Rural round-up

January 7, 2015

Dry spell affects North Otago most:

North Otago farmers are feeling the pinch from the driest period the region has had in seven years, Federated Farmers North Otago president Richard Strowger says.

Farmers spoken to in other parts of Otago were less concerned about the dry and hot weather, and some parts of the region have benefited from the warm spell.

Mr Strowger said, unlike other areas, North Otago was coming off a very dry spring, which meant farmers were really feeling the bite. . .

Canterbury farmers fear drought as region driest in a decade – Suze Metherell:

 (BusinessDesk) – Canterbury is on the verge of a 20th century-style drought with the southern region the driest it has been in a decade, forcing farmers to sell surplus stock and leading to restrictions on irrigation as the area waits for rain.

Soil moisture in eastern and southern Canterbury is between severely and extremely drier than normal, while the outlook for rain remains light, according to data from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa). The region, which suffered crippling droughts through the 1970s to 1990s, is the driest it has been in a decade, Ivon Hurst, Federated Farmers’ South Canterbury president, told BusinessDesk.

“We are in what you would call a drought – not an emergency, official drought where the government has to come in and give assistance, but there is no moisture in the ground, we have a consistently dry weather pattern,” Hurst said. “If we do get rain at this stage then we’re saved and we’ll have a good season, but I very much doubt that – the weather pattern is too stable. It’s got the same feel as the big droughts we had in the last century.” . . .

Thompson tops at FQC :

The Fertiliser Quality Council (FQC) has named Ann Thompson as its new executive director.

Thompson is currently a policy advisor for Federated Farmers in Wellington.

FQC chairman Anders Crofoot said the Council was extremely fortunate to be able to attract a person with the talent and track record of Thompson to the role. . .

New Zealand’s fish stocks in healthy state heading into 2015

Consumers can look forward to plenty of tasty and nutritious seafood this year with New Zealand fish stocks in good shape.

“The status of our stocks over the 2014 year showed some marked improvements according to the Ministry for Primary Industries figures and point to the conclusion that ‘by far the majority of New Zealand’s fisheries are performing well [1],” says Tim Pankhurst, Chief Executive of Seafood New Zealand.

This included an increase in the number of known fish stocks at or above the target for well-managed fisheries (increasing from 69.2% in 2013 to 72.5% in 2014) and a marked increase in the percentage of stocks where overfishing is not occurring (increasing from 82.1% to 86.8%). . .

Amazing Maze 2015 get lost this Summer:

The Amazing Maze ‘n Maize in Karaka, Auckland is a giant maze carved out of a 4 hectare field of maize (or animal corn) and has just opened for the summer season. Maze goers walk along several kilometers of paths and make decisions at over 100 intersections as to which way to go. Some intersections have “Kernels of Knowledge”, or trivia signs about the amazing pet theme. These not only help people find their way, but they also keep them entertained. Lifeguards are there to assist the truly lost, but taking the provided flag will give visitors peace of mind in the maze.

The Amazing Maze features a viewing bridge within the maize maze where visitors can see the huge expanse of corn that they are walking through. Parts of the design can be made out from the bridge but the real picture can only be seen from a plane or helicopter. This year the maze design includes a girl with a lamb, a boy with a dog, and a horse, all clearly visable from the air. . .

Food Matters Aotearoa conference shows the way forward:

The Food Matters Aotearoa conference will be promoting healthy sustainable food production showcasing speakers from 5 different continents. A range of expertise will also come from New Zealand.

One speaker Dr Vandana Shiva works with thousands of small Indian farmers and has set up over a hundred heritage seed banks. Growing organically now provides extra production of highly nutritious food from difficult growing environments.

“Heritage varieties that perform without chemical fertilisers and pesticides have improved the lives of thousands of subsistence farmers; heritage seeds and organic methods are now being used in community gardens around New Zealand” said Susie Lees from Food Matters Aotearoa team. “A resurgence of communities growing their own food is resulting in healthier lifestyles for New Zealanders.” . . .

Rural round-up

June 3, 2014

Excited about goat sector – Sally Rae:

Jackie Freeman reckons there is ”more to goats than meets the eye”.

Mrs Freeman and her husband Grant recently bought Mohair Pacific, a Canterbury-based business that is a buyer and broker of New Zealand mohair.

The couple, who were attending the recent inaugural NZGoats conference in Queenstown, were excited about the industry’s potential. . . .

When fashion ploughs into farming – Sonita Chandar:

Designers and artists across New Zealand and Australia have spent the past year unleashing the creative beast within to come up with a stunning array of garments for this year’s New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays Ag Art Wear Awards.

Fieldays Ag Art Wear is a prestigious nationwide competition which challenges designers and artists to create wearable art garments made from materials sourced from the farm, rural industries or the natural environment. . .

Young inventor opening gates to success – Anne Boswell:

A year of hard work hangs in the balance for 13-year-old Patrick Roskam who is launching his invention, the Gudgeon Pro 5 in 1, at the Fieldays Innovation Centre this month.

Patrick won the Best Pitch Award at the SODA Inc Innovation Den last year, wowing the judges with his unique fencing tool which is used to quickly and accurately hang gates.

Following feedback at Fieldays, Patrick improved the product, which was originally conceived as a science fair project, to make it adjustable with a spirit level on top and tape measure down the side. . .

Dairying family on fourth shift – Collette Devlin:

Jimmy and Keri Tatham sit in their kitchen among half-packed boxes, with newborn twins Aiden and Xavier snuggled in their arms.

As they box up the remainder of their belongings, their 23-month-old daughter Caitlyn points to a frame on the lounge wall. It is a memorial to their 20-month-old son Jack, who was killed in 2011 after getting into a holding pen of cows.

This prized possession will perhaps be one of the last packed away for the Gypsy Day move. . . .

 Elections, run-off and winter mud – Sally Brooker:

Richard Strowger is continuing to lead North Otago Federated Farmers.

He was re-elected for another year as president at the annual general meeting on May 15.

Dairy section chairman Lyndon Strang was also re-elected and has become the provincial vice-president.

Greg Ruddenklau is the meat and fibre chairman, with Hayden Williamson and Christopher O’Malley helming the sharemilkers’ section. . . .

Ngāti Kahungunu and Sealord announce fishing deal:

A deal allowing New Zealand’s third largest iwi to be more directly involved in the use of its fishing quota has been signed in Nelson.

The arrangement between Ngāti Kahungunu and Sealord will see the two organisations work together in the sustainable utilisation of fishing quota, employ and develop iwi members whilst at the same time maximising profitable returns to iwi. . . .


Rural round-up

November 20, 2012

Crown needs to be good neighbour too – Richard Strowger:

I was chatting to another local last week and we got on to the often debated topic of the financial impact of Crown ownership of land in districts like Waitaki.

There are a fair few of us in the district who have Crown-owned land as our neighbour and we wonder, like all good neighbours, just what role the Crown plays in our community.

A classic example of this is getting access into Department Of Conservation land. It takes a fair bit of expense on behalf of ratepayers in the district to maintain local roads that lead into Department of Conservation-administered land, but we do not haul in any rates off that piece of dirt for the purpose. . .

Federated Farmers: quality comes first – Matt Harcombe:

The debate over water and agriculture is a tangled web of interlinked policies, on-farm actions, science, emotion, perception and economic and cultural factors affecting its use, availability and quality.

Some factors are well understood, others are not. The biggest issue in the public eye is quality. But access to water and its use, irrigation and storage are also vital.

Although most farmers are working hard to adapt and evolve alongside changing public expectations of water quality, they are also trying to keep up with the demands of the Government and regional councils, while working out what it means to their farm.

The farming community wants to play its part in ensuring everyone has reasonable access to clean water but there is no clear consensus on what pathways should be taken to reach that goal. . .

We all own our agricultural story . . .  that’s the problem – PastureHarmonies:

The trouble is; we all own New Zealand’s agricultural story.

That is, the huge collective effort that went into figuring out, developing and improving the soil, pasture and plant/animal interaction that is our pastoral method: is part of our collective birthright.

Unfortunately, NZ Inc has never (and as such never could) apply for a worldwide patent for the knowledge. There’s none of it that’s uniquely identifiable. If, perhaps way back in the 1930s when some of the eminent scientists of the day were working up their theories of how to grow grass/clover better, there may have been some form of IP we could’ve called ‘ours’. . .

Bid to drown-proof Maori children:

Water Safety New Zealand has launched a five-year programme to boost the swimming ability of young Maori in rural areas.

Over the past six years 22% of drownings were Maori.

Portable pools will be rotated around rural centres, catering for up to 40 students at a time based at the kura. . .

New Zealand Winegrowers release Vineyard Register Report:

New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) has released the 2012 Vineyard Register Report today, which presents the most accurate statistics in the last decade on the sector’s vineyard productive capacity. The report includes data from 1,841 vineyards with a combined producing area of 34,269 hectares in 2012, which is anticipated to increase 683 ha in 2015.

The Vineyard Register is an initiative from the New Zealand Winegrowers Strategic Review, and replaces the previous Vineyard Survey which was conducted annually. “The 2011 PricewaterhouseCoopers Strategic Review emphasised the importance of accurate data as a prerequisite for understanding future production capability, infrastructure planning, biosecurity management, disaster response purposes, and pest and disease management. The Vineyard Register now provides this vital information and is a significant step forward for the industry” says Philip Manson, General Manager Sustainability at New Zealand Winegrowers. . .

Preston’s Gold sets up for a summer of good meat:

Preston’s Master Butchers have been awarded a Gold Medal at the Devro New Zealand Sausage Competition for its Turingia Bratwurst.

“Our customers have been telling us for a while that this is a fantastic sausage”, says General Manager Andrew Preston.

“A win in a national competition is reinforcement that we’ve got it right. Our Anytime Turingia Bratwurst is a traditional pre-cooked German Bratwurst. It is flavoured with marjoram and parsley and a touch of pepper and garlic. . .


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