Rural round-up

05/10/2020

Stop making decisions for farmers – Peter Buckley:

From my observations of general media reporting it seems that in today’s world no one wants to take responsibility for their actions.

And more often than not they seek to blame others for the results of their actions. This is the case for private persons, government and their departments, councils and social organisations in a large portion of reports.

The majority seem to want someone else to take responsibility for their actions or lack of action. Some in government want even more control because they believe the government can fix things through legislation.

The problem with the government growing bigger, passing more legislation (much of it being a form of social engineering) and enforcing that legislation is that it takes responsibility away from the people who should hold that responsibility. . . 

Vet’s best work stories Told in new book – Catherine Groenestein:

A Taranaki vet has documented 30 years’ working with cattle in a hefty 1.5kg book that’s part instruction manual, part work stories.

Hāwera vet Cathy Thompson always carried a camera in her kit and took photos of many of the interesting animals she dealt with on farms.

Since retiring in 2017, she has used many of them in two books.

“The first one was a practical guide for cattle vets, but I thought it should be made available for farmers too, so I rewrote it,” she said. . .

Potential second drought shows importance of dams in Northland, trust says – Denise Piper:

The potential for a second drought in Northland shows the vital importance of large-scale dams, according to Te Tai Tokerau Water Trust.

The trust was formed this year to help progress water storage projects, helped along with $70 million in Provincial Growth Funding.

Work is expected to start this month on a 750,000 cubic metre reservoir near Kaikohe – one of the towns so severely impacted by drought there was a real risk taps could run dry in February.

However, the reservoir will not be ready for use until the first half of 2021. . .

Meet the farming couple breeding leeches for New Zealand hospitals :

Maria Lupton has New Zealand’s only leech farm, with tens of thousands of the parasites in tanks on her Waikato property.

If it’s a nice fine spring weekend, then Maria and Robert Lupton know they’ll probably get a call from a hospital asking for their leeches.

The Waikato couple owns a leech farm supplying hospitals throughout the country to help in surgery to restore blood flow to severed fingers or for restorative surgery after cancer treatments.

“Men and skill saws are very good for business,” Maria says. . . 

B+LNZ and OSPRI to improve sheep traceability with electronic ASDs:

Introductions of pests and diseases onto farms can be devastating for businesses and rural communities.

COVID-19 and the response to Mycoplasma bovis has underscored the importance of tracing to find, contain and control infectious diseases.

For sheep, mob-based tracing is an efficient and effective method.  For a number of years, B+LNZ has been seeking to improve the traceability of mobs of sheep.

Current tracing of movements of sheep relies on Animal Status Declarations (ASDs). These are paper-based, which limits investigators’ ability to trace a rapidly moving disease because they must follow the ‘paper trail’. . . 

 

Coronavirus leads to food industry crisis in Europe – Gavin Lee:

Across Europe, much of the food and agriculture industry has been badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Half of the fishermen in the Netherlands have stopped going out to sea. That’s because the price of fresh fish has plummeted due to a lack of demand.

In France, 1,500 tonnes of high quality cheese went off last week, because farmers can’t sell it.

And many of the warehouses that store fresh food across Europe are now reaching capacity.

BBC Europe correspondent Gavin Lee takes a look at the impact. . .


Rural round-up

05/12/2018

Seed of interest planted at young age – Sally Rae:

In a year marking the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand, South Pacific Seeds managing director Charlotte Connoley has become the first woman in the New Zealand Grain and Seed Trade Association’s 100-year history to be elected to its executive. She talks to Sally Rae.

Charlotte Connoley likes nothing better than getting back to her rural roots.

As well as catching up with Kurow-based family, it was also an opportunity to share a taste of her own farming upbringing with her two preschool-aged sons.

Whether getting them in a woolshed or shifting sheep, it helped give them an understanding of where their food came from and how it was produced, Mrs Connoley (39) said. . . 

All about taking Southdown ‘to next level’ – Sally Rae:

Southdown sheep might be a breed steeped in history — it is the oldest of the terminal sire breeds in the UK — but a group of breeders in New Zealand is firmly focused on positioning it for the future, as  Sally Rae reports.

Lawrence farmer Don Murray quips he is a novice when it comes to breeding Southdown sheep.

There were stalwart breeders who had been there “forever” and from whom he had learned a lot since establishing his stud in 2006.

Mr Murray said he had always liked breeding sheep and was interested in recording. His father-in-law, who had bred Southdowns, further encouraged his interest to venture into stud breeding. . . 

Good health needs to be worked on – Mark Daniel:

Rural life, and agriculture is driven by changing seasons that dictate on-farm tasks and operations and busy times can mean pressure on owners or employees.

The pressure of a high workload over an extended period can create illness or fatigue, often in the form of the “silent killers” such as high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity.

While you wouldn’t baulk at making informed decisions about stock, pastures or crops, it’s sometimes too easy to forget about making good decisions about the overall management of your staff and indeed your own time to keep things on an even keel. . . 

Vet’s life brings variety – Ross Nolly:

Many country kids who grow up on a dairy farm dream of becoming a vet and working with large animals. 

But even though they have probably come in contact with a vet numerous times they often don’t know the realities of the job. 

Cathy Thompson who only recently retired from the Taranaki Veterinary Centre was a large animal vet for well over 30 years. A large proportion of her workload was on the region’s many dairy farms.

When she began her career only 20% of vets were female and it was a novelty for a farmer to have a female vet attend a call-out. 

Now 80% of new vets are women. . . 

Fonterra likely to cut forecast payout to farmer shareholder:

Fonterra Cooperative Group is expected to cut its forecast payout to farmers when it publishes first-quarter results on Thursday.

Record production in New Zealand and weak global dairy prices are seen weighing on the cooperative, which currently predicts a payment of $6.25-to-$6.50 per kilogram of milk solids for the 2019 season, down from a previous forecast of $6.75/kgMS and the $7/kgMS opening prediction in May. Fonterra paid $6.69/kgMS in the 2018 season. . .

Americans have planted so much corn that’s it’s changed the climate – Eric J. Wallace:

CORN FARMERS IN EASTERN NEBRASKA have long claimed weather patterns are changing, but in an unexpected way.

“It’s something I’ve talked about with my dad and grandad many times,” says fifth-generation corn farmer Brandon Giltner. Along with his father and brother, the 45-year-old lives in the 400-person village of Giltner and grows about 2,000 acres of corn each year. From above, the area looks like a blip of homes surrounded by an expansive grid of circular fields. Though Brandon’s grandfather is retired, he takes an active interest in the business. “Contrary to what you’d think should be happening, both him and my dad swear up and down [that] droughts used to come more often and be a lot worse,” says Hunnicutt. “Considering it’s been 30 years since we had a really bad one, I’ve started kind of taking them at their word.” . . 

 

More milk please – Saul Morris:

Dairy consumption is a much debated topic among nutritionists. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends reducing saturated fats to less than 10 percent of total energy intake and reducing trans-fats to less than 1 percent of total energy intake.

This recommendation is translated into “practical advice” to “replace” butter with oils rich in polyunsaturated fats and eat reduced-fat dairy foods, among other suggestions. But is this advice in line with the latest evidence, and is it appropriate for populations in Africa and Asia that currently have very low consumption of dairy products and may not find it easy to access to reduced-fat products?

A study published this month in the leading medical journal The Lancet casts doubt on the epidemiological evidence base for discouraging dairy consumption. The authors followed up, for an average of nine years, more than 136,000 individuals aged 35-70 years from 21 countries from five continents. They measured their diets using locally appropriate food frequency questionnaires and tracked their subsequent rates of serious heart disease and death from all causes. They found that dairy consumption was protective against both serious heart disease and death from all causes, and that this protective effect was particularly marked for whole-fat dairy. Milk and yoghurt both showed the same protective effect when analysed separately; cheese and butter did not show statistically significant effects. . .

 


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