Rural round-up

17/08/2017

Labour’s knee-jerk ‘clean our rivers’ call needs details so it doesn’t look like a rural-to-urban wealth transfer in the sheep’s clothing of a freshwater policy; On the principles of royalties; And why aren’t we talking nitrates? – Alex Tarrant:

Labour’s water policy announcement had some of the desired effect. “Labour promises to make commercial water bottlers pay,” one major news outlet headlined.

Some coverage even got excited that Labour would get unemployed youth to plant trees and build fences around waterways to ‘help’ the farmers out.

I’ll get that out of the way first, because as Jordan Luck once said, it’s been bugging me: If you can get someone to the skill level required to build stock fences on rural terrain then you’re more than halfway to training up a fully-fledged farmer. That’s no bad thing, given an ageing farming workforce and shortage of labour. . . 

Alarming lack of detail in Labour’s water charge – Andrew Curtis:

Labour’s announcement of a tax water will hit not just the dairy industry but is bad news for all New Zealanders. Labour won’t be drawn on how much the tax would cost. Apparently it may vary by region based on the scarcity and quality of water. And no assessment has been made of how it would affect the average Kiwi.

However, if there’s one thing you can be certain of, it is that like all taxes, it is not actually a tax on the supplier of goods, because like all taxes it will be passed on to the consumer. In the same way that businesses factor in the costs of paying company tax and GST on goods they use, we will all end up paying.

There is an alarming lack of detail around what has been announced. It can hardly be called a policy, or a plan, because all we have to go on is a one page press release. Calls to the Labour Party headquarters asking for more details were fruitless. . .

‘Let’s answer this’ – questions mounting as New Zealanders demand answers on water tax:

‘Let’s Answer This’, a campaign to get key questions on Labour’s proposed water tax answered is gathering momentum – while the fundamentals remain unclear.

The questions were sent to Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern on Friday 11th August by non profit membership organisation Irrigation New Zealand asking for a confirmed response in writing.

The organisation was prompted to act after a one page statement issued by Jacinda Ardern announcing the water tax provided very little detail on what the tax would involve. Key questions that have not been addressed include the impact of the tax on ordinary New Zealanders, what it will cost, who it will apply to and how it might be implemented. . .

Five-star treatment for NZ venison – Lynda Gray:

Venison processor Mountain River is slowly but surely growing Chinese appetites for Kiwi venison through five-star Western hotels restaurants.

At face value the strategy seems illogical but it made perfect sense given most of the diners were Chinese.

“If you’re a high-end Western restaurant and not targeting Chinese diners you won’t survive,” Hunter McGregor, a Shanghai-based importer and exporter said. . .

Dairy processors compete for milk – Sally Rae:

More cautious investment over the next five years is likely as New Zealand dairy processors struggle to fill existing and planned capacity, Rabobank dairy analyst Emma Higgins says.

While capital expenditure in new processing assets stepped up between 2013 and 2015, capacity construction had run ahead of recent milk supply growth and appeared to factor in stronger growth than Rabobank expected.

In a new industry report, Ms Higgins said milk supply had stumbled over the past couple of production seasons and, while the 2017-18 season was likely to bring a spike in production of 2%-3%, the bank expected growth to slow to or below 2% for the following four years. . . 

NZ innovation makes mastitis treatment easier:

· Penethaject formulation a world first

· Locally developed in New Zealand

· Effective treatment of mastitis in dairy cows

A new ready to use antibiotic formulation for treating mastitis that took seven years to develop, register and launch is now available for New Zealand dairy farmers.

Penethaject™ RTU (ready to use) has a unique formulation that requires no pre-mixing. It’s the first time such a formulation has been developed anywhere in the world.

Bayer dairy veterinarian Dr Ray Castle says Penethaject RTU will make it easier for farmers to effectively treat clinical mastitis, a condition affecting 10% – 20% of New Zealand’s 5 million dairy cows every year. . . 

To fit into Silicon Valley wear these shoes – Nellie Bowles:

 Silicon Valley goes through its own unique shoe crazes. There were Vibrams. There were Crocs.

Now comes the Allbird, a knit wool loafer. In uncomfortable times, Silicon Valley has turned to a comfortable shoe. If there’s a venture capitalist nearby, there’s probably a pair of Allbirds, too.

The Google co-founder Larry Page wears Allbirds, according to the shoemaker, as do the former Twitter chief Dick Costolo and the venture capitalists Ben Horowitz and Mary Meeker.

Founded by a New Zealand soccer star and a clean-technology entrepreneur, Allbirds makes the sneakerlike shoes from wool and castor bean oil. . .

 


Rural round-up

15/06/2015

Loss forecast if water plan unchanged – David Bruce:

The North Otago and South Canterbury economies could lose up to $42 million a year and 371 jobs if a water allocation plan for the Waitaki River is not changed, according to an economic impact study.

Two-thirds of farmers who irrigate from the Waitaki River would lose a total of about $30 million a year in farm income.

And allocating some of the Waitaki River’s water to Ngai Tahu takes a potential $106 million to $109 million a year and an additional 900 jobs away because of lost future irrigation. . .

Dairy farming leader backs Fonterra – Sally Rae:

Do not sack Fonterra’s leadership – that is the message from one Otago dairy farming industry leader.

Hundreds of jobs are likely to go as part of a review of the dairy giant which began last December.

Fonterra has been in the spotlight this year, amid falling global dairy prices and declining payouts for suppliers.

Yesterday, North Otago Federated Farmers dairy chairman Lyndon Strang said reviews were ”healthy for any business”. . .

Deer farming pioneer recognised – Lynda Gray:

Southland deer farming pioneer, leader and mentor David Stevens is the 2015 recipient of the New Zealand Deer Industry Award.

Stevens’ leadership roles in the industry started in the early 1980s as the inaugural member of the Southland Deer Farmers committee.

He was a key instigator of the National Velvet and Cervena Plates competitions and a hardworking contributor to many deer farming-allied initiatives such as monitor farms, discussion groups and stud breeder initiatives. . .

Aeronavics unveils drone at Fieldays – Paul Mitchell:

A Raglan-based drone company’s new products could help farmers reduce costs and discover crop diseases earlier.

Aeronavics is showcasing the agricultural applications of their next-generation drones at the Innovation Centre this week.

The centrepiece of their booth is three colour-coded drones, each representing one agricultural task.

Aeronavics co-founder Linda Bulk said any one drone could do all three tasks, it was just a matter of swapping out the “payload” attachments. . .

Life on the dingo fence – Emma Downey:

BOUNDARY rider on the dingo fence rider might seem like a job title plucked from the 19th century, but it’s one just as relevant today – perhaps even more so – than it was when the fence was constructed in the late 1800s.

At more than 5000 kilometres long, Australia’s dingo fence has the distinction of being the world’s longest fence, and while utes may have replaced horses as the mode of transport for today’s “rider”, the job remains the same.

Then and now, the boundary rider’s job is to monitor the fence, look for breaches and make repairs to prevent dingos from entering the pastoral zones of the state, and as graziers fear, breed with domesticated dogs gone wild and increase what is already a growing issue. . .

 

 

American Cattlemen's photo.


Rural round-up

01/06/2014

Alliance director ‘a real Kiwi chick’  – Sally Rae:

Alliance Group’s newest independent director Vanessa Stoddart describes the meat industry as being ”at the heart” of New Zealand. She talked to agribusiness reporter Sally Rae during the company’s inaugural Pure South conference in Queenstown this week.

Vanessa Stoddart loves transforming big companies and cultures.

Last month, the Auckland-based businesswoman with an impressive resume was appointed to the board of Alliance Group as an independent director. . .

Bigger ‘not better’in dairy industry – Sally Rae:

Big is not necessarily better.

That was the message from Alliance Group independent director Graeme Milne to suppliers attending the company’s inaugural Pure South conference in Queenstown this week.

Mr Milne, who has a 30-year involvement in the dairy industry, was chief executive of the New Zealand Dairy Group prior to the formation of Fonterra.

Among various other directorships, he is chairman of Mid Canterbury dairy-processor Synlait. He was appointed to Alliance Group’s board last year. . .

One woman and her dog  – Sahiban Kanwal:

Nicky Thompson believes you have got to have the hunger to be better than the best.

Women taking part in sheep dog trial championships in New Zealand was unheard of 50 years ago.

These days, however, Thompson, from Omihi in North Canterbury, is living proof of an ever-changing farming community.

Thompson is one of the competitors at the New Zealand and South Island Sheep Dog Trial Championships at Waihi Station, near Geraldine, throughout this week. . .

Alliance considering pool payment – Lynda Gray:

A pool payment – the first in two years – could be on the cards for Alliance shareholders.

The cautiously optimistic promise was delivered by Alliance chairman Murray Taggart on the first day of the meat company’s inaugural supplier conference in Queenstown.

Also announced was the planned rollout on October 1 of a new yield payment system based on different price premiums for the primal shoulder, leg, and loin cuts. . .

More to Mt Hutt than just snow:

Iconic is an overused word these days, but occasionally it is justified – as in the case of Mt Hutt Station and not just because it covers the lower slopes of the Mid-Canterbury plains’ most visible landmark.

Its status – both nationally and internationally – is in no small part because of Mt Hutt Station’s owners, the Hood family. Because of the Hoods, Mt Hutt Station is now indelibly linked with large-scale deer farming.

For more than 35 years the property has been developed and farmed by the Hood family after Keith and his late brother Doug purchased the station in 1978. By the early 1990s, the station that had once run up to 14,000 ewes, was virtually totally deer. The station is now farmed by Keith and his wife Dennise, along with their son Bruce and daughter-in- law Becky. . .

It's World Milk Day today! To join the global celebrations we will share some fun facts about #milk today with you. Around the world, 87,717 glasses of milk are consumed every second of every day. Amazing, isn’t it? Like if you agree! #fonterra #funfacts #worldmilkday

Confidence expressed in industry’s future :

New Zealand’s largest deer farmer, Landcorp Farming, has confidence in the future of the deer industry, said its general manager of farm operations.

Addressing the Deer Industry New Zealand conference in Methven recently, Graeme Mulligan said the company was confident in the future of deer farming.

While Landcorp’s reliance on dairying would grow considerably, it was still keen to be in the deer industry.

Deer provided a diversity of product mix to the business and featured in its revenue strategy. . .


Rural round-up

08/01/2014

Milk’s carbon footprint cut by 63 percent:Tom Quaife:

Since 1944, efficiencies in the dairy industry have allowed fewer cows to produce more milk. As a result, the carbon footprint per pound of milk produced has fallen by 63 percent, according to a noted expert.

“In 1944, it took four cows to produce the same amount of milk as a single cow in 2007,” Jude Capper, assistant professor of dairy science at Washington State University told those attending a session at Alltech’s 27th Annual International Animal Health and Nutrition Symposium on Monday.

Dairy farmers have made major progress over the years, which is something the industry should be proud of, she said.

Capper has researched this subject extensively and published articles in scientific journals, including the Journal of Dairy Science.

She is also at the forefront when it comes to debunking the myth that modern agriculture is worse for the environment than the farms that dotted the landscape in the 1940s. . .

Scientists help farmers make dairies green:

Cows stand patiently in a tent-like chamber at a research farm in western Wisconsin, waiting for their breath to be tested. Outside, corrals have been set up with equipment to measure gas wafting from the ground. A nearby corn field contains tools that allow researchers to assess the effects of manure spread as fertiliser.

Scientists based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have started a slew of studies to determine how dairy farms can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. They will look at what animals eat, how their waste is handled and the effects on soil, water and air.

Their work is part of a government-sponsored effort to help farmers adapt to more extreme weather and reduce their impact on climate change. The studies also will support a dairy industry effort to make farms more environmentally friendly, profitable and attractive to consumers. . .

Bunnies on the run – Lynda Gray:

Cute and cuddly…almost. Meet Newton, one half of Euan Butter’s dynamic rabbit-busting duo.

Newton, a six-year-old ferret, and his white and pink-eyed side-kick Snowy (2) love nothing better than wreaking havoc in rabbit warrens and holes throughout Central Otago.

Euan, a pro-rabbiter for “donkey’s years” says ferrets are a good secondary rabbit control tool he’s used for the past 15 years, flushing out the last of the pest following major control operations.

He keeps the ferrets at his Alexandra base and carts them around Central Otago on the back of his ute in straw-lined boxes. . . .

Distillers grain prices slump as China rejections clog pipeline – Christine Stebbins and Karl Plume:

The price of distillers’ dried grain has slid 20 percent in a week as U.S. exporters shied away from selling the corn-based feed grain to its top customer China after Beijing rejected shipments containing an unapproved GMO corn strain.

“Everyone is just nervous. If you load something no one knows if someone is going to take it or not,” said Ryan McClanahan, a Kansas City-based trader with Commodity Specialists Co, which supplies DDGs to both domestic and export markets.

“People have just stopped loading vessels, containers domestically so the product is just backing up in the domestic market,” McClanahan told Reuters. . .

Oh rats! – Mad Bush Farm:

This morning my poor mum rang me in a terrible state. The panic in her voice was all too real. The problem? One rat sat on her bench making itself comfortable, oblivious to the drama going on just beyond, by the human occupant making a frantic call on the telephone.Call for help made to second to youngest child in her brood of six children, to come up and deal with said Mr Rat.

 
I went straight up there to sort the thing out. Yes there it was, as large as life cleaning its whiskers, unafraid that doom was now overshadowing its very existence. (cue evil laughter)
 
Fortunately, it wasn’t one of those horrible ugly water rats that show up from time to time. It was a native bush rat or Kiore. Even so, it was not welcome in my mother’s home. A few shoves, and it headed out the door. I chucked some rat bait under the deck and that should have been that. . . .

Winter mountain biking on Heaphy Track permanently approved:

Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith today announced at Karamea on the West Coast the permanent approval of mountain biking on the Heaphy Track from 1 May to 30 September each year.

“The Heaphy Track is New Zealand’s ultimate multi-day mountain biking experience. It traverses dramatic and diverse landscapes from mountain forests, to expansive grasslands and wild West Coast beaches,” Dr Smith says.

“The three-year trial has been a success and it is timely to make it a permanent feature of Nelson and the West Coast’s visitor attractions. Year-round mountain biking has also been approved on two other Kahurangi National Park tracks – the Flora Saddle to Barron Flat and Kill Devil tracks.” . . .


Freelancer top Ag journalist

21/10/2011

The economic and social importance of agriculture in New Zealand is reflected in both the quantity and quality of rural journalism.

The best of that is recognised in the Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communciators’ annual awards.

Freelancer Hugh De Lacy has won the Rongo,  the top award for agricultural journalists, for 2011.

He won the supreme award, the Rongo Award recognising excellence in agricultural journalism, for articles which appeared in MG Business focussing on far-reaching changes to the strong wool industry and on doing business with China.   The runner-up was Dominion Post farming editor Jon Morgan.

. . . The key objectives of the awards are the encouragement and recognition of excellence in agricultural journalism.

The inaugural winner of the PGG Wrightson Sustainable Land Management Award, is Tim Cronshaw of The Press. This award was established to recognise high quality communication and effective analysis of local, national and global agribusiness and environmental factors that impact on the sustainability of farm businesses.

Lynda Gray of Country-Wide won the AgResearch Science Writers Award, established to enhance standards of science writing, especially about pastoral agriculture.

Elaine Fisher, of the Bay of Plenty Times, won the Horticulture New Zealand Journalism Award, set up to recognise excellence in agricultural journalism focussing on New Zealand’s horticulture industry.

Rebecca Harper, of NZX Agri won the Rural Women of New Zealand Award, which recognises the important contribution women make (and have always made)  in the rural community, either through their role in the farming sector or to the general rural environment.

Hugh Stringleman, of NZX Agri won the AGMARDT Agribusiness Award, which recognises high quality information about and effective analysis of national, global and other agribusiness.

Dominion Post photographer, Phil Reid, won the Federated Farmers Rural Photography Award, for a single photo that illustrates a rural event or activity – agricultural, horticultural, industry, human interest, on farm / off farm, or any activity reflecting life or work in rural New Zealand.

Andrew Stewart of NZX Agri won the Agricultural Journalism Encouragement Award. This is the Guild’s own award and is designed to encourage and recognise excellence among journalists with three or less years reporting on agricultural issues.


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