Rural round-up

April 13, 2017

Stockmanship and work ethic leads family to win Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

East Otago sheep and beef farmers Simon and Kirstin Engelbrecht have won the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The win was announced at a gala dinner at the Glenroy Auditorium in Dunedin on April 7.

The Engelbrechts also won the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Award and the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award.

The Engelbrecht’s 7500 stock unit East Otago sheep and beef business is based on their 611ha home farm, Stoneburn, near Palmerston. The couple have four children, Oscar, 19, Sam, 16, Anna, 14 and Charles, 12. . . 

Aim tech at firms not farmers – Richard Rennie:

As the internet of things (IoT) becomes more of a reality for New Zealand farmers its success might lie in promoting it harder to farm service businesses than to farmers themselves.

KotahiNet chief executive Vikream Kumar tipped the usual pitch for farmers to adopt the IoT on its head to delegates at the MobileTech conference in Rotorua.

His company specialised in connecting businesses with sensors and wireless networks that enabled devices to communicate within businesses and beyond, including farms, orchards and processing operations. . . 

Tauranga animal health CEO finalist for Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year:

A Tauranga woman described as “successful yet so down to earth” is in the running to take out the 2017 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year Award.

A qualified veterinarian, Dr Claire Nicholson is the Chief Executive of Sirona Animal Health, a company she set up to develop and promote unique products that address current areas of economic loss in the dairy and sheep and beef industries.

She’s also a director of Paraninihi Ki Waitotara (PKW), past associate director for AgResearch and has worked with Massey University researching the epidemiology and economic cost of Neospora. Her family farms are in Gropers Bush, Southland. . .

Regions win battle to keep GE-free status but confusion remains – Gerard Hutching:

Lobby group Pure Hawke’s Bay is claiming victory in its fight to be free of genetically modified fruit and vegetables, but Federated Farmers describes the new situation as “a mess”.

Pure Hawke’s Bay feared Environment Minister Nick Smith would remove the powers for local and regional councils to declare themselves GE-free when the Government pushed through the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill this week.

However, in last minute changes, Smith amended the Bill so the minister could not refuse councils the right to become GE-free – but only for crops, which he defined as cereals, vegetables or fruit.

Smith’s definition did not include GE grasses, trees or livestock. . . 

New ground broken on rural fibre:

Federated Farmers has successfully negotiated a significant benefit for rural property owners who allow telecommunications fibre to cross their land.

The Telecommunications (Property Access and Other Matters) Amendment Act, which was passed by the Parliament this afternoon, facilitates the installation of fibre optic cable along overhead electricity lines. It includes a unique provision that provides a quid pro quo to landowners whose land the lines network crosses, Federated Farmers communications spokesperson Anders Crofoot says.

In exchange for the right to string high-speed fibre along existing overhead powerlines, the amendment act guarantees fibre connections to farmers whose land is crossed. . . 

New Zealand mānuka honey science definition:

Food Safety Minister David Bennett has welcomed the Ministry for Primary Industries’ release of a proposed scientific definition for mānuka honey produced in New Zealand.

“Overseas regulators and consumers have expressed a desire for an independent, Government-backed definition to safeguard the authenticity of mānuka honey products.

“This Government-backed definition will provide an important starting point for the industry to promote New Zealand mānuka honey in world markets,” Mr Bennett says. . . 

Government science definition of mānuka honey an important step forward:

The industry organisation for the honey and beekeeping industry, Apiculture New Zealand, is pleased the Ministry for Primary Industries has released its proposed science definition of mānuka honey for industry review and consultation.

“The introduction of a regulatory science definition is a major milestone in the history of the mānuka honey industry. It is a relatively young industry growing very rapidly and with huge potential.

“We signalled our willingness to work with MPI to ensure its proposed science definition is robust in meeting shared objectives around consumer confidence and authenticity, and will be making a detailed submission on behalf of industry,” says Karin Kos, Chief Executive of Apiculture NZ. . . 

Foreign Wine Looking for Greater US Market Penetration:

The US wine market continues to represent an attractive opportunity for many foreign wine companies, according to the Rabobank Wine Quarterly Q2 2017. However, increasing competition and ongoing wholesaler consolidation, among other factors, make it increasingly difficult for small wineries to penetrate, with a particular complexity for foreign wineries. An increasing number are seeking alternative structures and strategies to deliver greater penetration in the market. Each strategy has the potential to achieve success, but also carries risks and pitfalls.

While the US market has attributes that make it attractive to many foreign wineries, it is also a crowded, complex, and daunting market. The traditional approach for foreign wineries looking to enter the US market has been to identify an appropriate importer, and to work the market with the importer and/or distributors to sell their product.. . .

More evidence that the key to allergy-free kids is giving them plenty of dirt — and cows – Rachel Feltman:

People who grow up on farms — especially dairy farms — have way fewer allergy and asthma problems than the rest of us. Now one research team thinks they’ve brought science closer to understanding why.

In a study published Thursday in Science, researchers report that they were able to pinpoint one possible mechanism for the allergy protection in mice they studied. Surprisingly, the protein that they fingered as the likely allergy-preventer doesn’t actually affect the immune system — it affects the structural cells that make up the lining of the lung.

The research is related to something called the hygiene hypothesis, where a lack of exposure to microbes as a tyke leads to more allergy and asthma. . . 

 


Rural round-up

April 4, 2017

New research will help address rural communities’ health and wellbeing:

New research on farm-related suicide and the factors behind it is a progressive step and will enable a more concerted focus on reducing rates, says Federated Farmers.

The study by Dr Annette Beautrais was conducted on behalf of the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand and funded by AgResearch.

As inaugural members of RHANZ, Federated Farmers has advocated for many years for an increased awareness on addressing issues related to rural health and wellbeing.

In her findings, Dr Beautrais reveals that general farm workers and males are the most vulnerable and more likely to take their own life. . . 

Zespri calls in police over cross-border kiwifruit transfer – Paul McBeth

 (BusinessDesk) – Zespri International has called in police to investigate the transfer of Gold3 and Gold9 kiwifruit varieties into China that may have been done illegally.

Last year the Mount Maunganui-based international fruit marketer started investigating reports that a kiwifruit licence had been sold to a third party, breaching the terms limiting transfers within a country, and it passed on that evidence to police in December which is investigating, it said in a statement.

“The purported sale of a licence from one jurisdiction to another by a third party is a breach of Zespri’s licences and plant variety rights, and potentially could give rise to allegations of fraud or misleading conduct,” Zespri said. “In this case, Zespri suspects . . 

Primary sector women funded to step up:

Government investment in developing and supporting women to create sustainable prosperity in the primary sector and regional communities has been welcomed by the organisation that is growing the leadership, governance and business skills of women in the sector.

The Agri-Women’s Development Trust (AWDT) has received $289,000 from the Government’s Sustainable Farming Fund to extend its work to three groups of women who have been identified as part of the key to sustainable primary industry growth.

The two-year project will see AWDT research, design and deliver pilot programmes for younger women who are entering primary sector careers, Māori women in the regions, and women who have had careers outside of primary industries whose expertise was of value. . . 

More RMA stress and cost for farmers in Horizons region:

Federated Farmers is deeply disappointed by a legal decision which suggests the Horizons Regional Council has not implemented the One Plan correctly and environmental gains are not being made.

The court decision announced today is now being carefully reviewed by Feds, so we can begin to understand the on-the-ground implications for our member farmers.

Federated Farmers Manawatu/Rangitikei provincial president James Stewart says we have to remember the enormous amount of good work and investment undertaken by farmers across the region to comply with the ‘One Plan’ regulations and that the plan’s objectives are being achieved.

“The council has worked very hard to implement a One Plan that’s workable and that does not put farmers out of business and improves water quality as needed. . . 

Research provides new guidance for West Coast farmers on pests:

AgResearch scientists are set to present new guidance to West Coast farmers on dealing with some of the region’s worst pests after years of in-depth research alongside locals.

Over the past three years farmers in the West Coast Pest Management Group have taken part in a project funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Farming Fund to improve the understanding of pests that threaten pastures.

“This research is about providing farmers on the South Island’s West Coast with the tools to tackle these pests, before the long-term damage is done to their pastures and bottom lines,” says AgResearch Senior Scientist Sarah Mansfield. . . 

New Zealand farming couple grow record-breaking wheat crop:

Huge crop confirmed by Guinness World Records

• Bayer and Yara play key role

• Increasing yields key focus

Ashburton farmers Eric and Maxine Watson have entered the renowned book of Guinness World Records after producing the world’s highest yielding crop of wheat.

The couple produced a staggering 16.791 tonnes per hectare, beating the previous record of 16.519 tonnes held for two years by a UK farmer.

On average, irrigated wheat yields in New Zealand are around 12 tonnes per hectare, demonstrating how remarkable the new record is. . . 

Successful meeting with Lithuanian Agricultural Minister:

New Zealand Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Lithuanian Agriculture Minister Bronius Markauskas met on Monday in Vilnius, Lithuania to discuss a range of agricultural issues in each country. 

“Clearly, there are many similarities between our countries, including the role of dairy in our respective economies,” says Mr Guy. 

“New Zealand is an example for Lithuania,” says Lithuanian Minister of Agriculture B. Markauskas

“We are quite similar – in both countries the dairy industry and agriculture in general play a huge role. I was in New Zealand previously and I was impressed by the great atmosphere and the relationship between the government and farmers, as well as the country’s agricultural potential. . . 

  Fonterra makes a splash at China’s food ingredients show:

Fonterra’s NZMP dairy ingredients business has made a splash at China’s largest food ingredients trade show in Shanghai, launching three dairy ingredients and bringing New Zealand’s dairy story to life for customers through a 360° immersive virtual reality experience.

One of the world’s foremost food ingredients events, the three-day Food Ingredients China 2017 event attracted more than 100,000 customers from all over the world.

Fonterra announced the launch of NZMP Gold Whole Milk Powder for UHT, NZMP Tasty Cheese Powder and NZMP Butter Concentrate products at the event. . .

 

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If you think it’s expensive to hire a quality farmers, just wait until you hire a crappy one.


Rural round-up

March 24, 2017

Rabbit virus setback ‘bureaucratic nonsense’ – Alexa Cook:

Canterbury’s regional council knew three weeks ago it could not release a much-anticipated rabbit virus this autumn.

It was not until yesterday Environment Canterbury (ECan) set a new release date of March 2018, saying “more work was needed to get the necessary approvals”.

Federated Farmers said it was disappointed by the setback. Farmers would have to rely on poisons yet again.

Its Otago president, Phill Hunt, said he spent about $15,000 a year controlling rabbits on his sheep and byeef farm near Queenstown. . .

British farmers want lamb deal with kiwis  – Colin Ley:

The idea of Britain and New Zealand working together to promote a complementary fresh lamb offer, with seasonality being used to stimulate demand, was discussed during a recent meeting between English and Welsh farming leaders and delegates from the kiwi meat industry.

A similar plea for closer co-operation between NZ and United Kingdom lamb producers, including on pricing levels, was also voiced to Farmers Weekly by north of England sheep sector leader, Richard Findlay. . . 

Quake hit farmers face winter in damaged homes – Maja Burry:

Quake-hit farmers with damaged homes urgently need suitable accommodation before winter, a group supporting them says.

North Canterbury Rural Support Trust spokesperson Sarah Barr said about 20 farming families were applying to buy temporary housing units from the government.

The units, which were no longer needed in Christchurch, could be bought for $25,000 excluding relocation costs of about $30,000. . .

Ag trainers to get more help – Neal Wallace:

The beleaguered training and education sector has received some welcomed news with PrimaryITO adopting a greater and more diverse training role.

The changes followed a difficult two years for primary sector training providers in which a number closed but that came with the realisation training was essential to meet the Government’s goal of doubling the value of primary sectors exports by 2025, chief executive Dr Linda Sissons said. . .

The Green Issue: Awatere Valley high country station farmers among environment award finalists – Mike Watson:

High country farmers Steve and Mary Satterthwaite have shown how to farm sustainably on difficult land through dedication, innovation and efficiency.

Steve has farmed Muller Station, in the upper Awatere Valley, for the past 37 years.

The 38,000-hectare high country station carries about 14,500 merino sheep, and 2000 angus cattle, and is self-sufficient with well-stocked gardens and freezers.

When he first arrived on the farm it was overrun by rabbits and scabweed, he said.

Fonterra Announces 2017 Interim Results

Results Highlights

• Forecast Farmgate Milk Price $6.00 per kgMS

• Forecast cash payout $6.40 after retentions*

• Interim dividend of 20 cents per share – to be paid in April

• Revenue $9.2 billion, up 5%

• Normalised EBIT $607 million, down 9% . . .

Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware –  Jason Koebler:

A dive into the thriving black market of John Deere tractor hacking.

To avoid the draconian locks that John Deere puts on the tractors they buy, farmers throughout America’s heartland have started hacking their equipment with firmware that’s cracked in Eastern Europe and traded on invite-only, paid online forums.

Tractor hacking is growing increasingly popular because John Deere and other manufacturers have made it impossible to perform “unauthorized” repair on farm equipment, which farmers see as an attack on their sovereignty and quite possibly an existential threat to their livelihood if their tractor breaks at an inopportune time.

“When crunch time comes and we break down, chances are we don’t have time to wait for a dealership employee to show up and fix it,” Danny Kluthe, a hog farmer in Nebraska, told his state legislature earlier this month. “Most all the new equipment [requires] a download [to fix].” . . .


Rural round-up

March 21, 2017

Stock should be allowed on rural roads, say farmers – Mike Watson:

Rural roads are designed to move stock, say farmers in Marlborough threatening to ignore a proposed traffic bylaw.

The proposal would require farmers to get permission, and pay a fee, to move stock along any district road.

Any farmer refusing to get permission could be fined up to $20,000. . .

New Zealand calf feeder innovation sold in 18 countries within year of winning Fieldays competition :

A calf feeder now selling in 18 countries is yet another farming invention spawned from a NZ Agricultural Fieldays competition that has become a commercial success.

Less than a year after winning a major category in the Fieldays Innovation Awards, Cambridge couple Ursula and Mark Haywood have commercialised their TrustiTuber and FlexiTuber feeders in countries including the United Kingdom, Europe, the United States, Canada and Japan.

Ursula Haywood said their company, Antahi Innovations Ltd, had gone from strength to strength after the launch of its “kinder” calf feeders at last year’s awards at Mystery Creek near Hamilton. . .

NZ log prices hit new record highs on buoyant demand – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Buoyant New Zealand activity has pushed up local log prices to new record highs.

The average price for roundwood logs used in the horticulture sector rose to $92 a tonne in March, up $2 from February’s average price and at the highest level since AgriHQ began collecting the data in early 2002, according to AgriHQ’s monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers. Structural log prices also increased, with S3 logs hitting $114 a tonne, the highest since AgriHQ began collecting the data in early 1995, while S1 logs rose to $122 a tonne, the highest since mid-1994. . . .

Brazilian beef and poultry industry plunged into major scandal – Jim Breen:

Authorities in Brazil have suspended over 30 government officials in response to allegations that some of the country’s biggest meat processors have been “selling rotten beef and poultry for years”, according to the reports from the BBC this morning.

The BBC has said that “three meat processing plants have been closed and another 21 are under scrutiny”. While some of the meat produced by the factories is consumed domestically, much of it is exported here to Europe. Brazil is currently the world’s largest exporter of red meat. . . 

Forest Owners urge farmers to plant more trees:

Forest Owners say the new Federated Farmers’ policy on climate change is a major step to help farmers understand trees are not an alternative to farming, but rather trees are tools to assist farming’s survivability.

Federated Farmers has announced a new policy accepting the reality of human-induced climate change, after years of policy uncertainty from the farmer organisation on the issue.

New Zealand Forest Owners Association Chairman Peter Clark describes Federated Farmers’ policy stance on the use of trees as ‘absolutely correct and potentially far reaching’.


Rural round-up

March 20, 2017

The drama and politics of water – Andrew Curtis:

Until recently I really had no idea how many freshwater experts live in New Zealand.  

It seems just about everyone has something to say about the supposed declining state of our rivers and who’s to blame for it. Hint: it isn’t anyone who lives in town.  

I don’t have a problem with people expressing their opinion but I do have a problem with people who ignore facts, are agenda-driven, get emotional and dramatic about the natural state of things and refuse to acknowledge science.  

I am, of course, referring to the hysteria around the swimmability of NZ’s waterways. . . 

SSF funding a ‘smart choice’ for future land management:

Federated Farmers says investment in smart irrigation projects announced by the Government is an important step towards optimising future land management practices.

Two projects will benefit from a Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) grant of $590,000.

Federated Farmers leads one of the projects, to study the effect of irrigation on soil water-holding properties, involving a number of key primary sector stakeholders and Environment Canterbury. . . 

Shoe makers visit their wool source – Sally Rae:

When Nanny Glerup Kristensen felted a pair of boots with wool from her own sheep back in 1993, little did she know that it would grow into an export business.

Danish footwear firm Glerups now markets indoor shoes throughout Denmark and in more than 20 countries, selling close to 250,000 pairs a year.

In 2015, Glerups signed a deal with the New Zealand Merino Company and Landcorp for them to supply New Zealand strong wool for its range.

Mrs Glerup Kristensen and her husband Ove have been in New Zealand catching up with NZM staff and visiting Landcorp properties, including Waipori Station on the shores of Lake Mahinerangi. . . 

Sri Lanka a different side of dairying – Sallly Rae:

Dairying in Sri Lanka is a much different scene to the lush pastures of West Otago.

Kelso dairy farmer Marloes Levelink returned this month from a three-week stint in Sri Lanka, as part of a new farmer volunteer scheme to work with  dairy farmers there.

From more than 100 applications from Fonterra shareholders, she was one of four selected to spend time at Fonterra’s demonstration and training farm in Pannala, near Colombo. The experience also involved working with local farmers and Fonterra supplier relationship officers and running workshops.

The farm and scheme were part of Fonterra’s Dairy Development programme. It supported the growth of sustainable dairy industries in key markets where Fonterra operated, including Sri Lanka, Indonesia and China, by sharing expertise and working together with local farmers, governments and industry players. . . 

LINZ Minister: We are closely monitoring foreign land sales:

Minister for Land Information NZ, Mark Mitchell, says the process of foreign owners buying New Zealand land is robust and investors have to show how they can benefit our country.
“I don’t accept that there’s a big buy-up of New Zealand land at all,” the Minister said on Q+A this morning.
He said there had been instances where authorities had taken action against a foreign land owner who had failed to meet their obligations under a sale agreement.
“I can’t give you a ballpark figure. All I can say is that there have been breaches and we have acted on them,” Mr Mitchell said.
“I think that the percentage of land that goes into foreign ownership and attracts foreign investment is actually very small, in terms of you know the productive land that we have in New Zealand.” . . 

Few local objections to shipping water overseas – mayor:

Most Westland residents are happy with a proposed commercial water pipeline, mayor Bruce Smith says.

Representatives of Westland District Council and the company Alpine Pure met in Haast yesterday to discuss land consents required for a water pipeline running from Mount Aspiring National Park to Neils Beach, near Jackson Bay.

The water would then be piped to ships and sold overseas.

Some people were concerned about the lack of public consultation about the plan, but mayor Bruce Smith said that despite national public interest, residents living near the proposed pipeline were not raising any objections. . . 

NZ wool market improves at double auction – Tina Morrison

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s wool market picked up at the latest weekly auctions across the North and South islands yesterday.

Compared with the last double auction a fortnight ago, the average price for 30-micron lamb wool rose 25 cents to $4.25 a kilogram, while the average price for 35-micron crossbred wool increased 20 cents to $4.13/kg, according to AgriHQ. Bucking the trend, fine crossbred wool slipped 9 cents to $4.15/kg.  . . 

 

 

 


Rural round-up

February 16, 2017

Farming leader warns of Post Factual Science:

Our free trade prospects have been a victim of Brexit and the US Presidential election. New Zealand must be careful not to be caught in the crossfire of any ensuing trade war, Dr William Rolleston says.

Rolleston, the President of Federated Farmers, told its National Council in Wellington today that there were opportunities in disruption but our officials would need to play their cards with skill and tact.

“If there is any area of government which needs investment priority right now, it is our trade division,” he said. . . 

Special stock auction raises hope for young cerebral palsy sufferer – Dave Gooselink:

Stock prices were higher than normal today at a special sheep and cattle sale near Oamaru, bringing a big smile to the face of a four-year-old girl suffering from cerebral palsy.

Charlee McLachlan is used to being around farm animals but the special stock sale raised money to help her undergo lifechanging surgery in the United States, which will go some way towards alleviating her cerebral palsy.

“They go into her spine, they take a bit of her vertebrae out to pull out the spinal cord, and then put electrodes on her legs,” her mother, Anna McLachlan, told Newshub. . . 

The search for new agri-food markets – Keith Woodford:

The proposed 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is now well and truly dead.  The question is where do we go from here?

We are hearing talk from various sources about possibilities for a ‘TPP minus Mr Trump’s USA’. But that too is highly unlikely to happen. Getting Japan, in particular, to agree to something without the USA being involved is wishful thinking. And simply waiting for another four years and hoping the USA might came back into negotiations is also likely to prove wishful.  Both major American political parties know that supporting a new version of the TPP is a sure way to lose the next presidential election in 2020. . . 

Lamb price higher than expected – Sally Rae:

The 2016-17 season average lamb price is shaping up to be a bit over $5 per kg, economists predict.

While that was not quite as low as previously thought, it was still below its five-year average, BNZ’s latest Rural Wrap said.

Lamb prices have lifted some 15% in the UK over the past six months but the plunge in the British pound following the Brexit vote had “offset all of that and then some”, creating very challenging conditions for New Zealand exporters.

Chinese demand indicators have been positive and fewer New Zealand and Australian lambs had added some support to prices.

BNZ economist Doug Steel said the bank’s best guess was that this season’s lamb numbers were similar to, although probably marginally lower than initial industry estimates, perhaps about 23.5million. . . 

Sharemilking payment model has merit but awaiting review says Federated Farmers:

Federated Farmers has been concerned for some time at the reduction in herd owning sharemilking opportunities and possible impact on the industry’s future sustainability.
We encourage and support the development of new business concepts that will potentially make sharemilking more attractive and resilient as an industry.
The development of the variable rate payment option for herd owning sharemilkers has some merit, with Federated Farmers party to discussions relating to this option over the past year. . . 

This all-natural native corn is bejeweled with brilliantly colored kernels – Lacy Cooke:

Oklahoma farmer Carl Barnes decided to reconnect with his Native American heritage, so he began a hunt for old, native varieties of corn. He uncovered a brilliant strain of corn now called Glass Gem Cornthat looks almost too good to eat. These all-natural corn ears are riots of color, and are also a testament to the beauty we stand to lose as biodiversity vanishes.

Through his quest to reconnect to his roots, Barnes isolated several traditional strains of seeds that fell to the wayside when his ancestors traveled to what’s now Oklahoma in the 1800s. Through years of selective growing, Barnes grew corn that looks bejeweled, creating a colorful celebration of native heirloom varieties of corn. . . 

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Rural round-uup

January 18, 2017

Brexit – Pommy Rogernomics? – Adolf Fiinkensein:

It appears British PM Theresa May is going for a hard landing.  Cut the ties to the EU and go it alone, right from the word go.

What will this mean for UK fat lamb producers?  What opportunities will this provide for NZ and Australian frozen lamb exporters?

It seems to me UK farmers will undergo the same shocks that beset NZ farmers when Roger Douglas delivered the much needed coup de grace to the now notorious Supplementary Minimum Prices. . .

Silver Fern Farms payout ‘used as a sweetener’ – Alexa Cook:

Silver Fern Farms’ dividend of 30 cents per share will be a one-off because it was only used to sweeten a deal with a Chinese company, according to one shareholder.

The company is New Zealand’s largest meat company and has confirmed today it will pay $35.5 million in dividends to its shareholders on 14 February. 

The government approved the controversial $260 million deal with Chinese company Shanghai Maling last year after a group of shareholders fought for more than a year to keep the meat company in New Zealand ownership, arguing the original shareholder approval of the joint venture was unlawful. . . 

Apples in short supply across the country – Laura Wlaters:

Apples are in short supply due to a slow start to the New Zealand season.

The popular fruit is usually available year-round but this week shoppers were shocked to see empty shelves where the granny smiths and royal gala would usually sit.

A Countdown spokeswoman said there were apples in their stores at the moment but they were not New Zealand apples.

“We’re in between seasons at the moment,” she said. . . 

Three NZ shearers set world shearing record – Che Baker:

A former Southland shearer made his way into the world record book again after breaking the three-stand strong-wool ewes shearing record for eight hours.

Eru Weeds, of Ohai but now based in Roxburgh, was joined by shearers James Mack, of Weber, and Luke Mullins, of Te Awamutu, at Waitara Station, inland northwest of Napier, to smash the record of 1347 by 264 sheep, finishing with a tally of 1611.  . . 

Constant rate increases irk – Pam Tipa:

THE DAYS of New Zealand having an undue reliance on property taxes to fund local government are coming to an end, claims Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) chief executive Malcolm Alexander.

He was answering Federated Farmers’ questioning of the priorities and fiscal discipline of New Zealand’s councils, as rates continue to outstrip cost indexes. Alexander says it is pleasing to see others parties like Federated Farmers and the tourism industry are picking up on the need for more flexible funding tools for rates.

This is an issue which no longer can be ignored, he says. The Feds say between 2006 and 2016 there has been 77% hike in rates by the country’s 13 city, 54 district and 11 regional councils.  . . 

Four chartered 747s carry cherries to Asia for Chinese New Year – Amanda Cropp:

Singapore Airlines has put on four special charter flights to get hundreds of tonnes of South Island cherries to Asia in time for Chinese New Year.

The first two 747 “cherry flights” each carrying up to 95 tonnes of fruit flew out of Christchurch on Thursday and Friday.

Another two are scheduled over the next week to get fruit to Singapore for distribution to South East and North Asian markets. . . 


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