Rural round-up

May 22, 2018

Mycoplasma bovis: The spread, cost and response – Conan Young:

Southland is believed to be the origin of where Mycoplasma bovis first took hold in New Zealand because this is where the earliest known cases of infection have so far been discovered, the Ministry for Primary Industries says.

This overturns an earlier theory that a South Canterbury farm belonging to the Van Leeuwen Dairy Group was the first farm to be infected.

While steps have been taken to trace and deal with cattle transported from the Van Leeuwen farm since July last year, controls on cows coming out of Southland have only been brought in much more recently. . .

Rural health workforce reaching crisis point:

The rural health workforce is at crisis point, with more than 40 percent of country doctors due to retire in the next five years.

So could the growing number of nurse practitioners, nurses who have taken extra training to be able to prescribe medicines and make diagnoses, provide a solution?

The nurses themselves say yes, but those working in rural health say there are some professional and bureaucratic hurdles which make it more difficult. . . 

Love of breeds leads to junior judge status – Sally Rae:

Amanda Brown just loves cows.

Her particular passion is for the Ayrshire breed, continuing a long family history which started when her mother’s family — the Morton family — established the Ingleside stud in Southland in the 1940s.

The 29-year-old recently became an accredited junior judge for the breed, which meant she could judge at shows alongside a senior judge and, after a few shows, sit another paper to become a senior judge.

Miss Brown was brought up showing cattle and was leading calves when she was big enough to handle them. . .

Feds Kapiti and Wellington says no to roading rates rip-off:

Federated Farmers fears when the Kapiti Coast District Council says it is interested in equity and affordability, it only means equity and affordability for urban residential ratepayers. 

Last week Federated Farmers’ representatives made a submission to the council’s draft Long Term Plan (LTP) hearing opposing a proposal to change from a flat rate to a property-value rate to fund roading.
This will take the council further away from its stated aim of equity and affordability, says Federated Farmers Wairarapa president Jamie Falloon.

“This is pretty crude consultation when a huge impact like this is not discussed and considered with affected parties well before a hearing process for the LTP. This is a failing of many of the councils in our region.” . . 

Astonishingly high rates hikes proposed:

Tomorrow Federated Farmers will speak to their submission on yet another council proposed rate hike, as Hawke’s Bay Regional Council proposes an average rate increase of 19%.

Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay president Jim Galloway calls this “excessive and obscene”.

“Farmers are facing increased operating costs and are finding rates an ever-increasing unproductive cost that takes funds away for things like technology and environment spending. . .

Feds hail on-line fibre exchange as useful innovation:

Transparency, ease-of-use and the potential for increasing competition among buyers are among the positives of the Natural Fibre Exchange (NFX), Federated Farmers says.

The NFX, which is owned by shareholders Wools of New Zealand and Alliance Group, kicks off the first of its fortnightly on-line trading events tomorrow. 

Federated Farmers Meat and Wool chairperson Miles Anderson sees NFX as an innovation that potentially can stream-line the selling-buying process, raise awareness of wool and reach a wider buyer market. . . 

Ranching cattle in California  – Teresa O’Connor:

It may be hard to believe but ranching is the number-one land use in the state of California. I was surprised to learn this fact, and I’m certainly not alone.

This complex connection of California ranching to food production is a mystery for many. The public rarely understands the ecological benefits of livestock grazing, nor the tough economic returns, according to Sheila Barry, Livestock Advisor and Director of Santa Clara County for University of California Cooperative Extension.

“Working ranches occupy roughly 40 million acres in California,” says Barry. “Whether these working ranches are public land or privately owned, many ranchers represent the fourth or fifth generations stewarding the land and their livestock. The fact that the most prevalent land use in California goes largely unnoticed by much of the public puts ranching at risk.” . . 


Rural round-up

May 9, 2018

Natural Fibre Exchange aimed at providing greater efficiency :

In a significant step forward for the wool sector, industry participants have come together to develop and launch an independent online trading platform.

Modelled on the Global Dairy Trade Events (GDT) platform, the Natural Fibre Exchange (NFX) is scheduled to go live with its first trading event on 22 May 2018.

NFX Ltd shareholders Wools of New Zealand Ltd (WNZ) and Alliance Group have teamed with CRA International (CRA), an acknowledged leader in online trading platforms. CRA, which also designed and manages the GDT platform, has developed and will manage the NFX platform. . . 

Short and long-lived gases need separate regulatory baskets – Keith Woodford:

A key issue for New Zealand is how to meet the Paris commitments for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Fundamental to any analysis is the different attributes of long-lived and short-lived gases.  In particular, how should methane be accounted for, and how should it be brought into any emission trading scheme?

Back in 2016, current Commissioner of the Environment Simon Upton raised the importance of placing short-lived gases in a different regulatory ‘basket’ from long-lived gases. Remarkably, our rural leaders appear to have failed to pick up on the importance of this issue.  

More than any other country in the world, NZ’s gross emissions are influenced by methane-producing ruminant animals. No other developed country has a comparable emission profile, with the arguable exception of Uruguay. . . 

Cheaper lab meat to put pressure on farmers by vying with mince and other red meat cuts – Jill Galloway:

New Zealand farmers are in danger of becoming redundant as synthetic meat took consumers away from red meat, says a strategic science expert.

Dr Anna Campbell, managing director of agribusiness consulting company AbacusBio, said synthetic meats would get cheaper and global consumers would choose them because of their light environmental impact and zero animal treatment.

Campbell was a key speaker talking to about 180 farmers and agribusiness people at the AgInnovation conference in Palmerston North on Wednesday.

“At the moment, synthetic meat-makers take some cells, some blood and other things, spin it around, and get mince.  It’s mince for hamburger patties that is spat out. It is expensive at the moment, but the companies will scale it up and make it cheap.”  . . 

Age not wearing this farmer – Peter Burke:

Moyra Bramley was born in 1933, the year Sir Apirana Ngata and Lord Bledisloe inaugurated the Ahuwhenua Trophy to recognise excellence in Maori farming — now Ms Bramley has at least a 50/50 chance of winning that trophy.

Bramley is in the running for her role as chairwoman of the Onuku Maori Lands Trust, one of two finalists in the competition. 

Onuku’s entry in the competition is its 72ha Boundary Road dairy unit is near Lake Rotomahana, 30km south of Rotorua. It is one of four farms run by the trust.  . . 

Looking into using drones differently – Mark Price:

Wanaka beekeeper Daniel Schweizer is investigating a use for drones that is yet to catch on in New Zealand.

He can see potential for “spray drones” that target weeds in difficult-to-get-to places in the high country.

The weeds would include gorse, broom and wilding pines.

“The only options at the moment are a helicopter and a man with a knapsack, and one is $20 an hour and one is $2000 an hour,” he said. . . 

Drought will bring more crop disease scientists warn:

New Zealand’s land-based primary industries need to get ready for more, and more serious, crop disease as climate change causes more and longer droughts, according to new research.

In the journal Australasian Plant Pathology, the authors say that climate change is expected to bring more droughts in many parts of New Zealand, and more droughts are “likely to increase the severity of a wide range of diseases affecting the plant-based productive sectors”.

Scientists from the Bio-Protection Research Centre, Scion, Lincoln University, AUT University, Landcare Research, and the University of Auckland analysed the potential impact of climate-change-induced drought on several commercial plants and their diseases. . . 


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