Rural round-up

March 26, 2014

Environment and the economy are one in the same thing – Lynda Murchison:

“It’s a classic case of environment versus economics”, commented Parliamentary Commissioner Jan Wright in her report into water quality.

Economics certainly plays a part in addressing water quality issues but as a geographer, environmental planner and farmer I cannot look at fresh water as a choice between economics and the environment. The notion that environmental protection and economic development are potentially conflicting goals is not, in my view, a recipe for success. It removes any expectation that businesses should take responsibility for protecting the environment; or that environmentalists need to consider social or economic costs of environmental outcomes.

In my world, economic and environmental considerations are two sides of the same coin. It is hard to be green if you are in the red; but you cannot have long-term social or economic prosperity if you undermine the natural capital you rely on to create it. This link between economics and the environment is recognised in the purpose of the Resource Management Act 1991, the main statute that manages natural and physical resources in New Zealand. The purpose of the Act is not about economic development, nor environmental protection. It is to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources – a concept that encompasses environmental, economic, cultural and social well-being. . .

PGP Forestry programme takes big step forward:

Primary Industries Ministers Nathan Guy and Jo Goodhew are welcoming commercialisation of new forestry technology this week as a big step forward in improving both productivity and safety.

“The Steepland Harvesting Programme is a very exciting Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) project, with $6 million in joint funding from the industry and the Government and a vision of ‘No worker on the slope, no hand on the chainsaw’,” says Mr Guy.

The new technology involves harvesting on steep slopes using new mechanised technology, rather than exposing forestry workers to risk.

The project was demonstrated to around 55 forestry contractors and company representatives at a Future Forest Research field day in Maungataniwha forest near Napier this week.

“These are the first products from the Steepland Harvesting Programme to be put into commercial use, which is an outstanding accomplishment,” says Mr Guy. . .

Federated Farmers looks beyond China exports:

The Prime Minister has focused on pushing trade with China this week, but sheep and beef farmers are trying to push their products to as many markets as possible.

The industry has faced a number of hurdles in recent years, including drought, a high Kiwi dollar and problems with Chinese border controls.

Federated Farmers meat and fibre chair Jeanette Maxwell says while much of the talk is about more trade with China, her industry believes it is important to get into multiple markets. . .

Fonterra food scare good for Irish milk industry:

Ireland’s Agriculture & Food Minister says Irish dairy companies gained new business off New Zealand during Fonterra’s food scare crisis last year.

Simon Coveney has been in New Zealand to learn how Ireland could also become a global dairy giant.

Mr Coveney told TVNZ’s Q+A programme, that at the time of the food crisis, customers were worried about relying on New Zealand suppliers:

“At the time of that difficulty I had a number of trade missions at the time. One was to the Middle East, and people were starting to say to me, look we source a lot from New Zealand, we like New Zealand we like Fonterra, we think they give us very good product, but we think we’re overly reliant on one supplier. And so a lot of countries are now looking at Ireland as a second supplier in case something goes wrong with their primary supply source.” . . .

Poor rail threatens food boom – Julie-Anne Sprague:

THE disgraceful state of rural railways means grain growers could become uncompetitive and miss out on big profits from the Asian food boom, warns GrainCorp chairman Don Taylor.

The chairman of eastern Australia’s biggest grains handler says urgent spending is needed on the railways.

“We don’t have any right to benefit from the food boom; we have to earn it,” Taylor tells The Australian Financial Review.

“The Canadians want to participate in [the Asian food boom]. The Ukranians are investing and doing things to participate in it. . .

How much would you pay for socks? – James Griffin:

How much would you pay for socks? Socks, actual socks that go on your feet, one per foot, not socks as a euphemism for a word that sounds a lot like “socks”.

Think about it a moment. Then settle on the absolute highest amount of dosh you would be willing to lay out for one pair of socks.

If that number is $1744.88 (or thereabouts, depending on what the exchange rate today is for £895) then, boy, have I got the socks for you. . . .

 


Rural round-up

February 22, 2014

Chinese checkers – Hugh Stringleman:

New Zealand’s infant formula exporters and dairy processors are braced for a Chinese shakedown of brands, premises and regulatory compliance that could lead to severe restrictions on trade.

Teams of auditors from China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) and the Certification and Accreditation Administration of China (CNCA) are due in early March.MPI,

They will choose where they go from more than 350 potential company sites and descend on premises with little warning, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has advised.

Smaller, independent infant formula exporters also fear new Chinese regulations addressing the proliferation of NZ brands are imminent. . .

Seals can pass TB to beef cattle:

A new scientific paper has documented cases of fur seals passing a strain of bovine tuberculosis to New Zealand beef cattle.

Over the last 20 years there have been seven documented cases of cattle catching a strain of Tb after coming into contact with the fur seals, three on beaches in the North and South Islands and four in the Chatham Islands.

TBfree New Zealand national disease manager Kevin Crews says the purpose of the paper was to document the cases, which are believed to be the only ones recorded in the world. . .

Pressurised irrigation water to the farm gate with Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme:

Irrigation water available to farmers using the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme will be delivered to their farm gates ‘under pressure’; potentially saving each operator significant costs in on-farm infrastructure and energy costs.

The news comes as negotiations continue to move forward with joint venture OHL-Hawkins, the RWSS preferred consortia.European Contractor, Obrascon Huarte Lain (OHL) and Hawkins Infrastructure, New Zealand’s largest privately-owned construction company have joined forces for the project.

RWSS Project Manager Graeme Hansen says being able to deliver the water closer to the farm gate than initially planned and providing it ‘under pressure’ is great news for farmers and part of the ongoing ‘optimisation’ of the scheme that has continued through the design phase negotiations. . .

Farm Jam is back for 2014  – Justene Taua :

The awesome event is back next year for another round of BMX, FMX and fun   SAVE THE DATE! NZ Farm Jam organisers have announced 1 March 2014 as the date for next year’s instalment of the epic two-wheeled action-sports event.   Fresh off a highly successful 2013, organisers Dan and Brett Frew have already put the wheels in motion to ensure their unique Jam contest continues to evolve as one of the world’s premier multi-discipline events. . . .

Deane’s bed of roses – Alison Francis:

UNFORTUNATELY for Cabarlah farmer Byron Deane, a bunch of roses just doesn’t cut the mustard come Valentine’s Day.

Working alongside his wife, Amanda, on their rose farm since 2002, Byron says by the time the clippers go down and the final bow is tied, a well-earned rest is in order for his Valentine’s Day.

“Because we work together on the farm, along with mum and dad, I don’t think a bunch of roses is really what she wants to see at the end of the day,” he jokes.

“We always have a bunch of roses at home on the kitchen table, but for Valentine’s Day it is usually chocolates, movies and dinner a couple of days after for us.”    . . .

GrainCorp’s $70m diversification move  – Andrew Marshall:

HOT on the heels of its move to upgrade oilseed processing facilities in Victoria, GrainCorp has confirmed it is spending a further $70 million building and expanding its bulk oil, fuel and chemical storage business.

Work has just started on foundations for a new bulk liquid facility to service the chemical industry next to GrainCorp’s Port Kembla grain export terminal on the NSW South Coast.

Construction is due finish by the end of the year.

In Brisbane GrainCorp’s big liquid terminals’ site at Pinkenba will add additional storage to be available from 2015. . .

Forestry Investment Attracts Top People:

FIEA’s upcoming conference on forest investment is drawing delegates from top management positions in both New Zealand and Australia as the opportunity for early-bird registration offers closes at the end of this week.

One of the reasons for the popularity of the Forest Investment and Market Outlook conference running in April in Melbourne and Auckland is the international keynote speakers. One of the keynote speakers at FIMO 2014 Gary Myers, managing partner at TimberLink LLC from Georgia, USA. With a good international speaker line-up in place, many TIMOs are registering delegates to attend the April conference – the third in this biennial series . . .


Rural round-up

November 26, 2013

Will pay dirt slip through farmers’ hands? –  Robert Gottliebsen:

The GrainCorp takeover bid from the US agricultural giant Archer Daniels Midland is suddenly becoming a wake-up call to farmers — they are going to lose long-term market power.     

And that potential loss of power underlines the fact that in the last few decades a big proportion of the rewards from farming have shifted from growing crops to those providing transport, processing and retail services. 

In major international takeovers of agricultural transport and processing, the winners are the shareholders and the management. All too often the losers are the farmers.

As we have seen in both Warrnambool Cheese and GrainCorp, shareholders are being offered substantially more than the pre-bid market value for their shares. And the mangers of both GrainCorp and Warrnambool will be essential for the overseas bidders. They will almost certainly receive international style salaries. . .

Five tribes buy state dairy farms in Waikato:

Five tribes have bought a big dairy operation in the Waikato region.

The Hauraki Collective now owns the Pouarua dairy complex, which it’s purchased from the state farmer, Landcorp.

Ngati Maru, Ngati Paoa, Ngati Tamatera, Ngati Tara Tokanui and Te Patukirikiri have used Treaty money to buy more than 2200 hectares near Ngatea on the Hauraki Plains.

Although the iwi have not yet fully settled their grievances with the Crown, the government has agreed to provide $53.5 million up front to complete the deal. . .

Overcoming obstacles to setting water quality limits – Ned Norton and Helen Rouse:

In the previous Waiology series on Water governance, we referred to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM) (2011) requirement to set limits for water quantity and quality. So, how are councils getting on with limit-setting?

In May 2012 we surveyed planners for regional councils to find out how their current regional plans measure up against the NPSFM requirements to set limits, and found that 1 of 14 respondents said their current plan meets NPSFM requirements, 8 of 14 said their plan met requirements to some extent, and 5 of 14 said their plan did not meet NPSFM requirements.

Our survey also identified a number of potential obstacles that make limit-setting difficult. Some of the most common obstacles were costs (time,staff), availability of catchment-specific data, understanding existing/baseline conditions, balancing instream and out-of-stream values, lack of support for plan process (political or council staff), lack of clear process for getting parties together/getting agreement, and lack of understanding of (and difficulty communicating) complex issues and value trade-offs. . .

Eric Ropiha — a legendary horseman:

New Zealand racing has lost a highly-respected, successful and decorated horseman with the death last Friday of Eric Ropiha. He was aged 88.

Ropiha trained 716 winners during his career from 1948 to his retirement in 2001 and won the National Trainers’ Premiership in 1959-60 with 43 winners.

He had a number of top-class gallopers through his hands, including the 1960 Caulfield Cup winner Ilumquh, who was twice placed in the Melbourne Cup, and Fans, who also finished third in the Flemington feature for him. . .

North Canterbury Winery takes out trophy for top Pinot Noir:

Greystone Wines has won the Pinot Noir trophy at New Zealand’s most prestigious wine show- the Air New Zealand Wine Awards, for their Waipara Pinot Noir 2012. The North Canterbury winery has taken the top gong from more well-known Pinot Noir producing regions, reinforcing growing interest in this area. The Pinot Noir was grown on the clay and limestone slopes of the Waipara Valley, an hour north of Christchurch.

A team of local and international judges were effusive with praise for the sustainably accredited wine. They described it as “Opulent and powerful, yet poised and refined with dark berries and floral aromas.” In addition the same wine was last month rated 96 points and named by Gourmet Traveller magazine as one of New Zealand’s Top 12 Pinot Noir. . .

New Zealand’s best lamb:

Canterbury farmer Mike Ryan has taken out the 2013 Mint Lamb Competition, producing the country’s best lamb from paddock to plate.

Farmers from throughout New Zealand were invited to showcase their quality lamb and compete in the competition that celebrates the quality and variety of lamb available in New Zealand with a focus on increasing consumption of one of the country’s largest export earners.

Lambs were judged on the hook at an Alliance plant for Best Overall Yield. The top 4 lambs in each class (dual purpose,
dual purpose/cross terminal, composite/crossbred cross terminal and terminal) were selected as semi-finalists and sent to be Tender Tested at Lincoln University. Based on the result of the Tender Test, the top 3 lambs in each class were selected as finalists. All finalists were Taste Tested at the 2013 Canterbury A&P Show to decide the overall winner of the Mint Lamb Competition. . .

Organic practices will improve water quality:

A shift towards organic farming practices and diversification is needed to protect and enhance our waterways and our economy, says the Soil & Health Association. The recently released report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright, shows that water quality is deteriorating, particularly in areas where there is expansion or intensification of dairy farming.

“The current push for more dairy farms and more animals on the land is not sustainable,” said Marion Thomson, co-chair of Soil & Health. “We need to be farming smart and farming to the conditions of each area, rather than trying to wring as much as we can out of the land, or extracting huge volumes of water to irrigate naturally dry areas.” . . .


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