Rural round-up

August 1, 2019

Rural folk – defend yourselves – Robin Greer:

As a proud Southland dairy farmer the wellbeing of our rural families concerns me greatly.

They are constantly bombarded with the hypocrisy of extreme groups and some ministers in our Government.

Many use mistruths to persuade people agriculture needs to be removed from the New Zealand landscape.

We have ministers in the Government who hate dairy farmers and their legacy is to deal with us.

Many of the statements made by some of these people would be called hate speech had it been directed at a different group of the community but farmers are fair game. . . .

First women to graduate from world-leading irrigation design programme :

The latest group of graduates in New Zealand’s Level 5 Certificate in Irrigation Design include the first two women to have done this course.

New Zealand is the only country in the world to have a national qualification in irrigation design.

“IrrigationNZ is proud to have been part of successfully graduating these students from this important course – which will become critical as farmers and businesses increasingly need state-of-the-art irrigation systems to demonstrate efficient and sustainable use of our shared water resources,” says IrrigationNZ Chief Executive Elizabeth Soal.

“The qualification recognises the specialist skills needed to design technically efficient and environmentally sustainable irrigation systems. . .

New Zealand must learn to talk about ‘evolving technologies’ – Sir Peter Gluckman – Eric Frykberg:

New Zealanders should get to grips with gene technology and not bury their heads in sands of short-term thinking, according to one of this country’s leading scientific thinkers.

Sir Peter Gluckman is a former chief science adviser to the prime minister, who has held many academic posts and currently heads a multidisciplinary think tank at Auckland University.

In a speech to the annual conference of Horticulture New Zealand, Sir Peter said New Zealanders must seriously debate evolving technology such as gene editing, and not leave it mired in rhetoric, and conflated with politics.

Sir Peter told his audience there had been centuries of change in organisms’ genetic make-up, which was speeded up with gene transplants in the 1970s. . . 

Third time lucky for winners – Luke Chivers:

Romney genetics and consistency guide Brian and Anna Coogan’s farming philosophy. They told Luke Chivers about winning the annual, national ewe hogget competition.

Convinced by his wife Anna to enter the national ewe hogget competition Brian Coogan has walked away with the top honours.

The Taihape farmer took out the Romney and flock performance sections, finishing just 0.33 of a point ahead of runners-up Allan and Leeann Woodrow of Waikana before going on to win the overall breeds supreme award in the 23rd annual event in Christchurch. . .

Value of red meat exports up by eight percent :

The value of red meat exports of sheep, beef and co-products increased by eight percent to $8.8 billion for the year to June 2019, according to the latest analysis from the Meat Industry Association.

More than 399,470 tonnes of sheepmeat was dispatched, similar to 2018 volumes but the value of these exports increased by six percent.

For beef, export volumes were up by nine percent to more than 453,202 tonnes with a 13 percent increase in value. Co-products exports increased by five percent. . .

Global meat-eating is on the rise, bringing surprising benefits

Things were different 28 years ago, when Zhou Xueyu and her husband moved from the coastal province of Shandong to Beijing and began selling fresh pork. The Xinfadi agricultural market where they opened their stall was then a small outpost of the capital. Only at the busiest times of year, around holidays, might the couple sell more than 100kg of meat in a day. With China’s economic boom just beginning, pork was still a luxury for most people.

Ms Zhou now sells about two tonnes of meat a day. In between expert whacks of her heavy cleaver, she explains how her business has grown. She used to rely on a few suppliers in nearby provinces. . . 

Livestock grazing is vital ‘interference’ to boost biodiversity, new Plantlife study finds – Ben Barnett:

Livestock grazing has a crucial role to play in addressing a dramatic decline in biodiversity-rich wildflower meadows, according to a prominent botanist who warns that totally abandoning land to nature will do more environmental harm than good.

By allowing nature to ‘rewild’ landscapes unchecked, three-quarters of the UK’s most threatened species would decline or disappear altogether within just three years, Dr Trevor Dines said.

Environmentalists have called for the so-called rewilding of parts of the countryside to address historic environmental damage and to help absorb carbon from the atmosphere, but habitats such as wildflower meadows need sufficient levels of grazing and management to prevent them from being lost, Dr Dines said. . .


Rural round-up

August 14, 2018

‘They produce, simple as that’ – Sally Rae:

“We wouldn’t be farming today if it wasn’t for the Romneys.”

West Otago farmer Blair Robertson is a passionate advocate for the breed, saying “they produce,  simple as that”.

Mr Robertson and his wife Sally’s Merrydowns stud at Waikoikoi was one of three properties visited during a bus tour last week, as part of a reunion of  Romney stud breeders and stud stock agents. . . 

Novice Māori cheesemaker wins major award with smelly camembert – Eden More:

A novice Māori cheesemaker has won a major award in one of the world’s most prestigious cheese competitions.

Zev Kaka-Holtz works for Whangārei artisan company Grinning Gecko and his kau piro cheese has taken the bronze medal at the Nantwich international cheese show in the United Kingdom.

Kau Piro (smelly cow in te reo) is a camembert style cheese that is washed in a bacteria solution giving it its characteristic aroma.

Mr Kaka-Holtz said at first he was disappointed he didn’t win gold in his section for novice cheesemakers. . . 

Farming still pulls heartstrings – Glenys Christian:

Tourists and commuter traffic along with proximity to Auckland keep Rob and Rachel Cashmore aware of the scrutiny farming is under. Rob’s not backward at sticking up for farmers but is also conscious of his role in protecting the land and nature while farming commercially. Glenys Christian reports.

The power and speed of international communication was clearly shown to sheep and beef farmers Rob and Rachel Cashmore when tourists uploaded an image that made it to Holland and back to them within a day.

The tourists were driving past the couple’s Orere Point farm when a mob of sheep on the road close to the house made for a holiday photo with the caption “Not a traffic jam you’d expect this close to Auckland”. . . 

Couple go above and beyond for dog trials – Sally Rae:

They say behind every good man is a good woman.

When it comes to dog triallists, the same mantra could be applied, particularly in the case of Canterbury’s Jo Binnie.

For 50 years, Mrs Binnie has accompanied her husband Peter to dog trials, despite having never run a dog.

Last week was no exception; the couple attended the Southern Indoor Charity Dog Trial at Waimumu, near Gore, where Mr Binnie and Kate finished sixth in the open. . . 

Bringing lamb back into fashion – Shan Goodwin:

RESEARCHERS are on a mission to better match lamb with emerging consumer trends against a backdrop of record prices and consumption decline.

The potential is strong to fabricate cuts that tick boxes like convenience, modern tastes and the need to feed smaller households, they have found.

Likewise, there is solid opportunity for marketing on nutritional claims that the lamb industry hasn’t fully tapped. . . 

When a farmer and a dietitian are the same person: telling stories to counter misinformation about biotechnology – Jennie Schmidt:

The four most compelling words in the English language may be: “Once upon a time.”

When we hear them, we know we’re in for a story—and stories are the most powerful form of communication available to us.

Farmers don’t always appreciate this fact, especially when we’re discussing our own business of agriculture. We’re inclined to mention inputs and outputs, moisture levels, yields, commodity prices, and more. You know: farmer talk. . . 


Rural round-up

August 31, 2014

Co-operation at a strategic level – Glenys Christian:

There could be downstream as well as upstream benefits to Fonterra’s $615 million deal with Chinese infant food manufacturer Beingmate, starting at the onfarm level in that country.

Fonterra chairman John Wilson said after the announcement of the move was made on Wednesday that discussions had been held about how the co-operative could help out in other areas.

“Beingmate has its own farms,” he said.

That meant there were opportunities to look at the two companies joining together more in farm management with Fonterra already having one hub of dairy farms up and running in China, a second hub started, and commitment to a third. 

“We’ve had discussions about more alignment,” he said.

“There may be benefits upstream and downstream in the future.” . . .

Honour for noted sheep breeder – Jon Morgan:

In 1956, 23-year-old romney stud breeder Roger Marshall sold his first rams at the Manawatu and West Coast Ram Fair in Feilding. The Rangitikei Mail reported that when the first ram was knocked down at 1400 guineas after spirited bidding the large bench of buyers broke into spontaneous applause.

“I remember being quite worried because it had rained for several days before the sale, and all my rams had wet wool, but to get 1400 guineas was terrific – that was the price of a new Holden car in those days,” the quiet- spoken farmer says. “It was a great incentive for me.”

It was a sparkling opening to a career in sheep breeding that eventually took him to the other side of the world in search of new blood to rejuvenate the sheep industry. . .

A2 poised for US start – Alan Williams:

The strong NZ dollar has cut into reported profits but A2 Milk Company remains confident it can fund development of three new markets from its existing cash and cashflows.

A2 had $16 million cash in the bank at June 30 and is booking strong Australian sales and operating cashflows.

It will use them to build on its slowly developing markets in China and the United Kingdom and to begin sales in the United States next year. . .

Manuka honey sector gets boost with trial expansion:

The lucrative Manuka honey healthcare market is set to expand after New Zealand’s largest farmer, Landcorp Farming, announced it’ll be planting an additional 93 hectares of mānuka honey trees.

The new plantings are part of the High Performance Mānuka Plantations programme — a seven year Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) between the mānuka honey industry and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to increase the yield and reliability of supply of medical grade mānuka honey.

The PGP trials, involving Landcorp, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Comvita, Aborex Industries, Don and Conchita Tweeddale and Nukuhau Carbon Ltd, were launched in 2011 to increase the value of the mānuka honey industry from an estimated $75 million towards $1.2 billion per annum by 2028.

Maori Trustee Te Tumu Paeroa is also a shareholder in the programme. . .

Californian drought is so severe it’s ‘causing the ground to move’:

Vanishing water is causing the ground to rise in the western United States, according to a new study.

 Scientists estimate that 63 trillion gallons of water has been lost in the west over the past 18 months. 

The surface of the Earth is much more springy than you might think. When you put something very heavy on it, there’s a good chance the ground will sink at least a little bit. And in the same way, when you remove something very heavy, the ground will lift.

As it turns out, 63 trillion gallons of water is pretty heavy. . . .

Rural Women Drive Post-conflict Recovery in Bosnia and Herzegovina – Food tank:

The International Fund for Agricultural Development‘s (IFAD) Livestock and Rural Finance Development Project has helped transition rural businesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina from the initial stages of post-conflict recovery to long-term sustainable development. The program has financed rural infrastructure redevelopment and provided credit and training to small business owners. This program has particularly focused on reengaging women in the workforce.

On a macro-level, the program has helped to improve producer access to markets. At the local level, the program has encouraged the formation of producers’ associations and helped provide individuals with machinery and technical support services. For example, members of the Nevesinje’s Producers’ Association have received credit and trainings on food safety, handling, and storage of their product from the program.

The program has also helped open up a discriminatory workforce to women. In the decade following the Bosnian War, there was a marked decrease in women in the workforce and a resurgence of traditional attitudes about gender roles. . .

 

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Rural round-up

July 24, 2013

Farming shift surprises – Peter Watson:

A rapid move from sheep and beef farming into dairying in the Tasman District is revealed in the latest agricultural production figures released by Statistics New Zealand.

They show that sheep, beef and deer numbers each fell by more than 20 per cent in the five years to 2012, while dairy cows increased by almost 13 per cent.

Longtime Duke & Cooke rural valuer Dick Bennison said he was surprised by the size of the switch, but not by the trend, which was driven by poor sheep and beef returns compared with healthy milkfat payouts. . .

Water accord could backfire – Gerald Piddock:

A Waikato organic farmer fears parts of the new environmental code for dairy farming could be misinterpreted by farmers.

This could result in the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord having the opposite effect of its intent, Waikato Organic Agricultural Group facilitator Bill Quinn said.

The accord was released earlier this month and sets out new environmental benchmarks for dairy farmers.
Quinn believed the critical part of the document was the glossary at the back. . . .

Public unaware of farming hardship says survey – Jonathan Riley:

The general public is overwhelmingly supportive of farmers, but is unaware of the “silent crisis” facing agriculture, a survey has revealed.

The survey was carried out by pollster YouGov for Prince Charles’ charity, the Prince’s Countryside Fund.

It showed less than one-quarter (22%) of the British public would describe the farming industry as in dire straits and facing the worst crisis since foot-and-mouth disease. Only 5% correctly estimated that more than 100,000 animals died as a result of the snow and other poor weather this year between January and April. . .

An age-old endeavour – Jill Galloway:

Sue Fielder loves her coloured sheep. She loves the fleeces, spinning, knitting and felting the wool.

She has about 25 ewes, and 14 younger sheep – hoggets. Most are grey, brown or black. There are a few white sheep, but they carry coloured genes. They are romneys and english leicesters.

She and her husband have about 5 hectares at Taonui near Feilding. They have a few dexter cattle, and although Fielder loves them, they will go to make more room for more sheep. . .

Call to protect genuine manuka honey:

A Maori consultancy firm is thinking of ways to protect manuka honey products after research has found properties of the honey can be chemically faked.

Genuine New Zealand manuka honey contains naturally occurring bioactive compounds and can fetch up to $250 a kilogram overseas.

Research by a consortium of universities and Crown Research Institutes, which has yet to be published, discovered those properties can be synthesised by adding chemicals to normal honey, such as regular clover or low grade manuka honey. . .

Ballance drops prices to make farm fertiliser budgets stretch:

With just six weeks until spring Ballance Agri-Nutrients has reduced the price on the majority of fertiliser nutrients.

This current round of price reductions follows the lead Ballance made to drop domestic prices in June, with Ballance Chief Executive Larry Bilodeau saying lower prices will help farmers plan ahead with confidence.  . .

Amisfield Wine Company Breaks into High-End Asian Market:

Amisfield Wine Company is expanding its Asian market presence after securing an exclusive distribution deal with high-end Chinese wine distributor Kerry Wines.

The Central Otago-based specialist wine producer of Pinot Noir and aromatic white wines has this month started selling its range of wines to the Greater China region, including Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

“This is an important step in our strategic goal of becoming a globally recognised brand and making our wines available to the broader international market,” said Amisfield Wine Company’s CEO Craig Erasmus. . .


Tuesday’s answers

August 4, 2009

Monday’s questions were:

1. Who said: “There are no conditions of life to which a man cannot get accustomed if he sees them accepted by everyone about him”?

2. What’s a gillie (sometimes written as ghillie)?

3. Which is Italy’s biggest lake?

4. Which sheep breed resulted from crossing Cheviots and Romneys?

5. Who wrote The Curly Pyjama Letters?

Gravedodger got 4 out of 5 with a bonus for knowing Como is Italy’s deepest lake; Ray got 3 right and gets 1/2 a point for being on the  right track with the answer to number 3 and Kismet scored 3.

The answers follow the break.

Read the rest of this entry »


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