Rural round-up

November 22, 2016

Environment group goes to court to protect Mackenzie Country:

The Environmental Defence Society (EDS) has filed court proceedings to try to stop land conversions in the Mackenzie Country.

The group is arguing at the Environment Court that conversion from arid grassland to irrigated pasture is happening without the proper approval from the Mackenzie District Council, and the authority is not doing anything about it.

It is also worried at the level of water consents for pivot irrigators being issued by the regional council, Environment Canterbury.

EDS chief executive Gary Taylor said tens of thousands of hectares of the Mackenzie Basin was being destroyed and transformed by irrigation at a very rapid rate. . . 

Offers of Help and Cash Flow In For Quake Hit Farmers:

 

A week out from the 7.8 earthquake, offers of help logged with the Federated Farmers 0800 FARMING line have topped 300.

The Feds have also had teams on the ground and in the air reaching out to farms at the end of long and winding roads all over North Canterbury and Marlborough, checking how they fared and what they need.

The national farming organisation’s Adverse Events Trust Fund was reactivated mid-week and more than $21,000 has been received. One $10,000 donation came from a farmer keen to help South Island counterparts with emergency supplies, farm equipment, essential tools and materials. . . 

30,000 Bees Among Those Rescued by the NZDF:

If calamity struck and you had to flee your home, what would you take?

One of the estimated 900 Kaikoura residents rescued by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) from the quake-damaged seaside town carried his most valuable possession: about 30,000 bees.

“Many people took what they could fit into a suitcase or two – the things closest to their hearts. One of the evacuees just could not leave his bees behind,” Commander (CDR) Simon Rooke, the Commanding Officer of amphibious sealift vessel HMNZS Canterbury, said.

“The ship does a meticulous count of everything we bring on board as a matter of course. Last Saturday, we evacuated 192 people together with 2.3 tonnes of baggage, one cat, 14 dogs and about 30,000 bees – they were one thing we didn’t count exactly. . . 

Temporary fishery closures around Kaikoura:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced a temporary closure of shellfish and seaweed harvesting along the earthquake-affected east coast of the South Island, and a $2 million package to investigate the impact of the earthquakes on these fisheries.

“There will be an initial one month closure of the crayfish fishery and three months for all remaining shellfish and seaweed species,” says Mr Guy.

“The earthquakes have had a devastating impact on the coastline, raising it by up to four metres in places in an area nearly 100 kilometres long. There has been major mortality for paua and some crayfish in this area and there are concerns about the loss of habitat and what that might mean for breeding. . . 

Fruit fly stopped at the border:

Ministry for Primary Industries staff have intercepted four Queensland fruit fly larvae at Wellington airport, stopping the dangerous pest from making a home in New Zealand.

The larvae were found earlier this month in an undeclared mandarin carried by an Australian passenger arriving from Melbourne. They have since been confirmed as Queensland fruit fly – regarded as one of the worst horticultural pests in the world. . . .

Warm, wet and worrying for facial eczema:

With NIWA’s seasonal weather outlook through to December signalling warm, wet conditions across the North Island, farmers are being encouraged to include preventive measures against facial eczema in their summer farm management plans.

Above average temperatures and rainfall are ideal conditions for the fungus which causes facial eczema to thrive. Spore production occurs when soil temperatures exceed 12 degrees for three consecutive nights and soil moisture is favourable or air conditions are humid.

“After reduced milk production through the spring, the last thing farmers need is another potential brake on it as summer progresses. Prevention is the best approach and starting early with zinc supplementation is a good tactic to get the best protection,” says SealesWinslow Science Extension Officer, Natalie Hughes. . . 

Farm-gate milk prices lift producer prices:

Business Price Indexes: September 2016 quarter

In the September 2016 quarter, producer output prices rose 1 percent, and producer input prices rose 1.5 percent.

The prices received by dairy cattle farmers (up 28 percent) and paid by dairy product manufacturers (up 22 percent) were key influences to the increase

“Higher farm-gate milk prices contributed to the September 2016 quarter rises,’’ business prices manager Sarah Williams said. . . 

Church Road Winery’s Chris Scott named New Zealand Winemaker of the Year

Church Road Winery’s winemaker Chris Scott has been named New Zealand Winemaker of the Year 2016 by Winestate Magazine for the second time in four years, having also taken out this sought-after title in 2013.

A trophy duo was awarded to Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2014 with the Syrah/Shiraz of the Year Trophy and New Zealand Wine of the Year Trophy for this stunning wine.

Chris has been crafting award-winning wines for sixteen years at Church Road Winery in Hawke’s Bay with the support of an outstanding viticulture and winemaking team, and he has a passion for Chardonnay and red blend winemaking, a dedication to his craft and a commitment to quality wine-making. . . 


Rural round-up

June 2, 2014

Dairy growth transforms High Country –  Graeme Acton:

The dry grasslands of the South Island’s Mackenzie Country are a truly iconic New Zealand location. But Insight investigates how much pressure the landscape might face from plans to increase dairying.

The Mackenzie Country is a tough and unforgiving land where farming is difficult, and where generations of New Zealand farming families have struggled with snow and ice, drought and pests.

But the Mackenzie Country is undergoing a transformation, a quiet revolution where the tussock is giving way to ryegrass, and where the sheep are slowly being replaced by dairy cows.

Irrigation in the Mackenzie raises two vital issues: the protection of water quality and the protection of the current landscape. . .

 Fashion stores get the wool message – Patrick O’Sullivan:

Shepherds mixed with shopkeepers and fashion designers stroked city sheep at the launch of Wool Week on Monday.

The “We’re Loving Wool!” message is being spread throughout the nation’s cities this week, thanks to Primary Wool Co-operative sponsorship.

The launch was at Auckland’s Britomart, where the country’s top designers were in attendance.

Zambesi’s Liz Findlay, Campaign for Wool New Zealand Fashion ambassador, shared the impact of wool on her clothing collections. . .

 Gypsy Day marks homecoming for Waikato farmer –  Erin Majurey:

Watch out on rural Waikato roads this weekend.

It’s likely to be busy as farmers pack up their troubles and head to pastures new for the start of the next dairy season.

It culminates tomorrow with what has become known as Gypsy Day – the day when contracts are up and farms change hands.

Many have spent this week packing boxes and cleaning their ovens preparing for moving day, when they will march their stock down the road only to pick up where they left off.

Among them is Ruakura herd manager Joel Baldwin who is heading home to Putaruru.

Baldwin, 24, will start sharemilking on his father Gray’s farm. . .

 Gypsy Day challenges some schools:

A rural principal says while Gypsy Day means a lot of work for farmers, it’s also a difficult time for country schools.

The first day of June marks the start of the new dairy season, and sharemilkers around New Zealand are shifting farms to start new contracts.

The principal of Lauriston School in mid-Canterbury, Dianne Pendergast, says the uncertainty of where pupils and their families will be can be stressful for teachers trying to plan class sizes. . . .

 

Still keen to see who’s top dog – Sahban Kanwal:

Peter Boys has been dog trialling for 50 years and he is still going strong.

Boys, from Timaru, has been competing for as long as he can remember and he does not have any plans to quit soon.

“I am going to compete for as long as I can – I still have about 10 years left in me,” he said, as he finished his turn in this year’s New Zealand and South Island Sheep Dog Trials Championships, at Waihi Station near Geraldine.

Boys’ dog, 4-year-old Jem, is not quite as old a hand at the championships as her owner, and according to Boys, she has maybe another six years of participating in these events. . . .

http://worldtruth.tv/


Pedal power

February 28, 2009

A dedicated cycleway the length of the nation is a BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal – but it’s one appeals to me.

Cycling is popular but few of our roads are designed to enable cyclists and motor vehicles to share them safely so getting the bikes away from the roads would be better for bikers and motorists.

I’ll be even more enthusiastic about the cycle way if it doesn’t stick too closely to the route followed by the main road but meanders away from the highway between cities to some of the small town and rural byways.

Following the main road doesn’t always give the best scenery – the coastal route which the railway takes from Oamaru to Dunedin is far more attractive than much of State Highway 1 – and as trains don’t usually go up very steep hills it might be easier pedalling too.

The main road north from Oamaru to Christchurch is pretty boring, but a cycle route up the Waitaki Valley, through the Mackenzie Country to Geraldine would take in some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. Then it could take the inland route from Geraldine through the Rakaia Gorge, by-passing the monotony of the Canterbury Plains.

Busted Blonde notes the micro-economy which has blossomed along the Central Otago rail trail. It’s created business opportunities in the provision of food and accommodation – raising the standard of both for the benefit of tourists and locals – and the benefits aren’t confined to businesses on or close to the trail.  Most cyclists visit other places on the way to and from the trail and leave some of their money behind.

I am very wary about the government picking winners by propping up private businesses and aware of the risks of using public money for make-work schemes.

If taxpayers’ money is to be used for economic development it must be for projects which will have endure and propser in the long term and I think a cycle way could do that.

It ticks the boxes for a tourist attraction which is clean, green and has health benefits too. And if public money goes in to the infrastructure it will provide opportunities for private investment in the provision of food, accomdation and other goods and services along the way.

It might be a BHAG but I think it’s one that could work.


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