Rural round-up

03/09/2021

Pine plantations extend lifetime of methane in North Island atmosphere :

North Island pine forests are prolonging the life of methane in the local atmosphere by as much as three years, climate researcher Jim Salinger says.

Dr Salinger said new computer modelling showed New Zealand had underestimated the impact of methane in its greenhouse gas emissions and would need to set tougher targets for methane reduction.

The modelling showed compounds called monoterpenes emitted by pine plantations in the North Island were extending the life of methane in the New Zealand atmosphere from 12.5 years to 15 years.

Dr Salinger presented the research to Parliament’s Environment Select Committee today. . . 

The Covid glitch in our supply chains – Sharon Brettkelly:

Our farm-to-fork process is usually highly efficient. But the Delta variant has blown a hole in the security of our supply chains, sparking questions about what changes are needed.

Rod Slater was only eight years old when he became part of the meat supply chain in New Zealand.

From his father’s butcher shop in Mt Albert, Auckland, he would head out on his bike with the meat parcels in the front basket to deliver to customers.

The 75-year-old recently retired chief executive of Beef + Lamb New Zealand remembers his first delivery to a rest home when he had to crash his bike to stop it, and the meat came tumbling out. . . 

Common sense prevails over grazing rules :

Just days into her new role as National’s Agriculture spokesperson, Barbara Kuriger is pleased to see common-sense is prevailing in Southland.

The Government’s proposed intensive winter grazing (IWG) rules for Southland, were due to come into effect in May, but were deferred in March for one year, after the farming sector deemed them ‘unworkable’.

Last Thursday, the Government announced it’s now going to adopt almost all the changes put forward by the Southland Winter Grazing Advisory Group — which is made up of ag sector representatives.

A consultation document was also released and is now open for feedback on the Ministry for the Environment website. Submissions close on October 7. . .

What New Zealand farmers can teach the world – Jacqueline Rowarth:

Global food security is on a razor’s edge, but Kiwi farmers can show other countries what can be achieved whilst continuing to make more improvements down on the farm, writes Jacqueline Rowarth.

Recent food price increases in New Zealand are small in comparison with the rest of the world. The 2.8 per cent increase to the year ended July 2021 in New Zealand is nothing in comparison with the 31.0 per cent reported for the global Food Price Index by the FAO over the same time frame.

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, food insecurity worldwide was on the rise.

The Economist’s Intelligence Unit (EIU) Index released at the beginning of the year stated that the pandemic threatens to erase “progress made in the fight to eliminate global hunger and malnutrition”. . . 

Hawkes Bay farmers watching gathering signs of a third big dry – Sally Murphy:

Conditions in Hawke’s Bay are being described as extremely dry as farmers prepare for another warm, dry spring.

For the past two years the region has been in drought over summer and it is looking like farmers could face a third.

Hawke’s Bay Federated Farmers president Jim Galloway said they’ve only had about 280mm of rain so far this year.

“Underfoot it’s very dry, a lot drier than normal and certainly for this time of year. Some areas had a little bit of rain yesterday but it’s only enough to wet the top. . . 

Farms left with 70,000 surplus pigs amid labour crisis:

Labour shortages at abattoirs have resulted in a surplus of 70,000 pigs on farms across the country, the National Pig Association has warned.

The lack of available workers at processing plants is causing a significant surplus of pigs stuck on farms, the trade body said.

Most plant workers – the majority being eastern European – have gone back to their home countries following Covid-19 travel restrictions and Brexit uncertainty.

Meanwhile, pig producers are continuing to struggle with record costs and negative margins that have persisted since the start of the year. . . 


Rural round-up

05/05/2021

Covid 19 coronavirus: Hawke’s Bay farms short of specialist skilled workers – Sahiban Hyde:

Farms in Hawke’s Bay are at risk of staff fatigue as they struggle with a shortage of specialist skilled workers, says Hawke’s Bay Federated Farmers president.

This follows the decision of the Productivity Commission to hold an inquiry into our current immigration settings.

The inquiry will sit alongside existing changes planned by Immigration, including the implementation of reforms to temporary work visas and a review of the Skilled Migrant Category visa.

Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay president Jim Galloway said the closure of the border because of Covid-19 has seen roles typically filled by specialist skilled workers, relegated to inexperienced staff. . . 

We’ll pick ’em all – Peter Burke:

Kiwifruit is just too valuable not to be picked and despite the challenges of labour and weather, it will be picked.

That’s the message from the Kiwifruit Growers organisation (NZKGI) chief executive Nikki Johnson, who says wet weather and the late maturity of the fruit has slowed down picking. She told Hort News that some employers are faring better than others, which is consistent with other years, and there are still vacancies across packhouse and orchard roles – particularly for nightshift and weekend work.

“While there is a shortage of seasonal labour, we are focused on ensuring that all kiwifruit will be picked and packed this season. A shortage of labour may mean that managers need to be more selective about when particular fruit gets picked and packed,” Johnson says.

“People may also need to work longer shifts. However, the industry is extremely focused on ensuring that all kiwifruit is harvested. It is a high value crop, contributing around $2 billion to New Zealand’s kiwifruit regions in 2020.” . . 

Fruitful 10 years for avocado boss – Sudesh Kissun:

New Zealand Avocado chief executive Jen Scoular has overseen the industry almost treble in value during the past 10 years. Scoular recently completed her 10th year as head of industry-good organisation NZ Avocado.

She and her team have helped guide the industry’s value growth from $68 million in 2011 to a forecast $200m in 2021.

She told Hort News that another achievement for her and the team was gaining crown funding for the first horticulture Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) to enable a step change in the industry. Scoular adds that NZ winning the rights to host the 2023 World Avocado Congress is another feather in her team’s cap.

She says the industry has also worked collaboratively to gain market access and to start exporting to China and India, two of the world’s largest economies. . . 

 

Family of farmers loving living the high life – David Hill:

A passion for farming is the secret to running a high country station, Annabel Tripp says.

Having lived all her life at Snowdon Station, north of Rakaia Gorge, Ms Tripp said there was no disadvantage to being a woman in the high country.

“It’s probably no different from being a man in the high country, really. It’s just about what your passion is, I guess.

“It’s really important that if you’re doing something, that you enjoy it and also that you try to do it to the best of your ability. . . 

Retirement a work in progress – Alice Scott:

Pat Suddaby says he might be retired but he’ll never stop working.

Since selling their 570ha sheep and beef farm in Hindon, near Outram, in 2010, Mr Suddaby and his wife Mary have ensured they have kept busy and active.

Mr Suddaby can be found these days working as a greenkeeper at the Middlemarch Golf Club and he is also an active member of the Strath Taieri Lions Club.

When the farm was sold, there was an adjustment period, Mr Suddaby said. . . 

 

Time the national beef herd’s facts were actually heard – Chris McLennan;

The Australian beef industry is already tired of being told their message of sustainability is not being heard.

But they have been reassured when they finally make headway against the anti-meat lobby, they will have transparency and truth on their side.

Australia’s beef industry has been patiently gathering key facts from individual farms for years.

Experts say all this data will be vital when the time is ripe to lay all the facts out before the public, the good, bad and the ugly. . . 


Rural round-up

25/06/2020

Imports still vital – ag contractors – David Anderson:

Despite eagerness from out-of-work Kiwis, the ag contracting industry will still need to continue importing experienced, overseas workers for some time yet.

“These locals need to be trained and won’t have the skills to drive the big, complex machinery for a while, so we’ll need to carry on importing our Irish and UK guys,” says Rural Contractors NZ (RCNZ) president David Kean.

His comments follow two expos, held this month, to promote the sector, which saw rural contractors ‘blown away’ by the turnout with a number starting to recruit locally to fill vacancies. He says the Queenstown and Te Anau expos saw more than 160 people through the doors.

However, Kean says ag contractors will still need to bring in some skilled machinery operators from overseas for the spring/summer season – as few new recruits will have developed sufficient skills to drive the more complex agricultural machines. . .

Hawke’s Bay not in the clear after drought despite brilliant rain :

Rainfall in drought-hit Hawke’s Bay was good news for farmers across the region but the impact of the long dry spell will be with them for the season.

Despite “brilliant rain” over the past week many farmers were still running short of stock feed, Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay president Jim Galloway said.

“Most farmers are well down on the stock they would normally carry. They are very short of feed and every day they’re looking at what they have to do or what they can do to get through.” . . 

Making good use of a crisis – Sudesh Kissun:

One of New Zealand’s largest dairy farmers says the Covid-19 pandemic presents the country an opportunity to rethink its approach to on-farm sustainability.

Southern Pastures Ltd believes more legislation isn’t the answer to sustainability challenges facing the sector and farmers should be part of the solution to climate change rather than being labelled as villains.

Future generations will have to carry the huge economic burden of Covid-19 recovery.

Southern Pastures executive chairman Prem Maan says the last thing we want is to load them with additional climate and environmental costs as well. . . 

Fonterra to pay farmers more for sustainable, high value milk:

Fonterra farmers producing sustainable, high quality milk will be eligible for a new payment, as Fonterra announces important changes to the way it pays farmers for their milk.

From 1 June 2021, Fonterra is introducing a Co-operative Difference Payment of up to 10 cents per kilogram of milk solids (kgMS) if the farm meets the Co-op’s on-farm sustainability and value targets. It’s part of the Co-op’s strategy to add value to New Zealand milk and responds to increasing demand from customers here and around the world for sustainably-produced dairy. The payment will be funded out of the Farmgate Milk Price.

“The total Farmgate Milk Price will remain the same across the Co-operative, but the amount that each individual farm is paid will vary depending on their contribution under The Co-operative Difference, in addition to the other variables, like fat and protein, which affect the amount that’s paid,” says Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell. . . 

Colin Hurst elected as Fed Farmers arable chairperson:

The new Chairperson of the Federated Farmers Arable Industry Group, Colin Hurst, brings wide experience and an acknowledged reputation for hard work, tenacity and leadership to the role.

Colin, the 2019 ‘Arable Farmer of the Year’, was elected at the group’s AGM on Monday [June 22] for a three-year term.  He replaces Karen Williams, who is Vice-President elect of Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

As well as following his interest in science and innovation driving improved production and a lighter environmental footprint, Colin is also keen to lift the profile of the arable sector among consumers and fellow farmers.   Sales of arable production and spending generated by the industry contributed $863 million to GDP in 2018.

“Most people know we produce cereal grains used in bread and a host of other staples, and all the malting barley needed by our brewers, but we also grow the pasture seeds essential to our livestock farmers, not to mention brassicas and other feed crops, and seed production for domestic and international markets,” Colin says. . . 

Climate change: planting trees ‘can do more harm than good’ – Matt McGrath:

Rather than benefiting the environment, large-scale tree planting may do the opposite, two new studies have found.

One paper says that financial incentives to plant trees can backfire and reduce biodiversity with little impact on carbon emissions.

A separate project found that the amount of carbon that new forests can absorb may be overestimated.

The key message from both papers is that planting trees is not a simple climate solution. . . 


Rural round-up

26/04/2019

Industry confronts big issues – Luke Chivers:

How to grow primary industries sustainably, changing consumer expectations, technological transformation of growing and selling we issues confronted at the BOMA Grow 2019 Agri-Summit in Christchurch.

More than 600 people ranging from farmers, producers and researchers to educators and students and those working in government and finance met to discuss ways the food and fibre sector can be more innovative, collaborative, sustainable and profitable now and in future.

Event organiser Kaila Colbin said the two-day summit was a chance to learn about future trends affecting the agriculture sector and what to do about them, in a practical way, from people on the ground. . . .

Food and agri sector’s leap into the future

An agricultural revolution is taking place in Australia as the food and agri sector explores innovative ways to feed a growing global population using more sustainable methods.

It’s a revolution that kicked into even higher gear at Rabobank’s Farm2Fork Summit at Sydney’s Cockatoo Island on March 28, when cutting-edge ideas were unveiled, probed and prodded by producers, food and agri entrepreneurs, and industry trailblazers from around the world.

They left no stone unturned as they delved into everything from robotics and ag tech to sustainable farming methods, food waste reduction and alternative foods. . .

Give me the local government I deserve – Jim Galloway:

If you have ever wanted to make your mark in a positive and constructive way, please consider standing in the local body elections writes Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay provincial president Jim Galloway.

When I cast a vote, I have never felt as though doves are released – that I’m taking part in anything extra special.

But I know that it is an important right and privilege of being part of a democratic society – we can have input into how we are governed.

This October we all get to cast votes for our local and regional councils. . .

Pre-lamb shearing necessary in certain circumstances – Simon Davies:

Pre-lamb shearing is necessary in certain circumstances, but it must be carried out using best practice writes Federated Farmers spokesperson Simon Davies.

Pre-lamb shearing has its place in farming.

It is a necessary activity in certain situations and locations.

From a shearing industry point of view it is a necessity, as it allows shearing to be spread over almost 12 months of the year. . .

Course aims for future leaders :

Northland student Devlin Gurr wants to land a coveted cadetship at Smedley Station in Hawke’s Bay.

“It’s quite prestigious. They accept only 11 cadets each year so it’s really hard to get into,” Gurr said.

The 16-year-old has spent the start of the school holidays honing skills he’ll need to help land the two-year cadetship. . .

Zespri signals upside for grower payments  in 2020 – Gavin Evans:

(BusinessDesk) – Kiwifruit marketer Zespri is forecasting a potential lift of up to 6 percent in payments to growers this season.

The firm, which markets kiwifruit on behalf of 2,500 New Zealand growers and another 1,200 in Italy, Japan, Korea and France, is expecting total fruit and service payments of $1.775 billion to $1.875 billion in the year ending March 2020.

Zespri is yet to publish its March 2019 year results but in February forecast a total payment of almost $1.77 billion for that year. . .


Rural round-up

22/05/2018

Mycoplasma bovis: The spread, cost and response – Conan Young:

Southland is believed to be the origin of where Mycoplasma bovis first took hold in New Zealand because this is where the earliest known cases of infection have so far been discovered, the Ministry for Primary Industries says.

This overturns an earlier theory that a South Canterbury farm belonging to the Van Leeuwen Dairy Group was the first farm to be infected.

While steps have been taken to trace and deal with cattle transported from the Van Leeuwen farm since July last year, controls on cows coming out of Southland have only been brought in much more recently. . .

Rural health workforce reaching crisis point:

The rural health workforce is at crisis point, with more than 40 percent of country doctors due to retire in the next five years.

So could the growing number of nurse practitioners, nurses who have taken extra training to be able to prescribe medicines and make diagnoses, provide a solution?

The nurses themselves say yes, but those working in rural health say there are some professional and bureaucratic hurdles which make it more difficult. . . 

Love of breeds leads to junior judge status – Sally Rae:

Amanda Brown just loves cows.

Her particular passion is for the Ayrshire breed, continuing a long family history which started when her mother’s family — the Morton family — established the Ingleside stud in Southland in the 1940s.

The 29-year-old recently became an accredited junior judge for the breed, which meant she could judge at shows alongside a senior judge and, after a few shows, sit another paper to become a senior judge.

Miss Brown was brought up showing cattle and was leading calves when she was big enough to handle them. . .

Feds Kapiti and Wellington says no to roading rates rip-off:

Federated Farmers fears when the Kapiti Coast District Council says it is interested in equity and affordability, it only means equity and affordability for urban residential ratepayers. 

Last week Federated Farmers’ representatives made a submission to the council’s draft Long Term Plan (LTP) hearing opposing a proposal to change from a flat rate to a property-value rate to fund roading.
This will take the council further away from its stated aim of equity and affordability, says Federated Farmers Wairarapa president Jamie Falloon.

“This is pretty crude consultation when a huge impact like this is not discussed and considered with affected parties well before a hearing process for the LTP. This is a failing of many of the councils in our region.” . . 

Astonishingly high rates hikes proposed:

Tomorrow Federated Farmers will speak to their submission on yet another council proposed rate hike, as Hawke’s Bay Regional Council proposes an average rate increase of 19%.

Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay president Jim Galloway calls this “excessive and obscene”.

“Farmers are facing increased operating costs and are finding rates an ever-increasing unproductive cost that takes funds away for things like technology and environment spending. . .

Feds hail on-line fibre exchange as useful innovation:

Transparency, ease-of-use and the potential for increasing competition among buyers are among the positives of the Natural Fibre Exchange (NFX), Federated Farmers says.

The NFX, which is owned by shareholders Wools of New Zealand and Alliance Group, kicks off the first of its fortnightly on-line trading events tomorrow. 

Federated Farmers Meat and Wool chairperson Miles Anderson sees NFX as an innovation that potentially can stream-line the selling-buying process, raise awareness of wool and reach a wider buyer market. . . 

Ranching cattle in California  – Teresa O’Connor:

It may be hard to believe but ranching is the number-one land use in the state of California. I was surprised to learn this fact, and I’m certainly not alone.

This complex connection of California ranching to food production is a mystery for many. The public rarely understands the ecological benefits of livestock grazing, nor the tough economic returns, according to Sheila Barry, Livestock Advisor and Director of Santa Clara County for University of California Cooperative Extension.

“Working ranches occupy roughly 40 million acres in California,” says Barry. “Whether these working ranches are public land or privately owned, many ranchers represent the fourth or fifth generations stewarding the land and their livestock. The fact that the most prevalent land use in California goes largely unnoticed by much of the public puts ranching at risk.” . . 


Rural round-up

22/08/2012

Award for Omakau farmer :

Omakau farmer Jan Manson has been awarded the 2012 Rabobank business development award for her project to reposition her farming operation for future expansion.   

Mrs Manson received the award at the executive developmen programme graduation dinner, which celebrated the latest business management thinking in agriculture. . .

Sheep, beef sectors look at training – Sally Rae:

A steering group is investigating the possibility of    copying in the South Island the residential training farm model, following concerns about the low level of skilled, work-ready employees in the sheep and beef sector.   

Sarah Barr, of Kyeburn, is co-ordinating a feasibility      project, on behalf of the Central South Island Residential  Training Farm steering group, including conducting a survey  to ascertain if there is an issue and, if so, how it can best  be addressed. . .

Fonterra wraps up record End-Of-Season export quarter:

Fonterra’s record end-of-season quarter has been the Co-operative’s biggest ever May, June and July – with 620,000 metric tonnes of dairy products loaded on ships for export to over 100 markets around the world.

Fonterra NZ Milk Products Managing Director Gary Romano says the Co-operative has shipped 36 per cent more than the same period last year.

“The record milk production in the 2011/12 season has meant Fonterra has exported more product at the end-of-season than ever before. Our teams have done a great job collecting the milk, processing it, packing it, storing it, selling it and shipping it.

“If we were to lay the containers we have shipped this year end-to-end they would stretch from the top of the Bombay hills to Christchurch – which is around 1000 kilometres,” he says. . .

Financial treat for rural schools – Rebecca Ryan:

Five Forks Primary and Omarama School received a financial surprise, thanks to their local farmers.

More than 200 rural schools throughout New Zealand received much-needed money for resources such as books and sports equipment.

Five Forks Primary and Omarama School received some of the more than $4300 distributed to schools from the Hatuma Growing Minds Fund.

Hatuma marketing and sales Aaron Topp said the fund was well received by rural schools.

More than $15,000 has been distributed to rural schools in the past three years. . .

US boot camp tune-up:

A WEEK of high-powered brainstorming was expected to heighten ideas of collaboration among 25 of New Zealand’s leading chief executives from the primary sector. With them was Primary Industry Minister David Carter.  

This august group has been tucked away at a ‘boot camp’ at Stanford University, near San Francisco. They represent the dairy, meat, seafood, horticulture and viticulture sectors.

No ‘industry good’ organisations are there but it does include the chief executives of MPI and NZ Trade and Enterprise. . .

Buffalo and rhino make big money:

MAKING SURE none of the rhinoceros herd is poached during the night isn’t something New Zealand farmers have to worry about but it is typical for an increasing number of South African farmers diversifying into the lucrative game breeding industry.  

After several years of rapid growth, there are now estimated to be more than 10,000 commercial game ranches in South Africa breeding rare species for hunting, meat and conservation purposes.

Kirstie Macmillan of Farm To Farm Tours recently returned from escorting a group of New Zealand farmers through South Africa, Victoria Falls and Botswana. . .

Australia and New Zealand Arrangement to combat illegal logging:

Australia and New Zealand have today strengthened their long standing cooperation on forestry issues by signing the Arrangement on Combating Illegal Logging and Promoting Sustainable Forest Management. The signed Arrangement illustrates a shared commitment to working together to address illegal logging and promote sustainable forest management.

Australia’s Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, and New Zealand Associate Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, signed the Arrangement during forestry talks which included discussions relating to the progress of Australia’s Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill 2011. . .

Wise Nutrient Use Rewarded In Ballance Farm Environment Awards

Former fertiliser consultant Jim Galloway takes a scientific approach to the application of nutrients on his Nireaha dairy farm, west of Eketahuna.

Jim and his wife Lynette bought the farm in 2006 and are milking about 170 cows this season on a milking platform of 70ha (effective). The Galloways also own a nearby run-off, supplementing milk income by rearing extra dairy replacements and farming carryover cows.

Jim and Lynette are both Massey University graduates and Jim worked as a fertiliser consultant for nine years before going farming. This experience in the fertiliser industry is valuable when deciding the farm’s fertiliser policy. . .

Zespri keeping tabs on vine bacterial infection of gold varieties:

 Zespri International, which controls exports of the nation’s kiwifruit, is keeping tabs on the spread of vine bacteria disease Psa-V which is showing signs of infection in new gold varieties.

Listed kiwifruit packer and grower Satara Co-operative Group has warned its shareholders of the potential adverse impact Psa-V could have on its business. Pseudomonas syringae PV actinidiae is again showing clear evidence in orchard vines, Satara managing director Tom Wilson said in a statement to NZX. . .

Grape growers are on target for improved profitability

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has today released an analysis of viticulture production and profitability as part of its annual Farm Monitoring Report series. The report is based on models of a Marlborough and a Hawke’s Bay vineyard and an overview of the financial performance of typical vineyards, based on information gathered from a sample of growers and industry stakeholders.

Grape growers experienced significant erosion in profit last season, with unfavourable weather in both Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay leading to a 20 percent drop in average yields. . .

NZX confirms slump in 1H profit; Agri information stands out as bright spot:

New Zealand’s stock market operator, posted a 28 percent drop in first-half profit as revenue growth stalled and expenses rose, squeezing its earnings margin.

Profit was $3.25 million in the six months ended June 30, from $4.5 million a year earlier, the Wellington-based company said in a statement. Operating revenue rose 1 percent to $26.5 million.

The first-half results confirm NZX’s Agri information unit as the biggest source of revenue, growing 8 percent to $6.2 million in the latest period, driven by growth in subscriptions, while advertising revenue was little changed at $3.76 million. The company expects subscription growth to continue in the second half, when it typically enjoys the benefit of a seasonal pickup. . .

Long-term investment in NZ kiwiberry industry:

Freshmax NZ Ltd is the holder of the exclusive New Zealand master kiwiberry license, granted by Plant & Food Research (PFR) to commercialise four of their proprietary kiwiberry varieties. This month, Freshmax welcomes the decision by select growers to advance these varieties into commercial production in New Zealand.

Over the last few years global demand for kiwiberry has continued to rise on the back of a sustained increase in market share for berryfruit. Freshmax has recognized this exciting opportunity for New Zealand growers to benefit from increasing demand, through investment in kiwiberry production. . .

Skip the sheep can shake a leg again – Sally Rae:

First Tarras had Shrek – and now Tapui has Skip.   

And if Skip the Romney ewe was a cat, she would probably be down to about seven lives.   

Farmer John Dodd did not think the little triplet, born on a  cold and frosty night in rural North Otago, would survive its first night if left outside and took her home. . .


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