Rural round-up

April 13, 2017

Stockmanship and work ethic leads family to win Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

East Otago sheep and beef farmers Simon and Kirstin Engelbrecht have won the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The win was announced at a gala dinner at the Glenroy Auditorium in Dunedin on April 7.

The Engelbrechts also won the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Award and the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award.

The Engelbrecht’s 7500 stock unit East Otago sheep and beef business is based on their 611ha home farm, Stoneburn, near Palmerston. The couple have four children, Oscar, 19, Sam, 16, Anna, 14 and Charles, 12. . . 

Aim tech at firms not farmers – Richard Rennie:

As the internet of things (IoT) becomes more of a reality for New Zealand farmers its success might lie in promoting it harder to farm service businesses than to farmers themselves.

KotahiNet chief executive Vikream Kumar tipped the usual pitch for farmers to adopt the IoT on its head to delegates at the MobileTech conference in Rotorua.

His company specialised in connecting businesses with sensors and wireless networks that enabled devices to communicate within businesses and beyond, including farms, orchards and processing operations. . . 

Tauranga animal health CEO finalist for Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year:

A Tauranga woman described as “successful yet so down to earth” is in the running to take out the 2017 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year Award.

A qualified veterinarian, Dr Claire Nicholson is the Chief Executive of Sirona Animal Health, a company she set up to develop and promote unique products that address current areas of economic loss in the dairy and sheep and beef industries.

She’s also a director of Paraninihi Ki Waitotara (PKW), past associate director for AgResearch and has worked with Massey University researching the epidemiology and economic cost of Neospora. Her family farms are in Gropers Bush, Southland. . .

Regions win battle to keep GE-free status but confusion remains – Gerard Hutching:

Lobby group Pure Hawke’s Bay is claiming victory in its fight to be free of genetically modified fruit and vegetables, but Federated Farmers describes the new situation as “a mess”.

Pure Hawke’s Bay feared Environment Minister Nick Smith would remove the powers for local and regional councils to declare themselves GE-free when the Government pushed through the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill this week.

However, in last minute changes, Smith amended the Bill so the minister could not refuse councils the right to become GE-free – but only for crops, which he defined as cereals, vegetables or fruit.

Smith’s definition did not include GE grasses, trees or livestock. . . 

New ground broken on rural fibre:

Federated Farmers has successfully negotiated a significant benefit for rural property owners who allow telecommunications fibre to cross their land.

The Telecommunications (Property Access and Other Matters) Amendment Act, which was passed by the Parliament this afternoon, facilitates the installation of fibre optic cable along overhead electricity lines. It includes a unique provision that provides a quid pro quo to landowners whose land the lines network crosses, Federated Farmers communications spokesperson Anders Crofoot says.

In exchange for the right to string high-speed fibre along existing overhead powerlines, the amendment act guarantees fibre connections to farmers whose land is crossed. . . 

New Zealand mānuka honey science definition:

Food Safety Minister David Bennett has welcomed the Ministry for Primary Industries’ release of a proposed scientific definition for mānuka honey produced in New Zealand.

“Overseas regulators and consumers have expressed a desire for an independent, Government-backed definition to safeguard the authenticity of mānuka honey products.

“This Government-backed definition will provide an important starting point for the industry to promote New Zealand mānuka honey in world markets,” Mr Bennett says. . . 

Government science definition of mānuka honey an important step forward:

The industry organisation for the honey and beekeeping industry, Apiculture New Zealand, is pleased the Ministry for Primary Industries has released its proposed science definition of mānuka honey for industry review and consultation.

“The introduction of a regulatory science definition is a major milestone in the history of the mānuka honey industry. It is a relatively young industry growing very rapidly and with huge potential.

“We signalled our willingness to work with MPI to ensure its proposed science definition is robust in meeting shared objectives around consumer confidence and authenticity, and will be making a detailed submission on behalf of industry,” says Karin Kos, Chief Executive of Apiculture NZ. . . 

Foreign Wine Looking for Greater US Market Penetration:

The US wine market continues to represent an attractive opportunity for many foreign wine companies, according to the Rabobank Wine Quarterly Q2 2017. However, increasing competition and ongoing wholesaler consolidation, among other factors, make it increasingly difficult for small wineries to penetrate, with a particular complexity for foreign wineries. An increasing number are seeking alternative structures and strategies to deliver greater penetration in the market. Each strategy has the potential to achieve success, but also carries risks and pitfalls.

While the US market has attributes that make it attractive to many foreign wineries, it is also a crowded, complex, and daunting market. The traditional approach for foreign wineries looking to enter the US market has been to identify an appropriate importer, and to work the market with the importer and/or distributors to sell their product.. . .

More evidence that the key to allergy-free kids is giving them plenty of dirt — and cows – Rachel Feltman:

People who grow up on farms — especially dairy farms — have way fewer allergy and asthma problems than the rest of us. Now one research team thinks they’ve brought science closer to understanding why.

In a study published Thursday in Science, researchers report that they were able to pinpoint one possible mechanism for the allergy protection in mice they studied. Surprisingly, the protein that they fingered as the likely allergy-preventer doesn’t actually affect the immune system — it affects the structural cells that make up the lining of the lung.

The research is related to something called the hygiene hypothesis, where a lack of exposure to microbes as a tyke leads to more allergy and asthma. . . 

 


Rural round-up

March 6, 2017

Leading by example – Cheyenne Stein

Like many young girls, Megan Hands dreamt of being a vet. Today she’s a farm environmental auditor at Irrigo Centre helping farmers come to grips with environmental policies.

Megan grew up on her parents’ dairy farm in Shannon and it was during the early days of the Horizons One Plan that she revised her career path.

“When I was younger there were some resource management battles going on in Opiki near our farm and my dad started to get involved with that and that’s when I started to take an interest in the resource management side of agriculture.”

How many cows are polluting urban harbours? – Alan Emmerson:

I was really interested to read articles in the Herald on Auckland’s polluted beaches. Well-researched and well-written they showed me a problem of massive proportions. We have our nation’s biggest city’s beaches polluted by sewage every time it rains.

It is not an insignificant problem either as the Herald’s coverage showed. One million cubic metres of wastewater and raw sewage, the equivalent of 400 Olympic swimming pools, pours into Auckland Harbour each year.

The waste comes from 41 points around the city almost every time it rains.

As a farmer, albeit semi-retired, I found the story fascinating. Every week we read in the paper that Greenpeace, the Greens, Fish and Game or Massey’s Mike Joy are slagging farmers over water quality.

When it comes to our biggest city, however, it seems that councils can pollute with impunity. . . .

Water quality everyone’s goal – Neal Wallace and Richard Rennie:

Manawatu dairy farmer James Stewart believes the goals the Government has set in its latest freshwater standards are aspirational and should engage entire communities, rather than leave the farming sector on its own to solve.

“The goal to make 90% of New Zealand’s lakes and rivers swimmable is a message for us all as New Zealanders to step up and do our bit to achieve that,” he said. . . 

Walking access cut as cattle spooked  – Chris Morris:

Dunedin city councillor Doug Hall is at the centre of a fresh land dispute, after locking the gates on public access to a walking track crossing his farm.

It was confirmed yesterday the council had closed the Cleghorn St track, above St Leonards, and the Campbell St track, near Bethunes Gully, following complaints from the landowner, Cr Hall, last month.

The Cleghorn St track had since been reopened on a ‘‘restricted’’ basis, and walkers had been cautioned to beware of stock, but it appeared the Campbell St track would remain closed for now. . . 

Sleepy Central Otago town of Omakau comes of age – Rhys Chamberlain:

Remember when you could stop at an intersection and not have to wait for traffic to pass? Remember when cheese rolls weren’t fancy? Remember when you could wear stubbies to the pub? 

Omakau still has this. It might be small and slow-moving but all of a sudden people are taking notice.

Seemingly people are looking for a place where the climate is good, their kids are safe, the people are welcoming and which doesn’t have the overinflated housing hype of other Central Otago towns. . . 

Otago student wins Oceania scholarship – Sally Brooker:

Former Waitaki Girls’ High School pupil Tara Willans (18) has been awarded the 2017 Oceania Dairy scholarship.

She will receive an annual payment of $3000 for up to three years, plus the opportunity for paid work experience at Oceania’s milk factory near Glenavy during study breaks.

Tara is starting a bachelor of arts and science majoring in politics and environmental management, with a minor in accounting, at the University of Otago.

”We had more applications this year than any other year we have been doing this,” Oceania Dairy general manager Roger Usmar said.

Award finalists announced:

Six finalists have been named in this year’s Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The finalists are sheep and beef farmers Simon and Kirstin Engelbrecht (Stoneburn), Nelson and Fiona Hancox (West Otago), Graham and Pam Hunter (Tuapeka West), Simon, Sarah, Allan and Eris Paterson (Gimmerburn), Robin and Emma Wightman (Tuapeka West) and dairy farmers Ben and Tanya Davie (Clydevale).


Rural round-up

December 8, 2014

Little water left for new schemes -David Bruce:

Virtually no water will be available from the lower Waitaki River for new irrigation schemes, if Environment Canterbury changes a water allocation plan for the river.

That possibility is revealed in a report on ”plan change 3” for the Waitaki catchment water allocation regional plan. Environment Canterbury (Ecan) earlier this year called for public submissions on the plan change, receiving 549. It is now in the second round of submissions.

As part of the plan change, a report under section 32 of the Resource Management Act, that contains details of what the change contains and the effects, has had to be prepared. . .

Westland Milk records highest-ever one-day milk collection – Fiona Rotherham:

 (BusinessDesk) – Westland Milk Products, the country’s second largest dairy cooperative, has recorded its highest ever one-day collection, with its tankers bringing in slightly more than four million litres of milk on Oct.31.

The Hokitika-based cooperative’s farmer shareholders have lifted production by more than 5 percent this season in spite of wet and cold weather on West Coast with 335 million litres of milk sent so far to the company’s plants in Hokitika and Rolleston, Westland said in a statement. Coast-based farmer suppliers have produced a 3 percent rise on this time last year while Canterbury shareholders are up by more than 14 percent. . .

 

Putting in 100% pays off with win – Sally Rae:

Reward for effort.

That is a common saying in the Engelbrecht household in East Otago, applied to anything from farming to the sports field.

”That sums up everything in life,” Simon Engelbrecht told those attending a field day at his farm last week.

Mr Engelbrecht, who farms at Stoneburn, near Palmerston, with his wife Kirstin, was a firm believer in ”do it 100% or don’t do it”.

The couple were the winners of this year’s New Zealand ewe hogget competition. First-time entrants in the competition, they won the crossbred section with their Coopdale hoggets and the flock performance award, before winning the overall title. . .

Exporters paying lower tariffs:

A report into trade barriers for New Zealand’s horticulture industry reveals the amount exporters have had to pay on tariffs was 25 percent less than two years ago.

The Trade Barriers report shows tariffs imposed by other countries cost New Zealand growers on average $36,000 each – about $8000 less than in 2012.

Sixty percent of New Zealand’s total production of fruit and vegetables is exported and is worth just over $2.4 billion.

Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Peter Silcock said it is important to continue efforts on getting free trade agreements because while progress has been made there is still a long way to go. . .

Non-tariff barriers next hurdle – Nigel Stirling:

A shift in New Zealand’s trade strategy looks to be underway as primary industry bosses question the value in launching yet more tariff-tackling negotiations when potentially larger obstacles to trade exist elsewhere.

The recent deal with South Korea meant NZ now had trade agreements with six of its top 10 export markets.

Of the remaining four (the United States, Japan, the European Union and India) negotiations were under way for tariffs-busting deals either through the 12-country TransPacific Partnership or in bilateral talks either underway or expected soon. . .

Study of kea strike starts – Sally Rae:

Clio Reid wants to help prevent sheep being attacked by kea – and kea being shot.

Ms Reid is seeking help from farmers in a study of sheep and kea that she is conducting as part of her PhD through the Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences at Massey University.

They were encouraged to take part in a survey to find out the extent of kea strike on South Island high country sheep stations.

Kea strike was discovered in the Wakatipu area in the 1860s, with a legal government bounty initiated in the same decade which resulted in an estimated 150,000 kea killed up until the early 1970s. . .

Farm Environment Trust Celebrates ‘Great Farming Stories’:

 Many of the great farming stories delivered by the Ballance Farm Environment Awards are showcased on New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust’s website.

NZFE chairman Simon Saunders says the Trust recently revamped its website to make the “vast wealth of educational material and fantastic farming stories” easily accessible to farmers and the wider community.

The ‘Great Farming Stories’ link on NZFE’s homepage www.nzfeatrust.org.nz will take the viewer through to an extensive choice of ‘Sustainability in Action’ video presentations and written reports. . .

 


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