Rural round-up

September 21, 2016

Improved dairy sector expectations see New Zealand farmer confidence surge higher:

Results at a Glance

· Overall confidence in the agricultural economy has improved considerably from the previous quarter

· Farmers’ expectations for their own business performance also improved, driven by sizeable improvement in expectations among dairy farmers

· While overall confidence was up among all sectors, sheep and beef farmers registered small decline in expectations of their own business performance

· Horticulturalists’ business performance expectations also fell, but remain at elevated levels

· Farm business investment intentions remained stable. . . 

Young role model inspires primary sector job seekers – Gerard Hutching:

Ellie Cranswick knew New Zealand was different to the United Kingdom the moment she saw drench being advertised on TV.

She noticed on arrival that there were a number of differences between the two agricultural industries, from the end markets, to the genetics, to systems used.

Originally from Dorset, 27-year-old Cranswick now has her red bands firmly grounded in New Zealand soil after five years in the country. . .

Changing agri-food perspectives – Keith Woodford:

When I was an undergraduate back in the 1960s – in some ways it seems just yesterday – the dominant agricultural paradigms were about farm production and management.  As students, we learned nothing about marketing. And when marketing did come in vogue in the following decades, the dominant perspective was that marketing was what happened at the end rather than the beginning of the agri-food chain.

To a considerable extent, that perspective of a value chain that starts with production still survives within our animal-based agricultural industries. In contrast, the plant-based industries have been more successful in making the transition to a consumer-led position. And that may well be why, in an evolving world, our horticultural industries are currently succeeding where our traditional pastoral industries are currently struggling.

Our three big plant industries that are leading the way are viticulture, kiwifruit and apples. And then there are some other such as cherries which are also making good progress, plus seed crops such as carrots. . . 

Hope wallaby tracks ‘isolated incident’ – Lynda van Kempen:

The spread of wallabies is a serious concern and the last thing Otago needs is another destructive animal pest, a regional council director says.

Otago Regional Council environmental monitoring and operations director Scott MacLean, commenting about wallaby tracks being found at Galloway, near Alexandra, recently, said the council was treating the sighting seriously.

“Given that at this stage, only wallaby sign was sighted, I would like to think, and certainly hope, that this is an isolated incident. . . 

$3.1m funding for climate change projects:

Primary Industries Ministers Nathan Guy and Jo Goodhew have welcomed $3.1 million in new funding for 13 climate change research projects in the agriculture and forestry sectors.

The grants were announced today by the Ministry for Primary Industries through the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change (SLMACC) research programme.

“This funding plays an important part in helping our primary industries prepare for the future challenges of climate change,” says Mr Guy.

“$935,000 is being invested in three projects to analyse soil carbon on hill country farms and under irrigation systems. . . 

Mighty mite makes easy meal of Marlborough broom – Mike Watson:

A tiny insect with a big appetite is making short work of invasive scotch broom plants in dry areas around Marlborough.

The broom gall mite was released by the Marlborough District Council biosecurity team into an area south of Blenheim in 2011.

In the past five years, the biocontrol agent has been spread by wind to surrounding farmland on the Redwood Pass and Dashwood Pass. . . 

Using wood fuel is heating up:

With the continual growth in the use of wood fuel for heating the Bioenergy Association is increasing its support for wood fuelled heat plant operators and maintenance staff, helping plant owners improve the performance of their plant and encourage others to move from coal to wood fuel.

“The amount of wood fuel replacing coal is growing each year and we want to ensure heat plant operating and maintenance staff are well supported,” says the Association’s Executive Officer Brian Cox.

The Bioenergy Association is holding a forum for heat plant owners, operators and maintenance staff in Christchurch on 27 September. . . 

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Rural round-up

August 24, 2016

Thousands needed to fill primary industry jobs – Alexa Cook:

The primary sector is turning to cities to promote jobs in the industry in an effort to create a more qualified workforce.

Research commissioned by the Ministry for Primary Industries, Dairy NZ and Beef and Lamb New Zealand has found the industry will need another 2300 people by 2025, on top of the 23,400 needed to replace natural attrition.

There is a growing divide between rural and urban New Zealand, with 36 percent of all secondary students based in Auckland, and just 30 percent spread through rural areas.

New Zealand Young Farmers president Terry Copeland said by 2025 a third of jobs in the dairy industry would not be tied to the land. . . 

Busy ‘making difference’ – Sally Rae:

Fiona Hancox just wants to “make a difference”.

The West Otago sheep and beef farmer recently joined the board of Co-operative Business New Zealand.The organisation represents more than 50 co-operative and mutual businesses operating across a  range of industries, including agriculture, manufacturing, insurance, banking and financial services, utilities, pharmaceuticals, education, health, wholesale and retail.

In February last year, Mrs Hancox became the first female farmer representative director on the board of Silver Fern Farms. . . 

Time to hand over the reins – Sally Rae:

For many years, Chris Bayne has been something of an institution at PGG Wrightson’s Mosgiel store.

So, come September 2,  it will be the end of an era as Mrs Bayne (65) works her last day as store manager.

However, she remained philosophical about leaving a role that has been a big part of her life, saying simply it was “time to go”.

“I just think sometimes you work too long and you retire and, all of a sudden, your health goes to the pack. It’s nice to hand the reins over to someone else …  you can’t work forever,” she said. . . 

Retiring rural postie parks his truck – Lynda Van Kempen:

After travelling more than a million kilometres, Kevin “Rock” McCrorie has finally parked  for good.

His 17-year career as a Maniototo rural postman ended on Friday and he shared some of the finer details with  the Otago Daily Times.

Number of vehicles used: Five Toyota Hiluxes

Kilometres driven: 250 a day, five days a week.

Total: 1,105,000km.

Rural boxholders: 125.

Mail, newspapers and parcels delivered: Hundreds of thousands.

Goldfish received: One

Axolotyls delivered: One. . . 

More business understanding gives Southland sheep farmer positive outlook – Brittany Pickett:

Jo Horrell is feeling positive about the future of the sheep industry.

The Southland farmer believes the tide is turning for sheep farming and she is determined to be part of it. Part of her enthusiasm can be attributed to her recently completing  an Agri-Women’s Development Trust Understanding Your Farm Business course

While she found the Red Meat Profit Partnership-funded course invaluable in gaining a greater understanding of the farm business she runs alongside her husband Bryce, it was having the opportunity to meet like-minded, positive people that for Horrell was a real bonus. . . 

Startup to tackle Predator Free New Zealand challenge:

New Zealand based App and Website Pestur will launch in 2017. Pestur is a social network allowing users to compete with each other in challenges as they work to eradicate different pest species through trapping and hunting.

Co- founder Greta Donoghue says the inspiration came in seeing the millions of people around the world willing to try and catch something that doesn’t exist (Pokemon), “the idea being that if even a fraction of these participants put some real world effort into the issue of invasive pest species we could see tangible improvements ranging from the protection of endangered species to the economics of better crop yields” . . 


Rural round-up

October 7, 2015

Staff on research farm also face water plan challenges – Sally Rae:

It’s not just farmers who are grappling with the implications of the Otago Regional Council’s water plan change 6A.

When council staff visited the deer research farm at Invermay, looking for some monitor farms to use as part of their rollout of 6A, AgResearch staff realised they had plenty of on-farm challenges to meet some of the limits.

Now they are using their issues to help other farmers improve their farms, by using the Invermay farm as an example, as they work to mitigate the effects.. . 

Family and friends rally round as south suffolks go up for sale – Kate Taylor:

Selling the right rams to the right farms is important to Simon and Fiona Prouting so they host their own on-farm auction.

This year’s High Plains auction at their Weber farm on Friday December 4 will offer 120 south suffolk rams and 35 poll dorset rams.

“Last year we only offered 90 south suffolks,” says Simon. “Our numbers are growing but also our average is getting up too high. We averaged $920 again last year. We’d rather have the average back to $700 and more people get a ram for the price they’re happy with. People were missing out. It’s important to give everyone a fair go.” . . 

Australian shearer makes it six-in-a-row – Lynda van Kempen:

The national merino shearing title was claimed by an Australian for the sixth successive year but the national woolhandling winner was a hometown favourite.

Damien Boyle (38), of Tambellup, Western Australia, entered the record books again after winning his sixth successive open title at the 54th New Zealand Merino Shearing Championships.

Pagan Rimene (27), of Alexandra, earned the loudest cheers at the prizegiving in Alexandra on Saturday night when she was announced as the winner of the open woolhandling title, ahead of national representative and defending champion Joel Henare, of Gisborne. . . 

Ambitious target set for rural broadband:

Recognising the ever-increasing demand for high-speed broadband across New Zealand, and its importance to regional growth, the Government has today announced a bold new connectivity target for areas outside the UFB footprint.

Under this target virtually all New Zealanders, regardless of where they live or work, will be able to access broadband at peak speeds of at least 50 Mbps by 2025, Communications Minister Amy Adams has announced.

“Our use of, and reliance on, technology and broadband connectivity are increasing rapidly. It’s vital that we set aspirational targets to ensure we keep up with this pace of change. This is about setting a vision of where we want New Zealand to be in ten years,” says Ms Adams.

By 2025, the Government’s vision would see: . . .

Faster broadband just the medicine for rural general practice:

The New Zealand Rural General Practice Network welcomes today’s announcement by Government to give almost all New Zealanders, regardless of where they live or work, access to broadband at peak speeds of at least 50 Mbps by 2025.

The Government is saying that by 2025, 99 per cent of New Zealanders should able to access broadband at peak speeds of at least 50 Mbps (up from 5 Mbps under RBI) and the remaining 1 per cent able to access to 10 Mbps (up from dial up or non-existent speeds). . . 

InternetNZ welcomes rural Internet ambition:

InternetNZ is pleased by today’s announcement of new Government targets for rural Internet connectivity. The new targets would see nearly all New Zealanders able to connect and share in the benefits and uses of high speed Internet connectivity. Due to the fast-changing nature of technology, the targets will need to be reviewed on a regular basis.

The Government has today announced new national targets for broadband connectivity of:

• 99% of New Zealanders able to access broadband at peak speeds of at least 50 Mbps (up from 5 Mbps under RBI). . . 

UANZ welcomes Government’s new Rural Connectivity Target:

TUANZ has today welcomed the Government’s announcement from the Minister of Communications, Hon. Amy Adams of a new target for Rural Connectivity of 50Mbps for 99% of the New Zealanders by 2025. Over many years TUANZ has consistently stated that that the availability of good quality high speed connectivity in all parts of New Zealand is a critical economic enabler for the future of the NZ economy.

“One of the 5 key goals in our recently released strategic direction is to continue to advocate for ubiquitous high quality connectivity across the country and this newly announced Government target is a good step forward towards achieving this goal.” said the CEO of TUANZ, Craig Young. . . . 

Celebrations for DWN at annual general meeting:

Celebrating success and reward for hard work will be the upcoming Dairy Women’s Network AGM theme.

The Network’s AGM is due to be held in Hamilton on 15 October at Narrow’s Landing, in the Waikato and chief executive Zelda de Villiers says there is plenty to celebrate with membership numbers up, event numbers up, new commercial partners on board, a stable financial position and innovative ways of working paying dividends.

“Looking back at the last 12 months, we have achieved an awful lot,” she said.

“It has been a year of growth and change and a year of developing pilots and rolling them out, in particular with the modified Dairy Modules, in place of Dairy Days. . . 

The Nutters Club NZ's photo.


Rural round-up

October 6, 2015

Farm skills for youth _ Sally Rae:

The prospect of getting out of bed at 5am to gain work experience on a dairy farm does not bother Caleb Unahi.

The 19-year-old is enjoying keeping busy as part of the Farmhand training programme, which aims to expose Dunedin’s disengaged youth to rural opportunities.

Before starting the 13-week course, Caleb was doing ”nothing much really”, he said.

A family friend encouraged him to apply for the course, which was first held last year.

”I enjoy it. It’s a good opportunity for me to get up off my …”

he said, while learning about fencing at Invermay recently. . . 

Merino industry stalwarts honoured –  Lynda van Kempen:

A couple described as vital cogs in the fine wool industry had their efforts recognised at the weekend.

Peter and Elsie Lyon, of Alexandra, received life membership to the New Zealand Merino Shearing Society. The award – a surprise to the couple – was made during the national merino shearing championships in Alexandra on Saturday night.

The couple run Peter Lyon Shearing, which had a turnover of more than $10 million last year. . . 

The story behind merino wool – Camilla Rutherford:

I am very lucky to live on a high country Merino sheep station here in Tarras, New Zealand. This farm belongs to my husbands family and they have farmed here for over 100 years, which is a long time in NZ! Every year in the first week of September a big muster happens and the sheep are brought down off the hill and into the woolshed to get their yearly hair cut in time for the hot Central Otago summer. This wool is very carefully removed by highly skilled shearers, who have the very tricky task of removing the precious fibres without harming the wrinkly sheep.

Walking into the woolshed can be a little intimidating, with drum and bass blasting over the sound of the clippers, and a multitude of men and women working tirelessly, each with their own roll making the operation of shearing a sheep like a well oiled machine. This precious wool is sent to Merino New Zealand which is spun and made into Icebreaker clothing, which we all know and love. Merino wool is an incredible fibre; sustainable, warm when wet, cooling when you are too hot and keeps the stink off you. What better fibre to wear against your skin? My wardrobe is nearly 100% merino, from underwear, thermals, summer singlets, technical ski wear and awesome hoodies! . .  [whether or not you want to read more, it’s worth clicking the link for the photos]

Ballance Farm Environment Awards application period extended for Canterbury farmers:

Canterbury farmers have been given another three weeks to enter this year’s Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The entry deadline has been extended to Friday October 30 to allow farmers more time to get their entries in before judging commences in November.

The Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards Judging Coordinator Sandra Taylor acknowledged that drought and a low dairy pay-out have made for a tough start to spring and for many farmers entering the Awards has been low on the priority list.

“Recent rain and warmer temperatures will hopefully take the pressure off and give farmers a chance to think about getting their entries in.”

She points out the judging process gives farmers the opportunity to benchmark their businesses and get feedback from a team of experienced and knowledgeable judges. . . 

Life-changing win for Young Auctioneer:

With entries now open for the 2015 Heartland Bank Young Auctioneer of the Year Competition, the 2014 winner is urging other young auctioneers to enter the “life-changing competition.”

Cam Bray of PGG Wrightson won the 2014 Competition after entering all three years of the competition. The win enabled him to travel to the 2015 Sydney Royal Show to attend the Australian Livestock & Property Agents Association (ALPA) Young Auctioneers National Final.

Mr Bray said that the trip to Australia resulted in some life-changing experiences.

“The trip to Australia was great – not only for the fact that I was representing New Zealand but to be able to rub shoulders with Australia’s best was an invaluable experience.” . . .

A big win for Rural Contractors NZ:

Agricultural contractors around New Zealand will soon be able to bring in overseas workers much easier than in the past – following a deal struck between its national body and Immigration NZ.

Rural Contractors NZ (RCNZ) president Steve Levet says his organisation has been working with Immigration New Zealand for a long time in an effort to resolve the problems around contractors bringing in overseas workers for the harvest season.

“After many meetings and a lot of hard work by RCNZ – together with Immigration NZ – we believe have come up with a solution that will solve many of the problems that rural contractors currently experience every year and make it much easier to bring in overseas workers,” Mr Levet says. . .

Forest grower poll open:

Voting is now open for the person who will represent owners of smaller forests on the Forest Growers Levy Trust board.

The two candidates are Guy Farman, managing director of Farman Turkington Forestry and Steve Wilton, managing director of Forest Enterprises. Both have strong forestry credentials and are based in the Wairarapa.

Anyone who owns a ‘qualifying forest’ of between 4 and 1000 hectares, planted before 1 October 2003, may vote in the election that opened on Monday 5 October and closes on Friday 16 October. . . .

DataCol Group extends their reach into the rural market with acquisition of pioneering water measurement company Watermetrics:

Data collection and data integrator specialist business DataCol Group, today announced it had fully acquired Canterbury-based Watermetrics, a provider of integrated water flow monitoring, recording and analysis services.

“Watermetrics were pioneers in providing water measurement technology and services to the rural sector, have built a strong brand and significant customer base predominantly in the Canterbury region off the back of that,” says DataCol CEO Bruce Franks.

“Using data collection and measurement technology has become a critical tool for farmers in terms of enhancing productivity, reducing cost and complying with national regulations like water consents. . . 

Queenstown’s Ziptrek Ecotours wins environmental tourism award:

A successful business driven by the ethos of ‘inspiration through adventure’ is how judges described Queenstown’s Ziptrek Ecotours in announcing it as the winner of the Environmental Tourism Award at this year’s Tourism Industry Awards.

After almost six years in business – and a consistent winner of many sustainable practice awards over the years – Ziptrek received the award on Friday night, helping set a benchmark of excellence within the New Zealand tourism industry.

Judges were hugely impressed with the business, describing it as a “wonderful example” of a highly successful tourism business embracing and promoting sustainability in everything it does. . . 

Coronet Peak caps off ‘stellar’ season with visitor experience award:

Capping off a stellar season, Queenstown’s Coronet Peak fought off stiff competition to win the Visitor Experience Award at the New Zealand Tourism Industry Awards this weekend.

The ski area celebrated its final ‘hurrah’ on the snow this weekend with a Rugby World Cup-themed day in support of the AB’s on Saturday. On Sunday, all best efforts to host a Beach Party were somewhat thwarted by wet and wild weather, but a few brave souls managed the Pond Skim to cap off an amazing season.

The final weekend of 2015 winter started well, with Coronet Peak ski area manager Ross Copland accepting the honour in Auckland on Friday night. . . 


Rural round-up

September 1, 2015

‘Water is the next gold’ where expectations and dreams become reality – Kate Taylor:

After starting his working life in a family motor business, Jerry Greer took up farming with a young family and a determination to make a success of his new vocation.

“I had always had a yearning for the land, loved working with animals and loved being outside,” he says.

Jerry and wife Diana love the life they have created in the Argyll East farming district, between Tikokino and Waipawa, and being close to their four children and four grandchildren.

All have an interest in farming, Diana says. . . 

Working on cost of irrigation scheme – Lynda van Kempen

Good things take time, say the promoters of the Manuherikia irrigation scheme.

Feedback will be sought from landowners on revised figures by Christmas, after the estimated costs of the scheme upgrade almost trebled from initial estimates, forcing a rethink of the design and costs.

”It’s taking a bit longer than we’d have liked, but we’ll keep working at it until we’ve got a scheme that’s economic,” Manuherikia Catchment Water Strategy Group chairman Allan Kane said yesterday. . . 

Former Southland District mayor Frana Cardno’s final gift – Blake Foden:

Frana Cardno’s life was all about giving, and the former Southland District mayor has left her beloved province one final gift.

Three generations of Cardno’s family joined her close friends, members of the community and complete strangers to plant 329 trees on the shores of Lake Te Anau on Saturday afternoon.

A former kindergarten teacher who led the region for more than 20 years, Cardno organised her funeral during her battle with cancer. She asked that mourners dressed in colourful clothing and brought a donation of native trees and shrubs. . . 

Silver Fern Farms won’t rule out foreign investment:

The country’s largest meat co-operative, Silver Fern Farms, is not ruling out foreign investment as part of its capital raising process.

Silver Fern Farms is seeking about $100 million in new funding to help reduce debt and has appointed the stockbroking firm Goldman Sachs to help with that process.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said he had been made aware Chinese investors want at least a $100 million stake in the company. . .

DairyNZ board candidates put forward

Ten candidates have put their names forward for the three positions up for grabs on the DairyNZ board.

Four farmer candidates have also put their name forward for the three seats on DairyNZ’s directors’ remuneration committee.

Results from the double election would be announced at the DairyNZ Annual General Meeting in Morrinsville on October 13. . .

 


Rural round-up

August 12, 2015

Corker porker stalkers thwarted – Mark Price:

Hunters tempted to ”farm” wild deer or pigs before hunting competitions are likely to be out of luck at the Upper Clutha Deerstalkers Association competition later this month.

The association, which is holding its popular annual competition for the third time, has changed its rules, mainly to encourage more interest in hunting among women and children.

But the changes also aim to sideline hunters who manipulate the competition process by allowing wild deer or pigs to graze crops on farmland over the winter. . .

Ambitious project still growing – Lynda van Kempen:

An international curling rink in Naseby? It seemed a lofty goal more than 15 years ago, but a decade on from its opening the facility is still going strong and exceeding all expectations.

”People seeing it for the first time tend to be a bit bemused at finding a facility of this standard in the middle of what they call nowhere – but what we call the centre of the universe,” Maniototo Curling International (MCI) rink manager Ewan Kirk says. . .

US beef cow repopulation – the rebuild begins:

After the drought-induced decline in the US beef cow herd in recent years, the industry is making a mends and rebuilding its depleted numbers, with expectations to grow by more than three million head in the next three-to-five years.

With around 50 per cent of New Zealand’s beef exports destined for the US, the rebuilding of the US cow herd may impact the strong demand for Kiwi beef seen in recent years, according to Rabobank. . .

Zespri opens Singapore office:

Prime Minister John Key has officially opened Zespri’s new sales and marketing hub in Singapore, which has been set up to manage the kiwifruit industry’s growth.

Zespri chair Peter McBride says it was an honour to have the Prime Minister open the new office.

“Volumes of Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit are set to grow strongly in the next few years and Zespri is investing in its market capability to deliver this growth for New Zealand growers,” he says. . .

The Internet of Stings: WiFi for your beehive:

New Zealand based beekeeping technology company, Hivemind Ltd, have released a new WiFi beehive scale and smartphone app that will allow urban beekeepers, bee educators and researchers, to better monitor their bees and more easily share their knowledge about these vitally important pollinators. A crowdfunding campaign for the product is currently live on the indiegogo platform here: www.indiegogo.com/at/wifibees

The importance of bees in our environment is a highly topical and important issue gaining increasing coverage. Beekeeper and hive numbers are continuing to increase in New Zealand with over 5000 registered in 2014.  . .

 

Game on for children to raise farm safety awareness:

A new free online farm safety game that children can play on smartphones, computers and tablets is the latest innovation in the quest to improve farm safety.

Industry body DairyNZ’s cowbassador, Rosie the Cow, has teamed up with WorkSafe and ACC to create Farm Rules!, an engaging way for primary school children to learn about the risks involved with certain farm activities and how to minimise or avoid them. . .

You can download the game here.

 


Rural round-up

July 22, 2015

Parasite a bee in keepers’ bonnets:

A bee scientist says the appearance of a new honey bee parasite is the last thing beekeepers need, with the most serious pest, the varroa mite, becoming more difficult to control.

The gut parasite, Lotmaria Passim, has been found in beehives on Coromandel Peninsula and in the southern North Island.

Plant and Food Research bee unit head Mark Goodwin said the discovery had serious implications for the bee industry, because it and another parasite, Nosema Ceranae, also present in New Zealand, have been linked with bee colony collapses overseas. . .

Black Thursday for Dairy and Fonterra – but eventually the sun will rise again – Keith Woodford:

Thursday 16 July was surely a black day for dairy and Fonterra. Not only did prices on the Global dairy trade auction prices drop to a record low, but Fonterra announced it was cutting 523 positions.

It was also a black day for New Zealand, as commentators and exchange rate speculators started to realise that the downturn was going to affect the whole economy. The exchange rate dropped close to 3% that day.

Regional New Zealand has seen the downturn coming for some time, but in the main cities the realisation is only starting to dawn. . .

English: dairy prices will rise:

Dairy prices will pick up, it’s just a matter of when and how quickly they do, Finance Minister Bill English says.

Dairy product prices sank again in last week’s GlobalDairyTrade auction, with whole milk powder leading the way with a 13.1 percent drop.

“The way it’s been described to me is there’s been a perfect storm of excess milk supply influenced by events in Russia, Europe and China and in New Zealand and Australia and that’s led to these prices,” Mr English told reporters. . .

Alliance shareholders force a special meeting – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Disgruntled Alliance Group shareholders have gathered sufficient support to force a special meeting to discuss the potential benefits and risks of a merger with fellow cooperative Silver Fern Farms.

Balfour farmer Jeff Grant, who along with rural accountant and farmer, Gaye Cowie, have been gathering the required 5 percent of proxy forms needed to force the special meeting, say they have sent 7 percent to the company for verification.

The move matches a similar one by Silver Fern Farms shareholders to force a special meeting within their own meat cooperative. . .

Property searched, 2 charged – Lynda van Kempen:

A six-month police investigation led to two arrests yesterday in connection with several incidents of alleged poaching in Central and South Otago.

About 20 police, including the armed offenders squad and Alexandra and Omakau officers, carried out a search of an Ida Valley property yesterday morning and seized ammunition, two 4WD vehicles and a quad bike, Sergeant Derek Ealson, ofAlexandra, said.

Following the search, a 27-year-old man and 28-year-old woman, both of Central Otago, were charged with 12 offences relating to unlawful hunting, trespass, unlawful possession of firearms and possession of cannabis, he said. . .

Family tips contribute to success in judging – Sally Rae:

Stud sheep breeding is in Ben Sutherland’s blood.

Mr Sutherland (19), who comes from Benmore Station, near Omarama, has inherited a long standing family interest in and passion for farming.

His great grandfather, H. J. Andrew, farmed Punchbowl, near Maheno, with well known Southdown and Poll Dorset sheep studs, while his grandfather, Jim Sutherland, founded the Benmore merino stud. . .

Man sells human-like sheep to save his sanity – Emma Cropper:

Owners of a lodge near Arthurs Pass have become so fed up with one of their lambs they sent out an online plea for someone to take the animal off their hands.

The animal enjoys hanging out with humans a little bit too much, and it’s driving the owners crazy.

Grasmere Lodge owner Thomas Butler says ‘Marcus’ has a taste for the finer things in life, and he’s getting too cosy with the luxury alpine lodge they call home. He follows them everywhere, chews on the plants, poops on the doorstep and regularly jumps into the car for a ride. . .

 


Rural round-up

April 5, 2015

Visitors from overseas join bunny hunt – Lynda van Kempen:

The Great Easter Bunny Hunt has gone global, with four overseas hunters joining the ranks of the 27 teams aiming to decimate the rabbit population.

”If you tried something on this scale back home, with dead rabbits displayed in the park afterwards, you’d have masses of protesters,” Harry Stenton said.

Mr Stenton, of Yorkshire, England, said the New Zealanders he had met were more accepting of hunting as a sport.

”Back home, people would think of rabbits as pets and there would be an absolute outcry about a hunting contest like this,” he said. . .

‘Easter Bunny Hunt’ proves perilous for rabbits – Ceinwen Curtis:

Nearly 8500 rabbits were shot in the annual Easter bunny hunt in Central Otago yesterday in Otago, by over 300 hunters taking part.

 The organisers of the annual Easter Bunny hunt in Otago says it’s a shame the rabbits have to be disposed of rather than made into food and pelts after the event.

The hunt began early on Friday morning in Alexandra with hunters keen to enjoy landscapes they would otherwise not have access to.

The president of Alexandra Lions, John Feron, said one team hunting in the McKenzie country was skinning the last of their rabbits in an experiment to see if the meat can be turned into petfood. . .

Honour and Pari rule the roost at vineyard – Caleb Harris:

Two rare native falcons raised on a Martinborough vineyard are growing up, flexing their powerful wings and terrorising grape thieves.

When three New Zealand bush falcon chicks, or karearea, were moved last year from the Wingspan national bird of prey centre in Rotorua to a specialised nesting box at Escarpment vineyard, outside Martinborough, they were cute little balls of fluff.

Five months on, one has fallen victim to a predator – probably a stoat – emphasising the vulnerability of the species, which has only about 4500 breeding pairs left in the wild. . .

Uplifting award success but future uncertainty lingers – Andrea Fox:

Their financial and production performance officially puts them in the top 5 per cent of New Zealand sheep and beef farmers, but John and Catherine Ford of Rotorua’s Highland Station still feel they are farming on a knife edge.

The couple are the supreme winners of this year’s Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment Awards, a competition they entered partly because they hoped any success might strengthen their case with the local regional council, which holds their farming future in its hands.

The council is developing an “action” plan for Lake Tarawera and Lake Rotokakahi or “Green Lake”, and with 80 per cent of their 1240 hectare (922ha effective) property in the Lake Tarawera catchment and the balance in the other lake’s area, the Fords live daily with uncertainty. . .

Forestry industry to trial drones:

Forestry crown research institute Scion will next month trial the use of drones for use in forestry management and hopes to be an early adopter of imminent rule changes allowing them to be flown beyond line of sight.

Scion has teamed up with Raglan-based Aeronavics to field test unmanned aerial vehicles mounted with interchangeable remote sensing technologies which can transmit vital information on various aspects of forestry management such as tree health and pests.

It’s thought the technologies may also prove useful in biosecurity surveillance and eradication operations, along with fire management. . .

Drought a war of attrition – Barry O’Sullivan:

DROUGHT forces the landholder to examine even their most basic order of beliefs: that the family should be on the land; that a simple focus on good laws and good luck will lead to progress and prosperity; that years of research and billions of dollars to improve Australia’s land-use strategies are benefiting agriculture.

Drought throws once-tightly held beliefs and turns them into questions.

When driving through most parts of Central Western Queensland these days you could be forgiven for mistaking it for a moon landscape.

A flat and barren land covered with black dirt and red rocks scattered as far as the eye can see. . .

How to tell if your pig is pregnant – THEKITCHENSGARDEN:

Our pig is pregnant? Isn’t that exciting. Poppy the Hereford gilt (a gilt is a female pig who has not had piglets yet) wishes to announce (though she would prefer NOT to discuss her insides) that she has missed her first heat since being bred.  We have had such a long run of missed breedings, both bovine and porcine, that I am still hedging my bets and in fact my Mentor of all things Pig said she would NOT have bet on it. But the signs are there.  No returning heat and extreme laziness and gentleness. She has not bashed at the gate once! She is a very laid back pig all of a sudden. . . .


Rural round-up

March 29, 2015

Tenure deal exemption loss angers – Lynda van Kempen:

Two high country farmers who have gone through the tenure review process vented their ire this week about planned changes to the Central Otago district plan they say make a mockery of that agreement with the Crown.

”That agreement will count for nothing,” Nick Mackenzie, of Kyeburn Station, told the Central Otago District Council’s hearings panel.

Ralph Hore, of Becks, said the proposed changes would take away his rights as a landowner. . .

Lifestylers versus orchards – Lynda van Kempen:

The conflict between rural residential living and noisy rural activities was highlighted as lifestyle block residents squared off against orchardists in Alexandra this week.

Gas guns and sirens used for bird-scaring during the fruit season were spoiling rural residents’ peace over summer, several said, while orchardists said cherries boosted the Central Otago economy by about $50 million a year and the total fruit crop boosted it by about $100 million annually.

The differing views were heard at Central Otago District Plan review discussion document hearings. More than 100 written submissions have been received on proposed changes to the plan and the district council’s hearing panel set aside three days this week to hear from those who submitted. . .

City kids schooled in rural jobs – Gerard Hutching:

He is just 16, but Michael McAdam knows exactly what he wants to do for a career.

“I want to become a head shepherd on a station, then a farm manager, and I would love to own my own farm if possible,” the Aotea College student says.

At a Get Ahead careers programme in Wellington, McAdam is one of 50 students who are learning what an agricultural sector career might offer. . .  

NZ dairy exporter Fonterra aims to lift profits after tough year – Sue Neales:

It has been a tough start to the year for the world’s biggest dairy exporter, New Zealand monopoly co-operative Fonterra.

Early this month, the $NZ11 billion ($10.7bn) company, which ranks as New Zealand’s biggest, became the target of an eco-terror scare, with an unknown blackmailer threatening to poison its lucrative baby milk formula exports unless local politicians banned the use of 1080 poison to kill possums in forestry plantations.

This week, the company reported another round of disappointing half-yearly ­financial results, immediately pushing Fonterra’s listed-units down 8 per cent. While Fonterra’s ownership remains with farmers, the units give outside investors exposure Fonterra’s performance. . .

Claim Europe set to outstrip NZ:

Dairy farmers must get used to milk price swings even worse than this year’s collapse, according to a leading analyst.

Torsten Hemme, managing director at the International Farm Comparison Network (IFCN) dairy research centre, said farmers could see prices move 50% once or twice every 10 years.

Swings of 20%, close to what British producers faced in 2014-15, could become the new normal and managing that risk was the biggest challenge in the industry. . .

New world opens up for European dairy farmers:

European dairy farmers will wake up to a different world on April 1.

The end of milk quotas will see the limits on European production disappear so farmers and processors will be free to pursue growing world demand.

But the post-quota world will bring new challenges, a Rabobank report has forecast. . .

Managing risk for food manufacturers: Lincoln offers industry short courses:

Increasingly complex and rapidly changing patterns in global food consumption, manufacturing and retailing are creating a whole new range of problems in food safety, according to Lincoln University Senior Lecturer in Food Microbiology Dr Malik Hussain.

With commercial reputations on the line, the situation has prompted him and his colleagues, Senior Lecturer Dr Sue Mason and Associate Professor in Toxicology Ravi Gooneratne, to organise a range of food safety short courses for industry professionals, with the first three courses commencing in April.

The courses are run through the Department of Wine, Food and Molecular Biosciences, and will involve participation from industry experts from the likes of AgResearch and The Institute of Environmental Science and Research. . .

 


Rural round-up

March 16, 2015

Dairy firms confident of safety, security systems – Alan Williams:

Dairy manufacturing companies are very confident of their food safety systems against any risk of the 1080 threat but one has stepped up its security.

Synlait Milk has brought in round the clock physical security checks for site access, including photo identification for all staff at its plant in central Canterbury. . .

Women must invite themselves –  Annette Scott:

A report suggesting business women need to get more assertive to arrest the dramatic fall in women around New Zealand board tables has been challenged by industry experts.

 Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) chief executive Zelda de Villiers acknowledged it was a challenge for women to get their feet under the table in the male-dominated agribusiness sector. . .

Picked, washed, packed and stacked, it’s all about apples  – Lynda van Kempen :

This year, almost more than 10,000 tonnes of Otago apples will be traded in more than 60 countries around the world. The apple industry has kept the van der Voort family in business in Central Otago for 50 years. Their Ettrick apple export packhouse is one of New Zealand’s largest. Reporter Lynda van Kempen follows some early season Cox’s Orange apples, as careful hands and high technology guide the way from picking and packing to trucking out.

Collected from home, a quick bath, a spin through the packhouse and then chilling out on a leisurely sea cruise before meeting the fans overseas – that’s the lot of an Otago-grown export apple. . .

Sheep and beef are doing it tough in drought – Tim Cronshaw:

The drought has put a dent in the incomes of South Island sheep and beef farmers, particularly those with lower beef cattle ratios.

South Island prices at about $4.95 a kilogram for an average 17 kilogram lamb are back about 12 per cent from $5.55/kg the same time last year. A gap lies between southern returns and North Island prices of $5 to $5.10/kg.

Lamb volumes have increased as farmers cull more stock during the drought through much of the South Island’s east coast. Volumes were up 11 per cent at 9.1 million lambs the middle of last month from 8.2 million the same time last year. . .

Alliance steps up its links with rural women – Tim Cronshaw:

Half of the Alliance Group’s 5000 shareholders are women and the meat processor and exporter is strengthening its links with them to help them improve their decision-making on farms.

A Nelson visit to a meat plant today followed a Christchurch workshop yesterday and a visit to Alliance’s Smithfield site in South Canterbury this week.

The workshops were devised after it was noticed that women sometimes felt uncomfortable attending Alliance meetings and a pilot was held in Invercargill last year. . .

New Zealand’s first purpose-built calf feeding system has been developed:

Inspired by a European farming system, but with an understanding that New Zealand farms are different, a local engineer has developed New Zealand’s first purpose built calf feeding system. CalfSMART has the potential to reduce labour costs and lead to overall herd improvements.

New Zealand has nearly 12,000 dairy herds that rear cohorts of calves ranging in size from less than 100 to over 250. The largest 15% of New Zealand’s dairy farms rear 35% of the entire country’s replacement heifers. Traditionally, calf rearing has been carried out by farming families, however in recent years as farms grow in size this work has increasingly been carried out by a migratory workforce. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

March 9, 2015

Scotsman wins Golden Shears open final:

The competition dubbed the ‘Wimbledon of shearing’ entered a new era at the weekend with the retirement of legend David Fagan and its first ever international winner.

Fagan, the long-standing champion, has 16 Golden Shears wins under his belt, but in the year of his retirement he did not make the final of the open event on Saturday.

Instead, he ended his 35 year career in the semi-finals, leaving the Masterton crowd to witness something the competition has never seen before in the 55 years it has been running.

In front of a full house of 1600 people, plus another 40,000 around the world who watched a live stream of the event, the Scottish national anthem rang out for the first time.

Scotsman Gavin Mutch, who now farms in Whangamomona in the King Country with his family, was initially lost for words at his win. . .

Hunter Downs water scheme a viable proposal – Annette Scott:

Proposers of a new $350 million irrigation scheme in South Canterbury have tagged their preferred option and unveiled the scheme costings.

The scheme proposes to irrigate 40,000ha from the Waitaki River.

Hunter Downs Irrigation chairman Andrew Fraser said its technical and economic feasibility had been confirmed with a second capital call going out before the end of this month. . .

Rules must be obeyed, ECan says – Annette Scott:

Rain that has fallen in the past two weeks has been welcome but has been no drought-breaker for parched Canterbury farmland.

As farmers desperately wait for nature to give them a much needed break, NIWA’s autumn forecast does come under a brighter rainbow for parched pastures and farmer anxiety as worst-decision time approaches.

A serious concern now is an autumn drought, which would be worse because there won’t be enough autumn growth to see livestock through winter. . .

Morrinsville sharemilker wins title –   Gerald Piddock:

Aaron Price is a young, fit, professional married man with a plan.

He is also the 2015 Waikato Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year winner, netting him $22,000 in prizes.

The 29 year old took out the major title at Friday night’s 2015 Waikato Dairy Industry Awards.

It was the fourth time he had entered the contest and had been runner-up twice.

Winning the title helped him achieve a short-term goal. . .

Bald Hills sold to overseas investor – Lynda Van Kempen:

Another Central Otago vineyard is changing hands to an overseas investor – the second this year.

The sale of Bald Hills, owned by Blair and Estelle Hunt, was approved by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) this week.

The 11ha Bannockburn property has been bought by a Japanese investor, who has set up a company called Beecom (NZ) Ltd. . .

Planting an orchard to build a pre-school:

Planting an orchard as a marketing ploy – hardly from the pages of marketing textbooks but highly effective for the Pukeko Pre-School at Tauwhare, near Hamilton.

The recipients of a grant from Fonterra’s Grass Roots Foundation (as well as from the WEL Energy Trust), the pre-school kicked off its efforts to create a new $300,000 facility with a tree planting exercise late last year.

From the grants, the trust overseeing the new pre-school decided to plant about 45 trees – feijoas, blueberries, peaches, plums, apples, lemon, oranges, mandarins, limes, persimmons and some rosemary. A planting day involving about 40 parents and children saw the trees start their new lives after being purchased from a Te Aroha nursery. . .


Rural round-up

February 24, 2015

Celebrating 10 years of educating up-and-coming leaders in agriculture – applications open for 2015 program:

This year marks the 10th year of Rabobank’s Farm Managers Program, with more than 300 young farmers from across New Zealand and Australia graduating from the program since its inception in 2006.

Applications are now open for up-and-coming New Zealand farmers looking to undertake the 2015 Farm Managers Program.

Fifth generation bull beef producer, Rob Simpson from ‘Heaton Park’ in the lower North Island, who completed the program last year, says he was encouraged to attend the course by his father-in-law, who was one of the first graduates of Rabobank’s Executive Development Program.

“My father-in-law got a lot out of the program, and I thought it would be a good way to move forward in my own farming business,” he said. . .

Maniototo scheme ‘lifeblood’ of area – Sally Rae:

 Irrigation in the Maniototo is the ”lifeblood” for the area it serves, says Maniototo Irrigation Company chairman Geoff Crutchley.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the scheme, a jubilee dinner is being held this Saturday, and a public picnic and gala day is being held at the Gimmerburn Domain on Sunday.

The scheme, the last of the large community irrigation schemes built by the Ministry of Works and Development, has a chequered history. . .

Shear For Life fundraiser looming –

The countdown is on for Shear For Life.

Farmers Cole Wells, from Moa Flat, and James Hill, from the Teviot Valley, plan to shear over a 24 hour period, starting on February 28, to raise money for the Cancer Society.

The event will be held at Peter Jolly’s woolshed, near the Tarras township.

Mr Wells said the event had ”come around quickly” but training had been going well. . .

Easy riding in paradise – Rebecca Ryan:

Riding from the country’s highest peak to the ocean by bike, the 301km Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail offers an unforgettable experience, writes Rebecca Ryan.

DAY 1
Aoraki/Mt Cook to Braemar Rd (34.6km)

As a light rain clears, our group of five cyclists, some meeting for the first time, gathered at the start of the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, at the White Horse Hill Campground, 2km north of Mt Cook Village.

Our seven-day adventure starts with a 7.2km off-road trail to Mount Cook Airport.

To cycle the Alps 2 Ocean in its entirety from Mt Cook to the ocean, riders must take a two-minute helicopter flight across the Tasman River. . .

Three new Olivers operations opening soon – Lynda van Kempen:

It’s all a changing canvas, says Olivers owner David Ritchie, indicating the finishing work taking place to launch three separate ventures in the complex next month.

After six months of construction work, the picture changes daily as Olivers Restaurant, The Victoria Store Brewery and the Merchant of Clyde cafe/bakery/delicatessen take shape.

All three businesses will run independently and are expected to open in late March.

The redevelopment of the Heritage New Zealand Category 1-listed group of historic buildings in the middle of Clyde has been challenging at times, Mr Ritchie admitted. . .

 United Fresh takes the lead in food safety

New Zealand’s only pan-produce organisation, United Fresh New Zealand Incorporated, has established a new Food Safety and Traceability Committee.

United Fresh Executive Member, Dr Hans Maurer, has been appointed chairman of the committee. Also appointed to the committee are Mathew Dolan from Horticulture New Zealand, Stephen Twinn from Snap Fresh Foods and Anne-Marie Arts from The AgriChain Centre, who was also confirmed in her role as United Fresh Food Safety representative. More members will be appointed to the committee in the coming weeks.

United Fresh President David Smith says the role of the committee is to represent the interests of United Fresh members and New Zealand’s pan-produce industry. . .

 


Rural round-up

January 17, 2015

Fire risk in mowing roadside vegetation:

Federated Farmers is warning farmers and the rural community of the risk in mowing roadside vegetation in the extreme dry conditions.

“The fire environment has reached the point where it has become extremely dangerous and high risk to use a mechanical mower to top paddocks and mow road sides,” says Anders Crofoot, Federated Farmers Rural Fire Spokesperson.

“In the past 14 days Wairarapa Rural Fire District has attended 6 vegetation fires caused by the mowing of the road side or the topping of paddocks. Consequently Wairarapa Rural Fire and the Federation strongly recommend any mowing activity is postponed until weather conditions allow and the fire risk is lower.” . . .

Kiwifruit bonanza with soaring volumes – Carmen Hall:

Gold kiwifruit volumes are expected to increase by 70 per cent this year – sparking an employment drive across the industry.

The increase in volumes is also expected to pump millions of dollars into the local economy.

Zespri chief operating officer Simon Limmer said in 2013/14, 18 million trays were produced and that was predicted to rise “to upward of 30 million trays” and could reach 60 million trays by 2017.

“We have got three years of very steep volume growth, potentially up to 50 to 60 million trays. We were at 30 million trays in 2011 which was the pre-Psa impact and dropped back to 11 million trays in 2012/13 so we are now on the recovery.” . . .

NZ tractor sales rise to four decade high in 2014 on buoyant rural economy – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand tractor sales rose to their highest in almost four decades last year, reflecting a buoyant rural economy as farmers benefited from strong prices and good growing conditions.

New tractor registrations surged to 3,038 in calendar 2014, up 4.7 percent on 2013 and at the highest level since 3,129 in 1976, according to New Zealand Transport Agency data. Spending on farm buildings also rose, with the value of consents up 24 percent in the year though November to a six-year high of $322 million, according to Statistics New Zealand data.

Farmers stepped up their spending on big-ticket items like tractors and buildings last year, reflecting low interest rates, record prices and good growing conditions in the 2013/14 farming season. Spending is likely to fall this year as farmers face higher interest rates, lower prices and with drought conditions spreading through the East Coast. . .

 $5.75m debt; orchard sold – Lynda van Kempen:

One of the largest stonefruit operations in the country, Summerfruit Orchards Ltd, which owes $5.75 million, has been sold to a New Zealand buyer.

The company went into receivership in September, owing among its debts just over $4 million to SBS Bank.

The first report by receivers Colin Gower, of Christchurch, and Tim Ward, of Invercargill, has revealed the main creditors after the collapse of the company. . .

 

Workshops turn nitrogen reports into practical actions:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients has joined forces with the Dairy Women’s Network, DairyNZ, Fonterra, Miraka, Synlait and Tatua to help farmers come to grips with their farm nitrogen reports and how to use them to support N-loss improvements.

Ian Tarbotton, of Ballance’s Science Extension Team, says a roadshow in both the North and South Islands through February and March will help farmers turn reports into action.

“We want to take the mystery out of farm nitrogen reports, show what factors influence the numbers in reports, and leave farmers with some really practical ways to change their numbers for the better.” . . .

Awards Continues to Attract New Entrants

The 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards has continued to attract large numbers of first time entrants to the awards programme, which aims to help people progress their career in the dairy industry.

National Convenor Chris Keeping says an analysis of the 532 entries received in the awards competitions – including the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year – shows 338 are entering one of the contests for the first time. . . .

 

 

 


Rural round-up

July 11, 2014

Farming leadership mould is slowly breaking – Charlie Mitchell:

Agriculture is the largest sector of New Zealand’s tradeable economy.

It generates 70 per cent of the country’s export earnings, and comprises 12 per cent of annual GDP. Although farming remains the backbone of this country’s economy, women have been far from prominent in its leadership roles. But it is possible to be a woman of influence among the farmers and growers, as two of the country’s prominent female leaders in the sector explain.

JANE HUNTER, HUNTER’S WINERY

Jane Hunter’s reputation precedes her. The managing director of Marlborough winery Hunter’s, she has been dubbed “the first lady of New Zealand wine”, received an OBE in 1993, and was made a Companion to the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009. . .

“Weather” We Will – Just a Ranch Wife:

One thing about being in agriculture, you better like being the “beck and call girl” for Mother Nature.  SHE makes the rules.  SHE decides if you are going to get any sleep in the spring during calving, or “weather” she is in the mood to dump LOADS of snow on you and make every single thing exponentially more difficult.  SHE decides if you are going to brand on the day you have your crew lined up, or “weather” she needs to blow off some steam and try to blow your crew away or give them a good soaking. SHE decides if you are going to get your fields planted, or “weather” your tractor is going to be stuck up to the axle when you tried too soon.  SHE decides if you are going to get your hay cut and baled, or “weather” she wants to blow it around or wet it down some.  . .

Alex takes his stock skills to world stage  – Sahiban Kanwal:

Waimate’s Alex Reekers has trimmed and shorn his way to the finals of the World Young Shepherds Challenge.

Reekers will represent New Zealand at the finals in Auvergne, France, in September and he is keen to learn about his foreign counterparts and their farming systems.

“The hardest thing to do will be study, and try to study the right things. Not being on home turf and competing in a country with different farming systems and regulations could throw some curveballs,” he said.

He said preparation for the preliminary rounds, which had got him this far, was quite difficult as the guidelines for the competition were pretty general. . .

Optimism for woollen mill – Alan Williams:

Wool Equities (WEL) says it is close to getting a funding package for its Bruce Woollen Mill business in South Otago.

A statement on a reconfiguration of the business is expected in the next week or so, WEL chairman Cliff Heath said.

He confirmed significant cashflow problems for Bruce Woollen Mill over the past six months, and attempts over that time to revamp it onto a more fundable footing.

“We are close to achieving that.”

Bruce Woollen Mill had developed a solid customer base over the past two years, since WEL became majority owner, and had a good order book for about five months ahead. . .

Vineyard seeks consent to subdivide – Lynda Van Kempen:

Terra Sancta vineyard owners Mark Weldon and Sarah Elliot are seeking a subdivision of a Cornish Point property to further expand their viticulture business.

The couple, under the name of the Tane and Miro Trust, have applied to the Central Otago District Council for planning consent to create two allotments in Cornish Point Rd, near Cromwell, with areas of 4847sq m and 6.26ha.

They bought the former Olssens vineyard, one of the pioneering vineyards in the Bannockburn area, in 2011 and rebranded it as Terra Sancta. . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics underway:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Genetics is officially in business.

B+LNZ Genetics General Manager, Graham Alder said the contract with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has been signed, securing the Government’s contribution of $15 million over the next five years.

In total the new entity will attract $44 million, coming from sheep and beef farmers, the wider red meat industry and the Government.

“This investment will power up the genetic gains for New Zealand sheep and cattle so they are more profitable and better matched to consumer demands.” . . .

International judges announced for 2014 Air New Zealand Wine Awards:

Two highly respected international wine personalities will be joining this year’s judging panel for the country’s premier wine competition, the Air New Zealand Wine Awards.

Respected wine writer David Brookes from Australian Gourmet Traveller WINE, Wine Companion and Wine & Spirits magazines, and Sebastian Braun, one of Sweden’s leading wine buyers, will be joining the judging team of 26 for this year’s competition.

Judging for the 2014 Air New Zealand Wine Awards will take place from 3 to 5 November, in Auckland. The gold medal winning wines will be announced on 12 November. On Saturday, 22 November, the ‘best of the best’ trophy winning wines will be revealed at a black tie dinner in Hawke’s Bay. The dinner will be attended by New Zealand’s top winemakers and industry figures to celebrate the quality of New Zealand wine. . .


Rural round-up

November 23, 2013

Agresearch defends its restructure:

AgResearch executives have fronted at a farmer meeting in Wellington to defended the state science company’s plans to relocate its operations to Palmerston North and at Lincoln.

There are fears in agricultural circles that regional agricultural science programmes will suffer when many AgResearch scientists are uprooted from their bases in Waikato and Otago.

Agresearch chief executive Tom Richardson told Federated Farmers’ national council on Wednesday that a lot of myths are circulating about Agresearch’s new footprint.

He says neither he nor AgResearch chairman Sam Robinson are smart enough to run multiple agendas – there’s been no pressure from the Government to relocate to Lincoln to support the Canterbury rebuild. . .

Rural Women NZ helps launch International Year of Family Farming 2014:

Rural Women New Zealand played a leading role in today’s launch at Parliament of the International Year of Family Farming 2014 (IYFF 2014), to coincide with the global launch at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

As one of five members of the national steering committee, Rural Women New Zealand has helped bring together a broad cross-section of groups from the agricultural sector.

Representatives of fifty organisations met at Parliament to gather information about the key issues facing family farming, develop plans for research and actions based on this information, and agree on programme outline for IYFF 2014.

Today’s workshops highlighted some of the challenges facing family farms, including succession planning and the price of land, establishment costs and the need to upgrade plant and machinery to remain competitive in an evolving market. . .

John Palmer awarded 2013 Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal:

Former chairman of the New Zealand Kiwifruit Marketing Board, John Palmer, was last night awarded the 2013 Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal for his tireless efforts to bring the kiwifruit industry through the fiscal crisis in the early 1990’s.

Zespri Chairman Peter McBride announced Mr Palmer as this year’s recipient of the kiwifruit industry award at the Hayward Medal Dinner last night, in front of more than 450 people in Mount Maunganui.

“The kiwifruit industry is facing a huge challenge in form of Psa now but we faced a disaster of equal proportions back in early 1990’s. The financial disaster in 1992 saw the bottom drop out of the market, as prices crashed in an over-supplied European market,” said Mr McBride. . .

Taiwan-NZ trade agreement to take force:

An economic cooperation agreement concluded between Taiwan and New Zealand four months ago will enter into force Dec. 1, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs Nov. 20.

The Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Cooperation (ANZTEC)—signed July 10 in Wellington—is Taiwan’s first free trade pact with a nondiplomatic ally.

“The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Wellington and the New Zealand Commerce and Industry Office in Taipei have completed their respective processes,” MOEA Deputy Minister Liang Kuo-hsin said. . .

Sweet news for cherry growers – Lynda Van Kempen:

Central Otago growers have been served up some ”jolly good news” in time for Christmas – Taiwan has removed its tariff on New Zealand cherries.

About 40% of this country’s export cherries are sent to Taiwan and Summerfruit NZ chief executive Marie Dawkins said the tariff-free agreement would take effect from the start of next month .

The first export cherries to Taiwan this season would be sent within days of the new agreement taking effect. . .

Top Honours for Young Farmers:

New Zealand Young Farmers members are making waves in the agricultural scene at home and abroad.

Former NZYF Chairman, Paul Olsen was recently awarded the prestigious agricultural Nuffield Scholarship for his research topic on potato (cropping) production.

The Nuffield Scholarship is awarded each year to just a few individuals who have been identified as future leaders who want to make a positive difference to their sector of the primary industry. Only 140 scholarships have been awarded over the past 60 years.

“It’s fair to say I was over the moon and slightly humbled given the calibre of the past Nuffield scholars but very much thrilled to be given the opportunity,” said Mr Olsen, a Manawatu potato grower. . . 

Church Road Winemaker Chris Scott named New Zealand Winemaker of the Year:

Hawke’s Bay winemaker Chris Scott has today been named New Zealand Winemaker of the Year 2013 by Winestate Magazine.

With a passion for Chardonnay and red blend winemaking, and the support of an outstanding viticulture and winemaking team, Chris has been crafting award-winning Hawke’s Bay wines for thirteen years.

“Winemaking at Church Road is a team effort,” says Chris, on receiving his award today. “Our vineyard team have an outstanding knowledge of the region and the individual vineyards, and deliver outstanding fruit year after year. Our cellar team has a dedication to wine quality that far exceeds what anyone could hope for. I know everyone at Church Road is extremely proud of the wines we make and this win reflects the passion and commitment of the entire team.” . . .

6 of 14 Wine Prizes go to NZ Wines:

Six of the total 14 prizes in the Wine of the Year for Australia & New Zealand went to NZ wines in the 2013 Winestate Awards announced this week.

Australia’s Wolf Blass Platinum Label Barossa Shiraz 2010 was declared Wine of the Year for Australia & New Zealand.

Winestate NZ Winery of the Year 2013: Villa Maria Ltd Highest scored results audited across the year with wines achieving points across all categories.

Winestate Winemaker of the Year, NZ: Chris Scott (Church Road) Highest score from the top 10 different wines judged throughout the year. . .


Rural round-up

October 7, 2013

Company proves it’s in the business of growth – Sally Rae:

At Mosgiel-based Superior Minerals, manager David Hoseason-Smith says it is ”not just about selling fertiliser”.

The company was recently named Otago and lower South Island regional winner in the fastest-growing manufacturer category in the Deloitte Fast 50.

Superior Minerals was established in 2001 to ”provide a point of difference” in the marketplace for solid fertiliser, director Lawrence Alloo said. . .

Donation helps get Noslam restarted:

A donation from the North Otago Irrigation Company (NOIC) will allow the newly re-established North Otago Sustainable Land Management Group (Noslam) to begin its vision for the district.

That vision is to create an integrated team approach to sustainable land and water quality management for the greater good of both farmers and the community.

In March last year, NOIC received an Irrigation New Zealand innovation award including cash prize of $2500 which, in turn, it has given to Noslam to be used as a seeding grant.

Noslam’s goals to promote a healthy environment with all North Otago farmers by identifying measures that secured and improved the environment and considered the economic and social issues and constraints, resonated strongly with the company, NOIC chief executive Robyn Wells said. . .

Farmer places clean-up faith in watercress – Matthew Littlewood:

A South Canterbury farmer hopes watercress could be used to help clean the area’s degraded catchment.

Rory Foley is working with Environment Canterbury on a project that  involves not only fencing and replanting alongside the streams on his Wainono property near Waimate, but also planting watercress in the stream itself.

”I’m really conscious of the environment, because I work on the land. I want to help improve the habitat for future generations, we have a responsibility to do so,” he said.

”We’ve lost a lot of the native wetlands, we need to restore them.” . . .

Wool NZ eyes market’s top end – Sue O’Dowd:

New Zealand’s new farmer-owned wool sales and marketing company is focusing on the luxury market.

“Our focus has to be on the top end of the market, on luxury,” Wools of New Zealand (WNZ) chief Ross Townshend told about 40 farmer shareholders at Stratford, the fifth stop on the company’s 17-venue roadshow.

Townshend, a foundation shareholder supplying the company with 20,000kg of wool a year from 2500 ewes on his north Waikato property, said as a commercial company, WNZ had to have a global focus so it could get value from its products.

He was responding to questions from Tarata sheep and beef farmer Bryan Hocken, who said he was running out of time to become a wool baron and was concerned at how difficult it was to buy a wool carpet in New Zealand. . .

Wool growers called on to be patient – Sally Rae:

Strong-wool growers have been urged to be patient as Wools of New Zealand continues its mission to improve the profitability of its grower shareholders.

A series of roadshows have been held throughout the country to give an update on the company’s progress since capitalisation was completed in March.

More than 700 applications for shares, totalling about $6 million, were received, allowing it to proceed with a grower-owned sales and marketing company. . .

Rural achiever to pit skills against Aussies – Jill Galloway:

It’s a good thing Cameron Lewis is in a talking competition, rather than a practical contest, he says.

But it pays to be multi-skilled all the same.

“It is like the Young Farmers contest, you have to be an all-rounder. Learn to shear sheep, fence and put machinery together. You have to put aside a few years to compete.”

Lewis won the National Royal Agricultural Society’s Young Rural Achiever Award at the RAS Conference in Christchurch. He was representing the Western District.

Now he’ll be up against winners from five Australian states. It is the Australasian final being held at the Royal Show hosted by the Manawatu Consortium at Manfeild Park in Feilding from December 6 to 8. . .

Aussie claims honours at merino champs – Lynda van Kempen:

An Australian shearer has claimed the New Zealand Merino Shearing Championship open title for the third year in a row.

Defending champion Damien Boyle, of Broomehill, Western Australia, won his third successive title by seven points ahead of Chris Vickers, of Palmerston, in the final staged in Alexandra last night

New Zealanders Tony Coster, Mana Te Whata, Charlie O’Neill and Nathan Stratford also made the final. . .

 


Rural round-up

October 8, 2012

Season just ended could produce messy results – Allan Barber:

The two largest processors and exporters, Silver Fern Farms and Alliance, have captured the headlines in the last couple of weeks.

Hot on the heels of its announced intention to close its sheepmeat chain at Mataura, Alliance has come out with an offer to suppliers of $20 in November per lamb contracted before the end of October.

From the other cooperative camp Keith Cooper, CEO of SFF, last week sent an email out to suppliers which highlighted the disappointing financial result for the year ended 30 September because of the exchange rate and declining sheepmeat values in January and February not being reflected in procurement prices . . .

Australian shearer cleans up on Saturday, back on job today – Lynda van Kempen:

It will be business as usual today for triple New Zealand Merino Shearing champion Damien Boyle, who will be back in the shed, but this time no trophies are at stake.

The Western Australian farmer won his third successive open title on Saturday night, at the 51st fine wool shearing championship, staged over two days, in Alexandra.

Boyle and his family have been long-time supporters of the event, competing for the past 15 years. . .

Best laid plans turn into new ambitions – Sally Rae:

Ever since she could remember, Carolyn Beaver wanted to be a veterinarian.

With a passion for animals and anything medical, it seemed a natural choice for the young woman from Whangarei.

She graduated from Massey University as a veterinary surgeon in 1999 and spent three years working as a mixed-animal practitioner in Whangarei, while also doing volunteer ambulance work for St John. . .

US milk production picks up – Dr Jon Hauser:

Last week we, along with others in the dairy press, reported the news from the USDA that US August milk production had declined for the first time in 31 months (“US milk production in YOY negative,” Xcheque.com, 21 September 2012).

According to the USDA August production was down 0.2 per cent relative to August last year. Using year-on-year analysis the US milk production only began falling in August, leaving the question open as to whether it will keep going down or if it has reached a floor. Rising feed prices brought about by the US drought definitely point to an ongoing decline.

However, as we’re fond of saying here at Xcheque, year-on-year comparisons can be misleading! . . .

ECan decision facilitates plains irrigation – Marta Steeman:

A landmark decision by Environment Canterbury paves the way for the controversial Central Plains Water scheme in Canterbury.

Environment Canterbury is recommending to the government changes to the National Water Conservation Order for the Rakaia River which will help introduce more irrigation on the Canterbury Plains.

ECan said on Thursday it had adopted the report and recommendations of independent hearing commissioners who heard electricity firm TrustPower’s application for the changes. . .

Lamb prices hurting Americans – Gerald Piddock:

New Zealand farmers are not the only lamb producers facing tough times.

North American sheep farmers have had a 40 per cent drop in lamb prices with values now sitting where they were a decade ago, Beef+Lamb North American representative Andrew Burt said.

Mr Burt is back in New Zealand having recently taken up the role of Beef+Lamb’s chief economist.

US lamb producers were forecasting an over-supply of lamb for this coming season he said. . .

Improving water quality in Lake Rotorua and good fish stocks int he Manawatu Rvier show that benefits are building from community water quality gains – Bruce Wills:

According to Fish & Game’s Wellington Manager, Phil Teal, employers should have been on sickie patrol from Monday, since that signalled the start of the 2012/13 sports fishing season.

What is more, according to Fish & Game, rivers such as the Waikanae, Otaki, Hutt, Ruamahanga, Manawatu and Rangitikei will be running clear and apparently this is ideal for trout fishing.

If trout is the canary of our waterways – though I would prefer native fish instead – then Fish & Game’s “recent monitoring has also shown good numbers of trout in the rivers, so prospects are looking good…Wellington, Wairarapa, the Kapiti Coast and Manawatu have world-class trout fishing opportunities right on the doorstep – these regions have a growing reputation for quality river fishing”. . . 


Rural round-up

January 11, 2012

Educating the politicians – Hugh Stringleman:

Farmers were criticised as “affluent and effluent-rich” during the general election. They responded by voting blue (National) in every rural electorate except the West Coast. But the green wave in the 50th parliament will now grab farmers’ attention.

For the first time since 1996, under the MMP election system, a minor party gained more than 10% of the party vote in the recent election, and that was the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Greens gained nearly 11% of the party votes cast and will have 13 MPs in the new parliament.

They include young urban activists, environmental campaigners, party officials, academics, and an organic farmer. . .

Farming 2011 a year to celebrate despite the sorrow – Tim Cronshaw:

It’s not often the planets line up to form a near-perfect farming year.

History shows it’s a long time between drinks before the party hats come out. The 1890s were memorable as a period of recovering wool prices and the advent of refrigeration when sheep meat could be safely shuttled off to the motherland.

So was the wool boom of 1951 when prices tripled overnight from United States troops needing warm uniforms during the Korean War.

Otherwise, there have been more mundane than good years in Canterbury farming and, at times, it’s bordered on the ugly as debt levels pile up. Not this season though. . .

Taranaki farm’s spirited growth strategy – Sue O’Dowd:

Establishing stands of native bush on his farm has been a spiritual journey as much as a practical one for an Egmont Village farmer who now sees himself as a custodian of the land.

Last month, Prime Minister John Key presented a Taranaki Regional Council certificate to Wayne Peters and Alan and Barbara Harvey, of Opunake, for completing the riparian planting programme on their farms.

What started as idle curiosity led to Mr Peters developing a passion for Maoridom and embarking on a spiritual journey, during which he studied te reo, established links with Maori organisations promoting health and wellbeing and learned about New Zealand’s native flora and fauna. . .

Cartels protect producers not consumers – Offsetting Behaviour:

Mark Schatzker explainshow Canada’s agricultural cartels help keep quality produce from Canadian foodies (HT: @acoyne):

But here’s what hasn’t been said about supply management: It is the enemy of deliciousness.
If you have ever wondered why you can buy heritage chickens such as the famed poulet de Bresse in France but not in Canada, or pastured butter the colour of an autumn sunset in Ireland but not in Canada, or why it’s so hard to find pastured eggs here, the reason is supply management. . . 

From city to country – Eileen Goodwin:

Ask Sandy Price for tips to give prospective lifestyle farmers and she does not muck around.   

 “If you’re not prepared to get your hands dirty, don’t get into animals.   

 “Where there’s livestock, there’s dead stock.”   

 Sheep were high maintenance, so dealing with unpleasant problems, such as flystrike and maggots, or a complication of  lambing when a ewe pushed its innards out, were part of the      job. . .

Olives heart of family’s new lifestyle – Lynda Van Kempen:

For the good oil on Bannockburn, look no further than Trevor and Sue McNamara.   

The married couple “walked out of our life” in South Otago 18  years ago and shifted to Central Otago with their two young children, for a change of lifestyle.   

They have never looked back or regretted taking the gamble, and say they are truly living the good life on their 0.8ha property . . .

Remarkables Park Stud rivals best antlers in country:

Remarkables Park Stud in Queenstown, renowned for consistently producing huge two year old stud sire stags, says its successful breeding programme now has it rivaling the best antlers in the country.

In 2012 its breeding programme has produced many multi-pointed yearling Spikers, including a massive 27-point Spiker sired by Craigie, crossed over a daughter of Hamberg, a German trophy stag.

Craigie, with a 601 SCI (Safari Club International) international trophy score, is famous for having produced one of the biggest sets of antlers ever seen in the world. . .

Countrywide’s November issue is available here.


Rural round-up

August 28, 2011

There is a possibility that only people who come from farms will find this amusing – Laughy Kate:

I was having a drink with an old friend who was in town the other day. Today he’s a successful cameraman/producer with awards coming out his ears, but he started out earning a crust as a farm hand and a fencer before picking up a camera. And every once and a while we get reminded of this . . .

Rural women learn crucial skills – Jon Morgan:

As a farmer’s wife on rugged hill country near Taihape, raising three boys and involved with schools and the local community over the past 20 years, Nicki Duncan has had a busy life.

But always, niggling away at the back of her mind, has been a feeling of unfinished business.

She was brought up in Christchurch, the daughter of Pyne Gould Guinness trading director John Paterson, and after completing a commerce degree in Japanese and marketing worked in Japan teaching English and promoting New Zealand lamb.

First intake passes leadership scheme – Sally Rae:

Christine Angland encourages other women to become involved with the Agri-Women’s Development Trust’s Escalator course.

Mrs Angland, from Waipori Station, along with Dawn Sangster (Maniototo) and Andrea Shore (Clydevale), were among the 11 graduates of the inaugural programme which was aimed at developing rural leadership and governance skills in women . . .

Green Party’s irrigation charge policy ‘crazy’ ‘a joke’ – Lynda Van Kempen:

 The Green Party’s plans to charge for irrigation water would be a death blow for Central Otago if implemented, a farming accountant said yesterday.

Alexandra-based Ibbotson Cooney accountant George Collier said the Greens’ policy was “crazy”, while Central Otago Mayor and irrigation scheme manager Tony Lepper described it as “a joke”. . .

Cow pacifier benefits worth rising early to crow about – Sally Rae:

Some mornings, John Brown gets up at 5am to head out to North Otago dairy farms to demonstrate a tool to calm cattle.

Nothing unusual about that except, at 87, Mr Brown could be entitled to stay in bed a little longer. But he is passionate about the product . . .

Tour of UK proud time for shearer – Sally Rae:

Managing the New Zealand shearing team on its recent UK tour was a proud occasion for veteran South Otago shearer Bruce Walker.

Dion King and Rowland Smith, both from the North Island, ended the tour with a series-winning victory over Wales . . .

Converstion key to family succession – Mary Witsey:

Good communication is the key to successful farm succession – that and having a business that’s profitable enough to be passed on.

That was the message about 130 farmers heard at a Beef and Lamb NZ farm succession seminar this month, where a range of specialists outlined ways to hand on the family farm to the next generation . . .

Pioneer of pregnancy scanning –  Kirsty MacNicol:

 The man credited with being one of the first in the world to scan sheep for pregnancy on a commercial basis died this month. KIRSTY MacNICOL looks at the impact Richard Chantler had on farming in the south of New Zealand.

The 1980s in rural New Zealand was a tough time – the impact of Rogernomics and the removal of agricultural subsidies forced farmers to review the way they managed their properties. Animals had to be easy care; farming had to be low cost. To make it work, stock numbers per farmer virtually doubled.

In the sheep industry romney breeders had been the first out of the starting blocks in recognising their sheep had to be genetically more efficient in carrying out their natural functions . . .

Matarangi farms sell at bargain prices – Duncan Bridgeman:

Three farm blocks on the Coromandel Peninsula have been sold at a heavy discount to valuation as bankers try and recover loans to Matarangi properties that were once part of the Hanover (© Copyright Protected – The National Business Review 56) empire.

The three farms on State Highway 25 were owned by subsidiaries of Matarangi Beach Estates, which went into receivership in November 2010 . . .

Top fine wool scoured here – Hugh Stringleman:

What is believed to be the finest bale of wool ever scoured in New Zealand is yet unsold and intending buyers need to have mortgage-sized funding.

The tested 11.4 micron, 122kg greasy bale of microfine Forest Range Merino from Anna Emmerson’s Lindis Ridges property at Mayfield, Canterbury, was scoured last week by Canterbury Woolscourers in Timaru.

Until now, scouring of such valuable wool would have been done in China where almost all of NZ’s Merino goes for processing . . .

Venison and Velvet – quality products in demand – Tony Chaston:

The deer industry as a pastoral option has fallen out of favour for NZ farmers over the last few years with numbers falling from previous heady days when growth was rampant.

But what has been consistent all the way along, is the quality of the two main products and these two articles reinforce the prospects of future demand for this small industry . . .


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