Rural round-up

11/07/2021

Ute tax final straw for farmers as pressures mount– Matthew Littlewood:

On Friday, farmers and tradies will come together to protest a number of new government regulations, with thousands expected to drive their utes and tractors into centres across the country – the Government’s new ‘ute tax’ on high emission vehicles is the final straw for many, Matthew Littlewood reports.

It’s been a year of upheaval for many, and the farming community is no different. But setting the impacts of Covid-19 aside, South Canterbury Rural Support Trust chairman Mark Adams says there have been many challenges mounting for those in the rural sector for some time.

“It was happening even before Covid-19 hit. In this region, you have had Mycoplasma bovis, the Rangitata River flooding, the long dry spell, and then the more recent flooding last month.”

As well as having to contend with raging weather issues, farmers also had a Government pushing on with wide-ranging environmental reforms, Adams said. . . 

Activist photos reignite winter grazing debate in Southland – Rachael Kelly:

A cow stands in a muddy paddock on a winter grazing block, and it’s ignited a fresh firestorm of comments on social media as activists and farmers clash.

Environmental activist Geoff Reid took a photo of the cow and posted it on his own Facebook page, but when asked when he took it, he’ll only say he took it at Waituna last Wednesday, from the side of the road.

When asked if it was taken after heavy rain, he replied “it is Southland and for it to rain in winter is no surprise. I believe we need significant land-use change to avoid the harm intensive winter grazing is causing.’’ . . .

Seeka announces an equity investment in fruitometry:

New Zealand’s largest kiwifruit grower Seeka announces an equity investment in Fruitometry an innovative horticultural agritech.

In its first year Fruitometry successfully delivering a new commercial Digital Crop Estimation (DCE) service to kiwifruit growers, managers and packhouses in the North Island. Fruitometry’s exclusive technology enables the $3billion kiwifruit industry by growers being able to measure fruit set and growth by row throughout the growing season.

Fruitometry CTO and Founder Christopher Miller said “We are delighted with our performance after commercially scanning a thousand hectares. Grower feedback has been fantastic; it affirms our hard work to transform a challenging concept into a horticultural metrics provider in three years. Seeka is an ambitious, growth-oriented leader. Their investment is rocket fuel to rapidly scale our operation, broaden our product line and launch innovative tech towards additional crops and beyond New Zealand.” . . 

Governance plays a vital role in the future of the primary sector:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients is a co-operative owned by over 17,000 farmers and growers, and is a leader in driving sustainable productivity within New Zealand’s primary sector.

“We are pleased to announce that we have appointed our first Associate Director, Will Grayling, into an 18-month role focused on building governance experience,” says Duncan Coull, Ballance Chair.

“To understand how boards set and drive organisational strategy and vision, you need experience and training.

“We’ve created an opportunity for an associate to get involved in primary sector governance and learn through doing by being around the board table.

Jamie McIntyre wins Gisborne Young Grower of the Year regional final:

Jamie McIntyre, 25, an orchard hand at Illawarra Farms, has won the 2021 Gisborne Young Grower of the Year competition.

‘What a day and I’m really stoked,’ said Jamie.

‘This is the best job you can have. I love what I do as growing is such a fantastic lifestyle choice. I am passionate about growing and want to share what happens on our orchards, so more people can have a slice of the lifestyle that we can all lead.’

Jamie will represent the Gisborne growing community in the national Young Grower of the Year competition in Wellington on 22-23 September, where six other regional finalists will compete for their share of $30,000 worth of prizes. . . 

Graziers, peak bodies respond to Landholders for Dingoes – Sally Gall:

An acknowledgement that wild dogs don’t respect boundaries must be respected by the Landholders for Dingoes group, according to Queensland producers and peak body representatives.

The newly launched body, which has members in most states, has initiated ripples of comment with its claim that members are reaping business and environmental benefits in keeping wild dogs on their properties.

Queensland spokesman, Longreach grazier Angus Emmott said it was unfortunate that organisations driving the persecution of wild dogs, citing Meat & Livestock Australia, Australian Wool Innovation, and the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, focused only on killing them. . . 


Rural round-up

10/10/2018

High lamb prices will hit profit – Nigel Malthus:

Alliance Group has warned that its annual result, due to be reported in November, will show a drop in profit.

“The financial performance of the company this year will be down… meaningfully,” chief executive David Surveyor told farmers attending the company’s roadshow meeting in Cheviot last week.

However, he assured shareholders the company is profitable, the balance sheet remains “incredibly strong, and for the avoidance of any doubt we have the ability to make sure we build our company forward.” . . 

3 M bovis farms confirmed through bulk milk testing – Sally Rae:

 Only three farms have been confirmed through bulk milk testing as having Mycoplasma bovis – but the Ministry for Primary Industries says it is too early to speculate about final results.

The second bulk milk surveillance programme was being undertaken now as spring was the best time to test for the disease, the ministry said.

Infected animals were more likely to shed the bacteria after a stressful period, such as calving and the start of lactation
.

To date, almost 10,000 of the country’s 12,000 dairy farms had completed two rounds of testing, MPI said in an update
.

Govt committed to Mycoplasma bovis eradication; $25.6M spent to date – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – The government has paid $25.6 million in compensation claims related to Mycoplasma bovis and remains committed to phased eradication, said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor.

One of the biggest challenges for farmers has been navigating the compensation process and Ardern and O’Connor announced a new recovery package aimed at making that easier.

The package includes a team of rural professionals who understand both farming and the compensation process who can sit down and work with farmers on their claims. The Ministry for Primary Industries has also produced an improved compensation form and guide and an online calculator of milk production losses. It will also provide regional recovery managers for key areas. . . .

Marc Rivers: The man with Fonterra’s fortunes in his hands – John Anthony:

Marc Rivers has a TEDx talk. And it’s not about numbers, profit and loss – and there is no mention of balance sheets.

Rivers, Fonterra’s top number cruncher, is not your typical chief financial officer.

Unlike their charismatic chief executive counterparts, chief financial officers are generally regarded as robotic accountant types, capable of presenting a company’s financial position in jargon that few people understand. . . 

State of the Rural Nation Survey finds rural dwellers less likely to talk to health professionals

  • Seven in ten people have felt increased stress over the last five years
  • Those aged 18-39 feeling the most pressure
  • 61 percent said living rurally limits access to mental health resources

A recent survey has found that 70 percent of rural New Zealanders have felt more stress over the last five years.

The State of the Rural Nation Survey, conducted by Bayer New Zealand and Country TV, asked participants several questions regarding their views on critical topics impacting rural New Zealand today, including a series of questions around mental health.

Of those who responded that they had felt increased stress over the last five years, over half (54 percent) attributed financial pressures as the main reason, while the impact of environmental factors (ie droughts, flooding, hail) on people’s work and livelihoods came in at a close second (49 percent). . . 

Gene editing in brief: What, how, why:

Embracing gene editing could have huge benefits for New Zealand’s primary industries and we shouldn’t be scared of the technology, scientists say.

The latest paper in a series from the Royal Society Te Apārangi outlined five ways gene editing could be used in farming and forestry and scientists are keen for Kiwis to discuss the issue.

It sounds scary, though.  So what’s it all about?

Gene editing (also known as genome editing) is the targeted alteration of a specific DNA sequence. While older genetic modification technology typically added foreign DNA to a plant or animal, gene editing involves precise modification of small sections of existing DNA.  . . 

Mental health workshop focus on rural people:

Workshops being held across the country are equipping farmers and rural professionals with the tools to recognise and support those who are struggling.

NZ Young Farmers has organised five of the Good Yarn workshops, the second of which was held in Carterton last week.

Greytown dairy farmer Rachel Gardner, one of 14 attendees last week, is encouraging other young people to talk about mental health. . . 

Meat measurement technology given funding boost :

Adelaide-based AgTech startup MEQ Probe has received $500,000 funding from Meat & Livestock Australia and industry partners Teys Australia and the Midfield Group to test ground-breaking technology to objectively measure the eating quality of meat.

Coming just a few months after MEQ Probe took home a coveted Pitch in the Paddock prize at the tri-annual Beef Australia event, the funding also includes investment from MEQ Probe founder, AgTech betaworks Availer.

It will enable a commercial pilot of the MEQ Probe technology, which uses nanoscale biophotonics to measure the marbling and tenderness of meat; both major drivers of eating quality.   . . 

 

Blueberry orchard for sale offers jam-packed opportunities:

A substantial blueberry orchard with its own commercial processing plant and refrigerated pack-house – producing one of the rarest but highest-yielding blueberry crops in New Zealand – has been placed on the market for sale.

The 8.8-hectare property at Gordonton in the Waikato features some eight hectares of blueberry plantings under canopy cover, along with buildings, equipment, and plant used for picking, sorting, packing and chilling blueberries.

Planted on peat soil and regularly fertilised, the orchard has some 15,000 trees – including 500 of the new Jaac variety of blueberry which produces a heavier-yielding crop than traditional clones. Other blueberry varieties grown in the orchard include Powder Blue, Tiff Blue, Centra Blue, O’Neal, Sunset, and Velluto. . . 


Rural round-up

04/11/2014

Read the story not just the headline – Jon Morgan:

Milk not as good as we thought? Milk may do more harm than good – not quite the headlines to lift the confidence of dairy farmers.

Unfortunately, they and others like them have been seen in major newspapers, on TV news and on news websites around the world in the past week.

They come from a study by Swedish researchers that comes to the conclusion that drinking more than three glasses of milk a day may not protect bones against breaking, and may even lead to higher rates of death.

The study suggests certain types of sugars found in milk may increase inflammation and oxidative stress, which can damage body cells.

To the credit of some reports, they also added high up in the story the researchers’ comment that they could not prove “cause and effect” and much more research was needed before anyone would be advised to limit their milk consumption. . .

Dairy farm focus on cost-cutting – Dene Mackenzie:

Dairy farmers will focus on the parts of their business they can easily change as their income drops in the 2014-15 season, according to ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley.

In his quarterly economic forecasts, released this morning, Mr Tuffley said the firstthings farmers would look at were likely to be feed and farm maintenance.

Last season, farmers had incentive to increase production through additional feed and, generally, the feed price was of secondary importance to feed availability. That resulted in palm kernel imports rising by 400 million kg, or 29%, on the previous season, at an additional cost of $120 millon, he said.

”This season, in many cases extra feed doesn’t pay. Farmers may reduce the amount of feed they purchase or make what they do have go further.” . . .

Uruguay link still strong – Sally Rae:

Back in the 1960s, a young Enrique Larraechea, from Uruguay, visited the Robertson family in West Otago and bought a Romney ram.

Decades later, Mr Larraechea has returned, recently purchasing rams from Blair Robertson at the Merrydowns stud at Waikoikoi, and his uncle David Robertson, at the Aurora stud at Palmerston.

Buying from the Robertson family had become a ”very, very nice family tradition” over the years.

”I feel very much together with them … we have complete faith in each other,” Mr Larraechea, known as Kike, said.

In the 1960s, he travelled throughout New Zealand looking at sheep. While the rams in the north were ”very nice” and very refined, they were not what he wanted in a commercial sheep. . .

Speech to Fonterra UHT plant opening in Waitoa – Nathan Guy:

It’s great to be here today at the official opening of Fonterra’s new UHT milk processing plant.

This is a $126 million project which has been completed in just 12 months, and has created 100 new local jobs.

It’s a real vote of confidence in New Zealand’s dairy industry, which continues to be a major contributor to our economy. Dairy is our biggest single export earner.

Our farmers produce a quality product that ends up in over 100 countries around the world. The primary sector is the backbone of our economy that generates around $4 million an hour. This helps the Government get back into surplus and invest in things like schools, hospitals and roads.

As a Government we have an ambitious goal of doubling the value of our primary sector exports to $64b by 2025. . .

 

 

Building sheepmeat demand globally:

The Sheepmeat Council of Australia (supported by Meat & Livestock Australia), Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Organismo de la Unidad Nacional de Ovinocultores (‘the National Mexican Sheep Producers Organisation’) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on sheepmeat cooperation.

The MoU recognises that the sheepmeat industries of Australia, New Zealand and Mexico share the goal of building sheepmeat demand globally. There are also a number of other common objectives including animal health and welfare, food safety, environmental sustainability, and industry profitability.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Director Andy Fox said there are considerable advantages to be gained by working together to further these objectives.

“The Australian and New Zealand sheepmeat industries are seeking to build relationships with producer organisations from around the world. The reality is sheepmeat faces strong competition in the marketplace from other protein sources. It is important the sheepmeat industry works together to promote our premium product,” Mr Fox said. . .

New Agri One chief executive appointed:

Lincoln University and Massey University are pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Williamson as chief executive officer of their joint venture, Agri One.

Mr Williamson was formerly domestic marketing manager at Solid Energy and has extensive management and marketing experience.

Agri One was set up in 2011 with a focus on the two institutions working together to create new market opportunities. It promotes research-led education to assist farming and agri-food industries and facilitates professional development courses, joint research proposals, and seminars and symposia in the area.

It also undertakes a brokering role to introduce agri-food businesses to academics at Lincoln University and Massey University. . . .

 

 


Rural round-up

25/07/2012

Alliance expands greenhouse measuring programme:

Alliance Group is expanding a green-house gas monitoring programme to all of its suppliers after a successful trial.

The meat co-operative introduced the web-based Hoofprint programme late last year and tested it with farmers supplying meat for Sainsbury’s supermarket chain in the UK.

It’s a software system that farmers can use to measure and monitor agricultural greenhouse gases associated with beef and lamb production on their farms and improve their productivity. . .

Lean manufacturing helps Tru-Test Group become first to achieve NZQA certification:

Tru-Test Group is bucking the trend towards outsourcing manufacturing to lower-cost economies overseas. The world leader in electric fencing, milk metering and animal weighing and recording, has chosen to keep more than 80 per cent of its production in Auckland.

Reflecting this commitment to the local market, Tru-Test Group has become the first New Zealand company to achieve a New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) Level 2 Certificate in Competitive Manufacturing for its entire production and stores staff.

The NZQA qualification allows factory operators to become actively involved in developing systems that improve productivity and quality. . .

Beef + Lamb NZ has photos and presentations from the Red Meat Sector conference here.

Among them are:

Opening address – Wayne McNee, Director general of Minsitry of Primary Industry.

NZ political environment  – Colin James.

The International Meat Industry – an update  – Murray Johnston General Manager Merchandise  Progressive Enterprises

An Australian perspective – market development, access and outlook – Scott Hansen, Director, Meat & Livestock Australia

Domestic trends and measuring progress against the Red Meat Sector Strategy  –  Rob Davison, Executive Director Economic Service, Beef + Lamb New Zealand

Best practice implementation – tertiary institutions, crown research institutes and industry working together – Dr Andrew West, Vice-Chancellor, Lincoln  University

Dairy sector – best practice in action – Dr Mark Paine, Strategy Investment Leader for People & Business, Dairy NZ

And from Facebook:


Aussie farmers fight methane claims

09/10/2009

Australian farmers are disputing methane measurements after scientists discovered significant variations in gas produced by individual animals.

Farmers, fearful of the costs greenhouse gas emissions trading will impose on their businesses, are demanding more accurate measurement of emissions before the ETS is brought in.

Beverley Henry, manager for environment, sustainability and climate change with Meat & Livestock Australia, said current estimates were based on livestock overseas, with the actual emissions likely to vary depending on diet and animal type, as well as other factors.

“At the moment, we don’t reflect those in Australia’s national accounts very well,” Dr Henry said.

“We need to get better quantification of the emissions as well as an understanding of how much mitigation is possible.”

Australia boasts 26.81 million head of beef and dairy cattle, and 69.2 million sheep, so even a small error would quickly compound in any attempt to measure the total greenhouse gas expelled by the animals.

New Zealand has 33.14 million sheep and 40.7 million beef cattle and 5.6 million dairy cows. 

If individual animals produce varying amounts of gas, and if the differences are greater on different diets in Australia then it’s probable there would be similar variations here.

That suggests changing what sheep and cattle eat could help reduce emissions.

It also calls in to question the accuracy of claims about how much methane our stock produces.

And if we can’t rely on estimates about how much gas the animals produce in the first place, how can we measure any changes?

Hat Tip: Trans Tasman.


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