Rural round-up

June 13, 2017

Making cropping great:

FAR 2017 – 2021 Strategy launched in Wellington.

The Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) has launched its 2017-2021 Strategy, which aims to make cropping the highest returning and most sustainable broadacre land use for New Zealand farmers.

CEO Nick Pyke says the strategy builds on FAR’s strengths as a provider of quality research and extension and on the innate strengths of New Zealand’s cropping industry.

“New Zealand’s temperate climate, quality soils, plentiful water and highly skilled farmers provide us with some key advantages over other food producing nations. Accordingly, FAR’s new strategy has been designed to ensure that our research team works alongside the cropping industry, helping it to reach its full potential as New Zealand’s most economically and environmentally sustainable farming system. . . 

Disease testing advance ready – Sally Rae:

CRV Ambreed is collaborating with Otago-based Disease Research Ltd to enable dairy farmers to access further information about Bovine Viral Diarrhoea and Johne’s  disease from their herd testing.

From this month, farmers would get their normal herd test information on BVD and Johne’s disease but were now able to directly take that a step further with DRL. Until now, the herd testing provided farmers with an initial positive or negative result for the diseases through an “alert” service, which told the farmer there might be  an issue  needing further investigation. The extended service offered by DRL provided farmers with the option of follow-up testing of individual cows, ensuring properly informed management and control, CRV Ambreed managing director Angus Haslett said. . . 

Hunter Downs Water Ltd given requiring authority status:

Minister for the Environment Dr Nick Smith has granted Hunter Downs Water Limited requiring authority status to develop and operate the Hunter Downs Irrigation Scheme in South Canterbury.

“The irrigation scheme will take water from the Waitaki River to irrigate land between Waimate and Timaru. Hunter Downs Water has previously obtained water-take consent from Environment Canterbury and a development grant from Crown Irrigation Investments Limited. This scheme has the potential to irrigate 40,000 hectares, bringing benefits to 200 farmers. The economic benefits to the region are estimated at an increase in output of $830 million per year, and 1840 jobs in South Canterbury. . . 

Feds’ withdraw Mackenzie Basin appeal:

Federated Farmers has withdrawn its appeal on the Environment Court’s Mackenzie Basin decision, opting for less time in court, more time around the table for discussions.

“As we’ve said right from when the decision on Plan Change 13 was issued, our appeal was lodged in order to get clarity around a couple of key aspects,” Federated Farmers’ High Country executive member Andrew Simpson said.

There is still concern about several aspects of Judge Jackson’s decision, including apparent contradictions between what the Mackenzie District Council has said around enabling traditional farming and the ultimate findings of the Court. . . 

Kaikōura funds query ‘disappointing’, farming group says – Alexa Cook:

A farming group questioned about the spending of earthquake relief money says all of the funds have been spent helping the farming community get back on their feet.

Questions have been asked about how more than $30,000 raised by the NZ Farming Facebook page through Givealittle, for Kaikōura earthquake relief, was spent.

Nearly $60,000 was donated in the appeal, which aimed to get supplies to earthquake-hit farmers and to cover fuel costs.

It was reported by Fairfax in February that the group had spent $27,000 on hiring heavy equipment, providing food and accommodation, and transport costs, and that the rest would be spent on special projects in the community.  . .

NZ’s Organic Businesses Call on the Government to Regulate their Industry:

Some of the country’s largest organic businesses have just hosted MP’s in Hawke’s Bay, calling on the Government to regulate the organic sector and provide a national standard to protect the word “organic”.

The organisation that represents the New Zealand organic sector, Organics Aotearoa NZ (OANZ) hosted a field trip for the Primary Production Select Committee.

OANZ CEO Brendan Hoare says the organic sector is growing 11% each year and is now worth more than $0.5 billion dollars to the economy. . . 

Blue Pacific Minerals to launch innovative new granulated feed supplement MaxiMin at Field Days:

Blue Pacific Minerals will launch its innovative new feed supplement MaxiMin at this week’s National Field Days.

Tokoroa-based Blue Pacific Minerals (BPM), New Zealand’s premier zeolite and perlite minerals processing company, has come up with the new value-added, dust-free supplement, which combines Magnesium and Calcium with its long-standing Optimate product in a granulated form.

“MaxiMin is a breakthrough product for farmers,” says BPM Agriproducts Account Manager Kelvin Johansson. . .


Rural round-up

September 30, 2013

Dung beetle holds dairy farm hopes – Alison Rudd:

Could dung beetles be the environmental warriors New Zealand dairy farmers have been waiting for?

They happily chew through the poo, turning waste into soil fertiliser. And with the average dairy cow producing 11 cow pats every day, the beetles have plenty of work ahead of them.

The national Dung Beetle Release Strategy Group (DBRSG) this week released its first 500 dung beetles into the ”wild” on an organic dairy farm at Tuturau, near Wyndham. Beetles will also be released soon on three other farms elsewhere in the country.

DBRSG chairman John Pearce, who flew from Auckland to supervise the release, said the beetles were expected to naturally spread to all properties, although that would take many years. . .

Prison farm work fodder for future –  Timothy Brown:

The entranceway to the 21st century edifice which occupies a 60ha site outside Milton is the last landmark before tarseal gives way to gravel on Narrowdale Rd.

Just around the corner, two large gum trees stand guard at the entrance to a dairy farm and down the driveway workers can be seen performing their daily tasks.

They look like workers on any dairy farm, but at the end of the working day these workers will return to that edifice in the distance because this is the Otago Corrections Facility’s dairy farm.

At the end of the driveway, I am greeted by the dairy farm’s principal instructor, Tony Russell. . .

Farmer ownership imperative – Sally Rae:

Finding the solutions to implement change in the red meat industry is still the major barrier in reaching the Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) group’s goals, chairman Richard Young says.

In his inaugural chairman’s report, Mr Young said meat company talks had offered no solution to date. However, those talks were still continuing.

What it did offer, if successful, was a managed approach to dealing with overcapacity.

Managed rationalisations would have less impact on all stakeholders and offer better outcomes than unmanaged rationalisations. . .

Pastures to boost hill country production:

AT LEAST 40% of New Zealand is too steep to cultivate yet still less than 1000m above sea-level.

The challenges of improving pasture on such land are considerable, but as the early results of a long-term project show, establishment of more productive species is possible.

What’s more, with the work on four contrasting sites around the country (see panel) on-going as part of the Pastoral 21* initiative, the findings promise to fine-tune best practice for improving and maintaining such country in the future. . .

Best practice could cut emissions by 30%: FAO:

GREENHOUSE GAS emissions by the livestock sector could be cut by as much as 30% through the wider use of existing best practices and technologies, according to a new study released today by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The report, Tackling climate change through livestock: A global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities, represents the most comprehensive estimate made to-date of livestock’s contribution to global warming – as well as the sector’s potential to help tackle the problem.

All told, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with livestock supply chains total 14.5% of all human-caused GHG releases. . .

All eyes on cute badger cull in the UK – Steve Wyn-Harris:

Recently I had eight English sheep farmers come for a farm visit. (There are nine Mexicans coming tomorrow, so perhaps it will be 10 Lithuanians next week).

One of them was Charles Sercombe, who is the National Farmers Union (NFU) livestock chairman. He farms in Leicestershire.

He told me the main issues in front of the union are the Common Agricultural Policy reform and their attempts to get on top of tuberculosis (Tb), which involves starting a badger cull.

This piqued my interest, so I asked him in detail about the issue. Tb has become a major problem and one of the vectors is the badger. . .

 

A Banks Peninsula company has won New Zealand’s top olive oil award for the second year running.

Robinsons Bay Olives from Akaroa took the best in show award as well as best in class in the commercial medium blend class at the New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Awards, where international judges commented on the high quality of the oils produced here. . .

Let’s move from fossil farming to future-proof farming:

“The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides a stark choice for New Zealand agriculture,” says Brendan Hoare, Chair of OANZ (Organics Aotearoa New Zealand). “We either grasp this opportunity to move away from fossil farming to future-proof farming – or we keep making the problem of climate change even worse by the way we farm. The status quo of more dams, more fertilisers and more animals per hectare is at least 20 years out of date. It is time to change the guard and our thinking.”  . .


Rural round-up

April 13, 2013

Sheep and beef farming leaders focus on environment:

Twenty-five sheep and beef farming leaders from across New Zealand will attend the first Beef and Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Environmental Leadership Forum in Wellington next week.

The Forum is being funded by B+LNZ and delivered by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust. It is based on a successful programme – also run by the Trust, in partnership with DairyNZ – for dairy farming leaders.

B+LNZ Chief Executive Officer, Dr Scott Champion says the forum is designed to equip the farmers with some of the skills they need to engage effectively with regional councils and take on leadership roles within their communities. . .

Experts gather to address issues for bees, trees and farming in New Zealand:

An inaugural conference involving some of New Zealand’s top agricultural and environmental experts is being held in Gisborne this month to address the apparent decline of nutritional forage for bees in this country.

Nutritional stress is considered to be one of the main factors behind large-scale bee losses as reported overseas. The Trees for Bees research project aims to help avoid this happening in New Zealand.

The ‘Trees for Bees’ conference is being held at Eastwoodhill Arboretum and has been organised by the Eastwoodhill Trust and the East Coast Farm Forestry Association with help from the National Beekeepers Association. It will be held on April 26th and 27th at Eastwoodhill arboretum and at two field day sites. . .

Energetic Dairy Pioneers Win Supreme in Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Dairy conversion pioneers Abe and Anita de Wolde have been named Supreme winners of the 2013 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Ballance Farm Environment Award (BFEA) judges were “impressed and inspired” by the couple’s 2800-cow business ‘Woldwide Farming Group’, praising their “boundless energy towards finding a better way and doing the right thing”.

While the de Woldes are heavily focussed on their production goals of 650kg/MS per cow and 2000kg/MS per ha, judges said they are just as committed to reducing their environmental footprint.

At a BFEA ceremony on April 10 the de Woldes also collected the Ballance Agri-Nutrients – Nutrient Management Award, the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award, the Massey University Discovery Award, the LIC Dairy Farm Award and the Meridian Energy Excellence Award. . .

Second Triumph for Southland Dairy Awards Winners:

The goals of the 2013 Southland Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Don and Jess Moore, are to optimise production and maximise profit to reach farm ownership and enjoy a balanced lifestyle.

The Moores, who won $18,400 in prizes, aim to achieve this by growing their business using sustainable farming and human resource practices.

The other big winners at the 2013 Southland Dairy Industry Awards held at the Invercargill Workingmen’s Club last night were Daniel and Emma Todd, the region’s 2013 Farm Managers of the Year, and James Warren, the Southland Dairy Trainee of the Year. . .

Coast Dairy Awards Winners Do It Again:

It is the second time the 2013 West Coast/Top of the South Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Peter and Helen McLaren, have won one of the region’s top farming awards.

In 2008 the couple claimed the region’s Farm Manager of the Year title. Last night they went one better to win $19,000 in cash and prizes. “Entering the awards in 2008 gave us a lot of confidence in knowing that our farm systems are working and it also enabled us to pursue further opportunities and go 50:50 sharemilking,” the McLarens said.

The other major winners at the region’s Dairy Industry Awards dinner at Shantytown, Greymouth, were Blue Benseman, the Farm Manager of the Year, and Sam Riley, the Dairy Trainee of the Year. . .

3 Dairy Awards Entrants Win Bikes:

Three entrants in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards have won farm bikes worth $4000, just for entering.

All those that entered the awards before December 1 last year and progressed through the judging process were eligible for the Early Bird Prize Draw to win one of three Honda XR125 Duster farm bikes valued at $4000.

The draw took place on Friday and one bike was drawn from early entrants in each contest – the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year.. . 

Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (already) tackling issue of false organic claims:

“The steady 8% per annum growth in the organic sector over the past three years* has been great for existing organic customers”, says Brendan Hoare, Chair of Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ).

“People want what we provide and consumers who are already in the market for safer, healthier, more environmentally-friendly food now have a greater range of choices at a better range of prices.”

“However”, said Mr Hoare, “the move from being a niche market into the mainstream is raising issues around how truthful some of the claims of being organic really are.” . . .

Te Motu Vineyard back under founding family’s control:

Waiheke Island’s iconic vineyard, TeMotu, is back under management of the Dunleavy family who developed it in 1988, but sold to Richina Pacific two years ago. A group including the Poland family and others with strong connections to Waiheke, along with Sam Harrop MW and Paul Dunleavy, TeMotu’s former managing director, have just settled the purchase to buy the original vineyard in Onetangi Valley back from Richina Pacific.

Paul Dunleavy, who resumes the role of managing director, says “This is a hugely significant acquisition. We have a great team of investors who are committed to maximizing the potential from this exceptional, world-class vineyard site.” . . .


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