Rural round-up

November 25, 2019

Merino passion recognised – Sally Rae:

A Central Otago farming family recently received recognition for the quality of its merino wool. Business and rural editor Sally Rae visits Matangi Station.

At Matangi Station, the Sanders family are firm believers in the adage that there are only two types of sheep in the world – merinos and others.

Four generations have pursued a passion for the breed and that looks set to continue with the fifth generation – Todd – already exhibiting a love of animals and the lifestyle the Central Otago high country property affords.

The family’s pride in producing high-quality fine wool was rewarded recently when Matangi was presented with Reda Group’s Marque of Excellence 2018-19 – or top supplier in New Zealand – at a function at Lake Hayes. . .


Prices go crazy
– Annette Scott:

Red meat prices, buoyed by demand for protein, are sailing in uncharted waters with wethers fetching $373 a head at Coalgate on Thursday, Hazlett livestock general manager Ed Marfell says.

Despite the season tracking behind in both grass and lamb growth, stock are fetching record prices.

“It was a slow start but the way the season is unfolding now it is difficult to say where it might be headed. . .

Lucrative opportunities in horticulture for school leavers:

School leavers should consider horticulture as a career filled with variety, relevance and opportunities to see the world. 

‘Horticulture has a massive range of careers to choose from,’ says Erin Simpson, Head of Capability Development at NZ Apples and Pears. ‘It’s not about picking bags and ladders anymore.

‘The horticulture sector is expecting growth of nearly 4% this year on top of massive growth last year.  This growth is creating fantastic opportunities for school leavers wanting to work in a sector that can take them places and pay them well.’ 

Erin is part of the Horticulture Capability Group (HCG), which was promoting the industry at this year’s Careers and Transition Education Association (CATE) Conference. . .

NZQA exam questions portray unbalanced view of farming:

NZQA needs to front up to concern that has been created by questions in their exams painting a one-sided picture of New Zealand’s farmers, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Todd Muller says.

“Students who sat their NCEA level three English exam were tasked with a question that described waterways as being ravaged by farmers and spoke of a ‘town vs country’ divide.

“There needs to be some balance in how our education system portrays farmers. We have the most sustainable farmers in the world but this rarely gets mentioned.

“Coupled with our national museum Te Papa advising our children they should be giving up meat and dairy for the sake of the environment, there is a concern our kids are being convinced that farming drives environmental degradation. . .

Connectivity powers irrigation efficiency:

Internet connectivity and technology are playing a vital role in the growth of Ashburton-based Plains Irrigators, which has grown from a local business into a large South Island enterprise employing around 40 staff.

The company started in the 1990s with the beginning of centre pivot irrigation. It designs, installs and services pivot and lateral irrigators, and retrofits existing systems.

Manager Dan Stephens describes internet connectivity as crucial to the company’s growth. . .

The farmers who started out with student debt and big dreams – Charley Adams:

When Lewis Steer was 16, his parents gave him three sheep as a reward for doing well in his GCSEs.

It was an unusual present but Lewis and his girlfriend Flora Searson had an unusual goal – despite coming from non-farming families, they dreamed of running their own farm.

Now in their mid-20s, that’s something they’re doing, rearing three flocks of rare-breed sheep on rented land in Dartmoor, Devon.

They explain what it’s been like breaking into an industry that’s often associated with a suspicion of outsiders. . .


Rural round-up

June 30, 2016

Farmers on the cusp of unprecedented change:

KPMG’s Ian Proudfoot says significant change is coming to New Zealand’s primary sector and “farmers that ignore it do it at their peril”.

Mr Proudfoot was speaking this morning at Federated Farmers’ National Conference Meat and Fibre AGM.

The world was on the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution and this would mean thinking more globally.

Kiwi farmers who could tell their unique story would prevail as the global consumer became more discerning about what they eat and where it came from.

“There is a fusion happening where digital, physical and biotechnological products will redefine how we live and farm,” he said. . . 

Abandoning challenge, not my way – Rick Powdrell:

There is one thing in life that never changes. The moment you overcome one challenge, there is sure to be another. Once in a while a challenge crops up that might be easier to abandon, but that’s not my way.

You guessed it, that last reference is to the New Zealand red meat industry.

At our February meeting we discussed our role going forward. The emphasis was on continued dialogue with key players, notably Beef + Lamb, the Meat Industry Association, Meat Industry Excellence Group and other parties keen to engage.

There have been plenty of people willing to engage, some notable for their commercial self-interest, and others to talk about specific elements within the industry. All have relevant ideas and the passion and desire to see the industry move forward. But until key players come together with a common goal, the quantum shift required will not occur. . . 

Address to Federated Farmers Dairy Industry Group –  Andrew Hoggard:

Good morning colleagues, observers, media, and of course all the keyboard warriors and trolls waiting in anticipation.

Another season has gone by and whilst there are some positive noises out there around potential market improvements, the prices we all face are still below the break even point for many of us. The expectation is that the financial implications of this downturn will see us in pain for a few years to come.

Much of the commentary over the past few days has been around the Brexit, and the fallout from it. One might ask, what this means for New Zealand Dairy? It really is all up in the air at the moment, our exports presently to the UK are pretty minimal. . .

Recipients of the Gordon Stephenson Trophy:

Richard and Dianne clearly share a deep passion for their family’s show piece farm on the edge of Auckland city. Their beef breeding and sheep breeding and finishing operation runs 4820 stock units on 331ha (effective) with a pine woodlot established on 18.5ha and 15.3ha of regenerating native bush.

Richard and Dianne, who have three adult sons, have farmed the flat to easy-rolling property since the late 1970s.

They are pragmatic about protecting the environment for future generations. All waterways have been fenced, and large areas of raupo act as sediment traps to capture nutrients. Biodiversity corridors link the upper catchment areas to the bush, and bush remnants have been planted with native species such as kauri, rimu and pohutukawa.

Whenuanui runs 300 Angus breeding cows and a Coopworth ewe flock. Mixed-age ewes lambed at 162 percent last year, with hoggets achieving an impressive 129 percent. All lambs are sold prime under the “Kaipara Lamb” brand. . . 

Call out to Young New Zealanders to share in success of the booming apple industry:

New Zealand’s world leading apple industry is putting a call out to school leavers and graduates across the country to come share in its success.

Pipfruit New Zealand’s new capability development manager Erin Simpson has been charged with growing and retaining young people into Zealand’s apple and pear industry.

“New Zealand apples are leading the world, the industry is dynamic, innovative, and going places and so can young New Zealanders,” said Mr Simpson . . 

Bayer Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year 2016 announced:

Congratulations to Brenton O’Riley who became the Bayer Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year 2016 on Friday 24 June.

O’Riley has worked at Giesen Wines for the last few years as Viticultural Technician and credits his time and experience there as helping him gain some of the high level knowledge and skills required to win the competition. He is due to start a new job at Pernod Ricard in a grower liaison role at the beginning of next month.

This is the second time O’Riley has won the Marlborough competition, previously in 2014, so he will be even more determined this year to win the National Final taking place locally at Villa Maria in August. . . 

Irish approach may be better than New Zealand’s–  Allan Barber:

The Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s (DAFM) 10 year strategy report named Foodwise 2025 contains a lot of the same features as MPI’s ambition to double agricultural exports over a similar timeframe.

As an agricultural producer Ireland also has many of the same characteristics as New Zealand: a rural economy based heavily on grass-fed production and produce from the sea, a small domestic market and heavy reliance on exports, an expanding dairy herd and an ageing farmer profile. The agri-food industry contributes a greater proportion of export revenue than non agri-food production which is equally true of New Zealand.

Obviously there are differences, notably the impact of the EU common agricultural policy on Irish farm incomes, the destination of exports, the lower efficiency and smaller scale of farms, and the variation of production volumes. . . 

NZ sheepmeat, tourism may be hardest hit by Brexit as pound weakens, market volatility jumps –  Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s sheepmeat exports and tourists from the UK may be the hardest hit from the Brexit with the most immediate impact likely to be on British tourists suddenly finding the spending power of the pound against the kiwi is the weakest in almost three years.

The European Union is the biggest market for New Zealand sheepmeat, taking $1.4 billion of product last year and almost half of that 228,000 tonnes of quota is taken by the UK. Total red meat exports to the EU amount to $2 billion, making it the single most valuable market. However, the biggest impact for New Zealand would be the UK’s loss of zero-tariff access for its own sheepmeat into Europe, where it currently sends 90 percent of production, leaving more in its domestic market. . . 


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