Rural round-up

December 13, 2016

Shearer drug-testing mooted – Alexa Cook:

The New Zealand Shearing Contractors Association says there is a problem with drugs in the industry, but it is hard to measure because testing is not widespread.

The association’s president, Jamie McConachie, said alcohol was a well-documented issue with shearing gangs, however the scale of drug use was less clear because it was harder for people to talk about and measure.

The Australian shearing industry has recently formed a group to try and tackle methamphetamine abuse.

Mr McConachie said New Zealand had similar problems, but he did not think it was as bad as Australia. . . 

Film keeps young plants warm, moist – Sally Rae:

Brian Michelle’s maize crop alongside the Outram-Mosgiel Rd is attracting a fair bit of attention.

That is because it has been planted using a biodegradable film that creates a greenhouse effect for the young plants.

The Samco system, owned by Pioneer, had been in New Zealand for a few years. Mr Michelle was the only farmer to use it on the Taieri this year although the system was increasingly being talked about, Farmlands technical field officer Kieran Fowler said.

In a single pass, the Samco  planting machine planted the maize seed, applied a pre-emergent herbicide and laid the biodegradable film. . . 

MPI produces super biosecurity dogs:

The Ministry for Primary Industries hopes a new breed of detector dog will produce its best biosecurity sniffers ever.

MPI detector beagle Clara gave birth to three male and three female puppies on 24 November. The sire was Morley, a harrier hound. Both dogs work for MPI at airports and ports to sniff out food and plant materials that pose biosecurity risk to New Zealand.

“It’s the first time anyone in the world has crossed a beagle and a harrier for detection work and we have very high expectations for this super-breed,” says MPI Detection Technology Manager Brett Hickman. . . 

Case studies of top performing dairy farms released:

New case studies on top performing dairy farms will help other farmers drive their economic and environmental performance, says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

The studies are part of the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Farm Systems Change programme, which is looking at ways to help farmers boost performance by learning from the strongest performers.

“Last year the Government allocated $800,000 towards this project which is focused on understanding the drivers of farm performance and sharing that knowledge with others. . . 

Fonterra chairman urges new PM to continue push for trade deals –  Fiona Rotherham

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra chairman John Wilson has told investors in the cooperative’s unit fund that it’s critical the government continues driving regional and multi-lateral trade agreements.

At the annual meeting of the Fonterra Shareholders Fund, Wilson said he had gone on a number of trade missions with former Prime Minister John Key, who he said was a strong supporter and advocate of the New Zealand dairy industry.

“With his departure, it is critical that we continue to work closely with government to ensure trade strategy adapts to the changing global environment that has certainly seen significant political change during 2016,” he said. . . 

Feds Challenge Bill English’s Team to Continue Good Work:

 

Federated Farmers congratulates outgoing Prime Minister John Key after eight years leading the country, and looks forward to working with Bill English in the top job.

“John Key has been an outstanding Prime Minister and ambassador for our country.

“During his time in office he has overseen some profound challenges and changes,” Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston says. . . .

Tatua Appoints New CEO:

On Thursday 8 December 2016, the same day as its Annual General Meeting, The Tatua Co-operative Dairy Company Ltd announced the appointment of Brendhan Greaney to the position of Tatua Chief Executive Officer.

Chairman Stephen Allen who spoke to both Shareholders and Staff said, “after a professional, rigorous yet sensitive process, supported by executive search firm, Hobson Leavy, we are absolutely delighted to announce the appointment of one of our own people, Brendhan Greaney. Brendhan’s appointment is with immediate effect with the simultaneous retirement of previous and highly respected Chief Executive Officer, Paul McGilvary”. . . 

Atkins Ranch gains full non-GMO accreditation in US:

New Zealand’s Atkins Ranch is the first lamb exporter in the world to gain full non-GMO accreditation in America through the non-GMO project.

“It is something we’ve been working towards since the start of this year,” says New Zealand supply chain manager Pat Maher. “As of this week 100 per cent of our product is 100 per cent non-GMO project verified.”

Non-GMO project is an American-based organisation that provides third-party verification for non-GMO food and products. . . 


Rural round-up

December 2, 2014

Transforming the family farm – Sonita Chandar:

A dairy farm owned by the Treder family in Pahiatua for 100 years is a work in progress and has potential to become a top-performing property.

Michael and Jason Treder own a 50 per cent share in the family farm, with their mother Margaret owning the other half-share.

The farm has never been properly developed as subsequent generations have farmed in the same way. But, the Treders can see the potential to increase production and profitability by investing in infrastructure. . .

Tatua dairy company punches above weight– Andrea Fox:

Tatua is unashamedly big for its boots.

With 100 years under its belt and more often than not the country’s payout leader, the little Waikato company with the outsized reputation isn’t about to pull its head in now.

Chief executive of six years Paul McGilvary states confidently that in the next 10 years Tatua’s revenue can be expected to grow by 50 per cent to $400 million, and its staff by 60 per cent to 500.

And when it fills to capacity its new drier, due to start operating in June next year, Tatua will be on the way to being the world’s biggest producer of dairy hydrolysates. . .

New grass mix at cutting edge:

A new mix of grasses developed at Massey University will cope better in droughts and provide more food.

Agronomist Dr Lydia Cranston says New Zealand farmers have traditionally used ryegrass and clover as a pasture mix, or pure chicory, but as climate changes and droughts become more common and severe, alternative grass varieties need to be considered.

‘Thinking into the future, we’ve got to have alternative options and definitely the results of my study show that both chicory and plantain are good at displaying drought tolerance and continuing to grow under those dry conditions.’

Cranston, who graduated this week with a PhD in plant science, investigated a new herb and legume mix containing chicory, plantain, red clover, and white clover. She found in a glasshouse environment chicory and plantain withstood dry conditions better than ryegrass and clover.

Institute fighting for regional voices – Colin Bettles:

THE Regional Australia Institute (RAI) is “kicking goals” but concerns remain about the medium to long-term future of the independent policy think tank, says chair Mal Peters.

The RAI was launched in March 2012 after being initiated by regional independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, part of the $10 billion deal for regional Australia under the previous hung parliament.

According to Mr Peters, the Institute was designed to conduct research into regional issues like agriculture and infrastructure as an “an authoritative and trusted source of information and policy advice”. . .

Aussie fabas risk becoming ‘has bean’  – Gregor Heard:

AUSTRALIAN faba bean growers risk losingN premium markets as a result of segregations that do not meet prescribed industry standards, according to  chairman Peter Wilson.

Mr Wilson is primarily referring to Viterra, one of the major receivers of faba beans in South Australia, which also has a presence in Victoria’s bean producing districts.

Viterra is not storing beans this year, according to Pulse Australia standards, but rather as one segregation for beans of No. 2 standard and above, and one for feed-quality beans. . .

Rosters on farms –  Andrew  Hoggard:

There are benefits to be gained from a ‘five-on, two-off’ roster but you must have a plan in place to maintain productivity I ‘ve had questions put to me like, “Why don’t dairy farm workers work five days just like everyone else?” It is true dairy farms operate seven days a week and some farms, my own included, are starting to run “five on, two off” rosters. Previously, we’d run the common “11 on, three off” roster.

Though that may seem Victorian, it was only the essentials like milking and feeding that were done on weekends. You may be interested in my experiences in the first season I’ve run them.

To do my role as Federated Farmers’ Dairy chair justice, I need a good team to take care of the farm. This means better-than-average staff so “five on, two off” rosters seemed to be a way to make our farm attractive to the staff I both want and need. . .


Melamine map

October 1, 2008

Our competitiors will love this:

Map

New Zealand is in purple, denoting that melamine has been found in products here. It doesn’t explain that it was in minute quantities: New Zealand Food Safety Authority Dr Geoff Allen said:

“Without exception, all results fall below the safety threshold set by NZFSA, and also fall below any safety limits set by other food safety regulators around the world including US and EU,” he said.

NZFSA has set a 1ppm limit on melamine in infant formula, a 2.5ppm limit on melamine in foods on shop shelves, and a 5ppm limit on foods which might be used as ingredients.

“From all 116 tests there is clearly no indication of any deliberate adulteration,” he said. “Based on results to date we are confident that all New Zealand dairy products are fully compliant.”

Tatua chief executive Paul McGilvary told NZPA though the NZFSA, and major multinational food companies including Nestle and Heinz have argued that low-level melamine contamination does not pose a health risk, the Chinese dairy scandal involving Fonterra’s joint venture Sanlu has triggered consumer sensitivities around the world.

Global markets had been sensitised to melamine contamination, and consumer perceptions were important even where contamination levels were so low they did not present a health risk, he said.

Emotion and perception will beat the facts in food safety and our competitors will be very keen to use this to their advantage if they can.


Melamine confirmed in Tatua lactoferrin

September 29, 2008

Tuatua Cooperative Dairy Company has suspended exports of lactoferrin while it determines how traces of melamine got in to it.

A Chinese customer told Tatua’s agent two weeks ago that melamine had been detected in its product in China.

Further tests were done in both in China and New Zealand, and results on September 22 and 23 confirmed contamination at less than four parts per million.

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA), inspected the factory on September 24.

Tatua chief executive Paul McGilvary told NZPA today the company’s own investigation detected no melamine in its raw milk.

The company is now working with the NZ Food Safety Authority on a traceback project to determine where the melamine came from.

The traceback was expected to canvass whether the melamine was introduced to the raw milk, either by farmers using insecticides containing cyromazine, an insecticide which breaks down to melamine in mammals and plants, or feeding dairy cows cheap imported feeds such as palm kernel contaminated with cyromazine or its metabolite, melamine.

This is serious, and Tuatua has done the right thing in suspending exports and working with the NZFSA to find out where the melamine came from.

But the risk at the moment is more in the perception than reality and as I said in a post on this issue  on Saturday it’s important to keep it all in perspective.

The poisoned milk scandal has raised awareness of what might be in the food we’re eating which is good, but we need to be careful about causing needless hysteria over “contamination” of food by elements in tiny amounts which won’t cause any harm.

Inquiring Mind  rightly points out the need for oversight of all stages of the supply chain as a result of this.

No Minister  regards this as seriously serious.


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