Rural round-up

April 7, 2018

Consumers drive winner’s farming – Richard Rennie:

His work has earned him an award that will allow him to mix with Australasia’s agribusiness elite on an equal footing but Thomas Macdonald, now involved in the developing sheep milk sector, never forgets the consumers who make it all possible. He spoke to Richard Rennie.

This year’s Zanda McDonald award winner is no stranger to collecting scholarships and awards for his efforts to look longer and harder at the challenges and opportunities in the pastoral sector.

Thomas Macdonald, business manager for Spring Sheep Milk Company, has been awarded the prestigious Platinum Primary Producer (PPP) Zanda McDonald award valued at $50,000 in recognition of his work in the sector and his continuing contribution to the innovative sheep milk company. . . 

Scenic outlook part of Coop family farm on Mahia Peninsula – Kate Taylor:

A Mahia farming couple won three awards in the East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Kate Taylor reports.

Okepuha Station has a bird’s eye view of the Rocket Lab launching pad on Mahia Peninsula and Richard and Hannah Coop love farming the windswept Hawke’s Bay coastline.

Richard and Hannah are the fourth generation Coops to farm at Mahia in more than a century. The family’s long association with the peninsula began back in 1905 when land was bought by Richard’s great grandfather.

The 940ha Okepuha Station was farmed by Richard’s parents, Will and Cathy, from the 1970s until recently when Richard and Hannah took over the farm business. . .

Otago University research revives dry-aging of meat – Rob Tipa:

Dry aging meat concentrates the flavour. Rob Tipa reports on a scientist who is working on an electrifying new aspect.

Meat researchers at the University of Otago are reviving an ancient technique to age and tenderise meat by exploring new technologies to make the process more efficient for commercial meat processors.

Tanyaradzwa Mungure, a PhD student in the Department of Food Science at Otago, won an award for his presentation of research into dry aging of meat at an international meat science conference recently in Ireland. . .

Farmers donate hay bales to other farmers in need –  Maja Burry:

Midhirst dairy farmers in Taranaki are donating any hay bales they can spare to farmers in coastal parts of the region who are facing a feed shortage.

The dry summer has had a significant impact on pasture and crops across the drought-hit region, with growth rates estimated to be down by at least 40 percent.

Taranaki Rural Support Trust chair Mike Green said coastal Taranaki had been particularly hard hit, with many farmers having to dry off their herds early and reduce stock numbers as they did not have enough feed. . . 

Book details history of Alexandra basin wine – Yvonne O’Hara:

It will be 30 years this year since the first modern-day wine made in the Alexandra basin was sold.

In his new book Latitude 45.15S – among the world’s southernmost vineyards journalist, Otago Daily Times columnist, bed and breakfast co-owner and author Ric Oram said 2400 bottles of Black Ridge gewurztraminer and riesling and 2000 bottles of assorted William Hill varieties were sold in 1988.

Bill Grant, of William Hill vineyard, and Verdun Burgess, of Black Ridge, sent their grapes to Rippon vineyard in Wanaka to be made into wine by Tony Bish. . . 

NZ carpet maker Cavalier on growth path after emerging from ‘tough’ restructuring – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand carpet maker Cavalier Corp is emerging from a “tough” period after an influx of cheaper synthetics forced it to restructure its business to compete. It has now streamlined its operations and with most of the pain now behind it, is stepping up investment in innovation and marketing as it eyes rising consumer demand for natural woollen products.

The carpet market has undergone rapid change over the past 20 years, with woollen carpets in New Zealand shrinking to about 15 percent of sales from 80 percent as cheaper synthetics made inroads. In response, Cavalier sold uncompetitive assets like its carpet tile business in Australia, began manufacturing its own synthetic range, and consolidated its woollen felting and yarn spinning operations. . . 


Rural round-up

December 29, 2017

Thank you to the farmers who do a bloody hard job’ – ‘Latte-sipping’ Aucklander pens letter in support of farmers – Anna White:

An open letter written by a “latte-sipping” Aucklander has struck a chord with farmers.

Matt Shirtcliffe was compelled to show his support for the farming community after hearing the news six young farmers had lost their lives recently. . .

Farmers need compensation for stock losses caused by Mycoplasma bovis – MP – Andrew Marshall:

Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker says farmers will need to be compensated for any stock losses accrued as a result of the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak.

He said Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor would need to provide “appropriate” compensation for cows culled to contain the disease.

Walker was in Winton visiting concerned farmers after three farms in the area were confirmed to have been infected, and said “cows are the income for farmers.” . . 

Unwelcome pests need firm response:

Just before Christmas, biosecurity investigators discovered an outbreak of a plant pest called Chilean needle grass on a North Canterbury farm. Steps were immediately taken to destroy the infestation which, if left unchecked, could reduce crop yields and cause animal welfare problems.

Its barbed seeds can work their way through animal hides into flesh and bone, leaving young animals in particular weak and vulnerable.

The discovery was the 17th known infestation of the plant invader and an unwelcome reminder that New Zealand’s primary-based economy is particularly vulnerable to pest incursions. . .

Santa fails to deliver drought-braking rain to lower North Island – Gerard Hutching:

Farmers on the west coast of the North Island have missed out on the Christmas present they most wanted – sufficient rain to break the drought gripping their regions.

In Taranaki alone there are up to 800 farms along the coast which have been harshly affected, the chairman of the Taranaki Rural Support Trust, Mike Green says.

A Ministry of Primary Industries spokeswoman said the medium-scale adverse event for the lower North Island declared by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor last week remained in force, despite the sprinkling of rain in the last few days. . .

These golden bananas could save the lives of many children in Uganda – Jonathan O’Callaghan:

Scientists have developed a new type of banana that could help the many children in Uganda who have a pro-vitamin A deficiency.

The so-called “golden bananas”, named for their appearance, were developed by a team from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia, led by Professor James Dale. The findings have been published in the Plant Biotechnology Journal.

It’s hoped that by 2021, Ugandan farmers will be growing bananas rich in pro-vitamin A. About $10 million was supplied by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the research. . .

Select Harvest’s high hopes as new markets go nuts for almonds – Andrew Marshall:

The market prospects look, literally, very healthy but Australia’s biggest almond business has become more than a little gun-shy about over-anticipating its fortunes in the year ahead.

The nut harvest on about 4900 hectares of orchards in Victoria, South Australia and NSW is less than two months away, but after shock yield setbacks caused by unusually rainy, mild weather last summer and spring, nut grower, processor and marketer, Select Harvests, is not making rash promises. . . 

 


Rural round-up

December 21, 2016

Blister protection product designed by Tekapo 21-year-old takes off – Esther Ashby-Conventry:

Fed up with watching his blistered clients being airlifted half way through their once-in-lifetime trip, a 21-year-old former mountain guide has developed a protective product made from merino wool.

Lucas Smith, of Tekapo, has just signed a national distribution deal with retail giant Torpedo 7, and headed overseas this week to work on the development of a new product.

Smith grew up in Timaru and went to Waihi School in Winchester before boarding at Christ’s College in Christchurch for his high school years. He dropped out of Victoria University half way through studying for a degree in anthropology and political science in 2014 to try software application.

Working as a tramping guide for visitors on the Routebourn and Milford tracks for the next two years was the catalyst for Smith to re-interprete an old technique for blister protection using the hyperfine wool of merino sheep and his life went in a totally different direction. . . .

Agriculture’s rebirth as the next sunrise industry – Steve Carden:

At the start of this month, a story ran that worried that New Zealand was on the road to becoming the “Detroit of agriculture”.

It was a provocative headline to a piece outlining the technologies that are disrupting and going to further challenge farming. The author was right. Some of these innovations are quite remarkable, and signal a shift in how food can be produced, as the world grapples with needing more food for more people with an already stressed environment.

But the irony of comparing Detroit with NZ agriculture is quite delicious. Because out of the fossils of Detroit’s waning car industry is the rebirth of the city based on urban farming. From the derelict unused buildings and empty lots are springing up a host of vertical farming companies and urban farming co-operatives. Detroit is emerging as a leader in urban farming. Detroit is being reborn, and the seeds of that rebirth are literal ones. . . 

Rampant rates a sore point with farmers:

Farmers are questioning the priorities and fiscal discipline of New Zealand’s councils as rates takes continue to outstrip cost indexes.

Analysis by Federated Farmers shows the consumers’ price index (CPI) went up 21% between 2006-2016. Local authorities have argued the Local Authority Cost Index prepared by consultants BERL is a fairer measure of cost pressures on local government, and that went up 33% during the past decade.

Both measures are dwarfed by the average 77 percent hike in rates by our 13 city, 54 district and 11 regional councils. New Zealand’s population went up by about 12% in the same period, with consequent growth in the rating base, but Local Government NZ had no figures on how much. . . 

Primary sector outlook stable says MPI – Nick Clark:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has released its latest Situation & Outlook for the Primary Industries. 

It considers the outlook across the primary sector to be stable for the current year, as the dairy industry begins to rebound from 2016’s low and growth continues for the horticulture and forestry sectors. However, this is offset by a forecast 10.8 percent decline in meat and wool exports.

Total export revenue is forecast to be $36.7 billion for the year to June 2017, down $0.3 billion from the previous year.

Looking ahead, MPI is forecasting export growth of 5.4 percent per year from 2016 to 2021, when it expects primary sector exports to be $47.9 billion.  Much of the growth will be for dairy products, expected to rise by $7.3 billion (or 55.4 percent) to reach $20.7 billion.  Forestry, horticulture and seafood are all expected to continue posting steady growth over the next five years. . . 

World dairy prices trimmed at GlobalDairyTrade auction – Gerard Hutching:

As the futures market predicted earlier this week, world dairy prices have flat lined following the overnight global dairy auction. 

Nevertheless, after a year when prices for whole milk powder (WMP) soared from US$1952 in January to US$3568 last night, farmers will be able to pop the champagne corks this Christmas – or at the least methode champenoise. 

Federated Farmers dairy spokesman Andrew Hoggard said he had a bottle stored away which he would pull out on Christmas morning.  . . 

No end is sight with compliance demands – Lyn Webster:

Having been a dairy farmer for a long number of years, I have to say I regularly feel put upon by the pressing and never ending demands for compliance in my day-to-day activities.

It is like people or agencies are constantly monitoring my activities, poised to criticise or fine me at my every move. The constant pressure of this actually makes me feel physically ill, despite the fact that I have not actually committed any wrongdoing to date.

Here are two annoying incidents that have happened and expose the confusion and rigmarole surrounding all the red tape that wastes the time and energy I should be expending on my business. . . 

Milk bubbling, beef off the boil – Steve Wyn-Harris:

Another year draws to a close.

We have a New Prime Minister, Bill English, but I feel just the same. Maybe when Bill has a change in the Cabinet next week things may feel different.

These are tough times for those in North Canterbury and the Kaikoura Coast. Keep your chins up as best you can.

At last, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel for the unfortunate dairy sector of the last couple of years and now the prospect of at least breaking even for many and a nice little profit for those savvy folks with low-cost production and little debt, which are mostly the mum and dad operations. . . 

Meat exports continue to fall:

Beef and lamb exports fell in November, as the amount of meat sold dropped heavily compared with last year’s record season, Statistics New Zealand said today.

Meat and edible offal exports fell $158 million (31 percent) from November 2015, contributing to a $219 million (5.4 percent) fall in overall exports.

Beef exports fell 41 percent in value and 31 percent in quantity, and lamb exports fell 27 percent in value and 23 percent in quantity.

“Beef exports to the United States, our top beef export destination, fell by around half when compared to November last year” senior manager Jason Attewell said. “When compared to the same month of the previous year, the value of beef exports to the US have fallen in nearly every month since October 2015, only rising once in April 2016.” . . 

New Zealand Set to Dazzle the World with a New Apple Variety:

New Zealand is set to dazzle the world with a new apple variety which has been launched today by Fruitcraft, after being licensed the worldwide rights by Prevar Ltd.

The apple variety PremA129, which will be marketed and known as Dazzle®, is expected to be one of the biggest apple variety launches since Royal Gala decades ago. All New Zealand apple growers will be able to grow Dazzle, and all fruit exporters will be able to sell it.

Dazzle is a large, red, sweet apple which has taken 20 years to develop by Plant & Food Research (PFR) at their research station in Havelock North. . . 

Multiple prosecutions likely after MPI makes series of large-scale paua busts:

Ministry for Primary Industries fishery officers have returned almost 600 undersized paua to the sea near Napier after several large-scale paua busts that occurred over one day.

Team Manager Eastern & Lower North Island, Mike Green, says a routine day last Friday turned into one of a steady stream of discoveries of people taking excess paua as well as undersized paua at Tangoio Beach.

“Officers were involved in at least five incidents over a matter of a few hours where people were caught with very large amounts of paua, most of which didn’t meet the minimum size requirements,” says Mr Green. . . 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Farmer Directors elected unopposed:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Farmer Directors George Tatham (Eastern North Island) and Andrew Morrison (Southern South Island) have been elected unopposed to the Board of Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

In line with the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Constitution, Tatham and Morrison were to retire by rotation at next year’s annual meeting.

Electionz.com who conducted the election for Beef + Lamb New Zealand said both directors had signalled their intention to seek re-election and had been returned unopposed. . . 


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