‘It will be hard to find a farmer left’: Sri Lanka reels from rash fertiliser ban – Hannah Ellis-Petersen:
Driving through the verdant landscape of Rajanganaya, a rural district in north Sri Lanka where the hibiscus flowers pop out of rich green foliage and the mango trees are already weighed down by early fruit, it is hard to imagine this is a community in crisis. Yet for many of those who have farmed this land since the 1960s, mainly with rice and banana crops, the past year has been the toughest of their lives.
“If things go on like this, in the future it will be hard to find a farmer left in Sri Lanka,” said Niluka Dilrukshi, 34, a rice paddy farmer.
Sri Lanka is grappling with the worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948, and foreign currency reserves sit at their lowest level on record due to what many see as gross economic mismanagement by the government. There is barely a citizen of this south Asian island who hasn’t felt the bite of catastrophic inflation and fuel, food and medicine shortages in recent weeks.
For the farmers of Sri Lanka, their problems began in April last year when President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who now stands accused of pushing the country into financial ruin, implemented a sudden ban on chemical fertilisers. . .
Farmer Hamish Murray now knows the importance of soft skills for his family’s high-country sheep and beef farm in Marlborough.
The trigger for this was when he went through one of the region’s toughest droughts in 2014-15.
“My cup was empty; I had nothing left to give. When I reached emotional breaking point, it was obvious that to be successful at leading others, I needed to look at myself first. Soft skills aren’t a typical priority on-farm, but they matter the most if you want to attract, train and retain the best team.”
Mr Murray is sharing his experience at Bluff Station, in the Clarence River Valley, as part of a new initiative funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries to have more great workplaces in the food and fibre sector. . .
A Waikato family among the first to enter the commercial dairy sheep industry is starting to see the rewards of their hard work as they come to the end of their second season.
Paul and Dianne White set up Green Park Sheep at Kio Kio near Te Awamutu in 2020 for their sons Brad and Kieran to operate.
They began milking 850 sheep on the 81-hectare property through a 40-aside Agili Rapid Exit parlour, which was originally an old inline shed for cows.
Its conversion into a sheep milking plant was designed by Waikato Milking Systems and installed by Qubik. . .
An elusive Merino wether is feeling a whole lot lighter after being the star of Tekapo’s annual Easter Monday market.
The Sawdon Station hermit has been evading capture for four years before being spotted on Mt Edward, near Tekapo, by staff on the station’s annual wether muster.
“We were getting the wethers in for belly crutching and he was spotted but again reluctant to come in so staff went back with Ziggy (the dog), rounded him up and finally got him in,” station owner Gavin (Snow) Loxton said.
“We named him Shrekapo and decided he could have his time of fame on the shearing board.” . .
Fashion maven of the Maniototo – Jill Herron:
World War II veteran and Central Otago high-country farmer Eden Hore had a surprising sideline: collecting designer dresses. These days, the dresses show up in fancy settings such as Lower Hutt’s Dowse gallery
Fashion-loving farmer Eden Hore had a garden fountain big enough to entrap a horse and a personality to match.
A collector, stockman, tourism pioneer and innovator-at-large, Hore is best known for combining traditional high-country farming out the back of Naseby with curating an historically significant dress collection.
The 1970s and 80s gowns are undeniably fab, most recently knocking the socks off visitors to an exhibition in Wellington. Equally remarkable, however, is his array of other innovations, collections and calamities. . .
A highly productive 245-hectare vineyard in New Zealand’s premier grape-growing region – sustained by a fully consented 150,000 cubic metre dammed reservoir – has been placed on the market for sale.
The north-facing block in the Wairau Valley region of Marlborough sits adjacent to the Wairau River near its intersection with the Wye River and is one of the most westerly wineries in the valley. It is a member of the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand organisation.
Known as Weta Estate, the land and dammed reservoir at 4336 State Highway 63 comprise some 207 canopy hectares of sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, and pinot noir vines sitting on five different land titles.
Weta Estate vineyard has two Resources Management Act consents from Marlborough District Council to draw and store up to 14,730 cubic metres of water a day for irrigation, with the water permitted to be stored in the reservoir. . .