Rural round-up

21/07/2020

Coronavirus leads to uncertainty for slinkskin industry – Rachael Kelly:

Southland farmers may have to dispose of dead stock on their own farms this spring as the Covid-19 pandemic takes a toll on the slinkskin industry.

Usually dead stock is picked up by slinkskin companies, which process the skins for export, but Southland’s two processors were yet to decide whether they would collect dead lambs this spring.

And while company has implemented a charge for dead calf and cow collection, another has put their calf collection on hold.

Trevor Newton, of Newton Slinkskins at Mataura, said he had made the decision to put the calf collection on hold this season, and a decision on whether the company would collect dead lambs would be made ‘’in due course.’’ . . 

Mataura Valley Milk needs more money to stay afloat – Bonnie Flaws:

Southland milk company Mataura Valley Milk will require additional funding to stay afloat, after reporting a net loss of $47 million in the financial year ending December 2019.

The company, which earlier this year had been eyed up by a2 milk as a potential investment target, reported a projected funding deficit of $26 million by December 2020.

Financial statements were filed with Companies Office on July 14.

Shareholder China Animal Husbandry Group would provide financial support by helping to pay debts as well as offering possible cash injections and shareholder loans. The latter would not require principal or interest repayments if it would cause the company to default on debts. . . 

Rain in Bay helps but a long way to go – Peter Burke:

A Hawke’s Bay farm consultant is pleasantly surprised by what has happened in the region over the past few weeks, with rain falling in most places.

Lochie MacGillivray, who works for AgFirst and is also the chairperson of the Rural Advisory Group set up to help manage the drought recovery, says there has been an improvement in conditions. He says Hawkes Bay has had mild weather and soft rain, and the pasture response has been phenomenal.

“Typically, at this time of the year, farmers might think of having 9kg of dry matter growth, but right now they are getting between 12 and 14kg of dry matter,”

MacGillivray told Rural News. He says farmers will still have to conserve feed for their animals, but the good weather has enabled pastures to recover and shortened the time between now and the end of winter. . . 

Putting the fun back in farming – Andrew Hoggard:

 Federated Farmers’ new president Andrew Hoggard says farmers need more fun and less admin.

I have been involved with Federated Farmers leadership for 17 years now, starting out as the Young Farmers rep, then moving into the provincial Vice-Dairy role once I became an old fart at 31.

Now I have only three years left – or less if I really suck at my new job as national president.

Since taking on the role three weeks ago I’ve been giving quite a bit of thought to what I would like to see achieved in my term

It’s certainly not lost on me the responsibilities that go with this privileged position within New Zealand’s agricultural scene. . . 

Keeping the lustre alive – Sally Round:

Despite the dire prices for wool, a couple in Kapiti are continuing a 130-year family tradition breeding sheep for their lustrous fleece.

Country Life producer Sally Round dropped in.

Ravenswood has a long history breeding the hardy English Leicester whose long curly wool has been likened to Bob Marley’s dreadlocks.

Its genetics contributed to the New Zealand Halfbred and Corriedale so it’s been a big player in the development of the country’s sheep industry.

Ravenswood is New Zealand’s oldest English Leicester stud, according to Fiona and John Robinson, who are continuing the family tradition and finding a niche market for their flock’s lustrous wool. . . 

Wandering steer Boris back after 13 years in the Canterbury wilderness :

A “crazy big” Angus steer who has wandered the mountainous Hurunui back country for nearly 13 years has returned home.

He turned up last week with a couple of Angus cows, and happily headed back to an easier life on the homestead paddocks of the 7000-hectare Island Hills Station, north-west of Culverden.

Station owner Dan Shand and his wife, Mandy, reckon the steer is at least 13 years old, and has been nicknamed Boris.

Boris still has the tag in his ear put there when he was weaned, but Dan says he will need his binoculars to read it, at least until the new arrival settles in with the bulls. . .


Rural round-up

24/07/2013

Farming shift surprises – Peter Watson:

A rapid move from sheep and beef farming into dairying in the Tasman District is revealed in the latest agricultural production figures released by Statistics New Zealand.

They show that sheep, beef and deer numbers each fell by more than 20 per cent in the five years to 2012, while dairy cows increased by almost 13 per cent.

Longtime Duke & Cooke rural valuer Dick Bennison said he was surprised by the size of the switch, but not by the trend, which was driven by poor sheep and beef returns compared with healthy milkfat payouts. . .

Water accord could backfire – Gerald Piddock:

A Waikato organic farmer fears parts of the new environmental code for dairy farming could be misinterpreted by farmers.

This could result in the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord having the opposite effect of its intent, Waikato Organic Agricultural Group facilitator Bill Quinn said.

The accord was released earlier this month and sets out new environmental benchmarks for dairy farmers.
Quinn believed the critical part of the document was the glossary at the back. . . .

Public unaware of farming hardship says survey – Jonathan Riley:

The general public is overwhelmingly supportive of farmers, but is unaware of the “silent crisis” facing agriculture, a survey has revealed.

The survey was carried out by pollster YouGov for Prince Charles’ charity, the Prince’s Countryside Fund.

It showed less than one-quarter (22%) of the British public would describe the farming industry as in dire straits and facing the worst crisis since foot-and-mouth disease. Only 5% correctly estimated that more than 100,000 animals died as a result of the snow and other poor weather this year between January and April. . .

An age-old endeavour – Jill Galloway:

Sue Fielder loves her coloured sheep. She loves the fleeces, spinning, knitting and felting the wool.

She has about 25 ewes, and 14 younger sheep – hoggets. Most are grey, brown or black. There are a few white sheep, but they carry coloured genes. They are romneys and english leicesters.

She and her husband have about 5 hectares at Taonui near Feilding. They have a few dexter cattle, and although Fielder loves them, they will go to make more room for more sheep. . .

Call to protect genuine manuka honey:

A Maori consultancy firm is thinking of ways to protect manuka honey products after research has found properties of the honey can be chemically faked.

Genuine New Zealand manuka honey contains naturally occurring bioactive compounds and can fetch up to $250 a kilogram overseas.

Research by a consortium of universities and Crown Research Institutes, which has yet to be published, discovered those properties can be synthesised by adding chemicals to normal honey, such as regular clover or low grade manuka honey. . .

Ballance drops prices to make farm fertiliser budgets stretch:

With just six weeks until spring Ballance Agri-Nutrients has reduced the price on the majority of fertiliser nutrients.

This current round of price reductions follows the lead Ballance made to drop domestic prices in June, with Ballance Chief Executive Larry Bilodeau saying lower prices will help farmers plan ahead with confidence.  . .

Amisfield Wine Company Breaks into High-End Asian Market:

Amisfield Wine Company is expanding its Asian market presence after securing an exclusive distribution deal with high-end Chinese wine distributor Kerry Wines.

The Central Otago-based specialist wine producer of Pinot Noir and aromatic white wines has this month started selling its range of wines to the Greater China region, including Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

“This is an important step in our strategic goal of becoming a globally recognised brand and making our wines available to the broader international market,” said Amisfield Wine Company’s CEO Craig Erasmus. . .


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