Rural round-up

October 25, 2013

Meat quality in restaurants constantly improving – Allan Barber:

The quality of domestic red meat supply both to the retail and catering trade has improved out of sight in the last 20 years because of stricter food regulations and the introduction of the Quality Mark. It has moved up another notch over the last five years or so, particularly since the global financial crisis.

Back in the 1980s and early 90s the term ‘export quality’ was supposed to provide a guarantee of excellence as distinct from meat destined only for the domestic market which was considered to be of inferior quality. That has all changed because today almost all meat plants are export licensed regardless of whether they mainly supply the export or domestic market. Food safety regulations are much stricter than they used to be and all meat processors must comply with stringent hygiene and health requirements, audited by vets employed by the Ministry for Primary Industries. . .

MIA gives honest assessment of industry’s challenges – Allan Barber:

The Meat Industry Association has recently published its 2013 Annual Report which contains an honest assessment of the challenges of the past year and a summary of the positive initiatives under way.

The 2012/13 year took place against a background of unsatisfactory farmer returns and heavy losses by processors during the previous season. Although the total value of exports actually increased compared to the previous year, this was mostly because of drought-induced slaughter volumes. This of course will have a depressing effect on future sheep and beef numbers.

The report acknowledges the volatility inherent in the meat industry and highlights a number of factors which influence this, including weather conditions, their impact on timing of supply and production numbers, mismatch between supply of livestock and sale of product, uncertainty of supply and market returns, competition from cheaper proteins, changing marketing environment, New Zealand’s small global scale, and the need to sell the whole carcase at a profit. . .

Dairy Women’s Network growth continues:

The growth of the Dairy Women’s Network continues with another 900 women joining the organisation between 1 June 2012 and 31 May 2013, increasing its total membership from 3100 to 4000.

At its annual general meeting tonight (Wednesday, 23 October) Dairy Women’s Network Trust Board chair Michelle Wilson said alongside its membership growth, the year had been an exceptionally busy one with several highlights including being a key partner in developing the Strategy for Sustainable Dairy Farming, securing a $180K grant from the Sustainable Farming Fund to develop Project Pathfinder – the country’s first leadership programme for dairying women, and welcoming Ballance Agri-Nutrients as a major sponsorship partner.

Like all businesses she added there were also challenges. . .

Lucerne text messaging service passes 500 subscriber milestone:

More than 500 people are now subscribed to Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s lucerne text messaging service – getting free real-time updates on how to get the best from this drought-tolerant pasture.

The collaboration between B+LNZ and Lincoln University was initiated early last year. It is facilitated by plant science specialist Professor Derrick Moot.

B+LNZ chief executive, Dr Scott Champion says: “The text messaging service is a way for farmers, whether they’re new or experienced with lucerne, to get tips and tricks delivered straight to them in a way that’s easy to use.”

All public texts are also posted to Twitter, so people can go back any time and look through the library of lucerne information. . . .

Time almost up in hunt for top rural consultants:

Time is running out for rural professionals to enter the inaugural Farmax Consultant of the Year Awards.

Award nominations close on November 1.

Top North and South Island rural consultants who use Farmax pastoral farm support software will be named in the awards, boasting an approximate $5000 prize pool. . .

Chinese experts judge Marisco wines best with Chinese food:

Marisco Vineyards wins two trophies at Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition

Marlborough winery Marisco Vineyards has been awarded two prestigious trophies for the wines best matched with two iconic Chinese dishes—Cantonese Dim Sum and Braised Abalone (Paua)—at the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition.

The Ned Pinot Gris 2013 won the trophy for the best Cantonese Dim Sum match because it pairs equally well with steamed, deep-fried and stewed savoury items from the traditional dim sum trolley. The King’s Bastard Chardonnay 2012 won the best Braised Abalone match for its resolved tannins, complexity and concentration of flavour. . . .

Farmer Brown Gets Cracking With Colony Eggs:

Kiwis nationwide now have a greater choice of welfare-friendly, affordable eggs with the launch of Farmer Brown Colony laid eggs in supermarkets this week.

Farmer Brown is the first egg producer in New Zealand to offer Colony laid eggs to New Zealand shoppers throughout the country. At the same time, the company has also launched a Free Range option to provide consumers with access to a full range of quality eggs.

Colony is an improved caged housing system which gives hens more space and increased ability to behave naturally and do the things hens love to do – nesting, scratching, perching and stretching their wings. It has been scientifically evaluated by New Zealand’s National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), as meeting the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act along with Barn and Free Range systems. . .


Rural round-up

September 20, 2013

Beef + Lamb New Zealand appoints Chair-Elect:

Northland farmer and Northern North Island Director for Beef + Lamb New Zealand, James Parsons was appointed Chair-Elect for Beef + Lamb New Zealand at the organisation’s board meeting today.

The position of Chair–Elect has been made to allow an orderly transition of leadership for Beef + Lamb New Zealand, following the announcement from current Chairman, Mike Petersen that he will not seek re-election when his term ends in March 2014.

“This appointment is a very important part of the governance process,” Petersen said.

“Beef + Lamb New Zealand puts strong emphasis on the development of all directors, and there has been a real focus on growing the leadership ability of the board for the benefit of the wider sector. . .

Wattie’s Starts Precision – Planting This Season’s Beetroot:

– Day One of 20 weeks of planting

– Resurgence of consumer interest in beetroot

Wattie’s has started precision-planting this season’s beetroot crop, and will continue over the next 20 weeks until a total of 350 hectares have been planted.

The first seed has been planted in the Paki Paki area of Hawke’s Bay for what will be a 20,000 tonne crop, Wattie’s second biggest annual crop behind tomatoes.

Harvesting of the first baby beets is scheduled for the second week in December. . .

Irrigators urged to check for lightning strike damage:

IrrigationNZ says farmers should exercise caution when starting irrigation systems – even if storm damage isn’t obvious – as lightening strike has emerged as a secondary cause of problems following last week’s storm.

“Just because your centre pivot didn’t blow over in the wind doesn’t mean your system is ok. We are now hearing reports of irrigation control systems fried by lightning strike, especially along the Canterbury foothills. Farmers need to check their infrastructure carefully before the season begins. Don’t start your irrigator before you’ve undertaken the appropriate safety checks,” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

“Irrigation system pre-season checks will be even more important this year as parts and labour will be in short supply due to the storm. Irrigators can not afford for their irrigator to break down due to negligence as it will result in downtime. Basic checks like ensuring the pivot tracks are free from obstructions, tyre pressures are correct and so forth are a no-brainer,” says Mr Curtis. . .

Invermay Delegation Meeting Minister of Economic Development:

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull is leading a delegation to meet with Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce to discuss alternatives to the proposed downsizing of Invermay in Wellington at 5pm today.

The group includes Environment Southland chair Ali Timms, former Dunedin MPs Katherine Rich and Pete Hodgson, Otago Regional Council chair Stephen Woodhead and its CEO Peter Bodeker.

Dave Cull says any reduction in roles at Invermay will have a serious economic and strategic impact.

“From Dunedin’s perspective, there is potential for smart businesses and jobs to come out of there. From a regional point of view, the expertise at Invermay is crucial to ensure the continuation of leading environmental research related to farming and other industries which contribute significantly to the Otago and Southland economies. We believe the proposal would also have serious economic implications at a national level.” . . .

Double Gold for Rapaura Springs 2013 Sauvignon Blanc:

Rapaura Springs is continuing to strike gold with its Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, with a double win at the New Zealand International Wine Show 2013.

The Rapaura Springs 2013 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Rapaura Springs 2013 Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc both won gold medals at the country’s largest wine competition.

Owner Brendan Neylon said Sauvignon Blanc was Marlborough’s flagship wine, and it was imperative that the region worked hard to continue to produce the world’s best. . .

Rockburn Wines Win At the Biggest and Most Prestigious Wine and Spirits Competition In China:

Rockburn Wines has been awarded a prestigious Double Gold medal in the 2013 China Wine and Spirits Awards for their 2009 Rockburn Chardonnay, while the 2011 Pinot Noir took out its own Gold award.

The Central Otago winery has a history of winning gold medals, particularly for its Pinot Noir, and this month alone has also collected a Gold Medal at the Bragato Wines Awards for their 2012 Pinot Noir and a Gold Medal at the New Zealand International Wine Show for their 2012 Tigermoth Riesling. . .

Marisco Vineyards wins NZ Wine Producer of the Year in China:

Marisco Vineyards has been awarded the Trophy for New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year at the China Wine and Spirits Awards. The company’s wines also won four double-gold, six gold and two silver medals in the prestigious annual competition, continuing their golden run in the rapidly growing Chinese wine market.

Chief Winemaker and Proprietor Brent Marris says the trophy and medal haul will consolidate The King’s Series and The Ned’s position as market leading New Zealand wine brands in China.

“The Chinese market is very complex. One of the challenges is that it is culturally a very status driven market so old world wines have tended to dominate. But awards like this endow enormous status on our brands, new world wines generally, and New Zealand wines specifically, and this win will build our brand profile, and help increase distribution and cement our foothold in the Chinese market,” Marris says. . .

Organics: The Future of New Zealand Wine?

Major three-year project aims to see a fifth of all Kiwi vineyards certified organic by 2020.

The oldest winery in the country, Mission Estate, is also one of the most technologically advanced and sustainable. Now, in a move that could have implications for the New Zealand wine industry as a whole, Mission Estate is into its final year of a major study on organic grape-growing – a trial that may potentially see this influential winery make a significant commitment to increasing its organics production.

The Organic Focus Vineyard Project is New Zealand’s first public trial of organic grapes grown side by side with conventional grapes. The pioneering participants are Gibbston Valley in Central Otago, Wither Hills in Marlborough, and Mission Estate in Hawke’s Bay, where the project was piloted during the 2010-11 season. Mission viticulturist Caine Thompson is monitoring 16 hectares of Gimblett Gravels vines, with half being grown in the conventional manner and half under strict organic controls. . .


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