Rural round-up

08/06/2021

Big rain, big pain, big cost – Canterbury’s week of flooding devastation – Martin van Beynen:

An intensively farmed region of Canterbury lying between the north branch of the Ashburton/Hakatere and Hinds rivers was one of the hardest-hit by this week’s floods. Reporter MARTIN VAN BEYNEN spent four days in the area assessing the impact.

Farmers in Mid-Canterbury knew it would be bad.

When the MetService issued a red alert for the Canterbury region on Friday, May 28, they prepared for some sleepless nights and a rough weekend.

The MetService warned that 200-300 millimetres of rain was expected to “accumulate” about the high country between 3pm on Saturday and 11am on Monday. The rain would cause dangerous river conditions and significant flooding, the agency said. . . 

Flood took my farm – Annette Scott:

The storm has eased and the carnage is emerging on Darryl Butterick’s flood-stricken Ashburton Forks property.

Farming deer, sheep and beef across two separate properties between the North and South branches of the Ashburton River, Butterick was smack bang in the middle, copping the breakout of both rivers.

“We got it right up the ass, that’s for sure,” Butterick said.

Two-thirds of his deer farm, carrying 500 hinds and sire stags, was under water. . . 

Farming leaders focus on Canty clean-up – Neal Wallace:

Offers of help are coming thick and fast for Canterbury flood victims, but farming leaders say they are still trying to collate exactly what is needed and where.

North Canterbury Federated Farmers president Caroline Amyes says much activity is happening behind the scenes.

“We are all working in the background to collaborate and to have a unified approach,” Amyes said.

The groups coordinating the response include Federated Farmers, Rural Support Trust, rural advisers, Civil Defence, Ministry of Primary Industries, the feed source hotline, Environment Canterbury, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ.

Amyes says the Rural Support Trust is collating needs and the Government’s $500,000 grant has enabled a co-ordinator to be employed to match offers with need and arrange logistics. . . 

Northland SNA plan: Kāeo residents up in arms at packed public meeting – Peter de Graaf:

A plan to designate more than 40 per cent of the Far North as Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) is a big disincentive to people who already look after their land, speaker after speaker told a packed public meeting in Kāeo.

More than 200 people turned out on Thursday evening to share their concerns about a proposed expansion of the district’s SNAs, a day after close to 500 people attended a similar meeting in Kawakawa.

Many of those at the Kāeo meeting said they already protected native bush by planting, pest control and fencing — but the SNA plan, which could limit use of their properties, had given them second thoughts.

Ahipara’s Danny Simms said he loved his land and didn’t need anyone to tell him to look after it. . . 

Global food prices rise at rapid rate in May:

Global food prices rose at their fastest monthly rate in more than a decade in May, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has reported.

The FAO Food Price Index averaged 127.1 points in May, 4.8% higher than in April and 39.7% higher than in May 2020.

A surge in the international prices of vegetable oils, sugar and cereals led the increase in the index to its highest value since September 2011 and only 7.6% below its all-time peak in nominal terms.

The FAO Cereal Price Index increased 6% from April, led by international maize prices, which averaged 89.9% above their value a year earlier. . .

A season of outstanding quality for New Zealand winegrowers:

After a smaller than usual harvest this year, New Zealand winemakers are excited about the excellent fruit and wine quality, though careful management of inventory is required to meet escalating global demand.

Spring was cooler than usual in 2021, with frosts occurring until unusually late in the season. This, combined with increasing costs of production, has made wine harvesting more difficult and expensive than usual.

The globally renowned wine-growing region of Marlborough was hit especially hard by these frosts. As an area famous for the quality of its wine – particularly Sauvignon Blanc -– this shortage of grapes has created a number of downstream implications for the wine industry, both here in New Zealand as well as internationally. . . 


Rural round-up

04/06/2021

Naked, bleeding and frozen: man’s quick thinking saves him from floodwaters – Charlie O’Mannin:

A South Canterbury man’s clear thinking left him naked and cold but alive, after he was swept into floodwaters in the early hours of Monday morning.

David Blair had not slept for 24 hours as he went between his farm and another property he owns in Pit Rd, Arundel, a rural community near Geraldine, 45 minutes before dawn on Monday morning.

Floodwaters were flowing directly under his property and Blair had been working to clear debris that might block the flow. As the flow increased, he decided he needed to take off a board under the house which was being blocked up with flotsam.

Blair drove back to his house to get a pinch bar on his quad bike. On his return he parked in the same place on the road he had previously, put his brakes on, and got off his bike. . . 

Help with roads, rivers and rubble a priority as farmers take stock of flood devastation – Martin van Beynen and Charlie Gates:

Farmer Darryl Butterick has lost five of his sire stags but his neighbour’s cows were the top of his many worries as he surveyed flood damage to his beef, deer and sheep farm in Greenstreet, about 20 minutes inland from Ashburton.

The one-year-old heifers from the neighbouring farm of Paul Adams had been swept onto his property by flood waters, and began to appear as the water continued to recede.

Unfortunately most were dead, many caught in trees.

Butterick said removing the dead heifers was a priority as they would contaminate ponds of water on the farm as they decomposed. Stock were drinking the water and people were working in it. . . 

Winter feed concerns after floods – Sally Rae:

Severe flooding in Canterbury poses a risk for the new dairy season’s production outlook.

In Westpac’s latest dairy update, senior agri-economist Nathan Penny said many farmers had lost winter feed during the floods and feed stores were already low given earlier dry conditions.

While that might not necessarily impact production levels from spring, any additional adverse weather events certainly would, Mr Penny said.

The new season officially began on Tuesday and final production data for the 2020-21 season was still to be released, but recent data suggested the season had ended on a strong note. . . 

Changes forced on them turning out for the best – Alice Scott:

While they may not be farming sheep or milking cows, Warren McSkimming and his wife Jodie have tight connections to the Maniototo, where Mr McSkimming grew up.

Pre-Covid they were running successful businesses servicing the tourism sector. Post-Covid, they have had to dust themselves off and carry on.

Mr McSkimming was born and raised in Oturehua. He has fond memories of a free-range childhood on the family farm and plenty of backyard cricket. He represented the Otago Volts for 12 years and had stints for the New Zealand Under-20 side and New Zealand A team.

“I never got that elusive black cap,” he said. . . 

Fast rise to fame for young farmer – Peter Burke:

He’s only been in the dairy industry for just over a year, but that hasn’t stopped 26-year-old Quinn Morgan from taking out the Ahuwhenua Young Māori Dairy Farmer of the year award.

Morgan is in his first season of farming, working as a farm assistant for Sam and Kate Moore on their 155ha farm in Otakiri near Whakatane, where they milk 570 cross breed cows.

The other two finalists were Anahera Hale and Ben Purua. Morgan says he felt humbled at winning the award. He says not everyone gets such a good start as he did – especially getting such good employers.

It was a big week for him and his wife Samantha and he is grateful for the opportunities. . .

Ohaeawai Butchery’s Basil Stewart adapts business through changing times – Donna Russell:

Rural butcher Basil Stewart is a bit of a Northland identity.

Stewart, who runs the Ohaeawai Butchery with his wife, Christine, started learning his craft when he was 18 and worked for the former owner Wyn Penney three times at three different locations before taking over the business in 2010.

He has worked for 32 years in the building, which is at the hub of Ohaeawai. The small village is at the junction of State Highway One and State Highway 12 about 11km east of Kaikohe.

The building was built in the early 1940s and its high ceilings and building features are evocative of the period. . . 

 


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