Rural round-up

January 17, 2019

Dairy farmers leading charge to clean up water – Tim Mackle:

In the past week, I’ve opened two newspapers to two cartoons that constitute a cheap shot at dairy farming, both frustrating and offending the dairy farmers of New Zealand.

One cartoon portrayed a dairy cow polluting the sea, and the other showed dairy cows polluting a river.

My wish for 2019 is that all New Zealanders, cartoonists and media, are up with the play on what is actually happening on dairy farms before they make comment. . . 

Raspberry grower takes delight in ripening crop – Sally Brooker:

The canes at Matsinger’s Berry Farm are ”blazing with raspberries”, owner Leanne Matsinger says.

The family property at Peebles, in the lower Waitaki Valley, has been growing the sought-after fruit for about 30 years. Mrs Matsinger took over the business after her husband, Simon, died at the age of 45, nine years ago.

She said if this was her first season at the helm she might have been dismayed, but now she was ”more educated” about the fluctuations that occurred due to the climate. . . 

Alliance beefs up black stilts’ diet – Sally Rae:

Alliance Group might have customers in 65 countries but a group of long-legged consumers living in Twizel are among the most unusual.

Each week, ox hearts from Alliance plants are frozen and sent to the Smithfield plant, where they are put through a very specific process to meet requirements for the Department of Conservation’s captive breeding programme for endangered black stilts (kaki).

The hearts are thawed and trimmed of excess fat, then minced, refrozen and cut into blocks for delivery to the programme. . . 

Hemp deal to spin green yarn – Annette Scott:

A new strategic partnership between New Zealand Yarn and Hemp NZ is set to be the catalyst for market-leading hemp fibre processing.

It will lead development of innovative products developed from hemp yarn, wool and hemp blends and non-woven hemp products.

NZ Yarn is owned by Carrfields Primary Wool (CPW) and independent investors including farmers, wool growers and others passionate about the wool industry and showcasing NZ wool yarn on a global scale.  . . 

That was 2018 – now for 2019 – Allan Barber:

2018 is over and it’s now timely to look at how many of last year’s key challenges will continue into the New Year.

From a New Zealand domestic perspective the attempt to eradicate Mycoplasma Bovis has had the biggest impact on farming, most of it focused on the relatively small number of properties forced to cull their entire herd, some of it directed at those properties under surveillance or Notice of Direction, and some of it on the agricultural service industry, including meat processors, cartage contractors, stock agents and saleyards, as well as calf clubs and A&P shows.

Following calving MPI is optimistic the disease may have been eradicated which would be the first time any country has achieved such an outcome. However it is still too early to say with complete confidence the hitherto impossible has been achieved. 2019 will almost certainly be the year we know for sure, one way or the other. . . 

 

94-year-old ‘shepherding legend’ scoops prestigious award

A 94-year-old ‘shepherding legend’ has scooped an award dedicated to recognising farmers who make a significant contribution to farming in the Inner Hebrides.

Hill farmer Sandy McKirdy, from Dalmally in Bute, is this year’s recipient of the Stalwart award, presented annually by NFU Scotland.

The award was created in 2016 in recognition and memory two Inner Hebrides farmers, Bert Leitch and Lachlan MacLean, who passed away in 2015. . . 

Global timber and wood products market update:

Declining trade of softwood lumber, plummeting lumber prices in the US and slowing wood demand in China were some of the biggest international lumber developments in the 3Q/18, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly.

WRQ – 31 Years of Global Wood Price Reporting

Global Softwood Lumber Trade

Global trade of softwood lumber from January through September 2018 was down 2.5% as compared to the same period last year. China, Japan, the United Kingdom and the MENA region reduced their imports, while the US and continental Europe have imported more lumber this year than in 2017. . .


Rural round-up

January 7, 2019

The hypocrites at Fish and Game NZ – Alan Emmerson:

I received strong reaction to my blog on Fish and Game’s ‘survey’. Unsurprisingly I stick with everything I said.

I’d now add that the organisation is a rampant hypocrite. I did mention in my last blog that Fish and Game completely ignored the reports of 379 sewerage overflows into our pristine streams and rivers.

Was there any comment from the trade union – in a word no. . .

Pressure is on but dairy farmers’ fundamentals unchanged – Tim Mackle:

On the cusp of the new year, I’ve been thinking about the year gone and what’s head of us.

Having been involved in the dairy sector my whole life, it’s clear that it’s changed significantly since I was a kid. And in the past year, there have been a number of key challenges, whether it’s the talk about nitrogen – both from effluent or the manufactured variety – to help our grass or vegetables grow, our impacts and work to improve water quality or the growing conversation around climate change. And let’s not forget the emergence of new threats, like Mycoplasma bovis.

Here’s the thing about farming. The fundamentals are still the same – looking after cows, grass and people. . . 

Man disgusted at dumping of carcasses in South Canterbury river – Matthew Littlewood:

A South Canterbury man is disgusted to find rotting animal carcasses dumped near a popular swimming spot – and wants those responsible to own up.

Ely Peeti, of Waitohi, inland from Temuka, said he was taking his children to a swimming spot near Albury at Rocky Gully bridge on Friday when he found seven deer heads, a sheep skin and a gutted whole male pig, all lying in the water.

He told Stuff he was so shocked by his find that he posted a video online.

“I couldn’t believe the smell, it was just rotten. . . 

Resurgent collie club to hold SI champs – Sally Rae:

A few years back, the Omakau Collie Club was close to extinction.

It was only due to the tenacity of a couple of club members that it kept functioning and now, it has undergone a remarkable change in fortunes.

The club — now known as the Omakau-Earnscleugh Collie Club — is preparing to host the South Island sheep dog trial championships in 2021.

It will bring an influx of about 500 dog triallists into the Alexandra area for five and a-half days. . .

Meat meals an iron-clad rule – Tom O’Connor:

 In spite of our resolve most of us eat more than we need to and drink more than is good for us during Christmas and New Year gatherings.

That is probably because there is much more to food and drink than merely refuelling the body. We like to combine good food and beverages with the companionship of friends and family in a tradition that goes back a very long way in our history and folklore. . . 

A review of 6,000 studies over two decades delivers its verdict on GMO corn – Chelsea Gohd:

There is a great deal of misinformation out there regarding genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

From monikers like “Frankenfoods” to general skepticism, there has been a variety of biased reactions to these organisms, even though we as a species have been genetically modifying our foods in one way or another for approximately 10,000 years.

Perhaps some of this distrust will be put to rest with the emergence of a 2018 meta-analysis that shows GM corn increases crop yields and provides significant health benefits.

The analysis, which was not limited to studies conducted in the US and Canada, showed that GMO corn varieties have increased crop yields worldwide 5.6 to 24.5 percent when compared to non-GMO varieties. . .

 


Rural round-up

January 4, 2019

M. bovis response far from over:

Increased confidence that cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis can be eradicated from New Zealand should be greeted with very cautious optimism.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor announced last week that international experts were impressed by the eradication efforts and were more confident the campaign was working.

The Technical Advisory Group was more optimistic than six months ago, having confirmed that evidence showed the response was dealing with a single and relatively recent incursion from late 2015-early 2016. . . 

Public wanting cleaner water no surprise – we all have the same vision:

The results from the Colmar Brunton survey of the public that showed the public care about waterways is no surprise, and reinforces that all kiwis care deeply about New Zealand.

DairyNZ CE Tim Mackle says “we believe so strongly that kiwis care about waterways that we’re starting a movement, where the vision is clear – we want all new Zealanders to do their bit to look after rivers, lakes and beaches and you can find out more at thevisionisclear.co.nz” . .

Big plans for predator control in the Mackenzie Basin – Matthew Littlewood:

There are big plans to protect some of our smallest insects and birds in the upper Mackenzie Basin and Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. Reporter Matthew Littlewood talks to some of those involved in an ambitious project to make the Basin predator-free.

It’s been roughly 18 months in the making and much of it is still in the planning stages, but already there is momentum building around Te Manahuna Aoraki.

Everything from expanding a breeding area for kakī/black stilt to building a massive predator fence is on the cards as part of the major, multi-agency predator control programme involving Department of Conservation, the NEXT Foundation, Ngai Tahu, local run holders, philanthropists and other agencies.

Be safe on the farm this summer :

Summer is a busy time on the farm, but it’s also among the most hazardous periods for accidents, says WorkSafe NZ.

Almost 550 farmers suffered injuries serious enough for them to take at least a week off work over the last summer (December 2017-February 2018) while there were three fatalities on farms.

Overall, trips, slips and falls, being hit or bitten by animals, hit by moving objects and incidents involving vehicles were the major causes of injuries, according to data from ACC. . . 

Owl farm flying high

Owl Farm uses proven research and good practice and, importantly, encourages young people into the dairy industry.

The joint venture demonstration dairy farm run by St Peters School Cambridge and Lincoln University had its Farm Focus Day in mid-November and gave visitors an overview of how the 2018-19 season was shaping up compared to the previous year. . . 

Red meat and dairy good for a healthy diet, study suggests

Researchers have found that people who eat higher levels of red meat and cheese are more likely to live longer.

The study of 220,000 adults found that eating three portions of dairy and one and half portions of unprocessed red meat a day could cut the risk of early death by one quarter.

Chances of a fatal heart attack decreased by 22 percent, according to the study by McMaster University, in Canada. . .


Rural round-up

October 31, 2018

How New Zealand dairy farmers are cleaning up their water: Aly Balsom:

Over the past five years, New Zealand dairy farmers have laid more than 26,000km of fencing to stop cattle from accessing waterways as part of an industry-led initiative to improve freshwater quality.

The industry’s recent push to tackle water pollution is part of a national drive to tackle declining water quality, which was identified by the government in its report Freshwater reform 2013 and beyond. . .

Nitrate fighter Eco-N might make comeback– Alan Williams:

Ravensdown hopes an international agreement could lead to a return of its Eco-N product to New Zealand pastures in autumn 2020.

Eco-N was lauded as the best way to prevent nitrate leeching in soils and the escape of nitrous oxide into the atmosphere from dairy farms but was taken off the market in 2013 after minute residues of the active component DCD were found in milk powder.

There’s now a chance world regulatory authorities, including NZ’s Ministry for Primary Industries, might be able to ratify an umbrella Codex agreement about the middle of next year to set rules for a maximum residual level for a range of benign compounds in food products. . . 

Dairy NZ appoints spin doctor Jo Coughlan to board– Gerard Hutching:

Dairy NZ is hoping to step up its communications spin with the appointment of Wellington public relations company owner and former local body politician Jo Coughlan as an independent director.

An industry observer said Dairy NZ’s failed challenge last year against Greenpeace to the Advertising Standards Authority over an advertisement attacking “dirty dairying” pointed to the need for better communication decisions.

At the time Dairy NZ chief executive Tim Mackle said Greenpeace’s attacks on dairy farmers amounted to scare-mongering, and were unfairly blaming dairying as the single polluter of rivers and drinking water in New Zealand. . . 

PGW chairman Lai quits:

PGG Wrightson Chairman Guanglin (Alan) Lai has quit as the firm’s chairman and from the board.

“I will always have great fondness for New Zealand and for PGW,” Lai said.

“The work that Agria has been able to do to benefit PGW and NZ is not yet finished but I think that my time in leading PGW as chair must come to an end as I need to focus on the next phase in my career and spend more time with my family. . . 

Dunedin Company Launches 100% Plant Based Mince:

Local Dunedin firm – The Craft Meat Company and its owners Grant and Sherie Howie, are launching “No Meat Mince.” The product will target Kiwis that want to reduce their meat consumption or who do not eat meat at all.

The recently developed plant-based mince uses ingredients such as mushrooms, tomato, almonds, coconut oil and soy protein. “We are seeing a significant rise in global demand for alternative proteins, and the New Zealand market is now experiencing a massive increase in Vegan and Flexitarian consumers” says Grant Howie. “Flexitarians are looking to replace some of the meat in their diet and so as a business we are responding to that new demand.” . . 

Skyline seeks feedback on Franz Josef Gondola project:

Skyline Enterprises is seeking feedback on its proposal for a gondola to be built at Franz Josef Glacier, as part of public consultation to the draft Westland Tai Poutini National Park Management Plan.

The Department of Conservation (DoC) has released its draft management plan for Westland Tai Poutini National Park, which sets out the proposed management regime for the area for the next 10 years. . . 

Pioneering vineyard on market in receivership sale:

The first vineyard and winery in New Zealand to be established purely for the production of the niche gewürztraminer grape variety has been placed on the market for sale through a receivership process.

Vinoptima Estate vineyard and winery at Ormond, some 26 kilometres north-west of Gisborne, was established in 2000 using five gewürztraminer clones planted in soils high in magnesium and boron. . . 

Top performing dairy farm placed on the market for sale:

A high-performing dairy farm with multiple accolades and certifications from milk production co-operative Fonterra has been placed on the market for sale.

The highly-productive 48.2-hectare farm located just south of Waiuku in the Counties region south of Auckland, milks 160 Friesian-cross cows – averaging 65,000 kilogrammes of milk solids per season.

The farm has been officially recognised numerous times over the past nine-years by Fonterra for the quality of its milk – including twice being ranked among the Top 40 dairy farms in New Zealand, and additionally being ranked among the Top 230 dairy farms in New Zealand on two other occasions. . . 


Rural round-up

July 19, 2018

US trials bring GM ryegrass a step closer – Esther Taunton:

Kiwi researchers running overseas trials of genetically modified ryegrass say their field work has taken an important step forward.

In initial trials in New Zealand, the GM grass grew up to 50 per cent faster than conventional ryegrass, stored more energy for better animal growth, was more resistant to drought, and produced up to 23 per cent less methane from livestock.

Modelling also predicted lower urinary nitrate leaching and lower emissions of another greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide. . .

Tararua exotic sheep flock at Wimbledon grows to 300 – Christine Mckay:

It’s a secret farmer Brian Hales doesn’t hide. He loves a taste of the exotic.

Now his Wimbledon flock of exotic, rare and historic sheep has grown to 300, with 18 breeds represented.

“Wherever possible, I try to replicate their natural environment,” he said.

The latest addition to the Hales flock are Stewart Island sheep. . .

Dairy’s plan to succeed :

 Choosing 15 dairy farmers as NZ’s climate change ambassadors is the next step in the dairy sector’s plan for a culture of climate-conscious agribusiness, says DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle.

Waikato Federated Farmers Vice President Jacqui Hahn is one of 15 dairy farmers chosen as New Zealand’s climate change ambassadors.

“These 15 men and women represent best environmental farming practice for their farm system,” says Mackle.  . .

Finding right formula for farm fertiliser – Joyce Wyllie:

An early morning phone call. Jock answers wandering out into pre-dawn darkness to give a report on weather conditions. Looking for shifting leaves, sensing air movement and  trusting gut feeling he gives his opinion to the caller.

Weather in Nelson is quite different from West Coast Golden Bay so Richard, the topdressing pilot , rings for an on-the-spot update. No amount of cyber forecasts and analysing isobar lines on maps compare with advice from an experienced observer standing out on the dewy lawn.  

If the decision is that it will be a fine calm day the plane buzzes in about 40 minutes later and lands on the all weather runway in our aptly named Airstrip Paddock. . . 

Science says yes to eating fruit and vegetables – Amber Pankonin:

As a registered dietitian and nutrition educator, I spend a lot of time addressing myths about food and nutrition. Today we have more consumers asking specific questions about where food comes from and how it is produced. Even though I often encourage these types of questions, activist organizations and documentaries that spread false messages about agricultural practices make my job much more complicated when I talk with consumers about getting enough fruits and vegetables in their diet.

Since the mid-90s, the U.S.-based Environmental Working Group has published a list known as the “Dirty Dozen.” This list contains 12 fruits and vegetables believed to contain the highest amount of pesticide residues (trace amounts). Strawberries, spinach and nectarines top the list followed by other popular favorites such as apples, tomatoes and potatoes. The “Dirty Dozen” encourages consumers to purchase organic varieties of these particular fruits and vegetables instead of those grown conventionally. Every year this list receives attention from the media and every year I find myself addressing consumer concerns because of it. The headlines about the “Dirty Dozen” and pesticide risk are often misleading and can easily plant seeds of doubt when it comes to consuming healthy fruits and vegetables . .

 

Threats to supply management concern dairy farmers– Steve Arnold:

To Dave Loewith and his relatives, it’s a threat to the business model that has given them a level of financial security that many farmers can only imagine.

His parents, Joe and Minna, took up dairy farming just outside Hamilton, Ont., in 1938. They escaped Europe just ahead of the Nazi hordes by promising to farm in Canada for five years. They moved to their current location in Lynden – between Hamilton and Brantford – in 1947. Today, Dave Loewith and his brother Carl are partners in the venture. . .


Rural round-up

May 17, 2018

Climate ambassadors the next step in dairy’s plan :

Fifteen dairy farmers have been chosen to profile the climate change cause as New Zealand’s Climate Change Ambassadors.

This is the next step of the dairy sector’s plan to create a culture of climate conscious agribusiness amongst farmers and the broader dairy industry, says DairyNZ Chief Executive Tim Mackle.

“These fifteen men and women all represent best environmental farming practice for their farm system,” says DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle. “They run their farms profitably and sustainably and are serious about reducing on farm greenhouse gas emissions. . .

Savvy couple win at Dairy Industry awards – Stephen Bell:

Northland couple Dan and Gina Duncan are technologically savvy and care about people, the environment and cows and while doing very well at dairy farming.

Their efforts were rewarded when on Saturday night they were named the Share Farmers of the Year.

Gerard Boerjan from Hawke’s Bay-Wairarapa is Dairy Manager of the Year and Simone Smail from Southland is Dairy Trainee of the Year. 

The judges said the Duncans are passionate, professional and committed. . .

Dairy trainee of the year grateful for employers’ support – Nicole Sharp:

In three years, 24-year-old Simone Smail, of Invercargill, has come a long way in the dairy industry.

Being presented the 2018 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year award at Stadium Southland on Saturday night, Miss Smail was overcome.

She thanked her family for their support, her bosses Steve and Tracy Henderson for giving her a start in the industry and everybody else she had met along the way. . .

Lamb prices expected to stay high – Simon Hartley:

Key lamb export markets are paying  14%  more for product so far this season, with record highs  for this time of year,  ASB rural economist Nathan Penny says.

He said AgriHQ  reported lamb supply remained tight  and competition among processors was still keen given the  relatively low levels of slaughter.

“It follows that underlying demand is also solid …  all key export markets are paying 14% or more so far this season compared to last season.”  . .

Increasing biodiversity is a priority at Craigmore Station – Kate Guthrie:

Every year David Bielski, manager of Craigmore Station in South Canterbury, plans to spend $50,000 of the station’s budget on fencing, planting trees and labour to increase biodiversity on the property.

An impressive 51 hectares of land already consists of native plant species and is under various QE II covenants and game keeper John Brownley has been controlling a full range of pests on the station for over 10 years.

“Our pest tally for last year was 120 feral cats, 30 ferrets, 13 stoats, 214 hedgehogs, 19 (recorded) rats, 260 rabbits, 155 possums, 6 wallabies and 57 hares,” David confirms. “Numbers go up and down. We try to minimise pests, but we never get on top of them.”. . .

Is Labour anti-farming? – Jamie Mackay:

Environment Minister David Parker has an interesting background in agriculture.

He oversaw the due diligence on both the science and the intellectual property for the A2 Corporation and was one of its first two employees. It’s now a $9 billion dollar company.

Unfortunately, for him, he sold his start-up shares to avoid a conflict of interest when he became a politician.

Here’s an interesting excerpt from an interview I did with him on my radio show last week: . . .

Farmer suicide research not a priority for govt:

A release of official documents confirms the Ardern-Peters Government does not consider further research into farmer suicide to be a high priority, National’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“Documents relating to a funding application for Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ) show how officials successfully persuaded the Minister of Health David Clark and the Minister for Primary Industries Damien O’Connor that further investment into farm related suicide research is not a priority at this stage,” Dr Reti says.

“This astounding admission continues the Government’s dismissive attitude towards rural mental health – further compounded by the refusal to commit to a school of rural health. . .

Future guardians get their hands dirty planting on Mauao – Scott Yeoman:

A busy winter season of planting has begun on Mauao in Mount Maunganui, with Ngāi Te Rangi’s future guardians getting their hands dirty and leading the way.

About 500 native plants were dug into a bank at the base of Mauao yesterday by 20 children under 5 and a team of adult helpers.

Ngāi Te Rangi’s Kia Maia Ellis said the Mauao Trust had a big kaupapa (policy) around restoring the korowai (cloak) at Mauao. . .

z


Rural round-up

April 2, 2018

Action call over any found to have illegally brought in ‘M.bovis’ – Sally Rae:

Consequences are needed if any farmers have put other farmers, animals and livelihoods at risk, let alone the New Zealand economy, DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says.

Dr Mackle was responding to an announcement by the Ministry for Primary Industries yesterday that it had simultaneously executed search warrants at three locations as part of the Mycoplasma bovis investigation.

The New Zealand Herald reported there was growing speculation the bacterial cattle disease was introduced to New Zealand through illegally imported livestock drugs, and sources suggested Tuesday’s simultaneous searches were in Auckland and Southland. . .

Fonterra negotiating ‘roadblocks’ in China – Fran O’Sullivan:

Fonterra’s news that it was writing down its $774 million investment in Chinese infant formula company Beingmate by $405m inevitably dominated news headlines after the dairy co-operative announced its 2018 interim result to the NZX.

But that was eclipsed when chairman John Wilson announced the seven-year reign of his chief executive Theo Spierings was in its final phase.

It was a brutal press conference. . .

Food for thought: How to secure New Zealand’s food supply in the face of a changing climate – Tess Nicholl:

We take for granted the bounty on offer at our supermarkets, but destructive cyclones and the hottest month in 150 years are turning attention to how long New Zealand can provide fresh food for its growing population. Tess Nichol investigates.

On the outskirts of Dargaville, Andre de Bruin has been growing kumara for the past two decades.

He produces 40 hectares of the purple tuber annually, but last year his yield was halved thanks to what de Bruin calls a “perfect storm” — drought followed by unseasonal amounts of rain right before harvest.

“We had drought drought drought, then bam, floods,” he recalls. . .

Get the basics right – Sam Whitelock:

I come from a farming background and once I complete my rugby career I’ll be taking the lessons I’ve learnt from professional sport and applying them back on the farm. (Sam Whitelock, Farmstrong Ambassador)

Rugby has certainly taught me heaps about how to look after myself and handle pressure.

I reckon rugby and farming are really similar that way – there’s always targets to meet and results to achieve.

So how can you prepare for the ups and downs of it all? . .

Merino stud tour held in conjunction with awards – Yvonne O’Hara:

About 170 people took part in a two-day self-drive tour visiting eight merino studs in Central Otago earlier this month.

The tour was held in conjunction with the Otago Merino Association Awards, which were announced at a formal dinner in Alexandra on March 16.

The studs on the tour were Nine Mile Station, Malvern Downs, Earnscleugh Station, Matangi Station, Little Valley Station, Matarae Station, Stonehenge Station and Armidale Merino Stud.

Lunch was at Earnscleugh Station’s woolshed . .

 Art Basel Hong Kong 2018: Loro Piana’s cloud-like “The Gift of Kings” exhibition 590 panels of the world’s finest wool make for a jubilant immersive experience   – Alessandro De Toni:

In conjunction with Art Basel Hong Kong, Loro Piana—one of the world’s most prestigious cashmere and luxury fabric manufacturers—pays homage to its most renowned material known as The Gift of Kings.

It’s quite a bold name but it represents an incredibly fine, feather-light and rare wool sourced by Loro Piana through a 30-year-long collaboration with a selection of Merino sheep breeders in Australia and New Zealand. This material, measuring only 12 microns (one thousandth of a millimeter), is far finer than cashmere and only available in very limited quantities, meaning it’s quite extraordinary that it was used as the principal source material for this installation.


%d bloggers like this: