Rural round-up

February 26, 2019

Tough choice – houses or food :

With almost half of New Zealand’s land area committed to pasture and crops it would be easy to think that despite our growing population there is still plenty of land to spare.

Land Squeeze Dinkus 1But in the past two decades some of the country’s highest quality land has gone under cement and tarmac for urban development. Despite having a population the size of Melbourne in a land area the size of Britain some people are starting to question whether a country that earns its living off its soils can afford to keep paving over its key resource to support population growth. 

The loss of productive soils to housing is a subject economist Shamubeel Eaqub has given considerable thought.  . . 

Bulls, ewes and tepees, a rare mix– Luke Chivers:

Sheep and beef farmers James and Sarah Glenn are fuelling the intergenerational Sheep and beef farmers James and Sarah Glenn are fuelling the intergenerational transfer of their farming business with a rare mix of bulls, sheep and tepees. Luke Chivers reports. 

On a coastal slice of rural New Zealand a young couple are combining their passion for family with farming and tepees.

Te Akau sheep and beef farmers James and Sarah Glenn have a longstanding connection with the primary sector. 

Farming dominated their teenage years. . . 

Otago woman developing fine eye for stock :

Otago woman Elizabeth Graham (21) has won a national stock judging competition in Christchurch.

She is a member of the Strath Taieri Young Farmers Club, and while at the New Zealand Young Farmers Conference in Christchurch earlier this month, won the stock judging competition.

The competition attracted the young farmers teams from throughout the country.

”It was a huge honour to take out the overall title,” she said.

”This year’s competition included alpacas, which made things a little interesting.” . .

The highs and lows of running an organic orchard

The recipient of New Zealand’s top sustainable farming award says she’d like to see more kiwifruit orchardists provide full-time employment for their staff.

Organic kiwifruit grower Catriona White and her husband Mark are the first horticulturists to win the Gordon Stephenson trophy, which is awarded to one of the 11 regional winners in the annual Farm Environment Awards.

Catriona says she and Mark pay two staff on their Opotiki orchard for a 40-hour week regardless of whether the weather allows them to work the hours or not.

“You look after your staff and your staff look after you.” . . 

Feds calls for regulation of stock agents:

The Federated Farmers Meat & Wool Council is calling for compulsory regulation of the stock agent industry.

“No-one likes more rules and regulation but to protect all parties in the sale of livestock we believe it is the best way forward,” Feds’ Meat & Wool chairperson Miles Anderson says.

“Discussions about this topic have run hot and cold for years.  We need some finality.”

The NZ Stock and Station Agents Association has created a code of conduct and set up an independent body that can adjudicate on complaints about the actions of stock agents. . . 

Cows get own Tinder-style app for breeding – Aine Quinn:

Cows and bulls searching for “moo love” now have a mobile app to help their breeders.

A U.K. farming startup introduced a Tinder-style app, called Tudder, that lets farmers find breeding matches by viewing pictures of cattle with details of their age, location and owner. Users hear a mooing sound as they swipe — right to show they’re interested or left to reject possible matches.

Hectare, which designed the app, says it “seeks to unite sheepish farm animals with their soulmates.” Selling animals using social media can speed up a process that often involves transporting animals long distances for breeding. . .


Rural round-up

February 20, 2019

Fonterra wants many DIRA changes – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra wants to ditch the requirement for it to take all milk if its market share drops below 75% in a region.

It also wants to exclude big processors except Goodman Fielder from accessing its milk at the regulated raw milk price.

Instead it wants to introduce a 12c/kg handling fee, it says in its submission to the Primary Industries Ministry’s review of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act.

All other processors should be required to publish their average milk price paid to farmers and details of how they set it, Fonterra said.

DIRA should evolve to cover the whole dairy industry and not just control Fonterra. . . 

Otago young farmers lay claim to two titles – Sally Rae:

Otago can lay claim to three new national champions – all in the rural sector. Luke Kane (30) and Isaac Johnston (25), from West Otago, won the national fencing competition held recently as part of the New Zealand Young Farmers conference.

Elizabeth Graham (21), who lives on her parents’ farm at Hindon, won the national stock-judging title. . .

Duck eggs hatch into growing business – Luke Chivers:

Taranaki duck farmers Dawn and Glen Bendall are earning a living out of making people, including themselves, healthier. Luke Chivers reports. 

It is 7.30am in deepest, darkest winter.

As daylight breaks on mountainous, coastal Taranaki Urenui duck farmer Dawn Bendall is preparing her children for school before fossicking around in wood shavings up to 25 centimetres deep to retrieve 400 eggs.

“The ducks will dig up, they’ll lay and then they will cover the egg up again.

“It’s their little way of not letting the vermin get to the egg so I don’t know what they think of me,” she says, laughing. . . 

Riparian planting cleans Waikato dairy farm river – Hunter Calder:

From above it looks like any other river.

But up close, the Marokopa River through Ruawai Farm in Te Anga is exceptionally clear.

Data collected by Waikato Regional Council shows the water quality is some of the best in the region.

The river rates particularly highly for macroinvertebrates – tiny creatures without backbones such as insects and worms. The more of those, the healthier the water. . . 

Bounce in deer numbers :

Farmed deer numbers, including the number of breeding hinds and fawns, increased in 2018 according to provisional agriculture census figures released by Statistics New Zealand.

This follows a small recovery in stag numbers in the 2017 census.

Deer Industry NZ (DINZ) chief executive Dan Coup says the trend is a strong indication of growing farmer confidence in the viability of deer in a drystock farming operation. . . 

Wrightson cleared to sell seeds business – Gavin Evans

(BusinessDesk) – PGG Wrightson has been cleared to sell its seeds business to Denmark’s DLF Seeds.

The Commerce Commission said the $434 million transaction, announced in August, was unlikely to substantially reduce competition in any of the markets it assessed.

DLF is not at present a close competitor of PGG Wrightson Seeds in respect of ryegrass seeds containing endophytes and is unlikely to be so in the future,” deputy chair Sue Begg said. . .

Trade deals with Africa would help continent grow – Marian L. Tupy :

In December 2018, Donald Trump approved a new strategy for Africa that includes increasing US commercial ties with the continent. According to the Wall Street Journal, Trump’s strategy “is part of a broader effort…to fight for global supremacy with Russia and China”. Geopolitical considerations aside, freer trade between the United States and Africa makes good economic sense that’s bound to become more obvious over time.

Today, the economy of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is small, accounting for some 2 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Between 1960 and 2017, SSA GDP grew from $252 billion to $1.75 trillion. The world economy grew from $11.3 trillion to $80 trillion (all figures are in 2010 US dollars). That amounts to an average annual compounded growth rate of about 3.4 per cent and 3.43 per cent respectively.

The United Nations estimates that over the next 50 years, the SSA and world populations will grow at average compounded annual rates of 2.05 per cent and 0.63 per cent respectively. SSA’s population will thus increase from 1.1 billion to 3.1 billion and the world’s population will increase from 7.7 billion to 10.6 billion. That means that SSA will account for roughly 30 per cent of the world’s population in 2070. . . 

Trace elements a solution close to home :

Despite New Zealand’s relatively benign climate lending itself so well to pastoral farming, its soils can hide some chronic mineral deficiencies that can undo the efforts of the best farm managers as they try to get the most out of their stock.

Richard Sides, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health NZ technical veterinarian is urging farmers to look harder at what may be holding their stock’s performance back, and says the answer may be easier to find than they first thought. . . 


Rural round-up

March 13, 2018

NZ connection the aim – Sally Rae:

Companies are made by people – not by machinery or money.
So says Francesco Botto Poala, chief operating officer of long-standing Italian textile company Reda.

Based in Biella, in the north of Italy, Reda is 150-odd years old and exports to United States, European, Asian and Middle Eastern markets, and has supplied fabric to such huge names in the fashion industry as Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Tom Ford and Hugo Boss. . .

Italian luxury mill Reda says wool in one of its ‘best moments’ on millennial demand – Tina Morrison

(BusinessDesk) – The head of 150-year old Italian textile mill Successori Reda, who has spent the past week in the merino growing regions of the South Island with his top executives, says wool is having one of its best ever moments, driven by millennial demand for sustainable products.

“This moment for sure is a good moment for the wool growers,” said Reda chief executive Ercole Botto Poala. “Wool is a fibre that is perfect for this moment, for the future consumer. The millennial consumer doesn’t just want to buy a product or a brand, they want to buy a story and an experience that respects their environmental philosophy. Honestly, I think today is one of the best moments (for wool).” . . 

NZ AgResearch study finds wool may be better for skin than polyester:

Suspecting natural fibres are better for your skin than synthetic ones is far from woolly thinking, new New Zealand research suggests.

A new trial by scientists at Crown research institute AgResearch investigated how human skin reacted to different fabrics, and initial findings put wool over polyester.

“There’s been a lot of science looking at the connection between our health and what we put in our bodies, but here we are looking what we wear on our bodies and what that may mean for our skin health,” AgResearch scientist Dr Alex Hodgson said. . .

Falling off the sheep’s back: why Australia can’t capitalise on record wool prices – Jonathan Barrett & Colin Packham:

Sheep farmers in rural Australia waited more than half a century for wool prices to come roaring back, only to find there aren’t enough shearers to trim their golden fleeces.

“Once upon a time, you could go down to the local pub and arrange for some fellas to come in and start almost immediately – those days are gone,” said Alan Rae, a wool producer in Bungunya, a town of about 200 people in Queensland. . . 

Sisters cross Tasman to judge Australians – Sally Rae:

The Graham sisters from Hindon clearly know a thing or two about sheep.

In 2016, Sarah Graham (21) won the junior meat and wool judging championship at the Canterbury A and P Show in Christchurch, earning her a trip to Australia to judge at last year’s Royal Canberra Show.

Not to be outdone, sister Elizabeth (20) won the same competition at last year’s Canterbury A and P Show and flew to Canberra last month. . . 

Harvesting South Island-grown vegetables to order – The Vege Plot – Aimee Shaw:

Aimee Burton, 30, founder of The Vege Plot, talks harvesting vegetables to order and how an ultimatum from an employer got her started on her business journey.

What does your business do?
The Vege Plot is in its second season. I started selling spray-free vegetables and it grew from there. Now I sell a whole range of things including fresh bread to free range eggs. I don’t sell the vegetables I grow at weekly markets, I send out an email every week with what I’ve got available, people choose whatever they want and then we harvest everything to order and I deliver the veggies once a week.

The business is based in the back paddock of my parents’ farm in Glentui, an hour inland from Christchurch, and began in September 2016. We have around 50 types of different vegetables available. I also love to grow things that are a little bit unusual such as brown cucumbers, sweet Indian cucumbers, yellow cucumbers and all different-coloured heirloom tomatoes. . . 

 


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