Rural round-up

March 17, 2019

Water restrictions reduced in Nelson after ‘significant’ rainfall in dam catchment – Skara Bohny:

Nelson’s water restriction is back down  to stage two after “significant” rainfall into the dam catchment, and closed reserves are being reopened.

Nelson City Council (NCC) has peddled back from stage three restrictions to stage two after rainfall overnight raised the Maitai Dam levels by 930mm, or just under one metre.

Over the course of the drought, the dam level had dropped by four metres. . . 

GPS-enabled collars allow farmers to steer cows around the farm remotely – Sam Kilmister:

Growing up on a small dairy farm in Waikato exposed Craig Piggott to the problems farmers face.

Armed with an engineering degree and a year’s experience building satellites for Rocket Lab, Piggott, 24, is now solving them with his own agri-tech invention. 

His brainchild is a GPS-enabled collar powered by solar energy, named Halter, which was unveiled to farmers at the Central District Field Days at Manfeild, Feilding, on Thursday. . . 

Wagyu-style lamb group recruiting more farmers – Maja Burry:

A group breeding a premium Wagyu-style lamb is looking to recruit more farmers as it aims to scale up production.

Te Mana Lamb is bred in the New Zealand high country and costs about 50 percent more than normal lamb.

It is marketed as being to lamb what Wagyu is to beef, with a fine marbling of Omega-3 fats achieved through breeding and grazing on a specific type of chicory pasture.

The product is part of the Omega Lamb Project, a programme which started in 2015 and involves New Zealand’s largest sheepmeat exporter Alliance Group, the Ministry for Primary Industries and 35 farmers. . . 

Selecting deer for resistance – Ken Muir:

Selecting deer with natural resistance to internal parasites could be the next tool for deer farmers in their search for better growth rates and ways to reduce the use of drenches in their animals says Tikana Wapiti Stud owner Dave Lawrence.

Resistance levels were scored using a saliva test that measured the antibodies triggered when animals ingested internal parasites.

Dubbed CARLA (Carla), short for carbohydrate larval antigens, the test was developed by AgResearch scientists for the sheep industry, where Carla breeding values (BVs) are now a routine part of genetic selection.

The Carla test measured antibodies triggered when animals ingested internal parasites. The saliva test for the antibodies was now well-established. . .

Precision bee keeping launches in New Zealand:

Helping New Zealand’s commercial bee keepers get more out of their hives is the goal of a new start up that marries together the best of the tech world with solid, Kiwi knowhow.

Until now most of New Zealand’s 880,000 registered bee hives have produced honey without the bee keepers knowing for sure how the hive is operating until the day of harvest. They’ve been working in the blind, hoping and trusting that the hive is active and producing, but with no cost-effective way to check on the hive’s progress.

Typically the first opportunity a bee keeper has to see how a hive is performing is on the day of harvesting itself – something that usually involves helicopters, trucks and personnel. By then, it’s too costly to change the harvesting schedule if required.. . 

Stop the tractor man and tell her when you’re coming home – Uptown Farms:

She didn’t understand. And I didn’t get that she didn’t understand. When I came back to the farm, I was just continuing on what had been done for six generations in my family.

I didn’t know we were so different – the hours, the seasons, the lifestyle. Farming was completely normal to me.

For a long time, I missed just how not normal it was for her. I missed how hard it was. I’m not saying I’m perfect now, but going into our eleventh planting season, I can guarantee I’m better today than I was before. . . 


Rural round-up

November 21, 2016

Kaikoura quake will have long-term implications for rural economy– Nick Clark:

This week has of course been dominated by the Kaikoura earthquake.  Our thoughts go out to everyone affected and Feds is playing an important part in the response efforts. 

As well as the impacts on people’s lives and livelihoods, there will be significant economic ramifications, both immediate and long-term.  The impacts will be felt locally and nationally.

The actual amount of damage and costs involved are still unclear and will take time to emerge.  What we do know though is that the scale of the disaster is immense and there has been severe damage to crucial transport and communications infrastructure, not to mention farms, businesses and homes. 

The cost of repair and rebuild alone will likely be in the billions and then there is the cost of the disruption, including lost business. . . 

Support package for earthquake-affected primary sector:

A support package for the primary sector around the upper South Island has been announced today by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

“The earthquakes this week have had a major impact on farmers, fishers, growers and the wine industry. The damage is widespread and severe and will need the help of the Government to recover,” says Mr Guy. 

The package today involves funding of at least $5 million and includes:

  • $4 million for Mayoral Disaster Rural Relief funds (Hurunui, Kaikoura and Marlborough) to help with non-insurable assets such as tracks, on-farm bridges and water infrastructure
  • $500,000 to support Rural Recovery Coordinators in the Hurunui, Kaikoura and Marlborough Districts
  • $500,000 extra funding for Rural Support Trusts
  • $200,000 per month to mobilise and support skilled primary industry students and workers for farm recovery work
  • Rural Assistance Payments (RAPs) from Work and Income NZ – emergency payments for farmers in real hardship. . . 

Farmers Grateful for Quake Zone Rural Relief Package:

Financial relief announced today for quake-stricken North Canterbury and Marlborough farmers will go a long way towards getting these families back up and running.

Federated Farmers president Dr William Rolleston says farmers will be pleased with the Government’s comprehensive range of $5 million in funding for various aspects of the quake response and recovery.

“The mayoral fund is specifically aimed at rural communities. It’s designed to help with restoring uninsured on-farm infrastructure like tracks, bridges and water reticulation. . . 

Feds set up trust for quake-hit farms:

Federated Farmers has reopened its Adverse Events Trust Fund to raise funds to support farms affected by the North Canterbury earthquake.

The trust fund will take donations which will be spent on immediate emergency support for farms, including emergency supplies, farm equipment, essential tools and materials.

“It’s a times like this that people are so keen to help, and that’s fantastic, but we have to be aware, the reality is dollars are going to be required to get these farms back up and running,” Federated Farmers adverse events spokesperson Katie Milne says. . . 

Plenty of positive talk about venison and velvet season – Yvonne O’Hara:

“Positive” and “encouraging” are words that deer farmer and veterinarian Dave Lawrence, of Browns, is using  to describe this year’s venison and velvet season.

“It is all very positive,” Mr Lawrence said.

“The venison schedule is about $8kg.

“In seasons gone by, the trend was to peak at about $8 and now there is talk about that being the bottom.

“It is very encouraging.”

He said as the industry moved out of the trough, deer farmers were now retaining more stock to  build up numbers, rather than sending them to the works. . . 

Milk price brings welcome boost to economy:

DairyNZ has welcomed the increased forecast milk price announced today, as a boost to dairy farmers as well as the regional and national economies.

The increase of 75 cents brings Fonterra’s 2016/17 forecast farmgate milk price to $6/kg milksolids (MS) – a lift of $1.75/kg MS since the start of the season, which brings a boost for average dairy farmer revenue of $260,000 or $3 billion nationally.

Today’s 75 cent increase equates to a $1.3 billion lift in the value of this season’s milk production. . . 

Rabobank: World Dairy Trade Faces Strong Headwinds:

The trade in dairy products has suffered a number of massive blows in the last three years and is set to continue face headwinds going forward. The Russian trade embargo, the slowing of demand growth from China, the impact of low oil prices on demand from oil exporting countries and the strengthening of the US dollar have all had an impact on the demand for imports. The expansion of production surrounding the removal of production quotas in Europe added to the pain and resulted in a period of extremely low world prices, according to Rabobank’s report “Strong Headwinds Weigh on Trade Growth.”

“And when we look forward”, says Kevin Bellamy, Global Strategist Dairy at Rabobank. “We see that none of these issues has been resolved. The Russian ban will be in place at least until 2017. Demand from China will continue to grow but at a slower rate, oil prices are forecast to remain at around the USD 50 per barrel mark, and the dollar is forecast to maintain its high value against other currencies. As a result, dairy trade is likely to grow at a slower rate than in recent years, driven more by population growth than per capita consumption increases.” . . 

‘High-risk situation’ for yellow-eyed penguin chicks

Avian diptheria has killed one in three yellow-eyed penguin chicks hatched at two north Otago colonies this year.

Outbreaks of the disease have been occuring every second season on average for at least the past 17 years and young chicks are particularly vulnerable to the disease.

Penguin Rescue manager Rosalie Goldsworthy, who looks after two colonies on the Moeraki Peninsula, said 31 out of 85 chicks hatched this year had died – many before they could be treated with antibiotics.

The disease first took hold in 1999, and at that point there were more than 600 breeding pairs on the mainland.

That population had declined to just 200 breeding pairs. . . 

New Zealand apple industry is breaking all records with largest ever apple crop forecast for 2017:

New Zealand is set to grow its largest ever export apple crop of 21.5 million cartons worth a record $800 million, the industry’s leader announced today.

Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Alan Pollard said the success of New Zealand’s apple industry was breaking all records.

“We are the first of New Zealand’s larger primary sectors to meet the Government’s challenge of doubling exports by 2025, and are well ahead of our own target of becoming a billion dollar industry by 2022. . .. 

Paul Henry … Invivo’s Newest Winemaker:

When Invivo winemakers were looking for a personality to make a Pinot Noir to match Graham Norton’s Own Sauvignon Blanc, they looked no further than Paul Henry. Now Paul ‘The Palate’ Henry can add winemaker to his career.

The self-confessed Pinot Noir expert was happy to team up with Invivo, the makers of award-winning Graham Norton’s Own Sauvignon Blanc, to produce a limited edition run of Paul Henry’s Own Pinot Noir.

Henry, who jokes about his highly attuned taste buds and advanced palate, says “I have been in training for this for years, most recently fine-tuning my expertise by specialising on reds, particularly Pinot Noir”.

Invivo co-founder Tim Lightbourne says, “When Paul put up his hand, we put a glass in it. Paul sees himself as bit of a wine buff, so we taught him about the blending process, then sat him down at the blending bench and said ‘go for it’”. . . 


Rural round-up

February 10, 2015

Watt family all pulling together – Sally Rae:

They say many hands make light work.

At Waitaki Orchard, near Kurow, there are many hands, although the workload is not always light, particularly over the busy harvest season.

But the remarkable Watt family, who own and run the summerfruit operation, take it all in their stride.

Justin and Julie Watt, along with their eight children, aged between 9 and 20, do not consider themselves anything out of the ordinary.

But their story is anything but ordinary as the close-knit family work together and the children step up to take on more responsibility, due to their parents’ serious health issues. . .

Challenge for A&P Shows to satisfy demands of new public – Allan Barber:

The 148th Warkworth A&P Show was held on the Saturday of Auckland Anniversary Weekend on a very warm day with no fear of rain which at least alleviated the committee’s first concern. In the north at least feed is still plentiful, although rain would be welcome, but there is as yet no major worry of drought; so we were able to plan the event and welcome the weather forecast without a guilty conscience.

Two years ago there were rather more serious concerns the Show wouldn’t reach its 150th anniversary, but a few things have happened since then which have pushed this undesirable outcome into the background. . .

– Allan Barber:

Ever since the Korean War over sixty years ago the price of wool has been in decline with a few upturns along the way. Over the period the fortunes of wool growers have suffered from massive lifestyle changes leading to reduced demand for woollen textiles and fibres and the rise of synthetics with properties capable of imitating, if not matching, those of wool at a lower price. Wool is not the only natural fibre to be affected, with cotton being hit even harder.

There are a remarkable number of parallels between the red meat and wool industries in the reactions to the situation which is not surprising given the respective price trends and the fact many of the farmers are the same individuals. Sheep and beef farmers’ opinions of the deficiencies of the meat industry are virtually identical to those of the wool trade, while proposed solutions are also remarkably similar. . .

Smoke-tainted grapes could be an issue:

The fire which burned through almost 600 hectares of forest and farmland in Marlborough in the past week could be costly for some grape growers as well.

Vineyards in the vicinity of the fire which burned over five days in the Onamalutu Valley near Renwick, may now have a problem on their hands with smoke-tainted grapes.

Wine Marlborough’s general manager Marcus Pickens said they did not know yet how many vineyards may have been affected by smoke from the fire, on the edge of one of Marlborough’s main wine producing areas.

But they were acting on advice from the Australian wine industry and its experience in dealing with the impact of bush fires on grape production. . . .

Minister welcomes launch of Safer Farms:

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse today welcomed the launch of the government’s Safer Farms programme.

Safer Farms is a multi-year programme designed by farmers and the wider agricultural sector, WorkSafe New Zealand and the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).

“The death and injury rate behind the farm gate is simply unacceptable. Someone is killed nearly every fortnight – this needs to change,” Mr Woodhouse says.

“Safer Farms is a new way of tackling a long standing problem hurting rural New Zealand. It’s about education, awareness and support for rural communities.” . . .

Sharing a passion for smart farming – Diane Bishop:

All eyes will soon be on Brian and Kristine Russell’s deer farming operation.

The large-scale deer farmers are the new Southland deer focus farmers. Their first field day will be held later this month, with Browns farmer Dave Lawrence as facilitator.

“We wanted a farmer with the right attitude and who is prepared to change. Brian is extremely positive and extremely passionate about the deer industry,” Lawrence said.

The Russells farm almost 10,000 stock units on two properties totalling 2165 hectares in central and northern Southland.

The 845ha Dipton West block, where the couple live with their three children, is used mainly for finishing, while the 1320ha Kowhai hill block, 20 kilometres away, is primarily used for breeding. . . 

 Attention to deer health can boost farm profits:

Deer farmers are being encouraged to have a close look at their animal health as part of the Passion2Profit initiative.

P2P aims to improve deer farm profits by developing new high-value markets for venison and removing barriers to performance on the farm. The initiative, which has just won funding support from the government’s Primary Growth Partnership, already has several activities underway.

“Animal health, feeding and genetics are the three big areas where farmers can influence the profits they make from deer,” says Deer Industry NZ chief executive Dan Coup. . . 


Rural round-up

February 9, 2015

Rural sports take centre stage – Paul Taylor:

Shearer David Fagan cemented his status as a true great of the sport with a thrilling victory yesterday.

Fagan (53) beat the 10 best shearers in the country to take the inaugural NZ Speed Shear Championship title, at the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games in Queenstown.

The 16 time NZ Golden Shears and five time world champion faced rival Dion King (40) in the final.

Fagan sheared two sheep in 42.26sec, ahead of King’s 44.48sec. . .

Safer farms launched today:

A six year safety programme aimed at reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on farms is being launched today.

The programme, Safer Farms, is being launched by Work Safe New Zealand at Lincoln University today. . .

Best young farmer in the South – Paul Taylor:

Winton sharemilker Steve Henderson is the best young farmer in Otago and Southland.

Mr Henderson (28) won the regional final of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest after an exhausting day competing in the Queenstown sunshine on Saturday.

He will now represent the region at the nationals in Taupo on July 6.

”She was a pretty big day against good competition, so it feels good to go through,” Mr Henderson said. . .

Ewes wouldn’t say ‘running’ – Guy Williams:

It was billed as the Running of the Wools, but ”running” doesn’t quite sum up this sheep yarn.

Slideshow here

It had less of the stampeding and goring of Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls, and more of the barking, eye-balling and milling around of television’s A Dog’s Show. . .

The problem of food: Scientist puts spotlight on crisis:

“Food safety and security is one of the most significant challenges humanity has ever faced. We are entering a global crisis, and the complexity of the problem demands urgent measures.”

That’s according to Lincoln University Senior Lecturer in Food Microbiology, Dr Malik Hussain, whose comments come as part of an editorial in a special edition of the journal Advances in Food Technology and Nutritional Sciences.

At the heart of the challenge lie the pressing issues of a large, rapidly growing population, deteriorating agricultural soils, falling water tables, and the need to rapidly modify production methods based on climate change.

According to Dr Hussain, while food safety and security issues are nothing new, it’s the scale and interconnectedness of the problem that makes the situation more serious now. . .

Winton entrant wins top awards – Sally Rae:

Winton deer farmer Dave Lawrence, from the Tikana stud, won the champion of champions title at the Elk and Wapiti Society of New Zealand’s annual velvet and antler competition in Wanaka.

Mr Lawrence, who enjoyed considerable success in the competition, which attracted 63 entries, won the five year section, before claiming the top award. . .

Women’s programme receives support:

A programme to help upskill women on sheep and beef farms has just received significant new backing.

The programme, Understanding Your Farming Business, is run by the Agri-Women’s Development Trust with funding from the Government and industry collaboration, the Red Meat Profit Partnership.

The trust’s executive director Lindy Nelson said it helped women to gain a better understanding of what drives a farming business and how to measure on-farm performance. . .

Charity bike ride for rural mental health issues – Dave Goosselink:

The taboo subjects of depression and suicide in the farming community are behind a South Island charity bike ride.

Twenty-seven riders are cycling from Picton to Bluff to raise awareness of mental health issues, and for Southland farmer John Dowdle, it’s a very personal issue.

As well as getting up early to bring in the cows, Mr Dowdle has been busy training for a charity ride. He’ll spend the next nine days cycling down the West Coast along with 26 other riders, raising awareness for an issue that’s not often discussed. . .

New Zealand wine goes head-to-head with Australia and England to celebrate the Cricket World Cup:

The cricket pitch is not the only place New Zealand will be competing with the two sporting behemoths, Australia and England, during the upcoming Cricket World Cup. New Zealand wine is battling it out with Australian and English wine in a series of cricket-themed blind tastings this month to celebrate the start of the competition.

To kick-off the celebrations, New Zealand sparkling wine will compete with English sparkling wine in the “Battle of the Bubbles” on 19 February in Wellington. 12 wines from each country will be tasted blind by two teams, each headed by one Wine Captain. Jane Skilton MW will captain New Zealand with moral support from cricketing legend Stephen Fleming. Wine super-star Oz Clarke will lead the English team. . .

 


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