Rural round-up


Mānuka roots found to assist water quality – Alexa Cook:

A new study has found that mānuka and kānuka plants reduce nitrate leaching into waterways.

Researchers planted young mānuka, kānuka, and radiata pine trees in containers, called lysimeters, which measure drainage and evapotranspiration from the soil, and then fertilised the plants with urea for 15 weeks.

They applied the equivalent of 800kg per hectare to each pot to simulate urine patches, because research shows that on grazed land, animal urine adds nitrogen at rates up to 1000kg a hectare, contributing up to 70 percent of nitrate leachates. . .

Westland Milk vows to up game – Simon Hartley:

Beleaguered Westland Milk Products has achieved a profit turnaround and promised co-op shareholders to do better this dairy season.

It has also confirmed its target forecast payout range of $6.40-$6.80.

Westland Milk Products payout to farmers of $3.88 per kilogram of milk solids, was the lowest in the country in the 2015-16 season, as the company booked a $10.3million loss. . . 

One new property positive for Mycoplasma bovis:

The Ministry for Primary Industries’ testing programme has identified one new property as positive for the bacterial cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.

The newly identified property is a Van Leeuwen Dairy Group farm which was already under a Restricted Place notice under the Biosecurity Act. . . 

New Zeapri chief picks up reins

Zespri’s chief executive of nine years Lain Jager stepped aside last week for new executive and long-time company man Dan Mathieson. Mathieson spoke to Richard Rennie about where he sees the marketer going after a period that has included the worst of times and the best of times for the industry.

Only four days into his new position Dan Mathieson is having to think hard about how he will balance the local, supply-focused challenges of growing more fruit in Bay of Plenty and beyond with the rocketing market growth being experienced out of the company’s Singapore marketing hub.

To help achieve that he intended to spend his time split evenly between head office in Bay of Plenty and the Singapore base he had headed up as Zespri’s global sales and marketing manager. . .

Beef exports hitting headwinds – Simon Hartley:

Further declines in beef prices have been predicted as the strength of the New Zealand dollar and falling United States prices weigh more heavily on exporters.
Rabobank animal proteins analyst Blake Holgate said beef prices had dropped “marginally lower” during the past quarter.

However, further downward price pressure was expected in the months ahead from increased Japanese tariffs on frozen beef imports, creating additional headwinds for Kiwi exporters, he said. . .

Win propels youngster on confidence track:

The confidence boost from winning the 2010 Dairy Trainee of the Year award is propelling a young sharemilker along a valuable career track, he says.
Blake Korteweg, a young herd manager from Otago, in 2010 entered the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards and won the Southland-Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year competition.

Later that year at the national awards gala dinner in Rotorua he was named 2010 Dairy Trainee of the Year.. . .



Dairies aren’t parents


The Auckland Regional Public Health Service wants to limit what dairies can sell to children and restrictions on how many dairies can be in one area.

It said dairies were helping to make the country fat, and Auckland’s neighbourhoods were saturated with cheap, energy-dense food.

Health service clinical director Julia Peters said that needed to change.

“You’ve only got to go into a dairy or a convenience store and you see what you are confronted with is sugar-sweetened fizzy beverages, chocolate bars, chippies, lollies et cetera.”

Dairies are full of energy dense food and it is usually difficult to find lower energy food in them.

But dairies don’t force people to buy what they stock, they don’t give children the money to buy it and they have no way of knowing if children who buy their fat and sugar rich wares do so as a very ocassional treat, whether they share them with others or eat them all themselves.

That isn’t the dairies’ role. That’s the role of the parents.

Obesity is a growing problem. More people are getting fatter.

The reason for that is simple in that it’s the result of eating more than the body needs. But dealing with the issue is complex.

Six out of seven dairies near Hamilton’s Rhode Street school agreed not to sell junk food to children in school uniform after the student council asked them not to.

The principal, Shane Ngatai, said the effect was visible in the sugar spot checks they do from time to time.

“When we did the first bag inspection, we found over $100 worth of sugar in two classes alone. Now we’re not finding any.”

Mr Ngatai is completely behind the idea to take the plan wider.

“I don’t want to become the food police and I don’t want to be labelled a nanny state,” he said.

“But we don’t sell tobacco to kids, we don’t sell alcohol. Why are we selling this drug, sugar?” . . .

This is working in that area but requesting dairies not to sell junk food to children in school uniform is different from regulating what they can sell and how many outlets there are and there is a difference between tobacco and sugar.

Any smoking is harmful, some sugar as part of a balanced diet is not.

The people who should be controlling what chidlren eat are their parents.

Food outlets can play a part but rather than starting with the nucelar approach, why doesn’t the health service do more to encourage dairies to stock healthier alternatives like rockit apples?

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