Agriculture trip a ‘whirlwind’ of inspiration – Sally Rae:
Sam Vivian-Greer admits he is not usually the most emotional person.
But during this month’s mentoring trip around New Zealand for winners of the Zanda McDonald agribusiness award, the Wairarapa man acknowledged he was a little emotional, particularly as he wrote down each day’s experiences in a notebook.
The award, now in its eighth year, supports talented and passionate young professionals in the agricultural sector from Australia and New Zealand.
Part of the prize package includes a trip to high-performing farms and businesses in Australia and New Zealand, travelling by a chartered Pilatus PC-12 aircraft. . .
The rural sector is muddled and looking for the best way forward amid a wave of regulations, Covid-19 related fatigue, and varied outlooks for different parts of the industry.
Business advisory firm KPMG’s Agribusiness Agenda found a mixed picture among 122 primary industry leaders, with some straining to make the most of profitable overseas opportunities, while others were fighting to survive.
KPMG’s head of global agribusiness Ian Proudfoot said no single theme stood out for the sector with a multitude of issues vying for attention.
“For some leaders, things have never been better; others face an existential crisis, while many have aspects of their operations that are humming and other parts that are on, or are close to, life support.”
He said the sector was opportunity-packed and risk burdened by “high highs” and almost as many “low lows”, and had done a remarkable job in reconnecting with world markets and earnings record returns when the country needed it most during the pandemic. . .
The Government is expecting the agriculture sector to subsidise the rest of the economy on climate change, so Groundswell NZ is asking for the evidence from James Shaw, Groundswell NZ emissions spokesperson Steve Cranston says.
“Groundswell NZ has written to Climate Change Minister James Shaw to request any modelling or data he relies on, showing that agriculture is contributing to additional warming of the climate.”
“We support the call to stop further climate warming from the agricultural sector, in accordance with the Paris Agreement objective of limiting warming to 1.5° C. The farmers we represent want to do the right thing and ensure there is no net increase in atmospheric warming due to farming activities.”
“Our position is that farming in this country is currently at or close to climate neutrality. Emission outputs from agriculture are being offset by natural atmospheric decay, in the case of methane, or offset by farm tree sequestration, in the case of carbon.” . .
Grow another paddock – Ian Williams:
Farming is becoming increasingly complex. Until recentyl, farmers had relatively few issues to focus on: feeding cows, producing milk and hopefully making enough money to feed their family and pay off their mortgages.
Things are very different now. The historical issues remain but added to these are increased compliance requirements, regular staff shortages, more demands from milk and meat processors, climate change and of course, global supply chain issues brought about by war and pandemics.
This increased complexity results in increased risk. Until this season, payout has been relatively stable, sitting between $6.12 and $7.54/kgMS.
The biggest business risk has been around the variable climate and trying to produce enough milk to generate good profit. . .
New research from Lincoln University could dramatically improve the treatment of a common cattle disease that costs farmers an estimated $280m a year.
Mastitis is a painful bacterial infection that affects cows’ udders and causes a drop in milk quality and production.
The disease is treatable but can prove costly for dairy farmers.
But a team of researchers from Lincoln University may have found a way to detect the disease in its early stages. . .
The Campaign for Wool NZ Trust (CFWNZ) is encouraging New Zealand sheep farmers registered under the New Zealand Farm Assurance Programme (NZFAP) for their meat production to take the “very simple step” of adding their NZFAP assurance code to their wool specification sheet.
“This makes sure our farmers’ beautiful wool can be branded and marketed under this important new quality standard,” explains CFWNZ Chair Tom O’Sullivan. “The NZFAP is important, because it provides assurances to consumers across the globe that our wool is produced with integrity, traceability, and animal health and welfare top of mind. We’re hearing that while many of our farmers are already signed up to the programme for their meat operation, they might have neglected to include their NZFAP assurance code on their wool specification to ensure their wool is sold and promoted as NZFAP certified.”
The wool industry adopted the NZFAP as a national standard for wool in September 2021, and Tom says although there’s been an increase in farmers including their NZFAP assurance code on their wool specification sheet in recent months, there is still a long way to go.
Tom, himself an experienced sheep farmer based in Hawke’s Bay, says farmers could be slow to include their assurance code because they think the NZFAP auditing process might be expensive, daunting, or overly rigorous. “But there is no additional cost to farmers. When the NZFAP auditors visit a farm, wool is automatically included in the audit process.” . .