Rural round-up


 M. bovis action group formed – Sally Rae:

A Mycoplasma bovis action group has been formed in Southland by farmers, veterinarians and other industry stakeholders.

The aim of MASS (Mycoplasma bovis Action & Support Southland) was to provide a voice for those in the region and also assist the farming community in understanding and dealing with the outbreak of the bacterial cattle disease, spokesman Bevan Collie said in a statement.

Since first detected on a Van Leeuwen Dairy Group property in the Waimate district in July last year, the number of confirmed properties has risen to 17 and includes farms in Southland. . . 

Southland could be milking it :

A new report estimates that the sheep milking industry in Southland could be worth $124 million for the region by 2040.

That would be 1.5 percent of the region’s GDP.

The Institute of Economic Research report, commissioned by the Southland Regional Development Strategy, says this target is achievable.

Read the full report (PDF, 1,347KB) . . 

New spray dryer planned at Waikato Innovation Park as sheep milk ramps up – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – A new $45 million food spray dryer is being planned for Food Waikato as demand from the sheep milk industry ramps up, says Waikato Innovation Park chief executive Stuart Gordon.

Food Waikato, which is located at Waikato Innovation Park, currently has one open access development spray dryer, which came online five years ago and is now running at capacity. According to Gordon, the existing dryer processes about 900,000 litres of sheep milk each year and that is expected to double in the 2019/2020 season. . . 

Workers plan to send tractors home – Yvonne O’Hara:

A group of Vanuatuan orchard workers based in Ettrick are hoping to repaint two British Leyland tractors and take them home.

Group spokesman Lele Petelo said they had been given one of the British Leyland 270 tractors last year by Roxburgh East orchardist Sid Birtles, and the other was donated by Melrose Orchard owner Peter Vernon a couple of weeks ago.

Ettrick vehicle restorer Alistair Stevenson donated his time to repair and restore one of the engines and Mr Vernon bought the necessary parts for them. The men intend to work on the vehicles during their time off. . .

East Coast to hold first FMG Young Farmer of the Year regional final:

A former competitive snowboarder, a stud bull breeder and an award-winning shepherd are set to face off in the East Coast Regional Final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

It’s the first of seven regional finals being held from Kerikeri to Winton to decide contestants for the grand final of the prestigious competition in Invercargill in July. . . 

Top farmland investments earn 17pc despite seasonal setbacks – Andrew Marshall:

Last year’s whacky weather mix of extreme temperatures and rainfall frustrations, plus a weaker cattle market, have taken a toll on the returns of some of Australia’s top farming enterprises, as monitored by the national farmland index.

But returns of almost 17 per cent on the capital value of 60 properties tracked by the index are still pretty impressive.

In fact, the result ranks almost 200 per cent ahead of a similar index of earnings from US agricultural investments. . . 

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