Rural round-up

December 16, 2014

Largest ever control campaign knocks back predators:

The Department of Conservation’s largest ever aerial 1080 campaign to combat this year’s rat and stoat plague has successfully knocked down predator populations in key target areas.

Over the last four months, DOC has completed an unprecedented 25 aerial 1080 operations over about 550,000 hectares to combat the biggest beech seed-fuelled rodent plague seen in 15 years.

Rat numbers reached extreme levels at some sites but early results from the Battle for Our Birds 1080 programme show rat populations crashing giving much needed protection to breeding populations of vulnerable native birds and bats. (see attached graph). . .

EPA 1080 annual report released:

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has released its seventh annual report on the aerial use of 1080. Findings are again consistent with previous years. The 1080 regime is working as intended with the benefits of using 1080 being seen while the risks are minimised.

1080, also known as sodium fluoroacetate, is used to control animal pests such as possums, rabbits, stoats and rats, to reduce the impacts on native animals and plants, and to prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis. Aerial application uses aircraft to distribute baits and is considered by users to be a key advantage where pest control is undertaken on rugged or remote land. . .

 Farmhand graduate praises training – Sally Rae:

”Oh, mate, I’m just overwhelmingly chuffed,” a delighted Emma Hollamby said after graduating from the inaugural Farmhand training programme.

Ms Hollamby was among the first intake of the pilot programme, which was launched in Dunedin in September.

The programme, which ran for 12 weeks, aimed to expose the city’s disengaged youth to rural work opportunities. . . 

Allflex acquisition set to help Australasian producers:

Allflex, the worldwide market leader in animal identification products, has announced a $250 million dollar acquisition of livestock monitoring and intelligent milking solutions company, SCR Engineers Ltd.

Based in Israel, SCR Engineers is highly regarded across the globe for its cutting-edge cow-monitoring systems, which gather data via activity and rumination sensors.

High-tech analysis then converts the data into real-time reports to help monitor individual animals as well as provide reliable data around herd performance. . .

Dairy prices end 2014 low, in contrast to where they started the year:

Beef prices end 2014 still flying high

The Reserve Bank delivers an early Christmas present

It’s a mixed end to 2014 according to the latest ASB Farmshed Economics Report, with dairy prices low compared to the high prices at the start of the year.

“Beef prices, on the other hand, are providing farmers with some festive joy and are currently 23 percent higher than last Christmas,” explains ASB Rural Economist Nathan Penny. “Lamb prices peaked ahead of the previous two seasons this year, although prices have softened recently.” . . .

Seeka announces record returns for Class 2 kiwifruit into Australia:

Seeka Kiwifruit Industries Ltd (NZX:SEK) has delivered record returns to growers from its SeekaFresh programmes, primarily into Australia, the company said today.

In its latest grower forecast, Seeka said that Class 2 returns per Class 1 tray averaged $0.24 for Hayward Green (conventional) and $0.50 for Hayward Green (organic) in 2014, well up on last year and significantly ahead of industry average forecasts of $0.14 for conventional and $0.16 for organic green. The season also saw record returns for SeekaFresh-marketed avocados and kiwiberries.

“Lean overhead cost structures plus an Australia programme directed at major retailers rather than wholesalers, supported by promotions, planning and quality, have delivered Seeka growers record returns,” said Seeka chief executive Michael Franks. . .

Move to protect farm information:

Farmers can be more confident their information is being protected as organisations handling their data sign up to a new code of practice.

DairyNZ and the Ministry for Primary Industries have funded development of the new Farm Data Code of Practice and associated data standards through the Primary Growth Partnership (PGP), with a contribution from FarmIQ Systems in the first year and co-funding from the Red Meat Profit Partnership this year.

The funding organisations are all involved in PGP programmes that focus on innovation in farming and food processing, and as part of this they are driving new developments in farm data recording, storage, analysis and reporting. This led to awareness of the need for a code to guide fair behaviour and standards to get consistency. . .

Determining the origin of insect pests:

Researchers in the Bio-Protection Research Centre at Lincoln University are developing a new way to reveal the birthplace of unwanted insect pests – information that is vital for managing pest incursions. . .

Despite stringent biosecurity measures, unwanted insects occasionally arrive in New Zealand from overseas in shipping containers and imported goods. If these pests breed and spread, they could have a huge impact on agriculture, horticulture, forestry and the environment. . .

Pinpointing the birthplace of an exotic insect pest is crucial for determining whether it is an isolated ‘hitchhiker’ or part of an established breeding population. This knowledge is helpful for biosecurity agencies, such as the Ministry for Primary Industries, to decide the best approach for dealing with an incursion. . .

Fyfe Joins Craggy Range – Strategic role supports winery’s global growth:

Craggy Range today announces that Icebreaker CEO Rob Fyfe is joining the award winning winery in a newly created position of strategic advisor reporting to the board and CEO Michael Wilding.

Mr Fyfe has been working in a consultancy capacity with Craggy Range, for more than 12 months. The move formalises his involvement with the winery that was recently named the New World Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast.

A former CEO of Air New Zealand, Mr Fyfe says his long-standing passion for businesses and NZ brands are behind his decision to accept the role. . .

Origin Earth Drops Price of Milk:

Local boutique dairy company Origin Earth has announced a reduction in the price of their 2 litre bottles of milk.

Origin Earth director, Joanie Williams said “The price that we pay for our raw milk is inextricably linked with the price that farmers receive from Fonterra.”

She went on to say, “As you will be aware Fonterra has reduced its forecast payout for the coming season which in turn has the reduced the cost of our raw milk. As a result we are pleased to be able to pass this cost saving on our Hawke’s Bay customers and as from today, 12 December 2014, the recommended retail price for our 2 litre bottles of milk drops from $5.80 to $5.50. We also feel that this price drop will put our all natural whole milk within reach of even more customers and look forward to welcoming these new customers to enjoying milk the way it used to be.” . . . 

Origin Earth produces Hawke’s Bay’s own Chocolate Milk:

Origin Earth’s Chocolate Milk combines the popular Hawke’s Bay sourced Origin Earth cow’s milk with organic and fair trade chocolate and cocoa powder from Hawke’s Bay chocolatier La Petite Chocolat, then adds a dash of Hawke’s Bay honey and a drop of Heilala vanilla extract and that’s it. Just like our milk it is not homogenised, just pasteurised, and there are no thickeners, emulsifiers, milk powders, additives or stabilisers.

Chocolate and flavoured milks have long been Kiwi favourites and it was in response to requests from customers wanting a product made using Origin Earth milk that got Origin Earth director, Joanie Williams, into the testing room and trying out different combinations/recipes. . .

 Christmas ‘lights’ from Whitecliff:

Whitecliff’s newly released 2014 low alcohol wines give Kiwi wine drinkers a refreshing, low alcohol option, perfect for Christmas festivities and to help lighten up the season of excess.

Whitecliff low alcohol Sauvignon Blanc 2014 and low alcohol Pinot Gris 2014 are ideal wines for those people wanting to enjoy the festive season but still fulfil their New Year’s resolutions to live a healthier lifestyle.

Whether it is for a Boxing Day barbecue or a casual Christmas catch up with friends, these wines from the 2014 vintage offer reduced alcohol and calories without compromising on flavour. . .


Rural round-up

July 23, 2014

Farming family demonstrate conservation message – Ann Warnock:

Dan Steele is a farmer, conservationist, competitive axeman, hunter, historian, lodge host, rugby fan and romantic who never dreamed he’d turn into a bird geek.

But at the age of 21, while wandering up the banks of the Kaiwhakauka Stream at Retaruke Station, his parents’ remote property on the Whanganui River, he spied a family of blue ducks (whio) and they unwittingly shaped the rest of his life.

“I love exploring and poking about up every stream; climbing every ridge. On this particular day I saw two adults with their five ducklings. The next time I saw them there were only three ducklings. Then there were none. I phoned the DOC ranger. They were endangered. It hit me; protecting the blue duck was part of the future of our land.” . . .

Boost for horticulture and viticulture industry:

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse have announced plans for a new programme aimed at getting more Kiwis into seasonal work, alongside an increase to the annual RSE cap.

Mr Woodhouse says the need to raise the cap on Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from 8000 to 9000 demonstrates the success of the RSE scheme.

“There’s no doubt that the growth in the horticulture and viticulture industry in the past few years would not have been possible without RSE, which has been widely praised locally and internationally,” says Mr Woodhouse.

“It has provided employers with a stable and reliable workforce and given them confidence to expand and invest in their business. RSE workers have also benefitted significantly from gaining invaluable work experience and being able to send money back to their communities at home.’’ . . .

NZ Pacific encouraged for new Seasonal Worker Scheme:

Domestic Pacific workers can be as successful as overseas Pacific workers in the horticulture and viticulture industries says Pacific Island Affairs Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga.
 
Mr Lotu-Iiga is encouraging employers to take up the New Zealand Seasonal Worker Scheme announced today by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett. The scheme will provide pastoral care and other support to assist Kiwis into seasonal work. Mrs Bennett also announced an increase to the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme. The scheme recruits seasonal workers from overseas to assist in the horticulture and viticulture industries where there are not enough New Zealand workers.
 
“I was in Marlborough in the weekend speaking to employers, Pacific RSE workers and domestic Pacific workers and I saw first-hand the benefits of Pacific people working in the wine industry,” says Mr Lotu-Iiga. . .

Pork industry joins GIA biosecurity agreement:

The Government and the commercial pork industry have committed to a partnership to strengthen biosecurity, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

The Deed of the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) on Biosecurity Readiness and Response was signed by New Zealand Pork at its annual conference today.

“This enables New Zealand Pork and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to make joint decisions on biosecurity readiness and response activities. It means we can focus on the areas of greatest priority to the pork industry,” Mr Guy says.

“What it means in practice is a stronger, more effective biosecurity system. Those with a direct stake in biosecurity can now be directly involved in decision making and funding. . .

– Keith Woodford:

Last week I wrote about PGG Wrightson and the challenges it faces. For their seeds division there are clear strategic options, but for the farm services division, the long term strategy remains challenging. Part of the reason is the competition they are facing from the farm services co-operatives, with Farmlands now dominant in the sector.

Farmlands has 56,000 members and an annual turnover exceeding $2 billion. This is more than double the New Zealand farm services revenue of its major investor-owned competitor, PGG Wrightson. The aim of Farmlands is to keep prices low for its members. This ensures that its investor-oriented competitor also has to keep its margins low. . . .

The truth about grassfed beef – The Food Revolution Network:

A lot of people today, horrified by how animals are treated in factory farms and feedlots, and wanting to lower their ecological footprint, are looking for healthier alternatives. As a result, there is a decided trend toward pasture-raised animals. One former vegetarian, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford, says he now eats meat, but only “grassfed and organic and sustainable as possible, reverentially and deeply gratefully, and in small amounts.”

Sales of grassfed and organic beef are rising rapidly. Ten years ago, there were only about 50 grassfed cattle operations left in the U.S. Now there are thousands.

How much difference does it make? Is grassfed really better? If so, in what ways, and how much? . . .

New Zealand Meat Exports October 2013 to June 2014:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) compiles lamb, mutton and beef export statistics for the country. The following is a summary of the combined export statistics for the first nine months of the 2013-14 meat export season (1 October 2013 to 30 June 2014).

[All monetary values are in New Zealand dollars.]

Summary

Despite the high New Zealand dollar, particularly during the main export months of January to June, there was an increase in the average value for lamb, mutton and beef/veal. A smaller national lamb crop flowed through to reduced lamb export volumes. However, for only the fourth time in history, lamb exports exceeded $2 billion Free On Board (FOB) in the first nine months of a season.  . . .

New veterinary resource to manage disease in cattle associated with Theileria:

A new veterinary handbook on Theileria, developed by the Theileria Working Group and published by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA), will help to ensure that veterinarians and their farmer clients are well prepared to manage the expected spring upsurge in infections with this important, new parasite of cattle.

The number of affected farms is expected to exceed those reported in the last two years with nearly 700 beef and dairy herds testing positive so far, with about a third of these occurring in the North Island this year.  . .

 Brown Re-Elected as Council Chairman for Third Term, Duncan Coull New Deputy Chair:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown has today been re-elected unopposed to the position for a third term.

Ian Brown: “I appreciate the support I continue to receive from Councillors and look forward to leading the Council for a further 12 months.”

Mr Brown is joined by first time Deputy Chair, Duncan Coull, also elected unopposed, who will take up his new role on 29 July for a 12 month term.
Mr Coull was elected to the Council in 2010 to represent Fonterra Farmers in Otorohanga and serves as the Chair of the Council’s Representation Committee. . . .


Who’s putting jobs and people first?

June 20, 2014

The government is to introduce special legislation to enable the recovery of high value native timber blown over in Cyclone Ita on West Coast public conservation land, Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith has announced.

“We need to take a pragmatic approach and enable the timber to be recovered where it can be done so safely and with minimal environmental impact. This initiative will provide welcome jobs and economic opportunities for the West Coast at a difficult time, and will provide a financial return to DOC that can be reinvested in conservation work,” Dr Smith says.

Cyclone Ita hit the West Coast on 17 April this year and caused the worst windfall damage in generations, felling an estimated 20,000 hectares of forest and causing significant damage to a further 200,000 hectares.

The West Coast Windblown Timber (Conservation Lands) Bill confines the recovery of useable wood to areas affected by Cyclone Ita and specifically excludes World Heritage Areas, national parks, ecological areas and the white heron sanctuary reserve at Whataroa. Authorisations are only to be issued where the Department’s Director-General is satisfied the proposed method of removing the timber is safe for workers and the public, and minimises environmental impacts. The recovery of timber is limited until 1 July 2019 when the Bill expires. All revenue from royalties will go to the Department of Conservation.

“A law change is needed because the current Conservation Act makes no provision for timber recovery in this sort of extreme event. The Bill will be introduced and passed by Parliament next week under urgency. This is necessary because the large volumes of beech timber will soon deteriorate with sap stain and borer. I am grateful for the common sense support from the United Future and Māori Parties that are enabling Parliament to quickly resolve this issue.

“It is estimated that several million cubic metres of beech, rimu, matai, totara and miro trees have been felled. Stumpage prices for rimu are $250 per cubic metre, and $60 per cubic metre for beech. It is not possible to estimate the volume and value of timber to be extracted because the safety and environmental constraints may require high cost options like the use of helicopters. This law change will enable the detailed work to be done by operators on recovery proposals so as to determine where recovery is viable and safe.

“It may be appropriate to consider a permanent change to the Conservation Act to enable windblown timber in these sorts of situations to be recovered in future, but I am reluctant to do so with urgent legislation of this sort. The Department of Conservation will be commissioning research on the effects on forest regrowth and ecology by comparing similar windblown areas where timber has and has not been recovered to help make a long-term policy decision on this issue.

“It is a tragedy that so much forest has been wrecked by Cyclone Ita but no good purpose is served by leaving it all to rot. The wood will displace some of the $65 million of tropical hardwoods we import each year and give New Zealanders access to our own beautiful native timbers,” Dr Smith concluded.

The move has the support of the Maori Party:

The Māori Party is thrilled that urgent legislation is to be passed by Parliament to allow for the recovery of native timber that has fallen onto West Coast public conservation land as a result of Cyclone Ita. Co-Leader Te Ururoa Flavell joined Dr Nick Smith on the West Coast today to make the special announcement.

“We see this as a great opportunity for the West Coast at a time where the community has had to bear the brunt of the storm. This legislation will open up long-term employment and commercial opportunities for the community and I am proud to be part of today’s announcement,” says Te Ururoa Flavell.

“The Māori Party support this initiative because we see it as a way for the West Coast to take a silver lining from the storm that hit their community on April 17 this year and caused the most devastating windfall damage in decades.”

“Had we not supported the legislation, the timber would have deteriorated and lost its commercial value. In particular, beech sapwood must be recovered within a month before sap stain fungi and beech borer begin to destroy the value of the timber, which is why there is a need for urgency. The felled rimu can be recoverable for up to five years, providing opportunities for long-term employment,” says Te Ururoa Flavell.

“Of course, the safety of the workers will be of paramount importance and authorisations to remove timber will require that the operators provide health and safety plans to show their removal methods would be safe for both the workers and the public. The legislation also provides for public exclusion from areas while timber recovery operations are taking place for their own protection.”

“Ngāi Tahu has expressed their support in principle for the opportunities presented by the legislation and we will support their preference for opportunities for the harvesting of the wind-blown timber and its proceeds to be reinvested into the West Coast community. We will also seek to ensure that the recovery is undertaken in a manner that respects and addresses any environmental and cultural matters of concern that the iwi may have.”

“While we are sad to see that so much native timber has been blown over by Cyclone Ita, we are delighted that Ngāi Tahu and the rest of the West Coast community will benefit from the passing of this legislation,” says Te Ururoa Flavell.

United Future leader Peter Dunne says the timber recovery is the logical response:

. . . “It is very unfortunate so many trees were blown down in this storm but there is just no benefit in leaving the timber to rot” said Mr Dunne.

Parliament will consider urgent, special legislation to enable the recovery of the high value native timber.

UnitedFuture will support The West Coast Windblown Timber (Conservation Lands) Bill which confines the recovery of useable wood to areas affected by Cyclone Ita and specifically excludes World Heritage Areas, National Parks, Ecological Areas and the White Heron colony.

“This timber recovery plan is the common sense, practical, and logical response to a natural process.

“I am satisfied by the environmental protections and health and safety regulations to which operators will be subject when the timber is removed.

“This will ensure that the West Coast’s unique environment will be protected” said Mr Dunne.

“New Zealand’s hardwood is some of the most beautiful in the world and I am pleased Parliament will enable New Zealanders to access it rather than leaving it to rot” he said.

Former Former Westland Mayor and now National Party candidate Maureen Pugh approached the Minister and asked that permission be given for logging:

. . . “It just seems like a very practical solution to an event that’s happened,” says Ms Pugh.

She says the logs, which are a mixture of rimu, totara and beech, could be worth up to $50,000 each. . . .

The proposal’s being welcomed on the coast – Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn says it makes sense as it has the potential to create money. . . .

this is a very good example of a candidate being proactive for the people who’s support she’s seeking.

Contrast that with the Green Party which doesn’t attempt to win electorates and therefore doesn’t have to worry what’s best for the people in them:

 . . . the Greens say it would require a law change and they’d never support it.

“Generations of New Zealanders campaigned to protect West Coast forests – allowing trees to be taken from timber would completely cut across that,” says Green Party conservation spokesperson Eugenie Sage. . . .

Nature dealt the trees the killing blow.

If they are left where they are they’ll rot.

There is a small window of opportunity to recover the fallen trees which will provide work and replace imported timber.

It will be done with safeguards for workers and the environment and all profits will go to the Department of Conservation to fund more conservation work.

But once more the Green Party will put politics and its own blinkered ideology before people and jobs.


Let’s look at all public land

June 16, 2014

Federated Mountain Clubs (FMC) have launched a campaign to get better protection for  conservation stewardship lands. 

” . . . They are our Forgotten Lands and make up most of the land managed by DOC outside of our national parks and reserves. They include magnificent mountains, forests and coastal areas that we should expect to be safe, such as The Remarkables near Queenstown and the Coromandel Peninsula forests”, said FMC President, Robin McNeill.

Stewardship lands make up 30% of all the land managed by DOC and they have been overlooked by politicians since DOC was formed in 1987.

“In the last few years, Meridian Energy came close to drowning the Mokihinui Valley;Bob Robertson wanted to bulldoze his way through the Snowdon Forest for a monorail and Solid Energy started to mine the Denniston Plateau”, said Mr McNeill. “Because they are not in national parks or reserves, businesses wrongly think they aren’t valuable. Some of these lands should be in national parks”. . .

He could be right, it’s possible some of that land should be in National Parks.

But it’s also possible some land in National Parks shouldn’t be and that some land under DOC management shouldn’t be in public ownership.

It would be good to have a comprehensive look at all publicly owned land and determine whether it has conservation or other values which justify continued public ownership or whether it could be sold.

The money gained from the sale could be put to better use such as taking better care of land which ought to remain publicly owned.


100% kill in rat trap trial

March 3, 2014

Good news from DOC:

In wonderful news for birdlife, NZ developed automatic rat traps have totally eliminated predator rat populations during large-scale Department of Conservation (DOC) trials in native New Zealand bush.

Results just in from large-scale DOC trial sites confirm that the patented automatic trap technology developed by local company Goodnature has successfully reduced rat populations to undetectable levels.

Recent monitoring at the two large scale trial sites by DOC field personnel confirmed zero percent (0%) rat monitoring rates indicating rat populations in these areas had been completely eliminated.

The unprecedented 0% rat detection results contrasted with monitoring results on the adjacent comparison sites which showed that rat populations outside the automatic trap trial area continued to thrive.

This is excellent news at a time when the predicted rat population explosion threatens native birdlife in New Zealand forests. Kiwi innovation has produced another potent weapon in the war on pests and, importantly, a further option in the armoury which is toxin free and cost effective to deploy.

“The DOC trial results are consistent with what our customers in other parts of the world are achieving with our traps” says Stu Barr, director of Goodnature who make and supply the A24 automatic resetting traps. “The traps are reducing rat populations well below the level where our vulnerable and endangered species can rebound. We’ve taken the pressure off the birds and put it back on the rats.”

While being used effectively in New Zealand for rat, stoat and possum control, farther afield, Goodnature is applying its technology to pests in more than 15 countries. As well as widespread success in rat control around the world, automatic resetting traps to control introduced mongoose in Hawaii and mink in Scandinavia are in development.

Powered by a small compressed CO2 canister the commercially successful Goodnature traps automatically reset themselves after striking a pest and can kill up to 24 rats before the canister needs to be replaced. The multiple-kill traps include an effective long-life rodent lure which attracts rats to the trap.

“The traps are mostly known for our automatic resetting and multi kill technology but, just like fishing, an irresistible bait is critical to get a catch. This latest trial result shows how effective our rodent lure is in the field” said Stu Barr.

Pest control tools which can wipe out predator populations and sustain them at low numbers are critical to ongoing pest control efforts on public conservation land and efforts by the wider conservation community. The sustained control of predators allows native bird species to successfully breed and increase their populations.

“These rat kill results are very promising. It is a significant step towards having a better and more effective trapping option for predator control in New Zealand.” DOC Deputy Director General Kevin O’Connor commented.

Research and development of automatic resetting traps was originally initiated by Goodnature with DOC in 2006 to strengthen New Zealand’s ability to control pests at times when existing ground based networks using traditional tools would get overwhelmed at times when predator numbers rise rapidly. . .

The traps won’t be able to be used everywhere but they look like a good option where they can be used.


1080 myths dispelled

January 24, 2014

Wilderness magazine says it’s time to end the 1080 debate once and for all:

Opponents to the aerial use of 1080 should stop scaremongering and start thinking of better alternatives, say leading independent experts.

The experts, interviewed in the February issue of Wilderness magazine, have categorically dispelled many of the myths surrounding use of the poison. These myths include the idea that it kills kiwi, gets into our water supplies, threatens native bird populations and is no more effective than trapping and hunting.

Editor of Wilderness Alistair Hall believes it’s vital to stamp out rumours especially at a time when beech mast threatens many of the country’s rarest species. DOC’s preparing to launch a 1080 attack on rats, mice and stoats after predictions a bumper summer of beech flowering will lead to a huge increase of the predators later in the year.

“It’s time to get a few things straight,” said Hall. “1080 has never killed a kiwi, it has never been found in a drinking water supply and only one person has ever been killed by the poison – and that was in the 1960s.

“It’s not us who are saying this, it’s every expert we’ve spoken to. We made sure we picked people who are independent, rather than those who represent one side of the argument. The experts were unanimous in saying there’s currently no viable alternative when it comes to controlling pests on a large scale and that, without 1080, many of our native species would only exist on off-shore islands and intensively protected pockets on the mainland.”

Wilderness spoke to Dr Jan Wright, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr James Ross, senior lecturer in wildlife management at Lincoln University, and Penny Fisher from Landcare Research.

Each expert was presented with 10 commonly held beliefs and asked to state whether they’re true or not based on what is currently known about the toxin.
“It’s fascinating to read what they have to say,” said Hall. “I often hear the argument that there hasn’t been enough research conducted on 1080 to determine whether it’s safe or not. In actual fact, there’s been continuous research since the 1950s.

“It’s so important to get this message across. As a tramping community we want to hear and see native birds and plants when we head into the backcountry. It’s clear to us, having spoken to those in the know, that using 1080 is the only way to ensure we can continue to do this.”

Full interviews with the experts are in the February issue of Wilderness magazine, available in shops from today and online here.

Animals targeted by 1080 endanger native flora and fauna they also carry TB which is a risk to animal and human health.

Where alternatives to 1080 can be used they are. But in many areas, including those of dense bush, there is no viable alternative to it.


Rural round-up

January 4, 2014

MP: Tractor protest well worth it – Sue O’Dowd:

The retiring politician who once drove a tractor up the steps of Parliament would do it all again.

Taranaki-King Country MP Shane Ardern famously gunned the tractor called Myrtle up Parliament’s steps in a 2003 protest against the Labour Government’s proposed flatulence tax on ruminants. It was later described as the single most effective protest in scuttling what was deemed an idiotic proposal.

Today Ardern is still incensed the Government sacked eminent ruminant scientists conducting research into harnessing methane emission to improve production, even as it was proposing to tax those emissions.

“The scientists were working on something that would potentially overcome the problem, but the Labour Government sacked them because it wanted to introduce a tax on the productive sector that drives the economy of New Zealand.

“It was a lie and it still is a lie. [The proposed tax] was nothing to do with environmental problems. It was about getting extra revenue from the productive sector and it was about wealth redistribution. . .

Fonterra scare could have been prevented– Catherine Harris:

The botched Fonterra botulism scare in August last year might have been prevented if an independent food safety centre had existed, a top toxicologist says.

Professor Ian Shaw, of the University of Canterbury, is among those to welcome the idea of a $5 million food safety centre, which was recommended last month by a government inquiry into New Zealand’s food safety systems.

Shaw, who has chaired a food safety body in the UK, said the Government’s proposal was “a bloody good idea”.

If there had been a food safety centre in place when the Fonterra scare occurred, the test results might have been known more quickly and the false alarm possibly avoided, he said. . .

Sheep injures man:

A man has been airlifted to Palmerston North Hospital with serious chest injuries after being ‘‘rammed’’ by a sheep on a farm north of Hunterville.

Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter pilot Lance Burns said the man did not appear to have been trampled but had obviously been headbutted relatively hard by the sheep.

It was thought he was in a pen with the sheep at the time of the incident.

He stabilised by St John paramedics on board the rescue helicopter and arrived at Palmerston North Hospital in a serious condition. . .

DOC targets rats to help save struggling bats – Neil Ratley:

The Department of Conservation is going in to bat for a critically endangered mammal species in Fiordland.

A low count of long-tailed bats in the Kepler Mountains is prompting DOC to design and undertake rat control to protect the rare species.

The rat control will emulate that undertaken by DOC in the Eglington Valley, the only other known long-tailed bat habitat in Fiordland.

There was excitement surrounding the discovery of the long-tailed bat colony near the Kepler track in December 2011, with DOC staff estimating the population was close to 70. . .

The Myth About Seed Choice – Foodie Farmer:

I recently had a twitter conversation on a topic that seemed to perpetuate an urban myth – that farmers do not have a choice when it comes to planting seed or that seed companies “impose” their seeds on farmers, as if it is a dictatorship… Last time I checked, America was a pretty free country. Most people are able to make choices on what they buy at the store… So why would that be different for farmers?

As a family farm, we grow both GMO (we don’t actually use this term but for the sake of this blog, am using it for the reader for whom it may be a descriptor) and non-GMO crops and choose our seed produced from a variety of different seed companies, buying directly from our neighbors, which frankly, is the whole point of the fabric of rural America. We support one another. . .

Donkey meat contamination scare in China’s Walmart – Horsetalk:

Several Walmart outlets in China have withdrawn “five-spice donkey meat” after tests revealed the presence of fox meat.

The company is helping authorities in eastern Shandong province investigate the Chinese supplier.

Walmart confirmed it found traces of DNA from animals other than donkey after testing the product. The Shandong Food and Drug Administration had been reported as saying the product contained fox meat. . .


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