Rural round-up

October 29, 2013

Futuristic drones to watch your sheep – Howard Keene:

Kiwi agriculture scholarship winner sees drones having a big potential in the industry.

Natasha King went overseas on a Nuffield Scholarship recently to primarily look for energy-generating solutions to New Zealand’s effluent disposal problems, but also became fascinated by some of the new technologies she came across.

“It wasn’t my area, but I became interested in it as a basic farmer from New Zealand,” Ms King, who is Meridian Energy’s national agribusiness manager based in Christchurch, said. . .

Steaks high in trans-Tasman Trans-Tasman beef battle – Jenna Lynch &  Elton Smallman:

The Kiwi and Aussie battle is heating up again, but there’s no sport in sight. This time it’s a battle of the beef.

Australian red meat is making its way across ditch and filling a gap in our supermarkets, as Kiwi beef farmers recover from last summer’s drought.

But how does the Aussie beef compare to a good homegrown Kiwi steak?

Well there’s only one way to find out: A blind taste test. . .

Lots of changes in industry, but basic principles remain the same – Yvonne OHara:

Winning the first and second Southland regional Sharemilker of the Year competitions and coming second by half a point in the national competition was memorable and disappointing for Karen Bellew and Stephen Malone.

The former Edendale 50/50 sharemilkers, who have since separated, won the inaugural regional competition in 1990 but it was held too late for them to compete in the national final.

However, they were allowed to enter the Southland event the following year and won again. . .

Lincoln University to apply expertise to restoration project:

International mining company Rio Tinto has confirmed that it will continue funding a major ecological restoration project currently underway at Punakaiki on the South Island’s West Coast.

The Punakaiki Coastal Restoration Project (PCRP) has been underway for five years and is part of a four-way partnership between Lincoln University, Rio Tinto, the Department for Conservation (DoC) and Conservation Volunteers New Zealand (CVNZ). Professor of Ecology, Nicholas Dickinson , and his colleagues in the Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences have been spear-heading the project for Lincoln University.

Rio Tinto has committed to another three years of funding the PCRP, which involves the restoration of a 70-hectare site that has been negatively impacted over the years through both mining and agriculture. The company originally bought the site to mine ilmenite (an oxide of titanium), but later gifted it to DoC. . . .

Tarras Water weighs options:

Tarras Water Ltd is still afloat, even if the company’s hopes for a dry shareholder have been sunk, director Peter Jolly says.

When contacted by Southern Rural Life last week, Mr Jolly said the company’s shareholders were looking at their options, including some which would not involve Tarras Water Ltd.

The company’s board was still meeting regularly and had a ”telephone link-up” about three weeks ago and an ”informal” meeting last week, he said.

However, the board had abandoned hope of a dry shareholder taking equity in the company, he said. . .

Council downsizes, reports increased event attendance  – Timothy Brown:

Beef and Lamb New Zealand’s Central South Island Council decided on a smaller council at its annual meeting in Cromwell last week, reducing the number of councillors from four to three.

South Canterbury farmer Andrew Fraser stepped down, and the three other councillors, Blair Smith, Ivan Geary and Robert Peacock were re-elected unopposed. . .

Council downsizes, reports increased event attendance


Rural round-up

October 1, 2013

Dairy farm effluent to electricity plan – Tim Cronshaw:

A new effluent processing system could be working on a Canterbury farm as early as next year as a result of a Nuffield scholarship tour to 21 countries by Meridian Energy agribusiness manager Natasha King.

King is the first person from the energy sector to win a Nuffield scholarship and used the five-month trip she returned from five weeks ago to research whether farmers should use effluent to generate electricity.

She said a possible solution had been found, but this was being kept under wraps until a cow shed trial was operating.

The effluent processing trial would be carried out on a 1000-cow dairy farm to see if dairy effluent could be turned into a fuel source, she said. . .

Ministers welcome new MPI Director General:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye are welcoming Martyn Dunne CNZM as the new Director-General of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

“Mr Dunne has an outstanding record of service in the military, the public service and as a diplomat,” says Mr Guy.

“His appointment signals a fresh start for MPI. I look forward to working with him on important issues like biosecurity and doubling our exports by 2025.”

Mr Dunne is currently New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Australia, and is a previous Chief Executive of the New Zealand Customs Service. He also has a distinguished record of 27 years’ service in the military, where he attained the rank of Major General and was the commander of New Zealand forces in East Timor. . .

Candidates For Fonterra Board of Directors’ Election Confirmed:

Candidates for the Fonterra Directors’ Election were announced by the Returning Officer today, following the completion of the Candidate Assessment Panel (CAP) process.

This year there are five candidates standing for the Board of Directors.  They are Eric Ray, Donna Smit, Michael Spaans, Malcolm Bailey and Ian Farrelly.

As in previous years, the CAP process was available to assess the capabilities, experience and qualifications of Director candidates and provide Fonterra shareholders with more information to help in making an informed vote.  While the CAP process is open to all Director candidates, it is not compulsory.  This year four of the five candidates went through CAP. . .

14 October closing date for Whey Inquiry submissions:

People who want to make submissions to stage one of the Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate Contamination Incident have until 14 October to do so.

Stage one of the Inquiry will review the regulatory framework governing food safety in the dairy industry, and the recognised practices that apply in New Zealand, including a comparison with other comparable jurisdictions.

Stage two will investigate the incident that originated at Fonterra’s Hautapu plant in 2012 and developed in 2013. This part of the Inquiry is suspended until after completion of the Ministry for Primary Industries’ compliance investigation.

Chair of the Inquiry, Miriam Dean, says the Inquiry is largely inquisitorial in nature. . .

Sir Maarten Wevers joins PGP panel:

Primary Industries Nathan Guy has announced Sir Maarten Wevers as the sixth and newest member of the Primary Growth Partnership’s Investment Advisory Panel (IAP).

“This appointment reflects the growing profile and importance of the Primary Growth Partnership,” Mr Guy says.

Members of the IAP are responsible for providing advice on the investment decisions of PGP funds, and to help ensure that PGP investments achieve the aims of economic growth.

“Sir Maarten brings a wealth of experience to this role, having held a number of senior public sector and commercial roles spanning 35 years. . .

Tatua delivers a stunner:

Despite the high kiwi dollar, the Waikato based dairy cooperative, Tatua, has delivered an excellent result for its shareholding farmers with a cash payout after retentions of $7.40 per kilogram of milk solids (kg/MS).

“Tatua has always been a high performer and this is more than impressive. It is stunning,” says David Fish, a Federated Farmers member and Tatua shareholder.

“An after retention payout of $7.40 kg/MS leaves every other dairy processor trailing in our wake.  Fonterra, after all, announced last week a combined milk and dividend payout of $6.16 kg/MS. . .

Stubble fires seen as part of crop rotation:

A review of stubble burning on Canterbury grain farms has defended the practice as an essential part of crop rotation:

But it has also reminded farmers of the need to operate within the rules when they burn the residue after harvesting.

Canterbury Regional Council commissioned the Foundation for Arable Research to do a report on stubble burning as part of a council review of its air plan.

FAR research director, Nick Poole says Canterbury, as the main grain growing region, produces about 700,000 tonnes of crop residue per year, . . .

No.1 Family Estate’s Cuvee Adele 2009 takes Trophy for Champion New Zealand Sparkling Wine:

The New Zealand International Wine Show, New Zealand’s largest wine competition, has awarded Cuvee Adele 2009 the trophy for Champion New Zealand Sparkling Wine.

Made by winemaker Daniel Le Brun at his company No.1 Family Estate in Marlborough, the Cuvee Adele 2009 was launched in late 2012 as a proud tribute to his wife, Adele on her 60th birthday.

Daniel comments, “I can think of nothing better than an endorsement of this nature regarding this unique wine. It’s very special and I am truly delighted.” . . .


Rural round-up

November 12, 2012

Gene research findings borne out – Richard Rennie:

The latest research on mutated gene benefits for lamb carcase yield is borne out by a Southland farmer’s experience.

The “Myomax” gene is a trait carried by the Texel breed, contributing to increased meat yield

on shoulders, loins and leg cuts, but is now delivering benefits across all breed types.

Recent research work by AgResearch scientist Patricia Johnson has shown lambs with a double copy of the gene are delivering significantly increased yields to those without the gene.

Long time Southland Romney breeder Andrew Tripp of Nithdale Station in eastern Southland has been involved in identifying the gene since 2005 when the science was still developing. . .

High inventories in Britain are affecting NZ lamb sales – Alan Williams:

High inventory and low sale levels for French racks and other middle carcase cuts are putting a dampener on an otherwise positive outlook for sheepmeat exports to Europe.

This is the view of Taylor Preston Ltd chief executive Simon Gatenby after his latest sales trip, which included the company exhibiting cuts at the Sial food show in Paris.

Middle cuts such as French racks and loins make up just 5% of a carcase but provide about 20% of the value, and until the inventories are used up and new buying starts there will continue to be a sentiment overhang in the market, Gatenby said. . .

Five Nuffield Farming Scholars named for 2013

Five prestigious Nuffield New Zealand Scholarships have been announced for 2013.

They are spread from Northland to Southland – Dairy NZ regional leader Tafadzwa Manjala from Whangarei, ANZ rural banker Sophie Stanley from Hamilton, rural entrepreneur Lisa Harper from Picton, Meridian Energy national agribusiness manager Natasha King from Christchurch and Northern Southland farmer and retailer Stephen Wilkins from Athol.

The research topics they are likely to cover are faster uptake and application of current and new management practices on farm, the use of social media to boost the New Zealand brand, encouraging innovation in rural businesses, using gas and electricity generation to solve effluent and water management issues and looking into synergies between arable and dairy from a nutrient and effluent perspective.

The Nuffield NZ Scholarship offers the opportunity for overseas travel, study of the latest developments in a number of leading agricultural countries, and provides an entrée to leaders and decision makers not accessible to the ordinary traveller. . .

Warkworth: dog tales shear joy Dionne Christian:

Our trip to SheepWorld in Warkworth got off to a slightly bad start when Miss Seven threw a tantrum about not being able to take her dog.

“But why do you want to take the dog when there are going to be other dogs there already?” I asked, trying in vain to reason with her. It was no good and she vowed not to smile during the entire visit.

I needn’t have worried about her pity party raining on our parade because she started smiling the moment we turned into SheepWorld and saw pink sheep in the front paddock. . .

What to do with sheep – coNZervative:

Pop over to see extreme sheep LED art.


Rural round-up

November 11, 2012

Cheesemaker wins $35,000 scholarship:

Marlborough Sounds woman Lisa Harper has been awarded a Nuffield New Zealand Scholarships for 2013.

She is one of five people throughout the country to be awarded the $35,000 study grant.

The others include Meridian Energy national agribusiness manager Natasha King, from Christchurch, a daughter of Blenheim-based Kaikoura MP Colin King.

The others are Dairy NZ regional leader Tafadzwa Manjala, from Whangarei, ANZ rural banker Sophie Stanley, from Hamilton, and Northern Southland farmer and retailer Stephen Wilkins, from Athol.

The Nuffield NZ Scholarship offers the opportunity for overseas travel and study.

Dr Harper, 37, who lives on Mahau Sound, is described as a rural entrepreneur.

She was the 2011 winner of the Rural Women Enterprising Woman Award and a finalist in the 2009 Cuisine Artisan Food Awards. She has a Masters in Business Management from Massey University, a PhD in plant pathology from Lincoln University and a science degree from Victoria University.  . .

Chinese market gardens in NZ – Jill Galloway:

During their heyday in the 1970s, there were 600 Chinese market gardeners in New Zealand, but now there are only 157.

Many young people watched their parents work hard in the market gardens and they became lawyers and doctors, choosing not to work like their parents, said the chief executive of the Dominion Federation of New Zealand Chinese Commercial Growers, Howe Young.

He was one of the speakers at the Palmerston North launch of two books last week: Sons of the Soil and Success Through Adversity.

Sons of the Soil covers the history of Chinese market gardening through the personal stories of more than 100 ordinary people from market gardening communities around the country. . .

Award recognises wine tourism ventures – Kat Pickford::

Marlborough wineries Spy Valley Wines and Yealands Estate Wines have been named as two of the best South Island wine tourism ventures in the Best of Wine Tourism Awards.

Yealands Estate won the award for sustainable wine tourism and Spy Valley won the award for architecture and landscapes.

Run by the Great Wine Capitals Global Network, the annual awards recognise outstanding wine tourism businesses in the South Island. The network is a group of wine regions from around the world which aims to promote wine tourism, education and business exchange. . .

Why punish NZ’s over achievers – Bruce Wills:

The supreme irony of the UK Daily Mail’s headline, “Buy New Zealand lamb to save the planet,” is that it took a British newspaper to make mainstream media here, realise that our farms are pretty darn good. Another irony is that this is old news to Dr Jan Wright, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Speaking recently onTV3’s The Nation, Dr Wright helped to balance a myth farmers are exempt from the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). When she was asked about agriculture, the host, Rachel Smalley, appeared surprised by the response. “New Zealand is in an interesting position because half of our greenhouse gas emissions are from agriculture, which is unusual among developed countries, but I am actually less concerned about agriculture than I am than these heavy industrial emitters and that’s because the agricultural gases are different. It is difficult and there are challenges there…I say agriculture should come in but I don’t have the same problem being generous to it…”

Where Dr Wright and Federated Farmers diverge is the entry point for agriculture. But even she recognises that agriculture is not complacently sitting on its haunches.

Like mums and dads everywhere, farmers pay the ETS. Every time we fill up the tractor or turn on electric pumps, we pay. This also finds its way into the cost of a vet’s visit through to the price of number eight wire. The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment also knows that when my ewe ‘Jackson’ gave birth to quintuplets, nicknamed, the ‘Jackson Five,’ it was an efficiency that is a global good. . .

And from Facebook:

Colin King, past champion shearer, current MP, in action for a charity fundraiser:

@[100002906361883:2048:Colin King] half way done shearing shrek 2

The merino wether had three years’ wool and the fleece weighted 13.5kg. All funds raised went to the Nelson, Marlborough Helicopter Trust.


%d bloggers like this: