Rural round-up

11/10/2020

Meat processing and exporting jobs in jeopardy unless specialist migrants are allowed to remain :

New Zealand’s meat processing and exporting sector faces being forced to limit production and let people go unless the Government recognises the essential role of its skilled migrant workforce.

Around a third of the country’s 250 essential halal processing workers, who help generate more than $3 billion in export earnings every year, will have to leave New Zealand next year due to the Government’s one-year stand-down policy.

Sirma Karapeeva, chief executive of the Meat Industry Association (MIA), said the loss of halal processing people — alongside hundreds of other essential meat workers — could result in reduced production and job losses in the sector, which is New Zealand’s largest manufacturing industry.

“Most of the 42 halal processing plants in New Zealand now operate between 10-12 months per year. A shortage of skilled halal processing people could result in production at many plants being limited to six months in the year, which would mean processing of livestock for farmers is severely disrupted and employees might be let go. . . 

Breeding beef to reduce N leaching :

Ben and Yvonne Lee weren’t born into farming but have taken it up with vigour.

They run Bluestone Herefords, 30 minutes inland from Timaru, on 600ha of tussock and rolling foothills, ranging from 300-550 metres altitude. The South Canterbury farm will mate about 300 cows this season. 

Yvonne, once a police officer, manages the farm day-to-day while Ben, formerly a lawyer, runs an animal health firm in Timaru. As stud owners, their cattle genetics are based squarely on client demand, typified by a growing call for cattle with low nitrogen output. . . 

Dairy data should delight Covid recovery monitors while discouraging industry detractors – Point of Order:

Farmers  are   back in the  frame  as  the  backbone  of  NZ’s  export economy,  after the  Covid-induced collapse of  the foreign  exchange earning capacity  of the  tourist  and international education industries.  But  it  is not  only  the  rural  industries themselves which  are  scrutinising bulletins  on  the  prices  being  earned  abroad  for  commodities.  Those data have  become a  vital  item  for  New Zealanders eager  to  monitor the recovery of an economy  battered  by a  one-in -100  year  event.

This  week  the  ANZ  reported  its  world commodity  price  index   had  eased  0.2%  in September as lower dairy and meat prices were largely offset by stronger prices for logs and fruit.

In local currency terms the index fell 1.3% as the NZ$ strengthened by 0.6% on a trade weighted index  basis during  the  month.

Hard on the heels  of those figures came   the  results   of  the latest  Fonterra  global  dairy   trade auction  where  the   average  price   strengthened  to  $US3143  a  tonne  and  wholemilk  powder (which  plays a  significant  role  on  Fonterra’s payout to  suppliers)  rose  1.7%  to  $3041  a  tonne. . . 

Clinton Young Farmer wins Otago contest – Yvonne O’Hara:

The Otago district skills final for the FMG Young Farmer of the Year competition was contested at Gimmberburn on Saturday.

Organised by the Maniototo Young Farmers Club, the competition attracted 10 entrants who completed 10 modules and later a quiz round.

The winner was George Blyth, of Clinton, with Josh Johanson, of Ida Valley, second, Adam Callaghan, of St Bathans, third and Matt Sullivan, of Oturehua, was fourth.

Club chairman Josh Harrex said the top four would go forward to compete in the regional final in Southland in March. . . 

Primary Industries NZ Awards finalists named:

Judges faced tough decisions choosing finalists for the Primary Industries New Zealand Awards, with no shortage of contenders.

The six independent judges deliberated over 40 nominations across the six award categories for the second annual PINZ awards, which are to be held at Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington on November 23.

“More than ever New Zealand needs the primary sector to be innovative and enterprising,” Federated Farmers Chief Executive Terry Copeland says. 

“For our farmers, growers, foresters and fishers to continue to be at the top of their game as producers of quality goods exported to the world, we need suppliers and support agencies of the calibre of these finalists who can help us with cutting-edge technology and back-up.”

The finalists are: . . 

Piper in the paddock – Toni Williams:

The skirl of the pipes can be heard among the cows in Lagmhor as dairy farmer Joseph Williams plays a warm-up tune to his captive audience.

The cows are unfazed and continue grazing.

Mr Williams learned to play the bagpipes during his primary school years in his homeland of Scotland and, since relocating to New Zealand for work opportunities, has taken up with the Ashburton Pipe Band.

“There is a strong music culture at school,” he said, and the bagpipes were taken up in primary and secondary school, first learning finger movements on a practice chanter (similar to a recorder) before advancing to the bagpipes.

Mr Williams admits he wasn’t as committed to the bagpipes as he should have been through his teenage years and then flatting while at university in Aberdeen, Scotland. . . 


Rural round-up

01/07/2016

Connecting all dairying women – Sally Rae:

When the decision was made to convert their Southland sheep farm to dairying, Katrina Thomas knew nothing about cows.

Undeterred, she decided to “jump in” and become regional group convener for the Dairy Women’s Network.

That way, she thought, she would learn.

It worked and Ms Thomas has now taken on a bigger role, as southern regional hub leader which incorporates Otago and Southland, as well as the fledgling Central Otago DWN branch. . . 

Winter feed pays dividends – Sally Rae:

Johnny Duncan’s fodder beet proved unbeatable in the Maniototo Young Farmers Club’s recent winter feed competition.

The competition attracted 50 entries and it was Mr Duncan’s crop that claimed the overall title.

A dinner, auction and prize-giving held at the Maniototo Stadium and attended by 140 people raised $20,000. . . 

What farming isn’t – Sarah Mock:

This past May, I spent more days in a Ram 1500 pickup on dirt roads than in my apartment. I had the incredible opportunity to traverse the American heartland for just over two weeks, seeking out interesting stories from some of America’s most progressive farmers. Since I moved to California just about a year ago, my view of the endless acres of black soil and satellite-straight rows of corn and soybeans has changed, but not in the way I expected.

Farming in the Midwest: farming for the farmer’s market as scuba diving : sky diving. Same basic direction, but otherwise, literally different elements.

We live in an Instagram-ready, organic cold-pressed hemp milk age. To us, the word “farm” brings to mind a rustic (yet modern) retreat where a cornucopia of lusciously crisp fruit and vegetables are picked daily by weathered hands (body optional) and perfectly clean eggs are laid in perfectly clean straw in reclaimed wood barns with just enough dust in the air to create a flawless #nofilter “eggstra” special post. . . 

Concerns over farmers’ mental helath:

Farmers in Northland are being urged to check on their neighbours as winter and financial stress tighten their grip in the dairy sector.

Federated Farmers president John Blackwell said there had been good turnouts at regular dinners organised to bring stressed farmers and their families together.

But he said those most in need of support may not be asking for it. . . 

Polish meat industry delegation in New Zealand – Allan Barber:

On Friday I attended a seminar, officially named a Congress, presented by a Polish delegation which was in New Zealand as part of a series of five exhibition events to promote ‘the taste of quality and tradition directly from Europe.’ A somewhat bizarre coincidence meant the event took place at exactly the same time as the votes were being counted in the British referendum which culminated in the decision to leave the EU.

The Auckland congress was the third in a series of five being held in different countries targeted for export development for Polish pork and beef products; the other target countries being South Africa, Singapore, Taiwan and Kazakhstan. This one was timed specifically to coincide with the Fine Food New Zealand 2016 held over the weekend at Auckland’s ASB Showgrounds at which Polish frozen and refrigerated pork and beef products were available for tasting and evaluation by potential importers. . . 

Fertility increase in merinos

An improved lamb marking rate at a Wimmera Merino stud supports the breed’s key role in Australia’s modern sheep industry. 

Wallaloo Park Merinos, Marnoo, has recorded some of its best results since starting in 1979. Principal Trent Carter said figures across the board were substantially higher than average and showed success was achievable with good management, genetics and nutrition.  . . 


Rural round-up

23/05/2016

Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act out of date and out of time:

Federated Farmers is calling on the Government to urgently set up an expert panel to review the regulation of genetic modification (GM) in the wake of a report by the National Academy of Sciences which confirms the safety of GM crops.

GM crops have been used in agriculture since 1996 and the study carried out by US-based National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine examined the literature, listened to speakers and heard comments from the public to determine the negative effects and benefits of commercial GM crops.

Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston says the report found there was no substantiated evidence of a difference in risk to human health between current commercial GE crops and conventional crops. . . 

Future-focussed farm since 1863 – Sally Rae:

Brendon Cross is the sixth generation to farm amid the spectacular beauty of the Otago Peninsula.

He and his wife Paula’s vision for farm sustainability was rewarded recently when they were named supreme winners in the Otago Ballance Farm Environment awards.

At a field day last week, judging co-ordinator Judy Miller described it as a successful farming operation that incorporated the complexities and challenges of farming in a semi-urban environment. . . 

YFC’s support after accident appreciated – Sally Rae:

Brooke Solly had been meaning to join the Maniototo Young Farmers Club.

The young shepherd had every intention of heading along to a meeting but she got busy, breaking in a horse, and never quite made it.

Then on April 2 this year her life changed, potentially forever, when she rolled her vehicle and suffered serious injuries, including spinal damage.

“I got through 22 years of not breaking any bones and then decided to do a hell of a job of it,” she said dryly. . . 

NZ export log prices lift in May as weaker currency offsets higher shipping costs – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand export log prices advanced this month as a decline in the local currency made the country’s shipments more competitive, offsetting a lift in shipping costs.

The average wharf gate price for New Zealand A-grade logs edged up to $120 a tonne in May, from $119 a tonne in April, according to AgriHQ’s monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers.

The in-market price of A-grade logs in China, New Zealand’s largest market, advanced to US$113/JAS from US$111/JAS last month as inventory levels on Chinese ports remain moderate, following a relatively low build up of stock on ports during the Chinese New Year holiday period. . . 

Business leaders from Agritech industry to gather at the upcoming INZBC Summit 2016:

Over 300 global business leaders and stakeholders will come together on 13th June for first of its kind summit on Agritech, being held by INZBC. The summit will witness business leadership from across New Zealand and India to discuss in depth the scope of agribusiness in both the countries.

The Summit is being held in partnership with New Zealand National Fieldays, the most respected organisation in NZ for Agriculture. . . 

New Zealand Winegrowers welcomes modernisation of Customs and Excise regime:

New Zealand Winegrowers has welcomed today’s announcement by the Minister of Customs around the modernisation of New Zealand’s Customs and Excise legislation.

‘The legislation was becoming increasingly outmoded and an update has been badly needed’ said Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers. ‘We are looking forward to changes in areas such as moving goods around New Zealand and simplifying the process for applying for refunds of excise for unsold damaged goods.’ . . 

NZ should be milking it in organic market:

Consistent growth in the demand for organic produce over the last four decades is a missed opportunity New Zealand dairy farmers can’t afford to ignore any longer, says organics stalwart Bob Crowder.

His comments are a response to a payout forecast of $9.20 for organic milksolids, more than double the price of conventional milk, which he believes has the potential to take New Zealand back to being a world leader in organics.

He laments New Zealand letting its status as a frontrunner in organics slide. “At one time we were one of the top certified organic nations in the world. Now we’re almost insignificant in the global picture,” says Mr Crowder. . . 


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