Rural round-up

10/08/2022

‘Wet Coast’ cow cockies say ‘get off the grass’ to new rules – Lois Williams:

When stock wintering rules designed to protect waterways were imposed on a century-old South Island dairying property, the owners bet their nest egg on building an enormous barn

It wasn’t the mother of all floods in 2013 that convinced West Coast dairy farmers Matt and Carmel O’Regan to move their cows indoors.

Nor was it the latest summer deluge in February, when the old flood gauge at Inangahua Landing vanished from sight under muddy waters, along with thousands of hectares of farmland.

After three generations at Coal Creek, the family is used to floods. . . 

Time for Kiwi arable farmers to shine – Jacqueline Rowarth:

New Zealand arable farmers are using science and technology to produce good food for the least impact, it’s time this was recognised, Dr Jacqueline Rowarth writes.

Three-quarters of the bread sold in New Zealand is made from grain grown overseas.

This might be a surprise to some people, but, like the 60 per cent of pork products (85 per cent of ham and bacon) consumed in New Zealand but not produced here, overseas countries can sometimes operate more cheaply than we can in New Zealand.

Sometimes that is because of environmental conditions enabling greater yields, and sometimes it is standards in regulations around environment, welfare and employment that make the difference. Sometimes it is everything. Labelling doesn’t always make origin clear. . . 

Wetland rules threaten access to Defence Force, electricity infrastructure – Emma Hatton:

The Defence Force and electricity lines companies have become unintended allies as they both grapple with wetland rules that make it harder for them to access their own infrastructure

Rules brought in two years ago via the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management and National Environmental Standards for Freshwater focused on protecting and restoring natural wetlands.

But groups including property developers, mining and quarrying companies and those with existing infrastructure in and around wetland areas argued they were too prohibitive.

The Ministry for the Environment consulted late last year and recently proposed changes that make concessions to some of the concerns, including creating consenting pathways for mining, quarrying and landfills. . . 

Leading the charge for wool – Sally Rae:

Last month, Greg Smith marked his first year as chief executive of carpet company Bremworth. He talks to business editor Sally Rae about his desire to help reinvigorate New Zealand’s strong wool industry. 

Growing up, a young Greg Smith never imagined he would end up running a carpet company.

Mind you, he also never contemplated jewellery as a career — “or woolly undies either”.

What he did want to do was the “right thing” and that was reinforced when he neared a key life stage — he turns 50 this year — and he contemplated what his children would say their father did. . .

Awards a morale boost for the arable industry says title winner :

The freshly-crowned Arable Farmer of the Year says winning the award was a surprise, but it is a confidence-booster.

David Birkett, who farms at Leeston, Canterbury, took out the title at last night’s New Zealand Arable Awards in Christchurch.

He said he was not expecting to win.

“The other finalists were exceptional people as well and it was a really tough competition,” he said. “I was surprised.” . . .

Government and Ngāi Tahu work together on regenative farming project – Sally Murphy:

Ngāi Tahu and the government have joined forces on a new project to validate the science of regenerative farming.

The seven year research programme will compare side-by-side dairy farms to assess the environmental impacts of their practices.

One 286-hectare farm will use regenerative farming practices while the adjacent 330-hectare farm will use conventional methods.

Both farms will have a stocking rate of 3.2 cows per hectare. . .

Dying to Feed You: Grace suffered multiple broken bones – Johann Tasker:

Grace Addyman suffered multiple broken bones when she was hit by falling bales at her family farm.

She tells us what happened on that day, the difficult surgery that followed and how she considers herself the “luckiest unlucky person ever”.

It had been a wet summer and it was near the end of July. We’d cut the hay and it had been baled that day.

We were enjoying the weather, watching the baler go around the field and then bringing the hay in. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

04/07/2022

Wrestling with methane metrics – Keith Woodford:

The methane debate is more about politics, policy and value judgements than it is about science

In my previous article, I explained how there is much controversy about how methane should be compared to carbon dioxide in terms of global warming. The problem arises because methane is a powerful greenhouse gas but it lasts only a short time in the atmosphere. In contrast, carbon dioxide is a weak greenhouse gas but it lasts much longer. Also, there is a lot more carbon dioxide than methane released into the atmosphere.

Big problems arise when methane is shoe-horned into carbon dioxide equivalence. Here I will explain some of the problems.

First, many people will be surprised that this issue of carbon-dioxide equivalence and the associated controversy is not really about the science. Scientists understand the nonsense of trying to estimate how many apples it takes to equate to one orange, with the answer depending totally on the chosen measures. Similarly, scientists understand that methane has a totally different emission profile than carbon dioxide and there is no simple equivalence measure. . . 

Golden milk price may drop, costs rise – Tim Cronshaw:

The gloss of two $9-plus payouts for dairy farmers is being robbed by rising farm costs and a build-up of environmental changes.

A record starting point for a payout of $9 a kilogram of milk solids is being advanced for the 2022/23 dairy season by dairy giant Fonterra and Canterbury-based Synlait Milk.

This follows Fonterra’s forecast range of $9.10/kg to $9.50/kg for this season, with a mid-point of $9.30/kg, that’s being matched by Synlait.

Analysts cautiously support the new-season mark despite a mixed bag at the Global Dairy Trade auction and a hazy horizon created by Covid-19, freighting headaches, Ukraine’s invasion by Russia and rampant inflation. . . 

Helping farmers do more with less – Rabiya Abbasi:

The fourth agricultural revolution promises to grow more food on less land while feeding more people, says Rabiya Abbasi

With cornstalks swaying on a gentle breeze and cattle in quiet contemplation of the cud, a farm would not seem to be a hotbed of revolution. But make no mistake, agriculture is squarely in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution. Emergent, game-changing technologies are driving economic, environmental, and social change in the global food system. And in the face of rising hunger, populations and a changing climate, everyone from policy-makers to billionaires is paying attention.

The US Association of Equipment Manufacturers published a study in February 2022 investigating how new technologies may help farmers do more with less. On average, new technology triallers achieved a 4 percent increase in crop production, 7 percent reduction in fertiliser use, 9 percent reduction in herbicide use, 6 percent reduction in fossil fuel use, and 4 percent reduction in water use.

Farmers are applying Internet of Things (IoT) technology to track crops remotely, using sensors to detect weed growth, water levels and pest invasion. And we’re not only seeing this on traditional farmlands. Farm66, inside a Hong-Kong skyscraper, is using IoT to help manage a 2000-square-metre indoor farm. The IoT-enabled agricultural industry is estimated to reach US$4.5 billion by 2025. . . 

Otago property native carbon groundbreaker- Sally Rae:

An Otago station is one of the first properties to receive Native CarbonCrop Units through Nelson-founded climate tech startup CarbonCrop.

CarbonCrop, which was established in 2020, yesterday launched Native CarbonCrop Units (CCUs) to enable landowners with native reforestation to access revenue, outside the Emissions Trading Scheme.

The company worked with 15 landowners throughout the country in a pre-launch pilot and more than 5000 CCUs were certified for 631ha of native regeneration, worth about $260,000 at current prices, a statement from the company said.

More than $140,000 of those credits have been sold via the Carbonz platform to companies including Christchurch Airport, Heilala Vanilla and Les Mills. . . 

NZ cheese industry facing uncertainty as NZ Champions of Cheese Awards 2022 announced :

As the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards Trophy-Winners were announced the specialty cheese industry is facing uncertainty with the announcement of a Free Trade Agreement with Europe.

New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association board member Daniel Shields said was New Zealand has bowed to EU pressure and given way on key cheese names. Of particular concern is the loss of the cheese name Feta. However, negotiators have agreed on a nine year lead time for this change.

“It’s a mixed bag for New Zealand’s specialty cheesemakers. Particularly concerning is that Europe has succeeded in including the right to restrict new names at a future date. This creates uncertainty and makes it hard for New Zealand operators to invest in their businesses with confidence when the threat of a loss of equity in the intellectual property of traditional cheese names looms.”

New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association (NZSCA) chair Catherine McNamara saying local cheesemakers are worried about their future. . . 

Animal and Plant Health industry Association name change :

The industry association representing more than 90 percent of New Zealand’s crop protection and animal health industries has a new name. Animal and Plant Health New Zealand was previously called Agcarm and recently joined forces with the Animal Remedy and Plant Protectant Association.

The association represents a one-billion-dollar industry with a value of $20 billion to the New Zealand economy. It also represents rural retailer businesses and associate members.

Animal and Plant Health NZ chief executive Mark Ross says the organisation’s mission is “to protect and enhance the health of crops and animals through innovation and the responsible use of quality products”.

“We help New Zealand provide a safe and secure food supply by introducing softer and more innovative technologies for managing pests and disease – while minimising their effects on the environment.” Animal welfare is also a key driver for the organisation – “from production animals to our pets at home,” adds Ross. . . 


Rural round-up

30/06/2022

Forestry Amendment Bill fails to achieve fairness :

New rules fall short of delivering a level playing field when overseas investors buy our farmland for forestry, Federated Farmers says.

It’s a “step in the right direction” to scrap the much-criticised special forestry test, Feds Gisborne-Wairoa President Toby Williams said. Instead, overseas investors purchasing farmed land for conversion to forestry would be required to meet the Overseas Investment Office ‘general benefit to New Zealand test’.

“But it will continue to be an uneven land-use playing field because investors buying farmland to continue to raise crops and livestock run up against the much more stringent Farm Land Benefit test.”

Speaking to the Finance & Expenditure Select Committee on the Overseas Investment (Forestry) Amendment Bill this morning, Toby said the general benefit test that would apply to farmland to forestry conversions “provides a slightly higher hurdle but it is nothing like as onerous as the farmland test. . . 

Farmers can reduce emissions and reach the 2030 targets – Kelly Forster:

Those who criticise He Waka Eke Noa for relying on ‘unproven technofixes’ ignore New Zealand’s very strong history of agricultural innovation, argues Kelly Forster

Opinion: On a stud sheep farm in Southland, Leon and Wendy Black are breeding low-methane-emitting rams, which Leon says gives farmers a viable option for reducing their methane emissions.

As Leon says, we now have the tools to measure methane production, and through tweaking the genetics the right way, we can reduce emissions in small incremental steps, improving every generation.

Over three breeding generations this could reduce a farm’s methane emissions between 5 percent and 10 percent. . . 

Otago property native carbon groundbreaker – Sally Rae:

An Otago station is one of the first properties to receive Native CarbonCrop Units through Nelson-founded climate tech startup CarbonCrop.

CarbonCrop, which was established in 2020, yesterday launched Native CarbonCrop Units (CCUs) to enable landowners with native reforestation to access revenue, outside the Emissions Trading Scheme.

The company worked with 15 landowners throughout the country in a pre-launch pilot and more than 5000 CCUs were certified for 631ha of native regeneration, worth about $260,000 at current prices, a statement from the company said.

More than $140,000 of those credits have been sold via the Carbonz platform to companies including Christchurch Airport, Heilala Vanilla and Les Mills. . . 

Counting our farming emissions – Sharon Brettkelly:

There are plenty of farmers out there doing everything they can to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. The Detail takes a trip to a dairy farm in south Waikato to find out how one farming couple is doing it.

“It’s a beast,” says Tokoroa dairy farmer George Moss.  

He’s not talking about one of his cows – he’s talking about the job of understanding, counting and cutting greenhouse gas emissions from the farm he runs with his wife, Sharon. 

New Zealand will be the first country in the world to price emissions at the farmgate, if the agriculture sector’s plan – He Waka Eke Noa – is agreed to by the government.  . . 

2022 kiwifruit harvest complete :

The 2022 harvest of New Zealand’s largest horticultural produce, kiwifruit, is now largely complete with almost all 2,800 growers’ orchards from Kerikeri in the north to Motueka in the south picked for consumers. The 2022 season was expected to have a record-breaking crop of at least 190 million trays of kiwifruit, overtaking last year’s record of over 177 million trays. On average, each tray has around 30 pieces of kiwifruit. However, revisions in the forecast indicate that this year’s volume will be below 2021. Current thought to the reduction is due to labour supply, crop loading and weather. Investigation is this space is ongoing.

2022 also marks the first year that Zespri’s new RubyRed kiwifruit was picked as a commercial variety, which was then followed by the gold and green varieties. The sweet, berry-tinged tasting red kiwifruit was picked for supermarket shelves in New Zealand and overseas markets.

Despite the uncertainty of seasonal labour supply at the beginning of the year, all growers had the opportunity to have their kiwifruit picked and packed. The success of the 2022 kiwifruit harvest hinged on the ability for industry’s supply chain to operate effectively with a restricted labour supply under the changing COVID-19 settings. The 24,000 seasonal workers required to pick and pack the crop were restricted due to COVID-19 infection rates as well as closed borders which limited the 6,500 backpackers traditionally utilised for harvest operations.

CEO of New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. (NZKGI), Colin Bond says that experience of COVID-19 from the two previous seasons gave the kiwifruit industry the foresight to streamline processes across the supply chain to mitigate foreseeable risks. . . 

New AgWorkNZ initiative aims to fill NZ’s extreme agri-worker shortages :

New worker placement initiative Ag Work NZ aims to fill New Zealand’s huge farm worker and tractor driver shortages for our thriving primary industry. Ag Work NZ is affiliated with rural driver training provider Ag Drive, and will bring experienced staff over from the UK, Ireland and Europe on holiday working visas, following the reopening of NZ’s borders.

Director Andre Syben says the launch of Ag Work NZ is perfectly timed to fill the extreme farm worker shortages in New Zealand, while capitalising on the re-opening of NZ borders after the Covid-19 pandemic closures.

“What we’re hearing from New Zealand farmers and agricultural contractors is that they’re desperate for staff,” says Syben.

Northern hemisphere workers will be recruited by Ag Works’ own UK-based team, who will interview and screen workers. Then, in conjunction with Ag Works NZ-based recruitment team, potential workers will be matched with NZ farm and agricultural employers for an online interview. . . 

 


Rural round-up

22/06/2022

Rural backbone of regions expected to stand up better to economic woes:

Rural economies are expected to outperform their urban counterparts in the year ahead, due to the strong demand for agricultural exports.

Westpac Bank’s annual Regional Roundup report forecasts economic growth would slow in the year ahead, as high inflation and rising interest rates put pressure on household budgets.

But the severity of the slowdown would be felt differently across the country.

The outlook for the cities, in particular Wellington and Auckland, would be challenging because they had two of the worst performing housing markets in recent months. . . 

Farmers urged to tell their stories, develop brand – Sally Rae:

“Farmers are the world’s rock stars.”

That was the message from entrepreneur Justine Ross to more than 400 farmers, industry representatives and sponsors attending the two-day South Island Dairy Event (Side) in Oamaru yesterday.

But farmers also needed to be brave “and a little bit louder” as they were terrible at telling their stories, which consumers around the world were craving to hear.

“They want to hear about your farms, hear about your life. They want to know you,” Mrs Ross said. . . 

NZI Rural Women NZ Business Awards 2022 open :

The NZI Rural Women NZ Business Awards 2022 are now open for entries.

The Awards, run by Rural Women New Zealand and insurance company NZI, take place each year and are designed to celebrate rural women entrepreneurs.

Rural Women New Zealand national president Gill Naylor says the Awards are a great opportunity to showcase the contributions rural women entrepreneurs make to rural communities.

“We are delighted that NZI will join us for the sixth year as our Premier Partner in presenting the Awards. . . 

Science and genetics boost Fernside farm :

Fernside dairy farmer Julie Bradshaw has applied learnings from a five-year National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) irrigation study to make science-based decisions while also using genetics to improve her herd with the overall goal of reducing the farm’s environmental footprint.

Julie is participating in a six-month farming innovation project, which examines how the next generation of farmers are using innovative approaches to improve their farming practices. Waimakariri Landcare Trust (WLT) and Waimakariri Irrigation Limited (WIL) have partnered with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for the project, with support from MPI’s Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund along with Environment Canterbury, Ballance, and DairyNZ.

From 2016 to 2021 Julie and a group of five neighbouring farmers participated in a co-innovation study which provided landowners with real time data and forecasts to make science-based irrigation decisions.

The data included measured rainfall, soil moisture, soil temperature, drainage, and estimated evaporation as well as two, six and 15-day rainfall and weather forecasts. . . 

Laura Marston from Craggy Range takes out Hawkes Bay 2022 Corveta Young Vit title :

Congratulations to Laura Martson from Craggy Range who took out the title of Corteva Hawke’s Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year 2022.

The competition took place in the stunning Paritua vineyards in Bridge Pa Triangle on 16 June 2022 with eight contestants competing for the title.

Congratulations also goes to Douw Grobler from Trinity Hill who came second and Robbie Golding from Crab Farm, who came third.

The judges commented on the professional and positive attitude of all the contestants and that there are many passionate and talented young people in the Hawke’s Bay wine industry. The other contestants were Daniel Brewster from AONZ, Jamie Scoon from Te Mata, Joseph Stenberg from Woodthorpe Terraces and Jessica Sunderland-Wells and Sarah St George, both from Villa Maria. . .

Innovative Pāmu deer milk product wins prestigious global award :

Pāmu’s awarding winning Deer Milk won the Best Dairy Ingredient category at the World Dairy Innovation Awards, announced in Laval, France overnight.

Pāmu Chief Executive Mark Leslie says the win in these prestigious awards is a validation of the hard work and innovation that has gone into creating an all-new product for the agri-sector.

“All New Zealanders, as shareholders in Pāmu should be really proud of this win, at what is essentially the World Cup for the dairy sector.

“Our deer milk product has been steadily growing in popularity among high end chefs and as a unique new ingredient in cosmetics. But that’s not where it ends. . . 


Rural round-up

14/06/2022

“We should all be so proud” farmers reflect on year – Sally Rae:

Dynamic is a great word to describe New Zealand’s dairy farmers in 2022, South Island Dairy Event committee chairwoman Anna Wakelin says.

That was why it had been chosen as the theme for Side, the South Island’s largest dairy event which got under way in Oamaru yesterday.

“We are a dynamic industry and want the best for our animals, land and people,” Mrs Wakelin said.

She and her husband Tony farm in South Canterbury and she was proud to produce nourishing food for the world. . . 

Pupils making most of rural trades pathway – Kayla Hodge:

Waitaki Girls’ High School is giving pupils a pathway to the rural sector.

The Oamaru secondary school set up a trades academy last year, allowing pupils the opportunity to get hands-on experience working on various farms throughout the district.

Four pupils took part last year and seven have joined the initiative this year.

At present, the year 11 and 12 pupils mostly spend time on dairy farms, learning different skills from fencing and driving quad bikes and tractors, to spraying and milking. They are now getting ready to help farmers with calf rearing. . .

Why farmers are hard done by with HWEN :

A scheme proposed to be an alternative to putting agricultural biological emissions in to the ETS named He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) has been presented to the Government. The scheme developed by some farming groups and a Māori organization is an attempt to head off the growing pressure for these biological emissions from livestock to be included in the ETS.

This pressure arises because farmers are constantly blamed for producing nearly half our carbon emissions, mainly from the methane ruminant livestock produce as a by product of the digestive process.

What Is not said about these emissions however is that the carbon emissions produced by livestock are very different to the carbon emissions produced by burning fossil fuel.

Carbon emissions from livestock do not cause the warming fossil sourced carbon emissions do. . .

Wool supplement helps heal wounds – Annette Scot:

Research by a United States plastic surgeon has given New Zealand’s coarse wool the opportunity to build more value for growers while helping heal wounds.

Wool sourced from sheep in NZ contains higher levels of a scleroprotein called keratin, a key structural material that protects epithelial cells from damage.

Kiri10 managing director Natalie Harrison says NZ keratin is used in dermatological treatments in dozens of countries around the world for the clinical management of wounds and severe burns, including those injured during the White Island eruption.

But the concept of consuming wool to provide a health benefit for humans is still in its infancy but is showing significant promise. . .

It’s crunch time in Kiwi-grown peanut trial :

Local peanut butter maker Pic Picot is hopeful that outcomes of the Kiwi peanut crop will bring him one step closer to a 100 per cent New Zealand-made nutty spread.

The harvest of field trial peanut crops in Northland is nearing completion this week as part of a project looking into the feasibility of commercially growing the nuts in New Zealand.

It’s the first year of a $1 million project funded by Picot Productions (makers of Pic’s Peanut Butter), Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund and Northland Inc, following a successful one-year feasibility study in 2021.

If the trial proves successful it would have significant positive impacts for the region – generating jobs both on- and off-farm, pumping funds into the local economy and supporting investment opportunities. . .

 

Jacob Coombridge wins the 2022 Central Otago Young Grower competition :

Jacob Coombridge, a 22-year-old Orchard Supervisor at Webb’s Fruit, has won the 2022 Central Otago Young Grower competition.

The competition tested the eight contestant’s fruit and vegetable growing knowledge as well as the skills needed to be a successful grower. Contestants completed modules in irrigation, pests and disease identification, safe tractor operating, first aid, soil and fertilisers and risk management.

“It’s so awesome to have so many people from the industry along to support us,” says Jacob.

“Like all farming, working on an orchard can be isolating at times, but it’s awesome that competitions like this are able to bring everyone together. We’ve got a great grower community, and everyone has been really supportive of all of us as contestants. . .

 


Rural round-up

06/06/2022

Rural water schemes should remain in private ownershi – working gorup  – Russell Palmer:

Privately owned rural water supplies should be able to keep managing themselves, rather than handing over to the Three Waters entities, a working group has recommended.

By 2028, rural suppliers will be required to abide by the stronger standards being brought in by the water regulator set up in March last year, Taumata Arowai.

The Rural Supplies Technical working group was set up by the government to advise on how the water system reforms would handle rural supply schemes, and has made 30 recommendations.

Privately owned rural suppliers number in the tens of thousands, and the group urged the government to allow these to continue under their current management. . . 

Ikea’s owners buying 1118ha for forestry – Sally Rae:

Companies associated with Ingka Group, the largest franchisee of Ikea stores internationally, have received consent to buy more sheep and beef farming land in the South to convert to forestry.

Yesterday, the Overseas Investment Office released its April decisions, including a successful application by Ingka Investments Forest Assets NZ and Ingka Investments Management NZ, from the Netherlands, to acquire about 1118ha of land on Koneburn Rd at Waimumu.

The applicants were owned by Ingka Investments B.V., the investment arm of Ingka Group, one of 12 different groups of companies that own the Swedish furniture and homeware giant.

In a statement, the company stressed the property — like its other two New Zealand acquisitions — would be planted in plantation forestry, not used for carbon farming. . . 

The fight against Mycoplasma bovis – Sarah Robson:

No other country has done it before, but New Zealand is on the brink of eradicating the cattle disease mycoplasma bovis. It’s come at a heavy emotional and financial cost to farmers – what lessons can be learned?

The first day of winter is a big day in the dairy farming calendar: moving day.

1 June is when dairy farmers around the country move thousands of cows to new pasture for winter grazing or new sharemilking contracts.

But unlike the past few years, the threat of mycoplasma bovis won’t be looming so large, with just one farm – a large beef feedlot near Ashburton – still infected with the disease. . . . 

NAIT reconsiders operational strategy to accommodate smaller rise in levies:

The National Animal Identification and Tracing scheme, NAIT Limited, ran a public consultation with levy payers and collection agents between 21 January and 25 February 2022. A proposal was put forward to increase the tag levy from $0.90 to $1.35 and the slaughter levy from $0.50 to $1.77, to enable NAIT Limited to deliver a traceability system that is easy to use, fit for purpose, and that will perform in the event of a disease outbreak. The proposal included an increase in Crown and Deer industry funding.

A total of 147 submissions were received from individual farmers/farming operations, primary sector groups, shareholders, funders, OSPRI committees and collection agents. Submissions ranged in sentiment towards the proposal, were complex in nature, and required extensive analysis and discussions to make decisions on the outcome. For this reason, the Board of NAIT Limited decided, in March, to defer any decision on NAIT Levies to allow for a comprehensive review of feedback.

On 19 May 2022 the Board of NAIT Limited decided to revise their proposed operational strategy under a reduced funding package with an emphasis on delivering the core capabilities of a fit-for-purpose traceability system that performs in the event of a disease outbreak. The revised strategy will focus on delivering the core capabilities in the immediate term, with a staged approach to delivery of additional services that NAIT Limited believe will be important to optimise the animal traceability system in New Zealand. Under this reduced funding package, NAIT Limited has adjusted the proposed levies, whilst maintaining the 35/65% Crown/Industry Split. . . 

Rural health representatives join new network:

The way rural health is represented is set to change with the establishment of a new collective.

From 28 June, the Rural General Practice Network will transition to a new collective organisation called Hauora Taiwhenua Rural Health Network.

It incorporates nine different organisations, including Rural Nurses NZ and The Rural Midwifery and Maternity Service.

Network chief executive Grant Davidson said the collective organisation will help create a united and trusted voice for rural health. . . 

218 of Aotearoa’s best foods receive medals in 2022 Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards:

In what has been hailed as ‘the most exciting year of the Awards to date’ 218 medal winners have been recognised this year’s Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards.

Winners span the length of Aotearoa from Northland to Southland and its breadth, from the West Coast over to the Chatham Islands. Additionally they represent a vast range of locally harvest, grown and made foods including mushrooms, meat, preserves, drinks, ice cream and sweets. Results follow two days of judging at Homeland in Auckland earlier in May.

Seventy-one percent of all of the more than 300 entries received an accolade with 78 Gold Medals, 86 Silver Medals and 56 Bronze Medals awarded.

Reflecting on this year’s medal-winners, Head Judge Lauraine Jacobs said; “2022 has been the most exciting year for the Awards to date. Each year has seen not only growth in the number of entries, but the quality of the food products continues to rise and rise in every category. . . 


Rural round-up

02/06/2022

Rethink on GM policy needed – Richard Rennie:

John Caradus, scientist and chief executive of AgResearch’s commercial entity Grasslanz Technology, is pushing industry leaders, politicians and farmers to reconsider genetic modification (GM) as the primary sector grapples with the challenges of climate change, nutrient losses and disease. He spoke to Richard Rennie about his recent work reviewing GM globally.

There is a level of hypocrisy within New Zealand’s stance on genetically modified (GM) foods that does not sit well with John Caradus. 

He points out NZ consumers can shop for over 90 different GM foods produced from 10 plant species here, but NZ farmers are unable to grow any of them.

“We have a regulatory system that makes it extremely difficult for any entity considering doing so,” he says. . . 

Up to 6 week delay in cattle processing as meat works face backlog – Sally Murphy:

Processing capacity at meat works around the country is returning to normal but a backlog remains.

There had been a backlog for months due to staffing shortages as workers isolated with Covid-19.

That made it harder for farmers to offload stock, which caused huge stress, especially in areas where feed levels were tight.

An update provided to farmers by Beef and Lamb and the Meat Industry Association showed staff levels were now returning to normal and capacity from plant to plant was ranging from 80-100 percent. . . 

Keep driving innovation, meat sector leader says – Sally Rae:

Last week, Meat Industry Association chief executive Sirma Karapeeva visited North Otago, the birthplace of New Zealand’s frozen meat industry. She talks to business and rural editor Sally Rae  about the state of the red meat sector.

It is time to celebrate.

That is the message from Meat Industry Association chief executive Sirma Karapeeva to all levels of the red meat sector, from the farming community through to processors and other industry organisations.

Ms Karapeeva was in Oamaru last week for a function to mark National Lamb Day, the 140th anniversary of the first shipment of frozen New Zealand lamb arriving in the United Kingdom in 1882, and the centenary of the New Zealand Meat Board. . . 

Red meat exports achieve record April but markets prove volatile :

New Zealand red meat exports hit a record in April however ongoing volatility in China indicates head winds in the coming months, says the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

New Zealand exported products worth $999.6 million during the month of April, up 16 per cent on April 2021 with the value of overall exports increasing to most major markets.

Sirma Karapeeva, chief executive of MIA, said that while red meat exports continued to achieve good returns, there was some fluctuation in demand, particularly in China and the US.

“The value of overall exports to China was down six per cent year on year. There was also a small drop in the volume of both sheepmeat and beef exported. The reduction in sheepmeat was largely due to China, with beef exports to the US also dipping. . . 

Reaping rewards of maize crop – Shawn McAvinue:

In a bid to protect against the impact of dry conditions, a trial maize crop on a West Otago dairy farm will return next season and be more than twice the size.

Matt Haugh and his partner Kirsten McIntyre own Cottesbrook Dairy, milking 1450 cows across two platforms on about 470ha near Heriot.

Mr Haugh said pasture growth had been good for most of the summer but dry conditions started to bite in late summer and early autumn.

The dry conditions were an “absolute killer”, because the farm traditionally relied on rain at that time of year. . . 

NZ farmer wins world wood-chopping title – Carmelita Mentor-Fredericks:

How much wood could a Kiwi cut if a Kiwi could cut wood?

A lot – if Taumarunui sheep and beef farmer Jack Jordan and Tokoroa’s Cleveland Cherry’s performances at the Timbersports World Trophy event on Saturday in Vienna, Austria, is anything to go by.

However, it was Jordan who came out tops after taking on national champs, many of whom are lumberjacks from around the world, for the coveted title.

The competition, which is organised by Stihl France, sees 16 competitors take metal to wood as they face off using a variety of chopping tools to out chop each other – whoever chops the most wood in the least amount of time wins. . .


Rural round-up

24/05/2022

Challenging harvest conditions see NZ apple and pear crop numbers drop from previous forecast :

New Zealand Apples and Pears (NZAPI), the industry organisation representing the country’s pipfruit growers, today released a crop re-forecast that predicts a decrease of between 12% and 15% on last year’s crop total.

Extreme weather events in the major growing regions of Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne and the impacts of Omicron during the peak harvest period have combined with increased shipping costs to further squeeze profit margins and make the New Zealand 2022 apple and pear harvest one of the most challenging in the past decade.

In January this year, the 2022 apple and pear crop was predicted to reach the equivalent of 23.2 million boxes (Tray Carton Equivalents, or TCEs, as they’re known in the industry), destined for customers in more than 80 countries. That forecast has now been adjusted to be approximately 20.3 million boxes, a drop of 13%, representing an estimated reduction in export earnings of $105 million.

NZAPI CEO Terry Meikle says a perfect storm of adverse weather events in key growing regions and major labour shortages during the heart of the harvest combined to result in growers not being able maximise their crops. However, what has been harvested remains of a high quality for New Zealand’s export markets. . . 

Challenges navigated in ‘tumultuous’ year – Sally Rae:

Otago Federated Farmers president Mark Patterson has described the past 12 months as “one of the most tumultuous in recent farming history”.

In his report to the province’s annual meeting in Lawrence yesterday, Mr Patterson said agriculture had not faced such a challenging set of circumstances since the Rogernomics era reforms in the 1980s.

Implementation of major Government reforms of freshwater and land management, climate change regulation, labour shortages, supply chain disruptions, pandemic management, land-use change and centralisation of local government services were some of the significant issues confronting farmers.

On top of that, Otago had been “book-ended” by back-to-back autumn droughts which had resulted in a medium-scale adverse event being declared in large swathes of the region, adding extra stress. . . 

The future for sheep – Keith Woodford:

Lamb prices are high but industry remains buffeted by big crosswinds

The sheep industry in Zealand has been getting smaller ever since 1982 when sheep numbers reached 70 million. The latest numbers are 26 million in 2021, having dropped from 32.6 million in 2010. Yet sheep still earn over $4 billion of annual export income.

In recent months I have had plenty to say about both greenhouse gas policy and forestry as they are affecting and will affect all New Zealand agriculture. Here, I focus specifically on sheep farming to seek answers as to where the industry might head.

Focusing first on market returns, the last two decades have brought lots of good news. Lamb and mutton prices have risen faster than other pastoral products, including dairy, and at a considerably higher rate than general inflation. Yet somehow it has not been enough to stem the decline. . .

Feasibility update on $4 billion Lake Onslow project expected next month :

The Energy Minister is expected to provide an update next month on whether a $4 billion pumped hydro storage in Central Otago might be feasible.

The Lake Onslow project is designed to serve as a giant battery to help protect against hydro electricity shortages and create more stability in the market.

It would involve a man-made lake likely to the east of Roxburgh in Central Otago where water would be pumped into a reservoir when energy demand was low and released when demand was high.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said Energy Minister Megan Woods would provide a brief project overview to her Cabinet colleagues this month. . . 

Dunstan Trail lauded with more than 80k riders in first year – Tim Brown:

Cromwell and Clyde businesses are celebrating the success of the Lake Dunstan Trail, and hope it will help sustain the area through the usually quiet winter period.

The cycle trail, which connects Clyde and Cromwell after opening in May last year, has blown away all expectations.

It was hoped it would attract 7500 users in its first year, instead it was more than 84,000.

The small Central Otago town of Clyde was home to about 1250 people and one of the Otago Central Rail Trail’s trail heads.

That trail attracted more than 10,000 users annually. . . 

Good moving day planning key to preventing pest plant spread & managing effluent :

Farmers are being urged to do their bit to protect farms from damaging pest plants by ensuring machinery, vehicles and equipment have been cleaned ahead of Moving Day.

Planning is also necessary when it comes to preventing effluent entering waterways and keeping roads clear and safe for road users in the region, says Waikato Regional Council.

Moving Day occurs in the week leading up to and immediately following 1 June each year. It involves the mass transporting of cows and machinery around the country’s roads as farm contractors relocate themselves and their stock in time for the new season.

“Through good on farm biosecurity practices, farmers and contractors can make a massive difference to preventing the spread of pest plants and weeds,” said regional council biosecurity pest plants team leader, Darion Embling. . . 


Rural round-up

18/05/2022

Dairy event will be all about change – Sally Rae:

Dynamic.

That is the theme of the South Island’s largest dairy event, SIDE 2022, which is being held in Oamaru on June 8-9.

It was the first time the event had been held in the town and it was expected to attract more than 350 farmers, rural professionals and sponsors.

Event committee member Rebecca Finlay, who came up with the theme, said dairy farmers needed to be dynamic — they could not be stuck in their ways.

There was constant change as they dealt with the likes of new compliance and regulations and they had to be agile and responsive to that change. . .

Exile on Main Street – Neal Wallace:

This week, Farmers Weekly journalists Richard Rennie and Neal Wallace investigate how two different districts, Opotiki and Gore, are trying to encourage new workers and address an ageing workforce while facing a static or falling population.

New Zealand’s rural-led economic recovery is being hamstrung by a shortage of working-age staff, an inability to retain people and intergenerational social issues.

Some rural districts already struggling for staff face even greater labour challenges in the coming years if demographic predictions proved accurate.

Work by retired University of Waikato demography professor Dr Natalie Jackson, is forecasting that in the next decade 75% of the country’s regional authorities will experience a decline in their working age population as young people either leave for bigger urban centres or are not being born. . . .

The ag-sector’s Budget 2022 wish list is for science – Business Desk:

If increasing productivity is the name of the government’s game, then the agriculture sector’s wish list for budget 2022 is all about science. 

The farming sector helped bankroll the economy through covid-19, generating 30% of the country’s export income at a time when sectors like tourism were at a standstill.

Rather than being rewarded, however, the sector is under immense pressure from rising costs, scarce labour and, increasingly, regulation and compliance.  

You’d be hard-pressed to find a farmer who doesn’t want to increase productivity and farm for better environmental outcomes but – across the board – they want more research and development to help them get there. . .

A sick joke – Rural News:

When the Covid pandemic broke out over two years ago, Jacinda Ardern waxed lyrical about the importance of the rural-based primary sector and how it would pull the NZ economy through the tough times ahead.

It has delivered on that with interest.

The sector has come together like never before, from workers on farms, in orchards and processing plants – not to mention the marketers and managers who have got our product to market on time and at good prices.

However, it’s come at a price: people in rural NZ are fatigued and are having to cope with the additional burden of a bundle of stressful compliance. . . 

All hands on deck – Peter Burke:

Growers are mucking in and helping staff to pick this year’s kiwifruit crop. At this point, the Ruby Red variety has all been picked and about a third of the gold crop has also been harvested, with workers now starting to pick the green crop.

NZ Kiwifruit Growers (NZKGI) chief executive Colin Bond told Hort News that everyone in the industry is working together to ensure the crop gets picked this season.

He says many growers themselves have been out in the orchards with the picking crew and also helping out in pack houses.

Bond says there have been instances of staff who normally just pick the fruit, doing shifts in the pack houses on wet days when it’s not possible to pick fruit. . . .

2022 New Zealand Dairy Industry Award winner taking all opportunities:

For the first time in the Awards 33-year history Canterbury/Otago has achieved a clean sweep of all three major categories and the Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award, with national finalists from that region taking home the silverware.

The 2022 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year is driven, inspirational and a great example of a farmer who is taking every opportunity the New Zealand dairy industry offers.

Will Green was named the 2022 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year, the region’s Jaspal Singh became the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and Peter O’Connor, also from Canterbury/North Otago, was announced the 2022 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year. They shared prizes from a pool worth over $200,000.

The winners were announced at a Gala Dinner held at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre on Saturday, in front of more than 540 people, making it the largest dinner to be held at the new venue since opening. . . 

Fonterra responsible dairying award winner lead change through innovation :

Craigmore Farming Services, Canterbury/North Otago were named the 2022 Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award winners during the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards on Saturday night and received the John Wilson Memorial Trophy.

 The prestigious award was introduced by the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards and Fonterra to recognise dairy farmers who demonstrate leadership in their approach to sustainability and who are respected by their fellow farmers and their community for their attitude and role in sustainable dairying.

“It was a privilege to engage with all three finalists and the quality of the presentations was exceptional,” says head judge Conall Buchanan.

Fellow judge Charlotte Rutherford from Fonterra, agrees. “The future of the industry feels in such good hands when you are able to spend time with people like our finalists.” . . 


Rural round-up

16/05/2022

Government Bill ends high country farming as we know it :

The Labour Government has concluded its campaign to end generations of thoughtful stewardship of the South Island’s high country, National’s spokesperson for Land Information Nicola Grigg says.

“Today’s passing of the Crown Pastoral Land Reform Bill effectively ends a decades-old relationship between the Crown and high country pastoral leaseholders.

“The Bill states its purpose as ‘maintaining or enhancing inherent values across the Crown pastoral estate’, and it will, instead, have the opposite effect.

“These leaseholders have been effective custodians of this land for generations, but the Government will now impose a punitive regime devoid of any knowledge of practical implementation and will see environmental outcomes worsen rather than improve. . . 

India bans wheat exports as heatwave hurts crop, domestic prices soar – Rajendra Jadhav and Mayank Bhardwaj:

India has today banned wheat exports, just days after saying it was targeting record shipments this year, as a scorching heatwave curtails output and domestic prices soar to an all-time high.

The government said it would still allow exports backed by letters of credit already issued, and to those countries that requested supplies “to meet their food security needs”.

Global buyers were banking on supplies from the world’s second-biggest wheat producer after exports from the Black Sea region plunged following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February. Prior to the ban, India had aimed to ship a record 10 million tonnes this year.

The ban could drive global prices to new peaks and hit poor consumers in Asia and Africa. . . 

Can-do approach keeps garage going – Sally Rae:

In the sleepy North Otago township of Duntroon lives a couple who have overcome massive obstacles to continue to operate a business in their much-loved community. Business editor Sally Rae reports.

There’s a quote written in chalk on the blackboard outside the Duntroon Garage.

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there,” it tells visitors to the rural business in heartland North Otago.

Inspirational quotes might be a dime a dozen but this one is no twee slogan — it is the perfect summation of the unassuming couple behind the business, for whom the term inspirational seems strangely inadequate. . .

DCANZ welcomes New Zealand Action to Fix Canada dairy import system :

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand ( DCANZ) is welcoming the announcement today that New Zealand has invoked dispute settlement proceedings with Canada over the implementation of its dairy obligations under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

“Canada has adopted an approach to administering CPTPP quotas which breaks the rules of the agreement and has severely restricted use of the limited market access,” says DCANZ Chairman Malcolm Bailey.

“Trade agreements are only as good as their implementation. We fully support the New Zealand Government in taking this step to ensure the rules are enforced and the agreed access is usable.”

Canada is a highly protected market for dairy products with tariffs as high as 300%. CPTPP outcomes for access to the Canadian dairy market were limited to a series of reduced tariff rate quotas, and the administration system Canada has put in place for these quotas has seen the right to import primarily given to domestic processors who are direct competitors to New Zealand exporters of those products. This has resulted in pitifully low quota fill rates averaging just 8% in the latest quota year. . . 

Vegetable prices stabilising as growers begin to meet demand – industry body :

There are signs fresh vegetable prices are stabilising as winter nears, with growers responding to supply issues, an industry player says.

Food prices have continued to rise, with a perfect storm of Covid-19 related supply chain issues, inflation, a war in Europe and sanctions imposed on Russia, as well as bad weather, all contributing to consumer pain.

But vegetable supplies throughout winter are expected to be good and the prices stable, according to Vegetables New Zealand chairperson John Murphy.

Murphy, a Blenheim-based grower of garlic and shallots, told Morning Report growers had struggled lately, had responded to supply and demand issues that have saw supermarket chains bump up prices. . . 

Successful rural resilience programmes receive MPI funding boost  :

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has renewed funding for two successful programmes training farmers, growers and other rural people to manage pressure and adapt to change.

The Agri-Women’s Development Trust (AWDT) has been allocated $339,000 to expand its popular ‘Know Your Mindset. Do What Matters’ and ‘Our Resilient Farming Business’ programmes.

Piloted across 2020 and 2021, the programmes have already supported more than 300 rural women and men to better manage stress, prioritise wellbeing, and cultivate financial resilience in the face of change.

“Disruptions and supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are one of the many challenges facing farmers, growers and whenua Māori owners,” MPI’s acting director of rural communities and farming support Andrew Spelman said. . . 


Rural round-up

06/05/2022

Farmer feedback reshaping HWEN :

DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ (B+LNZ) say they are taking farmer feedback on board and working to improve the agricultural emissions pricing options, including driving down administration costs.

Recently, roadshows were held across the country on the two options developed by the Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership, He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN), as alternatives to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel says the Government has made it clear that the sector need to deliver a credible alternative otherwise the agriculture sector will go into the ETS.

“But that’s not the only reason we need to act,” he says. . .

Landscape like the moon – Sally Rae:

Leo Edginton reckons he landed on the moon this week.

Mr Edginton (39), one of the country’s top dog triallists, is competing at the South Island sheep dog trial championships which being are held amid the vast, rocky landscape of Earnscleugh Station, near Alexandra.

It was a far cry from his home at Mangaheia Station, a large sheep and beef property at Tolaga Bay, on the North Island’s East Coast.

With six dogs qualified for the championships — Larry, Kim, Bully, Robert, Deano and Bert, a mix of both heading dogs and huntaways — it was the most of any competitor. And he has seven qualified for the New Zealand championships in three weeks’ time. . .

Twenty years of forest restoration undone by poor fencing – Diane McCarthy:

One man’s work to restore native bush on Karaponga Reserve over the past 20 years is being undone by inadequate fencing.

Retired dairy farmers Steve and Lesley McCann have taken enormous pleasure in the recovery of native wildlife on and around their McIvor Road property, next door to the reserve.

Even finding the occasional gigantic centipede in the bathtub is a small price to pay.

The McCanns see it as a sign of the resurgence of native biodiversity, due to pest control and planting. . . 

Farmers keen to embrace diverse uses of drones in rural setting – Sally Murphy:

Growing interest among farmers in using drones has led a Southland catchment group to organise a field day to showcase the technology.

Otago South River Care is holding a field day today and tomorrow on a farm in Balclutha with over 80 people expected to attend.

Group co-ordinator Rebecca Begg said catchment group members often talk about innovation on farms and drones keep coming up as something farmers want to try.

“Many are interested but aren’t ready to take the leap yet, so we want to show them what’s available and get some of the technology down to the South Island as most of it is based in the North Island.” . . 

Ready. Set. Rockit – bold new campaign inspires courage  :

As millions of freshly harvested New Zealand-grown Rockit™ apples begin arriving into ports around the world, a bold new brand campaign kicks off harnessing the spirit of bravery.

From artists to fitness instructors to musicians to aspiring basketball players, relatable individuals feature in the compelling campaign, which encourages Rockit’s global consumers to push their limits and go further than they’ve ever gone before (whatever that might look like to them) and “Ready. Set. Rockit.”

With the creative heft of agency Special driving the interpretations of courage that run through this year’s campaign, Rockit’s CEO Mark O’Donnell says the message is bound to inspire. “We love the idea that any challenge – no matter how daunting – can be overcome by taking it just one small bite at a time,” says Mark. “The innovative campaign imagery showcases occasions where a little bit of bravery takes us into territory we’ve never known before – and we can overcome our fear, seize the moment, and really rock it.” . . 

Wattie’s record tomato harvest in 50 years:

Today Wattie’s marks the end of its tomato harvest season with some of the highest yielding tomato paddocks in the company’s 50-year history.

This season, Wattie’s have hit a new record with a crop of 140 metric tons per hectare. That is the equivalent of 5.6kg per plant or 14kg of tomatoes for every square metre and approximately a 5% increase on the highest yield previously achieved.

More impressive is that this is 40% higher than Wattie’s 5-year average yield. Twenty years ago, the 5-year average tomato harvest was 80 metric tons per hectare.

The tomato harvest season started in mid-February and since then, has been going 24 hours a day. Over this time, Wattie’s has harvested and processed 39,000 metric tons of field tomatoes. . . 


Rural round-up

04/05/2022

More farms being sold to overseas buyers for forestry conversion :

The Overseas Investment Office has approved the sale of another six farms for conversion to forestry under the special forestry test.

Introduced in 2018 to encourage more tree planting – farming groups have raised alarm at the rate of farms being sold through the special forestry test.

The government is currently reviewing the test but sales are continuing.

Sales information just released by The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) includes Gisborne’s Maunga-O-Rangi Station which went on the market last year after being owned by the same family for 30 years. . . 

Dog trialling in the bloodline – Sally Rae:

When it comes to a pedigree in dog trials, Kelly Tweed has it covered.

In 2019, her sister, Steph Tweed, made history as the first woman to win a New Zealand dog trial championship with Grit in the straight hunt, while their father, Roger, a Waitahuna farmer, is a successful triallist too.

Kelly (26) might have have been a slight latecomer to the sport but is showing she has inherited the family genes, qualifying for this week’s South Island championships.

While Steph had to dash off to run one of her four dogs on another course, Roger was there to watch Kelly have her first run in the straight hunt on the first day of competition at Earnscleugh Station. Mr Tweed has five dogs qualified for the competition. . . 

“Milked” (the movie) presents a sour view of our biggest export industry – but dairy farmers can learn from it it anyway – Point of Order:

A documentary titled Milked,  shown  at the  International Film  Festival in Dunedin, seeks  to  “expose”  the  New Zealand  dairy industry   and  calls  on  New  Zealanders  “to  heal the  land”.

Milked is available globally via the streaming platform Waterbear and on Youtube via Plant Based News. The documentary is made by indigenous activist Chris Huriwai and local director Amy Taylor.

Its crowd-funding campaign surpassed an ambitious $100,000 target in just 12 days, with much international support confirming its global relevance. Huriwai  told  one  news  outlet: . . 

Innovators want wool to take to the sky – Sally Rae,

Wool might tick all the boxes as a natural, sustainable and environmentally friendly fibre, but New Zealand’s strong wool growers are still not reaping the reward for producing the best strong wool in the world.

Business and rural editor Sally Rae talks to those behind two diverse projects to add value to the wool clip.

Brent Gregory has a theory: people who need wool do not know the fibre exists and those folk never meet up with those selling wool, leading to a major disconnect for the wool industry.

Mr Gregory and Suzanne Wilson, of Christchurch, are directors of the Merino Softwear Company, an innovation company looking to create high-value products from wool. . . 

Edmonds urgently sources wheat from Australia after weather ruins local yields :

A shortage of wheat due to dire weather conditions earlier in the season has led flour company Edmonds to source stock from overseas.

Heavy rain in February ruined crops around the country, leading arable farmers to describe it as the season from hell.

Edmonds said the weather meant yields in the South Island had been significantly impacted.

“With the reduced supply available in market we haven’t been able to source enough New Zealand grown wheat for our Edmonds flour,” a company spokesperson said. . . 

Union calls for significant rise in milk prices as costs surge :

A union has called for farmgate milk prices to rise significantly in order to make up for the recent surge in input costs, many of which are linked to the war in Ukraine.

The supply chain should pay more to fully reflect the ‘unsustainable’ input costs caused by increases in feed, fuel, fertiliser and energy costs, the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) said.

It recently wrote to the UK’s major retailers urging them to ensure that rising input costs do not threaten the long term viability of food producers in the UK.

Farmers should also be paid a fair price for their produce in light of the developing circumstances in Ukraine. . . 

 


Rural round-up

28/04/2022

Rural focus missed in health reform – Neal Wallace:

Rural communities should be a priority health focus alongside women, Māori, Pacific and people with disabilities in the Government’s health reforms, according to a NZ Rural General Practice Network (NZRGPN) submission.

The NZRGPN says the proposed legislation ignores the needs of 740,000 rural people and will mean the continuation of poorer health outcomes for those living in rural communities.

The Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill, which amalgamates the country’s District Health Boards into a centralised body, will be reported back to Parliament later this month.

Despite the economic importance of rural-based industries, the network claims that unless “rural people” is added to the Bill as an identified priority population, then health inequities and the rural health staffing crisis will continue. . . 

Government regs take their toll on hort growers – Peter Burke:

Horticulture NZ’s chair is genuinely concerned about the wellbeing of growers with confidence at rock bottom.

Barry O’Neil told Rural News the pressure that growers are facing is on many fronts, including a plethora of new government regulations. He says 2022 will be the hardest year the sector has experienced for many and the heat is on growers because of this.

“It’s not just Covid, it’s all the other issues that are building in respect to the environmental settings the Government wants to achieve,” O’Neil explains. “There are shipping disruptions, labour shortages and rising costs on orchard as well.

“It’s not just about change – this is about the amount of change and the speed at which this happening.”  . . .

Planting trees ‘binds our community’ – Sally Rae:

“We are all in this together.”

As Emeritus Professor Henrik Moller points out, although 90% of voters live in urban centres, New Zealand’s biological industries — particularly farming and forestry — earn about 60% of the country’s national income.

Urban dwellers often went “hunting and gathering in supermarkets” and there was increasingly less understanding of the struggles their rural counterparts had.

“The more we understand, meet and support each other, the safer our country will be. Our future depends on it,” he said. . . 

‘Right tree, right place’ plan proffered

Environment Southland has proposed a “right tree, right place” policy in response to concerns about forestry taking over pastoral land as climate change bites.

In an extraordinary meeting of the council earlier this month, Environment Southland discussed its response to a document released by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) which proposes changes to forestry settings in the New Zealand emissions trading scheme (ETS).

The MPI is considering changes to the ETS, including a blanket ban on exotic forestry receiving carbon credits or a ban on nominated exceptions. Keeping the status quo is also being considered.

There is a concern good pastoral land is being eaten up by forestry being planted to earn carbon credits, which have more than doubled in price since June 2020. . . 

New research shows opportunity for NZ wool in US :

New research has found that Americans have different ideas about wool compared to New Zealanders – one that offers growers a huge opportunity.

The research commissioned by the Campaign for Wool NZ (CFWNZ) found a large education gap in how US consumers think about wool, CFWNZ chairman Tom O’Sullivan said.

“For example, 53% think of cashmere when they hear the word wool. Although they are aware of wool, it sits quite a bit lower down in their consciousness when compared to New Zealand consumers.”

The research by Fresh Perspective Insight canvassed 3000 consumers across three markets – New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States in November last year. . . 

JB Fairfax Award to Kate Newsome – Andrew Norris :

A budding journalist from Glen Innes with a passion to provide a voice for people in rural areas has been awarded the 14th JB Fairfax Award for Rural and Regional Journalism and Communications.

Kate Newsome has been undertaking a bachelor of arts and bachelor of advanced studies in media and communications at the University of Sydney, said the award’s benefactor, John Fairfax, during his presentation to Kate at Sydney Royal Show.

“… we need talented and well-trained journalists, individuals who can bring to all of us … balance and factual accounts of the many things that affect our lives,” he said.

“Kate is a great girl and she hopes to use a career in the media to bring greater attention to many of these issues.” . . 

 


Rural round-up

21/04/2022

Entrepreneurial trio create fibre blend – Sally Rae:

What do you get when you combine the skills of a high-country merino farmer with a West Coast dairy farmer and throw a sales manager into the mix?

The answer is Hemprino, New Zealand’s latest fashion label which combines the properties of hemp and merino in a single blend.

It is the brainchild of Siobhan O’Malley, Paul Ensor and Harriet Bell, who met on the Kellogg rural leadership course in 2018 and have a desire to reduce the environmental footprint caused by fast fashion.

As landfills fill with plastic-based clothing, the trio — who were newcomers to the fashion industry — are using natural fibres that are biodegradable at the end of the garment’s life. . . 

Ruling to halt irrigation hit farmers hard, reduced trust – Ben Tomsett:

A Southland farmer has said the trust factor between the rural community and Environment Southland has been damaged in the wake of the unprecedented decision to halt irrigation in the region.

The water direction, which banned irrigation in much of the province, ended last week. It came about as a result of a very dry summer where rivers and aquifers were at lower levels than anything previously recorded.

Southland farmer Jason Herrick, who is also the head of Federated Farmers sharemilker section in the province, said the direction halting irrigation was ill thought out and a reaction to public sentiment rather than science.

“It made absolutely no difference whatsoever to the river levels because the people that were attached to the rivers were already shut off with their consent conditions because the river levels were too low,” he said. . . 

 

When food is your medicine – scientists seek further proof of the healing power of mānuka honey :

Comvita has formed a new scientific partnership with the University of Otago to understand how mānuka honey helps support digestive health | Content partnership

Comvita, New Zealand’s pioneering mānuka honey brand and global market leader have formed a new scientific partnership with the University of Otago’s departments of Medicine and Human Nutrition to understand how mānuka honey helps support digestive health. 

The partnership will conduct groundbreaking research through a $1.3 million clinical trial to investigate the potential of mānuka honey to improve symptoms and quality of life in people suffering from gastrointestinal inflammation and pain related to digestive disorders.  

The programme is supported by the High-Value Nutrition (HVN) Ko Ngā Kai Whai Painga National Science Challenge, a Government initiative “to develop high-value foods with validated health benefits to drive economic growth”. . . 

Waikato growers urged to watch out for fall armyworm caterpillars :

New infestations of a crop-killing moth could cost New Zealand farmers tens of millions of dollars if populations survive winter.

The fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda is the name for the pest’s larvae.

Eggs were found in suburban Tauranga in surveillance traps last month and caterpillars have now been found on two farms in Tamahere, just south of Hamilton.

The armyworm has destroyed maize and sweetcorn plants in Africa, the United States and Australia. . . 

Medicinal cannabis just the beginning for Rua Bioscience :

East Coast-based medicinal cannabis firm Rua Bioscience says it has plenty of other products in the works, after launching its first medicine in New Zealand.

Sales from the medicinal cannabis product, which is available via prescription, will be the first revenue for the business since it listed on the stock market in 2020.

Rua Bioscience is one of two firms manufacturing cannabis products that have met quality standards set by the Medicinal Cannabis Agency.

The company was prohibited from revealing what the product was under medical law and was coy about how much revenue it expects to generate from it but said that it could be used to treat people with acute pain, anxiety or juvenile epilepsy. . . 

Robots bring flexibility to Kaukapkapa waterfront farm :

Technology has turned a North Auckland dairy farm into a lifestyle and investment opportunity for anyone wanting to participate in the dairy industry, without the twice a day commitment in the dairy shed.

Bayleys Country Property Specialist John Barnett is marketing a 179ha dairy unit at Kaukapakapa that features four robotic Lely Astronaut milking machines, which operate 24/7 to milk the farm’s 200 cow herd.

He says the installation of the robotic system by the owners several years ago continues to deliver on its promise of a more flexible farming operation, happy cows, and better use of the owners’ time.

“You can avoid the tie of early morning and afternoon milkings, with a system that is very ‘cow-centric’. Each cow sets her own time for when she wants to be milked, coming into the dairy, and having her milking and production all recorded by the robotic system.” . . 


Rural round-up

20/04/2022

Flying high on the seeds of success – Sally Rae:

Topflite is a quiet North Otago success story, growing from humble beginnings amid the district’s farmland to one of New Zealand’s leading pet food brands. Business editor Sally Rae talks to general manager Greg Webster about joining the family business and the opportunities Covid-19 has afforded it.

When Greg Webster was growing up on a farm in rural North Otago, he vividly recalls his father, Jock, telling him never to be a farmer.

It was the 1980s — an era that was “so tough” for farmers who were battling crippling drought and huge interest rates.

“They were under the pump. Some of that probably rubbed off,” Mr Webster recalled this week. . . 

Freeze-dried meat for natural treats – Ashley Smyth :

Oamaru pet food brand Topflite has unleashed its latest project, Hound.

Topflite Hound is a line of minimally processed, freeze-dried meat treats for dogs. The treats were made from grass-fed, low-stress beef and cage-free chicken and were as natural as possible, which aligned with the brand, marketing manager Carolyn Webster said.

The product seemed a “logical next step” for the company, who already specialised in small animal pet food.

General manager Greg Webster had done some research into the market years ago and saw the opportunities in dog treats, so it had been on his radar for a long time. . . 

 

Staggeringly exciting research may save sheep farmers :

Livestock researchers around the world can now remotely detect ryegrass staggers in sheep using on-animal sensors.

This follows research findings from an international team – including researchers from Lincoln University and CQ University in Central Queensland.

Results from the study means that, in the future, farmers will be able to act quickly and move sheep to new pastures when they begin to display the signs of (grass) staggers – potentially improving their bottom line by $100 per hectare.

Grass stagger is caused by the consumption of plants such as phalaris and ryegrass – common in both Australia and New Zealand – that are infected with toxic strains of endophyte. It can be fatal if animals have experienced prolonged exposure to toxic pasture. . . 

Permission to discharge milk among regional council’s new consents – Brendon McMahon:

Westland Milk Products has been granted a renewed consent by the West Coast Regional Council to discharge milk waste to land from its Hokitika factory.

Council consents and compliance manager Colin Helem said the application, to discharge milk and milk by-products to land where it may enter water, was to renew the previous consent which was due to expire.

The non-notified consent allows the company to discharge on to areas at Ngāi Tahu Forestry’s Mahinapua, Kaniere, Waimea and Nemona forest blocks.

This was one of 15 non-notified consents issued by the regional council during March. . . 

New licence great news for Kiwi cannabis patients :

“The industry’s first licence renewal and expansion will enable Helius to produce New Zealand grown and made medicinal cannabis products – something Kiwi patients have been waiting for since the inception of the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme. It’s an exciting milestone,” says Carmen Doran, chief executive of Helius Therapeutics.

Helius was New Zealand’s first medicinal cannabis business to achieve a GMP Licence for Manufacturing Medicines in July 2021, covering the first products to market.

The Ministry of Health has now renewed and expanded Helius’ licence allowing the Auckland-based company to make active ingredients onsite from raw cannabis material.

Every New Zealand GP can now prescribe medicinal cannabis for any health condition, with Kiwi-manufactured products using imported active ingredients available for the past six months. . . 

GOR Woollen Mill set to be one of the largest in Australia under expansion plans – Rochelle Kirkham :

An alpaca farm and woollen mill’s move to Ballarat will add a highly-regarded ‘paddock to product’ business to central Victoria and create a new tourism drawcard.

Great Ocean Road Woollen Mill, now known as GOR Woollen Mill, is in the process of relocating its alpacas to Burrumbeet and setting up new machinery in Delacombe, near Ballarat.

The move from the business’s previous home in Ecklin South near Timboon was driven by a need to be on a bigger site to keep up with demand for their alpaca fibre and be located closer to their customer base.

Owners Nick and Isabel Renters have had a big week starting to unpack seven crates of new wool processing machinery from Italy at their Delacombe factory. . . 


Rural round-up

12/04/2022

Meat prices expected to lift as processing capacity returns – Sally Rae:

The “very tricky patch” for sheep and beef farmers is set to continue in the short term, with Covid-19 at its heart, Westpac senior agri-economist Nathan Penny says.

In his monthly meat report, Mr Penny said the Omicron outbreak had been felt most acutely in meat processing plants, where it had caused very low operating capacity and delays in processing.

Some plants were operating at as low as 40% capacity and, as a result, some processing delays had blown out to about eight weeks.

Some bookings were being cancelled at the last minute as plants did not know how many workers would be available day to day. . .

Dairy farmers share solutions to attracting and keeping staff :

DairyNZ will host a webinar on attracting and retaining farm staff in a difficult labour market on 20 April.

Bay of Plenty contract milker and former DairyNZ consultant Jordyn Crouch is one of four guest speakers who will discuss how New Zealand can design dairy workplaces to attract great employees.

Kellogg Rural Leadership project interviews with leading farmers led Crouch to identify four ways dairy workplaces could become more attractive including flexible rosters and pay scales; fostering leaders not managers; developing safe workplace cultures that allow autonomy and innovation; and sharing a common purpose on-farm.

“Involving your farm team is the starting point to improve your workplace,” she says. . . 

RubyRed alert: Zespri’s first commercial red kiwifruit exports on the water – Andrea Fox:

New Zealand’s first commercial volume harvest of red kiwifruit is heading overseas, and with returns to pioneer growers looking juicy, there will be keen interest in the results of this year’s Zespri growing licence round.

Marketer Zespri released a further 350ha of RubyRed brand licence this year in a closed tender bid, the results of which will be announced from May 2.

The New Zealand grower-owned company said it was expecting a total red crop of around 140,000 trays this year. That’s double last year’s harvest, which was used for market trials sales.

Around 100ha was expected to produce the red fruit this year from a total of 415ha already licensed. . .

Gorsebusters of Ōkārito Lagoon – Lois Williams:

The phenomenal work ethic of a volunteer army has the gorse scourge at a West Coast beauty spot in retreat

For the second year running, volunteers from all over New Zealand have descended on picturesque Ōkārito Lagoon in South Westland to attack the gorse menace that threatens the Unesco World Heritage site.

“Gorsebusters”, the phenomenon sparked almost by accident last year by Ōkārito businessman Barry Hughes, is back bigger and better than ever as the West Coast basks in a record-breaking Indian summer.

The tiny community is hosting more than 80 people who arrived this week from as far away as Auckland, paying their own way to help out, armed to the teeth with loppers, pruning saws and other weapons of gorse destruction. . .

Organic medicinal cannabis a huge opportunity for NZ:

“New Zealand organically grown and manufactured medicinal cannabis products will be in huge demand internationally, taking the country’s newest industry to a whole new level in the future,” says Carmen Doran, chief executive of Helius Therapeutics.

Her comments follow the Government announcing a $32.2 million joint project with New Zealand’s largest and only organic certified medicinal cannabis grower, Puro, to accelerate the growth of the industry.

A key workstream will see New Zealand’s largest medicinal cannabis processor and manufacturer, Helius, working alongside Puro on research and development and the creation of an organic manufacturing road map.

“Our ambition is to take Puro’s organically produced high value biomass and manufacture it here in New Zealand to organic certification. Achieving both organically grown and organically manufactured will create a significant premium differentiation for Helius and other local medicinal cannabis companies as well,” says Ms Doran. . .

 

Milford road the one road trip every Kiwi needs to do before the tourists return – Brook Sabin  :

Kiwis love hidden gems, so we’re on a mission to find them. Undiscovered Aotearoa is a video-led series by Brook Sabin and Radha Engling to show you the best of New Zealand.

The call from Mum brought a tear to my eye. Since the pandemic started, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to every region in the country. I’ve seen New Zealand at its best, without the usual hordes of international tourists. And she wanted to know one thing: where is the one place I should see before tourists return.

My answer was emphatic: you need to drive New Zealand’s most beautiful road, weaving through the mountains to Milford Sound. But I added a note of caution: many people don’t do it quite right. They don’t realise there are many stops that make the journey almost as beautiful as the destination. So I volunteered to act as a tour guide.

In the past few weeks, I’ve made the trip twice. Once to gather photos for this story; we were given rare permission to get drone shots along the road, under strict conditions. The second was with my gorgeous mum. . .


Rural round-up

08/03/2022

Pressure on supply chain affects meat – Riley Kennedy:

Meat companies are warning farmers to be prepared to hold on to livestock for longer as the Omicron outbreak begins to cause processing delays.

Covid-19 case numbers have skyrocketed in the past week putting pressure on supply chains as more and more staff have to self-isolate.

Alliance Group – which operates four plants in the lower South Island – confirmed that none of its staff had been on site while infectious, but chief executive David Surveyor said it was inevitable that the communities where it operated would be affected by Covid.

Across its network, Alliance had rising levels of absenteeism as community levels of Covid saw “a number of” its staff staying home to isolate or look after children because schools were closed. . . 

Kiwifruit leaders on Omicron, rapid antigen testing, chronic labour shortage and upcoming record harvest – Carmen Hall:

Another record-breaking kiwifruit harvest is expected this season but a crippling labour shortage combined with Omicron concerns have put growers, major packhouses and contractors on edge.

About 24,000 seasonal workers would be required to pick and pack the crop nationally and New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc has forecast there could be a shortfall of 6,500 people. The Bay of Plenty needed 20,000 of those workers as it was the largest kiwifruit producing region.

Major packhouse leaders spoken to by NZME are in recruitment mode for Kiwis and were reliant on getting their full contingent of Recognised Seasonal Employer staff into the country as soon as possible.

Most were paying the living wage of $22.75 per hour or more as the start rate, with another $2 an hour for night shifts and eight per cent holiday pay. . . 

Love of data, farming nous combine in quest to hone quality – Sally Rae:

Anna Boyd is on a mission to help New Zealand’s beef industry maximise profitability — in a sustainable way — through the uptake of good genetics. She talks to rural editor Sally Rae about her passion for cattle. Anna Boyd reckons she could work with cattle all day, every day.

It is a passion that stemmed from her exposure to livestock growing up on remote Haldon Station, on the northern shores of Lake Benmore, in the Mackenzie Country.

The 22,000ha property, which has been managed by her father Paddy for many years, is both diverse and innovative and she has had the opportunity to work with sheep, deer and cattle.

“I think I was allowed to kind of find my feet and find out what interested me the most and where my passions lay,” Ms Boyd said. . . 

Woolies jeans: New Zealand made merino jeans anticipates launch for mid-June 2022 :

After a blockbuster end to 2021 where Kaitaia born Shearer, Jovian Garcia-Cummins, 26, raised $337,426, from 220 investors, for his start-up Woolies Jeans, the company is set to launch and subsequently expand on ‘ideas from a woolshed’ at Fieldays 2022.

‘Right now, we’re getting our ducks aligned so that we are prepared to handle the orders we are anticipating. I have been overwhelmed by the amount of Kiwis wanting to give me a helping hand,’ says Garcia-Cummins, who is still juggling time between shearing and launching his new invention.

Woolies Jeans has been working with some big names in NZ fashion to bring the ideas to light. This includes collaborating with Award-Winning Designer Wynn Hamlyn, Sustainable Textile Agencies Ltd and NZ’s largest clothing producer Albion to take Garcia-Cummins and his ‘Mum’s ideas to a level of professional scalability.

The jeans themselves are unique to the market because they have a unique 100% merino lining interior and a high-quality sustainable denim exterior. This means that customers will be able to have 100% merino against their legs and hips but the denim exterior is used to protect the merino and look good. Woolies Jeans will also be NZ Made. . . 

Pandemic increases demand for deer velvet – Sally Murphy:

Strong demand for deer velvet has pushed up returns for farmers 20 percent higher than last season.

As well as farming for venison, many deer farmers harvest velvet and export it to Asian markets, where it’s believed to have healing properties.

Deer Industry New Zealand markets manager Rhys Griffiths said the pandemic has increased demand for health food products including velvet.

“It’s another season were we’ve seen some pretty good growth, in tonnage terms we are now just under a thousand tonnes so it’s doubled in the last 10 years. . . 

NI farmers ‘at end of tether’ over inaction in tackling bovine TB:

Farmers in Northern Ireland are ‘at end of their tether’ over inaction in tacking bovine TB in the region, the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has warned.

It comes as farmers eagerly await an announcement by the Department of Agriculture (DAERA) on the intended route for bTB eradication following a consultation.

Possible new measures include new steps to tackle TB in wildlife, the testing of non-bovines for bTB, and the increased use of the interferon gamma blood test in cattle.

Farmers could also see changes to the level and rates on which compensation is paid out to those who lose cows to the disease. . . 


Rural round-up

04/03/2022

Farmers short changed by Labour yet again :

Labour needs to explain why it is severely restricting the number of dairy farm workers allowed into the country for no apparent reason, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford and Agriculture spokesperson Barbara Kuriger say.

“Last year the dairy sector requested border exceptions for 1500 international dairy workers that were urgently needed for this year’s calving season,” Ms Stanford says.

“But the Government only granted 300, meaning this crucial sector will be short staffed and overworked for yet another season.

“Agriculture is the backbone of our economy, but farmers have had enough of the constant roadblocks from this Labour Government – this time in the refusal to grant border exceptions for urgently-needed workers.” . .

NZ-UK FTA ‘significant boost’ for farmers – Sally Rae:

The signing of a free trade agreement between New Zealand and the United Kingdom represents a “significant boost” for New Zealand farmers and exporters, the Meat Industry Association says.

Lamb and beef would eventually be allowed quota- and tariff-free access for the first time in decades, it said.

Under the FTA, New Zealand’s beef and sheepmeat exports to the UK would be fully liberalised over time, with no duties from the 16th year after the deal came into force following ratification by both countries.

During this time, beef and sheepmeat would be subject to duty-free transitional quotas, the quota for New Zealand beef rising in annual instalments from a starting point of 12,000 tonnes until it reaches 60,000 metric tonnes in year 15, after which it would be duty- and tariff-free. . . 

Businesses concerned over Gisborne’s kiwifruit ‘rates grab’ – Nikki Mandow:

The district councils attempt to treat kiwifruit licences as rateable land improvements will have wide-reaching affects on other businesses.

Kiwifruit grower Tim Tietjen didn’t know the Gisborne District Council would be doubling the rates bill for his property until he read about it in the local paper.

In a radical shift from previous rating policy, the council had decided licences for the SunGold or G3 variety of gold kiwifruit – licences Tietjen and his fellow growers buy from kiwifruit marketer Zespri – would now be counted as land improvements and billed accordingly.

Instead of his property having a rated value of $2.8 million, it was now calculated at $4.1 million. . . 

Build a resilient farm business with bloody good tips from DWN and DairyNZ :

Dairy Women’s Network are helping current and future farm owners and teams to future-proof their businesses with a webinar series on How to Build a Bloody Good Business, funded by DairyNZ.

Run between the 7th and the 10th of March, the online webinar series will look at the qualities of a resilient business and strategies that can be implemented to protect your current or future business from the unknown; how to increase the resilience of your team when considering the current talent shortage; and the role that different systems and technology can play in building a healthy and successful business.

Speakers from ASB, Xero, Figured and McIntyre Dick and Partners (part of NZ CA Group Limited) will discuss and answer questions on how great financial business systems will help your business thrive, led by people and strategy specialist Lee Astridge from No8HR. . .

NZ wine industry welcomes UK free trade agreement :

New Zealand Winegrowers is pleased with today’s announcement that New Zealand has signed a historic free trade deal with the United Kingdom.

“The agreement is very positive for the New Zealand wine industry. This will help remove technical barriers to trade, and minimise burdens from certification and labelling requirements. It will also support future growth in the market, and encourage exporters to focus on the UK,” says Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers. . . 

Carbon neutral sheep and beef farm on the market for sale for the first time in 100 years:

A substantial highly developed sheep and beef breeding and finishing farm which has been continuously owned by members of the founder’s family for the past 100-years has been placed on the market for sale.

The 1,038-hectare property known as Te Maire at Flemington just south of Waipukurau in Southern Hawke’s Bay was established in 1920 by S.A. Robinson Senior who purchased 203-hectares following the splitting up of Tourere Station.

Over the ensuing decades, Robinson’s sons, and their sons, added to the property – buying neighbouring blocks with their associated infrastructure, and expanding Te Maire to its current size which is subdivided into some 222 paddocks.

Generations of the Robinson family have taken an environmental approach to Te Maire’s expansion – always conscious of balancing ecological aspects with improving productivity. . . 


Rural round-up

02/03/2022

You won’t save the planet by killing NZ farmers – Andrew Hoggard:

Price penalties won’t drive down livestock emissions without affordable and practical new technologies being available to farmers – unless the aim is to kill off the sector.

Federated Farmers is baffled by comments by Climate Change Minister James Shaw that, “Pricing isn’t the only tool in the toolbox, but it remains the best way to reduce emissions directly – and that’s name of the game.”

This an overlysimplistic and domestic focused solution to a complex global problem. The global atmosphere does not benefit from New Zealand shrinking food production, even if our politicians can crow about local emissions reductions. Our farms’ emissions footprint is world-leading; forgone production here would just shift offshore to less efficient farmers.

An overly-high price signal for our livestock emissions would also have severe implications for the agricultural sector, regional economies, and the wider New Zealand economy.  . . 

Questioning is not an attack – Jacqueline Rowarth:

Scientists have been accused of mounting a sustained attack on regenerative agriculture and splitting the science community. Not all, but some.

The words are disappointing and misleading.

What some agricultural scientists have done is continue to ask questions of regenerative proponents. The ongoing questioning is because no answers have appeared – the proponents want money to do the research to answer the questions.

The point that agricultural scientists have been making is that a lot of the ‘needed’ research has been done and results are availableSome has been funded recently by various combinations of Ministry of Primary Industries (the farmer-science funding now termed Sustainable Food and Fibre Fund), Ministry for Business and Employment and levy bodies and has not shown positive results. . . 

Rural fitness campaign launched in NZ and Australia – Sally Rae:

She has curled her biceps on the shores of Lake Pukaki and lifted weights in the shadow of Aoraki-Mt Cook — now Kate Ivey is getting back to her rural roots.

Mrs Ivey is the founder of Kate Ivey Fitness, a business which began in her home in the remote Mackenzie Country in 2016 and has grown to 1600 members.

Established with the aim of helping women lead positive, healthy, fitness-filled lives, it started with a simple e-book which was then followed by the launch of DediKate, an online health and fitness community for women.

Initially, membership was predominantly rural but that demographic had since changed and Mrs Ivey was focusing on rural again, launching DediKate Rural today in both New Zealand and Australia, to officially start on March 21. . . 

Traceability key to alliance between butcher shop and farm – Sally Rae:

It is an alliance with its origins formed on the coastal pastures of the scenic Catlins.

Princes St Butcher and Kitchen owner David Gibson was looking for a supply of lamb with full traceability back to the people who owned the farm that grew the product.

Carey and Tracey Hancox, whose diversification on their busy farming operation near Owaka includes an on-farm butchery, were keen for a retail presence as most of their sales were online.

On Thursday, Mr Gibson took his first delivery of lamb from Mr and Mrs Hancox, some of which was available at the Otago Farmers Market on Saturday. . . 

Fruit and vegetable and wine grape growers welcome increase in workers coming from the Pacific:

New Zealand’s fruit, vegetable and winegrape growers have welcomed the news that the Government has increased the cap on workers from the Pacific under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme to 16,000 workers.

‘The increase in the RSE worker cap will give growers some hope for the future,’ says HortNZ chief executive, Nadine Tunley.

‘While the increase won’t benefit the apple, kiwifruit and winegrape harvests that are currently underway, it is good news for the horticulture industry, long term.

‘Growers are under incredible stress at the moment due to the severe shortage of labour that Covid has created. Some growers are saying they only have 50 percent of the workers they need but are continuing to do everything they can, to get the fruit picked, packed and to market. . . 

Key to best beef is green and under your feet -Bob Freebairn:

Lee and Suzanne Young, “Dalyup” Coonabarabran, recently won a Meat Standards Australia award for Excellence in Eating quality.

These awards are issued to beef producers who consistently deliver carcases with superior eating quality. While genetics and animal management are important for quality meat production, Lee Young stresses that high quality pastures are especially important.

“Dalyup”, with the original part of their property owned by the family for almost 50 years, is a 740ha property that includes good quality loamy river flats soil, plus medium to lighter acidic textured hill country. Quality pastures include lucerne on the flats, Premier digit and Consol lovegrass, together with serradella and sub clover on the arable hill country, and upgraded native pasture on the non-arable areas.

Lee and Suzanne Young were early pioneer growers of the legumes serradella and biserrula that comprise the winter component of their introduced and native grass pastures. These are especially valued for their acid soil tolerance, good productivity their bloat tolerance and for building soil nitrogen. Because of soil variability serradella and biserrula are grown in combination with sub clover with each species more dominant in specific areas of a paddock depending on soil type. For over 40 years they have remained persistent across native and tropical grass paddocks. . . 

 


Rural round-up

22/02/2022

Scenery is what ‘makes’ it for young shepherd – Sally Rae:

Life is no trial for young North Otago shepherd Mikayla Cooper.

Miss Cooper (23) has embraced living and working in the high country, where she reckons it is the scenery that “makes it”.

She works at Dome Hills Station, a large-scale sheep and beef property near Danseys Pass farmed by the Douglas family.

It was a much larger and more extensive property than her home farm at Raglan, where her family moved to from Te Kauwhata at the end of her year 8 studies, Miss Cooper said. . . 

From mother to daughter a smooth transition – Country Life:

After single-handedly running Rees Valley Station for nearly 20 years, Iris Scott was more than happy to hand over the reins to her daughter Kate.

The 18,000-hectare property at the head of Lake Wakatipu is home to about 5000 merino sheep and 200 cattle.

When Iris’ husband died in 1992, Iris decided to carry on farming the land that had been in the Scott family for more than 100 years. She was also running a vet practice in Glenorchy.

She admits it was a great relief to her when her daughter Kate finally expressed an interest in taking over the farm. . . 

Demand strong as $1b wine grape harvest gets underway :

The first grapes of the 2022 vintage have been harvested, with ongoing international demand and low stock levels meaning that winemakers are hoping for a significantly larger harvest this year.

“The 2021 harvest, while of exceptional quality, was 19% smaller than the previous year. Over the past 12 months this has forced wineries to draw down on stocks to maintain their place in market. New Zealand wine sales for 2021 were 324 million litres, meaning they were 48 million litres more than was actually produced in the 2021 vintage. This stock drawdown highlights that we desperately need a bigger harvest in 2022, to replenish cellars, and help satisfy international demand,” says Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers.

“Over the past 12 months many New Zealand wineries have faced tough decisions over who they can supply in their key markets, and the ongoing increase in international demand has placed huge strain on already depleted stocks. For some wineries, there has been quite simply just not enough wine to go around,” says Philip. . . 

Drop in infant formula sales hits A2 Milk’s bottom line :

Specialty dairy company A2 Milk’s bottom line has been halved, as it continues to face significant disruption to its infant formula sales in China.

KEY NUMBERS:

(for the six months ended 31 December 2021 vs year ago)

  • Net profit: $59.6 million vs $120m
  • Revenue: $660.5m vs $677m
  • Underlying earnings: $97.5m vs $178.5m
  • Dividend: no dividend vs 12 cps

A2 Milk chief executive David Bortolussi said despite challenging market conditions in China and volatility caused by the pandemic, it was making good progress to stabilise the business. . . 

Strong demand for solution to urea price spike and regulations :

This season’s record urea prices, coupled with nutrient cap regulations, have seen a lift in the number of dairy farmers changing their fertiliser programmes to lower their nitrogen footprint and costs.

Donaghys Managing Director Jeremy Silva says the company is working at capacity to keep up with renewed demand for their N-Boost nitrogen booster product. Donaghys N-Boost is a proven addition to a fertiliser programme that helps maintain production, while lowering urea application.

“It’s one of the few options out there that can help farmers maintain or lift production off lower nitrogen inputs.”

“We’ve seen the dual impact of high urea pricing and regulations on N come together. The result has been a wave of dairy farmers turning to foliar applications of urea. When N-Boost is added they can cut back their application rates this way to get under the N-cap, and they’re finding they can cut their urea bill and protect their dry matter production.” . . 

Pāmu announces solid half year result:

Pāmu (Landcorp Farming Limited) has announced a net profit after tax (“NPAT”) of $41 million for the half-year ended 31 December 2021.

Pāmu’s EBITDAR (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and revaluations), which is its preferred financial measure, was $16 million compared to $14 million in the half-year to December 2020.

Chairman Warren Parker said the result was particularly gratifying as the company managed the ongoing impact of Covid.

“Covid has continued to disrupt our people, which on top of ongoing labour shortages, extreme weather events on the West Coast and in the Manawatu and logistics, processing and availability of farm supplies, has made for a challenging half year,” Dr Parker said. . . 


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