Rural round-up

04/03/2021

Inexperienced farm machine operators ‘cause havoc’ – Bonnie Flaws:

Harvest is in full swing across the country, and while rural contractors have managed to get workers in the tractor driving seat, in many cases the work hasn’t been up to the necessary standard, industry commentators say.

Rural Contractors president David Kean said the organisation had done everything Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor had asked to fill the worker shortage left by border closures, but reports of inexperienced workers causing havoc were common.

“If you can imagine that you’ve got a guy on the tractor that doesn’t know how to work that tractor to its full potential, so he leaves it in the wrong gear and he over-revs it, which overheats the machine.

“There was an incident that cost a contractor $60,000 because something went through the bailer. There’s been quite a few issues like from what I’ve heard but contractors don’t want to speak out and run down the workers.” . . 

‘Pretty extraordinary’ – Fonterra on GDT results – Sudesh Kissun:

Fonterra’s reliable supply chain and strong demand from China and South East Asia are helping drive dairy prices up, says co-op chief executive Miles Hurrell.

In an email to farmer suppliers, Hurrell described the overnight Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auction results as “pretty extraordinary”.

The GDT price index jumped 15% compared to the previous auction, its eight consecutive price rise. Whole milk powder prices, used by Fonterra to set its milk payout, rose a whopping 21% to US$4364/MT, a seven-year high. Hurrell says farmers would be keen to know what the latest result means for Fonterra’s farmgate milk price. . .

AgMatch grows wool range – Neal Wallace:

It’s niche and has strict specifications to be met, but a farmer collective buying and selling group is proving that consumers still love crossbred wool.

AgMatch is using member’s wool to make jerseys, socks, carpet and carpet underlay, which is then sold via the members and the AgMatch website, earning growers up to $40/kg net for the wool used.

The group’s newest venture is floor coverings, with suppliers recently taking delivery of 900 lineal metres of carpet manufactured in Australia, enough for more than 40 homes.

Most has already been sold for $300 a lineal metre. . .

Doing the unimaginable – Gerald Piddock:

Despite never having farmed, a Waikato couple who had successful careers in Australia, returned home to milk sheep on the family farm and have had to learn everything from scratch.

Imagine quitting your career to embark on a new profession that is the least likely and most unexpected thing one envisions themselves doing.

That’s exactly what Matthew and Katherine Spataro did when they ditched the city grind by shifting from Melbourne to the outskirts of Te Awamutu to milk sheep. . . 

Thousands enjoy terrier-ific day at show

From highland dancers to livestock competitions, the North Otago A&P Show in Oamaru had it all.

However, the most exciting event was the terrier race on Saturday when 20 or so specimens, of widely varying shapes and sizes, raced to catch a dead rabbit tethered to a four-wheeler.

Taking the win was Thomas, a speedy dog who won for the second year in a row.

His owner, Tomlyn Morrissey, of Southland, was happy to see his name on the cup again. Mrs Morrissey’s pooch was so fast the race had been restarted because he caught the rabbit before getting halfway to the finish. . .

Call goes out for kiwifruit pickers and packers:

The first kiwifruit will be picked off the vines this week and growers across the country anticipate needing around 23,000 workers for the harvest. The harvest runs through till June and is expected to produce even more than last year’s record of 157 million trays of Green and Gold.

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. (NZKGI) Chief Executive Officer Nikki Johnson says ongoing COVID-19 overseas travel restrictions mean growers will be looking to offer job opportunities to even more New Zealanders to provide most of the workforce – meeting the shortfall of people on the RSE scheme from the Pacific islands and working holiday visa-holders.

As in previous years, NZKGI has been working for several months to prepare for the season opening and the significant labour requirements. . . 

Farmers apply to Defra to grow genome-edited wheat:

Researchers are preparing an application to the government to run a field trial of a new genome edited wheat, the first such trial to be carried out in Europe.

Scientists from Rothamsted Research have used genome editing to reduce a cancer-causing compound commonly found in toast.

Acrylamide forms during bread baking and is further increased when bread is toasted: the darker the toast, the more of this carcinogenic compound it contains.

Now the team have used genome editing to develop a type of wheat that is less likely to produce acrylamide when baked. . . 


Still shearing at 80

23/02/2019

Young Farmers’ Agri-Kids completion at the North Otago A&P Show today attracted 50 teams from North Otago and South and Mid Canterbury.

There was also someone a wee bit older – Tom Marshall who is in his 80s and still shearing his own sheep.


365 days of gratitude

24/02/2018

The North Otago A&P show used to be held on a Wednesday in November, with shops and many businesses closing at lunchtime and primary schools having a day off.

Over the years fewer businesses and shops closed, schools had other calls on their time as did many of those who used to flock to the show. Numbers attending, and entering competitions dwindled until the committee decided change was needed and moved the show to Friday and Saturday in February.

Crowds haven’t returned to those attracted in the 1900s but in spite of more than 100 mms of rain forcing the cancellation of the horse jumping and the ground being soft to soggy underfoot, a good number turned out today.

The weather was mild, it was hard to go more than a few metres without running into someone we knew and it was a good opportunity to catch up with people.

It was a relaxing day for us but I’m aware that events like this depend on a  big effort from a team of volunteers and I’m grateful for the work they do.


Scarecrows gathering

20/02/2013

North Otago A&P Association’s 150th show takes place this weekend and the scarecrows are gathering to promote it.

This is Dr James Hairy-Ett B. VSc., one of many scarecrows decorating Oamaru’s main street.

scarecow


Which is the oldest?

27/02/2009

The annual North Otago A&P show starts today.

Like many others it went backwards in the wake of the 1980s ag-sag but in recent years exhibitor and visitor numbers have improved, due in part to a change of date from November to February.

The two-day event retains the best of the old attractions – stock judging, horse jumping,  pet lamb and calf contests and dog trials.

I’ve never been tempted to enter the home industries competition but do admire the skill of those who produce light as air sponges and intricate hand crafts.

This year new attractions include sheep racing, a jelly bean spitting competition and the full throttle motor bike spectacular.

This is North Otago’s 144th show which makes it the second oldest in the country, I don’t know which is the oldest so  if you do, please tell me.


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