Rural round-up

April 16, 2019

‘M. bovis’ effects force family off farm – Sally Rae:

Graham Hay is preparing to walk off the land his family has farmed for nearly a century.

The Hakataramea Valley property has been in the family since his grandfather took over in 1921 and Mr Hay has lived there all his life.

It is gut-wrenching to hear his voice choking, as he explains how he and his wife Sonja have had no choice but to sell their farm.

Already under financial pressure coming out of an irrigation development phase, he believed they could have farmed through that. . . 

Lessons learned: MPI holds public meeting with farmers – Sally Rae:

Painful lessons have been learned during the Mycoplasma bovis response and hopefully all lessons will be “locked in” and used in the event of another disease incursion, programme director Geoff Gwyn says.

Mr Gwyn was speaking at a public meeting in Oamaru last week, as part of a series of farmer and public meetings throughout the country.

Those meetings came in the wake of the launch of the 2019 Mycoplasma bovis National Plan, released by the Ministry for Primary Industries, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand last week. . . 

Yili bid for Westland Milk raises questions about dairy co-operatives – and Fonterra’s ownership – Point of Order:

On  the face  of  it, it’s  a  no-brainer.  Weighed  down  with  debt,  Westland  Milk,  based in   Hokitika  is financially  on  its  knees.  Riding  to  its  rescue,  Chinese  dairy  giant  Yili  has come in with a  $588m buyout deal   which  will yield  $3.41  a share   to the co-op’s  farmer shareholders,  and, as well,   absorb  Westland’s debt and liabilities.

According to  Westland, the  nominal value of its shares  has ranged  from  70c  to $1.50  per share. For the  average-sized  Westland farm, the  share offer translates to  about half a  million dollars cash.

The offer  looks even  more attractive since  Westland had to  cut its  milk payout  forecast, while other  companies’ forecasts  are rising.  Westland, which has  grown out of  the West  Coast’s  150-year  dairy heritage, hasn’t paid  a  competitive milk price   for  several years. . . 

Lumsden Maternity Centre downgrade may force expectant mothers to travel further

Mothers may be forced to travel further to give birth after a Southland birthing centre was downgraded.

The Southern District Health Board announced the Lumsden Maternity Centre downgrade last August, triggering community outcry, a protest march, petition and appeals to the government.

The centre has become a maternal and child hub where babies are only delivered in an emergency.

The company that ran the centre said mothers travelled from as far away as Queenstown and Te Anau to use the birthing services. . . 

Farmhand’s common sense solution for vegan activism – Andrea Davy:

A YOUNG farmhand has offered up a commonsense approach for stopping the spread of misinformation around Australian farming.

Coming off the back this week’s vegan protests, which rolled out across the nation on Monday, Zoe Carter posted a Facebook live where she called on the industry to “step up” and increase education in schools.

Zoe has more than 140,000 followers online, an audience she has grown through sharing videos and photos from her life working in ag.

In the post, she said the current education system was leaving a huge knowledge gap on how food was produced. And, unfortunately, this space was being filled up with “lies” peddled on social media. . . 

Large-scale highly fertile stock finishing farm for sale:

A highly-productive farm whose grazing stock once produced prized wool used by one of New Zealand’s foremost carpet manufacturers has been placed on the market for sale.

Puketotara, near Huntly in the Waikato, was previously owned by Douglas Bremner – the businessman who founded the legendary Bremworth Carpet brand in 1959. Wool from the Drysdale sheep farmed at Bremner’s Puketotara farm was used in the production of quality carpet manufactured at the company’s mill in South Auckland.

The Bremner family sold the property in 1989, and soon after it was converted into an intensive breeding and finishing farm – stocking beef and sheep and producing cash crops.. . 


Rural round-up

March 27, 2018

MPI cattle cull “the right thing” – Jono Edwards:

The  farming industry is viewing a Mycoplasma bovis cull of more than 22,000 cattle as a tragic necessity.

The Ministry for Primary Industries announced yesterday it would begin a cull of 22,332 cattle today on all infected sites after scientific testing and tracing confirmed the disease was not endemic.

It was working immediately with farmers to kill the stock on the 22 active infected properties which still contained cattle, it said.

The disease can cause pneumonia, abortions, lameness and mastitis and can result in the deaths of infected cows. . . 

Sheep goes for $8k at first NZ auction of Beltex ram lambs – Maja Burry:

About 300 people attended the first ever sale of Beltex ram lambs in New Zealand on Friday.

The Beltex, whose name combines Belgium and Texel, are a breed of muscle heavy sheep that have higher meat yield.

Beltex breeder Blair Gallagher said the interest around the inaugural sale, which was held at his mid-Canterbury farm was very positive.

On offer was 16 purebred Beltexes, 20 Beltex-Poll Dorsets, 18 Beltex-Suffolks and 10 Beltex Perendales. . .

Farmers given food for thought – Sally Rae:

Hakataramea Valley farmers have been given some food for thought with the suggestion they could market their products directly to consumers.

The idea was raised by Prof Keith Woodford during a field day at Waikora Station last week organised by the Hakataramea Sustainability Collective.

The collective, set up in 2016, comprises a group of farmers whose aim is to assist and encourage the protection and enhancement of the valley’s environment and promote profitable and sustainable farming practices for future generations. It has been working closely with the New Zealand Landcare Trust, Environment Canterbury, the Department of Conservation, Fish and Game, local iwi and the Waimate District Council to ensure a collaborative and cohesive approach. . . 

Thermal imaging reveal Tekapo pests predator – Kathy Guthrie:

When Sam Staley went to the Defence Force’s Tekapo Military Training Area back in 1996 to run the Military Camp and Training Area for a three year stint, one of the tasks at the time was pest control. Today, 22 years later, he’s still there, and so are some of the rabbits, but after two decades of the comprehensive rabbit control operation which Sam initiated, the rabbits are nothing like the problem they used to be on the 19,000 hectare military site.

“The training area is unique,” Sam says. “It’s a very special bit of dirt! It’s probably the most intensively managed, non-grazed piece of high country land in Canterbury. It includes unique and nationally threatened plants and native fauna like alpine weta, rare butterflies and moths and many endangered vertebrates such as the Mackenzie Basin skink.” . . 

Robots are trying to pick strawberries. So far they’re not very good at it – Dan Charles:

Robots have taken over many of America’s factories. They can explore the depths of the ocean, and other planets. They can play ping-pong.

But can they pick a strawberry?

“You kind of learn, when you get into this — it’s really hard to match what humans can do,” says Bob Pitzer, an expert on robots and co-founder of a company called Harvest CROO Robotics. (CROO is an acronym. It stands for Computerized Robotic Optimized Obtainer.)

Any 4-year old can pick a strawberry, but machines, for all their artificial intelligence, can’t seem to figure it out. Pitzer says the hardest thing for them is just finding the fruit. The berries hide behind leaves in unpredictable places. . . 

Dairy farmers plea for help after Dean Foods ends milk contracts –  Sarah Gisriel:

Sixteen percent of the nation’s dairy farms are in Pennsylvania, but that industry is in crisis.

Two weeks ago, life changed for 26 farmers in Lebanon and Lancaster counties.

“I went to the mail, and in it was a certified letter from Dean Foods,” said Alisha Risser, the owner and operator of an 80-cow farm.

The letter told farmers that Dean Foods was ending its contract by June 1, due to a market surplus of milk.

“It’s the most difficult thing we’ve ever had to do in our lifetimes. To get that notice, and your world is absolutely rocked,” said Kirby Horst, of Lynncrest Holsteins. . . 


McCaw country

October 29, 2015

Riche McCaw was born in Oamaru. He was brought up on the family farm in the Hakataramea Valley, and started his schooling and his rugby in Kurow .

The town is celebrating its favourite son and paying tribute to other All Blacks who once called this place home.

mccaw country

The ODT has the story behind the sign and the story of the bales which are the work of Justin and Janina Slee.

All fingers and toes are crossed that there will be a third bale with the kiwi skewering a wallaby added on Sunday.


Rural round-up

November 18, 2012

We must look after our good staff on dairy farms – Pasture to Profit:

How do we prevent the increasing “churn” of employed staff?  Turnover (or tenure) of staff employed on NZ dairy farms is expensive. There is a general feeling that the “churn” of dairy farm staff is getting faster. 

The NZ dairy industry doesn’t compare well with other employment sectors. The greatest “Churn” appears to be amongst the young or in the first year that people are in the job.

“Annual churn out of the industry is estimated at 15% for 2010/11 with a cost of $64 million to the industry in lost investment. . .

How green are you? – Bruce Wills:

How green are you?

I mean, do you genuinely care about your carbon footprint and the integrity of what you put into your house let alone place against your skin?

Would you be prepared to wear genetically modified fibres against your skin?

I imagine some would answer an indignant, no.

I could further ask if you would be prepared to wear oil, let alone fill your walls with the stuff or even lay it on your floors.

In Australia, recently, I learned the amount of non-genetically modified cotton could probably be held in one hand. Alright, a slight exaggeration there, but truth be told, almost all of the world’s cotton is genetically modified. . .

Robertson pins Pegaus hopes on Fovaran sale – with water consents for dam

A pending water consent application in Hakataramea Valley may help Wanaka developer Bob Robertson recoup his position at Pegasus Town – in receivership – near Christchurch.

Mr Robertson is hoping to sell his Foveran deer park property in Hakataramea Valley, North Otago.

He placed it on the market two years ago without success.. .

Fewer farmer directors could be a good thing – Milking on the Moove:

Fish Stock Status Update:

The Ministry for Primary Industries is reporting that by far the majority of New Zealand’s fisheries are performing well – 83.2 percent of fish stocks of known status are healthy.

The Status of New Zealand Fisheries 2012 report has just been released.

James Stevenson-Wallace, the Director of Fisheries Management, says New Zealand continues to be world-leading in the sustainable management of fishing, and the Quota Management System gives fisheries managers the ability to address problems where they occur. . .

Pure Oil NZ – purchase of Biodiesel’s Ag Division:

Pure Oil New Zealand Limited is pleased to announce its purchase of the Agricultural Division of Biodiesel New Zealand Limited. This includes: oil seed rape crop production, the oil extraction facility at Rolleston and the marketing of the resultant products (rape seed oil and rape seed meal).

Pure Oil NZ is owned by Midlands Seed, Southern Packers, Roger Lasham (Agronomist) and Nick Murney (Manager). This group of shareholders bring a wide range of skills and expertise to strengthen the current business model and will ensure the new business is able to reach its full potential. . .

Agri-business sale completed

Solid Energy has completed the sale of the agribusiness division of Biodiesel New Zealand Ltd. The purchaser, Pure Oil New Zealand Ltd, is owned by Southern Packers, Midlands Seed, and a manager and agronomist who previously worked for Biodiesel New Zealand.

Solid Energy said in August that as part of its response to the impact on its business of the extremely challenging global coal market, the company would sell its biodiesel business which operates in two parts – one manufacturing and marketing biofuel and the agri-business division which contracts with farmers to grow oilseed rape, processes the seed at an oil extraction plant at Rolleston and sells the oil into the food industry and meal as animal feed. In early October Solid Energy announced the consortium led by Southern Packers was the preferred bidder. . .

Manuka prices inflated

The National Beekeepers’ Association (NBA) wishes to correct misleading information, circulating in some media, that beekeepers are earning up to $400 a kg for bulk manuka honey.

NBA chief executive, Daniel Paul, says this is incorrect. . . 

Quartz Reef Completes the Treble with Pure Gold Win at Air NZ Wine Awards

The Pure Gold medal awarded to Quartz Reef Méthode Traditionnelle Brut at Air NZ Wine Awards announced overnight has completed a winning treble for this premium Central Otago single estate grown producer and caps a great month of awards.

Quartz Reef only produces three Méthode Traditionnelle wines and to have a 100 percent Gold Medal success rate shows a commitment to superior quality from winemaker, Rudi Bauer, and his dedicated team who create these bottle fermented hand crafted wines. . .

Forest and Bird welcomes new green growth report:

Forest & Bird welcomes the release of a study making a case for New Zealand’s business and political leaders to embrace green growth that makes economic sense.

The study is by Vivid Economics, in association with the University of Auckland’s Business School, for green growth business lobby group Pure Advantage.

“Forest & Bird fully supports a transition to a green economy, as one of our top five priorities,” says Forest & Bird Conservation Advocate Claire Browning. . . .


His story

April 25, 2009

My father came to New Zealand, from his home country, Scotland, in the late 1930s. He worked for relatives on a station in the Hakatarmea Valley.

 

While there he joined the Otago Mounted Rifles as a territorial. When war broke out Dad enlisted with the 20th Battalion and went overseas to fight in Egypt and Italy.

 

He was badly burnt when a tank exploded and spent a fortnight in a saline bath. He was later taken prisoner but managed to escape and find his way back to allied troops. Dad was one of the soldiers described by Battalion commander Jim Burrows as those magnificent men after the break out from Minqar Qaim.

 

He didn’t talk much about what the war was like – but we do have a photo of Dad and four others which illustrates it: They were part of the company of 120 who started the battle of Ruweisat Ridge, and those five in the photo were the only ones left on survivors’ parade at the battle’s end.

 

When his active service finished after the Battle of Casino, Dad stayed with the New Zealand army and was posted to London as a driver. One night he was called to take Lord and Lady Freyberg to the Dorchester Hotel. The only vehicle available was a three tonne truck so he put a chair in the back for the General and Lady Freyburg sat in the cab.  When he pulled up outside the Dorchester, beside Eisenhower’s car, the doorman rushed up to direct him to the tradesman’s entrance. However, Dad ignored his agitated “round the back Chum”, helped his passengers out and drove off leaving the doorman speechless.

 

After the war Dad sailed back to New Zealand. He was manpowered to the freezing works at Pukeuri where he worked 18 hour days, six days a week. Then he got an adult apprenticeship as a carpenter in Oamaru.

 

Dad died in 1999 and as I wrote on the earlier post about my mother’s memories, I have lots of questions I regret not asking him.


Kurow’s Hay family

January 19, 2009

Kurow is a wee town on the right side of the Waitaki River in both senses of the word ie the right bank and the Otago side of the river which separates the blue and gold province from the red and black of Canterbury.

It’s major claim to fame at the moment is that All Black captain Richie McCaw, who was brought up in the neighbouring Hakataramea Valley, played his first rugby there.

But every summer it’s also home to the Hay family:

wanakawaitaki-023


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