Rural round-up

28/03/2021

Call for native tree policy rethink – Colin Williscroft:

A farmer involved in a new initiative that’s calling for a radical change in thinking to meet the Climate Change Commission’s target of 300,000ha of new native forests by 2035 says it’s going to be a big ask – but that’s not putting him off.

O Tātou Ngāhere is a programme launched on Thursday night by Pure Advantage and Tāne’s Tree Trust that not only calls for greater ambition in meeting the commission’s target, but also seeks an urgent change to the way native forests are planted, managed and valued.

Tane Tree Trust trustee Ian Brennan, who runs a small drystock farm providing dairy grazing near Cambridge that he aims to half plant in native trees, says while pine trees have been the focus of a lot of plantings for those targeting carbon credits, he cannot imagine anyone regretting planting natives – although they are a much longer-term project. . . 

UK trade talks going nowhere, slowly – Nigel Stirling:

It appears that Britain’s trade negotiators haven’t yet caught up with the news that their farmers want tariffs on imported agricultural products scrapped.

Ditching high tariffs on agricultural products from countries which meet the same environmental and animal welfare standards as British farmers was one of 22 recommendations made by British Trade Minister Liz Truss’ Trade and Agriculture Commission earlier this month.

Britain’s farmers were fully represented on the commission by the representatives of the English, Welsh and Scottish branches of the UK’s peak farming lobby, the National Farmers Union (NFU), along with several other farmer bodies. . . 

 

Smedley runs faster with FarmIQ:

Running a 5660ha dry stock operation is a big ask at the best of times, but add in a teaching role and it can prove a juggling act which Smedley Station manager Rob Evans is more than up for.

Rob admits having a young crew of cadets to oversee helps him stay sharp, and has also encouraged him to look harder at the new technology out there that young cadets will be engaging with in their farming careers.

This includes FarmIQ, and for the past two years Smedley has been gradually adopting many of the features FarmIQ offers into its day to day operations, and for bigger picture planning during the season.

Initially when he started using FarmIQ Rob had been inputting stock numbers and feed budget data to give himself and staff a more up to date picture of feed supply-demand. This enabled him to share potential options with staff via the computer or cell phone. It has also meant he can get a real time picture across the station’s four blocks. . . 

Kiwi hunters likely to miss another roar due to police firearm licensing delays:

The New Zealand Deerstalkers Association says the backlog in Police’s processing of new and renewing firearms licences will mean that many New Zealanders will, again, miss out on hunting during the deer roar this March and April.

NZDA Chief Executive, Gwyn Thurlow, says “after missing out on the 2020 roar due to Covid-19 Lockdown, hunters are looking forward to the 2021 roar this March and April however many hunters will be forced to sit on the side-lines because of Police administrative delays in renewing their firearm licences.”

“Many hunters have been in touch to tell NZDA that they are one of the many people caught up in the huge backlog in firearms licence processing delays by Police.

“The timing is particularly unfair on hunters who rely on securing meat for their families at this time of year”, says Gwyn Thurlow, noting “the roar is upon the Kiwi hunting community but sadly a good number will miss out through no fault of their own, simply because of the administrative backlog at Police.” . . 

Biosecurity Amendment Bill has HortNZ’s backing:

Horticulture New Zealand is thrilled that the Biosecurity (Information for Incoming Passengers) Amendment Bill has been drawn from the Private Member’s Ballot.

‘When the border re-opens, it will be important to remind travellers of the need to be particularly vigilant when entering New Zealand,’ says HortNZ Chief Executive, Mike Chapman.

‘New Zealand’s top performing horticulture and other primary industries would be easily destroyed if a particularly virulent pest or disease entered the country. This would have catastrophic effects on exports and the New Zealand economy, at a time when things are already fragile. . . 

2021 Manawatū Dairy Industry Awards winners announced:

The 2021 Manawatū Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year winner says he wants to contribute positively to the reputation of the New Zealand dairy industry.

Sam Howard was named the 2021 Manawatū Share Farmer of the Year at the region’s annual awards announced at Awapuni Function Centre on Wednesday night. The other major winners were Karl Wood, the 2021 Manawatū Dairy Manager of the Year, and Josh Wilkinson, the 2021 Manawatū Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Sam won $10,465 in prizes and a clean sweep of eight merit awards. He is 50/50 sharemilking for John Gardner, on his 80ha, 240-cow Palmerston North property. Sam was also named the 2016 Taranaki Dairy Manager of the Year. . .


Rural round-up

10/05/2013

Animal Welfare Amendment Bill introduced:

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has introduced a Bill to Parliament today to update and strengthen animal welfare in New Zealand.

“The Bill will allow us to create enforceable regulations that set out how farm and domestic animals should be treated. It also gives wider powers to deal with people who breach welfare laws,” says Mr Guy.

“This comes from a comprehensive review of the Animal Welfare Act 1999 which found that while the principles are sound, the time is right to update and improve how it operates. This will make the legislation easier to enforce, and make it clearer and more transparent.

“It matters how we treat animals, both to ourselves and for our international trading reputation. This Bill will make that reputation even stronger.

“This is important to New Zealanders because around 68% of households have a pet, and we earn around $20 billion a year by exporting animal products such as meat, milk and wool. . .

Animal welfare case guilty plea welcomed:

Federated Farmers believes Milkpride admitting guilt in Rotorua today sends a strong deterrent message.

“With sentencing yet to be passed we are pretty much limited to what we can say,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“Farmers like me were troubled by what we saw and the public deserve to know it is not representative of dairy farming. In this case, farming was both on trial but farming was also part of the prosecution.

“I wish to acknowledge the work of DairyNZ’s early intervention team, Federated Farmers members and the Ministry for Primary Industries itself. . .

Farm health and safety and rural suicide high on agenda at conference:

Federated Farmers health and safety spokesperson Jeanette Maxwell will discuss the work to improve quad bike safety on farms and, more importantly, the Federation’s steps towards reducing the rural suicide rate in FarmSafe’s rural safety conference in Wellington next week.

“The politicians, policy makers and influential agri-business people attending the Rural Safety – A Forward Focus conference next Wednesday will have a very good opportunity to discuss what is happening with on-farm safety and what can be done to improve it,” Mrs Maxwell says.

“I am looking forward to hearing from Coroner Brandt Shortland about the coronial inquiry into quad bike safety and then participating in the stakeholder discussion on the future of quad bike safety afterwards. . .

It’s hands-on for Smedley cadets – Jon Morgan:

Of 80 young men and women applying each year to go to Smedley Station, the agricultural training farm running sheep, cattle and deer in the Central Hawke’s Bay hills, only 11 are chosen.

Once there they come under the spell of station manger Terry Walters, his wife Judy and their team of managers.

It’s two years they will never forget, says Walters.

“They play hard and they also work bloody hard.”

One word sums up the station and its training programme: Respect.

“It’s respect for the farm, the training staff, their fellow cadets, their gear, their dogs, their horse,” he says. . .

Southland farmers urged to register for DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum, 15 May:

DairyNZ’s national series of Farmers’ Forum is coming to Invercargill on Wednesday, 15 May.

The event is free to levy-paying farmers and their staff who are urged to register this week for the informative and practical seminars to be held at Ascot Park Hotel from 9.30-2pm.

Each year the Farmers’ Forum provides a great opportunity for dairy farmers to see how their levy is invested and to learn about dairy industry research and development work. . .

Massey University agricultural programme ranked 21st:

Massey University is celebrating having its agricultural programme ranked among the top universities in the world.

In the 2013 QS University World Rankings released this week, Massey University’s agricultural programme was judged to be the 21st finest in the world.

Vice chancellor Steve Maharey said it’s good news for Massey and good news for New Zealand given the importance of agriculture to the country.

Mr Maharey said the highlight of the ranking in his opinion was the five star ranking Massey received for its research in agriculture.

He said having the strength of the university’s research recognised will reverberate around the world. . .

Shortage Lifts Wool Market:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s Marketing Executive, Mr Paul Steel reports that the combination of a slightly weaker NZ dollar compared to most main trading currencies; restricted wool supply and recent dearer wool markets in other countries aided the lift for most types at this weeks’ South Island auction.

Of the 8,340 bales on offer, 83 percent sold. The weighted currency indicator was 0.46 percent down on last sale of 2nd May but started the day below this level, strengthening as the sale progressed. . .

And from Smile Project:


Rural round-up

09/03/2013

Teaching Farm Wins Top Award in East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

A well-known Hawke’s Bay station and training farm has taken out the Supreme title in the 2013 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Smedley Station and Cadet Training Farm also collected several category awards at a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on March 7, 2013.

Managed by Terry and Judy Walters, the 5054ha (3186ha effective) sheep, beef and deer farm near Tikokino, northwest of Waipukurau, is home to 22 cadets who are presented with a wide range of learning opportunities during the two years they live and work on the property.

BFEA judges said the intensely scrutinised station sets and achieves high benchmarks.

 “As a working farm Smedley not only practises profitable and sustainable management, it also teaches this ethos to tomorrow’s agricultural leaders.” . . .

Environmentally conscious couple asked to teach others:

An environmentally-conscious farming family in Waikato is being brought on board by Fonterra as part of a project to restore signifcant waterways around the country.

Andrew and Jennifer Hayes farm an 88 hectare dairy farm between two peat lakes – Kaituna and Komakorau (co-mark-a-row), at Horsham Downs in Waikato.

The Hayes have won environment awards for their guardianship of those lakes and Fonterra has asked them to share their knowledge with fellow farmers. . .

Survey Reveals Huge Pasture Investment:

In the past four years New Zealand farmers have sown enough new proprietary pasture seed to cover more than 1.5 million ha of land, new data shows.

“That’s the equivalent of just over 6600 average sized dairy farms,” says Thomas Chin, general manager of the New Zealand Plant Breeding and Research Association (NZPBRA).

Based on tonnages of seed sold for the four years ending 31 December 2012, the data is a NZ first and reveals the ‘colossal’ potential and effect of proprietary plant varieties on NZ farms.

“What this clearly shows is that farmers are using well-bred, well researched, proven plant genetics to get the best out of their land, and their animals,” Chin says. . .

Brown paddock recovery plan – growing grass after the dry:

 Livestock management may have been farmers’ number one priority during recent dry weeks – and rightly so – but now it’s time to think about pastures too.

“We realise you need to look after livestock, however pasture is what’s going to fuel your recovery after rain, and it will be your main feed for the next 12 months,” says senior agronomist Graham Kerr.

“Continued dry conditions in the last three weeks have dramatically changed the pasture situation on many farms, and pasture renewal programmes need to change likewise.”

The best practice in this type of year is to assess all pastures on the farm, and divide paddocks into three categories. This information can then be turned into proactive pasture renewal and pasture management plans. . .

Ambitious Young Winners in Auckland Hauraki Dairy Awards:

At just 28, the 2013 Auckland Hauraki Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, James Courtman, is young, ambitious and already successful.

Mr Courtman won the title and $14,000 in cash and prizes at the region’s Dairy Industry Awards dinner at the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre in Manukau last night.

“I entered the awards for the first time to challenge myself, to develop better goals, and to try and win!” he said. In February he contested the regional Young Farmers Competition final, winning the AGMARDT agri-business challenge. . .

Last chance for Aorangi Young Farmer:

Next weekend will be Phil Campbell’s last chance at a Grand Final in the ANZ Young Farmer Contest. At 31, the last year for eligibility, the sheep, beef and cropping farmer will be the oldest competitor in the Aorangi Regional Final being held at the Methven Showgrounds and Heritage Centre, Saturday 16 March.

Eight competitors will be vying for a spot at the Grand Final in Auckland 16-18 May and their share of a considerable prize pack worth $13,000 thanks to ANZ, AGMARDT, Lincoln University Scholarship, Ravensdown, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, and Husqvarna. . .

Cavalier Congratulates Speed Shearers:

The Golden Shears ‘Big Bang’ speed shearing event shows that New Zealand’s reputation for world class shearing is in good hands, says Cavalier Woolscourers Ltd (CWS).

The ‘Big Bang’ is part of the annual Golden Shears programme of events, and sees world class speed shearers compete in Senior and Open grades.

“CWS congratulates Brett Roberts – who topped a Seniors field of 29 contestants with a time of just 34.5 seconds – and Digger Balme, whose 28.92 seconds saw him triumph in the Open section,” said Nigel Hales, CEO of Cavalier Wool Scourers. . .

Wool prices continue firming:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the combined North and South Island auction offering of 24,400 bales saw a 91 percent clearance and a firm to dearer market across the board.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies was practically unchanged compared to the last sale on 28th February, firming by 0.23 percent.

Mr Dawson advises that the Fine Crossbred Fleece was generally slightly dearer with the shear types firm to 2 percent stronger. . .


Inaugural Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards

09/08/2012

The dairy industry is good at celebrating success, the sheep industry is catching up with the  inaugural Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards.

The B+LNZ Award for an individual or business making a significant contribution to the New Zealand sheep industry was presented to sheep breeding science pioneer Dr Jock Allison.

And a very deserving winner he is. Jock has spent decades working for the industry.

The Silver Fern Farms Award for sheep industry innovation was presented to Rowan Farmer, responsible for introducing and promoting sheep pregnancy and eye muscle scanning technology to New Zealand. Smedley Station and Cadet Training Farm was named winner of the AgITO Business Farm Trainer of the Year Award.

The terminal sire flock rated highest for genetic merit across the SIL-ACE evaluation was “The Burn”, Joseph and Judy Barkers’ Texel stud in Mid Canterbury. The dual purpose (ewe breed) rated highest for genetic merit was “MNCC”,Edward Dinger’s Coopworth stud in the Waikato.

The idea to hold an awards ceremony was initiated by B+LNZ Farmer Council member and ram breeder Russell Welsh. Mr Welsh says the dairy industry’s track record of celebrating success prompted him to suggest the awards ceremony. “It highlights best practice and, by default, that lifts all farmers.”

B+LNZ Chairman Mike Petersen says it is great to see farmers driving an initiative which celebrates the sheep industry, while also highlighting the immense value of SIL’s database to the sector.

“Any of us in the sheep business know that choosing a ram is a farm-by-farm decision– that we all have different priorities with regard to finishing, wool production and animal health issues. Consequently, these awards by no means represent ‘the top list’ for all. But it is very interesting to crunch the numbers and see what comes out the other side.

“My congratulations to all those named. You are part of a critical group of top performing ram breeders who are firmly focused on improving your animals’ traits and performance, so that we commercial farmers continue to improve our flocks year on year.”

B+LNZ Geneticist Mark Young says the process of identifying the top-performing flocks involved analysing the top 25-50 per cent of rams for each specified set of traits, before then adjusting the results to account for variations in flock size.

“This exercise also identified highly-rated sires that were making a big impact in industry. The Beef + Lamb New Zealand Super Sires are rated in the top 10 per cent for genetic merit in indexes of merit across key traits. They are also rams which have been used a lot, so have the most progeny.”

The awards are an excellent idea, it is high time sheep farmers celebrated their success.

Full results:

Top Flocks for Genetic Merit

Terminal Flock (Index: Lamb Growth + Meat Yield) Winner: The Burn (Texel), JT & J Barker, Winchmore Commendations:Tamlet (Texel), GA & K Smith, Wyndham Mount Linton (SufTex), Mt Linton Station, Otautau Kepler Supreme (Lamb Supreme), Focus Genetics Kepler, Te Anau Blackdale (Texel), LG & WI Black, Riverton

Dual Purpose Flock (Index: Reproduction + Lamb Growth + Adult Size + Wool) Winner: MNCC (Coopworth), AE Dinger, Cambridge Commendations:Ashgrove (Coopworth), DH Hartles, Maungaturoto Ashton Glen (Coopworth), R & R Mitchell, Clinton

Alliance High Performance Flock (Index: Reproduction + Lamb Growth + Adult Size + Wool) Winner: MNCC (Coopworth), AE Dinger, Cambridge Commendations:Ashgrove (Coopworth), DH Hartles, Maungaturoto Ashton Glen (Coopworth), R&R Mitchell, Clinton

Dual Purpose plus Meat Flock (Index: Reproduction + Lamb Growth + Adult Size + Wool + Meat Yield) Winner: MNCC (Coopworth), AE Dinger, Cambridge Commendations:Ashgrove (Coopworth), DH Hartles, Maungaturoto Marlow (Coopworth), S Wyn-Harris, Waipukurau

Dual Purpose plus Worm FEC Flock (Index: Reproduction + Lamb Growth + Adult Size + Wool + Parasite Resistance) Winner: Nithdale (Romney), A Tripp, Gore Commendations:Nikau (Coopworth), E & S Welch and K Broadbent, Tuakau Hazeldale (Perendale), Longview Farm, Tapanui

Dual Purpose plus Facial Eczema Flock (Index: Reproduction + Lamb Growth + Adult Size + Wool + FE Tolerance) Winner: ARDG (Romney), R & G Alexander, Tirau Commendations:MNCC (Coopworth), AE Dinger, Cambridge ARDG (Romney), RL& A Steed, Whangarei

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Super Sires

Terminal: 2960.101/03 (Texel), WTD, D Clarkson, Wairarapa Dual Purpose: 712.5203/04 (Coopworth), Marlow, S Wyn-Harris, Waipukurau Dual Purpose High Performance: 712.5203/04 (Coopworth), Marlow, S Wyn-Harris, Waipukurau Dual Purpose plus Meat Yield: 712.5203/04 (Coopworth), Marlow, S Wyn-Harris, Waipukurau Dual Purpose plus Worm FEC:406.486/07 (Romney), ARDG, R &G Alexander, Tirau Dual Purpose plus FE Tolerance: 2529.152/07 (Romney), ARDG, RL & A Steed, Whangarei.

BUSINESS AWARDS– BACKGROUND BIOS

B+LNZ Award for an individual or business making a significant contribution to the New Zealand sheep industry

Winner: Dr Arthur John (Jock) Allison, ONZM

Dr Jock Allison’s rural achievements are too numerous to cover in depth, but two highlights include:

• Initiated work with the Booroola Merino, which has lead to the discovery of a major gene fecundity gene. This gene has been transferred out of the Merino type into other long wool breeds.

• Imported the East Friesian sheep to New Zealand. The infusion of the East Friesian – known for its reproduction and milk producing characteristics – has been described as “the greatest advance in the sheep industry in the past 50 years”.

Silver Fern Farms Award for sheep industry innovation

Winner: Rowan Farmer

Pregnancy scanning in sheep was commercialised when Rowan Farmer set up Stockscan in 1991. The primary aim was to scan sheep for eye muscle area, but Rowan’s experience with quarantined sheep at Invermay gave him an insight into the management benefits of pregnancy scanning. Since then, the practice has expanded to include the identification of twins and triplets. Scanning has revolutionised the reproductive management of sheep throughout New Zealand.

AgITO Business Farm Trainer of the Year Award.

Winner: Smedley Station and Cadet Training Farm

Bequeathed to the King in 1919, Smedley Station and Cadet Training Farm is a 3186 hectare property, wintering 31,000 stock units. It is located in Central Hawkes Bay and operates as a commercial farm, as well as a self-funding training facility for 22 farming cadets annually (11 per intake, for a two-year programme). Since 1931, Smedley Station has trained more than 500 cadets. Graduates have gone on to roles, including working on farms, rural property advisors and finance experts, or into further education.


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