Rural round-up

28/09/2020

Farmers on board with environmental fairness but want time and fairness – Liz McDonald and Henry Cooke:

Canterbury farmers want politicians to stop painting them as climate change villains, listen to their needs and allow them more time to boost environmental standards.

The Labour, National, Act and Green parties have all released agriculture policies in the past few days as they vie for the government benches in October.

National’s agriculture policy, released on Thursday, promises to “review or repeal” the Labour Government’s nine freshwater regulations introduced this year, and remove the possibility of agriculture entering the Emissions Trading Scheme in 2022.

It also promised to allow skilled and seasonal workers to enter New Zealand with a fast-tracked primary sector visa. . .

Primary sector wary of health and safety if cannabis legalised:

Legalising of recreational cannabis could increase health and safety risks for the primary sector, say wary employers.

The sector already has one of the highest workplace accident and death rates in the country, and leaders say it could be another risk if the referendum gets support on 17 October.

Chris Lewis from Federated Farmers said while the organisation doesn’t have a stance on the referendum it does have concerns about the health and safety implications if the bill is passed into law.

He said farming already has a high accident rate around livestock and machinery, and workers need to be aware of what is around them without being impaired. . .

 

LIC begins insemination of millions of cows – recruits asked to put hands up:

Artificial breeding technicians (AB techs) across the country have begun rolling up their sleeves in order to get millions of dairy cows pregnant over the next six months. Their role is critical in producing the next generation of animals and ensuring New Zealand’s hugely valuable milk supply continues.

Last year LIC, which employs around 900 AB techs between September and March, oversaw the insemination of over four million cows. While undertaking this work, the cooperative is also seeking new recruits to train ahead of next season.

Once trained many return year-after-year including the McCarthy family. Paul McCarthy first trained with LIC in 1978 as a 20-year-old. After nearly 40 years he has inseminated thousands of cows while running a 134ha dairy farm in Galatea in the eastern Bay of Plenty with his wife Johanna. . . 

Bees are flourishing in New Zealand:

Bees are an essential component of a strong agricultural sector. They support New Zealand’s $6 billion horticultural industry by pollinating food crops as well as producing a multitude of honey-based products.

Despite recent reports of declining bee numbers due to pesticide use, figures released by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) show that beehive numbers have increased three-fold since 2005. According to its apiculture monitoring programme, hive numbers reached over 918,000 in 2019, up from below 300,000 fourteen years ago. The numbers have consistently been on an upward trend since then, with the latest figures showing a four percent increase on the previous year.

Independent scientific research included in the report concluded that the destructive varroa mite is the main cause of bee losses. . . 

Chop to it – Southland lamb goes nation-wide:

Southland meat processor Blue Sky Pastures is looking to new pastures by expanding its business, launching its namesake Blue Sky Butchery.

Bringing southern lamb to the digital fingertips of all New Zealanders, Blue Sky Butchery is a completely online store where users will be able to purchase the finest and freshest cuts of Southland lamb, delivered overnight nation-wide.

Many cuts of this New Zealand-favourite will be available, including Frenched racks, striploin, leg, shoulder, loin chops and mince. . .

Crops will be ploughed under if workers can’t be found – Andrew Miller:

A Bacchus Marsh vegetable grower says her farm will have to plough crops back into the ground, if sufficient workers can’t be found as harvest ramps up.

Rae McFarlane, Boratto Farms, Bacchus Marsh said the business produced fancy lettuce, rocket, parsley and baby spinach.

She said the coronavirus lockdown had hit the restaurant trade hard. . . 


Rural round-up

07/04/2012

Chemical-free farming still regarded with scepticism:

Chemical free farming is a multi-million dollar industry that has copped its  fair share of criticism.

The couple behind New Zealand’s first organic farm say it’s time conventional  farmers embraced the concept. but they’ve had to put their beloved property on  the market after more than 30 years.

They call them their secret weapon.

Millions of black dung beetles roam John and Norrie Pearce’s Kaipara Harbour  property and without them they say they’d be in a stink.

Farming organically means relying on the hand of nature, which is where dung  beetles come in . . .

Castle Hill Station on the market – Liz McDonald:

Castle Hill Station, a high-country farm owned by businesswoman Christine Fernyhough, is for sale.

The author and philanthropist bought the 3000-hectare station for about $2.4 million in 2004, with the Conservation Department taking on the remainder of what had originally been an 11,000ha block.

The land was first settled by the Porter brothers in 1858. Real estate group Bayleys is now seeking offers for the farm, with a late May deadline. . .

Fine deal for merino farmers – Sally Rae:

On a gloriously sunny autumn day in the Maniototo this week, a small Cessna aircraft landed on a farm strip at Gimmerburn. Agribusiness reporter Sally Rae was on hand to discover more about the visit.

It was, as they say, a flying visit.   

Alighting from the plane, in that most rural Central Otago landscape, were three Japanese gentlemen, bedecked in suits.   

They had made a special trip from Japan to meet the Clarke family from Closeburn Station.

The visit by Konaka Co Ltd chief executive Kensuke Konaka,      technical adviser Mitsuo Hori, and Kento Nagao, from wool      trading company Nagao Shoji, was a goodwill gesture.  . .

Woollen coffin a hit at show – Sally Rae:

You wouldn’t normally expect to find a coffin among the fleeces on display at the quintessentially rural Malvern A and P Show in Canterbury.   

When Polly McGuckin was approached by the convener of the wool section at the Sheffield show to see if she would like to have a woollen coffin on display, she was initially not sure it would be appropriate. . .   

China blamed for PSA-V outbreak – Richard Meadows:

Scientists are on the edge of unravelling the origins of the Psa-V disease devastating the country’s kiwifruit vines – and China is the most likely culprit.

A team of Otago University biochemists is confident it will be able to confirm the source of the virulent disease, which was first detected here in November 2010.

The scientists were able to map out the bacterium’s entire genetic code using a multi-million dollar advanced genetic sequencer, provided through the government-funded New Zealand Genomics Limited (NZGL). . .

Putting the fizz into wine ‘visonary’

Staff at Cloudy Bay Winery in Blenheim are enjoying what is likely to be a short-lived leisurely work pace as the last of its sparkling grapes are brought in to press, says winery spokeswoman Stephanie McIntyre. . .

“At the moment, everyone’s just taking it easy. You can see there aren’t too many people around, but that will all change in a few weeks when all the ripening comes on at the same time.”

Cloudy Bay winemaker Sarah Burton anticipated the first lot of grapes for the still variety would be brought in today. There was usually a one week gap before this harvest began, so it was a good way to prepare the crew for what was in store. . .


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