Rural round-up

June 19, 2017

The truth about cow poo and other myths – Marc Gascoigne:

 I’ve quite often read or heard over the last few months that each dairy cow produces the waste of 14 humans, which apparently translates into New Zealand having to deal with the waste of an equivalent population of 90 million people.

Often the implication is that all of this waste is washed straight into our rivers and waterways.

Yeah right.

​What is conveniently left out of this argument put forward by our critics is that the vast majority of cow No 2s are deposited straight back onto the land, to be broken down by microbes and become part of the top soil, boosting fertility and being used to grow more grass to feed cows. What a great system for dealing with waste! . . 

Most irrigation is on target – study:

A summer-long on-farm study of irrigation efficiency in the Ashburton area will provide a benchmark for progress.

This is the message from study leader, IrrigationNZ project manager, Steve Breneger.

In partnership with Environment Canterbury, INZ employed post-graduate environmental science students to collect data for four months, looking at how farmers were operating equipment, applying water, scheduling maintenance and monitoring soil moisture and run-off. . . 

Tech aims to get more for less – Richard Rennie:

Farmers’ efforts to cut costs after some tough seasons have not dampened their appetite for adopting technology that will help them produce more from less.

This year’s Mystery Creek Fieldays was dominated by the usual swathe of latest hardware for farm use but agri-tech companies reported farmers most interested in technology to help them generate greater profits from more stripped down, pasture-focused systems.

That was also being pushed harder by regulatory requirements around animal identification and environmental controls, both requiring better technology to keep operations compliant. . . 

Making a beeline for prizes – Hugh Stringleman:

Four years after the concept came to him and on his first time at the National Fieldays Darren Bainbridge won four innovation awards for his electronic MyApiary products.

With co-founder Carl Vink, Bainbridge creamed the awards among 80 entrants with their cloud-based operations management tool for beekeeping.

The custom-built tool was delivered on licence for the required number of users, effectively making MyApiary the IT provider for the beekeeper.

All of the biggest bee companies had shown interest in the service, Bainbridge said. . . 

Fieldays reflects positive outlook for Primary Sector:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has congratulated the National Fieldays Society for another successful event at Mystery Creek in Waikato.

“This year’s Fieldays was another success thanks to hard work from Peter Nation and his team, but also in part due to the positive outlook for the primary sector,” says Mr Guy.

“Many farmers and growers have dealt with some challenging past seasons, so it was great to feel a really positive mood across the many thousands who entered the gates. There’s a strong sense that many will be looking to use their extra forecast revenue to reinvest in their businesses. . . 

Fieldays’ Rural Bachelor 2017: Meet the eight rural hunks :

Yogis, a self-confessed tractor lover and a hitchhiker are among eight rural blokes in the running to win a coveted Golden Gumboot.

The title of Fieldays Rural Bachelor 2017 will be taken out by one young, skilled and single farmer this week.

Hosted at Hamilton’s Mystery Creek, the competition forms a part of National Agricultural Fieldays’ three-day event. . . 

Mathew McAtamney crowned the Rural Bachelor of the Year at Fieldays –  Jo Lines-Mackenzie:

Mathew McAtamney might have the title, he just doesn’t have the girl yet. 

The Fairlie farmer was crowned the Rural Bachelor of the Year at National Fieldays at Mystery Creek on Saturday.

After a week of challenges against seven other men, the 26 year old took the golden gumboot trophy and won a prize pack worth over $20,000, including a Suzuki King Quad 750 4WD. . . 

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If you see myrtle rust call MPI 0800 80 99 66.

 


Rural round-up

June 12, 2017

Agricultural student with five scholarships says success is a balancing act – Sam Kilmister:

A top agricultural student hailing from Bulls believes the busier you are the more time you have.

Sam Pike has received five scholarships, balancing his academic commitments with his role as a volunteer firefighter, young farmer, technology blog writer and internship with consultancy firm AgFirst.

The 2014 Feilding High School dux developed his passion for agriculture growing up on a Rangitikei farm and it seemed natural to pursue a career in the industry. . .

Double reason to celebrate 150 years – Rob tipa:

Heavy soils that allow a North Otago farm to hang on longer in drought have kept a family on the land since 1864, reports Rob Tipa.

The Century Farm and Station Awards in Lawrence last month was a special landmark for sesquicentennial farm owners Bob and Nancy Allan, of Calton Hill, near Oamaru.

Not only were they celebrating 153 years of continuous family ownership of their property, but coincidentally the awards dinner fell on the same day as their golden wedding anniversary.

The event turned into a double celebration with their four daughters arriving from Auckland, Christchurch and Oamaru and their bridesmaid, Ainsley Webb, also present to celebrate the Webb family’s century of fruit-growing in Central Otago. . . 

Rural appeal wins over bright city lights for new Southland leader – Brittany Pickett:

Bernadette Hunt is passionate about Southland farming, Brittany Pickett writes.Bernadette Hunt is passionate about Southland farming, Brittany Pickett writes.

Bernadette Hunt wears a lot of different hats.

She’s a farmer, a government employee, a mum, a wife, a community member, and most recently she has become the chairwoman for the meat and fibre section of Southland Federated Farmers.

When she and her husband Alistair bought a farm and moved to Chatton, near Gore, 10 years ago Hunt had just qualified as a teacher and taken on a role at Knapdale School. Since then, life has been busy. . . 

Farmer v Farmer – Richard Rennie:

Waikato Federated Farmers has outlined some far-reaching concerns over the proposed Healthy Rivers plan in its submission, one of more than 1000 received by Waikato Regional Council.

The federation acknowledged the conflict the plan presented to it, given the controversial effect of the plan’s nitrogen limitations on dairy versus drystock operators.

Its submission maintained the plan was “divisive”. It had distilled its submission down to concerns in three key areas. . . 

CP Wool captures greater value – Annette Scott:

Carrfields Primary Wool (CP Wool) has relaunched in the United States to put premium New Zealand wool carpets into the homes of rich Americans.

Carrfields managing director Craig Carr said CP Wool was compelled to push creative boundaries to make a difference for its wool growers.

The key to making that difference involved a revamp of the company’s Just Shorn brand and that opportunity arose when the Just Shorn contract, launched eight years ago, came due for renewal.

CP Wool identified an opportunity to rein in greater control that would create significantly more value for CP Wool and its grower suppliers. . . 

Housing squeezing out farms:

If too many houses replace vegetable growing operations, we may have to look at alternatives such as vertical farming, says Horticulture NZ chief executive Mike Chapman.

He has always been sceptical about such methods for NZ, but we may be “stuck with it” if urbanisation keeps taking productive land, he warns.

Vertical farming was among the most interesting sessions at the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) ANZ conference in Adelaide, he says. . .


Rural round-up

April 13, 2017

Stockmanship and work ethic leads family to win Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

East Otago sheep and beef farmers Simon and Kirstin Engelbrecht have won the Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The win was announced at a gala dinner at the Glenroy Auditorium in Dunedin on April 7.

The Engelbrechts also won the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Award and the Hill Laboratories Harvest Award.

The Engelbrecht’s 7500 stock unit East Otago sheep and beef business is based on their 611ha home farm, Stoneburn, near Palmerston. The couple have four children, Oscar, 19, Sam, 16, Anna, 14 and Charles, 12. . . 

Aim tech at firms not farmers – Richard Rennie:

As the internet of things (IoT) becomes more of a reality for New Zealand farmers its success might lie in promoting it harder to farm service businesses than to farmers themselves.

KotahiNet chief executive Vikream Kumar tipped the usual pitch for farmers to adopt the IoT on its head to delegates at the MobileTech conference in Rotorua.

His company specialised in connecting businesses with sensors and wireless networks that enabled devices to communicate within businesses and beyond, including farms, orchards and processing operations. . . 

Tauranga animal health CEO finalist for Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year:

A Tauranga woman described as “successful yet so down to earth” is in the running to take out the 2017 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year Award.

A qualified veterinarian, Dr Claire Nicholson is the Chief Executive of Sirona Animal Health, a company she set up to develop and promote unique products that address current areas of economic loss in the dairy and sheep and beef industries.

She’s also a director of Paraninihi Ki Waitotara (PKW), past associate director for AgResearch and has worked with Massey University researching the epidemiology and economic cost of Neospora. Her family farms are in Gropers Bush, Southland. . .

Regions win battle to keep GE-free status but confusion remains – Gerard Hutching:

Lobby group Pure Hawke’s Bay is claiming victory in its fight to be free of genetically modified fruit and vegetables, but Federated Farmers describes the new situation as “a mess”.

Pure Hawke’s Bay feared Environment Minister Nick Smith would remove the powers for local and regional councils to declare themselves GE-free when the Government pushed through the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill this week.

However, in last minute changes, Smith amended the Bill so the minister could not refuse councils the right to become GE-free – but only for crops, which he defined as cereals, vegetables or fruit.

Smith’s definition did not include GE grasses, trees or livestock. . . 

New ground broken on rural fibre:

Federated Farmers has successfully negotiated a significant benefit for rural property owners who allow telecommunications fibre to cross their land.

The Telecommunications (Property Access and Other Matters) Amendment Act, which was passed by the Parliament this afternoon, facilitates the installation of fibre optic cable along overhead electricity lines. It includes a unique provision that provides a quid pro quo to landowners whose land the lines network crosses, Federated Farmers communications spokesperson Anders Crofoot says.

In exchange for the right to string high-speed fibre along existing overhead powerlines, the amendment act guarantees fibre connections to farmers whose land is crossed. . . 

New Zealand mānuka honey science definition:

Food Safety Minister David Bennett has welcomed the Ministry for Primary Industries’ release of a proposed scientific definition for mānuka honey produced in New Zealand.

“Overseas regulators and consumers have expressed a desire for an independent, Government-backed definition to safeguard the authenticity of mānuka honey products.

“This Government-backed definition will provide an important starting point for the industry to promote New Zealand mānuka honey in world markets,” Mr Bennett says. . . 

Government science definition of mānuka honey an important step forward:

The industry organisation for the honey and beekeeping industry, Apiculture New Zealand, is pleased the Ministry for Primary Industries has released its proposed science definition of mānuka honey for industry review and consultation.

“The introduction of a regulatory science definition is a major milestone in the history of the mānuka honey industry. It is a relatively young industry growing very rapidly and with huge potential.

“We signalled our willingness to work with MPI to ensure its proposed science definition is robust in meeting shared objectives around consumer confidence and authenticity, and will be making a detailed submission on behalf of industry,” says Karin Kos, Chief Executive of Apiculture NZ. . . 

Foreign Wine Looking for Greater US Market Penetration:

The US wine market continues to represent an attractive opportunity for many foreign wine companies, according to the Rabobank Wine Quarterly Q2 2017. However, increasing competition and ongoing wholesaler consolidation, among other factors, make it increasingly difficult for small wineries to penetrate, with a particular complexity for foreign wineries. An increasing number are seeking alternative structures and strategies to deliver greater penetration in the market. Each strategy has the potential to achieve success, but also carries risks and pitfalls.

While the US market has attributes that make it attractive to many foreign wineries, it is also a crowded, complex, and daunting market. The traditional approach for foreign wineries looking to enter the US market has been to identify an appropriate importer, and to work the market with the importer and/or distributors to sell their product.. . .

More evidence that the key to allergy-free kids is giving them plenty of dirt — and cows – Rachel Feltman:

People who grow up on farms — especially dairy farms — have way fewer allergy and asthma problems than the rest of us. Now one research team thinks they’ve brought science closer to understanding why.

In a study published Thursday in Science, researchers report that they were able to pinpoint one possible mechanism for the allergy protection in mice they studied. Surprisingly, the protein that they fingered as the likely allergy-preventer doesn’t actually affect the immune system — it affects the structural cells that make up the lining of the lung.

The research is related to something called the hygiene hypothesis, where a lack of exposure to microbes as a tyke leads to more allergy and asthma. . . 

 


Rural round-up

March 16, 2017

Dear PETA where are you now?

Dear PETA,

Where are you now? In the past week, wildfires have riddled, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Cattle, horses, and numerous other animals are dead or badly burned, not to mention the human lives that were taken trying to save them.

So, I ask you again. Where are you now? You’re always there to tell us how wrong our industry is for raising animals to feed the world. I’ve seen you brand yourselves with hot irons to martyr yourselves for cattle.You are always at the truck stops harassing cattle-pots and at rodeos with your video cameras condemning the industry for its alleged mistreatment of livestock.

Mistreatment? What a joke, just like your organization. People died this week, PETA, right alongside their livestock because they were trying to save them! . . . 

Listen: Jim Hopkins – ‘Every attack on farming is an attack on our standard of living’:

The recent passing of Murray Ball has prompted Jim Hopkins to reminisce about the way New Zealanders used to feel about farming.

Ball’s creations Wal and Dog were indicative of a time when the public regarded farmers in an affectionate manner says Hopkins.

Now times have changed and the perception of farming is at a worryingly low level. . .

Years of work to repair flood damaged farms – Sarah Robson:

Farmers near Auckland say it will take them years to recover from the damage caused by last week’s heavy rain and flooding.

The hill country around Kawakawa Bay near Clevedon has been scarred by slips.

A week on from the first big deluge, there was still debris lodged in fences and riverbanks were scoured where streams had turned into raging torrents.

Auckland deputy mayor Bill Cashmore, who has farmed in the area for decades, said the clean-up was going to take a long time. . . 

Consumer info gives growers power  – Richard Ronnie:

Grower groups must quickly get more knowledge on their consumers’ preferences and buying behaviour before retailers do it for them.

Steven Martina, the chief executive of large Dutch produce supplier The Greenery, gave delegates at this year’s Zespri Momentum conference an insight to latest trends in one of the kiwifruit growers largest export markets.

The Greenery is Zespri’s Dutch distribution partner. It handles 350 produce types globally to all trade levels in 60 countries. . . .

Video competition to highlight environment:

Agrecovery Rural Recycling is offering rural kids the chance to show off their creative skills in a new video competition focussed on the environment.

Individuals or school groups under 18 years of age are challenged to create a 2-5 minute video that demonstrates what they and their families are doing on-property to improve their rural environment.

Examples could include protecting natural areas, improving water quality or animal welfare, waste reduction or recycling; anything that brings environmental benefits. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

March 9, 2017

The big deluge: Fresh weather warnings as slips affect Coromandel homes, close roads, power off:

Fresh dire weather warnings have been issued as slips force people out of Coromandel properties and roads remain closed across sodden parts of the North Island.

As water recedes and slips are cleared off roads from yesterday’s massive one-in-a-100-year deluge, Northland is being told to be on watch for potentially damaging thunderstorms to hit mainly south of Kaitaia as the region comes in for a period of torrential rain. . .

Lange, manager get access awards – Guy Williams:

The men responsible for opening up public access to high country land between Arrowtown and Glendhu Bay have been recognised by the Walking Access Commission.

Switzerland-based record producer Robert ”Mutt” Lange and his Arrowtown-based manager, Russell Hamilton, received Walking Access Champion awards at a ceremony at Parliament on Tuesday.

Mr Hamilton, who accepted the famously publicity-shy Mr Lange’s award on his behalf, said it was ”very nice” to be recognised..

How I beat the black dog within myself –  Jon Morgan:

The latest person to come out and admit they have had problems with depression is a young Methven farmer, Sam Robinson.

Writing on NZ Farming’s Facebook page, he spoke movingly about how bleak it can be to feel so down that you want to kill yourself.

He acknowledged that it is difficult for those who have no experience of mental illness to recognise the signs and be supportive.

He had one suggestion for what they could do – just to say to their mate next time they are in a social situation something like, “I think you are a good sort and I bloody like you“. . .

Cattle lost in fire: it’s horrible out there, the things I saw – Michael Pearce:

Larry Konrade of Ashland likes hunting everything from doves to huge whitetail bucks.

But when he left his house Tuesday morning with a favored rifle, he was dreading the day. He felt even worse when it was over.

“It’s horrible, just horrible. I left the house with (60) shells and used them all,” Konrade said. He said he probably killed 40 cows, “and in a lot of places there weren’t even very many left alive to put down.” . .

Nuffield scholars identify challenges for NZ – Richard Rennie:

Last year’s Nuffield Scholars are uneasy at competing countries’ ability to match or outpace New Zealand agriculture.

In a summary of their experiences the unbalanced rhetoric around emerging technologies was also noted.

Wellington based government agricultural development manager Jessica Bensemann reported her concern over New Zealand agriculture’s level of disconnectedness from global trading trends and patterns after visiting Asia, United States, Europe and the Middle East.

Instead she warned New Zealand’s primary sector appeared to be transfixed within the farm gate. . .

Rugged rural fellas wanted:

The call has gone out for young, gallant rural gents to compete for this year’s New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays’ Rural Bachelor of the Year.

Eight finalists will be selected for the popular competition, which takes place during Fieldays at Mystery Creek Events Centre from June 14-17.

The competition is in its seventh year and entries close at the end of March. . .


Rural round-up

March 6, 2017

Leading by example – Cheyenne Stein

Like many young girls, Megan Hands dreamt of being a vet. Today she’s a farm environmental auditor at Irrigo Centre helping farmers come to grips with environmental policies.

Megan grew up on her parents’ dairy farm in Shannon and it was during the early days of the Horizons One Plan that she revised her career path.

“When I was younger there were some resource management battles going on in Opiki near our farm and my dad started to get involved with that and that’s when I started to take an interest in the resource management side of agriculture.”

How many cows are polluting urban harbours? – Alan Emmerson:

I was really interested to read articles in the Herald on Auckland’s polluted beaches. Well-researched and well-written they showed me a problem of massive proportions. We have our nation’s biggest city’s beaches polluted by sewage every time it rains.

It is not an insignificant problem either as the Herald’s coverage showed. One million cubic metres of wastewater and raw sewage, the equivalent of 400 Olympic swimming pools, pours into Auckland Harbour each year.

The waste comes from 41 points around the city almost every time it rains.

As a farmer, albeit semi-retired, I found the story fascinating. Every week we read in the paper that Greenpeace, the Greens, Fish and Game or Massey’s Mike Joy are slagging farmers over water quality.

When it comes to our biggest city, however, it seems that councils can pollute with impunity. . . .

Water quality everyone’s goal – Neal Wallace and Richard Rennie:

Manawatu dairy farmer James Stewart believes the goals the Government has set in its latest freshwater standards are aspirational and should engage entire communities, rather than leave the farming sector on its own to solve.

“The goal to make 90% of New Zealand’s lakes and rivers swimmable is a message for us all as New Zealanders to step up and do our bit to achieve that,” he said. . . 

Walking access cut as cattle spooked  – Chris Morris:

Dunedin city councillor Doug Hall is at the centre of a fresh land dispute, after locking the gates on public access to a walking track crossing his farm.

It was confirmed yesterday the council had closed the Cleghorn St track, above St Leonards, and the Campbell St track, near Bethunes Gully, following complaints from the landowner, Cr Hall, last month.

The Cleghorn St track had since been reopened on a ‘‘restricted’’ basis, and walkers had been cautioned to beware of stock, but it appeared the Campbell St track would remain closed for now. . . 

Sleepy Central Otago town of Omakau comes of age – Rhys Chamberlain:

Remember when you could stop at an intersection and not have to wait for traffic to pass? Remember when cheese rolls weren’t fancy? Remember when you could wear stubbies to the pub? 

Omakau still has this. It might be small and slow-moving but all of a sudden people are taking notice.

Seemingly people are looking for a place where the climate is good, their kids are safe, the people are welcoming and which doesn’t have the overinflated housing hype of other Central Otago towns. . . 

Otago student wins Oceania scholarship – Sally Brooker:

Former Waitaki Girls’ High School pupil Tara Willans (18) has been awarded the 2017 Oceania Dairy scholarship.

She will receive an annual payment of $3000 for up to three years, plus the opportunity for paid work experience at Oceania’s milk factory near Glenavy during study breaks.

Tara is starting a bachelor of arts and science majoring in politics and environmental management, with a minor in accounting, at the University of Otago.

”We had more applications this year than any other year we have been doing this,” Oceania Dairy general manager Roger Usmar said.

Award finalists announced:

Six finalists have been named in this year’s Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The finalists are sheep and beef farmers Simon and Kirstin Engelbrecht (Stoneburn), Nelson and Fiona Hancox (West Otago), Graham and Pam Hunter (Tuapeka West), Simon, Sarah, Allan and Eris Paterson (Gimmerburn), Robin and Emma Wightman (Tuapeka West) and dairy farmers Ben and Tanya Davie (Clydevale).


Rural round-up

February 13, 2017

Johnny Kirkpatrick wins World Shearing Championships title – Brittany Pickett:

Napier shearer Johnny Kirkpatrick has finally won the elusive world machine shearing title.

The World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships were on at ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill on Saturday night..

The 46-year-old had competed at the world championships three times prior to this year’s competition and said it was a hard final. . . 

Farm growth relies on good staff – Richard Rennie:

Rural employment specialist John Fegan has seen big changes in his time in the industry but yet issues he tried to address 20 years ago have still not been fundamentally fixed. While recruiting staff he also spent much time educating farmers and encouraging them to treat staff well. Richard Rennie spoke to him before his semi-retirement.

HE SPENT time in his youth skiing southern slopes as a self-confessed adrenaline junkie but John Fegan’s career was more about avoiding the cliffs and crevasses that accompany employing farm staff.

Zespri to license more SunGold kiwifruit in Italy to meet rising demand – Rebecca Howard

(BusinessDesk) – Zespri International, New Zealand’s kiwifruit marketer, it will licence more production of its SunGold variety in Italy to meet rising demand and ensure 12-month supply.

The Tauranga-based company today said it will allocate an additional 1,800 hectares of European SunGold licence over the next three years. The first 1,200 will be in Italy and the remaining 600 hectares are still to be allocated.

Zespri chief operating officer Simon Limmer said the move is driven by growing year-round demand for Zespri kiwifruit. It has established supply in several northern hemisphere countries, particularly Italy and France, to ensure supply when New Zealand kiwifruit is not available. It currently exports and markets premium New Zealand kiwifruit to 56 countries around the world. . . 

New Zealand Winegrowers releases first Sustainability Report:

New Zealand Winegrowers has released the first ever report on the wine sector’s achievements in sustainability. The Report presents data collected from vineyard and winery members of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand – one of the first and world-leading sustainability programmes in the international wine sector.

The Sustainability Report highlights actions undertaken by the wine industry such as enhancing biodiversity, reducing and recycling by-products, optimising water and energy use, investing in people, protecting soil, and reducing agrichemical use. . . 

Shifting climate and Sauvignon blanc style – Can you taste the future?  – Dr Glen Creasy:

Wine is a fascinating beverage. It is the culmination of a myriad of effects on the grapevine and its fruit, decisions made by the winemaker, handling of the bottles and the time until it’s poured into your glass. It is an expression of the environment it was made in, and so therefore as the environment changes, so must the wine.

My career has focussed on how to improve the way we grow grapes so that they can be made into better wine, and more recently, how factors relating to climate change alter the way grapevines grow and subsequently, how the wine smells and tastes. The factors I’m most interested in are increases in temperature and changes in rainfall patterns, because these have a large impact on grapevines and the wine made from their fruit. . . 

The truth about coming back to the farm –  What young farmers are dying for you to know.Uptown Farms:

I just wrapped up a week of being on the road, talking with young farmers throughout the Midwest. I had committed to speaking at three different events this week, all of which catered to young farmers.

During my presentations , I shared with them the questions that consumers share with me, and tips for how they can tell their own farm story.

Without fail, this presentation evokes passion and sparks conversation among farmers, but even more noticeably among young farmers.

This week there were some very clear themes that emerged – realities of farming that our young farmers are dying for you to know. . . 

Little Brick Pastoral tells agriculture story with lego – Jennifer King:

A tiny plastic farmer wearing a wide-brimmed hat and green overalls is doing his bit to raise awareness of Australian agriculture.

He is the Lego Farmer, 4.5cm tall and becoming quite a national, if not international, celebrity as he sows the message of agriculture in schools and via social media.

The farmer spends his day working hard, fixing machinery, baling hay, checking the harvest, planting crops or hanging out with his working dog. . .

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