Rural round-up

September 22, 2013

Rural sector key for many of Otago’s SMEs – Dene Mackenzie:

More than half of Otago small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) receive business income from the rural sector.Kiwibank group manager business markets Mark Stephen said with New Zealand’s agricultural sector economic growth lagging in the three months ended in June, the drought had squeezed the sector.

Even those small enterprises which did not directly deal with the rural sector were found to be supplying customers who did deal directly with farmers. . .

Hunter Downs project gathering momentum – Sally Brooker:

An irrigation project taking Waitaki River water further into South Canterbury is gathering momentum.

The Hunter Downs Irrigation Scheme has been awarded $640,000 from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Irrigation Acceleration Fund. It will help pay for engineering design, an investigation into demand from landowners, and a fundraising prospectus.

”This part of South Canterbury has regular droughts,” Irrigation Acceleration Fund manager Kevin Steel said.

”The HDI Scheme is a large-scale infrastructure initiative that hopes to significantly address this problem.

”Where agriculture is New Zealand’s largest export earner, irrigation infrastructure contributes significantly to supporting the country’s ongoing economic growth.” . . .

“Logistical nightmare’ sorting out mess – Ruth Grundy:

Immigration New Zealand is to work with Canterbury-based irrigation companies to get more specialist workers into the country to fix storm- damaged irrigators.

Last week, Irrigation New Zealand said the wind storms which ravaged the region had caused ”unprecedented” damage to more than 800 irrigators.

Irrigation NZ chief executive Andrew Curtis said machinery from South to North Canterbury had been damaged by high winds but the bulk of the damage was to machinery around Ashburton, Selwyn and Waimakariri.

”It’s very, very serious,” Mr Curtis said. . .

Tagging technology tackles possums:

Kiwi ingenuity combined with forensic science techniques has produced a method of identifying individual possums that has the potential to also be used in the fields of environmental and human science.

Dr James Ross  from the Centre of Wildlife Management and Conservation at Lincoln University is using a locally-developed, activity interference device (WaxTag®) baited with attractant substances to identify individual brushtail possums biting the tags.

In the absence of an efficient and cost-effective alternative to estimating the abundance of possums after control methods have been applied, the residual trap-catch index (RTCI) remains the monitoring standard at present. However, RTCI is not sensitive in locating survivors when the population is at very low densities and it is costly because traps need to be checked daily. . .

New scholarship helps students and industry alike:

Lincoln University PhD students Laura Buckthought and Travis Ryan-Salter have been awarded $10,000 each as the first recipients of the new Alexanders Agribusiness Scholarship.

The generous scholarship is exclusive to Lincoln University and awarded on behalf of Alexanders Chartered Accountants who created the scholarship with the aim of helping committed, high calibre postgraduate students undertaking research in the primary sector.

The company Directors did consider opening the scholarship up to students from other universities, but chose to make it exclusive to Lincoln on account of the University’s focus on the land-based industries relative to New Zealand’s key commercial interests. . .

Video sensation Peterson Farm Brothers at the Farm Science Review – we’re just Kansas farm kids – Susan Crowell:

LONDON, Ohio — They’re just typical farm kids.

They’d rather run the combine than the truck during wheat harvest, and they love to run their six-row Kemper chopper they call the Beast Machine. Their first chore was throwing flakes of hay bales to the cattle on their feedlot, and they remember when their dad let them drive the tractor in first gear, inching down the feedbunk while he tossed feed to the cows — “I know it was before I was even in school!”. Their idea of dressing up is something other than an old T-shirt with the sleeves cut off. They hate going out in freezing weather to break up the ice on the waterers for the cows, or cleaning up the outdoor feed bunk after it rains. They post pictures of newly cut alfalfa or eartags on Facebook. . .


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