Rural round-up

November 18, 2017

Fruit early but shortage of workers – Yvonne O’Harra:

Cromwell and Roxburgh orchardists are intending to start harvesting cherries this week, which is up to 10 days earlier than usual.
However, there is also a shortage of workers.

Orchardists spoken to by Southern Rural Life said at this early stage of the season, the region’s crops of cherries and apricots were shaping up as some of the best there had been for a few years, thanks to the milder spring.

Cromwell orchardist Mark Jackson, of Jacksons’ Orchard, said everyone he had talked to was ”pretty happy” with the season so far and with the way the crops looked. . .

The new post-quake normal for south Marlborough – NZ’s biggest cul de sac – Oliver Lewis:

In a pair of towns straddling a major highway, the sound of engine noise at night has become a curiosity.

People prick up their ears from inside earthquake-damaged homes, wondering about a noise that until a year ago was a near-constant hum in the background.

Any road big enough to matter is called arterial, but for the south Marlborough towns of Seddon and Ward the description is particularly apt for State Highway 1.

Winding its way through the surrounding vineyards and gold-coloured rolling hills, the highway pumped through a steady stream of travellers and trade – lifeblood for businesses in the area. . .

Mustering courage – Alex Cook:

Stretching along both sides of the Clarence River and straddling the Clarence Fault, which runs between the seaward and inward Kaikōura Ranges, is Muzzle Station.

It’s New Zealand’s most isolated high country station, and when the Kaikōura earthquake struck, its most precariously placed.

No time to read? Listen here now

It’s also the home of managers Fiona and Guy Redfern, and when the 7.8 quake hit just past midnight on 14 November, the couple could hear the horrific sound of rock walls around the house tumbling down, and the house cracking with the movement. . . .

Gardner makes it a double – Tim Fulton:

Mid Canterbury Texel breeder Paul Gardner is a second-time winner of the Canterbury A&P Mint Lamb competition.

Gardner, farming at Mayfield, won the supreme prize in 2014 and has previously headlined other categories.

The competition was open to all breeds and celebrated the quality and variety of lamb available in New Zealand. . .

Dr Dirt gets due reward:

Dr Ants Roberts has been awarded the Ray Brougham Trophy for his outstanding contribution to pastoral farming.

Nicknamed Dr Dirt by his colleagues, Roberts is a soil scientist and Ravensdown’s chief scientific officer.

“I’m deeply humbled to be recognised amongst my peers in this way for effectively doing something that I love and am passionate about. . . .


Rural round-up

October 5, 2017

2018 Zanda McDonald Award shortlist announced:

A record number of applicants have been narrowed down to a shortlist of seven for the prestigious agribusiness badge of honour, the Zanda McDonald Award.

The trans-Tasman award, now in its fourth year, recognises agriculture’s most innovative young professionals. The four New Zealand and three Australian finalists for the 2018 award were selected for their strong leadership skills, passion for agriculture, and their vision and inspiration for the primary industry.

The Kiwi finalists are Thomas MacDonald, 24, Business Manager of Spring Sheep Milk Company in Waikato and Sir Don Llewellyn scholar, Lisa Kendall, 25, owner/operator of Nuture Farming Ltd and vice-chair of the Franklin Young Farmers Club, Ashley Waterworth 34, who manages and co-owns the family sheep and beef farm in Waikato, and Hamish Clarke, 27, third generation farm manager in the Northern King Country. . . 

Alliance calls fro more merinos and hoggets – Jemma Brakebush:

The country’s biggest sheep meat processor Alliance is calling for more merino farmer suppliers for its Silere brand, as Asian demand for the meat grows.

Alliance took over the brand Silere from New Zealand Merino and Silver Fern Farms last year, when it wanted to expand its portfolio of premium products.

Silere Merino’s season is very short and more lambs are needed to meet the strong demand, Alliance marketing manager for premium products Wayne Cameron said.

Processing here started at the end of September and goes through until Christmas, which is winter in Asia and when consumers prefer to eat lamb. . . 

Life on Muzzle Station – the most remote farm in NZ – Pat Deavoll:

On a bend in the Clarence River, tucked between the Inland and Seaward Kaikoura ranges under the distant towers of Mt Tapuaenuku is New Zealand’s most remote high country station.

Muzzle Station is only accessible by 40 kilometres of rugged, muddy 4WD track that connects it to the Inland Kaikoura road. The track crosses the Clarence and a 1300 metre pass on the Seaward Range.

Deep snow makes it impassible in winter. It takes about three hours to get from Muzzle to Kaikoura and that’s on a good day when the river is fordable and the pass ice-free. . .

Foreign investment crucial for forestry industry – Jemma Brakebush:

Foreign investment in forestry is crucial and New Zealand could never afford to buy back all the forests it has sold, the Forest Owners Association says.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said the future of forestry and timber supplies for local mills is one of his party’s priorities as it heads into coalition talks.

He wanted the next government to protect wood supply to domestic mills by creating a Forest Service, and had previously stuck-up for Northland wood processors who said they were being squeezed out of the market by foreign forest owners and buyers.

Commercial forestry is a much bigger industry than most people think, with $25 billion to $30bn invested in plantations, the association’s president Peter Clark said. . . 

Pipfruit industry alarmed at new port fees – Alexa Cook:

The Hawkes Bay apple industry is negotiating with Napier’s port over two proposed levies the sector says could cost it millions of dollars.

The first levy is to cover an extra $2 million in insurance premiums, which have risen because of quake damage in Lyttelton and Wellington.

The second is aimed at the pipfruit sector during peak season. The port is proposing a fee of $100 per 20,000-foot refrigerated container, starting in February. . . 

Lasers from above to zap weeds causing billion-dollar headache:

Drone-mounted lasers could be used to zap weeds that are posing a billion-dollar problem for New Zealand agriculture, AgResearch scientists say.

AgResearch – with partners the Universities of Auckland and Michigan and NZ-based technology firm Redfern Solutions Limited – has been awarded just under $1 million from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s Endeavour Fund to look into how to “map and zap” the many weeds plaguing productive land.

A recent study led by AgResearch concluded from available research that the known costs of weeds to New Zealand agriculture was at least $1.685 billion a year, but that the true cost from all weeds was likely to be much higher. Environmentally friendly tools are being urgently sought for the early control of these weeds. . . 

Last chance for free DDT Muster:

Farmers are being urged to check sheds and chemical stores for DDT or other banned pesticides as The Great DDT Muster does a final sweep of the country.

Funding for this free collection and disposal service for persistent organic pesticides (POPs) is coming to an end but the company responsible for the service, 3R Group Ltd, believes there is still more out there. 

3R’s ChemCollect manager, Jason Richards, says they’ve been running rural chemical collections for a number of years but knew that farmers weren’t having DDT and other POPs picked up simply because it was too expensive. . . 

 


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