Rural round-up

July 28, 2014

Farmers make energy and water savings – Gerard Hutching:

Farmers stand to make big savings on both electricity and water if they introduce energy-efficient measures to their irrigation systems.

Twelve farmers who took part in a recent pilot project could save an average of $7444 a year on electricity. On average, they would have to spend $25,888 on upgrading their systems, but the payback period would be just 3.5 years.

The farmers found they could significantly cut the amount of water they used, between 10 and 15 days over a six-month season, providing further energy savings because irrigators were not needed.

Nationwide, irrigation uses about 2.5 per cent of New Zealand’s electricity for pressurised spray systems covering 625,151 hectares. . .

Work starts on Northland flood clean-up – Hugh Stringleman:

Task Force Green work teams will begin clearing up this week after prolonged storms and floods in Northland.

Three teams of four, plus a supervisor, have been trained in equipment safety and will be clearing fences, removing flood debris from paddocks, and cutting up fallen trees in commercial orchards.

Two of the government-funded Task Force Green teams would be based in Whangarei and the other in Kaikohe, Rural Support Trust Northland co-ordinator Julie Jonker said.

Farmers and orchardists with severe damage had been asked to advise the trust to get a clearer picture of the needs, she said. . .

European Union changes might help Kiwi cause – Nigel Stirling:

The inward-looking culture of farming in the European Union is changing.

That augured well for New Zealand’s chances of a long-awaited free-trade agreement (FTA), but the case still needed to be made how such an agreement could benefit Europe, the union’s top official in this country said.

NZ’s large footprint as an agricultural producer has been a big factor in it being put at the back of the queue for a trade deal with the EU.   . .

Eye-in-the-sky scrutiny monitors winter crops – Allison Beckham:

Environment Southland staff are assessing the most cost-effective way to map land planted in winter forage crops using satellite imagery, after a pilot study last year showed the most accurate method was also the most expensive.

The council wanted to map the extent of crops such as kale and swedes, the use of which was known to lift levels of soil contaminants including nitrogen, phosphorous, sediment and E.coli, council soil and science programme co-ordinator George Ledgard said. . . .

Paddock to plate, and smart roads possible:

New Zealand’s international brand and exports could grow significantly with the creation of a data sharing ‘eco-system’ according to paper released by the NZ Data Futures Forum today.

Food traceability or ‘paddock to plate’ tracking is one of a number of kick start projects recommended in the paper that would see New Zealand become a world leader in the trusted use of data.

 “New Zealand has got a real opportunity here. If we can create an ‘eco-system’ for data, we can unlock huge value, but to do this we need to treat data as a national asset,” says Forum Chair John Whitehead.

The paper suggests a range of initiatives including the establishment of an independent data council and an open data champion to drive innovation through data sharing.  The data council would act as an independent ‘guardian’ to ensure trust, privacy and security are maintained. . .

Extractor hopeful over hemp uses:

Ashburton company Oil Seed Extractions has been waiting a long time for a change in legislation which would enable it to sell food products made from hemp in Australasia.

The producer of seed oils for the food, skin care and health sectors, and its parent company Midlands Seed, were among the first companies in New Zealand to be granted a licence to grow hemp back in 2001-2002.

The companies were also the first to grow and process hemp seed into oil for retail sale and two years ago Oil Seed Extractions became the first New Zealand company to produce hemp seed protein. . .

James had heavenly help with his garden – Bridget Railton:

God has a garden and it’s located near Tokanui.

That’s what 86-year-old Southland man James Pirie says of the expanse of native bushland he’s been preserving since he bought it about 15 years ago.

The Morton Mains sheep farmer is among the 30-odd nominees for the Southland Environment Awards this week for his work preserving a block of native bush fondly dubbed “God’s Garden” about 3km from Tokanui on the Southern Scenic Highway.

“The way I look at it, why put a whole lot of work into planting native trees when you can preserve something that’s already there,” he explains. . .

 


Rural round-up

November 11, 2013

Treatment for mastitis could boost dairy profit – Sally Rae:

A mastitis product, developed through the nationally collaborative Mastitis Research Centre, involving researchers at the University of Otago, could result in significant savings to New Zealand’s dairy industry.

Mastitis, which is inflammation of the udder, is a major financial burden to the dairy industry, both in New Zealand and globally.

X-imm24 has been developed by the Mastitis Research Centre which involves expertise from Bayer Animal Health, the University of Otago, Massey University and the University of Auckland. . .

Organic Texel wool on display at A&P show – Sally Rae:

Southland sheep and beef farmers Grant and Alison Kingsbury have no regrets about switching to organic farming.

Mr and Mrs Kingsbury, who farm near Mataura, are displaying some of their Texel wool at this week’s Canterbury A&P Show in Christchurch.

It is the first time organically grown and scoured wool has been on display at the show, as part of the Wool Advancement Group’s (WAG) stand. . .

Low expectations of Bali summit – Nigel Stirling:

Farming leaders say a small package of half-measures and trade-offs is the best that can be expected from a summit that is hoped to keep alive talks vital to freeing up international trade in agricultural products.

Trade ministers from the 159 countries of the World Trade Organisation, including New Zealand’s Tim Groser, will meet in Bali early next month for what is being billed as a last chance for the Doha round of trade talks.

Named after the Qatari capital where it started in 2001, the Doha round of global trade talks was set up to tackle unfinished business from the Uruguay round, which left in place many barriers to trade in manufacturing and agricultural products. . .

Ballance re-jig reflects farming changes – Tim Fulton:

Ballance overhauled its customer and extension team partly in response to the more multi-layered nature of corporate farming, the company says.

One of the more noticeable changes at the company since July has been the disappearance of Altum, once known as Summit Quinphos, after Ballance took outright ownership.

But that was just part of an internal re-fit for the sales and extension staff.

Ballance general manager of sales Andrew Reid said the Altum integration produced some superficial changes, like changes to business cards, but was also part of a broader goal to give farmers and merchants better access to products and services. . .

Focus on Fonterra risk assessment – Hugh Stringleman:

Three board members of Fonterra’s audit, finance and risk committee (AFRC) are up for re-election this year.

Some shareholders have suggested coincidence puts the spotlight on the risk assessment performance and policies of the board following the recent botulism scare.

Farmer-directors Malcolm Bailey and Ian Farrelly are standing for re-election by shareholders and AFRC committee chairman David Jackson, an independent director, is seeking appointment approval at the annual meeting. . . .

Workshops foster irrigation skills:

IrrigationNZ is aiming to improve the skills of people at the forefront of the irrigation industry with a series of irrigation manager workshops in Central and North Otago this month.

The workshops, in Omakau on November 18, Cromwell on November 19 and Oamaru on November 20, would outline core knowledge needed for ”high performing” irrigation, chief executive Andrew Curtis said. . .


%d bloggers like this: