Rural round-up

May 8, 2015

Moving on at Silver Fern Farms – Keith Woodford:

In recent weeks I have been analysing [here and here]  the GHD data that underpin the MIE recommendations for the meat industry. Those analyses confirm to me that MIE has missed the big picture.

The key MIE recommendation has been that companies must amalgamate, with the most important merger being between the two big co-operatives Silver Fern Farms and Alliance. However, Alliance has been consistent in their position, both before and since the MIE report, that the numbers needed to support an amalgamation do not stack up.

Alliance has taken considerable criticism from parts of the farming community for their lack of interest in joining Silver Fern Farms. Chairman Murray Taggart has been the front man and has had to bear the brunt of this. There are many sheep farmers who are struggling, and it is human nature to blame everyone else, even when financial logic says otherwise. . .

Slow rebalancing in global dairy markets weighs on prices, but turnaround beginning – Rabobank:

Recent decreases in international dairy prices and the 2014/15 milk price payout projection reflect the slow pace of the rebalancing that is taking place in global dairy markets, agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank said today.

Rabobank New Zealand CEO Ben Russell said the current market price forecast will negatively impact New Zealand dairy farmer cash flow and profitability across this season and next, but a turnaround in global dairy markets was beginning, with Rabobank maintaining its expectation of a price recovery to commence during the 2015-2016 season. . .

Synlait’s Akarola – Keith Woodford:

Synlait’s Akarola is about to transform China’s infant formula market. Fonterra’s new partner Beingmate, and all the other marketers of infant formula, are in for a huge shakeup.

On 25 March of this year I foreshadowed that infant formula prices in China were about to become much more competitive [here]. I based my report on information from dairy industry sources within China that New Hope Nutritionals – owned 75% by China’s New Hope and 25% by New Zealand’s Synlait – was about to launch a new brand of New Zealand- made infant formula called Akarola. I reported that the new brand would be sold exclusively online, at prices much less than half of normal prices in China.

A few days later New Hope Nutritionals launched their online campaign on JD.com ,and the foreshadowed price of 99 RMB for a 900 g per can was confirmed. In New Zealand dollars, this is about $21, or $16 in American dollars. . .

Scholarship, showing and study for Braydon – Kate Taylor:

BRAYDON SCHRODER was so tired from a week of working at the New Zealand Dairy Event he barely remembers his answers at the interview for Ravensdown’s annual Hugh Williams Memorial Scholarship.

He had left Feilding, flown to Christchurch for the meeting and then back to Feilding in time to show one of the family’s cows in the afternoon. But he was stoked to get the call the next day from Williams’ widow Adrienne to say he had been successful.

All in all, it was a successful week for Braydon – taking home the Youth Young Handlers title (16-19 years) and winning the youth team challenge at the Black and White Youth event. This is open to junior Holstein Friesian Association members.  . .

Ambassador brings new focus to threatened species:

New Zealand’s vulnerable native species will now have another strong voice for their protection with the announcement of the country’s first Threatened Species Ambassador.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says the high-profile new role will be pivotal in educating New Zealanders and raising awareness of our threatened species.

“We all need to know about the unique birds, animals and plants which are our taonga and understand the efforts needed to conserve them,” Ms Barry says. . .

New technology makes predator control easy – Gerard Hutching:

Conservationists might soon be able to know if a predator has been caught in a trap by simply checking their computer or smartphone.

Auckland civil engineer Simon Croft has developed wireless technology that attaches to traps and sends a signal to let people know if a predator has been caught.

The innovative traps will be first rolled out on farms in Hawke’s Bay, saving landowners from the time-consuming task of checking out individual traps.

Auckland civil engineer Croft said he had developed the technology “to make a difference”. . . .


Rural round-up

May 5, 2015

Dairy price rise case of ‘when not if’ – Sally Rae:

DairyNZ research and the latest economic outlook for dairy farming was outlined at a Farmers Forum, organised by DairyNZ, in Balclutha last weekend. Agribusiness reporter Sally Rae went along.

Medium-term prospects for dairy prices remain ”solid but not spectacular”, Rabobank’s director of dairy research New Zealand and Australia, Hayley Moynihan, says.

The 2014 15 season was further evidence of the market volatility expected to continue in global dairy markets, Ms Moynihan said.

A recovery in prices was all about ”when and not if” but the recovery was likely to be more prolonged than seen in 2009 10 and 2012 13. . .

 DairyNZ chief’s bloodline is farming – Sally Rae:

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle always wanted to be a farmer.

Brought up on a Kaikoura dairy farm which has been in his family for generations, farming is in his blood.

His intention was to go to Lincoln University, complete his tertiary studies and then return and farm alongside his brother.

But he got ”sidetracked” by the science and business aspect and was encouraged to follow that path. . .

Dairy to benefit from Chinese-NZ research:

A new research project between China and New Zealand is to focus on how to improve the efficiency of water use in the dairy sector.

The collaborative project involves AgResearch and the Chinese Academy of Sciences and is aimed at helping a range of factors from watering feed crops to washing out cow sheds.

Principal scientist at AgResearch’s Ruakura base Stewart Ledgard said both countries had a lot to learn from each other. . .

 Les Roughan still going strong in dog trialing at 91 – Diane Bishop:

Les Roughan’s ticker isn’t the best.

But, the 91-year-old, who lives at Mandeville, is determined to finish the dog trialing season before undergoing heart surgery.

Roughan is the oldest competitor at the Tux South Island Sheep Dog Trial Championships which are being held on Leithen Valley Farm at Greenvale this week. . .

New research into West Coast agricultural pest:

Fresh research by AgResearch scientists will help unlock mysteries of one of the West Coast’s worst agricultural pests and allow farmers to make better management decisions and potentially save money.

Porina caterpillars are grazers that have the potential to reduce the long term quality and production of pasture but AgResearch Senior Scientist Sarah Mansfield says very little is known about the pest’s specific impact on the West Coast.

However, research conducted during a three year $300,000 Sustainable Farming Fund project will allow farmers to better understand how to monitor for the pest and then utilise control methods more efficiently and cost effectively.

“One of the big problems is that farmers often use control methods too late and after the damage is already done,” Dr Mansfield says.

“Clearly this costs a great deal of time and money for very little return so we hope to be able to provide them with more effective tools to alleviate this.” . . .

NZX adds iFarm to its AgriHQ business –  Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – NZX has bought iFarm, the livestock market information business, for an undisclosed sum from owners Jon Sherlock and Peter Fraser and will add the firm to its AgriHQ data business.

The Napier-based agriculture service publishes reports covering export data and prices as well as a wrap up of stock sales across the country, the Wellington-based exchange operator said in a statement. The acquisition price was confidential and wasn’t material. . .


Rural round-up

May 1, 2015

 

2015 Employee Remuneration survey shows farming salaries holding firm in spite of tough conditions:

Federated Farmers and Rabobank’s 2015 employee remuneration report shows farm employee remuneration is rising despite tough industry conditions.

Salaries across the industry groups generally were equal at entry level, though some dairy farming employees, such as dairy farm managers, had higher salaries compared with their sheep and beef counterparts.

Federated Farmers Dairy Industry Group Chair, Andrew Hoggard, said it had been a fairly unfavourable year for farming all round, especially in the dairy industry, with returns down 40 per cent. . .

 Farmers back a pioneering environmental restoration project:

Hawke’s Bay farmers are getting in behind a New Zealand first environmental restoration project, which has just been launched in Napier.

The Cape to City project is a world-leading programme, which will aim to achieve a predator free Hawke’s Bay. It will focus on ultra low-cost, large-scale predator control across 26,000 ha of farmland between Waimarama and Havelock North with the aim to restore native species and plants and add value for farm businesses.

The project represents a significant investment over five years for both Cape to City, and sister project Poutiri Ao ō Tāne, of more than $6 million and is a collaborative partnership between Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, the Department of Conservation, Landcare Research, Cape Sanctuary and the Aotearoa Foundation as well as private business and other Crown Research Institutes. . .

Sustainable textile company The Formary to represent New Zealand at the World Exposition 2015:

Launching world–first Mibu® yarn blended from wool and rice straw.

“Transforming industrial and agricultural waste into beautiful fabrics” is the mantra of New Zealand company The Formary.

Back in 2010, they made global headlines when they collaborated with Starbucks and developed WoJo®, an award–winning fabric combining New Zealand wool with coffee sack waste fibre.

On May 1st they launch their latest innovation, Mibu yarn, on the biggest stage on the planet: the World Exposition 2015 in Milan. . .

Timaru farmers claims barley world record for New Zealand:

The Exclusive Grain Group has confirmed Timaru farmers Warren and Joy Darling are now the Guinness World Records® (GWR) holders for the highest barley yield. The world record attempt took place on Friday 23 January 2015 and was ratified by GWR on Wednesday 15 April 2015 with a yield of 13.8 metric tonnes per hectare with the Blackman Agriculture bred variety 776.

With the barley world record unbroken for 25 years, the three month verification wait from GWR was long and stressful. “There was absolutely no doubt that we had achieved the 13.8 metric tonnes of yield and we had followed the GWR protocol independently assessed by SGS here in New Zealand,” said Warren Darling. “It was like being back in school knowing you had done really well on a test but until you receive the final mark, it is an anxious time,”
he commented. . .

barley

 

 

 

Smart ties with India:

Lincoln University has strengthened its ties with business in India after signing Memoranda of Understanding with ETI Dynamics and JCurve Ventures which emphasise the development ‘smart cities’.

The agreements come after a recent visit by an Indian trade delegation to the University, which was hosted by Vice-Chancellor Dr Andrew West, Deputy Vice-Chancellor International and Business Development Jeremy Baker, and Peter Barrowclough, Chief Executive Officer of Lincoln Agritech Ltd, a 100 per cent owned subsidiary of Lincoln University. . .

Find Your Next Success at NZB’s Upcoming Sale:

A prosperous season among New Zealand’s juvenile ranks has brought New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock to the fore ready for the next crop of youngsters to be sold at the upcoming Sale in May.

This year’s $1m Karaka Million winner Hardline (NZ (Showcasing) is a star graduate of the 2013 National Weanling Sale. Purchased by Hallmark Stud for $43,000 from Haunui Stud’s draft, Hardline returned at the 2014 Karaka Select Sale where Australian trainer Liam Birchley secured him for $130,000. . .

 


Rural round-up

April 29, 2015

Scientists make breakthrough in fight against methane gas – Adrien Taylor:

Scientists in Palmerston North have found a way to reduce methane emissions from cows and sheep by up to 90 percent.

The breakthrough came after trials found certain compounds inhibited methane being produced during digestion of food.

Chambers help scientists accurately monitor the amount of methane being produced by sheep, with the goal to reduce it.

Peter Janssen of AgResearch says they’re one step closer to finding a solution. . .

 

Extraordinary Focus Earns Couple Supreme Award in 2015 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Table Hill farmers Dave and Janene Divers have won the Supreme title in the 2015 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

The Divers, who farm a 1600ha sheep and beef property ‘Table Hill’, inland from Milton, were presented with the award at a BFEA ceremony on April 17. They also collected the Massey University Innovation Award, the Donaghys Farm Stewardship Award and the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award.

BFEA judges described the Divers as an “an extraordinarily focused, motivated and enthusiastic couple” who have embedded their philosophy of ‘Sustainable Farming, Sustainable Tourism, Sustainable Lifestyle’ into their personal and business lives. . .

Te Anau dairy pioneers claim supreme title in 2015 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Te Anau sheep and dairy farmers Robert and Anna Kempthorne are the Supreme Winners of the 2015 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

At a BFEA ceremony on April 16 the Kempthornes also received the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award, the LIC Dairy Farm Award, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award and the WaterForce Integrated Management Award.

The couple runs Mavora Farms Ltd, a successful self-contained dairy and sheep operation spread over 613ha in the Te Anau Basin. In partnership with Robert’s parents Bruce and Linda, the Kempthornes converted the family drystock farm and a neighbouring property in 2007, creating the first dairy farm in the district .The dairy operation now milks 550 cows on 235ha of mainly river-terrace contour, with the crossbred herd producing 231,000kgMS last year. . .

One Step Closer to Finding the Nation’s Top Steak:

The 2015 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin competition charges ahead with today’s announcement of the successful semi-finalists.

The competition, sponsored by Zoetis, seeks to find the nation’s most tender and tasty sirloin steak – and the Grand Champion title is hotly contested by farmers.

Carne Technologies has now completed scientific testing of all entries for tenderness and colour. The top 20 per cent now go through to the semi-final at Auckland University of Technology on Friday 1 May, where they will be tasted by a panel of chefs and foodwriters. . .

Dairy Awards Trainees Begin Tour:

The 11 finalists in the 2015 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competition begin a three-day study tour of the Central Plateau and Waikato today, where they will visit award-winning farmers and gain a greater insight into the dairy industry.

“The trainee study tour has quickly gathered a reputation for enabling the trainees to see what is possible to achieve in the industry with the right attitude and aptitude,” national convenor Chris Keeping says.

“It really focuses them on their own career, what they need to do and who can assist them. The dairy industry has a great co-operative spirit with people willing to share knowledge and assist others to achieve their goals. That’s really what the study tour is all about.” . . .

New growth opportunities for NZ Agri as ASEAN becomes Asia’s third engine of growth – Opportunity for NZ exporters to diversify from China, Australia:

A resurgent ASEAN will provide a significant opportunity for New Zealand exporters to diversify and reduce their reliance on the China and Australian markets over the next decade, according to ANZ Bank NZ.

A new ANZ Research report finds that greater economic integration could see ASEAN replace China as the world’s leading manufacturing centre over the next 10 – 15 years and emerge as a key market for New Zealand food and agriculture products with the potential for NZ-ASEAN trade and investment to increase from US$13 billion last year to US$22–US$27billion by 2025.

“ASEAN: The Next Horizon,” released today, highlights the region’s enormous potential driven by closer economic integration, demographics, low labour costs and its strategic position at the intersection of global trade and shipping routes. . .

Opportunities for New Zealand in revival of Japanese wine demand – Rabobank:

Signs of a revival in demand in the important, high-income Japanese wine market present opportunities for New Zealand wine producers, according to Rabobank’s latest Wine Quarterly report.

After a nearly two decade-long hiatus, beginning after the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, the Japanese wine market has now ‘come of age’ with the country’s wine drinkers increasingly open to new consumption occasions, wine styles and innovations, the report says.

Emerging indications that white wines are beginning to grow in popularity amongst Japanese wine consumers, albeit from a relatively low base, signal opportunities for New Zealand producers, according to report co-author, Rabobank senior wine analyst Marc Soccio. . .


Rural round-up

April 14, 2015

That is indeed a beautiful sound – Gravedodger:

Since around 0645 we have had the sound of rain on the roof,  steady and after two hours, around 13mm.

Here in Akaroa we were not as desperate as many pockets  around North Canterbury, a friend from Cheviot next door to where we spent three years in the mid 60s, is saying it is so parched there is not even any green in gully floors where there is normally some hope of a lunch for a rabbit.

Another comment in Farmers Weekly said their bit of unirrigated country has moved from brown to white. . .

Uneven rules costly – Neal Wallace:

Steps to control agricultural nutrient discharge could add 10c a litre to the cost of producing milk and impose wide-ranging restrictions on land management.

But there is little uniformity in regional council rules.

Most of the county’s 16 regional authorities are still to complete their regional plans but early indications are that each council has its own approach.

Rabobank sustainable farm systems manager Blake Holgate has been following the development and release of environmental regulations and said even neighbouring regional councils such as Otago and Southland have differing rules, creating uncertainty for owners of multiple properties and unknown costs. . .

Heartland Forum shaping up as South Island farming event of the year:

A speakers’ lineup of the who’s who in the primary sector makes this month’s ‘The Future of Heartland Forum’ near Cheviot in North Canterbury, a must attend.

A farmer discussion in Cheviot late last year about the spread of Chilean Needlegrass has since grown into staging a premier forum on the future of agriculture industries in New Zealand.

The event will be held at Te Mania Angus Stud, Conway Flat, Friday, April 17.

Other than Government speakers, the lineup includes; Dame Margaret Bazley from Environment Canterbury, Winton Dalley the Hurunui Mayor, Peter Townsend the Chief Executive of the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce, Craige and Roz Mackenzie and Sam and Mark Zino, award winning farmers, Nicole Masters of the New Zealand Biological Farmers Association and Dr William Rolleston the National President of Federated Farmers New Zealand. . .

 Robotic milking can revive kids’ interest:

Robotic milking is coming of age in New Zealand and interest has surged in the last six months, DeLaval’s Grant Vickers says.

“I think it’s because a number of installations in New Zealand are working well,” he told Dairy News. “The perception of risk has probably lessened.”

The current inquiries, for robotics and barns, are from all sizes of farms and will result in installations in the North and South Island. 

Vickers spoke about robotic milking during a Dairy Women’s Network field trip to a 600-cow wintering barn as part of the organisation’s ‘Entering Tomorrow’s World’ conference. . .

What’s behind the longevity of Country Calendar? – Julian O’Brien:

Soon after I started producing Country Calendar, we had a minor crisis.

We thought we’d found a simple and elegant way to make new opening titles – but it quickly turned into a nightmare. 

We needed footage of people involved in typical rural activities, but to integrate the shots into our titles, they had to be shot against a neutral background – ideally a green-screen set up in a studio. 

Sheep in a studio? Achievable, but someone needs to be ready with a broom afterwards.

New Zealand’s top shearers in a studio? Impossible, if you want to keep the feel of a shearing competition – but we desperately wanted the shot.

As we pondered this, we had a crew shooting part of a story at the Taumarunui Shears – but there was no neutral background at the event to do a titles shot. . .

NZPork Annual Report 2014:

The NZPork Annual Report 2014, released today, reflects on the importance of the New Zealand consumer to the future of its business.

NZPork Chairman Ian Carter points out that it’s important to remember that our consumer is our neighbour and that we are touch with what consumers want and believe.

“We need to provoke interest in our product and our industry. We need to invoke confidence in our production standards and systems. And we need to evoke desire for our product,” said Ian Carter.

The report states the industry recognises that little is understood about pig farming in general amongst many New Zealanders, particularly the requirements of caring for its animals. In light of this, it is taking steps to be more transparent and advocate confidence to its consumers via its production systems and standards. . .

 Silage smells and what they mean – Ian Williams:

I grew up in town and one of my distinct memories of summer and autumn when we went to visit our farming friends was the smell of silage. 

As a kid, silage always seemed to stink and it is a smell which has been imprinted on my brain.

Now I work with the stuff. I even have a personalised number plate with the word SILAGE on it! Whenever I  introduce myself to people from town and they ask me what I do and I mention the word silage, they instantly screw up their noses and say something like “How can you work with that stuff, it stinks?” or they ask “Are you still married?” . .  .

How to install a ready-made food making business on your farm:

Making the transition from being a primary producer to processing and selling your own produce has become considerably cheaper, easier and less stressful thanks to an Anglo-French company that has created a new process that effectively builds a ‘barn inside a barn’.
Create-a-cabin has led a revolution in French farming by rapidly installing food-safe, highly flexible, and technically sophisticated food preparation rooms without the need for planning permission.
Across the Channel, Create-a-cabin’s custom-made, modular building shells have been erected quickly and cheaply for cheese-makers, poultry abattoirs, jam kitchens, meat packers, fish smokers and many more, allowing farmers to control at least one more link in the food production chain, as well as adding value to their product and thus  commanding a higher price. . .


Rural round-up

March 29, 2015

Tenure deal exemption loss angers – Lynda van Kempen:

Two high country farmers who have gone through the tenure review process vented their ire this week about planned changes to the Central Otago district plan they say make a mockery of that agreement with the Crown.

”That agreement will count for nothing,” Nick Mackenzie, of Kyeburn Station, told the Central Otago District Council’s hearings panel.

Ralph Hore, of Becks, said the proposed changes would take away his rights as a landowner. . .

Lifestylers versus orchards – Lynda van Kempen:

The conflict between rural residential living and noisy rural activities was highlighted as lifestyle block residents squared off against orchardists in Alexandra this week.

Gas guns and sirens used for bird-scaring during the fruit season were spoiling rural residents’ peace over summer, several said, while orchardists said cherries boosted the Central Otago economy by about $50 million a year and the total fruit crop boosted it by about $100 million annually.

The differing views were heard at Central Otago District Plan review discussion document hearings. More than 100 written submissions have been received on proposed changes to the plan and the district council’s hearing panel set aside three days this week to hear from those who submitted. . .

City kids schooled in rural jobs – Gerard Hutching:

He is just 16, but Michael McAdam knows exactly what he wants to do for a career.

“I want to become a head shepherd on a station, then a farm manager, and I would love to own my own farm if possible,” the Aotea College student says.

At a Get Ahead careers programme in Wellington, McAdam is one of 50 students who are learning what an agricultural sector career might offer. . .  

NZ dairy exporter Fonterra aims to lift profits after tough year – Sue Neales:

It has been a tough start to the year for the world’s biggest dairy exporter, New Zealand monopoly co-operative Fonterra.

Early this month, the $NZ11 billion ($10.7bn) company, which ranks as New Zealand’s biggest, became the target of an eco-terror scare, with an unknown blackmailer threatening to poison its lucrative baby milk formula exports unless local politicians banned the use of 1080 poison to kill possums in forestry plantations.

This week, the company reported another round of disappointing half-yearly ­financial results, immediately pushing Fonterra’s listed-units down 8 per cent. While Fonterra’s ownership remains with farmers, the units give outside investors exposure Fonterra’s performance. . .

Claim Europe set to outstrip NZ:

Dairy farmers must get used to milk price swings even worse than this year’s collapse, according to a leading analyst.

Torsten Hemme, managing director at the International Farm Comparison Network (IFCN) dairy research centre, said farmers could see prices move 50% once or twice every 10 years.

Swings of 20%, close to what British producers faced in 2014-15, could become the new normal and managing that risk was the biggest challenge in the industry. . .

New world opens up for European dairy farmers:

European dairy farmers will wake up to a different world on April 1.

The end of milk quotas will see the limits on European production disappear so farmers and processors will be free to pursue growing world demand.

But the post-quota world will bring new challenges, a Rabobank report has forecast. . .

Managing risk for food manufacturers: Lincoln offers industry short courses:

Increasingly complex and rapidly changing patterns in global food consumption, manufacturing and retailing are creating a whole new range of problems in food safety, according to Lincoln University Senior Lecturer in Food Microbiology Dr Malik Hussain.

With commercial reputations on the line, the situation has prompted him and his colleagues, Senior Lecturer Dr Sue Mason and Associate Professor in Toxicology Ravi Gooneratne, to organise a range of food safety short courses for industry professionals, with the first three courses commencing in April.

The courses are run through the Department of Wine, Food and Molecular Biosciences, and will involve participation from industry experts from the likes of AgResearch and The Institute of Environmental Science and Research. . .

 


Rural round-up

March 25, 2015

Freeloaders relying on co-ops – Alan Williams:

Using a mathematical formula to work out the level of overcapacity in meat processing won’t work, Silver Fern Farms chairman Rob Hewett says.

And nor would the Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) proposal for a permanent reduction in capacity offset by a reserve processing plant, funded by the industry and used only at times of  very high demand for killing space. That idea, based on the electricity industry model, was too simplistic.

“You’d have hundreds of people just sitting round most of the time, not doing anything. The issue is more complex than that.”

Hewett agreed with farmers who wanted enough killing space available all the time to cope with seasons like the current one, with drought conditions in many areas. . . .

 Rabobank New Zealand 2014 results:

Rabobank New Zealand Limited (RNZL) has further strengthened its position in the New Zealand rural banking market, recording above market rural lending growth, and reporting its highest net profit after tax (NPAT) of $105.49 million in 2014.

RNZL recorded net lending growth of $342 million in 2014, with the bank’s rural lending portfolio growing by 4.5 per cent, slightly ahead of overall rural debt market growth of 4.3 RNZL chief executive officer Ben Russell said the results were pleasing, as they demonstrated Rabobank’s ongoing commitment to New Zealand’s critical food and agribusiness sector, and were consistent with the bank’s goal of supporting clients to both help feed the world and achieve their goals and aspirations. . .

South American beetle introduced to control weeds:

A tiny Chilean beetle has been introduced to New Zealand in a bid to control a weed that if left unchecked could potentially become as big a problem as gorse.

Landcare Research, a Crown research institute which focuses on environmental science, recently provided Environment Southland with about 70 barberry seed weevils to release just north of Invercargill as a biocontrol agent for Darwin’s barberry. The fast-spreading orange-flowered thorny shrub has become a huge problem across the country, threatening to overrun native plants and farmland – particularly in Southland.

It is the first time this species of weevil, a type of beetle, has been used as a biocontrol agent anywhere in the world. . .

Natural pesticides tested:

New Zealand scientists have begun trials to test the effectiveness of some natural pesticides on one of the world’s worst vegetable pests, the diamond back moth.

The moth caterpillar causes serious damage to brassica crops such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and bok choy.

More than a billion dollars a year is spent on trying to control the pest. The moth quickly becomes resistant to whatever chemical pesticide is used on it.

Scientists working under the Bio-Protection Research Centre based at Lincoln University, with the backing of genetic specialists at New Zealands Genomics, have been trying a non-chemical biological approach. . .

Going FAR for farmers – Annette Scott:

It is 20 years this week since formal practical research was initiated for the New Zealand arable industry.

On Wednesday the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR), established in 1995, will mark a number of arable industry milestones as the organisation reaches its 20th birthday.

FAR was set up primarily to do practical research for arable farmers.

Over the past two decades the levy-funded organisation has developed to actively do research and extension on a broad range of grain and seed crops in NZ and Australia. . .

NZ Kiwifruit Growers United In Support For Industry Change:

Following a record voter turn-out, interim results show more than 90 percent of New Zealand kiwifruit growers have supported the outcomes of the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project (KISP) to lock-in long-term grower ownership and control of their industry.

KISP’s Independent Chairman, Neil Richardson, said the voter turn-out and interim results were outstanding. They are a clear sign New Zealand kiwifruit growers are united in their vision for the future of their industry, he said.

“Two-thirds of growers, representing 80 percent of production voted in the KISP referendum. This compares to an average voter turn-out in primary industry of around 40 percent. . .

 

Zespri welcomes high turnout and support for positive change in grower referendum:

Kiwifruit growers have made a strong statement about the direction they want for their industry in the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project (KSIP) referendum. There is a clear mandate for change with interim results from the referendum showing two-thirds of growers, representing 80 percent of production, voting so far, says Zespri chairman Peter McBride.

“Over 90 percent of growers have clearly stated their desire for change in three areas which affect Zespri – ownership of Zespri shares by growers who have left the industry, the mechanism by which the Zespri margin is calculated and changes to Zespri’s board to formalise the three independent members. . .

 

Memories of the working horse – Mark Griggs:

RON Job, now retired at Parkes, says a lot of memories return as he inspects some of the horse harness and gear stored in the tack room at “The Grange”, Peak Hill.

The tack room was attached to the original stables, which have been converted into a machinery shed and workshop now the work-horse days are long gone.

“The Grange” is owned by the Frecklington family who settled there in the late 1800s.

The property is now operated by Ian and Lyn Frecklington, who have kept the old gear stored in the tack room where it was left as motor vehicles took over from real horsepower, and have been close family friends with the Job family for many years. . .


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