Rural round-up

March 12, 2020

Southern Dairy Hub to trial new winter practices for better animal welfare – Damian Rowe:

Cows being able to sit on biodegradable mats instead of mud will be trialled in a bid to improve their health during winter grazing.

Southern Dairy Hub staff with the help of scientists, engineers and rural professionals have teamed up to create concepts on how to improve the farm facilities for winter grazing.

Winter grazing techniques were put under the spotlight last year after a nationwide anti-grazing campaign highlighted some Southland cows standing in mud, and prompted the agricultural minister Damian O’Connor to set up a taskforce in response. . .

From the Ridge: our farms are already regenerative – Steve Wyn-Harris:

There is a bit of wheel reinvention going on.

No, that’s not quite the metaphor that I’m looking for. How about teaching granny to suck eggs? Something like that.

Regenerative agriculture is all the rage, the answer to all our ills.

Really? . . 

Developing leaders for tomorrow:

Last month, 21 developing dairy industry leaders started Fonterra’s year-long Governance Development Programme, with two days of presentations and discussions at Fonterra’s head office in Auckland.

Now into its 15th year, the programme is an intensive year-long commitment built around a series of workshops, distance learning modules and coaching. It exists to help identify and develop governance acumen in future rural leaders. Being custom designed in conjunction with Massey Business School to be specific to the cooperative context, it is unique in New Zealand. Attended predominantly by Fonterra farmer shareholders and herd-owning sharemilkers it is also open to members of other New Zealand cooperatives such as LIC, Silver Fern Farms and Foodstuffs.  . .

Connecting to grassroots New Zealand -Fiona Windle:

It wasn’t a typical Sunday for my family.  We packed a lunch, extra layers and headed an hour south from our home in suburbia Napier for an opportunity to see what goes on behind a farm gate as part of the inaugural nationwide Open Farms day. 

On arriving at Mangarara Station in Central Hawke’s Bay’s Elsthorpe, we followed the signs down a long windy driveway where we and other families were warmly welcomed from our hosts, Greg and Rachel Hart at their guest Eco Lodge.  Nestled in front of the farm lake, among rolling hills and native trees, it was a picturesque and peaceful setting, which had you immediately feeling relaxed, with a sense of belonging. . . 

Keep stock off harvested hemp:

Feeding hemp to livestock is strictly forbidden and as well as contravening the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines Act, doing so could put New Zealand’s red meat exports in jeopardy.

Matt Ward, B+LNZ General Manager North Island, says according to the Ministry for Primary Industries, hemp or hemp products used as animal feed are regulated under the ACVM Act 1997 and are classed as agricultural compounds.

It is an offence to use any ACVM that is not authorized and there are no hemp products authorized for use in livestock in New Zealand. . .

New 500,000 tonne market on offer as India opens its doors for Aussie malt barley – Gregor Heard:

AUSTRALIAN exporters could be sending malt barley to India as soon as April after the Indian government removed a critical phytosanitary requirement that acted as a roadblock to sales to the subcontinental nation.

It paves the way for a market industry insiders suggest could easily see Australian trade to Indian in excess of 500,000 tonnes in the near term, rising to up to a million tonnes with time to forge closer relationships.

Based on current malt barley prices, the cost of preparing the grain for export and sea freight sales of that volume would mean a windfall of in excess of $180 million for the Australian barley industry based on current Australian port prices of $280/t. . . 

 


Rural round-up

February 3, 2020

Worst time for virus – Neal Wallace:

Coronavirus couldn’t have come at a worse time for meat processors, analysts say.

With no one dining out, Chinese cold storage facilities are flooded with product, AgriHQ analyst Reece Brick said.

“From a New Zealand perspective the timing couldn’t have been worse.

“Large-scale buying for the Chinese New Year festivities meant processors’ inventories were well-stocked going into the outbreak. 

“A large portion of the Chinese workforce remains on leave too, further slowing down the movement of product.” . . 

Fighter for free trade will be sorely missed – Federated Farmers

Many farmers will remember Mike Moore as a man who rolled up his sleeves to fight for global trade liberalisation and making things better for New Zealanders in general.

“He was brimming with talent and positivity and wasn’t afraid to stick his neck out,” Federated Farmers President Katie Milne said. “Who can forget his tireless efforts to promote the lamb burger? He took quite a bit of stick for that but was ahead of his time in terms of creating markets for our products.”

For his roles with the World Trade Organisation and as our ambassador to the United States he was away from the home shores he loved, but he continued to strive for the interests of Kiwis. . .

Farmers encouraged to open their gates to connect with urban New Zealand:

Greg and Rachel Hart are opening their Mangarara Station gates on Open Farms Day (Sunday 1 March), and inviting urban Kiwis to learn about their how they farm first-hand.

The Hart family are on a mission to connect New Zealanders with what they eat, how they live, and back to the farm where it all begins.

Greg Hart says, “When we learned about Open Farms Day, it was a no-brainer for us.”

“We love sharing Mangarara Station and offering the farm as a place where people can connect back to the land.” . . .

Walking a mile in her gumboots – Cheyenne Nicholson :

Matamata farmer Ella Wharmby feels more at home in the back paddocks than shopping in the high street. Farming was not her first choice but fate had different ideas. She tells Cheyenne Nicholson how she found her calling.

As the saying goes, you can’t fully understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. And if you swapped the shoes for gumboots, Waikato farmer Ella Wharmby could tell you a thing or two about that.  

Looking at her now, it is hard to believe that she had barely stepped foot on a farm before embarking on a career that would see her combine her passion for food, animals and the outdoors. 

“Having not come from a farming background I now realise how far removed we’ve become from the food chain,” Ella says. . . 

Kiwigrowers to help pay for $18m Queensland fruit fly response:

Kiwifruit growers will fork out around a million dollars toward a year-long operation to eradicate the Queensland fruit fly.

An $18 million biosecurity response in Auckland finished on Friday, with New Zealand declared once again free of the pest.

The total cost will mostly be covered by the government, but industry groups will also have to chip in. . . 

Rothesay Deer operation grew to take over entire farm – Toni Williams:

Rothesay Deer owner Donald Greig has been building up the genetics of his English and composite deer operation for more than three decades.

The farm, near Methven, is spread over three sites but the home block has been in the family for two generations.

The land the stag block is on is an extension of the original farm secured by his father, Tom Greig, following World War 2.

That land was part of a rehabilitation block for ex-servicemen to use for farming after the war. . .

 

Site builds under way at Southern Field Days near Gore – Rachael Kelly:

As trucks roll into the Southern Field Days site at Waimumu to start setting up the South Island’s largest agricultural trade fair, the event secretary has a lot on her plate.

There’s phone calls from exhibitors, a third reprint of 4000 day passes to organise, and a gale warning from the Metservice which may have slowed down progress on putting marquees up.

It’s still two weeks until the crowds begin to flock to Field Days, but the site was a hive of activity already. . . 


Rural round-up

May 3, 2018

Some immunity to virus confirmed – Pam Jones:

Central Otago farmers are still being encouraged to remain patient while the K5 variant continues to takes hold among the rabbit population, even though it has been confirmed some rabbits will be immune to the virus.

The Otago Regional Council announced the first rabbit deaths from RHDV1 K5 earlier this month, saying it was “excellent news” and patience from landowners had been “paying off”.

Omakau farmer and Federated Farmers high country Central Otago chairman Andrew Paterson said at the time it was important landowners were patient, as the regional council had warned interfering with the release programme could limit the spread of the virus in the long term and allow rabbits to build an immunity to the new strain.

Farmers threaten to shoot drones spooking animals:

Horse riders and farmers fed up with unmanned aerial drones traumatising animals want to start shooting them “out of the sky”.

After a Dannevirke horse-rider posted on social media about being harassed by a drone operated by an unseen person, a host of people suggested drones should, and could, be shot if they flew over a farm and were worrying animals.

When approached by Hawke’s Bay Today to clarify whether a drone could be legally shot at over a farm, the Police said a number of agencies, including CAA and the Privacy Commissioner, had a role to play in relation to the use of drones. . . 

Mangarara Family Farm tackles predators with high-flying support:

When Greg Hart’s family moved to Mangarara Station in Central Hawkes Bay in the mid 1990s, they shot 3 possums on their first night at the property – in a cabbage tree growing at the front door. How times have changed. Greg has now taken over the farm from his parents and his oldest son George, 14 years old, has never seen a possum on the farm.

“The Hawkes Bay Regional Council had a massive campaign to eradicate possums,” Greg explains. “They did an outstanding job. They did the initial knockdown and we do the ongoing control with bait stations. . .

Arable farmers consider their options after tough summer season:

Having come through a tough summer for growing crops and with current market signals muted, it appears arable farmers are pulling back on planned autumn plantings.

“The flat prices of the last few years are now rebounding a bit but growers remain hesitant to plant massive areas,” Federated Farmers Arable executive member Brian Leadley said. . .

Four vie for Horticulture New Zealand Board

Four candidates will vie for two positions on the Horticulture New Zealand Board as elections open today, with voting closing on 28 May 2018.

“We haven’t had such a strong contest for some time and the calibre of candidates is an indication of how well horticulture is doing and the high profile the industry is enjoying on the back of that success,” Horticulture New Zealand President Julian Raine says. . .

‘All we want are fair rules for farmers’ – Scott Kovacevic:

BEEF producer Ivan Naggs fears coastal farmers will find themselves hog-tied by red tape if new draft vegetation legislation becomes a reality under the State Government.

Mr Naggs, who has been a member of the Gympie and District Beef Liaison Group, said these laws had the potential to place severe restrictions on their operations.

Small farmers in particular would be left exposed. . . 


Rural round-up

June 3, 2013

Milking our cows in China – Sally Rae:

Dairy giant Fonterra has the ambitious target of producing up to one billion litres of milk from 30 farms in China by 2020, to cater for the massive burgeoning demand by Chinese for dairy products. Agribusiness reporter Sally Rae tours one of the Fonterra farms, near Beijing.

Visit Yutian 2 farm, a 90-minute drive east of Beijing, and, not surprisingly, you discover a slick, high-tech farming operation.

As Fonterra China Farms general manager Nicola Morris sums up, it is about taking the best of Kiwi ingenuity and farming systems, melding it with the best of American and European confinement systems – and doing it in China.

There are 3200 milking cows and 2700 young stock on the property, which is a housed operation involving high-tech, intensive dairy farming systems and three-times-a-day milking. . .

Agreement reached for China meat exports to restart:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced that an agreement has been reached in Beijing last night to ensure that New Zealand meat exports to China can resume on a normal basis, starting later today.

“The resolution is comprehensive and will allow normal trade to resume using NZFSA certification, including for product currently in storage, or en route to China,” says Mr Guy.

“This is an important step in resuming trade, now that containers are moving off the wharves and the backlog is clearing.

“It has also been agreed that New Zealand and Chinese officials will work together over the next month on new meat certificates which will allow reliable future access for New Zealand meat into China. . .

 

NZ business confidence gains as farmers shake off the drought blues:

New Zealand business confidence rose for the first time in three months, helped by a rebound in sentiment in the agricultural sector and increasing optimism from construction firms.

A net 42 percent of firms expect general business conditions to improve in the year ahead, according to the ANZ Business Outlook, up from 32 percent in the April survey. Firms seeing a pickup in their own business activity in the year ahead improved to 34 percent from 30.3 percent.

Sentiment in agriculture bounced back ahead of Fonterra’s announcement of a steeper-than-expected hike to its forecast 2014 payout to farmers and comes in a month when the trade-weighted index fell about 3.5 percent, extending its slide from a record high in April, and drought earlier in the year broke. . .

High Value Avocado Powder Exports Grow At Waikato Innovation Park:

The Waikato Innovation Park’s product development spray dryer is going green – avocado green, to be exact.

The country’s only open access product development spray dryer is helping Bay of Plenty company, Avocado Oil New Zealand, dry avocado pulp into a high value powder for use in cosmetic, nutriceutical and food products.

The dryer – known as FoodWaikato – is part of the New Zealand Food Innovation Network, a national network of science and technology resources that supports growth and development of New Zealand food and beverage businesses. . .

Ballance reduces prices for farmers:

Leading farm nutrient supplier Ballance Agri-Nutrients is reducing prices on most major fertiliser products across the board, passing on purchasing savings to customers.

Ballance Chief Executive Larry Bilodeau says prices on most of the co-operative’s core plant nutrients will be reduced by between $10 and $80 per tonne from June 4.

“During the past year we have kept prices very competitive when global prices were increasing. Now we have seen a steady pattern of price declines globally, so we are taking the lead to pass these better prices on to our shareholders and customers. . .

Food Co-operatives in New Zealand on the rise:

The increase in food co-operatives in New Zealand is enabling communities to take back control of their food supply, improve relationships between community members and achieve better health outcomes,” says Debbie Swanwick, spokesperson, Soil & Health – Organic NZ.

Food co-operatives provide better quality food, mostly organic, at a cheaper price.

“Stories of the average New Zealander’s desire to remove contaminants in their food (GE, pesticides and additives) by establishing an organic food co-operative in their region will feed the next generation well. New Zealanders seem to have picked up on this worldwide trend at a great rate,” says Swanwick. . .

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor Tree Planting with the Family Farm:

The management team from the James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor have planted over 270 trees in support of regenerative agriculture in New Zealand.

With help from The Family Farm, nine management staff from the hotel journeyed to Mangarara Station in Hawkes Bay and took part in planting native trees on the farmland. Mangarara Station has been a sheep farm for more than 150 years. Through sponsorship from the Air New Zealand Environment Trust, Mangarara Station has undertaken an extensive programme of regenerative planting to help restore the land. The first planting of eco-sourced tree stock took place in 2008 and has now become an annual event. These plantings form the conservation estate which has been created by the owners of Mangarara as a gift to the nation. Mangarara Station was the first project to be supported by the Air New Zealand Environment Trust. . .

The answer lies in the soil (you have to have a sense of hummus) – Hot Topic:

Something a little different: soil expert Graham Sait talks about the importance of soil humus and its potential as a way to mitigate climate change at the recent TEDx in Noosa, Queensland. I’m not going to vouch for all his numbers, but as he devotes time to mycorrhizae he’s OK with this truffle grower…

Big Move for 2014 NZB South Island Sale:

New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2014 South Island Sale is set to make a bold move from its traditional August timeslot and be brought forward to April of next year.

The move to earlier in the year will mean that the 2014 Sale will relinquish its identity as a unique sale of untried two-year-olds and will instead form part of the 2014 National Yearling Sales Series as the new ‘South Island Session’.

As such, yearlings offered through the Sale will have the added benefit of now being eligible for the Karaka Million Series featuring the $1 million Karaka Million (Res.L) for two-year-olds and the $100,000 Karaka 3YO Mile (Res.L) for three-year-olds. . .


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