Rural round-up

March 8, 2018

Meat companies must be clear about their purpose – Allan Barber:

When I heard KPMG’s global agribusiness head, Ian Proudfoot, on the radio stating the move away from meat to alternative proteins was happening permanently and quickly and meat companies needed to wake up, I wondered whether I had strayed into the Pop Up Globe to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Surely if meat companies need to wake up to alternative protein, this implies their whole business model is broken and farmers should be sitting in front of their horoscopes looking for a magical answer to the inevitable question “what the hell do I do now?”

Proudfoot’s justification for his opinion is US meat processor Tyson Foods’ announcement it has become protein agnostic and intends investing heavily in alternatives to meat. . . 

Awatere Valley farmers make a dent in “scourge of the high country” – Pat Deavoll:

For over half a century hieracium has been the curse of the high country, engulfing native tussock land and destroying the grazing potential of areas such as the Mackenzie Basin, Central Otago and the Canterbury high country.

Most high country runholders would say the weed continues its spread with little sign of abating, but a small enclave in the Awatere Valley, Marlborough thinks otherwise.

“Yes I think it’s on the decline here,” says Jim Ward, manager of Molesworth Station. . . 

Fonterra launches cutting-Edgar technology taking health and safety into 22nd century:

Fonterra and Beca have partnered to develop a breakthrough virtual reality health and safety training technology. The cutting-edge solution lets employees navigate the Co-operative’s manufacturing and distribution sites without the need to set foot on site and will help substantially reduce onboarding times.

The new technology will place Fonterra at the forefront of global health and safety innovation and is part of a business wide commitment to become a world leader in risk mitigation. . . 

M. bovis’ hurts all down the chain – Sally Brooker:

Mycoplasma bovis is affecting people all along the cattle supply chain.
Oamaru-based Whitestone Livestock Ltd principal John Cheesman said the bacterial disease was ”a real bloody issue”.

M. bovis was identified for the first time in New Zealand in late July on farms near Glenavy owned by the Van Leeuwen Dairy Group.

”It’s not really affecting the Waiareka saleyards as much as farmers’ and everybody else’s confidence to buy animals from this district and any other district,” Mr Cheesman said.

Environmental issues No. 1 focus:

Reducing on-farm environmental footprints is the top priority at Lincoln University.

Speaking at the Lincoln University Dairy Farm’s summer focus day, which was held at the Ashley Dene Research and Development Station on February 22, Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences dean Prof Grant Edwards said managing environmental concerns was the No1 focus.

”How can we progress our farms to maximise production within environmental limits?” . . . 

New study finds more omega 3s in milk from grass-fed cows – Hope Kirwan:

A new study shows milk from grass-fed cows has more of a nutrient linked to heart health than conventional and organic milks.

Organic Valley collected 1,163 samples over three years of their Grassmilk, a product line of milk from 100 percent grass-fed cows, and had their fatty acid content analyzed. The study compared the omega-3 fatty acid levels in the milk from grass-fed cows to conventional and organic milk. Researchers found that milk from grass-fed cows had 147 percent more omega-3s than conventional milk and 52 percent more than organic milk.

Omega-3 fatty acid has been shown to prevent heart disease and help control chronic conditions like arthritis. . .


Rural round-up

January 16, 2018

Women’s shearing record set in ‘epic’ sporting feat:

A nine-hour slog to set a new world shearing record is being described as an ‘epic sporting feat’.

Kerri-Jo Te Huia sheared 452 ewes in a Wairarapa woolshed yesterday to set a record that no-one has held before: that for the women’s nine-hour strongwool ewe category.

Champion shearer Jills Angus Burney watched Ms Te Huia make history and said she did an amazing job. . . 

Growers’ dilemma: Killing a crop to survive the dry:

After a drought-inducing start to summer, fruit and vegetable growers are pleading for more dams to avoid having to kill off their own crops.

Much of the country has been facing water restrictions after the early dry season, with even the usually rain-soaked West Coast having declared drought conditions.

Canterbury went weeks without rain in November and December, and Wellington was forced to use reserve water two months earlier than usual.

Otago settlement Glenorchy was the latest affected with Queenstown Lakes District Council announcing restrictions this morning, asking residents to switch off all irrigation and automatic watering systems. . .

What does the future hold for NZ”s largest farm? – Alexa Cook:

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is calling for public opinion about how New Zealand’s largest farm, Molesworth Station, should be managed.

The 180,000ha cattle station is owned by the government farmer Landcorp, which has a farming lease and grazing licence for the land.

A management plan for Molesworth was approved in 2013 with the intention of moving it from its traditional focus on farming to include more recreation and conservation activities.

The farming lease expires in two years, and Federated Farmers high country spokesperson Simon Williamson said it was crucial it remained a working station.

“It’s very important for that type of land that someone is maintaining it for the pests and weeds … and the public access side of it, if people get in trouble.” . . 

Close your farm borders to unwanted invaders – Katie Milne:

Here are some New Year resolutions for all of us who work the land: Treat your farm as a biosecurity fortress, with its defences tightened to shut out pest and disease threats.

Confirmation this week that the bacterial cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis is present on a farm in the Ashburton area – bringing the number of infected properties around the nation to 14 – is the latest wake-up call.  All farms are at risk when it comes to pests and diseases.  Regarding Mycoplasma bovis, movement of infected animals is the main risk followed by animal to animal contact and transmission through milk and semen, but the disease can also be transferred directly on equipment such calving and AI equipment.

MPI staff work hard to knock out biosecurity threats at our airports and ports but they’re just the first line of defence.  You’re the fullback.  You need a game plan to repel weeds, bacteria and other harmful substances that would hurt your livelihood.

Now for those resolutions. . . 

Feds’ Hoggard urges farmers to pay backpackers regular rates – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Federated Farmers vice-president Andrew Hoggard says farmers should pay backpackers market rates if they want to keep a handy pool of casual labour and avoid volunteer workers.

The Employment Relations Authority ruled an organic farm near Christchurch breached worker rights by paying them $120 a week plus providing food and lodging irrespective of the hours worked, and claiming they were volunteers after a Labour Inspectorate investigation. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said in a statement that thousands of people had been exploited at the farm, working up to 40 hours a week and often as hired out labour at a profit for Robinwood Farms director and shareholder Julia Osselton. . . 

Canada’s Public Sector Pension Board gets OIO approval to buy $17.7M dairy farm and block – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board, or PSP Investments, got a green light to buy a medium-sized dairy farm and a neighbouring dairy support block in Canterbury for $17.7 million just ahead of tougher requirements on land sales to foreign buyers.

Ramsay Dairy Farm, which is indirectly owned by PSP Investments, was granted consent to buy 335.2 hectares of land and 77.2 hectares of land in Hororata, Canterbury by the Overseas Investment Office.

According to the OIO, the properties will be amalgamated to create a larger dairy farm. “The applicant proposes to convert some of the dairy support land to create a larger milking platform, and to support increasing the total number of cows by approximately 400 cows,” it said in a summary of the decision.. . .

Butter prices drop almost 5 percent in December:

Butter, chocolate bars, and wholemeal bread prices all fell in December, Stats NZ said today. Tomatoes and nectarines were also cheaper, but avocado prices remain almost twice as expensive as they were a year ago.

After four successive monthly rises, butter prices dropped 4.9 percent in December 2017 to an average of $5.46 for the cheapest available 500g block. This compared with the previous month when they hit a record high of $5.74. Butter prices had been falling at international dairy auctions since October. . . 

MPI aims to wrap up PGP review by end of April – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – The government’s review of the Primary Growth Partnership is underway, with the first phase due to be wrapped up by late January and the second by the end of April, with one programme partner providing feedback and ideas to date.

The research and development programme was launched in 2010 and, to date, government and industry have invested some $759 million in 22 programmes, with 16 still underway. In late November Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, who was critical of the programme while in opposition, called for a review, stating the new government needs to prioritise spending. . .

2018 Set To Be A Year Of Growth For Taratahi:

Taratahi’s efforts to attract new students has paid off with solid enrolments for 2018.

Taratahi upped its marketing and as a result, the definite enrolments for 2018 are looking great, says chief Executive Arthur Graves.

Arthur says the institutions taster courses have attracted large numbers of students.

“Taratahi and the wider primary industry have been promoting the job rich agricultural environments and extensive career pathways on offer and those campaigns are now yielding some great results. . . 


How much will Molesworth cost?

January 15, 2018

The Department of Conservation is consulting on the Molesworth Station management plan.

Molesworth is an iconic high-country station. It is owned by the public of New Zealand and managed by DOC on your behalf.

The Station became a recreation reserve in 2005. It has many values, including heritage, conservation, cultural and recreation.

Managing Molesworth

Molesworth is currently managed as a working high-country station through a farming lease and grazing licence to Landcorp. The farming lease expires in 2020.

A management plan for Molesworth was approved in 2013. Its intention was to transition Molesworth from its traditional focus on farming to include more recreation and conservation activities.

The plan puts restrictions on public access in order to meet farming requirements. It may be necessary to manage recreational activity to protect conservation goals for natural, cultural and historic reasons, and to protect the recreational experience of other users.

DOC sees potential in working collaboratively with others on landscape-scale restoration in Molesworth. It is a biodiversity hotspot for a wide range of dryland animal and plant species. It also faces challenges from pests and significant weed problems such as wilding conifers. . . 

We were on Molesworth a few years ago and horrified by the spread of wilding pines. The spread of hieracium was also a visible problem.

DOC wants people’s thoughts on

  • how Molesworth is currently managed
  • how you think the range of values on Molesworth should be managed into the future
  • future opportunities or improvements to the way Molesworth is managed.

You’ll find the survey here.

Molesworth’s values include heritage, conservation, cultural and recreation.

Farming fits with heritage, conservation and cultural values and doesn’t have to exclude recreation. It also generates income, although that doesn’t mean it makes a profit for either Landcorp which leases the property, or DOC.

Profit, or loss, is something which isn’t addressed in the survey. What will implementing the plan for Molesworth cost and who will pay for it?

Recreation and conservation values are important but how much income, if any, will they generate?

Grazing helps curb weeds and farm staff can help control rabbits, possums and other pests which threaten native flora and fauna as part of their daily work.

If conservation and recreation replace farming, there won’t be an automatic return to nature as it was before the settlers came. Introduced weeds and pests will flourish with no stock and farm workers to control them.

The tussock has been disappearing from the top of the Lindis Pass since DOC took over the management land after the farm released it under tenure review. That is because hieracium is flourishing as fertility drops and no stock graze it before seed heads form. Without a comprehensive, and expensive, weed control plan, Molesworth will face a similar issue with introduced weeds.

Another potential problem is an increase in the risk of fire with growth uncontrolled by stock and more recreational visitors.

Molesworth is considered an iconic high country station.

Farming doesn’t have to be inconsistent with recreation and conservation.

Furthermore it could generate income to offset some of the costs, lessen the fire danger and contribute more to weed and pest control.

 


Rural round-up

October 26, 2013

CHB dam supporters back Wilson – Marie Taylor:

Ruataniwha dam supporters filled the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council offices to over-flowing to back Fenton Wilson’s re-election as chairman last Wednesday.

At the council’s meeting in Napier Wilson was returned for a second term as chairman by the narrowest of margins – only one vote – in a meeting which was testy at times.

Wilson, from Wairoa, won the vote 5-4 against new councillor and former Labour MP Rick Barker.

About 150 farmers turned up to this first meeting of the new nine-person council, which has six new members. Only Wilson, deputy chair Christine Scott and Alan Dick from Napier were returned. . . .

One share ruse fails – Alan Williams:

Would-be board candidate John Monaghan says Alliance Group should have had an independent authority decide on his eligibility to stand for election as director.

“There shouldn’t be any hint of interference from the board,” the Fonterra Co-operative Group director said after Alliance ruled he did not qualify as a candidate.

Monaghan called for Alliance to separate governance from representation, as Fonterra has done, to ensure fair and transparent elections. . .

Pita Alexander tells dairy farmers to ‘make financial hay’ before milk prices fall; and sheep farmers turn to shine is coming:

It struck me the other day that within five years it’s more than likely that Australia and New Zealand will be able to sell more lambs than they will have available.

It’s no secret that our lamb flock has been on the wane and we are another couple of million down from last summer’s drought.

The law of supply and demand would indicate that better prices will result.

Scarcity is a marketing tool of a type, but it is not the whole answer. . .

Molesworth Station road opening early:

A 200 kilometre road through New Zealand’s largest high country station is opening to members of the public early this year.

Molesworth Station in Marlborough is opening Acheron Road from Labour Day Weekend (October 26) to Easter Weekend (April 21).

Previously the road had opened from December to April.

The 207km unsealed road, which runs between Blenheim and Hanmer Springs, will be open to four-wheeled-drive vehicles from 7am to 7pm subject to safety and weather conditions, the Department of Conservation says.  . .

Raise a Glass to Success Campaign 2013:

Raise a Glass to Success is an exciting new online campaign being launched by one of New Zealand’s premier wine brands to celebrate six everyday Kiwis whose passion inspire us all.

The six finalists will be individuals who demonstrate innovation perseverance and a determination to succeed in their chosen field – even when those around them said it couldn’t be done.

They can be involved in any area including the arts, fashion, design or hospitality or they could be up and coming innovators in sustainability or science research. . . .

Mortgagee sale a crushing finale for winery:

A boutique winery and hospitality operation in the Hawkes Bay has been placed on the market for sale by mortgagee tender.

Park Estate located at 2087 Pakowhai Road comprises a winery, restaurant and function centre located next to the expressway, linking Hastings and Napier. The property, in two titles, is being marketed by Bayleys Hastings by salespeople Glyn Rees-Jones and Hadley Brown.

Park Estate was started in the mid 1990s, and produced several varieties under the label of the same name. However, in recent years the business has diversified production into an organic fruit juice and beverage operation currently leasing the land and building. . .


Rural round-up

September 1, 2013

Weather warning saved Molesworth – Tony Benny:

Even as a forecasters this week predicted a short, sharp, cold front bringing snow down to 300 metres in Canterbury and 400m in Marlborough, Molesworth Station manager Jim Ward was counting his blessings after escaping relatively unscathed from June’s big snow and was enjoying an early spring.

“At this stage, it’s like it is in October – we’ve got beautiful days, we’ve got a bit of green coming away, and the moisture levels are up in the soil,” Ward said.

“We’ve noticed the bird life that turns up in the spring, like oyster catchers – they turned up a bit earlier and there’s a lot more of them so I think that’s a pretty good indication. We could still get a dump now but we’re quite chirpy.” . .

Vision for dairying future is explained – Murray Robertson:

AN $18 million investment proposal has been laid out to get the Ata Milk concept up and running in the Wairoa-Gisborne-East Coast region.

The proposal was presented to a group of about 60 interested people on Thursday afternoon in Gisborne.

The man who has spent the past 10 years developing the principles of Caring Dairying and Ata Milk, Dr Hugh Jellie, outlined his vision for the resurgence of dairying in this region.

“I am very humbled by the level of interest and support shown.”

His dream was to take this region “back to the future”, he said. . .

Dairy potential profiled – Murray robertson:

THE Ata Milk and Caring Dairying proposal for Tairawhiti has the potential to produce more than double the returns achieved by dry-stock farming and cropping, initiator Dr Hugh Jellie said in a presentation in Gisborne this week.

Around 60 interested people heard his vision for the resurgence of dairying in this district.

An investment proposal was laid out for consideration, to raise $18 million to establish the first stage of the project. . .

Gaining a good foothold – Murray Robertson:

GISBORNE now has a new “master” farrier trained by long-time master farrier Dick Parsons.

Ben Akuhata-Brown recently passed his final examination.

“Ben has attained the top qualification for equine practice in New Zealand,” Mr Parsons said.

The 28-year-old started work as an apprentice farrier with Mr Parsons when he left school. . .

Pea-fect conditions for crops – Tim Cronshaw:

Pea crops are springing out of the ground because of unseasonably warm Canterbury weather.

Processor and exporter Wattie’s is already 10 per cent through its sowing schedule ending December and at this rate is expected to bring forward harvesting to the last week of November.

Planting is based in Pendarves in the early pea growing Rakaia area and in Southbridge and Leeston and will then move to Aylesbury and Kirwee before advancing further afield.

Wattie’s South Island agricultural manager Mark Daniels said contracted growers had made a fast start to the planting season, and this was always preferred to get a crop established. . .

Sophie happy to swap fame for farm

She may have travelled the world chasing rowing medals, but for Sophie MacKenzie there’s no place like home. The 21-year-old enjoyed some well-earned time off after picking up a bronze in Austria, checking out the sights of Europe, but she couldn’t wait to return to the top of the valley, her hugely-supportive parents and a menagerie of animals.

As comfortable in gumboots and a farm ute as she is in a double scull, Sophie has found the ideal place to chill out after the high-pressure demands of international sport.

“I’ve never been so excited to come home . . . and see all my animals (I love them), do a bit of farm work, get back to my hills,” she said. . .


%d bloggers like this: