Rural round-up

December 30, 2017

Earlier crop worrying for winemakers – Louise Scott:

Gibbston winemakers say they also could be faced with a shortage of seasonal workers after hot weather conditions mean they are ahead of schedule for grape picking.

Grant Taylor, of Gibbston’s Valli Vineyard, has never seen such an early harvest in more than 25 years in the industry.

While perfect conditions will ensure a bumper crop, he worries labour could be an issue.

“It is a real concern that because things are early there won’t be enough pickers in the region. Usually we pick in April but I wouldn’t be surprised if we were picking at the middle of March.” . .

Milk once a day to avoid burn out – Christine Allen:

The co-ordinator of Northland’s Rural Support Trust is urging the region’s dairy farmers to reduce to once-a-day milking and plan for time off over the summer holidays to prevent burnout and stress later on in the year.

Northland Rural Support Trust co-ordinator Julie Jonker said those working in agriculture could often resist taking time off as, unlike many other business models, they can’t just “close the door and leave”.

Ms Jonker said that while most farmers took their large break later in the year, once cows were dried off, they still needed to plan for days, or half days, away from the farm as many had been working hard since calving earlier in the year. . .

Golden fleeces flow from progeny testing and elite breeding – John Ellicott:

On the Monaro, the quest for the golden fleece is no legend, it’s a woolgrowing victory fashioned over the decades, making finer wool but increasing fleece weights. Access to top stud stock, improved pastures and adapting shearing times has created the legend.

Steve Blyton from TWG Cooma has seen average microns for the Monaro reduce from 21 microns to about 18 microns due to “breeding being so good in the area”. Some growers have seen a 3 micron improvement in their flock fleeces with fleece weight gains. . .

NZ genetics sought after says South American expert Luis Balfour  –

Whitestone Boers stud owners Owen and Annette Booth, of Milton, recently hosted Argentinian genetic importer/exporter Luis Balfour on their Milton property. Southern Rural Life talked to Mr Balfour about his interest in New Zealand stock.

Argentinian genetic importer/exporter Luis Balfour says New Zealand pedigree stock is attractive to his clients in South America as New Zealand breeders provided the ”best package” of desired traits.

Mr Balfour has been involved with importing and exporting cattle between Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Canada, the US, Great Britain, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand for more than 30 years. . . 

Genetically modified insects next for agriculture – Chris Bennett:

Want to crash an insect population? Slip in a self-limiting gene and topple the family tree in two to three generations. The promise of biotech mosquitoes to combat the pest that spreads Zika, dengue and yellow fever grabs the headlines, but just off center stage, the same technology utilizing genetically engineered (GE) insects is being tested on U.S. farmland.

With the flick of a genetic switch, agriculture could turn the sex drive of an insect against itself. The arrival of GE insects in farming could usher in a new wave of pest management, based on species-specific tools targeting pest insects, and result in a significant reduction in broad-spectrum insecticide applications. GE insects may provide growers with a major new pest weapon if all goes according to plan. . . 


Rural round-up

June 10, 2014

More qualifications needed in future:

A new report released by the Ministry for Primary Industries indicates a lot more people in the sector are going to have to have a tertiary qualification if they hope to take advantage of a predicted 15 percent increase in jobs by 2025.

MPI manager of science and skills policy Naomi Parker said even roles that traditionally did not require post secondary school qualifications would do so in future because of the increasing reliance on technology. . . .

Eradicating TB from Rangitoto enhances biodiversity:

TBfree New Zealand is working with environmental groups to stamp out pests in the Rangitoto Range to control bovine tuberculosis (TB) and bring the birds back.

The Hauhungaroa and Rangitoto ranges make up a part of New Zealand’s 10 million hectare TB risk area in which TB-infected wild animals have been found.

The objective of the national pest management plan is to eradicate the disease from at least 2.5 million hectares of the country’s total TB risk area by 2026. TBfree New Zealand aims to eradicate the disease from the Rangitoto Range as part of this plan. . . .

Water and governance under scrutiny at Massey:

Framing new ways for organisations to collaborate over controversial decisions, such as water use, is the focus of a Massey University symposium involving some of New Zealand’s key leaders in governance.

The July 8 symposium, Redefining Governance for the new New Zealand, brings together a diverse range of experts and thought leaders with experience in governance.

Speakers and panellists include Alastair Bisley (chair of the Land and Water
orum), Suzanne Snivelly (economic strategist), David Shand (public sector reformer and a member of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance), Grant Taylor (Auckland Council’s governance director), and Dave Hansford (award-winning photographer and environmental journalist). . . .

Fonterra Appoints MD Global Operations:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited announced today the appointment of Robert Spurway to the role of Managing Director Global Operations, a newly-created position on Fonterra’s management team.

Chief Executive Theo Spierings said Mr Spurway was uniquely qualified for the position.

“Robert is currently Acting Director New Zealand Operations in NZ Milk Products, responsible for overseeing milk collection, manufacturing and logistics for the Co-operative’s New Zealand milk supply.

“One of our top business priorities is to optimise our global ingredients sales and operations footprint, so we can better manage price volatility and increase value, while ensuring a total focus on food safety and quality, and our customers’ needs. . .

 

 Technology to top farmers’ shopping list:

Agricultural Fieldays 2014 will be a measure of how the agribusiness sector is gearing up to capitalise on growing export opportunities, according to New Zealand’s largest agricultural lender, ANZ New Zealand.

“With an economic recovery in full swing and growing export demand for New Zealand agricultural products, the scene is set for farmers to again invest in the technology that will drive productivity,” said Graham Turley, ANZ’s Managing Director Commercial & Agri.

“Agri-business is New Zealand’s most productive and successful business sector and it achieves this through ongoing investment in market leading technology. Agri businesses are only as successful as they are because they constantly innovate. . .

 

Hottest new dairy technology designed in New Zealand:

Technology designed to bring the power of intelligent communication and unprecedented future proofing to dairy farmers’ milking systems will be highlighted at National Fieldays.

The product in the spotlight at this year’s show (11-14 June) on the Waikato Milking Systems stand is a newly designed product known as the Bail Marshal.

The New Zealand owned company’s Chief Executive Dean Bell says the innovative product has been designed to enable all technology devices on a milking system to work together seamlessly and continually communicate with each other. . . .

Sharp Blacks Get Ready for the Tri-Nations:

 

Pure South Sharp Blacks

Our national butchery team diced up their final practice yesterday proving they have got what it takes to defend their title against Australia and England next month.
This year our team of six top butchers, the Pure South Sharp Blacks, travel to Yorkshire, England to compete in the Tri-Nations Butchers’ Challenge.

After many months of refining their skill, the Pure South Sharp Blacks performance at their last practice, held at Wilson Hellaby in Auckland, has confirmed just how promising our national team is. . .

Ambitious Butchers Make the Cut:

The Alto Young Butcher and Competenz Butcher Apprentice of the Year is well underway with the Lower North Island Regional held yesterday in Palmerston North.

The Alto Young Butcher winner Alex Harper of The Village Butcher in Frimley, Hastings and Competenz Butcher Apprentice winner Amy Jones of New World Taumarunui have successfully secured their place to challenge some of the finest butchery talent in the country at the Grand Final in September.

Alex and Amy’s motivations are high with a study tour around Europe up for grabs if they are successful in the next stage of the competition. . . .

A taste of New Zealand in Dubai, Taiwan and Singapore:

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise has been giving the world a taste of New Zealand.

In Dubai, New Zealand was centre stage for the 2014 Taste New Zealand chef competition. Targeted at professional chefs, the competition aims to raise awareness of the diversity and quality of New Zealand food and drink products available in the United Arab Emirates amongst chefs, buyers, and food service and retail industry leaders. Last year, the competition helped NZTE customers secure $4 million in new deals. . . .


Another reason to vote for Oamaru

July 6, 2013

Warren Barton suggests you wend your way to Waitaki:

Don’t write off the Waitaki Valley, which straddles the boundary between North Otago and Canterbury, as a producer of quality wines – especially pinot noir.

This from Grant Taylor from Valli Wines, following the pullout from the area of two of the bigger producers, Craggy Range and now Pasquale, the latter owned by an Italian who spent millions establishing vineyards and a winery there.

If anyone should know it is Taylor -who grew up in Kurow, in the Waitaki Valley, honed his skills in the United States and returned in 1993, when the entire Otago vineyard was measured at just 20 hectares, to become the winemaker at Gibbston Valley Wines. . .

The proximity to the Waitaki Valley with its wonderful wines, honey, salmon and trout fishing, skiing – snow and water – tramping, yachting, boating, Vanished World fossil trail . . . is another reason to vote for Oamaru as the country’s Sharpest Town.

Seven Sharp’s video showing more of the town’s attractions is here.

You can vote here.

sharp


Rural round-up

August 27, 2012

Smartphone app for smart farmers:

A new Farmhelp app provides practical farming instructions at the touch of a smartphone button, anywhere on a property, any time.

The idea is to deliver instant, practical, time and money-saving information for daily farming situations when it’s needed most – like way out in the back paddock.

“It’s a pocket prompt, accessed easily by smartphones,” says Richard Brown, Baletwine Ltd owner and Farmhelp product developer, in launching the product this week. . .

NZ records July trade surplus of $15 million as dairy shipments to China drive exports

New Zealand recorded a small trade surplus in July, with shipments of dairy products to China making up for weaker exports to Australia, Indonesia and India.

The surplus was $15 million last month, down from a revised $287 million in the previous month, according to Statistics New Zealand. Exports slipped to $4.03 billion from $4.18 billion, while imports gained to $3.99 billion from $3.89 billion.

The annual deficit was $853 million, or 1.8 percent of exports. Economists had forecast a monthly surplus of $33 million and an annual gap of $820 million, according to a Reuters survey. . .

Basmati rice provides fascinating commodity comparison – Allan Barber:

For some strange reason I recently received a research report from India on the Basmati rice industry. But never having previously thought of the rice industry’s dynamics – financial, production or marketing – I found it fascinating reading. I hope some of my readers will share my excitement.

Basmati occupies a small premium niche within the global rice industry, representing 1.5% of total volume, but 2.1% of value. It can only be sold under the Basmati name (or appellation) if it has been grown in designated parts of India and Pakistan, the Indo-Gangetic area of the Himalayas. India produces 72% and Pakistan 28% of total Basmati production. . .

Ballance Farm Business Writing Award entries open

Ballance is encouraging journalists to showcase their work with a new award aimed at heightening awareness of the complexities of running farm businesses.

The Ballance Agri-Nutrients Farm Business Writing Award was created this year as part of the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists Awards.

It was developed to encourage journalists to understand more about the business of running farms and to share what they learn. . .

Wairarapa man wins national Young Viticulture competition

For the first time in the competition’s seven year history, a Wairarapa viticulturist has been named the 2012 Markhams Young Viticulturist of the Year.

Braden Crosby (30) from Borthwick Estate in Carterton took the title at the competition, which was held over two days as part of the Romeo Bragato conference. . .

Gibbston Valley Winery Hosts Grand Vertical Tasting:

Some of Central Otago’s oldest and rarest wines are to be collected from the Gibbston Valley Wine library and dusted off for an historic wine tasting.

Legendary wine vignerons Alan Brady and Grant Taylor will join current Gibbston Valley winemaker Christopher Keys on Saturday September 1 to co-host a ‘Gibbston Valley Pinot Noir Grand Vertical Tasting’ at Queenstown Resort College. . .

Grand Jury Européen Rates Lowburn Ferry Amongst Top Pinot Noirs in the World:

The inaugural reserve pinot noir from boutique Central Otago producer Lowburn Ferry has received an outstanding ovation from a panel of international tasters known as the Grand Jury Européen (GJE).

14 GJE tasters recently held a special session in Paris about the styles of various pinots noirs coming from various countries in the world : France, Italy, Switzerland, New Zealand, USA, Argentina, and Germany. Invited producers were asked to provide a wine representing a vintage between 2000 and 2010. . .

And a new (to me) rural blog: Milking on the Moove.


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