Rural round-up

June 6, 2016

Merino work recognised – Sally Rae:

Bill Gibson, the elder statesman of the merino industry, has been recognised for his vast contribution to the breed.

Mr Gibson, who lives in Wanaka, was presented with the Heather Perriam Memorial Trophy at the Otago Merino Association’s recent merino excellence awards in Queenstown.

In presenting the award, Mrs Perriam’s husband John said it was a privilege to present the trophy to someone who was deserving of it “in every possible way”. . . 

Double-header for Ginger at the sheep dog trials – Hamish MacLean:

It has been a big week for Omarama farmer Ginger Anderson.

Not only did the 70-year-old win the short head and yard national title with Don at the New Zealand dog trial championships at Omarama on Saturday, but he was also named a life member of the New Zealand Sheep Dog Trial Association.

Now a four-time national champion, the 15th life member of the association, who for 12 years served on the judging panel, had no plans on ending his days of competing in the sport. . . 

Farmers satisfied with banks but pressure building for some:

Farmers overall remain satisfied with their banks, but pressure is building and sharemilkers are feeling it most a Federated Farmers survey has revealed.

The Federated Farmers Banking Survey, which is undertaken quarterly to gauge the relationship farmers hold with their banks, has indicated that perceptions about ‘undue pressure’ have gradually built.

Federated Farmers Dairy chairman Andrew Hoggard says that it comes at no surprise considering the current environment.

“Despite sharemilkers being particularly exposed at present bank satisfaction remains strong overall.” . . 

Dual role at Feds for multi-talented farmer:

Federated Farmers newest provincial president Simon Williamson is used to flying high and has taken the reins of both Federated Farmers High Country Industry Group and North Otago Province.

The high country farmer, who also holds a pilot licence and is president of the local jockey club, joined the Federation 13 years ago. He recently took over as Federated Farmers’ High Country Chairman from Chas Todhunter, and at the North Otago provincial Annual General Meeting this week, he was elected provincial president. He replaces Richard Strowger.

Federated Farmers President William Rolleston said: “Simon is an incredibly passionate advocate for the farming community and I know he will do a fantastic job.” . . 

Speech by Guy Wigley, Chairman of Federated Farmers Arable Industry Group at the Arable Industry Conference in Ashburton:

The past 12 months have been a rollercoaster.  The year started quietly with no biosecurity incursions – life seemed to be dominated by the price of milk – then along came velvetleaf. 

This is not specifically an arable industry weed as it is across all farming types and the arable industry will be able to manage this weed better than most.  However, it highlights how crucial biosecurity is to the wellbeing of our industry and the country as a whole. 

The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has done an outstanding job in its response to the velvetleaf incursion mobilising large numbers of staff from its networks with the aim of eradicating velvetleaf from New Zealand. . . 

Board cut in doubt – Hugh Stringleman:

The 75% yes vote needed for Fonterra’s constitutional changes to governance and representation will be close and might fail to attract sufficient support.  

Fonterra’s area managers have hit the telephones, asking if farmers need any more meetings.  Chairman John Wilson acknowledged many shareholders were uncertain about the change to the voting process.

 “(We) recommend you support the different process as we are very confident it will give the outcomes the co-operative is looking for. . . 

Flood farmers still recovering – Richard Rennie:

Shaun O’Leary’s racehorse did not earn a Melbourne Cup win last November to pay for the damage the June floods inflicted on his property at Whangaehu.  

Nevertheless, O’Leary retains his optimism about horses and farming with a refreshingly optimistic and philosophical mindset.  

The family runs 690ha in the hard-hit Whangaehu Valley southwest of Whanganui, milking 1500 cows on the flats alongside the Whangaehu River. .  .

The economics of butterfly farming:

Karl Rich has been helping to farm an altogether more delicate animal than those usually associated with agribusiness.

The Lincoln University Agribusiness and International Development Associate Professor was recently part of a multi-disciplinary, international group of researchers looking to develop an innovative approach to conservation in India — butterfly farming.

The group wants to aid conservation of butterflies in Western Ghats, “an area with some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world and one threatened by unsustainable agricultural and land use patterns,” Associate Professor Rich says.

He says in developing countries conservation efforts can be very challenging. . . 

Gateplates & Signs's photo.


Rural round-up

May 24, 2016

Imports threaten exports – Neal Wallace:

Exports of New Zealand sheep genetics to Australia will effectively stop while officials there consider the risk of scrapie.  

They were worried about it reaching NZ in sheep milking genetic material imported from Britain.  

Trade in genetics between NZ and Europe had been closed for 20 years following the outbreak of scrapie in sheep and BSE, also known as mad cow disease, in cattle but the fledgling sheep milking industry wants access European genetics which produce five times the volume milk of NZ flocks. . . 

Fonterra working on rebuilding trust:

Fonterra executives admit they need to listen more to rebuild the public’s trust in the company.

The dairy giant outlined its international marketing strategy to 800 farmers at a DairyNZ farmers’ forum near Hamilton today.

The company said it’s using social media to target young global consumers with different nutritional needs. . . 

Young Māori dairy farmer Jack Raharuhi changes direction and wins award –  Gerard Hutching:

A young farmer who confesses he “got into the wrong crowd as a teenager and chose the wrong path” has been crowned the 2016 Ahuwhenua Young Māori dairy farmer of the year.

Jack Raharuhi, hailing from the Ngati Kahu, said winning a prestigious award such as the Ahuwhenua was a huge honour.

“I got into the wrong crowd as a teenager and I chose the wrong path. I left school and came to work here on the farm which I now manage. Dairy farming got me in line. I had no time to go out and get into trouble. Now I have a fiancée and two children,” he said in Hamilton at the awards ceremony last night. . . 

Rakaia farm takes Awuwhenua Trophy:

A South Island dairy farm has won the prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy for the first time in the 83-year history of the competition.

The winner of the Maori Excellence in Farming Award dairy was the Proprietors of Rakaia Incorporation, whose farm Tahu a Tao has a long and proud history dating back to 1886.

The 216ha property near Ashburton runs around 830 Kiwi cross cows. . . 

Dog trailist a legend in his lifetime – Rob Tipa:

Rob Tipa meets a three-time national dog trials champion and farmer who knows what he likes and knows how to breed it.

Three-time New Zealand champion dog trialist Ginger Anderson, of Omarama, is a man who understands pedigrees and good breeding, whether he is talking about top trial dogs, fine wool sheep or charolais cattle.

He qualified for his first national dog trial championship 51 years ago, the youngest competitor to qualify at just 19, after winning the North Otago Centre and South Island championships. . . 

Hazelnuts offer nitrogen option:

Hazelnut trees’ potential to soak up nitrogen leaching will be revealed at three workshops over the next few weeks.

Farmers will be able to learn more about how hazelnut trees can fit into their farm management plans.

Hazelnut Growers Association chairman Murray Redpath, an Eastern Bay of Plenty sheep and beef farmer and hazelnut grower, says hazelnuts need nitrogen and their spring growth relies on having enough stored in their roots and plant tissues. . . 

New trophy for Young Farmers:

This year’s FMG New Zealand Young Farmers winner will hoist a new trophy, complete with number 8 wire.

A brand new trophy for the contest was unvelied earlier today as part of an official blessing in Canterbury.

“In constructing the trophy FMG and NZ Young Farmers wanted to honour the tradition of the contest and our proud farming heritage as well as acknowledge the pivotal role farming plays in terms of New Zealand’s current and future prosperity,” FMG chief executive Chris Black said. . . 

Horsetail weevil to rein in field horsetail weed:

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has approved the horsetail weevil (Grypus equiseti) as a biological control agent to help curb the weed field horsetail (Equisetum arvense).

Field horsetail is an invasive species with green fern-like fronds that grow up to 80cm tall. Though it dies back in winter, it has a large underground root system that makes it difficult to control. It also produces large quantities of spores that can germinate on bare ground, threatening native plants in sensitive habitats, such as wetlands and on the banks of waterways. It is classed as an unwanted organism under the Biosecurity Act 1993. . .


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