Rural round-up

December 17, 2013

Canterbury suffers another blow:

Farmers are reeling from yet another blow, after a severe localised hail storm tore its way through the Mayfield area of Mid-Canterbury.

“As the year draws to a close and we are fast approaching harvesting season, Mid-Canterbury farmers are facing a financial nightmare after the hail storm yesterday,” says David Clark, Mid-Canterbury Grain and Seed Chairperson.

“This has been a mongrel year for farmers in Mid-Canterbury; we have gone from snow to wind storms to a very dry spring to now this. It is a horrible way to finish off the year, with radish and carrot crops shredded and wheat and barley crops having the stuffing knocked out of them. . .

A timely reminder:

Fonterra dropped a bombshell last week when it announced its latest consideration on its farmgate milk price.

For farmer shareholders in New Zealand’s largest company, it had been shaping up to be a particularly merry Christmas, with economists suggesting the milk price could be lifted as much as 40c.

Elevated prices, which have defied predictions and remained at very high levels – the GlobalDairyTrade price index was just 7% below its April high and about 50% higher than a year ago – raised expectations for the forecast to rise. . .

UK butter eaters lose taste for Anchor after dairy giant cuts NZ ties – Nicholas Jones:

British shoppers have noticed that their favourite Anchor butter tastes different – with the explanation being it’s no longer from New Zealand.

In Britain, the famous Kiwi brand is used by European dairy company Arla. Until recently, Arla had shipped over New Zealand butter made by Fonterra, but has now switched production to its British facilities.

The Arla logo has been added to block butter packs, but the company has faced a number of complaints from disgruntled customers who were unaware of the change. . .

How much dairying is too much in terms of water quality? – Daniel Collins:

On 21 November the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright, released her second report on water quality. It warned that business-as-usual dairy expansion by 2020 would leave our lakes and rivers more degraded than they are now, even with improved mitigation. I’d now like to re-cap what the report concluded, how it got there, and how it was received.

The report

The purpose of the report was to illustrate how land use change could affect future nutrient runoff – nitrogen and phosphorus – based on a simple, business-as-usual scenario for 2020.

Motu used a combined economics-land use model called LURNZ to project what land use changes are likely by 2020, driven by commodity process and knowledge of land use practices and landscape characteristics. Sheep and beef farming were expected to give way to dairying, forestry, and even reversion to shrubland. . .

Director elections mean an exciting Red Meat Industry:

Federated Farmers looks forward to working with the Boards of the cooperatively owned Silver Fern Farms and Alliance Group following their recent Director elections.

“Federated Farmers congratulates the new directors elected to our two largest cooperatives, Don Morrison at Alliance Group as well as Richard Young and Dan Jex-Blake at Silver Fern Farms,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“We also congratulate Alliance Group chairman Murray Taggart on his re-election.

“Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre wishes to formally thank Alliance Group’s Owen Poole and Jason Miller as well as Silver Fern Farms’ David Shaw for their service to shareholders. . .


Rural round-up

October 23, 2011

Success stories: how Glowing Sky grew from printing T-Shirts in Stewart Island to makigna nd selling merino clothing through its own chain of stores – Bernard Hickey:

Cath Belworthy still seems surprised at her business success as she tells her story to a business conference in Dunedin.

“We’ve taken it to a level that we would never ever have dreamed of all those years ago,” said Belworthy, who co-founded Stewart Island-based clothing company Glowing Sky Merino with her husband Dil in 1997.

But she is rightly enthusiastic and proud of all the hard work, sacrifice and inspiration that led to that success . . .

The trade environment: Future of WTO, beyond Doha TPP-regional FTAs – Bruce Wills (speech toInstitute of International Affairs:

. . .After talking to Federated Farmers staff about the long running saga that is the Doha trade round, one staff member relayed to me a political joke, if such a thing is possible, which may just hit the Doha nail on the head.

In Moscow, not long after the communist takeover, a factory worker trudging past the city gates noticed a revolutionary guard intensely scanning the horizon.

In mud, snow, sleet and rain, this worker trudged past the same guard above the same gate, year in, year out.

One snowy day, our worker stopped, looked up and summoned up the courage to yell out, ‘comrade, what exactly are you doing up there?’

The guard stood to attention and with snow falling from his tattered greatcoat proclaimed proudly, ‘I am the lookout for the global communist revolution’.

‘Oh’, our factory worker innocently shoots back, ‘it’s a job for life then!’

That possibly sums up where the Doha trade round is right now. Despite much heroic effort by NZ trade officials, ten years on from when it all started; it seems to be where it started. . .

Who should hold the power of prosecution? – James Houghton:

The Auditor-General might be worried about regional councillors’ personal bias when the authority is deciding to undertake prosecutions, but I wonder if the staff can be totally fair either.

Following a recent recommendation by the Auditor-General, Waikato Regional Council is asking its staff to review the role our elected councillors take in deciding what prosecutions it should be pursuing.

At the moment the decision whether to initiate a prosecution or not is made by a regulatory committee of councillors. I guess the worry is they could be tempted to consider their re-election chances when weighing up the options whether or not to prosecute when a person has breached the law . . .

Processing changes may not mean better capacity alignment –  Allan Barber:

The meat industry will see a number of processing initiatives taking effect over the next 12 months, all of them designed to create greater efficiency for their owners. They may not necessarily lead to better alignment of capacity with predicted livestock numbers for which B&LNZ Economic Service forecasts an increase from 2011 of 5.7% to 20.1 million lambs, second lowest in more than 50 years, and 1.8% more cattle, mainly cull cows . . .

Tasty and healthy, venison is set ot tkae over your dinner table

NEW YORK (WABC) — To indulge your love for red meat without detriment to your health, venison is the meat choice for you.

Grilled, pan seared or smoked, venison is the new “it” food, according to Chef Brad Farmerie and he should know. At his Soho restaurant Public, he prepares and serves about 10 thousand portions of it each year.

“I know for a fact, this is going to be a rockstar meat going forward, next year, the year after and everywhere from then on,” he says.

He cooks with cervena venison. It’s farm raised in New Zealand, grass fed and one of the most popular dishes from his kitchen. . .

How much water do we use? Daniel Collins:

One of the arguments being used at the moment to promote water storage and irrigation schemes is that much of the water that falls on New Zealand flows to the sea, not to the farm. Conor English, CEO of Federated Farmers, wrote in an opinion piece earlier this year:

“It’s not that New Zealand is running out of water, it’s that water is running out of New Zealand.”

As it turns out, about 80% of the water that falls on New Zealand flows out to sea, the rest evaporates back into the atmosphere. . .

Chica the bright red car:

Children expecting a visit from Rainbow Place’s nurses and therapists can now look forward to shorter waiting times, thanks to the gift of a bright red Nissan car to be named ‘Chica’, donated by Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) at the weekend.

The therapists and nurses at Rainbow Place – an arm of Hospice Waikato – travel thousands of kilometers each month throughout Waipa, Waikato and Coromandel, supporting children and young people who are coping with serious illness or bereavement . . .

My New Hero Kenyan Farmer Kimani Maruge! It’s never to late to learn – Pasture to Profit:

It’s been an amazing week! What with the Rugby World Cup. I am very proud to be a New Zealander & to see the fantastic rugby the
All Blacks play. A very interesting week on UK pasture based dairy farms too.

This week I watched an amazing DVD called “First Grader” an award winning 2011 film about the Kenyan hero “Kimani
Maruge”. Kimani Maruge (a farmer) was a 1950’s Mau Mau veteran who arrived at a tiny rural primary school as an 84 year old man determined to get an education after the Kenyan government offered “free education for all”. Kimani holds the record as the oldest person ever to start primary school. His determination to get an education was truly
inspirational.

Latest results from Shearing Sports NZ:

New Zealand representative Dion King had to put in one of his better performances of quality shearing to beat a top quality lineup and deny the legendary David Fagan a memorable double in the new season’s first North Island shearing competition in Gisborne on Saturday.

Shearing at the Poverty Bay Show, which attracted almost 100 shearers and woolhandlers, Te Kuiti gun Fagan was trying to add victory in his first show as a 50-year-old to his last at the age of 49 at Waimate a week earlier, and also complete a double he had scored last season. . .

Mortgagee sale of prime Wakatipu land:

A prime piece of land on the shores of Lake Wakatipu is to go to mortgagee sale following the developer going bankrupt.

The 38-hectare Walter Peak Estate is across the lake from Queenstown. It has consent to build a luxury lodge or several homes . . .


Water schemes win

March 14, 2010

Two Canterbury irrigation schemes are among the winners in a competition for projects judged to have the potential to make $1 billion each in sales within 20 years.

Two other projects, a central-city village for international students and a whitebait-farming proposal, were also recognised.

The $150 million Central Plains Water Enhancement Scheme (CPW), now a cut-down irrigation project after widespread community opposition, and the Hurunui Water Project, were judged as having big potential.

Together, the two want to irrigate more than 100,000 hectares of farmland in central and north Canterbury.

They involve land acquisition and the construction of canals and a dam.

The competition, which drew 18 entries, was the brainchild of University of Canterbury vice-chancellor Dr Rod Carr.

The winners receive up to 50 days free professional help each, worth about $140,000, to further project development and confirm feasibility.

The competition was a great idea and it’s no surprise that irrigation schemes were among the winners.

The benefits and costs are high for farmers and it takes them many years to get real returns on their investment. But the returns for the people who work for, service and sell to farmers are immediate and so are the boosts to the wider economy.

Irrigation can have both positive and negative impacts on the environment. It will almost certainly lead to an increase in dairying which will concern some people. But dairying in itself isn’t a problem.

The best comment on this I’ve read comes from Daniel Collins at Sciblogs.

In a post entitled It’s Not US or the Cows, worth reading in full, he writes:

In any case, it is the pollution that is the problem, not the cows. More intense dairying would likely lead to worse water quality all else being equal, but there is no need to assume all else will be equal. In conjunction with regional planning to limit the extent of dairying, there is room for on-farm management practices to improve. The question is both how many cows and how to manage them.

Increased concern about the environmental impacts of irrigation and dairying have led to a lot of improvements in management.

One of the conditions for the North Otago Irrigation Company’s consent was that every shareholder must have an environmental farm plan which is independently monitored.

It works well to protect and enhance the health of soil and water and something similar could be adopted in Canterbury to ensure that the economic gains from irrigation don’t come at the expense of the environment.


Did you see the one about

November 21, 2009

Thought for the day – Quote Unquote has a new angle on paper, scissors, rock. Whilte you’re there you might enjoy NZ farmer letter of the year – an answer to the problem of travel perks.

Worlds apart – Progressive Turmoil on the differences in mobile phone use in different countries.

Chicken Fever hits parliament – Audrey Young spots a chook and comes up with some answers to the question of why the chicken crossed the road.

Spam journalism # 63 and Much ado about nothing – Macdoctor points out the difference between smaller increases and cuts.

Goff loses chess game to analogue computer – gonzo Freakpower gets satirical.

Work/life balance – it’s not about the pets – The Hand Mirror finds the paid/ unpaid work balance leaves little time for life.

Saving the minghty kauri Over the Fence on the fund to fight kauri die back.

Supply and demand or what? – Anti Dismal on what matters.

One thing to keep in mind – The Visible Hand on the real issues.

What’s in the water – Alison Campbell at Sciblogs on the dangers of water births.

Trickle down carbon sequestration – Daniel Collins at Sciblogs shows tree planting in the wrong place may compromise water supply.

Greens revealed as biggest spender in Mt Albert by-election – Liberation shows money doesn’t buy votes.

Berlin wall series:  Poland,  Czechoslovakia and Bulgeria , – by Liberty Scott.

Big Boys toys – Frenemy is truck spotting.


Farming as important in future as was in past

November 5, 2009

Farming will be as important for New Zealand’s future as it was for its past, Trade Minister Tim Grocer Groser said.

He was addressing  Federated Farmers and painted a very positive picture for the future of farming, and New Zealand.

Among the points he made were:

* The importance of water:

Twenty years ago, I used to say, metaphorically, NZ was in effect a ‘grass exporter’. That is not the metaphor I use today. Today I say NZ is a virtual water exporter. I do not see how China, with 24% of the world’s population, 9% of the world’s arable land and massive problems with water can feed its increasingly sophisticated and growing middle class with the high quality foodstuffs, wine and other products they will demand.

 (Daniel Collins posts on this over at Sicblogs.)

* The positive outlook for trade:

 We have far more opportunities than we could ever use. It will take years to realize these opportunities, but I see no justification for settling for mediocrity.

* The importance of quality and productivity:

 NZ’s point of differentiation is quality and food safety. Is it still low cost? Well, that is a moot point. We still have to remain highly competitive but we are no longer the lowest cost producer. . .

. . .We need to be very careful about our cost structures. But we need to be even more careful about maintaining our extraordinary record of productivity growth in agriculture.

* The customer as the new regulator and the importance of being seen to do something about climate change:

The real risk is not about Governments. It is that our customers, or rather the retailers that make the crucial decisions on sourcing, may walk away from NZ over environmental, climate change or other PPMs – the technical term for production processes and methods. That is a real risk. Don’t treat it lightly, would be my advice.


We need to have integrity right throughout the supply chain. It won’t be achieved easily and we will have to live with inconsistencies as we seek to close the gap between the objective of ‘100% pure’ and current practices of some of our producers who just want to shut their eyes to this challenge.

But it is not just a challenge. There is a huge opportunity.

This speech paints the most positive view of farming and trade I’ve come across for years.

A couple of decades ago politicians were talking about agriculture as a sunset industry. It’s great to have a minister who, while realistic about the challenges, is also positive about the opportunities and believes the sunset industry is set to rise again.


Did you see the one about . . .

November 4, 2009

Probing the depths of snow – Daniel Collins at Sicblogs has some stunning photos from Temple Basin.

Didn’t we learn from 1989 – Liberty Scott

When inanimate objects attack – Opinionated Mummy profiles some perfectly rages.

Motel greenwash – Motella doesn’t want a sermon when he stays away.

Mary Wollstonecraft wept – In A Strange Land adds to my contention that the fashion industry is inherently misogynist.

One of these is not the same – Macdoctor sees signs of sense from a health boss.

The Church of Jones – Roarprawn spots another cult.

October public polls – Kiwiblog paints a pretty picture for those of us who like blue.

Another pet lamb bites the dust – RivettingKateTaylor on life and death and pet shows.

And I like cows because . . . ummm  Kismet Farm has one of those days.

A heavyweight conundrum – Frendmy compares Australia’s roads with ours.


Did you see the one about . . .

October 24, 2009

Architectural mini tutorial: the New Zealand house – not PC

Dr Seuss the blogger visionary at Opinionated Mummy

The Other Yorkshiremen   – goNZo Freakpower  shows us deprivation from another point of view.

MfE groundwater report: ‘propaganda’ or misunderstood? – by Daniel Collins at Sciblogs.

Science journalism – critical analysis not debate –  Grant Jacobs at Sciblogs looks at balance – and what goes for it.


%d bloggers like this: