Rural round-up

May 24, 2017

One quick click can save a life – Sally Rae:

It’s a message you see regularly on roadside signs and on the television – a simple click saves lives.

Had that split-second decision been made on a Friday night three weeks ago in rural South Canterbury, a wife might still have a husband and two young children a father.

Amid her grief, it is a message  Paul Dee’s widow, Julie, wants to reinforce in a national campaign.

As she sees it, she is in a privileged position to potentially help save other lives by getting people to change their thinking.

Mr Dee (46) was killed on April 28 in an ATV side-by-side buggy roll-over,  a stone’s throw from his Waihao Downs home, near Waimate. . . 

Big things expected of Te Mana lamb – Sally Rae:

Te Mana Lamb, the product of the Omega Lamb Project, has been officially launched by Prime Minister Bill English in Hong Kong.

Promoted as being the world’s tastiest and healthiest lamb, the project is a collaboration between Alliance Group, Headwaters Group and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

It involved bringing healthy fat back on to the menu by producing lambs with naturally higher polyunsaturated fatty acids, intramuscular fat and omega-3.

Guests at a gala dinner at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, attended by Mr English and the Hong Kong business community, were among the first international diners to try Te Mana Lamb. . . 

Sweet finish key to success for winning blue cheese – Pam Tipa:

Much of the success of Whitestone’s Vintage Windsor Blue cheese comes down to North Otago milk, with the cows grazing off grass from limestone soils, says chief executive Simon Berry.

Their unique mould strain they developed themselves is the other flavour aspect.

“It has a sweet finish no one else in the world has. When taken onto the international stage it stands out,” Berry told Dairy News. . .

Money will attract rural volunteers – Neal Wallace:

Rural health leader Martin London hopes a $59 million Government investment to double crew ambulances will also attract more rural volunteers to the service.

London, the chairman of the Rural Health Alliance, said the boost from the funding needed to be supported by adequate training of ambulance crews.

If that happened, he was optimistic the spirit and confidence it created would encourage new volunteers to join rural ambulance services. . . 

Water Accord business as usual – Peter Burke:

The targets in the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord are effectively becoming normal business practice for dairy farmers, says a DairyNZ director, Alister Body.

He made his comments at the release of a three year review of the accord, which covers a range of environmental targets dairy farmers are encouraged to achieve voluntarily. All dairy companies – except Westland which runs its own scheme — support the targets, as do the regional councils, Federated Farmers and some other agri-related organisations.

Body says the accord was agreed to and signed without a specific end date, but the signatories agreed to the three-year report on what has and has not been achieved. . .

Hops production in NZ slumps by 10% – Alexa Cook:

New Zealand hop production is down by about 10 percent, with the yield of some varieties falling by 30 percent.

The New Zealand Hops co-operative says its 18 growers, which are in the Nelson region, produced about 750 tonnes of hops, which was 33 tonnes less than the year before.

Chief executive Doug Donelan said the weather had not been right since spring.

“The growing season wasn’t very good. We had a cold summer and prior to that during the early stages it was a very wet spring. The two things you really don’t want when you’re growing hops.” . .

All New Zealanders to see connectivity benefits:

The Government is committed to making New Zealand’s communications network one of the best in the world, Communications Minister Simon Bridges says.

Minister Bridges spoke at the 2017 Rural Connectivity Symposium in Wellington today.

“In 2009 the internet in New Zealand was slow, and many people didn’t have adequate access at all – particularly in rural areas,” Mr Bridges says.

“We’ve come a long way in a relatively short period of time. Over 1.1 million households and businesses can now connect to Ultra-Fast Broadband, and over one-third of those are already connected. . . 


Rural round-up

May 9, 2017

NZ beef, lamb and dairy prices on ‘reasonable’ footing – Simon Hartley:

Two separate New Zealand commodity price indexes have the country’s exports in good health, but the strength of the New Zealand dollar remains a concern.

ANZ agri-economist Con Williams said while the headline ANZ commodity price index dipped 0.2% in April, the underlying detail for New Zealand’s main commodities remained ”robust”.

The headline index was driven lower by dairy – it was down 2.5% month on month – while the non-dairy component rose 1.2% for the same period. . .

Gas to energy project – Rueben on line:

An Isla Bank dairy farm is saving money and preventing harmful greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere by converting waste to energy.

Glenarlea Farm, a Fortuna Group dairy farm, is now converting methane gas captured from the dairy effluent pond into electricity for the dairy shed, as well as for heating water which can be used for wash-down purposes on the farm.

Quick decision lead to success – Neal Wallace:

Weo Maag concedes the Pukepoto Farm Trust does things a bit differently.

A trustee of the entity that owns the 1400ha breeding and finishing property at Ongarue near Taumarunui, Maag said the trust aimed to keep things simple but was a willing adopter of any systems or tools that worked.

An Ahuwhenua Trophy finalist, the Pukepoto trust was formed in 1978 and its 1000 shareholders owned land that was originally used as a thoroughfare for Maori travelling between Taranaki and Whanganui. . . 

Disastrous end-of-harvest for South Canterbury’s cropping farmers – Pat Deavoll:

Twice the normal rainfall in March followed by four times the amount in April has meant a disastrous end to the harvest for South Canterbury’s arable farmers.

Federated Farmers arable chairman for South Canterbury Mike Porter said he “struggled and battled” his way through harvest and finished last week.

“It’s been a very challenging harvest – the most challenging I have ever known.” . .

Dairy women gathering –  Sally Rae:

Dairying women from throughout New Zealand will converge on Queenstown this week for the Dairy Women’s Network conference.

The event, on Thursday and Friday, features practical workshops and keynote speakers, including All Blacks manager Gilbert Enoka and Corrections Minister Louise Upston. . . 

Water scheme will reflect demand – Annette Scott:

Hunter Downs Water will forge ahead with a multi-million-dollar irrigation scheme for South Canterbury despite falling short of its capital-raising target.

What form it would take was being worked through with the contractor in a redesigned scheme to meet the demand from farmers who had committed through the share uptake, Hunter Downs Water (HDW) project manager Stacey Scott said.

The deadline for the uptake of water and development shares in the $195m scheme was on April 28, after its initial April 10 deadline was extended. . . 


Rural round-up

May 4, 2017

$30m Maori investment in kiwifruit – Pam Tipa:

$30 MILLION will be invested in building 10 kiwifruit orchards on Maori land in the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne over the next 18 months, says entrepreneur Te Tumu Pairoa, in partnership with Quayside Holdings.
In the single-largest kiwifruit investment ever made on Maori land, at least 90ha of semi- and unproductive land will be converted into grower businesses.

Te Tumu Paeroa has developed a unique model for the enterprises, to allow full ownership of the orchards to transfer to landowners in an estimated 12-17 years after achieving a targeted rate of return on capital invested. . .

Young auctioneer takes on Australia:

Twenty-two year old Kurow man Madison Taylor had a busy week at the Sydney Royal Easter Show recently — not only was he representing New Zealand as a bareback rodeo rider, he was also representing his country as New Zealand’s top young auctioneer.

Taylor won the Heartland Bank Young Auctioneer of the Year title at the Canterbury A&P Show in November.

Part of his prize was a trip to Sydney to get involved with the Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association’s equivalent competition at the Royal Show. . .

Meat exports to fall this season – Hugh Stringleman:

The Beef + Lamb New Zealand Economic Service has forecast 2-3% reductions in lamb and beef export revenue this season despite rising world prices.

The meat processing season was well advanced and the recent rises in prices would not bring out any more livestock for slaughter or boost the season-long revenues above those of last year.

Lamb revenue for 2016-17 was forecast to be $2.53 billion, down 2.1% from the previous season. . .

Sheep and beef profit up 12% – Hugh Stringleman:

A 12% increase in sheep and beef farm profit expectations because of good livestock feeding conditions and higher lamb and beef prices is being forecast by Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Economic Service.

It published a mid-season update for 2016-17 incorporating its predictions for the season as a whole in lamb, beef, wool and the average sheep and beef farm accounts. . .

Ploughing expertise put to the test – Alexia Johnston:

Dedicated ploughers will be eyeing up a place on the national stage when the next New Zealand Ploughing Championships qualifying event takes place in Timaru.
The top performers will compete in the nationals at Thornbury next year.

But first, they must perfect the art of creating straight furrows on a local level.

To do that, contestants will compete in one or more of four classes atthe Timaru event — conventional ploughing, reversible ploughing, vintage ploughing and horse ploughing. . .

Sheep breeding just one talent – Sally Rae;

Stuart Albrey is a man of many talents.
He’s a sheep-breeding, gymnastics-coaching school teacher who is also handy with a pair of knitting needles and a spinning wheel.

”I’d do brain surgery if they’d let me. I’d put my hand to anything,” he quipped during the Black and Coloured Sheep Breeders Association of New Zealand’s conference in Oamaru last week.

Mr Albrey and his wife Sue have 450 Polwarth, merino, Romney and Corriedale sheep on their property at Arno, near Waimate, of which about one-quarter are white. . .

Bridging the urban-country divide:

Seven city teenagers – from Riccarton, Hillmorton and Cashmere High Schools in Christchurch – last week got a taste of ‘life on the land’, spending a week with four farming families in the Central, Mid and South Canterbury regions.

The visit was part of an innovative Farm Experience (FX) Program, developed by agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank to help bridge the ‘urban/rural divide’, giving city teenagers the opportunity to spend a week on-farm, living with a farming family and learning about life on the land and food production.

This was the first FX Program to be held in New Zealand. . .

 


Rural round-up

May 3, 2017

Skilled staff sought to help out on earthquake and flood damaged farms –  Pippa Brown:

An Agstaff and Federated Farmers skilled worker and volunteer initiative is on the lookout for more rural-trained workers in the Kaikoura region.

What started out as a project to help earthquake damaged farms took a step backwards after recent weather events when two cyclonic systems passed through.

Agstaff Supervisor for the Blenheim/Clarence area, Vaughan Beazer, said progress had been going well until the recent weather, which made existing damage worse and caused landslides and flooding. More skilled workers are now required to assist with the recovery work. . .

Higher prices forecast for sheep, beef – Sally Rae:

Higher lamb prices and plenty of grass have bumped up the forecast profit for sheep and beef farmers.

Beef+Lamb New Zealand’s mid-season update showed a before tax profit forecast of $75,200 for all classes of sheep and beef farms, compared with $67,000 six months ago.

In Otago-Southland, gross farm revenue was forecast to drop 1.9% to $387,200 per farm for 2016-17, driven by lower revenue from wool. . .

Holistic grazing regime at Mangarara follows Zimbabwe example – Kate Taylor:

The grazing regime on Mangarara Station is based on a holistic system originating from Zimbabwe with cattle grazed on a long rotation.

Owner Greg Hart said their animals have eaten, trampled and left dung and urine before moving on.

“We mimic that by using electric fences instead of lions and controlling the grazing so they get shifted every day. We’re not afraid of letting our grass get really long and tall in the summer time… . .

A ‘very late’ season for grapes – Sally Brooker:

This year’s harvest is ripening slowly in Waitaki Valley’s vineyards.
The season will be remembered as a difficult one thanks to the weather, Waitaki Valley Wine Growers Association chairman Andrew Ballantyne said.

The valley was traditionally the last region in New Zealand to pick its grapes. Its long growing season combined with its limestone and alluvial greywacke bases meant it was an exciting place to be a wine producer, but it also had risks such as being exposed to more weather events, he said. . . 

Hemp seeds to feed farm returns – Annette Scott:

Cropping farmers are poised to capture their share of a fast-growing global market as 2017 shapes up to be a massive year for hemp seed.

The Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation in Adelaide approved the recommendation by Food Standards Australia and NZ (FSANZ) to allow the sale of low THC hemp seed food products for human consumption.

THC was one of the main psychoactive ingredients in cannabis, to which hemp was closely related. . .

Cow art has dairy farmers over the moon :

A stunning cow mural has become a popular stop along the well-travelled Rai Valley roads in the Marlborough Sounds, and the story behind the artwork is equally as heart-warming as the spectacular mural.

What do you get when you combine a road-side cow shed, a family holiday, and a relief milker with an artistic hand and big heart?

For dairy farm owners John and Lynne Small, the answer was an appropriately themed mural (or should we say moo-ral) turning an ordinary shed wall into a vehicle-stopping work of art. . .


Rural round-up

April 24, 2017

Magical Triple 6′ looms:

New Zealand’s three major export sectors- beef, lamb and dairy- may pass the $6/kg mark simultaneously at some stage this year, says ASB analyst Nathan Penny.

In his latest commodities report, Penny says that prices in the three sectors look similarly healthy.

“In fact, there is a better than fair chance that all three sectors surpass the $6/kg mark simultaneously at some stage this year, known as the Magical Triple 6.”

Dairy is already there; ASB milk price forecasts are sitting at $6.00/kgMS this season and $6.75/kgMS next season. . .

Syd swapping vintage tractors for old stamps – Sally Rae:

Stamps are likely to be a cheaper collecting option than tractors.

Once Syd McMann sells his collection of vintage tractors, implements and parts, he will be turning his attention to philatelic pursuits.

With five albums full already and another 5000 stamps yet to be dealt with, Mr McMann (86) expected that would keep him ”going” for the winter.

He has been busy recently preparing for the dispersal sale which will be held in the former Te Pari building in Humber St, Oamaru, on Saturday this weekend starting at 10.30am. PGG Wrightson agent Kelvin Wilson said the sale was ”unusual” for North Otago. . . 

Home is where the cows are – Sally Rae:

Running his family’s dairy farm in South Otago was a long-term dream for Mathew Korteweg – not that he thought it would necessarily happen.

Mr Korteweg and his wife Catherine are now in their third season lower-order sharemilking on the Kaitangata property, milking 560 cows at the peak.

They say they are in the industry ”for the long haul”, armed with a solid plan and confidence in the future.

Still, they are expecting some headwinds each season, whether it involves compliance, health and safety or environmental factors. . . 

Farmers learning from other farmers – Pam Tipa:

Farmers learn best from other farmers who have actually done it, says Extension 350 chairman Ken Hames.

The first clusters of the innovative Northland Extension 350 programme will start on June 1, says Hames.

In year one, a sheep and beef cluster will get underway in the Far North and two dairy clusters will be running, one near Kerikeri and one around Whangarei south. . .

Drop in forestry replanting due to assorted factors – Jim Childerstone:

A possible 5% reduction in forestry replanting could mostly be the result of owners of small woodlots (those smaller than 20ha) not replanting on cut-over sites.

Some of the blame also lies with corporate and large forest owners converting to other forms of land use, such as dairy, when irrigation has become available.

This is partly due to poor returns based on locality and size of areas planted under the post-1989 afforestation grant scheme.

There also appears to be some confusion with the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) carbon credits, introduced to supposedly encourage land owners to establish new woodlots. . . 

Finalists Prepare for Last Round of Judging:

This weekend marks the culmination of months of planning and preparation for the 22 finalists in the Share Farmer and Dairy Manager of the Year competitions, as finals judging gets underway for the 2017 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

Two teams of three judges will travel the length and breadth of New Zealand over 8 days, spending time on each finalists’ farm and listening to presentations from them.

Beginning in Hawkes Bay-Wairarapa on 22 April, the judges will spend two hours with each Share Farmer of the Year finalist. The finalists will be able to showcase all aspects of their farming business and management styles, as well as off-farm interests. . . 

New livestock finance facility offers flexibility and competitive cost:

A new seasonal livestock finance facility is aiming to address a gap in the market for low cost and flexible borrowing.

Carrfields Stockline, which has just been launched nationwide, was set up in response to a need among farmers for a simple, transparent and tailor-made finance solution with no hidden costs, said Donald Baines, National Livestock Commercial Manager at Carrfields Livestock.

“Following conversations with our customers it was clear that many of the finance packages on offer across the market didn’t suit their needs. So we’ve developed a product that offers flexibility over when livestock can be sold and to whom.” . . 

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Farming: Noun [farming-ing] The art of losing money while working 400 hours a month to feed people who think you are trying to kill them.


Rural round-up

April 20, 2017

Good PR is a self-help exercise – Neal Wallace:

A united agricultural sector needs to promote itself by telling positive farming stories, public relations expert Deborah Pead says.

Industries such as dairy were constantly under scrutiny and having to defend themselves when the correct strategy was to get in first and tell the public what they were doing to address those concerns.

“It is hard to argue when you see a river dried up and farmers are flat-out irrigating but what is the solution? What are farmers doing about it?” . . 

High country community divided by fence plan – Conan Young:

Green groups are outraged at a plan to spend ratepayer money on a fence that would allow iconic high country land to be more intensively farmed.

The 6km fence is proposed for Flock Hill Station, which is leased by a US-based company and contains scenery made famous in 2005’s The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe.

Until now, Coast Range Investments has only been allowed to graze it in a low-level way, so as to have a minimal impact on the landscape and its environment. . . 

Water Fools? – Greening of Mackenzie – Kate Gudsell:

It’s the closest thing New Zealand has to a desert. The Mackenzie Basin landscape is not replicated anywhere else in the country, let alone the world, and it is being changed irreversibly.  

Not just the land is being changed, the once-pristine lakes are showing signs of strain too.  

The area has been at the centre of a 10-year court battle after farmers and landowners opposed tougher development rules proposed by the Mackenzie District Council.  . . 

Stable milk price crucial for strong farming season – Sally Rae:

Rabobank is picking a farm- gate milk price around $6.25 for the 2017-18 season, as it says a figure in that area would finally allow dairy farmers to ”emerge from the woods”.

Global dairy prices were now better balanced than at the start of this season.

This was likely to flow through and create largely stable commodity pricing in the new season, a bank report said.

However, despite the improved market balance, the possibility of further lifts to the current season milk price was limited, report author and Rabobank dairy analyst Emma Higgins said.

The price rally experienced since the second half of 2016 had ”some of the gloss” removed, with stronger-than-anticipated New Zealand production impacting on prices.

Job Seekers drawn to plant – Sally Rae:

Hordes of job seekers from Nelson to Dunedin – including a group of Cadbury employees – converged on Fonterra’s Clandeboye site for a recent recruitment day.

A $240 million mozzarella plant development at the South Canterbury site is under way, creating full-time employment for a further 100 people.

There was a “fantastic” response to the recent recruitment day, with between about 1500 and 2000 people attending. That led to about 700-odd applications for the roles, operations manager Steve McKnight said.

The mozzarella plant, the third at Clandeboye, was the single largest food service investment in the history of New Zealand’s dairy industry. . . 

Cervena seeks its place in the sun – Annette Scott:

Marketing Cervena venison as a lighter summer eating option in Germany will be a challenge but it’s a move Deer Industry New Zealand has confidence in, venison marketing manager Marianne Wilson says.

Deer Industry NZ (DINZ) had begun marketing Cervena in Germany during the northern hemisphere summer as part of a market development trial. While relatively small the trial was symbolically important, Wilson said.

Traditionally the deer industry had been heavily reliant on sales of venison to the German game trade which was highly seasonal, with demand and prices peaking in the northern autumn and winter. . . 

Image may contain: one or more people and people standing

 


Rural round-up

April 12, 2017

NZ lamb shortage drives up prices :

A drop in slaughter rates in New Zealand, the world’s largest exporter of lamb meat, has pushed up prices to multi-year highs in export markets.

Benchmark frozen lamb prices for legs, french racks, forequarters and flaps all lifted in March, according to AgriHQ’s latest monthly sheep & beef report.

Demand for lamb in overseas markets is coming at a time when supplies are lower than normal in New Zealand as good grass growth prompts farmers to retain their stock for longer to increase their weights.The latest lamb slaughter data for New Zealand shows the lamb kill in the fortnight to March 11 was 11 per cent below the same period a year earlier and 18 percent weaker than the five-year average, AgriHQ said. . . 

Synlait transforms from bulk powders to infant formula – Keith Woodford:

Synlait is currently undergoing a strategic restructure from a producer of bulk milk powders to a producer of consumer-packaged infant formula. These investments will make Synlait the dominant New Zealand producer of infant formula.

So far, Synlait are still in the early stages of the transformation, but with a current construction contract with Tetra Pak to double their wet-kitchen capacity to 80,000 tonnes per annum, plus a foreshadowed announcement about doubling canning capacity to 60,000 tonnes, it is ‘all systems go’.

It is only a few months since Synlait was focusing in their public communications on building a fourth dryer on a new yet to be found site. . . 

NZ cow prices rise to record on tepid start to slaughter season – Tina Morrison

New Zealand’s cow slaughter season has got off to its slowest start in five years, pushing prices for stock to record highs for this time of year.

Just 41,789 cows were slaughtered in the fortnight to March 11, the lowest level for this period since 2012, according to AgriHQ. That pushed up the price meat processors paid for stock to record levels for this time of year, with the North Island price last week reaching $4.50 per kilogram, and the South Island price hitting $4.20/kg, AgriHQ said. . . 

Scottish farmer Euan McLeod crosses the world to chase a dream – Andrea Fox:

Thanks to New Zealand’s much-envied farming career pathway, a young Scot is realising his dream, writes Andrea Fox.

When young Euan McLeod was bitten by the farming bug back home in Scotland he became a bricklayer.

Getting a trade seemed the only option to a teenager who jumped at chances to work weekends and school holidays on a farm but without family farm roots couldn’t see how to get ahead, recalls McLeod, Waikato 2017 dairy manager of the year. . .

North Canterbury farmers make the best of life after earthquake – Tracy Neal:

North Canterbury farmers Bob and Vicki Todhunter lost their 1902 villa in November’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake when a fault ruptured beneath it.

It was the centrepiece of the 1100-hectare farm Ngaio Downs, near Clarence, which is also now part of an altered landscape.

They are among the hundreds waiting on insurance assessments and pay-outs, but they have moved ahead under their own steam. They are now living in their shearing quarters, converted into a stylish home, landscaped with the boulders that smashed down the hills behind them. . . 

Vet practice redevelops site -Sally Rae:

When Clutha Vets senior vet John Smart joined Clutha Vets as a young graduate back in 1976, it was a very different place to what it is now.

The business employed two vets in Balclutha and one in Milton, with a total of three other staff.

Forty-one years later, Mr Smart is still there but staff numbers have grown to 20 vets and a total staff of between 45 and 50.

This month, Clutha Vets will celebrate a recent $3million redevelopment of its Wilson Rd premises in Balclutha.

The official opening is on April 20.

The last upgrade was in 1994-95. At one stage during the most recent rebuild, Mr Smart worked out only one more staff member was needed for it to have tripled in size since that last redevelopment. Obviously, the building had been ”bursting at the seams” while, cosmetically, it was also looking a little tired, he said. . . 

Is Mike Joy a biased scientist? – Doug Edmeades:

It might have made good TV but it was, from my perspective at least, bad science. I’m referring to those pictures of Dr Mike Joy, a fresh water ecologist from Massey University, standing in the dry bed of Selwyn River lamenting about the poor state of New Zealand’s rivers.

Those pictures and his words perpetuate what appears to be his considered opinion that, when it comes to water quantity and quality, all roads lead to any combination of nitrogen, dairying and irrigation – intensification of dairying full stop.

From my reading and understanding of the science of water quality, noting that this is not my specialty, it seems to me that Dr Joy’s opinions on this subject are biased. I know some water quality experts who agree with this assessment. . . 

Orange roughy’s redemption celebrated at book launch:

The remarkable turnaround of New Zealand’s orange roughy fishery, long-hailed as an example of over-fishing, has been detailed in a book to be launched tonight in Wellington.

The book Roughy on the Rise was written by Tim Pankhurst, former editor of the Dominion Post and now Chief Executive of the fishing industry’s peak body, Seafood New Zealand.

It tells the story of the decline of the stocks by over fishing in the 1980s to the fisheries management that, last year, saw the fishery gain the global gold standard of sustainability by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). . . 


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