Rural round-up

August 24, 2017

Shortened calving proves its worth for Manawatu farmers – Gerard Hutching:

Manawatu dairy farmer Peter Bailey has discovered the merits of shortening his calving period in a trial that is believed to be a New Zealand first.

DairyNZ said farmers with an average sized herd could add about $20,000 extra income to the business through the system.

Peter and his wife Merrin, who farm at Newbury on the outskirts of Palmerston North, synchronised their herd at mating to try and get as many as possible to calve down in one day. It was an experiment he had been thinking about for a while.

“Our vets were keen to trial herd synchrony and I had been talking the talk so it was time to walk the walk.” . . 

Ingham’s posts 2.5% gain in FY earnings in NZ, cites improved trading from second half  –  Jonathan Underhill

(BusinessDesk) – Ingham’s Group, which is the number two poultry producer in New Zealand behind Tegel Group, reported a 2.5 percent gain in New Zealand earnings, saying trading improved in the second half after a weak first half and the trend has continued into the 2018 year.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation at the company’s New Zealand unit rose to A$36.2 million in the 53 weeks ended June 30, from A$35.3 million a year earlier, according to the Sydney-based company’s annual results. New Zealand revenue climbed to A$361 million from A$353.5 million. . . 

Bobby calves: the game changers within NZ’s supply chain – Andrew Jolly:

Executive Summary:

There is significant potential for New Zealand to increase its ability to utilise more bobby calves therefore making them a more valued product. It is important that we have a sustainable, viable, ethical and PR friendly value chain. It is also important that NZ Inc. gets this right to maintain farmers/producers’ ‘social licence’ to farm and maintain our positive worldwide perception.

While difficult to calculate, it is estimated that more than $1 billion is on offer, if we can capture the full value of underutilised bobby calves. . . 

Become a political snowflake – voting’s a big responsibility – Joyce Wyllie:

Making two small marks on a paper is simple. Freely turning up at a polling booth to place ticks in a box is a big responsibility, an enormous privilege and not something we should ever take for granted.

Low voter turn out at elections amazes me. No snow flake blames itself for an avalanche, but every one of those beautiful uniquely created flakes contributes to the resulting winter scene. Just as every one of our precious individual votes contributes to the resulting political “landscape” .

My vote is always cast seriously after carefully considering party policies and electorate issues. I detest the influence so much media exerts by focussing on drama, negativity and rehashed irrelevant issues. . . 

Dispatch from NZ. No.1 covenants and the QE II Trust – Jonathan Baker:

There is a lot to say about my time in New Zealand but, I’m not yet sure or how to say it. So to start it off here is something relatively straightforward and interesting – the work of the Queen Elizabeth the Second National Trust (QE2 Trust).

The QE2 Trust was set up in 1977 by kiwi farmer, Gordon Stephenson and other farmers who were increasingly concerned that pro-production subsidies were destroying much of the remaining natural habitat of New Zealand. They saw that as bush was cleared and wetlands drained there were few options available to kiwi farmers and landowners who wanted to hold the tide back. . .


Rural round-up

July 5, 2017

Rangitikei dairy farmer Stu Taylor changes the way he employs dairy farm staff –    Jill Galloway:

The social lives of workers are changing and dairy farmers must change the way they employ dairy staff, says a Rangitikei dairy farmer.

Dairy farm owner near Santoft Stu Taylor said he aimed for a roster of five day on and two day off for the 30 staff employed at his farm.

At the DairyNZ ‘People Expo’ in Palmerston North, he said he was committed to a better way of working for dairy farming. . . 

Rural women ‘in crisis’: Letter reveals dark side of farm life – Ruby Nyika:

Rural women struggling with mental illness have been neglected for too long, a Waikato woman says.

In a pleading letter sent to Rural Women NZ, Mary Anne Murphy calls for more mental health support and funding specifically for rural women.

Murphy, who no longer lives rurally, felt compelled to act after government ministries announced at Fieldays that $500,000 would be committed to Rural Mental Wellness, targeting struggling farmers. . .

New father Richard Morrison wonders what is ahead in farming for his young son:

Thirteen weeks ago I entered into a new venture: fatherhood. I try and imagine what the future may have in store for little Henry but that task is challenging and a little daunting.

I think about the change we have seen the last 35 years, since my childhood, and even the last 17 since I entered the workforce. The world is a bigger place and it moves a lot faster: I was able to attain a university degree without using a computer – now some toddlers seem to be attached to them.

The prospects for one little person is hard to foresee in this big, fast moving world but there is one thing I do know. Growing up in New Zealand on a farm, in a tight knit rural community, with access to quality local schools prepares you incredibly well for life. This is as true today as it has been for the last 100 years. . . .

Kiwi farmer wins Australasian business management award:

New Zealand sheep and beef farmer Jonny Elder has taken out the 2017 Rabobank Business Development Prize, a trans-Tasman business management award for up-and-coming farmers.

Selected from a group of New Zealand and Australia’s most progressive young farmers, graduates of the 2016 Rabobank Farm Managers Program (FMP), Mr Elder, from Northern Southland, was recognised for his management project – which demonstrated how he had utilised the learnings from the program to create and implement a business plan to maximise the potential of his farm. Designed for emerging farmers, the FMP focusses on the development of business management skills, with an emphasis on strategic planning, leadership and self-awareness. . .

Dairy farmers moving to ‘good returns’ from beef calves – Andrew McRae:

Demand for beef calves is driving down the number of bobby calves being processed and providing a lucrative side business for dairy farmers.

On dairy farms, where 70 percent of all calves are born, those not needed as dairy replacements have traditionally been sent for slaughter.

But that’s now changing, according to Doug Lineham, from Beef and Lamb’s Dairy Beef Integration Project. . . .

Pacific Alliance FTA negotiations hailed:

Federated Farmers says it’s excellent news that New Zealand is underway with free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with the Pacific Alliance countries of Mexico, Chile, Peru and Colombia.

The announcement by trade minister Todd McClay that the five nations will strive to improve market access and level the playing field is an important step in the New Zealand Trade Agenda 2030 strategy. It also represents the ongoing commitment from four members of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) to improving the trade environment in the Pacific region. . .


Rural round-up

February 24, 2017

Isn’t agriculture really just at war with liberals? – Uptown Farms (Kate Lambert):

Last week after a speech, a young college student approached me. Eager to connect, she started with, “Do you ever get completely frustrated with these liberals?”

Her question was intriguing to me. Not because it was unique, the exact opposite. Because it was so common.

Almost without fail, when I get the chance to talk to producers about the desperate need to tell the story of agriculture, someone asks a similar, politically loaded question.

But it’s a fair question, isn’t it? In this politically correct era, surely a blogger can still call a spade a spade?

Because isn’t the reality that our enemies are easily identifiable? Isn’t agriculture really just at war with liberals? . . .

WTO agreement a victory for NZ exporters:

Trade Minister Todd McClay has welcomed the entry into force of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) saying it is a big win for New Zealand exporters.

“The TFA will benefit all New Zealand exporters and is particularly good for small and medium sized enterprises. The TFA reduces the cost, administration and time burden associated with getting products across borders and into the marketplace,” Mr McClay says.

“New Zealand’s agricultural exporters will also benefit significantly from a provision to hasten the release of perishable goods within the shortest possible time.”

A rising tide of protectionism could hit NZ dairy sector hard: NZIER –  Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s economy would be hard hit if there is a retreat to protectionism in the global dairy sector, a report from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research has found.

“In the current global trading system, the tide of protectionism is rising. Brexit and the initial trade policy proclamations by Donald Trump both point to a challenging environment for further trade liberalisation, at least in the short term,” said NZIER in the report for the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand. Against this backdrop there is an increasing risk that tariffs could be lifted rather than reduced, it added. . . 

Bobby calf death rate halved over a year – but still room for improvement – Gerald Piddock:

Bobby calf deaths more than halved after a big improvement in their transportation welfare last spring.

A new report from the Ministry for Primary Industries showed the mortality rate went from 0.25 per cent in 2015 to 0.12 per cent last year.

Last year 2255 calves were reported dead or condemned during the time they were collected for transport to their slaughter from 1,935,054 calves processed.

Young NZers chase endless shearing season – Alexa Cook:

The declining number of sheep in New Zealand and changes in weather patterns are driving more shearers to chase work around the globe.

The national sheep flock is now about 27 million, a big drop from the 70m or so sheep that the country had in 1982.

Jacob Moore from Marton is part of a group of about 60 young shearers who follow the summer seasons for work.

Mr Moore said for shearers who were at the top of their game and established locally, there was full-time work and contractors tended to hold on to them for many seasons.

Wool market strengthens:

NZ Wool Services CEO John Dawson reports 4600 bales on offer this week saw an 87 percent clearance with mostly positive results, with lambs wool increasing considerably.

The weighted currency indicator is down 0.34 percent having a small but positive impact.

More growers are continuing to hold back wool, further reducing volume which is restricting supply in some categories.

Mr Dawson advises compared to the last South Island selection on 16 February; . . 

A2 CEO, chair sell down holdings following strong first-half earnings – Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk Co’s chief executive and chair have sold down their stakes in the milk marketing firm, less than a week after reporting first-half profit more than tripled as demand for its A2 Platinum infant formula surged in its key Australia, New Zealand and China businesses.

Chair David Hearn sold 1 million shares for about $2.5 million, or $2.48 a share, on Friday, while chief executive Geoffrey Babidge sold 900,000 shares for $2.2 million, or an average price of $2.49, yesterday. Hearn gained the shares by exercising 1 million of his 5 million options, for which he paid $630,000, with the sale to facilitate a property transaction in the UK to move his personal residence, according to documents published to the NZX. . . 

Maize crops ‘worst in 30 years’ – Alexa Cook:

Farmers in drought-hit Northland battling with a shortage of stock feed are also experiencing the worst maize harvest in 30 years. . 

Northland Regional Council is warning farmers to be careful with feed reserves and not get too excited about the recent rain.

The council said the drought meant some farmers had already used up their extra supplementary feed, which was being saved for the autumn and winter months.

Northland dairy farmer Even Sneath said it had been a terrible season for growing crops. . . 

Busy summer for MPI biosecurity staff:

Faced with record numbers of international visitors this summer, Ministry for Primary Industries biosecurity staff have intercepted risk goods ranging from the bizarre to the potentially devastating for New Zealand’s economy and environment.

Some of the unusual airport interceptions so far this summer include:

• A chilly bin of live spanner crabs from Thailand presented to officers at Wellington Airport.

• Fruit fly larvae in mangos found at Auckland Airport inside a suitcase from Malaysia jammed full of plant produce and other food. . . 

New Zealanders Offered Sweet Investment:

New Zealanders are being invited to invest money for honey in a revolutionary hive sharing initiative launching today.

Whanganui-based Canaan Honey has launched a PledgeMe crowdsourcing campaign for investors looking to get a sweet return: a lifetime supply of honey.

A launch party last night saw the season’s first harvest of honey with a 3kg bonus honey offered to the first 10 signups.

Hive Share lets backers around New Zealand become beehive owners, without the fuss of having to look after the hive. . . 


Rural round-up

August 26, 2016

Mid- Canterbury animal lover and dairy farmer frustrated at industry haters – Heather Chalmers:

Ardent animal lover and dairy farmer Sara Russell is frustrated at industry haters who are quick to blame dairy farming for everything from mistreatment of animals to the Havelock North contaminated water crisis.

Russell says all dairy stock on the Mid-Canterbury property sharemilked by her and husband Stuart are well cared for, from new-born calves to the oldest cow in the herd, still milking at 16-years-old.

If you engage with groups like Peta, its philosophy is that dairy farming in New Zealand shouldn’t exist. On social media, a lot of people are attacking something they have no understanding of. There are always improvements that can be made, but you wouldn’t be a dairy farmer if you didn’t like animals. Most of us are too busy getting on with our jobs to point out the flaws in their arguments. . . 

Rural mental health scheme shares top award:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has congratulated the GoodYarn rural mental health initiative for winning an international award today.

GoodYarn was developed as part of a Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme and was named joint Best Mental Health Promotion/Illness Prevention scheme at the Australia and New Zealand TheMHS (Mental Health Services) Conference in Auckland today.

“This is a great programme that has helped over 800 farmers and rural professionals since it was established earlier this year,” says Mr Guy. . . 

Otago Station Enjoys Benefits Of Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Otago farmer Marty Deans entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards because he wanted to benchmark the operation he manages and learn more about improving sustainability.

He and wife Lynette live on Barewood Station, a 6300ha sheep and beef property between Middlemarch and Outram. Barewood is one of eight farms owned and operated by Tom and Heather Sturgess, Lone Star Farms.

Marty was encouraged to enter Barewood in the 2016 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards. . .

Competitors chop it out at Young Butcher Awards – Adam Hollingworth:

Meat experts spent Thursday night deciding who New Zealand’s best young butcher is.

The young butchers had two hours to make the cut.

“So we’re looking for that flair and when they’re cutting, they do that precisely just like in a butcher’s shop, that’s what we want to see,” head judge Matt Grimes says.

Alongside nine guys turning a slab of pork shoulder into choice cuts was 26-year-old Amy Jones from Taumarunui.

“It’s just a male dominated trade,” she says. . . 

Bobby calf improvements noted this season:

The calving season for dairy farmers is now in full swing and improvements in calf welfare have been noted across the bobby calf supply chain.

A suite of welfare actions have been implemented since the end of the 2015 as part of an accelerated work programme focused on further improving the standard of care for bobby calves, including new regulations which have been in place since 1 August.

“Everyone across the supply chain has a role to play when it comes to the welfare of bobby calves. What we have seen and heard so far is promising and a majority of people are following the rules, but we have also noticed some people still need to change their practices to ensure all regulations are met,” says MPI’s Director Verification Services, Chris Kebbell. . . 

Minister welcomes new sheep milks PGP programme:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed a new Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme announced today aimed at boosting New Zealand’s sheep milk industry.

The new $31.4 million, six-year PGP programme called ‘Sheep – Horizon Three’ is a partnership between Spring Sheep Milk Co. and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). 

“This is an exciting and comprehensive programme aimed at boosting New Zealand’s sheep milk industry which has huge potential,” says Mr Guy. 

“It will involve new genetics, new farming systems and developing high premium niche products. New Zealand operators will be involved in all parts of the value chain. . . 

Funding to research giant willow aphid brings relief to Canterbury’s beekeepers – Pat Deavoll:

Canterbury beekeepers are welcoming the news that scientists at Scion Research in Rotorua have won a $600,000 grant to study the giant willow aphid.

The aphid is having a detrimental effect on the country’s beekeeping industry by affecting the ability of the willow tree to flower.

During the spring an affected willow will have little or no catkins. The pollen from the catkin is arguably the most important pollen source to bees in New Zealand, without which they wouldn’t be able to produce honey. . . 

Hurry get your Enterprising Rural Women Awards entries in now:

The Enterprising Rural Women Awards (ERWA) offer women who run their own rural businesses the opportunity to showcase their innovative rural enterprise and gain recognition for their achievements.

Rural Women New Zealand invite entries from businesswomen who have strong entrepreneurial skills, are innovative, and embrace new technology, and are active in their rural community.

2016 ERWA categories: . . 

Beef progeny test delivering answers to farmers:

Commercial farmers can bank on estimated breeding values (EBVs) for calf weaning weights delivering on what they predict.

Initial results from the Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Genetics beef progeny test are rolling in and the second cohort of calves is due on the ground in coming weeks.

The test is being run across five large commercial properties and involves about 2200 cows and heifers each year. Its goal is to determine how bulls of different types perform under comparable commercial conditions. It aims to put a dollar value on the worth of superior genetics – from both the perspective of breeding cow performance and finishing stock’s carcase attributes. . . 

Scales Corporation lifts half-year after tax profit, upgrade full-year earnings guidance:

Scales Corporation Limited (NZX:SCL) today reported a net profit after tax of $33.8 million for the half year ended 30 June 2016 (1H16), up 3 per cent on the previous corresponding half year ended 30 June 2015 (1H15).

Key highlights include:

• NPAT up 3 per cent, EBITDA and EBIT also up 3 per cent on 1H15.
• Apple export volumes up 12 per cent on 2015 export volumes, to 3.55 million TCEs.
• Food Ingredients EBITDA up 33 per cent, with pet food sales volumes up 24% on 1H15.
• Full year guidance upgraded to EBITDA between $55 million and $62 million, equating to a net profit after tax of between $29.6 million and $34.6 million.
• China Resources welcomed as a long term supportive shareholder. . . 

Winner of 2016 Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year announced:

Congratulations to Cameron Price from Villa Maria, Hawke’s Bay who is the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year 2016. After a tough final Price was thrilled to receive this prestigious reward on Thursday night at the Bragato Wine Awards. “All that hard work paid off” he said.

Cameron is the Vineyard Supervisor working on Villa Maria’s Ngakirikiri, Vidal and Twyford Gravels vineyards. He has been there since May this year and is enjoying the challenges of his new position, supervising 60 hectares of vines.

He is 26 years old and grew up in Palmerston North. Price comes from a family of plumbers but his passion for viticulture and wine led him to Hawkes Bay to study Viticulture at EIT in 2008. He continues to study part-time as he furthers his career working full time learning and upskilling on the job as well. . . 

Wine industry recognises shining examples at 2016 Romeo Bragato Wine Awards:

An Auckland Chardonnay and a Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot both shone at this year’s Romeo Bragato Wine Awards.

Grown by Brett Donaldson, the Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Chardonnay 2014 won the coveted Bragato Champion Wine of the Show Trophy – Champion Single Vineyard and the Bill Irwin Trophy for Champion Chardonnay.

“This Chardonnay demonstrated exceptional respect to the variety and is a shining example of what hard graft in the vineyard and soft touch in the winery can achieve. It shows wonderful expression and captures the essence of the Ihumatao vineyard. Simply stunning!,” said Chairman of Judges Ben Glover. . . 

A year on: Invivo hosts innovative bash for stakeholders to toast a good year:

It’s probably one of the most lively investor ‘meetings’ you’re likely to attend.

Forget stuffy AGMs, the shareholders who joined the Invivo directors at the winemaker’s 2016 AGM in Te Kauwhata yesterday (24 Aug.) were treated to live music, canapés, dinner and a winery tour. That’s the Invivo way.

Having been New Zealand’s first company to equity crowdfund the maximum $2 million in 2015, Invivo hosted the bash with its shareholders to celebrate its first year. The company’s innovative approach to its AGM proved a hit as more than 120 shareholders joined the event which was also live streamed across the world. . . 


Rural round-up

July 27, 2016

New rules for bobby calves confirmed:

New regulations to strengthen the law around the treatment of bobby calves have been officially gazetted today and most will be in place for the 1 August Spring calving season, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

“As signalled earlier this year, these regulations have now been confirmed by Cabinet. They are an important step in protecting animals and New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible producer,” says Mr Guy.

“They set clear standards and include a wider set of compliance tools including the ability to issue infringement notices for lower level offending, and broader prosecutable offences. . . 

Ministry for Primary Industries's photo.

Time of the gentle greys is coming – Andrea Fox:

Pulling up to Paradise Valley Murray Grey Stud is a shot in the arm for jaded winter farming spirits and perhaps, the breed’s future, writes Andrea Fox.

It’s the middle of winter in the misty, chill hills on the way to Kawhia but you’d never know it looking at Micheal Phillips’ murray greys.

They’re looking a million bucks. Seal fat and well-content – from autumn calves up to the strapping big sire bulls. A sight for sore eyes compared to some livestock doing harder time in this western corner of the Waikato.

Shirt-clad Phillips, like his cattle apparently impervious to winter, farms a registered murray grey stud herd and a commercial herd on 250 hectares in the Honikiwi district, along with 150 non-murray grey heifers bought as weaners and destined for the prime meat and store markets, and 600 romney and coopworth ewes. . . 

Ewe pregnancies back as facial eczema takes its toll – Jill Galloway:

Manawatu and Rangitikei farmers are facing fewer lambs than expected as facial eczema takes its toll on ewes.

Federated Farmers Manawatu/Rangitikei Meat & Fibre chairman, Richard Morrison said scanning was back about 10 per cent and ewes were carrying fewer lambs.

“And dry rates [ewes not in lamb] varied a lot across the regions.  We had 2 per cent, but some people were probably as high as 20 per cent.” . . 

Biosecurity 2025 discussion document released:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has launched the Biosecurity 2025 discussion document today, seeking public feedback on a long term direction for the biosecurity system.

“New Zealand has a world leading biosecurity system, but the challenges and opportunities we face are changing rapidly. The time is right to identify the changes and improvements that will be needed to maintain a resilient biosecurity system over the next 10 years,” says Mr Guy.

“The primary sector is a significant part of New Zealand’s economy, making up around half of all our exports. We need to protect our producers from unwanted pests and diseases, which is why biosecurity has always been my number one priority as Minister. . . 

Ministry for Primary Industries's photo.

Local dairy farms struggle to find staff, blame pot – Will Houston:

Several Humboldt County dairy farmers say they are facing a widespread shortage of employees due to restrictive immigration control as well as being outcompeted by the cannabis cultivation industry.

As result, some dairy farms may have to sell some of their cows or even close down their farms as their daily workload mounts, according to Western United Dairymen trade association’s Melissa Lema. Others say they will just have to grit their teeth and try to make up for the extra work as best they can.

“I’ve had a dairy producer tell me that it was the worst three months he has had than he has had in 45 years in the business,” said Lema, who is the trade association’s North Coast representative and represents 63 dairy farms in Humboldt County. . . 

Morning Frosts a Change From Tropical Conditions for Fonterra Visitors:

Getting up early on a foggy frosty Waikato morning for calving is quite a change for the nine Indonesian farmers in New Zealand this winter with Fonterra’s Dairy Development programme.

These farmers who would normally work in hot and humid 31 degree temperatures, are now rugged up to spend four weeks in New Zealand as part of their 12 week scholarship programme with Fonterra.

Fonterra’s Dairy Development programme teaches farmers in developing countries animal care best practice, and other key skills to improve on-farm efficiencies that produce higher volumes of better quality milk.

Joining the farmers in the programme are three Indonesian Government dairy extension officers and two Fonterra Sri Lankan supplier relationship officers. . . 


Rural round-up

June 15, 2016

New regulations for bobby calves:

New regulations to strengthen the law around the management and treatment of bobby calves are planned to be in place before the 2016 spring calving season, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

“Most farmers care for their animals and do a good job of looking after them. However it’s important we have clear rules and enforcement in place. Animal welfare is important not just to animals, but to consumers and our export markets,” says Mr Guy.

“The new, strengthened regulations will go to Cabinet for final approval shortly. I want to give farmers, transport operators and processors advance warning of these changes before the start of the calving season.” . . 

New Regulations Part of Wider Initiative to Strengthen Bobby Calf Welfare:

Details announced today for new regulations for the management and treatment of young calves are part of a wider programme of work by farmers, industry and government to strengthen bobby calf welfare.

The eight organisations that formed the Bobby Calf Action Group at the end of 2015 have accelerated and added to existing measures aimed at ensuring everyone involved with bobby calves applies best practice in their handling and care. . . 

Updated tool-kit to help farmers improve health and safety:

An updated tool-kit designed to help farmers better manage risks on their farms will be distributed at National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.

The tool-kit, which provides practical advice and resources to help farmers improve health and safety on their farms, has been developed by Safer Farms, ACC and WorkSafe New Zealand’s health and safety programme designed with farmers and the wider agricultural sector.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Federated Farmers were among the groups which provided input to the tool-kit. Beef + Lamb New Zealand, in addition to working with WorkSafe on the new tool-kit, is working with sheep and beef farmers to help them meet their obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act. Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Executive, Sam McIvor, says that by the end of June, the organisation will have run over 70 health and safety workshops for more than 2,100 attendees around the country. . . 

Nominations & entries open for South Island Farmer of the Year:

Nominations and entries are open for the 2016 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition, and organisers are expecting wide interest.

Foundation Chair Ben Todhunter says, “Last year we had excellent entries which resulted in a tie, with Omarama Station and Clearwater Mussels sharing the honours. This substantially boosted public interest and we had excellent attendance at all of our events. We anticipate this level of interest will continue in 2016.” . . .

Genetic base cow change brings breeding worth back:

The genetic base cow – the genetic reference point for all dairy cattle in New Zealand – will be updated this month when it will become younger, moving from a 2000 to a 2005-born base cow.

New Zealand Animal Evaluation Limited (NZAEL) manager Jeremy Bryant says the genetic base is updated every five years and will be again on June 19, 2016.

Jeremy says the base cow update reflects genetic progress and prevents the gap between today’s animals and the genetic base becoming too large. This keeps the scale of genetic predictions relevant. . . 

Asia-Pacific’s Growing Appetite For NZ Blueberries Produces Record Industry Sales:

Huge demand for New Zealand blueberries is being welcomed by local growers who have exported a record 1.37 million kilograms of fruit this season.

Blueberries New Zealand (BBNZ) today announced over 10 million punnets of berries (worth an estimated $30 million FOB) were shipped to the end of March – a 40 per cent increase on the season before.

“Demand is continuing to grow, especially in Asia-Pacific where a ‘food-as-a-medicine’ culture prevails,” explains Blueberries NZ Chairman Dan Peach. “Asian markets have demonstrated a clear and voracious appetite for blueberries thanks to the wide range of amazing health benefits they offer.” . . 

DairyNZ announces new associate directors:

Two dairy farmers from Canterbury and south Auckland will join the DairyNZ Board of Directors this year.

New associate directors Jessie Chan-Dorman and Stu Muir have been selected to join the DairyNZ board for successive six month terms. Jessie begins this month and Stu from January 2017.

DairyNZ chair Michael Spaans says Jessie and Stu bring great industry experience to the roles, which are about providing experience to future leaders, showing first-hand how a board works and what goes into making key decisions. . . 


Rural round-up

June 2, 2016

Friendly family rivalry at dog trials – Sally Rae:

Technically, Roger and Steph Tweed are rivals on the huntaway courses at the South Island and New Zealand sheep dog trial championships at Omarama.

But Mr Tweed (55) could not be prouder of his daughter as she competes with her dog, Grit, the offspring of his own champion trial dog, Gemma.

“It’s very special,” the Waitahuna farmer said, referring to the fact both he and his daughter had qualified to compete at the championships.

Miss Tweed (24), now a shepherd on a station at Taihape, started dog-trialling when she was still at school. . . 

Internet bargain takes on the best – Sally Rae:

Ben the heading dog was not a bad buy as far as internet purchases go.

The dog, which spent his early months as a pet, was bought by Nastassja Tairua for $300 after she spied him advertised for sale. He was 15 months old and had never seen a sheep. 

Miss Tairua trained the young dog and he proved to be a willing learner. He went on to win the Tux South Island maiden yarding event with her. . . 

Veteran still enjoys dogs’ life – Sally Rae:

Les Roughan has the distinction of being the oldest competitor at this year’s South Island and New Zealand sheepdog trial championships at Omarama.

Last year, the 92-year-old could have claimed another milestone, as one of the more senior Kiwis to undergo open-heart surgery. But he turned it down in favour of a heart valve.

“I wouldn’t have it. They said ‘why?’. I said … it would be six months away from my dogs. When I was fit to go back to them, they wouldn’t know me and I wouldn’t know them. . . 

Man admits abusing Waikato bobby calves:

A man who was captured on video abusing bobby calves in the Waikato has admitted animal cruelty charges.

Noel Piraku Erickson, 38, pleaded guilty to 10 charges of cruelty or ill treatment of an animal in the Huntly District Court on Thursday.

The seasonal worker was charged by the Ministry for Primary Industries after video emerged in November from animal welfare group SAFE which showed showed bobby calves being roughly handled. . . 

DairyNZ CalvingSmart events will set farmers up for a successful calving season:

DairyNZ is running CalvingSmart events in June and July to help farmers approach the calving season with confidence.

The CalvingSmart event is a full day programme for the whole farm team. Farmers can choose from a series of sessions for different experience levels, enabling them to develop practical skills that will help the calving season go well.

For senior management, there is a session on calf care and farmers’ responsibilities under the new draft animal welfare regulations. . . 

Govt approves updated AgResearch Future Footprint Plan:

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce has announced that shareholding ministers have approved AgResearch’s updated Future Footprint Programme (FFP) business case which will reconfigure the Institute’s operations across four sites with an investment of $133 million in buildings and other infrastructure.

“AgResearch has presented a strong business case for change,” Mr Joyce says. “The FFP will modernise its facilities and co-locate research staff doing complementary work at the Palmerston North and Lincoln campuses.

“These campuses will form part of larger innovation hubs with other partners including tertiary institutions, Crown Research Institutes and industry researchers. The hubs will focus on food science in Palmerston North, and land-based sustainable productivity at Lincoln Hub.” . . .

Fonterra Management Appointments:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today announced new appointments for two of its senior leaders.

Mike Cronin, who is currently Group Director Governance and Legal, is stepping into the newly created role of Managing Director Corporate Affairs, effective immediately.

Announcing the appointment today, Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings said Mike’s connection with the business, and its risk and reputation drivers, makes him the natural choice for this role. . . 


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