Rural round-up

24/06/2020

Freshwater style over substance – Elbow Deep:

Much has been written about the Ministry for the Environment’s (MfE) newly released National Policy Statement (NPS) on Freshwater, some groups are cautiously optimistic while others are outraged. Generally when nobody is happy with a decision Government has made it’s an indication they’ve got things pretty much right; I’m not so sure that’s the case this time.

From a farmer’s perspective the NPS could have been much worse; we were faced with the prospect of tearing down thousands of kilometres of fences and putting them back up a couple of metres further away from waterways, and worse, the prospect of a “one size fits all” nitrogen limit for the entire country in spite of its potentially devastating economic consequences for diminishing environmental outcomes.

The majority of freshwater ecologists in the MfE science and technology action group (STAG) were arguing for this blanket nitrogen limit, 1mg of dissolved inorganic nitrogen per litre of water, or 1% DIN. The remainder of the nineteen-strong STAG, the Cautious Five, wanted to use another method  entirely to measure a river’s health, the macroinvertebrate community index (MCI); quite literally counting the creatures in the water to determine how healthy it is. . .

Place on rural leaders’ board chance to give back – Yvonne O’Hara:

Former Nuffield scholar Kate Scott, of Cromwell, has joined the national scholarship programme’s overseeing body as a trustee.

The New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust (Rural Leaders) runs both the Nuffield New Zealand farm scholarship programme and the Kellogg rural leadership programme.

She replaced trustee James Parsons.

“It was an opportunity for me to give back and support the trust, which helped support my scholarship.

“I am looking forward to working beside other board members to provide learning and rural leadership opportunities throughout New Zealand,” she said. . .

Stranded seasonal workers want to go home – Jared Morgan:

Vanuatu’s approach to repatriating seasonal workers stuck in Central Otago may be motivated by economics more than fears of Covid-19, an orchardist and a worker say.

Strode Road Orchard owner Lochie McNally said Vanuatu had not had a case of Covid-19 and the disease had been effectively eliminated in New Zealand, making it difficult to understand what Ni-Vanuatu officials were waiting for.

Orchardists and viticulturists were willing to pay for flights home for the men; he questioned if leaving the workers here was politically motivated.

Mr McNally said it would be cheaper to pay for flights home than to keep paying the men, in his case eight, as work ran out. . . 

Blue Mountain College wins 2020 AgriKids Grand Final:

A talented trio from Blue Mountain College has taken out the title as the 2020 AgriKids winners.

The “West Otago Rams,” made up by Charlie Ottrey, 12, Dylan Young, 12, and Riley Hill, 13, were awarded the title at the Grand Final on Friday.

When asked how the trio felt about their win, they replied in unison “happy,” “overwhelmed,” “and a little bit surprised as well”.

They said the day was really fun but also challenging, with it being their first Grand Final. . . 

New Zealand’s sheep milking business is expanding :

New Zealand’s sheep milking industry has reached a significant milestone as Spring Sheep Milk Co. adds three new farmers to their growing supplier base for the coming dairy season. The new farms are coming onstream as the global dairy company responds to demand for nutritional products made with New Zealand sheep milk.

The addition of new farms is an important tipping point for Spring Sheep as this year the milking flock maintained by external suppliers will exceed that of Spring Sheep’s own farms. These additional milking ewes will help grow the company’s product lines into new markets as well as.

Growing consumer awareness and clinical evidence of sheep milk’s nutritional and digestibility benefits means demand is rising and Spring Sheep is now looking to partner with additional suppliers for the following 2021 dairy season. . . 

Study shows EU intervention programme wreaked havoc on global dairy prices; U.S> groups call for end to EU dumping of dairy products in international markets:

An economic analysis published today shows the serious impact of the European Union’s Skim Milk Powder (SMP) Intervention Program on the U.S. dairy industry—especially to U.S. farm-gate milk prices—in the years 2016-2019.

The report authors conclude that the United States was “economically harmed by the EU’s Intervention program for SMP” in three ways. First, the EU program depressed the global price of SMP, which lowered U.S. milk prices in 2018 and 2019, contributing to a $2.2 billion loss of U.S. dairy-farm income those years. The EU program also artificially inflated its global export market share, resulting in drastically lower market share for U.S. dairy exporters and other SMP exporters and U.S. dairy export losses of $168 million from 2018-2019. Finally, the analysis shows that when the EU unleashed its stockpile of “Intervention SMP” onto the global marketplace, the disposal of the product had harmful effects on the competitiveness of the United States in historically important export markets including Southeast Asia.

In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, the leading dairy trade associations in the United States—the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC)—point to this economic analysis as proof that the EU’s SMP Intervention program wreaked havoc on the U.S. dairy industry. In their letter, the groups urge the U.S. government to prevent the EU from using future Intervention practices to effectively dispose of publicly stockpiled EU dairy products at discounted prices in the international markets. In May, dairy groups from across the Americas joined to call for an end to the EU Intervention Program. . . 


Rural round-up

26/08/2016

Mid- Canterbury animal lover and dairy farmer frustrated at industry haters – Heather Chalmers:

Ardent animal lover and dairy farmer Sara Russell is frustrated at industry haters who are quick to blame dairy farming for everything from mistreatment of animals to the Havelock North contaminated water crisis.

Russell says all dairy stock on the Mid-Canterbury property sharemilked by her and husband Stuart are well cared for, from new-born calves to the oldest cow in the herd, still milking at 16-years-old.

If you engage with groups like Peta, its philosophy is that dairy farming in New Zealand shouldn’t exist. On social media, a lot of people are attacking something they have no understanding of. There are always improvements that can be made, but you wouldn’t be a dairy farmer if you didn’t like animals. Most of us are too busy getting on with our jobs to point out the flaws in their arguments. . . 

Rural mental health scheme shares top award:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has congratulated the GoodYarn rural mental health initiative for winning an international award today.

GoodYarn was developed as part of a Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme and was named joint Best Mental Health Promotion/Illness Prevention scheme at the Australia and New Zealand TheMHS (Mental Health Services) Conference in Auckland today.

“This is a great programme that has helped over 800 farmers and rural professionals since it was established earlier this year,” says Mr Guy. . . 

Otago Station Enjoys Benefits Of Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Otago farmer Marty Deans entered the Ballance Farm Environment Awards because he wanted to benchmark the operation he manages and learn more about improving sustainability.

He and wife Lynette live on Barewood Station, a 6300ha sheep and beef property between Middlemarch and Outram. Barewood is one of eight farms owned and operated by Tom and Heather Sturgess, Lone Star Farms.

Marty was encouraged to enter Barewood in the 2016 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards. . .

Competitors chop it out at Young Butcher Awards – Adam Hollingworth:

Meat experts spent Thursday night deciding who New Zealand’s best young butcher is.

The young butchers had two hours to make the cut.

“So we’re looking for that flair and when they’re cutting, they do that precisely just like in a butcher’s shop, that’s what we want to see,” head judge Matt Grimes says.

Alongside nine guys turning a slab of pork shoulder into choice cuts was 26-year-old Amy Jones from Taumarunui.

“It’s just a male dominated trade,” she says. . . 

Bobby calf improvements noted this season:

The calving season for dairy farmers is now in full swing and improvements in calf welfare have been noted across the bobby calf supply chain.

A suite of welfare actions have been implemented since the end of the 2015 as part of an accelerated work programme focused on further improving the standard of care for bobby calves, including new regulations which have been in place since 1 August.

“Everyone across the supply chain has a role to play when it comes to the welfare of bobby calves. What we have seen and heard so far is promising and a majority of people are following the rules, but we have also noticed some people still need to change their practices to ensure all regulations are met,” says MPI’s Director Verification Services, Chris Kebbell. . . 

Minister welcomes new sheep milks PGP programme:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed a new Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme announced today aimed at boosting New Zealand’s sheep milk industry.

The new $31.4 million, six-year PGP programme called ‘Sheep – Horizon Three’ is a partnership between Spring Sheep Milk Co. and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). 

“This is an exciting and comprehensive programme aimed at boosting New Zealand’s sheep milk industry which has huge potential,” says Mr Guy. 

“It will involve new genetics, new farming systems and developing high premium niche products. New Zealand operators will be involved in all parts of the value chain. . . 

Funding to research giant willow aphid brings relief to Canterbury’s beekeepers – Pat Deavoll:

Canterbury beekeepers are welcoming the news that scientists at Scion Research in Rotorua have won a $600,000 grant to study the giant willow aphid.

The aphid is having a detrimental effect on the country’s beekeeping industry by affecting the ability of the willow tree to flower.

During the spring an affected willow will have little or no catkins. The pollen from the catkin is arguably the most important pollen source to bees in New Zealand, without which they wouldn’t be able to produce honey. . . 

Hurry get your Enterprising Rural Women Awards entries in now:

The Enterprising Rural Women Awards (ERWA) offer women who run their own rural businesses the opportunity to showcase their innovative rural enterprise and gain recognition for their achievements.

Rural Women New Zealand invite entries from businesswomen who have strong entrepreneurial skills, are innovative, and embrace new technology, and are active in their rural community.

2016 ERWA categories: . . 

Beef progeny test delivering answers to farmers:

Commercial farmers can bank on estimated breeding values (EBVs) for calf weaning weights delivering on what they predict.

Initial results from the Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) Genetics beef progeny test are rolling in and the second cohort of calves is due on the ground in coming weeks.

The test is being run across five large commercial properties and involves about 2200 cows and heifers each year. Its goal is to determine how bulls of different types perform under comparable commercial conditions. It aims to put a dollar value on the worth of superior genetics – from both the perspective of breeding cow performance and finishing stock’s carcase attributes. . . 

Scales Corporation lifts half-year after tax profit, upgrade full-year earnings guidance:

Scales Corporation Limited (NZX:SCL) today reported a net profit after tax of $33.8 million for the half year ended 30 June 2016 (1H16), up 3 per cent on the previous corresponding half year ended 30 June 2015 (1H15).

Key highlights include:

• NPAT up 3 per cent, EBITDA and EBIT also up 3 per cent on 1H15.
• Apple export volumes up 12 per cent on 2015 export volumes, to 3.55 million TCEs.
• Food Ingredients EBITDA up 33 per cent, with pet food sales volumes up 24% on 1H15.
• Full year guidance upgraded to EBITDA between $55 million and $62 million, equating to a net profit after tax of between $29.6 million and $34.6 million.
• China Resources welcomed as a long term supportive shareholder. . . 

Winner of 2016 Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year announced:

Congratulations to Cameron Price from Villa Maria, Hawke’s Bay who is the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year 2016. After a tough final Price was thrilled to receive this prestigious reward on Thursday night at the Bragato Wine Awards. “All that hard work paid off” he said.

Cameron is the Vineyard Supervisor working on Villa Maria’s Ngakirikiri, Vidal and Twyford Gravels vineyards. He has been there since May this year and is enjoying the challenges of his new position, supervising 60 hectares of vines.

He is 26 years old and grew up in Palmerston North. Price comes from a family of plumbers but his passion for viticulture and wine led him to Hawkes Bay to study Viticulture at EIT in 2008. He continues to study part-time as he furthers his career working full time learning and upskilling on the job as well. . . 

Wine industry recognises shining examples at 2016 Romeo Bragato Wine Awards:

An Auckland Chardonnay and a Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot both shone at this year’s Romeo Bragato Wine Awards.

Grown by Brett Donaldson, the Villa Maria Single Vineyard Ihumatao Chardonnay 2014 won the coveted Bragato Champion Wine of the Show Trophy – Champion Single Vineyard and the Bill Irwin Trophy for Champion Chardonnay.

“This Chardonnay demonstrated exceptional respect to the variety and is a shining example of what hard graft in the vineyard and soft touch in the winery can achieve. It shows wonderful expression and captures the essence of the Ihumatao vineyard. Simply stunning!,” said Chairman of Judges Ben Glover. . . 

A year on: Invivo hosts innovative bash for stakeholders to toast a good year:

It’s probably one of the most lively investor ‘meetings’ you’re likely to attend.

Forget stuffy AGMs, the shareholders who joined the Invivo directors at the winemaker’s 2016 AGM in Te Kauwhata yesterday (24 Aug.) were treated to live music, canapés, dinner and a winery tour. That’s the Invivo way.

Having been New Zealand’s first company to equity crowdfund the maximum $2 million in 2015, Invivo hosted the bash with its shareholders to celebrate its first year. The company’s innovative approach to its AGM proved a hit as more than 120 shareholders joined the event which was also live streamed across the world. . . 


Rural round-up

29/06/2016

Out of town and out of touch:

Hawke’s Bay farmer Hugh Ritchie said today if Greenpeace acutally understood the big environmental issues facing New Zealand, such as climate change, it wouldn’t need to interfere in a local water storage project like Ruataniwha.

“Hawke’s Bay people can decide what’s best for their community without the influence of this misguided and uninformed green lobby. These out-of-town protesters need to realize robust public process has been followed and the scheme has been intensely scrutinized.

“Ruataniwha has been through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) process. Individuals and groups have had ample opportunity to voice concerns and these have been accessed for merit. This same EPA process saw an end to Wellington Basin Reserve’s proposed flyover. The EPA delivers robust, objective decisions on environmental matters, and ensures compliance with rules. Its decision must be respected. . . 

Debbie Hewitt can vote on Ruataniwha dam despite ‘pecuniary interest’ – Simon Hendery:

The auditor-general has ruled a Hawke’s Bay regional councillor can continue voting on the Ruataniwha dam, despite finding she is likely to have a pecuniary interest in decisions the council makes about the project.

Debbie Hewitt represents Central Hawke’s Bay, the area where the council is planning to build the Ruataniwha irrigation scheme.

Through a family trust, she has an ownership interest in 19 hectares of land in an area that would be irrigated by the scheme. The Office of the Auditor-General said it was “uncertain” how much she would gain financially if the scheme went ahead, but it believed her interest in it was greater than that of the general public. . . .

If you buy health and safety advice, make sure it’s the right advice:

Good health and safety practice is not something you can just buy off the shelf, and farmers need to build health and safety into everyday activity on farm.

WorkSafe’s Agriculture Programme Manager, Al McCone, says while many farmers will want to get consultants in to give them expert advice, there is no single product or document that is a silver bullet for farm safety.

Farmers should only employ competent and qualified professional health and safety advisors. “When selecting a new contractor or buying stock, farmers do their homework,” says Mr McCone. “They shop around, look online, ask other farmers and make a decision based on sound information. The same should apply to buying health and safety advice and resources. . . 

Big bounce in farmer confidence – Rabobank: Rural Confidence Survey

Results at a Glance

 Overall farmer confidence has improved considerably from the previous quarter

 Farmers’ expectations for their own business performance also rose, with big lifts recorded among dairy farmers and sheep and beef farmers

 Horticulturalists’ expectations for their own businesses remain at elevated levels with more than half surveyed expecting their farm business performance to improve in the next 12 months

 Investment intentions were at their highest level in more than a year, with one quarter of survey participants expecting to increase their farm business investment in the coming year . . 

Spring Sheep Milk Company Finalist in World Dairy Innovation Awards:

 New Zealand company, within its first year of operation, has been named as a finalist in two categories in theWorld Dairy Innovation Awards; Best Ice Cream or Frozen Yoghurt and Best Dairy Packaging Design.

Spring Sheep Milk Co is the only fully New Zealand owned large scale sheep dairy operation and the attraction for forming the company was to create a model to bring the goodness of New Zealand sheep milk products to the world says Chief Executive Officer Scottie Chapman

“Consumers are looking for quality alternatives to traditional dairy and sheep milk offers a premium alternative thanks to its sensational taste. It is richer and creamier than traditional cows milk. Sheep milk has been used in Europe for centuries as a gastronomic indulgence, renowned for quality cheeses and is now a rapidly growing category worldwide.” . . 

Companies Office confirms no evidence that Silver Fern Farms’ board acted in anything other than good faith and in best interests of the company:

• Companies Office completes consideration of complaint from Rt Hon Peters

• Has “not identified any evidence of a breach of s 138A of the Companies Act 1993”

• Follows announcement from the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) confirming FMA does “not have any reason to believe the [Notice of Meeting and Shareholder] Information Pack was misleading or deceptive.” . . 

Murray Goulburn announces 2017 farmgate milk price, sees only ‘modest’ recovery – Tina Morrison

(BusinessDesk) – Murray Goulburn Cooperative, Australia’s dominant milk processor, announced its forecast farmgate milk price for the coming year, saying it expects only a modest recovery in prices in the second half of the year.

The company forecast a farmgate milk price of A$4.80 per kilogram of milk solids for the season ending June 30, 2017, compared with an expected payment of between A$4.75 to A$5.00 in the current year. It announced a 2017 net opening farmgate milk price of A$4.31/kgMS after repayment of a 14 Australian cents/kgMS milk supply support package. . . 

Traditional crop knowledge preserved in Tongan  book :

The author of a new book documenting traditional methods of growing yam says the book has preserved indigenous crop planting knowledge that’s valuable for Pacific farmers.

The book ‘Tokanga ko e Mo’ui’anga’ has been published in the Tongan language and was launched in Auckland by author Sione Tu’itahi.

Mr Tu’itahi based the book on the experience of the late Kiteau Tatafu, an award-winning farmer in Tonga. . . 

 


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