Rural round-up

August 24, 2018

Water guru laments lost chances – Richard Rennie:

After half a century working with natural resources around the world and now in his career twilight Dr Terry Heiler despairs about New Zealand’s ability to develop a cohesive, sustainable water policy that supports irrigators, communities and the environment.

The irrigation pioneer and 2013 Lincoln Bledisloe Medal winner believes the problems around NZ’s irrigation funding are heightened in a global environment where hedge funds are seeking investment in a world requiring about $3.7 trillion a year in infrastructure investment.  . .

 

Milking It: taking calves from their mothers keeps the dairy industry going – Esther Taunton:

NZ is known for its dairy products, and is home to one of the biggest dairy companies in the world. In this Stuff special investigation, we examine how the price of milk is set and explore the industry behind our liquid asset.

It’s a practice often questioned by non-farmers but separating newborn calves from their mothers is better for the animals, a dairying leader says.

Janet Schultz, Federated Farmers Taranaki dairy chairwoman, said although taking calves from their mothers might appear cruel, it was necessary for the health of the animals and the industry.

Schultz said cows experienced the same discomfort as human mothers when their milk came in and a calf couldn’t drink enough to relieve the pain. . . 

Feeding cows seaweed cuts 99% of greenhouse gas emissions from their burps, research finds – Josh Gabbatiss:

Feeding seaweed to cows could slash the amount of climate change-inducing methane emissions from their burps.

Preliminary research has indicated a small amount of marine algae added to cattle food can reduce methane emissions from cattle gut microbes by as much as 99 per cent.

Now, scientists in California are hoping to help farmers meet strict new emissions targets by performing the first ever tests of seaweed feed in live dairy cows. . .

Continue to transform dairy field – Martin Wiedmann:

The dairy industry in New York and across the United States is at a crossroads. Even though cow’s milk remains one of the all-time best sources of dietary energy, protein and fat, people in the United States are drinking less of it. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans in 2016 consumed 154 pounds of fluid milk per capita year, down from 200 pounds or 25 percent just since the year 2000.

Along with a glut in milk production and trade uncertainty in global markets for dairy products, the lack of variability in dairy beverage offerings for consumers is placing New York dairy farmers under considerable financial and economic stress — and putting some out of business altogether. The state of New York has lost about 2,000 dairy farmers in the last decade alone, and more than 8,000 in the past 30 years. . .

Gates shut on daffodil viewing – Chris Tobin:

People once came in droves to admire the thousands of dancing daffodils at Pleasant Valley Daffodil Farm, just outside Geraldine, but it will not be happening this spring.

”We’ve decided not to open to the public now,” Gordon Coombes, who runs the daffodil farm with his wife, Cindy, said.

”By the same token, people’s lives have changed.

”When we started, most worked 40-hour weeks and weekends were free but people’s shopping and working lives have changed.

”The younger generation don’t have the same interest in gardening and they’re too busy. . .

Young Grower title goes back to the Bay:

After a lengthy battle, Danni van der Heijden was crowned Young Grower of the Year 2018 at an event in Napier last night.

Danni, 24, was named the winner after a day-long gauntlet of horticultural challenges, testing her skills and knowledge to the limits. As the regional Bay of Plenty champion, she beat out six other contestants for the title, and also secured the national title of Young Fruit Grower of the Year, along with finance, innovation, and speech awards.

First runner-up was Lisa Arnold from Hawke’s Bay, while third place went to Central Otago’s Hamish Darling. . . 

NZ Sommelier of the Year Competitions:

The New Zealand Sommelier of the Year 2018 has been won by Marek Przyborek of Huami Restaurant at Sky City.

The title was announced by Head Judge Cameron Douglas MS at the New Zealand Sommelier and Wine Professionals Awards Dinner earlier this week.

In a close-run competition, Andrea Martinisi from the Grove and Baduzzi Restaurants in Auckland and Maciej Zimny from Noble Rot in Wellington were runners-up. .


Rural round-up

July 31, 2016

World trends that will influence future farming – Pita Alexander:

The oldest son in a farming family has returned home from a trip overseas after completing his degree at Lincoln University.

Before coming back to the farm and making a career of farming the son spent a year in Australia, North America and Europe. He wanted to obtain a picture of where farming might be heading during his tenure.

Among his many observations in a report he prepared for his family were the following:

– A formal licence to farm is looking like a certainty for New Zealand within the next 10 – 15 years and the banks may lend at lower interest rates with this certificate.

–  Killing farm animals before they are fully grown is getting some air time in some countries.

– Traceability from the farmer to the eating and buying consumer is already present, but is going to get more complicated and will hopefully bring more value to the farmer.

–  About 25-30 per cent of the world’s food production ends up being wasted and not eaten  – this will have to be improved upon well before 2050. . . 

ASB punts on Fonterra sticking with $4.25 milk price – Jamie Grey:

ASB Bank is punting on Fonterra leaving its 2016/7 farmgate milk price forecast unchanged at $4.25 a kg of milk solids when the co-operative releases a market update on Monday.

However the risks were “skewed” to a figure as low as $3.90/kg because of a consistently strong New Zealand dollar, ASB rural economist Nathan Penny said in a research note.

Penny said it was still early days in the season, which started on June 1, and that there was plenty of time for dairy prices to rise. . . 

More research is needed if farming is to progress – Jacqueline Rowarth:

Climate variability, farm gate prices for food and fibre, and increased concerns about the environment are combining to create unsustainable farm systems.

Alternatives need careful evaluation before decisions are made in an attempt to avoid unintended consequences.

The latter can be worse than the current state – Brexit, for example. 

Increased warm temperatures, drought, floods and long cold springs mean that farmers are adapting systems to cope. Use of supplementary feed has been part of the development of resilient farm businesses, but the urban perspective is that costs have increased without an increase in income. . . 

Resistance or resilience – which best characterises the red meat sector? – Allan Barber:

The Red Meat Sector Conference held in Auckland on Monday did not have one single theme, but a series of themes across the day, starting with the question ‘resistance or resilience?’ Past history suggests the answer might most logically be both rather than a choice between the two options.

In his introductory remarks MIA chairman John Loughlin said the volatile global situation contrasted with a relatively stable environment at home with a predictable meat industry, while Beef + Lamb chairman James Parsons highlighted the need to reduce on farm costs while achieving incremental gains across the supply chain. . . 

Queenstown tracks to get ratepayer funding:

Queenstown’s council has agreed to pay to maintain 11 walking and biking tracks being developed across two high country stations.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council yesterday agreed to pay $10,000 a year to maintain the existing and planned tracks, which will go across Glencoe and Coronet Stations.

The land is partially owned by the Crown under pastoral lease, and partially by Soho Properties, which has entered into an agreement with the Queen Elizabeth II Trust to protect the land. . . 

Better baits and better trapping – Kate Guthrie:

Peanut butter has long been used as a lure for rats. Possums have a fondness for the scent of cinnamon. But are they the all-time favourite foods of rats and possums? Researchers at Victoria University of Wellington used chew cards to check out what really tickles the tastebuds of two of our more common urban pest species. Home trappers might like to give these food lures a go too…

Many tests of trap lures are done with laboratory animals, but in this project the researchers compared food-based products on free-ranging, wild rats and possums. They assessed the chew card results for attractiveness and consumption and found that wild rats preferred cheese, milk chocolate, Nutella and walnut to the peanut butter standard. Possums statistically preferred apricot and almond to cinnamon. . . 

Farmers need to be bank ready:

With the dairy pay out remaining stubbornly low and equity positions becoming more precarious many farmers are seeing more of their bank manager, according to Crowe Horwath’s Head of Corporate Agribusiness, Hayden Dillon.

Dillon is quick to point out that this increased level of contact isn’t always a bad thing and proactive discussions between banker and farmer are an important step to take in dealing with the current financial pressures both parties are facing.

However, it can be intimidating for some and a recent Federated Farmers’ survey found that one in ten farmers were feeling an ‘undue’ level of pressure from their bank. . . 

#431AM top ten calving tips:

We asked our #431AM farming community how to get through #calving16.

Here are some of our farmers’ top tips for the calving season. Thanks to everyone who contributed!

We’d love to hear your #calving16 tips – hit us up on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using #431AM. 

 

  • Eat well, sleep well, know your body’s limits. Good communication amongst your team and don’t let things get to you. It’s farming, it’s life and things go wrong. It’s how you manage the situation that counts. Being negative will make time go so much slower, and above all think of our girls. We get days off during the season but they don’t, without our girls we are grass growers. Richard H
  • We have 3 meetings a day. We have a work safe meeting to work out what safety gear we will need before we’re out the door. Yesterday with snow on the ground it was too dangerous for workers to leave the house. You have to have more meetings. 1 a day is not enough. Ann-Maree G
  • Take time to get off farm, even for an hour. Keep in touch with others, especially when things are at their toughest. Chances are others are also feeling the burn. Sue M
  • Set a roster, keep the fridge stocked with food snacks, have morning meetings with coffee and snacks and last thing at night after milking. Ask what people want to discuss at tomorrow’s meeting and what was their highlights and/or best achievements for the day. Geoff M . . .

 

South Island Wool Bounces:

New Zealand Wool Services International LTDs CEO Mr John Dawson reports that despite a strengthening NZ dollar, the varied selection at this week’s South Island auction attracted strong support.

Of the 7700 bales on offer 85 percent sold.

The weighted currency indicator was up 2.06 percent compared to the previous week’s auction.

Mr Dawson advises that a selection ranging from 21 micron merinos to 42 micron coarse wools with a cross section of styles and lengths provided attractive options to buyers which overrode the possible negative impact of the stronger dollar compared to the similar South Island offering on 14 July. . . 

Fine wines of New Zealand revealed:

Six of the nation’s leading independent wine experts have come together to create “The Fine Wines of New Zealand” – a list of the country’s most prestigious wines.

A selection panel comprising Masters of Wine Alastair Maling, Michael Brajkovich, Sam Harrop, Simon Nash and Steve Smith along with Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas has agreed on the list for 2016 which includes 47 wines representing seven varietals.

This group of leading New Zealand wine experts met several times in late 2015 and in the first half of 2016 to define the criteria that had to be met for a wine to earn the prestigious Fine Wine of New Zealand status. One of the key criteria is consistency, with a wine having had to have been produced to an exceptional standard for a minimum of five consecutive years. . . 


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