Rural round-up

17/03/2020

Federated Farmers calls for fiscal stimulus from government:

Federated Farmers congratulates the Reserve Bank on a decisive monetary policy stimulus in response to the worsening economic situation, cutting the OCR to 0.25%.

“We also strongly support its decision to delay implementation of its tougher requirements for bank capital to help the banking sector support the economy,” Feds President Katie Milne said.

One bank has already agreed to immediately pass on the lower OCR rate to borrowers.  Federated Farmers calls on other banks to follow suit. . .

Supermarket demands for perfection require pesticides – growers say – Bonnie Flaws:

Supermarkets demand perfectly formed fruit and vegetables, but perfection requires pesticides, growers say.

The biggest supermarkets – Countdown, Pak ‘n Save and New World – dictate the colour, shape and size that growers must adhere to in order to get their produce onto their shelves, a large grower says.

The grower, who spoke on condition of anonymity, says that if farmers don’t grow to the specifications, the produce is rejected by supermarket inspectors and must be thrown out. . .

 

Global merino conference in Otago: president says industry better than ever – Sally Rae:

World Federation of Merino Breeders president Will Roberts reckons he has never seen the merino industry has never been so good as it is now.

Mr Roberts and his wife Nada have been in Otago attending the Merino Excellence 2020 Congress, and Mr Roberts also judged at the Wanaka A&P Show.

The couple farm a 13,000ha sheep and cattle property in Queensland, originally bought by Mr Roberts’ family in 1906. The Victoria Downs merino stud was established in 1911. . .

Cowpats, cabers and clouds of soot in showcase of country life – Harry Lock:

Thousands descended on Palmerston North over the weekend to witness cowpat throwing, hay bale stacking and sheep shearing.

While other events across the country were put off, the annual Rural Games went ahead as planned, with the city’s central square transformed into a farmer’s paradise.

Onlookers were treated to a premier experience, with some of the best in the world showcasing their skills. . .

NZ Champions of Cheese medal winners announced:

After judges smelled, crumbled and tasted their way through almost 300 New Zealand cheeses, the medal winners of the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards 2020 have been announced.

Run by the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association (NZSCA) for the 17th consecutive year, Australian Master Judge Russell Smith oversaw judging on Sunday 23rd February, working with a panel of 25 specialist judges.

NZSCA chair Neil Willman said the judges made special note of the quality and variety of cheese they assessed this year. . .

Grasslands as vital as trees for environment, sheep farmers say :

Livestock farmers have challenged the government’s focus on tree planting and peatland restoration as a means to help nature address climate change.

Wednesday’s budget committed £640 million to be spent on 30,000 hectares of trees, and 35,000 hectares of peatland restoration.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said both the restoration and tree planting are funded by a new Nature for Climate fund.

“This government intends to be the first in history to leave our natural environment in a better state than we found it,” said the chancellor. . .


Rural round-up

15/02/2016

Earnscleugh put to trial – Sally Rae:

Alistair Campbell has clocked up a few kilometres perusing gullies on Earnscleugh Station – all in the search of the perfect dog-trial course.

The Omakau-Earnscleugh Collie Club’s annual trials will for the first time be held at the station, on February 21 and 22.

Mr Campbell, himself a keen dog triallist, said he had done ‘‘some miles” trying to find the right spot, even waking in the middle of the night thinking he had found it – only to find out, in reality, he had not. . .

Bank on bright side but farmers sombre – Sally Rae:

Dairy farmers are facing another tough year but a ‘‘generally strong year” is being picked by Rabobank for most other sectors.

Solid demand in key offshore markets, recent progress in export development and generally tight global supply was likely to bring another good year for producers of beef, wool and horticultural products, food and agribusiness research general manager Tim Hunt said.

While beef prices had lost some ground in recent months, they remained well above multi-year average levels and were expected to receive support from a generally tight global market. . . 

Poachers, fed-up farmers and guns don’t mix – Andrea Fox, Mike Watson:

The potential for flashpoint confrontations between fed-up farmers and poachers on their land has never been higher, a farming leader says.

Rick Powdrell, Federated Farmers meat and fibre chairman and a Bay of Plenty farmer, is urging closer communication between rural households and police as landowners face increasing trespass intrusion by game hunters and livestock killers after free, and saleable, meat.  

“My big concern is farmers getting so frustrated with trespassers – whatever they’re doing on the property – that they’re running the risk of confrontation situations.  If you are regularly having stock rustled or whatever, you get bloody determined you’re going to catch them,” Powdrell said. . . 

Top shearers to meet Welshmen in second test:

Manawatu will host the fourth test when New Zealand’s top shearers meet the best from Wales.

The small town of Apiti in northern Manawatu will host the shearing test at its agricultural and pastoral show on February 27.

Then the final test will be held at Pahiatua on February 28.

New Zealand won the first test, held at Marton, and the second was won by the New Zealanders in Balclutha at the the weekend.

Kiwi shearers Dion King and Tony Costerhope took a  2-0 lead over Welsh shearers Richard Jones and Gwion Evans. . .  

Family gem hits the market – Jessie Davies:

AN OPPORTUNITY to bag a slice of one of the biggest and oldest grazing properties in the Bega district has opened.

For the first time since settlement the Collins family’s “Oakhurst” is being offered for sale.

The 388-hecatre (960 acre) property has been in the family for almost 150 years.

The property is priced at $1.4 million through LJ Hooker Bega. . . 

Stocktake of a new kind for farmers:

While farmers may be used to taking headcounts for stock, they’re now being asked to check the number of earth worms in their ground.

A handful of worms collected from a small clod of soil is an indication of a healthy productive pasture.

The Waikato Regional Council wants farmers to count the number of worms in a 20cm cube of soil, with 30 to 35 worms being the ideal number.

Worms increase the depth of topsoil and the carbon content by burrowing, digesting and mixing soil and plant residues. . . 

World-Class Cheese Judged by World’s Best:

New Zealand’s growing international reputation has helped secure the strongest international judging panel yet for the 2016 New Zealand Champions of Cheese Awards.

Top critics from USA, UK and Australia will join local experts to judge more than 420 entries over a two-day competition this month.

Master Judge Russell Smith, one of Australasia’s most experienced international cheese judges and educationalists, said, “The Kiwi dairy industry is revered around the globe and we are also growing a reputation for quality cheeses and innovative cheesemakers, making the event a drawcard for high-calibre judges.” . . 


Dutch trio take top cheese awards

05/03/2014

 Dutch influences have made their mark on New Zealand cheese, with three supreme awards at the 2014 NZ Champions of Cheese Awards directly related to a Dutch heritage.

A Dutch-style cheese made in Akaroa – Aged Gouda by Barrys Bay Traditional Cheese, has won the coveted Countdown Champion of Champions Award for large cheese producers.

Another Dutch-style cheese – Very Old Edam produced by Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese has won the Cuisine Champion Artisan Cheese Award for smaller producers for the third year running.

Completing the Dutch trio is Jeanne Van Kuyk of Aroha Organic Goat Cheese who won the Milk Test NZ Champion Cheesemaker Award. Her company also took out the Tuatara Brewing Champion Goat Cheese Award for its Aroha Raw Milk Rich Plain cheese. Emigrating from Holland, Van Kuyk now makes award-winning organic, specialty cheese from her own herd of goats on the family’s rural Waikato farm.

Over 430 New Zealand specialty cheeses were entered in this year’s competition, with winners announced at a gala dinner and awards ceremony at The Langham, Auckland on Tuesday 4 March.

Twenty eight of New Zealand’s most experienced cheese connoisseurs made up the expert judging panel. They were led by one of Australasia’s most experienced international cheese judges and renowned cheese educationalist, Russell Smith.

“New Zealand cheese ranks with the best in the world, with certain styles indisputably world-class,” Smith said
“The diversity of flavour profiles, the quality of cheese making and high presentation of the majority of cheese was fantastic. It’s incredibly encouraging to see the bar being raised each year.

Each cheese was examined by a technical and an aesthetic judge as a duo, and strictly graded to pre-determined gold, silver and bronze standards.

This year saw a higher percentage of gold medals being awarded, which attests to the increasingly high quality of cheese being made in New Zealand and exhibited this year, Smith said.

Barrys Bay Traditional Cheese, which produces traditional hand-crafted cheese including cheddar, gouda and maasdam, is celebrating its first Champion of Champions title.

Smith described Barrys Bay Traditional Cheeses’ Aged Gouda as beautifully presented with a superb texture and tropical fruit flavours. “This is a great example of this style of cheese and was the popular choice of the judging panel,” he said.

Kerikeri-based family business, Mahoe Farmhouse Cheese, has pulled off an impressive hat trick by winning the Cuisine Champion Artisan Cheese Award for the third year running.

Mahoe’s Very Old Edam was described by Smith as a superbly flavoursome cheese. “This cheese is so good that you don’t want to put anything else in your mouth for some time.”

Iconic Kiwi cheese brand Kapiti was also outstanding in their year’s NZ Champions of Cheese Awards. Kapiti cheeses scooped up more Champion awards than any other brand, taking home four major trophies. Kapiti Kikorangi once again proved New Zealanders’ affection towards blue cheese, claiming the New World Champion Favourite Cheese Award (voted for by the public) for the third year running.

“That our shoppers have once again chosen Kapiti Kikorangi must surely make this fine blue cheese a new New Zealand icon!,” Foodstuffs Delicatessen Sales & Operations Manager, Anthony Joseph, said.

New cheese company Dairyworks has marked its introduction to the awards with a win for its Dairyworks Kids Range in the Caspak Champion Cheese Packaging Award.

Smith said Dairyworks has done great job of encouraging kids to eat more cheese with its kids range. The use of story-telling and fun characters is a clever way to engage with young Kiwis. Judges noted the pack design is strong and production is consistent across every print process. . .

Delicious as these cheeses no doubt are, my champion is Whitestone Cheese, which has many awards to its credit, though it wasn’t among the winners this year.


Battle of cheesemakers

05/02/2014

A media release from the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards:

With over 400 entries, a new milk type, three new international judges and five new cheese companies stepping into the ring, this year’s NZ Champions of Cheese Awards are set to be the most competitive yet.

Now in its eleventh year, the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards see our country’s finest speciality cheese come together under one roof, in the hope of winning one of 16 champion cheese titles.

New Zealand’s largest cheese exporters, our smallest artisan cheesemakers, and even home crafted cheeses, will be judged by an expert panel at The Langham in Auckland on Sunday 2nd March.

“The diversity in this year’s entries with five new companies, a new milk type and a record number of home crafted cheesemakers, are positive signs of a dynamic and vibrant New Zealand cheese industry that strengthens each year,” organiser of the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards, Vikki Lee Goode, said.

One of Australasia’s most experienced international cheese judges and renowned cheese educationalist, Russell Smith will be joined by three highly-regarded overseas cheese judges, adding another level of expertise and excitement to the awards.

Of particular note is Ueli Berger, the most awarded cheese maker in Australia and current head cheesemaker at beverage and food company, Lion.

“I regard Mr Berger as Australia’s most knowledgeable and skilled cheesemaker. He’s simply one of the best, and I personally am very excited to bring him to New Zealand to experience first-hand the top-rate cheese produced in this country,” Mr Smith said.

Master Judge Russell Smith will lead 28 expert assessors, including some of New Zealand’s most experienced cheese connoisseurs. Together they’ll consume and critique over 400 cheeses in search of the nation’s best.

Each cheese will be examined by a technical and an aesthetic judge as a duo, and strictly graded to pre-determined gold, silver and bronze standards.

Judges will also determine a champion cheese in 16 categories before selecting the two best overall cheeses to be named supreme winner of the Cuisine Champion Artisan Award for small artisan producers, and the Countdown Champion of Champions Award for larger producers.

 The international trend of mixed milk cheese varieties remains, as well as a strong number of home crafted cheesemakers – a category that’s increasing in popularity each year.

For the first time in award history, cheese made from deer milk is being entered. Deer cheese was introduced last year as a collaboration between Whitestone Cheese alongside scientists at the University of Otago and Lincoln University, and drew interest of the feat of milking deer and the technical skill of turning deer milk into cheese.

Kiwi cheese lovers can also have their say with the New World Champion Favourite Cheese Award selected entirely by public votes through the New World website (www.newworldcheeseawards.co.nz). Voting is open now till 26th February.

The 2014 NZ Champions of Cheese Award winners will be announced at a gala dinner at The Langham in Auckland on Tuesday 4th March.

The following day (Wednesday 5th March) the public are invited to sample award-winning cheeses. Cuisine CheeseFest, billed as at the ultimate event for cheese lovers, takes place at The Langham from 5pm to 8:30pm. Tickets are available for $30 per person at www.eventfinder.co.nz or $35 at the door.

You can read more at Specialist Cheesemakers.

You can vote for the People’s Choice and go into a draw to win  two tickets to the Cuisine CheeseFest on Wednesday, 5 March at The Langham hotel in Auckland (flights provided if you reside outside of Auckland). Prize includes two night’s accommodation at The Langham, dinner at Langham’s Eight Restaurant, a Langham Tiffin Afternoon Tea and a $500 VISA Prezzy Card! More on that here.


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