Rural round-up

May 10, 2020

Drought relief: Teen encourages farmers to ‘bare all’ – Anusha Bradley:

A Facebook page for Hawke’s Bay farmers struggling with severe drought is being credited with saving lives.

The lack of rain, lack of feed and trouble selling, or sending stock to the meat works because of Covid-19 restrictions is putting untold pressures on farmers.

But one young farmer’s efforts are providing a little relief to those in need.

Poppy Renton, 19, set up the Hawke’s Bay Drought page on Facebook, which has attracted more than 2000 members within a week of going live. .

In 113 years on the Dasent family farm, they’ve never seen a drought like thisAnusha Bradley:

The rolling hills on the Dasent family’s farm in rural Hawke’s Bay are a sea of brown as far as the eye can stretch.

Their family has farmed here in Maraekakaho for 113 years and while they’ve experienced droughts before, it’s never been like this.

“We’ve only had 13mls of rain over the whole of April,” says Rhea Dasent, who is the fourth generation of Dasents to farm the land. . .

Farm ‘train’ could  clean rivers:

Combining his farming nous with years of experience as a research scientist means Waikato dairy farmer Richard Cookson is well placed to help solve one of the industry’s biggest issues – potential impact of pasture run-off to streams and rivers.

Cookson, who together with his wife Louise Cullen, runs the 320ha Springdale farm near Morrinsville, is trialling a unique system – he calls it a “treatment train” – specifically designed for use on farms with the type of flat terrain typical of much of the Waikato region.

As part of the project, he has constructed a small wetland near a drain on the farm to filter contaminants out of run-off which ultimately flows into the Waitoa and Piako rivers. . .

New Zealand horticulture exports grow to $6.2 billion:

New Zealand horticulture exports reached a record breaking $6.2 billion in the year ending June 2019 – an increase of $720 million from the previous year, and more than 10% of New Zealand’s total merchandise export income.

According to latest edition of Fresh Facts, published annually by Plant & Food Research and Horticulture New Zealand, the total New Zealand horticulture industry was valued at $9.5 billion in 2019. A significant $3.4 billion of this was fresh fruit exports, which grew by $54 million since 2018. Kiwifruit continues to be New Zealand’s largest fresh fruit export, valued at $2.3 billion in 2019. A whopping 545,800 tonnes of kiwifruit exports were sent overseas, two thirds of this to Asian countries. Apples were the second largest fresh fruit export, earning $829 million. New Zealand-bred varieties such as Jazz™, Envy™ and Pacific™ brand apples are popular with overseas consumers and made up a quarter of apple exports. . . 

Tractor sales down 60%: TAMA calls on Government to help save its sector:

The Tractor and Farm Machinery Association (TAMA) is calling on the Government to take urgent measures to help its sector in the face of plummeting sales.

TAMA President John Tulloch has written to the Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor requesting action to encourage farmers and contractors to invest in farm productivity this year.

Specifically, TAMA wants the Government to review its low value asset write-off limit to bring it up to at least same level as Australia. The New Zealand Government has temporarily increased the threshold to $5,000 because of COVID-19 however the new Australian limit is $150,000. . .

Beef and Dairy grazing farmers take top regional spot at Otago Ballance Farm Environemnt Awards:

A passion for farming has led to Anna & Ben Gillespie being named Regional Supreme Winners at the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards, run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust.

The awards champion sustainable farming and growing through a programme which sees one Regional Supreme Winner selected from each of the 11 regions involved. All Regional Supreme Winners are in the running for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy, with the winner of this national award to be announced at a later date.

Taking a strategic approach that plays to their strengths has paid off for this Omakau couple as they diversify and grow their beef and dairy grazing business. Highly conscious of the farm’s environmental impact, they’re anticipating future regulatory changes by taking action now. . .

Waterfront farm with development potential placed on the market for sale:

A boutique waterfront Northland grazing farm with extensive private headland beach access to the Kaipara Harbour has been placed on the market for sale.

The 92.7-hectare farm at Whakapirau some 13-kilometres south-west of Maungaturoto has been previously used for grazing a herd of approximately 200 heifers and rising cattle – leased out at a rate of between $220 – $250 per hectare annually.

The freehold property consists of some 15 rolling paddocks surrounded by small hills. The paddocks are segregated by a mix of post and batten and electric wire fencing. Farm building infrastructure on the harbourside property consists of a two-bedroom block home which has beach access via a formed track. . . 


Rural round-up

February 8, 2020

Cost of meeting freshwater standards could cripple farm business – Esther Taunton:

Fourth-generation sheep and beef farmer Daniel Mickleson says the cost of meeting proposed freshwater standards could mean the end of his family farm.

The Government is expected to make its final decisions on the details of a plan to clean up the country’s waterways early this year with the new rules coming into effect in June.

The plan includes several measures to improve farming practices, and ensure all farmers and growers have a plan to manage risks to freshwater. . . 

Southland property likely to be ‘unfarmable’ for sometime after floods – Louisa Steyl,:

A sea of water sits above the Scobie’s farm. 

It’s one of the worst affected areas on the Wyndham Rd between Wyndham and Mataura, but the family who own it haven’t had a chance to assess the damage properly yet. 

Instead, they’ve been busy helping people in Wyndham where Pam Yorke, nee Scobie, used to be the community board chair. . . 

New study finds pine forest link to fine sediment in Waimea, Moutere estuaries – Cherie Sivignon:

Almost 90 per cent of the environmentally-damaging fine sediment at the mouth of the Moutere River came from pine forest, a new study has found.

Tasman District Council and NIWA have been investigating the effects of sediment on the district’s river systems. The resulting report, which is not yet available in full, also found that recently harvested pine forests along with bank erosion were responsible for a high proportion of sediment in the Waimea Inlet.

Council resource scientist Trevor James said the study represented a “snapshot in time” but he hoped to organise a meeting with the forestry companies as well as sediment experts from NIWA and Landcare Research to discuss its findings. . . 

Hope coronavirus impact on dairy will be short-lived – Sally Rae:

A 4.7% overall fall in this week’s Global Dairy Trade auction ‘‘could have been worse’’, ASB senior rural economist Nathan Penny says.

There were signs the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on dairy markets would prove short-lived; Chinese buyers remained active at similar levels to recent auctions, while three product prices rose.

Those signs were consistent with the bank’s view the impact on dairy markets and prices would be modest and short-lived, Mr Penny said in a note.

However, the bank remained vigilant as the outbreak situation was fluid and dairy price implications were subject to change. . . 

Central Otago cherry growers hit by second tough season in a row – Maja Burry:

Central Otago cherry growers are reporting a tough 2019-20 season, with yields about half the normal size due to poor weather conditions.

The majority of cherries are harvested in the region between mid-December to early February.

Summerfruit NZ chair and general manager of the cherry exporter 45 South, Tim Jones, said yields were about half, or maybe even a little bit less, of what a full crop would be in the district. It was the second tough season in a row for growers, he said.

“So two years in a row of low yields, I think growers will be looking forward to next year and [getting] back to some good volumes.” . . 

New partnership to develop bigger, tastier blueberries:

Consumers across the world may soon be experiencing tastier, fuller-sized blueberries year-round, thanks to a new breeding partnership in blueberries that will bring premium quality berries to customers across the world. 

Plant & Food Research and global fresh produce company T& G Global have announced they are entering into a new agreement to breed and commercialise exciting new varieties of blueberries to be sold globally. 

The breeding programme will produce new varieties of blueberry that will provide improved yield and resistance to disease while also delivering consumers larger, tastier berries over a longer period, with an extended harvest season. 

The first new commercial varieties could be launched globally in the next 12 months under T&G Global’s Orchard Rd brand.  . . 

Zespri reveals bold new brand identity:

Zespri, the world’s leading marketer of kiwifruit, has unveiled its first new look in its 22-year history, with a refreshed brand providing a strong platform for the company to continue its recent growth.

With operating revenue of $3.14 billion in 2018/19, Zespri continues to make excellent progress towards its goal of reaching $4.5 billion in sales by 2025, driven by the commitment of its 2,800 New Zealand and 1,500 offshore growers to produce premium-quality kiwifruit.

Revealed at the world’s leading fresh produce exhibition, Berlin Fruit Logistica, the new brand better reflects the company’s purpose which is to help people, communities and the environment thrive through the goodness of kiwifruit. . . 

Trust Board opportunity as Brown steps down from Dairy Women’s Network:

An exciting opportunity at board level has opened up as Waikato dairy farmer Tracy Brown steps down from her role as a Trustee of the Dairy Women’s Network.

Brown, who farms with her husband Wynn at Tiroroa Farms near Matamata, says the time was right to move on after over four years on the Trust Board.

“I joined in November 2015 with a vision to provide support to women in the dairy industry to better reach their potential and to help Dairy Women’s Network become an organisation which could help drive transformational change for our industry,” Brown said.  “I feel I have had a big input into both of these areas.” . . 


Rural round-up

December 21, 2016

Blister protection product designed by Tekapo 21-year-old takes off – Esther Ashby-Conventry:

Fed up with watching his blistered clients being airlifted half way through their once-in-lifetime trip, a 21-year-old former mountain guide has developed a protective product made from merino wool.

Lucas Smith, of Tekapo, has just signed a national distribution deal with retail giant Torpedo 7, and headed overseas this week to work on the development of a new product.

Smith grew up in Timaru and went to Waihi School in Winchester before boarding at Christ’s College in Christchurch for his high school years. He dropped out of Victoria University half way through studying for a degree in anthropology and political science in 2014 to try software application.

Working as a tramping guide for visitors on the Routebourn and Milford tracks for the next two years was the catalyst for Smith to re-interprete an old technique for blister protection using the hyperfine wool of merino sheep and his life went in a totally different direction. . . .

Agriculture’s rebirth as the next sunrise industry – Steve Carden:

At the start of this month, a story ran that worried that New Zealand was on the road to becoming the “Detroit of agriculture”.

It was a provocative headline to a piece outlining the technologies that are disrupting and going to further challenge farming. The author was right. Some of these innovations are quite remarkable, and signal a shift in how food can be produced, as the world grapples with needing more food for more people with an already stressed environment.

But the irony of comparing Detroit with NZ agriculture is quite delicious. Because out of the fossils of Detroit’s waning car industry is the rebirth of the city based on urban farming. From the derelict unused buildings and empty lots are springing up a host of vertical farming companies and urban farming co-operatives. Detroit is emerging as a leader in urban farming. Detroit is being reborn, and the seeds of that rebirth are literal ones. . . 

Rampant rates a sore point with farmers:

Farmers are questioning the priorities and fiscal discipline of New Zealand’s councils as rates takes continue to outstrip cost indexes.

Analysis by Federated Farmers shows the consumers’ price index (CPI) went up 21% between 2006-2016. Local authorities have argued the Local Authority Cost Index prepared by consultants BERL is a fairer measure of cost pressures on local government, and that went up 33% during the past decade.

Both measures are dwarfed by the average 77 percent hike in rates by our 13 city, 54 district and 11 regional councils. New Zealand’s population went up by about 12% in the same period, with consequent growth in the rating base, but Local Government NZ had no figures on how much. . . 

Primary sector outlook stable says MPI – Nick Clark:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has released its latest Situation & Outlook for the Primary Industries. 

It considers the outlook across the primary sector to be stable for the current year, as the dairy industry begins to rebound from 2016’s low and growth continues for the horticulture and forestry sectors. However, this is offset by a forecast 10.8 percent decline in meat and wool exports.

Total export revenue is forecast to be $36.7 billion for the year to June 2017, down $0.3 billion from the previous year.

Looking ahead, MPI is forecasting export growth of 5.4 percent per year from 2016 to 2021, when it expects primary sector exports to be $47.9 billion.  Much of the growth will be for dairy products, expected to rise by $7.3 billion (or 55.4 percent) to reach $20.7 billion.  Forestry, horticulture and seafood are all expected to continue posting steady growth over the next five years. . . 

World dairy prices trimmed at GlobalDairyTrade auction – Gerard Hutching:

As the futures market predicted earlier this week, world dairy prices have flat lined following the overnight global dairy auction. 

Nevertheless, after a year when prices for whole milk powder (WMP) soared from US$1952 in January to US$3568 last night, farmers will be able to pop the champagne corks this Christmas – or at the least methode champenoise. 

Federated Farmers dairy spokesman Andrew Hoggard said he had a bottle stored away which he would pull out on Christmas morning.  . . 

No end is sight with compliance demands – Lyn Webster:

Having been a dairy farmer for a long number of years, I have to say I regularly feel put upon by the pressing and never ending demands for compliance in my day-to-day activities.

It is like people or agencies are constantly monitoring my activities, poised to criticise or fine me at my every move. The constant pressure of this actually makes me feel physically ill, despite the fact that I have not actually committed any wrongdoing to date.

Here are two annoying incidents that have happened and expose the confusion and rigmarole surrounding all the red tape that wastes the time and energy I should be expending on my business. . . 

Milk bubbling, beef off the boil – Steve Wyn-Harris:

Another year draws to a close.

We have a New Prime Minister, Bill English, but I feel just the same. Maybe when Bill has a change in the Cabinet next week things may feel different.

These are tough times for those in North Canterbury and the Kaikoura Coast. Keep your chins up as best you can.

At last, there’s some light at the end of the tunnel for the unfortunate dairy sector of the last couple of years and now the prospect of at least breaking even for many and a nice little profit for those savvy folks with low-cost production and little debt, which are mostly the mum and dad operations. . . 

Meat exports continue to fall:

Beef and lamb exports fell in November, as the amount of meat sold dropped heavily compared with last year’s record season, Statistics New Zealand said today.

Meat and edible offal exports fell $158 million (31 percent) from November 2015, contributing to a $219 million (5.4 percent) fall in overall exports.

Beef exports fell 41 percent in value and 31 percent in quantity, and lamb exports fell 27 percent in value and 23 percent in quantity.

“Beef exports to the United States, our top beef export destination, fell by around half when compared to November last year” senior manager Jason Attewell said. “When compared to the same month of the previous year, the value of beef exports to the US have fallen in nearly every month since October 2015, only rising once in April 2016.” . . 

New Zealand Set to Dazzle the World with a New Apple Variety:

New Zealand is set to dazzle the world with a new apple variety which has been launched today by Fruitcraft, after being licensed the worldwide rights by Prevar Ltd.

The apple variety PremA129, which will be marketed and known as Dazzle®, is expected to be one of the biggest apple variety launches since Royal Gala decades ago. All New Zealand apple growers will be able to grow Dazzle, and all fruit exporters will be able to sell it.

Dazzle is a large, red, sweet apple which has taken 20 years to develop by Plant & Food Research (PFR) at their research station in Havelock North. . . 

Multiple prosecutions likely after MPI makes series of large-scale paua busts:

Ministry for Primary Industries fishery officers have returned almost 600 undersized paua to the sea near Napier after several large-scale paua busts that occurred over one day.

Team Manager Eastern & Lower North Island, Mike Green, says a routine day last Friday turned into one of a steady stream of discoveries of people taking excess paua as well as undersized paua at Tangoio Beach.

“Officers were involved in at least five incidents over a matter of a few hours where people were caught with very large amounts of paua, most of which didn’t meet the minimum size requirements,” says Mr Green. . . 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Farmer Directors elected unopposed:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Farmer Directors George Tatham (Eastern North Island) and Andrew Morrison (Southern South Island) have been elected unopposed to the Board of Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

In line with the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Constitution, Tatham and Morrison were to retire by rotation at next year’s annual meeting.

Electionz.com who conducted the election for Beef + Lamb New Zealand said both directors had signalled their intention to seek re-election and had been returned unopposed. . . 


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