Rural round-up

July 25, 2016

Future grim if deal off – Neal Wallace and Alan Williams:

A grim economic future has been painted by Silver Fern Farms directors should the meat company not complete its merger with Shanghai Maling.  

In notice of meeting documentation being sent to shareholders, chairman Rob Hewett said banks twice last year warned the co-operative they would not “under any circumstances” provide ongoing finance unless shareholders approved a new injection of capital.

Hewett said in an interview that nothing had changed since those warnings were issued in May and June last year. . . 

Market-ready lamb set for China:

Alliance Group has launched a new range of market-ready retail packs to China.

The co-branded lamb products will begin being sold in China’s retail and food service sectors next month in conjunction with the co-op’s in-market partner Grand Farm.

The initial focus of the programme will be on the upper end of the Chinese market with five regions, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Harbin, being targeted. . .

Turning effluent into electricity – Allison Beckham:

Southland cows are good at producing milk, and now it has been proven they are also good at producing another useful staple – electricity.

After two years of planning and design, a pilot plant producing electricity from dairy effluent methane is about to be commissioned on a Southland dairy farm.

The system is expected to generate about 50kW of electricity annually, enough to power about 75% of the farm’s electricity needs and equivalent to the requirements of about 10 urban households. . . 

Minister clarifies China trade issue:

Trade Minister Todd McClay has today reiterated that the Government has sought and received assurances from the Chinese Government that any competition issues would not impact on trade between the two countries.

Mr McClay is responding to reports that retaliatory action could be imposed if an investigation is launched into allegations of steel dumping.

“On my return from Indonesia I asked my office for a full review of the broader issues around this matter.

“I want to make it clear today that there have been discussions and limited correspondence over the past few months as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has endeavoured to assess the veracity of these reports. . . 

New PGP harvest technology targets safety:

New forest harvesting technology revealed today in Nelson sets its sights on further increasing safety in steep land harvesting operations, Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew says.

The new ‘tele-operation’ technology provides out-of-harm’s way operation of a purpose-built tracked feller-buncher forest harvester, from the safety of a separate operator cabin and console.

The breakthrough is part of Steepland Harvesting, a 6-year, $6 million Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme between the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and a consortium of forestry companies and contractors, led by Future Forests Research Ltd (FFR). . . 

New Zealand’s Largest Organic Apple Grower Plants Big in New Varieties:

New Zealand’s largest organic apple grower, Bostock New Zealand has been making the most of the sunny Hawke’s Bay weather, busily planting about 4000 new apple trees each day.

The company has been pulling out it’s old apple varieties and planting new trees to keep up with the international demand for organic, GM Free fruit.

Bostock New Zealand Organic Orchards Manager Craig Treneman says it’s exciting to be planting new varieties, which are sweeter and higher colour and appeal to the growing Asia market.

“We have some new orchard developments in Twyford, where we are planting about 4000 new tree varieties a day. . . 


Rural round-up

April 12, 2016

Water brings back ‘marvellous’ times – Sally Rae:

“Lower Waitaki – The Community That Water Saved” was the theme of a recent media tour organised by the Waitaki Irrigators Collective and IrrigationNZ and coinciding with IrrigationNZ’s 2016 conference in Oamaru. Agribusiness reporter Sally Rae hopped on the bus to discover just what irrigation has done for the area and its inhabitants.  

When Jim Dennison’s father bought Drumena in 1919, the Hilderthorpe farm was in a “desolate state”.

Local women pitied his new bride moving to such a property to try to make a living. . .

Harnessing the sunshine for record-breaking crop yields – Pat Deavoll:

Farmers talk about growing feed, but North Otago crop and dairy farmer Chris Dennison says he is “harvesting sunshine.”

His world record-breaking crops of barley and oil seed rape were the combination of heavy soils, a coastal environment, reliable water and sustained sunshine, he said.

“Here at Hilderthorpe (just south of the Waitaki River) we get a cool easterly wind which gives a lull in the growing season for cereal and oil seed rape, so the crops can utilise more sunshine.”

Dennison took over the farm from his father Jim in the early 1980s. Traditionally it was a mixed sheep and beef property but when Dennison arrived home he brought with him an interest in cropping. . . 

Waitaki water key to reliable farming – Sally Rae:

Reuben Allan’s dairy shed has one heck of a view.

It overlooks the vast Waitaki River which provides not only recreational opportunities for his family, but also has allowed them to transition from a “feast or famine” dryland operation to one with reliable irrigation.

Mr Allan grew up on Fairway Farm, which used to be a dryland sheep property, near Ikawai.

Irrigation began on the hills in the mid-1990s and the move was made into intensive beef finishing. . . 

Irrigation provides reliability – Sally Rae:

Matt Ross first arrived in North Otago “more by accident”.

But his decision to return, once he completed his university studies, was deliberate as he had identified the potential opportunities in the district.

Mr Ross and his wife Julie operate Kokoamo Farms, which comprise two dairy farms near Duntroon, milking 1730 cows at peak, and lease a run-off property.

Their farming operation is a showcase: lush green grass, extensive plantings, including a wetland development that is home to more than 100,000 plants, and impressive infrastructure. . . 

Still turning them (tractors) on at 85:

North Otago’s Don Fraser is a man who loves his tractors. His love affair has been so intense he is still driving them at the ripe old age of 85.

Part of the hard-working team at EGL Pastoral for 26 years, and a farmer most of his life, Mr Fraser remembers the old style tractors (crawlers) when he first started out and recalls they were so noisy you needed hearing aids. “There was no silencers then and we didn’t have air con back in the day, but then we didn’t need it when a keen souwester was blowing through.” . . .

Sheep Industry Awards celebrate success:

This country’s sheep industry will celebrate its best and brightest at Beef +Lamb New Zealand’s fifth annual New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards in the Wairarapa in July.

Entries are open for the Awards which recognises this country’s top sheep farmers, breeders, scientists and industry innovators.

People can put their name forward, or be nominated for the Award categories; Science Trainer of the Year, Innovation, Significant Contribution to the New Zealand Sheep Industry and the Emerging Talent Award. . . 

Focus on forages is key to sustainable farm profits:

Pastoral farming is a huge earner for New Zealand worth over $23 billion in export revenues last year. Forages – the grasses and other plants grazed by farm animals – are a critical part of pastoral farming systems. Industry participants consider there is significant scope to lift the contribution forages make to the underlying productivity and profitability of the pastoral sectors and to achieve these outcomes in an environmentally sustainable manner.

This is why an initiative to improve the sustainability and profitability of New Zealand’s forage grazing systems has the buy-in of everyone representing the pastoral sector. . . 

Bostock New Zealand experiencing highest quality apples for several years:

New Zealand’s largest organic apple grower is harvesting some of the best quality fruit it’s experienced for years – thanks to near perfect growing and harvesting conditions.

Bostock New Zealand Director, David Brasell says the weather has been outstanding for the harvest and the fruit has sized well.

“The quality of our apples this season is very, very good. The colour is great, the fruit is clean and the size is excellent. . . .

Time to guard against costly nutritional deficits:

A small investment in autumn feed testing can be good insurance against mineral deficiencies in dairy and beef cows that can lead to low growth rates and poor milk yields.

Winter feeds like fodder beet, low pasture phosphorus levels in some regions, and lower seasonal availability for copper can lead to deficiencies of both of these key minerals during late pregnancy, early lactation and calf growth.

Consultant nutritionist to SealesWinslow, Paul Sharp, says for around $100 a comprehensive pasture mineral test will provide the right information to farmers. . . 

Yealands Launches NZ’s First Vineyard Tour Guide App:

The first kiwi wine app that allows the user to take a self-guided vineyard tour – and take in Yealands’ famous White Road hot-spots.

One of the only vineyards to actually let visitors drive through its vineyard, wine innovators, Yealands Wine Group have released a mobile application that allows visitors to its Seaview Vineyard in the Awatere Valley, Marlborough the unique opportunity of taking their own self-guided vineyard tour. . .


Rural round-up

February 29, 2016

How one rural woman escaped an abusive marriage – Jemma Brackebush:

A woman who continued to farm after ending her abusive marriage has spoken out in the hope it may help others in similar situations.

 Police say just three in 10 women will report domestic abuse, while seven will remain silent.

Claire* farms in the central North Island and said domestic violence in rural communities was a taboo subject that people turned their backs on.

Claire was happily married, living the dream on the farm she had always wanted to own.

Within 18 months of the relationship beginning their first baby came along and her husband’s three children from a previous marriage joined them at the farm. . . 

Course gives firm sense of direction – Sally Rae:

Sometimes it’s about taking those first steps.

When North Otago dairy farmer, vet and mother-of-two Nicola Neal completed the two-day First Steps programme in 2014, it gave her a firm sense of direction.

The programme, developed by the Agri-Women’s Development Trust, is specifically designed to help rural women understand and realise their potential. . . 

A social media champion emerges for young rural mothers – Pat Deavoll:

Young mothers living in the rural backblocks have a new champion.

Twenty-six-year-old mother-of-two and wife of a deer farmer, Chanelle O’Sullivan, saw a need for a support mechanism for young mums, often from an urban background, who found themselves ensconced in the countryside because of their husband or partners’ jobs. 

“These girls are often isolated and unsupported,” O’Sullivan says. “I wanted to create a means for them to interact, hence I took over the  Farming Mums NZ Facebook page three years ago. I thought it was a worthwhile resource for women who could otherwise feel isolated in the country.”  . . 

A journey from good to great:

The clincher for Manawatu dairy farmer  to change his farm business for the better was seeing a previously enthusiastic young employee struggling under pressure.  

“I walked into the staffroom one day and saw one of our great employees who had started six months previously sitting at the table. This young man, who came to us fit and eager, had changed for the worse. And this was just from trying to be a normal man – working long hours and still maintaining a normal and enjoyable life outside of dairy farming. I realised something had to change.”  

As an owner of a 1000-cow farm in Bulls, Manawatu, Stuart Taylor has a team of six to seven staff.  Integral to his business is creating a community of good, productive people, with individual roles reflecting what they want out of a career and an opportunity to get to where they want to be. . .

Seeka Kiwifruit lifts annual profit 35% on increased volumes – By Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Seeka Kiwifruit Industries, the largest kiwifruit grower in Australia and New Zealand, increased annual profit 35 percent as volumes recover from the impact of the Psa-V vine disease and it received insurance money from a fire at its largest packhouse facility.

Profit rose to $4.3 million, or 27 cents per share, in the 12 months ended Dec. 31, from $3.2 million, or 22 cents, the year earlier, the Te Puke-based company said in a statement. That’s ahead of its forecast of between $2.96 million and $3.53 million, which reflected uncertainty around insurance claims related to the fire. It received $5.46 million in insurance proceeds from the fire, although not all claims were finalised or accepted by the insurers at year end. Revenue rose 23 percent to $142.1 million. . . 

Hawke’s Bay’s Apple Exporters Partner up to Open the Region’s Largest Single Rooms Coolstore:

Two of Hawke’s Bay’s biggest apple exporters have teamed up to store apples, today opening the regions largest single rooms coolstore.

Bostock New Zealand and Mr Apple have officially opened their new 8600m2 coolstore near Flaxmere, which has the capacity to store 30,000 bins.

Bostock New Zealand Owner, John Bostock says it’s very exciting to be opening a state of the art facility, which has the technology and innovation to provide customers with full traceability from the Hawke’s Bay orchards to consumers across the world. . . 

New coolstore offers fruit traceability:

Two of Hawke’s Bay’s biggest apple exporters have opened the region’s largest single rooms coolstore.

Bostock New Zealand and Mr Apple have officially opened their new 8600 square metre coolstore near Flaxmere, which has the capacity to store 30,000 bins.

Bostock New Zealand owner John Bostock said the state of the art facility had the technology and innovation to provide customers with full traceability from the Hawke’s Bay orchards to consumers across the world. . . 


Rural round-up

July 5, 2015

Calm cattle eases storm’s pain – Kate Taylor:

Easterly faces on Heughan and Carol Gordon’s Waimarama farm still bear the scars of a brutal storm that hit coastal Hawke’s Bay during Easter weekend four years ago.

But when you’re there on a still, clear winter’s day in the Hawke’s Bay sunshine, it’s hard to picture 750mm of rain falling in just 36 hours.

The property is a 260ha sheep and beef farm, plus 50ha lease block, running between Waimarama Rd and the Maraetotara ridge, south east of Hastings, rising sharply off the road up to about 300m above sea level.  Gordon and his wife Carol moved to Hawke’s Bay from Kaitawa, near Pahiatua, six years ago having previously farmed in Taihape.  . .

Going great Gunns – Joanna Davies:

When Allan Gunn and his brother Trevor bought Burwood Downs farm in South Otago five decades ago survival was their only goal. Times may have changed but Allan endures and he’s glad still to be on the land he loves. Joanna Davies tells the tale. Photos by John Cosgrove.

When Allan Gunn and his brother Trevor bought 445 hectares at Wangaloa on the South Otago coast in 1965 they knew they’d be there for the long haul. Fifty years later and mortgage free, Allan stands by his original view that farming is a long-distance event and not a sprint – though there have been a few hurdles along the way. 

When the pair bought Burwood Downs farm in the Clutha District five decades ago their first goal was to survive. State Advances had given them a £32,000 mortgage for land. They had a second mortgage of about £10,000 for plant plus stock of 2000 ewes, 500 hoggets, 56 cows, 56 calves and a few odds and sods. . .

Advance Parties gaining traction:

Deer Industry NZ is fielding an upsurge in the number of farmers wanting to join an Advance Party (AP).

These are an innovative concept, designed to get deer farmers to encourage and support each other in adopting management practices that will make their farms more profitable.

There are nine APs underway, as part of a three-year trial of the concept. One of the nine is developing tools or ‘metrics’ that farmers can use to measure the performance of their deer businesses. The rest are on-farm groups located from Hawkes Bay to Southland. . .

Spark Digital operates to fix the gap between urban and rural surgery:

Spark Digital is powering Mobile Health Solutions as a unique paperless mobile surgical centre – the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

Mobile Health Solutions runs a fully-equipped operating theatre housed in a purpose built 20m bus. It travels the length of New Zealand, from Kaitaia to Gore taking a full range of surgical services to rural areas. The bus journeys on a five week cycle clocking up 50,000km a year and has performed 18,500 operations.

Spark Digital delivers reliable mobile broadband to the unit using a dual option service that can fail over from 4G to 3G and vice versa when required. . .

 

When did farming become a paper-pushing exercise? – Chris Lewis:

People often ask me, what Federated Farmers elected people do with their day. Well I’m currently sitting in my office writing this column and looking at my diary for the next few weeks, which is filled with Federated Farmers work.

In the next few weeks my days are jam packed with meetings, with the majority focused on paper shuffling or death by paper cuts. There is so much going on in the primary industries I feel like I’m tied to my desk, barely ever leaving the house, because the paper work never stops! I kid you not; farming is becoming a paper pushing exercise!

Farmers do the essential stuff like PAYE forms, paying bills, financial budgets, staff rosters, and general planning, but more and more forms are coming in that tell us we cannot do our job until we have filled them out. Some make sense but others seem to be an answer to lefties using social media to push their vendettas’ against farmers. We are in an era where people’s dislike or even hatred is expressed over a keyboard and answered by bureaucrats pushing more paper work at the alleged problem. . .

Leading New Zealand Grower Rebrands:

One of New Zealand’s leading growers and the largest organic apple producer, BOSTOCK NEW ZEALAND, has launched a new corporate name and brand to reflect the consolidation of the company and the positive growth.

The Bostock Group’s three main brands JB Organics, JM Bostock Ltd and D M Palmer will all now become part of BOSTOCK NEW ZEALAND.

BOSTOCK NEW ZEALAND owner and founder, John Bostock said the company had experienced significant expansion and was delighted to announce a new brand to simplify the company’s identities. . .

SealesWinslow passes on savings:

Farm animal nutrition company SealesWinslow is passing on business efficiencies through lower feed costs, sharing gains with farmers at a time when budgets are tight.

SealesWinslow’s chief operating officer Chris Brown said the business was reaping the benefits of higher efficiencies following the $10 million upgrade of its production and distribution facilities and was also saving costs through improved procurement.

The Ballance Agri-Nutrients subsidiary has significantly reduced its prices across its calf and bulk dairy ranges. . .

Three top tips for calf nutrition:

Calving season is just around the corner and there are three top tips for healthy productive calves.

1. Feed good-quality colostrum for at least four days

2. Set up spacious, dry, draught-free housing

3. Don’t skimp on feed quality – you will pay later!

Wendy Morgan, SealesWinslow Nutrition and Quality Manager, says developing a plan is essential for calves to achieve weaning weights quickly while their digestive development is supported. . .

 


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