Ballance Farm Environment Awards entries open

August 1, 2019

Entries for Ballance Farm Environment Awards opened today.

Farmers and growers in 11 regions throughout New Zealand have an exciting opportunity to be part of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards (“BFEA”) with entries opening today.

The BFEA are managed by the charitable New Zealand Farm Environment Trust and promote sustainable farming and growing. The programme is supported by a range of leading agribusinesses and regional councils throughout the country.

Through the Awards programme, farmers and growers are invited to showcase, benchmark, and improve their operations through a constructive process where agribusiness professionals provide feedback, recommendations, and commendations. 

The judges take a holistic approach to the feedback and award allocation process by evaluating every aspect of the farming/growing business from environmental management, productivity, and profitability through to family and community involvement.

This year, in a first for the BFEA, farmers and growers can be nominated to enter the Awards, provided they give their consent.

New Zealand Farm Environment Trust Chair Joanne van Polanen says: “We are proud and privileged to lead an Awards programme that recognises, encourages and incentivises sustainable farming and growing in New Zealand.

“The Ballance Farm Environment Awards are a way for farmers and growers to receive free and independent advice from rural professionals to help them improve the sustainability of their business. It is also a way of sharing positive stories, ideas, and resources with a wider audience.   

“We already have some of the most efficient farmers in the world. Unlike many of our competitors, farmers are investing in environmental improvements without substantial government subsidies as is the case in many other countries. Imagine the possibilities as more farmers and growers commit to producing food and fibre sustainably for the world’s most discerning customers.”

To enter, visit www.nzfeatrust.org.nz from Thursday 1 August 2019. Entries are open until Thursday 31 October 2019. Comprehensive information about the process can also be found on the website.

These  awards are a showcase for New Zealand best farmers and their sustainable – in environmental, economic and social terms – businesses.


Rural round-up

November 21, 2017

Wool gains ‘dream come true’ – Sally Rae:

Watching the volume of wool growing for Lanaco’s healthcare products and seeing lambs being born from specifically bred genetics is a ‘‘dream come true’’ for Nick Davenport.

Mr Davenport is chief executive and founder of the Auckland-based company, previously known as Texus  Fibre, which specialises in fibre innovation and developing functional materials derived from wool.

Wool from sheep developed by Wanaka man Andy Ramsden, from the Dohne, Cheviot and Finn breeds, and trademarked as the Astino breed, is used in healthcare products. . . 

Family’s top two places a show first – Sally Rae:

‘‘Not a bad show’’ is how Will Gibson dryly describes his family’s record-setting feats at last week’s Canterbury A&P Show in Christchurch.The Gibson family, from Middlemarch, won the prestigious Senior Meat and Wool Cup with their yearling supreme champion Hereford bull and were runners-up with their 2-year-old Santa Gertrudis cow with calf at foot.

It was the first time in the show’s history the same exhibitor has won the top two placings and it was well-deserved recognition for a family who work hard, are passionate about their livestock and also about exhibiting at A&P shows.

The yearling bull Foulden Hill Mustang was unbeaten in his classes over the two days, both in the Hereford and all-breeds classes, and he also won the Junior Meat and Wool Cup. . . 

Alternative proteins – on the verge of  mainstream:

Alternative proteins are on the verge of becoming mainstream and ‘stealing’ growth from traditional meat products as they play a growing role in meeting consumer needs and preferences, according to a recently-released global research paper.

The report, Watch out…or they will steal your growth by agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank, examines why alternative proteins – including plant-based meat substitutes, emerging insect or algae-based products and lab-grown meat products – are starting to successfully compete for the “centre of the plate”.

Report author, Rabobank global sector strategist for Animal Protein Justin Sherrard, says it is the ‘growth’ – rather than the current market size – of alternative proteins that is of greatest significance. . . 

Predator Free farm award:

Farmers will be recognised for their part in the nationwide movement of Predator Free New Zealand when a new Predator Free Farm Award will be presented next year as part of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Sponsored by Predator Free NZ Trust and the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, the new award will acknowledge the efforts of farmers who have put in place systems to effectively manage and monitor predators including possums, rats, feral cats, ferrets, weasels and stoats.

The award will be given to farmers who have been successful in controlling predators and are likely to have wider native biodiversity and habitat enhancement programmes in place.

Chair of Predator Free NZ Trust, Sir Rob Fenwick, said “farmers manage a significant proportion of the New Zealand landscape so they are vital in the drive to make New Zealand predator free.” . . 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand extends its support of B+LNZ Genetics:

After four years of operation and a series of successful milestones, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has extended its support of wholly-owned subsidiary B+LNZ Genetics beyond its initial five-year funding programme.

B+LNZ Genetics was established in 2013 to consolidate farmer investment in New Zealand’s sheep and beef genetics research and innovation into a single entity. Its programme was forecast to generate $742m of benefits over 10 years, but that figure has since been reviewed upwards, to $947m, or $7,890 per annum per sheep and beef farm. With rising costs this helps keep farmers competitive. . . 

Butter at record $5.67 a block :

Rising dairy prices have pushed food prices up 2.7 percent in the year to October 2017, Stats NZ said today. This followed a 3.0 percent increase in the year to September 2017.

Butter prices led the way again – up 62 percent from the same time last year. Milk and cheese prices also increased (up 7.5 and 12 percent respectively) and had large contributions to the increase in food prices seen in the year to October 2017.

“Dairy products are very widely used inputs in a number of food items,” consumers price index manager Matthew Haigh said. “The effects of price rises flow on to products such as takeaway biscuits, buns, cakes and coffee, and eating out for lunch and dinner, all of which saw increases in the year to October 2017.” . . 

Global Dairy Platform announces new chairman:

Global Dairy Platform (GDP) has appointed Fonterra Chief Executive Officer, Theo Spierings, as GDP chairman, effective November 16, 2017.

Mr. Spierings says he is pleased to be taking on the role and playing a part in maximizing the contribution dairy can make to the world.

“More than ever, people are turning to dairy for nutritional security and sustainable food and every day we see the good that dairy can do. . . 

 


Rural round-up

June 7, 2015

Fed Farmers appeals GMO decision:

Federated Farmers has lodged an appeal with the High Court over a decision allowing Northland Regional Council to regulate the use of genetically modified organisms in the region.

The farming lobby group had previously appealed to the Environment Court over the matter. Last month the court ruled the council had jurisdiction under the Resource Management Act to decide whether GMOs can be used.

The council would do this though regional policy statements and plans.

Federated Farmers’ president William Rolleston was seeking clarification on some points of the decision but would not discuss details because it was before the court. . .

Winners of 2015 Green Ribbon Awards announced:

Project Janszoon has named as the recipient of the Supreme Award at this year’s Green Ribbon Awards, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry announced at the ceremony held at Parliament tonight.

“Project Janszoon has carried out an impressive job restoring and protecting one of New Zealand’s greatest natural assets: the Abel Tasman National Park. Project initiatives include extensive pest and weed control, the return of important plants and animals like rata and kaka and future proofing the project through education and community engagement,” Dr Smith says. . .

 

Maize growers nervous – John Hodge:

Although I’m an optimist I am becoming more aware that maize growers are exceptionally nervous about the future of the industry in New Zealand.

I see problems arising in the future for us and optimist or not I have to admit things are not looking rosy. Having farmed my way through ups and downs for the past 60 years, my optimism has always got me through. So my advice to other growers is to do the same because when we can hope things will come right it makes it bearable.

The drop in payout to dairy farmers has had an immediate effect on their demand for both maize silage and maize grain, which combined with the drought conditions over the last three years, has been hard going. With dairy farmers looking for cheaper options to feed their herds, it’s fair enough that maize farmers are feeling nervous. . .

Continued pressure on wool:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s Marketing Executive, Mr Paul Steel reports that the weakening New Zealand dollar coupled with exporter pressure to meet shipping requirements and limited supply continues to underpin the market.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies came down 2.14 percent compared to the last sale on 28th May.

Of the 6,876 bales on offer, 94 percent sold. . .

 NZ lamb wool price rises to record amid strong demand, limited supply – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand lamb wool prices jumped to a record high amid strong demand from exporters and limited supplies.

Lamb wool climbed to $7.45 per kilogram at yesterday’s South Island auction, from $7/kg at last week’s North Island auction, the highest price that AgriHQ has recorded since it began collecting wool prices in July 2005. The price for clean 35-micron wool, a benchmark for crossbred wool used for carpets and accounting for the majority of New Zealand’s production, held at $6.20/kg for a third week, its highest level since November 2013 and 17 percent above year earlier levels. . .

 Canterbury Seed consolidates cereals partnership with KWS:

Canterbury Seed and cereal breeder KWS UK continue to cement their long standing partnership as the number of New Zealand growers recognising the distinct benefits of the KWS cereal varieties increases.

The relationship now extends to new cereal varieties being evaluated in New Zealand under local conditions at the same time as the varieties being entered into the UK official trials. This is crucial given not all UK varieties will perform in New Zealand and allows for evaluation before moving forward into the local trial system.

During the 2014 – 2015 seasons, Canterbury Seed evaluated five new wheat varieties and seven new barleys – two wheat and one barley variety progressed to New Zealand trials. . .

 

Wellington Gets Set For Big Farm Environment Celebration:

This year its Wellington’s turn to host New Zealand Farm Environment Trust’s annual Sustainability Showcase – a premier event on the national farming calendar.

To be held on June 24 in Parliament’s Banquet Hall, the Showcase honours Supreme winners of the 2015 Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) and culminates with the naming of the National Winner and the presentation of the esteemed Gordon Stephenson trophy.

New Zealand Farm Environment Trust general manager David Natzke says having the event in Wellington provides the rural community with a chance to celebrate its successes in front of an audience that includes some of the nation’s top decision-makers.

 


Rural round-up

May 3, 2015

Westland Milk building $40m plant in Canterbury –

The West Coast’s dairy co-operative is ramping up its Canterbury presence by building a $40 million plant to make long life milk at Rolleston.

Westland Milk Products has begun building the plant in its first venture into retail-ready liquid milk at the Izone industrial park. The long life product known as UHT milk for its ultra high temperature processing usually has a shelf life of six to nine months and is usually used in hot climates.

Commercial production is scheduled to begin early next year and the plant will be capable of packing more than 50 million litres of UHT milk and cream a year. The product will mainly be sold into China’s UHT market, where returns are high and growth prospects are strong. . .

Farmers borrow $60m for environment projects –  Tim Cronshaw:

Farmers are borrowing big money for environmental projects on their farms with one bank alone lending more than $60 million.

The loans are on top of farmers funding waterway fencing and other projects from farm cashflows and savings.

ASB bank has provided low interest loans for more than 500 farm projects through its Rural Environmental Compliance Loan so farmers can fence, plant trees and put in culverts to keep stock away from streams and do other projects such as meeting their environmental compliance obligations by upgrading or building new effluent ponds.

Farmers have taken out an average loan of $105,000 with the bank. . .

Top Farmers Recognised in This Year’s Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

The 2015 Ballance Farm Environment Awards have produced another exceptional line-up of Supreme winners.

Award ceremonies in the ten regions participating in the annual competition have been completed and Supreme Winners from each region will now contest the highly-prized National Winner title.

Simon Saunders, chairman of the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust (NZFE), says the calibre of entrants in this year’s competition was again very high, making it tough for judges to select the finalists let alone the Supreme Winners. . .

New Zealand Merino and Landcorp fashion new market for ‘carpet’ wool:

New Zealand strong wool, renowned for its use in carpets, is set to become world famous for a new use – on people’s feet.

Danish footwear firm Glerups has signed a two-year deal with The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) and New Zealand’s largest farming company, Landcorp to exclusively supply New Zealand strong wool for its indoor shoe range.

The “addictive” indoor shoes, renowned for comfort, warmth and durability, are felted in 100% pure natural wool with soft leather soles. They are sold throughout Denmark and in more than 20 countries, including New Zealand (www.glerups.co.nz). . .

HortNZ taking water concerns to govt:

The national horticulture industry body is taking its concerns about an Environment Court ruling on water quality to the Government as it can not afford to go through legal channels, it says.

Horticulture New Zealand is concerned about the court’s decision to uphold an appeal from Ngati Kahungunu, in Hawke’s Bay, against proposed changes to water quality provisions in the regional plan there.

HortNZ natural resources manager Chris Keenan said the court’s interpretation effectively meant the quality of every single water body must be managed in a way which ensured it was maintained or enhanced.

However, that was unworkable because it could be used to challenge any land development for any purpose. . .

Meat giant playing catch-up on antibiotics:

Plans by a major meat producer to stop using human antibiotics in its chickens means it will be playing catch-up with New Zealand, this country’s industry says.

US-based multinational Tyson Foods – one of the world’s largest meat producers – has announced it will stop using human antibiotics in its US chicken flocks raised for meat.

The company’s chief executive Donnie Smith said the company wanted to take similar steps overseas and in other farming operations.

“We’ve also started talking to independent farmers who supply us with cattle and hogs and turkeys about working towards reducing the use of human antibiotics on those farms as well.” . . .

Gold Kiwifruit Exports to Australia up; Green Consistent – Industry to launch its first marketing campaign in Australia:

The export of New Zealand kiwifruit to Australia has begun and is showing signs of the recovery of GOLD Kiwifruit from Psa.

A hot, dry New Zealand summer will see increased volumes of GOLD exported to Australia, however the volume of GREEN New Zealand kiwifruit is forecast to be similar or lower than last year. 2014 saw 285,000 cartons of GOLD exported to Australia and just over 1.35 million cartons of GREEN.

Tony Ponder, the chairperson of New Zealand’s Kiwifruit Product Group (KPG), the body representing kiwifruit exporters to Australia, says production from New Zealand continues to increase, in line with world-wide demand for New Zealand kiwifruit which has lifted significantly over the last three years. . .

NZ Marine Industry Training Organisation undergoes name change:

Reflecting the developing nature of the New Zealand marine industry, the New Zealand Marine Industry Training Organisation has changed its trading name to the New Zealand Marine and Composites Industry Training Organisation.

At the New Zealand Marine Industry Association AGM in March, members decided that a change in the industry training organisation’s name was the best way to reflect its diversified purpose, Since 2007, the ITO has trained skilled members not only for the marine sector, but the composites sector also. . .

 


Rural round-up

June 28, 2014

Sustainable farming title goes to Canterbury  – Tim Cronshaw:

Canterbury farmers have made it two years in a row after Mark and Devon Slee were named the national winners of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards in Christchurch last night.

The Gordon Stephenson trophy, farming’s top environmental and sustainable silverware, was handed to the couple by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

The Slees topped a field of 10 regional winners in the competition run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust (NZFE).

Their business, Melrose Dairy, is based on a property portfolio of 1014 hectares in the Ealing district, south of Ashburton. . .

Farming balancing act – Stephen Bell and Bryan Gibson:

The final decision on Ruataniwha Dam represents the way of the future for farming and the environment, which will be balancing competing needs, Massey University ecology Associate Professor Dr Russell Death says.

Farming and environmental groups have cautiously welcomed the Environmental Protection Authority board of inquiry’s ruling on conditions for the $265 million dam in Central Hawke’s Bay.

However, while irrigators said commonsense had prevailed, one environment group said the decision meant the scheme’s viability was questionable.

“I guess to a certain extent both parties are right,” Death said. . .

Dam may be feasible after all – Marty Sharpe:

The correction of a relatively simple but hugely significant error in the 1000-page draft decision of the board of inquiry into the Ruataniwha dam proposal means the project may now be viable.

The board’s final decision on the dam and associated plan change was published yesterday, and corrected an “unintended consequence” in the draft decision, which inflamed farmers, farming organisations and the applicants – the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and its investment arm.

The draft decision held all farmers in the Tukituki catchment responsible for keeping the level of dissolved nitrogen in the river at 0.8 milligrams per litre of water. . .

 

Wanted: young farm workers for the future –  Gerard Hutching:

Need a sharemilker? How about employing a foreigner? Or perhaps a young New Zealander?

At the same time as the agricultural sector needs a big boost in the workforce, it has become harder to entice young people on to farms.

But it is not just a question of working on farms. The primary sector is facing a significant shortfall in skilled staff across the board, as the Government attempts to meet the ambitious target of doubling exports by 2025.

Within the primary sector, according to the Ministry for Primary Industries’ report People Powered, support services is the area of most acute need, followed by horticulture, forestry, the arable industry, dairy and seafood. Only the red meat and wool sector envisages a fall in workers by 5100. . .

Farming app replaces notebooks, calculators: – Anne Boswell:

A barrage of questions from his knowledge-hungry sons led dairy farmer Jason Jones to develop a livestock management application that removes the need for notebooks and calculators.

Handy Farmer, a highly-customisable app for iPhone and Android, was launched earlier this year, eight years after the idea was born.

Jones, a variable order sharemilker of 470 cows on 140ha effective near Otorohanga, said his sons started asking him “all sorts of questions” as they were learning the ropes of the dairy industry. . .

 

Online fruit and vege sales boom – Hugh Stringleman:

Online buying of fruit and vegetables is growing quickly and customers are more discerning and are prepared to pay more, the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Connections conference in Auckland has been told.

Four speakers gave perspectives from supermarket chains to fruit-and-vegetable stores.

New Zealander Shane Bourk, vice-president fresh food for Wal-Mart in China, said e-commerce was huge in China, although fresh fruit and vegetables lagged. . .


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