Rural round-up

May 18, 2014

Sheep farming vital, ripe for higher returns:

New Zealand sheep farmers could and should be earning more for their products, a sheep industry advocate has told scientists at AgResearch’s Ruakura campus.

Shifting into a higher earning bracket would result in a more vibrant pastoral sector, Steve Wyn-Harris said.

The Central Hawke’s Bay sheep farmer and columnist was in Hamilton recently as guest speaker at the New Zealand Institute of Agricultural Science’s Waikato branch’s monthly meeting.

He said only 10 per cent of New Zealand sheep farms made a high- earning $650 per hectare farm surplus.

The bulk of the industry had to be shifted into that bracket – “and it can be done”. . .

Money to protect southern water :

Landowners in Southland’s Waihopai and Waikawa catchments will have better access to funding for fencing and planting following a decision by Environment Southland to relax grant criteria.

The Living Streams fund supports landowners in the two catchments by awarding grants to projects that protect or enhance water quality, such as fencing waterways and riparian planting.

Senior programme leader Amy Kirk said the grant was a significant incentive for landowners wanting to put up fencing to protect waterways.

“Keeping stock from accessing waterways is the easiest first step to improve and protect water quality, which is our top priority,” she said. . .

 

Innovation central to farm’s success – Gerard Hutching:

Matt and Lynley Wyeth’s Spring Valley farm east of Masterton lies in the area called Kaituna, roughly translated as “plentiful eel”, appropriately enough for a property that has recently won a top environment award.

The native crayfish, koura, abound in the streams and wetlands dotting the property, testament to the health of the ecosystem. Sons Alex, 9, and Cameron, 6, know the best places to trap the creatures, both having acquired a taste for the freshwater delicacy.

Lying in the foothills of the Tararua Forest Park, Spring Valley can be difficult country to farm. A spring snowfall just around the key time of lambing is always on the cards, while 1800 millimetres of rain makes working the 1000-hectare property a daunting challenge. This compares with an average of 1200mm in Wellington city. . .

Import need will remain – Hugh Stringleman:

THE gap filled by milk powder imports was 20% of consumption last year and it will remain large for the foreseeable future, Rabobank’s China dairy and beverages specialist Sandy Chen says. 

The need would be 10-20% of demand this year, he predicted.

On a speaking tour around New Zealand, Chen said the gap between China’s domestic dairy production and consumption widened dramatically last year, from 5% to 20%.

NZ filled 90% of the increased import demand for milk powder. . .

Large-scale forest for sale near Taumarunui:

A 3000-hectare forest for sale near Taumarunui is one of the largest forestry blocks to be offered on the open market in recent years.

While forestry estates of this scale are often sold privately, Oio Forest is a first rotation forest for sale by tender.

LJ Hooker rural sales agent Warwick Searle said the size and quality of the forest made the sale significant. . .

Battle for New Zealand’s best bacon and ham begins:

Entries are now open for the 100% New Zealand Bacon & Ham Competition and top butchers are encouraging their peers to enter.

From the tastiest rasher to the most succulent slice of ham, the Competition attracts butchers and retailers nationwide who put their craft to the test on Friday 18 July 2014.

The 100% NZ Bacon & Ham Competition celebrates New Zealand’s finest cured pork products and helps customers identify and appreciate homegrown, sustainable bacon and ham. It supports New Zealand’s pig farmers, who raise pork solely for the local market. . . .


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