Rural round-up

15/08/2022

Slow down! – Dairy News:

The latest Federated Farmers survey of farmer confidence paints a worrying picture.

Of the 1,200 surveyed, 47% consider current economic conditions to be bad — down 55.6 points since January when a net 7.8% considered conditions to be good. A net 80% expect general economic conditions to get worse — up 16.9 points for the same period.

The survey conducted last month showed production expectations have dropped into negative territory for the first time since its inception in 2009.

The message from farmers to the Government is clear, ‘slow down on new regulations’. . . 

Fears that Three Waters could pit hort against urban needs – Business Desk:

The horticulture industry is worried that Three Waters reforms will direct entities to secure the cheapest water supply for urban areas at the expense of food security.

The reforms in the Water Services Entities Bill would establish four water service entities that will take fresh water, wastewater and stormwater functions off local government. It recently came under fire from the auditor-general for being weak on public accountability.

Horticulture NZ spokesperson Michelle Sands told Parliament’s finance and expenditure committee that most horticulture is situated near urban areas and therefore shares water catchments with urban communities.

In its written submission, Horticulture NZ says over 80% of vegetable production is consumed in NZ, with much of the export crop heading for the Pacific Islands. Many fruit crops are also grown for domestic consumption. . .

Ideology out of control as policy decided on the hoof – Allan Barber:

Pastoral farming is coming under continual pressure from all sides.

It seems as though another piece of bureaucratic ideology directed at the agricultural sector emerges every week. 

The latest one, at least at the time of writing, is the recently amended National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity (NPSIB), and more specifically the proposed classification of Significant Natural Areas (SNA) under the legislation. 

Not content with this, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and Minister of Economic Development Stuart Nash are now reconsidering their previous decision to drop exotic forests from the permanent category of the Emissions Trading Scheme, saying these are now “unlikely” to be excluded.  . .

Don’t point the finger at farmers – Glenys Christian:

Farmers should not focus on the negative but sort out some red flags for the industry. Glenys Christian reports.

New Zealand agriculture does not need to be turned on its head, Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) chief executive, Dr Alison Stewart told the recent Primary Industries Summit in Auckland.

But anyone watching television and scrolling through social media would get the impression it was “totally stuffed”.

“Why doesn’t NZ like what we’re doing in agriculture at the moment?,” she asked. It went back to the 1980s when Government deregulation and reforms “threw everyone up in the air” meaning a survive-or-die choice was faced. So farmers intensified their focus and efficiency of scale and transitioned away from mixed farming. The results were silos of intensive monocultures, where “dairying bubbled up to the surface”. . .

Crooks in the back blocks – Lynda Gray :

Rural crime is an increasing problem as more people struggle financially and illicit drug dealing becomes more widespread, Lynda Gray reports.

The increase in the incidence and frequency of known and suspected rural crime is borne out by last year’s Federated Farmers survey. The 2021 survey answered by 1200 Feds members showed more than half (52%) of the respondents had experienced or suspected they had been the target of rural crime.

That’s a 10% increase from the previous survey in 2016. Over the same period the frequency of rural crime increased with 37% reporting two or more incidents compared to 22% in 2016.

The stats will come as no surprise but raises the questions of what’s driving it, and what steps farmers can take to keep livestock, property and themselves safe from criminal harm. . .

Kiwi firm’s wool filters blast off into space :

A New Zealand wool product will be making its way into space later this month, as part of NASA’s mission to the moon.

An Orion spacecraft will launch on an unmanned test flight on 30 August ahead of scheduled manned missions.

On board for the ride will be Kiwi company Lanaco’s filters made from New Zealand sheep wool.

Lanaco founder Nick Davenport said it was the same technology as in the company’s personal protective equipment, face masks and home air purifiers. . .


Rural round-up

09/08/2022

Govt urged to listen to communities on Three Waters :

Local government lobby group slates Bill as ‘expropriation without compensation’ of assets held by authorities for their communities.

The government has lost its social licence around Three Waters reform in the face of overwhelming opposition, Communities 4 Local Democracy says.

It needs to listen to the community demanding better water reform rather than pushing forward with a plan that could deliver disastrous outcomes, the local government group said in its submission to the Finance and Expenditure committee on the government’s Water Services Entities Bill.

C4LD is a coalition of 31 territorial and unitary local authorities that was formed to develop and propose reforms to the government’s proposed Three Waters policy settings. . . 

Alliance beef and lamb fuels Commonwealth athletes :

Kiwi athletes’ medal-winning success at the Commonwealth Games has been powered by Alliance Group’s beef and lamb.

The co-operative is the official supplier to the New Zealand Olympic Committee for the games in the UK city of Birmingham.

General manager sales Shane Kingston says Alliance was privileged to supply its award-winning Pure South beef and lamb range and Lumina lamb for the protein-packed meals for the NZ athletes, their entourage and delegates.

“It’s no surprise our Commonwealth Games’ athletes turned to New Zealand beef and lamb to give them the boost they need. . . 

Redefining ‘rural’ can help tackle health disparities: study – Mike Houlahan:

Rural people have a higher mortality rate than city-dwellers and the New Zealand health system should redefine what “rural” means to ensure people who live in those areas have fair access to healthcare, new research suggests.

An article published in The New Zealand Medical Journal today argues for a review of the current “rural” criteria.

A group of authors, which included University of Otago academics, resurveyed New Zealand on an internationally recognised “geographical classification of health” (GCH) basis and then examined how well the enrolment data of two primary health organisations — one being WellSouth — matched both the old and new maps.

The methodology commonly used in New Zealand had a 70% match to WellSouth’s data, while the new geographic survey was rated almost 95% accurate. . . 

Whisky in the jar at New Zealand’s arable awards :

Many would say yes to a warming single malt whisky on one of these cold winter evenings – how about one made from purple wheat, black oats, or even black barley?

That’s the offer from Southland’s Auld Farm Distillery, awarded the Innovation title at tonight’s New Zealand Arable Awards sponsored by Rabobank in Christchurch.

Rob and Toni Auld’s enterprise – the couple also make a range of three gins from a base alcohol of oat, wheat, and barley – is typical of the diversity, entrepreneurship and commitment to quality being displayed so often in the nation’s arable sector.

Auld Farm Distillery has achieved several world firsts with their products, and that’s not uncommon from an arable sector that leads the world in several categories of the international seed market and has set world records in wheat and barley yields. Federated Farmers arable executive member David Birkett, who farms at Leeston, Canterbury, was named Arable Farmer of the Year.  . .

T and G Global lifts profit despite weather, logistical challenges :

Produce exporter T&G Global has managed to lift its half year profit in the face of ongoing supply chain disruptions and challenging economic conditions.

Key numbers for the six months ended June compared to a year ago:

  • Net profit $5.7m vs $3.4m
  • Revenue $645.5m vs $652.1m
  • Underlying profit $15m vs $10.9m
  • Net assets $563.6m vs $514.9m

T&G chief executive Gareth Edgecombe said the company had improved its financial results, despite it being a tough start to the year. . . 

Danny Bearsley wins horticulture Bledisloe Cup for 2022:

Danny Bearsley has won the horticulture Bledisloe Cup for 2022.

Danny is credited with saving the Hawke’s Bay process vegetable industry in the 1990s. This industry now processes more than 5,500 hectares of produce sourced from the Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne and Manawatu regions.

Danny’s horticulture career spans more than four decades. While he diversified into growing apples and kiwifruit, and fresh broccoli in the 1990s, Danny has always maintained a healthy interest the process vegetable industry.

Today, Danny maintains his involvement in horticulture through the wine industry. . .

Robin Oakley wins HortNZ environmental award:

Robin Oakley, a fifth-generation grower from Canterbury, has won a HortNZ Environmental Award for 2022.

‘Oakley’s is dedicated to continuous improvement,’ said Robin. ‘I am proud that our efforts have been recognised by HortNZ and want to share with New Zealanders the good work that is done on our farms.’

Oakley’s Premium Fresh Vegetables grow potatoes, beetroot, broccoli, pumpkin and arable crops including grass seed, wheat, peas and maize on more than 450 hectares. They wash, grade and pack produce on site.

In recent years, Robin has taken considerable steps to reduce, monitor and manage greenhouse gas emissions, nitrogen leaching and improve soil quality, through initiatives such as the Sustainable Vegetables System project. . . 


Rural round-up

08/08/2022

Gloves off in climate fight over He Waka Eke Noa – Jamie Mckay:

For the past couple of weeks, the gloves have really come off on my radio show over the Climate Change Commission (CCC) and its controversial chair Dr Rod Carr.

First up, fighting out of the Blue Corner, was local body politician and raconteur Jim Hopkins. This is what he had to say:

“If I was Doctor Carr, or indeed anyone in the Government, [such as] James Shaw, I might take a trip to a place called the Netherlands, and have a look at how they manage to deal with things like water, sea level rise and the like.

“And maybe instead of spending, say, $350 million to amalgamate Radio New Zealand, otherwise known as the Green Party at Prayer, and TV One, otherwise known as Jacinda’s little helpers – at least as far as the news department is concerned – maybe they could spend just a few million building bigger stop banks and taking gravel out of riverbeds! . .

All lines of defence are crucial – Mark Patterson:

If there’s one thing that keeps farmers awake at night more than climate, inflation or pending Government regulations, it’s the spectra of foot-and-mouth disease reaching these shores, writes Federated Farmers’ Otago president Mark Patterson.

So I’m guessing I’m not the only farmer watching with a degree of anxiety as it works its way down South East Asia into Indonesia.

Those of us old enough remember vividly the horrifying footage of culled stock being piled high and burnt on pyres from the United Kingdom in 2001. No-one would wish that trauma on their worst enemy.

That’s not to mention the catastrophic economic impact it would have on not only individual farmers, but the economy in general. The Government estimates 100,000 lost jobs and a $16billion economic cost. This disease would ruin us financially as a nation. . . 

Sentiment sours further down on the farm – production expectations slip to a net negative level for the first time in survey – Point of Order:

Warning  signals are  being  hoisted   in  New Zealand’s  rural regions,  the   mainstay  of  the  country’s  export  economy.

In January farmer confidence was at the lowest level recorded in biannual surveys that Federated Farmers has been running since 2009.  Last month’s survey found it had dropped further.

The  government,  seemingly oblivious to the  rural mood, meanwhile appears  to  be  pushing   ahead   with  a climate  change  policy   that – in effect – would tax  farmers  for   the  methane  emissions  of  their  animals.

Climate  Change  Minister  James  Shaw, under  threat  within  his  own party after elements  of  the Greens deposed him from his  co-leadership, is   under  the  whip  to  make  his  climate  change  policy  more  stringent. . . 

New Zealand Young Farmers announce new chair and two new board members :

Inglewood Young Farmer Jessie Waite has been announced as the new Chair of New Zealand Young Farmers.

Waite, 30, was elected to the position at the organisation’s latest Board meeting, replacing Kent Weir who ended his 12-month term as Chair.

“I’m really looking forward to the next 12 months working with the Board, NZYF National Office and members who are our key stakeholders. It’s going to be exciting , but also quite challenging which I think is a good balance,” she said.

South Waikato Young Farmer Chloe Belfield and Mackenzie Young Farmer Nicola Blowey have also officially taken their seats as Board members, after being elected at the NZYF AGM in July. . .

 

Farmers begging for real change :

“The results of Federated Farmers latest farmer confidence survey shows that farmers have had enough and election day can’t come soon enough so we can have real change,” says ACT’s Primary Industries spokesperson and Ruawai Dairy Farmer Mark Cameron.

“The survey reported the lowest confidence amongst farmers since its inception in 2009. The Labour Government has been a non-stop shop of on-farm compliance, they’ve introduced an excess of shoddy rules and regulations that has only made it harder for farmers to produce the food that grows our economy and feeds our families.

“Freshwater reforms, winter grazing rules, Zero Carbon Act, limiting migrant workers, other ideological climate policies, Significant Natural Areas, taxes on utes… The list goes on. Farmers have taken a hammering from this government.

“This is reflected by the top concerns in the survey being climate change policy and the ETS, regulation and compliance costs, input costs, debt and interest rates, and biosecurity amidst concerns about foot-and-mouth disease. . . 

Lake Alta, high in the Remarkables, Central Otago – Blog the Globe:

The Remarkables are a magnificent mountain range looming over Queenstown, in New Zealand’s South Island. High up in the mountains, is a glacial lake, the aptly named Lake Alta. It is accessible via the mountain road to the ski fields. The Remarkables are not only imposing, but they are one of only two mountain ranges in the world running north to south. As a result an early surveyor Alexander Garvie named them in 1857.

I’d never previously heard of the lake, but when a friend invited me to hike with her, I was keen.

From the base of the Remarkables Ski Area, we walked for about 40 minutes, following markers placed in the extreme alpine terrain. The alpine flora was beautiful. Succulent plant species seemed to thrive despite the inhospitable environment including rock, providing little in the way of nutrients and extreme winds. The walk was gradual and easy, stepping from rock to rock. If you are unsure about walking on uneven surfaces a walking pole can give you added security, and may be particularly helpful on the return journey. . . .


Rural round-up

05/08/2022

Foot-and-mouth – the stock disease that could inflict a huge economic cost on our economy if Biosecurity defences fail – Point of Order:

Ray Smith,  director-general  of  the  Ministry for Primary Industries,  sent  a  shiver  through  the  NZ  China  Summit in Auckland  when  he  warned  that  foot-and-mouth  disease  getting  into NZ   would  be  a  “scary”  and  a “gigantic thing”.

The  highly  contagious  disease has  been  sweeping  through Indonesia  and  since  it  was  first discovered  in  May  429,000 cases   have  been  identified    through  24   provinces  including Bali,  a  popular  holiday  destination  for many  New  Zealanders.

Indonesia  is  struggling  to  bring the  disease under  control, underlining  what  a problem  it  could  be  for NZ’s  main  export  industries.

The disease, which could cost the country billions of dollars and more than 100,000 jobs if it ran rampant among our livestock, is causing major concern in South Asia. After  the disease was discovered in Bali fragments of the virus that cause the disease have also been found in meat products entering Australia from Indonesia, creating fresh concerns about the possibility of it arriving in New Zealand.  . . . 

Red meat sector defies global supply chain issues :

New Zealand exported red meat worth $1.1 billion during June despite the ongoing global supply chain issues affecting sheepmeat and beef volumes, according to an analysis by the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

The 15 per cent increase in value compared to June 2021 was largely driven by beef exports, particularly to China. Although the total volume of beef exports was down seven per cent, the overall value was up 23 per cent to $504 million. The value of beef exports to China was up 39 per cent to $217m.

The overall volume of sheepmeat exported was largely unchanged compared to last June, at 32,470 tonnes, with value up 15 per cent to $398m. Volumes of chilled sheepmeat exports, however, continued to drop, down 31 per cent to 2,253 tonnes.

Sheepmeat exports to China saw a drop in both volume (21 per cent) and value (31 per cent) compared to the same period last year, but this was offset for by increases in exports to other major sheepmeat markets. . . 

Wool supply concern prompts Bremworth to consider contracting farmers –  Sally Murphy:

Carpet company Bremworth is looking at the option of providing farmers with long-term contracts to secure supply.

Strong wool prices have been subdued for years now – which has led many farmers to leave their wool in their sheds in the hope they will be able to get better prices in the future.

Bremworth chief executive Greg Smith said it has been a challenging time for farmers so the company wanted to provide more security to them while ensuring a secure supply of wool.

“The foundation of our businesses is 100 percent strong wool and at the moment, the strong wool industry is under enormous pressure because of prices. It’s a commodity which is not being valued as much as it has been in the past. . . 

Farmers, there’s plenty to celebrate:

“Despite yesterday’s Federated Farmers Confidence Survey results, there are many positives for the agricultural and horticultural sectors right now,” says National’s Agriculture Spokesperson Barbara Kuriger.

The survey conducted last month showed production expectations have dropped into negative territory for the first time since its inception in 2009.

Of the 1200 surveyed, 47% consider current economic conditions to be bad — down 55.6 points since January, when a net 7.8% considered conditions to be good. A net 80% expect general economic conditions to get worse — up 16.9 points for the same period.

“These results are mood driven by what is coming at them driven by other factors outside their control like the Government’s fiscal policy. But the biggest culprit is compliance, mounting regulation, economic, business, environment costs and debt. . . 

Wool stations put a new spin on teaching children :

A project that educates children about wool will see its 25,000th student pass through its wool sheds this month.

As part of the Wool in Schools programme, schools can request one of two 20-foot shipping containers that have been converted into wool sheds to visit, so primary students can learn about wool and how it is used.

The half-hour experience involves interactive stations where children learn about wool processes and the different uses and benefits of wool and can even have a go at weaving on a mini loom.

The programme is run by the Campaign for Wool NZ, which aims to raise awareness about the uses and benefits of wool. . . 

NZ Winegrowers announce Fellows for 2022 :

The New Zealand wine industry has recognised the service and dedication of industry icons Dominic Pecchenino, Jim and Rose Delegat, Clive Paton and Phyll Pattie, and Chris Howell, by inducting them as Fellows of New Zealand Winegrowers.

The Fellows award recognises individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the New Zealand wine industry.

“The Roll of Fellows honours the modern pioneers of the New Zealand wine industry. We wholeheartedly thank Dominic, Jim, Rose, Clive, Phyll and Chris for their years of service, and their role in shaping the New Zealand wine industry to be what it is today,” says Clive Jones, Chair of New Zealand Winegrowers.

All the 2022 Fellows have worked over many decades for the “betterment of the wine industry,” says Clive. “The work of these individuals enables a small industry like ours to punch above our weight on the world stage, and we thank them for their efforts.” . . 


Rural round-up

03/08/2022

Government flip-flopping helping no-one – 50 Shades of Green:

Last week’s letter from Minister Shaw and Nash is baffling.

“While we consulted on options to prevent exotic forests from registering in the permanent forest category by the end of the year, we have now decided to take more time to fully consider options for the future direction of the ETS permanent forest category. …this means it is unlikely that we will propose closing the permanent category to exotics on 1 January 2023”

This backflip which we can only conclude has come about on the back of opposition advocacy but with no context for doubling down is unbelievably odd, given last week’s CCC urgency around limits to offsetting with exotic pine. If Māori concerns were what has driven this backflip those concerns could have been dealt with through an exemption’s regime. Now we are left with no plan, no certainty and even less faith of any decent plan to manage climate change and pollution from industries who have shown little urgency around change while they can merrily plant our food producing hill country in an exotic that will never be harvested and therefore provide no economic benefit to New Zealand.

At least that proposal was something to work with and plan around. . .

Farmer confidence plumbs new depths Feds survey finds:

In January farmer confidence was at the lowest level recorded in biannual surveys that Federated Farmers has been running since 2009. Last month’s survey found it had dropped even further.

More than 1200 farmers from around New Zealand responded to the July survey and a net 47.8% of them considered current economic conditions to be bad, down 55.6 points from January when a net 7.8% considered conditions to be good.

“That’s a huge drop in six months, Federated Farmers President and trade/economy spokesperson Andrew Hoggard said.

“Obviously inflation and supply chain disruption fallout from COVID and Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine are part of it, but continued concern over the pace and direction of government reform and regulation, not to mention staff shortages, are also contributing to uncertainty and gloom,” he said. . . .

Aerial methods used to rid Otago of wallabies

Wallaby hunters are turning to helicopters, drones and thermal cameras in a bid to eradicate the pests from Otago.

The Otago Regional Council predicted the cost to the South Island economy would escalate to about $67 million a year within a decade if action wasn’t taken now.

The pests cause serious damage to the environment, deplete forest understories, prevent native forest regeneration, compete with livestock for food, foul pastures, and damage crops and fences.

The council is part of the government’s national wallaby eradication programme. . . 

Fonterra to close Brightwater milk powder plant:

Fonterra has today announced it will be closing the milk powder plant at its Brightwater site near Nelson in April 2023. However, milk collection and associated activities will continue at Brightwater as Fonterra moves its milk transfer activities there from Tuamarina.

The small aging plant processes about 0.25% of the Co-operative’s overall milk supply into whole milk powder. Fonterra Chief Operating Officer Fraser Whineray says the move, which will instead see the milk being processed at Fonterra’s Darfield site, is in line with Fonterra’s long-term strategy.

“We know milk supply is declining over time, flat at best, so we need to make sure we’re getting the most out of every drop of milk and optimising our plants to match both consumer demand and available milk supply.

“Part of our long-term strategy is to direct more milk into our Foodservice and Consumer business, less into Ingredients, and in some cases, to divert product away from the Global Dairy Trade auctions. This, along with forecast capital and maintenance costs, means we’ve made the tough decision to close our milk powder plant at Brightwater. . .

New wood fibre technology set to future proof local hort, agri industries NZ Plant Producers:

When you purchase locally grown fruit, vegetables, or plants from your favourite retailer they will have been grown in compost or potting mix which usually contains a highly sought-after ingredient called peat which boosts production, retains nutrients, and holds water.

An estimated 60,000 cubic metres of growing media (compost, garden/potting mixes etc) is used each year within the horticultural and agricultural industries in New Zealand and much of it contains peat.

There is a small amount of peat extracted here in New Zealand but as peat bogs are regulated in the same way as the likes of coal mines their days are numbered.

Most of the peat contained in compost and other growing media used by New Zealand growers is imported from Canada or Eastern Europe. . . 

Emerging leaders take on B+LNZ’s Generation Next programme :

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) Generation Next programme is well underway.

The programme targets emerging farming leaders, building their technical skills while widening their network.

Participants attend three workshops over a six-month period to upskill in key farm management areas with topics spanning from understanding financial and management basics to technology and genetics as well as mental health and wellbeing.

The first North Island intake graduated last week after completing module three. . . .

 


Rural round-up

20/07/2022

Former Ministers critical of PM’s comments – Nigel Stirling:

More voices have joined the chorus of condemnation aimed at the Prime Minister for comments they feel hurt New Zealand’s chances of getting a meaningful deal with the European Union.

Two former trade ministers have joined the dairy industry in condemning comments made by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a critical point in trade talks with the European Union.

The Dairy Companies Association believes Ardern scuppered the industry’s last chance of a commercially meaningful outcome from the talks by revealing a weakening in New Zealand’s negotiating position.

Before flying to Brussels for the final few days of the talks last month Ardern told media that NZ was ready to accept an improvement on the “status quo” market access NZ exporters already had in the EU. . .

NZ’s European Union free trade agreement – was a better deal left on the table? – Jane Clifton:

Our recently signed free-trade deal with the European Union has upset the dairy and beef sectors. Was a better deal left on the table?

As a country, we’ve just flunked that test psychologists set for small children, offering them one marshmallow now, or two if they wait five minutes.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern decided delayed gratification wasn’t the right strategy for the much-anticipated European Union free-trade agreement (FTA) and returned from her travels with just the one marshmallow.

After a couple of days’ hearty talk about how marvellous the deal was, Trade Minister Damien O’Connor conceded, “It’s probably fair to say that no one likes it, so we probably have it about right.” . . .

Farmers farm because it’s a way of life, they’re not asking for sympathy – Kerre Woodham:

I wanted to have a look at our farming sector this morning, because I think the grumpiness from a number of farmers over a Country Calendar show featuring Lake Hawea station probably gave us a heads up on where farmers’ confidence is at.

And it’s low, very, very low. According to a Rabobank quarterly rural confidence survey, it’s the lowest since the pandemic began. Back in March, farmers’ confidence was the lowest it had been since Federated Farmers began a twice a year survey in 2009. 

When you think about the reality of farming for most Kiwis, I guess you can understand and empathise with their frustration. It’s a cold, wet, miserable job in winter and a hot, dry dusty one in summer. Most farmers can’t delegate their farm chores, no matter if they’ve got the flu or if they’re feeling under the weather with a head cold, or if they’ve got Covid, they have to drag themselves up or call in favours from neighbours, which they will then repay. . . 

Council candidates deserve searching questions Feds says :

With sweeping changes facing local government, and the very existence of some councils under threat, Federated Farmers is urging rural New Zealanders to step up their interest in the election campaign this year.

“The Three Waters juggernaut is gathering steam despite a great deal of opposition,” Feds President Andrew Hoggard said. “Unchanged, it will put control of critical infrastructure in the hands of unelected and hard to hold to account entities, likely headquartered far away from rural New Zealand.”

This, plus moves for district planning functions to be regionalised, will leave some provincial councils with little left to do, “and thus ripe for forced amalgamations, given the review of the future of local government doesn’t wind up until next year,” Andrew said.

Local body elections happen again in September/October and Federated Farmers has just released its 2022 Local Elections Platform. It’s on the Federated Farmers’ website and sets out the federation’s position on the major issues swirling around local government, with questions and advice for voters and candidates. . . 

Food charity run by farmers says demand increasing nationwide

A food charity set up during the first wave of Covid-19 says two years on demand is outstripping what they can supply.

The Meat the Need charity takes donated livestock from farmers and processes it into premium mince, which is then donated to food banks nationwide.

Since it was founded in early 2020, the charity said it had supplied meat for more than 760,000 meals across the country.

Golden Bay dairy farmer Wayne Langford co-founded Meat the Need with Motueka Valley-based sharemilker Siobhan O’Malley. . .

Chance, choice and the avocado: the strange evolutionary and creative history of earth’s most nutritious fruit – Maria Popova:

In the last week of April in 1685, in the middle of a raging naval war, the English explorer and naturalist William Dampier arrived on a small island in the Bay of Panama carpeted with claylike yellow soil. Dampier — the first person to circumnavigate the globe thrice, inspiring others as different as Cook and Darwin — made careful note of local tree species everywhere he traveled, but none fascinated him more than what he encountered for the first time on this tiny island.

Dampier described the black bark and smooth oval leaves of the tall “Avogato Pear-tree,” then paused at its unusual fruit — “as big as a large Lemon,” green until ripe and then “a little yellowish,” with green flesh “as soft as Butter” and no distinct flavor of its own, enveloping “a stone as big as a Horse-Plumb.” He described how the fruit are eaten — two or three days after picking, with the rind peeled — and their most common local preparation: with a pinch of salt and a roasted plantain, so that “a Man that’s hungry, may make a good meal of it”; there was also uncommonly delectable sweet variation: “mixt with Sugar and Lime-juice, and beaten together in a Plate.” And then he added:

It is reported that this Fruit provokes to Lust, and therefore is said to be much esteemed by the Spaniards. . . 

 

 


Rural round-up

19/07/2022

Welfare code changes to ‘harm viability of farming’ – Pam Tipa:

A proposed Dairy Cattle Code of Welfare is highly prescriptive and dictates what a farmer must do, rather than having an outcome that will need to be met, says Federated Farmers.

“We are concerned that the proposed code will harm the viability of farming, will have severe economic costs, and will probably not improve animal welfare outcomes,” the Feds say in a submission to MPI’s National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC).

It fears the proposed minimum standards will do nothing to improve animal welfare but may “criminalise farmers” by having standards that cannot be met and indicators that are open to interpretation.

The code as proposed is overly long and confusing in its structure; it will be difficult for farmers to convert it into practical action and processes on farm, the Feds say. . .

Go back to the drawing board – Pam Tipa:

DairyNZ wants the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) to go back to the drawing board on many areas in its proposed Code of Welfare.

It then wants NAWAC to go back out to the industry including farmers for another round of consultation. It supports the code update for clarity, to incorporate recent animal welfare science and lift the bar in areas of the code where common practice surpasses previous standards.

But it does not support changes to the code that increase complexity and inhibit its value as a useful tool, the industry body says in its submission to the code.

DairyNZ wants NAWAC to review all of the proposed changes to minimum standards, example indicators and recommended best practice to align with the criteria in its own guidelines and those of MPI. . . 

Fighting the anti-meat narrative – Gerald Piddock:

A visiting United States dietician says the global anti-meat narrative being pushed in Western countries is elitist, unethical and can lead to poor nutritional outcomes for people.

This narrative, described by Diana Rodgers as a “big nasty snowball”, was a result of different forces coming together at once.

There were alternative meat companies making huge margins from promoting ultra-processed “garbage food”, while at the same time animal rights and environmental activists are wanting to end all animal agriculture.

The carbon argument was the only leg these companies could stand on, she told farmers and industry leaders at the Primary Industries of New Zealand Summit in Auckland. . .

More proposed rules – Joanna Grigg:

Farmers have until July 21 to give feedback on the national policy statement for indigenous biodiversity. Joanna Grigg reports.

They call it a full exposure draft, but it takes some reading to get a full idea of what the national policy statement for indigenous biodiversity looks like with its clothes off.

It will be the master handbook of guidelines, for all councils. The latest proposed version will now cover public land as well – including the Department of Conservation estate. Each region at present has its own ‘weather-system’ of rules – sunny in Northland but southerly in Southland. The aim of this new policy statement is a more consistent approach across New Zealand.

The draft policy is at the test stage. It is before the ministries for the environment and primary industries to test its workability for the farming community. . .

Why are store lambs under-priced? – Reece Brick:

The store lamb markets have a distinctly different look and feel compared with last year. 

Back then, prices were moving up in weekly chunks – the Feilding yards jumped $1-$1.20/kgLW in only five weeks and the paddock market followed a similar path, though not quite to the same extremes. 

Yet this year prices have remained static at best and even weakened in places. 

So what’s different? . . 

 

Cost of living crisis driving down meat sales:

The cost of living crisis is forcing consumers to cut back on their meat intake, according to AHDB analysis.

Inflation is now neck and neck with health as the top driver of meat reduction, the levy board says.

Consumers who believe that beef and red meat currently have good prices and offers has now reduced to only 10% and 6% respectively.

High prices are particularly damaging for cuts such as roasting joints and steaks where higher prices are a barrier for many consumers. . . 


Rural round-up

14/07/2022

PM misleading in EU trade deal claims :

This morning, the Prime Minister said that the Free Trade Agreement we signed with the European Union was “arguably one of the best dairy deals that anyone has had with the EU”. This isn’t arguable; it’s just false, National’s Trade & Export Growth spokesperson Todd McClay says.

“Not only is this incorrect, but this deal isn’t close to the best. The UK has complete tariff elimination on dairy and meat, Canada has complete tariff elimination and can still use the name Feta, and the Mercosur trade agreement has better combined outcomes for dairy and meat than New Zealand.

“This comes after revelations that the Government had told negotiators weeks before the agreement was signed to stop pushing for commercially meaningful access for dairy and meat, and to simply do better than the status quo.

“This is incredibly infuriating and shows that the Prime Minister went to Europe to sign a deal irrespective of the outcome for dairy and meat. The EU knew this and offered us very little in return. . . 

Feds urges extreme vigilance on FMD:

As Biosecurity New Zealand continues to closely monitor the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in Indonesia, Federated Farmers is urging holiday makers to also be extremely vigilant.

“Travel restrictions have eased and many families are keen to escape our winter for some sun overseas. But if FMD reached our shores it would be devastating for agriculture and our economy,” Federated Farmers vice-president and biosecurity spokesperson Wayne Langford says.

“The FMD virus can live on footwear for 48 hours. Before returning to New Zealand please, please clean your shoes and jandals, or better still, buy cheap footwear while on holiday and dispose of them before you leave, and abide by the one week stand-down before visiting a farm here.”

Indonesia reported two outbreaks of FMD to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on May 9th, after being free from it for 30 years. . . 

Farmers asked to go back to school :

Farmers across the country are being asked to go back to school as a part of a new educational programme for children called Farmer Time.

The initiative, which originates from the UK, links farmers with primary and intermediate school children through virtual classroom sessions using video call technology.

Students regularly chat live with their matched farmer, gaining an understanding of farming across the seasons and providing real-world examples of what they’re learning during the school year.

Kit Arkwright, CEO of Beef + Lamb Inc, which is driving the initiative, is keen to see food producers from all sectors get involved. . . .

South Canterbury dairy farms sell for more than $70 million :

Two South Canterbury dairy farms as part of a portfolio have been sold for more than $70 million in one of the country’s largest ever rural transactions.

The portfolio, Ellis Lea, was made up of two large dairy farms – Grandview Farm, which covers 420ha and Lamorna, which covers 524ha – as well as Collett Farm, a support block covering 249ha.

It was purchased by an unnamed New Zealand-based investor.

Colliers rural advisor George Morris, who negotiated the sale alongside Mark Parry, said such was the scale of the portfolio, it was unlikely a local buyer would purchase it. . . 

Dairy Companies Association to welcome new chair :

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) is set to welcome Matt Bolger as its new Independent Chair upon the retirement of Malcolm Bailey from the role on 16 August 2022.

DCANZ provides an important mechanism for dairy manufacturing and exporting companies to work together and speak with one voice on pre-competitive matters of importance to the New Zealand dairy industry. The DCANZ Executive Committee, comprising CEO’s and senior executives of the Associations’ 13 member companies, is pleased to have Matt coming on board.

Matt will bring an important independent perspective and deep knowledge of the New Zealand and global dairy industry to the role. He is the current Pro Vice Chancellor of the Waikato Management School at the University of Waikato and held a variety of New Zealand and internationally based roles with Fonterra Co-operative Group between 2002-2020.

In welcoming Matt to this role in August, DCANZ will farewell Malcolm Bailey who has Chaired the Association since 2008. . . .

Giesen Wines win big at 2022 International Wine Challenge:

Giesen has been awarded the Champion Trophy for Champion Organic Wine at the International Wine Challenge. The 2019 Clayvin Single Vineyard Syrah is from the renowned Clayvin Vineyard in Southern Valleys, Marlborough, a vineyard that has historically set the standard for premium wines from the region.

The recent trophy win adds to the haul for this spectacular wine. It has already won the Marlborough Syrah Trophy and 1 x gold medal, with 96 points awarded at the 2022 International Wine Challenge. Across a global field, there were only 22 Champion Wine Trophies awarded.

Described by the judges as “Fragrant, lifted aromas of spice, violets, plump ripe blackberries and black pepper. The palate is elegant and quite rich with fine tannins, polished damson fruit and black cherries with a suggestion of bacon on the finish.”

Giesen Group Chief Winemaker, Duncan Shouler said, “we’re delighted to have won this prestigious international award for our Clayvin Organic Syrah. The Clayvin vineyard is an important part of our company DNA and enables us to create some very special organic wines, which will continue to evolve over the next decade.” . . .

 


Rural round-up

12/07/2022

Must Deliver! – Rural News:

Just as the entire country’s health system moved into a new structure last week, a fresh Rural Health Network was also launched.

Hauora Taiwhenua brings into one organisation nine separate groups who work in the rural health sector – including those working as Rural GPs, nurses, midwives, hospitals, researchers, community organisations and Maori.

According to the entity’s interim chair Dr Fiona Bolden, the main benefit of the new organisation is that it brings all the representatives of rural health and wellbeing into one place. She says, in doing so, it creates a very powerful voice in terms of rural health advocacy.

As Bolden says, this is a crucial time for the NZ health service as the new reforms take effect. NZ’s health service – especially rural – is suffering from underfunding and a lack of workforce planning. . . 

Langford appointed as new Feds vice-president :

Wayne Langford is Federated Farmers’ new vice-president after being elected to the position at the organisation’s annual meeting in Auckland.

The Golden Bay dairy farmer will be joined by three new board members, new dairy chair Richard McIntyre and two ‘at large’ members Sandra Faulkner and Mark Hooper.

Langford has served as Feds dairy industry chairman for the past two years.

President Andrew Hoggard was re-elected unopposed. . .

GWP* a hot topic on US and UK visits – Andrew Morrison:

Climate change and the need for countries to measure methane more accurately were high on the agenda during Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) recent trips to the United Kingdom and United States.

During the visits, B+LNZ staff identified opportunities to work with UK and US farming groups over the shared issue of climate change.

B+LNZ has been calling for the New Zealand Government to review the methane targets using a more appropriate metric such as GWP*, and to report on warming as well as emissions, for more than two years.

GWP* scales emissions over time, and better accounts for the different warming behaviours of short-lived gases like methane than the widely used GWP100 metric, which the IPCC has confirmed overstates the impact of methane when emissions are not increasing (as is the case in New Zealand). . . 

Wool meets hemp on high country station – Country Life:

Paul Ensor farms sheep and cattle at Glenaan Station in the Rakaia Gorge and co-owns a clothing brand that blends merino wool with hemp fibre.

The station in the Upper Rakaia Gorge extends from the river flats to the tops of snow-covered hill country.

Paul and Prue Ensor farm sheep and cattle on the property that Paul took over from his parents in 2004.

The Ensors run about 6000 fine wool-producing merino sheep. . . 

Floris Niu empowering Pacific women farmers with chocolate – Saturday Morning:

Floris Niu never imagined herself as a farmer, but a series of stress-related illnesses saw her return to her family’s land in Samoa in her late 30s and the move has brought both healing and success.

Niu, who grew up in New Zealand, is the founder of Ms Sunshine Organic Farms, which exports produce to New Zealand boutique chocolatiers and food manufacturers.

Her charitable trust is also running the first ever Pacific Cacao and Chocolate show, in collaboration with SPS Biota and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in Auckland on 23 July, which she hopes will raise awareness of the cacao industry in the Pacific. 

“It’s a trillion-dollar business, the chocolate industry,” she said, but the story of cacao in the Pacific was “not very well known”. . . 

What could Johnson’s departure mean for farmers? –

Boris Johnson is yesterday’s man. All eyes now are on who will put themselves forward to be the next Conservative Party leader and prime minister.

Mr Johnson currently seems determined to cling on until the results of the Conservative Party leadership contest are known, but Labour says if he does not go immediately it will call a vote of no confidence in the government, which could even trigger a general election.

George Eustice, who did not resign, is still a member of the cabinet and looks set to stick around, at least until Mr Johnson leaves, so there will be no immediate change at Defra. His silence this week has been complete.

However, the environment secretary is now without Rebecca Pow (minister for environment) and Jo Churchill (minister for agri-innovation and climate adaptation), who both resigned. . . 


Feds Talks – Alison Stewart, FAR

11/07/2022

Federated Farmers’ weekly podcasts Feds Talks  catch up with farmers and agribusiness people. 


Fed Talks – Diana Rodgers “eat the meat”

07/07/2022

Federated Farmers’ weekly podcasts catch up with  farmers and agribusiness people who are making a real difference in New Zealand agriculture.

This episode is with Diana Rodgers: 

Diana Rodgers is a “real food”  Dietitian Nutritionist, author and podcast host, she is joining us in New Zealand  this July At PINZ Today Diana talks to us about  nutrition, sustainability, the huge benefits of eating meat and food policy issues. She  also speaks to  Sacred Cow,  her documentry exploring the important role of animals in our food system.


Rural round-up

06/07/2022

On-farm GHG reductions come at a huge cost – Hugh Stringleman:

The cost of reducing methane and nitrous oxide emissions on the Northland Agricultural Research Farm (NARF) in the 2022 season was 40% of operating profit compared with typical dairy farming in the Kaipara district.

The results of the first season of the four-year Future Farming Systems trial at Dargaville were released at the annual Northland Dairy Development Trust (NDDT) field day.

NARF’s farm and cows have been split into three equalised farmlets, with separate vats, to compare a typical Northland system with one that has 74% of land in tall fescue/cocksfoot-based pastures, and with a third designed to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets (see panel).

Financial analysis of the first season, using a $9.30/kg milk price, showed the “Current” farm was the most profitable with $5040/ha operating profit, followed closely by the Alternative Pastures farm with $4876/ha. . . 

Calling for fairer methane reporting and targets – Jim van der Poel & Andrew Morrison:

DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ are calling on the Government to give farmers a fair deal by using the latest and best science when setting methane targets.

While New Zealand farmers overall are reducing emissions, agriculture is currently being blamed for a far bigger share of New Zealand’s warming than it actually causes.

It’s important all sectors play their part, including agriculture, transport, energy, towns and cities.

The method the Government uses to calculate emissions data, GWP100, is accurate for carbon dioxide but hugely overstates the warming impact of methane. . .

Genetic rules mean NZ”s missing opportunities – Treasury  – Business Desk:

New Zealand is missing opportunities because of its regulatory barriers to genetic modification, Treasury secretary Caralee McLiesh says.

“The flipside of unlocking innovation through regulatory reform is regulation that constrains new technologies and ways of working,” she told the NZ Association of Economists annual conference at Victoria University of Wellington.

“While other advanced economies have embraced these techniques, our current regulatory barriers mean that we are missing opportunities – for example, to improve drought and disease resistance in plants, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from grazing animals and reduce fertiliser-use issues by improving disease resistance,” she said.

GM organisms and technologies are regulated under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (HSNO). . .

New history of sheep and beef sector launched :

A new history of New Zealand’s sheep and beef sector released this week outlines the achievements of the red meat industry over the past 25 years and its contribution to the national economy.

Meeting Change: the NZ Red Meat Story 1997-2022, written by Ali Spencer and Mick Calder, was commissioned by the New Zealand Meat Board (NZMB) to mark its centenary year.

It is the third in a series of histories of the sector, following Golden Jubileee edited by Dai Hayward (1972) and Meat Acts written by Janet Tyson and Mick Calder (1999).

The book was officially launched at an event last night at Te Papa in Wellington, attended by current and former Meat Board members and staff, and other key players in the sheep and beef sector. . .

Federated Farmers and NZ Thorough Breeders saddle up for mutual benefit :

A new partnership between Federated Farmers of NZ and the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (NZTBA) underlines the commitment of both organisations to helping their members be front-runners in caring for their animals and land.

“Farmers who join the Federation have long recognised we’re stronger together,” Feds CEO Terry Copeland says. “With thoroughbred breeders also joining the fold, we have a bigger pool of resources and greater strength to our voice in our advocacy to politicians, decision-makers and government departments.”

As landowners, there will already be NZTBA members who belong to Federated Farmers and the partnership agreement between the two organisations will strengthen and develop those ties.

“We have a lot in common,” Terry said. “Whether you’re a breeder of champion horses, a dairy or sheep farmer, you’re vitally interested in the welfare of your animals and being a good steward of your land. We’re all interested in ensuring government policies that affect our industries are sensible, practical and affordable.” . .

New Zealand’s primary sector need to get on the digital bus now :

New Zealand’s primary sector needs to get on the digital bus now or risk losing international market access

Trust Alliance New Zealand (TANZ) will showcase a new digital tool at the Primary Industries New Zealand conference on 6/7 July in Auckland, which is aimed at helping food and fibre exporters keep up with ever increasing international compliance standards.

The ‘digital compliance product passport’ is an international standard, data sharing technology where everyone across the sector is able to securely contribute, control, collate and protect their crucial farm data.

TANZ Executive Director Klaeri Schelhowe says “At the moment there is no easy mechanism for farmers and food producers to easily and directly input their farm’s data in a trustworthy way. The existing data exchange models are inefficient and a waste time which is why we have acted now to create a smarter way of collecting and sharing this important data.” . .


Rural round-up

05/07/2022

Feds slam miserly EU meat and dairy quotas :

The trade deal with the EU is a slap in the face for New Zealand farmers, Federated Farmers says.

“That the Europeans’ protectionist mindset on livestock products remains entrenched is sadly not a surprise but the very small quotas agreed are considerably worse than we expected,” Feds President and trade spokesperson Andrew Hoggard said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently stated that she will come home from the EU without a deal if there isn’t a good one on the table. This is what she should have done.

The beef quota for New Zealand is 10,000 tonnes, just 0.1% of the 6.5m tonnes of beef Europeans consume each year. The EU has a cheese market of 9.5 million tonnes. After seven years New Zealand exporters will have access to just 0.14% of this market. . . 

Lake Hawea farmer hits back at critics :

A Lake Hawea farmer has hit back at critics accusing his practices of being woke nonsense at Australasia’s first certified carbon zero farm, saying no sector advances “without the trial of new and ideally better ways”.

Last Sunday’s episode of Hyundai Country Calendar profiled Lake Hawea Station, near Wanaka, and owners Kiwi entrepreneurs and 42 Below vodka company founders Geoff and Justine Ross.

It quickly attracted an intense online backlash from those purporting to be from parts of the farming sector, leading to the TVNZ show replying to the criticism on its Facebook page.

With the goal of becoming 10 times climate positive, the couple also introduced alternative techniques to the woolshed to improve animal welfare, including switching music from AC/DC’s Thunderstruck to Vivaldi. . .

Waikato creating a buzz on international stage as Raglan couple win silver at London honey awards – Danielle Zollickhofer:

Raglan honey business Hunt and Gather Bee Co is creating an international buzz as its Kānuka honey won a silver medal at the London International Honey Awards.

Together with Te Aroha-based company Ora Foods whose Raw Manuka Honey (UMF 25+) won gold, Hunt and Gather Bee Co is the only Waikato brand that was recognised in the awards out of 17 New Zealand winners.

Hunt and Gather Bee Co’s honey has already won some national awards, including the Outstanding Food Producer Awards, but getting international recognition was unexpected for founders Hannah and Rory O’Brien. . . .

Relief as just one cheese has to be renamed in EU trade deal – Rebecca Ryan:

When you say cheese your feta had better be Greek.

As part of the free-trade agreement signed between New Zealand and the European Union yesterday, new geographic indications that protect the names of products that originate from specific areas will be introduced, preventing cheeses produced in New Zealand from being branded as “feta”, beloved to Greece, in nine years’ time.

However, the industry has not been as fettered by the deal as had been initially feared.

Whitestone Cheese managing director Simon Berry said it was a relief that only feta would need to be rebranded for now. . .

Plant-based testosterone in pine pollen offers high value opportunity :

Pine pollen containing a rare natural source of plant-based testosterone could prove a goldmine for New Zealand’s forestry sector.

Pine Pollen New Zealand Limited, trading under the name Bio Gold, has received $288,500 in Government funding through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures) to lay the foundations for a pine pollen industry in New Zealand.

“Pine pollen has been consumed for health and wellbeing in China, South Korea and Japan for more than 3000 years,” says Bio Gold founder Carl Meyer.

“It’s been found to contain a naturally occurring testosterone, and lately there’s been a new wave of interest from the natural health industry in the United States and Canada.” . .

 

Fonterra, NZX and EEX confirm GDT strategic partnership:

Fonterra today confirms the finalisation of the strategic partnership with New Zealand’s Exchange (NZX) and the European Energy Exchange (EEX) to each take ownership stakes in Global Dairy Trade (GDT) alongside the Co-op.

As announced in February 2022, the partnership was subject to the approval of Boards, clearance from relevant competition law authorities, and finalisation of transaction documentation. With those approvals now received, Fonterra, NZX and EEX each hold an equal one-third (33.33%) shareholding in the global dairy auction platform GDT as of 30 June 2022.

CFO Marc Rivers says the confirmation of the strategic partnership is an important milestone for Fonterra and global dairy participants.

“The move to a broader ownership structure marks the next step in the evolution of GDT – giving it a presence in prominent international dairy producing regions, with greater participation expected at GDT events. . .


Rural round-up

17/06/2022

The methane issue is far from settled – Keith Woodford:

Big methane decisions lie ahead that will affect all New Zealanders

In late May, the eleven rural-industry partners in He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) reached internal compromises that were sufficient for all to sign-up to a joint greenhouse gas (GHG) document, which laid out the bones of how they think agriculture’s greenhouse gases should be priced.

It went right down to the wire before Federated Farmers agreed to add their logo.  Some of the other partners to the document were also less than happy, but the alternative of failing to come up with an agreement at all was even less palatable.

Now it will be up to the Government, taking account of forthcoming advice from the Climate Change Commission (CCC), to make some calls as to the path forward. . . 

Looming global good shortage highlights New Zealand’s role in climate action :

As a significant global food supplier, changes in New Zealand food systems may soon have substantial impacts.

New Zealand can feed 40 million people, or five percent of the diet of 800 million people with high quality food, AgriTechNZ chief executive Brendan O’Connell says.

However, the food supply impact from the Ukrainian war shows how production changes in one region or country impacts on others, he says.

Global food prices continue to strengthen as shortages loom for basic foods such as grains. This means there will also be a shortage of carbohydrates to feed livestock, ANZ research says. . . 

Crunch time for calculating farming emissions –  Jean Bell:

Farmers need not worry about their initial emissions result being held against them, says Beef and Lamb NZ.

Agribusiness leaders are urging farmers to crunch the numbers on their greenhouse gas emissions, as the primary sector continues its battle to avoid being lumped into the Government’s emissions trading scheme.

According to Federated Farmers, some businesses are concerned their initial results might be held against them in the future. But Beef and Lamb NZ, which funded a free online emissions calculator, says these numbers are confidential and won’t be shared.

Created by software developer Catalyst, Beef and Lamb NZ’s free-to-use online tool takes into account the area of open land on a farm (breaking this down into land that is under pasture, exotic vegetation, and indigenous vegetation), the amount of fertiliser, lime, and dolomite used, and livestock numbers on site. . . 

Team likely to travel to Australian national shearing and woolhandling championships

Shearing Sports New Zealand is hopeful it will be able to resume the annual home and away trans-Tasman test matches this year.

The last matches between New Zealand and Australia were held at the Golden Shears in 2020, a fortnight before the first Covid-19 lockdown.

But with the borders now open, New Zealand has been invited to send a team to Bendigo in October to compete in the Australian National Shearing and Woolhandling Championships.

Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman Sir David Fagan said it was likely a team would travel to Australia but a final decision would be made at the groups national committee meeting in August. . . 

Horticulture industry more than just being out on an orchard

An award-winning orchardist is hoping more people will get into the horticulture industry, saying there’s plenty of job opportunities for outdoorsy types.

Jacob Coombridge was recently crowned the winner of the 2022 Central Otago Young Grower competition.

The 22-year-old beat out seven other contestants in tests on irrigation, pest and disease identification, soil and fertilisers and risk management.

Coombridge, who works as an orchard supervisor at Webb’s Fruit in Cromwell, said it was great to see local growers come together and get involved in the competition. . . 

Tai Nelson wins Auckland Corteva Young Viticulturist of the year 2022 :

Congratulations to Tai Nelson, Vineyard Manager at Soljan’s Estate, who took out the title of Auckland/Northern Corteva Young Viticulturist of the Year 2022.

The first of the 2022 Young Vit regional finals was held at Goldie Estate on Waiheke on Thursday 9th June where contestants from West Auckland, Waiheke and Matakana competed for the title.

Congratulations also goes to Dominic Bolton from Kumeu River Estate who came second and also Nicole Reynolds from Te Motu Estate on Waiheke, who came third. The other contestants, Leon Henson an independent viticultural consultant and Josh Kingston also did themselves proud.

“They all gave it their absolute all, tackling everything with a positive attitude and seeing it as a great opportunity to learn. There was a really upbeat atmosphere from start to finish with strong support from sponsors and industry members.” says Nicky Grandorge, Leadership & Communities Manager at NZ Winegrowers. “This is what Young Vit is all about – it’s fantastic”. . . 


Rural round-up

13/06/2022

It’s not the red meat that’s bad for the planet, it’s us – Joe Bennett:

I used the article to light the log-burner, but I remember the first sentence: “We all know that red meat is bad for the planet.”

Well now, let’s start at the start. We don’t all know this. We may have been told it, and told it repeatedly, but that is not the same as knowing it and neither does it make it true. As a boy I was told many things, including that if you played with it, it fell off, and that god was in heaven. These two in particular seemed antithetical. Luckily neither proved true.

Now, it is possible to take a moral stance against red meat, to argue that it is wrong to end the lives of other creatures to sustain our own. To do so, however, is to condemn every living thing. From bacteria to whales, life on earth consists of things eating each other. The pretty little swallows that nest in my garage murder insects by the million.

But the author doesn’t seem to be taking this moral stance. He or she asserts only that red meat is “bad for the planet”, and presents this notion as if it were scientific fact. But red meat isn’t bad for the planet. The planet is a durable beastie that will continue to orbit the sun regardless of how many pork chops you and I may eat. . . 

Primary Industries on track for $52.2 billion in exports :

The latest Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI) report shows New Zealand’s food and fibre sector export revenue is expected to reach a record $52.2 billion in the year to 30 June 2022.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says the report showed an increase of close to 10% on the previous year. “This is a tremendous result for the sector as farmers, growers and others in the supply chains who play such a critical role in our economy.

They have continued to deliver quality products for Kiwis and overseas consumers while navigating global disruption and uncertainty,” he says.

O’Connor says New Zealand’s overseas markets demand high quality products made with care and the SOPI report indicates exporters are responding to that. . . 

Feds: Biodiversity budget support falls woefully short :

While the latest draft National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity (NPS-IB) is a significant improvement its success is undermined by woeful funding in Budget 2022 to assist private landowners, Federated Farmers says. Only $20 million of the $150m needed over the next four years was allocated.

Keys to Federated Farmers’ support of the new biodiversity policies will be sound criteria on what are truly ‘significant’ natural areas, and protection of existing land use rights where they are not degrading native biodiversity.

“Implementation of the new rules also needs to be accompanied by a comprehensive and well-resourced financial support package,” said Chris Allen, the Feds national board member who was part of the cross-sector Biodiversity Collaborative Group (BCG) that made recommendations to the government.

An exposure draft of the long-delayed NSP-IB has just been released, another step in the long journey of this policy. . . 

Cutting cattle stress delivers payoffs in beef quality, farmer says :

A Hawke’s Bay farmer says reducing stress levels among cattle is resulting in higher quality Angus beef.

Matangi Farm’s beef cattle is raised just behind Havelock North’s Te Mata Peak.

Farm manager Jamie Gaddum said they try to reduce stressors on the cattle as much as possible.

“We’ve tried to keep trucking to a minimum. We’ve got two farms, but they’re only on a truck once in the lifetime,” he said. . . 

Changing pig care regulations may leave farmers and consumers out of pocket – report

Proposed changes to how pigs are cared for could come with a hefty price tag, a new economic report warns.

The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee has proposed a raft of changes to the code for pigs, including banning or reducing the use of farrowing crates, weaning piglets no earlier than 28 days old and increasing the amount of space where young pigs live.

But a new report by consultancy group Sapere warns if the proposed changes are adopted, farmers could be out of pocket by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And it could drive the cost of New Zealand pork up by 18.8 percent for consumers, as farmers try to cover the costs. . . 

New research harvests better outcomes for tree planters :

Newly published research by Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service into tree planting will provide some welcome solutions to problems foresters and planters are all too familiar with.

“The research has enabled us to come up with strategies to successfully plant trees outside of the normal planting season, and also have a better understanding of how to safely hold back trees in nurseries without impacting the quality,” says Emily Telfer, Programme Delivery Manager, Forest Science at Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service.

Tree planting is normally carried out in the middle of the year, with significant work required in nurseries leading up to winter to prepare a crop of trees and by landowners to prepare sites for planting.

“The yearly forestry planting cycle follows a sequential series of steps and is driven by biology, so the research set out to look at what mitigations can be utilised when the sequence is disrupted.”. . . 


Rural round-up

10/06/2022

Dairy prices are rising again but the movement of Fonterra share prices not so cheery for farmers, prompts buy-back plan – Point of Order:

New Zealand’s  dairy   farmers, who  will be  receiving  a  record  payout from  most of  the processing  companies  they have  supplied in the 2021-22 season,  will be  relieved that the  average price rose  again at the latest Fonterra auction, snapping five consecutive falls.

While  demand  from the  China  market  remained relatively weak, other regions stepped in to take up the slack. The GDT price index rose 1.5% to 1359 (the first increase since the March 1 auction when the index hit a record 1593}, a  level  well  above  recent  seasons.

Covid-19 lockdowns in China have disrupted supply chains and weighed on dairy markets, with North Asian buyers recording their fourth-smallest volume of whole milk powder at the latest auction.

NZX dairy insights manager Stuart Davison said South-east Asia took the largest volume of both milk powders, purchasing well over half the total whole milk powder sold, which was the biggest proportion of all, while also purchasing the largest volume of skim milk powder. . .

NZL raising capital to buy two Southland farms -:

New Zealand Rural Land Company (NZL) is tapping shareholders for $20.4 million to fund the acquisition of two dairy farms in Southland.

The company is raising the capital through a rights offer, meaning eligible shareholders would have the right to purchase 1 new share for every 5 shares they own.

The proceeds would help fund NZL’s acquisition of the Argyle Downs Farm (546ha) and Greenhill Farm (366ha) in Southland.

They would have new tenants with initial terms of 11 years and 10 years respectively and would include consumer price index-linked rent reviews. . . 

 

Feds relieved by common sense rural water recommendations :

Federated Farmers sees positives in the report released this week by the Rural Supplies Technical Working Group on water services, in particular rejection of inflexible ‘one size fits all’ approaches to rural supplies.

“Many of the findings raised by the group look sound,” president Andrew Hoggard said.

“The report appears to be a tiny sliver of common sense in amongst a pile of water policy decision-making we are struggling to explain to our members.”

The technical working group chaired by Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan has recommended all council-owned mixed-use rural supplies should transfer to the new water services entities because they will have the people, resources and expertise to operate these schemes into the future. . . 

Brothers hunt our biggest trees – Rose O’Connor:

Identical twin brothers, Phil and Kevin Barker, love trees. Especially big ones – they’ve made it their mission to find New Zealand’s biggest native trees.

New Zealand may be a relatively young country, but there are huge trees still standing in our native forests that once had moa browsing at their base, and giant pouākai (Haast’s eagle) resting in their crown. Since childhood, twin brothers Phil and Kevin Barker have been going into the bush on a quest to find New Zealand’s biggest rimu, matai and kahikatea and to celebrate their ancient grandeur.

Kevin is a science teacher in Auckland, and Philip spent 30 years as a police officer. These days, he runs a motel in Hokitika. Their shared passion for native trees, which began in childhood, still burns undimmed in both of them. “Some of the biggest trees are well over a thousand years old,” Phil told Frank Film with obvious awe. “It’s so great to see them, and there’s just such a majesty to them.”

After hours of whacking through the dense bush and finding a forest giant, the pair will commence the serious business of measurement and comparison. They use three measures – the girth, the height, and the spread of the crown at the summit of the tree. “That’s what makes a champion tree. A combination of those three things,” says Kevin. . . 

 

NZHIA ihemp Discovery & Investment tour 2022 :

The New Zealand Hemp Industries Association, the industry organisation dedicated to the promotion and economic growth of industrial hemp in NZ, has been awarded AGMARDT funds to undertake a network building and capability development project.

The objective is to develop collaborative regional networks to allow scalable expansion of this emerging industry across a variety of sectors by offering information and expertise that will inspire “light bulb” moments.

To achieve this network, of connected community-based individuals and businesses, the NZHIA are conducting a nationwide roadshow “The NZHIA iHemp Discovery & Investment Tour 2022”.

The Tour will promote the iHemp industry to key stakeholders and end users in the farming, food fibre and health sectors, including Māori/Iwi based groups, entrepreneurs, investors, and the R&D communities, throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, to encourage their interest and participation in the iHemp industry. . . 

Increased excise means higher prices for wineries and consumers:

Excise on wine is set for its biggest increase in 30 years, following the government’s decision to lift excise by 6.9% from 1 July says Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers.

“Like every business, wineries are already facing big cost increases, so there is no way the excise increase can be absorbed by them. This excise increase will need to be passed on to consumers.”

The increased excise tax will most strongly impact the 300 members of New Zealand Winegrowers who only produce wine for New Zealanders to drink. . . 


Rural round-up

07/06/2022

Why this is not the time for government to be heaping regulatory costs on farmers and requiring a culling of the dairy herd – Point of Order:

On-farm inflation is at its highest level in almost 40 years, according to Beef + Lamb NZ’s Economic Service, and costs are expected to increase.  Meanwhile Federated  Farmers  says farmers’ satisfaction with their banks is relatively stable but more are feeling under pressure and the costs of finance are rising.

“Inflation is putting many New Zealanders and businesses under pressure, and our food producers are no different,” Feds President and economic spokesperson Andrew Hoggard says.

While Consumer Price Index (CPI) data has the annual inflation rate at 6.9%, the latest on-farm inflation rate has hit 10.2%  – the highest it’s been since 1985-86 (13.2%).

B+LNZ is concerned increasing regulatory requirements from the Government, such as freshwater and biodiversity rules, will stretch farmers even further. . . 

Another solid season looms – Rural News:

 Given what’s happening around the world, New Zealand dairy farmers are on to a pretty good thing with its internationally envied farming system.

A record milk price this season and another solid opening forecast for the new season bodes well for farmers’ income.

Dairy demand is still quite strong and supply remains constrained globally, especially in the US and Europe.

However, there are some short-term challenges: Covid, China’s most recent lockdowns and the unrest in Sri Lanka – a key market for Fonterra milk powder. . .

Tough conditions produce good stock – Shawn McAvinue:

Extreme weather conditions on a high-country station in the Maniototo allow for the best breeding of Charolais cattle in the country, Glen Ayr Station manager Drew Dundass says.

“The cream rises to the top.”

More than 80 people attended the 28th annual Taiaroa & Cotswold Charolais Bull Sale on Glen Ayr Station in Paerau Valley last week.

Of the 28 bulls on offer, 26 sold for an average of $6392, and the top price was $11,500. . . 

Queen’s Birthday honours unofficial mayor of Tarata gets official – Ilona Hanne:

He’s the unofficial mayor of Tarata, and now Bryan Hocken is officially a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM).

Bryan was made an MNZM in the Queen’s Birthday and Platinum Jubilee Honours List 2022, for services to agriculture and the rural community.

Announced on Monday, June 6, it’s an honour he describes as having left him “blown away”.

“I wasn’t expecting it. When I saw the email telling me, I just couldn’t believe it.” . . 

Tea Estate back on the boil – Sudesh Kissun:

New Zealand’s only tea farm is back on the boil.

The 48ha Zealong Tea Estate, near Hamilton, is preparing to welcome back local and international visitors after a two-year hiatus.

Home to 1.2 million tea plants, Zealong is the world’s largest internationally certified organic tea estate. It has a philosophy of enhancing the soil quality using carefully managed organic farm practices.

General manager Sen Kong says the company is excited to start welcoming visitors back after a challenging two years. . . 

RSPCA state New Zealand is judged to have higher welfare than UK – John Sleigh:

Flying largely in the face of what is perceived in the UK, New Zealand is the one country globally that can be judged to have better farm animal welfare standards than the UK – that’s according to animal protection body, the RSCPA.

Animal welfare has been put in the spotlight as the UK and New Zealand thrash out a potential Free Trade Agreement, where it is proposed traded food products must be produced to similar standards. UK opponents have been using the welfare issue as a potential block, citing better standards in the UK.

However, when giving evidence to Westminster’s International Agreements Committee, the RSCPA stated: “New Zealand is the only country with whom the UK is negotiating a Free Trade Agreement where there is broad equivalence on animal welfare standards. In some areas, New Zealand’s farm standards are above the UK’s.”

The RSPCA lists non-stun slaughter, increased lameness in sheep, legal live exports and poorer access to the outdoors for dairy cattle as areas where the UK lags behind on welfare. Whilst in other areas, the charity stated that the UK was ahead of New Zealand with our ban on sow stalls, more free range hens and henhouse cleanliness rules. . . 

 


Rural round-up

24/05/2022

Challenging harvest conditions see NZ apple and pear crop numbers drop from previous forecast :

New Zealand Apples and Pears (NZAPI), the industry organisation representing the country’s pipfruit growers, today released a crop re-forecast that predicts a decrease of between 12% and 15% on last year’s crop total.

Extreme weather events in the major growing regions of Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne and the impacts of Omicron during the peak harvest period have combined with increased shipping costs to further squeeze profit margins and make the New Zealand 2022 apple and pear harvest one of the most challenging in the past decade.

In January this year, the 2022 apple and pear crop was predicted to reach the equivalent of 23.2 million boxes (Tray Carton Equivalents, or TCEs, as they’re known in the industry), destined for customers in more than 80 countries. That forecast has now been adjusted to be approximately 20.3 million boxes, a drop of 13%, representing an estimated reduction in export earnings of $105 million.

NZAPI CEO Terry Meikle says a perfect storm of adverse weather events in key growing regions and major labour shortages during the heart of the harvest combined to result in growers not being able maximise their crops. However, what has been harvested remains of a high quality for New Zealand’s export markets. . . 

Challenges navigated in ‘tumultuous’ year – Sally Rae:

Otago Federated Farmers president Mark Patterson has described the past 12 months as “one of the most tumultuous in recent farming history”.

In his report to the province’s annual meeting in Lawrence yesterday, Mr Patterson said agriculture had not faced such a challenging set of circumstances since the Rogernomics era reforms in the 1980s.

Implementation of major Government reforms of freshwater and land management, climate change regulation, labour shortages, supply chain disruptions, pandemic management, land-use change and centralisation of local government services were some of the significant issues confronting farmers.

On top of that, Otago had been “book-ended” by back-to-back autumn droughts which had resulted in a medium-scale adverse event being declared in large swathes of the region, adding extra stress. . . 

The future for sheep – Keith Woodford:

Lamb prices are high but industry remains buffeted by big crosswinds

The sheep industry in Zealand has been getting smaller ever since 1982 when sheep numbers reached 70 million. The latest numbers are 26 million in 2021, having dropped from 32.6 million in 2010. Yet sheep still earn over $4 billion of annual export income.

In recent months I have had plenty to say about both greenhouse gas policy and forestry as they are affecting and will affect all New Zealand agriculture. Here, I focus specifically on sheep farming to seek answers as to where the industry might head.

Focusing first on market returns, the last two decades have brought lots of good news. Lamb and mutton prices have risen faster than other pastoral products, including dairy, and at a considerably higher rate than general inflation. Yet somehow it has not been enough to stem the decline. . .

Feasibility update on $4 billion Lake Onslow project expected next month :

The Energy Minister is expected to provide an update next month on whether a $4 billion pumped hydro storage in Central Otago might be feasible.

The Lake Onslow project is designed to serve as a giant battery to help protect against hydro electricity shortages and create more stability in the market.

It would involve a man-made lake likely to the east of Roxburgh in Central Otago where water would be pumped into a reservoir when energy demand was low and released when demand was high.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said Energy Minister Megan Woods would provide a brief project overview to her Cabinet colleagues this month. . . 

Dunstan Trail lauded with more than 80k riders in first year – Tim Brown:

Cromwell and Clyde businesses are celebrating the success of the Lake Dunstan Trail, and hope it will help sustain the area through the usually quiet winter period.

The cycle trail, which connects Clyde and Cromwell after opening in May last year, has blown away all expectations.

It was hoped it would attract 7500 users in its first year, instead it was more than 84,000.

The small Central Otago town of Clyde was home to about 1250 people and one of the Otago Central Rail Trail’s trail heads.

That trail attracted more than 10,000 users annually. . . 

Good moving day planning key to preventing pest plant spread & managing effluent :

Farmers are being urged to do their bit to protect farms from damaging pest plants by ensuring machinery, vehicles and equipment have been cleaned ahead of Moving Day.

Planning is also necessary when it comes to preventing effluent entering waterways and keeping roads clear and safe for road users in the region, says Waikato Regional Council.

Moving Day occurs in the week leading up to and immediately following 1 June each year. It involves the mass transporting of cows and machinery around the country’s roads as farm contractors relocate themselves and their stock in time for the new season.

“Through good on farm biosecurity practices, farmers and contractors can make a massive difference to preventing the spread of pest plants and weeds,” said regional council biosecurity pest plants team leader, Darion Embling. . . 


Redpeace hates cows

17/05/2022

When raging inflation and high debt requires the government to spend every cent wisely, its Emissions Reduction Plan falls short:

National supports the Government’s emissions budgets and emissions targets but is concerned that today’s Emissions Reduction Plan is a poor use of taxpayers’ money, says Opposition Leader Christopher Luxon says.

“We support the goal of reducing emissions in the economy, but see little evidence that this Government will be able to deliver.

“Too much of the new spending will go to corporate welfare and more working groups.

“The Government is proposing to give hundreds of millions of dollars to companies for investments they should be making anyway.

“We expect those companies to be cutting their emissions without help from taxpayers. A significant part of the Government’s plan looks like a corporate carbon bailout.

“There are elements of the plan that we welcome, including investment in research to reduce agriculture emissions and in expanding options for carbons sinks including native forests and blue carbon.

“However, much of the plan lacks the details we would expect to see after more than two years of work.

“This plan is classic Labour. In the middle of a cost of living crisis, Grant Robertson’s big idea is to spend millions of dollars for more consultants, more working groups, and poorly focused initiatives, with no real milestones for success.

“It is disappointing to see poor quality spending and corporate welfare at a time when New Zealanders’ back pockets are hurting and they want assurance their money is being carefully spent.

“Today’s plan will only add to the perception that this Government talks a big game but does not deliver – whether for the climate or housing or mental health or anything else.”

The Taxpayers’ Union makes a similar point about misspending:

James Shaw is exploiting the commentariat’s failure to understand the Emissions Trading Scheme in order to justify costly middle class welfare and handouts for big business, says Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke.

On cash for clunkers:

“This is brazen middle class welfare dressed up as climate action,” says Mr Houlbrooke. “Giving a fat cash enticement for New Zealanders to switch to electric vehicles is unlikely to benefit poorer households, who will not be in the market for an electric vehicle (even a subsidised one). In fact, scrapping used cars will drive up costs for the poor due to reduced supply in the used market.”

“When this policy was tried in the US, it mainly ended up subsidising purchases that would have happened anyway.”

On corporate welfare:

“Shaw has announced he’s sloshing another $650 million into the ‘decarbonising industry’ corporate welfare fund. This is the pot of money that has seen millions handed over to the likes of Silver Fern Farms, ANZCO, and DB Breweries so that they can upgrade their heating systems. Smaller competitors never seem to get a look in. Regardless, as we have previously pointed out, the funding is redundant: based on the Government’s own numbers, big businesses already have a strong enough incentive to replace boilers and avoid ETS levies.”

Handouts from the GIDI fund so far can be browsed here: Round 1Round 2Round 3.

On the elephant in the room:

“The vast majority of interventions announced today will fail to reduce emissions. That’s because, outside of agriculture, New Zealand’s emissions are capped and traded under the Emissions Trading Scheme. Interventions to force down emissions in say, transport, merely free up carbon credits to be burnt in other sectors.”

“As the United Nations’ IPCC put it: if a cap-and- trade system has a sufficiently stringent cap then other policies such as renewable subsidies have no further impact on total greenhouse emissions. Why does James Shaw think he knows better than the UN’s international climate experts? Of course, simply using the ETS to efficiently reduce emissions would make for fewer announcements and fewer photo-ops with schoolkids, cycleways, and electric vehicles.”

Once again the government shows it doesn’t understand the ETS and the waterbed effect of reductions of emissions in one area allowing increases in another for no net improvement.

However, there is some good in the Emissions Reduction Plan:

Federated Farmers is pleased the government has recognised solutions to agricultural emissions lie in new technologies and tools, and is stepping up investment on that front.

“Nitrate and methane inhibitors, gene editing, animals bred for their lower methane ‘burping’ – they’re the kind of advances that will enable New Zealand’s farming sector to continue to perform for the nation’s economy while maintaining our world-leading meat and dairy carbon footprint,” Feds President and climate change spokesperson Andrew Hoggard said.

It will be important to understand how the proposed new Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions fits with existing bodies such as the NZ Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, the Pastoral GHG Research Consortium (PGGRC) and the international bodies New Zealand partners with, such as the Global Research Alliance.

“New Zealand farmers have been funding millions of dollars into greenhouse gas mitigation tools since 2003 via the PGGRC,” Andrew said.

Do we need another organisation when all of these are already doing good work?

It will also be crucial that our regulatory framework is worked on at the same time as acceleration of research and commercialisation of these tools “so that when they’re ready, we can get on with using them.

“At present there is no category to register feed inhibitors for use on our farms, for example,” Andrew said.

“And Feds again make the point we’ve made many times previously – serious investigation and society-wide discussion is needed on the role genetic technologies – particular gene editing – can play in the thorny environmental issues confronting us. Feds supports giving food producers and consumers the choice with gene editing technology.

“If we are not open to all solutions, we risk losing our world-leading emissions footprint as other countries embrace the innovation we are ignoring.”

Andrew said those who continue to claim the answer lies in just cutting fertiliser and going totally organic need to look at what has just happened in Sri Lanka. “That’s the short-sighted path that nation’s government pursued and now they’re in a food and economic crisis they’re desperate to reverse and get back to where they were.”

That short-sighted path is the one that GreenRedpeace wants:

Greenpeace has dubbed the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan an ‘Omissions Ridiculous Plan’, for its failure to address New Zealand’s biggest climate polluter – the dairy industry.

Lead agriculture campaigner Christine Rose says, “Intensive dairying is the number one cause of climate pollution in Aotearoa, so it’s absolutely staggering to see that the Emissions Reduction Plan fails to include policy that would reduce cow numbers or phase out the synthetic nitrogen fertiliser that drives emissions.””This Emissions Reduction plan is not credible because it fails to deal with the dirty great cow in the room – New Zealand’s biggest climate polluter – intensive dairy,” says Rose.

Where’s the evidence that cows are the number one cause of climate pollution. Does Redpeace understand the difference between methane and CO2?

Despite initial Climate Commission recommendations that New Zealand needed to reduce the livestock herd and area farmed, the Government has not included these policies in the plan. Other nations have been taking such steps, including the Netherlands which plans to cut the herd by 30% by 2030.

The Netherlands aren’t nearly as efficient at producing milk as we are, nor is dairying such a big part of their economy.

The Government’s projections show the ERP will reduce agricultural emissions by as little as 0.33 Mt CO2e over the 2022-2025 period which is less than 1% of the industry’s projected emissions.

The ERP’s approach to agriculture relies heavily on industry self-regulation – through He Waka Eke Noa – which is also expected to reduce emissions by only 1%.

“Instead of just cutting cow numbers, the Government is relying on industry promises, hypothetical, and unproven techno-fixes to agricultural emissions, and the freshwater reforms that the dairy industry is undermining at every step,” says Rose.

The Emissions Reduction Plan gifts $710 million to the agricultural industry – a quarter of the entire Climate Emergency Response Fund which it has not contributed towards.

“Despite the climate emergency, industrial dairy has yet again been given a free pass that now comes with a huge subsidy from the rest of New Zealand.

“This is a kick in the guts for New Zealanders who are effectively subsidising the intensive dairy industry due to the industry’s exemption from the ETS.

“To truly deal with the climate crisis the Government needs a far better plan than they have produced today. A plan that cuts cow numbers, phases out synthetic fertiliser and drives the transition to more plant-based regenerative organic farming,” says Rose. 

Can Redpeace present any reputable science backing their prescription as being both better for the environment and sustainable?

How expensive does Redpeace want food to become?

How much a reduction in export income and consequent reduction in living standards does Redpeace think is acceptable?

The organisation probably hasn’t considered those questions and wouldn’t be interested in the answers.

The diatribe above shows, it simply hates cows, doesn’t care that fewer cows here would lead to more cows elsewhere, where production is much less efficient, and has no idea that the high social and economic costs of its policy would do little for emissions here and lead to an increase globally.


Rural round-up

13/05/2022

Farmers have good reason to be nervous about the ETS – Campbell Stewart:

As consultation by He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN, the primary sector climate action partnership) has rounded up, there are still a vast number of farmers who are nervous, confused and angry about what the future for managing agricultural emissions in New Zealand might look like, and for good reason.

The fast pace of law-making in New Zealand in recent years is unsettling. Not only for the rural community trying to get their heads around what it all means for them, but for a range of sectors, including participants in New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme.

Farmers are grappling with HWEN’s two options for managing agricultural emissions – an on-farm levy or a processor levy. But the alternative of a blanket inclusion of agriculture in the ETS, which is the option if HWEN cannot convince the Government to adopt its suggested approach, is a particularly frightening prospect.

In its current form, the ETS isn’t working well for participants, particularly foresters. Adding complexity and workload for officials by including agriculture would be a disaster. . . 

Clock ticking on plan to keep agriculture out of the Emissions Trading Scheme – Stephen Ward:

The clock is ticking towards the end of May deadline for finalising a scheme to keep agriculture out the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), an issue of key interest to Waikato’s extensive dairy sector and other agricultural players.

Ngahinapouri dairy farmer Jim van der Poel, the chair of agriculture heavyweight DairyNZ, believes the final proposal from sector group He Waka Eke Noa will ultimately help farmers and others manage emissions-related financial risk better. Overall, he said it would also do more to assist Aotearoa to meet its international emissions reduction obligations as the world tackles climate change.

Besides his organisation, He Waka Eke Noa involves Beef and Lamb NZ, Dairy Companies Association, Federated Farmers, Foundation for Arable Research, Horticulture NZ, Irrigation NZ, the Federation of Māori Authorities, Deer Industry Association, Meat Industry Association and Apiculture NZ.

Emissions related to nitrous oxide (from the likes of fertiliser and stock urine) and methane (from cows belching) are covered by what will be proposed by He Waka Eke Noa. It doesn’t cover farmers’ fossil fuel-related emissions. . . 

NZ dairy farmer looks to head up world body

West Coast dairy farmer and former Federated Farmers president Katie Milne is making a bid to head up the World Farmers’ Organisation, a Rome-based advocacy group that brings together farmer organisations and agricultural co-operatives from across the world. 

Milne has served on the organisation’s board for nearly five years and is standing for election as president at the upcoming general assembly in Budapest from June 7-10.

She is one of three candidates, something she says is positive.

“It’s healthy to have options and a lot of diversity of thought and debate on the way forward,” she says.  . . 

BNZ launches incentives for ‘green’ farmers

Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) has launched an Agribusiness Sustainability Linked Loan (SLL) product available to all New Zealand farmers.

The term loan, a SLL available to all farmers no matter the size of their farm or industry, offers interest cost savings for achieving environmental and social targets including: Greenhouse gas reductions; eco-system protection; improved care for staff; protecting waterways; improving biodiversity; and animal welfare.

It is the first time a SLL has been available as a loan product to all New Zealand farmers. Environmental and Social targets are set and agreed with BNZ and progress independently verified annually.

“New Zealand’s farmers are working hard to achieve environmental and social goals and we want to support and incentivise their efforts,” says Dana Muir, BNZ head of natural capital. . . 

Turning theory into practicality – Leo Argent:

Kirsten Duess believes the findings of her research work into soil drainage in Southland will have benefits for other parts of New Zealand as well.

The final-year Lincoln University PhD candidate was the 2021 winner of the NZ Society of Soil Science/Fertiliser Association of NZ Postgraduate Bursary Award. The $5,000 award recognises the efforts and likely contribution to New Zealand soil science arising from a doctorate study.

Duess’ postgraduate research saw her lead a long-term field study on soil and catchment hydrology in Southland. The findings will help understand the role mole and tile drains play in that region’s unique landscape.

“We were interested in understanding the hydrology of a small catchment that is drained by a mole and tile drainage system on a sheep farm near Otahuti in Southland,” she told Rural News. . .

 

Pork industry wants welfare code extended to imports :

More than 3000 people have signed a petition calling for imported pork to meet the same animal welfare standards as pork produced here.

Started by Frances Clement, a policy advisor to statutory industry board, NZ Pork, the petition was presented to parliament on Tuesday.

NZ Pork chief executive, Brent Kleiss said New Zealand’s pork sector had high welfare standards compared to many other countries with less rigorous health, welfare and environmental regimes.

But over 60 percent of pork consumed in New Zealand was imported with most of it being produced in countries that farm pigs using practices that are illegal in this country he said. . . 


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