Rural round-up

19/09/2014

Farmers have spent millions in the Horizons region:

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

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

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

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

 

Working group focused on clear advice:

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

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

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

Dairying business woman takes top role:

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

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

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

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

Robotic sheepdogs unlikely Kiwi farmers say:

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

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

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

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

Landcorp completes  full purchase of Focus Genetics:

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

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

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

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

I want to eat a weka – Offsetting Behaviour:

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

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

Two gold medals for Goldie Wines:

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

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

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

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


Rural round-up

05/11/2013

Fireworks blamed for death of horse – Delwyn Dickey:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 New LIC boss eyes up export potential – Andrea Fox:

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

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

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

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

Information shared at merino field day – Sally Rae:

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

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

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

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

Gold medals reward stock skills – Sally Rae:

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

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

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

Facing Facial Eczema and Raising the Bar:

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

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

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

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

Sunny start to NZ summer delivering bumper crop of blueberries

Growers say weather has created the sweetest fruit in recent years

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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