Rural round-up

11/03/2018

Farmer’s lucky escape from Cyclone Bola – Kate Taylor:

A lucky glance gave now-retired Whatatutu farmer Rod Mead time to escape when a flooded river topped its stopbank. Kate Taylor talks to a survivor of Cyclone Bola.

Rod Mead looked across the river flats on Waitahoata Station near Whatatutu, Gisborne, with horror but also relief. Minutes earlier, he had been lifting equipment in the station’s old woolshed in case Cyclone Bola flooded the valley.

Glancing towards the river, Mead saw it had breached its stopbanks and immediately went outside and started up the tractor. As he did so, floodwater swirled around his ankles and he steered the tractor toward the safety of his hillside track 400 metres away.

He didn’t look back again until he reached the track and when he did he saw floodwaters raging where moments before he had been standing.

Learn from best dairy farmers – Alan Williams:

New Zealand’s best dairy farmers are achieving results well above average levels and other farmers are being urged to learn from them.

Their pasture and animal health management put them well ahead in milk produced per cow liveweight and in lower rates of cow losses.

Research overseas and in NZ showed leading farmers are ahead of the consultants, institutions and available information in the work they’re doing, veterinary surgeon and farm systems analyst Brian McKay told a Federated Farmers dairy group presentation in Christchurch. . .

MPI stock process creating huge stress – Sally Rae:

From a distance, Kerry and Rosie Dwyer’s Maheno farm looks a picture.

The sun is shining on a glorious autumn day in North Otago and the paddocks are covered in lush, green grass.

But something is missing; shelter sheds – usually home to hundreds of calves – sit empty and the 120ha farm is devoid of stock, apart from a few sheep.

“I’ve got no business. It’s stuffed and I accept that.

“I just don’t know what we’ll do,” Mr Dwyer says. . . 

Barren paddock turned bustling village: Celebrating 25 years of the Central Districts Field Days -Sam Kilmister:

The Central Districts Field Days turn 25 next week. Sam Kilmister looks back at an agricultural showcase that had small beginnings and now a big following.

Noel and Eleanor Mortimer recall the moment their son-in-law Don Eade started the Central Districts Field Days.

He had returned from the Mystery Creek Fieldays, near Hamilton, which ignited a vision to have it replicated in Manawatū. . .

What a whopper! Dart takes pumpkin prize again – Sally Rae:

It was a hell of a pumpkin.

Dart Watson might have been one of the younger entrants in the produce shed at the Wanaka A&P Show, but he sure grew one of the most spectacular entries.

For the third consecutive year, Dart (13) won the largest pumpkin in the junior section with an absolutely whopping vegetable. . .

Heat detection device up for an award :

A low-cost device designed to detect when cows are ovulating and ready to be inseminated has earned two Kiwi entrepreneurs a place among the finalists in the 2018 New Zealander of the Year awards.

Fraser Smith and Matt Yallop, of Farmshed Labs, are finalists in the New Zealand Innovator of the Year category for their product FlashMate.

 


Rural round-up

15/09/2016

No simple answers on water – Smith – Nigel Malthus:

New Zealand is so richly blessed with freshwater that many people do not appreciate its importance to our economy, lifestyle and health, says Environment Minister Nick Smith.

At a guest lecture on the topic, held at Lincoln University recently, Smith said NZ had more freshwater per capita than pretty much any nation in the world.

“The average 2.3 metres of rain falling nationwide each year equates to 145 million litres per person per year,” he explained. “That is seven times as much as Australia, 16 times as much as the US and 70 times as much per person as the UK or China.”

Smith says many of our major export industries depend on freshwater and our rivers and lakes are equally pivotal to our tourism industry. . . 

Sheep milking easier than cows:

Milking sheep is much easier and simpler than cows, but it takes much more dedication and attention, says John Ryrie, sheep dairy manager at Spring Sheep Milk.  

“You need good stockmanship to look after sheep,” he told Rural News.  

A Scotsman, Ryrie has been in New Zealand for the past year as farm manager for Spring Sheep but has been sheep milking in the UK for 20 years. . .  

Young Farmers’ group takes rise in suicides seriously

A farmers’ group is concerned about the risk of suicide for farmers and wants to reach out to help. 

New Zealand society needs to be more upfront talking about suicide, said Terry Copeland of New Zealand Young Farmers.

“Part of it is confronting it. We’ve got to acknowledge that our lives aren’t always happy,” Copeland said. 

“Some people who suffer from depression, or have really bad work or personal stress, or a combination are unlikely to ask for help, but we have to recognise they’re not their usual self.” . . 

RWNZ submission on Government strategy on health of older adults:

RWNZ has lodged a submission on the Ministry of Health’s update of the Health of Older people strategy, urging the Government to give priority to the unique needs of older adults in rural areas.

RWNZ Health spokesperson, Margaret Pittaway says, “The strategy sets out a worthy and aspirational set of goals for the health and wellbeing of older adults for the next ten years, yet it fails to give appropriate attention to the special and unique challenges of ageing in rural areas.”

In its submission RWNZ highlight ongoing barriers to access to older adult health services in rural areas, along with health disparities affecting this population group. ”Implementation of the actions in this strategy must be given special priority in rural areas, in particular the goal of bringing health services closer to home deserves immediate attention in rural areas” says Margaret Pittaway. . . 

A story of change and success in poplars and willows for erosion management:

Trevor Freeman has seen the planting of hundreds of thousands of poplar and willow trees in the Gisborne region.

The retiring Gisborne District Council Chief Science Specialist and former Environmental Services Manager finishes with the Gisborne District Council on August 19. In the past 40 years his role has morphed from land management into environmental services concerned with water, biosecurity, forestry and many other issues as well as his first passion – erosion control.

The biggest event during his tenure was Cyclone Bola in 1988, which left little of the district unscathed and was a stark reminder of the need for trees, either strategically spaced such as with poplars and willows or as a closed forest canopy. . . 

 

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I don’t leave footprints in the sand, I leave boot tracks in the mud.

Final week for NZ wineries to enter 37th Sydney International Wine Competition:

New Zealand wineries have the rest of the week to enter this year’s Sydney International Wine Competition. Entries close on Friday 16 September, with judging samples required by 23 September.

Entry for the 37th Sydney International Wine Competition is capped at 2000 wines, with just over 250 places still available for entry.

Already there is a record entry from international wineries, including Europe, the Americas, Asia and South Africa, and over 350 entries are expected from New Zealand following their stellar performance in 2015. . . 


Bad weather good?

06/03/2012

The weather that rained on so many people’s holidays has been good for the economy.

“New Zealand’s big six agricultural exports have grown in export value by an amazing $2.6 billion over the past year,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President and its economics and commerce spokesperson.

“Despite the occasional weather bomb, such as the weekend’s storm, wrecking havoc, the summer of 2012 may go down as the dismal summer that boosted the economy.

“The increased value of dairy, meat, wood, fruit, fish and wine exports this season is more than all the revenue generated by Telecom.

“This increased export value provides 2.6 billion reasons why New Zealand needs to safeguard and maximise its agricultural potential.

“Merchandise export volumes right now are at their highest in 22 years and New Zealand’s merchandise exports are up 13 percent on January 2011.

“Dairy remains a star with its export receipts up 17 percent on 2011.

“In December, Fonterra Cooperative Group was packing an export container every 2.7 minutes. Because January and February were mild and damp in most regions, we can expect record numbers given milk production was up around 10 percent on 2010/11.

“Wool has also increased its export receipts by 29.6 percent over last year. The $818 million it generated in the year to January 2012 is an increase of $187 million. While we know meat production volumes are down, its value is up.

The weather that was so disappointing for holiday makers was great for growing grass, however it’s been frustrating for people trying to harvest crops or make hay and silage.

The weekend’s weather bomb has also been very expensive, with claims the devastation was worse than after Cyclone Bola.

Insurance comapnies will take another hit with millions of dollars of damage to buildings but farmers will have to carry the cost of slips and lost trees.


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