Rural round-up

July 14, 2014

Help sought for flooded farms:

Northland Rural Support Trust has put out a call for emergency grazing and feed supplies for farmers whose land is under water after the past week’s storm and prolonged rainfall.

Trust co-ordinator Julie Jonker said the flood prone Hikurangi Swamp area, north of Whangarei, has been one of the worst affected.

“We’ve got up to 30 farms flooded in the Hikurangi Swamp area, we’ve got nine at least flooded further down in Tangiteroria, and even those that aren’t actually flooded are still cut off”, she said. . .

Greens’ water policy unrealistic:

Irrigation New Zealand (INZ) thinks that there is some merit in the Green Party’s environmental policy relating to water announced today, but is concerned about the economic and social impacts of the policy and about how the Green Party will achieve its outcomes.

INZ agrees that dams must not be built on New Zealand’s pristine rivers and where possible new dams should be located off-river. It also agrees that ‘no go’ areas should be identified.

But INZ does not agree that dams and irrigation destroy rivers or add to pollution if they are designed and constructed properly.

“The reality is that New Zealand needs large scale water storage. This is essential for town and city drinking water supplies, as well as to produce fresh food,” says Andrew Curtis, chief executive of INZ.. .

Green’s need to get on the water policy bus:

Instead of attacking policy that will massively improve New Zealand water quality, Federated Farmers says the Green Party would be more credible if it showed a lot more bipartisan leadership in supporting that policy.

“The new National Policy Statement (NPS) of Freshwater, actually requires regional councils to maintain or improve water quality while giving the wider community the choice of how far they want to go in order to improve our lakes and rivers,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Environment spokesperson.

“If the community wants to ensure that certain rivers and lakes are safe for swimming that is supported within the NPS.  But the NPS also requires they be fully informed as to the effect upon jobs, rates and their local economy, when making that choice.

“To leap into swimming as the gold standard for all, without some sort of exceptions regime, will likely cost urban ratepayers massively in the pocket. . .

Fonterra cheese jewel on target – Esther Ashby-Coventry:

The $73 million expansion of the Fonterra mozzarella factory at Clandeboye near Timaru is on track to go online in August 2015.

More than 360 contractors and tradespeople have been working on the project this off-season, with the majority from local companies. Most of the construction materials were bought within New Zealand and the rest manufactured offshore. At any one time there are between 75 and 100 people on the project.

More than 25 new staff members will be required for the factory once it is complete. They are being employed in staggered groups to begin their training. . .

Where is PGG Wrightson heading? –  Keith Woodford:

The last decade has been tumultuous for leading agricultural services company PGG Wrightson. The current company was formed in 2005 with the merger of Pyne Gould Guinness and Wrightson. That merger was led by well-known agribusiness entrepreneur and former Fonterra CEO, Craig Norgate,

Norgate then took PGG Wrightson on a rough ride. It was he who provided the intellectual leadership behind the massive land buying associated with the PGG Wrightson offshoot Farming Systems Uruguay. This subsequently ran into trouble with the coalescence of a major drought and the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. Norgate also led the proposal for PGG Wrightson to purchase a 50% share in Silver Fern Farms for $220 million. That too ran into trouble due to the Global Financial Crisis. . . .

NZ butchers defend tri-nations title

New Zealand’s Sharp Blacks have defended their tri-nations butchers title against Australia and the United Kingdom.

The team of six Kiwis battled the Brits and Aussies over two hours at the Royal Yorkshire Show in Harrogate as they turned a side of beef and a whole lamb into 50 products fit for a top shelf butcher’s display.

New Zealand won the tri-nations on home slabs at Wanaka last year and captain Corey Winder, from Christchurch, says winning gold on the other side of the world has been a career highlight. . . 

Japan deal opens FDI money flow – Tony Boyd:

ONE of the least understood aspects of the Australia-Japan trade agreement signed this week is the profound change it will bring to foreign direct investment (FDI) into Australia.

The agreement lifts the screening threshold at which private Japanese investment in non-sensitive sectors is considered by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) from $248 million to $1 billion.

Japanese takeovers in excess of $250 million have never caused a problem for the FIRB and there have been plenty of those over the past 10 years. Nevertheless, the free trade agreement has reserved policy space to screen proposals for investment in agricultural land and agribusinesses at lower levels than $1 billion. . .

New Zealand bra fence braless again:

A fence with hundreds of bras tied to it in Central Otago is looking a bit bare.

Hundreds of bras were cut from the controversial Cardrona Valley bra fence about four or five days ago, Cardrona Residents and Ratepayers Association chairman Barrie Morgan told NZ Newswire.

The whimsical fence has existed for about 14 years and has become a popular tourist attraction but some locals regard it as an eyesore and traffic hazard.

The council took it down in 2006 but it was revived a short time later. Bras were mysteriously removed in 2013. . .


Rural round-up

January 25, 2014

Farm sales up, confidence strong – Laura Walters:

The number of farm sales rose by more than 20 per cent last year, reflecting strong confidence in the rural sector, the Real Estate Institute says.

More than 1700 farms were sold in 2013, the largest number of sales a year since 2009.

Figures released by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) today showed 292 more farms were sold in the three months to December compared to the same period the previous year, an increase of 20.1 per cent.

Overall, there were 554 farm sales in the three months to the end of December 2013, compared to 414 farm sales for the three months ended November 2013, an increase of 33.8 per cent. . .

Good, not spectacular, arable harvest ahead – Annette Scott:

Crops are looking good but the harvest is not going to be a “bin buster”, industry leaders say.

As the combines roll out many farmers, particularly in Mid Canterbury, are counting the losses after wind and hail played havoc with crops in recent months.

All on top of a wet winter that has created more disease than usual.

“We are really just getting started with the harvest,” Mid Canterbury arable farmer and Federated Farmers South Island grain and seed vice-chairman David Clark said.

“So far the vining peas have been quite disappointing. Autumn cereals, having endured some very wet weather, are not expected to be too exciting. Some ryegrasses have been good and some, due to a variety of ills, quite disappointing. . .

Farmers act as water guardians

Farmers have been helping Environment Canterbury by providing practical onfarm knowledge and expertise on water quality.

They are members of the Guardians of Fork/Hakatere Stream.

The group was in the process of completing a funding application to help develop and restore an area of land adjacent to the stream.

This would include an educational amenity with green space and interpretive panels next to the stream on Braemar Road. . .

Apple exports a sweet success – Esther Ashby-Coventry:

The growing American demand for the honeycrisp apple has prompted Waipopo Orchards to encourage other local growers to join its export market.

Honeycrisp out-earns any other export apple grown in New Zealand. In the US it sells for about US$50 (NZ$61) a box, compared with other varieties, which are about US$20 a box.

Honeycrisp is the most popular apple in the US, with demand increasing 20 to 30 per cent each year since Waipopo’s first export of 50 tonnes in 2011.

Waipopo co-director Peter Bennett said that along with growers in Central Otago a total of 1300 tonnes, which was double the volume shipped in 2013, would be exported this year. Waipopo will produce about 1100 tonnes, which is 85 per cent of the market. . . .

Missing foal feared stolen – Nicole Mathewson:

A Central Otago couple are baffled after their foal disappeared. 

Horse trainers Bill and Rosanne Keeler were shocked to find their three-week striking black colt was missing from its paddock on January 15.

Bill Keeler said he believed the male foal went missing about two days earlier, because his mother’s milk had already dried up.

The paddock – located in Millers Flat, just south of Roxburgh – was surrounded by high fencing and there were no holes it could have escaped through. None of the other horses in the paddock had disappeared. 

”I find the chances of it being stolen are pretty minimal, but the chances are even more minimal of it disappearing by itself through two paddocks surrounded by deer fencing,” Keeler said. . . .

Hawke’s Bay iwi want Mayor’s resignation – Adam Ray:

A Hawke’s Bay Iwi says local Mayor Peter Butler should resign after suggesting their opposition to a proposed dam means they should be banned from any jobs it creates.

Mr Butler singled out the chair of Ngati Kahungunu for criticism in an email to other councillors.

He says parched pastures will be transformed with irrigation from the proposed Ruataniwha Dam.

“We’re sick of the negativity of the people trying to stop the dam,” he says.  

Among those in his sights are local iwi Ngati Kahungunu and its chair Ngahiwi Tomoana. . .

 


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