Rural round-up

November 4, 2015

Animal welfare taken seriously by SPCA and MPI – Jill Galloway:

The needs of animals have to be met by lifestylers and farmers, but prosecution is a last resort for authorities dealing with animal welfare, writes Jill Galloway.

No one sets out not to care about the animals they look after, but sometimes other things such as finances or a messy marriage break-up take precedence and the animals slip down the priority list.

“Something else is often going on in someone’s life and they can’t put the animals’ needs on top of the list.  Sometimes someone is just too old and not coping anymore with being in a remote place,” says Jim Flack from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). . . 

New Plants Bring Added Value at Peak:

New processing plants around the country have helped Fonterra process more than 86.9 million litres of milk on the Co-operative’s biggest day of the year.

The peak of Fonterra’s milking season was reached on October 22nd this year, with five new plants each contributing to a performance that has seen a record amount of peak milk made into value-added products.

Managing Director Global Operations Robert Spurway says the additional capacity has given the Co-operative more options in its product mix. . . .

Kiwi Tractors – a Humble National Icon – Beattie’s Book Blog:

Kiwi Tractors: A Humble National Icon

by Steve Hale

Bateman – Hardcover – RRP $39.99

From lifestyle blocks to vineyards, high country stations to boat ramps, the humble tractor is a much-loved and instantly recognisable feature on any New Zealand landscape. The tractor is a part of our national identity, as Kiwi as pavlova, Marmite, and a silver fern on the sacred black jersey.

In Kiwi Tractors, Steve Hale elicits some delightful stories of affection from Kiwi owners for their tractors.

During his research for Kiwi Tractors Steve found himself continually taken aback by the depth of knowledge possessed by various tractor owners, their zest for restoration and passion for collecting. . . 

Allied Farmers wants to buy back stake in NZ Farmers Livestock – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Allied Farmers wants to buy back a stake in NZ Farmers Livestock that it sold down last year to pay debts.

The Stratford-based company said subsidiary Allied Farmers Rural agreed to buy a 9.3 percent stake, or 950 shares, in NZ Farmers Livestock from Stockmans Holdings through the issue of $1 million of new shares. It currently owns 57 percent of NZ Farmers Livestock, while Stockmans owns 27 percent, according to Companies Office records.

Last year, Allied sold 1,026 shares in NZ Farmers Livestock for $1 million to Stockmans and Agent Co to enable it to help repay $2 million owed to Crown Asset Management following the failure of its Allied Nationwide Finance unit. . . .

Sir Brian Elwood awarded Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal for 2015:

Last night Sir Brian Elwood was awarded the 2015 Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal in recognition of the leadership he has displayed as chairman of industry regulator Kiwifruit New Zealand (KNZ) over the past 10 years. The award was presented at an industry dinner in Mount Maunganui which followed Zespri’s inaugural Kiwifruit Innovation Symposium.

Paul Jones is chairman of the Kiwifruit Industry Advisory Committee, Zespri director and chairman of the Hayward Medal judging panel, and he explains that Sir Brian’s legacy is the way in which the Kiwifruit Regulations have been administered to the overall benefit of NZ growers and suppliers.

“Sir Brian has a very fine legal mind. The Kiwifruit Regulations call on KNZ to exercise extensive judgement and discretion in their administration and Sir Brian’s thorough, meticulous analysis and vast experience has served the industry well,” says Mr Jones. . . 

MPI reminds consumers to take care when drinking raw milk:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is reminding consumers to take care when drinking raw unpasteurised milk, which is considered a high-risk food.

“We have seen a number of recent cases of foodborne illnesses linked to raw milk and it’s important that consumers remember and understand that there are risks with drinking raw milk,” says MPI Director Animal & Animal Products.

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurised (heat treated) to kill harmful bacteria like Campylobacter and Salmonella that are potentially present in the milk.

“Many people who drink raw milk do not always fully understand the risks and don’t realise that there is the possibility of getting sick from the harmful bacteria in the milk.” . . .

Fonterra Farm Source Delivers Millions in Value:

Fonterra Farm Source has delivered millions in value to more than 9,000 Fonterra farmers since it was launched in Methven a year ago.

Director Farm Source Stores Jason Minkhorst said farmers have already earned 5.7 million in Reward Dollars through Fonterra Farm Source, which is on track to deliver $14 million in discounts on key products by the end of this year.

“Fonterra Farm Source was created to make the most of the unity and strength of our Co-operative and provide a whole new level of support for our farmers. We’ve combined services, expertise, rewards, digital technology and financial options together with local Farm Source hubs to support the major dairying regions throughout the country,” Mr Minkhorst said. . . 

Kiwi arboricultural champions recognised

The recent 2015 Asplundh New Zealand Arboricultural Association (NZ Arb) conference and Husqvarna National Tree Climbing Championships in Nelson saw national champions announced and industry stalwarts celebrated.

The competition saw events testing competitors’ ability to professionally and safely manoeuvre in a tree, while performing work-related tree-care tasks efficiently. The final event Masters’ Climb then saw the National Champions crowned – women’s national champion Stef White (Central Otago) and men’s national champion Dale Thomas (Auckland). . . .

Multiple factors influence the economics of growing maize silage on-farm:

Maize silage grown on-farm is at its cheapest per kilo of dry matter in low pay-out years, reveals Ravensdown Agri Manager Bryce Fausett in a paper he is presenting to the New Zealand Grassland Association Conference today.

The paper titled ‘The true cost of maize silage’ is co-authored by J.S Rowarth and F.G Scrimgeour, and challenges assumptions that growing maize silage on-farm is the more economic choice. It details the multiple factors that influence the true cost of growing maize. . . .

Wattie’s (R) and Palmers join forces in the search for New Zealand’s ultimate SuperRed tomato grower!:

Legendary food brand Wattie’s – who have been supplying Kiwis canned tomatoes since 1936 – and gardening great Palmers have come together to lend their muscle to the inaugural Wattie’s & Palmers SuperRed Tomato Growing Competition 2015.

What makes this competition extra special is that for the first time, the Wattie’s tomato seed used to grow their iconic canned tomatoes is available for purchase by the public. Wattie’s field tomatoes, aka Wattie’s ‘SuperRed’ seedlings, are unique to traditional ‘beefsteak’ tomatoes. They grow as a bush and not a vine, with firm, flavour packed fruit that are more elongated than round. The fruit is relatively high in natural sugars and lycopene, and the fruit on the bush ripen around the same time making them perfect for Wattie’s Canned Tomatoes. Now they can be grown at home to enjoy fresh and for a season of homemade chutneys and relishes. . . 

Woman made her favourite cow bridesmaid at her wedding:

Like most brides, Caroline Conley Buckingham wanted to be surrounded by her loved ones when she walked down the aisle on her big day.

Buckingham says her wedding wouldn’t have been complete without one honorary bridesmaid — her favorite cow. And, no, that’s not a fat joke.

The Jonesboro, Tenn. native has a self-proclaimed “cow obsession” and she couldn’t have imagined saying, “I do,” this June without her favorite cow, Roxie, by her side. Buckingham loved her cows long before her husband, Ethan, came into the picture. . .

Rural round-up

September 23, 2015

Drought breaks in Cheviot North Canterbury – Jeff Hampton:

 Much-needed rain fell in parched parts of north Canterbury today, raising farmers’ hopes that the serious drought they’re battling may be about to end.

It’s vital for farmers in an area of north Canterbury near Cheviot to get decent rainfall if their spring grass is to grow.

Farmer Louisa McClintock is never happier when there’s a bit of rain, after her district has been in drought all year. . . 

[I think that headline is more than a little optimistic. The rain will have been very welcome but it takes more than an inch or so of rain to break a drought].

Farmers suffer in drought-stricken corner of North Canterbury – Michael Wright:

Dan Hodgen must think the weather gods are against him.

The Hawarden farmer received “about one millimetre” of rain on his drought-stricken north Canterbury property at the weekend, despite solid falls being predicted.

“I’ve given up on trusting the forecast,” he said. . . 

Hard working couple take on velvet challenge – Kate Taylor:

In just seven years, Josh and Penny Buckman have graduated university and built up enough capital to buy 82 hectares near Hastings and a deer velvet business, not to mention starting a family.

They are busy people who wouldn’t have it any other way and are proud of their achievements so far.

“Josh is always up at midnight… thinking, planning. He’s an ideas man. He’s always working through ideas and scenarios and things we can do,” Penny says.

She is in charge of the daily running of Gevir Premium Deer Velvet, which they bought from another Hawke’s Bay couple earlier this year. She is also in charge of three-year-old George, 3, and 11-month-old Anna-Louise. Josh works on contract for Marsh corporate and business insurance and oversees the farm and a nearby lease block. The couple also have shares in other businesses. . . 

Saying goodbye to dirty dairy farming –  Lachlan Forsyth:

How do you achieve the balance between keeping a farm economical, and keeping the environment healthy? Is it actually doable?

Dairy has had many decades of being very good on the economics and not so good on the environment, and now there is a huge amount of pressure to ensure that changes.

Story visited one award-winning Waikato farm to see what’s being done to clean up dairy’s act. . . 

Key defends AgResearch cuts:

Prime Minister John Key is defending the government’s attitude to research and development amid reports that AgResearch intends laying off science staff.

Waikato University agribusiness professor Jacqueline Rowarth says she’s been told the cuts could involve 20 percent of the 500 or so research staff.

Prof Rowarth says she was originally told 82 staff were being laid off but the number had shifted to between 80 and 100.

Former AgResearch scientist Doug Edmeades says he’s been told by a staff member redundancies will be announced on Thursday, and the cuts are due to a drop in funding. . . .

New plant-based milk product under development:

The milk company, Miraka, is working with science and research organisations to create a new UHT milk product using plant-based protein.

Taupo-based Miraka is a predominately Māori-owned company that manufactures milk powder and UHT milk products for export to 23 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific, and Latin America.

It’s been awarded government funding to work with AgResearch and Plant and Food to develop dairy-based UHT milk products which contain plant or vegetable materials.

Chief executive Richard Wyeth said the scope is broad at this stage, but he wouldn’t be drawn on the ideas that are being thrown around. . . 

Farmers told to limit palm kernel feed:

Fonterra is encouraging farmers to limit the amount of palm kernel extract (PKE) they use as a supplementary feed for dairy cows.

The co-operative is recommending its suppliers feed a maximum of 3 kgs per cow per day.

Farm advisers spoken to by Radio New Zealand said some farmers were currently feeding out 6 to 9 kgs per cow per day, particularly during dry periods. . .

Delaval Backs NZ Dairy Awards:

Global dairy equipment market leader DeLaval has joined the family of national sponsors backing the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

Preparations for the 2016 awards programme are being finalised this week, as organisers and sponsors meet in Rotorua to confirm final details.

DeLaval representatives will take their place at the table, alongside representatives from Westpac, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra Farm Source, Honda Motorcycles, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown, and Primary ITO.

Chair Gavin Roden says the awards continue to attract strong support from the country’s leading dairy industry players. . . .

Reporoa feed company taking on the world:

After exporting its equine feed products into Asia for many years, Reporoa-based company Fiber Fresh has also now launched its calf feed products into the international marketplace.

Fiber Fresh is New Zealand’s largest animal nutrition export company, specialising in high nutritional equine and calf feed products. It celebrated 30 years in business earlier this year.

The company’s launch into the calf feed market in Japan also includes a research partnership with the school of veterinary medicine at Rakuno Gakuen University in Hokkaido.

Fiber Fresh founding director Michael Bell says launching into the Japanese calf market is a milestone for the company. . . 

Paula Nickel's photo.

Rural round-up

September 20, 2015

Shifting the Kiwi ‘can-do attitude’ to ‘can-do safely’:

Dairy Women’s Network is shifting its members’ Kiwi can-do attitude to a ‘can-do safely’ attitude with its new Dairy Modules titled ‘Step up to Safety’ being offered from late October.

The Step up to Safety workshops are run by DWN members who are experienced in the field of Health and Safety and are supported by expert organisations Worksafe NZ and Hazardco.

“The most important thing participants will get out of these free workshops is a 90-day Health and Safety action plan. They will leave having made a start with their Health and Safety system or some actions identified to progress to next steps,” said project manager and Farmer Wellness specialist Lynda Clark.

She said the challenge is that some farmers may have fallen into complacency and think they have been let off the hook following the Government’s recent Health and Safety legislation announcements. . . 

Remote-controlled tree-felling reduces hazards – Annabelle Tukia:

New Zealand’s first remote-control forest-harvesting machine is being put to work in Nelson.

It’s hoped the technology will reduce the safety hazards associated with the forestry industry.

Tony Irvine is still getting to grips with his new machine. He’s normally in the cab of a 40-tonne self-leveller cutting down trees on the steep slope, but this week he’s started trialling a remote-control operation.

“It’s a lot better in this machine,” says Mr Irvine. “You feel a lot safer.” . . 

Mya leads city kids to animals

While the girl has been taken out of the country, at least for part of the day, the country remains firmly with Mya Taft because she brings a piece of it to her city classmates.

The schoolgirl from Ngakuru near Rotorua was well into her first school year at St Mary’s Catholic School in Rotorua as a year 6 student when she realised how much she would miss Ag Day, such a big part of the calendar at her previous school, Ngakuru Primary.

Mad keen on animals, a devoted calf-rearer and future vet, Mya decided to take matters into her own hands and arrange an Ag Day for her city classmates. . . 

Fonterra director John Monaghan pans dairy doomsayers, defends cooperative’s debt level – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group director John Monaghan said critics who claim dairy is doomed, and the economy with it, show a lack of understanding of the market and the structure of the dairy company.

Monaghan told the New Zealand Shareholders Association conference at the weekend that the news was full of gloomy predictions with falling global dairy prices that not only was it the end of the golden weather for dairy farmers, but also the end of the industry.

“Farmers are worried, anyone would be when their incomes are halved in the course of a year,” he said. “The US, Europe and Australia will have to consolidate and learn to live without subsidies but we’ve already done the hard yards and the cooperative is in the best position to weather the storm and come out the other side. Dairy is not doomed or dead.” . . 

Early days but PGP trial farm excited by potential:

The opportunity to precisely manage a fertiliser analysis and application programme, on highly variable hill country, has East Otago farmer Rob Lawson excited.

The trial is a part of Ravensdown’s Pioneering to Precision Primary Growth Partnership programme in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries and supported by Massey University and AgResearch.

Rob, who farms with his brother Willie, father Jim and their families on their steep-to-rolling hill country, is also looking forward to the reduced workload that the programme is expected to make possible. They run about 10,000 stock units on a ratio of about 70% sheep and the remainder cattle on their 2,330 ha property just south of Waikouaiti.

The programme aims to improve the use, and application, of fertiliser, and Rob has welcomed the opportunity for his farm to be a part of it. . . 

Sprout looks for help to grow:

National agritech business accelerator Sprout is looking for a startup with the potential to be New Zealand’s next global agritech superstar.

Sprout is searching the country for eight budding entrepreneurs with new agritech businesses for a new development programme.

Sprout Programme Manager James Bell-Booth said the chosen eight would receive a cash injection of $20,000 and be mentored by world-class business and technical experts.

“One of the things we are looking to equip is the next generation of agri-entrepreneurs,” he said. . . 

Unmanned Helicopters to Revolutionise Agricultural Industry:

Yamaha Sky Division New Zealand represents the future of the agricultural industry. The introduction of the Yamaha RMAX unmanned helicopters will enable property owners, licenced operators and contractors to maintain the land and crops remotely, from the air, and without the hassles that come with more traditional farming methods.

Weighing in at 99kg and at a total length of 3.63m and a height of 1.08m, each helicopter has a load capacity of 28kgs and runs on a 2 stroke, horizontally opposed 2-cylinder engine. The newest member of the Yamaha Sky Division is the ultimate piece of farm machinery for the 21st century.

The versatility of this new technology means that operators can spray weeds, crops, or spread seed in a more cost effective and accurate manner. . . 

Corrections recognises the support of Wairarapa REAP:

Wairarapa REAP (Rural Education Activities Programme) was this week recognised for its partnership with Corrections in helping community-based offenders increase their literacy levels and employment and education prospects.

Corrections Deputy Chief Executive Christine Stevenson presented Wairarapa REAP Director Peter McNeur with a community work partnership award at Masterton Community Corrections on Tuesday.

Corrections Service Manager Mel Morris said the award recognises the contribution Wairarapa REAP has made to community-based offenders’ lives.

“Corrections values the commitment of our community work partners like Wairarapa REAP that allows offenders to learn new skills and behaviours, and provide role models that make a positive difference to others.

“Wairarapa REAP has done a tremendous job in providing offenders with the tools that could turn their lives around,” she said. . . 

Why Getting Nepal the Right Seeds After the Earthquakes Matters – Kelsey Nowakowski:

When two major earthquakes hit Nepal this past spring, it devastated the country’s agricultural sector. Cultivated terraces were washed away by landslides and covered in rubble. But farmers lost more than just their crops, cattle, and homes (see Nepal Earthquake Strikes One of Earth’s Most Quake-Prone Areas). Gone, too, were the seeds they had uniquely adapted to their land over the course of decades.

Farming communities in central Nepal’s mountainous region were some of the hardest hit areas in the country. Seeds, tools, food stocks, and buildings were destroyed. In the six most-affected districts, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that about 60 percent of food and seed stocks were destroyed in farming households. . . 


Rural round-up

September 8, 2015

Passion for irrigation still runs deep – Sally Rae:

Dave Finlay describes himself simply as ”an irrigation man”.

Ingrained in his memory is his time farming a dryland property at Windsor, in North Otago, battling drought and having to sell his sheep in drought sales. It was, he recalls, ”nightmarish stuff”’.

Those challenging times resulted in him later become a driving force behind irrigation development in North Otago.

At 78, Mr Finlay shows no signs of slowing down, as he continues working as a rural sales consultant for PGG Wrightson Real Estate in Oamaru. . . 

Retailers’ revenge could slow dairy recovery:

While wholesale milk prices may be on their way up, we need to be aware of “retailers’ revenge”.

Lincoln University Agribusiness and Food Marketing Programme Director Nic Lees says two things need to happen for the market prices to recover to anywhere near previous levels.

“Retail prices need to fall to stimulate consumer demand and global supply needs to be reduced. Both of these take some time to occur.

“We are starting to see the milk tap being turned off with farmers’ globally selling cull cows and reducing supplement, and plans for future expansion and conversion are being put on hold.” . . 

Farm kids less likely to have asthma:

A new discovery has found that kids who grow up on farms are less likely to develop asthma and have a bigger immunity to allergies than the average city slicker.

It’s the kind of discovery that could completely change how we treat asthma in the future.

Nanotech scientist Michelle Dickinson joined Paul Henry this morning to explain how and why this is.

She says the study shows that farm dust in young children under the age of two can protect them from allergies later in life. . . 


Last few days to vote in 2015 Sheepmeat and Beef Levy Referendum:

There is still a significant number of farmers yet to vote in the 2015 Sheepmeat and Beef Levy Referendum before it closes on Thursday this week (10 September).

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman, James Parsons said as of this morning 5,195 farmers (30 per cent of registered farmers) had cast their vote.

“It’s really important for the organisation that it has a strong mandate from farmers if they want Beef + Lamb New Zealand working for them in the next six years. . . 

Members sought for forest levy board:

Nominations are open for members of the Forest Growers Levy Trust board. There are vacancies for two members representing owners of large forests and one representing owners of smaller forests.

This is the first election since a commodity levy was applied to harvested plantation logs in January 2014. The levy raised $7.96 million in 2014 for activities that benefit all forest owners, including research, forest health, safety and training.

“Half of the six elected board members have retired this year after only one year in office. This sets in motion a rotational retirement policy for directors that will see half their number retiring every second year after a four-year term,” says trust chair Geoff Thompson. . . 

Dairy Graziers proactivity will stave off cost:

As the fallout from the steep decline in global diary prices spreads, Crowe Horwath agribusiness specialist Haylee Preston is advising dairy graziers to be proactive to avoid being out-of-pocket this coming season.

“With budgets under pressure from severely restricted cash flows, dairy farmers are moving to cut costs, with many looking to tweak their farming systems accordingly,” says Preston.

“In many farming operations, supplementary feed and grazing are a significant cost when it comes to production,” indicates Preston. “This means they will be some of the most closely scrutinised costs given the current drive to save.” . . 

Farm Environment Competition Pays Off For Young Taranaki Farmers:

Sami and Laura Werder are young and enthusiastic farmers with big plans for improving the sustainability of their new Taranaki sheep and beef farm. So entering the 2015 Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards was a great way to check their plans were on the right track.

The Werders bought their 378ha breeding and finishing property at Huiroa, east of Stratford, two years ago and are currently in the process of developing the farm through subdivision, improved access and a new water system.

“We were both raised on farms and we were lucky to have help from family to get into our own farm,” says Sami, a former rural banker. . . 

Ballance Agri-Nutrients Annual Report 2015:

The Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited Annual Report for the year ended 31 May 2015 is now available online at

Our interactive report includes video content and links to additional resources, as well as access to our full financial statements. . . 

Farmers can cut nitrogen loss with new N-Protect:

Farmers facing warm and dry conditions and who need to minimise losses of nitrogen into the air, have a new tool in the toolbox thanks to Ravensdown.

The co-operative’s new N-Protect has a urease inhibitor coating around the urea granule to reduce nitrogen loss to the atmosphere, otherwise known as volatilisation. This can lead to more growth-giving nitrogen kept available for the plant enabling production gains in a critical season for farmers facing El Nino conditions.

“Our advice has always been that there are several ways to ‘skin the N-loss cat’. These range from good management practice to urease inhibiting products like new N-Protect,” explained Lloyd Glenny, Fertiliser Product Manager at Ravensdown. . . 

Be careful with cheap grass seed:

Think twice before buying cheap pasture seed this spring – you may well get more (or less) than you bargained for, and not in a good way.

That’s the advice to farmers looking to save money re-sowing paddocks left bare after winter crop.

With poor germination, high weed content and/or minimal endophyte, cheap seed almost always works out to be anything but cheap at the best of times, pasture experts say.

“It’s even more of a false economy when cash is tight, because farmers need all the good grazing they can get,” says Agriseeds’ Graham Kerr. “No-one can afford paddocks to fail this spring.”

His advice? “Concentrate on sowing a smaller area of land, better. Use proprietary pasture seed which has guaranteed purity, germination and endophyte, so you know what you’re really planting, and do the best job possible of getting it into the ground so it establishes well.” . . 

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 ,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

March 26, 2015

Clever clover management boosts output at Tempello  – Tony Benny:

Tempello Station has been in David Grigg’s family for 101 years. The 4800-hectare property lies between the Awatere and Wairau Valleys, climbing from 100 metres, just out of Renwick, up to 1000m in the hills south of Blenheim.

It’s mix of intensively managed flats and lower hill country and lightly stocked high run country and carries 10,495 stock units, 51.4 per cent cattle and 48.6 per cent sheep. There’s also 13ha in grapes, grown on contract.

Over the past 10 years or so, David and wife Jo have fine-tuned their system and by getting the most out of their sub clover they’ve upped total meat production from 60 tonnes to 76 tonnes, despite having fewer ewes. . .

ASB Farmshed Economics Report:

Special Quarterly Edition

Special edition: Cherry picking in the USA and the US dairy renaissance

A better milk price will have to wait until next season after all

Parity against the Australian dollar is a possibility for the NZ dollar this year

Special topic: Cherry picking in the USA: The US dairy renaissance

The NZ dairy production outlook is not as bad as first feared according to the latest ASB Farmshed Economics Report. Prices have moved to reflect this changing view – up sharply in February on the plunging production fears, and then down by a lesser amount as those fears eased. . .

 Aerial tool a game-changer for agriculture:

A new aerial imaging tool is capturing the attention of the agriculture sector with its ability to provide nutrient, soil and water information about land.

Massey University bought the $500,000 imaging system from Finland for a primary growth partnership programme involving the Ministry for Primary Industries and fertiliser company Ravensdown, which aims to improve how fertiliser is applied to hill country.

The university’s Professor in Precision Agriculture, Ian Yule, says the sensor, which is attached to a plane, can capture large amounts of information on the nutrient content of land. That information may have previously been inaccessible.

“We can use it to identify the nutrient concentration in pasture or any crop that we would want to look at. We can identify different plant types, different species. We think we can find the differences between cultivars and so on, just from looking at the crop from the air. It’s a very fast developing technology but I think we’re kind of in the forefront with it here, with the use we’re trying to make of it.” . . .

Natural Progression for West Coast/Top of the South Dairy Awards Winners:

It was a natural progression for Greymouth’s Kelvin and Heather McKay to take out the 2015 West Coast/Top of the South Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year title – the couple were last year’s runners-up and placed third in 2013.

Kelvin and Heather McKay were the major winners at the 2015 West Coast/Top of the South Dairy Industry Awards at Shantytown last night, winning $7100 in prizes. The other big winners were Thomas and Hannah Oats, the region’s 2015 Farm Managers of the Year, and Danny Mitchell, the 2015 Dairy Trainee of the Year.

“Entering the competition made us look closely at all aspects of our business,” the McKay’s said. “It has made us focus more on what it is we want to achieve and identify areas of our farming operation which we can improve.” . . .


Maori growers back record result in kiwifruit industry vote:

Kiwifruit grower and post-harvest entity Te Awanui Huka Pak has congratulated growers for turning out in record numbers for the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project (KISP) grower referendum.

“Maori are a key driving force in the kiwifruit industry, and the KISP process was about ensuring that this industry creates wealth for Maori both now and for future generations” says Te Awanui Huka Pak Chair Neil Te Kani.

“With a record voter turnout and over 90% support for all recommendations, the kiwifruit industry is in a strong position to deliver a strong economic growth platform for Maori” says Mr Te Kani.

“Te Awanui Huka Pak are strong supporters of the Single Point of Entry (SPE) structure as this is a crucial element to increase wealth for Maori in the industry. To see 98% grower support for the SPE is a fantastic result, and one that I endorse” says Mr Te Kani.

McCashin’s Brewery Wins Supreme Cider Award in Ireland:

A sugar-free berry cider produced by McCashin’s Brewery in Stoke, Nelson, has claimed the Supreme Cider Award in a country that’s been making cider for over 2000 years.

The Rockdale Three Berry Cider was one of six McCashin’s Brewery products to gain recognition at this month’s Dublin Craft Beer Cup in Ireland, taking out a gold medal and the Supreme Cider Award.

Market representative Scott McCashin said the Supreme Award was a tremendous accolade to receive as the competition attracted entries from all around the world, and it validated the effort that McCashin’s had put into its cider production. . .



Dairy farmers work stories's photo.

Rural round-up

February 18, 2015

No muddying water issues – Jill Galloway:

Tim Brown is a water quality specialist. Jill Galloway found he started his life as a bookie’s son in Britain, but as an academic he made Palmerston North his home.

Professor Emeritus Tim Brown, a water quality specialist and former Massey University micro-biologist, says a friend of his was on tank water.

“When he cleaned it out, he found a dead possum at the bottom of the tank that had been there for some time. The outlet was higher and he’s still alive.”

Brown says rural people have been living on tank water for years and have not come to any harm. . .

(Hat tip: Farmerbraun ).

Swaps settlements finalised, time to move on:

Federated Farmers is pleased the Commerce Commission has now reached settlements with all three banks, ANZ, ASB and Westpac, over the sale of interest rate swaps.

Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston says the agreements are a fair and equitable solution and it’s time to move on.

“Some rural people signed on for interest rate swaps as long ago as 2005 and so for many customers it has been a long running issue that now can be brought to a conclusion, with the three banks involved set to pay a total sum of $24.67 million to approximately 256 eligible farmers,” Dr Rolleston says. . .

State of the environment on farm – James Stewart:

While brought up on a sheep farm I have spent the past 20 years dairy farming.

I have also had a brief stint as a registered commercial jet boat operator, taking locals and international visitors through the Manawatu Gorge, giving them some close contact with our precious Manawatu water through the Hamilton jet spins.

After all the positive comments on water quality that I often receive you can imagine just how disappointed I was with the river being labelled as one of the worst in the west.

Over the past 20 years of farming, there have been many changes to the farming sector. The synthetic carpet now dominates carpet stores as the polar fleece jumpers do in clothing stores. While wool is the superior product, it is left to high top end markets in which exporters fight over with the result of farmers often becoming price takers. . .

More success for Primary Growth Partnership:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is welcoming more success stories from the Primary Growth Partnership (PGP), with several programmes making big steps forward.

“Government and industry are together investing $720 over time million into 20 innovation programmes, and many of these are already delivering results,” says Mr Guy.

Mr Guy is speaking today at the annual open farm day at Limestone Downs, which is involved in the “Pioneering to Precision” PGP programme, led by Ravensdown.

“As part of this programme drones and light aircraft are being used to scan the hill country at Limestone Downs Station to develop precision fertiliser applications for hill country. This programme will deliver productivity and environmental benefits. . .

Global Consumer Watchdog gives Mount Cook Alpine Salmon Highest Rating:

Mt Cook Alpine Salmon Ltd has been recognised as one of the most sustainable salmon farming operations worldwide by a globally-renowned consumer watchdog.
The Queenstown-based company said it was delighted to earn a Best Choice (Green) rating from the widely-acclaimed Seafood Watch organisation.

Company chairman and former New Zealand Prime Minister Jim Bolger said the accolade was a huge endorsement for aquaculture in New Zealand.

“In keeping with Mt Cook Alpine Salmon’s previous sustainability credentials, this demonstrates we’re the best of the best,” he said. . .

Southern Discoveries celebrates Chinese Year of the Sheep… with mob of woolly stars:

Tourism operator Southern Discoveries will be celebrating the Chinese Year of the Sheep by welcoming visitors on its Mt Nicholas Farm Experience with a mob of 500 sheep.

Over the next three weeks, visitors can get up close to the 500-strong merino mob, the same woolly ‘stars’ of the ‘Running of the Wools’ as part of the Hilux Rural Games.

This time around, the sheep have agreed to stay (almost) still so that visitors can have their picture taken with them.

Also waiting to greet guests at Mt Nicholas will be two pet sheep and sheepdog Belle to accompany the group on their visit to the working merino farm. . .





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