Rural round-up

October 4, 2013

Whisky-fed salmon to boost sustainability:

The whisky and salmon industries in Scotland are about to embark on an innovative new partnership which will convert waste from whisky production into feed for salmon and fish farming.

Over 500 million litres of whisky are produced in the UK each year. But for every litre of whisky produced, up to 15 litres of potentially harmful waste can be generated1.

Chemical engineers from Heriot-Watt University in Scotland are looking to solve this problem by converting some of the waste into protein-rich feed, which could have the added benefit of providing a sustainable and economic supply of feedstock for the growing Scottish fish farming industry. . .

Synlait Milk – Champion Global Operator at Champion Canterbury Business Awards:

Synlait Milk has won the Champion Global Operator Award (large to medium enterprise) at the 2013 Champion Canterbury Business Awards. This is the second consecutive year that Synlait Milk has won this award.

“Winning the Champion Global Operator Award for the second year running is testament to our business strategy and the effort from all our staff,” says Synlait Milk Managing Director John Penno.

“The award caps off a great year for the Company in which we successfully began trading on the NZX Main Board, after completing a positive Initial Public Offering, in addition to posting an after tax profit of $11.5 million for FY13,” says Mr Penno. . .

Jobs under threat as meat company makes changes:

Jobs are on the line as the country’s biggest meat processor, Silver Fern Farms, makes adjustments to its North Island operations.

The co-operative is making changes as the new season gets underway with the prospect of lower stock numbers from the summer drought.

Silver Fern is consolidating beef processing in Waikato and negotiating to sell its skin processing plant near Shannon.

The firm is considering an offer from the Lowe Corporation to buy the ageing Shannon fellmongery, which employs more than 80 workers. . .

Nutricia Restates Quality and Safety Assurance with Extra Commitments:

Infant formula manufacturer Nutricia has restated its world-class commitment to quality, safety and transparent communication, with three extra commitments:

1. Extra controls on suppliers
2. Innovation to improve industry standards 3. Extra commitment to communication with parents and carers

These extra commitments enhance Nutricia’s established quality and safety procedures of rigorous testing, state-of-the-art manufacturing, comprehensive sanitation and hygiene, quality & safety accreditations, and traceability. . .

Pure ambitions for Angus brand – Tim Cronshaw:

A new-look angus brand providing premium payments for farmers will be announced at the World Angus Forum.

Details of the Angus Pure brand development have yet to be revealed, but will centre around new criteria being set for selecting meat carcasses. This will be unveiled during a secretariat meeting at the forum to be held in Rotorua from October 13 to 16.

Forum chairman Tim Brittain said the extension to the brand would offer opportunities for the New Zealand food service sector and for sales to the international marketplace. . .

The diary of a teenage bee – Raymond Huber:

A female bee lives for only about six weeks in summer. But it’s a life lived to the full because she’s constantly changing jobs: from cleaner to babysitter, builder, honey-chef, queen-groomer, guard, forager, undertaker and scout. Here is the diary of a teen bee:

Week 1    Dear Diary, So unfair! The work started the moment I hatched. I had to clean out my birth cell (ew!), then spend the whole week tidying the rest of the hive. My older sisters call me a ‘house bee’ and say I’m not allowed outside ‘til I’m 21 days. And I’m like, no way sister!

Week 2   Dear Diary, Yay! I’m a babysitter. The babies are sooo cute but totally exhausting. I have to check them 1300 times a day (okay, call me obsessive) to make sure they’re okay.  Meanwhile the comb cleaning goes on 4EVAH…

NZer secures top Irish horse for Cup:

Irish St Leger winner Voleuse De Coeurs will be aimed at the Melbourne Cup after New Zealand bloodstock agent Paul Moroney secured the mare in a surprise deal.

Voleuse De Coeurs’ Cup price was slashed to $A17 from $A34 after the announcement she would leave Dermot Weld to be trained by Moroney’s brother Mike Moroney, who is based at Flemington.

The mare will be flown to Newmarket for her quarantine and is expected to arrive in Australia on October 19. . .


Rural round-up

September 18, 2013

Indonesia relaxes beef import rules:

Beef exports to Indonesia should take off again shortly, according to the Meat Industry Association.

The Indonesian Government has signalled it is willing to lower its trade barriers and allow in more beef imports to ease soaring domestic beef prices in the country caused by the lack of supply.

Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie says the import quota system had resulted in a massive reduction in the amount of beef New Zealand was sending to Indonesia over the last three years.

Beef volumes had dropped to about 20% of 2010 levels, he says, with a lost value of about $150 million a year. . .

Vital talks for sheep, beef sector – Mike Petersen:

Over the past two weeks farmer representatives from the world’s major sheep-meat and beef-producing countries have had their annual catch-ups as Australia hosted the Tri-Lamb Group and the Five Nations Beef Alliance meetings.

Between them these two groups are responsible for almost two-thirds of the world’s sheep-meat exports and about half the world’s beef exports.

New Zealand is a founding member of the two groups through the organisation owned and run by farmers – Beef + Lamb NZ. The reason, of course, is that for NZ sheep and beef farmers, trade is our lifeblood. . .

Taxpayers turn US farmers into fat cats with subsidies – David J. Lynch & Alan Bjerga:

A Depression-era program intended to save American farmers from ruin has grown into a 21st-century crutch enabling affluent growers and financial institutions to thrive at taxpayer expense.

Federal crop insurance encourages farmers to gamble on risky plantings in a program that has been marred by fraud and that illustrates why government spending is so difficult to control.

And the cost is increasing. The U.S. Department of Agriculture last year spent about $14 billion insuring farmers against the loss of crop or income, almost seven times more than in fiscal 2000, according to the Congressional Research Service. . . . (Hat tip Whaleoil).

Wine born of ‘special piece of dirt’ – Timothy Brown:

Central Otago winery Akarua won the champion wine of show award at the Romeo Bragato Wine Awards in Blenheim last month. Reporter Timothy Brown met winemaker Matt Connell and vineyard manager Mark Naismith to see what is special about Akarua’s wine.

Hidden in the rolling hills of Bannockburn, off the twisting tarseal of Cairnmuir Rd, lies the Akarua vineyard.

A 50ha expanse of north-facing hillside and terraces is planted with pinot noir, pinot gris and chardonnay grapes.

Or as winemaker Matt Connell puts it – ”a very special piece of dirt”. . . .

SealesWinslow feed mill in production:

SealesWinslow’s upgraded Wanganui stock feed mill is up and running following a multi-million redevelopment.

The animal nutrition producer has celebrated the new site with a quick sales win, supplying 1350 tonne feed to keep dairy cows in peak condition en route by boat to China.

SealesWinslow General Manager, Graeme Smith, says the site puts the company in the box seat to better serve its existing customer base of dairy, sheep and beef farmers in the Taranaki, and a rapidly expanding new customer group from the Wanganui, Manawatu, East Coast and Wairarapa regions. . .

Best new honey bee links – Raymond Huber:

1. The bee and its place in history: article by Claire Preston, author of new book, Bee.

The bee is the only creature on the planet that is a true creative artisan. It gathers materials and transforms them to make not only architecture but food.– Claire Preston

2. The Trouble With Beekeeping in the Anthropocene: summary of Time Magazine’s feature on bees.

We are a species that increasingly has omnipotence without omniscience. – Bryan Walsh . .

Two new awards launched at the third annual Marlborough Wine Show :

Continuing to showcase the next level of the Marlborough story, the Marlborough Wine Show has launched two new awards.

In an effort to reward producers who consistently produce outstanding wines, the Marlborough Museum Legacy Award will be awarded to a wine company for three outstanding vintages of one wine within a ten year period.

The second new award, the Award for Vineyard Excellence has been developed to acknowledge the vineyard team from grower and viticulturist to all others involved and will awarded to the highest scoring single vineyard wine. . .


Rural round-up

August 20, 2013

Important not to let China dominate red meat sector – Allan Barber:

It’s a scary thought how quickly things have changed, but China has become one of New Zealand’s biggest markets for red meat, almost without any warning.

After years of thinking of UK/Europe as our biggest market for sheepmeat and the USA for beef with all other countries way down the chart, China has surged to reach the status of our biggest destination by volume for sheepmeat with 60,000 tonnes in the last 12 months compared with 55,000 to the UK.

The rise in beef is less dramatic, although year on year volume increased by more than 600% to 27,500 tonnes. However this volume is larger than exports to any single market other than the USA. The increases are less pronounced if measured in dollars, but the message is the same. . . .

Innovation from grassroots:

Retaining primary sector research and development to maintain competitiveness while at the same time diversifying into other key areas is important, says industry body DairyNZ.

Commenting on the launch of a new book, Get Off the Grass: Kickstarting New Zealand’s Innovation Economy, by Shaun Hendy and Paul Callaghan, DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says dairying in New Zealand has not been ‘backed’ at the expense of other sectors.

“Its export value has grown by 83% in the last 10 years because our industry is innovative, resilient and highly competitive,” he says. “And I agree that diversifying our economic base is important,” says Mackle.

“Some of the research I’ve seen points to the importance of cities and regions being powerful drivers of knowledge economies. They are associated with significant productivity gains and innovation and high densities of businesses in related industries. The new Lincoln Agri Hub that DairyNZ is a part of is an agricultural response to that for Christchurch and Canterbury. There is a food one in Palmerston North and we are looking to develop a hub in the Waikato too,” he says. . .

Primary industry mobile tech forum draws the digerati – sticK:

Numbers tell a story on their own.

And the fact that over 220 attendees ponyed up at the Mobile Tech Summit 2013 in Wellington on August 7 & 8 underscores the message that our natural resources aren’t as old-hat as some would like to believe.

This new event is designed to showcase current and upcoming mobile innovations in New Zealand’s principle food and fibre sections.

In other words; the application of smartphones and mobile devices across our biological industries – which for all the movies made in New Zealand and talk of standalone digital businesses, still underpin our economy. . .

Farm compliance and water breakthroughs:

Figures obtained by the Dominion Post show a significant fall in the number of dairy farmers receiving infringement and abatement notices.  This follows hard on the heels of the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) reporting in 90 percent of monitored sites, water quality over 2000-2010, was either stable or showed improvement

“The numbers from the Dominion Post tell the full story and that is one of marked improvement,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“While the Dominion Post has singled out dairy farming over the past five seasons, we are buoyed to see the number of abatement notices almost halve while infringement notices have more than halved.  . .

Changes to farming regulations on the horizon:

Federated Farmers supports Government proposals to change the Resource Management Act (RMA) but there are some changes still to be made.

“The principles behind the changes are to give certainty to the planning process and to consenting,” said Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers’ Environment spokesperson.

“I’m sure everyone will welcome greater consistency and faster decision making. The changes should make local authorities better to deal with and more accountable.

“We are disappointed that the Government is still not addressing inconsistencies with the framework of the National Policy Statement for Fresh Water; devised to protect indigenous aquatic flora, fauna and habitat. The proposed RMA changes continue to protect introduced predator species, such as trout. You cannot have it both ways. . .

Best plants for bees – Raymond Huber:

Honey bees are the glue that holds our agricultural system together…Hannah Nordhaus

It’s Bee Week and Time magazine features The Plight of the Honeybee (hey Mr. Time Editor, it’s ‘honey bee’, two words, not one). One cause of bee decline is monocultural farming: bees are starving because of a lack of flower diversity. You can help by planting bee-friendly fruit trees, bushes, herbs and wild flowers:
  • Plant nectar-rich flowers: clovers and mimosa; rosemary, thyme and sage; koromiko and veronicas; brassicas; dandelion, sunflower, dahlias, cosmos, and zinnia
  • Bees like bluish-purple flowers such as Californian lilac, erica, and lavender . . .

Rural round-up

July 13, 2013

Rule Change Great News For Pastoral Farmers:

New Zealand farmers will gain faster access to innovative new pastures thanks to new clearance procedures announced this week by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Plant breeders have welcomed the move, which they say will make it much easier to tap into the country’s biggest collection of pasture genetics, the Margot Forde Germplasm Centre at Palmerston North.

Comprising tens of thousands of seed samples, the centre holds more than 2000 different species of forage grasses, herbs and legumes from throughout the world. . .

Move planned to end China meat hold-ups – Alan Williams:

Clear protocols will be put in place and communication improved to try to stop a repeat of two regulatory incidents that have held up New Zealand meat on Chinese wharves, Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye says.

The Government was putting systems in place to make sure this country could react nimbly and quickly to problems holding up food exports into complex markets, she said.

NZ was exporting large and increasing amounts of food into markets that operated differently to ours and there would never be a system where things couldn’t go wrong, she said. . . .

Game-changing company ready for kiwi blood – Stephen Bell:

American blood serum processing giant Proliant Health and Biologicals’ $24 million Feilding plant will attract a procession of the world’s top firms to New Zealand and will have access to some of the world’s biggest markets that won’t accept products from the United States.

Proliant president and chief executive Stephen Welch and chief operating officer Randal Fitzgerald told a public meeting at the Feilding Rotary Club the firm had bought 4ha in the town to allow for expansion.

It already had Government permission to import bovine blood from Australia to meet expected growth in demand, though NZ could supply more than enough blood for double the initial 6000 m2 plant it was opening, they said. . . .

New Zealand’s horticulture industry set to grow:

One of New Zealand’s horticultural heavyweights has set its long-term sights on growing the industry into a multibillion-dollar business.

United Fresh New Zealand Incorporated is celebrating 22 years in the industry. It is now the country’s only pan-produce organisation – with 84 members from across the fresh produce value chain.

United Fresh president, David Smith, says horticulture, which is currently a $3.5 billion industry, is an important export earner for the country. And turning it into a $10 billion industry by 2020 needs vision, co-operation and collaboration.” . . .

Latest honey bee research – Raymond Huber:

  • Beebuzz: Flowers have small electric fields that bees can detect and use to distinguish the flowers with the best nectar.
  • Beespresso: Several types of flower have traces of caffeine in their nectar which bees are more attracted to than flowers without. . . 

Stonecroft Purchases Vineyard in Prime Hawke’s Bay Location:

Boutique winery Stonecroft has purchased a new vineyard in the renowned Gimblet Gravels Growing District in Hawke’s Bay.

The acquisition of this vineyard compliments Stonecroft’s existing holdings in the region. It is conveniently located between Stonecroft’s other two vineyards, on the corner of Mere Road and State Highway 50. The vineyard was previously owned by the Mills Reef Trust. . .


Rural round-up

November 22, 2012

Record Results at Karaka’s 2012 Ready to Run:

The second-highest price ever posted at the NZB Ready to Run Sale underscored two very successful days trade at Karaka, with the two-day Sale concluding with a new record turnover, average and median.

With the second day of selling continuing even stronger than Day 1, after two days 245 of the 407 entries have sold for $17,852,000, over $1.5m and 10% ahead of the previous record turnover of $16,216,500 posted at last year’s Sale (with 354 catalogued and 228 sold).

But with enormous depth to the buying bench, the new record median was a highlight for vendors, at $48,000 it is nearly 7% higher than the previous record of $45,000 set last year. . .

Young Auctioneer title:

The 2012 Heartland Young Auctioneers Competition, held at the Canterbury A&P Show, was won by Glenn Peddie of Peter Walsh & Associates, with Ryan Andrew of PGG Wrightson finishing in second place. Seven auctioneers from the South Island competed in the inaugural competition.

Peddie was brought up on a farm in Wakari and attended the local Hawarden Area School. His first job was as a casual musterer around North Canterbury and Omarama. He started his career in the livestock industry as a livestock clerk in Christchurch, before becoming a stock agent servicing lifestyle farmers in the area. . .

Food fit for royalty:

“We advocate for New Zealanders to have access to food fit for royalty,” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokesperson for Soil & Health, Organic NZ. Her comments follow the departure of HRH Prince Charles and Camilla last week from New Zealand.

Britain’s best known organic farmer, HRH Prince Charles has long been an advocate of the sector. In 1992 he incorporated his ideologies into his business portfolio, founding Duchy originals from Waitrose, which provides natural, high-quality organic and premium products, while helping to protect and sustain the countryside and wildlife. . .

Comvita first-half earning fall 7.4% amid short supply of Manuka honey:

Comvita, which sells products based on the health and medical benefits of honey, posted a 7.4 percent decline in first-half profit , saying a shortage of Manuka honey after an inclement 2012 summer constrained sales growth and margins.

Profit fell to $2.39 million, or 7.95 cents a share, in the six months ended Sept. 30, from $2.58 million, or 8.92 cents a year earlier, the Te Puke-based company said in a statement. Sales climbed to $45.4 million from $41.8 million. . .

Potatoes NZ appoints new chief executive:

New Zealand has appointed Champak Mehta as its new Chief Executive.

Champak will lead the industry body for potato growers, producers and processors, as it embarks on its goal of doubling the size and value of the market by 2020. He brings a deep understanding of how to build value-add propositions, and business development into emerging markets.

Born and bred in Taranaki, Champak has been a physiology lecturer at CIT and a Captain in the Regular Force of the New Zealand Army. He completed his MBA at Otago in 2002 and joined Fonterra in early 2003, holding a variety of strategy, business development and management roles in New Zealand, the United States and Singapore until July 2011. . .

Beekeeping for 3000 years – Raymond Huber:

Hand-made beehives date back 3000 years (to Israel) and early hives were made of clay or straw. Bees and humans helped each other expand into new lands as settlers transported the bees with them for crop pollination. For centuries beekeepers melted the wax comb to get the honey out, forcing the poor bees to rebuild it every time. Then in 1851 pastor Lorenzo Langstroth designed a hive like a filing cabinet that could be used over and over. . .

 

 


For World Peace Day

September 21, 2012

It’s World Peace Day in honour of which I offer this:

I don’t think of it as working for world peace, he said. I think of it as just trying to get along in a really big strange family.

By Brian Andreas at Story People.

Hat tip: Raymond Huber

 


Wishing for the wit to write like this

September 2, 2012

Oh how I wish I had the wit to write like this:

. . . It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant,  despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate. I was furling my wieldy  umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner. She was a  descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her  clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way. I wanted desperately to meet  her, but I knew I’d have to make bones about it, since I was travelling cognito.  . .

Hat Tip: Raymond Huber

 


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