Rural round-up

February 14, 2019

Irrigation goes high-tech to preserve Christchurch aquifer – Heather Chalmers:

Farmers irrigating just north of Christchurch are using the latest technology to ensure not a drop is wasted.

Preserving water quality is also front of mind as the land they irrigate is geographically linked to an ancient, slow moving aquifer which also supplies domestic drinking water to the city’s residents. 

In the first project of its type in New Zealand, the latest in digital technology has been rolled out to Waimakariri Irrigation’s farmer-shareholders, taking the guesswork out of irrigating.   . . 

Challenge ahead for smaller wineries – Simon Hartley:

A caution has been thrown out to New Zealand’s smaller, domestic market wineries which might be finding it more difficult gaining access to distribution channels.

Westpac senior economist Anne Boniface said the industry in New Zealand had grown substantially in recent decades.

“The industry is heavily concentrated in Marlborough, which specialises in sauvignon blanc production”, about three-quarters of the country’s wine production, by value, she said.

The New Zealand winemaking industry has an annual turnover of $2.5 billion and wine exports have doubled in the past decade to $1.7 billion per year, becoming the country’s sixth largest export by commodity. . . 

New opportunities for agri-food:

Changes being driven by computer scientists in the agri-food sector are providing new opportunities for Kiwi farmers.

The disruption, which is changing what we eat, was the focus of the KPMG farm enterprise specialist Julia Jones’ keynote speech at the Young Farmers Conference.

“There’s a restaurant in Boston with a robotic kitchen,” she said.

Spyce is a world-first and was created by four robotics-obsessed engineers who wanted healthy food at a reasonable price. . . 

Students experience agriculture – Richard Smith:

Kotara Kikuchi, a second-year student at Tono Ryokuho High School, an agricultural school, is on a home stay with three other boys from his school to do farming.

Kikuchi wants to experience agriculture, however, “I want to be a fisherman after graduating from high school”.

Fellow schoolmate Tokiya Ogasawara, 16, hasn’t decided what he wants to be. 

“But there’s nothing outside agriculture that I want to do,” he said. . . 

Agtech is not going to be a road to riches – here’s why – Glen Herud:

Agtech is quite trendy in New Zealand at the moment. But it’s unlikely to be a road to riches for those involved.

I would caution any entrepreneur from developing a tech solution for farmers.

No doubt, technology will change how agriculture is conducted. Just as it is changing all aspects of our lives.

But that doesn’t mean you can actually make any money out of developing some fancy technology solution for farmers. . . 

Joint call made to end non-stun slaughter in UK

The RSPCA and the British Veterinary Association have joined forces to call on the government to repeal a legal exemption that permits animals to be slaughtered without pre-stunning.

Both groups say slaughtering without pre-stunning causes ‘unnecessary pain and suffering’.

The latest figures from 2017/18 reveal that over 120 million animals were slaughtered without being stunned first – more than three animals slaughtered every second on average. . . 


Rural round-up

September 3, 2018

Beef + Lamb steps up farm plans push – Yvonne O’Hara:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (BLNZ) is ”on a mission” to continuously improve its Land and Environment Plan (LEP) programme as a key part of implementing its environment strategy, which was released in May.

Environment capability manager South Island Matt Harcombe said a survey of LEP workshop participants was carried out from October 2017 to March this year, and the findings would help improve the LEP resources and how they were delivered to farmers.

”We want to continue to build farmers’ confidence in the process of developing farm plans and understand how we can work with others to co-ordinate better support for farmers as well as encourage them to work together at a larger catchment-scale,” Mr Harcombe said. . . 

Getting behind New Zealand’s waterway restoration movement:

 This week is World Water Week and 3,000 decision-makers, scientists and experts from over 130 countries are converging on Stockholm, Sweden to develop plans to preserve this precious natural resource. In New Zealand, the health of our waterways is receiving similar levels of attention.

Our streams, lakes, wetlands and rivers have suffered over the last 150 years because of the effects of rural and urban development. While efforts to improve freshwater have mainly focussed on limit setting and development rules, we’re now seeing a rapidly growing grass-roots movement driving waterway restoration initiatives. These community efforts have developed because New Zealanders know the task of reversing the impacts is too big for a single owner or sector, so working together is the only way forward. . .

Change of dairy chairman for Federated Farmers – Ella Stokes:

If you have a passion about something get involved with it, says the newly appointed Federated Farmers Otago dairy chairman.

Dairy farmer Mathew Korteweg recently took up the role after previously being the sharemilker chairman for two years.

Mr Korteweg and wife Catherine, along with son Beau (1), have been 30% sharemilkers on Mr Korteweg’s family farm which has had a herd of 550 cows for the past five seasons.

For the past two seasons, they have taken on a neighbouring farm where they were contract-milking a herd of 550 cows. . . 

Synthetic wine and whisky soon to go on sale – Gerard Hutching:

First it was fake meat, cheese and milk. Now it’s pretend wine and whisky.

Forget about terroir, centuries old grape vines and peat-infused single malts from the famed island of Islay. San Francisco-based Ava Winery has shown it’s possible to create sauvignon wine and whisky in a laboratory.

At the Bragato wine conference in Wellington this week, winegrowers sniffed and sipped a molecular whisky and sauvignon blanc and handed out their verdicts. . . 

Why lamb is the most ethical meat to eat – Lizzie Rivera:

Forget Easter, now is the best time to eat British lamb, which is one of the most naturally reared animals, says Lizzie Rivera in the final instalment of our series investigating the myths and realities of meat production.

The importance of us knowing where our food really comes from has been highlighted by yet another food scandal, with the country’s largest supplier of supermarket chicken allegedly tampering with use-by dates.

This suggests it’s time for us to eat less meat or at the very least spread the load of our carnivorous diets by buying from smaller producers and varying our choices, perhaps even by rediscovering our love of lamb – and now couldn’t be a better time.

“The time to eat lamb at it’s absolute best – the highest quality eating, beautiful, flavoursome lamb – is in the autumn of the year. It’s just fantastic,” says Richard Smith, senior farms manager at Daylesford.

IFMA22 Congress opens $2500 bursary for ‘next gen’ farm managers – Johanna Baker-Dowdell:

Tasmania’s two major industries – agriculture and tourism – intersect at the next International Farm Management Association Congress.

Organisers are expecting a switched-on audience full of up to 400 farmers, educators, researchers, consultants, government staff and businesses, but they are particularly interested in the agricultural industry’s next generation.

The 2019 congress will be held at Launceston in March and the theme is Growing Agriculture @ 41 Degrees South. . .


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