Rural round-up

March 5, 2018

Upset farmers still in the dark – Annette Scott:

Farmers desperately seeking answers feel they have been left in limbo as the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis takes hold and still the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) says it has no clear idea how it got here.

The ministry has confirmed the outbreak could cost $100 million in tracking and tracing the spread of the disease and paying compensation to farmers. It initially budgeted for $35m.

With too many gaps and too few answers farmers are understandably anxious about whether the Government is going to eradicate it, Federated Farmers dairy chairman Chris Lewis said. . . 

Healthy Rivers plan drags out – Richard Rennie:

Waikato farmers have found an upside in the continuing delays plaguing the Healthy Rivers plan and believe critical dates in it might be pushed out beyond the original timeframe.

Despite being notified in October 2016 the plan was derailed late that year when Hauraki iwi objected to part of the catchment being included, subject to that iwi’s claim over its ownership.

That required the plan to be effectively split with the 12% or 120,000ha of the catchment affected by the claim becoming subject to negotiation between iwi and the council on Healthy Rivers conditions, before being re-notified.

But Waikato Federated Farmers president Andrew McGiven said farmers are conscious the plan has some specific dates in it requiring them to submit nitrogen reference points by March next year. . . 

Higher meat yield from Beltex breed – Nicole Sharp:

Former Invermay head Dr Jock Allison, his wife Hilary and Canterbury farmer Blair Gallagher had the Beltex breed on show at this year’s Southern Field Days.

Together with farm adviser John Tavendale, and their families, the group is behind Beltex New Zealand, which has brought the breed to New Zealand.

”They’re a double-muscled Texel, with higher meat yield, bigger eye muscle areas, bigger legs. It’s all a plus in terms of meat production,” Dr Allison said.

The breed was imported from the UK, and was originally from Belgium and Holland. . . 

Mānuka honey definition could change if new science is developed – Gerard Hutching:

The definition for mānuka honey may be revised if fresh science shows the need, Ministry for Primary Industries director-general Martyn Dunne says.

MPI first announced the definition on December 11 last year but beekeepers objected to an aspect of the definition that required a kilogram of monofloral or multifloral honey contain at least five micrograms of  2′-methoxyacetophenone (known as 2 MAP).

They threatened legal action, claiming it would cost the industry $100 million. . . 

Live goat exports to Asia in demand – Yvonne O’Hara:

More pure and composite meat goats are needed to fill four planned shipments of live goats and goat meat to Asian clients in the next few months, says Shingle Creek Chevon partner Dougal Laidlaw, of Clyde.

As the market for live exports was competitive, he did not wish to say which countries or clients the goats were going to.

However, he wanted to hear from farmers who might be interested in supplying or rearing goats, both for live and meat export as well as for the domestic top end restaurant trade.

”It will be a struggle to get enough animals,” Mr Laidlaw said. . . 

What turns some law-abiding Canadians into smugglers? The high price of imported cheese. – Nate Tabak:

Clara is a college student in Toronto, and in a few days, she’s flying home to Paris to visit her family and friends. She also stopping at a fromagerie to buy some cheese to bring back to Canada, specifically Comté, a cousin of Gruyere made under strict rules in the French Alps. 

“It’s not gooey, and you know it’s not going to give a scent to your entire suitcase,” Clara says. Comté is also a lot cheaper in France. It’s easy to find at supermarkets for the equivalent of about $6 or $7 a pound. In Canada, it’s both a lot harder to find, and it’s usually at least $20 a pound.

Clara’s yearly ritual becomes a source of anxiety when she flies back to Canada and prepares to face a border officer — and that dreaded question: “Are you bringing in any food?” . . 

 


Rural round-up

October 31, 2017

Beltex sheep breed focus of field day – Sally Rae:

The Beltex sheep breed will be under the spotlight at a field day in Canterbury tomorrow.

Former Invermay head Dr Jock Allison, Canterbury farmer Blair Gallagher and farm adviser John Tavendale, with their families, are behind Beltex New Zealand, which has brought the breed to New Zealand.

Three properties will be visited at the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Central Canterbury Farming for Profit field day, looking at three different systems; lamb weaning, ram selection and calf rearing. . .

Fonterra doubts ETS for dairy – Richard Rennie:

As the new Government pushes for a zero carbon economy by 2050 a Fonterra submission on what a low emission economy means has highlighted issues it maintains challenge a transition into the Emissions Trading Scheme for dairy.

The new Government has indicated it wants farming to contribute to greenhouse gas emission costs, possibly incurring 5% of those costs initially.

The farmer co-operative has submitted to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the impact of a low emissions economy on economic well-being and production. . . 

Milligans Food Group joins GDT Marketplace:

Oamaru-based company Milligans Food Group is among three additional dairy ingredient suppliers to join Global Dairy Trade’s GDT Marketplace.

Milligans supplies and manufactures food ingredients, consumer food products and animal nutrition products.

Specialised food and food service products were manufactured, blended and packed on-site then marketed across New Zealand, Australia, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and the United States. . . 

Drop in asparagus crop blamed on wet weather:

Wet weather over the past few months is leading to a big drop in the amount of asparagus being grown this year, according to a grower near Levin.

Cam Lewis, the director of TenderTips in Horowhenua, said he was seeing a 50 percent drop in his crop and there was a lot less asparagus around this year

He said that was keeping prices up. . . 

Farmers Fast Five – David Clark – Claire Inkson:

Where we ask a farmer five quick questions about farming, and what agriculture means to them. Today we talk to Mid Canterbury Proud Farmer David Clark.

1.    How long have you been farming?

I grew up in the North Island and left school at the end of the 6th Form at a time when farming in New Zealand was very tough coming out of the ’80s downturn. I was very fortunate to be employed by the Cashmore Family at Orere, SE of Auckland. It was during this time that my employers showed me by example that there was a future in farming if you worked hard and did things well, this set me on my course.

2.    What sort of farming were you involved in?

My parents had been both Town Milk Dairy and Sheep and Beef Farmers and I was determined to make a start for myself so started contract fencing which then led into a wider range of Agricultural Contracting activities. In 1994 my parents sold their farm and I sold my contracting business and we pooled our resources and purchased a dryland sheep property at Valetta, inland Mid Canterbury. It soon became very clear that we needed to develop irrigation on the property in order to move to an intensive arable farm system. . . 


Rural round-up

September 9, 2013

Higher returns for lamb exports expected in coming year:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand is expecting higher returns for lamb exports in the coming year to offset a drop in lamb numbers.

From its annual stock number survey, Beef + Lamb NZ has calculated that 2 million fewer lambs will be born this spring, due to the summer drought reducing ewe numbers and lambing percentages in the North island.

It is forecasting an 8.5% drop in the export lamb slaughter from 2013-14.

However, its chief economist Andrew Burtt says improved marketing conditions will outweigh that by lifting the average value of lamb exports by 10%. . .

NZ Merino Co in finalists’ cut :

The New Zealand Merino Company and its chief executive John Brakenridge have been named as finalists in the 2013 New Zealand International Business Awards.

The awards are run by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the winners will be announced at a function in Auckland on September 26.

The New Zealand Merino Company is a finalist in the most innovative business model in international business category, while Mr Brakenridge is a finalist in the outstanding contribution to international business section.

Under his leadership, the company implemented a strategy to lift New Zealand merino out of the commodity basket. . .

PGG Wrightson disappointed it put farming sector at risk:

PGG Wrightson says it is terribly disappointed it has put the arable farming sector at risk.

It has acknowledged it breached biosecurity regulations by transporting a delivery of contaminated imported red fescue seeds in an unapproved manner, which led to black grass seeds spilling off its truck throughout mid Canterbury.

Black grass is highly invasive, often herbicide-resistant and significantly reduces the yields of wheat, barley, rapeseed and other crops.

PGG Wrightson seed general manager John McKenzie says the company sincerely regrets the breakdown in procedures at its end that led to the incursion and it will do what it can to make things right. . .

‘Terrific’ response from deer farmers over Invermay – Sally Rae:

Former Invermay director Jock Allison says there has been a ”terrific” response from deer farmers after a call for them to support the retention of Invermay’s deer research programme.

A letter was sent to farmers from Dr Allison, former deer programme leader Dr Ken Drew and Prof Frank Griffin from the University of Otago, asking farmers to indicate whether they preferred the programme to be located at Invermay or Lincoln, and to express their opinions to politicians.

AgResearch is proposing to centralise its operations in Lincoln and Palmerston North, jobs at Invermay dropping from 115 to 30 and 180 jobs going from Ruakura, near Hamilton. . .

Stratford farmer underpaid worker in dry season – Lyn Humphreys:

A message has gone out to farmers that they cannot underpay workers by paying them less in the dry season.

In a test case which has put the dairy sector’s wages under the microscope, a Stratford farmer has been ordered to pay his worker more than $6000 in backpay.

The case follows a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Labour Inspectorate investigation of the dairy sector, focusing on employers maintaining accurate time and wage records. . .

Zealong Tea:  we’re still here – Andrea Fox:

Waikato green tea exporter Zealong Tea says rumours of its demise have been greatly exaggerated as it is swamped with calls from concerned supporters and tea house cancellations after selling part of its tea estate.

Zealong this week said it had sold its original Borman Rd tea farm on the edge of Hamilton’s northern suburbs to a residential property developer rather than face its Rototuna neighbours’ wrath if it has to use helicopters to combat frost damage during harvest next month.

Bulldozers will move onto the 11ha Borman Rd tea farm in November and the company said it would now focus on developing its big Gordonton plantation and tourism site. . .


Rural round-up

August 30, 2013

Land use pressure for farmers – Tony Benny:

Farmer predicts proposed new land use rules will jam the brakes on agricultural development in Canterbury.

Federated Farmers’ South Island Grain and Seed vice-chairman David Clark claims that the proposals for rules limiting changes of land use recommended for inclusion in the proposed Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan will put more pressure on arable farmers and stop further expansion of dairy farming.

“The proposals that have been put forward would make it extremely hard to change land use with any degree of intensification.

“The big issue and the big concern is around nutrient management rules that are coming in, that would severely constrict land use modification.” . .

Key holds fire on botulism blame – Hannah Lynch:

Prime Minister John Key is refusing to point the finger of blame at who is responsible for the Fonterra botulism fiasco until all inquires in to what turned out to be a false alarm are completed.

In a shock announcement yesterday, the Primary Industries Ministry said there was no contamination linked to botulism in Fonterra whey protein product at the centre of an international food safety alert. 

The ministry’s independent testing contradicted the results of tests done by Fonterra or on its behalf by state owned AgResearch. 

The alert earlier this month caused product recalls, a trade backlash and tarnished New Zealand’s “clean green” brand. . .

Deer farmers urged to fight for Invermay – Annette Scott:

The Invermay deer programme has led the development of the New Zealand deer industry for the past 35 years and is recognised as world leading, former Invermay Agricultural Centre director Dr Jock Allison says.

Allison opposes AgResearch’s proposal to focus South Island agricultural research on a single hub in Lincoln, describing it as schizophrenic behaviour.   

In a letter to deer farmers Allison, Dr Ken Drew, a leader of Invermay deer research for 25 years, and Otago University Professor Frank Griffin urged the industry to voice its concern.

“It is our view that only through concerted industry efforts will the deer research programme be retained at Invermay,” Allison said. . .

European manufacturer commits to New Zealand:

The current strength and strong outlook for the future of New Zealand agriculture has led Europe’s major tractor manufacturer, SAME Deutz-Fahr, to commit itself to our market.

The Vice Chairman of the company, Francesco Carozza, (pictured) who was in New Zealand recently, says the future of world agriculture is very strong, and New Zealand is well positioned to capitalise on that potential.

“Globally speaking, food demand is going to double over the next 40 years, so the market is going to increase big time – and so are the opportunities for New Zealand agriculture,” he says. . .

Primary Industry Training Organisation cements first successful year with fresh new brand:

On 1 October 2012, Agriculture ITO and Horticulture ITO merged to form the Primary Industry Training Organisation (Primary ITO). Primary ITO is also responsible for Water Industry Training, Equine Industry Training and NZ Sports Turf ITO, making it one of the largest ITOs in New Zealand.

“Agriculture ITO and Horticulture ITO made the proactive move to join together because we shared a natural affinity and a common vision. We recognised that we could deliver better outcomes for our industries by having an organisation with a larger critical mass and shared resources,” says Primary ITO Chief Executive Kevin Bryant.

Since the launch of Primary ITO, the organisation has continued to operate under the five existing brands. . .

Conservation and management of NZ whitebait speciesJane Goodman:

New Zealand’s whitebait fishery consists of the young of five migratory galaxiid species – inanga (Galaxias maculatus), koaro (Galaxias brevipinnis), banded kokopu (Galaxias fasciatus), giant kokopu (Galaxias argenteus) and shortjaw kokopu (Galaxias postvectis). Smelt (Retropinna retropinna) are also present in catches from some rivers along with the young of other fish species such as eels and bullies. (See Amber McEwan’s earlier blog.)

Four of the five galaxiid whitebait species (inanga, koaro, giant kokopu and shortjaw kokopu are ranked in the New Zealand Threat Classification System (Townsend et al. 2008) as ‘at risk – declining’; banded kokopu are listed as not threatened (Allibone et al. 2010).

A2 shares record-high as investors buy into growth story:

(BusinessDesk) – A2 Corp shares touched a record high 77 cents in trading today after the company boosted sales 51 percent and improved its underlying earnings.

The Sydney-based company, which markets milk products with a protein variant claimed to have health benefits, lifted sales to $94.3 million in the 12 months ended June 30 from $62.5 million, and more than doubled operating earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation to $10.6 million.

Net profit slipped 6.5 percent to $4.12 million, as the company wore losses associated with setting up its British joint venture and year earlier gains from a tax asset and legal settlement rolled off. . .


Inaugural Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards

August 9, 2012

The dairy industry is good at celebrating success, the sheep industry is catching up with the  inaugural Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards.

The B+LNZ Award for an individual or business making a significant contribution to the New Zealand sheep industry was presented to sheep breeding science pioneer Dr Jock Allison.

And a very deserving winner he is. Jock has spent decades working for the industry.

The Silver Fern Farms Award for sheep industry innovation was presented to Rowan Farmer, responsible for introducing and promoting sheep pregnancy and eye muscle scanning technology to New Zealand. Smedley Station and Cadet Training Farm was named winner of the AgITO Business Farm Trainer of the Year Award.

The terminal sire flock rated highest for genetic merit across the SIL-ACE evaluation was “The Burn”, Joseph and Judy Barkers’ Texel stud in Mid Canterbury. The dual purpose (ewe breed) rated highest for genetic merit was “MNCC”,Edward Dinger’s Coopworth stud in the Waikato.

The idea to hold an awards ceremony was initiated by B+LNZ Farmer Council member and ram breeder Russell Welsh. Mr Welsh says the dairy industry’s track record of celebrating success prompted him to suggest the awards ceremony. “It highlights best practice and, by default, that lifts all farmers.”

B+LNZ Chairman Mike Petersen says it is great to see farmers driving an initiative which celebrates the sheep industry, while also highlighting the immense value of SIL’s database to the sector.

“Any of us in the sheep business know that choosing a ram is a farm-by-farm decision– that we all have different priorities with regard to finishing, wool production and animal health issues. Consequently, these awards by no means represent ‘the top list’ for all. But it is very interesting to crunch the numbers and see what comes out the other side.

“My congratulations to all those named. You are part of a critical group of top performing ram breeders who are firmly focused on improving your animals’ traits and performance, so that we commercial farmers continue to improve our flocks year on year.”

B+LNZ Geneticist Mark Young says the process of identifying the top-performing flocks involved analysing the top 25-50 per cent of rams for each specified set of traits, before then adjusting the results to account for variations in flock size.

“This exercise also identified highly-rated sires that were making a big impact in industry. The Beef + Lamb New Zealand Super Sires are rated in the top 10 per cent for genetic merit in indexes of merit across key traits. They are also rams which have been used a lot, so have the most progeny.”

The awards are an excellent idea, it is high time sheep farmers celebrated their success.

Full results:

Top Flocks for Genetic Merit

Terminal Flock (Index: Lamb Growth + Meat Yield) Winner: The Burn (Texel), JT & J Barker, Winchmore Commendations:Tamlet (Texel), GA & K Smith, Wyndham Mount Linton (SufTex), Mt Linton Station, Otautau Kepler Supreme (Lamb Supreme), Focus Genetics Kepler, Te Anau Blackdale (Texel), LG & WI Black, Riverton

Dual Purpose Flock (Index: Reproduction + Lamb Growth + Adult Size + Wool) Winner: MNCC (Coopworth), AE Dinger, Cambridge Commendations:Ashgrove (Coopworth), DH Hartles, Maungaturoto Ashton Glen (Coopworth), R & R Mitchell, Clinton

Alliance High Performance Flock (Index: Reproduction + Lamb Growth + Adult Size + Wool) Winner: MNCC (Coopworth), AE Dinger, Cambridge Commendations:Ashgrove (Coopworth), DH Hartles, Maungaturoto Ashton Glen (Coopworth), R&R Mitchell, Clinton

Dual Purpose plus Meat Flock (Index: Reproduction + Lamb Growth + Adult Size + Wool + Meat Yield) Winner: MNCC (Coopworth), AE Dinger, Cambridge Commendations:Ashgrove (Coopworth), DH Hartles, Maungaturoto Marlow (Coopworth), S Wyn-Harris, Waipukurau

Dual Purpose plus Worm FEC Flock (Index: Reproduction + Lamb Growth + Adult Size + Wool + Parasite Resistance) Winner: Nithdale (Romney), A Tripp, Gore Commendations:Nikau (Coopworth), E & S Welch and K Broadbent, Tuakau Hazeldale (Perendale), Longview Farm, Tapanui

Dual Purpose plus Facial Eczema Flock (Index: Reproduction + Lamb Growth + Adult Size + Wool + FE Tolerance) Winner: ARDG (Romney), R & G Alexander, Tirau Commendations:MNCC (Coopworth), AE Dinger, Cambridge ARDG (Romney), RL& A Steed, Whangarei

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Super Sires

Terminal: 2960.101/03 (Texel), WTD, D Clarkson, Wairarapa Dual Purpose: 712.5203/04 (Coopworth), Marlow, S Wyn-Harris, Waipukurau Dual Purpose High Performance: 712.5203/04 (Coopworth), Marlow, S Wyn-Harris, Waipukurau Dual Purpose plus Meat Yield: 712.5203/04 (Coopworth), Marlow, S Wyn-Harris, Waipukurau Dual Purpose plus Worm FEC:406.486/07 (Romney), ARDG, R &G Alexander, Tirau Dual Purpose plus FE Tolerance: 2529.152/07 (Romney), ARDG, RL & A Steed, Whangarei.

BUSINESS AWARDS– BACKGROUND BIOS

B+LNZ Award for an individual or business making a significant contribution to the New Zealand sheep industry

Winner: Dr Arthur John (Jock) Allison, ONZM

Dr Jock Allison’s rural achievements are too numerous to cover in depth, but two highlights include:

• Initiated work with the Booroola Merino, which has lead to the discovery of a major gene fecundity gene. This gene has been transferred out of the Merino type into other long wool breeds.

• Imported the East Friesian sheep to New Zealand. The infusion of the East Friesian – known for its reproduction and milk producing characteristics – has been described as “the greatest advance in the sheep industry in the past 50 years”.

Silver Fern Farms Award for sheep industry innovation

Winner: Rowan Farmer

Pregnancy scanning in sheep was commercialised when Rowan Farmer set up Stockscan in 1991. The primary aim was to scan sheep for eye muscle area, but Rowan’s experience with quarantined sheep at Invermay gave him an insight into the management benefits of pregnancy scanning. Since then, the practice has expanded to include the identification of twins and triplets. Scanning has revolutionised the reproductive management of sheep throughout New Zealand.

AgITO Business Farm Trainer of the Year Award.

Winner: Smedley Station and Cadet Training Farm

Bequeathed to the King in 1919, Smedley Station and Cadet Training Farm is a 3186 hectare property, wintering 31,000 stock units. It is located in Central Hawkes Bay and operates as a commercial farm, as well as a self-funding training facility for 22 farming cadets annually (11 per intake, for a two-year programme). Since 1931, Smedley Station has trained more than 500 cadets. Graduates have gone on to roles, including working on farms, rural property advisors and finance experts, or into further education.


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