Rural round-up

April 10, 2014

Personal tragedy drives ‘worker representative’ on ACC forestry sector injury prevention committee:

ACC announced today that following a nationwide ballot of forestry workers, Wiremu Edmonds and Neil Thomas will be the worker representatives on its new injury prevention programme, aimed at encouraging safer practices in the forestry sector.

Both are experienced forestry workers and passionate, experienced health and safety advocates – and in Wiremu’s case, his passion is strengthened by the personal tragedy of having lost a son to the industry.
The ‘ACC Forestry Sector Injury Prevention Programme’ is being developed and implemented in collaboration with WorkSafe NZ, the NZ Forest Owners Association (FOA), the Forestry Industry Contractors Association (FICA) and the Council of Trade Unions (CTU). . .

Aquaduct NZ wins IrrigationNZ Innovation Award:

Aquaduct NZ and its entrepreneurial founder Gerard van den Bosch took out the highly-sought-after 2014 IrrigationNZ Innovation Award at its biennial conference in Napier last night.

Aquaduct’s entry (alongside associate company Bosch Irrigation Ltd) included its ground-breaking solution for the manufacture of irrigation pipe for Valetta Irrigation Scheme’s new 84km underground pipe network.

A factory to produce pipe on-site was created in a paddock within the scheme’s boundaries slashing welding requirements by 80% and reducing installation time and costs. The company supplied over 80km of pipe in sizes from 1.6m diameter to 200mm – in lengths up to 250 metres. The factory is New Zealand’s largest capacity plant pumping out 5800 tonnes of pipe in 60 days. . . .

Irrigation champions share 2014 Ron Cocks Memorial Award:

For the first time ever, IrrigationNZ has awarded its Ron Cocks Memorial Award to two individuals at its national conference.

Retired MAF Policy Manager Grant McFadden and farm business consultant and rural valuer Bob Engelbrecht were jointly awarded the prestigious title at last night’s IrrigationNZ conference dinner in Napier.

McFadden from Christchurch and Ashburton-based Engelbrecht have together more than a century of involvement in advocating for agriculture and irrigation interests, said IrrigationNZ chairman John Donkers who presented the awards.

Grant McFadden began his career as a farm advisor with MAF in the mid 1960s and was a key support for farmers in the Lower Waitaki as they initiated their irrigation scheme in the 1970s. From the early 80s, McFadden worked with farmers going through deregulation and drought experiences and later moved into MAF Policy “as I realised there were opportunities in the policy area to make a real difference to people.” . . .

Minister welcomes first investment by Crown Irrigation company:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the first investment by Crown Irrigation Investment Ltd, with draft terms agreed for $6.5 million towards the Central Plains Water scheme in Canterbury announced today.

“Last year the Government put $80 million towards creating Crown Irrigation as an independent investor to help kick-start regional water infrastructure projects.

“It’s great to see the first investment decision made. Central Plains Water will help irrigate around 60,000 hectares of land on the Canterbury plains once all three stages are complete, giving a real boost to the region’s economy.

“Without this funding, it’s unlikely the scheme would be developed to the size and scale required. . . .

Proactive Mindset Helps Tihoi Farmers Win Supreme in 2014 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

A unique and innovative approach to farming in an environmentally sensitive area has earned Tihoi beef farmers Mike and Sharon Barton the Supreme title in the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

At a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on April 8, the Bartons, who farm 142ha Glen Emmreth Farm on the western side of Lake Taupo, were also presented with the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award and the Massey University Innovation Award.

Mike and Sharon bought the Tihoi farm in 2004 at a time when strict environmental legislation to protect the health of the lake was looming. They faced this challenge head-on, determined to make their farm as environmentally sustainable as possible.

BFEA judges said the business “has been built from its inception with the understanding that it must be made environmentally sustainable in an extremely difficult location”. . . .

Busy winter ahead for contestant – Sally Rae:

Winter is shaping up to be a memorable season for Glenham farmer Dean Rabbidge.

Mr Rabbidge (28), a member of the Wyndham Young Farmers Club, is Otago-Southland’s representative in the grand final of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest in Christchurch on July 3-5.

He and his wife Sarah are also expecting the arrival of their first child on June 18.

”It’s just going to be busy enough this winter,” he quipped. . . .

Central Otago wineries “delighted” to showcase the region’s wines to Duke and Duchess of Cambridge:

Central Otago wineries are gearing up for what could be the most important wine tasting of the century ahead of the Duke and Duchess’s visit to Queenstown this Sunday April 13.

A handful of local wineries and staff have been selected to present their Central Otago wines to the young Royals at a private wine and food event to be held at host winery Amisfield.

Central Otago Winegrowers Association president James Dicey is the lucky man who will escort the Duke through the tasting, while Central Otago Pinot Noir Chairwoman Lucie Lawrence will accompany the Duchess. . .

Final call for applications – leading farm business management program:

Applications are to close at the end of this month for this year’s Rabobank Farm Managers Program, Australasia’s leading agricultural business management course for the next generation of farm leaders.

Now in its ninth year, the prestigious Rabobank program offers young farmers from across New Zealand and Australia, and a range of agricultural sectors, the opportunity to develop and enhance their business management skills.

Rabobank business programs manager Nerida Sweetapple says the Farm Managers Program is constantly evolving to reflect the changing challenges and opportunities in agriculture.  . . .

Steer and dog BFFs – Thomas Mead:

They’re usually each other’s worst enemy, but down south in Ranfurly a farm dog and steer have found a forbidden love.

Scotty, a jersey cross steer, and Bo, a purebred kelpie, have been inseparable after meeting on the job late last year. The unlikely duo often sneak away to play together, wrestling, licking and jumping around the farm.

Owner Jan MacKenzie says they’d spend all day together if they could.

“[Bo’s] not allowed to be out there by himself – he does sneak over the fence when no one’s looking,” she says.

“He tries to play with everybody but they’re cows and he’s a dog. Everybody else, [except Scotty], understands it’s meant to work that way.”

But Bo, who is a working farm dog, knows the difference between work and play. . .


Rural round-up

September 24, 2013

Fears of ‘erosion of capacity’ in agri-science :

Unless the ”erosion of capacity” in agri-science is halted and quickly reversed, New Zealand will remain a preferred supplier of low-tier food commodities and additives.

That is the message from Frank Griffin, who is concerned about the direction of the sector, including the proposed restructuring of AgResearch which would see the Invermay research centre reduced.

For more than three decades, Prof Griffin has led a University of Otago-based research team devoted to solving animal health problems in the deer industry. . .

Nominations open for third annual Dairy Woman of the Year:

The Dairy Women’s Network and Fonterra announced today that nominations open for the 2014 Dairy Woman of the Year on 1 October.

In its third year, the Award provides the winner with a position on the prestigious Women in Leadership Programme run by Global Women, valued at $25,000. The scholarship is sponsored by Fonterra Milk Supply.

The call for 2014 nominations comes on the heels of Barbara Kuriger’s 19 September graduation from the Global Women programme. Barbara was the inaugural winner of the Award in 2012. . .

Synlait Milk posts $11.5 million NPAT for FY2013:

Synlait Milk posted an $11.5 million net profit after tax for the year ending 31 July 2013, an increase of $7.1 million on FY2012 and ahead of its prospective financial information (“PFI”) forecast of $10.8 million.

The Company had revenue of $420 million in FY2013, an increase of 11.5% compared to $377 for FY2012 driven largely by increased sales volumes.

Synlait Milk Managing Director Dr John Penno said the Company made positive steps forward in all areas of its business relative to FY2012. . . .

Crown Irrigation appoints chief executive:

The newly formed Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (Crown Irrigation) has selected a proven investment professional, Murray Gribben, as its first chief executive.

Chair Alison Paterson said “Murray will bring to the role a strong combination of investment experience and working knowledge of the primary sector”.

Crown Irrigation has been established to help harness the potential of irrigation to accelerate New Zealand’s economic development by making targeted, bridging investments in larger, regional scale irrigation schemes. The Government has signaled its willingness to invest up to $400 million. . .

Excitement hosting World Alpaca Expo :

Kaiapoi alpaca breeder Kit Johnson is looking forward to opening the World Alpaca Expo and Conference in Hamilton this weekend.

”We have been waiting for this for a long time, since we got chosen back in 2007. This is the big event and we probably won’t get it for another 20 years,” the Alpacas Association of New Zealand president said.

”As the host president, I get to speak at the opening of the expo and the closing of the conference. The rest of the time I will be showing my animals and fleeces.”

Mr Johnson said there were 50 delegates coming from Australia and other delegates from the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Hungary, the United Kingdom and Canada. . .

Better beef genetics in dairy beef supply chain a win-win

Early results from research are showing clear advantage with the use of better beef genetics for dairy beef.

Two-thirds of New Zealand’s beef production originates from the dairy industry, yet despite this, few dairy farms use beef bulls of known genetics.

The five year Beef + Lamb New Zealand Dairy Beef Integration Programme is looking at the impact of using good beef genetics in a dairy beef supply chain. 

“The use of beef sires with high estimated breeding values (EBVs) for calving ease, growth and carcass characteristics on dairy farms is not commonplace, but will produce surplus calves of higher value to dairy farmers, beef finishers and beef processors,” says AgResearch scientist and project leader Dr Vicki Burggraaf.  . .

Farmax, Cashmanager Rural integration provides return to farmers:

A new partnership between leading farm management software providers Farmax and Cashmanager Rural has given sheep and beef farmers the ability to share data quickly and easily between the two programs.

The integration eliminates the need for double-entry of livestock information, saving farmers time and providing greater data accuracy.

The first phase of integration is already in place for sheep and beef farmers, giving them the ability to import livestock sales and purchase transactions from Cashmanager Rural into Farmax, meaning users of both systems only have to enter the data once.  The companies will launch a second integration in the future, allowing farmers to share physical farm management data. . .

Kiwi First Hits Garden Centres This Week:

The  incredible edibles® POTATO TOM™ will be released to garden centres early this week. A Kiwi first and potentially a world first at a commercial level, the new concept by incredible edibles® brings a grafted tomato and potato together in one plant. This is the first time at a commercial level anyone has delivered this concept to home gardeners in New Zealand. Andrew Boylan General Manager of Tharfield Nursery who produces and markets the POTATO TOM™ says “The POTATO TOM™ has gone viral, we can’t believe the response.  The phones have been running hot with garden centres throughout New Zealand vying to get hold of this new and exciting concept”. . .

Chardonnay makes a comeback as a must-have win:

This year, with 65% of all entries in the Chardonnay category of the New World Wine Awards winning a medal and Spy Valley’s 2012 Chardonnay taking out the title of Champion White Wine, the varietal is back as a must-have for wine lovers.

With a record number of entries, including more than 100 wines from the eagerly anticipated 2013 vintage, the highest number of medals ever was awarded overall this year.

“White wine varietals performed particularly strongly at this year’s awards with around 60% of all Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Sparkling and sweet wines entered winning a medal. For the second year in a row, Chardonnay has scooped the Champion White Wine trophy which reflects the international resurgence in Chardonnay’s popularity,” says Jim Harré, Chairman of the judging panel. . .


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