Let them eat wood – Dame Anne Salmond:
The farmers are right. As the price of carbon rises, the settings in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will make it more profitable to plant pine trees than to grow food (or native forests) in many parts of New Zealand.
On the East Coast, for instance, a landowner will be paid 10 times more by year 5 for planting pine trees instead of native forest, and farmland is going under pine trees in many places. With wool prices at historic lows, and rising carbon prices, this trend will only accelerate.
On highly erodible soils, the folly of planting shallow-rooted pine trees and clear-felling them every 25-30 years is obvious. Witness the tsunami of logs and sediment that have drowned streams, rivers, houses, fields, beaches and harbours in places like Tolaga Bay, Marahau, and many other parts of New Zealand.
With two-thirds of the forestry industry owned overseas, like the logs, the profits are exported, but the costs remain behind. Ravaged landscapes, wildling pines, roading networks wrecked by logging trucks, workers killed and injured in the forests. . .
Farmer’s pitch to big biz: My land, your trees, planet’s gain – Jo Lines-MacKenzie:
One farmer’s novel pitch to big firms to use her land for carbon offset tree planting is being touted as a win-win for both the business and agricultural sectors.
Federated Farmers says the idea could catch on and they could be the organisation to make it work.
The idea has been sparked by King Country farmer Dani Darke who posted a proposal on social media to offer up 10 hectares of her own land to plant native trees.
She pitched the idea to Air New Zealand, Genesis Energy, Contact Energy, Z Energy, and anyone else who wanted to participate. . .
Strath Taieri the new food bowl of New Zealand – Sally Rae:
Strath Taieri is a traditional farming district, best known for sheep and beef cattle. But an irrigation proposal being mooted has the potential to see it diversify into other areas, including horticulture. Business and rural editor Sally Rae reports.
Strath Taieri — the new Food Bowl of Dunedin?
That’s what the Strath Taieri Irrigation Company (STIC) believes could happen if the Taieri Catchment Community Resilience Project wins approval.
It is a project that has been talked about for decades but which, in recent times, has gained momentum, with an application for funding made to the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund. Without reliable water, the future for the district would be bleak, STIC said.
And by bringing more irrigation water to the area and ensuring certainty of supply, there was potential for diversification of the traditional sheep and beef farming area into the likes of horticulture, as well as increasing productivity within existing farming operations. . .
Horticulture New Zealand says the horticulture industry’s future focused strategies align well with what is proposed in Fit for a Better World
‘Horticulture is already well into the journey that has been identified and proposed in these reports, and this journey will continue,’ says HortNZ President, Barry O’Neil.
‘Immediately post lockdown, our entire industry – comprising more than 20 different fruit and vegetable product groups – got together with key government departments to develop and implement a strategy and work programme that will see horticulture spearhead New Zealand’s economic and social recovery from Covid.
‘We are encouraged to see that the proposal identifies a key opportunity to accelerate the horticulture industry’s development, which fits perfectly with our own work. . .
Low methane appears to be a breedable trait that does not affect economic value in sheep, and could lead to a cumulative 1 percent reduction in emissions each year, farmers have been told.
AgResearch scientist Suzanne Rowe told a webinar organised by the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Council that research into such animals had been going on for a decade.
Rowe said a study of 1000 sheep divided into high emitting and low emitting animals found these traits were passed on to successive generations.
“After three generations we have 11 percent less methane per kilogramme of feed eaten,” she said. . .
Bingara producers turn to embryos to breed back out of drought – Lucy Kinbacher:
Bingara producer Rhonda King and her 86-year-old father Alf were steaming ahead with their Speckle Park herd when back-to-back droughts crippled their momentum.
In January they had made the decision to sell the final remnants of their 300-head herd at Doctors Creek when rain came not long after and saved them from the decision.
With cattle prices soaring to record levels Ms King opted to use her lifetime travel savings to purchase embryos rather than replacement livestock and is hoping to breed her way back into business.
Their herd currently consists of about 90 Speckle Park including cows, heifers and bulls with an additional 11 Angus recipients purchased from another stud. . .