Rural round-up

13/04/2015

Shearing king David Fagan calls time – Libby Wilson:

Shearing king David Fagan had a fitting send-off to his competitive career last night, cheered on by a capacity hometown crowd in his final shear in Te Kuiti.

Having shorn 26,000 sheep in the course of his 640 open wins stretching back 37 years, the 16-time national champion put down the handpiece after contesting the Running of the Sheep in his Te Kuiti home.

His final contest came against his nephew James Fagan, whose father John beat David to second place in the 1984 Golden Shears. . .

Running of the sheep craws big crowd to Te Kuiti – Mike Mather:

A mob of hundreds of determined sheep made their way down Te Kuiti’s main street on Saturday, flanked by thousands of cheering humans.

The ovine athletes were the unwitting participants in the Running of the Sheep, an annual event that is part of the town’s Great New Zealand Muster, held to celebrate its claim of being the country’s sheep capital, and which also includes the New Zealand Shearing Championships.

Although a tad skitterish at the start of their run, the flock behaved in a very un-sheeplike manner, running straight and true down the centre of Rora St, through the centre of the town.

Waitomo District Council community development co-ordinator Donna Macdonald said she was very impressed with the behaviour of both the 342 four-legged runners and their two-legged audience. . .

Nitrate absorption trialled – Allison Beckham:

Scientists are trialling a filter system which they hope will provide dairy farmers with a simple and cost effective way of removing nitrates and phosphorus before they reach waterways.

A nitrate catcher was commissioned recently near Waituna Lagoon, southeast of Invercargill, and a phosphorus catcher will be built nearby soon. . . .

Blazed a trail in sales – Sally Rae:

Looking back, Katrina Allan wonders how she ever managed to juggle motherhood with work and tertiary study.

But, with a determination to finish her university studies before her son started his, Mrs Allan (44) did manage, finishing a year before he started, although she joked that she never wanted to see another textbook again.

Mrs Allan has the distinction of being the first female salesperson at Alliance Group, having worked for the company for 17 years. . .

Securing Glenfern Sanctuary’s future:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has announced the Government will contribute towards a joint bid to buy Glenfern Sanctuary on Great Barrier Island for the nation.

The Nature Heritage Fund, which is allocated at the Minister’s discretion, will put a significant amount of funding towards a consortium including the Auckland Council and Great Barrier Local Board looking to purchase Glenfern.

The sanctuary, in Port Fitzroy in the north of the island, was founded by the late sailing champion Tony Bouzaid in 1992 and is now for sale. . .

We don’t know how lucky we are – Chris Lewis:

As New Zealand Dairy farmers we often take for granted the sophistication of our industry and the relative ease we have in producing food for the nation and the World. April will not be one of those months for me.

I received a phone call last month from a Tear Fund organiser about this woman who was coming over from Sri Lanka to talk about the benefits of a project that has been designed and supported by TEAR Fund and the New Zealand Government, with Kiwi expertise to improve milk quality.  She is Selina Prem Kumar and is the Director of the successful dairy project in Sri Lanka. Her story will shock and move you.

The Wanni Dairy Regeneration programme she heads, started during the protracted civil war in Sri Lanka, has brought together both Singhalese and Tamil small hold dairy farmers for the common purpose of raising their incomes and revitalizing the dairy industry which stalled during the conflict. . .

A hill lambing made simple:

Zan Kirk, from Low Kilbride, in Dumfries, has struck upon a novel way of making hill lambing that little easier if you are dealing with small numbers, perhaps on the scale that smallholders deal with.

‘There comes a time in everyone’s life when things need to be made easier, computers help in many ways, but not with lambing. So here is the fail-safe way to a simple, stress-free lambing – keep your pet lambs and lamb them!
We have been doing this for some time now and most of our flock started out life as pet lambs. This removes the inherent fear that most sheep have of humans and means that, as we are getting on and still lambing outside, if we need to catch a ewe, most respond to a ‘shoogle’ of cake. They can then be caught, popped into the transport box and taken up to the shed to be lambed in comfort, and with warm water.
On Sunday, my most pet ewe lamb from last year lambed, albeit not in the best place – right in the middle of the field! I wandered up, asked her if she needed some help and she just sat there pushing. I helped lamb her, saw the lamb was breathing fine, told her how clever she was, gave her an hour and brought her into the shed for her tea and toast. . .


Rural round-up

09/04/2015

Fagan’s last championships:

New Zealand’s most enduringly successful shearer, David Fagan, begins his final competition today before retirement.

The New Zealand shearing and wool handling championships at Te Kuiti in the King Country will be the last for the 53-year old veteran before he retires from the circuit.

He has had a busy final season, racking up 12 open wins from 25 finals.

Doug Laing from Shearing Sports New Zealand said Fagan had the chance of several more titles before the week’s end. . .

Thriving in the best of both worlds:

Taking the good with the bad, being a sounding board for farmers is what Fonterra Shareholders’ Councillor Sandra Cordell thrives on.

Although there are often gripes and grumbles, there are plenty of positives to the job and Cordell says talking to farmers is invigorating.

“I respect and admire farmers’ passion and enthusiasm for their industry,” she says.

“Farming is about making the best of opportunities on the farm and how a farmer makes use of these.  Since being in this role, I have been blown away by farmers’ awareness of sustainability.” . .

Dog trails light up Taranaki – Sue O’Dowd:

Taranaki farming personality Bryan Hocken is claiming a world first when the Tarata community stages sheep dog trials under lights on Saturday evening.

The Tarata Sheep Dog Trial Club  is hosting a straight hunt under lights after its annual sheep dog trials on Friday and Saturday. About 30 huntaways are expected to compete in the trial, with the winner set to take home $1000.

“We’re just testing the interest,” said Hocken, who’s president of the Tarata club, established more than 100 years ago in 1908. “We don’t know if it’s going to take off. You can enter on the day.” . . .

Tussock Creek sharemilkers win Southland Otago award:

Tussock Creek couple Jono and Kelly Bavin have won the 2015 Southland Otago Sharemilker Equity Farmer of the Year title.

The other major winners at the Southland Otago Dairy Industry Awards, held recently in Gore, were farm managers of the year Nick Templer and Anieka Venekamp, and dairy trainee of the year Jeremy Anderson. . .

Trooper seeded Gallipoli memorial – Sally Rae:

High on a hill overlooking North Otago farmland is a very special pine tree. Reporter Sally Rae explains why.

Greg and Julie McEwan always knew their beacon-like landmark was special but didn’t know exactly what made it so precious.

That was until a chance meeting in Oamaru, between Mrs McEwan, from Corriedale, and Ikawai farmer Ron Mansfield, who recounted the remarkable story of his Uncle Joe.

For the tree is much more than a landmark; it serves as a monument to World War 1 and to a soldier who safely returned home. . .

Minister opens NZ primary sector Shanghai office:

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has officially opened the Shanghai office of Primary Collaboration New Zealand (PCNZ) – a coalition of New Zealand food and beverage companies pooling their expertise in China.

Mr Joyce, who is currently visiting Shanghai to foster business ties between New Zealand and China, says the new premises will provide a boost to the export ambitions of a number of New Zealand’s major primary sector brands.

“PCNZ is a trailblazing collaboration between New Zealand companies who are showing how innovative models can overcome size and scale challenges in large markets such as a China. . . .

Macraes mine may receive reprieve:

The Waitaki mayor is welcoming news OceanaGold may keep its Macraes mine in north Otago open for another ten years, and start mining tungsten deposits.

The company was planning to shut the mine down in 2017 because of the slump in international gold prices.

The company has declined to be interviewed but a spokesperson says low oil prices and the falling New Zealand dollar against the US currency, now makes the mine more viable, along with its recent exploration success both at surface and underground. . .

Otago bunnies breeding like rabbits:

The Otago Regional Council says the number of rabbits in the region is increasing.

8400 rabbits were killed during the annual Easter bunny hunt at the weekend, 500 more than the year before.

The council’s director of environmental monitoring, Jeff Donaldson, said the summer produced a bumper crop of bunnies.

“With the recent drought we’ve had in Otago there has certainly been an increase in numbers over most properties. Rabbits prefer the drier conditions. . .


Rural round-up

18/03/2015

A champion at work and play – Rick Powdrell:

For generations New Zealand has been blessed with numerous elite athletes from the wide variety of codes our sports mad nation participates in.

Through those generations we have seen a number of supreme elite athletes that have been outstanding in their particular sport, an athlete we describe as one out of the box.

Our generation has been privileged to witness ‘one out of the box’- shearer David Fagan. He has set numerous records, winning over 600 open events while been an inspiration to aspiring shearers and the farming community.

His record of 17 national championships, 16 Golden Shears titles, five individual world titles, seven world team titles and 10 world records is legendary and unsurpassed. . .

 The politics of effluent – Chris Lewis:

I have to say that when I entered farming politics, I never expected that a significant chunk of the conversations I would be having would be about the stuff that comes out of the back end of a cow.  The polite term is ‘effluent’ of course, but what is not polite is the significant impacts and costs involved with managing it.

Part of Waikato Federated Farmers role is to hold our regional council to account when warranted, and effluent has been a major bone of contention. However they are there to do a job, as are we, and sometimes it is just as important to celebrate them. Just as farmers feel we are always being criticised in the media, I imagine councils do too and as we well know this can result in an ill informed perspective being held by the public.

In the last six months the Waikato Regional Council have set up an Effluent Working Group that has worked with stakeholders such as councillors, council staff, dairy industry leaders and myself, to help navigate a better model of management going forward. . .

Fonterra confident $755 million price tag for Beingmate stake is good value – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group said the $755 million price tag for 18.8 percent of Shenzen-listed Beingmate Baby & Child Food represents good value and will deliver long-term value to the world’s largest dairy exporter.

The transaction, valued at 3,464 million RMB ($755 million) is well above the $615 million Fonterra indicated it would cost for up to a 20 percent share last year when the deal was first announced.

But chief financial officer Lukas Paravicini said the $615 million was a net figure, once the proceeds from the sale of Fonterra’s under-utilised Darnum plant in Australia into the joint venture it’s setting up with Beingmate are taken off the purchase price. . .

Third ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Finalist Named:

James Hoban is the third Grand Finalist to be named in the 2015 ANZ Young Farmer Contest.

The twenty-nine year old took first place at the Tasman Regional Final in Kirwee on Saturday 14 March after a very close and tense Evening Show.

Mr Hoban went home with a prize pack worth over $10,000 including cash, scholarships and products and services from ANZ, FMG, Lincoln University, Ravensdown, AGMARDT, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone. . . .

Matua Crowned Winemaker of Year And Champion Wine of Show:

Chief Winemaker Nikolai St George added some impressive bling to the Matua awards cabinet on Saturday night at the 2015 New Zealand Royal Easter Show Wine Awards, triumphing over all to take home the Royal Easter Show Trophy for Champion Wine of the Show in addition to the Pullman Hotels Trophy for Champion Syrah for the 2013 Matua Single Vineyard Matheson Syrah. With an additional two gold medals, 10 silver and two bronze, St George then took to the stage again to claim the Royal Agricultural Society Gold Medal for Wine Maker of the Year, which he also won in 2013. . .

 Federated Farmers Exec wins Golden Lamb Award:

Federated Farmers is thrilled one of their own has taken out this year’s Beef & Lamb Golden Lamb Awards.

Rick Powdrell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre Chairman says “Hamish Buchanan has outdone himself and should be incredibly proud of what he has achieved.”

“The Golden Lamb Awards is a challenging competition in its quest to find the highest yielding, most tender and tasty lamb in New Zealand. For our Tararua Meat & Fibre Chair to take that national title at such a young age is very impressive.” . . .

 

 


Rural round-up

09/03/2015

Scotsman wins Golden Shears open final:

The competition dubbed the ‘Wimbledon of shearing’ entered a new era at the weekend with the retirement of legend David Fagan and its first ever international winner.

Fagan, the long-standing champion, has 16 Golden Shears wins under his belt, but in the year of his retirement he did not make the final of the open event on Saturday.

Instead, he ended his 35 year career in the semi-finals, leaving the Masterton crowd to witness something the competition has never seen before in the 55 years it has been running.

In front of a full house of 1600 people, plus another 40,000 around the world who watched a live stream of the event, the Scottish national anthem rang out for the first time.

Scotsman Gavin Mutch, who now farms in Whangamomona in the King Country with his family, was initially lost for words at his win. . .

Hunter Downs water scheme a viable proposal – Annette Scott:

Proposers of a new $350 million irrigation scheme in South Canterbury have tagged their preferred option and unveiled the scheme costings.

The scheme proposes to irrigate 40,000ha from the Waitaki River.

Hunter Downs Irrigation chairman Andrew Fraser said its technical and economic feasibility had been confirmed with a second capital call going out before the end of this month. . .

Rules must be obeyed, ECan says – Annette Scott:

Rain that has fallen in the past two weeks has been welcome but has been no drought-breaker for parched Canterbury farmland.

As farmers desperately wait for nature to give them a much needed break, NIWA’s autumn forecast does come under a brighter rainbow for parched pastures and farmer anxiety as worst-decision time approaches.

A serious concern now is an autumn drought, which would be worse because there won’t be enough autumn growth to see livestock through winter. . .

Morrinsville sharemilker wins title –   Gerald Piddock:

Aaron Price is a young, fit, professional married man with a plan.

He is also the 2015 Waikato Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year winner, netting him $22,000 in prizes.

The 29 year old took out the major title at Friday night’s 2015 Waikato Dairy Industry Awards.

It was the fourth time he had entered the contest and had been runner-up twice.

Winning the title helped him achieve a short-term goal. . .

Bald Hills sold to overseas investor – Lynda Van Kempen:

Another Central Otago vineyard is changing hands to an overseas investor – the second this year.

The sale of Bald Hills, owned by Blair and Estelle Hunt, was approved by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) this week.

The 11ha Bannockburn property has been bought by a Japanese investor, who has set up a company called Beecom (NZ) Ltd. . .

Planting an orchard to build a pre-school:

Planting an orchard as a marketing ploy – hardly from the pages of marketing textbooks but highly effective for the Pukeko Pre-School at Tauwhare, near Hamilton.

The recipients of a grant from Fonterra’s Grass Roots Foundation (as well as from the WEL Energy Trust), the pre-school kicked off its efforts to create a new $300,000 facility with a tree planting exercise late last year.

From the grants, the trust overseeing the new pre-school decided to plant about 45 trees – feijoas, blueberries, peaches, plums, apples, lemon, oranges, mandarins, limes, persimmons and some rosemary. A planting day involving about 40 parents and children saw the trees start their new lives after being purchased from a Te Aroha nursery. . .


Rural round-up

08/03/2015

Legendary shearer David Fagan retires from competition – Diane Bishop:

David Fagan reckons he’s had a pretty good innings. And you can’t argue that.

After all, he’s one of the most successful competition shearers this country has ever seen, and is likely to see.

At 53, he’s hanging up the handpiece, competitively speaking.

Despite his legendary status, Fagan is surprisingly down-to-earth and matter-of-fact about his last season on the shearing circuit. . .

Devotion saves oasis on dry plains:

Peter Etheridge is passionate about wildlife. So much so that when this summer’s drought threatened to shut down the creek flowing through his 12ha property, he knew he had to act.

The deer farmer, who lives 7km outside Ashburton, teamed up with neighbouring farmers to keep Green Street’s Spring Creek alive.

It was a tough ask. Irrigating farmers in the area were already on a 100 per cent water restriction so no water could be taken from the Ashburton River which feeds the creek. However, by negotiating with the local regional council, Environment Canterbury, Etheridge and his neighbours were able to get a small amount of water released purely for environmental purposes. . .

Learning experience for Southland deer farmers – Diane Bishop:

Dipton deer farmer Brian Russell is at the top of his game.

But, he’s the first to admit he’s still got a “bit to learn” on his family-owned property The Rock.

Brian and his wife Kristine are large scale deer farmers farming two properties comprising more than 2100 hectares in Northern and Central Southland. . .

Shear diplomacy for US Consul – Andrew Bonallack:

Mr Ambassador sir, it’s time to take your jacket off.

Under hot lights and in front of a large crowd, the brand new US Ambassador to New Zealand donned a Golden Shears singlet over his shirt and waited for his turn to have a go shearing a sheep at Masterton’s War Memorial stadium yesterday.

Mark Gilbert, who officially became the US Ambassador to New Zealand last month, was enjoying a tour of the Golden Shears competition when the suggestion was made for him to have a go at shearing. . .

Marmalade champions – Gerald Ford:

Whareama couple Sally Duckworth and Alisdair Ross have conquered the world of marmalade, taking two gold medals at the World Marmalade Championships in Cumbria, United Kingdom, on Saturday.

The competition, known as the World’s the Original Awards, this year attracted more than 2500 entries from across Europe, North America, Asia and Africa, as well as the Middle East and Australia and New Zealand.

Only one entrant managed more than two golds at the event.

The couple make marmalade as Marmalada, on their property at the historic 1884 Langdale Homestead.

This was the second year Sally and Alisdair have entered the competition. . .

Wood chopping a crowd favourite at Field Days     – Barbara Gillham:

Competition will be at the cutting edge and records may be broken when axemen from around the country enter the Husqvarna Wood Chopping Arena this year.

Always a crowd-pleaser, wood chopping has been at Central Districts Field Days since it began 22 years ago.

Run by the Taranaki Axemen’s Club, competitors – including brothers Jack and Shane Jordon from Stratford – will be in action. Two of New Zealand’s top axemen, Jack was the youngest world champion two years ago at the age of 17. . .

 


Shearing’s a sport . . .

24/02/2015

One of the country’s greatest sportsmen, David Fagan,  has never been recognised in the Halberg awards and Jamie Mackay is launching a crusade to change that:

. . . At the time of writing the five times world champion had won a staggering 634 open-class shearing finals, not to mention the odd junior, intermediate and senior title he picked up along the way as he honed his craft.  

By the time you read this that tally could well be 635 since he was a hot favourite to win the Southern Shears in Gore. With no Rowland Smith and John Kirkpatrick to contend with this season he’s looming large to win his 17th Golden Shears title at Masterton and do likewise for the 17th time in his swansong at the NZ Shearing Championships at Te Kuiti.

If Fagan is successful at either of the aforementioned events then surely he qualifies to be recognised in the 2015 Halberg Awards. 

What more does the man have to do? . .

Fagan did win the Southern Shears in Gore at the weekend.

He also won the speed shearing competition at the inaugural Hilux Rural Games in Queenstown at Waitangi Weekend.

Even if he doesn’t win anything else this year, surely his skill, athleticism, his 635 open-class titles, including five world championships and his 16 Golden Shears titles should qualify him for an award.

He’s not just a champion, he’s a good sport and he’s willing to share his skills. He was working in sheds around Southland before the Southern Shears, teaching up and coming shearers.

Sport is defined as an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.

That should cover shearing.

Anyone who doubts it, should read Bulibasha by Witi Ihimaera. It has the most exciting sporting commentary I’ve ever read and the event was a shearing competition.

That shearing is also an occupation should be irrelevant – lots of other sports people are also paid to do what they do.

Shearing is a sport.

Fagan is one of New Zealand’s greatest sportsmen and he should be eligible for recognition at the Halberg Awards.

If the rules don’t allow his inclusion in existing categories then a special category that acknowledges his achievement should be made.


Rural round-up

09/02/2015

Rural sports take centre stage – Paul Taylor:

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

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

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

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

Safer farms launched today:

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

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

Best young farmer in the South – Paul Taylor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Slideshow here

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

The problem of food: Scientist puts spotlight on crisis:

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

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

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

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

Winton entrant wins top awards – Sally Rae:

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

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

Women’s programme receives support:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Rural Games to be annual event

09/02/2015

Take a man with vision and the determination to showcase the sports that built a nation; add the Topp Twins, three former All Blacks and hundreds of elite rural sportspeople, mix them in a variety of competitive endeavours in Queenstown under blue skies and sunshine and what do you get?

The inaugural New Zealand Rural Games which were so successful it is to be an annual event:

Organisers of the first ever Hilux New Zealand Rural Games confirmed it will become an annual event after attracting more than 7,500 spectators to Queenstown over the Waitangi holiday weekend.

An estimated crowd of 5,000 people lined the downtown streets on Waitangi Day to watch around 400 locally-bred merino sheep pass by in the Running of the Wools. The free event, co-sponsored by the Otago Daily Times and clothing and gift retailer, Global Culture, proved the perfect curtain raiser for the next two days of traditional sports and live entertainment staged on Queenstown Recreation Ground.

Snow on the mountains around Lake Wakatipu after storms earlier in the week quickly melted as the sun ensured a warm and sunny atmosphere for competitors and spectators alike.

Billed as a showcase for ‘sports that built the nation’, nearly 200 competitors took part in 13 national and trans-Tasman championships including sheep dog trials, coal shovelling, wood chopping, speed shearing, speed fencing and gumboot throwing plus the Wild Buck Challenge taking place in the beer tent.

Spectators were entertained on both days by roving MCs, musical comedy duo the Topp Twins, plus three former All Blacks in Jeff Wilson, Justin Marshall and Toyota ambassador, Marc Ellis who competed with and against each other in several events over the weekend.

Day one highlights included the North Island taking out the NZ Inter-Island Challenge Sheep Dog Trials in association with Ngai Tahu Farming while former NZ strongman champion and national Highland Games number two, Reuben de Jong winning the NZ Rural Highland Games ‘Heavies’ trophy. The overall title of this new addition to the NZ Highland Games calendar, presented in association with PlaceMakers, was decided over the four traditional events of caber toss, stones lift, farmer’s walk and heavy stone toss.

The ANZAXE Trans Tasman Wood Chopping Championship pitched the four top-ranked Aussies – Jamie Head, Laurence O’Toole, Brent Rees and Brayden Myer – against New Zealand’s reigning world champion team of Shane Jordan, Jason Wynyard, Adam Lowe and Kyle Lemon.

Queenslander, Jamie Head took the overall trophy from Kiwis Shane Jordan (second) and Jason Wynyard (third), while the home team won the team event.

Australia had more individual success in the New Zealand championships for coal shovelling on Saturday and cherry stone spitting on Sunday. The reigning Australian champions in each sport, Stuart Turner from New South Wales and Clint Thompson from WA respectively, will take the titles back across the Ditch with them.

Elsewhere on Sunday, the NZ Wine Barrel Racing Championship attracted a global field including entrants from North America, Europe and Asia as well as home grown talent. Eventual men’s winner, Csaba Szondi was visiting from Hungary.

In the throwing events, 10-year-old Adam Stevens from Invercargill won the Bill Tapley Trophy for cow pat tossing held as part of Jetstar Kids ‘n Country, a series of fun events for the under-12s.

Interviewed after his victory he revealed the secret of his success: “I chose a nice tight turd and threw it as far as I could.”

After speed competitions for hand milking in association with Fonterra (featuring a pair of specially adapted fibreglass cows), tree climbing, fencing (in association with Line 7) and gold panning there was victory for five-time world shearing champion, David Fagan in the NZ Speed Shear Championship in association with Toyota Hilux. The veteran from Te Kuiti will retire from competition in April at the end of the current New Zealand season.

In the Games’ penultimate event, an excited crowd witnessed a new national record for egg throwing and catching of 61.7m recorded by Justin Marshall (throwing) and Jeff Wilson (catching). Then the first NZ Gumboot Throwing Championship, in association with Skellerup, saw both men and women’s North Island teams (selected during last year’s Taihape Gumboot Day) win against South Island teams that qualified through Saturday’s regional champs.

Hilux New Zealand Rural Games founder and trustee, Steve Hollander was delighted with how the event turned out.

“What a weekend! We’re all taken aback by the New Zealand public’s enthusiasm for rural sports some of which have all but died out as spectator events. That’s our vision – to preserve the legacy of traditional sports for future generations, bringing them to the attention of the wider population and ensuring this country’s rural spirit is celebrated for many years to come,” he said.

“Huge thanks for everyone who competed and came along to make the event such a success, as well as our amazing volunteers and event crew. We’re already planning for next year so see you in Queenstown on Waitangi weekend 2016.”

Sky Sports will be showing an hour-long highlights programme of the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games at 6.30pm on Friday 13 February.

TV3’s coverage of the Games is here.

TV1’s coverage is here.

Steve Hollander has been working on the concept for about five years.

I became chair of the Games Trust late last year after most of the hard work had been done.

The last three days were a very good reflection on Steve’s drive and determination and the work he and his team had put in to dotting is and crossing ts.

Competition was fierce and competitors and spectators were treated to a weekend of excitement and entertainment.


Rural round-up

27/01/2015

Race to control Canterbury fire – Thomas Mead:

Rural fire crews are considering all possible options as a massive scrub fire burns through a high-country station in Canterbury and temperatures creep up.

Three planes, six helicopters and around 20 firefighters are battling a raging blaze on the hillside at Flock Hill Station, near State Highway 73 and on the way to Arthur’s Pass.

The fire started around 2:30pm yesterday and grew from 10 hectares to 333 hectares overnight, burning through a thick growth of wilding pine, manuka scrub and tussock. The area is equivalent to around 300 rugby fields or three-quarters of the Auckland Central Business District. . .

If farmers hurt, the nation hurts – Bryan Gibson:

Last week, while navigating the cat pictures and uplifting life affirmations of Facebook, I came across a post about the drought-like conditions. The writer stated there seemed to be a fair number of farmers complaining about the weather in the media.

His reasoned the weather was simply a factor of farming business and so farmers should just live with whatever rain or shine the heavens provided.

I sense this is a common belief of many people not associated with farming. . .

McCook hangs up his pest sword – Richard Rennie:

The nemesis for millions of possums is stepping down from his post as king of eradication but his furred foe can be assured there will be little respite on his departure.

OSPRI chief executive William McCook is leaving his post after 12 years heading OSPRI since 2013 and its predecessor the Animal Health Board (AHB). He has decided it’s time for something new but wants to keep his links with the primary sector. . .

Sheep and vineyards a winning combination  – Sally Rae:

Timbo Deaker and Jason Thomson might know a thing or two about grapes but they admit they are ”totally green” when it comes to sheep.

So it comes as something of a surprise that the pair, who operate Viticultura, a Central Otago-based business that manages vineyards and provides brokerage, consultancy and contracting services, supply lambs to Alliance Group.

Historically, they have given winter grazing to local farmers, but for the past two years they have bought their own sheep to fatten beneath the vines. . .

Golden run for NZ shearing legend:

New Zealand shearing legend David Fagan is on a winning streak in what might be his final season on the competition shearing circuit.

He won the Geyserland Shears Open Final at the Rotorua A&P Show during the weekend – the twelfth time he had won that particular event. . .

Equine industry joins GIA biosecurity agreement:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed a fourth primary industry to the GIA partnership today.

The New Zealand Equine Health Association has signed the Deed of the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) for Biosecurity Readiness and Response at the Karaka yearling sales today.

“This means the horse racing, recreational and breeding industry and the Ministry for Primary Industries can work together to manage and respond to the most important biosecurity risks. . .

Double delight for Cambridge Stud early on Day One at Karaka:

The undoubted quality of the famous Cambridge Stud bloodlines were to the fore again at Karaka as the Stud enjoyed a high-priced double strike during the early stages of this year’s premier session at the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling sale series.

The Cambridge draft provided Lot 36, a bay filly from the first crop of resident stallion Cape Blanco out of the Danehill mare Love Diamonds. The mare is a daughter of blueblood producer Tristalove with this filly’s extended pedigree on the catalogue page reading like a who’s who of Australasian racing. . .

 

Doors open at Rabobank Dargaville

Rabobank will open its newest office in New Zealand next Monday February 2, 2015 located in the Northland township of Dargaville.

Nestled in the heart of Dargaville, the new Rabobank branch will be located at 92 Normanby Street.

Rabobank Northland branch manager Tessa Sutherland said the office is convenient and centrally-located, allowing for clients to easily access the branch.

“It has been a vision for quite some time now and we are thrilled to be opening our new branch in Dargaville next week, starting off 2015 with a bang,” Ms Sutherland said. . .

 


Rural round-up

24/05/2014

NZ’s rural businesses struggle to attract equity capital to develop – Graham Turley:

Agri-business is New Zealand’s most productive and successful business sector yet it struggles to attract investor capital.

It seem counter-intuitive, particularly with all the talk of food bowls for Asia, that a sector which represents more than 25 per cent of New Zealand’s economy is widely perceived as difficult and inaccessible for investment – whether those investors are retail, large fund managers or overseas looking to invest in New Zealand’s agricultural success story.

Few successful agriculture-based businesses are listed on the NZX, especially when you consider how significant a contributor agriculture is to the economy. . .

Mackenzie Country farmer wins top deer award:

Paddy Boyd, manager of Haldon Station in the Mackenzie Country, is the winner of the 2014 Deer Industry Award.

The announcement of the award at the annual Deer Conference in Methven on Wednesday was followed by a sustained standing innovation for a farmer who has been a behind-the-scenes industry leader from the 1970s to the present day.

The award citation listed Paddy’s involvement in numerous industry groups including quality assurance, the Cervena strategy, velveting standards, Tb eradication, genetic improvement and environmental standards. . .

Kiwi team and supporters in charge in Ireland:

Six New Zealand shearers, including World Championships representatives Rowland Smith and John Kirkpatrick, have made it to the semi-finals of the Irish All-Nations Open championships semi-final in Gorey, Ireland.

Smith headed the 18 qualifiers after 70 shearers took part in the open-entry heats on the first day of the 16th Golden Shears World Championships, while Kirkpatrick qualified in third place.

They were separated by Scottish World championships contender Hamish Mitchell, whose teammate and defending World champion Gavin Mutch was a surprise elimination. The All-Nations has no bearing on the World Championship, for which the first round will be held tonight (Friday NZT).

The other New Zealanders still in All-Nations contention are five-times World champion David Fagan and son Jack, and Smith’s brothers, Matt and Doug. . . .

Passenger to be investigated for carrying plants:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is investigating an air passenger it nabbed carrying two concealed plants in her shirt.

Watchman, one of MPI’s most experienced detector dogs, sniffed out the plants on the passenger arriving from China at Auckland airport yesterday afternoon.

The woman had rooted cuttings in a plastic bag hidden in her shirt sleeve and under a coat.

“It appears the cuttings were to be planted and that this was a deliberate attempt to smuggle risk items into New Zealand,” says Craig Hughes, MPI’s Manager, North, Passenger and Mail. . .

Delegat’s says 2014 harvest supports sales growth projections – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Delegat’s Group, the winemaker which last year bought Australia’s Barossa Valley Estate, said its just completed 2014 harvest will allow it to achieve its forecast future sales growth.

The Auckland-based winemaker expects to increase wine sale volumes by 2 percent to 1.985 million cases in the year ending June 30, accelerating to an 8.8 percent pace in 2015 and 8.9 percent in 2016, according to projections detailed in its 2013 annual report. The 2014 harvest amounted to 35,127 tonnes, as its New Zealand vintage increased 18 percent to 34,123 tonnes. Its Australian harvest, the first vintage since acquisition of Barossa in June last year, amounted to 1,004 tonnes, the company said today.

“The 2014 vintage has delivered excellent quality in all regions,” managing director Graeme Lord said. “The group has appropriate inventories to achieve future sales growth in line with guidance provided in the 2013 annual report.” . . .

Researchers start a wine revolution:

The global wine industry may be on the cusp of a revolution, thanks to pioneering genetic research conducted by scientists at Lincoln University and Plant & Food Research that not only has ramifications for controlling disease and increasing productivity, but will quite likely mean completely new varieties of grapes and styles of wine.

The research project initially commenced to fill a knowledge gap in the identification and function of the genes that underpin the key characteristics of grapevines. The goal was to bed down a research framework, such as those used by researchers with other plant species, to establish a knowledge base for the study of gene behaviour and the critical processes of grape production.

As the research developed, however, new opportunities became apparent, and a greater emphasis was placed on investigating the potential for manufacturing and encouraging the expression of genetic elements within grapevines which may, in turn, come with commercial benefits. . .

Premium Amisfield Wines to Be Showcased At International Event in Venice, Italy:

Celebrated New Zealand wine producer Amisfield will showcase a premium selection of its wines to a select international audience at the prestigious 14th Venice Architecture Biennale.

The specialist producer of multi-award-winning Pinot Noir and aromatic white wines will be the exclusive wine sponsor and supplier to the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) exhibition at the Biennale from June 5 to November 23.

Amisfield wines, sourced from fruit grown on its estate vineyard beneath the Pisa Mountain range in the renowned Central Otago region, will be served during the official opening events and associated events for the duration of the Biennale at the New Zealand exhibition, to be staged in the Palazzo Pisani Santa Marina. . .

Comvita annual profit rises 3.3% as honey price squeezes margin, sees more growth in 2015 – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Comvita, which produces health products from manuka honey and olive leaves, lifted annual profit 3.3 percent as the rising cost of honey squeezed margins, and said revenue and earnings would grow in 2015.

Net profit rose to $7.6 million, or 24.37 cents per share, in the 12 months ended March 31 from $7.4 million, or 24.52 cents a year earlier, the Te Puke-based company said in a statement. That’s slightly ahead of the $7.5 million profit Comvita signalled earlier this month. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 11 percent to $16.4 million and revenue gained by the same amount to $115.3 million.

“Margins were impacted by the very strong New Zealand dollar and from further sharp rises in the cost of Manuka honey,” the company said. “Because of contractual commitments on pricing in the fast growing China market these costs couldn’t be recovered within the annual time frame.” . . .

New president for Federated Farmers Waikato:

Federated Farmers is thrilled to welcome our new Waikato provincial president, Chris Lewis, who is replacing James Houghton following their provincial AGM.

“Chris has been a part of Federated Farmers for nine years and is well versed on the issues surrounding the Waikato region as well as the dairy industry at a national level,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers National President.

“I would like to thank outgoing provincial president, James Houghton for his service to the province and Federated Farmers and congratulate him on his role on the Waikato Waipa Stakeholders Group, in continuing the collective conversation around water quality in Waikato.

“We are in a year of change within the Federation with leadership changes throughout the organisation, both nationally and provincially, Chris is an incredibly passionate advocate for the farming community and I know he will do a fantastic job,” said Mr Wills. . .

Shocking Sharemilker compliance revealed:

With just over a week until it closes, Federated Farmers is blowing the whistle on the four-fifths of Sharemilkers who are yet to vote in the 2014 DairyNZ Levy referendum.

“The last time I checked only 20 percent of sharemilkers had voted and that’s a shocker turn out,” says Neil Filer, Federated Farmers Sharemilkers section chairperson.

“It’s like seeing only 100 people physically in Eden Park for the upcoming England test.

“I need to send a rocket to our guys to pull finger and vote. We’re the ones that get the most from the levy as it sets up the best possible industry for us. . . .


Rural round-up

24/12/2013

Proactive approach prevents dog fight – Sheryl Brown:

As a battle about water quality rages between farmers and regional councils throughout New Zealand, a group of farmers in the Lake Rerewhakaaitu catchment have drawn nationwide attention through a proactive approach.

Nestled under Mount Tarawera, Lake Rerewhakaaitu is the southernmost of the 12 Rotorua lakes and is surrounded predominantly by dairy farms.

In 2001 a report by Bay of Plenty Regional Council showed nutrient levels in streams flowing into the lake were increasing.

The report suggested tightening dairy disposal consent conditions and setting a ceiling level of nitrogen fertiliser application. . .

Talley’s to lift Open Country stake to as much as 70.5%:

(BusinessDesk) – Talley’s Group, the privately-held maker of foods ranging from frozen fish to ice cream, agreed to buy up to 14.99 percent of Open Country Dairy from Singapore’s Olam International for as much as $46.5 million.

The deal would lift Talley’s holding of the dairy company to as much as 70.5 percent from 55.5 percent, increasing its control of a business that returned to profit in 2012 while tapping shareholders for funds to repay debt. The sale price is close to the current carrying value of the investment in Olam’s accounts, it said.

Olam’s stake would reduce to as low as 10 percent, leaving it as the second-largest shareholder just ahead of Dairy Investment Fund on 9.99 percent. Talley’s is required to make a partial takeover offer under the terms of the Takeovers Code and its transaction with Olam will be a combination of direct sale of shares and acceptance of the offer, Olam said. . .

Santa delivers farmers the perfect weather present:

While holidaymakers may not be relishing widespread rain over Christmas, it will certainly bring a smile to many farmers one-third of the way into summer.

“The guy in the big red suit is delivering farmers the best present; widespread rain,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Adverse Events Spokesperson.

“Farmers won’t have an excuse to get out on-farm but will instead have to get stuck into wrapping last minute presents. Aside from essential jobs on-farm, a few day’s weather enforced relaxation with family is the best way to recharge the batteries. . .

Scholar slams stubble burning as bad for soil – Tim Cronshaw:

A Nuffield scholar visiting Canterbury, who would never burn crop stubble on his farm, has criticised the worldwide practice.

Arable farmer Tom Sewell, who grows crops on a 400-hectare farm in southeast England, was one of two scholarship holders studying the long-term benefits of no-tillage in New Zealand.

He left for Australia a week ago convinced farmers could avoid stubble burning, banned in his home country.

“There are loads of problems with it. In the UK it would be a [non-runner] in public relations and would be a shot in the foot. The public perception is it’s bad for the environment, creating carbon dioxide and it’s burning a valuable carbon source for the soil and losing organic carbon.” . .

30 animals on offer at NZ’s first annual game sale

The efforts of South Canterbury man Neville Cunningham, to have game animals such as red deer and white tahr recognised as being of value rather than simply termed a pest to be eradicated, came to fruition yesterday when he staged New Zealand’s first annual game animal sale.

The sale, held at his Timaru property, offered 30 animals by tender including a black tahr and a white tahr, chamois, trophy elk bulls, trophy red stags, a highland bull, two bison and arapawa rams.

All the animals have been bred by Mr Cunningham at one of his two properties, at Timaru or Aoraki/Mt Cook and some, such as the white tahr, have come from animals originally recovered from the bush, but now part of a managed breeding programme. . .

Two new farmer directors elected to Beef + Lamb New Zealand Board:

Two new farmer directors will join the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Board after the annual meeting in Feilding on 14 March 2014.

They are Waikaka Valley farmer, Andrew Morrison who will represent the Southern South Island electorate and Wairarapa farmer, George Tatham who will represent the Eastern North Island electorate.

They were both elected unopposed.

They replace Beef + Lamb New Zealand directors who had not sought re-election. . .

Bumper crop boosts NZ apple and pear exports:

The largest crop in nearly 10 years has allowed apple and pear growers to crack the $500 million mark for exports.

The pipfruit industry believes the result has placed it on track to reach its export target of $1 billion by 2022.

Pipfruit New Zealand Incorporated (PNZI) chief executive Alan Pollard said the economic impact of apple and pear exports on regions was “extraordinary”.

“North Island centres such as Hawke’s Bay received $350m in export receipts, up $100m on 2012, and South Island centres such as Nelson have received $150m, $50m more than 2012,” he said. . .

The master has not finished just yet – Hugh Stringleman:

The world’s greatest competition shearer believes he has at least one more successful year left in him.

Five-time world champion David Fagan, 52, wants to add to his tallies of 16 titles each at the Golden Shears and New Zealand Shearing Championships.

At the Te Kuiti-based NZ championships David has reached the open final 28 out of 29 times, and the 30th edition in March will provide the best-possible stage for his last hurrah. . .

How do politicians manage to believe such things? – Tim Worstall:

I’m slightly boggled by this statement:

Tim Farron, South Lakes MP and chair of the all-party parliamentary hill farming group, said: “We need to do all we can to support our farming industry, particularly in the uplands where life can be a real struggle. This support and funding could make a massive difference to upland farmers throughout Cumbria and help show the next generation that there is a real future in a career in farming.”

It appears to me to be an example of cognitive dissonance. For we’re also being told this about that same occupation: . .

Vineyards on sustainable, diverse path:

A rapid rise in exports fuelled New Zealand wine industry growth in the 1990s and the industry recognised it needed a proactive approach to sustainable production.

Considerable research led to a holistic programme that eventually became known as Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand.

All but 6% of NZ’s producing vineyard area is certified under the Sustainable Winegrowing NZ approach, with a further 3-5% of operating under certified organic programmes.

Members are committed to protecting the unique places that make the country’s famous wines by reducing the use of chemicals, energy, water, and packaging and wherever possible reusing and recycling material and waste. . .


Rural roundup

20/05/2013

Communication key in success of group – Sally Rae:

The importance of communication has been stressed by those involved with Mitchell and Webster Group – the supreme winner of this year’s Otago Ballance farm environment awards.

The intensive cropping operation and wholesale business producing bird and small animal feed is based on the Mitchell family’s historic Rosedale farm at Weston and covers 1375ha of arable land in North Otago.

A large crowd attended a field day hosted last week by Peter Mitchell and Jock and Nick Webster and their families. . .

Exceptional Family-Run Business Scoops Supreme Award In Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

An extraordinary cropping and wholesale business run by two families has won the Supreme Award in the 2013 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Jock Webster, Nick Webster and Peter Mitchell of the Mitchell Webster Group received the special award at a Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony in Wanaka on April 12, 2013.

Producing bird and animal feed, their intensive cropping business spans 1380ha of arable land in North Otago and is based from the Mitchell family’s historic ‘Rosedale’ farm at Weston.

The Mitchell and Webster families joined forces in 1972, creating, said BFEA judges, “an extraordinary and inspirational family business that has withstood the test of time”. . .

Scale, diversity of Asian markets noticed – Sally Rae:

An industry-backed trip to Asia has given Blair and Jane Smith a deeper understanding of the challenges facing marketers of New Zealand meat and dairy products.

Mr and Mrs Smith, from Five Forks and the national winners of the 2012 Ballance farm environment awards, recently returned from South Korea, China, Taiwan and Singapore.

They visited various markets for New Zealand sheep, beef and dairy products, with the aim of learning more about offshore markets, exchanging views on topics of interest to New Zealand farmers and of highlighting New Zealand’s stance on agricultural sustainability. . .

Ace shearer special guest – Sally Rae:

Top shearer David Fagan will be the special guest at the Royal Agricultural Society of New Zealand’s national Golden Fleece competition in Mosgiel this week.

The Otago-Taieri A&P Society is hosting the event, which is open to both fine- and strong-wool growers throughout New Zealand.

The competition has been held for more than 40 years and has moved around the country, although it had predominantly been hosted in the South Island as that was where most of the entries came from, RAS executive member Kelly Allison said. . .

Slow and steady wins farm race – Annette Lambly:

A simple but effective stocking policy has earned Paparoa farmers Janine and Ken Hames recognition in this year’s Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The couple, who own Ewenny Farms, a 351ha (256ha effective) beef-only farm on Paparoa-Oakleigh Rd, achieve meat production of 277kg CW/ha (three-year average).

This is well above average for this class of land (Waiotira clay loam) in Northland and is accomplished with all-grass feeding, with no hay or silage.

Janine, a veterinarian, has a comprehensive animal health plan for the cattle, and does regular drench checks and faecal egg counts. . .

Tradeable slaughter rights useful but may not be the answer – Allan Barber:

The Tradable Slaughter Rights concept, raised by me several weeks ago and promoted last week by Mike Petersen, was first proposed by Pappas, Carter, Evans and Koop in 1985. But its purpose was specifically to solve the problem of an industry that consisted of a lot of weak competitors with little innovation or variation in killing charges. The report identified excess costs between farmgate and shipside of $100 million or 8%.

Although the meat companies are not exactly making huge profits or enjoying strong balance sheets, it would be entirely false to accuse them of lack of innovation and high operating cost structures. What is still relevant is the issue of excess capacity, but the end result today is not too much cost, but too much procurement competition. . .


Rural round-up

06/04/2013

Gore couple take home Sharemilker of Year title – Terri Russell:

More than 500 people attended the 2013 Southland Dairy Industry Awards in Invercargill last night to celebrate the achievements of standout individuals in Southland’s dairy industry.

Gore sharemilkers Don and Jess Moore, who are in their second season 50 per cent sharemilking 950 cows, were named the Sharemilker-Equity Farmers of the Year.

The couple said that entering into the awards made them look at their business closely – from the day-to-day running to goals for the future.

“We also enjoy the opportunity to network with some of the standout leaders within the dairy industry, as that is what makes this industry so strong,” they said. . .

Government’s irrigation promises offer hope to farmers:

The comments from Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy re-confirming the government’s commitment to supporting large scale irrigation projects are exactly what drought-stricken farmers needed to hear, Federated Farmers national president Bruce Wills says.

“It is great to see Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy publically reiterating the Government’s commitment to investing up to $400 million to encourage third-party capital investment in regional water storage projects to better insure farmers against droughts such as the one currently ravaging the North Island,” Wills says.

“We need these schemes because no matter how many on-farm water dams farmers build, they will never have enough capacity to see us through droughts like this one.

“It is not just farmers who will feel the effects of the prolonged dry season. The entire New Zealand economy is set to take a $2 billion hit, which will affect everyone, from all walks of life, everywhere in the country. . .

Shear speed triumph for Fagan:

Veteran shearer David Fagan threw down the gauntlet to his rivals on the first night of the 29th New Zealand Shearing Championships when he won the competition’s annual Speedshear in Te Kuiti last night.

The 51-year-old Fagan blasted the wool off his final sheep in 22.52 seconds to win the $1000 first prize in front of his home crowd in the Waitomo Cultural and Arts Centre, where he’s been the star of the show since the Championships were first held in Te Kuiti in 1985.

Hastings shearer Dion King, who had headed the 10 qualifiers after the heats, finished second in 23.1sec, while Digger Balme, originally from Tuakau but based in Te Kuiti for many years, was third, in 24.26sec. . .

SFF firms stance against co-op:

Silver Fern Farms chief executive Keith Cooper has further distanced the company from calls to centralise the red meat industry.

A Meat Industry Excellence Group meeting in Gore last month attracted about 1000 farmers wanting changes to the meat industry and many supported reordering the country’s meat companies into one co-operative controlling a majority of product.

The Southland Times reported Silver Fern Farms did not support the idea because it felt it did not necessarily reflect the best interests of its shareholders. . .

Sealord’s results marred by Argentinian impairment as other units prosper – Jonathan Underhill

(BusinessDesk) – Sealord, New Zealand’s second-largest fishing company, reported a full-year profit that was dented by a charge against its Argentinian business, where a soaring peso and rampant inflation are driving up costs.

Profit was $5.2 million in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, from $13.4 million in the corresponding 15 month period, according to the Nelson-based company’s annual report. Sealord’s holding company, Kura, changed its balance sheet in the interim. Sales were $487 million in the latest year.

Sealord, which is jointly owned by Maori tribal interests through Aotearoa Fisheries and Japan’s Nippon Suisan Kaisha, took a $10 million charge against its Yuken business in Argentina in 2012, notes to its accounts show. That business also had an operating loss of $7 million in the period, so effectively $17 million was shaved off Sealord’s results in the latest period. . .

Seize the day – Valerie Davies:

Today was not one of those days, but One of Those Days.  Yesterday, as I watched the tiny, greenery- yallery birds we call silver- eyes in the trees, hunting for insects and the like, I thought how I hadn’t seen the cock pheasant for months. He must have found another home, I thought.

When I awoke this morning I jumped out of bed and looked out of the open window to the sea as usual. There, right below my window, was the pheasant, in the garden bed with the bromeliads. He slowly pecked and ambled his way down through the vegetable beds to the petanque court, and then sauntereded off down the path into the wild patch. A moment earlier or later, and I would have missed him. Do I believe in coincidences, or did the pheasant pick up my wave-length? . . . (you’ll have to click the link above to get to the rural theme and a good read).

Sheep etiquette in New Zealand:

Follow the journey of Luca an Italian tourist exploring Lake Tekapo. In this beautiful alpine village in the heart of the South Island, Luca enjoys the stunning scenery, wonderful attractions and the hospitality of the locals. What he wasn’t prepared for was the uninvited but special friendship he would establish with Lulu…….. confirming for Luca, South Canterbury is a great place to make friends! . . .

And from Facebook:

DV6<


Rowland Smith Golden Shears champ

03/03/2013

Hastings-based shearer Rowland Smith has won the 2013 Golden Shears open.

A new shearing champion has been saluted in an emotional end to the 53rd Golden Shears  in which he gave his $3000 prize to help fight cancer.

After his win in an almlost all-Hawke’s Bay race for the “Wimbledon” of shearing in Masterton, 26-year-old Rowland Smith, of Hastings, told the crowd “it’s not for the money,” and bolstered the shears’ cancer research fundraising to over $11,000 from donations and other gifted prizes.

Smith’s own mother died of cancer, making it a particularly poignant moment as shearsgoers got behind woolhandling icon Joanne Kumeroa, battling cancer but still finishing second in her attempt to win the wool industry pageant’s Open woolhandling title for a seventh time.

The shearing final was an exciting contest dominated by four Hawke’s Bay shearers who were separated by less than four-tenths of a point, Smith justifying his TAB favouritism after winning eight other finals in the six weeks leading into Shears week.

With 16-times winner David Fagan missing from the final for only the fourth time in 30 years, Smith was always going to find three  other former winners toughest to beat in defending champion and four-times winner John Kirkoatrick, of Napier, 2006 winner Dion King, of Hastings, and 2010 winner Cam Ferguson, of Waipawa.

 It was King who poured on the pace throughout the contest, finishing the 20 second-shear sheep first in 16min 30.09sec, 16 secoonds ahead of Kirkpatrick, and another 8 seconds ahead of Smith.

With Ferguson next to finish, all four Hawke’s Bay guns put more than a sheep around World champion Gavin Mutch, a Scotsman farming in Taranaki, and Southland hope Nathan Stratford.

The final result was in doubt however until the presentation, with Rowland’s event best 10.45 quality points total securing him the major prize.  King had to settle for second overall, Kirkpatrick third and Ferguson fourth.   

Amazingly, despite his lack of familiarity with the fine-wooled merino, Kirkpatrick was first to finish the multi-breeds PGG Wrightson National Circuit final earlier in the night. Taking 19min 6.862sec for the 15 sheep, half-a-minute slower than the fastest time last year and in nhis first time in the circuit final, he just just pipped 2009-2011winner Tony Coster, of Rakaia, for the major prize.

With points ultimately in the same order as the shearers came off the board, World champion, Scottish national and Whangamomona farmer Gavin Mutch was third and defending champion Angus Moore, from Ward in  Marlborough but now living at Kaitangata, South Otago, was fourth.

The 15 sheep comprised three of each type representing each of the qualifying rounds at Alexandra (fine wool), Waimate (longwool, Alexandra (coarse wool), Raglan (lambs) and Pahiatua (second-shear).

A dramatic Open woolhandling final ended with World champion Joel Henare, 21, of Gisborne, winning the title for the first time after four consecutive second placings in the event. He’s the youngest ever to win the title, and the first male woolhandling champion since Oti Mason, of Dannevirke, won in 2000.

In the other major event of the final night, New Zealand won a shearing test over Australia.

The link in the opening sentence will take you to the full results on Shearing Sports NZ’s website.


Fagan father & son double win

27/07/2012

Father and son wins at the Royal Welsh show have added another chapter to the Fagan shearing legend:

The New Zealand shearing legend David Fagan and his son Jack have scored a remarkable double on one of the biggest shearing stages in the world by winning the open and senior finals at the Royal Welsh Show.

Earlier this year Jeanette Maxwell of Federated Farmers called for shearing to be introduced to the Olympics.

Sir Brian Lochore seconded that:

Sir Brian, a Wairarapa farmer who contested in the first ever Golden Shears in Masterton in 1961, gave an almost “hero” status to today’s modern day international shearing guns in his speech at last night’s (Thursday March 1) Golden Shears World Championship dinner.

“Those competitors who are part of Golden Shears and now the World Championships are part of the World Cup of Shearing. Lets compare it to rugby. When New Zealand hosted the World Cup of rugby, we had the best players – the best prepared. Here in Masterton right now we have those same best players and the best prepared.”

Sir Brian said Golden Shears and the competitors who took part had champion quality.

“I absolutely support that shearing is no longer just a job. I do think that one day you will get it in the Olympics.”

Shearing is one of the most physically demanding occupations, it’s also a sport and those who take part are just as much athletes as those who compete in sports which are already included in the Olympics.


Tuesday’s answers

16/03/2010

Monday’s questions were:

1. Which country produces and consumes the most sheep meat?

2. Who has won 16 Golden Shears open contests and who won this year?

3. What is antimetabole?

4. Who is the only woman to have won two Nobel Prizes?

5. Pogonophobia is a fear of what?

Andrei got three right and gets a bonus for knowing Greek.

JC got one right and a half for Fagan.

Gravedodgerand David  got three right.

PDM got two right with a bonus for extra information ont he shearers and lateral thinking with his answer to #5.

Rob got two with a bonus for confusing me with his answer to #2 and for trying with his answer to #3.

Tuesday’s answers follow the break.

Read the rest of this entry »


Fagan wins 16th Golden Shears title

08/03/2009

Winning a national sporting title is a great accomplishment.

Doing it for the 16th time and at the age of 47 as David Fagan has done with the Golden Shears is a stunning tribute to fitness, skill, dedication and determination.

I hope the people who select finalists for the Halberg Awards  take note.

And if you don’t think shearing is sport, read Witi Ihimaera’s  Bulibasha. I’ve never been gripped by any other sporting commentary as I was by the one in that book.


NZ 3 – Wales 0

28/07/2008

Ah well, we didn’t win the rugby in Sydney, but our shearers had a 3-0 whitewash in a test series in Wales.

The team, comprising Golden Shears and New Zealand championships winner and runner-up John Kirkpatrick, of Napier, and Paul Avery, of Toko, near Stratford, won the final test by just a point in a close and exciting 20-sheep duel at the Corwen Shears, in north Wales at the weekend.

They had scored a 10-point win the opening test at Lampeter the previous weekend, and a one-point win in the second test at the Royal Welsh Show on Thursday.

Avery, who won both the Golden Shears and New Zealand titles in 2007 before bowing to Kirkpatrick in this year’s event, completed a remarkable series of individual wins on tour by claiming the Corwen Shears open title, with Kirkpatrick second and King Country icon David Fagan third.

Shearing is often overlooked as a sport, but there is no doubting the fitness and skill of the competitors nor the excitement of a close match. Although I didn’t really appreciate this until I read the commentary of a Golden Shears final in Witi Ihimaera’s novel, Bulibasha.


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