Rural round-up


Govt invests $540,000 in Lake Horowhenua clean-up:

Environment Minister Amy Adams has today announced the Government will invest $540,000 towards cleaning up Lake Horowhenua.

Combined with funding from Horizon’s Regional Council and Horowhenua District Council, as well as in-kind contributions from Dairy NZ and the Tararua Growers’ Association, the total funding for the project will be $1.27 million.

The project will improve the water quality through sediment and nutrient management on the lake and its tributaries, improving water quality for recreation and wild life.

The project includes stream fencing, planting, building a wetland, harvesting lake weeds, and developing farm plans. . .

Irrigation supplies shut-down begins:

Irrigation water supplies to some parts of Marlborough are being shut down as the continuing hot, dry weather takes its toll on river levels.

The Marlborough District Council is advising property owners that water for irrigation is being shut off to about 5000 hectares of farmland and vineyards along the Wairau River.

Further Wairau consents, including all those from the Southern Valleys Irrigation Scheme, were expected to be cut off by today.

Waihopai consents will be suspended in the next day or two.

The shutdown is necessary slightly earlier than last year because there has been no real rain since Christmas. . .


Safety group astonished as farmers flout helmet law – Sue O’Dowd:

Worksafe New Zealand has savaged organisers of a farmers’ day out for failing to require helmets on quad bikes in Taranaki hill country.

About 200 people visited Aotuhia Station when Beef + Lamb New Zealand – the farmer-owned industry organisation representing New Zealand’s sheep and beef farmers – hosted what it called a Big Day Out last week.

Only about five people on a cavalcade of bikes touring the 2240ha Aotuhia Station, 65km east of Stratford, wore helmets, and many riders carried passengers.

Worksafe New Zealand would have issued enforcement notices to the organisers, those not wearing helmets and those carrying passengers if it had been there, quad bike national programme manager Francois Barton said yesterday. . . .

Eyes wide open – James Houghton:

Employment relationships are a key factor in setting a positive working environment and ensuring your farm is productive. The general work relationships in rural New Zealand have been traditionally informal. This has had to change with stronger workplace protection for employees.  It means the farm employer has had to learn new skills, involving contractual agreements and human resources.

When it comes to dairy agreements with sharemilkers, who are arguably what makes New Zealand dairying so successful; there have been breakdowns between some employers and their sharemilker.  Sharemilking is a hybrid between self-employment and employment but that hasn’t stopped some harsh treatments of sharemilkers. Such as an employer not honouring either a handshake agreement or misusing clauses in their agreement, which causes sheer misery for the sharemilker involved.

Over the past year, Federated Farmers has been revising the industry standard Herd Owing Sharemilking Agreement, looking to remove outdated clauses and with it, issues within the industry like harsh treatment, which may deter new entrants. . .

Strong growth and profitability increases from PGG Wrightson:

PGG Wrightson Ltd* (PGW) has announced a strong half-year performance under its new Chief Executive.

For the six-months ended 31 December 2013, PGW achieved operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Operating EBITDA)** of $22.3 million, up from $18.0 million for the corresponding period last year.

Mark Dewdney, who took up the role of PGW Chief Executive on 1 July 2013, called it a strong result with increases recorded across most areas of the business. . .

New Zealand Drives Global Pet Addiction:

Imagine a Singaporean company making premium pet food from possums in the Bay of Plenty and exporting successfully for eight years. That’s what Jerel Kwek of Addiction Foods has accomplished, along with a vision to improve pet nutrition globally.

While cats and dogs around the world have fallen for Addiction, it’s only now with a recent plant upgrade in Te Puke that Kwek can make his natural NZ pet food available in the NZ market.

Addiction use a selection of premium proteins and game meats, including New Zealand possum to produce a range of dry and raw dehydrated natural foods designed to prevent allergies and promote long-term health in cats and dogs. . .

Loan package to grow pasture productivity:

New Zealand’s largest rural lender today launched a lending package for farmers wanting toboost farm productivity by improving pasture and forage growth.

ANZ Bank’s Pasture Productivity Loan offers an interest rate of 4%* p.a with a maximumloan amount of $100,000. The maximum loan term is five years, principal reducing, andthere are no establishment fees.

“Renewing pasture and forage is one of the key things red meat farmers can do to improveproductivity and profit,” said Graham Turley, ANZ Managing Director Commercial & Agri. . .

Two standards


Dairy farmers can be charged for effluent spills which might enter waterways but councils  aren’t councils held to the same high standard for human waste:

A Horowhenua farming couple could lose their business if their district council doesn’t stop flooding their land with sewage.

The commissioners hearing the consent application for the council’s Shannon wastewater treatment plant were told yesterday how a lack of action by Horowhenua District Council to stop water flowing over the dairy farmers’ land polluted it with human waste.

Last month the company that picks up Wayne and Lesley Rider’s milk informed them that if it continued to be a problem the tankers would stop coming. . .

. . . Rider said the council should be given three years to drain the sewage ponds, remove the sludge, reline them and regulate their level to stop the sewage ending up on his land.

The council is asking for a consent to continue discharging waste water into Stansell’s Drain but Rider said every time the drain was in flood, sewage flowed on to his property. “I would support their request if they put a permanent pump at the end of the drain and if they lined their ponds to stop sewage seeping out.”

Horowhenua District Council’s community assets manager Wally Potts has given evidence at the hearing that when the Mangaore Stream rose to a certain level, the flap gate on Stansell’s Drain closed, creating high water in the drain.

Rider said this water then ends up over his property.

But Rider said he felt it would take more than a pump and some lining to sort the council’s problems out. The council should be looking at a land-based discharge and not to water, he said.

“They have got to fix the whole sewage system. I want them given four years to become fully land-based. If Shannon cannot afford to run its sewage system properly then they should look at putting the town on septic tanks.”

How can any council even contemplate a system which could result in raw sewage entering a waterway and flooding land? This is not a first world, 21st century practice.

Meanwhile, Southland dairy farmers face a 95% differential rates increase as Environment Southland does more to improve water quality.

No farm would be allowed to operate a system which had the potential to cause the sort of pollution the Horowhenua council’s does, nor should it.

There appears to be different rules for cows and people but the high standard of effluent disposal required of farms should also be required of local authorities.




%d bloggers like this: