Rural-round up

02/08/2016

If bees go, so does our agricultural sector – study :

New Zealand’s agricultural sector stands to lose up to $700 million a year if bee numbers continue to fall, according to a new study.

Beehives have been declining in numbers across the world in recent years, including New Zealand, in a process known as colony collapse disorder (CCD). It’s not yet known what’s behind CCD.

Rather than calculate the financial impact using “desktop calculations around the value of crops and the dependency of those crops on pollinators”, researchers at Lincoln University instead went out to commercial fields and covered some of the plants, to see what impact it had in seed yields and fertilisation. . . 

NZ’s tech and agriculture crossover – building the talent pool – Sophie Stanley:

Agriculture used to be New Zealand’s main bread and butter.

Our small Pacific nation at the edge of the earth was bred on a “number eight wire” mentality, where ingenuity and resourcefulness was at the core of what we did, and the number of sheep was 10-fold the number of people.

Turning pieces of scrap metal into revolutionary ideas that caused the world to stand up and take notice is something we have always prided ourselves on. 

William Gallagher, one of the many legendary innovators who invented the trusty electric fence and lead the way in taking NZ agriculture into the future, personifies the very meaning of number 8 wire mentality. . . 

Irish shearer Ivan Scott breaks Kiwi Dion King’s world record

An Irish shearer has stolen the world record away from a Kiwi by just one lamb.

Ivan Scott broke a New Zealander’s world record with a total of 867 strongwool lambs in the UK on Sunday (local time).

The 35-year-old from Donegal, who has made New Zealand home for the shearing season, secured the title with a band of Kiwi helpers. . . 

Farmers quitting in droves and not happy about it – Andrew Marshall:

Agriculture’s fortunes might look pretty good for many at the moment, but more than a quarter of Australia’s farmers are likely to leave their farms by the end of this decade.

Ongoing research by the University of Canberra has also found farmers who are contemplating leaving their farming roles report “poorer wellbeing” compared to those who have no immediate thoughts of retirement or changing careers.

The university’s regional wellbeing study of 3000-plus farmers in 2014 found the 20,000 slump in producer numbers in the five years to 2011 (down to about 157,000) reflected a clear trend set in recent decades which was not slowing as productivity efficiency measures and farm sizes increased or farm income prospects looked up. . . 

Mackenzie Country closer to Heaven – Catherine Pattison:

A weekend away in the Mackenzie Country was just what the doctor ordered for motoring writer Catherine Pattison.

I am not a spiritual person in a religious sense but it was hard not to feel the presence of something divine after a weekend in the Mount Cook Village and the Mackenzie region.

Perhaps it was the peace and quiet, combined with the majesty of the surrounding peaks, including New Zealand’s highest mountain, the village’s namesake.

The tiny settlement has long held an appeal for tourists and mountaineers alike – enticed up the remote access road by the promise of stunning scenery or epic adventure. Nowadays the adventures are to be found within the thriving tourism industry operating from Mount Cook village. In the past, just reaching the destination was a feat of endurance. Displays at the Hermitage Hotel’s Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre describe the tourists who made the journey in 1906 as “arriving jolted almost insensible after a two-day coach trip from Fairlie”. The same journey 110 years later is a comfortable 90-minute car ride. . .

Going with the flow – Derek Grelewski:

I t’s been suggested that it’s the bicycle — not the iPhone, space shuttle or even the silent dishwasher — that is Western civilisation’s highest technological achievement.

The benefits are immeasurable: the fresh-air fitness and the wind in your hair, the scenery and peace, and the sheer pleasure of flowing along the trail at speed, leaning into corners, feeling your lips getting tired from the perpetual grin on your face.

When I moved to New Zealand in the mid-1980s, a mountain bike was one of the first things I got. I fitted it with panniers, a small tent and mobile kitchen, and clocked over 10,000km touring, ostensibly to choose a place to live.

This was how I first saw this land, and how I first came to Aoraki Mt Cook. So there is a memory-lane element to being here, looking at the mountain from a bike again, to sample the pleasures of the 300km Alps to Ocean Trail (the A2O) connecting Aoraki with Oamaru, flowing as the water does, from the mountains to the sea. . . 


Rural round-up

05/11/2015

Fonterra expected to meet its forecast payout as lower production boosts prices – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s largest dairy exporter, is expected to be able to meet its forecast payout to farmers for this season even after dairy prices fell at a second consecutive auction.

Average prices fell 7.4 percent at last night’s GlobalDairyTrade auction, following a 3.1 percent decline the previous auction, which snapped four consecutive gains.

Auckland-based Fonterra, owned by about 10,500 farmers, has said it expects to pay its local producers $4.60 per kilogram of milk solids for the 2015/16 season. . . 

Women of Influence 2015 finalists: Rural

The finalists for the 2015 Women of Influence Awards in the Rural category, proudly sponsored by NZ Farmer.

Olivia Egerton

Olivia is movement manager for Te Hono, a movement of more than 130 CEOs and leaders who represent 80% of New Zealand’s largest and most innovative primary sector companies. Its vision is to shift New Zealand from a price-taking to a market-shaping nation. In the last 12 months Olivia has facilitated the transition of Te Hono towards a structured framework with more than 250 individual and collective actions achieved and many more in progress. . . 

Keri Johnston

Keri is a director and natural resources engineer at Irricon Resource Solutions, a leading environmental consultancy based throughout Canterbury and North Otago and working throughout the South Island. . . 

Julia Jones

Julia is a farm enterprise specialist with KPMG, providing continued support to the rural community through mediation and one-on-one support. One of Julia’s specialities is health and safety. . . .

Katie Milne

Katie is a Rotomanu dairy farmer on the West Coast, and a Federated Farmers’ board member. Katie was most recently awarded the Dairy Woman of the Year Award this year. With her partner, Ian Whitmore, she farms 125 hectares, milking 200 Jersey cows on a farm purchased in 1992. . . 

Bronwyn Muir

Brownyn is director of OnFarmSafety New Zealand, employing 12 staff throughout New Zealand, and focused on assisting farmers to implement compliant, practical, workable health and safety systems. . . .

Helen Slattery

Helen is a director of Slattery Contracting, Matamata’s only registered contractor with the New Zealand Rural Registered Contractor scheme, and she holds qualified contractor status. Five of the staff are qualified contractors, holding the National Certificate in Agricultural Contracting Level 3, with a sixth staff member going through the qualification at the moment.. . . 

Sophie Stanley

Sophie is head of rural at Figured, having started as part of the founding team in early 2014. Figured is an online farm financial management tool that integrates with Xero, and within a year the company has grown to close to 20 staff as well as growing its Australian business. . . . 

Michelle Thompson

Michelle is the chief executive at the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand and was instrumental in establishing this organisation. She is an experienced chief executive and senior manager who has provided services to a range of health sector organisations including the NZ Rural GP Network, the PHO Alliance, General Practice NZ, Compass Health, Southern Cross and Kowhai Health Trust. . . . 

The winners were announced last night. Katie Milne won the Rural section, Joan Withers won the Supreme Award.

IrrigationNZ launches 2015 snapshot of industry:

IrrigationNZ will launch its first-ever annual snapshot of New Zealand’s irrigation sector at today’s AGM in response to enquiries about the health of the industry and proposed developments across the country.

“The 2015 Irrigation Snapshot provides a transparent window on irrigation in New Zealand – where we irrigate, what’s happening with future developments, how much water we use, what it is taken for and the value this creates for our nation. Many stakeholders have asked for an update on the status of irrigation so we’ve pulled together the latest data to illustrate the national situation,” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis. . . .

Farmers welcome Filipino workers’ reprieve:

Farmers are pleased at the government’s offer of a second chance for Filipino dairy workers caught in visa scams.

Applicants who admit to providing false information about their work experience in order to gain a visa, but who are otherwise compliant, will be eligible for a further work visa.

But workers and advocacy groups are still concerned there could be snags in the process.

Immigration New Zealand has been reviewing the past year’s visa applications from Filipinos after a dual Filipino/New Zealand national was charged with falsifying qualifications and work experience in visa applications. . . 

Wine industry welcomes registration system for wine regions:

Introduction of a Bill by Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith enabling geographical indications (GIs) for wines and spirits to be registered in New Zealand has been warmly welcomed by New Zealand Winegrowers.

“The Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Amendment Bill will be a significant advance for the New Zealand wine industry,” said New Zealand Winegrowers CEO, Philip Gregan. “Our ‘Geographical Indications’ – the names and places where our wines come from – are at the very heart of the New Zealand wine story and this Bill provides an additional level of protection for them.” . . .

First Cheese Off the Line at Fonterra’s Eltham Expansion:

The expansion of Fonterra’s Eltham site has reached a key milestone, with the first individually wrapped slices of cheese now coming off its new production line destined for supermarket shelves around the globe.

The new line is part of a $32 million project to bolster the site’s cheese capability, doubling the amount of the world-renowned sliced cheese that can be produced at the Taranaki-based site.

Director New Zealand Manufacturing, Mark Leslie says Fonterra is constantly looking at trends in key markets and working with customers to help meet their growth with investment. . . 

Nominations in for Silver Fern Farms’ director elections:

Four nominations have been received for the one available position on the Silver Fern Farms Board of Directors.

Angus Mabin retires by rotation at the Company’s 2015 Annual Meeting which is to be held in Dunedin on Wednesday 16 December 2015. Angus Mabin has advised he will not stand for re-election.

The candidates for election are:

– Anthony O’Boyle

– William Oliver

– Oliver Saxton

– David Shaw . . .

Agricultural economics explained with an analogy to solar and wind power – Utopia:

It’s a video, click the link to watch (there’s a few words that might offend).


Rural round-up

12/11/2012

Gene research findings borne out – Richard Rennie:

The latest research on mutated gene benefits for lamb carcase yield is borne out by a Southland farmer’s experience.

The “Myomax” gene is a trait carried by the Texel breed, contributing to increased meat yield

on shoulders, loins and leg cuts, but is now delivering benefits across all breed types.

Recent research work by AgResearch scientist Patricia Johnson has shown lambs with a double copy of the gene are delivering significantly increased yields to those without the gene.

Long time Southland Romney breeder Andrew Tripp of Nithdale Station in eastern Southland has been involved in identifying the gene since 2005 when the science was still developing. . .

High inventories in Britain are affecting NZ lamb sales – Alan Williams:

High inventory and low sale levels for French racks and other middle carcase cuts are putting a dampener on an otherwise positive outlook for sheepmeat exports to Europe.

This is the view of Taylor Preston Ltd chief executive Simon Gatenby after his latest sales trip, which included the company exhibiting cuts at the Sial food show in Paris.

Middle cuts such as French racks and loins make up just 5% of a carcase but provide about 20% of the value, and until the inventories are used up and new buying starts there will continue to be a sentiment overhang in the market, Gatenby said. . .

Five Nuffield Farming Scholars named for 2013

Five prestigious Nuffield New Zealand Scholarships have been announced for 2013.

They are spread from Northland to Southland – Dairy NZ regional leader Tafadzwa Manjala from Whangarei, ANZ rural banker Sophie Stanley from Hamilton, rural entrepreneur Lisa Harper from Picton, Meridian Energy national agribusiness manager Natasha King from Christchurch and Northern Southland farmer and retailer Stephen Wilkins from Athol.

The research topics they are likely to cover are faster uptake and application of current and new management practices on farm, the use of social media to boost the New Zealand brand, encouraging innovation in rural businesses, using gas and electricity generation to solve effluent and water management issues and looking into synergies between arable and dairy from a nutrient and effluent perspective.

The Nuffield NZ Scholarship offers the opportunity for overseas travel, study of the latest developments in a number of leading agricultural countries, and provides an entrée to leaders and decision makers not accessible to the ordinary traveller. . .

Warkworth: dog tales shear joy Dionne Christian:

Our trip to SheepWorld in Warkworth got off to a slightly bad start when Miss Seven threw a tantrum about not being able to take her dog.

“But why do you want to take the dog when there are going to be other dogs there already?” I asked, trying in vain to reason with her. It was no good and she vowed not to smile during the entire visit.

I needn’t have worried about her pity party raining on our parade because she started smiling the moment we turned into SheepWorld and saw pink sheep in the front paddock. . .

What to do with sheep – coNZervative:

Pop over to see extreme sheep LED art.


Rural round-up

11/11/2012

Cheesemaker wins $35,000 scholarship:

Marlborough Sounds woman Lisa Harper has been awarded a Nuffield New Zealand Scholarships for 2013.

She is one of five people throughout the country to be awarded the $35,000 study grant.

The others include Meridian Energy national agribusiness manager Natasha King, from Christchurch, a daughter of Blenheim-based Kaikoura MP Colin King.

The others are Dairy NZ regional leader Tafadzwa Manjala, from Whangarei, ANZ rural banker Sophie Stanley, from Hamilton, and Northern Southland farmer and retailer Stephen Wilkins, from Athol.

The Nuffield NZ Scholarship offers the opportunity for overseas travel and study.

Dr Harper, 37, who lives on Mahau Sound, is described as a rural entrepreneur.

She was the 2011 winner of the Rural Women Enterprising Woman Award and a finalist in the 2009 Cuisine Artisan Food Awards. She has a Masters in Business Management from Massey University, a PhD in plant pathology from Lincoln University and a science degree from Victoria University.  . .

Chinese market gardens in NZ – Jill Galloway:

During their heyday in the 1970s, there were 600 Chinese market gardeners in New Zealand, but now there are only 157.

Many young people watched their parents work hard in the market gardens and they became lawyers and doctors, choosing not to work like their parents, said the chief executive of the Dominion Federation of New Zealand Chinese Commercial Growers, Howe Young.

He was one of the speakers at the Palmerston North launch of two books last week: Sons of the Soil and Success Through Adversity.

Sons of the Soil covers the history of Chinese market gardening through the personal stories of more than 100 ordinary people from market gardening communities around the country. . .

Award recognises wine tourism ventures – Kat Pickford::

Marlborough wineries Spy Valley Wines and Yealands Estate Wines have been named as two of the best South Island wine tourism ventures in the Best of Wine Tourism Awards.

Yealands Estate won the award for sustainable wine tourism and Spy Valley won the award for architecture and landscapes.

Run by the Great Wine Capitals Global Network, the annual awards recognise outstanding wine tourism businesses in the South Island. The network is a group of wine regions from around the world which aims to promote wine tourism, education and business exchange. . .

Why punish NZ’s over achievers – Bruce Wills:

The supreme irony of the UK Daily Mail’s headline, “Buy New Zealand lamb to save the planet,” is that it took a British newspaper to make mainstream media here, realise that our farms are pretty darn good. Another irony is that this is old news to Dr Jan Wright, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

Speaking recently onTV3’s The Nation, Dr Wright helped to balance a myth farmers are exempt from the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). When she was asked about agriculture, the host, Rachel Smalley, appeared surprised by the response. “New Zealand is in an interesting position because half of our greenhouse gas emissions are from agriculture, which is unusual among developed countries, but I am actually less concerned about agriculture than I am than these heavy industrial emitters and that’s because the agricultural gases are different. It is difficult and there are challenges there…I say agriculture should come in but I don’t have the same problem being generous to it…”

Where Dr Wright and Federated Farmers diverge is the entry point for agriculture. But even she recognises that agriculture is not complacently sitting on its haunches.

Like mums and dads everywhere, farmers pay the ETS. Every time we fill up the tractor or turn on electric pumps, we pay. This also finds its way into the cost of a vet’s visit through to the price of number eight wire. The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment also knows that when my ewe ‘Jackson’ gave birth to quintuplets, nicknamed, the ‘Jackson Five,’ it was an efficiency that is a global good. . .

And from Facebook:

Colin King, past champion shearer, current MP, in action for a charity fundraiser:

@[100002906361883:2048:Colin King] half way done shearing shrek 2

The merino wether had three years’ wool and the fleece weighted 13.5kg. All funds raised went to the Nelson, Marlborough Helicopter Trust.


%d bloggers like this: