Rural round-up


Successful 2013 Hemp Harvest for Canterbury:

For the twelfth consecutive year, a successful hemp seed harvest has been completed in the heart of New Zealand’s agricultural centre, the Canterbury plains.

In 2001, Oil Seed Extractions (OSE) and Midlands Seed Limited (Midlands) formed a partnership in the production of high quality seed oils and combined forces to work through the legislation surrounding the commercial production of hemp seed.

These two Ashburton businesses have been involved with hemp trials since the first hemp growing licences were issued in September 2001, and despite the high costs to maintain these licences and the related compliance, they continue to grow successful commercial quantities of Hemp seed in New Zealand. . .

Well done Kereru Station – RivettingKateTaylor:

Normally there are hundreds of red four wheelers traversing the countryside at a Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the year field day , but this year we would have needed a couple of days to get around the magnificent Kereru Station.

Kereru Station’s managers Danny and Robyn Angland  have now been added to the list of who’s who in Hawke’s Bay farming circles (the station is owned by two charitable trusts).

It is a 2842ha property (2114ha effective) with six staff, 15,385 sheep and 1586 cattle. . .

Full-scale Fieldays assault on Russia in the works – Andrea Fox:

Russia is poised for a huge change in the way it farms, with big opportunities for New Zealand agribusiness, say sector leaders planning to get a foothold.

National Fieldays is muscling up its job description to advance New Zealand agriculture, organising a presence for New Zealand agribusiness at a large Moscow show in February, while Hamilton’s Gallagher Group is looking for a way to extend its business in Russia to sales to farmers.

Both were part of a trade visit to Russia last month and say they are excited about the potential for New Zealand in helping the Russian government in its push for greater farming efficiency and production of quality protein, particularly dairy, for its population. . .

Strong demand for NZ sheep genetics

One of New Zealand’s larger air shipments of sheep has landed in Australia to meet growing demand for New Zealand sheep genetics.

The world’s largest red meat genetics company, Focus Genetics, flew 100 Primera and Highlander rams across the Tasman, the third shipment in the last 12 months.

Focus Genetics’ Animal breeding specialist Daniel Absolom said demand has been high.

“The demand for our rams in Australia exceeded all initial expectations. The programme is part of a long term plan to establish NZ sheep genetics in the Australian market,” he said. . .

Environmentally aware farmer elected Federated Farmers Golden Bay president

With the retirement of long serving Federated Farmers Golden Bay provincial president, Graham Ball, Collingwood dairy farmer Sue Brown has stepped up to lead the province.

“Graham will be a tough act to follow but I am humbled to be entrusted with my colleague’s faith,” says Sue Brown, Federated Farmers Golden Bay provincial president.

“Golden Bay is an amazing area to farm in being enveloped, as it is, by both Kahurangi and Abel Tasman National Parks. It is a real privilege to be Federated Farmers provincial president in such a special area we are blessed to farm in. . .

New leaders for Sharemilkers and Sharemilker Employers

Twin leadership changes have come about for Federated Farmers Dairy’s Sharemilkers’ and Sharemilker Employers’ sections. Waikato dairy farmer, Tony Wilding, is the new chair of the Employers Section while Tararua farmer, Neil Filer, has been elected chair of the Federation’s Sharemilkers’ Section.

“The sharemilking system has been a fantastic pathway to farm ownership for us and remains so for many others. Yet today I also see more ways to farm ownership,” says Tony Wilding, chairperson of the Federated Farmers Dairy’s Sharemilker Employers’ Section. . .

Far too much weather this year


With droughts, floods, hail and snow there’s been altogether too much weather this year.

North Otago wasn’t as hard hit as many other areas, but it was bad enough.

We had only about half our normal rainfall in the year to the end of March, a few showers in autumn then more than half the annual average fell in three days in May.

It kept raining off and on through winter but then it stopped and didn’t start again. By last week we had only one wish for Christmas – a decent rain.

We got it on Monday – more than 30 mls which was enough without being too much.

Holiday makers wouldn’t have found it as welcome as farmers did and further north there was far too much for everyone:

Farmer Paul Storer said the flooding on the farm, which he estimated to be between one and six metres deep at different points, was “within six inches” of the farmhouse.

The house had also lost part of its roof, and water was flowing in.

“We’re absolutely stranded. We can’t go anywhere. We just have to sit tight.

“I’m just watching half a ton of baleage floating past the house – that’s how much water we’ve got.”

The worst of the rain came overnight, and he had not slept, he said. He moved all his cows to the cowshed at 5am.

“They’re all sitting in the cowshed together in about a metre of water.”

Mr Storer said five other neighbours on his side of the river faced similar conditions.

“It’s ruined our season. The whole farm will be silted up. All the food I’ve got stacked up will be ruined. And it’ll take out all the fences as it goes through.”

Some have lost stock too:

Federated Farmers’ Golden Bay president, Graham Ball, said several farms lost much of their herds. One farmer lost 100 heifers and another lost 70 cows.

Mr Ball said power has been lost to the valley for up to two days, creating animal welfare problems for cows that cannot be milked.

Looking back on the good, bad and ugly of the year the weather has definitely been in the latter category. Dare we hope that next year will be better?

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