s Esk Valley Pinot Gris 2014 has been awarded the number one spot in Dish Magazine, with the tasting panel led by Dish Drinks Editor Yvonne Lorkin.

“We have been producing Pinot Gris since 2001 the best of which to date is the 2014,” Gordon Russell, Winemaker at Esk Valley said, “This is our unique take on a Pinot Gris from a great Hawkes Bay harvest.”

Esk Valley has a reputation throughout the world for producing exceptional premium wines. Russell who’s been at the helm for over twenty years as winemaker for Esk Valley has an emphasis on hand crafting his boutique wines using traditional methods and local knowledge. He refers to himself as, “I’m just the conductor, with the music already written in the vineyard.” . . .

Akarua Vintage Brut 2010:

Raise your glass and join us in a toast as we celebrate Central Otago winery Akarua winning a prestigious international trophy for its sparkling wine Akarua Vintage Brut 2010 – awarded the World Champion New Zealand Sparkling Wine Trophy at The Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships (CSWWC), announced on the 4th September 2014.

Having launched their sparkling wine range in early 2012, Akarua is gaining a solid reputation for its quality and style. . .

 


RIP Shrek

June 6, 2011

The merino wether Shrek which went from hermit to hero died today.

Shrek was found by Ann Scanlan in a cave on Bendigo Station during a muster. His immediate fame was due to the marketing nous of station owner John Perriam and this photo taken by Stepehn Jacquiery a phototgrapher with the Otago Daily Times who was holidaying near by:

In his book Dust to Gold * John explains how the photo was a happy accident:

Stephen took a few photos . . .

‘That’s about all I can do,’ he said as he started to put his camera away. Then Digger (who Cage had nicknamed Jack Russell, because he is small) said, ‘I bet you can’t carry that thing over your shoulders, Cage.’

Cage gave him a look of disdain then, taking up the challenge, reached down and picked up Shrek, pulling him over his shoulders. Few men have the strength to carry a 46 kg sheep, and Cage beamed down at Jack Russell as he walked across to the trailer . . .  Meanwhile Stephen, seeing the photo opportunity, had desperately pulled out his camera again, just in time to get the shot that would go to every corner of the globe. . .

The ODT and other major papers in New Zealand published the photo on their front pages. Then Reuters picked it up and within 24 hours Shrek and Cage were gracing papers and websites all around the world.

This resulted in publicity for Shrek, merino wool, and high country farming which money couldn’t buy. John and his late wife Heather also realised there was a fundraising opportunity. It started with the live-filming of the shearing of Shrek’s 27 kg fleece. Other publicity and fundraising appearances followed, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for Shrek’s chosen charity, Cure Kids.

* Dust To Gold, the inspiring story of Bendigo Station, home of Shrek, by John Perriam, published by Random House 2009. All royalties from this book and Shrek the story of a Kiwi icon go to Cure Kids.


A day in the life of a merino

June 18, 2009

Merino Inc is seeking photos which depict the day in the life of a merino sheep to showcase the industry.

It’s offering cash prizes for the three best photos taken by merino farmers, their families or people who work in the merino industry.

Merinos are prized for their fine wool which in recent years has bucked the trend of decling prices suffered by crossbred wool. It’sbecome well known through brands like Icebreaker, popular for its lightness, warmth – even when wet, breathability and machine washability. Trampers, musterers and others who can’t have a daily shower also value it because it doesn’t get smelly.

The most famous merino is probably Shrek, a whether, which evaded musterers on Bendigo Station for six years. When he was finally captured his 27 kilo fleece was shorn and aucitoned for charity and Shrek became an ambassador for Cure Kids.

One of the reasons for Shrek’s fame was this photo of him being carried by musterer Daniel Devine on the day he was found.

dairy 1

 Shrek retired last year after earning about $100 million for charity.


Dean’s views fresh air for high country

April 6, 2009

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean’s views were regarded as a breath of fresh air  by farmers at a Merino field day in Tarras:

Dean . . . said the Government realised high country lessees were among those farming sustainably.

 . . . We don’t have an agenda to drive Merino off the high country and we don’t have an agenda to froce access on the land whether it is land under tenure review or freehold.

She said the Government also opposed striking rents based on amenity values and instead believed they should be linked to the property’s productivity.

. . . Dean said she was particularly interested in seeing grazing licences reintroduced in the high country and it was a view also held by the Government, if it was appropriate and backed by the farming community.

“There’s a fresh wind blowing through the New Zealand agricultural sectoar and the political agenda which you have been battling collectively and individually over the past nine years has gone.”

High country lessees have been facing uncertainty about their futures and paying rents several times greater than their gross incomes because of the previous government’s policies which sent a very clear message that farmers were neither appreciated nor wanted in the high country.

High country farmer John Perriam of Bendigo Station said Dean’s views were “refreshing” for the industry and put confidence back into the high country, which was desperately needed.

 . . . He also endorsed the Government’s views on abolishing rents based on amenity values.

“A sheep with a view doesn’t grow any more wool than one without a view.”

The beauty of the high country is a product of generations of careful stewardship by farming families but it doesn’t contribute to pastoral farm incomes. It is indeed refreshing to have an MP and a government which appreciates that.


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