Rural round-up

January 14, 2016

Partnerships the key to China business models – Allan Barber:

It’s true of any marketing and distribution strategy, but China’s size and comparatively underdeveloped cold chain make this factor even more important for the successful development of agricultural business there.

With all export markets it is important for companies to analyse and select the preferred product type and form, business segment, geographic target area, and method of reaching the identified market. Market access and tariffs are other important considerations. When an export destination has been selected, a scattergun approach almost certainly won’t work, while a too narrowly defined market may be equally unsuccessful. . . 

Sprout Agribusiness Programme & Who Wants To Go Mobile Milking? – Milking on the Moove:

For the last 2 years I’ve been working full time to set up an experimental prototype dairy system. The plan has always been to “pave the way”so other people, like me can go farming even if they don’t have any land or very much money.

I believe it was Peter Brock who said “Bite off more than you can chew and then chew like crazy”.

That describes my last two years quite accurately.

Without going into all the details, I’ve learnt a lot over the last two years and now it’s time to crank things up and get this show on the road for real. . .

Novel idea helps rebuild South Island crayfish stocks  – Dave Gooselink:

A forestry company has taken on the job of rebuilding stocks of freshwater crayfish in the South.

The unusual combination came about as a way of finding other uses for the forests’ emergency fire ponds.

The freshwater crayfish known as koura are listed as a threatened species by the Department of Conservation. Now they’re getting a boost, thanks to an unusual project by forestry company Ernslaw One.

It came up with the idea of farming koura in their fire ponds, as a way of bringing in extra income between harvests. . . 

Bad to best: all because of steep slope innovations:

New Zealand forestry has gone from a bad performer to being one of the best, and John Stulen says this is because of the new innovations in steep slope harvesting.

In recent years, New Zealand forestry has faced massive hurdles in safety, especially on steep slopes. Too many accidents occurred because workers were facing too many risks in the workplace – it had to stop. However, leaders in the forest industry have stepped up to the challenge, hugely reducing the number of serious accidents.

“It’s no coincidence that forest workplaces have become safer,” says John Stulen, co-organizer of the Steep Slope Logging Conference. He says a completely new generation of hi-tech steep slope harvesters has made the forest workplace much safer for everyone working at the felling face. . . 

Rare sheep conditions unites industry:

A combination of rare conditions has tormented sheep farmers Hamish, Annabel, Alastair and Sue Craw on their Banks Peninsula farm Longridge Agriculture Ltd for the past 10 years.

Since 2004, the Craws have been dealing with a range of animal health issues that have yet to be explained. To start with, their sheep were wasting away with an extreme case of wearing teeth. In 2013 an extremely rare calcium deficiency was causing their lambs’ legs to fracture, and in 2015 milk fever issues also arose in their ewes.

Alastair Craw says in the beginning the situation was having a significant economic impact on the business, with the more productive animals faring the worst. . . 

T-shirt competition launched to celebrate 30yrs of sponsoring Young Farmers:

This year will be Ravensdown’s 30th year sponsoring the FMG Young Farmer of the Year. To celebrate the farmer owned cooperative is launching a national t-shirt competition.

Greg Campbell, Ravensdown Chief Executive says the key to any long standing sponsorship or business relationship is a mutual respect and interest.

“We’re thrilled to be celebrating such a big milestone with Young Farmers. We’ve been right behind them for such a long time because we believe in supporting the next generation of farmers who are the future of our industry.” . . 

A new generation beginning to take over the reins at Hunter’s:

One of the leading ladies of New Zealand wine, Jane Hunter says her Hunter’s winery is seeing a new generation of winemakers step up and take on key roles as Hunter’s approaches 30 years.

She says Hunter’s produces about 100,000 cases and export to 23 countries and this is her 29th year in the role of owner and managing director of Hunter’s.

“Things have certainly changed in Marlborough since I arrived here in 1983 to take up the role of Viticulturist for Montana Wines. . .


Rural round-up

July 29, 2015

Warnings as evidence of El Niño looms – Ingrid Hipkiss:

MetService has issued a warning to farmers as evidence grows that a major El Niño event is underway.

It is marked by weather extremes, including very dry conditions.

The ingredients of an El Niño event have been there for a few months, bringing to New Zealand a colder-than-usual June and July. . .

Scale next step for koura industry – Sally Rae:

The concept has been proven and what Otago Southland’s fledgling freshwater crayfish, or koura, farming industry needs now is scale.

Keewai is the brand of a business that stemmed from forestry company Ernslaw One’s decision to diversify into freshwater crayfish farming.

The company has been utilising fire ponds in its forests, spread throughout Otago and Southland, to provide an additional revenue stream. . .

Rural Family Support Trust busy all the time – Jill Galloway:

Chairwoman of the Manawatu/Rangitikei Rural Family Support Trust Dame Margaret Millard says the phone rang so much during a recent day she didn’t get time to eat. They were calls for help.

The trust has been busy asissting farmers and rural businesses. 

Millard says there are more rural suicides than quad bike deaths in a year.

Farmers worry about finances, the family and work on the farm.  That’s what they go to the trust about.

The rural support trust started in 1984.  They were the days of Rogernomics and farming changed, putting pressure on rural people. . .

Food for thought at horticulture conference:

A key note speaker at the national horticulture conference in Rotorua today has given fruit and vegetable growers some serious food for thought.

Canberra-based science writer and author Julian Cribb told the conference modern food production was devouring a vast amount of the world’s resources and was unsustainble.

“Every meal that you or I or anybody on earth eats costs the planet 10 kilos of top soil, so that’s a bucket of top soil, 800 litres of water, so it’s like a ute load of water, 1.3 litres of diesel fuel, and a third of a gram of pesticide,” he said. . .

Calf reading seminar abuzz:

More than 40 people attended the seminar, where Seales Winslow nutritionist Wendy Morgan spoke on getting the important aspects of calf rearing correct, from housing, hygiene, colostrum intake window and the essentials of the feeding regime, through to weaning, incorporating growing to target dates and weights.

Vet and calf rearing ”guru” Nicola Neal outlined all the problems that could be faced in the calf shed and how to identify and deal with them quickly, while Susan McEwan shared tips from her large scale bull and heifer calf rearing system. . .

Summary – Survey of Cereal Areas and Volumes – JULY 1, 2015:

The objective of this AIMI survey of growers was to determine, as at July 1, 2015:

• the final size of the 2015 harvest of wheat, barley and oats

• sales channels and levels of on-farm storage, both sold and unsold, of the 2015 harvest

• autumn sowings of wheat, barley and oats, and sowing intentions for the spring of 2015 . .

 


Collaborative clean-ups

January 26, 2014

A collaborative effort has cleaned up a water way:

A South Canterbury stream once written off as a trout fishery because of dairy farming is again attracting anglers, thanks to the efforts of farmers and the community to keep stock out and replant the stream banks.

Before intensive irrigated dairy farming arrived, the Waikakahi Stream was something of a local anglers’ secret, far less known than the nearby Waitaki, but renowned for the quality of its trout.

“They were reported to be ‘the best fish in the country’ and they had a particularly dark orange flesh supposedly because of the freshwater crayfish (koura) that they preyed upon,” said Fish and Game officer Graeme Hughes.

But that changed, Hughes said, about a decade ago when suddenly the koura disappeared and trout numbers plummeted.

“What brought it to our attention was a farmer wintered his cows in there without fences and they just crossed backwards and forwards and it was unrecognisable as a stream.

“We took it to ECan (Environment Canterbury) and said, ‘look what’s going on here’.

“The farmer was soundly reprimanded and we began a rehabilitation planting scheme for that particular area that was completely devastated with cows and runoff and there wasn’t a plant round it – it was like a stream running through a muddy football field.”

With stock now excluded and the riparian strip planted in native trees and shrubs, the Waikakahi has been transformed from a muddy, weed infested creek into a far healthier waterway.

“Within a short time he had up to about 90 per cent of the farmers co- operating which was pretty exceptional really and probably eight to nine years after this work started, the results were quite astounding,” said Hughes. . . .

A recent study by Cawthron Institute scientist Robin Holmes confirmed the Waikakahi is returning to health. The project concentrated on structural habitat of the stream rather than water quality.

“Basically it shows that habitat in the creek has gone from what was described as a ground zero farm ditch to now it’s actually supporting a good fishery through the efforts of farmers,” Holmes said.

“It definitely goes against the current tide ongoing in the media about dairy farmers and it’s a nice example of Fish and Game and dairy farmers working together and coming up with a solution that everyone’s happy with. The creek’s gone from an A class fishery, down to a D class fishery and now it gets a C+.” . . .

But that’s just the start:

. . . Morven Glenavy Ikawai Irrigation company (MGI) chairman Robin Murphy said farmer shareholders now wanted to take the restoration to the next level and that it was important to keep monitoring the Waikakahi Stream.

“People are getting very efficient with the irrigation and also the nutrient loadings and how they put their fertiliser on. There’s a whole big effort going in there and it’s crucial to monitor that change to see what actually does happen.

“If we can save ourselves costs of putting nitrogen on or minimising nitrate loss and utilising it, that’s got to be a very good option for the farming community.” . . .

Poor farming practices degraded the waterway. A collaborative effort with farmers has improved it and will continue to do so.

There’s another good news story on cleaner water from further north.

Lake Rotoiti has reached its water quality target.

The Rotorua Lakes clean-up has made further progress with the announcement that the water quality of Lake Rotoiti is the best it’s been in decades.

The long-term programme is aimed at restoring the lakes that have suffered years of pollution from sewage discharges and nutrient run-off from farms.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council lake operations manager Andy Bruere says Lake Rotoiti has now joined the biggest of the lakes, Rotorua, in reaching the water quality target. . . .

The regional council and community groups are continuing their investigation of long-term measures to reduce nutrient flows into the Rotorua lakes.

Water wasn’t degraded overnight and there’s no quick-fix but these two examples show that a collaborative clean-up efforts are working and provide a model for areas which need to do better.


Rural round-up

July 19, 2013

Whole milk prices bode well for profits – Jamie Gray:

Dairy farmers could be looking at another record year for profit in 2013-14 after a 4.9 per cent rise in GlobalDairyTrade prices was recorded at the overnight auction, banks said.

Prices for whole milk powder – the most important line for New Zealand producers – were up 7.7 per cent from the the last auction at US$5058 a tonne.

ANZ Bank said prices gained as buyers scrambled to refill their inventory after last summer’s drought and a seasonal low in New Zealand supply, which would put upward pressure on Fonterra’s $7 per kg of milksolids milk price payout forecast for this season. . .

$3.8m after tax loss for Blue Sky  – Sally Rae:

Blue Sky Meats chairman Graham Cooney, whose company has recorded a $3.8 million after-tax loss for the year ending March, says the solutions to the red meat industry model problems are in New Zealand, not in the marketplace.

The result compared with a $449,149 loss last year and a $3.6 million profit the previous year. . .

German vet enjoys shearing experience – Sally Rae:

Cordula Ihring is one determined woman.

The qualified German vet has traded a stethoscope for a shearing hand-piece as she works for a Kurow-based shearing gang.

During the morning smoko break at Peter and Pauline Dodd’s Tapui farm, in North Otago, recently, Ms Ihring (28), known as Cordy, spoke of her passion for shearing. . .

Looking ahead with AbacusBio – Sally Rae:

Since joining AbacusBio on an internship at the end of her university studies, Grace Johnstone admits she ”hasn’t really looked back”.

After spending time last year travelling and working overseas, Ms Johnstone (24) returned to the consultancy and new venture development company this year as an associate consultant.

Brought up on a sheep and beef farm near Outram, the former Columba College head prefect graduated from the University of Otago in 2011 with a double bachelor’s degree in science, majoring in genetics, and law. . . .

A heavy load to carry for native kōura: Amber Mcewan:

This winter, in a cold, clear stream near you, a certain freshwater crustacean has a heavy load to carry. The female New Zealand freshwater crayfish, or kōura, spends the winter months carrying large eggs (up to 200 of them!) attached to the underside of her abdomen. The eggs hatch after 3 or 4 months, but motherhood doesn’t end there for the female kōura – the tiny babies (miniature replicas of their parents) hang on to their mother and she carries them everywhere she goes until they are around 4 mm long, at which point they let go of mum and head off to seek their aquatic fortunes. . . .

Higher truffle production predicted in WA:

Truffle growers in Western Australia are on track to harvest record yields this season.

It is only halfway through their harvesting season but producers are predicting an increase of 30% on last year.

Manjimup Wine and Truffle Co chief executive Gavin Booth expects to produce more than four tonnes of the fungus.

“We’ve got about 1.8 tonnes of saleable truffle,” he said. “I anticipate that to double, so we should get around 4.4 tonne.” . . .


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