Rural round-up

21/07/2020

Coronavirus leads to uncertainty for slinkskin industry – Rachael Kelly:

Southland farmers may have to dispose of dead stock on their own farms this spring as the Covid-19 pandemic takes a toll on the slinkskin industry.

Usually dead stock is picked up by slinkskin companies, which process the skins for export, but Southland’s two processors were yet to decide whether they would collect dead lambs this spring.

And while company has implemented a charge for dead calf and cow collection, another has put their calf collection on hold.

Trevor Newton, of Newton Slinkskins at Mataura, said he had made the decision to put the calf collection on hold this season, and a decision on whether the company would collect dead lambs would be made ‘’in due course.’’ . . 

Mataura Valley Milk needs more money to stay afloat – Bonnie Flaws:

Southland milk company Mataura Valley Milk will require additional funding to stay afloat, after reporting a net loss of $47 million in the financial year ending December 2019.

The company, which earlier this year had been eyed up by a2 milk as a potential investment target, reported a projected funding deficit of $26 million by December 2020.

Financial statements were filed with Companies Office on July 14.

Shareholder China Animal Husbandry Group would provide financial support by helping to pay debts as well as offering possible cash injections and shareholder loans. The latter would not require principal or interest repayments if it would cause the company to default on debts. . . 

Rain in Bay helps but a long way to go – Peter Burke:

A Hawke’s Bay farm consultant is pleasantly surprised by what has happened in the region over the past few weeks, with rain falling in most places.

Lochie MacGillivray, who works for AgFirst and is also the chairperson of the Rural Advisory Group set up to help manage the drought recovery, says there has been an improvement in conditions. He says Hawkes Bay has had mild weather and soft rain, and the pasture response has been phenomenal.

“Typically, at this time of the year, farmers might think of having 9kg of dry matter growth, but right now they are getting between 12 and 14kg of dry matter,”

MacGillivray told Rural News. He says farmers will still have to conserve feed for their animals, but the good weather has enabled pastures to recover and shortened the time between now and the end of winter. . . 

Putting the fun back in farming – Andrew Hoggard:

 Federated Farmers’ new president Andrew Hoggard says farmers need more fun and less admin.

I have been involved with Federated Farmers leadership for 17 years now, starting out as the Young Farmers rep, then moving into the provincial Vice-Dairy role once I became an old fart at 31.

Now I have only three years left – or less if I really suck at my new job as national president.

Since taking on the role three weeks ago I’ve been giving quite a bit of thought to what I would like to see achieved in my term

It’s certainly not lost on me the responsibilities that go with this privileged position within New Zealand’s agricultural scene. . . 

Keeping the lustre alive – Sally Round:

Despite the dire prices for wool, a couple in Kapiti are continuing a 130-year family tradition breeding sheep for their lustrous fleece.

Country Life producer Sally Round dropped in.

Ravenswood has a long history breeding the hardy English Leicester whose long curly wool has been likened to Bob Marley’s dreadlocks.

Its genetics contributed to the New Zealand Halfbred and Corriedale so it’s been a big player in the development of the country’s sheep industry.

Ravenswood is New Zealand’s oldest English Leicester stud, according to Fiona and John Robinson, who are continuing the family tradition and finding a niche market for their flock’s lustrous wool. . . 

Wandering steer Boris back after 13 years in the Canterbury wilderness :

A “crazy big” Angus steer who has wandered the mountainous Hurunui back country for nearly 13 years has returned home.

He turned up last week with a couple of Angus cows, and happily headed back to an easier life on the homestead paddocks of the 7000-hectare Island Hills Station, north-west of Culverden.

Station owner Dan Shand and his wife, Mandy, reckon the steer is at least 13 years old, and has been nicknamed Boris.

Boris still has the tag in his ear put there when he was weaned, but Dan says he will need his binoculars to read it, at least until the new arrival settles in with the bulls. . .


Rural round-up

15/12/2018

Variety is the spice of life  – Annette Scott:

It’s tough, rough country but Island Hills Station owners Dan and Mandy Shand are passionate farmers and innovative in their diversification to achieve financial sustainability. Annette Scottcaught up with them on their remote North Canterbury high-country property. 

Dan and Mandy Shand farm Island Hills, a 7000ha station in the back of beyond in the rugged Hurunui high county.

When the young couple took over the property from Dan’s parents Ed and Jan, they knew from the generations before them it would be tough going. In the early days access and weeds were the two biggest challenges.

For Dan initially, it was possums. . . 

OutcomesshouldberuralproofedRWNZsays – Yvonne O’Hara:

Gower Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) would like to see any outcomes of the Government’s mental health and addiction inquiry report, which was released last week, ”rural proofed”, national president Fiona Gower says.

”Quite a few of our members went to workshops held around the country to ensure we had coverage,” Mrs Gower said.

”We wanted to make sure the rural message was heard loud and clear.” . . 

Drought relief grows recogniton:

As Jessie Waite drove down Taranaki’s coastal highway there was no escaping the savage drought gripping the region.

It was January 2018. Parched, dusty paddocks flanked the busy tourist route. Failed turnip crops were a stark reminder of rains that never came.

For many coastal farmers it was the worst season in decades. . .

Deer farmer no quitter:

When 300mm of rain fell in four hours and blew out a year’s worth of environmental mitigation work, Steve Borland admits “it just about broke me”.

But the Oparau, Waikato, deer and sheep farmer is no quitter. Now the new fencing is repaired, and work to protect the fragile volcanic soils and water quality on the farm – Shabor – is underway.

Borland, with wife Judy, son Chris and business partners Bob and Jackie Sharp, is winner of the NZ Landcare Trust Award in the 2017-18 Deer Farmers Environmental Awards. The award is for excellence in sustainable deer farming by action on the ground. . .

Parentsholdkidsbackfromagcareers – Nigel Malthus:

The biggest barrier to youngsters choosing careers in agriculture is parents’ thinking that agriculture is “just a dumping ground.”

So says Gillian Koster, head of Rangiora High School’s land-based studies department.

“The parents won’t let their kids do it, in some cases because they see it as just where you go if you’re not very bright,” Koster told Rural News.  . .

Sheepmeat hitting record returns:

 Ten years ago the sheep farming sector in New Zealand was facing some tough assaults upon its claim as one of the country’s most important export sectors. The strong growth in dairying was knocking sheep farms out from some of the country’s most traditional sheep farming areas like King Country and Southland, while exceptionally low returns were threatening the viability of many smaller dry stock units struggling to stay afloat.

Fast forward 10 years and the sector can claim to be one of the most sustainably profitable contributors to the pastoral sector. Sale yards around the country are testimony to the level of optimism the sector is experiencing. . .


Rural round-up

17/07/2018

Frustration leads to success – Neal Wallace:

John Falconer makes something of an understatement describing his Central Otago deer farm business as diverse. Neal Wallace visits the Falconers’ Clachanburn Station in the Maniototo, a farmer who says he is benefiting from two generations of careful deer breeding.

The stencilled 1988 on a shed wall at Clachanburn Station in Central Otago is more than a piece of graffiti or a casual reference to a year last century.

It marks the year John Falconer’s parents, Charles and Jane, started progressively replacing sheep with deer on the property near Patearoa in the Maniototo Basin. . .

Couple offer tips for the hive minded -David Hill:

Producing honey can be a sweet addition to farm income, but there are some sticky regulations to comply with.

Culverden farmers Dan and Mandy Shand shared their experiences of running a 2000 hive operation on their 7000ha high country farm, Island Hills Station, at Beef and Lamb New Zealand’s northern South Island farmer council ”FarmSmart” conference last week.

Before returning home to the family farm, Mrs Shand was a scuba diving instructor, while Mr Shand was a software developer. . .

Women in Wine launch pilot national mentoring programme:

A nationwide mentoring programme has been launched to help women within the New Zealand wine industry achieve success.

It’s an initiative of Women in Wine, which was launched by New Zealand Winegrowers in 2017.

Women in any role within the wine industry were welcomed to apply to be a mentor or mentee in June. Applications were then assessed by a selection panel and, after careful consideration, suitable mentor-mentee matches were made. . .

Matt Gomm named first Gisborne Young Fruit Grower:

Matt Gomm, orchard leader at the Burnside Trust, has been named as the first ever Gisborne Young Fruit Grower of the Year at a gala awards dinner on Thursday night.

Some of the best young horticulturalists in Gisborne took part in the competition at Kaiaponi Farms yesterday. The event saw contestants facing a series of challenges designed to test their knowledge and skills around topics vital to the management of a successful orchard, including fencing, biosecurity, and tractor safety. They also delivered a speech to a crowd of 110 people at the White House, including Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon, on the importance of innovation and technology in fruit growing. . .

Sustainability and Traceability key themes for Apiculture New Zealand Conference, Sunday 22 to Tuesday 24 July, Blenheim:

Beekeepers, packers, processors, and affiliated businesses from the apiculture industry are gearing up for the Apiculture New Zealand National Conference and Trade Exhibition, opening next Sunday, 22 July in Blenheim.

The three-day conference is filled with presentations and workshops from apiculture experts all over New Zealand and the world. International keynote speakers include Sue Cobey, David Mendes, and Alisha Taff, who are all travelling from the United States to speak to Kiwi delegates. Find their bios, along with the list of local speakers here. . .

Brexit and agriculture – Richard Corbett:

Leaving the EU will presumably mean leaving the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

It is claimed that replacing the CAP could be an opportunity for the UK to develop an agricultural policy which promotes competitive and environmentally sustainable farming better than the CAP does, by reducing direct payments to farmers and increasing subsidies for public goods (such as environmental stewardship and high animal welfare standards). It could also be an opportunity to think afresh about how to create a more resilient, innovative and effective agricultural sector.

It is indeed easy to make a list of desirable changes, though one person’s wish list may be another’s hate-list. And securing support for continued farming subsidies from an overwhelmingly urban electorate is likely to produce its own particular tensions, as my colleague Paul Brannen has explored. . . 

 


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