Rural round-up

January 29, 2019

Book charts history of Young Farmer contest – Sally Rae:

For 50 years, the Young Farmer of the Year contest has been part of the fabric of New Zealand’s rural sector.

Dubbed “the challenge second only to the land”, it tests the knowledge and skills of the country’s young farmers.

To mark the milestone, Hawke’s Bay writer Kate Taylor has recorded the contest’s history in 50 Years Young — A History of the Young Farmer of the Year.

But it is more than just a comprehensive history; it contains interviews with various winners, finalists and organisers, and is peppered with interesting and amusing anecdotes. . . 

Farmer shocked heifers missing – Hamish MacLean:

A North Otago dairy farmer says he is in a state of disbelief after realising 60 rising 2-year Friesian heifers had been taken from his farm.

Russell Hurst, of Awamoko, said the animals, taken between the week before Christmas and New Year’s Day, could be worth $100,000.

He and his staff went ”around and round the farm in circles” double-checking the mobs on the 2500ha farm to make sure the animals had been stolen.

”It’s just disbelief, really,” Mr Hurst said. . . 

Restrictions loom for river irrigators in Marlborough – Matt Brown:

New Zealand’s largest wine region could soon be facing water restrictions as record-high temperatures affect rivers.

The Rai, Waihopai and Wairau Rivers’ minimum flow rates were rapidly being approached and surface water “takes” were expected to be halted by the end of next week.

Marlborough District Council hydrologist Val Wadsworth said it was trying to “forward forecast” on the current rate of flow decline, but it was difficult to be concise. . . 

Pioneer works with maize insurer – Richard Rennie:

The country’s largest maize seed supplier is working with an insurance company to settle losses incurred after seed treatment failure in some hybrid varieties this season.

Early in the maize planting season late last year a number of growers in Waikato and Northland reported stunted crops post-germination, prompting some to replant crops before mid December.

Pioneer’s investigation team head Raewyn Densley said a number of growers have . . 

Taranaki honeymoon: whacking possums – Jamie Morton:

Forget Paris: for one newlywed couple, there’s no better honeymoon than killing possums in Taranaki.

Fresh from their wedding, Andrea and Max Hoegh are working at the frontline of New Zealand’s first large-scale possum eradication operation.

The biggest pest-busting project of its kind in the country, Towards Predator-Free Taranaki divided the region into pizza-slice sections around the mountain, with work kicking off in the New Plymouth area. . . 

Your dinner’s in the lab – the future of ‘cell-based’ meat – Gwynne Dyer:

“Right now, growing cells as meat instead of animals is a very expensive process,” says Yaakov Nahmias, founder and chief scientist of Israel-based startup Future Meat Technologies. But it will get cheaper, and it probably will be needed.

The global population is heading for 10 billion by 2050, from the current 7.7b. Average global incomes will triple in the same period, enabling more people to eat meat-rich diets. . .

 


Rural round-up

June 21, 2018

Shearing the way to land ownership for record-breaking shearers Rowly and Ingrid Smith – Kate Taylor:

Two record-breaking shearers are working their way into land ownership in Hawke’s Bay. Kate Taylor reports.

What does a champion shearer do on his days off? His own shearing.

Rowland (Rowly) and Ingrid Smith bought their 28ha block at Maraekakaho in Hawke’s Bay four and a half years ago. He’s still shearing full time but is starting a seasonal contracting business and the couple hope to buy more land in the future.

Their first few years as landowners saw all their spare cash put back into development including fencing and a new shearing shed.

They’ve since bought a 6000 square metre block down the road and plan to live there while they build a new house. . .

Drive for success in NZ apple and pear industry – Georgia May Gilbertson:

Six young people from Hawke’s Bay are on a mission to get others like them to join their world leading apple and pear industry.

They are part of a new nation-wide recruitment campaign to raise more awareness about all the new career opportunities for young Kiwis looking for a bright future with rewarding job prospects.

New Zealand Apples & Pears capability development manager Erin Simpson said job attraction is a far bigger challenge than job creation for the industry, as horticulture has, in the past, struggled to gain wider appeal. . .

Stock cartage rates likely to rise – Nigel Malthus:

 Farmers will not get stock moved if trucking companies do not get better freight rates, according to the Road Transport Forum (RTF).

“We’re at the point where people won’t get stock moved; something has to give here,” Ken Shirley, RTF chief executive told Rural News.

“All these additional biosecurity conditions and precautions we accept are necessary, but someone has to be prepared to pay for them and surely that’s the primary sector’s problem.” . . 

New Zealand’s exclusive avocado access to Australia under threat – Gerard Hutching:

Mexico, Peru and Chile are eyeing up exporting avocados to Australia, threatening New Zealand’s exclusive access to the lucrative market.

Australia is New Zealand’s number one market for avocados, worth $88 million in sales in the 2017-18 year. Total exports were $105m.

However following the signing of  the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) deal, Mexico, Peru and Chile have signalled they are keen for access to Australia in particular.

They also want to sell into New Zealand but it could take some years and would not necessarily result in cheaper avocados, Avocados NZ chief executive Jen Scoular said . .

Get ready for the ‘internet of cows’ – Ross Marowits:

Get ready for the “internet of cows.”

Generations of farmers have relied on knowledge and family expertise to grow food, but the sector is set for a surge of disruption at the hands of made-in-Canada artificial intelligence-powered systems.

AI is now helping farmers across the country to increase yields, save costs and minimize environmental damage. Instead of spreading fertilizer across acres of fields or spraying entire orchards with herbicides, they can now target their efforts for maximum effect. . .

Waving the jersey for dairying – Brad Markam:

 The life’s work of a Waikato Jersey breeder will be used to help inspire students about careers in the agri-food sector.

Sixty-one cows from the herd of the late Bobbie Backhouse have been bought by NZ Young Farmers for its Auckland dairy farm.

The 74ha property was gifted to the organisation by Donald Pearson last year.

“Bobbie Backhouse was a passionate Jersey breeder who farmed near Thames. Sadly, she passed away in early 2016,” says Donald Pearson Farm board chair Julie Pirie. . .

Industry looks to emerging agri-tech to further boost farm productivity :

Productivity on UK farms has improved significantly, according to new figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The figures, in the report ‘Total factor productivity of the UK agriculture industry’, provides the first estimate for 2017.

It shows that total factor productivity – a measure of how well inputs are converted into outputs, giving an indication of the efficiency and competitiveness of the agriculture industry – was up by 2.9 per cent last year. . . 


Rural round-up

April 7, 2018

Consumers drive winner’s farming – Richard Rennie:

His work has earned him an award that will allow him to mix with Australasia’s agribusiness elite on an equal footing but Thomas Macdonald, now involved in the developing sheep milk sector, never forgets the consumers who make it all possible. He spoke to Richard Rennie.

This year’s Zanda McDonald award winner is no stranger to collecting scholarships and awards for his efforts to look longer and harder at the challenges and opportunities in the pastoral sector.

Thomas Macdonald, business manager for Spring Sheep Milk Company, has been awarded the prestigious Platinum Primary Producer (PPP) Zanda McDonald award valued at $50,000 in recognition of his work in the sector and his continuing contribution to the innovative sheep milk company. . . 

Scenic outlook part of Coop family farm on Mahia Peninsula – Kate Taylor:

A Mahia farming couple won three awards in the East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Kate Taylor reports.

Okepuha Station has a bird’s eye view of the Rocket Lab launching pad on Mahia Peninsula and Richard and Hannah Coop love farming the windswept Hawke’s Bay coastline.

Richard and Hannah are the fourth generation Coops to farm at Mahia in more than a century. The family’s long association with the peninsula began back in 1905 when land was bought by Richard’s great grandfather.

The 940ha Okepuha Station was farmed by Richard’s parents, Will and Cathy, from the 1970s until recently when Richard and Hannah took over the farm business. . .

Otago University research revives dry-aging of meat – Rob Tipa:

Dry aging meat concentrates the flavour. Rob Tipa reports on a scientist who is working on an electrifying new aspect.

Meat researchers at the University of Otago are reviving an ancient technique to age and tenderise meat by exploring new technologies to make the process more efficient for commercial meat processors.

Tanyaradzwa Mungure, a PhD student in the Department of Food Science at Otago, won an award for his presentation of research into dry aging of meat at an international meat science conference recently in Ireland. . .

Farmers donate hay bales to other farmers in need –  Maja Burry:

Midhirst dairy farmers in Taranaki are donating any hay bales they can spare to farmers in coastal parts of the region who are facing a feed shortage.

The dry summer has had a significant impact on pasture and crops across the drought-hit region, with growth rates estimated to be down by at least 40 percent.

Taranaki Rural Support Trust chair Mike Green said coastal Taranaki had been particularly hard hit, with many farmers having to dry off their herds early and reduce stock numbers as they did not have enough feed. . . 

Book details history of Alexandra basin wine – Yvonne O’Hara:

It will be 30 years this year since the first modern-day wine made in the Alexandra basin was sold.

In his new book Latitude 45.15S – among the world’s southernmost vineyards journalist, Otago Daily Times columnist, bed and breakfast co-owner and author Ric Oram said 2400 bottles of Black Ridge gewurztraminer and riesling and 2000 bottles of assorted William Hill varieties were sold in 1988.

Bill Grant, of William Hill vineyard, and Verdun Burgess, of Black Ridge, sent their grapes to Rippon vineyard in Wanaka to be made into wine by Tony Bish. . . 

NZ carpet maker Cavalier on growth path after emerging from ‘tough’ restructuring – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand carpet maker Cavalier Corp is emerging from a “tough” period after an influx of cheaper synthetics forced it to restructure its business to compete. It has now streamlined its operations and with most of the pain now behind it, is stepping up investment in innovation and marketing as it eyes rising consumer demand for natural woollen products.

The carpet market has undergone rapid change over the past 20 years, with woollen carpets in New Zealand shrinking to about 15 percent of sales from 80 percent as cheaper synthetics made inroads. In response, Cavalier sold uncompetitive assets like its carpet tile business in Australia, began manufacturing its own synthetic range, and consolidated its woollen felting and yarn spinning operations. . . 


Rural round-up

March 12, 2018

Thousands of trees hide the scars of Cyclone Bola on Mangaroa Station at Tokomaru Bay – Kate Taylor:

‘It was like a bloody atomic bomb had gone off.’ An East Coast farmer looks back at Cyclone Bola. Kate Taylor continues her series marking the storm’s 30th anniversary.

Sam Reeves loves farming Mangaroa Station today but can only imagine its devastation at the hands of Cyclone Bola.

At age 27, he wasn’t born when the historic storm hit the East Coast of the North Island in 1988.

But he is the same age previous owner Graeme Williams was when Cyclone Bola dumped more than 900mm of rain on the Tokomaru Bay farm in just two days.

“When I went to bed on the night of the 7th it was pouring down with rain,” Williams says. . .

More weight for ag emissions tax – Neal Wallace:

Another unequivocal message has been delivered that agriculture needs to shoulder a greater share of the efforts and costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In January Climate Change Minister James Shaw signalled agriculture could be included in the Emissions Trading Scheme and this week the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Simon Upton said climate change policy cannot ignore agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

New Zealand has committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 but Upton said climate change policies lack bite for fear they would compromise competitiveness. . . 

Rabobank New Zealand Agribusiness Monthly March 2018:

The Agribusiness Monthly provides timely information and analysis on agricultural conditions, commodity price updates and commentary on the latest sectoral trends and developments.

Key Highlights:

Dairy
Can the price rally survive the EU Spring peak?

Beef
Is there potential for near term price falls? . . .

Industrialised meat backlash to favour NZ sheep and beef farmers – Bill Wright:

The planets seem to be aligning for sheep and beef farmers this season.

We have had that rare combination of excellent growing conditions and strong prices for both beef and lamb – prime and store.

Adding to what has been a positive start to the year was the release of a Beef + Lamb New Zealand- commissioned report on alternative proteins.

The research showed that despite the emergence of alternative proteins, the future for this country’s grass-fed red meat is healthy. Internationally, consumers are seeking red meat produced without hormones or antibiotics and to the highest standards of animal welfare – and NZ farm systems tick all of these boxes. . . 

Kansas City’s agriculture roots run deep: Cowtown turned animal health & technology centre:

At the bend in the Missouri River on grass covered flats if you listen close you might hear echoes of the past; hoofbeats, whistling, spurs jangling, the slap of leather and the high pitched zzzzzz of a lariat. Cowboys, dust covered and bone tired, riding weary cowponies barely heard over the bawling of thousands of Texas steers, “Hold’em here boys, the drives bout over.”

Kansas City sprouted from its agricultural heritage as a Cowtown. The transition to a center for animal health, education, and technology seems only natural for a town that for hundreds of years has had millions of animals pass through this gateway to the west. . .

 


Rural round-up

March 11, 2018

Farmer’s lucky escape from Cyclone Bola – Kate Taylor:

A lucky glance gave now-retired Whatatutu farmer Rod Mead time to escape when a flooded river topped its stopbank. Kate Taylor talks to a survivor of Cyclone Bola.

Rod Mead looked across the river flats on Waitahoata Station near Whatatutu, Gisborne, with horror but also relief. Minutes earlier, he had been lifting equipment in the station’s old woolshed in case Cyclone Bola flooded the valley.

Glancing towards the river, Mead saw it had breached its stopbanks and immediately went outside and started up the tractor. As he did so, floodwater swirled around his ankles and he steered the tractor toward the safety of his hillside track 400 metres away.

He didn’t look back again until he reached the track and when he did he saw floodwaters raging where moments before he had been standing.

Learn from best dairy farmers – Alan Williams:

New Zealand’s best dairy farmers are achieving results well above average levels and other farmers are being urged to learn from them.

Their pasture and animal health management put them well ahead in milk produced per cow liveweight and in lower rates of cow losses.

Research overseas and in NZ showed leading farmers are ahead of the consultants, institutions and available information in the work they’re doing, veterinary surgeon and farm systems analyst Brian McKay told a Federated Farmers dairy group presentation in Christchurch. . .

MPI stock process creating huge stress – Sally Rae:

From a distance, Kerry and Rosie Dwyer’s Maheno farm looks a picture.

The sun is shining on a glorious autumn day in North Otago and the paddocks are covered in lush, green grass.

But something is missing; shelter sheds – usually home to hundreds of calves – sit empty and the 120ha farm is devoid of stock, apart from a few sheep.

“I’ve got no business. It’s stuffed and I accept that.

“I just don’t know what we’ll do,” Mr Dwyer says. . . 

Barren paddock turned bustling village: Celebrating 25 years of the Central Districts Field Days -Sam Kilmister:

The Central Districts Field Days turn 25 next week. Sam Kilmister looks back at an agricultural showcase that had small beginnings and now a big following.

Noel and Eleanor Mortimer recall the moment their son-in-law Don Eade started the Central Districts Field Days.

He had returned from the Mystery Creek Fieldays, near Hamilton, which ignited a vision to have it replicated in Manawatū. . .

What a whopper! Dart takes pumpkin prize again – Sally Rae:

It was a hell of a pumpkin.

Dart Watson might have been one of the younger entrants in the produce shed at the Wanaka A&P Show, but he sure grew one of the most spectacular entries.

For the third consecutive year, Dart (13) won the largest pumpkin in the junior section with an absolutely whopping vegetable. . .

Heat detection device up for an award :

A low-cost device designed to detect when cows are ovulating and ready to be inseminated has earned two Kiwi entrepreneurs a place among the finalists in the 2018 New Zealander of the Year awards.

Fraser Smith and Matt Yallop, of Farmshed Labs, are finalists in the New Zealand Innovator of the Year category for their product FlashMate.

 


Rural round-up

March 1, 2018

Big week for agri-food in the Manawatu – Kate Taylor:

New Zealand AgriFood Week is returning to Manawatu with a series of more than 10 events dedicated to developing, celebrating and showcasing the country’s food producing industries.

The week in association with ASB, is designed to help New Zealand agrifood businesses succeed through the development of innovation, investment and people. Project managed by Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA), the week will deliver a programme of events designed to connect, challenge and grow the agrifood industry.

This year’s theme is “Transforming Food Producers for the Future”. . . 

Top excavator operators do battle – Sonita Chandar:

Using a 12-tonne Hitachi excavator to pour a cup of tea, slam dunking a basketball and transporting an egg is no easy task but for New Zealand’s top excavator operators, it’s a piece of cake.

The boys and their toys will be back at Central Districts Field Days in Feilding to do battle for the Civil Contractor New Zealand’s (CCNZ’s) National Excavator Operator Competition title.

Ten of the country’s top excavator operators and will be taking on current titleholder Steve Galbraith, from Galbraith Earthmovers, Napier. Steve has won it for the last two years and is determined to make that three wins in a row. . . 

NZDIA Executive Chair announced as Dairy Woman of the Year finalist:

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Executive Chair has been named as one of three finalists in the 2018 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year awards.

Rachel Baker farms in the Central Hawkes Bay with her husband and three children. She and her husband won the Manawatu Sharemilker of the Year title in 2009, and progressed to large scale sharemilking before purchasing a dairy support unit in 2017. . . 

After large New Zealand kiwi fruit, small Italian ones followed:

The contrast between the European and the New Zealand kiwi fruit season is large. New Zealand mostly harvested large sizes. The European kiwi fruit season is characterised by small sizes and a smaller volume. The harvest was particularly disappointing in Italy. Nele Moorthamers of Zespri talks about the challenges of this season, and the growth opportunities for the originally New Zealand company for kiwi fruit during the European season.
During the season, the Zespri kiwi fruit mostly comes from Italy and France.  . . 

Fleece patrol: how organic wool from Patagonia is creating sustainable luxury – Laura Hawkins:

With the power to salve the soul and sell stock, sustainability is luxury’s new holy grail. As we investigate in two special reports, it begins with the pioneers rethinking the production of raw materials. Part I explores how that means being able to trace one’s organic knit back to a happy Patagonian sheep, part II follows the same thread by investigating denim naturally dyed with Tennessee-grown indigo.

Renewable, warm, odour-resistant, non-flammable, hypoallergenic, elastic, soft, wrinkle-free: wool is a natural fibre with a lot going for it. Yet according to a 2017 report by the global non-profit organisation Textile Exchange, wool and down accounts for only 1.3 per cent of the world’s fibre production. This is partly due to a communication problem: ‘Over the last half a century, consumer messaging on wool has been confusing,’ says Alberto Rossi, business development manager of Organica, a new arm of French company Chargeurs Luxury Materials, one of the world’s leading suppliers of premium wool fibre. Cheap synthetic alternatives now have a 68.3 per cent share of the textiles market. . . 

NZ  outdoor recreation could be big business:

A New Zealand outdoor recreation advocacy says outdoor recreation is a very big contributor to the economy, but lacked appreciation by government.

Andi Cockroft, co-chairman of the Council of Outdoor Recreation said a recent study in the US showed the outdoor recreation industry’s contribution to the US’s GDP was larger than that of all mining, including the extraction of oil and gas.

“And the US study showed the industry is expanding. In 2016, it grew 3.8 percent, compared to the overall economy’s growth of 2.8 percent,” he said.. . . 

Young farmer focus: ‘Farming is not just a man’s world’ – Eleanor Durdy, 23:

Growing up on a farm was the greatest gift I have ever received. I learnt to drive before I could touch the pedals, ate mud for breakfast and played conkers without a hard hat.

I became the ‘roller girl’, changed my first oil filter and found a passion for farming.

But as a girl, I was not encouraged to become a farmer. “It is not very ladylike,” they said. “You need a back-up.” So that is what I did. . . 


Rural round-up

February 27, 2018

Kellogg report puts a human face on small rural business challenges – Kate Taylor:

There are challenges facing people with small rural businesses all over the world.

But in rural New Zealand, it is not always easy to solve them in isolation.

Rural people know how special rural New Zealand is, that’s why we fight so hard to stay out there running businesses alongside our farms or lifestyle blocks or within our homes.

I say we, because I own a small rural business. When I’m not writing for NZ Farmer I’m a freelance writer – communiKate – and I have been self-employed in rural Hawke’s Bay for almost 18 years. . . 

School introduces agribusiness as subject – Sally Rae:

The introduction of agribusiness as a subject at Kavanagh College signals “exciting times” in education, head of commerce Jill Armstrong says.

On Friday, pupils from the Dunedin school visited origin verification company Oritain, animal parasite diagnostics company Techion Group and Duncan and Anne-Marie Wells’ dairy farm on the Taieri.

It was a “fantastic” field trip and followed on from the introduction of agribusiness as a subject at NCEA level 2 this year, Ms Armstrong said.

At Oritain, Sam Lind gave an overview of the company and why it had become so important  for businesses to be protected from fraud. . . 

Top dairy women announced as finalists for Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year award:

A dairy consultant, a district mayor, and a leadership coach are finalists in the 2018 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year awards.

Hawke’s Bay dairy consultant Rachel Baker, Tararua district mayor Tracey Collis, and Southland dairy leadership coach Loshni Manikam are in the running for the coveted dairy award, which will be announced at an awards ceremony during Dairy Women’s Network’s conference in Rotorua on Thursday 22 March. . . 

Local leaders recognised by Dairy Women’s Network:

Two women with generations of farming experience behind them are finalists in the 2018 Dairy Community Leadership Awards.

They are dairy farmers Kylie Leonard, from Reporoa in the Central Plateau, and Lorraine Stephenson, from Dannevirke in Manawatu.

The Dairy Community Leadership Awards are a Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) initiative recognising the unsung heroes of rural communities. This year’s award will be presented at an awards ceremony during the Network’s conference in Rotorua, 22-23 March.

Sponsored by ASB and Tompkins Wake, the award recognises the voluntary role dairy farming women have in leading their communities and sharing their time and skills beyond the farm gate. . . 

Fears for seed industry after red clover moth found nationwide – Eva Corlett:

A moth that attacks red clover, with “devastating” effects has now been found nationwide.

The red clover casebearer moth was first discovered in Auckland two years ago. It has now been found in pheromone traps at the bottom of the South Island, leading researchers to believe it has actually been in the country for around 10 years.

The larvae eats the red clover’s seed, spurring fears for the seed industry, the seed research manager for the Foundation of Arable Research Richard Chynoweth said. . . 

Sports award finalist acknowledges teamwork – Sally Rae:

Jude McNab isn’t one to seek the limelight.

In fact, the Owaka-based shearing sports administrator much prefers to be “behind the scenes and hidden under the table”. But she acknowledged that being named as a finalist for this year’s Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards — in the contribution to the rural sports industry category — was a “real honour”, despite deflecting attention from herself.

“I don’t do this on my own. It’s a team effort with everything. I’m probably the bossy britches,” she laughed.

The awards were about celebrating traditional sports and the people who kept events running year-in and year-out in towns and settlements across the country. . . 

Rural recycling a no-brainer – Simon Andrew:

Supporting farmers and growers to clear more waste and preserve New Zealand farms for future generations is the mission of the rural recycling programme, Agrecovery.

In tackling the plastic used by our rural communities, the leading product stewardship programme recycles over 300 tonnes per year. “That is enough plastic to cover a rugby field six feet high,” says Agrecovery General Manager, Simon Andrew. . . 

It’s time to tell the world about British farming – and heal our rural-urban divide – Minette Batters:

Farming is changing. In all the talk of technology reshaping society, some might have assumed that farming would have been left untouched by this rapid pace of change. But there has been revolution and evolution in the fields of Britain. An agricultural revolution, with the introduction of new productivity-enhancing technologies, and a food evolution, with a relentless drive for high standards. . .

 

z


%d bloggers like this: