Rural round-up

July 22, 2018

Fonterra faces crisis of confidence – Sudesh Kissun:

Former Fonterra director Leonie Guiney says the co-op is facing a crisis of confidence.

She says the dairy co-op’s balance sheet is no longer in a position to handle more of the investment culture, while its leadership continues to deny there are any issues with strategic direction.

Guiney, a director for three years, says because the current leadership is overseeing the recruitment of a new chief executive, farmers face more of the same from the co-op. . .

Concerns over Mycoplasma bovis leave farmer confidence in the balance:

Concerns about the impact of Mycoplasma bovis disease on the country’s agricultural sector have seen New Zealand farmer confidence decline over the past quarter, the latest Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey has shown.

While farmer confidence remains at net positive levels, the overall reading dropped to +two per cent in the latest quarter, from +15 per cent in the previous survey.

The latest survey – completed last month – found the number of farmers expecting the rural economy to improve in the next 12 months had fallen slightly to 26 per cent (from 27 per cent last quarter), while the number expecting the rural economy to worsen rose to 24 per cent (from 12 per cent). A total of 46 per cent were expecting similar conditions (down from 59 per cent). . .

Hastings’ company First Light Gains gold at World Steak Challenge – Doug Laing:

Innovative Hastings meat company First Light has suddenly become the little mouse that roared by claiming two major steak awards in less than a month, including a rare win for New Zealand beef overseas.

Its grass-fed Wagyu rib-eye, from a Taranaki farm and processed for the company in Hamilton, won a gold medal at the World Steak Challenge which ended in London on July 4, just three weeks after the company won New Zealand’s Best of Brand title, one of the two major titles in the Steak of Origin at the National Agricultural Fieldays on June 13. . .

Eight ways to improve native vegetation on private land:

Researchers have come up with eight recommendations on how New Zealanders can help increase the benefits they reap from large-scale native restorations located on private land.

To substantially increase the scale of native restoration, several issues need to be built into restoration planning, implementation and monitoring, according to a paper co-authored by Challenge Project LeaderProfessor David Norton of the University of Canterbury

The study focuses on areas that have been used for pastoral farming – which comprise 40% of Aotearoa’s land area – because these are the areas that will get the most conservation benefit from substantially upscaling restoration activities. Upscaling means dramatically increasing the land area of restoration activities to tens or hundreds of thousands of hectares. . .

Beetles find an answer to nitrogen – Peter Burke:

While scientists and farm consultants in laboratories try to solve the problem of nitrogen loss on farms, a large force of creatures works underground 24/7 on the issue.

Peter Burke reports on the work of the dung beetle and a man passionate about their progress.

Dr Shaun Forgie, an entomologist who has studied dung beetles in various countries, is one of a small group of international experts. . .

World famous in New Zealand: saleyard tour Fielding – Pamela Wade:

Twice a week, Manawatu Manawatū farmers pour into the middle of the pretty town of Feilding to empty or fill their trailers and stock trucks with the sheep and cattle that are sold at its busy and long-established livestock market.

They reckon it’s the oldest in the country, running since 1880; and that it’s one of the biggest in the southern hemisphere.

Certainly, dogs and people funnel thousands of sheep and hundreds of cattle through the saleyards each week, and the air is full of baaing and mooing – as well as that other distinctive indication that you’re in the presence of large numbers of farm animals. . .

Cultivar performance under the FVI spotlight:

DairyNZ’s Forage Value Index (FVI) helps farmers choose the best-performing grasses for their region using its simple five-star rating system. Trials have now started to test the FVI systems under realistic dairy farm management conditions, as DairyNZ senior scientist Cáthal Wims explains.

The DairyNZ FVI is an independent, regionspecific, profit-based index for short-term and perennial ryegrass cultivars, which allows farmers to select cultivars based on the expected economic value to their business. It categorises cultivars into five ‘star rating’ groups in each dairy region – those with a higher star rating are expected to deliver greater economic value for dairy farmers. . .


Rural round-up

April 6, 2018

Vet companies importing illegal drugs likely source of Mycoplasma – Gerard Hutching:

Officials on the hunt for the source of the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis have narrowed their search to two properties in the upper North Island and one in Southland, sources say.

Two sources with a close knowledge of the situation said the North Island raids carried out in late March by Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) officials were related to veterinary businesses importing illegal drugs.

The Southland search involved a farm.

One of the sources said some veterinary pharmaceutical companies sold cheaper drugs not commonly used in New Zealand. . . 

Devastating disease has huge impact on those farmers affected – Joyce Wyllie:

 “It’s just a hill…get over it !” Golden Bay locals often repeat that slogan to visitors who find the long winding trip over the Takaka hill challenging and occasionally nausea inducing.

Getting over that hill has been more of a trial since cyclone Gita’s devastation and on-going closures during required major repairs. Much to relief of travellers, especially freight firms, the road crew are making great progress. We still have queues and convoys to make the trip but now one-lane flow is safe for all vehicles including truck and trailer units. Traffic controllers report 1000 to 1200 vehicles passing through daily which is a surprising number considering only 4000 of us live in Golden Bay.

Last week I left home before daybreak and already a stream of traffic was driving south through Takaka. Looking up from the bottom of the hill I could see dozens of headlights zig-zagging upwards through the blackness. It gives a sense of being on the move together and I wondered at the purpose of all these other travellers. Having to head over at restricted times does mean more organisation, earlier mornings and no chance to pop over and back for an appointment.

But any feelings of being hard done by hold ups and disgruntled about delays and disruptions to my routine and life were put in perspective when I listened to news on the radio. . . 

Woolhandler determined to succeed – Sally Rae:

Pagan Karauria believes it is mental training that has helped her perform so well on the competitive woolhandling circuit this season.

Karauria (29) won the open woolhandling title at the Royal Easter Show in Auckland at the weekend, beating world champion Joel Henare who helped mentor her to the win.

The Alexandra shearer reached more finals than ever before this season, bouncing back from the disappointment of narrowly missing out on a place in the New Zealand team for last year’s world championships in Invercargill.

Karauria was born into shearing royalty; her father Dion Morrell is a master shearer and world record-holder, while her mother Tina Rimene is a former world champion wool-handler.

She attributed her success this season to the mental training, mainly with her father and also some work she had done with Henare. . .

Husband and wife battle for top woolhandling honour – Doug Laing:

The opening day of the New Zealand Shearing and Woolhandling championships in Te Kuiti tomorrow could see a unique piece of matrimonial property decided by a couple whose family exemplify the adage “the family that plays together stays together.”

Ricci and Angela Stevens, of Napier, are currently tied for first place in Shearing Sports New Zealand’s 2017-2018 Senior woolhandling rankings going into the last event, the New Zealand Senior Woolhandling Championship, the final of which will be held late tomorrow afternoon.

Only Dannevirke woolhandler Ash Boyce can deny them the season’s honour, and then only if he reaches the championships final, and they don’t. . . 

Statistics eye-opener during push to connect rural Tararua – Christine McKay:

With 1311km of rural Tararua mapped for Connect Tararua, the results have been a real eye-opener, district councillor Alison Franklin says.

“Of the rural area mapped, 75.5 per cent has no cellphone coverage and 6.1 per cent can access four bars of reception,” she said.

Tararua District Mayor Tracey Collis said the statistics were incredibly powerful, even if some weren’t good to hear.

“Those statistics don’t include Tararua’s three biggest towns, but do include Norsewood.” . . 

Synlait to double lactoferrin capacity following new supply agreement:

Synlait Milk  has secured a multiyear lactoferrin supply agreement[1] that will underwrite an investment of approximately $18 million to double lactoferrin manufacturing capacity at Synlait Dunsandel.

“Lactoferrin is a high value, specialty ingredient used in a range of nutritional food products around the world. This agreement is a major step forward for our growing lactoferrin business and delivers to our strategic commitments,” says John Penno, Managing Director and CEO.

Lactoferrin is an iron-binding protein recognised for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. As a naturally occurring milk protein, it is commonly used in infant formula products throughout the world. . . 


Rural round-up

April 9, 2015

Fagan’s last championships:

New Zealand’s most enduringly successful shearer, David Fagan, begins his final competition today before retirement.

The New Zealand shearing and wool handling championships at Te Kuiti in the King Country will be the last for the 53-year old veteran before he retires from the circuit.

He has had a busy final season, racking up 12 open wins from 25 finals.

Doug Laing from Shearing Sports New Zealand said Fagan had the chance of several more titles before the week’s end. . .

Thriving in the best of both worlds:

Taking the good with the bad, being a sounding board for farmers is what Fonterra Shareholders’ Councillor Sandra Cordell thrives on.

Although there are often gripes and grumbles, there are plenty of positives to the job and Cordell says talking to farmers is invigorating.

“I respect and admire farmers’ passion and enthusiasm for their industry,” she says.

“Farming is about making the best of opportunities on the farm and how a farmer makes use of these.  Since being in this role, I have been blown away by farmers’ awareness of sustainability.” . .

Dog trails light up Taranaki – Sue O’Dowd:

Taranaki farming personality Bryan Hocken is claiming a world first when the Tarata community stages sheep dog trials under lights on Saturday evening.

The Tarata Sheep Dog Trial Club  is hosting a straight hunt under lights after its annual sheep dog trials on Friday and Saturday. About 30 huntaways are expected to compete in the trial, with the winner set to take home $1000.

“We’re just testing the interest,” said Hocken, who’s president of the Tarata club, established more than 100 years ago in 1908. “We don’t know if it’s going to take off. You can enter on the day.” . . .

Tussock Creek sharemilkers win Southland Otago award:

Tussock Creek couple Jono and Kelly Bavin have won the 2015 Southland Otago Sharemilker Equity Farmer of the Year title.

The other major winners at the Southland Otago Dairy Industry Awards, held recently in Gore, were farm managers of the year Nick Templer and Anieka Venekamp, and dairy trainee of the year Jeremy Anderson. . .

Trooper seeded Gallipoli memorial – Sally Rae:

High on a hill overlooking North Otago farmland is a very special pine tree. Reporter Sally Rae explains why.

Greg and Julie McEwan always knew their beacon-like landmark was special but didn’t know exactly what made it so precious.

That was until a chance meeting in Oamaru, between Mrs McEwan, from Corriedale, and Ikawai farmer Ron Mansfield, who recounted the remarkable story of his Uncle Joe.

For the tree is much more than a landmark; it serves as a monument to World War 1 and to a soldier who safely returned home. . .

Minister opens NZ primary sector Shanghai office:

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has officially opened the Shanghai office of Primary Collaboration New Zealand (PCNZ) – a coalition of New Zealand food and beverage companies pooling their expertise in China.

Mr Joyce, who is currently visiting Shanghai to foster business ties between New Zealand and China, says the new premises will provide a boost to the export ambitions of a number of New Zealand’s major primary sector brands.

“PCNZ is a trailblazing collaboration between New Zealand companies who are showing how innovative models can overcome size and scale challenges in large markets such as a China. . . .

Macraes mine may receive reprieve:

The Waitaki mayor is welcoming news OceanaGold may keep its Macraes mine in north Otago open for another ten years, and start mining tungsten deposits.

The company was planning to shut the mine down in 2017 because of the slump in international gold prices.

The company has declined to be interviewed but a spokesperson says low oil prices and the falling New Zealand dollar against the US currency, now makes the mine more viable, along with its recent exploration success both at surface and underground. . .

Otago bunnies breeding like rabbits:

The Otago Regional Council says the number of rabbits in the region is increasing.

8400 rabbits were killed during the annual Easter bunny hunt at the weekend, 500 more than the year before.

The council’s director of environmental monitoring, Jeff Donaldson, said the summer produced a bumper crop of bunnies.

“With the recent drought we’ve had in Otago there has certainly been an increase in numbers over most properties. Rabbits prefer the drier conditions. . .


Rural round-up

January 6, 2015

Pink is in vogue as the ‘girls’ forge ahead with family farm – Sally Rae:

An inspirational North Otago mother-and-daughter duo who run a busy pig-farming operation are proof that women can do anything.   Sally Rae reports. 

“Pink definitely belongs on the farm,” Sam Fox reckons.

Sam (24) can be found most days in hot-pink overalls, working alongside her mother, Debbie, at their North Otago piggery.

”She says that’s the boss’ colour,” her mother says, while Sam quips she needs a badge to identify that she is ”chief executive” of Rayburn Farm Ltd.

The pair’s obviously strong relationship goes deeper than the usual mother-daughter bond because they are also business partners, together running an intensive farming operation. . .

Century of family’s effort celebrated with fine fruit –  Leith Huffadine:

The Webb family recently celebrated 100 years of horticulture on the same property, a part of an iconic Central Otago industry which evokes memories of hot summer days and ripe fruit. Leith Huffadine discussed family history, technology changes, and growing fruit with fourth-generation orchardist Simon Webb.

From father to son for four generations, the Webb family has been supplying people with fruit from their orchard, located just outside Cromwell, which has been in the family since 1914.

Established by John Robert Webb, in early summer that year, about 8ha of the 32ha section he purchased was planted in fruit trees.

Going by the numbers, Stonehurst Orchard is now just over 100 years old and has about 25ha planted in trees which produce about 550 or 600 tonnes of fruit a year. . .

Journalist writing new life on the farm Hamish McLean:

Gumboots are more part of Nigel Stirling’s wardrobe than suits these days but the former journalist has not gone “cold turkey” on his news
background, despite the demands of farming life. He tells Hamish McLean about his return to the family farm in South Otago.

One would forgive former colleagues for doing a double take, but Nigel Stirling has no trouble recalling how he was introduced to audiences in his four years at Radio New Zealand.

”They’d read out an intro that I’d written and then they’d say, `Economics correspondent Nigel Stirling has been covering the story – and he joins us now.’ ”And I’d say, ‘Good morning, Jeff’ or `Good morning, Sean’ or I’d just launch straight into it.

”They’d finish it by saying, `Thanks, Nigel.

”That was our economics correspondent Nigel Stirling.” . . .

More than just a cottage industry – Sally Rae,

An enterprising Central Otago farming family has diversified to successfully add tourism to its busy business operation, as Sally Rae reports.

Life is just busy enough at Penvose Farms.

Ask Stu and Lorraine Duncan how they balance a wide-ranging farming operation in the Maniototo with a successful tourism venture, family life and even civic duties, and the answer comes quick.

”Bloody hard at times,” says Mrs Duncan, a calm and capable woman who appears the perfect foil for her dry-witted and ever-thinking husband.

Stu Duncan is a fourth-generation farmer on the block at Wedderburn that was taken up by his forebears in 1894.

Additional land has since been bought and the enterprise now encompasses 2000ha, running sheep, deer and beef cattle, including an Angus stud. . .

Lack of sheep shearers threatens future events:

Falling sheep numbers are threatening the future of rural New Zealand shearing competitions due to a shortage of local shearers. 

The sheep population is at its lowest since World War II which has led to a lack of shearers. 

According to Statistics New Zealand the number of sheep declined by 1.2 million between 2013 and 2014 and now sits at 29.6 million.

Doug Laing of Shearing Sport New Zealand said the reduced flock is threatening the future of the events, which have dropped from around 100 nationally to 60 events a year.

Laing said the problem was a lack of shearers. “It’s a question of how long we can keep running these shows.” . . .

Planning for FMD outbreak – Simone Norrie:

THE Department of Primary Industries (DPI) estimates an outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Australia could cost the economy up to $52 billion over a decade.

Exercise Odysseus brought together representatives from key industry bodies and government agencies to step out the action that could be taken if an outbreak occurred.

DPI hosted one of 40 simulation exercises across Australia at Wagga Wagga in December, with discussions centred on the ripple effect of an umbrella 72-hour livestock standstill if an outbreak did occur.

Independent consultant Ron Glanville, Biosecurity Advisory Service, Melbourne, Victoria, had run 10 exercises across Australia, and said the workshops discussed existing plans and highlighted the gaps. . . .

Artistic take on Molong’s scrap – Rebecca Sharpe:

FOR motorists heading through Molong along the Mitchell Highway, Caldwell Molong may only look like a scrap metal business.

But looking closer, gems of fine art sculptures are hidden.

A dinosaur proudly stands above the scrap while sunflowers poke their bright yellow heads into the sky.

Panel beater Mark Oates and mechanic Ben Caldwell are an unlikely artistic duo but they are the masterminds behind the beautiful recycled sculptures. . .

 


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