Rural round-up

08/09/2017

 Auckland-based designer re-invents lamb docking tool named national winner of James Dyson Award:

A re-designed lamb docking or tailing iron has won the New Zealand leg of the prestigious James Dyson Award for design engineers.

Many sheep farmers can experience repetitive strain injuries from using traditional tools during the seasonal process of removing lambs’ tails, commonly known as docking. And it’s not just the farmers who have been suffering; fluctuations in blade temperatures can cause considerable pain for the lambs, often leading to ineffective cauterisation and stock mortality.

Auckland-based industrial designer Nicole Austin has helped solve these problems by inventing Moray, an innovative hand-tool designed to help improve usability, performance and stock wellbeing. . . 

“Black gold’: vanilla prices reach record highs – Alexa Cook:

A global shortage of vanilla has sent prices sky high, and the cost of vanilla is now more than double previous record prices. 

The last peak was in 2003 when it reached $US300 per kg, and it is now sitting about $US700 per kg.

Vanilla is a tricky product to grow: the flowers only open once a year and have to be hand pollinated within four hours of opening.

Heilala Vanilla chief executive and co-founder Jennifer Boggiss said vanilla, as a commodity, went through cycles, and at the moment it had record high pricing and short supply. . . 

Great Short and Great Day Walks announced:

Some of New Zealand’s finest tracks are set to become part of a new network of Great Short and Great Day walks, Tourism Minister Paula Bennett and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry have announced.

“We’re bringing new facilities and a new, higher profile to some of the best walking experiences New Zealand has to offer as part of Budget 2017’s $76m investment in DOC’s infrastructure,” Mrs Bennett says.

The Great Day and Great Short Walks, developed by DOC in partnership with Tourism New Zealand, are an expansion of the highly successful Great Walks brand aimed at promoting more of the fantastic walking experiences available across the country. . . 

Nominations for Fonterra Shareholders’ Council And Directors’ Remuneration Committee Open Today;

Nominations opened today for the 2017 Fonterra Shareholders’ Council and Directors’ Remuneration Committee Elections.

Following last year’s Governance and Representation Review undertaken by Fonterra, the Shareholders’ Council has given effect to the recommendation voted on by shareholders in late 2016 that: “Over the next 12 months, the number of Shareholders’ Council wards is reviewed to establish how they can be reduced within the range that is permitted under the current Constitution.” . . 

Substantial dairy farm and runoff block placed on the market for sale:

A substantial dairy farm and associated run-off block in South Canterbury – including approximately 1,100 cows plus young stock – has been placed on the market for sale as a going concern.

The properties are located under the rain shadow of the Hunter Hills and feature a 501.944 hectare dairy platform located at 3150 Back Line Road at Kohika plus a 119.9636 hectare self-contained run-off located at 316 Campbell Forrest Road, which is only four kilometres from the dairy platform on a quiet country road. . . 


Rural round-up

26/07/2017

Battle wounds and wisdom shared through Dairy Connect:

Seeking guidance from other farmers has helped Chloe and Matt Walker make the switch from city living to dairy farming – a move that came sooner than expected.

Back in 2012, Chloe and Matt were running start-up companies in Wellington and considering a move to Matt’s parents’ dairy farm near Taupo. However, after getting married in February 2013 and a change in the dynamics of their respective start-ups, they decided to take the plunge earlier than planned.

The Walkers left their city jobs and started afresh on the 133ha farm four seasons ago, with Matt taking up a role as farm manager. They had little on-farm experience but were quick to apply what they had learned in city jobs to their new careers. . . 

Deluge misses southern hydro lakes – Pattrick Smellie:

(BusinessDesk) – Last weekend may have been Oamaru’s wettest since daily rainfall records began in 1950, but the deluge that hit eastern coastal parts of the South Island over the weekend all but missed the southern hydro lakes, which remain at critically low levels for the time of year.

The managers of the southern catchments, Meridian Energy, Contact Energy and Genesis Energy, all reported either little or no additional rainfall, although national grid operator Transpower said lake levels now sit at 62 percent of the national average level for this time of year, compared with 58 percent before the weekend.

A Meridian Energy spokeswoman said the weekend weather “did not bring inflows  . . 

Otago $9m irrigation scheme given green light:

A new irrigation scheme in Otago will help transform dry, wasted land into productive land full of cherry trees and vineyards, the company behind it says.

But it comes at a time when questions have been raised about the sustainability of irrigation schemes in the region, in the face of expiring permits.

The $9 million Dairy Creek Irrigation Scheme, which will cover 1500 hectares of land in the Clutha catchment, has been given the green light. . . 

Blockchain the transformer – Eye2theLongRun:

Do yourself a favour and read this to “get it” about blockchain and why it matters… or try to make time stand still.

This from Kevin Cooney – ASB’s National Manager Rural:

It’s vital that New Zealand’s agri industry pays close attention to blockchain development and ensures we are well positioned to capture our share of new value this technology could unlock.

Mention blockchain and agriculture in the same breath, and the image of a heavy duty chain towing one farm vehicle behind another pops into my mind.

Turns out, that’s a handy analogy. Like a physical chain, blockchain connects parties directly with one another to enable fast, secure, and borderless transactions. . . 

‘Get on and do it’ culture contributing to farm accidents – Andrew McRae:

The high injury rate among farm workers has prompted a call for them to be more involved in health and safety decisions on the farm.

WorkSafe New Zealand’s farm sector analysis of injuries between April 2012 and March 2015 shows that for every 1000 employees, 20 suffered an injury requiring more than a week off.

For every 1000 employees in dairying 28 were injured, compared with 18 in sheep and beef, and 30 per 1000 in the shearing industry.

The sector leader for WorkSafe, Al McCone, said the figures were a result of the culture that has crept into the agricultural sector. . . 

New Zealand vanilla producer ensures steady supply in volatile market:

Soaring prices worldwide for vanilla beans have prompted New Zealand vanilla grower and manufacturer, Heilala Vanilla, to launch a new product to shield its customers from market volatility.

For the second year in a row, international prices have skyrocketed as demand outstrips supply. Spice traders predict the current market turmoil will continue into 2018. . . 


Rural round-up

02/03/2014

CPW shocked by ECan’s mistakes on nitrate loads – Tim Fulton:

Environment Canterbury (ECan) has admitted critical mistakes in calculating the nitrate loads for newly irrigated land in the Central Plains Water scheme.

Central Plains Water (CPW) has been stunned by a recommendation to halve its nitrate allowance under a land and water plan for the Selwyn-Waihora catchment.

The allocation was adjusted three times as CPW sought commitment from farmers to its scheme. Even though irrigators had been advised the calculations were subject to change, the nitrate allocation has bounced from 520 tonnes to 850t and back to 434t. . . .

The Heilala Vanilla story – Caitlin Sykes:

John Ross got a whole lot more than he was expecting for his 60th birthday.

 

A retired dairy farmer, Ross’ birthday wish was to sail to Tonga on a boat he’d built himself, have a family holiday and indulge his passion for spearfishing.

 

But he fell in love with the place. So much so that when a cyclone ravaged the Vava’u island group the year after he’d stayed there, Ross rallied a group of Rotary club friends to travel back to Tonga to help with the clean-up.

 

In thanks, a local family gifted him a plot of land, in exchange for him using it to provide employment for those living there.

 

The gift sent Ross on a journey of discovery, travelling around the globe to learn all he could about vanilla – a crop that only grows naturally 20 degrees either side of the equator and is perfectly suited to growing conditions in Tonga. . . .

Preparing a winner beats milking cows – Mike Dillon:

John Morell is one of a rapidly dying breed – rural owners who train their own racehorse from a farm.

 

Not only is that a rare group these days but farming owners who send their horses to professional trainers to be prepared are also becoming as rare as Len Brown supporters.

 

When Hall of Fame champion trainer Dave O’Sullivan was a year or so from putting his feet up he declared he had just one horse in his stable who was owned by a farmer.

 

“A few years ago half my team was owned by farmers,” he declared at the time. . .

Countdown to the NZ Product Wars – Bruce Wills:

What Shane Jones told Parliament regarding Countdown will probably not be news to thousands of current and former Australian dairy farmers.  You see they’re the ones who have footed the real cost of Australia’s A$1 a litre supermarket milk war.

Last May, the head of Coles warned its suppliers Australians were paying too much for groceries at the same time a A$1.5 billion full-year profit was announced.  Several months later Woolworths, its arch rival, revealed a A$2.3 billion net profit.  Combined, the two groups were making a net profit of A$7,229 every minute.  I do not begrudge successful businesses given many pension funds rely upon success like this.  What I do begrudge is if high profits come from breaking smaller businesses through predatory, anti-competitive practices.  Something I see in the Australian dairy industry.

If the 2011 Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigation into the supermarket milk war is anything to go by, it may leave some people on this side of the Tasman feeling deflated with our Commerce Commission about to look into things.  . .

 

McNee to ring changes at LIC – Andrea Fox:

Big job changes and expansion are planned at LIC as Wayne McNee, the new chief executive of the genetics and information heavyweight, starts flexing his muscle.

McNee, formerly chief executive of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), is proposing structural change that could affect 56 jobs – many of them executive positions – and create 17 new roles.

His plan is expand LIC in the South Island, target international markets and focus the business on farmer needs for the future, instead of head office decisions. . .

$15 billion bonanza – Hugh Stringleman:

Record dairy prices and milk payout forecasts have a strong tail wind, which should carry them through the rest of the season.

Competing countries have their own weather woes and are unable to increase supply in response to the favourable worldwide demand.

Most New Zealand dairy farmers are seeing a double benefit – more production and the record prices– although some are contemplating a premature end to milking because of drought. . . .

Good turn-out at field days – Hugh Stringleman:

Northland Field Days filled all exhibitor spaces for the first time on its new home site as the regional economy recovers strongly.

Early last week Northland was reported by ANZ Bank to have the best economic activity numbers among 14 regions nationwide.

The activity index was up 2.4% in the fourth quarter of last year, following a similar-sized rise in the third quarter.

The six-monthly surge was the biggest since 2004. . . .

 

 

The Heilala Vanilla story


Rural round-up

19/09/2013

Growers protest how Hawke’s Bay council managed drought – Adam Ray:

A convoy of hundreds of tractors rumbled through streets in Hawke’s Bay today in protest of water restrictions.

Growers say the regional council ignored their concerns when it cut water during a severe drought earlier this year.

The tractors were off the orchards and on the streets of Hawke’s Bay today – a convoy of hundreds highlighting anger from growers at the regional council. The Grower Action Group says the council’s water management is so bad they’re campaigning to drive out its current leadership.

“Change the councillors, change the CEO, chairman I don’t care,” says the Grower Action Group’s Paul Paynter. “We want to change the culture of the place.” . . .

NZ wool in world record rug bid:

A Chinese carpet company is claiming a new world record for the biggest one-piece rug ever made, using more than 3000 kg of New Zealand wool.

The giant hand-tufted rug covers more than 1000 square metres and took a team of 100 workers two months to finish.

It was made by the Beijing Jin Baohua Carpet Company for the Chinese capital’s new International Convention Centre. . .

How Lambs are helping Hector’s dolphins:

Collaboration between Wools of New Zealand, Banks Peninsula wool growers and leading international fabric company, Camira Fabrics UK, is having a positive spin off – funding and support for the critically endangered Hector’s dolphin.

Wools of New Zealand, the grower owned sales and marketing company and its grower shareholders are the suppliers of lamb’s wool which meets stringent performance and environmental standards for Camira Fabrics’ growing BlazerTM upholstery fabric range. For every metre sold, a percentage of the sale goes to the New Zealand Whale and Dolphin Trust to benefit Banks Peninsula’s Hector’s dolphins contributed by the growers and Camira in partnership. . .

Effluent app captures value:

DairyNZ has released a new smartphone app to help farmers apply effluent more efficiently.

The Dairy Effluent Spreading Calculator app provides dairy farmers and effluent spreading contractors with guidance around nutrient application rates based on the depth and type of effluent they apply.

The easy-to-use app ensures effluent nutrients can be applied with greater precision. . .

Heilala Vanilla Launches New Ground Vanilla Powder:

New Zealand’s premium vanilla grower and producer Heilala Vanilla has launched a new ground vanilla powder.

Made from 100% pure vanilla beans, the powder is free from artificial colours, flavours, buffers, additives, sugar and is gluten free.

Jennifer Boggiss, Heilala Vanilla director, says requests from customers and health food stores for a pure vanilla powder led to the development of the product.

Have your say on a new fungicide:

The Environmental Protection Authority is inviting people to make submissions on an application to import a new fungicide for plants.

BASF New Zealand has applied to import Adexar, a fungicide with the active ingredients fluxapyroxad and epoxiconazole.

Adexar is used as a spray on wheat and barley crops to prevent or control fungal diseases. . .


Bean here, growin’ that

15/10/2009

Scoop reports New Zealand’s first vanilla harvest is underway.

This is the first harvest of vanilla grown outside the tropics.

 Heilala Vanilla is a family owned and run business in Tauranga.

It sounds good and I’m impressed by the entrepreneurial approach. But I wonder how the costs of production compare with those for growing these orchids in the tropics where nature put them.


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