Rural round-up

30/11/2020

The role of red meat in healthy & sustainable New Zealand diets :

For the last 25 years, the Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s health and nutrition portfolio has been underpinned by a strong scientific evidence base which continues to evolve through the release of a new report, titled The Role of Red Meat in Healthy and Sustainable New Zealand Diets.

The report pulls together the breadth of information of a complex topic, which we hope will help inform the many discussions around feeding a growing population well. The report includes the human evolution of eating meat, red meat’s nutritional contribution to the diet of New Zealanders, it’s role in health and disease and where New Zealand beef and lamb production, and consumption fits within our food system and ecosystem. The farming practices of our beef and sheep sector is profiled capturing all facets that reflects our pasture-raised systems here in New Zealand.

Compiling the report required a range of expertise from across New Zealand, which has cumulated in a piece of work that navigates through the scientific evidence of the ever-evolving areas of nutrition and environmental sustainability, and the interfaces which brings them together – sustainable nutrition and food systems. . . 

B+LNZ’s Rob Davison wins Outstanding Contribution Award:

Long-serving Beef + Lamb New Zealand economist Rob Davison won the Outstanding Contribution to New Zealand’s Primary Industries Award at this year’s Primary Industries Summit.

This prestigious award recognises a New Zealand-based individual, within the primary sector, who has been considered a leader in their field of work for 20 years or more.

In selecting the recipient for this prestigious award, the judges were looking for long-standing commitment to the New Zealand primary sector, passion for the sector and its future and actions or initiatives that go beyond their day job and benefit the industry, the community and country.

In his forty-plus years with Beef + Lamb New Zealand (and the organisation’s previous incarnations), Rob has done all of this and more. He is highly respected by farmers, the wider industry and his work colleagues within B+LNZ.  This was recognised by him being awarded an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in the 2016 New Year’s Honours List. . . 

Fruit-picking worries remain as growers lament dearth of Kiwi labour – Tom Kitchin:

Growers say fruit may still be left to rot, despite the government promising 2000 seasonal workers from the Pacific can come through the border to help with the harvest.

They claim thousands of workers are still needed and New Zealand employees are hard to come by.

The employers will have to pay isolation and hourly work rates while the seasonal workers are locked down for two weeks in hotels.

Bostock New Zealand’s John Bostock, from Hawke’s Bay, said this was not about cost saving, but Kiwis willing to do the work were difficult to recruit. . . 

 

Eastpack adds robots to packing lines as part of $155m investment – Carmen Hall:

Robots will pack kiwifruit at Eastpack this season as part of a 12-month, $35 million investment plan across its business.

The company has commissioned an automation conversion on its largest 14 lane kiwifruit grader with three massive robots and a number of automated packing machines.

But expense could stand in the way of new technologies replacing thousands of seasonal workers despite an ongoing labour shortage. However other packhouse evolutions had become game changers as the industry continues to boom.

Chief executive Hamish Simson said in the last five years the company had pumped more than $155m into increased storage capacity at its sites and innovation including automation technology. . . 

Moving to Mangawhai to experience the miracle of lambing – Chrissie Fernyhough:

From 10,000 acres at Castle Hill Station in the Canterbury high country to 25 acres on the clay soils at Hakaru in Northland has proven a big reach.

Hakaru is an old settlement on the east coast, midway between Mangawhai and Kaiwaka, an hour and a half north of Auckland. The property lies beautifully to the north and looks down into a green valley where the Hakaru River flows in the shade of old tōtara trees.

To the north, I have what I love in a view – the near and the far: paddocks, pine shelterbelts, the odd house lit up at night and, in the distance, the bush-covered
Brynderwyns – a range extending from Bream Bay in the east to the upper branches of the Kaipara Harbour to the west. . . 

Thankful for resilience in life and agriculture – Tsosie Lewis:

It has been a hard year: COVID-19, lockdowns, urban riots, a contentious US national election, and even murder hornets.

So as we approach Thanksgiving, I am focused on making extra time to think about the good things in our lives.

One of them is resilience.

This idea occurred to me the other day when I was standing in line at the grocery store, here in New Mexico. The guy ahead of me at the checkout was about my age. He made a comment that I’m starting to hear more and more. . . 


Rural round-up

29/11/2020

RSE deal too little too late:

The Government’s announcement it’s allowing 2000 horticultural workers enter New Zealand through the RSE scheme is better than nothing, but it’s still just a drop in the bucket of what is actually needed, National’s Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“Overall this is a poor deal for New Zealand’s horticulture industry, for New Zealand, and for the RSE workers themselves. Firstly, 2000 workers is not enough, it’s less than one seventh of quota (which is more than 14,000) of RSE workers the sector would normally have available to pick these key export products.

“Secondly, it’s far too little and far too late. Spring and early summer crops have already missed out on these workers, but the Government has known about these problems for months, and is only acting at the eleventh hour.

“The time has come to allow RSE workers from Pacific countries to isolate in bubbles in RSE accommodation, like sports teams, provided by the industry. The countries where these RSE workers come from are Covid-free so there is little to no risk of transmission in transit as workers will come direct to New Zealand. . . 

Government’s seasonal workers move ‘not enough, but a good start’ – Charlotte Cook:

An influx of seasonal workers is a relief for the horticulture and wine industries with the government giving a border exemption to 2000 seasonal workers.

The experienced workers will begin arriving from the Pacific in January and will spend two weeks in isolation before starting the harvest.

So after months of angst, the horticulture and wine sector will get some of the seasonal workers they are desperate for.

But they come with a cost. Employers must first pay for managed isolation – currently estimated at $4722 per person and pay at least $22.10 an hour – the living wage. . .

Farrow crate use ‘saves piglets’ lives’ – Sally Rae:

Former New Zealand Pork chairman Ian Carter is saddened by a High Court ruling that the use of farrowing crates is unlawful, saying they save “millions” of piglets globally every year.

Animal welfare groups Safe and the New Zealand Animal Law Association took the Attorney-general, the Minister of Agriculture and the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) to court in June saying the use of farrowing and mating crates breached the Animal Welfare Act 1999, RNZ reported.

In its decision, the court said the agriculture minister must consider new regulations phasing out the use of farrowing crates and mating stalls, and improve minimum standards.

Mr Carter, who farms in North Otago, said no other system got close to meeting the needs of farmed pigs. He estimated farrowing crates could save more than 200 piglets a day in New Zealand if they were universally used. . . 

Dairying family reaps rewards from robots :

Manawatū dairy farmers Amy and Greg Gemmell are enjoying more family time these days, thanks to three shiny machines in their dairy shed.

No longer does Greg need to be out of the house before dawn to milk the herd as they have installed robots to do that chore 24/7.

The cows come to the dairy shed whenever they feel like it to be milked.

“They come in when they’re ready,” Amy says. . . 

A swing to sheep milk:

Switching from milking goats and cows to milking sheep has been likened to swimming three lengths underwater by Te Aroha dairy goat and cow farmer Paul Schuler.

He is one of four Waikato based farmers that this season have taken on milking sheep for Maui Milk.

Come June, as his new sheep were about to arrive on the former cow farm, he was still completing  a milking shed and fixing fences.

Covid slowed developement down, but Schuler says the ram didn’t know that. His lambs were going to arrive on time. . . 

Researchers make wheat genome breakthrough – Gregor Heard:

Just two years after the bread wheat genome was finally mapped for the first time, a crack team of international scientists, including researchers from the University of Western Australia, have sequenced and analysed the genomes of 16 key wheat varieties from around the globe.

The research, including varieties that represent different breeding programs from around the world, provides the most comprehensive atlas of wheat genome sequences reported to date.

The genomic study, published in Nature Journal by the University of Saskatchewan, involved an international effort by more than 90 scientists from universities and institutes in Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, the U.K., Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Israel, and the U.S. . . 

 

 


Rural round-up

09/07/2019

Uncertainty plus unique ownership structure drive Fonterra share volatility – Keith Woodford:

Fonterra’s shares have been on a steady downward slide for the last 18 months. In January 2018 they were selling at $6.60 dropping to $3.86 at closing on 30 June 2019.

Then this last week things suddenly turned volatile, dropping at one point on 4 July a further 10 percent to $3.45, before rising by six percent to $3.69 at close of trade on 5 July.

The causes of the long-term drop are well understood. Very simply, Fonterra made a loss of $196 million in financial year 2018 largely because of write-down on assets. Fonterra is also now in asset-selling mode to strengthen its balance sheet. Non-farmer investors are coming to understand that, with family silver having to be sold as well as some rubbish disposal, any turnaround is likely to be long-term rather than short-term. . .

One billion tree flawed says climate scientist :

The Forestry Minister Shane Jones’ one billion trees won’t reduce carbon emissions, as too few natives are being planted, climate scientist Jim Salinger says.

The government has allocated $120 million in grants to landowners to plant trees on their properties, and wants two-thirds of those planted to be natives.

Forestry New Zealand figures show in the first year, of the 91m trees planted, only 12 percent were native. . .

Falling log prices may make some woodlots unprofitable – ANZ -Rebecca Howard

(BusinessDesk) – In-market prices for logs in China – New Zealand’s largest export market – have fallen in recent weeks and ANZ Bank warns the drop will make the harvest of some woodlots unprofitable.

While some price softening is not unusual at this time of year as construction activity slows in the hot months, “the scale of the correction was unexpected,” said ANZ agriculture economist Susan Kilsby.

The price of an A-grade log landed in China has fallen from US$130/JAS cubic-metre in early June to approximately US$105/JAS cubic-metre.. .

Vet behind Mycoplasma Bovis detection hopeful for eradication:

The Ōamaru vet, whose efforts led to the identification of cattle disease Mycoplasma Bovis in New Zealand, says she is optimistic the disease can be eradicated.

Earlier this week, Dr Merlyn Hay was given the Outstanding Contribution to the Primary Industries Award, for her work to identify M Bovis in July 2017.

Dr Hay told Saturday Morning that the disease was very hard to diagnose, and in many other countries it was only detected after it had already been spreading for several decades . .

Group aims to help farmers improve M. Boris response – Daniel Birchfield:

Lines of communication between the Ministry for Primary Industries and farmers impacted by cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis have been muddied for too long, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher says.

Alongside Waimate Mayor Craig Rowley, he chaired the first meeting of the recently formed Waimate/Waitaki Mycoplasma Bovis Advisory Group held at the Waimate District Council on Wednesday.

The group, modelled on a similar Ashburton arrangement, was formed to support the ministry’s M. bovis eradication programme and assist with regional decision-making to benefit farmers. . .

Lamb contract rewards loyalty – Colin Williscroft:

A $9/kg fixed-price lamb contract for August is a reward for customer loyalty, Affco national livestock manager Tom Young says.

So, farmers generally should not raise their hopes it signals prices higher that they might usually expect as the season unfolds.

The contract has been the subject of much discussion at sale yards but Young said it is not an offer being made to every farmer.

It is only available to loyal clients, farmers who have shown Affco consistent support. . .

Dismantling free markets won’t solve biodiversity threat – Matt Ridley:

Driven perhaps by envy at the attention that climate change is getting, and ambition to set up a great new intergovernmental body that can fly scientists to mega-conferences, biologists have gone into overdrive on the subject of biodiversity this week.

They are right that there is a lot wrong with the world’s wildlife, that we can do much more to conserve, enhance and recover it, but much of the coverage in the media, and many of the pronouncements of Sir Bob Watson, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), are frankly weird.

The threat to biodiversity is not new, not necessarily accelerating, mostly not caused by economic growth or prosperity, nor by climate change, and won’t be reversed by retreating into organic self-sufficiency. Here’s a few gentle correctives.

Much of the human destruction of biodiversity happened a long time ago . . .


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