Rural round-up

January 10, 2018

Tests confirm cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis on Ashburton farm:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) confirms that the bacterial cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis is present on a farm in the Ashburton area.

The Ministry’s response incident controller David Yard says milk sampling carried out by the dairy industry just before Christmas revealed a suspected positive result and MPI’s Animal Health Laboratory testing has just confirmed this.

“The affected farm and an associated property have been under controls since Christmas Eve as a precautionary measure. No animals or other risk goods such as used farm equipment have been allowed on or off the property during this time and these controls stand,” Mr Yard says. . . 

Water taxi arrives in North Otago

It’s been a funny old year on Gareth and Sarah Isbister’s farm, Balruddery, near Five Forks.

Swamped by rain, the cattle farmers finished 2017 beside the Kakanui River with new irrigation and options.

The Isbisters are happy to have the extra water on hand after a difficult 12 months for an irrigation rollout in their area.

Their supplier, the farmer-owned North Otago Irrigation Company, was meant to be pumping high-pressure flow to downland farmers like them in late 2016. Joint faults in pipes put paid to that idea, costing shareholders as the contractor fixed its faulty workmanship. . .

Ruawai farmer survives being trampled by stampeding herd:

Dairy farmer Chris Baker says he is “hellishly lucky” to have survived a stampede by his 180 cows that left him trampled, unconscious and with broken bones.

The 61-year old Ruawai man has been a dairy farmer for 40 years, and has never before been in such a life threatening situation.

He does admit to being kicked in the chest and elsewhere a few times by cows, “but that’s just day to day farming.”

Baker said he did nothing different or wrong last Tuesday but the freak occurrence could have left him dead. He now has a cautionary tale for anyone working on their own on a farm, and with animals. . . 

Pastures imperiled by seawater flooding – Jessie Chiang:

Seawater flooding of rural properties in Kaiaua is going to have a serious impact on farmers, Federated Farmers says.

Wild weather and a king tide last week caused widespread flooding in the coastal region on the western side of the Firth of Thames, leaving behind soaked properties filled with debris.

The federation’s Hauraki-Coromandel president Kevin Robinson said saltwater destroys pastures.

He said farmers would now have to wait for rain to wash away the salt before they could replant grass.

“It’s become evident that there are quite a few farmers there who [have been] significantly affected by the tidal inundation – one farmer 100 percent and others to a lesser degree,” said Mr Robinson. . . 

MyFarm sees dairy farm investments waning, eyes growth in horticulture – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – MyFarm Investments, New Zealand’s largest rural investment syndicator, is moving its focus away from its dairy farming origins and expects future growth to come from smaller overlooked investments such as fruit.

The rural investment firm was set up in 1990, initially investing in dairy farms which it syndicated to investors. It has since diversified into sheep and beef farms, horticulture and mussel farming and has more than $500 million of rural assets under management. About half its assets are dairy farms, with some 30 percent in sheep and beef farms and 20 percent in other investments, and the company expects its dairy investments to shrink as farms are sold when investments mature while the proportion in other areas grows. . . 

Have banks signalled they’ve had enough of funding the dairy industry? If funding is closed off, the new Govt’s obligations for the industry are likely to be expensive and even more stressful– David Chaston:

Rural borrowers currently owe banks in New Zealand $60.4 bln, according to the Reserve Bank.

With banks over the past decade rushing to support the capital needs of the growing dairy sector, two thirds of this rural debt is held by dairy farmers.

All rural debt represents just 14% of the debt held by banks in New Zealand and pales in comparison to the 56% of all debt banks hold over urban residences ($240 bln). These numbers don’t include another $4.9 bln lent to the rural support sector or the forestry or fishing sectors. . . 

Young Taranaki local wins Poultry Industry Trainee of the Year Award:

Henry Miles is a busy young man who is about to become even busier. Next month, the 21-year-old New Plymouth resident, who is currently Assistant Manager of a Tegel meat chicken farm, will step up to manage a large new free-range farm – which will expand to a total of eight sheds by adding a shed every seven weeks.

It is a role that Henry is well prepared for, having gained a thorough grounding in poultry farming since leaving school in 2014. . . 


Rural round-up

November 24, 2012

Water quality’s complex issues – Gerald Piddock:

Improving the environment while simultaneously growing production are the main challenges for those making decisions around water quality, a leading science advisor says.

These two goals are pulling policies in opposite directions, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s principal science advisor Grant Blackwell says.

There is no silver bullet to solve this dilemma, he says, but he suggests that a values-based approach is essential. . .

Some effluent fines ‘unjustified’ – Gerald Piddock:

Some of the fines imposed on farmers have been unnecessary and unjustified, according to a Clutha dairy farmer.

Stephen Korteweg told the New Zealand Association of Resource Management conference in Dunedin that “the big stick approach” in dealing with water quality breaches was fine. “But when you start beating the patient with the big stick you’ve lost the plot,” he said.

Highlighting the economic benefits of better environmental practice was the best way to change farmer behaviour. . .

Pure Oil wants more rape grown – Gerald Piddock:

Central Canterbury consortium Pure Oil New Zealand is the new owner of the agricultural division of Biodiesel New Zealand.

The consortium is owned by Midlands Seed, Washdyke-based potato and onion exporter Southern Packers, agronomist Roger Lasham and BiodieselNZ agribusiness manager Nick Murney.

The sale included Biodiesel New Zealand’s oil seed rape crop production, the oil extraction facility at Rolleston and the marketing of the resultant products – rape seed oil and rape seed meal. . .

Industry needs wool’s help – Alan Williams:

Hawke’s Bay businessman Craig Hickson knows all about the meat industry and that it can’t save sheep farming on its own.

It’s different this time, significantly different, Wools of New Zealand director Hickson says of the call for sheep farmers to invest in wool industry marketing.

A few days into the roadshow promotion of the share issue, the directors are picking up the vibe from farmers that they fear this one is like the controversial WPC co-op plan of 2010. . .

Broader reach sought by dairy industry:

The dairy industry is looking to broaden its academic reach through a new postgraduate programme at the University of Auckland.

The joint graduate school in dairy research is a collaboration between the university and industry-bodies Dairy New Zealand, AgResearch and the Livestock Improvement Corporation. . .

Dairy farms produce record milk levels in year to September; growth expected to slow from here – David Chaston:

As the new dairy season builds, annual milk production has broken through the 20 million tonnes level for the first time ever.

The latest data for the dairy milk production shows the new 2012-13 season starting off with record volumes.

DCANZ is reporting that September 2012 milk production was 2,436,000 tonnes, a rise of 5% over the 2,319,000 tonnes produced in September 2011. (The rise in September 2011 was +12.5%.) . . .

Essential guide for earthworks in tiger country:

Forest owners and farmers now have access to detailed information about carrying out earthworks on steep hills that are often prone to erosion — the tiger country where New Zealand’s plantation forests are increasingly grown.

To harvest those hills, you need highly skilled roading engineers and operators who can construct low-cost, fit-for-purpose, roads, culverts and landings that meet high environmental standards. They in turn need a source of reliable information about what works and what doesn’t work in difficult terrain and across a wide range of soil types.

 Launching the New Zealand Forest Road Engineering Manual and associated Operators Guide, associate minister for primary industries Nathan Guy complimented the Forest Owners Association for taking the lead. Principal editor Brett Gilmore was praised for putting a huge amount of work into the project. . .


Did you see the one about

January 24, 2011

Coalition of losers – Graeme Edgler the Legal Beagle at Public Address on the second place getter leading a government. Chris Trotter responds to this post with Dangerous Falsehoods  at Bowalley Road.

Changing or not – Progressive Turmoil on why procrastination isn’t always wrong.

Baby boomers lift share of job market: David Chaston at Interest.co.nz with stats and graphs on employment and population trends.

Book Aid International – A Cat of Impossible Colour reminds me not to take access to books for granted.



I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore Quote Unquote maps the USA states’ economic status.

Here they come again Morry Myna’s cartoon on the coming year.

Bedouin bush mechanics – Around the World’s desert adventures.


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