Rural round-up

November 22, 2016

Environment group goes to court to protect Mackenzie Country:

The Environmental Defence Society (EDS) has filed court proceedings to try to stop land conversions in the Mackenzie Country.

The group is arguing at the Environment Court that conversion from arid grassland to irrigated pasture is happening without the proper approval from the Mackenzie District Council, and the authority is not doing anything about it.

It is also worried at the level of water consents for pivot irrigators being issued by the regional council, Environment Canterbury.

EDS chief executive Gary Taylor said tens of thousands of hectares of the Mackenzie Basin was being destroyed and transformed by irrigation at a very rapid rate. . . 

Offers of Help and Cash Flow In For Quake Hit Farmers:

 

A week out from the 7.8 earthquake, offers of help logged with the Federated Farmers 0800 FARMING line have topped 300.

The Feds have also had teams on the ground and in the air reaching out to farms at the end of long and winding roads all over North Canterbury and Marlborough, checking how they fared and what they need.

The national farming organisation’s Adverse Events Trust Fund was reactivated mid-week and more than $21,000 has been received. One $10,000 donation came from a farmer keen to help South Island counterparts with emergency supplies, farm equipment, essential tools and materials. . . 

30,000 Bees Among Those Rescued by the NZDF:

If calamity struck and you had to flee your home, what would you take?

One of the estimated 900 Kaikoura residents rescued by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) from the quake-damaged seaside town carried his most valuable possession: about 30,000 bees.

“Many people took what they could fit into a suitcase or two – the things closest to their hearts. One of the evacuees just could not leave his bees behind,” Commander (CDR) Simon Rooke, the Commanding Officer of amphibious sealift vessel HMNZS Canterbury, said.

“The ship does a meticulous count of everything we bring on board as a matter of course. Last Saturday, we evacuated 192 people together with 2.3 tonnes of baggage, one cat, 14 dogs and about 30,000 bees – they were one thing we didn’t count exactly. . . 

Temporary fishery closures around Kaikoura:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced a temporary closure of shellfish and seaweed harvesting along the earthquake-affected east coast of the South Island, and a $2 million package to investigate the impact of the earthquakes on these fisheries.

“There will be an initial one month closure of the crayfish fishery and three months for all remaining shellfish and seaweed species,” says Mr Guy.

“The earthquakes have had a devastating impact on the coastline, raising it by up to four metres in places in an area nearly 100 kilometres long. There has been major mortality for paua and some crayfish in this area and there are concerns about the loss of habitat and what that might mean for breeding. . . 

Fruit fly stopped at the border:

Ministry for Primary Industries staff have intercepted four Queensland fruit fly larvae at Wellington airport, stopping the dangerous pest from making a home in New Zealand.

The larvae were found earlier this month in an undeclared mandarin carried by an Australian passenger arriving from Melbourne. They have since been confirmed as Queensland fruit fly – regarded as one of the worst horticultural pests in the world. . . .

Warm, wet and worrying for facial eczema:

With NIWA’s seasonal weather outlook through to December signalling warm, wet conditions across the North Island, farmers are being encouraged to include preventive measures against facial eczema in their summer farm management plans.

Above average temperatures and rainfall are ideal conditions for the fungus which causes facial eczema to thrive. Spore production occurs when soil temperatures exceed 12 degrees for three consecutive nights and soil moisture is favourable or air conditions are humid.

“After reduced milk production through the spring, the last thing farmers need is another potential brake on it as summer progresses. Prevention is the best approach and starting early with zinc supplementation is a good tactic to get the best protection,” says SealesWinslow Science Extension Officer, Natalie Hughes. . . 

Farm-gate milk prices lift producer prices:

Business Price Indexes: September 2016 quarter

In the September 2016 quarter, producer output prices rose 1 percent, and producer input prices rose 1.5 percent.

The prices received by dairy cattle farmers (up 28 percent) and paid by dairy product manufacturers (up 22 percent) were key influences to the increase

“Higher farm-gate milk prices contributed to the September 2016 quarter rises,’’ business prices manager Sarah Williams said. . . 

Church Road Winery’s Chris Scott named New Zealand Winemaker of the Year

Church Road Winery’s winemaker Chris Scott has been named New Zealand Winemaker of the Year 2016 by Winestate Magazine for the second time in four years, having also taken out this sought-after title in 2013.

A trophy duo was awarded to Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2014 with the Syrah/Shiraz of the Year Trophy and New Zealand Wine of the Year Trophy for this stunning wine.

Chris has been crafting award-winning wines for sixteen years at Church Road Winery in Hawke’s Bay with the support of an outstanding viticulture and winemaking team, and he has a passion for Chardonnay and red blend winemaking, a dedication to his craft and a commitment to quality wine-making. . . 


Rural round-up

April 27, 2014

‘Incredibly high’ NZ land prices divert Aquila to Australia – Agrimoney:

The “incredibly high” prices of New Zealand dairy farms have prompted Aquila Capital to switch its investment drive to Australia, where the dairy sector offers “the best risk-adjusted returns in global agriculture”.

The alterative asset manager, which in all sectors has assets approaching $10bn, said it was in agriculture keeping dairy as its priority investment area, citing the support to the market from strong growth in Asian consumption.

“[This] might lead to a potential demand overhang for dairy products of as much as 5bn litres by 2020,” said Detlef Schoen, head of farm investments at German-based Aquila, citing analysis of OECD data. . . .

Opinion: New Zealand dairy investment isn’t such a bad bet – Agrimoney:

I was most interested in the comments by Aquila on Agrimoney.com comparing returns from Australian and New Zealand dairy farms.

Aquila made some interesting points in favour of Australia. However, I believe that New Zealand remains the better target for investment.

Land price comparatives

Land prices – whether one country’s land prices are higher or lower than another country’s is neither here nor there. It is the current and expected long term sustainable economic returns that matter and on this basis New Zealand dairy land prices quite justifiably need to be higher than Australia’s. . . .

Environmental pressure threat to pasture farming – Gerry Eckhoff :

The publication of passionate articles extolling the virtues of a given system or company needs to be tempered with a dose of reality.

One such article was by Leonie Guiney, under the headline “We abandon pasture farming at our peril – returning farmer” (FW, February 24).

I would agree with the sentiment expressed, but the real reason for the move to herd homes and/or the emotive factory farming of dairy cows – environmental pressure – was not even mentioned by Ms Guiney.

One of the major causes is so well known but is almost impossible to fix.

That is the urine patch, which deposits the equivalent of 1000 kilograms a hectare. . .

Export lamb prices offset fall in volume – Alan Williams:

Higher export lamb values have more than offset a fall in volume in the first half of the trading year, with prices continuing to rise.

The average value per tonne of product rose 14% over the six months to March 31, compared with a near 9% lift in the first three months ended December 31, Beef + Lamb New Zealand data show.

Mutton average values also rose 14% over the period, building on a 5% lift in the first three months.

“What we’re seeing is an increase in value, growing faster as time went on,” B+LNZ chief economist Andrew Burtt said.

Despite the relatively high NZ dollar, the “macro” economic environment was favourable and the outlook for prices still strong, he said. . . .

No confidence vote for straw in dairy cows – Sue O’Dowd:

Dairy farmers who add straw to their cows’ diet would be better off taking up yachting, says a rumen specialist.

Lincoln University expert Jim Gibbs spoke to about 100 farmers at DairyNZ’s FeedRight roadshow at the Westpac Taranaki Agricultural Research Station (WTARS) at Hawera last week.

Gibbs said adding straw to a pasture-based diet was a waste of money. Not one study showed an increase in milk production when straw was added.

“You’re replacing something that has an ME (metabolisable energy) of 12 with one that has an ME of 6 or 8. You’ll see either a loss of production or no change. . .

North Island-wide facial eczema warning – Gerald Piddock:

North Island farmers have been warned to check their stock for signs of facial eczema following a sharp jump in spore numbers from the fungus that causes this disease among livestock.

The disease is caused by spores from the fungus Pithomyces chartarum, which live in pasture and produce a spore containing a toxin that causes liver and bile-duct damage to livestock when eaten.

The high spore counts were the result of high soil temperatures and recent wet weather, AsureQuality facial eczema monitoring co-ordinator Leo Cooney said.

”There is a combination there that is a recipe for disaster.” . . .

Love transcends language bar – Charlotte Squire:

A Mongolian and Kiwi couple living in Golden Bay have literally created their own love language.

Golden Bay born Zoe Leetch met her future husband Enkhnasan Chuluunbaatar in 2008 on a Mongolian goldmine on the northern edge of the Gobi Desert. The pair, who then worked together on the mine, taught each other English and Mongolian, and eventually created their own unique language blend of the two languages.

These days they live in Golden Bay with their young son Tushinbayar Enkhnasan. Enkhnasan, who is known as Nasa, is now a busy sheep shearer, who came second in the intermediate section of the Golden Bay A&P Show sheep shearing champs. It took some time for Nasa, who grew up in a family of nomadic herders, to become a Kiwi sheep shearer. . .


Rural round-up

January 7, 2014

 Green light for kiwifruit boosts orchard sales – Carmen Hall:

Record forecast prices for green kiwifruit have driven up horticulture property sales in the Western Bay of Plenty.

Tauranga PGG Wrightson Real Estate salesman Stan Robb says confidence in the industry is rebounding.

Values for well-located green kiwifruit orchards increased 30 per cent in the past six months and by 100 per cent since spring last year, he said.

“Even at the present benchmark price of $230,000 per canopy hectare, a 15 per cent return on investment appears achievable with a high-producing green kiwifruit orchard. . .

 It’s summer: Beware cruel stock disease – Carmen Hall:

Facial eczema is not a problem in the Bay of Plenty at the moment but farmers are advised to check stock for any outbreaks over summer.

Bay of Plenty Federated Farmers’ provisional president, Rick Powdrell, says it is a production killer and one of the nastiest diseases stock can get.

From an animal welfare perspective, it’s one of the cruellest stock can suffer from, he says.

Dairy and beef cattle, sheep, deer and goats are susceptible to facial eczema.

It attacks the liver and is picked up by animals ingesting fungal spores from the pasture. . .

Electronic Tongues Measure Grape Ripeness:

Electronic tongues can become an ally of grape growers as they offer detailed information on the degree of grape maturity and this could improve competitiveness. The study has been carried out by researchers at the Universitat Politècnica de València, in collaboration with Valencia winery Torre Oria.

The conclusions of this work have been published in the journal Food Research International.

In the study, researchers applied electronic tongues developed in his lab to measure the maturity of eight different types of grapes (Macabeo, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shyrah, Merlot and Bobal) in several locations of vineyards of Utiel and Requena (Valencia) and observed a good correlation between the response of the tongue and parameters analysed in traditional tests: the acidity of the fruit and its amount of sugar. . . .

Sheep and wool – year in review – Cara Jeffery & Dannika Bonser:

BACKFLIPS and sidesteps were made by the Sheepmeat Council of Australia (SCA) and Wool Producers Australia (WPA) prior to the introduction of the mandatory Sheep Health Statement (SHS) in July.

It was part of the national plan to tackle Ovine Johnes Disease (OJD), with the new document encouraging farmers to take ownership of their individual management plans and create regional biosecurity areas.

Following backlash from the public consultation period in January, the document was simplified and slim-lined, and now features several ‘yes/no’ questions and a comments section for additional information. . . .

Sheep and wool in review part 2 –  Cara Jeffery & Dannika Bonser:

ONE of the most talked about issues in sheep circles this year was the Uardry stud naming rights.

Dubbo Merino breeders Graham and Susan Coddington, purchased the Uardry stud trademark and intellectual property from Tom Brinkworth, who purchased the Uardry property last year, however, Mr Brinkworth failed to transfer the registration of the stud to his name.

This is where the waters get muddied; the Coddington’s were given approval in June from the NSW Stud Merino Breeders’ Association to use the Uardry stud trademark they had purchased.

However, this decision was controversially overturned by Australia Association of Stud Merino Breeders (AASMB) in July. . . .

Sheep and wool in review part 3 – Cara Jeffery & Dannika Bonser:

ITALIAN luxury apparel giant Ermenegildo Zegna marked its 50th anniversary of the Zegna wool trophies in Australia in April.

The Zegna Group headed up by company chairman Count Paolo Zegna flew in more than 200 fashion and lifestyle journalists from the northern hemisphere for the event in an effort to showcase superfine woolgrowing operations to the world.

The contingent visited superfine properties in the New England and capped off their visit with a gala event in Sydney attended by 1000 people.

Count Paolo’s message: “Don’t treat wool as a commodity. Wool is not a commodity, wool is a very precious fibre”. . . .

A record year for lamb export:

LAMB exports reached a record high last year as combined totals climbed 13 per cent on the previous year, according to Meat and Livestock Australia.

Driven by 12 months of elevated lamb turnoff, combined with strong international demand, total Australian lamb exports surpassed 200,000 tonnes in 2013, reaching a record 213,715 tonnes swt.

This total was up 25,097 tonnes (13pc) on the previous record set in 2012, and was topped off by the second largest monthly export volume on record in December, at 20,250 tonnes swt, up 23pc year-on-year.

In 2013, the Middle East was Australia’s largest lamb export market, totalling 59,752 tonnes swt, up 15pc, or 7940 tonnes year-on-year – accounting for 28pc of total Australian lamb exports. . .


Rural round-up

December 20, 2012

Dead cows suffered urea poisoning:

The deaths of a 120 cows on a south Taranaki farm was a large-scale, one-off accident, caused by urea poisoning, a vet has confirmed.

The cows, which made up about a quarter of the farmers’ herd, died suddenly earlier this month, after their water troughs had been topped up using a portable tank.

Within 30 minutes, cows began falling to the ground. Vets were called immediately, but there was little they could do as some of the cows died quickly.

Taranaki Veterinary Centre chief executive Stephen Hopkinson says the cows suffered urea poisoning.

He told NZ Newswire the portable tank used to fill up the water troughs had also been used to spray pastures with urea.

Though it was rinsed in between uses, there was still enough urea left in the bottom of the tank to poison the cows. . .

Smedley Station invites Lincoln University to join them in producing the ‘very best future farmers’:

North Island-based Smedley Station and Cadet Training Farm has initiated a partnership agreement with Lincoln University to form a unique on-farm education and training offering for young farmers.
 
Smedley Station is located in the central Hawkes Bay, 40kms west of Waipukurau, and the 5,000ha (30,000 stock unit) property offers two-year, intensive on-farm training and experience for 22 cadets.   Smedley’s Board Chairman, Pat Portas, is delighted that the two like-minded training institutions have formed a partnership to work together: “Smedley’s vision is ‘developing the very best future farmers’.  For an individual to become one of the best farmers they need to have a well-rounded education, including both practical work and theory.   Smedley Station has traditionally been providing excellent on-farm practical training and the partnership with Lincoln University will now enable the delivery of the best land-based theory New Zealand has to offer.  Our cadets will finish their time here with all-round practical skills and having had the potential to study right through to Level 5 with the University”. . . 

Foresters growing less pruned wood:

Forest owners are moving away from production of pruned logs, says the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

MPI has released the 2012 annual National Exotic Forestry Description (NEFD) report, which gives a snapshot of the area and make-up of New Zealand’s planted production forests. . .

Stay safe on the farm this summer:

On average, 850 people each year are injured riding quad bikes on farms. Five die.

It is because of these unacceptable statistics that Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment inspectors will visit farms this summer to ensure key quad bike safety steps are recognised and understood.

Rural Women New Zealand joins the Ministry in urging farmers and their families to take extra care on the farm over summer, particularly when it comes to quad bike safety.

As it gets closer to the holiday season the pace of work picks up and more tasks are fitted into the longer days. . .

Canterbury Earthquake Awards recognises the Farmy Army

Key members of Federated Farmers’ Farmy Army were recognised last evening at the Canterbury Earthquake Awards.

“The individual recognition received was a well deserved tribute for their selfless contribution and commitment,” says John Hartnell, Federated Farmers Bees Chairperson and ‘Generalissimo’ of Federated Farmers’ Farmy Army.

“The five ‘Farmy Army’ people recognised last night accepted their awards really on behalf of the thousands who pitched in to help Christchurch. . .

Prevention best protection for facial eczema risk:

Reports that farm revenue is not matching increases to input costs mean farmers need to be acutely focused on maximising production.

Altum Animal Nutrition Manager Jackie Aveling says warmer temperatures and higher humidity are a sign that summer is finally here, but they also signal the potential for facial eczema.

“Dairy and beef cattle, sheep, deer and goats are all susceptible. For dairy farmers in particular, facial eczema can put a real brake on production when they are aiming to make the most of reasonable growing conditions at a time when peak production can taper off,” says Mrs Aveling. . .

Marlborough Sounds Blue Cod Fishery Opening For Summer:

The Ministry for Primary Industries is calling on recreational fishers to know the rules when they go fishing for blue cod in Marlborough this summer.

District Compliance Manager Manager Ian Bright said Fishery Officers would be out and about making sure recreational fishers follow the rules. . .

And from World Angus Forum:

angus


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