Rural round-up

June 4, 2019

Climate change – it’s fossil fuels not farming that’s the problem – Andrew Hoggard:

Climate change is more about burning fossil fuels than the farming of animals, writes Federated Farmers climate change spokesman Andrew Hoggard.

To borrow the words of climate champion Al Gore, the “inconvenient truth” about climate change is that it’s more about the burning of fossil fuels than the farming of animals.

It is inarguable that carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is the world’s No 1 global warming culprit, and that’s no less so in New Zealand, never mind our significant pastoral farming profile. . . 

Accolade caps off career of note – Sally Rae:

Growing up in Upper Hutt, a young Geoff Asher could see wild deer and pigs from his bedroom window.

That sparked his interest in deer which has led to a career focusing on the deer industry that has spanned nearly 40 years.

At the recent deer industry conference in Wellington, Dr Asher (63) received the deer industry award – the industry’s highest honour.

Back in his office at AgResearch’s Invermay campus, Dr Asher said he was “blown away” by the recognition, which caught him “completely off-guard”. . . 

Jersey breed casts off ‘poor cousin’ tag – Sally Rae:

Seeing Jersey milk in the spotlight has been “a long time coming”, Jersey New Zealand president Alison Gibb says.

Last week, boutique dairy company Lewis Road Creamery launched a range of milk sourced solely from Jersey cows. It was the first single-breed standard milk to go on sale in supermarkets nationwide.

Lewis Road founder Peter Cullinane, who spoke about the initiative at Jersey NZ’s conference in Dunedin last week, said the Jersey cow was “rightly famous” for her milk. . .

Young Aucklander to tackle global food security:

Kiwi ideas and solutions for tackling global food security are set to be canvassed on the world stage thanks to the drive and passion of Dairy Flat cattle breeder Courtney Davies, 23.

The environmental educator, who teaches students about sustainability and the environment through virtual reality, will represent New Zealand at the Bayer Youth Ag Summit, taking place in Brasília, Brazil, November 4 – 6 2019.

Courtney will be one of 100 young participants from 45 countries attending the Summit, which is part of Bayer’s Agricultural Education Program. . .

How an ag company most people have never heard of could prove itself more disruptive than Netflix or Airbnb – Charlie Mitchell:

The number-one spot on CNBC’s Top 50 Disruptors List went to a brand that’s not yet a household name: Indigo Agriculture. Why?

This month, CNBC published its Top 50 Disruptors List, a guide to the new generation of not-yet-public companies vying to change the way the world does business. Among them are some of the world’s most recognizable and talked-about startups: Airbnb, the wildly popular room-for-rent platform; The We Company, parent to the burgeoning network of WeWork coworking spaces; and Impossible Foods, the buzzy alternative protein company likely headed towards an eagerly awaited I.P.O. later this year.

But the number-one spot went to a brand that’s not yet a household name: Indigo Agriculture. It’s not immediately obvious why. The company sports some impressive fundamentals including $650 million in funding, a reported value of over $3.5 billion, and 750 employees across the world—but, as described by CNBC, its business model sounds uninspired and fuzzy. . .

 

The challenge of making UK ruminant production sustainable – Matthew Jordon:

Ruminant agriculture has received increasing attention in recent years as a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions1 and other negative environmental externalities such as reduced water quality2 and water flow regulation3. Some in academia and the media portray reducing consumption of animal products – particularly red meat and dairy products – as a priority in climate change mitigation4, whilst environmentalists endeavour to tempt the British public with alternative uses for the British countryside that, they argue, would be preferable to ruminant production5,6. It is increasingly easy to accept the simple narrative of ‘the less meat we eat, the better’.

However, I believe that UK ruminant livestock farmers have the unique potential to manage the British countryside to deliver a number of public goods, alongside profitably producing environmentally-sustainable premium-quality meat. The potential ‘prize’ is a carbon-neutral UK ruminant livestock sector, as part of a rural landscape that delivers a number of publicly-desired ecosystem services. . . .


Rural round-up

April 13, 2018

‘The water wars’: A council’s proposal ruptures a divided heartland – Charlie Mitchell:

The Government won’t back it but an irrigation project that comes with a storage pond bigger than a nearby local town “is going to happen”. Charlie Mitchell reports on the fight for the Hurunui Water Project.

He would normally be here at this town meeting, the towering merino farmer who goes to every school gala, every public meeting in this sprawling region.

But Winton Dalley, the popular mayor of this district, is not here, because he is conflicted. So is Marie Black, the deputy mayor; so is Nicky Anderson, the new councillor who used to run the medical centre.

They don’t hear the arguments ringing through the Waikari community hall, where there’s shouting and swearing and scolding for the swearing, even though that’s how people here talk. . . 

Compensation process ‘quite appalling’ – Sally Rae:

Ken Wheeler describes the way he has been treated by the Ministry for Primary Industries as “quite appalling”and he feels for those Mycoplasma bovis-affected farmers about to go through the same process.

Despite not having a positive test to the bacterial disease, the Hillgrove farmer was ordered to slaughter 147 animals.

Now he is fighting to get what he believes is fair compensation for those animals and he has sympathy for the owners of the 22,300 cattle scheduled for impending slaughter.

“These poor guys coming behind us … need to be made aware of how MPI treats you,” Mr Wheeler said. . .

More testing tighter controls needed in fight – Toni WIlliams:

Farming Mycoplasma bovis out of the system is one way of getting rid of the infection, Mid Canterbury Federated Farmers dairy chairman Nathan Currie says.

But it will involve more farm management, ongoing testing and tighter stock control.

Mr Currie’s comments come as the Ministry of Primary Industry (MPI) confirmed a cull of more than 22,000 cattle could start as scientific testing and tracking confirmed the disease was not endemic.

MPI also confirmed another Mid Canterbury property was infected with Mycoplasma bovis, taking the number of infected properties in the district to four. . . 

Overseas workers flock to New Zealand’s shearing  jobs, kiwis not interested – Richard Gavigan:

Shearing contractors have struggled to shear sheep on time this season, despite a dream run with the weather in most parts of New Zealand.

Staff shortages have been the big problem, and Shearing Contractors Association president and Winton-based shearing contractor Jamie McConachie is concerned this may continue.

“We’ve had pretty much a dream run weather-wise in most places this season, with long fine spells,” McConachie said.

“But it’s been a really tough few months – hard to keep to schedule and get to sheds on time – because we’ve seen a noticeable decrease in the number of good shearers, woolhandlers and pressers available. . . 

The case for sustainable meat – Keir Watson:

I. Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

Meat, we are told, is bad for the planet. It causes global warming, destroys forests, diverts substantial proportions of the world’s grain for feed, all to produce meat which only wealthy Westerners can afford. The iniquity of the situation led George Monbiot to declare in 2002 that “Veganism is the only ethical response to what is arguably the world’s most urgent social justice issue.” Monbiot later recanted but, since then, we are told with increasing regularity that to save the planet we must radically reduce our consumption of meat. In the face of what seems to be universal agreement on the sins of meat eating, is there really a green argument for meat? I think there is, and I think we should be talking about it. Not only is the public discourse heavily one-sided, but the anti-meat message risks destroying the very environment is claims to be protecting.

Let’s start with one of the most repeated statistics used to argue for reduced meat consumption: the claim that 100,000 litres of water are required to produce each kilo of beef – which is a staggering 1000 times more than what is needed to produce a single kilo of wheat. . . 

Gene Editing for Good How CRISPR Could Transform Global Development – Bill Gates:

Today, more people are living healthy, productive lives than ever before. This good news may come as a surprise, but there is plenty of evidence for it. Since the early 1990s, global child mortality has been cut in half. There have been massive reductions in cases of tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. The incidence of polio has decreased by 99 percent, bringing the world to the verge of eradicating a major infectious disease, a feat humanity has accomplished only once before, with smallpox. The proportion of the world’s population in extreme poverty, defined by the World Bank as living on less than $1.90 per day, has fallen from 35 percent to about 11 percent.

Continued progress is not inevitable, however, and a great deal of unnecessary suffering and inequity remains. By the end of this year, five million children under the age of five will have died—mostly in poor countries and mostly from preventable causes. Hundreds of millions of other children will continue to suffer needlessly from diseases and malnutrition that can cause lifelong cognitive and physical disabilities. And more than 750 million people—mostly rural farm families in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia—still live in extreme poverty, according to World Bank estimates. The women and girls among them, in particular, are denied economic opportunity. . .


Rural round-up

July 10, 2017

Family’s vision for property vindicated – Sally Rae:

Excellence in New Zealand’s sheep industry was celebrated in Southland this week with the annual Beef and Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards, as Sally Rae reports.

When Alan and Jean Hore bought Beaumont Station in 1972, they were told they would never fatten a lamb on the property.

Fast forward 45 years and the Hore family — Alan and Jean and son Richard and his wife, Abby — won  supplier of the year at Beef and Lamb New Zealand’s Sheep Industry Awards in Invercargill.

Richard Hore yesterday acknowledged his father’s vision, adding that what had been achieved on the 28,000ha Otago high-country property had been through family determination and development. . . 

Farmers few in number but big on generating money-making food – Joyce Wyllie:

 All fine folk who produce food to feed peoples of the world please put your hand up. Then bend it behind your head and over your shoulder, then with a backwards and forwards motion of the wrist give yourselves a well deserved pat on the back.

In a Fieldays speech farmers were encouraged to call themselves “food producers” and become “louder and prouder” at telling their good stories. The presenter was Minister of Primary Industries Nathan Guy. Rather than preaching to the converted at an agricultural gathering, he’s in a prime position to loudly spread that message of pride in food production – and tell this great story – along the corridors of power and city streets.

Championing all the committed people diligently producing food for both local and overseas consumers through all cycles of weather, challenges of changing expectations and undulating prices would be mighty encouraging. . . 

Big kiwifruit growth plans for Maori – Pam Tipa:

About 8% of total kiwifruit production comes from Maori orchards, and now there is an ambitious goal to get up to 20%, says Maori Kiwifruit Growers Forum chairman Tiaki Hunia.

That growth can come in a number of ways, he told Rural News. It can come from new developments on bare land or from mergers or acquisitions, and a large proportion of Maori land is leased to outside investors. . .

Weka farmer takes on DOC: ‘I’m prepared to go to jail’ – Charlie Mitchell:

Decades after he began farming and eating weka, renegade conservationist Roger Beattie is ready to become a martyr.

The Christchurch man has long dreamed of commercialising endangered species as a means of saving them.

He believes weka and kiwi should be farmed like sheep and cattle, cooked and served on dinner plates for a premium price. . . 

All well with Waitaki dairy farms – Sally Brooker:

Waitaki’s dairy farmers and their cows are wintering well.

North Otago Federated Farmers dairy section chairman Lyndon Strang told Central Rural Life that conditions before calving were ”pretty good”.

Heifers on many farms would begin to calve in mid to late July.

Although the mating period had been ”a bit of a problem for most people”, since then there had been good crop and grass growth, Mr Strang said.

”There’s plenty of feed for winter.

”What little rainfall we’ve had has been hanging round. The cows are still on top of the paddocks and wintering quite well.” . . 

City slicker Lisa Kendall a hot chance in rural-dominated Young Farmer of the Year finals

She may be a city girl known as the “Karaka kid”, but Lisa Kendall is holding her own against a bunch of country blokes in the finals of New Zealand’s Young Farmer of the Year.

With the final round of the competition about to get underway, Lisa says acceptance among her fellow farmers was a little more work for her than some of her rivals.

“I get teased a bit for being an Aucklander in the farming community,” Ms Kendall laughs. . .

Living and farming well in the Marlborough region:

Farming well and thinking healthy go together like sheep and shearing.

So, take a breather from the farm on Wednesday 19 July – Farmstrong and the Rural Support Trust have two free events on how healthy thinking can help you live well and farm well.

If you’re a farmer, grower or work in the farming community (including as a rural professional providing support services to farming), you can hear medical doctor and author Dr Tom Mullholland speak in Blenheim first thing over breakfast or over dinner in Ward. . . 

Ag media the pick of choice for Elise:

THE rich tradition of Australian rural journalism is being celebrated once more through the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) Foundation’s JB Fairfax award.

Applications have now opened for the 2018 JB Fairfax award for rural and regional journalism, the scholarship now entering its 10th year.

This year there is a new twist to the award, with the traditional request to write on a subject selected by the RASF replaced with an invitation to write an inspirational piece about a member of rural or regional Australia. . . 


Rural round-up

October 12, 2016

Marks & Spencer Scotland pulls pin on NZ lamb –  Alexa Cook:

British retailer Marks & Spencer will no longer stock New Zealand lamb in its Scottish stores, after a decision to only sell locally-produced lamb.

 New Zealand exports about 29,000 lambs a year to Marks & Spencer in Scotland and the decision will hit about 10 or 12 lamb producers in this country.Beef and Lamb NZ chairman James Parsons is in Britain, France, Ireland and Belgium this week to assess what effect Brexit may have on New Zealand exports. . .

Farmer grows from on-lamb farm to million dollar empire in six years – Paul Mitchell:

In just six years, a farmer south of Whanganui has grown his business from a single block of land to a multi-million dollar company supplying restaurants and supermarkets globally.

This week Coastal Spring Lamb, at Turakina, received its first order from China, giving it a foot-hold in the biggest market in the world.

Founder Richard Redmayne said this was the eighth export market for the firm since it began selling overseas in January last year. . . 

At war with the pukeko – one gardener’s greatest foe – Charlie Mitchell:

The pukekos strike just before dawn, leaving hundreds of destroyed cabbages and a market gardener in despair.

Commercial gardener Brent Treleaven is at war with the native birds, which have caused thousands of dollars worth of damage on his farm north of Christchurch.

He had to relinquish part of his market garden to the pukeko after they took it over. . . 

Cows get inspirational talk before milking – Simon Wong:

An Australian farmer says the pep talks he gives his cows is an easy way to bring cheer to his colleagues, who are facing some trying times.

Two videos of southwestern Victoria farmer Adam Jenkins, posted on Facebook by his wife Catherine, have been shared thousands of times in the past few days.

They’re of Mr Jenkins giving his cows encouragement before heading into the milking shed and then afterward congratulating them on their efforts. . .

Industry’s competitiveness in spotlight at DairyNZ AGM:

Dairy farmers’ ability to remain internationally competitive is likely to be a hot topic when dairy industry and research body, DairyNZ, reviews the past year at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Canterbury this month.

DairyNZ is holding its AGM in Ashburton from 11am on Thursday, October 27, at Hotel Ashburton.

Industry body chairman Michael Spaans says the AGM will review the 2015/16 dairy season, including the low milk price challenges, and discuss DairyNZ’s highlights for the year and future direction. . . 

Latest industry results confirm LIC has the best bulls in the country – by far:

The genetic gain and value that LIC bulls are delivering on New Zealand dairy farms is confirmed in the latest Ranking of Active Sires (RAS) list.

A phenomenal 27 of the best 30 bulls on the All Breeds list are LIC’s, including the top 14 in a row of all breeds.

“These bulls are managed by LIC on our farmers’ behalf, with massive contributions from our top breeders and our Bull Acquisition team,” LIC General Manager Biological Systems Geoff Corbett said. . .


Rural round-up

April 26, 2016

Safety change generational – Sally Rae:

Lynn Carty reckons Health and Safety is a little bit like the old seatbelt campaigns.

Nobody wanted to adhere at the start, then it became a generational change; advertisements targeted children, who quickly began to “click” and encouraged their parents to do the same.

“I think this is similar. It’ll be a generational change as well,” the WorkSafe Otago health and safety inspector said. . . 

App saves H&S paperwork:

Onside has launched an online health and safety app for farmers to make compliance with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 easier.

It enabled farmers to develop their own health and safety plan by working through a pre-populated list of risks overlaid on a satellite map of their farm, chief executive Ryan Higgs said.

Contractors and visitors who entered the farm would be prompted to sign in on a smartphone as they crossed a virtual “geo-fence”. . . 

Industry calls for Kiwi farmers to be allowed to grow cannabis – Charlie Mitchell:

It’s green, environmentally-friendly and growing in popularity around the world but some say a roaring cannabis market is about to pass New Zealand by.

Growers and farmers are taking a keen interest in cannabis, as countries around the world legalise its cultivation for medicinal purposes.

Some are looking at the plant’s potential in light of falling dairy prices and restrictions around importing seeds, most recently due to an outbreak of the invasive weed velvetleaf. . . 

Deer farmers focus on meat in the box – Kate Taylor:

Tim Aitken breaks into a smile when asked why he’s a deer farmer.

“A lot of people think deer are hard to farm but they’re not. You just have to get the basics right. We love every minute of it.”

Tim Aitken and Lucy Robertshawe have been farming deer since the late 1980s. The continual improvement is one of the aspects they love about their business… alongside a simple love of farming deer. . . 

This one’s for you Dad‘ – Kate Taylor:

Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year Grant Charteris saluted his father Bruce, who died on the Tikokino farm three years ago, as he and wife Sally celebrated their win.

The couple have a mix of deer, cattle and sheep on their 320ha farm with an economic farm surplus (EFS) of $941/ha and a 9.6 per cent return on capital. They will host a winner’s field day on May 12.

“It was awesome to be able to pull it off and we’re pretty blown away, to be fair,” Grant said.

After thanking people such as vets, bankers, contractors and staff who had helped make their business successful, he also thanked Sally, who had been “the glue that makes our family stick” while looking after a “two-year-old boy who is very active and a seven-month-old girl who’s nocturnal.” . . 

Successful trip to China concludes:

Primary Industries Nathan Guy has concluded a successful trip to China as part of a delegation led by Prime Minister John Key with Trade Minister Todd McClay and New Zealand businesses.

“This visit has reinforced the strong and growing agricultural ties between our countries. Not only is China our biggest export market, there is now a depth of two-way investment and cooperation between our primary industry sectors,” says Mr Guy.

“We have made great progress on an updated meat protocol that includes chilled meat access which will be significant for exporters and farmers. This will help put premium chilled meat cuts on the tables of high end restaurants.

“A new Halal Arrangement will recognise New Zealand’s halal standards and will provide our producers with a first mover advantage in this culturally diverse market that takes 33 percent of our total halal certified exports. . . 

Pacific farmers using web tools for market updates:

Young farmers in the Pacific are being taught web and social media skills to help them earn more, and to share information with other farmers in the region.

The workshop, by the Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community, or POETCom, began in Niue last week, and will move to the Cook Islands and the Marshall Islands.

POETCom’s coordinator, Karen Mapusua, says farming is often just seen as manual labour by young people, but social media and internet skills can be useful in the agriculture sector. . . 

Peterson Farm Bros's photo.


Rural round-up

July 11, 2014

Farming leadership mould is slowly breaking – Charlie Mitchell:

Agriculture is the largest sector of New Zealand’s tradeable economy.

It generates 70 per cent of the country’s export earnings, and comprises 12 per cent of annual GDP. Although farming remains the backbone of this country’s economy, women have been far from prominent in its leadership roles. But it is possible to be a woman of influence among the farmers and growers, as two of the country’s prominent female leaders in the sector explain.

JANE HUNTER, HUNTER’S WINERY

Jane Hunter’s reputation precedes her. The managing director of Marlborough winery Hunter’s, she has been dubbed “the first lady of New Zealand wine”, received an OBE in 1993, and was made a Companion to the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009. . .

“Weather” We Will – Just a Ranch Wife:

One thing about being in agriculture, you better like being the “beck and call girl” for Mother Nature.  SHE makes the rules.  SHE decides if you are going to get any sleep in the spring during calving, or “weather” she is in the mood to dump LOADS of snow on you and make every single thing exponentially more difficult.  SHE decides if you are going to brand on the day you have your crew lined up, or “weather” she needs to blow off some steam and try to blow your crew away or give them a good soaking. SHE decides if you are going to get your fields planted, or “weather” your tractor is going to be stuck up to the axle when you tried too soon.  SHE decides if you are going to get your hay cut and baled, or “weather” she wants to blow it around or wet it down some.  . .

Alex takes his stock skills to world stage  – Sahiban Kanwal:

Waimate’s Alex Reekers has trimmed and shorn his way to the finals of the World Young Shepherds Challenge.

Reekers will represent New Zealand at the finals in Auvergne, France, in September and he is keen to learn about his foreign counterparts and their farming systems.

“The hardest thing to do will be study, and try to study the right things. Not being on home turf and competing in a country with different farming systems and regulations could throw some curveballs,” he said.

He said preparation for the preliminary rounds, which had got him this far, was quite difficult as the guidelines for the competition were pretty general. . .

Optimism for woollen mill – Alan Williams:

Wool Equities (WEL) says it is close to getting a funding package for its Bruce Woollen Mill business in South Otago.

A statement on a reconfiguration of the business is expected in the next week or so, WEL chairman Cliff Heath said.

He confirmed significant cashflow problems for Bruce Woollen Mill over the past six months, and attempts over that time to revamp it onto a more fundable footing.

“We are close to achieving that.”

Bruce Woollen Mill had developed a solid customer base over the past two years, since WEL became majority owner, and had a good order book for about five months ahead. . .

Vineyard seeks consent to subdivide – Lynda Van Kempen:

Terra Sancta vineyard owners Mark Weldon and Sarah Elliot are seeking a subdivision of a Cornish Point property to further expand their viticulture business.

The couple, under the name of the Tane and Miro Trust, have applied to the Central Otago District Council for planning consent to create two allotments in Cornish Point Rd, near Cromwell, with areas of 4847sq m and 6.26ha.

They bought the former Olssens vineyard, one of the pioneering vineyards in the Bannockburn area, in 2011 and rebranded it as Terra Sancta. . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics underway:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Genetics is officially in business.

B+LNZ Genetics General Manager, Graham Alder said the contract with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has been signed, securing the Government’s contribution of $15 million over the next five years.

In total the new entity will attract $44 million, coming from sheep and beef farmers, the wider red meat industry and the Government.

“This investment will power up the genetic gains for New Zealand sheep and cattle so they are more profitable and better matched to consumer demands.” . . .

International judges announced for 2014 Air New Zealand Wine Awards:

Two highly respected international wine personalities will be joining this year’s judging panel for the country’s premier wine competition, the Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

Respected wine writer David Brookes from Australian Gourmet Traveller WINE, Wine Companion and Wine & Spirits magazines, and Sebastian Braun, one of Sweden’s leading wine buyers, will be joining the judging team of 26 for this year’s competition.

Judging for the 2014 Air New Zealand Wine Awards will take place from 3 to 5 November, in Auckland. The gold medal winning wines will be announced on 12 November. On Saturday, 22 November, the ‘best of the best’ trophy winning wines will be revealed at a black tie dinner in Hawke’s Bay. The dinner will be attended by New Zealand’s top winemakers and industry figures to celebrate the quality of New Zealand wine. . .


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