Rural round-up


Push to reduce workplace injuries on farms:

Farm workers have spoken of their horrendous accidents at the      launch of an initiative to reduce the “unacceptable” number      of workplace injuries on New Zealand farms.   

 Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson released the Agriculture      Sector Action Plan at Parliament today.   

 The plan targets four areas that account for half of all      injuries and deaths in the agriculture sector – use of      agriculture machinery, mental health and wellbeing of      workers, slips and falls, and animal handling. . .

Lawrence farmer top farm-forester – Sally Rae:

When Dennis Larsen bought his Lawrence farm in 1980,    there were no trees – just “a bit of scrub”.   

More than 30 years later, the 611ha sheep and beef property boasts 92ha of forestry .  . .

Farm-foresters called heroes – Sally Rae:

“You’re my heroes.” That is what Prof Henrik Moller, from the      Centre for Sustainability: Agriculture, Food, Energy,      Environment (CSAFE) at the University of Otago told those      attending the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association’s recent      conference.   

The 56th annual conference, which was hosted by the South and      Mid Otago branches, was based at Telford, Balclutha.   

With the theme Taking Care of Our Water, it included field      trips to Mid Otago, Lawrence and South Otago.

A once a day milking system needs a different mind-set? – Pasture to Profit:

I wonder if OAD (Once a Day) Milking farmers should be farming like TAD farmers (Twice a Day Milking)?  After all they are completely different farming systems. Or are they really different?

This is potentially a very interesting debate. Should all pasture based farmers farm in the same way or are the systems sufficiently different that they should develop different methods & different objectives? Organic dairy farms have developed different systems & objectives from conventional farms. So should OAD farmers farm as TAD farmers or develop a completely different system? It’s early days so let’s debate the issue. . .
Canadian dairy regulation – a model for Australia? – Dr Jon Hauser:
In the last commentary I discussed the issue of global food security. The view expressed was that this is a legitimate concern of many sovereign nations. In many (but not all) cases, dairy industry regulatory systems have been put in place to address this concern – to ensure that there is a viable agricultural industry with sufficient capacity to meet the population’s needs, and to guard against the strategic risks of droughts, floods, pestilence, trade and physical wars.

The Dairy Industry Restructure Package is now a thing of the past and Australia has almost completely dismantled government regulation and support for the dairy industry. Since this happened: milk production has contracted by 20%; private processors have gained control of the industry; factories are closing; family farms are disappearing; regulations are more complex; cost and quality improvement is essential. 

Was deregulation a good thing for Australia? To provide a point of comparison I thought it might be interesting to look at Canada where, despite raging debate, pressure to deregulate has been vehemently and successfully resisted by the dairy industry. . .

Action plan to reduce farm injuries announced:

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson has launched a new action plan to bring down the “unacceptable” number of workplace injuries in the agriculture sector.

The Agriculture Sector Action Plan targets four priority areas that account for at least half of all injuries and deaths in the sector, including:

• use of agricultural vehicles and machinery • the physical and mental health/wellbeing of agricultural workers • slips, trips and falls, and • animal handling.

Agriculture has one of the highest rates of workplace injury, disease and fatalities each year – double the average rate across all sectors. Provisional figures show that 15 agricultural workers were killed last year alone. . .

Winter blocks can be at more risk of nitrate leaching:
Winter blocks can be at more risk of nitrate leaching

Greg Costello of Ravensdown looks at practical steps to reduce nitrate leaching

It’s a familiar picture of winter grazing. Groups of cows feeding on narrow ‘breaks’ of winter forage crops. What’s not so obvious is the potential for nitrogen (N) losses from these activities. Wet, cold soils, pugging and winter rain increases the risk of nitrate leaching and emissions of nitrate oxide from the multitude of urine patches deposited. . .

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