Rural round-up

May 15, 2017

Invercargill dairy farmer wins Dairy Community Leadership award:

It was the call of the land that saw Katrina Thomas return to the farm after 21 years working in the tourism industry in New Zealand and abroad.

Thomas is this year’s Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) Dairy Community Leadership award winner, winning the title out of a group of three nominees which included dairy farmers Alison Ferris, from Te Kuiti, and Cathy Prendergast, from Arohena in Waikato. The awards ceremony was held tonight in Queenstown as part of a gala dinner during DWN’s annual conference.

The award recognises the voluntary role dairy farming women have in leading their communities and sharing their time and skills beyond the farm gate. . .

NZ tea grower wins top award  – Alexa Cook:

New Zealand’s sole commercial tea grower has won gold at the Global Tea Championships in the US.

The Zealong Tea Estate, near Hamilton, was started over 20 years ago with 130 seedlings. It is now a 1.2 million plant operation.

Zealong produces about 20 tonnes of organic loose and bagged green, oolong and black teas a year and exports 75 percent of it to London, France, China and the US. . .

Pukekohe grower wins best young vegetable grower:

Scott Wilcox from Pukekohe has emerged victorious against six other entrants to be named New Zealands Young Vegetable Grower of 2017.12 May 2017

Scott Wilcox from Pukekohe has emerged victorious against six other entrants to be named New Zealand’s Young Vegetable Grower of 2017. .

Winners thrive on a challenge – Hugh Stringleman:

New Zealand’s 2017 Share Farmers of the Year, Christopher and Siobhan O’Malley, had a roller-coaster ride of emotions at the NZ Dairy Industry Awards national finals in Auckland, they told Hugh Stringleman.

Exhiliration was the best word used by Christopher and Siobhan O’Malley to describe their feelings after being named 2017 Share Farmers of the Year, at the third time of entering.

All the time and effort in preparing for the prestigious Dairy Industry Awards had earned national honours, considerable prize money and a big boost along the farm ownership path. . .

DAIRYLIVE: Stream Streamed Live From the Farm:

On Monday morning, Kiwis nationwide can spend some time on a working dairy farm courtesy of live camera streams featuring, amongst other things, paddocks, streams, vistas and of course, cows.

The video streams from four high-definition cameras will go live on DairyNZ’s website at 5am on Monday to coincide with the launch of a report on the work that dairy farmers have been doing to protect their waterways.

The Sustainable Dairying – Water Accord report is a three-year progress update on sector-wide efforts to protect water quality and the environment. It will be formally launched at an event at Te Papa in Wellington on Monday, 2pm. . . 

Weaker dollar moves wool up:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s C.E.O, Mr John Dawson reports that the slightly weaker New Zealand dollar compared to last weeks’ sale helped lift local prices.
Of the 6000 bales on offer, 78.0 percent sold.

The weighted currency indicator was down 1.35 percent week on week. . .

Extra Snow Guns Announced for Start of 2017 Season:

Treble Cone are proud to announce extra snowmaking facilities for the 2017 season, in addition to the new SMI snowmaking system recently commissioned on Upper East Rider. The new snow guns will be added to the fleet as an investment by TCRA (Treble Cone Racing Academy) to support the snowmaking production on all of Treble Cone’s accessible snowmaking terrain and for the training venues Big Skite and Sinclair’s runs.

Guenther Birgmann, Director of TCRA has provided an additional 6 fully automatic SUFAG Snow Guns, which are currently being shipped to New Zealand from America. These will be added to the 5 SuperPuma Snow guns and 9 new hydrants installed over the summer. Completing the snow making capabilities to service Easy Rider from the top of Home Basin all the way down to the base lodge, and providing security around snow cover on all main trails in the Home Basin. . . 

Queenstown’s Nomad Safaris offers more off-road tours than ever before:

Nomad Safaris, Queenstown’s oldest off-road tour company, has introduced two new activities to its adventure menu for 2017.

Established in 1988, Nomad Safaris specialises in small, personalised off-road tours and after substantial investment, now offers more adventures in and around the resort town than ever before.

The new 360° Queenstown tours showcase the region’s spectacular scenery in thrilling style. Visitors climb aboard a powerful, purpose-built UTV (Utility Task Vehicle) and are taken by an experienced and knowledgeable driver-guide onto an exclusively accessed high country sheep station, high above the resort town. . . 


Rural round-up

August 16, 2015

Ripe opportunity for kiwifruit grower:

The country’s biggest kiwifruit grower, post-harvest operator Seeka, is about to become Australia’s biggest kiwifruit producer as well.

Seeka grows and packs kiwifruit from Northland to Hawke’s Bay.

It has signed an agreement to buy the kiwifruit and orcharding business of Bunbartha Fruit Packers, based in the Goulburn Valley in Victoria, one of Australia’s main fruit growing regions.

Seeka chief executive Michael Franks said it would diversify the company’s fruit production and its supply base. . . 

Service sector must work with farmers – Neal Wallace:

A slowdown in dairy farmer spending is sending the first tremors of a slowing rural economy through rural NZ, prompting industry leaders to turn to history for a blueprint on how to farm through the downturn.

Farm budgets were being reviewed, vets reported falling demand, Canterbury feed grain prices fell $80 a tonne, winter grazing and maize growing contracts were being cancelled and non-existent demand for heifers and in-calf cows sent prices tumbling.

Meanwhile, farming and sector leaders were urging financiers to work with farming clients, to acknowledge they were part of a solution and to not apply excessive pressure, especially during calving and mating. . . 

Kiwi Joint Venture Sells Meat Scanner Software to Multi-National:

Scanning technology that has advanced quality control in New Zealand’s red meat industry, saving millions of dollars a year, has been sold to the multi-national precision instrument-maker Mettler Toledo for an undisclosed sum.

The scanner uses New Zealand-developed software to make instantaneous measurements of fat content of red meat on conveyer belts before the product leaves the processing plant for overseas markets.

Red meat is sold internationally based on its fat content – a measurement known as ‘chemical-lean’ or CL. Different markets require different CL measurements. . . 

Fonterra and China – Keith Woodford:

There is no escaping that Fonterra’s path forward has to be closely linked to China. No-one else needs and has the ability to pay for New Zealand milk in the quantities that we have available to supply.

Whether that means we are over-exposed is a matter of perspective. But that perspective does not alter the reality that China is the opportunity. Whether or not the associated risks also become a reality is largely up to Fonterra itself.

The last fifteen years should have been easy for Fonterra. The world has wanted milk. New Zealand and others have been there to produce it. On a rising tide all boats are lifted. With the wind at one’s back, it is easy to smile. . . 

Morrisons to create new milk brand for farmers

Morrisons will sell a new milk brand which will see 10p per litre extra paid to farmers, the supermarket says.

The Milk for Farmers brand means a four pint bottle (2.27 litres), which now sells for 89p, will cost an extra 23p.

Other retailers have similar deals, but dairy organisation AHDB Dairy said 10p would make “a considerable difference”. . . 

NZ wool prices ahead of year earlier levels amid limited supply, continued demand – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand wool prices were little changed at the latest weekly auction, but are ahead of year earlier levels, underpinned by limited supply and strong demand.

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, was unchanged at $6.15 per kilogram at yesterday’s North Island auction compared with the previous week’s South Island auction, but 5.1 percent ahead of the $5.85/kg it sold for at the same time last year, according to AgriHQ. The price for lamb wool held at $7.20/kg from the previous week’s auction, and was up 31 percent from $5.50/kg a year earlier. . . 

Young Grower talent from Pukekohe wins national title:

Hamish Gates from Pukekohe was named Young Grower of the Year 2015 last night at the Rydges Latimer in Christchurch.

Hamish secured his place at the national competition after being named New Zealand Young Vegetable Grower 2015 in April. The carrot washline supervisor works for AS Wilcox & Sons in Pukekohe.

The final phase of the competition saw five regional champions battle it out in a series of practical and theoretical challenges that tested their essential industry knowledge and skills. . . 

Government easing constraints to agricultural innovations:

Agcarm commends the government for tabling a Bill to improve access to the latest innovations in veterinary medicines and agrichemicals, helping New Zealand agriculture to remain competitive.

Agcarm chief executive, Mark Ross says “We applaud the government for supporting primary production, by encouraging the registration of new products from overseas and new uses for existing products.

“This means New Zealand can remain competitive in a global market,” he added.

Greater protection provides more incentive to bring new technologies into New Zealand. Often these technologies are safer and more effective forms of chemical or biological compounds, or new ways for existing products to be used. . . 


Rural round-up

April 12, 2014

Drought causing problems in Rawene – Sophie Lowery:

The top of the North Island has been given a good dousing of rain today, but the region that desperately needs it received just a thimbleful.

Rawene, on the Hokianga Harbour, is just days away from running out of water and there are serious concerns for the local hospital.

The tiny Petaka Stream is the only water supply for the 250 residents of Rawene and it is almost dry.

“The situation in Rawene is critical. We are urging residents wherever they can to minimise their use of water to the essential uses only before we have to impose any more austere methods,” says the Far North District Council’s Tony Smith. . .

Exports to the motherland – Keith Woodford:

 There was a time when New Zealand’s exports went almost exclusively to Britain. Before and during the Second World War, and for many years thereafter, New Zealand was Britain’s farm. It was only in 1973 when Britain joined the EU, which itself had food surpluses, that we had to search for alternative markets.

Now, some forty years later, the only two major products exported to Britain are sheep meat and wine. Britain takes about 20% of New Zealand’s sheep meat exports and is the second most important sheep meat market after China. For wine, Britain also takes about 20% of New Zealand’s exports and is the third most important market after Australia and the USA. Minor export products include apples at about 10% of total apple exports. For wool, about 5% reaches the shores of the UK. Overall, only 3% of New Zealand’s exports are destined for Britain. . .

Minister welcomes Manawatu River clean-up progress:

Environment Minister Amy Adams has welcomed a new report on cleaning-up the Manawatu River, saying it shows that progress can be made even on the most difficult environmental problems when communities work together.

“It is still early days as far as the time frames for cleaning up polluted water ways are concerned, but I am pleased to see the Manawatu Leaders Accord reporting overall improving trends in nutrient levels and levels of bacteria in the Manawatu River,” Ms Adams says.

“The Government regards its $5.2 million investment in cleaning up this river as well worthwhile. By working together, we can achieve far more than leaving it to one group or organisation. . .

LIC scientists discover ‘fat gene’ in cows:

LIC scientists have discovered genetic variations which affect milk composition in dairy cows.

All cows have the ‘fat gene’, named AGPAT6, but LIC senior scientist Dr Matt Littlejohn said the variations they’ve discovered provide a genetic explanation for why some cows produce higher fat content in their milk than others.

“If you think of milk production in the cow’s udder as a factory assembly line, this variation is one of a few workers in the ‘fat chain’, with that worker being very efficient in some cows, and a bit lazy in others,” he said.

“The finding of AGPAT6 helps us to better understand what goes on in a cow’s mammary gland and how milk composition is regulated by genes.” . .

Pukekawa grower named New Zealand’s best young vege grower:

Brett Parker was crowned the New Zealand Young Vegetable Grower 2014, beating six other competitors, at the national competition on April 10.

Held in Pukekohe, the day-long event saw seven contestants go head-to-head in a series of theoretical and practical challenges needed to run a successful vegetable growing business.

Parker, 26, works at Hinemoa Quality Producers in Pukekawa as an assistant crop manager, and won $2500.

Of that $1000 will be used for professional development.    . . .

Diverse Farming Business Scores Supreme Double in Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Kaiwera farmers Andrew and Heather Tripp, Nithdale Station Ltd, have won the Supreme title in the Southland Ballance Farm Awards for the second time.

The Tripps were announced Supreme winners of the 2014 Southland Ballance Farm Awards (BFEA) at a special ceremony on April 10. They also collected the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, the Massey University Innovation Award, the LIC Dairy Farm Award and the Alliance Quality Livestock Award.

Since first winning the Supreme title in the inaugural Southland BFEA in 2002, the Tripps have added a dairy farm to their diverse farming operation based on historic Nithdale Station, south east of Gore. . .

Support to build winter feed with urea price drop:

As the dry summer conditions ease, a drop in urea prices by Ballance Agri-Nutrients will be welcomed by farmers looking to build up feed reserves to meet stock requirements over winter and early spring.

Ballance dropped the price of urea from $695 to $645 and SustaiN from $751 to $697 yesterday on the back of a slump in global prices for urea.

Ballance General Manager of Sales, Andrew Reid, says that the imbalance between supply and demand that put upward pressure on urea prices earlier this year has now reversed.

“Currently global supply is exceeding demand, which has resulted in international prices easing,” said Mr Reid. . .


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