Staffing shortages cause processing delays – Neal Wallace:
Farmers already facing up to six weeks delay getting stock killed are being warned to prepare for a longer than usual season as the meat industry continues to struggle with staffing shortages.
Silver Fern Farms has warned suppliers that for the season to date the ovine kill is 8% behind the same stage last year and bovine by 3%.
“Early indications show that for most stock classes it will not be until July before we will catch up with current backlogs,” chief executive Simon Limmer told suppliers in the newsletter.
Just how late will depend on any impact of Omicron. . .
Robots offer a tireless staffing option – Richard Rennie:
The prospect of autonomous robotic tractors has long been a lure for growers and farmers, often pushed beyond the bounds of reality by cost and existing technology. But a Blenheim company has been quietly building a fleet of automated machines that are proving their worth with one of the region’s largest winegrowers. Richard Rennie reports.
For any innovative agritech company, New Zealand’s small market size demands founders have an eye out from the start on their tech’s applicability in larger global markets. For the founders of the Oxin automated viticulture tractor, Marlborough has proven an appealing place to start, prior to making that international leap.
“We have been fortunate to have an excellent industry partner right from the start in Pernod, one of the largest grape growers in the region, but also one that has very strong international connections,” Smart Machine director Andrew Kersley said.
Blenheim’s unique concentration of 35,000ha of vineyards, grown primarily by only a few large industry players, makes the company’s ability to showcase the technology, and get it dispersed, a simpler task. . .
Stud owners ready for a new chapter – Sally Rae:
For more than a century, the Punchbowl name has been synonymous with stud sheep breeding in North Otago.
But a new chapter is looming for its current owners, Doug and Jeannie Brown, who are holding ewe dispersal sales in Oamaru this month.
It was Mr Brown’s grandfather Henry (HJ) Andrew — a legendary figure in the stud sheep industry — who came to Punchbowl, near Maheno, in 1915 after graduating from Lincoln College.
Originally from the Leeston area, he shifted south with his parents and began breeding Southdowns. Over time, his Southdown stud became very prominent at a time when Southdowns were the main terminal sire breed in New Zealand. He exported sheep to many parts of the world and also imported sires. . .
Seeds of traceability in digital move – Tim Cronshaw:
Arable growers will enter the digital world for their seed certification this month.
All the paperwork will be replaced by online entries in a $2million industry and government investment, which industry chiefs have called a watershed moment.
About $400million of certified seed crops — including brassicas, herbage grasses and legumes — will be checked throughout their growing cycle for quality control and consistency by about 800 growers, seed merchants and Assure Quality inspectors.
New Zealand Grain and Seed Trade Association manager Thomas Chin said the app-based system would provide traceability so quality assurances could be given to overseas markets that export seed shipments leaving the country were ‘‘true-to-label’’. . .
Described as “deliciously creamy” and the “perfect foam” for your cuppa, potato milk is the latest contender to the plant milk market.
Milk developer at Lund University professor Eva Tornberg said she was working with a potato starch company in Sweden when she came up with the idea.
The amino acid composition of potato protein is much like milk and egg, she said.
“I thought perhaps it would be good to use potato protein to make a milk.” . .
A farmer who wrecked a car parked on his land with a tractor has been cleared of criminal damage after he successfully used the 400-year-old legal principle that “an Englishman’s home is his castle”.
Robert Hooper, 57, became an internet sensation in June last year, when a video of him using the spikes on his telehandler to flip a £16,000 Vauxhall Corsa went viral on social media.
The hill farmer from Upper Teesdale said he had been forced to take action after he came under attack from a “strutting and agitated” shirtless youth, who had refused to move the car from his land.
Mr Hooper said he did not call police because he had been burgled eight times and found they were often slow to respond. . .