Cherry crops ruined by rain – Jared Morgan:
Central Otago cherry growers have lost millions of dollars of crop after 36 hours of persistent and heavy rain destroyed yet-to-be-picked fruit.
While damage was still being assessed some growers estimate losses at between 30% and 60% and more rain is forecast.
Growers in Earnscleugh, near Clyde, took advantage of a brief reprieve from the rain yesterday morning to assess the damage to what were bumper crops in a season plagued by concerns about labour shortages.
The area was one of the hardest hit by the rain which began on New Year’s Day and did not let up until about 8.30am yesterday, causing the Fraser River to breach its banks coupled with localised runoff from the hills. . .
Farmers in the Waitaki District, which was inundated with heavy rain at the weekend, remain in clean-up mode today.
Parts of the region were battered by torrential rain on Saturday, flooding streets and closing roads.
Campers at the Otematata River had to be evacuated as the river threatened to break the flood bank.
Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher said it’s been a mixed bag for farmers in the district. . .
Plea to report farm thefts as high season for crime nears – Lawrence Gullery:
Police and rural leaders are urging those living and working on the land to report crime as the traditional spike in summer theft approaches.
FMG Insurance said its claims data showed January was when thieves set out to steal from rural properties.
And FMG manager advice services Stephen Cantwell said theft was the leading cause of farm contents claims.
“In our experience lower value quad bikes are the most common stolen item on the farm. . .
New Zealand cheeses could face renaming under EU rules – Dave Gooselink:
There could be some new names on your cheeseboards in summers to come if the European Union gets its way. It wants to stop Kiwi cheesemakers from using names like feta and gorgonzola.
This creamy cheese has been in development at Whitestone for the last two years, using a unique mould strain found in North Otago.
“When we talk about it, it’s like that style of a gorgonzola, but we’re calling it Oamaru blue because it’s here from Oamaru,” says Simon Berry, managing director of Whitestone Cheese and spokesperson for New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association.
Developing unique varieties is set to become more important. The European Union wants to ban other countries from using ‘their’ cheese names in local products. . .
Chops gained with time – Abbey Palmer:
For 15-year-old wood-chopper Jack Richards, it is all about not trying to “run before you can crawl’’.
The Eastern Bush resident was one of the youngest contestants to have a crack at this year’s Tuatapere Sports Day wood-chopping competition, an event he has taken part in for the past four years.
Axemen from across the country made their way to the Southland town yesterday for the annual event on the first day of 2021 to go head to head in the challenge.
When Jack was watching his parents take part in the sport when he was just 11 years old he thought, “why not give it a go?”. . .
Carter joins Ruralco board – Sudesh Kissun:
Former Agriculture Minister and Banks Peninsula farmer David Carter has been elected to the board of rural trader, Ruralco.
Carter took up his directorship at the co-operative’s annual meeting last month, replacing former chairman Alister Body who stepped down after nine years on the board.
Carter, one of National’s longest serving MPs, retired at the last general elections after serving as a parliamentarian for 26 years and in a number of National governments as a cabinet minister, including Agriculture Minister and Speaker of the House.
He says joining the Ruralco Board is a chance to offer his experience to his first passion—New Zealand agriculture. . .
British farming is set to begin a ‘new era’ in 2021 as the UK leaves the Brexit transition period and implements a new agriculture policy for the first time in 70 years.
This is according to NFU President Minette Batters, who said in her new year message that 2020 was a ‘year like no other’ for British food producers.
“While we have all seen significant changes and challenges in the past 12 months, I would like to thank the public for their continued support for British farming and all it delivers; we simply wouldn’t be where we are today without it.”
She added that the successful conclusion of a deal between the UK and EU was a ‘very positive step forward’, and it should ‘provide comfort’ to farmers and the public. . .