Rural round-up

January 21, 2014

Wild day/night for North Island farmers:

The 6.3 magnitude earthquake, which struck land near to Castlepoint and others near to Eketahuna, has farmers in the Wairarapa and Tararua checking on stock, staff and each other.  These earthquakes come as the remnants of former Tropical Cyclone June approach the upper North Island.

“It’s the best shake we’ve ever had since we moved to Castlepoint Station 15-years ago,” says Anders Crofoot, Federated Farmers National Board member.

“Our house is a bit of a mess.  The pantry has been emptied and we’ve got glass, food and ornaments on the ground.  You could say we’ve been turned into a bit of an installation art form, but it’s the sort of art we could really do without having.

“Right now, I am checking on our staff and heading out to survey the farm. Any damage will likely to be to older water lines, which can easily be severed in a shake like this.  Since its summer the timing’s not ideal,” Mr Crofoot added. . .

Bushfires: rural residents are the solution, not the problem – Nicholas Gill:

The return of heatwaves and bushfires to the news pages has brought fresh warnings that Australians who live in fire-prone zones still don’t fully understand the risk they are running.

Deadly fires in Victoria’s Grampians and the Perth Hills, and the many other emergencies across other states, have once again brought the dangers into stark relief. Yet we have found evidence that people living near bushland are more aware of the risks and remedies than they are given credit for.

Last October’s fires in New South Wales prompted a resurgence of debate about how to safeguard lives and homes. On one side are those who call for landscape-scale fuel-reduction burns, with government-mandated minimum areas to be burned each year. . .

100 colourful years being marked by collie club – Sally Rae:

Central Otago’s Lowburn Collie Dog Club marks a major milestone this week with the holding of its centennial trials on Friday and Saturday.

And in the words of one of its stalwart members, Jack Davis, reaching that achievement is a ”bloody great effort”.

For the club has had a colourful history, including uncertainty over its future because of the construction of the Clyde Dam and raising Lake Dunstan. . .

Fed Farmers meat industry paper challenged:

A meat company head is taking issue with a Federated Farmers paper on options for the meat industry.

The federation released the discussion paper to its members late last year to get feed-back on what sheep and beef farmers believe should be done to make the industry less fragmented and more profitable.

Options include meat industry restructuring through company mergers, and more co-ordinated processing and marketing.

But Tony Egan, managing director of Waikato-based beef processor and exporter Greenlea Premier Meats, said the paper suffered from a one size fits all approach.

It was a good overview of the debate on the future direction of the meat industry but did not recognise that some companies, including his own, were thriving and profitable, he said. . .

Pest trap takes off:

Three Wellington designers started work on a revolutionary pest trap for the Department of Conservation (DOC) nearly a decade ago.

Nine years on and Goodnature’s automatic resetting trap is sold worldwide, including to a zoo in India, a chicken farm in Indonesia and, most recently, the Galapagos Islands.

The company manufactures up to 600 traps a week in its Wellington factory, and has more than doubled its workforce.

It is in talks with distributors in Britain and working with Scandinavian governments on a humane trap for the introduced American mink.

Goodnature director Stu Barr said the gas canister driven traps had come a long way since the first version in 2005.

“The resetting technology is obviously important because that generates efficiency and it also means that the trap is always available. You don’t want to miss an opportunity – if you kill a rat just after sunset and then a stoat comes along at one o’clock in the morning, you want to know that your trap is always ready to do it,” Mr Barr said. . .

Conference focus on top agriculture – Helena de Reus:

Quality agriculture was the focus of 60 teachers at a conference near Balclutha last week.

Telford projects manager Andrew Thompson said 57 teachers from Australia and seven from New Zealand took part in the four-day conference at the Telford campus.

Centred on quality agriculture, the National Association of Agricultural Educators (Australia) annual conference focused on the importance of having a well-trained and educated workforce which used new and innovative technologies. . . .


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