Federated Farmers’ weekly podcasts Feds Talks catch up with farmers and agribusiness people.
Pomahaka work celebrated – Shawn McAvinue:
The Pomahaka River was once the dirtiest waterway in Otago but a ‘‘trailblazing’’ rural community is uniting to improve it.
About 70 people attended a celebration of the Pomahaka Corridor Planting Project reaching the milestone of putting about 100,000 riparian plants in the ground.
The celebration was at Leithen Picnic Area, on the banks of the Pomahaka River about 10km northwest of Tapanui in West Otago.
Pomahaka Water Care Group project manager Lloyd McCall, of Tapanui, said the river was once deemed the dirtiest in Otago. . .
Efforts ramp up to attract workers to vineyards – Maja Burry:
Efforts to try and recruit New Zealanders to work on vineyards for the 2022 harvest are already ramping up as winemakers look to front a labour shortage.
The challenge of finding skilled staff has been intensified by the Covid-19 border restrictions, with fewer overseas workers in the country.
In Marlborough, one of New Zealand’s winegrowing regions, it was estimated about 1200 people are needed to harvest the 2022 vintage, which usually kicked into gear in early March.
Marisco Vineyards general manager Matt Mitchell said the business had started looking for cellar hands, wine press operators, flotation technicians and forklift drivers more than four months in advance . .
National Agriculture spokesperson Barbara Kuriger is urging rural Kiwis to get out and get vaccinated, if they haven’t already, on Saturday.
“Many of our rural industry sectors have been devastated by the challenges of COVID-19, especially tourism and hospitality, and there is no end in sight,” she says.
“Farmers and their teams have been busy doing their own thing, but we’re at the end of calving and lambing. Now is the time for them to ensure that they and their families, as well as their staff, are protected.” . .
Stock agent retiring after 50 years – Shawn McAvinue:
A Southern livestock agent is calling time on career of more than 50 years and will celebrate with a ginger beer on his final day this Friday.
PGG Wrightson agent Mike Broomhall, of Otautau, said the retirement date was chosen because it allowed him to work at Rodney and Jocelyn Dobson’s annual Jersey bull sale in Western Southland last week.
‘‘I was with Rodney for his first sale.’’
Mr Broomhall was born in Kaikoura and raised in Christchurch. . .
Growing sunflowers to produce hi-oleic oil could provide additional income for New Zealand growers as a rotational crop during the summer period, new research has found.
The Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) has concluded a three-year project looking at crop options to raise profitability and provide alternative land uses. The project received $90,000 through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI’s) Sustainable Farming Fund (now superseded by the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund). High-oleic varieties of sunflowers were identified as a promising crop.
“Our research shows we have the conditions in New Zealand for successful sunflower crops, with yield potential in excess of 4.5 tonnes per hectare,” says Ivan Lawrie, FAR’s General Manager Business Operations. . .
One of the largest scaled organic dairying portfolios in the Southern Hemisphere has been placed on the market for sale, providing sustainability options for astute buyers.
Spread across the Southland region, the Aquila Sustainable Farming portfolio has an amalgamated farm footprint of 2,971 hectares across six productive organic dairy units and 871 hectares from two leased organic support blocks.
The properties have a high-standard of farm infrastructure and improvements, including 27 homes. . .
Govt sends mixed signals on forest cap – Richard Rennie:
Putting a cap on exotic forest plantings is still an option on the table for the Government as it considers its response to the Climate Change Commission’s recommendations.
Last year in the lead up to the election, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor undertook to make resource consent a requirement for landowners seeking to convert over 50ha of higher-quality land into forestry.
The decision came amid mounting concern that greater areas of farmland were being lost to forestry, some to unharvested carbon forest plantings.
But Forestry Minister Stuart Nash signalled recently that the Government plans to back away from planting restrictions. . .
Calls to diversify and integrate – Annette Scott:
New Zealand agriculture is missing the opportunity to diversify and integrate and come up with one good story.
Sectors are pushing their own barrows and not achieving maximum potential as an industry, Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) chief executive Alison Stewart says.
Speaking at the Primary Industries New Zealand Summit, Stewart urged collaboration.
“We do not work in a cohesive world; when are we actually going to agree to come together?” she asked. . .
SPCA is urging dog owners, particularly those living near lifestyle blocks, to take extra care and keep track of their pets at all times, as early lambing season gets underway.
Every year sheep and lambs are injured or killed by roaming dogs in attacks that are not only traumatic for animals and people involved, but are often completely avoidable through responsible dog ownership.
With 175,000 lifestyle blocks nationwide and rural properties continuing to grow in popularity, SPCA Scientific Officer Dr Alison Vaughan says it’s important for dog owners – particularly those living in rural areas – to make sure their dog is secured and unable to roam. . .
Horticulture New Zealand People Capability Manager Emma Boase was among a stellar line-up of primary industry excellence at last night’s 2021 Primary Industries New Zealand Awards in Christchurch.
Recognised as one of seven winners from a pool of 65 nominations, Emma took out the title of the Lincoln University Emerging Leaders Award for her efforts in attracting new talent into the horticulture sector.
The award is testament to Emma’s outstanding leadership and ongoing commitment to championing horticultural careers. . .
The champion wheat grower for 2021 is Craig Muckle.
Craig, who farms at Dorie in mid-Canterbury, was presented with the Champion Cup at the awards ceremony in Christchurch for winning the premium milling wheat award and also won the United Wheat Growers Bayer wheat grower of the year award with his wheat entry ‘Reliance’.
The judges said Craig’s entry’s quality specification was “bang on”. Craig was presented with the Champion Cup, by Garth Gilliam from Champion.
Craig was also the winner of the UWG Bayer wheat grower award. This award is to recognise excellence in the industry. . .
Kerry Thomas from Luisetti Seeds, was recognised as Agronomist of the Year in the United Wheat Growers Bayer Wheat Awards held in Christchurch on Wednesday 7 July.
The award was open to all industry professionals involved in seed and grain crop production.
The inaugural Agronomist of the Year Award, sponsored by the NZ Grain & Seed Trade Association, is designed to recognise an agronomist who has an endless knowledge of crop production and goes above and beyond to make sure the best possible crop is produced by growers said NZGSTA Grains & Pulses Chair Ed Luisetti. . .
Planning for the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards (NZDIA) continues at pace with National sponsors continuing to back the programme.
The Awards programme allows entrants to connect, learn and grow as individuals across the board from Trainees and new entrants to the industry through to experienced Share Farmers.
NZDIA General Manager Robin Congdon is thrilled to confirm Meridian have renewed their sponsorship for the next three years along with a name change to the merit award. . .
A year on from the level 4 lockdown, it’s time to celebrate Essentials Day:
This time a year ago, the whole of Aotearoa (and indeed the wider world) stepped up for the first big Covid lockdown. Together our nation united to face the largest health challenge facing the country since the First World War.
Everyone has their own memories of getting through that first Level 4 Lockdown and for so many it marked a period of terrible change, even an end of an era.
While we never want to belittle the myriad challenges people around the globe have faced since, we are forever aware of the large body of scientific research demonstrating the psychological benefits of gratitude. Tuning into what’s still good in our world (cognitive reappraisal) is a foundational skill for resilience. Multiple studies have demonstrated the psychological benefits of noticing positive events, gratitude, mindful awareness, positive reappraisal, the use of personal strengths and acts of kindness during times of significant stress and suggested the importance of these strategies for supporting people through the ongoing challenges of the pandemic (Waters et al, 2021).
Gratitude is just one positive emotion that serves to buffer and bolster mental health in times of adversity and stress, aiding recovery from loss and trauma via widening perceptual field and allowing people to see the big picture (Vernon et al., 2009).
Kim Tay, Director of Online Training from the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing and Resilience says: “There’s no doubt the past year has been tough, and we don’t want to diminish that, but wherever you are on the spectrum of how the pandemic has impacted you, taking a moment to notice what’s still good in your world, and particularly who you are grateful for, is such a powerful way of broadening our perspective and enabling us to cope in the face of uncertainty, challenge and change.”
“The benefits of a grateful mindset and grateful orientation toward life would appear to be especially valuable in the midst of uncontrollable stress, such as that engendered by the coronavirus crisis”, reports Professor Lea Waters and colleagues from around the world in their recently published paper on psychological strategies for ‘buffering, bolstering and building’ psychological health.
And so, we encourage you, your colleagues, your teams, families, whanau and communities to make an intentional effort to tune into the good at this time. To pause and reflect, for a moment, on the magnificent job done by all the people involved with delivering essential services, on the extraordinary ways families coped with home- schooling, and the businesses and organisations of all shapes and sizes doing their utmost to keep going.
Consider all those behind-the-scenes legends who keep New Zealand moving through adversity, never seeking the limelight or praise, and the massive contribution they make every day of the year.
We encourage you to take a moment to ponder, who is essential to you and your way of life? It could be anyone involved in keeping your whanau safe and healthy, the food flowing, the power on, the rubbish collected. Or simply someone you can’t imagine facing the tough times without.
Let’s call it, Essential Day, making it a chance to acknowledge everyone connected to those essential services who kept calm and carried on. And to all those in Aotearoa who keep working day in, day out for a better New Zealand.
Questions you can ask yourself and your teams:
- Who are you grateful for?
- Who wouldn’t you want to live without?
- Who stood up for you last year – at work or home?
- Who are you most proud of?
- Have you ever thought of thanking the people behind the essential services in some way?
Millions of bees have starved to death after COVID-19 checkpoints in and out of Auckland caused a delay in beekeepers accessing their hives.
Wetex Kang of Waitakaruru Honey Limited says around 2.5 million bees died after workers were unable to travel from Waikato to Auckland to feed the bees.
Kang, who is based in Auckland, says many of his business’ 2000 beehives are scattered across the North Island, as are the staff who care for them. . .
Women’s farm training winner – Sally Rae:
A farm training institute with a difference is opening its gates in Northern Southland next year. Business and rural editor Sally Rae finds out more.
When Covid-19 claimed the clientele of her agri-tourism venture near Kingston, Laura Douglas spent a couple of days crying inconsolably.
Still on a high from taking her farm animals to Wanaka A&P Show for a display, she received a phone call from international bus company Contiki two days later, cancelling its visits.
Those tours came through Real Country every month – every week in summer – and represented about 65% of her revenue. Corporate groups also cancelled as the country went into lockdown. . .
Armadillo Merino aims for the moon – Neal Wallace:
Merino wool has long been praised for its versatility, but Andy Caughey tells Neal Wallace how he is taking use of this miracle fibre to a whole new level.
THE qualities of New Zealand Merino wool clothing are being tested in some of the planet’s most hostile and extreme workplaces and environments – and beyond.
Otago-raised Andy Caughey has for the past nine years been developing and promoting next-to skin Merino wool clothing and socks under his brand Armadillo Merino.
Armadillo clothing is now being considered for astronauts involved in NASA’s 2024 expedition to the moon. . .
Arable sector must determine its future – Annette Scott:
The next five years will be crunch time for the arable sector that can choose to stand up and shine or remain under the radar and let the larger primary sectors direct New Zealand’s agri-economic development, Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) chief executive Alison Stewart says.
For many years the arable sector has been viewed as the invisible partner of NZ agriculture, given the arable industry’s predominantly domestic, commodity market focus and the fact that it has chosen to fly under the radar on most of the major policy issues affecting NZ’s economic, environmental and social development, Stewart says.
“However, I believe the invisible partner image is slowly changing and could change even more if the entire sector worked together to make it happen,” she said. . .
Pāmu has appointed Lisa Martin to the executive leadership team in the newly created role of General Manager, Sustainability and Farming Systems.
Ms Martin has extensive experience improving the sustainability practices of the organisations she has worked with, including seafood company Sanford where she was GM of Group Sustainability and at Downer Group where she was GM of Environment and Sustainability. She also co-founded a successful sustainability consultancy, Sustainz which provides sustainability advice to a range of organisations including New Zealand’s agricultural sector.
In her earlier career Ms Martin worked in the environmental science field in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. . .
Sugar price rebound sweetens La Niña risk – Shan goodwin:
REBOUNDING global sugar prices are putting a spring in the step of Queensland cane growers who have been hampered by wet weather hold-ups since the crush started in early June.
Raw sugar traded in New York on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the global benchmark, broke through the US13 cents per pound barrier last week for the first time since March.
Analysts say that has been on the back of easing lockdown restrictions, the resumption of food service, strong demand from Asia where drought has hit local crops and speculative moves by funds shifting to a bullish outlook for sugar. . .
Farmers paying on land lost to erosion – Mike Houlahan:
Farmers whose properties are alongside the Waitaki River are irate they are being charged rates on land which has been washed away.
Waimate farmer Gert van’t Klooster lost 4ha of farmland when Meridian Energy spilled water from its hydro-electric storage on the Waitaki in December.
While Mr van’t Klooster could accept that Meridian was operating within its consent, he said he found it much harder to pay Environment Canterbury rates on land which was no longer part of his property.
“I have a bill now from ECan on land which isn’t there. It doesn’t generate any income, and there are mortgages to pay on that land, too,” he said. . .
Slight dip in 2019-20 milk collection – Sudesh Kissun:
Fonterra’s milk collection last season was slightly down as North Island farmers faced a crippling drought.
However, the 2.1% dip in North Island milk was offset by the South Island where full season collection was up 2.1%.
The cooperative’s total milk production in 2019-20 reached 1,517 million kgMS, down 0.4% on the previous season.
Full season collection for the North Island was 874.6 million kgMS and for the South Island, 642.5 million kgMS. . .
Couple’s flexible approach paying off – Yvonne O’Hara:
Waimumu sheep and beef farmers Jason and Debbie Smith have a “take it as it comes” approach to farming and it is paying off — despite their operation being affected by Covid-19.
The couple have a 747ha property and this year are fattening 23,000 store lambs as well as running 200 beef cattle under Smith Farming 2018 Ltd, a move made as part of their succession planning.
That is in addition to the 7000 lambs they bred themselves. . .
Agritech has a plan – Tony Benny:
The New Zealand agritech sector is pushing ahead with ambitious plans to grow its exports with $11.4 million Budget funding and despite covid-19 disruption.
Though the launch of the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan in April had to be delayed work has continued behind the scenes to realise the Government’s desire to take NZ farming technology to the world.
“We’ve been talking to the Government pretty much every week over the past three months about the plan,” Agritech NZ executive director Peter Wren-Hilton says. . .
Grain deal gets over the line – Annette Scott:
The arable sector’s biosecurity partnership has been signed.
Five key members have joined forces to form Seed and Grain Readiness and Response to work with the Government to protect the industry from new weed, pest and disease incursions.
Federated Farmers, the Foundation for Arable Research, the Flour Millers Association, the Grain and Seed Trade Association and United Wheat Growers spent years discussing signing the Government-Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response. . .
Lockdown reading lessons from New Zealand – John Elliot:
One positive of lockdown is that it has given us the most valuable currency of all which is time,” Katie Piper.
For me, a member of the ‘vulnerable age group’, Covid-19 hasn’t been all bad.
I’ve dusted off the dumb-bells, watched some fabulous programmes on Sky TV and caught up with my reading. Many of the books have been in my possession for years unread.
Some I have read several times. Two of the more interesting came from New Zealand. Their titles, ‘The Intuitive Farmer’ and ‘The Resilient Farmer’ hint at their contents. . .
Water will be currency of 21st century – Todd Muller:
Water is one of our nation’s critical strategic assets, perhaps second only behind our people. Therefore water storage is essential for ensuring we have a thriving primary sector for years to come, writes National’s Agriculture spokesman Todd Muller.
Water will be the currency of success in the next century.
In the 19th century it was coal, in the 20th century it was oil and in my view in the 21st century it is water.
We are a tradeable economy and water is a critical strategic asset in developing our commodities. The ability to store it will be a key infrastructural necessity if we are to leverage the value of water over the next few decades. . .
Federated Farmers is dismayed by reports that at least two businesses which process meat from wild rabbits are being strangled by compliance costs.
“It’s tough times on farms at the moment, with rising rabbit numbers in dry conditions. With all the focus on predator-free and biodiversity, surely we should be working with and encouraging the commercial use of pest species, not making it harder for operators,” Feds Meat & Wool Chairperson Miles Anderson says.
Radio NZ has reported that the owner of a business supplying wild rabbits to high end restaurants, and for pet food, is spending up to 40 hours a week on paperwork, never mind growing MPI audit fees at $176 an hour. As with another Canterbury-based processor, he told Radio NZ he was thinking of closing down. . .
Dairy returns too tiny for farmers – Hugh Stringleman:
Dairy farmers have many reasons for optimism though three out of four say the returns are not worth the effort, DairyNZ strategy and investment leader Bruce Thorrold says.
Many farmers are asking themselves why they still bother dairying and his task is to help clear the fog and rekindle motivation, he told the DairyNZ Northland farmers forum.
Farmers are worried about environmental, banking, farm value, alternative food, drought and disease pressures. . .
Weevil win – we knocked the bastard off – Karen WIlliams:
Hats off to you, Wairarapa. In the words of another Kiwi who achieved a world-first, “we knocked the bastard off”.
Okay, eradicating the region’s pea weevil incursion isn’t as grand as Ed Hillary and Tensing Norgay climbing Everest but in terms of biosecurity, and protecting an industry that earns us $50 million in domestic sales and $84 million in exports, it is a big deal. It’s also another bug we don’t have to spray for.
As far as we know, no other country has successfully combatted this pest after an incursion.
It’s taken a region-wide and government agency effort to get where we are – that’s growers/farmers, home gardeners, Federated Farmers, local councils, Greater Wellington, local MPs, MPI, Biosecurity NZ, the Foundation for Arable Research, Assure Quality…a big thank-you to you all for your perseverance, flexibility and understanding. . .
A long-term plan is being developed to control Himalayan tahr in the South Island.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) said the large goat-like animals, introduced to New Zealand during the early days of European settlement, posed a threat to the country’s native alpine plants.
To combat the loss of native vegetation, DOC said it had been working with ecological experts to start a new monitoring system.
The long-term control plan is led by DOC and Ngāi Tahu. . .
Harper Adams University has said it will never ban beef from its campus menus as it criticises other institutions for their ‘knee-jerk reactions’ to the climate crisis.
In recent years, and even more so in recent months, several UK universities have attracted significant media attention for voting motions to ban beef.
Earlier this month, thousands of students at Edinburgh University rejected proposals to ban the meat in all student union run outlets. . .
Honour well deserved say sharemilkers – Sudesh Kissun:
The New Zealand order of merit awarded to Tirau farmer Tony Wilding in the New Years Honours List has been hailed by sharemilkers.
Federated Farmers National Sharemilkers Section chairman, Richard McIntyre says the honour is well deserved.
“Tony is an absolute gentleman who has represented the sharemilker farm owners well, for the betterment of the sharemilking industry,” he told Rural News online. . .
Land Champion: love of land and bush passed on – Richard Rennie:
A dairy farming couple’s love of the bush has helped inspire the same passion in a younger generation, preserved some valuable bird species and also promoted a more sustainable way to farm.
Maggy and Karl Buhler of Pongakawa in Bay of Plenty are quietly humble about their efforts over the past 40 years to plant more of the country in native bush.
But the view from their homestead high above their 100ha dairy farm nicely frames the work that has accounted for about half that period. . .
Land champion: ag passion fires teacher’s mission – Richard Rennie:
Kerry Allen’s efforts to put agriculture and the primary sector back on the radar for secondary school pupils is starting to pay dividends, providing the sector with a growing pool of young talent that risked drying up several years ago.
Allen has been agribusiness curriculum director at St Paul’s Collegiate School in Hamilton for the past three years.
It is thanks to her efforts the college pioneered New Zealand’s first secondary school agribusiness course. . .
FAR researcher of the year – Sudesh Kissun:
The Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) says it has named one of its own as their 2019 Researcher of the Year.
Diana Mathers, who, joined FAR as cropping systems research Mmnager in 2010, has worked to support cropping farmers in the areas of economic and environmental sustainability.
FAR chief executive Alison Stewart says Mather’s award recognises the significant impact she has had in these areas. . .
Axemen hit halfway mark in Christmas circuit tour – Laura Smith:
Tired arms and sore backs were in store for Southern Axemen’s Christmas Circuit competitors as the tour reached its midway point in Riverton yesterday.
The circuit started in Cromwell last Friday and is set to end in Tuatapere tomorrow. Competitor John Broughton, of Manapouri, said about 40 people had competed at each event.
Mr Broughton said he competed in several events, including the standing block and “pretty much all the sawing”. . .
Brompton rat controlled grass fires – Stephen Burns:
It was a simple machine, designed and built in a station workshop in western Queensland, and out of fashion now but for many years the Brompton Rat was successful in containing many grass fires on the open plains.
Timely we should be talking about bush fire control, with fires raging out of control along the ranges, and the fire season hasn’t yet started on the plains.
For many years, various inventions were developed each with distinct degrees of success until Gordon Gray and his father Harry designed and built the Brompton Rat on the property Brompton near Mutaburra. . .
Quiz local govt candidates on costs, services — Feds – Sudesh Kissun:
Hold your local council candidates to account on costs and services: and if you think the voice of farmers is not being heard, consider standing for election yourself.
That’s the underlying message to rural people in the Federated Farmers 2019 local body elections guide, Platform: Feds on Local Government, released at the Feds’ AGM in Wellington this week.
“The quality of local government in rural communities can mean the difference between dodgy roads and safer ones, and many thousands of dollars in rates,” Federated Farmers President Katie Milne says. . .
Taihape farmer Kerry Whale’s family hadn’t even talked about succession.
“We had our heads in the sand really.”
“It’s a very complicated subject but now our family has a plan to build on and it’s opened communications among us about what the next 10 years will look like.”
What changed? . .
Huge effort for farmers recognised – Annette Scott:
South Canterbury cropping farmer Colin Hurst has been recognised for his immense contribution to the arable industry.
Hurst was crowned Arable Farmer of the Year at the Federated Farmers arable industry group 2019 awards in Wellington.
The South Canterbury Federated Farmers vice president has represented the federation at national, regional and branch level and contributed to the South Canterbury Rural Support Trust, the arable group’s herbage seed growers subsection, United Wheatgrowers and the Foundation for Arable Research. . .
Concentrating on black currants – Chris Tobin:
Pleasant Point vegetable and berryfruit grower Tony Howey is scaling back.
He and his wife Afsaneh Howey have sold and given up leases on 600ha of land on which they grew onions, carrots, potatoes, grain and seed, in order to concentrate on their blackcurrant business.
Mr Howey said he had hoped to find a young keen grower who might take over the operation but this did not happen.
”It was quite difficult; it’s hard to entice young ones now. There’s no-one around.” . .
New Zealand eyes have been so focussed this week on an event 20,000kms distant that they might not have noticed here at home another extraordinary event, taking place on the NZX.
The market capitalisation of a company which listed as recently as 2012 on the local sharemarket soared past the $12bn mark and is hard on the heels of Meridian Energy, which has the highest valuation of NZ-based companies on the NZX at $12.3bn.
The challenger is a2 Milk, which sells a specialised type of milk with what it claims are health benefits. . .
Fonterra is planning a war on waste.
The co-op will stop sending solid waste to landfill by 2025 and will by then have 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging.
These are the right things to do and even more important as more consumers choose products that are environmentally friendly, says the co-op’s director of sustainability, Carolyn Mortland. . .
Being a girl won’t stop Courtney Hanns from becoming a livestock auctioneer – Olivia Calver:
YOU don’t see many women selling in yards but Courtney Hanns, 19, is one of a growing number taking up the gavel.
Courtney grew up in the Blue Mountains and from a young age set her sights on becoming a livestock agent.
“…since I was little girl, my Pop had a farm, and I always just wanted to be an agent because I loved what they do,” Courtney said.
However, first she had to convince some in the industry that she was up for the challenge. . .
Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) welcomes the government’s commitment to setting a new carbon target and considering accounting for the differing contributions of specific livestock emissions as consultation on proposed Zero Carbon legislation gets underway.
“With severe weather events like droughts and floods becoming more frequent, sheep and beef farmers feel the impacts of climate change first hand and are aware of the challenges climate change brings”, says B+LNZ CEO Sam McIvor. “We know that everyone has to do their bit to meet this challenge, and as a sector we’ve already reduced greenhouse gas emissions from livestock by 30 per cent since 1990.
“We’ve also set the target for our sector to be carbon neutral by 2050 as part of our new Environment Strategy and we’re progressing a range of actions to help build on the good work that farmers are already doing. . .
Federated Farmers is heartened that impacts on the economy, and the difference between short and long-lived greenhouse gases, are becoming more prominent topics in our discussions about global warming and climate change.
Some of the choices and challenges in front of New Zealand get an airing in the Ministry for the Environment’s consultation document on the Zero Carbon Bill, the Federation’s Climate Change spokesperson, Andrew Hoggard, says.
“It’s a positive that the ‘Our Climate, Your Say’ document, released today, recognises that methane from livestock is a recycling, not accumulating, greenhouse gas. Methane has a half-life of around 12 years, whereas carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. . .
Economists concerned by risks of ‘M. bovis’ – Sally Rae:
Economic risks associated with Mycoplasma bovis are rising, economists say, and a beef farm in Ranfurly is one of the latest properties confirmed with the disease.
Last week, it was announced eradication would be attempted, at a cost of $886million, and entailing slaughter of a further 126,000 cattle.
In BNZ’s latest Rural Wrap, senior economist Doug Steel said there was much more to it than the initial impact on production from culling cows. . .
Devold role continues a passion for wool – Sally Rae:
Craig Smith’s passion for wool never dims.
After about 28 years in the wool industry, Mr Smith remains a staunch advocate for the natural fibre, which he described as “the most amazing product in the world”.
This month, Mr Smith — previously business development manager at PGG Wrightson Wool — began a new job as general manager of Devold Wool Direct NZ Ltd.
Devold is a Norwegian-based high performance wool clothing brand which dates back to 1853, when its founder came up with the idea of knitting wool sweaters for fishermen. It celebrated its 165th anniversary last weekend. . .
Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) today launched consultation on a proposal to increase sheepmeat and beef levies to accelerate investment in a range of key programmes.
B+LNZ is seeking farmers’ views on the plan to increase the sheepmeat levy by 10 cents to 70 cents per head and the beef levy by 80 cents to $5.20 per head.
If adopted, the rise would mean an average sheep and beef farm would pay an additional $260 per annum and an average dairy farm an extra $55 per annum. . .
A leading advocate for biosecurity and a 30-year contributor to organisations that support growers were honoured at the Federated Farmers Arable Industry conference in Timaru yesterday.
Former Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) CEO Nick Pyke was presented with the Federated Farmers Arable Biosecurity Farmer of the Year Award and North Canterbury farmer Syd Worsfold was named Federated Farmers Arable Farmer of the Year in recognition of his contribution over the last three decades to the arable industry and stakeholder groups, Federated Farmers, FAR and United Wheatgrowers. . .
It’s three months away but New Zealand dairy farmers are already preparing for the impact of Fonterra’s new fat evaluation index (FEI) grading system, which comes into effect on September 1.
Fonterra established the FEI test to measure the fat composition in the cow’s milk it collects, to ensure it is suitable for manufacturing products that meet customer specifications.
The use of palm kernel expeller (PKE) as a supplementary feed has been identified as a key influencer on high FEI levels in dairy milk. A by-product of the palm oil extraction process from the fruit of the palm, PKE has become increasingly popular as a feed option in dairying, due to its relative low cost. However, high use of PKE can impact the fatty acid profile of milk, and has led to manufacturing challenges for Fonterra with certain products. . .
A respected Hauraki Plains dairy farmer will lead the board overseeing the development of a new educational farm in Auckland.
Julie Pirie has been elected to chair the five-member Donald Pearson Farm Board.
The 74-hectare dairy farm in South Auckland was gifted to NZ Young Farmers by the late Donald Pearson last year. . .
Slim pickings: Worker shortage leaves apple farms frantic – Anusha Bradley:
Apple growers in Hawke’s Bay are preparing to work around the clock to cope with what’s being described as an extreme shortage of seasonal workers.
Orchardists said they have less have than half the workers they need, and despite a recruitment campaign, are failing to attract the usual hordes of backpackers they rely on.
Hastings-based Bostock is the largest producer of organic apples in the country.
Bostock human resources manager Vikki Garrett said usually they’d hire about a 100 or so backpackers, but had only managed to recruit 10. . .
An economic report, released today, says if the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) establishes in New Zealand it would dramatically impact New Zealand’s gross domestic product (GDP) as well as export revenues from horticulture.
Prepared by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER), Quantifying the economic impacts of a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug incursion in New Zealand, shows GDP falling between $1.8 billion and $3.6 billion by 2038, and horticulture export value falling between $2 billion and $4.2 billion by 2038. . .
Key stakeholders in the agro-export market today gathered to discuss possible solutions to address pertinent issues faced by exporters in the export pathways.
While officially opening the Agriculture Exporters Symposium at the Tanoa Plaza Hotel this morning, Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, Mr. David Kolitagane said the objective of the workshop was to address constraints in the agro-export pathway as the impact of the contribution of agricultural exporters was integral to economic development.
“The rationale for organizing today’s symposium is to address constraints in the export pathway, collate information and make appropriate and . . .
With just one month to go until a decision will be made, farmers will understandably be left confused and anxious about whether the Government is going to eradicate the crippling cattle disease Mycoplasma Bovis, National’s Primary Industries spokesperson Nathan Guy says.
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) officials appeared before the Primary Productions Select Committee at Parliament this morning to answer questions about how the Government plans to contain the spread, compensate farmers for their losses and ultimately to eradicate it. . .
Tractor imports have remained at high levels in January 2018, continuing the trend for the last year, Stats NZ said today.
The value of imported tractors rose $27 million (191 percent) in January 2018 from January 2017. For the year ended January 2018, values were up 51 percent compared with the January 2017 year.
“Imports of tractors can be an indicator of confidence in the agriculture industry,” international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said. “The last time we imported this many tractors was in 2014 when dairy prices were at their peak.” . .
Synlait will welcome Deborah Marris to the Executive Leadership Team in the role of General Counsel and Head of Commercial on Monday 5 March.
“Deborah’s outstanding legal and commercial background makes her the perfect person to join our team. Our rapid growth requires strong leadership in this area and Deborah has the skills, foresight and international experience to support us well,” says John Penno, Managing Director and CEO.
Ms Marris’ role will encompass legal affairs, risk, corporate governance, insurance and commercial matters, including customer and supplier contractual relationships. . .
NZ King Salmon sees weaker second half on hot summer; 1st-half profit soars 81% – Jonathan Underhill:
(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand King Salmon says the “extraordinarily hot summer” has cut survival rates at its fish farms in the Marlborough Sounds and it expects weaker second-half earnings after profit in the first half soared 81 percent.
Profit rose to $15.7 million in the six months ended Dec. 31 from $8.7 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement. Sales climbed to $87.7 million from $63.6 million. . .
(BusinessDesk) – Seeka posted a 44 percent decline in annual profit as Australasia’s biggest kiwifruit grower booked a $2 million charge on its banana sourcing unit while managing a decline in kiwifruit volumes.
Net profit fell to $5.8 million, or 34 cents per share in calendar 2017, from $10.4 million, or 62 cents a year earlier, the Te Puke-based company said in a statement. The year-earlier figure was bolstered by a $3.1 million gain on an insurance payment. Revenue fell 2 percent to $186.8 million. . .
Comvita swings to first-half profit, reiterates full-year guidance – Rebecca Howard:
(BusinessDesk) – Comvita, the mānuka honey company, swung to a first-half profit on strong sales growth and a recovery in the “grey” or informal sales channel into China and reiterated its full-year earnings guidance despite bad weather hitting the 2018 honey season.
The Te Puke-based company reported a net profit of $3.7 million, or 8.31 cents per share, in the six months to Dec. 31 versus a loss of $7.1 million, or 17.18 cents, in the prior period. In January the company said net profit would be more than $3 million. Sales reached $83.6 million versus $57.7 million in the prior year. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were $9.9 million versus an ebitda loss of $2.8 million in the same period a year earlier. . .
Fonterra has to face up to debacle at Beingmate – Fran O’Sullivan:
Fonterra has run out of lip gloss to apply to its $774 million investment in Beingmate, which has smoked a huge amount of shareholders’ cash since CEO Theo Spierings formed a joint venture through the Chinese company’s charismatic founder three years ago.
Both Spierings and Fonterra chairman John Wilson will have some tough questions to answer when they finally front shareholders over the management of the joint venture – particularly, because of what I see as the clear failure at governance level in Beingmate.
That became alarmingly apparent this week when four directors including its vice-chairman (who is also the third largest shareholder), the chair of the company’s audit committee and Fonterra’s two director representatives, broke ranks and revealed that, in effect, they had no confidence in the integrity of the financial information which had been presented to them as the basis of projected losses of $171m-$214m for the December 2017 financial year. . .
In October 2017 Shane Jones’ distinctive Shakespearean voice could be heard booming throughout the land as he crowed triumphantly about his 1 billion trees in the Billion Trees Planting Programme. Less than three months later, not a single tree has been planted and the government is on track to come up 90% short of their target of doubling the rate of planting over 10 years.
The issue isn’t so much that there isn’t enough land available for Forestry Minister Shane Jones to plant these trees on. Rather it’s that neither New Zealand First or Labour bothered to ask the public service during the coalition negotiation process whether it was in fact possible.
The “Billion Trees Planting Programme” has been a bit of a disaster right from the get go. . .
Fruit and vegetable supplies not wilting in summer heat – Gerard Hutching:
Supplies of fruit and vegetables are still plentiful in spite of, or perhaps because of the heat wave covering the country.
And milk quality has not been affected, unlike across the Tasman where Australian baristas are complaining it is not at its frothy best.
Fruit and vegetable growers running out of water are having problems because of the heat but otherwise it is “business as usual”, Horticulture New Zealand senior business manager John Seymour said. . .
New boss sees huge opporutnities – Annette Scott:
Internationally recognised plant scientist Alison Stewart has been appointed as the new chief executive of the Foundation for Arable Research. She talked to Annette Scott about what attracted to her the key role in in the arable industry.
When Dr Alison Stewart sat on the panel that did the external programme management review of the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) in 2016 she realised the huge opportunities for the future of the organisation.
Then, a year later, she saw the advertisement for a new chief executive. . .
Honey sector growth unsustainable – Rachel Rose:
THERE’S lots of discussion about whether we have pushed past hard limits in the case of dairy farming, but have we gone past “peak bee”?
The Great Springvale Bee Standoff is back and elsewhere in today’s paper you’ll see more complaints about bees causing a nuisance in town.
There were 27 complaints made to Whanganui District Council last year about bees in the urban areas. WDC’s media release last month singled out urban hobbyists with a hive or two on the back lawn, as if the large numbers of commercial hives on the outskirts of the suburbs — particularly over winter — didn’t exist. . .
New Zealand shearer has worked around the world – Jill Galloway:
Paul Rooney has shorn in Wales, Scotland and England, as well as Italy, the United States and Australia.
Now he has a farm and a family and prefers to limit his shearing to around Manawatū.
His travelling days are over, and he misses the travel and excitement, but not the hard work.
Rooney first went overseas in the New Zealand off-season of 1991 when he was 25. He worked in Britain and the change came as a bit of a shock. . .
Request to farmers as rivers dwindle – John Lewis:
Farmers across Otago are being asked to conserve water, with some rivers across the region dropping to their lowest levels on record.
Otago Regional Council data for October-December 2017 shows ”extremely dry” weather conditions in Central Otago and part of South Otago, and ”moderately dry” conditions for the rest of Otago.
ORC engineering, hazards and science director Gavin Palmer said some areas had particularly low rainfall and the present spell of dry weather, combined with little snow cap to augment river levels from snow melt last year, meant most Otago river levels were low compared to average levels for this time of the year. . .
Cashmere ‘renaissance’ under way – Sally Rae:
Buoyed by the quality of cashmere produced by goats on their Clinton farm, David and Robyn Shaw believe the fibre offers an “amazing opportunity” for New Zealand farmers.
For the past 35 years, they have been working quietly behind the scenes to now be producing fibre they consider of equal quality to the best in the world.
Mr and Mrs Shaw, who have formed New Zealand Cashmere, recently announced a commercialisation programme with luxury lifestyle brand Untouched World and yarn manufacturer Woolyarns. . .
New Far CEO well versed in industry – Sally Rae:
Alison Stewart has been appointed chief executive of the Foundation for Arable Research (Far).
Dr Stewart, who is general manager forest science at Scion, takes over in mid-March from founding chief executive Nick Pyke, who has led the organisation since 1995.
Last year, Mr Pyke signalled his intention to step down from the role, saying making the decision was not easy but the time was right.
Far is an applied research and information transfer organisation responsible primarily to arable growers. . .
A2 to roll out US business to eastern seaboard -Paul McBeth:
(BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk Co plans to roll out its US business to nine states on the eastern seaboard, which it expects will expand its retail footprint by more than a third.
Auckland-based, Sydney-headquarter a2 is targeting 60 million Americans who account for about a fifth of milk consumption in the world’s biggest economy, adding New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine to the states it services in the US, it said in a statement. The milk marketer’s a2 branded milk has been accepted by a number of retailers in the region, which will this month expand its presence to about 5,000 retail stores across the US from the previous 3,600 stores. . .
Environment Canterbury has confirmed that Fonterra’s farm environment plan template has met the requirements of the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan (LWRP).
The Fonterra template will make the process of designing a farming environmental plan (FEP) a lot easier, says Environment Canterbury chief executive Bill Bayfield.
FEPs are unique to a property and reflect the local climate and soils, the type of farming operation, and the goals and aspirations of the land user. . .
The equivalent of currency for cows will be updated in February to better reflect the industry’s focus on efficient, high quality milk production.
Production Worth, or PW, is an economic index calculated for all New Zealand dairy cows as an estimate of their lifetime production ability. It helps farmers identify the top performers in their herd, to decide which cow’s to keep, cull and assist in determining a value for buying or selling.
Four traits currently contribute to the PW calculation – milk volume, milk fat, protein and liveweight. A fifth trait will be added in February – somatic cell. . .
B+LNZ in global protein study – Neal Wallace:
The meat sector has launched a global study into the threats and opportunities posed by artificial protein, as the fledgling industry continues to attract eye-watering sums of money from rich people.
That investment had also started flowing domestically, with reports movie producers Sir Peter Jackson and his wife Frances Walsh and James Cameron and his wife Susan Amis-Cameron had established PBT New Zealand and started working with the Foundation for Arable Research in a future foods project. . .
Registrations for IrrigationNZ’s 2018 national Conference are now open. Unlocking a Golden Future through SMART irrigation is the theme of the conference to be hosted at Alexandra from 17-19 April 2018.
“With so much public focus on irrigation and water issues in the media, this is an important opportunity for farmers and growers, the irrigation service industry, researchers, academics, councils and other groups to come together to discuss the future of water management and irrigation systems,” says Andrew Curtis, IrrigationNZ Chief Executive. . .
IoT Alliance calls for Government backing to help grow more food – Stuart Corner:
The executive director of the recently formed New Zealand IoT Alliance, Kriv Naicker, has called for government support of the group, its sister organisation the New Zealand AI Forum and the broader tech industry to help address the food needs of a growing global population.
His comments were made in the run up to a conference in Christchurch in early December at which the future of food will be discussed.
“Key tech leaders will attend the Feed the World 2030: Power of Plants Hackathon event on December 2 and 3,” Naicker said. . .
Avocado grower and Avocado Growers Association Representative Tony Ponder has been elected as the New Zealand Avocado Growers Association and Avocado Industry Council Chair.
NZAGA Grower Representative Linda Flegg has been elected as the Vice Chair of the NZAGA.
“It’s an exciting time to be in the New Zealand avocado industry, with an incredible increase in value and the positive collaboration throughout the industry,” says Ponder. . .
Waikato agribusinesswoman Janette Osborne has been appointed to Primary Wool Cooperative’s (PWC) board.
Chairman Bay de Lautour says special skills and understanding are required with PWC being the only New Zealand wool cooperative, and with its unique cooperative / corporate joint venture with Carrfields in CP Wool. . .
One of the plushest function and corporate all-in-one event venues in provincial South Island – complete with its own specialised bakery and patisserie-making kitchen – has been placed on the market for sale for the first time.
StoneBridge wedding and function venue in the South Canterbury township of Geraldine is a purpose-built event-hosting destination which is operated in conjunction with a commercial accommodation arm. . .
Clues to cow disease spread – Hamish MacLean:
The South Canterbury farmer whose property was first identified as infected with Mycoplasma bovis now fears the disease might also be present further north.
Glenavy farmer Aad van Leeuwen’s comments come after the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) announced yesterday the cattle disease was present in Otago.
It had been hoped the outbreak, first detected on Mr van Leeuwen’s Bennetts Rd farm on July 22, and then on his nearby Dog Kennel Rd farm on July 31, was confined to the South Canterbury area.
MPI said blood test results from a farm in the Oamaru area – known to have had a ”direct connection” with the Bennetts Rd farm prior to its current lockdown – showed ”some animals have been infected with the disease”. . .
Flux-meter data relevant for south – Yvonne O’Hara:
Information on nutrient losses from the Foundation for Arable Research’s (Far) flux-meter data-collection project will have applications for Otago and Southland arable farmers.
Far heard earlier this month it had been given $485,168 for its
”Protecting our groundwater: measuring and managing diffuse nutrient losses from cropping systems” project from the Ministry for the Environment’s Freshwater Improvement Fund.
The $1million project has been under way for three years in partnership with HortNZ, Ravensdown, five regional councils and Plant and Food Research. The balance of funding comes from industry and regional council partners. . .
Record 2016/17 season recounted at Zespri AGM
Zespri reported to around 500 grower-shareholders today at its Annual Meeting on a record 2016/17 season, with global sales up 19 percent from last season to $2.26 billion on the back of exceptionally high yields.
Zespri Chairman Peter McBride explains the high yields and late start to the New Zealand season meant lower per-tray returns for Zespri Green but continued strong per-hectare returns for the Green business. . .
Canterbury dairy farm contractor Nicole Jackson is on a mission to reduce the number of injuries to female calf rearers during the physically demanding calving season.
She’s created a six-week online conditioning and strengthening initiative for women to prepare their bodies for the physically gruelling calving season, which is currently under way in many parts of the country.
“There’s a lot of information out there about things like getting meals and the kids ready for calving season but not a lot about getting your body ready,” says Nicole, a mother of two young boys.
“Women are often involved in calf rearing and it’s really hard physical work. Women are often busy juggling kids and work so it’s hard for them sometimes to stay active and find time to work on their fitness . . .
The secret to cutting nitrogen leaching – Laurel Stowell:
Napier-based farming expert Barrie Ridler has some answers for farmers struggling to curb their nitrogen leaching.
Dairy farmers, especially in the Tararua District, are waiting to see how Horizons Regional Council reacts to the Environment Court’s April declarations – but are already under pressure to reduce the nitrogen they leach.
Mr Ridler says matching stock numbers to pasture growth is the secret, and keeping the two in balance will limit greenhouse gas emissions. . .
Youth scholarships help develop Ag careers – Esther Taunton:
A former Inglewood High School student is among the first recipients of a Silver Fern Farms Pasture to Plate Youth Scholarship.
Jake Jarman, who grew up on a central Taranaki dairy farm, will receive $5000 to help further his career in farming.
The scholarships are aimed at helping young people develop their careers in the red meat, food and farming industries and SFF chief executive Dean Hamilton said the talent emerging from applications indicated a bright future for the broader red meat sector. . .
I’m a farmer. I don’t stop when I’m tired, I stop when I”m done.
Real progress can be made at catchment level – William Rolleston:
New Zealand, as we all know, is blessed with abundant water and we have it to ourselves.
We have abundant water, but not always in the right place at the right time. For example, North Canterbury had been in drought for three years, affecting not only farmers who had to turn off their irrigators, but also rivers like Selwyn – the subject of intense media scrutiny over the early part of this year.
In the final Selwyn River hurrah, before the rains came and ruined all the fun, The Press, in Christchurch, ran a front page article on the Irwell River where fishing had been destroyed. . .
The arguments for and against the Ruataniwha dam – Victoria White:
Over its lifespan, the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme has attracted its fair share of supporters and critics.
For some, the scheme promised a solution to drought problems which hampered the region’s economic development, and placed pressure on water supplies in the Tukituki catchment.
Irrigation NZ chief executive Andrew Curtis said without the dam, “severe water restrictions” would be placed on irrigators, which could impact their livelihood. . .
Truffle fanatics from around New Zealand have converged on the Waipara Valley in North Canterbury for the area’s third annual truffle festival.
The first of the fungus treasures were produced in the area only 20 years ago – but the region has quickly established itself as the country’s truffle capital.
Waipara Valley truffle grower, Gareth Renowden, said people had been travelling from as far afield as Auckland and Wellington for the festival events, which included hunts, cooking classes and truffle-themed lunches.
Mr Renowden said the truffle trade in the area had taken off and it was hoped in the future there would be a strong export industry. . .
A higher volume of wool was offered at New Zealand’s latest weekly auction as stockpiles from last season come to market.
Some 8873 bales were offered at yesterday’s North Island auction, 32% above the 6697 bales offered at the same time last year, AgriHQ said.
The auction achieved a strong clearance rate of 81%, ahead of the 74% average clearance rate in the previous season which ended June 30, AgriHQ said. . .
Cropping farmers go the polls in the next few weeks to determine the future of their levy-funded research organisation, Foundation for Arable Research.
Under the Commodity Levies Act growers have the opportunity to vote to renew levy orders every six years. A ‘yes’ vote will ensure FAR’s continued existence and on-going contribution to the cropping industry, while a ‘no’ vote would result in the organisation being wound up, and all research and extension programmes ceasing. . .
Agribusiness helps form the backbone of Aotearoa’s economy. Are you doing something stupendous that you think deserves to be recognised at the 2017 New Zealand Innovation Awards? Then enter it in the Innovation in Agribusiness & Environment category, sponsored by Bayer NZ.
The 2017 New Zealand Innovation Awards are open for entries. If you’ve got an amazing product, service, process or venture – or you know someone who needs to be shoulder-tapped – now’s the time to get it out there. And to help encourage entries and showcase the categories, we’re showcasing the best innovations we come across. We focus next on Innovation in Agribusiness & Environment, sponsored by Bayer NZ.
Anyone who has lived in Aotearoa for any length of time can attest to how important the dairy and cattle industries are to the New Zealand economy, especially out in the regions. Likewise, anyone who has worked with cows on a farm can explain the tricky art of knowing when to breed a cow to a bull, and how often such attempts are unsuccessful. But guess what? Breeding cows isn’t art – it’s science. And there’s some wearable tech that’s making that science easier than ever before. . .
Dairy lovers across Asia will soon get their first taste of an innovative new cream cheese, as Fonterra announces plans for two new cream cheese plants at its Darfield site in Canterbury.
The Co-operative today marked the start of the ambitious project, inviting Selwyn MP Hon. Amy Adams and Selwyn District Council Mayor Sam Broughton to join Fonterra management and staff in turning the first sod on the new build. . .
Feds man honoured for contribution – Laurel Stowell:
Whanganui’s Tim Matthews calls himself an amateur policy analyst.
He won Federated Farmers’ 2017 Outstanding Contribution Award at the federation’s annual general meeting in Wellington on June 21.
A sheep and beef farmer with 1000ha of hill country near Mangamahu, Mr Matthews has been a member of Federated Farmers since 1983. He’s been the vice-president and meat and fibre chairman for the Wanganui province at various times since then. . .
FAR 2017 – 2021 Strategy launched in Wellington.
The Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) has launched its 2017-2021 Strategy, which aims to make cropping the highest returning and most sustainable broadacre land use for New Zealand farmers.
CEO Nick Pyke says the strategy builds on FAR’s strengths as a provider of quality research and extension and on the innate strengths of New Zealand’s cropping industry.
“New Zealand’s temperate climate, quality soils, plentiful water and highly skilled farmers provide us with some key advantages over other food producing nations. Accordingly, FAR’s new strategy has been designed to ensure that our research team works alongside the cropping industry, helping it to reach its full potential as New Zealand’s most economically and environmentally sustainable farming system. . .
Disease testing advance ready – Sally Rae:
CRV Ambreed is collaborating with Otago-based Disease Research Ltd to enable dairy farmers to access further information about Bovine Viral Diarrhoea and Johne’s disease from their herd testing.
From this month, farmers would get their normal herd test information on BVD and Johne’s disease but were now able to directly take that a step further with DRL. Until now, the herd testing provided farmers with an initial positive or negative result for the diseases through an “alert” service, which told the farmer there might be an issue needing further investigation. The extended service offered by DRL provided farmers with the option of follow-up testing of individual cows, ensuring properly informed management and control, CRV Ambreed managing director Angus Haslett said. . .
Minister for the Environment Dr Nick Smith has granted Hunter Downs Water Limited requiring authority status to develop and operate the Hunter Downs Irrigation Scheme in South Canterbury.
“The irrigation scheme will take water from the Waitaki River to irrigate land between Waimate and Timaru. Hunter Downs Water has previously obtained water-take consent from Environment Canterbury and a development grant from Crown Irrigation Investments Limited. This scheme has the potential to irrigate 40,000 hectares, bringing benefits to 200 farmers. The economic benefits to the region are estimated at an increase in output of $830 million per year, and 1840 jobs in South Canterbury. . .
Federated Farmers has withdrawn its appeal on the Environment Court’s Mackenzie Basin decision, opting for less time in court, more time around the table for discussions.
“As we’ve said right from when the decision on Plan Change 13 was issued, our appeal was lodged in order to get clarity around a couple of key aspects,” Federated Farmers’ High Country executive member Andrew Simpson said.
There is still concern about several aspects of Judge Jackson’s decision, including apparent contradictions between what the Mackenzie District Council has said around enabling traditional farming and the ultimate findings of the Court. . .
Kaikōura funds query ‘disappointing’, farming group says – Alexa Cook:
A farming group questioned about the spending of earthquake relief money says all of the funds have been spent helping the farming community get back on their feet.
Nearly $60,000 was donated in the appeal, which aimed to get supplies to earthquake-hit farmers and to cover fuel costs.
It was reported by Fairfax in February that the group had spent $27,000 on hiring heavy equipment, providing food and accommodation, and transport costs, and that the rest would be spent on special projects in the community. . .
Some of the country’s largest organic businesses have just hosted MP’s in Hawke’s Bay, calling on the Government to regulate the organic sector and provide a national standard to protect the word “organic”.
The organisation that represents the New Zealand organic sector, Organics Aotearoa NZ (OANZ) hosted a field trip for the Primary Production Select Committee.
OANZ CEO Brendan Hoare says the organic sector is growing 11% each year and is now worth more than $0.5 billion dollars to the economy. . .
Blue Pacific Minerals will launch its innovative new feed supplement MaxiMin at this week’s National Field Days.
Tokoroa-based Blue Pacific Minerals (BPM), New Zealand’s premier zeolite and perlite minerals processing company, has come up with the new value-added, dust-free supplement, which combines Magnesium and Calcium with its long-standing Optimate product in a granulated form.
“MaxiMin is a breakthrough product for farmers,” says BPM Agriproducts Account Manager Kelvin Johansson. . .
Probe of shot-calf incident – Shannon Gillies:
Police are investigating the brutal death of a bobby calf near Waimate at the weekend.
The calf was found at the side of a road on Sunday morning, apparently shot five times and struck by a vehicle.
Dan Studholme, on whose property near Waimate the calf had been grazing, said it was apparent the calf did not die instantly from its wounds.
Mr Studholme was called by a forestry worker who discovered the calf. Then a vet and the police were called.
Rifle round casings were found lying near the dead animal, which had been shot in the leg, stomach and jaw. . .
New tools needed to ensure pollination – Maureen Bishop:
Breeding flies to act as pollinators, fitting queen bumblebees with radio transmitters, and preloading honeybees with pollen. These are all methods being trialled to increase the range of crop pollinators.
New Zealand crop industries need a box of new tools to ensure sufficient pollination into the future, a pollination scientist told the audience at the Foundation for Arable Research’s field day at Chertsey on December 7.
Dr David Pattemore, of Plant & Food Research, said scientists were seeking new methods of crop pollination for industries such as avocado, kiwifruit and other agricultural crops. . .
North Otago’s Kakanui River, the subject of a three-year community programme that finished in October, has a new champion.
The North Otago Sustainable Land Management Group (NOSLaM) has taken over from the Kakanui Community Catchment Project to improve water quality, reduce soil erosion and increase biodiversity. The project was funded by the Ministry for the Environment’s and the New Zealand Landcare Trust, with support from the North Otago Irrigation Company, Beef and Lamb New Zealand and Ravensdown.
NOSLaM chairman Peter Mitchell said the group had held meetings and made funding applications so it could continue the progress already made. . .
Four ambitious conservation projects in Gisborne have received $78,000 in support from the DOC Community Fund, Conservation Ministers Maggie Barry and Nicky Wagner have announced.
The projects range from weed eradication on Gisborne’s Titirangi Maunga to protecting wild kiwi in Maungataniwha and represent the best of community conservation, the Ministers say.
“Each of the groups is helping wage the War on Weeds and protect native species from introduced predators and invasive plants,” Ms Barry says. . .
Kaikōura Cheese keeps going after quake – Max Towle:
Immediately after the Canterbury earthquakes, Daniel and Sarah Jenkins decided to pack up everything they own and move from Christchurch to Kaikōura.
A year later they fulfilled their dream and were cheese making, and eventually opened a shop, Kaikōura Cheese, on the main street.
Last month, when the shaking started again, they were hit with a severe case of deja vu and are only now starting to get their business rolling again. . .
Boutique dairy producer Lewis Road Creamery is claiming a partial victory in its battle with dairy giant Fonterra and is praising social media for the outcome.
The two have been at odds for several weeks over the similarity of labelling on Fonterra’s new Kapiti premium milk range to Lewis Road bottles, as well as who has access to what shelf space in Foodstuffs’ New World and Pak ‘n Save supermarket fridges.
Co-founder Peter Cullinane said on Thursday that his lawyers received a letter from Fonterra lawyers late on Wednesday that showed Fonterra had updated plans it had been making to take up to 97.5 per cent of the supermarket shelf space meaning it was “business as usual” for all suppliers now. . .
The challenges for a new Prime Minister are many and varied.
Over the last two weeks Bill English has negotiated a successful leadership campaign to succeed former Prime Minister John Key and a cabinet reshuffle, but now he faces a challenge of a unique kind.
Speaking with Jamie Mackay on NZME’s The Country radio farming show yesterday, Sir David Fagan, the world’s most decorated shearer and a member of the 2017 World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships’ Organising Committee, laid an invitation at the new Prime Minister’s feet.
“Our new Prime Minister, I know he can shear. I’ve seen him shear at Lumsden many, many years ago at the Full wool Champs. Now there is a challenge for you Jamie, to get our new Prime Minister to shear a sheep down there.” Sir David said. But he didn’t stop there. . .
A long-established Marlborough sheep farm has become the latest pastoral property in the region to be sold for vineyard development.
Vendor Mostyn Wadsworth has been a mainstay on the Northbank of the Wairau Valley for the past 33 years.
The Wadsworth family has farmed in the area for nearly a century. . .
Arable farmers voice safety concerns – Jemma Brackebush:
Arable farmers concerned with how changes to the Health and Safety Act may affect them are meeting WorkSafe representatives in Southland this week.
The Foundation for Arable Research’s group, Women in Arable, have organised sessions after farmers voiced uncertainty about the changes that are due to come into force later this year.
Spokesperson Anna Heslop said one session had already been held in Ashburton, where they found many people were sceptical of the new rules. . .
Investors are punishing Fonterra for a disappointing balance sheet and dividend payments to farmers, a Canterbury-based share advisor says.
The value of Fonterra’s listed investment units has dropped up to 20 per cent since the co-op’s interim result two months ago.
The sharemarket “wasn’t too happy” with Fonterra’s interim financial result on March 25 and the feeling had contributed to the unit price in the Fonterra Shareholders Fund falling from about $6 per unit to $4.80, Hamilton Hindin Green authorised advisor Grant Davies said. . .
The first stage of the roll-out of Westland Milk Products’ new Farm Excellence (FarmEx) programme has almost been completed, with 97 percent of farms having had their first FarmEx assessment.
Launched in 2014, FarmEx works on the basic philosophy that what happens behind the farm gate impacts on Westland’s ability to sell in a highly competitive marketplace. The programme sets high quality production, environmental, animal welfare and sustainability standards for Westland’s shareholder suppliers.
The move has been welcomed by the Department of Conservation on the West Coast because of the positive environmental spin-offs that the programme entails. . .
Awards experience gave confidence – Sally Rae:
Dave and Janene Divers first entered the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards four years ago.
At that time, they were newcomers to running Table Hill, a 1650ha family owned property 5km inland from Milton.
While they did not get past the first round of judging, they enjoyed the process and gained a professional look at their business, along with confirmation that their vision was ”on the right track”, Mrs Divers said.
It gave them the confidence to move forward with their ideas and goals and they decided to enter again when they had a chance of injecting ”a bit of their personalities” into the business and achieving some of their goals. . .
A top price of $15,000 was achieved at the 15th Delmont Angus bull sale held recently on farm at Kuriwao.
John and Tracey Cochrane sold 25 bulls for an average price of $6388, with a top price of $15,000, to Jeff Farm at Kaiwera.
Bev and Malcolm Helm, from Rough Ridge Shorthorns, at Gimmerburn, sold eight bulls for an average of $5000 and a top price of $9000, to Rob and Sally Peter, from Cape Campbell, Marlborough. . .
Lower dairying payouts will lead to a tightening of the proverbial belt around many Canterbury farm budgets – but not a rush to the mass selling of productive units, according to the head of a leading real estate agency in the region.
Bayleys Canterbury director Bill Whalan said the full impact of the latest lowered Fonterra payout forecast would depend on how long prices remained depressed – but any talk of ‘fire sale pricing’ was wide of the mark.
“A vast majority of Canterbury dairy farmers are in a position to deal with this season’s low payout – and therefore a rush of distressed farm sales is not anticipated,” Mr Whalan said. . .
Modern farming has had its day – Annette Scott:
Modern agriculture, at about 70 years old, was the product of post WWII food shortages and while it had been effective in its primary aim of increasing yields it has to change, an industry expert says.
The 2020s would be the new 1960s as agriculture and social change entered a period as significant as the 1950s and 1960s, Dr Charles Merfield of the Biological Husbandry Unit’s Future Farming Centre said.
“Our times are once again changing,” he told farmers at a sustainable agriculture seminar run by the FFC and the Foundation for Arable Research in Ashburton. . .
As Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) nations meet this week in Guam to continue negotiations, agri-food producer and processor organisations from Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand remain united in their call for a modern trade agreement that includes meaningful and comprehensive market access opportunities for agriculture and agri-food.
The organisations advocating for an ambitious, fair and comprehensive TPP agreement are the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Australian National Farmers’ Federation, and the Federated Farmers of New Zealand. Together, they represent hundreds of thousands of farmers, producers, processors and exporters who, in turn, employ millions of workers across the TPP region.
“Our agricultural sectors and the jobs they provide depend on a thriving network of export markets,” said Brian Innes, president of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance. . .
Federated Farmers says it’s disappointed there is no Budget surplus this year, but the best news for farmers from the Government is that it is on track for a surplus next year.
Acting President Anders Crofoot says Federated Farmers welcomes a number of measures in the Budget, but the best thing to assist the rural economy is to control government spending enough to create an enduring surplus to enable debt repayment and to keep pressure off inflation, monetary policy and the exchange rate.
“The Government is clearly trying to balance the need to responsibly manage its finances with the pressing and growing demands to do something about housing and child hardship.” . .
The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) has welcomed the 2015 budget announcements in support of better biosecurity outcomes.
“Short of a major volcanic eruption in Auckland there is very little that trumps the impact that a biosecurity incursion could have on the New Zealand economy. A bad biosecurity incursion would shut down exports and derail much of our country’s productive capability.” says DCANZ Chairman Malcolm Bailey.
“Unlike a volcanic eruption, there are things we can do as a country to lessen the risk of a biosecurity incursion. DCANZ thanks the Government for its commitment to responding to the changes which are altering New Zealand’s biosecurity risk profile.” . . .
(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand wool prices jumped to multi-year highs at auction even as the volume on offer rose 78 percent, amid strong demand from exporters.
The price for clean 35-micron wool, a benchmark for crossbred wool used for carpets and accounting for the majority of New Zealand’s production, rose to $6.20 per kilogram at yesterday’s South Island auction, from $5.80/kg in the North Island auction last week, and reaching its highest level since November 2013, according to AgriHQ. Lamb wool jumped to $6.90/kg, from $6.65/kg, marking its highest level since April 2011. . .
Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ) is encouraging all of its members – and any others interested in the agricultural contracting sector – to attend its annual conference being held in Blenheim later next month.
Chief executive Roger Parton says this year’s RCNZ annual conference is being held at the Marlborough Convention Centre, in Blenheim, from June 22-25.
“The conference is less than a month away and for those who have not registered yet; now is the time to do so,” he explains. “We will be unable to hold any accommodation past the end of this month, so if people want come they need to get their registrations in now.” . . .