— Dean Rabbidge 🐑🐄🦌🐂🏉🚜 (@deanrabbidge) April 23, 2021
— Duncan Humm (@duncanyzf20) April 24, 2021
MPI opposed nitrogen bottom line over economic concerns – Anusha Bradley:
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) opposed introducing a tough bottom line for nitrogen levels in rivers over concerns the economic impact would outweigh the environmental benefit, documents show.
MPI repeatedly clashed with the Ministry for the Environment (MfE), even though scientific experts said a Dissolved Organic Nitrogen (DIN) level of 1 mg/L was the best way to protect rivers.
Emails obtained under the Official Information Act show MPI staff wanted the economic cost of introducing a bottom line pushed more prominently in a cabinet paper about nitrogen level options put to ministers in May 2020.
It’s the first time MPI’s influence on the issue has been revealed. . .
Food security in decline – Samantha Tennent:
Rising temperatures and global warming are having a direct impact on the agricultural sector and food system, as shown in the ninth annual Global Food Security Index (GFSI) released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), sponsored by Corteva Agriscience.
Agricultural production has become more vulnerable in 49 countries compared to the previous index period. The index measures the underlying drivers of food security in 113 countries, based on the factors of affordability, availability, quality and safety, and natural resources and resilience.
“With food security declining again, we all must heed the urgent call to renew our collective commitment to innovation and collaboration,” Corteva Agriscience chief executive James Collins Jr. says. . .
Deer Industry NZ (DINZ) is expecting improved market conditions for venison in the coming year, with better prices assured for venison animals processed for supply in the European game season.
“In the next few weeks some venison companies will be offering minimum price supply contracts for the game season, for shipment of chilled venison during September and October,” Deer Industry NZ chair Ian Walker says.
“Contracts offered in 2020 were $7 – $7.20 a kilogram, when Europe was gripped by Covid-19. This year we are seeing restaurants starting to reopen in North America. Also prices for all meats in major world markets have begun what economists expect will be a steady long-run climb.
“Despite all the disruption caused by Covid, the 2020 European game season went well, both at food service to restaurants and at retail. Importers were understandably cautious with their orders, but they sold everything and could have sold more, if not for airfreight disruptions. . .
Vegetable and fruit grower T&G Global’s profit has more than doubled as strong demand for its apples drove an increase in revenue.
Net profit for the year ended December rose to $16.6 million from $6.6m the previous year, with revenue up 16 percent to $1.4 billion.
It said rising demand for its apples drove earnings, which rose more than half on the year before. . .
In a New Zealand first, ethical dairy investor Southern Pastures has entered into a three-year $50 million sustainability-linked farm loan with BNZ and its syndicate.
Southern Pastures, owner of Lewis Road Creamery, will receive financial incentives for meeting new water quality and biodiversity targets and for achieving further reductions in its already low on-farm carbon emissions. Achievement of the targets will be directly linked to lower loan costs.
“This deal recognizes that farming to mitigate climate change and environmental impacts is in our common interest,” says Southern Pastures Executive Chairman Prem Maan. “In my view, farming in New Zealand should be driven by the ambition to become carbon neutral.” . .
Ag mega trends report warns of big trade, production changes ahead – Andrew Marshall:
Australian farmers have been warned to prepare for much wealthier, more demanding overseas customers; more volatile trade environments dominated by multiple economic superpowers, and technology which may add $20 billion a year to farm sector productivity.
As the population of high income countries triples to 3 billion in 30 years, our fruit and vegetable and protein-rich meat, dairy product and nut exports will be in hot demand – doubling in some Asian markets.
However, sales growth will be more modest for wheat, coarse grains and rice as developing nations shift away from starchy staples.
Farm production will also be under intensified pressure to use more efficient energy, water, labour and land use strategies, while climate volatility will make agricultural productivity more challenging, and add more gyrations to commodity markets. . .
The wrong investment – Mike Chapman:
House prices across the country have risen nearly 20% to a median $725,000 in the past 12 months. At the same time, New Zealand’s Reserve Bank has announced a $28 billion programme aimed at forcing down borrowing costs and left the official cash rate at 0.25%.
Thankfully though, the Reserve Bank is concerned about the residential property market, with Governor Adrian Orr commenting that the Bank “has seen a marked acceleration in higher risk loans, particularly to investors in the property market”. As a result, the Reserve Bank is considering imposing loan to value ratio restrictions, in a bid to curb risky lending in the residential property market.
Simply put, investing in residential property will not aid New Zealand’s recovery from the current economic downturn. The housing market does not produce products that can be eaten or used by consumers. It does not create jobs, and it does not earn overseas return through exports. It is a wasted investment when what we should be investing in is New Zealand’s economic recovery.
This is, in my view, where the Reserve Bank’s focus should be: enabling significant investment in businesses that will drive our much-needed economic recovery and create jobs. . .
A Lake Ōhau resident says thousands of dollars worth of native plants and 80 predator traps went up in smoke when the fire tore through the village earlier this month.
More than 5000 hectares and multiple properties were burnt in the blaze.
Before the fire, Lake Ōhau was surrounded by dryland with tussocks and shrubs, special plants that could survive the dry summers and bitterly cold winters. Beech forest grew down onto the lakeshore and along three creeks that drain the hills behind the village.
It was home to native birds, lizards and insects. . .
Mission to empower, inspire women – Sally Rae:
When it comes to goals, Steph Matheson dreams pretty big.
Mrs Matheson (27) is on a mission: to make sure women feel they are not alone, that they are confident and comfortable “in their own skin” and that they feel as if they can do anything.
Through Project Steph 2.0, her personal blog, her overarching goal is to spread that message globally online.
It is not all unicorns and fairy dust; her content is realistic and raw as she talks about health, wellness, family and rural living in Gore. . .
Young auctioneer outbids to win coveted title – Annette Scott:
Andrew Sherratt was not just going for the bid, he was gunning for the title when he took up the gavel in the 2020 Young Auctioneer of the Year competition. He talked with Annette Scott.
When Andrew Sherratt was finishing up his studies at Lincoln University he wasn’t certain what career pathway he would take.
But with the prestigious New Zealand Stock and Station Agents’ Association (NZSSAA) Young Auctioneer trophy in hand, he is convinced he eventually made the right decision.
In one of the closest contests yet, Sherratt headed off the seven finalist contestants in the ninth annual 2020 Heartland Bank Young Auctioneer competition held at Canterbury Agricultural Park. . .
Fruit and vegetable prices fell 5.6 percent in October 2020 as the local growing season picked up, Stats NZ said today.
Fruit and vegetable prices follow a very seasonal trend and typically fall in October, with the lowest prices for the year in summer.
“Warmer weather makes it easier to grow many crops, with higher supply making these products cheaper,” consumer prices manager Nicola Growden said. . .
Mt Cook Alpine Salmon and Central South Island Fish & Game Council released 50,000 smolt into the crystal clear waters of Lake Tekapo last week.
The young salmon, which are about two years old, were raised at the nearby Mt Cook Alpine Salmon Ohau hatchery on the Ohau Canal. Last week’s release was part of the Fish & Game Council’s “put and take” programme in Lake Tekapo, developed over the past 10 years.
Fish and Game officer Rhys Adams says the release will “reinvigorate” the salmon fishery in the lake, but they will need time to grow to between two and four pounds.
The tanker load of smolt was taken to the outlet of Lake McGregor on the western shore of Lake Tekapo for release. . .
Weather leaves SI farmers feeling defeated – Neal Wallace:
Dean Rabbidge, who last week had five centimetres of snow on his farm but after thawing was inundated with between 60mm and 70mm of rain at the weekend, is normally a glass half-full type of bloke, but the Wyndham, Southland, farmer concedes his usual optimism is being sorely tested this spring.
“I’m over it,” he said.
“We’ve had no reprieve since the end of August.
“It has been weather event after weather event after weather event.
“We get three or four nice days then another weather event either rain, snow or wind. . .
Flooding in lower Southland over the weekend shows how difficult it is for farmers to adhere to controversial new government regulations, Bernadette Hunt says.
“It is another example of why resowing by a regulated date, as opposed to when conditions are suitable, just doesn’t make sense,” Hunt, who is Federated Farmers vice president for Southland, told The Country’s Jamie Mackay.
Hunt was referring to regulations in the government’s National Environmental Standards for Freshwater, which said farmers in Southland and Otago would be required to resow winter feed crop paddocks by November 1.
Although the sudden flooding over the weekend was unexpected, “crazy weather in October” was not unusual in the region, and any environmental regulations had to take that into account, Hunt said. . .
The South Island Agricultural Field Days, held in Kirwee on the outskirts of Christchurch, will celebrate its 70th year in March 2021 with a bigger demonstration area.
Chairperson Michaela McLeod is describing it as the perfect opportunity to celebrate the industry that has been the backbone of New Zealand’s economy during the uncertain times of Covid-19.
“The agricultural industry has hardly skipped a beat over the past few months, and we see the South Island Agricultural Field Days as the perfect place for farmers, contractors and our industry to come together and share their stories, celebrate their successes and look for opportunities to improve their businesses. . .
Kidding around on farm – Gerald Piddock:
An Auckland farmer has made the transition from milking cows to goats and has now established the largest goat farm in New Zealand. Gerald Piddock reports.
Matthew and Sarah Bolton established Oete Farm to showcase the dairy goat industry to New Zealanders.
Their success at this year’s Ballance Farm Environment Awards, where they won the supreme award along with four category awards for the Auckland region, validated the journey the business has undertaken since it was established six years ago.
Matthew says the awards success reflected the hard work and team effort from his 30 full and part-time staff spread across the 273-hectare farm at Patumahoe, west of Pukekohe. . .
Tatua Co-Operative Dairy announces record earnings of $151m for year – Lawrence Gullery:
A Waikato dairy company credits its strong end of year result to its staff which adapted and worked through the Covid-19 alert levels.
Tatua Co-Operative Dairy achieved group revenue of $381 million, and earnings of $151m, in its financial results for 2019-20.
Group revenue was the income received from selling product, goods and services. Earnings was the profit before milk payments to suppliers and tax. . .
Farming through risk – Tim Keegan:
I’ve lived through tornadoes and hailstorms—but I’ve never seen anything like the derecho that blasted across Iowa and the Midwest on August 10.
Only in the last few days has life on my farm returned to something that resembles normal. For nearly three weeks, we’ve been cleaning up, helping neighbors, and assessing the massive damage.
My family is luckier than a lot of my fellow Iowans. On our farm, near the town of Mount Vernon, the storm did a lot of damage to trees, buildings, and grain bins. It also flattened or damaged a lot of our corn. We’re still not sure how much of it we’ll recover.
But in so many places the devastation is a lot worse. . .
Clarification of what hunting will be permitted after we move to COVID-19 Alert 3 is helpful, Federated Farmers says, but it is essential the hunters get permission to access private land.
“It’s good to have clarity on the rules that will apply, and that the government is continuing to strike a good balance between a planned return to where we were while keeping the risk of spread of the virus to a minimum,” Feds rural security and firearms spokesperson Miles Anderson said.
The government announced today that recreational hunting for big and small game will be allowed under Level 3 on private land only. But, as has always been the case, hunters must gain the landowner’s permission. . .
New Zealand venison farmers are being caught out by the Chinese government’s moves to clamp down on the trade of wild meat.
The confusion has prompted some processors here to hold off shipping venison to the country.
China has been tightening its rules on the trade of wild meat in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, which is thought to have originated in a wild-animal market in Wuhan.
Silver Fern Farms chief executive Simon Limmer said despite the venison it processes and exports being a farmed product, not a wild one, there had been some clearance issues for shipments to the country. . .
Farmers offer rural salute to Anzacs with hay bale poppies – Esther Taunton:
Paddocks around New Zealand have been peppered with giant poppies as the country prepares for a very different Anzac Day.
With official services cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions, Kiwis are coming up with new ways to salute the fallen from the safety of their bubbles.
In rural areas, the humble hay bale has taken a starring role in commemorations, with oversized poppies springing up on farms across the country.
Southland farmer David Johnston said his family had been attending Anzac Day commemorations for years. . .
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor eschewed the words “Gypsy Day”, in a press statement yesterday that addressed dairy farmers’ concerns about what would happen on June 1. He preferred “Moving Day” and said Moving Day will go ahead as planned this year, but with strict controls to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Reporting this news, Farmers Weekly explained that Moving Day is also known as Gypsy Day and occurs on June 1 each year when many dairy farming families, sharemilkers, contract milkers and employees move to new farms to start new jobs and milking contracts.
Yet another expression was incorporated in a Federated Farmers press statement headline on April 9: GYPSY / MOOVING DAY. . .
‘Stunner’ vintage forecast in harvest like no other – Kerrie Waterworth:
Vineyard owners and winemakers are predicting this year’s vintage will be a ‘‘stunner’, which could be the silver lining to a harvest like no other.
Almost all the 170 vineyards represented by the Central Otago Winegrowers Association have started picking their grapes, but this year the pickers have had to abide by Alert Level 4 restrictions.
Maude Wines winemakers Dan and Sarah-Kate Dineen, of Wanaka, said it had made the harvest a more expensive and sombre affair.
‘‘Usually, it is a time to celebrate — we feed our crew well and they all dine together — but we have to change all that because of social distancing,’’ Mr Dineen said. . .
Woodhaven Gardens, the 2020 Regional Supreme Winner at the Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Awards, are fans of how New Zealand Good Agriculture Practice’s (NZGAP) Environmental Management System (EMS) ‘add-on’ makes compliance more straight forward.
‘I see the EMS process as the way of the future. After going through the process, it is very clear that this is the path for the industry to go,’ says Woodhaven Gardens’ Jay Clarke.
The EMS ‘add-on’ complements a grower’s regular NZGAP audit, by including Farm Environment Plans (FEPs) in the suite of tools that NZGAP offers. FEPs are a way for growers to map their property and identify hazards to calculate their environmental footprint, and record improvements over time. . .
Wattie’s completed its 24/7 pea and bean harvesting and processing season last Friday under conditions not previously experienced in its 50 year history of operating in Hornby, due to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 protocols.
Like every other business operating essential services, Wattie’s field and factory staff based in Christchurch had to adapt quickly to the strict protocols developed in response to the Ministry of Primary Industry’s requirements.
Graham Broom, the Site Manager for Wattie’s in Hornby, said without question, everyone understood the reasons for the changes in our operations, but the new work practices added significantly to people’s workloads during an already busy time, particularly in the factory. . .
Sweet charity – Bonnie Sumner:
The director of a South Island honey company is donating 21,000 jars of manuka honey to food banks – and he wants other companies to follow his example, writes Bonnie Sumner.
It’s only money, honey.
At least, that’s how Steve Lyttle of 100% Pure New Zealand Honey in Timaru is looking at it.
Due to a labelling mistake, ten tonnes’ worth of his company’s manuka honey mixed with blueberry cannot be exported as planned. . .
Farmers back Fonterra mostly – Neal Wallace:
The prevailing mood might have been optimism among Fonterra shareholders at the annual meeting but a residual bitterness lingered, evidenced by two calls for chairman John Monaghan’s resignation.
About 200 shareholders attended the meeting in Invercargill on Thursday at which shareholders Jan-Maarten Kingma and Peter Moynihan both called for Monaghan’s head, saying there needs to be accountability for the decisions leading to Fonterra’s poor financial performance.
After the meeting Monaghan said he was not surprised by the resignation calls or the contrasting mood of the meeting, which reflected the broad church that is the co-operative. . .
Learning from experience – Colin Williscroft:
Working the land is a challenging business at the best of times and for Central Hawke’s Bay farmers Ben and Libby Tosswill it’s important to focus on what they can change and try not to loose too much sleep over what they can’t, as Colin Williscroft found.
Ben and Libby Tosswill have been farming at Birch Hill Station for about 10 years, having returned to New Zealand from London where they worked in corporate finance and banking.
Trading the bright lights of the big city for the open landscape of Hawke’s Bay hill country has been a big change but the couple relish the lifestyle it’s provided them and their three boys – Fletcher, 8, Alex, 6, and Jack, 2. . .
Fit bits for cows? Tracking collars aim to reveal bovine personalities – Maja Burry and Simon Rogers:
It’s hoped new research looking at the different grazing personalities of Hereford cows will help high country farmers better use their land.
Lincoln University PHD candidate Cristian Moreno is using GPS tracking collars to monitor the differences in how some cows in the same herd graze and to establish which genetic and environmental factors influence their behaviour.
Mr Moreno said while he was still in the early stages of analysing the five million GPS data points that he had collected, he’d already found some cows would tend to walk about 2km in a day, while others would more than double that. . .
New chairwoman in charge at trust – Toni Williams:
Jane Riach has taken over the helm on the board of Kanuka Mid Canterbury Regeneration Trust, helping to balance biodiversity, predator control and planting for purpose in the district.
Mrs Riach, who was approached to take on the chairwoman’s role, is equipped with organisational skills to help keep trust members on track and moving in the right direction.
She says the trust team was full of people already passionate about the work they were doing and had an abundance of energy and enthusiasm.
She, and husband Hamish, who is chief executive officer at Ashburton District Council, have been in town for just over a year, and Mrs Riach is already an active member in the Ashburton community. . .
As a horse-riding musterer on the wild Wairarapa coast, Steve Matthews used to watch deer gathering on the beach to feast on seaweed thrown up by the rough seas.
On retirement, he was inspired to start his own small business foraging and selling the stuff. Demand is huge but he plans to stay small-scale unless new regulations put him out of business.
Steve was brought up in Titahi Bay and has lived on rugged Wairarapa coast most of his life, shepherding and later managing a couple of farms.
“I was always on the beach as a kid… I love the sea.” . .
Farmers helped to come up with carbon reduction plans – Conan Young:
Moving dairy cows indoors could be part of the answer to bringing down emissions on farms.
Farmers faced having five years to come up with their own tool to price and pay for the carbon and methane coming off their properties or being forced by the government to join the Emissions Trading Scheme.
For the first time since the ETS was introduced over a decade ago, there was a very real prospect of farmers being charged for their climate change inducing emissions. .
Federated Farmers believes the Government has set a substantial challenge in its announcement of a review into the Resource Management Act.
The organisation agrees with Environment Minister David Parker that because of frequent amendments, the RMA is now overly cumbersome, costly and complex.
“The review will be no easy task. It will need to consider wide and diverse opinions and concerns. There are few organisations which have been more intricately and routinely involved in resource management processes across the country since the Act first came into force than Federated Farmers, so we consider our active input on the review panel will be vital,” Federated Farmers resource management spokesperson Chris Allen says. . .
Eliminating ‘M bovis’ tough but correct call – Peter Bodeker:
July marks two years since Mycoplasma bovis was first detected in New Zealand, kicking off the largest biosecurity response we’ve ever seen.
Along with the entire country, Otago has been affected – facing immense challenges in dealing with this disease, and the ongoing effort to eradicate it. . .
Miraka’s insistence on sustainable farming practices has shown results in more farms winning honours in the recent Te Ara Miraka farming excellence awards.
“Since establishing the awards four years ago we’ve started to see significant change in on farm practices,” says Grant Jackson, general manager milk supply. “
We’re not just meeting the regulations, that’s mandatory for us. Rather we’re going over and above, to achieve excellence in animal welfare, sustainable land management, looking after employees and premium quality milk.” . .
A pair of fantails flit above Robert Barry’s head as he bends down to inspect a predator trap at the base of a totara tree.
The towering native is in a pristine bush block on a farm owned by the BEL Group near Waipukurau in central Hawke’s Bay.
The eight-hectare block is protected by a Queen Elizabeth II Trust covenant and is dotted with almost a dozen traps. . .
A tenure review agreement has been reached for the North Canterbury high country station, Island Hills.
Under the soon-to-be scrapped tenure review process, leased high-country Crown land can be signed over to farmers, provided they set aside areas for conservation.
Land Information New Zealand said 1600 hectares would be transferred to the Crown as conservation estate and 3200 will be freehold subject to conservation covenants, that restricts activities such as grazing and vegetation clearance.
The remaining 200 hectares would be freehold without restrictions. . .
How do riparian strips fare long term – Bert Quin:
Could our riparian systems become overloaded and therefore useless? Riparian strips are correctly promoted as useful tools for reducing environmental pollution, especially for their ability to filter out faecal bacteria and sediment before these enter streams. But there is much more to it, writes Bert Quin.
Many frequently made claims for the ability of riparian strips to improve water quality are based on very short-term studies only. This is particularly true of phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) removal.
Unfortunately, we are now in the days of emphasis on short-term, quick-results trials that lend themselves to publication in many different journals to ensure more cash from equally short-sighted funding organisations and companies with vested interests. . .
Wearing wool is better for skin than synthetics -Heather Chalmers:
Wearing natural fibres like wool is not only better for the environment, but also your skin health, research shows.
AgResearch bio-product and fibre technology science team leader Stewart Collie said wool was the world’s most sophisticated fibre in terms of its structure and composition. “These give the wool fibre its amazing functionality.”
For the skin health project, AgResearch created special garments that had the upper back portion split in two, with one half made from wool and the other polyester. . .
Primary Teacher and passionate environmentalist Trish Rankin from Taranaki is the 2019 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year.
The prestigious dairy award was announced the Allflex Dairy Women’s Network’s conference gala awards dinner in Christchurch this evening.
The other finalists were Kylie Leonard who farms north of Taupo, Julie Pirie from Ngatea in the Waikato and Southlander Emma Hammond. . .
Dung beetle role in protecting waterways – Jono Edwards:
Dung beetles could provide the helping hand the region needs for disposing of farm faeces and protecting waterways, Otago Regional councillor Andrew Noone says.
Cr Noone said he was first introduced to the use of the bugs for managing animal waste on farms by a member of the public.
He is now pushing for the council to investigate their usefulness and potentially bring in subsidies for their wider introduction in Otago.
The beetles create small balls out of the manure and bury them in the ground which helps it to break down. . .
High country steers the stars – Alan Williams:
Weaner steers sold very strongly at the annual Coalgate high-country calf sale in Canterbury on Wednesday.
A lot of calves sold for moe than $3.70/kg and up to just over $4 as buyers sought high-quality offerings from farm stations that have built excellent reputations.
“It’s our best steer sale so far,” Hazlett Rural general manager Ed Marfell said.
It was also one of the last sales of the weaner season in Canterbury and buyers decided they were better to pay up rather than risk missing out.
“We’ve got these renowned stations, great reputations and repeat buyers keep coming back,” Marfell said. . .
Bull buyers are being promised value, variety and volume at next week’s King Country Big Bull Walk.
“That’s our tagline. We’re a big area and we’re telling buyers from outside King Country that if they come to our sales they will find something that suits them,” co-ordinator Tracey Neal said.
The walk is a series of open days on stud farms on May 6, 7 and 9 ahead of the on-farm sales in the last week of May. Neal reports good interest.
About 500 rising two-year bulls will be shown at18 studs taking part and about 330 of them will be offered at the on-farm sales held by 13 of the studs. The other studs will sell their bulls in the paddock or through sale yards. . .
Shift to managing individual sheep – Yvonne O’Hara:
There is a global shift to managing sheep at an individual level rather than a flock level, Lincoln University’s Professor in Animal Breeding and Genetics Jon Hickford says.
Prof Hickford said EID tags and scanner technology allowed the recording of an individual animal’s performance and production values throughout its life.
The technology would be a useful tool to improve overall production for commercial flocks, he said.
”Rather than having a flock of nameless individuals, every sheep has their own identity.” . .
Water prices are ‘selling farmers down the river’ – Tony Wright:
Another day’s heartless sun is sinking to the horizon, not a cloud in the sky, and Mick Clark’s nuggety body is throwing a long shadow over his parched land north of Deniliquin.
The feedlot that not so long ago held 1000 fat lambs is empty. There is no crop planted on the property that has been in his family’s hands for three generations.
“I’ve parked all the farm equipment up in the sheds and I’ve gone and got myself a job driving a tractor for a bloke,” he says.
Mick Clark has made a vow.
“So far as I’m concerned, the supermarket shelves in the city can go empty,” he says. “I’m not going to spend $600 a megalitre of water to keep farming just to go broke.” . .
Did you know that New Zealand cows are smarter than American cows?
That’s a potentially defamatory statement but if I ever get sued by a litigious group of American dairy farmers or their cows, I think I’d have the proof to defend myself in court.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 75 per cent of US calves are raised in individual pens or hutches.
The calves are separated from their mothers and put into a little pen with a shelter at one end and milk teat or bucket at the other end. They spend their first eight weeks in this pen by themselves until weaning. . .
Tasman facing serious drought – Tracey Neal:
First there were floods, then fire and now drought.
The Waimea Plains, cradled between two mountain ranges, are usually immune to such extremes in the weather.
But a Tasman District Council water scientist says the wider area is facing its worst drought since 2001. . .
Explainer: Why NZ can’t afford to mess with China – Aimee Shaw:
China and New Zealand have enjoyed decades of mutual benefits.
The global powerhouse and New Zealand signed a Free Trade Agreement in 2008 and since then have phased in provisions to ease trade between the two countries.
China is now New Zealand’s largest trading partner, followed by Australia. Suffice to say it’s a relationship New Zealand can’t afford to lose.
Fallout from the Government taking the United States stance on the Huawei debate and now reports of people not wanting to come to New Zealand as a result are threatening the country’s long-standing friendly relationship. . .
Celebrations have been underway around the world to celebrate the festive Chinese New Year season — welcoming the Year of the Pig.
In China itself those celebrations are likely to have included family feasts including dairy produced in Waipa’s Fonterra plants.
Fonterra’s Te Awamutu site exported around $175 million in products to China for consumption in 2017/18. That’s about $12,500 per person in Te Awamutu. . .
Optimistic report on ‘M bovis’ response – Sally Rae:
Improvements are already being made in many areas highlighted in the Mycoplasma bovis Technical Advisory Group’s report, response head Geoff Gwyn says.
Work is under way to develop a new surveillance approach for the beef industry and the focus is increasing on improving communication to affected farmers, the public and staff.
The report, released this month and following the group’s meeting in late November, provided independent validation the eradication programme was ”on track”, he said.
Mr Gwyn said the findings and recommendations were not surprising. Some of the recommendations were relatively simple to implement or were already in train, while others would need careful consideration before a decision was made. . .
Open Country challenges validity of Fonterra 2018 milk price – Paul McBeth:
(BusinessDesk) – Open Country Dairy is seeking a judicial review of the way Fonterra Cooperative Group set its milk price in the 2018 season, despite the Commerce Commission giving the price-setting process a pass mark.
The commission noted the judicial review on its website, saying Open Country Dairy brought proceedings against certain conclusions in its 2018 report.
In that report, the regulator was satisfied that Fonterra’s calculation was largely in line with the efficiency and contestability elements required by law governing the dairy sector. . .
Unusual beefalo meat in demand – Ken Muir:
A chance meeting with an engineer building a cowshed on a neighbouring farm next door to Nadia and Blair Wisely introduced them to bison and from there they’ve taken to producing beefalo – a bison beef cross – on their Isla Bank farm.
”We met Dennis Greenland by chance and he had purchased animals from a Marlborough breeder Bob Blake”, Mr Wisely said.
”He told us about the animals and that piqued our interest.”
The Wiselys purchased a bison bull, crossed it with a range of cows and Netherton Farm Beefalo was born. . .
Twenty horses, all aged two or three years old, were mustered from the isolated Ada Valley and sold by auction at cattle yards in the St James Conservation Area, where there was once an 80,000-hectare cattle station.
The two-day biennial muster is a family tradition.
Hugh Dampier-Crossley, a sheep and beef farmer near Cheviot, has been mustering the horses since he was ten.
“The Stevensons owned the property. Jim Stevenson was my grandfather, they bought the place in 1927. He taught me how to break in horses and shoe horses so it’s become a bit of a passion,” he said. . .
Inserting genes to protect against foreign diseases and pests could bring species back from brink of extinction
Species such as the ash tree and whitebark pine have faced catastrophic declines of up to half their populations after creatures introduced from overseas tore through their defences. . .
With wellness on the tips of everyone’s lips, seeking the best ingredients available – turns out, there’s truth to the adage “you are what you eat” – has never been a greater priority. While picking plum produce is fairly straightforward, making educated decisions about beef, unfortunately, isn’t so cut and dry. And here in the United States – where the average American was expected to down over a record-breaking 222 pounds of meat (including beef) in 2018 – it can be downright confusing.
Need proof? Head to the produce aisle of your favorite grocery store, pick up any vegetable or fruit, and look for its sticker. . .
Are social media influences hurting our Ag industry? – Cheyenne Nicholson:
My guilty pleasure in life is watching mummy vloggers on YouTube. I’m a big fan of mum hacks, cleaning hacks and watching strangers go on lavish holiday. In the days when I first met hubby I could also occasionally be snapped watching a makeup tutorial or two as well.
On Monday morning while the babe was asleep and I was enjoying my morning coffee I clicked onto the latest video of one of my favorite mummy vloggers. All was well. Until she said “I still give my daughter (who is 1) formula because I’ve heard cows milk has pus and blood in it and I’m not sure what to do.” . .
Close calls spur farmer into action – Sean Nugent:
The view from Roys Peak is something special, but it is becoming ”dangerous” for visitors to experience it, the landowner says.
The track’s 100-space car park, barely a year old since being upgraded in late 2017, is bursting at the seams.
Each day it bulges and spills out on to the narrow Mt Aspiring Rd, and even the neighbouring farmland.
Department of Conservation senior ranger Annette Grieve said 83,296 people used the track last year, including an average of 480 daily visitors in December.
While the obvious solution to the parking woes would be to expand, Ms Grieve said there was no public conservation land left next to the car park to do so.
At least not now. . .
Two long-serving members of the board overseeing the FMG Young Farmer of the Year are set to retire.
Cole Groves, 32, and Dean Rabbidge, 33, will step down from the NZ Young Farmers Contest Board in July.
The pair first joined the committee in 2014, and both have a long history with the national agri-business contest. . . .
America can’t move its cheese – Lauren Justice:
Cheese, which has a limited shelf-life, is less valuable once it spends weeks in cold-storage, and producers are concerned that the glut and price drop that has come with it could eat into profits. Spot market prices for 40-pound blocks of cheddar fell around 25% this year from 2014 prices, while 500-pound barrels typically used for processed cheese declined 28%.
Cheese exports have suffered since Mexico and China, major dairy buyers, instituted retaliatory tariffs on U.S. cheese and whey. Cheese shipments to Mexico in September were down more than 10% annually, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council trade group, and shipments to China were down 63% annually. . .
Researchers have pioneered a new method which allows them to rapidly recruit disease resistance genes from wild plants and transfer them into domestic crops.
The technique called AgRenSeq or speed cloning has been developed by John Innes Centre researchers alongside colleagues in the United States and Australia to speed up the fight against pathogens that threaten food crops worldwide.
It enables researchers to search a genetic “library” of resistance genes discovered in wild relatives of modern crops so they can rapidly identify sequences associated with disease fighting capability. . .
No pay for Taratahi staff – Neal Wallace:
Staff at Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre cease being paid from this week but have not been made redundant.
Tertiary Education Union organiser Kris Smith said liquidators had advised staff by letter that pay was being suspended from the end of this week but that they were not being made redundant.
She understood there were approximately 200 staff across all Taratahi campuses in Wairarapa, South Otago, Taupo and non-residential campuses in Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Manawatu, Hawke’s Bay and Southland. . .
Eco-tourism business booming – Sally Rae:
Southland has been investigating how best to boost its tourism opportunities, aiming to hit $1billion in tourism revenue by 2025. Business reporter Sally Rae speaks to one tourism operator in the region who is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.
When Johan Groters and Joyce Kolk realised they needed to make their tourism venture into a ”proper” business two decades ago, there was no such thing as a business plan.
In fact, if someone had asked to see such a document, they would have looked at them blankly, Ms Kolk laughs.
All they wanted to do was ”make ends meet and have fun doing it” and they have maintained that philosophy as their eco-tourism operation in Western Southland continues to grow in ”leaps and bounds”. . .
Labours recover ‘lost’ waterfall – Richard Davison:
A 15-year ”labour of love” is going viral for a pair of bush-walking cribbies from Papatowai, thanks to the power of the internet.
Local man Wayne Allen’s interest was piqued when he discovered the Catlins had several ”forgotten” waterfalls among its total of 140, alongside tourist drawcards such as Purakaunui and McLean Falls.
When he learnt one of them was a long-lost 20m cataract just 20 minutes south of his Papatowai crib, the die was cast.
”I set out with Peter [Hill] to see what we could see, just with a view to exploring initially . .
Fonterra has today announced that it will sell the Farm Source™ livestock division to Carrfields Livestock – an established livestock agency provider.
Richard Allen, Farm Source™ Stores Director, says the decision to sell was made in the context of a larger review underway within the Co-op.
“In the context of the review of the Co-op’s assets and investments, we have made the decision to sell the livestock division to Carrfields Livestock. This will better serve the livestock team and the farms they service. . .
Dutch Courage: the little Kiwi cheese comapny taking on the world – Alice Neville:
Since 1981, a pioneering Dutch immigrant has been developing a distinctive New Zealand style of cheese, and now the world is starting to sit up and take notice.
But for Albert Alferink, he’s just doing what he’s good at: working. Waikato: home of the Tron, the mighty river, Hobbiton, Waikato Draught and Jacinda Ardern.
The region is also home, of course, to acre upon acre of lush green grass that’s munched by cows who produce milk that is, or so we’re told, the backbone of the nation. . .
Wool lovers battle animal-rights crowd over sheep shearing – Sarah Nassauer:
Quintin McEwen spotted the tag on a Lucky Brand men’s polyester sweater and decided he had had enough.
“Shearless Fleece,” it read next to a picture of a sheep heavy with wool. “Not a single sheep was sheared in the making of this garment.”
The sixth-generation sheep farmer in Monkton, Ontario, logged on to his farm’s Facebook page to lash out at Lucky. Not only is shearing not inhumane, he wrote, it helps sheep fend off disease and move around more comfortably. “I am absolutely shocked by your blatant disregard for my industry,” Mr. McEwen wrote in the post, eliciting more than 1,000 comments. . .
New partnership between two market leaders will benefit both the growing food industry in South East Asia and Kiwi exporters.
New Zealand’s premier food assurance business AsureQuality and global leader Bureau Veritas are pleased to announce the formation of a new joint venture in South East Asia, BVAQ. Based in Singapore, this new partnership will bring their combined expertise and extensive capabilities to the fast-growing South East Asian food industry, as well as provide on the ground support for New Zealand food and primary exporters to this region
The partnership will combine and strengthen the existing footprints across South East Asia. AsureQuality have been operating a strong food testing business with a state-of-the-art laboratory in Singapore since 2010; while Bureau Veritas has newly established food testing laboratories in Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, plus a majority share in Permulab – a Malaysian leader in food and water testing. . .
Changing the gender bias in agriculture – Busani Bafana:
Women entrepreneurs are playing an important role in transforming global food security for economic growth, but they have to work twice as hard as men to succeed in agribusiness.
“Agriculture and agribusiness are generally perceived as run by men,” entrepreneur and Director of the Nairobi-based African Women in Agribusiness Network (AWAN) Beatrice Gakuba, told IPS. She noted that women entrepreneurs have to prove themselves, even though they are as capable and innovative as men.
“Women entrepreneurs face more challenges in getting their foot in the door in agricultural business than men when it comes to access to finance because of several factors, including socio-cultural beliefs,” adds Gakuba, who runs a flower export business. . .
The passing of the Tasman District Council (Waimea Water Augmentation Scheme) Bill has cleared the way for the construction to begin on the largest dam to be built in New Zealand for more than 20 years, Nelson MP Nick Smith says.
“The Bill passed by 112 – 8 votes and clears the way for a sustainable solution to the regions long standing water problems.
“The passage of this Bill concludes a 17-year tortuous process for developing and gaining approval for a sustainable solution for the regions water problems. This Bill resolves the last issue of access to the conservation and LINZ land. . .
Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie is pleased that his Sentencing (Livestock Rustling) Amendment Members Bill has been adopted by the Government as a Supplementary Order Paper on the Crimes Amendment Bill.
“Stock rustling is a crime that cuts to the heart of many rural families and the farming community.
“Theft of livestock from farms or property is estimated to cost the farming community over $120 million a year. More recently, the risk to farms of Mycoplasma bovis spreading through stock theft has added strength to the call to take action. . .
Fonterra’s suppliers will be choking on their Xmas rations, as they digest the price blows the co-op has delivered. First, the dairy giant has revised down its forecast milk payout range for the season to $6-$6.30 from the earlier $6.25-$6.50, and, second, it is clawing back some of the $4.15/kg advance payment rate.
Farmers in January will be paid $4/kg for the milk they supplied in December plus the co-op is clawing back 15c/kg for all the milk supplied between June and November.
It is not surprising that farmers with costs of production running at or above $6/kg are reported to be “shocked” and “angry”. Even those efficient operators who have lower operating costs won’t be happy with Fonterra saying it “appreciates” the budgeting impact the updated $4 advance rate will have on farmers in January. . .
The facts about nitrogen in horticulture – Mike Chapman:
Stuff recently gave space to an opinion piece from Glen Herud, a dairy farmer, which had a number of inaccurate references to the use of nitrogen in horticulture and horticulture practices in general (Stuff, December 4, 2018).
It is important to note, the primary industries are working together to address both the real and the perceived impacts of food production on the environment. At Horticulture New Zealand, we are sitting down and talking to key Government Ministers and their officials from the relevant government agencies to look at the best ways to clean up waterways and address climate change. This is how the best policies will continue to be made.
In his opinion piece, Mr Herud’s numbers and references to research are unsubstantiated. I don’t want this to be a science class, but there is a lot of misinformation about nitrogen being spread around and it is essential to deal in facts, backed by science. . .
Getting a buzz out of dairying – Samantha Tennent,:
Michael McCombs has had success by putting himself out therein the NZ Dairy Industry Awards, FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest and the Young Farmers Excellence Awards just by doing his thing and loving the journey along the way. Samantha Tennent reports.
A geography class trip sealed the deal for Michael McCombs – he knew dairy farming was where he wanted to be. He grew up in Upper Hutt, attending Upper Hutt College and from a young age had always planned to become a farmer.
It was a 220-cow farm near Carterton he’d visited with school and thought to himself he’d love to work there. The following summer holidays he did. It was a once-a-day herd and the owner, Dave Hodder, recommended Michael look at the Taratahi training farm.
“I wasn’t enjoying school and was looking at my options. I landed a spot on the training farm so left school at the end of year 11.” . .
Privately-held New Zealand engineering company Milmeq Limited, a designer and manufacturer of meat processing equipment, will be split and sold in the coming months, but it doesn’t mean the end of the brand. An agreement was signed at the end of last week for the sale of Milmeq’s chilling and freezing capability to New Zealand-listed company Mercer Group Limited, effective from 1 March 2019.
Chairman Ralph Marshall describes the sale as a good move for staff, customers and suppliers.
“Being purchased by a publicly-listed company, with a range of complementary products, positions Milmeq equipment well for future growth. We have been nimble over the years, always innovating to meet market needs, but we anticipate this innovation will further accelerate under the new owners.” . .
The 28-year-old took out the coveted title in front of a crowd of 1,000 people in Invercargill tonight.
Elated locals cheered as their hometown boy made his way through a standing ovation and onto the stage.
It’s Logan’s second attempt at the title and means the sought-after winner’s trophy will be staying in Otago/Southland region.
The Waipahi sheep farmer convincingly beat six other finalists after three days of gruelling competition.
The event saw the men tackle fast-paced practical modules, technical challenges and an agri-knowledge quiz.
“We are immensely proud of Logan. He’s put his all into the contest,” said Logan’s father Ross Wallace.
“It’s something he’s wanted to do since he was a boy.”
Logan Wallace runs 2,300 ewes on a 290-hectare farm, which he leases from his parents.
The intensive sheep breeding and finishing property also carries 700 hoggets and 400 trading sheep.
The Clinton Young Farmers member, who has mild dyslexia, is heavily involved in his local community.
He leads a youth group and is a Land Search and Rescue member.
“I used some of those search and rescue planning skills this week to ensure I didn’t waste any time,” he said.
The winner’s prize package includes a New Holland tractor, a Honda quad bike, cash, scholarships, equipment and clothing.
The overall grand final prize pool was valued at more than $155,000.
“Logan Wallace is an extremely deserving winner,” said Andrea Brunner from FMG.
“He has demonstrated the breadth of knowledge, skill and capability required to be crowned the FMG Young Farmer of the Year.”
“The calibre of the finalists this year is testament to the depth of talent we have in our rural sector,” she said.
Allan Anderson won the prestigious title in 1970 and is the longest surviving Young Farmer of the Year Grand Champion.
“This win will be life changing. Logan should bask in the warmth of the win and make the most of the opportunities it will present,” said Allan.
The victory is made even more special because the contest, which began as a radio quiz in 1969, is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
“It’s pretty special that the grand finalist in the region hosting the 50th year managed to win the contest,” said contest chairman Dean Rabbidge.
“I’m proud of the entire Otago/Southland region for pulling together to make this grand final week such a success.”
Second place went to Cameron Black, who’s a Christchurch-based rural consultant for New Zealand Agri Brokers.
Bay of Plenty contract milker Josh Cozens took out third place and the agri-knowledge challenge.
An edited version of the 50th grand final will be available on digital streaming service ThreeNow from July 14th.
AGMARDT Agri-business challenge: Patrick Crawshaw
Massey University Agri-growth challenge: Logan Wallace
Ravensdown Agri-skills challenge: Logan Wallace
Agri-sports challenge (supported by Worksafe): Logan Wallace
Meridian Energy Agri-knowledge quiz and speech challenge: Josh Cozens
FMG People’s Choice Award: Patrick Crawshaw
We went down to Invercargill on Thursday for the 50th anniversary dinner.
My farmer was the 2nd best Young Farmer of the Year in the 10th contest.
Like two others who came second he went on to become National President.
In those days there were around 7000 members.
The ag-sag of the 80s started a decline in membership until it had only around 1000 members. That has been turned round in the last few years and Young Farmers numbers are continuing to grow.
The FMG Young Farmer contest plays an important role in the organisation and the enthusiasm shown by entrants in the AgriKids and TeenAg competitions augur well for its future.
So too does the high standard of the reunion dinner and the contest.
That’s good, not just for the individual members and Young Farmers but for farming and rural leadership too.
Thomas Macdonald is the 1918 winner of the Zanda McDonald Award:
Thomas Macdonald, 24 year old Business Manager of Waikato-based Spring Sheep Milk Company, and Sir Don Llewellyn scholar, has scooped the 2018 Zanda McDonald Award.
The award, regarded as a prestigious badge of honour by the agribusiness industry, recognises agriculture’s most innovative young professionals from Australia and New Zealand. It was launched in 2014 in memory of Australian beef industry leader Zanda McDonald, who died aged 41 after an accident at his Queensland property in 2013.
Now in its fourth year, the award is run by the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group – a network of over 150 of Australasia’s influential agri-business men and women, of which Zanda McDonald was a foundation member.
Thomas Macdonald was initially shortlisted with six other candidates, after the award attracted the largest number of applicants received so far.
Following interviews in Auckland in November, Macdonald was named as a finalist alongside fellow kiwi Lisa Kendall, 25 year old owner/operator of Nuture Farming Ltd and vice-chair of the Franklin Young Farmers Club, and Australian Janet Reddan 33, former agronomist now cattle producer from Roma, Queensland.
The award, sponsored by Allflex, Rabobank and Pilatus, was presented last night in Taupo at the annual PPP Conference. Macdonald receives a prize package valued at $50,000, which includes a trans-Tasman mentoring trip to farming operations and businesses, a place on one of Rabobank’s Business Management Programs and $1,000 cash prize. Macdonald will travel by a Pilatus PC-12 aircraft to parts of his Australian mentoring trip, enabling him to reach diverse and remote farming operations.
Mr Macdonald said he was thrilled to have been chosen, and is particularly excited about the opportunity to get direct access to the wealth of knowledge that exists within the PPP group’s membership.
“It’s a real privilege to win the 2018 award, and I’m humbled to be associated with Zanda’s name. I’m looking forward to spending time with some of agriculture’s top business professionals, and expanding my horizons and networks.
Shane McManaway, Chairman of the PPP Group, says: “Thomas is a remarkable young man. To have achieved as much as he has in 24 years is quite something, and a great credit to him. His intelligence, understanding of agriculture and big-picture thinking make him well placed as a future leader in our industry. I feel confident that Thomas will embrace the mentoring opportunities provided by winning the Zanda McDonald Award, and look forward to seeing his career progress”.
The award is named after Zanda MacDonald, a Queensland Farmer and founding member of the PPP Group who died in 2013.
In his honour the PPP group launched the Zanda McDonald Award. This award aims to recognise young people working in the primary industry sectors in New Zealand and Australia, and support their future career development. The total prize package is valued at $50,000.
Zanda was proud to be a farmer and worked tirelessly to encourage young people to work in the industry that he loved. As part of his role in the PPP group he led a number of initiatives to promote his industry to the next generation.
The inaugural was won by Emma Black from Queensland in 2015. Dean Rabbidge from Southland was the 2016 winner and Morgan Easton from North Otago won last year.
A Marlborough grapegrower has blasted Labour’s irrigation policy as “dangerous” and “deceitful”.
Wine Marlborough deputy chairman Simon Bishell said it was populist electioneering that would “drive a deeper wedge between the rural and urban divide”.
The Caythorpe Family Estate grower said international wine markets were incredibly competitive and any extra charge would put New Zealand exporters at a disadvantage. . .
Concern for Hawke’s Bay farmers, growers over “water tax” – Victoria White:
Concerned members of Hawke’s Bay primary sector have waded into the debate on a Labour Party proposal for a royalty on commercial water.
Yesterday Labour leader Jacinda Ardern revealed their freshwater policy, which included charging an unspecified royalty on commercial water, with the revenue going to local regional councils to be used to clean up rivers, lakes and streams.
This royalty would include water bottlers, and farmers taking water for irrigation schemes. . .
Reacting to claims yesterday from Labour’s water tax spokesperson David Parker that its level of “scaremongering around this would make Donald Trump blush”, Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says this is a disappointing way to start a policy discussion about water and land use.
“Since Labour announced last week that it planned to tax fruit and vegetable growers’ use of water, I have been contacted by many of our growers asking that Horticulture New Zealand speak out about this tax and its direct impact on the cost of healthy food,” Chapman says.
“The tax confuses water users with water polluters – they are not one and the same – and implies that people on municipal water supply already pay for water, when in fact nobody pays for water. The costs they are talking about relate to the infrastructure required to source water. . .
Positive perception important to farmers – Sally Rae:
Dean Rabbidge is an advocate for telling the good stories in farming.
Mr Rabbidge (32), a Glenham sheep, beef and dairy farmer, is intent on not only growing his own farming business, but also defending what he views as a “bad rap” that farming receives from some.
He recently became a trustee and member of the Three Rivers Catchment Group, which was established to engage with all sectors of the community and educate around the management of fresh water.
The group comprised about 12 trustees, who were all farmers and who wanted to engage with the community around water quality issues. The catalyst for its formation was Environment Southland’s proposed Water and Land Plan.
Mr Rabbidge encouraged people to “do the right thing” and showcase best management practice. He wanted to “get some good noise” out there with all the good stuff that was happening, he said. . .
Understanding meat behind marketing – Sally Rae:
When it comes to marketing meat, Wayne Cameron is in the enviable position of having experienced first-hand all aspects of the chain — from producer to restaurateur.
Mr Cameron has been heavily involved with the Silere alpine origin merino meat brand established six years ago.
Originally a joint venture between the New Zealand Merino Company and Silver Fern Farms, SFF later withdrew from the venture and Alliance Group took it up.
Mr Cameron’s latest role is as marketing manager premium products at Alliance Group, overseeing not only Silere but also Te Mana lamb, and other yet-to-be launched products, including a beef label due to be rolled out soon. . .
(BusinessDesk) – The steady decline in New Zealand’s sheep numbers continued at a slower pace over the past year as farmers in some areas rebuilt their flocks following drought, natural disasters and the impact of facial eczema.
Sheep numbers reduced to an estimated 27.34 million as at June 30 from 27.58 million a year earlier, according to the latest survey from the Economic Service of farmer-owned industry organisation Beef + Lamb New Zealand. The annual 0.9 percent decline compares with last year’s 5.3 percent drop, and marks the fifth consecutive fall since 2012 when sheep numbers rose 0.4 percent. . .
“We won’t survive,” was Tararua District mayor Tracey Collis’ reaction to the Environment Court directed One Plan presented to Horizons Regional Council’s strategy and policy committee yesterday.
“The report is really scary,” Mrs Collis, an Eketahuna dairy farmer, said.
“We’ve seen the damage a loss of 30 per cent of business has meant to Woodville, with the close of State Highway 3 through the Manawatu Gorge. A drop in dairy farmer’s profit will be felt throughout our community,” she said. . .
Otematata wetland project gets funding boost – Elena McPhee:
Volunteers are fencing, clearing willows, and planting 2200 native plants before spring for a wetlands restoration project at the head of Lake Aviemore.
Another $15,000 has been granted for the conservation project as part of an ongoing Environment Canterbury initiative to fund biodiversity projects around the district.
The Otematata Ratepayers Association received the grant from the Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee to enhance another section of the 50 hectare Otematata Wetlands at the head of Lake Aviemore.
The wetlands site is a popular recreation area, and is being restored by the community-led group. . .
The Commerce Commission has today released its draft report on Fonterra’s base milk price calculation for the 2016/17 dairy season.
The base milk price is the price Fonterra pays farmers for raw milk, which is set at $6.15 per kilogram of milk solids for the 2016/17 season just ended. The report does not cover the forecast 2017/18 price of $6.75 that Fonterra announced in July.
The Commission is required to review Fonterra’s calculation at the end of each dairy season under the milk price monitoring regime in the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA).
Commission Deputy Chair Sue Begg said with the exception of the asset beta component of the cost of capital estimate, Fonterra’s calculation of the 2016/17 base milk price is consistent with both the efficiency and contestability purposes of DIRA. . .
A new set of online resources will provide teachers with the information they need to help their students learn about New Zealand’s animal welfare, biosecurity and food systems, says Associate Minister for Primary Industries Louise Upston.
“The curriculum-linked resources are being rolled out so that teachers can help students to learn key knowledge and skills while also discovering how these key systems underpin the primary industries and play an important role in our economy, our environment and our way of life,” Ms Upston says. . .
Agcarm, the industry association which represents crop protection, animal health and rural supplier businesses, has appointed its first female president.
Dr Pauline Calvert heads the production animal business for MSD Animal Heath in New Zealand and was elected president at Agcarm’s annual meeting on July 27.
Under her presidency, Agcarm will continue to focus on promoting the responsible use of products, sustainable agriculture, environmental preservation, and sensible science-based regulation of crop protection and animal health products. . .
With the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year 2017 National Final looming closer (29th August 2017 at Villa Maria) the contestants are well into study mode, researching their projects, writing budgets, revising a wide range of subjects such as pests & diseases, soil nutrition, pruning, trellising and tractor skills to name but a few. Each of them is very determined to be this year’s winner.
Here are some interesting facts about the competition:
• 2017 will be the largest national final to date with SIX contestants . .
A media release from the FMG Young Farmer contest:
For the first time in its 49-year history, an Otago farmer is the FMG Young Farmer of the Year with Milton sheep and beef farmer, Nigel Woodhead, convincingly winning the prestigious title after three days of gruelling competition.
The 28-year-old was overwhelmed and emotional after 3 days of intense competition.
“I watched FMG Young Farmer of the Year when I was a child, so to win it, is a childhood dream that I think will take a long time to sink in,” Woodhead said.
A popular winner, Nigel graduated from University with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science before working at Midlands Seed in Ashburton for five years, prior to heading home to the family farm.
The win is particularly relevant in the Woodhead household as Nigel grew up in a family that watched the Contest every year with his Dad competing at a young age.
For Nigel it is the realisation of a dream.
“My wife Leanne and I worked really hard and to win this is incredible!”
Contest Chairman and former Grand Finalist Dean Rabbidge said he was thrilled to see an Otago Southland farmer take the title home.
“History has been made tonight in a proud farming province and we couldn’t be happier.”
NZ Young Farmers CEO Terry Copeland said Nigel was the epitome and pinnacle of what future leaders in the Agri-sector need to be.
“The FMG Young Farmer of the Year continues to showcase the brilliant young leadership our organisation strives to develop. Nigel is an inspiring future leader who showcases the exceptional leaders we strive to develop.”
FMG Young Farmer of the Year:
First Nigel Woodhead, Otago Southland
Second, Hamish Best, East Coast
Third, Andrew Wiffen, Tasman
AGMARDT Agri-business Challenge winner: Hamish Best
Massey University Agri-Growth Challenge: Lisa Kendall
Ravensdown Agri-Skills Challenge : Nigel Woodhead
Hynds Agri-sport Challenge: Arjan van’t Klooster
Meridian Energy Agri-knowledge Quiz and Speech challenge: Hamish Best
How the FMG Young Farmer of the Year works:
400 contestants competed in 22 District Contest and Skills Day nation-wide.
56 contestants compete in seven regional finals from Northern, Waikato-Bay of Plenty, Taranaki-Manawatu, East Coast, Tasman, Aorangi, Otago-Southland from February to April.
The seven winners of the regional final will now compete at the Grand Final in the Manawatu this week.
In 49 years only four females have ever made the Grand Final:
Denise Brown who placed Seventh in 1981
Louise Collingwood who was Placed Third and Runner Up in 2001 and 2003
Katherine Tucker placed Seventh in 2012
Lisa Kendall in 2017.
He’s not the first Otago winner, but he’s the first from the province in more than 20 years.
Applications for the 2018 Zanda McDonald Award have opened:
The search is on for talented young agri-leaders from New Zealand and Australia to apply for the 2018 Zanda McDonald Award. The award is regarded as one of Australasia’s most prestigious badges of honour for young leaders within the primary industry, and comes with a prize package of over $50,000.
Now in its fourth year, the award is run by the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group – a network of over 130 of Australasia’s most influential agri-business men and women.
It provides the winner direct access to the wealth of knowledge that exists within the group’s membership. In addition, they receive an all-expenses paid overseas mentoring trip, a place on Rabobank’s Farm Manager’s or Executive Programme and $1,000 cash prize.
Shane McManaway, Chairman of the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP), says the award provides a fantastic opportunity for young agricultural leaders to further their career and their personal development.
“A key attraction for this award is the tailored mentoring package that the winner receives. The PPP members have an extraordinary amount of respect within the industry, and previous award winners have loved the fact that they can call on them for help, advice and guidance at any time.”
Applications for next years’ award are open to individuals 35 years or younger from Monday 3rd July. Entries close on Friday 1st September 2017.
The 2017 winner, announced earlier this year at the annual PPP conference in Melbourne, was Morgan Easton from the Waitaki Valley, NZ. Mr Easton and his wife Hayley, who have three young children, are sharemilking two properties in North Otago, milking a total of 1750 cows.
“Winning the award has been both a humbling and rewarding experience for me. The ability to tap into the expertise of PPP members has been invaluable. I now have a great network through the PPP members that I can call on for advice when I need it,” he said.
Morgan is using the opportunity to tap into PPP members’ expertise on how best to continue growing and thriving in his family business. He will soon embark on the Australian leg of his mentoring tour, where he will visit PPP members including the McDonald beef farming operation in North Queensland, which is run by the late Zanda McDonald’s parents and wife Julie, and encompasses about 180,000 head of cattle.
Application forms for the award can be downloaded from the PPP Group website.
The PPP group founded the ward in memory of Zanda McDonald, a founding member of the group.
He was a farmer, prominent in the Australian beef and livestock industry, who died in an accident on his farm when he was only 41.
Emma Black from Queensland won the inaugural award. Dean Rabbidge from Southland won it last year.
Dean Rabbidge, a 30 year old sheep, beef and dairy farmer from Wyndham, and the Vice Chairman of the NZ National Young Farmers Contest, has won the 2016 Zanda McDonald Award.
The award was presented last night (23rd) in Wellington at the ‘Capital Connections; Winds of Change’ Conference by NZ Minister for Primary Industries, Hon. Nathan Guy.
The prize, valued at over $30,000, includes:
An expenses-paid, tailored mentoring package whereby Mr Rabbidge can spend time with three-four relevant PPP members in Australia and/or New Zealand.
A place on the 2017 Rabobank Farm Manager’s Programme.
Access to the 130 of Australia’s finest producers and agri-business people who make up the PPP Group.
This year, the prize package was extended to include the use of a Pilatus aircraft – a PC 12 jet – for the winner to visit their mentors.
Mr Rabbidge, who competed against fellow finalists – New Zealand’s Erica van Reenen, an environmental and agricultural consultant with AgFirst and Western Australia’s Wesley Lefroy, a soil scientist – said he was humbled to have been chosen.
Shane McManaway, Chairman of the PPP Group, says: “Dean is an exceptional young man.
His intelligence, his enormous sense of responsibility and his natural people skills will take him far. And I believe he will relish the mentoring opportunities that winning the Zanda McDonald Award will provide”.
Mr Rabbidge and Mr McManaway has been invited to have lunch with the Prime Minister and Minister Guy.
The Zanda McDonald award is a PPP initiative which aims to preserve the legacy of the late Zanda McDonald, a strong leader in the Australian cattle industry – as well as assist young agri-business people on their chosen career path.
We were at the award ceremony last night having spent three days at the PPP conference with the three finalists, all of whom have already achieved a lot in, and given a lot to, agri-business and their rural communities.
It is encouraging to know there are young people of this calibre in the industry.
Six of agriculture’s most innovative young professionals have been shortlisted for the 2016 Zanda McDonald Award. The six – three from New Zealand and three from Australia – were selected for their strong leadership skills, being visionary and inspirational within their industry and for clearly demonstrating an unwaivering passion for agriculture.
Dean Rabbidge, 30, is a Southland dairy, beef and sheep farmer from Wyndham currently managing the family farm. Dean is also Vice Chairman of the national Young Farmers Competition and twice a grand finalist.
Erica van Reenen, 31, is an agricultural and environmental consultant with AgFirst, based in Manawatu. Erica is also a trustee of the Te Araroa national walkway from Cape Reinga to Bluff and a Huntaway Festival committee member.
Zach Mounsey, 25, is a dairy farmer and an economist with DairyNZ. He is also Chairman of the Otorohanga Federated Farmers group. Last month, Zach travelled to Argentina; he was selected by the Minister of Primary Industries to represent New Zealand together with Malborough farmer, Doug Avery. . .
Returning Officer Warwick Lampp, of electionz.com Ltd, has declared the final results of the 2015 elections for the Fonterra Board of Directors, Directors’ Remuneration Committee and Shareholders’ Council.
Shareholders voted to re-elect incumbent Directors John Wilson and Nicola Shadbolt. They will be joined by new Director Ashley Waugh. Blue Read, Greg Maughan and Murray Beach were unsuccessful. . .
Today, following the close of voting in the 2015 Fonterra Elections, which saw record Shareholder voting, it has been confirmed that one new Director and two new Shareholders’ Councillors will take office following the Fonterra Annual Meeting on Wednesday.
Newly elected Director Ashley Waugh and incumbents John Wilson and Nicola Shadbolt were the three successful Director candidates. . .