Rural round-up

April 15, 2015

Don’t use high NZ dollar as excuse – MacPherson – Phil McCarthy:

Southland farmers need to look beyond the short-term constraints of a high New Zealand dollar and put pressure on meat and milk processors to perform better in the global market-place, Federated Farmers Southland president Russell MacPherson says.  

Yesterday the New Zealand dollar was sitting at about 99.4 cents against the Australian and 76 cents against the US Dollar. Along-side the high dollar, European dairy producers are on the verge of an end to quotas meaning they could ramp up milk production.

But MacPherson said that rather than seeing the developments as threats, farmers should recognise the other side of the coin with lower costs for farm inputs and less pressure on labour costs. . .

The hills are alight – Laird Harper:

A world first on east Taranaki’s unforgiving slopes has set the dog trial community alight.

Twenty-one huntaway dogs tackled the community stage of the Tarata Sheep Dog Trial under lights on Saturday.

Club president Bryan Hocken said the innovative approach proved pivotal to the trial’s success.

The large crowd and competitors were “fizzing” and “buzzing” all night and interest from outside the region was growing.

“It was a perfect night, a perfect site, everything was magic,” he said. . .

Maternal longevity traits closer – Terry Brosnahan:

A longevity breeding value for sheep will be released later this year.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics senior geneticist Mark Young said Sheep Improvement (SIL), B+LNZ Genetics and ram breeders recently reviewed the first version of a longevity breeding value for sheep.

Young said SIL would introduce it by the end of June this year. He was responding to an article in the March, 2015 issue of Country-Wide regarding compelling arguments for genetic selection to increase longevity of ewes and beef cows. 

Maternal longevity is a key trait missing from selection indices that characterise profit for a ewe flock or a beef cow herd. . .

New pieces to the puzzle – Ginny Dodunski:

The impacts of ewe body condition, variations in pasture components and the effects of salt topdressing on bearings have produced some surprise results.

The Beef + Lamb New Zealand farmer-initiated technology transfer (FITT) programme-funded trial investigated bearings on a large South Island sheep and beef property.

Lochiel Station, bordered by the Waiau River in north Canterbury, runs 42,000 stock units and has a history of high ewe losses from bearings.

“We have worked hard on improving our feed management and ewe body condition, plus have stabilised what was genetically a very variable flock,” station manager Kim Robinson said. . .

Diversity of opinion welcomed at Federated Farmers – Chris Lewis:

A few weeks ago I went through a bit of a learning curve about how to inadvertently make headlines. 

I’d thrown out a few thoughts at a Federated Farmers’ executive meeting on where our industry might be heading.  Those musings of mine morphed into front page news and down in Wellington what was claimed to be fixed Federated Farmers policy in parliamentary question time.

But I shouldn’t be too thin skinned about this.  Most of Waikato Federated Farmers’ meetings are fully open to whoever might want to turn up and we have always had a diversity of opinion expressed.

Our organisation has flourished the most when members have shown passion for a topic and offered to roll up their sleeves and offer their services to help on an issue.

This is how we initially attract most out our elected people to our organisation. . .

Lighting the way to dairy savings – Matthew Cawood:

ENERGY is a a major cost for dairy farmers, and one that keeps inexorably rising – which is why Dairy Australia has launched an initiative to identify energy waste in dairies.

The organisation secured $1 million in funding from the federal government to deliver the ‘Smarter energy use on Australian dairy farms’ project, which aims to improve energy efficiency on dairies.

Many of the potential energy leakages on farms, and the options for resolving them, are written up in a Dairy Australia booklet, Saving energy on dairy farms.  . .

 


Rural round-up

April 9, 2015

Fagan’s last championships:

New Zealand’s most enduringly successful shearer, David Fagan, begins his final competition today before retirement.

The New Zealand shearing and wool handling championships at Te Kuiti in the King Country will be the last for the 53-year old veteran before he retires from the circuit.

He has had a busy final season, racking up 12 open wins from 25 finals.

Doug Laing from Shearing Sports New Zealand said Fagan had the chance of several more titles before the week’s end. . .

Thriving in the best of both worlds:

Taking the good with the bad, being a sounding board for farmers is what Fonterra Shareholders’ Councillor Sandra Cordell thrives on.

Although there are often gripes and grumbles, there are plenty of positives to the job and Cordell says talking to farmers is invigorating.

“I respect and admire farmers’ passion and enthusiasm for their industry,” she says.

“Farming is about making the best of opportunities on the farm and how a farmer makes use of these.  Since being in this role, I have been blown away by farmers’ awareness of sustainability.” . .

Dog trails light up Taranaki – Sue O’Dowd:

Taranaki farming personality Bryan Hocken is claiming a world first when the Tarata community stages sheep dog trials under lights on Saturday evening.

The Tarata Sheep Dog Trial Club  is hosting a straight hunt under lights after its annual sheep dog trials on Friday and Saturday. About 30 huntaways are expected to compete in the trial, with the winner set to take home $1000.

“We’re just testing the interest,” said Hocken, who’s president of the Tarata club, established more than 100 years ago in 1908. “We don’t know if it’s going to take off. You can enter on the day.” . . .

Tussock Creek sharemilkers win Southland Otago award:

Tussock Creek couple Jono and Kelly Bavin have won the 2015 Southland Otago Sharemilker Equity Farmer of the Year title.

The other major winners at the Southland Otago Dairy Industry Awards, held recently in Gore, were farm managers of the year Nick Templer and Anieka Venekamp, and dairy trainee of the year Jeremy Anderson. . .

Trooper seeded Gallipoli memorial – Sally Rae:

High on a hill overlooking North Otago farmland is a very special pine tree. Reporter Sally Rae explains why.

Greg and Julie McEwan always knew their beacon-like landmark was special but didn’t know exactly what made it so precious.

That was until a chance meeting in Oamaru, between Mrs McEwan, from Corriedale, and Ikawai farmer Ron Mansfield, who recounted the remarkable story of his Uncle Joe.

For the tree is much more than a landmark; it serves as a monument to World War 1 and to a soldier who safely returned home. . .

Minister opens NZ primary sector Shanghai office:

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has officially opened the Shanghai office of Primary Collaboration New Zealand (PCNZ) – a coalition of New Zealand food and beverage companies pooling their expertise in China.

Mr Joyce, who is currently visiting Shanghai to foster business ties between New Zealand and China, says the new premises will provide a boost to the export ambitions of a number of New Zealand’s major primary sector brands.

“PCNZ is a trailblazing collaboration between New Zealand companies who are showing how innovative models can overcome size and scale challenges in large markets such as a China. . . .

Macraes mine may receive reprieve:

The Waitaki mayor is welcoming news OceanaGold may keep its Macraes mine in north Otago open for another ten years, and start mining tungsten deposits.

The company was planning to shut the mine down in 2017 because of the slump in international gold prices.

The company has declined to be interviewed but a spokesperson says low oil prices and the falling New Zealand dollar against the US currency, now makes the mine more viable, along with its recent exploration success both at surface and underground. . .

Otago bunnies breeding like rabbits:

The Otago Regional Council says the number of rabbits in the region is increasing.

8400 rabbits were killed during the annual Easter bunny hunt at the weekend, 500 more than the year before.

The council’s director of environmental monitoring, Jeff Donaldson, said the summer produced a bumper crop of bunnies.

“With the recent drought we’ve had in Otago there has certainly been an increase in numbers over most properties. Rabbits prefer the drier conditions. . .


Rural round-up

November 29, 2013

Irrigation ‘doesn’t always mean dairying’ – Tim Fulton:

A farm adviser who did financial estimates for the Ruataniwha and Central Plains irrigation schemes says access to irrigation doesn’t lead farmers automatically to dairying.

Hugh Eaton, from Macfarlane Rural Business, outlined the options at an irrigation field day at the Rathgen family’s mixed-farming operation near Timaru.

The Rathgens have a home farm at Esk Valley, a dairy block at St Andrews and another at nearby Otaio, some of which may join the proposed Hunter Downs scheme. . .

Nitrate in Canterbury groundwater – Carl Hanson:

Nitrate concentrations in Canterbury groundwater have been prominent in the media recently. Headlines have included phrases like “ticking time bomb”, “scaremongering” and “freaking out much of Canterbury”.

What I want to do in this article is to present the state of nitrate concentrations in Canterbury groundwater, and the trends we see in those concentrations, as objectively as I can, avoiding any emotive language.

First, the concentrations. Based on the data from our regional long-term monitoring programme, which includes approximately 300 wells distributed across the region, nitrate concentrations in Canterbury groundwater fall into two groups:

Sharing ideas in the global farming village – Sue O’Dowd:

Taranaki sheep and beef farming identity Bryan Hocken loves to play host.

He presents a unique blend of bonhomie, humour, a passion for his industry and a ready-to-share approach to anyone who happens to pop along to his 485 hectare Tarata farm, about 25 kilometres east of Inglewood.

Not that you would just pop along.

The farm seems remote after a picturesque drive over the winding Tarata Saddle and along the 3km Toe Toe Rd beside the Waitara River.

On the journey traffic is scarce so a single traffic light in the middle of nowhere on the road to the farm raises a chuckle – as do a plethora of signs saying things like “Wannabe Dairy Farm” and “High St”. . .

Synlait Farms shareholders keen to cash in – Alan Williams:

Synlait Farms shareholders have raced to cash in on the takeover offer led by China’s Shanghai Pengxin group.

The acceptance level had reached 91.16% by last Tuesday, meeting the 90% minimum level that was a condition of the offer just more than three weeks after the offer was received by shareholders and well inside the original December 6 closing date.

SFL Holdings, the vehicle through which Shanghai Pengxin and partners Juliet Maclean and John Penno are making the offer, has extended the date to December 20. . .

Research into apricots ‘exciting’ – Yvonne O’Hara:

Research being carried out at Plant and Food Research (PFR) in Clyde will contribute to higher-quality and better-tasting apricots that ripen more slowly and reach overseas markets in better condition.

Scientist Jill Stanley, based in Clyde, and Dr Ringo Feng, who is based in Auckland, are looking at fruit respiration and ethylene production, as well as fruit maturity, light levels, wood age and atmospheric modification.

Ethylene is a naturally-occurring gaseous hormone given off by the fruit, which accelerates ripening. A range of seedlings have been bred at the Clyde Research Centre which have characteristics that include low ethylene production. . . .

Research targets women – Yvonne O’Hara:

Dairy Womens’ Network (DWN) has launched Project Pathfinder, a programme designed to encourage more women in the dairy industry to take on leadership roles at community and governance levels.

DWN’s trust board deputy chairwoman Cathy Brown, of Tauranga, said DWN had received $180,000 from the Sustainable Farming Fund to develop the three-year project in association with DairyNZ and AgResearch.

”We are at the beginning [of the project] and most of the research will be done in year one,” Mrs Brown said.

One of the first steps was to carry out a survey about dairying women in business and in leadership roles. It finished this month. . .

Angus farmers get lesson from NZ – Tim Cronshaw:

Scottish angus breeder James Playfair-Hannay would like to take New Zealand bloodlines back with him to the home of the breed, after judging the angus fields in the cattle ring at the Canterbury A&P Show.

However, the high praise from the owner of Tofts Pedigree Livestock in Kelso does not extend to every angus entry.

“There are some wonderful functional animals which look to be pretty proficient, and we could use the genetics back home. Then there are some other animals that are not what we are looking for.

“We are looking to produce a 300 to 350-kilogram carcass off grass at 18 months, or earlier if we can.” . . .


%d bloggers like this: