Rural round-up

May 30, 2019

Fonterra is investing in  artificial meat but would you eat it? – Bonnie Flaws:

Are cows evil? You could be forgiven for thinking so.

If the alternative protein companies are right, it’s much better to eat reconfigured soy-protein with genetically modified heme, or even meat grown in a lab, than eat an actual cow.

The question is timely because in a surprise move Fonterra announced last month it was  investing in Motif Ingredients, a Boston biotech startup that wants to use genetic engineering and cultured ingredients to “make foods that are more sustainable, healthier, delicious, and more accessible”.

While people had different feelings about eating lab-cultured meat, there was a common concern around healthy and safety from those spoken to. . .

Federated Farmers urges perseverance on NAIT re-registration:

Technical and other issues are not helping with re-registration for the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme but Federated Farmers is urging all farmers to persevere.

“This is too important to backslide on. The Mycoplasma bovis issue has highlighted why we need excellent levels of compliance with NAIT,” Feds Dairy Chairperson Chris Lewis says.

“All of us – farmers and OSPRI – need to pull together to get NAIT working well. In terms of eradicating M. bovis, to borrow the words of Ed Hillary, that’s the way we’ll ‘knock the bastard off’.” . . .

M Bovis: Thousands of dairy farms not on tracking system as moving day looms :

Almost 8000 dairy locations are yet to re-register to a national tracking system, with just days to go until moving day, when sharemilkers move their cows to new farms around the country.

The Ministry of Agriculture says there are 14,940 dairy locations around New Zealand; 7034 have re-registered, 7906 are yet to do so – so more than half. One farm can consist of several NAIT locations, a ministry spokeswoman says.

It means moving day will be an anxious one for many because the main way Mycoplasma bovis spreads is through the movement of animals. . . 

Merino growers celebrate their best – Sally Rae:

Excellence in producing merino wool has been recognised at the Otago Merino Association’s annual awards function.

About 170 people attended the event in Alexandra on Friday night, where the winners of the Clip of the Year and Child Cancer Foundation fleece competition were named.

The overall Clip of the Year title went to the Sutherland family, from Benmore Station, a property synonymous with high-quality fine wool. . . 

Finalists announced for inaugural Primary Industry Awards:

The following nominations are the successful finalists for the Primary Industries Awards, to be presented at a gala dinner sponsored by FMG in Wellington on July 1.

The awards are part of the Primary Industries Awards Summit, on July 1 – 2.

The awards aim to shine a spotlight on the important role the primary sector plays in the economy and honour the most successful and innovative primary industries’ producers and supporters. . .

Wairarapa Cricket Farm to provide 100% Kiwi cricket flour:

A cricket farm in the Wairarapa will be the first of its kind in New Zealand to provide 100% locally sourced cricket flour.

Rebel Bakehouse began work on its cricket farm 18 months ago, to ultimately provide flour for its new cricket flour wraps which were launched into Kiwi supermarkets in March 2019.

Chris Petersen, of Rebel Bakehouse, says making cricket flour and cricket wraps respond to consumer demand for healthier alternatives in the bread aisle. . .

NZ Horticulture exceeds $9.2 billion:

New Zealand horticulture is well on track to meet its goal of $10 billion by 2020. The industry was valued at $9.2 billion in the year ending 30 June, 2018, up $400 million from 2017. The increase was driven by a strong growth in exports, which rose to $5.5 billion from $5.1 billion the year before.

According to the latest Fresh Facts, published annually by Plant & Food Research since 1999, horticultural exports tripled from $1.7 billion 20 years ago. They now accounted for almost 10% of New Zealand’s total merchandise exports. . .


Rural round-up

May 8, 2019

Chinese demand still strong – Hugh Stringleman:

China’s dairy demand is steady and the feedback from customers there is strong, Miraka chief executive Richard Wyeth says.

After talking to Chinese customers and Miraka’s sales representatives through Global Dairy Network, Wyeth doesn’t expect big commodity price increases for the season ahead but neither will there be big decreases.

“I think it will be steady as it goes, which is a nice situation to be in.”

All of Miraka’s UHT liquid milk output and about half of its milk powder volume go to China. . . 

Artist and actor riding high in a bull market – Sally Rae:

“You’re the chick who paints cows. You’re the bull painter.”

Amelia Guild gets used to hearing such comments from those familiar with her bold and bright paintings of animals, particularly cattle.

The Canterbury-based artist and actor is excited about her upcoming exhibition, “Mustering the Muscle”, which opens at The Artist’s Room Fine Art Gallery in Dunedin on May 11.

Life is busy – “on the cusp of getting chaotic” – for the mother of 4-year-old Willa and 16-month-old Rollo.

But she is also living the dream, being able to reside in her “happy place” on High Peak Station, the high country property she grew up on, inland from Windwhistle, near the Rakaia Gorge. . . 

Farmer-led group lobbying for changes to Waimakariri water plan – Emma Dangerfield:

A group of young North Canterbury farmers are challenging proposed environmental rules they say are “unachievable”.

The farmers had established the Waimakariri Next Generation Farmers Trust in response to planned changes and rules affecting farmers in the district.

They hope to collaborate with industry and local authorities to address environmental concerns, particularly relating to water quality and management issues. . . 

 

Breeders on tour – Sally Rae:

Bruce Robertson describes the fellowship of Dorset Down breeders as being like a family.

Breeders from throughout the country were in Canterbury and North Otago last week for an annual tour.

About 35 people visited studs in the Ashburton area, before heading to Aoraki-Mount Cook for a night, a visit to merino property Benmore Station, and then to Oamaru. It ended with a visit to studs in South Canterbury. . . 

IHC fundraising calf scheme is on again– Annette Scott:

The annual IHC calf and rural fundraising scheme fell short of its target last season with organisers reaching out to farmers to get on board this year.

IHC national fundraising manager Greg Millar said last year was terrible for many farmers and he hopes the scheme can bounce back this year. 

“Farmers still managed to raise $650,000 for people with intellectual disabilities and despite falling short of our $1m target it was great to see the rural community continue to support our cause,” Millar said.

The national advocacy organisation for people with intellectual disabilities has acknowledged the challenging times with the introduction of new processes as the industry grapples with Mycoplasma bovis. . . 

Helping hands needed for animal farm rescue centre in Glenhope – Carly Gooch:

Lisa Grennell did everything she could to save a piglet but when the little porker lost its battle, the decision was made – time to set up an animal farm rescue centre.

Plum Tree Farm in Glenhope, 80km south of Nelson is home to Lisa and her husband, Mal, but it’s also a sanctuary for farm animals including donkeys, alpaca, kunekune, calves, lambs and goats.

The animal farm “gradually happened”, Lisa said, after the couple moved to the 42 acres nearly four years ago.  . . 


Rural round-up

November 27, 2018

Only two left for new Fonterra vote – Hugh Stringleman:

John Nicholls of Canterbury and Jamie Tuuta of Taranaki and Wellington will contest the rerun of the Fonterra director election to fill the one remaining vacancy.

One-term director Ashley Waugh has decided not to run again though he came within a whisker of being re-elected in the first round of voting.

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council chairman Duncan Coull sent an email to all farmer-shareholders explaining the rerun process and the council’s reasons for not opening it up to new candidates.

The rerun was necessary because only two of five candidates for three seats received the required 50% approval of farmers, Peter McBride at 80% and Leonie Guiney at 63%.

Waugh got 49%, Nicholls 44% and Tuuta 40%. . . 

Dairy-farm price per hectare plunges – Sally Rae:

Farm sales across the country for the year to October were down more than 10%, while dairy farm  per-hectare prices have pulled back almost 30% during the past year.

In Otago and Southland, there was strong activity in finishing, grazing and arable properties, but dairy farm purchases in both provinces were affected, with restricted supply of capital.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said for the three months to October there were 263 sales, just two more than a year ago.

Across the country for the year to October 1475 farms were sold, a 10.5% decline on the same period last year. Dairy farm sales were down 7.7%, grazing farms fell 5.6%, finishing was down 13.2% and there were 22.5% fewer arable farms. . . 

Genetic changes will allow merino sheep come down from the mountains – Heather Chalmers:

Synonymous with the South Island high country, merino sheep may be farmed more widely as farmers are lured by high fine wool prices and genetic improvements. 

Merino woolgrower Bill Sutherland, of Benmore Station near Omarama, said it was boom times for the New Zealand merino industry. 

“In a time when strong wool prices are at a historical low, the prices for merino wool have rarely been better,” he told the New Zealand Grassland Association conference in Twizel.  . . 

New boss hears farmers:

Farmers delivered a stern message to new director-general of primary industries Ray Smith at a meeting in Ashburton on Wednesday – they want to be top of his list.

He attended the meeting, facilitated by Mid Canterbury Federated Farmers in response to desperate calls for help from local farmers affected by the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovi, off his own bat.

Farming leaders from across the country including national dairy chairman Chris Lewis and meat and wool chairman Miles Anderson also attended the closed session.

“This meeting was organised so these national leaders could hear from affected farmers and get their stories straight from the horse’s mouth,” Mid Canterbury dairy chairman Chris Ford said. . . 

Interest in competition suggests promising future for agriculture – Sally Rae:

McKenzie Smith grasps every opportunity to learn new skills.

Mckenzie (17), a year 13 pupil at Southland Girls’ High School, is chairwoman of the school’s TeenAg club.

TeenAg — which comes under the umbrella of New Zealand Young Farmers — is aimed  at introducing and promoting a positive picture of agriculture and agricultural careers to pupils from an early age. The club has organised an AgriKidsNZ competition at Southland Girls’ High School on Thursday, for years 7-8 pupils, and team numbers have more than doubled from last year. . . 

Jersey cows eat differently – Abby Bauer:

Each dairy cattle breed has its perks and its quirks, and Jerseys are no exception. On our Hoard’s Dairyman Farm, we certainly notice differences in personality and behavior between our Jerseys and Guernseys.

These breed differences are what led the American Jersey Cattle Association and National All Jersey Inc. to partner with university and industry experts to create a webinar series focused on the Jersey breed. One of their webinar topics was feeding the lactating cow, and the presenters were Bill Weiss and Maurice Eastridge from The Ohio State University.

The pair of professors pointed out that much of the research in the field of nutrition has been done on Holsteins. While many of these recommendations can fit other breeds, there are a few ways that Jerseys are unique. . .

 


Rural round-up

July 22, 2015

Parasite a bee in keepers’ bonnets:

A bee scientist says the appearance of a new honey bee parasite is the last thing beekeepers need, with the most serious pest, the varroa mite, becoming more difficult to control.

The gut parasite, Lotmaria Passim, has been found in beehives on Coromandel Peninsula and in the southern North Island.

Plant and Food Research bee unit head Mark Goodwin said the discovery had serious implications for the bee industry, because it and another parasite, Nosema Ceranae, also present in New Zealand, have been linked with bee colony collapses overseas. . .

Black Thursday for Dairy and Fonterra – but eventually the sun will rise again – Keith Woodford:

Thursday 16 July was surely a black day for dairy and Fonterra. Not only did prices on the Global dairy trade auction prices drop to a record low, but Fonterra announced it was cutting 523 positions.

It was also a black day for New Zealand, as commentators and exchange rate speculators started to realise that the downturn was going to affect the whole economy. The exchange rate dropped close to 3% that day.

Regional New Zealand has seen the downturn coming for some time, but in the main cities the realisation is only starting to dawn. . .

English: dairy prices will rise:

Dairy prices will pick up, it’s just a matter of when and how quickly they do, Finance Minister Bill English says.

Dairy product prices sank again in last week’s GlobalDairyTrade auction, with whole milk powder leading the way with a 13.1 percent drop.

“The way it’s been described to me is there’s been a perfect storm of excess milk supply influenced by events in Russia, Europe and China and in New Zealand and Australia and that’s led to these prices,” Mr English told reporters. . .

Alliance shareholders force a special meeting – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Disgruntled Alliance Group shareholders have gathered sufficient support to force a special meeting to discuss the potential benefits and risks of a merger with fellow cooperative Silver Fern Farms.

Balfour farmer Jeff Grant, who along with rural accountant and farmer, Gaye Cowie, have been gathering the required 5 percent of proxy forms needed to force the special meeting, say they have sent 7 percent to the company for verification.

The move matches a similar one by Silver Fern Farms shareholders to force a special meeting within their own meat cooperative. . .

Property searched, 2 charged – Lynda van Kempen:

A six-month police investigation led to two arrests yesterday in connection with several incidents of alleged poaching in Central and South Otago.

About 20 police, including the armed offenders squad and Alexandra and Omakau officers, carried out a search of an Ida Valley property yesterday morning and seized ammunition, two 4WD vehicles and a quad bike, Sergeant Derek Ealson, ofAlexandra, said.

Following the search, a 27-year-old man and 28-year-old woman, both of Central Otago, were charged with 12 offences relating to unlawful hunting, trespass, unlawful possession of firearms and possession of cannabis, he said. . .

Family tips contribute to success in judging – Sally Rae:

Stud sheep breeding is in Ben Sutherland’s blood.

Mr Sutherland (19), who comes from Benmore Station, near Omarama, has inherited a long standing family interest in and passion for farming.

His great grandfather, H. J. Andrew, farmed Punchbowl, near Maheno, with well known Southdown and Poll Dorset sheep studs, while his grandfather, Jim Sutherland, founded the Benmore merino stud. . .

Man sells human-like sheep to save his sanity – Emma Cropper:

Owners of a lodge near Arthurs Pass have become so fed up with one of their lambs they sent out an online plea for someone to take the animal off their hands.

The animal enjoys hanging out with humans a little bit too much, and it’s driving the owners crazy.

Grasmere Lodge owner Thomas Butler says ‘Marcus’ has a taste for the finer things in life, and he’s getting too cosy with the luxury alpine lodge they call home. He follows them everywhere, chews on the plants, poops on the doorstep and regularly jumps into the car for a ride. . .

 


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