Rural round-up

March 6, 2018

US vet downplays Mycoplasma bovis risk – Sally Rae:

A veterinarian who works for a large dairy co-operative in the United States says Mycoplasma bovis need not cripple dairy profitability.

Dr Paul Dettloff has worked for Organic Valley Dairies, the largest organic dairy co-operative in the world, for the last 25 years. It has 2300 farms.

He will speak at a workshop organised by the Southern Organics Group in Gore on Thursday, followed by a practical session on assessing livestock at local farmer Rob Hall’s property.

Mycoplasma bovis, a bacterial disease first detected in New Zealand in July last year, is widespread in other dairying countries, including the US. . . 

Environment awards finalists named :

Five finalists have been named for this year’s Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

They are sheep and beef farmers John, Shona and Robert Chapman (Port Chalmers), dairy farmers James and Bridget McNally (North Otago), sheep and beef farmers Logan, Ross and Alexa Wallace (Waipahi), dairy farmers Cody and Nicola Hartvigsen (Owaka Valley), and the AgResearch Invermay research farm managed by Kevin Knowler. . .

Speed climbing trees and the rungs of power – Jamie Mackay:

Mackay, you’ve got the tree climbing.”

And with those words from Steve Hollander, founder of the Rural Games, my heart sank, along with my dreams of being a speed shearing commentator.

Did Hollander not realise my shearing pedigree as a farmer/dagger/crutcher/hacker who could shear 200 lambs in a day, albeit with tail wind? And what made him think Craig ‘Wiggy’ Wiggins (a broken-down rodeo and jet boat sprinting commentator, who makes an occasional cameo appearance on this website) could do a better job? What were his credentials? . . 

Silver Fern Farms Co-Operative Board election:

Four candidates have put themselves forward for the two available positions on the Silver Fern Farms Co-operative Limited’s Board of Directors.

Fiona Hancox and Rob Hewett retire by rotation at the Company’s 2017 Annual Meeting which is to be held in Dunedin on 18 April 2018. Fiona Hancox and Rob Hewett have advised that they will stand for re-election.
Nominations have also been received for Chris Allen and Conor English. . . 

2018 Manawatu Dairy Industry Awards winners announced:

The 2018 Manawatu Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year winners say the appeal of being part of a progressive industry was the key to leaving their roles as a contractor and a veterinarian technician.

Richard and Wendy Ridd say that entering the dairy industry awards has given them a better understanding of their business. “We both love working outside on the land and with the animals, and the lifestyle farming enables us to create, for our family,” say the couple.

The couple were named the 2018 Manawatu Share Farmers of the Year at the region’s annual awards dinner held at the Central Energy Trust Arena in Palmerston North last night, and won $8,875 in prizes. The other major winners were the 2018 Manawatu Dairy Manager of the Year Angela Strawbridge, and the 2018 Manawatu Dairy Trainee of the Year, Samuel White. . . 

Christchurch to host FMG Young Farmer of the Year regional final:

West Coast dairy farmer Andrew Wiffen will be looking to defend his title at the Tasman Regional Final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year next month.

The 50:50 sharemilker from the Grey Valley took out the competitive event last year, securing a spot in the grand final in Feilding where he placed third. . . .

How a grain and legume farmer harvests nutrition from the soil – Clarissa Wei:

Larry Kandarian grows legumes alongside ancient grains on his California farm, producing a polyculture that benefits both the health of the land and his own.

“I’m 72, but I consider myself middle-aged,” said Larry Kandarian of Kandarian Organic Farms as he smiled and took a sip of his stew. Sitting in his trailer with a sun-weathered tan, Kandarian looks like any other farmer in the state.

And for a while, he was.

In the 1970s, Kandarian started off as a conventional farmer specializing in flowers and California native plants on his farm in Los Osos, about 100 miles northwest of Santa Barbara on California’s central coast. He decided to pivot full-time to growing organic, ancient grains eight years ago after the recession shrank the market for his goods.

“I figured that people still have to eat grains,” he said of the shift. . . 


Rural round-up

February 15, 2018

Farmer compensation for cattle disease to cost over $100m: Nathan Guy – Gerard Hutching:

Compensation for farmers affected so far by the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis could cost more than $100 million, National’s Primary Industries spokesman Nathan Guy says.

But he said the coalition Cabinet would probably soon decide it had other spending priorities, and farmers would be told to learn to live with the disease.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) announced on Friday a further two South Island dairy farms had been confirmed infected with Mycoplasma, bringing the total to 23. . . 

US vet: Mycoplasma need not cripple dairy profitability:

Mycoplasma bovis infection, now spreading throughout NZ dairying, needn’t be a death sentence for farm profitability, according to American veterinarian Dr Paul Dettloff, visiting here in early March.

Official response to the M. bovis crisis has focused on containment and keeping the contagious bacterial disease from spreading between animals. This infection is widespread in other dairying countries and needn’t reduce dairy profitability here. Dr Dettloff, who works for a large dairy cooperative in the US, indicates he sees farmers who don’t have M. bovis in their cows, despite being surrounded by farms with infected animals. . . 

Rural mum’s infectious enthusiasm part of Fantail’s Nest story – Kate Taylor:

The enthusiasm from Michelle Burden for her Fantail’s Nest business is infectious.

She smiles when she talks about what she does and what the future holds for her business and her family.

Running a small, rural business has its challenges. But they’re worth it.

Burden is one of hundreds of business people, many of them mothers, juggling life and work in a rural area. . .

Feed demand limits grass harvest :

Southern welfare groups are urging farmers not to be complacent after substantial falls of rain appear to have alleviated some areas of drought in Southland and Otago.

Southland Rural Support Trust co-ordinator Lindsay Wright said pasture response and aquifer recharge have been slower than expected and though the rain has jolted winter crops to start growing again, more is needed.

Farmers should assess whether they have enough feed for winter and if not they need to source extra supplies sooner rather than later. . . 

Farm visits link town and country:

Youngsters in Northland are getting the chance to experience dairy farming thanks to two couples taking part in DairyNZ’s Find a Farmer programme.

Creating a link between urban and rural communities and showcasing farming to the next generation are just two reasons why Terence and Suzanne Brocx and William and Robyn Hori host school visits.

Suzanne feels the connection many city families once had to relatives in the country has largely been lost. The Brocxs and Horis say joining DairyNZ’s Find a Farmer service has been their attempt to re-establish that connection. . .

Ag’s success should be stirring Australia’s future business entrepreneurs – Andrew Marshall:

First he turned smashed avocado into a much-discussed metaphor for the Millennial generation’s poor money saving discipline.

Now he’s challenging what he fears is often our overly casual national attitude to business entrepreneurship and ambition.

Notably, the demographer and social commentator, Bernard Salt, believes agribusiness and agricultural initiative on the global stage are obvious areas for Australia’s business spirit to rise significantly higher. . . 


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