Rural round-up

June 13, 2013

Fieldays: Ag’s productivity in question -Richard Rennie:

The high costs of owning and running New Zealand farms have blunted the sector’s productivity over the past decade, raising concerns over ongoing competitiveness.

The concerns come as Mystery Creek once again plays host to the National Fieldays showcasing the latest technology, aimed to drive more productivity into farm operations.

Phil Journeaux, a long-time analyst with Ministry for Primary Industries and now consultant with AgFirst, has voiced his concerns over the pastoral sector’s low total productivity gains. . . .

Global food in focus at Fieldays – James Ihaka:

Mystery Creek organisers hope to top last year’s attendance when 128,000 people came through the gates.

Kiwi farmers’ expertise could help solve the problem of how to feed the world’s rapidly growing population in the years ahead, says the boss of agriculture show Fieldays.

But for now, the organisers of this year’s event at Mystery Creek and its hundreds of exhibitors are hoping they will just show up and spend some cash when the gates open today.

“Getting down to business in the global economy” is the theme at this year’s Fieldays, which is the biggest agricultural show of its type in the Southern Hemisphere. . .

Our farming practices are lauded by communities half a world away but only seen by local councils as ‘milch

 cows – Bruce Wills:

Federated Farmers Vice-President, Dr William Rolleston, not only attended the Green Party’s mini-conference on climate change but returned with all of his limbs intact.

For all of the misreporting about agriculture and the Emissions Trading Scheme, we are in it as much as you are reading this.

From fuel to power and ‘number eight’ wire, farmers pay the ETS like everybody else.

The only difference is the treatment of farm biological emissions and even here there seems to be movement. . . .

Farmers have no problem taking responsibility when things go wrong but that should apply to bureaucrats too – Bruce Wills:

The proverb “for want of a nail” has been around for centuries and reminds us very small things can have very big consequences.

In 1918 a certain Adolph Hitler was injured in battle and for want of a few millimetres, our world may have been a very different one.

The proverb neatly sums up the fiasco that has been New Zealand’s handling of meat documentation for China. . .

More mental health support for drought affected communities:

Farmers affected by this year’s devastating drought are being offered more help, with workshops about how to recognise and cope with mental health problems, Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew announced today.

“Working in very stressful and difficult circumstances can have a significant effect on a person’s mental health and those in the rural community can be vulnerable after such a large-scale event,” says Mrs Goodhew.

The Ministry of Health is working with local rural organisations in the drought-declared rural communities to hold a short series of workshops teaching people to recognise the signs of mental health problems and know how to respond.  The dates and locations of the workshops will be announced shortly. . .

Aussie bachelor says he’s got the class to show up kiwis – Jame Ihaka:

Australian farmer Sam Trethewey says there is just one factor that separates him from a bunch of strapping New Zealand hopefuls all vying to win the Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year award.

“Class,” he said. “We don’t wear stubbies or beanies over there, mate, we do things with a bit of class.”

The 29-year-old who farms merino sheep, beef and various crops on a property near Bannockburn, southwest of Melbourne, is one of eight rural Romeos competing for a $20,000-plus prize pool in the popular Fieldays event that’s making a comeback after a year’s absence. . .

Cheesemaking bachelor-style – Jenna Lynch:

It would be fair to assume that our Fieldays Rural Bachelor boys know how to milk a cow, but how far do their skills stretch when comes to producing the end product?

In today’s heat 3 of the Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year competition the lads had their culinary skills pushed to the limit in a Masterchef style Cheese-off.

Each of the strapping young contenders was required to produce a hunk of haloumi from raw ingredients, after being schooled by a cheese maker from Over the Moon Cheese.  . .


Vamos Los Pumas

October 7, 2012

My farmer has taken some of our staff and a few strays to a Beldisloe Cup test in Australia for several years.

When asked why I didn’t go too, I’ve always said we’d both enjoy it more if I didn’t.

But the idea of going to Argentina with the All Blacks was different.

We hosted an AFS student from there and his family is now ours. Our links to Argentina have been strengthened by the marriage of a nephew to a woman from Buenos Aires; we’d had six trips there and I was very keen on a seventh visit.

We joined the 300-strong Air New Zealand All Black entourage which left New Zealand a week before the Rugby Championship test against the Pumas.

The nine of us in our group were all country people and included four farmers and a stock agent. We could have stayed in Buenos Aires and gone to an All Black practice but the call of the country was stronger so we headed out of town for four days to catch up with friends and visit farms.

We returned to the city on Thursday in time to join the entourage’s evening with the Club Atlético Ferrocarril General San Martín, home of the San Martin Rugby Club where we were entertained by  a three-part contest between former Pumas prop Serafin Dengra and former All Black Frank Bunce (Dengra won the haka, Bunce won the tango and I’m not sure who won the banner erection.)

The locals were very welcoming,  forgiving of my rusty Spanish and treated us to a delicious meal featuring meat cooked on the asado.

Saturday’s test was in La Plata about 40 minutes from Buenos Aires. We arrived there mid-afternoon for a couple of hours of pre-game build-up which included talks by Olympic gold medalist Mahe Drysdale and Frank Bunce.

Our journey from there to the stadium was eased by a police escort which amused us and gained the attention of people we passed, most of whom gave us big smiles and friendly waves.

Estadio Unico, which is covered,  seats 52,000 and had a capacity crowd.

It is alcohol-free which appeared to have no impact on the enthusiasm and enjoyment of the crowd.

All week advertisements had been encouraging people to hug each other while the All Blacks did the haka and most of those in the stadium did.

The noise from the crowd was deafening, especially when the Pumas scored first. They quietened down a bit as the All Blacks took control but continued to be good humoured and polite even though it was obvious the home side wasn’t going to win.

The only noise while the Puma’s player too a shot at goal was from New Zealanders which earned shocked looks from the locals. When thy were noisy while an All Black was taking a shot, the announcer asked them to show respect.

It was an amazing experience and while I still think my farmer and I would both enjoy the Australian excursions more if I didn’t go, my fears about what happens on rugby trips weren’t realised.

Air New Zealand looked after us well with good pre-tour communication, excellent communication and organisation in Argentina and their usual friendly but professional service. They finished by putting on a special flight from Auckland to Christchurch for southerners when a later departure than anticipated from Buenos Aires meant we’d miss the scheduled connection.

If they offer a similar trip in future I’d be very keen to go again.

The 54-15 score secured the All Blacks the Rugby Championship trophy but the Pumas didn’t give up and given the Wallabies’ injury woes could well beat them when they meet in Rosario this afternoon.

With Robbie Deans as coach my heart would usually back the Wallabies if they were playing anyone but the All Blacks. But with memories of the wonderful experience in La Plata so fresh, today I’m saying vamos Los Pumas.

P.S. Jame Ihaka covered the tour for the Herald: Day 1,  day 2, day 3, day 4, day 5, day 6, day 7 and day 8.


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