Three woman contributing to the dairy industry in very different ways are this year’s finalists in the Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year award.
Ngai Tahu Farming Technical Farm Manager Ash-Leigh Campbell from Christchurch, Auckland based microbiologist and bio chemist Natasha Maguire and West Coast dairy farmer Heather McKay are all in the running for the prestigious dairy award managed by the Dairy Women’s Network being announced early next month.
Dairy Women’s Network Trustee and a member of the awards judging panel Alison Gibb said all three finalists came from such different directions and perspectives which highlighted the depth and diversity of how women are contributing to the dairy industry in New Zealand. . .
Primary product prices will fall further this year but remain at reasonable levels before some improvement in 2021, according to BNZ senior economist Doug Steel.
However, the falls – so far this year – have not been as much as might have been expected, he says.
“The defensive qualities of NZ’s food-heavy export mix may well be a Godsend for the economy as a whole during the current turmoil. If nothing else, it is easy to imagine a new-found appreciation for where our food comes from,” Steel told Rural News. . .
Sorted up the #MangaRa ewe hoggets today for mating. Here is a snapshot of some of our short-tail #Ezicare sheep. The next generation will be the 1st with any selective breeding, and with a trait that is 70% heritable, we are looking forward to a bit more progress. pic.twitter.com/LWFsyL4wxd
Tim Ritchie came into the Meat Industry Association as CEO at the end of 2007, initially intended to be for an 18 month period, and retired earlier this month over 12 years later. His first task was the planned merger of the processor representative organisation with Meat & Wool, the forerunner of Beef + Lamb NZ, which was strongly promoted by Keith Cooper, then CEO of Silver Fern Farms, and Meat & Wool chairman, Mike Petersen.
The merger was doomed to fail after dissension among the processors, some of which failed to see how the two organisations, one a member funded trade association and the other a farmer levy funded body, could possibly work as one. History has clearly shown the logic behind the eventual outcome which has seen MIA and B+LNZ each carving out a clearly defined role to the ultimate benefit of the red meat sector. . .
Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) shows there were 50 less farm sales (-15.1%) for the three months ended March 2020 than for the three months ended March 2019. Overall, there were 281 farm sales in the three months ended March 2020, compared to 329 farm sales for the three months ended February 2020 (-14.6%), and 331 farm sales for the three months ended March 2019. 1,216 farms were sold in the year to March 2020, 15.9% fewer than were sold in the year to March 2019, with 32.6% less Dairy farms, 14.3% less Grazing farms, 26.1% less Finishing farms and 14.1% less Arable farms sold over the same period.
The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to March 2020 was $21,130 compared to $23,383 recorded for three months ended March 2019 (-9.6%). The median price per hectare increased 2.7% compared to February 2020. . .
Smithfield Foods, the world’s biggest pork processor, said on Sunday it will shut a U.S. plant indefinitely due to a rash of coronavirus cases among employees and warned the country was moving “perilously close to the edge” in supplies for grocers.
Slaughterhouse shutdowns are disrupting the U.S. food supply chain, crimping availability of meat at retail stores and leaving farmers without outlets for their livestock.
Smithfield extended the closure of its Sioux Falls, South Dakota, plant after initially saying it would idle temporarily for cleaning. The facility is one of the nation’s largest pork processing facilities, representing 4% to 5% of U.S. pork production, according to the company. . .
AgResearch has developed a more accurate calculation of the nitrous oxide emissions from sheep, beef and dairy production, which shows that nitrous oxide emissions are two thirds and one third respectively lower than previously thought.
The new nitrous oxide measurement will reduce each sector’s total greenhouse gas emission by the following:
Total sheep emissions (including methane and nitrous oxide emissions) will be around 10.6 percent lower than previously reported.
Total beef cattle emissions (including methane and nitrous oxide emissions) will be 5.0 percent lower than previously reported. . .
It’s not business as usual for vets — despite what the public’s perception might be, Oamaru vet Simon Laming says.
Mr Laming, of Veterinary Centre Ltd, which has clinics throughout the region, expressed concerns about the services the business should continue to offer, and the public perception of continuing to operate as an essential service.
A visit from police recently followed a complaint from a member of the public who had seen two people in one of the Veterinary Centre’s trucks.
What had been difficult to establish was exactly what services should be offered as guidelines were not very specific, Mr Laming said. . .
New Zealand’s meat processing sector will need more time if it is to meet proposed targets for renewable energy, says the Meat Industry Association (MIA).
Sirma Karapeeva, Chief Executive of the MIA, said the vast cost of converting coal-fired boilers to alternative heating by the proposed deadline of 2030 would place huge pressure on an industry that is already facing significant headwinds.
If the proposals go ahead in their current form, the sector would not be able to absorb the estimated $80 million capital cost of converting to direct electric, heat pump or biomass options in such a short time frame. . .
Teams of employees in Wattie’s factories in Hawke’s Bay, Christchurch and Auckland have been working as never before to help keep supermarkets stocked in their efforts to satisfy consumer demand in these unprecedent times of the Covid-19 crisis.
The range of products include Wattie’s tomato sauce, Wattie’s baked beans & spaghetti, soups and canned and frozen meals, frozen peas and mixed vegetables, and dips. On top of these are the seasonal products like peaches, pears and beetroot.
All this while, the country’s largest tomato harvesting and processing season is underway in Hawke’s Bay. Harvesting started on February 21 and is scheduled to continue until April 22. With social distancing requirements extending to the fields, the job of harvest operators can become very lonely with 12-hour shifts. . .
How to be a bloody good boss workshops are being run throughout New Zealand by the Dairy Women’s Network.
Delivered in conjunction with DairyNZ, PaySauce and Primary ITO, these four hour information workshops will cover the whole recruitment process.
The five employment pillars of skills needed on farm, recruitment, the interview process, contracts and orientation will be discussed in these sessions designed to support the Good Boss campaign that was launched last month in Wellington. . .
New Zealand AgriFood Week is enlisting several international thought-leaders to address the Week’s 2020 theme, ‘bringing brand New Zealand home.’
The week-long series of events, workshops and forums across the Manawatū covers the intersection between agriculture, science, food and technology and runs from March 16 to 22.
Adding international perspective to some of New Zealand’s biggest agri-food challenges is Dr Jessica de Koning, a rural sociologist from Wageningen University speaking on strengthening rural communities in the face of regulatory and environmental challenges. . .
The Okuku Range is a cluster of hills 900m-1100m high, rising from the northern limit of the Canterbury Plains and treading north-westwards to meet the foothills of the Puketekari Range. Jack grew up in the Okuku Pass which runs between it.
I used to walk down to the White Rock limeworks to talk to the people over there or the men on the station, but I suppose I was a lonely kid in a lot of ways. I’d sit on the tractor with our neighbour Harry Gudex – helping with the farmwork. Used to go there for mercy every now and again. I was a loner but I enjoyed the men – seemed to get on with them and they didn’t seem to worry too much what I did.
For six weeks each summer from 1932 to 1934, we went to a holiday house at Leithfield Beach. But it was an awful place, with no conveniences whatsoever – an outside loo, kerosene lamps and primus cooker. I was absolutely infuriated with this – couldn’t stand the salt water or the sea, and I was a permanent pest there… perennially in trouble. Whenever we were there I couldn’t get back to the shearing quick enough. I loved it in the shed – flat out with the men – cutting dags off wool, whatever I could find. . .
With the new season’s SunGold kiwifruit licensing tender due to open next month, expectations are that orchardist interest in the 750ha area being made available will be at least as strong as last year.
Last year’s SunGold allocation of planting rights averaged $290,000 a hectare, with a number of orchardists missing out on their desired allocation simply due to over demand for the popular planting option.
Snow Williams, Bayleys specialist rural and kiwifruit agent based in Te Puke says he would not be surprised to see the licence values at least match or even exceed last year’s values. . .
As the country’s front-line export sector, NZ agriculture is bearing the brunt of the global trade slowdown. ANZ Bank’s chief economist Sharon Zollner says the human and economic damage from the Covid-19 outbreak is taking a heavy toll on sentiment in the agriculture sector.
“Our best hope is that the disruption proves short-lived but there is not question the export-oriented sector is reeling”.
Authorities such as Keith Woodford believe NZ, as well as most of the world, will head into recession. Woodford contends the key issue becomes rapid support for those who lose their employment.
He sees a “considerable risk” that the government and Reserve Bank will use the wrong macro tools. . .
The present has caught up with AgResearch’s Future Footprint plans which are now a thing of the past. It is now going it alone at Lincoln but collaborating with Massey University in Palmerston North and will keep its centres at Ruakura and Invermay. Neal Wallace reports.
AGRESEARCH has abandoned elements of its Future Footprint proposal begun eight years ago and will keep its four national campuses but expand two.
The original plan was to severely downsize its Invermay campus near Dunedin and Ruakura in Hamilton with the focus on centres at Lincoln and Palmerston North.
Acting chief executive Tony Hickmott says the plan now is to retain all four sites and construct new buildings at Palmerston North, which is under way, and Lincoln. . .
One of the agritech sector’s international leading lights in venture financing has given New Zealand an unequivocal thumbs-up for its ability to punch above its weight in the competitive global scene.
Addressing delegates at the EvokeAg agritech expo in Melbourne, Silicon Valley investment and tech firm SVG Ventures founder John Harnett said he is seeing more NZ agritech start-ups meeting farmers on the ground and integrating well with them to find solutions to their problems.
He also urged Australian counterparts to move further afield in the way NZ, Israel and Irish agritech entrepreneurs have done. . .
A photo shared on The Country’s Facebook page showing severe drought in the Waikato region has struck a chord with one Australian farmer.
After seeing NIWA weather forecaster Chris Brandolino’s post, which featured Sarah Fraser’s sobering image of parched fields, Cindy Bruce left a heartfelt message of support for her Kiwi counterparts.
Bruce, who runs a beef and wheat farm in Central inland Queensland, said the drought had so far cost her over $100k in feed and lost cows and calves, along with a failed wheat crop “which ironically, provided feed for the cows in October”. . .
New ideas of what equates to ‘premium’ in red meat are expected to change significantly in coming years, according to a new report from Beef+Lamb (B+LNZ). The traditional characteristics of premium today are marbling and exotic provenance such as Japanese Wagyu, which has been stable for some time.
So says the report called ‘Shaping the future of New Zealand’s Red Meat Sector’ released late last year.
For the Iberian Pig farming system, the so called dehesa landscape is used, an agroecosystem mainly associated with trees of the genus Quercus. The evergreen oak (Quercus ilex rotundifolia) is the priority specie covering 70% of the dehesa surface. https://t.co/XO0MpyvXaxpic.twitter.com/ZBttRIcns8
1. Introduction The dehesa is an ancient agrosilvopastoral system created by farmers to raise livestock, mainly on private lands. This system is highly appreciated by society and enjoys legal protection of the authorities because it is rich in biodiversity, a home to critically endangered species (Iberian lynx, imperial eagle and black vulture); a significant carbon sink; ethnologically and anthropologically valuable (culture and traditions); and is known for its scenic value. The dehesa also underpins rural development and is valuable for, inter alia, ecotourism and rural tourism; hunting and shooting; fire prevention; wood and charcoal; and for fodder (grass and acorns). However, most of these values do not produce any benefit to farmers and they do not receive any kind of support from these contributions.
The dehesa is both a resilient and a fragile system; its resilience derives from the perseverance of its operators, and its fragility is its susceptibility to unfavourable economic factors that influence its profitability (Siebold, 2009). . .
New Zealand Merino chief executive John Brakenridge has seen the future of the primary sector and pioneered many of its elements well in advance of most farmers, their processors and exporters.
Few people in NZ can claim the transformation of a primary industry through their life’s work and fewer still have taken the principles uncovered beyond their home industry for the betterment of the sector.
All that has been done by Brakenridge’s ideas, enthusiasm, business relationships and persistence.
The forging of long-term supply contracts between wool growers and apparel brands like . .
A Northland farming family is adding value and creating extra income by supplying milk in glass bottles direct to customers. Jenny Ling reports.
Far North sharemilkers Gav Hogarth and Jody Hansen knew they needed a plan B when Fonterra announced a forecast milk payout with a three in front of it.
The couple had been milking their herd of pedigree Jerseys on a conventional, twice-daily milking system for five years at their Kawakawa farm when the dairy co-operative dropped the milk payout from $4.15 a kilogram of milksolids to $3.90 in early 2016.
“At $3 you’re not making any money and farming is not sustainable at that level,” Gav says.
“The options were either I went back to work or we would have to borrow money to feed the cows,” Jody says. . .
Our wardrobes are growing, which comes as no surprise given fibre production for clothing and the amount of clothes produced, is on the rise. But, like most things in life, we have options. Consumers have the power to choose what they wear and this choice can ultimately have a huge impact on what designers, brands and retailers produce.
For many, it may come as a surprise that our love for clothing is putting a strain on the environment. And with phrases such as “climate crisis” becoming the new normal, it’s time for individuals to pay attention to everyday habits. One small action, as insignificant as it may seem, can cumulatively have enormous impact. From wearing our clothes for longer, doing laundry less frequently, or paying attention to what our clothes are actually made of, consumers have the power to make a difference and influence brands’ business decisions.
This report examines consumer wardrobe and laundry behaviours, offering solutions to help reduce our impact on the environment every day. . .
East Cape farmers Rob and Mary Andrews appreciate the opportunities they have been given by people who they have worked for in the past and they enjoy returning the favour to others, as Colin Williscroft discovered.
As the first place in the world to see the sun as it rises every day Mount Hikurangi is on a few bucket lists.
But few people venture to Pakihiroa Farms, about 20km inland from Ruatoria, where Rob and Mary Andrews live and work and which includes the mountain in its boundaries.
The farm is in an isolated spot in a part of the country that does not attract a lot of passing traffic, given it’s not on the way for most New Zealanders. . .
An artificial insemination run is just one of many things a West Coast farmer has up her sleeve to generate extra income for the farm. Cheyenne Nicholson reports.
RUNNING an Airbnb, milking 140 cows and raising two small children keep Hokitika 50:50 sharemilkers Thomas and Hannah Oats busy.
And if that isn’t enough, Hannah, in a bid expand her skills, to benefit their own business and generate some extra income has trained and qualified to become an artificial insemination technician. . .
Twelve hectares of cherry trees planted in September at Mt Pisa Station, Central Otago complete the first stage of a $15.5 million cherry project by the horticultural investment firm Hortinvest.
Mt Pisa Station’s landowners, the MacMillan family, are among the investors who underwrote the planting. The sheep and beef business has set aside 80ha of prime pastoral land for the venture as it diversifies into horticulture.
The orchard will produce cherries for export from the summer of 2021-2022. . .
An Invercargill Blue River Dairy manager believes the company is changing the face of the New Zealand dairy industry and recent recognition adds support to such a view.
Earlier this week, the Southland-based company received awards for fastest-growing manufacturing business and fastest-growing exporter at the Deloitte Fast 50 Awards, held in Auckland, which ranks the country’s fastest-growing businesses.
The company was also announced as the fifth-fastest-growing business overall. . .
People see the serrated leaves and the fuzzy buds from afar, but it’s the familiar smell wafting over the field that seals the deal.
They pack a not-so-brilliant idea into their heads and scramble to yank the hardy plants right from the soil. Back home, they light up and sit sober in the smoke, writing off their heist as a bunch of dank weed.
Hemp resembles marijuana, its much more psychoactive cousin, in just about every way except one: It probably won’t get you high. People in the US state of Pennsylvania caught stealing hemp still haven’t figured that out. . .
Fonterra directors Donna Smit and Andy Macfarlane have been returned to the co-op’s board after retiring by rotation.
Shareholders Scott Montgomerie and Ellen Bartlett were elected unopposed to the directors’ remuneration committee and Ian Brown was elected unopposed as the Fonterra farmer custodian trustee, Fonterra said.
All successful candidates will take office at the close of Fonterra’s annual meeting in Invercargill on Thursday. . .
Oamaru Meats is still working through the problems that forced it to shut down in September.
The company, owned by China’s BX Foods, stopped all processing after access for its beef to China was suspended.
Director Richard Thorp said about 140 staff were stood down while managers worked with New Zealand and Chinese authorities to regain the lost access.
A Ministry for Primary Industries spokesman said the suspension was not related to food safety issues and applied “only to Oamaru Meats and not to exports from any other New Zealand meat establishments”. . .
I have written before about how much we love our shedding sheep. We love our Wiltshires from a distance because they never really need any hands-on work. Wiltshires don’t need shearing, dagging or tailing.
Our Wiltshires were “bred up” from minimally shepherded Perendales by the previous occupants of our land. They stag leap over fences at the very sight of us. Because of this, we have also discovered that we can forgo drenching and almost all other forms of handling. From my window, I can see the ewes roaming over the hills in the distance with troupes of energetic lambs bouncing behind them. That is about as close as I will get until it is time to draft the lambs for their big OE. . .
Livestock farmers feel “under siege” from a barrage of negativity over climate change, agricultural emissions, healthy diets and veganism – and they urged a more balanced discussion about more sustainable meat production.
In recent months, the under-fire industry has been highlighted as a key component of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions, sparking discussions on the global impact of farm animals on the environment, and debates about whether meat-free diets could be part of the solution to global warming.
It added to the ethical arguments of a vocal vegan movement, endorsed by influential celebrities like Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, who recently sparked controversy by saying adopting a vegan diet is the “only way to truly save our planet”. . .
An independent Technical Advisory Group (TAG) believes achieving eradication of Mycoplasma bovis is still feasible.
The group’s latest report was released yesterday by the Ministry for Primary Industries in which it supported the changes the M. bovis programme had made over the past six months.
Given available data, achieving biological freedom from M. bovis was feasible provided the number of undetected infected herds was not large, infection had not established and spread within the non-dairy sector, and that the rate of transmission to new herds was reduced via continued shortening in the intervals from infection to application of movement controls, it said. . .
Southland farmers are community and spiritual leaders in the Islamic community. They put their faith above everything and answered the call to help after the Christchurch mosque shootings. They talk to Sonita Chandar about their experiences and farming.
On Friday March 15 Invercargill farmer and imam of the world’s southernmost mosque, Reza Abdul-Jabbar, was delivering his weekly sermon when a worshipper’s phone rang.
Until then it had been super quiet, as it usually is during the service.
He reminded the man it was a time for silence, not to take the call and continued.
Faced with all manner of economic worries — from Trump to freshwater policies — where might investors put their hard-won savings in the hope of a better than deposit rate return? Might cherries — the horticultural darling of the moment in Central Otago — be the answer? Mark Price sought out two opinions.
Ross and Sharon Kirk are cherry industry consultants trading as Hortinvest Ltd. They have the biggest netted orchard under management in Central Otago (close to 40ha), and are in the process of planting two 80ha, ‘‘fully-netted’’ development
Suitability for Central Otago
Q: What are the basic requirements for cherries to thrive?
A: Low rainfall over harvest, good winter chilling, reasonable soils (nutrient), adequate water, reasonable shelter from wind, and netting (to keep out birds).
Q: Which requirements does Central Otago meet?
A: All of the above, although the bird netting is expensive. . . .
Well we’ve put some runs on the board. A little early for us but I think these maybe the first bales made in our little part of the NI high country. Perfect day for it. pic.twitter.com/henc4cbbCC
North Canterbury farmers Melissa and Hayden Cowan have a small flock of rare black-nosed Swiss Valais sheep.
Often referred to as the “cutest sheep in the world” this distinctive breed with black face and ears, curly forelocks and spotted knees and hocks originate in the mountains of the Valais area of Switzerland.
They imported their first embryos from the UK in 2018 and from the 32 embryos 18 live lambs were born so there’s no guarantee they’ll work. The embryos cost $2000 a pop so it’s a quite an investment. .
A team of agricultural innovators wants to help farmers take clever ideas to market across at least 100,000ha of mixed Kiwi farmland. Tim Fultonreports.
The self-described social enterprise-plus, Leftfield Innovation, is helping farmers explore alternative land uses and contracts.
Funding the enterprise mostly from trust grants, processing companies, farmers and science funds the co-founders Nick Pyke and Susan Goodfellow and four colleagues are exploring commercial opportunities for farmers to convert low-yield farmland to grow high-yield crops. . . .
With data scientists and software developers at their disposal Jo Kerslake and Mark Teviotdale from AbacusBio are keen to help farmers understand their on-farm emissions.
When Kerslake heard the call for projects from the Rural Innovation Lab she applied without a clear picture of what an end product could look like.
“We were a little unsure about what farmers wanted to know,” she said. . .
Always fun having a side by side paddock trial. Prophet and Wintermax triticale in Pukekohe. Significant annual DM production when this follows and is followed by a 20t DM/ha maize crop pic.twitter.com/syH1YAOhRx
New Zealand’s wallaby problem could become a full-blown plague unless efforts to control them are ramped up and ‘shortsighted’ hunters start playing by the rules.
Forest and Bird says the pests could spread to cover a third of the country unless the Government steps in to fund a beefed-up control programme.
Central North Island regional manager Rebecca Stirnemann said wallabies were like giant rabbits, eating their way through native bush, damaging tussock grasslands and devouring pasture and young pine trees. . .
Farmers are being hamstrung by well-meaning but poorly targeted regulation, writes Simon Davies of Otago Federated Farmers.
Today, while crutching my breeding rams, I was considering the latest policy package from central government.
To be fair there was not a lot of constructive thought undertaken, as this task is a fairly intense activity as those of you who have done it know. For those of you who have not, crutching rams (removing the wool around the tail and between the legs for hygiene purposes) is a bit like wrestling 80 to 100kg sacks of potatoes that fight back.
As I was struggling with a sore back, the term hamstrung came to mind. . .
People don’t appreciate how difficult it is to change farm systems quickly, says Pāmu chief executive Steven Carden.
“They are difficult biological systems and people who are not in farming expect you to be able to switch on the new system overnight,” he told Dairy News.
“It takes a long time to get those changes right, to embed the new technologies in farm systems to make them work effectively. Farmers fundamentally are small business people who can’t risk their entire business with a big shift in how they operate one year to the next. . .
Finally a bit of heat. Been lucky with no rain but temperatures have been cold and slow growth rates. Even got cows in wearing a tshirt pic.twitter.com/C26PfUggnD
Public perceptions of farming are more positive than farmers think, a survey shows.
“The strong theme we have heard from farmers in the past is that they do not feel well-liked by their urban counterparts. However, when you poll the general population, this is simply not true,” UMR research executive director Marc Elliot says.
UMR surveyed more than 1000 people last month and found the response at odds with the view held by many in primary industries.
New Zealanders are almost five times as likely to hold a positive view of sheep and beef farming than a negative one, the research showed. . .
How do candidates standing for the Otago Regional Council see the future of farming in Otago? That question and others has been posed to all candidates by Southern Rural Life ahead of next month’s local body election. It is shaping up to be an interesting election, with 28 people vying for 12 positions.
All candidates were asked by Southern Rural Life to respond to the following questions and their responses are below (responses were not received from Matt Kraemer, Andrew Noone, Gail May-Sherman and Gordon Dickson)
Question 1 Why are you standing for council?
Question 2 How do you see the future of farming in Otago?
Question 3 Good management practice and improvements to some farming activities will be needed if Otago’s water aspirations are to be achieved. What approach to regulation and rules do you support and where do you think partnerships, incentives and industry support might fit in (if at all)?
Question 4 Do you think there should be discretion for regional councils to determine local solutions for local issues or should a centralized response always apply instead? . . .
Like my family before me, and following after me, I’ve always taken great pride in being a dairy farmer, and in the reputation of the New Zealand dairy industry internationally.
My husband and I grew up in a generation where we had the opportunity to buy a farm and build our livelihoods on the land as our family had before us. It has been a privilege to forge an incredible career as a dairy farmer. My husband, Louis, and I are both award-winning dairy farmers and we’re proud of the mark we’ve made on the industry.
Sadly, the outlook for New Zealand’s primary sector is the worst that I’ve seen in my lifetime. I don’t make this strong statement lightly, nor to scaremonger – but rather to reflect the policy settings under a virtue-signalling government which is setting the dairy industry up for failure. As a rural MP, but more importantly as a farmer, I won’t sit back and allow the ladder to be pulled up behind future generations of New Zealanders wanting to pave their way in the farming sector. . .
Tributes are flowing in from around the world in memory of Dannevirke shearing identity Koropiko Tumatahi (Koro) Mullins, who died suddenly on Monday at the age of 65.
Mr Mullins was known across all aspects for the shearing industry and sports, from shearer and shearing contractor to a frontman commentating role shearing great Sir David Fagan says set the standard on a global scale.
Born and raised in the Rotorua area, and of Te Arawa stock, he met the-then Mavis Paewai when he was a woolpressing teenager working for her brothers and father in Southern Hawke’s Bay.
It sparked what Fagan says was a unique family involvement and commitment to the shearing and wool industry, becoming the basis of Maori Television series Shear Bro which first aired in July last year. . .
Farming families and communities keen to do the right thing on water should not lose hope and confidence in the consultation process, says a Canterbury dairy farmer and industry leader.
The Government’s proposed nitrogen target for mid Canterbury isn’t attainable, says Colin Glass.
But that is no reason to give up on the consultation process, he says. “It looks as though there is nothing we could do today that would even come close to achieving that target. It simply means that if that target is not amended, farming as we know it today is not possible. Any form of farming.
“The key thing is that farmers are doing the right thing. Everyone is moving in the right direction. Now is not the time for people to lose faith or confidence in the process. . .
Climate change policies, the Billion Tree initiative and recent news promote the establishment of extensive pine plantations to benefit Aotearoa New Zealand’s climate change response by sinking carbon. Others have questioned the benefit of short-rotation plantation pines compared to natural regeneration of native forests. Whilst afforestation has an important role in New Zealand’s climate change response, we need to be clear about future implications.
There are both native and introduced tree species that grow fast and others that grow more slowly. Consider along with the speed of sequestration, the total carbon stocks that can be accumulated, and how long sequestration rates can be sustained. These rates depend on whether the forest is permanent and allowed to grow to maturity (i.e. not harvested) or harvested.
Fast-growing trees such as pines or eucalypts in harvested plantations reach their maximum carbon storage capacity in about 20 years. Landowners then lose most of those carbon stocks when the forest is harvested; NZ loses most of the embedded carbon when logs are exported; furthermore, the globe loses most of those stocks back into the atmosphere as the products decay, as well as through associated emissions from forest management, transport and processing. Thus to store more carbon actually requires another forest to be planted on new land that is not already forested, while also continuing to replant and maintain the previous area in forest to recover the lost carbon stocks. That is, plantation areas will need to be doubled in size with every crop. . .
Waikato dairy farmer Christopher Falconer is parked up on his farm looking out over the wetlands as he talks about mitigating the effects of climate change.
“I don’t make climate change-based decisions for what we do on-farm. I don’t. But as it happens, there’s a great deal of overlap between what is good for the climate, and what is good for all sorts of other things.”
Take riparian planting, the practice of growing plants alongside waterways. The goal is to mitigate nutrient loss and subsidence and stream bank erosion, but it’s also an effective carbon capture.
Fonterra’s delay in announcing its results, driven by Fonterra’s need for discussions with its auditors about appropriate asset values, provides an opportunity to reflect on Fonterra’s capital structure and whether it is still fit for purpose. The simple answer is that it is not.
The value destruction that has occurred and which is now coming to light means that inherent conflicts between the interests of farmer shareholders and investor unitholders have become too great to be papered over. Co-operatives do not survive long-term unless everyone’s interests align.
Two former directors of Fonterra, Colin Armer and Nicola Shadbolt, have both come out recently and said that reworking Fonterra’s capital structure is not the immediate priority. I agree with them. The immediate and urgent priority is to sell assets and create a new slimmed-down and financially-efficient organisational structure, with many fewer high-paid executives. . .
Attracting the best and brightest minds is and remains one of the international meat industry’s top priorities and for Sam Hitchman – a physicist in an industry dominated by biological researchers – the quest to attract new talent has paid off.
The AgResearch scientist recently won the International Meat Secretariat (IMS) Prize for Young Talent in Meat Science and Technology at the International Congress of Meat Science and Technology (ICoMST) near Berlin, Germany.
Sam Hitchman, who is a postdoctoral research fellow in AgResearch’s Meat Quality team, says he was thrilled with the recognition, while adding he didn’t feel “young” – as his award would suggest – upon his return to New Zealand. . .
It was just a few months ago that experts were declaring the end of meat. Earlier this year, consultancy firm AT Kearney predicted that by 2040, animal products will have become so socially and environmentally unacceptable that most “meat” eaten across the globe will come in the form of plant-based or lab-grown substitutes.
But a major study released this week just might put the brakes on the rapidly accelerating plant-based trend. According to Oxford University research, published in the British Medical Journal, vegetarians and vegans have a 20 per cent higher risk of stroke than those who regularly tuck into a plate of bacon and sausages.
The authors of the study, which tracked almost 50,000 Britons for 18 years, said this might be because veggies did not have enough cholesterol in their blood. The finding flies in the face of much conventional wisdom, which says that vegetarianism is a healthy alternative to a carnivorous lifestyle.
But nutritionists say the increased risk of stroke is just one of the many health risks that any would-be vegetarian should be made aware of before they take the plunge. . .
The time has come to reduce aspects of Fonterra’s regulatory burden, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Todd Muller says.
National opposed the Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment (DIRA) Bill at its first reading.
Competitive pressure — rather than half-baked regulation — should drive the dairy market forward, Muller says.
“National believes it is vital we have an efficient and innovative dairy industry that supports the long term interests of farmers and consumers. This means having a strong Fonterra, strong smaller manufacturers and a robust domestic liquid milk and retail market.” . . .
Empowering farmers working through the Mycoplasma bovis process involves Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) regional managers Charlotte Austin and Lydia Pomeroy working long hours.
But, as a way of being prepared to fight for their cases and keeping up to date with the issues, it is something they are only too happy to do.
”We certainly lose sleep, but we also understand that it’s not nearly as big an impact on us.
”That’s why we will quite happily work a 12, 13 or 14-hour day ‘cos we understand that these individuals are living it,” said Ms Austin, speaking to media after the recent Mid Canterbury Mycoplasma bovis Advisory Group meeting in Ashburton.
Included in the group are others from MPI, Federated Farmers, Canterbury District Health Board, Rural Support Trust Mid Canterbury and Ashburton District Council. . .
Food and fibre is the most “activist disrupted” sector globally, second only to petroleum, says KPMG’s global head of agribusiness, Ian Proudfoot.
“People desperately want us to grow more food, but how it’s being grown is challenging people and causing them to think clearly about what they expect,” Proudfoot said.
He told the Silver Fern Farms annual farmers’ conference that they could choose to see disruption as either a threat or an opportunity.
The fourth industrial revolution is underway, melding the biological, physical and digital, he said. . .
I have a real interest in growing maize. Yet to determine exactly why, but maybe there are so many hybrids available it’s like choosing a racehorse? It’s perceived as a simple crop, but there are so many options out there to increase yield and quality that are commonly missed pic.twitter.com/Q3CKj7iDjB
Climate change is a hefty challenge, and sheep and beef farmers feel its effects in more frequent floods and extreme droughts.
This is why Beef + Lamb New Zealand (BLNZ) backs the objectives of the Zero Carbon Bill and why – as a sector – we’ve already announced a target to be net carbon neutral by 2050.
BLNZ backs the Government’s targets of net zero by 2050 for the long lived gases CO2 and N2O. Getting CO2 under control is critically important because fossil fuel emissions will ultimately affect whether or not the world succeeds in combating climate change. . .
New Zealand faces several climate change challenges, thanks to being an island nation and having an economy that relies on primary production.
One solution to our country’s challenges being touted at the moment is the planting of even more pine trees as forest sinks to offset our carbon emissions.
Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Simon Upton has raised questions about this approach, saying that ‘our open-ended use of forests to license further carbon emissions will needlessly delay the critical transition to eliminating carbon altogether’ (New Zealand Listener, 6 July 2019).
Native forest currently covers 7.8 billion hectares while pine forest covers 1.7 billion. . .
Despite the hype surrounding Vodafone’s launch of the next cellphone technology, it risks a serious downside to thousands of rural broadband users, according to the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA.NZ).
“Vodafone and its competitors are putting huge pressure on Government to reallocate radio spectrum so they can run 5G more cost-effectively,” WISPA Chairman Mike Smith says.
“However, some of the spectrum the mobile companies are trying to claim is already used commercially by about 30 regional WISPs, who collectively service many tens of thousands of rural customers. These customers are farms who use the Internet for business management, rural kids who use it for study, and rural people who depend on it for social inclusion. Most can’t get Internet any other way. . .
Speculators have pushed North Island store lamb prices 35c/kg above the same time last year despite winter slaughter prices being similar to last year.
Affco’s recent $9/kg contract for prime lambs appears to have hyped the store market even though AgriHQ analyst Nicola Dennis says other meat companies are offering winter slaughter prices that mirror last year’s at about $7.50 to $7.80/kg.
The contract is available only in August to Affco clients who have been regular suppliers and applies only to stock processed at North Island plants. . .
It’s easy to see what the small central North Island town of Ohakune is famous for. On the outskirts of the town is a huge carrot and a children’s play area based on this popular vegetable.
Peter Burke reports on a vegetable grower who has helped enhance the town’s great reputation.
Ron Frew started growing carrots in 1967, just after coming home to Ohakune from completing his university degree. Since then, he and his family have built up a huge farming business which includes growing carrots and potatoes.
They also have a dairy farm and a large sheep and beef property running 25,000 breeding ewes and 650 breeding cows. . .
Atta boy Norman 💪 You're a natural at this teaser lark, follows for a day before they're in heat so I've time to bring them away from him. He did get the chance to attempt putting Jenny incalf last Sunday though, we were all too busy with the Americans 🙈 pic.twitter.com/DeclsZvv9s
Increased protein competition in China is being cited by Rabobank as something to watch as strong demand for beef from China drives up export returns.
In Rabobank’s latest Agribusiness Monthly report, animal protein and sustainability analyst Blake Holgate said the China Meat Association had announced the Chinese government would be expanding its sourcing of animal protein products in an attempt to replace the lost pork production that had resulted from the African Swine Fever outbreak.
That might include allowing imports of Indian buffalo and lifting the current ban on UK beef. There were also reports of an increase in the number of international meat facilities being accredited for export into China. . .
In his recent interview with Allan Savory, the high profile biologist and farmer who argues that properly managing grazing animals can counter climate chaos, George Monbiot reasonably asks for proof. Where I believe he strays into the unreasonable, is in asserting that there is none.
Savory’s argument, which counters popular conceptions, is that more livestock rather than fewer can help save the planet through a concept he calls “holistic management.” In brief, he contends that grazing livestock can reverse desertification and restore carbon to the soil, enhancing its biodiversity and countering climate change. Monbiot claims that this approach doesn’t work and in fact does more harm than good. But his assertions skip over the science and on the ground evidence that say otherwise. . .
A liking for a particular food on a foreign trip is paying dividends for Dan and Jacqui Cottrell and providing extra income for their Taihape farm. They told Andrew Stewart how they discovered quinoa and set about growing it in the central North Island.
Dan and Jacqui Cottrell didn’t realise an overseas adventure would change their lives forever.
The year was 2012 and the couple were making the most of their South American odyssey when they had an epiphany in Peru.
They had been eating a lot of quinoa, of which 80% of the global supply is grown in Peru, on their trip. . .
Farmers want dairy industry regulations to apply equally to all milk processors in New Zealand.
They still want an end to the open entry/exit provisions of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA) and an end to Fonterra providing subsidised raw milk to rival processors.
However, in proposed DIRA changes the Government has retained the open entry provisions but has allowed Fonterra the right to refuse milk from suppliers who are “not compliant with the co-op rules and from new dairy conversions”. . .
Fruit size is providing the headwind to the new kiwifruit season while taste is the tailwind thanks to an exceptional late season ripening period that has left Zespri marketers with a paradigm for foreign markets.
Zespri’s grower alliance manager David Courtney said Green fruit size this season is 2.5 sizes smaller than usual and SunGold two sizes down on usual with the long, dry, ripening period scaling fruit down but pushing up drymatter levels to create exceptionally well flavoured fruit.
“We have had one grower who has been growing kiwifruit for 40 years who said he has never reported better drymatter levels in his crop.” . .
A large-scale dairy conversion farm – complete with a huge lake-like reservoir –which has seen primary sheep and beef production replaced over the past decade in favour of milking, has been placed on the market for sale.
Strathallan Station some 26-kilometres north-west of Gisborne is a 1,213-hectare property currently milking a herd of 1,000 cows. Towards the centre of the property is a two-and-a-half-metre-deep ‘reservoir’ lake large enough for recreational kayaking and duck hunting. The reservoir sustains not only the farm’s irrigation needs, but also its milk shed requirements. . .
While much has been made of the prospects for robots harvesting kiwifruit and other orchards, one packing company has invested heavily this season in robotic technology in the pack house. Apata Group chief executive Stuart Weston outlined to Richard Rennie some of the smarts behind the country’s most robotised pack house, and what it heralds for the industry.
This year’s kiwifruit harvest is enduring another season with dire predictions of labour shortages coming at least partly true.
Most processing companies report an ongoing need for more staff, both pickers and in pack houses. . .
Trade expert Stephen Jacobi says he thinks New Zealand cheesemakers are rightly concerned about a European Union plan to protect the names of common cheeses.
It is a concern in the context of the EU-NZ free trade agreement negotiations, he says.
“The Europeans say they are not looking to penalise in any way the generic names,” Jacobi told Rural News. “They are saying they are only interested in the ones that have geographical connections.” . .
Supplies mishaps are plaguing the Lumsden and Te Anau maternity hubs that were meant to be up and running seven weeks ago, adding to concerns over giving birth in the region.
RNZ has been told pure oxygen – which poses a danger to babies when administered over long periods – was delivered to the Lumsden Maternal and Child Hub, while the Te Anau hub is still waiting for more equipment.
The news is adding to continued concerns over the emergency hubs, which are only meant to be used when expecting mothers are unable to reach a primary birthing centre in time. . .
Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker has again written to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after she promised to ‘take another look’ into the Lumsden Maternity Centre downgrade.
“I have written to the Prime Minister and asked for her findings as well as informing her of the second birth in the Lumsden area in just 11 days,” Mr Walker says.
“This could be a matter of life or death. All we have to do is look across the ditch to rural Queensland where since the downgrading of maternity services the death of babies in every 1000 is now at 23.3, compared with 6.1 in rural areas with obstetrics. . .
Farmers are bristling over any suggestion they had been slack about re-registering their farm locations in National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) in time for moving day on June 1.
Every person in charge of animals must re-register their NAIT location following a recent upgrade to the system.
Yet only one week out from moving day, the Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor released figures showing that about half of all dairy farms – 8000 out of 15,000 – had yet to re-register. . .
What is it that we can do to earn and improve our Social Licence? So many people in the primary sector have asked me this lately and this was precisely what I was wanting to be able to give them from my Kellogg research.
The answer, while no one quick fix, isn’t big either. It’s lots of little things. They require bravery, honesty and accountability, but it’s not going to cost you the world, just time. A resource that I know is probably just as precious, if not more, to farmers than money.
Hold onto your hats folks it could be a wild ride in the dairy industry but without all the fun of the fair.
There are so many things going on here and abroad that will influence not just farmgate milk prices but also input and compliance costs and thus, most importantly profits.
On the face of it things are looking up for the new season with rural economists predicting a starting price somewhere north of $7/kg MS.
But Fonterra, on the back of narrowing its 2018-19 forecast to the bottom end of its range at $6.30 to $6.40/kg MS has given a wide range for this season of $6.25-$7.25. Though the economists are optimistic Fonterra has set the advance rate at only $3.80/kg MS.
And we still don’t know any detail for Fonterra’s new strategy but we can take it from chief executive Miles Hurrell’s comments accompanying the third quarter results that it won’t be plain sailing for a couple of years yet. . .
One of New Zealand’s largest recorded ‘tree salvages’ has been hailed a success in the aftermath of the Pigeon Valley fire.
About 10,000 tonnes of burnt pine trees are being plucked from the ground for use in Canterbury construction projects, Nelson housing developments and to prevent future fires in Tasman.
It comes despite an initial race against time for Tasman Pine Forests, that own about 60 percent or or 14 sqkm of the fire-affected land.
After the fire was out, crews were faced with the task of extracting trees of varying ages and heights, some slightly charred at the base and others scorched to the tips, before beetles and bugs could begin to break them down. . .
National Lamb Day was celebrated on May 24 at the place where New Zealand’s frozen meat industry began 137 years ago – Totara Estate.
The historic farm just south of Oamaru prepared a shipment of lamb that arrived in Britain in pristine condition on May 24, 1882.
As Britain looked to its colonies to provide food for its surging population, wool prices here had collapsed by the end of the 1870s.
New Zealand’s huge sheep flocks were increasingly worthless, and the mutton was in such oversupply that it, too, was not valued. Britain represented a massive potential market, but getting the meat there before it went off was no small problem. . .
Rural women are underpaid and undervalued despite their multiple contributions to their farm, family, home and community, Fiona Gower says.
The national Rural Women New Zealand president spoke in Oamaru this month at a workshop called ”A Leading Voice”. Organised by local Rural Women members, it aimed to help women gain confidence, express themselves, and network with like-minded people.
Ms Gower said women’s input to the farm and household should be recognised by their peers and family.
And women should take the words ”just” and ”only” out of their vocabulary when describing themselves. . .
Good returns for store lambs and strong signals from the milling industry mean arable farmers are opting out of autumn feed grain plantings.
Growers are hunting out their best options and after a good year last year with lambs they are at the top of the priority list for many arable farmers again this year, Federated Farmers grains vice-chairman Brian Leadley said.
The market signals coming from the mills are also encouraging for New Zealand’s drive towards self-sufficiency. . .
Dairy Woman of the Year Trish Rankin has a message for all farmers: recycling systems work and it is worth doing your bit.
“There is a misconception that recycling just gets stockpiled somewhere,” Rankin told Rural News.
“Actually, it doesn’t. Everything that is sent to AgRecovery gets recycled. I think if people knew that they may take the time to triple rinse their containers and take them to their local AgRecovery depot to drop them off to recycle.” . .
Zespri’s returns to growers and the industry reached new levels on the back of strong growth in both volume and value and across all fruit categories last season, with operating revenue from global kiwifruit sales and licence release revenue exceeding $3 billion for the first time.
The results reflect continued strong international demand, with Zespri selling a total of 167.2 million trays of kiwifruit in 2018/19, a 21 percent increase on the 138.6 million trays sold in the previous season. Revenue generated by global kiwifruit sales and SunGold licence release increased by 26 percent to $3.14 billion. . .
When Adolf graduated from Lincoln as a valuer and farm consultant he went off to Australia and, by accident, fell into commerce where he remained for forty or so years. Many of my colleagues had come over and introduced Canterbury farming techniques. Some did very well, others not so well
I well remember a crusty old West Australian wheat cocky remarking that ‘those bastards charged us a fee for telling us when we would go broke. . .
Landowners considering planting trees need to question whether the benefits to their overall farming business are greater with the land in trees or in its existing use, RaboResearch sustainability analyst Blake Holgate says.
Government policy changes in forestry and climate change would make forestry a more appealing land-use option for some landowners. However, they should carefully consider a range of financial, strategic and environmental issues to ensure they made informed decisions, a new report by Rabobank said.
Mr Holgate, the report’s author, said there was “no one-size-fits-all” approach when deciding whether to plant trees.
It was important landowners gathered the appropriate information and sought expert advice to ensure the long-term implications of planting were well understood and any planting was done in the right place, with the right species for the right purpose. . .
Farmers want policy certainty and are petrified about “kneejerk popular politics” similar to what the Government did with the oil and gas industry, says National agriculture spokesman Nathan Guy.
“The agriculture community is very concerned that they could be next,” Guy told Rural News at the Rabobank Farm2Fork seminar in Sydney. “I am picking up at this conference, talking to Kiwi farmers, that there are already headwinds.
So while prices are looking quite good for our farmers, there are very strong headwinds coming at them, to do with water quality, biological emissions, biodiversity and, importantly, capital gains tax and environmental taxes. . .
Some avid gardeners swear playing music to plants helps accelerate their growth. Now researchers in Canterbury have found directing sound signals at soil could ultimately help improve its health, reduce nutrient losses and save farmers money.
AgResearch senior scientist Dr Val Snow and Auckland University acoustics physicist Professor Stuart Bradley and have been leading work into better understanding the link between sound, water and run-off. They told Richard Rennie about their work.
A joint research project between AgResearch and Auckland University scientists at the leading edge of technology is using sound waves to determine optimal irrigation levels.
Known as the Surface Water Assessment and Mitigation for Irrigation (SWAMI), the technology is being used to define a relationship between how sound waves bounce off the soil surface and controlling irrigation applications. . .
Promoting New Zealand’s horticulture and agriculture sectors as low-input, extensive, often grass-fed sources of food has become a leverage point for the industry, particularly red meat and dairy. But Nuffield scholar and business development manager Andy Elliot challenges it as an aspirational Aotearoa story. He wants to look harder at how products can earn more value through understanding consumers’ dietary and nutritional needs. He spoke to Richard Rennie.
As admirable as New Zealand’s extensive grass-fed farming system might be it’s not enough of a selling point to continue improving margins in an increasingly competitive international market, Nuffield scholar Andy Elliot says.
A year spent examining NZ’s path to markets has left him convinced a better approach is to re-evaluate why people eat, what they hope to get from food and what NZ products offer that others don’t. . .
Meat co-op Alliance Group has distributed $5.7 million in loyalty payments to key shareholders.
The quarterly payments have been made to the co-op’s Platinum and Gold shareholders who supply 100% per cent of their livestock to the company. Farmers are paid an additional 10c/kg for each lamb, 6c/kg for a sheep, 8.5c/kg for cattle and 10c/kg for deer.
The payments cover the period January-March 2019. . .