Rural round-up

23/12/2022

Te Kuiti man smashes new world lamb shearing record –  Jessica Dermody :

On Tuesday, Taihape teen Reuben Alabaster broke Irish shearer Ivan Scott’s record of 744 lambs set at Opepe (near Taupō) in 2012. He did so in the dying minutes, setting a new record with a total of 746.

But just two days later, Te Kuiti’s Jack Fagan etched his own name in the record books, shearing 754.

A record that’s been held for a decade, has now been broken twice in one week.

Starting at 7am on Thursday at Puketiti Station near Pio Pio, Fagan made Alabaster’s hold on the record a short one. . .

Govt emissions will lead to production loss and leakage – DCANZ – Peter Burke :

The Dairy Companies Association of NZ (DCANZ) says it’s disappointed at the Government’s response to the He Waka Eke Noa partnership proposal.

Executive director Kimberly Crewther says the Government’s proposal is fundamentally different to what He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) put forward. She says DCANZ has raised concerns about how the changes made are pushing a system that achieves a reduction by cutting dairy production.

“In our view, [the proposal] holds a very strong risk of emission leakage, being counterproductive to the global emissions reduction outcomes that we are trying to contribute to,” she told Rural News.

Crewther says the agricultural sector had worked hard to come to a consensus, which took into account a broad range of considerations. This included taking advantage of the opportunities that exist in NZ and managing the risk of undue economic impact on rural communities – especially if that involves cuts to production in NZ. . .

The signs look ominous – Sudesh Kissun:

Prices fetched by New Zealand’s primary produce are facing clear downward pressure as economic conditions deteriorate offshore.

BNZ senior economist Doug Steel says the signs are looking more ominous.

However, he believes strong balance sheets, thanks to several years of strong commodity prices, should help farmers navigate a looming recession.

Steel points out that over the past six months global dairy prices have dropped 19%. . .

Hunting, shooting, fishing – and Covid – Neal Wallace :

Diversification has taken on a whole new meaning for Richard and Sarah Burdon of Glen Dene Station at Lake Hawea in Central Otago.

An initial investment in a guided hunting and fishing business was designed to assist with farm succession, but when the adjacent Lake Hawea Camping Ground came up for sale in 2009, they saw it as another vehicle for greater control over their affairs.

Income from those off-farm investments disappeared with the arrival of covid in 2020, and they had to look again at what diversification meant to them. It came to describe diversity of thought and the strategy and planning needed to ensure their businesses survived.

“We lost all our income from the camping ground and hunting and it took an enormous amount of working through contracts and realigning our business,” said  Richard. . .

End of an era for the Mt Ida musters – Neal Wallace :

For 125 years, access to summer grazing on Central Otago’s Hawkdun Range has been a relief valve for a group of Maniototo farmers.

That all comes to an end in 2025 when stock are excluded from the land, now part of the Oteake Conservation Park.

The syndicate’s origins lie in a horrendous snowstorm in the 1890s and the ensuing stock losses  that drove the runholders of the Eweburn and Hawkdun stations off their properties. 

“When they mustered the sunny country on the Eweburn, they didn’t have enough sheep to pay the wages, so they walked off,” said syndicate shareholder and secretary Grant Geddes. . . 

Eminent vet Lord Trees backs gene editing for healthy livestock :

Given my interests as a veterinarian, indeed the only vet in the House of Lords, my contribution to the second reading debate of the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill focused on its potential implications for animals, particularly in terms of disease resistance, the environment and animal welfare.

These are overlapping issues for which, in my opinion, there is huge potential for positive effects with the adoption of new breeding technologies such as gene editing.

I share passionately the concerns raised during the debate by a number of peers about the need to safeguard animal welfare and to prevent animal abuse and suffering. Importantly, however, these concerns are not unique to this Bill.

Legislation already exists to cover laboratory, breeding and on-farm welfare issues, which would apply to precision-bred animals, as I will discuss. . . 

 


Rural round-up

07/12/2022

Sham marriage! – Peter Burke :

There is widespread anger and disbelief among farming leaders over the actions of MPI and MfE within the He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) partnership.

Both ministries were touted by the Government as being ‘partners’ along with iwi and a number of farming organisations in HWEN, which had been involved in working on a joint counter proposal to put to government to deal with agricultural emissions and avoid them going into the ETS.

However, Rural News has discovered that with about a month before HWEN’s proposal was due to go to the Government in May, the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) and Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) suddenly announced that they would not be signing it because they were “conflicted”.

This last minute walkout by the two ministries came as a complete surprise to the other members of the partnership who say they were led to believe the two ministries were ‘genuine partners’ like themselves. However, it seems they weren’t. Rural News has been told the other HWEN partners felt they had been misled. . . 

Exporters take a double blow as prices fall and currency rises – Point of Order :

NZ  exports have been  hit by falling world prices and a rising NZ dollar. It’s a sharp reversal from earlier in the year when ANZ Bank  was reporting its  commodity price index  had returned to its record breaking run  and stood  nearly  20%  above the level  where it had been  12 months previously.

The price index has fallen 3.9% in November on the previous month to be 11.5%  lower on the same month a year earlier.

The  pain is all the more severe, since overseas markets  are suffering  from inflation and one might have expected  returns to be higher.

 ANZ Agricultural economist Susan Kilsby said exporters suffered a “double whammy” because the NZ dollar had risen in value knocking export returns by 9.1% for the month, with returns at their lowest level since January 2021. . . 

Three year cashmere scheme launches – Sally Rae:

New Zealand Cashmere is hoping goats will float the boats of the country’s farmers.

A three-year programme aimed at “restarting” the cashmere industry has been launched, led by New Zealand Cashmere and backed by the Government via a $900,000 contribution over that period through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund.

Textile manufacturer Woolyarns has commissioned a multimillion-dollar cashmere processing facility at its Lower Hutt operations to meet customer demand.

The programme is led by Woolyarns general manager and New Zealand Cashmere director Andy May, who said it was focused on assisting farmers with advice and support structures to restart the industry and sustainably farm cashmere-producing goats within their existing farming systems. . . 

ED nurse shortage hits provincial areas :

Emergency department’s will continue to be under immense pressure this summer as the health workforce shortage remains, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“Every day, our emergency department staff go to work to provide critical services to New Zealanders, knowing that they will be understaffed and over worked.

“Data revealed to National show that as of 2 November 2022, there are over 230 emergency department nurse vacancies across the country, with our provincial areas being hit the hardest.

“Northland is currently 42 per cent short of the 66 emergency department nurses it is meant to have. . . 

Why diversification from exporting to China must be a deliberate choice – Gareth Kiernan:

There is a deliberate focus needed to diversify away from China.

Since New Zealand’s free-trade agreement with China came into force in late 2008, the share of our exports heading to China has increased from 5% to as high as 32% last year.

This well-documented trend clearly reflects the economic benefits to New Zealand of being hooked into the fast-growing Chinese market.

But the increasing concentration on a single market has also raised questions of New Zealand’s over-reliance on selling into a country where human rights and foreign policy tensions could easily lead to a breakdown in diplomatic relations. . . 

Tony Bouskill takes out fencing top title at Fieldays :

The winners of the annual New Zealand Fencing Competition (NZFC) held annually at Fieldays has been announced after a fierce battle between competitors from across the country.

Reigning champion Tony Bouskill was announced as this years winner of the coveted Golden Pliers by WIREMARK Singles Championship trophy for the fourth year running, while Sander Visser worked hard to take out the top spot in the Bill Schuler competition, named after legendary Waikato-born fencer Bill Schuler who passed away in 2018.

Tony was the one to beat this year as he and his father Shane Bouskill took out the Fieldays Silver Spades Doubles Championship, showing great teamwork and dedication to the job at hand. This not the first time the duo has won the Fieldays Silver Spades Doubles Championship, having competed and won the same championship and award in 2017, 2019 and 2021. . . 


Rural round-up

24/11/2022

‘Greenie by default’ farmer speaks out against Govt restrictions – Sally Rae :

The Black family have been farming at Ermedale, about 10km north of Riverton, since 1924.

Third-generation Leon Black is currently at the helm of the property, with wife Wendy — the couple have four children — and he would like to see the family there for another century.

‘‘With the current settings, I would say I’m wasting my bloody time,’’ he said succinctly.

Years ago, Mr Black became interested in breeding animals that produced less methane but with higher production. . . 

More time needed – Peter Burke :

Democracy by stealth – that’s how a highly-respected dairy industry leader Ben Allomes is describing the present Government’s consultation with farmers over agricultural emissions and other issues.

“It is overwhelming and unrealistic for us to be able to give honest democratic feedback on every piece of legislation that they are working on the moment,” he told Rural News.

Allomes, a former DairyNZ director, is calling on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to take the pressure off farmers and give them more time to properly understand and digest the huge raft of changes that the Government is trying to push through before next year’s election.

He reckons the Government has got a massive number of things they want to achieve before the next election and says most of these seem to be aimed at the primary sector. He says these include greenhouse gas emissions, water quality, animal welfare and labour. Allomes says this is on top of farmers trying to deal with the uncertainties around Covid, such as disrupted supply chains and increasing costs, all of which are creating an uncertain business environment. . . 

Kiwi entity working to change how overseas customers view wool :

A new entity established to promote the strong wool sector is working to change how overseas customers view the product.

Strong wool prices have been subdued in recent years, with the price often not enough to cover the cost of shearing the sheep.

With support from the government, Wool Impact NZ was launched in July with the aim of working with brands to get strong wool products into markets quickly and speed up returns to farmers.

Chief executive Andy Caughey said their work was being helped by the fact that consumers were moving away from fast fashion and synthetic fibres. . . 

Italian label toasts NZ Merino partnership – Sally Rae:

Turn the clock back 25 years and merino growers were told longer wools were a problem and were being heavily discounted by European buyers.

At the same time, the New Zealand Merino Company was formed to specifically champion merino fibre. Chief executive John Brakenridge and Andy Caughey — now chief executive of Wool Impact — approached Italian company Loro Piana and laid down the challenge of finding a way to use those longer wools in a premium product.

As NZM general manager commercial Keith Ovens recalls, it took much investment, trial and error at the Loro Piana processing plant but, in 1997, Pier Luigi Loro Piana issued the first three-year contract for longer wools (90mm-105mm at 18.8 micron), and at a $2 premium to the spinners market of the day.

The Zealander fabric was subsequently launched to Loro Piana’s prestigious client base around the world. It was one of the first fabrics made from 100% New Zealand wool, at a time when growers had been told by the trade that New Zealand wool was only good enough to be used as a blend with wool from other countries, Mr Ovens said. . . 

It’s not the cows, it’s the fossil fuels – Meg Chatham :

A new report shows that greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas facilities worldwide are about three times higher than their producers claim.

Last week, Climate TRACE, a non-profit coalition of researchers, data analysts, and NGOs who use satellite coverage, artificial intelligence, and remote sensing to independently track human-caused emissions, published a new report showing that half of the 50 largest sources of global greenhouse gas emissions are oil and gas production facilities.

From the report:

In no sector is the power of Climate TRACE’s emissions monitoring approach more apparent than in oil and gas. Last year’s Climate TRACE inventory found that emissions from oil and gas production, transport, and refining had been significantly underestimated — owing, in part, to limited reporting requirements and consistent underestimates of methane emissions from both intentional flaring as well as leaks. . . 

Yealands turns green grapes into gree apples with global sustainability awards :

New Zealand premium wine producer, Yealands Wine Group, has won two golds at the 2022 International Green Apple Awards for its ground-breaking Biodiversity Plan, officially launched today.

Yealands attended a special awards ceremony at London’s Houses of Parliament on November 21 to acknowledge the company’s pioneering work to create a more biodiverse environment.

Yealands topped the Regeneration and Carbon Reduction categories at the awards, run by global non-profit The Green Organisation to recognise environmental best practice around the world. Judges were impressed by the company’s 30-year Biodiversity Plan, which will see around 270 ha at its vineyard in Marlborough’s Awatere Valley planted with more than 1,000,000 native trees to improve water quality and protect and enhance sensitive natural areas.

As the first wine producer in the world to be Toitū carboNZero Certified from day one, Yealands has always measured, reduced and offset all emissions. The Biodiversity Plan goes even further to make a positive difference to the environment and community. . . 

 


Rural round-up

17/11/2022

Farming leader pleads with PM for more time – Peter Burke :

A dairy industry leader is calling on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to take the pressure off farmers and give them more time to properly understand and digest the huge raft of changes that the Government is trying to push through before next year’s election.

Ben Allomes told Dairy News that the Government has a number of things they want to achieve before the next election and he says most of these seem to be aimed at the primary sector.

These include greenhouse gas emissions, water quality, animal welfare and labour.

Allomes says this is on top of farmers trying to deal with the uncertainties around Covid, such as disrupted supply chains and increasing costs, all of which are creating an uncertain business environment. . .

The seven significant setbacks to He Waka Eke Noa recommendations – Jim van der Poel:

 DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel outlines why his organisation is not prepared to accept the He Waka Eke Noa proposal in its current form and why it’s a poor option for the sector and New Zealand as a whole.

When the primary sector took on the challenge of an emissions pricing alternative, there was a clear goal – to secure the best possible system for farmers and the climate.

In 2019 the Government legislated to put agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). We believed that was a poor option for the primary sector and for New Zealand.

We approached the Government to have the option to come up with a better proposal that was fairer, more practicable for farmers and would deliver better outcomes. . . 

Kiwifruit growers fear ‘zero income’ next year after severe frost :

Some Waikato kiwifruit growers will have no income next year and others will have crops that will not cover the cost of production, following a heavy frost in October.

Waikato is a smaller growing region with about 500 hectares of fruit; an additional 100 hectares was planted this winter.

A grower with 22 hectares, Richard Glen, said it had taken until now to get his head around the full impact of the October frost event.

Glen said it was the worst frost he had seen in his 40 years of growing. . . 

Hi-tech traps on trial in fruit fly surveillance programme :

Biosecurity New Zealand’s National Fruit Fly Surveillance programme is trialling 60 state-of-the-art traps, with the aim to bolster the detection of exotic fruit fly.

“We have a world-class biosecurity system, but the growth in global trade and travel increases the opportunity for fruit flies to enter the country,” says Biosecurity New Zealand Director Diagnostic & Surveillance Services Veronica Herrera.

“Exotic fruit fly incursions could significantly impact New Zealand’s horticulture industry, so early detection is critical.”

The fruit fly surveillance programme runs from September to July each year to coincide with the heightened risk of fruit flies entering New Zealand. More than 7,800 traps are currently stationed across the country. . . 

Zespri rolls out SAP technology to support its people, processes and growers :

SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced that Zespri, the world’s biggest marketer of kiwifruit, has gone live with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition. The move will support Zespri’s ability to deliver the highest quality fruit to market and sustain strong returns to growers.

The go-live of this new technology, which took place on 1 November 2022, is the first phase in Zespri’s ambitious, multi-year Horizon transformation programme. The aim of the programme is to standardise and automate Zespri’s processes, increase its operational efficiency, and provide a platform for growth and innovation.

As a result of the implementation, Zespri hopes to deliver kiwifruit to customers more effectively. Ultimately a more robust, transparent and reliable process will support its entire product delivery system, from the receipt of a sales order, to payments for product, through to distribution. Zespri’s quality management solutions will include proof that the product has been grown and handled in accordance with regulatory, customer specifications and consumer expectations.

With a focus on creating global consistency, almost 1,000 full-time employees and contractors across offices in 17 countries will benefit from the implementation, with Zespri also undertaking its biggest-ever training programme. . . 

The fake meat scam -Dr Joseph Mercola:

  • Ultra-processed foods typically have five or more ingredients, many of which are not commonly used in home kitchens. This aptly describes the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger, including fake blood processed from genetically engineered yeast to mimic the taste and texture of real beef.
  • Although the soy-like hemoglobin used in the Impossible Burger is classified as generally recognized as safe, no tests have been done by independent labs on the product’s safety. However, tests on lab rats altered the animals’ blood chemistry; the company did not follow up on the results.
  • The parent companies for Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger commissioned studies to assess the environmental impact of production against typical concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) beef production. Not surprisingly, they found their product had a lower impact. But it’s not nearly as low as the beef production at White Oaks Pastures, which uses regenerative farming practices to produce natural beef products.
  • If a plant-based, genetically engineered (GE) meat alternative is not enough of a science fiction adventure, consider the “meat” scientists are growing from stem cell cultures in the lab. Some see these alternatives as the lesser of two evils, but when holistic herd management improves the environment, your best choice is to seek food from natural sources.

Rural round-up

11/11/2022

Middle NZ: we might not be able to see the food for the trees –  Linda Hall:

It’s a bit scary, really — thinking about what our beautiful country is going to look like in 50 years.

I won’t be around to see it, but my grandchildren will, and their children.

I wonder where they will grow their food.

Will they be able to drive between Hawke’s Bay and Dannevirke and look out on lush green grass with sheep and cows grazing? Or at paddocks full of pumpkins and sweetcorn? . .

SDC loses major legal battle against Te Anau Downs Station – Michael Fallow :

The Southland District Council has lost a four-year $1m legal battle with Peter Chartres, of Te Anau Downs Station, and now faces the prospect of costs recovery.

The council went to the Environment Court in April seeking an enforcement order to prevent any further indigenous vegetation clearance on the station, and to require significant remedial work.

Chartres welcomed the ruling clearing him of unlawful clearances dating back to 2001 and said the council’s approach had been overzealous.

“These enforcement proceedings are an example of the time and money that gets wasted when poorly drafted, unworkable rules are misinterpreted, implemented and enforced by local councils,’’ he said. . . 

Rural health network calls for action on ‘massive issue of rural inequity’

Hauora Taiwhenua has put together a roadmap for how the rural health service can be pulled off life support.

The rural health network’s document Christchurch Consensus was formed after the National Rural Health Conference attended by about 400 rural health professionals in September.

It includes key priorities such as streamlining immigration rules to get more health workers into the country and boosting investment in training.

Chair Fiona Bolden said the document was fuelled by the sheer frustration of health workers in the rural sector. . . 

Research on carbon footprint of beef and sheep meat published:

Our newly published research into the full life-cycle carbon footprint of New Zealand’s beef & sheep meat has found that it sits at the lower end of published estimates among producers globally, despite distance from markets. Read the published research here.

This research is jointly funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Meat Industry Association; and the Beef + Lamb NZ statement today on the research – which also features the use of GWP* as an alternative metric for methane – is here.

AgResearch scientist Andre Mazzetto says:

“Accurately measuring and reporting the carbon footprint of products has never been more critical, especially for New Zealand products such as beef and sheep meat that are exported over considerable distances. Thus, it is important to understand the extent of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the various stages of the life cycle of these products. 

This Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study calculated the cradle-to-grave (i.e. full life-cycle) carbon footprint of beef and sheep meat produced in New Zealand and exported to different markets. The carbon footprint for the cradle-to-farm gate (raising of the animals) represented 90–95 per cent of the cradle-to-grave for both beef and sheep. The meat processing stage contributed 2–4 per cent of the carbon footprint, while post-processing was 2–6 per cent. This standard LCA study showed that NZ beef and sheep meat products have a full life-cycle carbon footprint at the lower end of other published estimates globally, despite the emissions generated from transport and freight to overseas markets. . . .

Not only the frost – Peter Burke :

One long time kiwifruit business person is describing this and probably next year as the worst they can remember.

It’s an unusual situation because the Zespri averages of fruit damaged by the frost don’t paint an accurate picture of what individual growers are facing.

For example, while the RubyRed crops appears the worst affected, it’s likely that the same grower may also have crops of Green or SunGold which could mitigate some of the financial hardship.

It would be unusual, we are told, that a grower would have just one variety. . .

Tech critical to reduce NZ emissions :

The idea that New Zealand can reach its emissions targets without relying heavily on technology and innovation has always struck the tech ecosystem as strange, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says.

Last week, the lack of any mention of technology in the government’s emission reduction plan was acknowledged as an oversight, according to climate change minister James Minister Shaw.

“This comes as Spark released a detailed analysis of how digital technologies could help New Zealand meet its emissions reduction targets,” Muller says.

“The study found 7.2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, or 42 percent of the country’s 17 million tonne reductions needed by 2030, could be found by using enabling digital technologies. . . 


Rural round-up

10/11/2022

Māori farmers upset at proposal – Peter Burke :

In an unusual move, the Māori Trustee and chief executive of Te Tumu Paeroa Dr Charlotte Severne says she’ll be making a submission on the Government’s agricultural emissions proposals.

Severne administers as trustee or agent for approximately 1,800 Māori Land Trusts and other Māori entities. This is about one third of all Māori Land Trusts. Te Tumu Paeroa is therefore effectively a major Māori land owner.

Speaking exclusively to Rural News at the recent Ahuwhenua Trophy Awards she noted that the pressures on the sheep and beef sector now are real and she wants to see the rapid development of good well-qualified leaders. Severne is concerned about the way Māori are treated by some government departments.

“I believe that big parts of government don’t understand Māori land. They think we are group of farms that are doing really well, whereas – in fact – most Māori land is on a lease portfolio and in small parcels,” she told Rural News. . . 

Put a cap on unworkable emissions plan – Malcolm Bailey:

The HWEN furore shows neither the government nor the industry has the answer, says Malcolm Bailey.

Openly opposed by industry as well as the political opposition, the government’s emissions pricing proposal looks dead in the water and should be scuttled. Perhaps the government has done us a favour by amplifying the weaknesses of the levy approach and the stupidity of cutting New Zealand’s world-leading low emissions production. 

Both He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) and the government proposal should go to the bottom and make way for a new solution that follows key principles, uses market solutions, and works.  

What has also been exposed is that HWEN was never a genuine partnership. 

The government has come up with new impact modelling and rejection of the emissions leakage risk with no link to earlier work or credibility. . . 

An unpopular move whatever your position – Alan Emmerson :

Feds-commissioned research uncovers some surprises on attitudes to the farm tax.

To state my position: I accept the climate is changing and we need to do something about it. I believe much of the science we get quoted is dodgy and I don’t believe New Zealand should be leading the world on anything. We’re a small insignificant country in the South Pacific.

I further accept that 19 out of 20 of our politicians wouldn’t know a cart from a horse and that 99% of our civil servants are woefully ignorant of the practicalities of life on the farm.

When it comes to our emissions, I do not accept that markets will open if we reduce them and have seen zero evidence to back that up. With floods, drought, pestilence and the war in Ukraine, food will be at a premium and I don’t believe we’re making enough of our grass-fed status, let alone anything else.

In addition, the majority of Kiwis support farmers’ current practices as evidenced in a recent poll by Federated Farmers. . . 

Alliance chief executive resigns – Sally Rae:

Alliance Group chief executive David Surveyor has resigned from the co-operative after nearly eight years in the role.

The company announced yesterday that Mr Surveyor would leave by the end of April next year to return home to Australia and the board would begin the search for his replacement.

In a statement, chairman Murray Taggart said he had “regrettably” accepted Mr Surveyor’s resignation.

However, the board understood his desire to pursue other opportunities. . . 

The worst is still to come – Peter Burke :

Driving from home base in the Horowhenua through Hawke’s Bay and up the East Coast, it’s pretty evident that feed for cows is in short supply and that ground is still wet.

There are large puddles in many paddocks and there is little evidence of grass silage being made. On last week’s trip to Napier I saw only two farms where silage was being cut and, in both instances, the amount of grass that had been cut was pretty meagre compared to previous seasons when one would have seen a hive of activity, cutting and bailing grass silage.

The word from farm consultants is that silage production is significantly below what is normal for this time of the year and that this and the planting of crops is at least a month behind normal. To add to the problem, the view is the grass is ‘gutless’ and of poor quality because of the lack of sunshine and the continuous rain. One farmer told me that he couldn’t remember a week when it hadn’t rained.

For dairy farmers this is the ‘money time’ – when production is supposed to be at its peak – but it isn’t and the number being quoted is that milk production will be down by 4% on last season which itself was not a good season. . .

Innovation will help farmers feed a world of 8 billion and counting – Gurjeet Singh Mann :

You can mark the date on your calendar: On November 15, 2022, a mother will give birth to a baby who is the world’s 8 billionth person.

This milestone in human history comes to us from an estimate by demographers at the United Nations.

They also predict that next year, my country of India will pass China as the planet’s most populous nation, with about 1.4 billion people.

This means the expanding population will need much more food than we ever had before. If we’re going to feed them, we need another Green Revolution and a lot more for India as well as for the rest of the world. Farmers must enjoy access to the full power of modern technology so that we can do our part to meet the necessities of life. . . 


Rural round-up

09/11/2022

Young farmers the angriest of all, says Todd Muller – Jo Moir :

It’s been two-and-a-half years since Todd Muller last held the agriculture role for National. He tells political editor Jo Moir the hopelessness and anger in the rural sector right now is palpable in a way he’s never seen before

National’s recently reappointed agriculture spokesperson is determined to find a way to strategically manage water as an asset in a way he says successive governments have failed to do.

“If you had coal in the 19th Century you were rich, if you had oil and gas in the 20th Century you were rich and if you have water then you’re rich in the 21st Century.

“It gives you options and frankly successive governments haven’t been able to appropriately resolve the tension that has existed in the community around how to manage water,” Muller says. . . 

Wairoa uprising over farm emission plans – Peter Burke :

The battle lines are being drawn between the small, isolated northern Hawke’s Bay farming town of Wairoa, pop. 8000, against the big guns of Jacinda Ardern and what they see as her anti-farming government and its plans to unfairly tax agricultural emissions. Peter Burke reports…

So furious were the locals that the mayor, and farmer, Craig Little hastily arranged a meeting of the local community so they could voice their concerns to Labour ministers Stuart Nash and Meka Whaitiri and representatives of MPI and Beef+Lamb NZ.

Helping him do this was Nukuhia Hadfield, a prominent, influential and award-winning local Māori farmer who also heads the committee which organises the prestigious Ahuwhenua trophy for excellence in Māori Farming.

This David and Goliath battle is one that could see other districts in heartland NZ now join the army of protest at what some commentators are saying is one of the worst decisions to be foisted on rural NZ for many decades. . . 

Political leaders missing from the frontlines – Neal Wallace :

The lasting memory is of anger laced with fear.

I began my journalism career in 1983, just in time to cover the heartache of farmers as they weathered the economic reforms unleashed by the David Lange-led Labour government.

Such was the pace and scale of change as subsidies and support payments were axed overnight, many farmers were financially hurting, they were angry, frightened and felt betrayed.

In my subsequent 38 years as a journalist I never again saw that level of sustained anger and frustration – until now. . . 

Ministry bungling costs forest owners millions :

Some foresters could be millions of dollars out of pocket due to a poorly communicated change in application deadlines, National’s Forestry spokesperson Ian McKelvie says.

“Last month, the Ministry of Primary Industries sent an email to foresters announcing that they were moving the effective deadline to register forests for the Emissions Trading Scheme from the last day of the year to 25 October 2022, simply due to long processing times in their office.

“This left forest owners just three working days to submit their applications. After that date has passed, their applications will not be processed until 2023. This change will prevent some forest owners from claiming five years’ worth of backdated credits to 2018.

“Some forest owners stand to lose millions of dollars as a result of this poorly communicated change. An owner of a large native forest in the South Island claims he will lose $6–$8 million. This is more than just incompetence, it is theft. . . 

ANZ’s support of agribusiness recognised with major award :

New Zealand’s agribusiness sector is an economic powerhouse for the country, contributing billions of dollars to GDP. And right now, the industry is undergoing rapid change as it pivots to more sustainable practices and reduces its carbon footprint.

Within this context, business partnerships with banking providers are increasingly important. Banks are supporting the sector with financial products that reflect the industry’s changing needs. Canstar recognises the value of this support with its coveted Agribusiness Bank of the Year Award.

This year, the Canstar assessment panel considered five providers to come up with the winner, which we’re proud to announce is ANZ!

Jose George, Canstar New Zealand General Manager, said given agribusiness’ value to the country, it was important to recognise banks that underpin its growth. “Our farmers are hugely valuable to our country, as are our ambitions for the sector to innovate and show global leadership for a sustainable future. . . 

Grazing is a crucial part of nature – Peter McCann:

In the first part of a three-week series, Peter McCann looks at the basic principles of regenerative agriculture. . . 

 


Rural round-up

03/11/2022

More frustration as southern farmers meet on HWEN – Neal Wallace :

Farmers remain far from convinced of the merits of the government’s response to the He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) agricultural emissions charging document.

A second meeting of southern farmers within a week was dominated by anger, exasperation, accusations that levy bodies are not fighting hard enough and claims political ideology is trumping common sense – all underpinned by contempt for the government policy.

About 50 people attended the Beef + Lamb NZ Southern South Island Farmer Council meeting in South Otago on Monday following a BLNZ meeting in Gore on Friday at which about 100 farmers expressed similar sentiments.

Discussion on Monday rapidly switched to the impact of the government’s proposal to cost agricultural emissions. . .

The pile-on effect gets worse – Peter Burke :

Farmers in many parts of the North Island are now facing a looming feed crisis.

The rain has been relentless during winter and spring and the ground is saturated in a way not seen before. This applies not only to dairy farmers but also horticulturalists and anyone who works the land for a living. Not only has there been heavy rain, stifling pasture growth, the lack of sunshine hours has meant that whatever grass that has managed to grow is ‘gutless’ and lacking in nutrition for animals.

Anyone travelling around the North Island in recent months would know: there is simply not enough grass available to animals compared to the norm for this time of the year. Travelling between Horowhenua to Napier over the weekend, I saw just two farms that had or were in the process of making grass silage and the cuts from those two were sparse to say the least.

Farm consultants are worried because dairy farmers are having to use their reserves of supplement to keep cows in condition for mating and the word is that many cows will not be mated on the first cycle due to their condition. . .

World dairy prices tumble further as farmers face the prospect of being charged for livestock emissions – Point of Order :

As debate rages in New Zealand’s farming industries over the Ardern  government’s  plan  for  charges  on  agricultural emissions, prices at Fonterra’s  Global  Dairy  Trade fortnightly auction  have fallen to their lowest level in nearly two years.

The average price at the sale fell 3.9%  to US$3537 (NZD$6054) a tonne, after falling 4.6% in the previous auction.

Prices have generally been falling since hitting a record high in March, and are now at their lowest level since January last year.

Whole milk powder fell 3.4%  to US$3279 a  tonne and  skim milk  powder 8.5% to US$2972  a  tonne, while  butter  was  marginally  up at US$4868  a  tonne  (though  a  long way  down  from  its peak  in  March  above  US$7000 a  tonne)  and cheddar 0.9% to US$4802 a tonne. . . 

NZ Battery Project has air of déjà vu – Jill Herron:

The prospect of Roxburgh having a second go-around as the host town of a major hydro project is starting to feel more real for residents as the government’s Lake Onslow scheme inches ahead

Massive disruption will be on the cards for residents of Central Otago’s Teviot Valley and a “treasure” lost if the government proceeds with the Lake Onslow pumped-hydro scheme, a community leader says.

Compensation should reflect that, says 78-year-old Pat Garden, and it should be structured to create benefits from the scheme that outlive the “boom and bust” of the build.

“The community needs to be recognised as a stakeholder and expects a shared benefit to compensate for the negative impacts,” he says. . . 

Full disclosure: I work to reduce the footprint of animal agriculture – Frank Mitloehner:

My response to The New York Times and Greenpeace articles on CLEAR Center Funding

There’s a shocking revelation out there, and I am at the heart of it. Are you prepared for this?

Animal scientists work with animal agriculture. That’s it. That’s the exposé, the conspiracy that so many activists and journalist want to share with you.

Oh, if you want more, try this on for size: Agriculturists work together to be more sustainable.

If you work in agriculture, these statements probably aren’t surprising. In fact, it would likely be concerning if that were not the case. Sustainability issues are too big to be tackled in in silos – metaphorically speaking, of course. One way the sector has come together to further sustainability is through the CLEAR Center. . .

A more sustainable approach to farming looks better together :

With a future focused on sustainable farming and growing, increasing demand for food products and an increasing regulatory environment, two companies have come together to aid the agricultural and horticultural industries.

Tokoroa based Blue Pacific Minerals Limited (BPM), has joined with AgriFert (NZ) Limited (AgriFert), in what Executive Chairman, Jamie Mikkelson, says “is part of our ongoing strategy to be ready for the future with innovative and science-led solutions. This partnering will benefit the future of farming and growing here in New Zealand. Like our agricultural community, we too are adapting to new trends and finding innovative ways, all while standing true in what we believe in, being clever by nature.”

“The future is exciting for farmers and growers with advances in science and technology. New Zealand farmers and growers are global leaders in efficiency and innovation. We have a part to play driving the sustainable farming and growing solutions” says Mikkelson. . . 


Rural round-up

26/10/2022

Ag sector not impressed – David Anderson :

NZ’s farming sector has been left disappointed and stunned over the Government’s proposal to price agricultural emissions.

Federated Farmers argues the plans would “rip the guts out of small town New Zealand, putting trees where farms used to be”. It accuses the Government of throwing out the years of work the sector put into finding a solution and said it was “deeply unimpressed” with the Government’s take on what He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) put forward.

Modelling done by Ministry for Primary Industries shows that without representation – and assuming farmers paid the levies at the farm gate – using the price proposed by HWEN of 11c a kilo of methane, by 2030 production of milksolids would be down by up to 5.9%, lamb down 21.4%, beef down 36.7% and wool down 21.1%.

The same modelling showed that 2.7% of dairy land would go out of dairy production while 17.7% of sheep and cattle country would cease running livestock, presumably to be converted to forestry. . .

Emissions plan will sound death knell for farmer s – Mayor – Peter Burke :

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little says the Government proposal to charge the ag sector for emissions will be the death knell for East Coast farmers.

He says farmers like himself were already being treated like second class citizens and this proposal reinforces that.

“It takes away all hope,” he told Rural News.

Little says farmers are now talking about selling up and going to Australia where he says agriculture is booming. . . 

BLNZ calls out HWEN changes – Annette Scott:

More than two years of cross-sector collaboration with uncomfortable conversations and robust debate on pricing emissions has not been recognised and “I am gutted”, Beef + Lamb New Zealand director Nicky Hyslop says.

“I am gutted as a sheep and beef farmer and as a BLNZ director with the government decision to make significant changes to He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN), which now have an unacceptable impact on a sheep and beef farmer,” Hyslop told farmers at the central South Island farmer council annual meeting.

“We get the current farmer anger and frustration but let’s channel that into strong messages that will resonate with the public, build pressure on the government and get constructive changes to make this whole thing workable.

“The bottom line is we are not going to agree to anything that threatens the viability of our industry and of our family farms. . . 

Call for more support for rural communities’ fight against climate change :

Government support for rural communities is vital to realising the potential in mitigating climate change says Rural Women New Zealand.

“Our members care for our land, our people and rural communities and we acknowledge the need to adapt, however, we would like to see more work on empowering rural communities through the provision of resources to effect positive change,” says National President Gill Naylor.

“There is no doubt that the solutions proposed by the He Waka Eke Noa Primary Sector Climate Change Partnership and the Government’s discussion document on pricing agricultural emissions, will have an impact on rural communities.

“Rural communities include the towns and regional centres which service them – the adverse impact of, and the opportunities afforded by, emissions pricing stretch further than the farm gate. . . 

Trust takes Ahuwhenua Trophy for top farm :

The Wi Pere Trust, a large sheep and beef farming operation at Te Karaka near Gisborne, was awarded the 2022 Ahuwhenua Trophy for the top Māori sheep and beef farm. 

Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor made the announcement at the Ahuwhenua Trophy awards dinner in Hawke’s Bay. He said Māori account for 25% of the production of sheep beef and wool in New Zealand, and have brought a highly professional approach to their farming operations. 

He encouraged everyone to go along to Ahuwhenua Trophy field days to better understand the complexity of the farms and passion of the farmers.

Trudy Meredith of Wi Pere Trust said winning the Ahuwhenua Trophy was absolutely amazing – especially given this was the first time they had entered the competition.  . . 

NZ Rural Land diversifies into forestry – Hugh Stringleman :

New Zealand Rural Land Company (NZL) is moving into forestry land ownership at a cost of $63 million for five properties in the Manawatū/Whanganui region.

The listed landlord has entered an agreement with private company NZ Forest Leasing to acquire the forest estate of approximately 2400ha and lease it all back to NZFL for a period of 20 years.

The settlement date for the acquisition is April 15, 2023 and the first year’s lease payment will be $4.98m.

Thereafter annual lease payments are subject to CPI-linked adjustments. . . 


Rural round-up

25/10/2022

Govt proposal puts farmers at risk – Nicky Hyslop:

It was with good faith that more than two years ago, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and 10 primary sector partners entered into discussions about a sector-specific emissions pricing framework through He Waka Eke Noa.

This was as an alternative to agriculture entering the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which we firmly believed was the wrong outcome for our farmers.

All of this work has been put at risk with the Government’s proposed changes to the partners’ agreed-upon pricing approach. These changes are completely unacceptable, particularly to sheep, beef and deer farmers, and leave us questioning what the Government is trying to achieve.

Carbon sequestration was a critical aspect of the finely balanced proposal, particularly in terms of achieving fairness and equity for hill country farmers, so it is extremely disappointing that the Government has put forward a proposal that does not reward and incentivise the plantings that farmers have done and continue to do. . . .

What the hell? – Peter Burke :

Confusion and outright anger reign across rural New Zealand as farmers and communities try to get to the bottom of the Labour Government’s proposal to effectively make a large number of sheep and beef farmers unprofitable in its quest to get them to pay for their agricultural emissions.

There have been claims the Government is prioritising trees over food and questions have been asked as to whether the move is brave or stupid.

While farmers have consistently stated their willingness to pay for these emissions, PM Jacinda Ardern’s announcement from a hay bale stage at a dairy farm in the Wairarapa a couple of weeks ago was not what farmers were expecting.

As Rural News went to print farmers around the country were preparing to take to the streets and motorways to express their opposition to the emissions pricing proposal. . . .

Fonterra fires back at critics of DIRA bill – Hugh Stringleman :

Fonterra’s capital restructure and the enabling legislation will give the company a fair go at competing for a sustainable supply of New Zealand milk on more equal terms, the co-operative says.

Chair Peter McBride presented Fonterra’s submission to the Primary Production Committee of Parliament on the Dairy Industry Restructuring (Fonterra Capital Restructuring) Amendment (DIRA) Bill.

He said an internationally competitive, farmer-owned co-operative of scale is in the country’s best interests.

The new flexible shareholding capital structure will help to level the playing field with foreign-backed competitors in an environment of declining NZ milk production. . . .

Record profits for Alliance Group – Shawn McAvinue:

Red meat processor and exporter Alliance Group is celebrating a record profit, but supply-chain challenges remain, bosses say.

The co-operative held 20 meetings across New Zealand to update farmers on its operation and the tour finished in Mossburn last night.

Group chief executive David Surveyor, speaking at Ranfurly Bowling Club last week, said the co-operative had a record profit performance for the year ending September 30.

“It’s the most profitable year in Alliance Group’s history . . .

Pioneering UMF: a beekeeper’s story – Leah Tebbutt:

Being in the honey industry for 40-odd years is not enough for Margaret and her husband Bill Bennett.

“We hope we’ll be some of the ones that keep on going through – that survive,” Bill said as we enter the honey house with citrus and magenta-coloured hives piled high.

Their persistence and passion come as no surprise. The couple pioneered the UMF grading system 25 years ago and they have campaigned for it ever since.

And while they are taking a small step back, son Andrew and son-in-law James Jeffery are both now beekeepers for their business, SummerGlow Apiaries. . . 

Using livestock for healthier soil – Glenneis Kriel :

Much has been said about how the COVID-19 pandemic exposed serious limitations in the global logistics and food system, and how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine makes it even more unlikely that the world will be able to end hunger by 2050.

But Angus McIntosh, better known as Farmer Angus, who farms livestock at Spier near Stellenbosch, argues that the situation is compounded by the misconception that the world’s farmers will have to feed a projected population of nine billion people by 2050.

“The world is already producing enough food to feed between 11 billion and 14 billion people. [However], our problem is that a lot of food is wasted along the supply chain or grown for the wrong reasons, such as to feed cattle [or other livestock in intensive farming concerns] or to produce biofuels,” says McIntosh. . .

 

 

 


Rural round-up

19/10/2022

Has He Waka hit the rocks? – Peter Burke :

The Government’s proposal to deal with agricultural emissions has stunned many rural communities who warn that it will decimate them and replace sheep and beef farms with pine trees.

Under the proposal, the Government states its intent to reduce emissions by 10% by 2030 and that farmers will start paying for their emissions by 2025.

But according to Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard, this plan put up by government will cause massive economic and social consequences in rural communities. He says the plan would see sheep and beef production drop by up to 20% and dairy by 5%, costing NZ $3 billion.

“We didn’t sign up for this. It’s gut wrenching to think we have a proposal by the Government that rips the heart out of the work we have done and to the families who farm the land. Feds is deeply unimpressed with the Government,” he says. . .

Our climate policy is confused and flawed – Allan Barber:

There’s an argument for rebuilding it from the bottom up, without Kyoto-era flaws.

Two reputable climate change scientists, Adrian Macey and David Frame, have recently published a five-part series of articles in BusinessDesk.co.nz which seriously questions the government’s climate change targets and policy. Macey is New Zealand’s first climate change ambassador and an adjunct professor at the NZ Climate Change Research Centre at Victoria University, and Frame is the centre’s director, which gives their opinions serious credibility.

At the same time Simon Upton, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, has issued a report that confirms the inappropriateness of planting huge swathes of pine forests to offset methane emissions and a note that questions the rationale for treating long-lived greenhouse gases and biogenic methane differently. He asks why fossil fuel emitters to buy carbon credits as offsets, while livestock methane emitters are not. Forests remove carbon dioxide, not methane, from the atmosphere, but Upton argues it should logically be possible for forestry to be used as an offset against warming in general, including methane. He also warned about the impossibility of planting enough trees to solve the warming problem.

In his report he states: “Reducing livestock methane emissions could have real economic and social impacts on people and ways of life. A fine balance needs to be struck between having regard to economic and social dislocation and finding a position that New Zealand can defend in international climate change negotiations, while remaining competitive in global food markets with growing consumer demand for low-emissions products.”  . . 

The shifting ground beneath farmers’ feet – Tony Benny :

Much has changed the position of farming in New Zealand society since 1973, when the sector lost its privileged access to a large and lucrative market.

“That cued up a series of crises that got worse and worse, culminating in 1984 with Rogernomics and really the first moment in the colonial history of New Zealand where a government decisively turned its back on farming. Things have never quite been the same,” Otago University’s Professor Hugh Campbell, an expert in the sociology of agriculture, told the Embracing Urban Agriculture hosted by Lincoln University’s B Linc Innovation centre.

He listed a series of fractures over the past 40 years or so that changed how urban and rural New Zealand relate, starting with a series of food scares in Europe including the Chernobyl disaster and Mad Cow Disease, which shook consumers’ confidence in food safety.

Consumers were also shaken by biosecurity issues including rabbits and the illegal release of calicivirus in an effort to control them, as well as the PSA virus that hit kiwifruit growers. . . 

New median wage to hit farmers in the pocket – Jessica Marshall:

Moves by the Government to raise the wage threshold for migrant workers have some farmers up in arms.

Last week, Immigration Minister Michael Wood announced that a new median wage of $29.66 per hour would be adopted into the immigration system from 27 February next year.

“The Government is focused on moving New Zealand to a higher wage economy, increasing the skill level of migrant workers, and encouraging employers to offer competitive wages and improve career pathways for New Zealanders,” Wood said.

“Updating the median wage thresholds regularly is necessary to ensure the Government is delivering on its immigration rebalance goals and that existing policy settings are maintained in line with market changes.” . . 

Southern women recognised in NZI Awards  :

Southern women feature as category award winners in this year’s NZI Rural Women New Zealand Business awards.

Jody Drysdale, from Balfour, who won the innovation category, is behind Hopefield Hemp, with her husband Blair. The couple decided on hemp after looking for ways to diversify their farming operation to include a value-add, direct-to-consumer product.

Hopefield Hemp grows, harvests, presses and markets hemp seed oil. It is small batch pressed and is available in bottles and capsules. In response to one of her children experiencing skin irritation, Mrs Drysdale researched and developed a recipe to make a soothing cream using her hemp seed oil and Hopefield Hemp’s skin care range was launched.

Serena Lyders, from Whānau Consultancy Services, Tokanui, won the rural champion category. Passionate about the shearing industry, she is a sixth generation member of a shearing family and the industry and the people in it were close to her heart. . . 

New project to help farmers gain regenerative agriculture certification :

Interest in food produced using regenerative practices is gaining momentum across the globe – and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is backing a project to help more New Zealand sheep and beef farmers capture this premium market.

MPI has committed $142,480 over two years through its Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund towards the $356,200 project with Lean Meats Limited (trading as Atkins Ranch). It aims to scale up the number of verified lamb producers that meet the regenerative certification requirements of the US Savory Institute’s Land to Market Programme.

New Zealand-owned company Atkins Ranch has been a partner of the Land to Market Programme since 2019. It sells premium grass-fed lamb into the US market and has supply contracts across five regions of New Zealand. The company has been piloting regenerative farming practices since 2019 with a core group of 23 farmers, and this is now expanding to more than 70 farms.

“I see regenerative agriculture as leaving the land in a better state for future generations,” says Atkins Ranch chief executive officer Pat Maher. . . 

Fonterra announces new sustainable finance framework :

As part of Fonterra’s commitment to sustainability and implementation of its strategy, the Co-operative has today released its Sustainable Finance Framework (Framework). This Framework aligns Fonterra’s funding strategy with its sustainability ambitions and reflects the evolving preferences of lenders and debt investors in this area.

Fonterra’s Framework outlines how the Co-operative intends to issue and manage any sustainable debt, which could include Green Bonds and Sustainability-Linked Bonds and Loans. The Framework has been developed with Joint Sustainability Co-ordinators HSBC and Westpac NZ and has been independently verified by ISS Corporate Solutions confirming alignment with globally agreed sustainable finance principles.

“This new Framework is a step on our sustainable financing journey – aligning with our Co-operative’s broader sustainability ambitions,” says Simon Till, Fonterra Director Capital Markets.

“Over the next decade we intend to significantly increase our investment in sustainability-related activities and assets throughout our supply chain to both mitigate environmental risks and continue to differentiate our New Zealand milk. By FY30 we intend to invest around NZ$1 billion in reducing carbon emissions and improving water efficiency and treatment at our manufacturing sites. In doing so, we will be taking significant steps towards our aspiration to be Net Zero by 2050 and we plan to align our funding with this approach.” . . 


Rural round-up

14/10/2022

The consequence of cutting livestock numbers to tackle farm emissions – a culling of support for Labour in rural areas perhaps – Point of Order:

Has the Ardern government just  shot itself in the  foot?

Despite its  poll  ratings slipping in  recent  months, it nourished hopes of  returning to power next year.  But  its  “world-first” policy to  cut greenhouse  gases with farm-level pricing, effectively making 20% of  NZ’s  sheep and beef  farms uneconomic, could result in it  bleeding  votes  in  most  of the  regional electorates  it  won  in 2020.

The unpalatable  truth  is  just  dawning on the  country: cutting  agricultural emissions  means  cutting  food and fibre output.  And  that means slashing the export income on which  NZ  depends.

Clearly  the  Cabinet  ministers  adopting the  policy  announced  yesterday  believed  they  could “sell” it  on  the  basis  that NZ  would be  leading the world, in  cutting agricultural emissions. . . 

Govt HWEN response ‘fails fairness test’– Neal Wallace :

The government’s response to the primary sector’s He Waka Eke Noa proposal fails to meet the partnership’s fairness test, according to the group’s programme director.

Kelly Forster said of particular concern is the government’s rejection of He Waka Eke Noa’s (HWEN) proposed involvement in setting the emissions price, its priorities in how the price is set and the tightening in the classes of vegetation recognised in sequestering carbon.

“We don’t think it has met the sector’s fairness test,” Forster said.

“What the sector put forward we felt was a good balance. This shifts the balance away from what the sector thinks is fair.” . . 

The government is shafting rural New Zealand – Mike Hosking:

We have the sort of logic only the Prime Minister can use when she largely isn’t on top of the subject she is talking about.

She tells us that farmers will benefit by leading the world once the Government’s new “tax farmers more to save the world” scheme gets under way. Small news flash, we already lead the world.

It’s been a good trick. You create the problem, in this case farming emissions.

You then tell farmers you’re going to tax them and farmers get upset. Farmers are lucky because they are the backbone economy so have political heft. So the Government pretends to acquiesce and say “okay no ETS for you, let’s have a special plan, and you can tell us what it is.” . . 

Emissions plan a kick in the guts for Southland farmers – Simmonds :

Invercargill MP and National Party Associate Spokesperson for Agriculture Penny Simmonds describes the Government’s recently released emissions plan as another kick in the guts for farmers, one which she claims threatens the future of farming in the South.

The Emissions Plan, released yesterday, has seen the Government accept most of the recommendations from the He Waka Eke Noa partnership, including a farm-level split-gas approach to emissions pricing.

“I’m deeply concerned at the implications of the Government’s proposals, which will effectively price farming off the market for a large number of people within the sector and risk leaving our rural communities in despair,” Simmonds says.

She says that while there has to be change, New Zealand farmers are already the most carbon efficient in the world and no other country has imposed a carbon tax on its agriculture sector. . .

Low emissions not production – Peter Burke:

AgResearch scientists say they’ve managed to breed sheep that produce less methane while still producing good quality meat.

NZ has been a world leader in the recent development of breeding sheep that belch out less methane – a relatively short-lived but potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

The latest progress stems from more than a decade of research by AgResearch scientists, supported by the industry through the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGgRc) and Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics, as well as the Government via the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC).

The result is sheep that naturally emit less methane as a product of their digestion and it is believed this trait can be bred for and passed down through generations. . . 

Renewed support for Get Kiwis on Farm initiative :

Federated Farmers and the Ministry of Social Development are pleased to announce another round of support for the “Get Kiwis on Farm” project, one of the government’s most successful worker placement COVID initiatives.

The initiative started in 2020 and to date has helped 605 people get jobs in farming.

MSD Industry Partnerships provides $323,000 of funding for 100 ‘starter kits’, to get the right gear in the hands of wannabe farm workers, and it also goes towards support with recruitment and pastoral care for those people.

New recruits get free farm and wet weather gear from Northland-based Kaiwaka Clothing, aimed to make them feel comfortable from their first day at work on the farm. Affording the right clothing was identified as a barrier for young people looking to work in farming. . . 


Rural round-up

11/10/2022

Mindset is everything in uncertain times – Shawn McAvinue:

Wellbeing, Maniototo farmer Emma Crutchley reckons, begins with mindset.

Ms Crutchley is a third-generation farmer on Puketoi Station near Ranfurly. A qualified agronomist from Lincoln University, she spent nearly six years working as a rural professional before coming home to the family farm.

Despite enjoying her childhood on the farm which is relatively remote, she found returning in her late 20s to be quite a culture shock.

“I had been away at boarding school, university and then lived in towns and central Wellington when I was working as an agronomist. It was actually really tough when I came home; trying to find my place and especially as a young female, the weekend sports on offer weren’t really what I was into.” . . 

AgResearch seeks to trial GM grass in Aus – Neal Wallace:

AgResearch is applying to conduct field trials in Australia for its genetically modified high metabolised energy ryegrass.

AgResearch farm systems scientist Robyn Dynes told a Farmax panel discussing how to match consumer expectation with farm business realities that recent United States trials confirmed the promise shown in the laboratory by high ME ryegrass.

The genetically modified grass grows at twice the rate of conventional ryegrass, stores more energy, has greater drought tolerance and reduces by up to 23% the methane released by animals.

Dynes said the US trials have confirmed that promise but research now needs to be scaled up to field trials to prove its efficacy, hence its application in Australia. . . 

New Mycoplasma bovis strain detected – Peter Burke :

A new strain of M Bovis has been discovered on one of four farms infected with disease in Mid Canterbury.

MPI’s M. bovis programme director Simon Andrew says recently completed genomic testing from a single property, which was previously confirmed with M.bovis, had identified the strain.

He says the new strain doesn’t behave any differently than the strain MPI have been dealing with, and their existing testing will pick it up, as it has done in this case.

Simon Andrew says as a result of finding the new strain MPI’s testing programme will be stepped up and a thorough investigation will be carried out to see how arrived on the farm.

Not for the fainthearted – the trials and tribulations of raising pet lambs – Virginia Fallon,:

Raising a pet lamb is Kiwi as, but before you bring little Barbara, Shaun or Rosemary home this spring those in the know have a few words of advice. A traumatised Virginia Fallon reports.

It was lambageddon, that long ago spring.

Every few days more of them arrived, spilling from hessian sacks onto the barn floor in a jumble of skinny woolly legs. Some were still covered in afterbirth, others caked in mud.

While the weakest ones lay dangerously quiet on the straw-covered concrete, the rest screamed for attention. Incredible how such little scraps can be responsible for so much noise. . . 

Lifetime love of land and livestock :

Jenni Vernon reckons her love for the land and livestock was forged as a child, helping her grandfather feed out mangels on farm.

Today, after more than four decades in farming and public sector leadership, she remains passionate about giving back to the industry.

Vernon has taken on the role of independent chair of the steering committee for the Hill Country Futures Partnership programme. It’s a task she combines with her job as a principal adviser for the Ministry for Primary Industries and other governance positions – including with the Agri-Women’s Development Trust (AWDT) and the National Fieldays Society.

Vernon was also New Zealand’s first female Nuffield Scholar and the first woman chair of Environment Waikato. . .

Kapiti and Wairarapa dominate NZ Extra Virgin Olive Oil awards :

Kapiti and Wairarapa Olive Oil makers have dominated the annual New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards, winning four of the five major awards for Olive Oil Excellence.

The New Zealand Olive Oil Awards began in 2000 and recognise excellence in New Zealand Extra Virgin Olive Oils (NZ EVOO). The winners were announced tonight at the Olives NZ 2022 Award Ceremony.

The top awards were as follows:

Best in Show – Waikawa Glen Blend, Kapiti . . 


Rural round-up

18/08/2022

MPI allays foot-and-mouth rumours while prices fall again at dairy auction – Point of Order:

It’s a tense time in New Zealand’s farming industries. Already the Ministry for Primary Industries has  had to shoot  down  an  overseas  news  report that  China  had  shut  its  borders  to  NZ  and  Australian  products  due  to  concerns   about  foot-and-mouth.

NZ  exports  to  China  are  continuing  as   normal, a Ministry  for Primary Industries spokesman said.

And Fonterra’s  fortnightly GDT auction  went  ahead  as scheduled  this  week,  with  keen  bidding   by   Chinese buyers.

Prices fell  for the  fifth  consecutive  time but  buying  caution  was  attributed to  the  fact consumers  are  worrying about soaring food prices. Other  observers  noted  the  impact on demand of disruption from Covid-19 lockdowns in China, an economic crisis in Sri Lanka and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. . . 

Dairy man laments lack of recognition of sector’s progress – Peter Burke:

The man who has led the Dairy Companies Association of NZ (DCANZ) for the past 15 years believes the dairy sector does not get enough recognition for what it does for NZ.

Malcolm Bailey, who steps down from his DCANZ role this week, has made a huge contribution to NZ and the dairy sector in particular for nearly four decades.

Bailey says one of the difficult things he’s had to overcome in his tenure at DCANZ is getting traction in the media about all the initiatives and works that the industry has done in the face of public criticism.

He says individual farmers – and the industry itself – have invested massively to minimise the environmental footprint of dairying and there have been some real success stories that have not been recognised. . . 

Fielding boy made good :

Malcolm Bailey grew up on a dairy farm near the township of Feilding in the lower North Island.

He still farms there today, with his son doing much of the on-farm work, while he focuses on his numerous other roles.

After completing a Bachelor of Ag Economics, Bailey left the family farm and took a job in the economics section of the Reserve Bank. One of his roles was to crunch some of the balance of payments numbers. It was here that he experienced the power of one Robert D. Muldoon, a man whose interventionist policies were eventually one of the reasons the young Malcolm Bailey went back to the family farm.

“As far as I was concerned, he was a lying crook who took the NZ economy in completely the wrong direction,” Bailey told Rural News. “The Reserve Bank could do nothing, despite a lot of the officials hating what was going on, but they couldn’t speak out publicly.” . .

A 50 year deer affair at Invermay – Shawn McAvinue:

A milestone of 50 years of science delivering for the deer farming industry will be celebrated in Mosgiel next month.

AgResearch scientist Jamie Ward is on the committee organising a celebration of 50 years of deer farming science at Invermay Agricultural Centre on Monday, September 26.

“I’m the one who did the math and figured out it all happened 50 years ago.”

In 1972, scientist Ken Drew and veterinarian Les Porter launched a deer farming research programme at Invermay. . .

How Seremaia Bai uses ag as a vehicle for rugby :

Fijian rugby star merges agricultural work, rugby and entrepreneurship to help create financial security for players.

He’s instinctively working the Colin “Pinetree” Meads model, only in an entirely different context. And Fijian international rugby star Seremaia Bai is making a real success of it – not just for himself.

While Meads trained in his King Country paddocks for his superlative rugby feats back in the day, and went back to farming after active rugby playing, Bai is operating in the new world of professional sport – which is not all rosy, and which has its own attendant challenges.

“The average professional career of a Fiji rugby player is approximately 10 years. But while so many young players have dreams, only 2% make it to the professional level. What happens to the other 98%?” Bai asked.. . . 

Scenic Rim agritourism farmers enforce measures to protect against foot-and-mouth disease – Heidi Sheehan:

Agritourism operators in south-east Queensland’s Scenic Rim region are asking tourists to sign waivers — and some to avoid their properties altogether — due to increased vigilance about the threat of foot-and-mouth disease. 

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) affects pigs, cattle, goats and sheep.

It was detected in Indonesia in May and spread to Bali earlier this month, prompting fears a tourist could carry the disease into Australia on clothing or footwear.

In the worst-case scenario, billions would have to be spent on a national response while scores of painfully diseased cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats could be culled. . .


Rural round-up

08/07/2022

NZ’s agricultural sector needs to take ‘bold actions’ to help steer ‘food transition’ – Rabobank CEO – The Country

Bold actions are required by New Zealand’s agricultural industry if it’s to take advantage of the global food transition, Rabobank NZ chief executive Todd Charteris has told the sector.

Speaking at the Primary Industries New Zealand Summit in Auckland earlier today, Charteris said New Zealand’s agricultural sector – and others around the world – was currently grappling with how to tackle the twin challenges of increasing food production and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

With the world population expected to grow to 10 billion by 2050, the global agricultural sector had “a big job on its hands” to ensure everyone had access to sufficient, safe and affordable food, Charteris said.

“But at the same time, the sector also needs to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions stemming from food production that risk warming our entire planet.” . .

Sequestration essential for He Waka Eke Noa :

Rewards for sequestration are an essential part of He Waka Eke Noa, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Barbara Kuriger and Climate Change spokesperson Scott Simpson say.

“National is disappointed the Commission wants to take sequestration out of He Waka Eke Noa and combine it with biodiversity and other environmental outcomes in a new system,” Barbara Kuriger says.

“If farmers are going to be charged for their on-farm emissions they should also be rewarded for on-farm sequestration either through He Waka Eke Noa or the ETS.

“The Commission should not over-complicate things. Its first priority must be emissions.” . . 

Weather hits hort crop hard – Peter Burke:

One of the big issues relating to the current supply of fresh vegetables has been the weather.

Some growers around the country have lost whole crops that were inundated during recent flooding. Leaderbrand is one of the country’s major horticultural producers and has its main base in Gisborne.

The company also has growing sites in Pukekohe, Matamata and Canterbury. Chief executive Richard Burke says in the case of Gisborne, the normal rainfall is about 1100mm a year, but it has already had more than 800mm so far this year.

He says there is nothing unusual about getting rain, but the weather patterns are just sticking around longer and that affects the ability to supply produce. . 

Primary Industries Award recognizes rapid response to feed the hungry and support growers during lockdown :

United Fresh New Zealand Incorporated have been presented the Primary Industries NZ Summit Team Award for their work delivering 300,000 boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables to whānau during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

The management team of five were responsible for the development of the Fruit and Vegetable Box Project, a clever adaption of existing relationships and supply networks to address food shortages and provide an outlet for fresh produce that had been destined for restaurants, tourism outlets, cruise ships and airline catering.

United Fresh General Manager, Paula Dudley, says the award is a recognition of the whole supply chain.

“We’re absolutely thrilled with this award. It’s testament to the long-term relationships between United Fresh members and the professionalism of the food distribution centres that we worked alongside,” she says. . . 

Flocks of sheep are the fire-fighting solution we never knew we needed  – Julia Jacobo, Jp Keenan, and Janet Weinstein:

The answer to managing wildfires may have been hiding in nature all this time.

Wildfires are a natural occurrence in forest ecosystems, but certain fire management practices have also contributed to the scope of fires occurring today, according to experts.

Flocks of sheep are now being used to manage fires as megadroughtexacerbated by climate change contribute to record-breaking fire seasons in the Western U.S.

Climate change is not the only culprit. Six of the seven largest fires in California have occurred in the past two years, and experts including Glen MacDonald, professor of geography and environment sustainability at UCLA say natural fuel is building up in forests, sparking hot, intense and fast-moving fires. . . 

 

 

Farmgate stolen vehicle detection cameras roll our across New Zealand rural towns :

Farmgate announced today they plan to roll out up to 50 roadside stolen vehicle detection cameras across New Zealand, focused in rural communities, for free – in accordance with Farmgate’s social good strategy, says Managing Director Andrew Sing.

“Farmgate has an ambitious goal – to reduce rural crime by 50% through partnering with local rural communities. We are excited to invest in safe rural community strategies over the next 12 months,” said Mr Sing.

Farmgate’s tech uses German-made Mobotix Artificial Intelligence cameras that detect number plates – which are then compared to the NZ Police stolen vehicle database. Police are also notified when a stolen vehicle is picked up on a Farmgate camera.

“Farmgate has invested heavily in the best possible tech to ensure we shut down stolen vehicles entering our rural communities. Stopping criminals before they even start on a crime spree or a ram raid who know we are watching is the best deterrent,” says Sing. . . 

Fierce competition expected for NZYF Tournament Series national titles :

New Zealand Young Farmers Tournament Series finalists have spent the last two months fine-tuning their shooting, debating, stock judging and fencing skills for the national finals.

Hosted alongside the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final, the NZYF Tournament Series finals will go down on Thursday 7th of July at various locations around Whangarei.

Seven fencing teams competing in pairs will be hammering it in for the Goldpine Fencing title at 540 Millbrook Road, Taipuha from 7:30am to 10:30am.

It will be followed by the MyLivestock Stock Judging at 11am, where 20 NZYF members will be judged on their ability to score a range of animals across beef and dairy cattle, meat and wool breeds and fleece. . .

 


Rural round-up

18/05/2022

Dairy event will be all about change – Sally Rae:

Dynamic.

That is the theme of the South Island’s largest dairy event, SIDE 2022, which is being held in Oamaru on June 8-9.

It was the first time the event had been held in the town and it was expected to attract more than 350 farmers, rural professionals and sponsors.

Event committee member Rebecca Finlay, who came up with the theme, said dairy farmers needed to be dynamic — they could not be stuck in their ways.

There was constant change as they dealt with the likes of new compliance and regulations and they had to be agile and responsive to that change. . .

Exile on Main Street – Neal Wallace:

This week, Farmers Weekly journalists Richard Rennie and Neal Wallace investigate how two different districts, Opotiki and Gore, are trying to encourage new workers and address an ageing workforce while facing a static or falling population.

New Zealand’s rural-led economic recovery is being hamstrung by a shortage of working-age staff, an inability to retain people and intergenerational social issues.

Some rural districts already struggling for staff face even greater labour challenges in the coming years if demographic predictions proved accurate.

Work by retired University of Waikato demography professor Dr Natalie Jackson, is forecasting that in the next decade 75% of the country’s regional authorities will experience a decline in their working age population as young people either leave for bigger urban centres or are not being born. . . .

The ag-sector’s Budget 2022 wish list is for science – Business Desk:

If increasing productivity is the name of the government’s game, then the agriculture sector’s wish list for budget 2022 is all about science. 

The farming sector helped bankroll the economy through covid-19, generating 30% of the country’s export income at a time when sectors like tourism were at a standstill.

Rather than being rewarded, however, the sector is under immense pressure from rising costs, scarce labour and, increasingly, regulation and compliance.  

You’d be hard-pressed to find a farmer who doesn’t want to increase productivity and farm for better environmental outcomes but – across the board – they want more research and development to help them get there. . .

A sick joke – Rural News:

When the Covid pandemic broke out over two years ago, Jacinda Ardern waxed lyrical about the importance of the rural-based primary sector and how it would pull the NZ economy through the tough times ahead.

It has delivered on that with interest.

The sector has come together like never before, from workers on farms, in orchards and processing plants – not to mention the marketers and managers who have got our product to market on time and at good prices.

However, it’s come at a price: people in rural NZ are fatigued and are having to cope with the additional burden of a bundle of stressful compliance. . . 

All hands on deck – Peter Burke:

Growers are mucking in and helping staff to pick this year’s kiwifruit crop. At this point, the Ruby Red variety has all been picked and about a third of the gold crop has also been harvested, with workers now starting to pick the green crop.

NZ Kiwifruit Growers (NZKGI) chief executive Colin Bond told Hort News that everyone in the industry is working together to ensure the crop gets picked this season.

He says many growers themselves have been out in the orchards with the picking crew and also helping out in pack houses.

Bond says there have been instances of staff who normally just pick the fruit, doing shifts in the pack houses on wet days when it’s not possible to pick fruit. . . .

2022 New Zealand Dairy Industry Award winner taking all opportunities:

For the first time in the Awards 33-year history Canterbury/Otago has achieved a clean sweep of all three major categories and the Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award, with national finalists from that region taking home the silverware.

The 2022 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year is driven, inspirational and a great example of a farmer who is taking every opportunity the New Zealand dairy industry offers.

Will Green was named the 2022 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year, the region’s Jaspal Singh became the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and Peter O’Connor, also from Canterbury/North Otago, was announced the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year. They shared prizes from a pool worth over $200,000.

The winners were announced at a Gala Dinner held at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre on Saturday, in front of more than 540 people, making it the largest dinner to be held at the new venue since opening. . . 

Fonterra responsible dairying award winner lead change through innovation :

Craigmore Farming Services, Canterbury/North Otago were named the 2022 Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award winners during the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards on Saturday night and received the John Wilson Memorial Trophy.

 The prestigious award was introduced by the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards and Fonterra to recognise dairy farmers who demonstrate leadership in their approach to sustainability and who are respected by their fellow farmers and their community for their attitude and role in sustainable dairying.

“It was a privilege to engage with all three finalists and the quality of the presentations was exceptional,” says head judge Conall Buchanan.

Fellow judge Charlotte Rutherford from Fonterra, agrees. “The future of the industry feels in such good hands when you are able to spend time with people like our finalists.” . . 


Rural round-up

17/05/2022

Farmers overwhelmed by new regs – Peter Burke:

Farmers are getting overwhelmed by all the new regulations and compliance requirements they are facing now and in the future.

Leading farm consultant Phil Journeaux, of AgFirst, told Rural News that farming is a complicated enough business as it is. But he says the compliance cost on farm – in terms of time and paperwork – is growing rapidly and with the advent of all the water, animal welfare and labour regulations, the pressure is on farmers.

“I have been doing a lot of work in the last few years around greenhouse gas emissions, which is very complicated and this has yet to really hit farmers,” Journeaux explains.

“I don’t think they (farmers) understand how much paperwork and compliance they will be required to do. This whole compliance thing is becoming a really big component of farming and that’s why a lot of farmers are reaching for advisors to help them work it through.” . . 

New regulations compel consents for 2023 crops – Richard Rennie:

As many farmers grapple with a looming feed crisis this winter, planning for next winter may also demand attention sooner rather than later with changes in the winter grazing regulations effective from November 1.

The revised intensive winter grazing (IWG) regulations finalised last month may require some farmers to apply for resource consent to winter graze crops on their farm and timelines are getting tight to ensure consent is granted before crops are sown.

AgFirst director of farm consulting James Allen says time can run surprisingly short for a feed supply that is not needed for another 12 months, once resource consent application processes are factored in.

“Basically, a resource consent is required if you are looking at a new wintering programme, there are a series of conditions you have to meet and it’s likely it will take time to ensure you meet them.” . . 

‘Red wave’ sweeps national dairy awards – Sudesh Kissun:

A red wave swept through the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards last night.

And the 2022 Share Farmer of the Year Will Green rightly pointed out in his acceptance speech that red wave wasn’t about the Labour Party but Canterbury. For the first time in the Awards 33-year history Canterbury/North Otago has achieved a clean sweep of all three major categories and the Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award, with national finalists from that region taking home the silverware.

Joining Green on the podium last night, Jaspal Singh, the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and Peter O’Connor, also from Canterbury/North Otago, was announced the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year.

They shared prizes from a pool worth over $200,000. . . 

All hands to the vine for harvest – Ashley Smyth :

A warm, dry autumn has been the saving grace for winegrowers in the Waitaki this season.

Harvest was in full swing in the Waitaki Valley this week, and it had been an ‘‘atypical’’ season for the region, new Waitaki Valley Winegrowers Association chairman Dave Sutton said.

‘‘It’s been more of a La Nina rain pattern this year, which has meant a lot of easterly rainfall, so a lot of the winegrowing regions on the East Coast — for example Marlborough, Hawkes Bay, Waiheke Island — they’ve seen a lot more rainfall.

‘‘Things were looking a little bit grim, but we’ve had a beautiful ripening period, late, and it’s actually saved the vintage, I think. . . 

Calmer farming through pressure and change :

A new online programme – Know your Mindset. Do what Matters – is boosting the ability of rural communities to handle pressure and change. Dairy farmer Matt Goodwin discusses how it’s helped him.

Matt Goodwin has plenty on his plate. 

He oversees not just one farm, but two – the family’s South Canterbury dairy operation comprises a 600-cow farm and a 300-cow farm. 

It’s a big job, but Matt loves dairying.  . . 

Glass ceiling obliterated by Taupō dairy farm managers – Rachel Canning:

Three Taupō women are proving their doubters wrong as they prepare for their first season as managers of dairy farms.

The trio will each manage Pāmu Farms dairy farms located just out of Taupō.

When they started out, two had never set foot on a dairy farm and one grew up on a sheep and beef farm. One had family members who doubted she would cope with the mud, the stink, and hours outside in the cold.

Resolution Dairy Unit manager Mona Cable, Quarry Dairy Unit manager Liza Arnold and Burgess Dairy Unit manager Carol Cuttance have worked their way up from the bottom, spent time “riding the train” while their children were young, taken up study opportunities to learn about milking and effluent management systems, and all three say they still experience moments of self-doubt. . . 

 


Rural round-up

28/04/2022

Rural focus missed in health reform – Neal Wallace:

Rural communities should be a priority health focus alongside women, Māori, Pacific and people with disabilities in the Government’s health reforms, according to a NZ Rural General Practice Network (NZRGPN) submission.

The NZRGPN says the proposed legislation ignores the needs of 740,000 rural people and will mean the continuation of poorer health outcomes for those living in rural communities.

The Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill, which amalgamates the country’s District Health Boards into a centralised body, will be reported back to Parliament later this month.

Despite the economic importance of rural-based industries, the network claims that unless “rural people” is added to the Bill as an identified priority population, then health inequities and the rural health staffing crisis will continue. . . 

Government regs take their toll on hort growers – Peter Burke:

Horticulture NZ’s chair is genuinely concerned about the wellbeing of growers with confidence at rock bottom.

Barry O’Neil told Rural News the pressure that growers are facing is on many fronts, including a plethora of new government regulations. He says 2022 will be the hardest year the sector has experienced for many and the heat is on growers because of this.

“It’s not just Covid, it’s all the other issues that are building in respect to the environmental settings the Government wants to achieve,” O’Neil explains. “There are shipping disruptions, labour shortages and rising costs on orchard as well.

“It’s not just about change – this is about the amount of change and the speed at which this happening.”  . . .

Planting trees ‘binds our community’ – Sally Rae:

“We are all in this together.”

As Emeritus Professor Henrik Moller points out, although 90% of voters live in urban centres, New Zealand’s biological industries — particularly farming and forestry — earn about 60% of the country’s national income.

Urban dwellers often went “hunting and gathering in supermarkets” and there was increasingly less understanding of the struggles their rural counterparts had.

“The more we understand, meet and support each other, the safer our country will be. Our future depends on it,” he said. . . 

‘Right tree, right place’ plan proffered

Environment Southland has proposed a “right tree, right place” policy in response to concerns about forestry taking over pastoral land as climate change bites.

In an extraordinary meeting of the council earlier this month, Environment Southland discussed its response to a document released by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) which proposes changes to forestry settings in the New Zealand emissions trading scheme (ETS).

The MPI is considering changes to the ETS, including a blanket ban on exotic forestry receiving carbon credits or a ban on nominated exceptions. Keeping the status quo is also being considered.

There is a concern good pastoral land is being eaten up by forestry being planted to earn carbon credits, which have more than doubled in price since June 2020. . . 

New research shows opportunity for NZ wool in US :

New research has found that Americans have different ideas about wool compared to New Zealanders – one that offers growers a huge opportunity.

The research commissioned by the Campaign for Wool NZ (CFWNZ) found a large education gap in how US consumers think about wool, CFWNZ chairman Tom O’Sullivan said.

“For example, 53% think of cashmere when they hear the word wool. Although they are aware of wool, it sits quite a bit lower down in their consciousness when compared to New Zealand consumers.”

The research by Fresh Perspective Insight canvassed 3000 consumers across three markets – New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States in November last year. . . 

JB Fairfax Award to Kate Newsome – Andrew Norris :

A budding journalist from Glen Innes with a passion to provide a voice for people in rural areas has been awarded the 14th JB Fairfax Award for Rural and Regional Journalism and Communications.

Kate Newsome has been undertaking a bachelor of arts and bachelor of advanced studies in media and communications at the University of Sydney, said the award’s benefactor, John Fairfax, during his presentation to Kate at Sydney Royal Show.

“… we need talented and well-trained journalists, individuals who can bring to all of us … balance and factual accounts of the many things that affect our lives,” he said.

“Kate is a great girl and she hopes to use a career in the media to bring greater attention to many of these issues.” . . 

 


Rural round-up

22/03/2022

Book culling space now! – Peter Burke:

Livestock farmers are being urged to plan ahead for possible meat processing disruption due to Covid-19.

The expectation of some farmers that they can ring up a buyer at short notice and have animals collected quickly and taken to the processing works is unrealistic at the moment.

The chair of the Animal Welfare Forum Lindsay Burton says with Omicron in the community, there is a high degree of uncertainty around the availability of a labour force in processing plants. He says even before the recent omicron outbreak, the industry was 5,500 workers short and the situation has the potential to get worse.

The Farm to Processor Animal Welfare Forum – a grouping of various industries related to livestock farming – says it is critical that farmers book space at meat processors well in advance. It is also warning farmers to be prepared to potentially hold stock on farm for longer. . . 

‘It’s beyond a joke’ – farmer outraged at milk tanker fracas near front gate – Chloe Blommerde:

A dairy farmer reckons $80,000 worth of milk could have gone down the drain during a milk tanker fracas with boy racers on the road near his front gate.

Footage of the incident shows a group of people crowding around a Fonterra tanker and its driver in the middle of the night as a stream of white pours onto the tarseal, however it’s unclear how much was lost.

Police received a report that a milk truck was damaged by a group of people near the intersection of Stokes and Orini roads in Waikato around 1.20am on Saturday.

The rural crossroads is a well-known spot for street racers to park up and do burnouts at the weekend. . . 

Fonterra to exit Russian business :

Fonterra has today announced it will exit its businesses in Russia. This follows the Co-op’s decision to suspend shipments of product to Russia at the end of February.

CEO Miles Hurrell says “our first step following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was to establish the safety of the team in Russia, and our priority through this process continues to be doing the right thing by our people.

“We then suspended shipment of product to Russia while we assessed the impact of economic sanctions and discussed our long-term plans with our customers and joint venture partner.

“Following careful consideration of the impact on our people and our long-term plans for the Russian market, we will now close our office in Moscow, re-deploying staff where possible, and withdraw from our joint venture Unifood.” . .

Business relationships crucial to success of winning farmers :

Bay of Plenty Share Farmer of the Year winners Scott and Becks O’Brien say farmers have nothing to lose and everything to gain in Dairy Industry Awards. Their advice to potential entrants is to give it a go.

“Whether you come first or last doesn’t really matter, because the networking with so many different people, and the feedback and information and scrutiny you’re getting on your business is as valuable as winning. You just have to give it a go. It’s little nerve wracking, but we really enjoyed it, and what you get out of it is so worth it.”

The O’Briens are sharemilking 900 cows on two farms about 10 minutes apart in the Galatea district. Since 2017 they have milked 650 cows on Rory and Susan Gordon’s 260-hectare farm, and since 2020 have been milking 250 cows on Cathy and Peter Brown’s 100-hectare property.

Scott has been dairy farming since he left school, just over 20 years ago. He and Becks have been married for 16 years. The start of their relationship was dramatic, with 21-year-old Becks diagnosed with cancer just after they met. It has permanently affected her voice, but after being at home with their young family – 12-year-old Hunter, 10-year-old Summer, and 8-year-old Piper – she has become an educational support worker at Galatea School (where Scott is also on the board of trustees). . . 

From Auckland to Reporoa lifestyle choice brings success in Dairy Industry Awards:

A former Auckland sales and marketing executive and a former adventure tourism guide and boutique lodge manager have won the 2022 Central Plateau Share Farmer of the Year title.

Todd and Renee Halliday were announced the winners of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year category at the Central Plateau Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner held at the Lake Taupō Yacht Club on Thursday night. The other big winners were Satveer Singh, who was named the 2022 Central Plateau Dairy Manager of the Year, and Zoe Bryson, the 2022 Central Plateau Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Todd was born and bred in Auckland city and had never set foot on a farm until he met Renee, who is a dairy farmer’s daughter. The couple spent five years in the hospitality sector managing boutique lodges together before entering the dairy industry in 2009.

Todd initially spent two years as a farm assistant in Reporoa before progressing to a management role for a further two years. He and Renee then spent seven years in Mid Canterbury before returning to Reporoa where they now contract milk and are equity partners with Phil and Diane Herdman, on a 153ha Reporoa property, milking 520 cows. They won $17,060 in prizes and eight merit awards. . . 

RIP plant based meat mania – Prime Future:

I am often asked about my view on alternative meats and the threat they pose to old fashioned, plant-fed meat. I’ve stayed away from that question, for the most part because I’m just more interested in plant-fed meat.

First, it’s important to separate “alternative meat” into 3 distinct buckets: plant-based, fermented, cell-based.

Today we are looking at the plant-based meat category. Spoiler alert: I find the plant-based meat category bland and uninspiring. And honestly, I think we can reasonably lay plant-based meat mania to rest in peace in the history books, right alongside 1990’s emu farming mania in the US.

Some background on VC’s appetite for the category: . . 


Rural round-up

07/03/2022

Growers wary of Russia-Ukraine conflict – Annette Scott:

Cropping farmers are wrapping up one of the worst harvests they’ve seen.

Coupled with the threat of the long-term implications of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, things can’t get much worse, United Wheatgrowers chair and Mid Canterbury cropping farmer Brian Leadley said.  

“It’s got beyond urgent for many crops, the damage is done now, particularly for cereals and cut grasses,” Leadley said.

“The weather hasn’t played its part right back from flowering time in December, covid has created logistics issues and now we have the added confusion of the Russia-Ukraine war – both that are large and strong grain growing nations. . . 

Nervous final push ahead for Marlborough wine vintage – Morgane Solignac:

This year’s Marlborough wine vintage is shaping up to be a good one, but pressure is high as the industry navigates Covid, a labour crunch and Mother Nature.

Marlborough contractor Alapa Vineyard Services owner Alan Wilkinson usually employs 250 seasonal workers, but he is 60 per cent down this year with only 100 staff.

“We were supposed to get 22 Samoan workers last November, but they only just arrived last week,” he said.

“Last year we had 70 Thai workers but 20 of them have returned home over the last four months for various reasons. . . 

Diversity for sustainability – Hugh Stringleman:

Concern for the soil structure after summer maize cropping with conventional tillage has led Northland dairy farmers Adam and Laura Cullen to introduce multi-species cover crops over the prior winter and use direct drilling where possible. They are only beginning to see the benefits of this regenerative approach, they told Hugh Stringleman.

Adam Cullen, of Ararua in the Kaipara District, has rediscovered his enthusiasm for agriculture and applies his curiosity to finding new ways of dairying better, says his wife Laura.

The change of mindset prioritises improving the environment and the farm resources rather than constantly driving for production.

But the Cullens are not following a formula or prescription, rather being adaptive to their circumstances and farming conditions. . . 

 

Art for farming’s sake – Peter Burke:

A warning from his wife not to hang around the house and get under her feet when he retires has prompted a Feilding-based farmer to launch himself into a new and successful career – as an artist, painting rural scenes.

Seventy-three year-old Graham Christensen was brought up on a farm and as a youngster helped with shearing and the like before eventually doing a degree at Lincoln University.

His first job was with the old MAF where he managed the sheep breeding programme on Mana Island, near Wellington. . .

2022 Primary Industries Good Employer Awards open for entries :

The search has begun to find Aotearoa New Zealand’s most exceptional primary sector employers.

Entries have opened for the 2022 Primary Industries Good Employer Awards, which are run by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT).

“The Awards provide the opportunity to recognise and celebrate outstanding employers across the primary sector that may otherwise fly under the radar,” said MPI’s director of investment, skills and performance Cheyne Gillooly.

“The sector has been resilient throughout the pandemic and the hard mahi of farmers, growers and processors is leading our export-led recovery from COVID-19. . . 

Death by red meat is unsubstantiated – Frank Frank Mitloehner:

One might expect that a major breakthrough delivered by a well-respected organization – especially when the breakthrough seriously overrides a conclusion drawn merely two years earlier – to be backed by cold, hard facts. And yet, they are woefully absent from a Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) that calls unprocessed red meat an unconditional health risk.

The 2019 report points to a 36-fold higher estimate of deaths attributable to unprocessed red meat consumption than what is outlined in GBD’s 2017 study. In other words, any amount of red meat intake can lead to serious health complications, particularly cancer. The claim is made all the more shocking by the fact that GBD’s previous report assigns relatively low death risk to animal-sourced foods.

Prof. Alice V. Stanton, a world-renowned physician who specializes in the study of pharmacy and biomedical sciences at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, is cautioning us not to buy in. After a period of intense work with a team of researchers, that included Stanton, Frédéric Leroy, Christopher Elliott, Neil Mann, Patrick Wall and Stefaan De Smet, their take on GBD’s no-red-meat-ever cry was published in the well-regarded Lancet Feb. 25. The GBD study fails to clarify how it came to its conclusions, Stanton says. 

The GBD report isn’t the only time meat has been castigated. A 2015 study from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) tried its best to link meat with certain types of cancer, namely colorectal cancer. The organization eventually released the full scientific basis of its finding, confirming just how weak the evidence linking meat and colorectal cancer is. Amidst confusion, the World Health Organization (WHO) – the parent organization of IARC – came forward to deflate IARC’s claim and reassure the public that meat should be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy, balanced diet. . . 


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