New Zealand workers find greener pastures on Canadian farms – Kate MacNamara:
Grant Coombes doesn’t usually have trouble keeping staff. He pays well, provides decent accommodation, and his North Waikato dairy farm is within easy reach of Hamilton. But there wasn’t much he could do when his herd manager left for Canada in June.
Originally from the Philippines, the manager, Syrell, was in New Zealand on an essential skills visa, which was set to expire. Coombes says renewing the visa wasn’t the problem – he’d renewed one for another employee just months before. The difficulty was that Syrell, who earned $70,000 a year working 45 hours per week, didn’t just want a job. He wanted a future.
“It’s about a pathway to residency for these guys and there’s just no clear pathway at the moment,” Coombes says.
Which is a shame because the man’s skills are in huge demand in New Zealand. . .
Wairarapa water scheme project canned – Piers Fuller:
After 20 years in the pipeline and more than $12 million spent, a major Wairarapa dam project has been abandoned.
Wairarapa Water Ltd announced on Friday that development of the Wakamoekau Community Water Storage Scheme would stop immediately.
The scheme northwest of Masterton was designed to harvest high winter flows of the Waingawa River into a 20 million cubic metre dam for use in summer.
Wairarapa Water chairman Tim Lusk said the scheme was no longer viable to continue. . .
The spectre of another drought on the east coast of the North Island is on the horizon, rather than the rain farmers badly need.
The latest monthly rainfall figures released by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council show why there are concerns.
Almost no rain is forecast for any part of Hawke’s Bay in the next week. That may not be good news for farmers, but will be for the rest of the population wanting a little local exercise under alert level 3 restrictions.
The council’s release of the figures comes also as climate agency Niwa reveals that nationwide it’s been the driest winter on its records – beating a previous record set just last year. . .
The Waimakariri Water Zone Committee in Canterbury is considering a pilot wetlands project which would aim to reduce nitrate, phosphorus, sedimentation and E. coli levels in local waterways, while improving biodiversity in the district.
This follows a recent presentation on the benefits of integrated constructed wetlands by wetland scientist Dr Michelle McKweown of science and engineering consultancy Wallbridge Gilbert Aztec (WGA).
An integrated constructed wetland is an engineered water treatment system that uses vegetation and micrbes in the soil to treat water from farms and other sources, while also integrating the wetland structure into the surrounding landscape fabric.
These wetlands, which have been used in Ireland, the USA, and the UK since around 2007, act as a biofilter to remove suspended solids, pathogens, and nutrients from waterways. . .
The demand for native plants is “just insanity”, according to a prominent grower. Where are these all these plants and trees coming from? WILL HARVIE reports.
Eco-Action Nursery Trust started out a few years ago as a plan to landscape Christchurch’s new Shirley Boys’ High School with native vegetation.
Students would learn about biology and horticulture – seeds to seedlings – and then plant them around the school’s new grounds – a nice touch in community building. Meanwhile, the school would get almost-free plants.
“This is a good idea,” Shirley Boys’ teacher and Eco-Action co-founder Dave Newton thought at the time. There were even some plants left over, which were donated for planting in Ōruapaeroa-Travis Wetland. . .
What crop growers say about vegan food labels – Shan Goodwin:
CROPPING industry representatives have responded in mixed fashion to the debate over vegan food labels using words like beef and meat.
Submissions to the senate inquiry investigating labelling of plant-based protein have now closed and public hearings kick off next week.
GrainGrowers believes the current food labelling provisions are not adequate and do lead to confusion and unfair outcomes for all stakeholders involved.
It’s submission said food labelled with an animal product descriptor must be derived from an animal. . .