Rural round-up

June 27, 2018

Chinese demand for NZ crossbred wool lifts; auction price rises – Sally Rae:

There are “just a few hints” of upside potential for crossbred wool prices over the next two years, an industry report says.

Auction prices had lifted slightly in recent months and demand from China was just starting to return, the Ministry for Primary Industries latest Situation and Outlook report said.

The wool market had been struggling for the past 18 months or more. The main reasons were a lack of crossbred wool demand from China and increased competition from cheaper synthetic fibres. That had led to a build-up of inventory on farms and throughout the supply chain, which was slowly being worked through. . .

Tom Mulholland to speak at ‘Safetree’ workshops – Yvonne O’Hara:

Media personality and emergency department doctor Tom Mulholland will be speaking at Forestry Industry Safety Council (FISC) workshops in July.

Dr Mulholland will be talking to forestry workers about their physical and mental health and wellbeing as part of the FISC ‘‘Safetree’’ programme, which will include topics such as diabetes, smoking, cancer and dealing with depression. . .

The milk that can change the world:

New study seeks to understand more about milk variant – and the huge changes it potentially brings.

Somewhere in Auckland, 20 men and 20 women are drinking lots of milk and eating lots of cheese – and they could help change not only the digestive comfort of 65 per cent of the world’s population but the make-up of our dairy herd and the direction of the dairy industry.

The reason is A2 milk, the genetic variant supposed to aid digestion for people who find dairy products a difficult assignment to eat or drink. . .

Deer milk about taking ‘industry forward’

Deer milk is the sort of innovation the agriculture sector needs to invest in to make sure it remains competitive, Pamu chief executive Steve Carden says.

Pamu deer milk won the Grassroots Innovation award at the national field days at Mystery Creek earlier this month.

“As an industry, agriculture needs to be changing and evolving what we produce in response to consumer demand.

“Pamu deer milk is one of the ways that Pamu is investing in innovation, with like-minded partners, to take the milk industry forward,” Mr Carden said.

With its high fat content and protein levels, it was ideal for food service, cosmetics and other uses that were being explored, he said. . . 

Live export halt: WA farmers tell of sheep in limbo – Bethany Hiatt:

The fate of tens of thousands of sheep is in limbo after the sudden halt to WA’s live sheep exports, farmers have warned.

The Federal Government suspended the export licence of the State’s biggest shipper, Emanuel Exports, on Friday, just days after the industry’s second-biggest exporter, Livestock Shopping Services, announced it would suspend shipments for the northern summer.

WAFarmers president Tony York said no one knew what would happen to 60,000 sheep being held in a quarantined feed lot in Baldivis, ahead of their scheduled departure on a livestock carrier this week. . .

Trump’s trade war shuts cheesemakers out of foreign markets – Ana Swanson:

It’s a common observation here that you can’t turn off the cows — not for Christmas, and not for a trade war.

So as President Trump’s aggressive trade measures prompt other countries to retaliate with barriers to American goods, dairy farmers and cheesemakers in the rolling, bright green hills of Wisconsin are growing anxious about what will happen to all of the milk and cheese they churn out and typically sell overseas.

“If export markets get shut off, I could see us getting to the point where we’re dumping our milk in the fields,” said Jeff Schwager, the president of Sartori Company, which has produced cheese in a nearby town for generations with milk it purchases from more than 100 dairy farms throughout Wisconsin. “It’ll be a big ripple effect through the state.” . . 


Rural round-up

September 14, 2015

Federated Farmers welcome court ruling on genetic modified crop:

A Western Australian Court of Appeal ruling on genetically modified (GM) crop liability has been welcomed by Federated Farmers as a landmark decision which clearly sets out fundamental responsibilities of good neighbours that apply equally well in New Zealand and around the farming world.

In 2014, organic farmer Steve Marsh sued his neighbour, GM farmer Michael Baxter, for damages after sheaves of GM canola blew onto his property, resulting in his partial decertification as an organic farmer. Mr Marsh also sought a permanent injunction preventing his neighbour from growing GM crops.

At the time the case went to court, anti-GM groups, confident of a win, hailed it as potentially precedent setting. . . 

25 pieces of advice for 25 year-old farmers – Matthew Naylor:

I have been a farmer in my own right for a quarter of a century.

I know that I look unfeasibly young to make such a claim; I started work at 15 and pretty well managed to avoid higher education.

Twenty-five more years of toil and I will be looking at the age of retirement from the other side.

To commemorate this halfway milestone, I have compiled the little that I have learned over my 25 years of experience into 25 pieces of advice for 25-year-old farmers.

  1. Set a clear and simple business plan and stick to it. Tell it to anyone who will listen – your family, colleagues, customers, competitors and even the postman.
  1. Kill weeds when they are small – this rule applies to any problem you encounter in life. . . 

Street doctor tells rural people to watch their health – Jill Galloway:

A doctor who specialises in treating people in rural regions says farmers need to get their own health checked more often.

Dr Tom Mulholland talked to about 50 people at the old Parewanui school near Flock House, Bulls this week.

“Farmers are good at looking after their stock and their land, but not so good at looking after themselves and their top paddock [their heads].”

About half the group listening to him talk were men. . . 

NZ stands firm on lamb export deal:

New Zealand will not agree to a review of New Zealand’s quota of lamb exports to Europe despite pressure from British farmers, the government says.

Livestock board chairs from Britain’s farming unions, meeting in Brussels, have called for the review. They say New Zealand has moved from sending frozen lamb to chilled lamb and from carcasses to bone-in cuts, representing a substantive change to the original deal signed in the 1980s.

But Trade Minister Tim Groser points to later trade negotiations which changed that agreement. . .

Avocado congress should ‘raise industry profile‘:

The World Avocado Congress get underway in Peru today.

The congress is held every four years and New Zealand Avocado chief executive Jen Scoular, who is in Peru, said it was a great opportunity to raise the profile of the industry.

Ms Scoular said the congress, which runs for a week, allows countries to share science and research information. She said tree productivity and irregular bearing of avocados would be a hot topic because it was a global issue. . . 

Whitebait, birds receive conservation boost:

Whitebait will be making a comeback into Christchurch and more will be done to protect the habitats of Canterbury’s colony-nesting river birds, says Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner.

The Community Conservation Partnership Fund is providing more than $126,000 to the Whaka Inaka project to restore whitebait habitat in Christchurch, and more than $33,000 to the Braided River Partnership project to improve the success of colony-nesting birds along Canterbury rivers.

“Whitebait spawning in Christchurch has declined, particularly after the earthquakes caused significant habitat damage. The Whaka Inaka project will provide an immediate temporary spawning habitat for whitebait along 3km of Christchurch river banks,” Ms Wagner says. . . 

A falling dollar not all bad news – Rick Powdrell:

I was just thinking lately how things can change so abruptly in a year.

Farmers are once again facing tough realities of global export trade, price volatility and geopolitical unrest.

This time, last year, dairy was buoyant with record payout and nothing looking at halting the juggernaut.  Sheep meat prices were positive for the season; beef was in the ascendancy and wool finally rebounding.

Fast forward and dairy is struggling with sheep meat failing to deliver on anticipated returns. Still, beef is extremely strong and wool has continued its gradual recovery. . .


Farmstrong launches

June 3, 2015

This media release arrived in my in-box this morning:

Farmstrong, a new initiative to promote wellbeing for all farmers and growers across New Zealand is being launched today.

The programme is a joint initiative between leading rural insurer FMG and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand (MHF).

Farmstrong will help shift the focus of mental health from depression and illness to one of wellbeing.  In its first year Farmstrong will aim to make a positive difference to the lives of 1,000 farmers.

“Farmstrong will help to highlight that farmers are the most important asset on the farm and that by taking proactive steps to look after their mental and physical heath, they’re better prepared to run their business and support their family, staff and community” says Chris Black chief executive FMG.

Research shows that farmers are great at looking after stock and equipment but often neglect their own needs. In a recent online survey, farmers identified wellbeing and quality of life as being top of mind and said they wanted more information on how to look after themselves.  

Through www.farmstrong.co.nz farmers can access practical tools and resources that will help them take care of themselves, with information on topics such as nutrition, managing fatigue, exercise, the importance of getting off the farm and coping with pressure.

Farmstrong will also help farmers connect with each other and share experiences via its social media channels, through regional farmer ambassadors and by attending local events such as Dr Tom Mulholland’s Healthy Thinking workshops, and the Farmstrong Fit4Farming Cycle Tour.

“In the same way that farmers have a system for milking cows or shearing sheep for example, they need a practical system to keep themselves in good shape too.  By having this they’ll likely feel better, improve productivity, and be better prepared to handle the ups and downs of farming” says Mr Black.

“Just making small behaviour changes over a period of time can help support big improvements in our mental and physical wellbeing” says Judi Clements, chief executive Mental Health Foundation.  “Every farmer’s performance is affected by their level of health, fitness and happiness. We’re not born knowing how to maintain these – we need to actively practise strategies that will improve our mental health. Farmstrong will help show farmers how they can do this,” says Ms Clements.

Farmstrong funding has been provided by FMG and the charity Movember, via the Mental Health Foundation.  “As a catalytic funder of men’s health programmes globally, the Movember Foundation is a proud co-funder of this groundbreaking collaborative programme. We believe Farmstrong is an innovative and powerful programme that will build on the strength of NZ farmers and their community” says Robert Dunne NZ Country Director, Movember Foundation.


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