Rural round-up

February 15, 2014

Blind cows find love:

Two blind, aging cows were 350 miles apart, distressed and facing a dark future.

What happened next is a love story starring, not cows, but rescuers who worked across international borders for nearly a month to bring the bovines together.

It started when Sweety, an 8-year-old Canadian cow with a hoof infection, was rescued from the slaughterhouse by a horse sanctuary in Ontario. Workers at Refuge RR put out the word to the small legion of folks devoted to saving aging farm animals that she needed a permanent home.

Farm Sanctuary in New York is just such a place and they had a 12-year-old Holstein named Tricia, who seemed lonely and anxious after losing her cow companion to cancer a year ago. Cattle are herd animals and she was the only one at the shelter without a partner. . .

Synlait Milk commits to state of the art full service laboratory:

Synlait Milk has committed to building a state of the art full service quality testing laboratory to further support its position as a supplier of high quality value added ingredients, and infant formula and nutritional products.

The Company’s quality strategy has been to build in-house capabilities to support the testing requirements for the products it produces, however it has now significantly expanded the scope of the proposed laboratory from chemical and physical property testing to include full microbiological testing using the latest technologies.

In addition to the quality testing function there will now also be integrated facilities to support new product development, including the ability to conduct pilot scale trials, as well as allowing for sensory analysis to ensure the needs of the Company’s customers are met. . .

Farm toll on the decline:

Federated Farmers is pleased to see that on farm deaths are on the decline, with both WorkSafe NZ and ACC statistics showing a declining trend in fatalities since 2008.

“We are seeing some positive results from industry efforts with WorkSafe statistics, released to us yesterday, showing that on farm fatalities for the Christmas New Year period have declined from four in 2010 to just one in 2014,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Health & Safety Spokesperson.

“Coinciding with that, ACC’s statistics, on annual farm fatalities, show a 17.5 percent reduction (decline of 32) in deaths since 2008. We have also seen growth in farmers using Health and Safety plans on farm with a 48 percent increase in purchases of our Occupational Health & Safety Policy, and a 13.5 percent increase in purchases of our Workplace Drug and Alcohol Policy, since 2012. . .

Environmental champions sought:

Environment Minister Amy Adams has today announced that entries are open for the Government’s premier environmental awards, which honour those dedicated to protecting and improving our environment.

The Green Ribbon Awards recognise outstanding contributions by individuals, organisations or businesses to addressing New Zealand’s environmental problems.

“There are so many people, communities and businesses who work hard to improve our environment in their own quiet way, but it is often without thanks,” Ms Adams says.

“The awards are a fitting occasion to show the human face of environmental issues, and promote the fantastic work that is happening in our communities.

Upskilling for horticulture workers:

A training scheme for horticultural workers in Hawke’s Bay has led to permanent jobs for some people who were relying on seasonal work and the dole.

The scheme, which began last year, is a partnership between grower John Bostock, the Eastern Institute of Technology, Work & Income and community groups.

Ten students from the first course graduated on Wednesday at Te Aranga Marae near Hastings.

Mr Bostock heads a group of companies that grow, pack and market squash, onions, grain, organic apples and ice cream. . . 

Agrantec Launches Farmango Animal Management for Sheep:

Agrantec, the British agri-food supply chain management service company, today announced the launch of a version of its animal management system, Farmango, for sheep.

Farmango offers a full range of animal management functions. This covers everything from recording the full genetic history through multiple generations to recording sales information when the sheep are eventually sold on. The service offers two specific new functions designed for the management of sheep.

One is the system capability to manage groups of animals. Groups can be defined using a scanning “wand” to collect a list of individuals. Data can be directly connected as the wand is being used out and about on the farm. There is no need to return to the farmhouse to upload information onto a computer. This makes it quick and easy to record things such as treatments and movements. The second function is a direct automatic link to the ARAMS movement reporting system. Movements can be reported with few clicks of the mouse. . .

Hamilton’s manuka honey producers SummerGlow Apiaries sets up base in Taranaki region:

A LARGE quantity of quality manuka plants and an ideal landscape to produce pure manuka honey are the reasons why Te Kowhai-based SummerGlow Apiaries has decided to expand its operation into the Taranaki region.

SummerGlow Apiaries owners Bill and Margaret Bennett have recently purchased 900 acres of marginal farmland in the area, says company director, beekeeper and office administrator James Jeffery.

“We haven’t had a lot of experience with [the Taranaki manuka] yet given that it’s only our first season down there but the quality, density and amount of it is amazing,” he says. . .


Rural round-up

April 29, 2013

Hydatids rule changes proposed:

The Ministry for Primary Industries is proposing changes to controls covering a disease that has not been seen in New Zealand since the 1990s.

Hydatids can infect humans, sheep and other animals, and is contracted from dogs which carry the hydatid tapeworm.

The disease killed more than 140 people in a decade between 1946 – 1956. Many more people had to have surgery to remove hydatids cysts.

After about 50 years of control efforts, including regular dog dosing, the Ministry of Agriculture declared New Zealand to be provisionally free of hydatids in 2002.

But regulations have remained in place aimed at preventing any future outbreaks. . .

Farmers back tradeable killing rights, says Beef + Lamb:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s chairman says he’s had strong farmer feed-back supporting tradable slaughter rights as one way of helping to rationalise the processing end of the meat industry.

Mike Petersen says the concept was first suggested in a consultants’ report 28 years ago, but never picked up.

He thinks it could be a circuit breaker to unlock the challenges of getting farmers and privately owned meat companies to work together.

Mr Petersen says a share of the kill would have to be allocated to each company, and from a set point in time companies would have the right to slaughter that percentage on an annual basis.

He says regular updates on the size of the kill would be needed. . .

Meat firms working on simple plan

Meat companies are working together on a plan to rationalise the processing industry and the two big co-ops are willing to work with the Meat Industry Excellence group, farmers at a packed meeting in Feilding on Friday were told.

The co-ops and up to 700 farmers endorsed the MIE group’s aims and put forward John McCarthy, Steve Wyn-Harris and Tom O’Sullivan to represent North Island farmers on the group executive.

Alliance chairman Owen Poole said the industry was putting effort into an improved model and a decision on whether it would go ahead could be expected within two months. . . .

North Island farmers back calls for meat industry reform:

North Island farmers are planning further meetings to keep the pressure on for meat industry restructuring.

An estimated 600 to 700 farmers met in Feilding on Friday, to support the Meat Industry Excellence Group campaign launched in the South Island last month.

It has a five step plan to overhaul the red meat sector to improve profitability for companies and farmers through more co-ordinated processing and marketing.

Spokesman John McCarthy says there’s a strong commitment from farmers to see meat industry reforms through this time, but it is important to take things one step at a time. . .

Federated Farmers feed operation may be approaching an end:

The Federated Farmers Grain & Seed led feed operation, which will have shipped some 220,000 small bale equivalents from the South Island, may soon be approaching an end. With demand beginning to slow, Federated Farmers is concerned some farmers may be over-estimating pasture recovery following rain.

“Federated Farmers Grain & Seed can rightly be proud of the contribution our members have made in helping our North Island colleagues out,” says David Clark, Federated Farmers Grain & Seed Vice-Chairperson.

“With winter upon us demand for feed is slowing right up and we don’t understand why. . .

A Beekeeper’s Story:

When he was just a young lad, Bill Bennett built his first bee hive from scrap wood.

Thus a lifelong passion for producing the best quality Manuka honey had its beginnings.

From its humble beginnings, SummerGlow Apiaries has blossomed to over 1600 hives, setting the standards for Manuka Honey production.

Bill and Margaret Bennett have been beekeeping for over 36 years in the greater Waikato area.

Summerglow Apiaries specialises in the production of high activity UMF Manuka Honey.

Back in the early days of SummerGlow, Bill and Margaret used to make their own bee hives. . .

Queenstown Biking Community ‘thrilled’ with New Rabbit Ridge Bike Resort:

Queenstown’s Rabbit Ridge Bike Resort got the thumbs up at the soft launch yesterday when members of the local biking community got to check out the newly-constructed trails.
 
Some last minute rain ensured the trails were ‘bedded in’ and locals of all ages and experiences took to the trails with vigour.
 
From experienced downhill bikers to families with children, everyone enjoyed the opportunity to test trails including the beginner ‘Bunny’ trail and intermediate Donnas Dually track.
 
The invitation-only event saw bikers, bike shop owners and front line staff experience the resort for the first time. Rabbit Ridge is a joint venture by local bike business Around the Basin and Gibbston Valley Winery and will be the area’s only year-round dedicated and serviced bike resort. . . .

Canada farm persecuted by gov., thankful for help: Tiffany’s non-blog:

For some background:

Apparently I am farmed and dangerous…

But I am not a criminal. I’m a shepherd, farmer and writer who has been preserving rare Shropshire sheep for the last 12 years, and farming various other heritage breeds and vegetables for the last 30.

Then the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) killed my beautiful ewes and their unborn lambs to find out if they were healthy. They were.

They were also rare and pregnant. Now they are dead. . .

There are always at least two sides to a story and a Google search led me to several others including these two:

Sheep flock is both rare and slated for slaughter – Suzanne Atkinson:

A Hastings’ woman’s desperate attempt to save her rare Shropshire sheep from the CFIA’s axe is ballooning into a fundraising and full scale social media campaign.

Montana Jones, whose flock of 44 Shropshires represents approximately 25 percent of the country’s inventory of the breed, is facing the decimation of her flock after Scrapies was found in a sheep which originated in her herd more than five years ago. While her entire herd has tested negative – a test considered 85 per cent accurate, the 44 animals have also been genotyped QQ and are considered less resistant to the disease.
While Scrapies is not a human health risk, it can affect the productivity of sheep and CFIA is mandated to eradicate it within Canada to enhance trade opportunities. . .
Rare sheep on death row – Alyshah Hasham:

Montana Jones loves her Shropshire sheep.

She raises the rare heritage breed at no profit in a bid to protect the bloodlines tracing back to some of the first sheep on Canadian shores.

But the fluffy romance of 12 years has become a nightmare, with more than half of her flock of 75 slated for the chopping block for no reason, says the farmer.

Her Wholearth Farm in Hastings, near Peterborough, was put under quarantine and listed as a possible source of infection after a ewe she sold to an Alberta farmer five years ago was diagnosed with scrapie. . .

How endangered are Shropshire sheep? – Agrodiversity  Weblog:

You may have seen stories in the past week or so of a flock of Shropshire sheep that authorities in Canada have threatened with destruction. The sheep belong to Montana Jones, who raises them at her Wholearth Farm, near Hastings in Peterborough. Five years ago she sold a ewe to a farmer in Alberta, and that sheep has been diagnosed with scrapie. As a result, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency wants to destroy other animals from the same flock who are infected or suspected of being infected.

One problem for Montana Jones is that the test “is only about 85% accurate”. So the sheep that tested positive may not have scrapie, although I have no idea what that 85% figure actually means. False positives? False negatives? What?

It is a long time since I last had to get my ahead around scrapie, the risks to humans (it is not “mad sheep disease”), the different breed susceptibilities, and the different approaches to eradication. All of those are important issues, I am sure. What concerns me about Montana Jones’ case is whether the appeal to the rarity of Shropshire sheep justifies not taking the precaution of slaughtering some of the flock. . .


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