Rural round-up

September 12, 2011

Getting a slice of the dairy actionWilly Leferink:

For those who wish to ‘save our farms’ from foreign hands, I’m an immigrant. For others who view the cow as an environmental devil, I am a dairy farmer. To those who accuse corporate farmers of avarice, my family and I have interests in six farms. I just hope they’ll note ‘family’ in the last sentence. To those who accuse dairy farmers of tax evasion, I pay my taxes and employ people who do the same.

While I could recite economic numbers showing over a quarter of all exports are dairy, this tends to fly over the heads of many. Listening to the Herald’s Fran O’Sullivan on the radio recently, I was struck by her saying ‘people want a slice of the dairy action’. This was about ‘mum and dad’ investors getting their share in our biggest export industry. The argument is attractive, if somewhat idealised. There’s an assumption retail investors will collect dividends rather than selling their shares at the best possible price. This confounds my idea of what capitalism is . . .

Station wool deal with Japanese

 Mackenzie high country farmer is taking his merino wool straight to the Japanese market after securing a deal with a Japanese buyer that will turn his product into high-end fashion garments for wealthy consumers.

The agreement will see Maryburn Station owner Martin Murray supplying Japanese spinning company Nankai with 20 tonnes of his wool, which comprises about half of what he produces at his station in the Mackenzie Basin . . .

Tauranga horticulturist wins Loder Cup:

Tauranga horticulturalist Mark Dean has been awarded one of the country’s highest conservation honours, the prestigious Loder Cup for 2011, Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson announced today.

“Mark has made an outstanding contribution throughout his lifetime working in the horticulture industry specialising in native flora.

“He has spent much of the past 30 years inspiring others as an advisor, teacher and role model both within the horticulture industry and in community conservation projects.

“This prestigious Cup is awarded for outstanding service and commitment to the protection of New Zealand’s native plant species . . .  

Waning RHD effect spurs studySally Rae:

Recent research on possum control is being applied to rabbits.

The research programme was driven by the waning effectiveness of the rabbit-killing virus rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD), with farmers increasingly having to rely on 1080 and pindone poisoning . . .

Farmer’s legacy of ingenuityMark Hotton:

It has been more than 40 years since Southlander Jack Pritchard came up with a simple solution to the annual problem of feeding orphaned lambs, but demand for his invention remains as strong as ever.

It is hard to know how many millions of his Pritchard flutter valve teat have been sold, but many farmers around the world will be familiar with the distinctive red rubber teat, which can be cut to adjust the feeding rate . . .

Fieldays king steps down after 20 yearsCeana Priest:

After two decades of guiding the National Fieldays to an international $500 million agribusiness event, general manager Barry Quayle has resigned.

Quayle, 56, will step down as head of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest field days and Mystery Creek Events Centre on November 1, saying he leaves behind a role that became his passion.

“I’m leaving with a sense of pride and recognising a lot of enjoyable days here,” he said. “It has become a passion and it gets into your blood. You live and breathe it.” . . .

Call to revive wool use in NZ:

As the international Campaign for Wool rolls on, the industry in New Zealand is looking to rebuild the demand for wool in its own back yard.

The latest step in the campaign to revive global interest in wool, the Wool Modern Exhibition, opened in London last week.

New Zealand products are featured in the exhibition which aims to break new ground in uses for wool by exhibiting work by leading fashion and interior designers . . .

Government, business and farmers to learn sustainability lessonsJames Houghton:

 I am astounded at some of the exorbitant prices being charged by some businesses now the Rugby World Cup is around the corner.

The World Cup may be a one off event, but treating it simply as a money grab is not sustainable thinking.

As a farmer and businessman myself, I am keen to see all industries operate a tight ship and turn a decent profit. However, farmers are starting to learn that business success in the long term is tied to sustainability and some stories of commercial greed in the news lately indicate not all industries have learnt that lesson. . .


Rural round-up

May 8, 2011

 Go Mr McGill – rivettingKate Taylor writes:

Good news and another step up the politicial ladder for my friend Paul McGill.

 Current Nuffield Scholar, former Kellogg’s Scholar, convenor of this year’s Grand Final of The National Bank Young Farmer Contest in Masterton….. he’s now also president of Wairarapa Federated Farmers. . .

The price of milk – Claire Browning on food security:

The true price of milk is its cost, in distracting us from the bigger issue: what policy and regulation is needed, to secure quality food for ordinary — all — New Zealanders

Why assume milk guzzling is such a good thing? Why should it not cost, since it does? . .

Focus on farm jobs educators urged – Mark Hotton writes:

The public perception of agriculture and other primary industries must change to make them more attractive to Southland’s brightest young people, high school heads of department were told yesterday.

In a presentation designed to encourage teachers and career advisers to recommend careers in primary product industries to students, Lincoln University lecturer Dr Jon Hickford said Southland’s economy was heavily reliant on the rural sector so it was vital skilled people were being encouraged into the industry.

There was a real need to encourage young people into the sector because that was where the province’s wealth was being generated, he said.

Hat tip: Tony Chaston who wrote:

It is ironic this story broke on the same day the government announced a $55 million youth employment, and job training package aimed at building the skills of our young people for the future.

This site last year expressed concerns about lack of funding at Lincoln University to allow agricultural lecturers to properly cover the three areas of teaching, extension and research. Following  up on these issues it appears a significant turnaround has been achieved and new appointments should improve the quality of that service.Thats good news but how much of that $55million will be directed to agriculture I ask? . .

Red meat strategy shows a path to sustainable sector profitability – Beef+ Lamb NZ;

The Meat Industry Association (MIA) and Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) have today released the Red Meat Sector Strategy with the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon John Key and the Minister of Agriculture, the Hon David Carter. The strategy reflects broad recognition of the underlying challenges to the sector’s sustainable profitability, but also clearly identifies the opportunities for the sector to realise its full potential and continue to be a principal driver of New Zealand’s economy.

“While the sector currently generates nearly $8b annually in export earnings and forms the basis of the visual and social landscape of New Zealand, over time its profitability has been inconsistent and often unsatisfactory, as is reflected by conversion of sheep and beef farm land to other uses such as dairy farming and forestry,” said Mike Petersen, B+LNZ Chairman.

In this context, MIA and B+LNZ initiated the development of this sector strategy – with unprecedented input from the sector and underpinned by extensive data and in-depth analysis by Deloitte – to identify ways of achieving sustainable profitability and promote re-investment in the industry. . .

Largest in the world – from Rural News:

 THE NEWLY-OPENED New Zealand Ruminant Methane Measurement Centre (NZRMMC) is the largest purpose-built facility of its kind in the world.

Opened last week by Agriculture Minister David Carter the Palmerston North-based facility provides New Zealand scientists with an opportunity to accurately measure methane emissions from more than 25 ruminant animals at the same time. . .

Locals can’t rival Crafar bid – Richard Rennin in NZ Farmers Weekly writes:

Despite increased confidence in the dairy industry it looks unlikely individual sales of Crafar farm properties would raise more than if they are sold as one.

` The prospect of another Chinese company bidding for the 8000ha Crafar portfolio has had local farmers like Raetihi’s Gerry Dekker asking why the farms could not be sold off individually.

Dekker’s concerns, expressed in a letter to The New Zealand Farmers Weekly, have been echoed by Federated Farmers dairy head Lachlan McKenzie. . .

Farming families honoured – Helena de Reus writes:

Families who have owned the same farm for more than a century will be honoured at the New Zealand Century Farm Awards in Lawrence next Saturday.

Twenty-two families from around the country will attend the official function at the Simpson Park complex, with four receiving sesquicentennial awards (150 years). . .

Passion for High Country and painting – Sally Rae writes:

 High country artist Norman Sinclair is looking forward to a trip to the Waitaki Valley next week.

Not only is he having an exhibition at the Kurow Museum – coinciding with the South Island sheep dog trial championships at nearby Hakataramea – but he will also fit in some duck-shooting in the Hakataramea Valley. . .


Rural round-up

April 17, 2011

Fonterra benefits from Chinese dairy market:

Cracking progress on its dairy farm developments in China has helped Fonterra achieve nearly 50 per cent compound annual revenue growth in the powerhouse economy in the past five years.

The growth across Fonterra’s four business units in China – ingredients, food service, brands and farming – reflects escalating demand for dairy products in China as well as consumer calls for safe, quality product. . .

Greeen methods no bar to profits –  Mark Hotton writes:

Waimea Valley farmers Grant and Bernie Weller won the supreme award at the Southland Farm Environment Awards last night.

They also won the water quality and habitat improvement award at the ceremony in front of about 230 people at Ascot Park Hotel.

The awards are becoming an increasingly important date on the farming calendar with the industry coming under increasing public pressure to prove it can be environmentally sustainable.

Finalist Geoff Clark said it was increasingly important to showcase properties and farms that are portraying a positive image of farming to the wider community. . .

Moving earth for water Claire Allison writes:

When the first sod was turned on Rangitata South Irrigation’s new scheme, there was no celebration – no photograph in the paper, speeches or ceremony.

Chairman Ian Morten says they like to keep things low key.

That might be a bit harder now that construction has begun, and the scale of the project is becoming more evident by the day.

Low-key it might be, but there’s no denying it’s large-scale.

The numbers involved are impressive. Taking up to 20 cubic metres of water a day from the south bank of the Rangitata River during high flows, the water will be fed into storage ponds, before being sent down the line to more than 40 properties between the Rangitata and Orari rivers. . .

The ‘Happy Factor’ – Victoria Rutherford writes:

Dr Andrew Greer has been interested in overseas trials involving the “happy factor” TST trials, and has been working at Ashley Dene to add a New Zealand basis to the research findings.

 TSTs are a part-flock or mob anthelmintic treatment directed at the individual animals most likely to benefit. This helps to slow the development of anthelmintic resistance through providing a parasite population that is not exposed to the drug, effectively diluting the frequency of anthelmintic-resistant genes within a parasite population. . .

Awash with schemes – Jackie Harrigan writes:

The country is awash with plans for new irrigation schemes according to Irrigation NZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

In total, 450,000-500,000ha of new irrigation area is “on the books”, 300,000 of which is new irrigation area and 200,000ha that will have increased water reliability. Roughly one-third of the area is already consented, but only 50,000ha is build-ready. . .

Trials, tribulations of farm forestry – Steve Wyn-Harris writes:

I’ve got a cheque to come in the mail shortly that has been 30 years in the offing. However, in this case I can’t blame New Zealand Post.

It is from a couple of small forestry blocks and an entrée for when my main plantings come on stream in 10 years.

In this case I didn’t plant the trees but in their second year I remember an awful job of working my way through the block to straighten them and stamp the soft soil firm again after a heavy rain and wind event.

It must have worked because few of them fell over again. I did the low and medium pruning and lacking a decent ladder and a height anxiety employed someone to do the high prune. . .

Alpaca on menus soon in New Zealand  – Hugh Stringleman writes:

Commercial slaughter and toll processing of alpaca for their meat has begun in New Zealand with two trial consignments through Venison Packers Feilding Ltd.

Alpaca breeders Peter and Tessa McKay at Maraekakaho, Hawke’s Bay, collated the first 43 animals to be killed and Venison Packers is working through the approvals of its risk management plan (RMP) amendments.

“We needed 30 sets of mainly microbiological data to validate the major changes to our RMP,” said Venison Packers general manager Simon Wishnowsky. . .

Opportunities for smart efficiency with tagging – Sally Rae writes:

Opportunities for more efficency exist with introducing of the National Animal Identification and Tracing (Nait) system, farmers are hearing.

The system will provide lifetime animal traceability, assisting with biosecurity and management of disease outbreaks. . .

Gene hints dessiminated – Sally Rae writes:

Commercial beef farmers had an opportunity to increase their knowledge and gain a better understanding of the estimated breeding values (EBVs) system at a recent beef genetics forum in North Otago.

The forum, hosted by Fossil Creek Angus and Goldwyn Angus, was held at Neil and Rose Sanderson’s Fossil Creek Angus stud at Ngapara. . .

Centre stage for wool at Fieldays Chris Gardner writes:

Waikato wool growers are excited their commodity will take the spotlight at the National Agricultural Fieldays, writes Farming editor Chris Gardner.

Wool’s comeback will be recognised at the National Agricultural Fieldays with the Primary Wool Co-operative the focus of the event’s premier feature.

The 900-strong farmer co-operative will showcase the way New Zealand’s best wool is farmed and demonstrate how wool carpets are made and sold internationally to tie in with this year’s Fieldays theme ”Breaking barriers to productivity”.

Te Kuiti sheep farmer and five times world champion shearer David Fagan welcomed the idea. ”I think it’s brilliant,” he said.

”Wool’s been on the back burner for a good number of years. It’s a great opportunity to get it out there again. . .

Hat tip: interest.co.nz


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