Rural round-up

October 10, 2019

Green Rush: will pines really save the planet? – Kate Newton and Guyon Espiner:

Vast new pine forests are being hailed as a solution to New Zealand’s carbon emissions deficit – and promise a lucrative pay-day for investors. But farmers say they’re gutting rural communities, not all environmentalists see them as a silver bullet, and the profits are largely being reaped by foreign owners. 

Want to plant a pine tree? It’ll cost you a dollar. 38 cents for the seedling, a spiky, spindly finger; 55 cents for the labour to plant it; 8 cents for the cost of managing the labour.

John Rogan’s crew have planted about 350,000 of them so far. “Tree here, tree there – it’s like tossing little dollar coins on the ground,” he says. Concentrate on the variations in the grass and, like a magic-eye illustration, the seedlings flip into focus one after the other, every three metres, all the way to the grey horizon at the crest of the hill.

Rogan’s mostly teenage workers, skin burnished by wind and sun, tramp up and down hillsides, lugging 200 seedlings at a time in canvas buckets slung into harnesses. After 10 weeks of planting, their movements with spade, seedling and boot are sparse and sure: stab open a wedge of earth, jab a tree into the ground, stomp the hole closed. Stab, jab, stomp. The crew’s mascot Johnny, a beady-eyed little dog who looks like he was assembled from wispy oddments of wool, scampers behind on short legs. . .

Woman shares partner’s farm death story as lesson – Luke Kirkeby:

Harriet Bremner still struggles to talk about the death of her long-term partner.

But two and a half years on, the Canterbury primary school teacher and children’s author, whose partner James Hayman was killed in a baler in the Hakataramea Valley in 2017, is finding strength in using her grief to prevent other farm workers from putting themselves in harm’s way.

Bremner is working alongside WorkSafe New Zealand, travelling throughout New Zealand to share her story.

She recently stopped in at Putaruru College in the South Waikato where she spoke with a group of horticultural and agricultural students. Since 2013 there have been approximately 16 on-farm deaths in the Waikato alone. . . 

Doug Avery seeks to inspire Yorkshire farmers to adopt power of the positive – Ben Barnett:

Farmers have an “amazing opportunity” despite the challenges that lie ahead, as long as they forge a truly resilient mindset to embrace change, according to the author of a best-selling book about positive mental health.

New Zealand farmer Doug Avery, whose book The Resilient Farmer documents his own journey from debt-heaped depression to one of his country’s biggest agricultural success stories, wants to use his current UK tour to help smash the taboo that stops both farmers, and the wider public, from talking about poor mental health.

A farmer who is empowered by positive mental health can see through their worries and capitalise on opportunities, the 64-year-old told Country Week ahead of a public speaking appearance in Harrogate in 12 days’ time. . .

‘Gran’ shows us how it’s done – Jill Galloway:

It was hard for Suzanne Giesen when her husband John died.

She was just 32, had five children aged from 1 to 11 and had a farm to run. More than 50 years later she is still living and working on the farm.

“When John died, my father-in-law said I should go into town. I have never lived in town and I wanted to stay on the farm,” Suzanne Giesen told Rural News.

The Giesens had leased the farm for 10 years, with the right to buy. When John was around, they set about improving the property. “There was gorse in almost every paddock. I don’t think there was a stock proof fence on the place. The gorse was so thick you couldn’t walk through some paddocks.” . . 

Seeds are earning us big money  – Annette Scott:

Small seeds have yielded big gains for New Zealand’s multi-billion dollar agri-food sector.

The quiet achieving seed sector pumped almost $800 million into the NZ economy last year with pasture and vegetable seeds putting food on the table in more ways than one.

A new economic impact report shows NZ’s world class seed production is one of the country’s smallest primary industries but with a modest footprint it contributes much more to NZ’s bottom line than many realise, NZ Grain and Seed Trade Association general manager Thomas Chin said.

Business and Economic Research (BERL) reports the total output value of seeds grown in 2018 was $798m, adding $329m to NZ’s GDP. . . 

 

Biotech policy a step in the right direction, says Agcarm:

The peak association that represents New Zealand’s animal medicine and crop protection industries welcomes the National party’s new biotech policy.

Agcarm chief executive Mark Ross says that updating New Zealand’s biotechnology regulations to embrace the latest science will “allow life-saving medicines, benefit the environment, eradicate pests and boost food production”.

“New Zealand is being stalled from adopting the latest science due to archaic laws that halt innovation. . . 


Rural round-up

October 8, 2017

Story of Hakataramea farrmer and his sausage dog subject of new children’s book – Jody O’Callaghan:

The instant bond between a South Canterbury farmer and his vertically-challenged sausage dog is the stuff legends are made of.

An unlikely friendship formed the day miniature dachshund Poppy was handed to Hakataramea farmer James Hayman. It has become the subject of children’s book Bob n Pops, their nicknames.

Author Harriet Bremner, Hayman’s partner, has released the book nine months after the 27-year-old was killed in a farm accident in January. . . 

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Irish love their farmers why don’t kiwis? – Peter Burke:

During the election campaign NZ farmers – and the rural community in general – came under attack from politicians and the public, and felt they were being demonised.

This is in sharp contrast to what’s happening 20,000km away in Ireland, where the people are proud of what their farmers do. Peter Burke reports.

In Ireland the public are proud of what their farmers are doing, says Padraig Brennan, director of markets for Origin Green. . . 

Run by Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board), Origin Green is a highly successful quality assurance programme that most of Ireland’s dairy farmers have signed up to; o have the nation’s major food and drink manufacturers, some beef farmers and even major retail outlets such as McDonalds restaurant chain. . .

Poo is powering a Southland dairy shed – Sonita Chandar:

Poos and wees are heating and lighting up a cowshed in Southland.

In what could only be described as an environmental game-changer, Glenarlea Farm, one of Fortuna Group’s farms in Southland, is converting effluent methane into electricity.

Dairy Green agricultural and engineering consultant John Scandrett says the new system has been 13 years in the making and is now generating enough electricity to power the cowshed and heat the shed hot water. . . 

Reducing nutrient losses wins dairy science award:

Investing in cutting edge science paid off for the Pastoral 21 (P21) research team from DairyNZ and AgResearch at the 2017 Kudos Science Excellence Awards.

The P21 team won the Agricultural Science Award for the research, being applied on commercial farms across the country, that has helped increase productivity while lowering the environmental footprint through the reduction of nutrient losses.

The research has led to 30-40 percent reductions in nitrate losses on farm.

Small changes have led to big environmental gains, says DairyNZ principle scientist Dr David Chapman. . . 

Polish Dairy to join Fonterra’s Global Dairy Trade platform from Nov 21 – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Polish Dairy, the fifth largest producer of milk in the European Union, will join Fonterra Cooperative Group’s Global Dairy Trade platform from Nov 21, initially offering skim milk powder, whole milk powder, butter and lactose on the platform.

“Central Europe has become an increasingly important dairy region. The addition of a seller from Poland is evidence of the emerging strength of that nation’s dairy sector, and will be welcomed by our network of over 500 registered GDT Events buyers,” said Eric Hansen, director of Global Dairy Trade in a press release. The platform, which has moved more than US$20 billion in dairy products since it launched in 2008, is looking to broaden its offering to meet customer needs. . . 


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