Rural round-up

May 18, 2015

Desire signalled to rebuild farmer trust – John Gibbs:

The Otago Regional Council is keen to repair the damaged trust between some of the region’s farmers and the council after concerns about rising charges and communication issues were highlighted this week.

That message came through clearly yesterday as an ORC hearing panel began discussing the ORC’s proposed long-term plan, and in submissions made on the plan at public hearings earlier this week.

The panel yesterday completed nearly a week of hearings involving submissions on the ORC’s proposed 2015-25 long-term plan, including Dunedin hearings on Wednesday and Thursday. . .

Benefits from Chinese investment extend beyond the farm gate to NZ Inc.:

The benefits of Chinese investment extend beyond the farm gate and into the New Zealand economy according to the CEO of Pengxin International, Gary Romano.

Romano made these comments when Shanghai Pengxin subsidiary, Milk New Zealand Holdings, was named the supreme winner at the 2015 HSBC NZCTA New Zealand China Business Awards. The company also took out the DLA Piper category ward for Inward or Outward Investment with China.

The awards follow success earlier this year when Milk New Zealand Holdings won the Emerging Business Award and then the overall Supreme Business Award at the BNZ New Zealand Chinese Business Awards. . .

Texel coming of age – Sally Rae:

Geoff Howie was one of the original breeders who invested in Texel sheep when they were released from quarantine in 1990.

The South Otago farmer always liked to look at something new that had a promising future and he had also been ”right into meat and something outside the square”.

”Texels took my eye right from the start,” he said. The Texel originated on the island of Texel to the north of Holland in the North Sea. The sheep imported into New Zealand were sourced from Denmark and Finland. . .

Greenfeeds contest highly successful – David Bruce:

More than $30,000 will go to two beneficiaries from North Otago’s first farming greenfeeds competition, aimed at finding the best winter crop.

The competition was organised by the Waianakarua and Waiareka Valley Lions Clubs.

The overall winners, Matt and Julie Ross, of Kokoamo Farms in the Waitaki Valley, were announced on Friday at a dinner, auction and award presentations attended by more than 250 people. . .

Exclusive contract ‘crucial’ for Otago fine wool grower–  Rob Tipa:

An exclusive contract to supply a leading Japanese fine wool suit manufacturer with ultra-fine merino wool has proven to be a crucial business move for Maniototo fine wool grower Tony Clarke, of Closeburn Station.

Konaka Co is one of the top three suit manufacturers in Japan, it is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and has more than 450 retail stores.

Closeburn Station hosted a visit by 21 of the company’s top executives and sales people last week during a five-day tour of New Zealand to acquaint them with the exclusive source of fine wool used to make top-of-the-line fashion suits they sell. . .

500,000 shades of grey beef trade – Andrew Marshal:

CHINA’S much talked about and unofficial beef ‘grey trade’, accounting for between 500,000 tonnes and 750,000t of the nation’s annual imports, is unlikely to fade away any time soon says ANZ’s global agribusiness research head Michael Whitehead.

Despite Chinese government efforts to clamp down on back door red meat and seafood imports which avoid tariffs and government biosecurity scrutiny, he doubted the social upheaval caused by any serious restrictions would be worth the gains they achieved.

Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong and Bangladesh were expected to continue supplying China’s grey trade with beef – largely from Brazil, India and the US – despite Chinese authorities still campaigning against the trade. . .


Rural round-up

May 11, 2015

$48m contract signed to expand NOIC scheme – David Bruce:

A $48 million contract has been signed to extend the North Otago irrigation scheme to another 10,000ha, with work to start this month and water expected to be flowing in September next year.

It is the major cost of the expansion, which is expected to total about $57 million once company and design costs are added.

The North Otago Irrigation Company (NOIC) and McConnell Dowell Constructors Ltd signed the infrastructure contract on Thursday after enough farmers had committed to the scheme in December for the expansion to the Kakanui Valley.  .  .

Government invests in Primary Industry Research Centre:

Federated Farmers is pleased to see two of the country’s top research institutes’ second application for Government funding under the CoREs (Centre of Research Excellence) has been successful.

The two institutes, The Riddet Institute (Massey University) and the Bio-Protection Research Centre (Lincoln University) are crucial to New Zealand’s primary industries and have each made significant advances for New Zealand’s economy, society and the environment thanks to previous Government funding.

“I am thrilled that these highly innovative research centres have made it through the selection process and will now be able to continue their crucial work in sustainable pest management solutions and food science and human health,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers President. . .

Carpet wool comes into fashion:

New Zealand strong wool, renowned for its use in carpets, is set to become world famous for a new use – on people’s feet.

Danish footwear firm Glerups has signed a two-year deal with The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) and New Zealand’s largest farming company, Landcorp to exclusively supply strong wool for its indoor shoe range.

The indoor shoes, renowned for comfort, warmth and durability, are felted in 100% pure natural wool with soft leather soles. They are sold throughout Denmark and in more than 20 countries, including New Zealand (www.glerups.co.nz). . .

Climate Change Conversation welcomed:

Federated Farmers welcomes the Government’s public consultation on climate change, ahead of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, in December.

“We live in a global world, where as much as we are a part of its problems we are a part of its solutions,” says Anders Crofoot, Federated Farmers Climate Change Spokesperson.

“It is important that the public are a part of the discussion in setting New Zealand‘s post 2020 climate change target. A critical element to having that discussion is that everyone understands the issues and trade-offs involved in setting our contribution.”

“New Zealand’s economy is driven by exports with 73 percent of our merchandise exports coming from the primary industries, worth $35.2 billion. UN projections have the global population peaking at 11 billion by 2075 and the FAO estimates that agricultural output must increase by 60 percent by 2050 to meet this growth. While New Zealand cannot feed the world we will play our part. It would be irresponsible of us to squander or underutilise our resources.” . . .

Unlocking secrets behind footrot:

New Zealand’s fine wool sector is a step closer to eradicating footrot thanks to ground-breaking research in sheep genetics.

The FeetFirst project, part of a Primary Growth Partnership between the New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) and the Ministry for Primary Industries, is using genetic testing to identify fine-wool sheep with resistance to footrot.  Researchers are now close to developing a simple test for growers to eliminate footrot using selective breeding. . .

Fund helps township with projects

A Waitaki Valley township is cashing in on its history as tourism grows, particularly because of the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail.

Duntroon is undergoing a transformation to re-create its history, with the help of more than $100,000 so far from the Meridian Energy Waitaki Community Fund.

The Duntroon Development Association is leading the work, based on a community vision conceived about 12 years ago, with several projects, including restoration of Nicol’s Forge and a wetland area.

”It’s fantastic what’s been achieved,” association spokesman Mike Gray said yesterday. . .

Adventure & outdoor conference focusing on the future:

Adventure and outdoor tourism operators will have the opportunity to focus on growing their sector at a one-day conference in July, the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) says.

The Great Adventure 2015, the only conference specifically for New Zealand’s adventure and outdoor tourism sector, will take place in Wellington on 2-3 July 2015. Registrations open today at www.tianz.org.nz/main/The_Great_Adventure_2015

Now in its third year, The Great Adventure will focus on growing a strong and unified sector that succeeds and leads at every level from safety to profitability. . .


Rural round-up

April 1, 2015

Big dump culmination of years of worry – David Bruce:

A frustrated North Otago farmer drove 120km on Monday to dump a load of excrement at the Otago Regional Council’s doorstep in Dunedin. David Bruce talks to him about why he did it.

Five Forks dairy farmer Robert Borst says he is at a loss about where to go from here.

He says he faces losing everything he has worked for in an industry he has wanted to be in since he was 15.

He left school and started at the bottom in dairying, shifted from Taranaki to the Waitaki Plains in 1992 then, from 1997, he and wife Sylvia started to build up what are now three dairy farms at Five Forks.

Changes in a water plan by the Otago Regional Council setting new limits on discharges from his farms has put everything in jeopardy, he believes. . .

Positive agriculture Omarama winner – Sally Rae:

Omarama farmers Richard and Annabelle Subtil want to help highlight the positive side of agriculture.

Mr and Mrs Subtil were named the supreme winners in this year’s Canterbury Ballance farm environment awards.

The couple farm Omarama Station, a property of nearly 12,000ha, which has been in Mrs Subtil’s family since 1919. . .

Farmer confidence grows – Dene Mackenzie and Sally Rae:

There is a sense of relief as two surveys show regional economic confidence rose in the three months ended March.

Farmer confidence has taken a ”significant jump” in the first quarterly Rabobank rural confidence for the year. The survey, completed earlier this month, was released the same day as Fonterra dropped its dividend estimate range by 5c to between 20c and 30c to the disappointment of farmers.

The Westpac McDermott Miller regional economic confidence survey showed rural regions and smaller centres generally showing the biggest gains. Confidence in the main centres was mixed. . .

Can science fix the dairy debate – Kevin Ikin:

The debate continues on whether there should be a moratorium on further dairy farm development.

The Green Party and the Fish and Game organisation are keen on the concept, which they say should be given serious consideration while the impact of intensive farming on the environment is properly assessed.

The issue also came up at a water management forum in Geraldine, South Canterbury, last week.

One of the speakers, Morgan Foundation economist Geoff Simmons said if the Government was serious about water quality then it had to consider a moratorium on further dairy farm conversions.

“Actually, if you are maintaining or improving the water quality, how can you do that when you are still doing conversions? . .

Fonterra’s disappointing performance – Allan Barber:

Fonterra’s interim result announcement contains confirmation of the farmgate milk price forecast of $4.70, but a reduction in the added value dividend.

The steady milk payout forecast was anticipated, although Global Dairy Trade auction results have so far failed to achieve the US$3,500 per tonne average which is estimated to be the minimum needed to underpin the payout. The higher volume being released for auction GDT and likely milk production by competitors such as American and European farmers may actually increase the risk of underachieving the forecast end of year payout. . .

Fonterra says it’s holding its own in Canterbury as farmer suppliers look to new processors – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group, New Zealand’s largest dairy processor, says it’s holding its own in the dairy-intensive Canterbury region, despite reports some of its 10,600 farmers shareholders are lining up to supply milk to its competitors in the wake of its weak interim results last week.

Farmers were disappointed with the half-year results, which included a 16 per cent drop in profit to $183 million and a trimming of the forecast dividend payout for the year by 5 cents to a range of between 20 cents and 30 cents. Faced with a low forecast payout of $4.70 per kilogram of milk solids this season compared to a record $8.40 kg/MS last season, farmers had been expecting a fatter rather than skinnier dividend from its value-added activities. . .

Search on for 2015 Young Horticulturist of the Year:

A nationwide search begins this week for young men and women who exemplify the leadership qualities that have earned New Zealand’s primary products the trust of consumers all over the world.

Starting this April, young horticultural leaders from every corner of New Zealand will compete in six sector competitions to qualify as a finalist in the Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture Education Trust’s ‘Young Horticulturist of the Year 2015 Competition’.

2014 overall winner, Northland orchardist and horticultural business owner, Patrick Malley, believes that despite the ups and downs the primary sector has faced in recent times, New Zealand’s value as a leading producer of primary products comes from the high levels of trust this country’s products enjoy overseas. . .


Trickle down works with irrigation

December 22, 2014

The trickle down theory has been discredited in economics but it works with irrigation and North Otago Irrigation Company’s decision to extend its scheme will provide a boost for the whole region:

The decision by the North Otago Irrigation Company to expand its scheme is a big Christmas present for the region. David Bruce looks at what it means.

It’s a pun, but the trickle-down from new irrigation in North Otago is evident in all sectors of the community.

And it’s the old story – when farmers are doing well, so is North Otago. When they shut their chequebooks, all North Otago suffers.

The figures for the first stage of the North Otago irrigation scheme, opened in 2006, tell the story, and here comes the second stage.

Our farm and the two immediate neighbours had four houses on them before the first stage of NOIC’s scheme brought water to our valley, now there are 14.

That has been repeated all over the district and the people living in the new houses have dropped the average age by decades.

The company has committed to a second stage which will spread the benefits further.

An economic benefit study in 2010 of stage 1 said it was ”the single most significant economic development” project in the Waitaki district in recent years.

Until then, and before dairy prices boomed, then collapsed, it had created 76 jobs on farms that now earn $44 million a year more than before. Since then, on-farm development has continued.

More people now live in the irrigated area, many of them young families, which had brought community and social benefits such as increased school rolls.

It also contributed to population growth in the district.

Business people in Oamaru can point to very tangible gains through the whole of the economy, not just from a more stable agricultural sector but new businesses and increases in jobs in existing businesses.

These have resulted in demands for all services, from motorcycles to new houses, and new farm service companies, particularly related to irrigation.

That was echoed by Otago Chamber of Commerce North Otago spokesman Simon Berry who was pleased with the decision.

”The benefits will be felt far and wide through the whole community. The knock-on and trickle down (from stage 1) has already been shown to be major,” he said.

In terms of new businesses, the chamber had noticed not only people returning to Oamaru but also coming in to set up new businesses, he said, quoting the Tees St Cafe and Scott’s Brewery as recent examples.

Another example was an Oamaru company which was building dairy sheds but had now expanded in to prefabricated buildings and housing which it was selling, not only in North Otago but other expanding regions.

”There are the irrigation servicing companies who are growing or have moved in to town to support the development.”

All that activity was benefiting sub-contractors such as painter and plumbers.

”Anyone who tries to get a tradie will know that.”

That was all a direct result of irrigation, Mr Berry said. . .

The mood in North Otago has been increasingly positive since irrigation first came, even when the weather’s dry and drought’s threatening as it is now, in spite of some rain at the weekend.

Nothing beats water from the sky, but there’s now enough critical mass under irrigation to drought-proof the area, giving farmers on dryland options to sell stock and/or buy supplements or grazing.

The growing optimism has been helped by growth in tourism too.

The little blue penguins, Oamaru’s beautiful old (by New Zealand standards) buildings and more recently steam punk and the Alps to Ocean cycle way have brought more people to the area, providing opportunities for artists, artisans, hospitality and other businesses which service and supply visitors.

The latest Lonely Planet guide to New Zealand crowned Oamaru the coolest town in the country.

The expanded irrigation scheme will provide another boost for the area as money spent by farmers trickles through the rest of the community and into the wider economy.

 

 

 


Rural round-up

December 8, 2014

Little water left for new schemes -David Bruce:

Virtually no water will be available from the lower Waitaki River for new irrigation schemes, if Environment Canterbury changes a water allocation plan for the river.

That possibility is revealed in a report on ”plan change 3” for the Waitaki catchment water allocation regional plan. Environment Canterbury (Ecan) earlier this year called for public submissions on the plan change, receiving 549. It is now in the second round of submissions.

As part of the plan change, a report under section 32 of the Resource Management Act, that contains details of what the change contains and the effects, has had to be prepared. . .

Westland Milk records highest-ever one-day milk collection – Fiona Rotherham:

 (BusinessDesk) – Westland Milk Products, the country’s second largest dairy cooperative, has recorded its highest ever one-day collection, with its tankers bringing in slightly more than four million litres of milk on Oct.31.

The Hokitika-based cooperative’s farmer shareholders have lifted production by more than 5 percent this season in spite of wet and cold weather on West Coast with 335 million litres of milk sent so far to the company’s plants in Hokitika and Rolleston, Westland said in a statement. Coast-based farmer suppliers have produced a 3 percent rise on this time last year while Canterbury shareholders are up by more than 14 percent. . .

 

Putting in 100% pays off with win – Sally Rae:

Reward for effort.

That is a common saying in the Engelbrecht household in East Otago, applied to anything from farming to the sports field.

”That sums up everything in life,” Simon Engelbrecht told those attending a field day at his farm last week.

Mr Engelbrecht, who farms at Stoneburn, near Palmerston, with his wife Kirstin, was a firm believer in ”do it 100% or don’t do it”.

The couple were the winners of this year’s New Zealand ewe hogget competition. First-time entrants in the competition, they won the crossbred section with their Coopdale hoggets and the flock performance award, before winning the overall title. . .

Exporters paying lower tariffs:

A report into trade barriers for New Zealand’s horticulture industry reveals the amount exporters have had to pay on tariffs was 25 percent less than two years ago.

The Trade Barriers report shows tariffs imposed by other countries cost New Zealand growers on average $36,000 each – about $8000 less than in 2012.

Sixty percent of New Zealand’s total production of fruit and vegetables is exported and is worth just over $2.4 billion.

Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Peter Silcock said it is important to continue efforts on getting free trade agreements because while progress has been made there is still a long way to go. . .

Non-tariff barriers next hurdle – Nigel Stirling:

A shift in New Zealand’s trade strategy looks to be underway as primary industry bosses question the value in launching yet more tariff-tackling negotiations when potentially larger obstacles to trade exist elsewhere.

The recent deal with South Korea meant NZ now had trade agreements with six of its top 10 export markets.

Of the remaining four (the United States, Japan, the European Union and India) negotiations were under way for tariffs-busting deals either through the 12-country TransPacific Partnership or in bilateral talks either underway or expected soon. . .

Study of kea strike starts – Sally Rae:

Clio Reid wants to help prevent sheep being attacked by kea – and kea being shot.

Ms Reid is seeking help from farmers in a study of sheep and kea that she is conducting as part of her PhD through the Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences at Massey University.

They were encouraged to take part in a survey to find out the extent of kea strike on South Island high country sheep stations.

Kea strike was discovered in the Wakatipu area in the 1860s, with a legal government bounty initiated in the same decade which resulted in an estimated 150,000 kea killed up until the early 1970s. . .

Farm Environment Trust Celebrates ‘Great Farming Stories’:

 Many of the great farming stories delivered by the Ballance Farm Environment Awards are showcased on New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust’s website.

NZFE chairman Simon Saunders says the Trust recently revamped its website to make the “vast wealth of educational material and fantastic farming stories” easily accessible to farmers and the wider community.

The ‘Great Farming Stories’ link on NZFE’s homepage www.nzfeatrust.org.nz will take the viewer through to an extensive choice of ‘Sustainability in Action’ video presentations and written reports. . .

 


Rural round-up

September 27, 2014

Forensic tests key in sheep death inquiry – David Bruce:

Forensic results from Australia could determine the direction of Oamaru police investigations into the death of 218 sheep on two North Otago farms in June.

It was initially believed the sheep, worth about $45,000, were shot, but police were never 100% convinced and were having further forensic tests carried out.

Yesterday, Detective Warren Duncan said initial tests were done by a forensic veterinarian.

From those results, it was decided further forensic tests would be carried out to get definitive answers. . .

Water by-law under attack – David Bruce:

Rural people have come out in fierce opposition to a Waitaki District Council draft water bylaw, one describing it as ”a summons to divorce”.

But some councillors, and assets manager Neil Jorgensen, said the criticism was a result of misinterpretation and a lack of definition in the draft bylaw, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher commenting: ”There are a whole lot of things being read in which was never intended.”

Staff and councillors are going to take another look at the bylaw, including whether rural water schemes should be separated from urban. . .

World’s Best Young Shepherds Flock to France:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand is sending two young Kiwi shepherds to France this week to take on the world’s best in an international test of sheep farming skills.

Katey Craig and Mitchel Hoare will represent New Zealand at the second World Young Shepherds Challenge, in Auvergne, 30 September–1 October.

Katey, 21, is a junior shepherd at Otiwhiti Station in Hunterville, while 19-year-old Mitchel is a senior cadet at Waipaoa Station, near Gisborne.

“The World Young Shepherds Challenge is a fantastic event, showcasing a vital industry and a range of young people from around the globe who have a major contribution to make to the international sheep farming sector,” says Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO, Dr Scott Champion. . .

 Dairy export prices and volumes move upwards over 20 years:

This article examines how dairy export prices and volumes changed between 1992 and 2012. Dairy exports mainly cover milk powder, butter, cheese, yoghurt, and whey. Also see the infographic Dairy exports in 2012 compared with 1992.

20-year summary

Compared with 20 years ago, both dairy export volumes and prices have risen, with most of the growth being in volumes. In 2012, the volume of dairy exports was four times as high as in 1992.

New Zealand is now more diversified in the countries it exports dairy products to. Notably, the amount of dairy exported to China has grown strongly. In the 1960s, New Zealand exported dairy products mainly to the United Kingdom (UK) but this has changed to include the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and North Africa. . . .

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Traditional treatment nets supreme award for Sealord smoked salmon:

Sealord Group’s Hot Manuka Smoked Salmon received a resounding thumbs up from both the professional panel of judges and the consumer judging panel at this year’s New Zealand Food Awards.

The 2014 Supreme Award winner is smoked in West Auckland the traditional way, over manuka wood.

Judge Ray McVinnie says the winners he liked most this year were steeped in tradition, but with a modern twist.

“I was very impressed with the way the best things seem to set the trends, not follow them,” Mr McVinnie says. . . .

 

Buyers have ‘pick of the bunch’ as viticulture and agriculture units go on the market for sale:

A cluster of income-producing agricultural and viticulture land holdings in the Nelson region have come onto the market simultaneously – with the intention of having new owners in place in time to capitalise on the various 2015 harvest seasons.

Two high profile wineries, a large scale hop growing and processing operation, and an apple and kiwifruit orchard and packhouse are all up for sale across the region – each for different reasons.

Combined, the quartet of primary production ventures has an asking price of almost $32 million. . . .

 


Rural round-up

July 27, 2014

Changes likely in lakes camping – David Bruce:

Thousands of campers who pour in to Waitaki lakes camp sites during summer face some major changes in management by the Waitaki District Council.

Most of the camps could be handed over to private operators under leases or contracts, but before any final decisions are made, people will be asked what they want.

That is likely to be contentious. Similar proposals in the past have caused consternation among some campers.

But they could also look at the Mackenzie District Council’s Haldon Arm Camp, which is administered by the Haldon Arm Reserve Trust Board, made up of campers. . .

Water deal celebrated – Sally Brooker:

Compromise and co-operation are being hailed as the main ingredients in a South Canterbury agreement on nitrogen limits.

Farmers in the Lower Waitaki-South Coastal Canterbury catchment had asked their Environment Canterbury zone committee for more time to work on allocating nitrogen emissions, within the maximum already set to meet the goals of a healthy environment and vibrant economy.

Since February, the farmers have held more than 10 meetings, with ECan supplying technical advisers. After fearing they would not agree, they eventually did.” . . .

Asian markets driving growth for NZ food & beverage exports:

Consumer demand in East and South East Asia for high value foods and beverages is driving export growth and diversification, a new Government report shows.

‘What does Asia Want for Dinner? Emerging Market Opportunities for New Zealand food & beverages in East & South East Asia’ was released today by Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

The report finds that New Zealand’s overall food and beverage export performance to Asia is excellent; performing strongly in dairy, as well as in meat, seafood, produce and processed foods.

“Asia is the fastest growing food market in the world and is increasingly important for New Zealand exports”, Mr Joyce says. . .

Māori agribusiness showcased to international delegation:

New Zealand’s Māori agribusiness programmes are on show this week, as delegates from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies visit New Zealand to address common barriers to rural economic development. Through case studies and on-farm visits, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will share experiences learned while helping to build the capability of New Zealand’s rural economic development.

The visiting delegates from Peru, Indonesia, Japan, China, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines will attend a two-day APEC PPFS Rural Development workshop from 22-24 July 2014, hosted by MPI and the Northland Māori agribusiness partners.

“Food security is a common APEC challenge with increasing demands and a need to focus on sustainable productivity,” says MPI’s Deputy Director-General Ben Dalton. . .

Don’t write of dairying MyFarm says:

People should not be in any hurry to write off dairy farming just because prices have taken a dive, MyFarm executive director Andrew Watters says.

The average whole milk powder price in the Fonterra GlobalDairyTrade auctions has fallen by 38 percent since February.

Dairy farmers and economists say with the recent sharp drop in prices, it is inevitable Fonterra’s $7 per kilogram of milksolids price forecast will come down – one predicted as low as $6.

But Mr Watters said predictions of the end of the good times in the dairy industry were premature.

He pointed out that Fonterra only sold only about a third of its product at the auction, and that volumes at recent auctions had been low.

The positive, longer-term outlook for dairy farming had not changed, he said. . .

Grow Movie – A Great Documentary Which Outlines Young Urbanites Turning To Farming – Milking on the Moove:

I watched the Grow Movie the other night. 

It’s a documentary that tells the story of how young urban people are being attracted to farming.

The movie follows a few young farmers in the US state of Georgia. We learn how they found themselves farming & why they love it.

Most of the people were highly educated with degrees in finance, engineering & soil science etc, but they have chosen the small scale rural lifestyle. . .

MPI introduces new biosecurity sniffers

Two young biosecurity sniffers were introduced to the world today, along with a new type of detector dog and a new home for the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) Auckland-based canine team.

Beagle puppies Darcie (girl) and Darwin (boy), collectively known as D-litter, were born by caesarean in May to working detector dog Zuma under the MPI detector dog breeding programme.

Steve Gilbert, MPI Director Border Clearance Services says the MPI breeding programme “provides a cost-effective way of producing fit-for-purpose biosecurity detector dogs”.

The programme has produced 27 litters since 1996 and nearly 80 percent of the individual puppies have become successful biosecurity detector dogs. . .

Brits buy record amount of NZ wine:

New Zealand premium wine sales soar in the UK market

New Zealand wine has become the number 2 country of origin in the UK market for wine sold over £7 according to the latest Nielsen data (MAT 21-6-14). New Zealand now sells 18% of all wines sold in this premium price segment, having overtaken Australia and now sits behind France.

The latest statistics also show New Zealand’s average price per bottle has increased to £7.34 from £6.79 – an 8.1% increase (Nielsen MAT 21-6-14). . . . .

 New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Welcome Boost to Horticulture Industry:

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) has welcomed the Government’s plans to get more Kiwis into seasonal work, and its decision to increase the annual Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) cap to a total of 9000 workers.

NZKGI President, Neil Trebilco, says this boost to seasonal workers is essential in delivering the industry’s forecasted future growth.

“The kiwifruit industry is recovering quickly from Psa and is poised for big future growth. Over the next few years we are going to see a significant increase in Gold3 volume. . . .


Rural round-up

June 21, 2014

Irrigation change ‘win-win outcome’ – David Bruce:

Farmers have spent ”tens of thousands of dollars” and considerable time on a plan to cut the irrigation take from the Maerewhenua River, an Environment Canterbury hearing was told in Oamaru yesterday.

Drawn up between the community and Environment Canterbury (ECan), it involves some farmers shifting irrigation takes to the Waitaki River to leave more water in the Maerewhenua, one of New Zealand’s outstanding small river fisheries.

ECan has instigated a plan change to the Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation Regional Plan, prepared in 2005, to reduce water allowed for irrigation from the Maerewhenua River and some other provisions. . . .

Blue Sky Meats returns to profit – Alan Williams:

Southern lamb processor Blue Sky Meats is back in profit, emerging from what chairman Graham Cooney said was the most difficult trading in its history.

The after-tax profit for the year ended March 31 was $1.94 million, compared to a loss of $3.87m a year earlier. 

Revenue was down 2% to $95.3m, with costs 10% lower at $92.6m. This was as a result of paying livestock suppliers prices which reflected the market, unlike a year earlier, Cooney said. . . .

Levy about ‘putting heat’ into industry:

The proposed levy referendum is about ”putting heat back into the industry”, Wool Levy Group chairwoman Sandra Faulkner says.

Sheep farmers will have the opportunity to vote on whether to reintroduce a wool levy in October.

Until then, Mrs Faulkner, a sheep farmer from Muriwai, and her team will be speaking to groups at events across the country about the referendum process and the importance of voting.

She called her team ”fantastic” and said it had pan-sector representation. . . .

Elders New Zealand sells to Carr Group:

South Island based Carr Group have acquired Elders Rural Services New Zealand (Elders) for an undisclosed amount from Elders Australia Limited and New Zealand based Sredle Rural Services.

Carr Group Managing Director, Craig Carr said the opportunity to return Elders to Kiwi ownership was exciting for both companies. “Bringing together two strong agri-businesses under one New Zealand entity will not only expand our footprint within New Zealand but also across the global marketplace where we currently operate and export to more than 40 countries. Supported by a team of over 400 staff in New Zealand, Australia, India, Africa and the Middle East, this acquisition will take combined group annual revenues to in excess of NZD300 million”.

Starting from humble beginnings 40 years ago in Ashburton, founders Greg and Glenys Carr are still active in the business along with their three sons and daughter. . .

Deer profit initiative wins government support:

The government is supporting a major initiative to increase deer farm profitability.

The Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) is contributing up to $225,000 over the next three years to Advance Parties, a half million dollar project designed to lift deer farming profits. The balance of funding comes from Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ).

DINZ chief executive officer Dan Coup said he was grateful for the support provided by the fund, which has appreciated the novelty and the merit of the Advance Parties concept.

“We see that as a strong endorsement for our overall deer farming profitability strategy – Passion2Profit.” . .

Farmax to be first company to adopt Farm Data Code of Practice

Leading farm management software provider Farmax is the first company in New Zealand to begin the Farm Data Code of Practice accreditation process.

Launched on 10 June, the Farm Data Code of Practice outlines steps organisations must take to safeguard farmers’ data and ensure information is stored and shared in the most secure way possible.

By adopting and implementing the Farm Data Code of Practice, Farmax general manager Gavin McEwen said the company will assure farming clients that their data is managed in a responsible way.

“Compliance with the Code of Practice will show that we are committed to furthering the use of information technology-based solutions in the industry. We believe the guidelines set out within the Code of Practice will eventually lead to greater confidence from farmers in how Farmax handles their data,” said Mr McEwen. . . .

Abodo Wood’s Innovative Wood Products Scoop Green Ribbon Awards 2014:

New Zealand natural wood specialist Abodo Wood scooped the Green Economy Award at this year’s Green Ribbon Awards, on June 16.

Abodo’s range of preservative-free, locally grown cladding products were noted as influential in a drive towards sustainable, cradle-to-cradle building materials.

Of particular note was Abodo Wood’s Elements Vulcan+ and Elements Tundra timber weatherboards, both of which are locally grown, FSC certified and free from chemical preservatives. . .

Cow Stuck On Roof In Swiss Alps, Terrible Puns Ensue – Chris York:

You cud not make it up!

The steaks could not have been higher when a lonely and presumably Friesian bovine moo-ved itself onto… oh you get the picture.

It’s a cow stuck on a roof. . .


Rural round-up

May 25, 2014

Wishing won’t make it happen – Allan Barber:

Southland Regional Council chair, Ali Timms, hopes the government will take on board her warning about the effect of the red meat sector’s continued decline on water quality and increased nitrogen levels.

It’s an understandable message from a regional councillor, given the impact on a region’s land uses and water resources. But it’s no different from the message being promoted by Meat Industry Excellence group and sheep and beef farmers in general, except for the focus on water quality.

Wringing the hands and wishing won’t make a blind bit of difference. Minister of Agriculture Nathan Guy has repeated his position which reflects exactly what the Prime Minister told the Red Meat Sector Conference last year: if the meat industry as a whole can agree on a restructuring plan, the government will support it. Otherwise it won’t interfere to provide a legislative remedy to a commercial problem, nor should it. . .

Creating value aim of deer industry strategy – Sally Rae:

After joining Deer Industry New Zealand eight months ago as its new chief executive, Dan Coup learnt ”pretty quickly” that confidence among producers was generally at a low ebb.

He arrived at a time when farmers were frustrated at the state of profitability, particularly in venison, and were determined that things needed to change.

Addressing the deer industry conference in Methven this week, Mr Coup said that was well understood by Deer Industry New Zealand (Dinz) which was taking up the challenge. . . .

 

Big grants for Kiwi animal to human disease scientists:

A group of scientists including some from Massey and Otago Universities has been given grants worth $8.8 million to study infectious diseases spread from animals to humans.

The coalition of researchers working in northern Tanzania has won three grants to study zoonotic infectious diseases among poor livestock keepers.
Professor John Crump, the McKinlay Professor of Global Health and co-director of the Otago University Centre for International Health, is involved in all three projects.Massey researchers who are internationally leading experts in food safety and meat production will play a key role in one that focuses on foodborne disease spread risk during the transition from subsistence to commercial livestock production.The overall programme, Zoonoses in Emerging Livestock Systems’ (ZELS), is funded by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and UK Department for International Development (DfID) and seeks to improve the health of poor farmers and their livestock through integrated human, animal and environmental health research, an approach often referred to as One Health. . . .

Irrigators mull options for upgrade – David Bruce:

Farmers between Duntroon and Kurow are considering plans to upgrade their irrigation schemes and preliminary estimates for the work range from almost $30 million to $53.6 million.

Two options for improving the schemes, potentially irrigating another 5597ha, have come out of a study undertaken by the Kurow-Duntroon Irrigation Co, Maerewhenua District Water Resource Co and Waitaki Independent Irrigators Inc, which collectively irrigate about 7700ha.

The Lower Waitaki south bank integrated irrigation study was prompted by requirements to upgrade schemes to renew resource consents, including conditions relating to the more efficient use of water. . .

Otago Highlanders help Fonterra:

Fonterra Milk for Schools celebrates one year in Otago today. To date, 8,135 school children from 100 schools across the region have participated in the programme.

The milestone is being marked with a celebration at Otago’s George Street Normal School where students were challenged to a ‘fastest folder competition’ by members of the Otago Highlanders Super Rugby team.

George Street Normal Principal, Rod Galloway, says the Fonterra Milk for Schools programme is providing nutrition that is beneficial to the children’s learning, and is also helping to teach them about the importance of recycling. . .

Milk for schools helps Asian children:

Kiwi kids drinking free school milk are helping Asian students learn by recycling the milk packs.

Fourteen million Fonterra Milk for Schools packs emptied by 170,000 New Zealand primary school children in the last year have been sent to Thailand and Malaysia where they are recycled into products including desks, paper, books and roof sheets.

At George Street Normal School in Dunedin yesterday children and Highlanders rugby team players took part in a fastest folder competition.

Principal Rod Galloway said as well as providing nutrition beneficial to the children’s learning the programme was teaching them about the importance of recycling. . .

 

 Think twice before bashing farmers and their practices – Lauren Purdy:

After offending farmers everywhere with their aggressive ad campaign claiming local-raised food is healthier and anything else is just plain bad, Chipotle is feeling the effects of what some would call Karma.

According to Gary Truitt, Chipotle has seen a shift downward in its stock shares recently, falling 7% to $495.92. The burrito giant also saw its proposed executive pay plan voted down by 77% of shareholders last Thursday. Since the plan was denied, the entire pay structure of higher level employees within the company will now be reviewed. . .

 


Rural round-up

May 12, 2014

Beer cheese ‘natural joint project’ – Rebecca Ryan:

Joining forces to create a beer cheese was a ”natural collaboration” for Oamaru companies Whitestone Cheese and Scotts Brewing Company.

Since January, the businesses have been trialling different recipes and techniques to develop a beer cheese.

The final product, an ”Indian Pale Airedale”, is due to be launched in spring, with manufacturing starting in the next few weeks.

”We’ve just come up with one we’re really pleased with,” Whitestone Cheese chief executive officer Simon Berry said. . .

Meat industry reform and the phony war – Keith Woodford:

The current situation in the meat industry reminds me of two famous phrases from the First and Second World Wars. From the First World War, came the term ’all quiet on the Western Front’. And then early in the Second World War there was the ‘phony war’. Both were periods of quiet while the protagonists geared up for major battles. All parties knew that it was actually the quiet that was phony.

The current situation in the meat industry is similar. Eventually hostilities will inevitably break out as the processing and marketing companies compete with each other for survival. In beef there is scope for most to survive, but in sheep meat there have to be casualties. . . .

Turned on the weather – RivettingKateTaylor:

By the time I arrived home from the Farmer of the Year field day yesterday it was raining, freezing and dark. Just an hour earlier I was standing in the sun in the yard at Drumpeel, partaking of some yummy Silver Fern Farms product, catching up with some of Hawke’s Bay’s rural clan.

About 264 people attended the 2014 Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year field day (according to the man counting at the gate!) at the CHB property of Hugh and Sharon Ritchie and their four beautiful children (sorry David, let’s try one handsome son and three beautiful daughters). . .

Kate has more photos of the field day here.

Irrigation agreement signed with ORC – David Bruce:

Otago Regional Council councillors and staff on Thursday saw how the North Otago Irrigation Company and its farmers are managing efficient use of water and flow-on effects before signing an agreement with North Otago irrigation companies and representatives.

Cropping and dairy support farmer Peter Mitchell with the help of the company’s environmental manager Jodi Leckie, explained how variable rate irrigation and close monitoring of soil needs helped both the farmer and the environment on a Fortification Rd property.

The Memorandum of Agreement is with North Otago Irrigation Company (NOIC), the Lower Waitaki Irrigation Company (LWIC), and the Waitaki Irrigators’ Collective Ltd and concerns implementation of the council’s Regional Plan: Water for Otago Plan Change 6A. . .

 

Great conditions for olives this season:

The olive harvest is off to a good start with the hot dry summer combining with the industry’s maturing trees to provide lots of high quality fruit.

Olives New Zealand president Andrew Taylor said the harvest began in the far North in late March and will finish up in Canterbury in July.

He said it was the second consecutive summer that the industry had had ideal weather conditions for growing olives, which had led to excellent fruit quality, and the odds of great oil were high. . .

Sustainable piggeries in American Samoa preventing contamination:

Farmers in American Samoa have been told to avoid using water to clean out their piggeries in a move to avoid contamination.

Almost 100 farmers were schooled last week on environmentally-friendly ‘dry-litter’ piggeries, that use woodchips instead of water to deal with waste, which then provides composting options for crops.

The chief piggery compliance officer, Antonina Te’o, says wash-down systems can cause land and water pollution and allow waste material to infiltrate the drinking water supply. . . .

 


Rural round-up

March 14, 2014

Concern over dry conditions in Waikato, Northland:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has visited the Waikato today to see first-hand the challenging dry conditions facing farmers.

“Most farmers are managing the dry conditions in Waikato and Northland, but it’s becoming difficult for some. The last few months have been very dry as pasture has browned off.

“Rain is forecast to hit the upper North Island this week as the remnants of Cyclone Lusi hits New Zealand. Any rain will be gratefully received by farmers.

“At this stage, the Government has not been asked to declare an ‘adverse event’ in any region. MPI have been providing me with regular updates and I’ll be watching these dry conditions around the North Island closely.

“Farmers are not interested in handouts, but they want to know the Government understands the challenges they are facing. That’s why I’m here today to see firsthand how they are coping with the conditions. . .

Irrigation share offer a test run – David Bruce:

An irrigation scheme designed to bring water to about 40,000ha in the Waimate area and create up to 1200 jobs has taken a big step forward with farmers being offered shares, which will help determine if it is feasible.

The Hunter Downs scheme, originally estimated in 2009 to cost about $200 million, was first mooted about eight years ago and Hunter Downs Irrigation Ltd has now issued a prospectus offering 40,000 shares to fund investigations to see if the scheme is viable.

The company needs to sell at least half of the shares, at $200 a share, for the share offer and scheme to proceed. . .

Dunne deal on doing things differently:

THE MINISTRY for Primary Industry (MPI) will look “quite different” as a result of an “alignment process” that started last week, says the new chief executive, Martyn Dunne.

Three months in his new role, he is ringing changes. For example, he has appointed deputy director-general Roger Smith to head MPI’s operation in China and is about to appoint two more staff there. He’s also adding staff to other key diplomatic posts in countries where market access is an issue.

Dunne told Rural News the “alignment process” is to meet the huge expectations and demands on his organisation. MPI and its previous incarnations have undergone almost constant restructuring for 25 years, but Dunne denies this is the case with the current moves.

“I don’t call it a restructuring and the staff don’t see it that way,” he says. “Normally restructuring is something driven by cost pressure and other demands and generally results in a downsizing. . .

Positive step in Fonterra accepting charges:

Federated Farmers is pleased to see Fonterra has accepted the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) four charges over the whey protein concentrate recall last year.

“This scare has been invaluable learning curve for Fonterra and they are making positive changes already to make sure this never happens again,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson.

“Our reputation for food quality and safety is paramount to our success on the world stage. Whilst this product recall was a false alarm it has unearthed some flaws in Fonterra’s system. By whole heartedly accepting the charges laid by MPI yesterday, Fonterra has shown they are on the front foot of this issue. . .

Manawatu Dairy Awards Winners Raise Reputation:

The major winners in the 2014 Manawatu Dairy Industry Awards, Duncan and Kim Fraser, have become role models in the industry after raising their profile from entering the awards.

The couple won the 2014 Manawatu Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year title last night “One of the benefits of the awards is that it does raise your profile in the industry and so opportunities are now coming to us. People are also now coming to us to seek advice,” the Frasers say.

The other big winners at the region’s awards dinner held at the Awapuni Raceway were Sam Ebbett, the Manawatu Farm Manager of the Year, and Hayley Hoogendyk, the 2014 Manawatu Dairy Trainee of the Year. . .

Hot contest for dairy awards spurred on by record prize pool:

The region’s top dairy farmers will be revealed this Friday as they compete for a coveted spot in the national final and a share of the record $710,000 prize pool.

Several hundred people are expected at the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Taranaki dinner at The Hub in Hawera where winners of three categories will be announced: Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, Farm Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year.

The winners of each category will join entrants from 10 other regions around the country vying for the national titles to be announced in Auckland on May 9. . .

Extra feed equals extra dollars for dairy farmers:

With farmgate milk prices at an all-time high, maintaining production for the final months of the season is a priority for dairy farmers, and getting those extra kilos of milk solids means making some good calls around feed.

Low rainfall and drying winds in some parts of the country is slowing grass growth, while in other regions, there has been enough rain to maintain good pasture conditions. Ballance Agri-Nutrients General Manager Sales, Andrew Reid says farmers taking stock of mid-summer feed supplies can look to Ballance for the right advice on nutrient choices to keep herds producing.

“Because we take cover the complete farm nutrients spectrum, we’re in a good position to help farmers use forage and supplementary feed to keep up production. What to use, and when, will all depend on individual farm goals and weather conditions.” . . .

New rural masthead to showcase the best of our rural products to farmers:

Entrepreneurial agritech firm Bell-Booth has signed up to showcase their innovative probiotic products Queen of Calves™ and X-Factor™ through the new rural masthead product, Field Trials, being launched by “The rural sector is our nation’s backbone,” says Richard Stevens BrandWorld’s managing director.

“It’s also the single largest opportunity for many goods and services with around 68,000 holdings nationwide and an average per farm spend of $341,000 each year.

“With those sorts of budgets farmers are very astute businessmen so you have to find clever ways to reach them. Good suppliers like Bell-Booth know the trick is not to sell to those farmers but to give them the information they need, in a format they understand so they can make the best decisions they can.” . . .

Local Baby Formula Maker NuZtri reaches milestone with first shipment to China:

New Zealand owned Best Health Products Limited, producers of NuZtri Premium Formula and fortified Milk Powder today dispatched their first shipment of Fortified Milk Powder destined for the Chinese market.

“We have been waiting for some time for this day to arrive, finally NuZtri has dispatched our first shipment of Premium Forfeited Milk Powder to China” said Craig Calder General Manager of NuZtri.

“NuZtri has invested a considerable amount of money researching and developing a Premium Milk Powder product in New Zealand for the Chinese consumers. The demand for our product is high”. . .


Rural round-up

December 31, 2013

Rain threatens Canterbury’s veges:

Ongoing wet weather in Canterbury is preventing bees from pollinating this year’s vegetable crops.

About 100 mm of rain has fallen on Mid Canterbury farms since Christmas, causing problems for those who rely on warm, sunny days at this time of year for bee pollination.

Farmers growing flowering crops like potatoes, carrots, peas and radishes say they are starting to What get desperate for sunshine. . . .

Sniffing out new outlets for lavender oil – Alan Wood:

The owners of a large lavender farm say business is blooming with the latest summer crop and work to open up fresh export markets into China and the United States by February.

Philip Simms and Owen Dexter started the NZLavender business 10 years ago, with the first harvest in 2006.

More recently they have found competition in the bulk oil sector fierce, so there is a renewed focus on branded oils for the retail market, which already includes health shops and chemists in New Zealand.

A small bottle usually sells for between $10 and $12. . .

Dairy plant work up to schedule – David Bruce:

The pace is expected to quicken from the new year on construction of a $214 million dairy plant at Glenavy when installation of processing machinery and plant starts.

Just before Christmas, pieces of the drying plant, which will go into the 47m-high drying tower with its chimney, and boilers started to arrive on site.

While construction ramps down from about 200 staff to a smaller number over Christmas, that was expected to build up to about 300 in the new year, when contractors come on site to fit plant, Babbage construction site manager Murray Gifford said. . .

Introducing – Kora! – Jillaroo Jess:

After months of much anticipation, I’ve finally met my new pup! Her name is Kora, and she is a beautiful Border Collie. She came from a Border Collie stud called Mukkerdowns, which is located near Orange in New South Wales. Kora has so much personality. The more time I spend with her, the more I love her. She is around 5months old, I think, I’m yet to find out her birth date. Over the weekend, I took her for a walk down to the creek, which winds itself through the property. On the way down, we came across a small mob of cattle. Kora looked at them and within seconds was trying to run around behind them, before I called her back. We will start her on sheep or calves, so that she doesn’t get hurt for her first time herding. It is amazing how much the instinct is in these dogs, despite the majority of her brothers and sisters being city dogs. . . .

What your favourite cheese says about you –  Rebecca Orchant:

As you have probably noticed, we take cheese very seriously around here. We have threatened to change our name to HuffPost Cheese, have multiple cheese clubs that meet every week and believe that it may be the route to true happiness. That’s why, when you tell us what your favorite cheese is, we really take it to heart.

You can tell a lot about a person from their favorite cheese. Are they trustworthy? Should you marry them? Would they be good employee? If you need some help deciphering your favorite cheese-lover, we’ve made a list of what your favorite cheese says about you. Oh, and if you’re one of those people who hates cheese, or thinks the best cheese is no cheese, just go read something else. The Huffington Post has a lot to offer you, but this article just isn’t it. . . .


Can conservation and devleopment co-exist in Mackenzie?

May 13, 2013

Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith and Environment Minister Amy Adams have welcomed a report proposing a way to manage the contentious land intensification, water, landscape, and biodiversity issues in the Mackenzie Basin.

“This report is the result of a collaborative process by more than 30 groups and individuals working together to develop options for the future of the basin,” the Ministers say.

“The focus has been on investigating ways the biodiversity and special character of the land can be enhanced, while ensuring tourism and farming continue to develop.”

This collaborative process was initiated in preference over protracted court proceedings for development proposals in the district.

“It is far more constructive to have diverse interest groups working together on a shared vision for an area than having years of protest, court proceedings and community tensions.

“The report makes a number of recommendations for both central and local government. The Ministry for the Environment and the Department of Conservation will now take time to consider the report and its recommendations. . .

Getting more than 30 groups with very different views on what’s best for the area together was a major undertaking.

David Bruce  says goodwill is key to the future:

The ”Mackenzie Agreement” has been described as ”innovative” and ”unique”, but announcing the details tomorrow is only the first step in achieving a collaborative approach to issues facing communities in the region.

The agreement, signed by 22 local and national organisations, is a shared vision and strategy for the future development of land and water resources in the region. Details are being kept under wraps until tomorrow.

But what will happen from now on will determine whether it is a success, a template for use in other areas of New Zealand.

While its title is the ”Mackenzie Agreement”, it in fact covers the Mackenzie, Ohau and Omarama Basins and has been developed under the auspices of the Mackenzie Sustainable Futures Trust, set up in 2011 by Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean, who is also its chairwoman.

The aim was to bring together local people and groups and national organisations with an interest in the future of the three basins.

It was an attempt to end a growing divide between people who lived and relied on the region for their livelihoods and those from outside the area who opposed any extensive development.

Mrs Dean has described the agreement in glowing terms, a way forward for an area that became a battleground between those who wanted progress, and those who opposed it.

But its success will depend on the goodwill continuing in the future. . .

As the ministers said, collaboration is preferable to court proceedings and community tensions.

But it will require continued good will and good communication to ensure the promise of the plan is realised and show that conservation and development can co-exist.


Rural round-up

February 20, 2013

Fonterra plays down reports of Chinese officials destroying NZ milk powder – Paul McBeth:

Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, is playing down reports that China’s quarantine administration destroyed three different New Zealand brands of milk powder as being nothing out of the ordinary and part of a regular review.

No Fonterra product was involved.

The kiwi dollar shed half a US cent amid headlines the Chinese agency destroyed the New Zealand powder, just weeks after a global scare about traces of the DCD nitrate inhibiter being present in locally produced milk. Units in the Fonterra Shareholders Fund were unchanged at $7.13 today. . .

Agriculture course boosts school – David Bruce:

Waitaki Boys’ High School is returning to its roots with a major investment to boost its agricultural courses.

Rector Paul Jackson sees it as one of the keys to increasing the school roll.

”I want Waitaki Boys’ to again be a school of farming excellence,” he said.

The school last week began the first stage with an investment of about $60,000, virtually all raised through donations and in-kind contributions, to irrigate its farm – about 16ha of paddocks north and south of the school. . .

Green light for Wools of New Zealand as it reaches first threshold:

Wools of New Zealand announced today that it has achieved the minimum threshold of $5 million necessary to proceed with establishing a 100% strong wool grower-owned sales and marketing company.

Achieved one week ahead of the 25 February offer close, the company is now positioned to pursue its commercial, market pull strategy, putting Wools of New Zealand’s brands and market connections to work and further developing its technical and marketing capability for the benefit of its grower shareholders.

This milestone has been reached through the continued support of growers who recognise the need to invest beyond the farm gate. This includes investors in Wools of New Zealand who have converted some of their loans to the Wools of New Zealand Trust into shares in Wools of New Zealand, demonstrating their commitment and confidence in the proposition and their desire to see the company thrive under grower ownership. . .

Federated Farmers asks meat companies how parties can work together – Allan Barber:

Last week Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers’ Meat & Fibre chair, sent a letter to the chairmen and CEOs of the five major sheep meat processors and exporters. The letter asked them to suggest how the parties could work together for the good of the industry.

So far one company, AFFCO, has replied formally, but no doubt others will respond in due course. Maxwell sees this as an age of ‘collaborative governance’ in which farmers and meat companies must go forward together instead of fighting each other. She says there’s nothing to be gained by rattling the cage to no purpose and the intention of the letter is to start the conversation between the parties.

The last twelve months have been seriously stressful, if not disastrous for the meat industry. A year ago the companies were paying an unsustainable $8 a kilo slaughter weight or around $150 per lamb, but the market price and exchange rate combined had already sent this into serious loss making territory for the processors. Just how serious was confirmed by the published annual results from Alliance and Silver Fern Farms, although Blue Sky Meats’ result for the period ended 31 March gave a good indication. . .

Think before letting dogs breed – Anna Holland:

EIGHTEEN YEARS ago I retired from shepherding; I had been hitting my head against a brick wall for too many years. It had been a frustrating occupation met with much resistance. Slowly it is changing and now there are some very capable women being given the opportunity to work the land.

Since then I have tried my hand at other things. My passion for working dogs never waned and I still bred the odd litter of pups, and in the last few years I trained a number of young dogs to the point of being ready to join someone’s team. . .

Effluent results improving, but farmers could do better – NRC

Northland’s dairy farmers have received qualified praise for their increased compliance with farm dairy effluent resource standards but there’s still plenty of room for improvement, those doing the monitoring say.

The latest Northland Regional Council monitoring figures for the 2012/13 milking season show almost 80 percent of the region’s 978 dairy farms were either fully compliant with their resource consent conditions and or rules, or had only minor non-compliance.

Operations Director Tony Phipps says particularly pleasing for the council was a thirty percent drop in significant non-compliance, which fell to nearly 200 farms compared with close to 300 farms reported twelve months earlier.

He says in recent years many of the region’s farmers have invested heavily in improvements to their effluent disposal systems and it’s pleasing to see that outlay starting to pay off. . . .

Down to the wire at Waikato/Bay of Plenty regional final

Tim van de Molen is the second Grand Finalist in 2013 after he won the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Regional Final for the ANZ Young Farmer Contest on Saturday, February 16 in Hamilton at St Paul’s Collegiate School.

It was a very tight race throughout the competition, the final result came down to just one question.
Van de Molen had his work cut out for him narrowly taking the win by just two points ahead of competitor Dwayne Cowin. Josh Cozens and James Bryan were not far behind, placing third and fourth respectively. . .

Comvita flags 15% fall in FY profit on honey costs, supply shortages:

Comvita, which produces health products from manuka honey and olive leaves, expects a 15 percent fall in annual profit because of expensive honey, supply shortages and tough trading conditions in the UK and Australia.

The Te Puke-based company expects net profit of $7 million in the year ending March 31, down from $8.2 million a year earlier which it had been expecting to beat, Comvita said in a statement.

Sales are forecast to rise 4 percent to about $100 million. The profit warning comes after increases in wholesale honey prices of up to 50 percent, and weak consumer confidence in Australia and the UK, which made it hard to pass on rising costs. . .


Rural round-up

April 15, 2012

Grape expectations 2012 – Sarah Marquet:

Wine is one of Central Otago’s key industries,      pumping millions of dollars into the local economy, and after      fears a significant amount of fruit would be lost to disease,      a great vintage is predicted from this season. Reporter Sarah      Marquet finds out why.

A warm spring, leading to good flowering and fruit followed by a hot summer allowing growers to apply water stress to  their grapes set up a good season for Central Otago wine      makers, and the “spectacular Indian summer” has dried up any botrytis that was threatening crops. . .   

Season in Waitaki Valley ‘shaping up quite well’ – David Bruce:

It has been a challenging season for Waitaki Valley    winegrowers, but the talk is about quality, not quantity, David    Bruce reports.   

Cool and wet weather from late January will have an effect on      the quantity of grapes picked in the Waitaki Valley this      season, but quality of the wine is expected to be high,      Waitaki Valley Wine Growers’ Association chairman Jim Jerram predicts . . .   

Couple win farm awards – Sally Rae:

North Otago couple Blair and Jane Smith have been named    supreme winners of the 2012 Otago Ballance farm environment awards.   

 Mr and Mrs Smith run Newhaven Farms Ltd, a sheep, beef, forestry and dairy support operation that spans three family-owned properties.  . .  

Diversity within Sharemilker finalists:

The finalists in the 2012 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year contest are a mix of experienced and new dairy farmers, and small, medium and large-scale operators. There are some migrants to New Zealand, is one man competing against 11 couples, and one equity farm manager competing against 11 sharemilkers.

National convenor Chris Keeping says the 12 regional New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards competitions always discover some talented and interesting finalists to contest for the national titles.

“This year’s finalists are a high calibre group focused and confident in achieving their goal of owning a stake in the dairy industry. They are young, ambitious and growing their businesses at great rates,” Mrs Keeping says. . .

Great muster for merino stud tour – Sally Rae:

When it comes to the history of sheep studs, it is hard to go      past the Taylor family from Tasmania.   

The Winton merino stud, established in 1835, is the oldest continually running stud still in the same family, in Australia.   

The stud was founded by David Taylor, whose great-great-grandson, John Taylor, was on the Central Otago Stud Merino Breeders tour last week with his wife Vera. It was the first time Mr Taylor had been on the tour and he was impressed. . .

Rangiora unscahed by quakes no more:

The closure of PGG Wrightson’s rural supply store and eviction for Farm to Farm Tours is another knock for Rangiora, a town that once looked to have escaped the worst of the Canterbury earthquakes.

Building inspectors have been at work in a big way here since the twin rattles of December 23 and the delicate frontages of High Street are now shielded by shipping containers and a lattice-work of protective fencing. You can still shop in main-street Rangiora but you have to pick your way through a maze of obstacles to do it.

Retailers have watched anxiously as one building after another is either temporarily or permanently put out of bounds because of earthquake damage. Among them is a rural mainstay, Farm to Farm Tours run by long-time farm management consultant Ross Macmillan. . .

Farmer in swimsuit for competition – Shawn McAvinue:

Southland dairy farmer wearing a slinky swimsuit has fleshed out entries in a competition to encourage low effluent ponds.

No Southland dairy farmers had entered the competition a week before it closed on March 30 but shortly after an article in The Southland Times about the poor turnout farmers with low ponds came forward . . .

Remembering Five Forks school days – Ruth Grundy:

For an Oamaru couple who attended schools in the Five Forks district early last century, life on the farm and growing up in their small close-knit community left a lasting impression.

The Five Forks community will celebrate 100 years of schooling at three schools – Maruakoa, Fuchsia Creek and Five Forks, at Queen’s Birthday weekend.

There are no surviving pupils of Maruakoa School, which opened in 1912 and closed in 1918, but there is a good contingent of seniors who remember their school days at Five Forks and Fuchsia Creek primary schools.

Former Fuchsia Creek School pupil Jim Kingan, 82, said generations of the Kingan family had never moved far from the district and most had continued to farm. . .

Health capsules hve cherry on top claims – Andrea Fox:

Business is a bowl of cherries for two Waikato companies – or potentially, many tonnes of cherries, with their launch of a new natural health treatment for stress and sleep difficulty with globally superior claims.

The companies are a Waikato Innovation Park start-up joint venture called Fruision and established health and natural beauty products retailer Moanui Laboratories.

The story behind the commercialisation of their product is complicated and stretches back a few years, but starts simply enough with central Otago’s Summerfruit Orchards, a grower of fine sweet cherries, which wanted to add value to its fruit destined for the pigs because it was not perfectly shaped, or rain-split, or otherwise flawed. . .

All set for success – Ruth Grundy:

As the countdown begins to the opening tomorrow of New Zealand’s most prestigious pony club event, there are four North Otago women who are hoping they have thought of everything.

Tomorrow marks the start of the four-day 2012 New Zealand Community Trust New Zealand Pony Club Association (NZPCA) Horse Trials Championships. . .

The championships are being hosted by the Ashburton-South Canterbury-North Otago Area Pony Club, at the Oamaru Racecourse.


Rural round-up

June 5, 2011

Dairy farmers can produce a green dairy industry – Pasture to Profit writes:

The Dairy Industry has the potential to produce its own electricity & be clear of the National Grid. What a PR victory that will be for the first UK dairy company & their suppliers. What a wonderful image that will be for milk, cheese & butter! Every dairy farmer must get involved to “kick this goal” for the dairy industry. We have a fantastic opportunity right now with interest free loans & massive incentives . . .

Volunteer will help in Samoa – David Bruce reports:

From farming crocodiles to helping improve small agricultural businesses, Bill and Shirley Kingan have had a wide variety of experiences under Volunteer Service Abroad.

Mr and Mrs Kingan leased out their Enfield farm, then joined the New Zealand organisation which, since 1962, has been sending volunteers overseas to help other countries and communities improve their lives. . .

Integrity, beauty and strength – Sally Rae writes:

There’s something special about a Clydesdale horse. Clydesdale Horse Society of New Zealand president Bill Affleck believes the allure stems from what the gentle giants have achieved in the farming world.

Coupled with a very placid nature, “there’s something there that’s very appealing”. . .

Future’s glowing –  Sally Rae again:

If you had told former Stewart Island fisherman Dil Belworthy that he would end up owning a chain of clothing stores, he would have said being abducted by aliens was more likely.

Mr Belworthy is not kidding when he says the path he and his wife, Catherine, have taken to owning five Glowing Sky Merino stores, as well as a manufacturing facility, is “quite bizarre”. . .

Who will Fonterra’s new boss be?  – Andrea Fox asks:

With the clock ticking down to the announcement of Fonterra’s new chief executive, ex-General Motors financial chief Chris Liddell and Air New Zealand’s Rob Fyfe have been ruled out of contention, with the money on an internal appointment.

Sources said number two at the dairy giant, trade and operations managing director Gary Romano, is strongly favoured to succeed Canadian Andrew Ferrier, who will leave in the second half of this year. . .

A dairy farm to impress the world – Jon Morgan writes:

Rick Morrison and Sharleen Hutching are a quiet, unassuming couple who prefer to let their actions speak louder than words.

When the judges in the Horizons region of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards gave them warning of a visit to their 200-cow dairy farm near Eketahuna, they didn’t change a thing. “It was, ‘Oh yeah, whatever’,” Mr Morrison says. “We just carried on as normal, no need to rush around tidying things up.” . . .

Firms plan $3.7m Gore investment

Two Southland-based farm-machinery firms plan to make $3.7million investments in Gore.

Advance Agricentre and Southland Farm Machinery agree their investments are a vote of confidence in the district’s economy. . .

Robots to takeover meat works:

After 20 months’ intensive research and development, the Ovine Automation Consortium is ready to go to market with two robots that signal the start of a new era in automated sheepmeat processing.

Funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation and nine industry members, with the support of two research organisations, the research consortium aims to enhance sheep processing productivity and quality through the use of automation. . .

Wine the organic puzzle –  Rebecca Gibb writes:

Patting cows and admiring piles of dung was not what I had envisaged when leaving Auckland behind for rural Marborough.

I thought I was there to tour organic vineyards for the vital purpose of tasting wines, but instead found myself transported to the set of The Good Life. Had I mistakenly been picked up by Richard Briars and Felicity Kendal at Blenheim airport, or are cows, sheep, and a gaggle of geese really what organic wine is all about? . . .

Beekeeping in a nutshell – Raymond Huber posts:

It’s Bee Week, celebrating our partnership with honey bees. Hand-made beehives date back 3000 years (in Israel) and early hives were made of clay or straw. Bees and humans helped each other expand into new lands: as settlers took the bees with them for crop pollination. For centuries beekeepers melted the comb to get the honey out, forcing bees to rebuild it. Then in 1851 pastor Lorenzo Langstroth designed a hive like a filing cabinet that could be used over and over. . .

Talk about succession – Gerald Piddock writes:

One of the deer industry’s next generation is urging farmers to talk more openly about the issues around succession.

The average age of the New Zealand farmer was over 50. At that stage many would soon be wanting to exit the industry, Hamish Fraser told farmers at the Deer Industry Conference in Timaru.

“Getting succession right will be key to allowing this to happen,” he said. . .


Waitaki Dam’s 75th birthday

October 26, 2009

The Waitaki Dam was the first of eight to be built on the Waitaki River and the last to be to be built by the pick and shovel method .

Construction started in 1928. The decision to use labour rather than machines was a deliberate one to provide work during the Depression but it wasn’t easy work:

. . . working conditions were hard with cold winters, flooding, and earthquakes to work through. The work force often toiled in knee high water, and lived in temporary housing near the site. 

It was during these construction years that Kurow’s Presbyterian Minister, later to become Sir Arnold Nordmeyer, and local doctor Dr Harold McMillan, saw the working and housing conditions and the many who camped near the site hoping for work.  As a result these two men began the initial thinking around what was to become one of the world’s first social welfare assistance programmes – the Social Welfare Act (passed by Parliament in 1938).

The dam was commissioned in 1934 and Meridian Energy, which now owns it, hosted public celebrations for its 75th anniversary yesterday.

David Bruce  covered the dam’s history and interviewed some of the people who worked on it for the ODT.

Waitaki’s Deputy Mayor, Gary Kircher, blogs on yesterday’s celebrations.

This photo of the dam was taken earlier this year when Meridian was spilling water becasue the lakes were too full.

waitaki 09


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