Snow does little to blunt Hurunui drought – Tim Cronshaw:
Melting snow has combined with the first decent rainfall in six months to provide some relief for dry Hurunui but it would be a stretch to call it a drought breaker.
Much of the snow over the last week has thawed and gone into soils to go some way to replenishing ground moisture that has taken a hammering in the district particularly extending from Hawarden to Cheviot.
The problem is that it’s arrived too late for farmers as winter pulls the plug on major grass or winter crop growth.
Snow, sleet and rain topped up gauges by 20mm to 50mm over Hurunui farmland in the first major rain of the year.
Federated Farmers North Canterbury Meat & Fibre chairman Dan Hodgen said the snow and rain event would be of little initial help for farmers. . .
US likely to force pace on TPP with fast track in place – Pattrick Smellie:
(BusinessDesk) – The United States is likely to try and force the pace of negotiations to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the next few weeks, following a vote in the US Senate last night that all but ensures President Barack Obama will gain so-called ‘fast track’ authority to complete the controversial agreement.
One more Senate vote is expected overnight tonight, New Zealand time, to confirm Trade Promotion Authority – an essential component to resuming the 12 nation talks that have been stalled for months while Obama cobbled together a coalition of Democrats and Republicans large enough to support the measure. . .
The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) is firm in its view that a good deal on dairy in TPP is necessary for any deal to stack up for New Zealand.
“The facts are that dairy accounts for 35% of NZ exports. You can’t even come close to achieving an acceptable deal for New Zealand without a good deal on dairy” says DCANZ Chairman Malcolm Bailey.
DCANZ which represents the common policy interests of 11 New Zealand dairy companies, accounting for 98% of milk processed is following the negotiations carefully. . .
Landcorp sees NZ dairy conversion rate slowing – Tina Morrison:
(BusinessDesk) – Landcorp Farming, which has almost tripled its milk production over the past decade, expects the rate of dairy expansion will slow as environmental restrictions, and higher land and labour costs make it less viable.
Large tracts of flat land in New Zealand once used for sheep farming have been converted to dairy as farmers were lured by higher prices for dairy products while demand for sheepmeat and wool waned. The number of dairy cows has jumped to a record 6.7 million, while sheep numbers dropped below 30 million for the first time in more than 70 years, according to data published by Statistics New Zealand last month, covering the 2014 agricultural year. . .
John and Catherine own 1240ha Highlands Station – a productive and well-maintained hill-country farm south of Rotorua. Sitting within the Lake Tarawera and Rotokakahi catchments, the farm’s distinctive contour was shaped by volcanic activity which flattened forests, carved out hill faces and left the area covered in Phosphate-rich mud.
John’s father Allen began developing Highlands Station in the early 1930s and award judges noted the Ford’s “strong family history of commitment to agriculture”.
Highlands Station has a “much loved feel” and its outstanding meat and wool production puts it among New Zealand’s leading sheep and beef farming operations. . .
Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner today announced 41 appointments to the 14 Conservation Boards across New Zealand.
“I want to congratulate each of the community representatives who are being appointed in 2015, particularly the 14 who will serve for the first time. I would also like to thank the outgoing representatives for their contribution to conservation in their region,” Ms Wagner says.
“A third of Conservation Board positions were open for renewal this year. The diverse range of appointees will bring a wide array of knowledge and skills to conservation management in the communities they represent. . .
Nobody’s happy with manuka honey definitions: MPI – Suze Metherell:
(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s lack of definition for what constitutes manuka honey has overseas regulators worried about forgeries, with China likely to introduce a certification scheme for the honey imports, the Ministry for Primary Industries is telling the country’s beekeepers.
There is no industry-wide consensus on exactly what constitutes manuka honey, with MPI working to come up with a formal definition and a method for identification. While it isn’t a food safety issue, MPI “takes concerns about the authenticity of New Zealand products very seriously and is acting to address these,” according to its website. . .