Rural round-up

October 29, 2013

Futuristic drones to watch your sheep – Howard Keene:

Kiwi agriculture scholarship winner sees drones having a big potential in the industry.

Natasha King went overseas on a Nuffield Scholarship recently to primarily look for energy-generating solutions to New Zealand’s effluent disposal problems, but also became fascinated by some of the new technologies she came across.

“It wasn’t my area, but I became interested in it as a basic farmer from New Zealand,” Ms King, who is Meridian Energy’s national agribusiness manager based in Christchurch, said. . .

Steaks high in trans-Tasman Trans-Tasman beef battle – Jenna Lynch &  Elton Smallman:

The Kiwi and Aussie battle is heating up again, but there’s no sport in sight. This time it’s a battle of the beef.

Australian red meat is making its way across ditch and filling a gap in our supermarkets, as Kiwi beef farmers recover from last summer’s drought.

But how does the Aussie beef compare to a good homegrown Kiwi steak?

Well there’s only one way to find out: A blind taste test. . .

Lots of changes in industry, but basic principles remain the same – Yvonne OHara:

Winning the first and second Southland regional Sharemilker of the Year competitions and coming second by half a point in the national competition was memorable and disappointing for Karen Bellew and Stephen Malone.

The former Edendale 50/50 sharemilkers, who have since separated, won the inaugural regional competition in 1990 but it was held too late for them to compete in the national final.

However, they were allowed to enter the Southland event the following year and won again. . .

Lincoln University to apply expertise to restoration project:

International mining company Rio Tinto has confirmed that it will continue funding a major ecological restoration project currently underway at Punakaiki on the South Island’s West Coast.

The Punakaiki Coastal Restoration Project (PCRP) has been underway for five years and is part of a four-way partnership between Lincoln University, Rio Tinto, the Department for Conservation (DoC) and Conservation Volunteers New Zealand (CVNZ). Professor of Ecology, Nicholas Dickinson , and his colleagues in the Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences have been spear-heading the project for Lincoln University.

Rio Tinto has committed to another three years of funding the PCRP, which involves the restoration of a 70-hectare site that has been negatively impacted over the years through both mining and agriculture. The company originally bought the site to mine ilmenite (an oxide of titanium), but later gifted it to DoC. . . .

Tarras Water weighs options:

Tarras Water Ltd is still afloat, even if the company’s hopes for a dry shareholder have been sunk, director Peter Jolly says.

When contacted by Southern Rural Life last week, Mr Jolly said the company’s shareholders were looking at their options, including some which would not involve Tarras Water Ltd.

The company’s board was still meeting regularly and had a ”telephone link-up” about three weeks ago and an ”informal” meeting last week, he said.

However, the board had abandoned hope of a dry shareholder taking equity in the company, he said. . .

Council downsizes, reports increased event attendance  – Timothy Brown:

Beef and Lamb New Zealand’s Central South Island Council decided on a smaller council at its annual meeting in Cromwell last week, reducing the number of councillors from four to three.

South Canterbury farmer Andrew Fraser stepped down, and the three other councillors, Blair Smith, Ivan Geary and Robert Peacock were re-elected unopposed. . .

Council downsizes, reports increased event attendance


Rural round-up

January 16, 2013

Kiwi xenophobia one to watch says think tank – Hannah Lynch:

Growing xenophobia in New Zealand, as it wrestles with Chinese investment, will be one of the Pacific’s top talking points in 2013, according to a Washington think tank.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies advise observers to keep an eye on the ongoing debate about foreign investment in New Zealand, especially from China.

Under the headline “New Zealand’s comfort with Chinese investment”, the centre has chosen the issue as one of six in the Pacific region particularly worth watching. . .

Declining attendance causing concern:

The New Zealand Large Herds Association (NZLHA) executive committee will not be holding an annual conference this year.

The committee decided to cancel the conference because of the continuing decline in attendance over recent years.

“The last three years have seen a decline in numbers of delegates attending. This has had an impact on how we foresee our conference in the future, for not only the farmer but our sponsors,” association chairman Bryan Beeston said. . .

American sheep farmers suffering even more than New Zealand – Allan Barber:

An article headlined ‘Drought, high feed costs hurt sheep ranchers,’ appeared last Friday in the Northern Colorado Business Report. It makes the problems being experienced currently by New Zealand sheep farmers look comparatively pretty small.

This isn’t meant to denigrate the difficulties here, but it puts things in context. One rancher has cut his 2000 head flock by a third and is losing US$80 on every lamb he sells. According to the article, drought, consolidation of the sheep-packing business, increased feed costs and plummeting lamb prices have created hardship among sheep ranchers across Northern Colorado. The situation has deteriorated so much for ranchers that the federal government is investigating whether meat packers have played a role in the market’s collapse. . .

Second year of graduates:

The Agri-Women’s Development Trust (AWDT) is celebrating a second successful year with 14 graduates from its 2012 Escalator agricultural leadership programme.

The 10-month programme aims to create prospective future leaders with the skills and capability to govern and lead agricultural organisations and communities.

Federated Farmers Ruapehu provincial president and 2012 Escalator graduate Lyn Neeson said it gave her more awareness of what she can accomplish for agriculture. . .

Getting more from collaboration:

Federated Farmers is expanding its highly successful Leadership Development Programme for members and others in primary industries.

Many agricultural sector leaders have been through the Federation’s stage one and two Leadership Courses. These give individuals vital skills to work in teams and understand the technical, emotive, cultural and political aspects of issues.

The level one Getting Your Feet Wet and level two Shining Under the Spotlight courses give participants the techniques and methods to analyse and bring together a compelling case to present their desired outcomes. . .

FAR focus on the future of farming – Howard Keene:

The annual Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) Crops Expo at its Chertsey site in Mid Canterbury has grown over the years from humble beginnings to become a major event on the agricultural calendar attracting hundreds of grower and industry people.

This year was the second time the event has been held in its expanded format. It’s now an all-day event with agronomy and machinery companies adding their own trials and demonstrations to those of FAR. . .

2012 a watershed year for pork industry:

New Zealand Pork has today released its 2012 annual report, which labels last year a turning point for the industry. 

“Although the last financial year has not been without challenges, I believe it has also been something of a watershed for our industry,” NZPork chairman Ian Carter said.

In 2012 the New Zealand Pork Industry Board made a net surplus of $505,165, which included a gain in sale of PIB Breeding Limited of $423,223. . .


Rural round-up

November 26, 2012

New Zealand urged to protect its brand – Sally Rae:

For an export nation like New Zealand, being “clean and green” is not enough any more, Oritain Global chief executive Dr Helen Darling says.

‘We actually need to be clean, green and clever,” Dr Darling said yesterday, while referring to the increasing instances of global food fraud.

Food fraud was an emerging risk for both consumers and producers worldwide, with the OECD estimating it cost legitimate producers about $US250 billion every year and that figure was growing, she said. . .

Local water focus urged – Howard Keene:

This month’s release of the third and final Land and Water Forum report marks a new consensus-driven approach to reform laws and practices around freshwater management in New Zealand, but its success will depend on how much the three reports the Government is willing to adopt.

The report recommends that local communities make decisions on individual catchments, acting within a national framework and bottom lines set by the Government. It also says water should be made more easily transferable between users.

While the report has received a mostly positive response there have been some cautioning voices. . .

Sweet smelling possums may help eradicate TB:

Using sex pheromones to capture possums is one example of the cutting-edge TB control initiatives featured in this year’s Animal Health Board (AHB) annual report and research report.

A two-year study into using sexually receptive female possums as a way to capture possums of both sexes in areas where numbers are low is among the scientific work forming part of the $2.5 million annually allocated by the AHB to research.

AHB chief executive William McCook said the two reports show the continuing significant progress being made in controlling and eradicating bovine TB from New Zealand, with the support of a range of government and industry partners. . .

Landcorp goal 80% fixed price sales – Alan Williams:

Landcorp sold more than 70% of its export lambs under fixed price contracts in its latest year, as part of a longer term goal to have 80% of all red meat sales handled this way.

This makes more than 230,000 lambs on fixed contracts out of a total 330,000 sent to processing companies in the year ended June 30 by the state-owned farmer.

Prices were on average higher than those achieved on traditional schedules, Landcorp livestock marketing manager Andrew Hall said in the written annual report.

About half the fixed price lamb contracts were for supply to the United Kingdom’s biggest grocery chain Tesco, he later told The New Zealand Farmers Weekly. . .

Rabobank Report: A New Wine Frontier:

With maturing or declining sales in many traditional markets, wine companies across the globe are increasingly searching for new growth markets. Emerging markets are attracting the interest of nearly all major wine companies. But those companies that were late to invest in these markets often have a greater challenge as the competition has already established routes to market and has garnered share of mind with the consumer. While China and South Korea probably rank as the most attractive emerging wine markets, Rabobank has identified Mexico, Brazil, Poland and Nigeria as four ‘hidden gems’ that have the potential to become important growth markets. Early investments to establish a route to market and build brand awareness hold the key to long term growth in these markets. . . 

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