Rural round-up

September 4, 2015

Farmers not sidestepping health and safety reform – Katie Milne:

The Health and Safety Reform Bill has grabbed many recent headlines because of what is deemed a high risk industry – and what is not.

Because most farming industries fall on the low-risk side, many people seem to have rushed to a judgement that farmers are excluded from these reforms.

This is simply not the case.

The reforms are designed to improve the safety of every industry and every workplace. Farms included.

What’s more, the bill passed by Parliament last week is welcomed by Federated Farmers for the very reason it will further help our members to address the high level of workplace incidents and fatalities on our farms. . . 

Survey shows banks have stepped up to the plate during dairy downturn:

Banks are providing much needed support to New Zealand’s dairy industry during this period of desperately low prices, a survey from Federated Farmers has revealed. 

Only 6.6% of dairy farmers say they have come under undue pressure from banks over their mortgage. Just 5.7% are dissatisfied with banks over their mortgages and as little as 3.1% are unhappy about the quality of communication from banks over the past three months. 

Across all farming industries the level of dissatisfaction over mortgages is even less (5.2%), with 5.5% saying they have come under undue pressure in this area and 3.5% unhappy with how banks are communicating with them.

The survey was conducted the week following Fonterra’s announcement on 7 August of a forecast payout to farmers of $3.85 per kilogram of milk solids, and Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston says the organisation took the step because it was vital the industry knew exactly what level of support it was receiving.  . . 

Canola grower all in favour of friendly rivalry – Sally Rae:

Competition is hotting up globally in the world of canola and even Guinness World Records is finally excited.

A few years ago, North Otago arable farmer Chris Dennison approached Guinness World Records (GWR) and suggested a new category for the crop, as a lot of canola was grown in the world and there was interest in achieving high yields. . . 

What other EU governments are doing to help their farmers – Amy Forde:

Fed-up Irish dairy, grain and pig farmers took to the streets of Dublin recently to protest about the low prices they are receiving for their produce and low farm incomes.

It is an EU-wide problem and next week there will be an extraordinary meeting of EU agriculture ministers in Brussels.

The ministers will debate the state of play in EU markets as weak prices in a number of sectors is leading to increased farmer unrest across the continent. . . 

Orchard’s Innovation Recognised in Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Entering the Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards for the second time proved well worthwhile for pipfruit operation JR’s Orchard Ltd.

Owners JR Van Vliet and Jamiee Burns first entered in 2009 and were thrilled to win the Innovation award for the clever way they installed crop protection netting on the 117ha orchard (92ha planted) on the eastern edge of Greytown.

“We found the awards to be a wonderful experience,” says Jamiee.

“We learnt so much, and it made us re-evaluate some of the processes we were using in the operation.” . . .

Klein's Agri Services's photo.

Butchery sizzles competition to take out bacon award:

Butcheries in Christchurch and Auckland have taken out the country’s top awards for bacon and ham.

The 100% NZ Bacon & Ham Competition celebrates turning New Zealand grown pork into bacon and ham products.

Cashmere Cuisine in Christchurch won bacon of the year and Westmere Butchery in Auckland won ham of the year. . . 


Rural round-up

January 26, 2015

Record canola crop on irrigated plot – Sally Rae:

As dry conditions continue in North Otago, a world-record canola crop harvested at Hilderthorpe has provided proof of the benefits of irrigation.

Arable farmer Chris Dennison achieved the record crop on Friday, with a 6.3-tonne-per-hectare yield, beating the previous record of 6.14 tonnes, set by an English farmer last August.

While Mr Dennison has had a few attempts at wheat world records over the years, it was his first crack at improving on the record for canola.

He approached Guinness World Records a few years ago, wanting to attempt to break a canola record, having had some ”really big crops”. . .

Alpine water would counter dry spell  – Nicky Hyslop:

If you’re lucky enough to still be on holiday, no-one will blame you for basking in the hot, dry weather being experienced in many parts of New Zealand.

For the South Island’s east coast it’s been the first decent Kiwi summer for decades with temperatures regularly in the 30s and little or no rainfall.

But spare a thought for farmers whose very livelihood relies on adding water to soil to grow crops, feed and water animals. If regular water doesn’t come from the sky in the form of rainfall, irrigation plugs the gap by providing access to authorised river, dam and groundwater supplies. . .

Dairy, lamb skid on oil slick – Andrea Fox:

Tumbling prices at the petrol pump have a sting in the tail for farmers, with predictions that oil-producing countries’ appetite for dairy products and lamb will shrink along with their economies.

Economists say with some oil-producing countries – in particular the Middle East region – being important markets for New Zealand dairy exports, the oil price fall will dampen chances of a commodity dairy price recovery in the first half of the year, suggested by the recent three-strike run of improved average prices on Fonterra’s Global Dairy Trade auctions.

The oil price collapse could also offset any economic comfort for commodity exporters from the weakening of the New Zealand dollar against the US dollar, in which this country mostly trades overseas.

In the sheepmeat export sector, the oil price plunge is also said to be contributing to a fall in the lamb schedule since early December. . .

Network supportive – finalist – Sally Rae:

Andrea Murphy is proud to call New Zealand home.

Ms Murphy, who is a finalist in the 2015 Dairy Woman of the Year competition, has forged a global career as a dairy nutritionist.

Originally from Canada, she worked in China before moving to New Zealand 11 years ago. She is based in Alexandra where she works for PGG Wrightson and is also on the committee for the New Zealand Association of Ruminant Nutritionists. . .

Ready to take on the male contingent – Sally Rae:

When Olivia Ross lines up for the Otago-Southland regional final of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest in Queenstown next month, she intends giving it ”120%”.

The winner will go through to the contest’s grand final at Taupo in July and only three women have ever made it that far.

Louise Collingwood, representing Waikato-Bay of Plenty, came the closest to claiming the title, finishing second to Otago-Southland’s Robert Kempthorne in 2003 and third in 2004, while Denise Brown was a grand finalist in 1981 and Katherine Tucker in 2012. . .

High-country farm owner changes the guard – Kate Taylor:

Finding a compatible lessee is critical in a successful ongoing partnership, says high country farmer Geoffrey Thomson.

For the past six months, Mt Earnslaw Station at the head of Lake Wakatipu in Otago, has been leased to former high country farm managers Cameron Craigie and partner Anita Holthaus.

The feeling of not being responsible for the stock on a daily basis after so many years was a weight off the shoulders, Thomson says. He took over the 6670 hectare station from his parents in 1976, having spent time away at boarding school, university and then working as a civil engineer. He and Diana have two sons in their early 20s, James and Thomas, who have both chosen non-farming careers. . .

                                          *  *  *  *
Adrienne Pierce's photo.


Rural round-up

June 8, 2014

Feds top job too good to pass up – Andrea Fox:

New Federated Farmers chief executive Graham Smith is the first to admit his previous employer is upset over his quick exit from a new job, but says the federation role is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity he could not resist.

Smith will leave not-for-profit new technology company incubator Soda, where he has been chief executive for less than two months, to head the federation late next month. . .

Minister launches primary industries capability report:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today launched The Future capability needs for the primary industries in New Zealand – a report that forecasts the future workforce needs of the primary sector.

“The report highlights that employment in the primary industries is expected to increase by 50,000 by 2025 to reach the Government’s goal of an export double. Over half of these workers will need a Tertiary or Level 4 Qualification,” says Mr Guy.

“New Zealand has a proud tradition in the primary industries – it’s an innovative sector that requires our best and brightest across a range of skills. As international markets become more sophisticated and competitive, it is crucial New Zealand’s primary industries keep pace. . .

We’re working with primary industries to make sure they keep innovating and keep growing. http://ntnl.org.nz/1hilnZ8

High country conference discusses neighbourliness:

What it means to be a ”good neighbour” was discussed at Federated Farmers’ high country conference in Queenstown yesterday.

The conference was examining how neighbours could look after each other in regard to water and nutrient management and pest control, Federated Farmers high country chairman Chas Todhunter said.

”We need to communicate with each other to understand each other’s differences and work towards mutually acceptable outcomes,” he said. . .

Innovation pitch finalists chosen:

After two days of intensive workshops nine innovators have been chosen to pitch their ideas at the National Fieldays Innovation Den on Thursday.

The chosen innovations include LiquidStrip, a filtration system designed to efficiently separate liquid and solid from waste effluent to allow for superior disposal options; Ice Cycle, a snap milk chiller capable of chilling milk from the cow at 34C to 4C in under three seconds, and Patrick Roskram with his Gudgeon Pro 5-in-1 fencing tool that is used to quickly and accurately hang gates. . . .

 ‘Black List’ proposed for ecological invaders:

A new scheme to rank invading species according to their environmental impact has been developed by a global team of leading experts in ecology and conservation.

The scheme, described in the journal PLOS Biology and co-authored by Lincoln University Professor of Plant Biosecurity, Philip Hulme, proposes a standardised approach for ranking alien species relative to their negative environmental impact. In so doing, globally recognised ‘Black Lists’ of unwanted species can be produced. . . .

Lifting farmgate returns the solution:

AUSTRALIA’S share of the global dairy market has been slipping gradually and turning the industry around is going to be a huge challenge, Murray Goulburn chairman Phillip Tracy says.

At the same time the company is cutting jobs across Victoria.

The co-operative’s commitment to lift farmgate returns by $1 a kilogram of milksolids by 2017 was the type of price rise needed to turn the industry around, Tracy said. . .

Foreign investment’s tough wrap – Jenna Cairney:

THERE’S no “foreign takeover” of our agricultural land and while a debate on foreign investment is worthwhile, any blows have to be above the belt.

At a packed NSW Farm Writers lunch last week John Corbett, the director of the often camera-shy Qatari government’s agricultural arm Hassad, dispelled some of the foreign direct investment (FDI) misnomers, in particular via sovereign wealth and institutional funds.

Hassad was created in response to the 1997 grain shortages and now owns more than 250,000 hectares of farmland in NSW, South Australia, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia, with the aim of producing 165,000 tonnes of grain and 100,000 lambs annually. . .

 A ‘turnip’ for the canola books – Gregor Heard:

MOST broadacre croppers would say they are happy to leave turnip and cabbage crops to their horticultural cousins.

However, researchers at the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) are using the two vegetable crops to make valuable discoveries about canola.

The relatively recently developed canola plant has a mixed heritage of both turnip and cabbage genetics. . . .


%d bloggers like this: