Rural round-up

06/01/2020

Kiwi farmers calling on Anzac spirit to support bushfire-hit Australian counterparts – Michael Daly:

Kiwi farmers are being asked to show their Anzac spirit with a plan to offer relief to counterparts across the Tasman affected by bushfires.

Mates Nathan Addis and Mark Warren on Thursday night launched the Facebook page: NZ Farmers Offer Free Accommodation To Aussie Farmers From Bush Fire Zones. The name sums up their aim.

The plan was to sound out support for the idea among Kiwi farmers first before promoting it in Australia, Addis said. And support was coming in quickly. . . 

Year in Review: How the freshwater plan could ruin my town – Dani Darke:

 This opinion piece by King Country sheep and beef farmer Dani Darke was one of The Country’s most popular reads of 2019. She wrote that she believed her community was under threat if the government’s Essential Freshwater policy passed into law.

Nestled in the heart of the King Country, the settlement of Aria embodies the richness of community spirit that is associated with heartland New Zealand.

With a population of 300 and a bustling CBD of 68, it is a place where everyone knows your name.

The Cosmopolitan Club acts as the community hub. Here age is irrelevant and 70-plus year olds socialise with 18-year-olds. We have thriving squash and tennis clubs and a primary school boasting a role of 50. . . 

Identifying ‘whodunit’ is a freshwater priority – Elizabeth McGruddy:

E coli monitoring tells us that bugs are in the water, but not where they came from. For that we need “faecal source tracking” tools to find out “whodunit”, writes Federated Farmers Senior Policy Adviser Elizabeth McGruddy.

The swimming season is upon us. Are our favourite swimming spots good to go? And if not, why not?

We know that most rivers are safe to swim, but some are not. Currently around 70 per cent of swimmable rivers (rivers with enough water to get wet in) are safe for primary contact. The national target is 80 per cent by 2030, and 90 per cent by 2040.

The Government’s latest freshwater proposals recommend that priority be given to the popular swimming rivers, during the swimming season. . . 

Rain-damage and cold weather hits Central Otago cherry stocks -Jo McKenzie-McLean:

Central Otago’s cherry season is off to a bad start with rain damaging crops, cold temperatures slowing ripening and bad picking conditions driving workers away.

Tim Jones, who is Summerfruit New Zealand chairman and chief executive of Cromwell-based orchard 45 South, said the “tough” start to the season was one of the most challenging he had seen in his 25 years in the industry.

At 45 South, about 250 tonnes would typically be picked around the New Year period. This year, they picked 100 tonnes. . . 

Forgotten victims of the drought – Lindsay Cane:

OFFICIAL reports released in December show the impact of the drought on our economy and agricultural sector will linger for up to a decade.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) latest forecast show farm production is expected to fall significantly with rebuilding expected to take a decade. And that depends on rain.

The bushfires and drought have taken a toll on many people financially and emotionally.

But one of the most worrying and often unacknowledged aspects of this drought is the long lasting impact on our children. This too will take time to address. And that will depend on urgent action being taken. . . 

Rejoice the earth is becoming greener – Matt Ridley:

Amid all the talk of an imminent planetary catastrophe caused by emissions of carbon dioxide, another fact is often ignored: global greening is happening faster than climate change. The amount of vegetation growing on the earth has been increasing every year for at least 30 years. The evidence comes from the growth rate of plants and from satellite data.

In 2016 a paper was published by 32 authors from 24 institutions in eight countries that analysed satellite data and concluded that there had been a roughly 14% increase in green vegetation over 30 years. The study attributed 70% of this increase to the extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The lead author on the study, Zaichun Zhu of Beijing University, says this is equivalent to adding a new continent of green vegetation twice the size of the mainland United States.

Global greening has affected all ecosystems – from arctic tundra to coral reefs to plankton to tropical rain forests – but shows up most strongly in arid places like the Sahel region of Africa, where desertification has largely now reversed. This is because plants lose less water in the process of absorbing carbon dioxide if the concentration of carbon dioxide is higher. Ecosystems and farms will be less water-stressed at the end of this century than they are today during periods of low rainfall. . . 


Rural round-up

04/03/2014

India world’s largest beef exporter – Allan Barber:

For a country where the cow is sacred to adherents of the majority Hindu religion, it seems surprising that India has overtaken Brazil as the largest exporter of beef in the world. A recent article in the New Indian Express reports that a prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, recently referred to the ‘pink revolution’ as the only revolution happening in India, signifying the growing importance of the country’s meat industry.

It was intended primarily as a dig at the inactivity of India’s ruling United Progressive Alliance party which has been in power since 2004. But it underlines the point that beef exports have grown by 50% in the past five years to 1.89 million tonnes with main markets being USA, Europe, the Gulf States and South East Asia.

Poultry exports have also grown substantially, reaching 3.5 million tonnes in the latest year for which figures are available, which puts it after USA and Brazil as the world’s third largest exporter. . .

China’s meat imports surge, while live cattle trade slows – Allan Barber:

An article in Global Meat News.com highlights significant changes in China’s live animal and meat trade with the rest of the world.

China’s imports of live cattle dropped back in 2013, although there was a surge in cattle for beef breeding and finishing. According to China Customs data, China imported 102,245 cattle (cows, bulls and weaners) in 2013 which was down 26,000 on the previous year, but the figures included 9,370 Angus cattle from Australia and New Zealand destined for the beef sector. A batch of 3,000 Angus, classed as ‘beef cattle’, were imported from Australia in November alone.

A listing of major feed lots, published by China’s agricultural ministry, shows the bulk of China’s cattle feed lots are concentrated in Hebei, Liaoning and Shandong provinces. Yet cows and cattle are also being farmed in increasing numbers in the less populous northwesterly regions of Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Gansu and Xinjiang – all of which also have large Muslim populations and a traditional demand for halal-compliant beef products. . .

Bluff oysters are back – Michael Daly:

Succulent Bluff oysters are starting to appear on shop shelves after the season opened at midnight today, but the delicacies are not expected to be widely available in most supermarkets until early next week.

“There will be a little bit getting around the country today,” Bluff Oyster Management Company spokesman and Barnes Oysters manager Graeme Wright said.

Some of the 11 boats in the fleet had gone out last night to be ready to start harvesting as soon as the season opened, and the first boat had been back in port before 8am. . .

Dairy dominates rise in export volumes:

In the December 2013 quarter, seasonally adjusted dairy export values rose 27 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today. Dairy volumes, after adjusting for seasonal effects, rose 23 percent while actual prices fell 1.1 percent.

Total export volumes rose 9.7 percent in the December 2013 quarter while total export prices fell 0.5 percent. Both movements were strongly influenced by dairy, which accounted for 39 percent of the value of goods exported in the December quarter – twice as much as meat and forestry combined.

“Export volumes are at their highest level since the series began in 1990, reflecting higher dairy volumes in the December quarter, after adjusting for seasonal effects,” prices manager Chris Pike said. “Dairy export prices fell slightly, reflecting a stronger New Zealand dollar.” . . .

DairyNZ’s research head retires:

DairyNZ chief scientist Dr Eric Hillerton has announced he will leave his post at the industry body later this year, having decided to semi-retire.

Dr Hillerton says one of the most rewarding parts of being a scientist with DairyNZ is the direct involvement with dairy farmers, understanding the real problems on farms and helping develop solutions and new technologies.

“Much of the value of that science lies in taking research and knowledge directly to farmers, and testing how to apply and transfer innovative technologies and solutions,” says Dr Hillerton. . .

Two New Zealand multinationals partner for Fieldays Premier Feature:

NZ National Fieldays Society is pleased to announce Fieldays 2014 Joint Premier Feature Partners: PGG Wrightson Ltd and Xero Ltd.

Fieldays, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest Agribusiness Expo, will be held 11 to 14 June at Mystery Creek Events Centre, Hamilton. Each year the Fieldays Premier Feature theme provides a compelling showcase for what’s happening throughout New Zealand’s agricultural industry; promotes adoption of current knowledge and technologies; and offers solutions for upcoming challenges.

The Fieldays 2014 Premier Feature theme, Managing Resources for a Competitive Advantage, will highlight areas in which New Zealand’s agricultural sector can optimise, maximise and develop systems and processes to help manage resources effectively and maintain our place among the world’s best. . .


Rural round-up

14/08/2013

Ravensdown returns ‘unacceptable’ result – Tim Cronshaw:

Fertiliser co-operative Ravensdown is offloading loss-making Australian businesses to ensure there is no repeat of a pre-tax profit of $6 million made in the 2012-13 year ending May.

The ”unacceptable” result is down 88 per cent from $52m the previous year and the co-operative will be unable to pay farmer shareholders a rebate for the first time in 35 years.

Poor performing Australian investments and slower fertiliser sales during the drought contributed to the small profit alongside high urea prices and a consistently high dollar going against the co-operative’s policy of hedging long term. . .

Lab meat ‘no threat yet’ to NZ – Al Williams:

Laboratory-grown meat is the “stuff of science fiction” and a long way off from posing any threat, those involved in meat production in New Zealand say.

Industry reaction follows a taste test last week of hamburger grown in a laboratory.

Scientists at Maastricht University in the Netherlands developed the burger over five years, with hopes that lab-grown meat could eventually help feed the world and fight climate change.

The project had high-profile funding from Sergey Brin, a co-founder of Google, who gave €250,000 (NZ$450,000) towards the project, saying he was motivated by a concern for animal welfare. . .

Farming til the cows come home – Peter Watson:

You won’t hear Ted and Clare Ford complaining about getting up early in the morning to milk the cows and feed the calves.

They have been doing it for more than 40 years, still enjoy it and have no plans to stop.

“What else would I do,” says Mr Ford, a fit-looking 66-year-old who, with his wife, has been at the forefront of promoting dairying in the Nelson region.

“You’ve got to have a reason for getting up in the morning and I firmly believe retirement has killed more farmers than farming.” . .

Sellers warned to identify irradiated tomatoes:

New Zealand businesses selling Australian irradiated tomatoes are being reminded they are obliged to label them as such.

The tomatoes are expected to be on sale in the country shortly, after Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye changed the import rules to allow in irradiated tomatoes from Australia earlier this year.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has issued an advisory telling food businesses they must let consumers know the food they are purchasing is irradiated.

The ministry says the mandatory labelling statement must be on the food or close to the food at all points of sale. . .

Students help with animal progeny programme:

A new generation of budding famers is learning first-hand about genetic selection and animal performance.

Students at the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre at Koromiko farm in Wairarapa are helping with the sheep industry’s central progeny trial programme.

The programme aims to develop sheep selection tools to help farmers working on a variety of land types.

Koromiko farm manager Shayne Rankin said the students at the training centre are helping to monitor the performance of rams on hard hill country. . .

More on the trial at Koromiko here.

How bike bashing Rambro went feral then viral – Michael Daly:

A confrontation between a Nelson trail-bike rider and a belligerent ram is raising laughs around the world.

Nelson man Marty Todd posted video of the face-off, which the ram appears to win, on YouTube.

After being picked up on CNN and by Britain’s Mail Online, the YouTube posting has been viewed about 350,000 times.

It shows Mr Todd stopping when confronted by the animal, known to locals as ‘Rambro’, on a track through his rural property.

After a standoff lasting a few seconds the ram charges the bike. Mr Todd gets off and heads several metres up a side track, then returns to the bike, all the while being watched by the glowering ram. . .


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