Rural round-up

February 22, 2015

Region’s rivers dropping to point of possible irrigation stoppages – Rebecca Fox:

Otago rivers are dropping steadily again as the benefits from rain earlier this month evaporate.

The Taieri catchment is again teetering on the edge of a widespread irrigation stoppage and South Otago rivers are dropping steadily after a week of warm temperatures and little or no rain – the greatest amount to fall in Otago was 3.5mm at Sullivans Dam, near Dunedin.

Forecasts again indicated mostly dry weather was to continue, although while a front was expected to move over southern and eastern parts of New Zealand tomorrow and early Sunday, it was only expected to bring showers. . .

Strategic location move pays off:

It’s not an easy task to up sticks and move to a new farm. Steve and Jenny Herries took that an extra step and moved their angus stud from Central Hawke’s Bay to Gisborne.

Alpine Angus used to be at home on 320ha at Mangaorapa, southeast of Waipukurau. “The kids were enjoying their farming but they’d never seen shepherds on big country with teams of dogs. We’d managed other places like Tutira and Akitio, so we knew it could be different.”

They’ve only increased the farm size by 40 hectares but the country is very different. . .

Maori agribusiness on the brink of ‘enormous growth’  – Sue O’Dowd:

PKW’s new livestock company allows the large Taranaki Maori farming operation to further integrate the various arms of its business.

Te Oranga Livestock began operating in September last year.

“Our strategy has grown and our cattle numbers have grown, so we have created our own livestock company to support our long-term goals,” Parininihi ki Waitotara (PKW) chief executive Dion Tuuta said. “It’s a logical progression and allows us to retain value within our own system.”

In 2011 PKW took a major step towards growing its active business, putting managers on some of its dairy farms and taking on herd ownership. A specialist state-of-the-art calf-rearing unit capable of rearing 1800 calves a year at Matapu in South Taranaki followed. . .

Muster offers drover’s delight – Caleb Harris:

Forget running with the bulls in Pamplona – now you can run after them, in Wairarapa.

Cowboys, stockmen, gauchos and drovers have a special lot in life: superb views, magnificent animals, camaraderie, tough but satisfying work, the campfires, the starlit nights.

“The drover’s life has pleasures that the townsfolk never know,” was Aussie bush bard Banjo Paterson’s apt summary.

Now, the owners of one of New Zealand’s oldest farms are inviting all-comers, including city slickers, to experience the ancient lifestyle’s unique charms, in the form of a back-country cattle muster.

It’s not a contrived offering for tourists but a crucial task, done twice a year for more than 170 years – one of the country’s longest unbroken sequences of annual musters.

Riversdale Station in White Rock Rd, an hour east of Martinborough, has sweeping Pacific views, but otherwise little in common with its genteel namesake resort to the north. Nestled along the Haurangi (or Aorangi) Range, it’s gnarled, bush-cloaked country and not for the faint- hearted. . .

Sheep milk has big potential – Anna Sussmilch:

After a year of study, travel and developing contacts in the agricultural sector at home and aboard, the 2014 Nuffield Scholars have submitted their reports. This is the first in a series profiling each of the 2014 scholars, their experiences and their areas of particular interest.

Lucy Griffiths is a woman who clearly likes to keep busy. 

When approached for an interview she was busily preparing to present her Nuffield Scholarship findings at the inaugural New Zealand ewe milk products and sheep dairying conference at Massey University’s Food HQ, training for the Challenge Wanaka half-ironman and had only recently got married.

At the start of her Nuffield journey Griffiths was known as Lucy Cruikshank. . .

Dairy farmers can expect volatility in milk price:

While it may not be what farmers want to hear, a Lincoln University expert says price volatility in the dairy industry may be the new normal. Farm Management and Agribusiness lecturer Bruce Greig says prices will fluctuate widely from year to year ”as we have seen”.

He says the milk price farmers in New Zealand receive is a result of the demand and supply conditions of milk in the international market. It is a commodity market which exhibits characteristic fluctuations.

Dairy farmers may just have to get used to it and implement systems which can cope with these changes, Mr Greig says. . .


Rural round-up

October 18, 2013

Flagship dairy farm showed off – Sue O’Dowd:

Maori incorporation Parininihi ki Waitotara (PKW) showed off its flagship dairy farm near Matapu in South Taranaki to the board of directors and senior managers of DairyNZ yesterday.

The organisation, which is funded by levies on dairy farmers’ milksolids, is holding its annual general meeting in Hawera today. It’s the first time DairyNZ has held its AGM in Taranaki since it was formed in 2007.

PKW chief executive Dion Tuuta said the DairyNZ visit was an endorsement of the excellent practices the incorporation was demonstrating. . .

China meat sales boom comes with warning – Gerald Piddock:

Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie has warned the country’s meat companies against becoming too reliant on the booming Chinese export market.

China is now New Zealand’s largest single market for sheepmeat by volume and value, but the industry had to try to have a balance of trade outside of China, he said.

“It’s about getting that balance right.”

He feared a repeat of New Zealand’s dependence on meat exports to Iran in the 1980s. . .

Cattle grazing stockmen take a stand – Sue O’Dowd:

Long-time grazier Ian Marshall relies on his reputation rather than contracts when he grazes heifers and weaners for Taranaki dairy farmers.

Ian and Julie Marshall have owned the 550ha Wild Stream Cattle Station near Ratapiko for 20 years and now share-farm it with son Alec and daughter-in-law Clair, who have been managing the property for four years.

The Marshalls graze 1150 friesian, cross-bred and jersey yearling heifers and weaners for 16 dairy farmers each year and run steers and sheep as well. . .

Whanganui farmer praises flood warning system:

A Whanganui farmer has praised the regional council’s river warning system which she says gave farmers plenty of time to prepare for this week’s flooding and move stock out of harm’s way.

Manawatu-Whanganui regional council installed the automated monitoring system after the disastrous 2004 floods.

And Kirsten Bryant who farms at Fordell and also has hill country farms in the upper Whanganui catchment, says it’s been invaluable. . .

Share the wealth – Willy Leferink:

While there’s been a right brouhaha over asset sales something big has slipped under the radar. I am not talking about the Trans Pacific Partnership, awesome though that will be. I am not even talking One Direction hitting New Zealand. What I am talking is the dividend which recently hit the bank accounts of fully shared up Fonterra shareholders.

Alright, dividends aren’t exactly new to Fonterra shareholders but what is, is the way many farmers are now active players on the NZX sharemarket.

Since the Fonterra Shareholders Fund kicked off some eight months ago, the unit price has surged from $5.50 to a high point of $7.30. It’s now trading at $6.92 despite a drought–affected season and that false alarm involving the whey concentrate WPC80. Danone is lining up for compensation across many markets and I suspect they won’t be alone. That the Shareholders Fund is still about 26 percent up on the listing price tells me ‘the market’ believes any compensation won’t sink the coop. . .

New traps could be key to kiwi survival:

Revolutionary new traps that can hold up to 24 dead predators at a time are being touted as the possible saviour of the kiwi.

The traps use a mixture of gas and toxic sprays to wipe out the pests and do not have to be cleared as often as the models they are replacing.

There are roughly 70,000 kiwi left but 27 die each week. . .


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