Rural round-up


Scholar keen to bridge urban-rural divide – Sally Rae:

Emma Subtil sees the opportunities in the primary industries as “endless”.

And when she completes her masters degree in agribusiness at Lincoln University, she would love a job that helped improve relationships between people living in urban and rural areas.

`If I could get a job in that, I’d be a happy girl,” she said yesterday.

Miss Subtil (21) was recently awarded a $1500 World Congress Charitable Trust Scholarship through New Zealand Young Farmers. . . 

New mountain bike park for Wanaka:

A new mountain bike adventure park is set to open near Wanaka later this year.

The park – called Bike Glendhu – will eventually encompass 50km of awe-inspiring trails at Glendhu Bay, a 13-minute drive from Wanaka’s CBD. Located on one of New Zealand’s most picturesque farms at Glendhu Station, the eco-conscious park is designed for riders of all ages and intends to be a natural and positive shared space for the Wanaka community.

Local resident and keen rider John Wilson has joined forces with Glendhu Station owners John and Emily McRae to create the park, set to open to the public in spring 2019. . . 

CGT valuations would pile on costs, benefit no-one:

Valuing every single business, farm, rental property or family bach to comply with a Capital Gains Tax regime would impose billions of dollars of costs on New Zealanders while benefiting no-one apart from valuers, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.

“The Tax Working Group recommends small businesses, rental properties, family baches and farms be subject to a Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on all gains made after April 2021. As a result, eligible assets without an up to date market value would need a new valuation.

“Valuations don’t come cheap, especially for business owners who want a value robust enough to stand up in court if challenged by the IRD. If every small and medium-sized business owner in New Zealand had to pay for a new valuation at say $10,000 apiece, the cost to the wider economy would be about $5 billion. . . 

Homes wanted for wild horses mustered from Kaimanawa Ranges:

Homes are urgently being sought for 70 wild horses that are being mustered out of the Kaimanawa Ranges next month. 

The Department of Conservation said the animals needed to be removed from the the Waiouru Military Training Area in the Central North Island to keep the herd of wild horses there at a sustainable level of 300.

DOC operations manager Dave Lumley said this allowed for the horses in the herd to maintain best condition and also protects the fragile ecosystems, unique to the Moawhango Ecological Zone. . . 


‘Quality issues’ affect avocado growers in difficult season – Charlotte Cook:

Avocado growers profits have taken a hit due to quality issues among 2018’s smaller crop.

New Zealand Avocado chief executive Jen Scoular said wet weather, early maturity and growers not always following best practice were contributors to the difficult season.

Ms Scoular said the main avocado harvest ran from July to February but things had wrapped up a couple of weeks early this year with yields down.

Ms Scoular said 65-70 percent of all avocados grown in New Zealand were exported overseas, about 80 percent of which to Australia. . . 

Gold (and green) rush is underway:

The gold (and green) kiwifruit rush is underway.

The 2019 kiwifruit harvest has officially kicked off with the first of an estimated industry-wide 150 million trays picked and packed in Gisborne.

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) Chief Executive Officer Nikki Johnson says Poverty Bay leads the charge because the crop matures more quickly there than the rest of the country. “Over March, orchards in the Bay of Plenty, Northland, Counties-Manukau, Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, the lower North Island and Tasman will follow suit – it’s going to be a bumper crop.” . . 

2019 Waikato Dairy Industry Award winners announced:

The major winners in the 2019 Waikato Dairy Industry Awards are first-time entrants who have wanted to enter the Awards since reading about the national winners in 2012 whilst still living in Wales.

Marc and Nia Jones were announced winners of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year competition at the Waikato Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner held at the Sir Don Rowlands Centre at Karapiro last night. The other big winners were Joe Kehely, who became the 2019 Waikato Dairy Manager of the Year, and Matt Dawson, the 2019 Waikato Dairy Trainee of the Year. . . 

2019 Central Plateau Dairy Industry Award winners announced:

A first-time entrant with a passion for dairy farming, the environment and animals has won the 2019 Central Plateau Share Farmer of the Year.

Tom Bridgens was announced the winner of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year competition at the Central Plateau Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner held at the Energy Events Centre in Rotorua last night. The other big winners were Laurence Walden, who was named the 2019 Central Plateau Dairy Manager of the Year, and Harry Phipps, the 2019 Central Plateau Dairy Trainee of the Year.

The 22-year old is Contract Milking 300 cows on Rex and Loris Bates’ Tokoroa 80ha property and won $15,480 in prizes and four merit awards. . . 

2019 Bay of Plenty Dairy Industry Awards winners announced:

The major winners in the 2019 Bay of Plenty Dairy Industry Awards, Matt Barr & Genna Maxwell believe one of the strengths of their business lies in being fourth-generation custodians of a family legacy, with opportunities for diversification.

The couple were announced winners of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year competition at the Bay of Plenty Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner held at the TECT The Action Centre Pongakawa last night. The other big winners were Janamjot Singh Ghuman, who was named the 2019 Bay of Plenty Dairy Manager of the Year, and Alex Sainty, the 2019 Bay of Plenty Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Matt and Genna, are Lease Farmers for Viv Barr, on her 110ha, 410-cow Awakeri property. “Viv is an actively supportive land owner,” they say. . . 

2019 Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Industry Awards winners announced:

The 2019 Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year winners have found success through effective team work, increasing their skills and knowledge, and challenging themselves.

Ethan and Sarah Koch were named the 2019 Auckland/Hauraki Share Farmers of the Year at the region’s annual awards dinner held at the Karaka Pavilion last night and won $12,900 in prizes and five merit awards. The other major winners were the 2019 Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Manager of the Year Kyle Brennan, and the 2019 Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Trainee of the Year, Rebecca Casidy.

Ethan and Sarah (both aged 28), have backgrounds in building and teaching, and were runners-up in the same category in 2018. . . 

Lest we forget


In acknowledgement of Armistice Day, in memory of those who served and with gratitude for peace:

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


The New Zealand War Memorial in London.

Rural round up


NZ farmer wins prestigious 2011 Australasian award:

New Zealand farmer Lance Gillespie has been awarded the 2011 Rabobank Business Development Prize for a management project undertaken to enhance human resources management at his dairy operation, Table Flat Holdings, in the central North Island.

The prize – which is awarded annually as part of the Rabobank Executive Development Program – was presented to Mr Gillespie at the graduation of a group of leading primary producers from around New Zealand and Australia who recently completed the program, a business development course for Australasia‟s leading agricultural producers.

Mr Gillespie‟s winning project focused on improving human resource management tools in his farm business, through the creation of a comprehensive Farm Operations Manual . . .

Trickle of apples to Australia at first:

New Zealand won’t be swamping Australia with apples just yet following the relaxing of a 90-year ban.   

Australian officials yesterday gave the green light to importing our NZ apples, despite local fears they could carry diseases such as fire blight, European canker and apple leaf curling midge . . . 

Project to gauge demand for local food – Sally Rae:

An innovative project is under way to quantify demand for ways of buying local meat in Dunedin and Wanaka.   

It is being driven by Wanaka farmer John McRae, from Glendhu      Station, and consultant Rhys Millar from Forest Environments Ltd.   

Mr McRae, who farms organically, has been seeking a transparent food system to supply his local community.   

Scientist pursues passionf or deer – Sally Rae:

Dr Colin Mackintosh finds deer fascinating. The AgResearch veterinary scientist has spent 30 years working at Invermay, where his primary focus has been deer.   

When he started, it was “more or less” the beginning of the deer industry in New Zealand and very little was known about deer diseases.   

He likened it to being presented with a blank piece of paper and then spending the last three decades trying to fill in that piece of paper . . .   

Consultant forging a career on land – Sally Rae:

Nicola Kelland enjoys helping farmers achieve their financial  and business goals.   

Miss Kelland (24) is based in Alexandra, where she works as      an agricultural business consultant for AgFirst Consultants  Otago Ltd.   

Brought up on Glenbrook Station, a high country property between Omarama and Twizel, she completed a bachelor of agricultural science degree, with honours, at Lincoln University . . . 

Suppliers put their products on the line – Jon Morgan:

My favourite spot in a supermarket is where the food and wine tastings are. They
are not hard to find – just follow your nose. Usually, someone has a griller
going and tasty morsels are being handed out.

Imagine my joy last week when I encountered three stadiums full of such

It was the annual trade show for Foodstuffs’ food suppliers, held in Arena
Manawatu, Palmerston North . . .

Psyllid wreaks havoc in vege industry – Jon Morgan:

Zebra-striped spuds in your frypan are a sign you have a devastating new pest
in the garden. It is the psyllid, a tiny flying insect that also attacks
tomatoes, capsicums, eggplants and tamarillos.

In America it is known as the jumping plant louse and has laid waste to
tomatoes and potatoes outdoors and in greenhouses in Mexico, Texas and

New Zealand is the only other country to be attacked so far and the rest of
the world is anxiously watching our efforts to deal with it . . .

Foreign buyers see value in New Zealand farms:

In the hunt for farmland investments, New Zealand has not been

As well as well-heeled foreigners pursuing Southern Hemisphere trophy
properties, serious investors are chasing more tangible returns.

For example, since late last year one German group has received Overseas
Investment Office (OIO) approvals to buy a total of 3300ha of dairy land, mostly
in Southland, for a total of $91.5 million.

According to the OIO, the Germans – the Aquila Group – are looking for farms
that are below peak market prices, not being well farmed, or able to be
expanded. . . .

Back to the land: putting faith in farms:

Perry Vieth baled hay on a neighbour’s farm in Wisconsin for two summers
during high school in 1972 and 1973.

The gruelling labour left him in no doubt about getting a degree so he’d
never again have to work so hard for a pay cheque. Thirty-eight years later, and
after a career as a securities lawyer and fixed-income trader, Vieth is back on
the farm.

Except, he now owns it. As co-founder of Ceres Partners, an Indiana-based
investment firm, Vieth oversees 61 farms valued at US$63.3 million ($76 million)
in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Tennessee. He’s so enthusiastic about the
investments that he quit a job in 2008 overseeing US$7 billion in fixed-income
assets to focus full time on farming.

“When I told people I was leaving to start an investment fund in farmland,
they said, ‘You’re doing what?”‘ says Vieth. “It will always be difficult for
Wall Street firms to understand. It’s not like buying stocks on a computer.” . . .

Field of dreams for embattled flyers – Tim Fulton:

Build it and they will come, John Maber reckons, knowing he’s about to test
every bit of that conviction.

After stepping down from the lead role in the NZ Agricultural Aviation
Association, Maber is putting himself on the line again in setting up a training
centre at Rangiora airfield.

Apart from a business case for the project he has experience and belief.
“Most of it comes from my gut, not my head”, he says, eyeing up his partly built
shed . . .

HB weather bomb rebuild

THE APRIL storm blew farm manager Nigel Bicknell’s carefully laid out system to pieces and he had to adopt a new approach to steer Landcorp’s Te Apiti Station, literally, out of the mud.  

As one of the worst hit farms along the coastal strip between Ocean Beach and Blackhead Beach in Hawkes Bay, the 2000ha property took a hammering and is likely to take years to fully recover. . .

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