Rural round-up

June 7, 2017

Time to give farmers their due – Dr William Rolleston:

It is election year and it seems that for the environmental groups the gloves are off.

We have seen Greenpeace run a series of fundraising ads vilifying dairy farmers and Forest and Bird pull out of the Land and Water Forum. No surprise that both these organisations are headed by ex-Green politicians. Scuttlebutt is that Forest and Bird will re-join the Land and Water Forum after the election. Greenpeace has yet again been accused of misleading the public.

The truth is that farmers are fully engaged in meeting their environmental responsibilities. Up and down the country I have seen catchment groups working to reduce their impact on water quality and address issues of water allocation. . . 

Queen’s Birthday Honours: James Guild:

James Alastair Hay Guild, of High Peak Station, Darfield, has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the deer industry.

Mr Guild is a farmer and tourism operator who has been active in the deer industry for more than forty years.

Mr Guild has been a councillor and President of New Zealand Deer Farmers Association, Director of the Game Industry Board, Director of the Cervena Trust, inaugural Chair of Provelco Co-op Ltd, President of the New Zealand Association of Game Estates, and chaired the organising committee of first World Deer Congress. . .

People at the heart of decades of work for Flaxmere’s new MNZM:

Its third time lucky for the humble Peter MacGregor, who has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to Maori and agriculture.

The Flaxmere resident said he felt very honoured to have received the Queens Birthday Honour.

This was not the first time Mr MacGregor had been recognised in such a way – he said he had declined the Queens Birthday honours the first time “some years ago”, and the second time the required paperwork was not completed in time. . . 

Saving seed in case :

AgResearch has deposited a collection of seeds in a remote Arctic doomsday vault to guard against the loss of plant species through war, disease or disaster striking New Zealand.

The deposit was made via an airmailed package to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a secure facility on the rugged Arctic Svalbard archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole.

It is the second delivery of its kind from AgResearch’s Margot Forde Germplasm Centre (MFGC) following an agreement established last year. . .

Socks of many colours for resthome residents – Sally Brooker:

For its 40th anniversary, the Black and Coloured Sheep Breeders’ Association of New Zealand continued its tradition of charitable works.

The association held its annual conference in Oamaru, bringing in more than 50 delegates from across the country. As well as attending meetings and competing with their coloured fleeces, sheepskins, handcrafts and photography, they made time to donate woollen goods to a local rest-home. . . .

Fieldays’ Rural Bachelor competition is back:

Rest easy, New Zealand, the Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year finalists have been found.

Fieldays staff have been scouring New Zealand and Australia in search of the eight most eligible rural bachelors, and they have finally found this year’s stock. The blokes will soon be embarking on a whirlwind week as they vie for the title of Rural Bachelor of the Year, a prize pack worth over $20,000 and a chance at finding love.

Rural Bachelor event manager Lynn Robinson said selecting the finalists was a tough job. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

June 22, 2013

Snow records tell own story – Tim Fulton:

You often hear claims about the biggest snowfall in decades.

This week’s weather in Canterbury led to a study that puts the term “big snow” in context.

The Canterbury snow of June 12, 2006, tagged the Big Chill at the time, egged electricity lines company Orion into some historical homework.

Snow depths in areas north of the Rakaia River were not unprecedented, NIWA reported in work on Orion’s behalf.

Comparing six Canterbury storms, NIWA said the covering in areas north of the Rakaia was similar to the 1973 storm although the 2006 blast did produce pockets of significantly deeper snow west of Darfield and towards the foothills. That rolling country experienced conditions more similar to the 1945 storm. . .

Chinese demand drives kiwi sales – Richard Rennie:

Positive Asian market prospects are providing a bright start for the kiwifruit export season, after the industry grappled with the Psa disease and Chinese import issues last year.

Zespri’s manager for grower and government relations Simon Limmer has spent several weeks in Asian markets and has returned buoyed by prospects.

The limited volumes of gold fruit available for export this season created some supply tension, with growth strong in the established Chinese eastern seaboard region, he said. . .

Attitude change encouraging – Tim Cronshaw:

New Zealand agriculture seems to have moved beyond talk of great trade opportunities in Asia to executing ways of making the most of them.

ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie said the agriculture sector had experienced a change of attitude.

“There has been a big change in the tenor of conversations between now and three years ago.

“Three years ago we were talking about opportunity. Now there are a lot more thought leadership forums around the country that are centred around execution and how we unlock those gains. Those sort of shifts are subtle, but I think they are very important as they signal where New Zealand is moving to.” . .

School rolls drop in Psa-afflicted area – Sonya Bateson:

A number of Te Puke school rolls have dropped as orchard workers struggle to find work in the Psa-afflicted area.

Fairhaven School and Rangiuru School said their rolls had dropped in the past year because of the effect Psa had had on kiwifruit orchards. . .

HortNZ president steps down

Horticulture New Zealand president Andrew Fenton is stepping down as president after the group’s annual meeting next month.

Fenton has held the role since HortNZ’s inception in 2005.

He said he was very proud of what HortNZ had achieved over the past eight years and it was now time for new leadership.

“It has been a real team effort and we could not have achieved what we have without the strong support of our grower members,” he said. . .

12 questions: Simon Washer – Sarah Stuart:

Simon Washer, 25, was last week named Rural Bachelor of the Year at Fieldays. He’s a sharemilker on his family farm in south Taranaki and says he needs to find a partner pronto as his cooking is pretty much limited to roasts.

1. So, how many calls, emails, texts, stalkers have you had since winning Rural Bachelor last week?

I had the cellphone in my back pocket when I won and it didn’t stop vibrating for a couple of hours. I’ve now got 80 texts on the cellphone and 180 emails to browse through.

2. Did your mates hassle you about entering?

That’s an understatement.

3. You’re a dairy farmer: are profits booming?

I’ve got the biggest overdraft I’ve ever had as I just started sharemilking this month. My staff and farm expenses get paid on the 20th of every month but I won’t see any income until September. Our company Fonterra is doing a great job and looking after us this year.

4. Your granddad set up the family farm after returning from the war: how much pressure do you feel to make it succeed?

Little to none. I can honestly tell myself each day this industry is what I love doing. The best advice I’ve had from Jim, my granddad, is “Find what you love doing and you’ll never work a day of your life”. I’ll be telling my kids that too. . . .

 


Rural round-up

June 17, 2013

40% productivity rise realistic – Sally Rae:

On-farm productivity gains in the New Zealand sheep industry over the past 25 years have been an ”extraordinary story”, AbacusBio consultant Dr Peter Fennessy says.

Productivity, which drove profitability, had been increasing at about 2.5% a year, which he attributed to a combination of genetics and management.

There had been genetic improvement through consolidation of the ram-breeding sector and larger ram-breeding flocks, and uptake of new technology (rams and pasture) and better pasture management. . .

Working within cap on nitrogen – Sally Rae:

“As a nation, we cannot continue to have conversations about protecting water quality without having a parallel set of conversations that redefine the New Zealand farming business model.”

So says Taupo farmer and entrepreneur Mike Barton, who, when faced with what was effectively a cap on stock numbers, sought to increase the value of the product he produced.

A nitrogen cap was imposed on farmers around Lake Taupo to protect its water quality, with 35,000ha of land now covenanted for 999 years to remove 20% of manageable nitrogen. . .

Fonterra invests further $30m into Whareroa:

Fonterra has announced a further $30 million investment to expand its Dry Distribution Centre at its Whareroa site in Taranaki.

This follows a $23 million upgrade of the Whareroa coolstores last year, bringing the total capital investment in the logistics infrastructure on site to more than $50 million since 2011.

Fonterra Director of Logistics, Mark Leslie, says the project is part of Fonterra’s overall drive to simplify their supply chain and reduce the associated costs.

“These investments are part of a strategy to deliver more products, more directly to ports for export. . . “

Fieldays; washer cleans up– Jackie Harrigan:

Taranaki dairy farmer Simon Washer made a clean sweep of the Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year Competition for 2013.

After a busy week of an Amazing Race through the North Island followed by a series of eight challenges at Mystery Creek, 25-year-old Simon won the People’s Choice Award – having built his Facebook following to more than 700 likes – before being presented with the Golden Gumboot Award for overall Rural Bachelor of the Year.

Simon is sharemilking in coastal Taranaki and a motor-cross and trail riding fan who is also involved in Young Farmers and chairman of his local club. . .

Green’s Taranaki claims poppycock – Harvey Leach:

What we saw on TV3’s Campbell Live about landfarming in Taranaki and then got from a Green Party media release was straight out of the conspiracy theorists’ playbook.

The Green Party called on Fonterra to stop taking milk from land in Taranaki that it said had been spread with oil and fracking waste, which included toxic chemicals.

This divides things into “everyone even remotely involved-qualified versus me”. In our case, those remotely involved-qualified were landowners, Fonterra, Taranaki Regional Council, petroleum companies and the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association. The “me” in this story was the Green Party of Dr Russel Norman. . .

 


Rural round-up

June 13, 2013

Fieldays: Ag’s productivity in question -Richard Rennie:

The high costs of owning and running New Zealand farms have blunted the sector’s productivity over the past decade, raising concerns over ongoing competitiveness.

The concerns come as Mystery Creek once again plays host to the National Fieldays showcasing the latest technology, aimed to drive more productivity into farm operations.

Phil Journeaux, a long-time analyst with Ministry for Primary Industries and now consultant with AgFirst, has voiced his concerns over the pastoral sector’s low total productivity gains. . . .

Global food in focus at Fieldays – James Ihaka:

Mystery Creek organisers hope to top last year’s attendance when 128,000 people came through the gates.

Kiwi farmers’ expertise could help solve the problem of how to feed the world’s rapidly growing population in the years ahead, says the boss of agriculture show Fieldays.

But for now, the organisers of this year’s event at Mystery Creek and its hundreds of exhibitors are hoping they will just show up and spend some cash when the gates open today.

“Getting down to business in the global economy” is the theme at this year’s Fieldays, which is the biggest agricultural show of its type in the Southern Hemisphere. . .

Our farming practices are lauded by communities half a world away but only seen by local councils as ‘milch

 cows – Bruce Wills:

Federated Farmers Vice-President, Dr William Rolleston, not only attended the Green Party’s mini-conference on climate change but returned with all of his limbs intact.

For all of the misreporting about agriculture and the Emissions Trading Scheme, we are in it as much as you are reading this.

From fuel to power and ‘number eight’ wire, farmers pay the ETS like everybody else.

The only difference is the treatment of farm biological emissions and even here there seems to be movement. . . .

Farmers have no problem taking responsibility when things go wrong but that should apply to bureaucrats too – Bruce Wills:

The proverb “for want of a nail” has been around for centuries and reminds us very small things can have very big consequences.

In 1918 a certain Adolph Hitler was injured in battle and for want of a few millimetres, our world may have been a very different one.

The proverb neatly sums up the fiasco that has been New Zealand’s handling of meat documentation for China. . .

More mental health support for drought affected communities:

Farmers affected by this year’s devastating drought are being offered more help, with workshops about how to recognise and cope with mental health problems, Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew announced today.

“Working in very stressful and difficult circumstances can have a significant effect on a person’s mental health and those in the rural community can be vulnerable after such a large-scale event,” says Mrs Goodhew.

The Ministry of Health is working with local rural organisations in the drought-declared rural communities to hold a short series of workshops teaching people to recognise the signs of mental health problems and know how to respond.  The dates and locations of the workshops will be announced shortly. . .

Aussie bachelor says he’s got the class to show up kiwis – Jame Ihaka:

Australian farmer Sam Trethewey says there is just one factor that separates him from a bunch of strapping New Zealand hopefuls all vying to win the Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year award.

“Class,” he said. “We don’t wear stubbies or beanies over there, mate, we do things with a bit of class.”

The 29-year-old who farms merino sheep, beef and various crops on a property near Bannockburn, southwest of Melbourne, is one of eight rural Romeos competing for a $20,000-plus prize pool in the popular Fieldays event that’s making a comeback after a year’s absence. . .

Cheesemaking bachelor-style – Jenna Lynch:

It would be fair to assume that our Fieldays Rural Bachelor boys know how to milk a cow, but how far do their skills stretch when comes to producing the end product?

In today’s heat 3 of the Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year competition the lads had their culinary skills pushed to the limit in a Masterchef style Cheese-off.

Each of the strapping young contenders was required to produce a hunk of haloumi from raw ingredients, after being schooled by a cheese maker from Over the Moon Cheese.  . .


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