Rural round-up

04/09/2020

Covid 19 coronavirus: Why level 3 has been a ‘disaster’ for food producers, manufacturers  – Aimee Shaw:

The Food & Grocery Council says changes to the way the Government has handled boundary travel exemptions under the second round of lockdown had caused major disruption to food manufacturing.

Some food producers have been unable to get some of their key workers in and out of their factories located both in and outside of Auckland under alert level 3, resulting in some companies having to scale back production of some of their goods.

Griffin’s Foods is said to be one of a handful of companies that have scaled back production of some of their lines due to being unable to get some staff into their facilities and Invivo Wines has faced similar issues getting workers from Auckland into its Waikato winery. . .  

Perfect storm’ brewing for Central Otago growers facing Covid-19 labour crisis – Jo Mckenzie-Mclean:

Central Otago’s mayor will help pick fruit off trees this summer as a severe labour shortage threatens the region’s billion-dollar orchard industry.

The industry is forecasting a shortage of 5500 workers in the region during December and January, and 1500 for the critical thinning period due to start in six weeks.

Summerfruit New Zealand chairman and chief executive of Cromwell-based orchard 45 South Tim Jones said the looming worker shortage was a huge concern. The industry had been “leaving no stone unturned” in trying to find solutions. . . 

Taranaki farm couple’s 25 year war of the roses with possums – Mike Watson:

Taranaki dairy farmer Fiona Henchman​ can now declare victory in a personal war of the roses she has waged against possums for a quarter of a century.

With husband John she has fought a backyard battle against thousands of possums hopping over the boundary fence from Egmont National Park to munch on fruit trees, grass pasture and treasured climbing roses.

Pasture near the national park boundary has also taken a hammering, with the pests’ eating habits leaving the ground resembling a mown strip.

Anything the couple attempted to plant and grow on the 130ha Upper Weld Road property was gnawed to the stem by the nocturnal marauders, she said. . . 

Research finds genetic link between cattle temperament and autism in humans :

A strong association between the genes influencing cattle temperament and autism in humans has been discovered by University of Queensland researchers.

UQ genomic expert Professor Ben Hayes said the research by his interdisciplinary team headed by Dr Roy Costilla could lead to improved animal welfare and meat quality.

“The research doesn’t mean that cattle have autism; rather that cattle share an overlap of genes with humans which are critical in brain function and response to fear stimuli,” Hayes said.

Temperament is an important trait for day-to-day management of cattle, Hayes said . . .

City girl making good in rural sector – David Hill:

Olivia Egerton is a city girl who never imagined having a career in the rural sector.

The young Canterbury business executive is making a name for herself in the primary sector and was recently presented with the 2020 First Steps in Governance award by the Canterbury branch of the Institute of Directors.

“It’s a great opportunity and very exciting to be launching in earnest my management career and learning some different skills,” Ms Egerton said.

The award was given annually by the professional body of directors to a candidate who was motivated to further their business experience, gain insight into good governance practice and learn about the dynamics of sitting on a board.

Growing up in Auckland, Ms Egerton never intended having a primary sector career, but she did have family connections, with extended family involved in deer farming. . .

Importance of rodent control in free range egg systems :

A pest control expert has shared his views on rodent control within the free range egg industry, and how to prevent the situation in the 80’s repeating itself again.

The free range market has grown considerably over the last two decades to make up the majority of the UK laying flock.

This has been brought about through a combination of consumer demand, diversification and the success of the industry in promoting eggs a safe and nutritious food source. . .


Rural round-up

20/06/2020

ETS will see more farmland lost – David Anderson:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) believes the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will see huge swathes of productive farming land converted into trees for carbon farming.

It says there is no disincentive in the updated climate change policy to stop significant land use change away from productive and sustainable pastoral agriculture to exotic plantation forestry for the purpose of carbon farming.

The red meat lobby claims this failure will take the focus away from actually reducing fossil fuel emissions.

B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor says his organisation is concerned by the lack of government action to limit the amount of carbon farming available through the ETS to offset fossil fuel emissions.  . . 

Blocking MFAT advice on forestry bill ‘concerning’ says Initiative:

The Government’s refusal to let its skilled public servants advise a Select Committee about new legislation is “deeply concerning,” said The New Zealand Initiative.

Today, the Environment Select Committee published its final report on Minister Shane Jones’ Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Bill. Despite the Bill’s many flaws – and an unprecedented chorus of disapproval – it has emerged from the Select Committee largely unsubdued.

The Bill’s purported purpose is to create an occupational licensing regime for log traders and forestry advisers. It deems all forest owners to be “log traders,” thereby subjecting them to the registration and regulatory requirements of the new accreditation scheme. . . 

The ongoing search for new markets – India and beyond – Keith Woodford:

Finding new markets for NZ exports is challenging. Here, Keith Woodford looks at the Southern Asian countries of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and further west to Iran

In recent weeks I have been exploring opportunities for market diversification, given increasing concerns that New Zealand has become too dependant on China. I started by looking at China itself , with the key finding being that growth of two-way trade between New Zealand and China is a consequence of natural alignment for each other’s products, also facilitated by the 2008 Free Trade Agreement between the countries.

Next, I focused on other North-East Asian markets and specifically on Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. The challenges with all of those include that their populations are either declining or about to decline. Also, their economic growth had either stalled or nearly stalled even before COVID-19 came along. That means that new trade requires elbowing out existing products rather than meeting new economic demand from consumers. . .

Deer cull will help families in need :

Venison is on the menu for New Zealand families in need — an annual deer cull in Fiordland will provide meat for foodbanks.

The deer cull in Fiordland National Park will this year provide 18,000kg of venison to New Zealand foodbanks and families in need.

Fiordland Wapiti Foundation typically would remove up to 1000 animals during the cull, and this year partnered with Game Animal Council and the Department of Conservation (Doc) for the initiative.

Fiordland Wapiti Foundation president Roy Sloan said that, weather permitting, by the end of July 600 deer from Fiordland National Park would be removed for processing into 18,000 1kg wild venison mince packets. . .

Rural focus welcome in health review but urgent action needed:

The NZ Rural General Practice Network today welcomed the Health and Disability System Review’s focus on addressing inequity in access to health care for rural communities, but said action was now needed with real urgency.

The new Chief Executive for the NZRGPN, Grant Davidson, said he would take time to digest the report and discuss it with its members, but welcomed the acknowledgement of the pressing need to address rural health.

“The first report noted that access to healthcare for rural communities was ‘unacceptable’ and the extent to which rural communities and their inequitable access to healthcare is a focus in this report is welcomed,” Grant Davidson . . 

Farmers helps save Pacific economies as COvid-19 brings economies to a halt – Mereia Volavola:

The Pacific Islands have been spared some of the deadliest health consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

But by taking away the tourists, the virus has dealt a huge blow to economies and jobs largely dependent on foreign visitors’ spending to stay afloat.

As of May, every destination on earth had put in place some form of travel restriction, according to the U.N.’s World Travel Organization, and all tourism in the Pacific has stopped as a consequence, depriving many communities of income. In Vanuatu, 70 percent of tourism jobs are estimated to have disappeared already.

In the midst of this crisis, small-scale farming has provided the region with crucial resilience . .

Allflex tech’s powering up Litchfields’ dairy op – Matt Sherrington:

The Litchfield family’s investment in technology from Allflex Livestock Intelligence is paying dividends within their southern NSW-based dairy farming operation.

Ian and Karen Litchfield purchased the 182-hectare Kariana, situated near Mayrung in the Riverina, in 2000, and over the years they’ve purchased three other blocks, which including Kariana cover 760ha of which 600ha consists of flat flood irrigation country.

Together with their daughter Amy and son-in-law Jack, the Litchfields milk 800 Holstein cows each year out of a total milking herd of 950 head with their flat milk supply sold into the year-round milk markets. . .


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