Rural round-up

April 21, 2013

New water use plan for Canterbury – Annette Lunn:

A new water plan will allow more land to be irrigated in Canterbury – but has set strict limits on the amount of phosphorus in the waterways.

Environment Canterbury has accepted recommendations in the Hurunui and Waiau River Regional Plan after months of public consultation.

The plan allows 70,000 more hectares of land to be irrigated. . .

Take good care of your farming mates – Pasture to Profit:

This week on Twitter there was a Multi-Nation discussion and concern about “farmers being in dark places” as a result of stress.
Extreme weather events in many countries including Ireland, UK, West Australia and New Zealand are putting farmers under immense stress. Stress about money, feed availability and the costs of buying in expensive feed when pasture is not growing. 
Hell it’s tough! . . .

Inspirational Young Farmers Win Supreme Title in 2013 Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

An innovative and hard-working young couple has collected the Supreme Award in the 2013 Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Central Wairarapa farmers Michael and Karen Williams received the award at a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on April 18, 2013.

Their 224ha arable, lamb finishing and beef unit, Ahiaruhe Farm, was described by BFEA judges as a very well organised business “run by an inspirational young couple”.

The Williams have immense passion for their farming operation, applying considerable business acumen to everyday decisions, judges said. . .

Gloves off in CAP reform:– Douglas MacSkimming:

THE GLOVES are off and the fight is on to secure the best possible deal for Scotland’s farmers in the CAP reform package.

This was the message from Rural Affairs CabSec Richard Lochhead, who this week outlined the wishlist he would pursue in the last push to agree a reform deal by the end of June.
Addressing a CAP modelling conference in Edinburgh, on Wednesday, Mr Lochhead stressed: “The negotiations aren’t over – we still have the opportunity to fight for Scotland’s remaining demands.
“Like a level playing field on coupled payments – we want to see 15% for all member states, not just for some. Like ensuring that the national reserve rules will help new entrants of all ages, not just those under 40. . .

The Mysterious Mr Black: A farm story (bit of a true story bit of a yarn) – Mad Bush Farm:

When you’re just a kid of five or six years old, things are always larger than life. It took bravery to venture into the old chicken houses on the farm next door. They made for a ramshackle collection of buildings, slightly on a lean, with rusted corrugated iron,  the timbers full of dry rot. Inside the groaning slowly collapsing sheds, were the old nesting boxes, some with eggs still in place, the hens that had laid them long since vanished. I vaguely recall the flocks of White Leghorn hens out in the paddocks foraging away for their feed of grubs and insects between the blades of long rich dairy grass, where once cows had grazed. They had long since gone as well and the walk through milking shed had been abandoned to the elements.

All kids like to venture into places they’re not supposed to go into. That’s the fun of it, doing something you’re not supposed to do, and go looking where you shouldn’t. . .

Pregnant sheep survives 11 days under snow at Scottish farm:

A pregnant sheep who survived 11 days buried under snow at a farm in south west Scotland is on the road to recovery.

The animal is already walking around and eating after its ordeal and was one of only four sheep that managed to survive.

It has even gained some notoriety for managing to stay alive, with thousands of Facebook users ‘liking’ a post that brought news of its amazing feat.

Young farmer Stuart Mactier spoke of his excitement at finding the ewe alive. . .

From The Farmacy:

Photo


Rural round-up

March 16, 2013

‘An industry in transition’ – US beef challenges present opportunities for NZ producers:

The United States’ beef cattle industry is undergoing a major transition, with a significant contraction of its domestic herd diminishing available beef supply locally and offshore. This presents opportunities for New Zealand producers to cash in on increased market share, according to a visiting US meat industry expert.

Rabobank’s Texas-based vice president for animal proteins, Don Close says the reduction in the US herd is “unprecedented”, with current on-feed numbers at six per cent lower than 12 months ago, and set to continue to decrease into the 2013 Northern Hemisphere summer period.

“Right now, with a significant period of drought, the ongoing tightening of our cattle herd is really becoming increasingly evident,” Mr Close said. . .

Controversy over CAP capping and coupling plans – Paul Spackman:

Farming unions and environmental groups have given a very mixed response to yesterday’s crucial vote by MEP’s on the future of the CAP.

Elements that could cut red tape for farmers, ease the burden of inspections and allow for more proportionate penalties were generally welcomed.

However, other proposals were criticised by some for potentially distorting the market and discriminating against larger UK farms. . .

Rural media research reveals the changing face of farming:

The old image of farmers being dyed in the wool consumers of traditional media, late adopters of digital technology and low users of social media has been completely blown apart by a major piece of research commissioned by Waikato/Bay of Plenty based agency, King St.

The research involved 759 farmers – 314 dairy and 346 dry stock – participating in a 15-minute phone survey conducted by independent research firm, Versus Research, on behalf of King St and some of the agency’s rural clients.

The comprehensive study provides a full picture of farmers’ media habits. “It’s the largest study of its kind to be conducted and provides some extremely valuable information, along with some fresh insights”, says King St CEO, Chris Williams.

“If you think farmers are behind the times as an audience, you need to think again. Radio, TV and print are still going strong but it’s in digital media where we saw some big moves, particularly with the under 40s,” says Williams. “And rather than being behind, they are ahead in some instances.” . . .

Roadshow spreads word on lifting returns – Tim Cronshaw:

Sheep farming can once again be a mainstay of the New Zealand economy, says a top merino leader.

New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) chief executive John Brakenridge said sheep farming had anchored much of the New Zealand economy throughout the 1900s and had been overtaken by the dairy industry as it adapted to capture market opportunities.

For sheep farming to return to its previous position farmers had to be far more involved with global markets and accept scientific developments such as genomics research so that sheep could be adapted to meet market opportunities, he said. . .

Monitor puts squeeze on farm fuel thieves – Tim Cronshaw:

Stealing fuel from farm tanks will be made much harder for thieves with a smart new device.

The release of the remotely transmitted levno technology coincides with reports from the Federated Farmers of increased thefts of fuel, equipment and livestock. In the last few weeks diesel has been drained from diggers in Nelson and from fuel tanks in Upper Takaka and Motueka.

The theft of diesel and petrol is likely to be a bigger problem than realised with a farming enterprise estimating as much as 20 per cent of their fuel goes missing. . .

Myanmar President Welcomed by Fonterra:

Today, on his first visit to New Zealand, Myanmar President Thein Sein met with the Fonterra Co-operative Group’s Chairman John Wilson and CEO Theo Spierings at their headquarters in Auckland.

Fonterra, is opening an office later this year in Myanmar, and the meeting aimed to further strengthen the company’s relationship with Myanmar where it has been supplying high quality dairy nutrition for almost 20 years.

Chairman John Wilson said they were pleased to welcome President Sien to New Zealand and provide him with a deeper understanding of their business, and the New Zealand dairy industry. . .

Renowned NZ grape grower Willie Crosse strikes Gold again:

New Zealand Wine Society has been privileged to make wines from Willie Crosse’s pristine fruit since the 2001 vintage when his Riesling won a Gold medal. Eleven vintages on, the magic is stronger than ever.

At the 2013 Easter Show Wine Awards Willie and New Zealand Wine Society did it again, collecting another Gold medal for the Crosse Vineyard Marlborough Riesling 2012.

Willie is thrilled and says, ‘Jo Gear [the winemaker] is shaping quite a record with our riesling. 2012 was a good year on the vineyard, thanks to a very cool summer and a long dry finish through autumn which brought out the flavours and kept the grapes clean. It was a challenging start, but perfect in the end.’ . . .


NZ too hot, dry, UK too cold, wet

March 16, 2013

New Zealand farmers have all fingers and toes crossed that forecast rain will arrive in sufficient quantity to relieve the drought.

Their British counterparts have the opposite problem:

Feeding animals has become a crippling expense for some farmers after a wet, cold winter. Some are now relying on food vouchers in order to keep going.

The number of working farmers asking for emergency financial assistance has almost tripled since last year, a farming charity says.

The second wettest summer on record was followed by a harsh winter, flooded grazing land and ruined crops, all resulting in soaring feed prices many farmers struggle to pay.

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) charity supports members of the farming community when they face hardship.

Farmer Kit Dean normally keeps around 80 cattle grazing in the fields of his North Yorkshire farm until mid-October. They have been inside since early June when his fields flooded.

“Some days you do wonder if you can carry on,” he says.

“There are times when I wonder if I’ve failed.” . . .

The rest of the story makes very sad reading.

Whether it’s too hot and dry or too cold and wet, farming is a tough business but the weather isn’t the only problem in the UK.

. . . Some economists, like former government farming advisor Sean Rickard, think that it is not just the weather that is having an adverse effect on British farming.

“We have a romantic view,” he says.

“The Cap [EU’s Common Agricultural Policy] maintains farmers in business no matter how inefficient they are and keeps the size of farms smaller than they should be.

“Many farmers are already hanging on by their fingertips and don’t have the spare income to put aside for a rainy day or to reinvest in the business. The larger the farm, the more efficient the farm, the lower the cost of production.” . . .

Hard as it is for farmers facing drought here, at least they don’t have the distortions of subsidies and quotas to worry about.


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