Rural round-up

May 29, 2019

Roadside birth: it could have been much worse – Tim Miller:

The Southland mother who gave birth to her son on the side of the road yesterday morning says the situation could have been much worse.

As a result of her experience with the newborn, Amanda McIvor will now join the campaign to improve maternity services in the South.

Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker has also written to the Prime Minister this morning, asking her to reinstate full services at the Lumsden Maternity Hospital.

Early yesterday, Ms McIvor knew she was in labour so called her midwife, Sarah Stokes, who advised her and partner Gordon Cowie to drive to Lumsden from their home between Mossburn and Te Anau for an assessment. . . 

Multi-million dollar cherry venture – Pam Jones:

Mt Pisa Station has been named as the location for the latest multimillion-dollar cherry venture in Central Otago.

Station manager Shane MacMillan said the family’s sheep and beef business would invest in the $15.5million project, which would result in 80ha of the station’s land being planted out in premium quality cherries for export from 2021-22.

It is one of three projects to be led by cherry investment firm Hortinvest in Central Otago in the past two years.

Another development – also worth $15.5million, and also on 80ha of land – is planned for Lindis Peaks Station and will be called the Lindis River development. . .

Drafting cows easy as :

Being environmentally friendly while farming happy and healthy cows and achieving a high in-calf rate were the three main drivers for Jonathan Power’s decision to install an autodrafter at his shed.

Power milks 530 Friesian-cross on 143 hectares at Lismore, Mid Canterbury. 

When he took over the property as the sharemilker five seasons ago the 40-aside herringbone was completely refitted with new plant. His earlier experience in an 80-bail rotary with a competitor’s drafting gate meant he already knew the value of autodrafting. . .

Fieldays: a food and fibre vision :

It’s an extraordinary time to be a farmer in New Zealand. On the one hand returns have been strong across most sectors and the demand outlook continues to look good for the foreseeable future.

On the other hand, there is deep concern across the sector that farmers are not receiving credit for the hard work being done in the environmental sustainability space and, perhaps more concerning, we are being asked to shoulder an unfair share of the burden of addressing climate change. Primary Sector Council chairman Lain Jager explains.

It is in this context the Primary Sector Council set up by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor in April last year has been talking to farming groups around the country about what a vision for the future might look like. . .

What caused the abandonment of New Zealand’s freezing works – John Summers:

This story was originally published by North & South and is republished with permission.

OPINION: John Summers wonders if his abiding interest in New Zealand’s abandoned freezing works is actually a long farewell to his grandfather.

One summer, we drove north-east, beyond Gisborne to the quiet bays on that coast: Tolaga Bay, Tokomaru Bay. Towns where sand settles between the stones in the asphalt and, walking down the street, you’re as likely to be passed by a kid on a horse as by a car.

There was a campground we planned to stay at, but it was a treeless field. No toilets, no kitchen. “We’re pretty relaxed around here,” the owner said, but we weren’t, so drove on to another. After pitching the tent, we walked to the end of the bay and onto a dilapidated wharf to look out at the empty sea – no ship had docked here for decades. . . 

Passion for merino ewes drives ambition – Stephen Burns:

“I’m truly fascinated by the Merino,” was Ross Walters’ comment after his flock of Bindaree-blood May-shorn maiden ewes had been awarded the Monaro Livestock and Property Trophy for Overall winner of the 90thBerridale Maiden Merino ewe competition.

“They live and perform under various conditions, but can still make a good return,” he said.

“The Monaro is some of the toughest country in Australia, if not the world, yet the Merino ewe is very productive with high lambing percentages and heavy wool cuts.” . . .


Landcorp pays ERG $1500/day

March 6, 2019

An OIO response to questions from Rural News shows that members of Landcorp’s environmental reference group are earning $1500 a day :

Landcorp is paying members of its contentious environmental reference group (ERG) $1500 a day each – far more than other government body payments.

This has been revealed in answers to an Official Information Act (OIA) request by Rural News to the Government-owned farmer (trading as Pāmu Farms).

“Each ERG member and the chairman is paid a flat fee of $1500 per day they attend the ERG meeting,” Landcorp’s OIA response says.

“In addition, the chair is paid an hourly rate for meeting preparation.”

During the 2017-2018 year, the state farmer also paid $2740.11 in travel costs and another $2451.43 in accommodating out-of-town ERG members for the four meetings it held in Wellington. . .

Meanwhile, it looks like members of Landcorp’s ERG are on a pretty good wicket at $1500-a-day, compared with other Government-paid bodies. Members of the Primary Sector Council are paid $500 a day, with chair Lain Jager earning $800 a day. The Tax Working Group members earned $800 a day and chair Sir Michael Cullen earned $1000 a day.

Are members of the ERG worth three times as much as members of the Primary Sector Council, nearly twice as much as members of the Tax Working Group and half as much again as its chair?

What does the group do and what has it achieved?

Is Landcorp getting value for money from what looks like significant over payments, and given we own the company what’s the value to taxpayers?


Rural round-up

August 6, 2018

Top official knows the human cost of bovis – Sally Rae:

July 22, 2017, will go down as a significant date in New Zealand’s agricultural history. On that day, bacterial cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis was confirmed as being in the country, triggering New Zealand’s largest and most expensive biosecurity response. Sally Rae, who has covered the outbreak since the beginning, reflects on the past year and also talks to the man charged with heading the national response.

Geoff Gwyn admits hearing from farmers hit by Mycoplasma bovis is the toughest part of his job.

“These stories are intensely personal. Being under regulatory control or, worst case scenario, having a herd built up over decades culled is a really tough time for people.

“It has a large impact on their psyche, their mental health, the financial viability of their business. All these are hard conversations to have.” . .

US company buys NZ wool for insulation – Gerard Hutching:

New Zealand wool producers have landed a large contract to supply a United States company with fibre for home insulation.

They also claim wool is a healthier product than fibreglass which is the dominant insulating material on the market, a claim that has been disputed by fibreglass manufacturers.

The deal, brokered by NZ Merino (NZM), will see 200 tonnes of Landcorp coarse wool supplied to US insulation company Havelock Wool. This represents about 10 per cent of Landcorp’s supply to NZM. . . 

New Zealand’s beef cattle herd continues to grow:

New Zealand’s beef cattle herd increased by 1.9 per cent over the past year while the decline in the sheep flock was slowed by a lift in hoggets as farmers responded positively to strong prices and good grass growth leading into winter, according to Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ).

The annual stock number survey conducted by B+LNZ’s Economic Service, shows 3.7 million beef cattle with beef production continuing to grow.

The largest contributor to the increase in the number of beef cattle was a lift in weaner cattle in Marlborough-Canterbury, which was driven by younger cattle being retained by beef breeders. . . 

No big rise in calf kill expected – Hugh Stringleman:

Dairy farmers should get a little more money for their bobby calves this season but meat companies don’t expect a big increase in slaughter tallies.

Higher prices overseas for skins and the lower value of the New Zealand dollar have enabled some meat companies to add up to 20c/kg to their bobby calf schedules.

Others said they are paying the same as last winter and will be competitive with prevailing prices.

The range for medium calves, 13.5kg to 18kg carcaseweight, where most weights fall, is reportedly $1.85/kg to $2/kg. . . 

Storage ponds a ‘ludicrous’ alternative to dam:

Claims about storage ponds being a viable alternative to the Waimea Community Dam are ludicrous, says Waimea Irrigators Limited (WIL) Chair Murray King.

“There are many reasons storage ponds won’t solve the region’s water problem, including insufficient capacity, ponds not addressing the minimum flow requirements on the Waimea River, and the lack of funding available for them.

“The idea is utterly ludicrous. A combined storage volume of 6 million cubic metres of water won’t meet the minimum flow requirements set out in the Tasman Resource Management Plan (TRMP) and provide adequate water for water users in dry periods. The minimum flows were established through an Environment Court process so the Council can give effect to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. . . 

Collaboration critical to capture red meat sector opportunities:

The opportunities and challenges facing New Zealand’s red meat sector were highlighted at the annual Red Meat Sector conference held in Napier this week.

The one-day conference, which attracted around 250 red meat industry stakeholders, featured a range of speakers who set the scene for the sector, identified the challenges and highlighted the many opportunities for red meat in a dynamic global market.

One of the over-riding themes was the need to work collaboratively to ensure the red meat sector is well positioned to capture premiums for its product on the world stage.

In setting the scene, former Zespri CEO and chair of the Primary Sector Council Lain Jager said he is convinced there will always be a market for ruminant protein because the world needs more protein. . . 

The dairy season in New Zealand kicks off with a reasonable seasonal weather outlook:

Even with El Nino talk intensifying the weather looks good for the start of the dairy season

Dairy cows around the country tend to freshen in the month of August and grass growth becomes important as production ramps up with warmer weather. It was only last December when large parts of the country were shocked by the dry and exceptionally warm weather. This year, in contrast, looks to be headed in a slightly different direction. The latest and updated every ten-day seasonal rainfall and temperature outlook is for benign conditions through October.

The slightly drier monthly forecasts for Northland through the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, Taranaki and the Manawatu and down the west coast of the South Island and into Southland might be welcomed. . . 

Cedenco Foods is Hawke’s Bay Exporter of the Year:

An impressive commitment to product development and innovation has seen fruit and vegetable manufacturer Cedenco Foods New Zealand named as ExportNZ Hawke’s Bay ASB Exporter of the Year.

The Gisborne-based business was presented with the award by the Head of Trade Finance at ASB Bank, Mike Atkins, at the sold-out awards dinner last night at the Napier Conference Centre. Earlier in the evening, Cedenco had won the inaugural T&G Global Best Medium to Large ExporterAward.

The judges said Cedenco impressed them with their investment in market research, customer relationships, and R&D to get their product right for the customer. . . 

Kiwi ingenuity a stand-out at  this year’s Pork Awards – winners announced at NZPork’s annual gala dinner:

New Zealand’s creative culinary ingenuity shone bright at The Orange in Auckland last night, where a mix of local farmers, butchers, retailers and industry leaders gathered to celebrate the winners of the eleventh annual Pork, Bacon and Ham Awards.

The competition, which took place in July, provided more than 40 pork retailers from across the country with the chance to showcase their best and most innovative New Zealand born and raised pork products. . . 


Rural round-up

May 20, 2018

Too stoned to work – Pam Tipa:

Substance abuse problems, timekeeping and the attitude of young people entering workforce must be addressed for the future of the horticulture industry, says Vegetables NZ Inc. chairman Andre de Bruin.

The Dargaville kumara grower says the industry relies on a core of good “fantastic seasonal workers” but that core is not coming through in the younger generation. There is an occasional “gem” but they are getting much harder to find.

As de Bruin spoke to Rural News he could see five seasonal workers sitting in a vehicle either stoned or drunk when they should have been at work. . .

LINZ to ‘open up’ with new high country advisory group – Tom Kitchen:

Land Information New Zealand has announced the creation of a high country advisory group to help make better decisions for New Zealand’s high country regions.

Speaking at this year’s Federated Farmers High Country Conference in Cromwell yesterday, Linz  deputy chief executive Crown property Jerome Sheppard said Linz needed the group because of the complications and debates around the tenure review process and the influx of tourists in the country.

“We’re wanting to open up our shop a wee bit more so you can see what’s going on … we think debate needs to happen”. . . 

Wool prices cause disbelief – Alan Williams:

Buyers clearly had orders to fill as prices increased again at Thursday’s Napier wool sale.

The volumes rose on the floor as buyers tried to outbid each other, PGG Wrightson North Island auctioneer Steve Fussell said. 

There was some disbelief about some of the price gains.

Buyers were especially keen on very good style, new, second-shear wool with prices 6% to 7% up on the May 3 sale in Napier. . .

Present can make not a bad future :

Venison could become the next kiwifruit but getting there will be a tough mountain to climb, Primary Sector Council chairman Lain Jager says.

Speaking at the Deer Industry conference in Timaru Jager, the former Zespri chief executive, compared the deer industry model to the highly successful kiwifruit industry, looking at whether venison could become the next kiwifruit.

The two have a lot in common but venison lags on several counts. . .

Rural News Group ‘here to stay’:

Independently-owned Rural News Group says its newspapers will continue to serve the primary sector.

The company is not part of the closures and sell-offs announced this week by Fairfax and NZX. Rural News Group publishes leading national publications – Rural News, Dairy News and NZ Winegrower; it also provides daily news updates on www.ruralnewsgroup.co.nz.

“We are a strongly independent and New Zealand owned and are here to stay,” says Rural News Group general manager Adam Fricker. . .

Twice the talent; bumper crop of winners from Young Vegetable Grower:

For the first time in the competition’s history, there are two winners of the Young Vegetable Grower of the Year competition: Esteban Ibanez and Gurjant Singh.

The day-long competition in Christchurch saw entrants compete in a series of practical and theoretical challenges designed to test the skills needed to run a successful vegetable growing business, from pest identification to forklift proficiency.

Currently working as a production agronomist for Leaderbrand South Island and with a Bachelor in Agriculture, 30 year old Esteban is all about growing vegetables, and hopes that this win will be a step towards networking with people who share his same goals and ideals. . . 


Rural round-up

October 3, 2017

Mānuka roots found to assist water quality – Alexa Cook:

A new study has found that mānuka and kānuka plants reduce nitrate leaching into waterways.

Researchers planted young mānuka, kānuka, and radiata pine trees in containers, called lysimeters, which measure drainage and evapotranspiration from the soil, and then fertilised the plants with urea for 15 weeks.

They applied the equivalent of 800kg per hectare to each pot to simulate urine patches, because research shows that on grazed land, animal urine adds nitrogen at rates up to 1000kg a hectare, contributing up to 70 percent of nitrate leachates. . .

Westland Milk vows to up game – Simon Hartley:

Beleaguered Westland Milk Products has achieved a profit turnaround and promised co-op shareholders to do better this dairy season.

It has also confirmed its target forecast payout range of $6.40-$6.80.

Westland Milk Products payout to farmers of $3.88 per kilogram of milk solids, was the lowest in the country in the 2015-16 season, as the company booked a $10.3million loss. . . 

One new property positive for Mycoplasma bovis:

The Ministry for Primary Industries’ testing programme has identified one new property as positive for the bacterial cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.

The newly identified property is a Van Leeuwen Dairy Group farm which was already under a Restricted Place notice under the Biosecurity Act. . . 

New Zeapri chief picks up reins

Zespri’s chief executive of nine years Lain Jager stepped aside last week for new executive and long-time company man Dan Mathieson. Mathieson spoke to Richard Rennie about where he sees the marketer going after a period that has included the worst of times and the best of times for the industry.

Only four days into his new position Dan Mathieson is having to think hard about how he will balance the local, supply-focused challenges of growing more fruit in Bay of Plenty and beyond with the rocketing market growth being experienced out of the company’s Singapore marketing hub.

To help achieve that he intended to spend his time split evenly between head office in Bay of Plenty and the Singapore base he had headed up as Zespri’s global sales and marketing manager. . .

Beef exports hitting headwinds – Simon Hartley:

Further declines in beef prices have been predicted as the strength of the New Zealand dollar and falling United States prices weigh more heavily on exporters.
Rabobank animal proteins analyst Blake Holgate said beef prices had dropped “marginally lower” during the past quarter.

However, further downward price pressure was expected in the months ahead from increased Japanese tariffs on frozen beef imports, creating additional headwinds for Kiwi exporters, he said. . .

Win propels youngster on confidence track:

The confidence boost from winning the 2010 Dairy Trainee of the Year award is propelling a young sharemilker along a valuable career track, he says.
Blake Korteweg, a young herd manager from Otago, in 2010 entered the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards and won the Southland-Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year competition.

Later that year at the national awards gala dinner in Rotorua he was named 2010 Dairy Trainee of the Year.. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

July 30, 2017

Restrictions on group’s farms – Sally Rae:

Sixteen properties belonging to the Van Leeuwen Dairy Group in South Canterbury have had Restricted Place Notices imposed on them by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) after the outbreak of the bacterial cattle disease mycoplasma bovis.

The effect of the notices is to control the movement of stock.

Two dozen cows on one of the group’s farms have tested positive for the disease and are the first in New Zealand to have the disease. A further 150 cows on the property have signs of infection.

MPI veterinarians are working with local vets to assess stock on the affected farm, which has a milking herd of about 1000 cows.

MPI regional controller Dr Chris Rodwell said the situation was well under control, praising Glenavy farmer Aad van Leeuwen for the way he had handled the outbreak. . .

Immigration announcement: Disappointing but there’s hope, says DairyNZ:

DairyNZ is disappointed that today’s announcement by Government has not addressed the concerns raised about migrant staff.

However, DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle says there is hope for farmers who need to employ people from overseas.

“Government has committed to tackling the issues as a priority to help provide certainty for farmers who need to employ migrant staff, and those staff members themselves, as well as their families.” . . .

Opening the farm gates  – Sonita Chandra:

Metaphorically speaking, dairy farmers have closed their farm gates in recent times for fear of criticism, but this now needs to change, says Federated Farmers dairy vice-chairman Wayne Langford.

“The farm gates need to be opened again so that we can show what we are doing, but also see what our communities want us to be doing.

“As dairy farmers, we have to be proud of the industry and proud of what we are doing. If we are not proud of it, then we need to make changes.” . .

Top performing farm quick to adopt tech :

Take a scenic drive ten minutes west of Masterton in the Wairarapa and you’ll be greeted with a rustic sign announcing your arrival at “Spring Valley farms”. Nestled deep in the Kaituna valley, it’s the home of Matt and Lynley Wyeth and their two sons.

Spring Valley Enterprises farms roughly ten thousand sheep and another four thousand stock units made up of three hundred Angus breeding cows. It sits on 16 hundred hectares of hard hill country with some decent quality flat lands. It consistently rates in the top 5 per cent of performers in the red meat industry, in part this is due to their early adoption of agri-tech.

The Wyeth’s employ a range of technology each with a specific, measurable outcome that allows them to make small tweaks, accumulatively, saving them money. . .

Plan for calving – include talking to staff about risks:

Farmers preparing for calving should also be thinking about effective ways to keep workers safe and well, said WorkSafes Agriculture Sector Lead Al McCone.28 July 2017

Plan for calving – include talking to workers about risks

Farmers preparing for calving should also be thinking about effective ways to keep workers safe and well, said WorkSafe’s Agriculture Sector Lead Al McCone. . .

Zespri opens new pan-American office in California, growing sales:

It was an all-New Zealand affair in Orange County, California today as Zespri officially opened its regional office to manage growing sales across Northern, Central and Southern America.

Zespri Chief Executive Lain Jager says Zespri is growing strongly across North America with most of this growth coming from the new gold variety Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit, which is proving hugely popular.

“The New Zealand kiwifruit industry is on track to more than double sales to $4.5 billion by 2025 and an important part of this growth will come from developing markets like North America, as well growing sales in our more established markets. Zespri is relaunching the kiwifruit category in the United States and the wider Americas region to attract new consumers and grow sales,” says Mr Jager. . .


Rural round-up

March 7, 2017

Telling NZ’s red meat story globally:

New Zealand’s red meat sector has “taken another step” towards  positioning its beef and lamb as a premium food choice globally, Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive Sam McIvor says.

More than 70 people including farmers, meat exporters and government partners have been meeting to advance the project with the aim of supporting better sector profitability.

The story of New Zealand farming and its farmers is at the heart of Beef + Lamb’s new market development strategy targeting new and emerging markets.

The sector had been working together for 12 months, designing a new market development plan and the first piece of it was defining the sector’s story, Mr McIvor said. . . 

New Pareora venison plant a major boost to South Canterbury economy – Pat Deavoll:

The Silver Fern Farms (SFF) Pareora freezing works can now offer its skilled employees full-time work across 52 weeks, rather than the seasonal work of the past, as a result of a new $7 million venison processing plant.

Seventy staff, shareholders and executives gathered at Pareora, south of Timaru, on Tuesday for the official opening of the plant, which processed its first animal on November 14 last year.

The new plant had been built to replace the meat co-operative’s Islington plant, which was on leased land and part of a business park at Belfast, Christchurch. . .

Velvetleaf-sniffing dog Rusty finds weed pest in Waikato no problem – Gerald Piddock:

With a sniff of the air and nose to the ground, Rusty has his prize within minutes.

The seven-year-old border collie cross turns back to his handler, John Taylor and barks, letting him know he has found another velvetleaf plant.

He then leads Taylor to the plant’s location in the ryegrass paddock on a farm in eastern Waikato. The invasive species is carefully uprooted and bagged for disposal.

Palmerston North hosts Rural Games this weekend – Jill Galloway:

Throwing arms are being warmed up for the Hilux Rural Games, which are being held in Feilding on Friday and Palmerston North during the weekend.

Among the competition disciplines are gumboot, egg and cowpat throwing with the criteria harder for the egg thrower as one member of a two-person team has to catch the raw egg intact.

Also on the line-up will be wood chopping, speed shearing, dog trialling and fencing. . . 

 

Zespri brand turns 20, as industry aims to more than double sales to $4.5 billion by 2025:

This week marks a milestone with the kiwifruit industry coming together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Zespri brand, proudly owned by New Zealand kiwifruit growers.

Zespri chief executive Lain Jager says the celebrations come at a great time, with the industry aiming to more than double sales to $4.5 billion a year by 2025.

“Kiwifruit is an important economic contributor to communities in regional New Zealand, with more than $1.14 billion returned to NZ communities last year alone. More than $21 billion of premium kiwifruit has been sold in a Zespri box since 1997; our brand is underpinned by the great work done over many years right across the industry from orchards to packhouses and in the markets,” says Mr Jager. . . 

Public warned of fines up to $20,000 for collecting toheroa at 90 Mile Beach:

Fisheries officers are appealing to the public to ensure they’re up to speed with the rules around collecting toheroa, now that the rare shellfish are making a comeback to 90 Mile Beach (Northland).

Ministry for Primary Industries spokesman, Steve Rudsdale, says the beach has been empty of toheroa for many years and it is great to see juvenile toheroa making a comeback and beginning to recover.

However, he says their survival will be threatened if people don’t leave them alone.

“There is a ban on collecting these shellfish for a very good reason.  . . 

Dairy awards southern finalists named:

Finalists have been named for Southland-Otago and Canterbury-North Otago in the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

The awards, which oversee the Share Farmer of the Year, Dairy Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions, received 424 entries nationally, 75 of them coming from those regions.

The Canterbury-North Otago regional winners will be named on March 22 and the Southland-Otago ones on March 25.

They will then progress to the national final. The winners will be announced at a function at Sky City in Auckland on May 6. . . 


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