Rural round-up

23/09/2022

Plant and pollute or right tree, right place for the right purpose? – 50 Shades of Green:

We acknowledge with gratitude the latest comments from the Climate Change Commission. That the ETS allows companies to “plant and pollute” and needs reform. These comments are consistent with 50 Shades of Green long running assertions that indeed, the ETS needs a good overhaul.

We continue to ask the Government. Please pause before the Sheep and Beef sector is challenged out of existence. [1]

What has happened under current policy settings? Instead of driving a change in behaviour, at source, the opposite has resulted in our valuable breeding country, the top of the supply chain, used as a proxy, relying too heavily on planting trees to absorb polluters’ carbon dioxide emissions.

While the government takes its time reviewing the ETS, our issue is they have happily ignored our valid and vindicated concerns. Uncritically relying too heavily on what we can only assume is official advice and not acknowledging the devastating effects on New Zealand Hill country constantly put to them. The recent additional sales confirmed, and in the pipeline of more valuable stations lost from the sector that produces c$10b in receipts for the country are gone for good. Sweeping rural communities away in their path. . . 

Huge gains for industry in 50 years of deer farming science :

From a noxious pest that should be exterminated to livestock providing high value products to the world, the deer industry in New Zealand has come a long way in 50 years – and the research that made it possible is now being celebrated.

An event next week at AgResearch’s Invermay campus near Dunedin will mark 50 years of deer farming science at the site by AgResearch and its predecessor organisations, always in close partnership with the deer industry and farmers. The half century of research has included major advances in understanding of deer nutrition, health, behaviour and genetics, and in development of products such as venison, velvet and milk that are exported around the world.

“Fifty years ago, researcher Ken Drew and veterinarian Les Porter thought it might be a good idea to put some science in behind the newly emerging deer farming industry,” says AgResearch’s programme leader for Deer Science for Success, Jamie Ward.

“With incredible backing by early industry participants, innovation, positivity, and fantastic researchers, Invermay became synonymous with the evolution of the New Zealand deer farming industry and earned an international reputation for its science and research output.” . . 

How CH4 Global is turning seaweed into fodder for farm ruminants – and hopes to cool the climate – Point of Order:

Big  strides  are  being  made in the  development  of  a  seaweed-based   product  which,  it  is  claimed,  reduces  methane  emissions in ruminant animals  by up  to 90%.

The product, which its champions say could resolve New Zealand’s climate change threat  from  methane emissions  in  the nation’s  dairy  herd, has  been sold  for  the  first  time—-to  an  Australian customer.

It has been made by CH4 Global™, Inc., a company which says it is

”… on an urgent mission to address climate change by providing our seaweed-based Asparagopsis products to farmers worldwide so they can dramatically reduce the methane emissions of their livestock and realize significant value in the process.” . . 

Trading trees for cows – Nikki Mandow:

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment is to report next month on offsetting short-lived methane emissions from livestock by planting fast-growing forests – a bid to address two of NZ’s most vexed climate problems simultaneously

Dr Rod Carr says markets – in this case the Emissions Trading Scheme – have an important part to play sending signals about the real costs of greenhouse gas emissions.

But speaking at the Climate Change & Business Conference this week, the Climate Change Commission chair warns the “plant and pollute” nature of the present trading scheme, where companies can buy their way towards net carbon zero using forestry plantings as offsets, risks allowing them to get away with not reducing their actual carbon emissions.

That’s why New Zealand needs new solutions – and just across Wellington, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment is exploring one such. . . 

Volatility and vulnerability in the rural sector :

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) shows there were -126 fewer farm sales (-38.2%) for the three months ended August 2022 than for the three months ended August 2021. Overall, there were 204 farm sales in the three months ended August 2022, compared to 255 farm sales for the three months ended July 2022 (-20%), and 330 farm sales for the three months ended August 2021.

1,545 farms were sold in the year to August 2022 — 278 fewer than were sold in the year to August 2021, with 2.6% more Dairy farms, 25.2% fewer Dairy Support, 21.5% fewer Grazing farms, 13.9% fewer Finishing farms and 17.5% fewer Arable farms sold over the same period.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to August 2022 was $25,690 compared to $27,170 recorded for the three months ended August 2021 (-5.4%). The median price per hectare decreased by 6.5% compared to July 2022.

The REINZ All Farm Price Index decreased 8.3% in the three months to August 2022 compared to the three months to July 2022. Compared to the three months ending August 2021 the REINZ All Farm Price Index increased 3.6%. The REINZ All Farm Price Index adjusts for differences in farm size, location, and farming type, unlike the median price per hectare, which does not adjust for these factors. . .

Bill drawn to help cellar-door wine tasting:

A law change that will help streamline the process required for wineries to sell samples at the cellar door has been drawn from the Member’s Bill Ballot today, MP for Kaikoura and National’s Viticulture spokesperson Stuart Smith says.

“The Sale and Supply of Alcohol (Cellar Door Tasting) Amendment Bill will plug an important gap in the old legislation so that winery cellar doors can now charge visitors for wine samples without having to secure a separate on-license and all the costs associated with that.

“While this may be a small change, it will make a big difference to New Zealand’s wineries.

“This Bill has been drawn at an opportune time as wineries have faced significant costs and reduced production as a result of the pandemic. This regulatory change will ensure that they can provide cellar door services without the unnecessary extra red-tape. . .

 

New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards’ entries open October 1st:

With just over a week until entries open in the 2023 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, organisers of the regional programmes are gathering in Rotorua for the annual conference to learn how to deliver over 48 events and numerous judging days..

General Manager Robin Congdon says the conference is an opportunity for the many volunteers from around the country to come together after a busy winter season.

“The conference will be a busy few days, ensuring everyone knows what’s required to deliver the dynamic programme and bring them up to speed on this year’s changes made to the Share Farmer category judging process,” he says.

“The Exec have reviewed extensive feedback on last year’s changes to the Dairy Manager and Dairy Trainee categories, which was overwhelmingly positive. . .


Rural round-up

13/07/2022

Farming needs polish of honesty Lim says – Tim Cronshaw:

My Food Bag co-founder Nadia Lim has challenged sheep and beef farmers to bare all about farming or risk others making up their own stories about red meat.

She told farmer suppliers to leave nothing out during a keynote speech at Silver Fern Farms’ (SFF) Plate to Pasture farmer conference in Christchurch yesterday.

The MasterChef New Zealand judge, nutritionist and entrepreneur farmer with husband, Carlos Bagrie, at Arrowtown’s Royalburn Station is true to her word. Nothing is left to the imagination of visitors when they enter her micro-abattoir at the farm.

Ms Lim said she was not scared to post photos about that on social media and there had been massive support. . .

Pressure is on other processors to match Fonterra and Synlait on milk price forecasts – Point of Order:

Competition  for  raw  milk  supplies  has  sharpened  as  Synlait Milk has joined  Fonterra  with a milk price forecast for the new dairy season   at  $9.50kg/MS.

Earlier  the  company had  announced  a  milk price  for  the  2022-23  season at  $9kg/MS, but    the  outlook has  got  even  better since  then, with  foreign  exchange  movements  further supporting a  strong  milk price.

The upgraded price is a record for the company.

Synlait CEO  Grant Watson says the forecasted lift in milk price reflects an improved outlook for 2022/23 dairy commodity prices, following the recent recovery in pricing, and the current strength of the US dollar. . . 

Wild pines endanger Central Otago’s character – Jill Heron:

One of the country’s foremost landscape painters sees himself in a race against time to protect the vistas that inspire him

An exotic invader is daubing its dark-green paint brush across Central Otago’s golden hills and the rugged vistas that enchant visitors could soon be blotted out.

The artist whose work captures the beauty of this craggy vastness, Sir Grahame Sydney, says the spread of wilding pines in the district is “explosive”.

He is concerned that what makes Central so distinctive – sawtooth silhouettes of schist rock, tussock-clad open spaces – is fast disappearing. . .

Sponsor support remains strong for dairy industry awards :

Planning for the 2023 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards (NZDIA) is underway with National sponsors continuing to back the programme.

The Awards programme allows entrants to connect, learn and grow as individuals across the board from Trainees and new entrants to the industry through to experienced Share Farmers.

NZDIA General Manager Robin Congdon is thrilled to confirm LIC has renewed their sponsorship for the next three years.

“LIC has a long history of providing world-leading innovations for the dairy industry and the name change of the merit award to include Animal Wellbeing demonstrates its importance to LIC and the Awards programme,” he says. . . 

Venture Taranaki launches new food and fibre investment blueprints :

Taranaki regional development agency, Venture Taranaki, have launched nine new food and fibre value chain opportunities focused on diversifying the region’s existing food and fibre offerings, with more to come.

This inspirational mix of ventures has been investigated and validated over the course of the two-year Branching Out project. The blueprints encompass innovation, growth, and offer market potential, for use by the community including landowners, farmers, food manufacturers, growers, and investors.

“These blueprints represent a tremendous opportunity for the region. They act as the next step in building investor confidence and serve as an informative roadmap to kick-start complementary land-based activities and associated value chain enterprises in Taranaki, building value and resilience to our regional economy,” says Venture Taranaki Chief Executive Kelvin Wright.

The blueprint ventures housed on the Venture Taranaki website include Avocados; Gin Botanicals; Grains, Legumes and Vegetables; Hemp fibre for construction; Hops; Kiwifruit; Medicinal Plants; Sheep Dairy; Trees and their value chain; and Indigenous Ingredients (contact Venture Taranaki directly to find out more about this venture). . . 

You can do anything from your kitchen table, says Foxtrot Home founder – Kylie Klein-Nixon:

Living on a farm in central Hawke’s Bay, surrounded by rolling fields filled with sheep and horses, Kate Cullwick was inspired to go back to natural fibres. She runs her linen business Foxtrot Home with her sister, Prue Watson, from her kitchen table and embraces the kaupapa of sustainability.

KATE CULLWICK: I grew up on a farm in Gisborne, and now I live on my husband’s family farm. When you’re farming, you’re brought up with natural materials.

There might be wood that you’ve harvested from the farm to build the house – which is the case for both the farm house my husband and I live in now [on his family farm], and my parents’ farm house.

You’re drawing from nature and your surroundings, as much as possible. . . 


Rural round-up

18/05/2022

Dairy event will be all about change – Sally Rae:

Dynamic.

That is the theme of the South Island’s largest dairy event, SIDE 2022, which is being held in Oamaru on June 8-9.

It was the first time the event had been held in the town and it was expected to attract more than 350 farmers, rural professionals and sponsors.

Event committee member Rebecca Finlay, who came up with the theme, said dairy farmers needed to be dynamic — they could not be stuck in their ways.

There was constant change as they dealt with the likes of new compliance and regulations and they had to be agile and responsive to that change. . .

Exile on Main Street – Neal Wallace:

This week, Farmers Weekly journalists Richard Rennie and Neal Wallace investigate how two different districts, Opotiki and Gore, are trying to encourage new workers and address an ageing workforce while facing a static or falling population.

New Zealand’s rural-led economic recovery is being hamstrung by a shortage of working-age staff, an inability to retain people and intergenerational social issues.

Some rural districts already struggling for staff face even greater labour challenges in the coming years if demographic predictions proved accurate.

Work by retired University of Waikato demography professor Dr Natalie Jackson, is forecasting that in the next decade 75% of the country’s regional authorities will experience a decline in their working age population as young people either leave for bigger urban centres or are not being born. . . .

The ag-sector’s Budget 2022 wish list is for science – Business Desk:

If increasing productivity is the name of the government’s game, then the agriculture sector’s wish list for budget 2022 is all about science. 

The farming sector helped bankroll the economy through covid-19, generating 30% of the country’s export income at a time when sectors like tourism were at a standstill.

Rather than being rewarded, however, the sector is under immense pressure from rising costs, scarce labour and, increasingly, regulation and compliance.  

You’d be hard-pressed to find a farmer who doesn’t want to increase productivity and farm for better environmental outcomes but – across the board – they want more research and development to help them get there. . .

A sick joke – Rural News:

When the Covid pandemic broke out over two years ago, Jacinda Ardern waxed lyrical about the importance of the rural-based primary sector and how it would pull the NZ economy through the tough times ahead.

It has delivered on that with interest.

The sector has come together like never before, from workers on farms, in orchards and processing plants – not to mention the marketers and managers who have got our product to market on time and at good prices.

However, it’s come at a price: people in rural NZ are fatigued and are having to cope with the additional burden of a bundle of stressful compliance. . . 

All hands on deck – Peter Burke:

Growers are mucking in and helping staff to pick this year’s kiwifruit crop. At this point, the Ruby Red variety has all been picked and about a third of the gold crop has also been harvested, with workers now starting to pick the green crop.

NZ Kiwifruit Growers (NZKGI) chief executive Colin Bond told Hort News that everyone in the industry is working together to ensure the crop gets picked this season.

He says many growers themselves have been out in the orchards with the picking crew and also helping out in pack houses.

Bond says there have been instances of staff who normally just pick the fruit, doing shifts in the pack houses on wet days when it’s not possible to pick fruit. . . .

2022 New Zealand Dairy Industry Award winner taking all opportunities:

For the first time in the Awards 33-year history Canterbury/Otago has achieved a clean sweep of all three major categories and the Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award, with national finalists from that region taking home the silverware.

The 2022 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year is driven, inspirational and a great example of a farmer who is taking every opportunity the New Zealand dairy industry offers.

Will Green was named the 2022 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year, the region’s Jaspal Singh became the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and Peter O’Connor, also from Canterbury/North Otago, was announced the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year. They shared prizes from a pool worth over $200,000.

The winners were announced at a Gala Dinner held at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre on Saturday, in front of more than 540 people, making it the largest dinner to be held at the new venue since opening. . . 

Fonterra responsible dairying award winner lead change through innovation :

Craigmore Farming Services, Canterbury/North Otago were named the 2022 Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award winners during the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards on Saturday night and received the John Wilson Memorial Trophy.

 The prestigious award was introduced by the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards and Fonterra to recognise dairy farmers who demonstrate leadership in their approach to sustainability and who are respected by their fellow farmers and their community for their attitude and role in sustainable dairying.

“It was a privilege to engage with all three finalists and the quality of the presentations was exceptional,” says head judge Conall Buchanan.

Fellow judge Charlotte Rutherford from Fonterra, agrees. “The future of the industry feels in such good hands when you are able to spend time with people like our finalists.” . . 


Rural round-up

17/05/2022

Farmers overwhelmed by new regs – Peter Burke:

Farmers are getting overwhelmed by all the new regulations and compliance requirements they are facing now and in the future.

Leading farm consultant Phil Journeaux, of AgFirst, told Rural News that farming is a complicated enough business as it is. But he says the compliance cost on farm – in terms of time and paperwork – is growing rapidly and with the advent of all the water, animal welfare and labour regulations, the pressure is on farmers.

“I have been doing a lot of work in the last few years around greenhouse gas emissions, which is very complicated and this has yet to really hit farmers,” Journeaux explains.

“I don’t think they (farmers) understand how much paperwork and compliance they will be required to do. This whole compliance thing is becoming a really big component of farming and that’s why a lot of farmers are reaching for advisors to help them work it through.” . . 

New regulations compel consents for 2023 crops – Richard Rennie:

As many farmers grapple with a looming feed crisis this winter, planning for next winter may also demand attention sooner rather than later with changes in the winter grazing regulations effective from November 1.

The revised intensive winter grazing (IWG) regulations finalised last month may require some farmers to apply for resource consent to winter graze crops on their farm and timelines are getting tight to ensure consent is granted before crops are sown.

AgFirst director of farm consulting James Allen says time can run surprisingly short for a feed supply that is not needed for another 12 months, once resource consent application processes are factored in.

“Basically, a resource consent is required if you are looking at a new wintering programme, there are a series of conditions you have to meet and it’s likely it will take time to ensure you meet them.” . . 

‘Red wave’ sweeps national dairy awards – Sudesh Kissun:

A red wave swept through the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards last night.

And the 2022 Share Farmer of the Year Will Green rightly pointed out in his acceptance speech that red wave wasn’t about the Labour Party but Canterbury. For the first time in the Awards 33-year history Canterbury/North Otago has achieved a clean sweep of all three major categories and the Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award, with national finalists from that region taking home the silverware.

Joining Green on the podium last night, Jaspal Singh, the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and Peter O’Connor, also from Canterbury/North Otago, was announced the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year.

They shared prizes from a pool worth over $200,000. . . 

All hands to the vine for harvest – Ashley Smyth :

A warm, dry autumn has been the saving grace for winegrowers in the Waitaki this season.

Harvest was in full swing in the Waitaki Valley this week, and it had been an ‘‘atypical’’ season for the region, new Waitaki Valley Winegrowers Association chairman Dave Sutton said.

‘‘It’s been more of a La Nina rain pattern this year, which has meant a lot of easterly rainfall, so a lot of the winegrowing regions on the East Coast — for example Marlborough, Hawkes Bay, Waiheke Island — they’ve seen a lot more rainfall.

‘‘Things were looking a little bit grim, but we’ve had a beautiful ripening period, late, and it’s actually saved the vintage, I think. . . 

Calmer farming through pressure and change :

A new online programme – Know your Mindset. Do what Matters – is boosting the ability of rural communities to handle pressure and change. Dairy farmer Matt Goodwin discusses how it’s helped him.

Matt Goodwin has plenty on his plate. 

He oversees not just one farm, but two – the family’s South Canterbury dairy operation comprises a 600-cow farm and a 300-cow farm. 

It’s a big job, but Matt loves dairying.  . . 

Glass ceiling obliterated by Taupō dairy farm managers – Rachel Canning:

Three Taupō women are proving their doubters wrong as they prepare for their first season as managers of dairy farms.

The trio will each manage Pāmu Farms dairy farms located just out of Taupō.

When they started out, two had never set foot on a dairy farm and one grew up on a sheep and beef farm. One had family members who doubted she would cope with the mud, the stink, and hours outside in the cold.

Resolution Dairy Unit manager Mona Cable, Quarry Dairy Unit manager Liza Arnold and Burgess Dairy Unit manager Carol Cuttance have worked their way up from the bottom, spent time “riding the train” while their children were young, taken up study opportunities to learn about milking and effluent management systems, and all three say they still experience moments of self-doubt. . . 

 


Rural round-up

29/04/2022

Federated Farmers – Rabobank survey shows continued strong growth in farm staff pay :

Average growth of 13 percent in pay packages in the last two years is another reason for more New Zealanders to consider a career in agriculture, Federated Farmers President Andrew Hoggard says.

The 2022 Federated Farmers-Rabobank Farm Remuneration Report, released today, shows that since the 2019/2020 survey weighted average incomes in the dairy sector have grown 15% (to a ‘total package’ average value of $67,251). They’re up 14%, to an average of $66,859, in the sheep & beef sector; and up 7% in arable (to $68,618).

“Our survey shows that on top of wages adding in other factors that make up the total value of remuneration packages for farm staff, such as accommodation, meat, firewood and KiwiSaver, there’s several thousand dollars of extra value to workers across all the sectors,” Andrew says. . . 

“In towns and cities, big chunks of workers’ income are swallowed by accommodation costs. But in our dairy sector 75 percent of employers provide accommodation for staff (61% sheep/beef; 41% arable), with the average accommodation cost per week being $157-$187.” . . .

Fonterra tells wholesalers it’s increasing dairy prices due to inflation and record commodity prices :

Fonterra’s wholesalers have been telling dairy prices are on the rise and a hospitality boss says increases cost will be passed on to customers.

Fonterra Brands managing director Brett Henshaw said it told customers late last year it would be increasing wholesale prices in stages over the first few months of the year.

Global dairy commodity prices are at a record high, which had led to an increase in the wholesale price Fonterra Brands, and other companies, paid for the milk required to manufacture their products, he said.

Inflation was also pushing up the price Fonterra Brands was paying for other goods and services used to manufacture its products, he said.  . .

Government chips away at emissions trading scheme – Eric Crampton:

If a tree is planted in the forest, should it be taxed or subsidised?

Opinion: Wellington is a confusing place.

In 2017, the Government wanted to plant One Billion Trees and set a lot of costly policies to achieve it. It thought tree-planting was an essential part of the country’s climate response.

Now, the Government is fed up with trees. It is consulting on whether it should break part of the Emissions Trading Scheme to discourage planting.

The Government was wrong in 2017, and it is wrong again today. . . 

Global oilseed shortages push canola prices up, bringing good tidings for Australian growers – Xanthe Gregory:

Natural disasters and trade bans are creating a perfect storm for Australian vegetable oil producers as prices skyrocket globally. 

War in Ukraine and a drought in Canada have left a hole in the market, which has been filled by Australia’s record harvest. 

Canola on the world market is now worth $1,184.70 CAD per tonne, according to the Canada Price Index, which has almost doubled from about $680 a year ago. 

Prices in Australia are at all-time highs, exceeding $1,000 a tonne over the past six months.  . . 

Finalists strive to achieve prestigious Dairy Industry Awards:

The 32 finalists representing 11 regions in the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards have been found.

The National winners will be announced at a black tie awards dinner at Te Pae in Christchurch on Saturday May 14, after the finalists complete a final round of judging. Tickets can be purchased via http://www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.

The finalists will compete for a total prize pool worth around $200,000 and the honour of winning either the 2022 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year, 2022 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year or the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the year title.

General Manager Robin Congdon says the 32 finalists from 11 regions are the cream of the crop from all the entries received. . .

Outstanding start for agricultural equipment deliveries in 2022 :

2022 agricultural equipment deliveries have kicked off to fantastic start. This coupled with many machines that are already on order as customers begin to gear up for spring / summer 2022 is driving the current performance. TAMA president Kyle Baxter said, “he was seeing and hearing first-hand how strengthened commodity prices are giving farmers and rural contractors the confidence to invest in new equipment”. The flow of equipment into New Zealand has increased dramatically, and this has offered much welcomed relief for customers who are requiring a new piece of equipment, which is then being put to work straight away when it arrives.

“Overall tractor sales are up more than 25 percent for the year to date compared to 2021 (which was already an increase on 2020 by around 19%) and this trend looks set to continue with confidence in the agri-sector remaining strong”, according to the Tractor and Machinery Association.

There have been consistent increases across every horsepower sector, with some stand out results in certain sectors such as a 20% increase in the sub 40HP sector, coupled with over a 30% increase in the 100-150HP plus sector which is predominantly used in the dairy segment. Regional performance which has a strong diary influence such as Northland, Waikato, Taranaki, and Southland, have also experienced significant growth. Lastly, in 40Hp – 100HP sector significant growth of 27% has been achieved, with this category predominately focused on horticulture & some dairy segments in the regions such as Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Nelson. Again, the strong commodity prices are driving and providing buyer confidence. . . 


Rural round-up

02/04/2022

Call for transparency over Māori data – Nigel Stirling:

THE dairy industry wants the Government to come clean over its plans to demand special protections for Māori data in trade agreements.

The industry says it is in the dark about the Government’s new negotiating strategy and is worried if the demands go too far they could undermine New Zealand’s claims to greater access to trading partners’ dairy markets.

Dairy Companies Association chair Malcolm Bailey says talks for a trade deal with the European Union are already slow-going.

“We are conscious that if we are making a new demand of the Europeans in these negotiations we need to have a good understanding of what it is we are actually asking for and the value of that,” Bailey said. . .

NZ’s high melanoma death rates ‘no surprise’ – Gerald Piddock:

New research showing that New Zealand has the highest death rate of melanoma in the world is of little surprise, a health researcher says.

The disease causes the death of 350 people annually, with the cost of diagnosing and treating melanoma in NZ is estimated to be in excess of $51 million annually.

If 2020 rates remain stable, the global burden from melanoma is estimated to increase to 510 000 new cases and 96 000 deaths – a 68% increase – by 2040, the research by international scientists showed.

The rates were highest in Australia and NZ, followed by Western Europe, North America and Northern Europe. . . 

Rabobank’s performance points to our farm sector being in good shape – Point of Order:

Reflecting  the  surging prosperity in NZ’s  rural  heartlands, Rabobank  has  reported  an  after-tax   profit  of  $209m,  up $88m or  73%.

Rabobank NZ,  which is  owned in  the  Netherlands,  has  gained  ground  in  the  banking industry since  it  arrived  here in the  1990s by specialising in  lending to farmers  and  businesses in the food  and  agribusiness supply chain.

CEO  Todd  Charteris  says the strong commodity pricing over the course of 2021 enabled a number of clients to pay down debt which improved the risk profile of the portfolio and enabled the  bank to unwind loan impairments from the previous year.

“We remain positive about the long-term prospects for the [rural] sector and our intention is to further expand our agri-lending portfolio through new lending to farmers and other businesses across NZ’s food and agribusiness supply chain,” Charteris says. . . 

 

Overseas Investment Office approves Austrian aristocrat’s farm purchase for forestry conversion

An Austrian aristocrat has been given approval to buy another farm in Aotearoa and plant pine trees in it.

The latest round of Overseas Investment Office (OIO) consents show Johannes Trauttmansdorff-Weinsberg has been given the green light to purchase the 445 hectare Te Maire Farm near Masterton.

Just over 300 hectares of the farm will be planted in pine trees which will be harvested in 2048, before a second rotation is planted.

Described as an experienced forestry investor by the OIO, Trauttmansdorff-Weinsberg purchased three farms in 2019 for conversion to forestry. . .

Synlait first-half revenue and sales volume largest on record :

Dairy company Synlait has posted a strong first-half result driven by ingredients sales volumes, commodity price increases, and a one-time gain of $11.9 million from the sale and leaseback of property in Auckland.

Key numbers for the six months ended January 2022 compared to a year ago:

  • Net profit $27.9m vs $6.4m
  • Revenue $790.6m vs $664.2m
  • Other income including one-time gain $15.4m vs $1.6m
  • Underlying profit $68.4m vs $47.7m
  • Forecast base milk price $9.60 per kilo of milk solids . . .

NZ packhouse technology notches up firsts with asparagus producer :

New Zealand fresh produce software provider Radford Software has onboarded leading Australian asparagus producer and distributor Raffa Fields to implement a packhouse system entirely remotely.

Customer success manager Royce Sharplin said the partnership represented two key firsts for Radfords – a move into the asparagus sector and the first remote implementation of its packhouse solutions, due to the global pandemic.

“This reaffirms that our strategy to diversify into wider fresh produce sectors to complement our traditional kiwifruit, apple, citrus and avocado markets is on the right track,” Mr Sharplin said.

“It would have taken a lot of trust to implement our systems from afar. Go-live last August followed a condensed timeframe from scope to delivery, achieved by a strong partnership with an enthusiastic and proactive team from Raffa Fields.” . . 

 

Sustainable vision wins at 2022 Hawkes Bay-Wairarapa Dairy Industry Awards:

The 2022 Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year winners say everything they do is to a high standard, for the good of the industry and themselves.

Jono and Kerri Robson were named the 2022 Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa Share Farmers of the Year at the region’s annual awards last night in Masterton. Other major winners were Amarjeet Kamboj, the 2022 Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Manager of the Year, and Jacob Stolte, the 2022 Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Trainee of the Year.

The Robson’s are 50/50 herd-owning sharemilkers on Dean Nikora and Alexandra Stewart’s 119ha, 350-cow Waipukurau property. They won $10.586 in prizes and six merit awards.

Jono and Kerri have entered the Share Farmer category twice previously, while Jono is also a past entrant in the Dairy Manager category. . .

 


Rural round-up

23/03/2022

No out for NZ farming! – Jacqueline Rowarth:

The 2015 Paris Accord on the ‘need for an effective and progressive response to the urgent threat of climate change’, recognised the fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and ending hunger.

The often-paraphrased Article 2.1.b suggests that countries should do everything they can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) without compromising food production. In a world with an increasing population, this makes sense. But it isn’t an ‘out’ for New Zealand.

Even though we produce low GHG per kilogram of milksolids and meat on average, there is a range in efficiency. By identifying factors causing the range, we can do better. This was what the Paris Accord was about.

The introductory statements in the Paris Accord recognise ‘that sustainable lifestyles and sustainable patterns of consumption and production, with developed country Parties taking the lead, play an important role in addressing climate change’. New Zealand is a developed country with significant expertise in animal and pasture management and the research that supports that management. . . 

Cows, children petrified by boy racers in rural Waikato – Maja Burry:

Some rural residents in Waikato say an incident over the weekend where a milk tanker was attacked is just the tip of the iceberg and every weekend hundreds of boy racers are converging on rural roads, putting locals at serious risk.

Police have launched an investigation into how a milk tanker had its windscreen smashed and milk was poured across the road in the region at the weekend.

Waikato mayor Allan Sanson said the attack happened after the tanker driver tried to push past a group of boy racers who were blocking the road. The area was a regular weekend haunt for boy racers, the mayor said.

It is an issue that Gordonton dairy farmer Bruce knows too well. . . 

New Zealand farmers consider planting more milling wheat in face of global shortage – Sally Murphy:

Arable farmers here are considering planting more milling wheat this autumn to help combat global shortages.

Ukraine is major global producer of wheat – but following Russia’s invasion, the Ukraine government banned the export of wheat to preserve its food stocks.

This has resulted in supply fears causing global wheat prices to rise sharply.

Federated Farmers arable chair Colin Hurst said New Zealand grew about 100,000 tonnes of milling wheat and about 250,000 tonnes of feed wheat for stock. . . 

 

New Zealand Young Farmers scholarship winners announced :

Three New Zealand Young Farmers’ (NZYF) members have been given a helping hand to further their education through the organisation’s three exclusive scholarships.

Lincoln University post graduate student Jeremy Kilgour and aspiring Massey University veterinarian Nerida Bateup have been awarded the NZYF World Congress Charitable Trust Scholarship, receiving $1,500 cash in hand each.

Meanwhile Lincoln University student Georgia Moody is the first recipient of the brand new NZYF Future Me Scholarship, receiving $1,500 for planned professional development.

NZYF Board Chair Kent Weir said he’s very pleased NZYF is be able to provide these opportunities for members to develop their education and skillsets. . .

Sustainability at forefront for Auckland-Hauraki  Dairy Industry Award winners:

The 2022 Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year winner is excited to see farmers moving forward with sustainability at the forefront of all aspects of farming, ensuring the New Zealand dairy industry will continue to produce top-quality milk for the world.

Danielle Hovmand was named the 2022 Auckland/Hauraki Share Farmer of the Year at the region’s annual awards dinner held at the Thames Civic Centre on Friday night. The other major winners were the 2022 Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Manager of the Year Jimmy Cleaver, and the 2022 Auckland/Hauraki Dairy Trainee of the Year, Jamie McDowell.

The second-time entrant believes the Awards programme pushed her outside her comfort zone and increased networking opportunities.

“By analysing my business and learning to capitalise on my strengths and overcome any weaknesses, I’ve gained a better understanding of my farming business, my farming system, where I want my business to be in the future and how I’m going to get there,” she says. . . 

 

 

Taramakau sharemilker returns to competition as Dairy Industry Awards first timer :

Entering competitions is part of the farming process for West Coast dairy farmer Andrew Stewart who lines up for The West Coast/Top of the South regional title this Thursday.

He describes them as challenging and educational, as well as social and encouraging valuable time outside the farm gate.

Andrew and partner Jill 50/50 sharemilk at Taramakau, just inland from Kumara. The back of the farm is about 700m away from SH73 but the Taramakau River is in between, so it’s 17km back to Kumara to the bridge.

Andrew milks 240 Jersey cows on the 190ha farm, which includes a 30ha runoff with 60 young stock and another 30ha of fenced off wetlands and kahikatea bush (white pine). The farm is predominantly a grass-grazing system with bought-in hay and silage supplementing winter feed. Production is 350kg MS per cow using a flexible milking regime. . . 


Rural round-up

14/03/2022

He Waka Eke Noa caught in crosswinds – Keith Woodford:

He Waka Eke Noa was always going to be controversial. Right now, it is in some trouble.

Four weeks have slipped by since I last wrote about the He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) proposals for dealing with agricultural emissions of methane and nitrous oxide. During that time, DairyNZ and Beef+Lamb have been conducting roadshows around New Zealand trying to convince their members to support the HWEN proposals.

If the HWEN proposals are accepted by farmers and the Government, then this will be the framework for agriculture’s greenhouse gas (GHG) levies through to 2050. So, we have to get it right.

My assessment is that the roadshows are not going particularly well. I make that judgement in part from the flood of emails I am getting from upset farmers, but more importantly because of the fundamental flaws within the current proposals. . . 

Rural sector calls for fuel price relief – Sally Murphy:

Rural industries struggling with rising fuel costs are calling on the government to reduce fuel taxes to make it more affordable.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed the oil price up to US$109 (NZ$159) a barrel – resulting in the price at the pump tipping over $3 a litre here.

Rural Contractors chief executive Andrew Olsen said contractors would have to pass the increased costs on to farmers, which would lead to increased food prices.

“When the product lands in a supermarket at a much higher cost it’s probably going to raise eyebrows,” he said. . .

Why are global dairy prices so high? here’s what you need to know :

Recently, global dairy prices hit a record high.

Last week the average price at the fortnightly global dairy auction rose 5.1 percent to $US5065 ($NZ7370) a tonne, after rising 4.2 percent in the previous auction.

The Global Dairy Trade price index hit 1593, breaking the previous record of 1573 set in April 2013.

Prices for other products were up too – wholemilk powder, butter, skim milk powder, and cheddar cheese. . .

Backing rural New Zealand – Christopher Luxon:

In my very first speech as National Party Leader, I said that our farmers are not villains.

Our provincial heartland has felt taken for granted for too long.

I’m proud to lead a party that is committed to standing up for farmers and rural communities – committed to representing you, championing your causes, and reducing the regulatory burden you face.

One of the things I’ve consistently heard loud and clear as a Member of Parliament is how New Zealand’s rural communities are feeling innundated by costs, rules and regulations flowing from Wellington. . . 

Horse and plough add French touch to Marlborough vineyard – Country Life:

A Clydesdale named Gordon is bringing an extra touch of France to Marlborough’s Churton vineyard.

Under the expert guidance of his French handler, Gordon is in training for the autumn ploughing season after a summer kicking up his hefty hooves on this beguiling block of vines above the Waihopai Valley.

Sam and Mandy Weaver set up the vineyard on 51 hectares of former sheep and beef country 30 years ago and are in the process of handing on the reins to sons Jack and Ben.

Biodynamic principles guide them in everything they do so a horse and plough to gently till the strip between the vines fitted in well with their vision for the vineyard. . . 

Boundless opportunities for Bay of Plenty Dairy Ward winners :

The major winners in the 2022 Bay of Plenty Dairy Industry Awards, Scott and Rebecca O’Brien, are passionate about their business and the dairy industry and believe there are endless opportunities at all levels.

The couple were announced winners of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year category at the Bay of Plenty Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner held at the Awakeri Events Centre on Friday night. The other big winners were Hayden Purvis who was named the 2022 Bay of Plenty Dairy Manager of the Year, and Thomas Lundman, the 2022 Bay of Plenty Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Scott (39) and Rebecca (41) are 50/50 sharemilking over two farms – Rory & Susan Gordon’s 260ha Galatea 650-cow property, and Peter & Cathy Brown’s 100ha, 250-cow property. They won $9,800 and four merit awards.

Scott grew up on a dairy farm, and when it was sold when he was 13, he knew the journey hadn’t ended for him. “I just love working with animals and the diverse day-to-day tasks of being a farmer.” . . 


Rural round-up

08/02/2022

NZ”s border opening ‘too little too late’ – horticulture industry chief

New Zealand’s five-stage plan to reopen the border has come “too little, too late” for the RSE Scheme and does not spell the end of challenges currently crippling the industry, officials warn.

They say more could and should have been done to avoid the crisis facing the 2021-2022 harvest season.

From 28 February, New Zealanders will be able to arrive back from Australia and expatriates from the rest of the world can return from 14 March.

Aotearoa was expected to open to foreigners from visa-waiver countries such as the United States no later than July. . . 

Rhys Roberts crowned New Zealand winner of top agri-award:

An entrepreneurial approach to primary production has resulted in Rhys Roberts of mid-Canterbury receiving the 2022 New Zealand Zanda McDonald Award.

Rhys Roberts is Chief Executive of the Align Group, who operate 7 farms, a market garden, and are vertically integrated with a yoghurt brand and milk processing facility.

The Zanda McDonald Award, now in its eighth year, supports talented and passionate young professionals in the ag sector from Australia and New Zealand. Rhys will receive an impressive trans-Tasman prize package centred around mentoring, education and training that is 100% tailored to his needs.

Roberts is passionate about food production and future workplaces. He’s currently running a regenerative agriculture project trial to monitor farm productivity, animal health, human health and environmental outcomes. His focus on building a ‘future workplace’ has resulted in creating a market garden that feeds his team through the fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry and eggs from their farms. All of the team are on fully flexible rosters, and can manage their own schedules, choosing shifts that suit them. This frees them up for about 1000 hours combined per year, which they reinvest into the community.

Zanda McDonald Award Patron Shane McManaway says “Rhys is highly ambitious, and he’s prepared to break the mold of the past and do things differently. Some of the results he’s seeing, due to his innovative approach, are nothing short of exceptional. He has a strong environmental and wellbeing focus, as well as creating a significant difference to the company’s bottom line. As judges, we were extremely impressed and inspired by his leadership, and know he has a very strong future ahead of him.” . . 

Luring Kiwis back to farm essential amid border closures – Adam Burns:

The agricultural sector in North Canterbury has expressed relief at the Government’s border reopening plan, but those on the ground have highlighted a wider issue farmers are facing – a lack of home-grown skilled labour.

This has been compounded by farmers being unable to secure skilled workers off shore, due to a tightening of restrictions at the border over the past 24 months, causing significant strain for many in the primary sector.

Record low unemployment, which dropped to 3.2 per cent this week, further underlined how competitive the labour market was becoming.

But the agricultural industry is relieved some respite may be on the cards as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern outlined a phased plan on Thursday to reopen the country. It starts with vaccinated Kiwis and other eligible workers from Australia from 27 February. . . 

NZ red meat sector achieves record exports during 2021 :

New Zealand’s red meat sector exports reached $10 billion in 2021 despite the disruption caused by COVID-19, according to an analysis by the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

The exports represented a nine per cent increase on 2020. The value of red meat and co-products exported in December 2021 was also up 22 per cent year on year, at just over $1 billion.

Sirma Karapeeva, chief executive of MIA, said the sector had worked tirelessly in the face of ongoing global logistical challenges to continue to achieve the best possible results for farmers, the 25,000 people working in the industry and for the New Zealand economy.

“Despite all the disruptions and labour shortages, we were able to make the most of the global demand for red meat and generate record export revenue. . . 

Western Australia wool industry fears shearer exodus following NZ border opening

Kiwi shearers in Western Australia (WA) are already planning to return to New Zealand after the country announced its border reopening plan.

If they do return, WA’s wool industry may be unable to keep up with demands for shearing, putting animal welfare and lambs’ lives at risk.

Aromia Ngarangioni, a shearer in the Great Southern region of WA, estimates 60 percent of shearers working in WA are New Zealanders.

Like many, it has been years since Ngarangioni has been able to go home. . . 

 

NZ Dairy Industry regional wards dinner go ahead in red :

With judging for the 11 regional programmes underway around the country, the New Zealand Dairy Industry Award’s attention is turning to the regional award dinners being held in March and April.

After consultation with regional teams and national sponsors, the much-anticipated evenings will continue, following government guidelines for events in Red level.

“We know these award dinners are an important part of the rural community’s calendar on many levels, which is why we will follow government guidelines to deliver an evening where success can be recognised and celebrated,” says NZDIA General Manager Robin Congdon.

“This means the dinners will have a maximum attendance of 100 people, who will be required to show vaccine passes at the venue. . .


Rural round-up

30/11/2021

Taxpayers Milked to the tune of $48K for anti-dairy propaganda :

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is challenging the New Zealand Film Commission’s funding criteria after it gave anti-dairy documentary Milked a $48,550 “finishing grant”.

The film, currently screening in New Zealand cinemas, argues that the dairy industry causes climate change, pollutes water, destroys land, abuses cows, and victimises dairy farmers. The film is explicitly political, with constant shots of the Beehive in the trailer, and features contributions from Greenpeace, SAFE, and the Green Party. The film appears to be part of a wider anti-dairy campaign – the promoters have erected billboards attacking the dairy sector.

Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “The 40,000 New Zealanders employed in the dairy industry are unlikely to be happy to learn they are funding a film that attacks the source of their livelihoods. And that’s to say nothing of the rest of us, who all benefit from dairy’s enormous contribution to New Zealand’s economy.”

“We wish the filmmakers well in their attempts to win hearts and minds, but that doesn’t mean they should receive government money for their propaganda. Just imagine the outcry from certain groups if the Taxpayers’ Union received government money to produce a film on the evils of socialism.” . . 

Unease over regulations – Kayla Hodge:

Proposed changes to adventure activity regulations could prove to be a nightmare for commercial operators and landowners.

A review of the adventure activities regulatory regime is proposing to tighten restrictions on how operators work, and introduce tougher rules for landowners who allow access to adventure activity operators.

Under the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment proposal, landowners will have to be involved in the management of natural hazards, providing information to operators or assessing and managing risks.

The review came in the wake of the 2019 Whakaari/ White Island eruption that killed 22 people and injured 25 who were on a tour accompanied by an operating company. . .

Co-products offaly underused: academic – Sally Rae:

Fancy a shake of pizzle powder in your chowder? How about some heart in your tart?

Don’t choke at the suggestion; meat co-products, better known as offal, are protein-rich and food scientist Associate Prof Aladin Bekhit, from the University of Otago, believes consumers are missing out on “wonderful nutrients” by turning their noses up at them.

A recent study, supervised by Prof Bekhit, investigated the macronutrient composition of sheep heart, kidney, liver, skirt, stomach, testis, tail and pizzle.

Protein content ranged from 10.2%-28.8% and the pizzle (an animal’s penis) was found to have one of the highest levels. . .

 

Fight to eradicate wilding pines far from over – expert – Tess Brunton:

The lead investigator of a nationwide fight against wilding pines says they can’t stop work to eradicate wildings or risk the tide turning against them.

Before 2016, wildings were estimated to be invading roughly 90,000 hectares each year.

Later that year, a five-year government-funded research programme, Winning Against Wildings, was launched aiming to control or contain wildings nationally by 2030.

It has sparked new knowledge, research and techniques for controlling the pests including remote-sensing tools to detect and map invasions in remote areas and using low-dose herbicides to control dense wilding invasions. . . 

ANZ sponsors Dairy Industry awards :

A unique sponsorship opportunity with the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards (NZDIA) has been entered into by New Zealand’s largest bank.

ANZ Bank New Zealand will sponsor the Financial and Business merit awards in the Share Farmer and Dairy Manager categories in four regions – Southland/Otago, Canterbury/North Otago, Waikato and Taranaki.

A representative from the bank will also judge the National Share Farmer of the Year category.

NZDIA General Manager Robin Congdon says this sponsorship shows ANZ Bank New Zealand has huge support for the dairy industry. . . 

NSA responds strongly to article labelling sheep a menace of the countryside  :

The National Sheep Association (NSA) is shocked and disappointed by factually incorrect and damaging comments made of UK sheep farming in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph (Thursday 25th November 2021).

In the article titled ‘There’s a fluffy white menace that is spoiling Britain’s National Parks’ ‘destination expert’ Chris Moss labels sheep as a blot on the landscape suggesting they be removed from National Parks and failing to recognise their importance to the countryside he is enjoying or the rural communities that so many appreciate visiting.

NSA Chief Executive says: “The comments made in this piece are both unhelpful and divisive at a time when many in agriculture and the environmental movement are working together to move to an even more multifunctional land use and approach to farming.

“Mr Moss states that sheep are ruining our landscapes, including National Parks, ignoring the fact the vast majority of these are in areas where sheep farming is the predominant land use activity. Maybe he should consider that it is thousands of years of sheep and livestock farming in these areas that has actually made these iconic regions such that people want to designate them as national parks. In fact, sheep farming and its relationship with the Lake District landscape and culture is one of the core reasons why this national park was designated a World Heritage site in 2017.” . . 

 


Rural round-up

20/11/2021

New twists to carbon farming – Keith Woodford:

Each time I write about carbon farming, I think it will be the last time I do so for quite some time. But then something new comes up and there is a new twist to be explored. Right now, there are two new twists, potentially pulling in different directions.

First, just prior to the COP26 talkfest in Glasgow, James Shaw and Jacinda Ardern issued a joint press release stating that New Zealand will increase the carbon targets to be achieved by 2030. The specifics are more than a little obscure, but the increase is going to be considerable.

The changes are made more complex by changes in the accounting methods. Here, I am talking about carbon accounting, not dollar accounting. 

Sometimes the Government talks about gross emissions that do not include forestry offsets. Sometimes the Government talks about net emissions after allowing for offsets. And sometimes the Government compares different time periods using what is called ‘gross-net’, which gets even more confusing. . .

Isolated rural police face burnout, lack of support – IPCA review:

An Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) report has highlighted major issues in the resourcing of small community police stations, with some officers saying they are close to burnout.

The review was done after several people in communities with a one- or two-person police station complained about the way their local officers dealt with them.

The IPCA selected 12 small communities across the country, and interviewed the local officers and residents.

It found officers enjoyed the challenges of working remotely but felt they were constantly on call, and the remoteness made it more difficult for them to access relief or backup. . .

Will New Zealand workers save Central Otago’s summer harvest?  – George Driver:

As the fruit harvest season nears, orchardists are again raising the alarm of an impending worker shortage. So will enough of us head to the country this summer to pick Central Otago’s crop?

Every year I said it would be my last. Every year I came crawling back.

From the age of 14, I spent a decade of summers picking stone fruit under the searing Central Otago sun. I was fortunate to have been born into the iPod generation, but all of the audiobooks on Napster couldn’t stave off the boredom of fruit picking. Working 7am to 4pm seven days a week atop a shuddering Hydralada would put me into fatigue-induced stupor that enveloped every summer of my youth. The only reprieve was the sound of rain on the corrugated iron roof that signalled a long awaited day off.

But for a teenager working at a time when youth rates meant the minimum wage was a little over $7 an hour, the pay was unbeatable. . .

Farm walks lose bookings with Aucklanders unable to travel – Susan Murray:

Private farm walks are taking a financial hit due to cancellations from Aucklanders unable to travel, with some losing 40 percent of their bookings.

Farm walks have blossomed in the past couple of decades as more farmers have looked to diversify farm income and showcase less publicly accessible land.

Shaun Monk runs the the Island Hills Station Walk (formerly called Hurunui High Country Station Walk), a two- to three-day track in North Canterbury.

Monk said he had lost 40 percent of the early season bookings. . . .

Mediaworks join NZDIA national sponsor family :

New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards (NZDIA) are pleased to announce an exciting new addition to their National sponsor family.

NZDIA General Manager Robin Congdon is rapt to welcome MediaWorks and is looking forward to working with them to extend the programme’s reach in the traditional rural sector and others via more mainstream channels.

“Just as the dairy industry is evolving, so are the people working in it and we need new ways to connect with our entrants. . .

Celebrate and be in to win with NZ FLowers Week November 22-26:

Spring time is celebration time for the local cut flowers industry and during NZ Flowers Week flower lovers all over the country are invited to join the party.

From Monday November 22 through to Friday 26 the resilience, passion and skill of industry players, from growers to floral retailers will be acknowledged and just as importantly, their customers too.

For the sixth year in a row the event’s organisers Feel Good With Flowers have created a big bunch of great opportunities for people to revel in the beauty of quality, NZ-grown blooms and foliage, and have a chance to win prizes from a pool totalling $30,000.

During the week Feel Good With Flowers will be asking the NZ public to purchase blooms and bouquets from their favourite florists and support them using hashtags #supportlocalflowers and #nzflowersweek2021. . .

Comvita and For the Love of Bees launch a new partnership to help create a world where bees thrive :

Comvita and For The Love of Bees launch a new partnership to help create a world where bees thrive

Comvita, global market leader in Mānuka honey, has today announced a major partnership with social enterprise, For The Love of Bees (FTLOB), which will see the two organisations working together to protect these vital pollinators and the natural ecosystems they live in.

Since its establishment in 1974, Comvita has been guided by its founding principle of Kaitiakitanga, or guardianship and protection over nature – building on co-founders Claude Stratford and Alan Bougen’s passion for connecting people to nature, while caring for the environment. . .


Rural round-up

02/11/2021

Farmers want clarity over vaccine mandates – Gerhard Uys:

Farmers and farm advocacy groups say they are not receiving clear guidelines from the Government on how to navigate vaccine mandates and subsequent staff management for farm businesses.

Chris Lewis, national board member and Covid-19 spokesman for Federated Farmers, said Covid guidelines seemed to be a moving target.

“We have had no indication from [Government] what exact guidelines farm employers should follow. Farm businesses are no different to other businesses operating during uncertain times and need clarity. Are we allowed to mix vaccinated and unvaccinated staff, what is safe and not safe, we don’t know,” Lewis said.

Lewis believed that businesses would begin to take the lead in determining requirements, with the Government playing catch up. Corporations like Fonterra have already begun setting some guidelines for milk suppliers to follow. . .

Farmer protest group keen to meet Jacinda Ardern for answers on new rules –  Rachael Kelly:

The leaders behind one of the biggest farmer protest group in New Zealand are seeking a meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and say they are sick of being ignored.

Groundswell NZ galvanised thousands of farmers in July and protests were held in 50 towns nationwide, but since then the Prime Minister has never directly responded to their concerns about some Government freshwater rules not being practical to implement.

Groundswell NZ founder Bryce McKenzie will be in Wellington next week, and it’ll be the second time the group has tried to get a meeting with Ardern.

“We’re hoping she’ll meet with us this time, because the people of New Zealand that turned out for our last protest have essentially been ignored,’’ McKenzie said. . .

 

A rule of thirds – Neal Wallace:

It was not their original intent, but Central Otago’s Lake Hawea Station is at the sharp end of what some termed contentious innovation. Neal Wallace meets manager David O’Sullivan.

DAVID O’Sullivan admits he needed an open mind as he oversaw the transformation of the Otago high country fine wool property, Lake Hawea Station.

The station manager says a combination of the skills of the staff, input from consultants and the branding and business backgrounds of owners Geoff and Justine Ross, founders of vodka company 42 Below, created a powerful team that is not wedded to a particular farming system.

That diverse thinking reflects the station’s shift to regenerative farming but also a different approach to managing carbon emissions and sequestration.. . 

Sustainability sells: strong wools’ half billion dollar export opportunity:

New Zealand’s strong wool sector is sitting on at least a half a billion dollar opportunity thanks to a wave of eco-consumerism, coupled with innovative Kiwi businesses pushing the limits of wool.

Since the 1980s the export price of strong wool has tanked from a high of around $10 a kilogram, to now just over two dollars. But as eco-consumerism rises and plastic products lose their popularity, a group of New Zealand businesses are ready to drive strong wool’s resurgence.

Strong Wool Action Group executive officer Andy Caughey says for the first time in forty years the market conditions are optimistic for strong wool, a courser fibre than the likes of fine merino, which is exceptionally resilient and versatile in its use for homewares. . .

Ravensdown renews sponsorship of NZDIA :

Entries to the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards (NZDIA) continue to be accepted online until December 1st as national sponsors continue to commit to the programme.

NZDIA General Manager Robin Congdon is rapt to confirm that Ravensdown have renewed their sponsorship for the next two years.

“Ravensdown bring a particular style to their sponsorship. They care deeply about farmers and this is obvious through the Relief Milking Fund and that they want to be involved with education and development of farmers’ businesses and careers,” says Robin. . .

DJAARA’s new land acquisition protects country and culture – Annabelle Cleeland:

Culturally significant Buckrabanyule, in North Central Victoria, has been purchased by Traditional Owners and conservationists, in a bid to be protected from further land degradation and development.

Located between Boort and Wedderburn, the land covers 452 hectares, and was recently purchased by conservation group, Bush Heritage, to be jointly managed with Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation (DJAARA).

The land is infested with the invasive wheel cactus, a thorny pest plant that classified as a weed of national significance. Djarrak rangers have spent recent months working at the site to control the weed, using mechanical chemical and bio-control methods. . . 

 


Rural round-up

06/10/2021

Keeping sheep out of the sunset – Paul Burt:

With more than 30 years of sheep farming behind him, Paul Burt hopes to see a halt in the decline of the industry.

When you stick at something long enough you witness a world of change. In 1988 farms were relatively cheap (ridiculously so in hindsight) but with interest rates at 20% my brother and I didn’t have enough capital to make the risk worth taking. 

Lamb prices were depressed but we saw an opportunity in a big lease block and tendered for it on the basis of an all-wool, low-input policy. Shearing costs were 10% of the value of a full fleece. We made the shortlist but eventually missed out. The ROR was potentially very good but it’s crystal ball gazing to guess where a successful bid might have taken us.

It wasn’t too many years after that I attended a presentation about the economic potential for keratin powder made by reducing wool fibre to it’s base components. It was a surprise to see in last weeks’ press, the process being reclaimed as a breakthrough.  . . 

North Otago farmer positive about region – Sally Rae:

North Otago Sustainable Land Management’s long-serving chairman Peter Mitchell recently stood down from the position. He talks to rural editor Sally Rae about why he is so passionate about farming in the district.

For 150 years, North Otago has provided opportunities for the Mitchell family with their farming business.

The current generation actively farming Rosedale, near Weston, are Peter and Sandra Mitchell, who were joined several years ago by Henry, one of their two sixth-generation sons.

“We’ve had a wonderful run really when you look back on it, on the farming side of things, a lot of family involvement,” Peter Mitchell said. . . 

Finding the winners – Rebecca Greaves:

Analysing data to find the winners, whether it’s selecting sires or identifying trends, appeals to Emma Pettigrew’s competitive side.

She’s relishing her new role as research and development manager at Wairarapa sheep stud, Wairere, where she has been working since October last year.

Her role is primarily data analysis and administration, but she can be called on to help out on farm at busy times, which suits her just fine.

Stud breeding has always been part of life for Emma, 28, who grew up on farms in the Pohangina Valley and Kimbolton, in the Manawatu. . .

From honeymoon to dairy farming – Valu Maka:

Dairy Women’s Network member Lauren Badcock traded a career in law for greener pastures.

Alongside husband Ollie, the pair moved to New Zealand from the United Kingdom in 2018.

‘‘We gave up our jobs in the UK and came to New Zealand for our honeymoon and we didn’t go back home.

‘‘I got a job with Ollie on the farm and I haven’t really looked back.’’ . . 

Connected Farms New Zealand launch innovative ZOLEO device to address lone-worker safety concerns :

Connected Farms New Zealand Launch Innovative ZOLEO Device to Address Lone-Worker Safety Concerns.

In 2020, there were 22,796 farm-related injury claims accepted by ACC. That’s over 60 incidents a day, taking a huge toll on farms, families, and the rural community whenever a farm worker is hurt on the job. Today, Connected Farms New Zealand is launching ZOLEO Satellite Communicator, a farm safety device designed to transform the way rural communities approach on-farm connectivity and safety. Now, tens of thousands of NZ farmers across all farm types can remain accessible, connected, and safe regardless of how isolated they are, with the ZOLEO device.

Operating on the Iridium network, ZOLEO Satellite Communicator facilitates 2-way communication from anywhere including the highest, remotest high-country station. This multi-award winning product is easy and intuitive to use with a familiar messaging experience when integrated with smartphones, improving remote communications simply and effectively. This allows farmers and lone-workers to check-in to let others know they’re ok, or get help quickly and easily, even outside of mobile phone range. . .

Entries open for refreshed NZDIA programme:

Entries are now open and excitement is high for the refreshed 2022 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards (NZDIA) programme, which gives New Zealand dairy farmers the opportunity to challenge themselves, earn a regional or national title and to share in substantial regional and national prize pools.

All three categories have been refreshed and revamped, after months of consultation, feedback and discussion.

Entries can be made via www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz with full details of the changes available there also.

NZDIA General Manager Robin Congdon says it’s very important that the Awards programme remains relevant and that issues raised in feedback were addressed. . . 

 


Rural round-up

26/08/2021

Why the rush? – Barbara Kuriger:

The pace of regulatory change for rural communities has been relentless under the current government.

It’s the concern I hear most when I move among them around the country and speak with rural advocacy groups.

It’s the reason why Groundswell NZ founders, Otago farmers Bryce McKenzie and Laurie Paterson organised a tractor protest in Gore against the National Policy Statement on Freshwater in November. The group’s overwhelming national support since then led to the Howl of a Protest’ on July 16.

Agricultural, horticultural communities aren’t the types to jump up and down, so when they take to the streets in their thousands, you can bet there’s a reason. . .

Why NZ farmers should hope for positive results from research into the methane effects of lacing stock feed with seaweed – Point of Order:

A warning  bell  sounded  for  New Zealand farmers  when The Economist – in an editorial  last week headed “It  is  not  all  about  the  CO2” – argued  that carbon  dioxide is by far the most important   driver of  climate  change, but methane  matters  too.

The  final  sentence of  the  editorial reads,  ominously:

“Methane  should be  given priority on the  COP26 climate  summit  this  November”.

NZ may  fight  its  corner   vigorously   at the   Glasgow  summit,  but  the   risk is  that  delegates  there   will  seize  on  the  thesis  advanced  by The Economist    that   methane is  a more  powerful  greenhouse  gas  than  carbon   dioxide,  and  decide  to  target  it harshly. . . 

UK releases NZ free trade negotiation details as agreement nears :

The UK government has released more details of how negotiations have been progressing.

Tariffs on exports of honey and apples to the UK would be slashed and wine which faces tariffs of up to 20 pence per bottle would also be expected to be cut.

In return tariffs on British gin, chocolate, clothing and cars we import would be dropped.

Britain trade secretary Liz Truss said teams were working around the clock to get the deal done in the coming weeks.

“We are both big fans of each other’s high-quality products, so this could be a huge boost that allows British shoppers to enjoy lower prices and British exports to be even more competitive,” Truss said. . . 

Carbon farmers need to understand the ETS – Keith Woodford:

The price of carbon is determined by Government. There lies the risk for carbon farming. 

Two recent articles of mine have explored the economics of carbon farming on land that is currently farmed for sheep and beef.  Those articles showed that, if financial returns are what matters, then at current carbon prices the development of permanent forests for carbon credits provides significantly higher returns than sheep and beef.

My focus there was on the close to three million hectares of North Island farmed hill country, but a similar situation exists in considerable parts of the South Island. One big exception is the Canterbury Plains, where history shows that shallow soils plus norwest wind storms wreak periodic havoc to forestry operations.

Those findings on the apparent economics of forestry lead to a series of other questions. First, how reliable is this carbon market? Second, what are all the other important things apart from simple economics that need to be considered? . .

Recognition for forestry’s highest achievers in 2021:

The New Zealand Institute of Forestry (NZIF) has announced the winners of its prestigious 2021 awards. In what has been an exceptionally volatile year for many, the forestry sector remains a significant contributor to the New Zealand economy. NZIF President James Treadwell says the industry is working hard to benefit Aotearoa / New Zealand and New Zealanders, not only with significant returns to GDP but also to offer social benefits including carbon capture, recreation opportunities, clean water, biodiversity and general wellbeing. “We’re fortunate with our high-calibre industry professionals who set the standards for others to aspire to. The NZIF relishes the opportunity to celebrate with ‘the best of the best’ and to proudly champion the recipients of NZIF’s awards.”

This year’s recipient was acknowledged for their diverse range of skills and experience. From hard graft and commitment at grass roots level to high level policy planning and execution and academic leadership.

The NZ Forester of the Year award, which was presented in Wairarapa on Monday night by Minister Nash (Minister of Forestry) went to Paul Millen. . .

Sponsor support continues for Dairy Industry Awards:

Entries for the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards (NZDIA) open October 1st with planning well underway and National sponsors continuing to back the programme.

The Awards programme allows entrants to connect, learn and grow as individuals across the board from Trainees and new entrants to the industry through to experienced Share Farmers.

NZDIA General Manager Robin Congdon is thrilled to confirm DeLaval have renewed their sponsorship for the next three years. “It’s a significant commitment and we’re rapt to have world leaders in milking equipment and solutions for dairy farmers as part of our national sponsor family.” . .

 


Rural round-up

16/07/2021

Anyone listening? – Rural News:

The country’s farmers are feeling disregarded, discontented, disrespected and disgruntled.

On July 16, in more than 40 towns and cities (at the time of writing) around NZ, farmers will descend on to their main streets in their utes and tractors to express their utter exasperation with government, bureaucrats, mainstream media – even their own sector leadership.

This farmer angst has been building for more than a year, so the aptly-named Groundswell protests could well be the biggest show of farmer discontent in this country since the protests held at the height of the economic reforms of the 1980s.

How has it come to this? One would have thought that with record dairy prices, a strong red meat outlook and a booming horticulture sector, those on the land would be happy. However, that is far from the case. . .

Farmers to protest at ‘ill thought out’ government policies :

A farmer group is planning a protest at what it describes as unworkable government regulations and interference in farmers’ lives.

Groundswell NZ is organising ‘A Howl of a Protest’ in 47 towns and cities on Friday.

Co-founder Laurie Paterson said the “ute tax” was the issue people pointed the finger at, but farmers were also unhappy with the bureaucratic approach to the national policy statement for fresh water management.

Paterson said he had been involved in a catchment group which helped clean up the the Pomahaka River in Otago. “Eight years ago that was the worst river in Otago for quality and now, because the local people have bought into it, set up their own catchment group, all the things are in the green. . . 

Hundreds expected to roll into Timaru and Oamaru in protest – Chris Tobin & Yashas Srinivasa:

Organisers of the South Canterbury part of a nationwide protest on Friday are unsure how many vehicles to expect, but based on the interest registered – it is expected to run into the hundreds.

The protest, organised by rural pressure group Groundswell NZ, is in response to the impact of Government rules and proposed regulations, including the new Clean Car Discount Scheme, which will levy penalties on high-emission utes from January 2022.

Those organising the South Canterbury protest have divided participants into five groups – which will then travel in convoy towards Caroline Bay.

Meeting points have been arranged at five locations in Timaru, Temuka and Washdyke, which means they will be travelling on State Highway 1 into Caroline Bay. . . 

‘Enough is enough’: Canterbury’s rural mayors lend support to rural protest – Nadine Porter:

Mayors, tradies and business owners are set to join farmers in their thousands in what could be the largest mass rural protest in New Zealand’s history.

With more than 1000 farmers indicating they would bring their tractors into Christchurch’s Cathedral Square on Friday, Banks Peninsula farmer Aaron Stark had to take action.

“It was getting too big for our liking.”

Stark has been co-ordinating the Christchurch “Howl of a Protest” on behalf of Groundswell NZ against increasing Government interference in people’s life and business, unworkable regulations and unjustified costs. . . 

Farmers gearing up to descend on New Plymouth for Taranaki’s ‘howl of protest’ – Brianna Mcilraith:

A man who’s been part of the rural community his entire life has organised Taranaki’s leg of a nationwide protest against a raft of new regulations seen as a threat to the country’s farming future.

“The ute tax is the straw that’s broke the camel’s back,” Kevin Moratti said of recently announced regulations making lower-carbon-emitting cars more affordable for New Zealanders, while putting a fee on higher-emission vehicles such as utes.

“We just need the whole community to realise what’s happening to us,” he said.

“I’ve had to calm so many people down. There’s a lot of feeling out there, enough is enough.” . . 

“Get the shingle out” say Ashburton’s flood-hit farmers – Adam Burns:

Get the shingle out of the river, then come back with more money.

This was the bottom line for the flood-wrecked farmers of Ashburton’s Greenstreet area at the first of three community meetings held this week.

The region’s flood protection infrastructure, and funding were some of the main topics covered off during the 90 minute session at the Greenstreet community hall in a meeting attended by nearly 80 people.

Environment Canterbury (ECan) rivers manager Leigh Griffiths told attendees that there remained “some risk with the river”.

One woman, who was facing more than a year out of her home due to flood damage, told speakers of how disappointed she was around how the river was going to be managed moving forward. . .

Evolving NZ Dairy industry sparks changes to dairy trainee category:

The New Zealand dairy industry is constantly evolving and with this in mind, exciting changes to the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards programme have been announced.

The age range for the Dairy Trainee category is now 18 years to 30 years with a maximum of three years’ experience from the age of 18, and the online entry form has been simplified.

Additional conditions for visa entrants have been removed with no minimum length of time in New Zealand required.

The modifications to the Dairy Trainee age range recognises that traditional pathways into the dairy industry have altered. . . 


Rural round-up

12/07/2021

Govt sends mixed signals on forest cap – Richard Rennie:

Putting a cap on exotic forest plantings is still an option on the table for the Government as it considers its response to the Climate Change Commission’s recommendations.

Last year in the lead up to the election, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor undertook to make resource consent a requirement for landowners seeking to convert over 50ha of higher-quality land into forestry.

The decision came amid mounting concern that greater areas of farmland were being lost to forestry, some to unharvested carbon forest plantings.

But Forestry Minister Stuart Nash signalled recently that the Government plans to back away from planting restrictions. . . 

Calls to diversify and integrate – Annette Scott:

New Zealand agriculture is missing the opportunity to diversify and integrate and come up with one good story.

Sectors are pushing their own barrows and not achieving maximum potential as an industry, Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) chief executive Alison Stewart says.

Speaking at the Primary Industries New Zealand Summit, Stewart urged collaboration.

“We do not work in a cohesive world; when are we actually going to agree to come together?” she asked. . . 

Caution urged for dog owners as lambing season approaches:

SPCA is urging dog owners, particularly those living near lifestyle blocks, to take extra care and keep track of their pets at all times, as early lambing season gets underway.

Every year sheep and lambs are injured or killed by roaming dogs in attacks that are not only traumatic for animals and people involved, but are often completely avoidable through responsible dog ownership.

With 175,000 lifestyle blocks nationwide and rural properties continuing to grow in popularity, SPCA Scientific Officer Dr Alison Vaughan says it’s important for dog owners – particularly those living in rural areas – to make sure their dog is secured and unable to roam. . . 

Emma Boase named emerging leader at Primary Industry Awards:

Horticulture New Zealand People Capability Manager Emma Boase was among a stellar line-up of primary industry excellence at last night’s 2021 Primary Industries New Zealand Awards in Christchurch.

Recognised as one of seven winners from a pool of 65 nominations, Emma took out the title of the Lincoln University Emerging Leaders Award for her efforts in attracting new talent into the horticulture sector.

The award is testament to Emma’s outstanding leadership and ongoing commitment to championing horticultural careers. . . 

Craig Muckle named Wheat Grower of the Year:

The champion wheat grower for 2021 is Craig Muckle.

Craig, who farms at Dorie in mid-Canterbury, was presented with the Champion Cup at the awards ceremony in Christchurch for winning the premium milling wheat award and also won the United Wheat Growers Bayer wheat grower of the year award with his wheat entry ‘Reliance’.

The judges said Craig’s entry’s quality specification was “bang on”. Craig was presented with the Champion Cup, by Garth Gilliam from Champion.

Craig was also the winner of the UWG Bayer wheat grower award. This award is to recognise excellence in the industry. . . 

Agronomist of the year award for what industry announced:

Kerry Thomas from Luisetti Seeds, was recognised as Agronomist of the Year in the United Wheat Growers Bayer Wheat Awards held in Christchurch on Wednesday 7 July.

The award was open to all industry professionals involved in seed and grain crop production.

The inaugural Agronomist of the Year Award, sponsored by the NZ Grain & Seed Trade Association, is designed to recognise an agronomist who has an endless knowledge of crop production and goes above and beyond to make sure the best possible crop is produced by growers said NZGSTA Grains & Pulses Chair Ed Luisetti. . . 

Sponsors sustain support for Dairy Industry Awards:

Planning for the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards (NZDIA) continues at pace with National sponsors continuing to back the programme.

The Awards programme allows entrants to connect, learn and grow as individuals across the board from Trainees and new entrants to the industry through to experienced Share Farmers.

NZDIA General Manager Robin Congdon is thrilled to confirm Meridian have renewed their sponsorship for the next three years along with a name change to the merit award. . . 


Rural round-up

18/05/2021

Broken election promise on carbon farming will hurt rural communities :

Federated Farmers has been checking the calendar – six months on from last year’s election and the government has broken an election promise to protect productive farmland.

Labour pledged if re-elected it would take less than six months to protect productive farmland from the rampant spread of large-scale exotic tree planting across the country.

“We were told they would revise the National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry to require forestry blocks intended to be larger than 50 hectares on elite soils, that means Land Use Capability Classes 1-5, to have to get a resource consent,” Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard says. . .

Award winners underline contribution of migrant workers – Feds:

Federated Farmers offers hearty congratulations to winners of its merit awards who went on to take national honours at the Dairy Industry Awards on Saturday.

Judges described Dairy Trainee of the Year Ruth Connolly, who won the Federated Farmers Farming Knowledge Award, as articulate, considered and concise; someone who “will lead by example and will bring people into the industry.”

2021 NZ Share Farmers of the Year Manoj Kumar and Sumit Kamboj, who also took out the Federated Farmers Leadership Award, had immersed themselves in their community and industry, promoting Primary ITO courses to everyone and even offering up one of their buildings to ensure the training takes place.

“In this pandemic era, as we debate at national level the role of migrant workers and border security, the success and contribution to our primary industries of these newcomers to our shores is sometimes overlooked,” Feds President Andrew Hoggard said. . . 

Inquiry into the future of the workforce needs in the primary industries of New Zealand:

Parliament’s Primary Production Committee has initiated a select committee inquiry into the future of the workforce needs in the primary industries of New Zealand.

The aim of the inquiry is to look into issues about the future of the workforce needs in the growing food and fibre industries, and what that they will look like in the short, medium and long term future, as we continue to innovate and develop new technologies.

In the 52nd Parliament, the committee opened a briefing about vocational training in agriculture. The issues raised during the briefing will feed into the broader inquiry. . . 

 

Young Māori farmer award winner’s Covid-19 career change

A Whakatāne man forced to head back to New Zealand as the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded has found a new career, and scooped a Young Māori Farmer Award.

Quinn Morgan, who is working his first season on a dairy farm was awarded this years Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award at a gala dinner in New Plymouth on Friday.

The award was set up in 2012 and is designed to recognise up and coming young Māori in the sheep beef, horticulture and dairy sectors.

The 26-year-old said it was unreal to receive the award. . . 

Jeff Bolstad Receives Inaugural Lifetime Contribution Award For Dedication To NZDIA:

A rural sector stalwart and mentor to many has been recognised for his contribution to the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards programme.

Jeff Bolstad, a Morrinsville farmer, was presented with a Lifetime Contribution Award by the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Trust Chair Natasha Tere, in recognition for his long service and contribution to the Dairy Industry Awards and wider agriculture sector.

“This is the first time this Award has been presented. It’s a prestigious honour that is awarded to an individual that has provided exceptional service to the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.”

“We have chosen Jeff as he has been a bonding strength behind our organisation. He is a quiet achiever who has guided and mentored many entrants over the years,” says Natasha. . . 

Farm surplus egg scheme provides food for struggling families :

A Cornish free range egg producer has explained how the adversity of the pandemic led to the creation of a scheme to provide hungry families with eggs.

A surplus of eggs had led St Ewe Free Range Egg to create a temporary scheme to provide food to struggling food banks in the South West of England.

CEO Rebecca Tonks has explained how this had developed into ongoing support for families who are finding it difficult to feeds themselves. . .


Rural round-up

15/05/2021

Why are we making life harder for farmers? – Mike Hosking:

The Fonterra capital changes announced last week have a story behind them.

It’s a complex business, and Andrew Kelleher explained them very well to us Friday, look it up if you missed it.

This is important because the farmer is gold to this country, Fonterra is our biggest business, and dairy and agriculture are saving us, given the other big game in town is closed.

Now, as Andrew put it, Fonterra have come to the conclusion they have reached peak milk. That doesn’t mean the world is over milk and dairy, because it isn’t. As the world grows, the middle class want good food, and that’s what we do.

So, Fonterra’s move means producing things in this country is getting harder. Between the rules and attitude of the government, making stuff is an uphill battle. . . 

The big dry: Drought hits farmers hard as winter looms – Kurt Bayer:

Up the brown hill where his grandfather lies, Stu Fraser’s epic view tells two stark tales.

Down on the flat of Amuri basin, the local irrigation scheme flaunts its lush rewards: emerald swathes of dairy land, crisscrossing the scenic North Canterbury landscape.

And down by the meandering Hurunui River, Fraser has some green strips too.

But up here on the steep hill country and rolling downs, where 5600 ewes scratch around and trot hopefully behind the red ATV, it’s a different story. . . 

Photographs spur journey from Argentina to Mid Canterbury farm – Toni Williams:

Maria Alvarez was drawn to New Zealand by photographs of a friend’s working holiday.

Those photographs started her on a journey from Argentina to working in the New Zealand dairy industry.

She arrived in New Zealand in 2013 and spent the first few years getting settled in.

“Everyday I get to see a sunrise. It’s beautiful,” she said last week from her home in Mid Canterbury. . . 

Sri Lankan dairy workers move up – Toni Williams:

Dairy farmers Dinuka and Nadeeka Gamage are living the dream.

They are passionate share farmers on a 245ha Dairy Holdings farm at Ealing, milking 980 cows, and are finalists in the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, Share Farmer of the Year category.

They won the final of the Canterbury-North Otago region and will find out this weekend how they fared. The national finals are in Hamilton on Saturday.

Dinuka and Nadeeka love being their own bosses and working with animals in the outside environment. . . 

Collaboration key to meat assurance programmes – Colin Williscroft:

New Zealand sheep and beef farmers may be behind Ireland in their ability to measure farm-level carbon footprints but that is set to change, Beef + Lamb NZ general manager market development Nick Beeby says.

Beeby was responding to comments by Lincoln University agribusiness senior lecturer Dr Nic Lees who spent three months in Ireland looking at the Irish Origin Green programme, which claims to be the world’s first national level, third-party verified sustainability programme and brand for agriculture.

As part of the programme, farm-level carbon footprints and other sustainability measures have been available to Irish farmers since 2011.

Lees says in contrast, NZ is only beginning to implement a comprehensive farm-level carbon footprint measurement system. . . 

Safer farm equipment creates happy vets:

All good livestock farmers know the value of having a good relationships with their vets. And while vets expect to be on call to help with birthing issues, give vaccinations, or check any number of health concerns of farmers’ animals, a breach of safety could lead to vets fearing accepting such calls when they come in. Farmers should be aware, then, that if vets do not feel safe when administering their services, chances are, the farmers themselves may suffer in the long run as a result of high vet turnover or even possibly being sued for negligence.

It is imperative, therefore, to ensure the safety of all vets, along with all other farm workers, who attend to livestock. By ensuring high overall safety standards on farms, farmers are more likely to build robust relationships with those responsible for their animals’ wellbeing. Good relationships, in turn, could ensure higher profits due to trading in healthy stock, lower employee turnover, and the peace of mind that everyone on the farm – both people and animals – is happy and healthy. . . 


Rural round-up

31/03/2021

500 migrant staff needed to fill labour shortage – Gerald Piddock:

Federated Farmers and DairyNZ are requesting the Government allow 500 migrant dairy staff into New Zealand to avoid a worker shortage in the new milking season.

These staff would fill positions in the mid to high skilled employment category that New Zealanders new to the sector or in lower skilled dairy assistant roles would be unsuitable for in time for the 2021-22 season, Federated Farmers employment spokesperson Chris Lewis says.

The request comes after the two organisations commissioned a survey in March to gain a better understanding of the staffing issues facing dairy employers.

That survey drew 1150 responses in just one week. . . 

Money versus morals – Robert Carter:

The continued conversion of hill country farmland to forestry is a trend concerning Robert Carter.

The 50 Shades of Green has led a good informative campaign about the spread of pines onto good hill country farmland, however I too feel compelled to say something before I become relegated to the state of a ‘quaint curiosity’ folks will pay to visit to see how things used to be in the good old days.

I’m referring to the steady and seemingly unstoppable conversion of our hill country breeding farms to hectares of pine trees for carbon sequestration purposes.

Just recently another couple of local farms succumbed.

The carbon investors, buoyed by our government policy, which encourages conversion in this market, are buying properties as they come up for sale. . .

Guardians of the land – Fiona Terry:

Innovating to advance is something that runs in the blood of those at Caythorpe Family Estate in Marlborough. Fiona Terry spoke to the Bishell brothers managing the business they hope will thrive for many generations to come.

As fifth-generation guardians of the land first purchased by UK immigrant David Bishell, Simon and Scott Bishell are continuing a long-standing tradition of diversification and trend-bucking to future-proof.

Their great, great grandfather was a farm labourer who arrived in Nelson in 1876, with his wife Mary and three children. He leased some land to grow pumpkins, and following a successful crop, purchased 50ha west of Blenheim township in 1880.

Within two years, and despite the hard mahi converting the flax-covered swamp land into a productive area, he became the first farmer in the country to grow red clover as a seed crop, commissioning the build of an innovative thresher to harvest. . . 

Product check: how to find the good oil – Jacqueline Rowarth:

As the tsunami of mail arrives in the inbox, through rural delivery or the internet, there can be some confusion in sorting whether the products and suggestions will be useful or not. Are the fliers marketing or science? How do you know whether adoption will be positive – or whether not taking up the offer will mean you drop behind?

For people swimming in a flood of information and trying to find the good oil, consider asking the following questions:

Is there a time limit or quantity limit on the offer? Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) induces rash behaviour. The Auckland housing market makes the point…

What problem is the new thing solving? Do you actually have that problem? I was offered a product that would improve animal health on the farm. I replied that the farm owner is a vet. I was then told that the product would improve soil health. I replied that I am a soil scientist. At that point I was told that it would do other things as well…

Triple Whammy for 2021 Taranaki Dairy Industry Awards:

The 2021 Taranaki Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year is no stranger to the programme, having won both the Farm Manager and Dairy Trainee categories in different regions previously.

John Wyatt won the 2009 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Trainee of the Year category and was named the 2015 Manawatu Farm Manager of the Year.

On Saturday night, he completed the category trifecta by winning the 2021 Taranaki Share Farmer of the Year.

The region’s annual awards dinner was held at the TSB Hub in Hawera with Diego Raul Gomez Salinas named the 2021 Taranaki Dairy Manager of the Year and Sydney Porter the 2021 Taranaki Dairy Trainee of the Year. . . 

Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Awards winners announced:

The 2021 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year winners believe a good team with a can-do attitude is vital to the success of their business.

Manoj Kumar and Sumit Kamboj were named the 2021 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Share Farmers of the Year at the region’s annual awards last night in Masterton. Other major winners were Leon McDonald, the 2021 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Manager of the Year, and Tony Craig, the 2021 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Trainee of the Year.

The brothers are 50/50 sharemilkers on Andrew and Monika Arbuthnott, Geoff Arends and Ester Romp’s 285ha, 460-cow Eketahuna property. They won $7,882 in prizes and four merit awards.

Both Manoj and Sumit have entered the Awards previously, with Sumit placing third in the 2018 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Manager category. . . 


Rural round-up

29/03/2021

 Reduced foreign Labour in New Zealand fields failed experiment – Kate MacNamara:

It’s time to call New Zealand’s experiment in reduced foreign labour this harvest season a failure.

One of the country’s largest berry farmers has abandoned growing after a season of chronic labour shortage. Apple growers say they’re so shorthanded that exports will drop some 14 per cent this year, a loss of $95-$100 million. The grape harvest has come off with the help of more machinery, a tradeoff that’s likely to result in less premium wine. And growers estimate they’re still 1400 hires shy of the 4000 workers needed for grape cane pruning in Marlborough next month, the country’s most valuable wine region.

Perhaps the Government’s original idea sounded good in theory: redeploy the rump of seasonal foreign workers who remained stranded in New Zealand from the previous season, update working conditions for the few remaining backpackers, and make up the rest of the workforce from local Kiwis.

But if you add a few numbers, that calculation was always heroic. The need for seasonal hands through New Zealand’s harvest and pruning work approaches 40,000 in the peak summer and early autumn months. Before Covid, Immigration NZ anticipated that 14,500 Pacific workers under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme and some 50,000 backpackers with working holiday visas would help to make up the labour force. But New Zealand’s closed border changed that. . . 

Orchard work shortage bites – Jared Morgan:

Some workers sent to Central Otago’s orchards and vineyards are not up to standard and the lack of seasonal workers from the Pacific is beginning to bite, an industry leader says.

Continuing labour shortages across both sectors have affected planning for key phases in production cycles such as picking and pruning.

This has led to calls for the Government to open quarantine-free travel bubbles to allow seasonal workers from Covid-free countries to plug labour gaps before it is too late, if not for this season then the next.

Pipfruit industry pioneer Con van der Voort, who operates a major packing facility in Ettrick, said the “come and go” nature of this season’s workforce was affecting orchardists not just in Central Otago but nationally. . . 

NZ’s potato chip industry threatened by cheap European imports – Sally Blundell:

The impact of Covid-19 on the potato chip industry in the Northern Hemisphere is putting locally grown and processed hot potato chips at the local chippie under threat.

The problem is that quiet streets and empty bars in Covid-ridden Europe have resulted in an estimated 1.7 million tonne surplus of raw potato material.

“People can’t go out, have a beer and buy some chips,” Potatoes NZ chief executive Chris Claridge told Frank Film in a recent interview. “That means there’s a big lump of frozen fries that’s got to go somewhere. Our economy’s working, they are sending it here – it is as simple as that.”

Claridge is looking for government action to protect New Zealand potato farmers from the influx of frozen fries grown and processed in Europe undercutting their locally grown equivalent. . . 

‘Milking cows is the easy part now’ – Sally Rae:

South Otago dairy farmers Scott and Ann Henderson were last week crowned Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year winners. They talk to Sally Rae about a career they say is not just about milking cows. 

She was from a sheep and beef farm in Scotland, he was a qualified carpenter from Balclutha.

Scott and Ann Henderson might not have grown up in the dairy farming industry, but the pair have made their mark on the sector, winning the 2021 Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year title.

Industry recognition was not new for Mrs Henderson, who won the dairy manager of the year in the Southland-Otago awards in 2017, having finished runner-up the year before. . . 

Happy to be farming hops – Country Life:

Harvesting is the busiest time of the year for Holmdale Farm’s Cameron Ealam and his extended family.

They work from dawn to dusk picking, cleaning and drying several varieties of aromatic hop cones that grow on long leafy hop vines.

“The machine starts at seven each morning. We’re doing 12-hour days picking at the moment. The drying kiln will run through the night as well, so big days but (it’s) a short window to get a valuable crop in,” Cameron says.

On the floor behind the kilns are large piles of Motueka and Riwaka hop cones, waiting to be pressed and baled. . . 

Call for long-time enemies cotton and wool to join forces to push enviro credentials – Chris McLennan:

Long-time market enemies, the wool and cotton industries are looking to join forces globally to take on synthetic fibres.

Wool and cotton believe they both have the same eco-friendly credentials to challenge for better environmental ratings in Europe.

They want to form an alliance to champion the benefits of natural fibres as offering many solutions to the world’s current environmental challenges.

A wool industry leader entered uncharted waters when invited to speak to an international cotton conference in Bremen last week. . . 


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