Rural round-up

May 16, 2017

Three Years On and more progress by dairy farmers:

Greenie groups who seek to bolster their fundraising campaigns by using dairy farmers as their favourite target need to read the Water Accord report released today.

Federated Farmers Dairy Industry chairman Andrew Hoggard says the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord ‘Three Years On’ report underlines how seriously dairy farmers take their environmental responsibilities.

“None of us are claiming we’re perfect, or that there is no problem with dairy’s impact on waterways. But the latest report shows the strenuous and ongoing efforts the vast majority of dairy farmers are making to lessen their environmental footprint,” Mr Hoggard says.

The level of compliance for dairy effluent systems is at its highest ever, at a shade under 95 percent. . .

Latest Water Accord update shows good environmental progress by farmers:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the latest progress report of the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord project, showing dairy farmers have now fenced off over 97 per cent of waterways.

“The Water Accord is a voluntary project led by the industry to improve farming practices and water quality. This Year Three update shows a range of targets have been achieved, including stock exclusion from 26,197 km of measured waterways which is the equivalent of Auckland to Chicago and back again,” says Mr Guy.

“99.4 per cent of regular stock crossing points on dairy farms now have bridges or culverts to protect local water quality, and over 10 million dollars has been spent on environmental stewardship and farmer support programmes. . . 

Climate change report indicates challenges for NZ agriculture – Allan Barber:

GLOBE-NZ, a group of 35 MPs from all the main parties, has released a report by UK firm Vivid Economics which lays out various scenarios for New Zealand to meet the target of zero emissions by 2050. Business New Zealand and the Sustainable Business Council have both welcomed the cross party initiative, saying it gives confidence there will be collective and coordinated action towards meeting the target. It will also help to achieve commitments under the 2030 Paris climate change agreement to reduce emissions to 20% below the 2005 level.

The report, Net Zero in New Zealand, acknowledges this country’s unique characteristics: a significant amount of renewable energy, large share of land sector emissions (i.e. methane from sheep and cattle) and a large forestry sector. . . 

Waikato farmers launch innovative health and safety app:

Waikato farmers have developed an innovative app that aims help farmers meet their health and safety obligations and streamline communication to those who come to farm.

Husband and wife Horsham Downs dairy farmers Megan Owen and Jason Ham teamed up with Hamilton-based tech company Bridge Point to create the cloud-based app Orange Cross, which launched in late 2016.

Orange Cross will be showcased at the Innovation Centre at Fieldays from June 14-17. . . 

Feds’ keen to improve awareness with stock management on roads:

Federated Farmers is looking forward to working with Marlborough District Council on building more awareness and good practices around stock movement on local roads.

This follows a recent review of the council’s Traffic Bylaw which found current guidelines as being sufficiently “practical and enforceable”.

“It’s very pleasing to see the council have taken on board our feedback and listened to the local community,” says Sharon Parkes, Federated Farmers’ Marlborough Provincial President.

“Many farmers rely on the ability to use public roads in rural areas to move stock between different parts of their farming operations, while clear, workable bylaws assist everyone in their application and use. . . 

Forestry Training and Success Celebrated in the South:

Last Friday saw an outstanding turnout by local forestry companies, contractors and transport operators from throughout the lower South Island of New Zealand. The function was the 2017 Southern Wood Council Forestry Awards.

The Council, representing all major forest owners and most of the major wood processing companies in Otago and Southland ran the 2017 Awards programme in conjunction with the country’s industry training organisation, Competenz. . . 

High producing contract vineyard placed on the market for sale:

A boutique highly productive vineyard supplying grapes to one New Zealand’s largest contract winemakers has been placed on the market for sale.

Zaccarat Vineyard in Renwick on the outskirts of Blenheim consists of some eight hectares of grape plantings – encompassing 6.55 hectares of sauvignon blanc vines and 1.43 hectares of pinot noir. . . 


Rural round-up

September 13, 2015

Winter won’t go – Neal Wallace:

An exceptionally cold winter and start to spring has created the most difficult farming conditions south Otago farmer Peter McNab has seen in 23 years.

There appears little respite.

Feed is short throughout much of Otago, Southland and on the West Coast with persistent rain, prompting the Ministry for Primary Industries to raise concerns West Coast livestock were struggling and to urge farmers to respond early. . . 

Taranaki farming flood victims still battling – Sue O’Dowd:

With their farm in ruins around them and unknown stock losses in the aftermath of the June flood, a Tututawa couple are focusing on the small things.

Sheep and beef farmers John and Philippa McBride have owned their 500-hectare property east of Stratford for for 38 years. 

With large stands of native trees, the farm has an effective area of 300ha of steep country and parcels of flats along the Mangaehu River. . . 

Fonterra, dairy farm debt a major concern for NZ economy, NZSA told – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – The high level of debt carried by Fonterra Cooperative Group and dairy farms is a major concern for the New Zealand economy, said speakers at the annual Shareholders Association conference.

Paul Glass, director of Devon Funds Management, told the NZSA conference in Hamilton today that Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy exporter, had $7 billion of debt and less than $1 billion of earnings.

“Most banks will only lend three to four times earnings. Fonterra is very heavily indebted,” he said. . .

Farmers Encouraged To Enter Auckland Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Entries have opened for the 2016 Auckland Ballance Farm Environment Awards and organisers have high hopes the region’s first year in the prestigious competition will be a huge success.

Mark Ball, newly appointed chairman of the Auckland Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA), says all farmers, including orchardists, vegetable growers and viticulturists, are eligible to enter.

He says the competition enables entrants to benchmark themselves against their peers and receive valuable advice from expert judges on how to improve the sustainability of their operations. . . 

Eight new biosecurity detector dog teams for Auckland:

An energetic chocolate-brown pointer called Daisy is among eight new detector dog teams that have started at Auckland this week to sniff out biosecurity items carried by international travellers.

The new teams (handler and dog) finished their biosecurity detector dog training last week, along with three other new teams that have since started at Auckland and Wellington.

“The additional teams will provide extra detector dog power as we gear up for a busy summer – both in terms of passenger numbers and the heightened risk of fruit fly, due to outbreaks in Australia and other parts of the Pacific,” says Steve Gilbert, the Ministry for Primary Industry’s Border Clearance Services Director. . . 

Super biosecurity sniffer starts at Wellington:

A super-sniffing biosecurity detector dog started work at Wellington airport this week, says the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

Meg, a beagle-labrador cross, and her handler Meggyn Bamford started in Wellington on Monday. They finished their training last week, along with 10 other biosecurity teams who have since started in Auckland and Christchurch.

The new team brings the number of detector dog teams patrolling the city’s international airport and port up to three. . . 

Show me the money – calculating $$ return on summer crops:

If it’s a choice between doing nothing with a poor paddock this spring, or sowing it in chicory or turnips, you’re better off cropping it.

With much higher DM yield and feed quality over summer, the crops can generate surprisingly good net returns compared with run out pasture.

A new summer crop calculator based on the $3.85/kg MS payout allows dairy farmers to work out their own return on investment from sowing chicory or turnips this season.

And provided they take steps to ensure a good crop, the bottom line still stacks up very well, according to the company behind the calculator. . . 

Countdown’s Champion Apprentice Butcher of the Year:

Countdown’s apprentice butcher, Hohepa Smith, has been named Competenz Butcher Apprentice of the Year at Auckland’s Shed 10.

The Awards, which have been held for the past 20 years, are run by Retail Meat New Zealand to find the most skilled butchers in the country.

Along with the champion title, Smith has won a $10,000 scholarship to be part of an international study tour of his choice, where he will add to his winning knife skills from world leading experts.

Hohepa Smith is thrilled with the result of his performance yesterday. . . 


Rural round-up

July 3, 2014

Labour policy under fire from Hort NZ:

The Labour’s Party proposed immigration policy has come under fire from the horticulture sector which says it would make life more difficult for growers employing foreign workers.

Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Peter Silcock said if Labour’s new immigration policy was implemented it would penalise growers using the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme.

He said they would have to pay foreign workers more than local ones – and pay for their accommodation too.

“Those people (under the RSE scheme) are only brought in when we can prove that there are no New Zealanders to do the work, so we’re concerned it’s going to penalise people who are growing their businesses just because there are not New Zealanders available,” he said. . .

Lower dairy commodity prices and higher interest rates drive down farmer confidence:

Results at a Glance
• New Zealand farmer confidence dropped significantly, led down by a slide in dairy farmer confidence. Higher interest rates also tempering sentiment.
• Beef and sheep farmer confidence, however, rose to three-year high.
• Dairy producers concerned about falling commodity prices and the exchange rate, while sheep and beef farmers buoyed by improving prices.
• Investment intentions remain stable.
• 82 per cent of farmers consider that they are implementing best practices for environmental sustainability in their business.
• Only 50 per cent of farmers considering farm succession have formal plans in place. . . .

Sustainable farming protects economic skeleton:

Agriculture is not only the backbone of our economy, it is also its entire skeleton, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Chairman David Peacocke told the Ballance Farm Environment Awards national sustainability showcase last week.

“To support our economy’s growth and our country’s growth, we need to look after those bones. That work starts with us as farmers on the land, but it also needs good working partnerships with regional councils and with local and central government so we can increase productivity and profitability and still safeguard our agricultural future.” . . .

New Meat & Fibre Executive:

Federated Farmers Meat and Fibre Executive have elected their new Chairperson, Rick Powdrell, and consequently elected to the Federation’s Board.

“It is with great pleasure that I hand over the reigns to Rick Powdrell, who has been my vice-Chair for the past year. I would also like to congratulate Sandra Faulkner, as the new vice-Chairperson, the re-election of Chris Irons, and to our two new executive members, Michael Salvesen and Miles Anderson.” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers outgoing Meat & Fibre Chairperson.

“The new Meat & Fibre Executive have all been active members of the Federation’s Meat & Fibre Council, and I would like to congratulate them all on their well deserved appointments,” said Mrs Maxwell. . . .

Federated Farmers Dairy elects new executive:

It’s goodbye from him and hello from me

Federated Farmers’ Dairy Industry Group has elected Fielding farmer Andrew Hoggard as its new chairperson. The Federation’s dairy council also elected Waikato’s Chris Lewis to be one of two vice-chairpersons, joining Kevin Robinson who was reconfirmed in that role.

“I am stoked dairy farmers have placed their faith in me,” says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers new Dairy chairperson.

“Willy has been a great leader and it is comforting to know he’s just at the end of the telephone.

“The challenges and arguments about dairy have grabbed the headlines but this has masked many of the good things dairy farmers are doing. . .

July marks final countdown for cattle in NAIT transition:

Farmers have one year left to make sure all cattle are tagged and registered with NAIT.

“We are entering the final 12 months of NAIT’s three-year transition for cattle. By 1 July 2015, all stock should be tagged and registered in the NAIT database,” said Dan Schofield, Acting NAIT and Farm Operations Manager.

This includes cattle that were born before the NAIT scheme became mandatory on 1 July 2012. Cattle born since July 2012 must be tagged within six months of birth, or before they are moved off farm, whichever comes first. . . .

Safety And Quality First for Forestry – Changes announced for national forestry training qualifications:

A review of qualifications for forestry workers led by industry training organisation Competenz has resulted in new qualifications being developed with an increased focus on health and safety, and environmental protection and quality.

The New Zealand Certificates, to be launched later this year, will give more weight to essential knowledge like health and safety and quality. They also increase the focus on supervisory and crew management skills.

Competenz’s newly appointed national manager, Mark Preece, says the organisation has closely collaborated with contractors, workers, forest owners, trainers and assessors throughout the country to develop the new qualifications. . . .

New Zealand’s Multi- Million Dollar Bee Industry Moving Towards One Body:

The country’s bee industry could soon be represented by one body, following a mandate given at the NZ Apiculture Industry conference last week.

“I recognised a clear indication from the both the floor at the conference and the AGM for the NBA to explore the value in uniting with other industry stakeholders in the formation of a single representative industry body,” says NBA President Ricki Leahy.

“For us to get results it is important that all the different categories within the industry such as commercial beekeepers, hobbyists, exporters, packers, and researchers and others, speak with one, united, clear voice, and that we are all on the same page when talking to government.”

Meanwhile Federated Farmers Bees agrees. . .


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