Rural round-up

May 8, 2019

Chinese demand still strong – Hugh Stringleman:

China’s dairy demand is steady and the feedback from customers there is strong, Miraka chief executive Richard Wyeth says.

After talking to Chinese customers and Miraka’s sales representatives through Global Dairy Network, Wyeth doesn’t expect big commodity price increases for the season ahead but neither will there be big decreases.

“I think it will be steady as it goes, which is a nice situation to be in.”

All of Miraka’s UHT liquid milk output and about half of its milk powder volume go to China. . . 

Artist and actor riding high in a bull market – Sally Rae:

“You’re the chick who paints cows. You’re the bull painter.”

Amelia Guild gets used to hearing such comments from those familiar with her bold and bright paintings of animals, particularly cattle.

The Canterbury-based artist and actor is excited about her upcoming exhibition, “Mustering the Muscle”, which opens at The Artist’s Room Fine Art Gallery in Dunedin on May 11.

Life is busy – “on the cusp of getting chaotic” – for the mother of 4-year-old Willa and 16-month-old Rollo.

But she is also living the dream, being able to reside in her “happy place” on High Peak Station, the high country property she grew up on, inland from Windwhistle, near the Rakaia Gorge. . . 

Farmer-led group lobbying for changes to Waimakariri water plan – Emma Dangerfield:

A group of young North Canterbury farmers are challenging proposed environmental rules they say are “unachievable”.

The farmers had established the Waimakariri Next Generation Farmers Trust in response to planned changes and rules affecting farmers in the district.

They hope to collaborate with industry and local authorities to address environmental concerns, particularly relating to water quality and management issues. . . 

 

Breeders on tour – Sally Rae:

Bruce Robertson describes the fellowship of Dorset Down breeders as being like a family.

Breeders from throughout the country were in Canterbury and North Otago last week for an annual tour.

About 35 people visited studs in the Ashburton area, before heading to Aoraki-Mount Cook for a night, a visit to merino property Benmore Station, and then to Oamaru. It ended with a visit to studs in South Canterbury. . . 

IHC fundraising calf scheme is on again– Annette Scott:

The annual IHC calf and rural fundraising scheme fell short of its target last season with organisers reaching out to farmers to get on board this year.

IHC national fundraising manager Greg Millar said last year was terrible for many farmers and he hopes the scheme can bounce back this year. 

“Farmers still managed to raise $650,000 for people with intellectual disabilities and despite falling short of our $1m target it was great to see the rural community continue to support our cause,” Millar said.

The national advocacy organisation for people with intellectual disabilities has acknowledged the challenging times with the introduction of new processes as the industry grapples with Mycoplasma bovis. . . 

Helping hands needed for animal farm rescue centre in Glenhope – Carly Gooch:

Lisa Grennell did everything she could to save a piglet but when the little porker lost its battle, the decision was made – time to set up an animal farm rescue centre.

Plum Tree Farm in Glenhope, 80km south of Nelson is home to Lisa and her husband, Mal, but it’s also a sanctuary for farm animals including donkeys, alpaca, kunekune, calves, lambs and goats.

The animal farm “gradually happened”, Lisa said, after the couple moved to the 42 acres nearly four years ago.  . . 


Rural round-up

October 24, 2017

Miraka farmers lift milk quality – Peter Burke:

An incentive scheme to get suppliers to the Taupo-based Miraka dairy company to produce better quality milk and adopt best-practice systems is producing stunning results.

That’s the view of Miraka’s milk supply manager, Grant Jackson, who says only four of the company’s suppliers are not in the scheme, though they will be when they sign up to new supply contracts by the end of the year. . .

Could NZ ag be the Intel of clean meat? – St John Craner:

At its peak Intel was in the top 6 of the world’s most valued brands and installed in over 90% of PCs. It became so strong IBM saw it as a threat to its own brand but then came back only a year later after it lost significant sales to competitors Compaq and Dell.

When clean meat is getting a lot of press and billionaire directors James Cameron and Peter Jackson are getting into plant protein as well, NZ Ag would be foolish to ignore it. So could NZ Ag be the Intel inside, or ingredient brand, of clean meat?

Ingredient branding is defined as: “A symbiotic relationship that provides tangible benefits for both host brand and ingredient brand”. We don’t need to look far for proof of concept: Gore-tex, Lycra, Teflon, Bose, Visa, Dolby, Technicolor, Shimano, Pininfarina and of course Intel have been successfully deployed as ingredient brands helping host brands command a greater premium. . .

Riparian planting wisdom to be scientifically tested – Charlie Dreaver:

For decades farmers and community groups have planted trees and other plants alongside rivers to improve waterways, but the extent of riparian buffers and whether they’re working is still not known.

NIWA and Dairy NZ now want anyone who has planted along stream banks to formally record their work, to form a new national riparian database.

Riparian buffers are made up of plants which filter out sediment and faecal pathogens from waterways, stabilise stream banks and enhance biodiversity. . . 

Venison products win award – Sally Rae:

When Chris Thorn headed to Europe on his OE in his teens, he fell in love – with meat.

Despite not being a butcher, he has turned that passion into a business that has received national recognition.

Based in the small northern Southland town of Lumsden, Mr Thorn and his wife, Sally, run a small factory, churning out wild venison salami that is dispatched throughout the country.

Recently, their business, Gathered Game, won the artisan award for its premium wild venison salami and deer sticks in the New Zealand Food Awards. . . 

NZ wool yoga mat ready for launch – Sally Rae:

Dana McKenzie always felt it was somewhat of an oxymoron to be practising yoga on a ”stinky” PVC mat.

So, armed with a passion for wool – and a desire to find a use for it – the Romanian-born entrepreneur decided to do something about it.

This weekend, Mrs McKenzie has been at OM Yoga in London, the biggest yoga gathering in Europe, to launch wool mats to thousands of yoga enthusiasts.

Speaking to the Otago Daily Times, having just set up her stall, Mrs McKenzie said it had been a ”big dream in the making” and she was thrilled to be there. . . 

Loss of fertile land fuels ‘looming crisis’ in Africa – Jeffrey Gettleman:

LAIKIPIA, Kenya — The two elders, wearing weather-beaten cowboy hats with the strings cinched under their chins, stood at the edge of an empty farm, covering their mouths in disbelief.

Their homes — neat wooden cabins — had been smashed open. All their cattle had been stolen. So had their chickens. House after house stood vacant, without another soul around. It was as if some huge force had barreled into the village and swept away all the life.

Sioyia Lesinko Lekisio, one of the elders, had no doubts who did this. Swarms of herders from another county had invaded, attacking any farm or cattle ranch in their path, big or small, stealing livestock, ransacking homes and shooting people with high-powered assault rifles. . . 

 


Rural round-up

December 6, 2016

Farm and research hub all go – Sally Rae:

Work is under way to convert the site of the new Southern Dairy Hub at Makarewa, near Invercargill, into a working dairy farm and centre for science and research.

Last week, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce climbed aboard an excavator to shift  earth at the site of the new dairy shed.

DairyNZ and AgResearch  are the principal shareholders in the hub,  investing $5million each, while local farmers and businesses  have contributed a further $1.25million through the Southern Dairy Development Trust. . . 

McKay still entranced by cavalcade – Sally Rae:

When Jeanette McKay saddled up for the first Otago Goldfields Cavalcade in 1991, it was to prove to be an “epic journey”.

A blizzard hit the trail, resulting in nine people being treated for hypothermia, but it failed to dampen her enthusiasm for the event.

Mrs McKay (71), from Springvale, near Alexandra, is among a handful of equine enthusiasts who have taken part in every cavalcade. And she will be hitting the trail again for next year’s 25th anniversary event which finishes in Omakau on March 4. The event still maintained its “magic” for the cavalcade veteran who always hoped it would “enthuse people to do more trekking, to see more of the country”. . . .

Healthy Rivers Plan Needs a Rethink:

Federated Farmers is calling for the Healthy Rivers Wai Ora project in the Waikato to be put on hold.

This follows the Waikato Regional Council’s intention to withdraw 120,000 hectares from the original proposed Plan Change 1.

The decision was made after Hauraki iwi raised concerns around the consultation process.

As a result, an area of land of interest to iwi will be ‘partially withdrawn’ as a step towards future consultation with Hauraki iwi. . . 

Concrete for 50 years peace of mind – Mark Daniel:

As the milk price nuzzles $6/kgMS, dairy farmers with financial clout can again turn to dealing with effluent and some equipment makers can cease holding their breath.

One dairy farmer who has the effluent problem under control is John van Heuven, who with his wife Maria milks 500 cows on 165ha at Johmar Farms on the outskirts of Matamata.

Having decided to increase cow numbers and install a 54-bail rotary for 2015, van Heuven decided to upgrade effluent storage, which had capacity for 1.5 milkings and needed closer attention. . . 

NZ milk processors including Miraka lift forecast payouts, boosting economic outlook – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Advances in whole milk powder prices at recent GlobalDairyTrade auctions is bolstering the outlook for New Zealand’s largest export commodity and prompting milk processors to hike their forecast payout levels to farmers this season, signalling a boost ahead for the local economy.

Taupo-based milk processor Miraka hiked its base forecast late last week to a range of $5.80-to-$6 per kilogram of milk solids, joining Open Country Dairy which raised its forecast to $5.60-to-$5.90/kgMS, Westland Milk Products with a range of $5.50-to-$5.90/kgMS, and both Synlait Milk and Fonterra Cooperative Group at $6/kgMS. Dairy NZ currently estimates the average farmer will break even at a milk price of $5.05/kgMS. . . 

Lamb flap prices rise to 20-month high as higher Chinese demand meets lower NZ supply – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Prices for the humble lamb flap are on a tear, hitting their highest level in 20 months, driven by increased demand from China and lower supply from New Zealand.

While prices for a leg of lamb in the UK and beef for meat patties in the US are being impacted by weak demand, the price for lamb flaps rose to US$5.10 per kilogram in November, from US$4.70/kg in October and US$3.80/kg for the same period a year earlier, according to AgriHQ’s latest monthly sheep & beef report. That’s the highest level recorded by AgriHQ’s since March 2015. . . 

Major dairy farming portfolio placed on the market for sale:

One of New Zealand’s larger private-structured dairy farming operations – producing some $8.5 million worth of milk a year – has been placed on the market for sale.

The portfolio of Otago farms encompasses four stand-alone dairying operations located some 15 kilometres south-west of Oamaru. They are owned by Oamaru-based company Borst Holdings Ltd.

Combined, the 992 hectares of land produce a whopping 1,418,000 kilograms of milk solids annually from a herd of 3380 animals. The four operations within the portfolio are:
• Pleasant Creek Farm – a 321 hectare property split into 42 paddocks, milking 980 cows. The farm has five dwellings – including a five-bedroom executive style homestead, a four-bedroom manager’s residence, a second four- bedroom dwelling, and a trio of two-bedroom staff quarters in various configurations. . . 

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Rural round-up

May 20, 2016

Major Japanese suit retailer commits to Kiwi wool – Dave Gooselink:

Fifty sales representatives from one of Japan’s largest suit retailers have spent the day on a Kiwi sheep farm.

They’ve been inspecting some of the merino sheep behind the company’s premium clothing, and it’s a market that’s expanding.

“We show them where it comes from off the sheep [and] we have some sheep out the back, which they’ve seen,” says Maniototo’s Closeburn Station’s Tony Clarke.

“We have some shearing so they see how it’s taken off them.” . . 

Westland launches UHT Product in China:

Only a few weeks after officially opening its new UHT milk and cream plant at its premises in Rolleston (April 15), Westland Milk Products has launched its whipping cream product into the Chinese market.

The Hokitika-based co-operative (New Zealand’s second largest dairy co-op) chose the 19th International Bakery Exhibition of China (Bakery China 2016) to launch the brand ‘Westgold Mu En’ (pronounced ‘moo ern’), aiming to bring a wider range of authentic New Zealand dairy products to Chinese consumers. Westgold Mu En, Westland’s flagship consumer and foodservice brand in China, literally translates as ‘nourishment from the pasture.’ The brand will initially comprise of Westland’s UHT milk, whipping cream and butter. . . 

China dominates global dairy imports – Keith Woodford:

In New Zealand, we have yet to come to terms with the reality that the future of our dairy industry is highly dependent on China.

America does not need us. Europe does not need us. The oil producing countries can no longer afford us. Africa has never been able to afford us.

So it is all about Asia. . . 

Government welcomes Māori forestry collective announcement:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Te Puni Kokiri (TPK) welcomed the announcement of Te Taitokerau Maori Forestry Collective Incorporated’s Action Plan to 2020 launched today at the He Kai Kei Aku Ringa (HKKAR) Regional Hui in Kerikeri.

The Collective is made up of 10 Māori land entities, and together they plan to replant more than 32,000 hectares of their land in forest – an initiative that offers business, education and employment opportunities. The Action Plan to 2020 will pave the way for the Collective’s future.

Ben Dalton, Deputy Director General at the Ministry for Primary Industries, is pleased with the significant progress the Collective has made. . . 

Nurturing the World: dairying with a difference – Caitlin McGee:

Miraka is a dairy company with a difference. It is the only one in the world that uses geo-thermal steam to power its plant. It also uses a worm farm to help get rid of waste.

Richard Wyeth is the chief executive and he says Miraka has a real point of difference in the industry.

“We have a full, closed-loop recycling system, which is reasonably unique in the New Zealand dairy sector. The other thing that is unique about Miraka is that we are predominantly Maori-owned, so 80 percent of our shareholders are Maori trust corporations.” . . .

Uncontrolled Urban Sprawl Will Increase Vegetable Prices:

It’s a simple equation: Auckland spreads its housing into our fruit and vegetable production land = we all pay more for food.

Horticulture New Zealand says if more houses are built on the most productive rural land then we can all expect to pay more for fresh vegetables and fruit.

“We know we need a bigger Auckland, but do we want to pay $10 a kilo for vegetables imported from China?” HortNZ natural resources manager Chris Keenan says.

HortNZ is worried the true cost of uncontrolled Auckland sprawl is not understood. . . 

 

Positivity Pumping At 2016 NZ Dairy Awards Final:

The winners and finalists in the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are evidence of the opportunities for people to prosper in the country’s dairy industry.

In front of 530 people at Wellington’s TSB Bank Arena last night, Mark and Jaime Arnold were named the 2016 New Zealand Share Farmers of the Year, Thomas Chatfield became the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and Nicholas Bailey was announced the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year. They shared prizes worth nearly $170,000. . . 

Research into rural disease transmission:

The transmission of diseases passed between animals and humans is the focus of research to be carried out by Otago University.

Known as Zoonotic disease transmission, around 60 percent of micro-organisms causing human diseases are passed that way.

The research led by Dr Pippa Scott will concentrate on two diseases, Escherichia coli, a particularly nasty bug that causes severe diarrhoea, and Staphylococcus aureus, a skin and blood infection. . . 

Onion Industry Strategy Delivering Increased Export Earnings:

Onions New Zealand Inc says with 75% of this season’s crop shipped, the industry is pleased with the direction it’s heading in.

“Returns are expected to be up 50% on last year,” chief executive Michael Ahern says.

“This means an increase from $81 million to $125 million FoB. This forecasted result will re-assert onions position as the third largest fresh horticulture export item after kiwifruit and pipfruit.” . . 

Accurate fertiliser spreading could save NZ agriculture millions:

A research study, commissioned by the New Zealand Fertiliser Quality Council (FQC), estimates that New Zealand agriculture could save tens of millions of dollars in lost production and wasted fertiliser – every year.

Conducted by Massey University’s Centre for Precision Agriculture, the report, which reviewed spreading accuracy from twin disc fertiliser spreaders, found that several factors contributed to ‘off target’ fertiliser spreading – including the physical properties of the fertiliser product, demand for spreaders to spread wider, as well as topography and wind. . . 

Southeast Asian entrepreneurs to gain insights into New Zealand agriculture:

Top Southeast Asian agribusiness leaders and entrepreneurs will be visiting Hamilton agricultural show Fieldays as part of a programme run by the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

The group is coming to New Zealand for a week-long programme through the ASEAN Young Business Leaders Initiative, managed by the Asia New Zealand Foundation for the New Zealand Government. ASEAN is a grouping of 10 Southeast Asian nations with a population of more than 620 million. New Zealand has a free trade agreement in place with ASEAN through the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA). . . 


Rural round-up

April 27, 2016

What makes a good farmer? – Bryan Gibson:

It seems that everyone has an opinion on the qualities that make up the perfect food producer, especially at the moment when times are tough.

Judging by the number of emails I’m getting detailing roadshows and information days, it appears the average farmer isn’t short of advice.

Whether they are bankers, consultants or other support company staffers or even other farmers, the range of opinion can be overwhelming.

Now, New Zealand farmers are already good at what they do.

But this dairy downturn means almost every farmer will be looking at his or her balance sheet and strategy and looking to make positive changes. . .

Environmental showcase ‘good farm practice’ – Pam Tipa:

Environmental initiatives began as just good farming practice for the first-ever supreme winners of the Auckland Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

Richard and Dianne Kidd, of Whenuanui Farm, Helensville, began fencing and planting about 35 years ago for stock health and farm management. But enthusiasm also grew for the environmental side as they started to see the benefits.

The BFEA judges described the Kidd family’s 376ha sheep, beef and forestry unit, as “a showpiece farm on the edge of Auckland city”. . . 

Farmers fear rights being eroded – Glenys Christian:

Changes to the Resource Management Act and freshwater management proposals might force farmers to increase consultation, Auckland Federated Farmers fears.  

The Resource Legislation Amendment Bill, now at select committee stage, will make it mandatory for councils to involve iwi authorities in the appointment of hearing commissioners as well as in the critical stages of preparing council plans, Auckland Federated Farmers president Wendy Clark said.  

While she agreed consultation with iwi before plan notifications was appropriate, she argued there should be consultation with anyone directly affected by the plans. . . 

Base labeling on science not superstition:

The left can be quite smug about its allegiance to science. And quite selective, too. That’s particularly true of the environmental movement’s relentless and often hysterical attacks on genetically modified food.

The nation’s food industry is locked in a battle with Vermont over a state law set to go into effect July 1 that will require the labeling of all food products to indicate whether they contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Agricultural and grocery associations have a pending federal lawsuit claiming state-by-state labeling requirements will make mass distribution of food nearly impossible. They’re also concerned, rightly, that the unwarranted fear campaign pressed by opponents of GMOs will drive consumers away from the products. . . 

Extra payment as Miraka grows :

Milk processing company Miraka will set its own price for the 2016/17 season starting on June 1.

The company, which is owned by Maori and overseas interests, already pays its suppliers in the central North Island 10 cents more than Fonterra for every kilogram of milk solids.

Chair Kingi Smiler says there will be an additional premium paid for suppliers who meet Te Ara Miraka farming excellence standards. . . 

Do you eat? Then you should care about agriculture policy – Adam Diamond, Garrett Graddy-Lovelace, Danielle Neirenberg:

Even though only 2 percent of Americans live on farms in 2016, agricultural policy remains extremely important. Why? Everyone has to eat.

It is unsettling to observe that, while Iowa’s caucuses in February forced presidential candidates to pay lip service to agricultural policy, the subject quickly receded from their radar. Food and farm issues may be hard to package in 30-second sound bites, and they certainly do not lend themselves to cutting debate repartee, but that does not mean they should dwell in the shadows of this 2016 election season. Far from it.

Today, Americans are more concerned than ever before about what they’re eating, how it was grown, where it was grown and by whom. And just as those vying to lead our executive branch need to have a basic grasp of foreign affairs, they also need to understand the basics of the farm and nutrition policies that touch us all, every day of the year, in the most visceral way. . .

Farmers United - We love our animals's photo.


Rural round-up

September 23, 2015

Drought breaks in Cheviot North Canterbury – Jeff Hampton:

 Much-needed rain fell in parched parts of north Canterbury today, raising farmers’ hopes that the serious drought they’re battling may be about to end.

It’s vital for farmers in an area of north Canterbury near Cheviot to get decent rainfall if their spring grass is to grow.

Farmer Louisa McClintock is never happier when there’s a bit of rain, after her district has been in drought all year. . . 

[I think that headline is more than a little optimistic. The rain will have been very welcome but it takes more than an inch or so of rain to break a drought].

Farmers suffer in drought-stricken corner of North Canterbury – Michael Wright:

Dan Hodgen must think the weather gods are against him.

The Hawarden farmer received “about one millimetre” of rain on his drought-stricken north Canterbury property at the weekend, despite solid falls being predicted.

“I’ve given up on trusting the forecast,” he said. . . 

Hard working couple take on velvet challenge – Kate Taylor:

In just seven years, Josh and Penny Buckman have graduated university and built up enough capital to buy 82 hectares near Hastings and a deer velvet business, not to mention starting a family.

They are busy people who wouldn’t have it any other way and are proud of their achievements so far.

“Josh is always up at midnight… thinking, planning. He’s an ideas man. He’s always working through ideas and scenarios and things we can do,” Penny says.

She is in charge of the daily running of Gevir Premium Deer Velvet, which they bought from another Hawke’s Bay couple earlier this year. She is also in charge of three-year-old George, 3, and 11-month-old Anna-Louise. Josh works on contract for Marsh corporate and business insurance and oversees the farm and a nearby lease block. The couple also have shares in other businesses. . . 

Saying goodbye to dirty dairy farming –  Lachlan Forsyth:

How do you achieve the balance between keeping a farm economical, and keeping the environment healthy? Is it actually doable?

Dairy has had many decades of being very good on the economics and not so good on the environment, and now there is a huge amount of pressure to ensure that changes.

Story visited one award-winning Waikato farm to see what’s being done to clean up dairy’s act. . . 

Key defends AgResearch cuts:

Prime Minister John Key is defending the government’s attitude to research and development amid reports that AgResearch intends laying off science staff.

Waikato University agribusiness professor Jacqueline Rowarth says she’s been told the cuts could involve 20 percent of the 500 or so research staff.

Prof Rowarth says she was originally told 82 staff were being laid off but the number had shifted to between 80 and 100.

Former AgResearch scientist Doug Edmeades says he’s been told by a staff member redundancies will be announced on Thursday, and the cuts are due to a drop in funding. . . .

New plant-based milk product under development:

The milk company, Miraka, is working with science and research organisations to create a new UHT milk product using plant-based protein.

Taupo-based Miraka is a predominately Māori-owned company that manufactures milk powder and UHT milk products for export to 23 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific, and Latin America.

It’s been awarded government funding to work with AgResearch and Plant and Food to develop dairy-based UHT milk products which contain plant or vegetable materials.

Chief executive Richard Wyeth said the scope is broad at this stage, but he wouldn’t be drawn on the ideas that are being thrown around. . . 

Farmers told to limit palm kernel feed:

Fonterra is encouraging farmers to limit the amount of palm kernel extract (PKE) they use as a supplementary feed for dairy cows.

The co-operative is recommending its suppliers feed a maximum of 3 kgs per cow per day.

Farm advisers spoken to by Radio New Zealand said some farmers were currently feeding out 6 to 9 kgs per cow per day, particularly during dry periods. . .

Delaval Backs NZ Dairy Awards:

Global dairy equipment market leader DeLaval has joined the family of national sponsors backing the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

Preparations for the 2016 awards programme are being finalised this week, as organisers and sponsors meet in Rotorua to confirm final details.

DeLaval representatives will take their place at the table, alongside representatives from Westpac, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra Farm Source, Honda Motorcycles, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown, and Primary ITO.

Chair Gavin Roden says the awards continue to attract strong support from the country’s leading dairy industry players. . . .

Reporoa feed company taking on the world:

After exporting its equine feed products into Asia for many years, Reporoa-based company Fiber Fresh has also now launched its calf feed products into the international marketplace.

Fiber Fresh is New Zealand’s largest animal nutrition export company, specialising in high nutritional equine and calf feed products. It celebrated 30 years in business earlier this year.

The company’s launch into the calf feed market in Japan also includes a research partnership with the school of veterinary medicine at Rakuno Gakuen University in Hokkaido.

Fiber Fresh founding director Michael Bell says launching into the Japanese calf market is a milestone for the company. . . 

Paula Nickel's photo.


Rural round-up

January 17, 2015

Fire risk in mowing roadside vegetation:

Federated Farmers is warning farmers and the rural community of the risk in mowing roadside vegetation in the extreme dry conditions.

“The fire environment has reached the point where it has become extremely dangerous and high risk to use a mechanical mower to top paddocks and mow road sides,” says Anders Crofoot, Federated Farmers Rural Fire Spokesperson.

“In the past 14 days Wairarapa Rural Fire District has attended 6 vegetation fires caused by the mowing of the road side or the topping of paddocks. Consequently Wairarapa Rural Fire and the Federation strongly recommend any mowing activity is postponed until weather conditions allow and the fire risk is lower.” . . .

Kiwifruit bonanza with soaring volumes – Carmen Hall:

Gold kiwifruit volumes are expected to increase by 70 per cent this year – sparking an employment drive across the industry.

The increase in volumes is also expected to pump millions of dollars into the local economy.

Zespri chief operating officer Simon Limmer said in 2013/14, 18 million trays were produced and that was predicted to rise “to upward of 30 million trays” and could reach 60 million trays by 2017.

“We have got three years of very steep volume growth, potentially up to 50 to 60 million trays. We were at 30 million trays in 2011 which was the pre-Psa impact and dropped back to 11 million trays in 2012/13 so we are now on the recovery.” . . .

NZ tractor sales rise to four decade high in 2014 on buoyant rural economy – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand tractor sales rose to their highest in almost four decades last year, reflecting a buoyant rural economy as farmers benefited from strong prices and good growing conditions.

New tractor registrations surged to 3,038 in calendar 2014, up 4.7 percent on 2013 and at the highest level since 3,129 in 1976, according to New Zealand Transport Agency data. Spending on farm buildings also rose, with the value of consents up 24 percent in the year though November to a six-year high of $322 million, according to Statistics New Zealand data.

Farmers stepped up their spending on big-ticket items like tractors and buildings last year, reflecting low interest rates, record prices and good growing conditions in the 2013/14 farming season. Spending is likely to fall this year as farmers face higher interest rates, lower prices and with drought conditions spreading through the East Coast. . .

 $5.75m debt; orchard sold – Lynda van Kempen:

One of the largest stonefruit operations in the country, Summerfruit Orchards Ltd, which owes $5.75 million, has been sold to a New Zealand buyer.

The company went into receivership in September, owing among its debts just over $4 million to SBS Bank.

The first report by receivers Colin Gower, of Christchurch, and Tim Ward, of Invercargill, has revealed the main creditors after the collapse of the company. . .

 

Workshops turn nitrogen reports into practical actions:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients has joined forces with the Dairy Women’s Network, DairyNZ, Fonterra, Miraka, Synlait and Tatua to help farmers come to grips with their farm nitrogen reports and how to use them to support N-loss improvements.

Ian Tarbotton, of Ballance’s Science Extension Team, says a roadshow in both the North and South Islands through February and March will help farmers turn reports into action.

“We want to take the mystery out of farm nitrogen reports, show what factors influence the numbers in reports, and leave farmers with some really practical ways to change their numbers for the better.” . . .

Awards Continues to Attract New Entrants

The 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards has continued to attract large numbers of first time entrants to the awards programme, which aims to help people progress their career in the dairy industry.

National Convenor Chris Keeping says an analysis of the 532 entries received in the awards competitions – including the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year – shows 338 are entering one of the contests for the first time. . . .

 

 

 


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