Feed shortage a concern for dry south – Neal Wallace:
Dry conditions continue to grip farms in Southland and Otago, worsening already stretched feed supplies compounded by delays in getting stock processed.
Between 8mm and 30mm of rain fell over Southland and southern Otago this week, but temperatures have also fallen.
Weather forecasters are offering little prospect of significant regular rainfall for the remainder of April, although there another southerly next week could deliver a further 20-40mm.
“It’s still below average but much better than we have had in the last few months,” WeatherWatch chief forecaster Philip Duncan said. . .
Global dairy prices weaken as China reduces its demand – Point of Order:
The ANZ world commodity price index hit a new record in March, lifting 3.9%. Prices are very strong across most commodities, although none of the sub-indices are currently at record levels.
In local currency terms, the index gained just 0.5%, as local returns were eroded by a 3.1% gain in the trade weighted index (TWI).
While farmers were digesting this news, the latest global dairy auction recorded a dip in prices as demand weakened from Chinese buyers. The GDT price index slid 1% to 1564 at the auction following a 0.9% fall at the previous bimonthly auction.
Dairy prices have risen steeply at auction this year, pushing the index to record levels, as tight supply underpins demand. . .
Kiwifruit picker reveals secret to earning $60 per hour – Annemarie Quill:
Is it really possible to earn $60 an hour picking fruit? “Absolutely,” says Maketū’s Trish Townsend, who has been a kiwifruit picker in the Bay of Plenty for four years.
“I did $60 per hour yesterday, and I am looking forward to $90 an hour at Easter when we’ll be on time-and-a-half. As long as the weather stays fine, I will be going hard.”
Last month Stuff revealed that high pay rates of up to $60 per hour, and incentives such as cash bonuses, prizes and free transport, accommodation and food, are being offered to lure pickers to the kiwifruit industry, which is experiencing its “toughest-ever season” due to the impact of Covid-19.
The industry usually requires 24,000 people to pick and pack over a typical harvest, but is drastically short this season due to a lack of international workers, such as backpackers or seasonal workers from overseas. . .
The government has given a cash injection to the country’s largest medicinal cannabis grower, saying it could become as successful as the wine industry.
Puro, a specialist cannabis grower near Kēkerengū, between Blenheim and Kaikōura, was given a $32 million grant today.
The $13m is coming from taxpayer money, and the remaining $19m is from private investors.
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said the “weird and wacky” grant would kickstart the organic medicinal cannabis industry in New Zealand. . .
Mountain bike trails put new spin on Whanganui farm – Country Life:
Sheep bleating and shearing machines whirring are sounds of the past at the Oskams’ old woolshed.
Nowadays you are more likely to hear the buzz of bike chains, the hiss of tyre pumps and the whooping of mountain bikers stopping for a break after whizzing around the trails above.
Bikes hang in the sheep pens, the sheep dip has been turned into hot showers and the wool sorting table is used for preparing feasts when there’s a big crowd.
Tom Oskam spent his boyhood here on the land which is snuggled into a bend in the Whanganui River. It used to be part of a much bigger farm used for sheep, beef and forestry. . .
Hawke’s Bay sheep and beef farmer Bruce Wills has been elected the new Chair of Ravensdown as current Chair John Henderson concludes his term on 31 May 2022.
The former Federated Farmers national president is excited about the recently evolved strategy of the co-operative which is sharpening its focus on improving farmers’ and growers’ environmental and productive performance.
Bruce was voted in as a Ravensdown director in 2015, working closely with John Henderson who has been a director since 2004 and Chair since 2014.
“It’s been an eventful seven years on a Ravensdown board that, alongside the staff and management, have worked tirelessly towards a vision of smarter farming for a better New Zealand,” said Bruce. “I am passionate about Ravensdown’s role as the nutrient leaders in the areas of science, supply and solutions for an agsector striving for more sustainable ways forward.” . .