Rural round-up

August 13, 2014

Getting New Zealand agriculture on the global market access ‘VIP’ list:

Priority must be given to policy and regulatory settings that improve market access for New Zealand exporters, with a heightened focus on the negotiation of Free Trade Agreements and building business-to-business and government-to-government working relationships, according a new report by global agribusiness specialist Rabobank.

Further leveraging New Zealand’s world class production and supply chain systems is also of utmost importance, the report says.

Releasing the research report, Competitive Challenges – Getting on the global market access ‘VIP’ list – Rabobank animal proteins analyst Matt Costello says improving market access is critical for the future growth and success of New Zealand agriculture, given the importance and reliance on exports across all sectors. . . .

Human clinical trial demonstrates digestive differences in A1 and A2 beta-casein – Keith Woodford:

The results of a human trial comparing A1 and A2 beta-casein have been published recently in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which is a high ranking journal of the Nature Publishing Group. The trial demonstrated statistically significant differences in faecal consistency, with the faeces on A1 being overall looser. Also, for those people who on the A1 milk had the looser and runnier faeces, there was very strong evidence (p<.001) that this was associated with more stomach pain, whereas this relationship did not hold on the A2.

The trial was undertaken at Curtin University and led by Associate Professor Sebely Pal. I was part of the analysis and writing team, and I am listed as a co-author.

Prior to this trial there was already conclusive evidence that A1 and A2 beta-casein digest differently in animals. . . .

DNA technology a ‘game changer’ for monitoring environmental impacts:

Cawthron scientists have proved DNA technology can be used to accurately and effectively assess changes in the environment around marine-based operations.

Their findings have generated international interest – in particular from the aquaculture and off-shore oil and gas sectors that see huge potential for the technology. It will enable them to undertake environmental monitoring in near real-time.

“This revolutionary DNA technology, while still in its infancy, will eventually deliver results in real-time so industries can know instantly if anything is changing in the marine ecosystems around their operations, and if necessary, they can respond and adapt their practices immediately – it’s a game changer,” Cawthron Institute Chief Executive Charles Eason says. . .

Oh No! The ‘Perfect Bad Storm’ for Dairy Farmers World-Wide – Pasture to Profit:

Falling demand for dairy products, increasing wheat stocks, Russian ban on food imports have created the worst possible “Perfect Storm” for dairy farmers worldwide.

Dairy farmers’ business resilience will be severely tested, especially over the next year until these extraordinary events are resolved or resume normal trading.   Farmers need to quickly get control of their cash-flows, debt servicing and capital spending needs to ‘out of cash surplus’ only.

New Zealand dairy farmers have been ‘farming the milk price’…some have made decisions based on “an apparently ever increasing milk price”. . .

 Nothing forbidden about 40-fruit tree:

If you are the indecisive sort, especially when choosing exactly what sort of snack you’re craving, a special tree may be the answer.

A man in the US has created a fruit tree that grows 40 different kinds of fruit.

Sam Van Aken’s nursery is a workshop, laboratory and easel all rolled into one, and here he has created his masterpiece.

A springtime rendering of what the tree will look like in blossom has been gathering world-wide attention.

“It’s flattering. It’s amazing. But yeah, it’s also overwhelming,” Mr Van Aken says.  . .

Strong interest in 2014 South Island Farmer of the Year competition:

A wide variety of entries has been received for this year’s Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition, with meat, wool and dairy dominating the range of farm types competing.

Canterbury, Otago and Southland are particularly well represented among the entries, which include high and low country operations ranging from a large-scale pig operation to beef cattle specialists, dairy farms, sheep (both meat and wool breeds) and deer farms. Two of the entries include a cropping component their business. . .


Rural round-up

July 22, 2014

Lepto danger with flood waters:

RURAL WOMEN New Zealand  reminds Far North farming families to be mindful about health issues in dealing with flood waters, including the elevated risk of leptospirosis.

Families should be careful about drinking water, pull on their gumboots, wash hands and faces thoroughly, and cover cuts and grazes before they come into contact with flood water to reduce the chance of getting infections, in particular leptospirosis, Rural Women says.

The leptospirosis bacteria is shed in the urine from infected animals including stock, rodents, dogs, possums, and hedgehogs and is more easily spread about where there is excess surface water as the Far North is currently experiencing. . .

Free lunch for Northland farmers:

WHO SAYS there’s no such thing as a free lunch – or dinner, asks the Northland Rural Support Trust.

It is holding free lunch or dinners for flood-hit Northland starting tomorrow (Wednesday, July 23).

“We can’t stop it raining, but here’s a chance to have a dinner you don’t have to cook and an opportunity to talk to other storm affected folk plus pick the brains of some support people,” the Support Trust says to farmers.

Free food and drink is supplied at each event thanks to the trust and local merchants. . .

Stark difference between NZ and Australian dairying but why? – Pasture to Profit:

The visual & financial differences between the New Zealand & Australian dairy industries at the current time are stark and startling!

Why is the NZ dairy industry booming and Australian dairy farmers under so much pressure & having to dig deep to remain profitable. Both dairy industries supply into the same international market and Australia has a much bigger domestic population and local market. A strong local market is often argued as being a strength and likely to lift dairy farmers farm gate price. The economy in both countries is relatively strong & to a large extent was not greatly affected by the world financial crisis. Yet one dairy industry is hanging in by their fingernails while the other is buoyed (perhaps unrealistically!) by higher milk prices. . . .

AbacusBio finalist in sheep awards – Sally Rae:

Dunedin-based AbacusBio and its managing director Neville Jopson both feature among the finalists in this year’s Beef and Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards.

After being held in the South for the past two years, the awards have been shifted to Napier and will be held on August 6.

Dr Jopson is a finalist in one of two new categories – the sheep industry science award, which recognises a project, business or person undertaking science that is having a positive impact on farming. . .

Decision on effluent area reserved:

An Environment Southland hearing committee has reserved its decision on whether Southland meat processor South Pacific Meats (SPM) can spread effluent on to a larger area of farmland in northern Southland.

SPM, jointly owned by Affco New Zealand and Talleys Fisheries Ltd, opened a plant at Awarua, south of Invercargill, in 2005.

Last year, it gained consent from Environment Southland to spread sludge from the bottom of its wastewater treatment pond on to 55.5ha of a 1033ha sheep farm near Garston. . . .

Farms: the abuse of children –  A Farm Girl’s Fight:

Recently, I was reading some blogs and websites of organizations and individuals that oppose farmers. These websites have “facts” that are outrageous. Luckily, these facts have “sources” attached….that link back to their own website. Anyway, it’s humorous to me, and gives me ideas for my blogs. And let me tell you what. I am fired up.

There was a sentence on one of the websites (which no I will not link to their website) that stated:

“Farmers are awful people that often take advantage of underage children, often their own, forcing them into a life of work and learning of inhumane ways.”
Let me tell you something. With the exception of the “inhumane ways” addition, that statement is damn true and I am darn proud of it. . . .

 


Rural round-up

May 15, 2014

NZ renews efforts to restore beef, farm commodity volumes in Indonesia with WTO complaint – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand has made its second complaint in as many years to the World Trade Organisation about import restrictions and red tape in Indonesia that led to an 80 percent slump in exports of beef and horticultural products.

New Zealand and the US originally teamed up to initiate legal proceedings against Indonesia via the WTO in August last year. That complaint didn’t proceed beyond the consultation stage because Indonesia subsequently changed some of its measures, which under WTO rules meant a new application had to be made.

In the new complaint, lodged on May 8, New Zealand and the US cite Indonesia’s “unjustified and trade-restrictive” licensing requirements on imports, “unreasonable and discriminatory” pre-shipment rules and insufficient published details of how the restrictions work. . .

New rules ‘threat to young farmers‘ – Neil Ratley:

The new dairy farm plan change could force families who have farmed sheep and beef for generations off their land, a Southland Federated Farmers boss says.

Plan Change 13, which came into force in March, requires all new dairy farms to obtain resource consent from Environment Southland before becoming operational.

Since being introduced, more farmers than previously had applied to convert their farms to dairy and none had been turned down, Environment Southland says.

Despite this, Federated Farmers Southland president Russell MacPherson again voiced his concerns about Plan Change 13 at the organisation’s annual general meeting last week.

He said it would be harder for family farms to stay in the family under Plan Change 13. . .

$15,000 fine for quad bike breach:

A Marlborough farmer has been fined $15,000 for carrying a child on a work quad bike in what is believed to be the first prosecution of its kind.

Herd manager Rangi Holmes was on Wednesday sentenced at the Nelson District Court on two charges under the Health and Safety in Employment Act, which prohibits the carrying of passengers on quad bikes used for work, and requires quad bike riders to wear helmets.

WorkSafe New Zealand inspectors said they saw Holmes riding a quad bike in the Rai Valley carrying his two-year-old child in front of him on the bike at least five times during a 20-month period from February 2012. Neither was wearing a helmet. . .

How should dairy farmers react to sensitive issues? – Pasture to Profit:

 The public all have strong opinions about on-farm issues of Animal Welfare, Water Quality and TB. Individual Dairy farmers and Rural Professionals need to take a Public Relations leadership position.

Social Media provide powerful tools to take a lead position. We need to make the running and not be forced to play catch-up on sensitive social issues. Defending the indefensible is not very smart. How should farmers respond to Ugly public stories in the media?

I don’t think angry rejection is the right response to these stories in the press. Letters of denial usually imply a cover up. Best to agree with the outrage, then state very firmly that these incidents are totally unacceptable. We must engage with those who are upset and seek a joint understanding and find community agreed solutions.  . .

Food and Beverage reports released:

Three Food and Beverage reports were released on 8 May and showcase the key factors driving New Zealand’s food exporting success: high-quality ingredients, disease-free status, comprehensive network of free trade agreements, world-leading business environment, and strong food science capability.

The 2014 edition of the Investors’ Guide to the New Zealand Food and Beverage Industry shows that New Zealand’s food and beverage industry is well positioned for substantial growth, with exports on track to double in value in the next 15 years to US$40 billion.

The Food and Beverage Overview Report complements the Investors Guide with profiles of the top 50 food and beverage companies operating in New Zealand. Collectively these generate revenues of $42 billion. . . .

The Red Meat Profit Partnership gets down to business:

The Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) has reached its first milestone of being fully established as a limited partnership and has appointed a board of directors.

The RMPP is a red meat sector and government collaboration designed to boost sheep and beef farmer productivity and profitability. It draws together nine industry partners who are co-funding the programme along with the Ministry for Primary Industries through its Primary Growth Partnership (PGP). They include Alliance Group, ANZCO Foods, ANZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (representing sheep and beef farmers), Blue Sky Meats, Greenlea Premier Meats, Progressive Meats, Rabobank and Silver Fern Farms. . .

New way to cut out timber fumigation:

New techniques spearheaded by the Ministry for Primary Industries have led to some timber exports heading to Australia without first having to be fumigated with the ozone-depleting gas methyl bromide.

Australia wants to keep the burnt pine longhorn beetle that’s found in New Zealand, out of its country and until recently all sawn timber had to be fumigated during the summer flight season of the beetle.

Ministry director of plants, food and environment Peter Thomson says a successful trial has shown the Australians that other methods can be applied to keep the beetle out.

“With this alternative, timber exporters or wood product exporters are able to keep their product in a secure area that will exclude those beetles.

“And as long as they process their product and pack it into containers in a way that excludes the beetle from being able to get in there during the process then they’re free to ship under this new system,” said Mr Thomson. . .


Rural round-up

April 25, 2014

Food Safety Assurance Advisory Council established:

Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye said today a Food Safety and Assurance Advisory Council is being set up to provide independent advice to the government on issues relating to food safety.

Establishing this council is one of the 29 recommendations of the Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate Contamination Incident, released in December last year.

“At the moment there is no independent group that looks at the whole of New Zealand’s food safety and assurance system and is able to provide high-level independent advice and risk analysis,” Ms Kaye says.

“This council is being set up to do this and will report to the Director-General of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). It will provide a valuable sounding board for new ideas and contribute to raising consumer and market confidence in New Zealand’s food. . .

Memorandum to restore Waiapu catchment signed:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Associate Minister Jo Goodhew today announced a collaborative partnership to restore the Waiapu catchment in the Gisborne District.

“The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between MPI, Te Runanganui O Ngāti Porou and Gisborne District Council demonstrates a long term commitment to work together and with landowners to address the erosion control problems in the catchment.

“The Waiapu River has the highest suspended sediment yield of any river in New Zealand and one of the highest in the world. If nothing is done, erosion and sedimentation could double by 2050.

“This is a great example of this Government working together with iwi and local councils to invest in and develop our regions. This long-term partnership will create significant environmental, cultural, social and economic benefits for iwi and the local community,” says Mr Guy. . .

Otago landowners help control TB through levy:

Consultation with Otago landowners over the levy for the region’s bovine tuberculosis (TB) control programme has gathered positive responses.

TBfree Otago Committee Chairman Ross Beckingsale said through the levy and a grant from the Otago Regional Council, landowners will fund around 10 per cent of the $7.5 million TB control programme to be implemented in the region.

The remainder comes from the farming sector and central government.

The 2014/2015 programme will consist of about one million hectares of pest control, mainly ground-based possum trapping, and a single aerial operation in difficult terrain. There will also be work assessing the possum populations and surveillance of pests to detect if TB is present in wild animal populations. . .

Earnscleugh Orchard Supreme Winner of Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

An industry leading Central Otago orchard with a long term sustainability focus has won the Supreme title in the 2014 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Wayne McIntosh, manager of Earnscleugh-based McIntosh Orchard Ltd, received the Supreme award at a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on April 11. He also collected the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award, the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award, the Massey University Innovation Award and the WaterForce Integrated Management Award.

BFEA judges said the 64ha pip and stonefruit operation is a business at the forefront of its industry, describing it as a top producing orchard with “a vision and strategy to promote the Otago region and to be recognised nationally and internationally”. . .

How to lose an argument on food and agriculture topics – Agriculture Proud:

A few weeks back, I shared several lessons learned while sticking my neck out and engaging in discussions centered around food and agriculture topics. Today, I share a few lessons learned by failure; sometimes my own.

  1. Assuming science will give us all the answers; it only gives us some of the answers. Pick a topic, any topic. Chances are you can find “scientists” on either side of the issue. Many people in the general public do not trust science or believe it can be bought-off. Often times, questions may be more about the ethics than the science.
  2. Using economics as the justification for all of our practices. If you own a business or depend on something for your livelihood, chances are who know what makes sound economic sense. “Of course we treat our cows well or they wouldn’t produce for us,” probably doesn’t convey the right message to a non-farm consumer. Making more money and welfare of animals/environment doesn’t always go hand in hand.
  3. Assuming that you have to speak up in defense of all agricultural practices. Chances are you don’t have experience in all areas, you’ll get backed into a corner and lose all credibility. Also, not all practices are defensible. (Read more) Wait, why are we waiting to play defense? . . .

Resistance better than resilience – Jamie-Lee Oldfield:

DRY conditions have meant lower than usual worm egg counts in sheep throughout summer, but recent rainfall and warm temperatures could see a rapid rate of infection.

However, those producers focusing on resistance, rather than resilience, may be better off this season.

Veterinary Health Research lab manager Rad Nielsen said while the worm season will potentially be less severe than normal because of the drought, he has seen high counts in recent weeks, and producers should be cautious not to “get caught out”. . .

  “Agriculture, science …. And stuff like that”… A New Blog – Pasture to Profit:

“Agriculture,science and stuff like that” is a new blog created by AgResearch scientist Jill Walcroft as part of an action research project investigating the ins and outs of science communication with social media.

Worth exploring and discussing, especially science to do with land. I feel that sometimes science is not very accessible. So I’ve given myself a challenge, “can I present the stories in such a way that people’s eyes don’t glaze over after the first sentence”. I am also keen to understand the reasons scientists may or may not see social media as a good avenue for communicating their scientific findings, and to hopefully find ways of enabling scientists to uptake up these technologies with some confidence.

Summer shade for cool cows – Agriculture, science . . . and stuff like that:

A study investigating the impacts of shade on the wellbeing of cattle came up with some ‘cool’ stuff, really cool for the cattle that is.

AgResearch scientist, Keith Betteridge, started his science career at the Kaikohe Regional Station of DSIR Grasslands. When he arrived in the far north, he couldn’t understand why the land had not been cleared of trees and scrub. Conversely, when he returned to the Manawatu 12 years later, he could not understand why so many farmers had cut down nearly every tree on their farm. That shift in his perception about what makes an attractive and healthy landscape has sunk in deep and made the study he carried out recently seem very logical.

At a recent beef farmer discussion group an argument was put forward, that if cattle are under shade then they aren’t eating and therefore might be slower to fatten and this might lead to a loss of income. Since there was little science data to support or dispel this argument, AgResearch was asked to undertake a short experiment to provide some hard facts. . .


Rural round-up

April 14, 2014

Challenge of creating a strong red meat sector – Allan Barber:

I am obviously not alone in trying to work out ways of creating a strong red meat sector with profits being shared equitably between the participants. But it is an elusive model which nobody has yet succeeded in identifying. It makes me wonder if it is an impossible dream, but there are a number of determined dreamers who are still intent on finding the solution.

Recently I have had an exchange of emails, not always amicable, with John McCarthy, chairman of MIE, who is committed to achieving consensus among farmers about a future industry structure which will get away from the price taker model.

He takes me to task, quite legitimately, for seeing things from the companies’ perspective which, he says, focuses on making a profit for shareholders. But this doesn’t satisfy farmers’ objectives of being sustainably profitable which is the only way a strong red meat sector will emerge. He agrees the top farmers are performing satisfactorily, but in his view these only comprise 20-25% of farmers. . .

Wool industry picks up dropped stitches – Sally Rae:

New Zealand’s wool industry is ”a wee bit broken” , Wools of New Zealand chief executive Ross Townshend says.

At an autumn roadshow in Waikouaiti, Mr Townshend spoke of his observations since starting the job in August last year.

Sixty years ago, 85% of sheep farmers’ revenue was from wool and 15% was from meat, and now it was the complete opposite. . .

Linking youth and the land – Sally Rae:

Annika Korsten is on a mission to expose disengaged Dunedin youth to rural work opportunities.

Ms Korsten, a recipient of a $100,000 World of Difference grant from the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation, is establishing a programme, on behalf of the Malcam Charitable Trust, to develop opportunities for young people aged 18 to 24 to transition to work or further rural training.

Describing herself as passionate about people, place and food and the inter-relationship between the three, she said she enjoyed facilitating networks and connecting people. . .

 

The costs of GMO labelling -Foodie Farmer:

There has been much discussion over whether or not the labeling of “GMO” foods would add to the cost of food production or not. This was one of the supporting arguments for GMO labeling at the legislative hearing at the Maryland House of Delegates Committee on Health and Government Operations during which Doug Gurian-Sherman of the Union of Concerned Scientists and Michael Hansen of the Center for Food Safety, both insisted that labeling costs would be minor at best.

So does Mother Jones

So does The Grist

Wow, do these scientists and journalists have any understanding of the food supply chain from farm gate to grocery shelf?
Apparently not, nor does anyone else who thinks that “GMO” labeling won’t increase the cost of food.
Here is my pictorial analysis of the food supply chain from my farm gate: . . .

 

What is Your Dairy farm Profit?  – Pasture to Profit:

What is dairy farm profit? Is profit a dirty word? Too few New Zealand dairy farmers know their profit? Discussion groups rarely discuss or compare profit. Few farmers financially benchmark. Why do farmers and consultants continue to use profit per hectare to compare farms?

PROFIT = GROSS FARM REVENUE – FARM OPERATING EXPENSES + NON-CASH Adjustments. Non-Cash Adjustments include changes in feed & livestock inventory, inclusion of Family labour & Management and depreciation. See NZDairybase   Why do so few NZ dairy farmers know what their profit is? Profit per hectare is not enough, although every farmer should calculate Profit/hectare.  . . .


Rural round-up

September 11, 2013

More Oamaru meat exports stopped – Andrew Ashton:

Products from a second Oamaru meat plant are being prevented from entering China.

Ministry for Primary Industries acting director-general Scott Gallacher yesterday told the Otago Daily Times the ministry had on August 10 suspended Lean Meats Ltd’s certification to export to China – just two days after 240 seasonal workers at the Alliance Group’s Pukeuri plant were suspended in the wake of that site’s loss of certification in July.

”MPI suspended certification to China from Lean Meats Ltd because it did not comply with labelling requirements in some cartons. . .

Food fight – Offsetting Behaviour:

Oh, Manitoba. Just when you start looking sane, you go back to your old wacky ways.

Recall that Manitoba is the province where you can’t sell a potato without, well, hassles.*

Now, read this one and weep. Since I was a kid in Manitoba, the government made much fuss about agricultural diversification, wanting farmers to move to more processing and oddball thin-market crops.

The Cavers at Harborside Farms are a great example of how this can be done well. They raise Berkshire hogs outside of Pilot Mound, a small town a couple hours southwest of Winnipeg. They started curing hams following old Italian recipes. Bartley Kives reports: . . .

Achieving research and commercial goals:

Any farm with several stock classes presents its challenges but as Peter Burke reports, research farm managers have a whole new level of complexity to deal with.

MASSEY UNIVERSITY runs two sheep and beef farms, two dairy units, a deer farm and a horticultural unit. It has 2000ha dedicated to teaching and research, mostly close to the Palmerston North campus, the exception being the 725ha Riverside sheep and beef unit in Wairarapa.

All the farms, bar 200ha, come under the control of a group within Massey called Agricultural Services, including the sheep and beef farm Tuapaka. Acquired by Massey in 1938, Tuapaka’s perhaps best known for Professor Sir Geoffrey Peren’s research there, developing the Perendale sheep which was officially registered as a breed in 1960. . .

Moumahaki Experimental Farm. A Controversial Start to Agricultural Extension in New Zealand – Pasture to Profit:

I’ve discovered Moumahaki Experimental Farm est.(1892) in South Taranaki, New Zealand. 
 
A fascinating story of how Research & Demonstration Farms started in New Zealand. It’s what happens when you are left alone and get lost in a book shop! A weekend discovery gem!

This is part of my history. 

I’ve worked as an Agricultural Scientist in Extension and Dairy Farm Consultancy with farmers in NZ, Australia, Taiwan, UK, Ireland and France visiting research and demonstration farms, all my working life. 
 
For 33 years the Experimental Farm at Moumahaki was a jewel in the crown of the farming industry. Today we debate the merits, funding and roles of these farms just as they did in the 1890s. . .

Love and loss on the land – Jillaroo Jess:

Everybody knows that as rewarding as life on the land is, you have to deal with death more often than folks in the city. Whether a dog gets trampled while working cattle, or a horse breaks a leg, there is always a chance something will go wrong.

It is a year ago this month that I lost two of the most loved animals I’ve ever had – both in the same week. Even after a year it is still hard to write about them, let alone talk about them in person. Although I am usually trying to put a funny twist on my adventures, I thought I’d share this story – mainly cause they were so beautiful I just want to share their photos! . .

Plague of drunk wasps hit UK – Radically Rural:

While a “plague” of “jobless, drunk” wasps might seem like a metaphor that could go a couple different ways, it’s actually a warning experts are saying those in the U.K. need to take literally.

The wasps are done with their usual task at this point in the season and are now getting “drunk” on fermenting fruit, potentially becoming more aggressive. (Image: Shutterstock.com)
The British Red Cross issued a warning last week advising those sitting out in the sun prepare themselves, as the insects’ work is now done and they’re sitting around sucking on fermented fruit, becoming more aggressive. . .

The Race to the $1m Karaka Million is On:

The build-up to New Zealand’s richest race – the $1 million Karaka Million – is officially underway following the first two-year-old race of the season at Wanganui on Saturday.

The $12,500 94.4 The Sound 800 for two-year-olds was taken out by the $20,000 Select Sale graduate Kschessinska (Volksraad) for trainer Leo Molloy, with the filly taking the early lead on the Order of Entry with $7,810 collected from Saturday’s win.

With a start in the million dollar event determined by prizemoney won, a spot in the 2013 Karaka Million field only took a minimum of $3,750 so Kschessinska has already taken a big step towards competing for the $1 million purse in the final 14-horse field. . .

A Series of Stunning Successes for Coopers Creek:

Coopers Creek continues to lead with their Select Vineyard range, this time with Top Wine results in Cuisine magazine’s last three issues, a Trophy and three Gold Medals from the Bragato Wine Awards and a Double Gold in The Six Nations Wine Challenge.

Coopers Creek wines have had an amazing winter to say the least. In May this year, the Select Vineyard (SV) Hawkes Bay Viognier 2011 securing a Top Wine and Best Buy award in Cuisine magazine. The July Cuisine magazine then named The Reserve Hawkes Bay Syrah 2010 as its Top Wine in the New Zealand Syrah tasting. Most recently, in Cuisine’s September issue, the SV 2011 Hawkes Bay Malbec was named as New Zealand’s Best Specialty Red. . .


Rural round-up

August 25, 2013

Rabo back US dairy as Fonterra reveals milk hitch – Agrimoney:

Rabobank highlighted the potential for the US to grow dairy exports as New Zealand-based Fonterra. investigating the botulism scare which prompted product recalls, revealed a milk powder withdrawal.

Tim Hunt, US-based global dairy strategist at Rabobank, said that the US “could emerge as a significant competitor” in dairy exports, thanks to a slowdown in domestic demand at a time of elevated international prices.

Already prices of some US dairy exports are showing significant growth, with milk powder exports rising from some 300,000 tonnes in 2007 to 500,000 tonnes last year, and cheese shipments rising from 100,000 to 250,000 tonnes over the same period. . .

Kiwi-run Chinese dairy farm far cry from home

As Fonterra works to rebuild its reputation in China, it will face competition from other dairy companies trying to grow their share of the market.

One is popular brand Wondermilk, which is produced by a Taiwanese-American company, but the farm manager is a Kiwi.

An hour’s drive northeast of Beijing, past scenes of dramatic urban development, is a small piece of modern agricultural China. And New Zealander Berwick Settle leads us to “Red Star”, the newest of three facilities he manages for Hua Xia Dairy Farm. . .

Restructure losses may be huge – Annette Scott:

The loss of experience and knowledge to the agricultural industry could be huge under the proposed AgResearch restructure, agribusiness professor Jacqueline Rowarth says.

AgResearch announced this month 180 jobs at Ruakura and 85 from AgResearch’s Invermay site near Dunedin would be lost to its Lincoln campus in a $100 million proposal to create large campuses at Grasslands, in Palmerston North, and at Lincoln.

“History tells us globally that only 10% (of scientists) will go (to the new site) and that’s a huge loss of capability,” Rowarth said.

“When Wallaceville in Upper Hutt and Hurley Pasture Research Centre in the UK closed, 90% of people, for a variety of reasons, did not relocate. . .

Biofuels plants key to UK wheat price outlook – Agrimoney:

Success in efforts to bring two major biofuel plants onstream may have an undue impact on UK wheat values, in determining the level of supplies needed to be priced to compete on export markets.

Wheat futures for November touched £151.00 a tonne in London last week, the lowest for a spot contract in 19 months, in a slump attributed to growing harvest hopes leaving the country with hefty supplies to sell abroad.

Harvest estimates, some of which fell below 11.5m tonnes after a cold spring followed an unusually wet autumn and winter, have risen substantially after early harvest results showed far better yields than had been expected. . .

Forests to help create fresh air:

A Hawke’s Bay couple have just launched a Fresh Air Forests service to let people like travellers, businesses and landowners measure and counteract the effects of transport, travel and accommodation.

People taking part buy trees to create native forests.

Fresh Air Forests has growing sites at Lake Waikopiro and on Mount Kahuranaki on retired and protected land in Hawke’s Bay for generations ahead to enjoy.

“We are serious about making a difference, now and in the future so the idea of pledging trees to create a native forest made a lot of sense,” director Colin Pirie, who runs the venture with wife Wendy, said. . .

Their website is www.freshairforests.co.nz.

Farm tree planting together is fun – Pasture to Profit:
Planting farm trees is best when you plant with community friends. I had a great day tree planting in a wetland area on farm with 30 new friends. It was really fun! So much fun that I will continue to invite the community rather than using contractors.
 
The environment and protecting the quality of our rivers & streams is a community responsibility. Farms need to engage their local communities in helping to plant trees,  Trees that are aesthetically beautiful, trees that are ECO-Sourced, trees for bees, trees that reduce N leaching. . .

Rural round-up

July 23, 2013

Synlait Milk jumps 19% in NZX debut after raising $75m:

Business Desk – Synlait Milk jumped 19 percent in its NZX debut after raising $75 million in an initial public offering that was restricted to clients of brokers and institutional investors.

The shares first traded at $2.62 compared with the IPO price of $2.20. They were last at $2.75, valuing the company at $402 million.

Synlait Milk will use the $75 million raised to repay debt and help fund construction of a new lactoferrin extraction and purification facility, an on-site blending and consumer packaging plant, a new dry store, a quality testing laboratory, a butter plant, and a new spray dryer, according to the prospectus. Existing shareholders took advantage of the sale to sell down their own holdings, raising $38.7 million. . .

Strong Chinese Interest in Westland’s New Infant Range:

Westland Milk Products’ launch of its new Westpro NutritionTM range in China on Thursday last week (19 July) was well received with strong interest from customers and Chinese media.

The official launch of Westland’s range of infant nutrition base powders was part of a week-long visit to Shanghai by the company to demonstrate Westland’s commitment to the China market, raise awareness of the Westland Milk Products brand and to promote Westpro Nutrition. . .

International student exchanges opportunity of a lifetime – Pasture to Profit:

International Agricultural Student Exchanges offer an opportunity of a life time experience, few will ever forget. Exchange to another country, another University with a mix of exchangees from many different nations provides endless excitement, friendships & cultural appreciation at an age when you can “suck it all in” big time. I’d like to encourage many more agricultural students to apply for exchanges.

Potential employers look very favourably on any graduate who has taken these opportunities & made the most of them. . .

Entries Open for Next Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Entries for the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards open on August 1, 2013, and organisers are again expecting strong interest in the popular competition.

Facilitated by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust (NZFE), the awards promote sustainable land management by showcasing the work of people farming in a way that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable.

Held in nine regions, the awards are open to all farming and horticultural types. . .

Chair appointed to racing board:

Racing Minister Nathan Guy today announced the appointment of Glenda Hughes as Independent Chairperson of the New Zealand Racing Board’s (NZRB’s) governing body.

Ms Hughes was appointed as Independent Chairperson following consultation with the racing industry.

The racing industry makes an important contribution to the New Zealand economy, generating around $1.6 billion annually and around 17000 jobs. . .

Rotorua to host Maori Forestry Forum:

Registrations are now open for ‘Mai i te ngahere oranga – Māori Forestry Forum’ to be held at Waiariki Institute of Technology in Rotorua on Friday 16 August.

With $2 billion in forestry assets that include land, trees and energy options, Māori are set to become key stakeholders in the future of forestry.

This inaugural Māori Forestry Forum will provide a platform for Māori land and forest owners to discuss their experiences, issues and aspirations for Māori forestry in Aotearoa. . .


Rural round-up

April 21, 2013

New water use plan for Canterbury – Annette Lunn:

A new water plan will allow more land to be irrigated in Canterbury – but has set strict limits on the amount of phosphorus in the waterways.

Environment Canterbury has accepted recommendations in the Hurunui and Waiau River Regional Plan after months of public consultation.

The plan allows 70,000 more hectares of land to be irrigated. . .

Take good care of your farming mates – Pasture to Profit:

This week on Twitter there was a Multi-Nation discussion and concern about “farmers being in dark places” as a result of stress.
Extreme weather events in many countries including Ireland, UK, West Australia and New Zealand are putting farmers under immense stress. Stress about money, feed availability and the costs of buying in expensive feed when pasture is not growing. 
Hell it’s tough! . . .

Inspirational Young Farmers Win Supreme Title in 2013 Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

An innovative and hard-working young couple has collected the Supreme Award in the 2013 Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Central Wairarapa farmers Michael and Karen Williams received the award at a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on April 18, 2013.

Their 224ha arable, lamb finishing and beef unit, Ahiaruhe Farm, was described by BFEA judges as a very well organised business “run by an inspirational young couple”.

The Williams have immense passion for their farming operation, applying considerable business acumen to everyday decisions, judges said. . .

Gloves off in CAP reform:– Douglas MacSkimming:

THE GLOVES are off and the fight is on to secure the best possible deal for Scotland’s farmers in the CAP reform package.

This was the message from Rural Affairs CabSec Richard Lochhead, who this week outlined the wishlist he would pursue in the last push to agree a reform deal by the end of June.
Addressing a CAP modelling conference in Edinburgh, on Wednesday, Mr Lochhead stressed: “The negotiations aren’t over – we still have the opportunity to fight for Scotland’s remaining demands.
“Like a level playing field on coupled payments – we want to see 15% for all member states, not just for some. Like ensuring that the national reserve rules will help new entrants of all ages, not just those under 40. . .

The Mysterious Mr Black: A farm story (bit of a true story bit of a yarn) – Mad Bush Farm:

When you’re just a kid of five or six years old, things are always larger than life. It took bravery to venture into the old chicken houses on the farm next door. They made for a ramshackle collection of buildings, slightly on a lean, with rusted corrugated iron,  the timbers full of dry rot. Inside the groaning slowly collapsing sheds, were the old nesting boxes, some with eggs still in place, the hens that had laid them long since vanished. I vaguely recall the flocks of White Leghorn hens out in the paddocks foraging away for their feed of grubs and insects between the blades of long rich dairy grass, where once cows had grazed. They had long since gone as well and the walk through milking shed had been abandoned to the elements.

All kids like to venture into places they’re not supposed to go into. That’s the fun of it, doing something you’re not supposed to do, and go looking where you shouldn’t. . .

Pregnant sheep survives 11 days under snow at Scottish farm:

A pregnant sheep who survived 11 days buried under snow at a farm in south west Scotland is on the road to recovery.

The animal is already walking around and eating after its ordeal and was one of only four sheep that managed to survive.

It has even gained some notoriety for managing to stay alive, with thousands of Facebook users ‘liking’ a post that brought news of its amazing feat.

Young farmer Stuart Mactier spoke of his excitement at finding the ewe alive. . .

From The Farmacy:

Photo


Rural round-up

March 11, 2013

China consumers to be surveyed on lamb preferences – Sally Rae:

A consumer research programme, to be launched by Alliance Group, will survey Chinese consumers on the taste and quality of New Zealand lamb, in comparison with Chinese and Inner Mongolian lamb.

A Chinese delegation recently visited Alliance Group before the launch of the programme, which is funded by Alliance Group, Beef and Lamb New Zealand and Grand Farm, Alliance Group’s in-market partner. . .

Wool growers’ US visit inspires confidence– Sally Rae:

When Andrew Paterson visited a factory in the United States that turned his fine wool into socks, he came away feeling extremely positive about the future.

Mr Paterson and his wife, Tracy, from Matakanui Station, near Omakau, are among the growers contracted to supply fibre to SmartWool, through the New Zealand Merino Co (NZM).

SmartWool, which has been working in partnership with NZM for 14 years, is an outdoor apparel brand which has direct supply contracts with NZM for ZQ Merino fibre for use in its socks and garments. . .

Jack Russell terriers race for hotly contested title – Lucy Ibbotson:

Regular runs from Alexandra to Clyde – much too fast-paced to be called taking the dog for a walk – paid off for the winner of the hugely popular Jack Russell race during the Upper Clutha A&P Show at the Wanaka Showgrounds on Saturday.

Clad in a neon-bright vest, 4-year-old terrier Kate, of Alexandra, put in an impressive performance to take the hotly contested title, beating about 65 other canine competitors to the finish line.

”She’s a nutcase,” Kate’s owner Hannah Hutton (10) said of her energetic pet, after the race. . .

On a pasture based dairy farm the sky is always blue – Pasture to Profit:
The sky is always blue! This is NOT a reference to the lack of rain in Australia & New Zealand. The dairy industry is a place of optimism and opportunities. In every crisis there is both danger and opportunities. The key is to see the opportunity! Believe me the sky is always blue! Pasture based dairy farming is a place of optimism!

 

Every time I fly the sky is always blue! From the ground it may not seem to be. It’s easy to get pessimistic. Even as the aircraft takes off you are not absolutely sure. But it is always very reassuring to experience that joy of breaking through the clouds. Dark as the clouds might seem. The sky is always blue!  The sky is always blue is a glass half full attitude! . .

Drought costs will be billions – Hugh Stringleman:

Drought declarations have extended across the bulk of the North Island as the government begins to count the cost in billions of dollars to farmers and to the economy.

From their trade mission in Latin America Prime Minister John Key and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the drought was now a wide-scale adverse event with serious economic ramifications.

South Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Rotorua-Taupo and Hawke’s Bay joined Northland under drought declaration last week, with East Cape, Manawatu-Rangitikei, Taranaki and possibly some regions of the South Island expected to follow soon.

The area already declared is wider than in the 2007-08 drought, which was blamed for pushing New Zealand into recession ahead of the Global Financial Crisis.

“So we know it will have an economic impact, it’s just a matter of how much. No one is quite sure,” Guy said. . .

Public invited to ‘Farming in Drought’ Farm Days:

Special ‘Farming in Drought’ Farm Days will be held in Wellington (Sunday 17 March), Rotorua (Sunday 17 March) and Tauranga (Sunday 24 March).  Free and open to the public, they are intended to show how farmers and farms cope with drought.

“Given current drought conditions, we feel the public will want to know more about both how we and our farm animals cope,” says Jamie Falloon, Federated Farmers Wairarapa provincial president, whose province is likely to be declared in drought this week.

“Wellington’s Farm Day runs on Sunday 17 March between 10am and 3pm at the Battle Hill Farm Forest Park in Pauatahanui.  We are bringing in other types of farm animals so it is a great chance to meet farmers and have a family outing close to Wellington. . .

Adverse event drought information:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has added South Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay to Northland as areas affected by a medium scale adverse event (drought). Given conditions as far afield as the South Island’s West Coast, Federated Farmers expects further declarations in the coming week.

What an adverse event declaration means
• Rural Support Trusts (0800 787 254) are local and will coordinate farm advisory and counselling services. This advice is invaluable in aiding business recovery and helping individual families cope with the stresses caused.

• A declaration allows discretion from Inland Revenue on things like Income Equalisation. This allows Inland Revenue to accept later deposits to the income equalisation scheme than is usual, but this needs to be arranged by your farm’s accountant. . .


Rural round-up

January 29, 2013

NZ food is safe and our systems work:

Federated Farmers says New Zealand’s continual testing for impurities and open disclosure is why New Zealand primary exports are of the highest quality.

“We are aware some media reporting seems to have moved beyond facts and into uninformed opinion,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers spokesperson on food safety.

“Residues of DCD (Dicyandiamide) nitrification inhibitors were detected but the levels recorded were in the order of parts per million. These residues only came to light because New Zealand continually tests for and refines testing for impurities.

“I doubt many countries test to the level we do but once DCD was verified our consumers and trading partners were notified. We take this seriously, very seriously and any suggestion otherwise is scurrilous. . .

DCD scare will ‘enhance’ NZ’s reputation:

The head of Federated Farmers says Fonterra only had to report the presence of agricultural chemical dicyandiamide in its milk because of a “technicality”.

Both the Government and Fonterra have reassured the public and our trading partners that there is nothing to fear from dicyandiamide, also known as DCD, which is used to prevent nitrogen seeping into waterways.
Fonterra says the traces of the substance – found four months ago – were so small they were not worth mentioning. Federated Farmers CEO Conor English agrees, saying there has been a “massive overreaction”.

Red Meat PGP Collaboration Programme for Greater Farmer Profitability

The red meat industry has agreed to work together to promote and assist in the adoption of best practice by sheep and beef farmers, as part of a new $65 million dollar sector development project with Government co-funding.

Wayne McNee, Director-General of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), has just approved a commitment of up to $32.4 million from MPI’s Primary Growth Partnership Fund (PGP) for the red meat sector’s new Collaboration for Sustainable Growth programme.

This seven-year programme will bring together a number of participants in New Zealand’s red meat sector including co-operatively owned and privately owned processing companies that together account for a substantial majority of New Zealand’s sheep and beef exports, two banks and Beef + Lamb New Zealand. . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Welcomes Government Support For PGP Programme

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman, Mike Petersen has welcomed the announcement by Wayne McNee, Director-General of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), of the Ministry’s commitment of up to $32.4 million from the Primary Growth Partnership Fund (PGP) for the red meat sector’s proposed $65 million, seven year, Collaboration for Sustainable Growth programme.

“This will be a huge boost for the sector and will accelerate progress in an increasingly collaborative approach across a range of issues that are important for sheep and beef farmers,” Mr Petersen said.

The Collaboration programme involves industry participants AFFCO, Alliance Group Ltd, ANZCO Foods, ANZ Bank, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Blue Sky Meats, Deloitte, Progressive Meats, Rabobank and Silver Fern Farms, who following approval and contracting processes will match MPI’s investment and establish a joint venture entity to undertake the programme. The programme is open to new investors who can join once the programme starts. . .

Start networking with the farming world don’t become isolated – Pasture to Profit:

There is a new opportunity to network with the farming world. Farming can be a very isolated profession. Farms can be remote. The very nature of the profession means that you are often working alone. It’s that same feature which of course attracts people to farming. Farming gives you the ability to be your own boss and to make your own decisions. Running your own business can be both exhilarating & very stressful.

You don’t have to farm alone or in isolation! Today there are some very good online farming Discussion Groups. Social media won’t ever replace face to face talking with other farmers. However on for example; Twitter forums like #AgchatNZ, #AgchatOZ, #Agchat, #AgrichatUK provide an opportunity for talking to likeminded farming professionals. . .

 

2013 – Tipping Point Year for the ‘Blackcurrant Renaissance’:

Over the last 500 years the blackcurrant has gone from being one of the most respected health foods of the medieval era to a staple household beverage, to being overshadowed by trendy new berries in recent times. But a Renaissance is underway and 2013 looks set to be a pivotal year for the blackcurrant industry, says global blackcurrant industry leader, Svend Jensen.

“For hundreds of years the blackcurrant has been a staple of the berry basket in European civilisation, as a health tonic and as a food. But over the last 30 years scientists have started to unveil the true health potential of the “king of berries”. New generation research started in Japan in the 1980’s and then the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Now exciting projects are also being undertaken by research teams in Scandinavia, France, Eastern Europe, and the USA,” says Jensen, President of the 5-year old industry group, the International Blackcurrant Association. . .

And from a new-found blog, The Farming Game, which aims to give an insight into the real world of farming in Australia, a bit of variety:

Wednesday night was the last night of this irrigation cycle with day shift wrapping up the final field Thursday afternoon, so it was an early start on Friday to go chipping. Volunteer cotton from last season was coming up in one of the refugee crops and needed to be removed, the only way to remove it is to chip it out so we had to walk up and down the rows and chip out the volunteer cotton and weeds with a hoe. Its not the best job to do but it needs to be done. . . .

And from the northern hemisphere – life of the farmer in January from the Peterson Farm Bros:


Rural round-up

December 17, 2012

MPI investigating palm kernel biosecurity-risk – Gerald Piddock:

The Ministry of Primary Industries is investigating claims by Federated Farmers that Malaysian-grown palm kernel expeller (PKE) could present a biosecurity risk to New Zealand.

The claims come after Federated Farmers grains executive vice-chairman David Clark and maize growers committee chairman Colin MacKinnon visited Malaysia in September to investigate the country’s palm industry.

“What we saw would be a complete breach of the import health standard if that palm kernel, when it was consolidated, formed part of a shipment coming to New Zealand,” Mr Clark said.

The pair were hosted on a plantation and shown around a mill where the PKE was processed. They attended a conference on PKE and spent time visiting the installations where PKE is stored and loaded onto container ships bound for New Zealand. . .

Farmlands CRT favour merger – Rebecca Harper:

Farmlands and Combined Rural Traders (CRT) directors are recommending in favour of a merger between the two farmer-owned rural supplies co-operatives.

The New Zealand Farmers Weekly revealed the two farmer-owned co-ops were in merger talks in early October.

The chairmen of the two co-ops, Don McFarlane (CRT) and Lachie Johnstone (Farmlands) confirmed exclusively to Farmers Weekly on Friday that a letter had been sent to shareholders that day saying the boards of each society were in favour of the merger. Directors had “agreed to take steps to merge the two societies together”. . .

Poor pasture quality costly – Gerald Piddock:

The poor quality of New Zealand pastures is one of the main reasons agricultural debt levels are so high, a leading soil scientist says.

Dairy cows are being presented too often with a nitrate-crude protein-rich pasture that does not provide them with enough energy, Graham Shepherd says.

It meant farmers brought in high levels of supplementary feed to give the rumen the energy required to process that type of pasture, he told farmers at a field day at Bryan and Jackie Clearwater’s farm near Geraldine. . .

Glyphos hit by grass resistance – Richard Rennie:

The discovery of glyphosate resistant ryegrass in Marlborough has sparked calls for compulsory labels on agri-chemicals highlighting resistance risks.

Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) CEO Nick Pyke officially confirmed the discovery at a field day in Hamilton on Thursday.

The discovery came during work for a Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) funded project on studying glyphosate resistance. It was identified in grasses from a vineyard after a call from a chemical company. . .

Really important to have social scientists working in agriculture – Pasture to Profit:

Social scientists are very active in agrifood.

That’s great! I welcome these intelligent minds working in both the agriculture & food space. Agrifood is about people. Dairy Farming is primarily about people. 
 
How people think, make decisions, work with each other, how we collectively live & work together is really important stuff. Yet mainstream agricultural science, farmers & farming largely ignore the social scientists & their work. I’ve just attended the Australia-NZ Agri-food Research Network conference held at Massey University. . .

Rural round-up

November 18, 2012

We must look after our good staff on dairy farms – Pasture to Profit:

How do we prevent the increasing “churn” of employed staff?  Turnover (or tenure) of staff employed on NZ dairy farms is expensive. There is a general feeling that the “churn” of dairy farm staff is getting faster. 

The NZ dairy industry doesn’t compare well with other employment sectors. The greatest “Churn” appears to be amongst the young or in the first year that people are in the job.

“Annual churn out of the industry is estimated at 15% for 2010/11 with a cost of $64 million to the industry in lost investment. . .

How green are you? – Bruce Wills:

How green are you?

I mean, do you genuinely care about your carbon footprint and the integrity of what you put into your house let alone place against your skin?

Would you be prepared to wear genetically modified fibres against your skin?

I imagine some would answer an indignant, no.

I could further ask if you would be prepared to wear oil, let alone fill your walls with the stuff or even lay it on your floors.

In Australia, recently, I learned the amount of non-genetically modified cotton could probably be held in one hand. Alright, a slight exaggeration there, but truth be told, almost all of the world’s cotton is genetically modified. . .

Robertson pins Pegaus hopes on Fovaran sale – with water consents for dam

A pending water consent application in Hakataramea Valley may help Wanaka developer Bob Robertson recoup his position at Pegasus Town – in receivership – near Christchurch.

Mr Robertson is hoping to sell his Foveran deer park property in Hakataramea Valley, North Otago.

He placed it on the market two years ago without success.. .

Fewer farmer directors could be a good thing – Milking on the Moove:

Fish Stock Status Update:

The Ministry for Primary Industries is reporting that by far the majority of New Zealand’s fisheries are performing well – 83.2 percent of fish stocks of known status are healthy.

The Status of New Zealand Fisheries 2012 report has just been released.

James Stevenson-Wallace, the Director of Fisheries Management, says New Zealand continues to be world-leading in the sustainable management of fishing, and the Quota Management System gives fisheries managers the ability to address problems where they occur. . .

Pure Oil NZ – purchase of Biodiesel’s Ag Division:

Pure Oil New Zealand Limited is pleased to announce its purchase of the Agricultural Division of Biodiesel New Zealand Limited. This includes: oil seed rape crop production, the oil extraction facility at Rolleston and the marketing of the resultant products (rape seed oil and rape seed meal).

Pure Oil NZ is owned by Midlands Seed, Southern Packers, Roger Lasham (Agronomist) and Nick Murney (Manager). This group of shareholders bring a wide range of skills and expertise to strengthen the current business model and will ensure the new business is able to reach its full potential. . .

Agri-business sale completed

Solid Energy has completed the sale of the agribusiness division of Biodiesel New Zealand Ltd. The purchaser, Pure Oil New Zealand Ltd, is owned by Southern Packers, Midlands Seed, and a manager and agronomist who previously worked for Biodiesel New Zealand.

Solid Energy said in August that as part of its response to the impact on its business of the extremely challenging global coal market, the company would sell its biodiesel business which operates in two parts – one manufacturing and marketing biofuel and the agri-business division which contracts with farmers to grow oilseed rape, processes the seed at an oil extraction plant at Rolleston and sells the oil into the food industry and meal as animal feed. In early October Solid Energy announced the consortium led by Southern Packers was the preferred bidder. . .

Manuka prices inflated

The National Beekeepers’ Association (NBA) wishes to correct misleading information, circulating in some media, that beekeepers are earning up to $400 a kg for bulk manuka honey.

NBA chief executive, Daniel Paul, says this is incorrect. . . 

Quartz Reef Completes the Treble with Pure Gold Win at Air NZ Wine Awards

The Pure Gold medal awarded to Quartz Reef Méthode Traditionnelle Brut at Air NZ Wine Awards announced overnight has completed a winning treble for this premium Central Otago single estate grown producer and caps a great month of awards.

Quartz Reef only produces three Méthode Traditionnelle wines and to have a 100 percent Gold Medal success rate shows a commitment to superior quality from winemaker, Rudi Bauer, and his dedicated team who create these bottle fermented hand crafted wines. . .

Forest and Bird welcomes new green growth report:

Forest & Bird welcomes the release of a study making a case for New Zealand’s business and political leaders to embrace green growth that makes economic sense.

The study is by Vivid Economics, in association with the University of Auckland’s Business School, for green growth business lobby group Pure Advantage.

“Forest & Bird fully supports a transition to a green economy, as one of our top five priorities,” says Forest & Bird Conservation Advocate Claire Browning. . . .


Rural round-up

October 11, 2012

Strong tug at Canterbury teat – Tim Fulton:

By building a plant at Darfield Fonterra fired the “first shot” in competition on the West Coast, Westland Milk Products CEO Rod Quin says.

Steve Murphy, Fonterra’s general manager for milk supply, says his crew collects only a “tiny” amount of milk from the coast, from around Springs Junction. A fair number of coasters wouldn’t even call Springs Junction their patch, he says.

A Fonterra letter drop into Westland Milk country in mid 2011 generated “quite a bit of interest”, but nothing more has come of it apart from promises to keep in contact. . .

The perfect farmer’s body – Milk Maid Marian:

What does the perfect body look like? Not mine, that’s for sure! Yesterday, I was reminded just how bad my genes are for farming. Allergies run on both sides of my family and the worst irritant of all looks like this:

(Click link above for photo)

I’m told it’s called “fog” grass because the pollen is released in such huge quantities, it makes everything go misty. Dynamite! Yesterday, I had to wander through thigh-high forests of it to get the dam siphon running again. My scalp, eyes, nose, mouth and arms are all still desperately itchy 15 hours later.

The cows don’t like it either. Fog grass is covered in thick velvety “fur” that understandably is most unpalatable. . . .

How would you design a “future dairy farm? – Pasture to Profit:

Imagine what a “Future Dairy Farm” might look like.

How would you set up a “Future Dairy Farm”? What dairy farm system will be best? Dairy farms in the future must be profitable. Farm businesses must be resilient to increasing risk. Farmers will need to operate within stricter environmental rules. There will be environmental guidelines for farms to meet. Do we understand economic comparative advantage?  . . .

Synlait Milk Announces Milk Price for 2011/2012 Season

The average price paid by Synlait Milk for milk supplied in the 2011/2012 season is $6.22 per kg MS.

This is made up of an average base milk price of $6.14 per kg MS, autumn premiums of $0.01 per kg MS, colostrum and other special milk payments of $0.04 per kg MS, and winter milk premiums of $0.03 per kg MS.

Synlait Milk Chairman Graeme Milne said “This is a solid payout for our suppliers, and demonstrates our continued focus on ensuring we leave our farmers better off than their alternatives.” . . .

Primary industry merger welcomed:

DairyNZ says the merger of the agriculture and horticulture industry training organisations this month has real benefits for the dairy industry.

AgITO and Horticulture ITO have been merged to form the Primary Industry Training Organisation (Primary ITO).

The new organisation will be officially launched tonight at a celebration event in Wellington attended by Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, Steven Joyce as well as industry representatives. The new ITO, which will also be responsible for water and equine industry training and NZ Sports Turf industry training, will facilitate on-the-job training for 15,000 employees across the primary industries. . .


Rural round-up

October 3, 2012

Foreign investment in the spotlight – Kai Tanter:

The biggest headline in Australian dairy news this week has been the possibility of China’s sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corp, investing in the Van Diemen’s Land Company. The Van Diemen’s Land Company, which operates in the Australian state of Tasmania, is looking for AU$180 million in order to expand its operations. The Tasmanian government and dairy industry have both been courting Chinese investors and seem to have met with some success.

This news follows hot on the heels of recent Chinese investment in Australia’s largest cotton farm, the Queensland Cubbie Station. Meanwhile in New Zealand, the dust has only just settled after the Crafar Farms were finally sold to China’s Shanghai Pengxin. . .

Bruce Wills slams environmental activists who use the law to shut down critics while objecting to Fed Farmers’ appeal of decisions with legal errors and scientific fallacies – Bruce Wills:

According to one of our less sympathetic critics, Federated Farmers is a dinosaur.

It seems we are a legal version of Jurassic Park for having the temerity to question the Environment Court’s reversal of independent hearing’s commissioners on the Horizons One Plan.

That of course is the right of that critic because we thankfully live in a democracy. . .

Tatau tops milk payout stakes again:

The country’s smallest dairy co-operative, Tatua, has topped the milk payout stakes again.

The Waikato-based co-op has confirmed its 109 farmer suppliers will be getting a total payout for the past season of $7.50 cents a kilo of milk solids.

That’s 60 cents below the previous season’s record of $8.10 a kilo, but well above Fonterra’s $6.40 total payout for the past season. .

Farm Shop slams supermarkets for ‘overpriced and poorly sourced’ produce – Gemma Mackenzie:

Supermarkets have come under fire for being “too expensive and not providing consumers with enough good quality produce from their region” by the boss of the UK’s oldest farm shop.

Simon Hirst, partner in the family-run Hinchliffe’s Farm Shop in Netherton, West Yorkshire (established in 1974), said consumers were “missing out” by being forced to buy from supermarkets.

“The supermarkets have had a stranglehold on our food chain for so long we’ve been given little choice but to trawl the multiples’ aisles for food that is poor quality, poorly sourced and, particularly in the case of the meat products, over-priced,” said Mr Hirst, the fourth generation manager of the Yorkshire farm, which is famed for its top-quality beef, chicken and on-site butchers shop.

“The supermarkets would have us believe they are cheaper than the farm shops and farmers’ markets but, in many cases, this simply isn’t true.” . . .

How meat farmers can lift returns – Jon Morgan:

Craig Hickson tells a story to illustrate how meat processors can short-change farmers more than $20 on each lamb they send to the works. 

“I woke up the other morning with three women in my bed with an average age of 22.” 

He has the measured, deadpan delivery of a veteran comedian. 

“You’ll be thinking, ‘That’s unlikely, he’s lying – or skiting’.” 

He pauses to let the laughter die down. “One of them was my wife and the others were my granddaughters aged 2 and 4. 

“Your first thought was that they were all aged 22.” 

He pauses again. “And that’s the dangers of averaging.” 

The industry in which he has a strategic stake, with four meat plants in the North Island and now another in Wales, is guilty of this, he says. 

    He is talking to a Beef + Lamb New Zealand Farming For Profit field day. The 30 farmers have just watched one of his butchers cut up a lamb carcass, been shown each cut and told its destination.

Lucerne Based Dairy Farm – More Feed, Less Irrigation, Less Nitrate Leaching – Milking on the Moove:

Richard Campion is a lecturer at Lincoln University; he presented a paper to the 18th International Farm Management Congress held in Methven last year. His paper was titled Utilising Lucerne Potential For Dairy Farming”.
 
In his paper he modelled the Lincoln University Dairy Farm using 90% lucerne and 10% winter crop. His report states that the ryegrass and white clover pastures at the Lincoln University dairy farm produce on average 17,000kg DM/ha/yr. Irrigated lucerne stands have been shown to produce 24,000kg DM/ha/yr. But the interesting point is that Lucerne has far greater water efficiency than ryegrass. For this reason irrigated lucerne can grow 25% more dry matter than pasture and it can do it with only 1/3 of the water that ryegrass needs. So if a dairy farmer changed their irrigated pasture system to a lucerne based system, they would reduce the water required for irrigation by approximately 65%. This is a massive potential saving . . .

New Zealand’s ATV Safety Programme Working

Just one recorded on-farm work related fatality to date this year clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of the Government’s approach to the safe use of ATVs (quad bikes).

The Motor Industry Association whose membership includes the major importers and distributors of off road farm bikes, including ATVs, refute the  statement by Dr Lower that the industry was adopting tobacco type tactics to block mandating of the fitment of rollover protection (ROPS) for ATVs.

“ATVs are the modern day horse and we estimate there are between 70,000 and 80,000 in use on farms here in New Zealand,” said Perry Kerr, Chief Executive Officer of the Motor Industry Association. “Naturally we are concerned by any accident and especially a fatality involving these vehicles.” . . .

New Zealand Dairy Farms Have So Few Trees. Why? – Pasure to Profit:

I want to encourage more trees on dairy farms, including perhaps Cider Apple trees.

Mixed Tree Species on farms can add to the environmental biodiversity. Imaginative shelter belts create a better work place. Trees add to the aesthetics of the farm. Effective tree shelter belts are good for animal welfare and may increase pasture growth. Could Cider Apple Trees also create another income for dairy farmers?    . . .

New Tool for Farmers to Manage Effluent Application:

Farmhelp is a recently developed mobile farming app with powerful calculators to assist farmers in determining the effluent loading they apply to the land.

There is mounting pressure internationally for farmers to effectively manage the application of farm effluent. . .

Brassica crops benefit from early planning:

Brassica crops provide high-quality forage for stock, but balancing production goals with input costs is vital to ensure planting a paddock of kale or turnip is a cost effective alternative to pasture.

New Zealand farmers grow about 300,000 hectares of brassicas a year, often as a break crop when pasture quality or performance starts to decline.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients Lower North Island Technical Extension Officer Jeff Morton says that to achieve the best result with a brassica crop, nutrient deficiencies need to be resolved well ahead of sowing. . .

 Free workshops to help landowners better manage forests

Northland plantation forestry owners and contractors keen to better manage their earthworks and harvesting are being urged to attend one of five free local authority workshops being offered around the region next week.

The workshops in Kaitaia, Kaikohe, Whangarei, Dargaville and Maungaturoto are being run by the Northland Regional Council and are based on the recently released ‘Forestry Earthworks & Harvesting Guidelines for Northland’. . .


Rural round-up

September 12, 2012

 

We’re the only protein production system that can say VISIT – Pasture Harmonies:

Forget the science, briefly, about our agriculture, even though that’s the wonderful legacy that has got us to where we are today.

Forget the rational.

Forget the food safety, the genetics of plants and animals, the fertiliser….all those things that are objective or measureable in their input and output.

For many of us, myself included, that’s a difficult thing. We’re programmed, almost obliged to look at the facts, to deal with what’s real.

Instead think emotions, hearts and minds, soul even when it comes to our farming.

Because that’s the trigger, hook, main consideration (even if they don’t realise it) for consumers. . .

Loder Cup awarded to Dunedin ecologist:

Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson has announced Dunedin Ecologist Dr Ralph Allen the 2012 winner of the prestigious Loder Cup for his outstanding achievements in plant conservation work.

A professional plant ecologist for 30 years with the former DSIR and then Landcare Research, Dr Allen has been pivotal in protecting thousands of hectares of native forest, shrublands, and coastal vegetation throughout Otago, Southland, and the Kapiti Coast.

“Dr Allen’s efforts have inspired others to cherish the native plants and ecosystems around them,” Ms Wilkinson says. . .

Very unlikely NZ bees have CCD

The National Beekeepers’ Association of New Zealand’s co-chief executive, Daniel Paul, doubts New Zealand is seeing the first signs of CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder).

Mr Paul was commenting on a NZ Herald article that indicated CCD may be occurring in NZ.

“It’s very unlikely,” he said.

“We’re probably seeing the effects of the increasing resistance to the treatments that are used to control the varroa mite and while that’s not unexpected, it is still a concern.” . . .

Last farmer out turn out the lights – Willy Leferink:

Here is a typical media scenario: anything to do with farming and water,they pull stock video of cattle shitting in water.

Instead of rational discussion on complex water policy, it is boiled down to images that yell stock exclusion. This misses the real story by the proverbial country mile.

Case in point was the 3News story about the Environment Court kicking the guts of independent hearings commissioners over Horizons One Plan. Now, these commissioners reached a quite different view in 2010 and after months of sitting through detailed evidence. On the evidence, they tended towards the arguments of Federated Farmers and those in the primary industries over that of the council

So did 3News show images of stream plantings, lysimeters and the marked improvement in dairy compliance? No, instead they showed beef cattle shitting into a river. . .

Ballance Supports Rural Leadership:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients is backing a rural leadership programme to foster governance and business capabilities for women in the sector.

The Agri-Women’s Development Trust (AWDT) Escalator programme is designed to build the skills already accumulated by rural women within their businesses and communities.

Ballance supports the Escalator programme through sponsorship of one of 14 places on the 10-month programme.

The recipient of the Ballance-supported spot is Ekatahuna sheep and beef farmer Lisa Sims. . .

Please ask dairy farmers to contribute to your research by using social media – Pasture to Profit:

Low input pasture based dairy farmers are generous with their practical information. In my experience they want to contribute to research that they help fund. However agricultural researchers rarely include farmers to the detriment of the research results & the practical usefulness of the project.

Farmers can easily respond through Facebook & Twitter networks greatly enriching research outcomes. Farmers are often the leading researchers in their field of expertise. Come on we all want good quality research outcomes so include farmers in your research team. . .


Rural round-up

August 30, 2012

Greens and Labour waging war on overseas invest – Allan Barber:

The Greens’ private members bill restricting, in other words banning, all sales of farm land of more than 5 hectares to an overseas investor was defeated last week by two votes. Under a Labour/Green coalition, ably assisted by NZ First and the Maori Party, the terrifying thought is this piece of xenophobic ignorance would be passed into law.

There’s a more than remote possibility of a change of Government in 2014, so this, or some variation of it, could become Government policy and would easily gain a majority in the house. Back in March David Shearer put up his first private member’s bill on the same issue which sought to ensure substantial extra jobs and exports from foreign investment. There were some embarrassing omissions, but the intent was clear, if not as draconian as Russel Norman’s bill. . .

Abigail Vickers, the type of person the dairy industry needs –  Milking on the Moove:

The May 2011 issue of the Dairy Exporter has an article on Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Trainee of the year, Abigail Vickers.

At the time of the article, Abigail was 25 years old and in her second year as a dairy assistant. She has a goal of owning her own small scale organic farm, that doesn’t necessarily have to be involved in dairy. She already has 5 cows which she leases out, but would like to grow the herd to around 50 cows.
She entered the dairy industry to learn as much as she could about pasture management.
What a great example of a driven young person who has their act together. How many second year dairy assistants have started building up their herd? I don’t know many herd managers who have started building up their herd? She is an example of the type of people the dairy industry needs . . .

Omakau farmer outguns Aussies – Shawn McAvinue:

A heartfelt speech helped a Central Otago grazier beat her Aussie counterparts for an agricultural business award. 

Omakau dairy farmer Jan Manson said she was “taken aback” when she won the Rabobank business development award.

    The $5000 award is part of the executive development programme, which helps agricultural businesses in New Zealand and Australia develop growth strategies. . .

Dairy farmers see milk money in cow pats – Shawn McAvinue:

What creates the perfect cowpat is a hot topic.  Shawn McAvinue   visits a Central Southland dairy farm where staff  are making and mixing quality feed for more milk.

What goes in must come out. 

And Southern Centre Dairies owner Alfons Zeestraten is spending a bit more time examining the green stuff to ensure he gets quality milk. 

You see, he says the ideal cowpat should have the consistency of a children’s chocolate yoghurt. . .

This is a great time to be a low input pasture based farmer and it’s going to get better – Pasture to Profit:

Chaotic extreme weather conditions have caused the worst drought (for more than 50 years) across most of North America.The feed shortages will impact on every dairy farmer. I feel very sorry for those farmers directly affected. Having worked in Australia during years of extreme droughts I know it’s very tough & stressful for both farmers & rural professionals.
Corn/Soybean & to a lesser extent wheat prices are about to substantially increase. All purchased dairy feed will become very expensive. Low input pasture based farmers who don’t buy feed in will avoid the much higher costs but benefit from the expected higher milk prices. . .

Entering Dairy Awards Motivates And Enthuses:

Unique opportunities, enhanced farm businesses and stronger networks are some of the major benefits gained from entering the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

Plans for the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are underway, with details to be confirmed at a conference in October. The awards run the Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, Farm Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions.

In reflecting on their participation and success in the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, 2011 national winners Jason and Lisa Suisted say the experience delivered a new perspective to their farm business. . .

It’s farming  Jim but not as we know it – Willie Leferink:

Last week, I presented at the New Zealand Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences summit of farming under the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

While many of the presenters focused on what we can do right now, I instead focused on what would happen if farming was included in the ETS.

I was brutally frank with my assessment, but would you expect anything less from a Kiwi-Dutchman?

Right now, there is a lot of work underway to deal with the methane belched from the rumen of cattle.

I take my hat off to the scientists who are trying to find solutions over those who have taken 30-pieces of council silver to ‘police’ farmers. . .

Arable on the Rise:

Arable farming is on the rise again, on the back of good prices and consistently good profitability.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has released an analysis of arable production and profitability as part of its annual Farm Monitoring Report series. The report is based on a model of a Canterbury cropping operation and an overview of typical financial performance, based on information gathered from a sample of growers and industry stakeholders. . .

Honey the hot new taste topic

Forget the vegemite/marmite debate – honey is emerging as the hot topic in taste differentiation.

Where once people believed honey was simply honey, a new national competition has highlighted the distinct taste and flavour differences in New Zealand monofloral honey – honey made predominantly from one single nectar source.

The inaugural Airborne Honey MonoFloral Honey Competition aims to raise awareness of New Zealand’s unique honey types, and show the outstanding flavour and taste that can be achieved with stringent quality control and traceability from hive to jar. . .

Nitrogen best option to boost feed for lambing

With bumper lamb numbers due this spring, having the best feed available will be a priority for farmers wanting to achieve optimum live-weight growth, especially with subdued market prices.

Sheep scanning results are showing improvement over last season with 2012 lamb numbers expected to be about 4% up on last year which means an extra 1 million mouths to feed this spring.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients Research and Development Manager Warwick Catto says with lambing rates up, the quality and quantity of nutrition will play an important role in determining growth of stock, and nitrogen has a big role to play. . .

Rockburn Pinot Noir 2010 scoops Double Trophies at Bragato Wine Awards in New Zealand

Champion Pinot Noir Trophy & Reserve Champion Wine Trophy

Rockburn Wines’ Pinot Noir 2010 has continued its record of highest success, this time in the prestigious Bragato Wine competition in New Zealand.

Rockburn Pinot Noir 2010 took out the Mike Wolter Trophy for Champion Pinot Noir and also the Richard Smart Trophy for the Reserve Champion Wine. Over 530 wines were entered into the competition that celebrates growers first and foremost. . .


Rural round-up

July 20, 2012

Westland Milk Products Celebrates 75 years:

New Zealand’s second biggest dairy cooperative, Westland Milk Products, this week celebrates 75 years of being an indomitable ‘David’ in the ‘Goliath’ that is New Zealand’s dairy industry.

The Hokitika-based company, which also has an office and plant in Rolleston, will not only be looking to its colourful past this week, but also celebrating its future as a highly successful independent, award-winning dairy co-operative.

Dairy farming has been present on the West Coast for almost 150 years with the Hokitika Dairy Company formed in 1868. Other, often quite localised, dairy co-operatives followed. Westland Cool Storage and Dairy Company Ltd, Kokatahi Co-operative and Waitaha Co-operative formed the nucleus of the Westland Co-operative Dairy Company in 1937. Other Coast dairy companies folded or joined over the ensuing years, the latest being Karamea which joined the Westland Co-operative in 1987. . .

NZ just 11th on global food security index:

New Zealand sits at just 11th on the Global Food Security Index, dragged down by ranking 18th for quality and safety – and 16th for affordability.

However, it is seventh on the third criteria, availability.

The index found that the US, Denmark, Norway and France led the world in food security, thanks to ample supplies, high incomes, low costs for food relative to other expenditure and significant research and development concentrated on food production . .

Farm succession start the crucial conversation – Pasture to Profit:

The OneFarm (www.onefarm.ac.nz) Farm Succession Summit brought 80 NZ & International rural professionals together who all work with farmers on Farm Succession.

 It’s very important that these Farm Family Facilitators, Accountants, Consultants & Solicitors specializing in Farm Succession all work as a team rather than in isolation. 
ANZ Bank data suggests that most farmers believe it is a very important issue to be discussed, planned & implemented yet fewer than 10% have a Farm Succession Plan. . .

CRT reaches new heights:

New Zealand farmer-owned co-operative CRT has posted its best ever annual result, setting new heights in both turnover and operating profits in 2012.

Revenue growth of $200 million, (18%), was achieved to create a new record of $1.292 billion, while operating profit grew 55% to $13.149 million.

Chairman Don McFarlane announced that a record bonus rebate of $9.75 million would be distributed to shareholders. This was the biggest bonus distribution CRT had made in its 49 year history, and was consistent with recent years in representing 75% of the annual operating surplus. . .

Growing Green – Transformation of farming, forestry and fishing:

This not-to-be-missed event will explore whether the primary production sector needs to lift its game to maximize productivity and minimize its footprint.

Register now to secure your place!

One of our international speakers, Paul Gilding, will be introduced by Bruce Donnison, Group General Manager Global Sustainability at Fonterra Co-operative Group.

Paul will address the topic Feeding the world and saving the planet: can we do both? . . .

Potatoes NZ farewell key industry leader:

This week Potatoes New Zealand business manager Ron Gall announced his resignation after 22 years working with the industry representative.

His resignation from Potatoes New Zealand and Horticulture New Zealand will come into effect from 21 December 2012 and concludes one of the most distinguished industry careers undertaken by a horticulture business manager. . .

New Spokesperson for Soil & Health Association – Organic NZ:

The Soil & Health Association – Organic NZ have announced the appointment of Debbie Swanwick as their new spokesperson.

The Association has been in operation for seventy years advocating “Healthy Soil – Healthy Food – Healthy People” to create an organic New Zealand. It is the largest membership organisation supporting organic food and farming in New Zealand. . .

Quad sales continue to grow:

Figures just released by the Motor Industry Association show that quad bike sales for the first half of 2012 were up nearly 20% on the same period last year.

“These numbers confirm continuing strength in the agricultural sector”, said Mr Clive Hellyar, Manager of the Motor Cycle Division of the Motor Industry Association. “This is also evident in the two wheeled off road sector where the reduction in sales compared with 2011 is principally recreational off road bikes while two wheeled farm bikes sales are continuing at much the same level as 2011. Some of the growth in quad sales can also be attributed to an increase in the number of side by side quad vehicles which are used mainly in agriculture.” . . .


Rural round-up

July 11, 2012

Milk protein product to fight bad breath in China – Andrea Fox:

Hamilton biotechnology company Quantec has signed a deal that could open up a $2 million-a-year oral and throat-care market in China for its patented milk protein ingredient. 

    Quantec managing director Rod Claycomb  said Auckland-based NZ New Paradise had bought exclusive rights to the milk protein ingredient, patented as IDP, for use in oral-care and throat-care confectionery products made in New Zealand and exported to China. 

    NZ New Paradise’s first IDP-based product would be a mint to fight bad breath, launched under its Purel brand, he said. . .

Pipfruit industry has high hopes for moth-killing wasp – Peter Watson:

Pipfruit NZ is celebrating getting the go-ahead to release a small parasitoid wasp that it is confident will be effective in controlling codling moth, one of the most serious apple pests and a major threat to export markets. 

    The Environmental Protection Authority late last month approved Pipfruit NZ’s application to use the wasp, mastrus ridens, as a biological control for codling moth. 

    Pipfruit NZ chairman Ian Palmer said it was an exciting development. “Anything where we can have a natural and environmentally sound way of managing our pests has got to be good.” . . .

On a dairyfarm milk income minuse costs =$whatever is unacceptable – Pasture to Profit:

Too few dairy farmers budget and when the milk price is volatile (as it is now) it’s really important. If you don’t you might lose more than just your shirt. You can not & must not be financially dependent on the milk price.

Too many simply accept Milk Income Minus Costs = $ Whatever. Why? Why would you accept $Whatever? Dairy farmers need to concentrate on those factors that you do have control over within your farm gate. I would hope that in control pasture based dairy farmers aren’t too concerned about the milk price. After all you as an individual have little or no influence or control over milk price. What you do control is on farm spending & the efficiency of resource management & decisions related to spending. . .

Farming programme ‘brilliant’ – Sally Rae:

Owaka herd manager Shane Bichan is a firm believer in the    need to keep challenging yourself.    

Mr Bichan (28) started training with Agriculture ITO after returning to dairy farming.   

His eyes have since been opened to the opportunities in the agriculture industry after attending AgITO’s South Island Farming to Succeed programme sponsored by FIL New Zealand. . .

Yield grading system being used for venison – Sally Rae:

Meat-processing company Alliance Group is extending its    yield-grading system to include venison.   

The company has been involved with a deer progeny test, an      initiative for the deer industry, which was launched last      year and is based at Invermay in Mosgiel, and Whiterock  Station in the Rangitata Gorge. . .

Venison avoids buffeting – Tim Cronwshaw:

Deer farmers, who are savouring stable venison prices as other farming commodities drop, are looking for the economies of northern Europe to remain strong at the height of the export season. 

    Now is the time of year exporters are finalising their chilled contracts for the European game season, ranging from this month to Christmas depending on when venison is traditionally consumed in each country . 

    Last year, venison made high prices but Deer Industry New Zealand (Dinz) is unsure if the same level will be reached for the 2012-13 season. . .

More profit less gas:

The recent Government announcement of a deferment for agriculture entering the ETS will not only ease farming pocketbooks, but will also provide more time for research into ways to reduce just how much methane and nitrous oxide our ruminant export earners produce individually.

And while some publicly funded research has been looking at methods to change how the rumen works in the animal, some private research has focused on the pasture that goes in, and not just the gases coming out.

Indigo Ltd, who has produced Agrizest for orchardists since 2005, has turned its focus to pasture, and recently launched Biozest, a patented New Zealand spray for pasture which is already certified as an organic agricultural compound. . .


Rural round-up

July 1, 2012

The risks of global worming:

FOR decades, the overuse of antibiotics has encouraged the evolution of drug-resistant bacteria which, though they have never broken out and caused an epidemic in the way that was once feared, have nevertheless been responsible for many deaths that might otherwise have been avoided. Now something similar seems to be happening in agriculture. The overuse of drugs against parasitic worms which infest stock animals means that these, too, are becoming drug-resistant. That is bad for the animals’ health and welfare, and equally bad for farmers’ profits.

This, at least, is the conclusion drawn by Ray Kaplan, a parasitologist at the University of Georgia who has just published a review of research on the problem. His results, which appear in Veterinary Parasitology, make grim reading. . .

Young man on a mission – Sally Rae:

Tangaroa Walker is a young man with a very clear and bold vision for his future.   

By the time he is 40, Mr Walker (22) wants to own holiday homes in Queenstown and Mt Maunganui, a dairy farm in Southland and be living on a beef farm at Whakamarama, in the Bay of Plenty, the area where he grew up.   

They might be hefty goals but, given what the Southland-based lower order sharemilker has already achieved, you get the feeling he will most likely achieve them . . .

Dad’s death led to organis shift – Sally Rae:

Southland dairy farmer Robin Greer always had a desire to    process his own milk.   

He did some research and spent one day a week for 18 months in his kitchen, making cheese from recipes he found on the internet and in books.   

 He taught himself to make most of the cheeses now produced at the factory he and his wife Lois established on their farm.

They market their products – milk, cheese and yoghurt – throughout New Zealand, under the Retro Organics label, and  are looking at export opportunities. . .

Tests uncover way to cut use of 1080 poison – Gerald Piddock:

Landcare Research scientists are cautiously optimistic they have discovered a method of killing rabbits as effective as current methods but using significantly less 1080 poison. 

    The breakthrough came after Landcare and the Otago Regional Council carried out experiments on two high country stations in Central Otago last winter. 

    The experiments were based around refining how bait was sown on rabbit-prone country from fixed-wing aircraft by altering the volume of bait used for rabbit control. . .

Helicopters only way to cull deer:

It took sweat, precision and millions of dollars to make Highland Cuisine Ltd a venison exporter but owner Bill Hales fears a game council will put its deer procurement and customer relationships to the sword.

Parliament is mulling legislation for the council as part of a national wild game management strategy.

Submissions to the bill have poured in to the Environment and Local Government select committee, including those dismissing it as excess political baggage from MP Peter Dunne.

Yes, the council and wild game strategy is part of the Government’s confidence and supply agreement with Dunne’s one-man United Future Party. But that political history doesn’t change much for people like Hales. . .

Young agribusiness team from Massey competes in China – Pasture to Profit:

Massey University(NZ) had a team competing in theInternational Food and Agribusiness Management Association student case study competition, held in Shanghai,China.

The competition is in its 7thyear and is held in conjunction with the IFAMA annual forum and symposium. The late “Daniel Conforte” (an inspirational lecturer at Massey University) had a long standing association with IFAMA and at the opening of the Symposium was made a fellow of IFAMA the highest honour, a well deserved tribute recognising his passion and contribution to the organisation.  . .

Young farmer contest announces first ever patron:

A career in education and working with young people provided an excellent foundation for Dr Warwick Scott’s involvement with The National Bank Young Farmer Contest.

After 12 years of close association with the event, Dr Scott has recently been appointed as the first Contest Patron.

“I am deeply honoured,” he says. “It is a privilege to work with this amazing event which, year after year, showcases the on-going talent New Zealand has among its young famers, both men and women.”

ANZ Bank, DairyNZ partner on financial benchmarking of farms – Peter Kerr:

DairyNZ is partnering with Australia & New Zealand Banking Group to boost the financial performance of dairy farms.

Under a memorandum of understanding, DairyNZ’s business performance analysis tool, DairyBase, will be available to ANZ Bank economists and agri managers when working with farmers, they said in a statement.

DairyBase consolidates the financial results from more than 1,800 farmers, allowing like with like comparisons. Some 41% of dairy farmers currently use benchmarking . . .

First ever ‘Green 50’ list shows booming green sector:

New Zealand’s first definitive list of companies making money improving the environment has just been launched by strategic research company New River.

Top of the New River Green 50 list is Auckland-based Chem Recovery, which recovers and recycles heavy metals to produce 99.9 per cent pure re-usable metals; followed by Stonewood Homes, builder of a 7-star green building; and Reid Technology, a New Zealand leader in solar power. Other companies on the list include Flotech, a technology pioneer allowing organic waste to be converted into methane for pipeline gas; and Outgro an innovative fetiliser company enabling farmers to reduce phosphorous and nitrogen run-off into waterways while increasing their yields. . .


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