Rural round-up

May 4, 2016

Frustrating waste of time and money, but it’s the price of democracy – Allan Barber:

The media release from Silver Fern Farms about the requisition for a special meeting to consider the resolution to form a partnership with Shanghai Maling reeks of the company’s frustration at what it sees as a complete waste of time. However, regardless of that frustration, the company has agreed to the requisition and will set a date for the meeting.

A group of 80 shareholders, led by John Shrimpton and Blair Gallagher, has passed the required 5% threshold to requisition the board to hold a special meeting in compliance with the Companies Act. Shrimpton cancelled a meeting with the board which he had arranged for 2nd May and which the board was keen to hold, so its members could learn and understand the purpose and legal justification of the requisition.

Not surprisingly the board sets out a list of very cogent reasons why it considers the requisition a waste of management time and resources, notably 67% of shareholders have already voted with 85% in favour of the deal, SFF would be in breach of contract if it pulled out and there would be no legal obligation on the company as a result of the special meeting. . . 

Females rule in the stud cattle world – Kate Taylor:

With a twinkle in his eye aimed at wife and daughter-in-law sitting at the table with him, David Thomson says “women rule the world” in his business… the cattle business.

“If I was buying a bull, I tried to make sure it had a good dam line behind it,” he says.

“On this rolling to steep limestone country, calves pick up a lot from their mothers, such as temperament and ability to walk. Chances are, if you have a toey cow she’ll have a toey calf and will be culled.” . . 

Rural Health issues brought to the Beehive:

Rural health issues will be brought to the Beehive this week during the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand’s’ (RHANZ) ‘RuralFest’ conference.

RHANZ, which is made up of 42 membership organisations, are gathering in Wellington for the inaugural RuralFest – to discuss and determine the top health and well-being issues facing rural communities.

Rural GP Dr Jo Scott-Jones says RuralFest is a flagship event for RHANZ, who represent a united voice from across multiple rural sector organisations. . . 

Pee could be the key to pest control -Conan Young

A Christchurch researcher may have found a way to dramatically increase the effectiveness of possum traps.

Poison remains the most effective means of controlling possums, but trapping is preferred near towns and cities. Photo: 123RF

At present the success rate for possum traps can be as low as 30 percent, but a new lure which replaces icing sugar with possum urine has increased the kill rate by as much as 25 percent.

Lure creator and Landcare Research scientist Janine Duckworth said possums spent more time at the traps set with urine and were more likely to trigger the trap. . . 

Farmers and cyclists – the dark side of social media – Marc Gasgoigne :

I’m a dairy farmer and I’m also a cyclist. Sometimes I wonder if I’m one of the most hated people in New Zealand.

Whenever dairy farming features in the news there are plenty of knockers queuing up to put the boot in, apparently we are the cause of many of the world’s problems, from global warming to polluting the rivers to abusing baby cows.

But now cyclists are featuring in the knocking machine. First there was the publican in Rangiora who banned cyclists wearing lycra from entering his premises, saying it was offensive to his patrons.

Then there was a Facebook post abusing cyclists, ironically on the NZ Farming page (NZ Farmer has no connection with NZ Farming).  . . 

Farm takeover! Planting GMO corn – Uptown Farms:

Two weeks ago, April 23, was the day I had been waiting for since I successfully coerced my farmer husband into letting me take over sixty acres! 

To read about #my60Acres from the start, go here and scroll down to the bottom!
 
It was finally planting day!   Picking the right time to plant involves a little bit of planning, some major guessing and hopefully some good luck!
 
Long before planting however I worked with Matt to figure out exactly what type of corn seed we would use. . . 


Rural round-up

October 8, 2015

Key sectors welcome TPP – Colin Bettles:

SUGAR may have been served a bitter-sweet outcome in the final Trans-Pacific Partnership but other key Australian commodities like beef, grains, dairy and cotton have tasted some success.

The Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) said the TPP deal – signed overnight by Federal Trade Minister Andrew Robb – would provide significant increased market opportunities for Australian grassfed beef producers, when it comes into force.

Game changer for beef

CCA president Howard Smith said the agreement signifies a game changing opportunity for the Australian beef industry which sees a positive future fort itself, in export markets. . . 

Rolleston wants GM use debate – Richard Rennie:

Councils’ efforts to ban genetically modified crops have Federated Farmers banging up against public opinion in some rural districts.

But federation president Dr William Rolleston argues the move to ban GM crops threatens farmers’ ability to innovate and is a choice they might lose through misinformation and misunderstandings about what the science is really about.

The federation’s case against council bans on GM use got a severe bruising when they lost on appeal to the Environment Court earlier this year. . . 

Milk price expected to hit $3000/t this year – Jemma Brackebush:

Banks and analysts are predicting international dairy prices will continue to rise, and a lift in Fonterra’s forecast payout looks likely.

Prices in the global dairy trade auction rose for the fourth consecutive time on Tuesday night.

The price for the key commodity, whole milk powder, which underpins the price Fonterra pays its farmers, increased by 12.9 percent to $US2,824 a tonne. . . 

Record jail sentence for animal abuser Michael Whitelock:

A dairy worker has been handed what is believed to be New Zealand’s longest-ever prison sentence for animal cruelty, after cows were beaten, had their tails broken and were shot in the kneecaps on a farm he managed.

Michael James Whitelock was sentenced in the Greymouth District Court on Wednesday to four and a half years jail and banned from owning animals for 10 years.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to 12 charges, including ill treatment of animals, unlawful possession of firearms and attempting to pervert the course of justice. . . 

Farmer suicides up – Jemma Brackebush:

Figures from the Ministry of Justice show 27 men in farming communities committed suicide in the past year ended June.

The chief coroner Deborah Marshall released annual provisional suicide statistics on Tuesday, which showed 564 people died by suicide in the past year, up 35 on the previous year and the highest number since records began eight years ago.

Male suicides rose from 385 last year to 428, and female suicides dropped from 144 to 136. . . 

Banks fork out a total $25.5M over rural interest rate swaps – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – The Commerce Commission has completed the distribution of $25.5 million to complainants and rural charities after reaching settlements with banks who had marketed interest rate swap products to farmers.

The commission says nearly $20 million in cash has been paid to eligible customers while $1.9 million was offset by the banks against debts some complainants owed to them. A further $2.5 million went to 14 regional Rural Support Trusts and the Dairy Women’s Network and the commission received $1 million to cover a portion of its investigation costs, including legal expenses. The bulk of the money came from the ANZ Bank New Zealand, which paid out $19.3 million in total, $3.2 million from ASB Bank and $3 million from Westpac Banking Corp. . . .

All Geared Up For The Glammies:

Entries are now open for the 2016 Golden Lamb Awards, aka the Glammies, which seeks out the tastiest and tender lamb in New Zealand.

The competition gives farmers the opportunity to enter their lamb into one of the most highly regarded competitions the industry has to offer.

The entries are then assessed by Carne Technologies in Cambridge for tenderness, yield, succulence and colour.

The scientific testing determines which top four entries from five categories will make it through to the final stage of the competition, a taste test, held at the Upper Clutha A&P show in Wanaka on 11 March 2016. . . 

New Zealand Bloodstock to Sponsor New Race in China:

New Zealand Bloodstock and the Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry Co. Ltd have partnered together to introduce the New Zealand Bloodstock Cup to be held in Inner Mongolia, China next year.

2015 RTR
The race is open to horses purchased by any Chinese buyer at this year’s New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale in November. To be held in July 2016 at Korchin, Inner Mongolia, the New Zealand Bloodstock Cup is worth RMB500,000 and will be run over 1800m.

NZB’s Co-Managing Director Andrew Seabrook is excited about the formal partnership reached between NZB and Rider Horse Group. . . 

Serious savings from whole-farm soil testing:

Whole-farm soil testing saves Taranaki farmer Hayden Lawrence about $15,000 on fertiliser each year.

Hayden, who farms in equity partnership with his wife Alecia and parents in Taranaki, began whole-farm soil testing seven years ago. To date, he has reaped about $90,000 in savings and has increased pasture production from 14.5 tonnes per hectare to 18.6T/ha on the 97ha property.

The Lawrences milk a maximum of 240 cows on an 85ha milking platform, using their hill country block to graze heifers. They also follow an 18-month cropping rotation, that sees paddocks planted into silage, oats, chicory and then into pasture. . . .

RHĀNZ welcomes Government’s new rural connectivity target:

The Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand welcomes the new rural connectivity target announced by the Government today.

The target means nearly all rural New Zealanders will be able to access broadband speeds of at least 50Mbps by 2025.

RHĀNZ Chairperson, Dr Jo Scott-Jones, says securing reliable and affordable telecommunications services is critical to the health and wellbeing of rural communities and is a top priority for all 40 RHĀNZ members.

“As part of our RBI phase 2 submission to Government earlier this year, we called for more ambitious targets for rural broadband speeds, so it is really pleasing to hear Minister Adams’s announcement today,” he says. . . 

Anglers urged to vote ‘in best interests of our fishing and hunting resources’:

The country’s anglers and game bird hunters are being reminded to make sure they vote in the Fish and Game Council elections.

Fish & Game Communications Manager Don Rood says that because voting closes at 5pm on Friday (9 October), those who are eligible and haven’t voted are advised to do so online, rather put voting papers in the post.

“We urge licenceholders to take the time to vote – to exercise their right to choose the people who can best advance their local region’s hunting and fishing interests. . . 

Free entry for 2016 Games:

The second annual Hilux New Zealand Rural Games takes place in Queenstown next Waitangi weekend (Sat 6th – Sun 7th Feb) and entry won’t cost you a cent.

Two days of ‘sports that built the nation’ and live entertainment on the Recreation Ground plus the Running of the Wools – more than 400 merino sheep herding through downtown Queenstown – will be completely free to watch.

We’ve been able to waive ticket prices thanks to the generous support of our patrons and event partners including major sponsors Toyota, Fonterra, Line 7, Ngai Tahu Farming, Jetstar and Husqvarna which has increased its support from the inaugural Games.

The Running of the Wools is once again supported by our friends at clothing and gift retailer, Global Culture. . . 


Rural round-up

September 21, 2015

Welcome boost to rural mental health:

New funding from the Government to help rural communities deal with an acute mental health situation is welcome, says Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa NZ (RHANZ) chairperson Dr Jo Scott-Jones.

But the problems are longstanding and go beyond the pressures of a low dairy payout, he says. 

Increased training measures are part of a one-off $500,000 funding boost for mental health initiatives targeted at rural communities, announced by the ministers of health and primary industries. . . 

Let’s break the silence – Matt Linnegar:

I WOULD not be the first nor last person to be astounded by the recent spate of attacks against women in this country. That men, often husbands and fathers could exact such terrible damage or in some cases kill their partners, wives or daughters is beyond comprehension and sickens me to the core.

The latest sad episode splashed across this week’s media forced me to set aside my cup of tea and say “well what are you doing about it”?

It goes without saying that I do not accept any form of violence against women be they my wife, daughter, mum, sisters or anyone else. I have at times spoken out when I have seen evidence of some form of violence against women taking place and in one incident, had to use physical restraint while intervening. But I am also guilty of swallowing the words that should have been uttered – no, loudly declared – at other times.

So a silent declaration to self this morning – never again.

While such a declaration is a very personal one, broadly speaking we can only have an impact if everyone (or the vast majority of people – in particular men) do the same. While this goes for all Australians, I would like to pay particular attention to rural, regional and remote Australia. In terms of my work at the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, this is where our focus lies. We have a network of over 1000 leaders – men and women – across the country and primarily in rural, regional and remote communities. . . 

Farmers at breaking point after thefts, rustling rise – Phillipa Yalden:

Rising rates of rustling and farm thefts are pushing farmers to breaking point but police urge farmers not to take matters into their own hands. 

Dead cows have been stripped and lambs left orphaned in a spate of rustling and poaching from Waikato farms. 

Farmers are fed up with not only the thefts of stock, but prized equipment in what police say is a seasonal rise in rural crime.  . . 

Cost-cutting to outlast downturn – Glenys Christian:

Almost half of Waikato dairy farmers will keep cutting milk production costs even when returns lift, a field day survey has found.

Improving the cost of production this season was a priority for 60% while 23% were targeting an increase in pasture growth.

Just 8% said they would reduce the cost of supplements while none intended to increase stock sales.

A further 8% voted for other strategies, such as increasing off-farm income by letting their bach. . .

Mackenzie Basin farmers feel tenure review and nutrient rules have shut down land options – Tim Fulton:

Tenure review has given Mackenzie Basin farmers freehold land which they can’t fully develop because of nutrient management rules, says Simon’s Pass farmer Martin Murray.

He and his wife Penny have waited 17 years for permission to irrigate 500ha of Maryburn Station, their property in the middle of the Mackenzie Basin. To get a breakthrough, the owners needed to settle with “all the objectors” including the Mackenzie Guardians group.

Fighting for resource consent to irrigate had been expensive. Maryburn Station had spent $400,000 in legal and regulatory fees over the years, Martin Murray said. . . 

Future agri-leaders finalise UN declaration:

Young agriculture leaders from across the world have created a global call for action to help solve the pressing issues facing agriculture and food security.

In August 100 young thought leaders, aged 18-25, from 33 nations met in Canberra as part of the Youth-Ag Summit, where they discussed the role science and modern agriculture play in feeding a hungry planet.

During the week, the delegates voted on which themes they felt were most important, those with the overall highest priority formed the basis of the Canberra Youth Ag-Declaration. . . 

A Norfolk farmer has put 185 tractors up for sale:

Proud master of all he surveys, Norfolk farmer Paul Rackham takes us to Shed 9. From the outside, Shed 9 looks like just another grain store.

Inside it’s different. Inside, Shed 9, of Camp Farm, Roudham, near Thetford, is a cornucopia of tractor delights.

Filling nearly all its 55,000 square feet, tractors – veteran, vintage and classic – stretch as far as the eye can see.

There is a 1916 Saunderson Universal G, a 1941 Fordson N with row-crop conversion, a 1925 British Wallis (flat bonnet version!) . . .


Rural round-up

March 13, 2015

1080 threat will not harm trade but ongoing issues a concern:

Lincoln University experts say the blackmail threat to lace baby formula with 1080 unless the use of the poison is stopped will not have long-term effects on New Zealand agricultural exports.

However, continuously emerging food safety issues could cause concerns.

Agribusiness and Food Marketing Programme Director Nic Lees does not see the threat as having a significant long term effect on either dairy exports or the New Zealand brand. . .

 

Rural health conference opens today:

More than 350 doctors, nurses, medical students and leaders in rural communities are expected to attend the first National Rural Health Conference in Rotorua today.

The Rural General Practice Network and the Rural Health Alliance are teaming up to run the conference over the next two days.

Opotiki GP Dr Jo Scott-Jones, who chairs both bodies, said the conference gives people working in remote places the chance to discuss and share ideas about the health problems rural communities face.

He said suicide prevention, reducing violence and workforce training problems in rural areas are among some of the key topics being examined. . .

Food safety a focus for Food HQ:

Food safety has emerged as a strong focus for the Palmerston North-based Food HQ research collaboration.

Food HQ, described as the power house of food innovation, was launched two years ago.

It is a first time exhibitor at the Central Districts fieldays, which opened in Feilding today. . .

New Zealand Dollar Lifts Wool Prices

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the weaker New Zealand dollar particularly against the US dollar saw all categories dearer this week.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies was down 2.45 percent compared to the last sale on 5th March with many wool types appreciating by a corresponding amount.

Of the 8,000 bales on offer, 90 percent sold. . .

 

Introducing the next generation at Forrest Wines:

Doctors’ John and Brigid Forrest are excited to welcome home to Forrest Wines their daughter Beth. John says that “for Brigid and I this is a significant step in safe guarding the future of our family business. All 3 of our children have grown up here at Forrest; they have been a part of numerous harvests, worked in the vines and more importantly understood the manic hours their parents worked”.

Beth will join John and Dave Knappstein as winemakers for Forrest. Beth says that “I am here to learn as much as I can from John and Dave; to take all their knowledge and add some of my own experience and continue to create great quality wines made with passion. I am hoping neither of them are about to go anywhere.” . .

East Coast Young Farmers to be put to the test in ANZ Young Farmer Contest Regional Final

The fourth ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Finalist will be determined next weekend, Saturday 21 March at the East Coast Regional Final held in Greytown.

“This contest season is shaping up to be very exciting, every year the calibre of contestants continues to improve and impress,” says Terry Copeland, Chief Executive of New Zealand Young Farmers – organisers of the event.

The eight finalists are contending for a spot at the Grand Final in Taupo 2 – 4 July and their share of an impressive prize pack worth over $271,000 in products, services and scholarships from ANZ, FMG, Lincoln University, Silver Fern Farms, AGMARDT, Ravensdown, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone. . .

 


Too much weather

December 3, 2014

Southern contractors are struggling in wet and cold weather:

The dreadfully wet season being experienced in the southern part of the country is leaving many rural contractors and farmers under huge pressure and stress, claims Rural Contractors NZ.

 RCNZ vice president and Southland-based contractor David Kean says there are reports of contractors not being able to get work done, struggling with their finances and some having to lay staff off.

“Many contractors are really feeling it and the stress is starting to tell on both them and their businesses. Our advice is simple: ask for help and talk to the appropriate agencies before things get out of hand,” he explains.

Meanwhile, there’s the opposite problem in Canterbury – which has had lots of strong, cold Norwest winds and very little rain over the past couple of months – meaning there is very little work to do now after a busy start to the season. 

Mr Kean says if rural contractors are struggling to pay bills and/or staff they should be in contact with both Work and Income NZ and the IRD for assistance and advice.

“It is far better for people to be proactive; admit they have issues to deal with and seek the appropriate help – rather than just bottling it up or letting any problems get out of hand.

“Both IRD and WINZ are there to provide help in these kinds of situations and they have the people and expertise to offer advice and assistance.”

Mr Kean says Rural Contractors NZ is also there to help members and to act as support network for contractors who are feeling under pressure.

“However, we are not experts in financial matters or if people are coming under mental duress,” he adds.

“We are telling people they should be talking with their accountants and financial advisors about their business and with their families and medical professionals if they are under pressure themselves.”

The chair of the Rural Health Alliance Aoteoroa NZ (RHAANZ) Dr Jo Scott-Jones agrees.

“We know rural people tend to delay seeking help until they can no longer work, but it is true that a ‘stitch in time saves nine’”, Dr Scott-Jones says.  “Talking to a GP or practice nurse about stress seems to cause people difficulty. But anyone in this situation should know it is never as hard as you think and the benefits that flow from sharing some of the burden and talking through the way you feel can be enormous.”  

 Mr Kean adds that talking with professionals, as well as family and friends is an important step in getting the proper advice and help – when and where it is needed.

“Farmers also need to be aware of the pressure contractors are under and have to be realistic about getting work done,” he adds. “The last couple of months have been so wet that even if the weather cleared today it is going to take a long time to clear the back log of work and get everyone caught up again.”

Further north it was too wet in winter and now it’s too dry:

Weeks of persistent wind with little rain are putting farmers on edge in eastern areas of the country, from Gisborne to Canterbury.

Federated Farmers Gisborne Wairoa president Sandra Faulkner said soil moisture levels in that region were well down on normal for the time of year. . .

We didn’t really have a summer last year then had a very wet start to winter but we’ve had little significant rain since July and there’s all the signs of a looming drought.

That doesn’t mean we’re having good weather, it’s still cold which is slowing pasture growth and potato crops.

In contrast, a wet winter, less sunlight and cooler temperatures are being blamed for hampering potato crops and creating a shortage of the vegetable.

Potatoes New Zealand said there was more demand than growers could supply and that was having a flow on effect on companies such as potato chip processors.

Chief executive Champak Mehta said none of the previous season’s crops were left in storage and the new season’s potatoes were taking longer to hit the shelves. . .

North Otago is justly famed for its new potatoes but picking started only a week or so ago.

We didn’t plant ours in the garden until after labour weekend and they’re still a good couple of weeks ago from giving us anything to pick.

But I bought a box of Rare Earth  Jersey Bennes at the Oamaru Farmers’ Market on Sunday – they were delicious.


Rural round-up

September 4, 2013

Synlait Milk raises forecast milk price for FY2014 season:

Continuing high international commodity prices have seen Synlait Milk increase its forecast milk price for the FY2014 season from $7.00 per kgMS to $8.00 per kgMS.

The Company also lifted its advance rates for the season effective from August paid September from $4.50 per kgMS to $5.00 per kgMS.

Synlait Milk announced last week that it will process more milk than forecast this season following a decision to take a significant allocation of DIRA milk that will increase total production volumes of its ingredients products.

Synlait Milk Managing Director John Penno says the Company remains confident in achieving its forecast financial result for FY2014. . .

Vet becomes farmer with no regrets:

The lives of a qualified veterinarian and a computer science graduate from the Philippines took an unexpected turn when they arrived in New Zealand.

Unable to work in his chosen field in New Zealand unless he took a refresher course, Don Mananes, now lives with

wife Khristine and daughters Denisse (9) and Diane (4), on a dairy farm at Waiparu, near Riversdale, where he works as a farm manager and AI specialist. The family loves the lifestyle, which is different from the city lifestyle they had back home. . .

Mental health still a work in progress:

The Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ) was established in March and ”brings together health, social and political agencies with a rural focus to provide a unified voice and resource to help find solutions for the health problems facing rural communities.”

Southern Rural Life invited chairman Dr Jo Scott-Jones to discuss GPs’ roles in mental health in rural communities.

The role of the rural GP has always been one which has had to provide a wider range of services than in urban centres where there is easier access to support from other providers. . .

Heard it on the grapevine – Kat Pickford:

Fairhall grape grower Stuart Smith has been recognised for services to the country’s wine industry.

New Zealand Winegrowers chairman Steve Green announced Mr Smith’s induction to the roll of fellows at the 29th annual Romeo Bragato conference yesterday.

More than 600 vintners, viticulturists, trades people and suppliers are at the three-day conference being held at the Marlborough Convention Centre this week.

The sell-out event was the industry’s largest, and included the Bragato dinner tonight, when the Moore Stephens Young Viticulturist of the year and the Bragato Wine Award trophy winners would be announced. . .

Land deals first inkling of the future – Kat Pickford:

Tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of the beginning of Marlborough’s commercial wine industry.

The small group of farmers, lawyers, engineers and orchardists who pioneered viticulture practices to suit the region’s climate talk to reporter Kat Pickford about the journey that led to the phenomenal growth and international success of Marlborough wine.

Blenheim businessman John Marris had his feet up by the fire on a typical Marlborough winter evening in August 1973 when he took a phone call from his boss looking for 200 hectares of bare land on behalf of a mystery buyer.

The freshly minted real estate agent immediately sensed something was up. Rural property was not selling in Marlborough, and he wanted to talk to this guy to find out how serious he was.

In 1973, the value of bare land was about $550 a hectare, and there was not a lot of it on the market. . .

King Country chook lays massive egg – Catley Edwards:

A King Country chook is the toast of the henhouse after laying an egg the size of a mini ostrich egg.

When cracked, the egg revealed its surprise contents – a yolk and another egg.

One of Taumarunui woman Sheryl Standfield’s 12 free-ranging brown highliner hens laid the monster, which weighed in at 165gm, had a girth of 12.7cm and height of 12cm. . .

 


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