Rural round-up


Canterbury director and shareholder is Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year

A Canterbury woman who has dedicated her career as a rural professional to New Zealand’s dairy industry is 2017’s Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year.

Jessie Chan-Dorman, a Fonterra Shareholders’ Councillor, won the coveted title out of a group of three finalists which included CEO of Sirona Animal Health Claire Nicholson and agribusiness consultant Jolene Germann. The awards ceremony was held tonight in Queenstown as part of a gala dinner at the Dairy Women’s Network’s annual conference. . . 

Farmers set to benefit from new high-tech weather stations:

Fonterra farmers will come together to trial innovative technology that will allow them to take insights from the weather and bring greater precision to New Zealand dairy farms.

Fonterra is playing its part in fuelling the revolution of on-farm weather forecasting by working with MetService and BloomSky – a smart weather camera station that delivers hyperlocal weather information in real-time to any laptop, tablet or smartphone. . . .

Rebel with a cause – Eric Crampton:

I love Roger Beattie.

Weka are endangered, but they breed easily on his farm at Banks Peninsula. He’s just prohibited, by dumb rules, against breeding them for profit. Whether this is DoC bloodymindedness, Vogonity, or refusal to be shown up by somebody doing a better job of conservation that DoC is – that’s anybody’s guess.

And so, annoyed with silly DoC rules around farming weka, Roger’s making a point. He’s adding weka feathers to some hats and selling them. . .

UK supermarkets ban fresh NZ lamb – Alexa Cook:

A decision by UK supermarkets to ban fresh New Zealand lamb is bad news for the industry and could turn consumers away from the meat, says Beef and Lamb New Zealand.

Supermarket chain Co-op Food, which is the UK’s fifth largest retailer, is banning fresh New Zealand lamb in response to lobbying from the British Sheep Association. . .

Dairy herd up in North Island but down in South Island:

After a decrease in 2015, the dairy cattle number increased 2 percent in 2016 to reach 6.6 million, Stats NZ said today. However, this was not back to the 2014 level (6.7 million).

The North Island dairy herd increased by almost 250,000 cows last year, led by a rise in Waikato. In contrast, the number of dairy cattle in the South Island fell more than 100,000 in the year to 30 June 2016.
The results also show continuing declines for sheep and deer numbers, with beef cattle being relatively unchanged
. . .

Call to action to save threatened species:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has issued a “call to action” for the nation to get behind efforts to protect New Zealand’s threatened native plants and animals.

Minister Barry launched the Department of Conservation’s draft Threatened Species Strategy at the Threatened Species Summit in Wellington this morning.

“Our unique plants and animals are found nowhere else on earth and help to define who we are as New Zealanders, adding immeasurable value to our culture, our identity and our landscapes,” Minister Barry says. . .

Cutting nitrogen loss in winter – Bala Tikkisetty:

Winter’s a much riskier season for nitrogen leaching from urine patches on pasture to waterways.

Milking cows will excrete, in urine, about 70 per cent of the nitrogen they consume. The chance of nitrogen leaching from urine patches is much higher in winter due to weather conditions.

Also, farmers should be particularly cautious when applying nitrogen fertilisers to pasture or crops during winter due to the extra risks winter weather poses for nutrient loss. . .

Not today


The headline said: November to be cooler than normal.

The story refers to a MetService forecast of frosts next week.

That may well prove to be true but it’s not a worry today – it was 27 degrees at lunchtime and is still very warm.

Cyclone Lusi


I’m in sunny Southland, about to head home to North Otago where the forecast is for fine weather for today too.

Further north it’s wetter, windier story.

Northland and Waikato have been desperate for rain, but Cyclone Lusi could bring too much of a good thing.

Cyclone Lusi is expected to continue moving south during Saturday, bringing widespread heavy rain and easterly gales to the North Island and the upper South Island. In the northeast of the North Island, the heaviest falls are expected about the Coromandel Peninsula and western Bay of Plenty, where 120 to 150mm could accumlate about the ranges during Saturday and into Sunday morning, with over 100mm expected about the eastern hills of Northland, the ranges of eastern Bay of Plenty and Gisborne, as well as the ranges of Hawkes Bay. Lusi is expected to cross the South Island during Sunday, then move away to the east.

For the upper South Island, Marlborough and Nelson look set to receive the most intense rainfall, with 170 to 200mm possible in the ranges of northwest Nelson and 120 to 150mm about the Kaikoura ranges from Saturday evening until late Sunday or early Monday.

Easterly gales will accompany the heavy rain, with severe gale gusts of 120km/h in exposed parts of Northland and Auckland, and 130km/h west of the Kaimai Range.

This will be a significant adverse weather event, affecting many parts of the country. The heavy rain is likely to cause slips and surface flooding, and the severe easterly gales could make driving hazardous, lift roofs, and bring down trees and powerlines. . .

Stuff reports the cyclone is lashing the North Island with worse to come.

MetService meteorologist Dan Corbett said parts of Northland had received 40 to 60 millimetres of rain overnight, with winds gusting up to 120kmh in Cape Reinga but there was still more to come.

“If this is like a football match, we’re not quite to halftime in Northern areas.”

Latest updates: Metservice rain radar

The weather has also hit Auckland, with eastern areas getting wind gusts of up to 100kmh this morning, Corbett said.

He described it as a weather octopus, with layers of rain bands lashing northern areas.

“Think of it almost like an octopus flailing its legs.

“The first band of rain is down to Waikato, extending to Gisborne ranges.

“The second band of heavy persistent rain is now coming through Auckland and then the whole thing is spreading south.” . . .

An online weather map shows the cyclone’s movements in real time.

And (with a hat tip to StatsChat )the weather has inpsired some art:


What happened to summer?


Metservice forecasters were right about today – The temperature has plummeted and it’s hailing  -and it feels cold enough for them to be right about tomorrow: 

Tue 10 Showers, some heavy and possibly thundery with hail.Strong cold southwesterlies.
Wed 11 Showers. Some snow down to 500 metres at first. Cold gusty southwesterlies, gradually easing.

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