Rural round-up

August 25, 2015

Five Otago entries for farmer of year award – Sally Rae:

Five Otago farming businesses are among those entered for the 2015 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year award.

Twelve entries have been received from throughout the South Island, including a West Coast farm for the first time in the history of the competition.

Operations range from sheep and beef farms to a marine mussel farm, saffron grower and fruit producer. . . 

Pipes full, water coming soon – Alan Williams:

The pipes are full and ready to start irrigating stage one of the Central Plains Water (CPW) scheme in Canterbury.

Once the control system was fully tested over the next few weeks the valves could be turned on, chief executive Derek Crombie said.

The official target date was September 1 but the practical timing for water to flow to most of the 120 farms involved would be late September or early October, depending on rainfall levels and ground temperatures. . . 

Science close to unlocking velvet’s secret:

New Zealand and South Korean scientists may soon be able to identify the compounds that give deer antler velvet its immune-boosting properties.

If successful, it would allow velvet extracts to be sold with a precise measure of the active ingredients they contain. Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) says this will be an important step in getting such products registered for sale as healthy functional foods. . . 

Conservation planting crowdfunded:

Crowdfunding might be better known for assisting fledgling businesses but it is also helping restore New Zealand waterways.

The Million Metres Streams Project, set up by the Sustainable Business Network in collaboration with Enspiral, is New Zealand’s first conservation crowdfunding initiative.  

Launched in October last year, the project gave people the opportunity to contribute to the restoration of waterways. It has already funded almost 5km of riparian restoration work. . . 

Deadly rattle detected in Cuban maracas:

Biosecurity staff detected a deadly rattle in a set of souvenir maracas carried by two air passengers arriving in New Zealand from Cuba.

The couple declared the Cuban percussion instruments to Ministry for Primary Industries biosecurity staff at Auckland airport earlier this month.

X-ray screening revealed the maracas used red seeds for their rattle. MPI later identified the seed asAbrus precatorius, commonly known as crab’s eye and rosary pea.

The seeds contain abrin, which is more toxic than ricin – a deadly poison associated with spies and biological weaponry. . . 

Feed field days address fluctuations:

Tips and information to help manage the ups and downs of fluctuating milk price will be provided at a series of DairyNZ events in September and October.

The Feed Tactics field days will focus on helping farmers get the best returns from all feeds used on farm.

The nationwide events follow on from one-on-one feed review visits which provided more than 750 farms with an assessment of feed allocation and grazing management in early spring. . . 

Commission reconvenes conference on wool scouring authorisation:

The Commerce Commission is to reconvene its conference on Cavalier Wool Holding Limited’s application for authorisation to acquire New Zealand Wool Services International’s wool scouring business.

The conference will be held on Tuesday 1 September to consider specific issues relating to property valuations, which form part of Cavalier’s application. . . 

GMO ‘Right to Know’ movement takes food off of plates of hungry in Africa, Asia – Michael Dzakovich:

One of the most contentious and polarizing issues today is the use of biotechnology in farming. While many farmers in industrialized countries have been safely and successfully using genetically engineered crops for almost two decades, adoption in the developing world has been significantly slower, only recently eclipsing the U.S. in terms of total acreage.

Many of these crops have been developed to produce naturally occurring nutritional compounds, resist aggressive diseases and tolerate extreme environmental conditions. The benefits of GE crops are not equitably spread throughout the developing world, as those in most critical need often cannot benefit from existing solutions created by public scientists. . . 

Dayton community harvests late farmer’s final crop – Taylor Viydo:

A community came together this week to help a family harvest the final crop of a local farmer who passed away from cancer.

Jim Hanger was still running a 5,000-acre family farm in Dayton when he passed away last week. He lost his battle to cancer at age 66.

“He was always on the tractor, the combines — if it was seeding, he was seeding. If it was harvest, he was harvesting,” said daughter Tracy Hanger. . .

Racheal Trail's photo.


Rural round-up

May 25, 2015

Extraordinary season for growers as industry gets back on track for growth:

Zespri’s final result for 2014/15 shows an industry that is back on track and revitalized for the strong growth outlook ahead.

The last season has been extraordinary, Zespri Chairman Peter McBride said, with the total fruit and service payment up 17 percent on the previous year to $939 million. Zespri’s global kiwifruit sales reached $1.568 billion, up 16 percent on 2013/14. Export earnings increased by 18 percent to $1.086 billion versus the 2013/14 season. “These strong headline results were achieved because of the effort of growers, the post-harvest sector and the Zespri team onshore and in the markets,” Mr McBride said. . .

Budget 2015: Driving primary sector export growth:

The Government will invest $7.5 million over two years in developing key skills and systems to help boost exports across the primary sector, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.

This investment focuses on key initiatives that will help deliver greater economic growth, including:

  • Identifying new farming systems and processes.
  • Building international consumer trust in New Zealand products.
  • Identifying and prioritising opportunities to increase investment, employment and incomes in the primary sector.
  • Encouraging more people to get involved in the primary industries. . . .

Nominations & entries open for South Island Farmer of the Year:

Nominations and entries are open for the 2015 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition, and organisers are hoping for another record year.

Foundation Chair Ben Todhunter says, “Last year we had record entries followed by the most popular winner’s field day in the history of the competition when more than 400 people turned up to tour Patoa Farms.”

The competition offers a top prize of a $20,000 travel grant to undertake further farm study or pursue farm business opportunities, plus four $5000 awards for the best performers in specific areas such as resource management, consumer awareness, innovation and human resource management. . .

Smart agriculture: What resilient farmers do differently – John Janssen:

Falling milk prices have seen renewed discussion about the tough times ahead for those in the dairy sector, and as such it seems a timely opportunity to share some insights into how farmers can put themselves into the best possible position to overcome the challenges ahead.

Adaptability and resilience have become critical to successful agribusiness ventures and we see time and again that the most profitable and resilient businesses are the ones where the decision-making over a period of time has been of a high standard. . . .

Weaker NZ Dollar Helps Wool Prices:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s Marketing Executive, Mr Paul Steel advises that a weaker New Zealand dollar compared to the last sale on 14th May, kept prices high despite a significant increase in the rostered quantity. Steady demand and exporters struggling to source enough wool to meet shipping requirements added extra strength to the market.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies eased 1.97 percent week on week.

Of the 9,733 bales on offer, 91.4 percent sold. . .

$41.2m for resource management, water reform:

The Government is committing $41.2 million in Budget 2015 to deliver on its priorities for the environment, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

Budget 2015 will invest an additional $20.4 million over four years to provide greater national direction and support to councils in implementing the resource management reforms.

A further $4 million will go towards supporting the Environmental Protection Authority’s role to implement the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) legislation in 2015/16. An additional $16.8 million is allocated to support the Government’s programme of improving the management of freshwater. . .

 


Rural round-up

August 13, 2014

Getting New Zealand agriculture on the global market access ‘VIP’ list:

Priority must be given to policy and regulatory settings that improve market access for New Zealand exporters, with a heightened focus on the negotiation of Free Trade Agreements and building business-to-business and government-to-government working relationships, according a new report by global agribusiness specialist Rabobank.

Further leveraging New Zealand’s world class production and supply chain systems is also of utmost importance, the report says.

Releasing the research report, Competitive Challenges – Getting on the global market access ‘VIP’ list – Rabobank animal proteins analyst Matt Costello says improving market access is critical for the future growth and success of New Zealand agriculture, given the importance and reliance on exports across all sectors. . . .

Human clinical trial demonstrates digestive differences in A1 and A2 beta-casein – Keith Woodford:

The results of a human trial comparing A1 and A2 beta-casein have been published recently in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which is a high ranking journal of the Nature Publishing Group. The trial demonstrated statistically significant differences in faecal consistency, with the faeces on A1 being overall looser. Also, for those people who on the A1 milk had the looser and runnier faeces, there was very strong evidence (p<.001) that this was associated with more stomach pain, whereas this relationship did not hold on the A2.

The trial was undertaken at Curtin University and led by Associate Professor Sebely Pal. I was part of the analysis and writing team, and I am listed as a co-author.

Prior to this trial there was already conclusive evidence that A1 and A2 beta-casein digest differently in animals. . . .

DNA technology a ‘game changer’ for monitoring environmental impacts:

Cawthron scientists have proved DNA technology can be used to accurately and effectively assess changes in the environment around marine-based operations.

Their findings have generated international interest – in particular from the aquaculture and off-shore oil and gas sectors that see huge potential for the technology. It will enable them to undertake environmental monitoring in near real-time.

“This revolutionary DNA technology, while still in its infancy, will eventually deliver results in real-time so industries can know instantly if anything is changing in the marine ecosystems around their operations, and if necessary, they can respond and adapt their practices immediately – it’s a game changer,” Cawthron Institute Chief Executive Charles Eason says. . .

Oh No! The ‘Perfect Bad Storm’ for Dairy Farmers World-Wide – Pasture to Profit:

Falling demand for dairy products, increasing wheat stocks, Russian ban on food imports have created the worst possible “Perfect Storm” for dairy farmers worldwide.

Dairy farmers’ business resilience will be severely tested, especially over the next year until these extraordinary events are resolved or resume normal trading.   Farmers need to quickly get control of their cash-flows, debt servicing and capital spending needs to ‘out of cash surplus’ only.

New Zealand dairy farmers have been ‘farming the milk price’…some have made decisions based on “an apparently ever increasing milk price”. . .

 Nothing forbidden about 40-fruit tree:

If you are the indecisive sort, especially when choosing exactly what sort of snack you’re craving, a special tree may be the answer.

A man in the US has created a fruit tree that grows 40 different kinds of fruit.

Sam Van Aken’s nursery is a workshop, laboratory and easel all rolled into one, and here he has created his masterpiece.

A springtime rendering of what the tree will look like in blossom has been gathering world-wide attention.

“It’s flattering. It’s amazing. But yeah, it’s also overwhelming,” Mr Van Aken says.  . .

Strong interest in 2014 South Island Farmer of the Year competition:

A wide variety of entries has been received for this year’s Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition, with meat, wool and dairy dominating the range of farm types competing.

Canterbury, Otago and Southland are particularly well represented among the entries, which include high and low country operations ranging from a large-scale pig operation to beef cattle specialists, dairy farms, sheep (both meat and wool breeds) and deer farms. Two of the entries include a cropping component their business. . .


Yealands SI Farmer of Year

November 29, 2013

Marlborough entrepreneur and winemaker Peter Yealands has won the prestigious Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year award for 2013.

The finals were held at Lincoln University with Chief Judge Nicky Hyslop saying the Yealands entry stood out for its innovation, entrepreneurship and vision.

The winner’s prize is a $20,000 grant toward overseas travel for study, research, marketing, or a combination of these.

The Yealands entry, one of six finalists from throughout the South Island, also won the Silver Fern Farms ‘Plate to Pasture’ award for consumer awareness, and the Lincoln University award for best use of technology and innovation, receiving $5000 for each.

“Peter impressed us with his philosophy of ‘think boldly and never say it can’t be done’,” Hyslop says. “He also demonstrated outstanding innovation inside and outside of the winery business. That was backed up by sound business practices integrated into every aspect of the operation, and a holistic ‘vine to bottle’ approach. Peter showed he was a visionary and had the will and the tenacity to convert that into a successful farm business enterprise.”

Andrew, Karen and Sam Simpson from Lake Tekapo were runners up with their high country merino sheep station, Balmoral, that has diversified into forestry, deer, cropping, property development, conservation recreation, value-added processing of their wool and meat. Hyslop says this entry was also notable for its vision and entrepreneurship, the extensive skill set within the family operation, its business and governance structures, and international networking.

The BNZ award for best human resource management, and the award for resource use efficiency were both taken out by North Canterbury dairy farmers Alan and Sharron Davie-Martin, winning $5000 for each.

“We had an outstanding group of finalists this year, all of a very high calibre,” says Lincoln University Foundation Chair Ben Todhunter. “They each in their way represented some of the best examples of the high performing, innovative, leading edge farming that is coming out of the South Island. This very high standard of entry represents not only a strong future for this competition, but for New Zealand, as we seek to encourage, promote and reward farming excellence.”

The six finalists were:

Neil and Philippa Gardyne from Otama, near Gore, who operate a sheep, beef and cropping enterprise. They are passionate about the sheep and beef industry and focus on innovative, efficient systems.

Trevor and Karen Peters from Roxburgh operate a large scale sheep and beef hill country enterprise built on strong succession planning and a real passion for farming, with low cost development contributing to outstanding farm management.

Andrew, Karen and Sam Simpson from Lake Tekapo run a high country Merino sheep station with diversification in forestry, deer, cropping, property development, conservation recreation, wool on-processing, and meat on-processing. Other commercial activities include a helicopter pad and golf course.

Alan and Sharron Davie-Martin from Culverden operate a highly productive dairy farming operation and continually explore technology to improve systems and production in all aspects of their business.

Simon and Pip Todhunter from Blenheim intensively farm Marlborough East Coast hill country with developed and native tussock hills, carrying ewes, cows and trading cattle. They continually explore technology to improve systems and production in all aspects of their business.

Peter Yealands from Seddon operates a large viticulture business, focused on innovation and business excellence. The business is hugely integrated with outstanding environmental balance.


Rural round-up

October 28, 2013

Industry award like winning ‘ham Lotto’ – Sally Rae:

Sue Morton describes winning gold in the 100% New Zealand Bacon and Ham Competition as like winning ”ham Lotto”.

Mrs Morton and her husband Gus, from Waitaki Bacon and Ham, won the gold award for their Hampshire Champagne sliced ham in the recent competition.

Retail meat industry specialist Matt Grimes, who has been a judge since the competition’s inception in 2008, described the entry as a ”standout”. . . .

Otago couple among six in award finals – Sally Rae:

Otago farmers Trevor and Karen Peters are among the six finalists in the Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition.

The Peters family operates a sheep and beef hill country farming enterprise across six properties. Nominees noted their commitment to the farming industry and their focus on succession planning.

Farming was a very high-cost business to get into but one with a low cash return, Mr Peters said.

”We have focused on a process for succession planning to ensure that business decisions on the property can focus on the long term, knowing that there will be a continuity of investment,” he said. . . .

Synlait Farms had five offers – Alan Williams:

Synlait Farms chief executive Juliet Maclean will increase her investment in the company as part of the planned takeover joint venture with Shanghai Pengxin.

If the takeover proceeds Maclean will receive just over $15 million for her 17.55% stake in the corporate dairy farmer but is required to invest $17m directly into her new 16.1% shareholding in the takeover vehicle SFL Holdings (SFLH). She will remain as chief executive and director of Synlait Farms. . . .

Taking Jersey butter to the top – Richard Rennie:

A small dairy company has tipped the usual processing model on its head, aiming to produce crafted, niche butter from one breed of cow, for the top-end food and restaurant trade. Richard Rennie investigates.

A couple of years ago Lewis Road Creamery founder Peter Cullinane had an epiphany in the most ordinary of places.

While trawling the dairy aisle of his Auckland supermarket for Danish Lurpak butter he wondered why he had to buy butter that had travelled 20,000km to get a brand that tasted good? . . .

Fury over eartag ‘spying’:

FARMERS are outraged at proposals by Meat and Livestock Australia to covertly sell to banks and rural lending institutions private information.

The farmer’s private information has been about the income they derive from the sale of their cattle and sheep.

A consultant’s report commissioned by the MLA – and leaked to the Australian Beef Association – says 10 financial institutions are keen to pay to automatically receive emails informing them every time a farmer who has a mortgage or debt sells his stock through the saleyards or to an abattoir.

The scheme, which the ABA likens to “spying for profit”, is made possible by the tracking of electronic eartags, which are now mandatory from birth for all cattle in all states, from farm to meatworks, under a scheme administered by the MLA. . .  Hat tip: Interest.co.nz

Focus on heat on livestock  – Nicloa Bell:

HOW livestock will react to warming global temperatures is the focus of a new study.

While it is commonly known that livestock production can be affected by exposure to heat, researchers from the University of Western Australia’s Institute of Agriculture and India’s Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University are working to determine the physiological and genetic basis for adaptation in animals as a response to increasing global temperatures.

Physiology professor Shane Maloney from UWA’s School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology is leading the project and said they hoped the research might help in the selection of livestock to improve production. . .


People crucial in ag success

July 26, 2013

The importance of people and their knowledge is being recognised by new award for the Lincoln University Foundation’s South Island Farmer of the Year competition.

Chairman Ben Todhunter says the foundation is pleased to introduce, with the support of the Bank of New Zealand, a $5000 cash prize to the competition for best use of human resources.

“The BNZ Human Resources Award is one of four new categories we have introduced to the competition, in addition to the main prize of a $20,000 travel/study fund,” Todhunter says. “Each of these categories recognise how multi-skilled agricultural business has become to maintain New Zealand’s leading edge as a world class producer.

Todhunter says the award was created to recognise the importance of human resource management in a farm business, including the crucial role people play as innovators and creators and passers on of knowledge; and the contribution to business success that is achieved through strong and effective relationships, internally and externally.

The stereotypical farmer is a man alone. But even one man, or woman, businesses depend on good relationships with the people who service and supply the farm and bigger operations can’t succeed without good relationships with staff.

BNZ head of Agribusiness, Richard Bowman, says an award highlighting the importance of recognising and sharing the skills that sit behind New Zealand’s agribusiness sector is an important addition to the competition.

“The value of the products produced here is well understood, but just as important is the knowledge, techniques and skill that produces those products.

“New Zealand leads the world in farming methodology and process, but the commercial value of those skills is often undervalued, both within the sector and across the wider economy,” says Mr Bowman.

Mr Bowman says that passing on that intellectual property is a critical part of industry succession planning.

“Developing human resource management processes designed to pass knowledge to young farmers and identify talent will ensure New Zealand’s agribusinesses continue to thrive and lead our country’s export growth.”

Mr Bowman also commented that the skills represented in the competition are themselves a latent export opportunity.

“There is real commercial value in our methodology and knowledge in international markets, which represents a significant export opportunity for the sector.

“An on-farm attitude recognising and fostering skills and IP will allow this opportunity to be more fully enjoyed.”

Todhunter says the Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition creates a process where others in the industry can learn from the experiences of the finalists and eventual winner, supporting the spread of knowledge for the betterment of the industry as a whole.

“Farmers who win the BNZ award,” Todhunter says, “will have demonstrated real skills in maximising their people resource to promote business success and grow industry knowledge.”. . .

The overall winner will have demonstrated that they are in the top echelon of agricultural producers, that the farm business is sustainable and that they have developed, or are in the process of developing, a new approach or approaches, either inside or beyond the farm gate, that will enhance their farming activity.

Other new prizes are the Lincoln University award for technology and innovation; the Silver Fern Farms ‘Plate to Pasture’ award for consumer focus and the Resource Use Efficiency award for excellence in sustainable resource management.

Nominations and/or entries for this year’s competition have opened and close on August 1.

There’s more information on the competition, including how to nominate someone for, or enter, it here.


Rural round-up

June 28, 2013

EPA announces new controls for insecticides:

A group of highly toxic insecticides has been extensively reassessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and some will no longer be allowed to be used for plant pest control in New Zealand, the EPA announced today.

The EPA’s General Manager Applications and Assessment, Sarah Gardner, says that while the controlled use of some insecticides would continue to benefit New Zealand’s primary production industries, others were too damaging to people and the environment.

“The EPA’s role is to ensure that New Zealand’s environment, society and economy are protected from the risks posed by such substances.” . .

Mike Barton-Beef Farming Under a N Cap. This Video Will Scare The Crap Out Of Dairy Farmers – Milking on the Moove:

Mike Barton gave this talk to the Beef & Lamb NZ Farmer Roadshow in June 2013. 

It is a real eye opener & Mike explains in detail what farmers in the lake Taupo catchment have had to change in order to meet the Nitrogen cap put in place by their regional authorities.

Thanks to Beef & Lamb New Zealand for making it publicly available.

 

INC welcomes NZ infant formula audit:

The Infant Nutrition Council welcomes the audit of New Zealand’s regulatory regime concerning infant formula exports, which was announced today by Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye, CEO Jan Carey said.

“The council welcomes any steps by the Government that help give consumers confidence in the safety and quality of infant formula manufactured in New Zealand.

“The Minister’s insistence that the audit includes work on verification, compliance, and testing regimes is excellent news. . .

Four new awards for South Island Farming Competition:

The challenges, skills and resources required for high performance farming have been recognised by the inclusion of four new awards in the 2013 prize package offered by the Lincoln University Foundation’s South Island Farmer of the Year competition.

Each award carries a cash prize of $5000 while the overall prize has been upped to $20,000. This is awarded in the form of a grant to facilitate travel to visit and study overseas farming enterprises and learn about new opportunities, processes and technology.

Foundation Chair Ben Todhunter says the South Island Farmer of the Year competition is about recognising innovation, leadership and excellence in farming and, more importantly, creating a process where others in the industry can learn from the experiences of the finalists and eventual winner. . .

Greenshell New Zealand wins NZ Food and Beverage Exporter of the Year:

Coromandel MP Scott Simpson has congratulated Greenshell New Zealand on being named New Zealand Food and Beverage Exporter of the Year at the Export NZ Awards.

The prestigious award recognised Greenshell New Zealand’s excellence in building extraordinary and sustainable export growth in the Food and Beverage sector.

Judges said the company had shown the ability to think differently with a variety of well thought out strategies shaping their growth and future potential. . .

Fresh investment adding value to Sealord products:

Increasing Sealord’s fresh fish offer from negligible to up to 10% of catch by 2018 is the next step in the company’s growth strategy and the business is putting its resources and investment where its mouth is.

An investment of around $1.5 million in an entirely new line, focusing on fresh chilled fish and thermoform packaging of both fresh and frozen products, has just come online at the Vickerman Street premises.

According to General Manager of Sealord Fish, Doug Paulin, the company’s expertise in quality frozen fish and position as New Zealand’s best known seafood brand are good stepping stones to add value to products by selling more fresh fish. . .


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