Rural round-up

January 7, 2015

Dry spell affects North Otago most:

North Otago farmers are feeling the pinch from the driest period the region has had in seven years, Federated Farmers North Otago president Richard Strowger says.

Farmers spoken to in other parts of Otago were less concerned about the dry and hot weather, and some parts of the region have benefited from the warm spell.

Mr Strowger said, unlike other areas, North Otago was coming off a very dry spring, which meant farmers were really feeling the bite. . .

Canterbury farmers fear drought as region driest in a decade – Suze Metherell:

 (BusinessDesk) – Canterbury is on the verge of a 20th century-style drought with the southern region the driest it has been in a decade, forcing farmers to sell surplus stock and leading to restrictions on irrigation as the area waits for rain.

Soil moisture in eastern and southern Canterbury is between severely and extremely drier than normal, while the outlook for rain remains light, according to data from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa). The region, which suffered crippling droughts through the 1970s to 1990s, is the driest it has been in a decade, Ivon Hurst, Federated Farmers’ South Canterbury president, told BusinessDesk.

“We are in what you would call a drought – not an emergency, official drought where the government has to come in and give assistance, but there is no moisture in the ground, we have a consistently dry weather pattern,” Hurst said. “If we do get rain at this stage then we’re saved and we’ll have a good season, but I very much doubt that – the weather pattern is too stable. It’s got the same feel as the big droughts we had in the last century.” . . .

Thompson tops at FQC :

The Fertiliser Quality Council (FQC) has named Ann Thompson as its new executive director.

Thompson is currently a policy advisor for Federated Farmers in Wellington.

FQC chairman Anders Crofoot said the Council was extremely fortunate to be able to attract a person with the talent and track record of Thompson to the role. . .

New Zealand’s fish stocks in healthy state heading into 2015

Consumers can look forward to plenty of tasty and nutritious seafood this year with New Zealand fish stocks in good shape.

“The status of our stocks over the 2014 year showed some marked improvements according to the Ministry for Primary Industries figures and point to the conclusion that ‘by far the majority of New Zealand’s fisheries are performing well [1],” says Tim Pankhurst, Chief Executive of Seafood New Zealand.

This included an increase in the number of known fish stocks at or above the target for well-managed fisheries (increasing from 69.2% in 2013 to 72.5% in 2014) and a marked increase in the percentage of stocks where overfishing is not occurring (increasing from 82.1% to 86.8%). . .

Amazing Maze 2015 get lost this Summer:

The Amazing Maze ‘n Maize in Karaka, Auckland is a giant maze carved out of a 4 hectare field of maize (or animal corn) and has just opened for the summer season. Maze goers walk along several kilometers of paths and make decisions at over 100 intersections as to which way to go. Some intersections have “Kernels of Knowledge”, or trivia signs about the amazing pet theme. These not only help people find their way, but they also keep them entertained. Lifeguards are there to assist the truly lost, but taking the provided flag will give visitors peace of mind in the maze.

The Amazing Maze features a viewing bridge within the maize maze where visitors can see the huge expanse of corn that they are walking through. Parts of the design can be made out from the bridge but the real picture can only be seen from a plane or helicopter. This year the maze design includes a girl with a lamb, a boy with a dog, and a horse, all clearly visable from the air. . .

Food Matters Aotearoa conference shows the way forward:

The Food Matters Aotearoa conference will be promoting healthy sustainable food production showcasing speakers from 5 different continents. A range of expertise will also come from New Zealand.

One speaker Dr Vandana Shiva works with thousands of small Indian farmers and has set up over a hundred heritage seed banks. Growing organically now provides extra production of highly nutritious food from difficult growing environments.

“Heritage varieties that perform without chemical fertilisers and pesticides have improved the lives of thousands of subsistence farmers; heritage seeds and organic methods are now being used in community gardens around New Zealand” said Susie Lees from Food Matters Aotearoa team. “A resurgence of communities growing their own food is resulting in healthier lifestyles for New Zealanders.” . . .


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