Rural round-up

June 22, 2018

Chinese eggs not all in one basket – Fonterra – Sudesh Kissun:

China’s digital world is second to none, but Fonterra isn’t putting all its eggs in one basket in selling fresh and packaged food.

Fonterra chief operating officer global consumer and foodservice Lukas Paravacini says the co-op is embracing e-commerce and traditional brick-and-mortar as its sales strategy.

Speaking at a recent New Zealand China Business Council conference in Auckland, Paravacini outlined lessons Fonterra has learned over the last five years while building a $3.4 billion business in China. . .

Communication seen as key in eradication – Sally Rae:

A Mycoplasma bovis-affected farmer’s heartfelt plea for communication brought a round of applause at a meeting in North Otago yesterday.

About 100 people attended the MPI roadshow at Papakaio, including Waimate farmer Martyn Jensen, who described himself as “farm No39 infected”.

He addressed the meeting reluctantly, as a dairy support farmer who was grazing heifers for a farmer whose herd was confirmed with having M. bovis.

In April, the farmer contacted Mr Jensen to tell him of the infection and, several weeks later, he was contacted by MPI.

What made it harder was they were “perfectly good” heifers and there had not been one clinical sign of the disease. . . 

‘M. bovis’ concerns aired at MPI meeting – Tom Kitchin:

Government officials say they are doing all they can to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis but there are still major concerns from farmers in the Central Otago region.

About 80 people attended a meeting held by the Ministry for Primary Industries in Alexandra yesterday.

A woman in the audience said she thought the ministry was “struggling”. . .  . . 

Rabbits not dying like flies – Nigel Malthus:

Scientists say although the new rabbit calicivirus is working as expected, farmers are not seeing the knockdown they may have hoped for.

The new strain of rabbit haemorrhagic virus disease, RHDV1-K5, was released several weeks ago at 150 sites.

Manaaki Whenua (Landcare Research) has monitored release sites since then. . .

Comvita buys 20% stake in Uruguay’s Apiter for US$6.25M to secure propolis supplies – Jonathan Underhill

(BusinessDesk) – Comvita said it has acquired 20 percent of Uruguay’s Apiter for US$6.25 million and signed a long-term supply agreement to secure another source of propolis for sales into Asia.

The purchase price is comprised of US$5.65 million in cash and milestone earnouts and US$600,000 of Comvita shares, with settlement due on July 2, Te Puke-based Comvita said in a statement. Propolis is made by bees from plant resins to protect and sterilise their hives. . .

New Zealand’s ultimate steak connoisseur judging experience:

We found New Zealand’s Ultimate Steak Connoisseur, Gretchen Binns and brought her along to help determine the country’s tastiest and most tender steak at the PGG Wrightson Steak of Origin competition. Here is her experience of the day:

Foul weather, farmers, red bands galore, Field days 2018!

The ultimate day of all days…well it was for this steak connoisseur.  And no doubt for a nervous farmer or three whose paddock to plate skills were being put to the ‘taste’.

PGG Wrightson/Beef and Lamb NZ’s Steak of Origin finals time. . .

Steady volume at end of season:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (REINZ) shows there were 71 fewer farm sales (-13.8%) for the three months ended May 2018 than for the three months ended May 2017. Overall, there were 443 farm sales in the three months ended May 2018, compared to 418 farm sales for the three months ended April 2018 (+6.0%), and 514 farm sales for the three months ended May 2017. 1,453 farms were sold in the year to May 2018, 18.8% fewer than were sold in the year to May 2017, with 4.0% more finishing farms, 1.7% fewer dairy farms, 36.3% fewer grazing and 34.3% fewer arable farms sold over the same period.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to May 2018 was $26,219 compared to $27,212 recorded for three months ended May 2017 (-3.6%). The median price per hectare fell 4.0% compared to April. . .

 Get out of farmers’ way: In the end government interventions end up sustaining, not reducing, rural poverty – Sanjeev Sabhlok

While most other sectors were liberalised in 1991, agriculture was not. Indian farmers arguably remain among the most unfree in the world.

Some claim India won’t be able to feed itself without the government playing a hands-on role in agriculture. But countries like New Zealand and Australia with liberalised agriculture have become more productive. Each Australian farmer produces enough to feed 600 people, 150 at home and 450 overseas. Liberalisation of agriculture in 1991 in India could well have made us a middle-income nation by now. Instead, our small farmers remain under chronic stress.

Another argument, sometimes made, is that farmers are frequently seen to agitate for government support. That’s not necessarily true. Farmer organisations like the Kisan Coordination Committee and Shetkari Sangathana have for decades opposed government intervention in agriculture. After their leader Sharad Joshi passed away in 2015, new leaders like Anil Ghanwat have vigorously argued for the government to leave farmers alone. . .


Rural round-up

July 12, 2017

Young farmer win ‘still sinking in’ – Vaughan Elder:

Winning the title of Young Farmer of the Year was a dream come true for a Milton man who has fond memories of watching the competition as a child.

Sheep and beef farmer Nigel Woodhead was named Young Farmer of the Year on Saturday night after three days of intense competition spread across Palmerston North and Feilding.

Winning the event was ”unbelievable” given the high standard of the six other finalists he was facing, Mr Woodhead said.

He won a prize worth almost $100,000, including a 25hp tractor, a quad bike and $15,000. . .

Inspirational farmers awarded – Andrew Morrison:

We all have people in our lives who inspire us.

They are often the unsung heroes who, through their words and actions, enrich our lives and make us want to be – and do – better.

They may be friends, family, work colleagues or teachers – or the neighbour who isn’t afraid to give things a go. They strive for excellence and lead by example.

Over the past year Southland has been fortunate to host many of agriculture’s most inspirational people. We saw the skills of the world’s-best shearers and wool handlers on display at the World Shearing Championships in January and in May we hosted the Ballance Farm Environment Awards’ National Showcase. . .

Dairy hub set to open – Sally Rae:

The Southern Dairy Hub at Makarewa, near Invercargill, will be officially opened on Friday.
The hub, which includes a working dairy farm and centre for science and research, will allow farmer-led and local issues to be researched on southern soils, in southern conditions.

DairyNZ and AgResearch are the principal shareholders, investing $5 million each, while local farmers and businesses contributed a further $1.25 million through the Southern Dairy Development Trust. . . 

Southland farmers concerned proposed Water and Land Plan will cut land use – Brittany Pickett:

Ian and Heather Smith are worried they could lose the use of up to a quarter of their farm if the Proposed Southland Water and Land Plan remains unchanged.

The couple run Erme Hill, at Waimahaka, in Southland, a 413 hectare rolling country dairy and sheep farm and are in the Bedrock/Hill Country physiographic zone.

They have 480 dairy cows, 700 ewes and 650 hoggets and winter almost all of their stock on the farm. . .

Southern entries vie for top steak award:

Several Southern entries are among the finalists in this year’s Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin competition.

Judging will be held this week at Auckland’s University of Technology with the winners announced at an awards dinner in Auckland on July 20.

Ceri Lewis (Otautau) and Dougal Stringer (Gore) are both finalists in best of British breed (Angus), Laurie Paterson (Gore) is a finalist in best of British breed (Hereford), and Anita Erskine (Tuatapere) is a finalist in best of British breed (other) with a Shorthorn entry.

Bowmont Meats, in Invercargill, is in the final of best of brand-retail with a Hereford Prime entry. . .

British adults shun dairy farm labour – sector could be threatened if EU labour cut

Questions have been raised over the future of the dairy industry after only 4 per cent of UK adults said they considered all key aspects of work on dairy farms ‘personally acceptable’.

Industry chiefs sounded warning bells over the industry’s ‘image problem’, but said the domestic workforce could not be relied on to plug labour shortages.

A YouGov survey commissioned by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) highlighted that of the 2,000 people questioned, many were put off by a role when linked to the dairy industry – such as working with animals or jobs situated in rural locations – with only 9 per cent of skilled or qualified UK adults confident they would consider a job in dairy. . . 


Rural round-up

May 13, 2015

So You Want To Set Up Your Own Small Scale Milk Business? This Is What You Really need To Know – Milking on the Moove:

Well, it appears that there are lots of people in New Zealand (and the world) who want to either set up their own milk business or want to go mobile milking.

My goal is to set up a streamlined system that will allow others to start their own small scale dairy business.

My inbox is full of people asking me questions about how to set up their own milk business. I would spend 45 minutes to an hour replying to these emails from complete strangers. I did it because I want to promote small scale dairy & I want others to do well. . .

 Chinese infant formula and Synlait – the story moves on – Keith Woodford:

In recent weeks, I have been writing about Synlait’s new infant formula Akarola [here and here]. The Akarola project is a joint venture between China’s New Hope agri-food conglomerate (75%) and Synlait (25%) which has set out to market New Zealand made infant formula online direct to consumers through JD.com.

The strategy is based on cutting out the multiple layers of middle men and pricing the product at just a fraction of what Chinese consumers are used to paying. But the strategy can only work if Chinese consumers can be convinced that low price does not mean low quality.

I am on record as saying that the Akarola product has potential to be transformational in relation to the Chinese infant formula market. But others are not so sure. . .

Practical solutions for sustainable agriculture:

2015 is the UN designated International Year of Soils, and soil management will be a key feature of a series of one day workshops for farmers and horticulturists interested in finding ways of increasing sustainability on their farms.

The free events, kick-off in Ashburton and Timaru next week, then move north to Palmerston North and Pukekohe in early June. They are being run by the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) and the Future Farming Centre (FFC), and are aimed at all growers of arable and horticultural crops.

FAR CEO Nick Pyke says it is clear that agriculture is entering a period of major change and that the workshops will help growers identify practical ways of introducing sustainable techniques and technologies onto conventionally farmed properties. . . .

 

Steak of Origin judge talks about competition:

A judge at last night’s Beef and Lamb Steak of Origin awards says New Zealand farmers are doing a fantastic job of producing great tasting beef – but need to be very careful about who’s processing their stock.

Forbes and Angus Cameron who farm at Ashhurst in Manawatu, won the supreme award last night at the 2015 Steak of Origin Grand Final with their angus sirloin.

Food writer and New Zealand Listener columnist Lauraine Jacobs was involved in judging the top 20 final steaks and said it was a privilege. . .

Waikato students win horticultural scholarships:

Two University of Waikato students have won horticultural scholarships that they hope will help open doors for them in the sector.

Rhiannon Bond, a bachelor of science and technology student, was awarded the $4500 Horticentre Trust Undergraduate Scholarship.
The scholarship will also allow Ms Bond to attend Horticulture New Zealand’s annual conference in Rotorua this July and she says jealously played a role in her applying for it.


Rural round-up

May 2, 2015

Trelinnoe treads lightly on the environment – Kate Taylor:

From crutching sheep at home on the farm to meeting the world’s top farming politicians, the passion Bruce Wills has for all facets of farming is evident from the moment you meet him.

His brother Scott is the other side of the coin, a man of few words, until you ask him about the farm’s stock policies, then the same passion is evident.

They both love Trelinnoe – an 1134ha hill country farm carved out of the scrub by their parents and an uncle through the 1950s and 60s. . .

Ruataniwha irrigation scheme gets 15 years to sort water quality – Pattrick Smellie:

 (BusinessDesk) – A revised decision from the board of inquiry considering the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme relaxes water quality conditions that were previously regarded as unworkable. It gives irrigators 15 years to find ways to manage nitrogen levels in the Tukituki River to very low levels.

The board’s original decision, released last June, set a maximum level for dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) downstream from the scheme of 0.8 milligrams per litre, a level consistent with the highest quality freshwater bodies under the government’s recently updated National Policy Statement on freshwater management, and at odds with DIN levels in the river today.

To get around that, the decision created an exemption for some 615 farms to discharge higher levels of nitrogen, leading to successful appeals from a range of environmental groups who argued the board had created a “factual fiction” by setting a high standard that would not then be expected to be met. . .

 

IrrigationNZ says Board of Inquiry decision on Tukituki ‘reasonable’ but far from practical for farmers:

“The Board of Inquiry for the Tukituki Catchment has reached a reasonable decision in what has been a long process,” says Andrew Curtis, CEO of IrrigationNZ. “But it is a far from practical outcome for farmers and the regional economy. We believe nutrient limits set for the Tukituki system remain unrealistic for what is a productive working agricultural landscape.”*

IrrigationNZ does however recognise the positive step taken in the decision to exclude some hill country farms, forestry, orchards and lifestyle blocks from having to gain consents, but points out that the reality is the majority of commercial enterprises will still require one. . .

 

Alliance Group Targets 3,300 Tonne Carbon Reduction:

One of the world’s largest processors of sheepmeat, Alliance Group Limited, aims to reduce carbon emissions by 3,300 tonnes over the next three years, as part of a new energy management agreement with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

The agreement, announced in Southland today by Alliance Group Chief Executive David Surveyor and EECA Chief Executive Mike Underhill, includes a thermal and electricity energy use reduction of approximately 10 Gigawatt hours per annum by 2017. This is the equivalent annual energy use of about 960 households.

David Surveyor says reducing the company’s energy use makes good business and environmental sense and that the new partnership with EECA is the next phase of Alliance Group’s energy management journey. . .

Synlait Milk ingredient will help to significantly enhance sleep:

Synlait Milk has commercialised a dairy-based milk powder ingredient that is clinically proven to enhance sleep.

Results from an independent clinical trial of iNdream3 have proved its efficacy as a sleep promoting ingredient.

iNdream3 is made from melatonin-rich milk collected in the hours of darkness, when cows naturally produce increased concentrations of melatonin in their milk

“We’ve been developing this product for several years and this clinical trial is a major milestone in proving the ability of iNdream3 to improve sleep,” said Dr Simon Causer, Synlait’s Research and Development Manager.. . .

Maori farm vitally important for community:

A Northland sheep and beef farm in the running for the top Maori farming award has impressed the judges with its strong ties to a small local community.

Paua Station is one of three finalists for the Ahuwhenua Trophy and as part of the awards is hosting an open day today.

The almost 3,000 hectare station lies just south of Cape Reinga, about 80 kilometres north of Kaitaia, and surrounds the small community of Te Kao.

It is owned by Parengarenga Incorporation, whose general manager, John Ellis, said the running of the farm was very much centred around the community. . .

Dairy Awards Finalists in Auckland for Annual Awards:

The 33 finalists in the 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are in Auckland, where the winners of the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year will be announced on Saturday night.

“The national awards is a big deal for these finalists – they’ll meet some key industry people, develop lifelong friendships and important networks, and be exposed to opportunities that’ll propel their career forward,” National Convenor Chris Keeping says.

Judging has been taking place during the past two weeks, as judges have visited the sharemilker/equity farmer and farm manager finalists on their farms. However, the final judging component will take place tomorrow when all finalists will participate in an interview. . .

Country’s Top Steaks Make The Cut:

Following today’s semi-final taste test, the 20 most succulent steaks in New Zealand have been named as finalists in the 2015 Beef and Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin Competition.

A panel of 12 well-known foodwriters and chefs, including Kerry Tyack and Julie Biuso, tasted a total of 69 sirloin steaks, judging each one on taste, tenderness and aroma, to find the top four for each class.

Semi-final judge, Kerry Tyack says as a returning judge, he was reminded of the outstanding quality of New Zealand beef.

“Although the steaks vary in taste, texture and appearance, they’re all of a consistently high standard,” says Tyack. . .

Hawke’s Bay Harvest Bodes Well for a Stellar 2015 Vintage:

The Hawke’s Bay wine region looks set to enjoy its third consecutive year of great vintages.

With picking nearly complete, Hawke’s Bay grape growers and wine makers are optimistic that this will be another good year, following exemplary vintages in 2013 and 2014. Hawke’s Bay is the first region to forecast the quality of this year’s vintage following harvest.

“Most would be considering this to be a very good, solid vintage,” Michael Henley, Chair of the Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Association (HBWG) and CEO of Trinity Hill Wines, says. . .


Rural round-up

April 29, 2015

Scientists make breakthrough in fight against methane gas – Adrien Taylor:

Scientists in Palmerston North have found a way to reduce methane emissions from cows and sheep by up to 90 percent.

The breakthrough came after trials found certain compounds inhibited methane being produced during digestion of food.

Chambers help scientists accurately monitor the amount of methane being produced by sheep, with the goal to reduce it.

Peter Janssen of AgResearch says they’re one step closer to finding a solution. . .

 

Extraordinary Focus Earns Couple Supreme Award in 2015 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Table Hill farmers Dave and Janene Divers have won the Supreme title in the 2015 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

The Divers, who farm a 1600ha sheep and beef property ‘Table Hill’, inland from Milton, were presented with the award at a BFEA ceremony on April 17. They also collected the Massey University Innovation Award, the Donaghys Farm Stewardship Award and the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award.

BFEA judges described the Divers as an “an extraordinarily focused, motivated and enthusiastic couple” who have embedded their philosophy of ‘Sustainable Farming, Sustainable Tourism, Sustainable Lifestyle’ into their personal and business lives. . .

Te Anau dairy pioneers claim supreme title in 2015 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Te Anau sheep and dairy farmers Robert and Anna Kempthorne are the Supreme Winners of the 2015 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

At a BFEA ceremony on April 16 the Kempthornes also received the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award, the LIC Dairy Farm Award, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award and the WaterForce Integrated Management Award.

The couple runs Mavora Farms Ltd, a successful self-contained dairy and sheep operation spread over 613ha in the Te Anau Basin. In partnership with Robert’s parents Bruce and Linda, the Kempthornes converted the family drystock farm and a neighbouring property in 2007, creating the first dairy farm in the district .The dairy operation now milks 550 cows on 235ha of mainly river-terrace contour, with the crossbred herd producing 231,000kgMS last year. . .

One Step Closer to Finding the Nation’s Top Steak:

The 2015 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin competition charges ahead with today’s announcement of the successful semi-finalists.

The competition, sponsored by Zoetis, seeks to find the nation’s most tender and tasty sirloin steak – and the Grand Champion title is hotly contested by farmers.

Carne Technologies has now completed scientific testing of all entries for tenderness and colour. The top 20 per cent now go through to the semi-final at Auckland University of Technology on Friday 1 May, where they will be tasted by a panel of chefs and foodwriters. . .

Dairy Awards Trainees Begin Tour:

The 11 finalists in the 2015 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competition begin a three-day study tour of the Central Plateau and Waikato today, where they will visit award-winning farmers and gain a greater insight into the dairy industry.

“The trainee study tour has quickly gathered a reputation for enabling the trainees to see what is possible to achieve in the industry with the right attitude and aptitude,” national convenor Chris Keeping says.

“It really focuses them on their own career, what they need to do and who can assist them. The dairy industry has a great co-operative spirit with people willing to share knowledge and assist others to achieve their goals. That’s really what the study tour is all about.” . . .

New growth opportunities for NZ Agri as ASEAN becomes Asia’s third engine of growth – Opportunity for NZ exporters to diversify from China, Australia:

A resurgent ASEAN will provide a significant opportunity for New Zealand exporters to diversify and reduce their reliance on the China and Australian markets over the next decade, according to ANZ Bank NZ.

A new ANZ Research report finds that greater economic integration could see ASEAN replace China as the world’s leading manufacturing centre over the next 10 – 15 years and emerge as a key market for New Zealand food and agriculture products with the potential for NZ-ASEAN trade and investment to increase from US$13 billion last year to US$22–US$27billion by 2025.

“ASEAN: The Next Horizon,” released today, highlights the region’s enormous potential driven by closer economic integration, demographics, low labour costs and its strategic position at the intersection of global trade and shipping routes. . .

Opportunities for New Zealand in revival of Japanese wine demand – Rabobank:

Signs of a revival in demand in the important, high-income Japanese wine market present opportunities for New Zealand wine producers, according to Rabobank’s latest Wine Quarterly report.

After a nearly two decade-long hiatus, beginning after the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, the Japanese wine market has now ‘come of age’ with the country’s wine drinkers increasingly open to new consumption occasions, wine styles and innovations, the report says.

Emerging indications that white wines are beginning to grow in popularity amongst Japanese wine consumers, albeit from a relatively low base, signal opportunities for New Zealand producers, according to report co-author, Rabobank senior wine analyst Marc Soccio. . .


Rural round-up

March 15, 2015

Farmax conference to focus farmers and rural consultants on 2025 export goals:

Decision support software company, Farmax, believes it has a key tool pastoral farmers can use to help the agriculture industry achieve its goal of doubling exports by 2025. The company’s 2015 conference will focus on helping farmers and rural consultants gain confidence in the tools they need to achieve this objective.

Minister for Primary Industries Hon Nathan Guy will open the conference at Mac’s Function Centre in Wellington on 7-8 May.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive Dr Scott Champion, OVERSEER general manager Caroline Read and Landcorp Farm Operations general manager Graeme Mulligan will also present over the two-day event. . .

Forestry leases returned to Māori owners:

Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew joined Māori owners and the community in Northland today to celebrate the surrender of a 740 hectare forestry lease.

The ceremony included the felling of the final trees to mark the end of what was originally a 99 year Crown lease. The trees are to be replanted by the landowner, Parengarenga A Incorporation.

“Partnership between the Incorporation and the Crown has been important to the development of forestry in the Far North,” Mrs Goodhew says. “By stabilising moving sand on the Aupouri peninsula this once unproductive land has been developed into a productive forest. . .

Drought may bite olive harvest:

A Wairarapa olive grower says the extremely dry conditions are taking a toll on trees and will bite into this year’s harvest.

Last year a record olive harvest was recorded in many parts of the country, helped by hot, dry summer conditions.

Olive New Zealand’s president, Andrew Taylor, said it was too early to say what this year’s harvest would be like from region to region, although it was likely that some growers will get lighter crops than the record amount last year.

But grower Ray Lilley, who owns White Rocks Olives at Martinborough, said the weather conditions this season would reduce the harvest, especially on younger trees. . .

Open Country posts record annual profit on surge in sales, sees ‘strong’ 2015:

(BusinessDesk) – Open Country Dairy, the dairy manufacturer controlled by Talley’s Group, reported a record profit for 2014 as revenue growth outpaced rising cost of sales, and said it expects a “strong” result in 2015.

Profit was $29.8 million in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2014, from $18.2 million in a 14-month period a year earlier, according to the Auckland-based company’s annual report. Open Country changed its balance date to Sept. 30 from July 31 in 2013.

Sales jumped to $908 million from $635 million, while cost of sales rose to $858 million from $597 million, allowing the company to increase gross profit by 31 percent. The 2014 year took in a season in which farmers received a record payout for their milk, while global dairy prices tumbled in the second half from near their highest levels in seven years. . .

Steak of Origin Underway:

Beef farmers nationwide are waiting in anticipation to see if their steaks will be named amongst the best in New Zealand.

The Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin competition, supported by Zoetis, received over 300 entries from farmers, retailers, wholesalers and foodservice suppliers hoping to take out the title of the nation’s most tender and tasty steak.

Entries will now go on to be scientifically tested at Carne Technologies with colour and tenderness results determining the top 20% from each class, which will be announced as semi-finalists. . .

 

Villa Maria named fourth most admired wine brand in the world and first in New Zealand:

Today, Drinks International, one of the most trusted and respected global drink journals, named Villa Maria as the fourth most admired wine brand in the world, the only New Zealand winery to make the top 10 list. More than 200 of the world’s top masters of wine, sommeliers, educators and journalists took part in the annual poll, which pits wine brands from all regions, styles and qualities against each other.

The Academy of Masters of Wine, sommeliers, educators and journalists were tasked with critiquing and recognising the ‘Most Admired Wine Brands’ in the world and measured against the following list: . .


Rural round-up

January 15, 2015

Strong demand improves meat export returns:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand compiles lamb, mutton and beef export statistics for the country. The following summarises activity during the first quarter of the 2014-15 meat export season (1 October 2014 to 31 December 2014).

Summary

A more favourable exchange rate and strong demand – particularly for beef – saw average meat export returns improve in the first quarter of the 2014-15 season. . .

Parched land alarms farmers – David Loughrey:

 The reality of Otago’s continuing dry weather is beginning to bite hard and an end to irrigation for some farmers is taking a financial toll.

Andrew and Lynnore Templeton have been a full week in a brown, baking Middlemarch with no water available from a Taieri River running below its minimum flow.

Federated Farmers said farmers were becoming alarmed at how fast the land was drying out, while the Otago Regional Council said it was continuing meetings with farmers to try to deal with the situation. . .

Dry soil conditions put DairyNZ on alert to boost support:

Soils are drying out fast around the country, but above the ground it’s a different story, with grass and feed supplies looking good in many parts of the country, says industry body DairyNZ.

General manager of extension, Craig McBeth, says DairyNZ is closely monitoring the soil moisture and feed levels in all regions in case it needs to quickly ramp up support for farmers having a dry summer coming on top of a low seasonal milk price.

“It is already severely dry in parts of Canterbury and North Otago and farmers there are facing serious measures with some irrigation restrictions now in place. The south of the Wairarapa is also very dry. The soil moisture data is also showing us that the rest of the country is on the brink of heading into dryer than average soil moisture conditions. We need to see some rain soon to reduce the risk of a normal dry summer turning into something more serious,” he says. . .

 The Search is on for the Nation’s Top Steak:

Beef farmers across the country are putting their best entries forward for the thirteenth annual Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin Competition.

The highly anticipated competition, sponsored by Zoetis, seeks to find New Zealand’s most tender and tasty steak, an award taken seriously by those in the industry.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO, Dr Scott Champion, says the competition is a great platform to showcase the New Zealand beef industry and illustrates the great care farmers take in producing the best quality beef.

“It’s also a competition keenly contested by beef farmers who strive to take the coveted Steak of Origin title,” says Champion. . . .

New test for serious algal toxin threat saves time and money for NZ shellfish farmers – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – The most serious algal toxin threat to New Zealand shellfish can now be detected faster and at around a quarter of the previous cost through a new test method likely to be introduced this year.

The test for paralytic shellfish toxin (PST), the most serious of shellfish poisoning syndromes caused by harmful algae, has been developed by New Zealand’s Cawthron Institute in collaboration with the UK’s Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science.

Cawthron researchers developed the world’s first instrumental test method for marine toxins in seafood using marine biotoxins it sells for more than $100,000 per teaspoonful to laboratories worldwide after some people fell sick from eating shellfish affected by algal blooms in the 1990s. . .

Potato shortage has upside in Southland – Phil McCarthy:

They’re eating our potatoes in the North Island, and in Taiwan too.

A nationwide potato shortage is leaving some chip-lovers pining for their favourite flavours, with some Southland supermarkets posting notices in chip aisles apologising for supply shortages. However, one Southland company is making up for a shortage of fresh potatoes in the central North Island – and tip-toeing into exporting fresh potatoes to Asia. 

Pyper’s Produce director Brent Lamb said it was not very often the Branxholme-based growers sold potatoes into the North Island but they had since late November because poor growing conditions there had limited the supply of fresh potatoes. . .

Runs on board for deer initiative:

Advance Parties, a Deer Industry NZ initiative designed to help farmers increase the profitability of their farm businesses, is getting runs on the board. At the end of the first year of a three-year trial co-funded by the Sustainable Farming Fund, there are eight Advance Parties underway, involving 89 farms.

Project manager Amy Wills says Advance Party members are committed to personal and farm business development, sharing their data, methods, plans, results, problems and successes. It’s very different to a farm discussion group.

Because members lay all their cards on the table, Advance Party meetings are limited to the participating farmers, their families and staff, plus a facilitator. Meetings are not open to the public or the media. . .

 

New Zealand Winegrowers launches Mandarin-language website

New Zealand Winegrowers has launched a Mandarin-language website to support ongoing marketing activities in China.

The site, www.nz-wine.cn, features information about New Zealand’s wine-growing regions and key grape varietals with content mirroring the flagship English-language site www.nzwine.com. In addition it includes details of upcoming events in Mainland China, links to social media platforms Weibo and WeChat, and offers insight to the New Zealand wine industry’s widespread commitment to sustainability. . .

 


Rural round-up

May 16, 2014

One in the eye for dairying’s critics – Jon Morgan:

Dairying is the popular whipping boy of the age. Dissembling politicians, rabid environmentalists, lazy news media, ignorant online commenters – they all have a go.

They peddle the usual half-truths and blatant lies: Dairying is responsible for all water pollution, dairy farmers are saddled with too much debt, they are running too many cows, using too much nitrogen fertiliser and poisoning the soils and plants, they mistreat their workers, they don’t pay their fair share of taxes, they’re responsible for global warming, the moral decay of today’s youth, war in Ukraine, the Pope turning Communist and, don’t forget, they also shot JFK.

However, one or two of their assumptions will have to be revised after the release of the latest DairyNZ economic survey.

It was a surprise even for those who support dairying to learn from the survey – which has been running for 50 years – that the costs of dairy farming have stayed the same for the past 25 years and that farms are as affordable as 40 years ago. . .

Angus cleans up at Steak of Origin Grand Final:

Colin Brown from Cambridge has been named Grand Champion in the 2014 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin competition with his Angus processed at AgResearch Ruakura.

After being a finalist in previous years and his Lake Farm Beef brand winning Supreme Brand in 2009, Colin has taken out the competition, sponsored by Zoetis, to find the country’s most tender and tasty sirloin steak in the Grand Final at AgInnovation in Feilding this evening.

Colin is humbled with the announcement.  “I am absolutely thrilled with the result after being named as a finalist four times in the last six years, and finally taking the title”, he says. . . .

Victory for man with big stake in beef:

It’s taken a few years, but an artisan beef producer has finally cracked the big one.

Colin Brown of Lake Farm on the shore of lake Karapiro in Waikato won the grand champion title in the Steak of Origin competition this week with a pure Angus sirloin steak.

He’s been a finalist for four of the past six years and in 2009 he won the supreme brand award with his Lake Farm Beef brand.

He’s a small scale operator, producing his beef from 100 cattle, and selling directly to customers through the internet. . .

Rockstar awards showcase our rockstar dairy industry:

The only shame about last Friday’s 2014 New Zealand Dairy Awards, at Auckland’s SkyCity, was the absence of the dairying’s most ardent critics.  Instead it was the perfect showcase for the capability and dynamism of New Zealand’s leading export industry. 

“I can forgive the print media as the Canon Awards were on the same night and the media at our industry’s event got to see dairying in its dynamic reality.  Special thanks must go to the brilliant MC Mike McRoberts but especially the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Trust,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“I honestly thought there would have been more than one Member of Parliament present but as MP’s go, the Minister for Primary Industries is a very big fish indeed.

“After the awards I saw one political party leader in a debate label-dairy low value.  There is no way you could hold those views if he’d attended these awards.  That’s the problem we have.  There are some who won’t risk shaking their beliefs by opening their eyes. . .

Firenze sires 40,000 cows, retires:

With more than 40,000 daughters in New Zealand alone there’s no denying Firenze has been one very busy bull.

The herd improvement company CRV Ambreed retired the 12-year-old holstein-friesian bull this week at a ceremony in Hamilton.

Firenze has generated about $8 million in revenue and produced about 650,000 doses of semen that have been sold around the world.

Now he’s heading back to the farm where he came from near Dunedin.

His original owner, Philip Wilson, says he’s going to ensure Firenze sees out his days in style.

“Well, we’re just bringing him home because we are proud of him and we reckon he deserves a bloody good retirement. . . .

UN look to Marlborough grape vine pruning crews – Chloe Winter:

Marlborough’s autumn colours are slowly disappearing as vine-pruning contractors move in to prepare the vineyards for next season’s growth.

Alapa Viticultural Services owner Alan Wilkinson has a team of 230 workers for the pruning season.

The workers were from Thailand, Japan, Samoa, China, Malaysia and the Czech Republic and would stay until the end of the season in September.

By that time, more than four million plants would have been pruned, stripped and wrapped, Wilkinson said. . .

 Bee’s conference breaking ground for the industry:

This year, for the first time, Federated Farmers Bee Industry Group will be joining with the National Beekeepers Association to host a New Zealand Apiculture Industry Conference in Wanganui.

“The theme of this conference is “Working Together” with a critical focus on advancing our fast growing and vital industry that is pivotal to New Zealand’s economy, with an estimated annual contribution of $5 billion a year,” says John Hartnell, Federated Farmers Bee Chairperson. . . .


Rural round-up

January 31, 2014

Auckland siphoning Waikato’s future:

Federated Farmers is concerned that the Auckland Watercare firm’s application to take water from the Waikato will see lost opportunities for economic growth in the Waikato.

“This part of the Waikato River is already nearly full allocated with water takes, at 10 percent of its one in 5 year low flow (Q5), so if this application is approved, Waikato ratepayers lose out,” says James Houghton, Federated Farmers provincial president for Waikato.

“Watercare are asking for a further 200,000 cubic meters a day on top of the 150,000 they already take, to supply a city that doesn’t pay rates in the Waikato. Our council needs to be thinking about the long game here and what benefits there are in giving away Waikato’s resources, which are needed to maintain and build Waikato’s economy. If this consent proceeds under the current rules it is going to strangulate Waikato’s ability to grow. . .

Grassland science leader rewarded – Annette Scott:

More intensive farming has increased demand for greater pasture performance in New Zealand but Professor Syd Easton is confident there is technology and expertise to keep farmers well served. He talked to Annette Scott.

Emeritus Professor Syd Easton has been awarded the Ray Brougham Trophy for his significant contribution to grassland farming.

The AgResearch Grasslands, Palmerston North-based scientist is the third AgResearch scientist to win the prestigious pastoral science award. . . .

Bottom lines of animal welfare James Houghton:

A key component of farming is animal welfare and what influences that is culture and legislation. What we see in every industry is a bottom and top percent that stand out from the rest.

As is common in business and society, we focus on the bottom percent because they are the ones that need to change. In agriculture, the majority are doing a fine job of farming but there is still room for them to improve – looking to our top percent who are the game changers and leaders of the industry. However, our bottom dwellers are letting the industry down, and it is time for them to shape up or get out. We don’t want you if you can’t manage the basic requirement of treating your stock with respect and care. Likewise, this goes for those who disrespect and neglect the environment.

Animal welfare cases are never cut and dry, we need clear-cut standards and a fair and balanced approach to employment law cases, if we want to make those who are letting the industry down to be accountable. The Federation is proactive in educating its members about best practice and how to meet animal welfare requirements. We work well with key stakeholders on this issue, such as WSPA, The New Zealand Veterinary Association and DairyNZ, because we all have a vested interest in the welfare of animals. . .

Farmers back the battle for birds:

Federated Farmers is backing the Department of Conservation’s ‘Battle for Birds’ by extending the use of Sodium fluoroacetate (1080) to 500,000 hectares of the DoC estate, ahead of an anticipated explosion in mice, rat and mustelids due to the 2014 mast season.

“With one million tonne of seed due to fall in the 2014 mast season we are almost certain to see an explosion in rodent numbers and with them, their major predators,” says Anders Crofoot, Federated Farmers Game & Pest spokesperson.

“Once this easy food supply ends in the spring, this plague of pests will turn on our native fauna as an easy meal. 

“When we have a tool that works, like Sodium fluoroacetate, then we must use it to keep these pest populations in check. . .

Lifestyle sells rural work – Stephen Bell:

Rural employers need to provide a good lifestyle and demonstrate a path exists for career advancement to attract young people to the countryside, Victoria University researcher Dr Michael Sloan has found.

Sloan surveyed 24,000 people as part of his thesis and found people moving from urban areas to the country had less social life satisfaction after the move but had greater outdoor satisfaction with the man-made and natural environments.

He spent three years comparing people’s expectations of moving to urban and rural areas with the reality after the move. . .

Farmers to put reputation at steak:

Nationwide, farmers are preparing their entries for the annual Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin Competition.

The event, entering its twelfth year, recognises New Zealand’s most tender and tasty steak, an award taken seriously by industry professionals.   

Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO, Dr Scott Champion, says the competition is an opportunity to showcase the dedication and skill so evident in New Zealand beef farming.

“The quality of New Zealand beef is a product of the hard-work and dedication of our farmers and this event rewards these efforts, making it a competitive and highly regarded award,” says Champion. . .


Rural round-up

May 19, 2013

Gisborne throws support behind MIE – Anne Calcinai:

The Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) group departed Gisborne this week with overwhelming support for change.

More than 150 farmers attended the meeting on Wednesday and became the fourth group to support the MIE group.

Farmers in Gisborne voted unanimously to support a mandate for change, based on the six principles outlined by MIE.

MIE executive chairman Richard Young said it was clear from the meeting farmers understood they needed to change their behaviour and that commitment to meat companies on a longer-term basis was essential. . .

Kahungunu takes giant step into farming:

 Chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana says, “Ngāti Kahungunu have taken the first step to diversify its interests from Fisheries to Farming.”

 The Kahungunu Asset Holding Company on behalf of its shareholder Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated has completed a Sale and Purchase Agreement for the Tautane Station, owned by the Herrick family for over 120 years. The iwi is pleased to have been the successful bidder of this historic farm located south of Porangahau.

It is the first major real estate investment that the iwi has made and is a template for further land acquisitions. This is part of the iwi’s ‘gate to plate’ strategy to build on relationshps in the high end growing Asian market that’s demanding high quality food product direct from the producer to the supplier. Over two years the iwi has investigated orchards, dairy farms and other commercial properties, but Tautane meets all the iwi’s economic indicators covering environmental, social, educational, historical and cultural objectives. . .

Steak of Origin champions do it again:

Chris and Karren Biddles from Northland have been named Grand Champions in the 2013 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin competition.

After winning in 2007 and taking the Producer of the Decade title in 2012, the Te Kopuru couple have now taken out the 2013 grand prize with their Angus/Jersey beef sirloin entry.

The competition to find the country’s most tender and tasty steak, sponsored by Zoetis, culminated in the Grand Final at the Beef Expo in Feilding last night.

The 20 finalists were tasted by a panel of judges, comprising three leading chefs. Head judge and chef Graham Hawkes says the quality of the steak on show was exceptional. . .

New hope for new farmers:

FARMERS WHO have joined the Scottish industry in the 10 years since subsidy entitlements were set in historical stone can now claim a share of £2 million worth of extra funding from the Scottish Goverment.

Rural Affairs CabSec Richard Lochhead said this week: “It is crucial that we do all we can to help introduce new entrants to farming – they are fresh blood to the rural economy.”

But new entrants themselves, at risk of seeming ungrateful, pointed out that £2m, shared between the 1000-plus Scottish farmers currently excluded from the historical subsidy system, paled into insignificance next to the average SFP payment their neighbours received annually. . .

Dairy Boards don’t have standing to challenge pizza kits

Canada’s watchdog on cross-border trade says it can’t rule on a company importing pizza topping kits made with cheaper U.S. mozzarella, if the request for a ruling doesn’t come from another importer.

Canada’s 10 provincial dairy marketing boards, under the not-for-profit name BalanceCo, had sought a ruling from the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) during a appeal hearing last month in Ottawa, against imports of pre-packaged pizza toppings combining shredded mozzarella and sliced pepperoni from the U.S.

The packs were recently developed for import into Canada from the U.S. by J. Cheese Inc., an Ontario distributor, for a “particular customer” — namely the Toronto-based Pizza Pizza chain, which operates almost 700 Pizza Pizza and Pizza 73 outlets across Canada.

The packs are now classified for tariff purposes as a “food preparation” and thus aren’t subject to the tariff rate quotas (TRQs) imposed on dairy imports under Canada’s supply-managed dairy marketing system. . .

Canada prepares to target U.S. goods in COOL spat:

Canada will put forward a list of U.S. products it wants to target in retaliation for U.S. country-of-origin meat labels if last-minute changes to U.S. label regulations don’t prove satisfactory, Canadian officials said on Friday.

The dispute stems from a 2009 U.S. requirement that retail outlets put the country of origin on labels on meat and other products, a move the government said was in an effort to give U.S. consumers more information about their food.

Canada and Mexico complained that the mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rule caused a decline in U.S. imports of their cattle and pigs, and the World Trade Organization has ordered the United States to make changes by May 23. . .

Farmhouse succession – Paul Spackman:

It is a significant and symbolic step in the handing over of responsibility of any family farm business when a son or daughter takes over occupancy of the main farmhouse from their parents.

All too often, however, it is a process that hasn’t been planned well enough and is perhaps done hastily out of necessity, rather than as part of a considered succession plan.

This can strain family relationships and in some cases jeopardise the future viability of the business, especially if non-farming relatives have to be paid off and parts of the farm broken up or sold, says farm consultant Siân Bushell. . .

 

 

 


Rural round-up

May 5, 2013

Multiple causes for colony collapse – report – by Seth Borenstein:

A new federal report blames a combination of problems for a mysterious and dramatic disappearance of US honeybees since 2006.

The intertwined factors cited include a parasitic mite, multiple viruses, bacteria, poor nutrition, genetics, habitat loss and pesticides.

The multiple causes make it harder to do something about what’s called colony collapse disorder, experts say. The disorder has caused as much as one-third of the nation’s bees to just disappear each winter since 2006. 

Bees, especially honeybees, are needed to pollinate crops.

The federal report, issued Thursday by the Agriculture Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, said the biggest culprit is the parasitic mite varroa destructor, calling it “the single most detrimental pest of honeybees”. . .

And the top steaks are…:

After an intense semi-final tasting today, the top 20 sirloin steaks have been found to compete in the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin Grand Final.

Today’s semi-final saw over 70 steaks tasted by a panel of chefs and foodwriters, including 2012 MasterChef winner Chelsea Winter.

Winter says the quality of the product on show made marking the steaks very difficult.

“I love a steak at the best of times and to taste some of the best in the country was a great experience. It was a hard job as they were each of such high quality, but someone has to do it!” says Winter. . .

Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track Nominated For Green Ribbon Award:

The Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track has been nominated as a finalist in the Green Economy category for the 2013 Green Ribbon Awards for the second consecutive year. Honouring outstanding contributions to protecting New Zealand’s environment, the Green Ribbon Awards are conferred by the Ministry for the Environment.

Environment Minister Amy Adams announced 32 finalists in 11 award categories that recognise individuals, businesses, communities and youth, as well as larger organisations.

“All the finalists have shown great dedication and initiative. I am looking forward to meeting them and learning first-hand about the great work they are all doing to help New Zealand’s environment,” Ms Adams says. . .

Growers, Importers Scramble to Meet New Brassica Rules:

A snap change to government import rules for brassica seeds has caught New Zealand producers on the hop as they prepare for sowing the high value crops.

The new rules, including mandatory fungicide treatment, mean significant delays to shipments and serious production issues for some growers already working to very tight planting schedules.

Thomas Chin, general manager of the New Zealand Grain and Seed Trade Association, says the Ministry for Primary Industries gave no warning of the change and no immediate explanation. . .

Appointment Of AGMARDT’s Associate Board Member:

AGMARDT has announced the appointment of James Allen as an Associate Board Member to join its Board of Trustees.

AGMARDT is an independent not-for-profit trust that aims to foster and encourage leadership, innovation and research capability within the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors of New Zealand.

AGMARDT Chairman Jeff Grant said that the purpose of creating the Associate Board Member position is to provide an emerging agribusiness leader with an opportunity to observe and experience governance in action within an innovative agribusiness environment. . .


Rural round-up

February 5, 2013

ECann Rakaia River recommendation accepted:

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says the Government has accepted Environment Canterbury’s recommendation to change the water conservation order that covers the Rakaia River.

The change will allow TrustPower to release water from Lake Coleridge for irrigation when the river is low, increasing the reliability of the water supply.

“Environment Canterbury’s report and recommendation is a good example of both environmental considerations and the needs of the farming community being taken into account,” Mr Brownlee says. . .

Why wash clean linen in public – Alan Emerson:

Farming is certainly in the mainstream media. 

Most outlets are covering the DCD saga and they weren’t helped by some woolly statements from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Fonterra.

I thought the two fertiliser co-operatives, Ballance and Ravensdown, handled the issue well, with their media releases being factual and unemotive. Both withdrew their DCD product and that, in my opinion, should have been the end of the story.

The issue is simple – DCD is safe. It has been around since the 1920s and used in its current form since 1981 and that is the problem.

Because it isn’t a new product but an adaption of an existing chemical, it is not classified under the international Codex Alimentarium. For that reason there is no minimum or maximum allowable level.

The problem is technical and procedural – it is not a chemical or health issue. Googling DCD you can identify all the many countries using it. You can also read glowing references about the product’s ability to increase yields in tomatoes, wheat, barley, rice and grass. . .

Lessons learned on managing perception – Alan Williams:

THE DCD issue has thrown up some lessons on how to manage market perceptions when the debate gets away from the science, Ministry for Primary Industries deputy director general (Standards) Carol Barnao says.

MPI’s risk assessment team discovered quickly there were no food safety concerns from traces of DCD found in whole milk powder, but the time taken for action was seen by some people as too slow and the presence of an unexpected compound was linked with tainted food in some markets.

More than three months passed between Fonterra’s product testing and the withdrawal from the market of the fertilisers containing DCD.

If there had been food safety concerns action would have happened much sooner, Barnao said.

Working groups were set up as soon as MPI was alerted in early November but it took time to complete the testing methodology and the why, when, and how of what happened, she said. . .

Happy to break new ground – Hannah Lynch:

Primary industries might be getting a new minister, but it’s in the associate role where a woman will be getting to make a mark for the first time. Hannah Lynch reports from Parliament.

The first woman appointed to a ministerial role in agriculture is not afraid of bringing a touch of femininity to the job, revealing she wears high-heeled boots on the family farm. 

Jo Goodhew has just been made Associate Primary Industries Minister in a Cabinet reshuffle that elevated the previous associate, Nathan Guy, into the main role.

“It is exciting but it is part of the general trend we are seeing where women who have the right skills are doing anything,” Goodhew said. 

“Women are going into roles that were previously held by men but now it’s just recognition that if you have got the skills it doesn’t matter what gender you are.”  . . .

MyFarm expanding to sheep and beef farms – Hugh Stringleman:

MyFarm intends to use its farm ownership syndication model for sheep and beef farms as well as dairy farms.

It put together one sheep and beef farm syndicate in 2010, for Kaiangaroa farm east of Taihape, and during this year will offer several more.

MyFarm director Andrew Watters would not specify the locations but gave parameters for the suitable properties and regions.

They would be mainly sheep-breeding and lamb-finishing properties, with beef cattle only additional. . .

Farmers Preparing to Steak Their Claim :

Farmers across the country are selecting their entries for the 2013 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin.

The competition to find the country’s most tender and tasty steak is entering its 11th year and is keenly contested nationwide.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO, Dr Scott Champion, says the competition is taken very seriously and winning has become a badge of honour.

“The Steak of Origin rewards farmers for their efforts and showcases the skill in the New Zealand beef farming industry,” says Champion. . .

Freshman Sire Highlights Final Day of Karaka 2013:

New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2013 National Yearling Sales Series has drawn to a close today at Karaka with the final 212 yearlings of the Festival Sale concluding a bumper seven days of selling that has seen a total of 1021 lots traded for $72,387,700.

For the third day in a row Westbury Stud’s first season sire Swiss Ace (Secret Savings) provided the top price of the day, this time it was the colt at Lot 1353 from the four-time winning Stravinsky mare Poetic Music bought by Rogerson Bloodstock for $95,000.
1353 web
Top lot of the day the Swiss Ace colt (Lot 1353) purchased by Rogerson Bloodstock for $95,000

“He was the nicest horse here today and he proved that because he was the top lot of the day.

http://www.fwplus.co.nz/article/alternative-view-why-wash-clean-linen-in-public?p=6


Rural round-up

May 26, 2012

Reward for consistency – Rebecca Harper:

The accolade of Producer of the Decade was bestowed upon them at the 2012 Steak of Origin grand final, but for Angus breeders Chris and Karren Biddles, it was the reward for consistently producing a quality product.

“We like to breed good product and sell good product,” Chris Biddles sums up the philosophy that has seen Te Atarangi Angus named Producer of the Decade.

Chris and his wife Karren farm just under 1000 hectares on the Pouto Peninsula, near Dargaville in Northland, and have been long time supporters of beef cattle breeding in New Zealand. . .

Plenty of bull topped off with a great feed – Jon Morgan:

Aaaaah, Beef Expo. First to assail the senses is the smell. Bullshit and coffee.

Then it’s the noise. Over the low roar of farmers discussing the weather is the enraged bellowing of caged bulls. And somewhere in the distance a tormented soul is shouting out the same number over and over again.

He’s auctioneer Bruce Orr. “I bid 4000, 4000, 4000, 4000 dollars. I’ve got 4000 to bid, 4000, 4000, 4000, 4000.” And so on at break-tongue speed.

Later, I count him and he gets close to 100 times repeating the same number before a bidder takes pity on him and raises him $200. Then it starts again.

It’s my annual immersion in the world of beef breeding. . .

Shear joy for wool industry

As a young girl growing up on Mt Nicholas Station, at the head of Lake Wakatipu, Kate Cocks was used to a life of uncertainty. Her parents, Lynda and Robert Butson, were high-country merino farmers, their extensive 100,000-acre property spreading from the edge of the lake to the tops of the distant peaks.

“Twenty years ago our wool cheque could vary from $300,000 one year to $1.2 million the next,” says Cocks, who is now the manager of Mt Nicholas Station. . .

Clicking on the link above will take you to a video.

Forum hailed for brdiging troubled waters – Jon Morgan:

 If I could meet the 80 people representing the 60 organisations and five iwi that make up the Land and Water Forum, I would ask them to turn their backs. Then I would give each one a well-deserved pat.

That’s unlikely, so I’ll do it in print. What these people have achieved, and are still to achieve, is awe-inspiring.

Formed four years ago under the leadership of environmental advocates Gary Taylor and Guy Salmon, the forum now includes the representatives of everyone with a stake in the sustainability of our freshwater resource – a remarkable achievement. . .

Dairy expansion pushes cow total to more than 6 million -Annette Scott:

Dairy expansion in the South Island has driven the national dairy herd to over six million while fewer lambs and breeding ewes saw sheep numbers take another tumble in 2011, according to the latest agricultural production survey.

Final results from the 2011 survey show a continued increase in the national dairy herd. An increase of 259,000 dairy cattle brought the number to 6.17m, up 4.4% from 2010.

More cattle were kept for milk production and future replacement, a result of the high payout and strong international demand for dairy products. The national milking herd was 4.82m, 136,000 more than in 2010. . .

The rise and importance of the US dairy industry – Xcheque:

If you have been watching the dairy industry news over the past month you will have noted a growing nervousness about the state of international dairy commodity markets and the flow on effects of this at farmgate.

It certainly appears that there is a gathering storm, one brought about by the over-exuberance of the global dairy traders. 7 billion litres of extra milk production in 2011 from the EU, US, NZ and Argentina, and no sign of the growth rate easing in the first two months of 2012. Domestic demand growth from these countries is typically less than 1% or about 2 billion litres – the balance needs to go onto world markets. Is this possible?

Not if history is a guide. . .

Ray of hope for dairy industry:

New Zealand dairy farmers are expected to be on average 42,000 dollars worse off this season following yesterday’s announcement by Fonterra that it has to cut its milk payout forecast because of softening global dairy prices.

But a New Zealand product gaining increasing attention in the United States could help offset those losses.

Queen of Calves was invented on a Manawatu family farm and promises to raise milk production by 18 per cent. . .

Southland TB campaigner wins deer industry award:

Retiring TBfree Southland Committee member Kevin Gilmour has been awarded the prestigious Matuschka Award by the New Zealand Deer Farmers’ Association.

Kevin has been associated with the TBfree committee for 20 years. Until recently, he ran a successful deer farm on the edge of the Hokonui Hills, while working tirelessly to communicate, advocate and support the national bovine tuberculosis (TB) control programme in Southland.

“The award came as a very nice surprise. However, I can’t emphasis enough how important the support and technical expertise of the New Zealand Deer Farmers’ Association and TBfree committee has been in achieving our objectives,” he said. . .

Farmer-led Canterbury Water Forum to set the agenda:

Hard on the heels of the Land & Water Forum report, Federated Farmers has taken the lead by convening a farmer-led Canterbury Water Forum.  Taking place at the Ashburton Trust Events Centre on 7 June, it gives all farmers a chance to see what the future holds.

“This Water Forum is very much a forum for farmers by farmers.  It’s about looking at water and environmental stewardship through fresh eyes,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers water spokesperson.

“It’s so important that ATS is helping us put it together.  It’s about issues, yes, but it’s about practical solutions farmers can take inside the farmgate. . .


South Devon/Friesian X sirloin NZ’s best

May 18, 2011

A South Devon/Friesian X sirloin steak from Phil Hoskin in Pahiatua was judged New Zealand’s tenderest and tastiest in the 2011 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin competition.

Twenty finalists, carved down from nearly 400, were tasted by a panel of judges at the grand final today during the Beef Expo in Feilding.

The judging panel comprised Commonwealth Gold Medallist Alison Shanks, All Black Legend Richard Loe, food writer and television personality Julie Biuso, radio host Jamie Mackay and top chef, Graham Hawkes.

Each steak was assessed on aroma, juiciness, tenderness, texture and taste.

Head judge and chef, Graham Hawkes said the competition just keeps growing and the entries just keep getting better.

“The quality of New Zealand beef is simply the best and the entries this year were no exception,” says Hawkes.

The Grand Champion was awarded the prestigious Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin Trophy, the original Beef Carcass shield and $5000.

The supreme brand award went to Bowmont Wholesale Meats in Invercargill with their Hereford Prime entry.

The Steak of Origin contest has been run for more than eight years on behalf of Beef + Lamb NZ .

 The competition process involves an initial assessment of the sirloin steak at Carne Technologies in Cambridge. Each steak is aged for three weeks before being tested for tenderness, pH and % cooking loss. The most tender steaks make the semi-final and are cooked and tasted by a panel of judges in Christchurch. The finalists (four from each of the five classes) are tasted at the Beef Expo in Feilding by top chefs and celebrities to find the most tasty and tender steak in the country.

The full results of the final:

Class 1: Best of Breed – European
1st: Rob & Mary Ann Burrows, Culverden (Charolais), processed at Ashburton Meat Processors
2nd: Charlie Stephens, Christchurch (Piedmontese) processed at Ashburton Meat Processors/Ellesmere Butchery
3rd: Cornwall Park, Auckland (Simmental), processed at Auckland Meat Processors/Wilson Hellaby
4th: TD & BR O’Shea, Whangarei (Limousin), processed at Auckland Meat Processors/Wilson Hellaby

Class 2: Best of Breed – British
1st: DC & LJ Redmond, Rakaia (Angus) processed at Ashburton Meat Processors
2nd: Robin & Jacqueline Blackwell, Inglewood (Angus) processed at Taranaki Abattoir
3rd: Tim & Kelly Brittain, Otorohanga (Angus), processed at Auckland Meat Processors/Wilson Hellaby
4th: Tim & Kelly Brittain, Otorohanga (Angus), processed at Auckland Meat Processors/Wilson Hellaby

Class 3: Best of Breed – Crossbreed & Other
1st: Phillip Hoskin, Pahiatua (South Devon/Friesian X) processed at Silver Fern Farms, Hastings
2nd: Nigel Foster, Kaitaia (Angus X) processed at Silver Fern Farms, Dargaville
3rd: Kate & Paula Jordan, Blenheim (Charolais/Jersey X) processed at CMP Kokiri
4th: Julia & Stewart Eden, Gore (Dexter/Friesian X) processed at Alliance Mataura

Class 4: Best of Brand – Retail
1st: Bowmont Wholesale Meats, Invercargill (Hereford Prime)
2nd: Foodstuffs, North Island (AngusPure)
3rd: Glanworth Partnership, Pahiatua (AngusPure)
4th: Chef’s Choice, Wanganui (AngusPure)

Class 5: Best of Brand –Wholesaler and Foodservice providers
1st: Angus Meats, Christchurch (Angus Reserve)
2nd: Progressive Enterprises, Auckland (Countdown Finest Angus)
3rd: Land Meat NZ Ltd, Wanganui (AngusPure)
4th: Neat Meat, Auckland (AngusPure)

On a related matter, rivtettingKate Taylor has been at the Beef Expo and is all beefed out.


Sisters win Steak of Origin

May 19, 2010

New Zealand’s tastiest steak is from a Limousin/Angus cross produced by Whangarei sisters Kathy Child and Yvonne Hill.

The 400 entries in the Steak of Origin contest were whittled down to a top 20 and these were judged by BMX World Champ, Sarah Walker, Farming Show host Jamie McKay and former All Black Richard Loe with the expert assistance of professional chefs, Graham Hawkes and Hester Guy.

Jamie is interviewing the winners on his show which will be online here soon.


Crossbred win makes some cross

May 22, 2009

Sex, religion and politics are not supposed to be raised in conversation at polite gatherings.

There’s many who would be happy for stock breeding to be added to the list.

People whoin the purebred business, have very strong feelings about the finer points of their favourite breeds and can wax lyrical about the genetics involved in breeding them.

It’s not surprising, then, that the annual Steak of Origin competition to find the best steak in the land attracts a fair bit of rivalry from beef breeders.

Imagine the consternation then, when the winner this year was not a pure beef breed but a crossbred, and a dairy cross at that.

Judges, Invercargill chef Graham Hawke, Minister of Agriculture David Carter and retired farmer and All Black legend Colin Meads (now aka Sir Pinetree), blind tasted 20 steaks. They awarded the title of Supreme Champion to a sirloin from a Piedmontese/Friesan cross entered by Catherine Withers from Rotorua who’s a dairy farmer not a beef breeder.

I’m told that good manners prevailed on the night but some breeders were a bit cross their purebred steak couldn’t quite cut the mustard in the competition.

The Steak of Origin link above will take you to the full results.


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