Looking for community connection – VIctoria O’Sullivan:
Building a multi-million-dollar water care project in a year has been no mean feat for a group of dedicated Maniototo locals. Each is ardent about preserving and enhancing the values of the upper Taieri Catchment in Otago.
The five-year Tiaki Maniototo project run by local catchment group, Upper Taieri Wai, received $4.55 million from the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) towards freshwater improvement in the Taieri catchment this year. When combined with the in-kind support from other agencies and farmers, the total budget amounts to about $6m.
Project manager Morgan Trotter says the project is about improving freshwater quality, ecosystem values and biodiversity in the Upper Taieri catchment. Trotter previously spent 17 years working for Fish & Game in the region and has more than 20 years’ experience in freshwater environmental management. While the focus of the project is creation of jobs and environmental outcomes there is a “massive” opportunity to help farmers through upcoming regulatory changes. . .
AgResearch’s work to successfully breed low methane-emitting sheep has been recognised with the supreme award at this year’s Science New Zealand Awards.
The decade-long work by AgResearch scientists has enabled them to identify genetic differences which influence how much methane an individual sheep produces.
By breeding for this low-methane genetic trait, the scientists have been able to demonstrate that after three generations the lowest-emitting sheep produce close to 13% less methane than the highest emitters, per kilogram of feed eaten.
While the actual methane reduction at the farm-scale will be less when sheep are also being bred for other desirable genetic traits, it is still expected to be significant. . .
Horticultural company T&G Global has projected a $100 million new build of a pack house at Whakatu, near Hastings but not given a date for commencement or the start of operations.
The announcement was in the context of growth in market demand for its licensed Envy apple variety, independently forecast to reach $1 billion by 2030.
Orchard redevelopment over 300ha in Hawke’s Bay and Nelson during the next four years will help meet that demand, including two-dimensional trees to allow for future automated management.
T&G is partnering with the NZ Super Fund through FarmRight in a 40ha Envy orchard. . .
Beef cattle numbers increased in 2021 while the number of sheep dipped slightly, Stats NZ said today.
Provisional figures from the 2021 agricultural production survey show beef cattle numbers have increased to 4 million at June 2021, a 4 percent (142,000) increase from the previous year.
“The total number of beef cattle was at a historical low in 2016, however it’s been increasing and is now up by 492,000, or 14 percent, since that time,” agricultural production statistics manager Ana Krpo said. Good beef prices throughout this period contributed to this increase.
The number of sheep nationally has been steady compared with the previous year, at 26 million. The lambing rate was also consistent with the previous year. . .
The Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust looks likely to set fresh records for its Maungataniwha Kiwi Programme following delivery of 54 viable eggs to the National Kiwi Hatchery in Rotorua in the first half of the 2021/2022 season. It still has two more ‘first clutch’ eggs to retrieve so it is possible that its ‘half time score’ will grow to 56.
Earlier this year it completed the return of a record 53 juvenile kiwi to the bush as part of its work with Operation Nest Egg, the nationwide kiwi recovery initiative that removes kiwi eggs from their burrows, incubates them and cares for the chicks in captivity until they’re big enough to fend for themselves in the wild.
Traditionally, fewer eggs are retrieved in the back half of the egg-lifting season. These are known as ‘second clutch’ eggs. But there are already signs that the second half of the 2021/2022 egg-lifting season at the Trust’s property in the Maungataniwha Native Forest in Hawke’s Bay will also be strong.
Trust staffer and ‘kiwi whisperer’ Barry Crene said he had retrieved three eggs from two second-clutch nests. This is, he says, a promising start although he will never “count my kiwi before they’re hatched.” . .
Silver Fern Farms Chief Operating Officer Mark Leslie will join Pāmu as its new Chief Executive, Pāmu Board chairman Dr Warren Parker announced today.
Dr Parker says Mr Leslie brings a wealth of primary sector experience to the role.
“The Board are delighted that Mark is joining Pāmu as we continue to successfully deliver our strategy. His skillset, including hands on experience running substantial livestock and dairy operations and background in farming, will be beneficial as we work to produce higher farm gate returns with a smaller environmental footprint, and with an ongoing focus on the wellbeing of our people, our animals and the land we farm,” Dr Parker said. . .