It’s Fieldays’ week

June 12, 2019

The National Fieldays (and it is Fieldays not Field Days) officially open today.

We were there last year – met a lot of people we knew, got lots of invitations to eat and drink, only a few of which we accepted and got lots of invitations to buy, none of which we accepted.

We won’t be there this year but lots of other people are including:

and if you’re in need of some entertainment, there’s always the Rural Catch competition.


Rural round-up

May 24, 2019

RWNZ leader encourages rural women – Sally Brooker:

Rural women are underpaid and undervalued despite their multiple contributions to their farm, family, home and community, Fiona Gower says.

The national Rural Women New Zealand president spoke in Oamaru this month at a workshop called ”A Leading Voice”. Organised by local Rural Women members, it aimed to help women gain confidence, express themselves, and network with like-minded people.

Ms Gower said women’s input to the farm and household should be recognised by their peers and family.

And women should take the words ”just” and ”only” out of their vocabulary when describing themselves. . .

Feed grain not among good options – Annette Scott:

Good returns for store lambs and strong signals from the milling industry mean arable farmers are opting out of autumn feed grain plantings.

Growers are hunting out their best options and after a good year last year with lambs they are at the top of the priority list for many arable farmers again this year, Federated Farmers grains vice-chairman Brian Leadley said.

The market signals coming from the mills are also encouraging for New Zealand’s drive towards self-sufficiency. . .

Dairy’s top woman backs recycling – Pam Tipa:

Dairy Woman of the Year Trish Rankin has a message for all farmers: recycling systems work and it is worth doing your bit.

“There is a misconception that recycling just gets stockpiled somewhere,” Rankin told Rural News.

“Actually, it doesn’t. Everything that is sent to AgRecovery gets recycled. I think if people knew that they may take the time to triple rinse their containers and take them to their local AgRecovery depot to drop them off to recycle.” . . 

Edible bale wrap developed to reduce farm waste :

Three PhD students have invented an edible bale wrap to reduce farm waste.

The patent-pending BioNet biopolymer was developed specifically for farms to wrap hay and silage.

It is the brainchild of three Imperial College London PhD students: Nick Aristidou, Will Joyce and Stelios Chatzimichail.

The trio came up with the idea after Mr Joyce, who grew up on a farm in Rutland, noticed his parent’s beef herd was creating a lot of wrapping waste. . . 

2018/19 season results: Zespri operating revenue exceeds $3 billion:

Zespri’s returns to growers and the industry reached new levels on the back of strong growth in both volume and value and across all fruit categories last season, with operating revenue from global kiwifruit sales and licence release revenue exceeding $3 billion for the first time.

The results reflect continued strong international demand, with Zespri selling a total of 167.2 million trays of kiwifruit in 2018/19, a 21 percent increase on the 138.6 million trays sold in the previous season. Revenue generated by global kiwifruit sales and SunGold licence release increased by 26 percent to $3.14 billion. . .

A recollection – Adolf Fiinkensein:

When Adolf graduated from Lincoln as a valuer and farm consultant he went off to Australia and, by accident, fell into commerce where he remained for forty or so years.  Many of my colleagues had come over and introduced Canterbury farming techniques.  Some did very well, others not so well

I well remember a crusty old West Australian wheat cocky remarking that ‘those bastards charged us a fee for telling us when we would go broke. . . 

 

 


Rural round-up

May 13, 2019

Tip Top to join Froneri global family:

New Zealand’s iconic ice cream company has a new owner, after global ice cream company Froneri today purchased Tip Top from Fonterra for $380 million.

Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell confirmed the sale, saying it was a bittersweet moment for Fonterra.

“Since we took ownership of Tip Top in 2001, a lot of work has gone into ensuring it remained New Zealand’s leading ice cream company. Over that time, we’ve had strong support from New Zealanders, and I want to recognise and thank them for that.

“Tip Top has always listened to consumers and cared about their changing tastes, as well as their long-time favourites. An average of 340 serves of Tip Top are enjoyed every minute of every day. . . 

Froneri unlocks NZ & Pacific with acquisition of Tip Top:

Froneri has today agreed to acquire the iconic New Zealand ice cream business Tip Top from global dairy co-operative Fonterra with completion expected by the end of the month.

Commenting on the deal, Froneri CEO Ibrahim Najafi explains: “We have always admired Tip Top, which is an iconic brand in New Zealand with a long proud history and we are looking forward to welcoming the team into Froneri. Our vision is to build the world’s best ice cream company; an important part of our strategy is to develop local market successes and roll them out across our other markets.” . . 

RWNZ: communities, opportunities, support – Sally Rae:

“We’re not just tea and scones.”

But as Rural Women New Zealand national president Fiona Gower points out, the social support aspect of the organisation remains as important today as it did when it was established nearly a century ago.

Ms Gower, who was in Oamaru last week for a RWNZ regional conference, wears many hats.

As well as her RWNZ position, she is also chairwoman of the New Zealand Landcare Trust, a qualified lifeguard and instructor, a Scout leader and a mother. . . 

The evolution of lamb:

New Zealand lamb has come a very long way since the first shipment of frozen lamb left Port Chalmers bound for the UK in 1882.  After a 98-day voyage it arrived in London on May 24th (aka #NationalLambDay) and New Zealand lamb’s export market was successfully established. 

I was curious to know how lamb has evolved in New Zealand’s foodservice industry over the years and spoke to Beef + Lamb New Zealand Platinum Ambassador Chef, Michael Coughlin.  Michael has been serving New Zealand lamb in restaurants for more than thirty years and in his current role as chef advisor for Provenance Lamb, he is now at the forefront of the gate to plate story which today’s chefs and their customers are eager to hear.

When Michael started his cooking career, he said the only Spring Lamb that was available to chefs was frozen, pre-cut export grade lamb destined for the European Market.  It was mainly racks from the middle of the saddle which were not Frenched or whole legs.  This meant that chefs needed to sharpen up their butchery skills or have a good relationship with their local butcher to trim down the cuts for their menus.  Slow cuts such as lamb shanks and lamb necks were still seen as dog tucker and it was all about the French Rack or traditional roast on restaurant menus.  Some years later the likes of Gourmet Direct started up which gave chefs more of a variety with vacuum packed individual cuts.  This opened up creativity for chefs and by the early-eighties the Lamb Cuisine Awards were introduced by Beef + Lamb New Zealand to entice and reward chefs for having creative lamb dishes on their menu. . . 

From Aussie jackeroo to Dunedin consultant – Sally Rae:

Sam Harburg may have grown up in the city but his affinity for agriculture developed at a young age.

Mr Harburg recently joined agribusiness consulting company AbacusBio as a consultant, moving from Australia to Dunedin with his wife Liz and their two young children.

Brought up in Brisbane in a non-farming family, he spent his school holidays on the farms of family friends.

As far back as he could remember, he was going to study agriculture at university but, at that stage, he never realised the scope that existed within the sector for careers, he said. . . 

We must become the world’s deli – Annette Scott:

Ashburton farmer Gabrielle Thompson has become the first appointed farmer director of Silver Fern Farms in a move designed to ensure succession and development of skills around the board table. She talked to Annette Scott.

When Gabrielle Thompson was approached to put her name in the hat for the Silver Fern Farms board she saw a chance to be involved in governance of a company that is a big part of her farm business.

A sheep an arable farmer, Thompson farms in partnership with her husband Peter and his brother Chris on 530 hectares at Dorie near Ashburton.

The trio finish up to 14,000 store lambs a year and for three generations the family has been a loyal SFF supplier. . . 

Third time lucky for dairy award winners

Colin and Isabella Beazley from Northland have been named share farmers of the year at the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards dinner in Wellington.

They are a smart, humble and practical couple who are doing very well at dairy farming on a challenging property in Northland.

Canterbury’s Matt Redmond was named dairy manager of the year and Nicola Blowey, also from Canterbury, is the dairy trainee of the year. 

They shared prizes worth more than $210,000. . . 


Rural round-up

February 9, 2019

He’s turning a pest into profit – Luke Chivers:

A young New Zealander has created technology that can turn the invasive algae didymo into paper, fabric and bioplastic and it is helping to clean up our waterways. Luke Chivers explains.

He could be a psychologist, businessman or environmentalist but wherever Logan Williams, 23, ends up he will make his mark on the innovation scene.

The young entrepreneur from Timaru founded Biome Innovation, which creates biodegradable material from didymo, the invasive river weed also known as rock snot.

Williams saw first-hand the impact didymo had on waterways in South Canterbury while he was growing up. . . 

Rural Women NZ: privacy concerns in violence Act – Yvonne O’Hara:

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) is concerned that there is a lack of access to services and support for rural people and their families who are in abusive situations.

National president Fiona Gower said although RWNZ supported the Government’s efforts to create an effective preventive response to family violence through information sharing, it did not support a system that put people at risk and left victims feeling vulnerable and unable to seek help because they are afraid of confidentiality breaches.

The Government recently passed The Family Violence Act 2018, which comes into effect on July 1, and promotes clients’ information sharing and disclosures between Government sectors, such as health and education.

However, RWNZ was concerned the privacy of family violence victims may be at risk. . . 

Scientific approach to soil and water – Ken Muir:

”From data to dags” is Waituna farmer Ray McCrostie’s motto.

Despite all his old-school approaches, gleaned from 50 years’ farming in the district, he has taken a very scientific approach to managing the health of his soil and looking after the quality of water on his property.

”The soil is the engine room that drives all our production and water is the blood that flows through that soil, so it makes sense to manage both of them the best we can,” Mr McCrostie said.

The scientific approach to soil and water began some years ago when he began testing the water flowing from a single pipe on his sheep and beef farm into the Waituna Stream. . . 

Viticulture requires strong note of financial nouse :

Viticulture is a practical industry suited to practical people — so discussing budgets and financial spreadsheets with an accountant isn’t usually an enjoyable conversation.

But as viticulture expert James Crockett has discovered, gaining financial knowledge is the key to running a successful and sustainable horticultural business.

“I’ve always struggled with finance and trying to get my head around creating a budget and understanding financial dashboards. When you’re in high level meetings and people are talking about assets and things it’s hard not to drift off and think about what’s for lunch.” . . 

The year of the rise of fresh produce: – United Fresh:

Whether you’re growing it, selling it or just eating it, fresh produce in New Zealand is a core staple in every household. With great growing conditions and an innovative, versatile industry, we’re lucky to have access to some of the tastiest fruit and vegetables on the planet.

In 2019, global indications are that fresh produce is at the top of every trend list. Healthy, nutritious food, prepared with love is the key to happiness in homes across the nation, but the days of meat and two vege gracing our plates every night may be a distant memory. So what exactly will our kitchens be producing this year? What will our grocery lists look like? And what on earth is a Jafflechute? United Fresh, New Zealand’s only pan-produce industry organisation, has broken down the top fresh produce trends from around the world and around the country so pour yourself a guava and hemp seed smoothie and take note. . . 

Former forestry block converted to cattle farm up for sale:

A substantial dairy grazing property owned by Wairakei Pastoral Limited, a large corporate farming enterprise, has been placed on the market for sale.

The Taupo property consists of four individually-titled landholdings, ranging in size from 93 hectares to 275 hectares – which are being marketed for sale individually, in any combination, or as an entire 675 hectare farm.

It sits within the Wairakei Estate (25,723 hectare) precinct which contains some 18 dairy units that Pamu, formerly Landcorp, have been operating. . . 


Rural round-up

December 17, 2018

Climate change debate is heating up – Andrew Hoggard:

Science and practicality should underpin the climate change discussion but sometimes that’s de-railed by politics writes Federated Farmers dairy chairperson, Andrew Hoggard.

Debate about how New Zealand will honour the commitments we gave under the 2015 Paris Agreement on global warming and climate change is – if you’ll excuse the pun – heating up.

In the last few months a series of weighty reports on options and forecasts have been published, notably from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE), the Productivity Commission (a whopper, at 620 pages), and earlier this month from BERG (the Biological Emissions Reference Group). . . 

Tararua dairy farmers out to curb nitrate leaching and negative whispers – Sam Kilmister:

Tararua dairy farmers are turning over a new leaf to reduce their environmental footprint. 

Plantain, a common weed, is being injected into pastures to help reduce nitrogen leaching into the district’s waterways. 

The fibrous plant holds less nitrogen, meaning less passes through a cow’s system after they eat it. It also causes them to pass urine more frequently, resulting in less concentrated urine patches in a paddock.  . . 

 

More stories from on-farm :

For the last edition of Farmers Weekly we went back to some of the farmers featured in On Farm Story this year and asked them to look back on the year that’s been, and ahead to what’s in store for New Zealand agriculture.

Morrison Farming

Will Morrison is looking forward to having time to enjoy the farm scenery and healthy livestock.

What has 2018 been like for your farming business?

Seasonality for Morrison Farming feels like an increasing challenge. The consistent, well spread 1000-1200mm annual rainfall and summer-safe tag for western Rangitikei no longer feel so consistent or safe. However, prices were fantastic and financially 2018 has been one of Morrison Farming’s strongest. . . 

Richard Thompson steps down from Landcare Trust

The long-time chairman of NZ Landcare Trust and Whanganui man, Richard Thompson, has retired after 22 years on the board.

And in his place the trust has chosen its first woman chair in Fiona Gower, who is also Rural Women New Zealand national president.

Landcare Trust is an independent NGO that attempts to bring together various stakeholders to work on sustainable water and land quality. . . 

From dust bowl to productive farmland: Farmers visit Nebraska – Pat Deavoll:

A party of 25 farmers and irrigation experts has returned from Nebraska, United States, with some fresh ideas about how to improve environmental management in New Zealand.

“Nebraska was one of the states which were devastated by the dust bowl storms during the depression and farming families had to leave the land,” outgoing IrrigationNZ chief executive Andrew Curtis said, who was part of the group.

“By 1932, 750,000 acres (300,000 hectares) of farmland had been abandoned in Nebraska due to soil erosion and dust storms. . . 

 

There’s Hope for wool in art show :

Dunedin artist Hope Duncan says a wolf-shaped rug made from crossbred wool is the perfect analogy for the state of the carpet fibre industry.

The Dunedin School of Art graduate loves wool but despairs about the state of the crossbred wool sector so for her end-of-year exhibition she chose a two-piece item with a wool carpet in the shape of a wolf as an eye-catching element in a none too subtle dig at how synthetic carpet manufacturers have laid claim to wool’s natural attributes.

Duncan hopes it will provoke conversation about the attributes of wool and issues with synthetic fibres. . . 

 


Rural round-up

December 15, 2018

Variety is the spice of life  – Annette Scott:

It’s tough, rough country but Island Hills Station owners Dan and Mandy Shand are passionate farmers and innovative in their diversification to achieve financial sustainability. Annette Scottcaught up with them on their remote North Canterbury high-country property. 

Dan and Mandy Shand farm Island Hills, a 7000ha station in the back of beyond in the rugged Hurunui high county.

When the young couple took over the property from Dan’s parents Ed and Jan, they knew from the generations before them it would be tough going. In the early days access and weeds were the two biggest challenges.

For Dan initially, it was possums. . . 

OutcomesshouldberuralproofedRWNZsays – Yvonne O’Hara:

Gower Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) would like to see any outcomes of the Government’s mental health and addiction inquiry report, which was released last week, ”rural proofed”, national president Fiona Gower says.

”Quite a few of our members went to workshops held around the country to ensure we had coverage,” Mrs Gower said.

”We wanted to make sure the rural message was heard loud and clear.” . . 

Drought relief grows recogniton:

As Jessie Waite drove down Taranaki’s coastal highway there was no escaping the savage drought gripping the region.

It was January 2018. Parched, dusty paddocks flanked the busy tourist route. Failed turnip crops were a stark reminder of rains that never came.

For many coastal farmers it was the worst season in decades. . .

Deer farmer no quitter:

When 300mm of rain fell in four hours and blew out a year’s worth of environmental mitigation work, Steve Borland admits “it just about broke me”.

But the Oparau, Waikato, deer and sheep farmer is no quitter. Now the new fencing is repaired, and work to protect the fragile volcanic soils and water quality on the farm – Shabor – is underway.

Borland, with wife Judy, son Chris and business partners Bob and Jackie Sharp, is winner of the NZ Landcare Trust Award in the 2017-18 Deer Farmers Environmental Awards. The award is for excellence in sustainable deer farming by action on the ground. . .

Parentsholdkidsbackfromagcareers – Nigel Malthus:

The biggest barrier to youngsters choosing careers in agriculture is parents’ thinking that agriculture is “just a dumping ground.”

So says Gillian Koster, head of Rangiora High School’s land-based studies department.

“The parents won’t let their kids do it, in some cases because they see it as just where you go if you’re not very bright,” Koster told Rural News.  . .

Sheepmeat hitting record returns:

 Ten years ago the sheep farming sector in New Zealand was facing some tough assaults upon its claim as one of the country’s most important export sectors. The strong growth in dairying was knocking sheep farms out from some of the country’s most traditional sheep farming areas like King Country and Southland, while exceptionally low returns were threatening the viability of many smaller dry stock units struggling to stay afloat.

Fast forward 10 years and the sector can claim to be one of the most sustainably profitable contributors to the pastoral sector. Sale yards around the country are testimony to the level of optimism the sector is experiencing. . .


Rural round-up

September 23, 2018

Women: “We’re the glue in rural communities” –

Country women are still facing a high level of isolation, the president of Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) says.

Fiona Gower is a fifth generation New Zealand farmer, her family migrated to New Zealand in 1840. She has worked on farms and in wool sheds around the country.

And as the president of RWNZ she comes from a long line of community advocates.

“My grandmother was one of the founding members of the Rural Women New Zealand group in the early days down in Marton.” . .

Buyers bide their time – Hugh Stringleman:

The next two months will be crucial for the 2018-19 season milk price as buyers work out New Zealand’s dairy production, Rabobank dairy analyst Emma Higgins says.

Fonterra will offer more whole milk powder on the Global Dairy Trade platform where prices have fallen for the past four months and seven out of eight auctions.

As the spring peak looms an NZ milk production to the end of August was 5% or eight million kilograms of milksolids ahead of the corresponding time last season. . .

Potato virus found in New Zealand for first time:

A potato virus which affects potatoes used to make chips has been found for the first time in New Zealand.

The potato mop-top virus, known as PMTV, has been found in tubers from two properties in the Canterbury region.

David Yard of Biosecurity New Zealand, said PMTV was not a food safety issue but, if it became widespread, could cause productivity issues for growers. . .

Experienced dog trial isn’t shares tips

From training dogs as a youngster to having success at a national dog trialling level, Steve Kerr knows a thing or two about getting the best from a working dog.

Earlier this month more than 30 people attended his training day hosted by the Strath Taieri Collie Club at Lindsay Carruther’s Middlemarch property.

It was the first time the training day had been held there and Mr Carruthers said it was great to give people the opportunity not just to watch, but also get involved with their own dogs. . .

The rural wrap from around NZ:

The weekly rural wrap from around the country from RNZ’s Country Life.

Northland‘s kumara growers are finishing off bedding out to produce the plants that will go into the ground at the end of October. Kumara are fetching good prices – between $6 and $11 a kilo depending where you shop. Farms are still quite moist underfoot. However, showers this week will have served to freshen up the grass. Growers and farmers would like 15 millimetres of rain a week – and for the sun to come out. . .

Blow for WA sheep farmers as biggest buyer heads to South Africa – Jenny Brammer:

The live sheep export industry has been dealt a further blow with Australia’s biggest customer, Kuwait Livestock Transport and Trading, moving to source a long-term supply of sheep from South Africa.

The company, also called Al Mawashi, issued an announcement to the Kuwait Stock Exchange saying its board had approved the establishment of a new live export subsidiary in South Africa, similar to its Australian subsidiary Rural Export Trading WA.

RETWA owns a large pre-export quarantine property near Peel, and has offices in West Perth. Establishing operations in South Africa would spell the end to Australia’s 40-year exclusivity arrangement of supplying sheep to KLTT, which was buying up to two-thirds of the 1.8 million Australian sheep exported each year. . .

 


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