Rural round-up

September 29, 2018

Five things to know about the future of farming – Eloise Gibson:

Sir Peter Gluckman issued a flurry of reports in his last few months as Prime Minister’s science adviser. His final report to Jacinda Ardern made some striking points about the future of farming. Eloise Gibson digested the five main issues.

Methane matters

Don’t be fooled by anyone implying that methane doesn’t matter much in the scheme of things – cutting methane is crucial to New Zealand’s efforts to slow climate change. That, in essence, was one of the key messages from Gluckman’s final report to Jacinda Ardern.

Whether to ignore, eliminate or “stabilise” methane, the single biggest climate impact from cattle farming, has been major feature of debate about New Zealand’s proposed Zero Carbon Bill. . .

American farmers don’t need subsidies – Garland S. Tucker III:

Margaret Thatcher is said to have quipped, “The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” New Zealand has discovered that this result may not be all bad. In the mid 1980s, New Zealand faced bankruptcy. The tab for years of socialistic policies had finally come due. The Labour government was forced to act quickly and drastically to cut expenditures. 

The New Zealand economy was — and still is — heavily dependent on agriculture. Farmers and farm prices had been subsidized for years through a multitude of government programs. In 1984, the government eliminated over 30 subsidy programs, not gradually, but overnight. The ruling Labour Party predicted an economic disaster. They foresaw a mass exodus of farmers and fully expected to be forced to reinstate some type of subsidy program . .

Central Otago shearer to receive recognition – Pam Jones:

Central Otago’s shearing industry will honour one of its own in a double-billing today.

Alexandra woolhandler and shearer Pagan Karauria will not only be recognised as a Master Woolhandler at the annual New Zealand Merino Championships, but will also feature in a film about the shearing industry being launched in Alexandra.

Karauria is profiled in the film She Shears, which is about five women working in the shearing industry. It will screen at the Otago Daily Times Theatre in the Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery this afternoon at 4pm.

She will be present for the screening and take part in a question and answer session afterwards. . .

Teddies, a trophy and Trans-Tasman rivalry – Pam Jones:

It features shearing and woolhandling royalty, alongside “teddy bear” novices.

And there is also some “good old-fashioned” transtasman rivalry to boot, as Australasia’s best compete at this weekend’s New Zealand Merino Shearing Championships in Alexandra.

Up to 200 shearers and woolhandlers were competing at the two-day event, including Damien Boyle, of Australia, who had won the event’s open shearing category seven times, event organising committee member Graeme Bell said. . .

NZ export log market hurt by US trade war with China: – Tina Morrison

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s export log market took a hit from the trade dispute between the US and China as the declining value of the yuan crimps the buying power of the country’s largest log market.

The average price for New Zealand A-grade export logs dropped to US$133/JAS from US$141/JAS in August, and US$145/JAS in July, and is now the lowest since June 2017, according to AgriHQ’s Forestry Market Report for September. . .

Renewable diesel – an opportunity for the forest industry:

Most people in New Zealand are not aware that technology has been commercialised in the United States for the production of fully drop-in renewable diesel made from cellulosic feedstocks. This renewable diesel is a direct substitute for mineral diesel and meets all of the New Zealand specifications other than density (kilograms per litre). But it makes up for that by having a high energy density per kilogram so that the amount of energy per litre of fuel is equal to, or in some cases better than, that of fossil fuel diesel. . .

Cavalier to sell scouring interest, focus on carpets: – Gavin Evans:

Sept. 27 (BusinessDesk) – Cavalier Corp is close to selling its stake in New Zealand’s only wool scourer as part of a plan to reduce debt and free up capital to invest in carpet manufacturing.

The firm owns 27.5 percent of Cavalier Wool Holdings, alongside global giant Lempriere Wool, Accident Compensation Corp and Direct Capital. The scourer, known as CWH, operates plants in Napier and Timaru with a combined capacity of 100 million kilograms annually. . .

King Salmon braced for ‘disappointing’ fish farm relocation decision –  Pattrick Smellie

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand King Salmon hopes it will be allowed to move around half of nine square hectares of its Marlborough Sounds fish farms to better locations, but is braced for a “disappointing” outcome for both the company’s growth and environmental outcomes.

Speaking to BusinessDesk at the Aquaculture New Zealand conference in Blenheim, NZKS managing director Grant Rosewarne expressed frustration at the likelihood of a “sub-optimal outcome”. . .

Coromandel dairy farmers lead the way through new genetics:

In 1995 Andrew and Maree Palmer saw the value of being part of CRV Ambreed’s progeny testing programme so jumped on board and haven’t looked back.

Andrew and Maree have had a hand in developing many generations of daughter proven sires.

Today, they’re still part of the herd improvement company’s progeny testing programme and reckon they’re doing their bit to strengthen the value of the national dairy herd. . .


Rural round-up

July 31, 2018

Working group to address wool woes – Yvonne O’Hara:

A working group of industry representatives is to be established to address New Zealand’s wool woes.

Members of the group will be selected from about 40 industry movers and shakers who were invited to attend the Wool Summit held in Wellington last week. . .

Working group considered ‘last chance saloon’ – Yvonne O’Hara:

A working group, which is to be formed following a Wool Summit held in Wellington on July 16, is the ”last chance saloon” for the industry, Carrfields Primary Wool Group (CPWG) chief executive Colin McKenzie says.

Mr McKenzie, who is also chief executive of NZ Yarn, in Christchurch, was one of 40 people invited to the meeting, which was hosted by Primary Industries Minister Damien O’Connor.

CPWG handles about a quarter of the country’s wool clip, including from Central Otago growers.

Mr McKenzie said there needed to be a consolidation of the industry, both structurally and commercially, as well as an alignment as there were so many fragmented activities within it. . . 

Hunt for M bovis source goes on – Annette Scott:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has not given up on finding out how the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis arrived here, response director Geoff Gwyn says.

It’s now a year from when the disease was identified on a South Canterbury dairy farm and still all seven pathways remain suspects.

“We have no pathway link to any one farm. We are still looking at all options,” Gwyn said.

While MPI has completed the inspections of three premises, two veterinary associated premises in the North Island and a farm in the South Island, it searched under warrant in March it cannot yet publicly announce the outcome. . .

Mycoplasma bovis: spring testing of milk can be both hit and miss – Keith Woodford:

Bulk-milk testing of all New Zealand milk is about to begin, with three tests of every herd. However, this will only be from cows that are healthy, unless a farmer has failed to identify a sick cow. This is because sick cows are given antibiotics and their milk does not go into the vat.

Milk companies have routine tests for antibiotics in milk and farmer penalties for any mistakes are very high. So, farmers are always diligent in keeping this milk separate. This milk is either fed to calves, or increasingly tipped into the effluent system. . .

Plants must complement meat in diets – Neal Wallace:

Dietary guidelines have always stressed three-quarters of food intake should be derived from plants, Beef + Lamb New Zealand nutrition head Fiona Greig says.

Fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and pulses perfectly complemented nutrient-rich animal foods such as meat, dairy and fish.

“As sexy as it is not, that word (moderation) should be the mantra of all dietary patterns regardless of whether you eat animal products or not.” . . 

Peninsula Farm is paradise:

At the back of Raglan harbour on the West Coast peninsula lies one of the country’s most influential farming operations.

The aptly named “Peninsula Farm” is where herd improvement company CRV Ambreed grazes its young Friesian, jersey and crossbred bulls that wait to find out if they’re the dairy industry’s next megastars.

Each year around 150 bull calves are carefully selected for CRV Ambreed’s Progeny Test programme and are shipped from farms across the country to CRV Ambreed’s Bellevue production and logistics centre. . .


Rural round-up

May 14, 2018

Fewer cows no easy task – ODT editorial:

Environment Minister David Parker is continuing his campaign to clean up New Zealand’s waterways.

It is not as though New Zealand has not had plenty of warning. In June last year, Mr Parker made the point of saying Labour would make it tougher for farms to intensify operations under a 12-point freshwater policy.

The party’s policy sought to crack down harder on polluters, make all rivers and lakes swimmable, and extend freshwater quality standards.

At the weekend, Mr Parker indicated he wants fewer cows per hectare because the number now is higher than the environment can sustain. . . 

Budget day the benchmark for judging Government’s C+ performance in regions- Gerald Piddock:

 Six months have passed since the new Government has taken office and made a vast array of decisions negatively impacting on provincial New Zealand and in turn, farmers.

The list is depressingly long: The ban on offshore oil and gas exploration in Taranaki, the end of government money for irrigation, the loss of air ambulances in Rotorua, Taupo and Te Anau, the refusal to give $600,000 funding to the Rural Health Alliance, regional fuel taxes and just recently David Parker talking up the prospect of nutrient limits – effectively a cap on stock numbers.

The devil will be in the detail on the latter, but on the surface, Parker’s aims appear similar to what most regional councils are putting in place around the country anyway.

Topping it all off are the ballooning costs of biosecurity issues and the likelihood of agriculture coming into the Emissions Trading Scheme.  Labour will also almost certainly be campaigning for a water tax in the 2020 election . . 

Farmers are spooked – Sudesh Kissun:

Dairy farmers are spooked and they have every right to be.

We have a Prime Minister describing climate change as “my generation’s nuclear free moment”; and a Climate Change Minister who not only happens to co-lead the Greens but who sees climate change “as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reinvent parts of our economy and society for the better”.

And this new Labour-Greens-NZ First Government is forthright in its green-leaning tendencies and policies.

Last month, in a historic move, it announced that no new exploration permits for offshore oil and gas fields will be issued, in support of its commitment to action on climate change. . . 

Inaugural Winners of New National Dairy Award Announced:

The inaugural winners of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Fonterra Farm Source Responsible Dairying Award are considered leaders within the dairy industry, in all areas of sustainability, business and farm management, as well as in the way they give back to the industry and community.

Edward (Wynn) and Tracy Brown own a 320ha 700-cow farm near Matamata, with a further 30ha leased from their neighbour. Their property bears the name “Tiroroa”, which means ‘extensive view’ or ‘view to the future’.

“Our aim is to run an economically and environmentally sustainable dairy farming business maximising production while minimizing footprint,” say the couple. “We like to take the meaning of Tiroroa into consideration with all our decision-making. . . 

Daily milk urea readings could help tackle N in urine:

New Zealand’s 4.8 million milking cows excrete 1000 tonnes of nitrogen a day in their urine, and 200 tonnes of this end up in groundwater, says CRV Ambreed.

The company says it calculated the daily numbers using existing data related to milk urea concentration in daily bulk milk reports.

Farmers could be using the milk urea concentration (MU) value on their daily bulk milk reports to calculate the amount of nitrogen their herd is excreting in urine and take steps to address that, says Phil Beatson, the company’s head of R&D. . .

‘Wool Shed’ about inspiring – Nicole Sharp:

Teenagers will be encouraged to come up with ways to use wool creatively in a bid to have them take up the torch as ”Generation Wool”.

Campaign for Wool board member and former chairman Craig Smith officially opened the South Island’s new ”wool shed” in Riverton recently, but it is no normal wool shed.

Accompanied by Wool in Schools project manager Vicki Linstrom and PGG Wrightson Wool general manager Grant Edwards, the ”wool shed,” an education resource, initiated by the Campaign for Wool, was delivered to its first stop at Aparima College . . 

Southern goat group formed – Yvonne O’Hara:

Whitestone Boer Goat Stud owners Owen and Annette Booth formed the goat farmers and breeders’ Southern Goat Group following a wet field day on their Milton property on April 28.

Mr Booth is the chairman and Kaaren Wilkes, of Chatto Creek, is the secretary.

Mr Booth said the heavy rain contributed to lower than expected numbers attending.

”We had about 12 people there,” he said.

”They came from Duntroon, Alexandra, Peninsula and Brighton.

”We formed the group and got things under way.” . . 

No kidding! Newborns blamed for shortage of goat milk – Belle Puri:

The herd of goats on a Fraser Valley farm is kidding, but the farmer isn’t when it comes to a recent shortage of certified organic goat milk.

An explosion of newborn goats or “kids” has put a dent in the production line at Farm House Natural Cheeses in Agassiz, B.C.

The kids get first access to doe milk before any of it can be used to make products for human consumption, said Farm House office manager Dana Dinn. . .


Rural round-up

May 6, 2018

Johan’s unusual job – Samantha tennent:

Johan Fourie always gets a kick telling people he works in the “sex industry”, particularly unsuspecting townies. His official role is the production farm manager for CRV Ambreed at Bellevue Farm in the Waikato.

The 26-year-old South African is responsible for the semen harvesting, animal health care and well-being and general semen production of CRV’s bulls.

There are around 160-180 bulls on the farm at any one time, with a maximum capacity of 250. The farm is set up in different parts; the internal barns and paddocks make up the EU Facility and the outer parts of the farm are the isolation and pre-quarantine areas. . . 

Century farmers to be recognised :

The New Zealand Century Farm and Station Awards committee in Lawrence, Otago, is preparing for its awards dinner in May where it will formally honour 32 families who have farmed their land for 100 years or more. Eleven are families that have kept their farm for 150 years.

 Also starting to filter through is land that was distributed under the Discharged Soldiers Settlement Act in 1915 which allowed returned servicemen to be granted farmland on generous terms and given access to cheap loans to develop.

Committee chairwoman Karen Roughan says the work ahead of these soldiers was immense. “Often the land the men were allocated was remote, densely forested with virgin bush and without easy access by road. Many of the soldier-settlers lacked farming experience, were undercapitalised and faced long periods of time on their own as they battled to build a new home and develop sustainable living off their land. A large percentage gave up and walked off the land, often with hefty mortgages owing. . .

Fonterra’s milk collection back 2% :

Fonterra’s milk collection this season is tracking 2% lower than in 2017, a steeper decline than for the industry as a whole and suggesting rivals have picked up more of the national milk pool.

Fonterra’s global dairy update says the company collected about 1.31 million kilograms of milk solids in New Zealand in the 10 months ended March 31. It expects production for the whole season ending May 31 will be down on the previous year at 1.5 million kg/MS, an improvement on its previous estimate of 1.48 million kg/MS. It cited difficult weather for the decline. Fonterra’s share of the national milk pool is about 82%. . . 

 

Entries Open for Pork, Bacon And Ham Awards:

New Zealand’s greatest butchers and meat producers will once again compete to showcase their unique skills and innovative products this June, with entries now open for this year’s New Zealand Pork, Bacon and Ham Awards.

The competition – which draws hundreds of entries from butchers, producers and deli owners nationwide – will present awards for Innovative Pork, Convenient Pork, as well as a range of categories featuring prime New Zealand bacon and ham.

CEO David Moffett says NZ Pork founded the awards to provide retailers the opportunity to showcase their very best PigCareTM Accredited New Zealand pork products. . . 

This ‘climate beneficial’ wool hat comes from carbon positive sheep – Adele Peters:

At the southern end of the Surprise Valley on the border of California and Nevada, Bare Ranch looks essentially like it did in the early 1900s: sheep and cattle grazing on broad fields under a backdrop of mountains. But because of some subtle changes, the ranch now produces what’s being marketed as “climate beneficial” wool.

The wool–which The North Face is using in a new beanie with the tagline, “Warm your dome, not the globe”–is produced in a way that allows the ranchers to sequester large amounts of carbon as they raise sheep. In a year, Bare Ranch’s methods will sequester around 4,000 metric tons of CO2, offsetting the emissions from roughly 850 cars. . . 

Latest study confirms an animal-free food system is not holistically sustainable – Sara Place:

Let’s be clear, a healthy and sustainable food system depends on having both plants and animals. Researchers at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and Virginia Tech just published a study in the Proceedings of National Academies of Sciences confirming this socially debated fact. The study examined what our world would look like without animal agriculture in the U.S. The bottom line? We’d reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. by 2.6 percent, and 0.36 percent globally[1] — but we’d also upset our balanced food ecosystem and lack essential dietary nutrients to feed all Americans.

One important role livestock — such as cattle — play in our sustainable food system is taking human inedible food and ultimately making it nutritious. Specifically, cattle act as upcyclers — meaning they eat grasses and plant matter leftover from human food production and upgrade them into nutritional, high-quality protein. In fact, they produce 19 percent more edible protein than they consume[2]. . . 

 


Rural round-up

December 15, 2017

Fonterra releases first Sustainability Report on environmental and social performance:

Fonterra is proud to publish its first Sustainability Report, detailing its environmental, social and economic performance.

The Sustainability Report follows Fonterra’s recent announcements on emissions and clean water in New Zealand, and highlights the Co-operative’s commitment to an open discussion on how it is taking its responsibilities seriously and where it is making real progress. The report was compiled using the internationally recognised Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework and independently assured. This follows global best practice and underlines the integrity of the report.

The dairy industry is a cornerstone of the New Zealand economy but its environmental footprint is of national significance. The report gives an objective view of Fonterra’s environmental footprint and our contribution to the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals. . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand launches drought resources for farmers:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand has launched an online resource for farmers affected by the dry conditions.

The resources include a fact sheet outlining strategies to manage and mitigate the effects of drought, coping with stress on the farm and advice on feed requirements and animal welfare during the dry period.

Sam McIvor, chief executive of Beef + Lamb NZ, says with the correct planning and use of tools such as early weaning, body condition scoring and feed budgets, farmers can make the most efficient and effective use of limited feed resources. . . 

Beef + Lamb NZ backs call for beef trade liberalisation:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) strongly supports the International Beef Alliance’s call for Ministers at the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference to agree on a path to trade liberalisation while protecting beef producersâ ™ livelihoods.

The Eleventh Ministerial Conference (MC11) of the World Trade Organization is being held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 10-13 December.

Sam McIvor, chief executive of B+LNZ, says: “We back the IBA’s call for Ministers at the WTO Ministerial Conference to reduce or eliminate the use of trade-distorting agricultural subsidies, amongst other production and market distorting measures. . . 

Dairy cattle numbers dip:

The number of dairy cattle dipped 2 percent from 6.6 million in June 2016 to 6.5 million in June 2017, Stats NZ said today.  

The provisional figures are from the 2017 agricultural production census. Final figures will be available in May 2018.

“From 2012, dairy cattle numbers have been relatively unchanged, after increasing over 20 percent or 1.2 million between 2007 and 2012,” agricultural production statistics manager Stuart Pitts said. . . 

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Census mirrors ‘better efficiency, better for environment’ approach:

Relatively small movements in livestock numbers in the year to June 2017 may indicate New Zealand agriculture is reaching herd equilibrium, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson Chris Lewis says.

Figures from Stats NZ’s 2017 agricultural production census show dairy cattle numbers dropped 2 per cent from 6.6m to 6.5m in the 12-month period.

The dairy cattle count has been largely stable since 2012.

“Farmers have a strong and increasing focus on sustainability and further improving their environmental footprint, and that is translating into maintaining or reducing dairy cattle numbers and instead looking for gains by boosting production per head,” Chris said. . . 

Pumpkin & kumara prices at record level:

Pumpkin prices increased 176 percent in the year to November 2017, to reach $5.78 a kilo, the highest price since the food price series began in December 1993, Stats NZ said today. Pumpkin and kumara are typically more expensive in November, but both hit record levels after larger-than-usual increases this year.

“Poor growing conditions due to the wet weather early this year had a huge impact on the supply of pumpkin and kumara,” consumer prices manager Matthew Haigh said. “Pumpkin prices have reflected lower supply, with dramatic price increases in the last three months, while kumara prices increased more steadily through the year.” . . 

Low N cow project:

DairyNZ will lead a seven-year $21 million research partnership to contribute to cleaning up rural waterways.

The central idea is to breed cattle with less nitrogen in their urine.

Participating scientists will come from DairyNZ, Abacus Bio, A. L. Rae Centre for Genetics and Animal Breeding, AgResearch and Lincoln University.

The Government has granted $8.4m to the project, $11.5m will come from farmers’ levy payments to DairyNZ, and the balance will come from CRV Ambreed and Fonterra.

A2 CEO Geoff Babidge to leave in 2018, replaced by Jetstar’s Jayne Hrdlicka – Sophie Boot:

 (BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk Co managing director Geoff Babidge will retire next year, and will be replaced by Jetstar chief Jayne Hrdlicka.

Babidge has been in the role since 2010, and in the past two years has seen the share price jump from around $1 at the end of 2015 to a recent record of $8.75. The shares have soared on the back of successive strong sales, with the company’s infant formula attracting strong demand in China, and have gained recently on scientific evidence about the nutritional value of its milk, which comes from cows selected to produce only A2 beta-casein, unlike most dairy products, which contain both A1 and A2 proteins. . . 

Experienced senior manager joins AVOCO to strengthen market development:

 Steve Trickett has joined AVOCO’s senior management team to expand on market development in Asia and oversee grower communications at home.

A familiar face to many New Zealand avocado growers, Steve has joined the company as Marketing and Communications Manager and is responsible for market planning and performance with focus on new and developing markets where fruit carries the AVANZA brand. He will support the existing sales and marketing team, oversee contestable fund applications and develop AVOCO’s communications and profile among the grower community. . . 

NZ Ag: Why rural marketers need emotional intelligence (EQ) – St John Craner:

I’ve always been fascinated by why people buy since I was a kid. It started when my Dad took me to Twickenham every cold December to watch the Varsity (Oxford Cambridge match) which he’d do every year with his truck drivers as a thank you to them for all their hard work that year. As I sat in the stands I always wondered why did the Tetley, Whitbread or Coca Cola billboards on the pitch influence people to buy.

Over more recent years I’ve noticed rural marketers not sharing the same fascination by recognising and harnessing the power of emotion in their customer’s decision making and buying behaviour. Some continue to treat their customers as if they were predictable and rational which is the same mistake Economists make. If they could understand the emotional state and drivers of their customers more they would be rewarded with closer and more profitable relationships and higher level of referrals, let alone promotions.

Emotional drivers are a powerful force and comes in many forms such as: . . 

Bakers, farmers struggle to make any dough on poor wheat crop – Rod Nickel & Julie Ingwersen:

 Chicago’s iconic sandwiches – Italian beef heroes dripping with gravy, and hot dogs loaded with pickles and hot peppers – wouldn’t be such culinary institutions without the bread.

But this fall, bakers faced a crisis getting the right kind of bread to delis and sandwich shops locally and across the United States.

Gonnella Baking Co – which supplies the buns to Major League Baseball’s Wrigley Field – faced an unusual problem in October when flour from this year’s U.S. wheat harvest arrived at their factories containing low levels of protein. . . 


Rural round-up

November 20, 2017

Out fishing while his cows milk – Mark Daniel:

Dairy farming was always a likely career path for Graham Barlow, of Fermanagh Farm, in the Piako district of Waikato.

The farm name gives a clue to the family heritage: a great-grandfather came to New Zealand from County Fermanagh in northwest Ireland many moons ago.

Milking 320 Jerseys calving in March (75%) and November (25%) on 90ha, Barlow went straight from schooling to dairy farming, soon realised he hated milking but was interested in all things technical; he describes himself as a techno-geek. . .

62 years and counting:

AI technician Don Shaw (79) has been surrounded by dairy cows his entire life, bringing many calves into the world.

Raised on an Ohaupo farm, Shaw is a fourth generation New Zealand dairy farmer. For the last 62 years he’s worked as an AI technician, inseminating about 250,000 cows.

Although now retired from a sales consultant role at CRV Ambreed, Shaw is still an AI technician, working October and November on four Waikato farms, inseminating cows. . . 

First and second wins for southern family in Mate & Wool cup – Pat Deavoll:

The Gibson family of Foulden Hill, Middlemarch earned a quinella when their cattle took out first and second places in the Meat & Wool Cup at the Canterbury A&P Show.

Yearling hereford bull Foulden Hill Mustang narrowly pipped its two-year-old santa gertrudis colleague to take the title. 

What’s more, Mustang had earlier won the Junior Meat & Wool Cup over a charolais heifer owned by the Fisher family of Banks Peninsula. . . 

Open Gates:

The whole country cares about what’s happening with our waterways, including us.

And we want to show you what we’re doing to protect them. Things like planting, fencing to keep cows out of the water and managing nitrogen. So, come and visit one of the 40 farms we’re opening.

Open Gates is a chance to talk first hand to farmers, walk around their farm and see what they’re doing to care for the environment and their animals. It’s also an opportunity to ask them about their farm management and future plans.  . . 

Gene discovery may halt world-wide wheat epidemic

University of California, Davis, researchers have identified a gene that enables resistance to a new devastating strain of stem rust, a fungal disease that is hampering wheat production throughout Africa and Asia and threatening food security worldwide.

The discovery by UC Davis wheat geneticist Jorge Dubcovsky and his team will help breeders more quickly develop varieties that can fend off the deadly pathogens and halt a worldwide wheat epidemic.

The findings were recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Wheat and stem rust have been in an evolutionary arms race for more than 10,000 years. . .

Collecting information from farm machinery ot gain insight – Johanna Legatt:

DON’T be thrown off by the odd-looking acronym and the complex-sounding jargon.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is really just a fancy way of talking about new technology that talks to each other with minimal human intervention.

“The concept is simply based around connected devices — they can be sensors, monitors or some sort of data-collecting device, that help perform an automatic action, such as closing a gate or recording the soil temperature,” explains General Manager of Research at the Australian Farm Institute Richard Heath.

“These devices then talk to other devices that help farmers make better decisions.” . . 

 


Rural round-up

October 25, 2017

Nitrogen-busting genetics could prevent millions of kilograms of nitrates landing on dairy farms – Pat Deavoll:

Nitrate reducing forage plants and bacteria, denitrification walls and now nitrate-busting bulls are being developed to lower farming’s impact on the environment.

Thanks to an international breakthrough by dairy herd improvement company CRV Ambreed, bulls have been identified that pass lower nitrate levels through their urine onto soils.

The company has selected bulls genetically superior for a trait related to the concentration of urea nitrogen in milk. . .

Sone up, some down, some firm – Nigel Malthus:

Lamb, sheep and deer prices are likely to remain firm, but cow and bull prices could soften, according to the Alliance Group’s projections for the new season.

Heather Stacy, Alliance’s general manager livestock and shareholder services, told a recent meeting of shareholder farmers at Little River, Banks Peninsula, that prime beef prices should remain similar to last year at $5.00 – $5.40/kg early season and $4.80 – $5.20/kg post-Christmas. . . 

Kiwifruit’s bright outlook – Peter Burke:

There’s gold for New Zealand growers in Zespri’s SunGold kiwifruit.
Overseas demand is high for the new Psa-free variety and prices continue to rise.

As a result, Zespri chairman Peter McBride is forecasting a net profit after tax of $96 million to $101m for the year ended March 31, 2018. Profit last year was $73.7m. . .

Science to rule on farming’s role in ETS:

Farmers are relieved that science – rather than politics – will decide whether agriculture should be included in the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Under the coalition agreement unveiled yesterday, a new Climate Commission will make the decision.

Other details made public yesterday include scrapping the controversial water tax, but introducing a royalty on bottled water exports, along with higher water quality standards for everyone.

Labour went into the election promising to make the country carbon neutral by 2050. . . 

Dairy fund takes stake in Lewis Road to support NZ, international expansion – Sophie Boot:

Dairy farming investment fund Southern Pastures has taken an undisclosed but significant stake in Lewis Road Creamery, with executive chairman Prem Maan set to join the Lewis Road board.

The investment “will enable further expansion of Lewis Road’s popular product portfolio in New Zealand, and support the company’s push towards exporting to lucrative overseas markets”, Lewis Road said in a statement. Founder and chief executive Peter Cullinane will remain the company’s largest shareholder. . . 

Increase in illegal seafood sales on Facebook prompts warning:

A significant increase in the number of illegal seafood sales via Facebook has prompted the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to warn those offending that they will face penalties for violating the Fisheries Act.

Since the beginning of the year, MPI has received more than 160 calls and emails reporting Facebook posts by people selling recreationally caught seafood including crayfish, kina and pāua.That’s up on the previous year where 96 complaints were received and the year before that when 57 complaints were registered. . . 

The many paradoxes of life on and off farm – Joyce Wylie:

Paradoxes are part of our lives, and they are not skydiving medical teams. Paradox is defined as “a person or thing exhibiting apparently contradictory characteristics” which can make them both humorously absurd and irritating nonsense.

For example 3.57 million New Zealanders enrolled for our recent election. So, 79.8 per cent of us used our democratic privilege meaning 2.63 million votes were cast and counted. But amazingly after this major public participation the final result came down to a small number of candidates who didn’t win a single electorate seat between them. They made a choice behind closed doors about who holds power in the 52nd parliament of our country.

10 things only a farmer’s child would know – Hayley Parrott:

We recently had a chuckle at an article about 10 things anyone marrying a farmer can expect to encounter and it got us thinking. Lots of us in the Farmers Weekly office grew up on farms and here are a few memories we think those of you born and bred on a farm might empathise with.

1. Summer holidays. Or so-called “holidays”. For those six weeks you await with such anticipation, you will spend most of it helping to feed the chickens, walk the dogs and painting fences. You’ll be granted a well-earned break on the day of the county show. . .


Rural round-up

August 5, 2017

Swift and thorough Mycoplasma bovis testing underway:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) continues to build the picture of where the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis is present, to contain and eradicate if possible.

The Ministry is carrying out extensive and thorough testing to establish where the disease is present, to give farmers and the New Zealand public certainty.

Ministry Director of Response Geoff Gwyn says MPI is carrying out surveillance and testing in a planned manner, based on prioritising risks and ensuring rigorous sampling and testing protocols are being followed. . . 

Mesh ‘stunning’ in control of TPP – Maureen Bishop:

The use of fine mesh covers could be the answer to controlling the tomato potato psyllid.

Dr Charles Merfield, the head of the BHU Future Farming Centre, who has been researching the use of mesh in potato crops, believes the problem of the psyllid may be solved.

The latest research by the farming centre compared an agrichemical regime with three meshes of different hole size: 0.3, 0.4 and 0.7mm.

Agrichemicals had a total of 1614 psyllids, while the meshes had four, five and three psyllids. . . 

National portrait: Katie Milne, first female Federated Farmers president – Sam Strong:

Before Katie Milne decided to put her hand up for national presidency of Federated Farmers, a few people needed to approve.

The decorated farmer is referring to her partner Ian Whitmore, daughter Andrea and son-in-law Simon and whether they could handle the 220-head dairy farm in the high rainfall-zone of Rotomanu, near Lake Brunner on the West Coast, without her at the helm.

“I checked with these guys, ‘Is this going to work for everyone, because you can’t rely on me’,” Milne says while preparing a snack of pizza bread and salami. . .

Caberfeidh Station finishes whopping 28,500 Te Mana lambs on chicory – Pat Deavoll:

Caberfeidh Station finished a staggering 28,500 lambs last season and credits a new feed regime that includes chicory for getting half of them directly to the meat processors.

Last year station block manager Jason Sutherland took on finishing 50 per cent of the targeted number of Omega Lamb Project lambs on chicory- a tremendous responsibility as he had little experience with the crop.

Caberfeidh in the Hakataramea Valley joined the Omega Lamb Project in 2015. The project is a Primary Growth Partnership between Headwaters, Alliance Group and the Ministry for Primary Industries. . . 

Deer velvet price down 25% – Alexa Cook:

Deer velvet prices dropped by up to 25 percent for the season just ended.

In the 2015/16 season prices averaged about $120 per kilogram, but for the 2016/17 season prices fell to about $95 to $100.

The main market for New Zealand deer velvet is South Korea and China, and exports for the year ending June reached $59.4 million, driven by an increase in volumes.

However, in the past year China has changed the regulations for deer velvet. . . .

N diverted to milk yield means – Sudesh Kissun:

Research shows that cows bred for low urea concentration end up using more nitrogen for milk protein productions.

CRV Ambreed says its genetic research into reducing nitrogen leaching on New Zealand dairy farms has identified that a proportion of the nitrogen is diverted away from the cow’s urea, going into milk protein.

The company says this finding gives it further confidence that breeding cows for low milk urea concentration will not only reduce the amount of nitrogen excreted in their urine, but will also increase the efficiency with which dietary nitrogen is used for milk protein production. . . .

 


Rural round-up

June 13, 2017

Making cropping great:

FAR 2017 – 2021 Strategy launched in Wellington.

The Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) has launched its 2017-2021 Strategy, which aims to make cropping the highest returning and most sustainable broadacre land use for New Zealand farmers.

CEO Nick Pyke says the strategy builds on FAR’s strengths as a provider of quality research and extension and on the innate strengths of New Zealand’s cropping industry.

“New Zealand’s temperate climate, quality soils, plentiful water and highly skilled farmers provide us with some key advantages over other food producing nations. Accordingly, FAR’s new strategy has been designed to ensure that our research team works alongside the cropping industry, helping it to reach its full potential as New Zealand’s most economically and environmentally sustainable farming system. . . 

Disease testing advance ready – Sally Rae:

CRV Ambreed is collaborating with Otago-based Disease Research Ltd to enable dairy farmers to access further information about Bovine Viral Diarrhoea and Johne’s  disease from their herd testing.

From this month, farmers would get their normal herd test information on BVD and Johne’s disease but were now able to directly take that a step further with DRL. Until now, the herd testing provided farmers with an initial positive or negative result for the diseases through an “alert” service, which told the farmer there might be  an issue  needing further investigation. The extended service offered by DRL provided farmers with the option of follow-up testing of individual cows, ensuring properly informed management and control, CRV Ambreed managing director Angus Haslett said. . . 

Hunter Downs Water Ltd given requiring authority status:

Minister for the Environment Dr Nick Smith has granted Hunter Downs Water Limited requiring authority status to develop and operate the Hunter Downs Irrigation Scheme in South Canterbury.

“The irrigation scheme will take water from the Waitaki River to irrigate land between Waimate and Timaru. Hunter Downs Water has previously obtained water-take consent from Environment Canterbury and a development grant from Crown Irrigation Investments Limited. This scheme has the potential to irrigate 40,000 hectares, bringing benefits to 200 farmers. The economic benefits to the region are estimated at an increase in output of $830 million per year, and 1840 jobs in South Canterbury. . . 

Feds’ withdraw Mackenzie Basin appeal:

Federated Farmers has withdrawn its appeal on the Environment Court’s Mackenzie Basin decision, opting for less time in court, more time around the table for discussions.

“As we’ve said right from when the decision on Plan Change 13 was issued, our appeal was lodged in order to get clarity around a couple of key aspects,” Federated Farmers’ High Country executive member Andrew Simpson said.

There is still concern about several aspects of Judge Jackson’s decision, including apparent contradictions between what the Mackenzie District Council has said around enabling traditional farming and the ultimate findings of the Court. . . 

Kaikōura funds query ‘disappointing’, farming group says – Alexa Cook:

A farming group questioned about the spending of earthquake relief money says all of the funds have been spent helping the farming community get back on their feet.

Questions have been asked about how more than $30,000 raised by the NZ Farming Facebook page through Givealittle, for Kaikōura earthquake relief, was spent.

Nearly $60,000 was donated in the appeal, which aimed to get supplies to earthquake-hit farmers and to cover fuel costs.

It was reported by Fairfax in February that the group had spent $27,000 on hiring heavy equipment, providing food and accommodation, and transport costs, and that the rest would be spent on special projects in the community.  . .

NZ’s Organic Businesses Call on the Government to Regulate their Industry:

Some of the country’s largest organic businesses have just hosted MP’s in Hawke’s Bay, calling on the Government to regulate the organic sector and provide a national standard to protect the word “organic”.

The organisation that represents the New Zealand organic sector, Organics Aotearoa NZ (OANZ) hosted a field trip for the Primary Production Select Committee.

OANZ CEO Brendan Hoare says the organic sector is growing 11% each year and is now worth more than $0.5 billion dollars to the economy. . . 

Blue Pacific Minerals to launch innovative new granulated feed supplement MaxiMin at Field Days:

Blue Pacific Minerals will launch its innovative new feed supplement MaxiMin at this week’s National Field Days.

Tokoroa-based Blue Pacific Minerals (BPM), New Zealand’s premier zeolite and perlite minerals processing company, has come up with the new value-added, dust-free supplement, which combines Magnesium and Calcium with its long-standing Optimate product in a granulated form.

“MaxiMin is a breakthrough product for farmers,” says BPM Agriproducts Account Manager Kelvin Johansson. . .


Rural round-up

March 30, 2017

Taihape farmer opens up about depression – Gerard Hutching:

Taihape farmer Dan Mickleson has spilled his heart out on Facebook after a second bout of depression, and has been overwhelmed by the response. 

“The reaction’s gone way beyond anything I imagined when I asked them to post it. I thought it might get 100 likes and 20-odd comments but when they sent me the tracking stats this morning it’s reached over 130,000 people,” he said.

Entitled “Real Men Don’t Cry”, the 1000-word admission of Mickleson’s struggles was posted on the NZ Farming Facebook page.

I’m a food producer not a farmer: Richard Kidd  – Gerald Piddock:

Richard Kidd is not just a sheep and beef farmer, he is a food producer.

It is a small but subtle twist on words that he believed has helped him better connect with urban consumers.

Just calling himself a farmer was too broad, he said.

“We have a better story to say than we are just farmers. We are producing food that the public has to eat and I think they deserve to know that it’s well farmed, as free as chemicals as possible and a good story behind it.” . . 

Engineering student’s start-up has billion-dollar prospects – Madison Reidy:

Growing up on a 300-cow dairy farm in Matamata exposed Craig Piggott to the problems farmers face.

With a first class honours engineering degree and a year’s experience building rockets for Rocket Lab under his belt, he is now solving them with his own agri-tech invention. 

Piggott, 22, came up with the idea for a GPS tracking, solar powered cow collar while studying at Auckland University. The idea could not wait until he graduated, he said. . . 

Strong environmental gains on farm show opportunities:

Substantial reductions in the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions at a South Canterbury farm show environmental gains can be made hand in hand with a farm’s growth, scientists say.

Record keeping back to 1991, when Bill and Shirley Wright took on the sheep and cattle farm at Cave, has allowed scientists to study the profile of greenhouse gas emissions over time in an evolving farm system.

Analysis of the Wrights’ farm system in the last couple of years has also provided important insights into nitrate leaching (the loss of nitrogen), and what impacts on the amount of leaching and how best it can be managed. . . 

Synlait posts 3.8% gain in 1H profit, expects ‘modest’ full-year earnings growth – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Synlait Milk, the NZX-listed dairy company, posted a 3.8 percent lift in first-half profit as higher sales offset increased investment in people and business development.

Profit increased to $10.6 million, or 6.34 cents per share, in the six months ended Jan. 31, from $10.2 million, or 6.99 cents, a year earlier, the Rakaia-based company said in a statement. Sales jumped 35 percent to $288.7 million. The year-earlier earnings included a $2.9 million unrealised foreign exchange loss. . . 

Fonterra Launches Popular New Maternal Nutrition Programme in Hong Kong:

Fonterra has launched a unique nutrition programme for pregnant women in Hong Kong, developing a website endorsed by professional dieticians to give women access to healthy, nutritious at-home dining recipes and tips for eating well when dining out during pregnancy.

The programme, called ‘Anmum You & B’, also offers access to fine dining seminars where pregnant women can receive personalised food and nutrition advice from certified dieticians.

The programme’s introductory video was viewed more than 1.5 million times in one week – accounting for more than half of the 3.5 million females living in Hong Kong. . .

Te Aroha owners take role in governing their land:

Over 2000 owners of Te Aroha Aggregation farm in Waihi are celebrating a major milestone in its development, with an open day on Saturday. The day signifies the start of responsibility for the farm being passed back to the owners.

For the last three years, owners and trustees of the Māori-owned dairy farm have been supported by Te Tumu Paeroa to develop the skills and experience in governance so they can self-manage the successful enterprise.

Since 1989, Te Tumu Paeroa have been responsible trustee to Te Aroha Aggregation. Saturday’s ceremony signifies an important step for owners in the transition of management responsibility to them. . . 

Breakthrough genetics looking at cutting nitrogen leaching by 20% in NZ – CRV Ambreed:

CRV Ambreed has made a genetic discovery that it anticipates will result in a more sustainable dairy industry and potentially reduce nitrogen leaching on New Zealand farms by 20% within 20 years.

In what’s thought to be an international first, the dairy herd improvement company has announced it will market bulls that are desirable for traditional traits as well as being genetically superior for a new trait that is related to urea nitrogen in milk.

CRV Ambreed is now selling semen from bulls whose daughters will have reduced concentration of Milk Urea Nitrogen (MUN) under a LowN Sires™ brand. MUN is a measure of the amount of nitrogen contained as milk urea, and CRV Ambreed R&D Manager Phil Beatson says there’s overwhelming international evidence of a direct connection between MUN and the amount of nitrogen excreted in urine when fed different diets.  . . 

 


Rural round-up

January 1, 2017

New Govt passing up prime opportunity for rural development:

The evidence this new Government will be no friend to farmers continues to stack up, National’s Primary Industry spokesperson Nathan Guy says.

“During Question Time yesterday, I asked Regional Development Minister Shane Jones whether his $1 billion fund will support regional water storage and irrigation projects that can grow jobs and exports, and enhance the environment.

“Alarmingly, all he could say was that the final criteria for this fund is yet to be determined. . . 

Expanding global production set to increase competition in animal proteins sector in 2018:

Animal protein production is expected to expand around the world in 2018 increasing both trade competition and competition between different meat types, according to a new industry report from agricultural banking specialist Rabobank.

Rabobank’s Global Outlook for animal protein in 2018 says production increases are likely in most regions with Brazil, China and the US expected to record particularly strong production growth. In New Zealand, beef and sheepmeat production is forecast to remain similar to 2017 levels.

The report says beef and pork will be the strongest contributors to global animal protein expansion – with global beef production projected to increase for a third consecutive year in 2018, and a further year of significant growth in pork production anticipated. . . 

CPTPP to the rescue – Allan Barber:

This is truly the age of acronyms – TPP morphed into TPP11 which has now added a couple of initials while actually shrinking in scope from its original intent. But unlikely as it has seemed at several points along its tortuous journey, the mother of all trade deals, or maybe now the stepmother, is still alive in spite of Trump’s and Trudeau’s unsubtle efforts to hijack it.

My major concern before the APEC meeting in Vietnam was the strong possibility the new government would withdraw from TPP11 as it sought to renegotiate the Investor State Dispute Settlement and foreign investment clauses, when all the other signatories were willing to accept them. I freely admit I was wrong to underestimate Labour’s commitment to free trade, while overestimating the influence of New Zealand First. In the lead up to the election all the signs pointed the opposite way, while the concession extracted by Winston Peters to pursue a trade agreement with Russia provided further evidence TPP and its successors may no longer be at the front of the queue. . . 

Beef + Lamb studies threat posed by alternative proteins, considers how to respond – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Beef + Lamb New Zealand is carrying out consumer research into alternative proteins in China and San Francisco in response to the rise of the rival products and wants to report back to the sector before the end of the year.

“What we have discovered is that for better or worse alternative protein is here. We are not seeing it as a replacement for now, but we are definitely seeing it as an alternative for certain types of consumers. The consumer research that we doing is to understand who those consumers are and what’s driving that behaviour,” Damien Cullinan, market innovation manager for Beef + Lamb, told BusinessDesk. . . 

New app to bring in water allowance sharing – Tracy Neal:

Farmers and growers in Marlborough will soon have use of an online tool that tells them how much water they can use on a given day.

The council is grappling with an increasing strain on water supplies, with projections for demand and the effects of climate change showing it is likely to get worse.

A new cloud-based digital system, from which users will be able to download information to a portable device, was presented to councillors at a meeting in Blenheim yesterday.

Gerald Hope of the council’s environment committee said the tool would allow real-time information that would lead to better use of water. . . 

New Zealand farmers and growers welcome EU glyphosate decision:

New Zealand farmers and growers welcome an EU majority decision backing a five-year extension to glyphosate’s licence, which was due to expire next month.

Glyphosate, a herbicide widely-used in agriculture and by gardeners, is “an efficient and cost-effective means to keeping our agricultural economy growing, our environment protected, and our country weed-free,” says Agcarm chief executive Mark Ross.

“The decision is good news for farmers as they won’t be forced to find an alternative solution for use on exports,” adds Ross. . . 

$21 million Government & dairy research collaboration to improve waterways:

The dairy sector welcomes the Government’s announcement today that it will invest alongside farmers in a seven-year $21 million research partnership that will boost the current effort to clean up rural waterways.

Minister of Business, Innovation and Employment, Dr Megan Woods, confirmed today MBIE will provide $8.4 million towards the project which aims to tackle the difficult nitrogen leaching question, nitrogen being one of the nutrients impacting water quality.

A further $11.5 million will be invested by dairy farmers through the levy they pay to DairyNZ, with additional funding support to make up the $21 million coming from CRV Ambreed and Fonterra. . . 

How NZ ag can stop getting beaten up –  St John Craner :

NZ Ag is always on the back foot. Despite the rhetoric from leaders in industry about how we need to tell our story better, we continue to be out-gunned by lobby groups like SAFE, PETA and Greenpeace. Whether it’s bobby calves, PKE, dirty dairying or most recently false free-range eggs, we’re always playing a defensive position that risks our social licence to operate.

NZ Ag could learn from those brands that have had the foresight and planning to build a strong equity. SouthWest airlines is a great example. When 9/11 occurred they were inundated with customers sending them cheques because they were worried about their viability. This was because their customer base had a fond affection for them and what they stood for: everyone has a democratic right to fly. When the botulism scare kicked in for Fonterra they found they had few friends. GSK’s Ribena got caught out after its false claims of Vitamin C was unearthed by two 14 year old school girls from Auckland. I doubt they’ve ever restored consumers’ trust. . .

NZ structural log prices rise to 24-year high, A-grade export logs hit record – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand structural log prices rose to the highest level in 24 years and A-grade export logs hit a record as local mills compete with the export market to secure supply for the domestic construction market amid strong demand from China.

The price for structural S1 logs increased to $130 a tonne this month, from $128 a tonne last month, marking the highest level since 1993, according to AgriHQ’s monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers. Export log prices lifted between $2-to-$5 a tonne for the majority of grades, with the price for A-Grade logs touching $128 a tonne, up from $127 a tonne last month and the highest level since AgriHQ began collecting the data in 2008.. . .

Jason Minkhorst to join Ballance Agri-Nutrients:

Senior Fonterra executive, Jason Minkhorst, has been confirmed as General Manager Sales for Ballance Agri-Nutrients, joining the farmer-owned Co-operative in early March 2018.

Jason is currently Director Farm Source Stores of Fonterra’s rural retail business, Farm Source, and has extensive commercial experience from more than 15 years in senior executive and governance roles in the dairy sector.

Ballance CEO, Mark Wynne, says Jason’s deep knowledge of agri-business and genuine passion for the primary sector will be hugely valuable as Ballance focuses on the changing needs of New Zealand farmers and growers – providing tailored nutrients and advisory services, backed by the best science and technology. . . 


Rural round-up

July 13, 2016

Waikato farmer spearheads wireless farming for the future of dairying – Gerald Piddock:

Tony Walters is farming’s ambassador of technology, writes Gerald Piddock.

Dairy farmers could soon be using wireless technology as proof that they are operating an environmentally sustainable operation.

The wireless connection could help sell the New Zealand story to overseas customers resulting in better prices for their products in the market. For farmers, that would mean they get paid better for their milk. 

Tony Walters is convinced the day will come soon when this works and is piloting the technology on his 95 hectare dairy farm at Waiuku in North Waikato. . .

Dairy – It’s Not Rocket Science. Or is It? Innovation the key to shaping the global dairy sector:

Using charged iron to capture tiny particles worth hundreds of dollars a kilo, creating technology to speed up nature more than 300 fold and real-time composition analysis with the potential to revolutionise a multi-billion dollar industry.

These may sound like scenarios borne out of a NASA testing facility, but in fact these space-age innovations have origins right here in New Zealand – part of Fonterra’s asset optimisation programme that’s helped position the Co-operative as a global leader in dairy R&D.

Fonterra Chief Operating Officer Global Operations Robert Spurway says R&D is one of the most important factors shaping the dairy industry today, particularly when it comes to selling our capabilities with new and existing customers around the world. . . 

NZ groundspreaders celebrate 60 years of helping farmers:

Nearly 200 groundspreaders from across the country will, next week, gather in Nelson for the 60th Annual Conference of long-standing trade organisation – the New Zealand Groundspread Fertilisers’ Association (NZGFA).

Conference attendees – ground spreaders, suppliers, trainers, auditors and testers – will hear from key speakers including Hon. Damien O’Connor (West Coast MP and Labour’s Spokesperson for Primary Industries), Mark Wynne, CEO of Ballance Agri- Nutrients, Mike Whitty, General Manager Marketing of Ravensdown Fertiliser Cooperative and Nelson forestry contractor and health and safety pioneer, Dale Ewers.

“Health and safety and accident prevention are high on our agenda this year,” explains Brent Scully, NZGFA President. “Fertiliser spreading is a demanding job involving heavy plant, complex equipment and often steep terrain. Machine operators and spreader drivers undergo intense training; however, errors do occur and accidents do happen. We want to do everything we can to minimise risk for the men and women in this industry.” . .

New fisheries decisions bring closures and increases:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has decided for sustainability reasons to close part of the Southern Scallop Fishery (SCA7), which covers the top and northwest coast of the South Island, for the coming season.

The measures will prohibit commercial and recreational fishing for scallops in all of the Marlborough Sounds and part of Eastern Tasman Bay for the coming season, ending on 14 February 2017.

“This decision follows the latest scientific survey in 2015 which shows a continued and significant decline in the fishery, despite commercial catch reductions over the past three seasons,” says Mr Guy

“The strong message from the scientific evidence, as well as public submissions is the need to take the next step and close parts of the fishery to let it recover. . . 

Turn your best bull calf into cash:

Dairy farmers in the thick of calving are being offered thousands of dollars for their best bull calves by CRV Ambreed.

The company is offering farmers who breed the best bull calves $4,000 if their bull calves are selected for the CRV Progeny Test program. That $4,000 could turn into $11,000 from graduation payments or more if royalty options are taken.

CRV Breeding Program Manager Aaron Parker said with calving now underway, a lucrative source of extra income could be dropping in farm paddocks across the country right now.

As well as being welcome income for dairy farmers, delivering their best bulls to CRV Ambreed will contribute to genetic diversity, and thus advancement, across the national herd. . . 

South Islander quacks his way to US world champs – Brooke Hobson:

Luggate local Hunter Morrow has quacked his way to the US for the world championships in duck calling after taking out the national competition in Tauranga.

More than 20 duck callers from around New Zealand took part in the quack-off on Saturday, where they had 60 seconds to blow a greeting, pleading and feed call – plus a lonesome hen call.

Mr Morrow, a building apprentice, came 5th in the world champs last year.

Fish & Game says he told reporters duck calling had been a “weird obsession” since he was a young boy. . .

Marlborough Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker 2016 Announced:

Congratulations to Jordan Hogg from Seresin for winning Marlborough Young Winemaker 2016. The competition took place on 8 July at MRC in Blenheim where six contestants spent the day battling it out across various activities. Hogg scored very strongly across the board showing a great degree of knowledge and professionalism.

Congratulations also goes to Matt Fox from Hyland Viticulture who placed second and Shelley Young from Delegat who came third. . .

Massive New Plymouth store to benefit farmers:

Farmers of the Central and Western North Island are to benefit from a $30 million Ravensdown investment in a new fertiliser storage and blending facility in New Plymouth.

The 14,000 square metre facility adjacent to Ravensdown’s existing store will allow better customer service and better environmental performance according to the farmer-owned co-operative.

“The agri-sector in the Taranaki is feeling the pinch and service towns like New Plymouth are seeing the impact. This investment has spin-off benefits for local contractors and shows Ravensdown’s commitment to the community and to its North Island customers,” said Mike Davey, Regional Manager. . .


Rural round-up

November 17, 2015

Farm shows profit possible – Sally Rae:

”Do the maths. Invest in the future.”

That’s the simple message from Richard Subtil, who is unashamedly proud to be a sheep and beef farmer.

Mr Subtil and his wife Annabelle, who farm Omarama Station, were the supreme winners in this year’s Canterbury Ballance farm environment awards.

A field day was held recently at their 12,000ha Upper Waitaki property, which has been in Mrs Subtil’s family since 1919.

The impressive operation includes merino sheep and beef cattle, an extensive irrigation development, a hydroelectricity plant and a homestay.

James Hoban, one of the judges for the awards, described it as a ”very hard business to fault”. On the economic side, the Subtils were industry-leading, profitable high country farmers. . .  

Refining essence of NZ forests – Sally Rae:

When Paul Greaves suffered a brain stem stroke back in 2012, it forced some major changes in his life.

Not only did he have to learn to walk again but, after more than four decades working in the forestry industry, he found he could no longer handle the high pressure of his job.

But a passion for the industry remained and, when he met Michael Sly, now a director of Wilding and Co, and Mathurin Molgat, and they talked about wanting to turn Douglas fir into essential oil, his interest was aroused. . . 

Fonterra farmers sheer earnings upgrade – Fiona Rotherham:

Dairy farmers say Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s largest dairy exporter, is finally starting to deliver better business returns which are meant to counter low farmgate payouts when global dairy prices are low.

The Auckland-based cooperative raised its forecast available payout range for this season by 5 cents as it cuts costs and boosts margins to record levels, even as milk volumes in New Zealand decline by 5 percent.

Fonterra has indicated the forecast dividend may be in the 35-to-40 cents per share range up from 25 cents last year, which disappointed many farmers who expected to gain more from the value- added side of the business when dairy input prices were down. The revision would mean a likely total payout to farmers of $4.95 to $5 per kilogram of milk solids after retentions, compared to $4.65 last season. . .

Businesses sweet and sour on food safety rules:

– Compliance with regulations rated top challenge and key opportunity, ANZ survey finds –

Food safety regulations are the biggest challenge but also a major source of competitive advantage for New Zealand’s food and beverage firms, according to research from ANZ.

The annual ANZ Privately Owned Business Barometer survey included 178 food and drinks firms and found an industry that was upbeat about the future, hungry for growth, showing the way in mobile technology and social media use, and collaborating to open export opportunities.

The survey also flagged a number of growth challenges, including securing shelf space for products and managing constraints on capacity, such as time, people, plant and funding. . . 

Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year wins Young Horticulturist of the Year:

Congratulations to Caleb Dennis, Young Horticulturist of the Year 2015. He represented the Viticultural sector in this tough and prestigious competition.

Young Horticulturist of the Year was held over 11th and 12th November, where Caleb competed against 5 other finalists from various horticultural sectors including Landscaping, Nursery & Garden, Amenity Horticulture and Vegetable, Fruit & Flower Growing.

The competition kicked off with the contestants submitting Business Plans for a new product they would like to develop and launch. Caleb’s plan to launch a wine cellaring app was very well received and will hopefully eventuate into reality in the not too distant future. This first day also included an interview and a budgeting exam. . .  . . 

Piece of NZ dairy history for sale:

CRV Ambreed’s move to a purpose-built production, distribution and logistics centre on the outskirts of Cambridge marked an exciting new era for the company, and now their old 13.7-hectare bull farm is for sale.

More than 3000 bulls have been housed at the farm on the outskirts of Hamilton since it was established in 1969. At the company’s peak production, more than 200 bulls were housed on-site at any one time.

In December 2014, CRV Ambreed opened its new export-approved CRV Bellevue Production and Logistics Centre, on the outskirts of Cambridge, just a few kilometres away from its old facility. . .

 


Rural round-up

August 11, 2015

Singer is loving country living – Sally Rae:

She’s opened for the Hollies and sung for Robert Kennedy jun – now Bex Murray is holed up in the Hakataramea Valley and she could not be happier.

Miss Murray (29) is living on a sheep and cattle farm with her fiance Tom Hayman while continuing to perform at gigs throughout the country at weekends.

She is also hoping to help inspire and motivate other young rural women by sharing ideas through Young Rural Ladies, a social media site she has set up with Sarah Connell, another newcomer to rural life, and which has quickly gained a following.

Originally from Lake Tekapo, where her family has been involved in tourism for most of her life, Miss Murray’s dream growing up was always to be a famous singer. . .

City girl goes country and loves it – Sally Rae:

It’s a long way from London to Livingstone.

So when Sarah Connell made the transition from big city living to remote rural life in North Otago, it was a monumental lifestyle change.

But the former urban girl is loving country life on sheep and cattle station Dome Hills, even though shifting break fences and stock is something she once never dreamed she would end up doing. . .

Top class tenderness from tough country – Kate Taylor:

Quiet stock with good genetics is the secret to the success of Gisborne farmer Tom Savage at this year’s Steak of Origin Awards.

A hereford/shorthorn steer from Tom and Linda Savage’s Poututu Station won the crossbred section at the annual nationwide competition in May.

It was a surprising win for the couple as Tom Savage says it was a last minute decision to enter the awards after a tough season. . .

Farmers woes blamed on short-term focus:

There are calls for banks to ensure the wellbeing of dairy farmers during the current crisis.

Fonterra has slashed its payout to $3.85 per kilogram of milk solids after another drop in global prices.

Rabobank analyst Hayley Moynihan says it’s important farmers manage to cope with the downturn.

“Banks take a very strong interest in the wellbeing of farmers, and they have an obligation to do so, and certainly a responsibility, because people can’t run their businesses and therefore the wellbeing of farmers is paramount.” . . .

NZ banks strong enough to weather downturn, dairy slump – Paul McBeth:

 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s lenders are in a strong enough position to weather slowing economic growth over the next year-and-a-half, while slumping dairy prices aren’t expected to pose as big a threat as they did in 2009, says Moody’s Investors Service.

The global rating agency has a stable outlook for the nation’s banking system, built on the expectation the country’s lenders will maintain strong asset quality and stable profitability in the face of a slowing economy. Moody’s anticipates slower gross domestic product growth of 2.9 percent in 2015 and 2.5 percent in 2016 as lower dairy prices crimp export incomes, though building activity in Auckland and Christchurch, persistently strong inbound net migration, and lower interest rates will support the economy. . .

Farmers to hold ‘urgent summit’ over milk prices:

Farming unions from across the UK will hold an “urgent summit” later to discuss milk prices, following widespread protests.

Some farmers are being paid less than the cost of production, the National Farmers’ Union says.

Protests have included removing large quantities of milk cartons from shops and blockading distribution centres. . .

New Zealand tourist providers should pay attention to advancements in Chinese agritourism –  Jason Young:

I’ve been incredibly lucky, over the last decade, to have the opportunity to travel regularly to China. In recent years, my research has turned to rural China allowing me to break out of the mega-cities and see some of the countryside.

During visits to farms and villages and by speaking with local academics, government officials and farmers, I’ve noticed the rise of Chinese agritourism. China has urbanised very fast. In the early 1980s roughly 200 million people lived in urban areas. Today the figure is closer to 700 million with projections of 1 billion urban dwellers by 2030.

Urban areas are often heavily populated, polluted and can lack green spaces. It is no surprise then to see people seeking ways of reconnecting with the natural environment and beginning to romanticise the image of a simpler rural life. . .

Breaking the cycle – farming sustainability requires change – Phil Beatson:

Albert Einstein once said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

The need for change in the dairy industry has prompted me to revise an article I originally wrote back in 1999 that is still very much relevant today.

When it comes to the ongoing economic welfare of today’s farmers – the backbone of New Zealand’s largest industry – all sectors must work together to create change. As history demonstrates, without change, we will continue to get the same results. . .

 


Rural round-up

July 30, 2015

Flood-stricken Taranaki farmer says others are worse off – Sue O’Dowd:

A North Taranaki sheep and beef farmer wishes he could do more to help his flood-stricken colleagues.

Alan Cudmore, who has been farming at Okoki in North Taranaki for the past 14 years, lost fences and tracks when three days of torrential rain left a bog on his 810-hectare property.

Adamant the flood has left many farmers far worse off than he is, he says the shortage of feed on his own farm is limiting his ability to help them out. . . 

Taranaki dairy cow numbers and fertiliser use are steady – Sue O’Dowd:

A protection programme set in place 40 years ago to protect Taranaki’s waterways from intensive agriculture has created a precious resource of clean, healthy water that is the pride and joy of the province’s environmental guardians.

The Taranaki State of the Environment Report, with peer-reviewed environmental monitoring data, shows trends in the ecological health of waterways and in the physical and chemical measures of water quality are the best ever recorded but Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) chairman David MacLeod and chief executive Basil Chamberlain say that’s no reason for the region to rest on its laurels. . .

Employment the only controllable part of lambing, calving – Chris Lewis:

Most of you reading this now will be getting ready for calving and lambing in the next month.

Every year, this time comes around, most farmers promise themselves that we will do better and not repeat the mistakes of the last year; whether it’s production, animal health, environment or staff. The only thing controllable in this situation is staffing.

You advertise, interview, hire and put staff to work with the hope of better outcomes from everyone else. As employers we do control most of the process, so if we get things right from the start and make the right decisions employing someone, things can run a lot smoother. It can be like speed dating, interviewing staff and seeing what’s going to be compatible with you! But the buck stops with us, if the decision was wrong or things don’t work out; you are the one who has to take responsibility. . .

Rural Women New Zealand celebrates 90 years:

On 29th July 1925 the launch of the Women’s Division Farmers Union (WDFU) was to change farming women’s lives.

A small group of farmers wives had come to Wellington with their husbands for the New Zealand Farmers Union (NZFU) conference.

But there were rumblings of discontent. The needs of the women and their families out in the ‘backblocks’ was being overlooked by the NZFU. There were serious concerns about their health, and the effects of isolation. The farmers wives formed the WDFU with the aim of finding ways to improve living conditions on New Zealand farms and support the NZFU. . . 

Bull calves have value – no bull!

In tight times dairy farmers are looking for new ways to add cash to their back pocket and CRV Ambreed believes the cash can often be found in the bull calf.
CRV Ambreed’s breeding team manager, Aaron Parker, says a bull calf could provide an extra $4,000 upfront if they are suitable for CRV Ambreed’s breeding programme. A proven bull can provide an additional $7,000 in income from graduation payments – sometimes more if a royalty option is chosen.

With calving now underway, this source of extra income could be dropping in the paddock right now. . .

 

And a new (to me) rural blog: A Spoonful of Country

A blog from rural New Zealand that uses inspiration from country kitchens and cooks to inspire those that are passionate about ‘keeping house’ the good old fashioned way. . .


Rural round-up

May 31, 2015

Red meat prices forty years ago – Allan Barber:

We could be forgiven for thinking nothing has changed in the last forty years with regard to meat schedule setting, if not actual price levels. But an address to the Ruakura Farmers Conference in 1975 by then chairman of the New Zealand meat Producers Board, Charles Hilgendorff, gives an interesting perspective on the industry at that time.

The Board’s overriding concern was price stabilisation whereby it sought to avoid excessive short term highs and lows, but it was not in favour of absolute stability because this would provide a misleading impression to producers. The Meat Board had been involved in price support for the past 20 years and, funded as it was by farmer levies, it saw the need to use levy funds to smooth prices within a range. When prices exceeded a certain trigger, the surplus would be withheld from producers to provide a buffer when prices dropped. . .

 Managing the dairy downturn – Keith Woodford:

It is still far from clear whether we have reached the bottom of the dairy price cycle. The Chinese seem to be coming back into the market but no one much else is. But even if prices do start to rise in the next few months, down on the farms things will be tight at least until Christmas.

There are considerable lags in the system between prices at the Global Dairy Trade auction, and the milk cheques that farmers receive. Hence the financial crunch is just coming on. . .

Scanning and tracking stock is key for Gypsy Day moves:

The key risk for farmers during this year’s June 1st Gypsy Day is ensuring that stock are accurately identified and tracked, says Michael Lee, Principal with Crowe Horwath in Invercargill.

One of the biggest days in the dairying calendar, Gypsy Day marks the start of the new season when farms are bought and sold, stock is transferred to new owners and new sharemilking contracts are signed. This year it will again fall on a Monday public holiday.

“Stock is the second-biggest investment for farmers after the farm itself,” said Mr Lee. . .

Farmers wanted to help NIWA:

NIWA is looking for farmers to help fine tune its latest development.
The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research has developed new tools that can help farmers decide when to irrigate or fertilise. But it needs farmers to test out the tools to ensure they are as practical and easy to use as possible.

The first new tool is called NIWA IrriMet and will be demonstrated at the NIWA stand in the main pavilion at this year’s National Agricultural Fieldays. IrriMet follows the successful launch of FarmMet at last year’s Fieldays.

FarmMet is a tailored weather forecasting tool that provides accurate up-to-date forecasts specific to individual properties. It works by capturing data from climate stations closest to an individual farm and using that to tailor a forecast to farmers delivered straight to their computer. . .

Ballance farewells Warwick de Vere after 45 years:

Fertiliser industry stalwart, Warwick de Vere will leave Ballance Agri-Nutrients Mount Maunganui site for the last time on today [29 May], closing the door on a 45-year career with the co-operative.

Known by colleagues as a legend who “lives, breathes and eats fertiliser”, he joined the industry as a laboratory technician in 1970 at New Zealand Farmers Fertiliser, Te Papapa, one of Ballance’s legacy companies. That was the start of a career which spanned a number of technical and management roles spanning manufacturing, safety, distribution, sales, human resources and IT, culminating in various General Manager roles with the co-operative in the last 15 years. . .

Vet Club Merger Confirmed:

A merger between two of North Island’s Veterinary Clubs has been confirmed. Effective 1st of June, Anexa Animal Health and Farmers Vet Club (FVC Veterinary Services) will operate as one practice called Anexa FVC.

Chairman Brian Gordon said, “This merger provides a sustainable Vet Club model in the Waikato-Hauraki region for the future. Farmers Vet Club (t/a FVC Veterinary Services) was established in Ngatea in 1923 and the Morrinsville Vet Club (t/a Anexa Animal Health) was established in Morrinsville in 1939. These clubs were established by farmers, for farmers and the Boards of both clubs wish to ensure strong competition remains in the market for local farmers.” . . .

Rural Business Network Hub launches in Northland:

Rural business professionals in Northland will have an opportunity to develop their businesses and strengthen their networks with the launch of the Northland Rural Business Network Hub on June 16. Whangarei will host the inaugural event on Tuesday June 16 at the Whangarei Barge Showgrounds Events Centre.

The Rural Business Network provides an opportunity for rural-based business people to participate in events that will help them grow their business through networking and learning from others. RBN aims to connect innovative, motivated people from across the range of primary industry sectors with successful, experienced businessmen and women creating opportunities to share ideas, be inspired and learn by example. . .

Seeking new Holstein Friesian Genetic Leaders:

Holstein Friesian New Zealand and CRV Ambreed will team up again this year to select New Zealand’s next generation of top Holstein Friesian bulls for their joint sire proving programme, ‘Holstein Friesian Genetic Leaders’.

Recently celebrating 20 years, the joint venture was set up to source, prove and sell high merit genetics within New Zealand’s Holstein Friesian population and has helped to advance and develop the breed ever since. . .


Rural round-up

May 22, 2015

Breaking down NZ fences – Lindy Nelson:

From dairy to red meat, New Zealand agribusiness is undergoing a profound transformation. The expanding markets of Asia bring both new opportunities as well as challenges.

To extract the maximum value from these opportunities the sector needs an injection of new ideas and perspectives and to engage 100 per cent of its available talent. One of the ways this is happening is the emergence of more women in leadership roles.

From boardrooms to the management of New Zealand’s top agribusinesses, women are stepping into roles not traditionally held in our sector. . . .

INZ supportive of budget 2015 allocation to freshwater management:

Irrigation New Zealand supports the government’s budget allocation to assisting councils with the implementation of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management and the 2014 National Objectives Framework, and to supporting a new collaborative approach to resolving managing freshwater.

“This will help water policy evolve into even more practical, precise and workable terms and will hopefully make the consenting and regulatory process around water storage and irrigation infrastructure development less costly and lengthy,” says Mr Curtis. “It will also give more recognition to the collaborative processes which are already happening in water catchments about future infrastructure development. . .

Plea to promote good employers:

A rural recruitment specialist says the farming sector should be identifying and celebrating good employers, not naming and shaming the bad ones.

This week Council of Trade Union president, Helen Kelly, has been tweeting links to farm ads which she says are for jobs paying below the minimum wage – and sometimes even below $13 an hour.

John Fegan has been a rural recruitment and HR specialist in the Waikato region for more than 20 years and while he agrees there are bad employers out there, he does not agree with what Helen Kelly is doing.

Mr Fegan believes a system which highlights farmers who have good employment standards is the best way to go about bringing change. . .

Ballance makes key leadership appointments:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients has announced the appointment of two general managers as well as appointments to new roles in strategy and agricultural technology.

Chief Executive Mark Wynne said the appointments were aligned with a revised focus for the co-operative on driving value for shareholders from its core fertiliser business, building the capability of its people, and making smarter use of data and technology to support better decision making both within the company and on the farm. . .

 

Low payout, smarter herd management:

“If you want to get the best out of your farming business when payout is low, you need to have the right tools.”

That’s the view of Drury-based dairy farmer Sue Dyer, who recently presented at a series of workshops run by CRV Ambreed to teach farmers how technology can be better used to achieve their herd improvement goals.

Dyer said dairy farmers spend too much time on administration and managing their herd information, and when time is money, farmers have to make a considered decision about the products and services they use and how they use them. . .

Danielle Nierenberg's photo.


Rural round-up

February 13, 2015

Sheep and beef farmer environment champions:

Seventy sheep and beef farmers from around the country are gathering in Wellington this week to equip themselves with the skills and knowledge they need to negotiate sustainable land and water management regulations in their own regions.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand has facilitated the conference given the growing need for sheep and beef farmers to be represented on their local catchment groups and working with their Regional Councils to ensure sheep and beef farmers’ voices are heard as decisions on farming within limits are developed.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Executive, Dr Scott Champion said the group of farmers who are attending the two day workshop have put their hands up to say they want to learn everything they can about being involved in environmental decisions in their own regions. . .

 NZ orange roughy exports accelerate as fish stocks improve – Tina Morrison:

 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand orange roughy exports are accelerating as catch limits of the deepwater fish, once a poster child for bad fisheries management, increase amid confidence about improving stocks.

Exports of the slow-growing fish, which can live for up to 130 years, rose 6.9 percent to a three-year high of $36.5 million last year, according to Statistics NZ data. That compares with a high of $170.2 million in 1988 when the fishery was at its peak, and a low of $29 million in 2012 when catch limits were cut back. . .

Just how far can Overseer be trusted? –  Doug Edmeades:

Assuming that only matters of great importance to the nation get discussed in Parliament, Overseer is now a national issue.

Hansard records show that on November 26 and again on December 2, 2014, questions were raised in the House of Representatives about the use of Overseer.

Specifically, concerns were raised about Overseer’s fitness for purpose and in particular its use for setting nutrient limits and compliance monitoring in regional council plans.

I will assume that all farmers, except those sent loco by the summer heat, know that the Overseer to which I refer, is not the boss-person. I’m talking about Overseer, the nutrient budgeting tool being promoted by its owners and regional councils to improve nutrient management and in particular to managing nitrate N losses. . .

Conditions not structures cause of red meat price drop – Allan Barber:

The pre Christmas surge of optimism, boosted by high beef and sheepmeat prices when export volumes were low, has largely disappeared. The impact of the drought in the lower North and South Islands has seen slaughter numbers increase dramatically at the same time as a series of negative events have reared their head in world markets.

Unfortunately nobody foresaw such an adverse combination of events coinciding at the same time, although our weakening dollar made a positive difference. Drought always pushes stock prices down because available processing capacity, even in these times of excess capacity, can’t handle the livestock numbers farmers need to get off their farms; overseas customers know they are in the driving seat and, naturally enough, pay no more than they must. . .

Environmental advisor turning farmer:

Q&A with 29-year-old James Hoban, who is in the process of moving across to farming after six years at Environment Canterbury.

Former ECan land manager advisor James Hoban is working towards a career in sheep farming. His key environmental insight for fellow farmers is around completing a farm environment plan. He says 90 per cent of what is covered is generally recording what farmers are already doing.

While most of his family’s 227ha property at Culverden is currently leased for dairy support, James has his eye on a farming career in the medium term and is consulting in the meantime. He left ECan in June and has been kept busy advising farmers in the environmental space ever since. James is a member of the B+LNZ Northern South Island farmer council and is also heavily involved in the “Dryland farmers group”, which is approaching ECan for a plan change regarding the controversial Hurunui/Waiau water zone. . .

DairyNZ addresses price dip, drought:

DairyNZ has launched a campaign to help dairy farmers survive a tough season bought on by a low milk price and now drought.

More than 70 farmers from around 30 farms nationwide have agreed to share their information and host events as part of the Tactics for Tight Times campaign. The campaign is designed to help farmers survive the current season and build their resilience for the future.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says the fact the Minister for Primary Industries has declared drought conditions on the east coast of the South Island as a medium-scale adverse event, has highlighted the critical need for extra support for farmers. . .

Ban and fine for animal neglect:

Two lifestyle farmers in the Tararua District have been banned from owning or managing livestock for two years after being convicted of animal neglect.

Gavin Matthews and Wendy Francis Hayward of Pahiatua admitted a charge under the Animal Welfare Act, stemming from a complaint in 2012, about the poor condition of cows on a Pongaroa grazing block managed by the pair.

As well as the ban, they have been fined a total of $8,500. . .

Wallace Corp backs Ligar to commercialise novel polymer products – Fiona Rotherham:

 (BusinessDesk) – Ligar, a startup developing molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs), has secured an investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars from Wallace Corp, operator of New Zealand’s largest animal products rendering facility, to fund a range of industrial trials that could see it commercialise some products this year.

Ligar is developing molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) for purification and extraction that solve a growing need for many industries to extract both valuable and unwanted substances, such as consumable liquids, dissolved minerals, water or ingredients used in manufacturing.

It has already used its specially-designed molecules to remove agri-chemicals and smoke taint from wine and is now investigating food and beverage purification and metal extraction. . .

Cheese, Yoghurt & Butter Unite for Battle of NZ’s Best:

The battle to find New Zealand’s best cheese is set to be fierce with over 400 entries, three new cheese companies, a new cheese type, new international judges and the exciting addition of yoghurt and butter categories.

Now in its twelfth year, the New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards bring the country’s finest specialty cheese under one roof, in the hope of winning one of 23 champion titles.

This year is a stand out in award history with the new addition of yoghurt and butter categories, acknowledging the importance of these dairy products alongside cheese in retail chillers.

The future of New Zealand cheese making will also be recognised with the first Primary ITO ‘Aspiring Cheesemaker’ Award. . .

Wool Firms:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the combined North and South Island auction offering 14,000 bales saw a generally strong market with 96 percent clearance.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies lifted 0.43 percent compared to the last sale on 4th February having minimal impact on the market.

Mr Dawson advises that steady sales and quick shipment requirements are continuing to keep pressure on local price levels. . .

 

CRV Ambreed appoints new senior managers:

Leading herd management company CRV Ambreed is continuing to grow its capacity to support New Zealand dairy farmers with two key appointments to its senior management team.

Mathew Macfie and Andrew Singers have been appointed as sales and marketing manager and information management and information technology manager respectively.

CRV Ambreed managing director Angus Haslett said the additions to its senior management team will help the company continue to offer leading herd improvement solutions in New Zealand. . .

 

 

 


Rural round-up

February 11, 2015

More to farming than money‘ – Kate Taylor:

Central Hawke’s Bay farmer Mark Toulmin says winning the Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year title opened a lot of doors for his family’s farming operation. Entries for this year’s competition close on February 13.

“I would encourage anyone to give it a go,” he says. “It’s worth it. It introduced us to new people and new ideas, financial opportunities . . . and people trust your opinion.

“Put your business out there, especially if you’re doing something different or thinking outside the square, that helps if you’re not just doing the same as everyone else.”

Toulmin says it’s not all about finances, either. . .

Kiwi grower sets new oilseed rape yield record of 6.31t/ha – Andrew Swallow:

Virgin land, the ideal climate and good weed control are the key components of a New Zealand grower’s record-breaking crop of oilseed rape.

Chris Dennison harvested a moisture-corrected 64.37t off 10.2ha on 23 January, a yield of 6.31t/ha. This beats the 6.14t/ha record set by Tim Lamyman, of Worlaby Farms, Lincolnshire, last July.

Mr Dennison, a former world record wheat yield holder from near Oamaru, on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, says reading about Mr Lamyman’s feat in Farmers Weekly spurred him to “have a crack” at the OSR record. . .

Death of top Jersey Bull a huge loss:

The late Manzello

CRV Ambreed’s highest ranked Jersey bull passed away over the weekend which his breeder said is a huge loss to New Zealand’s dairy industry.

Pukeroa TGM Manzello’s breeders, Alan and Vivian Lockwood-Geck, said they were saddened to hear their star sire had passed away while still in his prime. . .

 LIC team to visit Southland farms:

Farmer-owned co-operative LIC has a team of more than 140 meeting in Invercargill next week, to check out the local dairy scene and connect with Southland farmers for its biannual sales conference.

The three-day event, which includes a number of visits to farms in the area, brings LIC’s nationwide team of farm solutions managers together to learn more about what’s happening on-farm, the challenges farmers are facing this season and solutions the co-op can provide.

Chief executive Wayne McNee says it is the first time the conference has been held in the South Island. . .

LIC forms strategic partnership with SCR world-leading cow intelligence provider:

Farmer-owned co-operative LIC (NZX:LIC) has secured a new strategic partnership with the world-leading cow monitoring and milking intelligence solutions company, SCR.

The partnership includes a distribution agreement whereby SCR, recently acquired by Allflex Group, will distribute the co-op’s DAL milking sensors internationally and LIC will become a New Zealand distributor for SCR’s cow reproduction and health monitoring system, Heatime®.

LIC chief executive Wayne McNee says the partnership is part of the co-op’s strategy to grow the business overseas and provide New Zealand dairy farmers with more choice.

“SCR is a world-leading provider of cow intelligence systems with a strong history of delivering solutions to improve farm efficiency worldwide. This agreement aligns with our vision to improve the prosperity and productivity of our farmers, and our focus on key international markets that will add value for shareholders in New Zealand. . .

At a time when we need our forests to remove carbon from the air, why push for farming methods that demand more and more land be used for agriculture because it cannot produce as much food as non-organic farms? (Image: Pico van Houtryve (CC))


Rural round-up

December 19, 2014

New tool to test sheep meat quality:

An international project testing the eating quality of sheep meat using DNA measurements will enter its final stage next year, with the tool developed set to be tested on commercial flocks in New Zealand.

In September last year, a sheep genotyping tool known as a SNP (snip) chip was created by an international team of scientists as part of the FarmIQ genetics project.

John McEwan, one of the project’s leaders and AgResearch principal scientist, says the chip measures hundred of thousands of DNA variances and allows a sheep’s performance to be predicted by testing its DNA, rather than extensive progeny testing being needed.

“We take an ear punch out of the sheep – just a very small piece of tissue about three millimetres in diameter – and we extract the DNA out of that from the sheep. Then we place that DNA on this slide or chip and develop it with a set of chemicals and the DNA variance appears as different colours.” . .

Farmer contracts not taxing water-take:

Contracts signed so far to take water from Hawke’s Bay’s Ruataniwha dam and irrigation project added up to only about 13 percent of the commitment needed to make the scheme commercially feasible.

But the company running the project says farmers representing more than half of the minimum water-take required have made the decision to join the scheme and have asked for contracts.

The figures are in a report that the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s investment company presented to the council today.

The company has until the end of March next year to decide whether the dam and irrigation project in the Tukituki River catchment will have enough backing to proceed. That includes having enough farmers signed up to take a minimum of 40 million cubic metres of water a year. . .

Ngai Tahu launches farming diploma:

Ngai Tahu has launched a new Maori Farming Diploma which it hopes will produce the country’s future leaders in agriculture.

Whenua Kura is a partnership between Te Tapuae o Rehua, Ngai Tahu Farming and Lincoln University.

The diploma course is the first of its kind where students will study in a Maori environment and learn how to apply critical Ngai Tahu values such kaitiakitanga (guardianship), manaakitanga (hospitality) and rangatiratanga (self-determination) to land use. . .

It’s always Christmas for farmers – Vincent H. Smith:

It is Christmas time once again and in my part of the world, southwestern Montana, the snow has arrived and will be with us until early March.  Most nights the temperature will fall well below 20 degrees Fahrenheit; some days the thermometer won’t rise above zero.

That’s winter time in the Northern Great Plains and the eastern Rocky Mountains, where cabin fever is a real phenomenon and ranching becomes truly hard work. In this world, cattle can be inconvenient. They need water and calories in places where they can feed and drink, and cows often calve on bitterly cold February and early March nights.

Ranching is also risky in the winter time; herds can be decimated by blizzards and what seem like mile high snow drifts. And ranchers, on the whole, are genuine risk taking entrepreneurs who, for the most part, neither seek nor receive substantial federal bailouts. Most of them also know that country of origin labelling is a bad economic idea that has reduced the prices they are paid by meatpackers and feedlots. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, for example, has recently argued that the US should “reform” and essentially terminate that program rather than appeal a recent WTO finding that the program violates US WTO commitments. . .

A new standard for labelling of export infant formula:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has today issued a new standard to clarify the labelling requirements for exports of infant formula.

“The standard has been developed as part of the infant formula market assurance programme announced by the Government in June 2013,” said Scott Gallacher, MPI Deputy Director-General, Regulation and Assurance.

“It is the first of a set of technical regulatory changes that will be introduced progressively over the next six months to further strengthen our assurance system for exports of infant formula products.

“MPI consulted on the new standard during July and August. The new standard clarifies the information that must be on labels of infant formula intended for export, and information or representations that are restricted or prohibited on these products. . .

New labelling standard for infant formula:

Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew has today welcomed a new standard under the Animal Products Act that clarifies the labelling requirements for infant formula exports.

“Currently all export dairy products are exempt from New Zealand’s food labelling standards, they instead meet labelling requirements of the importing country,” Mrs Goodhew says.

“Infant formula is a special product. For this reason, the Ministry has put in place this new standard, which applies regardless of where the infant formula is being sent. This will ensure exporters know what information must be on labels, and what information and images are prohibited.  . .

20 years of selling semen and nothing’s a problem:

Te Aroha local, born and bred, Butch Coombe celebrates 20 years working with CRV Ambreed as a field consultant.

Starting out part-time to supplement the income on his 110-acre farm, his sales patch grew and grew and enabled him to buy extra things for farm like a new four-wheeler with his ‘top up earnings.’ When his area grew to the point where it could support his family, he decided to sell the farm and join CRV Ambreed full-time.

It was a big move for Coombe and his wife Heather, who had been farming their whole married life – some 30 years – but he was pleased not to have to leave the industry or cattle completely. . .

 


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