Rural round-up

September 19, 2018

North Island farmers lose 100,000 lambs after spring storm –  Gerard Hutching:

Farmers have suffered “devastating” lamb losses in eastern and central North Island over the last two weeks with an estimated toll of about 100,000.

At current prices of $144 per mature lamb, the economic hit could be $14.4 million.

By contrast Otago and Southland farmers are expected to escape lightly from the impact of snow that has fallen on Monday.

Federated Farmers high country chairman Simon Williamson said lambing would not begin in the areas where most snow had fallen until the beginning of October. . .

NZ maple syrup industry ‘possible and promising’ – Will Harvie:

Canada produces 71 per cent of world’s maple syrup and 91 per cent of that originates from the province of Quebec. But a clutch of New Zealand academics think this country could have a maple syrup industry, despite a mild climate and no sugar maple forests.

Their preliminary research has “determined that a plantation of maple saplings for use in commercial production of maple syrup is a possible and a promising endeavour in New Zealand”, according to a presentation to be given at a chemical engineering conference in Queenstown on October 1.

The most promising places for maple syrup production are roughly Molesworth Station and inland from Westport, both in the South Island, according to their paper.   . .

Local contract a big arable win :

A big multi-year supply contract to Countdown supermarkets for local wheat and grain is regarded by the arable industry as a breakthrough.

Until this year the in-house bakeries of the more than 180 Countdown supermarkets used premixed ingredients produced here and imported from Australia.

But in a deal Christchurch-based Champion Flour Milling business innovation manager Garth Gillam said is the culmination of years of effort, the supermarkets’ bakeries have switched entirely to premixes made using locally-grown products for all in-store baking of loaves, rolls, buns and scones. . .

Rembering your purpose – the big picture – Hugh Norris:

Farmers have told us that one thing that has helped them cope better with the ups and downs of farming, is to remember why they got into farming in the first place and to think about the contribution they make to their wider community.

Keeping the bigger picture of life in mind, and not just being caught up in the endless day-to-day tasks of farming, can be protection against burnout and loss of physical and mental health.

Having a sense of meaning and purpose in life has been shown in many scientific studies to be better for our mental and physical health and even help us live longer. . .

Deer milk brand gets two food award nods – Sally Rae:

New Zealand’s pioneering deer milk industry has received a further boost by being named a finalist in this year’s New Zealand Food Awards.

Pamu, the brand for Landcorp Farming, is a finalist in both the primary sector award and the novel food and beverage award.

Earlier this year, Pamu deer milk won the Grassroots Innovation award at the national field days at Mystery Creek. . .

M. bovis highlights need to improve, not scrap, rural Adverse Events Scheme

Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) highlights that a scheme deferring tax on income from forced livestock sales should be improved not scrapped, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) says.

“Ditching Inland Revenue’s Adverse Events Scheme would remove a valuable tool that farmers and rural businesses can use to smooth out the ups and downs of their income and expenditure after an adverse event,” said CA ANZ New Zealand Tax and Financial Services Leader, John Cuthbertson. . . 


Rural round-up

January 16, 2018

Women’s shearing record set in ‘epic’ sporting feat:

A nine-hour slog to set a new world shearing record is being described as an ‘epic sporting feat’.

Kerri-Jo Te Huia sheared 452 ewes in a Wairarapa woolshed yesterday to set a record that no-one has held before: that for the women’s nine-hour strongwool ewe category.

Champion shearer Jills Angus Burney watched Ms Te Huia make history and said she did an amazing job. . . 

Growers’ dilemma: Killing a crop to survive the dry:

After a drought-inducing start to summer, fruit and vegetable growers are pleading for more dams to avoid having to kill off their own crops.

Much of the country has been facing water restrictions after the early dry season, with even the usually rain-soaked West Coast having declared drought conditions.

Canterbury went weeks without rain in November and December, and Wellington was forced to use reserve water two months earlier than usual.

Otago settlement Glenorchy was the latest affected with Queenstown Lakes District Council announcing restrictions this morning, asking residents to switch off all irrigation and automatic watering systems. . .

What does the future hold for NZ”s largest farm? – Alexa Cook:

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is calling for public opinion about how New Zealand’s largest farm, Molesworth Station, should be managed.

The 180,000ha cattle station is owned by the government farmer Landcorp, which has a farming lease and grazing licence for the land.

A management plan for Molesworth was approved in 2013 with the intention of moving it from its traditional focus on farming to include more recreation and conservation activities.

The farming lease expires in two years, and Federated Farmers high country spokesperson Simon Williamson said it was crucial it remained a working station.

“It’s very important for that type of land that someone is maintaining it for the pests and weeds … and the public access side of it, if people get in trouble.” . . 

Close your farm borders to unwanted invaders – Katie Milne:

Here are some New Year resolutions for all of us who work the land: Treat your farm as a biosecurity fortress, with its defences tightened to shut out pest and disease threats.

Confirmation this week that the bacterial cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis is present on a farm in the Ashburton area – bringing the number of infected properties around the nation to 14 – is the latest wake-up call.  All farms are at risk when it comes to pests and diseases.  Regarding Mycoplasma bovis, movement of infected animals is the main risk followed by animal to animal contact and transmission through milk and semen, but the disease can also be transferred directly on equipment such calving and AI equipment.

MPI staff work hard to knock out biosecurity threats at our airports and ports but they’re just the first line of defence.  You’re the fullback.  You need a game plan to repel weeds, bacteria and other harmful substances that would hurt your livelihood.

Now for those resolutions. . . 

Feds’ Hoggard urges farmers to pay backpackers regular rates – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Federated Farmers vice-president Andrew Hoggard says farmers should pay backpackers market rates if they want to keep a handy pool of casual labour and avoid volunteer workers.

The Employment Relations Authority ruled an organic farm near Christchurch breached worker rights by paying them $120 a week plus providing food and lodging irrespective of the hours worked, and claiming they were volunteers after a Labour Inspectorate investigation. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said in a statement that thousands of people had been exploited at the farm, working up to 40 hours a week and often as hired out labour at a profit for Robinwood Farms director and shareholder Julia Osselton. . . 

Canada’s Public Sector Pension Board gets OIO approval to buy $17.7M dairy farm and block – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board, or PSP Investments, got a green light to buy a medium-sized dairy farm and a neighbouring dairy support block in Canterbury for $17.7 million just ahead of tougher requirements on land sales to foreign buyers.

Ramsay Dairy Farm, which is indirectly owned by PSP Investments, was granted consent to buy 335.2 hectares of land and 77.2 hectares of land in Hororata, Canterbury by the Overseas Investment Office.

According to the OIO, the properties will be amalgamated to create a larger dairy farm. “The applicant proposes to convert some of the dairy support land to create a larger milking platform, and to support increasing the total number of cows by approximately 400 cows,” it said in a summary of the decision.. . .

Butter prices drop almost 5 percent in December:

Butter, chocolate bars, and wholemeal bread prices all fell in December, Stats NZ said today. Tomatoes and nectarines were also cheaper, but avocado prices remain almost twice as expensive as they were a year ago.

After four successive monthly rises, butter prices dropped 4.9 percent in December 2017 to an average of $5.46 for the cheapest available 500g block. This compared with the previous month when they hit a record high of $5.74. Butter prices had been falling at international dairy auctions since October. . . 

MPI aims to wrap up PGP review by end of April – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – The government’s review of the Primary Growth Partnership is underway, with the first phase due to be wrapped up by late January and the second by the end of April, with one programme partner providing feedback and ideas to date.

The research and development programme was launched in 2010 and, to date, government and industry have invested some $759 million in 22 programmes, with 16 still underway. In late November Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, who was critical of the programme while in opposition, called for a review, stating the new government needs to prioritise spending. . .

2018 Set To Be A Year Of Growth For Taratahi:

Taratahi’s efforts to attract new students has paid off with solid enrolments for 2018.

Taratahi upped its marketing and as a result, the definite enrolments for 2018 are looking great, says chief Executive Arthur Graves.

Arthur says the institutions taster courses have attracted large numbers of students.

“Taratahi and the wider primary industry have been promoting the job rich agricultural environments and extensive career pathways on offer and those campaigns are now yielding some great results. . . 


Rural round-up

June 6, 2016

Merino work recognised – Sally Rae:

Bill Gibson, the elder statesman of the merino industry, has been recognised for his vast contribution to the breed.

Mr Gibson, who lives in Wanaka, was presented with the Heather Perriam Memorial Trophy at the Otago Merino Association’s recent merino excellence awards in Queenstown.

In presenting the award, Mrs Perriam’s husband John said it was a privilege to present the trophy to someone who was deserving of it “in every possible way”. . . 

Double-header for Ginger at the sheep dog trials – Hamish MacLean:

It has been a big week for Omarama farmer Ginger Anderson.

Not only did the 70-year-old win the short head and yard national title with Don at the New Zealand dog trial championships at Omarama on Saturday, but he was also named a life member of the New Zealand Sheep Dog Trial Association.

Now a four-time national champion, the 15th life member of the association, who for 12 years served on the judging panel, had no plans on ending his days of competing in the sport. . . 

Farmers satisfied with banks but pressure building for some:

Farmers overall remain satisfied with their banks, but pressure is building and sharemilkers are feeling it most a Federated Farmers survey has revealed.

The Federated Farmers Banking Survey, which is undertaken quarterly to gauge the relationship farmers hold with their banks, has indicated that perceptions about ‘undue pressure’ have gradually built.

Federated Farmers Dairy chairman Andrew Hoggard says that it comes at no surprise considering the current environment.

“Despite sharemilkers being particularly exposed at present bank satisfaction remains strong overall.” . . 

Dual role at Feds for multi-talented farmer:

Federated Farmers newest provincial president Simon Williamson is used to flying high and has taken the reins of both Federated Farmers High Country Industry Group and North Otago Province.

The high country farmer, who also holds a pilot licence and is president of the local jockey club, joined the Federation 13 years ago. He recently took over as Federated Farmers’ High Country Chairman from Chas Todhunter, and at the North Otago provincial Annual General Meeting this week, he was elected provincial president. He replaces Richard Strowger.

Federated Farmers President William Rolleston said: “Simon is an incredibly passionate advocate for the farming community and I know he will do a fantastic job.” . . 

Speech by Guy Wigley, Chairman of Federated Farmers Arable Industry Group at the Arable Industry Conference in Ashburton:

The past 12 months have been a rollercoaster.  The year started quietly with no biosecurity incursions – life seemed to be dominated by the price of milk – then along came velvetleaf. 

This is not specifically an arable industry weed as it is across all farming types and the arable industry will be able to manage this weed better than most.  However, it highlights how crucial biosecurity is to the wellbeing of our industry and the country as a whole. 

The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has done an outstanding job in its response to the velvetleaf incursion mobilising large numbers of staff from its networks with the aim of eradicating velvetleaf from New Zealand. . . 

Board cut in doubt – Hugh Stringleman:

The 75% yes vote needed for Fonterra’s constitutional changes to governance and representation will be close and might fail to attract sufficient support.  

Fonterra’s area managers have hit the telephones, asking if farmers need any more meetings.  Chairman John Wilson acknowledged many shareholders were uncertain about the change to the voting process.

 “(We) recommend you support the different process as we are very confident it will give the outcomes the co-operative is looking for. . . 

Flood farmers still recovering – Richard Rennie:

Shaun O’Leary’s racehorse did not earn a Melbourne Cup win last November to pay for the damage the June floods inflicted on his property at Whangaehu.  

Nevertheless, O’Leary retains his optimism about horses and farming with a refreshingly optimistic and philosophical mindset.  

The family runs 690ha in the hard-hit Whangaehu Valley southwest of Whanganui, milking 1500 cows on the flats alongside the Whangaehu River. .  .

The economics of butterfly farming:

Karl Rich has been helping to farm an altogether more delicate animal than those usually associated with agribusiness.

The Lincoln University Agribusiness and International Development Associate Professor was recently part of a multi-disciplinary, international group of researchers looking to develop an innovative approach to conservation in India — butterfly farming.

The group wants to aid conservation of butterflies in Western Ghats, “an area with some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world and one threatened by unsustainable agricultural and land use patterns,” Associate Professor Rich says.

He says in developing countries conservation efforts can be very challenging. . . 

Gateplates & Signs's photo.


Rural round-up

May 27, 2016

More charges laid in reponse to Waikato bobby calves footage Edwin Mitson:

(BusinessDesk) – The Ministry for Primary Industries has laid a second set of charges as part of an investigation into the alleged abuse of bobby calves in the Waikato.

MPI began investigating after TVNZ’s Sunday programme broadcast footage which showed the calves being thrown onto trucks and being left for dead.

Ten charges were laid against an individual in March, with a hearing due to take place on June 2. Four charges have been laid against a company and a different individual today, with a hearing due at Huntly District Court on June 21.

MPI acting director of compliance, Steve Gilbert, said the investigation is onoing and had been “careful, methodical”. . . 

Farmers applaud responsible budget and urge tax cuts for 2017:

Federated Farmers supports the Government’s prudent financial management and maintenance of surpluses announced in today’s Budget.

Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston said: “The Government has clearly decided to invest surplus proceeds in a series of funding initiatives for the future including science and skills.

“We strongly support the increase in funding for science and technology and also welcome new spending on skills, transport, establishment of a Freshwater Improvement Fund, regional development, and commitments to fund TB control and to contain the spread of wilding pine. . . 

Funding good start in tackling Wilding Pine but biosecurity incursion response needs more:

Federated Farmers welcomes funding for the control of Wilding Pines but warns that more money is needed for biosecurity incursion response measures.

The Wilding Pines initiative sits within MPI’s existing allocation for Biosecurity Incursion Response and Long Term Pest Management, which for 2016/17 will increase by $1 million from 2015/16 (from $34 million to $35 million).

High Country chairman Simon Williamson said: “The money allocated to Wilding Pines is the bare minimum we need to demonstrate that the long term strategy for wilding control, worked on for the past 18 months, is of both environmental and economic benefit to the country. . .

Budget 2016 boost for regional economies, infrastructure, social housing and biodiversity:

LGNZ President, Lawrence Yule, acknowledged a much needed boost for communities in four key areas LGNZ has been advocating for: stronger regional economies, infrastructure, community and social housing, and biodiversity.

“Stronger, more successful regional economies and better community wellbeing are key areas of focus for LGNZ. We are pleased to see Government focus on these priority areas for communities,” says Mr Yule.

“$44 million over four years to assist regions to develop opportunities in their economic action plans is a useful start to investing in local economic initiatives, and consistent with what LGNZ has been asking for,” says Mr Yule. . . 

 

Trickledown benefits for rural health in Budget 2016:

There might be no silver funding bullets for rural health in the Government’s latest Budget but there should be trickledown benefits across a range of health initiatives nationally, says New Zealand Rural General Practice Network chief executive Dalton Kelly.

“For example the Wairarapa and the Hutt Valley will host the start of a bowel screening programme, both of which areas have rural populations, especially the Wairarapa.

“All DHBs are to receive a total of $400 million extra funding and again this should have positive implications for rural New Zealanders across most, if not all, DHB areas. . . 

Safely.nz’ app targets better farm health and safety without the hassle:

With the launch of a new app specifically tailored for New Zealand’s farms, professional services firm Crowe Horwath is making it easier and more convenient to institute sound health and safety practices in rural workplaces. Dubbed ‘Safely.nz’, the app is the result of a partnership between Crowe Horwath’s Human Resources division, Progressive Consulting, and developer Peak Software.

Safely.nz is customised to Kiwi farms and agricultural support businesses, such as agricultural contractors, transport providers, fertiliser spreaders, vets and shearing contractors. . .

Milk price prediction means farmers will tread water for another season:

Farmers are resigned to another tight season after Fonterra confirmed its milk price at $4.25 for the coming season.

Dairy chairman Andrew Hoggard said: “Many were hopeful of a price in the vicinity of $4.50, so optimistic farmers will be feeling disappointed.

“The reality is we have seen the opening forecast price change quickly as the market has changed. Unfortunately it has changed for the worse in the previous two seasons. Hopefully with this conservative forecast, we won’t see any further drops. Especially as there are some more positive signs out there in the markets presently. . . 

New Zealand Avocados Break Record for New Zealand Sales at $41 million:

New Zealand’s love affair with avocados has produced record-breaking domestic sales of $41 million during the 2015-16 season.

Jen Scoular, Chief Executive of NZ Avocado, today announced impressive end-of-season results of $134 million in industry value from export and New Zealand market sales.

Strong global demand also delivered outstanding returns from the Australian market and strong returns from the Asian export markets. . . 

Wool Celebrates Its Place In The Built Environment At One of the Biggest Architectural Events:

The Venice Architecture Biennale 2016!

For the first time ever wool is being celebrated at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016, with an installation in the New Zealand Room and a hosting event set down for September.

The Architecture Biennale kicks off on Thurs 26th with the Vernissage (an exclusive launch) and runs for six months. This Biennale, sister to the Art Biennale, attracts over 3000 media and more than a quarter of a million global visitors.

“This is a highly attentive and influential audience, and it’s great to see New Zealand companies with a strong design focus appreciate the opportunities the Biennale offers,” says Teen Hale Pennington, CE, New Zealand Institute of Architecture (NZIA). . . 

Stoned sheep invade Welsh village:

Stoned sheep have gone on a “psychotic rampage” in the small Welsh village of Rhydypandy after eating cannabis plants.

The plants, left-overs of an illegal cannabis factory, were dumped at the side of a road near the village and there are fears things could get worse.

“There is already a flock of sheep roaming the village causing a nuisance,” said County councillor Ioan Richard.

“They are getting in people’s gardens and one even entered a bungalow and left a mess in the bedroom.” . . .


Their land, our water

January 28, 2010

The paddocks on the side of the road between Tarras and the bridge over the Clutha near Luggate used to be dry and barren for most of the year.

Some of them still are, but others are green and productive, thanks to irrigation.

Which looks better is a matter of opinion but I prefer the green and admire the increased productivity farmers are getting from it.

Some of the irrigated farmland which would have struggled to support a few sheep is now able to feed bulls. These bulls no doubt have the same sort of outputs as dairy cows, but there is a major difference between the Upper Clutha farms and the dairy operations proposed for the Mackenzie Basin and that’s scale.

The bulls grazing paddocks beside the Tarras-Luggate road number in the low 10s. The Mackenzie dairy proposals are for nearly 18,000 cows.

In announcing that he’s calling in the consents for these big operations, Environment Minister Nick Smith said that stock will produce effluent similar to the amount produced by a city of 250,000 people.

That’s an awful lot of waste and helps explains why Environment Canterbury received around 5,000 submissions on the applications for resource consent.

Some were about animal welfare which do not come under the Resource Management Act and I’d be very surprised if any of the concerns were valid. Keeping cattle indoors may not be the way we’re used to farming here but it doesn’t by itself constitute any welfare issues.

Some were about what irrigation and dairying would do to the views. That is entirely subjective, what some regard as beautiful productive paddocks, others will see as blots on the landscape.

Although, it’s not just about how the landscape looks but what’s happening to it. Those travelling through at 100 kilometres an hour don’t appreciate the environmental damage that unrelenting heat and wind can do.

In the January 2-8 Listener, Simon Williamson of Glenbrook Station, was asked about the cost to the landscape of irrigation. He replied:

“I don’t see how it detracts. A green foreground and brown hills. Before it would have been a brown foreground and a dust storm.” *

Many of the other submissions were on the potential threat to water quality and these  submitters are on stronger ground.

Housing the cows as is proposed in the applications allows the farms to have much more control on the dispersal of effluent than if the stock was grazing pasture. But systems are only as good as the people who operate them and can never be fool-proof.

Besides, whether inside or out, these cattle will produce a lot of effluent. The Minster’s appointees will have to be satisfied that there is no danger to water quality from it and that may be very difficult to guarantee.

It is the applicants’ land but their right to do what they will with it doesn’t extend to polluting our water.

* The Williamson quote isn’t online, but the rest of the feature from which it came, Mainland dust-up, is on line and well worth a read.

Update: Federated Farmers media release on the calling in is here.


%d bloggers like this: