Biosecurity alerts

November 9, 2017

Plague skinks found near Picton:

Thanks to a sharp-eyed resident, a plague skink (also known as rainbow skink) was captured in Waikawa near Picton in early October. A second skink was subsequently caught at the same location during an investigation by Marlborough District Council, the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Department of Conservation.

Marlborough District Council Biosecurity Coordinator Jono Underwood says plague skinks are native to Australia but have established and spread rapidly throughout the warmer parts of the North Island. They breed prolifically and are thought to out-compete native lizards for food and territory. . . 

AgPest warns of  another pest:

Readiness and responsiveness are key :

And happy retirement Yogi,  thanks for helping to keep out pests:

We’ve recently said farewell to long serving detector dog Yogi from active service at the border.
Yogi is a born and bred MPI detector dog.
He’s has had a diverse career within his role as a biosecurity detector dog. He worked all over the country during his almost 8 year career with MPI including Christchurch, Wellington, Tauranga and Auckland. . . 


Too much weather

December 3, 2014

Southern contractors are struggling in wet and cold weather:

The dreadfully wet season being experienced in the southern part of the country is leaving many rural contractors and farmers under huge pressure and stress, claims Rural Contractors NZ.

 RCNZ vice president and Southland-based contractor David Kean says there are reports of contractors not being able to get work done, struggling with their finances and some having to lay staff off.

“Many contractors are really feeling it and the stress is starting to tell on both them and their businesses. Our advice is simple: ask for help and talk to the appropriate agencies before things get out of hand,” he explains.

Meanwhile, there’s the opposite problem in Canterbury – which has had lots of strong, cold Norwest winds and very little rain over the past couple of months – meaning there is very little work to do now after a busy start to the season. 

Mr Kean says if rural contractors are struggling to pay bills and/or staff they should be in contact with both Work and Income NZ and the IRD for assistance and advice.

“It is far better for people to be proactive; admit they have issues to deal with and seek the appropriate help – rather than just bottling it up or letting any problems get out of hand.

“Both IRD and WINZ are there to provide help in these kinds of situations and they have the people and expertise to offer advice and assistance.”

Mr Kean says Rural Contractors NZ is also there to help members and to act as support network for contractors who are feeling under pressure.

“However, we are not experts in financial matters or if people are coming under mental duress,” he adds.

“We are telling people they should be talking with their accountants and financial advisors about their business and with their families and medical professionals if they are under pressure themselves.”

The chair of the Rural Health Alliance Aoteoroa NZ (RHAANZ) Dr Jo Scott-Jones agrees.

“We know rural people tend to delay seeking help until they can no longer work, but it is true that a ‘stitch in time saves nine’”, Dr Scott-Jones says.  “Talking to a GP or practice nurse about stress seems to cause people difficulty. But anyone in this situation should know it is never as hard as you think and the benefits that flow from sharing some of the burden and talking through the way you feel can be enormous.”  

 Mr Kean adds that talking with professionals, as well as family and friends is an important step in getting the proper advice and help – when and where it is needed.

“Farmers also need to be aware of the pressure contractors are under and have to be realistic about getting work done,” he adds. “The last couple of months have been so wet that even if the weather cleared today it is going to take a long time to clear the back log of work and get everyone caught up again.”

Further north it was too wet in winter and now it’s too dry:

Weeks of persistent wind with little rain are putting farmers on edge in eastern areas of the country, from Gisborne to Canterbury.

Federated Farmers Gisborne Wairoa president Sandra Faulkner said soil moisture levels in that region were well down on normal for the time of year. . .

We didn’t really have a summer last year then had a very wet start to winter but we’ve had little significant rain since July and there’s all the signs of a looming drought.

That doesn’t mean we’re having good weather, it’s still cold which is slowing pasture growth and potato crops.

In contrast, a wet winter, less sunlight and cooler temperatures are being blamed for hampering potato crops and creating a shortage of the vegetable.

Potatoes New Zealand said there was more demand than growers could supply and that was having a flow on effect on companies such as potato chip processors.

Chief executive Champak Mehta said none of the previous season’s crops were left in storage and the new season’s potatoes were taking longer to hit the shelves. . .

North Otago is justly famed for its new potatoes but picking started only a week or so ago.

We didn’t plant ours in the garden until after labour weekend and they’re still a good couple of weeks ago from giving us anything to pick.

But I bought a box of Rare Earth  Jersey Bennes at the Oamaru Farmers’ Market on Sunday – they were delicious.


Rural round-up

November 22, 2012

Record Results at Karaka’s 2012 Ready to Run:

The second-highest price ever posted at the NZB Ready to Run Sale underscored two very successful days trade at Karaka, with the two-day Sale concluding with a new record turnover, average and median.

With the second day of selling continuing even stronger than Day 1, after two days 245 of the 407 entries have sold for $17,852,000, over $1.5m and 10% ahead of the previous record turnover of $16,216,500 posted at last year’s Sale (with 354 catalogued and 228 sold).

But with enormous depth to the buying bench, the new record median was a highlight for vendors, at $48,000 it is nearly 7% higher than the previous record of $45,000 set last year. . .

Young Auctioneer title:

The 2012 Heartland Young Auctioneers Competition, held at the Canterbury A&P Show, was won by Glenn Peddie of Peter Walsh & Associates, with Ryan Andrew of PGG Wrightson finishing in second place. Seven auctioneers from the South Island competed in the inaugural competition.

Peddie was brought up on a farm in Wakari and attended the local Hawarden Area School. His first job was as a casual musterer around North Canterbury and Omarama. He started his career in the livestock industry as a livestock clerk in Christchurch, before becoming a stock agent servicing lifestyle farmers in the area. . .

Food fit for royalty:

“We advocate for New Zealanders to have access to food fit for royalty,” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokesperson for Soil & Health, Organic NZ. Her comments follow the departure of HRH Prince Charles and Camilla last week from New Zealand.

Britain’s best known organic farmer, HRH Prince Charles has long been an advocate of the sector. In 1992 he incorporated his ideologies into his business portfolio, founding Duchy originals from Waitrose, which provides natural, high-quality organic and premium products, while helping to protect and sustain the countryside and wildlife. . .

Comvita first-half earning fall 7.4% amid short supply of Manuka honey:

Comvita, which sells products based on the health and medical benefits of honey, posted a 7.4 percent decline in first-half profit , saying a shortage of Manuka honey after an inclement 2012 summer constrained sales growth and margins.

Profit fell to $2.39 million, or 7.95 cents a share, in the six months ended Sept. 30, from $2.58 million, or 8.92 cents a year earlier, the Te Puke-based company said in a statement. Sales climbed to $45.4 million from $41.8 million. . .

Potatoes NZ appoints new chief executive:

New Zealand has appointed Champak Mehta as its new Chief Executive.

Champak will lead the industry body for potato growers, producers and processors, as it embarks on its goal of doubling the size and value of the market by 2020. He brings a deep understanding of how to build value-add propositions, and business development into emerging markets.

Born and bred in Taranaki, Champak has been a physiology lecturer at CIT and a Captain in the Regular Force of the New Zealand Army. He completed his MBA at Otago in 2002 and joined Fonterra in early 2003, holding a variety of strategy, business development and management roles in New Zealand, the United States and Singapore until July 2011. . .

Beekeeping for 3000 years – Raymond Huber:

Hand-made beehives date back 3000 years (to Israel) and early hives were made of clay or straw. Bees and humans helped each other expand into new lands as settlers transported the bees with them for crop pollination. For centuries beekeepers melted the wax comb to get the honey out, forcing the poor bees to rebuild it every time. Then in 1851 pastor Lorenzo Langstroth designed a hive like a filing cabinet that could be used over and over. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

July 20, 2012

Westland Milk Products Celebrates 75 years:

New Zealand’s second biggest dairy cooperative, Westland Milk Products, this week celebrates 75 years of being an indomitable ‘David’ in the ‘Goliath’ that is New Zealand’s dairy industry.

The Hokitika-based company, which also has an office and plant in Rolleston, will not only be looking to its colourful past this week, but also celebrating its future as a highly successful independent, award-winning dairy co-operative.

Dairy farming has been present on the West Coast for almost 150 years with the Hokitika Dairy Company formed in 1868. Other, often quite localised, dairy co-operatives followed. Westland Cool Storage and Dairy Company Ltd, Kokatahi Co-operative and Waitaha Co-operative formed the nucleus of the Westland Co-operative Dairy Company in 1937. Other Coast dairy companies folded or joined over the ensuing years, the latest being Karamea which joined the Westland Co-operative in 1987. . .

NZ just 11th on global food security index:

New Zealand sits at just 11th on the Global Food Security Index, dragged down by ranking 18th for quality and safety – and 16th for affordability.

However, it is seventh on the third criteria, availability.

The index found that the US, Denmark, Norway and France led the world in food security, thanks to ample supplies, high incomes, low costs for food relative to other expenditure and significant research and development concentrated on food production . .

Farm succession start the crucial conversation – Pasture to Profit:

The OneFarm (www.onefarm.ac.nz) Farm Succession Summit brought 80 NZ & International rural professionals together who all work with farmers on Farm Succession.

 It’s very important that these Farm Family Facilitators, Accountants, Consultants & Solicitors specializing in Farm Succession all work as a team rather than in isolation. 
ANZ Bank data suggests that most farmers believe it is a very important issue to be discussed, planned & implemented yet fewer than 10% have a Farm Succession Plan. . .

CRT reaches new heights:

New Zealand farmer-owned co-operative CRT has posted its best ever annual result, setting new heights in both turnover and operating profits in 2012.

Revenue growth of $200 million, (18%), was achieved to create a new record of $1.292 billion, while operating profit grew 55% to $13.149 million.

Chairman Don McFarlane announced that a record bonus rebate of $9.75 million would be distributed to shareholders. This was the biggest bonus distribution CRT had made in its 49 year history, and was consistent with recent years in representing 75% of the annual operating surplus. . .

Growing Green – Transformation of farming, forestry and fishing:

This not-to-be-missed event will explore whether the primary production sector needs to lift its game to maximize productivity and minimize its footprint.

Register now to secure your place!

One of our international speakers, Paul Gilding, will be introduced by Bruce Donnison, Group General Manager Global Sustainability at Fonterra Co-operative Group.

Paul will address the topic Feeding the world and saving the planet: can we do both? . . .

Potatoes NZ farewell key industry leader:

This week Potatoes New Zealand business manager Ron Gall announced his resignation after 22 years working with the industry representative.

His resignation from Potatoes New Zealand and Horticulture New Zealand will come into effect from 21 December 2012 and concludes one of the most distinguished industry careers undertaken by a horticulture business manager. . .

New Spokesperson for Soil & Health Association – Organic NZ:

The Soil & Health Association – Organic NZ have announced the appointment of Debbie Swanwick as their new spokesperson.

The Association has been in operation for seventy years advocating “Healthy Soil – Healthy Food – Healthy People” to create an organic New Zealand. It is the largest membership organisation supporting organic food and farming in New Zealand. . .

Quad sales continue to grow:

Figures just released by the Motor Industry Association show that quad bike sales for the first half of 2012 were up nearly 20% on the same period last year.

“These numbers confirm continuing strength in the agricultural sector”, said Mr Clive Hellyar, Manager of the Motor Cycle Division of the Motor Industry Association. “This is also evident in the two wheeled off road sector where the reduction in sales compared with 2011 is principally recreational off road bikes while two wheeled farm bikes sales are continuing at much the same level as 2011. Some of the growth in quad sales can also be attributed to an increase in the number of side by side quad vehicles which are used mainly in agriculture.” . . .


Rural round-up

July 8, 2012

1080 doesn’t contaminate waterways new study shows:

New research by NIWA scientists shows 1080 poison does not contaminate waterways.

1080 is used throughout New Zealand to control animal pests – mainly possums – which spread the livestock disease bovine tuberculosis.

Over the past three months, scientists have placed large amounts of 1080 in a trial catchment on the West Coast and then simulated rainfall in the area.

The aim is to understand how 1080 – a natural toxin – moves through or across soil into waterways and if the run-off degrades the quality of water.

Dr Alastair Suren is the freshwater ecologist who led the research and says the study found that during rainfall 1080 diluted to the point where it became nearly undetectable. . .

Rabobank runs masterclass – Hugh Stringleman:

Some “scary numbers” on world food security were addressed by 50 participants, including six New Zealanders, in the inaugural Global Masterclass held by Rabobank in the home country, Netherlands.

Speakers from the United Nations and giant agribusinesses such as Unilever and Cargill impressed upon North Island sheep, beef and deer farmer William Oliver the need for greater efficiency in farming with labour, energy and capital.

“I came home to see the opportunity in everything and bring more passion and inspiration to my farming,” Oliver said.

The theme of the vent was to promote rural entrepreneurship to fill the world’s food needs . .

My farmer was one of the six New Zealanders at the Masterclass. You can read more about it here and here.

Pear investment coming up rosy – Peter Watson:

In more than 30 years growing pipfruit, Bruce Fraser hasn’t seen a pear with such promise.

Shaped more like an apple and bright red, PremP109 has been stirring up a storm since being released in tiny amounts last year.

Dubbed a “papple” in Britain, it has been selling at Marks and Spencer stores for an eyewatering 1GBP (NZ$2.10) a piece and returning growers back here more than $100 an 18kg carton, a staggering sum at a time of hardship in the industry. . .

Fontera eyes up Studholme plant – Andrea Fox:

The small size of New Zealand Dairy’s Studholme plant means it is well-suited for use in short and specialised manufacturing runs, Fonterra says in an application eyeing up the factory.

Fonterra has a deal to buy the dairy-processing assets of New Zealand Dairies, which is in receivership. But while awaiting a Commerce Commission decision, the dairy giant wants to buy the milk of the failed company’s contracted farmers and operate the plant.

Exporter New Zealand Dairies was founded six years ago to build a wholemilk powder processing plan on 55ha at Studholme. The plant was commissioned in 2007 at a cost of $108m. . .

Winemaker introduces smaller bottles:

Mission Estate has been commended by anti-alcohol campaigners for introducing New Zealand’s first 500ml bottle of wine.

The Hawke’s Bay winery, the nation’s oldest, is now selling sauvignon blanc and syrah in the smaller bottles in a bid to make wine more attractive to modern lifestyles. The standard bottle of wine is 750ml, or 7.7 standard drinks.

Mission chief executive Peter Holley and winemaker Paul Mooney read research that showed New Zealanders were becoming older, increasingly urban and living in smaller family units. . .

Sanford sells virus hit Northland oyster farms  –

Fishing company Sanford has sold its Pacific oyster farms in Northland to Aotearoa Fisheries.

Sanford closed its Kaeo processing plant in December because of a virus that killed many of the juvenile oysters and the likely reduced oyster harvest.

Despite having confidence that there was potential to breed new oysters that have some resilience to this virus, it had decided that it made more sense for it to concentrate on its expanded Greenshell mussel business, Sandford said. . .

“Meating” of minds on advancing sector – Shaan Te Kani:

INDUSTRY ORGANISATIONS and commercial companies will work much more closely together in future, says Beef + Lamb NZ chairman Mike Petersen.

“There has been a bit of discussion certainly since Keith Cooper’s resignation from our board around election time – about the value of industry organisations,” Petersen said at the Federated Farmers conference in Auckland.

“Our view is we are a farmers’ organisation…. It should be up to the farmers to decide whether they want to invest in research programmes, extension work, economic anaylysis, skills and trade programme or market access. . .

Growers fear limits to their water take

SETTING limits on irrigation use in the Poverty Bay Flats was one of the main concerns raised by farmers and growers at the Fresh Water Advisory Group community meeting yesterday.

More than 50 people attended the meeting at Bushmere Arms, which discussed the draft freshwater management plan with Waipaoa users.

Advisory group representatives delivered the plan’s vision, which is to ensure the long-term sustainability of freshwater resources as well as considering economic and social activities. . .

So You Think (NZ) Reitred to stud:

The curtains have been pulled on the racing career of one of New Zealand’s most successful racehorses seen in recent times with the New Zealand bred Karaka graduate So You Think (NZ)officially retired to stud.

Announced by Coolmore yesterday, So You Think (High Chaparral x Triassic) has subsequently been withdrawn from Sunday morning’s Group 1 Eclipse Stakes where he was odds on to claim his 11th Group 1 race.

The son of High Chaparral was found to be lame after exercising yesterday morning in Ireland and it appears he has pulled a muscle in his hind quarter which precludes him from running in the Eclipse Stakes. So You Think will enter quarantine this week as originally planned before making his trip back to Australia to commence stud duties. . .

Potatoes NZ welcomes step towards fresh potato exports:

Potatoes New Zealand has welcomed an Australian Government draft report which is expected to open the door to the export of fresh potatoes for processing from New Zealand to Australia.

The Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) draft report proposes that the importation of fresh potatoes for processing into Australia from New Zealand be permitted subject to import conditions.

Potatoes New Zealand Chairman Stuart Wright said that the news was very encouraging for the New Zealand potato industry and it was hoped the Australian market could be open to New Zealand for the 2012-13 season. . .


Rural round-up

January 25, 2012

New Zealand’s first independent product development spray dryer:

 New Zealand’s first and only independent product development spray dryer is one step closer to being open for business.  The 10.5 metre high stainless steel dryer, weighing 7.5 tonne was lifted into the new pilot plant today on the Waikato Innovation Park campus in Hamilton.

The $11 million product development spray dryer facility, primarily funded by Innovation Waikato Ltd, is the Waikato component of the Government-sponsored New Zealand Food Innovation Network.  Capacity of the multi-purpose spray dryer is one-half tonne/hour.

Construction of the facility will be completed in April 2012 and the first product run is scheduled for mid-May.

“We’re now looking for commitments from companies that want to research and develop new spray dried food products in the pilot plant.  Our message out to the market is that we’re open for business and we want to help companies create new products and reach new export markets. . .

Strong finish for rural property sales in December:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 140 more farm sales (+65.7%) for the three months ended December 2011 than for the three months ended December 2010.  Overall, there were 353 farm sales in the three months to end of December 2011, compared with 213 farm sales in the three months to December 2010.  The number of sales increased by 38 (+12.1%) in the three months to December 2011 compared to the three months ended November 2011.  1,193 farms were sold in the year to December 2011, the highest number of farm sales on an annual basis since June 2009.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to December 2011 was $20,445, the same as for the three months ended November 2011 and down $3,230 per hectare on the $23,675 recorded for the three months to December 2010. . .

Red meat potential is there but so are challenges – Suzie Horne:

“You can win … you can grow … you can be one of the food industry’s great success stories,” was the positive message from Joanne Denney-Finch to producers at Quality Meat Scotland’s conference this week.
IGD’s research showed that farmers were viewed as hardworking, down to earth, professional and vital to the future, said chief executive Ms Denny-Finch . . .

Livestock prospects for 2012 – Allan Barber:

Livestock processing volumes have been very low so far this season and the prices being paid to farmers are at historically high levels for both beef and lambs. This has got very little to do with the overseas markets, nothing at all with the exchange rate and everything to do with the grass growth everywhere except Otago and Southland.

Many farmers are holding onto their stock with little prospect of being able to afford to buy replacements because of the state of the store market. Although the published schedules are closer to $4.30, current North Island prime beef prices are as high as $4.70, which reflects saleyard prices for 2 ½ year old steers as high as $2.75, equivalent to $5.50 a kilo. This is a grass market running rampant . . .

Anger at loss of lamb weighing at saleyards

GISBORNE farmers are appalled that livestock companies have revoked access to weighing lambs at Matawhero, Stortford Lodge and Feilding saleyards.

PGG  Wrightson and Elders have told iFarm that the lamb weights reported in Livestock Eye were playing a part in increased competition from paddock-based agents, by providing independent benchmark lamb pricing.

Since 2006, iFarm had a contract to weigh a sample of each pen of lambs sold at the yards . . .

Hat tip: interest.co.nz

Farmers’ group aims for greater urban ties – William McCorkindale:

New Zealand Young Farmer leaders have revealed the organisation’s intention of creating closer ties to city contacts.

Young Farmer organisation chief executive Richard Fitzgerald, speaking at the beginning of the 2012 Young Farmer of the Year contest in Dunedin yesterday, stressed the need for agriculture to market itself into urban areas.

Staging the grand final in Dunedin in May would be one of the few times the event had been hosted in a large centre, he said.

“We are taking a more proactive approach to marketing the contest and agriculture in general to an urban audience by holding the grand final in a large centre.”

The Young Farmer competition highlighted the need for today’s farmers to have a diverse range of qualifications, technical skills, and abilities, he said . . .

Potatoes New Zealand appoints  new interim board:

Potatoes New Zealand has appointed a new interim board ahead of changes to the organisation’s structure to help the industry achieve its goal of tripling the value of the potato supply chain by 2020.

Potatoes New Zealand’s structure is changing to reflect its new role representing not just growers, but the whole potato supply chain – from grower to seller – who all face the same industry challenges such as psyllid, tightening margins and maintaining consumer demand. Previously, Potatoes New Zealand was a grower-only organisation.

Ron Gall, Potatoes New Zealand Business Manager, believes the new Potatoes New Zealand structure will present greater opportunities for growth and collaboration among its expanded membership base.

From the paddock to the packet field day:
The 2011 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year will hold a field day on their South Canterbury property in early March.

Raymond and Adrianne Bowan will open Fallgate Farms and their Heartland Potato Chip factory to the rural community to show how innovation helped them turn well grown potatoes into great tasting chips.

Lincoln University Foundation chairman Neil Taylor expects many people from throughout the South Island and potato growers from around the country to attend the field day.


%d bloggers like this: