Rural round-up

24/05/2016

Imports threaten exports – Neal Wallace:

Exports of New Zealand sheep genetics to Australia will effectively stop while officials there consider the risk of scrapie.  

They were worried about it reaching NZ in sheep milking genetic material imported from Britain.  

Trade in genetics between NZ and Europe had been closed for 20 years following the outbreak of scrapie in sheep and BSE, also known as mad cow disease, in cattle but the fledgling sheep milking industry wants access European genetics which produce five times the volume milk of NZ flocks. . . 

Fonterra working on rebuilding trust:

Fonterra executives admit they need to listen more to rebuild the public’s trust in the company.

The dairy giant outlined its international marketing strategy to 800 farmers at a DairyNZ farmers’ forum near Hamilton today.

The company said it’s using social media to target young global consumers with different nutritional needs. . . 

Young Māori dairy farmer Jack Raharuhi changes direction and wins award –  Gerard Hutching:

A young farmer who confesses he “got into the wrong crowd as a teenager and chose the wrong path” has been crowned the 2016 Ahuwhenua Young Māori dairy farmer of the year.

Jack Raharuhi, hailing from the Ngati Kahu, said winning a prestigious award such as the Ahuwhenua was a huge honour.

“I got into the wrong crowd as a teenager and I chose the wrong path. I left school and came to work here on the farm which I now manage. Dairy farming got me in line. I had no time to go out and get into trouble. Now I have a fiancée and two children,” he said in Hamilton at the awards ceremony last night. . . 

Rakaia farm takes Awuwhenua Trophy:

A South Island dairy farm has won the prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy for the first time in the 83-year history of the competition.

The winner of the Maori Excellence in Farming Award dairy was the Proprietors of Rakaia Incorporation, whose farm Tahu a Tao has a long and proud history dating back to 1886.

The 216ha property near Ashburton runs around 830 Kiwi cross cows. . . 

Dog trailist a legend in his lifetime – Rob Tipa:

Rob Tipa meets a three-time national dog trials champion and farmer who knows what he likes and knows how to breed it.

Three-time New Zealand champion dog trialist Ginger Anderson, of Omarama, is a man who understands pedigrees and good breeding, whether he is talking about top trial dogs, fine wool sheep or charolais cattle.

He qualified for his first national dog trial championship 51 years ago, the youngest competitor to qualify at just 19, after winning the North Otago Centre and South Island championships. . . 

Hazelnuts offer nitrogen option:

Hazelnut trees’ potential to soak up nitrogen leaching will be revealed at three workshops over the next few weeks.

Farmers will be able to learn more about how hazelnut trees can fit into their farm management plans.

Hazelnut Growers Association chairman Murray Redpath, an Eastern Bay of Plenty sheep and beef farmer and hazelnut grower, says hazelnuts need nitrogen and their spring growth relies on having enough stored in their roots and plant tissues. . . 

New trophy for Young Farmers:

This year’s FMG New Zealand Young Farmers winner will hoist a new trophy, complete with number 8 wire.

A brand new trophy for the contest was unvelied earlier today as part of an official blessing in Canterbury.

“In constructing the trophy FMG and NZ Young Farmers wanted to honour the tradition of the contest and our proud farming heritage as well as acknowledge the pivotal role farming plays in terms of New Zealand’s current and future prosperity,” FMG chief executive Chris Black said. . . 

Horsetail weevil to rein in field horsetail weed:

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has approved the horsetail weevil (Grypus equiseti) as a biological control agent to help curb the weed field horsetail (Equisetum arvense).

Field horsetail is an invasive species with green fern-like fronds that grow up to 80cm tall. Though it dies back in winter, it has a large underground root system that makes it difficult to control. It also produces large quantities of spores that can germinate on bare ground, threatening native plants in sensitive habitats, such as wetlands and on the banks of waterways. It is classed as an unwanted organism under the Biosecurity Act 1993. . .


Rural round-up

18/08/2015

Dairying must take a long-term view – Chris Lewis:

There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Fonterra’s announcement last Friday was a blow.

The politics that followed was not surprising either, but disappointing nonetheless.

But underneath all that noise, what this means for our economy and what the government should be doing, are the dairy farmers directly affected.  Most importantly, we need to be talking about what this means for them and how we can support them.

While some dairy farm businesses will exit the industry following consecutive low pay-outs, the vast majority will be able to farm through the next few seasons with the support of their banks, but farmers need to engage. . .

NZ Pastures to sell off half its shares:

South Island farming operation New Zealand Pastures Ltd, which owns seven farms in Otago and Canterbury, has announced it is putting up half of its shares for sale.

New Zealand Pastures’ largest shareholder is a Netherlands-based pension fund, which will keep its 50 percent stake. The other shares are held by a small group of professional and institutional investors. . .

Rural insurer announces $26.7m profit:

The country’s largest rural insurer, Farmers Mutual Group, has announced an after tax profit of $26.7 million, its sixth consecutive profit.

Farmers Mutual Group (FMG) chief executive Chris Black said the result was underpinned by investment income of about $23 million.

“Eighty percent of our investments are cash and bonds, so very secure and relatively stable. We take a conservative view, and the other 20 percent is in equity investments. We use that profit in a range of ways, firstly adding to reserves.” . . .

Premium US beef supplier likes SFF – Sally Rae:

Lenny Lebovich has travelled the world to see where the best grass fed beef was to be found.

The founder and chief executive of Chicago based company Pre Beef ended up in New Zealand, where he talked to some key companies and felt his company had the most in common with Silver Fern Farms.

Mr Lebovich, who started his career as an investment banker and has traded that for a role in the meat industry, was looking for high quality beef. . .

Little bit of everything at Gore A&P’s fundraising ball – Sally Rae:

Whether you’re in the market for a Hereford or hay, fodder beet or firewood, the Gore A&P Association’s Spring Ball is the place to be.

The ball is being held in the James Cumming Wing on August 22 to raise money for 16 new horse boxes at the showgrounds. It was hoped about 200 people would attend.

The A&P committee needed to raise about $50,000 for the development, committee member Tryphena Carter said. . .

Kate Taylor's photo.


Farmstrong launches

03/06/2015

This media release arrived in my in-box this morning:

Farmstrong, a new initiative to promote wellbeing for all farmers and growers across New Zealand is being launched today.

The programme is a joint initiative between leading rural insurer FMG and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand (MHF).

Farmstrong will help shift the focus of mental health from depression and illness to one of wellbeing.  In its first year Farmstrong will aim to make a positive difference to the lives of 1,000 farmers.

“Farmstrong will help to highlight that farmers are the most important asset on the farm and that by taking proactive steps to look after their mental and physical heath, they’re better prepared to run their business and support their family, staff and community” says Chris Black chief executive FMG.

Research shows that farmers are great at looking after stock and equipment but often neglect their own needs. In a recent online survey, farmers identified wellbeing and quality of life as being top of mind and said they wanted more information on how to look after themselves.  

Through www.farmstrong.co.nz farmers can access practical tools and resources that will help them take care of themselves, with information on topics such as nutrition, managing fatigue, exercise, the importance of getting off the farm and coping with pressure.

Farmstrong will also help farmers connect with each other and share experiences via its social media channels, through regional farmer ambassadors and by attending local events such as Dr Tom Mulholland’s Healthy Thinking workshops, and the Farmstrong Fit4Farming Cycle Tour.

“In the same way that farmers have a system for milking cows or shearing sheep for example, they need a practical system to keep themselves in good shape too.  By having this they’ll likely feel better, improve productivity, and be better prepared to handle the ups and downs of farming” says Mr Black.

“Just making small behaviour changes over a period of time can help support big improvements in our mental and physical wellbeing” says Judi Clements, chief executive Mental Health Foundation.  “Every farmer’s performance is affected by their level of health, fitness and happiness. We’re not born knowing how to maintain these – we need to actively practise strategies that will improve our mental health. Farmstrong will help show farmers how they can do this,” says Ms Clements.

Farmstrong funding has been provided by FMG and the charity Movember, via the Mental Health Foundation.  “As a catalytic funder of men’s health programmes globally, the Movember Foundation is a proud co-funder of this groundbreaking collaborative programme. We believe Farmstrong is an innovative and powerful programme that will build on the strength of NZ farmers and their community” says Robert Dunne NZ Country Director, Movember Foundation.


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