Zanda McDonald Award applications open

04/07/2017

Applications for the 2018 Zanda McDonald Award have opened:

The search is on for talented young agri-leaders from New Zealand and Australia to apply for the 2018 Zanda McDonald Award. The award is regarded as one of Australasia’s most prestigious badges of honour for young leaders within the primary industry, and comes with a prize package of over $50,000.

Now in its fourth year, the award is run by the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group – a network of over 130 of Australasia’s most influential agri-business men and women.

It provides the winner direct access to the wealth of knowledge that exists within the group’s membership. In addition, they receive an all-expenses paid overseas mentoring trip, a place on Rabobank’s Farm Manager’s or Executive Programme and $1,000 cash prize.

Shane McManaway, Chairman of the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP), says the award provides a fantastic opportunity for young agricultural leaders to further their career and their personal development.

“A key attraction for this award is the tailored mentoring package that the winner receives. The PPP members have an extraordinary amount of respect within the industry, and previous award winners have loved the fact that they can call on them for help, advice and guidance at any time.”

Applications for next years’ award are open to individuals 35 years or younger from Monday 3rd July. Entries close on Friday 1st September 2017.

The 2017 winner, announced earlier this year at the annual PPP conference in Melbourne, was Morgan Easton from the Waitaki Valley, NZ. Mr Easton and his wife Hayley, who have three young children, are sharemilking two properties in North Otago, milking a total of 1750 cows.

“Winning the award has been both a humbling and rewarding experience for me. The ability to tap into the expertise of PPP members has been invaluable. I now have a great network through the PPP members that I can call on for advice when I need it,” he said.

Morgan is using the opportunity to tap into PPP members’ expertise on how best to continue growing and thriving in his family business. He will soon embark on the Australian leg of his mentoring tour, where he will visit PPP members including the McDonald beef farming operation in North Queensland, which is run by the late Zanda McDonald’s parents and wife Julie, and encompasses about 180,000 head of cattle.

Application forms for the award can be downloaded from the PPP Group website.

The PPP group founded the ward in memory of Zanda McDonald, a founding member of the group.

He was a farmer, prominent in the Australian beef and livestock industry, who died in an accident on his farm when he was only 41.

Emma Black from Queensland won the inaugural award. Dean Rabbidge from Southland won it last year.

 


Rural round-up

26/05/2013

Award success a family affair – Gerald Piddock:

Farming, community, family, innovation and the desire to never stop learning has seen two North Otago farming families forge a successful business partnership.

The Mitchell and Webster families operate an intensive cropping operation and wholesale business producing bird and small animal feed.

Its home base is the Mitchell family’s Rosedale farm at Weston.

Their exceptional crop management and focus on long term sustainability helped them win the supreme award at this year’s Otago Farm Environment Awards.

The families entered the awards to help them learn more about their business, Mitchell Webster Group partner Jock Webster said. . .

Variable conditions a challenge – Gerald Piddock:

Variable growing conditions caused by fickle weather was the biggest challenge this season for the Lincoln University dairy farm.

It caused the dry matter produced on the 186ha farm to swing around violently throughout the season.

“It’s been more variable than most years and I would say that’s a result of those really variable growing conditions. We have seen hot and cold temperatures that have driven more variation in pasture,” DairyNZ’s Steve Lee said. . .

About face on dung beetle assessment – Richard Rennie:

One of the country’s most senior health officials has given the thumbs up to a review on the public health risk of dung beetle release.

Auckland medical officer of health Dr Denise Barnfather expressed her concerns earlier this year over the lack of risk assessment before beetle importation.

Approval for field trials on the beetle has been granted by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and these are under way in Northland. The next step is field release.

But Barnfather said this week the Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) applauded the Ministry of Health (MoH) decision to assess the potential public health risk the beetles posed before release occurred. . .

Ten-year plan to beef up venison returns  – Jon Morgan:

A plan to lift venison returns by feeding deer better, improving their health and breeding, and by finding high-paying markets for the tastiest cuts, has been put to deer farmers.

The aim is to add $2 a kilogram to the value of a processed deer over the next 10 years, the deer industry conference in Wellington heard. At current prices, that would take the value of a 60kg stag from $540 to $660 at the season’s peak.

Deer Industry NZ chairman Andy Macfarlane said deer profitability was well ahead of lamb and beef on the same land.

“But are we satisfied with that? The answer is: no.”

The industry was launching “Passion to Profit” – its plan to increase returns – “to put deer farming back into the imagination of farmers”. That would be led by a renewed push in the core German market and a campaign to sell high-quality cuts under the Cervena brand to top-end European restaurants. . .

Butcher wins RWNZ award – Rosie Manins:

Almost four decades of hard slog is paying off for Lawrence butcher Jan Harper.

She is one of four category winners in this year’s Enterprising Rural Women Awards, announced at the Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) national conference in Christchurch on Thursday night.

Ms Harper (57) has worked in the meat industry since leaving school and opened Bluespur Butchery and Deli in Lawrence’s main street in 2009. . .

Sharemilkers second in national competition

Papakaio sharemilkers Morgan and Hayley Easton have placed second in the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Sharemilker-Equity Farmer of the Year competition.

The award, announced at an event in Wellington last night, was won by Southland representatives Don and Jess Moore.

The 2013 New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year title went to Richard Pearse, of Ashburton, and James Warren, of Winton, was named New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year. . .

Dairy farm profit down but still high – Andrea Fox:

Higher operating expenses per hectare in an otherwise-spectacular 2011-2012 dairy season resulted in farmer owner-operator profit sliding by $186 a hectare, a new DairyNZ report says.

But the 2011-2012 DairyNZ Economic Survey said operating profit which declined by 6.6 per cent to $2624 per hectare was a “still a high level”.

DairyNZ said the season was characterised by an excellent summer and autumn resulting in record milk production for all regions.

But offsetting the 9.2 per cent increase in milksolids per hectare was a matching decline in milk prices, leaving gross farm revenue per hectare almost unchanged. . . .


Rural round-up

22/04/2013

More North Island areas move out of drought:

Weekend rain has brought further relief to farmers in drought areas.

While some say it’s been enough to break the back of the drought for them, others say they are not out of trouble yet and follow up rain over the next few weeks will be critical.

Most of Bay of Plenty had moved out of drought last week before the latest rain which caused flooding in a number of areas.

Waikato and most of Taranaki have also had good falls. . .

Papakaio  sharemilker  pair winners – Sally Rae:

Farming and family go together for Morgan and Hayley Easton.

Mr and Mrs Easton, who are 50% sharemilkers at Papakaio, on the lower Waitaki Plains, were recently named the 2013 Canterbury-North Otago Sharemilker-Equity Farmers of the Year.

The couple have spent the past five years developing the 365ha property, owned by Mr Easton’s parents David and Clare, and have increased cow numbers from 450 to 1350. . .

Vet believes NZ sheep farmers deserve recognition for gains – Sally Rae:

South Otago vet John Smart reckons New Zealand sheep farmers have not had enough recognition for improvements made over the years.

Now in his 37th year in the veterinary profession, he said there had been ”quite massive gains”.

He believed New Zealand did it as well as, if not better, than most other countries.

He recalled the days when farmers were producing 13kg lambs and struggling to achieve a 100% lambing. There had been vast improvements since then. . .

Research bias has no sense – Jenny Taylor:

Anyone could be forgiven for thinking the only breed of dairy cattle being farmed in New Zealand is holstein-friesian.

A DairyNZ trial looking for the cows that convert their feed into milk most efficiently involves only holstein-friesian cows.

Can someone forward the memo which explains the mass withdrawal of other breeds?

The national dairy statistics for the 2011/12 season show jerseys make up 12.2 per cent, ayrshires 0.7 per cent and other breeds (which include brown swiss, milking shorthorn, guernsey) 8.1 per cent of the national population. Crossbred animals are 40.8 per cent which leaves holstein-friesian at 38.2 per cent. . .

Helping to ease country stress levels:

When the Scott Guy murder trial unfolded, Invercargill social worker Gavin Booth felt he had to do something to help farming families work through their problems.

Ewen Macdonald was found not guilty of killing his brother-in-law, 31-year-old Guy, outside his Feilding property in 2010, over tensions about the future of the family farm.

Farm progression and succession planning were a common trigger of stress and anxiety among farmers, particularly in the face of land use change towards dairying, Booth said.

“That’s huge. And it can break up families. It started me thinking I have to do something.”

Farmers are not only faced with changing land use but higher debt ratios, a drop in lamb prices, more complex farming systems, and weather-related issues. . .

 


Rural round-up

11/04/2013

Foray into farming stories for children proves fruitful – Sally Rae:

When Lee Lamb could not find books about farming to read to her young son, she decided to do something about it.

Brought up on Grampians Station, near Lake Tekapo, Mrs Lamb now lives on a sheep and beef station in northern Southland with her husband Jamie and their two young sons Jack (5) and Thomas (3).

It was while living in Omarama that she first picked up a pen, having become frustrated by being unable to buy a book about farming for Jack – who was farming-mad. She sat down one day ”and gave it a go” but did not take it any further until after moving to Waikaia and following the birth of Thomas, when she had a bit more spare time. . .

Dairy Awards Winners Achieve Goals:

The 2013 Canterbury/North Otago Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Morgan and Hayley Easton, are using their knowledge to achieve their farming goals.

“Both Hayley and I are well educated in fields supportive of an agribusiness career, which we think is important when running large-scale dairy farms today,” Morgan Easton says. “Large dairy farms are big businesses with significant turnover and numbers of people employed. We feel the knowledge gained from our education has undoubtedly helped us achieve our farming goals to date.”

The other major winners at the Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Industry Awards dinner held at Hotel Ashburton last night were Richard Pearse, the Farm Manager of the Year, and Adam Caldwell, the Dairy Trainee of the Year. Coincidentally Mr Pearse employs Mr Caldwell as an assistant on the Ashburton farm he manages. . .

Ferret trapping programme:

The Animal Health Board is taking advantage of the scavenging habits of ferrets to track bovine tuberculosis in western Southland.

There are only two cattle herds still under movement control in the region because of TB infection, compared with 56 herds in 1996.

TBFree Southland chairman Mike O’Brien said ferret trapping plays an important role in protecting cattle and deer herds from Tb-infected wild animals because they indicate whether the disease is present in other wildlife, especially possums, which can spread the disease to livestock. . .

Freshwater changes show promise – Environment Commissioner:

The Government’s proposed changes to freshwater management are much needed, but only if they are implemented properly says the Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright.

Dr Wright submitted on the changes this afternoon, and says moves to improve water quality are welcome.

“It’s vital we make progress on water quality, and the proposed changes are a step in the right direction. . .

Last call for applications for leading farm business management programme:

Applications close at the end of this month for this year’s Rabobank Farm Managers Program, the region’s leading agricultural business management course for the next generation of farm leaders.

Now in its eighth year, the prestigious Rabobank program offers young farmers from across New Zealand and Australia, and a range of agricultural sectors, the opportunity to develop and enhance their business management skills.

Rabobank business programs manager Nerida Sweetapple says the Farm Managers Program is constantly evolving to reflect the changing challenges and opportunities in agriculture. . .

ANZCO’s published result confirms anticipated loss – but could have been worse – Allan Barber:

ANZCO’s financial result to the end of September 2012 was posted on the Companies’ Office website on Friday in compliance with the statutory requirement for private companies. ANZCO reported losses of $25.6 pre-tax and $19.2 million after tax. We now have the details for the big three meat companies which publish their results and, as anticipated, none makes pleasant reading – total pre-tax losses of $140.4 million and post-tax $102.2 million.

But after seeing the numbers from Alliance and Silver Fern Farms in December, it was possible ANZCO’s could have been quite a bit worse. That they weren’t appears to have been the combination of strength in beef and some good management decisions which mitigated the worst effects of a very difficult year. . .


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