More scientific proof needed – David Anderson:
A new report has joined the chorus within the agricultural sector calling for proper scientific testing of the claims being made by regenerative agriculture practitioners and proponents.
Some of the claims made by regenerative agriculture advocates currently include that it can improve waterways, reduce topsoil losses, offer drought resilience, add value to primary exports and improve the ‘well-being crisis’ among rural farming communities.
However, a new white paper on regenerative agriculture, recently released by Our Land and Water, says there is an urgent need for clarity about what regenerative agriculture is in New Zealand and for accurate scientific testing of its claimed benefits.
The research was funded by the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge, the NEXT Foundation and Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research. . .
The pork industry has slammed the government for refusing to make labelling country of origin mandatory on all imported pork.
Laws designed to give people clarity on where their food comes from were passed in 2018. However, last year the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) said there would be a 12-month delay in the new rules coming into effect due to Covid-19.
As part of this, imported pork will need to be labelled with its country of origin, however, the pork industry says a loophole has been left unadvised.
This means pork that is imported and then further processed in New Zealand, including bacon and ham, will not be required to have such labelling. . .
MPI lost touch – Peter Burke:
MPI boss Ray Smith says with the advent of the climate change proposals and the new essential fresh water regulations, MPI is gearing itself up to help farmers deal with these matters by getting more staff out into the field.
He believes that climate change is the biggest challenge of this generation.
“When I first started it was obvious to me that MPI had lost its outreach and in a sense it had lost some key relationships,” Smith told Rural News. “So we have built an agricultural investment service that has started to put that back and we have more people now based regionally. They have tended to deal with adverse events and things like that, which is good. But I am keen to build that service even further so we can stand alongside farmers and be an independent voice.”
He says the aim is get back some of what was lost many years ago with the demise of the Farm Advisory officers. . .
Automation a mixed blessing for fruit sector – Richard Rennie:
Burgeoning crop volumes have prompted the horticultural sector to lift pay rates as it competes on a tight labour market. The shortage and the cost increases put automation and robotics under the spotlight to help ease labour pressures. Richard Rennie looks at whether robots will replace humans on orchards sooner than later.
Last week’s announcement the kiwifruit sector would be paying a living wage of $22.10 an hour for packhouse work has the sector hoping higher wages will help fill a yawning labour shortage this year.
Filling that gap has only grown more challenging with the exponential growth in kiwifruit volumes over the past five years. The 23,000 workers estimated to be needed by 2027 are needed this year, and the 190 million trays expected to be achieved by then is now likely next season.
Further south the apple sector is grappling with similar issues, requiring at least 10,000 pickers and packhouse staff this season, drawing off locals, a national shared pool of 7000 Recognised Seasonal Employment (RSE) staff and any remaining backpackers. . .
Feijoa harvest in full tilt a month early in Gisborne – Hugo Cameron:
Feijoas are expected to hit the shelves this week as good growing conditions have seen harvesting of this season’s crop kick off a month earlier than usual.
Kaiaponi Farms has been growing feijoas in Gisborne for the past 20 years and sells the fruit through its Joa brand for both the local and export markets.
Spokesperson David Hansen said the first fruit would normally be picked at the start March but the harvest got under way last month and was now in full swing, with decent volumes coming through.
The farm had seen sunny conditions which was great for the crops, along with a decent dose of water, Hansen said. . .
Now is the time to talk to consumers – Charlie Beaty:
There has never been a bigger gap between the people producing food and the people consuming it.
Most people knew a farmer or were even related to one 70 years ago. Today, there are children who have never seen a real sheep.
They have no idea that bread is made from a wheat crop that grows in the fields. It’s a threat to our industry, there’s no doubt.
But it’s also an opportunity to step in, share the “what”, the “why” and the “how” of our industry. So let’s seize it. . .