Rural round-up

18/07/2015

Bumble-bee sniffing dog creating a buzz – Kanoa Lloyd:

Bumblebee numbers are in decline around the world, and that’s not good news for the fruit and vegetable industry, which relies on the insects and their honeybee cousins for pollination.

So Plant and Food Research has brought in a very special helper – Ollie the Bumblebee dog.

Ollie and his owner, pollination scientist David Pattemore, are learning how to sniff out bumblebee queens in an effort to help Kiwi growers. . .

Feedback delays launch of dairy accord:

The launch of a dairy industry workplace accord has been delayed by months because of the amount of feedback it has received.

DairyNZ is creating the accord with hopes of lifting employment standards on farms and helping farmers employ and retain skilled staff.

It was due to be launched in May but has been delayed until after calving in September. . .

Swamp Kauri rules strengthened:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is making changes to swamp kauri rules which will improve transparency, clarity and oversight of the law.

The Ministry’s director spatial, forestry and land management, Aoife Martin, says there is already strong regulatory oversight of swamp kauri and the new measures will continue to ensure that operators are playing by the rules.

“Overall it will mean that MPI and regional councils get more detailed information from operators at every stage of the process.” . . .

 

New moves to tighten swamp kauri management:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed a range of new operational changes announced today to improve the transparency, clarity and enforcement of rules around swamp kauri.

“Last month I asked the Ministry for Primary Industries to look at any improvements that could be made in managing the milling and exporting of swamp kauri stumps.

“I’m pleased to see such a comprehensive package of measures announced today, and this has been welcomed by Northland Regional Council and the wider industry.” . .

Shortage of fertiliser freight truck drivers:

The country could soon be facing a shortage of drivers for fertiliser haulage trucks.

The New Zealand Groundspread Fertiliser Association is driving a campaign to attract young workers into the industry, in which the current workforce is ageing.

Immediate past president Stuart Barwood said an appealing aspect of the job was that no student loan was needed because companies trained their employees to work towards a qualification. . .

Bayer Hawkes Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015 announced:

Congratulations to Caleb Dennis from Craggy Range who became the Bayer Hawkes Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015 last week and now goes through to the National Final. This annual competition is now in its 10th year and has become an important fixture in the viticultural calendar, giving young vits the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge as well as make a name for themselves within the industry.

After an action packed day Caleb beat 7 other contestants to take the Hawkes Bay title. Anton Luiton from Constellation came second and Will Krippner from Indevin Partners came third. . .

 


Rural round-up

29/08/2013

In quite pursuit of the perfect lamb – Peter Watson:

Drive past Brent and Bernadette Hodgkinson’s farm in the Tadmor Valley and you would barely give it a second glance.

There is no flash house and garden and the property is far from immaculate.

But behind the modest appearance is a very smart, profitable business.

Not only were the Hodgkinsons finalists in the recent national sheep supplier of the year awards, they grow the meatiest lambs supplied to our largest co-operative, Alliance, by any farmer in the country. And they have been producing high-quality, high-yielding lambs year after year from a property where soil fertility is naturally poor and the climate can range from bitterly cold in winter to drought in summer. . .

Unsung hero recognised – Sally Rae:

Kevin Smith loves farming and he enjoys passing on his knowledge and skills to the younger generation.

Mr Smith, from Middlemarch, was recently named the AgITO Sheep Industry Trainer of the Year at the Beef and Lamb New Zealand sheep industry awards, beating fellow finalists Telford (a division of Lincoln University) and Waipaoa Station Farm Cadet Training Trust.

No-one was more delighted than the woman who nominated him, AgITO’s Rebecca Williamson-Kavanaugh, who was ”extremely excited” and very proud. . .

Employing migrant workers in the primary sector

With the rapid expansion of the primary sector, particularly in dairy farming, an international farm advisor specialising in labour management from the University of California, Professor Gregorio Billikopf, is visiting New Zealand to discuss labour changes and the increasing levels of migrant workers being employed.

In New Zealand for two weeks, Professor Gregorio Billikopf will have a number of speaking engagements, including addressing delegates at the Australasia Pacific Extension Network International Conference being held at Lincoln University from 26 to 28 August 2013, and a speaking engagement in Ashburton on Thursday 29 August. 

“Professor Gregorio Billikopf is an internationally recognised expert when it comes to migrant workers in the primary sector,” says Lincoln University’s Associate Professor in Employment Relations, Dr Rupert Tipples. . .

No more old tyres for silage stacks:

A THROW away remark – “there has to be a better way” – by Toni Johnson while helping her father place tyres on a silage stack cover, led to one of the best innovations at National Fieldays.

Aqua Anchors are either 14m or 16m long and 75mm or 65mm sections of lie-flat hoses hermetically sealed at both ends and filled with water. 

They lie over and around the edges of silage stacks to hold the cover in place and keep the crop from the elements. They replace traditional tyres. A patent is pending. . .

Nothing humble about the bumble:

Avocado growers are keen to hear the latest research findings on the use of bumblebees as pollinators, says AVOCO technical manager Colin Partridge, so they can plan to put the findings into practice and improve the consistency of harvests.

The topic will be addressed at the Australia-New Zealand avocado conference in Tauranga next month, and AVOCO, as principal sponsor of the conference and the largest grower group, appreciates the significance of the research.

“If avocado growers could soon be able to call in special reinforcements to pollinate their trees – the not-so-humble bumblebee – it will do a lot to stabilise the industry and could even help overcome the persistent boom/bust nature of the harvests,” says Mr Partridge. . .

Wairarapa Water Use Project Appoints Project Director:

The Wairarapa Water Use Project has appointed Michael Bassett-Foss to lead future investigations into what could be one of the largest economic and social development projects in the greater Wellington region.

Still in its early stage, the project aims to develop a multi-purpose water scheme to collect and store water then distribute it in the dry season for a variety of economic and community uses in an environmentally sustainable way.

Previously Mr Bassett-Foss has had regional development, investment and strategic roles in the private and public sectors in New Zealand, South America, Eastern Europe and South East Asia. . .


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