Rural round-up

November 4, 2015

Animal welfare taken seriously by SPCA and MPI – Jill Galloway:

The needs of animals have to be met by lifestylers and farmers, but prosecution is a last resort for authorities dealing with animal welfare, writes Jill Galloway.

No one sets out not to care about the animals they look after, but sometimes other things such as finances or a messy marriage break-up take precedence and the animals slip down the priority list.

“Something else is often going on in someone’s life and they can’t put the animals’ needs on top of the list.  Sometimes someone is just too old and not coping anymore with being in a remote place,” says Jim Flack from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). . . 

New Plants Bring Added Value at Peak:

New processing plants around the country have helped Fonterra process more than 86.9 million litres of milk on the Co-operative’s biggest day of the year.

The peak of Fonterra’s milking season was reached on October 22nd this year, with five new plants each contributing to a performance that has seen a record amount of peak milk made into value-added products.

Managing Director Global Operations Robert Spurway says the additional capacity has given the Co-operative more options in its product mix. . . .

Kiwi Tractors – a Humble National Icon – Beattie’s Book Blog:

Kiwi Tractors: A Humble National Icon

by Steve Hale

Bateman – Hardcover – RRP $39.99

From lifestyle blocks to vineyards, high country stations to boat ramps, the humble tractor is a much-loved and instantly recognisable feature on any New Zealand landscape. The tractor is a part of our national identity, as Kiwi as pavlova, Marmite, and a silver fern on the sacred black jersey.

In Kiwi Tractors, Steve Hale elicits some delightful stories of affection from Kiwi owners for their tractors.

During his research for Kiwi Tractors Steve found himself continually taken aback by the depth of knowledge possessed by various tractor owners, their zest for restoration and passion for collecting. . . 

Allied Farmers wants to buy back stake in NZ Farmers Livestock – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Allied Farmers wants to buy back a stake in NZ Farmers Livestock that it sold down last year to pay debts.

The Stratford-based company said subsidiary Allied Farmers Rural agreed to buy a 9.3 percent stake, or 950 shares, in NZ Farmers Livestock from Stockmans Holdings through the issue of $1 million of new shares. It currently owns 57 percent of NZ Farmers Livestock, while Stockmans owns 27 percent, according to Companies Office records.

Last year, Allied sold 1,026 shares in NZ Farmers Livestock for $1 million to Stockmans and Agent Co to enable it to help repay $2 million owed to Crown Asset Management following the failure of its Allied Nationwide Finance unit. . . .

Sir Brian Elwood awarded Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal for 2015:

Last night Sir Brian Elwood was awarded the 2015 Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal in recognition of the leadership he has displayed as chairman of industry regulator Kiwifruit New Zealand (KNZ) over the past 10 years. The award was presented at an industry dinner in Mount Maunganui which followed Zespri’s inaugural Kiwifruit Innovation Symposium.

Paul Jones is chairman of the Kiwifruit Industry Advisory Committee, Zespri director and chairman of the Hayward Medal judging panel, and he explains that Sir Brian’s legacy is the way in which the Kiwifruit Regulations have been administered to the overall benefit of NZ growers and suppliers.

“Sir Brian has a very fine legal mind. The Kiwifruit Regulations call on KNZ to exercise extensive judgement and discretion in their administration and Sir Brian’s thorough, meticulous analysis and vast experience has served the industry well,” says Mr Jones. . . 

MPI reminds consumers to take care when drinking raw milk:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is reminding consumers to take care when drinking raw unpasteurised milk, which is considered a high-risk food.

“We have seen a number of recent cases of foodborne illnesses linked to raw milk and it’s important that consumers remember and understand that there are risks with drinking raw milk,” says MPI Director Animal & Animal Products.

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurised (heat treated) to kill harmful bacteria like Campylobacter and Salmonella that are potentially present in the milk.

“Many people who drink raw milk do not always fully understand the risks and don’t realise that there is the possibility of getting sick from the harmful bacteria in the milk.” . . .

Fonterra Farm Source Delivers Millions in Value:

Fonterra Farm Source has delivered millions in value to more than 9,000 Fonterra farmers since it was launched in Methven a year ago.

Director Farm Source Stores Jason Minkhorst said farmers have already earned 5.7 million in Reward Dollars through Fonterra Farm Source, which is on track to deliver $14 million in discounts on key products by the end of this year.

“Fonterra Farm Source was created to make the most of the unity and strength of our Co-operative and provide a whole new level of support for our farmers. We’ve combined services, expertise, rewards, digital technology and financial options together with local Farm Source hubs to support the major dairying regions throughout the country,” Mr Minkhorst said. . . 

Kiwi arboricultural champions recognised

The recent 2015 Asplundh New Zealand Arboricultural Association (NZ Arb) conference and Husqvarna National Tree Climbing Championships in Nelson saw national champions announced and industry stalwarts celebrated.

The competition saw events testing competitors’ ability to professionally and safely manoeuvre in a tree, while performing work-related tree-care tasks efficiently. The final event Masters’ Climb then saw the National Champions crowned – women’s national champion Stef White (Central Otago) and men’s national champion Dale Thomas (Auckland). . . .

Multiple factors influence the economics of growing maize silage on-farm:

Maize silage grown on-farm is at its cheapest per kilo of dry matter in low pay-out years, reveals Ravensdown Agri Manager Bryce Fausett in a paper he is presenting to the New Zealand Grassland Association Conference today.

The paper titled ‘The true cost of maize silage’ is co-authored by J.S Rowarth and F.G Scrimgeour, and challenges assumptions that growing maize silage on-farm is the more economic choice. It details the multiple factors that influence the true cost of growing maize. . . .

Wattie’s (R) and Palmers join forces in the search for New Zealand’s ultimate SuperRed tomato grower!:

Legendary food brand Wattie’s – who have been supplying Kiwis canned tomatoes since 1936 – and gardening great Palmers have come together to lend their muscle to the inaugural Wattie’s & Palmers SuperRed Tomato Growing Competition 2015.

What makes this competition extra special is that for the first time, the Wattie’s tomato seed used to grow their iconic canned tomatoes is available for purchase by the public. Wattie’s field tomatoes, aka Wattie’s ‘SuperRed’ seedlings, are unique to traditional ‘beefsteak’ tomatoes. They grow as a bush and not a vine, with firm, flavour packed fruit that are more elongated than round. The fruit is relatively high in natural sugars and lycopene, and the fruit on the bush ripen around the same time making them perfect for Wattie’s Canned Tomatoes. Now they can be grown at home to enjoy fresh and for a season of homemade chutneys and relishes. . . 

Woman made her favourite cow bridesmaid at her wedding:

Like most brides, Caroline Conley Buckingham wanted to be surrounded by her loved ones when she walked down the aisle on her big day.

Buckingham says her wedding wouldn’t have been complete without one honorary bridesmaid — her favorite cow. And, no, that’s not a fat joke.

The Jonesboro, Tenn. native has a self-proclaimed “cow obsession” and she couldn’t have imagined saying, “I do,” this June without her favorite cow, Roxie, by her side. Buckingham loved her cows long before her husband, Ethan, came into the picture. . .

Rural round-up

September 14, 2015

Federated Farmers welcome court ruling on genetic modified crop:

A Western Australian Court of Appeal ruling on genetically modified (GM) crop liability has been welcomed by Federated Farmers as a landmark decision which clearly sets out fundamental responsibilities of good neighbours that apply equally well in New Zealand and around the farming world.

In 2014, organic farmer Steve Marsh sued his neighbour, GM farmer Michael Baxter, for damages after sheaves of GM canola blew onto his property, resulting in his partial decertification as an organic farmer. Mr Marsh also sought a permanent injunction preventing his neighbour from growing GM crops.

At the time the case went to court, anti-GM groups, confident of a win, hailed it as potentially precedent setting. . . 

25 pieces of advice for 25 year-old farmers – Matthew Naylor:

I have been a farmer in my own right for a quarter of a century.

I know that I look unfeasibly young to make such a claim; I started work at 15 and pretty well managed to avoid higher education.

Twenty-five more years of toil and I will be looking at the age of retirement from the other side.

To commemorate this halfway milestone, I have compiled the little that I have learned over my 25 years of experience into 25 pieces of advice for 25-year-old farmers.

  1. Set a clear and simple business plan and stick to it. Tell it to anyone who will listen – your family, colleagues, customers, competitors and even the postman.
  1. Kill weeds when they are small – this rule applies to any problem you encounter in life. . . 

Street doctor tells rural people to watch their health – Jill Galloway:

A doctor who specialises in treating people in rural regions says farmers need to get their own health checked more often.

Dr Tom Mulholland talked to about 50 people at the old Parewanui school near Flock House, Bulls this week.

“Farmers are good at looking after their stock and their land, but not so good at looking after themselves and their top paddock [their heads].”

About half the group listening to him talk were men. . . 

NZ stands firm on lamb export deal:

New Zealand will not agree to a review of New Zealand’s quota of lamb exports to Europe despite pressure from British farmers, the government says.

Livestock board chairs from Britain’s farming unions, meeting in Brussels, have called for the review. They say New Zealand has moved from sending frozen lamb to chilled lamb and from carcasses to bone-in cuts, representing a substantive change to the original deal signed in the 1980s.

But Trade Minister Tim Groser points to later trade negotiations which changed that agreement. . .

Avocado congress should ‘raise industry profile‘:

The World Avocado Congress get underway in Peru today.

The congress is held every four years and New Zealand Avocado chief executive Jen Scoular, who is in Peru, said it was a great opportunity to raise the profile of the industry.

Ms Scoular said the congress, which runs for a week, allows countries to share science and research information. She said tree productivity and irregular bearing of avocados would be a hot topic because it was a global issue. . . 

Whitebait, birds receive conservation boost:

Whitebait will be making a comeback into Christchurch and more will be done to protect the habitats of Canterbury’s colony-nesting river birds, says Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner.

The Community Conservation Partnership Fund is providing more than $126,000 to the Whaka Inaka project to restore whitebait habitat in Christchurch, and more than $33,000 to the Braided River Partnership project to improve the success of colony-nesting birds along Canterbury rivers.

“Whitebait spawning in Christchurch has declined, particularly after the earthquakes caused significant habitat damage. The Whaka Inaka project will provide an immediate temporary spawning habitat for whitebait along 3km of Christchurch river banks,” Ms Wagner says. . . 

A falling dollar not all bad news – Rick Powdrell:

I was just thinking lately how things can change so abruptly in a year.

Farmers are once again facing tough realities of global export trade, price volatility and geopolitical unrest.

This time, last year, dairy was buoyant with record payout and nothing looking at halting the juggernaut.  Sheep meat prices were positive for the season; beef was in the ascendancy and wool finally rebounding.

Fast forward and dairy is struggling with sheep meat failing to deliver on anticipated returns. Still, beef is extremely strong and wool has continued its gradual recovery. . .

Rural round-up

February 18, 2015

No muddying water issues – Jill Galloway:

Tim Brown is a water quality specialist. Jill Galloway found he started his life as a bookie’s son in Britain, but as an academic he made Palmerston North his home.

Professor Emeritus Tim Brown, a water quality specialist and former Massey University micro-biologist, says a friend of his was on tank water.

“When he cleaned it out, he found a dead possum at the bottom of the tank that had been there for some time. The outlet was higher and he’s still alive.”

Brown says rural people have been living on tank water for years and have not come to any harm. . .

(Hat tip: Farmerbraun ).

Swaps settlements finalised, time to move on:

Federated Farmers is pleased the Commerce Commission has now reached settlements with all three banks, ANZ, ASB and Westpac, over the sale of interest rate swaps.

Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston says the agreements are a fair and equitable solution and it’s time to move on.

“Some rural people signed on for interest rate swaps as long ago as 2005 and so for many customers it has been a long running issue that now can be brought to a conclusion, with the three banks involved set to pay a total sum of $24.67 million to approximately 256 eligible farmers,” Dr Rolleston says. . .

State of the environment on farm – James Stewart:

While brought up on a sheep farm I have spent the past 20 years dairy farming.

I have also had a brief stint as a registered commercial jet boat operator, taking locals and international visitors through the Manawatu Gorge, giving them some close contact with our precious Manawatu water through the Hamilton jet spins.

After all the positive comments on water quality that I often receive you can imagine just how disappointed I was with the river being labelled as one of the worst in the west.

Over the past 20 years of farming, there have been many changes to the farming sector. The synthetic carpet now dominates carpet stores as the polar fleece jumpers do in clothing stores. While wool is the superior product, it is left to high top end markets in which exporters fight over with the result of farmers often becoming price takers. . .

More success for Primary Growth Partnership:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is welcoming more success stories from the Primary Growth Partnership (PGP), with several programmes making big steps forward.

“Government and industry are together investing $720 over time million into 20 innovation programmes, and many of these are already delivering results,” says Mr Guy.

Mr Guy is speaking today at the annual open farm day at Limestone Downs, which is involved in the “Pioneering to Precision” PGP programme, led by Ravensdown.

“As part of this programme drones and light aircraft are being used to scan the hill country at Limestone Downs Station to develop precision fertiliser applications for hill country. This programme will deliver productivity and environmental benefits. . .

Global Consumer Watchdog gives Mount Cook Alpine Salmon Highest Rating:

Mt Cook Alpine Salmon Ltd has been recognised as one of the most sustainable salmon farming operations worldwide by a globally-renowned consumer watchdog.
The Queenstown-based company said it was delighted to earn a Best Choice (Green) rating from the widely-acclaimed Seafood Watch organisation.

Company chairman and former New Zealand Prime Minister Jim Bolger said the accolade was a huge endorsement for aquaculture in New Zealand.

“In keeping with Mt Cook Alpine Salmon’s previous sustainability credentials, this demonstrates we’re the best of the best,” he said. . .

Southern Discoveries celebrates Chinese Year of the Sheep… with mob of woolly stars:

Tourism operator Southern Discoveries will be celebrating the Chinese Year of the Sheep by welcoming visitors on its Mt Nicholas Farm Experience with a mob of 500 sheep.

Over the next three weeks, visitors can get up close to the 500-strong merino mob, the same woolly ‘stars’ of the ‘Running of the Wools’ as part of the Hilux Rural Games.

This time around, the sheep have agreed to stay (almost) still so that visitors can have their picture taken with them.

Also waiting to greet guests at Mt Nicholas will be two pet sheep and sheepdog Belle to accompany the group on their visit to the working merino farm. . .




Rural round-up

September 29, 2014

Te Puni Kōkiri Chief Executive Hails Growing Success Of Māori Agribusiness at Ahuwhenua competition launch – 2014 FOMA Conference:

Speaking at the official launch of the 2015 BNZ Māori in Farming Award – Sheep & Beef (Ahuwhenua Trophy) at the FoMA Conference in Whanganui this evening, Te Puni Kōkiri chief executive Michelle Hippolite said: “The Ahuwhenua Trophy Competition remains a preeminent showcase for excellence, achievement, and for growing Māori innovation for economic prosperity.”
Looking around the room, Michelle said that those at the conference showed the depth and calibre of talent at the helm of large Māori farming enterprises around the country.

“Over the years, most of these Māori farm enterprises had featured as entrants and finalists in the Ahuwhenua Trophy Competition,” she said. “Today the competition could be credited with driving continued improvements occurring in Māori agribusiness, and which were now pushing it to the forefront of the sector.” . . .

Second hand TradeMe buys boosts farm change – Jill Galloway & Sandra Crosbie:

Ryley Short says that when the Fonterra tanker first came to collect milk at her Mt Stewart farm there were 10 people there cheering. They were all involved in converting the farm to dairy, wanting to see it succeed.

“The tanker driver was a bit surprised,” Ryley says. “He asked if this was the first milk picked up. It was. It had been a sheep and beef farm before the conversion.”

The switch by Ryley Short and her husband Mike to dairying is a conversion with a difference. They have relied a great deal on Trade Me for secondhand equipment, which they often get cheaply. Even the dairy shed came through the online auction website. . .

Production at demo farm reaches record level  –

Daily milksolids (MS) production for each cow on the Waimate West Demonstration Farm near Manaia in Taranaki is at its highest ever.

The daily per cow MS production has reached two kilograms in the third and final season of a trial that’s investigating the viability of integrating cropping on the dairy platform.

Twenty-five per cent of the farm is being planted in crops for the trial.

At last week’s spring field day on the farm, DairyNZ scientist Kevin Macdonald produced figures showing daily milksolids per cow to mid-September was almost half a kilogram higher than last year’s figure of 1.56kg. . . .

National’s Freshwater Fund may spur on-farm wetlands:

 Having worked with DairyNZ to analyse the $100m freshwater fund policy, recently announced by the National Party, Federated Farmers believes it could vastly improve water quality outcomes.

“The Fund to retire farmland would be perhaps better interpreted as a policy to create on-farm wetlands,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Environment spokesperson.

“After talking with the team at DairyNZ we’ve arrived at a very different conclusion to that other groups have come up with.

“Instead of looking at this as a linear purchase of land, or trying to recreate MAF’s old farm advisory division, think more along the lines of NIWA’s guidelines for constructed wetlands.

“A fund $10 million a year could purchase at least 286 hectares. Using NIWA guidelines and if turned into strategically located wetlands, DairyNZ and Federated Farmers believe it could remove 60-70 percent of Nitrogen from around 9,500 hectares of farmland. . .

 Sweet Success for Villa Maria at International Wine Show:

It was sweet success for Villa Maria last evening, collecting nine gold medals and the trophy for Champion Sweet Wine at the New Zealand International Wine Show, held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Auckland.

The New Zealand International Wine show is the country’s largest wine show, in its tenth year with over 2000 global entries, it gives recognition to wines that are or will be sold in New Zealand.

The world renowned show organised by Kingsley Wood of First Glass Wines of Auckland, has a panel of over twenty experts judging the high calibre of entrants, overseen by Chief Judge Bob Campbell, MW. . .


Rural round-up

September 24, 2014

Beef surges to record on US demand for hamburgers, outlook upbeat – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Prices for beef used in hamburger patties in the US are likely to hold at elevated levels after surging to a record in the past year as drought-ridden American farmers rebuild their herds, boding well for kiwi farmers, an analyst says.

The price for US imported 95CL bull beef, the raw ingredient for meat patties, has surged 59 percent to US$3.18 a pound in the past year, according to Agrifax data. In New Zealand dollar terms, the price is at $8.37 per kilogram, beating the previous record of $6.60/kg in 2001.

“It has just been rocketing up very sharply. It is well into record territory now,” said Nick Handley, senior sheep and beef analyst at Agrifax. “If prices can stay anywhere near these levels, it’s extremely positive for New Zealand because you expect a lot of that to flow through to New Zealand processors and New Zealand farmers.” . . .

Time right for large irrigation schemes:

Farming and irrigation lobby groups are eager for the new Government to change environmental rules and get large-scale irrigation schemes up and running.

Lobby groups Federated Farmers and Irrigation New Zealand say the time is right, with the National Party being re-elected by a handsome margin for the Resource Management Act to be reformed.

Irrigation New Zealand chief executive Andrew Curtis said today that proposals by Labour and the Green parties to tax water did not find favour with irrigators, and National’s resounding win on Saturday gives them more confidence.

Mr Curtis said Irrigation New Zealand wants to see changes to the RMA. . .

Farmers Disappointed with Milk Price Drop, Cautious Approach Required:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown said Farmers will be disappointed following the Co-operative’s latest drop in its 2014/15 forecast farmgate Milk Price to $5.30 per kg/MS.
The Co-op also announced an estimated dividend range of 25-35 cents per share.

Mr Brown: “Even though Farmers are aware of the prevailing market conditions and the effect they have on the price they receive for their milk the announcement will add to the challenges being faced on-farm.

“It is in these seasons that Farmers will want to receive the full benefit from the integrated supply chain that their Co-op provides. . .

Great Result for Farmers Following Challenging Year for Co-Op:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown said the 2013/14 season was one of real complexities for the Co-operative yet produced a great result for Farmers.

Mr Brown: “The farmgate Milk Price of $8.40 per kg/MS has come on the back of a season in which good production was supported by strong demand and high prices.”

“This will be very well received by Farmers.”

Mr Brown said it was important to recognise that the same factors which positively affected the farmgate Milk Price, such as the demand for milk powders, contributed to the challenges faced by the business in terms of profit as evidenced by the Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) figures. . .

 Couple give their farm to university – Jill Galloway:

It was a time for celebrating.

After 10 years, Bulls-Marton farm owners Jim and Diana Howard found they could work with Lincoln University and it had a deal with local iwi Ngati Apa.

It had not been for lack of trying to find a like-minded partner.

But now it has come together – a demonstration farm that local farmers can look over the fence at, and get good ideas, as well as a farm to train people in sheep and beef and cropping.

That was what the Howards wanted and they have given their farm to the Lincoln Westoe Trust. . .

Candidates for Fonterra Board of Directors’ Election Confirmed:

Candidates for the Fonterra Directors’ Election were announced by the Returning Officer, Warwick Lampp today following the completion of the Candidate Assessment Panel (CAP) process.

This year there are six candidates standing for the Board of Directors. They are Gray Baldwin, Leonie Guiney, David MacLeod, John Monaghan, Garry Reymer and Grant Rowan.

As in previous years, the CAP process was available to assess the capabilities, experience and qualifications of Director candidates and provide Fonterra shareholders with more information to help in making an informed vote. While the CAP process is open to all Director candidates, it is not compulsory. This year all candidates went through CAP. . .


Pahiatua Company Announced as New Zealand Innovators Awards Finalist:

Pahiatua company, DTexH2o, has been named as a finalist in the Innovation in Agriculture & Environment category of the prestigious New Zealand Innovators Awards.

The company’s innovative product, DTexH2o, is an in-line electronic probe that detects the difference between milk and water in the cowshed milk line.

Founders of the company, Graeme and Alison Franklin, said the DTexH2o uses an alarm to stop farmers spilling milk down the drain or getting water in the milk vat during wash-down.

“When a farmer washes-up the milk line, water is pumped through the pipes, pushing the last milk through into the vat. The farmer must manually turn the valve to re-route the water to stop it going in the vat,” Alison said. . .

New Chairman Excited by Gimblett Gravels Opportunities:

Less than a week into his role, new Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association (GGWA) Chairman, Gordon Russell, is already working on plans for GIMBLETT GRAVELS future success.

Esk Valley’s Senior Winemaker, Gordon says, “I am honoured to become Chairman of this talented group of growers and wine producers. I would like to carry on the work of outgoing Chairman, Tony Bish of Sacred Hill, whose strategic direction and dedication over the last two years has significantly raised the profile of GIMBLETT GRAVELS wines, both in New Zealand and on the international stage. . .

Rural round-up

May 28, 2014

Farmers prepare for payout cut – Sally Rae:

Five Forks dairy farmer Lyndon Strang isn’t expecting any surprises today when the dairy co-operative updates its forecast 2013-14 season payout.

A cut of between about 25c and 30c from the present $8.65kg ms farmgate milk price has been predicted by economists, while a conservative opening forecast for the 2014-15 season, around the $7kg ms mark, has also been suggested.

Mr Strang, who is also dairy chairman of North Otago Federated Farmers, said the 2013-14 payout was still going to be a record, and even a $7 forecast for next season was ”potentially still another good payout”. . .

Stream through dairy farm rich in fish – Tim Cronshaw:

Dairy farmers are getting praise from unlikely quarters after the most salmon in 40 years have been seen spawning in a small stream in the middle of dairying country.

After identifying good salmon catches in the area during the angling season and higher spawning rates in lowland streams than normal, fishery officers did a spot check at the spring-fed Waikuku Stream, expecting to see little salmon activity.

In a small stretch of the stream which feeds into the Ashley River they found about 35 salmon and as many nests – redds – containing thousands of eggs.

Among other theories for the high salmon count, Fish & Game New Zealand think the main reason is the work of dairy farmers to fence, plant and protect the stream. . .

A lamb chop fresh from the lab – Jill Galloway:

A retired Massey University horticulture senior lecturer says meat will come from the laboratory in future, putting New Zealand’s grazing systems at risk.

Dr Mike Nichols went to a conference in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, and said it was disconcerting to learn it was possible to “grow” a perfectly acceptable hamburger patty in the laboratory from plant-derived raw materials.

He said fillet steak and lamb chops of acceptable taste, flavour and texture were not far away. . .

Farmers prepare to pay for $90m irrigation scheme – Tony Benny:

Farmers supplied by the Rangitata South irrigation scheme intend to buy the scheme from the developer, says scheme chairman Ian Morten.

The scheme, which is expected to be in full operation next irrigation season, draws water from the Rangitata River in South Canterbury to fill seven huge storage ponds with a total capacity of 16.5 million cubic metres, three of which are now full or part full. Work completing the other four will resume after winter.

While initial investigation for a scheme on the south side of the Rangitata was started by a farmer group, it wasn’t until earthmoving company owner Gary Rooney joined them that the scheme took off. . . .

Making straight line into the top results:

Otago and Southland competitors did well in the New Zealand Ploughing Association’s (NZPA) national championships recently.

Hosted by the Marlborough Ploughing Association, more than 30 people took part in the national finals at Spring Creek, near Blenheim, from May 10 to 11.

The competitors were all winners from various qualifying events held throughout New Zealand in the past 12 months.

Mark Dillon, of Riversdale, was third in the Case IH silver plough section, and also won the W.G. Miller Trophy for the highest placed competitor aged under 35. . . .

A focus on changing fortunes: Minister to attend Open Day:

An Open Day is being held on Friday 30 May in Kaikohe to celebrate the ongoing collaboration between Lincoln University and Northland College. At the centre of this collaboration lies the recently signed Five Year Strategic Plan, designed to formalise the strategy for optimising the farming and educational opportunities from the neighbouring Northland College Farm.

In attendance will be staff and students, as well as key representatives from business and government; including the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, the Honourable Steven Joyce, who will be speaking at the event. . .


Rural round-up

May 20, 2014

10,000 reasons to remain ambitious – Diane Bishop:

Producing 10,000 lambs a year is an ambitious goal.

But it’s one that the Lawson family hope to achieve on their East Otago hill country property.

Jim Lawson and his sons Rob and Willy farm 5500 Romney- Perendale first-cross breeding ewes and 1350 ewe hogget replacements on their 2336-hectare property Moana Farm, south of Waikouaiti.

Their main focus is lamb production and cattle, which have currently taken the place of a modern tractor, and are used as a pasture management tool. . .

Farm plantings help snare top award -Jill Galloway:

Winners of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards in the Horizons Regional Council area Mary and Justin Vennell have planted 57,000 trees since 2007 on their Rewa sheep and beef farm.

They hosted more than 100 people, mainly farmers, but some academics and rural business people, at a farm field day they held as supreme winners of the awards.

Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA), which give awards for protection and enhancement of the environment on farms in the Horizons Regional Council area, celebrated its 10th year.

Fourteen farms – seven sheep and beef and seven dairy farms – entered this year’s event. . .

Irrigation schemes require professional input:

Increasingly complex water regulations mean directors and managers of irrigation schemes need to take their professional responsibilities even more seriously, says IrrigationNZ.

Irrigators need to adapt to new environmental requirements and those governing and managing irrigation schemes must have the necessary skills to manage the transition, says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

To help the industry rise to the challenge, IrrigationNZ will hold a one-day ‘Governance Essentials’ workshop next month in Christchurch sponsored by KPMG, BNZ and Tavendale&Partners. The 12th June workshop will cover the separation between management and governance as well as governance principles and responsibilities. The workshop is aimed at both directors and managers of irrigation schemes, as well as irrigators wishing to learn more about governance fundamentals. 

IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis says with increasing regulation, poor decision making by irrigation schemes can result in severe consequences. . . .

NZ bees battle devastating disease – Sophie Lowery:

New Zealand’s beekeepers have launched a mission to rid honey bees of a potentially devastating disease.

American foulbrood can’t be treated and if left uncontrolled it could damage exports and ultimately wipe out the honey bee population.

If beekeepers can succeed in eliminating the disease it would be a world first.

Around 80 of Hamilton City’s hives were inspected today for signs of the contagious disease, with some samples sent to a lab.

One team came across healthy looking hives, but also found some examples of the deadly disease. . .

Michigan Urban Farming Initiative produces food, change in North End   – Marney Rich Keenan:

It is the height of irony that Tyson Gersh is shy a handful of credits until he graduates from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

At 24, the president of one the fastest-growing, most successful Detroit nonprofits that hardly anybody (over 30 years old anyway) has ever heard of, is short a French class and another class he could probably teach blindfolded.

“Yeah I know,” the collegiate rower and triathlete says, head down, in a rare display of self consciousness. “I failed ‘Urban Entrepreneurship: Doing Business in Detroit.’ ”

Judging from the speed at which Michigan Urban Farming Initiative has taken off, Gersh was likely doing business in Detroit during class time. . . Hat tip: A.E. Ideas

Rural Women NZ celebrates Road Safety Week with good news from 20K school bus signs trial:

A year-long school bus safety trial in Ashburton has shown that illuminated 20K signs on buses can have a big impact on driver behaviour.

“For years Rural Women NZ has called for clear signage on school buses to indicate the 20K speed limit in both directions when passing a bus that’s stopped to let children on or off. This is great news and a perfect way to celebrate Road Safety Week,” says Rural Women NZ vice president, Kerry Maw.

“Every day motorists speeding past school buses on rural roads put children’s lives at risk.”

During the ‘Either Way It’s 20K’ trial in Ashburton there was a marked drop in speeds when the 20K signs were in operation, with many motorists slowing to between 25 and 35 km/h. . . .


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