Rural round-up

July 31, 2016

World trends that will influence future farming – Pita Alexander:

The oldest son in a farming family has returned home from a trip overseas after completing his degree at Lincoln University.

Before coming back to the farm and making a career of farming the son spent a year in Australia, North America and Europe. He wanted to obtain a picture of where farming might be heading during his tenure.

Among his many observations in a report he prepared for his family were the following:

– A formal licence to farm is looking like a certainty for New Zealand within the next 10 – 15 years and the banks may lend at lower interest rates with this certificate.

–  Killing farm animals before they are fully grown is getting some air time in some countries.

– Traceability from the farmer to the eating and buying consumer is already present, but is going to get more complicated and will hopefully bring more value to the farmer.

–  About 25-30 per cent of the world’s food production ends up being wasted and not eaten  – this will have to be improved upon well before 2050. . . 

ASB punts on Fonterra sticking with $4.25 milk price – Jamie Grey:

ASB Bank is punting on Fonterra leaving its 2016/7 farmgate milk price forecast unchanged at $4.25 a kg of milk solids when the co-operative releases a market update on Monday.

However the risks were “skewed” to a figure as low as $3.90/kg because of a consistently strong New Zealand dollar, ASB rural economist Nathan Penny said in a research note.

Penny said it was still early days in the season, which started on June 1, and that there was plenty of time for dairy prices to rise. . . 

More research is needed if farming is to progress – Jacqueline Rowarth:

Climate variability, farm gate prices for food and fibre, and increased concerns about the environment are combining to create unsustainable farm systems.

Alternatives need careful evaluation before decisions are made in an attempt to avoid unintended consequences.

The latter can be worse than the current state – Brexit, for example. 

Increased warm temperatures, drought, floods and long cold springs mean that farmers are adapting systems to cope. Use of supplementary feed has been part of the development of resilient farm businesses, but the urban perspective is that costs have increased without an increase in income. . . 

Resistance or resilience – which best characterises the red meat sector? – Allan Barber:

The Red Meat Sector Conference held in Auckland on Monday did not have one single theme, but a series of themes across the day, starting with the question ‘resistance or resilience?’ Past history suggests the answer might most logically be both rather than a choice between the two options.

In his introductory remarks MIA chairman John Loughlin said the volatile global situation contrasted with a relatively stable environment at home with a predictable meat industry, while Beef + Lamb chairman James Parsons highlighted the need to reduce on farm costs while achieving incremental gains across the supply chain. . . 

Queenstown tracks to get ratepayer funding:

Queenstown’s council has agreed to pay to maintain 11 walking and biking tracks being developed across two high country stations.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council yesterday agreed to pay $10,000 a year to maintain the existing and planned tracks, which will go across Glencoe and Coronet Stations.

The land is partially owned by the Crown under pastoral lease, and partially by Soho Properties, which has entered into an agreement with the Queen Elizabeth II Trust to protect the land. . . 

Better baits and better trapping – Kate Guthrie:

Peanut butter has long been used as a lure for rats. Possums have a fondness for the scent of cinnamon. But are they the all-time favourite foods of rats and possums? Researchers at Victoria University of Wellington used chew cards to check out what really tickles the tastebuds of two of our more common urban pest species. Home trappers might like to give these food lures a go too…

Many tests of trap lures are done with laboratory animals, but in this project the researchers compared food-based products on free-ranging, wild rats and possums. They assessed the chew card results for attractiveness and consumption and found that wild rats preferred cheese, milk chocolate, Nutella and walnut to the peanut butter standard. Possums statistically preferred apricot and almond to cinnamon. . . 

Farmers need to be bank ready:

With the dairy pay out remaining stubbornly low and equity positions becoming more precarious many farmers are seeing more of their bank manager, according to Crowe Horwath’s Head of Corporate Agribusiness, Hayden Dillon.

Dillon is quick to point out that this increased level of contact isn’t always a bad thing and proactive discussions between banker and farmer are an important step to take in dealing with the current financial pressures both parties are facing.

However, it can be intimidating for some and a recent Federated Farmers’ survey found that one in ten farmers were feeling an ‘undue’ level of pressure from their bank. . . 

#431AM top ten calving tips:

We asked our #431AM farming community how to get through #calving16.

Here are some of our farmers’ top tips for the calving season. Thanks to everyone who contributed!

We’d love to hear your #calving16 tips – hit us up on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using #431AM. 

 

  • Eat well, sleep well, know your body’s limits. Good communication amongst your team and don’t let things get to you. It’s farming, it’s life and things go wrong. It’s how you manage the situation that counts. Being negative will make time go so much slower, and above all think of our girls. We get days off during the season but they don’t, without our girls we are grass growers. Richard H
  • We have 3 meetings a day. We have a work safe meeting to work out what safety gear we will need before we’re out the door. Yesterday with snow on the ground it was too dangerous for workers to leave the house. You have to have more meetings. 1 a day is not enough. Ann-Maree G
  • Take time to get off farm, even for an hour. Keep in touch with others, especially when things are at their toughest. Chances are others are also feeling the burn. Sue M
  • Set a roster, keep the fridge stocked with food snacks, have morning meetings with coffee and snacks and last thing at night after milking. Ask what people want to discuss at tomorrow’s meeting and what was their highlights and/or best achievements for the day. Geoff M . . .

 

South Island Wool Bounces:

New Zealand Wool Services International LTDs CEO Mr John Dawson reports that despite a strengthening NZ dollar, the varied selection at this week’s South Island auction attracted strong support.

Of the 7700 bales on offer 85 percent sold.

The weighted currency indicator was up 2.06 percent compared to the previous week’s auction.

Mr Dawson advises that a selection ranging from 21 micron merinos to 42 micron coarse wools with a cross section of styles and lengths provided attractive options to buyers which overrode the possible negative impact of the stronger dollar compared to the similar South Island offering on 14 July. . . 

Fine wines of New Zealand revealed:

Six of the nation’s leading independent wine experts have come together to create “The Fine Wines of New Zealand” – a list of the country’s most prestigious wines.

A selection panel comprising Masters of Wine Alastair Maling, Michael Brajkovich, Sam Harrop, Simon Nash and Steve Smith along with Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas has agreed on the list for 2016 which includes 47 wines representing seven varietals.

This group of leading New Zealand wine experts met several times in late 2015 and in the first half of 2016 to define the criteria that had to be met for a wine to earn the prestigious Fine Wine of New Zealand status. One of the key criteria is consistency, with a wine having had to have been produced to an exceptional standard for a minimum of five consecutive years. . . 


Rural round-up

May 17, 2013

Building water storage too important to become ‘political football’:

IrrigationNZ says it is increasingly concerned about political rhetoric around water storage and a cross-political party agreement is needed to advance the issue.

The national body representing irrigators and the irrigation industry was responding to comments from former Labour MP Stuart Nash that a future Labour Government wouldn’t fund water storage developments.

“As water storage has multiple benefits, from improved river flows to more productive farms and job creation for towns and cities, we struggle to understand why some politicians continue to see water storage as a negative. It’s far too important to be treated as a ’political football’. It’s an investment in New Zealand’s future and one we need to make now,” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis. . .

Mt Duthie manager single-minded – Sue O’Dowd:

A sheep and beef farmer near Taranaki’s northern gateway wants to see more farmers committing their stock to specific meat processing plants.

Grant Lowry, who manages the 1700ha (1000ha effective) Mt Duthie Station, near Awakino, backs the establishment of a single meat co-operative in New Zealand and the Meat Industry Excellence group’s efforts to get a mandate for industry reform.

The group is hosting its fifth meeting in Te Kuiti tomorrow afternoon, following meetings in Gore, Christchurch, Gisborne and Feilding attended by about 3000 farmers over the last month. . .

Farmers welcome ‘steady as she goes’ Budget 2013:

Federated Farmers is describing Budget 2013 as a ‘steady as she goes’ affair. While there is an increase in new operating spending, this $900 million increase is modest relative to total Government operating spending of $72 billion.

“Budget 2013 continues to move in the right direction as far as farmers are concerned and it is broadly consistent with Federated Farmers’ advocacy,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President.

“We have called for Government spending to be capped and reduced over time to 30 percent of Gross Domestic Product. This is forecast to be achieved in 2016/17. . .

Ultimate Rural Challenge underway in Auckland:

Crowds gathered in Auckland at Aotea Square as the 2013 ANZ Young Farmer Contest officially began.

Auckland City Councillor George Wood opened the proceedings and was delighted this leading agricultural event has come to the ‘City of Sails’.

“We townies look in awe as these young farmers from all over the country get into these different challenges and do such a great job”, Councillor Wood said.

The seven Grand Finalists, each representing a different region, rode into the square on farm bikes and were introduced to the public by Contest announcer Craig ‘Wiggy’ Wiggins and Contest Chairman Bevan Proffit. “It takes a lot of passion and a lot of determination, you also have to be a good all-rounder”, commented Mr Proffit on what it takes to be the Contest Champion. . .

$80m for irrigation – boost to economy, environment:

Budget 2013 has confirmed $80 million in funding for regional irrigation projects, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.

“After the extreme drought that most of the country has struggled through this year, the need for better water storage is obvious,” he says.

“There is no shortage of water in New Zealand, but we lack the ability to store and use that water when it’s needed most. Currently, only 2 per cent of rainfall is used for irrigation. We need to do a better job of using this resource.

“Increasing irrigation could see a further 420,000 hectares of irrigated land becoming available, creating thousands of new jobs and boosting exports by $4 billion a year. . .

New Zealand has record year of success at International Wine Challenge:

New Zealand collect 38 Gold medals at IWC including 13 gold for their Pinot Noirs.

New Zealand winemakers demonstrated their excellence at the 30th International Wine Challenge winning 38 Gold medals in a record year of success.

Thirteen of the much-coveted Gold medals were awarded to Pinot Noir. “New Zealand’s Pinot just gets better and better and it is hard to beat in terms of quality, consistency and value. One theme that came through in judging this year was the regional diversity. This is great news for New Zealand Pinot and one that suggests that vine age is now starting to have a significant impact” said Sam Harrop MW, Co-Chairman of the IWC. Sauvignon Blanc also scored highly collecting eleven of the 38 Gold medals awarded to New Zealand. . .

‘Waitaki Wine Doctors see double’:

Drs John Forrest of Forrest Wines and Jim Jerram of Ostler Wines are today celebrating double successes with gold medals for their 2010 Waitaki Valley Pinot Noirs.

Awarded by the prestigious 2013 London International Wine Challenge, this echoes the 2012 event when the John Forrest Collection 2009 Pinot Noir was awarded a gold medal together with the Ostler Caroline 2009 Pinot Noir 2012 also winning gold at the equivalent event in Shanghai.

Waitaki Valley in New Zealand’s picturesque North Otago, was first planted in 2001 and the vineyards are mostly small, intensively managed and produce a range of distinctive cool-climate wines. The key viticultural characteristics are the area’s cool climate with warm summers and long, usually dry, autumn seasons. Its geological origins are complex with limestone, alluvial greywacke and schist being found in close proximity at different sites. . .

Coffee harvest plunges in Puerto Rico – Danica Coto:

Coffee production in Puerto Rico has hit the lowest level ever in the island’s history, leaving farmers and government officials worried about how to revive a once burgeoning industry amid a deep economic crisis.

Farmers produced some 39,900 kilograms of coffee during the most recent harvest, which represents only a third of local consumption, Agriculture Secretary Myrna Comas says.

Production in previous years has fluctuated between 47,600 kilograms and 68,000 kilograms, according to department statistics. . .


Rural round-up

April 13, 2013

Sheep and beef farming leaders focus on environment:

Twenty-five sheep and beef farming leaders from across New Zealand will attend the first Beef and Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Environmental Leadership Forum in Wellington next week.

The Forum is being funded by B+LNZ and delivered by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust. It is based on a successful programme – also run by the Trust, in partnership with DairyNZ – for dairy farming leaders.

B+LNZ Chief Executive Officer, Dr Scott Champion says the forum is designed to equip the farmers with some of the skills they need to engage effectively with regional councils and take on leadership roles within their communities. . .

Experts gather to address issues for bees, trees and farming in New Zealand:

An inaugural conference involving some of New Zealand’s top agricultural and environmental experts is being held in Gisborne this month to address the apparent decline of nutritional forage for bees in this country.

Nutritional stress is considered to be one of the main factors behind large-scale bee losses as reported overseas. The Trees for Bees research project aims to help avoid this happening in New Zealand.

The ‘Trees for Bees’ conference is being held at Eastwoodhill Arboretum and has been organised by the Eastwoodhill Trust and the East Coast Farm Forestry Association with help from the National Beekeepers Association. It will be held on April 26th and 27th at Eastwoodhill arboretum and at two field day sites. . .

Energetic Dairy Pioneers Win Supreme in Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Dairy conversion pioneers Abe and Anita de Wolde have been named Supreme winners of the 2013 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Ballance Farm Environment Award (BFEA) judges were “impressed and inspired” by the couple’s 2800-cow business ‘Woldwide Farming Group’, praising their “boundless energy towards finding a better way and doing the right thing”.

While the de Woldes are heavily focussed on their production goals of 650kg/MS per cow and 2000kg/MS per ha, judges said they are just as committed to reducing their environmental footprint.

At a BFEA ceremony on April 10 the de Woldes also collected the Ballance Agri-Nutrients – Nutrient Management Award, the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award, the Massey University Discovery Award, the LIC Dairy Farm Award and the Meridian Energy Excellence Award. . .

Second Triumph for Southland Dairy Awards Winners:

The goals of the 2013 Southland Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Don and Jess Moore, are to optimise production and maximise profit to reach farm ownership and enjoy a balanced lifestyle.

The Moores, who won $18,400 in prizes, aim to achieve this by growing their business using sustainable farming and human resource practices.

The other big winners at the 2013 Southland Dairy Industry Awards held at the Invercargill Workingmen’s Club last night were Daniel and Emma Todd, the region’s 2013 Farm Managers of the Year, and James Warren, the Southland Dairy Trainee of the Year. . .

Coast Dairy Awards Winners Do It Again:

It is the second time the 2013 West Coast/Top of the South Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Peter and Helen McLaren, have won one of the region’s top farming awards.

In 2008 the couple claimed the region’s Farm Manager of the Year title. Last night they went one better to win $19,000 in cash and prizes. “Entering the awards in 2008 gave us a lot of confidence in knowing that our farm systems are working and it also enabled us to pursue further opportunities and go 50:50 sharemilking,” the McLarens said.

The other major winners at the region’s Dairy Industry Awards dinner at Shantytown, Greymouth, were Blue Benseman, the Farm Manager of the Year, and Sam Riley, the Dairy Trainee of the Year. . .

3 Dairy Awards Entrants Win Bikes:

Three entrants in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards have won farm bikes worth $4000, just for entering.

All those that entered the awards before December 1 last year and progressed through the judging process were eligible for the Early Bird Prize Draw to win one of three Honda XR125 Duster farm bikes valued at $4000.

The draw took place on Friday and one bike was drawn from early entrants in each contest – the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year.. . 

Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (already) tackling issue of false organic claims:

“The steady 8% per annum growth in the organic sector over the past three years* has been great for existing organic customers”, says Brendan Hoare, Chair of Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ).

“People want what we provide and consumers who are already in the market for safer, healthier, more environmentally-friendly food now have a greater range of choices at a better range of prices.”

“However”, said Mr Hoare, “the move from being a niche market into the mainstream is raising issues around how truthful some of the claims of being organic really are.” . . .

Te Motu Vineyard back under founding family’s control:

Waiheke Island’s iconic vineyard, TeMotu, is back under management of the Dunleavy family who developed it in 1988, but sold to Richina Pacific two years ago. A group including the Poland family and others with strong connections to Waiheke, along with Sam Harrop MW and Paul Dunleavy, TeMotu’s former managing director, have just settled the purchase to buy the original vineyard in Onetangi Valley back from Richina Pacific.

Paul Dunleavy, who resumes the role of managing director, says “This is a hugely significant acquisition. We have a great team of investors who are committed to maximizing the potential from this exceptional, world-class vineyard site.” . . .


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