Rural round-up

09/10/2020

Tractors take to Gore streets as farmers protest freshwater rules – Rachael Kelly:

Southland farmers have made their feelings about the Government’s new freshwater rules known by clogging Gore’s main street with tractors.

More than 100 machines and some bulk sowers were driven through the town in protest of new rules for farmers, which the Government introduced in September with the aim of improving freshwater quality.

And as the big machines convoyed down the street, many shoppers stopped to watch, and other drivers tooted their horns in support.

It was the first major protest after Southland Federated Farmers president Geoffrey Young called on farmers to boycott the new rules in August. . . 

 

 

 

Balance needed between regulation and innovation – Warwick Catto:

 In recent years, New Zealand’s farmers have found themselves subject to increasingly strict rules and regulations.

These are mainly in terms of how they operate, enforced as a key part of our nation’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contamination in our waterways. 

A quick review of the environmental policies announced so far by some of our key political parties, ahead of the election on October 17, suggests that further, harsher restrictions are likely. 

There’s no doubt that our agricultural sector has a vitally important part to play in New Zealand’s response to these key environmental challenges, and overwhelmingly, farmers are more than willing to adapt to meet the standards required of them.  . . 

Spotlight on vet shortage :

While the primary sector has been hailed as a saviour of the New Zealand economy during covid restrictions, a critical shortage of veterinarians and its impact on the primary sector just doesn’t seem to be viewed as important or sexy enough to see border restrictions streamlined.

“We’re led to the conclusion that veterinarians are just not viewed as important, or as sexy as other parts of the economy such as film making, which have seen wholesale exemptions created,” New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) chief executive Kevin Bryant says.

“This is surprising given veterinarians’ essential worker status during lockdown.

“We also understand that exemptions have been granted to build golf courses, build or repair racetracks and for shearers. Surely, veterinarians are at least as important in supporting the economic functioning of the country. . . 

Headwaters sheep ‘definitely superior‘ –

‘‘Being part of The Omega Lamb Project really gives you the best of both worlds,’’ North Otago farmer Ben Douglas says.

Mr Douglas and wife Sarah, and his parents, David and Cindy, farm 6000ha Dome Hills Station, near Danseys Pass.

‘‘My father tried various breeds in the past but we’ve found the Headwaters sheep is definitely superior for our type of farming. We’re very happy with their resilience and their performance. Then you have a whole other side, with the special qualities of the Omega lambs, the omega 3, the good intramuscular fats and the exceptional flavour and texture,’’ he said.

The 100% Headwaters flock was already established at Dome Hills when Mr Douglas returned to the station six years ago, following his university studies and then a banking career in New Zealand and London. . . 

It’s all kosher – Taggart –  David Anderson:

Farmer-owned cooperative Alliance Group says it has already returned $17 million of the $34.3 million it claimed from the Covid-19 wage subsidy.

In a statement to Rural News, Alliance chairman Murray Taggart said the co-op had been “open and upfront” about the wage subsidy.

“We have been in ongoing discussions with the Ministry of Social Development about the application of the subsidy and stated from the outset that we would return any funds not used to pay people. In line with that commitment, we have returned $17 million of the subsidy.”

Taggart said the company’s application for the wage subsidy was supported and endorsed by the New Zealand Meat Workers Union. . .

Soil carbon influences climate, farm productivity– Professor Louis Schipper:

In the first of three articles about soil carbon, Prof Louis Schipper from the University of Waikato explains why soil carbon matters to farmers, what influences it and what we currently know about carbon stocks in New Zealand’s pastoral soils.

Soil carbon is one of the most talked-about subjects in agriculture. 

That’s not surprising because carbon-rich soils support vigorous crop and pasture growth, and may be more resilient to stressors such as drought.

Changes in soil carbon stocks over time might also affect the climate.  . . 

Sheep farmers ask industries to make wool ‘first choice’:

Sheep producers are encouraging industries to make wool their choice of fibre as a campaign gets underway to highlight its natural qualities.

The sheep sector is celebrating the start of Wool Week (5 October – 18) today, and farmers are calling on politicians and green activists to back British wool.

The annual event aims to put a spotlight on wool’s natural performance qualities and ecological benefits.

The sector is keen to highlight the fact that fabrics such as polyester, nylon and acrylic are all forms of plastic and make up about 60% of the material that makes up clothes worldwide. . . 


Dome Hills deserves your vote

25/09/2010

Dome Hills is nestled into the foothills at the western end of the Kakanui Mountains which border North and Central Otago.

It’s a high country station running sheep and cattle and it also offers high quality accommodation in its lodge.

Cindy Douglas and her husband David, who is the third generation of his family to farm Dome Hills, offer guests a unique high country experience with magnificent scenery, fresh air and the opportunity to explore the rivers and hills on foot, mountain bike or horseback, and be part of a working station.

The stunning scenery is surpassed only by the warmth of the hospitality and Dome Hills is a worthy nominee for the Corporate Events Guide People’s Choice Award which honour New Zealand companies that excel in their field.

You can vote for it here.

You can also read more about Dome Hills in New Zealand House and Garden and the NZ Herald.


Dome Hills story wins travel writers’ award

02/04/2009

Joanna Hunkin won the Heritage Hotels Award for the best travel article written about New Zealand in the annual Cathay Pacific Travel Media Awards for her story Playing Cowgirl which was published in the NZ Herald.

The story was about Dome Hills, a North Otago high country station which offers lodge accommodation and the opportunity to enjoy the hill country.

The full list of awards is on the Travcom website.


Playing cowgirl at Dome Hills

04/12/2008

We were among the people invited to listen to then Otago (now Waitaki) MP Jacqui Dean declare the lodge at Dome Hills  open on a perfect autumn day.

Since then visitors from thoughout New Zealand and overseas have enjoyed a taste of life on the high country station in the hills between North and Central Otago.

Among them was NZ Herald writer Joanna Hunkin who wrote about her experience playing cow girl  on the winter muster.


Call this summer?

27/09/2008

If you’ve been following my posts over the past week you may have noticed that I’m just a wee bit grumpy about the clocks going forward this early.

In support of that I offer the following evidence:

1) Dunedin’s forecast for the next few days:

Day Conditions Min Max
Today
Showers
Showers
7 16
Sunday
Partly cloudy
Partly cloudy
8 14
Monday
Fine
Fine
7 15
Tuesday
Showers
Showers
6 13

2) Snow in Queenstown

3) I’ve just been talking to a friend at  Dome Hills who tells me it’s snowing there too.

4) Dutchie left a comment on a previous post to say he’d got stuck in snow while campaigning today.

It might be summer in the North Island but it’s not even late spring down here.


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