Rural round-up

01/06/2020

Forestry Bill lambasted at select committee – Gavin Evans:

Forest owner Ernslaw One says the Government’s planned regulation of the industry may stall four projects the firm was considering to expand its processing capacity.

The potential powers the Government was seeking – to intervene in the log sales and contracts of forest owners – were ‘‘absurd’’ and went against any sensible business practices, chief executive Paul Nicholls told Parliament’s environment select committee this week.

Ernslaw One has forests throughout the country, including in the Coromandel, Gisborne, Ruapehu and Manawatu-Rangitikei regions, and Otago and Southland. . .

Hawke’s Bay $1m drought funding ‘doesn’t go very far’ – Rural Advisory Group – Tom Kitchin:

$1 million will be divided between thousands of Hawke’s Bay farmers struggling with one of the worst droughts in a century.

The mayoral relief fund is expected to get the final sign off today and be on its way to farmers.

Hadley Boyle of Tikokino in Central Hawke’s Bay has been working through the night to make sure his farm survives.

His trees are turning orange, his dams have dried up and his cattle are not reaching their target weight. . . 

We must protect our soil, it is precious – Selva Selvarajah:

Elite soil is a disappearing priceless national asset, writes  Selva Selvarajah.

During the unprecedented and unexpected Covid-19 crisis, the supermarkets and our supply chains have served us well with an ample supply of fruits and vegetables.

Who produces our fruits and vegetables? Our horticultural farming sector, which employs more than 60,000 workers.

In 2016, we consumed $2.1billion worth of our own fruits and vegetables and exported $3.1billion worth. We consume more than 90% of our vegetables produced in New Zealand. We do import small amount of selected fruits and vegetables. With our growing population and our annual vegetable demand nearing one million tonnes, we are likely to import more. . .

Good winter grazing urged as cold weather closes in:

The Winter Grazing Action Group says farmers are taking steps to improve wintering systems despite the challenges of COVID-19 restrictions and weather events.

Action group chair Dr Lindsay Burton said it was important everyone worked together to ensure farmers had the right tools to get through winter.

“Ensuring you follow a gradual transition plan when moving your animals from pasture to crop and back again will help prevent issues. This is particularly important for cattle wintered on fodderbeet,” says Dr Burton. . . 

Proper nutrition pre-calving boost yield – Natalie Chrystal:

If milk fever is keeping you or your staff awake at night, you are not alone.

Many New Zealand dairy farms grapple with down cows at calving with research showing that on average between 2-4% of all cows across New Zealand exhibit the typical clinical signs of milk fever – so called ‘downer cows’.

Most farmers recognise that it is not only these clinical cases that cost time and money, but the estimated 30 to 40% of cows that are sub-clinically hypocalcaemic that really impact your bottom line as a result of significant negative effects on milk production.  . . 

Why do we fear the food we eat? – Jack Bobo:

Our food has never been safer, so why is it that consumers have never been more concerned? And here’s another paradox: At a time when consumers have never known more about nutrition, why is it that obesity is at an all-time high?

From fad diets to panic buying, the decisions we make about the foods we buy and the foods we eat are often the result of hidden influences of which we are little aware. The rise of “clean eating” and the marketing of “natural” foods has not made us feel safer. Instead, these trends leave us less certain and less confident in the food choices we make.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made people think a lot about where their food comes over the last few months. Consumers are asking: 1) who produced their food and where 2) who picked, processed and packaged it 3) how did it get to the food processor and then to the grocery store, and, finally 4) who placed it on the shelves? . .


Rural round-up

04/02/2016

Federated Farmers welcomes TPP signing:

 

Federated Farmers welcomes today’s signing in Auckland of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement as a significant milestone for the New Zealand economy and a positive deal for the agriculture sector.

Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston says the agreement may not have delivered everything the sector desired, but the scale and its importance to New Zealand is undoubtedly profound.

“As a founding member, the signing of the latest TPP agreement introduces another chapter in our proud history as a trading nation,” he says.

“For the primary sector, the TPP offers diverse opportunities not only for agriculture but for future generations of New Zealanders and their prosperity. You only have to look at the current state of dairy prices to realise the vital importance of opening up new export markets and ensuring a level playing field for New Zealand exporters. . . 

Quota allocations suggest change in balance of industry power – Allan Barber:

The release of the 2016 quota allocation which Alan Williams analysed in detail (Farmers Weekly 11th January) show some considerable shifts in tonnage entitlements between the major meat exporters. The quota is allocated as a percentage of the total allowable quota for shipment to the EU for sheepmeat and USA for beef during a calendar year; in the last two years New Zealand has only filled around 75% of the EU quota and 90% and 98% of the USA beef quota.

This shortfall, especially for sheepmeat, has been a result of the lower lamb kill, economic conditions in Europe and the availability of China as an alternative market eager for product at a competitive price. In 2014 China also took large quantities of beef. . . 

Cattle operated drinking trough:

A new trough that allows cows to pump their own water as they drink could be the answer to keeping stock out of the country’s rivers and lakes, a company says.

Beef cattle roaming in waterways] have hit the headlines in the past week.

Veterinary equipment company Shoof International, which is the importer of the new pump, says it could offer a solution.

Company group sales manager John Stubbs said because it was operated by the animals there was no need for electricity or other mechanical means.

The pump could supply enough water for up to 50 stock. “[It ] operates from the animal’s nose actually pushing on a lever as they drink water from the bowl. . . 

A2 cows are the future – Keith Woodford:

Towards the end of 2015 there was a massive re-assessment of A2 milk on the New Zealand and Australian stock exchanges. The shares of ‘The a2 Milk Company’ (abbreviated hereafter to their NZX code of ATM) closed the year at almost four times their price back in May, and with market capitalisation at $NZ1.35 billion.

For a few heady hours the capital value was close to 1.7 billion – more than Trade Me and almost double The Warehouse. Since then the shares have settled back somewhat, but still showing a three-fold gain from 12 months earlier.

In essence, the drive was fuelled by several major Australian institutional investors building their stakes, and then hundreds of smaller investors climbed on board. This was in response to ongoing good news stories from ATM, based on sky rocketing sales of infant formula in Australia and China, with this news particularly well reported in the Australian media. . . 

Fishing for a complimentary use of fire reservoir ponds – Peter Kerr:

Years ago for a farm management report at Lincoln University, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek plan around the integration of goldfish in troughs on dairy farms (we’d spotted the use of such technology to help keep the troughs clean).

Well here’s a huge expansion on this idea, one that’s taken my fancy…this time utilising water ponds kept on hand by forestry companies in case they ever need to fight a fire.

(Check out the story here in last year’s Otago Daily Times)

Ernslaw One started with an experiment in one of its Maniototo forest ponds, growing koura, or freshwater crayfish, and it has been such a success, it is going to expand the programme around some of its 2000 ponds spread throughout Southland and Otago.  . . 

New Zealand wine industry financial metrics remain sound:

Financial benchmarking survey shows industry resilience

The New Zealand wine industry continues to show sound financial metrics in 2015 on the back of profitability in all but the smallest wineries and stable or increased gross margins across the board, according to the tenth annual financial benchmarking survey released today by Deloitte.

Vintage 2015 tracks the financial results of wineries accounting for nearly 40% of the industry’s total wine production by volume. Survey respondents have been categorised into bands according to revenue to assist comparison within the industry. . . 

Help cows chill out this summer:

With the current El Niño weather pattern bringing heatwave conditions to many parts of the country, it’s important to ensure cows avoid heat stress and closely monitor cow health.

As temperature and humidity levels rise this summer, farmers should take steps to ensure stock stay cool and where necessary put in place a plan help prevent facial eczema.

“These conditions also encourage facial eczema, so farmers are reminded to monitor spore levels in your area, talk to your vet and put in place a prevention plan to suit your farm situation.”

“When it comes to high temperatures this summer, put simply a cool cow is a happy cow,” says DairyNZ animal welfare team manager Chris Leach. . . 

Farmers looking for environmentally friendly solutions:

Despite recent bad press of a select few dairy farmers’ poor environmental practices, New Zealand farmers are showing an increasing interest in finding environmentally friendly farming solutions, according to Frizzell Agricultural Electronics General Manager Alastair Frizzell.

Frizzell have supplied farmers with solar powered water pump systems for the past five years and have noticed a steady increase in demand as farmers search for more sustainable ways to farm.

“We’re getting more and more calls from farmers who genuinely care about implementing sustainable farming practices,” Alastair said. . . 

How a huge dairy is solving a major pollution problem – Beth Kowitt:

Hint: The secret ingredient comes from cows.

Though city dwellers may not realize it, agriculture is a big source of carbon emissions. That’s because of livestock’s production of methane, how manure is handled, and soil management (something as simple as tilling the soil releases greenhouse gases). Dairy geniuses Mike and Sue McCloskey, partners in one of the country’s biggest dairy operations, have come up with an elegant approach to tackling several of these problems at once in the hopes of creating a zero-carbon footprint dairy farm. At the heart of the operation: a process that turns their dairies’ tons of cow manure into natural-gas fuel. Here’s how it works. . . 

 

 


Rural round-up

14/01/2016

Partnerships the key to China business models – Allan Barber:

It’s true of any marketing and distribution strategy, but China’s size and comparatively underdeveloped cold chain make this factor even more important for the successful development of agricultural business there.

With all export markets it is important for companies to analyse and select the preferred product type and form, business segment, geographic target area, and method of reaching the identified market. Market access and tariffs are other important considerations. When an export destination has been selected, a scattergun approach almost certainly won’t work, while a too narrowly defined market may be equally unsuccessful. . . 

Sprout Agribusiness Programme & Who Wants To Go Mobile Milking? – Milking on the Moove:

For the last 2 years I’ve been working full time to set up an experimental prototype dairy system. The plan has always been to “pave the way”so other people, like me can go farming even if they don’t have any land or very much money.

I believe it was Peter Brock who said “Bite off more than you can chew and then chew like crazy”.

That describes my last two years quite accurately.

Without going into all the details, I’ve learnt a lot over the last two years and now it’s time to crank things up and get this show on the road for real. . .

Novel idea helps rebuild South Island crayfish stocks  – Dave Gooselink:

A forestry company has taken on the job of rebuilding stocks of freshwater crayfish in the South.

The unusual combination came about as a way of finding other uses for the forests’ emergency fire ponds.

The freshwater crayfish known as koura are listed as a threatened species by the Department of Conservation. Now they’re getting a boost, thanks to an unusual project by forestry company Ernslaw One.

It came up with the idea of farming koura in their fire ponds, as a way of bringing in extra income between harvests. . . 

Bad to best: all because of steep slope innovations:

New Zealand forestry has gone from a bad performer to being one of the best, and John Stulen says this is because of the new innovations in steep slope harvesting.

In recent years, New Zealand forestry has faced massive hurdles in safety, especially on steep slopes. Too many accidents occurred because workers were facing too many risks in the workplace – it had to stop. However, leaders in the forest industry have stepped up to the challenge, hugely reducing the number of serious accidents.

“It’s no coincidence that forest workplaces have become safer,” says John Stulen, co-organizer of the Steep Slope Logging Conference. He says a completely new generation of hi-tech steep slope harvesters has made the forest workplace much safer for everyone working at the felling face. . . 

Rare sheep conditions unites industry:

A combination of rare conditions has tormented sheep farmers Hamish, Annabel, Alastair and Sue Craw on their Banks Peninsula farm Longridge Agriculture Ltd for the past 10 years.

Since 2004, the Craws have been dealing with a range of animal health issues that have yet to be explained. To start with, their sheep were wasting away with an extreme case of wearing teeth. In 2013 an extremely rare calcium deficiency was causing their lambs’ legs to fracture, and in 2015 milk fever issues also arose in their ewes.

Alastair Craw says in the beginning the situation was having a significant economic impact on the business, with the more productive animals faring the worst. . . 

T-shirt competition launched to celebrate 30yrs of sponsoring Young Farmers:

This year will be Ravensdown’s 30th year sponsoring the FMG Young Farmer of the Year. To celebrate the farmer owned cooperative is launching a national t-shirt competition.

Greg Campbell, Ravensdown Chief Executive says the key to any long standing sponsorship or business relationship is a mutual respect and interest.

“We’re thrilled to be celebrating such a big milestone with Young Farmers. We’ve been right behind them for such a long time because we believe in supporting the next generation of farmers who are the future of our industry.” . . 

A new generation beginning to take over the reins at Hunter’s:

One of the leading ladies of New Zealand wine, Jane Hunter says her Hunter’s winery is seeing a new generation of winemakers step up and take on key roles as Hunter’s approaches 30 years.

She says Hunter’s produces about 100,000 cases and export to 23 countries and this is her 29th year in the role of owner and managing director of Hunter’s.

“Things have certainly changed in Marlborough since I arrived here in 1983 to take up the role of Viticulturist for Montana Wines. . .


Rural round-up

29/07/2015

Warnings as evidence of El Niño looms – Ingrid Hipkiss:

MetService has issued a warning to farmers as evidence grows that a major El Niño event is underway.

It is marked by weather extremes, including very dry conditions.

The ingredients of an El Niño event have been there for a few months, bringing to New Zealand a colder-than-usual June and July. . .

Scale next step for koura industry – Sally Rae:

The concept has been proven and what Otago Southland’s fledgling freshwater crayfish, or koura, farming industry needs now is scale.

Keewai is the brand of a business that stemmed from forestry company Ernslaw One’s decision to diversify into freshwater crayfish farming.

The company has been utilising fire ponds in its forests, spread throughout Otago and Southland, to provide an additional revenue stream. . .

Rural Family Support Trust busy all the time – Jill Galloway:

Chairwoman of the Manawatu/Rangitikei Rural Family Support Trust Dame Margaret Millard says the phone rang so much during a recent day she didn’t get time to eat. They were calls for help.

The trust has been busy asissting farmers and rural businesses. 

Millard says there are more rural suicides than quad bike deaths in a year.

Farmers worry about finances, the family and work on the farm.  That’s what they go to the trust about.

The rural support trust started in 1984.  They were the days of Rogernomics and farming changed, putting pressure on rural people. . .

Food for thought at horticulture conference:

A key note speaker at the national horticulture conference in Rotorua today has given fruit and vegetable growers some serious food for thought.

Canberra-based science writer and author Julian Cribb told the conference modern food production was devouring a vast amount of the world’s resources and was unsustainble.

“Every meal that you or I or anybody on earth eats costs the planet 10 kilos of top soil, so that’s a bucket of top soil, 800 litres of water, so it’s like a ute load of water, 1.3 litres of diesel fuel, and a third of a gram of pesticide,” he said. . .

Calf reading seminar abuzz:

More than 40 people attended the seminar, where Seales Winslow nutritionist Wendy Morgan spoke on getting the important aspects of calf rearing correct, from housing, hygiene, colostrum intake window and the essentials of the feeding regime, through to weaning, incorporating growing to target dates and weights.

Vet and calf rearing ”guru” Nicola Neal outlined all the problems that could be faced in the calf shed and how to identify and deal with them quickly, while Susan McEwan shared tips from her large scale bull and heifer calf rearing system. . .

Summary – Survey of Cereal Areas and Volumes – JULY 1, 2015:

The objective of this AIMI survey of growers was to determine, as at July 1, 2015:

• the final size of the 2015 harvest of wheat, barley and oats

• sales channels and levels of on-farm storage, both sold and unsold, of the 2015 harvest

• autumn sowings of wheat, barley and oats, and sowing intentions for the spring of 2015 . .

 


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