Rural round-up

29/12/2020

How to avoid harm on the farm – Rowena Duncum:

I’ve always loved rural New Zealand.

Growing up beside a farm, I’d spend hours hanging over the back fence talking to the animals or across the road in the other direction, feeding grass and carrots to the rescued horses in the SPCA paddock.

Some of my happiest memories of childhood holidays are visiting family on their farms around the country. It’s a rite of passage growing up in Aotearoa. As I reached adulthood and became a farmer myself, I loved being on the other side of the fence – hosting friends and family as they came to visit, bringing their own budding farmers to see the animals or milking. . . 

Alliance Group to repay wage subsidy in full :

Invercargill-based Alliance Group has chosen to return the balance of the Covid-19 wage subsidy to the Government.The farmer-owned meat processor had already repaid $21 million of the $34m wage subsidy and will return the balance, it said.

“From the outset, Alliance has been clear we would only use the wage subsidy in the way it was intended by government and our previous repayments reflect this commitment,” chairman Murray Taggart said in a statement.

“Following the filing of our company accounts last month, the Alliance board believes the co-operative is in a position to repay the remaining balance,” he said. . .

A2 Milk hopes to expand production at Southland plant :

A2 Milk is a step closer to taking a controlling stake in Mataura Valley Milk, but says it will be at least a couple of years before it starts making profits.

ATM disclosed its intentions in August and has now entered binding agreements to buy a 75 percent stake in the Southland based infant formula maker.

The move is part of ATM’s plans to diversify its production and broaden its range of products.

“MVM provides a unique opportunity to acquire a new world class nutritional products manufacturing capability in New Zealand, alongside a highly respected China state owned enterprise in China Animal Husbandry Group (CAHG),” A2 Milk chief executive Geoff Babidge said. . .

M. bovis eradication going to plan but still work to do:

Significant progress has been made in driving down the numbers of farms affected by Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis).


We’re on track to achieve eradication, but there’s still a lot of hard work ahead of us. We expect to find more infected herds as we actively look for those final pockets of infection, so we all need to remain vigilant.

As Programme partners, MPI, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand are working together to support affected farmers through this eradication programme. . .

Detector dogs could sniff out AFB and save beekeepers millions of dollars:

Training dogs to sniff out the highly infectious bacterial disease American Foulbrood (AFB) in beehives could save New Zealand’s beekeeping industry several million dollars a year.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is contributing $50,000 through Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) towards the one-year, $95,000 project.

The project aims to develop a scientific methodology for training detection dogs to reliably detect AFB, by creating a ‘scent picture’ of the disease. . . 

Blurred lines between animal welfare and animal ethics – Shan Goodwin:

ONE of the key elements of animal welfare science commonly misunderstood is that it is the animal’s perception of its conditions that counts, not those of humans.

So says one of the country’s leading experts in the field, Warrnambool veterinarian and senior lecturer in cattle medicine at Melbourne University Dr David Beggs.

The differences between animal welfare and animal ethics – and where the biggest challenges to livestock production may lay with the latter – was explored by Dr Beggs in a recent episode of the RawAg podcast produced by southern seedstock operation Te Mania Angus. . .


Rural round-up

06/05/2018

Johan’s unusual job – Samantha tennent:

Johan Fourie always gets a kick telling people he works in the “sex industry”, particularly unsuspecting townies. His official role is the production farm manager for CRV Ambreed at Bellevue Farm in the Waikato.

The 26-year-old South African is responsible for the semen harvesting, animal health care and well-being and general semen production of CRV’s bulls.

There are around 160-180 bulls on the farm at any one time, with a maximum capacity of 250. The farm is set up in different parts; the internal barns and paddocks make up the EU Facility and the outer parts of the farm are the isolation and pre-quarantine areas. . . 

Century farmers to be recognised :

The New Zealand Century Farm and Station Awards committee in Lawrence, Otago, is preparing for its awards dinner in May where it will formally honour 32 families who have farmed their land for 100 years or more. Eleven are families that have kept their farm for 150 years.

 Also starting to filter through is land that was distributed under the Discharged Soldiers Settlement Act in 1915 which allowed returned servicemen to be granted farmland on generous terms and given access to cheap loans to develop.

Committee chairwoman Karen Roughan says the work ahead of these soldiers was immense. “Often the land the men were allocated was remote, densely forested with virgin bush and without easy access by road. Many of the soldier-settlers lacked farming experience, were undercapitalised and faced long periods of time on their own as they battled to build a new home and develop sustainable living off their land. A large percentage gave up and walked off the land, often with hefty mortgages owing. . .

Fonterra’s milk collection back 2% :

Fonterra’s milk collection this season is tracking 2% lower than in 2017, a steeper decline than for the industry as a whole and suggesting rivals have picked up more of the national milk pool.

Fonterra’s global dairy update says the company collected about 1.31 million kilograms of milk solids in New Zealand in the 10 months ended March 31. It expects production for the whole season ending May 31 will be down on the previous year at 1.5 million kg/MS, an improvement on its previous estimate of 1.48 million kg/MS. It cited difficult weather for the decline. Fonterra’s share of the national milk pool is about 82%. . . 

 

Entries Open for Pork, Bacon And Ham Awards:

New Zealand’s greatest butchers and meat producers will once again compete to showcase their unique skills and innovative products this June, with entries now open for this year’s New Zealand Pork, Bacon and Ham Awards.

The competition – which draws hundreds of entries from butchers, producers and deli owners nationwide – will present awards for Innovative Pork, Convenient Pork, as well as a range of categories featuring prime New Zealand bacon and ham.

CEO David Moffett says NZ Pork founded the awards to provide retailers the opportunity to showcase their very best PigCareTM Accredited New Zealand pork products. . . 

This ‘climate beneficial’ wool hat comes from carbon positive sheep – Adele Peters:

At the southern end of the Surprise Valley on the border of California and Nevada, Bare Ranch looks essentially like it did in the early 1900s: sheep and cattle grazing on broad fields under a backdrop of mountains. But because of some subtle changes, the ranch now produces what’s being marketed as “climate beneficial” wool.

The wool–which The North Face is using in a new beanie with the tagline, “Warm your dome, not the globe”–is produced in a way that allows the ranchers to sequester large amounts of carbon as they raise sheep. In a year, Bare Ranch’s methods will sequester around 4,000 metric tons of CO2, offsetting the emissions from roughly 850 cars. . . 

Latest study confirms an animal-free food system is not holistically sustainable – Sara Place:

Let’s be clear, a healthy and sustainable food system depends on having both plants and animals. Researchers at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and Virginia Tech just published a study in the Proceedings of National Academies of Sciences confirming this socially debated fact. The study examined what our world would look like without animal agriculture in the U.S. The bottom line? We’d reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. by 2.6 percent, and 0.36 percent globally[1] — but we’d also upset our balanced food ecosystem and lack essential dietary nutrients to feed all Americans.

One important role livestock — such as cattle — play in our sustainable food system is taking human inedible food and ultimately making it nutritious. Specifically, cattle act as upcyclers — meaning they eat grasses and plant matter leftover from human food production and upgrade them into nutritional, high-quality protein. In fact, they produce 19 percent more edible protein than they consume[2]. . . 

 


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