Rural round-up

July 7, 2018

Rural health wants tourists’ cash – Neal Wallace:

A rural South Canterbury general practitioner was paid $13 for each of the 150 emergency calls she made in the last year, a pay rate described by the Rural GP Network as a joke.

The network’s chief executive Dalton Kelly said with such low pay rates plus the demands on rural GPs it is understandable rural health professionals are leaving the sector, prompting a call for a portion of the proposed tourist tax to be directed to rural health services.

Kelly said rural GPs and nurses are regularly called to tend to sick and injured tourists and unlike an urban incident, patients cannot be transferred to someone else who is on call. . .

Trading times get challenging – Pam Tipa:

A trade expert has backed up comments by agricultural trade envoy Mike Petersen, who says New Zealand is facing its most challenging time in trade in 30 years.

Petersen told Rural News that the established rules on trade via the World Trade Organisation, particularly for agricultural products, are at risk from the US-China trade war.

While the products being targeted now are not NZ products, the risk of spillover into our products is very high, he says. . . 

Concerns over Mycoplasma bovis leave farmer confidence in the balance:

Concerns about the impact of Mycoplasma bovis disease on the country’s agricultural sector have seen New Zealand farmer confidence decline over the past quarter, the latest Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey has shown.

While farmer confidence remains at net positive levels, the overall reading dropped to +two per cent in the latest quarter, from +15 per cent in the previous survey. . .

A strong bull-seeking season in south – Nicole Sharp:

Prices are up and bull breeders are happy following a successful selling season.

Bull breeders throughout Southland and Otago have been hosting fellow farmers on farms for sales over the past couple of months.

PGG Wrightson livestock genetics representative Callum McDonald said sales came to a conclusion at the end of last month and there was positivity in the air.

”We have seen a great bull-selling season for the South, with high demand for quality bulls“ . . 

Hundreds gather to celebrate 50th anniversary of FMG Young Farmer of the Year:

Hundreds of people have celebrated the 50th anniversary of New Zealand’s longest-running agricultural contest.

The first FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final was held in Auckland in 1969.

Former winners and finalists were among a 400-strong crowd which gathered in Invercargill last night to mark the milestone.

“It’s amazing. It’s just like a school reunion isn’t it,” said Levin farmer Geoff Kane, 66, who won the national final in 1981. . .

Entire Northland school visits farm on paddock to plate learning journey

A national project is helping a Northland teacher combine her two passions of education and food production.

Natalie Lynch teaches a class of Years 5-8 students at Matakohe School in the Kaipara District.

Last week the small school’s entire roll of 47 pupils visited the farm of Marshall Walton in Whangarei.

“Watching a sheep being shorn, pressing a bale of wool in a manual press, and using the drafting gates was a new experience for everyone,” said Natalie. . . 

Omega lamb project update in third year:

The Omega Lamb Project is now in its third year and well over 100 restaurants in New Zealand and Hong Kong have had Te Mana Lamb on their menus.

The project builds on a decade-long scientific programme and breakthrough research. It found that the right combination of genetics, management and feeding can alter the fat profile of lamb and produce animals that are healthy, while delivering a tastier and healthier product.

Te Mana Lamb is higher in Omega-3 than other lamb available on the market.

Mark Williamson, general manager of the Omega Lamb Project, a collaboration between the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) under the Primary Growth Partnership, the farmer-owned Headwaters and leading food company Alliance Group, said Te Mana Lamb is being praised by chefs for its flavour and consistent eating quality. . . 

Fears for future of Scots beef and lamb production – Colin Ley:

The viability of beef and sheep production in Scotland is being threatened by a Scottish government climate change bill that includes a net zero greenhouse gas emissions target.

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) chairman Jim McLaren said that will make it virtually impossible for the country’s farmers to produce beef and lamb.

“Moving to net zero GHG emissions would be absolutely devastating for our livestock industry,” he told an industry meeting at the Royal Highland Show.  . . 

 


Rural round-up

May 1, 2018

Dr Terry Heiler’s prestigous career in water recognised with award:

One of New Zealand’s foremost experts in water management and irrigation has been recognised with an award from IrrigationNZ.

Dr Terry Heiler’s career has spanned 50 years and has seen him working in over twenty countries, and picking up two previous prestigious awards. Dr Heiler is now retired and lives near West Melton.

Dr Heiler was born Australia and gained a Civil Engineering Degree with the University of New South Wales. In 1967 he arrived in New Zealand. He initially worked for the NZ Agricultural Engineering Institute where he built a team of soil and water researchers. In 1982 he was appointed Director of the Institute. It worked to introduce new irrigation technology to New Zealand like drip irrigation, and pioneer new computer based design methods for storing flood runoff for irrigation. . . 

New hope for wool – Neal Wallace:

A new yarn made from strong crossbred wool and plant material is being developed by global giant DuPont Biomaterials for use in clothes, upholstery and carpets.

It is in the final stages and DuPont plans to use it at scale aiming at the mid to upper price bracket, global marketing director Renee Henze said on a visit to New Zealand supplier farms.

“The scale of opportunity for the NZ wool industry is massive,” Wools of NZ chairman Mark Shadbolt said though neither party is yet talking dollars or wool volumes. . . 

It’s a good time to be a banker – Hugh Stringleman:

New Zealand agriculture and horticulture and their support industries are enjoying sustained good returns in almost all products, newly appointed Rabobank NZ chief executive Todd Charteris says.

“It is a very good time to come back to NZ and lead the team to guide the clients of Rabobank in their banking needs,” he said.

The short to medium-term outlook for 2018 is for continued profitability onfarm and in the service sector, including good levels of conserved feed for next dairy season. . . 

New Zealand’s apple reputation on the line – Pam Tipa:

Maintaining New Zealand’s reputation for best quality will be tougher with a worker shortage, says Horticulture NZ president Julian Raine.

Optimum quality means picking at the right time so every tree gets picked three or four times, Raine told Rural News, in response to the Ministry of Social Development declaring a seasonal labour shortage across the Tasman region and its earlier declaration in Hawkes Bay.

Nelson-based Raine says seasonal fluctuations happen from time to time where more people are needed to pick fruit than are available. . . 

A tasty tiki tour for tourists:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand have commissioned a giant lamb chop to celebrate National Lamb Day – which takes place on Thursday 24 May. The giant chop set off this morning from Beef + Lamb HQ in Auckland on the maiden voyage of the ‘Lamb and Three Veg Tiki Tour’ which will go via some of the ‘tastier’ attractions across Aotearoa.

Starting at the giant kumara in Dargaville, the chop will pioneer a new tour route for tourists to follow, travelling via the iconic L&P bottle in Paeroa, the big carrot in Ohakune and onto the Wattie’s Pea Factory in Christchurch. . . 

The Search is on for New Zealand’s next top butcher:

Knives are being sharpened as the search begins for the best butchers in New Zealand, with entries for the 2018 Alto Butcher and ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice of the Year competition now open.

With the ability to put New Zealand’s butchers on the world stage, this prestigious competition is the Oscars of the meat industry.

The competition has been running for three decades now with the titles being highly sought after by competitors. . . 

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Rural round-up

March 30, 2018

P****d off Feds want straight thinking – Pam Tipa:

When people say New Zealand should be a leader in agricultural climate change technology and systems, Feds climate change spokesman Andrew Hoggard says he gets “pissed off”.

“We are already a leader, if you look at carbon footprint per km of land or per kilo of milk solids or whatever,” he told Dairy News.

“Most things we produce we are already producing at world’s best or we are setting the target for world’s best. I don’t know how much more of a leader you can be. . .

Methane not a villain:

Many people do not grasp that methane is a short-lived gas that recycles, says Feds climate change spokesman Andrew Hoggard.

This statement in the PCE report is important, he says: “Given its shorter lifetime, emitting methane will not [cause] the same irreversible inter-generational warming that carbon dioxide or the release of nitrous oxide have.”

“It was good to hear that being mentioned,” says Hoggard. . .

Pampered pets push venison prices:

A growing appetite for venison from a booming global pet food market has helped drive autumn venison schedules to record highs.

While schedule prices normally peak in spring, pampered pets have continued to push prices upward to an autumn peak of $11/kg.

Deer Industry New Zealand chief executive Dan Coup said the popularity of venison as a pet food component is driven by a worldwide shift in attitudes towards companion animals from owners who want the best for their pets.

That includes an increasing interest in feeding them natural paleo-type diets. . . 

‘Fitbit for cows’ set to revolutionise beef industry from paddock to plate – Tom major:

An electronic tracking ear tag being developed for cattle could forever change the way graziers manage both livestock and farmland.

Researchers from James Cook University (JCU) in Townsville are collaborating with the Queensland Department of Science, the CSIRO and commercial partner Ceres Tag to adapt GPS technology for small, affordable livestock ear tags.

Computational chemistry expert, Ian Atkinson said the project would ultimately enable more accurate assessment of livestock condition. . . 

What if Africa’s farmers had access to needed seed technology? – Gilbert Arap Bor:

We’ve been told by trusted media and researchers that Kenya is on the brink of accepting biotechnology in agriculture.  I’ve said it myself. And now, President Kenyatta appears to be saying the same.  Business Daily recently reported “President Uhuru Kenyatta is betting on mass production of genetically modified cotton to create 50,000 jobs.”  

Another recent report, this one by the Africa Center for Biosciences International (CABI) affirms that “agriculture is essential for sub-Saharan Africa’s economic growth and yet average crop yields in Africa are among the lowest in the world.  Over 80% rely on it but many face challenges in growing sufficient good quality produce”.

True, farmers know that some years are good and some years are bad. . . 

Morrisons promises all lamb sold over Easter will be British – Katie Grant:

Morrisons has pledged that all of the lamb it sells this Easter will be British. The supermarket said it had taken the decision not to offer lamb sourced from New Zealand or Australia over Easter after “listening to customers”.

Supporting British farmers

Over two thirds (68 per cent) of shoppers said they wanted to support British farmers, according to the results of a YouGov poll commissioned by Morrisons last year. . .


Rural round-up

February 28, 2018

Diverse entries recognised in Irrigation Innovation Awards :

A water race safety video for children, a GIS Database system helping farmers to meet environmental requirements and a new effluent screen which allows effluent to be more easily applied via centre pivot irrigators have been named as finalists in IrrigationNZ’s Irrigation Innovation Awards for 2018.

Be Water-Race Safe is a video for school age children developed by the Waitaki Irrigators Collective. Some of the Collective’s member schemes operate open water races in parts of Waitaki and Waimate, which supply water for irrigation, stock, town supply, and industry. . . 

Will Taylor wins Taranaki/Manawatu regional final of FMG Young Farmer of the Year:

A technical field representative for PGG Wrightson has been named the Taranaki/Manawatu FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

Will Taylor, 26, took out the title after winning the hotly-contested Taranaki/Manawatu Regional Final in Wellington tonight.

The event saw eight finalists from across the sprawling region tackle a series of gruelling modules, including a fast-paced agri-knowledge quiz. . . 

Fonterra finally makes a move on a2 milk – Pam Tipa:

a2 Milk Co has struck a deal with Fonterra that will enable it, over time, to diversify its milk sourcing, processing and manufacturing to meet growing demand for its products, the company says.
It will not affect its current relationship with Synlait, a spokesman told Dairy News.

Fonterra and a2 Milk Company (a2MC) have signed a deal that links the co-op’s global milk pool and supply chain, manufacturing, and sales and distribution with a2MC’s brand strength and capabilities.

Fonterra will now begin talking to its farmers to source an A2 milk pool for a2MC products in New Zealand. A similar milk pool in Australia will also be developed. . . 

Synlait Milk buys Pokeno site for new factory, flags $260M investment – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Synlait Milk has conditionally bought a site in Pokeno in Waikato where it plans to spend $260 million developing its second nutritional powder manufacturing factory.

The Rakaia-based milk processor’s acquisition is subject to Overseas Investment Office approval, and the company said it will know the commissioning date for the factory once it’s got consents and approvals. The first dryer at the Pokeno site is expected to have annual capacity of 40,000 metric tonnes, matching dryer three at its Dunsandel site. . . .

More NZ organic winegrowers are needed to meet growing international demand:

Organic Winegrowers New Zealand is calling for more grape growers to convert to organic production to meet growing international demand.

There is currently a shortage of organic winegrapes in New Zealand.

“I’m constantly fielding phone calls from established wine companies and new wine companies looking to purchase organic fruit, because they’re seeing and –

being asked for it in markets around the world, and the supply’s not there,” says Bart Arnst.  . .

TOMRA Continues Expansion in Global Food Sorting Solutions Sector with acquisition of BBC Technologies:

TOMRA today signed an agreement to acquire 100 percent of the shares in BBC Technologies*. The deal sees BBC Technologies’ precision grading systems and innovative punnet and clamshell filling solutions for blueberries and other small fruits join TOMRA Food’s own fruit inspection and grading technology portfolio.

TOMRA will also acquirewww.freshtracker.com, innovative software which TOMRA foresees complementing its other developments in data and analytics solutions. Freshtracker™ enables traceability of the origins and characteristics of individual products from harvesting, processing and packaging, through to point-of-sale. . .

What happened when New Zealand got rid of government subsidies for farmers? – Josh Siegel:

In 2006, Chris Hausman, a fourth-generation Midwestern farmer long accustomed to depending on government support for survival, traveled across the world to witness a revolution in agriculture.

It had been more than 20 years since a left-leaning government in New Zealand chose to eliminate government subsidies for farmers, and Hausman was surprised at what had transpired since.

“I will tell you it was a shock to their agricultural system,” says Hausman, 58, who farms corn and soybeans on a 1,500-acre plot 150 miles south of Chicago. . . 

 


Rural round-up

February 11, 2018

Pest eradication has more birds singing – Kerrie Waterworth:

A four-year plan to trap stoats, rats, possums and weasels in the Matukituki Valley, near Wanaka, is music to the ears, writes Kerrie Waterworth.

This summer, for the first time in years, tourist jet-boat operators report hearing birds in the forests of the Matukituki Valley between Lake Wanaka and Mt Aspiring.

Wanaka-based River Journeys guide James Blunt has been taking tourists up the Matukituki River for six years and said he had really started noticing the birdsong since October.

“We’ve gone from long periods of nothing to now getting four to six species of birds most trips.” . . 

Environmental concerns prompt changes – Pam Tipa:

Concerns about the sensitive environment of the Kaipara Harbour prompted the top-performing drystock unit Te Opu to transition from sheep and beef breeding to a successful unit finishing bulls and lambs.

This gave the farm the flexibility needed to respond to the sensitive environmental challenges of its location on the Kaipara Harbour shores.

The farm is now a three year Beef + Lamb NZ environmental focus farm sponsored from several sources. . .

Fish farms get pollution blame – Tim Fulton:

Fish farming in Mackenzie Basin hydro canals is feeding worms usually found in sewage, aquatic expert Rowan Wells says.

Wells, a NIWA freshwater botanist, monitored the health of the glacier-fed water and said the ecosystem in the waterways around the area’s salmon farms was clearly degraded.

NIWA was reporting to Meridian Energy on algae and periphyton and fungal bacterial matter coating rocks and plants. . . 

First up best dressed – Mark Daniel:

The rising fortunes of global farming are raising the demand for European-made tackle, which might signal supply problems for Kiwi farmers and contractors looking to hit the new season with new toys.

Several importers and distributors — including Origin Agroup that imports Pottinger, Joskin and Alpego, and Power Farming Wholesale that imports and distribute McHale, Kverneland and Maschio – are advising early ordering to guarantee delivery by late August.

“European manufacturers were predicting a 3% rise in volumes for the 2018 season after a couple of stagnant years,” David Donnelly, managing director of Origin Agroup told Rural News. . .

Dual meat-Wool sheep sell well – Alan Williams:

Good prices were secured across the board at the annual Rollesby Valley onfarm lamb sales on Thursday with halfbreds especially in strong demand for their dual wool and meat income.

About 20,000 lambs from 12 vendors were sold across nine properties in the wider Burkes Pass area of inland South Canterbury.

Most were store lambs but a good number of primes sold well for processing,with a top price of $160 and the better types trading up from about $130. The second cut of primes sold at $120 to $129, PGG Wrightson’s South Canterbury livestock manager Joe Higgins said. . .


Does mainstream media help or hinder farming?

January 23, 2018

Key findings from Nuffield Scholar, Anna Jones’ report Help or Hinder?  How the Mainstream Media Portrays Farming to the Public were:

The urban/rural disconnect is real, more so in Western and urbanised societies, and both the media and farming industry are contributing to it.

Some mainstream media coverage is clouded by urban bias, knee-jerk distrust of agribusiness, failing to differentiate between campaigners and informers and an over-reliance on too few sources with an overt political agenda. There is a severe lack of agricultural specialism among general news journalists.

Farmers and industry are fuelling the disconnect through a lack of openness and transparency, disproportionate defensiveness in the face of legitimate challenge, disunity among farming sectors and a sense of ‘exceptionalism’ or entitlement to positive coverage.

The public debate and narrative around agriculture is being dominated by farming unions and lobbyists. Politics at an industry level is drowning out individuals at a farm level, contributing to more distrust.

Her full report is here.

Jones visited USA, Kenya, Denmark, Ireland, France and Belgium. Would her findings be very  different here?

New Zealand has some very good rural journalists in the print media including the Otago Daily Times’ Sally Rae; Stuff’s  Kate Taylor, Gerald  Piddock and Gerard Hutching; NZ Farming Weekly’s Neal Wallace, Annette Scott, Richard Rennie, Tim Fulton, Alan Williams; Pam Tipa and Nigel Malthus at Rural News and RNZ’s  Alexa Cook.

We also have a good variety of rural shows on radio and television.

Jamie Mackay does an excellent job of covering farming and wider rural issues on The Country as does Andy Thompson on The Muster.

Country Calendar seems to cover more lifestyle and alternative farmers now but still does very good work. Rural Delivery was always interesting but now it’s failed to get NZ on AIr funding probably won’t be back.

RNZ  has Country Life and its Friday night and early Saturday morning slots don’t matter so much when it’s easy to listen online at a time that suits better.

We are generally well served by rural media and rural journalists in general media.

The problem is other journalists outside rural media who don’t understand farming and wider rural issues.

They’re the ones who buy the anti-farming propaganda often wrapped in faux-green wrapping; the ones who pedal the emotion and don’t have the inclination or time to check the facts.

They’re the ones who serve farming and the wider rural community badly and undo much of the good rural media and journalists do.

 


Rural round-up

January 3, 2018

We don’t need a national conversation about Predator Free 2050 – Joanne Black:

We’re long passed needing to talk about wiping out pests – what we need is a national conversation about national conversations.

On a visit to Auckland recently, I saw that Predator Free 2050’s project manager had been quoted as saying the organisation was not advocating any specific technology for pest eradication. Rather, its role was to “advance our understanding of the range of options available for the task and facilitate a national conversation as to which approaches meet our collective social, ethical and practical standards”. . . 

Rising tide of milk weighs on sentiment- Rabobank’s latest dairy outlook :

The “rising tide of milk” has seen sentiment in the global dairy industry begin to wane, as growth in exportable surpluses across key milk-producing regions gains momentum, according to Rabobank’s latest Dairy Quarterly report.

The report says the global market will “confront a wave of exportable surplus” in coming months, estimated to be 3.2 billion litres higher year-on-year (in liquid milk equivalents) for the six month period October 2017 to March 2018. . .

Young couple show how it’s done – Pam Tipa:

A young dairy farming couple have increased their equity by at least $500,000 in two-three years on a less-than-ideal Far North farm and despite two years of low dairy payout.

They were losing money on a $7/kgMS payout before becoming a partner farm three years ago under the jointly funded DairyNZ and Northland Dairy Development Trust (NDDT) project.

Tony and Briar Lunjevich, of Kaitaia, told their story at the NDDT annual meeting. They are 50:50 sharemilking for Tony’s parents at Takahue and purchased an adjoining run-down beef block just before the partner farm started. About 22ha of this block has now been added to the 107ha milking platform. . .

Huntaway Bowie rescued after night trapped on ledge – Pam Jones:

When Bowie the 2-year-old huntaway decided to chase a rabbit over the cliffs in St Bathans on Sunday, it probably seemed like a good idea at the time.

But his holiday adventures led to a night stranded on a ledge and an emergency callout yesterday involving 13 volunteer firefighters. . .

NFU President’s New Year message 2018:

“As we look ahead to the next year, we will see an Agricultural White Paper and Agriculture Bill that will shape our industry for generations to come. Despite the uncertain times, I am confident that the NFU has set a clear path for farming and that working with the industry, stakeholders and Governments across the UK, we can all secure a future that delivers for the country, society and thousands of family farms.

“Farming is the bedrock of the UK’s food and drink sector, now worth £112 billion to the nation’s economy, providing jobs for 3.8 million people. Future policy must enable British farmers to invest and grow so the sector can continue to play its part in a successful UK post-Brexit.

 “With Brexit negotiations now past the initial phase, it is more important than ever that we recognise and support the work of British farmers in providing the food for our nation, maintaining our iconic farmed landscape and contributing billions of pounds to the UK’s economy.


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