Rural round-up

January 11, 2017

South Island’s two-year drought ends:

After two years, regions along the South Island’s east coast are no longer considered to be in a state of drought.

In 2015, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy classified the drought as “a medium-scale adverse event” affecting Marlborough, Canterbury and parts of Otago.

The following two years made the drought the longest recorded in this country – but the official period has not been extended since 31 December. . . 

Putting New Zealand’s farming woes in perspective – Pat Deavoll:

Over the last 10 years, I have been a few times to an area of northern Afghanistan called the Wakhan Corridor.

I am reminded of the dichotomy between the farmers of this area and the farmers in New Zealand whenever a weak GlobalDairyTrade auction result is announced, or the poor state of the meat industry is bandied around the media, or a wool auction fails to meet expectations.

The Wakhan Corridor is split east-west by the Panj River. On the northern side is Tajikistan and nomads herd sheep and cattle, and above 4500 metres, yaks.

Bio-diesel drives milk flow – Richard Rennie:

Fuel is starting to flow from New Zealand’s first commercial bio-diesel plant with Fonterra in line to be one of the first large-scale fleet operators to power its tankers with the Z Energy blend.  

Z Energy’s $26 million bio-diesel plant in Wiri, South Auckland began processing tallow based bio-diesel before Christmas, with the first commercial product due to be at the commercial pump by February.  

The plant’s commissioning marked a milestone in the country’s chequered history of domestic bio-fuels production. . . 

New weapon in rabbit war – Neal Wallace:

A NEW strain of rabbit-killing RHD virus could be released this winter.  

Increasing immunity among rabbits means the existing RHDV1, or Czech strain, has become less effective and advocates say the RHDV1 K5, also known as the Korean strain, would overcome protective antibodies and improve kill rates by up to 40%.  Federated Farmers South Canterbury high country section representative Andrew Simpson said the original RHD strain was still working to a point but growing immunity had allowed populations in some areas to recover, meaning a new, virulent strain was needed.  

Rabbits less than three months of age exposed to the Czech strain became immune, which resulted in the population returning to plague proportions in some parts of the South Island. . . 

Consumers drive move back to dairy:

The new year is marked by resolutions, often about healthier lifestyles. A new series backed by Fonterra looks at the nutritional and lifestyle benefits of dairy – and at some of the old views now being slowly discarded.

The Wall Street Journal headline ran over two lines: Grass-Fed Milk Is Taking Off With Health-Conscious Shoppers. It was a sign of things to come.

That was in 2014 – a story about how shoppers were prepared to pay more for grass-fed milk (many cows in the US eat feed derived from corn) because it was considered healthier.

Now, an article on the Gallagher Group’s website relates how US dairy retail supplier Organic Valley (the one highlighted in the WSJ two years ago) is enjoying an 82 per cent dollar growth in their grass-fed yoghurt, more than three times that of non-grass-fed yoghurts. Their Grassmilk brand is the top-selling grass-fed dairy brand in the US, experiencing double-digit growth since its launch in 2012. . . 

WTO decision important for NZ beef and horticulture into Indonesia

Trade Minister Todd McClay today welcomed the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) decision upholding New Zealand’s challenge to 18 agricultural non-tariff barriers imposed by Indonesia.

New Zealand and the United States jointly brought the case against Indonesia in 2013 over a range of barriers imposed on agricultural imports since 2011. These included import prohibitions, use and sale restrictions, restrictive licence terms and a domestic purchase requirement.

The barriers are estimated to have cumulatively cost the New Zealand beef sector alone between half a billion and a billion dollars. As recently as 2010, Indonesia was New Zealand’s second-largest beef export market by volume, worth $180 million a year. . .

Quality Pedigrees Abound at Karaka 2017;

Full-brother to G1 winner Lucia Valentina (NZ) (Savabeel) to be offered at Karaka 2017.

New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2017 National Yearling Sales Series at Karaka has impressive depth with a large quantity of siblings and progeny of Group 1 winners.

For the second consecutive year, the National Yearling Sales Series will present a full-sibling to the winner of one of Australia’s richest and most prestigious races. . . 

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Farming it’s an addiction.


Rural round-up

January 27, 2014

Three horses expected to sell for $½m at Karaka:

About 14,00 horses are for sale there this week.

Three horses are tipped to pass the $500,000 mark on Monday at the annual Karaka yearling sales.

About 14,00 horses are for sale there this week.

New Zealand Bloodstock managing director Andrew Seabrook says the price for each animal is expected to average about 70,000 , but three yearlings are likely to sell on Monday afternoon for at least $500,000. . . .

Niche dog food that’s delivered – Sally Rae:

Mighty Mix dog food has come a long way from being whipped up in a high-country kitchen.

A woman’s concern for the health of her working dogs during extreme weather conditions more than 20 years ago led to the development of a business which now sells products throughout New Zealand.

In June last year, Mighty Mix’s head office opened in Oamaru, the home of newly-appointed general manager John Walker, who has spent 35 years in the food manufacturing industry, most recently as site manager for Rainbow Confectionery. . .

It’s late – Milk Maid Marian:

The story of Cliffy Young has just finished on the tele but Wayne is still slogging through his own ultra-marathon at the dairy. It’s 10pm and it’s been a tough day that started at 5am.

As I was rattling the kids around the house in readiness for Nippers this morning, Wayne was having some youngster trouble of his own. A freshly-calved heifer simply sat down on the milking platform behind her neighbour. Now, if you’ve worked in or watched a herringbone dairy in action, you’ll say that doesn’t happen.

It did.

The cows are lined up at right angles to the pit we stand in to position the cups, with their buttocks against a “bum rail” that’s designed to guide them into position for milking and prevent a cow from falling onto a milk maid.

It didn’t. . . .

Bark on vines being trialled:

A DRIVE towards more sustainability has led to a new initiative at Eastland Port’s debarker and Gisborne growers could benefit.

The debarker is a machine which removes the bark from logs at Eastland Port’s log yard on Kaiti Beach Road and has just had a new addition to further break down the bark.

Eastland Debarking operations manager Steve O’Dwyer says there it has been a limited market for the large bark pieces, a by-product of the debarker.

“I thought there would be a market for these fines (smaller pieces of bark that are usually 20mm and under),” says Mr O’Dwyer.

So he set about to do some trials and Gisborne grape grower John Rafferty agreed to test the bark fines on 1.7 hectares of new plants. . .

MicroFarm concept a ‘sandpit’ for cropping:

“WHAT WE have here is like a big sandpit – a place where people can get together to play to try and achieve great outcomes.”

That’s how LandWise’s Dan Bloomer describes the MicroFarm, a 4ha property on the Heretaunga Plains, near Hastings.

“We’ve got paddocks that are big enough to have real toys in so we are doing work on a farm-sized scale. A high percentage of paddocks are headlands but between these we have paddocks just like a real farm,” he told an open day in December. . .

Expression of genetic growth potential underpinned by feed allowance:

Recent research by a group of scientists, Dr Long Cheng , Mr Chris Logan , Professor  Grant Edwards and Dr Huitong Zhou from the Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Lincoln University, is helping to unravel a long-standing puzzle in the farming world.

“Traditional wisdom among farmers is that sheep with the genetic potential to grow faster will be more efficient at converting their feed into weight gain (known as higher feed conversion efficiency) than sheep without this genetic potential,” said Dr Cheng, the lead researcher.

“Work in this field has, however, been restricted by the inability to make accurate measurements of the intake of individual animals.” 

Dr Cheng discovered to his surprise, after analysing the results of measurements taken during the trial, that the expectation that sheep with the potential to grow faster would be more efficient was only true when the sheep were well feed (170 % of maintenance metabolisable energy requirement, in this case). . .


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