Rural round-up

04/12/2017

Cows going online in NZ paddocks :

Kiwi cows are going online in a new initiative by Chinese tech company Huawei.

Its connected cows programme is currently being trialled on an undisclosed farm in New Zealand, with cattle wearing collars containing small “internet of things” (IOT) chipsets that it hopes will enable farmers to better monitor their stock.

The company’s new chief executive, Yanek Fan, said this was one of the many future technology initiatives Huawei wanted to roll out in New Zealand in the coming years.  . . 

Importance of irrigaiton expected to grow – Yvonne O’Hara:

Irrigation is likely to become even more important to Central Otago in the next few decades as the climate becomes warmer and drier, IrrigationNZ (INZ) chief executive Andrew Curtis tells Yvonne O’Hara.

Alexandra’s Bodeker Scientific’s report “The past, present and future climate of Central Otago”, which was released last month, looked at climate change projections for the region during the next 80 to 100 years.

It predicted increasing overall summer and winter temperatures, more extreme rain and wind events and less water storage as snow on mountain snowpacks.

It said there might be earlier snowmelts and less water from the snowmelt being available during spring and precipitation that might have fallen as snow would likely fall as rain and contribute to river flows and lake levels. . . 

Shed’s reconstruction brings back memories – Yvonne O’Hara:

The recent reconstruction of a shearing stand, which had been rescued from a demolished woolshed, and was now on display at the Tuapeka Vintage Club, brought back memories for one of the woolshed’s owners, writes Yvonne O’Hara.

It had been on the Halwyn property, near Lawrence, and owned by the Crawford family.

The sheep and beef property was originally part of Bellamy Station, and the original Halwyn homestead was built for the first owners, the Harris family. Donald’s grandfather Duncan Crawford and wife Margaret bought the property in 1927 for their sons Allan, Alex and George.

Alex lived at Craigellachie, and farmed a nearby property while Allan and George farmed Halwyn in partnership. . . 

Spring has sprung – Kirian Farms:

And with it the urgency to attend to the 1001 jobs around the farm that were deferred over winter.  While it’s great to have the sun out and warmer temperatures – it means one thing, the lawnmower gets a very frequent outing (each outing is about 4 hours so I imagine the neighbours are hoping the wind isn’t blowing their way those days).

​The ewes and lambs are doing well although the change in the season bought some dirty bottoms so in came Mr Shearer to crutch the ewes, making it a more pleasurable experience for the lambs going in for a feed I’m sure.  The first of the “butter ball” lambs will be drafted for sale at the end of November with the balance taking their first truck trip mid December. . . 

Jack Jones is still classing at ninety – Stephen Burns:

Into his ninetieth year, southern Riverina farmer Jack Jones continues to cast his eye over the annual clip shorn from the Bond Corriedale ewes grown on the Urangeline-district property held by his family for over one hundred years.

Mr Jones, along with his wife Marie and son Graeme operates the mixed-farming operation and said he will continue to work as long as he is able.

“I enjoy what I am doing,” he said as he flicked another staple of the Bond Corriedale fleece he was classing to test it’s tensile strength. . . 

 


Hostility to foreign investment holds NZ back

20/10/2012

New Zealanders’ hostility to foreign investment could damage the agricultural sector’s chances of becoming a trillion-dollar “food bowl” to Asia.

One of the issues identified in ANZ’s Greener Pastures report was a shortfall in capital.

Farmers will need up to $201b extra between now and 2050 and another $130b to support retiring farmers:

Traditional sources of funding- debt and retained earnings- would not be enough to bridge the gap.

“Inevitably, foreign investment will be an important part of the answer, but the pace of investment cannot get too far ahead of public opinion without undermining its sustainability,” the report said.

One survey quoted found 82 per cent of Kiwis believed foreign ownership of farms and agricultural land was bad.

ANZ commercial and agri managing director Graham Turley said the sector could work harder at educating urban New Zealand.

“We’ve built New Zealand off foreign capital, and we’ve done that reasonably wisely,” he said.

“They just need to increase their awareness of foreign investment being a good thing, that it creates access to market, it brings in technology and allows us to expand the productive base of our economy.”

The ANZ report noted that the Overseas Investment Office’s test for the sale of agricultural assets lacked clarity and transparency, and that the regime was seen as too restrictive by some.

Turley said the Crafar farms OIO saga was a “fringe” distraction from the real debate, which should be about how to attract and deploy foreign capital to the country’s advantage. . .

The xenophobic attitude to foreign investment isn’t helped by the media. Take this headline as an example: More kiwi farms could fall into foreign hands.

The story is about seven farms in a receivership sale which are being advertised internationally.

That’s sensible business practice and could mean they might be bought by foreigners but falling into foreign hands is an emotive and unnecessarily negative way to describe it.

The media ought not to feed xenophobia, nor should politicians. But we’ve had a couple of examples of that from the opposition in the past week.

They were quick to seize on criticism of Huawei, the Chinese company which has a telecommunications contract here when it was accused of spying. There’s been no response to the report which exonerates it.

Labour, the Green Party, NZ First and Mana keep calling for more jobs but they are feeding hostility to foreign investment which will be necessary for economic growth needed to provide those jobs.

The full Greener Pastures report is here.


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