Rural round-up

August 10, 2019

New research shows negative impact of mass forestry planting on productive sheep and beef land:

Large scale conversion of sheep and beef farms to forestry as a result of the Zero Carbon Bill will have a significant negative impact on rural New Zealand, according to research released by Beef + Lamb New Zealand. 

An analysis of Wairoa, where 8,486 hectares of sheep and beef farmland has, or is in the process of being, converted to forestry, shows forestry provides fewer jobs in rural communities than sheep and beef farms.

Rural consultancy BakerAg was commissioned by B+LNZ to compare the economic and employment effects of the conversion of sheep and beef farms into forestry.

The report, Social-economic impacts of large scale afforestation on rural communities in the Wairoa District, found that if all the sheep and beef farms in Wairoa were converted to forestry, then Wairoa would see a net loss of nearly 700 local jobs (the equivalent of one in five jobs in Wairoa) and net $23.5 million less spent in the local economy when compared to blanket forestry (excluding harvest year). . . 

Fonterra’s financial wellbeing and global auction prices are among the dairy sector’s challenges – Point of Order:

It’s shaping   up as a  tough  season  for  New Zealand’s  dairy farmers,  who  once  proudly  wore  the  label  of  the  “backbone of the  NZ  economy” , earning  by far the  largest  share of the country’s  export income.

So  what  are  the  problems  confronting  the industry?

Uncertainty in markets, for starters.   Prices  at the latest  Global Dairy  Trade  auction this  week slid  downward for  the fifth  time in  six  auctions.

The  Chinese  economy is under pressure   as  Trump steps up  his tariff  war.  Brexit  is a  threat which  could disrupt  NZ’s  dairy trade to  both the UK and EU markets. . .

Big tick for farmers – Neal Wallace:

The red meat industry hopes to ramp up its Taste Pure Nature brand campaign on the back of the latest international climate change report.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is being welcomed by New Zealand farming leaders as an endorsement of our low impact systems and the importance of maintaining food production.

The IPCC says land on which we rely for food, water, energy, health and wellbeing is already under pressure and climate change will exacerbate that through desertification and land degradation potentially affecting food security.

The report’s advocacy of a balanced diet including animal protein sourced from resilient, sustainable, low greenhouse gas systems is an endorsement for NZ, Beef + Lamb chief insight officer Jeremy Baker says. . . 

FARMSTRONG: Maintaining fun is the secret:

Tangaroa Walker was the inaugural winner of the Ahuwhenua Young Maori Farmer Award in 2012 and has gone on to a successful career as a contract milker. Now he’s helping Farmstrong raise awareness of the importance of living well to farm well.

Tangaroa Walker remembers the moment he decided to go farming. 

“I was 11 years old and this guy drove up the driveway of our school in this flash car with his beautiful wife and hopped out.

“He was there to help set up a cross country course. I said ‘Hey man, what do you do?’ He said ‘I’m a farmer’. That was it. I ended up helping him out on his dairy farm when I was 13 and just cracked into it from there.”  . .

The secret to a carbon friendly environment may surprise you – Nicolette Hahn Niman:

I won’t keep you in suspense. The key to carbon-friendly diets lies just beneath your feet: the soil. We are so used to looking skyward when thinking about climate, this is a bit counter-intuitive.

An unlikely combination of building soils and practicing responsible grazing could help mitigate climate change. Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Carbon in soils represents both a problem and an opportunity. On the one hand, soil’s degradation is truly alarming. According to the book Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, at the current erosion rate the earth “would literally run out of topsoil in little more than a century.” And soil is the source of one-tenth of the earth’s human-caused carbon losses since 1850. . . 

Cow virtual fence trials encouraging: Pamu – Jono Edwards:

A company trialling virtual fencing for cows in Otago using electronic collars says tests show encouraging results.

Pamu Farms, which is the brand name for state-owned enterprise Landcorp Farming Ltd, earlier this year trialled “e-Shepherd” cattle collars at Waipori Station, which it owns.

It took 100 Angus steers equipped with solar-powered collars that show their location through GPS.

When the animals moved near digitally set forbidden zones they were dissuaded with a buzzing noise which gradually grew louder. . .

 

Left behind – Annie Gowen:

The feed chopper was the only machine Bob Krocak ever bought new, back when he was starting out as an ambitious young dairy farmer.

He used it to chop acres of alfalfa and corn to feed his herd of Holstein dairy cattle, which repaid him with some of the creamiest milk in Le Sueur County. The chopper and its fearsome blades lasted through four decades of cold winters, muddy springs and grueling harvests.

Now, on a chilly Saturday morning, Krocak, 64, was standing next to the chopper in the parking lot of Fahey Sales Auctioneers and Appraisers, trying to sell what he had always prized. The 128 Holsteins were already gone, sold last year when his family quit the dairy business after three unprofitable years. . .


Rural round-up

January 10, 2017

Eradication helicopter pilot Peter Garden recognised for international work – Debbie Jamieson:

Wanaka man Peter Garden started his flying career as an agricultural pilot in Southland and went on to become one of the world’s pre-eminent eradication helicopter pilots.

The 70-year-old has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to aviation and conservation and said it was circumstances that led him to the work he is being recognised for. . . 

Let the fleeces fall fast – Sally Rae:

Nathan Stratford had been looking forward to sitting down and enjoying a beer over Christmas.

But a successful campaign on the shearing board at the Canterbury A and P Show in November ended that plan.

The Invercargill father-of-two edged out hot favourite Rowland Smith to nail the second spot in the New Zealand team for the world shearing and woolhandling championships.

Come next month, Stratford (42) will be pulling on his moccasins in front of a hometown crowd, albeit peppered with an international flavour, in the ILT Stadium Southland. . . 

The light between ordeals: From drought to storms – and an earthquake – Virginia Larson:

“I should hate this place by now, shouldn’t I? But I don’t. If anything, I’m even more excited about living here.” Doug Avery is on the phone from the family farm at Grassmere, 40km south of Blenheim. The line’s a bit crackly, but not Doug. “It’s the volcanoes and earthquakes and faultlines that have created this country. It’s what we love about it. And now, well, we’re making New Zealand great again!”

I’ve tracked down Doug because I figure if he’s given up after the November 14 Kaikoura quake, there’s no hope for any of us. We might as well hole up in our panic rooms and wait for the apocalypse. . . 

Kiwi are thriving – and so are kereru – Kate Guthrie:

The magnolias aren’t looking too good at Arthur Hinds’ place. His wife Diane used to complain about the damage possums were doing. But that’s not the problem nowadays.

The Department of Conservation dealt to the possums in 2000, just before the Whenuakite Kiwi Care Group started their predator control programme. Arthur joined the Kiwi Care Group early on and today Diane’s magnolias are the victims of the group’s success. Their buds are devastated by an exploding population of kereru. . . 

Actually, raising beef is good for the planet – Nicolette Hahn Niman:“The damage from the kereru is much worse,” says Arthur. “The possums ate the buds, but the kereru are killing the trees.”

People who advocate eating less beef often argue that producing it hurts the environment. Cattle, we are told, have an outsize ecological footprint: They guzzle water, trample plants and soils, and consume precious grains that should be nourishing hungry humans. Lately, critics have blamed bovine burps, flatulence and even breath for climate change.

As a longtime vegetarian and environmental lawyer, I once bought into these claims. But now, after more than a decade of living and working in the business—my husband, Bill, founded Niman Ranch but left the company in 2007, and we now have a grass-fed beef company—I’ve come to the opposite view. It isn’t just that the alarm over the environmental effects of beef are overstated. It’s that raising beef cattle, especially on grass, is an environmental gain for the planet. . .

An NFL player who has made $37 million spends 12 hours a day working on his family farm in the off-season – Cork Gaines:

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson is in the second year of a four-year, $39 million contract and has already made $37 million in his career. But when the playoffs are over, he will return to his family farm in tiny Riley, Kansas, where every off-season he goes to put in a full day’s work.

In an interview for a recent issue of ESPN the Magazine, Nelson said he works up to 12 hours a day on the farm, driving a combine to cut wheat or rounding up the 1,000-cow herd in the town whose population is 992.

“Working cattle is my favourite farm duty,” Nelson told ESPN. He said he identifies “more as a farmer” than as a football player. . . 

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Farmer Nutrition Facts  % Daily value *:

Patience 200%  Common sense 200% Dedication 200%

Love of the land 300% Passion 200% Grit 200%

Sleep 50%

*Percentage daily values may vary depneding on the day.


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