Rural round-up

January 15, 2018

Cattle categories removed from A&P show –  David Loughrey:

This year’s Otago-Taieri A&P Show will be without cattle categories, as shows across the South take precautions against Mycoplasma bovis.

Kelly Allison said the decision not to have cattle at the January 27 show was made last week in  light of the spread of the bacterial infection, to guard against its transmission.

Mr Allison is on the Otago-Taieri A&P Show committee and on the executive of the Royal Agricultural Society of New Zealand.

“I think it’s a very small chance that a cow would transfer it to another cow,” he said. . . 

A radical rethink of NZ’s largest farm is on the table – Emily Heyward & Paula Hulburt:

New Zealand’s largest farm or massive public park? You decide.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is open to a radical rethink of the historic Molesworth Station, the rolling high-country farm linking Marlborough to North Canterbury.

The farming lease at the 180,000-hectare cattle ranch – about the size of Stewart Island – expires in 2020, and the public could help shape its future. . . 

Third generation dairy farmers turn to hemp – Alexander Robertson:

Forget about white gold and our massive dairy industry, green gold could be the new king of the crop.

As the hemp industry opens up in New Zealand, a Rangitikei family is giving hemp a shot as they try get off the herd and diversify their dairy farm in hemp and pumpkin for the first year.

The Welch family have farmed the same land for more than 90 years over three generations.

However, for this family there’s many sides to the dairy industry with ethical challenges. . . 

Blueberry season over earlier than usual in warmer weather – Jill Galloway:

The blueberry season has come and gone early in Manawatū because of warm weather.

Co-owner of Blueacres​ in Pohangina Valley, Gloria Hall said they usually had a season which lasted through January.

But she said every year was different, and last year the wet winter and spring, followed by a dry December brought the berries on early. . . 

Why you need a good merino base layer – Ross Collicutt:

When I was young, we went skiing regularly. We could afford to go skiing, but didn’t have the greatest gear. We’d go with school, with parents, with anyone that was going to the hill. Skiing was great fun, but we’d be shivering by the end of the day.

Getting so cold your lips are blue is fine when you can just grab a hot chocolate in the lodge to warm up. Out snowshoeing in the winter or on a long backpacking trip, getting too cold could have more serious consequences.

Base layers are the most important part of your outdoor clothing system. Yes, it sounds nerdy, but that system is made up of three layers: the outer shell for rain and snow protection, the middle insulation layer, and the-all important base layer on the inside. A merino wool base layer is the best. Here’s why. . . 

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Rural round-up

January 13, 2018

Seasonal labour a vital ingredient – Mike Chapman:

Research New Zealand recently conducted a survey reporting on the impacts of the RSE scheme, where it has directly enabled:

– The area under cultivation to expand consistently over the last three years.

– The employment of more permanent and seasonal New Zealand workers.

– A more stable workforce, with better and more productive workers.

RSE workers supplement other seasonal employees, and account for roughly one in five of all seasonal workers across the country. In areas where unemployed is very low, more RSE workers are employed, while in areas with higher unemployment, fewer RSE workers are employed. . .

Storm helped cure dry spell for Waikato farmers – Ruby Nyika:

The storm that battered the North Island last week left lasting damage for some.

But for farmers, the heavy dump of rain was magic.

The lengthy dry spell that preceded it had been stressful.

I think it’s been a bit of a relief for every farmer,” Waikato Federated Farmers president Andrew McGiven said. “Not for the poor townies having their holidays, but for farmers it’s been a relief to get some moisture back in the ground.” . .

MPI and dairy industry extend milk testing programme for Mycoplasma bovis:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and its dairy industry partners have decided to extend the current Mycoplasma bovis milk testing underway in Canterbury, Otago and Southland into a national milk surveillance programme.

While there is no indication that the disease is present beyond the areas currently identified, checking for other possible regional clusters is essential to building a complete picture of the disease in New Zealand.

The programme will involve testing 3 milk samples from every dairy farm. One sample will be taken from bulk milk as part of the regular sampling process at milk collection. Farmers will also be required to provide 2 samples from ‘discard milk’ (milk unsuitable for collection, for example, from cows with mastitis). Mycoplasma bovis is more easily identified in milk taken from otherwise sick animals, which makes testing of the discard milk a valuable surveillance tool. . .

Concern about cattle disease in Hawes Bay – Jill Galloway:

Manawatū and Tararua dairy farmers are getting anxious about future outbreaks of Mycoplasma bovis after the disease was confirmed in Hawke’s Bay.

Farmers are looking more closely at the source of their feed supplies and where they graze their young stock.

Federated Farmers dairy chairman, Murray Holdaway said he hoped the Ministry for Primary Industries would be able to tell farmers more in the coming weeks.

“Not as many cows go to [Hawke’s Bay] as there used to be six to eight years ago, but it is always an alternative if things get really tight on the feed front, here.” . . 

Trans-Tasman war of words over ‘mānuka’ honey gets stickier :

Australia’s honey industry is calling for an armistice in the ongoing battle over use of the term “mānuka honey”, after Tasmanian producers claimed they produced it first.

The Australian Mānuka Honey Association says New Zealand apiarists should join forces with their Ocker cousins to peacefully assert Antipodean dominance over the global market.

Mānuka honey is produced by European bees feasting on the pollen of the plant Leptospermum scoparium – known here by its Māori name, mānuka. . . 

Celebrity farmer suggests badger caused death of sheep on viral social media post :

A celebrity farmer has caused a stir on social media after suggesting badgers killed his sheep.

Martin Irvine, who has appeared in BBC documentary This Farming Life, posted a photo on social media of his dead sheep with a gory wound.

Mr Irvine wrote on Facebook: “Badgers decided to have this ewe for Christmas dinner, she’s still alive for now. About time we were allowed to control this destructive vermin!” . .


Rural round-up

August 12, 2017

Farming to end –  Annette Scott:

FARMING will have to shut down in Canterbury’s Selwyn district to meet national water quality standards for the region’s polluted Lake Ellesmere, Environment Canterbury has told the Government.

In a business case analysis provided to the Ministry for the Environment, ECan outlined significant fundamental change needed to bring the lake, one of New Zealand’s most polluted, into line.

“On the current basis to achieve Government freshwater outcomes as mandated it would mean taking all intensive agriculture, not just dairy, out of the play,” ECan councillor and Selwyn district farmer John Sunckell said. . .

Mycoplasma bovis update:

MPI’s progress in the response to the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis was the focus of a well-attended public meeting in Waimate last night.

Around 100 people turned out to hear MPI officials and a number of industry body partners outline the current surveillance and testing regime and timelines, the robustness of disease containment measures and the actions farmers can take to protect their farms.

There remains no change to the number of properties with confirmed positive test results for Mycoplasma bovis – 2 farms, both within the wider Van Leeuwen group of farms. . .

Beltex lambs hit the ground – Annette Scott:

THE first lamb has hit the ground marking the beginning of an exciting new meat breed for the New Zealand sheep industry.

And for the partners in the venture it was almost more exciting than getting grandchildren.

Beltex embryos imported from England were transferred to four-year-old Perendale ewes on Blair Gallagher’s Mid Canterbury foothills Rangiatea farm in March. . .

Demand for vets ‘unprecedented‘ – Yvonne O’Hara:

As the southern dairy industry improves after seasons of low payouts and on-farm cost-cutting, some of the region’s veterinarian practices are finding it difficult to fill staff vacancies, a trend that is reflected nationally.

They are also in competition with overseas recruiting agencies, which are eyeing New Zealand to fill their clients’ needs.

The increasing demand for both production and companion animal vet services as practices get busier, is a good indicator of how well the economy is doing, New Zealand Veterinary Association’s Veterinary Business Group chairwoman Debra Gates said. . .

Catchment group and iwi join forces – Nicole Sharp:

The Pourakino Catchment Group and local iwi are putting a game plan in place for increasing plantings and improving water quality in the catchment by working together.

The group hosted a field day at Oraka Aparima Runaka marae recently, talking about the nursery run by the marae and how the two groups would work together to grow and plant trees in the catchment.

The group saw itself as a driver of change in Southland, as one of the earliest formed catchment groups in the region. . .

Too wet to sow pick-your-own verges for Palmerston North grower – Jill Galloway:

A pick-your-own garden is running to crunch point to get some vegetables planted so they’re ready for the week before Christmas, when everybody wants fresh potatoes, peas and berries.

Neville Dickey from Delta Gardens near Palmerston North said he was feeling the pinch of continual wet weather after 34 years of vegetable growing and meeting the Christmas market.

The 12 hectare block was on river silt, gravel and sand, and would dry out soon if there was a break in the weather, he said.

“There are not many years that have we have seen so much rain. We have had rain on and off since September last year.” . .


Rural round-up

August 4, 2017

Paid to think and loving it – Sally Rae:

For Beef and Lamb NZ’s first independent director the future is already here. Sally Rae speaks to Melissa Clark-Reynolds.

Melissa Clark-Reynolds sums herself up succinctly — “I’m a geek”, she says simply.

The high-profile technology entrepreneur and business leader was in Dunedin yesterday to speak at the red meat sector conference.

Her visit coincided with her being named Beef and Lamb New Zealand’s first independent director.

And, as Ms Clark-Reynolds (53) puts it, it is a governance role she is “pretty bloody happy about”. . .

‘Real opportunity’ to carve out niche – Sally Rae:

It is time to refresh the red meat sector’s strategy, which is facing “headwinds”, the industry’s conference was told yesterday. Sally Rae reports.

New Zealand’s red meat sector is on track for its vision of an $11.4billion sector by 2025, Beef and Lamb New Zealand chairman James Parsons says.

There was a “real opportunity” to carve out a niche by telling its story as ethical food producers. However, there were also a few “headwinds”, Mr Parsons told those attending the red meat sector conference in Dunedin yesterday. . .

Antara Ag to sell Southland sheep milking farm – Brittany Pickett:

Antara Ag is selling one of its three Southland farms, as it consolidates its sheep milking operation.

The company exclusively supplies Blueriver Nutrition HK, milking 10,000 east friesian-poll dorset ewes on three Southland farms. Antara Ag manufactures infant formula from sheep milk for export to China and was the first company in New Zealand to do so.

General manager Jazz Hewitson said the company was putting its Brydone operation up for sale to get rid of some land and “consolidate what we’re already doing“. . .

Top agricultural start-ups get a lift from Sprout accelerator business programme – Jill Galloway:

Fledgling agricultural start-ups are getting a helping hand to grow their business from the Sprout agritech business accelerator programme in Palmerston North.

Business strategy advisor Stu Bradbury said Sprout’s job was to help businesses.

“People in New Zealand often have good ideas, but have no idea how to get them to market. At Sprout we can help.”

Bradbury has experience in the start-up world after founding several businesses in the agri-tech sector, and went on the sell Precision Irrigation, to a United States company. . .

Battle for our Birds 2017 underway:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says this year’s Battle for our Birds 1080 operations are now underway to protect our most vulnerable native wildlife from the scourge of rats and stoats fuelled by widespread forest seeding.

“Work at 34 sites covering more than 800,000 hectares of high value conservation land has begun and DOC field staff are monitoring another seven sites to see if rodents are at damaging levels,” Ms Barry says. . . .

One man a pig and a goose – Unexpected Farmer:

I am well known in the area as the crazy lady who takes animals, but there are some occasions when even I say NO! As everyone knows I am often in bed well before my children, unfortunately the Spanish never understand this and feel 9pm is a suitable time to be sat outside my gates…. hand on horn!

The other night Mr P turned up, placed hand on horn, and kept it there until we appeared, this was my first issue, closely followed by the fact it was dark and cold. We didn’t even have time to do hello’s and how are you’s before he launched in to I have a pig for you!

The next 20 minutes were strange even by my standards. . . 

 

 


Rural round-up

July 5, 2017

Rangitikei dairy farmer Stu Taylor changes the way he employs dairy farm staff –    Jill Galloway:

The social lives of workers are changing and dairy farmers must change the way they employ dairy staff, says a Rangitikei dairy farmer.

Dairy farm owner near Santoft Stu Taylor said he aimed for a roster of five day on and two day off for the 30 staff employed at his farm.

At the DairyNZ ‘People Expo’ in Palmerston North, he said he was committed to a better way of working for dairy farming. . . 

Rural women ‘in crisis’: Letter reveals dark side of farm life – Ruby Nyika:

Rural women struggling with mental illness have been neglected for too long, a Waikato woman says.

In a pleading letter sent to Rural Women NZ, Mary Anne Murphy calls for more mental health support and funding specifically for rural women.

Murphy, who no longer lives rurally, felt compelled to act after government ministries announced at Fieldays that $500,000 would be committed to Rural Mental Wellness, targeting struggling farmers. . .

New father Richard Morrison wonders what is ahead in farming for his young son:

Thirteen weeks ago I entered into a new venture: fatherhood. I try and imagine what the future may have in store for little Henry but that task is challenging and a little daunting.

I think about the change we have seen the last 35 years, since my childhood, and even the last 17 since I entered the workforce. The world is a bigger place and it moves a lot faster: I was able to attain a university degree without using a computer – now some toddlers seem to be attached to them.

The prospects for one little person is hard to foresee in this big, fast moving world but there is one thing I do know. Growing up in New Zealand on a farm, in a tight knit rural community, with access to quality local schools prepares you incredibly well for life. This is as true today as it has been for the last 100 years. . . .

Kiwi farmer wins Australasian business management award:

New Zealand sheep and beef farmer Jonny Elder has taken out the 2017 Rabobank Business Development Prize, a trans-Tasman business management award for up-and-coming farmers.

Selected from a group of New Zealand and Australia’s most progressive young farmers, graduates of the 2016 Rabobank Farm Managers Program (FMP), Mr Elder, from Northern Southland, was recognised for his management project – which demonstrated how he had utilised the learnings from the program to create and implement a business plan to maximise the potential of his farm. Designed for emerging farmers, the FMP focusses on the development of business management skills, with an emphasis on strategic planning, leadership and self-awareness. . .

Dairy farmers moving to ‘good returns’ from beef calves – Andrew McRae:

Demand for beef calves is driving down the number of bobby calves being processed and providing a lucrative side business for dairy farmers.

On dairy farms, where 70 percent of all calves are born, those not needed as dairy replacements have traditionally been sent for slaughter.

But that’s now changing, according to Doug Lineham, from Beef and Lamb’s Dairy Beef Integration Project. . . .

Pacific Alliance FTA negotiations hailed:

Federated Farmers says it’s excellent news that New Zealand is underway with free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with the Pacific Alliance countries of Mexico, Chile, Peru and Colombia.

The announcement by trade minister Todd McClay that the five nations will strive to improve market access and level the playing field is an important step in the New Zealand Trade Agenda 2030 strategy. It also represents the ongoing commitment from four members of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) to improving the trade environment in the Pacific region. . .


Rural round-up

March 15, 2017

NZ agri innovation helping meat exports to Asia’s diverse markets gallery – Anuja Nadkarni:

New Zealand’s agricultural innovation is helping businesses in the meat industry flourish in Asia’s diverse market.

Greenlea’s managing director Tony Egan said halal meat exports to Asia’s large muslim populations has been made possible by electrical stunning of animals before slaughter.

Electrical stunning was pioneered in New Zealand. The method desensitises the animal, making it an acceptable compromise to traditional halal practices. . .

Award for ‘can-do’ essential oil venture – Sally Rae:

Otago-based ForestPlus Oils has received accolades at the New Zealand Wood Resene Timber Design Awards for its essential oil distilled from Douglas fir trees.
The company was the winner of the Scion-sponsored novel application of (wood) fibre category at the awards, held in Auckland.

Since July 2015, it has removed and processed more than 1.3 million kg of biomass from road edges and wildings. The tree material would otherwise be considered a waste product. . .

Marlborough wine industry hopes for sun, not more rain going into harvest –  Oliver Lewis:

The weather is not playing ball for Marlborough grape growers, who will be praying for sun heading into harvest after more rain at the weekend.

Grapes for sparkling wine are already coming off the vines, but harvest proper does not start until later this month when sauvignon blanc grapes hit the right sugar levels. . . 

Gardyne takes gold at Grammies – Sally Rae:

Ida Valley farmer Robert Gardyne has been named Producer of the Decade for the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Golden Lamb Awards.
Mr Gardyne was a finalist in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 before winning the grand champion title last year. It was the first time the competition had been won with a Perendale.

This year, he was runner-up in the best of breed (traditional) class, with a Perendale lamb and highly commended in best of breed (open) with a Perendale/Suffolk/Texel. Both lambs were processed at Alliance Group’s Lorneville plant. . .

Sheep milk ‘fantastic’ says top chef – Jill Galloway:

A top New Zealand chef is serving up the benefits of using sheep milk in his creations as the potential for the product is discussed in the city.

Marc Soper, executive chef at Wharekauhau Estate in Wairarapa, showed off his cooking talents to 150 people at the Sheep Milk New Zealand Conference in Palmerston North this week.

Soper, who was named New Zealand’s top chef last year, said he used sheep milk yoghurt, cheeses and gelato in his dishes. . .

Dairy outlook cools down  – :Keith Woodford:

The latest dairy auction on 7 March has brought a cool breeze to the dairy outlook. There are signs it could turn even colder at the next auction.

Whole-milk powder (WMP) at this last auction was down 22 percent to US$2785 from the 6 December 2016 high of US$3593. Skim milk powder (SMP) was down by 20 percent compared to December.

The decline has come as a surprise to many farmers and commentators, but the signs were there and had been building. As one derivatives broker said to his clients in the week before the latest auction, it was going to be ‘wretched’. And it was. . . 


Rural round-up

March 7, 2017

Telling NZ’s red meat story globally:

New Zealand’s red meat sector has “taken another step” towards  positioning its beef and lamb as a premium food choice globally, Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive Sam McIvor says.

More than 70 people including farmers, meat exporters and government partners have been meeting to advance the project with the aim of supporting better sector profitability.

The story of New Zealand farming and its farmers is at the heart of Beef + Lamb’s new market development strategy targeting new and emerging markets.

The sector had been working together for 12 months, designing a new market development plan and the first piece of it was defining the sector’s story, Mr McIvor said. . . 

New Pareora venison plant a major boost to South Canterbury economy – Pat Deavoll:

The Silver Fern Farms (SFF) Pareora freezing works can now offer its skilled employees full-time work across 52 weeks, rather than the seasonal work of the past, as a result of a new $7 million venison processing plant.

Seventy staff, shareholders and executives gathered at Pareora, south of Timaru, on Tuesday for the official opening of the plant, which processed its first animal on November 14 last year.

The new plant had been built to replace the meat co-operative’s Islington plant, which was on leased land and part of a business park at Belfast, Christchurch. . .

Velvetleaf-sniffing dog Rusty finds weed pest in Waikato no problem – Gerald Piddock:

With a sniff of the air and nose to the ground, Rusty has his prize within minutes.

The seven-year-old border collie cross turns back to his handler, John Taylor and barks, letting him know he has found another velvetleaf plant.

He then leads Taylor to the plant’s location in the ryegrass paddock on a farm in eastern Waikato. The invasive species is carefully uprooted and bagged for disposal.

Palmerston North hosts Rural Games this weekend – Jill Galloway:

Throwing arms are being warmed up for the Hilux Rural Games, which are being held in Feilding on Friday and Palmerston North during the weekend.

Among the competition disciplines are gumboot, egg and cowpat throwing with the criteria harder for the egg thrower as one member of a two-person team has to catch the raw egg intact.

Also on the line-up will be wood chopping, speed shearing, dog trialling and fencing. . . 

 

Zespri brand turns 20, as industry aims to more than double sales to $4.5 billion by 2025:

This week marks a milestone with the kiwifruit industry coming together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Zespri brand, proudly owned by New Zealand kiwifruit growers.

Zespri chief executive Lain Jager says the celebrations come at a great time, with the industry aiming to more than double sales to $4.5 billion a year by 2025.

“Kiwifruit is an important economic contributor to communities in regional New Zealand, with more than $1.14 billion returned to NZ communities last year alone. More than $21 billion of premium kiwifruit has been sold in a Zespri box since 1997; our brand is underpinned by the great work done over many years right across the industry from orchards to packhouses and in the markets,” says Mr Jager. . . 

Public warned of fines up to $20,000 for collecting toheroa at 90 Mile Beach:

Fisheries officers are appealing to the public to ensure they’re up to speed with the rules around collecting toheroa, now that the rare shellfish are making a comeback to 90 Mile Beach (Northland).

Ministry for Primary Industries spokesman, Steve Rudsdale, says the beach has been empty of toheroa for many years and it is great to see juvenile toheroa making a comeback and beginning to recover.

However, he says their survival will be threatened if people don’t leave them alone.

“There is a ban on collecting these shellfish for a very good reason.  . . 

Dairy awards southern finalists named:

Finalists have been named for Southland-Otago and Canterbury-North Otago in the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

The awards, which oversee the Share Farmer of the Year, Dairy Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions, received 424 entries nationally, 75 of them coming from those regions.

The Canterbury-North Otago regional winners will be named on March 22 and the Southland-Otago ones on March 25.

They will then progress to the national final. The winners will be announced at a function at Sky City in Auckland on May 6. . . 


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