Rural round-up

04/11/2015

Animal welfare taken seriously by SPCA and MPI – Jill Galloway:

The needs of animals have to be met by lifestylers and farmers, but prosecution is a last resort for authorities dealing with animal welfare, writes Jill Galloway.

No one sets out not to care about the animals they look after, but sometimes other things such as finances or a messy marriage break-up take precedence and the animals slip down the priority list.

“Something else is often going on in someone’s life and they can’t put the animals’ needs on top of the list.  Sometimes someone is just too old and not coping anymore with being in a remote place,” says Jim Flack from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). . . 

New Plants Bring Added Value at Peak:

New processing plants around the country have helped Fonterra process more than 86.9 million litres of milk on the Co-operative’s biggest day of the year.

The peak of Fonterra’s milking season was reached on October 22nd this year, with five new plants each contributing to a performance that has seen a record amount of peak milk made into value-added products.

Managing Director Global Operations Robert Spurway says the additional capacity has given the Co-operative more options in its product mix. . . .

Kiwi Tractors – a Humble National Icon – Beattie’s Book Blog:

Kiwi Tractors: A Humble National Icon

by Steve Hale

Bateman – Hardcover – RRP $39.99

From lifestyle blocks to vineyards, high country stations to boat ramps, the humble tractor is a much-loved and instantly recognisable feature on any New Zealand landscape. The tractor is a part of our national identity, as Kiwi as pavlova, Marmite, and a silver fern on the sacred black jersey.

In Kiwi Tractors, Steve Hale elicits some delightful stories of affection from Kiwi owners for their tractors.

During his research for Kiwi Tractors Steve found himself continually taken aback by the depth of knowledge possessed by various tractor owners, their zest for restoration and passion for collecting. . . 

Allied Farmers wants to buy back stake in NZ Farmers Livestock – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Allied Farmers wants to buy back a stake in NZ Farmers Livestock that it sold down last year to pay debts.

The Stratford-based company said subsidiary Allied Farmers Rural agreed to buy a 9.3 percent stake, or 950 shares, in NZ Farmers Livestock from Stockmans Holdings through the issue of $1 million of new shares. It currently owns 57 percent of NZ Farmers Livestock, while Stockmans owns 27 percent, according to Companies Office records.

Last year, Allied sold 1,026 shares in NZ Farmers Livestock for $1 million to Stockmans and Agent Co to enable it to help repay $2 million owed to Crown Asset Management following the failure of its Allied Nationwide Finance unit. . . .

Sir Brian Elwood awarded Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal for 2015:

Last night Sir Brian Elwood was awarded the 2015 Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal in recognition of the leadership he has displayed as chairman of industry regulator Kiwifruit New Zealand (KNZ) over the past 10 years. The award was presented at an industry dinner in Mount Maunganui which followed Zespri’s inaugural Kiwifruit Innovation Symposium.

Paul Jones is chairman of the Kiwifruit Industry Advisory Committee, Zespri director and chairman of the Hayward Medal judging panel, and he explains that Sir Brian’s legacy is the way in which the Kiwifruit Regulations have been administered to the overall benefit of NZ growers and suppliers.

“Sir Brian has a very fine legal mind. The Kiwifruit Regulations call on KNZ to exercise extensive judgement and discretion in their administration and Sir Brian’s thorough, meticulous analysis and vast experience has served the industry well,” says Mr Jones. . . 

MPI reminds consumers to take care when drinking raw milk:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is reminding consumers to take care when drinking raw unpasteurised milk, which is considered a high-risk food.

“We have seen a number of recent cases of foodborne illnesses linked to raw milk and it’s important that consumers remember and understand that there are risks with drinking raw milk,” says MPI Director Animal & Animal Products.

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurised (heat treated) to kill harmful bacteria like Campylobacter and Salmonella that are potentially present in the milk.

“Many people who drink raw milk do not always fully understand the risks and don’t realise that there is the possibility of getting sick from the harmful bacteria in the milk.” . . .

Fonterra Farm Source Delivers Millions in Value:

Fonterra Farm Source has delivered millions in value to more than 9,000 Fonterra farmers since it was launched in Methven a year ago.

Director Farm Source Stores Jason Minkhorst said farmers have already earned 5.7 million in Reward Dollars through Fonterra Farm Source, which is on track to deliver $14 million in discounts on key products by the end of this year.

“Fonterra Farm Source was created to make the most of the unity and strength of our Co-operative and provide a whole new level of support for our farmers. We’ve combined services, expertise, rewards, digital technology and financial options together with local Farm Source hubs to support the major dairying regions throughout the country,” Mr Minkhorst said. . . 

Kiwi arboricultural champions recognised

The recent 2015 Asplundh New Zealand Arboricultural Association (NZ Arb) conference and Husqvarna National Tree Climbing Championships in Nelson saw national champions announced and industry stalwarts celebrated.

The competition saw events testing competitors’ ability to professionally and safely manoeuvre in a tree, while performing work-related tree-care tasks efficiently. The final event Masters’ Climb then saw the National Champions crowned – women’s national champion Stef White (Central Otago) and men’s national champion Dale Thomas (Auckland). . . .

Multiple factors influence the economics of growing maize silage on-farm:

Maize silage grown on-farm is at its cheapest per kilo of dry matter in low pay-out years, reveals Ravensdown Agri Manager Bryce Fausett in a paper he is presenting to the New Zealand Grassland Association Conference today.

The paper titled ‘The true cost of maize silage’ is co-authored by J.S Rowarth and F.G Scrimgeour, and challenges assumptions that growing maize silage on-farm is the more economic choice. It details the multiple factors that influence the true cost of growing maize. . . .

Wattie’s (R) and Palmers join forces in the search for New Zealand’s ultimate SuperRed tomato grower!:

Legendary food brand Wattie’s – who have been supplying Kiwis canned tomatoes since 1936 – and gardening great Palmers have come together to lend their muscle to the inaugural Wattie’s & Palmers SuperRed Tomato Growing Competition 2015.

What makes this competition extra special is that for the first time, the Wattie’s tomato seed used to grow their iconic canned tomatoes is available for purchase by the public. Wattie’s field tomatoes, aka Wattie’s ‘SuperRed’ seedlings, are unique to traditional ‘beefsteak’ tomatoes. They grow as a bush and not a vine, with firm, flavour packed fruit that are more elongated than round. The fruit is relatively high in natural sugars and lycopene, and the fruit on the bush ripen around the same time making them perfect for Wattie’s Canned Tomatoes. Now they can be grown at home to enjoy fresh and for a season of homemade chutneys and relishes. . . 

Woman made her favourite cow bridesmaid at her wedding:

Like most brides, Caroline Conley Buckingham wanted to be surrounded by her loved ones when she walked down the aisle on her big day.

Buckingham says her wedding wouldn’t have been complete without one honorary bridesmaid — her favorite cow. And, no, that’s not a fat joke.

The Jonesboro, Tenn. native has a self-proclaimed “cow obsession” and she couldn’t have imagined saying, “I do,” this June without her favorite cow, Roxie, by her side. Buckingham loved her cows long before her husband, Ethan, came into the picture. . .


Two tales of one shipment

02/07/2015

The Ministry of Primary Industries has one story:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has confirmed the 45,000 sheep and 3,200 cattle, exported to Mexico are now at a holding farm following their 15-day journey from Timaru.

A total of 191 sheep and one cow died – 0.42% and 0.03% respectively of the sheep and cattle in the shipment. This compares favourably with the average mortality of 0.71% in 40 Australian live sheep shipments last year.

MPI’s Director Animal and Animal Products, Matthew Stone, said the exact cause of the deaths is not yet known but, as a matter of course, MPI has required a detailed voyage report by mid-July from the exporter, which will include information from the veterinarian who travelled with the shipment.

“Nothing unexpected happened in terms of the animals’ health and welfare during the voyage,” said Mr Stone.

“The stockmen on board report the sheep had a 10% to 12% weight gain on the 15 day voyage.”

Mexican authorities oversaw the completion of the vessel’s disembarkation process. . .

And SAFE has another story:

192 lives lost on export shipment

Animal advocacy organisation SAFE is appalled that 191 sheep and one cow perished on board a controversial live export shipment to Mexico. The shipment of a reported 45,000 sheep and 3,200 cattle was the largest cargo of animals ever to leave New Zealand.

“192 animals have died and it begs the question, how many more will die on the next stage of their journey?” says SAFE’s executive director, Hans Kriek.

The sheep are being transported by truck for 1000 kilometres in 30-degree temperatures to a farm near Mexico City from where they will be distributed to smaller farms. It was reported that some sheep also died at the feedlots as they waited to board.

There are no reports yet on why the animals died, but it is known that on live export ships a number of animals die from illness or starvation. Some suffer from ‘inanition’ – not recognising the ship food of pellets as food as they were previously used to being on pasture.

When we were in Darwin at All Flex’s PPP conference a couple of weeks ago the preparation of animals for live shipments, which includes conditioning on the feed they will eat at sea, was explained.

Stock are monitored carefully and any not eating enough are culled before they embark and well before there is any danger of starvation.

I am certain that those caring for the sheep in New Zealand would take similar care for both animal welfare and financial reasons.

Although the shipment is purportedly for breeding purposes rather than for slaughter, which is illegal, SAFE says this latest shipment ignores the spirit of the ban on live export since the animals will still eventually be slaughtered in Mexico after they are no longer required for breeding, most likely in conditions that would be deemed cruel and illegal in this country. . .

 New Zealand’s meat works are world leading, I don’t know enough to comment on Mexico’s but the sheep and cattle would eventually be slaughtered had they stayed in New Zealand.

Apropos of dying at sea, another fact we learned in Darwin was that the death rate for people on cruise liners is as high as 2.5%.

Weight gain is also common among people on cruises though probably not as high as the 10-12% gain of the stock.


No widespread preservative problem in fresh meat

27/09/2013

The Ministry of Primary Industries is investigating the suspected use of sulphites in meat by a small number of independent butcheries and groceries in the Auckland area.

The investigation led TVNZ’s news a few days ago and MPI is concerned it may have unnecessarily caused consumers concern that there is some food safety risk associated with fresh meat.

But the Ministry said its investigation to date has found  no widespread problem with the use of preservatives in fresh red meat.

“The use of sulphites to prolong the shelf life of fresh meat and freshen up the appearance of greying meat is something that appears to be being undertaken by a small group of “rogue” operators and not mainstream meat suppliers. We targeted these butcheries and grocery stores for further investigation based on our own intelligence gathering.

“We are confident, through conducting our regular food safety compliance activity, that larger retailers including New Zealand’s supermarket chains and reputable, New Zealand-qualified butchers are well aware of the rules and will not be carrying out this practice,” Ministry for Primary Industries Director Animal, and Animal Products, Matthew Stone says.

“MPI will not tolerate flouting of the rules that are in place to ensure New Zealand’s food is safe. The Ministry has a range of legal options at its disposal where evidence is present that this law-breaking is taking place.”

Mr Stone also points out that the issue concerns the handling and retailing of meat in New Zealand domestically and that this is not an issue concerning export meat.

“Consumers need to have confidence, particularly if they are in the small group that have allergies to sulphites, that fresh meat will not have this additive in it.”

Sulphites such as sulphur dioxide are food additives used in a range of foods around the world. In New Zealand its use is controlled by regulation and must be reflected in labelling, which MPI also monitors.

Mr Stone says some initial sampling of fresh meat from 10 Auckland butcheries and grocery stores found the presence of sulphite which is a preservative allowed in processed meat goods (and a range of other foodstuffs) but is not allowed to be added to fresh meat.

He says for this reason, MPI recently carried out sampling of fresh red meat (a range of cuts including mince) from another 27 premises in Auckland.

“We expect to know in a couple of weeks what the true situation is out there. But we need to be clear that the evidence shows that the use of sulphite in fresh meat is not a widespread problem.

“There can be serious consequences for those who break the rules. The incorrect use of additives breaches the Food Standards Code and the Food Act 1981. Under the Act, failure to comply with the Food Standards Code can result in a fine of up to $5000 for an individual or $20,000 for a body corporate. . .

This is a serious issue but it is not a widespread problem.


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