Rural round-up

August 10, 2017

Farmers to Labour: “Tell Us Your Numbers”:

Federated Farmers’ challenge to Labour is: “Tell us what numbers you have in mind.”

Labour yesterday announced proposals for a tax on water for large commercial users, including farmers who rely on irrigation water, but in the absence of detail some eye-watering numbers in the billions of dollars have been floated.

Federated Farmers water spokesman Chris Allen said the pledge to consult with those affected if Labour is part of the new government is appreciated, but it still means voters are sailing blind into the election. . .

Seven farm tests show  no disease – Sally Rae:

The first test results from seven of Van Leeuwen Dairy Group’s farms have returned negative for cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.

The bacterial disease has previously been confirmed on two VLDG properties in the Waimate district, the first time the disease had been detected in New Zealand.

In an update yesterday, response incident controller Eve Pleydell said two further rounds of testing would be required on those seven farms before they could be declared free of the disease. Results were pending for the remaining seven VLDG properties.

Good progress was made during the weekend, as laboratory teams continued to test thousands of milk and blood samples from VLG farms and neighbouring properties, Dr Pleydell said. . . 

‘No evidence’ imported frozen semen cause of mycoplasma outbreak:

Key points
MPI has confirmed no evidence that of resistance to mycoplasma in imports of bovine semen.
World Wide Sires – marketing arm of the largest dairy farmer owned cooperative in the world Select Sires/Accelerated Genetics – reinforce all bulls and semen free of the disease.

The New Zealand arm of the largest dairy farmer owned cooperative in the world – and one of the globe’s major semen companies – is pleased MPI has confirmed there is no evidence that resistance has developed to mycoplasma in imported bovine semen*. . . 

Horticulture election manifesto asks for land and water protection:

Horticulture New Zealand has launched its 2017 Election Manifesto with five key priorities for the new Government, to be elected on 23 September.

“Keeping unique growing land and having sensible policies around access to water are critical to New Zealand’s ongoing supply of safe, healthy, fresh fruit and vegetables,” Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says.

“One of our main asks for a new Government will be a food security policy for New Zealand. This may sound redundant in such an abundant land, but there are a host of challenges to our food supply including urban encroachment on unique growing land, emotional battles over water, changing weather patterns, access to enough people to grow and harvest our food, and increasing border traffic meaning more potential biosecurity risks. . . 

New national standard for plantation forestry:

A new nationwide set of environmental rules for managing New Zealand’s 1.7 million hectares of plantation forestry will better protect the environment and deliver significant savings in compliance costs, Minister for the Environment Dr Nick Smith and Associate Minister for Primary Industries Louise Upston say.

“Forestry is New Zealand’s third largest primary industry but its efficiency is hampered by the confusing mix of planning rules across New Zealand’s 86 councils. The strength of this national approach is that it will better protect the environment while also improving the productivity of the forestry sector by applying consistent environmental standards to reduce operational costs,” Dr Smith says. . . 

What’s gone wrong with New Zealand farming? – Glen Herud:

New Zealanders were once proud of our farming heritage. But at some point, as agriculture intensified and started spilling into our other source of pride, our clean green image, trust was lost, writes GLEN HERUD.

To the general public, it looked like farmers were getting greedy.

But like Auckland housing, farming has changed from an every man’s game. And the answer is not to tweak the regulations or adjust nitrogen inputs with new technology. These are both fine. The answer is a whole new system.

The number of dairy herds in New Zealand is decreasing but the size of each herd is increasing.

A graph from Dairy NZ shows that in 1986 there were 16,000 dairy herds with an average herd size of 140 cows. Today we have 11,500 herds with an average herd size of 420 cows. . . 

The great food disruption: part 4 – Rosie Bosworth:

Milk without the cow, meatless burgers that bleed, chicken and shrimp made from plant matter, and now foie gras without a force-fed goose in sight. A new food revolution enabled by science and biotech is brewing and, if it succeeds, animals will have little to do with the future of food. For some, that future looks rosy, but, as Dr. Rosie Bosworth writes in part three of a series, the implications for New Zealand’s agricultural sector could be less than palatable.

Tyson Foods – one of the biggest meat producers in the world – sent its principal scientist, Hultz Smith, to the Modern Agriculture Foundation’s Cultured Meat and Path to Commercialisation Conference in Israel this year to learn from the world’s top-tier cellular agricultural and tissue engineering scientists, researchers, academics and industry leaders. A proponent of cellular agriculture, Hultz even openly supports cultured meat research, viewing it as a viable substitute to current meat production and one that gives consumers a broader choice. And in late 2016 the company launched a $150 million venture fund zeroing in on the alternative protein – including cellular agriculture – space. “This fund is about broadening our exposure to innovative, new forms of protein and ways of producing food,” said Monica McGurk, Tyson executive vice president of strategy, at its launch. . .

Australia’s Capilano Honey profits bolstered from capital gain in asset sale to Comvita JV – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Australian honey maker Capilano Honey’s joint venture with Comvita has had an immediate, if unrealised, benefit for the Queensland-based company’s bottom line.

The two honey companies teamed up last year to create Medibee Apiaries in Australia to produce Leptospermum honey, commonly known as manuka, for medical and natural health products. In July last year, Capilano realised a capital gain of A$2.1 million following the sale of its manuka beekeeping assets into the joint venture with no tax attributable to the capital gain on the asset sale, it said. The total assets it sold into the joint venture were worth A$9.2 million. . . 

PGG Wrightson full-year profit gains 5.7% as lower debt costs offset stalled revenue growth –  Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – PGG Wrightson posted a 5.7 percent gain in full-year profit, meeting its guidance, as the rural services company benefitted from lower interest costs, offsetting stalled growth in revenue.

Profit rose to $46.3 million in the 12 months ended June 30, from $43.8 million a year earlier, the Christchurch-based company said in a statement. Sales fell to $1.13 billion from $1.18 billion. . . 

Young Grower of the Year decided next week:

The winner of the New Zealand Young Vegetable Grower and four regional Young Fruit Grower winners will compete next week for the national title Young Grower of the Year 2017.

On August 16 and 17, at the Sudima Airport Hotel in Christchurch, the five finalists will test their horticultural skills and knowledge. This year’s entrants are:

New Zealand Young Vegetable Grower 2017 – Scott Wilcox, Pukekohe
Hawke’s Bay Young Fruit Grower 2017 – Jordan James, Whakatu
Central Otago Young Fruit Grower 2017 – Ben Geaney, Waimate
Nelson Young Fruit Grower 2017 – Ralph Bastian, Appleby
Bay of Plenty Fruit Grower 2017 – Erin Atkinson, Te Puke . . 


Rural round-up

May 15, 2017

Invercargill dairy farmer wins Dairy Community Leadership award:

It was the call of the land that saw Katrina Thomas return to the farm after 21 years working in the tourism industry in New Zealand and abroad.

Thomas is this year’s Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) Dairy Community Leadership award winner, winning the title out of a group of three nominees which included dairy farmers Alison Ferris, from Te Kuiti, and Cathy Prendergast, from Arohena in Waikato. The awards ceremony was held tonight in Queenstown as part of a gala dinner during DWN’s annual conference.

The award recognises the voluntary role dairy farming women have in leading their communities and sharing their time and skills beyond the farm gate. . .

NZ tea grower wins top award  – Alexa Cook:

New Zealand’s sole commercial tea grower has won gold at the Global Tea Championships in the US.

The Zealong Tea Estate, near Hamilton, was started over 20 years ago with 130 seedlings. It is now a 1.2 million plant operation.

Zealong produces about 20 tonnes of organic loose and bagged green, oolong and black teas a year and exports 75 percent of it to London, France, China and the US. . .

Pukekohe grower wins best young vegetable grower:

Scott Wilcox from Pukekohe has emerged victorious against six other entrants to be named New Zealands Young Vegetable Grower of 2017.12 May 2017

Scott Wilcox from Pukekohe has emerged victorious against six other entrants to be named New Zealand’s Young Vegetable Grower of 2017. .

Winners thrive on a challenge – Hugh Stringleman:

New Zealand’s 2017 Share Farmers of the Year, Christopher and Siobhan O’Malley, had a roller-coaster ride of emotions at the NZ Dairy Industry Awards national finals in Auckland, they told Hugh Stringleman.

Exhiliration was the best word used by Christopher and Siobhan O’Malley to describe their feelings after being named 2017 Share Farmers of the Year, at the third time of entering.

All the time and effort in preparing for the prestigious Dairy Industry Awards had earned national honours, considerable prize money and a big boost along the farm ownership path. . .

DAIRYLIVE: Stream Streamed Live From the Farm:

On Monday morning, Kiwis nationwide can spend some time on a working dairy farm courtesy of live camera streams featuring, amongst other things, paddocks, streams, vistas and of course, cows.

The video streams from four high-definition cameras will go live on DairyNZ’s website at 5am on Monday to coincide with the launch of a report on the work that dairy farmers have been doing to protect their waterways.

The Sustainable Dairying – Water Accord report is a three-year progress update on sector-wide efforts to protect water quality and the environment. It will be formally launched at an event at Te Papa in Wellington on Monday, 2pm. . . 

Weaker dollar moves wool up:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s C.E.O, Mr John Dawson reports that the slightly weaker New Zealand dollar compared to last weeks’ sale helped lift local prices.
Of the 6000 bales on offer, 78.0 percent sold.

The weighted currency indicator was down 1.35 percent week on week. . .

Extra Snow Guns Announced for Start of 2017 Season:

Treble Cone are proud to announce extra snowmaking facilities for the 2017 season, in addition to the new SMI snowmaking system recently commissioned on Upper East Rider. The new snow guns will be added to the fleet as an investment by TCRA (Treble Cone Racing Academy) to support the snowmaking production on all of Treble Cone’s accessible snowmaking terrain and for the training venues Big Skite and Sinclair’s runs.

Guenther Birgmann, Director of TCRA has provided an additional 6 fully automatic SUFAG Snow Guns, which are currently being shipped to New Zealand from America. These will be added to the 5 SuperPuma Snow guns and 9 new hydrants installed over the summer. Completing the snow making capabilities to service Easy Rider from the top of Home Basin all the way down to the base lodge, and providing security around snow cover on all main trails in the Home Basin. . . 

Queenstown’s Nomad Safaris offers more off-road tours than ever before:

Nomad Safaris, Queenstown’s oldest off-road tour company, has introduced two new activities to its adventure menu for 2017.

Established in 1988, Nomad Safaris specialises in small, personalised off-road tours and after substantial investment, now offers more adventures in and around the resort town than ever before.

The new 360° Queenstown tours showcase the region’s spectacular scenery in thrilling style. Visitors climb aboard a powerful, purpose-built UTV (Utility Task Vehicle) and are taken by an experienced and knowledgeable driver-guide onto an exclusively accessed high country sheep station, high above the resort town. . . 


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