It’s World Soil Day, a good day to be grateful for the earth that feeds us and helps us feed the world.
What’s so bad about nitrogen anyway? – Jacqueline Rowarth:
Nitrogen (N) is the most abundant element in the atmosphere. After carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, it is also the most abundant element in the human body.
It is found in our very DNA – our genetic makeup – and is a major component of the protein that we need to eat to stay healthy. Despite this, nitrogen has been receiving a bad rap with suggestions that we now have a “deadly addiction”‘ to it.
To some people, it appears that nitrogen is in the same class as ecstasy, cocaine and heroin.
People die when they overdose on Class A drugs.
People die when they have insufficient nitrogen. . .
NZ needs to embrace gene editing technology – scientist – Kate Gudsell:
If gene editing technology is not embraced in New Zealand the country is at risk being of being left behind, a scientist warns.
Gene editing is a new technology which enables scientists to genetically modify an organism and would be considered genetic modification under New Zealand law.
The technology allows scientists to be much more precise about changes made in the genome of an organism compared with previous methods.
The Royal Society Te Apārangi’s new discussion paper, The Use of Gene Editing in the Primary Industries, was released today and explores risks and potential benefits for five scenarios of how gene editing could be used for primary production sectors including agriculture, forestry and horticulture. . .
Westport’s Rebecca Keoghan has added another major award to an impressive resume.
The general manager of Landcorp Farming’s Pamu Academy has been named the Rural Woman of Influence at the 2018 awards, presented by Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy in Auckland.
Mrs Keoghan was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit last year for services to business, particularly the dairy industry, and was the 2016 Dairy Woman of the Year. . .
While combined milk supply growth across the world’s ‘Big 7’ dairy exporters slowed during quarter three, a bumper start to the New Zealand milk production season has seen soft demand for Oceania-origin dairy products in recent months, according to Rabobank’s latest Dairy Quarterly report, with the bank now forecasting a lower New Zealand milk price of NZD6.65/kgMS for 2018/19.
The specialist agribusiness bank says the slowdown in combined milk production growth seen in quarter two 2018 from the ‘Big 7’ (the EU, the US, New Zealand, Australia, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil), at just one per cent year-on-year (YOY), has trickled through to quarter three, driven by a number of factors including drought conditions in parts of northern and western Europe. . .
The Ministry for Primary Industries will be testing 200 calf-rearing properties across the country as it tries to understand the prevalence of Mycoplasma bovis in beef herds.
A MPI spokesperson Catherine Duthie said it would select farms that did not have a connection to other properties considered at risk of having the cattle disease, so the survey could help establish whether M bovis was more widespread than thought.
If properties were connected others with M bovis they were being discounted from the survey as MPI would already be testing them, she said.
“This survey is another way of testing our assumption that this disease Mycoplasma bovis is not widespread in New Zealand.” . .
Roger’s tasty sheep – Offsetting Behaviour:
A few years ago, Peter Singer said eating New Zealand lamb was defensible – even for an animal-rights utilitarian. The animals live a joyful life, have one bad day at the end, and graze on land that wouldn’t be suitable for grains anyway.
“I think that there is a defensible argument for saying that if the purchase of Canterbury lamb is a necessary condition for lambs to have what is for 99% of their existence a really good life and even the bad days are not like a day of being tortured for 24 hours… I do think that that … would be a defensible diet.”
Roger Beattie’s gotten rid of the ‘one bad day at the end’ part. His lambs aren’t mustered and hauled to the works; they’re shot on-paddock. . .
Re-elected Taranaki King Country MP Barbara Kuriger is to work hard to close the rural urban divide over the next three-year term.
Kuriger retained the safe rural seat for National with a majority of 13,994 with 100 per cent of votes counted, ahead of Labour Party candidate Hilary Humphrey.
Kuriger received 21372 votes to Humphrey’s 7378 votes. . .
Call to destigmatise rural suicide, depression – Jemma Brakebush:
A farmer who recently lost a family member to suicide is calling for changes to the way mental health is talked about.
Sandra Faulkner farms just out of Gisborne and a member of her extended family took their own life last month.
The family and community were still reeling, and the farming sector needed to change the way it discussed mental health, she said. . .
Two New Zealand scientists and a Monash, Victoria, biologist have shown that methane-oxidising bacteria (good for tackling greenhouse gas) are more flexible and resilient than previously thought.
Long term this could help the dairy industry in, say, the production of protein feeds. And because it shows the methane-oxidising bacteria working elsewhere, there are implications for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. . .
Farmer confidence in economy slumps – Simon Hartley:
Farmers’ confidence in the year ahead has taken a nosedive with concerns over government policies and volatility in commodity prices.
Given the increased pre-election scrutiny of clean waterways, irrigation issues and intensive farming practices, the rural sector will be holding its breath as coalition talks thrash out policy bottom lines.
In a separate ANZ business outlook survey yesterday, the political uncertainty also sparked caution in September with business confidence falling to a net zero reading, its lowest level in two years, where there were as many pessimists as optimists. . .
(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand structural log prices edged up to the highest level in more than two decades as mills compete with the export market to secure supply for the local construction market.
The price for structural S1 logs lifted to $128 a tonne this month, from $127 a tonne last month, and is sitting 11 percent above last year’s level and 21 percent higher than the five-year average, according to AgriHQ’s monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers. The S1 structural log price is at its highest level since April 1994. . .
That is indeed a beautiful sound – Gravedodger:
Since around 0645 we have had the sound of rain on the roof, steady and after two hours, around 13mm.
Here in Akaroa we were not as desperate as many pockets around North Canterbury, a friend from Cheviot next door to where we spent three years in the mid 60s, is saying it is so parched there is not even any green in gully floors where there is normally some hope of a lunch for a rabbit.
Another comment in Farmers Weekly said their bit of unirrigated country has moved from brown to white. . .
Uneven rules costly – Neal Wallace:
Steps to control agricultural nutrient discharge could add 10c a litre to the cost of producing milk and impose wide-ranging restrictions on land management.
But there is little uniformity in regional council rules.
Most of the county’s 16 regional authorities are still to complete their regional plans but early indications are that each council has its own approach.
Rabobank sustainable farm systems manager Blake Holgate has been following the development and release of environmental regulations and said even neighbouring regional councils such as Otago and Southland have differing rules, creating uncertainty for owners of multiple properties and unknown costs. . .
A speakers’ lineup of the who’s who in the primary sector makes this month’s ‘The Future of Heartland Forum’ near Cheviot in North Canterbury, a must attend.
A farmer discussion in Cheviot late last year about the spread of Chilean Needlegrass has since grown into staging a premier forum on the future of agriculture industries in New Zealand.
The event will be held at Te Mania Angus Stud, Conway Flat, Friday, April 17.
Other than Government speakers, the lineup includes; Dame Margaret Bazley from Environment Canterbury, Winton Dalley the Hurunui Mayor, Peter Townsend the Chief Executive of the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce, Craige and Roz Mackenzie and Sam and Mark Zino, award winning farmers, Nicole Masters of the New Zealand Biological Farmers Association and Dr William Rolleston the National President of Federated Farmers New Zealand. . .
Robotic milking is coming of age in New Zealand and interest has surged in the last six months, DeLaval’s Grant Vickers says.
“I think it’s because a number of installations in New Zealand are working well,” he told Dairy News. “The perception of risk has probably lessened.”
The current inquiries, for robotics and barns, are from all sizes of farms and will result in installations in the North and South Island.
Vickers spoke about robotic milking during a Dairy Women’s Network field trip to a 600-cow wintering barn as part of the organisation’s ‘Entering Tomorrow’s World’ conference. . .
What’s behind the longevity of Country Calendar? – Julian O’Brien:
Soon after I started producing Country Calendar, we had a minor crisis.
We thought we’d found a simple and elegant way to make new opening titles – but it quickly turned into a nightmare.
We needed footage of people involved in typical rural activities, but to integrate the shots into our titles, they had to be shot against a neutral background – ideally a green-screen set up in a studio.
Sheep in a studio? Achievable, but someone needs to be ready with a broom afterwards.
New Zealand’s top shearers in a studio? Impossible, if you want to keep the feel of a shearing competition – but we desperately wanted the shot.
As we pondered this, we had a crew shooting part of a story at the Taumarunui Shears – but there was no neutral background at the event to do a titles shot. . .
The NZPork Annual Report 2014, released today, reflects on the importance of the New Zealand consumer to the future of its business.
NZPork Chairman Ian Carter points out that it’s important to remember that our consumer is our neighbour and that we are touch with what consumers want and believe.
“We need to provoke interest in our product and our industry. We need to invoke confidence in our production standards and systems. And we need to evoke desire for our product,” said Ian Carter.
The report states the industry recognises that little is understood about pig farming in general amongst many New Zealanders, particularly the requirements of caring for its animals. In light of this, it is taking steps to be more transparent and advocate confidence to its consumers via its production systems and standards. . .
Silage smells and what they mean – Ian Williams:
I grew up in town and one of my distinct memories of summer and autumn when we went to visit our farming friends was the smell of silage.
As a kid, silage always seemed to stink and it is a smell which has been imprinted on my brain.
Now I work with the stuff. I even have a personalised number plate with the word SILAGE on it! Whenever I introduce myself to people from town and they ask me what I do and I mention the word silage, they instantly screw up their noses and say something like “How can you work with that stuff, it stinks?” or they ask “Are you still married?” . . .
Making the transition from being a primary producer to processing and selling your own produce has become considerably cheaper, easier and less stressful thanks to an Anglo-French company that has created a new process that effectively builds a ‘barn inside a barn’.
Create-a-cabin has led a revolution in French farming by rapidly installing food-safe, highly flexible, and technically sophisticated food preparation rooms without the need for planning permission.
Across the Channel, Create-a-cabin’s custom-made, modular building shells have been erected quickly and cheaply for cheese-makers, poultry abattoirs, jam kitchens, meat packers, fish smokers and many more, allowing farmers to control at least one more link in the food production chain, as well as adding value to their product and thus commanding a higher price. . .
Farmer keen to give something back – Andrea Fox:
When you are nudging 65 and co-running a 900-cow herd, a 1600-dairy goat operation and developing a forestry venture after more than four decades of farming, what is left to achieve?
Plenty, if you are north Waikato farmer John Fransen and want to give back some hard-earned knowledge and the wisdom invested in you by other farmers.
So Fransen, a Tauhei farmer, has made himself available as a mentor in DairyNZ’s Connect programme. . .
National’s freshwater fund gets support – Annette Scott,
Environmental compliance is inescapable. Annette Scott looks at progress in the country’s newest dairy regions.
Federated Farmers has been working with DairyNZ to analyse the $100 million freshwater fund policy announced recently by the National Party.
The outcome has been positive, with both parties agreeing the fund could deliver improved water quality around New Zealand.
Federated Farmers believes NZ Landcare Trust and Queen Elizabeth II National Trust can both play key roles in delivering the new fund. . .
Nats to focus on Maori farmland – Alan Williams:
Giving more control to owners of Maori farmland to boost productivity is one plank in the National Party’s plan to boost the value of primary sector exports to $64 billion from the current $38b by 2025.
Research showed more than one million hectares of freehold Maori land was not being farmed to its potential, the party said in its primary sector election policy.
Encouraging Maori economic development and farm productivity improvement could create up to 3600 extra jobs and provide about $8b in additional exports, it said. . .
A report produced by Gordon Stephenson trophy-winners Craige and Roz Mackenzie gives a fascinating insight into South American agriculture, says Simon Saunders, acting chair of the NZ Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust.
In April this year the National Winners of the 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards travelled to Argentina, Chile and Uruguay to study arable farming, dairying and beef production.
Facilitated by NZFE Trust, the 28-day tour was the official offshore component of Craige and Roz’s role as ambassadors for the Ballance Farm Environment Awards. The primary focus of their trip was to promote New Zealand’s position as a leader of sustainable farming techniques and to gain “an understanding of South American farming systems and the impact new farming technologies are having nationally and within the farm gate”. . .
Maria Franklin got the surprise of her farming career when she checked on her springer cows yesterday.
The Dargaville farmer was pleased to see one calf lying on the ground a couple metres away from its mother, while the cow was in the process of giving birth to another.
”Pleased” turned into great surprise when she noticed black hair behind a mound of grass which turned out to be a second calf.
”I had to look around to check for any other cows but I already knew they were all hers,” she says. . .
Rabobank New Zealand has announced the appointment of environmental sustainability specialist Blake Holgate. Rabobank head of business development New Zealand, Karen Kenny said Mr Holgate brought considerable resource management expertise to help Rabobank clients achieve their business and sustainability goals. Ms Kenny said Mr Holgate’s appointment – to the position of rural manager Sustainable Farm Systems – was among a range of initiatives the bank was undertaking to assist clients and the wider agricultural sector meet the challenges of maintaining competitiveness while adjusting to current and future environmental regulation. . .
Top 10 reasons being a farmer rocks – Fastline:
In case you ever need a reminder as to why you have the best job in the world as a Farmer, check out our list we put together! Think we forgot one? Let us know in the comments with your favorite part of being a Farmer.
10.Outdoors – there’s nothing like the smell of fresh air, or even better, the smell of fresh cut hay!
9.Fun Equipment – What other job do you get to drive large tractors, combines, sprayers or anything else?
8. Weather – You always know the weather, even when you don’t want to.
7. You’re your own boss – Well besides mother nature – but she’s another story. . .
New proposals for red meat industry – Stephen Bell:
Copying Uruguay’s meat industry and Anzac alliance and a north-south hemisphere collaboration are among “pick and mix” proposals Federated Farmers has put up for reform of the red meat section.
Uruguay’s system involves its National Meat Institute (Instituto Nacional de Carnes or INAC) being responsible for all meat processing including beef, sheep, poultry, swine, rabbits, horses, goats and game.
“We promote, co-ordinate and monitor the whole process from production and processing to marketing, storage and transportation,” Inac chairman Luis Alfredo Fratti Silveira says. . .
Diagnosing mycotoxicosis a challenge – Anne Boswell:
Leading animal nutrition consultant and researcher Dr Lucy Waldron says one of the biggest challenges when dealing with mycotoxicosis in farm animals is simply making a diagnosis.
Dr Waldron, who has been involved with mycotoxin research in grazing animals since 2002, said there were many challenges facing practitioners seeking to make field diagnosis, including the non-specific nature of many of the symptoms, and that mycotoxins almost never present as single toxins.
Mycotoxins are substances naturally produced by moulds and fungi that are normally present as some form of defence for the organism. . . .
Farming a passion for Massey’s top student – Collette Devlin:
A Southland student who won the top agriculture student award at Massey University plans to continue his studies to research water quality for sheep and beef farmers.
Cameron Black, 21, who completed a bachelor of agricultural science at Manawatu, was awarded the accolade for his high academic achievement and was also judged by staff and his peers to have made the largest contribution to the wellbeing and reputation of their fellow students in agriculture.
Mr Black will now complete an honours degree in agricultural science, which will focus on a soil agronomy research project for sheep and beef farmers in hill country. . .
Constable survives his first wacky race – Jo McKenzie-McLean:
The experience of bolting down a racetrack with nothing to hold on to but a saddle was almost like confronting an armed offender, a Queenstown constable says.
Constable Feleki Urhle was a reluctant participant in the Double Banking Race at the Glenorchy Races on Saturday, where thousands turned out for the annual 10-race event run by the Lakeside Rugby Club.
The day includes the long-standing tradition for the most junior-ranking police officer on duty to ride with seasoned jockey Callum Grimmer – also a St John Ambulance paramedic.
Mr Urhle said his only experience on a horse had been a slow-paced trek ride about 10 years ago.
“So to ride behind someone, not in a saddle and without my feet in stirrups bolting down a track was pretty freaky stuff. It compares to confronting an armed offender almost.” . . .
Year in review – July – Rebecca Harper:
Heavy snow in the South Island caused sleepless nights for many farmers as they battled to get feed and water to stranded stock and free those trapped by the snow.
Precision agriculture propelled Canterbury arable farmers Craige and Roz Mackenzie to the top of the class for sustainability, proving intensive land use can be sustainable, in taking out the 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Award. . .
Year in review – August – Rebecca Harper:
Fonterra directors said they intended to even out dividends paid on milk supply shares and listed fund units by looking beyond the current year’s earnings expectations and to give more market commentary.
The aim was to provide a longer-term view on any potential volatility in earnings.
Silver Fern Farms started to collect the blood protein from bobby calves processed at its Fairton plant in a bid to add value to a co-product and fruit and berry grower Julian Raine was named as the new president of Horticulture New Zealand at its annual conference. . .
“Sustainability must be built into everyday farming, not bolted on”, was one of the key messages delivered to agribusiness and industry leaders by Canterbury farming ambassadors Roz and Craige Mackenzie.
National Winners of the 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards, the Mackenzies recently met with key industry stakeholders to promote good environmental practices and swap ideas on how to improve environmental management.
The five-day trip in November was organised by the New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust and included an address to the Primary Production Select Committee.
The Mackenzies also met with sponsors of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards and were impressed with how these organisations had taken the sustainability message to heart. . .
Equity partnerships offer an opportunity for young farmers and smaller investors to take part in the rise in farm values driven by high dairy payouts and continuing confidence in the long-term future of agriculture, says Justin Geddes, Crowe Horwath’s Dunedin-based Principal.
“Equity partnerships are a great vehicle to grow your own wealth for both farmers and investors,” said Mr Geddes.
The capital cost of running an economic farm unit runs to several million dollars, and one of the pressing issues facing the rural sector is how to get young farmers into farm ownership. . .
Fonterra Australia today finalised the purchase of the assets of Tasmanian yoghurt business, Tamar Valley Dairy. The Tamar Valley Dairy business is now under full Fonterra ownership and management.
Under the terms of the sale, Fonterra has acquired the processing equipment, the related services, and intellectual property and trademark for the Tamar Valley Dairy brand. Fonterra worked closely with Deloitte Restructuring Services to achieve the completed sale.
Importantly, 122 positions of the Tamar Valley Dairy workforce will now transition to Fonterra to ensure the right skill-set and expertise are available to ensure continuity of operations and the long-term sustainability of the business. Regrettably, 18 roles are not required and have been made redundant by the Administrator. . .
Two of Fonterra’s senior finance managers picked up the 2013 Innovation of the Year Award at last night’s New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants Awards in Auckland.
Patrice Wynen, Director, Finance Delivery Centre, and Ken Stephens, General Manager Reporting Services, were recognised for a new month-end financial acceleration projects that reduced Fonterra’s group reporting time by 50 per cent.
Through the project, Fonterra’s group month-end financial close was reduced from six days down to just three. The reduction was achieved in less than eight months and without any form of technology change. . . .
Comvita posts 1H loss of $790k on margin squeeze – Paul McBeth:
Comvita, which makes health products from Manuka honey, reported a first-half small loss as its margins were squeezed by expensive honey and as trading conditions in Australia and the UK were stretched by stiff competition.
The Te Puke-based company made a loss of $790,000, or 2.7 cents per share, in the six months ended Sept. 30, from a profit of $2.39 million, or 7.95 cents, a year earlier, it said in a statement. Sales fell 4.6 percent to $43.4 million.
That was in line with guidance last month, and Comvita affirmed its annual forecast to beat last year’s profit of $7.4 million and sales of $103.5 million, with about 60 percent of revenue expected to come in the second half. . .
The ANZ Young Farmer Contest is pleased to announce the 2015 Grand Final events will be held in Taupo.
The decision comes after a unanimous vote by the ANZ Young Farmer Contest Management Committee.
The ANZ Young Farmer Contest alternates between the North Island and the South Island each year. This year it was held in Auckland and the upcoming 2014 Grand Final will be in Christchurch, 3-5 July.
“After three Grand Finals based in larger metropolitan areas, I think the 2015 ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Final hosted in an increasingly agricultural area will go down as one of the most exciting and well-run events in the history of New Zealand Young Farmers,” said Terry Copeland, New Zealand Young Farmers CEO. . .
Directors of Wine Competition Ltd, the company that owns and organises the Spiegelau International Wine Competition and Marlborough Wine Show, have established a Trust to fund initiatives designed to enhance the success of the New Zealand wine industry.
Margaret Cresswell and Belinda Jackson established Wine Competition Ltd in 2011as an independent company that owns and organises wine competitions and associated events in New Zealand. Knowing that there were a significant number of unopened bottles following the judging process, the pair decided to establish a Trust to which these bottles were donated. The Trust then auctions the wine with the objective of returning the ensuing funds to the industry.
Trustee, Belinda Jackson explains, “Producers pay to submit their wines for the judging process and send us samples. Though we request the least number possible – just three bottles, we feel strongly that those not used should be returned to the industry somehow.” She continues, “The easiest way is to monetise them and then offer that money back in the form of funding for industry grants and scholarships.” . . .
Queenstown trophy station on market – Chris Hutching:
Sothebys in Queenstown is marketing Homestead Bay overlooking Lake Wakatipu on Remarkables Station next to Jack’s Point golf resort.
The trophy property has been owned by three generations of the Jardine family after being founded in 1861 by Queenstown’s first European settler William Rees. The 45ha site comes with development potential for a resort village plus 27 less intensive building sites.
The station is a working farm that descends down terraces to the lake. . . .
Federated Farmers is buoyed by surging primary exports that has turned in the lowest trade deficit for an October month since the mid-1990s.
“These export trade figures when coupled with the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research’s outlook for 2014 tells me we are turning the corner,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.
“The primary industries have got our collective foot to the floor and in the month of October by value alone, dairy exports surged an incredible 84.7 percent, followed by logs (26.2 percent), red meat (9.4 percent), fish (5.7 percent) and wine (3.2 percent).
“Of our big six primary exports fruit admittedly did go backwards but the trend overall is positive. . .
A small high-end winery in North Canterbury is set to become the first wine business in the southern hemisphere to accept bitcoin payment to make transactions easier for its strong domestic and international customer base.
Pyramid Valley Vineyards, Waikairi, produces collectable wines in New Zealand and sees the new currency as a development in line with its innovative approach to business.
“It’s exciting times we live in and bitcoin is a movement that is gaining huge international traction as a currency that is borderless,” says Caine Thompson, managing director of Pyramid Valley. “We’re increasingly getting requests from our international customers to be able to pay with bitcoin, particularly for our exclusive Home Collection wines. They don’t want to be worried about exchange rates and costly transaction fees.” . . .
At the NZ Racing Board AGM, held at the Head Office in Wellington today, the NZ Racing Board reflected on a record-breaking financial year and outlined its ambitious vision and goals for the future.
Financial achievements in 2013 included a record turnover of $1,956.8m, and record distributions of $147.7m to the racing industry and sporting organisations.
Speaking at the AGM, NZ Racing Board Chair Glenda Hughes said the organisation and the industry still faced significant challenges, and ongoing transformation and a collaborative approach is key to further, sustained success for an industry that contributes almost 1% of GDP. . .
(BusinessDesk) – The Serious Fraud Office has confirmed it’s looking at legislated export marketing monopolist Zespri International, though is being tight-lipped on any further details.
The white-collar crime investigator has opened a preliminary investigation, but won’t say what it’s looking at or indicating what powers the SFO has to compel Zespri to release information.
“Zespri has not been contacted by the Serious Fraud Office and has no details of the scope or substance of an investigation,” it said in an emailed statement. “Zespri will cooperate with any investigation the Serious Fraud Office may undertake.”
The numbers are in – more than 1000 schools around New Zealand are now enjoying the taste of dairy every school day thanks to Fonterra’s Milk for Schools.
From Southland to Northland, the programme has moved full steam ahead rolling out in eleven regions and reached Auckland today.
Fonterra Chief Executive Officer, Theo Spierings, said over the past five months there has been significant community support for the national rollout.
“Milk is one of the most nutritious foods there is and we want to do what we can to make sure Kiwi kids grow up drinking it every day,” said Mr Spierings. . .
The Waikato Regional Council is looking into the dumping of a milk by-product near Taupo by dairy giant Fonterra.
An unknown quantity of buttermilk has been disposed into a lake for storage at an Atiamuri farm, as the dairy giant struggles to keep up with record milk production.
Waikato Regional Council spokesman Rob Dragten says the council is looking into issues around authorisation, but says there’s no immediate threat to the environment. . .
The joint winners of this year’s Rural Women NZ Journalism award are Sarah Perriam and Tony Glynn of Rural Media.
The Rural Women award was one of twelve awards for rural journalism and photography presented at the Guild of Agricultural Journalists’ annual dinner in Wellington on Friday evening.
“Our award sets out to encourage journalism that recognises the important contribution women make either to the farming sector or to rural communities,” says Rural Women NZ national president, Liz Evans. “We congratulate Sarah and Tony, who are offering a fresh approach to producing and sharing stories about rural life, through video as well as broadcast TV.”
Sarah Perriam works on the production side, while Tony Glynn directs, acts and presents programmes for Rural Media, under its Rural TV banner. Their aim is to make rural folk ‘way more famous’. . .
Farmax is the first company to offer sheep, beef and dairy farmers the ability to harness the power of the industry’s newly launched Pasture Growth Forecaster database at a more detailed level.
Farmax has launched a service called My Forecast where farmers provide the address of their property to get customised short-, medium- and long-term pasture growth forecasts specific to their own farming operation.
Farmax General Manager, Gavin McEwen said “To maximise pasture usage, farmers not only require accurate measures of current pasture cover, they also need accurate forecasts. Farmax’s My Forecast service is a powerful tool for assisting with feed planning and budgeting decisions.” . . .
Farming for the Future….NZ is not supporting Innovation by Leading Farmers – Pasture to Profit:
The past 12 months has seen forestry in the media spotlight to two main reasons – both good and bad. Since the global financial crisis hit, forest products exports, led by log exports, have proven once again to be counter-cyclical. While other industries have suffered, forest production has soared to record levels. With the record high log out-turn, from both the small and large forests up and down the country, has come a tragic toll in worker deaths. Heightened awareness driven by the Pike River mine disaster has brought a change in public attitudes to workplace risks. Safety improvement is now top-of-mind for everyone in the forest industry. While serious harm accident numbers and deaths remain much higher in farming than forestry, it is the public perception of workplace risk, underpinned by an well-funded union media campaign of self-interest, that has changed a lot of attitudes towards people working in the bush.
These combined issues have resulted in a focus by the key players in the New Zealand forest industry to drive an in-depth review of forest workplace safety. . .
Capitalising on the growth of tourists’ passion for eco’ tourism, the Tailor-Made-Tekapo Backpackers is on the market for sale
The opening of two major new tourist attractions and the growing popularity of deep space star-gazing are being seen by a long-time South Island tourism operator as the ideal catalyst to retire from the business.
The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail which opened earlier this year in the Central South Island; the Tekapo Springs thermal resort, ice skating rink and snow park which opened in 2012; and Earth and Sky tours at Mt John Observatory, are jointly forecast to substantially increase visitor numbers to the Central South Island region.
The cycle trail is a 300 kilometre four-six day ride from Aoraki Mount Cook to Oamaru via the townships of Twizel, Omarama, Kurow and Lake Pukaki. . .
Passionate advocate of genetics – Annette Scott:
South Canterbury hill-country farmer Chris Hampton is a sheep farmer at heart. He is passionate about genetics and is focused on making a difference in the New Zealand sheep-meat industry. Annette Scott reports.
Chris Hampton has confidence is the sheep industry and has put his money where his mouth is by investing in genetics.
He and his wife Annabelle farm an 816-hectare hill-country property at Cave, in South Canterbury.
The couple moved south five years ago from their mixed-farming operation at Waterton, in Mid Canterbury. . .
Pair switch on to magnetic mapping power – Tony Benny:
National Ballance Farm Environment Award winners, Canterbury farmers Craige and Roz Mackenzie, say electro-magnetic mapping is central to their precision agriculture operation.
Their farm, just outside Methven, comprises a variety of soil types, some far more productive than others, and knowing accurately what’s beneath the surface means they can tailor irrigation and fertiliser inputs to suit.
“Information is power and this is the background you really need,” said Craige Mackenzie.
“It’s just a base point,” said Roz. “We’re all farming the land – we need to know what we’re farming.” . . .
Hospital site to become agricultural park – Tim Cronshaw:
A former hospital site outside of Christchurch is being transformed into an innovation park for agricultural research and business.
The 65-hectare park is owned by the Mauger family. They gained clearance after long negotiations with the Christchurch City Council to rezone the special purpose hospital zoning into an agricultural business centre.
Six tenants have committed to the site. The Foundation for Arable Research (Far) is the first business to move into former office buildings, and a purpose-built work station is close to being completed for a new client. . .
Live seafood exports to Australia ‘exciting prospect’ – Bill Moore:
The export of live seafood to Australia could develop into a $100 million annual trade, Seafood New Zealand says.
The industry umbrella group says the announcement last week by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy that the ministry is to begin work on getting live trade going, coupled with the development in Nelson of a new harvesting method to bring fish on board alive, opens up exciting prospects.
There are high value live exports to other countries, predominantly rock lobster to Hong Kong and China, worth $237m in 2012-13, but Australia blocks them. . . .
Foreclosure inspires Kalamazoo artist to knit herself a ‘safe house’ – Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood:
Inside a knitted house made of wool roving, a Kalamazoo artist sat upon a knitted couch made of the same wool roving and clicked her triple zero needles making slow but steady progress on a yellow sweater.
It was day five of ArtPrize and she had already spent many hours knitting inside her cozy entry titled simply: “Woolhouse.”
“If I’m going to sit here all day, I figured I’d rather get a sweater out of it,” said Annie Eckrich, 22, who creates art under her childhood nickname “Annie Belle.” . . .
Biofuels plants key to UK wheat price outlook – Agrimoney:
Success in efforts to bring two major biofuel plants onstream may have an undue impact on UK wheat values, in determining the level of supplies needed to be priced to compete on export markets. Wheat futures for November touched £151.00 a tonne in London last week, the lowest for a spot contract in 19 months, in a slump attributed to growing harvest hopes leaving the country with hefty supplies to sell abroad. Harvest estimates, some of which fell below 11.5m tonnes after a cold spring followed an unusually wet autumn and winter, have risen substantially after early harvest results showed far better yields than had been expected. . .
All of market’s wants required – Sally Rae:
New Zealand’s red meat industry needs to have the ”whole package” when it comes to market presence, robust systems, strong relationships and corporate respect.
That was one of the findings of Five Forks couple Blair and Jane Smith, the supreme winners of the 2012 Ballance Farm Environment Awards, after a 16-day study tour of specific primary industry markets in Korea, Taiwan and China. . . .
Agriculture begging for graduates – Kashka Tunstall:
It ranks as New Zealand’s most productive, innovative sector.
Entry level positions get an annual pay packet of $55,000, roughly 40 per cent more than the average arts graduate entering the workforce will earn.
Progression is a given and, with shortages in the field internationally, graduates end up having a global career.
The problem is, no one wants to study it.
Agriculture, which John Key has called the backbone of New Zealand’s economy, is an industry with massive growth potential. . .
Couple top Kiwi green farmers – Gerald Piddock:
Craige and Roz Mackenzie have been recognised as the country’s top environmental farmers after being named national winners of the 2013 Farm Environment Awards.
They received the Gordon Stephenson Trophy in front of 400 guests at the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust’s Sustainability Showcase in Hamilton on Saturday night.
The winner is recognised as an ambassador for the promotion of sustainable and profitable farming in New Zealand.
The event celebrated the contribution agriculture made to the New Zealand economy and highlighted the efforts farmers had made to find better ways to manage their farming systems.
The trophy is presented annually and is named after the Waikato farmer who started the farm environment awards. . .
Family mill does more than lumber along – Sally Rae:
Sawmilling has always been a passion for Roger Stuart.
Unsurprisingly, it was all he wanted to do when he left school, given the family connection with the timber industry.
Stuart Timber, at Tapanui, which he now manages, was established in 1980 by the Stuart family and remains a real family business.
”Sawmilling is definitely in the veins of the Stuart crew, no doubt about that,” he mused recently. . .
Wellsford-based agricultural contractor Steve Levet is the new head of the Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ).
Rural Contractors New Zealand is the only national association for rural contractors in New Zealand.
Mr Levet was elected president of the association at its annual conference, held in Cromwell in late June, taking over from John Hughes who stood down after four years in the role. Southland’s David Kean was elected vice-president. . .
Hawke’s Bay’s “exciting” wines and the “clean living” image of this region fits the “aspirational ideals” of the customers of Waitrose, UK’s leading top end supermarket, according to its New Zealand wine buyer Matt Smith, who was here on a scouting mission to find new wines to stock the shelves.
It was Mr Smith’s second visit to the region and he was excited by the opportunity he saw for Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cabernet blends. He described the wines he tasted as being “impressive” food focused wines that had benefited from more sun and warmth than competing wines from around the world. . . .
ANZCO loss at $26.5m – Alan WIlliams:
ANZCO Foods made a pre-tax loss of $25.6 million in the year ended September 30, 2012.
The year was the toughest the meat processor and marketer has had, managing director Mark Clarkson said.
ANZCO maintained its revenue at about $1.2 billion and importantly also achieved positive operating cash flow of $35.2m, after focusing strongly on managing working capital when it realised early in the year trading would be difficult.
The level of receivables and inventories were lower than at the end of the modestly profitable 2011 year, when the operating cash outflow was $22.4m. . .
Adveco see ‘huge potential’ in China – Sally Rae:
A shipment of fertiliser manufactured in Mosgiel from raw materials mined in Otago and recently dispatched to China has been hailed as having ”huge potential” for future export opportunities.
Mining company Featherston Resources Ltd, which has more than 3000sq km of permits in Otago, produces carbon and silica based fertilisers and Enzorb spill control products. . .
Clinton manager to represent Otago – Sally Rae:
Clinton herd manager Ben Sanders will be Otago’s sole representative at the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards in Wellington next month.Mr Sanders (25) won the Otago dairy trainee of the year title at the Otago Dairy Industry Awards dinner in Balclutha on Saturday night.
A lack of entries in the regional competition forced a revamp of the contest format, and only the dairy trainee winner has progressed to the national final. . .
Methven farmers Craige and Roz Mackenzie have been recognised for their water efficient practices at the recent Canterbury Regional Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
The couple were presented on March 21 with the Environment Canterbury Water Efficiency Award by Environment Canterbury Chair Dame Margaret Bazley at an event in Christchurch.
The award recognised the couple’s excellent use of technology to ensure crops’ specific water requirements are met. . .
A national forestry initiative with roots in Marlborough has again been successful in its bid to the Sustainable Farming Fund.
The New Zealand Dryland Forests Initiative (NZDFI), which is establishing forests of genetically improved durable eucalypts in New Zealand’s driest regions, will get $216,000 of SFF funding towards a three year programme worth over half a million dollars.
Project manager Paul Millen said the “fantastic” news would see the five-year old initiative extended to new landowners and regions, with a focus on species specific management of the existing and new blocks. . .
Minister for Racing Nathan Guy is calling for nominations for independent Chair of the New Zealand Racing Board.
“This is an important position as the head of the governing body for racing in New Zealand,” says Mr Guy.
“The New Zealand Racing Board is responsible for the promotion, organisation and development of the racing industry, and also provides racing and sports betting services through the TAB. . .
And with a hat tip to Whaleoil:
A strong half year result which culminated in an increase in the Milk Price, a raise in the advance rate paid to Farmers and an interim dividend of 16cents has provided some much needed relief for Fonterra Farmers said Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown.
Mr Brown: “The Council has made the Board very aware of the hardships being faced by a lot Farmers in the Shareholder base and we are pleased they have demonstrated some flexibility in the form of an increased advance rate, to help relieve some of the financial pressure on-farm.
“It’s been a strong half year performance and we understand the challenges ahead.
“Particular acknowledgement should be made of the New Zealand Milk Products team who have delivered a really impressive result exactly when it was required.” . . .
RDR looks at water storage – Alan Williams:
Rangitata Diversion Race (RDR) managers are considering a centralised water storage scheme as its farmers ride out a second spell of water restrictions.
RDR, in the upland plains of Mid Canterbury, had to restrict water use in early March, much later than in some previous dry years, when cut-backs kicked in as early as December. . .
Evolution of water governance models in NZ – Bryan Jenkins:
In her work that won her the 2009 Nobel Prize in economics, Elinor Ostrom identified three types of governance models for common pool resources like water. One is the “Leviathan model” where there is direct government provision of services with integration of policy making and operational functions. The second is the “privatisation model” where there is private sector provision of services with government role as regulator. The third is the self-governing community model where there is community determination of resource management requirements.
We have seen the evolution of these different models in western countries. After WW2, the welfare state was the dominant approach of government. In relation to water management in NZ, the Ministry of Works had the prime responsibility for water management – a classic example of a Leviathan governance model. In the 1980s there was a shift to the neoliberal concept of the private sector being responsible for service provision and that the government’s role was that of regulator. . .
Success in tackling a destructive beetle on the West Coast has underlined the importance of having integrated pest management plans on farms.
Richard Townsend, Research Associate at AgResearch at Lincoln, said that the work in battling the manuka beetle has seen a reduction of pesticide costs as a proportion of milk solid revenues from 23% to 7% a year.
Return on investment over the three-year project has been $10 for every dollar invested. . .
An intensive arable operation that utilises technology to maximise production in a sustainable manner has won the Supreme title in the 2013 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards.
Methven farmers Craige and Roz Mackenzie of Greenvale Pastures Ltd received the award at a Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on March 21.
BFEA judges described the Mackenzies as top producers who offer “high levels of innovation and leadership in the arable industry”.
They said the progressive couple has taken technology to the next step on their irrigated farm “using every available tool to improve their production and cost efficiency”. . .
Waikato farmer and businessman David Peacocke has been elected as Chairman designate of Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited, set to replace David Graham who will retire from the board in September after 10 years as Chairman.
Mr Peacocke, who joined the board in 2005, was elected to the new position by fellow directors at the company board meeting in late February. He and his family are based in Raglan on their beef property and he has interests in several large family farming operations.
The Peacocke family farmed cattle up until about 20 years ago when they transitioned to a mixed operation which now includes dry stock, dairy and cropping in both the Waikato and Canterbury regions. The family are long-standing customers and shareholders of Ballance and its predecessors, and Mr Peacocke’s father Frank also served as a director on the Bay of Plenty Fertiliser Co-operative then Ballance board from 1991 to 2005. . .
Attaining an internationally accepted aquaculture sustainability certification confirms NZ King Salmon’s world-class environmental standards the company says.
The South Island-based business has been confirmed as a sustainable salmon producer through achieving the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification.
The certification covers NZ King Salmon’s entire current operations – five sites and three production facilities in Marlborough and Nelson. The company’s new sites awarded following the recent Environmental Protection Authority hearings will be audited as they come on stream. . .