Rural-round up

August 2, 2016

If bees go, so does our agricultural sector – study :

New Zealand’s agricultural sector stands to lose up to $700 million a year if bee numbers continue to fall, according to a new study.

Beehives have been declining in numbers across the world in recent years, including New Zealand, in a process known as colony collapse disorder (CCD). It’s not yet known what’s behind CCD.

Rather than calculate the financial impact using “desktop calculations around the value of crops and the dependency of those crops on pollinators”, researchers at Lincoln University instead went out to commercial fields and covered some of the plants, to see what impact it had in seed yields and fertilisation. . . 

NZ’s tech and agriculture crossover – building the talent pool – Sophie Stanley:

Agriculture used to be New Zealand’s main bread and butter.

Our small Pacific nation at the edge of the earth was bred on a “number eight wire” mentality, where ingenuity and resourcefulness was at the core of what we did, and the number of sheep was 10-fold the number of people.

Turning pieces of scrap metal into revolutionary ideas that caused the world to stand up and take notice is something we have always prided ourselves on. 

William Gallagher, one of the many legendary innovators who invented the trusty electric fence and lead the way in taking NZ agriculture into the future, personifies the very meaning of number 8 wire mentality. . . 

Irish shearer Ivan Scott breaks Kiwi Dion King’s world record

An Irish shearer has stolen the world record away from a Kiwi by just one lamb.

Ivan Scott broke a New Zealander’s world record with a total of 867 strongwool lambs in the UK on Sunday (local time).

The 35-year-old from Donegal, who has made New Zealand home for the shearing season, secured the title with a band of Kiwi helpers. . . 

Farmers quitting in droves and not happy about it – Andrew Marshall:

Agriculture’s fortunes might look pretty good for many at the moment, but more than a quarter of Australia’s farmers are likely to leave their farms by the end of this decade.

Ongoing research by the University of Canberra has also found farmers who are contemplating leaving their farming roles report “poorer wellbeing” compared to those who have no immediate thoughts of retirement or changing careers.

The university’s regional wellbeing study of 3000-plus farmers in 2014 found the 20,000 slump in producer numbers in the five years to 2011 (down to about 157,000) reflected a clear trend set in recent decades which was not slowing as productivity efficiency measures and farm sizes increased or farm income prospects looked up. . . 

Mackenzie Country closer to Heaven – Catherine Pattison:

A weekend away in the Mackenzie Country was just what the doctor ordered for motoring writer Catherine Pattison.

I am not a spiritual person in a religious sense but it was hard not to feel the presence of something divine after a weekend in the Mount Cook Village and the Mackenzie region.

Perhaps it was the peace and quiet, combined with the majesty of the surrounding peaks, including New Zealand’s highest mountain, the village’s namesake.

The tiny settlement has long held an appeal for tourists and mountaineers alike – enticed up the remote access road by the promise of stunning scenery or epic adventure. Nowadays the adventures are to be found within the thriving tourism industry operating from Mount Cook village. In the past, just reaching the destination was a feat of endurance. Displays at the Hermitage Hotel’s Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre describe the tourists who made the journey in 1906 as “arriving jolted almost insensible after a two-day coach trip from Fairlie”. The same journey 110 years later is a comfortable 90-minute car ride. . .

Going with the flow – Derek Grelewski:

I t’s been suggested that it’s the bicycle — not the iPhone, space shuttle or even the silent dishwasher — that is Western civilisation’s highest technological achievement.

The benefits are immeasurable: the fresh-air fitness and the wind in your hair, the scenery and peace, and the sheer pleasure of flowing along the trail at speed, leaning into corners, feeling your lips getting tired from the perpetual grin on your face.

When I moved to New Zealand in the mid-1980s, a mountain bike was one of the first things I got. I fitted it with panniers, a small tent and mobile kitchen, and clocked over 10,000km touring, ostensibly to choose a place to live.

This was how I first saw this land, and how I first came to Aoraki Mt Cook. So there is a memory-lane element to being here, looking at the mountain from a bike again, to sample the pleasures of the 300km Alps to Ocean Trail (the A2O) connecting Aoraki with Oamaru, flowing as the water does, from the mountains to the sea. . . 


Rural round-up

April 16, 2013

Genuine NZ infant formula labelling critical issue for New Zealand:

The New Zealand Infant Formula Exporters Association (NZIFEA) is attending the Mother and Baby Expo in Beijing in April to demonstrate measures to protect brand New Zealand from false labelling of product on sale overseas.

The Chairman of the NZIFEA, Michael Barnett, says guaranteeing New Zealand quality is essential, “the Chinese and other international countries need to know the New Zealand labelled infant formula product is genuine and is backed by our quality and regulations. The health consequences and the damage to New Zealand from not having accredited brands and genuine labelling could be severe. The infant formula industry is worth millions and the impact of harmful fake New Zealand dairy product anywhere would be devastating,” said Michael Barnett. . .

Tarras Water Project one step closer:

The developers of the Tarras water project have come a step closer to giving the scheme the ‘green light’ following a hugely supportive shareholders’ meeting.

The six resolutions that will enable Tarras Water Limited to issue its upcoming prospectus were voted on and overwhelmingly approved by 95% of shareholders and proxies attending the Special General Meeting on Friday evening at the Tarras Community Hall.

The company now intends to issue a prospectus within the next week.

Tarras Water Ltd chairman Peter Jolly said it was “an absolute thrill” to have such a strong endorsement from shareholders, who were now looking forward to a positive future for their community. . .

Cut in costs more time – Jill Galloway:

Once-a-day-milking is a viable option that more dairy farmers should consider, says a Massey University emeritus professor.

Colin Holmes says it cuts milking costs and allows more farm and family time.

“The majority [of farmers] won’t do it. They feel that performance will suffer and, as a result, profitability.”

He says some farmers have a lot of debt and even a small loss of milk production might make it unmanageable.

Holmes was a guest speaker at a once-a-day milking seminar at Christine Finnigan’s Glen Oroua farm. . .

Beekeeper expects overseas disorder to come to NZ:

Beekeepers are being asked to watch out for any unusual bee activity or pest outbreaks in New Zealand, amid concerns over a disorder that is devastating bee populations in the northern hemisphere.

Plant and Food Research says the symptoms of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) are similar to those suffered during one of the current threats to New Zealand bee populations, the varroa mite. . .

Fonterra Looks To Strengthen Its Organics Business

Fonterra is renewing contracts for some of its organic dairy farmers in the middle and lower North Island, following a turnaround in its niche organics business.

Managing Director Fonterra Nutrition, Sarah Kennedy, said the Co-operative has worked hard over the past 18 months to return its organics business to profitability.

“18 months ago we were losing money so we restructured the business to focus on markets in Asia, while also reducing our costs to ensure ongoing profitability.

“We reduced transport costs by concentrating organic milk supply in the central and lower North Island. . .

QTech technology helps irrigators comply with tightening water regulations:

 Telemetry and water management specialist, QTech Data Systems, has created and launched a sophisticated Aqua Flow Management System (AFM) that enables water consent holders to remotely monitor, better manage and report their water usage data directly to their regional council.

Under New Zealand’s National Regulations of Water Use Measurement and Reporting, all 20,000 water consent holders in New Zealand must install both a water measuring and data reporting system*. And by law the onus is on every one of them to provide their water usage data to their regional council in the required format. If they fail to comply with these measures councils will either charge to collect the data in person, or present the consent holder with an abatement order. . . 

Contaminated input suspended by organic certifier:

 

Citrox BioAlexin was suspended as an approved input for organic production by organic certifier BioGro three weeks ago when some batches were found to be contaminated with low levels of didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride (DDAC). While some countries allow DDAC below minimum residue levels, and it is not considered a risk to human health, BioGro’s organic standards do not allow it.

A small number of organic kiwifruit growers had been using Citrox BioAlexin as an elicitor to help vines cope with the bacterial disease Psa-V. . .

 

NZFarmer launch creates integrated home for farming news:

Following the integration of Rural Press into Fairfax Media New Zealand, digital rural content has been rebranded NZFarmer, with the launch today of a powerful digital farming destination www.nzfarmer.co.nz (housed within Stuff.co.nz) and the new look farming sections in all regional Fairfax newspapers.

This digital home complements the already extensive rural publishing of Fairfax Media in New Zealand, which reaches 88.8% of the farming community via specialist publications and farming sections within our daily newspapers. The team of 20 rural editorial specialists will work together to create content for all publications, under the direction of Tim Cronshaw, Head of Rural Content.

The new structure offers advertisers a highly integrated solution for multimedia campaigns targeting Fairfax Media’s farming audience. Advertisers will also be able to target specific farming sectors thanks to dedicated coverage of key farming sectors and issues. . .


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