Rural round-up

November 11, 2017

Young sheep and beef farmers lift their performance with small tweaks – Brittany Pickett:

For Matt and Joe McRae, getting their ewes to perform at a consistently high level is their number one goal.

The young Southland brothers – who farm their 575 hectare effective rolling hill country farm Eilean Donan in partnership – are aiming to have their ewes lambing more than 150 per cent every year and, more importantly, grow the lambs to maximise every kilogram produced per hectare.

“The lambing percentage is only one part of it, it’s the product out the gate that pays the bills,” Matt says. . . 

Let’s get the facts, not fiction, on M.bovis – Geoff Gwyn:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) wishes to set the record straight regarding the article titled ‘Imported semen fingered for M.bovis outbreak’ in Rural News October 24.

Read the article here

In the article, Chris Morley, DairyNZ biosecurity manager stated that, in his opinion, he would bet on semen as the most likely source of the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. Of course, Mr Morley is entitled to his opinion, but the fact of that matter is that MPI does not know how or when Mycoplasma bovis entered NZ, although significant efforts are being made to find out.

A full investigation is looking at six possible means of entry: live animals, imported semen, embryos, contaminated equipment, biological material (such as vaccines) and feed. While this is underway, we are not going to speculate on the origin of the disease in NZ. . .

Saltwater intrusion – Waimea Water:

What is saltwater intrusion

In the 2001 drought, saltwater intrusion occurred in the lower reaches of the Waimea River and was threatening to migrate further inland. In March Tasman District Council opened talks to consider options to protect the dry riverbed. Because the river had no flows, no river water was flushing the saltwater out and it was instead accumulating on the estuary. The Council discussed building a bund across the river and drilling monitoring bores to better monitor how the saltwater contamination was migrating inland, including to the urban supply bores. Ultimately, three urban supply wells were shut down over this period and two were decommissioned at the end of the drought.

Saltwater intrusion is a threat to coastal communities. Once saltwater has entered an underground freshwater system (aquifer) and contaminates it, it can cost much more to treat it for consumption or simply render the supply unusable. For people along the Waimea Plains who rely on bores for their water supply, saltwater intrusion is a real issue. . . 

Why blaming farmers doesn’t hold water – Vaughan Jones:

Water is being discussed across the country, but without solutions. Farmers are blamed, never townies, but look at this photo of polluted water entering the Waikato River just upstream of Fairfield Bridge, in September 2016. If a farmer did the same, they would be fined up to $50,000 and closed down until fixed. I’ve been told by a person that what looked like toilet paper was in some of it.

Environment Waikato told me in 1995 that Hamilton needed four sediment ponds. There are still none while thousands have been built on farms at high cost. This is another example showing that rules for farmers are stricter than for townies.

Waikato Regional Council has forced some farmers to build sediment ponds, but they are negatives because of high costs, and because fresh effluent is of more value and causes less polluting when spread fresh, not months later during which time much has been lost into the air, polluting it, and reduced its fertilising value. . . 

Bay of Islands P&I Show runs in the family:

Sam and Christine Ludbrook will be at the Bay of Islands Pastoral and Industrial Show at Waimate North this weekend, as they have been every year for decades. And they won’t be the only Ludbrooks there by any means.

The show was first staged, as an agricultural demonstration, at the Waimate North mission in 1842. It’s still going strong 175 years later, making it the oldest show of its kind in the country.

And Ludbrooks have been there from the start.

Sam’s grandfather was there in the early days, exhibiting stock, and his brother was on the committee. And while no one can be absolutely sure, it is almost certain that his great-grandfather, Samuel Blomfield Ludbrook, was there in 1842. . . 

Which NZ university has the best employment rates?

As we get older what we talk about with friends changes. This is because of the challenges faced and experiences shared. So when Megan Hands’ friends from her hometown started talking about the choices they had to make when they finished studying, she found she couldn’t join in.

After finishing school, Hands left home in the Manawatu and moved south because she wanted to study both environmental management and agriculture, and Lincoln University offered exactly what she was looking for. Fast forward to graduation and she found some of her contemporaries were having conversations completely outside what she had experienced.

Hands is now running her own farming sustainability company as an environmental consultant.

The experience of Hands and others in her year group are typical for Lincoln University graduates. In Ministry of Education statistics released recently, Lincoln University Bachelor’s Degree graduate employment rates are consistently the highest among New Zealand universities. A survey of graduates from the Lincoln class of 2016 found that 93 percent of those employed were in career-related positions. . . 

#My60acres: soybean harvest – Uptown farms:

#My60Acres is harvested again!  This was the second year Matt let me play a leading role in the management of a sixty acre field on our home farm, and my first soybean crop. 
 
I didn’t get to start the morning with him because my work schedule has been a little hectic, so I didn’t join until late afternoon.  But as soon as I got there, he slid over and let me take the wheel.
 
It might sound odd that he couldn’t wait a day or two for my schedule to be better, but soybean harvest is very time sensitive.  We have to wait long enough the plants are dry, but not too long. . . 


Rural round-up

November 10, 2017

Westland Milk makes case to be NZ poster-child for clean, green dairy, eyes other ingredients –  Jonathan Underhill

(BusinessDesk) – Westland Milk Products says it’s a better poster child for New Zealand’s clean, green image than some of its rivals and having returned to profit it is now focused on ensuring its returns to farmers stay competitive as it grows.

“When people think of New Zealand they think of clean water, green pastures, forest-covered hills and snowy peaks,” said chief executive Toni Brendish, who started in September 2016. “Westland is the exemplar of this landscape. Our shareholders’ farms literally border world heritage national parks. More than 90 percent of our rivers meet or exceed the criteria for ‘swimmable’.” . . .

Cattle disease may be more widespread – Van Leeuwen – Alexa Cook:

The dairy farmer at the centre of the South Island cattle disease outbreak is worried it could be more widespread than thought.

First discovered in July, mycoplasma bovis has been found on seven farms in South Canterbury and North Otago – five of them owned by the Van Leeuwen Dairy Group who have 16 farms in the area.

On Wednesday the Ministry for Primary industries (MPI) quarantined two new properties that border a Van Leeuwen farm because of “suspicious” tests. . . 

Breeding company wants standardised testing– Alexa Cook:

Artificial breeding company World Wide Sires New Zealand is calling on the industry to bring in a standard testing process for the cattle disease mycoplasma bovis.

The disease was first discovered in July and to date has been found on seven farms in South Canterbury and North Otago, five owned by the large Van Leeuwen Dairy Group.

About 4000 thousand infected cows are being culled and the Ministry for Primary industries is cautiously optimistic that the disease is contained. . . 

Start of export season best for years – Heather Chalmers:

Record returns of more than $10 a kilogram for venison and more than $4/kg for mutton point to one of the brightest starts to the meat export season for many years.

Demand and pricing for lamb is also strong.

While export returns typically peak in spring, as exporters compete for limited supplies of livestock to fill higher-value chilled markets, prices are still well up on the same time last year. . . 

Taking care of big country business – Andrea Fox:

Keeping his animals content and happy was always a fundamental farming principle for Paparata Farms owner Trevor Johnson. Now he’s passed that baton to his staff, he’s applying the same zeal to looking after them.

“My staff and I are a team and I get a lot of satisfaction out of supporting them and providing an environment where they and their families are happy,” says Johnson, whose 7100-hectare high-performance romney and cattle breeding operation on the Forgotten World Highway west of Taumarunui is gearing up for its 29th annual ram sale.

“It’s rewarding, caring for people and seeing them enjoy the work they are doing.” . . 

Rural Equities eyes investment outside of NZ rural property, citing ‘uncertain’ outlook – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Rural Equities, the farming group majority-owned by the Cushing family, is eyeing investments outside New Zealand rural property where it sees an “uncertain” future.

The Hastings-based company, which owns 22 farms in New Zealand, told shareholders in its annual report published this week that directors decided to consider new long-term investment opportunities in other asset classes and potentially other jurisdictions to provide enhanced returns and portfolio diversification. . . 

Sheep ‘can recognise human faces’ – Paul Rincon:

Sheep have demonstrated the ability to recognise familiar human faces, according to a study.

Cambridge University researchers were able to train sheep to identify the faces of actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Emma Watson, former US President Barack Obama and BBC newsreader Fiona Bruce.

After training, the sheep chose photos of familiar faces over unfamiliar ones significantly more often than not.

It shows that sheep possess similar face recognition abilities to primates. . . 

#We are those farmers – Uptown Farms:

Shortly after our oldest was born, I started reading everything the search engine returned about how to feed children the “right way”.  It would be a few more years before I realized this is almost never a good idea.
 
From the first article on, an overwhelming weight was being pushed onto my shoulders.  The weight of fear, fear of our food.
 
Everywhere I looked, I was being told our food was scary.  It wasn’t like it “used to be”.  It wasn’t “natural”.  It wasn’t “simple” or “clean”.
 
His runny nose, my extra baby weight, his occasional rashes, my cough, our inability to sleep well, the mysterious missing other sock – all clearly stemmed from consuming this new “Franken-food”.
 
I was being told this, being sold this, by food manufactures and restaurants and bloggers and even other moms.   I was being told I had to pay more, be more selective, and demand more. I had to “know my farmer” and “buy local” or else…

 

 

 

 


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