Rural round-up

10/07/2020

No place for gender bias in farming – Milne – Sudesh Kissun:

Former Federated Farmers president Katie Milne says having women in the farmer lobby leadership team is a reminder that NZ ag is about couples working together.

Milne, the first woman president of Feds, stepped down last month after serving her three-year term.

In her final speech at the Feds’ annual meeting, Milne said men and women bring their own perspectives and strengths to farming, neither being more important than the other.

“It’s useful to remind the rest of the country by having men and women – all working farmers – speaking for the organisation that those old newsreels of men out on the land on machinery and women confined to baking scones for the shearers is pre-war history, and even then it was a stereotype rather than the truth,” she said. . .

Election forestry Policy unnecessary:

Right now, we are in a Covid-19 recovery phase and an election year. Farmers feel good about keeping the economy going, but are challenged by climate change, freshwater regulations and afforestation. Some press releases strongly defend pastoral farming against encroaching forests, as if we are fighting over land use. We’re not. What both the farming and forestry sectors are doing is searching for the best way forward, post-covid, in terms of investing and adapting. What neither sector needs are knee-jerk regulations that distract from finding real solutions of mutual benefit. A diverse range of viewpoints is good for innovation, so let’s encourage it. The NZ Farm Forestry Association suggests we should avoid the myths, maintain perspective and share some new ideas.

The long-term perspective is that land use change has and should occur in response to developing markets and scientific guidance. . . 

Dairy prices lift the gloom for farmers but their future meanwhile is being plotted by Beehive planners with a vision:

Fonterra’s  boss  might have been  ultra-cautious   but  out on  the country’s dairy farms there  was a  subdued  cheer  at the  news  that the wholemilk powder price had leapt  14%  at  the  latest  GDT  auction..

The  GDT  index  rose  8.3%,  the biggest  rise   since  November  2016,  and the fourth   successive gain.   Fonterra’s  CEO   Miles  Hurrell  says  it’s  “really  surprising—no-one  saw a number of  this  magnitude”.

It dispels  some of the   gloom generated  by the  Covid-19 pandemic.  And it generates  the  hope  that  Fonterra pitched  its  forecast  for  the season too  low,  in  the  broad range  from $5.40kg/MS  to $US6.90.

Hurrell  suggested   suppliers    should not  get “too excited” by the WMP  result. Fonterra had put out excess product for immediate shipment, which resulted in “a bit of a flurry in that first event” .. . .

Farmers, foresters and fishing folk rejoice – the govt is fixing your wellbeing to a 10-year plan (and film-makers have not been forsaken) – Point of Order:

Latest from the Beehive

The government’s economic engineers were hard at work yesterday.  One minister was set on establishing a base for film production in Christchurch while – much more critically for the wellbeing of the nation – a cluster of others led by the PM were unveiling their grand design for reshaping the primary sector.  If they get it wrong (and we should never be sure politicians will get this sort of thing right), our economy will be dealt a greater mischief than ever was done by a pandemic.

Environment Minister David Parker was busy in the planning business, too, announcing appointments to the newly established Freshwater Planning Process and the Expert Consenting Panels for fast-track consenting.

Wearning his Attorney-General hat he also announced a new Judge of the High Court.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway, meanwhile, was announcing immediate short-term changes to visa settings to support temporary migrants already onshore in New Zealand and their employers, while ensuring New Zealanders needing work are prioritised. . . 

Accelerating our economic potential: – Primary Land Users’ Group:

The Government plans to increase primary sector export earnings by $44 billion over the next decade with a goal of getting 10,000 more New Zealanders working in the sector over the next four years.

Prime Minister Ardern said the sector, which has proven essential for New Zealand during the Covid-19 pandemic, will be vital to New Zealand’s economic recovery.

HOW?

The plan sets a target of lifting primary sector export earnings to $10b a year by 2030 which would bring in a cumulative $44b more in earnings in a decade. If successful, the plan would almost double the current value of the primary sector. . .

Sustainability stars pick up awards :

Ten kiwi dairy farmers who have shown exceptional care for the environment have been recognised with a DairyNZ sustainability and stewardship award.

The award was part of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards. 

“The dairy sector has made a commitment under the Dairy Tomorrow strategy to protect and nurture the environment for future generations,” says Dr David Burger, DairyNZ strategy and investment leader – responsible dairy.  . . 

How will we recover from social isolation? – Stephen Burns:

Our species has been put on notice: the natural world will no longer tolerate the abuse it has taken for centuries and only exaggerated by recent avarice.

A minute organism, unable to be seen except through a microscope has brought the world as we have enjoyed to a grinding halt.

Invisible to a naked eye yet more powerful than any despotic politician, more devastating than the Global Financial Crisis and more destructive than a nuclear war head, COVID-19 has the power to threaten our continued existence. . .


Rural round-up

05/09/2019

Time for a grownup conversation about gene-editing – David Hughes:

 In the late 1990s public scepticism cast genetic modification as “The answer to the question no-one was asking”. Today, the new technology of gene editing is emerging as a real option in facing some of our world’s biggest challenges in food production, medicine, conservation and climate change.

The Institute I lead, Plant & Food Research, has committed our science to helping New Zealand’s agri-food sector deliver the best quality foods from the world’s most sustainable production systems. We believe gene editing can help us meet that commitment. 

Today, Plant & Food Research breeds only 100 per cent GM-free fruit, vegetables and grains. We have never developed GM foods for commercial use and industry does not fund us to do so. Yet our discovery-focused teams routinely use gene technologies to further our knowledge. 

They’ve learned that gene editing can help us achieve our traditional breeding targets around sustainability and nutrition much faster. That means consumers get more healthy whole foods sooner.  . . 

Trees debate ratchets up – Colin Williscroft:

Large swathes of agricultural land need not be planted in trees for New Zealand to meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets, NZ’s largest carbon farmer says.

In presenting NZ Carbon Farming’s submission to the Environment Select Committee on the Zero Carbon Bill, company founder and managing director Matt Walsh was questioned by MPs who said they had been told by officials that 30% of NZ’s agricultural land will need to be planted in trees to meet the Bill’s carbon dioxide emissions target of zero by 2050.

Walsh said he has heard the 30% figure before and is puzzled where it came from. He does not believe it is correct.

NZ Carbon Farming has asked officials how they got the number but has not had a definitive answer. . . 

Shear happiness for young women – Yvonne O’Hara:

”Shearing is an art.”

So says Ariana Te Whata, of Mossburn, who was taking part with three other young women in a course run by Elite Shearer Training on the Dowling family’s farm near Gimmerburn last week.

Three of the women, Tatjiana Keefe, of Raupunga, Cheyenne Howden, of Feilding, and Ariana work for Dion Morrell Shearing. They all intend to go shearing full time.

Ariana grew up in a shearing shed and her parents, Vanessa and Mana Te Whata, are shearing contractors and run Shear Tech. Mr Te Whata is a champion competitive shearer.

”I love shearing,” Ariana said.

”I love the art of it and it is beautiful to watch. . . 

Promoting eucalypts– David HIll:

Gary Fleming’s efforts to advocate for the value of eucalyptus trees has been recognised.

The North Canterbury farmer was named South Island Farm Forester of the Year at the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association conference held in Rotorua.

‘‘It’s a good award to get, as it takes a fair bit of dedication,’’ Mr Fleming said.

‘‘There’s a lot of people in the South Island who grow trees and anybody in farm forestry can apply for it.’’

The North Canterbury branch chairman was nominated by his branch committee earlier this year, after missing a meeting due to illness. . . 

Food tourism helps farmers survive – Tim Fulton:

A group of Queensland farmers is making the most of food tourism, proving town and country can work in harness for culinary satisfaction.

Maleny calls itself a hinterland town though, by Australian standards, it’s only a skip from the big smoke.

Perched on the Blackall Range, about 40 minutes from Sunshine Coast beaches, the area catches day trippers on Queensland’s hinterland tourist drive. . . 

 

Love lamb week to encourage better use of carcase :

Yorkshire farmer’s daughter and Great British Menu chef Stephanie Moon is calling on chefs to make better use of the lamb carcase as the country prepares for Love Lamb Week.

The annual campaign, commencing from the 1st of September to the 7th, aims to change perceptions of when to eat lamb.

It highlights that the highest volume of UK product is actually available during the last six months of the year, despite many consumers typically choosing to enjoy lamb around Easter time.

The National Sheep Association (NSA) will be involved in the industry-wide campaign, alongside AHDB Beef & Lamb and other UK levy bodies. . . 

 


Rural round-up

02/10/2011

Tense tri-nations shearing – Sarah Marquet:

It was a Tri-Nations test like no other – it was tense, there was a grandstand packed with spectators, a commentator,      national anthems and officials scrutinising the competitors’ every move. The only thing missing was a rugby ball.   

Instead, in a makeshift shearing shed in Molyneux Stadium,  Alexandra, New Zealand, Australian and South African teams      competed in a test match for the first Tri-Nations fine wool shearing competition as part of the 50th New Zealand Merino      Shearing and Woolhandling Championships . . .   

‘Showing off’the good:

Entries for the 2012 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards open on Monday.

Winners of the LIC Dairy Farm Award this year, Geoff and Jodelle Clark, are encouraging other farmers to enter the award, which they would like to participate in again.

Mr Clark said they were surprised and thrilled to win the award and to be named finalists.

“Even if we hadn’t won anything, we would still be happy because we got so much out of being part of the competition. . .

Markets favourable for NZ sheepmeat – Collette Devlin:

New Zealand sheepmeat producers can expect high prices and favourable overseas market conditions to continue in the year ahead, a new report says.

The Rabobank global focus report, New Zealand sheepmeat – how long will the fairytale last said the substantial lift in 2011 farm-gate prices brought the country’s sheepmeat producers a level of buoyancy not seen for about a decade, and this was likely to continue into the coming year.

Report author, Rabobank analyst Rebecca Redmond, said as the “fairytale” 2010-11 season drew to a close, the future continued to look bright.

Millions being left on table – Marie Taylor:

Millions of dollars are being left on the table without a national standard for carcase trim, says Federated Farmers’ Jeanette Maxwell.

Maxwell, the chairperson of Federated Farmers’ meat and fibre section, is endorsing the new Beef + Lamb Suretrim standard designed to see farmers get full value for their product.

Beef + Lamb chairman Mike Petersen estimates that for a million lambs, farmers could be losing $1.5 million in value.

He said there was considerable merit in having a point in the chain where farmers have a standard measurement.

Silviculture not the way to get rich – Steve Wyn-Harris:

At the beginning of the year I reported in a column that I was about to harvest my first of our forestry blocks and was getting quite excited at the prospect. After all, 30 years is a long time to wait, so there’s nothing wrong with some eager anticipation.

They were both small blocks by forestry standards, a total of 2.5ha but all I had to offer the industry until my other 25ha comes on stream in another decade . . .

Keeping it local from grass to glass:-

One of New Zealand’s leading food packaging companies has teamed up with one of the country’s largest independent milk producers to deliver the ultimate ‘grass to glass’ dairy nutritional products. 

GARDIANS, (Greenfields, Agricultural Research, Dairy Innovation and Nutritional Systems) combines two Kiwi family businesses, both with a passion for keeping the value and the product integrity in New Zealand.

Sutton Group, who have built a total nutritional solutions business serving the dairy and wider food and beverage industry, have joined forces with Dunedin based dairy farmer Grant Paterson to form GARDIANS . . .

Country school gets innovative  – Carly Tawhiao:

A downturn of organic suppliers in Franklin has customers, solely through word of mouth, travelling far and wide to Drury Christian School.

The independent school is part of Drury Church, which has farmed its Sutton Rd property for 20 years.

There is also a market garden on the 40ha site with a popular shop that sells the community’s surplus produce . . .

Merino meat gains place on menu – Sally Rae:

Merino is on the menu at Pier 24. The Dunedin restaurant is featuring Silere Alpine Origin Merino, a joint-venture meat    brand between Silver Fern Farms and The New Zealand Merino Company.   

 The partnership has been described as an important component      in the aspiration to double the current $150 million merino      industry over the next five years by unlocking the value of      merino meat and co-products, such as leather and lanolin,      alongside New Zealand Merino’s initiatives to add value to fibre . . .   

No rain =no pasture: situaiton now critical in Midlands – Pasture to Profit:

The very dry conditions in the UK Midlands, is currently very serious for pasture based dairy farmers. Little or no rain has fallen in Shropshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire, Derbyshire or Nottingham for months. On farm pasture is critical & farmers are heavily feeding. Winter feed supply is critical. A look at the monthly rainfall patterns in the UK each month is very revealing . . .

Workshops promote diverse benefits of trees on farms:

A new three year programme of regionally-based workshops launching this November will help pastoral farmers and their advisors identify the economic and environmental benefits of planting trees on their properties and how best to incorporate appropriate species into their land use strategies.

The workshops break new ground with their“whole farm” approach and region-specific content. They are supported by the Sustainable Farming Fund, hosted by local branches of the NZ Farm Forestry Association and draw heavily on the expertise and practical local experience of knowledgeable farm foresters.

New Fonterra CEO aims to boost pride – Andrea Fox:

New Fonterra chief executive Theo Spiering says, like the All Blacks, his aim for the dairy giant is to bring “the pride back to New Zealand”.

It’s his third day in the job and the tall Dutchman is already talking like a Kiwi, aglow about the Rugby World Cup, “loving” this country and determined to raise Fonterra’s image in New Zealand to what he calls its envied position in the world.

He says Fonterra, New Zealand’s biggest company and the world’s leading dairy exporter, has an important role to play as an economic powerhouse and employer, but equally it must be a champion for the environment and corporate responsibility. . .

Sorting out sheep and all that jazz – Jon Morgan:

Today I want to talk about the wonderful merino sheep. But first, hep cats, reap this righteous riff.

The unlikely conjunction of jazz and merino sheep took place a couple of years ago when I was introduced to Gordie McMaster on one of the few North Island merino farms, near Whanganui.

He is a sheep classer, and comes across from New South Wales each year to look over the merino flocks of his 30 clients in the North and South Islands . . .

Hop shortage hits brewers -Jono Galuszka:

Local brewers have been forced to cut products from their ranges due to a lack of American-grown hops, a key ingredient in the popular American pale ale style.The problem stems from a hop glut in 2006, which led American farmers to rip out hop vines in favour of more profitable crops such as soy or grain.

But a bad season in the US and multiple warehouse fires in Yakima, Washington State, which destroyed more than $US7 million ($9m) worth of hops, sent demand soaring above supply. After the fires, larger breweries pre-paid for hop crops years in advance to guarantee supply, leaving none for smaller companies to buy on the open market. . .

Singapore salmon sales

 “You need a good palate to tell the difference between Akaroa salmon and its competitors,” says director Duncan Bates. It is a difference appreciated by world-class chefs.

Akaroa Salmon NZ began exporting to Singapore after the Christchurch market collapsed with the earthquake on February 22.

“Overnight we lost 23 per cent of our custom,” said Bates. . .

 Silverfern Farms purchases Frasertown sheep plant:

Silver Fern Farms has purchased the Frasertown sheep processing plant in the Northern Hawkes Bay for an undisclosed sum, effective immediately.

This single chain sheep meat plant currently processes about 3750 sheep per week and will complete Silver Fern Farms processing footprint throughout New Zealand.

Silver Fern Farms Chairman, Eoin Garden says “The acquisition will reduce livestock transport distance’s which is positive from both an animal welfare and carbon emission perspective and will allow suppliers in Wairoa and Gisborne a true local alternative.

The digital version of Countrywide’s September edition is now available here.


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