Rural round-up

November 24, 2014

Has Australia leapfrogged New Zealand in China? Keith Woodford:

The big agribusiness news this week is that Australia and China have reached a free trade agreement. This has come as somewhat of a surprise to our Government here in New Zealand who thought negotiations still had some way to go. They have been even more surprised at the apparent quality of the agreement. And our Australian cousins have been quick, entirely for their own internal purposes, to claim their agreement is better than what New Zealand achieved some six years ago.

We can afford to be generous in our congratulations. In the greater scheme of things it demonstrates that globalisation of food trade is increasing. When the dust settles on the Australian agreement, New Zealand will take up with the Chinese on any issues that the Aussies have bettered us on. New Zealand will undertake those discussions with the same politeness that has characterised New Zealand’s previous negotiations with China, and which have held us in such good stead in the past. . .

Pair getting the best of both worlds – Sally Rae:

Working from home means the best of both worlds for Keri Johnston and Haidee McCabe.

Ms Johnston and Mrs McCabe are the principals of Irricon Resource Solutions, an environmental consultancy based in Canterbury and North Otago.

The pair were named the supreme winners in this year’s Enterprising Rural Women Awards, which were announced during Rural Women New Zealand’s national conference in Rotorua. . .

Dairying big change from pervious jobs – Sally Rae:

For Otago couple Glenn and Lynne Johnston, switching from their respective previous jobs of courier driver and hairdresser was a big change but they have no regrets.

The couple, who milk 550 cows just south of Waihola, have been in the dairy industry for 12 years.

Mrs Johnston, who is the new convener for the Dairy Women’s Network, grew up in Milton, while her husband is from Dunedin, and the couple decided to have ”a whole lifestyle change”.

They started at Five Rivers and worked around Northern Southland for a couple of years before becoming managers in an equity partnership at Awarua. . .

 Voluntary contributions recognised with Lincoln University medal:

Between them former Lincoln University academics Dr Warwick Scott and Dr Rowan Emberson have taught and conducted research at the institution for 72 years, but it was not that which was being recognised at a ceremony today.

The pair were each awarded the Lincoln University Medal, an honour which acknowledges those who, in the opinion of the Lincoln University Council, have provided long-term meritorious voluntary service and support which has enhanced the fabric or reputation of the University.

Dr Scott worked as a plant scientist at Lincoln for 39 years, retiring in 2009 as a senior lecturer. However, for the last 14 years he has been part of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest, initially setting the questions for the contestants, with his growing contribution recognised when he was named its first patron in 2012.

He said the competition showcased agriculture to urban audiences, for whom it was essential to understand the depth of talent in the agricultural sector and its importance to the economy. . .

10 things about harvest most non-ag people don’t know – Wanda Patsche:

Now that we have finished our harvest for 2014, I thought I would write a few, fun random thoughts about harvest. Some things about harvest most non-ag people don’t know.

1. Lunches are eaten in the field. Thank goodness for autoSteer in tractors and combines. Autosteer is a mechanism that automatically steers the combine/tractor. I can literally eat, with both hands, while the combine/tractor continues to operate. And I ate many meals this way! Multi-tasking at it’s finest. And if you have lunch delivered to you, it’s eaten right where you are at. It comes to you. Farmers really do love harvest meals – just a nice little pick-me-up and one less meal to prepare. Trust me, it’s the little things.

2. The smells, sights and sounds of harvest. Nothing compares to smelling corn as it is harvested, watching the corn augured into the grain cart or truck, and hearing the sounds of corn dropping into the corn bin. Yes, it’s the simple things you cherish. But it’s the simple things that really are the big things of life. . .

Investors back Prime Range Meats’ growth plan:

In a move that will see Prime Range Meats firmly hooked into its own secure supply chain into China, Lianhua Trading Group is increasing its shareholding from 24.9% to 75%.

The move has been approved by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) – approval required because part of Prime Range Meats’ (PRM) assets include 99.1 hectares of land used for holding stock for the plant, some of which is sensitive wetlands and bush.

PRM managing director Tony Forde, fellow shareholder/director Ian (Inky) Tulloch and associated parties have sold down after diluting their shareholdings earlier this year, following a competitive sales process, through the issuing of new shares. This introduced new capital into PRM then and this new transaction will also see capital expenditure on PRM’s plant of several million more in coming months. . .


Rural round-up

July 1, 2012

The risks of global worming:

FOR decades, the overuse of antibiotics has encouraged the evolution of drug-resistant bacteria which, though they have never broken out and caused an epidemic in the way that was once feared, have nevertheless been responsible for many deaths that might otherwise have been avoided. Now something similar seems to be happening in agriculture. The overuse of drugs against parasitic worms which infest stock animals means that these, too, are becoming drug-resistant. That is bad for the animals’ health and welfare, and equally bad for farmers’ profits.

This, at least, is the conclusion drawn by Ray Kaplan, a parasitologist at the University of Georgia who has just published a review of research on the problem. His results, which appear in Veterinary Parasitology, make grim reading. . .

Young man on a mission – Sally Rae:

Tangaroa Walker is a young man with a very clear and bold vision for his future.   

By the time he is 40, Mr Walker (22) wants to own holiday homes in Queenstown and Mt Maunganui, a dairy farm in Southland and be living on a beef farm at Whakamarama, in the Bay of Plenty, the area where he grew up.   

They might be hefty goals but, given what the Southland-based lower order sharemilker has already achieved, you get the feeling he will most likely achieve them . . .

Dad’s death led to organis shift – Sally Rae:

Southland dairy farmer Robin Greer always had a desire to    process his own milk.   

He did some research and spent one day a week for 18 months in his kitchen, making cheese from recipes he found on the internet and in books.   

 He taught himself to make most of the cheeses now produced at the factory he and his wife Lois established on their farm.

They market their products – milk, cheese and yoghurt – throughout New Zealand, under the Retro Organics label, and  are looking at export opportunities. . .

Tests uncover way to cut use of 1080 poison – Gerald Piddock:

Landcare Research scientists are cautiously optimistic they have discovered a method of killing rabbits as effective as current methods but using significantly less 1080 poison. 

    The breakthrough came after Landcare and the Otago Regional Council carried out experiments on two high country stations in Central Otago last winter. 

    The experiments were based around refining how bait was sown on rabbit-prone country from fixed-wing aircraft by altering the volume of bait used for rabbit control. . .

Helicopters only way to cull deer:

It took sweat, precision and millions of dollars to make Highland Cuisine Ltd a venison exporter but owner Bill Hales fears a game council will put its deer procurement and customer relationships to the sword.

Parliament is mulling legislation for the council as part of a national wild game management strategy.

Submissions to the bill have poured in to the Environment and Local Government select committee, including those dismissing it as excess political baggage from MP Peter Dunne.

Yes, the council and wild game strategy is part of the Government’s confidence and supply agreement with Dunne’s one-man United Future Party. But that political history doesn’t change much for people like Hales. . .

Young agribusiness team from Massey competes in China – Pasture to Profit:

Massey University(NZ) had a team competing in theInternational Food and Agribusiness Management Association student case study competition, held in Shanghai,China.

The competition is in its 7thyear and is held in conjunction with the IFAMA annual forum and symposium. The late “Daniel Conforte” (an inspirational lecturer at Massey University) had a long standing association with IFAMA and at the opening of the Symposium was made a fellow of IFAMA the highest honour, a well deserved tribute recognising his passion and contribution to the organisation.  . .

Young farmer contest announces first ever patron:

A career in education and working with young people provided an excellent foundation for Dr Warwick Scott’s involvement with The National Bank Young Farmer Contest.

After 12 years of close association with the event, Dr Scott has recently been appointed as the first Contest Patron.

“I am deeply honoured,” he says. “It is a privilege to work with this amazing event which, year after year, showcases the on-going talent New Zealand has among its young famers, both men and women.”

ANZ Bank, DairyNZ partner on financial benchmarking of farms – Peter Kerr:

DairyNZ is partnering with Australia & New Zealand Banking Group to boost the financial performance of dairy farms.

Under a memorandum of understanding, DairyNZ’s business performance analysis tool, DairyBase, will be available to ANZ Bank economists and agri managers when working with farmers, they said in a statement.

DairyBase consolidates the financial results from more than 1,800 farmers, allowing like with like comparisons. Some 41% of dairy farmers currently use benchmarking . . .

First ever ‘Green 50’ list shows booming green sector:

New Zealand’s first definitive list of companies making money improving the environment has just been launched by strategic research company New River.

Top of the New River Green 50 list is Auckland-based Chem Recovery, which recovers and recycles heavy metals to produce 99.9 per cent pure re-usable metals; followed by Stonewood Homes, builder of a 7-star green building; and Reid Technology, a New Zealand leader in solar power. Other companies on the list include Flotech, a technology pioneer allowing organic waste to be converted into methane for pipeline gas; and Outgro an innovative fetiliser company enabling farmers to reduce phosphorous and nitrogen run-off into waterways while increasing their yields. . .


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