Rural round-up

July 19, 2016

Tool for easy environment planning – Rebecca Harper:

Onfarm environmental planning has just got easier with the launch of a new cloud-based software programme, AgFirst Landbase.

AgFirst consultant Erica van Reenen developed the programme in conjunction with FarmIQ after being asked time and again whether an online tool to help with land and environment planning existed – it didn’t, until now.

Using van Reenen’s knowledge and FarmIQ’s information technology capability was a perfect match. . .

Greenpeace’s deadly war on science – Bjorn Lomborg:

Is Greenpeace committing a crime against humanity?

A letter from 110 Nobel laureates suggests as much. It urges the environmental group to drop its campaign against genetically modified foods, particularly so-called “Golden Rice,” which could help prevent millions of deaths in the developing world.

Calling GMOs food “Frankenfood” is a brilliant scare-mongering term, heavily promoted by Greenpeace. But it has no basis in reality. . . 

Let’s not leave Silver Fern Farms stranded – Stephen Jacks:

As I take time to consider my vote in the upcoming Silver Fern Farms special general meeting on the 50-50 joint venture with Shanghai Maling, my thoughts are around what the future may look like either way.

What we know is that the challenges facing farmers are large.  The challenges of profitably negotiating our way through the physical, climatic, financial and market vagaries appear to be amplified of late.   I don’t envisage the scale of excellence and adaptation required to survive and thrive to diminish anytime soon.

We have a choice before us: To join with Shanghai Maling or not.  . . 

School paddocks nurture future farmers – Rob Tipa:

Senior pupils of Waitaki Boys’ High School’s primary production course see their future in farming, so attending one of the country’s few schools with its own farm is a definite attraction.

Seven out of 10 senior students who spoke to the NZ Farmer were boarders at Waitaki, mostly from sheep and beef farming families from around Fairlie, Methven, Mayfield, Millers Flat and the West Coast.

Waitaki Boys has a proud history and reputation as a fine school but several students said the school farm was a key factor that brought them to boarding school in Oamaru. . .

How we are innovating our way to cheaper land prices – James Pethokoukis:

They aren’t making any more land, at least on this planet. But technology is, in effect, increasing the long-term supply of land. Robert Shiller:

This 20th-century miracle in agricultural science greatly improved crop yields per acre. From the standpoint of farm output, there was no need for new land. This revolution involved the discovery by Fritz Haber of a cheap process to produce ammonia for fertilizer at the beginning of the century and the discovery of new high-yield strains of wheat by Norman E. Borlaug at midcentury. Both men won Nobel Prizes for their work. These innovations permitted multiplication of yields per acre and very likely saved hundreds of millions of lives from starvation worldwide. . . 

Leading exporter sets benchmark for food safety and brand protection:

New Zealand’s largest vertically-integrated grower, packer and exporter of twenty-five per cent of this country’s apples has taken a bold step to scientifically guarantee the integrity of its produce.

Mr. Apple has signed a three year contract with Dunedin-based Oritain to combat what has become a proliferation of food fraud in the export industry, and safeguard the security of its supply-chain.

Mr. Apple CEO Andrew van Workum says that having his apples 100% traceable from orchard to store is a lynchpin of the Mr. Apple brand, and adds critical value to the relationship it has with growers, suppliers and consumers. . . 

 


Rural round-up

February 29, 2016

How one rural woman escaped an abusive marriage – Jemma Brackebush:

A woman who continued to farm after ending her abusive marriage has spoken out in the hope it may help others in similar situations.

 Police say just three in 10 women will report domestic abuse, while seven will remain silent.

Claire* farms in the central North Island and said domestic violence in rural communities was a taboo subject that people turned their backs on.

Claire was happily married, living the dream on the farm she had always wanted to own.

Within 18 months of the relationship beginning their first baby came along and her husband’s three children from a previous marriage joined them at the farm. . . 

Course gives firm sense of direction – Sally Rae:

Sometimes it’s about taking those first steps.

When North Otago dairy farmer, vet and mother-of-two Nicola Neal completed the two-day First Steps programme in 2014, it gave her a firm sense of direction.

The programme, developed by the Agri-Women’s Development Trust, is specifically designed to help rural women understand and realise their potential. . . 

A social media champion emerges for young rural mothers – Pat Deavoll:

Young mothers living in the rural backblocks have a new champion.

Twenty-six-year-old mother-of-two and wife of a deer farmer, Chanelle O’Sullivan, saw a need for a support mechanism for young mums, often from an urban background, who found themselves ensconced in the countryside because of their husband or partners’ jobs. 

“These girls are often isolated and unsupported,” O’Sullivan says. “I wanted to create a means for them to interact, hence I took over the  Farming Mums NZ Facebook page three years ago. I thought it was a worthwhile resource for women who could otherwise feel isolated in the country.”  . . 

A journey from good to great:

The clincher for Manawatu dairy farmer  to change his farm business for the better was seeing a previously enthusiastic young employee struggling under pressure.  

“I walked into the staffroom one day and saw one of our great employees who had started six months previously sitting at the table. This young man, who came to us fit and eager, had changed for the worse. And this was just from trying to be a normal man – working long hours and still maintaining a normal and enjoyable life outside of dairy farming. I realised something had to change.”  

As an owner of a 1000-cow farm in Bulls, Manawatu, Stuart Taylor has a team of six to seven staff.  Integral to his business is creating a community of good, productive people, with individual roles reflecting what they want out of a career and an opportunity to get to where they want to be. . .

Seeka Kiwifruit lifts annual profit 35% on increased volumes – By Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Seeka Kiwifruit Industries, the largest kiwifruit grower in Australia and New Zealand, increased annual profit 35 percent as volumes recover from the impact of the Psa-V vine disease and it received insurance money from a fire at its largest packhouse facility.

Profit rose to $4.3 million, or 27 cents per share, in the 12 months ended Dec. 31, from $3.2 million, or 22 cents, the year earlier, the Te Puke-based company said in a statement. That’s ahead of its forecast of between $2.96 million and $3.53 million, which reflected uncertainty around insurance claims related to the fire. It received $5.46 million in insurance proceeds from the fire, although not all claims were finalised or accepted by the insurers at year end. Revenue rose 23 percent to $142.1 million. . . 

Hawke’s Bay’s Apple Exporters Partner up to Open the Region’s Largest Single Rooms Coolstore:

Two of Hawke’s Bay’s biggest apple exporters have teamed up to store apples, today opening the regions largest single rooms coolstore.

Bostock New Zealand and Mr Apple have officially opened their new 8600m2 coolstore near Flaxmere, which has the capacity to store 30,000 bins.

Bostock New Zealand Owner, John Bostock says it’s very exciting to be opening a state of the art facility, which has the technology and innovation to provide customers with full traceability from the Hawke’s Bay orchards to consumers across the world. . . 

New coolstore offers fruit traceability:

Two of Hawke’s Bay’s biggest apple exporters have opened the region’s largest single rooms coolstore.

Bostock New Zealand and Mr Apple have officially opened their new 8600 square metre coolstore near Flaxmere, which has the capacity to store 30,000 bins.

Bostock New Zealand owner John Bostock said the state of the art facility had the technology and innovation to provide customers with full traceability from the Hawke’s Bay orchards to consumers across the world. . . 


Rural round-up

August 14, 2014

Whitebaiters urged to fish responsibly:

New Zealanders are being urged to keep their love of whitebait in check when the season begins or risk a $5000 fine.

The official whitebaiting season runs from mid August to the end of November, except for the South Island’s west coast which goes from September to mid November.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) says fishers need to stick to the regulations in place which are designed to protect the fishery’s juveniles.

Conservation grants for two west Coast groups:

Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner today announced Conservation Volunteers New Zealand and West Coast branch of Forest and Bird have been awarded Community Conservation Partnership Fund grants.

Conservation Volunteers, which is a not for profit charitable entity, has been awarded $195,000 for a coastal amenities engagement programme.  It aims to develop community engagement in projects in Buller and Grey Districts.

“The grant, which will be spread over two years, will allow an engagement officer to be employed to encourage and manage community participation in critical conservation tasks on project sites at Punakaiki, Westport, Greymouth, Hokitika and Cobden Aromahana Sanctuary,” Ms Wagner says. . .

Fonterra and CSIRO Join Forces to Drive Sustainable Dairy Innovation:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd. has signed a five-year strategic agreement with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to drive innovation in sustainable farming, manufacturing, health, nutrition and consumer dairy products.

The agreement will see CSIRO applying its expertise to the co-operative’s global dairy chain using its broad range of industrial know-how and scientific capability in remote sensing, resource engineering, ecosystem, food and water to help propel Fonterra’s V3 strategy.

Fonterra Chief Technology Officer Dr Jeremy Hill said, “We intend our partnership with CSIRO to develop a range of solutions to address Fonterra’s science and technology needs.” . . .

Fonterra in Australian research deal:

Fonterra says it’s not turning its back on New Zealand research organisations in an agreement it’s just signed with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, CSIRO.

The five-year strategic agreement will cover research ranging from herd productivity, effluent management and milk quality, to processing and analytical technology, food design and consumer health.

Fonterra’s chief technology officer Dr Jeremy Hill was quick to point out that it would complement rather than compete with the work the dairy co-operative was doing with New Zealand research providers.

“CSIRO’s an extremely broad and diverse organisation, so it has science and technology capbilities in agriculture and food, but also in such areas as mining,(and) information technology,” said Dr Hill. . .

Companies collaborate in China:

Six New Zealand primary industry companies have formed a new collaboration to ease entry into the China market.

Primary Collaboration New Zealand Limited has established a China services company (ServeCo) as a wholly foreign owned enterprise (WFOE) in Shanghai to provide ‘in-market’ services. The collaboration stems from the inaugural New Zealand Primary Sector Bootcamp held by industry CEOs and government agency leaders at Stanford University in 2012.

The collaboration will initially involve Sealord, Silver Fern Farms, Synlait Milk, Villa Maria Estate, Kono and Pacific Pace (a collaboration between Hawke’s Bay horticulture businesses Mr Apple, CrasbornGroup and J M Bostock Group). . .

Livestock numbers forecast shows little change – unlikely to achieve MPI’s optimistic revenue forecasts – Allan Barber:

The Beef + Lamb New Zealand Economic Service’s latest stock numbers survey shows only minor changes in next season’s predicted volumes. However total sheep numbers are estimated to fall below 30 million for the first time.

A small increase in lamb numbers is forecast as a result of a better lambing percentage, although this still depends on a normal spring, especially in the main sheep breeding areas of the East Coast, lower North Island, and the South Island. The total sheep flock declined by 3.2% or nearly 1 million sheep. However the drop in the number of breeding ewes was only 1.4%, whereas hogget numbers were down 750,000.

The decline was more pronounced in the South Island because of continuing land use change from Canterbury to Southland; in the North Island the drought conditions in Northland had the main impact, while the rest of the island was relatively stable. The fall in the number of hoggets retained compared with the previous year poses a further threat to breeding ewe numbers for the following season. . .

DairyNZ reshapes senior roles:

DairyNZ has appointed David McCall to a new role of general manager of research and development as part of a plan to more closely integrate its research work with the products, tools, resources and services developed for farmers.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says the change will see DairyNZ’s research and development teams merge into one new group from this month. The new appointment follows last month’s retirement of DairyNZ’s chief scientist, Dr Eric Hillerton.

“It is timely with Eric leaving to re-think the role of the research leadership position. We also have a new industry strategy with some ambitious targets and we need to think about how to organise ourselves to best deliver those for farmers. I’m keen to see greater integration because one of the dairy industry’s key strategic objectives is to research and develop innovative technologies and solutions to meet the current and future needs of dairy farms. . .

Tongues And Cheeks Among the Best:

What do water buffalo, pig’s cheeks and hare’s legs have in common? They’re all key ingredients in the dishes that have made the cut in the Monteith’s Wild Food Challenge.

After a month long feast, daring New Zealanders have voted for their favourite wild dish and together with a panel of judges, have selected 12 finalists in the Monteith’s Wild Food challenge. Expert judges have travelled the length of New Zealand, tried 122 dishes and pushed their palates to new levels in the hunt for the finest feast and the best flavourable Monteith’s companion.

“I’ve seen many innovations since the inception of the Challenge 17 years ago and am always surprised and delighted by the combinations of Monteith’s and wild foods created by talented New Zealand chefs,” says Head Judge Kerry Tyack. . . .

This almost made me cry laughing. I'm sure not a ton of people will agree, but those that do ... high five!!!!!! And Props to the person that stopped to take the picture and took the time to post it! I <3 farmers !!!


Rural round-up

June 27, 2014

Young Maori Dairy Farmer for 2014 – Sally Rae:

Young Maniototo sharemilker Wiremu Reid has his sights firmly set on farm ownership.

Mr Reid (24), a fourth-generation dairy farmer, has won the 2014 Ahuwhenua Young Maori Dairy Farmer of the Year award.

Originally from Whangarei, he moved south with his partner Bettina Tolich in 2009, because of the opportunities in the industry. . .

Planting trees and eating healthily – Sally Rae:

It reads a little like something out of a Mills and Boon romance novel.

In 2008, Englishwoman Loveday Why met Dunedin-born Kris Mullen in Australia and, within a week, they were living together in a tiny hut in a forest at Shag Point.

They later travelled, married and have now settled in the Dunedin area where they are developing two businesses – native tree planting business Wildwood Ecoforestry and healthy eating initiative Wild and Good. . . .

Levy about ‘putting heat’ into industry – Sally Rae:

The proposed levy referendum is about ”putting heat back into the industry”, Wool Levy Group chairwoman Sandra Faulkner says.

Sheep farmers will have the opportunity to vote on whether to reintroduce a wool levy in October.

Until then, Mrs Faulkner, a sheep farmer from Muriwai, and her team will be speaking to groups at events across the country about the referendum process and the importance of voting.

She called her team ”fantastic” and said it had pan-sector representation.

The referendum will take place on October 10, 2014 and will determine if sheep farmers want to fund a new industry body by paying between 2c and 5c per kilogram of greasy or slipe wool they grow. . .

Apples key component of Scales business – Alan Williams:

Prospective investors in Scales Corporation will be keeping a close eye on Hawke’s Bay weather.

That is where it has about 1000ha of apple orchards, which contribute a large part of its earnings. Other orchards in the province supply fruit that the group’s Mr Apple subsidiary exports.

Mr Apple produces 16% of the New Zealand apple crop and its share of exports is 24%.  

Turners & Growers is a bigger exporter but Mr Apple has a much larger orchard area and has a bigger apple business overall. . .

A place to call home –  Jessica Frecklington and Vernon Graham:

THE Webb family first sank their roots into the Tarana district between Bathurst and Lithgow almost 175 years ago and not even trigger-happy bushrangers have been able to shift them.

William Webb and his feisty wife, Ann, emigrated from Cornwall, England, in 1840 with three small children and headed straight for Tarana, one of the first districts settled when the colony spread west across the Blue Mountains from Sydney.

Webb managed a grazing property, “Keirstone”, on the Fish River near Tarana for Dr David Ramsay for about 11 years before he was accidentally killed, leaving Ann a widow with eight children (Alice, Richard, William, Elizabeth, Hannah, Robert, Mary and Thomas). . .

 


Rural round-up

May 9, 2014

Solid Energy sells farms – Collette Devlin:

Solid Energy has sold its Southland dairy farms, but the state-owned company is yet to release the price it got.

About 2,000 hectares of the Eastern Southland rural property was sold by tender.

The properties included three dairy farms, two dairy support or conversion farms, and four properties considered as dairy support farms.

The farms, ranging from 33ha to 399ha, were within a 5-kilometre radius between Mataura and Gore.
Solid Energy bought the properties to secure access to the large lignite coal resource in the district, but no longer required the land. . .

Robo cows ready for milking – Diane Joyce:

Robots will be milking cows in Havelock North by early next year, and everyone will be able to stop in and see for themselves how it works.

Dairy farming could become a substantial earner for Hawke’s Bay if the latest robot technology is taken up by farmers, says the man behind the plan, Michael Whittaker.

A state-of-the-art 3500 square metre dairy barn is being built, in which the cows will decide how often they want to be milked and how often they want to head outside into the sunshine. For the 120 cows there will be two “self-milking” bays, to which the cows can wander whenever they chose. . .

Steady rise in milk prices over 50 years – Andrea Fox:

The milk price paid to dairy farmers has increased by an average of 11c a kilogram of milksolids a year over the past 50 years, new analysis by DairyNZ shows.

For DairyNZ senior economist Matthew Newman that was one of most interesting findings of the industry organisation’s economic survey for 2012-13, which also marked 50 years of economic analysis of key financial data from dairy farmers.

“That the milk price has continued to increase is not a recent phenomenon, although in the last 25 years it has shown more volatility and even increased volatility in the past six or seven years,” Newman said.

The trend had implications for farmers around risk management and how to manage changing prices, he said.  . .

MBIE’s dairy farm employee position statement positive:

With the employment practices of dairy farmers in the media spotlight, the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) Labour Inspectorate’s newly released position statement, is to be followed up by both Federated Farmers and DairyNZ.

“Dairy farmers can expect a joint Industry Best Practice Guidance note next week,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers employment spokesperson.

“Both Federated Farmers and DairyNZ endorses MBIE’s common sense position statement, which not only reminds employers about the Minimum Wage Act 1983, but reminds them ‘seasonal averaging’ has gone the same way as 245-T. . . .

Scales’ target continued growth – Alan Williams:

Apple grower Scales Corporation expects to lift production every year until about 2020 to take advantage of increasing demand in Asian and Middle East markets.

Apple consumption was growing strongly in big-population markets such as Thailand, China, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates, and was growing in India, chief executive Andy Borland said.

Scales subsidiary Mr Apple had been steadily replanting its Hawke’s Bay orchards with redder, sweet varieties such as Gala, NZ Queen, and Fuji, Borland said.

It was getting the increased production now and that would continue, because apples took 5-7 years to reach production peak, he said. . .

Tasked to wake sleeping giant – Alan Williams:

Nick Berry is off to work for the opposition, but he has never seen it that way.

In his 30 years in Fonterra’s retail store business RD1, it was always RD1 as a dairy specialist and PGG Wrightson a sheep-and-beef farm supplier.

“We didn’t see Wrightson as a real competitor. It was more CRT and Farmlands as the competitors,” Berry said.

Because of that background it isn’t such a big wrench that he’s going now to help Wrightson build its supply network to dairy farmers.

“We spoke of it as more of a sleeping giant, with its 100-plus stores, and I’ll be happy to help it grow,” he said. . .


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