Rural round-up

February 4, 2019

Running Dry – Can NZ thrive without irrigation? – Eric Frykberg:

The government has pulled its backing for big irrigation projects, but smaller ones are still getting financial support. For Insight rural reporter, Eric Frykberg explores whether this middle path will be enough to keep farmers and growers in business and improve the quality of water in streams and rivers?

Stu Wright’s family is part of the fabric of Selwyn district, inland from Christchurch. They’ve worked the land near Sheffield for 125 years.  

The murky drizzle hanging over the furrows of his farm in the foothills of the Southern Alps, near Sheffield are at odds with his on-going struggle to keep his crops well hydrated.

Here he grows seed potatoes, garlic, radishes and rye.

But the way his family have farmed for over a century is no longer working. . . 

Virus has mixed results – Neal Wallace:

The new rabbit-killing K5 haemorrhagic virus has achieved an average kill rate of 47% of rabbits in Otago but rates on individual farms vary from very low to 80%, leading to farmer scepticism about its effectiveness.

Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Woodhead says while the 47% average is higher than forecast in the import application for the RHDV K5 virus, high immunity levels in parts of the province reduced its effectiveness.

Otago Federated Farmers president Simon Davies has had reports from farmers saying they have not seen any evidence the new strain is working. . . 

 

Woolhandler aiming to go ‘all out’ at champs – Richard Davison:

A Milton woolhandler plans to go “all out” for honours in the Otago champs.

The two-day Otago Shearing and Woolhandling Championships are taking place in Balclutha on February 8 and 9, and competitors will be vying for both podium places on the day and cumulative points towards circuit titles – and ultimately a better shot at nationals.

For Milton woolhandler Cheri Peterson, who started in the shed professionally in 2007 aged 21, this season’s circuit began as simply another opportunity to hone her skills at the table, but has acquired a sharper competitive edge as it progresses. . . 

 

Eight southern tracks to go in NZTR plan – Steve Hepburn:

Gore may get a reprieve but even more galloping courses may be under threat.

Following on from last year’s Messara report, New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing produced a report yesterday calling for the reduction of courses around the country. And it is looking to close more courses than Australian John Messara proposed, with Waikouaiti and Riverton fingered for closure among 23 venues.

NZTR said in a release it wanted to drop to 27 venues across the country by 2030. The would leave just nine tracks in the South Island. Eight tracks south of Timaru would close.

The plan was not in reaction to the Government-commissioned Messara report, which proposed a widespread reduction in tracks throughout the country, NZTR said. . . 

New Zealand 2019 apple and pear crop forecast released :

The New Zealand apple and pear industry is forecasting a modest increase in the gross crop for 2019, according to the annual crop estimate just released. A forecast gross crop of 604,500 metric tonnes is 2.5% up on 2018 production.

New Zealand Apples & Pears Chief Executive, Alan Pollard, says that “Notwithstanding some hail in Central Otago, growing conditions across the rest of New Zealand this season have been very good. Adequate rainfall means that all regions have good quantities of irrigation water, and sunlight and warmth are at some of the best levels that we have seen”. . .

U.S. Dairy Farmers Say Billions of Exports at Risk – Lydia Mulvany:

The U.S. dairy industry stands to lose billions of dollars over the next two decades if trade agreements with Japan, one of the biggest buyers, don’t materialize, according to a U.S. Dairy Export Council report released Wednesday.

The Japanese are gobbling up more cheesy pizzas and proteins like whey, at the same time that its own dairy industry is seeing a decline. Exporters are aggressively competing to supply that growing demand, and the European Union has a leg up on the U.S. due to a trade agreement that went into affect at the end of last year. Other major exporting countries are set to benefit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a pact from which the U.S. withdrew. . . 

 


Rural round-up

January 18, 2019

‘M. Bovis’ effects study welcomed to help with impact on farmers – John Gibb:

Federated Farmers Otago president Simon Davies has welcomed a planned University of Otago study on the human impact of Mycoplasma bovis on farmers and their communities in Otago and Southland.

At the human level, some Otago farmers and their families at infected farms had taken a ”massive strike”, and there could be serious long-term effects, including on business viability, in some parts of the country, he said.

Some people who had received ”notices of direction” from MPI, but were later ultimately cleared of infection, had in some cases also experienced stressful disruption to normal farming activities over several months. . . 

Dairy cattle numbers dip again:

The number of dairy cattle has dipped for the second year, while beef cattle numbers increased strongly in 2018, Stats NZ said today.

Provisional figures from the 2018 agricultural production census showed dairy cattle numbers fell 1 percent, to 6.4 million in June 2018.

“This followed a similar small dip in 2017, though overall dairy cattle numbers have been relatively steady since 2012,” agricultural production statistics manager Stuart Pitts said. . . 

Nursery owner finds use for problem baleage – Elena McPhee:

In a win-win situation for both the council and a local nursery owner, baleage swept along by November’s flood and strewn over a rural road for months is being turned into compost.

Trees of the World nursery owner Rodney Hogg said the baleage had been on Riverside Rd, near Allanton on the outskirts of Dunedin, for about two months.

It was ”extremely dangerous” driving along the road, particularly at night, Mr Hogg said . . 

Brexit: Theresa May survives no-confidence vote but what does that mean for NZ trade?:

Market access under a hard Brexit is the major implication New Zealand must watch for after the failure of Theresa May’s deal and the vote against her, former NZ trade negotiation Charles Finny says.

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has won a no-confidence vote against it today, called by UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, with 325 votes to 306.

It may come as some solace to Mrs May after MPs crushed her proposed exit deal with the EU by a 230-vote majority yesterday, the biggest defeat the UK government has faced in the House of Commons since the 1920s. 

Former New Zealand trade deal negotiator Charles Finny however says the no-confidence vote has ultimately been a bit of a distraction: it’s the next steps regarding Brexit that are important. . . 

$36 million investment approved to tackle regional erosion:

Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand) has announced funding of almost $36 million through the Hill Country Erosion Fund (HCEF) to enable much-needed erosion control in the regions.

The HCEF supports proposals to protect our most vulnerable hill country landscapes, where the main treatment is tree planting.

“We’re pleased by the level of interest from councils, with 12 applications received in this latest round – four of which were from regions that had not previously applied,” says Julie Collins, Deputy Director-General Forestry and Head of Te Uru Rākau.

“It shows the importance they are placing on sustainable land management and treating erosion in their regions.” . . 

A win for Win and the Buller show:

When veteran West Coast shearer Sam Win won his latest competition, at the age of 63, it helped solve a little mystery of the whereabouts of the trophy.

“I think I’ve got it at home,” he said.

Thus Saturday’s win at the Buller A and P Show at Patterson Park in Westport was followed by Sunday polishing the trophy, his name engraved as the last winner – in 1997. . . 

Could Wagyu beef protect against heart disease?:

As barbeque season gets into full swing, New Zealand researchers are investigating whether certain kinds of red meat could actually protect against heart disease.

Researchers have recruited men aged 35-55 willing to eat free meat three times a week for eight weeks in the name of science. Participants are supplied with either grass-fed Wagyu beef, grain-finished beef or soy-based meat alternative (they can’t choose which).

The study is looking at how the complex lipids (fats) in high quality, unprocessed red meat affect heart health, using the vegetarian protein group as a control. It follows earlier evidence that eating Wagyu beef in moderation may help protect against heart disease. The beef, from specially bred and fed cows, is rich in a fat called conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, and several other so-called ‘good fats’. . . 


Rural round-up

December 3, 2018

Owners of East Coast forests charged over debris damage:

The owners of six East Coast forests are to be prosecuted over damage to farms from flood-borne logging debris in June.

Farmers are still feeling the effects of the Queen’s Birthday man-made floods, when forestry debris washed down and blocked rivers, damaging farms during two bouts of heavy rain in the region.

They put the cost of the damage in the millions of dollars. . . 

Another record high lambing percentage for New Zealand sheep farmers:

Sheep and beef farmers achieved another record high lambing percentage this spring, according to Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) Lamb Crop 2018 report

B+LNZ’s Economic Service estimates the number of lambs tailed in spring 2018 was 23.5 million head, down 0.7 per cent (163,000 head) on the previous spring, with the small decline being due to the higher lambing percentage not offsetting the 2.1 per cent decline in breeding ewes.

The average ewe lambing percentage for 2018 was 129.0 per cent, up 1.7 percentage points on last year and up nearly 8 percentage points on the average for the previous 10 years (2008-09 to 2017-18) of 121.4 per cent. . . 

Green light for controversial Waimea dam:

Tasman District Council has approved the $105 million Waimea dam project after a marathon meeting.

Tasman councillors have this afternoon voted nine votes in favour to five against after an almost seven-hour meeting to determine the fate of the Waimea Community Dam.

The decision came after a tense and at times vocal hour-long public forum in the council chamber, that was being monitored by tight security.

Opponents resent supporting a project they say will benefit a few.

However, supporters say the regional economy will be placed at great risk without a secure water supply. . . 

Members may not be prepared for disaster – Yvonne O’Hara:

When the earth moves, are farmers going to be prepared? The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management sent an emergency mobile alert last Sunday as part of its preparedness plans.

While phones rang all over the country that evening, did it encourage farmers to think about their readiness for earthquakes and other adverse events? SRL reporter Yvonne O’Hara investigates.

Federated Farmers provincial presidents, Otago’s Simon Davies and Southland’s Geoffrey Young, are concerned that many of the region’s farmers are not prepared for significant adverse events, such as earthquakes, snow, and flooding.

Mr Young, a sheep and beef farmer of Cattle Flat, said an earthquake in the region could be catastrophic. . . 

Entries close for 2019 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards:

The Canterbury-North Otago region has received the highest number of entries in the 2019 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

Fifty-nine entries have been received in the Canterbury-North Otago Dairy Industry Awards including 17 in the Share Farmer of the Year, 30 in the Dairy Manager of the Year and 12 in the Dairy Trainee of the Year competition.

NZDIA General Manager Chris Keeping said a total of 393 entries were received for the Awards, an increase of 29 from last year. . . 

We need a bigger rain gague in New Zealand – Patrick Horgan:

November is the last month of spring in New Zealand but there’s no sign of summer around the corner.

After four months placement on a dairy farm in Canterbury, I drove five hours south to see another side of New Zealand dairy farming. I arrived in West Otago in a pair of shorts on 14 October. On 15 October, I ditched the shorts for waterproofs and a rain jacket.

In the past week of bad weather, diversification into water buffalo and water cress farming has been discussed during milking on my new farm while the rain pounded off the tin sheets above our heads. . .

Welsh meat lobby to fight vegan ‘fake food news’ on social media

Hybu Cig Cymru fears too many ‘sensationalist and misleading’ claims are being put forward by critics of meat-based diets.

Wales’s red meat sector is pledging to fight the scourge of “fake food news” on social media that denigrates the likes of Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef.

Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC), the meat levy body for Wales, said it will deliver a “fact-based fightback” that champions meat’s nutritional values and environmental credentials.

This will begin today with the launch by HCC of a new healthy eating lamb campaign fronted by Wales rugby legend Shane Williams. . .


Rural round-up

August 28, 2018

The dam that divides a dry district – David Williams:

A South Island council faces a stark choice – build an expensive dam with considerable financial risks or immediately impose water restrictions that will cripple some businesses. David Williams reports.

It was during the summer of 2000-2001 that the effects of over-allocation of water from the Waimea River, at the top of the South Island, became abundantly clear.

With only a sprinkling of rain over five months, the river dried up. Unprecedented water restrictions came in for the Tasman district and neighbouring Nelson. Commercial growers on the Waimea Plains couldn’t irrigate to grow and ripen their produce. Economic losses were thought to be in the millions of dollars. . .

Water plan fan gives ORC a peek – Sally Rae:

Simon Davies has always thought a little outside the square.

With a background outside of the farming industry, the Otago Federated Farmers president acknowledged he might have a different approach from some farmers.

Last week, Otago Regional Council staff from policy, compliance, science and communications visited the Toko Mouth property Mr Davies farms with his wife Joanna.

It had been something he had been wanting to do since taking over the role earlier this year, he said — to get ORC staff on farm to see first hand the practical steps he was taking around water quality. . .

Multi-talented with attitude – Glenys Christian:

Lisa Kendall reckons she does a little bit of everything when it comes to hiring out her skills for farm work. But she’s also a competitor, scholar, researcher and consultant and is a passionate champion of animal welfare who wants to work toward farm ownership. And though she’s starting with a small sheep milk venture she already has ideas about diversification into cheese and a cafe. She told Glenys Christian about her life. 

Lisa Kendall’s two sisters say she’s crazy. 

But both of them have already expressed their strong interest in getting involved in the sheep-milking farm with attached cheese-making and cafe facilities the 26-year-old is planning in the near future. . . 

From Darfield to Dongguan – Fonterra dials up value add:

Fonterra’s new cream cheese plant in Canterbury has started production and is set to manufacture up to 24,000 metric tonnes of cream cheese annually, bound for China.

China’s changing demographics have driven a surge in popularity for Western foods. The 20kg blocks of cream cheese from Darfield will meet growing demand for bakery goods, like cheese cakes and cheese tarts.

Susan Cassidy, General Manager Marketing, Global Foodservice, Fonterra, says growth in China’s middle class, rapid urbanisation and changing consumer tastes have contributed to explosive growth in the number of consumers wanting New Zealand dairy. . . 

Dr Tom: giving hope to Aussie farmers – Dr Tom Mullholland:

They call Australia the lucky country, but I’m not sure how the global warming dice is rolling for them at the moment. All of New South Wales – that’s 100 per cent – is officially gripped in a drought, which for some regions has been going on for six years.

Apparently, they have hit 99 per cent before but this is the first time they have cracked the ton. It’s not a record you would wish on anybody. I wonder, when does a six-year drought become the local weather?

I was pleased to be invited to speak to a couple of communities in the Outback on my Healthy Thinking strategies on how to manage the top paddock between the ears. As a doctor, I also speak on how to look after your physical, mental and social health. . . 

If you want to save the world, veganism isn’t the answer – Isabelle Tree:

Veganism has rocketed in the UK over the past couple of years – from an estimated half a million people in 2016 to more than 3.5 million– 5% of our population – today. Influential documentaries such as Cowspiracy and What the Health have thrown a spotlight on the intensive meat and dairy industry, exposing the impacts on animal and human health and the wider environment.

But calls for us all to switch entirely to plant-based foods ignore one of the most powerful tools we have to mitigate these ills: grazing and browsing animals.

Rather than being seduced by exhortations to eat more products made from industrially grown soya, maize and grains, we should be encouraging sustainable forms of meat and dairy production based on traditional rotational systems, permanent pasture and conservation grazing. . .


Rural round-up

March 31, 2017

Success follows life turnaround – Sally Brooker:

A young man who went into dairy farming after ”falling in with the wrong crowd” at school is earning accolades.

Jack Raharuhi (24) has been named the West Coast-Top of the South Dairy Manager of the Year.

He was presented with $4680 in prizes at the recent New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards regional awards dinner in Shantytown.

Mr Raharuhi, who manages a 482ha Landcorp property in Westport with 1150 cows, began milking through a Gateway programme at Buller High School nine years ago.

”Dad pulled me out of school and into full-time employment as a farm assistant for Landcorp. I’ve been with them ever since.”

He has worked his way up the industry, now overseeing a second-in-charge programme that involves training and mentoring others in the Landcorp cluster. . . 

Ahuwhenua Trophy finalists – models of Māori innovation:

Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have congratulated this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy competition sheep and beef farming finalists, celebrating excellence in Māori farming.

Announced today at a Parliamentary event, the three finalists are Omapere Rangihamama Trust (Kaikohe), RA & JG King Partnership, Puketawa Station (Eketahuna) and Pukepoto Farm Trust (Ongarue).

“These beef and sheep farming stations are shining examples of the commitment Māori farmers have to sustainably developing their land for future generations. I’m proud to acknowledge and celebrate the key role Māori play in New Zealand’s primary industries,” says Mr Guy.

“The asset base of the Māori economy is worth over $42 billion, most of which is strongly focussed on the primary industries. Māori collectively own 40% of forestry land, 38% of fishing quota, and 30% of lamb production, to name just a few examples. . . 

From Seychelles to farming at Toko Mouth – Sally Rae:

It’s a long way from the Seychelles to Toko Mouth.

The path to farm ownership for coastal South Otago farmer Simon Davies has been an interesting one, including working in the seafood industry both in New Zealand and abroad.

Mr Davies (45) and his wife Joanna, with their two young daughters Georgina (3) and 7-month-old Juliette, farm Coombe Hay, a 750ha sheep and beef property boasting spectacular sea views.

Toko Mouth, 50km south of Dunedin and 15km southeast of Milton, is at the mouth of the Tokomairiro River and has about 70 holiday homes. . . 

New drought measurement index launched:

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has welcomed the launch of a new tool to monitor drought in New Zealand’s regions.

Developed by NIWA with the support of the Ministry for Primary Industries, the New Zealand Drought Index uses the best scientific information available to determine the status of drought across the country. It is a tool to acknowledge the onset, duration and intensity of drought conditions.

“Until now there hasn’t been one definitive definition of a drought,” says Mr Guy.

“Applying the latest scientific knowledge and technology like this index does, helps us to know exactly what is happening and can better inform producers, agri-businesses, councils and the Government to make the right decisions at the right time.” . . 

New Beef + Lamb New Zealand Farmer Council National Chairman:

The Beef + Lamb New Zealand Farmer Council has elected Marton farmer, William Morrison as its next national chairman.

Morrison replaces retiring King Country farmer, Martin Coup who has been the chairman since 2012.

The Beef + Lamb New Zealand Farmer Councils are aligned to the organisation’s geographic electorates and they were established in 2010 as a network for guiding and advising Beef + Lamb New Zealand in identifying farmers’ extension and research and development needs. . . 

Prominent Southland station up for sale:

One of Southland’s largest farming stations is on the market for the first time in 40 years.

Strong interest is expected in the sale of Glenlapa Station, a significant property encompassing 5271 hectares of prime pastureland in Northern Southland. The expansive station has a tremendous capacity of more than 20,000 stock units, making it one of the largest and most successful farms in the region.

New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty sales associate Russell Reddell says it’s uncommon for a property of this magnitude to be up for public sale. . . 

DairyNZ research on show at Farmers’ Forums:

The latest DairyNZ science and innovation will be revealed at Farmers’ Forum events across the country in May.

A selection of science topics will feature at the regional forums, free to farmers, with DairyNZ staff summarising key research.

Session one, ‘Are you making money from milk or milk from money?’, will look at the results of DairyNZ’s farm systems research into the profitability of marginal milk (the milk produced after fixed costs are paid). In response to debate around which farming system is most profitable, DairyNZ has assessed the cost of marginal milk from data analyses and farm systems research. The findings will be presented to help farmers consider marginal milk in their decision making. . . 

Use the natural resource in your own backyard says Australian developer:

New Zealand is missing a prime opportunity to combine its sustainable timber resources with an innovative manufacturing system to build faster and more efficiently.

Daryl Patterson, Head of Operational Excellence at Lend Lease Australia, states Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) is that missing link.

CLT is an engineered wood system made from several layers of dimensional lumber boards, stacked crossways and bonded together.

Speaking at the Wood Processors & Manufacturers Association of New Zealand (WPMA) and Property Council New Zealand Tall Timber Buildings seminar last week, Mr Patterson questioned why, given New Zealand’s ample timber resources, there is not greater use of CLT in our construction sector. . . 


%d bloggers like this: