Rural round-up

August 28, 2015

New lecturer pursuing genetic gains – Sally Rae:

Phillip Wilcox credits time spent culling deer for the New Zealand Forest Service for his pragmatic perspective and love of the outdoors.

He now found that passion complementary to his primary sector relationships and technology transfer work.

Dr Wilcox has been appointed by Beef and Lamb New Zealand Genetics (BLNZG) as its inaugural senior lecturer in quantitative genetics at the University of Otago. . . 

Kiwi dairy farmers rethinking careers – Dave Gooselink:

Dairy farmers are being forced to reduce stock and slash costs to try to stay afloat, following the big drop in milk price payouts.

Some farmers are losing staff and taking on more of the work themselves, forcing some sharemilkers to rethink their careers. . . 

World-class soil programme ‘misused’:

A soil scientist who was involved in the initial development of the controversial nutrient management system, Overseer, agrees with critics who say it is being misused.

The computer software programme was designed to help in the assessment of nitrogen and other nutrient losses from farms.

Regional councils are now using Overseer as well to set nutrient discharge levels in their land and water plans.

Independent soil scientist and fertiliser consultant Doug Edmeades was a National Science Leader with AgResearch in the late 1980s and early 1990s when the Overseer concept was born.

He said the Overseer programme is world class – no other country has such a tool.

But Dr Edmeades said it was not being used in the role it was designed for and that it had never been intended to be used as a regulatory tool. . . 

Heartland potato chips a family affair – Audrey Malone:

Raymond Bowan fell in love with potato farming at the age of 17. Wife Adrienne laughs that it’s not potato farming her husband fell in love with, but potatoes in all their forms – mashed, baked, roasted, boiled baby potatoes (without butter so not to interfere with the taste) and of course as chips.

Raymond Bowan’s passion for potatoes and chips has seen Heartland Potato Chips take on the big boys at their own game. With its fifth birthday looming, changes are afoot at the helm but the recipe for success remains the same.

The company, which the Bowans describe as something of a David and Goliath story, has always been a family oriented business. It was started to sustain a family business and it remains central to family, with daughter Charlotte stepping into the role of general manager. . . 

Fonterra: Foreign investment in trees:

The German man felt it was time he checked on his tree.

He brought up his browser on his laptop, went to the Trees For Travellers website, entered his tree identification number and got the co-ordinates for his tree. Then, using Google Earth, he zoomed in on the Kaikoura track which was home to his sapling.

There it was, still protected by its combi-guard (funded by the Fonterra Grass Roots Fund) sheltering the young tree from the elements. He zoomed closer to locate the area and a message appeared telling him his tree was doing well.

If this all sounds a bit unusual, it is the quintessential symbiotic relationship where both parties benefit. Trees For Travellers offers New Zealand native trees for planting around Kaikoura – like many parts of this country a place where native trees have often given way to imported and pest varieties. . .

Italian farm family video wins the first global web video competition:

Sabrina Caldararo, Carmine Caldararo and Gerardo Graziano from Italy won the first prize with their video submission “A modern family farm”. More than 40 videos from 20 countries were submitted for the first YouFarm International video competition, which was initiated by Bayer CropScience in 2015.

“We are grateful our video won out of such a wide range of international videos. Our aim was to give insights into modern Italian farming and the value of regionally and traditionally produced products. It’s great that the online community as well as the jury appreciated our concept,” said Gerardo Graziano. Having been awarded the first prize, Gerardo and his brother in law will now start the “Farmers around the Continent Tour” through Asia. They will meet farmers, visit farms as well as a variety of agricultural sites and parks from tea plantations in Malaysia to vertical farms in Japan. . . 


Rural round-up

August 25, 2015

Five Otago entries for farmer of year award – Sally Rae:

Five Otago farming businesses are among those entered for the 2015 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year award.

Twelve entries have been received from throughout the South Island, including a West Coast farm for the first time in the history of the competition.

Operations range from sheep and beef farms to a marine mussel farm, saffron grower and fruit producer. . . 

Pipes full, water coming soon – Alan Williams:

The pipes are full and ready to start irrigating stage one of the Central Plains Water (CPW) scheme in Canterbury.

Once the control system was fully tested over the next few weeks the valves could be turned on, chief executive Derek Crombie said.

The official target date was September 1 but the practical timing for water to flow to most of the 120 farms involved would be late September or early October, depending on rainfall levels and ground temperatures. . . 

Science close to unlocking velvet’s secret:

New Zealand and South Korean scientists may soon be able to identify the compounds that give deer antler velvet its immune-boosting properties.

If successful, it would allow velvet extracts to be sold with a precise measure of the active ingredients they contain. Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) says this will be an important step in getting such products registered for sale as healthy functional foods. . . 

Conservation planting crowdfunded:

Crowdfunding might be better known for assisting fledgling businesses but it is also helping restore New Zealand waterways.

The Million Metres Streams Project, set up by the Sustainable Business Network in collaboration with Enspiral, is New Zealand’s first conservation crowdfunding initiative.  

Launched in October last year, the project gave people the opportunity to contribute to the restoration of waterways. It has already funded almost 5km of riparian restoration work. . . 

Deadly rattle detected in Cuban maracas:

Biosecurity staff detected a deadly rattle in a set of souvenir maracas carried by two air passengers arriving in New Zealand from Cuba.

The couple declared the Cuban percussion instruments to Ministry for Primary Industries biosecurity staff at Auckland airport earlier this month.

X-ray screening revealed the maracas used red seeds for their rattle. MPI later identified the seed asAbrus precatorius, commonly known as crab’s eye and rosary pea.

The seeds contain abrin, which is more toxic than ricin – a deadly poison associated with spies and biological weaponry. . . 

Feed field days address fluctuations:

Tips and information to help manage the ups and downs of fluctuating milk price will be provided at a series of DairyNZ events in September and October.

The Feed Tactics field days will focus on helping farmers get the best returns from all feeds used on farm.

The nationwide events follow on from one-on-one feed review visits which provided more than 750 farms with an assessment of feed allocation and grazing management in early spring. . . 

Commission reconvenes conference on wool scouring authorisation:

The Commerce Commission is to reconvene its conference on Cavalier Wool Holding Limited’s application for authorisation to acquire New Zealand Wool Services International’s wool scouring business.

The conference will be held on Tuesday 1 September to consider specific issues relating to property valuations, which form part of Cavalier’s application. . . 

GMO ‘Right to Know’ movement takes food off of plates of hungry in Africa, Asia – Michael Dzakovich:

One of the most contentious and polarizing issues today is the use of biotechnology in farming. While many farmers in industrialized countries have been safely and successfully using genetically engineered crops for almost two decades, adoption in the developing world has been significantly slower, only recently eclipsing the U.S. in terms of total acreage.

Many of these crops have been developed to produce naturally occurring nutritional compounds, resist aggressive diseases and tolerate extreme environmental conditions. The benefits of GE crops are not equitably spread throughout the developing world, as those in most critical need often cannot benefit from existing solutions created by public scientists. . . 

Dayton community harvests late farmer’s final crop – Taylor Viydo:

A community came together this week to help a family harvest the final crop of a local farmer who passed away from cancer.

Jim Hanger was still running a 5,000-acre family farm in Dayton when he passed away last week. He lost his battle to cancer at age 66.

“He was always on the tractor, the combines — if it was seeding, he was seeding. If it was harvest, he was harvesting,” said daughter Tracy Hanger. . .

Racheal Trail's photo.


Rural round-up

August 18, 2015

Dairying must take a long-term view – Chris Lewis:

There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Fonterra’s announcement last Friday was a blow.

The politics that followed was not surprising either, but disappointing nonetheless.

But underneath all that noise, what this means for our economy and what the government should be doing, are the dairy farmers directly affected.  Most importantly, we need to be talking about what this means for them and how we can support them.

While some dairy farm businesses will exit the industry following consecutive low pay-outs, the vast majority will be able to farm through the next few seasons with the support of their banks, but farmers need to engage. . .

NZ Pastures to sell off half its shares:

South Island farming operation New Zealand Pastures Ltd, which owns seven farms in Otago and Canterbury, has announced it is putting up half of its shares for sale.

New Zealand Pastures’ largest shareholder is a Netherlands-based pension fund, which will keep its 50 percent stake. The other shares are held by a small group of professional and institutional investors. . .

Rural insurer announces $26.7m profit:

The country’s largest rural insurer, Farmers Mutual Group, has announced an after tax profit of $26.7 million, its sixth consecutive profit.

Farmers Mutual Group (FMG) chief executive Chris Black said the result was underpinned by investment income of about $23 million.

“Eighty percent of our investments are cash and bonds, so very secure and relatively stable. We take a conservative view, and the other 20 percent is in equity investments. We use that profit in a range of ways, firstly adding to reserves.” . . .

Premium US beef supplier likes SFF – Sally Rae:

Lenny Lebovich has travelled the world to see where the best grass fed beef was to be found.

The founder and chief executive of Chicago based company Pre Beef ended up in New Zealand, where he talked to some key companies and felt his company had the most in common with Silver Fern Farms.

Mr Lebovich, who started his career as an investment banker and has traded that for a role in the meat industry, was looking for high quality beef. . .

Little bit of everything at Gore A&P’s fundraising ball – Sally Rae:

Whether you’re in the market for a Hereford or hay, fodder beet or firewood, the Gore A&P Association’s Spring Ball is the place to be.

The ball is being held in the James Cumming Wing on August 22 to raise money for 16 new horse boxes at the showgrounds. It was hoped about 200 people would attend.

The A&P committee needed to raise about $50,000 for the development, committee member Tryphena Carter said. . .

Kate Taylor's photo.


Rural round-up

August 11, 2015

Singer is loving country living – Sally Rae:

She’s opened for the Hollies and sung for Robert Kennedy jun – now Bex Murray is holed up in the Hakataramea Valley and she could not be happier.

Miss Murray (29) is living on a sheep and cattle farm with her fiance Tom Hayman while continuing to perform at gigs throughout the country at weekends.

She is also hoping to help inspire and motivate other young rural women by sharing ideas through Young Rural Ladies, a social media site she has set up with Sarah Connell, another newcomer to rural life, and which has quickly gained a following.

Originally from Lake Tekapo, where her family has been involved in tourism for most of her life, Miss Murray’s dream growing up was always to be a famous singer. . .

City girl goes country and loves it – Sally Rae:

It’s a long way from London to Livingstone.

So when Sarah Connell made the transition from big city living to remote rural life in North Otago, it was a monumental lifestyle change.

But the former urban girl is loving country life on sheep and cattle station Dome Hills, even though shifting break fences and stock is something she once never dreamed she would end up doing. . .

Top class tenderness from tough country – Kate Taylor:

Quiet stock with good genetics is the secret to the success of Gisborne farmer Tom Savage at this year’s Steak of Origin Awards.

A hereford/shorthorn steer from Tom and Linda Savage’s Poututu Station won the crossbred section at the annual nationwide competition in May.

It was a surprising win for the couple as Tom Savage says it was a last minute decision to enter the awards after a tough season. . .

Farmers woes blamed on short-term focus:

There are calls for banks to ensure the wellbeing of dairy farmers during the current crisis.

Fonterra has slashed its payout to $3.85 per kilogram of milk solids after another drop in global prices.

Rabobank analyst Hayley Moynihan says it’s important farmers manage to cope with the downturn.

“Banks take a very strong interest in the wellbeing of farmers, and they have an obligation to do so, and certainly a responsibility, because people can’t run their businesses and therefore the wellbeing of farmers is paramount.” . . .

NZ banks strong enough to weather downturn, dairy slump – Paul McBeth:

 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s lenders are in a strong enough position to weather slowing economic growth over the next year-and-a-half, while slumping dairy prices aren’t expected to pose as big a threat as they did in 2009, says Moody’s Investors Service.

The global rating agency has a stable outlook for the nation’s banking system, built on the expectation the country’s lenders will maintain strong asset quality and stable profitability in the face of a slowing economy. Moody’s anticipates slower gross domestic product growth of 2.9 percent in 2015 and 2.5 percent in 2016 as lower dairy prices crimp export incomes, though building activity in Auckland and Christchurch, persistently strong inbound net migration, and lower interest rates will support the economy. . .

Farmers to hold ‘urgent summit’ over milk prices:

Farming unions from across the UK will hold an “urgent summit” later to discuss milk prices, following widespread protests.

Some farmers are being paid less than the cost of production, the National Farmers’ Union says.

Protests have included removing large quantities of milk cartons from shops and blockading distribution centres. . .

New Zealand tourist providers should pay attention to advancements in Chinese agritourism –  Jason Young:

I’ve been incredibly lucky, over the last decade, to have the opportunity to travel regularly to China. In recent years, my research has turned to rural China allowing me to break out of the mega-cities and see some of the countryside.

During visits to farms and villages and by speaking with local academics, government officials and farmers, I’ve noticed the rise of Chinese agritourism. China has urbanised very fast. In the early 1980s roughly 200 million people lived in urban areas. Today the figure is closer to 700 million with projections of 1 billion urban dwellers by 2030.

Urban areas are often heavily populated, polluted and can lack green spaces. It is no surprise then to see people seeking ways of reconnecting with the natural environment and beginning to romanticise the image of a simpler rural life. . .

Breaking the cycle – farming sustainability requires change – Phil Beatson:

Albert Einstein once said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

The need for change in the dairy industry has prompted me to revise an article I originally wrote back in 1999 that is still very much relevant today.

When it comes to the ongoing economic welfare of today’s farmers – the backbone of New Zealand’s largest industry – all sectors must work together to create change. As history demonstrates, without change, we will continue to get the same results. . .

 


Rural round-up: payout edition

August 8, 2015

Fonterra forecasts $3.85:

Fonterra suppliers will get a total possible payout of $4.85/kg of milksolids this season – but there’s a catch.

The farmgate milk price is $3.85/kg MS with a predicted dividend of 40-50 cents then an extra 50 cents for each fully shared kilogram giving a total of $4.85/kg MS.

But the extra 50 cents is a loan, interest-free for up to two years, which farmers will have to apply for. Farmers would have to pay the money back when the Farmgate Milk Price or Advance Rate went above $6/kg MS.

Shareholders’ Council Welcomes Fonterra Shareholder Support Package Announced as Milk Price Plummets:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Duncan Coull said the Co-operatives unique position has enabled it to provide assistance to its farmers in these tough times. The announced support package in the form of an interest free loan of 50 cents per kgMS for production between June and December will help farmers get through the tough times ahead.

While Fonterra Farmers were expecting a drop in the forecast Milk Price (down $ 1.40 per kg/MS to $ 3.85) it does not make today’s announcement any easier to bear. The dividend forecast of 40 – 50 cents per share lifts the total available for payout to $4.25 – $ 4.35 per kgMs. The retention policy means that the forecast Cash Payout for the season would be in the range of $ 4.15 – $ 4.20 for a fully shared up farmer. . .

Interest-free loans soften payout hit – Fran O’Sullivan:

Fonterra’s top brass cooked up a $430 million parachute so that the dairy co-operative could offer farmers a cushion for yesterday’s brutal cut to the forecast milk payment.

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings and chief financial officer Lukas Paravicini began work on the deal five to six days ago along with a couple of the co-operative’s farmer directors.

The upshot was that the Fonterra board was able to yesterday tick off a plan to leverage savings from the company’s transformation project and pump them out to farmers in the form of interest free loans. . .

Plan – do more and work longer – Neal Wallace:

Gerald Holmes concedes he will be a grumpy employer this milking season.

The Taieri dairy farmer has been through downturns before and said the biggest change he will make on his 600-cow farm is to become more self-sufficient.

“It is easy to say no to everything regardless of how reasonable the expense is.”

Gone this season are the days of calling in a plumber, mechanic or electrician to repair equipment.  . .

Times just get tougher for dairy industry – Sally Rae:

”If it continues into next year, … it’s going to be ugly for a lot of people. There will be casualties eventually.”

That was the sobering response of Berwick dairy farmer Mark McLennan on a day dubbed ”Black Friday” for the dairy industry, with Fonterra slashing its 2015-16 forecast price to $3.85 per kg of milk solids, the lowest figure since 2002.

DairyNZ’s latest analysis showed an average farmer needed $5.40 per kg to break even. . .

Fonterra revises down milk price to $3.85 – Tao Lin  and Gerald Piddock:

Fonterra’s decision to slash the price it pays its farmers for milk solids will wipe $2.5 billion off the economy, an analyst says.

Fonterra has cut its milk price forecast to $3.85 per kilogram of milk solids, down from $5.25.

Fonterra has also announced it will provide an estimated $430 million in financial support for farmers to help them cope with the low payout. . .

It is tough down on the farm – Regan Schoultz:

Craig Maxwell, his wife Kathy, and their daughter Penelope have been living on their dairy farm in Paparimu just south of Auckland for 25 years.

It is a big part of who they are as people and a lot of time, blood and sweat has been poured into it.

News of Fonterra’s announcement, informing New Zealanders that the farmgate milk price is set at $3.85, is not welcome.

“It is obviously disappointing but not surprising,” he said. “Nobody is going to be shocked by that figure, but no one is going to be happy.” . .

Milk price drop will have big impact on rural communities:

Rural businesses, not just dairy farmers, will feel a big impact from Fonterra’s announcement today that its 2015-16 Forecast Farmgate Milk Price is reducing from $5.25 to $3.85, says industry body DairyNZ.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says the drop means a further reduction of $150,000 for the average dairy farm income for this season. “The harsh reality of this announcement is that Fonterra farmers won’t actually receive $4.25-$4.35 because of the way the payment system works. It’s likely to be more like $3.65,” he says. (see graph below for more details)

“The effect on the level of payments over a season will keep farmers’ cash income constrained for at least the next 18 months and it will take some farmers many years to recover from these low milk prices. . .

Massive fluctations in milk price show NZ’s dairy model ‘flawed’, Landcorp boss Carden says – Paul McBeth:

 (BusinessDesk) – A $4.55 swing in the forecast milk price paid to farmers over two seasons shows there’s something wrong with New Zealand’s dairy model, which is centred around farmer-owned Fonterra Cooperative Group, and it needs to change, says Landcorp Farming chief executive Steve Carden.

Fonterra today slashed $1.40 from its forecast payout to farmers to $3.85 per kilogram of milk solids, below the 2015 season’s $4.40/kgMS and less than half the record $8.40/kgMS paid in 2014. A slump in global milk prices through the course of the year had markets primed for a reduced payout, and state-owned Landcorp, the country’s biggest farmer, was pleased to lock in as much as it could at Fonterra’s $5.25/kgMS guaranteed milk price for the current season.

Landcorp’s Carden said the Wellington-based state-owned enterprise had been anticipating a weak revision for a while, so today’s result wasn’t a surprise. . .

Government should fast-track rural infrastructure to assist dairy regions:

Federated Farmers wants the Government to fast-track its infrastructure projects in dairy regions to assist local economies through the downturn in dairy prices.

Fonterra has announced its forecast Farmgate Milk Price for 2015/16 of $3.85 per kilo of milk solids. In late July last year Fonterra’s forecast price was at $6 per kilo for the 2014/15 season.

Federated Farmers Dairy Spokesperson Andrew Hoggard says small scale rural service industries, such as engineering or contracting, in some instances might be hit harder than the dairy farmers they traditionally rely on for work. . .

‘Black Friday’ will mean huge debt for farmers – Emma Jolliff:

Today has been dubbed ‘Black Friday’ not just for dairy farmers, but the whole New Zealand economy.

Fonterra has slashed its forecast payout to farmers to $3.85 per kilogram of milk solids, which is well below the break-even rate of $5.70.

Economists say it could strip $1.5 billion or more out of the New Zealand economy.

Sally Bosch has been sharemilking for eight years.  She knew a drop in the payout was coming, but not one this big. . .

Farmers cashing up assets – Dene Mackenzie:

Otago dairy farmers are selling what they can to generate cash flow as they face up to an immediate prospect of lower milk payout prices for the next 18 months to two years.

Holiday homes, second cars and unneeded plant and equipment have been the first on the block but accountants contacted yesterday by the Otago Daily Times say more, harder decisions will need to be made by some farmers.

Fonterra will this afternoon announce what many expect to be a sharply downgraded milk payout forecast for the current season. . .

 

 

 


Rural round-up

August 4, 2015

Experienced Southland farmers pave the way for young talent:

A group of leading Southland farmers have identified the pressing need to develop young farming talent in order to secure a sustainable future for the region’s agricultural industry, as well as New Zealand’s farming sector overall.

The issue of attracting and retaining young people in farming and agriculture has seen central Southland dairy farmer Anita de Wolde join with other local farmers to develop the ‘Ag Pathways’ network.

These farmers form Rabobank’s Southland Client Council, who collectively recognise that one of the most pressing needs for the region is drawing talented young people to the agricultural industry. . .

 

Showing Ayrshire cattle fine hobby – Sally Rae:

Bruce Eade doesn’t go fishing or own a boat.

Instead, the West Otago dairy farmer’s hobby is showing the family’s Ayrshire cattle, a breed he has been involved with all his life.

Mr Eade (35) was presented with an achiever award at Ayrshire New Zealand’s annual conference in Invercargill, along with Kelly Allison, who farms on the Taieri. . .

Not the GDT, but the DIRA – Andrew Hoggard:

I imagine everyone will be assuming this article is going to be about the falls in the Global Dairy Trade, and potential downgrade to come of the Fonterra farmgate milkprice.

But honestly, I have not only been talking about this for the past year, I have also been living it as well.  I’ve been constantly redoing budgets and thinking about strategies, because as some people seem to forget,  I’m a dairy farmer second – family comes first, and then a farmer politician third.

So, I would much rather talk about something slightly different. . .

August a peak period for farm injuries:

Farmers are being reminded of the risks posed by livestock and vehicles during calving as historically the number of injuries on dairy farms rocket up in August.

Although there are relatively few incidents causing injuries on farms in June, this number doubles in July and then more than doubles again in August. Dairy farmers in particular are more likely to be injured by cows in August than in any time of the year.

The two main injuries are to the lower back and neck, and the two main causes are being kicked, stood on or bitten by animals, or muscular stress from lifting or carrying. . .

 

Paying your Children to work on the farm:

Whether it be feeding the calves after school or docking lambs, working on the family farm is a quintessential rural New Zealand right of passage for many kiwi kids.

On top of helping mum and dad out it’s a great way to learn some practical skills for a future career in the industry, not to mention perfect for saving up a bit of pocket money for those weekend trips to the big city or tertiary study.

For farming parents it’s easy to see the children as a ready source of labour for love, however Crowe Horwath Agri Tax Expert Tony Marshall, himself a former family farm child employee, has a word of caution, suggesting “We may be dealing with family, but there are certain rules that need to be followed when it comes to paying your children for work undertaken on the family farm”. . .

 

New construction signals a global focus for leading Waikato -Manuka Honey producers SummerGlow Apiaries:

Waikato-based SummerGlow Apiaries have taken on a new major construction project at their Waikato property.

The new building will expand SummerGlow Apiaries production capabilities providing more genuine Manuka honey to meet the increasing demands of a global market.

Nestled in the Waikato heartland, Manuka Honey Producers SummerGlow Apiaries have been establishing themselves as the number one global brand for genuine Manuka Honey. . .


Rural round-up

August 3, 2015

Ballance delivers cash to shareholders up front:

. . . Farm nutrient co-operative Ballance Agri-Nutrients has fast-tracked its 2014/15 rebate and dividend payment to get much-needed cash to farmers early.

On 31 July, the co-operative will begin its distribution of an average $60 per tonne, seven weeks ahead of its normal payment schedule. The rebate, averaging $55.83 a tonne along with a 10 cent dividend per share will see a total distribution to shareholders of $76 million – equating to 94 percent of its $81 million gross trading result.

Chairman David Peacocke said today that the co-operative’s solid performance meant it could support its shareholders and move quickly to do so. . .

Mixing style, substance and ambition – Sally Rae:

Chanelle Purser is possibly the most stylish calf rearer in Crookston.

Her fur jacket might usually remain in the wardrobe while she is in the calf shed, but brightly painted fingers dispense milk to hungry charges.

Mrs Purser (42) is somewhat of a dynamo, farming with her husband Phil in West Otago and running a successful retail business in Gore, but she takes it all in her well-manicured stride. . .

Strong demand for good farm dogs – Diane Bishop:

A shortage of good working dogs pushed prices up at the Gore dog sale.

PGG Wrightson Gore livestock manager Mark Cuttance said the top heading dogs fetched $5500 to $5700 while the top huntaways made about $5600 at the sale on Wednesday July 29.

Cuttance wasn’t surprised.

“We expect that sort of money for the top end dogs,” he said.

Cuttance said there was a shortage of good working dogs, because of less shepherds on the land, and vendors saw the Gore dog sale as the perfect opportunity to achieve market value for their dogs in a competitive environment. . . .

Mid Canterbury farmland sold to foreign-owned Craigmore Farming – Jack Montgomerie:

A company associated with a South Canterbury rich-lister has bought more Canterbury farmland.

An Overseas Investment Office decision released on Friday stated the 95 per cent foreign-owned Craigmore Farming NZ Limited Partnership had received approval to buy 83 hectares of land.

Craigmore planned to incorporate the cropping land on New Park Rd, located about 15 kilometres southwest of Ashburton, into its Wairepo dairy farm operation. . .

End the squabbling over free range – David Leyonhjelm:

TO scramble the metaphors, various thin-shelled types are running around like headless chooks over free-range eggs, proclaiming the sky will fall if the law doesn’t tell us all what the term means.

Facts and evidence are as scarce as hen’s teeth, while market forces are disappearing faster than a randy rooster.

The cause is the fact that consumers are increasingly choosing free-range eggs over cage eggs. There are no health, welfare, nutritional or environmental advantages to this. Cage and free-range eggs are no different, although free-range eggs are more likely to be contaminated by chook poo. . .

 Pretty Woman protecting soils:

JULIA Roberts is getting dirty with the aim of helping agriculture.

The Academy Award winner and star of such films as Pretty Woman and Mystic Pizza, has become the latest in a line of international VIPs to call for action to protect soils.

The Hollywood actress has become the newest face of the Save Our Soils initiative, following in the footsteps of several dedicated environmentalists including the Dalai Lama, Bishop Desmond Tutu, activist Vandana Shiva and conservationist Douglas Tompkins. . .

Green dilemma – a GE rice that reduces greenhouse gas emissions – Kiwiblog:

This will pose a dilemma for the Greens. Scientists have developed a genetically engineered rice crop that has significantly reduced methane (the most powerful greenhouse gas) emissions over normal rice.

So if the Greens truly believe their rhetoric that greenhouse gas emissions are the biggest threat to Earth today, surely this means they will drop their opposition to genetically engineered crops and welcome this GE rice?

Nature Magazine reports:

Atmospheric methane is the second most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide, and is responsible for about 20% of the global warming effect since pre-industrial times1, 2. Rice paddies are the largest anthropogenic methane source and produce 7–17% of atmospheric methane2, 3. Warm waterlogged soil and exuded nutrients from rice roots provide ideal conditions for methanogenesis in paddies with annual methane emissions of 25–100-million tonnes3, 4. This scenario will be exacerbated by an expansion in rice cultivation needed to meet the escalating demand for food in the coming decades4.  . .

Apropos of which with a hat tip to Utopia:


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