Rural round-up

22/12/2020

Trust advises care as drought threatens – Sally Rae:

Farmers in the Waimate and North Otago districts are being urged to keep an eye on each other as the area becomes “critically dry”.

Affected areas included Waimate, Waihaorunga and through the Hakataramea Valley and coastal North Otago, Otago Rural Support Trust co-ordinator Lindsay Purvis said.

Stock seemed to be in good order, which was often the case when drought started, and some farmers were weaning lambs at 8 weeks old, Mr Purvis said.

There seemed to be a market from Dunedin south for store lambs, although the store beef market had “virtually collapsed”. . . 

Red meat industry’s problems researched – John Gibb:

A change of direction is needed urgently if the future of New Zealand’s red meat industry is to be salvaged, a researcher warns.

“When I dug into this I could see that most of it is not fantastic,’’ University of Otago researcher James Wilkes said.

On Saturday, Mr Wilkes, of Christchurch, became the first New Zealand-based former student to graduate with the new Otago doctor of business administration (DBA) degree.

Four other people were also in the first cohort to gain the degree, including two Chinese students whose graduation was celebrated at a Zoom event. . . 

Migrant worker visas extended to address labour uncertainties :

The government is extending the visas of many migrant workers to ease labour shortfalls.

As part of a package announced tonight, working holiday and employer-assisted work visas will be pushed forward six months.

A 12-month stand-down period for low-paid Essential Skills visa holders working in New Zealand for three years will also be put on hold until January 2022. . . 

How wine and cheese can boost your brain :

Got a soft spot for cheese and a drop of red wine? Your brain might just thank you for it.

New research from Iowa State University shows consumption of cheese and red wine can boost the brain.

The study’s lead author, assistant professor of food science and human nutrition Auriel Willette, said the findings about the beneficial effects of cheese were unexpected.

“To my total surprise… the strongest predictor of people having good food intelligence is cheese. . . 

New system a big boost for dam safety – David Williams:

A two-and-a-half-year upgrade completes a 30-year journey for a big tech company, David Williams writes in this content partnership article

What’s striking about dams, like people, is how different they are, Dam Safety Intelligence’s general manager Dan Forster says. 

“Dams have all got their own unique personalities and characteristic traits. And the big thing is that on the surface a dam can seem to be in good condition and performing well but what really matters is how it’s performing underneath the surface.”

If it were human, a well-monitored dam might look like a patient in hospital, with a pin-cushion of sensors and instruments poking into and out of them. In the case of a big dam, experts are checking for things like the reservoir level, seepage flow, and “piezometric” pressures on various parts of the engineered structure, such as where the dam meets other surfaces, called abutments. . . 

 

Grants for farmers wanting to grow Christmas trees :

Financial support is being offered to Cheshire farmers interested in growing a Christmas tree crop on their land.

Grants covering up to 70% of the planting and establishment costs of a conifer crop has been made available by United Utilities.

Alongside this, expert advice and training on all aspects of Christmas tree growing will be given to farmers.

The water firm’s catchment advisor, Vee Moore said growing Christmas trees can be a profitable use of land. . . 


Rural round-up

02/09/2017

10 reasons to questions Labour’s water tax – Mike Chapman:

1 – There is no detail, it is uncertain and its keeps on changing. The only certainty is there will be a water tax if Labour are elected.

2 – No one in New Zealand pays for water. What we pay for is the infrastructure to deliver water and for water treatment. Legally, you can’t be charged for water. For example, one rural bore to draw water from could cost around $200,000 to put in, and that’s before it’s operational – it then costs to run it.

3 – Only rural businesses will pay the water tax; urban businesses will not. This means it is incorrect to portray this tax as being on large commercial water users. If your farm or processing plant is on urban water supply, you’ll only pay for infrastructure but, if your farm or processing plant is taking rural water, you’ll pay for infrastructure plus a water tax. Global drinks manufacturer Coca-Cola is on Auckland’s town supply, and so will get an advantage over rural water bottlers for example. . .

How to save wool? Look to the future – Andy Ramsden:

The way to lift wool prices out of their doldrums is to develop products the future will want, writes Andy Ramsden.

How do we double the value of wool returns to the grower?

Lifting wool returns significantly requires a shift in the way we think about wool. We need a new model that puts the consumer’s needs first and works back to breed to create a product tailored for that specific market.

We need to think, how do we double the value of wool? As opposed to a slight shift, we should ask – how do we go from $3 to $7/kg for coarse wool? We need to get back to a premium value, where the pride in producing a good wool product comes back. . .

Otago century orchard a good keeper – Rob Tipa:

Rob Tipa meets a fourth-generation orchardist still picking the fruit from trees planted by his great-grandfather 100 years ago.

If there is one single factor that links Kiwi families who have passed farmland down from one generation to the next for 100 years or more, it is sustainability.

For Central Otago fruit-grower Simon Webb, his measure of sustainability is that he is still harvesting and selling fruit from a few old varieties of apples and pears planted by his great-grandfather more than a century ago. . .

Award winning moova keeps calves high and dry – Rexene Hawes:

Newborn calves are being kept high and dry thanks to a bit of clever innovation.

The Moova calf transporter, is meeting animal welfare needs and also health and safety for the farmer.

The idea came from Taupo farmer Kim Caldwell, who wanted an easier way to transport calves, and load and unload them into a trailer rather than bending over. . .

Farmer gains advice, expertise when judges visit:

Having a group of people of differing expertise visit her farm and offer advice was extremely valuable for 2017 Horizons Ballance Farm Environment Awards finalist Nic Leary.

She’s in charge of Tarata Farm – a leased 500ha, 4400-stock-unit sheep and beef property west of Raetihi – run in conjunction with another family property.

“The judging panel that visited Tarata included two farmers – two different farmers in terms of the type of property they farm, where they farm and what they focused on – as well as a rural banker and a regional council land management person. . .

Fresh grass or fresh ideas, which will secure New Zealand’s future – James Wilkes:

New Zealand’s lush green countryside and its free-range farming system has generated and created the nation’s wealth and whilst that system is now stretched to capacity, it has positioned the farming sector well for the disruptive rigors of the 21st Century…and it’s mostly a great story.

New Zealand farmers have done some heavy lifting over the country’s history and are held in high regard by global peers. Townies and those in professional services please take note. Someone has to do something for you to make a living. Thank goodness for farmers. What would the cash flow and P & L performance look like in many professional services firms without them?

Actually what would New Zealand look like without them? Prosperity and productivity would be further challenged and whilst Sir Paul Callaghan famously suggested getting off the grass, he also noted the country would be much poorer without Fonterra and the dairy sector. Like most things in life, finding the balance is key. . .

Keeping ‘natural capital’ intact – Bala Tikkisetty:

One teaspoon of soil contains more living organisms than there are people in the world. Without this biological diversity there would be no life on earth.

In addition to providing habitat for billions of organisms, soil acts as a water filter and growing medium. It contributes to biodiversity, solid waste treatment, acts as a filter for wastewater and supports agriculture.

Unlocking the secrets of this complex chemical, physical and biological powerhouse – a powerful source of ‘natural capital’ — has had a huge impact on human life. . .

Who owns Australia’s biggest dairy operations?

As a battle for the assets of Murray Goulburn heats up, we list who is behind Australia’s largest dairy operations. . .


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