Rural round-up

November 8, 2019

Muller: Labour wants ag gone – Annette Scott:

The Government does not see agribusiness as part of the future of New Zealand’s economy, National Party agriculture spokesman Todd Muller says.

And the freshwater reforms are potentially damaging to the rural community, he told about 200 people at a meeting in Ashburton.

He is wary of new rules without factoring in the potential economic impact.

“You can only get sustainable, enduring outcomes if farmers can see a way they can farm to their limits.

“Economic, social and environmental implications are all perspectives that need to be in communications.

“That’s why we are pushing back very hard and will do if we are in government after September next year.”   . . 

Fonterra wants change to water rules – Sudesh Kissun:

Fonterra wants the Government to remove suggested maximum required levels of nitrogen and phosphorous in streams.

In its submission on the Government’s Action of Healthy Waterways proposal, Fonterra says it “strongly opposes” some of the maximum required levels for dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP).

Farm Source Group director Richard Allen says the discussion document does not contain sufficient economic analysis to justify the proposed bottom line values.

Fonterra believes that in-stream bottom lines should only be used where there is a direct link to the outcomes sought. . .

‘Some mud needs to be thrown’ – farmer at Fonterra AGM :

Fonterra shareholders are frustrated and want accountability after turbulent times for the country’s biggest enterprise.

About 200 farmers gathered in Invercargill for the dairy giant’s annual general meeting.

The co-op recently posted a $605 million loss for the last financial year, and didn’t pay dividends to shareholders.

Farmer shareholders acknowledged that today was going to be tough for Fonterra’s leaders during an Q and A session. . .

Breeders boost eating quality – Neal Wallace:

Breeders are responding to customers’ desires and positioning the sheep farmers for the day when processors start grading meat for its eating qualities. Neal Wallace reports.

Meat processors don’t recognise eating quality yet but a group of ram breeders is preparing for when they do.

Andrew Tripp from Nithdale Station in Southland is involved in the South Island genomic calibration project, which uses DNA testing to let breeders predict terminal sire rams likely to produce offspring with meat that has superior qualities of tenderness and juiciness.

Other partners in the project include Beef + Lamb Genetics, Pamu, AgResearch, Focus Genetics, Kelso, the Premier Suftex group, the Southern Suffolk group and Beltex NZ. . . 

A blaze of yellow – Nigel Malthus:

Several thousand hectares of South Island farmland is a blaze of yellow as the annual rapeseed crop welcomes the spring.

Cropping farmer Warren Darling is one whose display regularly wows the public, since his farm straddles State Highway One just south of Timaru. His 120ha of rape is at “peak flower” and he expects to harvest at the end of January.

Darling has been growing the crop for about 12 years, along with wheat and barley.

He is now also trying sunflowers, beans and industrial hemp, in an effort to find compatible crops to move to a four-year rotation. . .

Busy music career gathers speed – Alice Scott:

Farmer’s wife, teacher, mother of twin boys, fledgling musician and all while recovering from brain surgery … it’s fair to say Casey Evans hasn’t been taking things easy over the last few years.

Casey moved to husband Rhys’ family farm near Owaka just under three years ago and things have been moving rapidly since, as her country music career begins to gain momentum and she is about to set off on a Somewhere Back Road music tour, raising funds to produce her first solo album.

It is just over a year since Casey underwent surgery to extend the size of her skull and release the pressure on her cerebellum and brain stem tissue which was pushing against the hole at base of her skull. For years Casey said she has experienced chronic fatigue and headaches which she attributed to “a few too many” horse falls. Being pregnant with twins, the symptoms compounded and Casey blacked out.

“It was then they did a scan and diagnosed the problem.” . . 

EcoScapes: Stunning views, mental massages and the country’s coolest cinema – Brook Sabin:

I’ve come up with a great concept: the mental massage.

Let me explain. It’s a crazy time to be a human: we’re bombarded with so much information, we’re expected to do more than ever, and we’re all feeling, well, a little bit tired. 

So, you’ll like this next bit: it’s time for a mental massage. I’m talking about a little holiday that slows the heartbeat. That relaxes the muscles. That gives your brain a break. 

And, boy, I think I’ve found it. 

It’s a luxury pod in the mountains, where you can sit back in bed and stare at the Southern Alps. And with the flick of a button, the room transforms into the country’s coolest cinema – all to enjoy with just one other person. . . 


Rural round-up

April 14, 2018

The Polsons breed the best through artificial insemination at Mangamahu – Iain Hyndman:

The sheep industry is a constantly moving feast and Donald and Liz Polson have entered a joint venture with Focus Genetics in an attempt to stay ahead of the game.

The innovative Whanganui farmers joined with the 100 percent-owned Landcorp company to carry out an AI (artificial insemination) programme to improve the performance of their elite commercial Waipuna flock.

The composite breed was created from an original base using Romney, Finn and Texel stock on the Mangamahu hill country farm. . . 

Company faces up after swede  mix up – Nicole Sharp:

Compensation will be paid to farmers who are tied up in the PGG Wrightson swede mix up.

At the end of February, after the bulbs of swedes started appearing, the company learned 556 farmers were sold HT-S57 white-fleshed swedes after paying for a new seed variety, Hawkestone yellow-fleshed Cleancrop swede.

The HT-S57 swede had been discontinued last year.

At a public meeting in Gore last week, organised by Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker with support of industry bodies Federated Farmers, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and DairyNZ, PGG Wrightson seed and grain group general manager John McKenzie, PGG Wrightson Seeds New Zealand general manager David Green faced farmers. . .

Happiness comes before success – Pam Tipa:

The dairy industry has been successful, now it needs to be happy, says 2018 Dairy Woman of the Year Loshni Manikam.

And the former lawyer and human behaviour and leadership expert hopes a profile of the prestigious Dairy Womens Network national award will enable her to help get that conversation started.

The industry needs to shift from only one way of measuring success,” she told Dairy News.

“At the moment the one way of measuring success is financial success. Having that culture that measures our success purely on financial success or failure is a big contributor to the increasing rates of depression and suicide that we have. . .

Gore sheep farmers win Otago Ballance Farm Environemnt Awards:

A love of family, farming and the land has seen the successful succession of Waipahi sheep farm from Ross and Alexa Wallace to their son Logan… and also helped the family win the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Their win was announced at a dinner at the Lake Wanaka Centre, Wanaka, on Thursday night (April 13).

The judges said the Wallace family was a supportive, close family unit with clear vision, great goal setting and financial discipline. “They have incredible enthusiasm and a passion to learn – taking on ideas, good use of external advice and analysing data for the best outcomes. They have a strong environmental focus; land and environment plan, nutrient budgeting, wetland construction, retention of biodiversity and water quality emphasis, as well as an outstanding commitment to community and industry.” . . 

Time to stengthen up your balance sheet as farming economy looks to be cooling – Pita Alexander:

The bottom line in any farm business is that our net farm profit needs to be at least 50 per cent higher than personal drawings.

Anything less than this and over time we will end up knowing our bank manager’s cell phone number off by heart, which is a bad sign. It would be much better to curb our spending.

There are other worrying signs that should have us thinking hard of the consequences.

Personally, I don’t like the feel of the whole palm kernel issue. There is a real risk, I feel, with the amount involved in New Zealand farming and the certification process and in particular the potential impact on our border security. The problem really is that it may take several seasons to replace this feed gap with other options such as fodder beet, maize, management and working capital. It is our fault though for letting the issue develop to its present state. What is the biggest single risk for us and the government? It must be border security because we are so dependent on our exports. . .

Birds call out 1080 silent forest claim:

The use of 1080 for pest control is supported by a range of conservation and farming organisations, but opponents claim forests fall silent when the poison is dropped, saying this is evidence of harm to native bird communities.

To investigate, Roald Bomans used bioacoustics to listen to the sound of native bird species in the Aorangi Ranges in June and the Rimutakas in July.

Bomans, a Victoria University Masters student, set up recording units in the forests five weeks before and after the 1080 aerial drops.

In the Aorangi area, there was no increase in the periods the forest was silent, and in the Rimutakas there was more birdsong after the toxin drop than before. . .

Rookie title last thing on bullrider’s mind – Nicole Sharp:

Ask 23-year-old Matt Adams why he started bull riding.
”I’ve always been in to adrenaline sports,” is the reply.

But when he started bull riding last rodeo season, it was purely for the adrenaline and he never thought only two years down the track he would be crowned the 2017-18 New Zealand Rodeo Cowboy Association National Rookie Bull Riding champion.

Starting bull riding last season (2016-2017), it was a homecoming of sorts for Mr Adams, as he had wanted to compete for a few years. . .


Rural round-up

February 21, 2015

Further fruit fly found in Auckland:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) confirms that an isolated population of the Queensland fruit fly has been found in the Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn.

A resident of the higher-risk Zone A in the middle of the existing Controlled Area found a single fly in a lemon tree on his property, captured it and reported it to MPI.

The fly was formally identified as a recently-emerged un-mated female adult fruit fly. This is the only fly that has been found, over and above the initial trapped fly found earlier this week.

Chief Operations Officer Andrew Coleman says thanks must go to the resident who captured and reported the fly, allowing MPI to act swiftly to scope the problem. . .

Belief in sheep’s milk put to test:

One man who sees the potential in sheep milk opportunites is putting it to the test.

A Lincoln University farm management and agribusiness lecturer planned to manufacture his own ice cream from milking 125 ewes on his property in Darfield, Canterbury.

Guy Trafford said the roof for his dairy plant was to be put on next weekend.

He said the sheep milking industry was an untapped opportunity for farmers. . .

Irrigation gains reflected in updated Overseer:

Irrigating farmers and growers will soon have greater confidence in the outputs OVERSEER® Nutrient budgets (Overseer) generates with the release of the nutrient budget model’s new comprehensive irrigation module.

From late April, Overseer 6.2 will improve the ability to model a range of irrigation systems and practices, dramatically improving its ability to calculate N-loss for irrigated properties.

Overseer General Manager Dr Caroline Read says incorporating the breadth of irrigation systems and management in use today will allowOverseer to address a known shortfall. . .

 Pasture recovery plan – growing grass after the dry:

 Livestock has been the number one priority in areas hit by the recent dry – and rightly so – but now pastures also need attention, to fuel farm recovery after rain, and provide the main source of feed for the next 12 months.

A successful pasture recovery plan has three stages: current management while conditions are dry; actions to be taken when rain comes and an autumn pasture renewal programme.

Pasture specialist Graham Kerr says the best way to start is to assess all paddocks on the farm, and divide paddocks into three categories. . .

 

National Fieldays calls for single, rural blokes:

Entries are now open for the 2015 Rural Bachelor of the Year competition.

Single, rural men wanting to apply to enter the competition face a range of challenges over the National Fieldays week in their bid to be crowned Rural Bachelor and walk away with $20,000 worth of prizes.

Click here for more information.

The competition is held in the lead-up to, and during the New Zealand National Fieldays at Mystery Creek from June 10-13. . .

New Prime Off Mum Challenge launched to New Zealand Farmers:

New Zealand’s largest red meat genetics company is encouraging farmers to get in behind a new initiative which aims to get more prime lambs straight to the works off their mothers and in turn increase farm profitability.

Focus Genetics is launching the new benchmarking challenge “Prime off Mum” open to all New Zealand sheep farmers. Registrations open on Monday February 23 at www.primeoffmum.co.nz.

The challenge will give participating farmers an opportunity to find out how they are tracking against others with similar land classes. . .

 

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Rural round-up

September 19, 2014

Farmers have spent millions in the Horizons region:

A Federated Farmers survey has revealed the average dairy farmer in the Horizons Region has spent over $110,000 on environmental management in the past five years.

“There are huge numbers being invested in the region, which tells a really positive story about where we are heading environmentally and the buy in that is coming from the farmers,” says James Stewart, Federated Farmers Manawatu-Rangitikei provincial president.

“As people vote tomorrow I genuinely hope they will realise that farmers are doing a lot to farm more sustainably.

“It is very difficult to put a number on environmental spending, but we wanted to try, so we sent a survey out to all 918 dairy farms via the Horizons Regional Council. We were stunned by the response, not just the figures but how many people replied during their busiest time of year, calving season. . .

 

Working group focused on clear advice:

The industry-led working group looking at the issues with swedes affecting dairy cattle in Southland says a key priority will be developing clear and agreed advice for farmers.

The group met for the first time this week, with DairyNZ’s Southland regional leader, Richard Kyte, chairing the meeting. The group includes representatives from Southland veterinary practices, Federated Farmers, Beef+Lamb NZ and PGG Wrightson Seeds. It also has specialist advisors on veterinary pathology and plant science.

“Evidence and science-based information is crucial and will be the focus of this group. Gathering this information is a work in progress and will involve all parties,” says Richard. . .

Dairying business woman takes top role:

Delwyn Knight has taken the role of general manager of Liberty Genetics where she is leading a team that’s making headway in the competitive dairy genetics market.

Although modest about landing the top job, Knight admits that she is one of very few women working in top dairy genetics roles, and she is excited about taking on the position.

“It’s great to be in a position where I can provide value and support to farmers when they are making important farming business decisions,” said Knight.

“I’m really looking forward to working directly with our farming clients, understanding what their needs are and supporting them to get the best results for their herds.” . . .

Robotic sheepdogs unlikely Kiwi farmers say:

At the risk of being out of step with technology, Federated Farmers is dubious robotic sheepdogs will replace the real thing anytime soon.  Reported late last month, European academics believe they have created an algorithm simulating sheepdog behaviour.

“I am not saying it won’t come to pass but it’ll be more like one farmer robot and its droid than dog trials being replaced by droid trials,” says Rick Powdrell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre spokesperson.

“Anyone who works with dogs and sheep knows there’s more to this than an algorithm.

“For starters, there is a primordial instinctive connection between the two animals.  How you simulate that I have no idea. . .

Landcorp completes  full purchase of Focus Genetics:

Landcorp Farming Ltd. is now sole owner of livestock genetics business, Focus Genetics. The announcement comes after Landcorp successfully acquired the remaining 33% shareholding from
Rissington Breedline.

Hawkes Bay based Focus Genetics is New Zealand’s largest red meat genetics business with 17 breeding partners throughout New Zealand.  Formed in 2011, Focus Genetics has since grown its
market share, serving more than 750 commercial farm operations. 

Last year the company sold over 4,000 rams, 800 bulls and 400 stags to farmers in New Zealand and overseas.
Gavin Foulsham, Focus Genetics CEO, said having one owner provided certainty for the company’s plans to invest more towards achieving greater rates of genetic improvement. 

It also means Focus could explore more sales opportunities offshore. . .

I want to eat a weka – Offsetting Behaviour:

It’s been more than five years since I first posted on Roger Beattie’s felicitous “Eat them to save them” campaign. And I still am not allowed to buy a weka for dinner.

Roger is one of New Zealand’s great enviropreneurs: the National Farming Review called him an Eco Anarchist. He loves the environment and sees the best way of saving it as ensuring that it’s profitable to save it. Weka are endangered, but they’re easily farmed and tasty. Why aren’t we raising them for the restaurant trade and conserving an endangered species in the process? The Department of Conservation says no. They say no incredibly incoherently. But their “No” is what matters. . .

Two gold medals for Goldie Wines:

Goldie Wines on Waiheke Island has won its first gold medals for new owners, University of Auckland and winemaker, Heinrich Storm.

Two Goldie Syrah wines from the 2013 vintage took two of the eight gold medals awarded in the Syrah category at the recent NZ International Wine Show.

The Goldie Syrah 2013 and Goldie Reserve Syrah 2013 were awarded gold in what Heinrich says is a significant achievement for the new operation.

“These medals are the first won since the University took over ownership of the vineyard in 2011 from Goldwater Wines,” he says. “Also for me it is significant, because they are my first as winemaker for Goldie Wines.” .  . .


Rural round-up

March 19, 2014

Taumarunui farmer cheats death for a third time -Lachlan Forsyth:

Yesterday, 54-year-old Janet Kelland cheated death for a third time.

She cheated death on Mount Everest in 1996 in a storm that claimed the life of mountaineer Rob Hall.

And five years ago she broke her neck in a horse-riding accident.

Yesterday, the Taumarunui farmer was checking an electric fence when she stumbled across a wasps’ nest. . .

Wasp swarm attacks farmer – Ben Irwin:

A Waikato farmer had to walk 45 minutes for help after she was stung at least 50 times in the head by wasps when she stepped in a nest on a remote block of land northwest of Taumarunui.

A “really, really sore” Janet Kelland last night spoke to the Herald from her bed at Taumarunui Hospital after the ordeal which began about midday yesterday on the farm she part- owns.

The 56-year-old was walking up the fenceline of a paddock, checking that an electric fence was free from weeds and obstructions.

Moments later she stepped in a “big hole of wasps”. . . .

IrrigationNZ welcomes report on water’s value but questions pricing/allocation focus:

IrrigationNZ has welcomed today’s release of a report confirming the value of water for New Zealand, but cautions any moves to reallocate water or overhaul pricing in its wake would be ‘overly-simplistic’.

Andrew Curtis, IrrigationNZ’s CEO, says while the majority of recommendations in the NZIER report ‘Water Management in New Zealand – a road map for understanding water value’ resonate with the organisation, he has concerns about its recommendations around water allocation and pricing.

“IrrigationNZ agrees that transfer of water can be improved in New Zealand and that water permits need to be standardised and irrigation storage and distribution infrastructure enabled to do this. But calling for allocation reform is overly simplistic.” . . .

An overview of topical agricultural issues – Allan Barber:

There are four local issues exciting particular interest in the agricultural landscape at the moment: the ram breeders’ testy meeting with AgResearch in Gore, the case against Fonterra by MPI, the failure to award grants to three major research institutes, and Silver Fern Farms’ Eating Quality beef grading system.

First the meeting in Gore when AgResearch finally fronted up to the ram breeders and sheep farmers from the deep south to hear their complaints about relocating most of the scientists from Invermay to Lincoln. Unfortunately for the disaffected farmers AgResearch seems to have made its mind up a long time ago about its Future Footprint Programme which will see two hubs at Massey and Lincoln. After the meeting on 12th March, the word is that the Board will look at the issue again, but only very limited tweaks are expected.

Meeting convenor, Hugh Gardyne, intended to move a vote of no confidence in AgResearch’s board and management, but didn’t get the chance to table the motion. My impression is that the group has shot its bolt and is unlikely to achieve any significant change to the plans. . . .

Changes to Dairy Cattle Code of Welfare Proposed:

The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) is seeking public consultation on proposed changes to the Animal Welfare (Dairy Cattle) Code of Welfare 2010.

NAWAC is proposing that blunt force trauma may not be used for the routine killing of unwanted dairy calves on the farm.

“We understand that people are concerned about farmers using blunt force trauma to kill young calves on the farm,” says Dr Karen Phillips, Deputy- Chair of NAWAC.

“The risks of incorrect use, coupled with the fact that there are alternatives that can be better for animal welfare, meant that it was time to consider changing the rules on this.

“Industry bodies have been discouraging it over a number of years and it is no longer common practice. However, we agree that there are significant animal welfare concerns when this method is not used correctly,” says Dr Phillips. . .

Ahuwhenua field days farms achieve a level of rural development that has the world watching

Finalists of 2014 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming Award are achieving a level of rural development that is gaining increasing international interest, as the second of three field days kicks off today.

“The finalists this year are all exemplar models for growing rural economic development,” says Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI’s) Deputy Director-General Ben Dalton speaking from Te Rua o Te Moko Ltd’s field day near Hawera.

“There is increasing international interest in Māori agribusiness as a model for rural development, particularly from countries with rural land holdings capable of agriculture. . .

Regional Finals heat up in Taupo

The ANZ Young Farmer Contest heads to Taupo for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Regional Final, Saturday 22 March.

Eight finalists are contending for a spot at the Grand Final in Christchurch 3-5 July and their share of an impressive prize pack worth over $14,000 in products, services and scholarships from ANZ, Lincoln University, Silver Fern Farms, AGMARDT, Ravensdown, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone.

This Regional Final will see a remarkable group of contenders come together for what will surely be a full on day of practical, physical and theoretical challenges at the Tongariro North Domain followed by the entertaining evening quiz-show held at the Taupo Great Lake Centre. . .

Hogget Mating Becomes Big Focus for Hill Country Farmers:

Hogget mating is becoming a big focus for more and more hill country farmers.

Wanganui Farmer and Focus Genetics ram breeder, Donald Polson held a farm field day recently and told farmers that farm profitability on hill country was driven by the number of lambs weaned.

“Our main goal is to put as many lambs on the ground as we can in a challenging environment. To achieve this we need to grow out good replacements and then we mate our ewe hoggets, which is efficient and more productive. We also run cropping systems which is another simple way to boost productivity.” . . .

New innovation supports confidence in NZ food exports:

In a world facing increasing concerns for food safety and quality, the ability for consumers to get independently verified information about a product, right at the point of sale, is a big step forward in supporting confidence in New Zealand food exports.

Seeing the opportunity to meet this AsureQuality, global experts in food safety and quality, developed the inSight™ brand which is designed to provide consumers with additional information about the products they are buying.

The rigorous process of supply chain assessment to gain an inSight™ licence allows producers to use the inSight™ brand and a unique QR barcode on their products. By scanning the barcode with their mobile devices, shoppers are taken straight to the inSight™ website (www.aqinsight.com). Here they can view independent evidence about the product features prior to purchase. . .

Ballance shareholders get free Ag Hub access:

Thousands of farmers throughout the country are being offered free access to the award-winning Ag Hub farm technology system.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients moved to full ownership of Ag Hub last year and Chief Executive Larry Bilodeau says that with farmers under increasing pressure to track nutrient use and manage nutrient budgets, putting the technology in shareholders’ hands has been a priority.

All of Ballance’s shareholders are being offered free access to the Ag Hub system for their nutrient information.

“Farmers want practical, accurate systems to support on-farm decisions and Ag Hub provides the level of real-time information to help them make the right calls, both for their business and for the environment,” says Mr Bilodeau.


Rural round-up

November 5, 2013

Fireworks blamed for death of horse – Delwyn Dickey:

Calls for fireworks restrictions in rural areas follow the deaths of several horses.

The deaths are being blamed on fireworks and a row has erupted between neighbours.

Alice Hayward says her horse Lucas panicked, tried to jump a fence and was impaled on a broken railing after a Silverdale fireworks display in August. . . .

NZ commodity prices rise for fourth straight month, wool at 22-month high:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand commodity prices rose for a fourth straight month, and are now just 1.8 percent below the record set in April, as wool extended its rally to a 22-month high.

The ANZ Commodity Price Index rose 1.3 percent in October to 327.6 for an annual increase of 23 percent. In April the index reached 333.5.

Eleven of the 17 commodities tracked rose last month, five fell and one was unchanged. Wool rose 10 percent, adding to a September gain of 13 percent. Beef, aluminium, butter, pelts and wood pulp rose 3 percent, whole milk powder rose 2 percent and sheep meat and logs rose 1 percent. Seafood and casein rose about 0.25 percent.

Skim milk and kiwifruit fell 2 percent, apples were down 1 percent, cheese fell 0.5 percent and sawn timber fell 0.25 percent. Venison was unchanged for a second month. . . .

 New LIC boss eyes up export potential – Andrea Fox:

Exporting is on the mind of new Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) chief executive Wayne McNee.

It’s hardly surprising given his recent background, but could signal a major new chapter in the journey of the New Zealand genetics and dairy information systems heavyweight.

The former pharmacist then career public servant says he spent a lot of time thinking about how to grow New Zealand exports in his immediate past post as chief executive of the Ministry for Primary Industries.

He says the fact that LIC was an exporting company – albeit in a very small capacity – was one of the attractions of the job. . .

Information shared at merino field day – Sally Rae:

Barbara Annan admits she knew very little about farming when she found herself widowed with three young children and a station to run.

Until her husband John’s sudden death in 1990, her role on Lindis Peaks Station, a 3759ha property near Tarras, had been limited to driving an old Austin truck feeding out, helping with tailing, and driving the Land-Cruiser, with the children on board, raking hay.

While she had wonderful help from friends and neighbours, she felt ”extremely inadequate”.

”I was devastated and didn’t quite know what to do,” Mrs Annan recalled, during a field day organised by the Otago Merino Association at Lindis Peaks on Friday. . .

Gold medals reward stock skills – Sally Rae:

Young Glenavy sheep farmer Ross McCulloch has proved he has an eye for stock.

Mr McCulloch (24) won Royal Agricultural Society of New Zealand gold medals in both the sheep and wool sections at the recent Hawkes Bay A&P Show in Hastings, securing him a trip to Australia next year.

He will compete in a stock-judging competition at the Royal Queensland Show (also known as the Ekka) in Brisbane, a 10-day event which attracts about half a million visitors, in August. . .

Facing Facial Eczema and Raising the Bar:

New Zealand’s largest red meat genetics company is raising the bar in an effort to reduce the impact of facial eczema heading south and becoming more prevalent throughout New Zealand.

Focus Genetics chief executive Gavin Foulsham says they are upping the game and testing more sheep than ever before to breed rams which are resistant to facial eczema.

“We have been testing for facial eczema resistance for over 20 years and we are now seeing the benefit of continued selection. But we need to keep improving our genetics and keep on top of facial eczema, which is becoming more prevalent in many areas throughout the North Island.

“Facial eczema resistance is a highly heritable trait so farmers can significantly manage the disease in their ewe flocks by selecting for facial eczema tolerant rams.” . . .

Sunny start to NZ summer delivering bumper crop of blueberries

Growers say weather has created the sweetest fruit in recent years

An early, sunny start to summer is promising to deliver one of New Zealand’s best and maybe biggest blueberry crops in several years.

Blueberries are one of Kiwis’ favourite summer fruits, with supermarket sales surging upwards by a massive 36.3% from May 2012 to May 2013. New Zealand blueberries are increasingly in demand overseas, too, with exports growing from 850,000 kgs in 2012 to over 1,000,000 kgs in 2013.

NIWA is forecasting above average temperatures through until the end of December, and industry experts predict this will help create even more demand for blueberries. . .

Landmark winery sale falls through so property goes back on the market:

The receivership sale of a pioneering winery and hospitality venue has fallen through after the potential purchaser failed to obtain the necessary Overseas Investment Office approval in time.

Ascension Wine Estate has now been placed back on the market for sale through Bayleys Real Estate in a tender process closing on November 28th 2013. Bayleys senior sales person Scott Kirk, who was involved in marketing the property initially, said those parties interested in buying the land, building, assets and business earlier this year would be contacted shortly to assess if they were still motivated to buy the Ascension land and business.

Mr Kirk said a full advertising campaign would also be re-initiated immediately to generate additional interest from any new potential buyers. . .

Green Meadows Beef Challenges Kiwis to Stuff the Turkey This Christmas with Launch of Festive Blitzen’s Beef Box:

Green Meadows Beef, producers of 100% grass-fed, free-range Angus beef from South Taranaki are calling on New Zealanders to ditch roast turkey and other traditional meals this Christmas in favour of something more exciting. To celebrate this, the family owned brand is launching a special 7kg festive beef box in the run up to Christmas. The $139 Blitzen’s Box will contain a range of aged Green Meadows Beef cuts so New Zealanders can be ready for their Christmas roasts and barbecues over the holiday season.

“Most people associate Christmas with roast turkey or a glazed ham but beef is definitely becoming more popular,” says Green Meadows Beef director, Nick Carey. “In the UK, festive surveys have shown that turkey is actually falling out of favour and roast beef has now climbed to the second most popular Christmas dinner. It’s great to see people considering more options and we’re hoping Kiwis will follow suit.” . . .


Rural round-up

June 6, 2013

Successful 2013 Hemp Harvest for Canterbury:

For the twelfth consecutive year, a successful hemp seed harvest has been completed in the heart of New Zealand’s agricultural centre, the Canterbury plains.

In 2001, Oil Seed Extractions (OSE) and Midlands Seed Limited (Midlands) formed a partnership in the production of high quality seed oils and combined forces to work through the legislation surrounding the commercial production of hemp seed.

These two Ashburton businesses have been involved with hemp trials since the first hemp growing licences were issued in September 2001, and despite the high costs to maintain these licences and the related compliance, they continue to grow successful commercial quantities of Hemp seed in New Zealand. . .

Well done Kereru Station – RivettingKateTaylor:

Normally there are hundreds of red four wheelers traversing the countryside at a Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the year field day , but this year we would have needed a couple of days to get around the magnificent Kereru Station.

Kereru Station’s managers Danny and Robyn Angland  have now been added to the list of who’s who in Hawke’s Bay farming circles (the station is owned by two charitable trusts).

It is a 2842ha property (2114ha effective) with six staff, 15,385 sheep and 1586 cattle. . .

Full-scale Fieldays assault on Russia in the works – Andrea Fox:

Russia is poised for a huge change in the way it farms, with big opportunities for New Zealand agribusiness, say sector leaders planning to get a foothold.

National Fieldays is muscling up its job description to advance New Zealand agriculture, organising a presence for New Zealand agribusiness at a large Moscow show in February, while Hamilton’s Gallagher Group is looking for a way to extend its business in Russia to sales to farmers.

Both were part of a trade visit to Russia last month and say they are excited about the potential for New Zealand in helping the Russian government in its push for greater farming efficiency and production of quality protein, particularly dairy, for its population. . .

Strong demand for NZ sheep genetics

One of New Zealand’s larger air shipments of sheep has landed in Australia to meet growing demand for New Zealand sheep genetics.

The world’s largest red meat genetics company, Focus Genetics, flew 100 Primera and Highlander rams across the Tasman, the third shipment in the last 12 months.

Focus Genetics’ Animal breeding specialist Daniel Absolom said demand has been high.

“The demand for our rams in Australia exceeded all initial expectations. The programme is part of a long term plan to establish NZ sheep genetics in the Australian market,” he said. . .

Environmentally aware farmer elected Federated Farmers Golden Bay president

With the retirement of long serving Federated Farmers Golden Bay provincial president, Graham Ball, Collingwood dairy farmer Sue Brown has stepped up to lead the province.

“Graham will be a tough act to follow but I am humbled to be entrusted with my colleague’s faith,” says Sue Brown, Federated Farmers Golden Bay provincial president.

“Golden Bay is an amazing area to farm in being enveloped, as it is, by both Kahurangi and Abel Tasman National Parks. It is a real privilege to be Federated Farmers provincial president in such a special area we are blessed to farm in. . .

New leaders for Sharemilkers and Sharemilker Employers

Twin leadership changes have come about for Federated Farmers Dairy’s Sharemilkers’ and Sharemilker Employers’ sections. Waikato dairy farmer, Tony Wilding, is the new chair of the Employers Section while Tararua farmer, Neil Filer, has been elected chair of the Federation’s Sharemilkers’ Section.

“The sharemilking system has been a fantastic pathway to farm ownership for us and remains so for many others. Yet today I also see more ways to farm ownership,” says Tony Wilding, chairperson of the Federated Farmers Dairy’s Sharemilker Employers’ Section. . .


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