Rural round-up

September 26, 2018

Profiting from precision irrigation:

Economic, environmental and social benefits are prompting a growing number of Australasian and US farmers to adopt precision variable rate irrigation systems.

New Zealand, a country generally known for its ample annual rainfall and phenomenal natural crop growth, is an unlikely origin for a precision irrigation development that’s gaining traction globally. However, light soils and sporadic precipitation in some regions, plus readily available water for irrigation, mean close to 800,000 ha or 6.5% of the country’s farmland is artificially watered.

Originally, much of that was with flood irrigation using border-dykes but, in the drive for water use efficiency and environmental protection, spray irrigation has become the norm, mostly with centre-pivots. . . 

Growers get 20,000 plants back after MPI testing clears any risk – Eric Frykberg:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has released about 20,000 apple plants and 400 stone fruit plants which it impounded as a biosecurity risk three months ago.

It has now completed testing of the plants and found no trace of pests or diseases.

As a result they have been freed from all restrictions. . .

MPI slow to pay M bovis compensation – Rachel Kelly:

Some farmers are seeking help from their MP to get compensation claims paid out after their farms have been infected by Mycoplasma bovis.

Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker said MPI’s response to compensation claims for M. bovis had improved in recent months, but it still needed to be better.

The ministry said it was aware that some farmers have found the compensation process difficult, but it was important that each claim was assessed and approved properly. . .

Carbon trees ‘opportunity’ for landowners – Toni Williams:

There is ”renewed opportunity” for landowners to get into carbon trees, Carbon Forest Services managing director Ollie Belton says.

And ”hopefully it will mean more trees (planted) on farms”.

Mr Belton was a guest speaker at a Bayleys Real Estate breakfast meeting attended by sales agents and invited guests at the Hotel Ashburton, in Ashburton, earlier this month. . .

Omapere Rangihamama Trust: a country comeback story

In 2007, the Omapere Rangihamama Trust was broke. A decade later, the Far North Trust won the prestigious Ahuwhenua Māori Excellence in Farming Award for the top sheep and beef farm in Aotearoa.

They continued to decline for the next three decades until a new management team with clear strategies and visions was put in place in 2007. . .

Fonterra’s Chilean farmers threaten to break away – Gerard Hutching:

Disgruntled Chilean dairy farmers have threatened to stop supplying Fonterra because they say they are being underpaid for their milk.

The dairy giant has a 86 per cent ownership stake of processing company Prolesur, but some small farmers in southern Chile who supply it are unhappy with their treatment.

Waikato dairy consultant Mike McBeath, who is chairman of Chilean company Chilterra, said it was looking to combine with about 200 farmers to create a rival co-operative. . .

Fonterra has bred an ‘us versus them’ mentality damaging farmers – Louise Giltrap:

I think it’s about time we got some things cleared up around how people think our dairy giant Fonterra operates.

The statement I love hearing the most is: “But you farmers own Fonterra and you should take back some control!”

And the second one just recently has in response to the grandiose five-star functions held over the last fortnight for select Fonterra staff: “It’s not the farmers’ money they are spending!”

Alrighty, so let’s start at the beginning. All the farmers get a vote and that vote is cast on what is selectively put in front of us to vote on. . .


Rural round-up

June 5, 2017

It’s Complicated: Is NZ Media’s Relationship with Kiwi Farmers Busted? – Ben Stanley:

I’m a farm kid, and a journalist, and right now that’s an awkward position to be in.

There’s a name you don’t say out loud in rural New Zealand right now unless you want to draw scorn and outright disgust.

It’s the name of one of my childhood heroes.

For the majority of the 1990s, Cameron Bennett was New Zealand’s foreign correspondent; our eye on international conflict and disaster. He’d travel to Iraq, Russia, Afghanistan and the West Bank and report back home with his gritty, but revealing, insights on war and why people make it. . .

A water battle looms in NZ’s Middle-Earth desert – Matthew Brockett & Tracy Withers:

In the rugged heart of New Zealand’s South Island, a high-altitude desert where the men of Middle-Earth made their last stand in the “Lord of the Rings” movies has become a battlefield once again.

Environmentalists and farmers are clashing over the Mackenzie Basin, an area known for its scorched-brown grasslands and crystal-blue lakes – and now, massive irrigation systems that are spreading circles of emerald-green pasture across the Mars-like terrain.

“It’s similar to greening the desert of Nevada or California,” said Annabeth Cohen, a freshwater scientist at environmental group Forest and Bird. . .

Mackenzie Basin set to lose $1.2b in farming production if wildings aren’t controlled  – Pat Deavoll:

The Mackenzie Basin could lose $1.2 billion in farming production a year if the spread of wilding conifers is not brought under control, said Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) wilding programme manager Sherman Smith.

Few species would survive if the basin was smothered by wildings, he said.

“If the basin is taken over by wildings, that’s 50 cumecs (of water) drained out of the Waitaki system, biodiversity that would suffer and there would be a lot of species that wouldn’t survive,” said Smith at the Federated Farmers High Country Conference, . .

Cut debt or go  – Hugh Stringleman:

Dairy farmers with unsustainable debt who can’t build equity buffers with profits should exit the sector, Reserve Bank governor Graham Wheeler says.

But Federated Farmers dairy chairman Andrew Hoggard says Wheeler used outdated figures when he warned the dairy sector was still a financial risk to the economy and banks should monitor it closely.

“The uncertain outlook for dairy prices and the rising proportion of highly indebted farms means there remains a risk that non-performing loans could increase in coming seasons. . . .

Whitehall kiwifruit growers come out the other side of Psa disease – Gerald Piddock:

It’s been a slow road to recovery for Mark and Robyn Gardiner since Psa ripped through their kiwifruit business.

Called Seudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae, the deadly viral disease was first discovered at their 200 hectare Whitehall Fruitpackers operation in 2010.

Left unchecked, Psa destroys green and gold vines and spawns leaf spotting, cankers and shoot dieback.

At the worst point of the outbreak, Mark cut out 40ha of his 16 Gold kiwifruit crop as well as partial cuttings of green fruit. At the same time, the more resistant G3 variety was grafted to the vines. . .

Farm win gets civic reception – Hugh Stringleman:

Winning the Ahuwhenua Trophy for Maori Excellence in sheep and beef farming was the achievement of a lifetime for Northland farm manager Lloyd Brennan and his staff, he told Hugh Stringleman.

The Ahuwhenua Trophy might be scheduled for another visit to Kaikohe, the Northland town that needs to celebrate success and encourage more young Maori into farming.

A civic reception was being planned by the Far North District Council with the Omapere Rangihamama Trust (ORT) and its board of trustees, headed by Sonny Tau. . .

National ambassadors for sustainable farming recognised:

The winners of the national ambassador title for the Ballance Farm Environment Awards describe their farm as the largest lifestyle block in Taranaki.

Ohangai sheep, beef and dairy farmers Peter and Nicola Carver won the National Ambassador title over 10 other regional supreme winners at the National Sustainability Showcase event at the Ascot Park Hotel in Invercargill on May 31.

Operating as Holmleigh Trust Partnership, the couple combine dairy and dry stock farming on their 515ha family property east of Hawera. . .


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