Rural round-up

May 31, 2019

Employment model tipped on head – Richard Rennie:

As dairy farmers struggle to hire and keep staff Woodville farmer and DairyNZ director Ben Allomes has tipped his farm employment model on its head. 

He and wife Nicky aim to attract and retain people in an environment that recognises effort and nurtures potential while recognising a work-life balance.

The challenges in attracting and retaining good people and a need to restructure their business two years ago presented the Allomes with a chance to look at how they employ people on their 750-cow operation.

“It also came from a realisation that if I was in this industry for the long haul and was relying upon key people then I had a duty to make it work for them.  . . 

Wellbeing Budget should have worked with farmers on conservation:

The 2019 Budget has left Federated Farmers questioning why the Government’s first Wellbeing budget has left a critical gap in its commitment to conservation.

There is no additional funding for the QEII National Trust or the Ngā Whenua Rāhui Fund. Plus, woefully inadequate funding for the control of wilding conifers, Feds Arable and Biosecurity spokesperson Karen Williams says.

The extremely modest increase in funding for the National Wilding Conifer Control Programme means its work will be going backwards in terms of managing this out-of-control pest.  

“We hoped to see the wilding conifer programme receive more like $25 million per year.  . . 

Farmers milk new technologies – Luke Chivers:

Winton dairy farmers Billy and Sharn Roskam believe tapping into modern technologies is the key to an efficient dairy operation. They spoke to Luke Chivers.

It is 7am.

As daylight breaks on the Southland Plains, Winton dairy farmers Billy and Sharn Roskam’s morning milking is well under way.

Their 36-bail rotary is filled with the steady hum of modern machinery – from automated cup removers to automated teat sprayers and heat patches. 

“It’s all about labour and efficiency,” Sharn says.  . . 

Taieri couple can stay and seek residency – Sally Rae:

A Taieri couple’s future in New Zealand is looking much more certain after they were told they can apply for residency.

Last year, nurse Pawan Chander faced deportation to India after her application for a work visa was declined by Immigration New Zealand, as her husband Harrie’s employment as herd manager on a Woodside was deemed “lower skilled”.

Following publicity about the couple’s plight, Mrs Chander was granted a 12-month visitor visa to line up with Mr Chander’s work visa, which expired this month. . . 

Innovation rewarded – Yvonne O’Hara:

John Falconer’s hydraulic, remote-controlled deer crush, which he designed, was one of the reasons he and wife Mary won the Gallagher Technology and Innovation Award at the 2019 Deer Industry Environmental Awards last week.

“The crush has been a game-changer for us,” Mr Falconer said.

Mr and Mrs Falconer, of Clachanburn Station, Puketoi, won the award for their use of “farming technologies to improve productivity and manage resources”.

They also won the Duncan New Zealand Award for “vision and innovation while mastering a demanding environment”. . . 

Costs up as farmers reinvest back into business:

DairyNZ’s newly-released Economic Survey 2017-18 shows farmers have taken advantage of increased milk income to catch up on deferred farm maintenance and revisit capital expenditure, previously delayed due to lower milk prices.

DairyNZ senior economist Matthew Newman said the annual farmer survey shows the largest increases in spend during 2017-18 (1 June 2017 to 31 May 2018) were on feed, repairs, maintenance and labour. But, it is likely expenditure has increased further in 2018-19.

“The 2017-18 season was difficult due to a dry spring/early summer for all regions. That affected pasture growth and peak milk production. It’s also the season that Mycoplasma bovis was discovered,” said Matthew. . .

Living off the grid for almost 80 years – Ciara Colhoun:

Margaret Gallagher has lived off-grid for almost 80 years.

When she was was born – near the Irish border in County Fermanagh in 1942 – it was not unusual for families to live without electricity and running water.

Margaret’s neighbours only began to update their homes in the late 1940s and 1950s.

But her family missed the opportunity to join the trend due to her mother’s death, when Margaret was 10, and her father’s ill health. . . 


Rural round-up

July 17, 2018

Frustration leads to success – Neal Wallace:

John Falconer makes something of an understatement describing his Central Otago deer farm business as diverse. Neal Wallace visits the Falconers’ Clachanburn Station in the Maniototo, a farmer who says he is benefiting from two generations of careful deer breeding.

The stencilled 1988 on a shed wall at Clachanburn Station in Central Otago is more than a piece of graffiti or a casual reference to a year last century.

It marks the year John Falconer’s parents, Charles and Jane, started progressively replacing sheep with deer on the property near Patearoa in the Maniototo Basin. . .

Couple offer tips for the hive minded -David Hill:

Producing honey can be a sweet addition to farm income, but there are some sticky regulations to comply with.

Culverden farmers Dan and Mandy Shand shared their experiences of running a 2000 hive operation on their 7000ha high country farm, Island Hills Station, at Beef and Lamb New Zealand’s northern South Island farmer council ”FarmSmart” conference last week.

Before returning home to the family farm, Mrs Shand was a scuba diving instructor, while Mr Shand was a software developer. . .

Women in Wine launch pilot national mentoring programme:

A nationwide mentoring programme has been launched to help women within the New Zealand wine industry achieve success.

It’s an initiative of Women in Wine, which was launched by New Zealand Winegrowers in 2017.

Women in any role within the wine industry were welcomed to apply to be a mentor or mentee in June. Applications were then assessed by a selection panel and, after careful consideration, suitable mentor-mentee matches were made. . .

Matt Gomm named first Gisborne Young Fruit Grower:

Matt Gomm, orchard leader at the Burnside Trust, has been named as the first ever Gisborne Young Fruit Grower of the Year at a gala awards dinner on Thursday night.

Some of the best young horticulturalists in Gisborne took part in the competition at Kaiaponi Farms yesterday. The event saw contestants facing a series of challenges designed to test their knowledge and skills around topics vital to the management of a successful orchard, including fencing, biosecurity, and tractor safety. They also delivered a speech to a crowd of 110 people at the White House, including Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon, on the importance of innovation and technology in fruit growing. . .

Sustainability and Traceability key themes for Apiculture New Zealand Conference, Sunday 22 to Tuesday 24 July, Blenheim:

Beekeepers, packers, processors, and affiliated businesses from the apiculture industry are gearing up for the Apiculture New Zealand National Conference and Trade Exhibition, opening next Sunday, 22 July in Blenheim.

The three-day conference is filled with presentations and workshops from apiculture experts all over New Zealand and the world. International keynote speakers include Sue Cobey, David Mendes, and Alisha Taff, who are all travelling from the United States to speak to Kiwi delegates. Find their bios, along with the list of local speakers here. . .

Brexit and agriculture – Richard Corbett:

Leaving the EU will presumably mean leaving the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

It is claimed that replacing the CAP could be an opportunity for the UK to develop an agricultural policy which promotes competitive and environmentally sustainable farming better than the CAP does, by reducing direct payments to farmers and increasing subsidies for public goods (such as environmental stewardship and high animal welfare standards). It could also be an opportunity to think afresh about how to create a more resilient, innovative and effective agricultural sector.

It is indeed easy to make a list of desirable changes, though one person’s wish list may be another’s hate-list. And securing support for continued farming subsidies from an overwhelmingly urban electorate is likely to produce its own particular tensions, as my colleague Paul Brannen has explored. . . 

 


Rural round-up

August 12, 2013

 

Bacteria detection a game changer for meat industry:

A SOLUTION to a meat industry headache is offered by Christchurch company Veritide.

“We’ve proven the concept of our real time, non-contact bacterial detection technology in the meat industry,” says chief executive Craig Tuffnell. “We have a known problem and a huge opportunity to provide a solution for meat companies and food processors that need to identify and manage their pathogen risk.”

Tuffnell says Veritide has worked with ANZCO to prove its concept, and it and other food processing companies will assist prototype development, testing and validation, and as an actual product is taken to market. . .

‘Part of deer industry fabric’ – Sally Rae:

”It’s not the end for Invermay. It’s not the end for Otago.”

That was one of the messages from Federated Farmers national vice-president William Rolleston as he outlined his thoughts on AgResearch’s proposed major restructuring, which will result in 85 jobs at Invermay, near Mosgiel, being relocated to other parts of the country.

While it was going to be tough on scientists and their families who were going to have to move – ”that’s always painful, we have to recognise that” – he believed that, in the long-term, it was a sensible strategy for AgResearch to be clustering itself around the country’s two agricultural universities. . .

Drought “response hero” gets life membership:

A long-standing Federated Farmers member has been granted life membership of Federated Farmers. Former Hawke’s Bay provincial president, Kevin Mitchell, was bestowed the honour after more than 30 years of outstanding service to the Federation.

“It is the least our organisation can do,” said Will Foley the current Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay provincial president.

”Kevin was my first introduction to Federated Farmers and has been an inspiration.  He has always strived to uphold the Federation’s drive to achieve profitable and sustainable farming. . .

Waste animal products turned into a winner:

PLACENTAS WERE never part of Angela Payne’s plans when she started in business in 2002 supplying ‘waste’ animal products to a few niche clients.

“I didn’t think I would end up collecting placentas, let alone they would become the main product,” says Payne, founder and sole owner of Agri-lab Co Products, Waipukurau. The business has won the 2013 Fly Buys ‘Making it Rural’ Award, recognising manufacturing and creative businesses run by members of Rural Women NZ.

The business sources waste animal products including placentas, glands and membranes from farmers and freezing works, and, in some cases, freeze-drying them for health supplements and skincare products. Most are exported as frozen raw ingredients for further processing overseas. . .

Cowboys accept challenge – Sally Rae:

Three Southern cowboys are heading to Australia this month as members of a high school team to compete in a transtasman challenge.

The team is captained by Omarama teenager Clint McAughtrie (17), a year 13 boarder at John McGlashan College, and includes Logan Cornish (16), from Central Otago, and Clint’s brother Wyatt (15), who is travelling reserve. The trio are all bull riders. . .

Over the moon about deer cheese:

John Falconer runs 5000 deer on 4000ha at Clachanburn Station and he’s milking them for all they’re worth – literally.

The Maniototo farmer has turned to milking hinds in the past 15 months to open up new avenues for growth.

And what does Mr Falconer make with his deer milk? Cheese, of course.

”It’s certainly different, it’s certainly unique,” he says of the cheeses’ flavour. . .

Campaign for planting bee friendly plants – Annabelle Tukia:

Canterbury researchers believe they’ve come up with a way to increase biodiversity and bee populations on farms, and they say they can do it without having to use valuable productive land.

Cropping farmer John Evans is hoping to have thousands of healthy bees pollinating his crops this spring and summer.

That’s because he’s planted 12,000 trees on unused land around his irrigation pond, giving the bees something to eat even in the middle of winter.

“Good farming is always working with nature rather than against nature,” says Mr Evans. “The fact that we can encourage insects and bees is letting nature work for us rather than fighting it all the time.” . . .


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