Rural round-up

April 11, 2015

Big jump in number of agriculture students:

Beef and Lamb New Zealand is welcoming an increase in enrolments in agricultural courses at Massey and Lincoln universities as a sign that more school leavers are considering careers in the primary sector.

Massey University has had its biggest intake into agricultural courses for at least 25 years, with almost 190 first year students enrolling in the compulsory Plants in Agriculture class.

Lincoln University’s Bachelor of Agricultural Science and Diploma in Agriculture programmes both attracted 20 percent more enrolments than last year, and enrolments have doubled for the new Bachelor of Agribusiness and Food Marketing and the Master of Science in Food Innovation programmes. . .

Motivated dairy couple aim high – Gerard Hutching:

Matt and Tracey Honeysett are hoping it will be third time lucky when the national sharemilker/equity farmer of the year category is decided later this year.

In 2009 the couple won the Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa farm manager of the year title, and this year the Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa sharemilker/equity farmers of the year, milking 1200 kiwi cross cows for the Pahautea Ltd Partnership. 

The farm is 420 effective hectares, with 266 ha support.

It is the fourth time they have entered the dairy awards. . .

Mastitis, antibiotics and milk – Milk Maid Marian:

Why do we use antibiotics on our farm? Very simply, because despite everything we do to look after their well being, cows, just like people, sometimes fall ill and need antibiotics to get better.

It’s very rare that any of our 260 milking cows become lame with an infection while digestive problems are almost unheard of here and, in any case, do not require antibiotics.

The number one illness we treat on our farm is mastitis. If you’ve breastfed a baby yourself, there’s a fair chance you’ve experienced mastitis. In both cows and women, the symptoms include swelling, warmth and redness for light cases. Nasty cases bring flu-like symptoms that, in cows, can progress to become extremely serious. . .

Rural women and olive oil – what a great mix! And it all came about over a cup of coffee:

Where to house the new community olive press was the big topic of conversation when Gendie Somerville-Ryan, President of Awana Rural Women on Great Barrier Island, met Carol and Trevor Rendle of Barrier Olive Growers Ltd for coffee. Awana Rural Women, a branch of Rural Women NZ, owns its own premises – a hall and a garage. The garage was undergoing a major upgrade and would make the perfect place for the olive press. All it took was a cup of coffee and a chat and the olive press had a new home.

“Awana Rural Women activities encourage community cooperation and development and what better way to demonstrate this than to help promote economic growth through horticulture,” said Mrs Somerville-Ryan. “Our facilities are centrally located, of a high standard and well-known around Great Barrier Island. Housing the olive press is very much in line with our philosophy of helping the community to help itself through education, personal development and building community capacity. It’s a win-win for everyone.” . . .

 

Fodder beet poised to revolutionise beef production:

The beef industry is poised for a revolution driven by explosive growth in the adoption of fodder beet by Kiwi farmers to finish cattle faster and cheaper than it has ever been possible before.

That was the simple message Dr Jim Gibbs, a senior lecturer in animal science at Lincoln University, gave farmers at a fodder beet field day in Middlemarch.

“The beef industry in New Zealand ought to be one of this country’s premier primary industries, but it’s not,” he told NZ Farmer later. “For 15 years it has just been treading water or probably going slightly backwards.” . . .

Kiwifruit orchard top returns, again :

For the second time in two seasons, Owen St George’s kiwifruit orchard has posted a top orchard gate return (OGR) for its green variety with post-harvest company DMS.

This year, despite producing less fruit than the previous season, the Te Puna orchard saw an increased OGR of $99,000 based on 11,760 trays per hectare, thanks to an outstanding $3.37 per tray Kiwistart payout. Last year’s 15,109 trays per hectare produced an OGR of $90,000, after having been stored throughout the season.

Owen says the two top consecutive results – albeit on opposite sides of the scale – are all about income consistency. . .

Hokonui rural radio hits South Taranaki airwaves – Sue O’Dowd:

South and Central Taranaki radio listeners can now tune in to a dedicated rural radio station.

They’ve been able to listen to Hokonui Radio on 88.2FM or 1557AM since Tuesday.

Announcer Bryan Vickery has moved from Coast to host the new Hokonui breakfast show from 6am to 9am weekdays.

“It’s a privilege to be the first presenter to front the Hokonui breakfast show,” Vickery said. “I’m excited because its local radio at its very best.” . . .


Rural round-up

August 28, 2014

Fonterra to offer at least 20% premium for Beingmate shares in deal to drive Anmum sales – Jonathan Underhill:

 (BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group will offer a premium of at least 20 percent for a one-fifth stake in Beingmate Baby & Child Food as part of a $615 million investment in a partnership to drive baby food sales into China.

Fonterra will offer 18 yuan a share for Beingmate stock in a partial tender offer that will be supported by chairman Wang Zhentai, who will sell down his stake to about 33 percent in the transaction.

Based on Reuters data, Beingmate has 1.02 billion shares on issue, suggesting the offer values the Chinese company at 18,360 billion yuan and Fonterra would pay 3.67 billion yuan, or NZ$714 million to build a 20 percent stake. The shares last traded at 14.36 yuan before being halted from trading, according to Reuters data. . . .

New Zealand And International Investment Welcomed by Farmers:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown said today’s announced investments in New Zealand’s milk pools and a global partnership with China’s Beingmate were bold moves that would be welcomed by the Co-operative’s Farmers.

Mr Brown: “There is a direct link between the $555 million investment in the Lichfield and Edendale sites and the $615 million investment in the partnership with Beingmate in that both align with the Fonterra strategy of increasing the volume and value of our milk.

“The investment in New Zealand operations is a real positive and will optimise the Milk Price we receive by enabling our Co-op greater flexibility in deciding which products our milk goes into and when. . . .

 Fonterra news ‘as far from milk & disaster as the moon’:

Farmers will be breathing a huge sigh of relief with Fonterra’s benchmark forecast payout for 2014/15 being held at $6 per kilogram of Milk Solids (kg/MS), while other aspects of the announcement are a great boost of confidence in New Zealand agribusiness.

“This is as far from milk and disaster as the moon is,” says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“While this season remains a super trim one last season was definitely a silver top one.

“The milk price hold is good news given there’s been widespread speculation about it sliding below the $6 mark, however, we’re not out of the woods yet. We still advise farmers to err on the side of caution by budgeting in the mid-$5 payout range. . .

Major boost for Otago conservation projects:

Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner today announced $475,000 in funding for four Otago conservation projects.

Community Conservation Partnership Fund grants will be made to the Orokonui Ecosanctuary, Landscape Connections Trust, Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group, and Herbert Heritage Group.

“The projects these groups are advancing align perfectly with the Department of Conservation’s goals of connecting more urban dwellers to conservation and working in partnership with others.

“The Orokonui Ecosanctuary is recognised as the flagship biodiversity project in the South Island and is achieving its aim of restoring the coastal ecosystem to pre-human state. . .

The long arm of health and safety gets longer – Andrew McGiven:

We’ve all heard about the Marlborough farmworker copping $15,000 worth of fines related to a quad bike.  Helmet use is in the Department of Labour’s (now Worksafe NZ) ‘Guidelines for the safe use of quad bikes.’  . 

While there’s been plenty of discussion about the fine what has slipped under the radar are other recommendations in the guide.  One is recognising dangerous areas on-farm and establishing ‘no-go’ zones in your health and safety plans. 

Another case, highlighted for us by Neil Beadle, a Partner at Federated Farmers’ legal advisors DLA Phillips Fox, rams home the bite of these recommended ‘no-go’ zones.  It involved a Mangakino sharemilker with an otherwise good record who tragically lost a farm worker when their quad bike flipped.  . . .

Beet crop ‘revolution for beef farmers’:

The growth in the use of fodder beet as a forage crop in the beef industry has been so rapid, that seed supplies for the coming growing season are expected to run out.

That is the prediction from Dr Jim Gibbs, a senior lecturer in livestock health and production at Lincoln University, who has done years of research on feeding cattle on what has become a revolutionary crop in this country.

Fodder beet is a bulb crop related to beetroot but can grow to huge sizes.

Dr Gibbs’ work was initially for the dairy industry, but the demand for fodder beet really exploded when he introduced it to the beef industry, and he says it has become the fastest growing forage crop by a long shot. . . .


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