Rural round-up

October 16, 2017

Federated Farmers: Tell our good stories, don’t feed the trolls – Katie Milne:

One fallout from politicians on the election campaign trail kicking agriculture around as a political football is that lots of city folk have been left with the belief that the rural environment is in a sorry state.

There are certainly challenges ahead for improving water quality and dealing with emissions to meet our Paris Agreement commitments – but that’s true for urban communities as much as rural.

What was largely missing from the campaign rhetoric was mention of the large number of catchment improvement projects under way that are already showing significant progress, not to mention the efforts of thousands of individual farming families to fence waterways, plant riparian strips and covenant many hectares of native bush and forest on their own properties for permanent protection. . .

Taking time and talking works:

Lisa Kendall runs her own hire-a-farmer business serving lifestyle blocks in and around Karaka in South Auckland. 

She has other irons in the fire as well – she’s raising East Friesian sheep and hoping their milk will find a niche market in Auckland’s flourishing cafe scene and supermarkets.

After studying at Lincoln University she moved back north and lives in a renovated barn on her parents’ lifestyle block with her partner who works in the city.

“Often there’s a stereotype where the man does all the farming and the woman does the housework. It’s the other way round for me,” she said. . . 

Awards and schemes breeding the next generation of dairy farmers – Brad Markham:

 A fortnight ago I was standing in front of a room full of farmers in Rotorua wearing nothing more than a calf meal bag and a $6 wig. If I had to choose one word to describe the outfit it would be draughty. 

I was in the geyser city for the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards’ annual conference. The event attracts former winners, who now volunteer their time to help run the awards programme in 11 regions across the country. 

They all take time away from their jobs or businesses because they’re passionate about helping others learn, grow and progress through the industry.

I co-presented a couple of sessions. As I peered out at the crowd through the uneven fringe of my cheap wig, I was reminded how the dairy industry delivers to those who seek opportunity, work hard and work smart.  . . 

Rabobank Leadership Awards 2017:

Australian beef industry leader David Crombie has taken out the 2017 Rabobank Leadership Award, in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to agribusiness.

Throughout his long career in agriculture, David has constantly striven to raise the bar and expand the reputation of the industry. Alongside running his own family cattle and cropping enterprise in Queensland, David has been leading and shaping the agricultural industry for many years as he has held a range of directorships including past president of the National Farmers’ Federation and previous chair of Meat & Livestock Australia. . .

Meat exports still face uncertainty:

The meat industry faces considerable uncertainty in export trade access and domestic politics, Meat Industry Association chairman John Loughlin and chief executive Tim Ritchie say.

In the foreword to MIA’s 2017 annual report they said the withdrawal of the United States from the Trans Pacific Partnership had focused the hopes of exporters on the replacement TPP 11.

“Of particular importance to us is the creation of a level playing field in certain markets, such as Japan, where competing countries already have significant tariff advantage through bilateral trade agreements,” they said.

Brexit had also created trade uncertainty for $1.5 billion of annual trade in New Zealand lamb to the European Union 28. . . 

Road out of poverty a personal story – Motlatsi Musi:

As a child, I would collect dry cattle dung on the outskirts of town. My family burned it to cook food and keep warm. For protein, we often ate locusts. They’re crunchy and you get used to the taste.

Those were desperate times, before I had a chance to settle down and become a farmer. Then agriculture pulled me out of poverty and gave me a better life.

Today, I own 21 hectares of land near Johannesburg, South Africa. Only about a third of it is arable but I rent more, growing maize (corn), beans, and potatoes and also raising pigs and cows. . .

 


Rural round-up

June 21, 2017

Andrew Hoggard’s address to the Dairy Council at Federated Farmers’ National Conference, Wellington June 20, 2017:

As my three years being your dairy Industry chair comes to end, it is worth reflecting on what a rollercoaster ride the last three years have been for me. 
For the first two years it was mainly a huge focus around the downturn in prices with all the various attacks on dairy coming a close second, and this last year with prices thankfully recovering, the critics of dairy in particular and agriculture in general have really cranked things up.
The pressure isn’t just happening here in New Zealand, but it is a worldwide thing in the developed world, at my recent International dairy federation meeting we spent a quite a bit of time on the anti-dairy movement. 
The nuances are different in each country, but by and large it revolves around the animal welfare aspects, and the environmental aspects. Often the two are linked with the vegans pushing the animal rights side, pointing to the co-benefit of in their mind of saving the planet by going vegan.
 Likewise, the environmentalists will point out that we don’t need animal based agriculture anyway, as you can get all the nutrition you need from lentils, mung beans, and tofu. 
It is also not just the traditional hippy type activist’s that want to tell us how to farm us well.  . . 

Big sky thinking needed on meat and wool:

It’s time for “big sky forward thinking” on the cost, marketing and competition challenges facing the New Zealand meat and wool sectors, Rick Powdrell says.

In his final address as Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre Industry Chairman, Mr Powdrell told delegates to the Feds’ national conference in Wellington today that tinkering at the edges of change are not going to cut it.

Complex ownership and marketing structures make achieving agreed national strategies very difficult, but in the face of “profitability squeezed at all levels”, and in the case of meat the future threat of synthetic protein, boldness and open discussion were more important than ever. . . 

Tap turned ‘on’ for Gisborne water recharge project:

A trial project to recharge the Makauri aquifer near Gisborne and deliver an economic boost to the region has been officially started by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today.

“This aquifer is crucial to the local economy but water availability is a major issue. Lack of water is holding back the further development of arable and horticultural industries which would mean more jobs and exports,” says Mr Guy. . . 

Call for New Zealand nominations for 2017 agribusiness leadership awards:

Nominations are being sought for the 2017 Rabobank Leadership Awards, recognising outstanding leadership among both accomplished and up-and-coming leaders in New Zealand and Australia’s food, beverage and agribusiness industries.

The two peer-nominated annual awards – the Rabobank Leadership Award and the Rabobank Emerging Leader Award – are among the industry’s most highly-regarded accolades, acknowledging the critical contribution of good leadership to the success of the food and agribusiness sector. . . 

NZ warned about relying on whole milk powder:

Keith Woodford, honorary professor of agri-food systems at Lincoln University, said whole milk powder was mainly used by developing countries, and once they became more established, demand fell away.

Whole milk powder is one New Zealand’s biggest exports. In the year to March, whole milk exports were worth nearly $4.8 billion – more than a third of dairy export earnings.

More than 1.3 million tonnes of the product was sent overseas in the year to June 2016, AgriHQ figures show.

“I don’t think we’ve quite recognised in New Zealand the extent to which we’ve developed our industry focused toward a product which is used by countries while they’re developing rather than when they are fully developed,” Mr Woodford said. . . 

The green grass of Taranaki – Keith Woodford:

In early June, I made a quick trip to Taranaki to talk to the Rural Business Network, which is a mix of farmers and rural professionals. For me, the trip brought back many memories.

As a South Islander for much of my life, it was wonderful to see the lush green grass growing nicely even in winter, and to be reminded of the benefits of free-draining volcanic soils. And then to look up to snowclad Mt Taranaki, which was the very first mountain of any significance that I climbed while still a schoolboy. 

It was also in Taranaki, some 51 years ago, and as a city boy coming then from Wellington, that I first milked cows. My boss was Murray Scown who, with his wife, was sharemilking on the coast near Manaia. . . 

Creating a life outside the wire in horticulture:

Horticulture New Zealand national seasonal labour coordinator Jerf van Beek today told a breakfast function in Wellington, hosted by Corrections Minister Louise Upston and the Corrections Department, about the rewards of helping former offenders into permanent work.

In July last year, Horticulture New Zealand signed a memorandum of understanding with Corrections to enable Hawke’s Bay growers to employ people coming out of Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison.

“In addition to working for Horticulture New Zealand, I’m a Hawke’s Bay cherry grower who, with my wife and a group of mates, have volunteered to help at the local Hawke’s Bay prison for the past 13 years,” van Beek says. . 

MyApiary Takes Out Four Innovation Awards at Fieldays 2017:

The team from MyApiary certainly had something to be buzzing about last week, receiving four awards at the Fieldays 2017 Innovation Awards. The accolade comes at an opportune time for the Hamilton based smart tech company that is just launching its software product for commercial beekeepers.

Co-Founders Darren Bainbridge and Carl Vink along with marketing intern Steph Fankhauser were presented with the awards during the Fieldays Innovation Awards presentation breakfast on Thursday last week. With over 80 entries and a total of 10 awards on offer, the MyApiary team managed a solid performance. . . 

Biosecurity Key to Growth of Aquaculture Industry:

Front-footing biosecurity was the key focus of a recent workshop attended by more than 30 aquaculture operators, iwi and researchers from around the Bay of Plenty and New Zealand.

Facilitated by the Bay of Connections Regional Aquaculture Organisation (RAO), the workshop was held to formulate a more proactive approach to managing biosecurity risks and issues, including managing the risks fanworm and infestations on the region’s wharfs and waters. . . 


Rural round-up

June 7, 2016

Primary sector leader ‘humbled’ by award – Gerard Hutching:

Agricultural leader Chris Kelly said he was “humbled” by the Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) bestowed on him in the Queen’s Birthday honours.

Kelly, who has been involved in the farming sector all his career, is best known as chief executive of Landcorp. During his 12-year stewardship of the SOE between 2001-13, Landcorp’s value mushroomed from $500 million to $1.6 billion.

“I’m proud to be part of a wonderful industry. The primary sector is not only very important for New Zealand but it’s also a great place to work.

“The most memorable component would have been my sojourn at Landcorp. I feel humbled to have been singled out because there are lots of other people who could have been,” Kelly said. . . 

Harnessing youthful energy at Mangahao – Kate Taylor:

The infamous Mangahao fog doesn’t dampen the farming enthusiasm of the Tararua Farmers of the Year. Kate Taylor paid a visit

Toddler Jack reaches for another piece of his toast as mum Ally puts a cake in the oven and dad Pete Apthorp has a well-earned coffee after sending away lambs in the early morning fog.

“The fog is at least easier to deal with than the dark last week before daylight saving ended. The people who like it lighter in the evenings have obviously never had to get stock away early for same-day kill,” says Pete with a chuckle.

Pete and Ally Apthorp, who are still in their 20s, farm on Mangahao-Pahiatua Rd, otherwise known as the Pahiatua Track to Palmerston North. They have been named the 2016 Rural Aerial Co-op Tararua Farmer of the Year and will host a field day on April 27.  . . 

NZ tech firm raises funds, wins award:

A local agri-technology company is on a high after raising $4.5 million for product development and research and being named the best AG-Tech start up in a Silicon Valley technology competition.

Engender Technologies has worked with two Centres of Research Excellence – the MacDiarmid Institute and the Dodds-Walls Centre – to develop technology to allow dairy farmers to manage the sex make-up of their herds.

It opens the way to a leading position in what’s estimated to be a $3.5 billion market. . . 

Nominations sought for 2016 trans-Tasman agribusiness leadership awards:

Nominations have opened for the 2016 Rabobank Leadership Awards, recognising the contribution of senior and emerging leaders in the success of New Zealand and Australia’s food and agribusiness industries.

The peer-nominated trans-Tasman awards – now in their eleventh year – include the flagship Rabobank Leadership Award, which was last year won by New Zealand business leader Sir Henry van der Heyden, the former chair of global dairy giant Fonterra.

The award is presented annually to an individual in a senior leadership role in the food, beverage and agribusiness sector who has created sustainable growth and prosperity at both corporate and industry level, while also demonstrating a wider commitment to society. . . 

Invasive ants eradicated from Tiritiri Matangi:

An ant considered one of the most destructive invasive species in the world has been successfully eradicated from Tiritiri Matangi Island in the Hauraki Gulf, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.

“Tiritiri Matangi is one of the few places in the world where Argentine ants have been successfully eradicated, the culmination of 16 years of hard work by DOC staff and volunteers,” Ms Barry says.

“They may be small, but these ants are one of the most damaging of all invasive pest species. The World Conservation Union lists them as one of the 100 worst eco-invaders on Earth.” . . 

Fungi workshop first of its kind:

Some of the world’s leading experts in fungal biology and the study of pest and weed invasions met recently at a workshop organised by researchers from the Bio-Protection Research Centre.

The aim of the  workshop, the first of its kind in New Zealand, was to stimulate discussion between scientists from different disciplines and develop a publication to guide future research in this area.

Sponsored by the New Phytologist Trust the event attracted more than 70 scientists for a day of public talks and a four day writing workshop for key participants.

“This was an incredible opportunity to bring together plant invasion ecologists, fungal ecologists and plant pathologists,” says Professor of Invasion Ecology Ian Dickie. . . 

Dairy: In a tough year, farmers can optimise tax through preferential livestock valuation:

With this years continued convergence of values between the Herd Scheme Value and National Standard Cost for dairy cattle, professional services firm Crowe Horwath says farmers are presented with an opportunity to review their livestock valuation methods and optimise their operations for tax efficiency.

That’s according to Tony Marshall, agri tax specialist who points out that the IRD’s 2016 Herd Scheme (HS) values have drawn to their closest with the National Standard Cost (NSC) in some time. “Valuation choice is important due to the tax treatment of livestock under each scheme,” he notes. “Once livestock are valued under HS, movements in value are non-taxable, whereas movements in value under the NSC method are always taxable, either as income or a deduction.” . . .

LIC bulls deliver top results for farmers:

LIC is celebrating the co-operative’s top bulls with the release of the industry’s latest Ranking of Active Sires (RAS) list – which ranks the top breeding bulls in New Zealand.

”These are our farmers’ bulls, developed by LIC on behalf of farmers for farmers,” LIC’s General Manager Biological Systems Geoff Corbett said.

The co-operative is pleased to see that 26 of the top 30 bulls of all breeds in the country are LIC’s. In other great results, the top 12 bulls across all breeds are LIC’s. . . 

CropLogic Secures New Licence for Global Growth:

Precision agriculture firm CropLogic has signed an exclusive agreement with the New Zealand Institute of Plant & Food Research to expand the marketing of its patented technology to corn, wheat, soybean and cotton farmers in the United States.

The technology — developed over 30 years out of Plant & Food Research, a New Zealand Crown Research Institute, and guided and shaped for international markets by IP investor Powerhouse Ventures — enables growers using the firm’s predictive modelling systems to pinpoint the best times to apply nutrients and to conserve precious water for maximum plant yields. . . 


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