Rural round-up

June 24, 2018

Joint operation to check Nait compliance – Sally Rae:

Knowledge of the National Animal Identification and Tracing (Nait) system has increased in the wake of the Mycoplasma bovis response but some farmers are continuing to break the rules.

In a statement yesterday, compliance investigations manager Gary Orr said the Ministry for Primary Industries and Nait Ltd had been running joint operations around the country to check compliance with Nait requirements.

The disease response had highlighted the importance of tracing animal movements and having complete and accurate information available. It was critical all farmers complied with Nait and tracked all animal movements on and off their farms and those who weren’t were putting the rest of the industry in jeopardy, Mr Orr said. . . 

Manuka protection needs cash – Richard Rennie:

Manuka Honey Appellation Society members are optimistic money will be forthcoming for a bid to protect the manuka honey brand as a trade mark and ultimately as a Geographical Indication (GI).

A high-level conference on manuka’s status earlier this month was met with a largely positive reception from Government officials, society spokesman John Rawcliffe said.

Rawcliffe and others in the industry hope a cash injection to protect the brand for New Zealanders will soon be forthcoming.

“So far, as an industry group, we have invested $1 million into manuka honey for its protection and we have already seen the landmark decision made in the United Kingdom where their Trade Registry has accepted the filing of the term manuka as a certification mark,” Rawcliffe said. . . 

Farming at the southernmost point of NZ -Brittany Pickett:

Dot and Colin McDonald are farming at the end of the world.

Their 534 hectare Haldane farm Stonewood is only a skip away from Slope Point, the southernmost point in the South Island, making the couple among the southernmost farmers in the world.

They bought the west side of Stonewood in 2003, before buying the east side in 2005.

“We had to completely do it over,” Dot said.

Both properties were run-down, with extensive development needed. The one small woolshed was run by a generator, and other than that there were no buildings and almost non-existent fencing throughout the property. . .

Catch contest win a distraction – Neal Wallace:

Mairi Whittle is having quite a year. Last week she won the Fieldays Rural Catch competition and if that isn’t enough at the end of July she takes over her family’s Taihape sheep and beef farm. She spoke to Neal Wallace.

It is proving to be a busy few weeks for Mairi Whittle.

Having won the Golden Gumboot at the Fieldays Rural Catch Competition earlier this month she becomes the fourth generation of her family to run the 6000 stock unit, Makatote Station north east of Taihape at the end of July.

A former rural banker, Whittle, 28, and her family have been working on a succession plan, A former rural banker, Whittle, 28, and her family have been working on a succession plan, allowing her parents Jim and Maggie to retire from the hill-country sheep and beef farm. . .

 Irrigation helps out with sheep production, during dry times

While Walandi Farms White Suffolk and Poll Dorset stud was founded in 2007, moving to a new property has seen stud principals Ash and Janine Murphy seek new markets.

“We’ve moved to a new area and we thought we would open our gates to get some interest from people, where we are now,” Mr Murphy said.

Operating at Kotta, on the Echuca-Mitiamo road, Victoria, the Murphys were former dairy farmers. . .

Could agricultural robots replace glysophate

Glyphosate is a herbicide that’s used to kill undesired plants. Pulling up plants, or “weeding,” does the same thing without chemicals, but it’s very labor-intensive. What if tireless robots could weed fields cheaply?

Professor Simon Blackmore, head of robotic agriculture at the UK’s National Centre for Precision Farming at Harper Adams University in England, says that increasingly sensitive and precise sensors and instruments are being developed that can measure the “complex nature of the growing environment” on every square meter of farmland — the soil and water conditions; the presence of pests and diseases; the location of weeds, and the size of crop plants.

In addition to measuring the state of a crop, robots will be able to actively improve growing conditions, not least by getting rid of weeds. . .


Rural round-up

March 14, 2018

Irrigation essential for Central Otago – Brittany Pickett:

New technology to help improve water use and efficiency will be essential for the future of horticulture and agriculture in Central Otago, IrrigationNZ says.

“What we’re seeing is a gradual move towards higher and higher land value uses of irrigation,” IrrigationNZ chief executive Andrew Curtis said.

Cherry and other pip fruit businesses, as well as wine, were expected to expand because they used less water per hectare than other farming types, he said.

New technology to assist irrigators meet water quality requirements will be on display at IrrigationNZ’s conference on April 17-19 in Alexandra. . . 

Clock ticking for farm houses to comply with new laws for insulation – Gerald Piddock:

Farm owners have been warned to make sure their staff accommodation complies with new laws coming into effect in July next year.

The laws will insist that all rental properties, including farm housing, had to meet new standards for insulation.

There was a myth among farmers that they were excluded from the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), Morrinsville lawyer Jacqui Owen told farmers at a field day near Walton run by the Matamata Piako Three Rivers Trust.

“You 100 per cent are and any one of your staff can file a claim against you with the tenancy tribunal,” she said. . .

Labour shortage could spoil apple season :

A bumper crop of Hawke’s Bay apples is being harvested early this year but there are fears a labour shortage could spoil things – leaving thousands of apples unpicked.

A spokeswoman for Bostock said the company was usually behind conventional packing but this year was 10 days ahead of schedule since they started the harvest.

“We have a good quality product at present, it’s going to be a bumper season. We should be picking 1400 bins a day but we are picking only 1200 and that’s purely because of the labour shortage. . . 

Record crowds see games records :

More than 30,000 people participated in Hilux Rural Games activities in Palmerston North over the weekend.

Rural Games Trust chairwoman Margaret Kouvelis said “It was so fantastic to see people of all ages trying out different things from tree climbing to digger driving to gumboot throwing.

“Friday was fabulous for Feilding as thousands attended the Property Brokers Running of the Wools and that evening the Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards were held in front of a sell-out crowd.” . .

Little farmer reaction to LIC plan – Alan Williams:

Owners of LIC’s co-operative shares are being urged to read the information on the directors’ plans for a share restructure to see what the impact on them will be.

The call from Southland Federated Farmers president Allan Baird applies especially to dairy farmers who own only the co-op shares and not the NZAX-listed investment shares. . . 

Don’t make it hard for next generation– Dan Korff:

Every generation says the same thing, or something similar: “That’s how it is, we had to go through the same thing”.

Why? Why is that just how it is? Who decided? And why would you want other people to keep feeling the same frustration and annoyance you felt?

I’m talking about the challenge of trying to become involved in local or industry committees or groups trying to remain relevant, get new energy into them or attract a new crowd of people back to the cause or event. . . .


Rural round-up

March 7, 2018

Fonterra High Court gagging action triggers ‘Streisand effect’ :

Fonterra’s high court injunction is causing “the Streisand effect”, with Fonterra’s farmer-shareholders now anxious to know what is being kept from them, says Federated Farmers.

National dairy chairman Chris Lewis said his phone has rung constantly with inquiries since Fonterra late on Friday secured an injunction gagging former director Leonie Guiney and preventing a weekly publication publishing or using any “confidential” information it received from her.

The injunction also prevents other unnamed media, including the New Zealand Herald, from spreading any “confidential” information it may have received from Guiney. . .

 Industry commits $11.2m towards Mycoplasma operating costs _ Gerard Hutching:

DairyNZ, Beef+Lamb NZ and the Meat Industry Association will pay $11.2 million towards the costs of combating the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.

The details of the financial contribution are yet to be worked out.

Minister of Agriculture and Biosecurity Damien O’Connor said in funding of $85m for operational and compensation costs for the outbreak response, from July 1 last year to the end of the current financial year, was approved by Cabinet on Monday. In December last year, $10m was approved. . . 

M. bovis threat causes heifer competition cancellation –  Brittany Pickett:

Organisers have made the tough decision to drop a commercial dairy heifer competition to avoid the risk of spreading Mycoplasma bovis.

The Royal Agricultural Society-run dairy heifer competitions for Southland, Otago and Canterbury, as well as the South Island competition, which are run yearly through March and April, will not be held this year.

South Island competition convenor Merv Livingstone said the southern district of the agricultural society had made the tough call to cancel the competition because of the possible risk of further spreading the cow disease. . . 

M. bovis fears surround upcoming Gypsy Day – Alexa Cook:

 A Southland vet says farmers in the region are worried about the spread of the cattle disease when dairy herds are moved around on the upcoming Gypsy Day.

Gypsy Day is officially the first of June, and VetSouth director Mark Bryan said almost all the dairy cows in Southland, Otago, and Canterbury will be shifted to new properties for winter grazing or new sharemilking contracts. . .

Cardboard creativity pays dividends for Fonterra:

Fonterra has claimed an industry first with the launch of its ingenious packaging solution for high-quality milk fats, known as AMF. The solution is the first of its kind in the dairy industry.

Challenging the industry norm for storing the light-shy product in giant drums or in frozen packs, Fonterra has developed small 15L cardboard packs that are easily stackable and manoeuvrable and can be stored at room temperature. A butter alternative, AMF is an ingredient in many foods such as ice cream, confectionary and bakery goods. . . 

Rat traps set to save ‘modern day dinosaur’ frogs – Andrew McRae:

A network of self-resetting rat traps are being laid out in the Whareorino Forest in western King Country to help protect the Archey’s frog.

It is estimated that between 20 and 25,000 of the native frogs remain.

The Archey’s frog can only be found in the Whareorino Forest, Pureora Forest and on Coromandel Peninsular . .

 


Rural round-up

February 25, 2018

M. bovis progarmme being speeded up – Sally Rae:

The Ministry for Primary Industries is accelerating its tracing and surveillance programme so a decision whether to proceed with Mycoplasma bovis eradication can be made as soon as possible.

It has urged any dairy and beef farmers who believe they may have animals at high risk of infection to make contact immediately.

”Right now, we need to hear from any farmers who have bought cows and calves or milk for calf feed from farms that have been publicly identified as infected. If these farmers haven’t already heard from us through our tracing work, we would dearly like to hear from them,” director of response Geoff Gwyn said.

The MPI was particularly interested to hear from those who had received cattle or calves from Southland-based Southern Centre Dairies Ltd at any time after January 1, 2016, and had not already been contacted by the MPI. . . 

Swede seed mix up in ‘human error’ leaves farmers with wrong variety – Brittany Pickett:

A “human error” in seed deliveries across much of the country has resulted in hundreds of farmers planting the wrong variety of swedes on their properties.  

PGG Wrightson Seeds has alerted farmers who bought the new seed variety, Hawkestone yellow-fleshed Cleancrop swede, that a different line of white-fleshed swede, HT-S57, had been distributed to customers instead.

HT-S57 swede was phased out in 2016 and replaced with the Hawkestone swede variety.

However, the HT-S57 seed was distributed to farmers for planting for winter feed instead of the new Hawkestone swede variety. The company said in a statement that the mistake was caused by human error.. . .

Demand leaves NZ livestock numbers low – Sally Rae:

Livestock numbers available for processing over the rest of the season are lower than in any of the previous five seasons, a forecast by Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Economic Service shows.

Dry conditions and strong prices for lamb, mutton and beef in the December quarter drove high processing volumes.

The average values per tonne for lamb, mutton and beef exports were at record or near record levels in the December quarter, the forecast says.

The total number of lambs available for processing in 2017-18 was forecast to be up 1.3% on the previous season. . . 

Opotiki kiwifruit growers win BOP Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Kiwifruit growers Mark and Catriona White and their Coastal Kiwis orchard have won the Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Ten years ago, the couple embarked on a quest to find an improved lifestyle for their family away from the city and found it on a bare block of land near Opotiki.

Their work and passion have transformed part of an organic dairy farm into the successful 5.85ha orchard it is today, the Awards judges said. . . 

Rotorua and Hokitika farmers named as finalists for Māori excellence in farming award:

Two dairy farming operations are the finalists in the Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming Award.

They are Rotorua’s Onuku Māori Lands’ Trust and the Proprietors of Mawhera Incorporation (Hokitika).

The Onuku Māori Lands Trust’s Boundary Road Farm is a 72 hectare block near Lake Rotomahana, about 30 kilometres south of Rotorua. The farm milks 220 cows which produce about 90,000kg of milk solids. The trust  consists of four dairy farms, a drystock farm, forestry, natural reserves and a manuka plantation.  Onuku has also developed outside the farm gates, starting an export honey business called Onuku Honey. . . 

New beef product on the cards – Hugh Stringleman:

Fast-growing dairy-beef steers slaughtered at about 12 months of age could be the basis of a new-generation beef product range.

Rearing those cattle for the beef industry could address some of the concerns in the rural-urban divide about the two million annual bobby calf slaughter, Massey University researcher Nicola Schreurs said.

The short growing period to maximise growth efficiency should also help address concerns about beef’s high environmental footprint, a consequence of the animals’ two- or three-year life.

She told farmers at the annual Limestone Downs field day in northern Waikato about a  pilot study at Massey’s Keebles Farm where 80 Hereford-Kiwicross steers are being fast-tracked. . . 

 

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Rural round-up

February 12, 2018

Retiring from farming not simple – Sally Rae:

Don’t leave it too late.

That’s the message from Rhodes Donald, from Polson Higgs Wealth Management in Dunedin, who has completed a study of retired farming couples.

He advised other farming couples to begin the process at least five years before they thought was the right time.

Now that his work was written up, it was ready to be distributed to anyone that was interested and he also wanted to speak about it to groups. . . 

Government warning: Farmers ignore concerns about meat at their peril – Madison Reidy:

Besieged by celebrity vegetarians, our agriculture industry is taking up the challenge of finding alternatives to old-style farmed meat. Madison Reidy investigates, in Part 2 of our three-week series.

Deep in the Rangitikei, Richard Morrison and his livestock seem safely tucked away from threats. But he, like all meat farmers, is being confronted by a laboratory-grown blight that he cannot fence out.

Bullish new companies are putting meat mimic products on supermarket shelves,  challenging one of New Zealand’s most valuable export industries and forcing farmers to rethink their future. The options are popularising a consumer movement away from slaughtered food, causing demand for beef and lamb to drop.

Owners of 150-year-old family farms like Morrison’s are shaking in their gumboots, hoping the world’s red-meat cravings will continue. . . 

Anzco chairman named to replace Sir Graeme Harrison – Brittany Pickett:

Kazuhiko (Sam) Misonou will take over as chairman of New Zealand food company Anzco Foods, replacing company founder Sir Graeme Harrison who is retiring from the board at the end of March.

Misonou joined the Anzco board in 2013 and brought with him international business experience. Previously he worked in beef processing and feedlot operations in Australia, had six years in the pork industry in the United States and worked extensively in the meat industry in Japan.

In 2016, Misonou became president of Yonekyu Inc., a Japanese meat production, marketing and sales company that was established in 1965. . . 

Otorohanga formula factory granted land consent – Alexa Cook:

A new $230 million dairy factory in King Country has been granted land consent despite local opposition.

report from the Otorohanga District Council last November said the factory should not go ahead because it would impact on the local ecology, landscape, and rural character.

However, after two months of deliberation the council has now granted Happy Valley Milk the land consent to build its infant formula factory.

Public submissions included concerns about the factory drawing too much water from the ground, and discharging stormwater, wastewater, and air pollution. . . 

Share offer opens for irrigators to invest in 100-year community water supply:

Waimea Irrigators Limited (WIL) has publicly released a Product Disclosure Statement for the Offer of Water Shares, which opened yesterday and is publicly available for irrigators on the Waimea Plains to consider.

The Product Disclosure Statement is an offer to buy water shares in WIL. Shareholders can enter into agreements that allow them to apply under the Tasman Resource Management Plan (TRMP) to affiliate an existing ground water or surface water permit for water provided by the Dam, once it’s built. Landowners will be able to apply for shares in WIL even if they don’t have an operative water permit, which would enable potential future water users to buy into the scheme. . . 

LIC proposes share restructure to reduce conflicts between farmers, investors – Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – Farmer-owned cooperative Livestock Improvement Corp’s board has released its suggested plan to merge its two share classes in a proposal the independent adviser described as relatively complicated but overall will deliver benefits.

LIC has two classes of shares: unlisted cooperative control shares and investment shares, which are listed on the NZX Alternative Market (NZAX). Chair Murray King said the current structure means cooperative shareholders have greater voting rights but limited exposure to the financial benefits, while investment shareholders can reap financial gains but have limited ability to influence the cooperative’s direction. . . 

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Enjoyment and stress of holding an A&P show – Allan Barber:

Auckland Anniversary Weekend Saturday saw the 151st Warkworth A&P Show held, as most years, in hot and sunny conditions, but at least this year there were no strong nor ’easterlies or a major blockage of State Highway 1, apart from the normal holiday weekend traffic queues. Not that this was of great concern as I drove to the Showgrounds at 6.15 to greet the gate officials who have the responsibility of admitting exhibitors and competitors early and taking money off the public who start to arrive any time after 8.30.

As chairman of the Warkworth A&P Society for the last few years – nobody else appears to be willing to put their hand up – I should be used to the frenetic lead up to the Show, which involves last minute trade exhibitors, arranging someone to mark out the show grounds which for the rest of the year are the Mahurangi Rugby pitches and making sure everything else is under control including money in the bank account to cover prizes. But this time was a bit different because Marjorie Blythen, our Secretary of more than 30 years, had retired after the 150th Show and, for all of us, it was a whole new challenge to remember critical things that previously appeared to happen automatically. Fortunately there is a good committee able to take responsibility for each section. . . 

 


Rural round-up

January 30, 2018

Maui Milk develop world first in sheep milking genetics – Gerald Piddock:

A new crossbred sheep being developed for the ovine milking industry by Maui Milk is thought to be a world first for sheep genetics.

Called Southern Cross, it is a mix of east friesian, awassi and lacaune – all prominent Northern Hemisphere sheep milking breeds – and is built off a coopworth base.

Maui Milk general manager Peter Gatley​ said the breed would provide hybrid vigour and, over time, would hopefully become the sheep equivalent of the kiwicross cow, which was now the most popular choice of cow used in the dairy industry. . . 

From casual to full-time – hard work pays off for Southland farmer – Brittany Pickett:

Brooke Bryson always knew she wanted to be a farmer.

When an opportunity to work as a casual employee at AgResearch’s Woodlands Research Farm came up she joined the team and eight years later she’s running the show.

Bryson, 29, is the farm manager for the 240-hectare farm just outside the Woodlands township, which among other research is the home to the Woodlands Central Progeny Test and the genetically-linked Woodlands Coopworth Progeny Test facilities. “My family farms. All my family farms.” . . 

Study probes clothing and carpet choices and effects on our oceans:

As global concern grows about pollution of our oceans and effects on marine life and seafood, AgResearch is studying how different materials break down in the water to help keep consumers informed.

Studies indicate that microfibres (up to 5mm in size) are entering the oceans in large quantities – particularly from clothing and other materials in washing machines, where the tiny fibres can come loose and travel with the water into the drain, and ultimately to ocean outfalls. More evidence is also required for microfibres from interior textiles like carpets, bedding and other products that are cleaned less often. . . 

Fashion foods:

For the past 30 years orchardists Bill and Erica Lynch of Fashion Foods have been searching for the ‘missing link’ in their apple breeding program. Finally they have found the variety they’re looking for, and it has a sister!

While the past two decades have been spent passionately looking for an apple with the commercial appeal of Royal Gala but with the flavour profile of its ancestor Heritage Gala, Bill admits that they really only became orchardists by accident.

“Both Erica and I started our careers in the corporate world around Wellington and Taranaki but after having our three children we set our minds to pursuing sheep farming in the Nelson/Tasman region,” Bill said. “We found it difficult to secure an appropriate ‘pathway’ property so in 1979 we ended up purchasing an apple orchard with the intention to develop it and run breeding ewes. . . 

NAFTA is our lifeline – Terry Wanzek:

“NAFTA is a bad joke,” wrote President Trump last week on Twitter.

For me and countless other farmers, however, the possible death of NAFTA is no laughing matter.

Instead, NAFTA is our lifeline.

Here in rural North Dakota—in what we might call “Trump Country”—our livelihoods depend on our ability to sell what we grow to customers in Canada and Mexico.

So as the president’s trade diplomats continue their NAFTA negotiations in Montreal this week—in what the Wall Street Journal says “could be a make-or-break round of talks”—I hope they have a proper understanding of how much we count on this trade agreement. . . 

 

Bill Gates is funding genetic research into how to create the perfect cow – Alexandra Ma:

  • Bill Gates wants to create the perfect cow.
  • This cow would produce as much milk as a European cow but withstand heat as well as an African one.
  • He has invested $US40 million into a British nonprofit that researches animal vaccinations and genetics.

Bill Gates has funded genetic research into how to create the perfect cow – one that will produce more milk and be able to withstand temperatures beyond that of the average cow.

The Microsoft founder has invested $US40 million (£28 million) in the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines, or GALVmed, a nonprofit organisation based in Edinburgh, Scotland, that conducts research into livestock vaccinations and genetics, the BBC reported.

Gates wants to help create the perfect cow that will produce as much milk as a European cow but be able to withstand heat as well as an African cow, according to the Times newspaper. . . 


Rural round-up

November 23, 2017

Prize Jersey herd set for the aucitoneer’s hammer – Brad Markham:

Ill-health has forced a gut-wrenching decision on Taranaki dairy farmer Malcolm Revell and his family.

They’re preparing to sell their purebred Jersey herd. Next April, Beledene Stud in Mangatoki will hold a complete dispersal sale.

It will be the end of an era.

Decades of breeding will go under the hammer. In a few heart-racing hours, their lifetime’s work will be sold.

It’s every farmer’s worst nightmare; no longer being able to do what they love. . . 

Hogget trial trying to add value to older lambs – Brittany Pickett:

Meat processors Alliance Group is trying to add value to hogget by marketing it as a premium product.

The co-operative, with headquarters in Invercargill, has been running a trial programme in the United Kingdom and in New Zealand aimed at the food service sector.

Alliance marketing manager premium products Wayne Cameron said the trial was part of the co-operative’s strategy to create a portfolio of brands with different flavour profiles.

Lambs are traditionally distinguished from mutton when their first adult teeth come through. However, it was an outdated way of determining the value of an animal’s meat, Cameron said. . . 

Farmers ‘fed up’ with environmental commotion:

Dairy farmers are facing mixed environmental advice coming from all quarters, and some of it is not terribly helpful, a sharemilker says.

Matamata farmer Matthew Zonderop said farmers know the impact their business can create.

He said most farmers were doing their level-best to improve their environmental footprint and mitigate situations that are arising.

“Yes, we understand [the issues] but we don’t need to be told how to farm in every situation now.” . . 

Fonterra launches charm offensive on water quality – Jamie Gray:

Fonterra has stepped up its efforts to improve water quality while launching a charm offensive and television campaign to showcase how farmers have upped their game.

The moves follow the emergence of water quality as a key issue at September’s general election, and a string a reports highlighting the degradation of water quality in New Zealand’s lakes, rivers and streams.

Miles Hurrell, chief operating officer of Fonterra Farm Source, said there was now greater focus on water quality by the public and he acknowledged the part that dairying had played in its decline. . . 

Arable farmers have fingers crossed after wet start to spring:

A healthy supply of grain with prices holding firm, has Arable farmers crossing their fingers after a damp start to spring.

The latest industry survey (AIMI), for the nation’s cereal growers, reveals a resurgence in feed barley with planting returning to regular, historical levels.

Federated Farmers Grains Vice Chair Brian Leadley, says signs are better for the industry as a whole after the previous two seasons which were indifferent. . . 

Aussie farm life captured to celebrate Ag Day – Kim Chappell:

From dawn and til dusk farmers are up working – regardless of what commodity they are involved in.

Be it milking the dairy cows as the sun rises, to heading to town for the local cattle sale later in the day, and finishing up in the back paddock checking on the cattle at sunset.

To celebrate National Agriculture Day, we bring you this gallery of some of the country’s farmers going about their normal days. . . 

Technology and consumers changing the agricultural industry – Hayley Skelly-Kennedy:

Industry 4.0 and the customer revolution are significantly changing the functions of the agriculture industry. 

Huge technological advances in recent years and an increasingly demanding consumer base has meant Australian agriculture has needed to embrace technology. 

Attendees at the Young Beef Producers Forum in Roma heard from Compass West owner Carmen Roberts about how agriculture has been driving the fourth industrial revolution, known as Industry 4.0, and the impact of the latest customer revolution on agricultural businesses.  . . 

 


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