Rural round-up

June 8, 2015

New convener’s eyes on support system – Sally Rae:

When Julie Dee headed to the Dairy Women’s Network conference in Invercargill in March, she was feeling a little disillusioned.

With a declining payout and various other challenges, she went with a friend, mostly to support and connect with her and to have a couple of days away.

But the conference proved to be a ”revelation” and Mrs Dee (37) became so inspired that she is now the new voluntary convener for Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) in North Otago. . .

Focus on rural mental health: – John Maslin:

Plunging dairy prices will continue to put enormous pressures on the mental well-being of some sectors of the farming community, and the head of Rural Women NZ says farmers must understand when they need help.

Wendy McGowan was guest at the Lower North Island regional conference held in Wanganui at the weekend, an event organised by the Fordell-Mangamahu branch of the organisation. . .

Big week out for agricultural sector:

The centre of attention for rural New Zealand this week will be Mystery Creek outside Hamilton, where the 47th national Agricultural Fieldays opens its gates on Wednesday.

The big week out for the agricultural sector keeps getting bigger.

Chief executive Jon Calder said it had topped 1000 exhibitors for the first time.

Regular visitors to Fieldays would notice some significant changes.

“In the last 12 weeks, we moved over 100,000 cubic metres of earth to create 100 new exhibition sites, which have been taken up by our customers, so the site looks and feels a lot different this year. . .

Synlait forecast milk price for 2015 / 2016 season:

Synlait Milk’s forecast milk price for the upcoming 2015 / 2016 dairy season is $5.50 kgMS.

“Despite the small recovery in commodity prices we saw earlier this year, the market has not delivered the stability we had hoped for,” said John Penno, Synlait’s Managing Director.

“We’re very aware of how financially tough this current season is for our suppliers. We are confident commodity prices will recover over time and our 2015 / 2016 forecast milk price assumes we will see the beginning of this recovery from the current low prices.” . . .

 

Smaller, excellent quality vintage further enhances New Zealand’s reputation as a world class wine producer:

The 2015 New Zealand grape harvest has been completed with grape growers and winemakers across the country incredibly pleased with the quality and flavours of the 2015 vintage wines.

As all New Zealanders will be aware, we enjoyed a fabulous summer which provided excellent conditions for ripening grapes across the country, said Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers. “As a result we expect vibrant, fruit driven wines which are true expressions of our grape growing regions.”

While quality will be high, the vintage size totalled 326,000 tonnes – down 27% on the record 2014 vintage. Despite the excellent summer, the cool spring weather contributed to the marked reduction in the crop. . .

 

James Rebanks, Man of Sheep, Man of Letters –  Roslyn Sulcasjune:

MATTERDALE, England — James Rebanks picked up a newborn lamb by the scruff of its neck and set it on its feet. It stood, shaking and weak. “We’re going to lose that one,” he said. He got back onto the quad bike that he uses to patrol his farm, 300 acres of hilly land near this parish in the Lake District, where his family has farmed for about 600 years. “Sometimes it happens,” he said stoically.

Birth, death and everything in between are Mr. Rebanks’s daily bread as a sheep farmer in this beautiful but inhospitable terrain in the northwestern part of the country. But he is no isolated, anachronistic figure striding into the hills, shepherd’s crook in hand. (Although he certainly has one.) He has a degree from Oxford, a Twitter account with almost 65,000 followers, a best-selling book and a part-time job as an adviser to Unesco. . .  (Hat tip: Beaties Book Blog)


Rural round-up

September 28, 2014

Building an educated workforce – Rick Powdrell:

How about that election result then! The most interesting result took place up in Te Tai Tokerau with Labour‘s Kelvin Davis being elected.  Can I give a big thumbs up to the average Kiwi voter who responded to electoral nastiness by sending one political movement packing.

New Zealanders have dodged a bullet and it restores your faith in democracy.  The party I am thinking about wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about what we farmers do on-farm either.

In this election, it was clear to me that some people do not understand that farming is the most international business we have.  A business you can’t up sticks and transfer with the click of a mouse.  It’s here because the people, climate, soils and temperature are all right here.  Industries collectively generating $35 billion a year; 73 percent of our merchandise exports.  . .

Nepalese adding value in Waimate – Sarah Rowland:

When Ikawai dairy farmer Lyle Green employed Nepalese Ashok Shrestha 11 years ago he was so impressed with his works ethic he looked for more.

Green’s uncle had told him of a hard-working Nepalese man who wasn’t being treated well in his job and to employ him if he could, but at the time Green had no vacancies.

However, when a position opened he tracked down Shrestha and employed him.

It turned out to be one of the best choices he had made for his business, he said.

When another employee left for another position Green asked Shrestha if he had a friend who wanted to come to work for him and he said he had two. . .

Loving it for the lifestyle – Gerard Hutching:

”I wouldn’t change it for anything – it’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle,” says Landcorp dairy farm manager Letitia Hamill.

At the age of 22, Hamill is the second youngest Landcorp farm manager in the country. And as a woman, she is a relative rarity for the state-owned enterprise, which has just five female managers out of 137.

Hamill manages one of the nine Landcorp Moutoa dairy farms in the Foxton region. At 68 hectares and running 216 cows, hers is one of four smaller properties in the complex. . .

Boost for breeding as salmon return to river  – David Bruce:

About 1% of a first release of 2000 salmon raised in the Waitaki River returned in the past fishing season, boosting breeding in a stream whose water was used to raise them.

The Waitaki Riparian Enhancement Society started hatching salmon at a hatchery next to Welcome Stream and released its first 2000 tagged fish in 2012.

They were due to start returning in the past season, and the first was caught in February.

Society secretary Linn Koevoet said five of those fish were weighed in at a competition and another three were reported caught. . .

‘Shear for life’ fundraiser – Yvonne O’Hara:

Two farmers hope to raise $24,000 for the Cancer Society by shearing sheep during a 24-hour ”Shear for Life” marathon in Tarras in February.

Farmer James Hill, of Teviot Valley, and stock manager Cole Wells, of Tarras, want to raise money for the society in memory of family members who had died of cancer.

Mr Hill’s father Dick died of stomach cancer in 2012 and Mr Wells lost his grandfather to prostate cancer. . .

Dairy delegation heads to US – Narelle Henson:

A group of 30 large-scale New Zealand dairy farmers and industry representatives are heading to the United States of America tomorrow to see what lessons they can bring home. 

The country is increasingly being punted as New Zealand’s major competition in the Chinese market.

The USA’s milk supply is around four times that of New Zealand, according to DairyNZ statistics, 40 per cent of which comes from 800 ”mega-dairies”, with 2000 or more cows.

Fieldays chief executive Jon Calder is going on the nine-day trip, and said lessons in keeping costs down would be a major focus. . .

 

Tongariro triumphs at Otiwhiti -Jackie Harrigan:

Told you we should have left the shield in the van.”

That was the triumphant cry from one of the supporters of the agri-skills team from Tongariro School last week when they won the Land Based Training Otiwhiti Station Interschool Challenge Shield at the Rangitikei station for the second year in a row.

Tongariro team leader Chicago Albert was proud of his team and of the win, saying they had been training hard to retain the shield. 

“I reckon it’s really cool to come back and win for a second time.” . .


Rural round-up

July 6, 2014

Young Farmer named for 2014:

David Kidd has beaten seven finalists over three days of competition to become the 2014 Young Farmer of the year.

In the 46 years of the contest’s history, Mr Kidd is the first Northern region finalist to take the title.

His father Richard Kidd was third in a young farmer competition in 1984.

Mr Kidd joked his inspiration for competing was to better his father and said he’ll be rubbing it in when he sees him. . .

Evil among us – farm community closes ranks – Rebecca Ryan:

The quiet and friendly community of Ngapara has been shaken.

Neighbours are watching out for neighbours, new chains and locks have been placed on gates and security cameras on fence posts, some residents are unable to sleep at night and farmers are requiring help to carry out basic farm work – all fearful after a mass killing of more than 215 sheep on two different properties in the area, two weekends in a row.

They are all hopeful the culprit, or culprits, do not return this weekend.

Police believe the killings may be linked and a firearm was used in both. . .

Dairy head to focus on environment – Gerard Hutching:

Newly elected Federated Farmers dairy chairman Andrew Hoggard said focusing on the environment was one of his two main priorities.

The other was to deal with the issue of labour standards.

A Feilding dairy farmer, Hoggard said it frustrated him that farmers were always trying to play catch up when it came to dealing with environmental issues.

He acknowledged there was a “real issue” of water quality being affected by dairying.

“Cows urinate and that’s got a lot of nitrogen in it, but a lot of people perceive there’s a pipe coming out of a cow shed and into a river. There are a few ratbags but things are in place for farmers to do the right thing. I don’t defend those who don’t,” he said. . .

Firm finds cunning niches – Emma Rawson:

From a mechanism that cleans up geese poop, to small parts for a Fisher & Paykel baby incubator – the range of machinery designed and manufactured by Dannevirke company Metalform is about as broad as it gets.

But the products have one thing in common: they provide solutions to problems deemed too small for the big international manufacturing giants to produce.

Solving Canada’s geese waste issue might not be big business for an agricultural giant like John Deere, but for family-owned Metalform, its Tow and Collect product has been a winner.

Tow and Collect is being used in North American towns to clean up after Canadian geese, which leave a large volume of mess on golf courses and parks during their migration. . .

Fieldays set to get even bigger – Andrea Fox:

National Fieldays will offer up to 100 extra exhibitor sites next year and a new dairy innovation centre is in the pipeline.

Chief executive Jon Calder said the new sites were part of a master plan for the Mystery Creek Events Centre and would maximise the central exhibition space area.

Large-scale exhibitors who have been seeking a new area are likely to benefit but Calder said the flow-on effect for all exhibitors of an improved design and layout would be positive.

The planned dairy innovation centre, which might not be ready until 2016, would be based on a pavilion model in Canada and would bring together in one area exhibits devoted to the dairy industry, including a herd of cows, live robotic milking, interactive plant and equipment displays, and effluent systems, Calder said. . .

Fonterra targets audience of two billion – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra intends to be a dairy co-operative that makes a difference in the lives of two billion people by 2025, chief executive Theo Spierings says.

It was already the world’s largest milk processor and dairy exporter and now it wanted to be a globally relevant co-operative, Spierings said.

Growth in demand was forecast to exceed dairy product supply growth by 3% each year in the massive markets of China and India from now until 2020, he said.

India’s forecast compound annual growth rate was 10% and China’s 7%, whereas their supply growth rates were 7% and 4% respectively. . . .

Life in the saddle – Pip Courtney:

PIP COURTNEY, PRESENTER: In the bush, no-one likes a skite. But while modesty’s an admirable trait, it’s kept many with fascinating lives from writing their memoirs.

Alwyn Torenbeek’s a good example. Despite an extraordinary life, it took years of badgering from his family before the 77-year-old retired drover agreed to put pen to paper.

At just 21, he was Australia’s bronc-riding champion, known for his bravery, natural talent and cheeky showmanship. But his biography is about more than fame. There’s adventure, tragedy, romance and mateship, and that indomitable bush trait, endurance.

An endurance riding camp has its own pace. There’s plenty of time to catch up with mates and swap stories, some of them tall.

At Alwyn Torenbeek’s camp, you’re assured of a yarn or five. . .

Good calving nutrition can better support calving season

With calving season just around the corner, the Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) and SealesWinslow have teamed up to educate dairying women around the importance of good calf nutrition.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients, through its animal nutrition business, SealesWinslow, will be running a series of interactive calf nutrition days across nine locations in New Zealand during June and July.

Mike Stephens, dairy category manager for Ballance Agri-Nutrients said the sessions will provide participants with practical, hands-on skills to raise healthy calves and, in the long term, build healthier and more profitable herds. . .


Rural round-up

May 21, 2014

Finding alternatives to dairy – Keith Woodford:

New Zealand dairy production has increased by 80% since Year 2000. This has come almost equally from both more dairy hectares and more production per hectare. However, the limits to pastoral dairying in New Zealand have largely been reached. Where do we go from here?

First, there is a need to recognise the two reasons why pastoral dairying has largely reached its limits.

The most important reason is that society is no longer willing to accept the effects of cow urine leaching from pastures into waterways and aquifers. Huge progress has been made in fencing off livestock from waterways, and in tree planting alongside the streams, but that does not solve the problem of the urine patch. This 2013/14 year is therefore the last year of large-scale conversion of sheep and beef farms to pastoral dairying. New environmental regulations have effectively closed that door. . . .

Nominations & entries open for South Island Farmer of the Year:

Nominations and entries are open for the 2014 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition, and organisers are hoping for another record year.

“Last year we had entries from throughout the South Island, the quality of which were such that we were obliged to select six finalists instead of the usual four,” says Lincoln University Foundation Chair Ben Todhunter. “This, plus the very successful winner’s field day at Yealands Wine Estate, generated a lot of interest.

Todhunter says that one of the attractions of the competition is that size really doesn’t matter and is not one of the criteria for judging.

“We’re looking for leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship, which can be found equally in a small family-owned farm business as they can within a large commercial agricultural entity. . . .

Central South too wet to drill:

CROPPING FARMERS in Canterbury and North Otago face a soggy battle to get winter cereals sown after another belt of rain swept the region this week.

Paddocks had only just become passable after an unusually wet April and now some fear they will not get back on again until spring. Where crops have been sown agronomists say slugs are having a field day.

“Slug pellet use has gone through the roof,” Mid Canterbury agronomist Roger Lasham told Rural News.
“Where people have gone on with pellets before any damage has been done it’s not too bad but if they’re late they’ll never get those plants back.”  . . .

Fresh look for Fieldays partnership:

A mutual interest in contributing to – and growing – New Zealand’s agricultural sector is behind an enduring strategic partnership between two iconic regional organisations.

The University of Waikato is into its eighth year as a strategic partner of the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek and Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says it is an important partnership for both organisations.

“The University has a shared interest with Fieldays in the agricultural sector, from our research which we will be showcasing on our stand, to our students who undertake internships with many agricultural organisations and our graduates who are employed in the agricultural sector,” he says.

The University and the New Zealand National Fieldays Society signed their latest strategic partnership in March and Fieldays Chief Executive Jon Calder says the relationship has developed well over the years “to the point where we now have a true partnership”. . .

Deal to develop wine tourism:

New Zealand Winegrowers and Air New Zealand have signed a deal which will see them jointly promote the country as a destination for wine tourists.

They believe that more than a million visitors have toured the country’s vineyards and wineries over the last five years and the sector has tremendous opportunity for future growth.

Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said the North American and Asian markets will be targetted in the promotion. . .

Giesen single vineyard first release wins international recognition:

Giesen Wines has won international plaudits with its first release of premium single vineyard wines from Marlborough.

Three different single vineyard selections have won gold at two prestigious UK competitions. The Brookby Rd Pinor Noir 2012 and Clayvin Pinot Noir 2012 were awarded gold in the coveted Decanter competition while Giesen The Fuder Clayvin Chardonnay 2012 captured gold at the International Wine Challenge (IWC).

Theo Giesen, of Giesen Wines, says this is the first time its wines have been awarded gold at either of the UK competitions. . . .


Rural round-up

November 29, 2012

Kiwi’s China dairy project receives first cows: Caleb Allison:

A Chinese dairy farm spearheaded by Kiwi dairy entrepreneur Howard Moore has received its first 3000 heifers from Australia.

Mr Moore – formerly technical manager at the Dairy Board and Kiwi Dairies – is the managing director of Taranaki Dairy Technologies, which is headquartered in Shanghai after he set it up two years ago. . .

Nearly 2 Million More Lambs But Third Smallest Lamb Crop:

An estimated 26.9 million lambs were tailed this spring – 1.9 million more than last year, according to Lamb Crop 2012, the latest report from Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Economic Service.

Even then, this will be the third smallest lamb crop since the early 1950s. Only the previous two years were lower.

This year’s increase was due to slightly more ewes mated (+0.6%) and the sheep being in good condition thanks to favourable feed conditions before mating. There was also an increase in the number of lambs born from hoggets, according to B+LNZ Economic Service Executive Director, Rob Davison. . .

The Hobbit can help New Zealand farming:

Federated Farmers is hopeful increased lamb production over 2012/13 may offset softer international prices and the high New Zealand dollar. It is also hopeful The Hobbit may also spur overseas demand for all things kiwi including wool.

“The 2012/13 Lamb Crop may be the third smallest since the 1950’s, but being up by 1.9 million on last season is a positive,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“While we currently need grass growth in some key areas, I am hopeful the increase in production may go some way to offset softer prices and that high Kiwi dollar. . .

Warning after livestock agent illegally tags cattle at saleyard:

 The conviction of a senior livestock agent in Blenheim serves as a warning that the illegal tagging of cattle will not be tolerated, says the Animal Health Board (AHB).

Richard John May, 66, and from Seddon, admitted two breaches of the Biosecurity Act after he “helped out a mate” by attaching three tags to a friend’s animals at the Blenheim public saleyard. The tags he used belonged to other farmers.

However, following a report from the on-site movement control and identification officer, the AHB’s own investigation led to May being prosecuted for the incident which took place in October last year. . . .

Wine industry profitability continues to show improvements in 2012:

Seventh annual financial benchmarking survey confirms gradual turnaround, but industry still has a long way to go

All but the largest New Zealand wineries have improved their profitability during the past financial year compared with results in 2011, according to a new survey.

Vintage 2012, the seventh annual financial benchmarking survey for the New Zealand wine industry, was released today by Deloitte and New Zealand Winegrowers. It tracks the results of survey respondents accounting for a third of the industry’s export sales revenue for the 2012 financial year. . .

Global Timber and Wood Products Market Update:

– a news brief from Wood Resources International LLC

Wood costs for pulp mills and sawmills in Brazil have fallen the past year and are currently among the lowest in the world, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly

Pulp mills and sawmills in Brazil became more competitive in 2012, because the costs for the wood raw-material, which accounts for about 70 percent of the production costs, have declined by over 20 percent since 2011, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. . .

ANZ helps forge strong agriculture links between India and New Zealand:

NZ National Fieldays Society today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The Confederation of Indian Industry – the industry organisation behind AGRO TECH, India’s largest agricultural technology trade event.

The Memorandum, which was brokered by ANZ, will provide the opportunity for collaboration between the two organisations – and their members – as they promote their international trade activities.

Jon Calder, CEO of NZ National Fieldays Society, and Sunil Kaushal, ANZ Head of India Relations, are in India as part of a business mission led by Minister for Primary Industries, Hon David Carter. The purpose of the mission is to forge closer economic relationships through the primary sector. . .

Why we need free trade – Gravedodger:

Stuff reports that 5400 horticultural producers are losing around 23 million dollars from tariffs being imposed as a precondition to foreign markets. . .

And a new use for milk which makes me wonder about the benefits of higher education:


Rural round-up

June 11, 2012

Win-win at last for AFFCO and workers –  Allan Barber:

It was a hell of a long time coming, but the return to work for AFFCO’s workforce, or at least the half who were on strike or locked out, has finally arrived.

95% of the union members ratified the settlement by Monday last week which is a substantial majority, although it makes me wonder why the other 5% still wanted to hold out. Both sides are heralding a good outcome which I suppose is what you would say after a three month dispute has been settled. . .

Happy cows,decreased farm expenses:

Cow behaviour expert, Darold Klindworth, says farmers need to identify the signs of cow stress to improve the milking experience for their animals and staff.

He says by making a few changes to the milking process, farmers can make a real impact on a farm’s bottom line.

“When a cow is stressed, it can lead to lower milk yields, increased milking time and higher animal health costs. Plus, if your cows are stressed and acting out, that often creates stress for staff as well,” says Mr Klindworth. . .

Mystery man reveals big plans – Andrea Fox:
Energy is radiating off Jon Calder like a force field in the foggy Fieldays air.

Around him the huge Mystery Creek site is seething with preparations for the 44th agricultural extravaganza’s opening on Wednesday but, far from looking overwhelmed by the responsibility of presenting his first Fieldays, the man is grinning like a kid at Christmas. . .

Lifestylers aid innovation – Tim Cronshaw:

The perception that lifestyle blocks are eating up productive land is not always true, say tree crop growers.

Growers believe the top land with the best soils should be protected for productive soil-based activities, but point to good incomes being made from lifestyle blocks and small landholdings.

New Zealand Tree Crops Association president Murray Redpath said most of the association’s 1500 members were small-block owners trying to make productive use of their land. . 


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