Rural round-up

July 7, 2019

Group think clears the waters – Neal Wallace:

The message to those attending the recent South Island Dairy Event in Invercargill was unequivocal: If farmers create an environmental issue they need to take control of the solution. Neal Wallace reports on how farmers are resolving water quality issues in Southland and Otago.

Farmers  are the only people who can reverse the declining quality of Otago’s Pomahaka River, farmer Lloyd McCall says.

The Pomahaka Water Care Group was formed in 2014 because the Otago Regional Council and the Landcare Trust were not going to improve the river’s water quality.

“It’s got to be by farmers,” McCall says.

“You couldn’t fix it by rules.” . . .

Wairarapa shepherd bucks trend of youth rejecting farming careers -Gerard Hutching & Jessica Long:

As fewer young people are signing up for primary sector vocational courses, Wairarapa shepherd Ashley Greer is one swimming against the tide.

Every since she was a teen Greer wanted to work on a farm, although she never had the opportunity when she was young.

“I grew up in Bulls, my dad was a farm worker but we left the farm when I hit high school. I never got all the hands-on experience like other kids did because it wasn’t our farm,” she says . .

Yili’s gain on the West Coast brings a $500,000 windfall to farmers – but local leaders lament sale to foreigners – Point of Order:

Westland  Milk  Products  farmer-shareholders  voted overwhelming in the past week to accept  the  $558m  takeover bid   by   Chinese  giant  Yili  for the   co-op’s  milk processing  operation.

For  individual  farmer shareholders, the  bid  means an injection of  around  $500,000 each  into their  bank accounts,  plus better  returns for their milk  over  the  next  10 years.

No wonder  94%  of the  96% eligible shareholders  cast their votes in   favour.  West Coast farmer and Federated Farmer president Katie Milne, who is also a WMP director, said it was an “absolutely stunning” result for West Coast farmers. . . .

Positive event encourages future farmers – Yvonne O’Hara:

”If we don’t have young people who are passionate and who see a future in the sector coming through, we won’t have a future.”

South Island Dairy Event organising committee chairman Simon Topham was speaking at the end of a BrightSide session in Invercargill last week.

About 120 people, mostly young farm workers, attended the session devoted to finances and career progression.

Mr Topham said the positive response to BrightSide, proved there was a demand for similar sessions in future events. . .

Wool courses target pressing need – Luke Chivers:

New qualifications will help solve a critical need to train shearers and wool handlers, Primary ITO chief executive Linda Sissons says.

Dr Sissons launched three micro-credentials – ‘Introduction to the Woolshed’, ‘Learner Wool Handler’, and ‘Learner Shearer’ – at the Primary Industries Summit in Wellington on Monday afternoon.

The courses are bite-sized pieces of learning, aimed at recognising or teaching specific workplace skills on the job in a short time.. .

Colin Hurst named Arable Farmer of the Year:

His “immense contribution” to Federated Farmers, related industry bodies and across the nation’s arable sector saw Colin Hurst named Arable Farmer of the Year last night.

Federated Farmers Arable Industry Group Chairperson Karen Williams said it was difficult to know where to start with Colin’s contribution to farming. The South Canterbury farmer has served Feds at national, regional and branch level and has also put in countless hours for the South Canterbury Rural Support Trust, the Arable Industry Group’s Herbage Seedgrowers Subsection, United Wheatgrowers and the Foundation for Arable Research. . .

Lighter wines :

This programme is the largest research and development effort ever undertaken by New Zealand’s wine industry. Lighter Wines (formerly Lifestyle Wines) is designed to position New Zealand as number 1 in the world for high quality, lower alcohol and lower calorie ‘lighter’ wines. It aims to capitalise on the domestic and international market demand for these wines.

The challenge

The challenge is not just producing high quality lighter wines but producing them naturally, giving New Zealand a point of difference and making New Zealand the “go to” country for high quality, lighter wines.

The solution

This programme aims to capitalise on market-led opportunities domestically and internationally, using applied research and development to provide innovative solutions. . . 

Hey farmer: you are not the farm – Uptown Sheep:

Hey Farmer,

I need you to hear something right now. I need you to hear this loud and clear – I’m so sorry for everything this year has thrown at you. I’m so sorry for all the things you cannot control that put so much weight on you. But hear me – YOU are not defined by this year’s crop. Or this year’s income. Or this year’s “success”.

You are not the farm. You are more than the farm.

I saw you leave again this morning, smiling, but still carrying the stress. I know the first thing you did was drive down by the creek to see how much the water has receded. After you do chores in flooded pastures, you’ll sit with your Dad to try and figure out what fields might dry out the fastest and what, if anything, can be done while you wait. . . .


Rural round-up

February 12, 2019

Nelson bush fire: Richmond’s land-based ark caring for evacuated animals- Jessica Long:

Emotional owners evacuated from their homes in the Nelson fires are leaving animals on Richmond Showground’s 100 acres which has transformed into a land-based ark. 

The grounds have not been used for any large scale events since soldiers trained for World War I, Richmond Showground Nelson A&P Association treasurer John Harwood said.

Streams of cars have flowed into the grounds since a devastating forest fire broke out in Pigeon Valley, about 30 kilometres south of Nelson on Tuesday afternoon. A second fire broke out in Nelson City on Friday afternoon prompting further residential evacuations. . . 

Southern catchment groups hailed as leaders in field – Ken Muir:

The South is taking the lead in the formation of local catchment groups to improve water quality and the environment, says Sarah Thorne, project co-ordinator for the NZ Landcare Trust in Southland.

”Other areas are closely watching the progress of bodies such as the Pourakino catchment group and larger-scale projects such as Aparima Community Environment [Ace] Project,” Thorne said.

The NZ Landcare Trust is an independent, non-governmental organisation that was established in 1996. . . 

‘Shear for Life’ charity event draws some big names:

Current and former world shearing champions, stars from the She Shears movie and former All Black greats are among the shearers getting together at a one-off event in Mid Canterbury this month to raise money for cancer.

The ”Shear for Life” charity shearing event, hosted at the Ewing family woolshed in Hinds, started as a chance for a few of the old crowd to catch up.

But the idea has ballooned, and now 70 international and national veteran shearers will converge on Mid Canterbury to shear 3000 crossbred sheep for fun – and to raise money for Ashburton Cancer Support Group, Breast Cancer NZ and Prostate Cancer NZ. . . 

North Canterbury dairy farmer wants to bridge rural-urban divide through communication – Emma Dangerfield:

Connecting people with different lifestyles is vital for breaking down the rural-urban divide, according to North Canterbury farmer Michelle Maginness.

Maginness runs 220-hectare dairy farm Lake Ernmor in Eyrewell, her fourth farm since starting out as a sharemilker after graduating from Lincoln University.

She said farmers should proactively invite their communities to their farms to show them what they are doing to care for their animals and land. . . 

Farmers’ industry doesn’t make them industrial – Lyn Webster:

Back in the early nineties when I started milking cows the strategic application of nitrogen fertiliser commonly in the granulated form of Urea was widely promoted.

That was done by government agencies, fertiliser sellers, farm consultants and industry good agencies (now Dairy NZ) as the cheapest way to grow grass, and at $200 (now $700) a tonne many started adopting it as good option.

A few years later PKE meal (Palm Kernel Expeller) came into the country and was quickly adopted by dairy farmers as a relatively cheap, easily fed out way to fully feed animals as a complement a pasture-based system.  . . 

Trees can help erosion problems – Tim Warrington:

Hill country farmers’ efforts to prevent soil loss through erosion are being increasingly scrutinised.

This comes from environmental regulators and people wanting cleaner rivers and coastlines, says Northern Hawke’s Bay catchment manager Nathan Heath.

“And there is likely to be increasing regulatory pressure put on landholders who are not doing anything about erosion on their properties,” he says. “But there is money available for landholders to do soil conservation works on their properties.” . . 

Helicopter inspections reveal the worst in north west Queensland – Sally Cripps:

Stock losses of 50 to 60 per cent and more were being estimated across a large portion of north west Queensland this morning as graziers got their first access to the watery bombshell that hit earlier this week.

That will total up to thousands of head dead in one of the worst natural disasters seen in the region.

Winton stock and station agent and grazier, Tom Brodie, said it was a common belief that any places on the open downs black soil country would fare the worst. . . 

 


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