Rural round-up

January 6, 2015

Pink is in vogue as the ‘girls’ forge ahead with family farm – Sally Rae:

An inspirational North Otago mother-and-daughter duo who run a busy pig-farming operation are proof that women can do anything.   Sally Rae reports. 

“Pink definitely belongs on the farm,” Sam Fox reckons.

Sam (24) can be found most days in hot-pink overalls, working alongside her mother, Debbie, at their North Otago piggery.

”She says that’s the boss’ colour,” her mother says, while Sam quips she needs a badge to identify that she is ”chief executive” of Rayburn Farm Ltd.

The pair’s obviously strong relationship goes deeper than the usual mother-daughter bond because they are also business partners, together running an intensive farming operation. . .

Century of family’s effort celebrated with fine fruit –  Leith Huffadine:

The Webb family recently celebrated 100 years of horticulture on the same property, a part of an iconic Central Otago industry which evokes memories of hot summer days and ripe fruit. Leith Huffadine discussed family history, technology changes, and growing fruit with fourth-generation orchardist Simon Webb.

From father to son for four generations, the Webb family has been supplying people with fruit from their orchard, located just outside Cromwell, which has been in the family since 1914.

Established by John Robert Webb, in early summer that year, about 8ha of the 32ha section he purchased was planted in fruit trees.

Going by the numbers, Stonehurst Orchard is now just over 100 years old and has about 25ha planted in trees which produce about 550 or 600 tonnes of fruit a year. . .

Journalist writing new life on the farm Hamish McLean:

Gumboots are more part of Nigel Stirling’s wardrobe than suits these days but the former journalist has not gone “cold turkey” on his news
background, despite the demands of farming life. He tells Hamish McLean about his return to the family farm in South Otago.

One would forgive former colleagues for doing a double take, but Nigel Stirling has no trouble recalling how he was introduced to audiences in his four years at Radio New Zealand.

”They’d read out an intro that I’d written and then they’d say, `Economics correspondent Nigel Stirling has been covering the story – and he joins us now.’ ”And I’d say, ‘Good morning, Jeff’ or `Good morning, Sean’ or I’d just launch straight into it.

”They’d finish it by saying, `Thanks, Nigel.

”That was our economics correspondent Nigel Stirling.” . . .

More than just a cottage industry – Sally Rae,

An enterprising Central Otago farming family has diversified to successfully add tourism to its busy business operation, as Sally Rae reports.

Life is just busy enough at Penvose Farms.

Ask Stu and Lorraine Duncan how they balance a wide-ranging farming operation in the Maniototo with a successful tourism venture, family life and even civic duties, and the answer comes quick.

”Bloody hard at times,” says Mrs Duncan, a calm and capable woman who appears the perfect foil for her dry-witted and ever-thinking husband.

Stu Duncan is a fourth-generation farmer on the block at Wedderburn that was taken up by his forebears in 1894.

Additional land has since been bought and the enterprise now encompasses 2000ha, running sheep, deer and beef cattle, including an Angus stud. . .

Lack of sheep shearers threatens future events:

Falling sheep numbers are threatening the future of rural New Zealand shearing competitions due to a shortage of local shearers. 

The sheep population is at its lowest since World War II which has led to a lack of shearers. 

According to Statistics New Zealand the number of sheep declined by 1.2 million between 2013 and 2014 and now sits at 29.6 million.

Doug Laing of Shearing Sport New Zealand said the reduced flock is threatening the future of the events, which have dropped from around 100 nationally to 60 events a year.

Laing said the problem was a lack of shearers. “It’s a question of how long we can keep running these shows.” . . .

Planning for FMD outbreak – Simone Norrie:

THE Department of Primary Industries (DPI) estimates an outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Australia could cost the economy up to $52 billion over a decade.

Exercise Odysseus brought together representatives from key industry bodies and government agencies to step out the action that could be taken if an outbreak occurred.

DPI hosted one of 40 simulation exercises across Australia at Wagga Wagga in December, with discussions centred on the ripple effect of an umbrella 72-hour livestock standstill if an outbreak did occur.

Independent consultant Ron Glanville, Biosecurity Advisory Service, Melbourne, Victoria, had run 10 exercises across Australia, and said the workshops discussed existing plans and highlighted the gaps. . . .

Artistic take on Molong’s scrap – Rebecca Sharpe:

FOR motorists heading through Molong along the Mitchell Highway, Caldwell Molong may only look like a scrap metal business.

But looking closer, gems of fine art sculptures are hidden.

A dinosaur proudly stands above the scrap while sunflowers poke their bright yellow heads into the sky.

Panel beater Mark Oates and mechanic Ben Caldwell are an unlikely artistic duo but they are the masterminds behind the beautiful recycled sculptures. . .

 


Rural round-up

October 17, 2013

Overseas experience to boost FMD preparation:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced that a delegation of 10 veterinarians, farming leaders and MPI staff will take part in foot and mouth disease (FMD) training in Asia next year to experience working with the disease first hand.

“While the major focus is always on preventing FMD, it is also very important that we are prepared to respond to such an outbreak quickly and effectively if it ever did happen.

“The training will develop a larger pool of people in New Zealand with experience in recognising, diagnosing and controlling the disease.

“This is the latest initiative in a major 18-month programme of work, which involves the Ministry for Primary Industries and an industry working group working together on key projects,” says Mr Guy. . .

End of an era for southern cooperatives – Allan Barber:

Alliance Group chairman Owen Poole retired at the end of September after five years on the board and 15 in top management roles, while Eoin Garden, Silver Fern Farms’ chairman since 2007 is retiring at the AGM in December.

Both men in different ways have provided notably determined leadership of their respective companies through particularly difficult times for the meat industry. Although each will retire with some regrets at not being able to lead the way to a permanent recovery, it will be a relief to step back from the limelight and leave the battle to their successors.

Poole has been succeeded by North Canterbury farmer Murray Taggart who ironically was voted off the Alliance board at the same AGM as previous chairman John Turner, resulting in Poole being appointed the company’s first independent chairman. That was a consequence of farmer disaffection with low lamb prices, so in spite of some recovery before the last price drop nothing much has really changed. . .

Rise of corporate dairying in China:

A new report says China’s dairy industry is undergoing a massive restructuring, with traditional small farmers departing to make way for large-scale commerical dairying operations.

Rabobank’s report China’s Raw Milk Supply – Still Dreaming of a White River says the rapid changes taking place in China will have an impact on its demand for imports.

Co-author Hayley Moynihan says the restructuring is limiting China’s domestic milk flow. She says as the supply chain restructures, is it put under pressure in terms of its ability to increase the volume of quality raw milk supplies.

Ms Moynihan says the Chinese Government has taken significant action to improve milk quality since the melamine crisis in 2008. . .

Evolving a truly customer-centric industry:

New Zealand’s primary sector needs to develop a customer-centric approach to its marketing – by creating products with unique attributes that are sought after by global consumers.

That was a key theme of the just-released Volume 3 of the KPMG Agribusiness Agenda, titled “Evolving a truly customer-centric industry”.

KPMG’s Global Head of Agribusiness, Ian Proudfoot, says the sector needs to replace its traditional ‘trading mentality’ with a more targeted approach.

“Those customers who see the most value in what we produce – and are consequently willing to pay a higher price for the attributes they value – must be at the centre of everything we do.” . .

A primer of water quality – Clive Howard-Williams at Waiology:

Society is increasingly concerned over water quality. The means by which this is maintained and enhanced while growing an economy is a major challenge for governments in many places. Here I introduce some underlying concepts around water quality that Waiology followers will need to appreciate when they look at the forthcoming series of blogs.

What is good water quality?

Rather than just being a set of defined scientific numbers, water quality is rather a perception defined by communities and it varies from place to place and between communities. What is seen as poor water quality by some may be adequate for others. Generally however, good quality is usually recognized as water that is safely drinkable, swimmable and from where food may be gathered and that provides for community spiritual and cultural needs and for healthy ecosystems. . .

Happy World Food Day:

We all love to eat, but make sure that as you celebrate World Food Day today you spare a thought today for those who don’t have enough to eat.

‘Across the world 842 million people still suffer from chronic malnutrition, including a growing number in the developed world’, said HRLA chairperson Edward Miller, ‘and the latest New Zealand food security study reported that less than 6 in 10 NZ households are food secure.’ . .


Rural round-up

June 14, 2013

The primary industry powerhouse:

Governments have tried over the years to steer attention away from New Zealand’s primary industries as being the powerhouse of the economy.

As examples, tourism has been accepted as a large earner of foreign exchange, and with a prime minister serving as tourism minister, the spending ploughed into promoting New Zealand as a destination has increased. Sir Peter Jackson and the Weta Workshops have for some time now been used as illustrations of what clever New Zealanders can achieve. And the phrase ”knowledge economy” has been bandied around for a generation as ministers of the Crown promote learning and technology as a way of breaking down the barriers of distance for New Zealand. . .

Cracker innovation entries at Fieldays:

Judges were overwhelmed by the high standard of entries in the Fieldays Innovation Competition at Fieldays yesterday.

 Darren Hopper, spokesperson for Vodafone, the major partner of the Fieldays Innovation Centre , says the competition is crucial to growing good ideas and gaining efficiency. New Zealand’s agricultural sector is the envy of the world and synonymous with Kiwi ingenuity, he says.

The Fieldays International Innovation Award recognises the best agri-business innovations being launched on the world stage. The award was presented at last night’s Fieldays Opening Cocktail Function. . .

MPI called into UK disease outbreak simulation:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has been called into a large scale United Kingdom animal disease outbreak exercise.

The UK authorities have asked MPI to advise on the availability of New Zealand vets, emergency managers and technicians to help manage the simulated outbreak.

The EXERCISE is testing the UK’s capacity to deal with a nationwide outbreak of classical swine fever. In the simulation, the outbreak has become so large that the supply of local animal health experts cannot cope alone and authorities have called on New Zealand for help.

New Zealand is party to a six-country (New Zealand, Australia, UK, Canada, Ireland and USA) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to form an international animal health emergency reserve. In the event of a disease outbreak, vets and other animal health experts can be called in from participating countries. Under the MOU New Zealand vets helped out in the UK’s 2001 foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak. . .

A purple blister on the weather map is coming to get us – Milk Maid Marian:

It’s not a good sign when the local weather forecaster gets a spot on ABC Radio’s National news. Our forecast is so shocking that, yes, it made headlines today.

A massive chunk of Victoria is about to go underwater and, with it, a massive chunk of our farm. We’ve had an inch of rain in the last two hours and the prediction is for between 51 and 102mm tomorrow, followed by another 20 or 30mm over another couple of days.

I’m thankful for the undulations at the southern end of the farm. The cows will at least be safe. . .

Informed, proactive decision making during drought will pay off:

Cutting cattle numbers by a total of 59 percent and sheep by 30 percent by March during this season’s big dry may seem brutal, but it was a proactive decision based on sound figures, which has given Paul Dearden confidence heading into winter and lambing.

The Waipukurau sheep and beef farmer says regularly monitoring the situation and making timely decisions based on accurate figures was crucial in trying to minimise the cost of the drought to his farming business.

“Like others in drought regions, our challenge was to identify when to de-stock and by how many in order to preserve the health of our animals and look after the pasture we did have. More recently, we needed to get the timing of our Urea application right and make the most of the good rainfall. . .

New Wines to Taste At Hot Red Hawke’s Bay:

New releases, new wine labels and award-winners will be on offer at this year’s Hot Red Hawke’s Bay, the region’s flagship wine event being held next week.

Over 200 wine media, trade representatives and connoisseurs have snapped up tickets to the two events being held on June 18 at Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre and on June 19 at Te Papa in Wellington.

Now in its tenth year, Hot Red originally only offered red wines for tasting but given the region’s increasing dominance with award-winning white wines, for the second year there will be a strong showing of Chardonnays amongst the 150-plus wine line-up. . .


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