Rural round-up

May 21, 2014

Finding alternatives to dairy – Keith Woodford:

New Zealand dairy production has increased by 80% since Year 2000. This has come almost equally from both more dairy hectares and more production per hectare. However, the limits to pastoral dairying in New Zealand have largely been reached. Where do we go from here?

First, there is a need to recognise the two reasons why pastoral dairying has largely reached its limits.

The most important reason is that society is no longer willing to accept the effects of cow urine leaching from pastures into waterways and aquifers. Huge progress has been made in fencing off livestock from waterways, and in tree planting alongside the streams, but that does not solve the problem of the urine patch. This 2013/14 year is therefore the last year of large-scale conversion of sheep and beef farms to pastoral dairying. New environmental regulations have effectively closed that door. . . .

Nominations & entries open for South Island Farmer of the Year:

Nominations and entries are open for the 2014 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition, and organisers are hoping for another record year.

“Last year we had entries from throughout the South Island, the quality of which were such that we were obliged to select six finalists instead of the usual four,” says Lincoln University Foundation Chair Ben Todhunter. “This, plus the very successful winner’s field day at Yealands Wine Estate, generated a lot of interest.

Todhunter says that one of the attractions of the competition is that size really doesn’t matter and is not one of the criteria for judging.

“We’re looking for leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship, which can be found equally in a small family-owned farm business as they can within a large commercial agricultural entity. . . .

Central South too wet to drill:

CROPPING FARMERS in Canterbury and North Otago face a soggy battle to get winter cereals sown after another belt of rain swept the region this week.

Paddocks had only just become passable after an unusually wet April and now some fear they will not get back on again until spring. Where crops have been sown agronomists say slugs are having a field day.

“Slug pellet use has gone through the roof,” Mid Canterbury agronomist Roger Lasham told Rural News.
“Where people have gone on with pellets before any damage has been done it’s not too bad but if they’re late they’ll never get those plants back.”  . . .

Fresh look for Fieldays partnership:

A mutual interest in contributing to – and growing – New Zealand’s agricultural sector is behind an enduring strategic partnership between two iconic regional organisations.

The University of Waikato is into its eighth year as a strategic partner of the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek and Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says it is an important partnership for both organisations.

“The University has a shared interest with Fieldays in the agricultural sector, from our research which we will be showcasing on our stand, to our students who undertake internships with many agricultural organisations and our graduates who are employed in the agricultural sector,” he says.

The University and the New Zealand National Fieldays Society signed their latest strategic partnership in March and Fieldays Chief Executive Jon Calder says the relationship has developed well over the years “to the point where we now have a true partnership”. . .

Deal to develop wine tourism:

New Zealand Winegrowers and Air New Zealand have signed a deal which will see them jointly promote the country as a destination for wine tourists.

They believe that more than a million visitors have toured the country’s vineyards and wineries over the last five years and the sector has tremendous opportunity for future growth.

Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said the North American and Asian markets will be targetted in the promotion. . .

Giesen single vineyard first release wins international recognition:

Giesen Wines has won international plaudits with its first release of premium single vineyard wines from Marlborough.

Three different single vineyard selections have won gold at two prestigious UK competitions. The Brookby Rd Pinor Noir 2012 and Clayvin Pinot Noir 2012 were awarded gold in the coveted Decanter competition while Giesen The Fuder Clayvin Chardonnay 2012 captured gold at the International Wine Challenge (IWC).

Theo Giesen, of Giesen Wines, says this is the first time its wines have been awarded gold at either of the UK competitions. . . .


Rural round-up

November 24, 2012

Water quality’s complex issues – Gerald Piddock:

Improving the environment while simultaneously growing production are the main challenges for those making decisions around water quality, a leading science advisor says.

These two goals are pulling policies in opposite directions, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s principal science advisor Grant Blackwell says.

There is no silver bullet to solve this dilemma, he says, but he suggests that a values-based approach is essential. . .

Some effluent fines ‘unjustified’ – Gerald Piddock:

Some of the fines imposed on farmers have been unnecessary and unjustified, according to a Clutha dairy farmer.

Stephen Korteweg told the New Zealand Association of Resource Management conference in Dunedin that “the big stick approach” in dealing with water quality breaches was fine. “But when you start beating the patient with the big stick you’ve lost the plot,” he said.

Highlighting the economic benefits of better environmental practice was the best way to change farmer behaviour. . .

Pure Oil wants more rape grown – Gerald Piddock:

Central Canterbury consortium Pure Oil New Zealand is the new owner of the agricultural division of Biodiesel New Zealand.

The consortium is owned by Midlands Seed, Washdyke-based potato and onion exporter Southern Packers, agronomist Roger Lasham and BiodieselNZ agribusiness manager Nick Murney.

The sale included Biodiesel New Zealand’s oil seed rape crop production, the oil extraction facility at Rolleston and the marketing of the resultant products – rape seed oil and rape seed meal. . .

Industry needs wool’s help – Alan Williams:

Hawke’s Bay businessman Craig Hickson knows all about the meat industry and that it can’t save sheep farming on its own.

It’s different this time, significantly different, Wools of New Zealand director Hickson says of the call for sheep farmers to invest in wool industry marketing.

A few days into the roadshow promotion of the share issue, the directors are picking up the vibe from farmers that they fear this one is like the controversial WPC co-op plan of 2010. . .

Broader reach sought by dairy industry:

The dairy industry is looking to broaden its academic reach through a new postgraduate programme at the University of Auckland.

The joint graduate school in dairy research is a collaboration between the university and industry-bodies Dairy New Zealand, AgResearch and the Livestock Improvement Corporation. . .

Dairy farms produce record milk levels in year to September; growth expected to slow from here – David Chaston:

As the new dairy season builds, annual milk production has broken through the 20 million tonnes level for the first time ever.

The latest data for the dairy milk production shows the new 2012-13 season starting off with record volumes.

DCANZ is reporting that September 2012 milk production was 2,436,000 tonnes, a rise of 5% over the 2,319,000 tonnes produced in September 2011. (The rise in September 2011 was +12.5%.) . . .

Essential guide for earthworks in tiger country:

Forest owners and farmers now have access to detailed information about carrying out earthworks on steep hills that are often prone to erosion — the tiger country where New Zealand’s plantation forests are increasingly grown.

To harvest those hills, you need highly skilled roading engineers and operators who can construct low-cost, fit-for-purpose, roads, culverts and landings that meet high environmental standards. They in turn need a source of reliable information about what works and what doesn’t work in difficult terrain and across a wide range of soil types.

 Launching the New Zealand Forest Road Engineering Manual and associated Operators Guide, associate minister for primary industries Nathan Guy complimented the Forest Owners Association for taking the lead. Principal editor Brett Gilmore was praised for putting a huge amount of work into the project. . .


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