Rural round-up

26/11/2017

New Zealand’s most improved river is in irrigation territory – Gerard Hutching:

North Canterbury’s Pahau River, situated in one of the most intensively irrigated catchments in the country, has been awarded the supreme prize for most improved river at the annual River Awards.

The top prize was based on the Hurunui river showing the most declining levels of the bacteria E coli over the last 10 years, achieving reductions of 15.6 per cent a year.

Pahau Enhancement Group chairman and dairy farmer David Croft said the result came as no surprise.

“The farming community has been aware of problems with the Pahau for more than 10 years and that’s why the enhancement group was originally set up – because of poor water quality. We had a choice to deal with it or ECan (Environment Canterbury) would take the initiative,” Croft said. . . 

Former biodiesel plant now makes cooking oil – Heather Chalmers:

South Canterbury paddocks covered in bright yellow flowers in spring are the first step of an expanding home-grown South Island business, turning oilseed rape – regarded as a commodity crop overseas – into a high-value liquid gold.

Producing this liquid gold is Canterbury-owned Pure Oil New Zealand, which operates a large commercial oilseed crush plant at Rolleston, south of Christchurch, turning the small black seed into high-quality food-grade oil. Since starting in 2012, production has tripled from 5000 to 6000 tonnes of seed, up to 15,000t now.

Imported rapeseed oil, also known as canola, is a familiar staple on supermarket shelves where it is sold as a cheap salad and cooking oil, with millions of tonnes of seed grown world-wide. Big overseas export growers are Canada and Australia, with the term canola a contraction of Canada and ola, for “oil low acid”. . . 

Efficiency ups processing at Westland Milk – Janna Sherman:

Improved plant efficiencies have contributed to an increase in processed milk through the Hokitika dairy factory, Westland Milk Products says.

Peak milk for the new season was achieved on November 2 with 3,564,935 litres received.

Chief executive Toni Brendish said that was just one tanker load short of the previous season’s peak milk of 3,593,905 litres.

Peak processed milk through the factory was 4,110,673 litres, on October 25.

“This includes bought-in milk and is 150,000 litres more than the previous season – 3,955,907 litres; an increase largely made possible by improved plant efficiency,” Ms Brendish said.  . . 

$1000 cadetship for Briar – Alexia Johnston:

Briar Swanson has landed a cadetship, giving her farming career a welcome boost.

The St Kevin’s College leaver has been accepted for a two-year cadetship at the Coleridge Downs Training Farm, a role she will take up in January.

The training farm is part of a group of farms in the Rakaia Gorge in central Canterbury which cover 10,000ha and run 42,000 stock units.

Briar’s career received an extra boost earlier this month when the South Canterbury North Otago (SCNO) Deer Farmers Trust announced it would provide her with financial assistance, to help her get what she needed for the cadetship, including wet-weather gear, boots and a heading pup. . . 

Would you eat ‘clean’ meat?  – Chase Purdy:

There’s no shortage of buzz among food-tech companies about how, once perfected, cell-cultured meats will reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we pump into the atmosphere, use less land and water, and save billions of animals each year from slaughter. But as these high-tech meats edge closer to grocery stores and restaurants, the people creating them are wrestling with a crucial question: What do you call them?

It’s a good but vexing problem. The need to find a name indicates how close the technology is to jumping from lab to market. But translating terminology from scientific jargon to consumer-friendly lingo is nettlesome. Forces within the nascent cell-cultured meat industry are working to get everyone to coalesce around one name: clean meat.

Not everyone agrees with the choice. For starters, the term “clean meat” doesn’t translate into all non-English languages easily. In Dutch, for instance, it carries unappealing connotations about how the meat might be processed. Also, some have complained the term implies conventional meat—the only kind people currently can access—is inherently dirty. That could risk putting people on the defensive from the get-go. . . 


Rural round-up

25/11/2017

Farmer led project highlights innovative environmental work:

A North Canterbury river awarded as the country’s most improved- is testament to innovative environmental work undertaken by farmers and their community says Federated Farmers.

The Hurunui district’s Pahau River was bestowed supreme winner at last night’s 2017 National River Awards, achieving significant reduction in bacteria E coli levels over the past 10 years.

The river reportedly runs through one of the most densely irrigated catchments in the country. It had also demonstrated decreasing levels in nitrogen and phosphorous. . . 

Alliance Group Doubles Annual Earnings as Meat Prices Recover, Targets Fatter Profitability:

(BusinessDesk) – Alliance Group, the world’s biggest sheepmeat exporter, doubled annual earnings as its sales rose 15 percent with a recovery in global meat prices, but wants to lift profitability further.

Operating earnings rose to $20.2 million in the year ended Sept. 30 from $10.1 million a year earlier, the Invercargill-based company said in a statement. It paid $11.4 million to its 5,000 farmer shareholders, up from $9.8 million, while revenue rose to $1.53 billion from $1.36 billion.

“We are welcoming new shareholders, achieving a stronger balance sheet, improving our profitability and most importantly, offering better livestock pricing for our farmers,” chair Murray Taggart said. “Alliance has a wide range of short, medium and long-term programmes underway as we seek to gain deeper market penetration and capture more value from existing markets.”. . .

Tax Working Group should have an Agri-sector voice:

 

A new Tax Working Group should have primary sector representation says Federated Farmers.

Sir Michael Cullen is to chair the Group from February next year and the Federation recommends that farming and fellow industry stakeholders get a voice.

“Ideally it would be good to have someone on the Group who understands the agri-sector and its tax issues. Given the likely focus on environmental taxation, capital gains and land taxes, it would same a reasonable thing to do,” says Federated Farmers Vice President Andrew Hoggard. . . 

Jersey Benne harvest delayed – Sally Brooker:

While the new potato season is being celebrated in a national campaign, North Otago’s Jersey Benne harvest has hardly begun.

Potatoes New Zealand is promoting the ”humble potato” with television advertising, having showcased varieties, recipes and nutritional facts to food writers and the media at an Auckland event. Potato growers from throughout the country took along samples of their produce being dug this month.

However, a shortage of cauliflower and broccoli has prompted one of North Otago’s biggest growers to delay his potato-digging.

Peter Armstrong, of Armstrong and Co, plants potatoes on several properties in the Totara and Kakanui areas south of Oamaru, where the soil and microclimate result in sought-after Jersey Bennes. . . 

Take alternative protein seriously, analyst warns – Alexa Cook:

The meat industry should not be complacent about the threat of alternative protein food products, a report warns.

The international Rabobank report looks into the success of alternative proteins, including plant-based meat substitutes, insect or algae-based products, and lab-grown meat.

The products were on the verge of becoming mainstream and ‘stealing’ growth from traditional meat product markets, it said.

The report projected that the market for alternative protein would grow 8 percent each year in the European Union, and six percent each year in the US and Canada. . . 

Zespri wins top award for best growth strategy:

Zespri was recognised last night in the 2017 Deloitte Top 200 Awards for its strong growth strategy, with the kiwifruit marketing company on track to more than double global sales to $4.5 billion by 2025.

Zespri Chief Executive Dan Mathieson says the 2degrees Best Growth Strategy award is welcome recognition for the work done across the industry to grow a genuine global sales and marketing organisation and drive demand for Zespri’s premium kiwifruit.

“This award is real testament to the great team we have at Zespri – passionate, dedicated people around the world who bring to life our global grower-to-consumer strategy day in and day out – and the long-term partnerships we have with our customers. . . 

Agritech Programme Focusing on Digital Technologies:

Artificial intelligence, machine learning and smart data are major themes at next year’s MobileTECH 2018. This is one of New Zealand’s largest agritech events and will see technology leaders from throughout the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors gather in Rotorua in late March.

The pace of change within the primary sector is continuing to be driven by advances in new digital technologies. While New Zealand has been a world leader in traditional farming systems, it is critical for the sector to maintain and grow productivity through the smart adoption of these new innovations. . . 

You can download the poster here.


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