Rural round-up

April 12, 2015

Reality: we can’t feed anything – Annette Scott:

North Canterbury farmers’ resilience is being tested to the hilt as managing the impact of summer’s big dry has reached a critical edge and autumn drought now kicks in.

With less than a millimetre of rain in March, the worry has carried through to autumn for the northern Canterbury farmers whose southern counterparts, while still in a declared drought, have been fortunate to record some reasonable autumn rain.

The situation was such the Rural Support Trust had now been asked to step up action as Canterbury’s northern parts headed for a record low rainfall season. . .

Keeping score during drought – Neal Wallace:

With rain falling in many parched areas around New Zealand the focus is now on autumn pastures and animal nutrition. Country-Wide writers investigate the options.

The loss of one condition score in ewes, equivalent to 7kg in body weight, in the lead-up to tupping will mean 10 fewer lambs born per 100 ewes.

AgResearch senior scientist David Stevens told a recent North Otago field day the golden rule in a drought was to pay for the cost of the dry weather in the year it occurred. . .

Comparison hard on big milk co-op – Neal Wallace:

Claims Fonterra’s share and investment unit price has underperformed compared to the NZX 50 Index were simplistic and a fraught comparison, according to an investment adviser.

Forsyth Barr’s Andrew Rooney said it was widely accepted that Fonterra’s stock was overpriced when it hit $8 shortly after listing so its current trading band was more appropriate.

In the first two years Fonterra paid dividends totalling 32c a share and this year has paid an interim dividend of 10c a share with talk of a further 10c to 20c. Its dividend yield had been 4%.

“It’s a bit harsh to say Fonterra hasn’t performed.” . .

Competitive ploughing spirit the lure – Rebecca Ryan:

A ploughing match challenge against the Macrae’s Young Farmers Club in 1965 sparked a life-long interest in the sport for East Otago farmer Noel Sheat. Rebecca Ryan and Bill Campbell talked to the former New Zealand champion ahead of the 60th New Zealand Ploughing Championships.

When the Palmerston Young Farmers Club was challenged to a ploughing match in 1965, Noel Sheat had never ploughed before.

But he proved a quick learner and helped his team beat Macrae’s Young Farmers Club.

That match marked the start of a competitive ploughing career that has taken the Palmerston farmer around the world.

”It just became an interest; it was something that I found out that I was reasonably good at,” he said.

His early success was ”a bit of a fluke” as he taught himself the art of ploughing on a 1965 David Brown tractor with an old family plough. . .

Dairy Farm’s boss has eye for talent – Sue O’Dowd:

The 2015 Taranaki Farm Manager of the Year is on track for his second record production season on a Central Taranaki dairy farm.

Lance Chadwick is in his second season as manager of a 115ha (effective) Toko property owned by farm consultant Brendan Attrill and wife Susan Mundt.

Chadwick’s win is also the second successive Taranaki Dairy Awards title with which Attrill has a connection.

The 2014 Taranaki and New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year winners, Jody and Charlie McCaig, were variable order sharemilkers on the Taranaki Community Rugby Trust Farm supervised by Attrill when they won both titles last year. . .

Horse haven at Scone – Nick Heydon:

AFTER moving to the Hunter Valley from Queensland a decade ago, Ross Dillon and his wife Pav intended to transition to retirement on “Goanna Downs”, their new Scone property of just under 40 hectares (98 acres).

“We had originally planned to retire here, but after 18 months we decided that was too boring, so we set up a small broodmare farm on the property,” Mr Dillon said.

“Goanna Downs” has benefited well from this decision. . .


Rural round-up

January 13, 2015

Z plant turns meat waste into diesel – Adrien Taylor:

Z Energy has started construction on a south Auckland plant to convert meat waste into biofuel.

The plant will produce 20 million litres of the fuel every year, but Z says that’s just the beginning of a green transition, if consumers want it.

In a University of Auckland lab, Z is developing what it hopes will be a growing part of the fuel mix it offers customers. The New Zealand company is converting waste fat from the meat industry, a green tallow, into a high-grade mineral diesel substitute – clear in colour.

Z says the biodiesel has a carbon footprint less than 10 percent the size of mineral diesel. . .

 NZ fights Illegal fishing in the Southern Ocean:

Foreign Minister Murray McCully today put illegal fishing vessels operating in the Southern Ocean on notice and vowed to take action against their owners.

“As part of a multi-agency operation, the HMNZS WELLINGTON has intercepted two vessels claiming to be flagged to Equatorial Guinea, fishing illegally in the Southern Ocean,” Mr McCully says.

“Fishing in this area is regulated by the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and New Zealand conducts regular patrols in the Southern Ocean targeting illegal fishing operations.  . .

Hard to fight rural fires without water tanker – Bill Campbell:

Palmerston volunteer firefighters called to send a water tanker to a scrub fire at the weekend had one problem: they no longer have a tanker.

The tanker was taken out of service last month and might not be replaced before July 1, despite East Otago having one of the driest summers on record. . .

Police, farmer at odds over sheep rustling – Sue O’Dowd:

Police and a Stratford sheep farmer are at odds over the disappearance of stock from a backcountry farm. 

Ewes and lambs missing from Backvale Farms at Tututawa, 27km east of Stratford, have been returned by neighbours who found them among their own flocks, Detective Constable Glen Bosson, of Stratford, said. 

But while police believe that may have solved the missing sheep mystery, Backvale Farms spokesman Brendon Back said a further 247 ewes and their lambs were still missing. 

Between 350 and 400 in-lamb romney ewes disappeared from the farm last year between July 28, when there were 1310, and October 20, when there were only 936. . .

Using technology to grow company’s ‘golden goose’ – Gerald Piddock:

New Zealand knows how to produce large amounts of animal protein cheaply.

We excel at it and Waikato company Dairy SolutioNZ and its chief executive Derek Fairweather are leading the country in exporting this knowledge across the globe.

It was, he said, the biggest opportunity for New Zealand in terms of the knowledge economy.

“What knowledge that we have that is really valuable? That knowledge is how to turn grass into protein. We do that better than anyone in the world.”

Exporting New Zealand’s farming knowledge was a growing industry and while people quickly understood the idea, putting it into practise was difficult because farming was a conservative long-term business. . .

Years of dedication rewarded – Annette Scott:

When Jan Wills and her husband Barrie were married they followed the Wills family tradition of showing cattle at the local A&P shows.

The young couple soon realised an opportunity to breed their own cattle and being beef farmers surrounded by dairy farmers they themselves were a breed out on their own, Wills said. 

“We chose the Hereford because the quiet temperament of the breed suited our intensive farming style. With dairy all around us we were beef farmers in a pocket surrounded by dairy and growing. . . .


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