James Robertson FMG Young Farmer of the Year

July 7, 2019

James Robertson is the 51st FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

. . . The 22-year-old is the youngest contestant ever to win the grand final. . .

He’s proof you don’t have to milk cows to have a career in New Zealand’s multi-billion dollar dairy sector.

“The opportunities in the agri-food sector are endless, even if you live in the city. You just have to be passionate,” he said. . .

He also took out the FMG People’s Choice Award, winning $1000 for his Auckland Young Farmers club.

Central Hawke’s Bay technical field representative Joseph Watts, 28, was runnerup while Waikato vet Emma Dangen, 24, came third. .

You can read more about James here.


Rural round-up

June 11, 2019

An open letter to the Minister of Regional Development Shane Jones – Richard Alspach:

Dear Mr Jones;

Your plan to plant billions of trees has certainly raised a lot of interest, and not a little concern. I read today of a new lobby group, calling itself 50 shades of Green, which has as its motivation a growing concern about the continued viability of rural communities.

Here in Kaipara we’ve seen it all before. Back in the early eighties the then Government (Prime Minister at the time Rob Muldoon) of the day gave consent for a joint venture to be formed between Shell Oil, an overseas company, and New Zealand Forest Products, at that time New Zealand Owned. The joint venture was called Mangakahia Forests, and its stated intention was to establish a forest of 25,000 hectares, largely in the North of the old Hobson County, since 1989 a part of Kaipara District.

They managed to secure 22,000 hectares. In doing so they displaced a quarter of a million stock units, and brought up 83 separate farms. In a very short time it caused a transformation of the District and its economy. There used to be three top dressing aircraft based in Dargaville, almost overnight it dropped to one. There used to be regular ewe fairs, within two years there were none, the number of shearers dropped off; some country schools closed and others were seriously down sized. The loss of that number of Stock units so quickly was a causal factor in the downsizing of the Moerewa Freezing works. The rate take from that 22,000 hectares dropped significantly, once the land became rateable as exotic forestry. . . 

Austrian aristocrat buys second farm to convert to forest – Gerard Hutching:

Austrian aristocrat Countess Veronika Leeb-Goess-Saurau has snapped up a sheep and beef farm in Wairarapa, to add to the northern Hawke’s Bay property she bought two years ago.

The latest buy is the 1727 hectare Hadleigh farm near Masterton owned by Nelson-based American businessman Tom Sturgess, for which she has paid $13.4 million.

The sale comes amid concerns that a rash of farms is being sold and converted for forestry in areas like the East Coast and Wairarapa, with a resulting loss of jobs and services. . . . 

A sustainable food production silver bullet under our noses – Dr John Baker:

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sees New Zealand becoming a sustainable food producing nation in a big way. It’s part of the Government’s wellbeing policy.

I applaud that. Yet she’s ignoring the way to achieve it.

One of the silver bullets to sustainable food production is under our noses and will achieve wellbeing, not just in New Zealand, but the world.

The Government continues to overlook a technology, developed here, that addresses climate change by returning carbon to the soil instead of releasing it into the atmosphere. That’s fundamental. . .  . . 

Room to move on mohair – Carl King:

Weaving quality mohair is keeping the door open for angora farmers to get even higher returns, writes Federated Farmers – Mohair New Zealand chairman Carl King.

New Zealand mohair is experiencing a lift in fleece prices.

The main two drivers behind the boost are that overseas demand outstrips supply and Australia and South African angora goats are facing severe drought conditions.

Top quality angora fleeces are on average being sold at $40 a kilo plus. . . 

Wool bonanza – Annette Scott:

Increased international demand for fine wool is putting Kiwi wool within reach of becoming a $2 billion industry.

New Zealand Merino Company chief executive John Brakenridge said if half NZ’s crossbred wool clip shifts into higher-value fine wool contracts the economic upside will be as high as $2b.

Increased international demand for fine wool could spell profit for sheep farmers with wool giving kiwifruit and wine a real run for their money in terms of exports, he said. . .

Adding value to the farm business through health and safety:

FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand finalist James Robertson gained first-hand experience of the impact an injury can have on a farm business when his father suffered an accident.

“He was kicked by a cow and broke his thumb,” says James, who grew up on his family’s dairy farm near Mystery Creek.

“I think I’d been a bit oblivious to health and safety as a young person but I really saw the implications an injury has on the business. He wasn’t able to work in the cattle shed for a few weeks. Having a key person not able to do that put a lot of pressure on everyone else.” . . 


Rural round-up

July 16, 2015

Trade agreements add up to big savings – Gerard Hutching:

Free trade agreements with China and Taiwan helped save New Zealand $161 million through lower tariffs on sheep and beef exports in 2014.

Beef+ Lamb New Zealand chief executive Scott Champion said the tariff savings were a market access success story, enabling New Zealand to remain competitive on the global market and giving exporters the flexibility to sell products into more markets.

The sector’s export returns for the period total $7.7 billion, with the amount in tariffs paid falling from $331m in 2013 to $326m in 2014.

Meanwhile beef and veal export returns reached a record high of $2.53bn – up $686m on the corresponding period last season. . .

Charities benefit from farmers’ toil – Kate Taylor:

One of Hawke’s Bay’s oldest sheep stations has been profiled in a new book, Kereru Station: Two Sisters’ Legacy.

Kereru Station managers Danny and Robyn Angland run the business to meet the needs of the owners, a partnership between two charitable trusts set up by the late sisters, Gwen Malden and Ruth Nelson. Between them, the two trusts have gifted almost $9 million to several hundred organisations and causes, mostly in Hawke’s Bay. . .

Farm ownership in under 10 years – Tony Benny:

When David Affleck was growing up on a remote sheep, beef and deer farm at the head of Ahaura River on the West Coast, the last thing he wanted to do was milk cows. But when he was offered a job on a dairy farm in Canterbury, that soon changed.

“It wasn’t really what I wanted to do but I gave it a go and I’ve been milking cows ever since, really. I pretty much liked it straightaway and started to learn things pretty quick,” he says.

But his wife, Anna, whose family owned a dairy farm in Reporoa, Bay of Plenty, has always loved cows. . . 

Work for breed recognised  – Sally Rae:

James Robertson’s lengthy involvement with Holstein Friesian New Zealand has been acknowledged.
The Outram farmer, who is the third generation of his family to belong to the association, was presented with a distinguished service award at HFNZ’s recent annual meeting in Masterton.

Dale Collie, of Carterton, also received the award, which recognises members who have contributed to the Holstein Friesian breed and the association at regional and/or national level. . . 

Bison-beef cattle cross gives beefalo – Allison Beckham:

What do you get when you cross a bison bull with a beef cow? Beefalo.

And a brand new beefalo arrival on Blair and Nadia Wisely’s Southland farm earlier this month is expected to be the start of an all local beefalo blood line.

Despite his unmasculine name, Bobo the bison – the 6 year old shaggy beast weighing 900kg the Wiselys have owned for four years – appears to have proved his parental prowess at last, successfully mating with a 50 50 bison/Charolais cow produced using bison semen imported from the United States. . . 

Truffle time in Christchurch – Ben Irwin:

What do you know about truffles?

Well, like reporter Ben Irwin, most of us probably know next to nothing about the expensive, subterranean fungus.

So Ben, wanting to educate himself and look busy, went searching for what is known as Canterbury’s Black Gold. . .

Survey maps future landscape

Landcare Research is asking farmers, foresters and growers to take part in a survey designed to show what the landscape may look in decades to come.

The survey of Rural Decision Makers was first held in 2013, in conjunction with the Ministry for the Environment. It proved so popular that Landcare Research now conducts it every two years.
The survey’s director, economist Pike Brown, said it focused on what farmers were thinking, rather than figures such as the number of stock they had.
“There’s lots of questions about how farms are managed and how forests are managed, questions about irrigation. . . 

 

 

 

 

 


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