Rural round-up

30/08/2019

Dairy farmers have ‘stepped up’ – Yvonne O’Hara:

Dairy farmers are not getting the credit they deserve for stepping up their game to improve their practices, dairy farmer and industry climate change ambassador Dean Alexander believes.

He and wife Suzanne winter 1200 cows on two flat 179ha and 242ha platforms effective near Winton.

”As an industry, we have made huge innovations in the past 10 to 15 years, which has been driven by regulations,” Mr Alexander said.

”Changes needed to happen and we have stepped up our game and ought to get credit for the progress we have made.”

He said the quality of water into waterways and estuaries had improved compared to 20 to 30 years ago. . .

Role of red meat in a healthy diet is globally recognised – Rod Slater:

I was saddened to read the article Hospitals should lead the way by cutting out meat (August 20) by Professor John Potter. He has a huge amount of experience and, unfortunately, he used every ounce of it to produce a thoroughly disingenuous and misleading piece of writing.

Firstly, I would like to address his criticisms of Dietitians NZ (DNZ). DNZ provided a statement in response to the Ministry of Health (MoH) releasing a report which suggested less meat and dairy in the health sector to reduce the impact on the environment, in what seems to be a move by the MoH that is severely deficient in local context. 

DNZ is entirely independent and performs a vital role in representing the nutrition scientists who have made it their life’s work to understand and advise on diet and health matters. For Prof Potter to discredit its response on the basis of Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s “support” of DNZ is ludicrous. . . .

New grass could reduce methane emissions from animals – Maja Burry:

New Zealand scientists trialling a potentially environmentally sustainable grass in the United States hope to study its effects on animals in the next two years.

The genetically modified ryegrass has been developed by the Crown Research Institute, AgResearch, at its grasslands centre in Palmerston North.

Modelling has found it can grow up to 50 percent faster than conventional ryegrass, it is more resistant to drought and could reduce methane emissions from animals.

Trials are now progressing in the mid-west of the US, where genetically modified organisms can be field tested outside of the lab. . . 

 IrrigationNZ responds to Waitangi Tribunal report on national freshwater – changes to New Zealand’s water allocation framework:

IrrigationNZ says that the timing of the Waitangi Tribunal report and recommendations on freshwater and geothermal resources puts Māori rights and interests in freshwater firmly back in the public spotlight, just when the Government is set to release a raft of policy changes under the ‘Essential Freshwater’ package.

“We are in favour of the Waitangi Tribunal report’s recommendation to establish a body to oversee future water governance and management, including whether a Water Act is required to provide a new framework for freshwater,” says Elizabeth Soal, Chief executive of IrrigationNZ.

“We agree, and firmly believe, that New Zealand needs a national water strategy and a body to oversee this strategy so that this precious resource can be used and allocated for the benefit of all,” says Ms Soal. . . 

MPI pair helping farmers through `M. bovis’ process – Toni Williams:

Empowering farmers working through the Mycoplasma bovis process involves Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) regional managers Charlotte Austin and Lydia Pomeroy working long hours.

But, as a way of being prepared to fight for their cases and keeping up to date with the issues, it is something they are only too happy to do.

”We certainly lose sleep, but we also understand that it’s not nearly as big an impact on us.

”That’s why we will quite happily work a 12, 13 or 14-hour day ‘cos we understand that these individuals are living it,” said Ms Austin, speaking to media after the recent Mid Canterbury Mycoplasma bovis Advisory Group meeting in Ashburton. . .

What’s our beef with beef? – Helen Browning:

Red meat is not inherently unsustainable, despite recent headlines – it’s how it is farmed that matters.

A new report by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) called for us to make radical changes to the way we farm and eat to prevent further global warming. But what did the IPPC report actually say on meat eating? Were the NFU and others right to say reporting was misleading?

As ever, the issues are complex, hard to convey accurately in an eye-catching headline or a snappy tweet.

The IPCC is clear that, on a global level, ruminant livestock – that’s cattle and sheep – carry a high greenhouse gas footprint. This leads to the conclusion that if we eat less red meat, we can reduce these emissions. . .


Rural round-up

17/08/2019

Gas measures bring cost cuts – Neal Wallace:

Winton dairy farmer Dean Alexander stumbled into the world of measuring carbon emissions.

Ironically, he had just spent more than $500,000 on resource consent and infrastructure to increase cow numbers when he realised the expansion meant an increase in his greenhouse gas emissions.

Alexander told the recent Dunedin meeting of the Ministry for the Environment’s Action and Agricultural Emissions public consultation he realised he needed to learn more about climate change.

From that research he concluded it is a real and looming threat, there is no silver bullet and farmers need to start reducing their emissions now.

“You need to do little things well and it is about starting now,” he says. . . 

Farmer who beat debt and depression on a mission to help :

A New Zealand farmer has told how he battled an eight-year drought and mental health issues to become one of the country’s top beef and sheep producers.

After years of spiralling debts and depression, Doug Avery turned his 2,400ha farm into one of New Zealand’s most successful farming enterprises.

It has been a long struggle, but he has since received widespread acclaim for his approach to farming, the environment and mental wellbeing. . . 

Book shares the shearers’ stories – Chris Tobin:

The success of an earlier book on drovers has prompted Timaru author Ruth Entwistle Low to write another, this time on shearers.

The Shearers: New Zealand Legends was launched in Timaru last week following on from her successful On the Hoof: The Untold Story of Drovers in New Zealand.

”It was a risk for my publishers taking on the drovers’ book,” she said.

”It’s a niche subject but the book sold well and was on the New Zealand best seller non-fiction lists for six weeks, which was pretty satisfying.”

That prompted the realisation that there was sufficient interest to warrant another similar book.

”When the dust settled on the first one, Penguin came back and said: ‘Do you want to write a book on shearers?’.” . . 

Minette Batters: Brexit has been “a face-slapping moment” for farming – Julian Baggini:

Minette Batters could not have chosen a more difficult time to become the first female president of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU). “Things could go massively wrong and it could decimate the industry,” she tells me at the NFU’s London headquarters. “It could destroy lives and livelihoods and families, and that is in the back of my mind at all times.”

The threat comes from a chaotic Brexit, which she has been fighting from the moment of her election in February last year. Her warning is grave: “If the government does forget about agriculture, if they do flood us with cheap ingredients that would be illegal for us to produce here, it would make what happened to coal and steel look like a walk in the park.”

Batters says Brexit has been “a face-slapping moment” for farming. Along with the climate emergency, it has forced the industry to think hard about sustainable agriculture. . . 

Plant-based meat substitutes drive headlines, beef drives sales :

Meat and poultry consumption is expected to hit record highs this year.¹ However, the news about animal proteins’ popularity has been overshadowed by recent headlines generated by plant-based meat substitutes, with national foodservice distribution deals and IPOs garnering attention in both trade and mainstream media. It is important to look beyond the headlines to put these next-generation meat substitutes, as well as the claims made by the companies producing these products, in context with sales numbers and consumer perceptions, as well as environmental and nutritional facts. While some of the companies behind plant-based meat substitutes aim to replace animal proteins, in 2018 beef was the most valuable protein at retail.²

Sales data reveals that last year consumers purchased 14 billion pounds of beef compared with 700,000 pounds of beef substitutes in both retail and foodservice. That is, beef substitutes comprised half of a percent of the overall market in pounds.³  . . 

Cannasouth harvests 1st crop of medicinal research cannabis:

Cannasouth has harvested its first crop of medicinal research cannabis from its purpose-built growing facility in Hamilton.

Cannasouth founders Mark Lucas and Nic Foreman have been growing industrial hemp varieties outdoors since 2002. However, this harvest is significant because of the high THC (tetrahydrocannabidiol) and CBD (cannabidiol) content of the plants, which are grown indoors under tight security.

Until now, Cannasouth has been conducting its research using raw high-grade THC-rich cannabis flower from the Netherlands – imported under a special licence from the Ministry of Health. . . 


Rural round-up

23/01/2019

Small actions add up in reducing emissions – Ken Muir:

Farmers can undertake immediate practical steps to begin reducing emissions from their farms, DairyNZ climate change ambassador Dean Alexander says.

”It’s important to realise that there’s no great silver bullet and there are some basic things farmers can do now,”

Mr Alexander, who farms a herd of 1100 cows near Winton, said. He said it was important for farmers to develop an understanding of their systems.

”Once you have some idea of your emission status, you can begin to evaluate your options.” . . 

Benefactors’hopesaredashed – Neal Wallace:

For 99 years graduates of Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre and, for 54 years, from Telford in south Otago have worked on and progressed to owning farms. But all of that potentially came to an end before Christmas when a liquidator was appointed to resolve financial problems with the business. Neal Wallace profiles Taratahi.

The Taratahi and Telford farm training campuses have similar genesis. The formation of the not-for-profit private vocational farm training educators was made possible through generous bequests of land and industry and community support.

In 1918 Sir William Perry gave his Wairarapa farm to the Government to provide a training ground for servicemen returning from World War I. . .

It’s green but maybe not for long – Neal Wallace:

It might be the middle of summer but most of the country is still under an open fire season though Fire and Emergency is warning abundant vegetation growth could very quickly become potential fire fuel.

Usually, by mid-January dry conditions mean most of the country has fire controls, Fire and Emergency rural operations manager John Rasmussen said.

This year half the country can still light fires in the open without a permit because regular rain has kept vegetation green.

But Rasmussen said those conditions can change very quickly as summer gets drier.

Export lamb prices come off peak but Outlook strong despite Brexit – Heather Chalmers:

Export lamb prices remain at historically high levels, despite uncertainty over Brexit which coincides with the key Easter lamb trade.

Alliance Group livestock and shareholder services general manager Heather Stacy said Brexit could impact on the amount stock held in Britain and exchange rates, depending on what was agreed.

“It could be disruptive. It will affect customers in the UK, rather than New Zealand.” . . 

Cleaning up with goat milk – Yvonne O’Hara:

 Malcolm Gawn and wife Tracy Tooley decided they did not like Auckland traffic or the long commutes, so they moved to Balclutha and now they make soap from goat milk.

Mr Gawn said when they met about 10 years ago he was a corporate sales manager in Auckland and Ms Tooley was an anaesthetic technician there.

‘It got to the point we did not want to tolerate traffic, traffic lights and road works,” Mr Gawn said.

”We moved to an 8ha block near Balclutha with about 30 Saanen dairy goats and with no traffic lights, no roundabouts and no queues.”

Rural jobs fund runs out – Basant Kumar Mohanty:

The rural job guarantee scheme has run out of funds for this financial year, with activists fearing the implementing agencies will now hesitate to take up new projects, thereby denying paid work to the people.

According to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act website, the net balance is now Rs 1,719 crore in deficit. This means the rural development ministry has exhausted the entire funds of Rs 59,567 crore released towards the programme for the 2018-19 financial year.

The scheme guarantees paid, unskilled work for up to 100 days a year to every rural household.

Social activist Nikhil Dey said the scheme would be crippled for the two-and-a-half months left in this financial year, adding to the rural distress, unless more funds are released. . . 

https://twitter.com/HumanProgress/status/1086883280224505856

 


%d bloggers like this: